The Spreading Oneness Message

The Spreading Oneness Message
By Fred J. Foster

There seemed to be no stopping the spread of the Jesus’ name Message now. Like the raging flames of a forest fire, it could not be contained. All that its opponents endeavored to do to thwart its fast movement, seemed to add fuel to the spreading flame.


Canada was not left out, so far as the spread of apostolic truth was concerned. First came the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and then later the revelation of God in Christ and Jesus’ name baptism.

In Toronto, in a little mission at 651 Queen Street East, a Mrs. Hebden was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1906. “She had been praying for more power to heal the sick and cast out demons. The Lord spoke to her concerning the speaking in tongues, but she answered, ‘No, Lord, not tongues, but power, power.’ She realized that the Spirit of God was grieved and then cried, ‘Anything Lord, tongues or anything.’ The power of God came upon her and she began to speak in an unknown language.” (1)

George A. Chambers, who at the time was a Mennonite preacher in Toronto, said that before long this little mission was overflowing with people. Partitions were removed to accommodate the crowds, and many were filled with the Holy Ghost. New congregations were soon opening in the city, and from there missions sprang up in various places in Ontario and Canada.

It is thought, though, that R. E. McAlister was the first from Canada to receive the Holy Ghost. This was in Los Angeles. He opened a mission in Ottawa later, and was visited with a gracious revival.

A. H. Argue was influential in spreading the message to Canada. After having received the Holy Ghost in Durham’s church in Chicago in 1907, he returned to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he held tarrying services in his home. Soon many were speaking in tongues after being filled with the Holy Spirit. Shortly a mission was opened and the fire began to spread in every direction.


This set the stage for the “Annual Pentecostal Convention held in Western Canada in Winnipeg in November 1913. This was when the first message on the exclusive rite of water baptism in Jesus’ name only was delivered by the guest speaker for that occasion, Pastor R. E. McAlister of Eastern Canada. In those days it was not considered a breach of ministerial courtesy for a guest speaker to advance some new truth. The movement had just undergone a revolutionary process by a new message called ‘The Finished Work of Calvary,’ and it was therefore at that time in a receptive attitude to receive further revealed truth, should it come. At any rate, the guest speaker very ably analyzed the New Testament Scriptures, proving very emphatically that in every instance the apostles of Jesus baptized once and always in the exclusive rite of Jesus’ name.” (2)

Frank Small was to do the baptizing that day, and although he had never baptized using that formula before, he proceeded to baptize 30 candidates in the name of Jesus Christ. This was the remote beginning of such baptism in Canada, although neither McAlister nor Small had been baptized in Jesus’ name at that time.

L. C. Hall tells of two meetings he and George A. Chambers were associated in. The first began in Toronto on November 14, 1915. “The campaign was opened in a large vacant church building. Our first
audience numbered about one dozen, and before the meeting was over it had increased to six hundred. The enemy was busy by pen and voice, warning the people to stay away. ‘Heretics’ and kindred epithets flew through the air and mails, but the people wanted to know of the Mighty God revealed in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Soon the light began to break, and many desired baptism in the ‘only name given among men whereby we must be saved.’ (3) Eighty-four were baptized, including some preachers. Among them was T. H. Gilbert, a Toronto pastor.” (4)

Hall and Chambers went to Berlin, Ontario in Chamber’s own mission, and before this campaign was over, three hundred had been baptized in the powerful name of Jesus.

At this same time G. T. Haywood was preaching for McAlister in Ottawa, and 112 were baptized. History would have us mention this fact: it was Haywood who baptized McAlister, this man who preached the first messages on Jesus’ name baptism that began the chain reaction in bringing back apostolic truth to the church in the twentieth century.


A camp meeting was in progress in Merryville, Louisiana. It had begun August 3, 1915. Oliver F. Fauss, a man destined to be a leader in the Oneness Movement, was in this camp as a young man. He said, “It was in the beginning of this camp meeting that our attention was called to an article in the Word and Witness, written by E. N. Bell. The name of the article was ‘The Sad New Issue,'” He was relating how that some in the upper states had begun baptizing in the name of Jesus only, and he set forth that this was a rehash of an old heresy. Then, during this camp meeting, there fell into our hands the next issue, the August number. In this issue the author of the former article explained that he had been mistaken, in that he had overlooked a truth that God was trying to reveal, and now that God had opened his eyes.” (5)

This article, “Who is Jesus Christ,” was used of the Lord especially in appealing to preachers to take a fresh look at the Scripture. From this camp and from others (as the Alto, Texas Camp mentioned previously) (6) ministers and workers alike were searching the Bible, making sure of what they believed. Many a heart was searched, and there was much seeking of God for divine guidance.

