The Church of God: A social history

February 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

4854453The Church of God: A SOCIAL HISTORY
by Mickey Crews

The University of Tennessee Press, KNOXVILLE

Copyright © 1990 by The University of Tennessee Press / Knoxville. All Rights Reserved. Manufactured in the United States of America. First Edition.

The paper in this book meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials.

READ the full text here: https://archive.org/details/churchofgodsociacrew

DOWNLOAD as PDF file here: https://archive.org/download/churchofgodsociacrew/churchofgodsociacrew.pdf

First person to speak in tongues in the Assemblies of God was William Jethro Walthall of the Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas

September 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

William Jethro WalthallBy Glenn Gohr
A/G Heritage, Fall 1992

Although the modern Pentecostal movement relates its beginnings to Charles Parham, who formulated classical Pentecostal theology at his Bible school in Topeka at the turn of the century, throughout history, from apostolic times to the present, there have been certain religious groups and isolated cases of individuals who have experienced tongues-speaking and spiritual gifts.

William Jethro Walthall, who founded the Holiness Baptist Churches of Southwestern Arkansas, a group which later merged with the Assemblies of God, is an important figure who received his baptism in the Spirit prior to Parham’s launching of Pentecostalism in 1901.

Walthall’s Spirit baptism, which occurred 113 years ago, is one of the earliest documented cases of speaking in tongues in North America. Earlier instances of tongues-speaking have been reported among the Shakers, the Holiness Movement, the “Gift People” or “Gift Adventists” in New England, and others. It is very possible that Walthall is the earliest person to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and who later joined the Assemblies of God.

William Jethro Walthall was born in Nevada County, Arkansas, March 9, 1858, the son of Charles Featherston Walthall and Mary Jemima Meador. His father died in 1863 at Rock Island, Illinois, as a prisoner in the Civil War, and his mother died 2 years later. Orphaned at age 7, he was reared by his widowed grandmother. However he had no Christian upbringing, so it was not until 1877 that he was confronted with the claims of the Gospel. That happened when he attended an old-time Methodist meeting and conviction gripped his heart, resulting in his conversion at age 19. Two years later, on August 3, 1879, he was married to his first wife, Melissa P. “Missy” Beavers, who bore him two children, Millard and Ibber Mae. After Melissa passed away, he married Hattie Vaughn on March 24, 1915.

While a young Christian, Walthall had a yearning for more of the workings of God in his life. He earnestly began to seek for a fullness of power to witness and better serve the Lord. This spiritual hunger led him to carefully study the Book of Acts and other scriptures. There he found recorded an enduement with power of the Holy Ghost which had accompanied the Early Church. He wanted this same experience in his life.

During a season of fervent prayer, he received a mighty infilling of the Spirit on September 3, 1879. Since he had never heard of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he did not receive his Baptism through any prescribed theory or method.

Until that time all he knew about the Holy Spirit came from the teachings of the Methodists and Baptists. But this was something new. His experience came about in answer to prayer and through his own study of the Word of God. From the outset he understood that his experience corresponded with the records given in the Book of Acts.

In his testimony, Walthall describes his infilling by saying, “I was carried out of myself for the time being.” From the time of his Baptism, he testified that he often felt the strong anointing power of God. At times he would fall under the power of God when the Spirit came upon him. He also spoke in tongues as the Spirit directed.

For two years, during which time the Holy Ghost would often fall on me, I walked with God. Sometimes while in service and sometimes when alone in prayer I would fall prostrate under His mighty power. While under this power my tongue seemed to be tied in the center and loosed at both ends. I knew nothing of the Bible teaching on the Baptism or speaking with tongues, and thought nothing of what had happened in my experience.

Walthall was ordained by the Missionary Baptist Church on May 29, 1887, and served several congregations in Southwest Arkansas. He was active in various associational committees including foreign missions and temperance. In 1891 he was pastor of Piney Grove Church at Boughton, Arkansas, which was a part of the Red River Baptist Association of the Southern Baptist Convention. In fact, the annual associational meeting was held that year at Walthall’s church. The next year he was pastoring two churches at Bluff City and Prescott. From 1894-1895 he was pastoring at Stephens. The last Baptist church he pastored was at Buena Vista. Because of the prevalent view of the Holy Spirit held by Baptists, Methodists, and other mainline churches, Walthall had some reservations about his experience, as he shares in his testimony:

The ordinary Methodist and Baptist teaching was all that I knew, and, of course, that served to diminish my experience and to paralyze my faith rather than build me up. In the meantime, I began preaching a work to which I was called when the blessed Spirit filled me. I always felt that there was a lost chord in the Gospel ministry. My own ministry never measured up to my ideal, nor did the teaching of my church (Baptist) measure up to my experience.

Then in 1895 Walthall came into contact with the Holiness revival. Its emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit impressed him. Its teachings approximated his ideal more nearly than anything else, but he never fully ascribed to the Holiness theology. He could not accept its theory of sanctification; nor could he accept its abridgement of the supernatural. Even so, the Holiness revival opened him up to a larger sphere of ministry, This in turn gave him the encouragement he needed to preach the full gospel message as he understood it from the Scriptures. As he began to preach a full gospel message, the Baptist leaders excluded him from his church and he was ostracized from the Baptist ministry in 1896. He continued preaching on his own.

