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Winter 2008, Vol. 5

Stanley Horton: 'One Plan Stan'—Stanley M. Horton’s 'Israel and the Church' Theology1

Raymond L. Gannon, Ph.D.
AGTS Visiting Professor of Missions and Jewish Studies,
AGUSM Missionary and AG National Representative for Jewish Ministry, and Director of Messianic Jewish Studies, The King’s College and Seminary

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This article was originally written as a chapter for Stanley M. Horton’s upcoming biography, Stanley M. Horton: Shaper of Pentecostal Theology by Lois E. Olena, to be released by Gospel Publishing House in April 2009. Gannon’s version of this piece for the biography will be on a more popular level and will also focus on Horton’s pneumatology and eschatology.

Stanley Monroe Horton is a hero to me just as he is to many others on the frontlines of Kingdom expansion among the House of Israel. The quiet and unassuming scholar-saint—Mr. Pentecostal Theology for over a half-century in Assemblies of God academic and church worlds—has sounded biblical truth without compromise in a Pentecostal milieu on occasion prone to theological accommodation to the times. When key Pentecostal leaders and educators were prepared to embrace dispensationalism in part to seem more theologically agreeable to the Evangelical world in the 1940s and 1950s, “One Plan Stan” stood firm as he would throughout his entire teaching and writing careers.

To Stanley Horton, the Church and Israel are forever linked in God’s program. As Gary McGee has pointed up, Horton focused keen attention on the functional role of God’s Kingdom in the present age.2 Stated Horton, “God’s purpose for the Church is the same as that for Israel. …a holy nation (including both…).”3 There was no need to try to rebuild a “wall of partition,” the very divider that the Cross had quite successfully demolished (Eph 2:14). Rather, it was God’s continued purpose for Israel to exert corporate faith in Jesus and be enlightened afresh to Israel’s Kingdom mission (Gen. 12:2-3; Exod. 19:5-6). That missio Dei, to reveal the majesty of the loving King of the universe to the totality of humankind, was to be accomplished with full Israel and Church joint cooperation as they functioned under the same directive of the Messiah and were illumined by the same Holy Spirit. Jesus is indispensable to God’s purposes for Israel. “We can see the Messiah as the real source, the Giver of the Holy Spirit.”4

Stanley Horton’s Rejection of Rejectionism

From his earliest teaching days at Metropolitan Bible Institute in North Bergen, New Jersey in 1945 and throughout the second half of the twentieth century, Stanley Horton has believed, “Clearly, God will be faithful to His promises to national Israel without splitting Israel and the Church into two peoples and two plans.”5 In a phrase, God has one people and one plan for the ages.

Both in his extensive writings and during his half-century of classroom teaching, Dr. Horton consistently challenged “replacement theology” or supersessionism, and its correlative amillennialism, a theology that displaced Israel in God’s program for the ages suggesting God had “rejected His people” and fully replaced Israel with the Church, the so-called “New Israel.” He recognized the untenable character of “New Israel” or “True Israel” theology as there is neither suggestion of support for nor use of these terms or ideas in the whole of Scripture. They were rather handy theological manipulations invented for theological convenience in the second century. Of amillennialism, Horton wrote:

Most amillennialists consider Augustine (bishop of Hippo in North Africa, A.D. 396-430) one of the chief promoters of amillennialism. Like him, they take the prophecies of the Old Testament that apply to Israel, spiritualize them, and apply them to the Church. However, it is very clear, for example, in Ezekiel 36, that God will restore Israel for His own holy name’s sake, even though they profane that name. Therefore, I reject amillennialism because it spiritualizes too much and because as a system it has no room for either the restoration of national Israel or the reign of Christ on earth, a reign clearly prophesied in both the Old and New Testaments.6

Pentecostal Musings with Dispensationalism

Even beyond his total dismissal of Israel-rejectionist traditional Christian supersessionism, Dr. Horton identified J. N. Darby’s and Cyrus I. Scofield’s “dispensationalism” as theologically unsound7 since that system of thought provided neither legitimate place for contemporary Pentecostal experience nor room for God’s gracious dealings with “all Israel” in the present day.

Replacement (or dis-placement) theology had categorically dismissed the Jews and national Israel as having any continued significance in God’s program of salvation history. But the dispensationalist scheme shunted God’s vital reconnection with “all Israel” off to an elusive utopian future. Both systems, displacement and dispensational, are actively detrimental to the execution of the apostolic strategy of Romans 11 that still calls for contemporary Christians to successfully provoke “all Israel” to spiritual jealousy and faithful response to the gospel of Jesus the Messiah by operating in the fullness8 of the Spirit.

How was young Stanley Horton able to withstand both the classical teachings of supersessionist Christianity and the newer academically compelling attraction of dispensationalism?

