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Andrew D. Urshan: A Theological Biography

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Daniel Lee Segraves
Abstract:
A native of Persia who arrived in the United States of America in 1901, Urshan was one of the earliest, most prolific, and influential theologians of Oneness Pentecostalism. Although he associated himself with the Oneness segment of the Finished Work branch of Pentecostalism, he testified to three distinct stages in his Christian experience: conversion, sanctification, and Holy Spirit baptism with the accompanying sign of speaking with tongues. He came to believe that these three experiences should occur simultaneously, but he did not disparage those for whom they did not. He identified himself with the Oneness stream of Pentecostalism even though he embraced the concept of mysterious plurality in the "T-H-R-E-E--O-N-E" God. This was apparently due to the enduring cultural and theological influence of the Church of the East on his developing theology. Although he resisted separation from the Assemblies of God, when forced to declare himself, Urshan claimed that when he was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1908 he immediately began to understand the Oneness of God. Urshan began baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in 1910 although he himself was not so baptized until 1915 during a ministry trip to Russia. He claimed to have been warned by William Durham and Frank Ewart not to preach and teach water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for remission of sins as the new birth of water, baptism of the Holy Spirit with tongues as the new birth of the Spirit, and the oneness of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. But while in Persia in 1914, Urshan received mail from G. T. Haywood and Frank Ewart indicating that they had embraced baptism into the name of Jesus Christ. Urshan's influence in the Pentecostal movement was largely due to his writing ministry, which included some eight books, the monthly periodical The Witness of God , songs, and tracts. This dissertation traces the biography of Andrew D. Urshan and examines the development of his understanding of theology, Christology, and soteriology.

vi CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS IX CHAPTER 1 1 Introduction 1 A. Thesis 3 B. Literature Survey 5 Primary Sources Related to Urshan 5 Autobiographies 5 Sermon Collections 15 Treatises 20 Periodicals 33 Secondary Sources Related to Urshan 35 Histories of Oneness Pentecostalism 39 C. Conclusion 51 PART 1: LIFE AND HISTORY OF ANDREW D. URSHAN 53 CHAPTER 2 54 Early Years in Persia 54 A. Introduction 54 B. Life in Persia 54 C. Birth and Early Life 60 D. Youthful Rebellion 78 E. Conversion While Attending American Presbyterian School 79 F. Teaching in a Presbyterian School 82 G. Summary 83 CHAPTER 3 85 Early Years in the United States 85 A. Introduction 85 B. Journey to America 86 C. Life in New York 89 D. Life in Chicago 92 E. Baptism in the Brethren Church 100 F. Membership in The Moody Church 101 G. Urshan's Experiences during His Membership at The Moody Church 105 H. Sanctification in a Holiness Church 109 I. First Encounter with Pentecostalism 115 J. Urshan Ponders Pentecostalism 125 K. Separation from The Moody Church 132 L. Persian Pentecostal Mission 139 M. Arroyo Seco Campmeeting 150 N. Summary 156 CHAPTER 4 159

vii Return to Persia 159 A. Introduction 159 B. Ministry in Persia 160 Adda 162 Abajalu 167 Karajalu 168 Shirabad 169 Threatened with Prison 170 A Vision of War 171 Geogtapa 172 The Massacres 174 Martyrs 186 C. Ministry in Russia 194 Tiflis 195 Armavir 196 Leningrad 196 Division over the Formula for Baptism 198 Urshan Baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ 201 D. From Russia to America 203 E. Summary 204 CHAPTER 5 206 Return to North America 206 A. Introduction 206 B. Ministry in the United States and Canada 208 C. Marriage 211 D. Ministry in Los Angeles 214 E. Separation from the Assemblies of God 227 F. Ministry of Evangelism 237 G. Urshan's Marriage Fails 261 H. The Move to New York 262 I. A New Marriage and a Renewed Evangelistic Ministry 264 J. Andy's Death 267 K. Faithful until the End 269 L. Going Home 274 M. Summary 276 PART 2: THEOLOGY, CHRISTOLOGY, AND SOTERIOLOGY OF ANDREW D. URSHAN 278 CHAPTER 6 279 Theological Influences 279 A. Introduction 279 B. Church of the East 281 C. Presbyterianism 284 D. Brethren 288 E. The Moody Bible Church 289 F. Holiness 291 G. William H. Durham 292 H. Pentecostalism 294 I. Summary 295