Harvey Shearer, pastor of a church in Caldwell, Texas, and one of the early day leaders, was in this camp. He and five other workers went from Merryville back across the Sabine River to Caldwell, where L. C. Hall met with them in a tent meeting. Here Hall convinced them of the truth, and they were all baptized in the name of Jesus.


In the memory of “old timers” in Louisiana and East Texas, there is a definite high point. It was the Elton Louisiana Bible Conference. This conference lasted through the holiday season of 1915, beginning on the fifteenth of December. The chairman was Shearer, and since he had recently “taken up with the New Issue doctrine” (as they described it in that day), he naturally would have it presented at this conference.

On December 19 the first message on water baptism in Jesus’ name was presented. Several who had been pondering this truth became fully convinced, and, at a baptizing later in the afternoon, were buried in “The Name.” Fauss said, “As we gathered at the water’s edge (a nearby lake), Brother Shearer walked out into the water, and thirteen followed to be baptized, all of them gospel workers or ministers. I was one of the thirteen. Glory to God! We were baptized in the wonderful, glorious name of Jesus, and from that time on there were baptismal services night and day. People were baptized throughout that Bible Conference until it numbered in the dozens.” (7)

Robert L. LaFleur, who has been called the “Apostle to Louisiana,” was one of the thirteen baptized along with Fauss. His wife, Maude, was one of the six workers baptized in Caldwell, Texas in the L. C. Hall meeting. (8) LaFleur, a few weeks prior to the Elton Conference on the eighteenth of October, had baptized 56 in Jesus’ name in DeQuincy, Louisiana, although he himself was not as yet baptized. He at that time, along with Fauss and others, was convinced that Jesus’ name was the scripturally founded formula for water baptism.

“On Thursday morning, December 30, Brother H. A. Goss came into the Bible Conference, and his first subject when he spoke was ‘Jehovah, the Most Wonderful Name.’ He brought out clearly and distinctly how that ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.'”

“So great were these Bible studies that they are still remembered by the workers and ministers who attended. The record shows that every minister and gospel worker was baptized in Jesus’ name in that conference or soon after, except one. Every church in the northwestern part of Louisiana, and most all in eastern Texas, had baptizings after the conference, where there were from few to scores baptized in the name of Jesus. So great was this truth that seemingly it set the whole country afire.” (9)


“Frank J. Ewart published a paper ‘Meat in Due Season,’ through which many hundreds were convinced of the glorious truth, and were baptized in the name of the Lord. An outstanding Jew was convinced of the Godhead truth and began advocating the true salvation. Abraham Silverstein baptized many in Jesus’ name, and printed a paper and books setting forth this truth.

“Daniel C. O. Opperman was editor of a leading paper called ‘The Blessed Truth,’ which did much to carry the truth around the world. Oliver F. Fauss began publishing a very staunch advocate, and later merged it with ‘The Blessed Truth.’ G. T. Haywood, an outstanding black minister who stood high among all Pentecostal ministers and saints, published ‘The Voice in the Wilderness.’ Haywood, a noted Bible teacher, and pastor of one of the largest Pentecostal churches, published several books which were used of the Lord to persuade many. Leading ministers and saints put out other publications and thousands of tracts which convinced sincere people of Bible truths, causing many to be buried in the lovely name of Jesus, and to receive the infilling of the Holy Ghost.” (10)

A list of the “big” men who were being rebaptized, and accepting all or part of the Oneness belief about the Godhead, reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Early-day Pentecost; E. N. Bell, Howard A. Goss, D.C.O. Opperman, L. C. Hall, G. T. Haywood, H. G. Rodgers, Glenn A. Cook, B. F. Lawrence, Harry Van Loon, and many other outstanding preachers, teachers, and writers. With rare exceptions, most of the Canadian brethren were included in this Oneness sweep. In Louisiana the Assemblies of God had twelve preachers: all twelve departed the Trinitarian faith. Where would this stop? It was becoming a veritable flood, and few had any hopes, or the ability, or the determination to halt it.” (11)

Even though the surge toward Oneness and Jesus’ name baptism was very pronounced, there were yet huge numbers still held in the grip of tradition, and finding it difficult to break with the teachings of the past. Many were on the very verge, but still lingering, as if hoping someone would pull them back again. While delaying, someone did.

1 Frodsham, “Signs Following,” p. 53.
2 Small, “Living Waters,” April, 1941, p. 1.
3 Acts 4:12
4 Small, “Living Waters,” April, 1941, p. 6.
5 Fauss, “Buy the Truth, and Sell It Not,” p. 8.
6 Page 56.
7 Fauss, “Buy the Truth, and Sell It Not,” p. 20.
8 Page 61.
9 Fauss, “Buy the Truth, and Sell It Not,” p. 24.
10 McClain, “Notes” p. 14, 15.
11 Brumback, “Suddenly From Heaven,” p. 197.