Bishop Samuel N. Hancock, Founder of the Pentecostal Church of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.


In 1957, Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock left the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW) to start another organization, the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Incorporated. The exodus of this charismatic pastor of the 3,000-member Greater Bethlehem Temple in Detroit, Michigan was the culmination of years of contention and disagreement. While some have branded Bishop Hancock a heretic and a schismatic, the facts surrounding his departure seem typical of the organizational fecundity so typical of the Pentecostal movement.

Samuel Nathan Hancock, who was born 9 November 1883 in Adair County, Kentucky, came to Indianapolis, Indiana with his family at the age of 5. In 1914, Samuel Hancock began attending services at G.T. Haywood’s church at 11th and Senate. On 5 September 1914, he received the Holy Ghost and was water baptized (Tyson 37). In 1916, Samuel Hancock was amongst the 465 members of Christ Temple who submitted to rebaptism in the Name of Jesus Christ, following Glenn Cook’s fortuitous campaign throughout the Midwest spreading the message of the mighty God in Christ.

Hancock felt called to the ministry and showed an aptitude for leadership. He was ordained to the ministry by G.T. Haywood and became Bishop Haywood’s assistant pastor in 1917. In 1921, Samuel Hancock was invited to pastor a small group of Apostolic believers in Detroit, Michigan. After much prayer, he agreed to accept the position and declared by faith, “I will do a great thing in Detroit, Michigan.” By 1926, the church had grown to nearly 400 members; and in 1929, a new 1,200-seat sanctuary was built at 2254 Clinton Street. Finally, in 1962, the church purchased the Jewish synagogue, Shaarey Zedek, which continues to be the present home of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith (“Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock”).

In 1927, Samuel Hancock had been elevated from the office of District Elder to Bishop within the PAW. Following the untimely death of Presiding Bishop G.T. Haywood in April 1931, his official post was left vacant for a year out of his respect for his incomparable legacy. During this period, the PAW was approached by Howard Goss and other leaders of the Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance. Through some hasty merger discussions, the two organizations combined to form the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, and Bishop Hancock moved into the newly-formed amalgamation. The merger was ultimately dissatisfactory, and the PAW restored its charter under the leadership of Samuel Grimes (Golder 96-97). However, Hancock, who served as a presbyter in the PAJC, did not return to the PAW until 1938, when many of the Black brethren returned after a General Conference was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a racially-segregated city.

By 1940, Samuel Hancock had moved to the center of a doctrinal controversy within the PAW, and a special meeting was held in Columbus, Ohio to solidify the biblical standards of faith for the organization. Hancock was accused of teaching that Jesus Christ was only the son of God, not God Himself. Despite this notion, he was named in 1943 as a member of the Board of Directors of Aenon Bible School, the official seminary of the PAW (Golder 121-125). In 1955, Bishop Hancock, along with other members of the Executive Board, signed an affirmation of the Oneness doctrine (Golder 149).

Bishop Morris E. Golder, who wrote an official history of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, portrays Samuel Hancock as doctrinally aberrant, referring to his teachings on the Godhead as “’strange’ ideas far removed from what was held as biblical by our organization.” Golder also notes that the 1955 special meeting of the Executive Board convened specifically to refute the errors of Bishop Hancock. Further, Golder believes Hancock opposed the leadership of Samuel Grimes, believing that he himself should have been appointed Presiding Bishop following the death of Bishop Haywood (140).

On 20 November 1957, Bishop Hancock along with Bishops Heardie Leaston, Willie Lee, and Elder David Collins, officially incorporated the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith. Interestingly, Bishop J.E. Moore, present Presiding Bishop of the PCAF, adamantly declares that Hancock never denied the deity of Christ. According to Bishop Moore, Hancock simply believed that the manifestation of the Son was not properly emphasized in the preaching and teaching of the PAW (“Interview”). Today, the doctrinal statement of the PCAF clearly demonstrates their strong affirmation of the revelation of the mighty God in Christ:

We believe in the oneness of God; that there are three manifestations of the one God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The name by which God is known is Lord Jesus Christ. (“What We Believe”).

In fact, Willie Lee later left the PCAF because he did not believe that Jesus was God, further suggesting that the PCAF position represented Oneness orthodoxy.

