A History of the True Church

Traced From 33 A.D. to Date


Andrew N. Dugger and Clarence O. Dodd

1936. Second Ed., Tebet (January) 1968. Third Ed., Jerusalem, Israel, Sivan (June) 1972

Reprinted in 1996 by:

Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849

Edited by Richard C. Nickels with Horst Obermeit

Contents Preface Authors About This Book Download Zip File PDF Version G&S Main Menu


Editor's Note on Reprint Edition

  We thank the following individuals for typing support in reproducing this edition: Carol Billigmeier, Curtis Garner, Kerry and Rachel Roberts, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Williams.

The original publication of this book, copyrighted in 1936, stated that the book was published by A.N. Dugger and C.O. Dodd for The Bible Advocate, Salem, W. Va. We have used the original title, A History of the True Church, rather than the title later modified by A.N. Dugger, A History of the True Religion. Dugger apparantly changed the word "Church" to "Religion," in deference to his later "Hebrew Name" beliefs. Except for the references to the Hebrew names in this preface, and a slightly different ending, the original 1936 edition and Dugger's later editions in the 1960s and 1970s were the same.

The view of Church history shared by most of the Sabbath-keeping Church of God today, was founded on this book. We hope that the republication of this classic book will create renewed interest in the history of the Sabbath-keeping Church of God, and that we will learn from its lessons.

-- Richard C. Nickels

3316 Alberta Drive

Gillette, Wyoming 82718 USA

ISBN 1-887670-01-7

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 96-77314


For copy of this book, on paper, or computer disk, please write:

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P.O. Box 100

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About the Authors

About this Book

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Church Founded on the Rock

Chapter 2 -- Brief Prophetical Analysis

The Two Churches Contrasted -- The Woman Clothed with the Sun, and the Woman Clothed in Scarlet upon the Beast -- The Church Name in Both Old and New Testaments

Chapter 3 -- The Dragon and Beast Make War on the Church

The Period of Great Tribulation -- Prophetical Scripture Showing the Dark Ages

Chapter 4 -- Thirty-Three to One Hundred A.D.

The Apostolical Church -- The Apostle Paul -- Simon Peter, the Apostle -- John the Revelator -- The Early Protestant Church -- The Church at Jerusalem -- Man made Names -- Ebionites -- Nazarenes -- Jewish Christians -- The Real Bible Name -- The Day of Rest

Chapter 5 -- One Hundred to Two Hundred A.D.

The Rise of Christian Sects -- The Great Apostasy -- False Doctrine -- Easter -- Infant Baptism -- Invocation of Saints -- Holy Oil -- Use of Images -- Sign of the Cross -- Sunday Sun worship -- Immortality of the Soul -- Early Writers -- Church Fathers -- The True Church

Chapter 6 -- Two Hundred to Three Hundred A.D.

The Church at Pella and Jerusalem -- Origin of Other Sects -- Sabbath-Sunday -- False Doctrines

Chapter 7 -- Three Hundred to Four Hundred A.D.

Continued Persecution -- Constantine the Great -- Bishops -- Popes -- Doctor Arius -- Nicean Council -- Change of the Passover -- Sunday Legislation -- Easter -- The Trinity -- Sunday -- The Sabbath -- False Doctrines -- Nicean Creed -- Julian the Apostate -- The True Church -- Sabbaths -- Meats -- Circumcision -- Hypsistarii

Chapter 8 -- Four Hundred to Five Hundred A.D.

From Bishop to Pope -- Worship of Bones, Martyrs, Saints, Relics -- Candles -- Celibacy of the Clergy -- The Eastern and Western Popes -- Roman and Greek Catholics -- Christians of No Hierarchy -- Messalians -- Lord's Day -- Sabbath

Chapter 9 -- Five Hundred to Six Hundred A.D.

The Flight of the True Church to the Wilderness -- Valley Dwellers -- Vaudois -- True Church in Dispersion -- Seeds of the Reformation

Chapter 10 -- Six Hundred to Seven Hundred A.D.

