Associated Churches of Christ (Holiness)
1302 E Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90011
In 1915 Bp. William Washington formed a branch of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. on the West Coast, which carried out work independently of the work directed in the East and South by the church’s founder, Charles Price Jones (1865–1949). A few years later, Jones went to Los Angeles to hold a revival meeting. At that time, Jones and Washington worked out an agreement to work cooperatively. This agreement was in effect until 1946–1947, when, because of what the manual of the Associated Churches of Christ (Holiness) calls the “manipulating of some administrative problems in the upper circles of the Church,” the West Coast churches withdrew from the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. The West Coast churches now continue under the original incorporation of Bishop Washington. Doctrine and polity are identical with those of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A.
Not reported. In the early 1970s the Associated Churches had six churches and one mission.
PO Box 120574, Arlington, TX 76012
Christ’s Holy Sanctified Church of America is a predominantly black Holiness church founded in 1910 in Keatchie, Louisiana, by Judge King and Sarah A. King. Bp. Judge King was succeeded by Bp. Ulysses King, and later by Bp. J. King and E. L. McBride. Bp. G. E. Jones is the current presiding bishop. The church follows the teaching of the Wesleyan Holiness perspective.
The church supports Christ’s Holy Sanctified School, an industrial training school.
Christ’s Holy Sanctified Church of America. www.chschurch.org/home.
DuPree, Sherry Sherrod. African American Holiness Pentecostal Charismatic: Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1992.
Jones, Charles Edwin. Black Holiness. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1987.
King, Abp. Judge, ed. Discipline of Christ Holy Sanctified Church of America. Oakland, CA: Christ’s Holy Sanctified Church, n.d.
329 E. Monument St., Jackson, MS 39202
In 1894 Charles Price Jones (1865–1949) and Charles H. Mason (1866–1961) formed the Church of God in Christ as a Holiness body after having been excluded from fellowship with black Baptists in Arkansas. Mason led most of the body into pentecostalism in 1907. Those who remained were reorganized by Jones as the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. Jones himself became well known as a composer and publisher of Holiness gospel songs. Doctrinally, the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. is very close to the Church of the Nazarene, with which it almost merged. It follows the Methodist Articles of Religion, and stresses the second blessing of the Holy Spirit, which imparts sanctification to the believer. Race issues have prevented close relations between the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. and predominantly white Holiness churches.
The church is episcopal in structure, with a senior bishop as the highest official. There are seven dioceses. A convention held every two years is the highest legislative authority. Missionary work is sponsored in Mexico. There is a publishing house in Los Angeles. Bp. Emery Lindsay of Chicago is the current senior bishop; Bp. Vernon Kennebrew (Little Rock, Arkansas) is the president.
In 1998 the Church of Christ (Holiness) had 10,393 members in 167 congregations in the United States.
Christ Missionary and Industrial College, Jackson, Mississippi.
Boydton Institute, Boydton, Virginia.
Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. www.cochusa.com.
Cobbins, Otho B. History of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., 1895–1965. New York: Vantage Press, 1966.
Jones, C. P. His Fulness. Jackson, MS: Church of Christ (Holiness), 1901.
———. The Story of My Songs. Los Angeles: Church of Christ (Holiness), n.d.
PO Box 281615, Nashville, TN 37207
In the early years of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. (see separate entry), the church existed as an unincorporated entity called the “Church of God,” or the “Holiness Church.” It was only after the schism over Pentecostalism in 1907 that the church was incorporated and its present name was adopted. Before the incorporation, one of the ministers, Elder Charles W. Gray, established the church in Nashville, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas. When the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. incorporated, Gray continued his work independently as the Church of God (Sanctified Church). The doctrine was the same as that of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., but the polity was congregational, with local churches operating autonomously and appointing their own ministers. The associated churches remained unincorporated. In 1927 there was a movement within the Church of God (Sanctified Church) to incorporate and to consolidate the work under a board of elders. Among those who constituted the newly incorporated church were Elders J. L. Rucker, R. A. Manter, R. L. Martin, M. S. Sowell, B. Smith, and G. A. Whitley. The move to incorporate led to further controversy and a schism. However, under the incorporation the elders retained the rights to direct the church, and it continues as the Church of God (Sanctified Church). Elder Gray, founder of the church, withdrew to found the Original Church of God (or Sanctified Church).
