New Testament Holiness Church
96-171 Kamehameha Hwy., Pearl City, HI 96782
The Alpha and Omega Christian Church was formed in 1962 by Alezandro B. Faquaragon and other former members of the Pearl City Full Gospel Church. A congregation, primarily of Filipino nationals, was established in Pearl City, Hawaii. Four years later, a few members of the church returned to the Philippines and established a congregation at Dingras, Ilocos Norte. In 1968 a flood struck Pearl City and destroyed the meeting hall of the church. Many of the members withdrew after that event, though the church has survived and been rebuilt. The group is small, restricted to the Hawaiian Islands, and completely independent.
There are only two congregations, one in Hawaii and one in the Philippines.
Alpha and Omega Bible School, Pearl City, Hawaii.
PO Box 121000, W Melbourne, FL 32912-1000
505 N John Rodes Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32934.
The American Evangelistic Association (AEA) was founded in 1954 in Baltimore by John E. Douglas, its president, and 17 other independent ministers. Many of these had been affected by the Latter Rain Movement that had begun in Canada in the late 1940s. The AEA licenses independent pastors, mostly Pentecostals, but also some other conservative evangelical ministers. Government is congregational, with congregations affiliating with the national headquarters; at the head of the association is a five-man executive committee. The current Chairman/CEO is Dr. E. John Reinhold and the President is Dr. Harold Aitkins.
The AEA was formed to promote doctrinal, ethical, and moral standards for independent ministers and churches, many of whom had come out of Pentecostal denominations. Missionary in outlook, the AEA oversees more than 1,000 workers outside the United States, mostly in India, Korea, Hong Kong, and Haiti. Headquarters are on a 10-acre site in Melbourne, Florida. Christian Care Ministry, a division of AEA, has more than 12,000 households that share one another’s medical bills on a not-for-profit basis. Other outreach arms are Life Changing Ministries, International Prison Ministry, and Christian Motivational Ministries.
In 2002 the AEA reported more than 45,000 members, including divisions, with members in all 50 states and in 75 countries.
American Evangelistic Association./www.aeaministries.org
PO Box 3006, Springfield, OH 45502
The Anointed Word Ministries and Fellowships International was founded in 1984 by Drew Pruzaniec, a former artist who in 1979 found faith in Jesus Christ and became a Pentecostal evangelist. He was ordained by Agape Ministries (New Hope Full Gospel Church) in Maryville, Tennessee, and went on to become the pastor of the Church Fellowship, Townsend, Tennessee (1982–1983). In 1984, the same year Anointed Word Ministries was launched, he became the pastor of Anointed Word Fellowship, Springfield, Ohio, where he remained for four years. In 1988 he moved to Ohio, where he became the pastor of the Anointed Word Fellowship in Cincinnati.
Anointed Word Ministries has three essential program thrusts: 1) create and establish local churches that provide places for people to worship God through Jesus Christ; 2) be a fellowship of like-minded ministers and ministries that gather several times annually to exchange revelations of the Holy Spirit; and 3) support evangelism and outreach activities, including Drew Pruzaniec Ministries, the evangelical work of the founder.
Anointed Word Ministries has a statement of faith that includes belief in God, salvation in Christ from sin, judgment, and resurrection. The statement includes a paragraph on faith that calls attention to the three basic experiences of faith: salvation through which one enters God’s kingdom; reception of the Holy Spirit, and the accompanying experience of speaking in tongues; and the process of becoming complete in Christ and life in the Spirit.
Churches related to the Anointed Word Ministries are mainly in Ohio but also in nine other states. There is also related work in Zambia and Togo.
In 2002 the fellowship reported more than 95 congregations associated with the ministries.
Anointed Word Ministries and Fellowships International. home.earthlink.net/~anointed.word/.
Drew Pruzaniec Ministries. home.earthlink.net/~anointed.word/drewpruz.htm.
246 Cowden Rd., PO Box 169, New Wilmington, PA 16142
Antioch International Ministries is an association of charismatic churches founded in the mid-1990s. Currently leading the ministries is founder Jim Erb who became a United Methodist Church minister in the 1960s. Following four years as a missionary in the Philippines, in the 1970s he and his wife lived with the Jesus People in the barn ministry of Jacob’s Ladder Inc. in Mercer, Pennsylvania. During these years he was caught up in the charismatic movement as the Holy Spirit “moved powerfully in salvation, healing and deliverance.” He left the United Methodist church and subsequently become pastor of the independent Living Word Church that became the source of additional sister churches in Western Pennsylvania. In the mid-1990s, he founded Antioch International Ministries (AIM) as a network of the associated charismatic churches.
The statement of faith of the ministries affirms belief in the authority of the bible, the Trinity, atonement in Jesus Christ, and the present ministry of the Holy Spirit “whose indwelling enables the Christian to lead a godly life, and whose baptism provides power for service.” There are two ordinances, holy communion and baptism (by immersion). The group opposes abortion and homosexuality.
The (seven person) Apostolic Council and the leader’s council assist the president, who leads Antioch International Ministries. All offices in the ministries, other than the president, are elected offices. The ministries also supports the five-fold ministry mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers).
Not reported. In 2001 there were seven congregations and nine outreach ministries affiliates with Antioch International Ministries.
Antioch International Ministries. www.aiministries.org.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
During the 1950s, Elder Reynolds Edward Dawkins (d. 1965), an elder in the Gospel Assemblies, had several visions; among them was one in which he was instructed to begin work in Palestine, looking toward the restoration of Israel and the end of the Gentile age, which began in 1959. Following the death of William Sowders (1879–1952), founder of the Gospel Assemblies, the movement reorganized with a presbyterial form of government. Dawkins rejected the polity in favor of an apostolic order of the five-gifted ministry of Romans 13, led by pastor, teacher, evangelist, prophets, and (over all) the apostle. Dawkins was accepted by his followers as an apostle and his revelations are highly revered.
Dawkins died in 1965 and was succeeded by Elder Harry Richard Tate. Tate leads a core membership called overcomers, members who have given three years in living wholly for the body of Christ or who give at least 51 percent of their time, money, and life for the body. Membership has spread to Jamaica, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, India, Nigeria, and Israel. The Peace Publishers and Company serves as the body’s financial and publishing structure.
Not reported. In the early 1970s, there were 8 congregations in the United States and 11 outside of the United States, with a total membership of approximately 1,000.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Body is the name of a nomadic Jesus people group founded by Jimmie T. Roberts (b. 1939), known within the group as Brother Evangelist. Roberts was born and raised in Paducah, Kentucky, and joined the marines after graduating from high school. Roberts emerged as a religious leader following his time as a Marine sergeant and founded The Body around 1969. The first converts consisted primarily of young adults, many previously part of the street people subculture of the era, and college students who had dropped out of school.
Brother Evangelist taught a separatist Bible-oriented Pentecostal Protestantism. Members rejected the world and all personal wealth. They shun education, medicine, and bathing. Clothing is plain and simple. Sex is not allowed for singles, and sexual activity is discouraged among the married. They do not work, but gain a large portion of their food from what is thrown away by groceries and restaurants (a practice that earned them the label “garbage eaters”). Women in the group are subordinate to the men.
The group kept a low profile, and its existence only became widely known in 1975 when some 35 members were involved in an accident near Fayetteville, Arkansas. A truck in which they were riding overturned and members of the group called attention to themselves by refusing to allow any medical personnel to tend to their wounds. One baby who was in the truck later died, though it was determined that medical aid could not have saved her. The accident led to several attacks upon the group by parents wishing to break their sons and daughters affiliation with it. Over the next five years, members were kidnapped and psychologically deprogrammed by people associated with various anticult organizations that were attempting to counter the group’s activity. The nomadic lifestyle kept the group constantly on the move, however, which made monitoring it difficult. While occasional reports of the group surfaced through the late 1970s, virtually no mention of its appearance was noted in the 1980s. The present status of the group is not known.
Not reported. In the late 1970s there were approximately 100 members.
Martin, Rachel, and Bonnie Palmer Young. Escape (from a religious cult). London: Pickering & Inglis, 1980.
Sneed, Michael, “America’s Bizarre Cult of Nomads,” Chicago Tribune, June 10, 1979.
———, “‘Brother Evangelist’: Hypnotic Shepherd of a Wandering, Ragtag Flock,” Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1979.
6026 Echo St., Los Angeles, CA 90042
Christ Faith Mission continues the work begun in 1908 by Dr. Finis E. Yoakum (1851–1920), a Denver Methodist layman and medical doctor. In Los Angeles in 1895 following a near fatal accident, he was healed in a meeting of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the holiness church founded by Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843–1919), which had been among the first modern churches to emphasize divine healing. As a result of his healing, he dedicated himself to the work of the Lord and began his efforts among the derelicts, outcasts, and street people of the city. In 1908 he opened Old Pisgah Tabernacle in Los Angeles. He began to hold gospel services and to provide meals for the hungry. In 1909, he began to publish the Pisgah Journal.
Yoakum had a utopian spirit, and envisioned a series of communities that would embody the life of the early church. He opened Pisgah Home for the city’s hungry and homeless; Pisgah Ark in the Arroyo Seco for delinquent girls; and Pisgah Gardens in the San Fernando Valley for the sick. His most famous experiment was Pisgah Grande, a model Christian commune established near Santa Susana, California in 1914. The community attracted people from across the United States, including some who had formerly lived at Zion, Illinois, the community built by John Alexander Dowie, several decades earlier. Pisgah Grande, already weakened by charges of financial mismanagement and unsanitary conditions, was thrown into further confusion by Yoakum’s death in 1920. They eventually incorporated and took control of the Los Angeles property. They bought property in the San Bernardino Mountains and then moved to Pikesville, Tennessee.
