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Date Posted:30/03/2010 1:32 PMCopy HTML

The Formation of the National Revival Crusade (NRC)

By Troy Waller (1999)


One of the founding members of the National Revival Crusade was Thomas Foster, born in 1909 in Mornington, Victoria. Foster left school at fourteen to work in the local Post Office and later the National Bank. It was while working in the bank that Foster became a deeply committed Christian and regularly attended the Presbyterian Church where he became a Sunday school teacher and preacher. At 23, Foster resigned from the National Bank and enrolled in the Presbyterian Training College in Carlton, Victoria (Cooper: 1995: 64). He was appointed to the Presbyterian Church in Merbein, Victoria where he was given a book on British-Israel (BI) by one of the elders of the church. Foster became convinced of the British-Israel message and began to preach it in his church. He was met with little opposition from his congregation, but was reprimanded by the Headquarters of the Presbyterian Church (Foster: 1993: 7).

In 1934, Foster was invited to take the Presbyterian Church in Mt Hawthorn, a suburb of Perth, where he had enough autonomy to hold unopposed midweek British-Israel meetings. It was in Perth that Foster decided to go to a Pentecostal meeting where he claimed he was healed of a serious nose injury that surgery had failed to solve. Foster was also baptised by full immersion at the Pentecostal Church. Upon preaching healing to his congregation, the Headquarters of the Presbyterian Church requested that he sign a document stating that he would only teach Presbyterian doctrines. Foster would not comply and left the Presbyterian Church to begin an itinerant ministry on British-Israelism and Pentecostalism throughout Western Australia (Cooper: 1995: 64, 65).

Foster returned to Victoria in 1936 where he met Dr Pascoe Goard, president of the British-Israel World Federation (BIWF). Dr Goard invited Foster to attend the BIWF Garrison Bible College at Harrow Weald in Middlesex at the BIWF’s expense. Foster completed the full two-year course, preached British-Israelism in the United Kingdom and then returned to Australia in 1939. Foster became an itinerant preacher for the BIWF in Victoria and began attending Richmond Temple, a large Assemblies of God (Pentecostal) church pastored by CL Greenwood. Foster remained a BIWF preacher until 1941.

The other founding member of the National Revival Crusade was Leo Harris. Harris was raised as a Pentecostal and his father, Cecil Harris, was ordained as an elder of the Pentecostal Church of Australia (later the Assemblies of God) in Perth in 1928. The Harris family like many early Pentecostals, found themselves becoming members of various Pentecostal denominations including the Assemblies of God (AOG), the Apostolic Church and a few independent groups. Leo Harris settled with the AOG and pastored a few churches in Queensland as well as having a reasonably successful preaching ministry amongst Pentecostal churches.

In November 1941, Leo Harris was temporarily pastoring the AOG church in Ballarat, Victoria when Thomas Foster came to speak on British-Israel. Leo and his brother Allan were staying with an AOG woman who was also a British-Israelist. She invited the Harris brothers to attend one of Foster’s meetings. The Harris brothers went hesitantly and returned far from convinced of British-Israelism. Thomas Foster then decided to attend the AOG meeting and upon meeting Leo Harris invited himself around for afternoon tea the following day. Foster explained his Historicist view of Bible Prophecy and the British-Israel message to Leo Harris and Leo claimed he accepted the message as ‘truth’ later that night (Cooper: 1995: 20). Leo Harris later wrote a letter to the Executive of the Assemblies of God explaining his change of mind on prophecy and the British-Israel message. The AOG immediately cancelled Leo’s credential and he was forced to return to his Father’s Independent Full Gospel Church in Brisbane (Cooper: 1995: 21).

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in December 1941, Thomas Foster joined the army as a Senior YMCA Officer. Leo Harris continued to minister with his family who had taken to starting Pentecostal churches under the name Churches of God. Leo Harris was quick to convert his family to British-Israelism and combining it with Pentecostalism began to preach what he called ‘The Full Kingdom Gospel’, with the aim and vision of planting ‘Full Kingdom Gospel’ churches in every Australian town and city. In May 1942, Harris launched his magazine, Echoes of Grace that contained aspects of Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism and British-Israelism.

