Robert and Mary Craig, founders of Glad Tidings Temple and Bible Institute, were part of a religious movement that since the early 1900′s has become the largest branch of contemporary Protestantism. The history of this part of Christianity is remarkable, and so is the history of the development of Glad Tidings Church. This movement emphasized that GOD could be a part of every area of life, that GOD could be experienced, and that this experience would be a powerful tool to build your faith.
Robert and Mary Craig were not limited by any one tradition. Their cutting edge leadership, clear vision and extensive influence brought rapid, but solid growth to GT at an unsettled time in the City. And their consistency made GT quickly emerge as an important part of metropolitan San Francisco.
Glad Tidings Church began in 1913. The people who attended GT at that time were swept into this incredible experience with GOD. It wasn’t just a philosophy with the Craig’s. They themselves were not afraid of incorporating fresh ideas and new thought into the foundation of GT. In fact, Robert Craig personally experienced GOD’s power when he was dramatically healed of terminal TB.
He had a vision of building a church, and later a training institute, whose impact would eventually bring 100,000 people into experiencing a real God in real ways. With tenacity and passion he and his wife, Mary, worked hand-in-hand to see the current facility built in 1923 and quickly filled with hungry people who found that same life and transformational power. The Craig’s exemplified a rare blend of persistence, courage and sensitivity. GT embraced their dual leadership, which reflected the free and open nature of their ministry, and is still evident in today’s Glad Tidings Church. At the time of his death in 1941 The Tabernacle was one of the largest churches in United States. Other great and godly men and women ministered at what came to be called Glad Tidings Temple. People such as: Aimee Semple McPherson, Donald Gee, Maria Woodworth-Etter, Smith Wigglesworth, and Charles Price.
GT has not always been bustling. There have been lean years. But people were faithful and the church was sustained.
In 2000, the Beisers were brought to Glad Tidings and things began to change. The transformation has been gradual. These past 17 years have presented many challenges, and nothing has happened overnight.
Yet, recently, every person who walks through the doors of GT can feel the forward momentum of this church in every single meeting. It’s undeniable. It’s palpable. You can see and hear something exciting! It’s the sound of marching. GT is marching forward at a pace that’s quickening all the time. We can sense it. We can see it! We can hear it when the Mass Choir sings or when we run out of chairs for people on Sunday morning or when another fresh story comes out that declares that the same God who stirred Robert Craig to build this church — is moving again. HE is changing lives. Hope is filling the air. Faith is being built in life after life. The “Glad Tidings” is going out and being proclaimed in this beautiful city. Not with a bull horn or street preaching. It’s being preached through the proclamation of hundreds of changed lives. Greater things are yet to come!
God’s Book says that what is happening now will be greater than what has happened in the past.
There have been some years when this was tough to believe, but not anymore!
We are on the brink of a miracle at GT.
Below is a list of Glad Tidings pastors:
Robert and Mary Craig – Pastors from 1913 to 1941
Leland R. Keys – Pastor from 1941 to 1953
Nelson E. Hinman – Pastor from 1954 to 1956
Donald F. Lehmann – Pastor from 1956 to 1959
Floyd W. Thomas – Pastor from 1959 to 1979
Melvin T. Johnson – Pastor from 1980 to 1996
Timothy Zemanek – Pastor from 1996 to 1998
Jeff Green – Pastor from 1998 to 1999
Forrest and Christina Beiser – Pastor from 2000 to Sept 24, 2017
From its beginnings, Glad Tidings was identified with a succession of notable evangelists. In 1917 Maria Woodworth-Etter conducted a meeting at Glad Tidings that proved to be a major turning point in the work’s development. A decade later Robert Craig referred to the campaign as one that could go down in history because of the great outpourings of the Holy Spirit in San Francisco.
A similar remarkable event occurred in April, 1919, in the meetings conducted by Aimee Semple McPherson. At that time Pastor Craig had predicted a “ministry of an unusual order” for Mrs. McPherson, and he associated with her meetings in San Jose in August, 1921, setting up a Glad Tidings McPherson Campaign Headquarters. It was this meeting that Dr. Charles S. Price, also a later associate of Robert Craig, had a transformational, life-changing moment with the Holy Spirit.
From the dedicatory service of the Temple in November 1925, a series of meetings were conducted with some of the best known and beloved evangelists of the movement. On that occasion Charles A. Shreve of Washington, DC, like Pastor Craig a former Methodist minister gave his testimony of a tremendous encounter with GOD. Over 2000 people were in attendance at these opening services.
One evangelist, George Alfred Trenner, a former Presbyterian who held a campaign at Glad Tidings in August, 1927, reported, “It is the purpose of God that the Holy Spirit shall be recognized as the Chief Executive of the church and the administrator of the affairs of the lives of individual Christians.”
These views of crowds attending GT in the 1930s and 1940s. The seating arrangement has changed and the platform have been remodeled (the platform was originally redone to house a pipe organ.)
One of Pastor Craig’s closest associates in ministry was Evangelist J.N. Hoover of Santa Cruz. A former Baptist minister, Brother Hoover spared no pains to denounce the intellectual arrogance of the established denominations, especially as they were penetrated by modernistic theology. In a message preached on Sunday afternoon, June 19, 1927, Evangelist Hoover made his position clear. “Modern theology is thoroughly unorthodox and is more responsible for the absence of young people from our churches than the moving picture show.”
Perhaps the most uniquely memorable of the evangelists to hold meetings at Glad Tidings was Smith Wigglesworth. He was a product of the great outpouring of power that occurred in the Anglican church in the parish of Alexander T. Body.
A workman without formal education, Wigglesworth became associated with the Salvation Army and married an officer of that organization. In San Francisco, as elsewhere, his methods were sometimes considered unconventional. Donald Gee said of him, “Diseases like cancer made him blaze with holy anger. Very often he made people run up and down aisles and even out into the streets to ‘act’ faith. His violent laying on of hands would almost send the seeker flying. But he was intensely sincere. Over a period of eight years Wigglesworth conducted three crusades in San Francisco.
Without a doubt, the most impressive meetings in the history of Glad Tidings Temple were those conducted in the late 20’s and 30’s by William Booth-Clibborn, grandson of the founder of the Salvation Army. “Born in Switzerland in a great tide of revival, he was cradled, as it were, in the mighty throes of the work of soul saving, and from infancy his life has been molded to great issues… “Many thousands were reached with the message of hope, hundreds being converted, and thousands were drawn into a fresh encounter with GOD. Mr. Booth-Clibborn’s ministry was distinctive and appealed to all.