The Church of God (Sanctified Church) is headed by a general overseer. The first was Elder Rucker. He was succeeded by Elder Theopolis Dickerson McGhee (d.m1965) and Elder Jesse E. Evans. The current general overseer (elected in 2004) is Bp. A. J. Valentine Jr. The church is organized into six districts and holds an annual convention every summer. Mission work is conducted in Jamaica.
Not reported. In the early 1970s the church reported 60 congregations with approximately 5,000 members.
Truth and Life.
Church of God (Sanctified Church). www.cogsanctified.org.
1628 NE 50th, Oklahoma City, OK 73111
The Church of God (Which He Purchased with His Own Blood) is a predominantly black holiness church founded in 1953 by William F. Fizer following his excommunication from the Church of the Living God (Christian Workers for Fellowship). Fizer had concluded that grape juice or wine, not water, should be used in the Lord’s Supper, thus denying one of the major distinctive practices of the Church of the Living God. The first annual convention of the Church of God was held in 1954.
The Church of God distinguishes itself from Pentecostalism and teaches that the Holy Ghost is given to those who obey the Lord. The Lord’s Supper is held weekly and grape juice and unleavened bread are used as elements. Foot washing is practiced. Baptism is administered following a trinitarian formula. A holiness code that frowns upon the use of tobacco and alcohol is followed. Divine healing is sought in cases of sickness, but the work of doctors is also affirmed.
The Church of God believes that it is the Body of Christ, following the belief and practice of scriptures; hence it sees itself as the true church as organized originally by Jesus Christ. It is the role of the chief bishop to organize the church by calling people to the true doctrine.
In 1997 there were seven churches, 800 members, and 10 ministers. These are also members in Nigeria and the Philippines.
Fizer, William Jordon. Bible Doctrine. Oklahoma City, OK: The Author, n.d. 72pp.
1651 Ferry Park, Detroit, MI 48206
Rivaling “Sweet Daddy” Grace and Father Divine as charismatic leaders in the black community was the Rev. James Francis Marion Jones, better known as Prophet Jones (1908–1971). Born in Birmingham, Alabama, the son of a railroad brakeman and a school teacher, he was raised in Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ. Even as a child, he preached (he did so regularly after his eleventh birthday). In 1938 he was sent to Detroit as a missionary and became successful quickly. Tension with headquarters arose before the year was out, however, when members began to shower Jones with expensive gifts that the headquarters claimed. Rather than surrender his new affluence, Jones left the church and founded the Church of Universal Triumph the Dominion of God.
The new church, modeled on the parent body, was built upon Jones’s charisma. During the 1940s and 1950s he became known for his wealth. His possessions included a white mink coat, a 54-room French chateau that had been built in 1917 by a General Motors executive, five Cadillacs each with its own chauffeur, jewelry, perfumes, and wardrobe of almost 500 ensembles. Jones claimed to be in direct contact with God, whose voice took the form of a breeze fanning Jones’s ear. Among his practices was dispensing solutions to personal problems after inviting individuals to mount his dais and whisper their problems in his ear. Most of Prophet Jones’s wealth came from people grateful for his healing ability. Followers were to be found in all the large northern U.S. cities. Jones’s title was “His Holiness the Rev. Dr. James F. Jones, D.D., Universal Dominion Ruler, Internationally known as Prophet Jones.”
The church, like the parent body, is very strict. Members are not allowed to smoke, drink, play games of any kind, use coffee or tea, fraternize with nonmembers, attend another church, or marry without the consent of the ruler of the church. Women must wear girdles and men health belts. The major theological tenet concerns the beginning of the millennium in 2,000 c.e. All alive at that time will become immortal and live in the heaven on earth.
The upward path of Prophet Jones came to an abrupt end in 1956 when a vice raid on his home led to his arrest and trial for gross indecency. He was acquited, but the damage had been done, and his following declined from that time. During the year prior to his death in 1971, he commuted between Detroit and Chicago. Following his death, his assistant, the Rev. Lord James Shaffer, became the Dominion ruler, named by the Dominion council and board of trustees. Some 20 ministers and 5,000 church members attended the funeral of Prophet Jones in 1971.