After my new vision of the Word of truth, and my expulsion from the Baptist fellowship and ministry, I went alone with a new zeal in an independent, plodding ministry, with church and school houses closed against me. I was looked upon with suspicion, as unbalanced but was so animated by the divine presence that it seemed at times as if terrestrial bearing was almost lost. Baptist minister, J. C, Kelly, and other Baptists who became disfellowshipped because of their beliefs in entire sanctification and the work of the Holy Spirit.

He was soon followed by another Baptist minister, J. C. Kelly, and other Baptists who became disfellowshipped because of their beliefs in entire sanctification and the work of the Holy Spirit.

8 Things Christian Believers and Churches Can Do in Light of Recent SCOTUS Ruling on LGBT

August 15, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

1. State Level

2. Personal Level

  • Inform yourself and your family of the clear Biblical principles for love and holiness applicable in this situation
  • Pray daily for the protection of your family and the salvation of many souls
  • Be faithful to your husband/wife and children

3. Corporate Level

  • Hold on to your Christian standards for doing business
  • Support other Christian businesses
  • Forgive and forget, but watch and pray

4. Local Church Level

  • Join in corporate fasting and praying in the Spirit
  • Uphold the Biblical standard of holy living
  • Preach the truth as you have received it
  • Adopt local church resolutions on the sanctity of the family

5. Denominational Level

6. Christian Alliances Level

7. International Organizational Level

8. Get good insurance with adequate coverage and experience in the matter

• A good example from Brotherhood Mutual Ins. 

READ ALSO: 

Church of God Instructions for Ministers: Marriage and Same-sex Relationship (75th A., 2014)

August 10, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

MSSR75A2014

Church of God Instructions for Ministers: Marriage and Same-sex Relationship (75th A., 2014)

p. 158-159, S63. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR MINISTERS, by adding the following so as to read:

II. Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships

A. The Church of God rejects the cultural, political, and theological pressures to change the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. We affirm this definition based on God’s Word and the truth that Christian marriage between a man and a woman reflects the theological truth of Christ’s love for His Church.

B. Church of God ministers, whether an ordained minister or ordained bishop, shall only perform or participate in marriage ceremonies or marriage blessings between one man and one woman, as marriage is defined in the Bible. This policy also is applicable to Church of God ministers who serve in capacities outside the scope of normal pastoring, such as military, hospital, and corporate chaplains.

C. Local Church of God churches and the local Church of God ministers who serve them shall only hold, provide facilities for, conduct or preside over weddings, wedding receptions, and anniversaries (and other gatherings related to weddings, receptions, and anniversaries) that celebrate a marriage or blessing between one man and one woman, as marriage is defined in the Bible.

D. Church of God ministers shall maintain a Christ-like attitude of love, mercy, and grace, when counseling or otherwise dealing with individuals in same-gender relationships. A Christ-like spirit will maintain the truth of God’s Word, the policies of the church, and avoid inappropriate remarks or attitudes that do not reflect the Holy Spirit.

E. Church of God ministers shall seek to find godly counselors to whom they can refer individuals in same-gender relationships for additional ministry and guidance.

F. Failure of Church of God ministers to adhere to these biblically based guidelines will result in forfeiture of ministerial credentials.

Regional Church of God

August 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

Regional Church of God 1Regional Church of God 2Regional Church of God 3

 

 

Diamonds in the “Rough and Ready” (upcoming series)

July 25, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

      1. Alive, alive! (A personal testimony)
      2. Church of God Primitivism
      3. Bulgarian Church of God
      4. J.W. Buckalew
      5. WAR ON THE SAINTS: Revival Dawn and the Baptism of the Spirit
      6. How Jezebel Killed One of the Greatest Revivals Ever
      7. Pentecostal Primitivism Preserved
      8. Why revival came? by Dr. Charles Conn
      9. Azusa Street Sermons, etc.

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20 Years of the Bulgarian Church of God in Chicago

July 10, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

chessJuly 10, 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the first service of the Bulgarian Church of God in Chicago in 1995.

We have told the Story of the first Bulgarian Church of God in the Untied States (read it here) on numerous occasions and it was a substantial part of our 2005 dissertation (published in 2012, see it here).

From my personal memories, the exact beginning was after Brave Heart opened in the summer of 1995 and the Narragansett Church of God closed the street for a 4th of July block party with BBQ, Chicago PD horsemen, a moonwalk and much more.

The first service in the Bulgarian vernacular was held Sunday afternoon, July 10th 1995 being the true anniversary of the Bulgarian Church in Chicago. Only about a dozen were present and the sermon I preached was from Hebrews 13:5. Unfortunately, to this day 20 years later, we cannot locate the pictures taken that day to identify those present. And some have already passed away.

Using a ministry model that later became a paradigm for starting Bulgarian churches in North America (see it in detail) the church grew to over 65 members in just a few weeks by the end of July. This was around the time the movie Judge Dread had opened and the first edition of Windows 95 was scheduled for release in Chicago. I saw them both at the mall on upper Harlem Boulevard.

