Ambrose J Tomlinson, A Pentecostal
Note: A. J. Tomlinson was a founder of
the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). He was their general overseer
from 1909 to 1923.
awful war devil is still slaying his millions. His greed and thirst
for blood is never satisfied. He is agitating war on every hand. He
is dragging millions of souls into his cruel grasp. ...
"If any of our members should in any
way advocate war, or try to persuade any of these registrants to go
on to war, or urge or enthuse them into a desire to fight, such
members will be considered disloyal to the Church and alas to the
Christ of the Bible, and a continuance of the same may lead to
necessary action (expulsion) under our laws and principles. ...
"I could not take a gun and fire it at
my fellow men even at the command of a military officer. I could
submit to the penalty inflicted upon me for refusing, but I cannot
kill. I doubt if I could take the obligation to become a soldier in
the first place. I do not say that other should do so." (A. J.
Tomlinson, 1917, in The Church of God: A Social History,
Mickey Crews, 1990, 111-117)
authorities arrested many Pentecostals throughout the country,
including some Church of God clergymen. Because of their opposition
to war, the patriotism and sincerity of Pentecostals became suspect.
Many Americans fancied them as radicals and anarchists who wore the
cloak of religion to conceal their true identity. ... Tomlinson was
responsible for the disloyal propaganda spread by Church of God
clergymen; however, the FBI made no formal charges. Tomlinson was
fortunate compared to other Pentecostal ministers who were arrested,
tried, and convicted under the Sedition Act." (Crews, p.
opposed the conflict (WW1) because the fighting seemed disloyal. Disloyal?
Disloyal to whom? War preparedness, he made clear, acted as a terrible
'iron hand ... slowly closing in on our own beloved land,' a 'cruel
monster' dragging sons from the parental nest and subjecting them to a
foreign struggle." (Heaven Below by Grant Wacker, Harvard U
Pre, 2001, p. 238.)
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