Rev. M. J. Divine
Better known as Father Divine
This Book Free to Everyone
How a pastor of a large full gospel assembly was more consecrated to Jesus Christ by his contact with the Rev. M. J. Divine Peace Mission movement.
This Booklet Free to Everyone. Several thousand copies have been printed and distributed by Brothers Printing Co., 24 N. West St. More copies may be secured free by writing Peoples Temple, Box 249, Indianapolis, Ind.
This copy is dedicated to Christ’s blessed peacemakers and truth seekers throughout His universal dominion.
Introduction of the author’s background:
James Jones has brought the gifted pastorial and healing ministry to the entire body of Christ. He is not affiliated with any sectarian organization; however, he cooperates extensively with all ecumenical efforts for greater fellowship.
He has a wide range of experiences and training in diversified fields. He has wandered through every religious circle in his search for reality and he went on to find his final abiding place at the foot of God’s self revelation, i.e. the divine-human Jesus. He enbodies [embodies] the love and humanitarianism of the historic Jesus in the name of universality. Truly the I Am hath sent him.
He has been educated two years at Indiana University and Butler University. He excelled in both institutions. Also, he receives correspondence training in Theology from Cleveland Holiness Bible Institute and courses in ministerial study from the Methodist conference. He has served as a social worker in the Marion County Department of Public Welfare in the state of Indiana. Earlier in his career, he supervised the male nursing staff of the Reid Hospital in Richmond, Indiana. His training in the nursing profession coupled with the devoted cooperation of his wife who was a Graduate Registered Nurse and teacher enabled him to found one of the most outstanding sanatoriums in our area which specializes in the field of geriatrics.
Pastor Jones is presently pursuing the study of law in the Indiana University graduate division. It is his conviction that legal knowledge will qualify him to counsel the numerous persons who require his advice in one of the state prisons where he serves in a chaplain’s capacity. He has observed many young people who have suffered injustice because of a few mercinary [mercenary] and insensitive legal counselors.
Mr. Jones is one of the least and most bound men I know. He is bound to Jesus Christ and consequently free. Do not come to this book expecting to find great literature. You can come and behold an instrument who has found a way to live the Christ life.
Rev. and Mrs. Russell Winberg
Brothers Printing Company
Copyright 1959, Pastor W. Jones, Indianapolis, Ind.
When I was pastoring a large Methodist church several years ago I was warned against the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I found faith to accept this glorious experience. From that time on I refused to allow any person to hinder me from acknowledging truth irrespective of the denominational label placed on it.
These words are dedicated to people who want to know the truth.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32.
I am writing this report for the benefit of the precious friends who are entitled to know our position in reference to the Peace Mission movement. However, secondarily, but not incidently [incidentally] I feel that a fair analysis and evaluation of the Rev. M. J. Divine ministry is necessary to the progress of every honest believer. Most of the writings that have been brought to my attention have been greatly prejudiced. I have been immensely benefited by my association with this movement; consequently, I feel I owe it to my many Christian associates to give an authentic, unbiased, and objective statement of my experiences with this group over the past three years.
I mention for clarification that I am not a follower nor an affiliate with any of their organizations. Furthermore, I disagree theologically with a number of their tenets of faith. (For the orthodox readers[‘] information, I have been informed by the officials of the Peace Mission church that they believe in the virgin birth and the atonement.)
Three years ago in mid summer [I] frequented the Circle Mission church and training school at Broad and Catherine streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is the shrine of the renowned M. J. Divine. My visit to one of their extensions was motivated by reading the book, Manifest Victory by Rufus J. Mosely[,] an early apostle of the pentecostal message. Until the time of this reading I had been totally antagonistic towards the Divine sect. Mosely referred to Mr. Divine as his friend John, and he related many incidents of the life of our subject which indicated that he was an honest person. I had heard the usual opinions that it was supposed to be a harem run by a demonically possessed immoral person; in fact, I was almost wholly convinced that it was a complete fraud. I had always been extremely opposed to adulation or worship of religious leaders. In order to stop flesh exaltation which seemed to be developing in my own healing ministry I publicly insisted that no one even referred to me as Reverend. Naturally, one can imagine the revulsion I felt upon entering their church and hearing the devoted followers of Mr. Divine refer to him as Father.
