IX. Andrew N. Dugger and the Church of God Surge of the 1920s
The Passing of A.F. Dugger
Elder A.F. Dugger, Sr. became sole editor of the Bible Advocate in 1905 at the ousting of W.C. Long. Dugger's health was failing, and to assist him in the publishing work at Stanberry, he requested sixty-six year old Jacob Brinkerhoff, who became office editor in March of 1907. Exactly what had happened to Brinkerhoff since he had resigned the editorship in 1887 at Marion, is difficult to determine, for he is rarely mentioned in reports of the church leadership or ministerial activity. Presumably he remained at Marion.
On Sabbath evening, December 20, 1907, the Advocate building and offices were destroyed by a fire, and the press was damaged. Most of the printing type and cases were carried out into the street. However, the upper story where the tracts were stored, was entirely destroyed. Insurance did not cover the entire loss, and a drive was started for financial contributions for another building and office. The "new" building was purchased for $1,000 on West First Street. This was the location of the Stanberry church and later the Church of God college, and until the 1970's was also the home of the church press. An old flatbed press, run by a gas engine, was obtained. In 1915 a cylinder press was added, and in 1916, the first linotype was purchased.
The paper had long been printed in newspaper size, of eight pages. In December of 1910 it was changed to a smaller, 9 x 12 inch size, but expanded to sixteen pages.
During the time when Brinkerhoff and A.F. Dugger were editors, numerous articles on prophecy appeared in the Advocate. One belief held by A.F. Dugger, was that the Gentile Times would end in 1914.
In 1909, A.F. Dugger's health would no longer permit him to continue as editor, so Brinkerhoff became sole editor. A.F. Dugger died in December of 1910.1
Church of God Before 1914
The Church of God message went into several new areas from the turn of the century to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
By 1903, Elder M.S. Carlisle of Carter Creek, Tennessee, announced the holding of a yearly meeting in that state, August 7, showing that there had already developed a work in the area. Carlisle worked with Elder J.F. Williams of Boaz, Alabama, and the two preached together throughout the Southeast. Another annual Church of God area meeting was held July 26, 1907 at Phil Campbell, Alabama, site of a local church.
Elders Hiram Ward and J.L. Herriman held meetings near their home in Rollins, Montana in 1906, and a church was organized there.
S.W. Mentzer, who had accepted the Sabbath in Iowa in the 1860's, and was ordained in 1876, became a Church of God leader, frequently being elected President of the General Conference.2
Credentialed Ministers, 1907-1908
Ministers given credentials by the 24th General Conference in December of 1907 included the following3:
Blackmon, E.G.; Pope, S.; Brinkerhoff, Jacob; Presler, L.L.; Carlisle, M.W.; Prime, J.T.; Caviness, R.E.; Richards, G.W.; Davison, S.S.; Rodgers, G.T.; Dugger, A.F.; Rogers, I.N.; Ellis, M.B.; Shingleton, Jas.; Harris, Hiram; Sloan, A.B. ; Johnson, J.T.; Slown, W.H.; Kennedy, F.P.; Vanderver, J.H.; Knight, E.; Ward, Hiram ; Loop, S.P.; Wells, N.A.; Mentzer, S.W.; Whisler, B.F.; Moore, Jasper; Whitehall, H.T.; Moore, S.A.; Williams, Charlie; Munger, Seth; Williams, J.F.; Nichols, J.H.; Williamson, J.T.; Nugent, J.A.; Wing, L.A.; Osborn, J.W.
In 1908, the following men were added:
J.E. Wells, E.B. Cox, C.C. Wells, C.A. Blood, J.G. Gilstrap, A.J. Hayes, S.E. Northup, J.L. Herriman
While the following men were deleted:
S.P. Loop, Seth Munger, A.B. Sloan, E. Knight, W.H. Slown, N.A. Wells, L.A. Wing, S. Pope
J.R. Goodenough was suspended until he explained his attitude to the General Conference.
What a Church of God Campmeeting Was Like
The yearly campmeeting must have been a crowning event in the life of the zealous Church of God member in this period. Since many members were isolated, it was a chance to fellowship with others of like faith.
One such campmeeting at Stanberry, described in a 1908 issue, shows that members from Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska attended, over 110 in all. There were 22 family tents, plus a larger tent for services.
Sermons were given each evening, and during the days when the Iowa or Missouri conferences were not meeting. Speakers that year were Elders Whitehall, Munger, Presler, S.S. Davison, Mentzer, Whisler, and Brinkerhoff. Subjects included Matthew 25:34 judgment, parables, love of God, duty of searching scriptures, a Christian's hope, the return of Christ, Revelation 14:6 and Nebuchadnezzar's image, these are the last days, and baptism. There was much singing, and seven were baptized, children of Church of God members.4
Church of God Leaders, 1907 - 1910
The 1907 Church of God General Conference leaders consisted of:
S.W. Mentzer Robins, Iowa,
H.T. Whitehall Scranton, Iowa,
L.L. Presler Farnam, Nebraska,
S.S. Davison Roscoe, Oklahoma,
D.P. Moore Hatfield, Missouri
Chancy Anible White Cloud, Mich.5
Some of the evangelistic meetings conducted in 1908 were those by Elders J.F. Williams and H.T. Whitehall at Kanawha Station, West Virginia, home of L.E. Robinson. Also, L.L. Presler, who was "General Evangelist" at the time, held extensive meetings in Oklahoma and Kansas in February and March of 1908. Whitehall held tent meetings at Plano, Iowa, in August, and E.G. Blackmon kept up regular monthly meetings at Goodman, Missouri and also went to Keystone and Manford, Oklahoma.6
Officers chosen in 1908 were the following:
S.W. Mentzer President
L.L. Presler Vice-President
G.T. Rodgers Secretary
Jacob Brinkerhoff Treasurer
C.A. Shanklin, Springville, Iowa; A.F. Dugger Jr., Selden, Nebraska; D.P. Moore, Hatfield, Missouri; Frank Baum, Fairview, Oklahoma; Executive Committee
In 1909, reports of missionary work in the field were given by:
Nebraska L.L. Presler
Oklahoma S.S. Davison
Missouri E.G. Blackmon
Iowa S.W. Mentzer, H.T. Whitehall
In 1910 reports of these elders appeared:
M.W. Unzicker Oklahoma
J.H. Nichols Calif. and Missouri
J.F. Williams Alabama
M.S. Carlisle West Virginia
W.T. Whitehall Iowa
E.G. Blackmon Missouri
J.T. Williamson Missouri
A.B. Sloan Arkansas
M.F. Ellis South Dakota
G.W. Patison California
L.L. Presler Nebraska7
Leaders of the church in 1910 were:
S.W. Mentzer, Robins, Iowa
A.F. Dugger, Jr, Selden, Nebraska
S.A. Moore, Hatfield, Missouri
C.A. Shanklin, Springville, Iowa
A.D. Youngs, Fairview, Oklahoma
G.T. Rodgers, Ault, Colorado
Later that year, A.J. Hayes of Plano, Iowa replaced Shanklin on the conference committee.8
The Work, 1911 - 1913
In January of 1911, the newly built Wilbur, West Virginia Church of God building was deeded to the Church of God General Conference.
Also that year, two "gospel tents" were bought, one for Missouri and the other for use in the South. After a tent meeting near Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, a "Southern Conference" was formed on October 15, 1911:
J.F. Williams President
J.H. Hinds Vice-President
Elder N.B. Ellis Secretary/Treasurer
By 1912, there were 43 credentialed ministers listed by the General Conference. One of them, Andrew N. Dugger, held meetings around Stanberry in November which resulted in a "good interest to hear the truth presented."9
At the 30th Annual Conference, held at Stanberry, October 19, 1913, Elder S.W. Mentzer was again re-elected President. Other officers were:
L.L. Presler Vice-President
G.T. Rodgers Secretary
Jacob Brinkerhoff Treasurer
A.D. Youngs Executive
A.N. Dugger Committee
Brinkerhoff's salary as editor was $10.00 per week.
In the late fall of 1913, Elder L.L. Presler rose up several Church of God members at Farmer and Waterville, Washington. Apparently these were mostly Church of God members that had moved there.