Stanley Horton’s Early Encounter with Pentecostal Theologies of Israel

Born in 1916 into a Pentecostal home, Stanley Horton was immersed in the immediacy of the Los Angeles afterglow of the Azusa Street Revival. His parents and grandparents were committed Pentecostals who clearly impacted young Stanley’s life with Spirit-filled teaching and with their earnest Christian sanctified living.

Part of the early Pentecostal worldview conditioned Stanley toward a favorable sense of fraternity with the Chosen People, the Pentecostals’ fellow-players on the divinely orchestrated eschatological stage of fraternal twin restorations in the twentieth-century. When Pentecostalism found itself fully repudiated by Spirit-seeking Holiness camps as well as others with more conventional evangelical outlooks, Pentecostal thinkers leaped into theological action.9 They crafted a series of “Latter Rain” theologies that took great support for the contemporary outpouring of the Holy Spirit from the concomitant twentieth-century rise of Zionism. The new Zionist effort clearly evidenced God’s contemporary revitalization of not only pristine Book of Acts-restorationist Christianity but the pending re-establishment of the Jewish nation as well. Both the Chosen and the Church were being recalled to their first century points of backslidden departure.

The conviction that God was at work reinstating His Chosen People to their biblically Promised Land and, significantly, to genuine spiritual vitality was attested to on a continuing basis in the leading Pentecostal periodicals of the era. Spirit-baptized believers fore-glimpsed both the restoration of the Jewish state and the modern Jewish responsiveness to the Spirit-empowered gospel proclamation.10 

At eleven years old, young Stanley was immersed in this early pro-Zion Pentecostal culture. Yet Stanley would be confounded by conflicting reports of the same era finding their way into Pentecostal publications and pulpits that often took their signals from anti-Semitic social trends rather than relying upon the Providence of Scripture.11 They rehearsed warnings stemming from the universally distributed work, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian forgery intended to frighten Christians into support of nationalist or international anti-Semitic causes.12 The pouring into America of European anti-Semitic propaganda in the 1920s and 1930s would likewise lead some Pentecostals to discount God’s purposes and intentions for Israel’s immediate faith experience in Christ and the imminence of a Jewish state. But in spite of uneasy sentiments and societal misgivings among some more impressionable Pentecostals regarding Bible-based declarations of God’s intentions for contemporary Israel, young Stanley maintained his classical Pentecostal conviction:

I saw that it was clear that God had a plan from the beginning—one plan that included all nations. This is what He told Abraham. “In you and your seed, all the families of the earth will be blessed.” So His purpose in choosing Israel as a servant and as a special people was to prepare the way for Christ and for the salvation that’s available to all.13

Both Frank Boyd as early as 1925 and E. S. Williams in the 1930s and 1940s sought to offer nuanced renditions of increasingly popular Scofield-advocated dispensationalism. McGee highlights the dispute:

Not everyone agreed, however, with the dispensational orientation to the kingdom of God held by Riggs and Boyd. As early as 1924, the Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God stopped the advertisement of The Scofield Reference Bible (containing the dispensational interpretations of C. I. Scofield in the form of notes) in The Pentecostal Evangel. Several objectionable interpretations were cited in addition to “a theory in the notes of the Scofield Bible that the kingdom of heaven is ‘postponed,’ which we believe is contrary to the teaching of Rom. 14:17; 1 Cor. 4:20; and Col. 4:11.”14

At the urging of William I. Evans and Frank M. Boyd, permission was granted to begin advertising it once again in 1926.15

They attempted to make this theologically fabricated structure accommodate Pente-costalism by slightly adjusting it.  Young university-trained scholar Stanley Horton was initially exposed to dispensationalism and other related “isms” while a student at Gordon Divinity School (later Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary). Horton stated of that learning experience:

So it probably wasn’t until I got into Gordon that I had people dealing with dispensationalism and amillennialism and postmillennialism and so on. I saw that in comparison to other views and three things bothered me the most about it. One, it made God have two plans—one for Israel and one for the Church. And during the Church age, Israel was shunted off to the millennium so we’re not concerned with it, really. The other thing that bothered me was it had different ways of salvation in the different dispensations. And then it had no room for the Pentecostal experience and the gifts of the Spirit in the Church age, after the first century, after the last of the apostles died.16 (Bold italics mine)

While retaining his premillennial second coming theology, Horton rejected the dispensationalist scheme as not having adequate biblical support. Stated Horton, “When I was out teaching and preaching, I’d emphasize that God has one plan (that includes both Israel and the Church) and one way of salvation.” Teaching just what the Bible really says, “automatically rules out some of the dispensationalist ideas.”17

Stanley Horton’s Impact Upon the Assemblies of God Blessing of Israel

When another General Superintendent and dispensationalist, Ralph M. Riggs, invited Stanley to relocate from the East to Central Bible Institute (CBI) in Springfield, Missouri in 1948, it was a most eventful year. After a full generation of runaway anti-Semitism in the Christian West that ultimately resulted in the horrors of the Holocaust, and after a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit known as the “New Order of the Latter Rain” in America which alternately revitalized and disrupted congregational life, the State of Israel declared its independence on May 14. The shocking revelations of the systemic destruction of European Jewish civilization and the frequent complicity of Christian groups with religiously abusive nationalist regimes stunned Christian multitudes. Fortunately, the AG General Council in session in October 1945 passed a resolution fully condemning all forms of anti-Semitism, including those identified by E. S. Williams as pouring across Pentecostal pulpits.18 But now in the wake of such events, Stanley Horton arrived in 1948 to commence his thirty years of teaching Bible and theology at CBI.

