ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS
general convention of all holiness people was called to meet in Terrell, Texas,
in August, 1898, in connection with a campmeeting that was being conducted by
Rev. H. C. Morrison, of Louisville, Ky., and Rev. Bud Robinson, of Georgetown,
Texas. This call was prompted by the outspoken opposition to holiness among all
churches. Many ministers and laymen had been expelled from the communion of many
of the old-line churches for professing, or preaching holiness as a second
blessing. Prominent among these was Rev. H. C. Morrison, who had been tried and
expelled from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, for conducting a great
revival at Dublin, Texas, over the protest of the preacher in charge. More than
one hundred people swept into the experience of perfect love at this meeting.
Dr. Morrison’s home conference afterward restored him and he was at this time
again threatened by the Texas Methodists, and he carried his church letter with
Bud Robinson and Rev. E. C. DeJernett had also been expelled from the same
church for the same reason. Also Rev. C. M. Keith, Rev. J. W. Lively, Rev.
Julian Woodson, Rev. Ben Hines, and many others had withdrawn from the same
church for the same reason, and it seemed evident that something must be done,
and that the time had come for some sort of an organization. Rev. A. W. Rodgers,
and Rev. John Stanfield and others had been expelled from the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, while hundreds of the laity and many ministers were turned
out of the Baptist churches for professing or preaching holiness.
holiness campmeetings were springing up all over the South, owned, and
controlled by these holiness people, and thousands of people were attending
these camps. This so enraged the preachers in all the old churches that there
was great opposition, but the more they oppressed them, the more they grew.
Among these great camps were Scottsville, Waco, Greenville, Noonday, Hughes
Springs, Terrell, Bates, and Poetry, Texas; Main Springs, Calamine, Cave City,
and Beebe, Ark.; Martha’s Lake, Lake Arthur, and Hudson, La.; and a great camp
at Indian Springs, Ga., and many others too numerous to mention, many of which
are still running at this writing.
bishop in one of the Texas Methodist conferences stated on the floor that they
would Stamp the “second blessing heresy” out of their church if it took five
years. They did succeed, and out of the eighteen preachers in that conference
that preached holiness not one was left; they either changed church relationship
or compromised and quit preaching holiness.
was during this condition of things that this convention was called to meet in
Terrell, Texas, in some sort of way to provide a home for the homeless holiness
people of the South; or at least to organize them into an association for mutual
protection, for the spread of scriptural holiness.
who had been excluded from their churches and had not found a congenial home,
were denominated “come-enters” by many holiness preachers who were called
from a distance to lead the great camps in the Southwest; while in heart they
were not come-outers in any sense, but put-outers, by force. They wanted a
church home, her communion, her baptism, and her friendship, therefore this call
for the convention at Terrell.
call was prepared by Rev. E. C. DeJernett, and urged by C. B. Jernigan, who was
not yet a licensed preacher, as he had left the church when his co-laborer,
DeJernett, was excluded; and was signed by a host of holiness people all over
this convention representative men from the Holiness Church that had been
brought from California by Revs. Dennis Rogers, Tom Rogers, and Rev. George Ted,
and from the Free Methodist Church, and Methodist Episcopal Church; all of them
hoping to become the asylum for the homeless holiness people.
questions were discussed, and many propositions offered. Among the questions
discussed were the following:
are our people to do for a church home who have been turned out of the various
churches for professing holiness, or who have withdrawn from, or who no longer
find agreeable fellowship in the various churches to which they have belonged or
of which they are now members?”
are we to do with the new converts who have been brought to pardon by the
revival meetings held by our evangelists? For they are not, as a rule, welcomed
into the churches; nor do the new converts themselves desire to seek fellowship
in the church with those members, or put themselves under the pastoral oversight
of those pastors who stayed away or ignored or ridiculed the meeting which
furnished the means of grace that secured their salvation.”
shall be done to give official recognition and appointment to those of our
people who feel called to preach the gospel? Many can get no ministerial
license, ordination, or appointment at the hands of those churches of which they
is the holiness movement to do in order to protect itself against false
professors and false preachers? It has no organization from which to exclude
them if false, or recommend them if praiseworthy.”