The General Conference Committee of 1913 had many familiar names:
S.W. Mentzer Robins, Iowa
A.N. Dugger Selden, Nebraska
G.W. Richards Gentry, Missouri
H.T. Whitehall Scranton, Iowa
A.D. Youngs Fairview, Oklahoma
G.T. Rodgers Stanberry10
The Turning Point: 1914
As the year 1914 approached, many in the Church of God were predicting striking events to happen that year, based upon prophecies in the book of Daniel. World War I broke out in 1914 and in 1917 General Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Turks, which seemed definitely to fulfill prophecies concerning the Times of the Gentiles. The year 1917 marked the beginning of the return of the Jews to Palestine, which according to Church of God teaching, must occur before the Second Coming.
Death of Brinkerhoff, Greatest Church of God Leader
Editor Jacob Brinkerhoff, now in his seventies, was facing a lingering fatal illness. The May 12, 1914 issue of the Advocate contained his last editorial. Jacob Brinkerhoff abdicated the editorship to a younger man, and died at Stanberry on July 12, 1916, at the age of 75. S.J. Kauer termed Brinkerhoff "perhaps the greatest outstanding leader in the church." Jacob Brinkerhoff had served the Church of God for over 40 years. He had held the editor's job of the Church of God paper longer than any other. He was twenty-one years as Editor and two years as Office Editor. In 1874, Brinkerhoff sold his home. Instead of buying another home, Brinkerhoff used the money to buy the press equipment for the Advent and Sabbath Advocate. This was saved the equipment from being sold for the debt against the paper. Single-handedly, it seems, Brinkerhoff had prevented total collapse of the work.11
Departure of the Pioneers
One of the older pioneer members was Elisha S. Sheffield (1824-1907), born in Bedfordshire, England, who came to America in 1841 and embraced the Advent faith in 1852.12 He has been said to have written a Church of God history.
Another was E.G. Blackmon (?-1913), who in the words of historian S.J. Kauer "was a most active evangelist and minister. He was also the musician and hymn writer of the church. He compiled the old 'Black Back' hymn books, 'Songs of Truth,' and a great many of his hymns, to which he wrote both words and music, appear in them."13
Isaac N. Kramer (1832-1923) was born in New Geneva, Pennsylvania, and moved with his parents to Lynn Grove, Iowa, near Marion, in 1839. He lived in Robins for ten years, and fifty years in Marion. Kramer "became a member of the Church of God" around 1863, and was a minister for fifty years. He was noted as a profound scholar, and remained mentally sharp up until his death in 1923. He left an unfinished work on the history of the Church of God.14
A.C. Long 1900
J.R. Goodenough 1913
Gilbert Cranmer 1903
E.G. Blackmon 1913
Elisha S. Sheffield 1907
Joseph H. Nichols 1916
A.F. Dugger 1910
Jacob Brinkerhoff 1916
It seemed that the old ministers of the Church of God were all dying out, as a new breed of men entered the leadership of the work. The year 1914, it has been stated, "marks a decided awakening in the Church,"15 as new leadership and new efforts to expand were begun. The leader of the Church of God, and the editor of the Bible Advocate, from June of 1914 until 1932 was Andrew N. Dugger.
History of A.N. Dugger
Andrew N. Dugger, son of A.F. Dugger, Sr., was born and raised at Bassett, Nebraska. In his early years, he was a school teacher twenty miles south of Bassett. In the summer and his spare time, he and his brother Alexander F. Dugger, Jr., each homesteaded 640 acres, raising cattle and hay. Andrew saved up enough money to buy another 640 acres, which had a natural artesian well. One of his pupils, Effie Carpenter, later became his wife.
Dugger was taught by his parents to tithe, and apparently readily accepted the Church of God teachings. Andrew was granted his ministerial license, and received into the ministry, in 1906 at the Church of God campmeeting at Gentry, Missouri. After his father died in 1910, Dugger saw in a vision the light of heaven shining around him, and then moving in the direction of Jerusalem. In 1914, Dugger disposed of all his worldly possessions, his cattle, horses and land, and answered the call to the executive board and editorship of the Bible Advocate. In the move, he cleared some $5,000.00, which he used part of later to finance his 1932 trip to Jerusalem.16
Dugger's Prophetic Teachings
One of the main influences upon A.N. Dugger was his father's teachings that there would be a world war in 1912 to 1914. This was based upon his understanding of Bible prophecies concerning a 2,520 year period. A.F. Dugger may have received these views from a work on prophecy published by a Dr. Guinness of Australia in the 1860's. He put his ideas in the Advocate in the 1890's. Based upon the "seven times punishment" prophecy of Leviticus 26 and the "overturn, overturn, overturn" of Ezekiel 21:25-27, Dugger concluded that "As it required three successive strokes in the destruction of the kingdom of Israel by the overturning three times by Nebuchadnezzar, so it is to require three strokes for the destruction of all Gentile nations," that is, three world wars. Judah was restored in three successive returns, just as it was destroyed in three strokes, viz.:
Event Date Date Plus 2,520 Years
Jehoiakim carried 606 B.C. 1914 A.D. - way opened for Israel
captive to possess homeland
Jeconiah overthrown 598 B.C. 1922 A.D. - 53 nations sign
Balfour Declaration Guaranteeing
Zedekiah removed 588 B.C. 1932 A.D. - beginning of great
final overturn rebuilding at Jerusalem
The year 1917, the capture of Jerusalem by General Allenby, is seen by Dugger to be a fulfilled prophecy based upon his interpretation of the 1,290 and 1,335 year prophecies. Another "crisis date" he points to is 1975.17
Prophecy interpretation continued to be a major feature of Dugger's teaching, and the Church of God in general. Directly contrary to William Miller's teaching that the Jews did not have to return to Palestine in order for Christ to return, the Church of God has long taught that a Jewish nation must be set up, and that the Battle of Armageddon, just before Christ's return, would be between Israel and the Gentile hordes, mainly Russia.
When A.N. Dugger took over the editorship of the Advocate in 1914, World War I was beginning, and soon the way was opened for the Jews to return to Palestine: these prophecies which the Church of God had taught were being fulfilled. This seems to have been an impetus for the year 1914 marking "a decided awakening in the Church." It marked the beginning of an explosion of "missionary work" performed by the Church of God in the years after the Great War and into the Roaring Twenties.
Apparently Dugger did not marry until later in life. His schedule in his early years as leader of the Church of God was extremely hectic, with much traveling. He has stated that he spent most of his time in lengthy revival and evangelistic meetings in new fields, and in answering calls for meetings from isolated brethren. The meetings were held at night, and during the day he prepared copy for the weekly Bible Advocate on a portable typewriter, and answered correspondence mailed to him from the office at Stanberry. Four to six weeks were spent at each site.
After each campaign, Dugger spent a short time at the office. His "back-up men" at Stanberry were Elder R.C. Robinson, who ran the printing press, and Chester Walker, the book binder.
Dugger spent over a year compiling his Bible Home Instructor, which is a compilation of Church of God doctrines. It draws together all scriptural references to each subject, listed alphabetically. It originally had some 400 pages, covered 195 Bible subjects, and contained 161 photos. The cost of printing these books, which must have been substantial, was mostly covered by the sale of the books by colporteurs, house to house religious salesmen. A good colporteur could more than cover his traveling expenses by commissions from the sale of the books. Associated with Dugger in preparing the lessons were Elders J.A. Nugent and Herbert Miles (one of Dugger's first converts, soon after 1914).
In 1924, Elder O.R. Osman, a former Seventh-Day Adventist, was placed over the colporteur work, which began to greatly expand. However, the Executive Committee, under the influence of "opposition brethren" (to Dugger, that is) said that there was too much profit being made on the books, and voted the price cut in half. Previously, the Home Instructors had sold for $3.00 cloth and $4.00 leather, with one half the money going to the colporteurs. Dugger strongly opposed this policy change, maintaining that the colporteurs needed to be compensated for their travelling and lodging expenses. He lamented that this was a "fatal mistake" and that organized colporteur work never recovered from the blow. When the colporteur work was thriving, Dugger recalls, the church was growing and building.
Zealous young men in the church began as colporteurs, and many were then trained by Elder Herbert Miles in a sort of ministerial apprenticeship program. Among the "graduates" were L.I. Rodgers and R.A. Barnes. Women termed "Bible Workers," also became involved in tract distribution, such as Maud Rodgers and Emma Brown.
