H. Alexander Robinson

Black LGBT History Day 9: Elder Joseph W. Tolton

Filed By H. Alexander Robinson | February 09, 2008 12:31 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Media
Tags: Black Gay History, black history, black LGBT, Elder Joseph W. Tolton

Elder Tolton enjoys a three-faceted career serving the gay and lesbian community as a voice for spiritual freedom, social justice and economic empowerment.

As a professional man of faith, Tolton is the founder and pastor of Rehoboth Temple Christ Conscious Church in Harlem. His affirming ministry seeks to empower all people with the transformative power of the Gospel and to nurture disciples of Christ in the Pentecostal Apostolic tradition.

As a public advocate, Tolton serves as director of the Revival Initiative, a spiritual forum established to advance gay and lesbian civil rights in the African diaspora. The Revival Initiative is endorsed by Gay Men of African Descent, the New York State Black Gay Network, Empire State Pride Agenda, and Soulforce.

As an entrepreneur, he is the managing director of Blur Advertising, a full-service brand development and marketing communications firm. Since its inception in 2001, Blur has been engaged by a long list of clients including the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Turks & Caicos Board of Tourism, Hewlett-Packard, the Episcopal Church, the Vera Institute of Justice, B&B Cognac Liqueur, the Cayman Islands, the Evans Food Group, Diageo USA, Culture Hair Products, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Tanqueray, and Harlem Lanes.

Elder Tolton received his BA in religion from Vassar College and MBA in management from Columbia Business School.

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Hi Alexander,

Can you explain what the Pentecostal Apostalic faith is, por favor? I'm kind of clueless when it comes to the different branches of Christianity.


Ray Gifford | April 9, 2010 9:19 PM

Dear Serena,

I am a GLBT apostolic, so I can perhaps explain that a bit to you.

Apostolics believe that you accept Jesus as your personal savior, that you get baptized in Jesus' Name (Acts 2:38) for the remission of sins, and that soon after, you get born again, or filled with the Holy Spirit, and speak in new tongues as the Holy Spirit gives a person utterance.

They believe strictly in Deuteronomy 6:4 which states, "hear o israel, the Lord thy God, the Lord, is One.", so they don't accept the doctrine of the trinity, which states that God is 3 separate, co-equal and co-eternal persons. They believe God is a "one in one" and not a "three in one".

Perhaps it is better said that they believe God revealed Himself as father in creation, the Son (Jesus) in redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration. He was God the father to the Old Testament Jews, he became a man to have blood to shed for our sins in Jesus of nazareth(the old testament says that sins are only forgiven through the spilling of blood..which is why the old testament jews sacrificed animals in the temple, according to the Torah Law, as an atonement for their sins.....since God is a Spirit and does not have blood to shed for us so that our sins can be forgiven, He took on human form in jesus of nazareth, physically, just so that he could do that), and he indwelt the believers on the day of pentecost as the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended into heaven. Jesus even said to his disciples, "I have been with you, but I shall be in you.", referring in advance to this event.

I hope that helps you to understand how Apostolic beliefs differ from most other forms of Christianity.