When he died on 18 August 1963 after a brief illness, Samuel N. Hancock left behind a thriving organization of nearly 600 churches. Under his leadership, Greater Bethlehem Temple made an important spiritual and humanitarian mark on Detroit. An estimated 100,000 people have been baptized in Jesus Name and filled with the Holy Ghost through the ministry begun by Samuel N. Hancock. Hancock established a soup kitchen to feed the poor throughout the Great Depression, a 52-bedroom Girls’ Home, a Boys’ workshop for teaching carpentry and trade skills, a church-owned supermarket, and a church farm. Hancock also established satellite churches throughout Michigan in New Haven, Port Huron, Jackson, Delray, and another work in Detroit (“Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock”). Ultimately, Bishop Hancock proved an important leader and innovator, and eternity will accurately tell his undeniable contributions to the Apostolic Pentecostal movement.

Sources:

“Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock.” Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple of the Apostolic Faith. http://www.templedetroit.org.

Golder, Morris E. History of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Indianapolis: 1973.

Interview (Personal). Bishop J.E. Moore, Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. 29 April 2010.

Tyson, James. Earnest Contenders for the Faith. Pentecostal Publications, Indianapolis: 1982.

“What We Believe.” Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. http://www.pcaf.net

In 1957, Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock left the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World  (PAW) to start another organization, the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Incorporated.  The exodus of this charismatic pastor of the 3,000-member Greater Bethlehem Temple in Detroit, Michigan was the culmination of years of contention and disagreement.  While some have branded Bishop Hancock a heretic and a schismatic, the facts surrounding his departure seem typical of the organizational fecundity so typical of the Pentecostal movement.
Samuel Nathan Hancock, who was born 9 November 1883 in Adair County, Kentucky, came to Indianapolis, Indiana with his family at the age of 5.  In 1914, Samuel Hancock began attending services at G.T. Haywood’s church at 11th and Senate.  On 5 September 1914, he received the Holy Ghost and was water baptized (Tyson 37).  In 1916, Samuel Hancock was amongst the 465 members of Christ Temple who submitted to rebaptism in the Name of Jesus Christ, following Glenn Cook’s fortuitous campaign throughout the Midwest spreading the message of the mighty God in Christ.
Hancock felt called to the ministry and showed an aptitude for leadership.  He was ordained to the ministry by G.T. Haywood and became Bishop Haywood’s assistant pastor in 1917.  In 1921, Samuel Hancock was invited to pastor a small group of Apostolic believers in Detroit, Michigan.  After much prayer, he agreed to accept the position and declared by faith, “I will do a great thing in Detroit, Michigan.”  By 1926, the church had grown to nearly 400 members; and in 1929, a new 1,200-seat sanctuary was built at 2254 Clinton Street.  Finally, in 1962, the church purchased the Jewish synagogue, Shaarey Zedek, which continues to be the present home of Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith (“Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock”).
In 1927, Samuel Hancock had been elevated from the office of District Elder to Bishop within the PAW.  Following the untimely death of Presiding Bishop G.T. Haywood in April 1931, his official post was left vacant for a year out of his respect for his incomparable legacy.  During this period, the PAW was approached by Howard Goss and other leaders of the Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance.  Through some hasty merger discussions, the two organizations combined to form the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, and Bishop Hancock moved into the newly-formed amalgamation.  The merger was ultimately dissatisfactory, and the PAW restored its charter under the leadership of Samuel Grimes (Golder 96-97).  However, Hancock, who served as a presbyter in the PAJC, did not return to the PAW until 1938, when many of the Black brethren returned after a General Conference was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a racially-segregated city.
By 1940, Samuel Hancock had moved to the center of a doctrinal controversy within the PAW, and a special meeting was held in Columbus, Ohio to solidify the biblical standards of faith for the organization.  Hancock was accused of teaching that Jesus Christ was only the son of God, not God Himself.  Despite this notion, he was named in 1943 as a member of the Board of Directors of Aenon Bible School, the official seminary of the PAW (Golder 121-125).  In 1955, Bishop Hancock, along with other members of the Executive Board, signed an affirmation of the Oneness doctrine (Golder 149).
Bishop Morris E. Golder, who wrote an official history of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, portrays  Samuel Hancock as doctrinally aberrant, referring to his teachings on the Godhead as “’strange’ ideas far removed from what was held as biblical by our organization.”  Golder also notes that the 1955 special meeting of the Executive Board convened specifically to refute the errors of Bishop Hancock.  Further, Golder believes Hancock opposed the leadership of Samuel Grimes, believing that he himself should have been appointed Presiding Bishop following the death of Bishop Haywood (140).
On 20 November 1957, Bishop Hancock along with Bishops Heardie Leaston, Willie Lee, and Elder David Collins, officially incorporated the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith.  Interestingly, Bishop J.E. Moore, present Presiding Bishop of the PCAF, adamantly declares that Hancock never denied the deity of Christ.  According to Bishop Moore, Hancock simply believed that the manifestation of the Son was not properly emphasized in the preaching and teaching of the PAW (“Interview”).  Today, the doctrinal statement of the PCAF clearly demonstrates their strong affirmation of the revelation of the mighty God in Christ:
We believe in the oneness of God; that there are three manifestations of the one God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  The name by which God is known is Lord Jesus Christ.  (“What We Believe”).
In fact, Willie Lee later left the PCAF because he did not believe that Jesus was God, further suggesting that the PCAF position represented Oneness orthodoxy.
When he died on 18 August 1963 after a brief illness, Samuel N. Hancock left behind a thriving organization of nearly 600 churches.  Under his leadership, Greater Bethlehem Temple made an important spiritual and humanitarian mark on Detroit.  An estimated 100,000 people have been baptized in Jesus Name and filled with the Holy Ghost through the ministry begun by Samuel N. Hancock.  Hancock established a soup kitchen to feed the poor throughout the Great Depression, a 52-bedroom Girls’ Home, a Boys’ workshop for teaching carpentry and trade skills, a church-owned supermarket, and a church farm.  Hancock also established satellite churches throughout Michigan in New Haven, Port Huron, Jackson, Delray, and another work in Detroit (“Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock”).  Ultimately, Bishop Hancock proved an important leader and innovator, and eternity will accurately tell his undeniable contributions to the Apostolic Pentecostal movement.
Sources:
“Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock.”  Clinton Street Greater Bethlehem Temple of the Apostolic Faith.  http://www.templedetroit.org.
Golder, Morris E. History of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Indianapolis: 1973.
Interview (Personal).  Bishop J.E. Moore, Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.  29 April 2010.
Tyson, James.  Earnest Contenders for the Faith.  Pentecostal Publications, Indianapolis:  1982.
“What We Believe.”  Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.  http://www.pcaf.net
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20 Responses to “Bishop Samuel N. Hancock, Founder of the Pentecostal Church of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.”