In 1944, another Pentecostal British-Israel group called the New Covenant Assemblies (NCA) invited Harris to minister in New Zealand. Whilst staying with Vin Brown, the leader of the NCA, Harris shared his desire to start what he called the National Revival Crusade. Brown called a special meeting of NCA pastors and other Pentecostals who believed in British-Israelism. The conference was a success in that they agreed to unite under the banner of the National Revival Crusade (NRC). The articles of faith statement included an affirmation of British-Israelism, ‘(d) The Israel identity of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nations’ (Cooper: 1995: 36). Harris then returned to Australia to launch the NRC amongst the existing Churches of God in Queensland. The BIWF invited Leo Harris to hold a special series of lectures in Adelaide in 1945. The BIWF had previously begun to distribute Harris’ books and his magazine Echoes of Grace from their Adelaide branch making Harris quite well known. The meetings met with success and Harris utilized the opportunity to launch the National Revival Crusade in Adelaide. As Harris had no intention of staying in Adelaide, he appointed Norman Priest as pastor of the Adelaide NRC. Harris then traveled to Melbourne to launch the NRC with the assistance of Thomas Foster. Harris intended to make Melbourne the new headquarters for the NRC and remain as the pastor of the Melbourne assembly. However, in the early part of 1946 Norman Priest fell ill and requested that Harris return to take on the Adelaide assembly. Harris did so and left Foster to become the senior pastor of the Melbourne NRC assisted by David Kennedy.

Unlike the former aspects of the British-Israel movement which never developed into a sect and encouraged members to maintain their denominational loyalties, the NRC organised itself as its own movement (later into a denomination) of congregations. British-Israelists were encouraged to adopt Pentecostalism, leave their churches and join the NRC, while Pentecostals were encouraged to adopt British-Israelism and leave their churches.

Their initial statement of faith read:

(a) Salvation by Grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
(b) Divine Healing for the body
(c) The Gift of the Holy Spirit with signs following.
(d) The present day reality of Spiritual Gifts
(e) The Israel identity of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nations.
(f) The personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(g) His Millennial reign upon the earth.
(h) The pre-existence and perfect divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Echoes of Grace: 1944: 4,7).

The NRC also sought to evangelise the un-churched, and utilised the British-Israel message as ‘proof’ of the Bible’s trustworthiness through God’s promises to Israel being fulfilled through the Anglo-Saxons. This model of ‘pre-evangelism’ is still used by the Revival Centres movement today. Once convinced of British-Israelism and the Bible, enquirers at the NRC would then be instructed in their need of personal salvation and led through a prayer of faith in Jesus in a very traditional evangelical manner and be declared ‘saved’. From this stage they were instructed in the importance of water baptism and receiving the Pentecostal baptism in the Spirit, evidenced by the gift of speaking in other tongues.

Like the AOG and other Pentecostal groups, the NRC never claimed that the baptism with the Hoy Spirit and speaking in tongues was essential for salvation but that is was a distinct and usually subsequent event from salvation. Kevin Hollins, RCI pastor and brother of Geelong Revival Centre Head Noel Hollins, recalls that the salvation message he received and preached whilst in the NRC,

...was straight from the Assemblies of God, in effect. And lots of the understanding we had of Pentecost was straight from, say, the Assemblies of God, a little bit from the Apostolic and wherever because we were kind of learning, we were brand new...We used to go to the Assemblies of God every now and then, particularly when they had a speaker. We used to go to their Christmas camp.
(Recorded interview with Kevin Hollins.)

In fact, the official NRC publication, The National Revivalist would occasionally publish articles explaining why the NRC believed salvation and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit are distinct (The National Revivalist: 1950: 7-10).

References

Cooper, Dudley (1990), Flames of Revival: The continuing story of the Christian Revival Crusade celebrating fifty years of Pentecostal witness. Endeavour Hills, Victoria: CRC National Executive.

Echoes of Grace #28, Aug 1944.(This was the official NRC publication at the time.)

Foster, Thomas (1993), The Life and Times of Thomas Foster. Burwood, Victoria: Thomas Foster.

Hollins, Kevin (1994), Recorded interview. Mount Waverley, Victoria. 15/7/1994

The National Revivalist # 101. October, 1950. (This replaced Echoes of Grace as the official NRC publication at the time.)

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Re:1941 to 1952 - The Formation of the National Revival Crusade

Date Posted:09/04/2012 6:48 AMCopy HTML

 the day will come when all anglo-saxon-celts will stand in their tribes worshiping the King of kings. CJC
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Re:1941 to 1952 - The Formation of the National Revival Crusade

Date Posted:09/04/2012 11:56 PMCopy HTML

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 the day will come when all anglo-saxon-celts will stand in their tribes worshiping the King of kings. CJC
Why then do the American preachers such as Chuck Swindoll and Bayles Conley call themselves gentiles?
We were taught America was the tribe of mannaseh as Britain,was Ephraim.

RCI prophesies
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