What We Believe

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." - A.W. Tozer

Does the Church of God believe persons have to be baptised in the Church of God in order to go to heaven?
No. Baptism is a first step in the life of the Christian convert. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior it is expected the person will take the first step of following Jesus Christ in baptism (Mark 1); however, believers who have been baptized in other church groups will find their baptisms honored. Persons who have been baptized as infants are encouraged to appreciate the act of faith on the part of their parents and to witness to their own decision for Christ through believer's baptism. We rejoice in the provision of God for the salvation and eternal life of persons whom we shall never know, persons who are active in hundreds of other Christian groups. It will be a joy to get acquainted with all those persons in Heaven!

How does a person join the Church of God?
1. If you are not a Christian (that is, not saved, not born anew, not a disciple of Jesus Christ), then you will want to confess your sins in prayer, ask God to forgive your sinful way of living, and invite Jesus Christ to come into your life as Savior and Lord. You may be able to do this alone, but many persons have found that the assistance of a thoughtful and mature Christian is helpful at this time (Matthew 11:28). When you accept Jesus Christ as Savior, you are born into the church. You are a new creation in Christ (John 3:1-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Through the cross you have become a member.

2. If you are a Christian (that is saved, born anew, a disciple of Jesus Christ), then let the pastor and other persons in the congregation know you are a Christian and begin worshiping and working with them. Then say to family, friends, and acquaintances, "I am a member of the Church of God of ." Your witness at this point is important to you and to the church. Because of the cross, you are a member.

How does the Church of God view membership?
We like the way the Church of God of identifies its members. No one person decides that another will or will not be admitted to membership in a local group. Neither congregations nor congregational leaders vote on who shall be received as members. The Church of God of believes that when one accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, God places that person in the church.

Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 12:18). Salvation is the criterion for membership in a congregation of the Church of God of. The first preachers and lay workers of this reformation movement sang lustily about that type of membership: We reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one, while love entwines about each heart in which God's will is done. We also like what the Church of God of says about maintaining membership in the church. One maintains membership by participating in the worship services and fellowship of the congregation. Amazingly, in a culture that seems to thrive on lists and membership statements, the Church of God of has effectively carried on an expanding ministry in about ninety countries and established strong congregations that are involved in both person-oriented spiritual ministries and community-oriented social ministries. We like that.

Is the Church of God Charismatic and Pentecostal?
Yes! and, no! We are charismatic if by that you mean persons and churches are empowered by the Spirit for the edification of the church on mission in the world. Yes, we are Pentecostal if by the term you mean the Holy Spirit was given to the early church and continues to come, empower, and call the church to servant ministries. No, if you mean by charismatic or Pentecostal an emphasis on speaking in tongues as the sign of a spirit-filled life or the freedom for persons to speak in tongues at their own discretion in public worship.

What is the Church of God Reformation Movement?
We believe that the Church of God of will have an increased and significant ministry in the 21st century. Consultations and conferences are taking place on national, international, local and district levels, challenging Christians to consider the current and future nature of our world, and how best to share the gospel and call persons to discipleship. We are aware that the coming decades will be a crisis time for the earth and its people. We are giving attention to a range of needs and issues that include the environment, peace and reconciliation, poverty and hunger, population trends, evangelism and church growth needs, and unity and interdependence in a society and world marked by cultural diversity. We feel God has called us to be involved in ministering to the needs of people every- where and to live responsibly in the whole universe. We seek to be a redemptive, reconciling force for peace in the years to come.

What does the Church of God believe about Baptism, Communion, Foot Washing, and Infant Dedication?
Ordinances are rich experiences for believers.Ordinances are worship and faith disciplines which have specifically been ordained by Jesus in His instructions to His followers. We believe the ordinances are symbolic of something that is happening in the believer as a direct act of God's Spirit. The symbolic act witnesses to an inner reality. These symbols affirm and remind us of what God has done in Christ.

Baptism by immersion is a first step for the new believer. The term baptism means to immerse. Immersion of believers is the only form of baptism that is indicated in the New Testament. Through baptism the new believer witnesses to a new spiritual dimension in his or her life. Baptism is also a witness to the church that the new believer is a part of its fellowship and work and to family and friends that he or she is now an active participant in the Christian community (Mark 1; Matthew 28; Acts 2:38).
The Lord's Supper, often called communion, is an affirmation of oneness in Christ. In the sacramental churches it is often called the Eucharist, a reference to the thanks offered over the bread and the cup (1 Corinthians 10:16). The Lord's Supper and communion are both terms used by Paul in his writings (1 Corinthians 11:20; 1 Corinthians 10:16, KJV). Church of God congregations frequently share the elements of the Lord's Supper. The bread and the cup are symbolic of the grace experienced in the life of the believer.

