Unclassified Christian Churches

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Unclassified Christian Churches


Assembly of Christian Soldiers

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The upsurge of the Ku Klux Klan in the South in the 1960s led in 1971 to the formation of a Klan-based church, the Assembly of Christian Soldiers. Its founder and leader, Jessie L. Thrift, was a former Grand Wizard of the Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, one of several Klan schismatic groups. The assembly began a program of assisting the all-white segregated academies, which were established in reaction to the desegregation of public schools in the South. Money from the tax-exempt church funds was used to subsidize schools so that parents could transfer children from public schools without extra cost. There is an affiliated organization, "The Southerners", which organizes mass rallies.

Membership: In 1972 there were ten churches in Alabama, six in Georgia and Mississippi, and approximately 3,000 members.


Bible Christians


The Bible Christians, not to be confused with the Bible Christian Church (the Canadian body with Methodist roots), dates from the independent efforts of former Church of England minister William Cowherd, a popular preacher in Manchester, England. Feeling bound by unwanted sectarian pressures, he left the Church of England and eventually established an independent meeting house at Salford, England. He felt that all members should take their life patterns from the Bible. He refused to draw a salary and earned his living as a physician. Members called themselves simply Bible Christians.

The group held the Bible as its only creed and emphasized the doctrines of the Trinity, the incarnation of Christ, the revelation of God to the prophets and apostles, and the church. The Bible Christians also taught that the true church was composed of those who have responded to the truth, and that the order of the church centered on prayer, preaching, and worship. As the movement developed, Cowherd began to advocate and then impose upon his very large following the ideals of vegetarianism and abstinence from alcohol. He supplemented his biblical support for these ideas with the latest findings of the scientific study of the human body.

In 1817 two Bible Christian leaders, the Revs. James Freeman Clarke and William Metcalfe, migrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Clarke proceeded to the western United States and was lost to the movement, but Metcalfe established a congregation in Philadelphia, which by 1823 was strong enough to purchase land upon which a church building was erected. Under Metcalfe's leadership, the church survived for a number of decades. In 1847 it reported around 75 members in the single congregation.

Metcalfe is generally remembered as the first prominent vegetarian in the United States. He authored the first vegetarian tract published in America and in 1850 became the first corresponding secretary of the American Vegetarian Society. The Bible Christian Church was a center of the society during the years of Metcalfe's life.


Metcalfe, William. "History of the Bible Christians." In History of All the Religious Denominations in the United States. Harrisburg, PA: John Winebrunner, 1848, pp. 123-29.

Numbers, Ronald L. Prophetess of Health. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.

Trall, Russell T. The Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism. St. Catherine'S, ON: Provoker Press, 1970.


Body of Christ (Jim Roberts)

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The nomadic group called the Body of Christ was founded by Jimmie T. Roberts, a former marine. The group generated a number of news stories in the late 1970s as its presence became known and several members were deprogrammed. Roberts, the son of a part-time Pentecostal minister, grew up in the South in a religious family. But he had come to feel that the mainline churches had become too carnal. He wished to create a following similar to the disciples who moved around the countryside with Jesus, who traveled as he preached. He found support in Bible passages, calling believers to separate themselves from worldliness. He began to recruit members for his group around 1970 in Denver, Colorado, and in California. As the leader of the group, Roberts was generally known as Brother Evangelist.

As the group took shape, a hierarchical structure was formed and was headed by an elder (one of the oldest members). It was comprised of the older brothers and the middle brothers (the positions being related to their time in the group). Women basically cared for the children and assisted the male members. During the 1970s, the group wore a distinctive, monk-like garb which made them highly visible when they gathered as a group.

It was common practice for the Body of Christ to gather periodically, divide into groups of two or three, and travel by separate routes to the next designated gathering place. During gatherings members would listen to Brother Evangelist preach, sing, welcome new members, and fellowship with each other. The time on the road was for witnessing and preaching to any who would listen.

The existence of the group was first brought to the public's attention in 1975 when several members were involved in an accident in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The several members were kidnapped and deprogrammed. For the rest of the decade there was sporadic attention given to the group as parents of young adult members attempted to contact relatives in the group. In 1979, a book-length story of a former member, Rachel Martin, was published. Since then the group has dropped out of sight and little has been heard of its members, possibly a response to the growing amount of negative publicity. Its present whereabouts and status are unknown.

Among the activities of the group was its practice of raiding garbage bins behind restaurants and grocery stores to find free food. This practice earned them the label "Garbage Eaters". The group bathed infrequently and refused medical treatment.

Membership: At one time the group had as many as 100 members. The most recent reports, from the early 1980s, suggested membership was approximately 40.


Martin, Rachel, as told to Bonnie Palmer Young. Escape. Denver, CO: Accent Books, 1979.


Brotherhood of the Cross and the Star

1544 W. Jarvis Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626

Alternate Address: International headquarters: ℅ Leader Olumba Olumba Obu, The Sole Spiritual Head Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, 34 Ambo St., PO Box 49, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

The Brotherhood of the Cross and the Star is one of numerous new religions that have developed in post-World War II Africa. It was founded in Nigeria in 1954 by Leader Olumba Olumba Obu, designated as its Sole Spiritual Head. Obu was born in 1918 in Blakpan, Nigeria. Though not a part of any church, at the age of five he began to manifest extraordinary and mysterious spiritual behavior, and requested to be addressed as Teacher and Leader. Things he predicted soon came to pass. People began to bring their problems to him. By 1954 he already had a large following. In establishing the brotherhood, the kingdom of God has been established.

His followers believe that the appearance of Obu is the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, whom Jesus promised in John 14: 16, and which is mentioned in the book of Revelation as the Word made flesh of the book (Rev. 12:5, 19:13-14). His message is one of repentance of, and refrain from, sin as the kingdom of God is now with humanity.

The brotherhood began to expand rapidly in 1981 when it sent out some 200 missionaries to various locations around the world, including the United States, but with special attention to the United Kingdom. The brotherhood's youth fellowship sponsored 40 missionaries to the UK and the next year 50 women, all ordained priests of the order, arrived in England and began to organize centers, especially among Africans who had previously migrated to the country. In August 1982 the youth fellowship sponsored a tour of 65 missionaries to the UK and America. They were joined by seven members of the Brotherhood's Christ Servants Fellowship in September, and organized meetings along the East Coast from Atlanta to New York City. Initial centers were established in New Jersey, New York, and Georgia.

Membership: Not reported.


"The Brotherhood of the Cross and the Star: The Story of a New Kingdom." New York Times (September 5, 1983): 18. Full-page ad.


Catholic Apostolic Church

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The outpouring of charismatic gifts in 1906 at the Azusa Street mission in Los Angeles, California, led to the modern Pentecostal movement. But prior sporadic charismatic events in the Western world figure in Pentecostal history as precursors of the twentieth century movement. One such outpouring in England led to the founding of the Catholic Apostolic Church. In 1828, the Rev. John McLeod Campbell, a Presbyterian who believed in the universal love of Christ and drew great crowds of people to hear of it, began to notice "supernatural" happenings in his parish. The first event was the death-bed conversion of James Grubber, remarkable for the change in his countenance from anxiety to peace, and for his words about Christ's imminent return. A Mr. Johnstone had a similar death the next year, and Isabella Campbell followed in the same fashion.

In 1830, Margaret MacDonald, weak and near death, began to experience visions of God's mercy and of heavenly hosts; two months later she was healed. In the excitement that followed the gathering at Margaret's house for prayer meetings, George, and then James MacDonald began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. A small group gathered around the MacDonalds and eventually a small chapel was rented to hold services. News spread to all corners of the British Isles.

