MOVEMENT IN LOUISIANA
Friday before the fourth Sunday in August, 1885, J. S. Sanders, then a young man
and member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was in a spirit of prayer
for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon himself, as he felt his deep
need of such a baptism. He had been converted and joined the church, but now
felt his need of a deeper work being wrought in his heart as a power for service
for the Master, when suddenly the heavens opened and a mighty baptism with the
Holy Ghost fell on him and surging billows of Pentecostal glory swept through
his soul until he felt that he would die if the Lord did not stay His hand. This
mighty baptism with the Spirit came in direct answer to his prayer, which so
completely changed him that he has not been the same man since that day. With
this baptism came a definite call to preach, and he, like Paul, “was not
disobedient to the heavenly vision.”
to this time he had never seen a person that claimed to be sanctified, nor heard
the doctrine of holiness preached, nor did he know that there was a holiness
movement, but he was in it good and plenty now, and began to preach this
glorious gospel of full salvation. December 2d of the same year he was licensed
to preach by his quarterly conference, and on the 14th day of the same month was
assigned the Mooringsport circuit, Shreveport district, Louisiana conference,
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, where he was an itinerant preacher for many
years, never missing a roll call at his conference.
preaching was so different from the Methodist preachers who had preceded him
that his people were astonished at his doctrine and the marvelous power that God
gave him in the pulpit, while tidal waves of salvation swept over his entire
charge, and scores of people were swept into the kingdom. He never tired of
preaching repentance to sinners, and urging church members to pray for a mighty
outpouring of the Spirit, and yet he had not seen a holiness person until he met
Rev. L. L. Pickett, that mighty exponent of the doctrine of entire
sanctification, early in the year 1887. There he for the first time heard a
sermon on holiness, and you can imagine how his very soul leaped for joy while
this mighty man of God poured out the gospel truth, which so bountifully fed his
soul. At this meeting Rev. E. B. Galloway, who was then a pastor, got the
blessing of holiness and began to preach it, and held a great campmeeting at
Downsville, La., where scores of people were saved and many were sanctified.
While this campmeeting was in progress, Rev. E. L. Pike, of Columbia, S. C.,
came by and preached one sermon on holiness, the altar was filled with seekers
for holiness, many prayed through, and the whole camp was a blaze of glory.
same year Rev. L. L. Pickett held a meeting at Farmersville, La., where there
were great numbers saved and some sanctified. This was the beginning of the
great wave of holiness that swept Louisiana from the Arkansas line to the Gulf
of Mexico, out of which came many holiness preachers, and the great campmeetings
in Louisiana at Lake Arthur, Ebenezer (Montgomery), the Martha camp, and the
holiness school at Hudson, La.
year of 1888 was a year of mighty victory and power all over Mooringsport
circuit, where Rev. J. S. Sanders was pastor. He engaged Rev. J. F. Browning to
assist him in some meetings and God gave them a great revival at Mount Zion
Church, about twenty miles from Scottsville, Texas, where many were saved and
sanctified. In August of the same year they held some meetings in northern
Louisiana near the Arkansas line, and a mighty tidal wave of holiness swept over
that part of the state.
October, 1888, Rev. J. F. Browning and Rev. E. G. Musser, of Georgia, assisted
Pastor Sanders in some meetings on his charge, and hundreds of souls swept into
the kingdom and many were sanctified wholly. Great power attended these
meetings, and many people fell under the power of God and lay unconscious for
hours, to come through shouting the praises of God, and go out after others.
These were days of mighty power and victory, and a wave of holiness like a
cyclone swept through the state, and hundreds of people were saved and
sanctified, and many preachers got the blessing and began to preach it, and the
holy fire spread in their churches. This raised a stubborn opposition among
unsanctified preachers and a hot fight broke out; presiding elders and bishops
combined to stamp holiness out, but “the more they oppressed them the more
they grew and multiplied,” until the whole state was a scene of battle for
1890, Rev. J. S. Sanders was sent to North Bossier circuit, and again God was
with him and poured out His Spirit on him and his work, until the entire circuit
was a flame of revival fire. He was assisted this time by Rev. W. W. Tucker, of
Scottsville, Texas. Mrs. J. S. Sanders, the wife of the pastor, and Rev. W. W.
Tucker held a great meeting that year at Farmersville and established holiness
there. In 1901, and in 1902 they had another great meeting with Rev. C. W.
Staples, the pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Jonesboro on
the Mississippi River. Such a revival was seldom seen in that country, and
people still talk of the revival of 1902. The same year Rev. J. S. Sanders
conducted another great holiness meeting at Delhi, which was also in the swamps
of the Mississippi, that surpassed anything that had been in former years, and
the results of it remain to this day.