In addition to his responsibilities at CBI, Stanley crafted Gospel Publishing House Sunday school literature designed to equip local Assemblies of God adults to every good work. His theology concerning Israel came out consistently in his Sunday school quarterlies, classroom activities, and in the books he soon began to publish.

Horton’s “One Plan” Theology

Stanley Horton’s 1955 Into All Truth evidenced his commitment to the classical premillennial return of Christ while simply discounting the dispensationalist incursions into classical Pentecostal thought. This was a time, as noted above, when the general AG academic trend was toward dispensationalism in spite of its inherent rebuff of Pentecostalism, its relegation of the church to a “Class B” parenthetical status, and the biblically inconsistent postponing of divine action with Israel until the coming of utopia. Horton found no scriptural requirement for a “second holocaust” even as many labeled “the time of Jacob’s trouble” but rather recognized that Kingdom benefit would surely come immediately with Israel’s repentance, faith encounter with Jesus, and her pending Pentecostal experience. In Horton’s theology, restoration to the Land would precede the national expression of their Messianic faith:

Ezekiel 36:25-27 goes a step farther. It speaks of the cleansing that God will give after bringing Israel back to their own land. There God will give them the new heart and new spirit and replace their stony heart, as He promised them. Then also, He will put His Spirit within them to make it possible for them to live in obedience and faith in the land as His people. This He will do, not because Israel deserves it, but so that all shall know He is the Lord, the God who keeps His promises (36:32-38). …[T]he promise was that Israel would first be restored to the land in unbelief. Then God would do a work of cleansing, change them, and give them His Spirit.19

In his theology there was a supernatural correlation between Spirit-led Pentecostalism and Israel’s spiritual rebirth in the Land as accomplished by the Holy Spirit’s activities. Anointed Pentecostals could prophetically function in the spirit of Elijah to effect Israel’s reconciliation to God’s appointed Messiah and to God the Father. Through God’s prophets the “activity of Spirit-directed men…made it possible for God to rid Israel of idolatry and prepare the way for Christ.”20 Then Israel, provided with a new heart and new spirit, would become the dwelling place of God’s Spirit. Israel would be relieved of her spiritually destitute condition and inherit the promised refreshing of the Latter Rain.21 The purifying agency of the Holy Spirit would sufficiently purge Israel of her dross so there would remain no particular need for yet more severe Jewish suffering, persecution or chastening in the future. What Israel really needed was not more Gentile-sponsored “woes” but genuine encounter with the Holy Spirit.22

Horton had no doubt of Israel’s “special place in God’s plan” as a people destined to bring the Great Commission to its successful culmination in full cooperation with the Church. Israel’s redeeming faith in Christ would result in her spiritual cleansing. Her current rebellion against God’s revelation in Christ could soon be overcome by Israel’s Messianic faith resulting in the national salvation of Israel and “all Israel’s” immediate Kingdom usefulness. The redemption of “all Israel” would, in turn, generate exponential Kingdom growth with expansive faith in God among the rejuvenated nations (“life from the dead”).

Stanley Horton held that upon the second coming all nations would experience God’s hot wrath should they have abused Israel, the Jewish people, or the Jewish State. Those who had refused to come alongside God to “bless” the promised progeny of the patriarchs (Gen. 12:2-3) would encounter the “curse” of God’s divine hostility as had Assyria and Babylon before them.23

Middle Eastern politics were uncertain in 1955 as the Suez Canal Crisis loomed large on the horizon. Cautions sounded in educational materials and other denominational publications that too much Pentecostal stock had been placed in modern Israel since (1) the Jews had not yet come to faith, (2) Jerusalem was still downtrodden by Gentiles, and (3) there were sacrilegious aspirations for reinstituting blood sacrifices in a reconstructed Temple. Stanley Horton then determinedly sounded the prophet’s shofar (trumpet) to recall attention to the classical Pentecostal ideological fraternal connection between Israel and Pentecostalism that, in turn, supernaturally reiterated the Pentecostal role in Israel’s spiritual rebirth experience. Pentecostals were plainly the Spirit-equipped vessels to bring a transforming “Holy Spirit” encounter to “All Israel.”24

The Pentecostals tended to celebrate fraternal unity with Israel in the aftermath of Israel’s victorious wars over nations committed to Israel’s total destruction. But, then, at other times, they just as quickly disassociated Pentecostalism from Israel when real dangers to Israel’s survival re-surfaced. This was never clearer than in the 1960s both before and after the 1967 Six-Day War. This phenomenon witnessed in every decade since the 1920s was repeated yet again both before and after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. However, for reasons too numerous to elaborate upon here,25 Pentecostals quickly retreated from any sense of commitment or bond with Israel in the wake of angst-producing oil crises and newer Islamic threats to the Jewish State. Curiously, no official support for national Israel has been published in the decades since, apart from the sounding of ultimate utopian hopes.