Two large 50 x 80 feet tents were purchased and used for extensive campmeetings and evangelistic meetings by trained evangelists such as Miles and Rodgers, with their Bible Worker assistants. Ed Severson, M.W. Unzicker and R.A. Barnes became leading evangelists.
Younger ministers often challenged and were challenged for public debates on the Sabbath question. Often they called for the well-versed Dugger to take over in their place. Stidham and Canadian, Oklahoma were scenes of two 1921 debates recalled by Dugger. His debate at Canadian shows the pattern:
Dugger's opponent at Canadian was Elder Searcy of Oklahoma City, one of the leading theological and political debaters of the south. They signed an agreement for ten nights of discussion in Canadian and Dale, Oklahoma. Each night there were two thirty-minute speeches by each debater. The one on the rostrum could ask questions of his opponent that had to be answered by a yes or no. Dugger deliberately played weak on certain scriptures, leading his opponent to grasp at them, resting the entire Sabbath question, and a $1,000 bet, on whether the word "rest" in Hebrews 4:9 was translated from the Greek word Sabbatismos meaning Sabbath instead of Katapausis meaning rest.
"Having held so many public investigations with different clergymen," Dugger had previously written ahead to a local university professor of Greek, and already had a letter from him stating that the word was Sabbatismos, meaning "a keeping of a Sabbath," and thus won the debate.
The whole town was said to have been convinced of the Sabbath, but Searcy refused to pay the $1,000, even though he was well able to do so. The debates at Canadian and Dale resulted in the conversion of T.J. Marrs and his sons Burt and Mitchell, all of whom later became Church of God ministers. Forthwith, a Sabbath meeting was set up at Dale by Dugger, led by T.J. Marrs.18
Chronology of Growth - Financial Increases
In 1912, the Church of God General Conference received only $356.06 in tithes and offerings for ministerial funds (missionary work). The next year, 1913, this fell to a mere $226.33. However, from the time Dugger took over as editor, the income and pace of the work increased:
1917 $ 854.49
1924-25 figures were down, because Arkansas, Iowa, California, Wisconsin State Conferences, kept tithes and offerings locally.
1927 11,064.04 (Oregon, South Dakota retained their funds)
The 1925 Messenger gives slightly different income figures, as follows19:
1913 $ 226.72
1920 10,903.57 Michigan and Oklahoma re-organized their conferences and retained their funds.
1923 16,037.30 Arkansas organized and retained its funds.
1924 14,392.30 California, Iowa, Missouri organized and withheld funds.
1925 13,424.78 Texas and Wisconsin organized and withheld funds.
From examining the above lists, it shows that there was some opposition from state conferences to the sending of tithes and offerings to Stanberry. But the financial problem was even deeper than this.
Dugger Reorganizes Tithe System and Ministerial Salaries
In 1922, Dugger strongly opposed the practice of some ministers writing scattered brethren, asking them to send tithes to the ministers directly. Dugger believed that a minister should not need to do this, and could be supported by ten families' tithes.20
During the years when the General Conference was receiving only $200.00 per year in tithes, equally small sums were being paid to state treasurers. Dugger, knowing the membership and that so many believed in tithe paying, knew that the money must be going to individual pastors. So he wrote a letter to each church member, and asked them to fill out a sheet and return, stating how much tithe they paid out the last year, and to whom they paid it. The results were that more than half the sheets returned showed that tithes were paid to a "certain minister" who preached little, was not working in new fields, and had a prosperous farm anyway. Whereupon Dugger wrote a general member letter, explaining that the money should go to the General and State Conference Treasurers. The results were that many people stopped paying tithes to ministers that had been supported for twenty years. Because their source of income was cut off, these men were offended and began fighting church organization. Dugger reports that the worst opposers to organization came from this group of disaffected independent ministers.21
As indicated previously, the new system was for tithes and offerings to be sent to a state treasurer, who in turn sent a tithe (tenth) of the state monies to the General Conference Treasurer. The tithes sent to Stanberry were not spent in the State of Missouri, since the Missouri conference took care of its own churches and ministers. General Conference funds were used in opening up new fields, and to support ministers in states not yet organized, and also in foreign lands.22
All Church of God ministers (credentialed) were considered evangelists, and there was no salary paid to any pastor. Their actual needs were met by tithes and offerings, and these funds were apportioned by a committee of seven men, patterned after the "deacons" of Acts 6, who kept strict financial records. A minister began preaching largely at his own expense. If proven by a period of testing, and if accepted, he was licensed and later credentialed. If he did not make the grade, he was not funded to continue. Ministers with families received more than those with no families.23
Donor List Published
Names and amounts of persons sending in money were printed regularly in the Field Messenger (which began in 1921), which also contained frequent calls for the necessity of paying tithes. A smaller list appeared in the Bible Advocate. A.N. Dugger stated that the reason for printing the names and amounts given was that the list made it "absolutely impossible for one cent to be misappropriated," because everything was done openly, and the board of finances had to be honest.24
An example of the cash outflow is the report for the month of July, 1923. The General Conference received $1,419, and paid out $1,365 for home evangelistic work, and $495 for foreign fields, totalling $1,860.25
The Period of Evangelism
From 1914 to the late 1920's, the Church of God entered a period of intense evangelism and growth. Evangelists' reports seem to indicate a flurry of activity that intensified with each succeeding year.
In 1915, there is mention of a Church of God conference meeting at San Antonio, Texas, December 22. Elders J.W. Pruitt and H.G. (or H.C.) Kilgore were leaders of the Texas effort.
Ministers reporting work done in 1916 included:
Lynn, Mass. G.E. Fifield
Maysville, Mo. Herbert Miles
Oklahoma M.W. Unzicker
Nebraska H.A. Jenkins
Indiana G.W. Sarber
Oregon C.W. Blair, A.D. Porter
Michigan M.C. Pennell, J.C. Branch
Southern Mo. A.H. Stith, F.C. Robinson
Nebraska L.L. Presler (also in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Washington)
Debates in 1916 added church members.26
The 1916 Census reports that the General Conference employed five evangelists in the states of Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, and two other states. There was even a missionary in China, and one in India, where in 1916 a 50-member church was organized.27
Evangelism in the War Years
When the United States entered the war in April, 1917, Dugger, with a Missouri congressman, had a personal interview with President Woodrow Wilson, obtaining Church of God exemption from combat service. The capture of Jerusalem in December of 1917 by General Allenby was fully covered in the Advocate.
Also that year, a typesetting and folding machine was purchased, and a new edition of the songbook was printed. This was the first year that printed illustrations of subjects were used in gospel meetings (presumably this means the pictorial charts on Bible prophecy). A special drive to increase the Advocate subscription list resulted in a thousand new names added to the list. The "Question Corner" section was started in the Advocate, and Dugger published the tract, "What the Church of God Believes and Why." At the 1917 conference, it was resolved that everyone try to convert someone in the coming year.28
For the first time, in 1918, "Bible Workers" were used in connection with evangelistic efforts. In a Stanberry revival, aided by the Bible Workers Sister Brown and Sarah Corbet Phillips, sixteen new members were added in a six week effort.
Also that year, Elders H.T. Whitehall of Scranton, Iowa, and Jasper Moore of Hatfield, Missouri died.29
After the close of World War I, in the winter of 1918, A.N. Dugger went to Michigan to stem the drift there toward the Seventh Day Baptists. He also went to Oregon, and began meetings in Cecil, Oregon, where J.W. Osborn had lived for many years. Osborn was a contributor to the Advocate and presumably a Church of God member. After a week, the Oregon meetings were closed due to the flu epidemic, which resulted in a ban on all public gatherings.
After Cecil, Dugger went to Portland where he visited a Smith family, and then went south for more Oregon stops. Apparently he visited many of the Advocate subscribers in the area.
