Church of God

Religions, Cults & Worldviews: Valuable Answers for Valid Questions.

There could be a denominational family tree just for the Church of God alone that would nearly rival the size of the entire Christian Denominations tree. There is a Church of God founded in Tennessee, A splinter Church of God (Jerusalem Acres) a splinter from that splinter called the Church of God for All Nations. There is a branch called Church of God prophecy and a splinter from that group called Church of God with Signs Following. There is a related denomination called the Church of God in Christ or COGIC and an unrelated Church of God that is non-pentecostal and headquartered in Anderson, IN. I will keep the differentiations brief of the major 3: Church of God (Cleveland, TN), Church of God in Christ, and the Indiana-based Church of God.

Church of God - Indiana Based

Founded in Anderson, IN in 1881 by Daniel S. Warner and others who sought to do away with denominational hierarchies and formal creeds. In government, this Church of God is primarily congregational and Wesleyan-influenced in doctrine. It is an Arminian denomination with a devotion to the idea of holiness and sanctification of Methodism. Whereas the Church of God (Indiana) shares the same name as a few other Church of God denominations it is unrelated to, and does not share the Pentecostal practices of, either the Holiness birthed Church of God (Cleveland, TN), or the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ.

Church of God - Cleveland, Tennessee

This Church of God denomination was founded in 1886 (oldest American Pentecostal denomination) in a small meeting house on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. As with other denominational beginnings, a small group opted to begin their own movement rather than reform the churches of which they were a part. They were birthed from the Holiness movement of the late 19th century This small group has grown to a worldwide membership of 6 million today.

Church of God in Christ (COGIC)

Founded by a Baptist Preacher in Jackson, Mississippi, named Charles Harrison Mason in 1896. CH Mason, along with his closest companions, began to preach a dogmatic form of sanctification as an “event” and not a “process” as the historical Biblical Christian denominations had taught. In 1897, due to this sanctification teaching, Mason was shut off from the Baptist church and then organized his small groups in the Church of God. In that same year, Mason, basing his decision on IThessalonians 2:14 in the Bible, would officially change the name of his movement to Church of God in Christ to differentiate it from other churches at the time calling themselves Church of God.

Outside of the sanctification error, this denomination holds to Biblically-based belief structure. Today, this is a staunchly Pentecostal denomination that teaches that the baptism of the Holy Spirit will be evidenced by speaking in tongues.ll COGIC reports 5.2 million adherents, near doubling in the 25 years.

Although the central focus of COGIC was sanctification by the one-time outpuring of the Holy Spirit, Mason and COGIC were not pentecostal or charismatic in practice whatsoever. This would happen 10 years later when at a meeting in Los Angeles led by WJ Seymour in 1907, CH Mason would receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues on a regular basis. Mason’s new-found pentecostalism did not bode well with his fellow COGIC leaders and there was an attempt to shut him out of the movement altogether. Mason called a meeting of all his leaders who believed in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the re-organized Pentecostal Denomination called Church Of God In Christ was born.

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