Since the world began. religions have been a controversial issue all over the world. I am going to use the wonderful experiences that I had this summer while visiting the churches to compare and contrast the connections between the Pentecostal Greater Temple Church doctrine and the doctrine of my church‘ the nondenominational Times Square Church. I will show similarities between the ministries and compare the congregation doctrine and behaviors between the two churches and will describe my lifetime experience being a Christian.
Visiting different churches during this summer was a wonderful lifetime experience. It is hard to understand why there are so many different practices between the different denominations. We all worship one God in our own distinguished way I visited many churches in the past: among those I visited were the Pentecostal and non-denominational churches which interest me because of their faith in the power of the Holy Ghost, their practice of speaking in tongues and their ability to prophesy which separates them from other religions.
Among the many churches I visited during class, the Greater Refuge Temple caught my attention the most. The Church is a Pentecostal Church, operated as a member of the international organization: Church of Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. Inc. It was founded in 1919 by Robert C. Lawson. Lawson, a very dedicated man, was called to ministry in 1914 and later started evangelizing. In 1914. Lawson’s life changed when he accepted the Lord and was baptized and received the Holy Ghost. According to the history of Greater Refuge Temple, “A supernatural event took place in his life, namely the miraculous healing of his body from Consumption.
This occurrence was stamped indelibly upon him and placed a major part in shaping of his inspired faith healing ministry.” Lawson went to many places to preach the word of God and received many honors for his humanitarian works and scholastic achievement. He died in July 1961 and was replaced by Bishop Bonner.
The History of the Greater Refuge Temple stated that, Bishop Bonner, “Upon arriving and seeing the need. he set about the remodeling of Refuge Temple.” In 1961, the church was remodeled by Bishop Bonner who changed the name of the church to Greater Refuge Temple. It is a modern edifice located at 7m Avenue in Harlem with a seating capacity of three thousand and containing thirty-six other rooms for conferences and meetings. The History of the Greater Refuge Temple article stated that the church was rooted in American Pentecostalism. His doctrine is a reflection of the holiness movement of 18005. Many people who are unfamiliar to Pentecostal worship do not understand why they worship the way they do. Pentecostals worships under the direction of the Holy Spirit. They lift their voices and raise their hands in praise to show honor and respect to God.
In the block above are a few biblical references to as to why Pentecostals conducts their church services the way they do. The Greater Refuge Temple has a very conservative dress code, such as wearing hats and prayer veils. In prayer and worship, women are required to cover their heads. Women are not allowed in church without a hat on whether or not services were being conducted Bishop Lawson stated, “The head covering is a symbol of the sister’s submission to their head and to God, which demonstrates a women’s place in ecclesiastical authority.” For women. pants are not allowed they are very strict concerning the New Testament interpretation concerning divorce and remarriage. Also, women’s ordination and pastorship are not allowed unlike other churches, most of the congregation of Greater Refuge Temple is filled with the Holy Ghost who speaks in tongues.
A few members of the congregation were running up and down the aisle of the church which created lots of distraction to people unfamiliar with the Pentecostal practices. Some churches are more reserved because they believe people are not supposed to be distracted during services. For them, distraction creates a total disconnection from the Holy Spirit. While I am used to more reservations while in church, I had an interesting experience at Greater Refuge Temple church. People were allowed to clap. shout and dance before the Lord which is uncommon for other churches I knew for sure that I was sitting in a Pentecostal church where the manifestation of the Holy Spirit flowed. Although I like the church and while I believe that, with time, I could block out the noise and focus on worship, their rules are too strict. In addition, I like their way of testifying during the first portion of worship people were moved by the Holy Spirit during the church services.
Elder Steven’s sermon was interesting because he not only preached about the church but he also encouraged us to let the glory of God return into the temple. He said the Glory of God is completely gone because of distrust or other things, such as jealousy among pastors and bishops. Jealousy became a common refrain that morning. Elder Steven stated that, “If everybody does what they are supposed to do, the glory of God will fill the house.” We need to know for sure that jealousy is not a good thing. “Too much jealousy in the house of God is causing the anointing to leave the church,” Jealousy is not only in the house of the Lord. it is everywhere. We need to change moreover Greater Refuge Temple is an aweII-organized church it includes the Chief Apostle, the Presiding Apostle, the Board of Apostles, the Board of Bishops, and the Board of Presbyters the Executive Secretary, and General Council.
The staff is composed of Apostle James I. Clark, Jr.. who has served as senior pastor for 37 years Elder Charles E. Wright, Sr. is the Dean of the Greater Temple Church College. Elder William Wilkins, Jr., served in different ministries such as Sound Engineer for The Broadcast Ministry. The Youth Council Vice President and President of the choir is also Youth Minister. In addition, there are 15 local licensed Ministers and 13 ordained Elders. The Church also has a women‘s council, which established the International Congress and music department. Because women are not ordained. they become licensed and serve in the missionary field organization and International Missionary department. Their congregations are expanded in West Africa, Mexico, Canada, the British West Indies, the Dominican Republic England Haiti, and the Philippines Unlike the Greater Refuge Temple Times Square Church is not a conservative church.