The Church of God Scattered Abroad -- Characteristic Descriptive Names of God's People -- In Spain -- Britain -- Scotland -- Germany -- Justinian -- Separation of Clergy from Their Wives -- Sabbath Condemned at Council at Constantinople -- Paulicians -- Bulgaria -- France -- Albigeois -- Montenses -- Nonconformists -- Translation of Scriptures into Sclavonian Tongue -- Waldenses -- Seed of the Primitive Church Hold to True Doctrines

Chapter 11 -- Seven Hundred to Eight Hundred A.D.

A True Light Amid Gross Darkness -- Rome Never Universal even in Italy -- The Protestant Bible -- Moravia -- England -- Charlemagne -- Images -- Charles the Great -- Triune-baptism -- Anabaptists -- Infant baptism -- Transubstantiation

Chapter 12 -- Eight Hundred to Nine Hundred A.D.

Increase in the Popedom -- Persecution of the Church -- Martyrs -- True Church Never of Rome -- Commandment Observers -- Protestant Bible in Waldensian Tongue -- The Perfect and the Imperfect Classes in the Church -- The Lord's Supper

Chapter 13 -- Nine Hundred to Ten Hundred A.D.

The Woman in the Wilderness -- Sabbath-keepers -- Commandment Observers -- True Christians -- Gospel Seed Covered Europe -- Martyrdom

Chapter 14 -- Ten Hundred to Eleven Hundred A.D.

Heresy and Truth -- Blood Not Eaten -- Candlemas, Palm Sunday, Cross Adoration -- Good Friday, Easter -- A Hundred Thousand Martyrs -- Christ the Mediator Alone

Chapter 15 -- Eleven Hundred to Twelve Hundred A.D.

Peter Waldo -- The Cathari -- Waldo's Bible -- Waldo in Germany and Bohemia -- Persecution and Martyrdom -- Waldensian Church of God -- Richard, The Lion Hearted -- General Remarks -- The Commandments of God -- Church Sabbatarians -- Believer's Immersion -- Commandment-keepers -- Luther -- Doctrine and Discipline of the Waldenses -- Ordained Pastors -- Synods -- A Humble and Consecrated People of God

Chapter 16 -- Twelve Hundred to Thirteen Hundred A.D.

Rome Continues to Harass the Church of God -- Dispersions -- Puritans, Leonists, Arnoldists, etc.-- Saints Extirpated -- Persecutions of the Waldenses -- Enemies of Rome -- The Inquisition -- A Public Discussion -- General State of the Roman Church -- Dominicans and Franciscans -- Corruptions of Rome -- Real Christians Only Among Waldenses and Lollards

Chapter 17 -- Thirteen Hundred to Fourteen Hundred A.D.

The Lollards and Other Protestants -- 80,000 True Believers in Bohemia -- Lord's Supper Observed Annually -- Belief and Practice of the True Saints

Chapter 18 -- Fourteen Hundred to Fifteen Hundred A.D.

The Climax of Popery -- The Protestants Throughout the Dark Ages -- Sabbatarians -- Anabaptists -- The Hand That Intervened to Deliver -- Invaders Panic Stricken -- Armies of Aliens Put to Flight -- Inquisition -- A Covering Cloud Protects

Chapter 19 -- Fifteen Hundred to Sixteen Hundred A.D.

The Protestant Reformation -- Waldensians Aid Reformers -- The Reformers, Calvin, Luther, Knox, and Others -- Olivetan the Waldensian Aids the Reformers -- 800,000 Saints -- Sabbatarians -- Luther on the Sabbath -- Address of Hutter -- Church Tribulations and the Spirit of Martyrdom

Chapter 20 -- Sixteen Hundred to Seventeen Hundred A.D.