viii CHAPTER 7 298 The Mystery of the Godhead 298 A. Introduction 298 B. The Almighty God in the Lord Jesus Christ 300 C. Doctrine of Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus Christ 342 D. The Witness of God 358 E. The Church of the East 363 F. Summary 383 CHAPTER 8 388 Doctrine of Salvation 388 A. Introduction 388 B. The Witness of God 389 C. Apostolic Faith Doctrine of the New Birth 400 D. Summary 405 CHAPTER 9 407 Responses to Theological Criticism 407 A. Introduction 407 B. Misunderstood 409 C. The Work of the Enemy 412 D. Summary 416 CHAPTER 10 418 Conclusion 418 BIBLIOGRAPHY 429

IX Acknowledgements Many people contributed to this work from its earliest stage as a mere idea to the completed project. I vividly remember my days as a Bible college student, sitting in a chapel service under the ministry of Andrew D. Urshan. His spiritual passion made an indelible imprint on my life. Many years later, during my time as an administrator and instructor in that same Bible college, I had the privilege of working for one decade together with Phillip Dugas, Urshan's step-son. Phillip shared with me two hard-bound volumes of The Witness of God, the monthly journal Urshan published from 1919 until his death in 1967.1 was intrigued by this profound voice from the past, a voice that spoke not merely from theoretical musings but from the authenticity of a faith tried in fiery trials of impending martyrdom and of outright rejection. I am grateful to Phillip for sharing with me the treasure he inherited from his step-father. Had he not done so, I don't know if the story of Andrew D. Urshan would have come to mind when the time came to finalize a research topic for this dissertation. Phillip also agreed to telephone interviews which allowed me to explore some of the background stories of Urshan's life. Thank you, Phillip, for helping to set me on the path for this dissertation and for enriching the final project by sharing with me your life experiences. They enabled me to read between the lines. Next, I must acknowledge the intense labor of love performed by Andy (Andrew) Dugas, Phillip's son and Andrew D. Urshan's step-grandson and namesake. Andy took those two hard-bound volumes of The Witness of God and carefully copied each page for me using highly advanced technology and even improving the physical appearance and

X readability of the material. I could not have done the research necessary for this dissertation without those copies. Thank you, Andy. Dennis Mostyn, Phillip Dugas' son-in-law, contributed to this project by his archival work in Chicago's public libraries. He spent a great deal of time exploring city records from the time when Urshan lived in Chicago. Among other things, he was able to identify the address of the restaurant Urshan owned and operated just before his sanctification and the apparent location and name of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene where Urshan's sanctification occurred. Dennis also located the home where the Urshans lived after the birth of all four children, toured the home, and provided me with a picture that is accessible by clicking on a link in this dissertation. Thank you, Dennis, for helping to bring this story to life. Nathaniel Paul Urshan, a grandson of Andrew D. Urshan, gave me copies of letters handwritten by his grandfather. This served to confirm some information previously available only in printed form. Thank you, Nathaniel, for opening this window on the past. Faith St. Clair, the second daughter of Urshan, agreed to telephone interviews that offered insight into the story that could be given only by a child who lived in Urshan's home from her birth. Thank you, Faith, for your willingness to participate in this research of your father's life. Robin Johnston, Curator of the Center for the Study of Oneness Pentecostalism, which houses the archives held by the United Pentecostal Church International, allowed me to copy virtually all of the holdings on Andrew Urshan. This, together with the materials provided by Phillip Dugas, got me well on my way to do the necessary

