Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ

A Pentecostal denomination emphasizing apostolic doctrine and a holistic approach to Christian living.

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Pentecostal
Founded: 1957
Location: United States

The Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World-Wide, Inc., is an influential African-American Oneness Pentecostal denomination that was established in the 20th century. This religious movement has a rich history characterized by a deep commitment to the Pentecostal faith, a strong emphasis on community service, and a significant role in the civil rights movement.

The inception of the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ can be traced back to a significant event in 1957. A National Pentecostal Ministerial Conference was held in September at the Bible Way Church in Washington, DC. This conference, led by Smallwood E. Williams along with other notable figures such as John S. Beane, McKinley Williams, Winfield Showell, and James I. Clarke, sought to address certain mal-administrative practices and the need for a new form of leadership within the Pentecostal movement​​.

Historically, the church claims its roots can be traced back to the first century AD, in the upper room at Jerusalem, marking it as deeply rooted in the origins of the Christian church. The denomination’s formation was a direct response to dissatisfaction with the authoritarian leadership style within the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith (COOLJC). Under the leadership of Smallwood Edmond Williams, approximately 70 churches left COOLJC to form the Bible Way Church. This move was emblematic of a larger desire for a church governance model that better aligned with New Testament teachings as practiced by the Apostles​​.

The Bible Way Church’s beliefs are centered around key Pentecostal doctrines including the inspiration of the Bible as the word of God, salvation through Jesus Christ, the baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues, water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the premillennial second coming of Jesus Christ. Importantly, the church is non-Trinitarian, subscribing to the belief that there is only one person in God, Jesus Christ, contrary to the doctrine of the Trinity as established by the early ecumenical councils​​.

In 1997, the church experienced a significant schism over the succession of leadership following the death of founder Smallwood Edmond Williams. This division led to the formation of two separate organizations: one led by Huie L. Rogers based in Brooklyn, New York, and the International Bible Way Church of Jesus Christ led by Cornelius Showell in Washington, DC. Both factions hold annual general conferences and operate a publishing house in Washington, DC. Despite the split, both organizations continue to uphold the core beliefs and doctrines of the original church​​.

The International Bible Way Church of Jesus Christ, Inc., has since emerged as a vibrant and growing organization, with Chief Apostle Willie E. Rookard currently serving as the presiding bishop. This faction emphasizes the importance of strengthening and expanding the organization within the United States and internationally, promoting soul-winning as a biblical mandate​​.

Throughout its history, the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ has made significant contributions to the spiritual and social fabric of the African-American community. Its leaders have been pivotal in advocating for social justice and civil rights, reflecting the denomination’s broader commitment to embodying Christian principles in action.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *