Church of God (Cleveland)

From Academic Kids

The Church of God (Cleveland) is a Protestant Christian denomination whose headquarters are in Cleveland, Tennessee. The movement's origins can be traced back to 1886 with a small meeting of Christians at the Barney Creek Meeting House on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. It has grown to a fairly influential Pentecostal denomination.

Elder Richard Spurling (1810-1891), an ordained Baptist minister, rejected some of the views of the Baptists in his area as not in accord with New Testament Christianity. In August of 1886, he and seven members from Holly Springs and Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Churches in Monroe County, Tennessee and Cherokee County, North Carolina organized the "Christian Union". They agreed to free themselves from man-made creeds and unite upon the principles of the New Testament. In 1902, Richard Green Spurling (Richard Spurling's son) and W. F. Bryant founded the Holiness Church at Camp Creek (North Carolina). A. J. Tomlinson, a former Quaker, united with the church at Camp Creek in 1903, and was selected to pastor the congregation. Other churches were organized in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and the name Church of God was adopted in 1907. In 1909 Tomlinson was elected General Overseer. In 1923 this body was disrupted by division, creating the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) and the Church of God of Prophecy.

Something that makes a Church of God service a little unique from other Southern Protestant denominations is their almost concert-like atmosphere. Music, in general, usually plays a very important part in the local churches, almost to the point of overshadowing the traditional sermon. Depending on the individual church, the music played can vary anywhere from old-time gospel and hymn-singing to contemporary Christian and Christian rock.

This body is referred to as Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) in order to distinguish it from other bodies called the Church of God. The church's worldwide membership exceeds 6 million people in over 150 countries. The Church of God (Cleveland) operates several universities, the oldest of which is Lee University in Cleveland, established in 1918. In response to the need for a seminary, the Church of God Graduate School of Christian Ministries (now known as the Church of God Theological Seminary) opened in 1975. The Church of God Publishing House is a major gospel music resource.

The definitive history of the Church of God can be found in "Like a Mighty Army," written by Dr. Charles Conn. This is recognized as the essential history of the movement.

Presently, there is an on-going effort to work closely with the Church of God of Prophecy (created by the division in 1923). Both churches hold very similar doctrine, and there has been much more cooperation between the churches and leadership. Some members believe that eventually there may be a reconciliation that would restore the church to a level of energy and spiritual authority that it has not seen since 1923.

Related bodies

External links

de:Gemeinde Gottes (Cleveland)


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