xi research. I am also indebted to Mark E. Roberts, Director of the Holy Spirit Research Center at Oral Roberts University, for providing copies of The Witness of God not available at the Center for the Study of Oneness Pentecostalism. The staff at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center at the General Council of the Assemblies of God provided still other materials by and about Urshan. Related resources were supplied by the staff at the Regent University library. As I talked with Amos Yong, Director of the Doctor of Philosophy program at Regent University School of Divinity, about a dissertation on Andrew Urshan, he was the first to suggest that it should be a theological biography. Dale Coulter, the chairperson of my dissertation committee, offered excellent and helpful counsel along the way that contributed significantly to the depth of this project. His expertise in eastern Christianity provided valuable insight on the theological background of the Church of the East. David Reed, a member of my dissertation committee, helped keep the project rooted in the historical realities of early twentieth century Pentecostalism. Vinson Synan, whose rich knowledge of Pentecostal history is unsurpassed and who was also a committee member, encouraged me to write the definitive work on Urshan. I must also express my gratitude to David K. Bernard, General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International and President of Urshan Graduate School of Theology, for his encouragement on this project and for granting me the time to finish it. Without his support, I may not have been able to squeeze the time to do the research in between my teaching and administrative duties at the seminary. I also appreciate the encouragement and support offered by the rest of the faculty and staff at UGST; they lightened my load by their diligent and responsible work.

xii I wouldn't think of overlooking the enormous sacrifice made by my wife, Judy, during the three years I labored on this project. She gave me up for uncounted hours, setting aside projects that needed doing and time we could have spent together. Her sacrifice is made all the more significant by the fact that she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer about halfway through my dissertation journey and is still dealing with it as I write these words. Nevertheless, in spite of her suffering, Judy has stood by me as I pressed on with the research and writing. I love my wife of forty-six years with all my heart, and I am deeply grateful for the blessing she has been to me. I am keenly aware that it is our Lord who surrounded me with the people I have mentioned here and who has directed my steps, provided the resources, and given me the strength, health, and ability to complete this work. To Him I owe all of my love and devotion.

1 CHAPTER 1 Introduction Andrew David Urshan has been identified as one of the four pioneers of early twentieth century Oneness Pentecostal theology. Like the other three - Frank Ewart, Garfield T. Haywood, and Franklin Small - Urshan was prepared by his social context and theological background to make a unique contribution to this segment of Pentecostalism, sometimes referred to as Pentecostalism's third stream.3 Frank J. Ewart, a Baptist minister from Australia who immigrated to Canada in 1903 and who was baptized with the Holy Spirit in 1908, made his way to Los Angeles, California after being dismissed from his pastorate in Canada by the Baptist organization with which he was affiliated. In 1911 Ewart became assistant pastor to William Durham in Los Angeles. Upon Durham's death in 1912, Ewart became pastor of the church.4 While attending the 1913 "Worldwide Camp Meeting" in Arroyo Seco Park in Los Angeles, he heard Canadian evangelist R. E. McAlister point out that "the apostles 11 will use the term "Oneness Pentecostal," "Oneness Pentecostalism," or simply "Oneness" throughout this study unless quoting from sources that use other terms to describe the non-trinitarian branch of Pentecostalism. Although the term "Jesus Name" is used widely to describe Oneness Pentecostalism both by those within this branch of Pentecostalism and by observers, it is my opinion that the term is too narrow to define all aspects of the movement. The term "apostolic" is also widely used, but it is not specific enough. Many denominations and traditions use the word "apostolic" that have no connections with Oneness Pentecostalism. 2 David A. Reed, "In Jesus' Name": The History and Beliefs of Oneness Pentecostals, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series, eds. John Christopher Thomas, Rickie Moore, Steven J. Land, no. 31 (Blandford Forum, Dorset, UK: Deo Publishing, 2008), 168. The other pioneers of Oneness Pentecostal theology identified by Reed are Frank Ewart, Garfield T. Haywood, and Franklin Small. 3 The identification of Oneness Pentecostalism as the "third stream" of Pentecostalism is set forth in David A. Reed, "Origins and Development of the Theology of Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States" (PhD diss., Boston University, 1978). The other two "streams" are the Wesleyan/Holiness and the Finished Work streams. 4 J. L. Hall, "Frank J. Ewart," in The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, rev. and expanded ed., ed. Stanley M. Burgess (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 623-24. In following footnotes, this resource will be identified as NIDPCM.

