Pillar of Fire Church

The Pillar of Fire Church (POF) is a Christian denomination headquartered in Denver, Colorado, with a congregation in Zarephath, New Jersey, and other locations worldwide.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Alma Bridwell White |url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9126064/Alma-Bridwell-White |quote=Née Mollie Alma Bridwell. American religious leader who was a founder and major moving force in the evangelical Pentecostal Union, which split from mainstream Methodism in the early 20th century. Alma Bridwell grew up in a dour family of little means. She studied at the Millersburg (Kentucky) Female College and in 1882 moved ... |publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica |date= |accessdate=2007-08-21 ] It was established by Bishop Alma White in 1901 in Denver, Colorado as the Pentecostal Union. She and her husband, Kent White, separated when he became part of the Azusa Street Revival of Pentecostalism. She also changed the name of the group to Pillar of Fire, to avoid any link to the Pentecostal movement. cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Bishop Alma White: Founder of Pillar of Fire Dies at 84 |url= |quote=Bound Brook, New Jersey, June 26, 1946 (Associated Press) Bishop Alma White, founder of the Pillar of Fire Church and author of thirty-five religious tracts and some 200 hymns, died here today at the headquarters of the religious group at near-by Zarephath. Her age was 84. |publisher=Associated Press |date=June 27, 1946 |accessdate=2007-08-21 ] Her marital separation, however, was later repudiated by the leadership of the Pillar of Fire.Fact|date=August 2008 Adherents were referred to as holy rollers, and "holy jumpers", because of their religious frenzy. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=How They Jump, Where They Jump, When They Jump, Why They Jump, and Who They Are |url= |quote= |publisher=New York Times |date=August 18, 1907 |accessdate=2007-08-21 ] [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Bound Brook Mob Raids Klan Meeting: Thousand Hostile Citizens Surround Church and Lock In 100 Holy Rollers. |url= |quote=Bound Brook, New Jersey, Wednesday, May 2, 1923, Until the arrival of eight State troopers to reinforce the local police here at 1 o'clock this morning about one hundred members of the Holy Rollers were locked up in their church, the Pillar of Fire, in Main Street, surrounded by a mob of nearly 1,000 hostile citizens, several hundred of whom broke up a meeting held by the Holy Rollers to organize a Klan here last night. |publisher=New York Times |date=May 2, 1923 |accessdate=2007-08-21 ] [cite book |last=Mitchinson |first=Cyril Edwin |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=The Babbitt Warren |year=1927 |publisher= |quote= | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=wIIa_yVC9KAC&q |isbn= ] [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Poor Aimee |url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,732031,00.html?promoid=googlep |quote=Worst of all, there came a rival female evangelist from New Jersey, a resolute woman with the mien of an inspired laundress—the Reverend "Bishop" Mrs. Mollie Alma White, founder and primate of the Pillar of Fire Church. Bishop White, who has thousands of disciples ("Holy Jumpers") in the British Isles, clearly regarded Mrs. McPherson as a poacher upon her preserves or worse. |publisher=Time (magazine) |date=Monday, October 22, 1928 |accessdate=2007-08-21 ]

The Pillar of Fire name comes from Exodus 13:21-22 which states: "By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a "pillar of fire" to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people."

The church's theological position is self described as Wesleyan-Arminian. [http://www.belleview-college.org/at/PillarofFireDoctrinalStatement.htm Pillar of Fire Church: Doctrinal Statement in Brief] , accessed August 31, 2006] There are, as of 2006, six congregations in the United States, two colleges, missions in six other countries, and three radio stations.

Beliefs

The central beliefs of the Pillar of Fire Church are as follows: Biblical inerrancy, Trinitarianism, the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, the consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit, the "universal depravity of the human race," the necessity of "repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ," belief in "justification by faith and in Christian perfection, or entire sanctification, as a second definite work of grace," the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, and premillennialism. [cite web |url=http://www.pillar.org/what_we_believe.shtml |title=Pillar of Fire: What We Believe. |accessdate=2008-04-14 |quote= |publisher=Pillar of Fire Church ]