My apprehensive this was intensified when I arrived at the hotel which was operated by the followers and was recommended to me for accommodations by the the [second “the” in original] hostess of the Circle Mission Church. The receptionist informed me that my wife and I could not occupy the same room. This requirement was presented to me in a rather cold, businesslike manner and it dismayed me to such a degree that I took my wife and departed. We found accommodations in a downtown hotel. Temporarily I became absorbed with other plans. I had to minister at Rev. John Douglas’ church a short distance from Philadelphia. My wife and I decided that we would write off the Divinist as a bad experience and charge it to memory.
Two days elapsed without any considerable thought of this new and peculiar religious element. But suddenly while resting before sleep and inspiration struck me that we must go to one of their banquets which is a term used for their religious worship meetings. This service constituted endless varieties of foods free to whoever desires to participate, and it is intermingled with two or three hours of song and praise to their “God.”
It had to be the spirit of truth that stimulated me to return to their atmosphere because my every natural inclination was opposed to it. I was nauseated by what seemed to be personal worship to their leader. None the less [Nonetheless] when I would pause to think and be fair in my judgment, I could not help but see a peace and love that prevailed generally throughout the throng of enthusiastic worshipers. Every face was aglow with smiles and radiant friendliness.
After the feast was over we were asked by one of the staff if we would care to testify. Although I still felt that I was in a hot bed of error, I see now as I reminisce that there was enough hypocrisy in me to keep me from revealing my true attitude toward them in my speech. I will mention more later how this group helped me become completely honest with myself and others at all times.
The sweet way in which I was introduced is worthy of your consideration. It went something like this: “Rev. Jones, we are happy to have you in our midst. We would be happy for you to speak volitionally according to your own understanding because this is a hall of democracy. We do not impose any of our religious convictions upon you.” This kindness and tolerance greatly softened my spirit. Another thing that helped me very much on this occasion to remain peaceful was the reply that Rev. Divine gave to one of his followers who exhorted. This evidently educated and cultured woman had previously gone into a great explanation of how she had gone to one of the leading officials of her city and endeavored to inform him as to the diety [deity] of Rev. Divine. She said something to this effect: “Father, they didn’t accept me or believe in you.” Rev. Divine stood up and replied to her rather caustically saying, “Sister, or dear, if you had done as much to get them to accept the Christ in you as you did your interpretation of me; they would have accepted both you and me.” This act of humility pacified me long enough for me to stay another day in the mission and I grew spiritually as a result of it. At the conclusion of this communication I will inform you of the areas where I disagree with the movement. But now I want to specialize on the lessons which I learned that day and in a few other brief visits in my numerable contacts with my friends there which had elevated me and built me up in the holy life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I know it will seem strange to you dear reader that a person could be benefited spiritually by people who propagate the teaching of the deification of a person which we have always considered to be gross misconception. But I must honestly state the facts; as the Holy Writ declares: ‘give honor to whom honor is due.’
Of course it is logical to consider according to traditional orthodoxy that with so much good present, powers of evil would do anything within their means to corrupt it and cause it to become unbalanced. Because, of a surety, there is so much good latent within this group that the presence of evil in the world would be completely subjected to God if the good of this movement was generally practiced and emphasized [emphasized] by all honest Christians. They have a key of prefering [preferring] their brother before themselves; mutual cooperation, self-mortification, or complete sanctification that would definitely break the yoke of the other fellow. Incidently [Incidentally], I learned from the Divine followers to call ole splithoof the other fellow. Their position comes from the Scripture, “give no place to the devil,” and I have been led to believe that we do not help win our victories by even giving the Satanic the satisfaction of being mentioned in the course of our conversation. The Bible says, in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I will get back to the subject of this booklet by stating some of the virtues of the movement which have influenced me to be a more honest person and a greater servant to the people. The Divine followers have a policy of never speaking about negative situations. They keep the conversation wholesome and refused to discuss their sicknesses or any of their problems; in fact such terms as sickness and death are obliterated from their vocabulary. They will not bear or receive an evil report upon anyone, which certainly fulfills Scripture.