But then, as a presenter for the Society for Pentecostal Studies,26 as a contributor to Paraclete—the pneumatological journal of the AG,27 and as a theology professor at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) from 1972, Stanley Horton celebrated the eternal Pentecostal bond with the soon-to-be Spirit-filled nation of Israel. Just as the Holy Spirit had brought restoration to growing numbers of Christian communities, the Spirit would likewise bring spiritual regeneration and restoration to the nationally reconstituted people of “All Israel.”

While acknowledging the current spiritual deficiencies among a Jewish people still rebellious in their walk with God and yet faithless toward Christ, Horton emphasized that God had never retracted “His promise to Abraham concerning the land.”28 The pending final restoration would be the result, not of more judgment (Jesus paid it all!), but the result of the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon a restored and repentant Israel.29 He will yet put His Spirit within them.30

While classical dispensationalist institutions like Dallas Theological Seminary had included the “Kingdom-delayed” or postponement theory, and its correlative, the absolute divorce of Israel and the Church in their theological systems,31 Stanley Horton held to God’s faithfulness to His multiplied promises to national Israel concerning the Land, His covenant relationship with the Jewish people, and Israel’s Kingdom destiny without any necessity of dichotomizing God’s people or His plan for the ages. 32 Rather, Pentecostals plainly needed to recognize the significance of Israel in the very present operations of God’s divine program. There could be little doubt that Israel was in a spiritually backslidden condition but this did not lessen Israel’s central role in God’s ongoing universal revelation and the working out of salvation history or afford license to Pentecostals to reject the people God had not rejected.  Israel’s key role in global redemption only intensified the Pentecostal obligation to reach “all Israel” for Jesus and enable Jewish conformity to God’s expressed will in Christ. Therefore, the chief theologian for the AG, Stanley Horton, could write in 1996:

Jesus looked ahead to a spiritual restoration of the people of Israel.33 …It is true that both the Old and New Testaments show that Gentile believers will share with Israel in the future glories of the Messiah’s reign. But this does not mean the Church replaces Israel.34 …The Bible again and again declares that God will reveal himself in connection with His dealings with the nation of Israel.35 …The promise of their restoration is unconditional. It is based on God's promise and covenant given to Abraham. …We do not know how long it will be after the restoration in unbelief that the spiritual restoration will come, but come it will. God’s whole being is behind His promise. …The many Old Testament prophecies that concern Israel and the Promised Land have in no way been fulfilled in the Church, as some claim they have. God still has a place for Israel in His plan. He will make Israel a blessing to us all during the Millennium.36

Horton looked forward to Israel’s blessing during the earthly reign of the Messiah initiated when “all Israel” would respond in Messianic Faith to Jesus. But he did not support abandonment of Jewish evangelism in the present. He wrote:

The future miraculous salvation of Israel, however, does not mean that we should neglect seeking the salvation of Jews today.37 …Therefore, even though some Jews rejected Jesus, Jesus did not reject Israel as a nation. … His faithfulness would also be seen in giving them a new heart and a new spirit and in putting His Spirit within them (Ezek. 36:26-27; 37:14).38

Horton, like the Apostle Paul, recognized God’s eternal heart of love for Israel and God’s passion to infuse “All Israel” with the Life of the Spirit. This was true even in Ezekiel’s day, remained true in apostolic times and is still God’s will for Israel at this present hour.

God really wanted Israel to enjoy this new heart and new spirit in Ezekiel’s day. …God still called them to repent, get rid of their rebellious sins, and make for themselves a new heart and a new spirit. He did not take any pleasure in bringing judgment and death, so why did they not turn back to Him and live (18:30-32)? That is, they could make a new heart and spirit for themselves by coming back to God and letting Him renew them by His Spirit.39

Paul’s passion for “the salvation of All Israel” (Rom. 11:25-26) was not the result of his personal ethnic identity or group sense of Jewish patriotism, but from a clear understanding of God’s own abiding grace (hesed) for “All Israel” and his eternal commitments to the Jewish people as issued in Holy Writ. Penned Mr. Pentecostal Theology, “Paul knew by the Word and by the Spirit that God is still concerned over the Jews; so Paul was. …His concern was more than a fellow feeling for his own people. It came from the love of God.” Paul’s theology of Israel is spelled out in Romans 9-11 and carefully establishes Paul’s apostolic passion to not only “preach the Gospel to the Jew first” (Rom. 1:16) but throughout his apostolic life. Reiterated Horton:

