History of First Century Gospel Church by the current Head Pastor James Ambrose Clark, III.
First Century Gospel Church New Jersey, U.S.A. was founded by the late Head Pastor James Ambrose Clark, II, of blessed memory in late 1925.
The grandson of the late founder, Head Pastor James Clark, III, stated that his grandfather was inspired by the teachings of the late Rev. Adoniram Judson Gordon of Boston, MA in 1886 to practice “Divine Healing.” Divine Healing is exercising 100% faith in God’s Power through prayers to miraculously heal any sickness or disease. This is accomplished by trusting only in the name and completed work of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ’s Substitutionary Atonement on Calvary’s Cross without the application of any medicine.
After examining the scriptural references quoted by Reverend Gordon, the late Ambrose Clark also decided to place his faith in God by trusting in the Power of the Blood of our LORD Jesus Christ to heal his chronic inability to eat solid food after all the doctors and medications had failed him.
To put his new-found faith in the LORD Jesus Christ into action, Pastor Clark instructed his wife to prepare the meal that he had previously been unable to eat. After he ate the meal, Pastor Clark was instantly healed to the glory of GOD. Upon his deliverance, he also decided to start teaching the Gospel of Divine Healing of his Savior and Healer, the LORD Jesus Christ. From then on, the Church under Pastor Clark spread rapidly around the world as a result of the miraculous deliverances wrought on all the sick and afflicted of the devil through prayer and faith in God’s Word. Please consider some of these Bible passages:
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. (Psalm 107:20)
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)
During the ministry of Pastor John Wesley Ankins at Faith Tabernacle, Ambrose Clark was his assistant, and was one of the earliest members who joined Gospel Mission in 1897. Assistant Pastor Clark was appointed to Faith Tabernacle Congregation Northfield, NJ station in 1909, and by 1912, was preaching in Wissinoming, near Philadelphia, PA. In October 1917, he was promoted to Presiding Elder, i.e. Head Pastor, at the Headquarters after the first Head Pastor John Wesley Ankins went to be with the LORD earlier that year.
In 1918, Pastor Ambrose appointed his first son Henry Clark as associate pastor. Faith Tabernacle’s April 1918 newsletter, The Sword of the Spirit listed Pastor Henry as the minister in charge of the 5214 Ventnor Ave., NJ Branch, along with eight other pastors reporting to Presiding Elder Ambrose Clark at FTC.
After ministering at Faith Tabernacle for eight years as the Presiding Elder, and due to some major differences, there was a split, and Pastor A. Clark left the Faith Tabernacle, and in late 1925, established another church. His family and some of the congregation from Faith Tabernacle made up the new First Century Gospel Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Between 1925 and 1926, under the new First Century Gospel Church, Pastor Ambrose Clark appointed his eldest son Henry, who was already a pastor to oversee stations in New York City, Newark and in Eastern Pennsylvania, while the elder Clark remained the Head Pastor of the First Century Gospel Churches in the USA and worldwide. After Pastor Ambrose was called to glory in 1947, there have been two separate churches with doctrinal differences: The First-Century Gospel Church in Philadelphia, PA, USA, under the leadership of Head Pastor Nelson A. Clark. The other church, First Century Gospel Church in Trenton, NJ, USA, under Head Pastor James A. Clark operates independently through the Grace and “Follow-Me” Gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ (refer to FCGC_Mission Statement).
After he became Head Pastor in 1968, Pastor James Clark challenged his congregations to a higher spiritual standard of holiness and obedience to God’s Word than what his grandfather and father preached on Divine Healing. He complained that some people joined the church without fully repenting of their sins nor surrendering their lives to the Savior Jesus Christ. They neither had the Holy Spirit’s Regeneration nor the New Birth that allows true Christians to live a sanctified life.
He reminded us that he believes in Divine Healing 100% and has practiced it all his life. However, in quoting several specific Bible Commandments in the Epistles and Revelation on the sins that will take people to hell, he questioned the spirituality of those who claimed to believe in Divine Healing, and yet were and are still guilty in God’s sights on some of the sins listed below (in bold for emphasis) that will prevent unrepentant sinners from the Kingdom of God:
No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:8-10, NKJV Bible)
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:25-32)
But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. (Ephesians 6:3-7)
He warned members that trusting God for Divine Healing alone will not take anyone who persists in envy, hatred, lying, selfishness, dissensions, backbiting, etc. to Heaven. The HP explained that a person must genuinely repent and ask for God’s forgiveness so they can be born again of the Holy Spirit:
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
When a member “prematurely” sleeps in the LORD through sickness or disease, many are tempted to doubt their faith in Christ instead of continuing to dwell on the unchangeable Word of God.
For this reason, when a member decides to seek physician help, goes to the hospital, or takes medicine out of desperation for their healing, the Head Pastor of First Century Gospel Church and his elders employ the gift of “Compassionate Ministry.” They meet that person with the same Godly Love that the father met his prodigal son in our LORD’s Parable; praying that the member would grow into spiritual maturity of trusting God for spiritual and physical deliverance in every aspect of their Christian life.
