Bishop Karl Franklin Smith (1892~1972)
Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
On October 5, 1892, a fourth child named Karl Franklin was born to Henry and Mary Smith in Zanesville, Ohio in their home on Fisher Street, located on Putnam Hill. His parents were both ministers of the African Methodist Church. As a child Karl contracted scarlet fever before he was four years old. This situation constituted a serious threat to his life as no cure had yet been dound to combat scarlet fever at that time.
Neverthless, God had a mission for his life that could not be hindered. Though common as it was, the birth of this child was to have extraordinary developments where God was concerned. Whether through divine intervention or natural means it isn’t quite certain, however, Karl’s life was spared.
Around the year 1912, Karl attended a service one night where his mother was conducting revival services in Cleveland, Ohio. That night he felt the hand of God upon him, prompting him to publicly confess Jesus Christ as his Savior. Shortly afterward Karl accepted the call of God on his life to become a minister of the Gospel. It seemed to be good news when Karl told his mother about his call to the ministry although she had not really wanted him to go in that direction, despite what might be termed his ministerial heritage. Perhaps it was that she wanted to protect him from the hardships that surrounded the life of a minister.
Karl enrolled into Payne Theological Seminary at Wilberforce University to prepare himself for his career. While in his second year at Seminary, Karl took charge as temporary pastor over a small Mission in Columbus, Ohio. His assignment would last for only six months, but would bring him in contact with the Edwards family who were filled with the holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking in other tongues. They had been devoted Methodists until some of the people from a little Apostolic Faith Assembly began witnessing to them. Mother Edwards tried to win Karl to her new Apostolic views. She wanted him to denounce baptism in the titles and accept baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and speaking in other tongues. Secretly he began to search the Scriptures to learn more about the Apostolic faith. At the end of an emotional journey in which he had to admit to his own obstinacy and the preemptory demands of a sovereign God, on April 18, 1915 he was filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost speaking in other tongues.
In 1916 Karl settled down in Columbus, Ohio and made it his permanant home where he would spend the rest of his life. He began attending church pastored by Elder R.C. Lawson, and lived a few years with his pastor. In September of 1915, Karl was ordained an elder in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Shortly afterward, he met Josephine Jackson. They became engaged, and on December 4, 1915 they were married, The officiating minister was elder Lawson. Soon there after Elder Smith became the assistant pastor to R.C. Lawson.
Karl smith held several important positions in the Pentecostal ranks. In 1919 he became the pastor of the Columbus church after elder Lawson resigned. 1920 elder Lawson appointed him to be the first general secretary of the Refuge Churches of Christ of the Apostolic Faith. In 1925 elder Smith returned to the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, and was elected general secretary that same year. In 1941 he launched the beginning of Aenon Bible School an affiliate of the PA of W. One of his most valuable resources however, was listening to every well-qualified Bible teacher he could. Bishop G.T. Haywood would make by far the greatest impression on him.
To Karl F. Smith all that mattered was the will of God, even if it called for his own personal distress. So he endured the inconveniences of failing health, and bore its concomitant misery and pain with the stoic demeanor of one who has committed all his ways to God.God could not wait so that His servant could see the fruition oc years of labor at Aenon Bible College. In His wisdom and sovereignty, He decreed that the journey was over, and He called him home on January 25th, 1972.