One group that heard of the MacDonalds was composed of clergy and laymen gathered at the country estate of Henry Drummond to study the signs of the end of the world. Delegates were dispatched to investigate the occurrences associated with the MacDonalds and, upon their return, reported favorably. Greatly influenced by the report was the Rev. Edward Irving, a Presbyterian minister who had been impressed with John McLeod Campbell. Irving published the delegates' account, claiming that they had heard languages which were indeed unknown tongues. Irving became a prolific exponent of charismata. He was removed from the Presbyterian Church, and, from this split, the Catholic Apostolic Church dates.

As the new church took shape, a non-Presbyterian polity began to develop. Members believed that they were in community with the Biblical church and should possess a Biblical government. Apostles arose to lead the new church order, and other Biblical offices, such as the prophet, came into existence. The church grew and spread.

Members of the Catholic Apostolic Church came to America in the 1840s and organized a church at Potsdam, New York. In 1851, a society was organized in New York and a church was purchased three years later. Early congregations were established in Enfield and Hartford, Connecticut, and in Boston, Massachusetts. Members came largely from New England Congregationalism and Episcopalianism. The leader of the church was William Watson Andrews, a former Congregational minister.

The Catholic Apostolic Church is at variance with its parent Presbyterian, Congregational, and Episcopal bodies in its acceptance of and belief in the necessity of all the charismatic gifts and in its polity. Among the gifts it seeks are healing, speaking in tongues, and prophecy. However, at its formation, the church did not stress speaking in tongues as the sign of the Holy Spirit's indwelling. The church is not the first church within the Pentecostal movement because it did not initially describe the gift of tounges. The Catholic Apostolic Church accepts the Nicene Creed and closely follows the Church of England largely in its doctrine. It retains the sacramental view of baptism and the Lord's Supper. It has revived the sacrament of the laying-on-of-hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Sacraments of the second order include sealing and marriage. The church believes in the premillennial second coming of Jesus. One aim of the Catholic Apostolic Church was to reestablish the church in its apostolic order. In 1832, a new restoration of the college of "apostles" was begun in the call of John Bate Car-dale. Also included among the 12 were Henry Drummond, Thomas Carlyle, and Henry Hilton. When these gentlemen died, the apostles' office was dissolved. Under the apostles were the servants (Luke 10:1). The three-fold ministry of angel (bishop), priest (or elder), and deacon functioned in the local church. Members of the ministry were exclusively called, appointed, and ordained by the apostles. The last of the 12 apostles died in 1901. Since that time there have been no ordinations.

The thrust of the Catholic Apostolic Church has been directed totally toward awakening other churches to its concerns. Such a program, often seen as a proselytizing endeavor, was successful in the nineteenth century. Soon after the death of the apostles, however, growth stopped. The 13 churches reported in 1916 had been reduced to seven in 1936 and at last report only one. It may have ceased to exist in the United States.


Dallimore, Arnold. Forerunner of the Charismatic Movement: The Life of Edward Irving. Chicago: Moody Press, 1983.

Drummond, Andrew Landale. Edward Drummond and His Circle. London: James Clarke, 1934.

Shaw, P. E. The Catholic Apostolic Church, Sometimes Called Irvingite: A Historical Survey. New York: King's Crown Press, 1946.


Christ Community Church of Zion

Dowie Memorial Dr.
Zion, IL 60099

Christ Community Church of Zion, formerly known as the Christian Catholic Church, was founded by John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907). He was born in Scotland, but as a teenager migrated with his family to Australia. A short time later, he was healed of chronic dyspepsia. Dowie became a Congregationalist minister, but was dissatisfied with his life until he discovered the healing power of God during the plague of 1876 in Australia. In 1882 he founded the International Divine Healing Association and, as its president, was a champion of God's healing power and an avowed foe of liquor, tobacco, and drugs. In 1888 he left Australia to attend an International Healing Conference in England. However, he got only as far as the United States, where for several years he toured the country as an independent evangelist. In 1891 he settled in Chicago and launched a ministry in a mission to the city. Three years later he opened Zion Publishing House.

In 1896 Dowie founded the Christian Catholic Church in Chicago. Headquarters remained there until 1901, when 6,600 acres were purchased on Lake Michigan. The city of Zion was established and became a communal economic enterprise of church members for many years. Extensive industry and businesses were developed and controlled by an established theocratic order.

The flamboyant Dowie, recuperating from a stroke which partially paralyzed him, lost control of the church in 1906 to Wilbur Glenn Voliva, whom he had appointed to run the church in his absence. Voliva found the church near bankruptcy and led a revolt that saw Dowie deposed just a year before his death. Voliva was succeeded in 1942 by Michael J. Mintern, who, in 1959, was succeeded by Carl Q. Lee. In 1976, Roger W. Ottersen was installed as the fifth General Overseer of the Christian Catholic Church worldwide fellowship. He served through most of 1994 after which the office of General Overseer was discontinued. Also, as of 1995, the headquarters church in Zion was without a senior pastor.

The Christian Catholic Church is rooted in evangelical Protestantism, though it has borrowed from several traditions. The Bible is accepted as the rule of faith and practice. Other doctrine calls for belief in the necessity of repentance and personal trust in Christ for salvation, and other basic evangelical doctrines.

Each year, at the end of September, the annual convocation is held at the headquarters in Zion. Since 1935 the church has sponsored the presentation of the "Zion Passion Play," a live drama featuring a cast of over 200. During the years of Dowie's leadership, the church founded the Zion Conservatory of Music, currently enrolling over 190 pupils. Foreign work is sponsored in Canada, Guyana, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, the Philippines, Malawi, and South Africa with the Amazoni people. Domestic ministries include Camp Zion in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin; Zion Gospel Chapel, Michigan City, Indiana; Inscription House Navajo Mission, Tonalea, Arizona; and Liberty Community Church, Lindenhurst, Illinois. In 1975 the church joined the National Association of Evangelicals.

Membership: Not reported.


Cook, Philip L. Zion City, Illinois: John Alexander Dowie's Theocracy. Zion, IL: Zion Historical Society, 1970.

Lindsay, Gordon. John Alexander Dowie. Dallas, TX: Christ for the Nations, 1980.

——. The Sermons of Alexander Dowie, Champion of the Faith. Dallas, TX: Voice of Healing Publishing Co., 1951.

Newcomb, Arthur. Dowie, Anointed of the Lord. New York: Century Company, 1930.


Christ Family

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Christ Family was founded in the early 1960s by Charles Franklin Hughes, whose religious name is Lightning Amen. According to the group, Hughes went through a period of fasting for forty days in the Arizona desert before making a public appearance as Lightning Amen. He began gathering disciples who assumed new names, with "Christ" as their surname. The disciples have adopted a nomadic lifestyle which keeps them moving around the United States preaching and accepting more converts. Members of the group generally dress in white, wear a headband, and, when not barefoot, wear shoes which are not made of leather or other animal products.

The Christ Family claims to follow the teachings of Jesus, and sees Lightning Amen as the Messiah returned to earth. Emphasized among members of the Family is living the Bible, whose central features include non-violence, abstinence from sex, and separation from materialism. Members are strict vegetarians and do not drink alcohol. They do, however, smoke tobacco and marijuana, natural weeds given by God.

The Family is organized very informally. A farm near Hemut, California, serves as the headquarters of the group, though most members travel throughout the United States the greater part of the year.

Membership: Not reported.

Remarks: Because of their nomadic nonconventional lifestyle, along with the difficulty of staying in contact with individual members of the group, families who have relatives in the Christ Family have added it to the list of contemporary groups called "cults." The group publishes little material, and the only substantive publication on the group is a booklet published by an anti-cult organization. The group has been the target of a number of deprogramming attempts.


Long, Estelle. The Christ Family Cult. Redondo Beach, CA: Citizens Freedom Foundation, Information Services, 1981.


