The Early Church
The day of Pentecost (historically recorded to have taken place in 30 A.D.) produced the long awaited baptism of the Holy Ghost. It first fell on the apostles, and eventually encumbered a number totaling 120 that were gathered together in the upper room. The early church was not without a witness to the power of the Holy Ghost or the Name of Jesus.
After Peter preached his heart convicting sermon, 3000 souls responded, and were added to the church that same day. All that believed Peter’s words were identified with Christ by being baptized into his Name, and were filled with the Holy Ghost.
Some of the first known departures from the Apostolicity of the church were imposed on Christian believers during the first “Ecumenical Council ” in church history – taking place at Nicea in 325 A.D. Although the theological argument at Nicea was not directly associated with the development of the Trinity, (bearing strong connotations such as the identity of Jesus Christ, and his place in the Godhead) it did however, lay the ground work for a full development of this doctrine, and, the soon adoption of its theological position into post-apostolic church history.
However, Nicea 325 A.D. did produce one of the first realized departures from the apostles doctrine by changing the baptismal formula from, “into the Name of Jesus Christ”, to the titles, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The second Ecumenical Council was held at Constantinople in 381 A.D., at which time the Roman Emperor, Theodious I, adopted the tenents of the Trinity, and made it the legal state religious views of the Empire.
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The Cane Ridge Revival in 1801
America’s victory over the British in the Revolutionary War, ushered in a time of expansion and prosperity. Settlers headed west to seek free lands, a new life, and more freedom. As the population of the frontier grew, so did a sense of religious indifference. Methodist circuit riders traveled hundreds of miles to reach out and become the only church that these rugged people knew. Camp meetings became popular as people looked forward to a break from the hard frontier life.
In the Bluegrass State of Kentucky, about 20 miles outside of Lexington, people traveled from all over to experience a touch from God. Scott Ross conducted his investigation of revivals with what has been called the most important camp meeting in American history – the Cane Ridge revival. This outpouring set the western frontier ablaze.
Some have asked, “What were the events that led to the Cane Ridge revival? Cane Ridge was in Kentucky in 1801. It started as a communion service, and it began with a Presbyterian serving communion. It was kind of a community communion service, and a woman had a manifestation of the Holy Ghost.
These extraordinary services exploded into the Cane Ridge camp meeting. The firey preaching started at sun up, and didn’t stop until well into the night. many people fell to their faces as the weight of their sins struck them cold. Others sang, and danced as they felt the presence of God in their midst. Thousands flocked to Cane Ridge to experience a touch from God.
But as you look at Cane Ridge, it had the Pentecostal manifestations that some of the other revivals didn’t have. For instance, people would fall like timber before a sharp ax. When you look at the interviews, they would fall out of agony as in the phrase, “I was scared to death.” “I was so scared that I couldn’t move”, and they would lay on the ground for two or three days out of agony – agonizing to pray through until they got saved.
The Cane Ridge revival changed the western frontier because from it exploded these circuit rider preachers who went everywhere planting churches. These churches became points of evangelization. These were the great things that changed the frontier from being a place of what we would call the wild west, with all types of lawlessness, to people wanting law and order because God had come into their life.
The Cane Ridge revival has gone down in the history books as a very ” human” affair. Yet for a brief moment in time, people praised, groaned, shouted, danced and came face to face with the living God. This encounter changed their lives forever.
Cane Ridge Camp Meeting
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Catholic Apostolic Church
Port Glasgow, Scotland (1830)
Something supernatural took place in Edward Irving’s church in Port Glasgow, Scotland, as a revival of charismatic gifts broke forth. This was the exciting beginning of the Catholic (not Roman) Apostolic Church of Scotland. These events would eventually circum-navigate the world, and influence millions of people, including the Christian Church of North America.
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The Catholic Apostolic Christian Church
Zion City, Illinois (1893)
Rev. John Alexander Dowie
Reverend John Alexander Dowie was born in 1847. He was a sickly child, and at the age of 13 his family migrated to Australia. At the age of 20, he decided to enter the ministry, and began to prepare for the University. In 1875, he moved to the Sydney suburb of Newton. There, he became convinced of the practical message of divine healing.
In 1878, Dowie left the Congregational Church, and launched an independant ministry. First in Sydney, and later in Melbourne. In 1888, Dowie his wife, and their two children migrated to the United States. After two years of healing evangelism, which took him to many parts of the country, Dowie established a base of operations in Evanston, Illinois in 1890. In 1893, he began conducting services in his spacious, Zion Tabernacle. In 1895, John Dowie organized his followers into the Apostolic Catholic Church (not associated with Roman Catholicism).
Being intensly evangelistic, he stressed consecration and holiness. In 1901, he reasserted his restorationist hopes. In 1904, he told his followers, which numbered approximately (6000) to anticipate the full restoration of Apostolic Christianity. Dowie’s end-time expectations, his message of divine healing , and his restorationist vision made him an important forerunner of the modern Pentecostal movement. Rev. Charles F. Parham was highly influenced by Dowie’s message. Many of Dowie’s followers accepted Pentecostal views. Some, became prominate leaders in a movement that regarded itself as an end-time restoration. Most Pentecostal leaders with roots in Dowie’s restoration movement affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Some, however, moved on into the Oneness Movement.
In September 1905, Dowie suffered a stroke. While traveling in the interests of both his health, and his Zion City ministry in 1906, he lost control of his community. Individuals there had suffered severly as a result of financial mismanagement. Dowie died in 1907, disgraced and ignored by most of the thousands who had acclaimed him.
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The Christian & Missionary Alliance (1887)
Rev. Albert Benjamin Simpson
Simpson was born in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada as the third son and fourth child of James Simpson, Jr. and Janet Clark. Author Harold H. Simpson has gathered an extensive genealogy of Cavendish families in Cavendish: Its History, Its People. His research establishes the Clark family (A.B. Simpson’s mother’s side) as one of the founding families of Cavendish in 1790, along with the Simpson family, and he traces common ancestors between Albert B. Simpson and Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables.
The young Albert was raised in a strict Calvinistic Scottish Presbyterian and Puritan tradition. His conversion of faith began under the ministry of Henry Grattan Guinness, a visiting evangelist from Ireland during the revival of 1859.  Simpson spent some time in the Chatham, Ontario area, and received his theological training in Toronto at Knox College, University of Toronto. After graduating in 1865, Simpson was subsequently ordained in the Canada Presbyterian Church, the largest of the Presbyterian groups in Canada that merged after his departure for the United States. At age 21, he accepted a call to the large Knox Presbyterian Church (closed in 1971) in nearby Hamilton, Ontario.
In December 1873, at age 30, Simpson left Canada and assumed the pulpit of the largest Presbyterian church in Louisville, Kentucky, the Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church. It was in Louisville that he first conceived of preaching the gospel to the common man by building a simple tabernacle structure for that purpose. Despite his success at the Chestnut Street Church, Simpson was frustrated by their reluctance to embrace this burden for wider evangelisticendeavor.
In 1880, Simpson was called to the Thirteenth Street Presbyterian Church in New York City where he immediately began reaching out to the world with the gospel. Beside active evangelistic work in the church, he published a missionary journal, The Gospel in All Lands, the first missionary journal with pictures. Simpson also founded and began publishing an illustrated magazine entitled The Word, Work, and World. By 1911, this magazine became known as The Alliance Weekly, then Alliance Life, and is now called a.life. It is the official publication of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, in the USA and Canada.
By 1881, after only two fruitful years at Thirteenth Presbyterian, he resigned in order to begin an independent gospel ministry to the many new immigrants and the neglected masses of New York City. Simpson began informal training classes in 1882 in order to reach “the neglected peoples of the world with the neglected resources of the church”. By 1883, a formal program was in place and ministers and missionaries were being trained in a multi-cultural context (This school was the beginning of Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary). In 1889, Simpson and his church family moved into their new home at the corner of 44th St. and 8th Av. called the New York Tabernacle. This became the base not only of his ministry of evangelism in the city but also of his growing work of worldwide missions.
Simpson’s disciplined upbringing and his natural genius made him a most effective communicator of the Word of God. His preaching brought great blessing and converts wherever he preached and his unique gospel of Jesus became known as the Four Fold Gospel: “Jesus our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King”. The Four Fold Gospel is symbolized in the logo of the C&MA : the Cross, the Laver, the Pitcher and the Crown. He came to his special emphasis in ministry through his absolute Christ-centeredness in doctrine and experience.
Plagued by illness for much of his life since childhood, Simpson experienced divine healing after understanding it to be part of the blessing of abiding in Christ as Life and healing. He emphasized healing in his Four Fold Gospel and usually devoted one meeting a week for teaching, testimonies and prayer on these lines. Although such teaching isolated him (and the C&MA) from the mainline churches that either did not emphasize or outright rejected healing, Simpson’s uncompromising trust in the Word and power of God kept him steadily forging ahead of his times without criticism or rancor with those who disagreed.
Simpson’s heart for evangelism was to become the driving force behind the creation of the C&MA. Initially, the Christian and Missionary Alliance was not founded as a denomination, but as an organized movement of world evangelism. Today, the C&MA plays a leadership role in global evangelism.
In his 1890 book, A Larger Christian Life, Simpson discussed his vision for the church:
He is showing us the plan for a Christian church that is much more than an association of congenial friends to listen once a week to an intellectual discourse and musical entertainment and carry on by proxy a mechanism of Christian work; but rather a church that can be at once the mother and home of every form of help and blessing which Jesus came to give to lost and suffering men, the birthplace and the home of souls, the fountain of healing and cleansing, the sheltering home for the orphan and distressed, the school for the culture and training of God’s children, the armory where they are equipped for the battle of the Lord and the army which fights those battles in His name. Such a center of population in this sad and sinful world! 
His missionary vision is illustrated by these words of his hymn, “The Missionary Cry”:
During the beginning of the twentieth century, Simpson became closely involved with the growing Pentecostal movement, an offshoot of the Holiness movement. It was common for Pentecostal pastors and missionaries to receive their training at the Missionary Training Institute, now Nyack College, Nyack, New York, that Simpson founded. Because of this, Simpson and the C&MA had a great influence on Pentecostalism, in particular the Assemblies of God and the Church of the Foursquare Gospel. This influence included evangelistic emphasis, C&MA doctrine (especially on healing and his articulation of a “fourfold gospel”), and Simpson’s hymns and books. 
There eventually developed a severe division within the C&MA organization over “the initial evidence doctrine” within Pentecostalism. While Simpson and the C&MA wholeheartedly embraced the Filling of the Holy Spirit and all the spiritual gifts, including tongues, they could not embrace the position that only tongues would be the initial evidence for that Baptism experience.
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The Original Apostolic Faith Movement
1901 ~ Present
Rev. Charles Fox Parham
The history of 20th century Pentecostalism as we know it in North America, began in the humble life of a man who’s heart was hungry for a deeper and more fulfilling walk with God. It was a long journey filled with many trials and tribulations.
Charles Fox Parham was born June 4, 1873 in Muscantine, Iowa. When he was five, his parents, William and Ann Maria Parham moved south to Cheney, Kansas. They truly lived as, and considered themselves to be American pioneers. As a child, Charles experienced many debilitating illnesses, including, encephalitis, and rheumatic fever. These unfortunate confrontations with pain, and even death would greatly impact his adult life. In his biography, his wife (Sarah) wrote, “Charles was not a strong boy, but was weak, and sick a good part of the time”.
When Charles was twelve his mother passed away. As the family gathered around her bed as she was dying, she turned to Charles and said, ‘Charlie, be good’. He never got away from those words. The words “be good” made a deep impression on his heart, and influenced him in later years to consecrate his life to God, and the work of the ministry.
In his own words, Charles Parham said, “At six months of age, I was taken with a fever that left me an invalid. For five years I suffered with dreadful spasms. At nine years of age, I was stricken with the first case of inflammatory rheumatism, virtually tied up in a knot; with other complications I suffered much. I took medicines of various kinds, and one of them destroyed the lining of my stomach, and dwarfed me so I did not grow for three years.
Even before his conversion at the age of thirteen, Charles Parham felt an attraction to the Bible, and a call to preach. He began conducting revival meetings in local Methodist churches when he was fifteen. The services, by Parham’s assessment, met ” marked results.” It seemed only natural that such promise be cultivated by formal training, and at seventeen he entered Southwest Kansas College at Winfield, to prepare for the Methodist ministry.
The national panic of 1893 temporarily damaged Southwest Kansas’ rise in academic prosperity. Hard times deleted the available pool of students. Matters worsened when the college dormitory burned in 1894. By the spring of 1895 enrollment had dropped immensily. One of the casualities of the economic crises was the young preacher Charles F. Parham. His formal education came to an end when he failed to register to the 1893-94 school term. There was more to Parham’s uncompleted degree than financial panic. His experience at college had been an ordeal comparable to his childhood struggles. Priorities were a problem at first as he pursued the religious work with more vigor than the studies. He took the consequences personally, noting that such zeal caused him to be “severely reprimended and graded down in the examination.” What followed was an even greater crises for Parham. During his freshman year he not only curtailed his ministerial schedule, but gradually suffered a complete vocational relapse. He decided the Methodist ministry “with its starvation stations and ‘hard scrabble’ circuits, was not near so alluring as some other professions.”
A year later Parham turned his back on God, and the ministry. Deciding that he preferred the income, and social standing of a physician, he began medical studies. Soon his rheumatic fever returned, and it didn’t seem that Parham would recover. He trusted God for his healing, and the pain and fever that had tortured his body for months, immediately disappeared. However, the healing was not yet complete. Months of inactivity had left him a virtual cripple. His ankles were too weak to support the weight of his body, so he staggered about walking on the sides of his feet. In December, 1891 Parham renewed his commitments to God, and the ministry, and was instantaneously, and totally healed.
From this time on Parham went forth proclaiming not only that Jesus saves, and sanctifies, but that He also heals. He preached in schoolhouses, homes or whatever was open for the gospel. He preached to people of various faiths. A little later he pastored in some Methodist churches. He preached Sanctification as a definite second work of grace as taught by John Wesley, and the early Methodist. He soon left “sectarian churchism” as he called it, and entered the Evangelistic work where he saw hundreds commit their lives to Christ, and were healed by the power of God.
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Bethel Healing Home
In 1898, a “Divine Healing Home” was established on the corner of 4th and Jackson Streets, in Topeka, Kansas, which Parham called Bethel. The purpose of Bethel Healing Home was to provide home like comforts for those who were seeking healing, while prayer was made for their spiritual needs as well as their bodies.
At Bethel Healing Home, special studies were given to ministers, and evangelists, and many workers were instructed in Bible truths, and trained for gospel work. They taught salvation, healing, sanctification, the second coming of Christ, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, although they had not yet recieved the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Also they practiced water baptism by immersion, and partook of the Lord’s Supper.
Concerning the last days of the Healing Home, Charles Parham wrote, ” Deciding to know more fully the latest truths restored by latter day movements, I left my work in charge of two holiness preachers, and visited various movements, such as Dowie’s work who was then in Chicago; the Eye Opener work of the same city; Malone’s work in Cleveland, Dr. Simpson’s work in Nyack, New York, Sanford’s ‘Holy Ghost and Us’ work at Shiloh, Maine, and many others. I returned home fully convinced that while many had obtained a real experience in sancification, and the anointing that abideth, there still remained a great outpouring of the power, for Christians who were to close out this age. Through underhanded scheming, and falsehoods, the ministers I left in charge of my work had not only taken my building, but also most of my congregation. My friends urged me to claim my own, but the Word says, ‘We have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also, and if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also’. To practice His Word was our highest aim. ”
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The First Pentecostal Periodical
It was at the Bethel Healing Home in 1899, that Charles Parham printed the first Pentecostal Periodical of its kind. It was called The Apostolic Faith. In the beginning, this paper was published twice every month. Sarah Parham writes, “Each number of the paper was filled with wonderful testimonies to healing, and sermons containing the teachings of the Home”.
Charles F. Parham is commonly referred to as, the Father of 20th Century Pentecostalism. When he proclaimed to the world in 1901, that speaking in tongues was the physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Pentecostal truths of the early church were considered to be wonderfully restored. Parham gave his life to retore the revolutionary truths of healing, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the Christian church at large.