Radio stations

*KPOF in Westminster, Colorado [ [http://www.am91.org/about/history.shtml AM91 & Castle History] , accessed September 1, 2006 - "KPOF is the oldest station of the Pillar of Fire Network, which is the oldest network of Christian Stations in the World."]
*WAWZ in Zarephath, New Jersey [ [http://www.star991fm.com/star_jobs.html Star 99.1 Jobs] , accessed September 1, 2006 - "STAR 99.1 is a radio-ministry of Pillar of Fire"]
*WAKW in Cincinnati, Ohio [ [http://www.wakw.com/ 93.3 Cincinnati Ohio Christian Radio] , accessed September 1, 2006 - "93.3 WAKW is a service of Pillar of Fire, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization"]

chools

Primary and secondary

* Alma Heights Christian Academy, Pacifica, California [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Local Church and Partner in Ministry. |url=http://www.almaheights.org/about/ministry.htm#pillar |quote=Our school and church belong to a group of national and international ministries founded and directed by the Pillar of Fire, International. The Pillar of Fire provides us with oversight, advice, and material support, and gives us opportunities to participate in congregational, educational, media, and missions ministries around the world. |publisher=Pillar of Fire |date= |accessdate=2007-09-25 ]
* Eden Grove Academy, Cincinnati, Ohio [ [http://www.edengrove.com/overview.html An Overview of Eden Grove Academy School] , accessed August 30, 2006]
* Somerset Christian Academy, Zarephath, New Jersey [ [http://www.scacademy.org/about_sca_history.htm Somerset Christian Academy: History] , accessed August 30, 2006]
* Sycamore Grove School, Los Angeles, California [ [http://sgs-la.org/ Sycamore Grove School: A Ministry of the Pillar of Fire Church] , accessed August 30, 2006]

Colleges

* Alma White College, Zarephath, New Jersey (1917-1978) [http://www2.westminster-mo.edu/wc_users/homepages/staff/brownr/NewJerseyCC.htm Institutions that have closed, merged, or changed their names] , accessed September 3, 2006]
* Belleview College, Westminster, Colorado [ [http://www.belleview-college.org/bc/BCIntro.htm Introducing Belleview Christian College] , accessed August 30, 2006]
* Somerset Christian College, Zarephath, New Jersey [ [http://www.somerset.edu/about_us/history.htm Somerset Christian College: History] , accessed August 30, 2006]

Periodicals

*"Pillar of Fire"
*"The Dry Legion"
*"The Good Citizen"
*"Rocky Mountain Pillar of Fire"
*"London Pillar of Fire"
*"The British Sentinel"
*"The Occidental Pillar of Fire"
*"Woman's Chains"
*"Pillar of Fire Junior"

Leaders

*Alma Bridwell White (founder) 1901 to 1946, first General Superintendent
*Arthur Kent White (son of the founder) 1946 to 1981, second General Superintendent cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Bishop Arthur White, 92, Dies. Headed Pillar of Fire Church. |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE7D71739F93BA2575AC0A967948260 |quote= Bishop Arthur K. White, president and general superintendent of the Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, New Jersey, died Monday at his home in Zarephath. He was 92 years old. |publisher=New York Times |date=September 18, 1981 |accessdate=2007-07-21 ]
*Arlene Hart Lawrence (granddaughter of the founder) 1981 to 1984, third General Superintendent
*Donald Justin Wolfram (great-nephew of the founder) 1984 to 2000, fourth General Superintendent cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Donald Wolfram moved souls during street services |url=http://www.belleview-college.org/at/DJWMinistry/DenverPostObit.html |quote=Donald Wolfram, who was an early participant in religious street meetings in Lower Downtown Denver, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. Wolfram, 83, was a lifelong member of the Pillar of Fire Church, and as a young man, he joined other members for religious meetings in downtown Denver. The meetings resembled those of the Salvation Army, with a band and speaker. Wolfram usually played the trumpet or trombone, said his daughter, Suzanne Wolfram. Eventually, he learned to play about a ... |publisher=Denver Post |date= |accessdate=2007-07-21 ]
*Robert Barney Dallenbach (husband of granddaughter of the founder) 2000 to present, fifth General Superintendent cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Preacher, racer are two of a kind. Dallenbach brothers follow different roads that intersect with love. |url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=DP&p_theme=dp&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB1D1A24D5E1A01&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM |quote=It's quite a spin from Wally's life as a race-car driver to the Rev. Robert Dallenbach's small Pillar of Fire Church, where drinking, dancing and smoking are forbidden. While Wally directs Denver's Grand Prix races this August, his older brother likely will be a few blocks away, preaching at Alma Temple. The Reverend Bob wears a charcoal-gray suit and Roman collar. His 8-year-old, church-owned Ford station wagon bears license tag ... But things aren't always what they seem with the brothers Dallenbach ... |publisher=Denver Post |date=April 30, 1990 |accessdate=2007-07-21 ]

International missions

They include Liberia, started in 1941 by John Potee; [ [http://www.pillar.org/missions_liberia.shtml Pillar of Fire, International - Missions: Liberia] , accessed August 30, 2006] India, started in 1985 by Joseph Raju. [ [http://www.pillar.org/missions_india.shtml Pillar of Fire, International - Missions: India] , accessed August 30, 2006] and Costa Rica, started by Pastor José Monge in 1998. [ [http://www.pilardefuego.org/quienes/quienes.htm Pilar de Fuego Costa Rica, Quienes Somos] , accessed September 15, 2006] Other missions include: Malawi, and Nigeria.