Foot Washing is an ordinance practiced by the Church of God. It is an act symbolizing the servant ministry of all Christians to each other and to the world. Men assemble in one room and women in another. Often, the Student Ministries Department will meet separately so they can be instructed more fully on the meaning and practice of foot washing. Persons wash each other's feet, sing hymns, and giver personal testimonies of God's blessing on their lives. Participation is not considered a "test of faith." Rather, it is a spiritual experience which Christians are encouraged to observe and join.

Infant dedication is not considered an ordinance, but it is consistent with the instructions of Jesus. He said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14). Parents are encouraged to present themselves with their infants for a time of dedication in public worship, the act reminiscent of the presentation of Samuel by his mother as told in the Old Testament and Jesus by his parents as told in the New Testament. It is a time for the church and the parents to acknowledge the child as a gift from God, commit themselves to rear the child in awe and respect of God, and ask God's blessings upon the body, mind, and spirit of the child. Infant baptism is not practiced in the Church of God. Infant baptism is usually an act on the part of parents by which they believe saving grace is imparted by God to the child. Later in life the child is asked to confirm that decision by the parents after receiving instruction in the faith.

We believe a child is innocent and already in the grace of God. Later the child, in some stage of his or her growth and training, will come to a time when he or she responds to the conviction and leadership of the Holy Spirit and will have an opportunity to accept Christ as Savior. It is at that time the child, youth, or adult will be baptized.

Does the Church of God believe in Divine healing?
We believe that in a broader sense all healing is divine. Thus we encourage consultation with medical professionals in matters of physical health and with other professionals in matters of emotional and relational problems. We believe these professionals can be used by God to bring health to ill and injured persons.

In addition to the healing that comes through natural processes and the informed use of medication and surgery, we believe that at times God directly intervenes in the life of individuals to initiate and complete healing. We put into practice James' instructions to the young church: "Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him.

In many congregations persons come forward following the sermon and request that the pastor anoint and pray for them. In some congregations people are given an opportunity to come forward before the pastoral prayer, to inform the pastor of an individual need (whether it be for physical, emotional, or relational healing), and to be anointed for prayer.

We do not demand of God or arrogantly instruct him about the way healing should take place. We submit our petition and await his gracious action in our lives and in the lives of those whom we love. We do not believe that everyone is healed in the way that we would expect and hope, or even that it is best for everyone to be healed. In praying for healing, we enter into a trust relationship with God; we trust that he will do the best thing for his kingdom and our lives. We believe he knows what is best, even though, for the moment, we may not be able to comprehend it (Job 9:10; Psalm 145:3).

What does the Church of God teach about stewardship?
Stewardship is the responsible use of all of our resources, recognizing that all good gifts come from God. It has implications for the use of our abilities, the use of time, and the way we earn and spend our money. Christian stewardship includes the practice of giving the first ten percent of one's income directly to the church for mission and ministries- the tithe. We believe tithing is taught in the Old Testament (Malachi 3:8-10) and the principle and practice is sustained in New Testament teachings (Matthew 23:23; 1 Corinthians 16:2; and 2 Corinthians 8:1-5). It is the foundation for a more complete financial stewardship.  While many persons of the Church of God of are tithers, tithing itself is not looked upon as a means by which one manipulates God in order to obtain material success. It is a spiritual discipline which is a reward in itself. Many Christians not only give the first ten percent of their income (tithe) to the church, but also give additional offerings to help build church facilities and make faith promise commitments to missions causes.

What does the Church of God teach about the Second Coming of Jesus?
We believe that Jesus will come again, but we have no idea about the date and time (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32-37). Our eschatology (knowledge or study of last things) emphasizes that when Jesus comes to receive his bride, the church, all things of this world will end, and those who have believed on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will go with him to live eternally. Our view of the kingdom of God of is that it is a present reality. We believe that when Jesus came to earth he launched his kingdom (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; Luke 17:20-26), and his kingdom is in the hearts of men and women who give him their allegiance.

We are aware of the diligent study by many premilennial scholars and the optimism of postmillennial Christians; however, we are amilennial. In our study of the Bible we do not discover any teaching about an earthly reign of Christ in a governmental or military sense. Scriptures speak of last things in figurative language (Revelation 20) and we believe they often refer to spiritual rather than temporal realities. We, for the most part, find little doctrinal compatibility with groups who see the establishment and success of the nation Israel as essential to God's plan (Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 3:26-28). Teachings which give attention to repeatedly setting dates for the expected return of Christ, to observing natural and other phenomena as indications of the imminent appearance of Christ, and to identifying contemporary historical personages as embodiments of the anti-Christ are likewise foreign to our understanding of scripture. With persons who feel strongly about these points of view, we "agree to disagree" and explore other ways of experiencing and expressing our oneness in Christ. We work and pray for Christ's coming (Revelation 22:20-21). The principal task of Christians, we feel, is to be involved in God's redemptive plan-sharing the gospel rather than speculating about the nature and timing of last things. Most Church of God of congregations accept a range of opinions and beliefs on "last things."