College Notes
Church History
Lecture 24

History of the Modern Church of God

A. Sabbatarians traced through 7-Day Baptists. They trace their origins back to John the Baptist.

B. Roger Williams.
1. Founder of Rhode Island.
     a. Founded the basis of religious freedom
        b. Haven for persecuted Christians
     c. Smallest state in the union
2. Baptized by member of Steven Munford's 7th Day Church.

C. Believe in Saturday resurrection (the early Sabbatarians).

D. A History of the True Church by Dugger and Dodd, l936.
1. Not an authoritative work, but a good reference.
2. Gives an article of their beliefs - a statement of Doctrines written in 1705.
     a. One God, one Christ, the holy spirit is a gift
     b. Both OT and NT are of inspiration
     c. The Ten Commandments are valid
     d. Believe six principles in Heb 6 to be doctrine
     e. The Lord's supper to administered and received in all churches
     f. Church’s should have officers - deacons etc.
        g. Believers baptized by immersion
3. They did not understand church government. Had a government of democracy.

From A History of the True Church we read:

“One hundred and forty names were presented, and a box was prepared from which to draw the names according to the leadings of God, for these respective offices. As we approached the set time, it seemed we could feel the presence of God. The power of His presence through the world circle of prayer was keenly apparent, and hearts rejoiced in the hope and joy of his salvation.... Another short season of silent prayer was then called, and the names of the Seventy were chosen one by one.... Elder C. Sobers, New York City; Elder A.C. Turner, Mich.; Elder Echiavaria, Tex.; Elder Herbert Armstrong, Ore.; Elder A. Steede, Mich.; Elder J. W. Tarver, La...."

    4. Confrontation resulted in split from church of God.
5. (c.1842) Came to understanding of clean and unclean meats.

From A History of the True Church we read:

"Concerning the Passover, or the Lord's Supper, in at least one assembly of the early Sabbatarians in West Virginia, the following is illustrative: 'March 21, 1853, it was voted that communion service be held once in twelve months 'on the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month'; i.e., on the evening of the Passover.' --Idem, p. 201.... The diet of some of the early Sabbatarians in West Virginia, can be understood from the following extract concerning the South Fork of Hughes River Church in 1842: 'In their efforts to follow the mandates of the Mosaic law, the flesh of swine for food was placed under ban. Mutton and beef tallow took the place of lard in cooking. A few of the more well-to-do used olive oil.'--Idem, p. 203...."

    6. 1800s.
     a. 1830s - advent movement beginning in the Church
     b. Adventists means second coming
     c. Had a feeling second coming was about to occur
     d. Called themselves Church of God Adventists

II. Seventh Day Adventists.
A. William Miller.
1. Converted in the Church of God.
2. Preached world would come to an end in 1884.
3. Confused the prophecy in Daniel concerning 2,300 days.
     a. He dated those days a beginning in 457 B.C.
     b. Believed Christ would return in 1844
     c. When Christ didn't return, many were disillusioned and confused
     d. Concluded that Christ had entered an inner sanctuary in heaven and had begun the Investigative Judgment.

