COG,Church of God,DSWarner,CWNaylor,CMBrown,divine healing,carnal nature,eradication,second work of grace,

AM I REALLY STILL CHURCH OF GOD? A SELF SURVEY

Give yourself a point for each “ORIGINAL COG DOCTRINAL POSITION” you still  honestly believe & practice. Add them up. There are 14 possible points. If you don’t score over 7 total, YOU MIGHT NOT STILL BE COG!

 

ORIGINAL CHURCH OF GOD DOCTRINAL POSITIONS:

MY BELIEFS & CONVICTIONS TODAY:

 

PRIMARY/DEFINING DOCTRINES:

MOST but not all branches of the COG family tree believed at one time these original doctrines; thus they are “DEFINING DOCTRINES.”

 

UNITY OF GOD’S PEOPLE / SEEING EYE-TO-EYE / ANTI-DENOMINATIONALISM / BABYLON

(The COG was ordained by God to unify ALL of the believers on earth into one church group. They would see eye-to-eye, i.e., believe the same doctrines. It is the only TRUE church. Every church outside the COG was part of “Babylon,” the false “whore” church of Revelation. And "Babylon," i.e., the "sectarian world," "has fallen...and shall be found no more at all" (Revelation 18:2-21)).

 

(1) The Unity the COG aimed for was more UNIFORMITY, i.e., “seeing eye to eye” and NOT disagreeing on anything. True biblical UNITY is based on LOVING EACH OTHER despite our many differences.

(2) RE “Babylon,” i.e., the sectarian Christian world, it NEVER fell after all. The denominational church world is just as present & strong as ever. In fact, the world NEEDS the church world. Without it, the world would be much worse off if only the COG existed!

(3) The concept of NON-denominationalism is an impossibility: Denominations will ALWAYS exist. There’s NO way possible to form a new group of people using transfer members from other groups & say the new group is non-denominational. If this new group or network of groups doesn’t contain EVERY single believer, then it is just a PART of the whole, a SECTion, i.e., a SECT, and therefore a denomination.

 

VISIBLE FORM OF THE CHURCH / RECONSTITUTING THE TRUE CHURCH / SPOTLESS BRIDE

(The COG was ordained by God to gather ALL of the saved into one pure, visible, "spotless," earthly body before Jesus' imminent return. So ALL the saved in the world will come to the COG if they hear about it.)

 

The COG tried to do something that was IMPOSSIBLE: Gather EVERY true believer into ONE earthly body. They thought that Jesus would come back in their lifetimes for this “spotless” body, but 2 things were erroneous: (1) Jesus did NOT come back & (2) That “spotless” visible body CANNOT exist on earth. The “spotless” Church exists but NOT as a single visible group. It is the INvisible group of all believers in a spiritual, not earthly, body.

ESCHATOLOGY (PROPHECY/REVELATIONS) / IMMINENCE OF SECOND ADVENT / 1880 WAS A PROPHETIC YEAR

(In the Revelation, the COG is prophesied as the “last reformation,” starting in 1880.)

 

Obviously, the COG prophecy that Jesus was coming soon, in the founders’ lifetimes, was wrong. But this belief was their primary motivation: To feverishly gather all God’s people into this one pure visible church so it would be ready before He came. They misinterpreted prophecies in Revelation, Daniel, & elsewhere to be direct prophecies pointing to the COG, thus making 1880 a significant year in the Bible. But it is not; they didn’t even consistently interpret the symbols to arrive at that date, as CW Naylor showed in “The Teachings of DS Warner & Associates.” In the "1260 days" (Revelation 11:3) & the "42 months" (Revelation 11:2 & 13:5, which is the same as 1260 days), a "day" supposedly represents a "year," which when added to 270 AD arrives at 1530 AD. But a few verses later, in Revelation 11:11, "three days & a half" suddenly represents three & one-half CENTURIES, i.e., 350 years! WHY? This is how they got from 1530 to 1880 AD.

 

SANCTIFICATION / TWO WORKS OF GRACE / CLEANSING & ERADICATION

(Sanctification is the 2nd “work of grace,” in which the carnal nature is instantaneously cleansed & ERADICATED from the believer’s heart as the Holy Spirit takes over.)

 

The COG borrowed the concept of sanctification being a 2nd work of grace from John Wesley’s Methodist doctrines. However, Wesley & all other Protestants borrowed the concept of the carnal nature & its need to be eradicated from the Catholics (Augustine). ALL of them, and even the Apostles, still exhibited signs of carnality AFTER the “cleansing/eradication” So the conclusion must be that the carnal nature is actually the FLESH, which we all have & must fight against & deny until we leave this world. The “cleansing” is not all instantaneous but progressive, area by area as God reveals & exposes spiritual needs in the believer’s life. There IS, however, a 2nd event in the lives of believers called the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” This is what Wesley & others believed to be the “eradication” of the carnal nature, which really is not a separate entity from the flesh. The Spirit reconnects us to God, thus giving power over the flesh. See also The Nature of the Carnal Nature.

