Archive for the ‘Garfield Thomas Haywood’ Category

Glenn Cook: Oneness Apostle

19 October, 2010

As the Azusa Street meetings began to produce concentric waves of revival throughout Los Angeles and Southern California, many holiness ministers visited the mission at 312 Azusa Street to contend with William Seymour, the African American leader of the burgeoning Pentecostal group, concerning his strange new doctrine of speaking in tongues.  One of the early preachers to withstand Bro. Seymour was Glenn A. Cook, who was conducting holiness tent meetings at Seventh and Spring Streets in Los Angeles.  Cook was deeply impressed by Seymour’s humility and patience and began to attend the Pentecostal meetings.  He eventually apologized to Bro. Seymour for his “hard sayings” and spent five weeks in heartfelt repentance and spiritual agony before receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost: 

I felt that I was really lost and unless I received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues I would miss all.  When I had just about given up all hope, the Holy Ghost fell on me as I lay in bed at home.  I seemed to be in a trance for about twenty-four hours and the next day in the meeting began to speak in tongues.

Bro. Cook proved to be an important asset to the work of the Azusa Mission and was soon ordained an elder by Bro. Seymour.  A former news reporter and a printer by trade, Cook assisted with the publication of The Apostolic Faith, the mission’s international publication, answered correspondence, and handled the mission’s finances. 

            In December 1906, Bro. Cook began an effective evangelistic campaign throughout the West, Midwest and South, spreading the Pentecostal message.  He arrived in Lamont, Oklahoma where “quite a number were tarrying and waiting for Pentecost.”  Hungry souls traveled to his meetings from over 100 miles away.  Heading eastward, he delivered the doctrine to Mother Mary Moise in St. Louis then on to Chicago.  In Indianapolis, he held powerful meetings, where several members of the Christian Missionary Alliance received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, including the Flower family, defectors from Dowie’s Zion who later became influential leaders in the Assemblies of God.  In an Apostolic Faith report, Cook accurately predicted that Indianapolis would become “a center of power, being an inter-urban railway center like Los Angeles.”  Cook was gladly received by a number of Church of God in Christ adherents in the South, while their bishop, Charles H. Mason, was on site at Azusa receiving the Holy Ghost. 

            In 1914, Cook was evangelizing in the east when he received a letter from Frank Ewart, who was conducting meetings in Los Angeles “stating that he and a number of my friends had started a tent meeting and were baptizing people in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ewart invited Cook to return to Los Angeles to assist in the work.  He accepted Ewart’s scriptural message, and he and Bro. Ewart rebaptized one another in a rented trough.  “During the following months,” wrote Bro. Cook, “the great revival broke out, many hundreds being baptized in the Name of Jesus.” 

            Bro. Cook’s acceptance of the doctrine of the mighty God in Christ placed him in the ranks of the Oneness Pentecostals, who were transforming the movement with a deeper revelation of Jesus Christ.  As a church planter, Cook took up the burden to revisit the works he had helped to found in 1906 and 1907 with the Oneness message:

During the spring of 1915, the call came to me from the Lord to go back East and carry the message to the places where several years before I had carried the message of the Holy Ghost baptism with speaking in tongues.  My first stop was St. Louis, where I visited the Rescue Home of Mother Moise . . . Before leaving St. Louis, Mother Moise, Ben Pemberton, and about forty others were baptized in the Name of Jesus in the Mississippi River.

Afterward, he traveled on to Indianapolis where:

. . . the saints were prepared and hungry for the new message.  Great crowds turned out from the beginning, people coming in from different points in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois.  During the thirty days of the meeting, I was informed by those who kept a record that some 469 were baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Among those baptized were G.T. Haywood, L.V. Roberts, the new Bishop [Samuel N.] Hancock, Brother [T.C.] Davis, and about all the leaders of that day.  The Lord made a clean sweep, leaving few Pentecostal people in te city who were not baptized in the Name of Jesus.

