Divine Beginnings

This brief narrative of the historical account of events that led to the start of the Mount Tabor Church of God Campmeeting has been collected from several sources. First, is the book titled Leading the Flock (this is about Brother N.N. Bogart’s life and ministry), notes from an interview with Sister Helen Lykins, notes from Sister Lola Kennedy, a sermon preached by Brother Bogart, and some notes of his. All these saints have gone to their reward. We value their contribution greatly.

To look at the beginnings of the campmeeting, we need to start by going far back to the early years of the Mount Tabor congregation. Brother Bogart began pastoring in 1948. The original place of worship was located a short distance from its present location. On Sunday, March 6, 1960, shortly after the morning service, the building caught fire and burned to the ground. The saints did not let that deter them. Arrangements were quickly made to continue services in the home of one of the saints. They had a large living room and were able to accommodate everyone. That Sunday evening, they had 58 in attendance. This arrangement continued for the next 13 months.

Soon after the Church purchased two acres of a hickory grove for $2000. This is the present location on County Road 13. By midsummer of 1960, work began on building a new church building. The people had a mind to work. Brothers came and labored, and the faithful sisters supplied the men with meals. All the work was done by volunteers who were willing to give their time, energy, and skills. The new church building was completed, and the first service held in it was on Easter Sunday, April 2, 1961.

While the new building met the immediate needs of the congregation, Brother Bogart realized two acres were not sufficient for the long term. Behind the property was 77 acres of farmland that had come up for sale. However, the Church was not in a position financially to buy it. Brother Bogart prayed much over this. God knew the needs, and He knew the future as well. 

To this Brother Bogart related the following: “One day I was praying at the altar, and I told God I would claim it for him, then I asked God to give us any part or all of that ground. I went out and walked around on that farm, and I, like Joshua, when God said, ‘every place that the soles of your feet tread upon, I’ll give you.’ I claimed it for God.” The matter was presented to the Church and while there may have been some raised eyebrows, everyone was in perfect agreement. Still, the problem of funding remained. The Church still owed $18,000 on the original property purchase and construction of the new building. Now, an additional $125,000 was needed.

The time came to go to the bank to obtain a loan. Brother Bogart spent all night in prayer over this. The next day, they went to the bank. Again, Brother Bogart: “When we arrived at the bank, the banker took us all to the back room to discuss the matter. He said, ‘I’m going to do something I have not done before.’ The banker said, ‘I’m going to loan you the money for a year, interest-free.’ When the banker said what he would do, I shouted right there in the bank.” Truly, we serve an amazing God. God provided enough money to pay the entire loan off in just one year.

Soon, as the church grew, a dining hall and a few dormitories were added. Up to this time, no thought had been given to the idea of hosting a campmeeting. Nevertheless, God, who knows all things, directed Brother Bogart to make these building additions and even a few trailer hookups. Soon, Mount Tabor began hosting a mid-summer three-day weekend meeting with visiting saints and ministry in attendance.

Along about 1972, Brother Bogart was led by God to preach strongly on the doctrine of sanctification. He continued preaching message after message, and it led to establishing the local congregation firmly in the truth of two works of grace with a cleansing in each. It was during this time that the enemy of truth began his destructive work of heresy and division.

Emerson Wilson was a prominent minister and was strong on sanctification as well. But something had happened to him. He was led away from the plain truth of God’s Word and began to study false Baptist doctrine. Beginning in 1973 at the Newark campmeeting, he began to make unsound statements as he preached. Later that same year, at a revival meeting, E.A. Wilson claimed to have received “new light.” The ministry confronted him each time and admonished him that it was false doctrine and would cause division. 

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Because people did not love the truth with all their hearts, whole congregations were led away because of men who were lifted up in pride and claimed to have received new light.

Oh, the awful cost of this terrible sin, the damage that was done, and the souls that were caught in this snare of the devil. Prior to this division, there were many congregations across the land. There were many congregations throughout the state of Ohio alone. Heresy is a terrible sin. Our youth would be astounded at the list of places—places where you could go and know you would hear the same message. But division put an end to that. Truly, we are but a remnant of the remnant today. 

False doctrine carries with it a false spirit to animate it. Those who adopt false doctrines also pick up a false spirit. There is nothing good that can be said for heresy or false doctrine. False doctrine messes with the mind and destroys rational thought. 

The following summer of 1974, there were two campmeetings held at Mount Tabor. The first was held in the red brick building (present dining hall) from Wednesday, July 3, through Sunday, July 7. Brother C.F. Kline was the night evangelist. Then a second 10-day campmeeting was held in August. A large tent was rented to accommodate all those in attendance. There were three services each day: a morning service as well as an afternoon and an evening service. Brother Harold Barber was the night evangelist. He preached a number of messages using the opening text of Luke 1:1-4. The series was titled “Things Most Surely Believed.” 

In the August-September 1974 issue of the Remnant, Brother Henry had this to say about the first campmeeting: 

“Surely, for those who attended the fall campmeeting, words will never be able to describe the victory and glory that overshadowed the camp. From the first service throughout the week, God’s Spirit dealt faithfully and in each well-rounded message, so that the saints had a full meal with nothing lacking.

“The weather was perfect, and thanks be to God. A large tent was pitched to handle those in attendance, which was the greatest so far, for the house of worship would never have held the crowds. The sweet spirit of fellowship that prevailed cannot be described with ink, no more than you can describe your relationship with God. In these days when there is so much deviation from truth, it thrills the soul to know that God still has a faithful few who will not bow to Baal nor vary from the oracles and precepts of the written Word. I can truly say that the campmeeting this fall at Mt. Tabor reminded me more of the old campmeeting days at Anderson in the old tabernacle in the 20s than any other I’ve been in since then. It proves the fact that when people seek God with all their hearts and lay Judgment to the line and stand by the Bible doctrines of two cleansings, God will honor and bless. God visited in a great way in the services, and all I can say is ‘come and see.’ A new tabernacle 120’ x 200’ is being planned for the attendance next year. This is costly, and I’m sure that Bro. Bogart would appreciate any financial help in this undertaking, that next year’s assembly might not only have a place to meet, but that we as a church collectively might bear the load that others might be blessed.

In the fall of 1974, ground was broken for the building of the present tabernacle. The first regular worship service was held in it on June 22, 1975. The first campmeeting was held in it on July 2nd through the 6th. The second campmeeting was August 15th through the 24th

Through the intervening years, we have seen many improvements to the tabernacle, other buildings, and the grounds. But there is one thing that needs no improvement, and that is the truth. Thank God, it is the same truth proclaimed on these grounds as it was 50 years ago.