*The oldest of their missions is in London, England, established in 1904 by Alma White. The mission was set up as a Charitable Trust by Deed dated 19 September, 1992, and was registered as a charity in December 1992 (Charity No. 1015529). In response to a complaint received by the Charities Commission in 2002, an inquiry was held and the UK mission lost charitable status and was removed from the register on 16 January, 2003. [cite press release
title = Pillar of Fire, Registered Charity No. 1015529
publisher = Charities Commission
date = March 16, 2005
url = http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/investigations/inquiryreports/pillar.asp
accessdate = 2006-08-30
] [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=The Pillar of Fire Mission |url= |quote=London, England. Mrs. Alma White, president of the American organization 'The Pillar of Fire,' which aims at curbing present tendencies in women's dress, and supports a 'dry' program, recently opened her ... |publisher=Christian Science Monitor |date=May 21, 1920 |accessdate=2007-08-21 ]

*In 1996, Reverend Moses Peter K. Phiri, a native of Malawi who was raised as a Muslim, was ordained as a pastor by Bishop W. Konkel. The Pillar of Fire Church has 43 congregations in Malawi, with a total membership just short of 5,000 in 43 congregations. [ [http://www.pillar.org/missions_malawi.shtml Pillar of Fire, International - Missions: Malawi] , accessed September 1, 2006]

Timeline


*1862 Birth of Alma White as "Mollie Alma Bridwell" in Kinniconick, Kentucky
*1887 Marriage of Alma Bridwell to Kent White
*1896 Church established in Denver, Colorado [http://www.bethelcollege.edu/academics/library/Archives/reflections/v3n2p30_32.pdf#search=%22%22woman's%20chains%22%22 Book Review of Susie Cunningham Stanley's "Feminist Pillar of Fire: The Life of Alma White"] Bethel College (Indiana), accessed September 2, 2006]
*1901 Methodist Pentecostal Union Church dedicated in Denver, Colorado in December
*1902 Alma White ordained an Elder [ [http://www.alabaster-jars.com/timeline1900s.html Time Line 1900's] , accessed September 2, 2006]
*1904 "Pentecostal Union Herald" changed to "Pillar of Fire" [http://www.springsgov.com/pln/historic3/WalkingTour.ASP?WCI=CityHall&WCE=189&Click=Short Historic Downtown Colorado Springs] , accessed September 2, 2006]
*1905 (circa) Pillar of Fire separates from Methodist Episcopal Church
*1907 Creation of community at Zarephath, New Jersey
*1909 Alma White separates from husband after he converts to Pentecostalism [Robert McHenry; Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present]
*1917 Name of church officially changed to "Pillar of Fire"
*1917 Alma White College founded in Zarephath, New Jersey
*1918 Ordained as first woman bishop in the United States by William Godbey
*1920 Acquires Westminster University of Colorado property in Westminster, Colorado [http://www.ci.westminster.co.us/city/history/Princeton.htm Historic Westminster, Colorado: The Princeton of the West] , accessed September 2, 2006]
*1924 Publishes "Woman's Chains", which is in print until 1970
*1925 Westminster University renamed Belleview College and Preparatory School
*1928 KPOF radio station in Westminster, Colorado [ [http://www.ad-mkt-review.com/public_html/docs/fs046.html Denver Radio: 80 Years of Change] , accessed September 1, 2006 - "On March 9 [1928] , KPOF went on the air and was owned by a religious movement called the Pillar of Fire.]
*1931 WAWZ radio station in Zarephath, New Jersey [ [http://www.angelfire.com/nj2/piratejim/njamhistory8.html New Jersey AM Radio History] , accessed September 1, 2006]
*1932 Church established in Morrison, Colorado [ [http://town.morrison.co.us/history/buildings/Church.php The Town of Morrison, Colorado: Pillar of Fire Church] , accessed September 2, 2006]
*1936 Property estimated at $US 4M with 4,000 adherents in 46 congregations [Robert McHenry; [http://books.google.com/books?id=X--YYVOIuAQC&pg=PP1&dq Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Colonial Times to the Present] ]
*1946 Death of Alma White on June 26th [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Fundamentalist Pillar. |url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,778753,00.html |quote= [She] built a sect called Pillar of Fire — with 4,000 followers, 61 churches, seven schools, ten periodicals and two broadcasting stations. Last week, as it must even to 'the only woman bishop in the world,' Death came to the Pillar of Fire's 84-year-old founder. |publisher=Time (magazine) |date=July 8, 1946 |accessdate=2007-09-25 ]
*1946 Death of Ray Bridwell White on November 5th [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Ray Bridwell White; Pillar of Fire Church Leader, Son of Late Bishop, Dies. |url= |quote= |publisher=New York Times |date=November 6, 1946 |accessdate=2007-08-21 ]
*1946 Arthur Kent White begins tenure as second General Superintendent
*1978 Alma White College closes
*1981 Arthur Kent White ends tenure
*1981 Arlene White begins tenure as third General Superintendent
*1984 Arlene White ends tenure
*1985 Donald Justin Wolfram begins tenure as fourth General Superintendent cite web |url=http://www.belleview-college.org/at/Sermons/djw/djw-obituary.html |title=Promoted to Glory: Donald Justin Wolfram, 83, Bishop |accessdate=2007-08-26 |quote=Dr. Donald J. Wolfram left this life on August 25, 2003, after a brief bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 83. He was immediate past president and general superintendent of the Pillar of Fire International Christian denomination, an office he held from 1985 through 2000. He was laid to rest at Belleview Cemetery, Westminster, Colorado, on the campus where he had labored so faithfully for the Lord. Dr. Wolfram was born November 13, 1919, at Zarephath, New Jersey, to Rev. Albert and Rev. Gertrude Metlen Wolfram, pioneer missionaries in the Pillar of Fire. He was ordained to the ministry at age 16, later was consecrated a bishop, and spent his life working for the cause of Christ and holiness of heart and life. |publisher=Belleview College ]
*2000 Donald Justin Wolfram ends tenure
*2000 Robert B. Dallenbach begins tenure as fifth General Superintendent
*2003 Donald Justin Wolfram dies on August 25th