In 1939 James Cheek, formerly the manager of Pisgah Grande, took control of the Pisgah Home property in Los Angeles and founded Christ Faith Mission, continuing the heritage of Yoakum’s inner-city work. He began a periodical. In 1972, the surviving Pisgah group in Tennessee united their work with that of Cheek and merged their periodical into The Herald of Hope, which he published.
Under Cheek’s leadership, the old Pisgah movement reborn as Christ Faith Mission has become a worldwide full gospel (Pentecostal) ministry. He continued the healing emphasis, and the present-day mission sends out prayer cloths to any sick person who requests them. The Mission operates the Christ Faith Mission Home near Saugus, California, and the Pisgah Home Camp Ground at Pikeville, Tennessee. A radio ministry is heard over stations in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Foreign language editions of The Herald of Hope are sent to mission stations in Korea, Mexico, India, Indonesia, and Jamaica.
The Herald of Hope.
Christ Faith Mission. www.pisgah.com.
Kagan, Paul. New World Utopias. New York: Penguin Books, 1975.
c/o COC America, 6657 W. Ottawa Ave., A11-B, Littleton, CO 80128
International headquarters: PO Box 2111, Mansfield 4122, Victoria, Australia; Canadian headquarters: 98 Westglen Cres., Spruce Grove, AB T7X 1V7 Canada.
The Christian Outreach Centre was founded by Rev. Clark Taylor (b. 1937) in Brisbane, Australia, in 1974. A former Methodist, Taylor had been healed of malaria in the 1960s. In 1970, he cooperated with Trevor Chandler in the founding of Christian Life Churches International (CLCI), a charismatic fellowship, in Brisbane. Two years later he left CLCI to become an itinerant evangelist, and became well-known as a capable speaker and for the visible spiritual manifestations that occurred at his meetings—which, like those of evangelist Benny Hinn in the United States, were marked by the phenomenon of “slaying in the spirit,” in which people appear to swoon under the spirit’s power.
After founding the Christian Outreach Centre, Taylor’s efforts led to the emergence of additional congregations in Queensland and New South Wales, including a large congregation of several thousand at Mansfield, one of the largest congregations of any denomination in Australia. The movement faced a severe crisis in 1990, when Taylor was accused of sexual immorality resulting in his being stripped of his leadership positions. He was succeeded by Neil Mears who has since led the fellowship as its international president.
The church follows a mainline Pentecostal doctrinal perspective with an emphasis on the charismatic gifts of the Spirit and the freedom and joy that the Holy Spirit brings to the life of the believer. Unlike many Charismatic groups, the center has a centralized government. The COC views itself as one Christian Outreach Centre, which happens to have meeting points in numerous locations. Hence, all local church property is held in the name of the whole body by a Property Commission, and a committee of pastors oversees denominational matters including the ordination, appointments, and discipline of the ministers.
In 1988, work expanded to New Zealand and the Solomons and over the next few years reached out to other islands of the South Pacific and Europe. In 1996, work began in North America in Denver, Colorado.
Not reported. In 2001 there were more than 1,000 congregations worldwide, the largest number being in Australia. There are ten centers in the United States and one in Canada. Additional centers are found in more than 30 countries of the world, including several European countries and many of the southern Pacific Ocean nations.
Outreach, PO Box 2111, Mansfield 4122, Victoria, Australia.
Christian Outreach Centre. www.coc.org.au.
Humphries, R. A., and R. S. Ward, eds. Religious Bodies in Australia: a Comprehensive Guide. Wantirna, Victoria: New Melbourne Press, 1995.
c/o Bp. David C. Holdridge, PO Box 67, Roswell, NM 88202
Christ’s Church Fellowship (CCF) was founded in 2007 by David Holdridge of Resurrection Cathedral in Roswell, New Mexico. Holdridge had had a long career as a lay preacher, reaching into the late 1960s. In 1971 he received the Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit. After working in various churches for a decade, in 1983 he founded Resurrection Tabernacle in his hometown of Roswell, New Mexico. The tabernacle participated in the original Christ’s Church fellowship that grew out of the Conference on Spiritual Renewal, begun in Nashville, Tennessee, as a vehicle for the Charismatic renewal that had spread among the congregations of the Churches of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The national CCF organization became dormant in 2002, and Resurrection Tabernacle was among a small number of churches that attempted to perpetuate the CCF tradition. It continued to use the CFF logo and the name on its web site. Among the other congregations continuing the CCF tradition were a number of African-American churches.
In the meantime, Holdridge’s brother had become an Orthodox priest, and Holdridge had become acquainted with several independent Catholic bishops. In 2005 he accepted the consecration offered by Abp. Michael Wrenn as a bishop in the Celtic Anabaptist Communion. From Wren he received multiple lineages of apostolic succession. In early 2007 Holdridge, then the bishop at Resurrection Cathedral (the former Resurrection Tabernacle), reincorporated CCF under the leadership of a synod of bishops.
Christ’s Church Fellowship is a conservative Pentecostal church that draws on the Restoration tradition of the Churches of Christ and Christina Church (Disciples of Christ) and affirms the Bible as the eternal, inerrant, verbally inspired word of God. The fellowship has done some of its most creative work on revisioning the Church. It believes that Christians are called on to be both “salt and light” to their communities, and henceforth, it envisions a church committed to witnessing continually (“24/7”). The witness will include prayer and worship, especially toward all whom they encounter, whom they see as people sent to them by God.
Bp. Holdridge has emerged as ecumenical leader. He has developed a variety of close relationships with other churches, and is either in fellowship with or a member of the World Harvest Church Ministerial Fellowship, the United Christian Church and Ministerial Association, Miracle Revival Fellowship, the Celtic Anabaptist Communion, the Reformed Catholic Church of America, the Cowboy Ministers Association, and the Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches.
Christ’s Church Fellowship. www.24-7jesuschurch.net/.
2409 Old Middleburg N, Jacksonville, FL 32210
The Church of God by Faith was organized in 1914 by Elder John Bright and chartered in 1923 at Alachua, Florida. Its doctrine is like that of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). It believes in one Lord, one faith and one baptism, and in the word of God as the communion of the body and blood of Christ. Members isolate willful sinners from the church. Polity is episcopal and officers consist of the bishop, general overseer, and executive secretary. A general assembly meets two times a year. The church experienced significant growth through the 1980s and now has congregations in 13 states.
In 2008 the Church reported 162 congregations scattered across the United States.
The Spiritual Guide.
Church of God by Faith. www.cogbf.org.
89 Home Place Tr., Pocahontas, AR 72455
The Church of the Little Children was formed in 1916 by John Quincy Adams (1890–1951) in Abbott, Texas, following his withdrawal from the Baptist ministry. In 1930, he transferred his headquarters to Canada in Gunn, Alberta. After his death, his widow succeeded him, remarried, and returned to the United States in Black Rock, Arkansas.
The church is Oneness Pentecostal—that is, denying the Trinity and identifying Jesus with the Father—and has picked up elements of its doctrine from a number of traditions. The writings of Adams constitute the sole source of doctrinal teachings. The group practices foot washing. Wine is used in communion. The Trinity, Sunday Sabbath, Christmas and Easter holidays, shaving of the male beard, wearing of neckties, and use of the names of the pagan deities for the days of the week are viewed as vestiges of pagan phallic worship. Conscientious objection is required and no alternative service allowed. Divine healing is emphasized and modern medicine is rejected. There also is a major emphasis on acts of altruism for young children; members try to prevent any child from suffering want or hunger.
The church is headed by a superintendent. Relative to other churches, the organization is loose and informal. Congregations are located in Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, and Saskatchewan. Each congregation is quite small and meets in a home. Contact between congregations is by written correspondence.
Not reported. In the early 1970s there were eight congregations and fewer than 100 members.
505 E 183rd St., Apt. #2, Bronx, NY 10458
International Headquarters: PO Box 71, Shagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria.
In the early twentieth century in West Africa, new independent Christian churches emerged in reaction to paternalistic attitudes that dominated the mission churches. Among these new independent groups in Nigeria were the Aladura churches (Yoruban for prayer people). Among the largest of the Aladura churches, the Church of the Lord (Aladura) was founded by Josiah Ositelu (1902–1966) in 1930. Ositelu, a former Anglican schoolteacher, emerged as a leader in the massive 1930 revival that greatly extended the Aladura movement in West Africa. He was briefly associated with an American church, the Faith Tabernacle, is said to have had thousands of visions, and became involved in the prophetic exposure of witchcraft. He was associated with Joseph Shadare and Joseph Ayo Babalola (1904–1959) during the revival of 1930. Ositelu was known as a powerful healer, and broke his short affiliation with the Faith Tabernacle. When he dropped the affiliation, its leaders challenged his authority. The new Church of the Lord emphasized the exposing of witches (who were believed able to work malevolent magic) and the use of holy names and seals to guarantee miracles. Ositelu accepted polygamy and eventually married seven women. He claimed divine permission. Apart from polygamy, now disavowed, the church is an orthodox Trinitarian Christian group in the Pentecostal tradition that affirms the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
During the 1950s, Aladura churches spread to Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone through the efforts of traveling Nigerian preachers, especially apostles Oduwole and Adelke Adejobi (1921–1991) of the Church of the Lord (Aladura), and new Ghanaian churches in the traditions of Aladura seceded. From Africa, the Aladura churches then spread to Europe. Including the churches of African Caribbean origin, in 1995 there were estimated to be between 200 and 300 black-led denominations in some 3,000 congregations in Britain. Ositelu was succeeded by Adejobi, who had attended a Bible college in Scotland. While in Great Britain, he had also established a congregation in London. A gifted leader, he helped expand the Church of the Lord in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana (where he built a large and influential following). He led in the creation of the Nigeria Association of Aladura Churches during the 1950s and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (1978), which he served as the first chairperson. The Church of the Lord (Aladura) was also responsible for establishing both the Aladura Theological Seminary and the Prophets and Prophetesses Training Institute in 1965. Following Adejobi’s death in 1991, Ositelu’s eldest son, Gabriel Segun Ositelu (1938–1998), became the third primate. He was succeeded by his brother, Rufus Okikiola Ositelu (b. 1952), who leads the church as of 2008.