However historians may view Charles F. Parham, he holds a very significant place in modern church history, and to those within the rank and file of the Apostolic Faith, will always view him as the original projector of the modern movement. The “Pre-Nicene Apostolic Faith Church” became dominated for 1250 years by “Post Apostolic Catholicism.” Many people on the European continent did not survive the pressure that came from Rome to compromise their Apostolic faith traditions or suffer great persecution, and thus became absorbed into the dictation of mainstream of Roman Catholic practices. Although the Pre-Nicene Apostolic Faith Church survived the persecutions of the Medivel Inquisitions, it lacked the clear distinction of aggression of its earlier identity beginning at Jerusalem in (30) A.D. That is until the dawning of the 20th century. Parham is credited with giving Christendom (especially those who embraced spiritual gifts) something in which to reconnect to and identify with. There was no place for a Methodist “tongue talker” to remain in the Methodist church. Therefore, all Holy Spirit filled believers had to make a mass exodus from their respective Reformation churches, and join ranks with the newly formed Apostolic Faith Movement. It has been said that the 20th Century Pentecostal revival has proven to be one of the greatest “spiritual awakenings” since the Day of Pentecost.
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The Topeka Outpouring
~January 1, 1901~
After the trifled experience of losing his Healing Home to so called friends, brother Parham went to his room to fast and pray, and be alone with God, that he might know His will for his future work. In his own words, Parham wrote, “Many of my friends desired me to open a Bible School, and by a series of wonderful miracles, we were enabled to secure what was then known as ‘Stones Folly’ a great mansion patterned after an old English Castle, located just one mile west of Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas.
Stones Folly is the name given to the mansion built at a cost of about $40.000 in boom days by a wealthy Englishman named E.R. Stone. Stone made considerable money in the boom of Topeka real estate, built the mansion modeled after the medieval castles he had seen in Europe.
The grounds of Stones Folly covered ten acres, planted in evergreens, and fruit trees. The interior was finished throughout with no two rooms being trimmed with the same variety of wood. Mahogany, Rosewood, Magnolia, Walnut… Black and White, Curly Pine, Birds-Eye Maple, Butternut, and Oak, came from all parts of the country are said to have been used in the inside decorations.
Outside, the house was striking in appearence. It was of three-stories, surmounted with towers, and battlement. The walls were of heavy studding with a brick veneer, and stone cornices. Mr. Stone could not keep the pace he had set, and when the boom broke, he was forced to part with his pretentious dwelling. After the Stone family left, several tenents tried to occupy the place, but it was too large for the use of an ordinary family, and was finally closed up. Eventually, the Parham School of Tongues procured the building, which was then owned by the American Bible Society.
Sarah Parham wrote, “We opened the Bible School at Topeka, Kansas in October, 1900 to which we invited all ministers, and Christians, who were willing to forsake all, sell what they had, give it away, and enter the school for study, and prayer, where all of us together might trust God for food, fuel, rent, and clothing. The purpose of this school was to fit men and women to go to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel as a witness to all the world before the end of the age.”
There were about forty students that made the decision to give up all, and follow after the will of God for their lives, and ministries. Their purpose in the Bible School was not to learn the things of God in their heads only, but to have each thing in the Scriptures wrought out of their hearts, and that every command that Jesus Christ gave should be literally obeyed. This can especially be seen in the way that Charles Parham baptized his converts. He came to understand that the command to baptize was prolific, and could not be anything less than what Jesus demanded.
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“The Latter Rain”
As Told By The Late Charles F. Parham
Re-printed in The Apostolic Faith – April 1951
We Opened the Bible School at Topeka, Kansas in October, 1900. To which we invited all ministers and christians who were willing to forsake all, sell what they had, give it away, and enter the school for study and prayer, where all of us together might trust God for food, fuel, rent and clothing. The purpose of this school was to fit men and women to go to the ends of the earth to preach, “This Gospel of the Kingdom.” Matt. 24:14 as a witness to all the world before the end of the age.
Our purpose in this Bible School was not to learn these things in our heads only but have each thing in the Scriptures wrought out in our hearts. And that every command that Jesus Christ gave should be literally obeyed.
No one paid board ot tuition, the poor were fed, the sick were entertained and healed, and from day to day, week to week, and month to month, with no sect or mission or known source of income back of us, God supplied our every need, and He was our all sufficiency in all things.
In December of 1900 we had had our examination upon the subject of repentance, conversion, consecration, sanctification, healing, and the soon coming of the Lord. We had reached in our studies a problem. What about the 2nd Chapter of Acts? I had felt for years that any missionary going to the foreign field should preach in the language of the natives. That if God had ever equipped His ministers in that way He could do it today. That if Balaam’s mule could stop in the middle of the road and give the first preacher that went out for money a “bawling out” in Arabic that anybody today ought to be able to preach in any language of the world if they had horse sense enough to let God use their tongue and throat.
But still I believed our experience should tally exactly with the Bible, and neither sanctification nor the anointing that abideth taught by Stephen Merritt and others tallied with the 2nd Chapter of Acts. Having heard so many different proofs as the evidence of their having the Pentecostal baptism, I set the students at work studying out diligently what was the Bible evidence of the baptism of the holy Ghost, that we might go before the world with something that was indisputable because it tallied absolutely with the Word.
Leaving the school for three days at this task, I went to Kansas City (Missouir) for three days services. I returned to the School on the morning preceding Watch Night services in the year 1900.
At about 10 o’clock in the morning I rang the bell calling all the students into the Chapel to get their report on the matter at hand. To my astonishment they all had the same story, that while there were different things occured when the Pentecostal blessing fell, that the indisputable proof on each occasion was that they spoke with other tongues. About 75 people beside the school which consisted of 40 student, had gathered for the watch night service. A mighty spiritual power filled the entire school.
Sister Agnes N. Ozman, (now LaBerge) asked that hands might be laid upon her to receive the Holy Spirit as she hoped to go to foreign fields. At first I refused, not having the experience myself. Then being further pressed to do it humbly in the name of Jesus, I laid my hand upon her head and prayed. I had scarcely repeated three dozen sentences when a glory fell upon her, a halo seemed to surround her head and face, and she began speaking in the Chinese language, and was unable to speak English for three days. When she tried to write in English to tell us of her experience she wrote the Chinese, copies of which we still have in newspapers printed at that time.
Agnes Ozman’s Handwriting in Chinese
(Continued) Seeing this marvelous manifestation of the restoration of Pentecostal power, we removed the beds from a dormitory on the upper floor, and there, for two nights and three days we continued as a school to wait upon God. We felt that God was no repector of persons, and what He had so graciously poured out upon one, He would upon all.
Those three days of tarrying were wonderful days of blessings. We all got past any begging or pleading, we knew the blessing was ours with ever swelling tides of praise and thanksgiving and worship, interspersed with thangsgiving and worship we waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
On the night of January 3rd, I preached at the Free Methodist Church in the City of Topeka, telling them what had already happened, and that I expected upon returning the entire school to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. On returning to the school with one of the students, we ascended to the second floor, and passing down along the corridor in the upper room, heard most wonderful sounds. The door was slightly ajar, the room was lit with only coal oil lamps. As I pushed open the door I found the room was filled with a sheen of white light above the brightness of the lamps.
Twelve ministers, who were in the school of different denominations, were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke with other tongues. Some were sitting, some still kneeling others standing with hands upraised. There was no violent physical manifestation, though some trembled under the power of the glory that filled them.
Sister Stanley, an elderly lady, came across the room as I entered, telling me that just before I entered tongues of fire were sitting above their heads.
When I beheld the evidence of the restoration of Pentecostal power, my heart was melted in gratitude to God for what my eyes had seen. For years I had suffered terrible persecutions for preaching holiness and healing and the soon coming of the Lord.I fell to my knees behind a table unnoticed by those upon whom the power of Pentecost had fallen to pour out my heart to God in thanksgiving. All at once they began to sing, “Jesus Lover of My Soul” in at least six different languages, carrying the different parts with more angelic voice than I had ever listened to in all my life.
After praising God for some time, I asked Him for the same blessing. He distinctly made it clear to me that He raised me up and trained me to declare this mighty truth to the world, and if i was willing to stand for it, with all the persecutions, heardships, trials, slander, scandal that it would entail, He would give me the blessing. And I said, “Lord I will, if You will just give me this blessing. ” Right then there came a slight twist in my throat, a glory fell over me and I began to worship Gos in the Swedish tongue, which later changed to otherlanguages and continued so until the morning.
Just a word: After preaching this for all these years with all the persecutions I have been permitted to go through with, misunderstanding anf the treatment of false brethren, yet knowing all that, this blessing would bring to me, if I had the time and was back there again I’d take the same way.
No sooner was this miraculous restoration of Pentecostal power noised abroad, than we were besieged with reporters from Topeka papers, Kansas City, St. Louis and many others cities sent reporters who brought with them professors of languages, foreigners, Government interpreters, and they gve the work the most crucial test. One Government interpreter claimed to have heard twenty Chinese dialects distincly spoken in one night. All agree that the students of the college were speaking of the languages of the world, and that with proper accent and intonation. There was no chattering, jabbering, or stuttering. Each one spoke clearly and distincly in a foriegn tongue, with earnestness, intensity and God-given unction. The propriety and decency of the conduct of each member of the bible School won the warment comment from many visitors.
Our first public appearance after others had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit was in Kansas City, in the Academy of Music, about January 21st. The Kansas City papers loudly announced our coming. Two columns appeared in the Kansas City Journal, with large headlines on the front page. These headlines, being the largest on the fron page, attracted the attention of the newsboys, andthey not knowing a Pentecost from a holocaust ran wildly up and down the street crying their papers, Pentecost, Pentecost, real all about the Pentecost.
I have on record the sermon preached on this occasion. The first upon the baptism of the Holy Ghost in all modern Pentecostal Apostolic Full Gospel movements. Also on file all that the papers had to say about these things in those days. Through great trials and persecutions we conducted the bible school in the city of Topeka itself, then on in Kansas City.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearance of Jesus Christ.” – Peter 1:7.
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The Importance of Water Baptism
Written by: Rev. Charles F. Parham (1902)
In the early stages of his ministry, Charles Parham struggled with the absoluteness of water baptism as it related to regeneration. But soon he had a clearer understanding, that not only did Jesus expect it from a believer, but that water baptism would be the emminant response of a believers faith in Christ, and one of the identifying marks of the A postolic faith. In his theology, Parham realized that as believers, we are buried with Christ by baptism into His death. In his book entitled, A Voice Crying In The Wilderness, which he first published in 1902, Parham deals with the subject of water baptism as it pertained to the doctrines of his Apostolic Faith Movement.
Parham writes, “For years after entering the ministry, we taught no special baptism of water, believing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to be the only essential one; having been marvelously anointed from time to time, and received the anointing that abideth, we put the question of water baptism aside. One day, while meditating alone in the woods, the Spirit said, ‘Have you obeyed every command you believe to be in the Word’. I answered, yes; the question repeated, and the same answer was given. The third time the question was asked, I answered, no! for like a flood, the covincing evidence of the necessity of obedience rushed in upon me, how Peter said, ‘Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ’. Was not this one baptism?”
“Then came the second; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Again Peter preceeded at once to baptize Cornelius, and all his house, who had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the Bible evidence of speaking with other tiongues. Thrusting aside all arguments, Peter replied,’Can any man forbid water, that these should be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we’. Paul did not recognize the baptism of John to repentance as sufficient, but rebaptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ before he would lay hands upon them that they might receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. These and other Scriptures were so convincing that the next day we were baptized by single immersion”.
Parham continues by saying, “I can well remember when we sought God in this cleansing, how some of the teachings we had believed to be so Scriptural, and some we had loved so dearly were wiped from our minds. Among them was triune immersion; we could not afterward find a single argument in its favor. One day at the Bible School we were waiting upon God that we might know the Scriptural teaching on water baptism. Finally, the Spirit of God said: ‘We are buried by baptism into His death’. Although we had known that for years, again the Spirit said: ‘God the Father and the Holy Ghost never died.” Then how quickly we recognized the fact that we could not be buried by baptism in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, because it stood for nothing, as they never died or were resurrected. So, if you desire to witness a public confession of a clean conscience toward God, and man, faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, you will be baptized by single immersion, signifying the death, burial, and resurrection: being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ”.
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Agnes Ozman’s Personal Testimony of being the first person to Receive the Holy Ghost at “Stones Folly” in Topeka, Kansas. (January 1, 1901)
Printed in the Apostolic Faith April – 1951
Agnes N. Ozman
We will let one of the students, Mrs. N.O. LaBarge, formerly Miss Agness N. Ozman, who was the first to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the school, give her testimony:
“I had been a Bible student for some years and had attended T.C. Horton’s Bible School at St. paul, Minnesota, and A.B. Simpson’s Bible School at New York City. Foir some time I had been doing mission work. In the fall of 1900 I was in Kansas City and heard that a bible School was to be opened at Topeka, Kansas. I had a desire to go to this school, and asked the Lord that it it was His plan for me to go, to provide the fare. A sister gave me more than enough to pay for my fare and so I felt assured it was God’s will for me to go. I was living by simple faith in the Lord, trusting Him to supply all my needs according to Phil. 4:19.
It was in October 1900, that I went to this school which was known as Bethel Bible college. We studied the Bible every day and did much work down town at night. Prayer was offered night and day continually in a special tower. I had many blessed hours of prayer in this upper room during the night watches. As we spent much time in the presence of God, He caused our hearts to be opened to all that is written.
I had some experience with the Lord, and tasted the joy of leading some souls to christ, and had some marvelous answers to prayer for guidance and in having my needs supplied. I was blessed with the presence of the Lord, who, in response to my prayer, healed some who were sick. like some others, I thought that I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at the time of consecration, but when i learned that the holy Ghost was yet to be poured out in greater fullness, my heart became hungry for the promised comforter and I began to cry out for an enduement with power from on high. At Times I longed more for the Holy Spirit to come in than for my necessary food. At night I had a greater desire for him than for sleep.
We were admonished to honor the blood of Jesus christ to do its work in our hearts, and this brought great peace and victory. A text often used was this, ‘ Now the God of peace has brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, thru the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, thru Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen’ (Hebrews 13:20-21)
As the end of the year drew near some friends came from Kansas City to spend the holidays with us. On watch night we had a blessed service, praying that God’s blessing might rest upon us as the New Year came in. During the first day of 1901 the presence of the Lord was with us in a marked way stilling our hearts to wait upon Him for greater things. The spirit of prayer was upon us in the evening. It was nearly seven o’clock on this first of january that it came into my heart to ask Brother Parham to lay his hands upon me that I might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was as his hands were laid upon my head that the holy Spirit fell upon me and I began to speak in tongues, glorifying God. I talked several languages, and ir was clearly manifest when a new dialect was spoken. I had the added joy and glory my heart longed for and a depth of the presence of the Lord within that I had ne4ver known before. it was as if rivers of living waters were preceeding from my innermost being.
The following morning I was accosted with questions about my experience of the night before. As i tried to answer i was so full of glory that i pointed out to them the Bible references, showing that i had received the baptism according acts 2:4 and 19:1-6. I was the first one to speak in tongues in the bible school and it seemed to me that the rest were wanting to speak in tongues too. But i told them not to seek for tongues but to seek for the Holy Ghost. I did not know at that time that anyone else would speak in tongues. I did not expect the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself to others as He did to me.
On January 2, some of us went down to Topeka to a mission. As we worshipped the Lord I offered prayer in English and then prayed in another language in tongues. A Bohemian who was present said that he understood what I said. some months later at a school house with others, in a meeting, I spoke in tongues in the power of the spirit and another Bohemian understood me. since then others have understood other languages I have spoken.
The hearts of other students were made hungry for the holy Spirit and they continued to tarry befor the Lord. On the 3rd of January some of the students went to the mission and others gathered in prayer at the Bible School praying for the holy Spirit. God answered their prayers by pouring out His Spirit and one after another began speaking in tongues and some were given interpretation.”
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The Wonderful History of the Latter Rain
By the Late Miss Lillian Thistlewaite “Sister In Law of Charles F. Parham “
Printed in the Apostolic Faith – April 1951
The first Shower of the Latter Rain – Bethel Bible School.
In the year 1900, Charles F. Parham, and his wife and family and a number of Bible students, gathered in the Bethel Bible School to study the Word of God, using no text book except the Bible.
The building procured for this school was known by the people of Topeka, Kansas, as the “Stone Mansion” of ” Stones Folly” because it had been patterned after an English castle, and he, having failed to “count the cost,” was unable to finish in the style planned. The beautiful carved staircases and finished woodwork of cedar of Lebanon, spotted pine, cherry wood and bird’s eye maple, ended on the third floor with plain wood and common paint.
