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Howard A. Goss: A Pentecostal life

Dissertation
Author: Robin M. Johnston
Abstract:
This dissertation employs the tools of narrative and interpretive biography to examine the life of early Pentecostal pioneer Howard A. Goss. Goss was an early convert of Charles Fox Parham, who many would consider to be a founder of modern Pentecostalism. Goss joined Parham in the Apostolic Faith ministry shortly after his conversion and soon was tapped for a leadership position. In 1907, Goss broke fellowship with Parham over leadership issues and Parham's alleged immorality. He moved further from Parham when he (Goss) embraced William Durham's "Finished Work" doctrine. Goss played a key role in organizing the Finished Work adherents into the Assemblies of God in 1914. A "New Issue," baptism in the name of Jesus only, soon challenged the organizing principles of the Assemblies of God. Goss embraced the New Issue, left the AG, and affiliated with what would become known as Oneness Pentecostalism. He applied his considerable organizing gifts to the Oneness movement and for the next five decades was a key player in the development of the movement. Although Goss was not the primary theological influence behind Oneness Pentecostalism, his leadership gifts brought stability and growth to the movement, which now has in excess of twenty million adherents worldwide. This dissertation will employ Grant Wacker's primitive/pragmatic dichotomy as a means to better understand Goss. Wacker suggests the genius of the Pentecostal movement--the reason it has succeeded in spite of difficult odds--is the way in which it balances its primitive impulse with its pragmatic impulse. The primitive or restorationist impulse calls the movement back to the earliest roots of the Christian faith. The pragmatic impulse is evident in the way in which Pentecostalism adapts to develop better ways to accomplish its missions. This dissertation will suggest that the primitive/pragmatic dichotomy offers a helpful window through which to examine the rise of Pentecostalism in general and Oneness Pentecostalism in particular. The way Goss managed the primitive/pragmatic dichotomy suggests that he could be considered a prototypical Pentecostal.

Table of Contents Acknowledgements v Abstract viii Introduction 1 A. Thesis 2 B. Methodology 3 C. Brief Literature Survey 5 D. Author's Biases 9 E. The Shape of the Study 10 Part I. The Shaping of a Pentecostal Soul 11 1. A New "Old-time Religion": Pentecostal Origins 12 A. Pentecostal Roots 14 B. Birth of the Pentecostal Movement 27 Excursus: The Making of a Pentecostal Myth 33 2. Evening Light: The Emergence of Oneness Pentecostalism 41 A. Revelation 42 B. Jesus-centered Piety 46 C. O Glory to His Name 53 D. The Finished Work 56 E. The New Issue 63 Part II. Howard A. Goss: A Pentecostal Life 68 3. Beginnings 69 A. Early Life 69

B. Conversion 74 4. Pentecostal Primitivist: Back to Pentecost 81 A. Early Apostolic Faith Ministry 82 B. Breaking With Parham 95 C. Moving On 108 5. Pentecostal Primitivist: Carried by the Current 115 A. The Finished Work Issue 115 B. The Formation of the Assemblies of God 122 C. The New Issue 127 6. Pentecostal Pragmatist: Organizing the Oneness Movement 136 A. Goss's Group 137 B. North to Canada 139 C. The Merger 149 7. Pentecostal Pragmatist: Howard Goss and the "New Birth" 155 A. The Development of Oneness Soteriology 156 B. Goss's Soteriology 168 Conclusion 172 Bibliography 175

Acknowledgements Although writing is most often a solitary task, no writer works alone. This dissertation is the product of a host of people and institutions. It is a better project as a result of their participation. Any mistakes or shortcomings are my own. My paternal grandmother was a founding member of the Pentecostal church in McAdam, New Brunswick. Early in my academic life when I first expressed an interest in Pentecostal history, she gave me her copy of The Winds of God signed by Howard A. Goss. This was the genesis of my interest in Goss. That interest was nurtured by a Bible college class on Pentecostal history taught by W. C. Parkey called "People of the Name." The first academic history of Pentecostalism I encountered was Vinson Synan's The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States. It was Dr. Synan's scholarship that initially attracted me to the PhD program at Regent University. He has been both insightful and nurturing in his role as the advisor for this dissertation. His irenic spirit made me feel welcome and his interest in Howard Goss confirmed my initial feelings that this was an important story. James Goff Jr. and Dale Coulter, readers for this dissertation, helped me to tighten the focus of this work. Dr. Goff s extremely thorough reading of the project and his subsequent suggestions have made this dissertation much more readable. The works of Grant Wacker, Edith Blumhofer, James Goff Jr., and David A. Reed were particularly important in helping me both to understand and to frame Goss's life and ministry. Wacker's primitive/pragmatic dichotomy provided the methodological underpinning for the study. David Reed has influenced my understanding of Oneness history both by his writings and in numerous conversations.