Dugger's West Coast trip probably continued into the first part of 1919.30
The Year of 1919
Besides Dugger's efforts, there were other Church of God ministers active at this time. Elders F.C. Robinson and James Bartlett reportedly garnered forty converts in eastern Oklahoma in the month of June. Elder H.C. Kilgore added nine converts in Texas at the same time. Elder L.L. Presler was another major evangelist, as was elder Herbert Miles, who baptized thirteen at Albany, Missouri, close to Stanberry. Contact was established with the Lodi, California German independent Church of God through W.A.H. Gilstrap. The leader of the Lodi church at that time was Henry Baumbach. Ed Severson's name appeared for the first time in the Advocate, as he was married to Florence Williams of Alabama at the August campmeeting at Albany, Missouri, Elder Miles officiating.31
This year also saw the purchase of the first large assembly tent to be used in cities in the evangelist-Bible worker efforts. Miles held meetings at Corydon, Iowa, as well as other locations. The Sabbath School Quarterlies were also begun this year, which came to be used for Sabbath Bible studies in areas where there was no Church of God minister.32
Plans for A Church of God College
In 1917, mention had been made in the Advocate of plans for starting a college at the Stanberry headquarters. With the advent of the war, the plans were laid aside, but now they were regenerated. Dugger pressed the college proposal because of the need to have a trained, educated ministry. The school was to be on the standards of the rest of American colleges. A preparatory school of grades 9 through 12 was to be established also. Above grade 12, such courses as music, art, business, teaching, and science would be taught. There would be a School of Divinity within the college as well. According to Dugger, the school would aid Church of God small town brethren who, if they educated their children at all on the higher level, would have to send them away to city schools, where they were liable to fall under "worldly" influences. The college Dugger had in mind would not just be for Church of God brethren, but would be morally and ethically appealing to those outside the church.
Some Church of God brethren were opposed to the establishment of a college, because they thought that the Holy Spirit would guide and inspire the ministers, and that colleges and schools were of the devil. Since Christ was coming soon, there was no need for a college. Dugger replied by quoting Matthew 24:46, "occupy till I come."33
By early 1920, three persons had pledged $1,000 each, and the total college fund promises, including wills, by March of 1920 was over $59,000.
The college idea apparently never came to fruition at this time. However, a sort of ministerial apprenticeship program at Stanberry was instituted. Elder Herbert Miles trained a number of younger ministerial candidates, including Robert A. Barnes, and W.W. McMicken. It was not until 1948 that a Church of God college was actually established.
1920: Bible Home Instructor and Colporteur Work
In 1920 the first edition of the Bible Home Instructor was published, made possible by donations totalling $2,835. Dugger's dream of a Bible subject book which would convince people of the Church of God doctrines and increase membership, had at last come into being. He later reported that he had spent more than a year compiling "true doctrine" for this book.34
With the Instructors came the real impetus toward beginning the colporteur program, that of selling these books in a door to door effort.
Elder Herbert Miles, the leading evangelist in the Church of God at the time, held a long tent effort in Sabetha, Kansas in 1920, assisted by three Bible Workers, Sisters Corbett, McGaughey, and Browne. Also with Miles were several young men aspiring to the ministry, Melville Gilstrap, Horace Munro, Fred T. Conway, and R.A. Barnes. As later explained in the "Question Corner" section of the Advocate, Dugger said that women were not to be religious leaders with authority over men, but that they could be used as workers and have a part in evangelistic work (I Corinthians 14:34-35, I Timothy 2:12 and Romans 16).35
After Sabetha, most of the group moved on to Maryville, Missouri, for a ten- week tent meeting. Some forty-three new members were added there, and a Sabbath School was held with about seventy members. This became the largest Church of God ever started despite the fact that Maryville was a strongly Catholic area.
S.W. Mentzer Steps Down
Church leaders in 1920 included:
S.W. Mentzer, Robins, Iowa, President
G.T. Rodgers, Stanberry, Vice-President
Chester Walker, Albany, Missouri, Secretary
A.N. Dugger, Stanberry, Treasurer
L.L. Presler, Orafino, Nebraska, Chairman Executive Committee36
Mentzer had served as President since 1905. He reportedly always paid his own expenses to general meetings, and during his entire ministry never received one cent from the church for his services. At the 1921 Conference, Mentzer requested that his office be turned over to a younger man.37 He died in 1927.
Check the end of the WordPerfect document for information about undefined fonts.The Big Push: 1921 and the Harvest Field Messenger
In February of 1921, a new kind of paper was begun, the Harvest Field Messenger, an official Church of God field organ, giving news of the churches and field evangelism work. It was issued monthly, at 25 cents per year. With this paper, a storehouse of information is available as to the activities of the Church of God, in home and foreign missionary fields.38
That same year, the old publishing house was tripled in size, as a new building was constructed with a full basement. As one of the first issues of the Messenger reported, in the previous five years, 1916-1921, the Church of God had been carrying on "aggressive field work in territories where the 'Third Angel's Message' and the gospel of the coming kingdom has never been preached." Each year the field force had increased. In the preceding nine months, over $8000 had been paid out by the General Conference in missionary work. Further, "thousands of people have been reached with the message, and more converts made during the past year than during any preceding year of our history in America." The work had grown such that there weren't enough ministers, so Dugger exhorted the brethren "to carry on a greater work than we have ever done before . . . The Church of God must now be up and doing."39
Was the Church of God really growing by leaps and bounds? Or does it only seem so because of "better reporting" (the Messenger)? There is proof that real growth did occur, for the 1921 General Conference set a goal of 1,000 new members for the following year, which goal was exceeded. Dugger truthfully reported that "never before has the Church of God in North America launched such a drive for winning souls to the narrow way with Christ as now."40
Many Evangelists Active
Leading the list of field evangelists during 1921 was Elder Herbert Miles, with some 63 converts. Besides Maryville, Missouri, Miles held meetings at Santa Rosa, Missouri and Marion, Iowa, where he was assisted by J.T. Williamson and R.E. Hosteter. The Marion effort was financed by the local Church of God tithes and offerings.41 It was a common practice for local churches to initiate and support evangelistic efforts in their areas.
Williamson, of Appleton City, Missouri, had started out several years previously as a Church of God minister, but because of financial burdens, had gone back to teaching school and farming. His work with Miles at Marion, Iowa marked his return to the ministry. Hosteter, a young ex-Christian Church member, was one of Miles' converts at Maryville, Missouri.42 Miles held a large tent meeting at Chillicothe, Missouri, similar to the previous one at Maryville. He was assisted there by Elder J.A. Riggs and Mrs. Sarah Corbett, "a recognized missionary of the church, Miss Esther Smith, who has charge of the singing, and Mrs. J.J. Kramer . . . ."
Second in gaining converts in 1921 was Elder M.W. Unzicker, with 48 additions. Pierce, Crowder, Indianola and Cherokee, Oklahoma, as well as Tatum, Texas, were scenes of some of his evangelistic efforts. At Tatum, Unzicker stayed to raise up a church and a Sabbath school, prompting Dugger to remark that the Unzickers were "stayers," for "they stay in one place until a company is raised up, and they are doing a fine work." At Pierce, Oklahoma, Unzicker gathered together some 86 Sabbath-keepers, whereas only a few months previously, there had been none.
As noted earlier, Dugger in 1921 held debates in Stidham, Oklahoma. This resulted in 15 church members being raised up there, including the Marrs family, former Campbellites. Burt Marrs, a school teacher, later became one of the leading Church of God ministers. Another was Joe Cozad who was preparing to become a minister that same year.43
Two more of the established, older ministers active were Elders J.C. Bartlett, at Salem, Oklahoma, and L.L. Presler, who spoke throughout Oklahoma: March 18 at Dane, then Enid, Fairview, Merrick, Keystone, and then Licking, Missouri. Presler was "devoting all his time to the ministry."
New Preachers Enter the Field
Elder L.I. Rodgers, ordained at the 1920 campmeeting, held one of his first efforts at Keystone, Oklahoma. A two-month effort resulted in "only one convert," because of the harassment of a Campbellite minister.
Elder J.A. Riggs, whom Dugger termed "a very spiritual man" (meaning he leaned toward the pentecostal side), was making calls on isolated brethren, and held a meeting at Atoka, Oklahoma with Ed Severson, who had recently been granted a license by the Nebraska Conference.
Elders Charlie Salkeld and Jack Slankard, long a ministerial team, held meetings in Des Moines that year.
Another large tent effort in 1921 was the one at Brookfield, Missouri, in a 50 by 80 foot tent. Elder Irl Rodgers led the campaign, assisted by Elder J.W. Crouse and Bible Workers Mrs. Emma Browne, Mrs. Maud Rodgers and Mrs. Mable Rodgers. Rodgers and Crouse later held a tent meeting at Milan, Missouri. In the summer of 1921, classes were conducted to train Bible Workers and Missionaries, with free tuition.