The outside was finished in red brick and white stone with winding stairs that went up to an observatory on the front of the highest part of the building. There was also a cupola at the back of the building and two domes built on either side. Into one of these a door was cut, making a room large enough for a small stove, a table and a chair. This was known as the “Prayer Tower.” Volunteers from among the students took theirbturn of three hours watch; so day and night prayer ascended unto God. Sometimes a student would desire to spend the night in waiting before the Lord and this privilege was allowed.
When the building was dedicated for the school, while in preayer, on the top of the building, captain Tuttle, a godly man, who was with Mr. Parham said he (in a vision) just above the building a “vast lake of fresh water about to overflow, containing enough to satisfy every thirsty soul.” This we believe was the promise of the Pentecostal baptism which followed later.
There were about forty persons gathered here including the children. The method of study was to take a subject, learn the references on tha subject, also where each quotation was found, and present to the class in recitation as though they were seekers, praying praying for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon the message in such a way as to bring conviction.
Mr. Parham also taught through lectures. I shall never forget the one he gave on the Songs of Solomon. How we were all lifted into the heavenlies and the room seemed filled with the glory of God’s presence!
It was just before the Christmas holidays that we took up the study of the Holy Ghost/ Mr. Parham was going to Kansas City to conduct meetings there and to bring some friends back with him to spend Christmas and be present for the watch night meeting. before leaving, the following is the substance of what he said:
“Students, as I have studied the teachings of the various Bibls Schools and full gospel movements, conviction, conversion, healing and sanctification are taught virtually the same, but on the baptism there is a difference among them. some accept Stephan Merritt’s teaching of baptism at sanctification, while others say this is a baptism received through the “laying on of hands” or the gift of the holy Ghost, yet they agree on no definite evidence. Some claim this fulfillment of promise “by faith” without any special witness, while others, because of wonderful blessings or demonstrations, such as shouting or jumping. Though I honor the Holy Ghost in anointing power, both in conversion and in sanctification, yet I believe there is a greater revelation of His power. The gifts are in the Holy Spirit and with the baptism of the Holy Spirit the gifts, as well as the graces, should be manifested. Now, students, while I am gone see if there is not some evidence given of the baptism so there may be no doubt on the subject.
“We see the signs already being fulfilled that mark the soon coming of the Lord and I believe with John Wesley that at Christ’s second coming the Church will be found with the same power that the apostles and the early Church possessed.”
Thus closed the regular Bible lessons, for a time, but there was individual and collective prayer and study of the bible continuously.
On Mr. Parham’s return to the school with his friends, he asked the students whether thay had found any Bible evidence of the baptism of the holy Spirit. The answer was, unaninous, “speaking in other tongues. “
Services were held daily and each night. There was a hallowed hush over the entire building. All felt the influence of a mighty presence in our midst. Without any special direction, allmoved in harmony. I remember Mrs. Parham saying, “Such a spirit of unity prevails that even the children are at peace, while the very air is filled with expectancy. Truly He is with us, and has something more wonderful for us than we have known before.”
The service on New Year’s night was especially spiritual and each heart was filled with the hunger for the will of God to be done in them. One of the students, a lady (Agnes N. Ozman) who had been in several other Bible Schools, asked Mr. Parham to lay handsupon her that she might receive the Holy Spirit. As she prayed, her face lighted up with the glory of God and she began to speak with “other tongues. “
She afterward told us she had received a few words while in the Prayer Tower, but now her English was taken from her and with floods of joy and laughter she praised God in other languages.
There was very little sleeping among any of us that night. The next day still being unable to speak English, she wrote on a piece of paper, “Pray that I may interpret.”
The following day was Thursday. This day Mr. Parham observed as a day of special prayer and waiting upon the Lord. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., he believes to be the six hours Christ spent on the cross, so these hours were observed in special waiting on the Lord that all that was purchased upon Calvary should be wrought out in our individual lives. The “broken body” or the atonement for healing was especially honored in these meetings.
On this particular day the baptism of the Holy Ghost was sought earnestly, but no one received the gift. Having other duties in the home I had not searched the scriptures to know the bible evidence, nor heard the decision of those who had, but in my mind concluded as the gifts are in the Holy Ghost any of the nine gifts would prove the baptism; and as Paul said “desire earnestly the best gifts. ” I, feeling “faith” was the most to be desired was looking for this gift in some way to be manifested.
An upper room was set apart for tarrying before the Lord, and here we spent every spare moment in audible or silent preayer, in song or in just waiting upon Him. There was no confusion as only one prayed audibly at a time, and when more than one sang it was the same hymn. It was truly a time of precious waiting. His presence was very real and the heart-searching definite.
Mr. Parham was holding night services in Topeka and before leaving he said, “I don’t suppose I shall be able to understand any one of you when I return.”
Still I was not looking for “tongues” but some evidence from God, I didn’t know of what nature that would convince me I had the baptism. We prayed for ourselves, we prayed for one another. I never felt so little and utterly nothing before. A scrap of paper charred by a fire is the best description I can give of my feelings. Then through the Spirit this message came to my soul, ” Praise Him for the baptism for He does come in by faith through the laying on of hands.”
Then a great joy came into my soul and I began to say, “I praise Thee,” and y tongue began to get thick and great floods of laughter came into my heart. I could no longer think words of praise, for my mind was sealed, but mu mouth was filled with a rush of words I didn’t understand. I tried not to laugh for I feared to grieve the spirit. I tried to praise Him in English but could not, so I just let the praise come as it would in the new language given, with floodgates of glorywide open.
He had come to me, even to me to speak not of Himself but to magnify the Christ, – and oh, what a wonderful, wonderful Christ was revealed. Then I realized I was not alone for all around me I heard great rejoicing while others spoke in tongues and magnified God. I think Mrs. Parham’s language was the most perfect. Immediately following came the interpretation, a beautiful poem of praise and worship to Christ, proving the words of the Saviour – “When the Comforter is come” – “he shall not speak of himself” – “He shall teach you all things and bring to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.” Then as with a simultaneous move we began to sing together each one singing in his own new language in perfect harmony.
As we sang, “All hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and other familiar tunes, it would be impossible to describe the hallowed glory of His presence in our midst. The cloven tongues of fire had been seen by some when the evidence had been received. Mr. Parham came into the room while we were standing singing – kneeling he thanked God for the scene he was allowed to witness, then asking God if it was His will that he should stand for the baptism of the Holy Spirit as he had for healing, to give him the Bible evidence. His prayer was answered, the gift bestowed, and the persecution came also.
Never had such a hallowed joy, such a refined glory or such an abundance of peace, ever come into my life. The Comforter had come and the words of Jesus being brought continually to my remembrance as Scripture after Scripture was unfolded by day and by night filled me with a settled rest and quietness my soul had never known before, I lived in the heavenlies.
As we went into meetings it seemed impossible that any could resist the messages given. Some understanding the language were convinced but others fulfilled the prophecy, “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that they will not hear me, saith the Lord. ” I Cor. 14:21.
On one occasion a Hebrew Rabbi was present as one of the students, a young married man, read the lesson from the Bible. After services he asked for the Bible from which the lesson was read. The bible was handed him, and he said, “No not that one, I want to see the Hebrew Bible. That man read in the Hebrew tongue. “
At another time while Mr. Parham was preaching he used another language for some time during the sermon. At the close, a man arose and said, “I am healed of my infidelity; I have heard in my own tongue the 23rd Psalm that I learned at my mother’s knee.”
The Bible School building was sold. We moved to a building in Topeka where we stayed for a short time, then went to Kansas City. While living in Kansas City we heard that the building where Pentecost first fell was burned. This was not a surprise to us, as it had been turned into a road house and the rooms that once had heard only the voice of supplication and praise to God, had been desecrated by worldly revelry. Warning was given that such actions would not go unpunished for the house was dedicated to the Lord from its highest place of observation to the cellar.
In Kansas Citym Missouri, Mr. Parham held a Bible School, also meetings. During this time souls were saved, some received their baptism and others were healed. The persecutions were great and we were learning many lessons. In the third year of the work Gid mightily vindicated the cause and many souls were saved, wonderful healings took place, and the falling of the Pentecostal Baptism was very convincing.
I do not know to what denomination all belonged who received the baptism at Bethel Bible School, but some were Methodists, others Friends, and some Holiness, while many belonged to no denomination. There were only white persons present at the first Pentecostal shower. No colored people were ever in the school. As Mrs. Parham’s sister, it has been my privilege to be in their home or in touch with their work continually. To witness Mr. Parham’s zeal and untiring energy you would not believe it possible he had been a suffewrer for years until healed by the power of God.
The work of his ministry was conducted entirely on faith lines. He looked to the Lord to open the field of labor and was obedient to that which he felt to be His will, then left the results with God, who hath said, “His Word shall not return unto Him void.” His family was dear to him. He enjoyed doing the little things about the home, caringfor the children and giving the loveservice, which maked life worth living.
Soon after they were married he was given some land in the country, and I remember him saying to my sister, “If the Lord would only let me, we would have a little home, and raise chickens.” But choosing the “better part,” together they continued the life of service for others.
He taught as the discipline of the Movement he represented, and for his own life and practice, the keeping of the commandments of Jesus. He rejoiced in the opportunity to “overcome evil with good.” He also practiced the command to “Give to every man that asketh of thee, and to him that would borrow of thee, turn not away,” and God rewarded an hundred fold.
Many times he gave the last cent he had, or clothes and food that would be needed the following day; but the Scripture obeyed brought “good measure” returned, even to the running over. A marked characteristic of his work was his ability to reach all classes, the rich and the cultured, the poor and the outcast of society, with the same touch of understanding that makes of one common brotherhood all God’s creatures.
Having known the power of healing in his own life, and believing God’s promises are the same today for those who could believe, he prayed for the sick who were healed, even as sinners were delivered from the power of sin thru faith in the atonement. When Mrs. Parham first wrote me about the wonderful healings they were having among the people, I could hardly believe it possible. I knew Christ and the disciples healed the people and I aslo believed that Mr. Parham was healed, but I thought these were special cases.
I had a physical disorder that had troubled me for years,I would try the Lord and see if He would heal now as when here in person. God, searching the heart, knoweth all things. How great His patience and tender mercies toward us! He graciously healed me. later I contracted a cold resulting in a cough which instead of getting better grew worse till I was confined to bed. My mother and the others were anxious about me, feeling I should have a doctor. To this I could not consent for I had not only been healed myself but had seen many others healed thru prayer.
I remembered I had come for healing to prove God’s promises, now I felt God was proving me. They were prayin g for me at bethel bible School where Mr. and Mrs. Parham were incharge, yet I still remained sick. Later, Mr. Parham came into my mother’s home and prayed for me. I felt the healing virtue go thru my body and was entirely delivered. I thank God for His great love for His children; that He has purchased not only salvation for the soul but also healing for the body, which is the temple of the holy Ghost. I also thank God for His faithful messenger, who has been an inspiration and blessing to so many and truly given his Life as a living sacrafice in service for others, though his faith was often tried, as by fire.
Pentecostal History 2
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Trailblazing The Apostolic Faith
As Pentecostal historian, Dr. Larry Martin stated, “The 20th Century Pentecostal Movement in America was born on January 1, 1901 in Topeka, Kansas. For several months the fledging faith slept like a babe in a crib.
Kansas City, Missouri
It took a couple of years of crawling around before the Apostolic Faith Movement began to stand up on its feet with national recognition. However, on January 21st, 1901, just three weeks after Agnes Ozman became the first to be baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues at the Topeka Outpouring, Charles Parham took a small band of seven workers, and went to Kansas City. There, he hoped it would be the first place on a tour across the United States, and Canada, to carry the new Pentecostal message as he personally coined it.
For about two weeks, meetings were held in a small storefront building, at the Academy of Music at 1675, Madison Avenue, so that larger numbers of people could be accomodated. The result of this venture was rather minimal, with some response being reported. The missionary tour was quickly cancelled as a result of the disappointing response in Kansas City, thus they returned to Topeka.
In the middle part of February, 1901 Parham took twenty of his Bethel Bible School students with him to nearby Lawrence, to conduct his Apostolic Faith meetings. The remaining student body of the school remained in Topeka, to intercede for the revival. Each night in the Music Hall, meetings were conducted. During the daytime, the students did door-to-door witnessing.
While there were a few who were converted to Jesus Christ, with some testimonies of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the results were far from overwhelming, and to little avail. Therefore, Parham’s group returned to Topeka, and continued the curriculum of the Bible School on through the spring months.
Sarah Parham stated, “The people seemed slow to accept the truth. Some declared it was not the power of God, which enabled us to speak in tongues”. Charles Parham wrote concerning his disappointments, “Through great trials, and persecution in Kansas City, at which time I wrote the first book published by any Full Gospel people entitled, A Voice Crying In The Wilderness, in which was set forth what is now being taught in different movements throughout the world. Both the pulpit, and the press sought to utterly destroy our place, and prestige, until my wife, her sister, and myself, seemed to be standing all alone; Hated, despised, and counted as naught, for weeks and weeks, never knowing where our next meal was coming from, yet feeling that we must maintain ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’. When we had car-fare, we rode, when we did not, we walked. We entered every open door, but did not try to force doors open. When buildings were closed to us, we preached on the streets.”
Sarah Parham wrote, “We continued the fight until the spring of 1903, when a lady minister, who was brought into the faith when we had held a meeting in Lawrence in 1901, invited brother Parham to hold a meeting in a mission she had established in Nevada, Missouri. Here, the Lord blessed us, and we learned some needful lessons, as we saw some fleshly manifestations, and giving out of messages we had not witnessed before. Here, brother Parham carefully tested these things. The Word tell us to ‘try the spirits’ and ‘prove all things’. If we had not done so, brother Parham would not afterwards have known how to rebuke fanaticism, when it was manifest in such force and power.”
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El Dorado Springs, Missouri
During the summer months of 1903, the Parham’s felt led to go to El Dorado Springs, Missouri, where people came from all over the United States to try the virtue of the mineral spring water for the healing of their bodies. El Dorado Springs proved to be the biggest turning point in Parham’s ministry since the Topeka, outpouring.
The two photos above are where Brother Parham stood and preached to throngs of people in Eldorado Springs, M0. (1903)
El Dorado Springs Park
Sarah Parham wrote, “Brother Parham along with his workers stood at the corner of the park where the steps led down to the spring. People came by the hundreds to hear his message of salvation, healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many were converted and healed, witnessing to the truth from many different states”. Sarah continues, “Our home was continually filled with the sick and suffering, seeking healing, and God manifested His mighty power. Among the many that came to our home and was healed was a Mrs. Mary A. Arthur from Galena, Kansas”.
Rev. Mary A. Arthur
This occasion historically was the turning point for the floundering Apostolic Faith Movement, and is responsible for building the momentum that eventually led to the ‘great revival’ in Galena, Kansas in 1903. Likewise, it opened the doors to evangelize North America within a few short years.
It’s exciting to think how just one person can make that much difference, but in God’s perfect timing, He brought Evangelist Charles F. Parham and Mary A. Arthur together, and that pre-determined meeting changed the entire direction of Pentecost as we now know it.
Parham’s choice of El Dorado Springs is indicative of his desire to rekindle his former ministry of divine healing, and as this account reveals, the expectations became a miraculous reality. Mary Arthur was afflicted with dyspepsia for fourteen years. She also suffered from prolepsis, hemorrhoids, and paralyses of the bowel. But her greatest distress was her eyes. The optical nerves were afflicted in a way which might culminate at any time in sudden blindness. Her right eye was virtually blind from birth. With many other things wrong with her, nothing she did seemed to help her afflictions.
Her husband was a leading merchant in the city of Galena, Kansas. He had sent Mary to El Dorado Springs several years in a row, trying to find some kind of relief from the mineral water, but with no results. After Mr. Arthur encouraged her to go just one more time, she hesitated, knowing that nothing had changed before. With so many physical problems, and no help in sight, the enemy was tempting her with thoughts of suicide. After she consented to go just one more time, Mary left Galena, and arrived in El Dorado Springs in August, 1903. One day as she was in the park, she heard a small number of people singing nearby. Then she heard a preacher announce, “If there be any here seeking God for salvation, or healing in their bodies, come to my house tomorrow morning at nine o’clock”.
As Mary listened to brother Parham teaching the Word of God, her faith begin to build, until she was able to believe without doubting that God was willing to heal her of all her diseases. After brother Parham prayed for her, the healing power of God liberated her body, setting her free from all her infirmities. She hastened back to Galena, to tell her husband. Her family and friends joined in her rejoicing. From that time on there was someone in the Arthur home almost continually to hear her wonderful story. This went on until the whole town had heard of her healing, which she received on August 17, 1903. Afterward, joy and gladness filled her soul continually. Sarah Parham wrote, “Because of Mary Arthurs healing, the way was opened for us to go to Galena, Kansas, and the wonderful revival which followed was begun in her home “.
