The Pentecostal Assemblies of The World, Inc. (PAW) is the oldest Oneness Pentecostal organization in existence, and was founded in 1906, formally organized in 1912 as adherents of Trinitarian beliefs, and in 1916 re-organized as a Oneness Pentecostal organization. The PAW was originally headquartered at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California, moved to Portland, Oregon, and later moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where it remains today. The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World is the second largest of all Oneness Pentecostal organizations in the United States.
|Pentecostal Assemblies of the World|
|Leader||The, Presiding Bishop Charles H. Ellis III|
|Separations||Church of our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith|
|Congregations||More than 7,000|
The origin of the PAW can be traced to the Azusa Street Revival (1906–1909) under the leadership of William Joseph Seymour. During this time it was a loose fellowship of churches that were united by the infilling of the believer with the Holy Ghost, and holiness. Some would later refer to this experience as "the latter rain".
For the next few years, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World focused upon general meetings and the development of its organizational structure. The late Bishop Morris E. Golder wrote: "The original organization bearing the name of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World came into existence in the year of 1906 in the city of Los Angeles, State of California." The late Bishop G. T. Haywood concurs with this fact, writing in the Voice in the Wilderness in 1921: "It (The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World) was started in 1906 in Los Angeles, California."
This was also the position asserted by Bishop Ross Paddock, the former Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. He declared that after one year of being organized, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World had its first annual business meeting and that, at the same time, it was Trinitarian in its doctrine and liturgy of water baptism.
It was in this context of varying ideas, personal differences, doctrinal and other conflicting elements that not only was the need of organization seen, but the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in its original state (1906) came into existence. However, it was not until 1919 that it became incorporated and took on the identity of being a Oneness Pentecostal, or "Apostolic," body of ministers and believers.
According to Dr. David Bundy, a Pentecostal historian at the Christian Theological Seminary, as early as 1907, a white Baptist minister in Los Angeles, was preaching non-Trinitarian water baptism in the Name of Jesus. According to Dr. Deborah Sims LeBlanc, William and Maggie Bowdan, the parents of former Assistant Presiding Bishop Frank Bowdan, were baptized in the Name of Jesus after the Azusa Street Mission Revival (1906-1909).
As an outgrowth of the Asuza Street movement, a fellowship of "pentecostal assemblies" met in October 1907 in Los Angeles, and followed-up with similar meetings in subsequent years. This fellowship was known as the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. J. J. Frazee (the PAW's first General Superintendent) and G. T. Haywood participated in these meetings.
In 1913, a great controversy arose within the Association regarding the so-called "new issue" that water baptism was to be administered in "the Name of Jesus Christ" rather than in "the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost." The majority of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World community accepted both the liturgical change and a "Jesus Only" or Oneness approach to understanding God.
Among those who accepted the Oneness doctrine in the early period was Elder Garfield Thomas Haywood, an African American minister from Indianapolis, who pastored a very successful Pentecostal church in Indianapolis that had, in 1913, between 400-500 members. The racial make up of the congregation was about 50% African American and 50% white. The name of the church was Christ Temple of the Apostolic Faith Assembly.
Christ Temple was one of the largest Pentecostal churches and congregations in the world because Bishop Haywood was rebaptized in the Name of Jesus. Subsequently, he rebaptized his entire congregation in the Name of Jesus.
Bishop Haywood played a tremendous role in the early days of the Pentecostal movement, particularly the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. He was born in Greencastle, Indiana, and when he was three years old, his parents moved to Indianapolis. He would spend the rest of his life living in Indianapolis. He began pastoring in 1908.
Haywood was multi-gifted as a professional cartoonist-artist, a Gospel songwriter, a poet, an author of several books, a teacher, and a preacher. He was also the speaker at many of the camp meetings during that era. He traveled extensively throughout the country. He also traveled to the Middle East, Palestine, the British West Indies, and Canada. Prior to becoming the Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of World, he held the office of General Secretary. He was by far the most sought after speaker, teacher, and preacher in the Oneness movement during his lifetime as a minister.
