Bishop Nathaniel Roach and Bishop Patrick Frazier
Most Pentecostal, Charismatic and Evangelistic denominations trace their origin to the Azusa Street Revival Movement that took place at the turn of the previous century (1906) on the west coast in Los Angeles under the leadership of William Joseph Seymour. However, history reveals that there was a tongue talking movement with an emphasis on “holy living” that got its start almost ten years earlier on the east coast.
In 1897, William Edward Fuller, Sr. experienced the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, in South Carolina and the following year he organized the Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas. “Bishop Fuller, Sr. was apart of a group early holiness personalties that included the likes of G. B. Cashwell, Benjamin H. Irvin and A. S. King that brought the fire of the Holy Ghost experience to the southeastern region of the United States toward the close of the 19th century” reports William Edward Fuller, III, grandson of Bishop Fuller, Sr.
Last week, this 100-plus year old pioneering holiness church organization, now under the leadership of Bishop Patrick Frazier, met in Greenville, South Carolina in their annual Leadership Retreat to discuss how they might re-tool the church for the future. Bishop Frazier, who assumed leadership, along with Bishop Nathaniel Roach, after the death of Bishop William Edward Fuller, Jr., the son of the founder who led the church from 1958 to 2008, held a series of sessions, classes and workshops for the elders, pastors and denominational leaders of the church on the campus of the Fuller Normal Industrial Institute in Greenville, SC.
“We have to get ready for the future by getting back to God and teaching our members the importance of living “Fire Baptized” said Bishop Frazier in one of the several sessions of the retreat. The week-long event included a focus on repentance, evangelism, systematic Bible reading and teaching. “Over the next 5 to 7 years we are going to become a teaching church with expanded tenants to help people understand who and what we are” announced an enthusiastic Bishop Fraizer.
The Fire Baptized Church has long held a reputation for being a disciplined church with a strong moral covenant and emphasis upon living holy. The denomination stands squarely in the Wesleyan tradition of Christian Perfectionism and Entire Sanctification. The church is seeking to expand its borders and territories, while maintaining their commitment to holiness principles and doctrines.
Get ready, there is a new wind blowing in the body of Christ and it is the fresh wind of the Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas.
* Bishop Andy C. Lewter is the grandson of Bishop William E. Fuller, discussed in this article