Rev. Charles Fox Parham
"Original" Apostolic Faith Movement
1873 ~ 1929
Reverend Charles F. Parham was born June 4, 1873 in Muscantine, Iowa. When he was five his parents William and Ann Maria Parham moved south to Cheney, Kansas. They truly lived as, and considered themselves to be American pioneers. As a child, Charles experienced many debilitating illnesses, including encephalitis, and rheumatic fever. These unfortunate confontations with pain, and even death would greatly impact his adult life.
Before his conversion at age thirteen, Charles felt an attraction to the bible, and a call to preach. He began conducting revival meetings in local Methodist churches when he was fifteen. At age seventeen he entered Southwest kansas College at Winfield, to prepare for Methodist ministry. By the spring of 1895 enrollment had dropped from over 600 to 209. One of the casualities of the economic crises was the young preacher, Charles F. Parham. His formal education came to an end when he failed to register for the 1893-94 school term.
A year later Charles turned his back on God, and the ministry. Deciding that he preferred the income and social standing of a physician, he began medical studies.Soon his rheumatic fever returned, and it didn't seem that he would recover. Months of inactivity had left him a virtual cripple. His ankles were too weak to support the weight of his body, so he staggered about walking on the sides of his feet. In December, 1891 Charles renewed his commitment to God, and the ministry, and he instantaneously and totally healed.
From this time on Charles Parham went forth proclaiming not only that Jesus saves and santifies, but that He also heals. He preached in schoolhouses, homes, or whatever was open for the gospel. He preached to many people of various faiths. He soon left "sectarian churchism" as he called it, and entered the evangelistic work where he saw hundreds saved, sanctified, and healed by the power of God.
In 1898 Parham established Bethel Healing Home. The purpose of Bethel was to provide home like comforts for those who were seeking healing, while prayer was made for their spiritual needs as well as their bodies. Parham printed the first Pentecostal publication in 1899. It was called The Apostolic Faith. In October, 1900 with about 40 students, Charles Parham secured "Stones Folly" a great mansion patterned after an old English Castle, and opened the Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas.
On January 1, 1901 duriing a watch-night service the Holy Ghost begin to fall on those who were gathered at the Bible College. Agnes Ozman was the first to receive the Spirit baptism and spoke in other tongues. Three days later, Parham received his Spirit baptism. Brother Parham was a modern forerunner in the doctrine of baptism in Jesus' name. This was his normal practice of which he never deviated from.
Parham traveled throughout Kansas, Missouri and Texas, spreading the Apostolic Faith message everywhere he went. He converted Howard Goss to the Apostolic faith, and taught William Seymour the basic principles of the doctrine of Holy Spirit baptism, which opened the door for Seymour to evangelize Los Angeles in 1906. In 1929, after a short illness, Charles F. Parham died. He will always be remembered as the founding father of modern day Pentecostalism, and the Apostolic Faith Movement.