One of the most significant figures in the rise and spread of the modern Pentecostal movement, Charles Harrison Mason was born September 8, 1866.
Along with his mother he attended the Mt. Olive Baptist Church near Plumerville where the pastor, Mason’s half-brother, the Reverend I.S. Nelson, baptized him in an atmosphere of praise and thankgiving. From that point in his life, Mason went throughout the area of southern Arkansas as a lay preacher, giving his testimony and working with souls on the mourners’ bench, especially during the summer camp meetings.
Mason was licensed and ordained in 1891 at Preston, Arkansas, but held back from full-time ministry to marry Alice Saxton, the beautiful daughter of his mother’s closest friend. To his greatest disappointment and distress, his wife bitterly opposed his ministerial plans. Alice divorced him after 2-years of marriage and later remarried. Mason refused to marry as long as Mrs. Alice Saxton-Mason lived.
Mason’s determination to get an education was a crucial turning point after his divorce. In November 1893, Mason entered Arkansas Baptist College, founded by Dr. E.C. Morris - pastor of Centennial Baptist Church at Helena, Arkansas, and president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
From 1896-99, the Holiness conventions, revivals, and periodicals inspired by Mason and Jones split the Baptists and, in a few cases, the Methodist churches, birthing the development of independent “sanctified” or “holiness” congregations and associations. Mason, Jones, and their colleagues were vehemently opposed and eventually expelled from Baptist churches via the National Baptist Convention.
Mason, while walking along a street in Little Rock, Arkansas, received the revelation of the name, Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) (1 Thess 2:14; 2 Thess 1:1). Thus in 1897, a major new black denomination was born. After days and nights of intensive debating over the Baptism of the Holy Ghost...