Shaffer’s wife Maggie Shaffer shares a leadership role with him as the church’s “reverend princess.”
Church of Universal Triumph/The Dominion of God. www.utdog.org.
Retzloff, Tim. “‘Seer or Queer?’: Postwar Fascination with Detroit’s Prophet Jones.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 8 (2002): 271–296.
7407 Metcalf, PO Box 4220, Overland Park, KS 66204
The Churches of God, Holiness, were formed by Bp. King Hezekiah Burruss (d. 1963), formerly of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. Burruss began a church in Atlanta in 1914 that belonged to the latter organization, and by 1920 this had grown so large that it hosted the national convention of the Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. Shortly after that Atlanta meeting, however, Burruss formed his own church. Doctrine is like the doctrine of the parent body.
The highest authority in the churches is the national convention. There are also annual state conventions. The bishop appoints the state overseers who assign all pastors. The present bishop is Titus Paul Burruss.
Not reported. In 1967 there were 42 churches, 16 ministers, and 25,600 members, mostly along the East Coast.
The Bethlehem Star.
2006 Georgia Ave. NW, Ste. 300, Washington, DC 20001
The Gospel Spreading Church, sometimes called Elder Michaux Church of God or the Radio Church of God, was founded by Lightfoot Solomon Michaux (1885–1968), a minister in the Church of God (Holiness). At one point he served as the church’s secretary treasurer. His preaching career started in Hopewell, Virginia, in a small church called “Everybody’s Mission” that he had built with his own hands. Michaux moved to Newport News, Virginia, where he erected a tent in 1919 at the corner of 19th and Jefferson Avenue. During a series of meetings, 150 persons accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. These 150 became the foundation of the Gospel Spreading Church of God. In 1922 Michaux came into conflict with C. P. Jones, founder of the Church of God (Holiness), and left to found an independent church, retaining the name he had previously used, the Gospel Spreading Tabernacle Association. In 1928 he moved to Washington, D.C., and established the Church of God and Gospel Spreading Association.
His early success continued in the nation’s capital. He had discovered the potential of radio while in Virginia, and in 1929 began broadcasting on WJSV, mixing Holiness themes with positive thinking. Shortly thereafter, CBS bought the station and Michaux’s show expanded: By 1934 he was on more than 50 stations nationwide, and had an estimated audience of 25,000,000. His show was also carried internationally by short-wave. He was the first black person to receive such exposure. He also began a magazine, Happy News.
From his radio audience, congregations began to form in black communities, primarily in the East. However, by the beginning of World War II his radio ministry had declined, and he was heard on only a few stations, in those cities where congregations already had formed. In 1964 he reorganized his followers as the Gospel Spreading Church, but most of the congregations continued to call themselves the Church of God.
Elder Michaux created a board of directors to help him carry out his vision. The Gospel Spreading Association was incorporated as the business arm of the church in 1921, and today the business office is headed by a board of directors with an office staff located in Washington, D.C. In 2004 Bp. Michael A. Clayton Sr. was installed and consecrated as the bishop and general overseer of the Gospel Spreading Church of God, Inc.
Elder Michaux eventually established 10 churches, in Newport News, Virginia (1919), Hampton, Virginia (1922), Baltimore, Maryland (1923), Washington, D.C. (1928), Edenborn, Pennsylvania (1930), New York, New York (1930), Union Bridge, Maryland (1934), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1935), Richmond, Virginia (1950), and Kinston, North Carolina.
The Happy News • Sparks from the Anvil
Gospel Spreading Church. www.gospelspreadingchurch.org.
Lark, Pauline, ed. Sparks from the Anvil of Elder Micheaux. Washington, DC: Happy News, 1950.
Webb, Lilian Ashcraft. About My Father’s Business. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981.
c/o Kenneth O. Barbour, 2601 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15219
The Kodesh Church of Emmanuel is a black holiness sect that was formed by Rev. Frank Russell Killingsworth when he withdrew from the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1929 along with 120 followers. In common with other holiness churches, this church emphasizes entire sanctification as a second definite work of grace conditioned upon a life of absolute consecration. The church forbids the use of alcohol, tobacco, and prideful dress; membership in secret societies; and profaning the Sabbath. In 1934 a merger was effected with the Christian Tabernacle Union of Pittsburgh.