Chapters 9 through 11 of Romans deal with Paul’s concern for the Jews who were rejecting Jesus, Jews who had a spirit of slumber instead of the Holy Spirit (11:8). Because Paul turned to the Gentiles in his ministry some supposed he did not care about the Jews any more. But he always went to the Jew first (even in Rome; Acts 28:17). Moreover, he had a deep and continuous concern, as his conscience bore witness in the Holy Sprit (Romans 9:1-3).41

Encountering Ancient Influences in Modern Garments

The Charismatic Renewal Movement of the 1970s and 1980s had gathered many Christians coming out of the historic churches with their very stout supersessionist replacement theologies. Such firm theological influences soon began to pour into the Pentecostal camps to the alarm of Stanley Horton. So, in the face of the dire formulas for Israel offered first by dispensationalism and then secondly by the postmillennial dismissal of Israel in certain Charismatic Renewal and “Kingdom Now” teachings that plagued corners of the American Pentecostal and Charismatic world, the AG Pentecostal Textbook Project published Bible Doctrines:  A Pentecostal Perspective. Under a section entitled, “God’s Promises to National Israel,” William Menzies and Horton wrote:

The land was also an integral part of the promise to Abraham and to Israel. …He will live up to His Name; He will be the kind of faithful God He says He is. God is going to restore Israel both materially and spiritually even though they have profaned His holy Name. He will do it to honor His holy Name, that is, to demonstrate His holy nature and character.42

(Romans 11:1) makes it clear that God has not thrown aside His people! The context shows the Bible is talking about literal, national Israel and shows that God has not changed His mind about His promises.43

After describing errors in postmillennialist “Kingdom Now” thinking, Horton wrote:

They also believe that “ethnic Israel was excommunicated for its apostasy” and “Christ transferred the blessings of the kingdom from Israel to a new people, the church.”  They ignore the many Scripture passages that show God still has a purpose for national Israel in His plan.44           

Israel, restored, cleansed, filled with God's Holy Spirit, will undoubtedly occupy all the land promised to Abraham (Gen. 15:18).45 In the Millennium. …Israel and the church are in fact one people of God…one by faith in Christ and common partaking of the Spirit, and yet distinct insofar as God will yet restore Israel as a nation to its land. …[under] One new covenant46 (Italics mine).

Horton was confident of the work of the Holy Spirit upon Israel in the immediate hour and as well as in the future. Without denying the ultimate victory of Israel in the Millennium, he wrote:

The people of the restored Israel will also be filled with the Spirit. …Joel 2:28-32 shows a continuing outpouring, not just on the Day of Pentecost, not just on Israel, but on “all flesh” (Heb. kol basar). …

Because of the multitude of Israel. …who are transformed, the Holy Spirit’s work in the Millennium will be more powerful and more wonderful than ever. …We have a first installment of this now, but then we shall enjoy a greater fullness in connection with the Lord’s return and the restoration of Israel in the land47 (Italics mine).

Horton believed “all Israel” needed to embrace Jesus NOW and that Jewish Messianic faith in Jesus would have to be the ultimate reality for God’s purposes to reach their divinely intended culmination. Israel would receive Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit in Pentecostal fashion. But Horton’s national Israel was not the rag-tag group of Jewish survivors who manage to live to tell the tale of all the horrors of dispensationalism’s Great Tribulation, the so-called “second Holocaust.” Horton’s national Israel gladly embraced Jesus and immediately entered into the full measure of God’s promises on all counts. The onus, from Horton’s point of view, would be upon Pentecostals to not idly wait in fateful anticipation of yet more Jewish tragedy en route to the culmination of salvation history, but rather to actively encourage Jewish faith in the Pentecostal present with the loving Christian hope that all future Jewish tragedy could be entirely averted. Christian success at provoking national Israel to spiritual jealousy, with the resultant positive Jewish faith response, would immediately evoke the Second Coming and the implementation of all the biblical promises for national Israel.48

As the Charismatic Renewal Movement continued to gain momentum throughout all corners of American Christian society over the final quarter of the twentieth century, it tended to utilize and amplify the supersessionist replacement theology largely borrowed from the historic churches. With an emphasis upon personal spiritual experience and “heavenly language” as opposed to the classical Pentecostal commitment to intensified and emboldened gospel witness leading to cataclysmic eschatological outcome, national Israel was of little meaning to most of the newer tongues-speakers of the Charismatic Renewal. The most outrageous expression of supersessionist replacement theology came with Earl Paulk’s “Kingdom Now” and other “reconstructionist” teachings that ideologically viewed Israel’s importance as limited to that of any other nation and as useful only to Jews. Stanley Horton boldly protested the slighting of Israel in the divine economy in Pentecostal academic forums.49 The unacceptability of a supersessionist Charismatic ideology fully negating the significance of Israel combined with the rigidly hostile dispensationist posture toward end-times apostolic renewal persuaded Pentecostal thinker Stanley Horton that a new Pentecostal theology of Israel needed to be crafted. To truly benefit the Pentecostal world, however, all such theology needed to freely embrace national Israel as fellow restorationist partner in the eschaton with the apostolically restored and Spirit-empowered Church.