B. (1860s) Incorporated as the 7th Day Adventists.
1. There was much controversy over this.

"Ridicule was heaped by the White Party upon those who supported the name Church of God. The pages of the Review became the battleground for the church name around 1860 when the organizational drive fostered by the Whites came to fruition. Here is a typical presentation of the reasons for the use of the name Seventh Day Adventist: 'From Green Springs, Ohio...We receive the name Seventh Day Adventist, because it contains the two leading principles of our faith: First, the second coming of our Lord, and second, it sets forth the 4th commandment. On the other hand, the name 'Church of God' is not appropriate, because there are several churches by that name, and so many by the same name would make confusion.' Waterman Phelps, previously mentioned as a convert of H.S. Case in Wisconsin, strongly supported 'Church of God' in the Review: 'I think it is not difficult to determine what name they will have, when we consult Rev. 14:1, 'having his father's name in their foreheads.' Chapter 3:12, 'I will write upon them the name of my God.' And with this agrees the apostle in all his epistles. They are addressed to the Church of God. Acts 20:28; I Cor. 1:2; 10:32; 11:22, 15, 29; Gal. 1:13; I Tim. 3:5. Now if we have the right to depart from the simplicity of the gospel in one instance have we not in another? If so, what does their confusion consist in? If so, can we as a people do the same and not become a member of the same great of the harlots?'.... The high pressure campaign lead by the Whites to organize Sabbath Adventists under the name 'Seventh Day Adventists' was ostensibly conducted with the purpose of holding church property in a corporation instead of being deeded to individuals. Michigan had recently passed a law allowing churches to organize, and an 'official' organization was said to be an encouragement for increasing the membership.... Some Adventists did not go along with the change of the name from 'Church of God' to 'Seventh Day Adventist.' Ohio appears to be a leading center of objection to the White Party. The Review and Herald of April 9, 1861, in the article, 'Secession,' reports the following: 'Brother Smith" We conclude from present aspects that the name, 'Seventh Day Adventist,' is being made obligatory upon our brethren. Without further light Ohio cannot submit to the name 'Seventh Day Adventist,' as either a test, or an appropriate name for God's people. Being appointed a finance committee at the last conference, and having now on hand means for carrying on the cause in Ohio, we could not conscientiously expend those means in any other than the advancement and extension of the truth and the 'Church of God.' If such means are expended otherwise it will be necessary for the churches in Ohio to assemble in conference, and to give instruction to that effect, and to choose some other committee to make the disbursements.'"

C. James and Ellen G. White.
1. Part of Church of God Adventist.
2. Formerly Methodists.
3. Ellen G. White wrote for the "Advent Review and Sabbath Herald" paper the church published.
4. Believed she was a prophetess.

"D.M. Canright, an early Seventh Day Adventist who was intimate with the Whites, left them in the 1880's because he saw the 'Elder and Mrs. White ran and ruled everything with an iron hand. Not a nomination to office, or a resolution, not an item of business was ever acted upon in business meetings till all had been first submitted to Elder White for his approval.... (and Mrs. White's) revelations always favored Elder White and herself. If any dared question their course, they soon received a scathing revelation (based on a vision) denouncing the wrath of God against them.' Canright painted a picture of a 'coldly legalistic' Seventh Day Adventist church governed by the fear of going against the 'divine testimonies' of its 'prophetess.'"

        a. Some of her prophecies proved false

"Ellen G. White wrote in her Testimonies for the Church that 'At the General Conference at Battle Creek, May 27, 1856, I was shown in vision some things which concern the church generally...I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel, 'Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus.' All of the people alive at that conference have died, presenting a serious question as to the authenticity of Mrs. White's visions."

        b. Her writings have proven to be plagiarized

From Newsweek, January 14, 1981, in the article "A False Prophetess?” we read: 'Between 1844 and her death in 1915, she wrote more that 46 volumes--totaling 25 million words--on the Bible, history and health. Mrs. White's prodigious literary output was based largely on the 2,000 or so visions she claimed to have had, in which the voice of God instructed her on everything from Biblical interpretation to diet and dress.... But now, 66 years after Ellen White's death, the notion that she was a 'true prophetess of God' is being questioned by Adventist scholars who argue that many of her revelations were copied from other nineteenth-century writers--and that, borrowed or not, some of the most important ones cannot be squared with Scripture.... The copying charge was leveled by Rea, a voluble pastor and researcher from Long Beach, Calif., who spent tow years analyzing Mrs. White's works.... Rea insists that 'the heart of Adventist theology was also copied from others.' In all, he estimates, as much as 80 per cent of Mrs. White's writing was lifted almost word for word from earlier works.... What bothers him the most, however, is not her failure to attribute her ideas to their source but her insistence on attributing them to God.... The Adventist establishment has had a harder time responding to the theological challenge posed by Ford.... Before Mrs. White came on the scene, followers of early Adventist preacher William Miller had believed that Christ would return to earth on Oct. 22, 1844, to cleanse the earthly 'sanctuary' of sin. So on that date Miller and his flock gathered on a boulder in upper New York State to await this Second Coming. When Christ failed to appear, most Millerites lost faith. But some rallied round Mrs. White, who taught that Miller had merely misinterpreted Daniel's revelation. The real sanctuary, she explained, was in heaven. What had happened on Oct. 22, she said, was that Jesus had moved from one heavenly apartment to another in order to begin a final 'investigative judgment' on the righteous that would precede his return to earth. Mrs. White's reinterpretation saved the Adventist movement.... In his massive study, Ford argues that scripture simply does not support White's interpretation of Daniel. 'No scholar seriously believes that Jesus Christ is sitting in heaven turning pages to investigate Christian lives,' he argues."