Ruth Goss Nortje, Howard and Ethel's daughter, has generously shared her recollections of her parents and has been supportive of my study of her father. My colleagues at Urshan Graduate School of Theology have been fruitful dialogue partners, especially David Norris who often pushed me to refine my arguments. My students at Gateway College, UGST, and the adult Sunday School class I lead at The Sanctuary in Hazelwood, Missouri, have patiently listened while I tried this material out on them. They in turn helped me better the material. Historians are always in debt to archivists. Virginia Rigdon, Adam Dennis, and Ann Ahrens from the Center for the Study of Oneness Pentecostalism have been most helpful. So, too, have Darrin Rodgers, Joyce Lee, and Glenn Gohr at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. Marilyn Stroud of the archives of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada assisted me with the early history of that organization. A number of librarians have offered capable research assistance. Of particular note are Robert Sivigny of Regent University library and Gary Truman and Kathy Brickie of the Urshan- Gateway library. Both of my employers during this taxing time, the United Pentecostal Church International and Gateway College of Evangelism, were willing to give me time and space to complete this task. Without their willingness to be flexible and understanding, this project would have remained undone. My family granted me the time and support necessary for the task. Although they have heard much more about Howard Goss than they care to know, they have been gracious enough to make me feel like they were interested in my work. My daughter Melanie became proficient in deciphering Howard Goss's challenging penmanship as she vi

transcribed a number of his diaries. And finally, my wife, Marsha, became my partner on a different dimension by her willingness to encourage, challenge, scold, or do whatever else was necessary to see me reach this goal. She has been more than an equal partner and without her I could not have finished the project. Thanks, Marsha. vii

Abstract This dissertation employs the tools of narrative and interpretive biography to examine the life of early Pentecostal pioneer Howard A. Goss. Goss was an early convert of Charles Fox Parham, who many would consider to be a founder of modern Pentecostalism. Goss joined Parham in the Apostolic Faith ministry shortly after his conversion and soon was tapped for a leadership position. In 1907, Goss broke fellowship with Parham over leadership issues and Parham's alleged immorality. He moved further from Parham when he (Goss) embraced William Durham's "Finished Work" doctrine. Goss played a key role in organizing the Finished Work adherents into the Assemblies of God in 1914. A "New Issue," baptism in the name of Jesus only, soon challenged the organizing principles of the Assemblies of God. Goss embraced the New Issue, left the AG, and affiliated with what would become known as Oneness Pentecostalism. He applied his considerable organizing gifts to the Oneness movement and for the next five decades was a key player in the development of the movement. Although Goss was not the primary theological influence behind Oneness Pentecostalism, his leadership gifts brought stability and growth to the movement, which now has in excess of twenty million adherents worldwide. This dissertation will employ Grant Wacker's primitive/pragmatic dichotomy as a means to better understand Goss. Wacker suggests the genius of the Pentecostal movement—the reason it has succeeded in spite of difficult odds—is the way in which it viii

balances its primitive impulse with its pragmatic impulse. The primitive or restorationist impulse calls the movement back to the earliest roots of the Christian faith. The pragmatic impulse is evident in the way in which Pentecostalism adapts to develop better ways to accomplish its missions. This dissertation will suggest that the primitive/pragmatic dichotomy offers a helpful window through which to examine the rise of Pentecostalism in general and Oneness Pentecostalism in particular. The way Goss managed the primitive/pragmatic dichotomy suggests that he could be considered a prototypical Pentecostal. ix

