Archive for the ‘Pentecostal Assemblies of the World’ Category

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

17 July, 2010

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

The Pentecostal Experience of William Booth-Clibborn

11 June, 2010

In 1921, William Edmond Booth-Clibborn preached a successful tent revival in Lodi, California. Inspired by the results, Bro. Booth-Clibborn suggested that the revival party continue meetings further south and set up a tent in Holtville. After acquiring the necessary permits and lighting, they began services. Sadly, heavy rains and low attendance literally quenched the fiery services. Unable to pay the light bill for the week of disappointing meetings, Booth-Clibborn and his comrades took temporary jobs as field hands, harvesting corn. The evangelist, unused to such labor and forlorn by his failure, did little work. Finally, he sat down, crestfallen and dejected.

In this moment of self-pity, the Lord began to deal with him. As heavent-sent words began to flow in his spirit, Bro. Booth-Clibborn began to sing the words to one of the greatest anthems of the Apostolic Church:

Down from His glory,

Ever living story,

My God and Savior came,

And Jesus was His name.

Born in a manger,

To His own a stranger,

A Man of sorrows, tears and agony.

O how I love Him! How I adore Him!

My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!

The great Creator became my Savior,

And all God’s fulness dwelleth in Him.

What condescension,

Bringing us redemption;

That in the dead of night,

Not one faint hope in sight,

God, gracious, tender,

Laid aside His splendor,

Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul.

Without reluctance,

Flesh and blood His substance

He took the form of man,

Revealed the hidden plan.

O glorious myst’ry,

Sacrifice of Calv’ry,

And now I know Thou art the great “I AM.”

This beloved song, which so gloriously articulates the revelation of the Mighty God in Christ, has inspired generations of Oneness Pentecostals and was perhaps Bro. Booth-Clibborn’s most enduring contribution to the movement.

William Booth-Clibborn was the grandson of General William Booth, British founder of the Salvation Army. Booth-Clibborn’s mother, Catherine, was a dynamic Salvation Army preacher and commanded the group’s work in France, Holland, and Belgium. William, named for her father, was born in France.

When William was a boy, his mother and father, Arthur, resigned their positions with the Salvation Army to pursue a more radical path. In 1902, the family joined Zion, Illinois, the utopian community led by John Alexander Dowie, a famous healing evangelist. Arthur was greatly influenced by Dowie’s message and began preaching holiness and healing on his return to England. Catherine also distinguished herself as an international evangelist and traveled extensively preaching amongst various evangelical groups.

In 1908, Arthur Booth-Clibborn learned of a burgeoning group of Pentecostals holding meetings in the Plumstead District of London. He persuaded his youngest son, William, to join him on the trip to London. On the train ride, Arthur asked his 15-year-old son, “William, don’t you think you ought to yield your heart to God afresh?” The question pricked his young heart. He had lost the zeal of his repentance experience at boarding school, and he approached the meeting in a small London mission hall with a renewed hunger for the Lord!

The service was led by a Mrs. Cantell, and the young William was transfixed by the passionate singing and speaking in tongues. Arthur Booth-Clibborn spoke eight languages, and William spoke five. The “strange language” was not recognizable to either, but Mr. Booth-Clibborn assured his son that “This is the unknown tongue you read about in Scripture.”

Mr. Alexander Moncur Niblock, a Baptist convert who had just received the Holy Ghost a few days before, was the speaker at the Booth-Clibborn’s first service. At the altar invitation, William made a strong repentance, praying from 10 PM ‘til 1 AM. He experienced a return of his zeal and desire for the Lord.

On Sunday, William and his father attended more Spirit-filled meetings at the Plumstead home of Mr. Bristow. At the evening service, William became insatiably hungry for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. At the altar, he was enraptured by the presence of God, praying fervently, hungrily for the Holy Ghost:

I found myself singing in a beautiful language entirely foreign to me. Its charm and surprising sounds saturated me with an indescribable ecstasy. Every sweet sentence fully & adequately expressed the pent-up feelings of my inflamed heart . . . Direct from the altar of my heart, rising in surging burning billows, the most pleasing incense was reaching the Throne!

So began the experience of faith that led William Booth-Clibborn into an anointed ministry. He was later baptized in Jesus’ Name and proclaimed the great truth of the Oneness of God, joining the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Disillusioned with some of the later fragmentation of the Pentecostal movement, Booth-Clibborn eventually became less organizationally exclusive but maintained his Oneness stand, developing a remarkable Pentecostal ministry throughout his life. He founded several churches and led Immanuel Temple in Portland, Oregon until his death in 1969 at the age of seventy-six.

*Special thanks to Pat Clibborn, daughter-in-law of W.E. Clibborn, for granting an interview for this article.

Stanley W. Chambers: Profile of a Dedicated Leader

27 February, 2010

During a business meeting at the 1967 General Conference held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, General Superintendent Arthur T. Morgan, unexpectedly died. At the commencement of the meeting, Bro. Morgan told the General Secretary, Stanley Warren Chambers: “I want you to take notes on everything I have to say.” Bro. Chambers dutifully recorded the date and time just before Bro. Morgan fell back across the head table. Thousands of conference attendees who had converged on Tulsa were devastated by the news of Bro. Morgan’s untimely death. But, the constituency of the United Pentecostal Church shortly elected Stanley W. Chambers, who had served as General Secretary since the merger in 1945, to the office. Though Bro. Chambers could not have fathomed this turn of events when he left his home in St. Louis for the annual convention, God had certainly prepared this faithful servant for his new role as leader of the largest Oneness Pentecostal organization in the world.

 

Stanley W. Chambers was introduced to the Pentecostal movement as a young boy at Apostolic Gospel Church in Columbus, Ohio, led by W.T. Witherspoon. Stanley repented and was baptized during a five-week revival in 1927, but he did not receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost until three years on 6 February 1930, at the age of fourteen.

After he was saved, Stanley became very involved in the church. He played violin in the church’s orchestra and sang in the choir, directed by Bro. S.G. Norris. He kept busy in the work of the Lord and looked to Bro. Witherspoon as his father in the Gospel.

In January 1938, Stanley Chambers left Ohio to take on a managerial position in New York City. When he arrived in the teeming metropolis, he was met at the station by Bro. Paul Box, who attended Andrew Urshan’s Satisfaction Gospel Tabernacle in Manhattan. Bro. Box had preached on a number of occasions at the church in Columbus, and their acquaintance was destined to become a deep and lasting friendship.

Through fellowship meetings with area churches, Stanley Chambers met Catherine Strepka, and the pair began dating. Bro. Chambers felt the call of God to preach, and the young couple began to share a drawing toward ministry. Stanley Chambers and Catherine Strepka were united in marriage on 7 September 1940.

In 1942, Bro. Chambers accepted the pastorate of a small work in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. Sis. Chambers initially struggled with leaving her native New York City. One night a message in tongues was delivered. After church, Bro. Urshan approached Sis. Chambers and told her that the message was intended for her: “God is confirming your husband’s call to Pennsylvania. You, as his helpmeet, must be willing to go wherever God calls him to work.” Sis. Chambers received the message and dedicated herself to her husband’s calling.

