When the Assemblies of God was formed in 1914, the largest contingent of incoming ministers came from a loosely-organized group which, on its credentials, was identified as “Church of God in Christ and in unity with the Apostolic Faith.” This group had its roots in Charles Parham’s Apostolic Faith Movement, but had, by late 1910 or early 1911, changed its name to incorporate the term “Church of God in Christ.” This group, which consisted mostly of white ministers (although at least two black ministers were members), was better known as “Church of God in Christ.”
Little is known about this organization. Scholars have given it the label the “[white] Church of God in Christ” to differentiate it from another organization also named the Church of God in Christ, a largely-black group led by Charles H. Mason.
The [white] Church of God in Christ issued its own credentials, elected its own officers, published its own newspaper, and had its own system of short-term Bible training centers for ministers. Despite having similar names, the two groups organizationally seemed to have little, if anything, in common.
The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), in its vault, holds the ministerial rosters of the [white] Church of God in Christ from 1912 through 1914.
To view the [white] Church of God in Christ rosters, please click the links below:
Roster of August 1, 1912
Roster of February 1, 1913
Roster of December 1913
Roster of 1914 (missing the first one or two pages)
Can anyone provide information about any ministers on these rosters?
Any information you could provide would help fill in the gaps of the early history of the Assemblies of God.
Importantly, your information might also help resolve a long-running controversy in Pentecostal history.
Did the 1914 formation of the mostly-white Assemblies of God result from a split in the mostly-black Church of God in Christ? This question — which carries racial implications — has never been answered to everyone’s satisfaction.
These rosters list hundreds of men and women who, it seems, had little or no organizational connections with Mason prior to the 1914 founding of the Assemblies of God.
However, the lack of documentation from these early years of the Pentecostal movement makes it difficult to state with certainty that the founders of the Assemblies of God were not in some way related to Mason’s organization. For an analysis of this historical issue, see the article, “The Assemblies of God and the Long Journey toward Racial Reconciliation,” published in the 2008 edition of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine.
It is possible that readers — particularly those with significant knowledge of Church of God in Christ history — might be able to identify some [white] Church of God in Christ ministers as having been associated with Bishop Mason.
It should be noted that Mason’s church did have white branches, such as those led by Memphis minister L. P. Adams and by William B. Holt. Many of these ministers and churches ultimately left Mason’s organization, and some joined the Assemblies of God. These white branches apparently were formed after 1914, however, and had nothing to do with the formation of the Assemblies of God. As you will see, Adams is on the first two rosters, but not on the last two rosters. By 1917, according to David Daniels’ article in Portraits of a Generation (University of Arkansas Press, 2002), Adams appeared on Mason’s roster of overseers for his organization. The question is whether evidence can be found of organizational connections between ministers of the [white] Church of God in Christ and Mason predating the April 1914 formation of the Assemblies of God.
Help us solve this mystery!
Please contact the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center with your information or questions:
Toll free: 877-840-5200
Posted by Darrin Rodgers