  1. Cammie Novara Says:

    “The exodus of this charismatic pastor of the 3,000-member Greater Bethlehem Temple in Detroit, Michigan was the culmination of years of contention and disagreement.” I completely agree with that.

  2. Jameen Oliver Says:

    My Pastor was the assistant pastor to Bishop Hancock (Bishop Rube Bethea, Albany, NY) and the truth is that Bishop Hancock recieved a revelation from God that has been confirmed and reconfirmed by many witnesses during a bible class in the late 50′s and it is quoted as thus.” God woke me up out of my sleep and said, “Samuel I want to talk to you> If you don’t teach that Jesus is the Son of God, I’m going to kill you”. This fact of who Jesus is has many people saying thus and such, however from the words of my Pastor as Bishop Hancock’s assistant, Bishop Hancock believed, as do I that Jesus is the Son of God and not God almighty.

  3. pst matthew njenga Says:

    this is a blessing may God bless you so much hope you will soon start one in Kenya

  4. pst matthew njenga Says:

    and i hope i will be part of this great movement in this country hope to hear from you soon

  5. OneGod1 Says:

    Could it be like the “revelation and prophecy” of another individual that said a “900-foot high Jesus” knocked on his window at the City of Faith and told him that if he didn’t raise $800 million, God was going to kill him?

    Another question, why would the Lord go against His own attributes? He clearly states in the book of Exodus “Thou shalt not kill.” Why would He disobey His own self?