Bro. Chambers developed a radio broadcast in Hazelton, and there were listener invitations to begin Apostolic works in neighboring cities. Bro. Chambers planted a church in Sunbury and eventually resigned the Hazelton work to dedicate himself to the fledgling congregation.

In September 1945, Bro. & Sis. Chambers traveled to St. Louis to attend the annual meeting of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ. This much-anticipated convention solidified the merger of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ with the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated. Bro. Stanley Chambers, who had helped organize the Eastern District of the PAJC, was elected as General Secretary of the newly-formed United Pentecostal Church. At the suggestion of Bro. Fauss, the electorate waived the requirement that the General Secretary be ordained for a minimum of five years. Bro. Stanley Chambers became the youngest member of the General Board of the UPC.

The Chambers family resigned their beloved church in Pennsylvania and moved to St. Louis, making their home in the headquarters building. As General Secretary, Bro. Chambers did a great deal of traveling and corresponding with ministers. He represented the organizational administration at many District Conferences and enjoyed meeting people across the fellowship.

When he became the General Superintendent in 1967, Bro. Chambers felt equipped for the ministry by his close association with his capable predecessors. At the General Conference in Tulsa, Bro. Chambers preached an inaugural message that came to define his administration entitled: “Can the United Pentecostal Church Survive the Onslaught of History?” He challenged the fellowship to retain a vision of unity and revival and led the church through a 10-year period of unprecedented growth. When he retired as General Superintendent in 1977, he remained active in the work of the Lord serving as an interim missionary to Austria, Missouri District Superintendent, and president of Gateway Bible College. Stanley Warren Chambers demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the United Pentecostal Church International, and his ministry was an inspiring chapter in the growth and success of this wonderful Apostolic fellowship!

Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs: the Music of Early Oneness Believers

6 March, 2009

Music has always been an integral part of the Pentecostal Movement. Bro. Howard Goss, an early Pentecostal pioneer, devoted a chapter of his book, Winds of God, to the advent of Pentecostal music, which he described as “joyous” and an attractive alternative to the mournful worship of traditional churches. Songs were sung “almost at breakneck speed,” and the passionate praises penetrated the souls of saints and sinners alike:

This crescendo of joyous, happy people singing unto the Lord was infectious. The sound of victorious Christian living wrapped around you. Unperceived, it seemed to slip down gently into the deeps of your affections, to tap at your heart’s door, and unsuspected, spread warmly through your entire being. (Goss 208-209)

Bro. Goss saw Pentecostal music as an important and indispensable element of the early revival: “Without it the Pentecostal Movement could have never made the rapid inroads into the hearts of men and women as it did. Neither could we have experienced a constant, victorious revival over the ensuing fifty years, one in which thousands have been accepted, sealed, and shipped through the world in bond, waiting for the appearance of the Lord” (Goss 212).

The centrality of music in the promotion of Pentecostal worship and an abiding spiritual anointing have produced a number of prolific songwriters. When the Oneness Movement emerged after 1913, Apostolics began to pen new hymns intimating the Oneness stand for full Bible truth and melodiously conveying the doctrines of the Mighty God in Christ, the New Birth, and holy living.

The catalog of Apostolic songwriters is an impressive roll call of some of God’s finest preachers and early Pentecostal laborers including: Garfield THaywood, Sis. S.K. Grimes, Alexander R. Schooler, Thoro Harris, Robert C. Lawson, William Booth-Clibborn, and George Farrow. *

G.T. Haywood, first Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, is perhaps the most beloved of all Oneness composers. His songs “I See a Crimson Stream of Blood” and “Jesus, the Son of God” gained widespread popularity even outside of the Oneness movement. Many of his hymns, published in The Bridegroom Songs, a hymnal printed at Christ Temple, his Indianapolis church, are distinctly Apostolic. The chorus of “Do All in Jesus’ Name” copyrighted in 1923 says:

Preach in Jesus name, teach in Jesus name,
Heal the sick in His name and always proclaim
It was Jesus’ Name in which the power came;
Baptize in His Name, enduring the shame,
For there is vict’ry in Jesus’ name.
Similarly, the refrain of Haywood’s “The Lord of Lords” says:
He’s Lord of lords and King of kings,
The Beginning and the end,
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The dying sinner’s Friend.
If you will hear His voice,
Be buried in His name,
Then the Comforter will come to abide.

Haywood was a tireless defender of Oneness doctrine; and when he died in April 1931, he left behind not only scores of hymns and a large body of apologetic tracts, sermons, and books.

Sis. S.K. Grimes also authored many songs. She and her husband, Samuel J. Grimes, served as Apostolic missionaries in Liberia for a number of years, and Grimes succeeded Bishop Haywood as leader of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1932. One of her most poignant hymns is aptly entitled “Acts 2:38″:

O what will you do with Acts two thirty-eight?
The way that leads to life is narrow and straight.
“Repent and be baptized,” God is speaking do not wait.
He gives you full directions there in Acts two thirty-eight.

Other significant hymns celebrating the Oneness of God and the Name of Jesus include “The Great I Am” and “Jesus, the Joy of My Soul.”
A.R. Schooler, one of the original PAW bishops from Cleveland, Ohio, wrote a number of distinctly Apostolic songs such as “The Name”, and “God Died for Me.” His 1920 hymn “The Author and the Finisher” proclaims in part: “His word we will obey/In the water we’ll be buried in His name.” Schooler’s “The Bible Manifestation” is an interesting example of Apostolic hymnody. The lyrics are openly critical of apostate denominationalism, which have “left the path apostles trod.” The song defends Pentecostal norms such as speaking in tongues, the anointing “of the sick/By the bishopric”, foot washing, and communion, and militantly declares: “I’ll arise and stand by the Bible manifestation/I’ll stand until the Lord shall come.”
Schooler also co-wrote many hymns with Thoro Harris, pastor of the Lake Street Mission in Chicago, Illinois, and one of the most fruitful and widely published Pentecostal musicians. Harris, whose most famous tune is unquestionably “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, wrote scores of hymns like “Pentecost in My Soul” and “All That Thrills my Soul is Jesus.” He was one of the first musicians to produce exclusively Pentecostal hymnals: The Blessed Hope (1910), Jesus Is Coming Soon (1914), Songs of His Coming (1919), and Songs We Love (1921).

Robert C. Lawson, who left the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World to found the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, also contributed a large number of songs to the Pentecostal repertoire. In “Praise Our God”, Lawson summates the Oneness view of Jesus Christ:

He overshadowed the Virgin Mary,
Was born a babe in Beth’lem cradle
God vailed [sic] in flesh,
His name was Jesus
Being interpreted was God with us.

Two of his most memorable hymns are “God is Great in My Soul” and “His Name Should be Praised” which boldly states: “I will praise Him for the ev’ning light/That I have entered in/Which shows us that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are One;/Oh praise the Lord ‘’tis finished’, On Calvary ‘twas done!”