The first Church of the Lord congregation was opened in Britain in 1964. From England, it spread to other European countries (especially Germany) and more recently to the United States, where it has provided a home for many first generation African residents. The Church of the Lord (Aladura) was admitted to the World Council of Churches in 1975.
Aladura Theological Seminary, Shagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria. Prophets and Prophetesses Training Institute, Lagos, Nigeria.
Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide Organization. aladura.net Anderson, Allan H. African Reformation: African Initiated Christianity in the Twentieth Century. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2001.
Peel, J. D. Y. Aladura: A Religious Movement among the Yoruba. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.
Pobee, John S., and Gabriel Ositelu II. African Initiatives in Christianity: The Growth, Gifts, and Diversities of Indigenous African Churches: A Challenge to the Ecumenical Movement. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1998.
Turner, Harold W. History of African Independent Church: The Church of the Lord (Aladura). 2 vols. Oxford, UK: Clarendon, 1967.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Colonial Village Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene grew out of an independent congregation founded in 1968 by Bernard Gill (1924–1974), a former minister in the Church of the Nazarene. There followed an attempt to form the true church composed solely of “wholly sanctified” people who have the gifts of the Spirit operating within them, and who accept as their goal and mission the reformation of the parent denomination.
Gill had begun to think of himself as God’s prophet of the latter rain, and he claimed to have received numerous revelations directly from God, as did one of the members, Mescal McIntosh (b. 1926). These were published in a periodical, the Macedonian Call, in 1974. In the July 3 issue, a resurrection was predicted. Two weeks later, Gill died. On August 11 a letter to readers of the Macedonian Call announced the belief of Gill’s faithful followers that the prophecy obviously applied to their pastor, and that they were waiting in faith.
Not reported. No recent information has been received and the present status of the church is unknown.
PO Box 151, Lakewood, CA 90714-1051
Eagle Rock Fellowship is a Holy Ghost (Pentecostal) fellowship that offers people the opportunity to fulfill their divine visions, in some cases ones that they had had earlier in life but failed to act upon. Among their priorities is restoring fallen ministers. Dr. Kay Howe, one of the founders, serves as the fellowship’s president and chairman of the board.
The fellowship follows mainline Pentecostal beliefs. It affirms the Bible as the infallible word of God, the Trinity, and saving faith in Jesus Christ. It looks for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (accompanied with speaking in tongues) as a promise to all believers. Believers are baptized by immersion.
The fellowship offers licenses to ministers, ordination, and certificates to lay Christian workers. It will also charter churches. All affiliates must fully subscribe to its statement of faith. An executive board leads the fellowship. The founders of the fellowship are members of this board with a life tenure. The executive board approves all licenses, ordinations, and charters. Chartered churches remain autonomous, but send an annual affiliation fee and monthly offering to the fellowship headquarters.
Eagle Rock Fellowship offers a variety of programs to enhance those of its affiliated congregations. These include a youth fellowship (Youth in Action) that holds monthly rallies, camps, and other activities; a woman’s fellowship (Women in Action) with periodic rallies, retreats, and activities; and a monthly Eagle Rock Fellowship Jubilee that features musical programs, preaching, and illustrated sermons. The fellowship bible college offers both resident and correspondence instruction.
Streamliners Bible College, Lakewood, California.
ERF Monthly Newsletter.
Eagle Rock Fellowship. www.eaglerock-fellowship.org.
2444 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230
The Evangelical Bible Church was founded by the Rev. Frederick B. Marine in 1947. The doctrine is similar to that of the Assemblies of God (see separate entry), but great emphasis is placed on the three baptisms for New Testament believers: the baptism into Christ when a person is born again, water baptism, and Spirit baptism. The church teaches that any doubtful practice that is not forbidden in the New Testament should be left to individual judgment. There are definite statements on meat, drinks, days for worship, and clothing attire. The church teaches conscientious objection and is against worldly organizations that would inhibit spiritual growth, character, and commitment to God. A pretribulation, premillennial eschatology is taught.
The polity is congregational and there is an annual convention of both ministers and laity. Officers of the church include the general superintendent, the assistant general superintendent, and the general secretary. There are three orders of ministers: exhorter, evangelist, and ordained minister. Foreign missions are conducted in the Philippines where the church is known as the Evangelical Bible Church of Cotabato, Philippines, and in Nigeria where it is known as the Soul Winners Christian Mission.
Not reported. In 1992 there were six churches (four in Maryland, one in West Virginia, and one in Pennsylvania) and 300 members.
2214 E Winona Ave., Warsaw, IN 46580
Hobart E. Freeman (1920–1984), originally a minister with the Southern Baptist Convention, founded Faith Assembly. Among other things, Freeman began to criticize the Baptists for the celebration of Christmas and Easter, which he felt were pagan holidays. In 1959 he entered Grace Theological Seminary at Winona Lake, Indiana, the seminary of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, which he joined. After receiving his doctorate in 1961, Freeman joined the faculty to teach Old Testament. He became increasingly critical of the Brethren Church, especially on the issue of holidays, and in 1963 was dismissed from the seminary and excommunicated from the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Fellowship meetings held in Freeman’s home became the Church at Winona Lake, Indiana. It soon moved to Claypool, Indiana. The initial beliefs of the church were similar to those of the Brethren, though they espoused a concept of closed worship.
In 1966, in Chicago, Freeman experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He began to read the works of popular charismatic leaders such as Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and John Osteen, as well as those of the late E. W. Kenyon. He also met Mel Greide, who owned a large barn near North Webster, Indiana, which was converted into a church hall. From 1972 to 1978 Faith Assembly, as the church had been renamed, met at “Glory Barn.” After a split with Greide, Freeman moved the assembly to Warsaw, Indiana, until a facility could be built at Wilmot. During the 1970s, Freeman began to write many books and booklets that circulated through the larger charismatic movements and he frequently spoke at charismatic conventions. His books and tapes led to the formation of home groups around the eastern half of the United States, with a concentration in the Midwest.
The beliefs of Faith Assembly are similar to those of the Assemblies of God, differing more in emphases than in doctrine. Freeman taught what is popularly called “positive confession” or “faith-formula theology.” Freeman, like other faith-formula teachers, taught that when genuine faith is exercised by the believer and accompanied by a positive confession of that faith, anything is possible, especially physical healing. Unlike such faith-formula teachers as Hagin or Copeland, Freeman taught that medicine was satanic and he forbade members from using the services of doctors. Assembly members remove seat belts from their cars and do not take immunization shots or use medicines. He also emphasized a rigid behavioral code that included personal separation from smoking, alcohol, drugs, and popular entertainment such as movies. Members do not borrow money. Young adults are counseled against careers in law, medicine, insurance, or pharmacology. Abortion was also forbidden, and natural childbirth recommended.
There are approximately 2,000 members of the main church in Wilmot, Indiana, and an estimated 15,000 in an unknown number of other congregations in 20 states. There are also members in Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and Germany.
During the 1970s, family members of people associated with Faith Assembly congregations began to complain of its disturbing family relations. Several deprogrammings occurred. In 1983 a major controversy erupted around the Faith Assembly when charges were made that a number of people, many of them children, had died of medically treatable ailments. In 1984 several parents were convicted of child neglect and reckless homicide, and Freeman was indicted on felony charges for responsibility in the death of an assembly member’s child. He died before going to trial.
Faith Assembly. frontpage.kconline.com/faithassembly.
Crowell, Rodney J. The Checkbook Bible: The Teachings of Hobart E. Freeman and Faith Assembly. Miamisburg, OH: Author, 1981.
Freeman, Hobart E. Angels of Light?. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1969.
———. Charismatic Body Ministry. Claypool, IN: Faith Publications, n.d.
———. Deeper Life in the Spirit. Warsaw, IN: Faith Publications, 1970.
———. Positive Thinking & Confession. Claypool, IN: Faith Publications, n.d.
PO Box 1230, Coatesville, PA 19320-1230
3018 Lincoln Hwy., Parkesburg, PA 19365
Full Gospel Assemblies International was founded in 1972 by Dr. Charles E. Strauser, an independent charismatic minister. Some years earlier, Strauser had founded the Full Gospel Bible Institute to train ministers. The Full Gospel Assemblies provided an affiliation for the ministers as they began to pastor churches. Over the years, as the charismatic movement has blossomed, pastors and churches not otherwise affiliated with the school have become part of the Assemblies fellowship. Notices of the existence of the school and association have appeared monthly in Charisma magazine for a number of years.
In 1995 the assemblies reported 3,960 members in 44 churches, served by 290 ministers.
The Charisma Courier. Available from PO Box 1230, Coatesville, PA 19320.