Christian Survival Fellowship


The Christian Survival Fellowship was formed as the Fellowship of Christian Men by its founder, Julius Rose. It was Rose's opinion that humanity was living in the last days and that atomic war was inevitable. He also believed that Christianity was essentially a white man's religion, given to the Western world and authoritarian in character. He proposed the establishment of several survival towns (hence the change of name in the 1970s), as the only effective civil defense strategy. Each town would be nominally populated at all times, have a vast supply of food and other necessities on hand, and be run on a semi-communal basis. These towns would then be able to offer hospitality to all in times of crises.

In the 1960s Rose moved to Richland, New Jersey, and began to clear land for a prototype survival town. He also created the General Development Company to manufacture and market low pollution, high gas mileage (over 100 m.p.h.) vehicles. In the center of the town, called Survival Town, was Fellowship Park, a place for Christians to meet and spend weekends together.


Christian Union

℅ Christian Union Bible College
PO Box 27
Greenfield, OH 45123

The Christian Union was formed in 1984 in Columbus, Ohio by a group of like-minded men who had a "desire for a more perfect fellowship in Christ and a more satisfactory enjoyment of the means of religious edification and comfort." The theology is conservative and evangelical. There is no creed to which allegiance must be paid, but seven cardinal principles are considered essential: (1) the oneness of the church of Christ; (2) Christ, the only head; (3) The Bible, the only rule of faith; (4) good fruits, the only condition of fellowship; (5) the Christian Union without controversy; (6) each local church governing itself; and (7) the discountenance of partisan political preaching. These principles are set within a context of general Protestant affirmations.

The Christian Union, as can be implied from its principles, is congregational in government. Congregations are organized into state councils and a triennial General Council. Councils exist in the states of Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Indiana, and Ohio. Missions are supported in Africa, Japan, and the Dominican Republic. Missionaries serve with various faith-mission organizations. The Macedonian Society raises money to support needy students preparing for a full-time Christian vocation. The Christian Union Extension Bible School offers training via correspondence to students around the United States.

Membership: In 1984 the union reported 114 congregations, 6,000 members, and 114 ministers.

Educational Facilities: Christian Union Bible College, Green-field, Ohio.

Periodicals: The Christian Union Witness.


Church for the Fellowship of All People

2041 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94109

The Church for the Fellowship of All People is a single congregation founded in 1943 by a group under the leadership of Presbyterian clergyman, Dr. Albert G. Fisk, then chairman of the Department of Psychology and Philosophy of San Francisco State College. With a building and modest monthly stipend donated by the Presbyterian Church, the group began to meet for worship and in 1944 called Dr. Howard Thurman (1900-1981), the internationally known black minister and chaplain at Howard University, as its co-pastor. The original purpose of the group was the establishment of an interracial fellowship at all levels of the congregation's life. Under Thurman's leadership, the congregation expanded and eventually all ties to the Presbyterian Church dropped. Thurman remained pastor for nine years and has been suceeded by a series of pastors primarily from liberal Protestant backgrounds: Dr. Dryden Phelps (1953-1955), Francis Geddes, (1955-1963), John D. Magnum (1963-1967), and H. Don Guynes (1965-1967). After five years without a pastor, the church has been headed by Daniel Panger and Marvin Chandler, Timothy T. Malone, and its current pastor, Dorsey Blake.

The church is interreligious with a commitment to see all people as children of God and to seek a vital experience of God as revealed in Jesus of Nazareth and other great religious spirits. The church members are also committed to an ethical awareness of and a bringing into fellowship people of varied national, cultural, racial, and creedal heritage.

The memory of Howard Thurman is kept alive through the Howard Thurman Convocation held annually on the third Sunday of October.

Membership: In 2002 the church reported 112 members.

Periodicals: The Growing Edge.


Thurman, Howard. Disciplines of the Spirit. New York: Harper & Row, 1963.

——. The First Footsteps. San Francisco, 1975.

——. Illuminous Darkness. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.

——. The Inward Journey. New York: Harper & Row, 1961.

——. With Heart and Head. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979.

Young, Henry James, ed. God and Human Freedom. Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1983.


Church of Bible Understanding

Box 841
Radio City Sta.
New York, NY 10019-0841

The Church of Bible Understanding was founded in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1971 by Canadian-born Stewart Traill (b. 1936). An atheist at the time of his marriage in 1959, Traill turned to the study of religion after the birth of several children, and decided that Christianity was the true faith. He began attending an independent Pentecostal church in Allentown in 1970, held Bible meetings in the church's gymnasium, and frequented a coffee-house sponsored by a Presbyterian congregation. Eventually, both the church and coffeehouse evicted Traill, citing his creation of doctrinal dissension. With a few followers, he began to hold meetings in several locations in Allentown. The group organized as the Forever Family. While never associating with the larger Jesus People Movement which had come to the East Coast from California, the Forever Family adopted many of his characteristics.

The Forever Family grew quickly throughout the East, Midwest, and even into Canada. At its peak it was reported to have as many as 10,000 adherents and 110 communal fellowships scattered as widely as Montreal, Charleston, and eastern Michigan. However, in the mid-1970s the group began to be attacked by the media as a cult, and several members were deprogrammed. At this time the church adopted its present name. Internal dissension grew when in the fall of 1976 Traill divorced and remarried within a few weeks.

Traill's teachings, which follow a conservative evangelical theology on most points, have two emphases which set it apart from other Christian bodies. First, Traill teaches that the Bible is a figurative book. He developed a simplified method of Bible interpretation called the "Colored Bible Method," as it breaks down the light of understanding into ten important subject areas. This method uses the Bible's own method of true interpretation, "the only real one!" Secondly, members of the group are aggressive in their evangelism and separatist in their lifestyle. The church is seen as a flock called together under Jesus the Good Shepherd. Members are His sheep. New members are generally referred to as lambs.

Organizationally, the church has adopted a communal lifestyle built around individual fellowships which live together in single residences. Each fellowship is headed by a male leader. All fellowships in a single area are grouped into "centers" over which a leader responsible to Traill is placed. The group has developed a number of businesses to support its fellowships and ministry.

Membership: It was estimated that by 1980 the church had approximately 700 members in 13 fellowships.

Periodicals: Lamb Ledger. Send orders to 607 W. 51 St., New York, NY 10019.


Duffy, Joseph. "The Church of Bible Understanding, A Critical Expose." Alternatives (New York) 4, no. 6 (April/May 1977).

Traill, Stewart. The Gospel of John in Colors. Worcester, MA: Church of Bible Understanding, 1976.


Church of Ishtar

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Church of Ishtar was founded in 1988 by Billy Rojas, the prophet, teacher, and leader of the church. The church was inspired by faith in the goddess Ishtar, who was worshipped in ancient Sumer. According to Rojas, Ishtar was a historic person, the wife of Dumuzi, the king of Sumer around 2500 B.C.E. She came to be worshipped as the goddess of love and war, and as the female principle of creation, the Creatrix.

The worship of Ishtar is a tolerant faith. It begins in a spiritual rebirth, a genuine change of heart by the individual member. Such rebirth means finding a new purpose in life, redirecting one's energies to become the best person you can be, and making no compromise with falsehood, especially that embedded in outdated religious traditions. It also means finding that path which is right for you as an individual. That path, while very individualized, should have a social/ethical dimension and not leave others (who choose different paths) out. The Ishtar faith also acknowledges that spirituality has a sexual dimension and that the fundamental religious sacrament is Hieros Gamos, the sacred sexual union of a king (male) and high priestess (representative of the Goddesss).

In announcing the formation of the Church of Ishtar in 1988, Rojos predicted the formation of a large national organization. The building blocks of that organization would be autonomous local church centers at which the worship of Ishtar would be celebrated. Among the functionaries at the local centers would be the "hierodules," sacred prostitutes who would offer counseling to church members and on occasion serve as sexual surrogates. The church recognizes two ancient covenants. First, Abraham's covenant with God (El Shaddai, not to be confused with the monotheistic God of later Judaism) as recorded in Genesis 17. Also valid for all time is the covenant between Ishtar and her husband Dumuzi. Ishtar covenanted to rescue her husband from death, i.e., she would recuse men from death-in-life, from loveless, sexless lives. The resurrected male, no longer lonely, would then restore the good life on Earth.

