Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Question about The Church of God, Cleveland Tennessee


QUESTION RECEIVED:
 I recently came in contact with Church of God. To my understanding they have their main office in Cleveland TN and that also claim to be the oldest Pentecostal church, predating Azusa revival .. Is this true and are they a biblical sound church?

MY ANSWER:

The Church of God is a well-respected Pentecostal denomination.
There is also a Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) that is a separate denomination in the Wesleyan-Holiness  tradition and it is non-Pentecostal. There is also a Church of God of Prophecy which is a splinter group from the Church of God - Cleveland, Tennessee over the issue of using modern medicine and in doing so negating faith in divine healing.  Now both agree on the use of modern medicine while still depending on God to heal.

Studying Church history I think they are the oldest Pentecostal denomination.
I am sure others also make that claim but they were entrenched in the Pentecostal revival of the early 1900’s.  They have a heritage in Wesleyan and Holiness background.  Also, a few Baptist pastors of the early 1900’s also had influence in their founding.

They trust strongly in the Word.
Only you through prayer and biblical discernment can decide if this is where you belong.

*** (Since you asked me.)
Two things I would not be comfortable with are —
1.)    They do not believe in the Eternal Security of the believer or “Once Saved Always Saved.”
2.)    To my best understanding and checking their beliefs again on their official website
They believe that when you are baptized with the Holy Spirit it is a second work after salvation and that speaking with tongues is an absolute sign in proving this.

Myself and many Christians believe you are sealed with the Spirit when you are saved.
It seems from their Declaration of Faith and Doctrinal Commitments, copied below from their official website that their use term of “cleansing” makes it confusing when they talk about salvation and justification.  Clearly they do not believe you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you if you do not speak in tongues.  You best understand and study their beliefs before you pledge membership.  

Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Eternal Security and views of tongues and the charismatic gifts are subjects I did not go into detail about since you asked about the church.
Christians in and outside if the church of God would and could support their views by Scripture.

My advice to you again is to pray,study and listen.

2 Timothy 2:15
King James Version (KJV)
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.



                      FROM THE  CHURCH OF GOD WEBSITE
Church of God
Declaration of Faith
http://www.churchofgod.org/index.php/pages/declairation-of-faith
In the baptism with the Holy Ghost subsequent to a clean heart.
In speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance and that it is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.


The Church of God
Doctrinal Commitments Church of God

http://www.churchofgod.org/index.php/pages/doctrinal-commitments

Baptism with the Holy Ghost subsequent to cleansing; the enduement of power for service. Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:49, 53; Acts 1:4-8.
The speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance as the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Ghost. John 15:26; Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:1-7.

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