order to remove some of the above mentioned troubles that seemed to stand in the
way of progress of the cause of God and holiness, some in this convention
thought the holiness people of Texas should now organize themselves into a new
church; others thought, as there were so many churches already, it would be best
for our people to go en masse into some already existing church which might be
favorable to the doctrine for which they stood. But after several days of
deliberation the following conclusions were arrived at, and recommendations
the holiness people who were members of the various churches should continue to
maintain their present church relationship, attending upon the ordinances and
supporting its institutions, but to testify publicly and privately as occasion
offered to what the Lord had done for their souls; in the meanwhile living the
experience of perfect love before a gainsaying church and a mocking world,
enduring patiently the slights or open persecutions of their fellow members and
meeting advised those who had withdrawn from the churches, or had been turned
out, or had never yet joined any church to seek some congenial church home and
the exception of the five or six holiness churches organized in Collin County by
Dennis and Thomas Rogers, and about the same number of New Testament Churches of
Christ planted in western Texas by Brother Lee Harris, and one Baptist Emmanuel
Church at Denton, organized by Dr. and Jennie Bland Beauchamp, there were no
other churches in Texas at that time which favored the second blessing doctrine
of holiness except two: The Free Methodist Church and the Methodist Episcopal
Church. According to the above-named recommendation of the convention a few, but
only a few, of the unchurched holiness people joined any of the above mentioned
churches. The reasons why they did not at that time join the Free Methodist
Church are several:
that church would not permit the use of any instrumental music to lead or
accompany the song service in public worship. Many evangelists had found in
their evangelistic labors that on the streets and in the churches they derived
much aid from the instruments.
in those days (perhaps not quite so much as now) a too large share of their
preaching and testifying was devoted to talking against cravats, rag roses, and
other externals; not that we favored the putting on of these things, but this
was emphasized to the neglect of weightier matters.
for some reason either their matter or manner of preaching or something else
seemed to have formed a barrier to their ministry reaching the masses for their
they found in the conventions of holiness people the Free Methodists (with few
exceptions) were conspicuously absent and seemed to have little or no sympathy
or patience with anything which was not distinctively Free Methodist.
preachers who had been refused a pastoral appointment by the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and took pastorates, partly
supported by missionary appropriations, and there they found freedom to profess
and preach second blessing holiness. These excluded preachers had been refused
pastorates on the ground of “inefficiency,” when the facts were that these
same pastors reported annually more converted under their ministry than
three-fourth of the other pastors who were deemed efficient; they also
maintained the same comparatively high standard when it came to raising the
collections of funds ordered by the conferences. Others were turned out of the
ministry of the same church on the charge of “contumacious conduct,” which
charge meant that the offenders would not obey another preacher who forbade them
holding a revival meeting in his circuit, station, or district, whether in a
schoolhouse, tent, or on the street or under a brush arbor, notwithstanding the
offending preacher felt clearly the lead of God to hold such a meeting. A number
of communities of holiness people were induced by these preachers to form
congregations in the Methodist Episcopal Church. These churches flourished for
awhile or until the southern raised holiness boys were replaced by pastors of a
different political faith and who also opposed the doctrine. After this the
majority of these churches began to wane and most of them are now dead or are
barely alive, except in the larger cities, where there is a large northern
population, they have a measure of prosperity. But you would have to employ a
remarkable magnifying glass to discover in these same city churches one grain of
second blessing holiness.
good men among us thought that the Methodist Episcopal Church was the very door
of opportunity for the holiness people of Texas to find a congenial and
efficient church home, but it has proved otherwise.
the Terrell convention did not provide any church home for the unchurched, but
said to them, “Go and join some church and we will organize ourselves into a
State Holiness Union, and auxiliary to this the counties may organize county
unions, and the communities may organize local unions, and there we can meet for
fellowship, conference, and evangelistic meetings.
one could become a member of these unions unless he had a church membership
somewhere or a “reasonable excuse” for not being a church member. Many went
away from this meeting feeling that they had been prevailed upon by the very
conservative leaders to leave undone the thing that should have been done, viz.,
to either organize a church or an association or to select a church; said
association to perform some of the functions of a church (namely, licensing
preachers and so forth), which was done the following year. This organization
fell so far short of the wants and needs of the people that not a half dozen
local unions were organized under its constitution, and it did not have life
enough to have a second annual meeting.