To become a follower of Ishtar it is essential to become a student of the teachings of the faith, to learn about the Goddess and the covenants, and to pledge oneself to Ishtar, El Shaddai, and the goal of becoming a better person. One should also pledge to help the church and other church members.

Membership: Not reported.


Rojas, Billy. The Church of Ishtar. Eugene, OR: The Author, 1988. 11 pp.


Church of the Christian Crusade

Box 977
Tulsa, OK 74102

Billy James Hargis was ordained as a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). While pastoring a congregation at Supulpa, Oklahoma, in 1948, he founded the Christian Crusade, and by 1950 was devoting his fulltime efforts to the Crusade. The Crusade opposed modernism, liberal theology, and the social gospel. It advocated a fundamental Christian faith centered in Christ, premillennial eschatology, and the existence of Satan.

In 1955 the Crusade hired L. J. White, Jr., a public relations man who began to build the notoriety of Hargis and the Crusade. Anti-communism came to the forefront of the Crusade's program. A project to balloon copies of the Bible behind the Iron Curtain made Hargis a leader in the right-wing political movement that climaxed in Barry Goldwater's 1964 Presidential campaign. From that point on, the Crusade expanded and a variety of subsidiary structures emerged.

In 1966 the Church of the Christian Crusade became a single congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and weekly services were held each Sunday. Some members of the Crusade, following Hargis' lead, withdrew from their "denominational churches" and transferred their membership to the new organization. As groups of members emerged in different locations, independent Bible churches affiliated with the Tulsa church were formed.

In the mid-1970s, Hargis suffered a nervous breakdown, and the ministry suffered during his absence of almost a year. Upon his return Hargis reassumed the reins of the church and began to revive and expand its ministries. Currently associated with the Church of the Christian Crusade are a variety of organizations conducting many specialized ministries. The David Livingstone Missionary Foundation and the Good Samaritan Children's Foundation conduct a large foreign missionary outreach program, the most developed in India. An anti-abortion crusade is conducted through Americans Against Abortion. Quarterly conferences are held at the church-owned Christian Crusade Log-School Cabin in the Ozark Mountains. The Christian Echoes National Ministry runs the Crusade, publishes the weekly periodical, and organizes conferences and rallies around the United States. Other associated ministries include the Billy James Hargis Evangelistic Association and Evangelism in Action.

Over 4,000 people belong to the Church by Mail, a ministry to homebound individuals. A monthly sermon and other tapes are sent to these individuals. The tape ministry also produces sets of teaching tapes on a variety of topics. A weekly television show "Pray for America" has recently been added to the longstanding radio ministry.

Membership: Over 200,000 people support the ministries of the Christian Crusade, though most are not members of the church. The monthly newspaper has a circulation in excess of 250,000.

Periodicals: Christian Crusade.

Remarks: In the mid-1970s, the Church of the Christian Crusade and its associated ministries suffered a severe setback when Hargis was charged with having had sexual relations with students of the American Christian College, a college founded by Hargis and affiliated with the church. Confronted with the testimony of the students in October 1974, the board of the college asked for Hargis' resignation as president and his retirement from the church and associated ministries. Six months after Hargis came out of retirement, he regained control of the church and all the allied ministries except the college. In 1976, when the charges became public, Hargis denied the accusations and attributed his split with David Noebel, who had succeeded him as president of American Christian College, to doctrinal differences.


Hargis, Billy James. Christ and His Gospel. Tulsa, OK: Christian Crusade Publications, 1969.

——. The Far Left. Tulsa, OK: Christian Crusade, 1964.

——. My Great Mistake. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 1985.

Hargis, Billy James, and Bill Sampson. The National News Media, America's Fifth Column. Tulsa, OK: Crusader Books, 1980.

Hargis, Billy James, and Jose Hernandez. Disaster File. Tulsa, OK: Crusader Books, 1978.


Church of the Living God

632 Mokauea
Honolulu, HI 96819

The Church of the Living God (known in Hawaiian as Ka Makua Mau Loa Hoomana O Ke Akua Ola) was formed shortly after the erection of the Honolulu branch of the Hoomana Naauao O Hawaii. Twelve members of the Hoomana Naauao O Hawaii left that church and founded an independent congregation, the first building of which was dedicated in 1911. Prominent members of the church are the Wise family. In 1937 longtime pastor Rev. John Wise was succeeded by his daughter, Ella Wise Harrison. During Rev. Harrision's leadership of 41 years the membership continued to grow. After his passing in 1978, Rev. Jacob K. Naweli succeeded her, and continues as pastor to this day.

The church is organized congregationally and generally follows the Reformed theology of its parent body, though it was added some distinctly Hawaiian ideas. For example, elements of Hawaiian healing practices have been taken into the church, such as HO'OPONOPONO and conflict resolution through prayer and forgiveness.

Membership: In 2002, the church reported six congregations, one on each of the major islands and two on the island of Hawaii.


Mulholland, John F. Hawaii's Religions. Rutland, VT: Charles T. Tuttle Company, 1970.


Church of What's Happening Now

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Among the responses to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., Imagene Stewart organized the Church of What's Happening Now in Dublin, Georgia. Her ministry includes a radical attack upon institutional religion and denominationalism. After a short time, headquarters of the church were moved to Washington, D.C., where a street ministry was begun and a weekly radio show developed. The ecumenical commitment of Stewart led her to seek ordination from an interfaith group of clergy and laity on Reformation Sunday, 1974. The act was considered an identification with King in his break with denominationalism, man-made doctrine, and educational requirements for ministers.

Membership: In the mid-1970s, the church had congregations in Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and Dublin, Wrightsville, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Remarks: The Rev. Stewart has encountered some tension with authorities because her church's name is the same as that of a fictitious church in a routine by popular black comedian Flip Wilson. In 1972 she was denied authorization to perform marriages in the District of Columbia.


Dawn of Truth


The Dawn of Truth was the name given to the teaching ministry of Mikkel Dahl, a Canadian who described himself as a nondenominational Christian. In his early life he pursued a spiritual pilgrimage that led him through a number of esoteric and metaphysical movements and finally culminated in his acceptance of Christianity. He then devoted his life to the "proving" of Christ to the masses. He often offered his teachings to those in the movements he had once investigated and frequently took out advertisements in metaphysically-oriented periodicals such as Fate Magazine. His literature and correspondence lessons were mailed out across North America and to many countries overseas.

In his autobiographical testimony, The Land of Mist Illusion, he stated, "But now is our Christ demonstrated, while the challenge is flung in the teeth; refute the proof! Believe nothing is my counsel, but receive that which defies refutation. Reject the God of those who preach tomorrow and the sweet by and by. God is today, while the arena of His power is Here in the Present World, and right now! That is the great joy I have to preach, teach and also demonstrate! A Christ who lives Now in the Here in jubilant defiance of lifes every storm; a Savior not for tomorrow, but for Now and for our Here." Such statements characterized his perspective and often led to his being described as a "doubting Thomas," or "one from Missouri."

Dahl retired in 1978 but several groups that saw themselves aligned with Dahls thinking have continued to publish and distribute his material, which covers a wide range of biblical, prophetic and current events topics. He also wrote in an attempt to explain Christianity to those who followed esoteric and metaphysical teachings.

Membership: Not reported.


Dahl, Mikkel. The Coming New Society. Windsor, Ont.: Dawn of Truth, n.d.

——. God's Master Plan of Love for Man. Windsor, Ont.: Dawn of Truth, 1961.

——. Have You Heard, the Great Pyramid Speaks. Fulton, MO: Shepherds-field, 1986.


Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ

℅ Rama Behera
Shawano, WI 54166

"Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ" is the unofficial name of a small evangelical Christian group gathered around Rama Behera. The group has no name, has not incorporated, and has grown slowly over the few years of its existence. Behera came to the United States from India in 1962. He studied at Columbia and earned a master's degree in nuclear engineering. According to his account, Behera met God in 1966 and converted from Hinduism to Christianity. He became an evangelist and traveled throughout the United States and Jamaica. In 1974, with a few people who had been converted under his ministry, he settled in Shawano, Wisconsin, and established headquarters for his following.

The Disciples are a conservative, evangelical, non-Trinitarian Christian group. They affirm that Jesus Christ is the only true and living God and that sinful humans can only be saved by repenting and being born again by the "Spirit of the Living God, Jesus Christ our Lord." The Disciples are set against the compromises of the worldly church and have adopted a stringent moral code that centers upon becoming a servant of Jesus in all thoughts and desires, and with one's mind and heart. Discouraged activities include watching television, popular music, immodest dress, and attendance at motion pictures. The church is the body of believers established for worship and the comfort of the faithful.

Membership: Membership is scattered throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. Gatherings are regularly held at Shawano, Wisconsin, and Rochester, Minnesota. In 1985 there were approximately 150 in regular attendance.

Remarks: The Disciples have been an object of controversy since their emergence in the 1970s. Families of people associated with the group complained of the rigid lifestyle they adopted, their unorthodox theology, and the control Behera seemed to have over their lives. At least three members have been kidnapped and de-programmed and became the subjects of major lawsuits. As a result of the deprogrammings, media coverage, and what the group has considered undue harassment, it has developed a strong polemic against the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church, which are viewed as agents of persecution.


First Church of the Doors

Berkeley, CA

Social science observers have noted the likenesses between religious devotion and the veneration paid by fans to movie and music superstars. That observation was given some new support in early 1984 by the formation of the First Church of the Doors by Tony Spurlock. The church is built around the memory of rock musician Jim Morrison. Morrison, leader of a band, the Doors, died in 1971 at the age of 27 of a heart attack, but like Elvis Presley still has a large and faithful following. According to Spurlock, the church members "worship their potential to be as wise as Jim Morrison." Morrison is considered a symbol of anyone who wants to defy the laws of reality.

Members pay annual dues of $110.00. They gather annually to commemorate Morrison's death, to watch videos, and to sing Morrison's songs. The church is headed by Spurlock, the "high mojomaster" and editor of the church's semiannual newsletter. He has gathered a collection of Morrison artifacts that he keeps in trust for the unincorporated church.

Membership: In 1992 the church reported approximately 50 members.

Periodicals: The Deadly Door Knell.


Slonaker, Larry. "First Church of the Doors Lights Some Fires Among Fans." Wichita Eagle (July 25, 1992).


Followers of Christ

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Followers of Christ is a small Bible-believing group founded by Mr. Riess. Riess came to Oklahoma when it opened to white settlers, and took up residence at Ringwood. He passed the leadership to Elder Morris by the laying-on-of-hands for imparting and consecrating in the Holy Spirit. Elder Morris is the father of Elder Marion Morris, the current leader. The group believes in the necessity of following Jesus, taking their lead from the biblical Gospel of Matthew 4:19. If a person is to be saved, he will repent, and God will grant time for following Christ. The King James Version of the Bible is used by the Followers.

The Followers believe in repentance, baptism, receiving the Spirit, and following Christ's commands. Baptism is for adults and by immersion. Children are sanctified by the faith of their parents. Footwashing and fasting are also practiced. No medicine is used; rather, members pray for the sick. For nonbelievers, deathbed repentence of sin is believed insufficient to assure salvation, for there must be a period of following Christ.

Membership: There is only one congregation, but members believe that there are followers of Christ scattered around the world.


Free Church of Berkeley

Current address not obtained for this edition.

Factors which contributed to the formation of a free, or liberated, church included a renewed emphasis on social activism in the 1960s, the emergence of a counterculture with its "hippies" and flower children, and the reluctance of members of institutionalized churches to support ministries among people who wished to significantly alter worship patterns, associate with drug users, aid unchurched youth, and meet the needs of people outside the church. The liberated church was based upon liberal Protestant theology which defined the church as a mission, rather than the more traditional idea which conceived the church as having a mission to fulfill. According to this new perspective, the church is equated with those groups that do the work of the church– struggle against war, violence, racial injustice, male dominance, and pollution, to name but a few. The liberated church aligned itself with the late 1960s "movement," those involved in radical political activism.

One free liberated church developed in Berkeley, California, adjacent to a locus of much radical political thought, the University of California. The Free Church of Berkeley began in 1968 as the South Campus Community Ministry, sponsored by several Berkeley congregations. Dick York, a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church, was appointed to an experimental youth ministry. His work expanded and additional space became necessary as did medical and psychiatric services, food, and clothing. People both outside and inside the church community organized to meet those needs, taking the name "Free Church." York's home became the center of their activity. After months of work, the Free Church began supplying people's needs for worship and opportunities to learn about Jesus. A radical liturgy developed and rap groups on the "Radical Jesus" emerged. The Free Church was transformed into a "radically involved ecumenical church made up of youth, street people, students, church dropouts, hippies, and activists." It followed the ideal of liberal Protestant social activism to its logical conclusion.

Illustrative of the Free Church lifestyle was the experimental liturgy. Baptism was seen as "going through the waters" in much the same way as Moses led the Hebrew children through the Red Sea. The Lord's Supper became the "Freedom Meal." Jesus was pictured as the Liberator of people, who though killed by his oppressors, led his people out of the house of exploitation.

The Free Church movement spread across the United States in the 1970s, though it was largely absorbed by the mainline churches in the 1980s. During the 1970s, the Berkeley Church published A Directory of the Liberated Church in America, Win with Love. The directory included "movement" groups as well as specifically Christian organizations which were theologically aligned. There was also a periodical, Radical Religion, published quarterly. Though the "movement" is defunct, the Free Church remains as a liberal Protestant congregation in Berkeley.

Membership: Recent attempts to contact the church have not been successful; its present status is unknown.


Moody, Jess. The Jesus Freaks. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1971.


Full Salvation Union

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Full Salvation Union was formed in 1934 at Lansing, Michigan, by James F. Andrews, a former minister of the Free Methodist Church. Later that year he was joined by his father, E. A. Andrews, who was appointed general pastor. The first General Council meeting occurred the following year. The founding principles included a general protest against politics and human manipulation in the church, and a plea that "all of the Lord's children have a voice and that decisions be made through prayer and counsel."

The union developed at a number of points some distinctive doctrines. It adopted a dispensational view of Christian history, which it sees as divided into three dispensations: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Son's dispensation occurred during Jesus' thirty years on earth. The union teaches that parts of the Bible are more relevant today than others. It is seen as a stream from the fountain; it is not the fountain, it is secondary, deriving its excellence from the Holy Spirit. Experimental religion, the witness of the Spirit, and the inward consciousness of God are stressed, but no absolute distinction between conversion and sanctification is made. The believer moves from conversion to the more abundant life, but holiness is not attained in a single experience only. The union also teaches that eventually everyone will have the opportunity to accept God.

It is the union's belief that during the dispensation of the Holy Ghost, no ceremonies, including the sacraments, should be observed. The Jewish practices were continued in the early church for a time, but only as a concession to custom. Baptism was considered a sign of the confession of faith, yet the union stresses Paul preached a baptism of the Spirit rather than of water. The union's main attribute is believed to be its unity of spirit, as manifested in the lack of artificial divisions by age and sex and in its making decisions without majority vote. The group believes in tithing and healing.

The union is governed by a general council and the elders. The general pastor is head of the union. Elders are those who have been recognized as eligible to govern. There are both ordained and unordained ministers.

Membership: Not reported.