In 1913, hundreds of preachers attended a camp meeting in Arroyo Seco, California. The truth of the Oneness of God was preached accompanied by the new revelation of baptism in the name of Jesus. Evangelist R. E. McAlister was selected to preach on the subject of water baptism. He began with the accepted baptismal message and spoke on the different modes of baptism, mentioning triune immersion by which the candidate was immersed three times face forward. He summed it up by “they justify their method, by saying that baptism is in the likeness of Christ's death, and make a point from scripture that Christ bowed his head when he died.” that to them, it was necessary to baptize once for each person in the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). He concluded his message abruptly by saying that the scriptural answer to this was that the Apostles invariably baptized all their converts once in the name of Jesus Christ. He ended by stating the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were never used by the early church in Christian baptism. McAlister was taken aside at the time and told not to preach this new theory about the “baptismal formula.”
However, many hearing McAlister speak received the new revelation of the name Jesus. Three important men attended and were influenced by this new revelation; these were Frank Ewart, G. T. Haywood, and Glenn Cook.
By the spring of 1914, Ewart accepted this formula the newfound truth and became one of its leading advocates. Ewart reached the conclusion that the singular “name” in Matthew 28:19 was Jesus Christ. He came to believe that the one true God who had revealed himself as Father, in the Son, and as the Holy Spirit was none other than Jesus Christ. To support this view, he pointed to Colossians 2:9, which states that in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Ewart explained his discovery to other Pentecostal ministers, some of whom rejected his teaching, but others enthusiastically embraced it. On April 15, 1914, Ewart rebaptized Glenn A. Cook, his assistant and a veteran evangelist of the Azusa Street Mission, in the name of Jesus Christ, and Cook rebaptized Ewart. This would set in motion an issue that would divide the Pentecostal movement between the Trinitarians and the Jesus Name only, or Oneness believers. After Ewart and Cook were rebaptized, they began to rebaptize thousands of Pentecostals with the shorter formula “in Jesus name.” Claiming those baptized with the citation of Matthew 28:19 were not valid, that baptism must be performed “in the name of Jesus” (only) and that those baptized in the threefold titles of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, must renounce that baptism and be rebaptised with the Name of Jesus said over them, before they can be regarded as biblically baptised.
From 1913 to 1914, for one year, the battle raged within the Association regarding the Godhead and the "new issue." Consequently, in 1914, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World experienced its first split. Essentially, there were two questions around which the debate was centered: (1) "Is there one God, or are there three distinct persons in the Godhead? and (2) How then, should an individual be baptized? Should one be baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, or should one be baptized in the Name of Jesus?"
In 1914, after one year of this intense and bitter debate throughout the Association, those leaders and individuals who embraced the Trinitarian concept (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) pulled out from the Association. Many of the whites who left the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World at this time would eventually form the Assemblies of God organization. During the transition period about one year, they received their ministerial credentials from the Church of God in Christ organization.
In 1915, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was reorganized in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Christ Temple Assembly of the Apostolic Faith, where Bishop G. T. Haywood was the pastor. Bishop Haywood became the organization's first Presiding Bishop at that meeting. During that meeting, the organization's headquarters were established in Portland, Oregon.
In 1918, J.J. Frazee chaired a business meeting in St. Louis that produced a merger between the PAW and the General Assembly of Apostolic Assemblies (founded January 2, 1917 GAAA). The newly merged-group retained the name Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Later that year, E. W. Doak became Chairman and W. E. Booth-Clibborn, grandson of the Booths who founded the Salvation Army in London, became Secretary. This interracial organization was the only Oneness Pentecostal organization until late 1924, when a separation occurred, mainly along racial lines, by the splitting off of most of the whites into the Pentecostal Church, Inc.
On January 25, 1919, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World headquarters were moved from Portland to Indianapolis, and it was formally incorporated in the state of Indiana. The incorporators were E. W. Doak, G. T. Haywood, and D. C. O. Opperman.
