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COGIC Convocation, 1932.

History of the Church of God In Christ

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance – Acts 2:2-4

 

THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST (COGIC) is a Pentecostal-Holiness Christian denomination founded in 1897 by Bishop Charles Harrison Mason. It is considered to be a member of the great Protestant body of churches, although its origins are from within the Baptist church.

COGIC is a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in which the Word of God is preached, ordinances are administered, and the doctrine of sanctification, or holiness, is emphasized as being essential to the salvation of mankind.

Named for 1 Thessalonians 2:14, COGIC emphasizes the importance of the three supernatural extraordinary manifestations which occurred on the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day after the Passover, or Easter) as being necessary to experience all believers in Christ Jesus; the sound from heaven of a mighty wind, the appearance of tongues of fire upon believers, and the power to speak in tongues, in accordance with the scriptures in Acts 2:1-4.

 

HISTORY

COGIC founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.

COGIC founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.

In 1895, Elder Charles Harrison Mason met Elder C.P. Jones of Jackson, MI; Elder J.E. Jeter of Little Rock, AR; and Elder W.S. Pleasant of Hazelhurst, MI, all of whom became Bishop Mason’s close companions in ministry.

The Baptist preachers conducted a revival in 1896 in Jackson, MI, where large numbers of people were converted, sanctified, and healed by the power of faith. However, the teachings of Elder Mason on the doctrine of sanctification caused his expulsion from the Baptist denomination under the Mississippi State Convention.

In 1897, when he and his group of pioneering, persistent preachers returned to Jackson, Elder Mason was forced to deliver his first message from the steps of the local courthouse. A Mr. John Lee provided the living room of his home the next night, and because of the overwhelming number of attendees, a Mr. Watson subsequently offered the use of an abandoned warehouse. Land was soon bought, upon which Elder Mason established a small church with Elder Mason, Elder Jones, Elder Pleasant, and 60 charter members.

In March of 1907, Elder Mason, Elder Young and Elder Jeter journeyed to Los Angeles, CA, to attend the Azusa Street Revival, led by Minister William J. Seymour. This became a turning point for Elder Mason when he experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit:

“The Spirit came upon the saints and upon me…Then I gave up for the Lord to have His way within me. So there came a wave of Glory into me and all of my being was filled with the Glory of the Lord. So when He had gotten me straight on my feet, there came a light which enveloped my entire being above the brightness of the sun. When I opened my mouth to say Glory, a flame touched my tongue which ran down me. My language changed and no word could I speak in my own tongue. Oh! I was filled with the Glory of the Lord. My soul was then satisfied.” – Bishop Charles Harrison Mason

Upon his return to Memphis, Elder Mason began to proclaim of his new Pentecostal experience. However, Elder Mason’s contemporaries, Elder Jeter, Elder Jones and others, regarded his new Holy Spirit experience as a delusion. The General Assembly of the church withdrew the “right hand of fellowship” from Elder C. H. Mason, who then called a conference in Memphis, TN of all ministers who believed in receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost according to the scriptures in Acts 2:1-4. Those who responded to Elder Mason’s urgent call were: E. R. Driver, J. Bowe, R.R. Booker, R. E. Hart, W. Welsh, A. A. Blackwell, E. M. Page, R.H. I. Clark, D. J. Young, James Brewer, Daniel Spearman and J. H. Boone.

 

THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST

In 1907, the first Pentecostal General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ was thus organized. Elder C. H. Mason was chosen unanimously as the General Overseer and Chief Apostle of the denomination. He was given complete authority to establish doctrine, organize auxiliaries and appoint overseers.

Under Bishop Mason’s spiritual and apostolic direction, The Church of God In Christ has grown from 10 congregations in 1907 to the largest Pentecostal group in America today, reporting over 5 million members. The National Council of Churches ranks it as the largest Pentecostal denomination and the 4th largest Christian denomination in the U.S.

Internationally, COGIC can be found in more than 60 nations, including Egypt, the Ivory Coast, and Israel. Its global membership is estimated to be between 6-8 million, comprising of more than 15,000 congregations throughout the world.

To read more about The Church Of God In Christ, please CLICK HERE.

black_history

Bishop Blake: A Sermon For Black History Month

“We need to reach back to our homeland; reach back to Africa.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

For Black History Month, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake took the congregation of West Angeles Church of God In Christ back to school with a Black History lesson that transcended the ages. He began his sermon in Africa, thousands of years before the birth of Christ, with the stories of Moses, the Queen of Sheba, the slave trade, and the roots of Pentecostalism, to reveal the connection between people of African descent and the roots of Christianity.

Bishop Blake was also inspired by the story of Joseph in Genesis, who married an Egyptian woman, and cited parallels between Joseph’s journey and the historic journey of African Americans.

See this entire Black History celebration on West Angeles’ Gospel On Demand here.

Highlights from the sermon follow:

“Two thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Moses traveled to Midian, in the southern part of the fertile crescent. There, Moses married a dark-skinned Midianite woman. Moses married an Ethiopian, and Ethiopia people in her family became counselors and advisers to Moses.”

“Almost 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the queen of Sheba –also known as Kush or Ethiopia – visited King Solomon. She came from Africa with many camels, spices, gold, and precious stones. Her nation and her culture had obviously existed long before that time.”

“The Ethiopian Piankhi established the 24th Egyptian Dynasty. And at least four Egyptian Kings ruled over Egypt from 730 BC until 66 BC…great nations, great civilizations, great cultures existed in Africa centuries before Jesus Christ was born.”

“One of the greatest generals of all time was a man by the name of Hannibal from the city of Carthage in Northern Africa. Hannibal frequently defied and defeated Rome between 219 and 203 BC.”