In my wide travels between different religious groups, I have noticed it is quite characteristic to hear the different ones making unkind remarks about fellow ministers or churches. I can safely say that I have never heard an unkind remark in any of the Divine extensions about another and no matter how much one disagrees with them they continue to extend love and kindness. I have repeatedly stood up in their midst when ther [their] leader was present and stated that Rev. Divine was merely an instrument who had done a good work. I often indicated that he would go to the grave just like any other mortal. Such a position is in complete opposition to their basic creed; however, they always receive my thoughts with a Christ-like cordiality. Indeed the attitude, “he who is not against us is on our part”, conveyed by Jesus is personified in the Peace Mission work.
I have never seen a demonstration of democracy comparable to this in any other religious circles. I must declare that they have caused me to become more tolerant and to restrain my tongue. I do not mean to imply that I have compromised my doctrine. Their example has been one of the direct causes for a standard I have adopted; namely, I now consistently tell a person what I think about them in their presence and resolutely refuse to discuss a person in their absence. I desperately needed this achievement.
Naturally, time would not permit me to tell how beautifully they have demonstrated that God is no respecter of persons. The flower garden of integration is a perfect reality in all Peace Mission churches throughout the world.
Many officials of our government have openly stated that their work as well as such groups as the Friends Church, etc., have done more to stifle adverse propaganda to our country and way of life than any other medium. History records that we have lost one colonial nation after another because of our racial policy. The absolute challenge is before the United States – “we are our brothers [brother’s] keeper,” and if we fail to unite in this premise and live together, scientists assure us that we will ultimately die together. The Divine movement is one of the healthy deterents [deterrents] in America that is doing all within its resource to avert such an imminent catastrophy [catastrophe]. I am well aware that I am not a capable correspondent; thus in fear that you might tire of this manuscript before you read the entirety of my completely honest message I will try to brief each of the virtues or good points of the movement more concisely.
It is refreshing to see that the Kingdom principles of cooperative communalism is no longer in the realms of Biblical theory. The Divinites have perfectly fulfilled the Scriptural principle: “from each according to his ability to each according to his need.” They have sincerely put into practice Acts 2 which required that the believers live together and hold all things common. Acts 2:45 states, “And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”
Any honest inquirer can verify from the United States Treasury department that Mr. Divine has never received any personal remuneration or paid one dime income tax. He nor any official in the organization individually have their name on one piece of property. The followers pool their resources and buy all properties cooperatively or as a non-profit corporation to further humanitarian programs that M. J. Divine propagates. He exercises a greater faith in people than many full gospel pastors because he maintains no legal hold on the members or the property of his group.
No matter what station of life one originates from he can find a lovely hotel room for one dollar nightly in the metropolitan areas of New York or Philadelphia. Their motto is “whosoever will may come.” These cooperative hotels, rest homes, and children’s centers have been instrumental in redeeming thousands of broken lives. Non-followers of all descriptions, public agencies, etc., in the eastern area will affirm that the Divine movement has transformed more alcoholics, addicts, prostitutes, and undesirable parasitic elements of the citizenry than any denomination. All followers keep a strict modest code of no smoking, drinking, cursing, use of slang, or undesirable personal habits, and they maintain a strict moderation in their apparel. My wife and I interviewed personally scores of individuals who had been led from the back alleys of sin by Rev. Divine to lead honest lives consecrated to religious service thereby greatly benefiting humanity.
The clerk of the County office informed me that you cannot put a finger on the morals or ethics of the Divine adherents. This gentleman, Mr. Johnson, is a member of a holiness sect in the Philadelphia area.
In view of my excessive suspicions of the movement, my wife and I asked every business concern adjacent to the churches about the validity of their work and each of them gave the positive note to this essence: “They do a good work for the people.”