2 invariably baptized their converts once in the name of Jesus Christ" and "that the words Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were never used in Christian baptism."5 After studying the matter for one year, Ewart began baptizing in Jesus' name on April 15, 1914. Through the periodical Meat in Due Season and at least eight books, he contributed to the development and spread of Oneness Pentecostal theology.6 G. T. Haywood was an African-American born in Greencastle, Indiana who obtained ministerial credentials in 1911 with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW) before the rise of Oneness Pentecostahsm.7 Haywood was baptized with the Holy Spirit in 1908 and founded what is now known as Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana.8 In 1915, after hearing the "Jesus name message" from Glenn Cook - who was the first person to be baptized in Jesus' name by Frank Ewart and who had, in turn, baptized Ewart - Haywood accepted Cook's message, was rebaptized in the name of Jesus, and likewise rebaptized 465 members of Christ Temple. A prolific author and songwriter, Haywood also contributed to the development of Oneness Pentecostal theology by means of his charts and paintings.9 5 Frank J. Ewart, The Phenomenon of Pentecost (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1975, rev. 2000), 93-94. 6 Ewart, The Phenomenon of Pentecost, 97. See also Frank J. Ewart, The Name and the Book (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1947, reprinted 1986); Frank J. Ewart, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Hazelwood, MO: Pentecostal Publishing House, n.d.); David Reed, "Aspects of the Origins of Oneness Pentecostalism," in Vinson Synan, ed., Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1975), 145-47; and Wayne Warner, "The 1913 Worldwide Camp Meeting," Assemblies of God Heritage, vol. 3, no. 1 (Spring 1983): 1, 4-5. 7 C. M. Robeck, Jr., "Garfield Thomas Haywood," in NIDPCM, 693-94. 8 "Church History," Christ Temple Apostolic Faith Assembly, http://www.christtempleac.org/ history.php (accessed February 11, 2009). 9 See also Paul D. Dugas, comp., The Life and Writings of Elder G. T. Haywood (Stockton, CA: W.A.B.C. Press, 1968); G. T. Haywood, Divine Names and Titles of Jehovah (Portland, OR: Apostolic Book Publishers, n.d.); and G. T. Haywood, The Birth of the Spirit in the Days of the Apostles (Portland, OR: Apostolic Book Publishers, n.d.).

3 Franklin Small, a Canadian who was ordained by the American Assemblies of God in 1914 and who became a charter member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) in 1917, withdrew from the PAOC in 1921 to found the Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Canada. Like Ewart and Haywood, Small contributed to the development of Oneness Pentecostal theology as a writer and publisher. In addition to writing a history of the Winnipeg Revival of 1916-26, Small wrote Living Waters: A Sure Guide for Your Faith and edited Living Waters, The Apostolic Church Advocate, and The Beacon. Andrew D. Urshan was, however, the most prolific writer in the nascent Oneness Pentecostal movement. Beginning as early as 1911, Urshan wrote and published his understanding of Scripture in a variety of formats, including tracts, magazines, periodicals, sound recordings on 78 r.p.m. disks, and books. Beginning in 1919, Urshan published the monthly The Witness of God. He continued this publication until his death in 1967. In addition, he wrote articles that appeared in a variety of publications produced by others. A. Thesis Urshan is the only one of the four pioneers of Oneness Pentecostalism whose origins are found in the eastern rather than the western world. The cultural influence of his Assyrian-Chaldean heritage in Persia, the theological influence of Syrian Christianity, and the spiritual influence of his Presbyterian home all combine with his American experiences among holiness and Pentecostal believers to shape him as one whose "focus was on theology in relation to spirituality—a theology of lived experience—and because of that, even his most abstract musings were usually grounded in concerns of existential 10 G. W. Gohr, "Franklin Small," in NIDPCM, 1075.

