The PILLAR OF FIRE INTERNATIONAL is a
* 1 History * 2 Beliefs
* 3 Continued work of the Pillar of Fire
* 3.1 United States congregations * 3.2 Zarephath Health Center * 3.3 International missions
* 4 Schools
* 4.1 Primary and secondary * 4.2 Colleges
* 5 Media
* 5.1 Radio stations * 5.2 Discontinued periodicals
* 6 Notable members
* 6.1 General superintendents * 6.2 Other leaders and notable members
* 7 Ku Klux Klan, historical intolerant ideologies, and Ku Klux Klan repudiation * 8 Timeline * 9 In popular culture * 10 See also * 11 References * 12 Further reading * 13 External links
In 1901, the Church was founded by
Alma Bridwell White in Denver,
Colorado . The Pillar of Fire was originally incorporated as the
Pentecostal Union, but changed its name to distance itself from
Pentecostalism in 1915. While the Pillar of Fire is
Following the death of the founder, under the leadership of her son, Arthur Kent White , the religious fervor declined and the emphasis on outreach evangelization and church planting ended; the organization branches in America fell from a high of around 52 to the current six.
Today the Pillar of Fire has branches in Zarephath, Denver,
The Pillar of Fire name comes from Book of 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 organization's theological position is self-described as Wesleyan –Arminian . The central beliefs of the Pillar of Fire are as follows: biblical inerrancy , Trinitarianism , the physical resurrection of Jesus , 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 dead , and premillennialism .
CONTINUED WORK OF THE PILLAR OF FIRE
The Pillar of Fire continues its work today working in three main areas: radio, education, and missions, both local and overseas.
UNITED STATES CONGREGATIONS
* Alma Temple ,
ZAREPHATH HEALTH CENTER
The Zarephath Health Center was opened in 2003 and utilizes volunteer physicians, nurses and support people to meet the health care needs of the poor and uninsured on the campus at Zarephath, NJ. The Health Center sees 300–400 patients per month who otherwise would not be able to obtain affordable health care. Dr. Eck testified to the Joint Economic Committee on Health Insurance on April 28, 2004, to demonstrate the sustainability of this model.
There are missions in India, Costa Rica and Liberia as well as:
* The oldest of their missions was in Hendon London, England , and was established in 1904 by Alma White. The mission organized a Charitable Trust on 19 September 1992, and was registered as a charity in December 1992 (Charity No. 1015529). In response to a complaint received by the Charity Commission in 2002, an inquiry was held, the charitable trust dissolved and transferred its assets to the U.S. organization, and the charitable trust was removed from the registry as it had ceased to exist. One of the stated aims of this mission was to evangelize the local Jewish population in the vicinity of the mission. Ironically, after the mission was sold, the property became a kosher boutique hotel in 2010. * Reverend Smallridge was given permission to start a Pillar of Fire Church in Nigeria in 1974. * The Pillar of Fire was established in Malawi in 1984 by Reverend Moses Peter K. Phiri.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
* Alma Heights
Alma White College
* Pillar of Fire * Pillar Magazine * 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 * Pillar of Fire Bay Chronicle * The Alma White Evangel
* Alma Bridwell White (1862–1946), the founder and first general superintendent from 1901 to 1946. * Arthur Kent White (son of the founder) 1946 to 1981, second general superintendent. * 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. * Robert Barney Dallenbach (born 1927), husband of granddaughter of the founder, 2000 to 2008, fifth general superintendent. * Joseph Gross , 2008 to present, sixth general superintendent.
OTHER LEADERS AND NOTABLE MEMBERS
* Reverend Robert K. Cruver, Jr.
