The movement known as the Hebrew Pentecostals started in 1914 by Bishop R.A.R. Johnson, a former Methodist minister, in Beaufort South Carolina. Bishop Johnson, dissatisfied with the Methodist church and its lack of positive support for the Pentecostal experience which included tongues, the indwelling of the holy spirit, and the observance of the original seventh day Sabbath, left the Methodist church to form what was called the “ Commandment Keepers”. Through Bishop Johnson’s travelling ministry both nationally and internationally the church experienced rapid growth and quickly developed congregations on three continents. The group has been in existence and growing ever since then.
Bishop Johnson was succeeded by Bishop Aaron Smith, first Chief Apostle, who led the church from 1941 to 1049, followed by Bishop S.P. Rawlings, second Chief Apostle, who headed the church from 1950 to 1990. Under Bishop S.P. Rawlings the church saw significant changes including the adoption of the Jewish festival days, and the acceptance of an identity as “Hebrew Pentecostal”. Hebrew Pentecostals do not consider themselves a Christian group or a Jewish group; they associate themselves with both early Christianity and the faith of the early Hebrews. Bishop Rawlings felt that the churches observance of the Jewish law and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Messiah separated the organization from traditional Christian and Jewish theological positions. The term “Hebrew Pentecostal” provides a unique identifier which embodies the marriage of Judaism and Christianity.
Bishop S.P. Rawlings was succeeded by Bishop F.C. Scott, third Chief Apostle, who led the church from 1991 to 2005. Bishop Scott dedicated the current national Temple and oversaw paying it off. International presence increased greatly under his leadership and technological advancements were made in the church. Powers of the executive boards were refined and polices were updated. The honorable Bishop