The church is governed by a quadrennial general assembly. Regional assemblies meet annually. There is mission work in Liberia.
In 1980 there were 5 churches, 326 members, and 28 ministers.
PO Box 236, Boston, MA 02121
Mount Calvary Holy Church of America was founded by Bp. Brumfield Johnson, a young minister who had served as pastor of the United Holy Church of America in Summit, New Jersey. In 1928 Bishop Johnson and Elder Robert Pugsley traveled to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to conduct a revival. Many of those converted urged Johnson to establish a church there, and so the Winston-Salem church was incorporated in 1929 as the Mt. Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc.
Bishop Johnson returned to Summit, New Jersey, and at a conference there in 1929, 20 more ministers joined him. In the summer of that year Johnson conducted tent revivals in Huntington Station, Long Island, New York, and in September he established a church on New York Avenue in Huntington, with Bp. William Bryant was appointed pastor. Bishop Bryant remained the pastor until his death, then Bishop Johnson presided from 1951 to 1972 with the assistance of Rev. Agnes A. Hiller, who succeeded him as pastor in 1972.
Johnson and a group of his workers attended a conference in Boston, Massachusetts, and adopted the principles now adhered to by the Mt. Calvary Holy Church. The church was chartered in Boston on July 27, 1929, with an initial membership of about 200, and the church grew rapidly during its first decade.
Johnson and his followers continued tent services in Durham, North Carolina, and established a church there. The Mt. Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, was founded in 1932. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was brought into Mt. Calvary in 1957.
The first Mt. Calvary Holy Church headquarters was established in Baltimore, Maryland. Shortly thereafter, the church relocated to Buffalo, New York. When a fire destroyed that headquarters church in 1960, the church moved its headquarters Boston, and later to Dorchester, Massachusetts, where their national convocations were held.
The church operates foreign missions in Africa, Barbados, Trinidad, and London. It also broadcasts a radio show.
On February 15, 1972, Bishop Johnson passed away and was succeeded by Bp. Harold Ivory Williams.
In 2008 the church’s website listed 58 congregations, in California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Mount Calvary Holy Church of America. www.mchca.org/main.htm.
PO Box 1061, Greenville, TX 75403
International headquarters: 1–5 Redemption Way, Ebute-Metta, Lagos.
The Redeemed Church of God, one of several African Initiated Churches to establish work in North America, was founded in the Ondo State of Nigeria (Westrica) by Pa Akindayomi (1909–1981), who in 1927 had been baptized into the Anglican Church by missionaries of the Church Missionary Society. He later associated with the independent Cherubim and Seraphim Church. During the 1930s he began to hear a voice calling him to be God’s servant. In 1952, convinced that the Cherubim and Seraphim Church had veered from the truth, he founded the Glory of God Fellowship with nine people. The fellowship grew rapidly. Headquarters for what would emerge as the Redeemed Church of God were established in Lagos, Nigeria.
In 1975 Enoch Adejare Adeboye, a lecturer at the University of Lagos, was ordained as a pastor in the Redeemed Church. He spoke English fluently and translated many of Akindayomi’s sermons from Youruban to English. He was named the church’s new leader when Akindayomi passed away, and his appointment was confirmed by the reading of Akindayomi’s sealed pronouncement following the funeral.
Under Adeboye’s leadership more than 4,000 parishes were founded in Nigeria, and the church spread to the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Gambia, Cameroon, and South Africa. Beyond Africa, it has a presence in England, Germany, France, the United States, Haiti, and Jamaica.
The Redeemed Church of God is a Holiness body, and its statement of faith affirms that “sanctification is another grace of God by which our souls are progressively and completely cleansed. This is the second accomplishment of the grace which through our faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ is wrought after we have been justified and free from our sins or regenerated.” Members are asked to live a life separated from worldliness that calls for modest dress, monogamous marriage, and nonparticipation in various forms of idolatry.
The church practices baptism by immersion and the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. It teaches divine healing, and members practice the laying-on-of-hands and anointing with oil. Among the well known programs of the church in Nigeria is the Holy Ghost Service, an all-night service held outside Lagos the first Friday of every month. Some 500,000 regularly attend. Members are obliged to tithe to the church.