Full Gospel Assemblies International. www.fgai.org.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Full Gospel Defenders Conference of America is a small Pentecostal body with headquarters in Philadelphia. Its emphasis is on evangelism and Christ’s authority as manifested by the miracles and signs.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Full Gospel Minister Association is a fellowship of Pentecostal ministers and churches believing in the infallibility of the Bible, the Trinity, the fall of man and his need for redemption in Christ, the necessity of holy living, and heaven and hell. Members are conscientious objectors to war. The group sees ministry as being twofold: the evangelism of the world and the edifying of the body of Christ and the “confirming of the Word with Signs Following and evidence of the power of God.” The association meets annually and elects officers. It issues credentials for both churches and ministers.
3456 Fraser St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V5V 4C4
The Latter Rain Movement, a revival movement within the larger Pentecostal movement, began in 1948 in a Bible school in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Among the first churches to invite leaders of the new movement to speak was the Glad Tidings Temple in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Reg Layzell pastored. Layzell became an enthusiastic supporter of the revival, and the temple became a major center from which the revival spread around the continent. The Glad Tidings Missionary Society began as an extension of the Glad Tidings Temple. Over the years the society brought other congregations affected by the Latter Rain revival (in Canada and the state of Washington) into association with the temple. The Missionary Society itself became a primary religious body, conducting mission work in Africa, Taiwan, and the Arctic.
Not reported. In the 1970s there were eight churches; three in Washington and five in Canada.
PO Box 154747, Irving, TX 75015
The Global Network of Christian Ministries, previously known as Global Christian Ministries and Network of Christian Ministries, was founded in the 1980s as a fellowship of otherwise independent Christian ministers that has as its stated purpose the honoring of “the Lord Jesus Christ by assisting His servants in fulfilling their God-given callings… by making available those opportunities that can only be realized through working together.” Basic to fulfilling its purpose is the supplying of credentials to unattached ministers in need of licensing and ordination. The network also supplies the opportunity for belonging and affiliation with something larger than the individual and a particular ministry. It does not attempt to influence the methodology of anyone’s ministry.
The network is a conservative Pentecostal body that affirms the inerrancy of Scripture and the Trinity. Its statement of faith states “that the baptism in the Holy Sprit is an endowment of power given by God to anoint the believer for sanctification and evangelism. It is our understanding that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are active within the body of Christ until the coming of the Lord. Furthermore, we believe that the development of these gifts ought to be encouraged under the guidance of local church authority.” It teaches the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11 but affirms that the church is primarily known through the local church. The network encourages voluntary association, but strongly affirms the sovereignty and autonomy of the local church.
The network is headed by a board of directors, an executive board, and a board of elders. It sponsors an annual national conference each fall and regional meeting each spring for the seven regions within the United States.
In 2008 the network reported 279 churches in the United States and seven in Canada.
Global Network of Christian Ministries. global-ministries.com.
c/oGospel Assembly Church, 7135 Meredith Dr., Des Moines, IA 50322
William Sowders (1879–1952) was one of the early Pentecostal leaders in the Midwest. He was brought into the movement through the labors of Bob Shelton who had established a work in Olmstead, Illinois. In 1912 Sowders, a former Methodist, was converted and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on a gospel boat that Shelton was operating on the Ohio River. In 1914, Sowders began preaching at various locations, finally settling in Evansville, Indiana, in 1921.
In 1923 Sowders conducted his first camp meeting at Elco, Illinois. Here he began to introduce the distinctive teachings that were to separate him from the main body of Pentecostals and lead to the emergence of what became known as the Gospel of the Kingdom movement or the Gospel Assembly Churches movement. Sowders developed his position in the context of the debates between the trinitarian Pentecostals and the Apostolic or Oneness Pentcostals, whose ideas denying the traditional doctrine of the Trinity had been spread through the Midwest by Thomas Garfield Haywood (1880–1931), founder of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Sowders proposed a middle position and suggested that there were two persons in the Godhead, God the Father, a Spirit being, and Jesus the Son, a Heavenly Creature. The Holy Ghost was not a person; it was the essence or Spirit of God that filled all space. Since the Son possessed the same name as the Father, God’s name was Jesus. Jesus was the name given to the family of God in Heaven and on earth. Baptism was, therefore, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, (i.e., Jesus). He also emphasized that the formula for baptism was not as important as the action, that baptism became an action done in Jesus’ name and for his sake, but could not be done in Jesus’name if one belonged to Babylon.
In 1927 Sowders relocated in Louisville, Kentucky, where he lived for the rest of his life. In 1935 he purchased a 350-acre tract near Shepherdsville, Kentucky, which became the Gospel of the Kingdom Campground, a place for camp meetings and annual ministerial gatherings. Estimates vary, but as many as 200 ministers and 25,000 members in 31 states were associated with the movement at the time of Sowders’s death in 1952.
Following his death there were attempts by several ministers to assume leadership and several schisms emerged. The larger fellowship continued until 1965 under the direction of Tom M. Jolly. The movement continued, however, as a loose fellowship of ministers who pastored independent gospel assemblies. Among these men was Lloyd L. Goodwin (d.1996), a young minister at the time of Sowders’s passing, whose parents had been among the early converts of Sowders’s ministry. In 1963 Goodwin moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to pastor the Gospel Assembly Church, a congregation of fewer than 30 members. Over the next decade he built it into a large stable congregation. In the late 1960s, due to his missionary activities, new congregations were started around the United States. In the early 1970s, Goodwin began to encounter tension with the larger fellowship of Gospel of the Kingdom ministers who rejected some of the doctrines that Goodwin believed had been revealed to him by God through his study of the scriptures. The break with the fellowship came in 1972.
After the break with the larger fellowship, a new movement began to grow around Goodwin beginning with those few ministers and congregations who sided with him. In 1973 he outlined a six-point program to his congregation in Des Moines. It included the development of the local assembly, the dissemination of Goodwin’s teachings in print and sound media, and the sending of ministers to found other assemblies both in the United States and abroad. In 1974 the Gospel Assembly Christian Academy, a Christian elementary and high school, was opened. The following year foreign work was initiated in Toronto, Canada, and Poona, India. Africa, Singapore, and the Philippines soon followed. A book and tape ministry was launched in 1977. Goodwin has written a number of substantial volumes that detail his distinct Bible teachings, especially on eschatological matters. A radio ministry begun on one station in 1981 had grown by 1987 to 17 stations that reached most of the eastern half of the United States and the West Indies.
Apart from the distinctive ideas about the Godhead first articulated by Sowders, the Gospel Assemblies have a statement of faith that affirms many of the traditional evangelical Christian beliefs in the authority of the Bible, creation, the fall of humanity, the vicarious substitutionary atonement of Christ, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, water baptism, and the imminent Second Coming. It is the belief of the movement that Christ will come while some who are alive today are still living. The ordinance of holy communion is also recognized and observed.
The Gospel Assemblies is described as a fellowship of ministers and saints around the world, where no church is organized above the local level, and yet where each assembly is in fellowship with all, and all acknowledge and are part of each in the fellowship. The churches recognize five ministerial offices in the church. First, apostles establish the work throughout the body of Christ. According to the Gospel Assemblies, “There is not another office in the ministry as authoritative as that of the apostle. The apostle stands next to Christ.” Goodwin was such an apostle. Second, the prophet exhorts, edifies, and comforts. Third, the evangelists preach the news of salvation. Fourth, the pastors shepherd the saints. Fifth, the teachers instruct the church in doctrine. The five offices are not appointed, but recognized as possessed by some as gifts of God. A single individual may hold several of these offices. Appointed to handle the temporal affairs of the local church are deacons under the supervision of elders. There are regular conventions of the churches around the world, the main convention being held at Des Moines each May.
Prior to his death, Goodwin began to call for the healng of the divisions in the fellowship of churches that originated under Sowders. He proclaimed that the end-time church will confront organized religion and an apostate state; and further that the fellowship of churches that orignated with William Sowders, or a remnant of that fellowship, will be raised up by God to give a final witness to the world. Since his death in 1996, there has been increasing communication and fellowship between the various divisions of the movement that originated with William Sowders.
In 2002 there were an estimated 250 congregations and approximately 50,000 members. Gospel assemblies in fellowship with the Gospel Assembly Church in Des Moines can now be found across the United States (including Hawaii), Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Norway, England, India, Singapore, Australia, the Philippines, South America, and throughout the continent of Africa.
The Gospel of Peace Newsletter.
Gospel Assembly Church. www.dmgospelassembly.org.
The Former Days: A Brief History of the Body of Jesus Christ in These Last Days. Des Moines, IA: Gospel Assembly Church, n.d., 21 pp.
Goodwin, Lloyd L. Prophecy Concerning the Church. 2 vols. Des Moines, IA: Gospel Assembly Church, 1977.
———. Prophecy Concerning the Resurrection. Des Moines, IA: Gospel Assembly Church, 1976.
———. Prophecy Concerning the Second Coming. Des Moines, IA: Gospel Assembly Church, 1979.
Gospel Assemble Churches. Worldwide Fellowship, Pentecostal-Nondenominational. Des Moines, IA: Gospel Assembly Church, 1995.
Gospel Assembly, Twenty-Five Years, 1963–1988. Des Moines, IA: Gospel Assembly Church, 1988.
Ministers’ Address Directory. Norfolk, VA: Gospel Assembly Ministers’Fund, 1970.
1200 Glory Way Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34212
Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship (GCMF), an arm of the Gospel Crusade Inc. ministry, was founded in the 1960s by charismatic evangelist/pastor Gerald G. Derstine, the president of Gospel Crusade. GCMF issues ministerial credentials to men and women involved in the Gospel ministry and fosters connections among ministers, churches, and ministries. The fellowship was created to enable believers to develop their God-given vision for ministry and become successful in the fulfillment of their vision and calling.