Introduction As I lay back limply against my chair, the Spirit of God took possession of my fully surrendered body, and lastly took hold of my throat and vocal chords in what to me was a new and strange way. God's power and glory upon me became far greater than I have ever since been able to describe. This went on for several minutes, while the fire of God flamed hotter and hotter, until I thought that I must be actually on fire. When another great volt of God's lightning struck me, thereby loosening me still further, I began to speak in strange tongues as the Spirit actually did the speaking.1 - Howar d Goss Although more dramatic than many, after all the above incident happened on a train, the recollection by Howard Goss of his Holy Ghost baptism is typical of the millions of people who have been touched by the Pentecostal movement over the past century.2 From its humble roots in Topeka, Kansas, and Los Angeles, California, the Pentecostal movement has spread to become a worldwide phenomenon.3 Researcher David Barrett suggests that Pentecostal and Pentecostal-like groups now exceed more than five hundred million adherents.4 Not only is the number impressive, the scope of the 1 Ethel Goss, The Winds of God: The Story of The Early Days (1901-1914) in the Life of Howard A. Goss (New York, NY: Comet Press, 1958), 44. 2 In this dissertation Pentecostal will be the primary term used to address people of the Spirit. A number of other terms such as charismatic may also be appropriate; however, Goss, the subject of the dissertation, would most often refer to himself as a Pentecostal. 3 There is a growing awareness that to root the modern Pentecostal movement only in Topeka and Los Angeles is to practice historical myopia. See Allan Anderson's An Introduction to Pentecostalism, (Cambridge: Cambridge Press, 2004) as a representative text that demonstrates a broader view of Pentecostal origins. Goss, however, understood his Pentecostal story as beginning in Topeka and, like many classical Pentecostals, accepted Parham's "tongues as Bible evidence of Spirit baptism" as the distinctively Pentecostal doctrine. 4 David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey Of Churches And Religions In The Modern World, Volume 1. (New York: Oxford 1

diversity among the adherents is equally impressive. It is increasingly evident that one should speak of "pentecostalisms" rather than a single Pentecostal movement. These pentecostalisms are exceptionally diverse, not only in origins and ethnicities, but also in doctrines and praxis. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to give more than a broad and necessarily shallow survey of the contours of Pentecostalism. This dissertation attempts a different strategy. It will examine the life of Howard A. Goss, a pioneer of the classical North American Pentecostal movement, and through his life tell a chapter of the Pentecostal story. Howard Goss was a key player in the development of the North American Pentecostal movement. Although he is frequently mentioned in primary source material, and his contributions alluded to by historians of the movement, no scholarly attempt has been made to understand him and his context. A. Thesis Goss came into the movement as a blank canvass or at least a blank canvass religiously. Before his conversion he was a self-described infidel.5 The Pentecostal movement shaped his soul and he in turn used his considerable gifts to help shape the Pentecostal movement. This dissertation will attempt to understand his story in the broader context of the developing North American Pentecostal movement. It will pay particular attention to Goss's embrace of the Oneness Pentecostal movement and by extension tell a piece of the story of this often little-understood subset of Pentecostalism. University Press, 2001), 19-21. Barrett, the lead researcher, counts 524 million adherents in Pentecostal and Pentecostal-like groups in 2000 and projects that number will reach 812 million in 2025. 5 Goss, Winds, 10-14. 2