William Booth-Clibborn was the grandson of William Booth, the illustrious founder of the Salvation Army. Booth-Clibborn was a powerful Pentecostal evangelist and authored one of the most beloved Oneness compositions, “Down from His Glory.” This majestic song inspired in 1921 declares the glory of Christ, the incarnate God:

Down from His glory, ever living story,
My God and Savior came, and Jesus was His name;
Born in a manger to His own a stranger,
A man of sorrows, tears and agony!

What condescension, bringing us redemption,
That in the dead of night, not one faint hope in sight,
God gracious, tender laid aside His splendor,
Stooping to woo, to win, to save my soul!

Without reluctance, flesh and blood His substance,
He took the form of man, revealed the hidden plan;
O glorious myst’ry sacrifice of Calv’ry!
And now I know He is the great “I AM”!
Chorus: Oh how I love Him! How I adore Him!
My breath, my sunshine, my all in all!
The great Creator became my Savior,
And all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him!

Perhaps the most well-known anthem of Oneness Pentecostalism is George Farrow’s “It’s All in Him”, which so clearly delineates the inter-testamental Oneness revelation of Jesus Christ as the manifest Jehovah God:

The Mighty God is Jesus, the Prince of Peace is He
The Everlasting Father, the King eternally,
The wonderful in wisdom by whom all things were made.
The fullness of the Godhead in Jesus is display’d.

Emmanuel, God with us, Jehovah Lord of hosts,
The omnipresent Spirit who fills the universe,
The Advocate, the High Priest, the Lamb for sinners slain,
The Author of redemption, O glory to His name!

The Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End,
The Living Word incarnate, the helpless sinner’s Friend.
Our wisdom and perfection, our righteousness and pow’r
Yea, all we need is Jesus, we find this very hour

‘Our God for whom we’ve waited,’ will be the glad refrain
Of Israel recreated when Jesus comes again.
Lo! He will come and save us, our King and Priest to be,
For in Him dwells all fullness, and Lord of all is He!

Chorus: It’s all in Him, it’s all in Him,
The fullness of the Godhead is all in Him.
It’s all in Him, it’s all in Him,
The Mighty God is Jesus, and it’s all in Him!

The hymns of early Apostolic believers were inspired by deep spirituality and the freshness of Bible revelations. They were simultaneously anointed and apologetic, glorifying Christ and intimating the deep truths of the Scriptures. The popularity of many of these hymns lasted throughout the early decades of the Oneness movement. Sadly, today their lyrics and tunes are virtually unknown to Apostolic young people, and many of the Oneness songs are indeed endangered. But the musical contributions of our Pentecostal predecessors make up an important part of our Apostolic heritage, and it is the responsibility of the contemporary Church to rediscover and revive the powerful songs of Zion that remain relevant to our strong stand for Acts 2:38 salvation and New Testament doctrine of the Mighty God in Christ, passing from generation to generation the “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” that so clearly articulate the message of “the faith once delivered unto the saints”, born in the Spirit-fueled conflagration of early Pentecostalism and the rich experiences of our Apostolic ancestors.

Sources:

Goss, Ethel. The Winds of God: the Story of the Early Pentecostal Days (1901-1914) in the Life of Howard A. Goss. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1977.

Hymns taken from The Bridegroom Songs Indianapolis: Christ Temple, 1924 and Pentecostal Praises. St. Louis: Pentecostal Publishing House, 1947.

Prince of Preachers: Bishop Morris Ellis Golder

19 December, 2008

When he died, July 22, 2000, Bishop Morris Ellis Golder left behind a powerful Apostolic legacy and a thriving congregation, Grace Apostolic Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana, which he founded in 1953. Born January 23, 1913 to Earl and Margaret Golder, Morris was only a small boy when his parents were converted at Eleventh and Senate, later Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Church, and he was raised under the careful and strict tutelage of his godly parents.

Eleventh and Senate was the epicenter of Apostolic revival in the city of Indianapolis. There, the Golder family was blessed to sit under the visionary leadership of Bishop Garfield Thomas Haywood, who distinguished himself in the early Pentecostal movement as a theologian, hymnist, dynamic preacher, and stalwart apologist.

As a young man, Morris fell away from the church, and he entertained ideas of becoming a jazz orchestra leader. Most evenings, he could be found at the Walker Ballroom on Indiana Avenue. One cold January night, the voice of the Lord spoke to Morris as he danced with a young lady. “Run for your life.” The message was clear and simple. A rattled Morris Golder, who had spent all his money, walked home, talking to God and asking for a little more time before committing his life (Garrett 21-22).

Morris had promised his mother that he would attend church Sunday night. He arrived at 10 PM. He returned the following night and slept through the sermon. At the close of service, however, he responded to the invitation. That night, January 20, 1930, Morris E. Golder repented, was baptized in the Name of Jesus and received the Holy Ghost a few minutes after leaving the baptismal tank (Garrett 23). His life was forever changed, and he developed a strong relationship with God.

Only four months after his conversion, Christ Temple’s beloved pastor, Bishop Haywood, died. Bro. Golder remembered Haywood as a frequent guest at his parents’ home, but he had only just begun to enjoy his wise and methodical Bible teaching. Robert F. Tobin succeeded Haywood and radically influenced the young Morris Golder, who received a call to preach shortly after being saved. Elder Tobin was a fiery preacher and kept rhythm slapping his hand on the pulpit while delivering his syncopated sermons. This oratorical style was passed on to Morris Golder, and his messages were marked by the same metrical pattern and fervent delivery (Garrett 34).

Despite his early drawing to the ministry, there were limited opportunities for young preachers at Christ Temple. Like many other young ministers of that era, Morris Golder did much of his early preaching in downtown Indianapolis street meetings. He preached his first revival for Ace Summers in Mount Vernon, Illinois (Garret 38; 42).

In 1935, Elder Golder became acquainted with a small group of believers in Saint Louis who had formed a church but had no leader. He and his young wife, Elizabeth, were invited to become their pastor, and he led the church for several years, moving from a small mission at Goode and North Market Streets to a more spacious property at 2406 Belle Grade (“Our History”). The church was the first racially-integrated assembly in Saint Louis (B1-B2 Cebula 1).

At the death of Elder Robert Tobin in 1947, Morris Golder received the call to return to Indianapolis to lead Christ Temple. In February 1948, he was installed as the new pastor, and the church experienced phenomenal Apostolic revival under his capable leadership, with weekly attendance exceeding 1,000 (Garrett 51-53).

In 1953, Elder Golder felt led to leave Christ Temple and begin another church in Indianapolis. With 30 charter members, he founded Grace Apostolic Church, which became one of the most thriving Pentecostal assemblies in the city. From their humble beginnings in the rented Rex Theater, Grace grew mightily, purchasing property at 22nd and Broadway Streets and building a brand new 2,200-seat sanctuary, which was completed in November 1990 (Garrett 76).

Morris E. Golder was an integral part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. He served the organization in various capacities including Treasurer, Editor of the Christian Outlook, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Aenon Bible College, Auxiliary Director of the National Sunday School Association, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Apostolic Light Press. In 1972, Elder Golder was elevated to the bishopric as overseers of the 11th Episcopal District of the PAW, which included Kentucky and Western Tennessee (Garrett 70).