GCMF is governed by a group of presbyters who form the board of directors and are the corporate officers. There are more than 20 geographic districts, each with a leader called a district coordinator. The district coordinators are the elders of the fellowship and meet twice a year as an advisory council. They are committed to facilitate, assist, counsel, support, and help augment the ministry of the Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship.
Each member (minister) is expected to attend the conferences and fellowship activities in his or her district, to attend the annual convocation at Christian Retreat, Florida, to support GCMF with monthly dues amounting to one percent of his or her personal income, and to submit an annual report of his or her ministry when he or she files the annual credential renewal forms.
Clergy in Canada, the Caribbean, Haiti, Honduras, Ghana, Israel, India, and the Philippines hold credentials through GCMF.,
In 2006 the GCMF reported more than 1,500 active ministers in the United States, Canada, and 24 other nations.
International Training Center, Bradenton, Florida.
Gospel Crusade Ministerial Fellowship. www.gospelcrusade.net/.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Gospel Harvesters Evangelistic Association, a Pentecostal body identical in name to the church headquartered in Atlanta and completely separate in organization, was founded in 1962 in Buffalo, New York, by Rose Pezzino. No information on doctrine or polity is available. Foreign work was initiated in Manila and India.
Not reported. In the mid-1970s there were an estimated 2,000 adherents.
2501 W Dunlap, Ste. 185, Phoenix, AZ 85021
Gospel Ministers & Churches International (GMCI) was founded in August 1982 as a full-gospel (charismatic Pentecostal) ministerial association. It has members across the United States and around the world. Associated with it is a congregational association, the Gospel Alliance Church. Though it does not have a specific set of beliefs, GMCI considers itself a “Spirit-filled” organization, meaning that it believes the Gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12) are still active and operational today, and that the presence of the Holy Spirit is made known by the phenomenon of speaking in tongues.
GMCI’s stated goal is to assist various ministries in fulfilling the call of God. It accomplishes this goal by providing legal covering for churches, credentials for individuals in ministry, and opportunities for fellowship and networking. Licenses are provided in four categories. The Christian worker is issued to persons assisting ministers. Such workers are not authorized to perform any sacerdotal services (especially weddings and funerals). Commissioned ministers are generally those at the beginning of their ministerial career. They are authorized to preach, but not to perform sacerdotal services. A general ministerial license is issued to those who have been working as a minister but have never been formally ordained by the “laying on of hands.” Such ministers are authorized to perform all sacerdotal services, but may not be called upon to perform them regularly. The ordained minister is recognized as a person with an “established” ministry and has found the approval of his or her peers. Usually, ordination is not by GMCI but by a local church. Ordained ministers are authorized to perform all sacerdotal services.
Churches and parachurch ministries affiliate with GMCI by seeking a charter through the Gospel Alliance Church. They fellowship together under the motto, “Fellowship without Bondage, Unity without Compromise.”
In 2008 GMCI was headed by Bishop Gordon H. Douglas. The organization sponsors an annual conference for members and other gatherings such as the regional Fellowship Encounters, which feature a praise and worship service with a keynote speaker. Some GMCI mission projects have been selected for corporate support by the GMCI membership. GMCI also offers several nontraditional educational opportunities, including study courses of the life, ministry, and eternality of Christ.
Gospel Ministers & Churches International. www.gmci.org/.
PO Box 52, Connersville, IN 47331
Gospel Revelation, Inc., is a Full Gospel (Penetcostal/charismatic) fellowship of churches and ministers founded in 1971 by Rev. James E. Gay. In his travels as a missionary, Gay came to the realization that he needed a chartered church organization to issue receipts for the gifts that he accepted for his ministry. He also resolved to develop an easier way for a minister to receive a license, be ordained, or obtain a church charter. He established Gospel Revelation, Inc., to serve that purpose.
Gay wanted the organization to assist people who might have been abused or disillusioned by their former church fellowships, including those who were called to God but had been blocked from being ordained. At first, he ordained anyone who asked; however, to avoid ordaining people who were completely unqualified, he changed his policy, requiring a recommendation for another minister prior to offering any credentials.
The organization offers ordination apart from the regulations and controls normally associated with membership in an ecclesiastical structure. Credentials are offered for licensed and ordained ministers who can then perform marriages, conduct funerals, and baptize believers. Licensed exhorters cannot perform these functions, but can preach and assist ministers.
Gospel Revelation, Inc. www.gospelrevelation.com/.
PO Box Z, Mobile, AL 36616
In the midst of chaos in the emerging pentecostal/charismatic movement of the early 1970s, a group of experienced pastors/leaders stepped forward with a proposed solution. They suggested that submission, discipline, and respect for law and order were needed, and that the movement stood under a divine mandate to develop a program for discipleship and the development of Christian maturity along biblical principles. They suggested that the New Testament norm was that each believer become directly accountable for others as a shepherd or spiritual guide that would demonstrate the Christian life. This concept became popularly known as discipling/shepherding.
Leading proponents of the discipling/shepherding concept were Charles Simpson (b. 1937), a former minister with the Southern Baptist Convention, Bob Mumford (b. 1930), former Dean of Elim Bible Institute; William John Ernest “Ern” Baxter (1914–1993), formerly a colleague of healer William M. Branham (1909–1965); Derek Prince (1915–2003), an independent leader of a radio ministry; John Poole, pastor of a church in Philadelphia; and Don Basham (1926–1989), a former minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In 1970 these six men made a personal covenant with each other and began the task of making disciples who could, in turn, become shepherds engaged in making disciples. In their many travels they established local presbyteries of elders who became leaders of congregations related to the six ministers. These elders then fulfilled roles as apostolic leaders for those congregations. (The relationship between the local congregational elders and the leaders in Fort Lauderdale has been referred to as a “translocal” relationship.) Simpson, Mumford, Baxter, Prince, and Basham then founded Good News Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and began Christian Growth Ministries. A magazine, New Wine, disseminated their teachings. Numerous books and tapes were produced that dealt with various aspects of church life and Christian growth. While working together, some of the original group also developed independent ministries under different names, such as Bob Mumford’s Lifechangers.
In 1975 the issues raised by the group became a matter of intense controversy within the larger charismatic community, and major steps were taken to resolve the differences. Critics were concerned over the abuse of authority that occurred in the shepherding relationship; shepherds interfered in the personal affairs of those whom they were leading. In the more extreme cases, anticultists attempted deprogrammings of people in congregations that were organized around the shepherding principles. Several meetings between the leaders of Christian Growth Ministries and other charismatic movements resulted in the resolution of the many misunderstandings that had grown out of rumors and unverified accusations. Differences on the shepherding principle remained, however.
In 1978 Christian Growth Ministries and New Wine were moved to Mobile, Alabama. At that time, Derek Prince stepped down as chairman of the board in favor of Simpson. Simpson initiated a new congregation, Gulf Coast Covenant Church, and Christian Growth Ministries became Integrity Communications. Leaving the Fort Lauderdale work in local hands, Basham, Mumford, and Baxter joined Simpson in Mobile. Prince remained in Fort Lauderdale as head of his own Derek Prince Ministries. As early as January 1975, following a visit by Simpson to Costa Rica, a Spanish-speaking congregation was established and elders were appointed. Christian Growth Ministries immediately initiated Vino Nuevo, the Spanish edition of New Wine. By 1980 it was being sent to believers in fifteen countries.
In 1984 Prince announced his withdrawal from Integrity Communications. Among his reasons, he cited his disagreement with the opinion that every Christian should have a personal human pastor, and the practice of one pastor overseeing another translocally.
It has been the stated goal of the leaders of Integrity Communications not to allow the congregations associated with it, or the elders who derive authority from them, to develop into a “denomination.” However, those churches and congregations have formed a distinct grouping within the larger Pentecostal community. In 1986, the four remaining leaders of Integrity Communications decided to decentralize their ministries as a means of stopping a trend toward “denominationalism.” With this decision, Baxter moved to San Diego, Mumford to San Rafael, California, and Basham to Cleveland. New Wine was discontinued and replaced with Christian Conquest, edited by Simpson, who has remained in Mobile, Alabama. The group continues to meet periodically.
In 1986, New Wine had a circulation of 55,000, though its audience went far beyond the members of the church due to an oversight at Integrity Communications.
Basham, Don. A Handbook on Holy Spirit Baptism. Monroeville, PA: Whitaker Books, 1969.
———. Ministering the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Monroeville, PA: Whitaker Books, 1971.
Mumford, Bob. Take Another Look at Guidance. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1971.
Simpson, Charles. A New Way to Live. Greensburg, PA: Manna Christian Outreach, 1975.
Vintage Years. Mobile, AL: New Wine Magazine, 1980.
PO Box 2107, Vista, CA 92085-2107
The Interdenominational Ministries International (IMI) originated in 1980 in a series of home prayer groups initiated by the Rev. Dr. Rocco Bruno and his wife, the Rev. Dr. Mary Bruno, in Vista, California (north of San Diego). Their work was incorporated in 1983 and the following year missionary teams began work in Mexico. Within a few years the work outgrew the small home-based groups with which it began, and the present-day name was adopted to reflect its new status. Because those who desired to work with the IMI manifested a need for training, the IMI Correspondence School of Ministry emerged around a curriculum focused in Bible study, theology, and preaching. The school added degree programs through the doctoral level, which includes degrees in Biblical Studies, Christian Education, Divinity, Ministry, Pastoral Christian Counseling, and Theology. Following full nongovernmental accreditation by Transworld Accrediting Commission and the Accrediting Commission International, the school name was changed to IMI Bible College and Seminary to better reflect the range of degree levels offered. The diplomas and degrees programs are accomplished off campus by students from many different countries and continents. Students are drawn from various Evangelical denominations, though most are from Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.