 

DIVINE HEALING / NOT USING MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

(The healing gifts were restored & God heals His people, so going to the doctor, hospital, or other source of medical aid is WRONG & SINFUL. It is better to die first if that is how God’s will for you turns out.)

 

The Bible does not forbid the use of medical assistance. Nor did DS Warner! He said, “But if a sincere child of God does use medicines… do not reprove or rebuke such as if a sin had been committed…” [Gospel Trumpet, October 24, 1895.] "This emphasis became a linchpin doctrine & a test of fellowship AFTER he was gone, mostly in the COG branches associated with Guthrie, OK & its offshoots. CW Naylor (composer of “God’s Way Is Best,” “More Like Christ,” “Be An Overcomer,” "I'm Going On," "To God Be the Glory," "The Reformation Glory," & other songs) actually said God TOLD him to go to the hospital & sent an ANGEL to be with him! (Charles M Brown, When The Trumpet Sounded, page 182.) Scripture does not elevate divine healing to be a test of fellowship.

 

 

SECONDARY DOCTRINES: 

Taught in some branches of the COG family tree. These are the doctrines over which many of the 71 splits have occurred!

 

DIVORCE NO SUCH THING / REMARRIAGE FORBIDDEN / BREAK UP ALL MULTIPLE MARRIAGES

(The Bible forbids divorce and therefore, remarriage. Anybody in “double marriage” must separate from that 2nd companion.)

 

There is definitely a legitimate, biblical Divorce. It is not God’s preference, but it IS permitted under certain BIBLICAL circumstances, even by Jesus. Furthermore, the only purpose for a legitimate divorce was to make a person free to remarry, so all remarriage is not forbidden. RE breaking up couples in “double marriage, DS Warner wrote: “Let it be understood then that we disclaim all authority to say to men & women in such case [having more than one living spouse], you must or you must not separate. Such must get their orders from God direct” [DS Warner, Marriage and Divorce, 1895). This is the only biblical position the church can take because God never gave any specific written instructions.

 

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS IN CHURCH WORSHIP SERVICES          

(The Bible forbids musical instruments in church because it is impossible for inanimate things to worship God spiritually. Also, the early Christians traditionally sang acappella.)

We do not have any scriptural basis to forbid the use of musical instruments in worship service. Instead, we have Paul’s advice to include the opposite: Eph 5:19 & Col 3:16—“Speaking to yourselves in psalms [Gk. psalmos, a sacred ode accompanied with voice, harp, or other instruments] and hymns [Gk. Humnos, a celebratory ode/song of praise] and spiritual songs [Gk. ode, a chant or ode or any song in general], singing & making melody [Gk. psallo, to twitch or twang, i.e., to play on a stringed instrument & celebrate the divine worship with music & accompanying odes] in your heart to the Lord.” Notice that the odes “accompany” the instruments! These musical acts of worship are actually “spiritual” & from the “heart,” which is contrary to the COG teaching that an “inanimate instrument cannot worship God.” The person worships God WITH / USING the instrument. What's the problem?!

MEN’S NECKTIES                                

(The Bible forbids neckties because they are an unnecessary & superfluous ornamentation that shows pride & vanity in the heart.)

There is NO scriptural injunction against the tie and never has been. COG history shows it was not an original teaching (they all wore ties at the beginning!) but a tradition adopted by the early COG leaders to win the fellowship of the Free Methodists who joined the movement. All of the subsequent attempts to find some biblical verse against it, e.g., “superfluity of naughtiness” (James 1:21), was a gross twisting of completely unrelated scriptures to make the doctrine seem authentic!

WOMEN’S JEWELRY & MAKEUP 

(The Bible forbids jewelry, makeup, and all other ornamentation.)

There is NO scriptural injunction forbidding jewelry or makeup. In fact, there is NO scriptural injunction against ornamentation in general. None in the OT, and the 2 verses in the NT are Hebrew idioms that are not teaching against ornamentation but emphasizing spiritual qualities over physical beauty. 1 Pet 3:3-4 (Amp)—“Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; But [rather] let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.” And 1 Tim 2:9-10 teaches in the same manner with the same idiom.

WOMEN’S PANTS & DRESS ISSUES

(The Bible forbids women to wear pants or anything else that “pertains to a man.”)

