Apostle Peter Newman Anim, formerly known as Kwaku Anim Mensah (also known as Kwaku Manasseh) was born on 4 February 1890 to Mr. Simon Appiagyei and Madam Hannah Lartebea of Boso in the Volta Region of Ghana. He was the third of six children and of the six, he lived the longest. He attended the Basel Mission school at Boso from Class 1 to Standard 3. He then continued at Anum Basel Mission from Standard 4 to Standard 7, finishing in 1908. In 1911 he joined his brother at Amonokrom (Akuapem) and assisted him in his carpentry workshop. Later in the same year, he left this town for Pakro to work with the Basel Mission Factory as a weighing clerk. He left this job, however in 1912 due to ill health. Later on, in 1914, he became a bricklayer. He left this job and went to Pakro again. He finally left for Boso, his hometown, in 1916, and he was married to Madam Dora Sakyibea that same year. Their marriage was blessed with four daughters, three of whom died in rapid succession during their infancy. The wife died in 1920 after a short illness, and the remaining daughter died not long afterward. He married Madam Esther Osimpo and out of that marriage was born Moses Appiah Anim, the only son and the only surviving child of Anim. Madam Esther Anim also died in 1967.
In Search of Salvation
In 1917 Anim took an interest in a religious periodical, The Sword of the Spirit, which was in circulation in the country. This magazine was edited by Pastor A. Clark, founder of the Faith Tabernacle ministry, Philadelphia. The Faith Tabernacle was not a Pentecostal organisation but it had strong emphasis on faith healing and holiness. This emphasis seemed entirely different from what Anim’s Presbyterian upbringing had taught him.
He found the teachings in this magazine “a real blessing” because, as he put it, “though I had intellectually believed the Bible before, I never had the truth presented in a more realistic way….”  One of the teachings of the Faith Tabernacle of Philadelphia was its emphasis on “prevailing prayer.” In 1920, following the death of his wife, he was converted “into the faith.” Anim had been suffering from chronic stomach trouble his whole life. In 1921 he also developed guinea worm disease. He then decided to put into practice Clark’s teachings on healing. To his delight, he was simultaneously healed from the worm attack and his chronic stomach disease.
The Birth of Anim’s Faith Tabernacle Church
The humdrum of the traditions of the Presbyterian Church could not assuage the stirrings of his heart. He, therefore, resigned from the Boso Presbyterian Church after his divine healing in 1921. He subsequently went and settled at Asamankese, in the Eastern Province.
Many people joined Anim’s group through healing. After the healing of the first sick person who went to Anim’s group, the news of his recovery spread, and so several sick people were brought to the group for healing. Testimonies about these healings spread throughout the regions, and several people believed their message. Anim, at this point, having been convinced of the truth of the teachings of Clark, adopted the name Faith Tabernacle for his organisation in 1922.
To reinforce the power base of the group, on 15 October 1922, a revival service was held in the house of one Elder Kwabena Asare and several converts were won. Anim and Armah, a devotee of Faith Tabernacle, Nsawam, then decided to work together and agreed to use the name Faith Tabernacle for their organisation.
There was no personal contact between Pastor Clark and Anim. Every contact was through correspondence only. In October 1923 Anim was issued a certificate of ordination by Pastor Clark “assigning him to the service of God and the right to baptise and appoint workers.” It was about the same time that Odubanjo and other Faith Tabernacle leaders in Nigeria were also consecrated to the ministry by Clark. Theirs was also done through correspondence.
For us to appreciate the theological influences of Pastor Clark’s movement on Anim’s group, we state below the fundamental teachings of Clark:
Contrast between the wickedness of this world and the godly community of the sect;
Wrongfulness of litigation;
Non-participation in national celebrations;
Persecution as a mark of sanctity;
Belief in the imminence of the Millennium;
A distaste for acquiring property because of the imminence of the Second Advent;
Glossolalic experiences regarded as satanic;
Non-use of medicine for healing.
