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Church of god 6

Church Of God


Most of the Pentecostal churches which bear the name "Church of God" can be

traced to a holiness revival in the mountains of northwest Georgia and eastern

Tennessee. In 1884, R.G. Spurling, a Baptist minister in Monroe County,

Tennessee, began to search the Scriptures for answers to the problems of

modernism, formality, and spiritual dryness. An initial meeting of concerned

people was held on August 19, 1886, at the Barney Creek Meeting House to

organize a new movement that would preach primitive church holiness and provide

for reform and revival of the churches. Christian Union was the name accepted

by the first eight members enrolled that day. Spurling died within a few months

and was succeeded in leadership by his son, R.G. Spurling, Jr. After ten years

of little growth, three laymen influenced by the Spurlings' work claimed a deep

religious experience similar to that written about by John Wesley, the founder

of Methodism, and as a result began to preach sanctification. The three laymen

began to hold services at Camp Creek, in Cherokee County, North Carolina, among

a group of unaffiliated Baptists, Spurling and the Christian Union moved their

services to Camp Creek and united with the group in North Carolina. During this

revival that followed this merger, spontaneous speaking in tongues occurred.

After searching the Scriptures, the group recognized the phenomena as a Biblical

occurrence and as a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.


The Church believes in an experiential understanding of justification by faith,

sanctification as a second work of grace, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit

evidenced by speaking in tongues. It also believes in the restoration of both

ministerial and spiritual gifts to the Church. They are believing Christians,

who use the Holy Bible as the basis of their teachings. They do practice

"footwashing" at least annually, and they do encourage mid-week services,

usually held Wednesday evening.


The Government of the Church of God in centralized. Authority is vested in the

general assembly, which meets every two years and is chaired by the general

overseer. A supreme council operated between general assemblies, and a general

executive committee oversees the boards and agencies. State overseers have

charge over the churches in their areas and appoint the pastors. Tithing is a

central feature of finances. The height of centralization came in 1914 when the

annual elections of the general overseer were discontinued and Tomlinson became

overseer for life.


The order of worship is much like the Pentecostal Church, but more orderly.

They still practice speaking in tongues, singing praises, lots of prayer, and

preaching the gospel message.


Conn, Charles W. "Church of God Distinctives." Encyclopedia Americana. 1995


Hughes, Ray H. "Church of God." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Vers. 7.0.

Computer Software. Grolier Inc., 1995. CD-ROM.

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