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Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson

1865-1943. Church of God leader and revivalist. Born in a Quaker home near Westfield, Indiana, he was converted in 1892 and served as an American Bible Society colporteur in North Carolina. He joined the Pentecostal Church of God movement in Tennessee in 1896 and rapidly rose to leadership. He assumed the title of “general overseer” (1903-23) and established the headquarters of his Church of God at Cleveland, Tennessee (1908). He traveled widely and was especially successful in winning converts among poor Appalachian whites. His authoritarian rule, however, created friction, and factions had developed by 1917. After several secessions, his group took the name of “the Original Church of God.” Two schisms after his death were headed by his sons, Homer A. and M.A. Tomlinson. Four large Tomlinson groups survive, and over forty religious groups can be traced to his movement.