Bishop Golder, who received an advanced degree from Butler School of Religion, now Christian Theological Seminary, and an honorary doctorate from Aenon, was also an accomplished author. He wrote eight books, including an official history of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (Cebula B1-B2; Garrett 68).

For many years, Bishop Golder was a prominent voice of Apostolic ministry through his radio presence on WTLC. Each Sunday morning, the Bishop delivered the uncompromised truth over the airwaves preaching strong messages on the New Birth, the Mighty God in Christ, and Bible holiness. At his death, Suffragan Bishop George Stearnes of Gary, Indiana, said: “We called him the ‘Prince of Preachers.’ ‘Prince’ because he was a man of humility, but also a man of great power and wisdom. His was a voice of harmony in a world that needed it” (Cebula B1-B2). Bishop Golder’s life was a true testimony of God’s saving power, and his ministry was a blessing to the worldwide Body of Christ.

Sources:

Cebula, Judith. “Mourners Pay Last Respects to ‘Prince of Preachers.’”  Indianapolis Star. 29 Jul 2000, B1-B2.

Garret, Gary W. The Life and Times of Bishop M.E. Golder. Springfield, MO: Apostolic Christian Books, 2000

“Our History.” Bethesda Temple <www.bethesdatemplest.org/history.nxg>. 10 Dec 2008.

1924: Redrawing the Color Line

3 June, 2008

Interracial Leadership Group from Azusa StreetIn 1918, the General Assembly of Apostolic Assemblies and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World merged, unifying Oneness Pentecostals into a large, interracial body. After being ousted from the Assemblies of God in 1916, the “Jesus Only” faction soon organized into the GAAA under the leadership of Daniel C. O. Opperman. The organization was destined to last only a short while. When the United States entered World War I on April 16, 1917, the government refused to recognize combat exemption for ministers of the fledgling church. In addition, GAAA ministers did not qualify for clergy train fare rates. For these two reasons, the organization sought a merger with the older Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (Clanton 29-30).

The PAW had a nebulous beginning in Los Angeles in 1906. Initially, few records were kept, which is not surprising considering the reticence of early Pentecostal believers to organize or to model themselves after the traditional denominations from which they had emerged. The alignment of the PAW with the Oneness camp may be historically attributable to the influence of Bishop G.T. Haywood, pastor of the large Pentecostal work at 11th & Senate in Indianapolis. Haywood along with his entire congregation accepted rebaptism in Jesus’ Name and the doctrine of the mighty God in Christ when Glenn Cook, Pentecostal pioneer and evangelist, came through Indiana in 1915 preaching the Oneness revelation.

While the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was interracial from its inception, the General Assembly of Apostolic Assemblies was essentially a white organization. The merger of these two groups recreated the racial unity that characterized the Pentecostal revival at Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. Bro. Frank Bartleman, journalist and chronicler of the Pentecostal movement in Los Angeles, said of Azusa Street: “The color line is washed away in the blood!” The mission, led by Bro. William Joseph Seymour, a black brother, became a bastion of multiracial unity as believers of every race and color gathered in the makeshift mission to experience the democratizing power of the Holy Ghost. When the GAAA joined the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, retaining the latter name, an initial, conscious effort was made to maintain racial integration.

Unfortunately, the merger was plagued by problems from the beginning. The most critical difficulty seems to have been the location of the annual conference. The South was considered too racially sensitive, and meetings had to be held in the North. At a time when Pentecostals were much less affluent, many Southern ministers could not afford to attend conventions in Northern cities. In 1922, leading white ministers in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World organized the Southern Bible Conference. William Booth-Clibborn’s record of the meeting, A Call to Dust and Ashes, describes a glorious visitation of the Holy Ghost and a prevailing unity and anointing, but the exclusive convention offended many of the black PAW brethren (1).

The following year, the General Conference adopted Resolution 4, with devastating results. The resolution read:

Be it further resolved, that because of conditions now existing in many parts of the country through no fault of the brethren, but rather those that oppose the work of the Lord, it is deemed advisable that two white Presbyters sign the credentials for the white brethren (especially in the southland) and two colored Presbyters sign the papers of the colored brethren. (Golder 78)

While the wording of the resolution seems to suggest the necessity of this measure due to external social forces, it seems likely that the real reason for the policy was racial prejudice. Oneness historians sharply disagree on the meaning and context of Resolution No. 4. White writers like S.C. McClain and Arthur Clanton attribute the adoption to the social mores of the South, repeatedly arguing that racial integration was hindering the work of the Lord, especially below the Mason-Dixon line. Bishop Morris E. Golder, PAW historian, logically asks: “How could any person picking up a credential and looking at the signatures tell who wrote them? Would the ink of the black man be different from that of a white man?” (79). The fissure that began with the passage of Resolution No. 4 broadened over the next year; and at the close of the 1924 General Conference, a majority of the white brethren withdrew and formed the Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance, electing L.C. Hall as the first chairman (Clanton 46).

While it is difficult to recapture the social context that led our predecessors to divide into essentially white and black organizations, Oneness Pentecostals should work at every level to restore greater interracial fellowship and cooperation. Manmade organizations can never replace the true unity of Apostolic believers and the transcendental power of our common Acts 2:38 salvation. Huge strides in fellowship have been made by both the United Pentecostal Church and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, and we look forward to the day when Christ’s prayer “that they all may be one” (Jn. 17:21) is fully answered when the saints of every color and creed gather at God’s great throne!

Sources:

Clanton, Arthur. United We Stand: a History of Oneness Organizations. Hazelwood: MO: Pentecostal Publishing House, 1970.

Booth-Clibborn, William. A Call to Dust and Ashes. St. Paul, MN: 1924.

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

Pentecost in Print: Papers and Tracts from Pentecostal Pioneers

12 May, 2008

Pentecostals have always been prolific, and the turn-of-the-century rediscovery of the New Testament truth of Spirit baptism, evidenced by speaking in tongues at Charles Parham’s Bethel Bible College, spawned a plethora of circulars, papers, and tracts. Parham launched The Apostolic Faith in March 1899 and used this publication to promote the activities of his school in Topeka, Kansas. While the initial publication predates the Pentecostal outpouring that took place at Bethel, the name of the periodical evidences his school’s dedication to recreating a New Testament model of Christianity. Before the baptism fell, Parham’s curriculum was mainly focused on healing and prophecy, and the facility included a Healing Home, a spiritual retreat for the physically and spiritually infirmed (Goff 46-7). When Agnes Ozman, one of the Bethel students, received the baptism of the Holy Ghost on 1 January 1901, The Apostolic Faith became the first Pentecostal publication and began promoting Spirit baptism with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.

When the famed Azusa Street revival began, William Joseph Seymour borrowed the name of Parham’s publication and began publishing The Apostolic Faith from Los Angeles in September 1906. The headline of the first issue read boldly: “Pentecost Has Come: Los Angeles Being Visited by a Revival of Bible Salvation and Pentecost as Recorded in the Book of Acts.” This periodical was seminal in promoting the Pentecostal experience. It included a broad spectrum of testimonies, conversion reports, missionary news, and theology. Tens of thousands of copies were soon in circulation, and printed reports of unprecedented revival in Los Angeles brought thousands to the true birthplace of modern Pentecostalism, the mission at 312 Azusa Street.