it was seen that the organization formed at Terrell was a failure on account of
its requiring people first to unite with some already existing church, or to
have a reasonable excuse, there was a clamor for another convention to provide a
home for the homeless holiness people, since the Terrell organization did not
have a second meeting.
call was made as before, signed by quite a number of holiness people, even more
than the first call, as the interest had increased in organized work. This call,
like the first one, was drawn up by Rev. E. C. DeJernett and vigorously pushed
by C. B. Jernigan, who was an enthusiast for some sort of an organization for
the holiness people, as he, like many others, was not content to unite with the
Free Methodists, nor was he willing to unite with the then existing Holiness
Church, as it had the same difficulties in the way that the Free Methodists had,
viz., opposition to church organs, and public collections. This convention met
in a mission hall in Greenville, Texas, November, 1899, and matters concerning
organization were discussed at length. The second day it met in the large dining
room of the Texas Holiness University, at Peniel, the site of the college, two
miles north of Greenville. There a heated discussion was carried on all day.
Many views as to what ought to be done were advanced. The presiding elder of the
Methodist Episcopal Church; Rev. J. W. Lively, who had been compelled to leave
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, for preaching holiness, and who was now
doing a good work along this line, made a vigorous plea for all of the holiness
people to come to the Methodist Episcopal Church, as they could obtain the
needed help from its great mission funds, and the preachers could be trained in
its universities and colleges, and money could be procured to assist in building
churches from its church extension funds. He closed his plea with these words:
“Come home, boys, to your mother. Methodism is the mother of holiness. Come
home, and we will do as they used to do: give you a horse to ride, and a pair of
old-fashioned saddlebags, with a Bible in one side and a Methodist hymn book in
the other; and put some money in your pockets, and send you out to preach
holiness.” But the boys would not come home.
convention did not see its way clear to go into his church, yet there is little
doubt in our minds that his speeches, together with the influence of a few other
conservative leaders, prevented the convention from taking any other action than
to express themselves that they believed it to be God’s purpose and plan for
the holiness people to not form a new church or denomination, but have its
professors join or remain in the old denominations, and therein bear their
testimony and do their church work.
there was a large minority of this convention, who, feeling a need of a closer
union of forces, and a more perfect fellowship, and a better protection to the
cause from inefficient and false teachers, and of conserving the work being done
by our evangelists, favored a new church, or some other organization which would
perform some of the functions of a church, or else that the holiness people as a
body go into some already existing church, provided the proper concessions and
liberties be granted them.
motion was then made that a committee of seven be appointed, to form a statement
of doctrine that all could agree to and that they report in three years, at
which time another convention would be called to hear this report. A substitute
was offered: That this committee report in three months instead of three years.
Both motions were lost and a motion then prevailed to adjourn sine die. And the
convention adjourned without doing anything. At this juncture C. B. Jernigan who
was still enthusiastic for an organization, held a hurried consultation with a
few who were in favor of organization and privately called a meeting to be held
at his home on North Wesley Street, in Greenville, that night, for the purpose
were seven persons present at this meeting (the Bible number): C. B. Jernigan,
C. M. Keith, C. A. McConnell, Dennis Rogers, William Jenkins, and Mrs. Johnny
Jernigan. After a short talk by C. A. McConnell a motion prevailed to adopt the
plan of organization used by the Northwest Texas Holiness Association, which was
organized in August the same year at Sunset, Texas; but to make it larger in its
scope, and call it the Holiness Association of Texas. Rev. Dennis Rogers was
elected president, and C. B. Jernigan, secretary. It was decided to call another
convention to meet in Greenville, December 23, 1899, to perfect this
organization and to give others a chance to unite with this association. At the
December meeting there were only a few present, since the most conservative
leaders had decided that nothing could be done; and many talked of would-be
leaders, and self-appointed Moseses. Such talk frightened many away from the
December convention; but there were a few who had heard the wail of the
unchurched holiness people, and were determined to follow the pillar of cloud
and fire and provide a home for these excluded people.