The title of "Bishop" was first used by the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1925, when it established a Board of Bishops of five members. Of the five members, one of them, G. T. Haywood, was elected as the Presiding Bishop. Haywood was a real stabilizer for the organization. In the days of the separation of the Trinitarian from the Oneness brethren, Bishop Haywood was a pioneer of the Oneness message. He was an excellent preacher and a teacher beyond comparison.
In 1932, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World was reorganized and elected Elder Samuel Grimes of New York, as the new Presiding Bishop. They then elevated Elder Grimes to the office of Bishop. Bishop Grimes was born in Barbados, British West Indies. He was saved under the ministry of Elder W. W. Rue. He was also greatly influenced by Bishop G. T. Haywood. Bishop Grimes served as a missionary to Liberia, West Africa, along with his wife. At this time, he was elevated to the office of District Elder. He also founded and established the Eastern District Conferences, which consists of 13 Conferences (Councils). Grimes also became the second editor of The Christian Outlook, which is the official magazine of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.
Bishop Grimes served in the office Presiding Bishop for 35 years (1932–1967)which is longer than any other individual to date. It was during the time that he was serving that the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World's procedures regarding the filling of pastoral vacancies was established.
In 1945, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ and the Pentecostal Churches, Inc. merged and formed the United Pentecostal Church. This Oneness group is the largest numerically of all the Oneness groups. Historically, it has been predominantly white. The attitude which had been displayed by its membership had been one of a love and respect to the few African American members that became a part of it and to the African American leaders who were their counterparts in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Back then, those African American ministers who were a part of the organization were listed in the regular section of the directory with the white ministers. The African American and White ministers looked upon one another as equals.
While William Joseph Seymour is considered the initial founder, D. C. O. Opperman, E. W. Doak, and Garfield Thomas Haywood were the initial incorporators. J. J. Frazee (occasionally incorrectly reported as 'Frazier') was elected the first general superintendent. The head of the organization held the title of General Elder or General Overseer until 1925, when it was changed to Presiding Bishop. At the same time they established an executive board consisting of five members (Bishops). G. T. Haywood, one of the five members, was elected as the Presiding Bishop. This is in slight contrast to the current Board of Bishops consisting of 12 formal members, and also includes Lay-Directors from various regions of the United States, and Emeritus Bishops who once served, but are either semi or fully retired.
The following is a listing of the Bishops which have served as head of the organization and includes their race (countering those who have attempted to state that the PAW has continued to be a "black-only" organization since the split of 1924):
1. Bishop Garfield Thomas Haywood (1925–1931)– Black
2. Bishop Samuel Joshua Grimes (1932–1967) – Black
3. Bishop Ross Perry Paddock (1967–1974) – White
4. Bishop Francis L. Smith (1974–1980) – Black
5. Bishop Lawrence E. Brisbin (1980–1986) – White
6. Bishop James Archie Johnson (1986–1992) – Black
7. Bishop Paul A. Bowers (1992–1998) – Black
8. Bishop Norman L. Wagner (1998–2004) – Black
9. Bishop Horace E. Smith, M.D. (2004–2010) – Black
10. Bishop Charles H. Ellis III (2010–present) – Black
Organizational structure is currently divided by state or country, called a council, which is headed by a Diocesan Bishop, who is appointed by the Bishop's Board. A Diocesan Bishop can have as many as three assistants, called Suffragan Bishops. These Suffragan Bishops hold only the authority given them by the Diocesan Bishop. Typically they will have authority over a region or part of a state. Reporting under the Suffragan Bishop is the office of District Elder, who oversees and assists the Elders (Pastors and their churches) in his district.
International Headquarters (Indianapolis, Indiana, USA) Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. 3939 North Meadows Drive Indianapolis, IN 46205, U.S.A. Phone: 317-547-9541
Official Periodicals & Publications The Christian Outlook (monthly by subscription only) Minute Book (Annually published by the Bishop Board; meeting minutes available to members only)
Official Bible College/Seminary Aenon Bible College 3919 North Meadows Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46205, U.S.A. Phone: 317-549-0255
William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival By Gary B. McGee.
(available from www.azusastreet.org)