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The Arthur Home
Sarah Parham wrote, “We came to Galena, Kansas in the fall of 1903, and immediately began holding meetings in the Arthur home at 311 Galena, Street. Though a large and commodious home, it soon proved to be too small to accommodate the crowds of hungry people who came to hear the message of the Full Gospel, which brother Parham had brought to them”.
On the left is the exterior of the Arthur home, on the right is the living room where Parham preached in the fall of 1903.
As the crowds outgrew the Arthur home, more room was needed to accommodate the throngs of hungry people who came to hear the message of the apostolic faith. Therefore, a large tent was erected on a vacant lot adjacent to the Arthur home, and the revival continued until after Thanksgiving. As cold weather approached, the ” Grand Leader” building, an immense double store-room was used to continue the meetings. Though the building would accommodate one thousand people, the doors were many times thrown open as the crowds overflowed into the streets.
Two meetings were held each day, and the entire city of Galena, with a population in 1903, reaching somewhere in the vicinity of 80,000 was greatly moved. Large numbers came from surrounding towns, and God stretched forth His hand to heal by the hundreds, and many “signs and wonders” were wrought. Hundreds were converted, and filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Apostolic Faith Mission, in Galena, Kansas (1907)
As we continue to view Charles F. Parham from a religious perspective, not only was he an apostolic preacher, but he was also the key figure in the development of many of the customs and doctrines that are still being taught in the 21st century Apostolic Movement. For several years, Parham was the Projector of the entire Apostolic Faith Movement. He was solely dependant on his own revelations concerning the virtues of God’s Word. Parham was a genius when it came to interpreting some of the issues that remain prevalent to this day. He had an early insight concerning the virtues of water baptism. What he saw in light of the Scriptures was truly Apostolic in origin. He rejected the triune baptismal formula of dipping a person three times, once for each person of the Trinity. Instead, (as has been stated earlier) he taught that baptism should be done by immersion, one time in the name of Jesus Christ.
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One of the great and notable personalities to come out of the Galena revival (and there were many that went on to become preachers) was Howard Archibald Goss. Around the turn of the 20th century , Galena, Kansas was a booming mine town. Lead and Zinc was being mined around the clock, which was the reason for the population explosion at that time. People came from all over the United States to work in the mines, and the Goss family was not without exception.
In 1903, Howard Goss was in high school, and a practicing infidel. He had many doubts concerning the existence of God, but after Mary Arthur was healed, the entire town of Galena became interested in the revival that was shaking their town. Many of Goss’ classmates began attending the revival, and several received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Edith Blumhofer wrote, “Mary Arthur’s sister was a high school teacher, and one day during school she challenged Howard to accept Parham’s message. First, curiosity, then a haunting sense of spiritual need attracted Howard to the meetings, which had now moved from the tent located at the Arthur’s home to the “Grand Leader” warehouse on Main Street as winter approached”.
Howard Goss later recalled, “Miracles and wonders seemed to be a constant occurrence”. Among them of course were healings and tongue speaking. Goss claimed that he owed his conversion to Christianity to hearing people speak in other tongues. After attending the meeting, and seeing God at work, to his own surprise, he became convinced that somewhere there existed a being that men called God. On one of the coldest days of the winter, Howard Goss, along with one hundred other converts was baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ in Spring River. It wouldn’t be until February, 1906, that Howard would receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost while riding on a train with other apostolic believers from Orchard, Texas to Alvin, Texas, on his way to one of Charles Parham’s Apostolic Faith meetings.
In 1915, after the Oneness position had been established among Pentecostals, Howard Goss was re-baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, because he had not fully realized the significance of his earlier baptism, as was performed by Charles Parham.
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Baxter Springs Kansas
In 1904, Brother Parham began taking his meetings to some of the nearby communities. Although the crowds were not as great in Baxter Springs (a distance of about ten miles west of Galena) yet, a genuine revival was reported, with many accepting the apostolic faith message. Brother Parham was so impressed with the town of Baxter Springs (the first cow-town ever built in America) that he eventually made it the permanent headquarters for the Apostolic Faith Movement. Parham purchased the old”Zellekin ” brewery in Baxter Springs, and turned it into a multi-purpose facility including his home, the headquarters for the Apostolic Faith Movement, and the printing press for the periodical entitled The Apostolic Faith. Scattered throughout the regions of southeast Kansas, and southwest Missouri, are numerous building, and landmarks where Brother Parham once held Apostolic meetings.
The Apostolic Faith Headquarters in Baxter Springs, Kansas
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As the result of a meeting Parham held in Melrose, Kansas, another meeting was held in Keelville, Kansas, located about ten miles west of Baxter Springs. In 1907, with the help of his converts (who donated the land and labor) Brother Parham erected the first Pentecostal Church ever built in America. The building is still being used today as a Pentecostal church. Up to this time, revivals and special meetings were conducted in store-fronts, tents, or school houses.
The dedication of the first Pentecostal church ever built in America.
Keelville, Kansas (1907)
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In the year 1904, Brother Parham reaffirmed his commitment to the Apostolic Faith Movement. He ceased not to travel, and wherever he went, he established Pentecostal works. Through this endeavorment he was able to build a successful network of missions in and around his headquarters in Baxter Springs. Parham took on a burden for the neighboring city of Joplin, Missouri. In the fall of 1904, he pitched a tent on the corner of 15th and Joplin, Street, where he held a seven-week revival campaign. Joplin is located about sixteen miles east of Baxter Springs, and a mere five miles from Galena. Joplin served as the commercial center of the “lead and zinc” district.
From the very first meeting, a great interest was manifested from the public. Deep conviction came upon the people, and many were soon converted to the Apostolic faith, leaving their denominational affiliations behind, they embraced the divine healing message that Brother Parham preached, and numerous healings were soon being reported. The revival continued in the tent for about four weeks, then it was moved inside at the “Roosevelt Flats” located at 906 Main Street. This building still stands today.
Apostolic Faith Mission, 906 Main Street, Joplin, Missouri (1904)
According to Parham, the Joplin meeting proved to be such a great success, that it rivaled the one held the year before in Galena, Kansas. Hungry souls congregated from all points, including those traveling from the surrounding states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. The move of God was greatly witnessed and felt during this meeting. Over four hundred were filled with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and many were taken to a local creek, and were baptized in the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
With the success of the Joplin meeting, came much “criticism and ostracism” from the local press and community leaders, prompting Parham to have a complete nervous breakdown. His wife (Sarah) wrote, “My husband was taken very sick during the Joplin revival. His physical strength giving away under the stress of constant labors. Unable to eat for some time, he lingered between life and death. His life would have been despaired of had it not been for our trust in God, who answered the prayer of faith, and in love and mercy reached down and touched him by power divine, and restored him to health. God gave him a new lease on life, and he continued on in the service of God, working for lost humanity”.
“Though the battle had been hard, and the work strenuous, a great victory had been won for God, and souls, for during the year 1904, many hundreds of people from Carthage, Missouri through Southeastern Kansas, to Miami, Oklahoma, were now believers in the power of the faith once delivered to the saints”.
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The Houston Connection
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Oyler, of Orchard, Texas, attended the meeting in Galena, Kansas (1903) and both of them received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. They also attended the meeting held in Joplin, Missouri in the fall of 1904, where they met a Mrs. Hall. On March 21, 1905 she accompanied them back to Orchard, Texas. They told the people of Orchard, of the “full gospel” which had meant so much to them for both soul and body. They prayed that the Lord would send Brother Parham there for a meeting, and God answered prayer.
Bryan Hall, Houston, Texas (1905)
The town of Brunner became one continuous flame of revival power. A large tabernacle was erected where throngs of hungry people came to be healed and filled with the Holy Ghost. Meetings were also held in Richmond, Katy, Alvin, Angelton, Needleville, Crosby and many other places. The power of God was present to save, sanctify, heal and baptize with the Holy Ghost.
Brunner Tabernacle, Houston, Texas (1905-06)
Apostolic Faith Church, Katy, Texas (1905)
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After having returned again to Baxter Springs, for commitments, on Monday, October 16, 1905 Brother Parham and about twenty workers said goodbye, leaving the depot at Columbus, Kansas around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, about 8:30 a.m. they arrived at Orchard, and were warmly welcomed by God’s children. They remained there till October 21, holding services day and night, and showers of blessings refreshed hungry souls. On Saturday, October 21, 1905 they left Orchard enroute for Houston. They had to lay over at Alvin for about five hours. Two street meetings were held, one in the morning and one after lunch. The people of Alvin were so pleased that as the group was getting ready to leave, several citizens went to Brother Parham and requested him to return and hold some meetings in their town. The first building used as an Apostolic Faith Church in Alvin, Texas was a warehouse seen in the picture below.
Apostolic Faith Church, Alvin, Texas (1905)
The Apostolic Faith Headquarters and Bible School, Houston, Texas (1906)
Pentecostal History 3
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Bishop William J. Seymour
Probably the most recognized individual to attend he Bible Training School in Houston was William J. Seymour. In the book entitled Charles F. Parham, Sarah Parham (the wife of the noted evangelist) wrote on page (137) the following discourse concerning Seymour, “One colored man, William J. Seymour, became a regular attendant each day for the Bible lessons. In Texas, you know, the colored people are not allowed to mix with the white people as they do in some of the other states; but he was so humble and so deeply interested in the study of the word that Brother Parham could not refuse him. So he was given a place in the class and eagerly drank in the truths which were so new to him and found for his hungry soul.”
As part of the purpose of this project, we are attempting to give a correct analogy of the facts. While some historians are writing a different story concerning Seymour being constrained to the hallway and not allowed to enter into the class with the other students, this story has never before been written about with such clarity concerning the facts from those who were present. A second confirmation of this story comes from the late Howard Goss, who writes on page (73) in his book entitled, The Winds of God. “A Negro Baptist preacher from Houston was selected – a Brother Seymour, who had often attended the morning session of the school…” A third confirmation comes from a lecture given by Rev. Pauline Parham (Charles Parham’s daughter-in-law) in 1989. She states that William Seymour humbly asked Bro. Parham if he could sit outside and take in the lessons, but that Bro. Parham gave him a place in the class-room with the other students to learn the truths about the Pentecostal message. A fourth confirmation comes from, The Apostolic Faith Report dated, May, 1921. It states on page (5) “For the benefit of many who have been misled, we’ll right here drop a word that our readers may fully understand the matter thoroughly. In this training school in the city of Houston, Texas, one Negro man by the name of Seymour, became a regular attendant, taking his seat in the classes: and it was here that he gained the full knowledge of the Full Gospel message.”
If the Jim Crow laws of the south were so manifestly enforced, until William Seymour was not allowed into the classroom with the white student, maybe it would be responsible for us to ask why he was allowed into the building period, seeing that all the other students were white. This seems to be historically unbalanced with the keeping of the laws of that day. However you may view Parham’s response to Seymour, there are at least (4) historical eyewitness accounts that place him diametrically in the class with the other students soaking up the biblical truths of the Apostolic faith.
Although Brother Seymour never received the baptism of the Holy Ghost while under Parham’s mentorship, he nevertheless accepted it as part of the restored power to the church. Brother Parham’s desire was that Seymour would reach the black community in Houston with the Pentecostal message, however, when a black woman named Neely Terry visited Houston, she became impressed with Brother Seymour, and requested that he come to Los Angeles and assume the pastorate of the small church that she attended. After conferring with Parham about going to California, arrangements were made, and early in the spring of 1906, Parham collected enough train fare to send Seymour on his way to Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles which Seymour entered was a bustling city, which at that time was in a boom that would taper off in the years following the Panic of 1907, only to be resumed by 1910. It was the fastest growing city in the nation from 1880 to 1910. Los Angeles had doubled its population in the 1890’s, and more than tripled it in the next decade. The sprawling, residential character of the city reflected the rural, anti-urban sentiments of its inhabitants. And while industrial growth was even then eroding the rustic aspects of the city, the frontier ethos was still strong, and would linger on well into the future. As 1906 drew near, Los Angeles was ripe for a spiritual awakening. Several churches in the area had been praying for a revisiting of the first century Pentecost.
When Seymour preached his first sermon at the Holiness Church on Santa Fe Street, he took as his text Acts 2:4, and declared that speaking in tongues was the Bible evidence of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, although he had not yet received the impartation him self. After consulting with J.M. Roberts, the President of the Southern California Holiness Association, Mrs. Julia Hutchins the pastor felt that this teaching was contrary to accepted holiness views, and the following night she padlocked the church door to keep Seymour out, even though most of her members had accepted his message. With nowhere to stay in the city, and no money for lodging, Seymour was invited to stay at the home of Richard and Ruth Asberry. Seymour began holding cottage prayer meetings and Bible studies in the living room of the Asberry home located at 214 Bonnie Brae Street.
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The Azusa Street Revival
The Azusa Street Revival was a historic Pentecostal revival meeting that took place in Los Angeles, California and is the origin of the Pentecostal movement.  It was led by William J. Seymour, an African American preacher. It began with a meeting on April 14, 1906, and continued until roughly 1915. The revival was characterized by ecstatic spiritual experiences accompanied by miracles, dramatic worship services, speaking in tongues, and inter-racial mingling. The participants were criticized by the secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at the time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 20th century.
In 1904, the Welsh Revival took place, during which approximately 100,000 people in Wales joined the movement. Internationally, evangelical Christians took this event to be a sign that a fulfillment of the prophecy in the Bible‘s book of Joel, chapter 2:23–29 was about to take place. Joseph Smale, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Los Angeles, went to Wales personally in order to witness the revival. Upon his return to Los Angeles, he attempted to ignite a similar event in his own congregation. His attempts were short-lived, and he eventually left First Baptist Church to found First New Testament Church, where he continued his efforts.  During this time, other small-scale revivals were taking place in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Texas. By 1905, reports of speaking in tongues, supernatural healings, and significant lifestyle changes accompanied these revivals. As news spread, evangelicals across the United States began to pray for similar revivals in their own congregations. 
In 1905, William J. Seymour, the one-eyed 34 year old son of former slaves, was a student of well-known Pentecostal preacher Charles Parham and an interim pastor for a small holiness church in Houston, Texas. [ 4] Neely Terry, an African American woman who attended a small holiness church pastored by Julia Hutchins in Los Angeles, made a trip to visit family in Houston late in 1905.  While in Houston, she visited Seymour’s church, where he preached the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, and though he had not experienced this personally, Terry was impressed with his character and message. Once home in California, Terry suggested that Seymour be invited to speak at the local church.  Seymour received and accepted the invitation in February 1906, and he received financial help and a blessing from Parham for his planned one-month visit.  [ 3]
Seymour arrived in Los Angeles on February 22, 1906,  [ 7] and within two days was preaching at Julia Hutchins’ church at the corner of Ninth Street and Santa Fe Avenue. [ 5] During his first sermon, he preached that speaking in tongues was the first biblical evidence of the inevitable baptism in the Holy Spirit. [ 8] On the following Sunday, March 4, he returned to the church and found that Hutchins had padlocked the door. [ 9] Elders of the church rejected Seymour’s teaching, primarily because he had not yet experienced the blessing about which he was preaching. [ 3] Condemnation of his message also came from the Holiness Church Association of Southern California with which the church had affiliation. [ 2] However, not all members of Hutchins’ church rejected Seymour ‘s preaching. He was invited to stay in the home of congregation member Edward S. Lee, and he began to hold Bible studies and prayer meetings there.
Seymour and his small group of new followers soon relocated to the home of Richard and Ruth Asberry at 214 North Bonnie Brae Street.  White families from local holiness churches began to attend as well. The group would get together regularly and pray to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. On April 9, 1906, after five weeks of Seymour’s preaching and prayer, and three days into an intended 10-day fast,  Edward S. Lee spoke in tongues for the first time.   At the next meeting, Seymour shared Lee’s testimony and preached a sermon on Acts 2:4 and soon six others began to speak in tongues as well,   including Jennie Moore, who would later become Seymour’s wife.  A few days later, on April 12, Seymour spoke in tongues for the first time after praying all night long. [ 13] 
News of the events at North Bonnie Brae St. quickly circulated among the African American, Latino and White residents of the city, and for several nights, various speakers would preach to the crowds of curious and interested onlookers from the front porch of the Asberry home. Members of the audience included people from a broad spectrum of income levels and religious backgrounds. Hutchins eventually spoke in tongues as her whole congregation began to attend the meetings. Soon the crowds became very large and were full of people speaking in tongues, shouting, singing and moaning. Finally, the front porch collapsed, forcing the group to begin looking for a new meeting place.  A resident of the neighborhood described the happenings at 214 North Bonnie Brae with the following words:
They shouted three days and three nights. It was Easter season. The people came from everywhere. By the next morning there was no way of getting near the house. As people came in they would fall under God’s power; and the whole city was stirred. They shouted until the foundation of the house gave way, but no one was hurt.