One of the stabilizing holds that the United States has with the newly formed government of Ghana is that their prime minister could not have been educated in America had he not been able to take advantage of the dirt cheap rates of the Divine hotels and be privileged to give what he wanted to pay for the full course meals that he was permitted to eat four times daily if he desired. Yes, after being served like a king, any public citizen, no matter how poor or unkept he may be is greeted in this manner by the cashier in their restaurant, “Give what you conscientiously feel this service is worth to you.” The article in reference to the Premier Kwame Krumah of Ghana’s gratefulness to the Father Divine movement appeared in The Jet, a nationally known publication.
The services of laundries, tailors, barber-shops, variety stores, and everything perhaps except morticians is operated on this basis of give according as you have been prospered.
I gained an eternal lesson in faith from these people. I used to take offerings almost to the point of begging in our large Peoples Temple in Indianapolis and the co-operative churches in Cincinnati and Hamilton, Ohio. When I saw this group in action maintain their lofty vision without passing an offering plate, I was put under conviction. I decided we too, could live by faith and in the midst of financial adversity we stopped taking offerings for months. We now have a modified offering program, but no emphasis is given to it. And as much as this committal may hurt my reputation I say that Rev. Divine stirred me to take this greater act of faith that the Lord Jesus Christ is able to provide. I had not taken personal offering for religious or humanitarian work before I heard of the Divine sect. Consequently, when I found that their leader nor none of their staff were remunerated this helped to override some of the Theological barriers that kept me from showing love to these precious people.
Another teaching, which has been a salvation to me, although it is extreme and perhaps should not be applied as they feel to all Christian believers is the doctrine of the celibate life. Contrary to what has been circulated these people including their renown [renowned] leader live lives of total sexual abstinence. They take their position from the teaching of Christ where it says, “some are made eunichs [eunuchs] for the kingdom of heaven sake’[“] and the authority of Paul who declared in Corinthians that it would be better for man to live alone as he did, but if he could not refrain from burning take unto himself a wife. I have set for hours on different occasions and talked with Rev. Divine and his personal staff and I can affirm they do not practice other than what they preach. I have never observed any indiscreet behavior from either sex in all of my contact with the fellowship. And I am known to have a rather keen discernment. I illustrate the gift by saying, not one trace of immorality has ever gained a beachhead in any of the churches where I am the overseer.
The conscientious followers readily admit that they have had their frustrations and oppositions to overcome in this area, but they do not succumb to this tendency. If a member indulges in the mortal plain [plane] he immediately resigns from them. This may seem rigid and unnecessary to you and for many people I doubt very much that it would be a healthy method of living, but it did a beautiful thing for me of this wise. In my twenty-eight years I have never known any woman physically before or after marriage except my wife. And in my ministry preceding the contact with Peace Mission due to the fact that I heard many escapades of ministers and so-called lay Christians in immoral realms I had become very carnally proud of my own accomplishment. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. 16:18.
Instead of trying to remove adulterous and sexual thoughts that often came into my mind I was always justifying the fact that overtly I had been such a good moral man, but when I met a few hundred young Divine followers who had overcome the sexual plain [plane] extensively without the legalized social outlet of a husband or wife I was pricked in my conscience. Although I have not personally fully maintained a life of celibacy I definitely believe that I was saved from disaster which my thoughts would have ultimately and conclusively led to if the example of the Rev. Divine constituants [constituents] had not stimulated me to look into my own heart. I thank the Christ today that I can say that I am free from the sexual thoughts for intervals of many days and the time. Undoubtedly, some people will be called to completely “mortify the deeds of the body.”
If the reader will concentrate on the following aspect of their theology I feel you will receive great personal benefit. Without exception the followers will not purchase any item through what society calls credit or installment buying. Individually or cooperatively they purchase only the things they can obtain with cash. They believe it is wrong to borrow on the future or to put oneself under bondage to material things. Their Scriptural position is embodied in the following quote from the Bible: “owe no man anything but to love one another.” Also no member of the Peace Mission Assemblies will accept charity, tips, or bribes of any type. The aged constituents of the movement receive no pensions and remain gainfully employed. I met many in their eighties who work regularly six days a week in civilian vocations.