Peel also mentions that Clark’s Faith Tabernacle religion was unemotional, and the main importance of the Holy Spirit was that He had inspired the authors of the Bible thereby ensuring its infallibility. Clark taught that visions were not useful. If one needs guidance, there was first the Holy Bible, the use of “sanctified common sense,” then Providence. Visions and dreams could thereafter be considered after these processes. Out of all the above teachings of Clark, the one that seemed to have greatly influenced the faith and practice of Anim and his movement was the one dealing with healing. The theological block turned out to be the major stumbling block of Anim’s movement.
The healing and evangelistic activities of Anim attracted the attention of the then traditional chief of Asamankese, Nana Kwaku Amoah. Consequently, he offered them a parcel of land upon which they constructed their first new church building. By 1923 Anim’s movement had seen considerable growth. Pastors and elders were therefore ordained to assist him in 1924. Anim tells us “the truth had spread like fire. Churches were founded in Akwapim, Kwahu, Ashanti, Coaltar, Asuokyene, Pampanso, Teshie, Nungua, Keta, Anlo, Togoland and other places with God’s blessing.”
Another event which seems to have increased the faith of Anim and also added more people to the group, took place in May 1923 during a revival meeting. After the closing of service, it was reported that several Christians and non-Christians saw what was believed to be the glory of God in the form of a “Pillar of Fire” on the top of the church building.
Baptism by immersion appears to be one of the cardinal teachings of Clark, so he requested Anim take immediate steps to fulfil this requirement. Anim was therefore baptised by immersion on 3 December 1923 by I. L. Bennett (one of Anim’s leaders) from Larteh Akuapem. Anim in turn baptised Bennett the same day. It is not clear what role this sacrament played and the form it took in the Faith Tabernacle. Anim indicates his baptism by immersion was not kindly taken by all and that some under the leadership of one Amoah, “filled with envy” decided to break away because of this act and left for Finte in the mid-Volta area. This group, described by Anim as the “lost sheep,” returned later.
In spite of this overwhelming success of Anim’s evangelistic activities, he did not ordain any worker into the ministry until he had received the certificate of ordination from Clark in August 1923. This was perhaps due to Anim’s theological understanding that, though one’s call into the ministry comes first and foremost from God, this call must be recognised by man. Ordination certificates therefore did not serve as an evidence of spiritual authority, but rather a sign of recognition by man of the one whom God had chosen.
In 1923, the extent of work and the need for workers became clear to Anim. To take care of this need, a meeting was arranged at Winneba in the Central Province, between 28 December 1923 and early January 1924. During this meeting, the church at Winneba was officially opened, pastors were ordained, and elders were anointed for the work. Anim embarked on intensive evangelistic activities which saw the rapid spread of the work. By 1924 churches had been founded in Akwapim district; Coaltar, Asuokyene, Pampanso and Kwahu in the Eastern region; Teshie and Nungua in the now Greater Accra Region; Keta, Anlo (Awuna) in the now Volta Region; Togoland and other places.
Anim in Search of Deeper Religious Experience
Controversy developed among the Faith Tabernacle believers when Clark was excommunicated in 1926 for alleged adultery. Meanwhile, Anim had been receiving copies of another religious magazine published by a Pentecostal movement based in Portland, Oregon, USA, known as “The Apostolic Faith.” After carefully considering the teachings on the Holy Spirit espoused in this magazine, Anim states,
I was faced with the necessity of contending for a deeper faith and greater spiritual power than what my primary religious experience was able to afford, and I began to seek with such trepidation to know more about the Holy Ghost.
Not all of Anim’s pastors accepted the teachings on tongues. He writes,
This doctrine brought about the total exclusion from the Faith Tabernacle and the First Century Gospel in that they were entirely unacquainted with the operations of the Holy Spirit, not only did they not know but would not have anything to do with the teachings as recorded in 1 Cor. 12:1-12, 28-31.