J.W. Crouse became stationed in Los Angeles, while Elder J.S. Jellison stayed at Salt Lake City, where a new church was located.
Robert A. Barnes' first ministerial effort was at Canadian, Oklahoma, having been trained by Elder Miles. When Barnes first went to Stanberry in 1920 to study for the ministry, the eloquent Miles told him he was too unlearned and that he should go home. However, Dugger supported him, and at the end of the term, Barnes won the oratorical contest of the young minister candidates.44
Another new man, who had been preparing for the ministry for two years under Miles, was W.W. McMicken of Alabama. His first effort was at Bear Creek, Oklahoma.
Some other new faces in the ministry in 1921 were Thomas J. Marrs, and his son, Burt F. Marrs. Like R.E. Hosteter, the Marrs previously were in the Christian Church, or Campbellites. T.J. Marrs had been a Campbellite minister and came to Sabbath observance through self study. Burt Marrs began preaching for the Campbellites at the age of 19 in 1910. After nine years a Christian Church minister, Burt Marrs was ordained a minister in the Church of God in 1919. He retired in 1958 and died of cancer in 1961. A graduate of Oklahoma State College, Marrs served 33 years as a school teacher and school superintendent. In 1921 he was apparently still teaching, near Earlsboro. Dugger urged him to enter the ministry actively for "We have great faith in Brother Burt Marrs, and feel assured that his influence for good will be felt worldwide." Marrs was noted as a gifted speaker and singer. He was later to serve as President of the General Conference for six years.45
Another new man was Dr. Tolbert of Hartshorn, Oklahoma, an important former Seventh-Day Adventist minister. He was a retired chiropractor, and would probably enter active ministry in the Church of God. Dugger noted that he did not hold "radical ideas against church organization as many of the ex- Seventh-Day Adventist leaders do" but was in favor of order. Another former Seventh-Day Adventist minister who was expected to enter the Church of God ranks was Lee Eylar, an attorney of McAlester, Oklahoma.46
Of further note, activity was reported of a Mexican effort led by Elder J.M. Rodriguez who worked in Texas and old Mexico. Another Mexican worker was B. Correa.
Further activity of ministers include reports of:
Bono, Hagler, Arkansas, Elder E.F. Thorp
Oklahoma, R.K. Walker
Lebanon, Johnson City, Missouri, J.T. Williamson
South Gifford, Missouri, R.E. Hosteter
Waterbury, Vermont, Russell F. Barton
Michigan, Elders W.F. Morse, Lewis Buchtel
Hosteter began what is now known as the Mount Carmel, Missouri church.
The work in China, first mentioned in 1916, was apparently growing, for in 1921 it was reported that Elder Bernstein was supervising the Church of God in Peking, and there were three other elders in different parts of China.47
1922: Activity Expands, Mexican Work Grows
The 1921 goal of 1,000 new members during the next year was exceeded. At the 1922 Missouri Campmeeting, six ministers reported a total of 230 converts. In the eastern United States, there were now over 300 new members, with fourteen ministers working there. One whole Seventh-Day Adventist church in Mexico City came into the Church of God, with twenty-one members, and a Mexican Conference was formed with Elder J.M. Rodriguez in charge. It was reported that 500 new members were added in Mexico. One of the churches was at Torreon, Coah., Mexico which had been established for some years. This was the work of J.M. Rodriguez.48
There were about forty ministers of the Church of God in America at this time, all of whom were considered evangelists. Over 400 Seventh-Day Adventist ministers had reportedly dropped out of their church during the past five years, and the Church of God sought to get them to investigate the teachings of the Church of God. Some 150 letters were sent to prospective ministers in foreign fields, forty-two to Germany, twenty-eight to Russia, three to Denmark, and others to Norway, Sweden, China, Africa, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Japan, Philippines, western and eastern India, South America, and other places. These were Sabbath-keeping ministers who were prospective allies of the Church of God.
Elder Y.M. Orn-Naerem, a former Seventh-Day Adventist, began a work in Norway at this time. Interest was also expressed in New Zealand and Jerusalem. Elder A. Jacobs reported from India. Also a Negro from Port of Spain, Trinidad, James A. Murray, formerly with the Seventh-Day Adventists for some twelve years, came into the Church of God in 1922.49
During 1922, state and district conferences were held in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, as well as in the South and West Coast.
Despite limited funds, Dugger reported that "our ministers and field workers are more than double what they were one year ago, and in a few months will be trebled, and we hope doubled or trebled again . . . ."50
In September of 1922, more than 25,000 pages of free reading matter were distributed by volunteer workers, missionary secretaries, and ministers. Elders J.W. Crouse of California and W.E. Carver of Iowa headed the list in this field.
Ministerial Fields of 1921 - 1922
Of special interest in 1921 was the springing up of 300 Church of God members in the eastern United States. The exact origin of the eastern work at this time is not clear. One of the most frequently mentioned names is Elder, or Bishop R.A.R. Johnson of Virginia, who apparently was a pentecostal Church of God minister. The indication is that much of the sudden influx into the Church of God was from "outsiders" who joined the Church of God and were formerly pentecostals or Seventh-Day Adventists. Other eastern ministers were51:
Beacon, New York, Elder William Taylor Jones (also a Pentecostal)
Philadelphia, J.E. Codrington, E.J. Bensen
New York City, W.A. Matthews, B.C. Manson
Unknown, V.A. Nelson, C. Lewis, Elder Samuel Smith
Elder B.C. Manson of New York City reported seventy-nine converts for the year. There were two churches on Long Island.
Elders L.I. Rodgers and J.W. Crouse had a very successful meeting at Milan, Missouri, with forty converts. The next year when a new church building was dedicated, there were sixty-five members in all.
Dugger held debates in Oklahoma and elsewhere. E.F. Thorpe worked in northeast Arkansas and held a debate at Grubbs. Elder D.C. Plumb began preaching in Robeline, Louisiana, while E.A. Williams was in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Elder Z.V. Black preached regularly near De Queen, Arkansas.
Elder Dummond held a tent effort in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Other southern efforts were by C.C. Cramer in Florida and R.A.R. Johnson in Scottsville, Virginia. W.W. McMicken went to northern Alabama.
In Michigan, Elders L.A. Munger, Thomas Howe, George P. Wilson, M.C. Pennell and W.J. Morse labored. A church of thirty-three members was raised up in West Olive. Four were baptized at Jenison, Michigan.
In Missouri, Elder J.T. Williamson, a former law student, held gospel meetings. L.I. Rodgers preached at Unionville, Missouri, and J.A. Riggs at Easton. Riggs also went into Oklahoma, where he baptized eight at Fairview. Unzicker preached at Dane Star Route, Oklahoma, while Barnes was in eastern Oklahoma.
In other areas, Salkeld and Slankard preached in Denver (Missouri?) and Elders J.G. Gilstrap and W.A. Damewood were in California. Elder G.W. Mossey preached in Kalispell, Montana.
A Negro "Elder James" (could this be Ijames?) reported that he and most of his Negro church of about fifty members in Kansas City were coming over to the Church of God. Another Negro elder considering the move was G.S. Hayden, who had worked for several years in Omaha.52
The Texas Church of God held a conference in February, 1922, in which George Ramirez was elected President, E. Echavarria, Secretary, and N. Ramirez, Treasurer. There were 31 members in all, 19 at Hamlin, 6 in Olney, 2 each in Henrietta and Bridgeport, and one each in Wichita Falls and Dallas.53
In the west, Elder A.H. Stith, formerly of Missouri, had moved to Idaho, where he initiated Church of God work there. Audley D. Porter and Henry L. Snyder also distributed literature at Aberdeen and Grays Harbor, Washington.