        c. Some say visions were a force of epilepsy

An article in Christianity Today entitled "Was Ellen White Merely an Epileptic?", by Rodney Clapp, says the following:

"White's writings have been the source of heavy controversy since Adventist minister Walter Rea claimed that she plagiarized several other writers. In addition to the plagiarism question, Evangelica presents three other arguments that, if true, would topple White from the prophetic throne where Adventists placed her. The most fascinating of those arguments is made by Delbert Hodder, a pediatrician and active Adventist. Hodder notes that the supposed 'supernatural nature' of the many visions White had during her lifetime are regarded as proof she was a prophet. But Hodder speculates the visions had no supernatural cause. A form of epilepsy called partial-complex seizures may have been responsible instead.... Similarities between seizures and White's visions include: *Eyes that are open and often turned up. Historical accounts report White's eyes 'rolled up' during visions. *Words or phrases that are repeated monotonously. White is characterized as repeating 'light,' 'dark,' 'glory,' and 'glory to God' during visions. *Gestures. White reportedly wrung her hands, walked back and forth, and gracefully moved her shoulders in her ecstatic states. *Visual hallucinations, including 'crude sensations of light or darkness.' White spoke of 'light' and 'dark' during her visions... Brinsmead, one of the first dissident evangelical Adventists, believes the denomination 'engaged in a conspiracy to hide the facts of early Adventist history.' The shut-door theory was postulated to explain what happened in 1844 when, contrary to prediction, Christ did not return to earth. It held that on October 22, 1844, Christ stopped pleading for sinners in one apartment of a heavenly sanctuary and went into a second sanctuary to plead only for the 'little flock.' Only the Adventist believers, in other words, would be saved. Later, the church shifted its position. White once testified that a vision affirmed the shut-door teaching. At another time, after the shut-door teaching feel out of favor, she said the same vision contradicted that theory.... Evangelica's third argument is that Ellen White made a number of statements on health now know to be scientifically false. She wrote that wigs congest the brain and that persons become 'hopelessly insane' after adopting the 'deforming fashion.' She believed masturbation was 'killing thousands and tens of thousands,' that eating meat strengthened man's animal propensities,' and that some races began by sexual relations with animals."

    5. Doctrinal differences:
     a. Major controversy: Passover observed quarterly rather than annually
     b. No alcohol concept, had grape juice at Passover
     c. Christ resurrected on Sunday
     d. Believed in trinity
     e. Did away with holydays using Col 2:16.

III. Church of God.
A. In the 1860s the Church of God Advent published a paper called "The Bible Advocate".
1. Still being published.
2. Mr. Armstrong wrote of this in the 1920s and 1930s.

B. Headquarters of the Church:
1. Moved form Battle Creek to Marian, Iowa.
2. In the 1880s moved to Stansbury, MO.
3. Sent out ministers into foreign areas from 1861-1933

In Dugger and Dodd's "A History of the True Religion," we find a very interesting section describing the activities of the Sardis Church:

"As time went on, work was opened up in foreign fields and the precious truth found its way into many countries, and islands of the sea. Hundreds of thousands of tracts were printed and distributed together with many books, and for a period of 72 years from 1861 to 1933 the church continued to send forth the true doctrine." p. 297

    4. The Bible Advocate show the place they went

From "The Bible Advocate" published by the Church of God Seventh Day at Salem, West Virginia, November 6, 1933, we read:

"Several weeks prior to November 4th, a call was sent to many countries for prayer that God would again choose men to lead His church as in the former time. These countries were: Jerusalem, South Africa, Australia, Egypt, England, Norway, Jamaica, Guam, Canada, Nova Scotia, Liberia, Barbados, Venezuela, Syria, Madagascar, Burma, Newfoundland, and Mexico."

