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Russell Byrum Trial Materials

 Collection — Container: AC 400
Identifier: A-0121

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the original papers from the trial and a photocopied version.


  • Creation: 1929


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Registration with the collection is required. Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Biographical / Historical

In the 1920s, Russel Byrum was teaching at Anderson College and the managing editor of the Gospel Trumpet. Recognizing the shift in theological education from the editors office of the Gospel Trumpet to Anderson College, Byrum resigned from his post as editor to assume a full time teaching position.This idea brought F.G. Smith and Russel Byrum into direct conflict culimating in 1929. Until 1929, papers were being published from both Smith and Byrum about theology. Smith pushed for a "standard literature resoultion." Standard literature would not have created a creed based on memorization, but it would have elevated the status of the apocalyptic self-understanding of the Church of God Movement. Byrum and the General Ministerial Assembly did not favor this idea and voted it down. On the other hand, Byrum was calling out the movement and using termonlogy, not favorable to F.G. Smith, about sanctification and unity. Eventually this led to a tril and Byrum was tried for (1) depreciating the guidance of the Holy Spirit in achieving Christian unity in favor of a sociological approach;(2) failure to emphasize the supernatural aspect of the kingdom of God; (3) undermining the faith of the students and, therefore; (4) causing much confusion. After hearing Byrums testimony, the panel of jurors acquitted Byrum of all charges. However, even though he was acquitted, Byrum resigned from his faculty appoitment at Anderson College. The result of this trial led to questions of F.G. Smith and his role as theological authority and leader of the Church of God movement, because at age 40, the Church of God lost one of the greatest theolocial thinkers of the early movement. (Information from "I Saw the Church" by Merle Strege)


.24 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Please contact staff regarding copyright status of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Anderson University and Church of God Archives Repository

1100 E. 5th St
Anderson IN 46012 United States