Whitton Avenue Bible Church’s history reaches back to the “free church” and Anabaptist movements that followed the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. More specifically, we began as part of the Apostolic Christian Church tracing its roots to the Evangelical Baptist Church in Europe, which was started by Samuel Froehlich in the 1830’s.
The Evangelical Baptist congregations were born out of Froehlich’s effort to unify the different Baptists (such as the Mennonites and Anabaptists) in Europe. Congregations took root in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, and France, and Yugoslavia, as well as around the world by the mid-1800’s. This gathering of different Baptist groups contributes to the rich theological background of the Apostolic Christian Church.
Journey to America
Famines and persecution in Europe led many to immigrate to America in the mid 1800s. They established these Evangelical Baptist churches in the United States, beginning in New England, New York and Ohio during the late 1840’s. Congregations soon sprung up in New England and in other places across America. In 1854, Andrew Braun took his family and entire congregation from Bavaria to Peoria, Illinois to establish a church and to escape persecution. Many of the Whitton Avenue Bible Church founders came from this congregation and one in Mansfield, Ohio.
To the Desert
Families and individuals came to Arizona for various reasons, most of them having to do with family connections. Brothers John and Philip Goettl, John Kinkel, Otto Dummel, and John Kupfer were the founding fathers of Whitton Avenue Bible Church. Their passion for ministry and dedication to the church, along with some German tenacity and a strong work ethic, helped to build it on a strong physical and spiritual foundation.
On October 10, 1947, the Apostolic Christian Church of Phoenix was stamped with its official birth date as an Arizona Corporation. On April 4, 1948, the congregation held a church dedication service in the brand new building.
WABC Today and Tomorrow
Over the last seven decades, Whitton Avenue has experienced God’s grace through the ministry of His word, whether in seasons of difficulty or joy. While remaining formally under the umbrella of the Apostolic Christian Foundation, Whitton Avenue Bible Church adopted its present name in 1986. Over the years of faithful expository preaching and teaching of pastors Dave Brumm, Gary Balok and Chris Davis, Whitton Avenue gradually became theologically reformed in its understanding of the biblical narrative and God’s mission.
Although currently without a full-time preaching pastor, we trust in God’s continued faithfulness and guidance through our elders and teachers. We are looking forward to what the LORD has in store as He continues to move in and through Whitton Avenue, both today and in the years to come. Finding strong theological resonance and ministerial encouragement from The Gospel Coalition, we joined its Arizona chapter in 2014. We are thankful for their gospel-centered, missional emphasis and are encouraged by the fellowship with other TGCAZ churches.