The church is headed by a seven-person church council headed by Adeboye, who is generally and affectionately known as “G. O.” or “Daddy G. O.” (General Overseer).
In the 1980s members of the church began to migrate to Europe and the Americas. Subsequently, parishes were established in the United States in Dallas, Tallahassee, Houston, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, Chicago, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Detroit. The U.S. churches have held an annual convention since 1997. European congregations are found in England, Belgium, and Germany. There is a single congregation in Hong Kong.
In 2008 the church had grown to more than 5,000 parishes worldwide with a total congregational strength of more than one million. The church’s North American website listed 306 parishes in the parish directory.
Redeemed Church of God. www.rccg.org.
Redeemed Church of God (North America). www.rccgna.org.
2571 Browntown Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ was founded by Elder Elias Dempsey Smith (d. 1920) in 1902. The founding followed by five years a divine revelation given to Smith. According to the literature of the church, the 1902 organization of the church marked the time when the revelation was “speeded to earth.” Finally, in 1904, the content of the revelation was announced. Headquarters for the church were established in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, then were moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and later to Atlanta, Georgia. The founder was in charge of the church until 1920, when he moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The church follows the holiness beliefs common to holiness churches, but also believes in fire baptism, a spiritual experience of empowerment by the Holy Spirit. Fire baptism was first received by the apostles in the upper room on Pentecost, when tongues of fire appeared above their heads (Acts 2). As practiced by the several nineteenth- and twentieth-century “fire-baptized” churches, fire baptism is similar to the Pentecostal experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, except it is typically not accompanied by speaking in tongues. (See separate entry on the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church, Wesleyan.)
Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ holds a unique view of itself as a church in relation to Christendom, traditionally called the church militant. This view is reflected in the following passage from the church’s catechism:
Question. Was there another Church in the earth before Triumph? Answer. Yes. Church Militant; Question. Is there any difference between the Triumph Church and Church Militant? Answer. Yes. Church Militant is a Church of warfare, and Triumph is a Church of Peace; Question. What happened to Church Militant when Triumph was revealed? Answer. God turned it upside down and emptied His Spirit into Triumph; Question. Is Triumph just a Church only? Answer. No. It has a Kingdom with it.
Polity is episcopal, with bishops elected for life. Under the bishops is a hierarchy of state and local workers. Every four years the church holds an International Religious Congress. In 2008 the chief apostle was Willie R. Malcom.
As of 2008, Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ is an international organization with churches located in 36 states. It runs a mission school in Africa, a national historical landmark church building in Cleveland, Ohio, historical museums and libraries in several of its local churches, two major housing complexes in Flint, Michigan—Slidell and Taylor Lake Manor—and the Triumph School of Prophets.
Founder’s Day Consecration, featuring consecrated prayer and fasting, is held every year in January, from the 1st to the 20th. On the 20th, Founder’s Day Celebration is marked with all-day services and a feast. In addition, National Commemoration Services in memory of the church’s founder are held once per year.
Not reported. At last report (1972) there were 475 churches, 53,307 members, and 1,375 ministers.
Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ. www.triumphthechurch.org.
Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ–Second Episcopal District. www.ourchurch.com/member/t/TriumphDistric2.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
Triumph the Church in Righteousness, predominantly a black holiness church, was founded in 1951 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by Annie Lizzie Brownlee, the church’s bishop. She began life as a Baptist and later joined Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ. Bishop Brownlee began her ministry by founding a mission that served the poor, the old, the mentally ill, and children. She became well known in the black community in Fort Lauderdale where, dressed all in white, she stood on the street corners soliciting financial assistance for her mission work. In 1954 she had a vision that prompted her to purchase land and start a new church. Over the years she founded five congregations in the Miami–Fort Lauderdale area.
Bishop Brownlee, who sanctioned female ministers, maintained a strict code of appearance for female members of the church, including rules forbidding hair straightening.
In 1990 the church reported approximately 400 members in five congregations.
DuPree, Sherry Sherrod. African-American Holiness Pentecostal Movement: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1996.
"Black Holiness." Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 12, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/black-holiness
"Black Holiness." Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Retrieved March 12, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/black-holiness