United Pentecostal Church History

The United Pentecostal Church is a fairly newer organization, established in the mid 1900s. In the forward of their manual, a little background is given which I will quote in part.

"During the last 21 days of the 19th century, a band of earnest, hungry-hearted ministers and Christian workers in Bethel Bible College, Topeka, Kansas, called a fast, praying earnestly for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which, to their joyful surprise, came upon them in the early hours of the morning on January 1, 1901. The people were heard speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance, just as it had happened on the day of Pentecost in the year 30 A.D. A great revival immediately broke forth, which soon reached to the State of Texas, and thence west to Los Angeles, where in the year 1906 it centered in an old building on Azusa Street......

"With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the word of the Lord became a new book. Truths which had been hidden for many years were made clear. In the year 1914 came the revelation on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The pivotal doctrines of the absolute deity of Jesus Christ and the baptism in his name became tenants of faith....

"The number of those who believed the full Pentecostal message grew rapidly, and soon it was realized that in order to properly reach the world with the great Gospel message, ...it was necessary to have a proper basis of cooperation and fellowship.

"During the early half of this century various groups were organized. Among them two of the major bodies known as The Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, Inc., and the Pentecostal Church, Inc., became so closely associated in doctrine and fellowship that in 1944 steps were taken to unite the two bodies into one organization known as the United Pentecostal Church."

Below are links which give the history of different aspects of the Pentecostal or Apostolic movements. It is interesting to learn that not all early Apostolics held to the same strict ideas over issues of salvation as currently expressed by the UPC, Worldwide Pentecostal Fellowship & some others.

Above, Loren Yadon delivers his "The Tragedy of War" sermon at the Landmark Conference in Stockton, California on January 25, 1993. Hear him share how things were when the two groups came together to form the UPC in 1945 and how some of the history isn't all shared now. He mentions books on Andrew Urshan being edited to remove certain information and shares that one minister, I assume L.E. Westberg, said that with the resolution he wanted to clean the heretics out of the movement. Yadon stated that intolerance had grown in the UPC. His words about the affirmation resolution start at around the 22 minute mark.

You may want to check out The Apostolic Archives International, the Historical Center of the Assemblies of God and the Society for Pentecostal Studies. Some may want to take advantage of this Kindle book that is only .99. This collection features the newsletters from William Seymour, The Azusa Papers, that were published during the Asuza Street revival from September 1906 through May of 1908.

1952 UPCI Manual

I acquired a copy of the 1952 Manual/Directory and share much of it on this site. View the list of ministers from 1952 here and a complete listing of United Pentecostal Churches here. A list of districts from 1952 are here and the Articles of Faith are here.

Thomas Fudge & Daniel Lewis

Thomas Fudge, former UPC member whose father still holds license in the UPC, has written a scholarly book about the history of the United Pentecostal Church which is sure to cause some shaking within the organization. Mr. Fudge interviewed over 200 people and thoroughly documents information concerning their history. One thing you rarely see mentioned is the fact that one of the two groups which formed the UPC was not as hard line in beliefs as the UPC is today. Some believed a person was saved when they came to God in repentance. This can be seen in the very first edition of their official publication, The Pentecostal Herald, where they invite differing articles on the "new birth." (See the UPC Beliefs page for an exact quote.)

Click here to order Mr. Fudge's book from Amazon.com. To view the first 25 pages of his book at no charge, click here. To view much more of his book on Google at no charge, click here.

Click here to read an article from a Canadian newspaper which describes the then forthcoming book. Click here to read an article written by Thomas Fudge concerning why he wrote the book. This page contains links to reviews and an interview.

Thomas Fudge released a second UPC related book in March 2014, Heretics and Politics: Theology, Power, and Perception in the Last Days of CBC (Conquerors Bible College). CBC closed abruptly in 1983. The UPC attributed the failure to financial causes. Fudge "argues that the financial crisis was rooted in theological controversy, church politics, conflicting models of education, and sustained suspicions of heresy." Former UPC minister Don Fisher is featured in the book as he was one of the presidents of the college.

You may read thoughts and opinions about the book from Joseph Howell, Dan Lewis, Tim Landry (all former UPC ministers) and others. Ronna Russell, one of Don Fisher's daughters, has shared her personal reflections in this blog.

You may read Daniel Lewis' book, The Journey Out of the United Pentecostal Church, referenced several times in Heretics & Politics, in PDF or Word formats. Much thanks to Dan Lewis for his permission to freely distribute the book on this website.

A series of lectures by Fudge on church history are available on YouTube below:

Below are links, favorable and unfavorable to UPC, Apostolic, Oneness, and general Pentecostal history.