While the secular press wrote articles criticizing the Azusa Pentecostals as fanatics citing their long, raucous services and mixing of racial and social classes in an environment of unbridled revivalism, The Apostolic Faith provided glowing details of conversions, miracles, and the phenomenon of speaking in tongues, often accompanied by interpretation. A May 1907 article declared: “The interpretation of many of the messages in nearly every language spoken by the Holy Ghost in unknown tongues is that Jesus is coming” (Untitled).

Many missionaries visited Azusa Street filled with hunger or curiosity returning to their labor filled with the Holy Ghost. In October, the paper reported that eight Pentecostal missionaries had been dispatched from Los Angeles (Seymour 1). Hundreds of preachers, mainly from Holiness denominations, received their Pentecostal baptism at Azusa and returned to their churches declaring its truth. The paper also chronicles the Spirit baptisms of a spectrum of immigrants including: Mexicans, Chinese, Russian, Italians, and Japanese, many of whom were converted after hearing messages in tongues delivered in their native languages. Additionally, The Apostolic Faith records the conversions of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims to the Pentecostal faith. Racism and bigotry were forgotten in the presence of God, and the Spirit produced a miraculous unity amongst the early Pentecostals.

Bro. Frank Bartleman, a Los Angeles journalist and former Holiness preacher who received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, saturated California with thousands of Pentecostal tracts during the Azusa revival. Before Azusa, Bro. Bartleman and other Christians in Los Angeles, inspired by published accounts of the Welsh Revival led by Evan Roberts, were anticipating another Pentecost and praying fervently to that end. The Azusa revival filled that hunger, and Bro. Bartleman’s writing captures the deep hunger and spiritual zeal of the early Pentecostals and their singular belief in God’s soon coming. Following the San Francisco earthquake, he published a tract called “The Last Call.” In less than three weeks, Bro. Bartleman and his workers distributed over 75,000 of the pamphlets, and the revival at Azusa increased (Bartleman 50-4).

Initially, Bro. Bartleman continued writing articles about the Pentecostal outpouring in Los Angeles for Holiness publications. Gradually, proponents of the Holiness Movement distanced themselves from the Pentecostals, and Bartleman began submitting his work to other exclusively Pentecostal publications including The Way of Faith, Christian Harvester, and Apostolic Light (Bartleman 61). While little is known of these publications, they provide evidence that a growing number of Pentecostal circulars were in existence.
Pentecostal periodicals were influential and provided a rudimentary cohesiveness for the burgeoning movement. In 1914, the newsletter Word & Witness called for a general convention of members of the Church of God in Christ and “all Pentecostal or Apostolic Faith Assemblies who desire with united purpose to co-operate in love and peace to push the interests of the kingdom of God everywhere” (Bell 1). From this advertised meeting emerged the Assemblies of God, one of the earliest and largest Pentecostal organizations.

The restorationism of the early Pentecostal Movement is strongly evidenced in the published writings of early apologists, and periodicals very often included strong, doctrinal defenses. The notion of the “Finished Work of Calvary” championed by Bro. William H. Durham, the well-known pastor of Chicago’s North Avenue Mission, penetrated Pentecostalism through his paper entitled The Pentecostal Testimony (“William Durham” 255). The controversial “New Issue”, the contemporary name for Oneness theology, emerged at the Worldwide Pentecostal Camp Meeting held in Arroyo Seco, California, when Bro. R.E. McAlister, a Canadian evangelist, declared that the Matthew 28:19 formula for baptism was never used by the New Testament Church. Several brethren, including McAlister, Frank Ewart, Glenn Cook, and John Scheppe, became convinced, through prayer and study, that the proper biblical baptismal invocation was “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This idea spawned an untold number of publications and tracts dedicated to the furtherance of the revelation of the Mighty God in Christ.

A 1913 notice in Word and Witness announced the launch of The Good Report edited by Brothers Ewart and McAlister, the oldest known Oneness periodical (Notice). Bro. Ewart also edited a paper called The Present Truth. Perhaps the three most influential Oneness publications, however, were Bro. Ewart’s Meat in Due Season, Bro. D.C.O. Opperman’s The Blessed Truth, and Elder G.T. Haywood’s The Voice in the Wilderness. These papers were filled with articles about the advancement of the Jesus’ Name message, including international news of rebaptisms in the name of Jesus.

Bishop G.T. Haywood was one of the most prolific and profound Oneness apologists. He wrote: “Much of the early Pentecostal movement was promoted and introduced to various islands, countries, and continents of the world through tracts and periodicals that we published.” His paper, The Voice in the Wilderness, became the official organ of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1918, and Haywood retained editorial responsibility for the publication after he was elevated to presiding bishop in 1925 (Tyson 16). He also wrote a prodigious number of tracts and booklets, including his masterpieces: “The Finest of Wheat” and “The Victim of the Flaming Sword.” His incomparable ability to articulate biblical truth with theological proofs, historical context, and eschatological importance makes him one of the most beloved twentieth century Pentecostal authors.

While Oneness brethren promulgated truth in their periodicals, their detractors were also busy campaigning against the spread of their message. In 1915, J. Roswell Flower, General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, lamented the penetration of the “New Issue” literature in the Assemblies of God’s Weekly Evangel :

Another letter, this very week, tells of the unsettled conditions in an eastern State where the Los Angeles [Oneness] literature has been scattered broadcast [sic] among the Pentecostal Assemblies, and where unstable souls, who know not the Word of God, are being swept off their feet. And that is not all, the new teaching has been carried to the foreign fields, and already hearts that are sore and distressed are writing us stating the awful results and after-effects of this teaching . . .

He further warns: “These workers are scattering over the country, and methinks they drive like Jehu. They are liable to drop in your assembly any day, and the day after, your assembly is possibly on the verge of dissolution” (Flower 1). Clearly, Trinitarians were worried about the wildfires of doctrinal truth ignited worldwide by Oneness Pentecostal publishers and preachers, and the “New Issue” battle was largely fought on front pages of their respective periodicals.

Ultimately, the Pentecostal press was a key component in reshaping the face of twentieth century Christianity. With the ink of inspiration, great Apostolic believers penned, printed, and published the full gospel message; and while thousands of evangelists, missionaries, and Christian workers canvassed the globe with New Testament truth, they were often preceded by or armed with Pentecostal literature. From the writings of our Pentecostal pioneers, we can create a composite picture of the passion and zeal that fueled the fires of revival that made Pentecostalism the fastest growing religion on earth (McClung 1). The yellowed records of our past must inspire us, and their voices urge us on toward increased worldwide evangelism as we carry the blessed truth of the Apostolic faith to a new generation of believers. Founded on our strong Pentecostal heritage of the written word and empowered with modern tools of mass communication, we can publish “The Whole Gospel to the Whole World.”

Sources:

Bartleman, Frank. From Plow to Pulpit: from Maine to California. Los Angeles: 1924.
Bell, E.N. General Convention of Pentecostal Saints and Churches of God in Christ, Hot Springs, Arkansas, April 2 to 12, 1914. Word & Witness 9.12 (1913): 1.