The IMI is committed to an Orthodox Christian perspective with an affirmation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, divine healing, and the necessity of holy living. Both baptism and the Lord’s Supper are practiced. The Bible is taught as the Word of God.
IMI offers ordination and credentials to ministers (especially those who have completed a course of study at the IMI school) for a variety of independent ministries. IMI is affiliated with the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches.
IMI Bible College and Seminary, Vista, California.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The International Christian Churches, founded in 1943 by Rev. Franco Manuel, is a Pentecostal group formed by former members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Hawaii. Members consider themselves “Disciples by confession and Pentecostal by persuasion.” They accept the Pentecostal doctrines and place emphasis on life in the Spirit. The church functions on the loose congregational polity typical of the Disciples of Christ.
Not reported. In the 1970s there was one congregation in Honolulu with several hundred members; an additional seven churches were in the Philippines.
21601 Devonshire St., No. 217, Chatsworth, CA 91311-8415
International Evangelism Crusades was founded in 1959 by Dr. Frank E. Stranges, its president, and Revs. Natale Stranges, Bernice Stranges, and Warren MacKall. Dr. Stranges has become well-known as president of the National Investigations Committee on Unidentified Flying Objects and for his claims that he has contacted space people. International Evangelism Crusades was formed as a ministerial fellowship to hold credentials for independent ministers. As a denomination it is organized as an association of ministers and congregations unhampered by a dictating central headquarters.
The doctrine of the organization is similar to the Assemblies of God. A Canon of Ethics is stressed, the breaking of which constitutes grounds for expulsion from the fellowship.
In 2002 International Evangelism Crusades reported 85 congregations and 125 ministers in the United States and a worldwide membership of 350,000. Associated foreign congregations can be found in Canada, Mexico, Korea, Jamaica, and Africa.
International Theological Seminary of California, Chatsworth, California.
Heavenly People Theological Seminary, Hong Kong.
International Christian Seminary, South Korea.
International Theological Seminary, Indonesia, with five branches in New York City and South Korea.
IEC Newsletter. • Inter Space Link Newsletter.
International Theological Seminary of California. www.itscusa.com/index.html.
Stranges, Frank E. My Friend from Beyond Earth. Van Nuys, CA: IEC, 1960.
———. Like Father–Like Son. Palo Alto, CA: International Evangelism Crusades, 1961.
———. The UFO Conspiracy. Van Nuys, CA: IEC Publishing, 1985.
PO Box 32366, Minneapolis, MN 55432
Founded in 1958, the International Ministerial Fellowship (IMF) is a charismatic fellowship that offers credentials to independent Pentecostal ministers. On October 25, 1960, IMF was chartered as a Texas nonprofit corporation by Pastor F. C. Masserano, Sr., Dr. George Steiglitz, Rev. C. R. McPhail, and a group of men and women who saw a need to establish a fellowship of nondenominational ministers committed to preach and teach the Gospel of Christ, promote a fellowship among nondenominational ministers, build churches, publish Gospel-related materials, and support missions. Ministers may serve churches or work in noncongregational chaplaincies and ministries. The fellowship also charters independent congregations.
In 2004 the fellowship reported 1,250 members in the United States and 88 missionaries in 40 other countries.
International Ministerial Fellowship. www.i-m-f.org/.
433 Oak St., PO Box 1717, Dayton, OH 45401-1717
The United Ministers Forum is a Pentecostal fellowship founded in 1950 by Rev. Louise Copeland. As an international organization, it ordains and grants licenses to ministers serving independent churches, serving churches affiliated with other fellowships, or engaging in special ministries.
The forum affirms the Bible as the infallible Word of God, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit signified by speaking in tongues, and the unity of believers. The fellowship acknowledges all Christians who have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ as members of the body of Christ.
The fellowship holds an annual convention in Dayton at the United Christian Center, where its headquarters are located. The fellowship is currently headed by its president, Rev. Doris J. Swartz. Members are found in Mexico, Romania, Honduras, India, Africa, Brazil, Guatemala, and Russia.
In 1997 the fellowship reported 450 ministerial members in the United States and an additional 150 in other countries.
PO Box 3600, Los Angeles, CA 90078-3600
The Kingdom and World Mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ was incorporated in 1984 by Elie Khoury. Born and raised in Egypt, Khoury was given a message from God in 1960 concerning the war between Egypt and Israel that would occur in 1967. Following the delivery of this message to the Jews in 1965, he was imprisoned and tortured by the Egyptian government. He was released in 1968 but was arrested again. After a second period in prison, he migrated to the United States and opened the mission.
The mission is centered upon a single congregation in Southern California. Khoury is a Pentecostal and preaches the baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues, the laying on of hands for the sick, and the other gifts of the Spirit. The mission is dedicated to the cause of support for Israel and peace between Israel and its neighbors and exists to serve people in the name of Jesus Christ. Among its primary services, it assists refugees to settle and become permanent residents in the United States.
The mission reports over 5,000 members in the United States served by 5 ministers. Worldwide, the mission claims some 65,000 members, most of whom reside in Lebanon and Egypt.
Kingdom and World Mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ School of Theology, Los Angeles, California.
3707 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315-3047
Kingsway Fellowship International, a Pentecostal fellowship of independent ministers and missionaries, was founded in 1968 by Dr. D. L. Browning (d. 2006), who served as its leader until 2000. In 2008 the bishop and executive overseer was Dr. William Jenkins. The fellowship offers ministerial services, counsel, and religious nonprofit status with the IRS to its members. It also seeks to mobilize its members as leaders in a worldwide evangelism/missionary effort.
The fellowship is incorporated and headed by a 13-member board of directors who appoint regional, district, and national superintendents to assist in the evangelism program. It offers credentials to Christian workers, lay-exhorters, and ordained ministers. It also charters churches and related ministries. It sponsors an annual conference, providing fellowship among its members.
Kingsway Christian College, Norwalk, Iowa.
Kingsway Fellowship International. www.kingswayfellowship.org/.
5229 Kelly Elliott Rd., Arlington, TX 76017
The Liberty Fellowship of Churches and Ministers was organized in 1974 in Pensacola, Florida, by Ken Sumrall and 20 other ministers. Sumrall, a former pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in February 1964. The following month he organized Liberty Baptist Church (later Liberty Church) as a congregation for Spirit-filled Baptists. At first the work grew slowly, but membership increased markedly in 1966, the year the college began adjacent to the church. In 1972 land was purchased on the edge of Pensacola, and a building complex was constructed. During the 1970s other independent charismatic pastors who saw the need for oversight, for themselves and their congregations, began searching for a proper structure. They were influenced by other Pentecostal leaders who had in turn been influenced by the Latter-Rain Movement. Such leaders as Bill Britton of Overcomers Fellowship in Springfield, Missouri, believed the church was properly led by a five-fold ministry of apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11-12).
The fellowship’s doctrine is close to that of the Assemblies of God, including belief in the triune God, salvation through Christ, two ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), divine healing, the present-day operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12), and the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an immediate possibility for the believer.
The fellowship is governed by a presbytery council headed by the executive director (originally the president). The first president, Sumrall, who resigned in 1990, was considered the apostle of the fellowship. The presbytery ordains and appoints pastors to local churches, and within its membership the entire five-fold ministry is represented. Local congregational affairs are administered by elders and deacons elected by the congregation and confirmed by the presbytery.
In 2008 the fellowship reported 19 member churches in 12 states.
Liberty Christian College, Pensacola, Florida
Liberty Fellowship. www.libertyfellowship.org.
Church Foundational Network. www.churchfoundationalnetwork.com.
Ken Sumrall Ministries. www.kensumrallministries.com.
Sumrall, Ken. New Wine Bottles. Pensacola, FL: Liberty Creative Press, 1976.
———. Practical Church Government: Organized Flexibility. Pensacola, FL: Author, 1982.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Lighthouse Gospel Fellowship is a Pentecostal church founded in 1958 by Drs. H. A. Chaney and Thelma Chaney of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A set of beliefs are held in common by ministers and members. The fellowship is Trinitarian. It believes in the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues, the laying on of hands for the confirmation of ministry, and impartation of the gifts of the Spirit. However, the group also conceives of itself as nonsectarian and hence home to a variety of views on less essential beliefs.
Not reported. In the 1970s there were approximately 100 congregations and 1,000 members.
Messianic Bureau International (MBI), launched in 1994, began as an information service for the larger Messianic Jewish community, a Christian missionary movement directed at Jews. It gradually took on the characteristics of a new denominational body. In 1995 MBI established an Internet presence that found immediate acceptance within the Messianic community. In 1997 it created an online yeshiva (school) that evolved into a full seminary for the training of Messianic rabbis/ministers. In 1999 it began a broadcast ministry that supplies Christian music 24 hours daily through the Internet.
The various activities of MBI culminated in 2000 with the first MBI Messianic Conference, where for the first time ministers were commissioned and churches chartered. MBI’s founder, Rabbi David Hargis (1951–2006), was the main spokesperson on matters of doctrine and policy for the organization. Ordained in 1973, he pastored Christian parishes until 1989 when he joined the Jewish Messianic movement and accepted reordination as a rabbi. He subsequently founded Mishkan HaMelekh (Tabernacle of the King) in the Tidewater area of Virginia.
