The Apostolic Faith

April 14, 2020

Our name, motto, logo, and mission statement are an inspiration to us as individuals and as an organization.
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aniel 12:3 states, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Turning many to righteousness has always been a core purpose of the Apostolic Faith organization.

From the early days of the work, the founder Florence Crawford and the saints of God laboring with her felt called to proclaim God’s power to save repentant hearts, sanctify the converted, and pour out the Holy Spirit on sanctified believers. Through their efforts, and those of the faithful Gospel veterans who followed them, the humble ministry that began in Portland in a converted blacksmith shop in 1907 has grown into an outreach that literally spans the globe. Today, people around the world are serving the Lord, rejoicing in the message that Florence Crawford brought to Portland more than a century ago.

Over the years, locations have changed. People have changed. Methods have changed. However, the Apostolic Faith work today has the same purpose that was upheld by workers of old: to reach the world with the Latter Rain Gospel.

Four ways the Apostolic Faith organization expresses that purpose today are through its name, motto, logo, and mission statement.

The name “Apostolic Faith”

The phrase “apostolic faith” refers to the faith that was expounded and practiced by the apostles of the New Testament. While the word “faith” frequently alludes to believing faith, the phrase “the faith” refers to the entire scope of Biblical doctrine and practices given through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Acts 6:7 says, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith [emphasis added].”

In April of 1906, the power of the Holy Spirit was poured out on one of those groups that had adopted “Apostolic Faith” as their name—a gathering of saved and sanctified people who were meeting in a ramshackle wooden building on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California.

In the early 1900s, the phrase “apostolic faith” gradually came into use by religious groups around the country who were striving to revive and experience teachings that aligned with the teachings of the apostles. In April of 1906, the power of the Holy Spirit was poured out on one of those groups that had adopted “Apostolic Faith” as their name—a gathering of saved and sanctified people who were meeting in a ramshackle wooden building on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. Florence Crawford was sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit in those meetings, which later became known as the Azusa Revival. She quickly became an integral part of the core group who helped to set policy at the Apostolic Faith mission. One of her duties was sending out news of what was happening there—accounts of a Pentecostal outpouring that ultimately changed the world’s religious landscape.

The motto: Jude 3

In the early days of the Azusa Revival, leaders there took the words of Jude 3 for a motto. “Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” had been the motto of the group through which William Seymour, one of the Azusa leaders, had first come in contact with the Latter Rain Gospel.

Since Jude was encouraging whatever struggle was necessary to defend the faith, that verse was appropriate, considering public reaction to the revival. The happenings on Azusa Street quickly attracted attention from secular media. Faced with the resulting persecution and ridicule, those who had received the Pentecostal experience soon understood firsthand the necessity of contending. The Azusa leaders were convinced that the authoritative communications of the apostles of the Early Church must not be influenced by criticism or compromised by false teachers. Jude spoke of the faith that was delivered to the saints, and those whose lives had been empowered at Azusa knew something precious had been entrusted to them. They recognized that it was their responsibility to care for it and ensure that it was faithfully transmitted to others.

The workers who put together news reports at the revival epicenter decided to feature this verse from Jude on the first publication that carried abroad the news of the Pentecostal outpouring. Later, when Florence Crawford was led by God to come to Portland, Oregon, and make this the headquarters for the Apostolic Faith work, she kept the verse on the papers printed at the new location. In the years since, Jude 3 has appeared on every issue of the flagship publication of the Apostolic Faith organization.

There is a clear understanding in the Apostolic Faith that if the present generation does not “earnestly contend for the faith,” they will leave little for the next generation to stand for.

Contending for the faith continues to be a hallmark of this church. It is necessary because of the natural tendency toward deterioration. A downward tendency is like gravity—it is a natural law. There is a clear understanding in the Apostolic Faith that if the present generation does not “earnestly contend for the faith,” they will leave little for the next generation to stand for.

The logo: Jesus the Light of the World

The Apostolic Faith logo, which features the phrase “Jesus the Light of the World,” was initially displayed in 1917 as an electric sign on the first Portland headquarters church building. Located at the end of the Burnside Bridge, it became known as “The Lighthouse by the Bridge.” At times, the words of this sign caught the attention of desperate individuals who were thinking of ending their lives by jumping from the bridge into the river below. Arrested by its message of hope, some came into the services to seek God and went away with new courage and transformed lives.

