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Church of God in Christ (white) (1912?-1914)


When the Assemblies of God was formed in 1914, the largest contingent of incoming ministers came from a loosely-organized group identified by historians as "Church of God in Christ (white)." This group had its roots in Charles Parham's Apostolic Faith Movement but, at some point after mid-1907, had left to form its own organization. The new group continued using the name Apostolic Faith Movement until late 1910 or early 1911, when it changed the name on its credentials to "Church of God in Christ and in unity with the Apostolic Faith."

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 "Church of God in Christ (white)" to distinguish it from another organization also named Church of God in Christ, a largely-black group led by Charles H. Mason.

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Questions Concerning the Relationship between Bishop Charles H. Mason and the Church of God in Christ (white):

Informal links between the Church of God in Christ (white) and Bishop Mason's organization did exist, and their leaders and members often crossed the color line to worship together. However, historians have been unable to locate documentation to show whether a formal connection existed between the two organizations that went by the name Church of God in Christ. The Church of God in Christ (white) issued its own credentials, elected its own officers, published its own newspaper (Word and Witness), 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.

Discovery of the following two kinds of information might prove most helpful in discovering whether the two groups were organizationally related.

1. Railroad Clergy Bureau records, which might provide documentation whether Church of God in Christ (white) ministers claimed railway clergy discounts based on affiliation with Mason's group.

2. Evidence demonstrating organizational connections between ministers of the Church of God in Christ (white) and Mason predating the April 1914 formation of the Assemblies of God.

It is possible that researchers - particularly those with significant knowledge of Church of God in Christ history - might be able to identify some Church of God in Christ (white) ministers on the ministerial rosters 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. However, these white branches apparently were formed after 1914 and had nothing to do with the formation of the Assemblies of God. 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.

Please help solve this mystery!

For more information, see: Darrin Rodgers, "The Assemblies of God and the Long Journey toward Racial Reconciliation," Assemblies of God Heritage 28 (2008): 54-58.

If you possess any materials concerning the Church of God in Christ (white), please contact the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center at [email protected].
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