  6. Bishop Thomas Jones Says:

    I believe that Jesus is the Son Of God also,I have been accused of teaching erroneous doctrine just as Bishop Hancock,but I will stand on the facts that God allowed me to witness back in 2005;God showed me through his divine word that his son was to be the offering for my sins.Romans 8:32 “He spared not his own Son,but delivered him up for us all, to God be the glory!

    Bishop Thomas Jones
    Piqua,Oh

  7. OneGod1 Says:

    As a human being, being incarnate (God manifested in the flesh), certainly Jesus Christ is/was the Son of God. Where many people are confused (and the Lord is NOT the Author of confusion) is that there are not two gods, nor is there ONE god that is split in two. Neither does God have two (or three) personalities. If He did, He would have multiple personality disorder. When the Holy Ghost overshadowed (the Spirit of God, or more simply God Almighty) Mary, what was conceived in her was flesh — the Son of God — Jesus Christ.

    And again I say that one of the commandments the Lord gave to Moses was “Thou shalt not kill (or murder).” Why would God go against His own command?

    • Felicia Friend-Tinsley Says:

      Many times in the word the Lord has lead his people in to battle and killing is a product of war…so I don’t get that point at all. And since God is he giver and taker of life, how is that going against his command? We all must die at some time and that happens only at the will of God.

  8. Min. Timothy Irby Sr. Says:

    The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of the True and Living God Almighty the Father. The truth is God cannot Lie and there is no Darkness in God, therefore no Death in him. God said I am not the son of man, but Jesus said I am the son of man and for this cause I came to die. God is a spirit, and He sent and spoke his son ,Jesus Christ into existance, useing the HolyGhost to bring into the virgin Mary, the seed of king David, and from her body, Jesus the man was made. Jesus mind and soul was God’s temple that he indwelled by his spirit. I also declare to the world Jesus is the Christ, and Jesus is NOT God!

  9. grace frazier Says:

    My comment was previously sent. I omitted my name by mistake. If I need to resend my comment, please let me know. I will be glad to as I feel very strongly about what has been said about Bishop Hancock. He was my great uncle and I have knowledge that was not reported in the above commentary.

  10. grace frazier Says:

    Praise the Lord, to all,

    I am the great neice of Bishop Hancock and am very disappointed that inaccuracies made in the above declaration were made without verification.

    Bishop Hancock did not leave the PAW because of any GodHead dispute. He left because of SIN in the PAW ministerial camp. Bishop Morris Golder, the same one who believed Bishop Hancock of being a jealous, petty, preacher and pastor, said that he left because he believed, “Hancock opposed the leadership of Samuel Grimes, believing that he himself should have been appointed Presiding Bishop following the death of Bishop Haywood (140).” This couldn’t be further from the truth. It was told to us that this same Bishop Golder refused to be faithful to his wife and also refused to abide by the sanctions of the ministerial body. Bishop Hancock said that he left, with the intentions of not ever belonging to another organized body. He also stated that it was after much persuasion by other brethren that he organized the P. C of A. F. Anyone who knew Bishop knew his disdain and vexation for sin. The account I just rendered will never be acknowledged by anyone in the PAW, I don’t believe.

    I’m reminded of what the devil told Eve in the garden when he said, “For God knoweth that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be3 opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” Gen. 3:5.

    In addition, Bishop Hancock preached, taught, and lived by the fact that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God. It makes sense to me that God would choose him to correct the doctrine because of his unfailing willingness and need to walk in truth. God used His Words to impregnate Mary, just like a man uses his sperm to impregnate a woman. Once God spoke, the impregnation took place and a human child was formed. This takes nothing from God or the birth of our Lord. Jesus and God are One, in that Jesus gave up His will and became obedient to the Will of His Father. My, oh my, what a people we would be if we did the same thing. For far too long the relationship Jesus has with His Father has been a source of contention among the very people who call themselves His children. Jesus let us know that except we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we’ll die in our sins. Those who believe that Jesus is both Man and Spirit, believe that He is the Son. That is what Jesus mandates. Let’s leave the other alone and fight against sin. The carnality that has infected the minds of the people causing them to be a part of the world’s church is what we should be fighting against. We should be preparing our souls for the soon return of our Lord.