* Bishop William Cruver
* Reverend Pauline White Dallenbach
* Reverend Thomas A. Goode, he sued the church in 1920 saying the
church "had alienated the affections of his wife and defrauded him of
* Bishop Wilber Konkel
* Bishop E. Jerry Lawrence
* Bishop A. R. Stewart
* Reverend Johannes Maas, ordained by Bishop Arthur White in 1956,
international president, Worldwide Faith Missions
Kathleen Merrell White
Gertrude Metlen Wolfram (1888–1959) was the dean of
Alma White College
KU KLUX KLAN, HISTORICAL INTOLERANT IDEOLOGIES, AND KU KLUX KLAN REPUDIATION
Klanswomen gather on August 31, 1929 in front of Assembly Hall, Zarephath, New Jersey, for "Patriotic Day" during annual Camp Meeting. The Good Citizen , July 1926 Branford Clarke illustration in The Ku Klux Klan In Prophecy
In the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, the Pillar of Fire Church was vocal in its support of the Ku Klux Klan , to an extent which was unique for a religious denomination. Alma White spoke and wrote prolifically of her and the Pillar of Fire Church's support for the Klan and many of the Klan's principles including anti-Catholicism , white supremacy , antisemitism , nativism , and temperance. In 1943, shortly before her death, she and the Pillar of Fire Church significantly but not completely distanced themselves from the then discredited and nearly bankrupt Klan organization, while continuing to promote many of the Klan's intolerant principles. In a 1920s sermon she republished in 1943 she said
We have no connection with the Klan organization. We endorse them in the principles for which they stand. However there is no room in our hearts for racial prejudice.
Yet White and the Pillar of Fire advocated for white supremacy in the same 1943 book-set which asserted distaste for racial prejudice. In her chapter titled "White Supremacy" she wrote
The slaveholder, in many instances, was as much to be pitied as the slaves. He, too, was a victim of the system.....Where the slaves were well treated they were happy and contented...But some radicals could never see this side of the question. They dwelt continually on the cruelties of a few hard taskmasters and ignored the good people who had the welfare of their dependants at heart. No matter what the better class of slave owners might do, they had to bear the stigma of cruelty with the worst of tyrants.....Where property rights are involved, supported by the government, the only safe and sane way to make wrongs right is by cool-headed procedure.
She also said to the New Brunswick Daily Home News,
"My people are not members of the Klan, but we agree with some of the things that they stand for to assert our American right of free speech. We have always stood for one hundred percent Americanism and so does the Klan, so naturally we agree there."
Yet the Pillar of Fire's pulpit and the Pillar of Fire's printing operation were used extensively to advocate for many of the most intolerant of Klan values. In 1922 Bishop Alma White preached a sermon promoting the Klan at the Pillar of Fire Church in Brooklyn, New York (which coincidentally was incinerated by the 1960 New York air disaster ) and published that sermon in The Good Citizen. The speech was titled " Ku Klux Klan and Woman's Causes" and one section was subtitled "White Supremacy."
The Klansmen stand for the supremacy of the white race, which is perfectly legitimate and in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Writ, and anything that has been decreed by the Almighty should not work a hardship on the colored race...It is within the rights of civilization for the white race to hold the supremacy; and no injustice to the colored man to stay in the environment where he was placed by the Creator.... When the black man was liberated it was time for women to be enfranchised, without which the colored man with his newly-acquired rank became her political master. ...The white women bore the sting of humiliation for more than half a century in being placed in an inferior position to the black men in the use of the ballot and the rights of citizenship... To whom shall we look to champion the cause and to protect the rights of women? Is there not evidence that the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan are the prophets of a new and better age?
The Pillar of Fire Church strongly argued against social and political equality for Blacks and advocated for racial segration and repeal of the fifteenth amendment . The Pillar allowed the Klan to hold meetings or cross burnings on at least several of the church's numerous properties including numerous documented Klan gatherings in Zarephath, New Jersey; Brooklyn, New York ; Bound Brook, New Jersey ; Longmont, Colorado ; and Westminster, Colorado. White participated directly in many of these meetings. During this time, the Pillar of Fire Church published The Good Citizen , a monthly 16 page political magazine and three books, The Ku Klux Klan In Prophecy , Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty , and Heroes of the Fiery Cross , all of which heavily promoted the Klan and its agenda from 1921 until 1933. Ideologically, in these publications, the Pillar of Fire Church promoted anti-Catholicism, antisemitism, nativism, and white supremacy, all primarily under the guise of patriotism.
The organization has since repudiated its historical relationship with the KKK at its website in 2009:
Much talk has also arisen over her brief but significant association with the KKK, which has also been publicly condemned and repented of by the POF leadership with a request for full forgiveness. Despite these and other errors in its history, the Lord in His grace and mercy has chosen to bless the ministry.