Howard Goss was an early convert of Charles Fox Parham, whom many consider to be the founder of the modern Pentecostal movement, especially those who hold initial evidence as the signature Pentecostal doctrine.6 At the time of his conversion, Goss was involved in the mining industry in Galena, Kansas. His conversion changed the trajectory of his life. Shortly after converting, Goss joined Parham in the Apostolic Faith ministry and, for the next six decades, he was intimately involved in Pentecostal ministry.7 B. Methodology Duke historian Grant Wacker has written frequently on the Pentecostal movement in North America. Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture represents his most mature reflection on the subject.8 Wacker suggested that the genius of the Pentecostal movement—the reason it has succeeded in spite of difficult odds—is the way in which it balances its primitive impulse with its pragmatic impulse. The primitive or 6 See James R. Goff, Jr's Fields White Unto Harvest: Charles F. Parham and the Missionary Origins of Pentecostalism (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas, 1988) for a representative presentation of Parham as the founder of the modern Pentecostal movement. Vinson Synan's The Holiness- Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1971, 1997) is representative of historians who see both Topeka (Parham) and Los Angeles (Seymour) as the dual birthplaces and founders of the modern Pentecostal movement. Walter J. Hollenweger was an early proponent of Seymour as the founder of the movement. See his The Pentecostals: The Charismatic Movement in the Churches (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1972). I would hold that Topeka was the birthplace and Azusa was the cradle or seminal revival for the movement. I could find no record of Howard Goss ever visiting the Azusa Street revival. Given the key role that Parham played in the early Christian life of Goss and Goss's conversion to the Apostolic Faith prior to Azusa, I think it would be safe to assume that Goss would have claimed Parham as the founder of the movement. See The Winds of Gods for Goss's retelling of the early Pentecostal story. 7 Parham understood his emerging movement as a return to the apostolic faith. He named his periodical "The Apostolic Faith" and for a short while took for himself the title of Projector of the Apostolic Faith. As the movement matured, Pentecostal became the preferred designation for the movement, perhaps because Parham's alleged fall tainted the moniker Apostolic for some adherents. 8 Grant Wacker, Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001). It is possible to trace the development of Wacker's central thesis through his contributions to two of Richard T. Hughes's volumes on primitivism. Wacker wrote "Playing for Keeps: The Primitive Impulse in Early Pentecostalism" in The American Quest for the Primitive Church (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988) and "Searching for Eden with a Satellite Dish: Primitivism, Pragmatism, and the Pentecostal Character" in The Primitive Church in the Modern World (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois, 1995). 3

restorationist impulse calls the movement back to the earliest roots of the Christian faith. The pragmatic impulse is evident in the way in which Pentecostalism adapts to accommodate a better way either to accomplish its mission or to survive in the North American culture. The Pentecostal movement has successfully held those competing impulses in a productive tension. This is not to suggest that each impulse has always held an equal influence in the shaping of North American Pentecostalism. This dissertation will argue that of the two competing impulses, the primitive impulse was more dominant in the development of Oneness Pentecostalism. Scholars such as Edith L. Blumhofer9 and J. L. Hall10 have suggested that the restoration impulse is the best or primary lens through which to understand the development of American Pentecostalism. In Blumhofer's opinion this is particularly true for Oneness Pentecostals.11 Hall wrote as a participant-observer in the Oneness movement and built on Blumhofer's work to underscore the continuing influence of restorationism in Oneness Pentecostalism. In his 2004 dissertation "Pentecost and Its Discontents," Richard Cotner amended Wacker's thesis to suggest that Pentecostalism, especially in its American iteration, was constituted by two opposing groups, which he identified as pietistic rationalizers and radical primitivists. Inevitably, the Pentecostal movement was pulled in two directions. One group, which might be called the pietistic rationalizers, sought to trim away the more frightening and uncontrollable aspects of the Pentecostal experience and connect it more closely to the norms of revivalist theology. 9 Edith L. Blumhofer, Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1993). 10 J. L. Hall, Restoring the Apostolic Faith: A History of the Early Pentecostal Movement (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 2007). 11 Blumhofer, Restoring the Faith, 134. 4

These rationalizers created Pentecostalism's denominational structure, built its institutions, created standards of accountability for its ministers and missionaries and articulated doctrines which tethered the Pentecostal experience to revivalist norms. Another group of Pentecostals, which might be called the radical primitivists, fiercely resisted any impulse to compromise the movement's New Testament ethos. This group emphasized the ubiquity of miracles and healing in the everyday life and freedom of the Holy Spirit to inspire and direct believers with fresh revelations and prophecies unmediated by the worldly governance of men. I will argue that Howard Goss fits within both of Cotner's groupings. He functioned as a pietistic rationalizer in his organizational work and his rejection of "water and Spirit" new birth doctrine. Yet, his decision to embrace and remain in the Oneness Pentecostal movement reflected Cotner's "radical primitivist" group. C. Brief Literature Survey Ethel Goss, Howard's second wife, wrote a popular biography of her husband in 1958 called The Winds of God: The Story of the Early Pentecostal Days (1901-1914) in the Life of Howard A. Goss. She combined Goss's oral history with his early diaries to develop her manuscript. Like almost all popular biographies written by a family member, it was uncritical of Goss and tended to look at the early Pentecostal movement through rose-colored glasses. It did, however, provide important primary source material. J. L. Hall wrote a short article on Goss in the New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. It very briefly rehearsed the facts of Goss's life but attempted no interpretive stance. Hall also authored Restoring the Apostolic Faith: A History of the Early Pentecostal Movement, which presented Goss and other Oneness Pentecostals as radical restorationists and did so in a favorable light. 12 Richard Cotner, "Pentecost and Its Discontents" (PhD diss., University of Missouri, 2004), 10. 5