It is non-denominational with a large congregation of more than 8.000 people. There is no rule restricting women‘s attire. In Times Square Church, during the services, people are allowed to sit or stand on their feet whenever they want to. The Greater Refuge temple offering is not the same as the Times Square Church. While the offering is done once in Times Square Church. the Greater Refuge Temple has done their offering three times which is too much. Worship in Times Square Church is a phenomenon Everyone in the congregation participates in worship. We worship because the God who saves us is worthy to be praised. He never fails us because he dwells in us. They also speak in tongues and believe in the manifestation of the Holy Spirit Unlike the Greater Refuge Temple, there is no running inside the church. In Times Square Church, people remain on their seats and quietly communicate with the Holy Spirit and their heavenly father without any disturbance.
Times Square Church is my church. The history of Times Square article stated that the Church was founded by the Reverend David Wilkerson in 1987. He was a Pentecostal preacher from the Pennsylvania mountain Village and was known as the founder of an international drug rehabilitation program called Teen Challenge which has centers in 82 countries. The location of church was a neighborhood that houses all kinds of illegal activities such as drugs, prostitution, movies, etc. The pastor‘s dream was to open a church in order to change the appearance of the neighborhood. At first, it was a movie theater built in 1930; which was purchased in 1991 and now considered a landmarked Church. It is an international church where people of nearly every race, culture and social economic background gather to worship every week. The Times Square Church has single mothers, Wall Street bankers, teenagers, actors, taxi drivers lawyers, doctors, teaches, models, construction workers, homeless people, nurses, sanitation workers, and college students each involved in at least one of the 40 ministries at Times Square Church.
The Times Square Church ministries range from feeding the homeless in New York City to staffing an orphanage in South Africa. The Times Square Church has 1Day Missions trips in New York City to share the love of God through one-on-one evangelism and feeding the poor. The Brick Think Missions build shelters for those in need around the world. ChildCry is for children who are on the street without parents or guardians to provide for their needs. OnCaII IS made up of medical professionals OnCaII Medicine with a Mission: it is a ministry dedicated to bringing in free medical care for those who need it the most. The Times Square Church mission is to give their services to the poor, the hungry, the destitute, and the addicted. Pastor Wilkerson opened the church because he thought that the people were spiritually and physically dead. There were pimps and crack dealers all over Times Square at that time. Pastor Wilkerson stated, “It is the Holy Ghost who has transformed Times Square Church into a mission-focused church. now taking the gospel to nations worldwide.
The people. who participated in outreaches to the poor, the sick, and elderly in New York City, call Times Square Church their home. They also travel sharing the love of Christ in Humanitarian and medical outreach to the poorest of the poor from Argentina to Zambia. Pastor Conlon, an evangelical pastor from eastern Canada, and is the senior pastor. His wife is also a pastor of the Times Square Church She is an associate Pastor at Time Square and the Director of Friday Night Bible School and oversees over the women Ministry. Pastor Pierre also an associate pastor is in charge of the youth, and young adults‘ ministries Pastor William Carol and Pastor Benjamin Crandall are also associate pastors Pastor Crandall oversees the Senior Ministry. In addition, the Church receives visiting ministers and missionaries from all over the world who come to preach the Word of God.
There are three services on Sunday and a similar service on Tuesday in which people receive communion each month. The sermons are translated into many different languages for people who are not able to understand the sermon in English. Prayer meetings are always held on Thursdays and during preaching ministries. They also have Bible studies for new believers and other people from the congregation every Friday. It is a big organization with different ministries for people to participate. These ministries allow members of the congregation to connect with one another without the feeling of being a stranger to the church. When I accepted the Lord in my life. I was already married and I had two children at that time. I used to have a lot of difficulties in my marriage. I prayed for God to show me the way and then, I had a dream. In the dream, I saw that I was dressed in white and I was walking toward a mountain with other people to pray.
I did not understand the dream. The morning after, I was visited by a friend and I started to explain the dream to her. It was a shocking experience when she started to talk to me about the mountain which is really located somewhere in the South side of Port-Au-Prince the Capital of Haiti. Together we had a plan to visit them on the next coming Saturday because they have a Pentecostal Chapel which she told me was open every day for people who need prayer. We went to the mountain the next Saturday but I returned along during the week and I gave my life to the Lord during the summer or 1980, I did not know how to address God then, but, by hearing other people praying I learned how to pray and my life was changed for the better. I became a member of the Times Square Church a few years ago.
Since I was converted in a Pentecostal Church. I have always had an interest in the Pentecostal doctrine I never had a problem with their dress code until I joined Times Square Church which doesn‘t have any guidelines about women attire. They believe that if the church has a dress code, people wouldn’t be coming to church regularly. As a Christian, I believe that there is no better religion. Like it or not we all are serving one God, the God who will never forsake his children. When I came to New York. I was going to a Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn I moved to Queens and was introduced to the Times Square Church which became my church until now I like the church because the people are very nice. They receive with open arms people of different cultures from all over the world. It is a mixture of races without prejudice. In Times Square Church, we all are like a family. We are African American. white American European. Indian, Spanish African and Chinese among others.
It is a melted pot. In addition. everybody is welcome to worship and praise the Lord no matter their denomination I enjoyed being in this class it was an opportunity for me to explore and be familiar with other religions I had a wonderful experience during my Visit to these churches. l have the opportunity to appreciate and accept every denomination‘s belief I respect their doctrines. Through this experience, I found that we all have something in common because we are worshiping one God. Also, this opportunity allowed me to appreciate the work the churches are doing to feed the less fortunate around the world physically and spiritually it is for the love of God.