A. McConnell wrote an article for the Texas Holiness Banner, then published in
Sunset, which sets forth the action of this convention very clearly. We insert
STATE HOLINESS CONVENTION
was the privilege of the writer to attend the convention called at Greenville,
on the 23d of November, for the purpose of discussing the necessity or
advisability of providing a church home for the homeless holiness people of
E. C. DeJernett, one of the wisest and strongest of our leaders, was made
chairman of the convention, and Brother Hall, secretary.
convention was, as the writer believes, as representative a body of holiness
people as could be gotten together in Texas. A number of evangelists, preachers,
and workers were present from various parts of the state, and without exception
they told the story of a necessity their experience had shown of some sort of
local organization and perhaps more, to conserve the work.
the question was what kind of an organization? That was the meat of the whole
matter. It developed in discussion that there were three minds among the people
the “stick to our church” people, the independent church people, and people
who thought there were already enough denominations, and that a denomination was
not a church anyway. No decision of any kind was reached the first day.
second day’s sessions were at the invitation of President Hills held at the
splendid new building of the holiness college two miles from town. Throughout
the morning session the various denominations were called in review to show
their acceptability as a home for a people baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Presiding elder Lively of the Gulf Mission Conference, Methodist Episcopal
Church with his great heart overflowing with love for God’s sanctified people
would have us all back in the bosom of the “mother church.” He declared to
us that the church of Wesley was “the only logical home of every sanctified
person” and the elder prophesied in his most impressive manner that we would
see the whole holiness movement within the Methodist Episcopal Church—all
except, perhaps a little remnant, not to be characterized in respectable terms.
dear old father in Israel, bless his loving heart, for he is lovable sweet as
honey, if he does wear Methodist glasses pointed out to us poor people the
greatness of his church its power, its wealth and its stability, and then the
certainty of destruction overtaking any holiness movement outside the fostering
care of that church. He declared solemnly that a holiness church never would,
never could be established; that were the holiness people to get all together in
one body they would proceed to destroy each other. And Brother Lively believed
every word he said.
C. M. Keith, editor of the Advocate, keen, logical, and earnest, led in
expressing the views of those who are averse to being controlled by episcopacy.
Jernigan. DeJernett, Tom Rogers. Dennis Rogers, Cooley, and others favored
action on independent lines.
A. M. Hills, in a most wise and temperate address counseled against hasty
action: He urged the gravity of establishing a new church, and begged the
convention to give the matter mature deliberation.
invitation the writer explained the “Sunset Plan,” or the “Northwest Texas
Holiness Association.” as it has become.
the first the voice was unanimous that “something must be done,” but finally
it became evident that those who were “comfortable” in their church
relationship, were strenuously opposed to the organization of a new
denomination, and indeed, that any positive action whatever should be taken by
the other hand, those who had been out and seen a great necessity, were equally
earnest in calling for immediate relief. So the “new church” was talked up
and talked around, and finally talked to death before it had birth. A motion by
Sister Lula Rogers prevailed, that the convention adjourn sine die.
the two days’ discussion the underbrush was cleared away, and at night after
the second day the Holy Ghost had right of way. A number of preachers,
evangelists and workers met at the home of Brother Jernigan and endorsed the
method of work and organization of the Northwest Texas Holiness Association.
determined to form a North Texas Association, and every worker went out from
that place to organize at once the various communities into hands, which would
send delegates to a called convention at Greenville, December 23, 1899, to form
from the Holiness Church proposed a modification of the discipline and rules of
that church, looking toward the union of that body with the Northwest Texas
Association and North Texas Association into a Texas Holiness Association, to be
chartered under the laws of the state.
to God for leading His people in wisdom.
