Glenn Griffith Movement
Glenn Griffith Movement
2291 Depot Rd., Salem, OH 44460
The Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny Conference) was formed in 1968 after the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America (1843) merged with the Pilgrim Holiness Church to form the Wesleyan Church. Prominent among the leaders of the new Connection were Reverends H. C. Van Wormer, T. A. Robertson, J. B. Markey, and F.E. Mansell. These men, along with a majority of the conference, opposed the merger on the grounds that they believed in a republican form of church governance and in Wesleyan Methodist standards of behavior, which they believed were being abandoned in the new church. Legal technicalities forced them to add the words “Original Allegheny Conference” to their name. Allegheny was one of the original conferences formed by the Wesleyan Methodist Church when it broke away from the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1843.
The Connection follows the traditional Holiness doctrine of the former Wesleyan Methodist Church. It emphasizes the belief that the atonement in Christ provides for both the regeneration of sinners and the entire sanctification of believers.
The Connection serves as an agency of the cooperative endeavor. There is a strong thrust in the foreign missions with work in Haiti, Ghana, and Peru. Domestic missions are conducted among Native Americans of the northwestern United States and Canada, and among international university students in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In 2006 there were 107 churches, 1,471 members, and 192 ministers.
Northwest Indian Bible School, Alberton, Montana.
Allegheny Wesleyan College, Salem, Ohio.
Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist.
Discipline of the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection. Salem, OH: Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection, 2006.
Morrison, H. C. Baptism with the Holy Ghost. Salem, OH: Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection, 1978.
1216 Taylor Rd., Glencoe, AL 35905
In 1968, while the Pilgrim Holiness Church and the Wesleyan Methodist Church were merging, the Ohio Wesleyan Connection of Churches met with the Alabama Bible Methodists to see if a union of these two like-minded groups could be effected. Eighteen months later, in May 1970, the First General Conference of the Bible Methodist Connection of Churches met on the campus of God’s Bible School to officially unite these two groups as the Bible Methodist Connection of Churches, with a membership of 794.
In 1970 these two bodies merged to form the Bible Methodist Connection of Churches. The connection is organized congregationally, specifically rejecting centralizing tendencies perceived to exist in the older Holiness bodies. The connection has three conferences: the Heartland Conference (formerly the Ohio Conference), Alabama Conference, and Great Lakes Conference. A conference assembly is held yearly and a general conference assembly meets every fourth year to shape church doctrine and polity.
The connection is a Holiness church whose doctrinal position is contained in the Twenty-two Articles of Religion derived from the Methodist Articles of Religion. They affirm the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture: justification; sanctification, the work of the Holy Spirit that cleanses a believer of inbred sin; and the imminent return of Christ.
In 2008 Bible Methodism had more churches on mission fields than any of its separate annual conferences had. Its primary field was in the Philippines, where it had about 40 churches and a bible college operating under national leadership. The Philippine work was organized with its own national conference with four annual conferences. In Mexico the Bible Methodist Churches were organized into a national conference in 1992. On the Mexico-Texas border the Latin American Bible Institute operates, with intermittent difficulties caused by lack of faculty and unco-operative Mexican authorities, to train Mexican laymen and pastors to do the work of the ministry. In 1992 two South Africans seeking affiliation with a Methodist Church for their pioneer work in that country found Bible Methodism, with its conservative lifestyle and emphasis on Holiness, to be the most compatible with their own beliefs. Subsequently, they joined Bible Methodism and become an arm of Bible Methodist missions operating in South Africa.
In 1997 there were 45 churches, 1,514 members, and 146 ministers in the United States, and 100 members in Canada. The church had missions and colleges in Mexico and the Philippines.
The Bible Methodist Connection supports and draws its ministers from:
God’s Bible School and College, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Union Bible College, Westfield, Indiana, and
Hobe Sound Bible Institute, Hobe Sound, Florida.
The Bible Methodist.
Bible Methodist Connection of Churches. www.biblemethodist.org.
