Since the world began, religions have been a controversial issue all over the world lam 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. Visiting the 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 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 Holy Ghost’s power, their practice of speaking in another tongue and their ability to prophecy which separate 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 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 seats and 36 other rooms for conferences and meetings. The History of the Greater Refuge Temple article stated, the church “rooted” from American Pentecostalism. His doctrine is a reflection of the holiness movement of 18005. The Greater Refuge Temple has a very conservative dress code such as wearing hats and prayer veils.
For women, pants are not allowed. They are very strict with the New Testament interpretation concerning divorce and remarriage, Also, women’s ordination and pastorship are not allowed. Unlike other churches, most of the congregation is filled with the Holy Ghost and speaks in another tongue. Also, some of the congregation started running up and down the aisle of the church which created lots of distraction to people unfamiliar with the Pentecostal practices. However, some churches are more reserved because they believe people are not supposed to be distracted during services. For them, distraction created a total disconnection from the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, I had an interesting experience at Greater Refuge Temple church. People were allowed to clap, shout and dance before the Lord which is unlikely for a few other churches.
I knew for sure that l was sitting in a Pentecostal church where the manifestation of the Holy Spirit flowed. I was a little distracted at first but with some time I think I will be able to block any distraction that would hinder my full focus to the church service I like the church but their rule is too strict for me I like to dress freely. In addition I like their way of testifying during the first potion 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, etc. This was the second time that I learned about how jealousy is our worst enemy. Elder Steven stated that, “If everybody does what they are supposed to do, the glory of God will feel 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, our worst enemy is a lesson I learned for the day which will stay with me for a long period of time. Moreover. Greater Refuge Temple is a well—organized church. It includes the Chief Apostle, the presiding Apostle, the Board of Apostles, the Board of Bishops, the Board of Presbyters, the Executive Secretary, and the General Council. The staff is composed of Apostle James. 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., who served in different ministries such as Sound Engineer for The Broadcast Ministry. Youth Council Vice President. and President of the choir and Youth Minister, comprised 15 local licensed Ministers and 13 ordained Elders.
The Church also has a women’s councn which established the International Congress and music department. Because women are not ordained they become licensed and serve in missionary field organizations and the 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 a nondenominational church with a large congregation of more than 8,000 people. There is no rule restricting women’s attire 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 which has one offering in each one of the three services instead of three worship in Times Square Church is a phenomenon.
The leaders praise choirs and everybody in the congregation participates in worship, We worship because the God who save us is mighty to he praise. He never fails us because he dwells in our praises. They also speak in other tongue 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 call Teen Challenge with centers in 82 countries.
The location of the 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; it was purchased in 1991 and now considered a landmarked Church. It is an international church comprised of people of nearly every race, culture and social economic background gather to worship every week. THE Times Square Church have single mothers. Wall Street bankers. Teenagers actors taxi drivers, lawyers, doctors teaches model construction workers. homeless people, nurses. sanitation workers and college students involved in at least one of the 40 ministries at Times Square Church. The Times Square Church ministries are ranging from feeding the homeless in New York to staffing an orphanage in South Africa.
The Times Square Church mission is to give their services to the poor, the hungry, the destitute, and 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 that. ”It is the Holy Ghost who has transformed Times Square Church into a missionrfocused church, now taking the gospel to nations worldwide.” The Church has hundreds of people who participated in outreaches to the poor. the sick and elderly in New York and call Times Square Church their home. They also travel sharing the love of Christ in Humanitarian and medical outreach to the poorest and the poor from Argentina to Zambia. Pastor Conlon, an evangelic pastor from eastern Canada is the senior pastor with 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’s Ministry. Then Pastor Pierre also an associate pastor is in charge of the youth, and young adults‘ ministries. Then, Pastor William Carol and Pastor Benjamin Crandall also associate pastor. Pastor Crandall oversees the Senior Ministry. In addition, the Church received visiting ministries 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 received communion each month. Their sermons are translated to many different languages for people who are not able to understand the sermon in English. Prayer meetings are always held on Thursday and during preaching ministries.
They also have Bible studies for the new believers and other people from the congregation every Friday. It is a big organization with different ministries for people to participate. These ministries are good strategy which allowed members of the congregation to connect to one another without the filling of being a stranger to the church, As a Christian, I believed that there is no better religion. No doubt about the different religions, like it or not we all are serving one God, the God who will never forsake his children. for the better. When I came to New York, I was going to a Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn. I move to Queens and I was introduced to the Times Square Church which became my church until now. I like the church because the people are very nice people.
They received with open arms people of different cultures all over the world and nobody is better than anyone because we all are being considered as children of God. It is a mixture of race without prejudice. In Times Square Church, we all are like family. They are African American, white American, and 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 this was an opportunity for me to explore and be familiar with other religions. I had a wonderful experience during my visit to these churches I have the opportunity to appreciate and accept every denomination’s belief I respect their doctrine. 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.