MBI is a Pentecostal body but expresses its theological perspective using Hebrew terms. As set forth in its statement of faith, “The various enablements (gifts) of Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) are given with authority to all those who ask YHVH and obey His commandments. The Promise of Abba, an extra endowment of power and boldness for witnessing, is an immersion (spiritual mikveh) by Ruach HaKodesh, as initially was evidenced with speaking in other languages. Each follower should seek to be filled with the various enablements of the Ruach, who gives them as He wishes.”
MBI is governed by a board of directors for business operations and a board of governors for spiritual operations. Rabbi Hargis was the president and general overseer of the board of directors and chairman of the board of governors until his death. The Board of Governors operates as a Beit Din (in traditional Judaism a court of law) to make decisions on matters of religious import.
MBI will credential individuals as cantors, as a Messianic minister, head elder (Rosh Zaken), or rabbi. A Messianic minister assumes one or more of the roles in the fivefold ministry (Ephesians 4:11) as pastor (roeh), evangelist (m’vasayr), teacher (moreh), prophet (navi), or apostle (shaliach). The rabbi serves as the leader or assistant leader of a congregation. MBI attempts to keep a cordial relationship with all of the Messianic Jewish groups and maintains links to their Web sites and a large directory of Messianic congregations and ministries on its Internet site.
In 2008 MBI reported 14 affiliated congregations.
Messianic Bible Institute, Hampton, Virginia.
Messianic Bureau International. www.messianicbureau.org/.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
Known locally in the communities of West Virginia as the Church of the Living Gospel or the Church of the Everlasting Gospel, the Neverdies are Pentecostals who believe in immortality not only of the soul but also of the body. The soul, they believe, returns to earth in a series of reincarnations until it succeeds in living a perfect life. At that point, the body can live forever. The origin of the group has been lost, but among the first teachers was Ted Oiler, born in 1906, who in 1973 was still traveling a circuit through the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. The congregations are rather loosely knit, held together by their acceptance of what is a rather unusual doctrine for the mountain area.
c/o David Terrell, Jesus New Covenant Church, PO Box 100, Ashdown, AK 71822
David Terrell Worldwide Revivals, PO Box 4800, Dallas, TX 75208.
David Terrell, as a child of nine in Alabama, was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer in his legs. Doctors advised amputation but his mother refused. In the end, he was miraculously healed. Terrell would go on to dedicate his life to assisting others in what would become an international independent Pentecostal ministry that has become known for the healings and other miraculous occurrences that have been reported to have occurred at the revival services led by Terrell. These have been carried forward under the auspices of David Terrell Worldwide Revivals, based in Dallas, Texas. Terrell has, over the years, offered numerous prophecies. In 1999 he reported a vision in which he was told that the “Times of the Gentiles,” the present historical era, was soon coming to an end.
Out of his revival services, Terrell developed a significant following, and a number of independent churches were founded that supported his work, agreed with his teachings, and recognized him as an apostle and prophet. These took the name collectively as the New Testament Holiness Church, though local congregations had a variety of designations. In 1973 Terrell made Bangs, Texas, his headquarters but later moved to Arkansas. From there he travels through North America conducting tent revivals.
Terrell holds to a conservative form of Pentecostal faith. He believes in the authority of the Bible and admonishes people to use the King James Version, which he believes to be the true Word of God preserved in the English language. He opposes the celebration of Christmas, Halloween, and other pagan holidays. Terrell has written a number of booklets that are published and circulated by Worldwide Revivals.
Not reported. In 2002 Terrell’s Web page listed some 30 churches identified with the New Testament Church of God, with one congregation in Canada.
Brother David Terrell. davidterrell.org/home.html.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Pentecostal Full Gospel Church was founded in 1922 as the Apostolic Churches of Christ. It is a Trinitarian church (though its articles of faith do not treat such basic theological concerns as the doctrine of God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit). There is an emphasis upon the baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues, healing out of the atonement of Jesus, three ordinances (baptism by immersion, the Lord’s Supper, and foot washing), tithing, and the imminent return of Christ to reign on earth for a thousand years. At the Lord’s Supper, unleavened bread and unfermented grape juice is used. There is a strong aversion to divorce and remarriage, and no ministerial credentials can be issued to divorced and/or remarried people.
The church is headed by a president elected at the annual convention. He appoints ministers to the local congregations. Pastors appoint local elders, deacons, and deaconesses.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Pentecostal 7th Day Assemblies, formerly known as the Association of Seventh-Day Pentecostal Assemblies (incorporated in 1984), had existed as an informal fellowship of congregations and ministers since 1931. It is an association headed by a chairman and a coordinating committee. The committee has a responsibility for joint ventures but has no authority over local church programs or affairs.
Doctrinally the association has taken a nonsectarian stance, affirming some minimal beliefs commonly held but leaving many questions open. Ministers hold a non-Trinitarian position. Baptism is by immersion, but a variety of formulas are spoken. The association believes in sanctification by the blood, Spirit and the Word, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Ten Commandments (each of equal worth) and the millennium.
The association is congregationally organized. Each local church is autonomous and sets its own policy and mission. The association supports missions in Canada, Ghana, and Nigeria, and works in other countries through its congregations.
The association supports a college in Kumasi, Ashanti, Ghana.
The Hour of Preparation.
640 Kempsville Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23464
The Rock Church was founded in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1968 by John Gimenez (b. 1931) and his wife and fellow evangelist, Anne Gimenez (b. 1932). After being saved from drug addiction in 1965, John Gimenez began touring the country with seven other former addicts in The Addicts, a dramatic presentation of their stories. The play was also made into a movie, and Gimenez published his accounts in a book, Up Tight. While on tour he met his future wife, who was holding evangelistic services in Indianapolis. They married in 1966. During the early phase of their combined ministry, they associated with Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, which brought them to the Tidewater area of Virginia. They took over an abandoned church building in Norfolk, but within a few years the church proved too small to hold the growing congregation. They then built a new building in nearby Virginia Beach and called it the Rock Church, based on the passage in the Gospel of Matthew 16:18, “… upon this rock I will build my church.” They soon added a school, the Rock Academy.
The church greatly expanded its ministries during its first decade, and by 1979 the church had 23 additional affiliated congregations.
In 2008 the church reported more than 500 associated congregations.
The Rock Church. www.rockchurch.org/.
Gimenez, John, Anne Gimenez, and Robert Paul Lamb. Upon this Rock: The Remarkable Story of John & Anne Gimenez: The Miracle of Rock Church. Souls Books, 1979.
Varner, Kelley, and John Gimenez. The Priesthood Is Changing. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 1991.
c/o Sharon Fellowship Church of Houston, 13503 Creek Springs, Houston, TX 77083
The Sharon Fellowship Churches of North America is the American affiliate of the Sharon Fellowship Churches of India, founded by Pastor P. J. Thomas (1914–1998). A Indian of the Brahmin caste, Thomas was converted to Christianity. He would eventually earn a degree in theology from Seampore University and then pursue further studies in Australia and the United States. He returned to India in 1952 and was instrumental in sending several pastors of the Indian Pentecostal Church to the United States. Thomas settled at Tiruvalla in 1953 and two years later founded a Bible college at a site known as Sharon. Sharon became a popular stop for Pentecostal ministers from the United States, including John E. Douglas and R. W. Schambach.
The IPC experienced a split in the 1950s. Thomas attempted to keep Sharon College above the turmoil. However, as time passed, several independent Pentecostal congregations asked for assistance with construction of buildings, buying burial grounds, and having a common fellowship. Eventually Thomas joined with these churches that would become the core of Sharon Fellowship Churches of India. The fellowship expanded rapidly through the 1960s.
Members of the Sharon Churches began to migrate to America in the 1970s. Congregations emerged in the 1990s and an initial National Conference was held in 2000. The Sharon Voice, a periodical, was launched in 1998 by the church in Houston, Texas. The American work is currently led by Rev. C. M. Titus. The church participates in the annual American conference of Pentecostals from Kerala (India).
In 2003 the fellowship reported three churches in Texas, and one each in Oklahoma, Michigan, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
The Sharon Voice.
Sharon Fellowship Churches of North America. members.tripod.com/sharon_america/.
Sharon Fellowship Church of Houston. www.sharonhouston.com/.
Box 700, Cleveland, TN 37311
The United Christian Ministerial Association was founded in 1956 by the Rev. H. Richard Hall (1920–2002) as an association of independent Pentecostal ministers. The local church in Cleveland, Tennessee, was formed in 1972, at which time the name of the organization was changed to United Christian Church and Ministerial Association. Doctrinally the church is described as fundamental and Pentecostal.
In 2008 the association was headed by Donald Warren, serving as president, and a board of directors. Ministerial training is offered for resident students through the United Christian Church and for nonresident students though a correspondence institute. The association offers exhorter and ordination licenses to all charismatics and Pentecostals who are called to preach in any one of 16 categories, including apostles, bishops, pastors, teachers, missionaries, and ministering through the various gifts of the Spirit as outlined in I Cor. 12. There is an annual minister’s convention in Cleveland during which one day is set aside for the ordination of ministers and one for graduation for students of the United Christian Bible Institute.
In 2008 the association reported more than 20,000 licensed and ordained ministers worldwide and 150 affiliated congregations in the United States.
United Christian Bible Institute, Cleveland, Tennessee.
Shield of Faith.
United Christian Church and Ministerial Association. www.unitedchristianchurch.org/.
Sims, Patsy. Can Somebody Shout Amen! New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988.
PO Box 1175, Thomasville, GA 31799
United Evangelical Churches was formed in 1960, one of the first structural responses to the neo-Pentecostal revival. It is made up especially of those ministers and laypersons from mainline churches who, since their baptism with the Holy Spirit, have not felt free to remain in their churches. As members of a fellowship, they hope to avoid some of the evils of institutionalism, namely, the excessive control of man that prevents control by the living Spirit of God. Because of its origin, the fellowship continues to be open to charismatics who choose to remain in their own churches.