1923: To All Nations
By 1923, the "Big Push" was going at full gallop. The Messenger reported on January 16 that in the past month, some 41,888 pages of free literature had been distributed. Arrangements were being made to print Church of God literature in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, German, Spanish, and Chinese, as well as two of the languages of India. Dugger reported that "one hundred thousand dollars could be quickly used to great benefit in swiftly spreading the last message." Urgent calls for literature were coming in from all over the world. Dugger felt that Matthew 24:14 was being fulfilled, that Jesus would not come until the gospel of the kingdom went to every nation, and people of all languages entered the Church of God. This he believed would take several years yet.54
Milton Grotz and Pentecostalism
As early as 1913 or 1914, some pentecostal ministers had accepted beliefs similar to the Church of God. Evangelist Boatwright of Missouri taught Sabbath-keeping and an annual Lord's Supper.55
About 1923 there emerged a number of pentecostal types who were associated with the Church of God. It was 1924 when the German Sabbath-keepers of the Dakotas came to be associated with the Church of God (with men like Kiesz, Dais and Straub), and these were definitely of the more emotional, pentecostal philosophy.
In January of 1923, Dugger reported that "there have been a number of ministers come in among us lately from other churches to whom we're giving encouragement until they prove their ability as workers of the Lord."56 As previously noted, large numbers of these pentecostals were in the eastern United States.
One of the most prominent pentecostal Church of God ministers that appears at this time is evangelist Milton Grotz of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He emphasized a "divine healing" ministry. A.N. Dugger noted that he himself had believed from a child in the doctrine of prayer for the sick. His parents believed this, and his father, A.F. Dugger, practiced James 5:14-16. Dugger remembers a case when a man had been given up as hopeless by his doctors. Elders A.F. Dugger and J.A. Nugent anointed the man with oil and prayed over him, and he was soon up and around, completely healed. Thus, when Grotz' healing revivals began in the 1920's, "the Church of God has not adopted anything new in the work of divine healing, but teachings long ago practiced, are simply coming to light in a general way."57
An article in the Advocate appeared in 1924, written by a Mrs. C. Nuzum, referring to I Peter 2:24. It appears from this that the Church of God understood that the bread taken at the annual Lord's Supper symbolized Christ's broken body, and that Christians were indeed "healed by His stripes."58
Returning to his home in the east after a trip to Old Mexico, Grotz stopped at Stanberry in the spring of 1923, and held a general revival. There were a number of reported healings. Dugger said, "Stanberry has been stirred by the power of God during the past week as never before in her history . . . . We are living in the days of the Latter Rain . . . . The church house, although large, will hardly accommodate the crowds. Brother Grotz is a minister of the Church of God . . . . We hope that God will pour out His Spirit on more of our ministers, and our people . . . ."59
Grotz reputedly preached and wrote against the eating of pork, use of tobacco, or the drinking of coffee, tea, and whiskey. He maintained that these were prime causes of sickness, and that sickness was caused by sin. He further stated that too many ministers were feasting instead of fasting.60
For a time, Grotz' ideas seemed to gain wide support in the Church of God, as he became an associate editor of the Bible Advocate. He traveled widely, and spoke before many churches of God, as well as before meetings open to the public. At St. Louis, he encountered many pentecostals. He reported: "I don't care to work in these wild Pentecostal Missions or churches. There is too much confusion and noise. It is grating on me and hinders the work. Yet they must be preached to on many lines (including the Sabbath), also many of the Church of God people need to be taught to seek and receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit."61
Grotz may have been associated with the Church of the Firstborn. In 1923, A.N. Dugger took an eastern trip, visiting with Brother Grotz. At Jersey City, Dugger met with the headquarters church of the Church of the Firstborn, which was founded by a Sister A. Jackson. Nearly 80, Sister Jackson was still very sharp. The Churches of the Firstborn had several churches in the east, including thousands of dollars worth of property in Jersey City. A common farm was owned by the group, which rigorously paid tithes. The churches were said to believe almost the same as the Church of God. Dugger also visited other independent Sabbath-keepers in the area, including Elder Sheafe in Washington, D.C.62
At the same time, "Bishop" R.A.R. Johnson of Virginia wrote flowingly in the Messenger about a "Great Pentecostal Feast in Charlottsville, Virginia." A pentecostal minister from Pittsburg came there and the local churches were "greatly benefitted." Johnson reports: "Sinners were converted; backsliders reclaimed. The devils were made to tremble at the preaching of the gospel of the Son of God. The whole community has taken on new life; and there is great rejoicing in this City." The pentecostal minister was said to have "the eloquence of a Paul, or a Barnabas. The people were heard saying never man spake like this man."63
In August of 1923, Grotz held a large meeting in Washington, D.C., where again it was reported that many were healed. A whole church, under the leadership of Elder Lewis C. Sheafe, came into the Church of God.64
Sheafe (1859-1938) was a Baptist minister from 1888-99, but was ordained by the Seventh-Day Adventists in 1900. He apparently broke with them and worked with the Church of God for a time. He was listed as a licensed minister and an associate editor of the Advocate in 1924, but apparently became independent thereafter. In 1927 he became an accredited Seventh Day Baptist minister. He held evangelistic meetings at White Cloud in 1923 and continued to pastor the "People's Seventh Day Baptist Church" of Washington, D.C. until his death.65
Previously, Elder H.M. Lawson, pastor of a Sunday Baptist church in the capital, went with the Church of God with most of his congregation.66
On October 31, 1923, Grotz and A.N. Dugger began evangelistic services in a hall at Bassett, Nebraska, the home town of Dugger. It was reported that even cripples were healed. After Grotz left Bassett, Dugger stayed on, and organized a local church. When Dugger traveled on, Elder J.F. Jenson and others continued services, W.J. Miller reporting that there were more than eighty local church members. A lot was secured, and a church was built.
Later in the year, Grotz assisted Elder Burt Marrs in a campaign at Council Bluffs, Iowa.
In early January of 1924, Grotz again teamed with Dugger, this time at a meeting at Los Angeles, where a California State Conference of the Church of God was formed.
Pentecostalism on the Downgrade
After the 1924 Los Angeles meeting of Grotz and Dugger, there appears to be no further mention of the evangelist Milton Grotz. Grotz had been dropped as associate editor by March of 1924. Apparently his brand of pentecostalism became unpopular. In May of 1923, Dugger wrote that no where in the Bible were Christians termed pentecostal, but only "Church of God." Dugger asserted that Christians were not "saved" yet, for final salvation depends upon going God's way - until death or Christ's return, whichever comes first. Hundreds who have said they received the so-called "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" were still keeping Sunday, willfully violating several of God's commandments, yet claiming they were already saved.67
In July of 1924, Dugger wrote in the "Question Corner" section in answer to a question on the Holy Ghost Baptism mentioned in Matthew 3. Some people, Dugger wrote, didn't understand the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, believing that it made people jump up and down and make a lot of noise at the place of worship instead of applying this gift for God's Work. The real reason for the Holy Spirit, Dugger stated categorically, is to give one power to finish the work of carrying the gospel message to the world.68
Although working with Grotz on at least two campaigns, Dugger definitely turned against the more extreme form of pentecostalism. Thus it wasn't long before reports of R.A.R. Johnson and the eastern group of pentecostals vanished from available reports of Church of God history.
Name Changed to Church of God (Seventh Day)
At the 1923 Church of God General Conference, held at Stanberry, August 19, 1923, it was decided to drop all prefixes to the church name in distinguishing them from other churches of God. The new title of the group became "Church of God (Seventh Day)," whereas previously it had been known officially as "Church of God (Adventist)." The Bible Advocate had been published by the Church of God Publishing House. Now the masthead stated that it was the official organ of the Church of God (Seventh Day).69
Plans for Seventh Day Baptist Union
Also at the 1923 conference on August 20, there were in attendance several delegates from the Seventh Day Baptist church, including Corliss Fitz Randolph. Both groups had appointed committees for the purpose of working out plans or ways whereby the Church of God and the Seventh Day Baptists could co-operate and possibly even unite.
The Church of God committee consisted of: A.N. Dugger, D.P. Moore, L.L. Presler, Carl Carver, G.T. Rodgers.
The Seventh Day Baptist committee was composed of: W.D. Burdick, R.B. St. Clair, W.L. Burdick, C.F. Randolph (Seventh Day Baptist historian), E.F. Randolph (Conference President)
Dugger was elected Chairman of the combined committee, with W.D. Burdick Vice-Chairman. Delegates to the other group's conference were to be appointed by each body at the annual meeting. In localities where Seventh Day Baptists and Church of God congregations were in proximity, the ministers and members were encouraged to meet one another. Literature was exchanged, and pastors of each church were to speak at least once a year on unity.