The group from Bonnie Brae Street eventually discovered an available building at 312 Azusa Street in downtown Los Angeles, which had originally been constructed as an African Methodist Episcopal Church in what was then a black ghetto part of town.  The rent was $8.00 per month. [ 15] A newspaper referred to the downtown Los Angeles building as a ” tumble down shack”. Since the church had moved out, the building had served as a wholesale house, a warehouse, a lumberyard, stockyards, a tombstone shop, and had most recently been used as a stable with rooms for rent upstairs. It was a small, rectangular, flat-roofed building, approximately 60 feet (18 m) long and 40 feet (12 m) wide, totaling 4,800 square feet (450 m2), sided with weathered whitewashed clapboards. The only sign that it had once been a house of God was a single gothic-style window over the main entrance. 
Discarded lumber and plaster littered the large, barn-like room on the ground floor. [ 16] [ 17] Nonetheless, it was secured and cleaned in preparation for services. They held their first meeting on April 14, 1906. [ 10]  [ 18] Church services were held on the first floor where the benches were placed in a rectangular pattern. Some of the benches were simply planks put on top of empty nail kegs. [9 ]  There was no elevated platform, as the ceiling was only eight feet high. [18 ] Initially there was no pulpit. Frank Bartleman, an early participant in the revival, recalled that “Brother Seymour generally sat behind two empty shoe boxes, one on top of the other. He usually kept his head inside the top one during the meeting, in prayer. There was no pride there…. In that old building, with its low rafters and bare floors…” [ 2]
The second floor at the now-named Apostolic Faith Mission [ 10] housed an office and rooms for several residents including Seymour and his new wife, Jennie. It also had a large prayer room to handle the overflow from the altar services below. The prayer room was furnished with chairs and benches made from California Redwood planks, laid end to end on backless chairs. 
By mid-May 1906,  anywhere from 300 [ 3] to 1,500 people would attempt to fit into the building. Since horses had very recently been the residents of the building, flies constantly bothered the attendees. [ 18] People from a diversity of backgrounds came together to worship: men, women, children, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, rich, poor, illiterate, and educated .  People of all ages flocked to Los Angeles with both skepticism and a desire to participate.   The intermingling of races and the group’s encouragement of women in leadership was remarkable, as 1906 was the height of the ” Jim Crow” era of racial segregation,< a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azusa_Street_Revival#cite_note-Washingtonpost-9″>  and fourteen years prior to women receiving suffrage in the United States.
Worship at 312 Azusa Street was frequent and spontaneous with services going almost around the clock. Among those attracted to the revival were not only members of the Holiness Movement, but also Baptists, Mennonites, Quakers, and Presbyterians.  An observer at one of the services wrote these words:
No instruments of music are used. None are needed. No choir- the angels have been heard by some in the spirit. No collections are taken. No bills have been posted to advertise the meetings. No church organization is back of it. All who are in touch with God realize as soon as they enter the meetings that the Holy Ghost is the leader. 
The Los Angeles Times was not so kind in its description:
Meetings are held in a tumble-down shack on Azusa Street, and the devotees of the weird doctrine practice the most fanatical rites, preach the wildest theories and work themselves into a state of mad excitement in their peculiar zeal. Colored people and a sprinkling of whites compose the congregation, and night is made hideous in the neighborhood by the howlings of the worshipers, who spend hours swaying forth and back in a nerve racking attitude of prayer and supplication. They claim to have the “gift of tongues” and be able to understand the babel. 
Charles Parham was also sharp in his criticism:
Men and women, white and blacks, knelt together or fell across one another; a white woman, perhaps of wealth and culture, could be seen thrown back in the arms of a big ‘buck nigger,’ and held tightly thus as she shivered and shook in freak imitation of Pentecost. Horrible, awful shame! 
The first edition of the Apostolic Faith publication claimed a common reaction to the revival from visitors:
Proud, well-dressed preachers came to ‘investigate’. Soon their high looks were replaced with wonder, then conviction comes, and very often you will find them in a short time wallowing on the dirty floor, asking God to forgive them and make them as little children. 
Among first-hand accounts were reports of the blind having their sight restored, diseases cured instantly, and immigrants speaking in German, Yiddish, and Spanish all being spoken to in their native language by uneducated black members, who translated the languages into English by “supernatural ability”. 
Singing was sporadic and in a cappella or occasionally in tongues. There were periods of extended silence. Attenders were occasionally slain in the Spirit. Visitors gave their testimony, and members read aloud testimonies that were sent to the mission by mail. There was prayer for the gift of tongues. There was prayer in tongues for the sick, for missionaries, and whatever requests were given by attenders or mailed in. There was spontaneous preaching and altar calls for salvation, sanctification and baptism of the Holy Spirit. Lawrence Catley, whose family attended the revival, said that in most services preaching consisted of Seymour opening a Bible and worshipers coming forward to preach or testify as they were led by the Holy Spirit.  Many people would continually shout throughout the meetings. The members of the mission never took an offering, but there was a receptacle near the door for anyone that wanted to support the revival. The core membership of the Azusa Street Mission was never much more than 50–60 individuals with hundreds and thousands of people visiting or staying temporarily over the years. 
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The Apostolic Faith Periodical
Below is a copy of the first “Apostolic Faith” periodical produced by the William J. Seymour. This volume describes how the baptism of the Holy Ghost fell on believers in Los Angeles, CA. 1906.
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Highlights of the Latter Rain Outpouring (1906)
By: Elder Glenn A. Cook
In the early Spring of 1906, Brother Seymour arrived here (in Los Angeles) from Houston, Texas. He had been a hotel waiter in Indianapolis. While there (Houston) he attended meetings for some time where the people spoke in tongues. The Holy Ghost had fallen in Topeka, Kansas, quite a while before this, and had spread as far as Houston. Brother Seymour did not receive his baptism at the Houston meeting. The doctrines preached by this people were very confusing, and there was a lack of love and power in meetings. The writer later on learned about this visitation Topeka. The leader became puffed up, declared himself the progenitor of the movement, and would strut around with a high silk hat like a dictator. The results that followed could not be otherwise but great confusion in doctrine and the absence of the spirit of love.
When Brother Seymour arrived in Los Angeles he did not have the baptism, but surely was meek and humble, and could preach love and a clean life as a preparation for the baptism. He received the baptism a short time after the power fell. He gathered together a small group of people, black and white, and started a meeting in the old church building.
A few benches and chairs, with a packing case for the pulpit was the equipment. Every time he preached he would quote from Mark 16 and Acts 2:4, insisting that no one had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost unless they spoke in tongues. This caused a great deal of opposition by the holiness people who began to attend the meetings. The writer was preaching in a tent at Seventh and Spring Streets when some one told him about the meeting. He went to the meeting, thinking he might be able to straighten the people out in their doctrine, as he had been professing this experience for a number of years.
I was not alone in this effort, as many more preachers and gospel workers began together to contend with Brother Seymour. But the contention was all on our part. I never have met a man who had such control over his spirit. The Scripture that reads, “Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them,” was literally fulfilled in this man. No amount of confusion and accusation seemed to disturb him. He would sit behind that packing case and smile at us until we were all condemned by our own activities.
Although most of the holiness people who attended continued to reject the preaching, all had a secret reverence and admiration for this man who really lived what he had been preaching for years, of sanctified life. It was the wonderful character of this man whom God had chosen that attracted the people to keep coming to this humble meeting.
The meeting had been running for about a month when the power fell. My, what a change took place. When I saw Sister Moon’s shinning face and heard her sing in the Spirit, I felt as though I had never had any experience. That old building seemed to have been annexed to Heaven and had become the habitation of legions of the Heavenly Host. People began to pour in from everywhere, representing all religious beliefs.
After asking forgiveness of Brother Seymour and all the rest, for all my hard sayings, I fell on my face and began to pour out my soul in prayer, but could not receive the Holy Ghost. Then followed a period of about five weeks of repenting and prayer. My eyes were seldom dry during this time, and although quite a number had spoken in tongues and the building was filled with people, I seemed to get farther and farther away from God.
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 I began to speak in tongues.
The crowds kept increasing until the people could not get in the building. It was on a little used side street, and soon the street was filled with people from every walk of life, and every nationality. The meetings would start at about nine in the morning and run continually until far into the night. There was such a drawing power about the place that saint and sinner wanted to be there all the time.
I was working on a daily newspaper at the time, but my work had lost all interest. I would weep and cry as I went about my work until my wicked companions said that I was going crazy. About this time the Lord spoke to me and told me to quit my work, as He had something for me to do. I resigned my position, and a few days afterwards Brother Seymour made me his business manager without salary. No one received any pay in the meeting, and no offerings were taken. A box was on the wall by the door, and all support came through this box or in the mail unless handed to workers by individuals.
A few days after I took my new position, a rancher came to me and said the Lord had spoken to him in the field to come to town immediately and give me $20.00. I was just about broke when he met me, and after handing me a $20.00 gold piece, said that the Lord had told him to give me $20.00 every month, which he continued to do for over a year. There was never any lack of funds for every purpose needed, although money was seldom if ever mentioned in the meetings.
One of the great features of the meetings was the singing of heavenly anthems in the spirit. I was seldom away from that old building for nearly a year, except to go home to sleep, and much of the time slept in the building in a room adjoining Brother Seymour. We all seemed to live in an atmosphere that was separated from the rest of the world. Evil speaking, and even evil thinking was all departed. We were saturated with the spirit of love and prayer and the days passed all to swiftly.
The Apostolic Faith paper was soon published, telling about the wonderful outpouring. The first number issued was 5,000 copies, and soon 50,000 was the number. People began to pour in from all over the united States and Canada, and from different parts of the world. The place was packed morning until far into the night, with many receiving the baptism all the time. We had one communion service and footwashing that lasted until day break. Over twenty different nationalities were present, and they were all in perfect accord and unity of the spirit.
In recent years I have heard preachers speak lightly of the Azusa Street Meeting, saying they had just as good meetings under their ministry. The old timers can only feel sorry for such and pity them.
In this meeting you are not only baptized in the Holy Ghost, but also lived in such a heavenly atmosphere of love that you never can forget it, and all else seems so empty and void. Even as I write these pages, the memory of the meeting comes floating back, my eyes begin to swim with tears, and such a longing and yearning seizes me for a return of such a condition. I can feel that sacred fire still burning, and the conviction that God will again visit His people in a like manner before the present dispensation ends.
If God’s people would only come together and forget about doctrines and leaders whose vision is blurred by building churches and collecting tithes, having only one objective, and that, to be filled with all the fulness of God, I know God would answer prayer.
Doctrines and teachings have their proper place in the Gospel plan, but that over-powering, drawing power of the love of God must come first, a lack of this love that nothing can afford.
Pentecostal History 4
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The Oneness Movement
Although the theological doctrine of ” One God” manifestly revealed as, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, has been taught since the inception of Christianity, (30 A.D.) the Church of Jesus Christ (apostolic) beginning on the day of Pentecost had to endure many hardships, trials, and persecutions throughout the centuries. While at first, the persecutions were physical, they were initiated as the result of the religious shift from Judaism to Christianity.
Beginning from within the Jewish community and the Sanhedrin court, the persecution soon mounted into an all out attack from the Roman government as well. Then, after Constantine became Emperor of Rome, his attraction to Christianity would eventually turn into a religious war against some of the traditional doctrinal positions of the early church that were taught by Jesus himself and the apostles. Namely, the validity of water baptism in Jesus’ name during the Nicene Council in 325 A.D., as Constantine I conferred the new baptismal formula of the titles, “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” upon the Christian movement.
Then, in 381 A.D. the Council of Constantinople, completely outlawed any form of religious practice other than those formulated and adopted by the emerging religious regime of Roman Christianity. It was at the Council of Constantinople that Emperor “Theodious I” introduced the newly formulated doctrine of the ” Trinity”, and by pure force of the State, made the “Trinity” the only recognized doctrine allowed to be practiced by Christians. Thus, any other theological practices such as “Oneness”, (Modalism, Sabellianism, or Arianism) were considered an act of “treason” and were punishable by severe persecution, imprisonment, and even death.
This caused the “Church of Jesus Christ” (apostolic) to seek liberty of worship in un-orthodox methods. Apostolic Christians were literally forced to go “underground” to practice their Oneness beliefs, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. For centuries, they had truly become a secret society. History bears out that the world has never gone without a witness to these “Apostolic” truths and practices. Some stalwart believers refused to seclude themselves, choosing to take the highroad, by practicing “Apostolicism” in the open. Untold throngs of Apostolic Christians, suffered, and were put death by the “Roman Papacy” especially during the Inquisition Periods. Over the centuries, the “Apostolic” message became somewhat less realized, especially during the “Protestant Reformation” as the “Reformers” without fear or favor began developing methodologies of religious freedom in their quest to break free from the Church of England and its Catholic practices.
Although the Pentecostal experience became a valid force for “Denominational Christianity” to recon with in 1901, (due to the “Great” Spiritual Outpouring of the Holy Ghost at “Stones Folley” in Topeka, Kansas, and the spreading of its impact) – it was not until 1913, that the Oneness of God in Christ again became realized on a global scale, and along with it, the doctrine of water baptism in Jesus’ name again became an imposing doctrine, just as it was during the early days of the apostles.
The late Frank J. Ewart wrote: “At the great world-wide camp meeting held in Arroyo Seco, California in 1913, there were hundreds of preachers present from all over the nation and Canada.” One day a preacher spoke from the passage in Jeremiah 31:22. The very suggestion of God’s doing a new thing struck fire in the minds and hearts of the saints, and from then on to the end of the camp, one could hear expressions of hope that God would soon do a new thing for His people. The new thing was exhibited to those who had ears and eyes to perceive it.
The occasion was a baptismal service in the pool near the big tent. Brother Scott had selected Evangelist R.E. McAlister to preach on the subject of water baptism…He concluded his sermon abruptly by saying, “The apostles invariably baptized their converts once in the name of Jesus Christ; that the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were never used in Christian baptism.” In this camp meeting there was a man by the name of John G. Scheppe, who spent an entire night in prayer. During the night, God revealed to him the scriptural knowledge of baptism in the “Name” of Jesus, and the manifestation of the Mighty God in Christ Jesus revealed.
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The Original Apostolic Faith Movement
1901 ~ Present
Although the original Apostolic Faith Movement as established by Rev. Charles F. Parham in 1901, has never officially been recognized as an organized body due to Parham’s rejection of organizational structure, it was the first Pentecostal coalition of ministers and churches to maintain a common faith based theology, holding to tenets of faith centered around the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the biblical evidence of speaking in other tongues as the initial sign of Spirit baptism.
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The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
1906 ~ Present
Shortly after the Azusa Revival began in 1906 in Los Angeles, it took no time for the formation of a ministerial alliance to develop. From within the confines of the old Azusa Mission the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was established during the year 1906. At the beginning it was a lose-leaf fellowship of ministerial endeavor, giving Apostolic ministers a sense of unity in belonging to something where common ideas were shared among the constituency of the movement. The PAW was Trinitarian in its theology during its early history, and remained Trinity until the conversion of Elder G.T. Haywood to the Oneness view in 1915. The PAW was largely interracial at the beginning, and remained that way until 1924, when during the 9th annual convention of the organization held in Chicago, the majority of the white brethren left the fellowship due to problems resulting from racial issues. Some of the problems were blamed on the Jim Crow laws of the South, which restricted the freedom of blacks to travel and enjoy the luxury of their white counterparts. This basically restricted the conventions from being a success in the South, because the black ministers didn’t want to travel, and then be faced with the restrictions that confronted them due to their race.
Then, there were some of the white ministers in the South that didn’t want a black man’s signature on their credentials for fear that it would hinder their progress. During these pressing times Elder G.T. Haywood was the General Secretary of the PAW and his signature appeared on every ministers credentials that was associated with the PAW. While the race card was a weak excuse for creating such a division, nevertheless it worked, thus leaving the PAW in a vulnerable state of condition. During the Chicago Convention in 1924, the PAW was left with many decisions to make after the departure of the white ministers. The PAW re-organized during this meeting, adopting an Episcopal form of church government. General Secretary G.T. Haywood was then elected to serve as the first presiding bishop of the PAW, a position he held until his untimely death in 1931.
