Christ Community Church

An American church that took over the local government and established strict laws, including a ban on doctors and the mandatory teaching of flat-earth cosmology

1896 - present

Photograph of a church service

Christ Community Church was a Christian commune led by two very eccentric leaders. The first leader, John Alexander Dowie, gained a large following, which laid a foundation for the later Pentecostal movement and is remembered for his strong stance against doctors and medicine. After his death, the second leader, Wilbur Glenn Voliva, resolved several conflicts in the church and became very authoritarian. Voliva became a strong proponent of flat-earth cosmology, gained control of the local government, instituted strict religious rules for the city, and engaged in a well-publicized prayer battle with a rival religious leader.

The community almost fully dissolved in 1942, but this movement still has thousands of supporters today.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Evangelicalism (precursor to Pentecostalism)

Founder: John Alexander Dowie

Founded: 1896

Location: Zion, Illinois, United States

Size: up to 20,000 (3,000 as of 2008)

Also called: Christian Catholic Church; Christian Catholic Apostolic Church; Zionites

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