The Bulgarian Church of God in Chicago followed a rich century-long tradition, which began with the establishing of Bulgarian churches and missions in 1907. (read the history) Consecutively, our 1995 Church Starting Paradigm was successfully used in various studies and models in 2003. The program was continuously improved in the following decade, proposing an effective model for leading and managing growing Bulgarian churches.

Based on the Gateway cities in North America and their relations to the Bulgarian communities across the continent, it proposed a prognosis toward establishing Bulgarian churches (see it here) and outlined the perimeters of their processes and dynamics in the near future (read in detail).

After a personal xlibris, the said prognosis were revisited in 2009 in relation to preliminary groundbreaking church work on the West Coast and then evaluated against the state of Bulgarian Churches in America at the 2014 Annual Conference in Minneapolis.

We’re yet to observe the factors and dynamics determining if Bulgarian churches across North America will follow their early 20th century predecessors to become absorbed in the local context or alike many other ethnic groups survive to form their own subculture in North America. We will know the answer for sure in another 20 years…

Statement of the Church of God Regarding Same-Sex Marriage Court Decision

June 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

supreme-courtThe June 26, 2015, ruling by the Supreme Court legitimizes same-sex marriage in all 50 states and overturns all state laws to the contrary. In a 33-page opinion, five of the nine justices agreed that no difference exists between same-sex marriage and the traditionally held union of a man and woman. Based on their interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, they declared that no legal impediment should stand in the way of any couple who wishes to marry.

In a clarifying statement at the conclusion of the written opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy made it clear that the ruling did not forbid churches from continuing to oppose the idea of homosexual marriage.

He stated, “Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”

The Church of God stands with fellow Christians who understand that God intended marriage to be between a man and woman, as explained in Genesis and confirmed by Jesus, when He declared that the Creator has “made them male and female,” and that “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Our church joined in the Supreme Court case by means of an amicus brief requesting consideration for this millennia-old view of marriage propounded by Scripture.

We urge the pastors and members of the Church to continue to hold high the biblical standard for godly marriage. A legal definition of marriage may have changed, but the orthodox understanding based on God’s revelation has not changed. We call upon men and women to demonstrate to a confused world the fulfillment that results when they covenant in marriage to practice faithful and sacrificial love. Action by the International General Assembly in 2014 protects pastors and congregations who do not wish to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies, based on First Amendment rights to religious freedom. On that basis, we recommend that each pastor adopt the following personal statement that echoes the official church action:

  1. I am a minister of the gospel, credentialed by the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee).
  1. It is the long-established biblical/religious belief and polity of the Church of God, which belief and polity I adhere to, that marriage is a spiritual union in which a man and woman are joined by God to live together as one.
  1. Based on my personal religious beliefs and the beliefs and polity of my credentialing church, I refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
  1. I base this refusal on my First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom, and on any and all exemptions granted to me under Federal and State laws.
  1. This refusal shall extend to my church’s refusal to allow its facilities to be used for same-sex marriages or any celebration relating to same-sex unions.

The ill-considered opinion of the activist members of this Court will have far-reaching and threatening aftereffects in coming months and years. It evidences again the supreme importance of electing a president who will seek out and appoint constitutional jurists rather than judges who would rather be legislators.The Christian Church has understood during most of it existence that it is part of a kingdom that is not of this world. It has faced much hostility and endured much suffering, but it remains steadfast and victorious. We believe that despite the best efforts of antichristian forces, it will ultimately triumph.

Bulgarian Church of God Building Burnt Down

June 10, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

The building of the Church of God in the city of Elin Pelin burnt down last week after a fire was set on the premises in the middle of the night. The church was built years ago and has faithfully served as a beacon in the local community until now. Under the current conditions it is impossible for the congregation to meet as at the same time they cannot make any plans for rebuilding until the investigation is over.

Pastor Tommy Karakolev, who is one of the oldest ordained ministers in the denomination, has addressed colleagues and friends for help. Through the years, his congregation has produced many ministers and pastors serving in churches in Bulgaria and abroad, and they have been all called to assist with their churches in any way they can. Please join us in prayer for the rebuilding of the church in an even better way and open doors for the congregation to continue meetings while the rebuilding lasts.

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X Youth Event Reunion

September 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Events, News

downloadX 7.7.7 @ Black Sea http://cupandcross.com/x-youth-event-at-the-black-sea-2/

X 8.8.8 @ the Heart of Bulgaria http://cupandcross.com/x-2008-in-the-heart-of-bulgaria-a-new-level-of-ministry/

X 9.9.9 @ Gipsy Ghetto of Samokov http://cupandcross.com/2009-x-event-transforming-the-status-quo-2/

X 10.10.10 @ Cyprus http://cupandcross.com/x-10-10-10-cyprus-reflection/

X 11.11.11 @ Chicago http://cupandcross.com/x-11-11-11-youth-event-afterglow/

X 12.12.12 @ End Time Revival http://cupandcross.com/12-12-12-revival-at-the-end-of-the-world/

 

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