faith."11 To understand Urshan's distinctive approach to Oneness theological claims, one must take these formative influences into account. Andrew D. Urshan developed a comprehensive theological outlook touching on most doctrinal loci that reflected his Oneness Pentecostal convictions while continuing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the spiritual experiences of those Christians with whom he did not agree. His example provides a model for dialogue between today's Oneness and Trinitarian Pentecostals as well as between Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals. This study proceeds in three directions. The first is the investigation of the development of Urshan's theology and Christology. Why was it important to Urshan to affirm the oneness of God, especially when he was willing to include in that affirmation terms like 'tri-unity,' the 'three-one God,' and even 'trinity,' with qualifications? Since he did not reject all of the traditional language of God out of hand, why was it important to him to reshape Christology? The second direction is the investigation of Urshan's soteriology. Since he insisted that water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ was the 'birth' of water and that baptism with the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking with tongues was the 'birth' of the Spirit, how is it that he could nevertheless hold out the possibility that those who had not had these experiences would not be 'lost'? Finally, in view of his acceptance of the Finished Work doctrine, why did Urshan continue to describe his salvation as three sequential experiences of conversion, sanctification, and Holy Spirit baptism? The most helpful way to comprehend the overlapping social contexts of Urshan's life and theology is a biographical approach. We will seek to remember that Urshan was 11 Douglas Jacobsen, Thinking in the Spirit: Theologies of the Early Pentecostal Movement (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2003), 197.

5 influenced by tradition and other people, to eschew any idea of cultural or chronological imperialism, and to keep in mind the interrelationships of ideas that swirled about both within and without early 20th century Pentecostalism.12 B. Literature Survey Primary Sources Related to Urshan A substantial assortment of primary sources written by Urshan is available for research. This includes five editions of his autobiography, collections of sermons, treatises on a variety of subjects, and articles appearing over a period of nearly fifty years in his monthly periodical, The Witness of God. Urshan wrote on many topics, not all of which are pertinent to this dissertation. For our purposes, we will confine our research to those resources that tell the story of his life and the shaping of his theology. Autobiographies A comparison of the five editions of Urshan's autobiography reveals an ongoing and theologically significant reshaping of his story. This does not mean the story changes, but that Urshan understands parts of his story differently from the perspective of his developing theological journey. Because of the significance of the changes as Urshan retold his story, it is important to examine each edition of his autobiography. The first edition of Urshan's autobiography, The Story of My Life, was published by the Gospel Publishing House, the official publishing house of the Assemblies of God, James E. Bradley and Richard A. Muller, Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1995), 30-31.

6 when it was located in St. Louis, Missouri.13 Although undated, internal evidence and evidence found in other editions indicates publication in 1917.14 This version, which chronicles events in Urshan's life from his birth (May 17, 1884) to his marriage to Mildred Harriet Hammergren (August 9, 1917) includes no notice of his practice of baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ or of his view of the Oneness of God. Although Urshan attended the Arroyo Seco camp meeting in 1913, where he heard God's call to return to his homeland of Persia to preach the gospel, nothing is said about the controversy that arose at that camp meeting about baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.15 Urshan describes his conversion experience as being 'born again' and distinguishes it from his later experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with tongues. This first version of Urshan's autobiography was released with a press run of 6,000.'6 When dealing with Urshan's life story throughout this study, I will follow closely the various editions of his autobiography, supplementing these with other source material. Because of variations between the editions it will be necessary to move frequently between the editions. When quoting directly from Urshan's autobiography, I will identify the edition and page number from which the quote is taken. When not quoting directly, I will nevertheless be following Urshan's account closely, often paraphrasing his words. 14 In this first edition, Urshan dates his arrival in Yonkers, New York as October 1901 (Andrew D. Urshan, The Story of My Life, 1st ed. [St. Louis, MO: Gospel Publishing House, n.d.], 19). Later, writing in the present tense and describing the vividness of his memory of his early days in Yonkers, Urshan wrote, ". .. the memory ... is still fresh and green after a lapse of sixteen years" (Urshan, The Story of My Life, 1st ed., 22). The third edition of his autobiography, self-published by Urshan and also undated, was apparently published in 1933. He wrote, "Some 20 years ago about 1913 a world-wide camp-meeting was called to be held in the city of Los Angeles by prominent Pentecostal saints in that city" (Andrew D. Urshan, The Story of My Life, 3rd ed., rev. and enlarged [Chicago: n.d.], 108). In his explanation of why he thought it necessary to "rewrite" his life experiences, Urshan referred to the first edition has having been printed "sixteen years ago" (Urshan, The Story of My Life, 3rd ed., "Introduction"). 15 In cases where Urshan claims to have received direction from God, I will report his claims at face value rather than using words like "alleged" or "claimed" or using typographical conventions like quotation marks. This will aid in providing a straightforward reading and prevent unnecessary cluttering of the text. 16 In the Introduction of the third edition of his autobiography, Urshan states that the press run for the first edition was 6,000, but in a handwritten note on the flyleaf of the first edition, he indicates that the press run for the first edition was 5,000.