PO Box 6070, Rock Island, IL 61204-6070
Following the successful revival led by the Church of the Nazarene minister Rev. Glenn Griffith (1894–1976) near Nampa, Idaho, the group of conservative Holiness people attracted to Griffith’s message were organized into the Bible Missionary Union. Word of the action spread quickly, and within 10 months congregations of like-minded people had been established in twenty states. Joining Griffith were J. E. Cook, Spencer Johnson, and H. B. Huffman. The first general conference of the church was held in Denver in 1956, at which the present name was selected. Membership in the church has been augmented by the failure of conservatives in 1956 to have the Nazarene Council Assembly condemn television.
Like its parent, the Church of the Nazarene’s doctrine is Wesleyan with an emphasis on Holiness. Entire sanctification, as freedom from original sin and a state of entire devotion to God, is stressed. The future life, heaven and hell, and the premillennial return of Jesus are also central beliefs. The church is understood as “composed of all spiritually regenerated persons whose names are written in heaven.” The general rules also have been expanded with the addition of much detail on points of behavior. The difference between the Bible Missionary Church and the parent body, the Church of the Nazarene, is primarily the degree of strictness of personal Holiness regulations. The church has endorsed the King James Version of the Bible for use in its churches and has gone on record against modern versions of the Bible, especially the Revised Standard Version, the Living Bible, the New English Translation, the Readers’ Digest Condensed Version, and the New International Version.
The church is headed by two general moderators who preside over the general conference, the highest law-making body for the church. Foreign mission work is supported in Guyana, Venezuela, St. Vincent (West Indies), Canada, Nigeria, Honduras, Japan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Barbados, and Mexico; there also is a home mission project on the Navaho Reservation at Farmington, New Mexico. A children’s home is operated in Beulah Heights, Kentucky.
Not reported. There are 14 district conferences overseeing churches across the United States.
Bible Missionary Institute, Rock Island, Illinois.
The Missionary Revivalist.
Bible Missionary Church. Manual. Rock Island, IL: Author, n.d.
Cook, J. E. W. M. Tidwell (A Life That Counted). Ann Arbor, MI: Mallory Lithographing, n.d.
Keene, Mrs. Roy. Love-Threads Reaching. Rock Island, IL: Bible Missionary Church, 1979.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
In 1966 four Indiana-based ministers of the Church of the Nazarene (Marvin Powers, Amos Hann, Donald Hicks, and Granville Rogers) formed a steering committee that led to the establishment of the Church of the Bible Covenant the following year at the John T. Hatfield Campground near Cleveland, Indiana. The four invited their former district superintendent, Remiss Rehfeldt, to join them. On August 10, 1967, the new church elected Rehfeldt and Powers as general presiding officers. Those who gathered for that meeting then spread across the country under the leadership of 12 regional presiding officers to develop local congregations.
The church’s doctrine follows essentially that of the Wesleyan-Protestant tradition, with a strong emphasis on holiness and a high code of ethical standards. A general convention meets quadrennially, during which time elections are held and legislation considered. In 1982 Rehfeldt retired and was granted emeritus status. Donald Hicks was elected as new general presiding officer.
Covenant Foundation College, Greenfield, Indiana. The church maintains three Bible-training institutions overseas.
The Covenanter. Available from New Castle, IN 47352.
Articles. Knightsville, IN: Church of the Bible Covenant, 1970.
6626 East Wayne Rd., Cooperstown, PA 16317
The Evangelical Wesleyan Church was formed in 1963 through the merger of the Evangelical Wesleyan Church of North America and the Midwest Holiness Association, both churches being composed of members who had left the Free Methodist Church. The Evangelical Wesleyan Church of North America was organized at a convention on July 19, 1958, held near Centerville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, with a dedication to restore old-time Free Methodism. (The members sought a stricter interpretation of personal moral codes; e.g., they were concerned about women’s hairstyles and makeup and the length of dresses.) The Midwest Holiness Association was formed in 1962 as a protest against worldliness and apostasy in the Free Methodist Church. The organizing convention of the Midwest Holiness Association was held in Ansley, Nebraska. The Evangelical Wesleyan Church is opposed to any compromising of the old doctrines and standards of Free Methodism and follows Free Methodism’s patterns.
In 2008 the group reported 250 members, 27 congregations, and 46 clergy.
Evangelical Wesleyan Bible College, Cooperstown, Pennsylania.
The Earnest Christian.