Apostolic/Oneness History

General Pentecostal History

Spirit-Filled Women: Louisiana's United Pentecostal Church International And Modern American Culture - Dissertation by Glenda Bridges Mitchell The Consortium of Pentecostal Archives - The UPC participates.
Oneness Pentecostalism (PDF file)- Interfaith Evangelism Assessing the Roots of Pentecostalism- Randall J. Stephens
Oneness Pentecostalism- Watchman Expositor Pentecostalism- Gary E. Gilley
Dividing Over Oneness- Christianity Today The Restoration Vision in Pentecostalism (AOG)- D. William Faupel
History of Oneness Pentecostals- Ernie Sanchez A Gallery of Visionaries (Early Pentecostals)- Christianity Today
Oneness Pentecostalism- The Bereans The Silent Pentecostals (Latin History)- Christianity Today
Oneness History- The Apostolic Truth Ministries All Shook Up (Early Pentecostals)- Christianity Today
United Pentecostal Church International- Religious Movements Part VI- The Modern Age: Lesson #45- Pentecostalism- The Interactive Bible
A Brief History of the United Pentecostal Church- Mark Bassett Hell Hatched Free Lovism' (Evangelical reaction to Pentecostal movement)- Christianity Today
The Origin of Denominations (UPC)- Jack Thompson The Pentecostal Family (Has some UPC)- Religious Tolerance
P.A.W. History- Bishop Charles A. Sims Welcome to the History of the Pentecostal Church- Apostolic Truth Ministries
Rev. Albert Dewey Gurley and Mid-Southern Oneness Pentecostals- has many links to further info Azusa Street Timeline- Robert Longman, Jr.
The Merger- Stanley W. Chambers The Origins of the Pentecostal Movement- Vinson Synan, Ph.D.
Road to the Merger- J.L. Hall Brief History (Parham & Seymour)- E. Myron Noble
UPCI First General Board Picture The Revival Legacy of Charles F. Parham (PDF file)- Gary B. McGee
Early Pentecostals in St. Louis, Missouri- Part One- J.L. Hall Pentecostal Pioneers- Pentecostalpioneers.org
Early Pentecostals in St. Louis, Missouri- Part Two- J.L. Hall William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival- Gary B. McGee
PDF File- Early Oneness Pentecostalism, Garfield Thomas Haywood, And The Interracial Pentecostal Assemblies Of The World (1906-1931) by Talmadge Leon French (thesis) Pentecostalism- New Religious Movements
PDF Files- A number of old UPC/Apostolic official publications Slain By The Music by Larry Eskridge mentions that "Howard Goss recognized that Pentecostals were doing something very different with their music and that this fact was key to the movement's growth."
1970 Apostolic Bible Institute Yearbook The Holiness and Pentecostal Churches: Emerging from Cultural Isolationby Donald W. Dayton
1971 Apostolic Bible Institute Yearbook Charismatic And Mainline by John Dart shares some Charismatic history.
1975 Apostolic Bible Institute Yearbook The Holiness Churches: A Significant Ethical Traditionby Donald W. Dayton
1987 50 Year Apostolic Bible Institute Yearbook Azusa Street Revival by Edith Blumhofer shares that "adherents generally embrace a particular version of the revival's story and often engage parts of its legacy rather the whole."
1969 Conqueror's Bible College Yearbook Pentecostalism's Dark Side by Roger R. Olson discusses some problems that have plagued Pentecostlism.
1971 Conqueror's Bible College Yearbook "The miracle lady": Kathryn Kuhlman and the gentrification of charismatic Christianity in twentieth-century America by Amy Collier Artman
1972 Conqueror's Bible College Yearbook The Dubious Legacy of Charles Fox Parham: Racism and Cultural Insensitivities among Pentecostals by Allan Anderson
1975 Conqueror's Bible College Yearbook How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles by Frank Bartleman
1978 25th Anniversary Conqueror's Bible College Yearbook Cracked or Broken: Pentecostal Unity by Keith Warrington
Former UPC Minister Loren Yadon addresses Landmark Conference January 25, 1993 Reflections of a Pentecostalist on Aspects of BEM by Harold Hunter
ALJC 2015 Church & Ministers Directory
The New Prime Minister's Faith: A Look at Oneness Pentecostalism in Ethiopia by Jorg Haustein (contains much history)
Videos from a Jackson College of Ministries Reunion
Blog that covers old UPCI record albums
Part of Joseph H. Howell's dissertation, People Of The Name: Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States
The Winds of God by Ethel Goss (original unedited version)

Below are two videos of Talmadge French, a UPCI minister, speaking on the history of Oneness Pentecostalism.

Posted March 22, 2003 & Updated January 27, 2018


August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-present by Lois E. Gibson
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