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Church of God and Saints of Christ

1910 New Catholic Dictionary

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Predominently black religious organization. In 1896 William S. Crowdy, Negro cook on the Santa Fe Railroad, claimed to have had a vision from God ordering him to lead his people to the true religion and endowing him with the gift of prophecy. At Lawrence, Kansas, he organized the Church of God and Saints of Christ. He had only a few followers at first, but the numbers increased rapidly and headquarters were removed to Philadelphia. Appointed bishop, two white men associated with him were later raised to the same office. The prophet believed that the Negro race is descended from the ten lost tribes of Israel and taught that man's salvation depended upon obedience to the ten commandments and the teachings of the Bible. A pamphlet called the "Seven Keys" published under the direction of the prophet contains the necessary commanaments and teachings of this religion. They observe the Jewish calendar and feast days, particularly the Jewish Sabbath, using corresponding Hebrew names. Requisites for admission to this Church are: "repentance for sin, baptism by immersion, confession of faith in Christ, the reception of unleavened bread and water at the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the washing of the feet by an elder, and the pledge of the holy kiss." The Church is governed by a "presbytery" of twelve ordained elders and evangelists who tend to the general business of the Church. The prophet, holding his office "by virtue of divine call," is presiding officer of both the executive board and the Church. This body is a strong advocate of temperance, not allowing the use of wine in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. It also exercises strict censorship over printed matter. In 1916 in the United States there were: 101 elders, 94 churches, and 3,311 communicants.

Bibliography Information
Entry for 'Church of God and Saints of Christ'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary.​dictionaries/​eng/​ncd/​c/church-of-god-and-saints-of-christ.html. 1910.