Stanley Horton recognized the strange ideological dilemma the Assemblies of God now found itself in during the 1970s. It had earlier quite “unofficially” embraced dispensationalism, then countenanced the largely supersessionist Charismatic world, and had now “unofficially” sworn off fraternity with Israel. Having stepped back in the later 1970s and 1980s from the very dispensationalism it had so fully embraced in the 1940s and perpetuated well into the 1970s, the AG was now positioned to gravitate back toward an earlier ideology that should have compelled it to rehearse the eternal value and promise of national Israel in the divine economy. No such embracing of a pre-utopian national Israel would be forthcoming in AG literature after the mid-1970s with the departure of central pro-Israel writer and Revivaltime speaker C. M. Ward. But for Israel to carry no end-time significance, or have no divine restorationist fraternal relevance to Pentecostals, would strike directly at the legitimacy of classical Pentecostalism with its direct focus upon the restoration to pristine Book of Acts Christianity. Pro-Israel Stanley Horton came forward to reinforce Israel’s abiding significance to God and, certainly, to Pentecostalism at a time when the Chosen People of “all Israel” were being dropped from the official Pentecostal printed page in keeping with global political currents.50  

During the mid-1970s and through the 1980s in both interdenominational Pentecostal academic forums and on the grassroots level of folk Pentecostalism, more independent voices sounded louder and longer for American and Pentecostal support for national Israel and renewed hope for Israel’s multi-faceted restoration. Since God’s own integrity had been brought into seeming question by the allegorical machinations of replacement theology, clearer theological statements were needed to transparently reflect the clarity of the biblical promises to Israel. Stanley Horton stood tall and reemphasized the Pentecostal liaison with Israel through the agency of their projected common experience with the Holy Spirit.51 This, happily, led to a flurry of published reminders in the Pentecostal Evangel in the 1970s and 1980s of too-long neglected AG Jewish missions to encourage a revival of Pentecostal evangelistic activity that would more directly lead to the imminent redemption of Israel.52

Stanley Horton’s “One Plan” Kingdom Contribution

Classical Christian supersessionist theology since the second century had dispensed completely with Israel altogether as the Jews were regarded as altogether irrelevant to God’s ongoing plan of salvation history and had considered all God’s purposes for Israel to be adequately fulfilled in the Church. Dispensationalism fundamentally dismissed any particular eschatological, soteriological or missiological relevance for Israel this side of the rapture, thereby effectively “replacing” Israel in God’s economy for at least two thousand years. This Evangelical proclivity also suggested by implication that there is a virtual disconnect between the Church and the salvation of “All Israel” (Rom. 11:26) or “the salvation of national Israel” (Article 14, 1927 version). After all, if the Church is to be raptured to heaven a full seven years prior to Israel’s embrace of Jesus, what real relevance then would Pentecostals have to Israel’s salvation?

Herein is Stanley Horton’s immense contribution. He recognized that God does not have TWO peoples and TWO plans. The Church, the product of apostolic Israel, is to work hand and hand, Christian heart with Jewish heart, as Jewish mind sharpens Christian mind in the Spirit-empowered Gospel conquest of the spiritually alienated nations of the world. God’s purposes for Israel and for the Church are virtually identical. This is not because the Church has replaced Israel but because the Church and Israel are to serve as team players in full cooperation in the same great Jesus-led and Spirit-empowered ministry of reconciliation. It is only when the Church recognizes its God-ordained and Cross-purchased fraternity with Israel, and it is only when the Church understands God’s continued commitment to use Israel for the missio Dei in fulfillment of the Great Commission (no matter how many centuries the Church neglects Israel’s salvation), that the Church and Israel will together see Christ’s Kingdom ushered in upon the earth. The Pentecostals are the Spirit-empowered prophets to bring redemption to Israel and then continue with “all Israel” to successfully reach all mankind to God’s glory and renown.

Thank you, One Plan Stan!


1. As a student at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, I always highly esteemed Stanley Horton. As a biblical scholar, he carefully relied upon the original Hebrew and Greek and the perspective of biblical theology in his strong pursuit of God’s truth. Throughout our four decades of Jewish outreach, discipling, and congregational planting ministries across America and Israel, Dr. Horton has been an important academic sounding board and a grand advocate of the great cause of Israel’s Redemption in our time. At 92 years of age, Stanley Horton, the wise sage of a century of Pentecostalism, remains a very active board member of Israel’s Redemption and recently edited my Ph.D. dissertation, “The Shifting Romance with Israel: American Pentecostal Ideology of Zionism and the Jewish State” (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, 2003) for popular distribution. His commitments to the Kingdom and to the salvation of “All Israel” remain unrelenting. They are an excellent tribute to his sustained passion for souls and the spread of the Pentecostal revival.