Flower, J. Roswell. Editorial Comment on Issue. Weekly Evangel, 99 (15 July 1915): 1.

Goff, James. Fields White unto Harvest : Charles F. Parham and the Missionary Origins of Pentecostalism. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1988.

McClung, Grant. Pentecostals: the Sequel. Christianity Today. 50.4 (2006): 1-8.

Notice. Word & Witness 9.6 (1913): 8.

Seymour, William J. The Pentecostal Baptism Restored: the Promised Latter Rain Now Being Poured Out on God’s Humble People. The Apostolic Faith. 1.2 (October 1906): 1.

Tyson, James. Before I Sleep. Indianapolis: Pentecostal Publications, 1976.

Untitled. The Apostolic Faith 1.8 (May 1907): 3.

“William Durham.” Dictionary of Charismatic and Pentecostal Movements. Eds. Stanley M. Burgess and Gary B. McGee. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988.

Circle of Fire: Early Pentecostal Revival in Indianapolis

12 May, 2008

Indianapolis, Indiana was the epicenter of Pentecostal revival east of the Mississippi River. Bro. Glenn Cook, one of the elders from William J. Seymour’s Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, arrived in the city in January of 1907 with the Pentecostal message. Revival meetings were conducted at the Christian and Missionary Alliance Gospel Tabernacle, and several were filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The assembly’s pastor, Dr. G.N. Eldridge, who was out of town, sent a telegram refusing his pulpit to Cook, and an alternate location had to be secured for continued meetings. Ironically, Eldridge later joined the Pentecostal movement (Tyson EPR 129-130). In March 1907, Bro. Cook published a good report of the burgeoning revival in Indianapolis in The Apostolic Faith, the official publication of the Azusa Mission:

The Lord gave us a gracious time of Pentecostal power at Indianapolis, Ind. Many received the baptism with the Holy Ghost and are speaking with tongues. They came from different parts of Indiana and are now going forth to spread the good news. This will be a center of power, being an interurban railway center like Los Angeles. (Cook 3)

The group had rented a “nice hall and chairs to seat it” at 1111½ Shelby Street in Fountain Square, marking the formation of the first Pentecostal congregation in Indianapolis (Cook 3).
When Bro. Cook returned to Los Angeles in March 1907, another party of Azusa Pentecostal workers came to Indianapolis, including: Thomas Hezmalhalch, Fred Dexheimer, Celia Smock, and Lenora Hall. As crowds grew, the fledgling congregation had to move to larger facilities, securing a vacant spiritualist church called Murphy Hall at the corner of New York and Alabama Streets. Pentecostal revival continued to grow, and many were healed and filled at the mission. J. Roswell Flower, the first General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and his future wife, Alice Reynolds both received the Holy Ghost in these early meetings (Flower 5-6). In 1908, Flower began publishing The Pentecost, a monthly newsletter detailing the spread of the Pentecostal message.

Garfield Thomas Haywood was filled with the Holy Ghost in February 1908 in a converted tin shop on West Michigan Street in a small work led by Henry Prentice, who had received his Pentecost in Los Angeles (Tyson, EPR 10). This mission grew, and the congregation moved to an empty storeroom on the corner of Michigan and Minverva Streets (Tyson BIS 16).

G.T. Haywood soon felt called to the ministry and began his pastorate of a small work in February 1909 located in a downtown storeroom at 12th and Lafayette Streets. The assembly also held meetings for a short time at West 13th and Canal before moving to a more permanent home at 12th and Missouri (Dugas 12-13; Tyson BIS 16-17). Eventually, the congregation relocated to 11th and Senate before constructing the beautiful building, Christ Temple, on Fall Creek Boulevard in 1924, an extant landmark of Apostolic heritage. Haywood and his interracial congregation were instrumental in the Indianapolis work, and he began publication in 1910 of The Voice in the Wilderness, an important Pentecostal periodical that became the official organ of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1918 (Tyson BIS 16).

L.V. Roberts was also an early influence in the Pentecostal movement in Indianapolis. He assumed leadership of the original Indianapolis Assembly from Murphy Hall in February 1913. Meetings were moved to No. 9 New Jersey Avenue and later to Roosevelt Avenue under the name Oak Hill Tabernacle. His church began holding an annual camp meeting that attracted Pentecostals from the Midwest (Roberts 3).

In October 1914, Lena Spillman visited Roberts’ church and was converted and physically healed of a life-threatening heart condition (Foley 203). Early in her Pentecostal experience, she recognized God’s call to the ministry. In 1929, she began holding revival meetings at Thirty-Fourth and Orchard Streets, and the assembly grew into a thriving work eventually became Christian Tabernacle at 28th and Sherman Streets (Foley 208).

In March 1915, Bro. Glenn Cook returned from Los Angeles to Indianapolis. Bro. Cook had accepted the message of the mighty God in Christ and was rebaptized in Jesus’ Name. This man, who had been so instrumental in the spread of the Pentecostal message in the Midwest, now returned preaching Oneness doctrine. Indianapolis, which had experienced growing Apostolic revival, was ripe to receive the revelatory teaching; and on 6 March 1915, L.V. Roberts and his congregation were immersed in Eagle Creek in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as Pentecostal leaders G.T. Haywood and Samuel N. Hancock (French 65). On Easter Sunday, 4 April 1915, Haywood preached Oneness truth to his growing congregation at 11th and Senate. At the conclusion of the sermon, G.T. Haywood baptized 456 members of his congregation in Jesus’ Name (Tyson BIS 36). The conversion of Haywood and his congregation from Trinitarianism was instrumental in bringing the fledgling Pentecostal Assemblies of the World into the Oneness camp.

Indianapolis continued to be a center of Apostolic revival, and many other missions and churches were formed in the next few decades. Today, Indianapolis has scores of Apostolic Faith assemblies, and many of these revival churches were either formed or led by some of the most renowned names in Hoosier Pentecostal history including: G.T. Haywood, L.V. Roberts, Oscar Hughes, Raymond Hoekstra, Nathaniel A. Urshan, Paul Jordan, James E. Simison, Morris E. Golder, and James Tyson. The seeds of truth fell on fertile ground in the heart of Indiana, and the Indianapolis became the strong root system of many Oneness works around the Midwest, the nation, and the globe as concentric waves of true Apostolic revival emanated from the Circle City.

Sources:

Cook, Glenn. “Revival in Indianpolis.” Apostolic Faith March 1907, p. 3. 

Dugas, Paul D. The Life and Writings of G.T. Haywood. Stockton, CA: Apostolic
Press, 1968.

Flower, Alice Reynolds. “When Pentecost Came to Indianapolis, a First-Hand Report of
the Revival which Began in 1907.” Heritage 5 (4) Winter 1985/1986, pp. 5-6.

Foley, Bertha L. “Lena Spillman.” Pioneer Pentecostal Women, Volume II. Mary H. Wallace, ed. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1981, pp. 201-212.