But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:17-22)
Such compassionate ministry allows them to understand the same mercy and love that our Heavenly Father shows on us every morning (Lamentations 3:22,23), and the need for the person to self-examine their actions, repent, and make a clean-cut decision to depend on God ALONE to solve all their spiritual and physical problems for them and their families the next time. Holy Scripture asks:
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:13-18)
Because of God’s Commandment to believers to visit the poor and sickly, the Head Pastor, his elders, and members have visited hospitals to pray for members and other patients who were afflicted, and in the process ministered unto them with the Gospel of Christ
Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ (Matthew 25:41-43)
Head Pastor Clark referred us to the LORD’s response in John 8:3-1, when the Scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery and tempted the LORD to pass judgment, He ended the episode by saying: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10,11)
To further encourage the congregation to cultivate God’s compassion for others who fall short in any of the principles that we hold dearly, Head Pastor Clark referred us to how our LORD and Savior Jesus showed love and forgiveness to the woman with the blood disease in Luke 8. We are reminded that the woman had gone to various doctors to receive healing without success:
But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him. Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped. And Jesus said, “Who touched Me?” When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before Him, she declared to Him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately. And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:43-48)
Our Master and Savior Jesus Christ knew everything about the woman, and how the physicians had been unsuccessful in healing her, yet the LORD did not condemn her, but encouraged her to go in peace. The Gospels testify that Christ forgave the woman for her new faith in Him in spite of going to the physicians.
Consequently, we cannot scold anyone whose faith in God is not strong enough to believe in Divine Healing, but we can remember them in our prayers that the Holy Spirit will reveal the Will of God in their lives.
Therefore, we should exercise compassion with others by building up their faith and encouraging them with God’s Words to have faith in the Power of the LORD’s Shed Blood on Calvary’s Cross, and in the Name of the LORD Jesus Christ. God’s Word commands us to trust in Him for everything that we need, but the faith of others are like babes in Christ, must be patiently nurtured with prayers.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8)
First Century Gospel Church and Head Pastor James Clark, III believe that Divine Healing is a high calling and gift from God through the substitutionary death and redemption provided for by the LORD Jesus Christ for anyone who wants to take advantage of the blessings and benefits.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:8-10)
God says in Exodus 15:26:
And said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I Am the Lord who heals you.”
Head Pastor Clark’s focus has always been on the need for spiritual salvation of the soul through genuine repentance from the heart and on surrendering our will for the Will of GOD, rather than on only the physical body (divine healing) that some people sought.
Divine Healing is one part of the Gospel that our LORD Jesus Christ and His Apostles preached and delivered to the world. While we believe and practice Divine Healing, holding on to just one part of the Gospel is not enough for Eternal Life. We must prayerfully obey all the remaining Gospel and reflect on the holy requirements of Scripture in the power of the Holy Spirit, some of which are listed below:
WE proclaim the Gospel that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Apostles preached in the First Century: the Gospel of Repentance, Baptism, Divine Healing, Faith, Forgiveness, Grace, God’s Grace, Love, Mercy, Obedience, and Salvation unto Eternal Life through Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit’s Power, we sincerely:
- love our neighbors (see FCGC_Mission Statement) and (FCGC_Statement of Beliefs)
- sacrifice our time for anyone who might need our services as the Good Samaritan did in Luke 10:30-37; 1 John 4:7-8; and we lovingly
- obey and Carry the Cross and Count the Cost of following our Lord Jesus Christ an eternal blessing. Amen.
For a full understanding of what FCGC NJ believes, please review our FCGC_Statement of Beliefs.
What We Believe About GOD and Jesus Christ:
Because of God’s Amazing Love, Mercy and Grace through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
- we strongly believe that our Almighty Father and God does NOT permit sicknesses and diseases to plague us so that we can draw closer to Him
- we believe that the Atonement and Substitutionary Work that our Lord Jesus completed on Calvary’s Cross gives us the Blood-bought rights to enjoy God’s perfect peace, protection, and healing of our body
- we believe that sin and the devil, satan, and deceiver is behind all the sicknesses, problems and bad things happening in the world today.
God’s Power to heal and protect is still available to all who will obey His Word, trust Him, resist, and refuse the lies of the devil. By listening to the lies of the devil we have doubted God, but His Word in Hebrews 13 says:
Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages). Amen.
Would any loving father permit cancer, accidents and all the terrible diseases to inflict his children in order to enable them draw closer to their father? Nothing tragic or evil comes from our Almighty God. The devil is behind all the problems we see in the homes and society, and it is only through the Power of the Holy Spirit which has made us victorious over the devil that can sustain us and protect us. (Psalm 23 and Psalm 91).
We pray that at God’s ripe time, the Grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the Eternal (Life) Security that He has given to all true Christians would be evident to our brethren around the world as we express Christian love, unity and harmony with one another. Amen