All the standard histories of the Pentecostal movement, particularly those that trace the development of the Assemblies of God such as Carl Brumback's Suddenly ... from Heaven: A History of the Assemblies of God (1961), cover Goss's contribution to the movement's early development and his role in the formation of the Assemblies of God in detail. Typically denominational histories evaluate Goss either positively or negatively depending on whether the organization either embraced or rejected the New Issue. Edith Blumhofer's Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture (1993) and Bill Faupel's The Everlasting Gospel: The Significance of Eschatology in the Development of Pentecostal Thought (1996) were especially helpful in understanding the emergence of Oneness Pentecostalism. Both suggested that Oneness thought and praxis grew out of the primitive or restorationist impulse that was intrinsic to early American Pentecostalism. Oneness histories such as United We Stand (1970) by A. L. Clanton and Their Story: 20th Century Pentecostals by Fred Foster (1965) uncritically placed Goss's role in a positive light when they told their story. Talmadge French's Our God Is One: The Story of the Oneness Pentecostals (1999) gave the most scholarly account of the rise of the Oneness movement from an insider's point of view. David A. Reed's long-awaited "In Jesus Name ": The History and Beliefs of Oneness Pentecostals (2008) provided the best overview, particularly of the doctrinal developments, of Oneness Pentecostalism. Reed has had a long-standing interest in Oneness history and this monograph was a reworking of his 1979 Boston University dissertation. Reed wrote convincingly of the Jesus-centered piety of the late Victorian 6

evangelicals and suggested that the roots of Oneness Christology grew in this soil. His writing was irenic and as a former insider he did his best to create a hospitable climate in which to evaluate Oneness Pentecostalism.13 Reed also contributed a chapter in Vinson Synan's Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins (1979). This book grew out of the earliest meetings of the Society of Pentecostal Studies and it introduced Oneness Pentecostalism to the academy. Robert Mapes Anderson's classic Vision of the Disinherited (1992) was perhaps the first work to attempt to understand Pentecostalism in a sociological framework. His Marxist-tinged analysis placed too much emphasis on the racial roots of the Oneness movement. Grant Wacker's Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture (2001) was the best replacement for Anderson's above-mentioned work as the foremost functional history of Pentecostalism. Wacker's book fleshed out a theme he had been suggesting in journal articles and chapters in collected works about the role of primitivism in early Pentecostalism. In 2003 Thomas Fudge released his unfortunately titled Christianity without the Cross: A History of Salvation in Oneness Pentecostalism. Fudge attempted to give a history of soteriology in the Oneness movement. While his book offered important insights, his overall thesis was flawed, and because he started the story at least two decades after the birth of the movement, he missed the foundational Oneness thinkers. Douglas Jacobsen's excellent Thinking in the Spirit: Theologies of the Early Pentecostal Movement (2003) refuted the idea that early Pentecostals paid little attention 13 Some Oneness scholars consider his work a little paternalistic. See David S. Norris, I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal Theology (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Academic), 243. 7

to theology. Although very few early Pentecostals possessed academic training in theology, they certainly wrestled with what it meant to be a Pentecostal. This volume contained an important chapter on "Oneness Options" and Jacobsen's companion book, A Reader in Pentecostal Theology: Voices from the First Generation collected a number of early Oneness writings. Jacobsen, however, chose not to identify R. C. Lawson, the subject of his chapter on race, as a Oneness adherent. The field of academic biographies of early Pentecostals is beginning to blossom. James Goff Jr.'s treatment of Charles Fox Parham in Fields White Unto Harvest: Charles F. Parham and the Missionary Origins of Pentecostalism (1988) attempted to understand Parham in the populist setting of late nineteenth-century Kansas as well as to demonstrate the missionary nature of early Pentecostalism. Evidential tongues, Parham's signature doctrine, was at least for him evidence of the missionary calling of the church. Not surprisingly, Aimee Semple McPherson has been the subject of a number of biographies. Edith Blumhofer's Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody's Sister (1993) rode the boundary between a popular and an academic biography. Matthew Avery Sutton's new Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America (2007) was especially helpful in demonstrating how to place biographical characters in their particular context. R. G. Robins's A. J. Tomlinson: Plainfolk Modernist (2004) used the life of Tomlinson to change the conversation on Pentecostalism as an anti-modernist movement. Obviously many early biographies exist but most tend to be hagiography. Two American dissertations have been written on Oneness Pentecostalism. David Arthur Reed's 1979 Boston University dissertation, "Origins and Development of Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States" broke new ground by attempting (as 8

