Robert Clarence Lawson (1883~1961)
Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Robert C. Lawson was born on May 5, 1883 in New Iberia, Louisiana. Although he sprang from a generation of ministers as far back as his great-grandfather, he had no plans to enter th ministry. He wanted to become an attorney of law, and enter the business world. After finishing a course at Howe University in Louisiana, he travelled extensively throughout the United States and Canada trying to determine a suitable destiny for his life’s career. He was a successful young man. A much loved and attractive person, with intelligence, wit, and full of charm. Robert was talented and possessed a melodious voice which he used to sing in taverns, ministrel shows, and the night life spots.
It was about 1910 that Robert Lawson became ill with tuberculosis. A Holy Ghost filled woman whose son was hospitalized in Indianapolis, Indiana in the same room where he was, went to Robert’s bedside and began to talk to him about his soul. She was an elderly woman who belonged to Elder G.T. Haywood’s “Apostolic Faith Assembly”. Little did she know that her one testimony did much to direct a man who would lead thousands to Christ. Thus, we all should note that testifying to one soul can make a difference in many lives.
It was not long after that Robert Lawson received the laboratory report confirming that he had tuberculosis, and was at risk of death. he remembered how the old woman had told him how to pray, and he went brfore the Lord for healing. The Lord healed his body and promptly made his way to the Apostolic Faith Assembly, where he was baptized and received the Holy Ghost. Within two years he was called to the ministry, and had founded three churches: St. Louis, Missouri, San Antonio, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio. During a short period after that he was appointed General Elder and Overseer in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.
After much study of the word of God, Elder Lawson felt that the issue of divorce and remarriage, and women preachers were not being promptly assessed by the PAW. Shortly after in 1919 Elder Lawson felt the call of the Lord to go east, and he resigned from the PAW. While he differed on the aforementioned issues, he did not split or attempt to split the PAW. He left on his own, in good standing, and remained closely associated with the many friends and ministerial associates of the PAW. He remained close to the Haywood family alomg with many others.
Bishop Lawson established Refuge Church of Christ in Harlem, New York, and after great increases occured, with multitudes being baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost, ministers were sent throughout the five boroughs of New York City, suburban areas, and to other states to establish churches for the glory of God. Thus began the process and formation of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, as a strong Pentecostal organization. Bishop R.C. Lawson went home to his eternal reward in 1961.