2. Gary B. McGee, This Gospel … Shall be Preached: A History and Theology of Assemblies of God Foreign Missions to 1959, vol. 1 (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1986), 170. See also vol. 2, 101.

3. Stanley M. Horton, The Ultimate Victory: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Springfield, MO: GPH, 1991), 27.

4. Stanley M. Horton. What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit, rev. ed. 2005 (Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1976, 2007), 76.

5. Stanley M. Horton, Our Destiny (Springfield, MO: Logion Press Books, 1996), 177.

6. Horton, The Ultimate Victory, 20.

7. “Dispensationalism was not emphasized at first. My parents did not own a Scofield Bible. My grandfather wore out his Greek Testament. My father used Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible, R. F. Weymouth’s New Testament, and sometimes James Moffat’s translation. However, through the influence of Bible schools that taught courses in ‘Dispensational Truth’ and through the spread of the Scofield Reference Bible (1909), along with Bible teachers who traveled with dispensational charts, dispensationalism became dominant in the eschatology of many Pentecostals. Frank Boyd, especially with his book Ages and Dispensations, was instrumental in modifying dispensationalism to allow for the Pentecostal experience, something Fundamentalist Dispensationalists had no room for in their system. In fact, they became the worst enemies of the Pentecostal movement. Thank God for the Full Life Study Bible that Brother Don Stamps prepared for us and that has now been translated into many languages. In my opinion, it is the best study Bible available today.” (Stanley Horton, Reflections of an Early American Pentecostal (Baguio City, Philippines, APTS Press, 2001), 41-42.)

8. See Lois E. Olena, “Pentecostals and the New Anti-Semitism: Walking in the Fruit and Fullness of the Spirit for the Sake of the Jewish People,” (D.Min. project, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, 2006), 43-50.

9. “Latter Rain” writers were many, including F. A. Bright, William T. MacArthur, George Floyd Taylor, David Wesley Myland, and W. H. Cossum.

10. Such firm AG conviction was reiterated in the original 1927 General Council constitution’s 14th tenet of fundamental truths, which clearly anticipated both national and spiritual restoration of the Jewish people. It read: “The revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, the salvation of national Israel and the millennial reign of Christ on earth are the Scriptural promises and the world's hope. 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 19:11-14; Romans 11:26, 27; Rev. 20:1-7, 15” (Italics mine). The General Council in session in 1961 adopted a revamped version that reflected the move toward Evangelical dispensationalist theology. The new 1961 reading was:

The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on the earth for one thousand years (Zech. 14:5; Matt. 24:27, 30; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-14; 20:1-6). This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel (Ezek. 37:21-22; Zeph. 3:19-20; Rom. 11:26-27) and the establishment of universal peace (Ps. 72:3-8; Isa. 11:6-9; Mic. 4:3-4) (Italics mine).

11. Stanley Horton, interview by Lois Olena, October 17, 2008.

12. See the Pentecostal Evangel, November 22, 1930, 6f; January 31, 193, 6f; May 18, 1935, 1, 9;  May 25, 1935, 6f. Also Stanley Frodsham, ed., “The Budding Fig Tree,” Pentecostal Evangel, April 15, 1922, 1.

13. Stanley Horton, interview by Lois Olena, April 12, 2008.

14. “A Great Move Forward,” Pentecostal Evangel, May 1, 1926, 3; quoted in McGee, This Gospel… Shall be Preached, vol. 1, 170.

15. McGee, This Gospel . . . Shall be Preached, vol. 1, 170.

16. Stanley Horton, interview by Lois Olena, April 12, 2008.

17. Ibid. On the diminishing dependency of Pentecostal scholars on the dispensational system and Horton’s role in that, see “Dispensationalism,” in The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements,” rev. and expanded edition, ed. Stanley M. Burgess and Eduard M. Van Der Maas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 585-586. See also: Paul W. Lewis, “Reflections of a Hundred Years of Pentecostal Theology,” Cyberjournal for Charismatic Pentecostal Research; Pentecostal-Charismatic Theological Inquiry International; http://www.pctii.org/cyberj/cyberj12/lewis.html (accessed January 4, 2007).

