The core concern of the Founding Father of the Church of God In Christ, the late Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, was that those drawn to the confession of faith that he espoused; would become fully instructed in that faith and go on to lead lives as productive and creative Christians.
This basic concern was deeply rooted in the teaching of Jesus who taught that those whose lives have been touched, converted and transformed by His Life would go on to change others lives and humankind. Bishop Mason's theology was biblical theology, which was developed out of years of personally searching the Bible and seeking the will of God for his life. History verifies that his long search ended in Los Angeles, California in 1907. It was the year that he received the Third Work of Grace, the Holy Ghost and spoke in Tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.
Bishop Mason was not only a student of the Bible, but of secular education as well. His academic pursuits led him to Arkansas Baptist College. Later, he founded the Saints Industrial Academy and Saints Junior College in Lexington, Mississippi.
In 1970, another giant step was taken to further enhance the education of our adherents. Bishop J. 0. Patterson founded the Charles Harrison Mason Theological Seminary and located it in Atlanta, Georgia. Later that year he commissioned Dr. Allen J. Hines of Houston, TX to formulate a plan for academic enhancement at the jurisdictional level. From this effort came The Charles Harrison Mason System of Bible Colleges. The System was officially established in 1971 through this System, a number of academically interested students further enhanced their theological and spiritual development by matriculating and graduating.
In 1995, the newly elected Presiding Bishop Chandler David Owens was moved by God to revive the concept of biblical and theological education. The goal was to provide an opportunity for each member of the Body of Christ to receive more adequate training and exposure for a more effective ministry.
His addition to the foundation laid by his predecessors was a new mandate that those preparing for license or ordination from the Churches of God in Christ must attend and graduate from a two-year course of study designed by The Charles Harrison Mason System of Bible Colleges. This part of the educational function would be considered an Institute and would be combined with the current System of Bible Colleges. The name changed to "The Charles Harrison Mason System of Bible Colleges and Institutes”. He gave the charge of the educational development to Bishop Martin Luther Johnson, Ph.D.
In 2000, newly elected Presiding Bishop Gilbert Earl Patterson, appointed Dr. Alonzo Johnson, Commissioner of Education. The Commission was established and organized into the divisions of College and Graduate Schools; Church of God in Christ Association of Christian Schools; Ecumenism, History and Scholarship; and the C.H. Mason System of Bible Colleges and Institutes. The C.H. Mason System of Bible Colleges and Institutes, which offered the two-year ordination and licensure certificate program, was then renamed the C. H. Mason Jurisdictional Institutes. The Commission on Education was given the assignment to establish a Church of God in Christ Bible College that would grant associate and bachelors degrees. In 2002 All Saints Bible College was established in Memphis, Tennessee on the historic campus of Mason Temple. The college is authorized to award associate and bachelors degrees. Dr. Johnson served as the college’s president until the appointment of Dr. Perry Charles Little. In 2010, Dr. Granville Scruggs began serving as interim president.
The Charles Harrison Mason Jurisdictional Institutes continue to offer the 10 course curriculum that is taught at local, district and jurisdictional sites throughout the denomination. In April 2005, Dr. Goldie Frinks Wells was appointed by Bishop G. E. Patterson to direct the program of the Charles Harrison Mason Jurisdictional Institutes. Dr. Goldlie Wells implemented several innovative initiatives and continues to serve in an advisory role in addition to teaching courses. In April 2021, Bishop Herbert Davis was appointed by Bishop J. Drew Sheard to lead the Charles Harrison Mason Jurisdictional Institutes.