When I first heard the above teaching I was acquiring numerous things on the monthly payment plan but this message stirred by conscience and I left them determined to get out of debt. My newly found faith enabled me to pay off several holdings within a very few months. We paid one church off and immediately agreed to acquire out huge Synagogue with the understanding that the sellers would hold the building and charge us no interest until we could pay cash for the structure. Through a miracle of faith we had the purchase price of many thousands of dollars on the day we predicted that we would have it through the enablement of the Holy Spirit.
At this point I want to clearly state, contrary to suppositional rumors, we have never received one dime from the Peace Mission movement or any other religious group to underwrite our program.
I cannot convey how much this birth of freedom has meant to me. I now can speak the truth uncompromisingly with a greater boldness because I am free from all men. I do not inflict the afore mentioned doctrine as a necessity to salvation, but I highly recommend it to those who are pursuing the higher life of holiness. The mortal mind can not imagine what God has in store for the disciple who will live by faith.
My comments would not be complete without a discussion of the enthusiastic worship that is practiced consistently by this group. Even in the Fundamentalist circles who are seemingly more consecrated than the average religious assemblies I have observed that normal church parishioners do not like to convene for more than two hours. Furthermore, it is necessary to have a personable leader to stimulate the worshipers to what would constitute merely half-hearted praise. I have seen the Peace Mission members stand and sing inspirationally for three hours without direction while they were waiting on the appearance of their “Shepherd.” I have never seen this atmosphere duplicated anywhere in the Americas. It has been brought to my attention by my friend Leonard Coote who performs extensive missionary work in Japan and Korea that the natives of Korea in a recent outpouring of revival spirit worshipped God continuously twenty-one hours a day over the period of a few weeks.
Believers, I think we blaspheme when we publicly announce that we are assembling together in Jesus Name and then offer Ezekial’s [Ezekiel’s] boneyard as a testimony. When a person loves another he will display his affections and the most avid critics of Mr. Divine report by the scores that his followers love him and it is substantiated in the smiles and tears of joy that they display in every service. I am afraid that we have made our Jesus too impersonal and detached from our world to love Him vividly. Oh, if we could only realize that He is nigh and that He is with us always and never will leave or forsake us. If we ministers would display the Christ life with greater honesty perhaps it would stimulate the people to praise God without ceasing. My heart aches when I realize that there is ten times more enthusiasm demonstrated at a basketball game than in the routine so-called apostolic church.
I am always zealous in my devotions because I realize that the love of God converted me from a totally selfish and depraved life. Perhaps like the prodical [prodigal] we should recall to mind the pig’s stye [sty] from whence we came each time we assemble together.
I could continue for many pages informing the reader of how I have been helped to serve Christ earnestly because of these friends. Although at times I have been offensive in my messages to their position they never neglect showing us every consideration. When our group of ministers and laymen prepare to leave we are always given an abundance of food that is adequate for our entire journey back to Indianapolis.
Some people criticize our ministry of love and reconciliation to the Peace Mission movement. One of the reasons stated is that they demonstrate kindness in order to influence us to accept their leader as God. They never impose this position and if the critics were to look in faces of these precious souls they would know that there is no ulterior motive present. Actually, we do not have a thing that they need and we interrupt their whole program each time we visit because of our non-conformity.
In my earlier visits, as I mentioned before, I was too hypocritical to be candid about my feelings. I parroted some of their phrases because they had been kind to me and I could not bear the thought of hurting them. But they beautifully demonstrated the principle that one should always be true to his highest consciousness. I am eternally grateful for this ethic which has made me a dependable leader. I love them and I will do all within my power to help them according as the Holy Spirit dictates to my conscience. I disagree with their two basic premises that Rev. Divine is complete perfection [“educated” crossed out, “inculcated” handwritten above] in human form and that they have attained the immortality of the body; but I will not judge them as many do because they have revealed the beam that is in my own eye. Christ said, “If ye have no sin, cast the first stone.”