Harvest House Ministries


Harvest House Ministries was one of the most successful and important of the Jesus People groups to emerge in the early 1970s. It grew out of David Abraham's conversion to Christianity in 1970. Abraham had been the editor of the Oracle, one of the prominent underground newspapers of the 1960s. From its San Francisco offices, the paper reached a circulation of over 100,000 with its coverage and promotion of the drug revolution, Eastern religion, and sexual freedom. It ceased publication in 1969 as the hippie community disintergrated. A short time later, Chris D'Alessandro met Alexander and became the force leading to his conversion. Abraham, a Jew, turned the rights of the Oracle to D'Alessandro, who became the new editor. Oracle was reborn in 1971 as the organ of Harvest House Ministries, then five communes in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.

Harvest House Ministries was started by Oliver Heath and his wife, Mary Louise Heath, who had moved to San Francisco from Alabama in 1970. Oliver was a Baptist who had experienced a charismatic renewal. He established Harvest House to offer a Pentecostal-charismatic alternative to the popular psychi-mystical-Eastern teachings of Stephen Gaskin, Edgar Cayce, Meher Baba, Swami Satchidananda, and groups such as the Self-Realization Fellowship and the Vedanta Society. D'Alessandro formerly a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, led members of the Ministries to gatherings of the Eastern religion's group meeting to distribute literature and engage in evangelical activity.

Heath appointed an elder, assisted by one or more deacons, to supervise each house of 15 to 18 residents. Supervisors were supported by the income of the residents. While there was not a specific teaching program, each person was encouraged in Bible study and members met together for worship. No evidence of the Ministries has been cited in recent years, and it is assumed that, like most of the Jesus People revival groups, Harvest House Ministries was absorbed into one of the larger Penetcostal churches.


Hoomana Naauoa O Hawaii

910 Cooke St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

Hoomana Naauoa O Hawaii was formed in 1853 when the Rev. J. H. Poliwailehua and other Hawaiian members of the Kalahikiola Church, the Congregational Church congregation at Kohala, Hawaii, formed an independent congregation. The Kohala congregation was predominantly Hawaiian in membership. Friction had developed in these congregations because the nineteenth-century missionaries had been, to some degree, insensitive in their work with individuals; as they converted individuals the missionaries left them isolated from their larger family unit which in Hawaii included grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Hoomana Naauoa O Hawaii spread through the islands as several large extended families affiliated with it. By the end of the century a group from the Kohala congregation relocated in Honolulu and built a parish. Other congregations were located in Hilo, Koae, and Lanai.

Membership: In the 1970s there were four congregations.


Mulholland, John F. Hawaii's Religions. Rutland, VT: Charles T. Tuttle Company, 1970.


Jesus People International/International Christian Ministries


Jesus People International began in October 1969, when Duane Pederson, then an entertainer and Assemblies of God college dropout, noticed a Los Angeles Free Press hawker on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. He conceived the idea for a free Christian paper, and within three days had published the first issue of the Hollywood Free Paper. He distributed 10,000 copies, and circulation climbed with subsequent issues. As people were converted, a variety of ministries developed: coffee houses, emergency switchboards, Bible study groups, rock festivals, and drug counseling activities. In 1972 the first issue of the Jesus People Magazine, a Bible study monthly, was issued. At the same time Jesus People International was formally organized. A few years later, Jesus People International changed its name to International Christian Ministries.

The Hollywood Free Paper was distinctive in its use of cartoons with simple and direct Christian messages. A line of Jesus People posters and bumper stickers were also developed. In 1972, a record and a book telling Pederson's story were issued, and groups around the country began to look to Peterson for leadership. Affiliated groups were found in 11 California cities, as well as Tucson, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Kansas City, Chicago, Cleveland, and Raleigh. Pederson ordained pastors to lead these groups. Over the years, as the Jesus People Revival was absorbed into the mainline evangelical and Pentecostal churches, the national ministry gave way to a set of ministries, primarily in the Los Angeles area. A focus on social projects assumed a place beside the evangelistic concern. The Ministries supplied housing, clothing, and other assistance to the poor, and developed two widely publicized programs for intercity children, "Christmas for Kids" and "Camp for Kids."

In the 1980s the headquarters of the Ministries was located in the Venice Community Church which Pederson pastored. He resigned that position in 1985 and returned to Hollywood. The name of the Ministries was changed to Duane Pederson Ministries (PO Box 1949, Hollywood, CA 80078). It is no longer a church-forming organization. Its program, in cooperation with a variety of pastors, congregations, and other ministries, continues its social service programs, but has placed a renewed emphasis upon cooperation with other street and prison ministries. Ex-prisoners and other converts are channeled into established congregations, many of which are now served by longtime associates of Pederson. Pederson released three issues of the Hollywood Free Paper in 1987 before ceasing the publication. In 1989 Pederson joined the Antiochean Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and was ordained as a priest.

Periodicals: Hollywood Free Paper.


Pederson, Duane. Jesus People. Pasadena, CA: Compass Press, 1971.

Streiker, Lowell D. The Jesus Trip. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1971.

Williams, Don. Call to the Street. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1972.


Ka Hale Hoano Hou O Ke Akua

1760 Nalani
Honolulu, HI 96819

Ka Hale Hoano Hou O Ke Akua (Hallowed House of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords) is a 1948 schism of the Hoomana Naauoa O Hawaii. Lt. Com. W. H. Abbey was its early leader, and he was succeeded by Rev. Edward Ayau, pastor of the headquarters church on Molokai. A second congregation is at Kahili.

Membership: In the 1970s there were two congregations.


Mulholland, John F. Hawaii's Religions. Rutland, VT: Charles T. Tuttle Company, 1970.



1207 Prospect
Honolulu, HI 96822

The Kealaokamalamalama (Way of the Light) was formed by former members of the Kawaiahao Church, a Congregational church parish and the oldest Christian church in Hawaii, in reaction to the death of Rev. Akaiko Akana. Akana served twenty-five years as pastor of the Kawaiahao Church. The new independent congregation was established in 1935 in his honor. Rev. Akana's brother, Rev. Francis K. Akana, was the first pastor of the new church. In 1970 he was succeeded by his son, Rev. Francis K. Akana, Jr. A second congregation is located in Honolulu.

Membership: There are two congregations.


Mulholland, John F. Hawaii's Religions. Rutland, VT: Charles T. Tuttle Company, 1970.


Megiddo Church

481 Thurston Rd.
Rochester, NY 14619

L. T. Nichols was an independent Bible student who became a minister, believing he had discovered religious truths obscured since the fourth century. The key truth was the responsibility of every man for his sins and the fact that "No man could be saved apart from knowing and keeping the Commandments of God." First in Oregon in 1880 and then in Minnesota in 1883, Nichols proclaimed this truth and gathered followers. He was spurred in his work by a belief, based on a study of Bible chronology, that the end time was near. In the 1890s he conceived the idea of building a mission boat which would bring the followers together in a common home. This boat, the "Megiddo," a Mississippi River steamer, was launched in 1901 and gave the movement its name.

The boat traveled the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and their tributaries. It was sold in 1903 and the group moved to new mission fields. In 1903 a community was established in Rochester, New York. Nichols died in 1912. He was succeeded by Maud Hembree, a former Roman Catholic. She developed an active mission program with several boats on the Great Lakes and began its periodical, The Megiddo Message, in 1914, which is still published today.

The community in Rochester, previously known as the Megiddo Mission, currently worships in a building on the church's estate and carries on an active educational program. From their facilities a large literature ministry is carried on throughout the country. Through direct mail advertising of their monthly periodical and their set of eleven booklets on Bible teachings, they support a major evangelistic effort to encourage people to believe, study, and live by the Bible.

The crusade of the Megiddo Church is based upon the members' belief in the imminence of the second coming of Jesus. Its imminence is heralded, they say, by contemporary signs and political corruption, the craze for pleasure, universal fear, the armaments race, and the peace movement. Elijah the prophet will return to signal Christ's return as king. The judgment will lead to a revolt by all who will not acknowledge him. This revolt is the great Battle of Armageddon mentioned in the Bible. The millennium will follow the battle.

