Bishop George W. Ayers, Ph.D.,
International Presiding Prelate
I would like to take a few minutes to introduce you to the great
Apostolic Movement. The A.O.H. Church of God is a significant part
of this movement. The three letters have a significant meaning and
promote a doctrinal understanding of the Apostolic Church.
The "A" stands for Apostolic. God's Church
embodies the Apostles doctrine. When Jesus finished his earthly
pilgrimage, He left the work of the church in the hands of His
eleven chosen leaders. Peter, the chief Apostle, was entrusted with
the keys to the kingdom to unlock the door to the Church of God. In
Luke, Chapter 24, we are told how Jesus imparted to His disciples
the doctrines and tenants of His church. The power of the church is
the power of God Himself. The church is not a building or a
physical structure; it is the mystical body of Christ manifested in
The "O" stands for Overcoming. To every man is
granted one opportunity to overcome the lesser, more carnal self,
called by St. Paul of Tarsus, the outer or outward man. Inside of
man is a far richer, purer, and more powerful nature: the inner
man-the inward spirit, the "soul" if you please; the spiritual man,
the celestial spark of Divinity created by God for Himself. This
eternal being must overcome the flesh. Paul stylized this
confrontation as a "war within my members."
The "H" stands for Holy. God's ultimate desire
is for a "race" of people who aspire and perfect "Holiness."
Holiness is a most unique and divine principle: a true attribute of
the Godhead; that is, a characteristic of God Himself. The "Word"
says, "Be ye holy, for I am Holy" God is holy. God calls for and
demands true holiness. God told Moses to loose the sandals off his
feet for the ground whereupon he stood was holy.
The Apostolic Overcoming Holy (A.O.H.) Church of God preaches
the fundamental unity of the Godhead: Jesus Christ being the
express image of the invisible God. Faith can see Him. Hope can
touch. Love can speak to His unseen power. Peace is His cloak, and
he rides the winds of righteousness. Joy is the basic expression, a
true unity with His spirituality. To know Him is to feel Jesus as
the only God that you will see. To know Him is to feel the warm
healing presence of His eternal personhood. In His presence the
poor man has a richness untold, unshackling him forever from the
throes of poverty. The young become one with the old. Whites feel
the burdens of blackness, and no man is an island.
The A.O.H. Church of God truly celebrates pentecost. The church
was born by the Spirit of God on the 50th day after the Passover.
This Apostolic church is a result of the latter Holy Ghost rains
that fell upon the United States at the turn of the 20th century.
At this time Bishop William Thomas Phillips, a young Black man from
Alabama, received the revelation of Water Baptism in the Name of
Jesus. Bishop Phillips testified that at the early age of 18 in
1912, a very noted evangelist came to Birmingham, Frank Williams.
It was during the preaching of Evangelist Williams that Bishop
Phillips received the message of Holiness. He believed and accepted
it and was filled with the Holy Ghost. Prejudice was such that
Blacks could not, at the time, worship with Whites.
Bishop Phillips was ordained in 1913, and became an evangelist
in 1916. It was during this year that Bishop Phillips founded the
A.O.H. Church of God. His first inclination was to make this church
strictly a Black religious movement. But being propelled by God, he
soon realized the inadequacy of any spirituality that was defined
and controlled by "racialistic denominationalism," inasmuch as,
holiness is not racial, it is Biblical. Apostolic is not
denominational, it is the very root of the New Testament Church. If
God, in truth, is universal, then His spiritual body in the world
must bear the same across cultural and multi-cultural emphatic
devotion to a universal dialectic. The Apostolic Church is
Man, although elevated in God's sight, is not a god. God is once
and forever divine. Man shall always be human. Jesus was the first
and last God-man. We have "good men," but there is but one God-man.
As we experience Him we leave our human for our divine. We walk
pass self into time. It is this timeliness that will someday make
the Saints of God one with the eternal God.