2IntroductionOne day a cousin of mine invited me to attend Mount Airy Church of God in Christ
(COGIC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a special ―Holy Ghost Revival.‖ The guest
evangelist was the acclaimed pastor and televangelist Bishop Noel Jones, Senior Pastor of Cityof Refuge Church of Gardena, California. Having heard and benefited richly from the preaching
of Bishop Jones, I accepted my cousin‘s invitation. The sanctuary
was packed to the rafters forthis holy occasion. The Mount Airy COGIC Mass Choir sang the praises of God. Voices filledthe sanctuary as the Bishop Ernest C. Morris, Sr., Senior Pastor of Mount Airy COGIC, ledBishop Jones to sit in the pulpit. After Bishop Morris introduced the speaker of the hour and theselection from the choir, Bishop Jones rose to his feet to stand behind the sacred desk. With akeen intellect and passionate love for the Christian Scriptures, Jones preached a powerful sermonthat
set the whole house on fire!
One of the most amazing things about that evening was the theological diversitypresented within the sanctuary. Many came from around the city to hear Bishop Jones preach.Pentecostals, Apostolics, Baptists, Methodists, and non-denominational Christians filled Mount
Airy‘s sanctuary to hear the Word of God. The question of each others‘ theological orthodoxies
was tabled. Each member of these traditions left the sanctuary with their convictions regardingthe nature of God unchallenged.
The question of one‘s theologic
al orthodoxies was set on thetable. On that fall evening, every one of us, children of the African Diaspora, came to be blessedby the presence of the Spirit through the preaching of his brother.
which was set onthe table that evening is for many Christians, both Oneness and Pentecostal, is the central
which caused the whole Pentecostal movement to split nearly a century ago,
Race also posed a central theological problem for Pentecostals, as it did for all Christians living in theUnited States in the turn of the twentieth century.