French, Talmadge. Our God is One: the Story of Oneness Pentecostals. Indianapolis:
Voice & Vision Publications, 1999.

Roberts, L.V. “More Blessed Revival Fires: Fresh Blaze in Indianapolis.” Word and
Witness 9 (2) 20 February 1913, p. 3.

Tyson, James L. Before I Sleep. Indianapolis: Pentecostal Publications, 1976.

—. Early Pentecostal Revival. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1992.

 

God’s Organism: Attitudes and Efforts of Early Pentecostals Toward Organization

5 May, 2007

Early Pentecostals recognized their unique position in God’s end-time restoration of New Testament truth and revival. They emphatically believed that the Holy Ghost baptism evidenced by speaking in tongues was a universal experience that would sweep across all denominations, and they had no intentions of creating an exclusively Pentecostal church. In fact, their deep reverence for the sacred nature of the Spirit’s work made them reticent to classify themselves at all. This attitude went a long way to attract Christians from denominational churches. Most of the primitive Pentecostals in Charles Parham’s revivals in Topeka, Kansas and Houston, Texas and William Seymour’s significant work at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California, emerged from Wesleyan, Holiness, and Baptist traditions. Such seekers recognized the spiritual decay, and even decadence, of their respective churches and saw the return of Pentecost as a revitalizing force from Heaven. It is perhaps even more accurate to say that the earliest Pentecostals perceived themselves not as Pentecostals but as Spirit-baptized Methodists, Baptists, Nazarenes, etc. While most made an initial effort to return to their churches with the message of the Pentecostal blessing, they often met with disdain or outright expulsion from their former assemblies. It was these sorts of crises that created a class of Pentecostal pariahs, and the earliest fellowships of newly-formed missions and churches were very loosely connected and tenuously structured. Pentecost was a movement and not a denomination, and many primitive practitioners vehemently resisted efforts to name, define, codify or otherwise organize Spirit-filled believers.

Any student of early Pentecostalism has probably noticed the generic names of churches, missions, and works. Parham’s school, Bethel Bible College, in Topeka was popularly known as Stone’s Folly after the mansion where the school was housed. It was customary to call a Pentecostal or Apostolic work only after its address or location, consider William Durham’s North Avenue Mission in Chicago, G.T. Haywood’s 11th & Senate in Indianapolis, and Frank Bartelman’s 8th & Maple Mission in Los Angeles. In my hometown of Muncie, T.J. Miller’s “Block Church” and Bishop Oscar Sanders 3rd and Vine identified the earliest locations of Pentecostal revivals. This nomenclative tradition grew out of Pentecostal suspicions about denominationalism and formal organization. Bro. Bartleman, who carefully recorded the Pentecostal revival in Los Angeles, criticized the Azusa Street Mission for its early appendage of “Apostolic Faith Mission” to its name and zealously spoke and wrote against the move:

The truth must be told. “Azusa” began to fail the Lord also, early in her history. God showed me one day that they were going to organize, though not a word had been said in my hearing about it. The Spirit revealed it to me. He had me get up and warn them against making a “party” spirit of the Pentecostal work. The “baptized” saints were to remain “one body,” even as they had been called, and to be free as His Spirit was free, not “entangled again in a yoke of (ecclesiastical) bondage.” The New Testament Church saints had already arrested the further progress in this way. God wanted a revival company, a channel through whom He could evangelize the world, blessing all people and believers. He could naturally not accomplish this with a sectarian party. The spirit has been the curse and death of every revival body sooner or later. History repeats itself in this matter. Sure enough the very next day after I dropped this warning in the meeting I found a sign outside “Azusa” reading “Apostolic Faith Mission.” The Lord said: “That is what I told you.” They had done it. Surely a “party spirit” cannot be “Pentecostal.” There can be no divisions in a true Pentecost. To formulate a separate body is but to advertise our failure, as a people of God . . . The church is an organism not a human organization. (Bartleman 68-69)

While this attitude was widely held, some more progressive members were willing to entertain the notion of some type of organization. In fact, many ministers had joined Charles H. Mason’s Church of God in Christ, which was begun as a Holiness organization and had come into the Pentecostal movement. Because of this association, Church of God in Christ was one of the earliest prescribed names for Pentecostal or Apostolic assemblies. In 1912, Eudorus N. Bell, editor of the Word and Witness wrote an article appealing to Pentecostal works to use the name “Church of God in Christ” for their churches rather than Apostolic, Pentecostal, or Mission (all of which were popularly employed). He posited: “We believe with all our hearts in the ‘Aposotlic Movement’ not as a name for a church, but as a religious ‘reform movement’ composed of all clean people who will join our battle cry and reform slogan of “Back to the faith once deliver to the saints!” (Bell 2). “Church of God in Christ” was presented by Bell as a biblical alternative.

Bro. Howard Goss was instrumental in identifying the need for organization, but he recognized the independent spirit of many of the brethren: “As our numbers increased, the influx brought with it leaders who did not believe in organization at all; some even preached that anything of that nature (when committed to paper) was of the devil” (Goss 259). While Goss and others proceeded with caution and initially clandestinely, they were persuaded that a broader Pentecostal organization was necessary to sustain the growing work of the movement. While general fellowship had been maintained by announcements of camp meetings, conventions, and revivals in Apostolic periodicals, there was a need to coordinate worldwide evangelism and produce printed literature. Goss noticed the natural cohesiveness of some works and feared that partisan spirits were developing in some areas. Additionally, there was a need for some definition, some criteria of fellowship as many assemblies would receive anyone into their pulpit claiming to be Pentecostal, and the reputation of Spirit-filled works was really at stake.

The result was the formation of the Assemblies of God in 1914. The charter document declared the name to be “GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GOD (which is God’s organism)”. The name was formulated to allay fears about organizational sectarianism, and the document made the new fellowship’s intentions clear:

[Our] purpose is neither to legislate laws of government, nor usurp authority over said various Assemblies of God, nor deprive them of their Scriptural and local rights and privileges, but to recognize Scriptural methods and order for worship, unity, fellowship, work and business for God, and to disapprove of all unscriptural methods, doctrines and conduct, and approve of all Scriptural and conduct . . . (General Council Minutes)

Out of this organization grew the Oneness organizations that eventually formed the United Pentecostal Church in 1945.

While many of our predecessors blatantly opposed efforts of ecclesiastical incorporation, today we benefit from the blessings of Godly organization. Modern United Pentecostal Church adherents have accepted a workable compromise, simultaneously understanding our status as a movement and not a denomination but cooperating in a spirit of unity for the work of evangelism and worldwide revival. The reticence of our forebears reminds us of the true heavenly nature of our beginnings and continues to caution us against degenerating into the spiritual staleness of mere denominationalism. Rather, with these Apostolic ancestors, we must adopt an “all flesh” attitude and spread with urgency the message of salvation and regeneration through the power of the Holy Ghost!

Sources:
Bartleman, Frank. Witness to Pentecost. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1985.

Bell, Eudorus N. “Not Missions, but Churches of God in Christ.” Word & Witness Vol. 8, Is. 6. 20 August 1912, p. 2.

“General Council Minutes”, 1914.

