Frank Avant vs. C. H. Mason: Mason and the Holy Ghost on Trial
Without a doubt, Frank Avant vs. C. H. Mason is the most critical juncture in the entire history of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). The ... Show synopsis Without a doubt, Frank Avant vs. C. H. Mason is the most critical juncture in the entire history of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). The Pentecostal-Holiness Movement of the early twentieth century began with an aggressive legal confrontation between two of the movement's leading African-American pastors and their adherents. Charles P. Jones and Charles H. Mason's up-close and personal relationship was torn apart over their fundamental differences of the baptism in the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. Up until the Azusa Street Revival, Jones and Mason shared an extraordinary profundity for each other; and their relationship was maximized when Jones united Mason and Lelia Washington in marriage in 1905. In 1907, Jones filed a lawsuit in Memphis against Mason after leading the way in having Mason excommunicated from the General Ministerial Council of Holiness Churches and Meetings for proliferating speaking in tongues. Jones and Mason founded the organization in 1897 after both of them were expelled from the Baptist denomination for teaching holiness. When Mason lost the case in Memphis Chancery Court, it was merely an opportunity to lead the Jones faction to the Red Sea. Mason and his attorney, Elder Robert E. Hart, appealed the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court in Jackson, where the judges decided in their favor, devastating the Jones faction and their attorney, Benjamin F. Booth.