LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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Chapter 18

 

 

NORTHWEST TEXAS HOLINESS ASSOCIATION

 

 

On the 16th day of January, 1898, Rev. John Stanfield, an ordained minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was sanctified in the meeting held by Rev. R. L. Averill and the Hudson Band in Sunset, Texas. He at once began to preach holiness as a work subsequent to regeneration. This stirred his brethren in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and they preferred charges against him in the Gregory Presbytery, which convened at Bridgeport, Texas, April, 1898. After much discussion a motion prevailed to suspend him from the church for preaching the second blessing. He, like many others in that day on whom the Holy Ghost had fallen with power, gave no heed to the orders from his church, but “went everywhere preaching the Word”; and great crowds would come to hear this suspended preacher tell of his new experience, and fall into the altar and get the same blessing. The Presbyterians no longer wanted him; but he had calls more than he could fill to preach to the holiness people who had so recently gotten into the experience in the meetings held by the Hudson Band; at Sunset where he received the blessing in his own church while pastor there; at Chico, his home town; at Alvord, Crafton, Park Springs, and other places.

Seeing the need of pastoral oversight, and hearing the call to feed the sheep, he began to organize them into holiness bands, and to give them his entire time as pastor. He formed these bands into a holiness circuit with nine preaching points on it. From this grew other holiness bands in different parts of northwestern Texas. Then came the thought that there ought to be an association of these bands into one body, to keep the unity of the Spirit and to preserve clearness of doctrine. A call was made in the spring of 1899 by Rev. John Stanfield, the pastor of some of these bands, for a general meeting for this purpose in connection with the first campmeeting at Sunset, Texas.

Here the first organization among the holiness people as a distinctive body was perfected, with Rev. John Stanfield, president, Rev. A. B. Jones, vice-president, Dr. J. W. Harvey, secretary. Here we insert the minutes of this association in full as they appear in the first year book of that association:

 

MINUTES OF THE NORTHWEST TEXAS HOLINESS ASSOCIATION

 

Held at the holiness camp ground, Sunset, Texas, August 9, 1899.

Some time last spring the Sunset holiness band, through its pastor. Rev. J. T. Stanfield, made a call for all local holiness bands and unions to meet during the August Sunset campmeeting, for the purpose of organizing an association.

Pursuant to said call the following local bands: Sunset, Pella, Crafton, Chico, Duxbury, and representatives from Forestburg, Nocona, Prospect, Alvord, Park Springs, Newport, Sandflat, and Evergreen met at the Sunset camp ground at 2 p. m., August 9, 1899. The following persons were present:

 

Rev. J. T. Stanfield, G. W. Williams, C. A. McConnell, Dr. C. H. Hobbs, A. W. Hurdt, W. A. Golman Rev. A B Jones J. W. Bowers, S. W. Myers, T. L. Erwin, R. W. Dickinson, W. B. Hill, B. P. Hull, G. W. Powell, L. O. Johnson, N. J. Kelso, J. T. Brown, E. T. Turner, Dr. A. M. Hills, Rev. O. H. Brown, Edgar Burkart, D Boone, N. B. Evans, H. H. Wells, J. H. Kelley, North Morgan, Brother Simmons, Thomas McConnell, Dr. J. W. Harvey, Rev. L. L. Issacs, J. W. Hull, J. Hall, S. M. Smith, W. J. Chiddix, W. W. Bates, G. H. King.

 

It was unanimously decided to organize a holiness association embracing northwestern Texas, Indian Territory and Oklahoma said association to be known as the Northwest Texas Holiness Association.

The following officers were elected: Rev. J. T. Stanfield, president; Rev. A. B. Jones, vice-president; Dr. J. W. Harvey, secretary-treasurer

It was decided that the Northwest Texas Holiness Association meet annually and semiannually, the annual meeting to be held at Sunset camp ground each year, during the campmeeting, the date of meeting to be announced by the president. The semiannual meeting to be held at such time and place as the officers of the association may select from time to time.

 

LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS

 

Dear Brethren: Below will be found our plan for organizing into local holiness bands or unions, as adopted by the Northwest Texas Holiness Association. While it is short and simple, we believe it covers all the ground necessary for an organization, and at the same time grants to each individual the fullest religious freedom.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Rev. A. B. Jones

G. W. Williams

J. W. Harvey

Committee

 

TO THE HOLINESS PEOPLE

 

“Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit” (1 Peter 1:2). Greeting:

Dear Saints: it is a well known fact that the holiness movement in the South has been largely of an evangelistic character, and we praise the Lord for so many able evangelists in the field, and that their labors are being so wonderfully blessed in getting people saved and sanctified throughout our fair land.

Nevertheless, we feel that their labors are not as effectual and abiding, in many instances as might be. For instance, a traveling evangelist comes into a community and holds a ten days’ or two weeks’ meeting. Many profess holiness. Doubtless many belong to churches whose pastors fight or oppose holiness. The result is they soon become lukewarm and discouraged, and some lose their experience altogether. These are truths which every one should consider. We believe it is just as essential to keep people saved as it is to get them saved.

We believe the time has now come in the history of the holiness movement that in order to prevent this falling off, and to hold the holiness people together, some kind of organization is useful. So we would recommend that holiness people everywhere form themselves into local holiness organizations.

Many local ministers of all denominations are getting into the experience of sanctification, are anxious to preach a full salvation, and would make excellent pastors.

 

PLAN OF ORGANIZATION

 

All true Christians who profess holiness and believe in sanctification as a second work of grace, are eligible to membership, and may become members by enrolling their names upon the roll of members.

 

OFFICERS

 

Each local organization shall elect from among its members a president, vice-president, and secretary-treasurer, who shall constitute the executive hoard of the organization, have charge of all its business affairs, control all property of the organization. Said officers to be elected annually, and must be faithful in the discharge of their duties. Two or more stewards may be appointed by each local organization to look after the finances.

This organization was simple, yet full enough to hold the holiness people together and have an annual and a semiannual meeting, which was a great blessing to the people. It held its functions, and did a good work in establishing some camps, and starting a holiness paper, The Holiness Banner, which did much to strengthen the association. This association had representatives at the convention that met at Greenville, Texas, and there it was merged into the Holiness Association of Texas.

These holiness circuits afterward formed Pentecostal Nazarene Churches, and many of them still exist, and out of the men who composed the first Northwest Texas Holiness Association, have come some of the most prominent workers that we have today; pastors, evangelists, missionaries, editors, and song evangelists.

We have observed that where the work was well organized it was so well conserved that it strengthened the local work as well as spreading it into other fields, and has left landmarks that will last in history. But where the work was not so fostered, and not organized, it has fallen to pieces, and few men of note have come from such work.

Texas was an open field, with some choice spirits in it that had rather die than prove untrue to the trust that God had committed to them. It caused a great commotion with the old-time churches, when these men took an aggressive stand for organized holiness. They were at first called come-outers, and when they saw that there would be an organization, then the opposition said, “There is not brains enough in the bunch to frame a church government that will stand”; but when it was proved that the church was a success, they took off their hats and said, “They have come to stay.”