7 The second edition, a revision of the first, was printed as chapters in The Witness of God from the October 1922 issue through the combined June-July 1925 issue. To save the cost of printing the second edition in book form, Urshan had 400 extra copies of each issue of The Witness of God printed so that when the project was finished all thirty chapters could be collected and sent to those who wanted the complete autobiography. This second edition contains two concluding chapters that are omitted from the third edition.17 The most immediate difference between the second edition and the previous edition is the addition of a first chapter concerning the Assyrian-Chaldean race and religion. It becomes quickly apparent that this chapter was added for theological purposes. Urshan discusses the Syriac language, which he claims to have heard spoken on occasion by those who were speaking in tongues. The Assyrians are identified as "Nastorians" (Nestorians) who rejected a "trinity of three separate distinct persons" in favor of "a tri-unity of three Kenoomas," a "Ke-noo-ma" being "an attribute, and not a person." Further, these Nestorian Assyrians saw the "tri-unity of God" as being "like mind wisdom [sic] and power."18 This chapter is an indication of the influence of Eastern Christianity - and specifically Syrian Christianity - on Urshan. His description of Nestorianism is approving and embraces the concept of incomprehensible mystery in the threeness of the 17 Urshan wrote, "Our first edition of the Story of My Life consisted of my 33 years experiences in God and it was written very briefly omitting many, many interesting details, but this volume consists of 40 years of our life in Christ with addition of all that was omitted in our first 6000 copies edition" (Urshan, The Witness of God 7, no. 65 [June and July 1925]: 1). 18 In the fourth edition of his life story, Urshan corrected the phrase "mind wisdom and power" to "mind, wisdom and power" (A. D. Urshan, The Life and Experiences of Andrew David Urshan, 4 ed. [N.P], 3).

8 one God.19 Also, although Urshan later married, he had earlier declared he would remain single in order to devote his life more fully to God. Even though he decided to marry, he continued to espouse Paul's admonition that the man who has a wife should be as though he had none. In Urshan's view, after a married man is filled with the Holy Spirit, he may still love his wife and children, but they will not be so "intense" about each other. They will be like "shadows" around him. In his view, marriage is "good," to marry and raise a family for God's glory is "better," but "to remain single for God, and avoid much suffering in the flesh" is "best." These ideas resonate with the monastic theology of Eastern Christianity.20 Additional revisions that are apparently for theological purposes are found in numbers of parallel accounts with the first edition. Where the first edition uses the word "saved," the third edition consistently replaces "saved" with "blessed." On at least one occasion, the word "saved" is replaced by "convicted." In some cases, the changes are even more remarkable. For example, in the account of Urshan's conversion while attending an American Presbyterian school in Persia, the first edition reads, "I had been bora again and had been made a new creature in Christ Jesus." In the account of the same event in the third edition, these words are replaced with these: "I had truly had been blessed and the branch of the Divine tree in the bitter water of my life was planted Urshan, "First Chapter—Story of My Life: The Assyro-Chaldean's Race, And the Life Story of Andrew David Urshan, the Assyro-Chaldean," The Witness of God 3, no. 34 (October 1922): 2-4. 20 See Urshan, Timely Messages of Warning (1917; repr., Portland, OR: U.P.C., 1973), 52 and Andrew Bar David Urshan, The Life Story of Andrew Bar David Urshan: An Autobiography of the Author's First Forty Years, 5th ed. (Stockton, CA: W. A. B. C. Press, 1967), 255-260. 21 Andrew D. Urshan, The Story of My Life, 1st ed. (St. Louis, MO: Gospel Publishing House, [1917]), 30.