Throughout his lifetime, Cook continued to promote the powerful message of baptism in the Name of Jesus and the fullness of the Godhead in Christ.  He contributed articles to a number of Apostolic circulars including The Blessed Truth, The Herald of Truth, and Meat in Due Season.  He continued a deep friendship with Bro. Frank Ewart, who introduced him to the Oneness truths, and worked alongside him in Pentecostal ministry in Los Angeles, where he pastored a work in Belvedere.  When he died in 1948, Bro. Glenn A. Cook was memorialized as a trailblazer.  The seeds of truth that he scattered throughout the United States as an apostle of the Faith continue to bring forth a mighty harvest.

 

 

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

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.

‘Til Death Do Us Part: Early Pentecostals on Divorce and Remarriage

2 September, 2007

In August 2007, high-profile “Pentecostal” evangelists Juanita Bynum and Paula White announced that they are leaving their husbands.    While these tele-evangelists are not Apostolic and are not representative of the Pentecostal norm, it is troubling that their decisions have had little impact on their respective ministries.  The Church is always vulnerable to cultural influences, and the divorce and remarriage question, which is thoroughly treated by Jesus Christ and the Apostles, continues to be interpreted and reinterpreted in the modern Church.  Early twentieth century Pentecostals (both Oneness and Trinitarian) were vehemently opposed to Christian divorce, and their writings reveal the honest and sometimes controversial struggles to deter marital dissolution, to define the conditions for sanctioned separation, and to provide for spiritual reconciliation. 

In The Apostolic Faith, William Joseph Seymour, leader of the Los Angeles Azusa Street Mission, describes new converts to the Pentecostal faith who believed that God’s call superseded their commitment to family and home:  “Many homes today have been wrecked and brought to naught through false teaching.  Wives have left husbands and gone off claiming that the Lord has called her to do mission work, and to leave the little children at home to fare the best they can” (Seymour, “Bible Teaching . . .” 3).  He also admonishes others who “have come to think that it is a sin for them to live as husband and wife,” concluding, “It is no sin to marry” (Seymour 3).  Incidentally, Seymour’s own 1908 marriage to Jennie Evans Moore, a fellow worker at Azusa, precipitated the exodus of some workers, including Florence Crawford and Clara Lum who began a mission in Portland, Oregon (Sanders 110-113). 

In an effort to clarify Azusa’s stand on the issues of divorce and remarriage, Seymour took a catechetical approach in a January 1908 article.  “On what grounds did the Lord Jesus teach that a man and wife could separate?” Seymour’s response admits that fornication constitutes biblical justification for divorce, however he posits:  ” . . . but he has no right to marry another according to the Scripture, while she lives” (Seymour, “Questions . . . ” 2).  In answer to the question:  “Do you have preachers and evangelists of the Apostolic Faith that have two wives or two husbands?” Seymour acknowledges a transition in his understanding of the issue.  Initially, the mission did ordain converts who were divorced and remarried before their conversion, “thinking that everything was under the Blood.”  However, he concludes:  “But after searching the Scriptures, we found it was wrong; that the widow was to be the wife of one man and the bishop was to be the husband of one wife” (Seymour, “Questions . . . ” 2). 

Charles H. Mason, original presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, shared Seymour’s view that conversion did not release a saint from marital entanglements before regeneration.  In fact, Mason openly criticized “Elder C” [Bro. Glenn Cook], who was teaching that baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ remitted sins, including divorce and adultery:

. . . the anti-Christ also put into Elder C. to say that those who had other men and women’s husbands and wives before they came to light that they did not have to leave them that [sic] the water washed it all away, he would put before them 1 Cor. 6:9-11.  But ye are washed now.  That meant to him, any man that had another man’s wife or another woman’s husband before they got washed, that the washing made it all right to stay on, one with another and go on doing the same things that they did before only the washing made it so they could do it and it would not [sic] longer be a sin.  (Mason 81)

Here we have evidence of the primitive Pentecostal idea that divorce and remarriage could only be corrected by divorcing the subsequent spouse and returning to the first.  Bro. Cook clearly opposed this interpretation for those who had so sinned before their baptism.

