Pike, John Martin

June 1840–May 16, 1932

In the mid-1880s the Methodist bishop of South Carolina invited Pike to preach at the Washington Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South in Columbia.

Clergyman, editor, publisher. Pike was born in Newfoundland, Canada, in June 1840, the son and brother of Arctic explorers. Educated in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, he graduated from Mount Allison Wesleyan College and Seminary in Sackville, Nova Scotia. Ordained in 1868, Pike served Wesleyan Methodist and Methodist Church of Canada parishes in the Maritime Provinces. About 1873 he married Marry S. Pike, a Nova Scotia native. The couple had seven children.

In the mid-1880s the Methodist bishop of South Carolina invited Pike to preach at the Washington Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South in Columbia. Pike subsequently moved to the state and spent most of the rest of his life in South Carolina. He pastored Methodist Episcopal Church, South congregations in Lynchburg, Sumter, Summerville, and Charleston. For health reasons, he moved briefly to Florida, where he served several churches and also edited the Florida Sunbeam in Ocala.

Pike returned to Columbia in 1890 at the invitation of Methodist minister Robert C. Oliver, who was starting a periodical, The Way of Faith, in addition to his work at what became the Oliver Gospel Mission. Pike became assistant editor of the weekly publication, assuming responsibilities as editor when Oliver died in 1893. Pike remained as editor for twenty-five years and wrote occasional articles for the weekly for another five years after retiring. The Way of Faith ceased publication in 1931.

Through this periodical and his involvement with the Oliver Gospel Mission, Pike exercised pivotal influence on the planting of Holiness and Pentecostal strains of Protestantism in South Carolina. The Way of Faith carried reports of revivals led by Pentecostal Holiness Church founder A. B. Crumpler. The Christian and Missionary Alliance credits Pike with facilitating that organization’s entry into the state, and Pike also made it possible for Nickels John Holmes’s Bible Institute to use the Oliver Gospel Mission facilities for its classes between 1903 and 1905.

In addition, after the Pentecostal revivals at the Azusa Street mission in Los Angeles erupted in 1906, Pike and The Way of Faith became major conduits in publicizing the new movement not only in South Carolina but also throughout the region. Frank Bartleman sent Pike eyewitness reports of the Azusa Street events, and those reports first appeared in The Way of Faith and later were collected in Bartleman’s My Story: “The Latter Day Rain” (1908), which was published by Pike.

Pike was also instrumental in publishing numerous other Holiness and Pentecostal books, including the Holiness writer Mary Mabbette Anderson’s Lights and Shadows of the Life in Canaan (1906) and the collected letters of Dr. Lilian B. Yeomans and her mother, Dr. Amelia Yeomans. These collected letters, Pentecostal Papers, contained a major account of the nature of Pentecostal religious experience and its relevance to women. Pike contributed occasional pieces to other Holiness periodicals, including Carrie Judd Montgomery’s Triumphs of Faith in Oakland, California.

In his later years Pike added a significant social component to his work in Columbia, founding the Door of Hope, a ministry to women victimized by sexual predators, poverty, and domestic violence. Pike was a tireless fundraiser for the agency, which was headed for many years by Anna Finnstrom. Pike died in Columbia on May 16, 1932. His funeral was held at the Washington Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

“Aged Minister Goes to Reward.” Columbia State, May 17, 1932, pp. 1, 2. Synan, Vinson. The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century. 2d ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1997.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Pike, John Martin
  • Coverage June 1840–May 16, 1932
  • Author
  • Keywords Clergyman, editor, publisher, pastored Methodist Episcopal Church, South congregations in Lynchburg, Sumter, Summerville, and Charleston, Oliver Gospel Mission, publishing numerous other Holiness and Pentecostal books,
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date October 29, 2020
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 17, 2017
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