mentioned above) to understand the theological roots of Oneness Pentecostalism. Reed was most helpful when explaining the role of Jesus-centered piety on the development of Oneness Pentecostalism. Joseph Howell's 1985 University of Florida dissertation, "The People of the Name: Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States" presented a survey of Oneness Pentecostalism in the United States. The broad scope of the survey left little room for interpretive insights. One other dissertation of importance to this project was Thomas Farkas's "William H. Durham and the Sanctification Controversy in Early American Pentecostalism, 1906-1916" (Southern Baptist Seminary, 1993). Farkas surveyed the then current scholarship on the development of the William Durham's "Finished Work" doctrine. He was helpful in his attempt to understand why the Oneness movement grew out of the "Finished Work" controversy, however, I am not convinced Farkas successfully refuted Allen Clayton's thesis ("The Significance of William H. Durham for Pentecostal Historiography," Pneuma 1, [Fall 1979]) that the fissure was Christological rather than an issue of sanctification. D. Author's Biases Historians have increasingly become convinced that Rankean historical objectivity is a myth. This is not to suggest that responsible historians can play fast and loose with historical data. Rather it is to recognize that historians write as individual humans who bring differing experiences, talents, stories, and a host of other factors to the historiographical task.14 Perhaps the first step in writing responsible history is for the historian to recognize to the best of his or her ability their own inherent biases. With that 14 Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001), 146-148. 9

task in mind the reader should know that I write as a member of a church organization whose first general superintendent is the subject of this dissertation. I share with the subject a number of theological commitments that would identify both the subject and me as Oneness Pentecostals. Given the number of shared theological commitments, it would be easy to slip into an overly sympathetic study. However, I will attempt to let the sources tell Goss's story and be vigilant to recognize where my biases unduly hinder any interpretive work. Ultimately the reader will decide if I have been successful. E. The Shape of the Study This dissertation is divided into two parts. Part I deals with the shaping of a Pentecostal soul. Chapter one will provide an overview of the development of the North American Pentecostal movement.15 Chapter two will give a more detailed development of the Oneness movement. This section will provide the canvass upon which a narrative biography of Howard Goss will be painted. Part II of the dissertation is a narrative biography of Howard A. Goss. After narrating the early years up to his conversion to Pentecostalism, this study will look chronologically at Goss's life first by using the lens of primitivism and then again by looking through the lens of pragmatism. The conclusion will demonstrate how Goss can be understood through a nuanced view of Wacker's primitive/pragmatic dichotomy. 15 The designation "North American Pentecostal movement" is used because Goss spent a significant period of time in Canada and the roots and early development of the Canadian and American Pentecostal movements are intertwined. 10

Parti The Shaping of a Pentecostal Soul 11

Chapter One A New "Old-time" Religion: Pentecostal Origins Give me that old-time religion, Give me that old-time religion, Give me that old-time religion, It's good enough for me.16 The echo of these simple lyrics linger in the aging memories of a generation who as children sang these words with their parents and grandparents in store-front missions, rustic brush arbors, primitive camp meetings, and in little white clapboard churches that had Pentecostal or Apostolic somewhere in their name. There was not a little irony in the choice of lyrics. The singers were part of a new religious movement, albeit one that looked over its collective shoulder to a time in the distant past. They were looking for something old and something new. The old was a return to the doctrines and practices of the first-century church. The new was wrapped up in an understanding that God would pour out a latter rain just before His return.17 The life of Howard Goss is one chapter of the story of the pursuit of the "latter rain." 16 Lyrics and music are anonymous. 17 See D. Wesley Myland's The Latter Covenant and Pentecostal Power with Testimony of Healings and Baptism (Chicago: Evangel Publishing House, 1910) for an early Pentecostal understanding of the latter rain. Douglas Jacobsen states, "The title of this book comes from the passage in the eleventh chapter of Deuteronomy that records the divine charge given to the people of Israel just as they were about to cross the Jordan River and enter the promised land, and Myland built his theology around the themes of promise and blessings found in that text." Thinking in the Spirit: Theologies of the Early Pentecostal Movement (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2003), 111. Most early Pentecostals believed that the Book of Acts outpouring of the Spirit was the early rain and that just before the return of Christ there would be another great outpouring of the Spirit understood to be the latter rain. 12