            Like C.H. Mason, G.T. Haywood initially taught that converts to the Apostolic Faith must make restitution by returning to his or her original spouse, but he recognized the error of this teaching and is in agreement with Bro. Cook’s assessment:  ” . . .when a man repents and is baptized in ‘water and the Spirit’ he is a new creature in Christ, which is the church, his body.  The fact that God sets him in the body is a proof that God has judged his case and exonerated him from all sins and mistakes of the past . . .” (Haywood 116). 

            While most Pentecostals believed that divorce was allowable in the case of fornication, there was a universal rejection of remarriage.  Discussing the “exception clause” from Matthew 19.9, Seymour wrote:  “Jesus makes it very plain.  If the innocent party marries, they are living in adultery” (Seymour, “The Marriage Tie” 3).  Andrew Fraser, an Assemblies of God pastor from Chicago, wrote a very plain treatment of the issue in 1915:

The Bible then grants no permission to marry again while one’s companion is living. But some one asks, What about Matt. 5:32 and Matt. 19 :9? Doesn’t it say “except for fornication?” Yes, but the “except for fornication” pertains to the putting away and has absolutely nothing to do with any permission for the parties to marry again. We yield the point as to the putting away, but this fact stands forth clear and unquestioned that there was absolutely no permission given for re-marriage during the life-time of either party. No one can violate this express command without becoming an adulterer in the sight of God. (9)

Stanley Frodsham, another early AG pastor and historian, wrote similarly: 

There is however a basis for the inference that adultery is a legitimate ground for divorce in Jer. 3:8 in which Jehovah says, “When for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce.” But there is clearly no ground for remarriage given in this scripture. God kept the door of repentance always open.  (9)

Bishop Haywood declares: “In the church if a brother and sister, being married separate and marry another while either of the other is living, they are living in adultery . . . When such as this takes place then it is time for the church to act.  We could not stand clear before God and permit such to be carried on in the House of God” (Haywood 118).  Yet more plainly, he writes:  “In the church of God, there is to be no divorcing to remarry.  In the world it is bad enough, but when we come into the Body of Christ, (I Cor. 12.12-13) such practices are no longer to be tolerated” (Haywood 123).

These early Pentecostals conscientiously divided the Scriptures, protecting both the souls of the flock from the stain of sin and the Body of Christ from reproach.  While there are points of contention and disagreement in their writings, Pentecostal pioneers universally agreed that Scripture forbade divorced believers from remarrying during the lifetime of their first spouse.  Despite their rigidity on the subject, all agreed that God’s mercy was extended to all transgressors, and the blood of Christ was powerful to save and cleanse.  Stanley Frodsham wrote:  “Is there no hope for the adulterer?  Yes there is hope” (9).  While the Church must combat the worldly paradigm of dissolving flawed relationships, we must also extend to those without and within the Body of Christ heartfelt mercy as conduits of God’s healing and compassion, tempering the letter of the Law with the Spirit of Jesus Christ who absolved the sinful woman at the well saying, “Neither do I condemn thee:  go and sin no more” (Jn. 8.11).

Works Cited

 

Fraser, Andrew.  “Marriage and Divorce:  “But from the beginning it was not so.”  Latter Rain Evangel.  8 (1) Oct 1915, pp. 6-14.Frodsham, Stanley H.  “Marriage and Divorce.”  The Pentecostal Evangel.  No. 707 23 July 1927, p. 9.

Haywood, Garfield T.  God’s Word Exhorted, Revealed, and Prophesied.  Indianapolis:  Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Church, 1990.

Mason, Mary.  The History and Life Work of Elder C.H. Mason Chief Apostle and His Co-Laborers.  Memphis:  Church of God in Christ, 1924.

Sanders, Rufus G.W.  William Joseph Seymour:  Black Father of the Twentieth Century Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement.  Sandusky, OH:  Alexandria Publications, 2001.

Seymour, William J.  “Bible Teaching on Marriage and Divorce.”  The Apostolic Faith 1 (5) Jan 1907, p. 3.

—.  “The Marriage Tie.”  The Apostolic Faith 1 (10) Sep 1907, p. 3.

—.  “Questions Answered.”  The Apostolic Faith 1(11) Oct-Jan 1908, p. 2.

 

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.