125 N Main St., Middleburg, PA 17842
God’s Missionary Church is one of the older conservative Holiness bodies. It was formed in 1935 as a result of a dispute in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey district of the Pilgrim Holiness Church.
The church is very strict in discipline and also is opposed to participation in war, reflecting the Quaker influence in the founding of the Pilgrim Holiness Church. The church is congregational but headed by a conference president, who in 2008 was Rev. Harry Plank. There is missionary work in Haiti and among Cuban refugees in Florida. It cooperates with the Interdenominational Holiness Convention.
Not reported. In 1971 there were 595 members, 532 of whom resided in Pennsylvania. The church’s website listed 46 churches in its church directory in 2008.
Penn View Bible Institute, Penns Creek, Pennsylvania.
God’s Missionary Standard.
God’s Missionary Church. www.godsmissionarychurch.org.
God’s Missionary Church. Official Handbook and Discipline. Watsontown, PA: Author, 1971.
Ann Arbor, MI
The Lower Lights Church was formed in 1940 as a single congregation (the Lower Light Mission) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It subsequently branched out to neighboring communities and now cooperates with the Interdenominational Holiness Convention.
Not reported. There are several congregations in Michigan and Ohio with several hundred members.
351 S Park Dr., Griffith, IN 46319
The National Association of Holiness Churches was formed at the Singing Hill Camp Ground near Shoals, Indiana, in 1967. H. Robb French (1891–1985), a former pastor in the Wesleyan Methodist Church and one of the founders of the Interdenominational Holiness Convention, was the chief moving force in its founding and early development. French was the first general chairman, a post he held until his resignation in 1973. The association exists as a loose confederation of independent ministers and churches formed for the purposes of promoting holiness and providing fellowship. An annual camp meeting and association general conference is held in June. Missionary work is supported in Mexico, Brazil, and India.
In 2002 there were 12 congregations in the association and 42 affiliated ministers in the United States. Many of the ministers and churches affiliated with the association are also affiliated with other conservative holiness church bodies.
The NAHC Bulletin.
32 Cadillac Ave., Albany, NY 12205
The Pilgrim Holiness Church of New York traces its history to the Pentecostal Rescue Mission organized in 1897 in Binghamton, New York. In 1922 that mission affiliated as an autonomous district with the International Holiness Church, which in the following year was renamed Pilgrim Holiness Church. During the 1960s the Pilgrim Holiness Church began a process of centralizing authority in the national headquarters and preparing for merger with the Wesleyan Methodist Church. (The merger was completed in 1968 with the creation of the Wesleyan Church.) In 1963, asserting its autonomous status, the New York Conference left the Pilgrim Holiness Church. In 2008 it continues as an independent organization.
The church is very conservative in doctrine and strict in practice, as are those churches that are affiliated with the Interdenominational Holiness Convention. Missions are directly supported in Brazil, Haiti, and Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada, and other locations through various missionary agencies. Churches are located in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Canada.
In 2008 Rev. Donald M. Myers was the conference president.
In 2002 the church reported 726 members, 53 churches, and 79 ministers in the United States and 36 members, 3 churches, and 3 ministers in Canada.
The church has no school of its own, but financially supports and recommends the following:
God’s Bible School, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hobe Sound Bible School, Hobe Sound, Florida (sponsored by the National Association of Holiness Churches).
Allegheny Wesleyan College, Salem, Ohio.
Penn View Bible Institute, Penns Creek, Pennsylvania (sponsored by God’s Missionary Church).
Pilgrim Holiness Church of New York. phcofny.homestead.com/files/index.htm.
c/o Rev. Dale Hayford, 504 Valley Dr., Rogers, AR 72756
The Pilgrim Nazarene Church was founded at the end of 2003 by former members of the Bible Missionary Church, a conservative Holiness church. The founders felt that the Bible Missionary church had begun to drift from the high standards around which it had been founded. It formally continues the beliefs and practices of the parent organization, as it continues to use the Bible Missionary Church’s manual as a guide for its own organization. It dispute was with the lack of strictness of the Holiness practice within the parent church.
In 2008 the church reported 14 congregations affiliated with it. At that time, however, a number of additional congregations were in the process of leaving the Bible Missionary Church and were still making decisions about affiliation.
Hobe Sound Bible College, Hobe Sound, Florida.
The Pilgrim Nazarene Church Herald.