References

Further reading

Books


*Cyril Edwin Mitchinson; The Babbitt Warren (1927)
*Charles Wright Ferguson; The New Books of Revelations: The Inside Story of America's Astounding Religious Cults (1929)
*Alma White's Evangelism Press Reports, compiled by C. R. Paige and C.K. Ingler (1939)
*Susie Cunningham Stanley; Feminist Pillar of Fire: The Life of Alma White; Cleveland, Ohio; The Pilgrim Press, (1993) ISBN 0-8298-0950-3
*Kristin E. Kandt; Historical Essay: In the Name of God; An American Story of Feminism, Racism, and Religious Intolerance: The Story of Alma Bridwell White, 8 Am. U. J. Gender, Soc. Pol. & L 753 (2000)
*Randall Balmer; Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism (2004) ISBN 1-932792-04-X

Periodicals


* New York Times; June 15, 1922; Letters to the Editor; p. 15. Letter from A. Stevens "May I suggest among the twelve greatest American women: Mother Lathrop of the Home for Sufferers and Bishop Alma White of the Pillar of Fire Church."
* New York Times; May 7, 1923; p. 15. "Armed Men Guard Services At Church: State Troopers at Pillar of Fire Temple While Bishop Alma White Preaches."
* New York Times; April 16, 1926; p. 21. "Woman Bishop Calls For Fashion Revolt: Head of Pillar of Fire Church, on Mission to England, Blames Men for 'Cruel' Styles."
* New York Times; August 25, 1928; p. 20. "Pillar of Fire Church in Camp."
* Chicago Tribune; October 10, 1928; p. 21. "Bishop Alma And Aimee May Do Some Spiritual Sparring"
* New York Times; August 16, 1930; p. 13. "Pillar of Fire Bishop Back."
* New York Times; August 24, 1936; p. 10. "Revival Sect Hails Depression As Boon: Pillar of Fire Group's Founder, 74, Reports Peak of Prosperity to 1,200 at Meeting."
* Time; November 22, 1937; [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,758421,00.html Legalists & Charismatics.] "A woman, Mrs. Alma White, is bishop of the pentecostal Pillar of Fire church, in Zarephath, New Jersey"
* Time magazine; December 18, 1939; [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,763099,00.html?iid=chix-sphere Bishop v. Drink.] "'We've been over to Alma Temple and signed the pledge and joined the Dry Legion Crusaders. We shall never drink a drop, and when we're old enough we are going to vote the wicked stuff out of existence.' Author of these plays, written for radio and church performance, and acted last week on the platform in a church in Boulder, Colorado, was a masterful, mannish-voiced gynotheocrat, Bishop Alma White, 77."
* New York Times; August 23, 1950; p. 33. "2,000 Revivalists Gather in New Jersey As Pillar of Fire Meeting Nears Climax."
* New York Times; August 24, 1975; p. 60. "Faithful Savor Rural Life"

External links

*Britannica|9126064|Alma Bridwell White
* [http://richard.arthur.norton.googlepages.com/almawhitebibliography Pillar of Fire bibliography]
* [http://www.pillar.org/index.html Official website]
* [http://www.belleview-college.org Belleview College]


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