Church of Jesus Christ-Christian

By Christopher Zoukis

The next person to ride the British-Israelite wave was John Wilson.  In 1840, Wilson published his book Lectures on Our Israelitish Origin, which was well-received and went through four subsequent printings. 

John Taylor caught the wave in 1859, when he published The Great Pyramid, Why Was It Built and Who Built It?  Taylor maintained that the Israelites had built the Pyramid of Cheops.  His argument rested upon the fact that British feet and inches formed the basis of the pyramid’s construction. 

By 1871, the waves of British-Israelism were getting larger and coming more frequently.  For that was the year Edward Hine, who was a banker made a big splash with the publication of his book The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, which became a bestseller, selling 250,000 copies.  Later, in 1884, Hine boarded a ship bound for America, where he intended to spread the gospel of British-Israelism.  And he did.  While traveling around, Hine advanced the notion of Americans being the lost tribe of Manasseh.  A few years later, a man named Howard Rand, who hailed from Massachusetts, borrowed Hine's gospel as his own.  Only Rand made one significant change.  He supplemented Hine's gospel with the centuries-old disease called anti-semitism.  For Rand believed the Jews were responsible for the ills of the world.  Rand called his gospel “Christian Identity.”

The wave of British-Israelism crested in 1946.  That was the year that Wesley Swift started his own church in Lancaster, California.  Baptizing his church with the peculiar name of the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, he rapidly established sister-churches in San Francisco, Oakland, Riverside, Hollywood and San Diego.   Image courtesy

Swift, the only child of a prominent Methodist preacher, was born in New Jersey in 1913.  God called him to preach while he was a teenager.  By the time he was 18 years old, Wesley was a licensed preacher in the Methodist Church. 

Not long after his ordination, Wesley attended an inspiring lecture by a Kingdom Indentity preacher.  It was there that Wesley Swift discovered his “true heritage and the covenants that God had made with the White Race.”[1]  Galvanized into action by his new understanding, Wesley Swift moved to Los Angeles to attend Bible College, where he was further indoctrinated with the idea of the true Israel, who were Aryan, and the concept of the “warrior priest.”  This indoctrination resulted in Swift joining the Ku Klux Klan.  He began preaching in the Foursquare Church in Los Angeles, which was the headquarters of Amy Semple McPherson’s holy-rolling denomination.  Only the people weren’t responding the way he wanted.  So he decided to go it on his own.

It was then that he started his church – Church of Jesus Christ-Christian.

The Church of Jesus Christ Christian was a racist sect, which mutated into Christian Identity.  The core doctrine of Christian Identity revolved around the idea of only two races living on the face of the earth.  A priestly white race, which was descended from the first man Adam, and the ‘mud races’ – anyone who was not white – which were the spawn of Satan.  This latter idea came from the perverse idea that Eve had been impregnated by Satan.  According to this theory, the white races were the descendants of Adam and Eve.  Whereas the ‘mud races’ were the offspring of Cain, whose real father was Satan, who, disguised as a serpent, had mated with Eve.  Wesley Swift / Image courtesy

Jews were the descendants of Cain.  Aryans were the descendants of Adam and Eve through Abel.  Aryans were God’s chosen people.  And any mixing of the races was nothing more than a Satanic plot, designed to destroy God’s people – the white race.

Some Christian Identity ministries did not accept the two-race theory, because they did not hold that Eve was impregnated by the Devil.  Rather they embraced the notion that the Jews were descended from Esau, who rejected God.  Thus, Esau’s offspring – the Jews – were those whom God had not elected.  Which meant that as a race the Jews were evil.  At a minimum, this theory demanded racial separation.[2] 


[1] This quote about Wesley Swift was taken directly from the literature published by Kingdom Indentity Ministries, Harrison, Arkansas.

[2] The best explanation of the two different theories is provided by Zeskind in his monumental Blood and Politics.