If any antagonist is reading this booklet, will you please consider the Scripture that says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Gal. 6:1. It is inconsistent for the same group, who have literally hurled stones at us for our ministry to the Peace Mission movement, to say they believe every word in the Bible. Does not the written Scripture record that God saw the potential of a murderous and adulterous David to such a degree that He referred to him as a man after His own heart.
I want it understood that I am not comparing Rev. M. J. Divine or any of his followers to David in his iniquity. I see the plan of God for these people in the future! Many skeptics are too busy looking at the trees to see the forest. God has put this lovely flock on my heart. I think of them constantly and no man save the spirit of Christ could know the love and concern I have for them. I will give my life if necessary to save them from hurt or destruction by their enemies.
The dogma in reference to calling their founder, Rev. Divine, God, is taken from the Scripture John 10:34, “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”
Many individuals believe Mr. Divine to be the anti-Christ, but he does not fulfill the predictions of II Thessalonians, chapter two. I can not foresee how a thorough scriptorian can indicate that he demonstrates the qualities of the son of perdition. Furthermore, contrary to Bible prophecy in reference to the anti-Christ dispensation, the movement which is the subject of this writing is declining numerically. However, even if this work were the seat of Satan we are required according to the mandates of the Master to do good to those who despitefully use us. Jesus had sufficient grace to discuss matters with the tempter calmly in Luke 4. We are even to love our enemies because that is the nature of God and it will dispell [dispel] all opposition. We must be sure that we do not become the anti-Christ in fighting what we consider to be wrong.
I have known of many insidious acts committed against the mission, but I have never once seen them retaliate with anything but profound kindness.
The basis for their teaching of immortality of the physical is derived from the Bible verse “he that keeps my sayings shall never see death.” Also, “he that liveth and believeth shall never die.” I do not comprehend the aforementioned message, but I see too many incongruities in the practices of even the orthodox religions to disown my friends. My only desire is to let them feel the measure of my love. For it is written, “that the love of God will cover a multitude of sins.” My avid opponents prophesied months ago that the glory of the Lord had departed from us because of our work, but I inform everyone, not in spite but for clarification, that God is moving in a greater manner than ever before since I founded People’s Temple. Hundreds attend the services regularly each week in all of our assemblies and never a service passes without someone being miraculously healed, converted or filled with the Holy Ghost. Our files are filled with the names and addresses of persons who have been completely healed in the last few days. We will gladly furnish these testimonies to friend or foe alike upon request.
Our love is increased. Sister Jones and I are regularly adopting orphan children from all races of the world. And we are ministering with an extensive compassion to the aged and poor of our area. We are nearly accomplishing the virtue of turning away no one who has need. Can anyone possibly attribute this work to the other fellow? Because our Bible clearly states that all good things come down from above. Please take cognizance of this Scripture, “touch not God’s anointed and do His prophets no harm!”
Of course we can expect accusations and out right hostilities against us, for did not the gainsayers charge that Jesus was Beelzebub and the Prince of D’s [Darkness] himself. But the Nazarene humbly replied, “a house divided itself cannot stand.”
You are now responsible for the truth that you have read, but whether you are benefited or not by this writing, I say without a doubt God is with us and if God be for us, who can be against us?
Observe the future with a pure mind and you will see the mystery of our ministry unfold before your eyes; then you will say along with every honest Christian, “surely this is the Lord’s work.”
The above writing has been hastily prepared to keep a printing deadline. Therefore, if my thoughts lack coherency, please forgive me.
Peoples Temple conducts a commissary program that provides the needs of all peoples regardless of race or creed. Also we have an orphanage work for children of all nationalities.
No pastor or worker at the Temple receives salary or offering.
10th and N. Delaware Sts.
P.O. Box 249
Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Morning Worship 10:45 a.m.
Sunday evening Young Peoples 7 p.m.
Sunday evening Evangelistic Service 7:45 p.m.
Thursday evening Spiritual Healing Service 7:45 p.m.
300 to 400 in attendance
Peoples Nursing Home
2354-2356 N. College Avenue
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