What is the history of Fourth?
On April 3, 1902 a small group of believers with a vision for establishing a new church began meeting at Webster School (now Gonzaga University). God began answering their prayers very quickly and on November 1 two lots on the corner of Baldwin and Dakota were purchased for $600. Just one month later the church building was completed and in January 1903, Fourth Presbyterian Church was officially incorporated with 61 founding members. Dr. S. M. Ware (1903-1912) was extended a call and became the first pastor.
Between 1913 and 1927 the church continued to develop under the leadership of several pastors: Rev. Charles R. Scafe (1913-1919), Rev. John D. Habbeck (1919-1920), and Rev. Dwight Chapin (1920-1927). In 1925 a new addition was dedicated which included the gym, kitchen, fireside room and the old sanctuary (now Uhden Chapel).
Between 1927 and 1941 God was gracious to provide faithful leadership with men such as Rev. Stanley Roberts (1927-1931), Rev. W. J. Howell (1931-1933), Rev. Andrew Caldwell (1933-1935), and Rev. Wilbur Scafe (1935-1941). Rev. Scafe was a young pastor and with his strong youth emphasis, Fourth Presbyterian Church soon had the choir loft filled with young people on Sunday evenings.
God continued to bless Fourth Presbyterian Church through the ministries of Dr. Edwin Deibler (1941-1950) and Rev. Wilbur Antisdale (1951-1961). Highlights during this period included the 50th anniversary celebration in 1952, the beginning of a Sunday morning radio ministry on KGA that continued for many years, the building of a new educational wing, and in 1957 the long process of withdrawal from the Presbytery U.S.A. to become an independent Bible-teaching ministry. The name was finally changed in 1959 to Fourth Memorial Church “A Living Memorial to the Faith of our Fathers.”
God also graciously provided 63 acres of wooded, waterfront property on the Pend O’Reille River for only $22,000 in 1959 and the ex-tavern and dance hall site became Riverview Bible Camp.
Under Rev. Edward J. Underhill’s capable leadership (1961-1989) the next three decades saw increasing area-wide leadership. By 1964 two Sunday morning services were needed, and a second Christian Education building was dedicated in 1969. Within a few years we were out of space again and the leadership decided the best way to grow would be to establish a sister church. With the help of four elders, Valley Fourth Memorial was started on September 24, 1972 with 235 in attendance.
In 1973 Inland Empire School of the Bible began using Fourth’s facilities. The school is now Moody Bible Institute-Spokane which is affiliated with Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and continues to be used of God throughout the Inland Northwest.
On April 27, 1976, a second sister church, Northview Bible Church, was established on Spokane’s north side under the leadership of four of our elders.
Following Pastor Ed Underhill’s twenty-eight-year ministry was Rev. Chris Mueller (1989-1992). Fourth Church continued to grow as the Word was faithfully taught, but because of philosophical and doctrinal issues, the church underwent a difficult split in 1992. God does work all things together for good to those who love Him even in spite of our differences. This experience has allowed us not only the privilege of experiencing God’s healing, but has benefited Spokane with another evangelical church—Faith Bible Church.
God, in His faithfulness, sent Rev. John Repsold (1993-2007) to be our senior pastor in 1993. Under his capable leadership, Fourth Church saw the expansion of its ministries locally and globally, the dedication of a new Worship Center (1993), the celebration of our Centennial year (2003) and the reconciliation with Faith Bible Church (2004).
In March 2009 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Riverview Bible Camp. We also called Neil W. Anderson to serve as pastor (2009-2012). Pastor Neil was instrumental in bringing health and healing to the body. God also used him to call his successor.
In December 2012 the Lord brought Dr. Keith Krell to serve as our senior pastor. Keith also serves as a professor at Moody Bible Institute-Spokane and desires to further facilitate a great partnership between Fourth and Moody.