In 1915, Brother Glenn Cook came to Indianapolis, Indiana with a message for Elder Haywood concerning baptism in Jesus’ name. At first Haywood refused to espouse the message, but one day while riding on a street car in Indianapolis, the voice of God spoke to him saying, “Bro. Haywood, walk in the light while you have it, lest a greater darkness come upon you.” He swiftly departed the street-car and had Bro. Cook re-baptize him in Jesus’ name. 456 of the members of Christ Temple followed his example, making it an overnight sensation, and thus becoming the largest Oneness church in the country. The PAW soon followed G.T. Haywood in his new theological position, accepting the Oneness of God, thus making it the first recognized Oneness organization in North America.
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Arroyo Seco, California
The First Worldwide Pentecostal Camp Meeting
In April, 1913, at a “worldwide” Pentecostal camp meeting being conducted at Arroyo Seco, near Los Angeles, a new “revelation ” (not an uncommon thing in those days) received considerable emphasis. The main speaker at the camp meeting was Mrs. Mary Woodworth-Etter, but the speaker who unwittingly triggered the eruption was R.E. McAlister. At a baptismal service held near the main camp meeting tent, Brother McAlister casually observed that “the apostles invariably baptized their converts once in the name of Jesus Christ,” and that the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were never used in Christian baptism.” When they heard this, “a shudder swept the preachers on the platform,” one preacher even stepping over to whisper to Brother McAlister to refrain from emphasizing that doctrine or it would “associate the camp with a Dr. Sykes who so baptized. “
Reaction to this announcement was varied. One earnest preacher in particular, though, was deeply moved by the significance of the “name of Jesus.” John G. Scheppe spent much of the night in prayer. In the early light of morning he “was given a glimpse of the power of the name of Jesus.” He jumped to his feet, ran through the camp grounds, startling early risers, and awakening those still asleep. Scheepe shouted his “new revelation” of the power in the name of Jesus. His enthusiasm caused many to spend the day searching their Bibles regarding “the name of Jesus.”
The enthusiasm created at Arroyo Seco gained such momentum that is soon affected many Pentecostal churches up and down the West Coast. At Long beach a large company of people were re-baptized in the new formula being advocated., “in the name of Jesus only.” This rebaptism with the new formula was felt to be the gateway to new blessing. Attention was focused on the use of “THE NAME” invoked by the apostles in the book of Acts in connection with the performance of miracles, exorcism of evil spirits, and, particularly, water baptism. This emphasis led rapidly to the virtual denial of the Trinity, a type of Modal Monarchianism being espoused. Following the identification of the Holy Spirit with Jesus, the next step was the declaration of some that unless one had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, accompanied by speaking with tongues, he was not truly saved.
This species of “Pentecostal Unitarianism ” gained great strength chiefly through its promulgation by Frank J. Ewart, prominent West Coast Pentecostal leader who was present at the Arroyo Seco camp meeting. Ewart, originally from Australia, lately from Canada, and most recently from Portland, Oregon, had developed a reputation as a fearless Baptist preacher. In 1908 he accepted the Pentecostal message in Portland. His outspoken preaching of Pentecost led to his expulsion from the Baptist communion. Ewart joined William H. Durham in Los Angeles, serving as his assistant in the important mission at Seventh and Los Angeles Streets. When Pastor Durham died, Ewart fell heir to the pastorate, and by the time of the “Jesus Only” issue he was recognized as one of the leading Pentecostals in the West.
(More to come)
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The Assemblies of God
1914 ~ Present
By 1914, the Pentecostals had been driven outside the framework of traditional, organized American Christianity. They were rejected by the Holiness Movement, as well as the Fundamentalists, to say nothing of the scorn with which they were viewed by the larger church world. Outside the Holiness-Pentecostal bodies in the Southland the bulk of the early Pentecostals were independent people, with but the loosest affiliations, if any were entertained at all. Advocates of organization found strong opposition from many who had undergone the painful experience of being ostracized from traditional denominations. However, it became increasingly apparent to growing numbers in the amorphous Pentecostal world that glaring needs were pressing for some kind of structured relationship, if the revival was to be preserved from disintegration.
While the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was slowly progressing, its influence had not yet penetrated much past the northern states. An early practical need arose that Howard A. Goss resolved by securing ordination in 1907 from Bishop Mason of the black Church of God in Christ. That body, having been legally incorporated, was eligible for reduced clergy fares on the Southern railroads. To poverty-ridden Pentecostal preachers this was no small boon.
Serving the Southeast were the Holiness denominations which had maintained their exiting structures, simply tacking on the Pentecostal doctrine as an additional feature. The largest of these bodies were the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and the Church of God in Christ, all of Methodist origin and Episcopal in polity. However, spreading rapidly over the nation were independent congregations without formal cohesion, other than loose associations of some regional groups, such as Parham’s Apostolic Faith Movement.
Parham was adamantly opposed to formal organization, although he may be credited with the first steps toward the organization of the Pentecostal Movement. In 1905 he was sponsoring conventions, the first inter-church associations of the new movement. By 1906, he was issuing credentials to new ministers, titling himself ” The Founder and Projector of the Apostolic Faith Movement.”He furnished the name by which the early Pentecostal Movement was widely known, the Apostolic Faith.
The December 20, 1913, issue of the Word and Witness carried the formal call for a “General Convention of the Pentecostal Saints and Churches of God in Christ.” It was signed by M.M. Pinson, A.P. Collins, H.A. Goss, and D.C.O. Opperman. In the months that followed, the call was repeated twice, in February and in March. The final call appeared in the March 20, 1914, issue of the Word and Witness. In spite of opposition, those who stood steady were prepared to go ahead.
In the meantime, while press and pulpit were heated with earnest argumentation pro and con, preparations were quietly going forward in Hot Springs. H.A. Goss, pastor in Hot Springs, secured a six-months lease on the Grand Opera House, an abandoned theater building located in the heart of the little resort community. Goss moved his mission congregation into the building during the winter, then left the church in the hands of faithful helpers while he journeyed northward on an extended evangelistic tour that took him as far as Milwaukee.
They came from many parts of the nation, and from several foreign countries. Twenty states from coast to coast, but predominantly the Midwest, were represented by the 300-plus persons registered as ministers and missionaries. Many of the great names in the early history of the Pentecostal Movement were present at the Hot Springs meeting. F.F. Bosworth, A.B. Cox, J. Crouch, R.E. Erdman, Cyrus B. Fockler, J. Roswell Flower, H.A. Goss, S.A. Jamieson, John G. Lake, B.F. Lawrence, T.K. Leonard, Jacob Miller, D.C.O. Opperman, M.M. Pinson, Fred Pitcher, E.N. Richey, and John Sinclair were there. Those present who would serve the fellowship sooner or later as Chairman (later the term was changed to Superintendent) were E.N. Bell, A.P. Collins, J.W. Welch, W.T. Gaston, and R.M. Riggs. The convention opened on Thursday, April 2, 1914.
An important decision arrived at during the first General Council was to incorporate under the name “The General Council of the Assemblies of God.” No attempt was made to formalize a precise doctrinal statement. The Preamble outlined the general principles of common belief, basing the entire fellowship on the Bible as “the all-sufficient rule for faith and practice.” It was not until doctrinal issues over the Godhead and baptism in Jesus’ Name, threatened to rend the unity of the fellowship that a sharply defined statement of faith was hammered out. Breadth and tolerance governed the opening session. On April 12, 1914, the first General Council session came to an end, having transacted the incorporation of a new fellowship. Out of diversity and independence, from all quarters of the land, and even beyond, those of like precious faith agreed together to join in a “voluntary, cooperative fellowship.”
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The New Issue
In its second year of existence, the Assemblies of God was threatened with almost complete disaster. Even before the Hot Springs meeting, a doctrinal issue had erupted on the West Coast, (Arroyo Seco) which within a brief time was to sweep across the country, nearly carrying away the Assemblies of God with it.
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Prominent Pentecostal Leaders Re-baptized In Jesus’ Name
Many prominent leaders in the early Pentecostal movement were baptized in Jesus’ name, including: A.H. Argue, Frank Bartleman, E.N. Bell, William Booth-Clibborn, Glenn A. Cook, A.G. Garr, Frank J. Ewart, Howard, A. Goss, L.C. Hall, G.T. Haywood, B.F. Lawrence, Harry Van Loon, R.E. McAlister, Aimee Semple McPherson, D.C.O. Opperman, H.G. Rogers, and many more.
Some would later abandon the conviction of their re-baptism, due to pressure from their Trinitarian colleagues, such as E.N. Bell and Aimee McPherson, and return to the Trinitarian position.
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General Assembly of the Apostolic Assemblies
1917 ~ 1918
Two months after they were forced out of the Assemblies of God, the Oneness ministers took steps to form a new organization. A large group of ministers met in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on December 28, 1916. No business was transacted, however, until 2:30 p.m. on January 2, 1917. Another business meeting was held on January 3. D.C.O. Opperman was elected Chairman; David Lee Floyd, Secretary; and Howard A. Goss, Treasurer. The term of office was one year. It was then moved that the new organization be known as The General Assembly of the Apostolic Assemblies. The first and only published ministerial list of the General Assembly of the Apostolic Assemblies contained 154 names.
At the time of the formation of the (GAAA), Daniel C.O. Opperman had been publishing The Blessed Truth in Eureka Springs for approximately two years. The (GAAA) voted to make this periodical its official organ, and for Opperman to continue to serve as editor. Soon after the formation of the (GAAA), its ministers encountered a serious problem. America had entered the First World War on April 6, 1917. Since the organization had been in existence for such a short time, it could not get its young ministers exempt from military service. Another near essentiality in those days was the special clergy rate granted ministers by the railroads. Few ministers had automobiles, so most of them traveled by train. Apparently, the Clergy Bureau refused to recognize the newly formed organization, and this worked a hardship on its ministers.
For these two reasons, the organization was destined to be short-lived. Perhaps it set a record at lasting for the shortest length of time of any organization, since it continued only until the end of the year. It had no conferences other than the one in which it was organized. The plight of the young preachers was desperate; something had to be done for their protection. This led to the first Oneness merger. In 1919 the members of the defunct (GAAA) joined the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, which had embraced the oneness view in 1915 after G.T. Haywood’s conversion and rebaptism in Jesus’ name in that same year.
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The Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ
of the Apostolic Faith Inc. (1919 ~ present)
The history of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ is a grand and glorious one. A chronicle that can take its position in the annuals of history. To speak of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ as an organization is to speak of its illustrious and dynamic founder, the late apostle, Bishop Robert C. Lawson, D.D., L.L.D. We can safely say that God made choice of this dedicated man to work his divinely inspired plan for this great organization. For it was by his herculean effort and prolific preaching and the mastery of the inspired scripture that Bishop Lawson with tenacity and determination hewed from the villages, cities, towns and hamlets the dynamic organization known as the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith Inc.
It was in the year of 1914 when Bro. Lawson accepted the word of God, was baptized in the name of Jesus and received the Holy Ghost. He was saved under the ministry of the late Bishop G.T. Haywood, who pastored the Apostolic Faith Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was also under the mentorship of Haywood that young Lawson received his ministerial training. He served Elder Haywood well, but as time went on, he gravitated toward differing viewpoints than his pastor, of which eventually led to a separation between the two.
Lawson realized that he held some personal convictions that Haywood did not hold, and this difference led to the formation of his very own organization. His two primary issues were, women preachers and the remarriage question. Lawson felt that it was unscriptural for women to preach, usurping authority over the man. He also felt very strongly about divorced people getting remarried. He felt that there was no Bible-right to remarry under any circumstances, thus eliminating the innocent party theory. Elder Haywood did not hold to either of these views. Thus, Lawson pulled away from his mentor and launched into his very own ministry.
Having established churches in St. Louis, Missouri, and San Antonio, Texas, preaching everywhere the apostolic doctrine, he was eventually led to the mid-west, where he pastored a church in Columbus, Ohio. It was is Columbus, Ohio that he married the late Miss Carrie Fields of Leavenworth, Kansas. The Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ had its inception in the year 1919. After moving to New York, he was invited to a prayer meeting which was in progress in a basement in the 40th Street area in New York City. So energetic was his service to the Lord that his fame spread abroad and reached the ears of Mr. and Mrs. James Burleigh and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Anderson. These two blessed couples opened their homes to Elder Lawson and their home today is affectionately thought of as the “Cradle of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Under the thriving ministry of Apostle Lawson, many preacher, missionaries, and teachers were sent into the field establishing numerous works. To the far flung isles of the sea, to the continent of Africa and to the Caribbean these Christian heralds went carrying the Apostolic message. As the work grew the quarters on 133rd Street were found to be inadequate for so rapidly an increasing congregation. Bishop Lawson found the present site on 124th Street and 7th Avenue, and in August 1945, the congregation relocated at this site. This building is known as the “Mother Church” of the Churches of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The years following were outstanding in rapid growth and spiritual progress. The Church of Christ Bible Institute flourished, the R.C. Lawson Institute in Southern Pine, North Carolina already established, continued to grow. Through the arduous labor of Bishop Lawson in various parts of Liberia, West Africa, British West Indies, England and the isles of the sea. So vast was the work until more workers had to be sent to Superintend the vast harvest of souls.
Every organization must suffer the pangs of growth and the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ was no exception. In the year 1957 there was a major schism within the ranks of the organization. This occasioned Bishop Lawson’s calling together the now famous Summit meeting which was the rallying and turning point of the organization. It was the closing session that Bishop Lawson preached a soul stirring message recounting the work that he had done and hurled the challenge to all who would receive it, ” ADD THOU TO IT”. The challenge was accepted. From that moment on the organization began to grow to new greatness.
The clarion call for this illustrious leader came on Sunday July 2, 1961, and Bishop Lawson a prince of preachers, the Bible Answer man, God’s shinning star departed this life. Bishop Maurice H. Hunter was elected to succeed Bishop Lawson. Today the organization has thrived under the very fine leadership of Bishop W. L. Bonner who succeeded the late Bishop Hunter.
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The Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance
A large constituency of white ministers met in October, 1924 during the ninth annual convention of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, and took steps to form a new all white organization. A special conference was to be held later to set up the organization. According to T.C. Davis, the first editor of the Apostolic Herald (the new organization’s official voice), the work of organizing was not completed until a second meeting, held in St. Louis. This was the first General Assembly of the movement, and it began November 3, 1925. In the 1924 Chicago meeting, the ministers had voted to call the new organization the Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ, only to find out that W.H. Whittington had already incorporated and chartered another group under that name. The General Board then passed a resolution changing the name to the Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance. When the (PMA) was organized in February, 1925, L.C. Hall became its first Chairman, and Howard A. Goss its first General Secretary.
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Emmanuel’s Church in Jesus Christ
1925 ~ 1928
In October, 1925 (8 months after the formation of the Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance) fifty ministers assembled to form, Emmanuel’s Church in Jesus Christ. In October, 1927, Emmanuels’ Church in Jesus Christ and the Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ moved toward combining 400 ministers. The name Emmanuel’s Church in Jesus Christ was retained for the group. In October, 1928, the consolidating was complete. It was then voted in favor of retaining, “Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ ” as the official name.
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The Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ
When the white ministers withdrew from the interracial Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1924, they established three Oneness organizations within the space of one year. The Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance was founded in February, 1925. In October of that same year, Emmanuel’s Church in Jesus Christ was started. The third organization, known as the Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ, was begun in St. Louis by W.H. Whittington and Ben Pemberton, at about the same time as the Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance.
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The Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Jesus Christ
(1930 ~ present)
The Apostolic Assembly had its humble beginnings in the year 1912. In 1916 the pastorate and ministry elected Francisco Llorente as its president. With the establishment of official church leadership providing vision and direction, membership in the organization grew steadily. As a result, on the 15th of March 1930, the Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Jesus Christ became incorporated under the laws of the State of California.
Today, the Apostolic Assembly consists of approximately 700 churches with a membership of approximately 106,000 throughout the United States. The churches are supervised by 26 bishops who represent districts located throughout 45 of the 50 states of the Union. There is a heavy membership concentration in California, Arizona and Texas. Currently, the Apostolic Assembly holds General Conferences every four years to elect its board of directors as well as supervision bishops.
The Apostolic Assembly also has an extensive Foreign Missions influence in approximately 18 countries worldwide. In North America it has a number of churches in Mexico as well as in the Caribbean countries of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. In Central America they have sent missionaries to the countries of Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Recently in South America the organization has experienced explosive growth in the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. They have not limited their missionary influence to North and South America, but have made great efforts to establish churches in Spain and Italy as well.