Elder Lionel I. Rodgers, delegate from the Church of God, attended the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference at North Loup, Nebraska shortly after the Stanberry meeting, and spoke on "The Second Coming of Christ."
Elder Burdette Coon of the Seventh Day Baptists had delivered a series of sermons at Stanberry each evening for a week around December of 1922.
In July of 1923, C.A. Hansen of Chicago, a Seventh Day Baptist pastor, wrote the Advocate noting that he had heard rumors of union between the groups. For twenty years a Seventh-Day Adventist, he was now with the Seventh Day Baptists. Hansen liked the idea of union, for it would "almost double" the membership, and he could overlook "little differences." The article noted that "the Seventh Day Baptists are a progressive people; they accepted the doctrine of the personal coming of Christ in 1886 . . . ." And the aims of both were stated to be to bring the Sabbath truth to the world.70
The 1923 union plan was not the first interaction between the two groups. In 1907, Seventh Day Baptist Elder H.D. Clark spoke at a Stanberry Sabbath meeting, and a later Advocate of that year noted that the new editor of the Seventh Day Baptist Sabbath Recorder, a Theodore L. Gardiner, was an able man.71
Nothing further came of the unity idea, as it appears that doctrinal differences were actually too great.
The unity committees were disbanded in 1926, and according to Seventh Day Baptist historian Albert N. Rogers, "Later confusion [conflict which prevented union] arose from the false claims of Dugger to much Seventh Day Baptist history as the origin of the Church of God [the 1936 book, A History of the True Church]."
Eastern churches appeared to be more inclined to a union effort, for it was reported in 1923 that "union meetings" were held at Beacon, New York, sponsored by W.T. Jones. Church of God people, independent Sabbath-keepers, pentecostals, and Seventh Day Baptists were in attendance.72
The 64th (since 1861) annual Church of God conference in Michigan held at Jenison on September 25-27, 1925, reports that talks were held with Elder R.B. St. Clair, a Seventh Day Baptist minister of Detroit. He gave a report of Seventh Day Baptist work in Michigan. That conference "Resolved, that we members of the Church of God (Seventh Day) do resolve that all members who may come to us from other organizations must conform to the fundamental doctrines held by us as a group."73
Other Efforts During 1923
Leaders of the work in 1923 were74:
A.N. Dugger, Editor, Business Manager, President
G.T. Rodgers Vice-President
P.C. Walker Secretary
Esther Smith Treasurer
I.N. Kramer of Marion, S.S. Davison of Fairview, A.F. Dugger, Jr. of Bassett, Contributing Editors
S.A. Moore of Stanberry, L.L. Presler of Orafino, W.E. Carver of Marion, S.S. Davison of Fairview, Executive Committee75
In the east, Elder William Taylor Jones worked in New Jersey and New York. Elder Russell F. Barton was a Church of God evangelist and pastor in Waterbury, Vermont. Elder O.I. Gatchell was at Dixmont, Maine, and Elder Shorey worked in New Hampshire.
Another eastern leader was Elder W.A. Matthews, who received the truth in 1910-1918, and in 1923 supervised churches in New York City, Long Island, Jamaica, Asbury Park, New Jersey and St. Kitts, B.W.I.76
In the South, W.W. McMicken, J.M. and A.B. Williams worked in Alabama. McMicken organized a Sabbath school of over forty members. E.A. Williams pastored in Tennessee. E.F. Thorp was at Heber Springs, Arkansas, and R.C. Ward at Ft. Smith. R.A.R. Johnson headed a group of southern churches, mainly in Virginia. B.C. Manson was stationed at Richmond. The Arkansas state conference was organized in 1923, the first meeting held at Newport, May 15-21, with Dugger in attendance.
In the Old Northwest, the first general meeting for the state of Wisconsin was held at Waupaca. J.S. Beggs held a tent meeting at Milton, Wisconsin in the summer. A brother Kornbaecher reported that a whole church in Chicago had accepted the teachings of the Church of God through his efforts. Elder M.C. Pennell organized a church of ten members at Battle Creek, Michigan. Burt Marrs and Grotz held a meeting at Council Bluffs, Iowa. The team of Salkeld and Slankard held meetings in Des Moines.
In Missouri, Elder William Alexander held meetings in Eldorado Springs, while Elder Lloyd Shanklin garnered 35 converts at Nevada. Elder R.E. Hosteter organized churches in Buffalo and Nevada, ordaining elders and deacons.
Other workers were Elder Unzicker, who held a tent effort in Texas; Elder Arthur Jordan in Pueblo, Colorado; Elder S.W. Skinner in California.
In Los Angeles, on January 16, 1923, a group of scattered and independent Sabbath-keepers met. Fifty signed a church covenant, and Elders Harry Horton and John Schaepe were chosen leaders. Otto Haeber, Dugger's cousin, was baptized.
At the August, 1923 General Conference and Campmeeting, there were 126 ministers listed, as credentialed, licensed, or missionary workers. From 1,000 to 1,500 attended evening services at the yearly meeting. One of the newer ministers was R.E. Winsett, a songbook publisher who was to carry on the work done by E.G. Blackmon in a Church of God hymnal.
Foreign Work Expands Also
In 1923, it was reported that converts were made in Spain, Norway, Australia, Canada, India, and Syria. There were two missionaries stationed in India, A. Jacobs and D. Israel. Elder J.A. Murray of the British West Indies (Jamaica), began to work with the Church of God. He was a former Seventh-Day Adventist that came into the Church of God through reading their literature.
Passover Reports - 1923
On Thursday evening, March 30, 1923 (the beginning of Nisan 14), many of the churches in the Church of God Conference reported that they observed the Passover. Although probably not all the churches sent in Passover Reports, those that did give a picture of the extent of the Church of God at this time. Places where the Passover was held include the following77:
Missouri: Stanberry, Maryville, Green Castle, Milan, Unionville, South Gifford, Buffalo, Nevada, Eldorado Springs, Appleton City, Anderson, Pleasant Hill
Kansas: Sabetha, Kansas City
Nebraska: Orafino, Omaha
Michigan: West Olive, Howard City, Battle Creek, Freeland
Oklahoma: Pierce, Canadian, Hoffman, Atoka, Stidham, Crowder, Ulan
Arkansas: Point Diuce, De Witt, Ft. Smith, Mena, Lonoke, Heber Springs, Little Rock, Grubbs, Herren Chapel, Vallier
New York: Beacon, New York City, Long Island
New Jersey: Asbury Park (two churches)
Pennsylvania: Sharon, Philadelphia (three churches)
Maryland: Baltimore (two churches), St. Marys
Virginia: Surrey, Hampton, Scottsville, Thelma, Trevillingian, Charlottsville, Harden
Georgia: Athens, Savannah
Florida: Key West
1924: Germans Contacted, California Conference Organized
As mentioned previously, 1924 was the year when Dugger contacted the German-speaking independent churches of God in Mildred, Montana, and Eureka, South Dakota, as well as others in the Dakotas, Canada and California. The Germans had basically the same beliefs as the Church of God, but had until 1924 known nothing of the General Conference from Stanberry.
When Dugger went to Eureka in 1924, communication was established between the German churches and the General Conference. That same year, the Bible Advocate was published in the German language.
When Dugger and Grotz met in January 1924 at the organizing of the California state conference, the work there was given a definite boost. J.N. Bishop and others there had been keeping the Sabbath for some years, but had been against organization. Their reservations were apparently overcome, and the General Conference was accepted. State evangelist was Elder J.G. Smith. One of the California churches that went into the General Conference was the one at Modesto, headed by Elder A.L. Neal. Dugger reported that "A nice church house has been secured in Pasadena for regular Sabbath meetings, and a church will be set in order there very soon . . ." with elders soon to be ordained.78
The California Conference began with the three churches at Modesto, Graham (Watts) and Pasadena. Later that year Elder J.G. Smith organized another church at Orange. In 1925, the Pasadena church organized a Missionary Society with the following officers:
L.D. Maple President
H.C. Severance Secretary
Myrtle Davison Treasurer
Nine members worked with them.79
In April of 1924, it was reported that sixteen new churches had been organized since the previous September. By the time of the fall General Conference meeting, it was reported that thirty-seven churches had been raised up in the past year in the United States alone.80 Of these there were six new churches in Oklahoma (and four others ready to be organized), six in Arkansas (and two others in adjoining states), five new churches in Missouri, and three in California. In finances, $14,894.50 was received in tithes and offerings, and $6,196.49 from Advocate subscriptions and sale of tracts. Some $13,333.00 was paid out for opening the work in new fields.81
Among the new churches was the one at Wilbur, West Virginia, formally organized by Dugger on June 1, 1924. Its elders were Lloyd George and Lawrence Mercer. Ministers responsible for organizing other churches were: C.E. Groshans, G.W. Sarber, Knox, Indiana, A.H. Stith, Emmett, Idaho, E.G. Thorp, Frisco, Missouri, M.W. Unzicker, North Uvalde, Texas, F.C. Robinson, Anderson, Missouri, and R.K. Walker, Kusa, Oklahoma.
