Introducing. . . . The Church of God
What It Is Not Where It Begins What It Is What This Means to You
A Simple Statement of Faith The Return of Christ and the Kingdom of God
THE CHURCHES OF GOD (headquarters Morrow, Georgia) in many parts of the world form a unique segment of the religious world with which you as a seeker for truth should be familiar. While small in size, its contribution to Bible understanding has been great. In many ways its leaders have pioneered a reawakening in the understanding of Bible truths that were long hidden in the darkness of human traditions and philosophy.
What It Is Not top
The Church of God is not a "Reformation Church." It does not trace its origin to the Reformation nor to Reformation leaders. The Church of God has its taproots in the Word of God and not in the revolt of the church.
The Church of God is not a "founded" church; that is, any one leader did not establish it. It does not trace itself back to any individual other than Christ. It has no prophet or prophetess, nor a single founder. It has had outstanding leaders in its past history, but it did not radiate out from any one person.
The Church of God is not a "splinter church"; that is, it did not break off from any older, established denomination. While the family tree of many churches shows them as branches of other denominations and those denominations as branches from others, etc., the Church of God was never so affiliated.
Where It Begins top
The Church of God as it is known today came into being as small groups of individuals in England and North America who, through personal Bible study, became convinced of the doctrinal truths that are set forth as the Statement of Faith. In most cases, these groups and their leaders did not even know of the existence of the others. In the mid-1800s, however, some of the leaders, Joseph Marsh in Rochester, New York, the Wilson family who had migrated from England to Geneva, Illinois and other leaders in Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, began to publish papers which gained wide circulation.
Through these publications the small groups of Bible students and individuals became aware of one another and began to exchange correspondence. Circuit preachers visited back and forth among these various local groups, and new churches soon grew up in others places.
Over a period of years, groups of churches formed state conferences and eventually a General Conference was organized in 1921.
What It Is top
Churches of God are congregational in government. They maintain complete local independence. There is close cooperation, however, in the maintaining of publishing facilities, the operation of Atlanta Bible College, and the mission programs of the Church of God. There are established standards for the ministry, cooperation in the work of the Sunday schools and the Berean youth fellowships, and close fellowship between the scattered members of the Church of God.
The Church of God places great emphasis upon the Word of God, and Bible preaching and teaching are prominent. Bible classes and Bible study groups are the backbone of its work.
The Church of God is "adventist," in that it believes in the literal, visible second coming of Christ. It is "baptist," in that it believes in adult immersion for the remission of sins. It is "congregational," in that it has a congregational form of government. It is "conditionalist," in that it believes that man will inherit immortality on the condition that he accepts Christ as his Savior and is found in Him at His coming. It is "unitarian," in that it believes that God is one, the Father, the Creator, who is above all, and that Jesus Christ is His Son who came into existence by the power of God by birth to the virgin Mary. It is "fundamentalist," in that it believes the Bible is the only inspired Word of God, and adheres to it only as authority for faith and doctrine. It is "pre-millennial," in that it believes Jesus will come before the millennium and that the Kingdom of God will be established on the Earth when Jesus comes. It is of the "Abrahamic faith," because it believes that the promises made to Abraham will be fulfilled in the church and in the faithful of Israel through Christ. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29).
What This Means to You top
We are living in an age of crisis when all thinking persons are contemplating world events and their present and future place in the scheme of things. With the threat of war, morality and ethics at a low ebb, and economic uncertainty, no person can long hide his head in the sand and say, "This does not affect me."
The Church of God can help each person find a place in this life and a secure hope for the future. Standing upon the promises of God and trusting implicitly in the grace of God, the believer can find a solid foundation for this life and for life in the age to come.
With confidence in the ability of God to lead and bless His own even in crisis times, and with assurance in the promises of God for a better day to come, the child of God has a distinct advantage in this life. With proper understanding of the Word and will of God, the Christian also has a challenging and rewarding work in this life to witness for the Lord in life and word. Christ offers to the believer a full, rich life now, and hope for an eternal life in the perfect Kingdom of God on earth in the age to come.