Members of the Megiddo Church deny the Trinity. Jesus is considered God's son and the Holy Spirit is seen as a Divine power not a person. Man is mortal; immortality comes only as God's reward for a life of righteous living. There is no eternal hell, only death for the wicked. Distinctive is their belief that man did not fall in Adam, but each person is responsible only for himself. If a person follows Christ's example, he will be saved.

Membership: In 1997 there were approximately 100 members worldwide. More than 16,000 receive the Megiddo Message.

Periodicals: Megiddo Message.


Hembree, Maud. The Known Bible and Its Defense. 2 vols. Rochester, NY: The Author, 1933.

History of the Megiddo Mission. Rochester, NY: Megiddo Mission Church, 1979.

An Honest Man: The Life and Work of L. T. Nichols. Rochester, NY: Megiddo Press, 1987. 122 pp.

Millennium Superword. Rochester, NY: Megiddo Mission Church, 1980.


New Apostolic Church

3753 N. Troy
Chicago, IL 60618

Alternate Address: International Headquarters: P.O. Box 532, CH 8044, Zurich, Switzerland.

The New Apostolic Church is a variant of the Catholic Apostolic Church, a movement which began in England in 1830. By the beginning of the 1860s, a crisis had developed within the Catholic Apostolic Church. The church was led by a group of "Apostles," and in the expectation that their generation was in its last days, they had established no system to appoint new Apostles as they were needed. In 1860, Heinrich Geyer, a member in Germany recognized by many as having the gift of prophecy, was moved to call two men to the Apostleship, though he knew the British leadership would disapprove. Immediate schism was averted by the appointment of the two men as "coadjutors" for Germany's Catholic Apostolic Church. However, Geyer then went on to appoint a third man as an Apostle, Elder Rosochacky of Knisberg. Although acknowledged as an Apostle by Angel (Bishop) F. W. Schwarz, Rosochacky later repented of accepting the office. In 1863, Schwarz and Geyer were excommunicated from the Catholic Apostolic Church. Geyer again called Schwarz to the Apostleship and a new structure, duplicating the Catholic Apostolic Church, was initiated.

The New Apostolic Church spread across Europe and, in the twentieth century, around the world, though it was hindered for some years when it fell victim to Nazi persecution. It believes itself to be the Church of Christ corresponding to the Apostolic churches in the days of the first Apostles; teaches the true doctrine of Christ and His Apostles; was set up following the revival of the Apostolate; and now addresses itself to one task, that is the care of souls and the preaching of the Gospel. In carrying out its task, the church refrains from all political activities, in compliance with Jesus' words, "My kingdom is not of this world." However, it expects its members to discharge their duties as citizens of the state, following Jesus' words, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar'S." A member of the New Apostolic Church can play an active part in public life, and the church takes it for granted that members of the church will discharge the duties incumbent upon them in public life, in their families, and in the profession they follow with all due efficiency and a sense of responsiblity.

Beliefs. Members of the New Apostolic Church believe in the omnipotent God, who created the world and rules in eternity; the immortality of the soul; that humans possess a free will which permits them to decide for and against God; that God has made the means of salvation available to all people; in the divine plan of redemption which aims at saving a fallen humanity; God's incarnation in Jesus; the sacrificial death of the son of God upon the cross, which enabled humans to be reconciled to God; Christ's resurrection and ascension, and the mission on which He sent His Apostles to preach the gospel to all nations; that it is necessary to be endowed with the Holy Spirit by an Apostle in order to have fellowship with God, the Father and Son; in the second coming of Christ at the First Resurrection when He will take unto Himself "all those who have accepted his teachings" (John 14:30); that Jesus will set up the Millennium, during which period the evil one will have no power over humankind, all human beings on earth and the beyond will be offered grace and redemption; in the Last Judgment, at which those who did not have a part in the First Resurrection, will be judged according to their works; and that the redeemed will enjoy everlasting fellowship with God.

Organization. The church consists of all the New Apostolic congregations worldwide, united to form one body. The head of the church is the Chief Apostle, who is the supreme authority in all church affairs. His official seat is in Zurich, Switzerland. The congregations in a district or region constitute an Apostolic District, over which a District Apostles serves. Apostles, Bishops, and District Rectors are appointed by the District Apostles to care for the congregations in their respective territories.

A rector in a priestly ministry is in charge of each congregation. The ministers discharging priestly functions are a Bishop, an Elder, a Shepherd, an Evangelist, and a Priest. They are assisted by Deacons and Subdeacons in pastoral work undertaken for the benefit of each member. Special attention is paid to the requirements of children and youth. As in the early church, the ministers are laymen. They come from all walks of life and have not been trained in theology. Nearly all of them serve in an honorary capacity.

Expenses incurred by churches (the building and maintenance of churches, missionary work, etc.) are covered by voluntary contributions made by church members. The church does not charge dues, ask for donations or pledges, nor requires members to sign church mortgages.

The church dispenses three sacraments, as was in the case of the first Apostles. They are: Holy Baptism, Holy Sealing, and Holy Communion. Holy Baptism is the first step towards fellowship with God. This sacrament is dispensed by a priestly ministry authorized by an Apostle. Holy Sealing is dispensed by the laying-on of hands and prayer by an Apostle. Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday. It is preceded by the absolution pronounced in the name of Jesus by an Apostle.

In addition, the church solemnizes the following events with a special blessing: confirmation, engagement, marriage, and wedding anniversaries. These blessings are pronounced by priestly ministers authorized for that purpose. Funeral services are also conducted by such ministers. Moreover, a pre-natal blessing is pronounced at the parents request.

Membership: In 1994, the church reported congregations in 172 countries worldwide and a total membership of 8,280,679. In the United States, there were 404 congregations, 34,609 members, and 947 ministers.

Periodicals: Our Family Magazine. Available from Verlag Friedrich Bischoff, Gutleutstrasse 298, D-6000 Frankfurt a. Main, Germany.


Guide for the Administration Brothers of the New Apostolic Church. Frankfurt a. Main, Germany: Apostles College of the New Apostolic Church, 1967.

Kraus, M. Completion Work in the New Apostolic Church. Waterloo, ON: New Apostolic Church, 1978.

Questions and Answers Concerning the New Apostolic Church. Frankfurta. Main, Germany: J. G. Bischoff, 1978.




The Christian sectarian movement known as Osgoodites after its founder Jacob Osgood (1777-1844), was founded around 1818 in Warner, New Hampshire. Osgood, a farmer, was a member of the choir of the Congregational Church. However, he developed an aversion to both Calvinism and Universalism (the two theological perspectives that were warring for control of Congregationalism). Calvinism was trinitarian in faith with a strong emphasis on predestination. Unitarians denied the doctrine of the Trinity. Osgood's own individual approach led to a break with the Congregational Church. He joined the Free Will Baptists who preached an Arminian perspective (opposed to predestination) but, not feeling at home there, soon withdrew.

Osgood's own church began with the conversion of Thomas Hackett and soon developed a small congregation. Among Osgood's peculiar ideas was a belief in the laying on of hands for healing of the sick. He also argued against the hiring of either lawyers or preachers. Most importantly, the group refused to vote, continually complained of taxes, and refused to train for the militia or to pay the fines coincidental with such refusal. The first members of the group were arrested and jailed in 1819. The following year Osgood was also arrested and incarcerated. During this time he began to write his autobiography, the major source of information about him and his group.

Through the 1820s, the movement spread. A second congregation was organized in Canterbury, New Hampshire, and disciples could be found in many of the nearby towns. They built no church buildings, content to meet in private homes. Dress was nonconforming, the men wearing out-of-style clothes and keeping their hair long and unkept. The women cut their dresses straight and plain, and wore a white kerchief around the neck with a bonnet on the head.