Holiness Banner, December, 1899.
the meeting in Greenville in December it was decided to meet the next May in
connection with the Holiness Church Association, at Holiness Park, in Collin
County, seeking a union with the Holiness Church in this association. At this
meeting there was a good representation of the Holiness Church, which was about
dead as a church, on account of its peculiar restrictions; and a goodly number
of unchurched holiness people, together with a good representation from the
Northwest Texas Holiness Association.
this gathering things worked more smoothly, since those who did not want
anything remained away, and left those who did want an organization to go ahead
with their work. The Holiness Association from this time took on a permanent
form and began to be recognized; but many of the most conservative ones were
still afraid of the new organization, and would have nothing to do with it.
next meeting of the association was held in November, 1900, at Sunset, Texas,
where there was a still larger attendance, and many of the opposers began to see
that something was about to be done in the way of a permanent organization; yet
the attendance was still small in proportion to the number of holiness people in
the country at that time.
constitution and statement of doctrine were drawn up, and a further meeting was
called for Peniel, in May, 1901, to submit the new constitution to the people
for their adoption or amendment. There was a large and enthusiastic attendance
at this meeting. The constitution, drawn up at the Sunset meeting, was adopted,
and the Holiness Association of Texas was fully launched. It was incorporated in
December, 1900, by E. C. DeJernett, C. B. Jernigan, and C. A. McConnell, and
continued through ten successful years, or until November, 1910, when it was
changed to the Texas Holiness Union. This body omits from its organization
several of the functions performed by the former, as the changed conditions
rendered this necessary.
I -- NAME
association shall be called The Holiness Association of Texas.
II -- OBJECT
object of this association shall be the promotion of the doctrine and experience
of scriptural holiness throughout the world.
III -- STATEMENT OF DOCTRINE
accept the Bible, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, as our rule of faith and
believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; Jesus Christ, His
only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary;
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried: the third day he
rose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand
of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the
believe in the Holy Ghost, the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, the communion of
saints, forgiveness of sin, resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
believe conviction is God’s work of convincing the soul of sin, of
righteousness and of judgment—this He does through His Spirit through His
Word, His providences and human agencies.
believe repentance consists of a godly sorrow for sins committed, a forsaking
thereof and turning to God in humble confession with works meet for repentance
including the forgiveness of enemies and making restitution to those wronged up
to the measure of ability.
believe that conversion consists of justification and regeneration, which occur
at one and the same time. Justification is the act of God whereby all past sins
are forgiven through faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It comes
immediately in connection with true repentance and restores the guilty soul to
peace and favor with God. Regeneration implants the spiritual life in the heart,
changing the soul from death unto life and is always accompanied by the direct
witness of the Spirit.
believe in holiness, or entire sanctification, that it is a second definite work
of grace in the heart whereby we are thoroughly cleansed from all sin; that only
those who are justified and walking in the favor of God can receive this grace;
that it is not absolute perfection that belongs to God alone. It does not make
man infallible; it is perfect love—the pure love of God filling a pure heart.
This love is capable of increase. It prepares for more rapid growth in grace. It
may be lost and we need to continually watch and pray. It is received by faith,
after consecration. It is accomplished by the baptism of Jesus Christ foretold
by John the Baptist. It is loving the Lord our God with all the heart, soul,
mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:27–30). It was
this which the disciples received in the upper room at Jerusalem on the day of
Pentecost, for which Jesus commanded them to wait. It is the inheritance of the
Church; and with it comes preparation, and anointing, illumination and power for
the work to which God has called us. Our preachers are to definitely preach it
and urge it upon all believers—it is the privilege and duty of all believers
to seek and obtain it. It is this to which we are called: “That we might be
partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 20:10).
IV -- HOW COMPOSED
association shall be composed of individuals, bands, unions, county and district
associations: local churches, or members of any denomination who hold and
promulgate the statement of doctrine adopted by the association, and who shall
make application for membership and are received by a majority vote of the
association present, they giving evidence of being in or earnestly seeking the
experience of entire sanctification.
VI -- LICENSING PREACHERS
association shall have the right to license or recommend evangelists, pastors,
or workers who come duly recommended by the local bands, unions, or churches of
which they are members. If not a member of any organization, then by at least
two members of this association.
candidates had to appear before a committee of examination appointed by the
association, whose business it was to inquire into their gifts, graces,
qualifications, and call to the ministry, and see if they were in harmony with
our statement of doctrine, and furthermore, they must give evidence of being in
the experience of holiness. If all these points were satisfactory, the
association granted them license for one year, when it might be renewed if they
remained blameless in life and official administration. The seal of the
association, with the names of the president and secretary were affixed to these
licenses. A number of our preachers who held licenses from other churches and
organizations obtained a second one from this association, as they desired its
endorsement. The state authorities ruled that persons bearing license from this
association could celebrate the rites of matrimony between parties, which was
done in a very few cases.