When the headquarters church was moved to Northwest Sixth and Burnside in 1922, the same message was displayed above the new building. It shone out from that spot for sixty years. The large sign’s dominant position at the heart of downtown Portland made it a well-known landmark; in fact, it was featured in local and national publications on several occasions. Its message touched countless lives.

In 1921, when the tabernacle on the newly obtained campground was constructed, the same words were placed on the front of that building. Today, one hundred years later, those words are still there. People in Southeast Portland are very familiar with the big domed building bearing the words, “Jesus the Light of the World.”

As years have come and gone, Apostolic Faith branch churches in locations around the world have chosen to display the same soul-stirring message. Today, from the Philippines to the Caribbean and across the Atlantic to the continents of Europe and Africa, scores of Apostolic Faith church buildings feature the words chosen to be on the corporate logo.

The mission statement: Pray, Preach, and Publish

Around the year 2000, the decision was made to formulate a written mission statement for the Apostolic Faith work—one that would reflect what God called the organization to in the past, but also serve as a challenge and direction for the future. The leadership determined that it should provide both a corporate and individual challenge, and should be suitable for the headquarters church in Portland as well as for the branch church congregations around the world.

Three unique aspects of this work were identified as being central to the mission of the Apostolic Faith. The first is the emphasis placed on prayer. The second is that the organization continues to uphold the original doctrines taught at the Azusa Revival of 1906. The third is that since the days when Florence Crawford first labored to produce news reports about the revival, the organization has been aware of a clear and definite call to publish the Gospel. These three points formed the basis for the mission statement, which is as follows:

The mission of the Apostolic Faith Church is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We accomplish this as we:

Pray – We make prayer the basis of every ministry and encourage communion with God as the way we grow to spiritual maturity in Him.

Preach – We emphasize the original Pentecostal doctrines of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, continually striving to develop fully committed disciples of Jesus Christ.

Publish – We publish the Gospel through the printed word, the spoken word, and through our personal lives, daily looking for opportunities to spread the message, “Ye must be born again.” 

In summary, prayer is the basis, preach is the message, and publish is the challenge.

Pray. The statement, “We make prayer the basis of every ministry…,” points to a corporate purpose of this work. Seeking the guidance of God is understood to be a necessary preliminary for steps taken by this organization. Additionally, in accord with the Scripture, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” prayer is a key part of every church service. Around the world, workers gather in a prayer room before meetings, prayer takes place during the meetings, and meetings conclude with a time of prayer around altar benches. These times of prayer are not merely a formality or custom; they are the sustaining force behind the Apostolic Faith work.

Any successful effort at spreading the Gospel depends upon people who have an up-to-date relationship with God, and prayer is the way a person establishes and maintains that relationship.

The part that says communion with God is “the way to spiritual maturity in Him” is the personal challenge. Any successful effort at spreading the Gospel depends upon people who have an up-to-date relationship with God, and prayer is the way a person establishes and maintains that relationship.

Preach. The word “preach” in the mission statement specifically points to preaching doctrine, and at the heart of Biblical teaching in the Apostolic Faith are the three foundational Christian experiences of salvation, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This is not a new message; clear exposition of the need for three definite spiritual experiences was a hallmark of the Azusa Revival, and it is just as common in Apostolic Faith church services today.

While the word “preach” is typically associated with a behind-the-pulpit ministry, preaching is not limited to pastors and ministers. When used in the New Testament, the word translated preach simply implies a herald’s task of proclaiming. Whether it is done while teaching a Sunday school class or simply having a personal conversation with a friend, this is a task that every believer can take part in.

Publish. A central calling of this organization since its founding has been to produce Gospel publications and distribute them around the world free of charge. In recent years, digital publishing technology has made it possible for the Latter Rain Gospel message to be shared through computers and personal devices. However, the word “publish” does not refer exclusively to publications. The mission statement gives two additional ways to publish: through the spoken word and through personal lives. Verbal witnessing includes sharing one's testimony both in church services and on a one-to-one basis as God opens doors. “Publishing” through personal lives means living in a way that exemplifies godliness. These are ways that every believer can become involved in fulfilling the organization’s mission statement.

A goodly heritage

Psalm 16:6 says, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” That is the testimony of individuals around the world who treasure the heritage they have in the Apostolic Faith organization—and more importantly, in the Biblically based teachings of the Latter Rain Gospel. However, with privilege comes responsibility. Psalm 78:4 speaks of the importance of “shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.” In the New Testament era, Paul the Apostle challenged the younger man, Timothy, with a similar message: “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.”

May God help each one to have that purpose.