Following Osgood's death in 1944, he was succeeded in leadership by Nehemiah Ordway and Charles H. Colby. They did not have the enthusiasm and ability of the founder and the movement slowly died away. It entirely disappeared by 1890.


Osgood, Jacob. The Life and Christian Experience of Jacob Osgood with Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Warner, NH: 1873.

Scott, Kenneth. "The Osgoodites of New Hampshire." New England Quarterly 16 (1943): 20-40.


Shalom Ecumenical Church

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Shalom Ecumenical Church was founded by Bishop Joergen Koch Larsen (1914-1989). Larsen was born in Denmark and raised in the Lutheran Church of Denmark, his father being a dean in the church. He was serving in the Danish Army when World War II erupted. After Hitler overran Denmark, he was arrested, escaped, and served in the Danish underground. He migrated to Canada after the war and served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in the Korean War.

Larsen claimed to have been in possession of a rare manuscript, a "fifth Gospel," possibly the book of Jesus' sayings that many scholars believe stood behind and was a source for the four gospels in the Christian Bible. His father had brought the manuscript to Denmark from the Holy Land around 1920. The original manuscript was destroyed by the Gestapo but not before Larsen made a copy of it. He claimed to have brought the copy with him to Canada.

Larsen was consecrated as a bishop by Peter Wayne Goodrich of the North American Episcopal Church. Shortly thereafter he founded the Shalom Ecumenical Church in Hamilton, Ontario. While possessing apostolic orders, the church differed considerably from the tradition from which he assumed his authority. Larsen articulated what he considered a scientific approach to Christianity. The church is non-Trinitarian. Jesus is accepted as Messiah, Son of Man, and Son of God, but all of God's children are also considered sons and daughters of God. One becomes a child of God by keeping the Ten Commandments and the strictures of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6-8). The church disavows belief in purgatory, hell, or the devil. Evil exists, but not the Evil One. There are only two sacraments, baptism and the eucharist.

Church groups meet in private homes, there being no church buildings. Membership is limited to those with one or more college/university degree(s).

Membership: Not reported. In 1988 the church claimed approximately 200 members in Canada, the United States, and Scandinavia.


Ward, Gary L. Independent Bishops: An International Directory. Detroit, MI: Apogee Books, 1990. 524 pp.


Social Brethren

℅ Rev. Earl Vaughn, Moderator
R.R. 2
Flora, IL 62839

The Social Brethren emerged in Saline County, Illinois, in the wake of the Civil War. Some former members of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, among them the Revs. Frank Wright and Hiram T. Brannon, were concerned with the reconciliation of Christians who had been split over the issue of slavery in the decades prior to the war. The members of the Social Brethren suggested that the biblical position was to have fellowship with all believers in Christ, regardless of their position on the slavery issue, a somewhat unpopular position in the northern states in the fervor created by the war.

The Social Brethren hold to the essential affirmations of Protestant Christianity including the sufficiency of the scriptures in matters of faith and salvation through Jesus Christ. They affirm the possibility of a believer falling into apostasy (in which they differed with the Presbyterians). They practice two ordinances (rather than sacraments): the Lord's Supper and baptism. Baptism may be by any mode: sprinkling (preferred by Methodists), pouring (preferred by Presbyterians), or immersion. They also believe, in keeping with their reconciling mission, that ministers should refrain from preaching on politics or any other subject outside of the central affirmations of the gospel.

The Social Brethren are organized as a loose congregational fellowship rather than following the presbyterial or episcopal polity of the Presbyterians and Methodists. Churches fellowship in three associations; each of the associations, the Midwestern, Illinois, and Union, meet annually. There is also an annual general assembly to elect a moderator. There is no general headquarters.

Membership: Not reported. In 1975 there were 40 churches, 1,784 members, and 47 ministers.


Piepkorn, Arthur C. Profiles in Belief: The Religious Bodies of the United States and Canada. Vol. IV. San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1979.



707 Genesee Ave.
Salt Lake City, UT 84104

Summun was founded in 1975 by Claude Rex Novell, who claimed to have received direct instruction from advanced beings concerning the underlying principles (Natural Laws) that establish and maintain the universe. These principles were given as a never ending story and form the foundation for Summum philosophy. The purpose of Summum is to allow those searching for a comprehension of Creation to receive the keys to that understanding; to use these keys to reconcile the many bits of religious, philosophical, and scientific knowledge they may have acquired but that have not yet satisfied their understanding of the whole. These principles, as presented in 1975, have always existed as a continuum and cannot be accredited to any one person or human source for they are considered represent the workings of Creation itself. It is left to individuals to apply these principles to themselves in their reconciling of all religion, science, and philosophy.

The basic knowledge of Summum is the esoteric teachings of every race and religion. Despite the many diverse teachings that have evolved over the centuries, a basic similarity and correspondence remains. The Summa individuals, beings who untiringly work the pathways of spiritual evolution, and who have been referred to as Neters in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, have restored these principles to their original purity.

The Summum philosophy embodies what are considered the principles of Creation itself, and is able to explain the Grand or First Cause. The principles are formulated through nature and are nature, and cannot be ascribed to a god or humans but are the cause of gods, humans, and all that exists. Summum stresses the application of the Law of Knowledge to all the principles in order for one to assess real understanding as opposed to mere faith or belief.

Nowell, whom for purposes of the work later changed his name to Summum Bonum Amen Ra, was instructed to construct pyramids and produce Nectar Publications: wine specially created within a pyramid that initiates transform through psychokineses and imbue with knowledge. Nectar is consumed in small amounts just prior to meditation. There are no incorrect forms of meditation; it is taught that individuals become what they meditate on, or in other words, where their attention is, is where they are.

One of Summum's key meditations is the Meditation of Sexual Ecstasy. Summum views the basis and foundation of all creation as copulation between two subjective states referred to as the "Grand Opposites," and accordingly maintains that everything is an effect of this grand copulation. As such, Summum holds sexuality as a divine and integral part of spiritual evolution and defines "ecstasy" as "the state of Union with God." From the smallest subatomic particle to the highest forms of life, every element, at its level of consciousness, experiences sexual ecstasy in its bond-making and bond-breaking, its copulation. This meditation, along with the other meditations taught at Summum, awakens the individual to the recognition, realization, and manifestation of the spirit, essence, or soul within. This is considered by Summum to be the veracity of genuine religion.

During the mid-1980s, Summum reintroduced the art of mummification, which according to Summum was practiced by most cultures at the pinnacle of their civilizations and as practiced by Summum is a science that culminates in permanent body preservation. The preserved body serves as a base from which the essence of the departed can be guided by means of an esoteric art known as Transference. Summum teaches that the departed being can be assisted in its progression by guidance from both physical and non-physical assistants who work the pathways of spiritual evolution. Summum offers mummification and Transference to interested individuals from all religions and walks of life. ceremonies of the transference are given. Afterward the mummiform is placed in a permanent sepulcher.

Membership: In 2002, Summum reported 175,000 members in the United States (who are served by 400 ministers), 6,200 members in Mexico, 5,000 members in Canada, 1,900 members in France, 1,300 members in the United Kingdom, and 1,700 members in other various Central and South American communities. Summum groups are also reported in 34 other countries.


Summum Bonum Amen Ra. Allah: Sealed Except to the Open Mind. Salt Lake City, UT: Summum, 1994.


United Christian Church of America

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The United Christian Church of America was begun in 1893, but was reorganized in the 1940s by Bishop Alexander A. Lowande, who is considered its founder. In 1944 Lowande was a partner in the promotion of a fraudulent "National Day of Prayer." After receiving the cooperation of numerous governors, congressmen, and even the White House, Lowande was exposed and the project fell through.

Upon Lowande's death, he was succeeded by the Rev. Herbert J. Elliott of Brooklyn, New York. For a short period of time in the 1940s, the church was a member of the American Council of Christian Churches.

Membership: Not reported.