The Church of God can help you find the way to this new life and the stability that it offers. It does not offer psychology or philosophy or schemes for social reform or legislative proposals or the solutions of authors, but the plan and will of God revealed in His Word, the Bible, presented in an easy to understand and practical way.
If you attend a Church of God, you will find the people are friendly, dedicated, and interested in the spiritual welfare of their neighbors. Services emphasize worship, Bible study, and Bible-based sermons. You will find a friendly welcome and great personal benefit in the Church of God.
A SIMPLE STATEMENT OF FAITH top
This simplified Statement of Faith is included in the Constitution and By-Laws of the Church of God General Conference. While it is not a creed, it is a summary of the truths commonly believed and taught in the Church of God.
A. GOD. We believe that only one person is God, and that He is a literal (corporeal) being - almighty, eternal, immortal, and the Creator of all things (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 45:18; 1 Tim. 2:5).
B. JESUS CHRIST. We believe that Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary, is the sinless and only begotten Son of God. He existed only from His birth (Lk. 1:32, 33, 35; 3:22; 1 Pet. 1:18-20).
C. THE HOLY SPIRIT. We believe that the Holy Spirit is God's divine power and influence manifest in God's mighty works and in the lives of His people. It is not a person (Gen. 1:2; Rom. 8:11).
D. THE BIBLE. We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, given by divine inspiration. It is the only authoritative source of doctrine and practice of Christians (2 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21).
E. MAN. We believe that man was created innocent, but through disobedience to God fell under condemnation of death - the cessation of all life and consciousness. All persons, being both sinful and mortal, are in need of salvation (Gen. 2:7, 17; 3:4, 19; 5:5; Eccl. 9:4, 10; Rom. 3:9-11; 6:23).
F. SALVATION. We believe that salvation is by the grace of God, through the atoning blood of Christ. It consists of God's forgiveness of sin, the imparting of His Spirit to the believer, and finally the gift of immortality at the resurrection when Christ returns. The steps in the gospel plan of salvation are:
1. Belief of the things concerning Jesus Christ and the gospel of the Kingdom (Acts 8:12; Rom. 1:16);
2. Sincere repentance and confession of sins (Acts 2:38);
3. Baptism - which is immersion - in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Mark 16:15, 16; Rom. 6:1-6; Acts 22:16);
4. Indwelling of the believer by Christ through God's Spirit (Gal. 4:6; Eph. 3:16, 17);
5. Growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:1-3).
G. THE CHURCH OF GOD. We believe that the Church of God is the scriptural name for that body of people who have been called out from among all nations through obedience to the gospel plan of salvation. Christ is the Head of the church; and the nature, work, and government of the church are set forth in the New Testament (2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 5:23-25).
H. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. We believe that the Christian life is primarily a life of consecrated discipleship to Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, and Teacher. It will be exemplified by love, prayerful dependence on the fruit of the Spirit, stewardship, and tithing. The church will recognize those members who, because of their religious convictions, claim exemption from military service (1 Tim. 4:11-16; Titus 2:11-14; Mal. 3:10).
I. ISRAEL. We believe that "Israel" is the name of the literal descendants of Abraham through Jacob. As God's chosen nation, Israel was given the land of Palestine, but because of disobedience they were scattered throughout the world. In accordance with God's covenant with them, they will be restored to Palestine as the head of the nations of the Kingdom of God (Ezek. 36:21-32).
RETURN OF CHRIST AND KINGDOM OF GOD. top
We believe that the Kingdom of God will be established on earth when Christ returns personally and visibly to reign as King in Jerusalem over the whole earth, with the church as joint-heirs with Him. His millennial reign will be followed by the final judgment and destruction of the wicked, after which will be established "new heavens and a new earth" wherein there will be no more death and God will be all in all (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:4, 5; 21:1-4, 7, 8; 2 Pet 3:12-14).