Throughout the humble beginnings of the Apostolic Assembly, the tenacious yet caring leaders ministered primarily to the spiritual needs of a growing number of Spanish speaking peoples who flooded into this country looking for a better life for their families. Since then, they have made great strides in not only providing ministry to this Missionary generation and its subsequent generations, but they have broken the cultural barrier and have provided bilingual ministry to subsequent Boomer and Buster generations as well. They are confident that the Apostolic Assembly will continue to grow, in both financial strength and in membership in the years to come. Because the moral fabric of our society continues to weaken, the church stands willing to face the challenges of meeting the spiritual needs of hurting people around the world.
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Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ
(1931 ~ present)
It was decided that the Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World would meet to work out a merger of their respective groups, and consequently, their efforts in the work of the Lord.
In November of 1931 in the city of St. Louis, a conference was convened for this purpose. The merger was adopted, and they took part of each of their names to appropriately name the new organization. This new name was The Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, commonly known as the P.A. of J.C.
The leadership was composed of a Board of Presbyters who, in turn, would elect one from their body to preside at each General Conference. J.A. Frush was the Editor; Karl F. Smith (African American) was Secretary.
This merger did not work as planned, because almost from the start, hindrances arose to hamper the proposed idea. The organization forged ahead, gaining strength and ground, but the same type of difficulties encountered in the old Pentecostal Assemblies of the World were again run into.
Bishop Grimes, (a prominent black leader), did not accept the idea of the merger, so he left the conference and renewed the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World charter before its expiration. This caused quite a bit of unrest, and several decided to go along with him.
Then it was perceived that the same distasteful experiences as before, concerning the races, was to be gone through. Due to segregation in the South, a General Conference could not be held below the Mason-Dixon line with all in attendance, and the re-enactment was on.
It was decided, though, that a conference would be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1937. This proved to be the undoing of relationships with the arrangement worked out in 1931 at St. Louis. Only the white ministers were able to attend, and only legislation of a minor order was to be passed upon, and that to be sanctioned the next year in a conference held again in the North, with all members present.
This could not work out harmoniously. Some felt that they were being discriminated against, even though this was not the spirit of the happenings at all. Nevertheless, the P.A. of J.C. lost several, with most of the black brethren going back to the old Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.
The next convention in 1938 was held in Columbus, Ohio, with O.F. Fauss presiding. It was decided that the organization would return to the governmental General Chairman again. W.T. Witherspoon was selected to be the General Chairman and the Secretary-Treasurer’s position was filled by Stanley R. Hanby. This proved to be very strengthening and workable, and the P.A. of J.C. “moved ahead in a progressive manner.”
In the year 1945, the P.A. of J.C. and the Pentecostal Churches Inc (P.C.I.) merged together forming what is now called the United Pentecostal Church (U.P.C.I.). According to Dr. Bernie L. Wade, in August 1946, a group of brethren became dissatisfied with the U.P.C.I., and revived the original charter of the P.A. of J.C. and reorganized the group. There were a number of reasons for the dissatisfaction but the late Bishop M.E. Golder believed that the primary issues were related to the treatment of the United Pentecostal Church of black ministers.
In the spring of 1948 the Churches of the Lord Jesus Christ met with the brethren of the P.A. of J.C. and proposed a merger. In August, 1948 the merger became complete. At that time a proposal was issued to the new secretary, J. Frank Wilson, to make an amendment that both charters be dropped. This action was never taken and both charters lay idle until the reviving of the charter came about forming the Assemblies of Jesus Christ.
The old charter of the P.A. of J.C. again lay idle until the year of 1955. Then a group of ministers led by Bishop Carl Angle (Nashville, TN), Bishop Ray Cornell (Cleveland, OH) Bishop C.B. Gillespie (Fairmont, WV) went to the State of Ohio and took out a charter known as the P.A. of J.C, Inc. The P.A. of J.C. Inc. is still chartered in the state of Ohio.
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United Pentecostal Church International
(1945 ~ present)
When the Assemblies of God adopted the doctrine of the Trinity at its Fourth General Council in October 1916, the Oneness Pentecostals were forced to withdraw from the organization. Two months later, in late December and early January, Oneness ministers met in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and on January 2, 1917, they formed a Oneness Pentecostal organization, called The General Assembly of the Apostolic Assemblies (GAAA).
In late 1917 or early 1918 The GAAA merged with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and then held its first meeting in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, later in the same year. This interracial organization, which adopted of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, was the only Oneness Pentecostal organization until late 1924, when a separation occurred mainly along racial lines. During 1925 three new organizations were formed: The Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ, The Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance, and Emmanuel’s Church in Jesus Christ.
This organizational division among Oneness people was not desired, however, and in 1927 the first step was taken toward bringing them back together. Meetings in a joint convention in Guthrie, Oklahoma, Emmanuel’s Church in Jesus Christ and the Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ merged under the name The Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. This merger, which united about 400 ministers, was consummated at the next General Convention held in Port Arthur, Texas, in October 1928.
In 1931, a unity conference with representatives from four Oneness organizations met in Columbus, Ohio, in an attempt to bring all Oneness people together. Unfortunately, this attempt was only partially successful. The Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance ministers voted to merge with The Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, but the terms of the proposed merger was not accepted by the ministers in The Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. However, a merger between The Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was consummated in November 1931. The merger adopted the name of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ.
In 1932 The Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance changed its name to The Pentecostal Church, Incorporated, reflecting its organizational structure. But no further attempt was made for a merger with The Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ until 1936, when The Pentecostal Church, Incorporated ministers voted to work toward an amalgamation of the two bodies. Once again no agreement could be found.
The desire to be united remained alive and growing, and eight years later, in 1944, the first step was taken that led to the successful merger in 1945 of these two Oneness Pentecostal organizations to form the United Pentecostal Church International. The merger of these two Oneness Pentecostal bodies brought together 1,838 ministers and about 900 churches. These numbers have continued to rise year by year.
The United Pentecostal Church International is located in Hazelwood, Missouri, (St. Louis suburb) and is governed by an Executive Board. Namely: General Superintendent, (2) Assistant General Superintendents, General Secretary, Foreign Missions and Home Missions Departments, including General Presbyters. The organization holds an annual summer Conference, and its official organ is The Pentecostal Herald.
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Assemblies Of the Lord Jesus Christ
(1952 ~ present)
The Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ is a continuation of the great revival that began on the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem, A.D. 30, and is founded upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone.
Various groups throughout the country went by different names trying and striving to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Finally in the month of March, 1952, three groups known as the Assemblies of the Church of Jesus Christ, Jesus Only Apostolic Church of God, and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, formulated a merger adopting the name Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is Apostolic in Doctrine and Teachings, and the Bible as their guide book.
Since the merger in 1952, the ALJC has been a prominent leader in the Oneness movement. They are steadily growing as they continue to hold forth the doctrine of God. The ALJC teaches water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the biblical evidence of speaking with other tongues. Their church government consists of a General Superintendent, three Regional Superintendents, a General Secretary, and 26 District Superintendents. The official organ of the ALJC is the Apostolic Witness.
(More to come on the history of the ALJC)
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The Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith
(1957 ~ present)
The Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith (PCAF) was formed by the late, Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock of Detroit, Michigan. When Bishop G.T. Haywood died in 1931, it left a gaping hole in the PAW. Afterward, the Bishop Board voted to leave the Presiding Bishop position open for one year. Bishop Hancock felt that due to his personal relationship with Bishop Haywood (a spiritual son, and former assistant to bishop Haywood) that he should have been considered to succeed him as Presiding Prelate of the PAW.
As time passed, Bishop Hancock was never elected to serve the PAW as its Presiding Prelate. This undoubtedly created some distance between Bishop Hancock and his loyalty to the organization. In 1957, some issues of concern arose within the organization that caused Bishop Hancock to step back and reconsider his position in the PAW, including his own bishopric. In 1957, he took steps to organize a new fellowship of Apostolic ministers. During the initial formation of the organization at Bethlehem Temple in Detroit, Bishop Hancock chose the name, Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith for the name of his new adventure. (more to come)
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Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World-Wide Inc.
1957 ~ present
Bible Way was born out of a National Pentecostal Ministerial Conference held September 25-29, 1957 at the Bible Way Church 1100 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
This Conference was led by Dr’s. Smallwood E. Williams, John S. Beane, McKinley Williams, Winfield Showell, James I. Clarke, Elder Joseph Moore and others, some of which were former officers of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. This conference was convened to consider some mal-administrative practices which were found to be out of line with the New Testament collective leadership as practiced by the Apostles, and the authoritarianism which could no longer be tolerated.
From this Conference, Dr. S.E. Williams was consecrated as Bishop and Presiding Bishop of the newly formed organization and four outstanding Pastors were consecrated to the Bishopric, namely, Dr. John S. Bean of Petersburg, VA, Dr. McKinley Williams of Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Winfield A. Showell, Baltimore, MD, and Elder Joseph Moore of Brooklyn, NY. Bishop John S. Holly of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was the officiant at the ceremonies.
The authenticity and orthodoxy of the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World-Wide can be attested as to its validity historically, experimentally and doctrinally. Historically, its spiritual roots go back to the 1st century 30 A.D. in the upper room at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian Church.
Bishop Smallwood Williams was revere by this august body as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. He was a modern day Apostle without equal. He was a preacher and an orator of the first magnitude. He was a man before his time, at the vanguard and on the cutting edge of the civil rights movement of the sixties and seventies. He was known as a bridge builder and a role model for men of all ages in Christian ministry. During the 34 years of his presidership he almost single-handedly put Bible Way World-Wide on the map of all Christendom. This brief paragraph cannot contain all of the wonderful works done by this mighty man of God. However, it must be stated that each of the first five Bishops mentioned in this history made their unique contributions to the success of the Bible Way Churches World-Wide.
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Apostolic Ministers Fellowship
1968 ~ Present
In August of 1968, a group of approximately 72 ministers, namely associated with the United Pentecostal Church International, met in Baker, Louisiana for the first “General Council of Elders” of the newly formed Apostolic Ministers Fellowship (AMF). The AMF was formed due to a growing unrest among the majority of its constituency (while still in the UPCI) concerning the autonomy of pastors over their individual congregations. Elder M.E. Burr is the person of interest in the initial formation of the AMF. It seemed that he had experienced personal disagreements with the Texas, District Board, and in particular with District Superintendent, V.A. Guidroz. This unrest led to a gathering of support from several ministers around the country who were sympathetic toward his position.
A special meeting was held in July 1968, at C.W. Shew’s church in Fort Worth, Texas, prior to the August, Conference in Baker. Many of the supporting minister’s were present to show their favor toward the cause of self autonomy. C.W. Shew, Verbal Bean, R.C. Cavaness, Jimmy Davis, A.L. O’Brien, Carl Ballestero, and C.R. Free were among the list of some of the ministers who gave life to the AMF. When the movement was first started, it was intended to be a fellowship only! No eminent plans were made at the outset to form a distinct and separate organization. It was intended to be kept strictly as a fellowship of apostolic ministers, with hopes of maintaining a lifeline to the UPCI. However, when this attempt failed, the fellowship would eventually evolve over 16 years until it became a fully developed organization. This turning point took place in August, 1984 during the 16th Annual General Conference at Cincinnati, Ohio.
During this Conference, a congressional vote determined the new direction of the AMF. The revised Constitution and By-Laws stated that along with this new direction would come a new name as well. The Apostolic Ministers Fellowship, would now be called the Apostolic Churches International (ACI) taking on a global presence. One of the next steps taken was to sub-divide the organization into 9 separate districts (Central, Gulf Coast, Indiana, Louisiana, Midwestern, Northeastern, Southeastern, Texas, and Western) with a district elder appointed over each division. This eventually caused some in the organization to withdraw their membership, as they objected to this new approach of operation, which, for some, too closely resembled what they initially were opposed to in the first place. It had the appearance of the old system written all over it. Though not the exact same, some seemed uncertain where this new approach was going to lead.
When another group showed possible interest in forming under the name “Apostolic Ministers Fellowship”, the ACI quickly reorganized with intentions of retaining the rights to its old name (AMF)! They reaffirmed this intention by adopting the name Apostolic Ministers Fellowship as a ” doing business as” (DBA) agreement, thus, maintaining the name Apostolic Churches International as the corporate name, but using “Apostolic Ministers Fellowship” under the auspices of the ACI.
The Apostolic Ministers Fellowship has maintained throughout its existence a strict conservative view of holiness. Also, the AMF has maintained a very pro-active missionary program, supporting missionaries in various countries, including, Brazil, the Philippians, China, and others. The general chairman is elected by the lot system, and serves two year terms. There is no set number of terms for which they can serve.
The AMF operates under the leadership of a “General Council of Elders”. Namely, the General Chairman, Assistant Chairman, and Secretary & Treasurer, including (12) Elders. It has no Bible Colleges, and does not favor women ministers. The AMF has one “General Conference” per year, generally held in August, with various other conferences throughout the year such as, Local Church and Pastoral Anniversaries, Camp meetings, and Youth Camps. It maintains a Missions Department, and a Missions Board. The Official Organ of the AMF is the “ Apostolic Standard“. This publication was started by the late Rev. Murray E. Burr, and has been distributed since the formation of the AMF in 1968.
Pentecostal History 5
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Background of Sonship
The Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century is recognized today as a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit in bringing life to the “Pentecostal” truths of the new Testament. Neglected gifts of the Spirit such as speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy were manifested in the early meetings and have since gained acceptance among most traditional denominational groups under the banner “Charismatic Renewal”.
Many Christians were deeply touched by the “new revelation” of ancient Biblical truths which had laid dormant in a state of neglect among the traditional churches. Now, suddenly the “gifts” were falling upon hungry souls willing to receive the “fullness” of God’s spirit.
These sincere believers shared their new experience wherever they went with the result that thousands of Christians received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. Not willing to form denominations and organize the “move of God”, they struggled with problems of polity and extremism, and were finally forced to organize due to the tremendous growth of churches and need for balanced leadership.
By 1935 the previously spontaneous and miraculous excitement had generally dissipated as the various groups settled into “business as usual.”
For almost twenty years the new institutions formed from the Pentecostal outpouring grew and became the Pentecostal denominations which we recognize today. Then suddenly, something happened.
In an obscure corner of the world another sovereign move of God took place, very much like the 1906 outpouring. On February 11 or 12, 1948, during meetings in North Battleford, Saskatchewan at the Sharon Bible School, there was a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit–with tongues, prophecy, laying on of hands for healing and gifts, and “heavenly singing” – similar to what had been experienced in the earlier “move”.
This happening had been precipitated by seasons of fasting and prayer as faculty and students alike hungered for all that God desired to give them. Later called the “New Order of the Latter Rain” or the “move of 1948” or simply “the move”, the events in western Canada attracted thousands of believers from all over the world, who flocked to North Battleford to experience God’s power, At about the same period, God was also raising up men like William Branham, Oral Roberts, and others with powerful, anointed ministries which were definitely “spectacular” in scope.
However, there was opposition. Just as the denominational churches had opposed the 1906 outpouring, so now the Pentecostal denominations opposed the new move. They were concerned about possible excesses as well as the potential loss of members and churches to the “radical” ideas represented by the leaders of the movement.
Thomas Holdcroft, the president of the Western Canadian Bible College, has written that the movement “was an organizational schism before it was a spiritual cause”. (1) As a member of the P.A.O.C. (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) he views the events prior to the 1948 outpouring as divisive and characterized by “unrestrained zeal”.
Briefly, what happened was that the leaders of the Bethel Bible Institute of Saskatoon, George Hawtin and Percy Hunt separated from the Assembly “fold”. They had been in conflict over the establishment of a high school to accompany the Bible Institute, and, chafing under the restraints of denominational administration, had decided to open another work 80 miles north of Saskatoon, in North Battleford,
When Holdcroft writes that the “New Order began as a protest movement by a small company of men who felt unduly restricted by their denomination”, (2) he fails to account for the spectacular outpouring of the Holy Spirit which lasted for almost ten months. He is correct, however, when he points out that the North Battleford group became “anti-organized church”. These were capable men whose vision at the time for the work which God had given them superseded the vision of the denominational figures who maintained control. George Hawtin had originally founded Bethel Bible Institute and had joined the P.A.O.C. in order to draw more students.
At any rate, the lesson concerning non-sectarian alignment learned during the North Battleford encounters still characterizes the movement today. Denominational centralized control is considered a threat to the pure movement of God’s Holy Spirit.