Darkness Before Dawn -- Oliver Cromwell -- The Need Supplied -- Persecutions and Hardships -- The New World a Haven -- How the Lord Fed and Protected His Church -- How Matthew Warren Escaped -- John Nofworthy's Experience -- Hanserd Knollys in London -- A Child the Agent of Deliverance -- How Dr. Stennett Escaped Conviction -- Evil Intent Turned to Good -- Relief in Time of Extremity --Succession in the Apostolic Ordination -- Apostolic Succession -- The Church of God in Italy -- Law of Moses -- Meats -- Sabbath -- Anti-trinitarian -- The Cathari -- Paterines -- Gazari -- Circumcision -- The Church of God in Armenia -- The Syrian Protestant Bible -- The Church of God in the British Isles -- The Gospel to Britain in Apostolic Times -- The Church in Ireland -- Sabbatarian Puritans and Quakers -- The Mill Yard Church in London-- John James -- Swan Alley Church Sabbatarians -- Other Sabbath-keeping Churches in London -- Anti-baptists -- A Work of a Martyr -- Summary -- The Earth Helped the Woman -- The Land of Liberty

Chapter 21 -- Seventeen Hundred to Eighteen Hundred A.D.

The Church of God from London to America -- The Newport Church -- Other Churches in England -- The Name of the Church -- The Shrewsbury Church -- The Name -- The Piscataway Church -- Its Name -- Its Creed -- Seventh-Day Baptists -- The Church of Christ and the Church of God -- Immigration from Europe to America -- The Church from the Wilderness -- German Saints -- Peter Miller -- Ephreta Sabbatarians -- Washington -- Benjamin Franklin -- His Faith -- His Cure For Hard Times -- The Church in America -- Puritans -- Quakers -- Seven Church Periods

Chapter 22 -- Eighteen Hundred to Present Date A.D.

In the Latter Times Some Shall Depart from the Faith -- Seventh-day Adventists -- The 1844 Disappointment -- Names of Ministers from 1844 to 1860 -- The Name of the Church -- Changing the Church Name -- The Reconstruction -- The Reorganization -- Choosing the Twelve, the Seventy, and the Seven -- The Wilbur Church -- Conclusion



The object of this treatise is not so much to give the history of the great national religious sects as it is to give a history of the true religion, tracing it down through the ages, century after century by its doctrine as practiced and taught in the Old Testament, by Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others, and then extended with minor changes down through the New Testament to the present time, as set forth by Christ, (Hebrew-Yahshua) and His apostles, all of whom were Jews.

Jesus (Yahshua) said "the gates of hell would not prevail against it." Therefore that same religion established at Pentecost, (Acts 2nd chapter), that three thousand Jews embraced, was never stamped out, but continued amidst the most severe persecution from Rome, and is spreading over the entire world today.

There has been but little interest manifest in the history of religion of the past because, most historians leave the history of the true faith with the death of the apostles, and then trace what they call Christianity down through the "Dark Ages" as it emanated from Rome after being polluted with the teaching and practice of "Sun worshipers" of the East, through the historical "Council of Nice," 321 A.D., presided over by King Constantine of Rome.

Nineteen hundred years have passed since the days of Christ, and the world still awaits a record of the Church of the wilderness, Revelation, twelfth chapter. Hundreds of histories have been palmed off on the people as narratives of the true people, but with few exceptions the writers leave the true church entering into the wilderness at the beginning of the Dark Ages, and for this same period of time minutely sketch the sects of the great apostasy.

It must be admitted that something is wrong, when out of nineteen centuries of church history, thirteen of them are given to the history of these apostate bodies.

This present writing is not a work to cater to any one, but is a history of the assemblies of God down through the ages, through over twelve hundred years of persecutions and bloodshed, even unto the present time. It narrates from histories and ancient records the course of these certain people of God, who, down through the course of time, have upheld the doctrine of the Scriptures, and kept the light of divine truth burning when all the world around them was in gross darkness known, and mentioned repeatedly by historians as "The Dark Ages."

It must be conceded that a history of the true religion must contain authentic quotations from noted historians of the past concerning these people who were found upholding the scriptural truth and teaching the same doctrine taught in the holy Bible, and carried to much of the known world following the crucifixion and ascension of our beloved Messiah, who is soon to return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Revelation 11:15.

Any people deviating from the teaching of the scriptures, be they ever so sincere, cannot be the people of the true religion composing the "Assemblies of Elohim," mentioned repeatedly in the New Testament as "The Church of God," and in the Old Testament as "The daughter of Jerusalem" and "The daughter of Zion."