1894, Rev. J. L. Morrill, an evangelist from Cartersville, Ga., came to
Louisiana at the invitation of the people, and held meetings which swept the
country for holiness. In these meetings Rev. W. T. Curry, a pastor in the
Methodist Church, was sanctified, also Rev. R. P. Howell, another Methodist
pastor, and Rev. W. C. Mann. The same year Rev. R. P. Howell called Rev. J. L.
Morrill for a meeting and they established the Lake Arthur campmeeting, which is
still holding annual campmeetings, where thousands of souls have been blessed.
1895 the Ebenezer (Montgomery) camp was established by Rev. W. T. Curry, pastor,
Rev. J. L. Morrill, and Dr. W. B. Godbey. These great camps became the centers
of attraction for miles in every direction as holiness centers; even in other
states they were heard of as such, and hundreds of people were saved and
sanctified in these great camps, where the greatest preachers in the movement
have led the hosts to victory.
the Ebenezer camp Mrs. M. Z. Walker was sanctified and invited Rev. J. L.
Morrill to hold a meeting in the courthouse in Homer, La., her home town. This
was a hard fought battle, but God gave the victory and many found God. The
Spring Lake camp was established in 1895 as a result of the Homer meeting; and
their first campmeeting was conducted by Rev. J. S. Sanders, Mrs. E. J.
Rutherford (now Mrs. E. J. Malone), Dr. Godbey, and Rev. J. L. Morrill. From
these great camps holiness meetings sprang up in every direction and many
preachers were sanctified and others called to the ministry of full salvation.
1894 Rev. J. S. Sanders was sent to the Opelousa country, populated with French,
who have been there since the country was settled by the French before it became
a part of the United States. He was sent there by his conference to cool his
ardor as a holiness preacher. This was the way they had of starving holiness
preachers out, or effecting a compromise. But this would not work on Rev. J. S.
Sanders, although he preached a whole year before he saw his first soul saved,
but he was rewarded by a veritable landslide of salvation before the four years
that he stayed was out, and hundreds were converted and many sanctified. People
who could not speak one word of English, nor understand a sentence that the
holiness preacher said, would run to the altar and pray through in French, and
then get up and testify in the same language while their own people would break
down and rush to the altar. They would clap their hands and shout just like all
the rest, and the work abides there today.
1895 Rev. J. S. Sanders held the first holiness meeting in Crowley, La., where
God broke through in a different way from what the people there were used to,
for they had never heard any one shout, and when they did pray through and shout
the victory, the town people were terribly excited and supposed that they had
lost their minds.
were indeed great days of victory and power, and we would see the same now if
the people would pay the price in fasting and prayer, as they did then, and were
not afraid of just a little persecution.
Rev. J. S. Sanders was pastor at Many, La., he engaged Rev. J. L. Merrill and a
singer for a meeting, and the indignation among holiness fighters ran so high
that the sheriff went home with the preachers to keep them from being mobbed.
They were threatened in many ways, and much talk of mobs and stale eggs was
heard, but our God broke in at last, and the fire fell, and many of those
composing the mobs were convicted and confessed out, and begged pardon, and ran
to the altar and got saved. Greater work was never known than was then in
progress in Louisiana.
work began in Many, the parish seat, and spread out all over the entire parish,
until hundreds were saved and sanctified.
of this work came Rev. Roy T. Williams, who afterward became the president of
the Texas Holiness University at Peniel, Texas, now one of the General
Superintendents of the Pentecostal Nazarene church, and his sister, Miss
Florence Williams, who for years has been a holiness missionary to India.
1896 the Marthaville camp was established, the first meetings being held by Rev.
R. L. Averill, Rev. Ben Hines, and Rev. Mr. McKnight.
many years the holiness movement in Louisiana was Independent, and scattered in
several of the churches, but many of the people found homes in the Methodist
Protestant Church, where most of the preachers in the Louisiana conference were
in 1911 some preachers of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene were holding
meetings among the Methodist Protestant people in Louisiana, and overtures were
made for a union of all of the Methodist Protestant churches in that conference
with the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, and a commission was appointed by
the Methodist Protestant people consisting of Rev. J. W. Leckle, Rev. Mr. Gaar,
and another whose name I do not recall.
Pentecostal Nazarene church appointed Rev. W. F. Dallas, Rev. C. B. Jernigan, C.
A. McConnell, and Rev. Roy T. Williams as a like commission to meet at the
General Assembly of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene at Nashville, Tenn.
Here they met and discussed matters for several days but no agreement was
entered into as to the union of the Methodist Protestant conference in a body,
but they came in as individuals in many instances, until there are now ten
Pentecostal Nazarene churches in the Louisiana District.