Historical causation is notoriously difficult to ascertain. The task is doubly difficult if a historian desires to take seriously the claim that an event or a movement has supernatural elements. Perhaps this is one reason why early Pentecostal histories, often written by participant-observers, were consciously ahistorical. According to one of the earliest historians of the movement, B. F. Lawrence, "The older denominations... have become possessed of a two-fold inheritance, a two-fold guide of action, a two-fold criterion of doctrine—the New Testament and the church position. The Pentecostal Movement has no such history; it leaps the intervening years crying, Back to Pentecost. "18 By downplaying its historical roots, it was possible to highlight supernatural causation. Assemblies of God historian Carl Brumback best exemplified this approach with his Suddenly ...From Heaven: A History of the Assemblies of God.19 But making a claim to be ahistorical, however, does not necessarily make a movement ahistorical. In the latter half of the twentieth century, both scholars of Pentecostalism and Pentecostal scholars began to uncover the historical roots of Pentecostalism.20 Augustus Cerillo and Grant Wacker have suggested that modern Pentecostal historiography may be grouped into four groups: providential, genetic, multicultural, and 18 B. F. Lawrence, The Apostolic Faith Restored: A History of the Present Latter Rain Outpouring of the Holy Spirit Known as the Apostolic or Pentecostal Movement (St. Louis: Gospel Publishing House, 1916), 11-12. 19 Carl Brumback, Suddenly ...From Heaven: A History of the Assemblies of God (Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 1961). Other examples that used similar historiographical constructs would include How "Pentecost" Came to Los Angeles—How It Was in the Beginning (1925) by Frank Bartleman, "With Signs Following": The Story of the Latter-Day Pentecostal Revival (1926) by Stanley Frodsham and The Phenomenon of Pentecost: A History of "The Latter Rain " (1947) by Frank J. Ewart. 20 Donald W. Dayton's Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1978) would be an example of a work by a scholar of Pentecostalism. Vinson Synan's The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1971) would be representative of a work by a Pentecostal scholar. 13

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Abstract: This dissertation employs the tools of narrative and interpretive biography to examine the life of early Pentecostal pioneer Howard A. Goss. Goss was an early convert of Charles Fox Parham, who many would consider to be a founder of modern Pentecostalism. Goss joined Parham in the Apostolic Faith ministry shortly after his conversion and soon was tapped for a leadership position. In 1907, Goss broke fellowship with Parham over leadership issues and Parham's alleged immorality. He moved further from Parham when he (Goss) embraced William Durham's "Finished Work" doctrine. Goss played a key role in organizing the Finished Work adherents into the Assemblies of God in 1914. A "New Issue," baptism in the name of Jesus only, soon challenged the organizing principles of the Assemblies of God. Goss embraced the New Issue, left the AG, and affiliated with what would become known as Oneness Pentecostalism. He applied his considerable organizing gifts to the Oneness movement and for the next five decades was a key player in the development of the movement. Although Goss was not the primary theological influence behind Oneness Pentecostalism, his leadership gifts brought stability and growth to the movement, which now has in excess of twenty million adherents worldwide. This dissertation will employ Grant Wacker's primitive/pragmatic dichotomy as a means to better understand Goss. Wacker suggests the genius of the Pentecostal movement--the reason it has succeeded in spite of difficult odds--is the way in which it balances its primitive impulse with its pragmatic impulse. The primitive or restorationist impulse calls the movement back to the earliest roots of the Christian faith. The pragmatic impulse is evident in the way in which Pentecostalism adapts to develop better ways to accomplish its missions. This dissertation will suggest that the primitive/pragmatic dichotomy offers a helpful window through which to examine the rise of Pentecostalism in general and Oneness Pentecostalism in particular. The way Goss managed the primitive/pragmatic dichotomy suggests that he could be considered a prototypical Pentecostal.