This is the people who through trials and severe persecution have brought the Holy Bible and its precious truths down through the "Dark Ages" pure and unadulterated placing them now within our reach in this enlightened twentieth century.

We cannot help from praising our wonderful Creator for such men and women as this history reveals unto us who lived in the age when it required the lives of the faithful to be true to our Heavenly Father. We cannot be thankful enough for those who were true in the face of death, and rather than deny the faith, died as true martyrs. How firm we should be to dig deep and get the hidden truths long cherished by these faithful martyrs, who lived and died that we might have the unadulterated gospel truth as a guide for our souls.

With the above explanation of our motive, we now present unto the reader the history of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus (Yahshua), trusting that what little we may say will be the means of leading him deeper into the truth for which the saints have died.

-- The Authors


Explaining The Name

  After having lived in Israel for nearly fifteen years among people from nearly one hundred different countries, and as many languages, we feel saddened to learn that our beloved Messiah, and mighty Creator are called by almost as many different names as there are languages. This surely is not pleasing to them, or to the Holy Angels of their presence.

These two holy ones Who rule the heavens and the earth have each a name, and not all of this great confusion of Gentile names.

We read "Who hath established the ends of the earth. What is His name, and what is His son's name?" Proverbs 30:4. These names are in the Hebrew language.

As this history is being re-printed using photography, photographing each page, the Gentile words will have to be used for their names, and we do so with this explanation, trusting that each reader will make this a prayerful study, because when He hath redeemed Jerusalem, His people will know His name, Isaiah 52:6 to 9, Psalms 91:14, also 69:35, 36.

-- A.N. Dugger


About the Authors

  Andrew N. Dugger (1886-1975) was the most famous Church of God, Seventh Day, leader in the twentieth century. He was born in Bassett, Nebraska.

Andrew N. Dugger's father, A.F. Dugger, Sr., had been an Advent Christian Minister. When commissioned by his church to do a study refuting the Sabbath, A.F. Dugger instead became convinced that the Sabbath should be observed. The result was a book he later published, called The Bible Sabbath Defended. For more than thirty-five years until his death in 1910, A.F. Dugger, Sr., was a leader in the Church of God, Seventh Day. His son Andrew, a school teacher and farmer, was in his early 20's when his father died.

A bright light in the sky around him seemed to Dugger to be a sign from God that he should follow his father's footsteps in the ministry. A.N. Dugger immediately sold his large farm and equipment, and went to the University of Chicago, where he majored in theology and public speaking, mastering Greek, Hebrew, and German.

Dugger periodically returned to Bassett to visit his mother and Effie Carpenter (1895-1980), a student of his whom he wanted to marry. Although he first proposed to her when she was sixteen, it wasn't until 1925 until they were married. They shared fifty years together.

Soon after college graduation, Dugger was invited by the Executive Committee of the Church of God to move to Stanberry, Missouri, to become editor of The Bible Advocate, a position his father had held before being forced to retire because of ill health. In 1914, Dugger arrived in Stanberry to begin his work in the ministry. For eighteen years he was editor, also serving as President of the General Conference. As field representative, he traveled widely, holding evangelistic meetings and public debates. The famous "Porter Dugger Debate," between Dugger and W. Curtis Porter, a Church of Christ minister, was later published as a book of over 230 pages. In 1919, Dugger wrote The Bible Home Instructor, which publicized the Seventh Day Church of God, and substantially increased its membership during the 1920s.

Two of Dugger's most adamant doctrinal positions were: a scriptural form of church organization with leaders chosen by lot rather than election, and a world headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel. After visiting Israel for only a year in 1931-32, Dugger returned to live in Sweet Home, Oregon. In 1935, A.N. Dugger and C.O. Dodd published A History of the True Church, which traces Sabbath-keepers from apostolic times to modern days. Dugger greatly influenced Herbert Armstrong, who was for years affiliated with the Church of God, Seventh Day, but later formed his own church, the Radio (later Worldwide) Church of God.

