CHURCH OF CHRIST
the Holiness Association of Texas, held at Oak Cliff, Texas, November, 1903,
Rev. W. E. Fisher, of the Church of Christ, and Rev. C. B. Jernigan, of the
Independent Holiness Church, met for the first time. They discussed the question
of the churches for the holiness people, and found that the two churches were
identical in doctrine, and nearly so in polity, and the advisability of the two
churches uniting into one body was talked of with much interest to both, and
they agreed to try to bring about a union of the two churches. Rev. W. E. Fisher
was the president of the western annual conference of the Church of Christ, and
Rev. C. B. Jernigan was the president of the Independent Holiness Church annual
association. After some correspondence, it was found advisable to present the
matter to the annual church association of the Holiness Church, which met at
Blossom, Texas, in October, 1904. At this association the matter was discussed,
and five delegates were elected to represent the Independent Holiness Church at
the annual council of the Church of Christ, which was to meet at Rising Star,
Texas, in their third annual session. The delegates elected were Rev. J. B.
Chapman, Rev. M. J. Guthrie, Rev. Dennis Rogers, Rev. John F. Roberts, and Rev.
C. B. Jernigan. The Church of Christ at their council elected a like delegation
to confer with the Independent Holiness Church delegates, as follows: Rev. W. E.
Fisher, Rev. T. C. Eason, Rev. B. F. Neeley, Rev. Mrs. Fannie Suddarth, and Rev.
Mrs. Mary Lee Cagle. The eastern annual council of the Church of Christ was
represented by Rev. G. H. Hammond; Rev. H. M. Guy represented the unorganized
holiness people at large, and Rev. J. T. Upchurch represented a local church at
Oak Cliff, which was called the Church of God (not the Gospel Trumpet people).
was in the air, and all churches that taught holiness as a second work of grace
were invited to sit in this conclave, seeking a union of all. There was a church
in Arkansas called the Holiness Baptist Church, composed mostly of Baptists who
had been excommunicated on account of their holiness teachings. This people were
led by Rev. W. J. Walthall, of Texarkana. A correspondence was started with Rev.
Mr. Walthall, which resulted in the invitation of Rev. C. B. Jernigan to visit
their annual conclave, which met at Piney Grove church, near Prescott, Ark. This
body was so intensely congregational that there was no president, but a
moderator was elected after the convocation met, who held office only so long as
the convocation was in session. The subject of church union was discussed, and
most of the laity were enthusiastic for the union, but their leader demurred,
and the convocation refused to attempt a union unless the united church would
adopt immersion as the only mode of baptism. The Church of Christ baptized by
pouring only, while the Independent Holiness Church had no restricted mode of
baptism. The Holiness Baptists refused to enter the union unless immersion only
was the order of the church. This kept the Holiness Baptist Church out of the
union as a body, but many of the laity and some of their preachers came into the
united church, among whom were Rev. F. H. Morgan, who afterward became District
Superintendent of the Eastern Oklahoma District, Rev. Frank Daniel, Rev. E. A.
Snell, and Rev. Mrs. Dora Rice.
22, 1904, the Church of Christ met in their third annual session at Rising Star,
Texas, and with them these respective delegates. The council voted to elect a
joint committee to frame a manual and statement of doctrine, and basis of union.
This joint committee recommended the name, Holiness Church of Christ, which
virtually took in the names of the uniting bodies, combining them into one. This
committee made its final report to a joint session of all churches and holiness
people, who met in the first general council at Pilot Point, Texas, November
7–12, 1905. Legal delegates from these several bodies met and fully
consummated the union under the name of the Holiness Church of Christ. Rev. R.
M. Guy was elected president of the general council.
were three annual councils organized: Western Texas; Eastern Texas, covering all
east of Fort Worth, Texas, and all of Oklahoma; and the Arkansas council,
composed of Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi. There were about one
hundred local church organizations in this union at this time.
first general council of the Holiness Church of Christ met the next fall at
Texarkana, Texas-Ark. At this council a letter was read from Rev. C. W. Ruth,
telling of the proposed union of the Association of Pentecostal Churches of
America, with the Church of the Nazarene, which were called to meet in April,
1906, at Brooklyn, N. Y., and asking that we elect delegates to that meeting and
seek union with them. This proposition was met with enthusiasm, and three
delegates were elected, as follows: Rev. R. M. Guy, Rev. J. B. Chapman, and Rev.
C. B. Jernigan. The distance was so great and no funds were provided for
carfare, and none of the delegates attended.
correspondence between C. W. Ruth and C. B. Jernigan finally resulted in seven
persons attending the First General Assembly of the Pentecostal Church of the
Nazarene, where the Association of Pentecostal Churches, and the Church of the
Nazarene united. The seven persons were Rev. J. P. Roberts, Rev. J. D. Scott,
Rev. J. N. Speakes, Rev. S. M. Stafford, Rev. C. B. Jernigan, Rev. Mrs. E. J.
Sheeks, and one layman, T. J. Shingler. These were invited as honorary members
of the Manual Revision Committee, and all points of difference between the
Holiness Church of Christ, and the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene were
freely discussed and tentatively agreed upon union, subject to the action of the
different annual councils in the South.
unaccredited delegates returned home to arouse interest in the union of all
holiness churches. They invited the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene to hold a
General Assembly the next fall in the South. On their return home they stopped
off at the Arkansas annual council, then in session at Little Rock, and reported
what they had done, and the manuals of both churches were read and compared,
after which the council went on their knees in fervent prayer for divine
guidance, and as they prayed the glory fell on the entire congregation, and when
prayer was over the vote was taken and the council voted unanimously for union,
amid shouts of joy and old-time handshaking.
who had visited the Chicago Assembly went from Little Rock to the Eastern Texas
annual council, held at Oak Cliff (Dallas), Texas. Rev. H. D. Brown, who had
been invited to attend this council, explained the working of the Church of the
Nazarene and the great good of a great united body for holiness. A vote was
there taken looking toward union.
8, 1908, the General Assembly of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene convened
at Pilot Point, Texas, where the union was fully consummated, uniting the whole
Southland, from Boulder, Colo., to the Florida capes, having churches in almost
every state in the South, with the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene.
minutes of the General Assembly show that the South had ninety churches at the
time of the union, in the following states: Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana,
Missouri, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia. Seven
Districts were formed of the Southern States, as follows: Abilene District, Rev.
W. E. Fisher, Superintendent; Dallas District, Rev. J. D. Scott, Superintendent;
Arkansas-Missouri District, Rev. W. F. Dallas, Superintendent;
Kentucky-Tennessee District, Rev. C. A. Bromley, Superintendent; Alabama
District, Rev. R. M. Guy, Superintendent; Southeast District, Rev. H. H. Sumlin,
Superintendent; Oklahoma-Kansas District, Rev. C. B. Jernigan, Superintendent.