The so-called biblical injunction in Deut 22:5 forbidding females to wear pants is actually an OT teaching against cross-dressing when worshipping heathen gods. Much of the purpose in Deuteronomy & Leviticus is directed at keeping the practices of the Hebrews distinct & separate from the many other Semitic tribes around them. The other tribes' religious practices included a symbolic ritual of changing sexes as a part of their fertility rites. So Jehovah forbade that for the Jews. Besides, this verse could NEVER refer to pants because wearing pants was not a custom for men or women at that time! Also, today some styles of pants are made FOR WOMEN & are NOT men’s clothing!

 

TV’S IN LEADERS’ HOMES               

(The Bible supports the rule that any church leader having a TV in the home he is the head of is disqualified from holding any position of leadership in the COG.)

Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes” is not referring to TV, internet, or any other media, none of which existed at that time. But the principle is still useful: Do not look at or dwell on any programming that is evil, profane, or displeasing to God. However, this is often quite subjective, so spiritual liberty must be given to each believer. No rule forbidding an electronic box or device in the house can be sound teaching when it is not the box but the programming that might be “wicked.”

 

DIETARY LAWS: COFFEE, TEA, & COKE

(These foods/drinks contain caffeine, which is a very addicting substance that believers must avoid, otherwise they sin.)

Under holiness, it is true that everything must be done to the glory of God & in the name of Jesus, making it hard to knowingly do things that harm oneself. This would include things like smoking, doing drugs, getting addicted & brought “under the power” of anything, etc. However, when it comes to actual foods, some of which are known to not be the healthiest, liberty must be given to each believer to partake of in moderation. Coffee, tea, & Coke are not the only things that make the list of unhealthy foods. What about bacon, pork, soda, sugary sweets, fast foods, fried foods, etc. The list is endless, so liberty must be given to each believer. It is very inconsistent to pick out only coffee, tea, & Coke to be banned as “sinful!”

SPORTS: PARTICIPATION IN, VIEWING, ETC. / OTHER AMUSEMENTS

(It is wrong to play ball, games, & other reactional activities, especially organized sports. It is wrong to go to amusement parks, sporting events, or other places of entertainment & recreation.)

The official COG position has ranged from complete bans on anything recreational (no playing with balls of any type, no games, etc.) to the ban only on organized, competitive sports. Most no longer ban touching a ball or playing games. Some, however, still ban organized sports because they misunderstand/mistranslate Eph 5:20, “emulation,” a work of the flesh. The Greek word, zelos, however, means jealousy or envy, and most translations translate it as such. It has nothing to do with sports! There is nothing in the NT that forbids sports, even organized, competitive sports. There is no biblical injunction against amusement parks, entertainment, or recreation in various forms. Each believer must be governed by their own Holy Spirit convictions on such matters.

FORMAL TRAINING FOR PREACHERS

(Formal education of ministers is unnecessary & frowned on because God Himself calls & equips a preacher; he doesn’t choose it as a career he can prepare for.)

This COG teaching was the result of early bias against “Doctors of Divinity” (DD’s) and other educated clergy in “Babylon.” DS Warner abandoned it before his death in 1895, but some COG branches still frown on going to school to become a preacher. However, nothing in the Bible forbids formal religious training & education, instead saying, “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth” (2 Tim 2:15 Amp).

 

HOW TO INTERPRET YOUR SCORE RESULTS:

  • If your score on the Official COG Doctrinal side is GREATER THAN 7, then basically YOU ARE STILL COG!
  • If your score is LESS THAN 7, then YOU ARE NO LONGER COG, even if you still attend!

WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUR SCORE RESULTS:

  • If you are STILL COG, then please review your positions in the light of God’s Word, and decide what your true Holy Spirit convictions are. Never follow any church; follow Jesus. Every believer must be loyal to God & His Word first and foremost.
  • If you are NO LONGER COG but still attend, then you are in a church you no longer believe in. Confirm that your congregation still holds the official teachings described. This is important for integrity: How does one avoid charges of hypocrisy when they APPEAR to agree with church teachings but in their hearts do NOT? And if the COG has changed its positions on any doctrine in practice, it has seldom done so officially, forcing its members to be hypocrites. Perhaps your asking for confirmation will help the COG state its current positions & doctrines clearly. In any case, you must identify WHY you still attend and what the church is providing you & your family. Consider the church’s emphasis on things you don’t believe in, the church’s tendency to follow traditions and church history vs following the Word & Holy Spirit leading, the church’s bleak future with very little spirit of outreach (in most branches), your lack of spiritual freedom, the fact that you have to hide your true convictions to remain in fellowship, etc. Make a confident, Spirit-led, Word-based decision on what you should do about this situation: IGNORE it, CHANGE it, or LEAVE it.
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