    5. Areas included South America where we made contact with churches there.
     a. We received letters from them

Following is a translation of the first letter we received from a member of the Sardis group in Chile:

"Dear Brother in Christ: I am very pleased to address this letter to you and all your fellow laborers in the Work of God. During a recent trip to Peru in order to study various doctrines and Bible prophecies with the members of the 'Asociacion Israelita Evangelica del Nuevo Pacto' (Evangelical Israelite Association of the New Covenant), I learned from Sr. Jose Alfredo Loje, the president of this group, that he had various booklets and Bible courses, which you had sent him. During my stay I had the opportunity to read several of these. I've found your literature to be remarkable. I'm very impressed by your full knowledge of the Bible, its doctrines and prophecies. Maybe I'm particularly impressed because I am a member of an old, although small, religious group in Chile called, 'Iglesia Israelita del Nuevo Pacto' (Israelite Church of the New Covenant). I was told by some of our elderly members that our group was started by a missionary named Zefers, at the turn of the century or thereabouts. We number about 20 churches and several groups throughout the region encompassed by the port of Valparaiso in the north and the city of Osorno in the south. (Note: this is a distance of approximately 500 miles). We practice God's laws, Commandments, and Statutes, just as God gave them to the people of Israel by Moses and just as God has promised in the New Covenant to write them in our hearts. By prophecy we have understood that God would in the latter days begin a Work, which would eventually restore the truth of God to a world that has stamped it out by the feet of her false prophets. We believe that if we're faithful to the light God has already given us, He will give us more and more truth so that we can form a part oaf this worldwide Work foretold in Bible prophecy (Acts 3:21, Matt. 24:14). Please send me the same literature you've been sending Sr. Loje. I'd like to take it back to our churches in Santiago, Chile. Regards to all, Sergio Guerrero, December 25, 1967"

        b. Many came into the WWCoG

From "A History of the Sardis Church in Chile," we read:

“Well over 100 letters have been received in the course of the past year from the Chilean Sardis group. Many are emotion-packed, virtually tear-filled. One man sprawled as S.O.S. on his letter, asking us to be sure to visit him. Sr. Garrido wrote to us just a few days ago a very inspiring letter. Here's a particularly interesting analogy included in it:

"Oh how I wish you people were here! Believe me, some of us here are so anxious for your visit we can hardly eat! The 'Iglesia Israelita del Nuevo Pacto' no longer satisfies me. It's as if you were to go to bread. And you have to eat this bread even though you are fully aware of a bakery a little further away where you can eat real good bread. You just have no way of physically getting to the second bakery. The Church of God is that second bakery."

C. Oct. 1887 - Held annual conference.
1. Located in Stansbury.
2. Not legally incorporated until 1900 as the Church of God Advent.

D. John Kiez:
1. A principle leader of the Church of God 7th Day.
2. Affiliated with Mr. Armstrong until opening of Ambassador College.
3. Split with the Church of God Advent over issue of Pentecostals.
4. Later split form Mr. Armstrong in 1940's.

E. A.M. Dugger:
1. Minister in Church of God.
2. In the time of W.W.I took over leadership of the church.
3. (1914) Editor of "The Bible Advocate".
4. Through him, Mr. Armstrong presented his papers of new doctrine.
5. Died in Jerusalem, where he spent the last years of his life.
6. At the End of W.W.I, Dugger had an interview with Woodrow Wilson.
     a. Conscientious objectorship obtained
     b. Liberation of Judea

G. (1920) Correspondence course developed.

H. (1923) Doctrine of healing established.

I. (1925) Number of churches: 79 in 17 states.

J. (1927) Mr. Armstrong comes into contact with the church.

K. (1929) Radio becomes a means of broadcasting by Dugger. Use of the radio to spread the gospel comes into play.

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