And in the local paper in 1997:
We regret, repudiate and repent, and ask for full forgiveness for
anything in our past that is short of
While the Pillar of Fire's repudiation characterized its association with the Klan as brief, it continued for at least several decades to promote its ideologies of intolerance for religious and racial minorities and of equality for white Protestant women. In 1943, 22 years after the church began publicly working with the Klan, it republished Alma White's pro-KKK books as a three-volume set under the title Guardians of Liberty , reaffirming its positions in support of anti-Semitism, white supremacy, nativism and most notably, anti-Catholicism. Volumes II and III of Guardians had introductions by Arthur White , affirming his support for his mother's intolerant ideologies, primarily but not exclusively in regard to anti-Catholicism. After his mother died in 1946, he was the Pillar of Fire's general superintendent until 1981.
* 1862 Birth of
Alma White as "Mollie Alma Bridwell" in Kinniconick,
* 1887 Marriage of Alma Bridwell to Kent White
* 1896 Church established in
* 1907 Creation of community at
Zarephath, New Jersey
Alma White separates from husband after he converts to
* 1913 Begins publishing The Good Citizen, which is in print until
* 1915 Publishes "Why I do not eat meat"
* 1917 Name of church officially changed to "Pillar of Fire"
Alma White College
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Alma White, the Pillar of Fire, and their association with the Klan are dramatized in Libba Bray 's New York Times best-selling 2012 murder mystery The Diviners , in a chapter titled " The Good Citizen ." The Diviners is being made into a feature film by Paramount Pictures.
* Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey
* ^ A B "Pillar of Fire International". Pillar of Fire International. Retrieved 2017-01-19. * ^ A B C D E F G "Bishop Alma White, Preacher, Author. Founder Of Pillar Of Fire Dies At 84. Established Several Schools and Colleges". New York Times . Associated Press . June 27, 1946. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 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. * ^ A B "Alma Bridwell White". Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 2007-08-21. 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 ... * ^ "\'Holy Jumpers\' An Old Religion Headed By A Woman. Something About This Curious Sect Which Lillian Allen Crossed the Sea to Join and Was Stopped by Immigration Authorities". The New York Times . December 11, 1910. Retrieved 2009-12-16. When Lillian Alien, the English girl, was halted by the immigration authorities last week at the cabled request of her well-to-do father, it was disclosed that she had come here to join a religious sect called the "Pillar of Fire," or the "Holy Jumpers." * ^ "How They Jump, Where They Jump, When They Jump, Why They Jump, and Who They Are". The New York Times . August 18, 1907. Retrieved 2007-08-21. Hidden on a little New Jersey farm, a community of sixty persons, one-half of them children, are trying to vitalize a complete reaction against money greed, hypocrisy, and the present-day Christian Church and to keep it alive by religious hysteria. * ^ A B "Bound Brook Mob Raids Klan Meeting: Thousand Hostile Citizens Surround Church and Lock In 100 Holy Rollers". The New York Times . May 2, 1923. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 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.
* ^ Mitchinson, Cyril Edwin (1927). The Babbitt Warren.
* ^ "Poor Aimee". Time . October 22, 1928. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
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.
* ^ Kristin E. Kandt (2000). "Historical Essay: In the Name of God;
An American Story of Feminism, Racism, and Religious Intolerance: The
Story of Alma Bridwell White". Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the
Law. 8: 753.
Alma White and the Pillar of Fire were unique, however,
in their public alliance with the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, the Pillar of
Fire was the only religious group to publicly associate itself with
* ^ Pillar of Fire Church: Doctrinal Statement in Brief, accessed
August 31, 2006
* ^ "Pillar of Fire: What We Believe.". Pillar of Fire Church.
Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved
* ^ Pillar.org
* ^ ZHcenter.org
* ^ AAPSonline.org
* ^ "Missions". Pillar of Fire Church. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
* ^ "Pillar of Fire, Registered Charity No. 1015529" (Press
release). Charities Commission. March 16, 2005. Archived from the
original on August 20, 2003. Retrieved 2006-08-30.
* ^ "The Pillar of Fire Mission".
* 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 * Blee, Kathleen M. (1991). Women of the Klan. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-07876-5 . * Randall Balmer; Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism (2004) ISBN 1-932792-04-X