9 afresh." This reference to "the Divine tree" may be intentionally connected to the theology of the Church of the East that identifies the Cross of Christ with the "Tree of Life."23 Another significant and apparently theologically motivated change is also seen in Urshan's recollection of his conversion. In the first edition, he reports that the memory "is burning even now as a clear blaze of glory of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost."24 The second edition revises this to read, "is burning even now as a clear blaze of glory of God, my Father, my elder Brother and my Comforter."25 Regardless of these kinds of changes, Urshan continues in the second edition to use terms like "the Trinity in Christ" and "the One Name of the triune God."26 Again, as in the previous edition, there is no mention of the idea of baptism in Jesus' name in connection with Urshan's visit at the 1913 Arroyo Seco camp meeting, even though Urshan now reveals that his profile at the camp meeting was quite high, which included sitting on the platform with about 70 ministers and speaking in some of the sessions being held simultaneously.27 22 Urshan, "Third Chapter—Story of My Life: Andrew's Wonderful Conversion," The Witness of God 3, no. 35 (November 1922), 4. He continues, however, to use the language of regeneration: "It was here in this school that God met me one night in March 1900, convicted me of sin and regenerated my soul which transformed my character . .." (Urshan, "Second Chapter—Story of My Life," The Witness of God, 3, no. 35 [November 1922]: 2). These revisions continue into the 3rd edition of Urshan's life story. 23 Christoph Baumer, The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity (London: I. B. Tauris, 2006), 118. 24 Urshan, The Story of My Life, 1st ed., 31. 25 Urshan, "Third Chapter—Story of My Life: Andrew's Wonderful Conversion," The Witness of God 3, no. 35 (November 1922): 4. See also Urshan, The Story of My Life, 3rd ed., 22. 26 Urshan, "The Story of My Life—10th Chapter—Cont.," The Witness of God 4, no. 45 (September 1923): 4. See also Urshan, The Story of My Life, 3rd ed., 94, 179. 27 See Urshan, "The Story of My Life—13th Chapter," The Witness of God A, no. 48 (December 1923): 3-4.

Full document contains 489 pages
Abstract: A native of Persia who arrived in the United States of America in 1901, Urshan was one of the earliest, most prolific, and influential theologians of Oneness Pentecostalism. Although he associated himself with the Oneness segment of the Finished Work branch of Pentecostalism, he testified to three distinct stages in his Christian experience: conversion, sanctification, and Holy Spirit baptism with the accompanying sign of speaking with tongues. He came to believe that these three experiences should occur simultaneously, but he did not disparage those for whom they did not. He identified himself with the Oneness stream of Pentecostalism even though he embraced the concept of mysterious plurality in the "T-H-R-E-E--O-N-E" God. This was apparently due to the enduring cultural and theological influence of the Church of the East on his developing theology. Although he resisted separation from the Assemblies of God, when forced to declare himself, Urshan claimed that when he was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1908 he immediately began to understand the Oneness of God. Urshan began baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in 1910 although he himself was not so baptized until 1915 during a ministry trip to Russia. He claimed to have been warned by William Durham and Frank Ewart not to preach and teach water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for remission of sins as the new birth of water, baptism of the Holy Spirit with tongues as the new birth of the Spirit, and the oneness of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. But while in Persia in 1914, Urshan received mail from G. T. Haywood and Frank Ewart indicating that they had embraced baptism into the name of Jesus Christ. Urshan's influence in the Pentecostal movement was largely due to his writing ministry, which included some eight books, the monthly periodical The Witness of God , songs, and tracts. This dissertation traces the biography of Andrew D. Urshan and examines the development of his understanding of theology, Christology, and soteriology.