“In 1498 AD, Portuguese explorers wrote that they found along the east African coast tall stone towns of comfort and of wealth. They found people who were highly civilized and skilled in the use of the compass, and in reading charts.”

“Timbuktu was a magnificent city where merchants made greater profit from the sale of books than from the sale of any other commodity.”

“In the areas of science, art, medicine, government, law, and culture, many of the nations of Africa were competitive with, and in many cases more advanced than, the other nations of the world in Europe and Asia during that period. All of this was devastated by the slave trade; by slavery, and by Colonialism.”

“William Banks gives us the following report in his book, ‘The Black Church In The US’: nearly 20 million Negroes were made captive over the span of some 300 years, from 1517 until 1840. They were crammed …into ships like sardines in a can, and brought across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Guinea to the New World. The trip that they made was called ‘The Middle Passage’. It’s estimated that perhaps 12 million Blacks landed in South America and Latin America, and about 2 million of them were brought into the US.”

“What happened to the millions that were taken away from Africa? Some died resisting capture. Some died in captivity. While waiting in Africa to be shipped out, some committed suicide, not willing to be captured. Others, beaten and too weak to continue the trek, were abandoned to die.”

“Most of the loss of life came during the Middle Passage, that journey across the ocean from Africa to the New World. Perhaps not more than half of the slaves which were shipped out from Africa ever became effective workers in the New World.”

“What was the impact of the loss of 20 million of its inhabitants on the culture and the nations of Africa? How many died trying to defend their families in the violence associated with the slave trade?”

“After the slave trade came the horrible period of Colonialism, in which horrible invaders did to Africa’s resources what those before them did to Africa’s people. What was the value of the people and of the resources that were taken from the continent of Africa?”

“After all we went through, we still produced a Benjamin Banneker, maker of the first American clock; Sojourner Truth; George Washington Carver; Charles Drew… Benjamin O Davis; Ralph Bunche; Booker T. Washington; Marion Anderson; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Malcolm X; Colin Powell; Barack Obama!”

“After all we went through, God blessed us to be productive; to rise above our oppression and attain excellence.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“During the dark day of the Crucifixion, the Jews were condemning [Jesus] and calling for His death. Europe, represented by the Roman Centurions, drove nails into the hands of feet of Jesus. But Africa, represented by Simon of Cyrene, a Black man from Northwest Africa, stepped in when everybody else was stepping back…Simon of Cyrene shared history’s most significant moment with the Christ: he bore the Cross of Christ up Calvary’s Hill.”

“Jesus will not allow you to bear your cross by yourself. If anybody out there needs help with your cross, give praise to the Lord, and He will help you to bear your cross!”

“God chose black hands and wooly hair to perform an act that all the truly wise and all the truly great…Godly men of the earth would have been overjoyed to perform: bearing the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

“The Ethiopian secretary of the treasury was to pass in his chariot…this Ethiopian nobleman heard and believed the gospel, and after being baptized, this nobleman went back to Ethiopia to form the Abyssinian Church that exists until this day. He was the first Gentile of record to be saved: a Black man.”

“Historian Dean (Henry Hart) Milman has said, “It was Africa, not Rome, which gave birth to Latin Christianity. Africa gave three of the greatest scholars of the church to the church. Augustine, Tertullian, Cyprian, were all born in Northern Africa.”

“Anyone who says that Christianity is a white man’s religion and not a black man’s religion really doesn’t know anything about Christianity.”

“Christianity is not a white man’s religion it’s not a black man’s religion: it’s just man’s religion! Halleluiah!”

“Black men have the privilege of being among the first leaders and participants in the Pentecostal and Charismatic revival that swept across the church in the early 1900’s.”

“(Historian and author Dr. H. Vinson Synan says that) Charles F. Parham, a white man, and William J. Seymour, a Black man, share roughly equal positions as founders of modern Pentecostalism.”

“A key man in that contagious spread (of Pentecostalism) was a man by the name of Charles Harrison Mason, a Black man and the father of founder of the Church Of God in Christ. In 1907, Elder Mason went to Los Angeles and participated in the Azuza Revival and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

“Scores of white ministers obtained ministerial credentials from Elder Mason from the Church of God In Christ. One group in Alabama and Texas received permission to use the name of the church in 1912, and this continued until 1914, when they organized and called their predominantly white organization the Assemblies of God.”

“When Bishop Mason passed in 1961, he left behind him one of the largest Pentecostal bodies in the world.”

“Christianity belongs to all of us! Aren’t you glad that you know Jesus Christ?” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“There are many parallels between [African Americans] and the experience of Joseph. In jail, Joseph held on to the dream. Black people held on to the dream in slavery. We believed that God was going to deliver us, and praise God: God did deliver us. We held onto the dream!”

“Somebody in here is going through something evil, but I want you to know God meant it for good! God is going to turn it around!”

“We need to reach back to our homeland; reach back to Africa.”

“If you pursue the purpose of God, God is going to work everything out for your good.”

“God worked it out for it us, and God is gonna work it out for you: but you’ve got to hold on to the dream!”

“Does anybody have a dream in here? Anybody have a vision? Do you have something you’re reaching for? Listen: God is going to bring it to pass!”

“If you hold on to God, if you trust God: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of god and His righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you.”

“Child of God, I just came by to tell you that God has great miracles in store for you!”

“If Joseph were here, and if he could testify, he would say to you, ‘Don’t ever give up on your dream: don’t ever give up on your vision.”

“God has Blessed us, but I don’t believe God is through with us yet”.

“The story of Joseph can be your story. The story of your people can be your story…Praise God for your future!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Genesis 37-50, Num10:29, Numbers 12:1-9, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 8:28; Romans 8:31-39, Matthew 6:33.