The tenets of faith of United Evangelical Churches profess belief in the Bible as the Word of God, the Trinity, the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ, the inability of man to save himself, salvation in Christ, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, the present ministry of the Holy Spirit which empowers Christians and manifests itself in gifts and ministries, and the judgment of Christ.
The church is governed by an executive council and there is a conference every two years. Churches are divided into three regions—Western, Central, and Eastern. Churches (in 1970) were found in 22 states. Foreign work was located in India, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Ghana, Kenya, Jamaica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Iran.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The United Network of Christian Ministries and Churches was founded in 1985 by Rev. Don Pfotenhauer, formerly a pastor in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Pfotenhauer had become affiliated with the larger Charismatic movement, which occasioned his being expelled from his denomination. As that process proceeded, out of meetings and prayer with his supporters, he felt called to an “apostolic” ministry. The vision for this ministry, articulated through prophetic utterances of several people, included the establishment of local churches that would operate as the body of Christ in their communities and unite believers in a loving fellowship where each member is rightly related to Christ and each other.
Although local churches are autonomous, transcongregational leadership is supplied to the churches affiliated with the fellowship by several apostolic teams. These teams are seen as “coaches” who prepare the body of Christ for the work of the ministry. They are viewed as authorities delegated by the Holy Spirit who govern the church. The apostolic team visits each member church at least once annually. Pfotenhauer serves as the apostolic director of the fellowship.
In 1997 there were 25 congregations with 3,300 members affiliated with the fellowship in the United States and an additional 14 churches worldwide in Tanzania; Manitoba, Canada; and India.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Universal Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is an interracial Pentecostal group that emerged in the 1970s. It is distinguished by its belief that in order to serve God freely, members must leave the corrupt government, society, and churches of this land and establish a separate government on another continent where a theocratic system can be constructed. Only then can perfection exist in society. Members call upon all Christians to join them. They believe that these are the end-times and that God is calling together his 144,000 mentioned in Revelation.
The church has a strict moral code and disapproves of short dresses for women, long hair for men, and women preachers and elders. Women cover their heads during worship. The group fasts, uses wine and unleavened bread at the Lord’s Supper, and believes in baptism for the remission of sins, divine healing, speaking in tongues, and the unity of the church. The Universal Church is headed by Bishop R. O. Frazier. Members do not think of themselves as another denomination but as the one true body of Christ.
The Light of Life Herald. Send orders to PO Box 874, Saginaw, MI 48605.
PO Box 4545, Glendale, CA 91222
The Universal World Church was formed in 1952 by former Assemblies of God minister Dr. O. L. Jaggers, its president. It differs from other Pentecostal bodies primarily in organization and in its doctrine of the sacrament. Under Jaggers are 24 elders who form the governing executive body. Their role is taken from Exodus and from Revelations 4:4, 10; 5:6–8. The elders’ custom of wearing robes and golden crowns is based on these texts. There are 144 bishops, one for each state of the United States and the rest for the various countries of the world. Elders and bishops must be graduates of the University of the World Church.
One is received into the church by baptism following repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as personal Lord and savior. The reception is the first process of new birth and new creation. Following the new birth, one may receive the genuine baptism with the Holy Spirit of resurrection power and fire, a baptism called the “second process.” After the second process, one is allowed to partake of the third, the transubstantiation communion, which is offered once every three months. At that time twenty-four elders, by faith in Christ and the power of God, perform the miracle of changing bread and wine into the sacred body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This act is done before the golden altar of the church in Los Angeles.
In the 1960s the World Church came under considerable attack for its flamboyance, which some felt smacked more of showmanship than religion. In spite of these attacks, however, the church continued to grow. In 1969 the church claimed 11,315 members of the mother church, with approximately 800 congregations in the United States and around the world. The 3,170 ministers were organized into the World Fellowship of the Universal World Church. These figures have been questioned by many who claim that the movement has consisted mainly of the single congregation in Los Angeles.
Through the 1980s and 1990s the Los Angeles church maintained a degree of local fame for its elaborately staged “illustrated sermons,” featuring O. L. Jaggers’s wife, Miss Velma. Her annual “Christmas in America” pageants attracted both traditional followers and a younger, postmodernist generation of Angelenos who viewed the spectacles as a kind of performance art. The church, under the direction of Jaggers and Miss Velma, has been meeting at the Auditorium of the Los Angeles’ Scottish Rite Masonic Temple while a land is made ready for the construction of a projected new Golden Temple.
Not reported. In 2008, the church reported four American congregations: Los Angeles; Maui, Hawaii; New York, New York; and Tallahassee, Florida. There were also five congregations in Australia.
University of the World Church, Los Angeles, California.
Universal World Church (Australia). au.msnusers.com/TheUniversalWorldChurch/drjaggersandmissvelmasrevivals.msnw.
7700 S Lewis, Tulsa, OK 74136-7700
Victory Fellowship of Ministries (VFM) was founded and organized in January 1980 as an outreach ministry of Victory Christian Center (formerly Sheridan Christian Center), a large charismatic church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It provides a fellowship for a number of like-minded ministers and churches, especially many who have been trained and sent out from Victory Bible Institute.
In 2002 V.F.M. reported over 800 members, with 154 affiliated churches in the United States and one each in Canada, Germany, France, Albania, the Czech Republic, Russia, Argentina, and Scotland.
Victory Bible Institute, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Victory Fellowship of Ministries. www.vfmtulsa.org/.
Victory Christian Center. www.victory.com/.
PO Box 850146, Mesquite, TX 75185-0146
The origins of Victory New Testament Fellowship International go back to 1934 in Dallas, Texas, where H. Donald Skelton, at the time employed as a barber, was called to ministry. On his own, Skelton began visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and jails where he shared his faith with whoever would listen. In the process he met and married Dorothy Peterman. He began preaching full time. In the years after World War II, he began to fellowship with other independent ministers who expressed a desire to have an association apart from affiliating with a large denomination. These ministers also needed credentials to be admitted to the various institutions where they were attempting to minister. The Victory New Testament Fellowship International was founded in 1953 to fulfill these needs, and Skelton began ordaining ministers.
The fellowship is a Pentecostal body that emphasizes the Bible as the inspired Word of God and faith in the Triune god. It emphasizes the gifts and fruits of the spirit, especially divine healing. The church is called to evangelize the world. Members are to support the work of the church with their tithes and offerings.
In 2008 the pastor and president of the organization was Larry D. Skelton. The fellowship expresses belief in the absolute sovereignty of the local pastor as overseer of the flock but is also led by a board of directors. As a corporate body, the fellowship supports missionaries overseas, several of whom have founded Bible schools. It has also supported orphanages and a homeless shelter.
The fellowship offers credentials for ministers as pastor, evangelists, missionaries, or teachers. Licensed ministers are expected to live by a code of honor that includes a pledge to refrain from illicit sexual acts, including homosexual behavior, consumption of alcoholic beverages, tobacco use, and any behavior contrary to that of a minister.
In 2008 the fellowship reported 1,500 ministry partners in the United States and Canada who held credentials from it and affiliated missionaries operating in 22 countries.
Victory New Testament Fellowship International. www.fellowshipintl.org/index.html.
PO Box 70, DeSoto, TX 75123-0070
World Bible Way Fellowship North Central Region, PO Box 902, Burnsville, MN 55337.
World Bible Way Fellowship (WBWF) was founded as a full-gospel interdenominational association of ministers and churches in 1943 by Guy Shields. The fellowship traces its roots to the International Fundamental Christian Association, originally conceived as a religious association in the District of Columbia in the summer of 1943, but later incorporated in Texas.
The fellowship is a Pentecostal body, espouses a basic trinitarian theology, and acknowledges the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the accompanying sign of speaking in tongues and the associated charismatic gifts of the Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit in the believer’s life.
It recognizes lay Christian workers, licensed ministers, and ordained ministers, and for each will supply credentials to those who otherwise qualify. Women are welcomed as ministers who may be licensed by the WBWF.
The fellowship is led by a board. Dan Hope has been president since 1973.
In 2002 the fellowship reported more than 2,000 ordained ministers credentialed by WBWF around the world and more than 500 affiliated churches and pastors.
World Bible Way Fellowship. www.wbwfi.org/national.ivnu.
World Bible Way Fellowship. worldbiblewayfellowship.com/.
PO Box 79, Waverly, NY 14892
Zion Fellowship International is a worldwide Pentecostal/charismatic fellowship of churches, colleges, and ministries that includes orphanages, clinics, and feeding programs in several countries. The fellowship’s primary work is in education and embodied in the Zion Ministerial Institute in Waverly, New York, and the distance education degree program offered by Zion Christian University in Clearwater, Florida, as well as several colleges around the world. The fellowship’s president in 2008 was Dr. Brian Bailey.
Zion Fellowship affirms a belief in the Triune God, salvation through the work of Jesus Christ, the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, baptism by immersion in water, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, divine healing as provided by Christ’s atoning work, and the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. It is also the fellowship’s belief that God will visit His Church in unusual ways before Christ’s second coming, bringing multitudes into His kingdom. As a matter of principle, it is felt that since divorce and remarriage are contrary to God’s will, anyone who has been divorced and remarried is not permitted to hold ministerial credentials. Pastors are asked not to solemnize such remarriages.
Zion Ministerial Institute, Waverly, New York.
Zion Christian University, Clearwater, Florida.
Zion Fellowship. zionfellowship.org/.