18. The following excerpts are taken from a resolution condemning anti-Semitism that was adopted on the floor of the General Council of the AG in national bi-annual session in 1945. It was published in the Pentecostal Evangel on October 20, 1945, as follows:

      Whereas, we have witnessed in this generation an almost universal increase in Anti-Semitism, and this has resulted in the greatest series of persecutions in modern times; and
      Whereas, even in the United States there has been an alarming increase in Anti-Semitism;
      Therefore be it resolved:
      That we as a General Council declare ourselves as being opposed to Anti-Semitism, and that we disapprove of our ministers becoming identified with those who proclaim this propaganda.
      That the editor of the Evangel be instructed to prepare an article including Section I of this resolution and stating our position in the matter, and that it be published in the Evangel.
      GOD’S WORD CONCERNING ISRAEL. What is our position in this matter?  That which is set forth in the Scriptures of truth, which we have taken as our sole guide for faith and conduct. We do not fail to recognize that God has redeemed the children of Israel unto Himself to be His people for ever.
      GOD’S GOODNESS AND SEVERITY.…But despite all Israel’s failures,  the Spirit of God tells us they are still “beloved for the fathers’ sake.”  Rom. 11:28.…
      ISRAEL'S RESTORATION. Every child of God who finds joy in the revealed will of our Father, delights in the glorious promises of Israel’s restoration.
      A WARNING. God gives solemn warning to those who hate and persecute Israel.
      PRAYER FOR ISRAEL.…Like the apostle Paul, we are all called to be intercessors for Israel.
       WHY LOVE JEWRY? The greatest reason why no Christian should be anti-Semitic is that our Savior was a Jew. Gentiles came to Him at His birth and worshipped Him as “King of the Jews.”.…On the day of Pentecost three thousand devout Jews yielded their lives to Him and today there are many devout Jews whose hearts God is meeting.…
      JEWRY'S OPENNESS.…Let us remember the word, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” and the promise attached: “They shall prosper that love thee.”  Psalm 122:6. If you pray for the people represented by Jerusalem, you will never be guilty of being anti-Semitic.

19. Horton, What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit, 70-71.

20. Stanley M. Horton, Into All Truth (Springfield, MO: GPH, 1955), 86.

21. Ibid., 87, 111.

22. In fact, twentieth-century Pentecostalism attracted more Jews to the gospel message than all modern Jewish suffering combined.

23. But see “Jesus Talks of Future Events,” Adult Teacher’s Quarterly (ATQ) 29:2, March 20, 1955, 83. Arab control of portions of Jerusalem remained a serious issue for Pentecostals. The ATQ indicated that since A.D. 70 Jerusalem had remained “downtrodden by the Gentiles.” Although “the modern state of Israel” was a reality, much of Jerusalem had remained under Gentile hands.

24. Horton, Into All Truth, 86.

25. For a thorough examination of Assemblies of God ideology and sense of relationship with the Jewish people and national Israel over the entire twentieth-century, see my Ph.D. dissertation: “The Shifting Romance with Israel: American Pentecostal Ideology of Zionism and the Jewish State,” The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2003. CD copies of the dissertation are available by emailing me at RayGannon@allisrael2020.org.

26. See Stanley M. Horton’s SPS “Presidential Address,” Pneuma, vol. 3 (Spring 1981): 48-53; “The Old Testament Foundations of the Pentecostal Faith,” Pneuma, vol. 1 (Spring 1979): 21-30 (Taped at the annual meeting of the Society For Pentecostal Studies, Atlanta, Georgia, 1976) (FPHC, M117); and “Eschatology and the Holy Spirit” (Society For Pentecostal Studies—1992): A1-A22; “Response to Douglas Jacobsen’s ‘Knowing the Doctrines of Pentecostals: The Scholastic Theology of the Assemblies of God, 1930-1955.’” Paper presented to the Twenty-third Annual Meeting of The Society for Pentecostal Studies, Guadalajara, Mexico, November 11-13 1993. (This response was not included in the published SPS book for 1993.)

27. See listing of Paraclete articles in this book’s bibliography.

28. Stanley M. Horton, “I Will Put My Spirit Within You,” Paraclete 11:2 (Spring 1977): 9.

29. Ibid., 10.

30. Ibid., 11.

31. John Walvoord, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis, rev. ed.(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991).

32. Horton, Our Destiny, 177.

33. Ibid., 191.

34. Ibid.

35. Ibid., 191-192.

36. Ibid., 193-194.

37. Ibid., 196.

38. Ibid., 197.

39. Horton, What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit, 70.

40. Ibid., 190.

41. Ibid.

42. William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Morton, Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective (Springfield, MO: Logion Press Books, 1994), 236.

43. Ibid., 238.

44. Stanley Horton, ed. Systematic Theology: A Pentecostal Perspective (Springfield, MO: Logion Press, 1994), 621-622.

45. Ibid., 630.

46. Ibid.

47. Horton, Our Destiny, 210.

48. Stanley Horton, interview by Lois Olena, October 17, 2008.

49. Ibid.

50. Ibid.

51. Stanley Horton, interview by Lois Olena, October 17, 2008.

52. To cite only three examples: “Jewish Conference Calls for Wider Fellowship Participation,” Pentecostal Evangel, September 9, 1979, 10-11, “Assemblies of God Jewish Ministries,” Pentecostal Evangel, December 21, 1980, 17; and “Fellowship Maintains Active Interest in Jewish People,” Pentecostal Evangel, July 12, 1981, 21.

Updated: Friday, June 16, 2006 10:22 AM