The days at Broadway Tabernacle were busy for my father, Ramon A Haas. Being an assistant pastor he helped frequently with outreach campaigns so this meant he was at the church quite often. He was deeply involved in many other church organizations as well in the Seattle area such as Philadelphia Bible College, Kings Gardens, Kings Teens, Campus Crusade for Christ, Full Gospel Businessman's Fellowship, David Wilkerson Crusades, Billy Graham Crusades, Nicky Cruz Crusades, Union Gospel Mission and many many others.
In 1965 Bill Bright; a then famous tract writer; introduced a brand new tract called"The Four Spiritual Laws". I came home from school one day to find several cases of this new tract delivered to our house. My dad was spearheading an effort to distribute these tracts to all of the major churches in Seattle. It was his role to go from church to church, speak with the pastors about the tract and hope they would order them then distribute them widely. He was also involved with visiting and preaching at the local missions so my brother and I spent countless nights locked in the basement of the church while he ministered in the streets of Seattle. It was very rare our dad was actually home for any length of time. When he was at home, it was usually just to study or hold a meeting with college kids from Philadelphia Bible College.
The tools used by the Assembly of the Body of Christ to conduct Greek Word Studies were developed during these Broadway Tabernacle days. James A Watt, having been emboldened by Ern Baxter in his quest to develop an exhaustive Greek study method, worked diligently on a workbook he named "Through the Word, Word by Word". It was essentially a reprinting of select pages of a book by John Stegenga called "An Analytical Concordance of the Greek-English New Testament" which allowed a person to read a scripture in context then write down the applicable section on the page.
The "Through the Word..." book listed scriptures found in the bible for repentance, faith, baptism, etc. as found in Hebrews 6:1-2. It also showed the Greek derivatives, tenses, mood and scriptural context for each. It was an attractive book with a red and black cover and depicted a microscope and a telescope on the cover. The connotation of the cover design was that it was possible to examine the bible microscopically with this book but in doing so see also God telescopically and more clearly. Our family spent quite a few hours in the basement of the church collating and stapling these booklets and preparing them for mailing.
My dad and Watt were quite excited about this new method of study and they also began a "Through the Word, Word by Word" class at Philadelphia Bible College in Seattle. The school was hesitant to allow the class but after an experiment using the Greek word "Dorea", or gift, the class was a seeming success so they allowed it on a limited basis.
A number of the students from the college wanted to study even more words from the Greek so my dad began a special meeting, once per week, on Thursdays, for college students at our home. Since we had no table big enough to handle the large group, each week my dad would bring out a large plywood sheet and lay it over the dining room table. My dad and the students would then pore over Greek word studies, have lively discussion about the words and seem to have a great time in the process. I recall there being lots of snack foods. Several year after the formation of the ABC, this "Through the Word…" booklet was expanded and reformatted into a loose leaf notebook and renamed "The Foundation Truths". It is essentially the same exact book though and is usually distributed at just the cost of printing to new members. It is an important part of being a member of the ABC.
The development of the "foundation" book has been attributed erroneously to my dad over years. In reality, it was James A Watt that developed the method of using John Stegenga's book to study the foundation principles found in He. 6:1-2 and it was James A Watt who developed the original foundation booklet. This book was later adopted by my dad for use in the Assembly of the Body of Christ. Derek Prince has recreated this in a book he labeled "The Foundational Truths" which can be found at Amazon or other book stores.
In the ABC it is general practice one read three or four scriptures every day out of these books, then write them down. Many complete these books over and over, year after year, but once you have completed the entire book at least once you are considered to have “completed your foundation" but not before.
Another project James A Watt completed while we were at Broadway Tabernacle is the "Daily Reading Card shown here. (Click to enlarge.)
This Daily Reading Card, developed by Watt, allows a person to read the entire Bible through in one year while alternating between Old and New Testament books. This card was adopted by the Assembly of the Body of Christ without revision as can be seen here.
The only thing changed was the removal of James A Watt's name and address was replaced with a name from the ABC. (Click on picture to enlarge)
The Broadway Tabernacle days lasted just shy of four years and ended suddenly with our move from the Seattle area to the San Juan Islands in the middle of Puget Sound. The reasons for that move will be the subject of my next post and I delve into the catalyst that caused my dad to move away from Broadway Tabernacle and into strictly home based meetings. This concept of home based meetings would later be incorporated as doctrine in the denomination called "The Assembly of the Body of Christ (ABC).
Directly after the formation of the ABC the teachings moved rapidly towards isolationism and the forbidding of contact with any other church. Also forbidden was the reading of other church publications or Christian books. From her followed the banning of any viewpoint other than the ones espoused by my dad. One soon learned that to express an alternate viewpoint would subject one to extreme discipline measures, shunning for a set period and / or total ex-communication. A learned silence soon enveloped the members. The philosophy also developed that any person not directly associated with the ABC was unsaved or in Mystery Babylon. It was highly discouraged that one should associate with a person “in the world” or “in Mystery Babylon” unless it was to attempt to bring them into the “safety” of the ABC. Isolationism is a prime mark of a cult. NEXT POST