    Bishop Hancock knew that he was hated for the Word of God that He chose to take a stand for. He decided, “…and although despised, forsakened, Jesus, I’ll go through with Thee.”

    We have our own calling and election to make sure. Let us spend our time working out the Spiritual kinks in our own lives and not worry about what those who are no longer with us did, said, or did not do or say.

    God Bless you all to come to the knowledge that we are supposed to be family. We’re supposed to be all we have.

  11. Bishop Jonathan Franklin Says:

    Bishop Haywood said this, “An honest heart need have no fear.” I think that statement resolves this whole issue, and every other issue that Satan would attempt to use as a point of division. Let us be about our Father’s business.

  12. Esther David Says:

    Jesus is the Son of God, when he lived a Sin free life in his mortal flesh, he died and was elevated to be GOD, per Acts 2:32,33. In the book of Revelation Chapter 3, verse 21, it clearly states “that he that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, as I also overcame and am set down with my father in His throne. Two thrones, right??? So that means that God has a throne in Heaven where Jesus is now and those that are counted worthy to be caught away, will come back with Jesus and sit with him in his throne in Old Jerusalem, right here on Earth in the MiddleEast. Jesus also states, “my Father is greater than I” and he came forth from the father. What does it take for people to believe that there are two distinct beings, one is greater and the other the lesser.
    It is just plain and simple. Jesus is the Word of God sent to Mary by Gabriel and the Word was made flesh. Jesus had sinful flesh…God has never put on Mortality, He is ALL DIVINE, NEVER CAN BE MORTAL, CAN NEVER DIE, NEVER SLEEPS, NEVER CAN BE TEMPTED WITH EVIL, but Jesus was susceptible to all the above and overcame. Why can’t the Clergy understand that these are two different entities. God elevated Jesus after he overcame and made him a GOD.

    • Felicia Friend-Tinsley Says:

      Jesus was present at creation so how could he only be elevated after he overcame….Gen 2, says let us make man, John backs it up and says He is the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God, so it was in the beginning.

      • thereisonegod1mediator Says:

        Jesus Christ is not God but the son of God.Jesus Christ is not Deity (a God) but he is the son of Deity (begotten son of God). He is not the father of himself (but the son of the father). He is not God but the son the son of God. Like yourself, he was in the mind of the Eternal God, before the foundations of the world. He is a man,(there is but One God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus). God is a spirit (invisible; Christ made this reference of God while people looked at him (NO man has seen God at anytime scriptures teach this. They saw and felt Christ) He has a separate will from the Father. (proven by his prayer in Gethsemane) Scriptures teach that he is not omniscience. (there are things he doesn’t know, such as when he will return).

  13. thereisonegod1mediator Says:

    Are you sure you heard Bishop Moore correctly?
    Quit posting things that are not true about Bishop Hancock.
    These are the teachings of Bishop Hancock, Bishop Collins, and Bishop Leaston. These are the men whom chartered the P.C.A.F.. Ask of those whom sat directly under Bishop Hancock’s teachings; Bishops Collins, Bethea, Tompkins, Staten, Jackson and Clark.
    They thought emphatically this.
    Jesus Christ is not God but the son of God. Jesus Christ is not Deity (a God) but he is the son of Deity (begotten son of God). He is not the father of himself (but the son of the father). He is not God but the son the son of God (Jn. 3 16) . Like yourself, he was in the mind of the Eternal God, before the foundations of the world. He is a man,(there is but One God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus). God is a spirit (invisible; Christ made this reference of God while people looked at him (NO man has seen God at anytime scriptures teach this. They saw and felt Christ) He has a separate will from the Father. (proven by his prayer in Gethsemane) Scriptures teach that he is not omniscience. (there are things he doesn’t know, such as when he will return).

  14. Robert Lee Collons Jr Says:

    I shall always be a Hancocknite as they act like that church hasn’t started so many productive minister’s and churches.It seem like the the bigger the that’s the thing to do, but truth shall evolve into the power of GOD to be recognized again but will man except it or will look at the pas and failures an treat this person when He and She comes like they did JESUS in his home town because he was label the carpenter son.

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