Pilgrim Nazarene Church. www.pilgrimnazarene.org/.
6402 Ridgeview Dr., Anderson, IN 46013
The Pilgrim Holiness Church of the Midwest was formed in 1970. Three years earlier, ten congregations affiliated with the Pilgrim Holiness Church, led by Rev. James Southerland and Rev. Eugene Gray, had withdrawn to become the Midwest Conference of the Pilgrim Holiness Church of New York. Those ten congregations eventually decided to remain independent, though they have stayed friendly with the New York group. They adopted their own discipline (book of church order). Mission work is through the Evangelical Faith Missions and Evangelical Bible Missions.
The church holds an annual conference. The conference president in 2008 was Rev. James Southerland, who has served since 1970.
In 2008 the church’s website listed 39 congregations in its church directory.
Union Bible Seminary.
Pilgrim Holiness Church of the Midwest. midwestphc.org.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The United Holiness Church of North America was formed in 1955 by conservatives within the Free Methodist Church at a camp meeting in Carson City, Michigan. Headquarters are at the Bible College at Cedar. It resembles its parent body, but is stricter in its standards of holiness. The church cooperates with the Interdenominational Holiness Convention.
Jordan College, Cedar Springs, Michigan.
United Holiness Sentinel.
PO Box 606, Meadow Lands, PA 15347-0606
One focus within the Church of the Nazarene of the post–World II conservative Holiness movement was a magazine, the Voice of the Nazarene, published at Finleyville, Pennsylvania, by the church member W. L. King. Following the 1956 decision in the Church of the Nazarene to allow its members to watch television, some anti-television members in the East associated with King to form the Voice of the Nazarene Association of Churches. It is a loosely congregational organization. The literature from the Finleyville headquarters isis extremely conservative, both politically and religiously, in its strong opposition to communism, the National Council of Churches, and the Roman Catholic Church.
Not reported. In 1967 there were eight member congregations (plus 18 cooperating congregations) and 31 association evangelists.
Universal Challenger. • Voice of the Nazarene.
Voice of the Nazarene Association of Churches. www.voiceofthenazarene.com.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Wesleyan Holiness Association of Churches was organized in 1960 by Rev. Glenn Griffith (1894–1976) and others who had left the Bible Missionary Church in protest against what they saw as a drifting away from the old Wesleyan revival fervor and standards. They also objected to its acceptance of divorced persons into the membership and ministry. At an informal meeting of ministers and laypeople in August 1959, Griffith was chosen the general leader, and an initial general conference with an accompanying camp meeting was set for the next year at Colorado Springs, Colorado. At that meeting, Griffith was unanimously elected to the post of general moderator (now general superintendent) of the new Wesleyan Holiness Association of Churches. Among its objectives were to emphasize the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification and to raise the standard of holiness in daily living. It upheld a strict code of personal conduct.
The association’s six-article doctrine stated the basic affirmations of traditional Wesleyan Christianity. Article IV concerned God’s plan of redemption and affirmed free will, faith, repentance, and justification. It emphasized sanctification as a second act of God in believers, whereby they are made free from original sin or depravity and brought into a state of entire “devotement” to God. Sanctification is followed by a continued growth in grace. The association practiced two sacraments: baptism (by sprinkling or pouring, with immersion preferred) and the Lord’s Supper. The association stated a belief in divine healing. It opposed drafting females into military service.
The association was congregationally governed. Each church owned its own property and called its own ministers. Churches were grouped into five districts, each served by a district superintendent. A representative general conference met biennially, electing a board and a lay delegate from each district. The association’s home missionary program included work among American Indians in Arizona and New Mexico; its foreign missionaries operated in Africa, Bolivia, the Grand Caymans, Guatemala, Taiwan, and New Guinea.
In 1992 the association reported 36 congregations served by 65 ordained and 25 licensed ministers.
Eleventh Hour Messenger.
Declaration of Principles. Dayton, OH: Wesleyan Holiness Association of Churches, 1981.
Griffith, Glenn. I Sought for a Man. Phoenix, AZ: Author, n.d.
"Glenn Griffith Movement." Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 22, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/glenn-griffith-movement
"Glenn Griffith Movement." Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. . Retrieved June 22, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/glenn-griffith-movement
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