Goss, Ethel. The Winds of God: the Story of the Early Pentecostal Movement (1901-1914 in the Life of Howard A. Goss. Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1958.

Word and Witness, 20 March 1914, p. 1.

Sin-Killing Sanders: the Legacy of Bishop Oscar Haywood Sanders

14 February, 2007

When he died in October 1972, Bishop Oscar Haywood Sanders was in the midst of celebrating his Golden Jubilee at Christ Temple Apostolic Church in Muncie, Indiana, commemorating 50 years of service in the church that he built from scratch on truth and a burden for souls (“Christ Temple Church”). Like many Apostolics of his generation, Bishop Sanders had left all to pursue the labor of God’s kingdom, sacrificing and scrimping to raise up a work for the Lord.Born 2 December 1892 to Mr. and Mrs. Haywood Sanders in Lonoke, Arkansas, Oscar Sanders could not have realized the great destiny God had for him. From his parents, he learned the value of hard wor. He spent most of his boyhood in Pine Bluff, Arkansas but eventually left the Southland where there were limited opportunities for African-Americans. In July 1913, Sanders moved to Indianapolis, Indiana and began working in a downtown furniture store. He boarded at the home of Ida Young, an Apostolic saint, but he was still years away from encountering salvation himself (Fairley 11-22).

Oscar Sanders eventually found work at a foundry and met and married Hattie Torrence. During their early marriage, Sanders began attending Shioloh Baptist Church in Indianapolis and became involved in the choir and young people’s ministry. While he experienced a degree of repentance at Shioloh, Sanders still felt empty and relatively unchanged (Fairley 23-24).

In 1918, Bro. Andrew Coleman, a member of Bishop G.T. Haywood’s church at 11th and Senate, invited the young Sanders to attend a service with him. Oscar Sanders was amazed to witness the integrated congregation: “The Whites and Blacks were greeting each other with a Holy Kiss” (Fairley 27). In this atmosphere of blessed unity, Oscar Sanders was compelled to be saved and was baptized in Jesus’ Name and filled with the Holy Ghost on 1 November 1918. Haywood’s church, now known as Christ Temple Apostolic Church, was one of the most remarkable early Apostolic congregations. Brimming near 500 in attendance, the church was large and spiritually powerful. Haywood was a gifted preacher and Bible teacher. Recalling his early experience and the death of his beloved mentor Bishop Sanders said: “I was saved November, 1918. Those were the days when the Spirit of the Lord was heavenly. Bishop Haywood was the greatest man I have ever known and the only man that I wanted to be like. His passing affected me more than the death of my own father. I love him so much that I called him dad, and he called me son” (Fairley 40).

When Bishop Sanders was first saved, his wife resisted the new doctrine, even leaving home for a short time. At the insistence of her sister, she returned to her husband and was saved a short time later at 11th and Senate (Fairley 27-28).

In April 1919, Bishop Sanders began to feel a call to ministry. He and Sis. Sanders were faithful attendees at Bishop Haywood’s daily Bible class. Sis. Sanders would attend during the day, and Bishop Sanders would attending in the evening. The two became avid students of God’s Word and began holding street meetings in Indianapolis (Fairley 41). Bishop Sanders’ first experiment with full-time ministry came when he assumed the pastorate of an all-White congregation in Frankfort, Indiana. Here, he acquired valuable experiences that would equip him for future work. The church fell into dissension, and Sanders eventually returned to Indianapolis in 1922 (Fairley 44).

Since 1920, he had been burdened for the city of Muncie, and he came 21 September 1922 with a burden to begin an Apostolic work in the city. He took up residence at 812 S. Jefferson and accepted work at a local foundry. Just over a month later, services began at 3rd and B Streets (now Lowell and Blaine) with eight people in attendance. Bro. Henry Brooks was the first deacon and Sunday School Superintendent. The other saints were commissioned as missionaries (Fairley 46-48).

In 1923, services moved to 3rd and Vine, and God blessed the small church, and souls began to receive Sanders’ Acts 2:38 message of salvation. Remarkably, Whites and Blacks were added to the church, and Christ Temple Muncie became integrated like the “Mother Church” in Indianapolis (Fairley 50-2). Some of the early saints included: Sisters Mattie Bonner, Lauretha Jolly, Clara McIntosh, Carrie Oliver, Bro. and Sis. John McGee, Bro. & Sis. Ammon Roach, and Elder L.D. Webb.

These faithful founders were instrumental in building the first permanent church structure for Christ Temple at 903 S. Pershing Avenue in Muncie. The sanctuary was completed on 2 August 1932 and stood as a wonderful testament to the pioneering spirit of these committed Apostolic believers (Fairley 70).

Bishop Sanders’ dynamic holiness preaching earned him the epithet “Sin-Killing Sanders”, a soubriquet which followed him throughout his ministry. He was committed to doctrine and sanctified living, and the early members of Christ Temple walked a straight line before the Lord!

PAS District Elder Hosea Barnes was saved under the bishop’s ministry in 1957. “He was misunderstood,” said Eld. Barnes, “People thought he was rough, but he was a lovely, lovely man. He was a man that loved God and loved God’s people, but he was hard against sin.” According to Eld. Barnes, Bishop Sander’s final message to the Christ Temple family was “Do Not Be Deceived by Any Man!” He warned the church against falling away from true holiness. “If he could see what’s going on now [in God's Church], he would just cry, cry, cry,” said Eld. Barnes. Reminiscing about his early Christian life, Eld. Barnes declared: “It was the most glorious time of my life, just being under his ministry. I couldn’t walk much in those days just shouting and speaking in tongues!” (Barnes, Interview).

On 13 April 1972,j during the Sunday morning service, an unforgettable miracle occurred at Christ Temple. The congregation had sung “God Will Take Care of You”, and Bishop was leading the reading of Psalm 23 when a gunman entered the building. The saints began praying and pleading the blood of Jesus. Faith faltered a bit when someone shouted: “Everyone hit the floor!” Many attendees obeyed, but Bishop Sanders remained seated despite the gunman’s threat: “I’m going to kill Bishop Sanders!” The gun was fired, and the bullet traveled through the pulpit, grazed Bishop’s hand, followed through his suit-coat sleeve and out through the back of his chair (Fairley 93-94). God protected Bishop Sanders, and the chair remained on the platform at Christ Temple as a testimony of divine intervention.

Just months later, God called Bishop home to Heaven. I often pass the tomb of Bishop Oscar and Sis. Hattie Sanders in Beech Grove Cemetery, who are buried near my pastor Ronald W. Perry, and remark that the Trump of God will soon rob the ground of these saints who sowed such precious seed in the Earth. Bishop Sanders, who befriended and mentored so many young ministers, will reap in eternity the fruit of his Godly influence and tireless labor. His life is an example to us of the power of becoming a living witness of God’s Spirit and spreading the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sources:

Barnes, Hosea. Personal Interview. 20 Dec 2006.

“Christ Temple Church Past Leaders.” The Muncie Times. 16 Oct 1997, 7 (20), p. 33.

Fairley, David L. Moved by Such a Man. David Fairley Publications, Muncie, IN: 1980.


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