VIII -- OPIUM, INTOXICANTS, TOBACCO
use of opium, morphine and all intoxicating liquors, unless prescribed as a
medicine, and the use and sale of tobacco in all its forms, is prohibited.
association had its annual meetings in November, which were well attended by
people from different parts of the state, and frequently from adjoining states.
They were characterized by great revival power, and many were swept into the
kingdom at these times. They served to bring the scattered holiness people
together where they might form holy acquaintanceship and enjoy a precious season
of fellowship with the saints. Some of those attending these meetings were so
far removed from other holiness people that it was at these annual meetings only
that they enjoyed the privilege of association with any other holiness person,
or of hearing a holiness sermon.
the first, at its annual meetings, this association had its missionary
anniversary or rally, when missionary sermons were preached, and returned or
outgoing missionaries made addresses, and financial pledges for missions were
taken, sometimes amounting to more than $1,500. This association wholly, or in
part, supported several foreign missionaries. In addition to the cause of
missions, the association fostered and contributed liberally every year to the
Berachah Rescue Home for fallen girls, also to the Peniel Orphans’ Home, and
the Texas Holiness University, now Peniel University, in whose chapel it held
three of its annual meetings.
together as closely as were David and Jonathan were this association and the
Pentecostal Advocate, formerly called the Texas Holiness Advocate. Its first two
editors, C. M. Keith and C. A. McConnell, being two of the seven who set the
following were the places where its annual meetings were held: Holiness Park,
Sunset, Peniel (the constitutional meeting), Oak Cliff, Waco, Fort Worth, Oak
Cliff, Peniel, Arlington, Fort Worth, Plainview, and Peniel.
Holiness Association of Texas has fulfilled its God-given mission and served its
day and generation, and is fallen to sleep. “God buries His workman, but His
work goes on.”
last meeting of the Holiness Association of Texas convened at Peniel, Texas,
November 15–20, 1910. It was found that there was no place for such an
association longer, since the widespread organization of churches with its
pastorate to care for the people. However, there were a few who strongly favored
the carrying on the work of the association under another name, but this failed
for lack of interest.
the midst of the workings of the Holiness Association of Texas there was a cry
made for the organization of real churches to care for the people. Their
children had no baptism, and their people no sacraments, and the children of the
holiness people were ostracized by others who had church membership.
the summer of 1904 Rev. C. B. Jernigan got in touch with the Church of
Christ—better known as The New Testament Church—which was started in western
Tennessee in 1898 by Rev. R. L. Harris and carried to western Texas. Rev. R. L.
Harris had died, and his wife, now Mrs. Mary Lee Cagle, Rev. William E. Fisher,
Rev. J. W. Manney, Rev. W. F. Rutherford, and others were carrying on the work,
there being a few churches in Arkansas led by Rev. J. D. Scott, Mrs. E. J.
Sheeks, and others. With these he began to plan for a union of all churches that
taught holiness as a second work of grace, and a delegated body of these two
churches met at Rising Star, Texas, in November, 1904. The Holiness Baptist
Church in Arkansas had also been invited to participate in this union; but they
refused to unite unless all would agree that baptism by immersion would be the
recognized mode for the church. The Church of Christ practiced baptism by
pouring only; while the Independent Holiness Church was not restricted to any
the Rising Star council, the two churches, the Independent Holiness Church and
the Church of Christ, were united into one body; under the name of The Holiness
Church of Christ. There were now three annual councils of this church, the
western Texas, the eastern Texas, and the Arkansas. There was provided for a
general council every two years. The first general council of The Holiness
Church of Christ met in the college auditorium at Pilot Point, Texas. Rev.
Dennis Rogers was elected president and Rev. C. B. Jernigan, secretary. The
minutes show a total of seventy-seven churches, forty-five elders, and thirty
licensed preachers represented at this council. The second session of the
general council met one year later in the city hall at Texarkana, Texas-Ark.
What followed will be treated in the chapter on church union.