To North Battleford came pastors and believers hungry for a fresh outpouring of God. What they experienced in Canada they took back with them, and sparked revivals in their home churches. Several better known ministries which adopted the “move” ideas were: Myrtle Beall’s Bethesda Temple in Detroit, Michigan; Thomas Wyatt and the Wings of Healing in Portland, Oregon; Earl Lee at Immanuel Temple in Los Angeles; Paul Grubb in Memphis, Tennessee; and Bill Britton In Springfield, Missouri.
Key doctrines consisted of prophecy; impartation of resident gifts through laying on of hands; trans-local church authority; renewed emphasis upon the importance of modern day apostolic and prophetic ministries; willingness to receive “new” or fresh revelation on scriptural truths; and later the development of “Sonship” truths.
The fact remains, however, that people were “hungry for God” and in need of revival. Yes, there were dangers. There were abuses of the gift of prophecy. Some, ignorant of good Biblical exegesis, developed wild, fanatical, and erroneous teachings. Established church leaders had a duty to warn against excesses and through teaching and loving example correct abuses.
Instead, many leaders reacted harshly. Those who had become “contaminated” with “New Order” teachings were banned from fellowship. The teachings were considered divisive and were not tolerated. Many felt that the “new attitudes favored a mystical subjective inner intuition above the authority of the exegesis of the written word”. (3) William Menzies has written that there appeared “a meteoric movement appealing to the sensational, which succeeded in generating widespread hysteria throughout the Pentecostal denominations in the late 40’s…” (14) Some called what was going on a “reappearance of enthusiastic mysticism”.(5)
This denominational backlash, though sincere in its attempts to maintain scriptural guidelines, succeeded in further alienating the “move” groups.
Paul Grubb writing in the early 50’s asserted the following: “Certainly that Unit, that Body, that Bride, that Church will not be any one denominational body, nor group of bodies. It will be that spiritual remnant out of every religious group which has risen to that place of mystical union with Christ in which love has dissolved sectarian spirit. Yes, this is God’s revival — God’s last revival before the coming of Jesus Christ.” (6)
And George Hawtin, writing in the first edition of the “Page” in 1961, thirteen years, after the initial ’48 outpouring wrote, “I have come to the conclusion that to be joined to Christ in Sonship demands our separation and divorce from every last vestige of the Babylonish church system…”
The leaders had from the beginning pictured organized religion as “Mystery Babylon”. These kinds of references did not help heal the breach. Some of the “move” leaders felt that they had “moved” beyond mere sectarianism and had begun to understand the meaning of the “Body of Christ”. The fact that one was not included in “The Bride” if still under “denominational bondage” led their detractors to cry, “elitism!”. Those who left church membership behind called themselves “come-outers”. They had “seen the light”. Only if truly placed within “the Bride” could he respond to the revelation given in the scriptural command to “come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins…” (Rev. 18:4)
Bill Britton has written that one of the basic beliefs of the movement is anti-sectarian. He writes, “That the sectarian system of denominationalism is an artificial invention of men, and was never ordained by God, and that it will be destroyed so that Christ will have one glorious Church on the earth.” (7) He also warned in the same publication of the danger of religious pride among the “come-outers” in not being willing to fellowship with or be a part of denominational Christians.
But at the time, 1949-51, there was real concern expressed by some of the major Pentecostal leaders that the excesses of the movement might weaken their ranks, The Assemblies of God denomination especially was concerned as they began to lose several key pastors and congregations. At the 1949 General Council, a resolution was passed condemning what was believed to be the key doctrinal deviations of the “movement”. They were:
The overemphasis relative to imparting, identifying, bestowing or confirming gifts by the laying on of hands and prophecy.
The erroneous teaching that the church is built on the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets.
The extreme teaching as advocated by the “New Order” regarding the confession of sin to man and deliverance as practiced, which claims prerogatives to human agency which belong only to Christ.
The erroneous teaching concerning the impartation of the gift of languages as special equipment for missionary service.
The extreme and unscriptural practice of imparting or imposing personal leadings by the means of gifts of utterance.
Such other wrestings and distortions of scripture interpretation which are in opposition to teachings and practices generally accepted among us.(8)
The problem was, however, that these six errors were not necessarily representative of the movement. Myrtle Beall in Detroit at Bethesda Missionary Temple, (recognized as one of the most powerful centers of the movement), wrote in 1951 that three of the above list of six errors ascribed to them were not their beliefs. (9)
It appears that denominational power was quickly exercised in order to stamp out the fires before they got out of hand. There were abuses, especially concerning “revelations” and prophecy and yet after reading the writings of many of the leaders of the movement, I found the teachings to be basically sound fundamental Pentecostal doctrine. Much of the misunderstanding resulted from lack of first-hand experience by those who were responsible to exercise control.
One prominent Assembly leader, Stanley Frodsham, then editor of the Pentecostal Evangel and an important influence in the denomination, attended the meetings in Detroit where the Hawtins of Saskatchewan were holding meetings. He came away convinced that what was transpiring was “of God”. What he saw was a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit similar to the early days at Azusa. There were dramatic healings, anointed preaching, and thousands were flocking to Detroit to experience what God was doing.
As a result, he was quietly asked to resign his editorship. His Influence was too great for his peers to brand him a heretic. But Stanley Frodsham remained convinced that the Assemblies had acted too quickly in squelching the new movement, in so doing, they were in effect “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. (10) Frodsham had an association with Bill Britton who represented the movement in Springfield.
With this background in mind, let us examine one important doctrine which emerged from the 1948 outpouring – the doctrine of Sonship.
What is Sonship?
Sonship as a doctrine represents a large and complex set of teachings all the way from Genesis through Revelation regarding the ultimate purpose of God’s dealing with mankind, if several key verses could represent the basic thrust of the doctrine, they might be Romans 8:30. Verses which highlight Paul’s teaching might be, verse 23, “for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God;” verse 23, “…and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” And finally verses 29 and 30: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
The doctrine teaches that God will, at some future date, glorify Individual Christians, male and female, and invest them, in Christ, with the power and authority to set creation free from its present bondage and decay. (Rom. 821)
Some of the more obvious historical roots concerning this doctrine are: Augustine, Thomas A’Kempis, the Pietists, Quietism, and even some earlier Gnostic tendencies. Augustine’s “The City of God” presented the ideal hope of a restored creation. In A’Kempis’ devotional book, “The Image of Christ” he teaches the development of a rich, inner experience with Christ. For the Pietists, the emphasis was upon holiness of thought and conduct, maintained by the Christ within. The later Quietists like Fenelon and Madame Guyon stressed the interior life above all others and along with men like St. Francis of Asissi, taught. the necessity of bodily mortification or suffering in order for the inner life to shine forth. The Gnostic tendency lies in the “proclivity to feel that one has a more profound “revelation” and belongs to some spiritually elite group”. (11)
Tangential to, the teaching are the later Holiness doctrines regarding complete or entire sanctification with the stress upon the “possibility” of reaching a sinless state.
The two men in the 20th century who have contributed the most to the doctrine of Sonship are Paul Grubb, and Bill Britton. Since Paul Grubb was well into’ the mainstream of the Latter Rain movement before Bill Britton ever heard the terminology, we will begin with his ideas.
For Paul Grubb the key thought is the initiation into the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. (Col. 1:27b) The language he used had a decided Gnostic flavor. “How marvelous is the prospect of the blessings of this new fellowship. .an illumination or revelation, sealing of God to sonship, and a perfection or initiation into the mysteries that the rest of Christendom knows nothing about.” (12)
It was this kind of terminology — which at the beginning made those who had not studied the entire scriptural development of the concept — immediately send up red flags. Grubb tended to take a concept and run with it, fitting proof texts in where they might apply. He was not a careful exegete.
For Grubb, there were five privileges granted to those who “achieved Sonship: a new fellowship based on suffering with Christ in order to reign with him – (Rom. 8:17), a new position – heavenlies, (Eph. 2:6), on the throne to rule with Christ…, a new name (not developed), a new nature – imperishable, (1 Cor. 15:53), and a new dominion (Ps. 8:6 and Rev. 3:21). These ideas are supported by proof texts and some hold up better than others. Obviously it requires a certain “special insight” to grasp all these truths. Grubb writes, “…To rise to the Headship company which occupies the throne with Christ in spiritual rulership, forgiving, delivering, and imparting God’s nature to others, involves more than simple faith for healing or forgiveness. Just simple faith is insufficient for this elevation… Faith will obtain the deliverance from the powers of darkness but is not sufficient for translation into the kingdom of God’s dear Son…Obedience is the key…” (13) “The Throne promised to overcomers in Revelation is obtained with him in the same manner in which Jesus secured it. That was not by believing, but by obeying…overcoming,” (14)
For both Grubb and Britton there was always a certain element of speculation involved in comprehending these truths. The revelation was continually unfolding to them and they were quick to alter the picture as study of the Word or prophetic utterances seemed to clarify individual points. There is never an arrogance or superiority attitude in the writings. Bill Britton especially is quick to admit that he does not have it all figured out. The Sonship message was a progressive revelation as prophets and teachers began to put the fragmented pieces together. They were “seeing through a glass darkly”.
One cannot understand the Sonship message without reading and absorbing the writings of Bill Britton. More than any other man in the 20th century, he has developed and propagated Sonship teaching. He has written dozens of books, sent out thousands of tapes, traveled thousands of miles, and influenced many pastors and laymen alike to investigate the “deeper truths”.
It all began in the spring of 1949. Britton was an Assemblies of God pastor, educated at Central Bible Institute in Springfield, Missouri, At a national Sunday school conference, he met several pastors who had been to Detroit and Canada. The feeling was at the time that the end-time revival had started.
He was troubled by the Assemblies stand against prophets and apostles in the church. He could not reconcile the Biblical record with the denominational position. Then, in 1950 during a visit to Memphis. Tennessee, he visited Paul Grubb’s church. This was his first experience in a “New Order” service. Evangelist Fred Poole laid hands upon him and gave a prophecy over him. Immediately, the doors for ministry in the Assemblies slammed shut, and as word got out that he was leaning toward the revival teachings, the district in which he pastored demanded his ministerial credentials.
At about the same time he heard about a new message being preached in Detroit. The message dealt with the passages in Galatians 4:5-6 concerning the adoption as sons and heirs. Upon hearing this message he says, “It was as if a light when on inside me…it all made sense”. (15)
From that day until the present, Britton has developed the teaching and many supporting doctrines. it would take a paper as lengthy. as the number of books and pamphlets he has written on the subject to fully develop the main elements. Most of Britton’s ideas are based upon sound hermeneutical principles. He believes in a simple way that the Bible is the inspired word of God. However, there are also running throughout his writings strong speculative or rationalizing concepts as he struggles to fit the text to the paradigm or the paradigm to the text. Other insights are primarily revelational which means they cannot be drawn out from any one or more texts, and are subjective.
The ‘Sonship’ message is one of several messages which combine to make up “kingdom teaching” or “end-time truths”. However, the message of “manifested sons” seems to be the core around which other related teachings depend.
Britton asks the question: “What lies beyond Pentecost!” He sees things in patterns of threes – Salvation, Pentecost, Sonship; – Jesus (salvation), Christ (anointing), Lord (dominion, rulership); – Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles; – 30 fold ministry, 60 fold, 100 fold; – and so on. We as saints are progressing from one state to another. We need to move beyond the Pentecostal experience and elemental doctrines (Heb.). Britton would agree with the wording of A. G. Wager when he states: Some people are called out of the world but do not believe in any further experience or revelation…From salvation to sanctification, from baptized to gifted… from gifts to fruit wand finally there will be a calling out of those who have reached the maturity of sonship…From the formal and sectarian ranks and the confusion of Babylon, a church is coming forth: a church of spiritually enduced saints, called out to attain the maturity of sonship-Now a body is being formed by the spirit of God who will be a first fruit company, a group of forerunners to live and demonstrate that perfect unity of the Spirit… (16)
There are three dimensions in the Spirit. The first two are Salvation and Pentecost. The third dimension is the dimension of Sonship. The key elements in this dimension are immortality – the state in which death no longer works in the body (see I Cor. 15); dominion – ruling with Christ; image of Christ (Eph 4:13, Gal. 4:19); complete leadership of the Holy Spirit; ministry without failure (the 100 fold ministry).
At Pentecost, the seed of a new race was planted in believers. Those who have been saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit are now moving toward “full salvation”, which is not only the physical redemption of our bodies, but more importantly, the deliverance from the adamic nature or mind. This third dimension realm is a deliverance from dependence upon the five senses. The pre-trib rapture is not a “catching up” to heaven, but a catching up above the mortal mind. Entering this realm has nothing to do with the super-spirituality or Sonship talk. It is a work of grace and predestination. The symbolic meanings of the Old Testament feasts, the Tabernacle, the Ark, and the Temple play an important role in Sonship paradigms. Importance is placed upon all “types” and “shadows”, for many of the, biblical events reveal clues to the mysteries of God. Many of these mysteries will not be fully understood ‘until the last days before Jesus returns.
The Feast of Tabernacles plays an important part in understanding the third dimension of the Spirit. (Most of the teaching comes from a book entitled “The Feast of Tabernacles” by George Warnock, a past associate of Ern Baxter). Britton interprets the blowing of the trumpets on the first day of the month as the beginning of the Latter Rain movement. “The blowing of the trumpets” was calling the one body of Christ to come out of the “fragmented splinters” and form a mystical body in the land who would receive the concept of “going behind the veil”. (17)
This “passing through the veil” refers to moving spiritually from the Holy Place in the Tabernacle (gifts, faith realm), into the Holy of Holies and the glorified state At the same time, the veil represents the adamic nature bound in death which at this time is “passed through”. Some of these concepts were envisioned by a little-known prophet named Seeley D. Kinne, who has had a great influence on Bill Britton’s understanding of these “mysteries”.
This is all made possible by the death and planting of the “incorruptible seed” – Jesus. The “fall” described in Isaiah 14 is not the fall of Satan, but the fall of man. Jesus came to set the prisoners free; i.e., those who were imprisoned by the adamic nature which is made up of sin, death, and defeat. Jesus willingly laid down his life and shed his incorruptible blood not to appease an angry Father/God, but to be able to “bring many sons unto perfection”. (Rom. 8) Jesus said in John 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say ‘to you, unless a grain of wheat tails into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
The Holy Spirit was given to produce Sonship (Rom 8:15 Amp.). Jesus could not do this before he was glorified, because every seed brings forth after its own kind. He does not want to bring forth more sons after the image of the man from Galilee. The image of Christ to be made manifest is a post-glorification image. Jesus prayed in John 17:22, “The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
In I Cor. 15:45-47, Jesus Christ is the second Adam, who becomes a life-giving spirit. And in verse 49 we read, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust,”We shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” Continuing on to verse 53 we see the teaching clarified, “For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.”
As previously mentioned, there are many facets to the doctrine of Sonship. Bill Britton is still writing and praying for more wisdom and understanding. However, the question remains. Should this message be taken seriously? Many who prefer the traditional interpretations of scriptures believe the Sonship message is the far out idea of a few misguided souls. They point out that if too much individual interpretation is allowed, well-meaning Christians might slide into error or heresy.
There has always been a tension existing between traditional interpretations and new Insights. We must thank this ambiguity for the Protestant Reformation.
There is always present in any change a certain amount of trauma. The chasms separating brothers and sisters during sovereign moves of God should be bridged. Tolerance and careful examination of “new truths” might lead to healing instead of schism. Time has a way of eliminating the extremes in individuals and doctrines. The doctrine of Sonship has withstood the test of time. It may well be the great contribution of the 1948 Latter Rain revival to modern Christendom. At the other end of the spectrum, the teachings of men like Bill Britton deserve more unbiased examination than they have received. it is too easy to attach labels to ideas we don’t agree with as a way of relegating them to the ash heap. We need to guard against heresy and excess, but never at the expense of the Holy Spirit. The word of God is alive and active and we must allow the Holy Spirit the freedom to “reveal” fresh insight to otherwise lifeless words. May God grant us the wisdom to discern the difference between true revelation and error and quicken our hearts to His ways.
Since the writing of this thesis, The Doctrine of Sonship, by David Graham, ORU, Tulsa, OK, Bill Britton, the father of the sonship message/latter rain revival (1948 – 1956) has been ask by Heaven if he wouldn’t mind to transcend — time and walk behind eternities veil, so that he might stand within his rank — with the army that resides there among the ascended saints.
ON JULY 16TH 1985 — AT 3:33 AM approximately — Father Bill Britton — took one last look behind the veil of GOD — with this one exceptionate —- He Decided To Stay…it has been my greatest moment — on this side of heavens gate — to not only be one of Bill Britton’s sons, but also to be his friend…
Wm Daniel John