Dugger remained pastor at Marion, Oregon until 1953, when he and Effie settled permanently in Jerusalem, and launched the Mt. Zion Reporter. His aggressive leadership resulted in thousands of converts around the world. Andrew N. Dugger died in 1975 at the age of 89. Dugger's son-in-law, Gordon Fauth, continued the Jerusalem work at Mount Zion Reporter, P.O. Box 568, Jersualem, Israel.


Clarence O. Dodd (1899-1955), a founder of the Sacred Name Movement, lived in Salem, West Virginia, most of his life. In 1920, he married Martha Richmond. A writer and minister, Dodd firmly believed that he should support himself and his family, earning his own way, and serve the Almighty's people without pay. He worked as a clerk for 35 years for Hope Natural Gas Company until he retired early due to Hodgkins' disease. He died two years later.

Dodd taught a Methodist Bible class. He was standing on main street of Salem one day, when a man gave him a tract on the Sabbath, which convicted Dodd of the Bible Sabbath. He never saw the man again, and was convinced the agent was an angel. He became a leading minister in the Church of God, 7th Day. At the November 4, 1993, meeting in Salem, West Virginia, when the Church of God split, Dodd was chosen by lot as one of the seventy elders (along with Herbert Armstrong), as well as one of the seven men placed over the business affairs of the Church (along with A.N. Dugger).

After the 1933 split of the Church of God (Seventh Day) into the Stanberry and Salem factions, Dodd became editor of the Salem Bible Advocate. He had began to accept the annual Feast Days in 1928, which put him at odds with the leadership. In 1937, he resigned, and began to publish his own magazine, The Faith. A year later, Dodd accepted the Sacred Name doctrine. His wrote many articles and tracts, using his own funds to establish a print shop in his home. His writings are sometimes reprinted in The Faith magazine, now published by the Assembly of Yahweh, PO Box 102, Holt, Michigan 48842. A full list of his articles is available from The Faith Bible and Tract Society, PO Box 321, Amherst, Ohio 44001, carried on by his daughter, Mary Dodd Ling, since 1978.

Dodd had a close relationship with Church of God (Seventh Day) Elder John Kiesz, who held evangelistic meetings in Salem, W. Va. around the 1930s. Kiesz likewise believed in the annual Holy Days, and was favorable to the Sacred Name doctrine. Kiesz named his youngest daughter Martha after Dodd's wife. Dodd never met Herbert Armstrong, but corresponded with him via mail.

Mary Dodd Ling describes her father as a very handsome, personable man. He was an avid student of the Bible, writer, and a man of prayer. Martha Dodd, an integral part of his ministry, died in 1982. Dodd's associates in the Sacred Name movement were Cessna, Briggs, Smith, William Bodine, and A.B. Traina (who translated a Sacred Name Bible). When Dodd accepted the doctrine that believers must use the Hebrew names Yahweh and Yahshua, he was rebaptized into the name of Yahshua.

Clarence Dodd was perhaps more of a writer than a speaker and debater like Dugger. It is likely that in collaborating with Dugger on the book, A History of the True Church, Dodd had the greater part in writing.

For a history of the Sacred Name movement, see the article, "Origin and History of the Sacred Name Movement," written by Richard C. Nickels, available from Giving & Sharing.


About this Book

  A History of the True Church traces the history of the Sabbath-keeping Church of God from its inception in the First Century to the Twentieth Century. Written from a non-technical perspective, this popular history has shaped the understanding of Church history of the various groups comprising the Church God (Seventh Day), the Worldwide Church of God, and Assemblies of Yahweh. These Bible believers have a spiritual kinship with those in past centuries who observed the seventh day Sabbath, and opposed the Church of Rome.

From the Waldenses, who flourished in the Alps during the Dark and Middle Ages, to the Sabbatarian Baptists in England, to the Adventist Movement of the Nineteenth Century, the true faith has come down to us through persecution and bloodshed. The authors state, "God has not been without witness in every generation of the gospel age . . . As we look back upon the faithfulness and martyrdom of those, who in past ages witnessed for the faith once delivered to the saints' of God, how it should inspire us, the remnant of the children of the woman driven into the wilderness, to devoutly adore Him the true God, and uphold the pristine gospel of Christ for which saints in all generations have willingly died."


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