Elders Hosteter and M.C. Pennell were both responsible for re-organizing the Battle Creek, Michigan Church. A church of 52 was organized by E.F. Thorp at Floral, Arkansas.82
In Mexico, one million tracts were printed, and 800,000 distributed. Mexico now had twice as many churches as there were in the United States in 1917, while in 1917 there wasn't a single Church of God in Mexico at all. The Bible Advocate was now being printed in English, Spanish and German, and was regularly printed in Peking, China.
The reason for the growth, Dugger reported was "the faithfulness of our people in tithes and offerings."83
Elder O.R. Osman and Colporteur Work
In May of 1924, Dugger went to High Point, North Carolina, where he and Elder O.R. Osman, a former Seventh-Day Adventist, held separate meetings among the white and black people. A white Church of God was organized under Dugger's auspices.
At the August General Conference meeting at Stanberry, Osman was appointed head of general missionary and colporteur work in the United States. The next year he launched a "very aggressive program" to sell Bible Home Instructors, Bibles and other Church of God tracts through colporteurs.84
Colporteurs and Home Missionaries
In May of 1924, Dugger wrote an article in the Advocate entitled: "Wanted: Men For Ministers." In it, he stated that "calls are coming in from far and near, from home and foreign fields for workers and ministers to come. We cannot begin to supply the need . . . . [therefore] We plead with young men earnestly to go to school, and to college, and prepare for the calling of God." Men of education were needed, especially for the foreign fields.85
To augment training of workers for the church, a colporteur training class was held in connection with the yearly Missouri Campmeeting. Twelve to twenty were expected to enroll in a ten-day free course in home missionary and colporteur work.86
Each state conference (of which there were Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan and others) had a "State Missionary Secretary," distinct from the State Secretary that was elected by the state conference. The Missionary Secretary was the representative of the General Conference, corresponded directly to the General Conference headquarters at Stanberry, and in general stimulated missionary activity in the state. The names of independent Sabbath-keepers came to the general office through several sources, and a list was sent to each state secretary of those in his area. The state missionary secretary thereupon corresponded with them, sending them tracts and other literature.
Further, each church had a Local Missionary Secretary, for "preventing the spirit of lethargy and indifference . . . [and] to awaken and enliven missionary zeal . . . ."87
Each church was supposed to set aside the first Sabbath of each month for a "testimonial service" in which brethren reported the missionary work they had done in the past month. The evening of the first Sabbath of the month was the time to pay tithes and offerings. Isolated members could mail their tithes to the State Treasurer, or the Missionary Secretary if there was no treasurer, or to the General Conference at Stanberry.88
Tent Meetings Lead Church of God Growth
Dugger reported in 1921 that "The greatest success that has been achieved through the Church of God evangelists, has been accomplished by tent work." A Church of God tent campaign was a thoroughly prepared effort. Its meetings must have gained wide public interest.
Systematic preparation was characteristic of each effort. Every house was notified of the coming meetings. From beginning to end, a meeting could take two or three months to "thoroughly educate the people in the fundamental truths."
A desirable piece of ground near the center of the city was obtained, the tent was erected and wired by city electricity. A piano was rented, and a pulpit and platform were acquired. Bills were printed at Stanberry, each bill announcing the sermons one week ahead of time.
Bible Workers (usually women) divided the city into sections, and took a bill to every home, delivering it personally to the family, inviting them to come out the first night. Bills were attached in all the autos in the town. "The result is that the meetings start off with large crowds which steadily increase for a month or more, until the message delivered becomes too strong for some who will not yield, and consequently they discontinue their presence."
At the beginning of each week, Bible Workers took new bills announcing sermons to every home, again issuing a friendly invitation. After the first few days, interested people began to invite the Bible Workers into their homes, asking them many questions. Often there were more requests for visits than workers available. Frequently there was opposition and even heckling. The meetings were expensive, but Dugger and the rest of the church leadership felt that the results far outweighed the cost.89
In justifying the extensive use of women in tent meetings as Bible Workers, Dugger explained in the "Question Corner" of the April 21, 1925 Advocate that I Corinthians 14:34-35 and I Timothy 2:12 show that women are not to be religious leaders, but that they can be used as workers, having a part in the work, Romans 16:1-2.90
Churches and Ministers - 1924
Passover Reports for the year 1924 included the following churches with their pastors91:
Hayward, California W.H. Stanley
Watts, Pasadena, Calif. J.W. Crouse
De Luce, Arkansas J.D. Frazier
Tucson, Arizona J.B. Rhodes
Maryville, Missouri Brother West
Anderson, Missouri F.C. Robinson
Jacksonville, Florida W.R. Peterson
Marion, Iowa Carl W. Carver
Ministers - 1924
Credentialed ministers in 1924 included the following92:
Adair, E.M. Murray, Jas. A.
Blair, C.W. Munger, L.A.
Barnes, R.A. Orn Naerem, Y.M.
Barton, R.F. Osborn, J.W.
Black, Z.V. Plumb, D.C.
Buchtel, Lewis Riggs, J.A.
Beggs, J.S. Richards, G.W.
Carlisle, M.S. Robinson, F.C.
Crouse, J.W. Rodgers, L.I.
Coronado, J.M. Rodgers, G.T.
Cassillas, P.A. Rodriguez, J.M.
Davison, S.S. Sarber, G.W.
Dugger, A.F. (Jr.) Severson, Ed
Dugger A.N. Smith, Calvin
Dummond, E.L. Stith, A.H.
Fay, Hiram Slankard, J.G.
Frazier, J.D. Salkeld, C.W.
Guevara, Daniel Thorp, E.F.
Gilstrap, J.G. Torres, Z.
Hayden, Geo. S. Unzicker, M.W.
Hayes, A.J. Ward, Hiram
Howe, Thos. Williams, Andrew J.
Hosteter, R.E. Williams, Andrew B.
Hinds, J.H. Williams, S.E.
Jensen, J.F. Williams, T.A.
Marrs, Burt F. Williams, J.F.
McMicken, W.W. Williams, J.M.
Mossey, G.H. Williamson, J.T.
Mentzer, S.W. Wilbur, Jacob
Licensed ministers for the same year included the following:
Bagwell, J.D. Nielson, N.
Benson, E.J. Osman, O.R.
Codrington, J.E. Porter, Audley D.
Conrad, Peter Raymond, V.P.
Echavaria, E. Rawson, A.J.
Gatchell, O.I. Shorey, Geo.
Groshans, C.E. Sheafe, Lewis C.
Hipolito, Solomon Skinner, S.W.
Howe, P.H. Smith A.A.
Jacobs, A. Smith, D.O.
James, J.J. Smith, J.G.
Lee, B.M. Snyder, H.L.
Morse, Harry Stanley, W.A.
Marrs, T.J. Williams, E.A.
Murray, Ed Williams, T.L.
Neal, A.L. Walker, R.K.
Nelson, Victor A. Flo, Theo. J.
Advocate Staff - 1924
Dugger was Editor and Business Manager of the Bible Advocate in 1924. Assisting him, and listed on the masthead were93:
G.E. Hughes, Assistant Editor; Evangelist Milton Grotz, Lewis Charles Sheafe, Associate Editors; S.S. Davison, A.F. Dugger, Jr., Contributing Editors; R.F. Barton, B.C. Manson , W.T. Jones, Field Representatives.
The paper was termed the "Official Organ of the Church of God (Seventh Day)."
1925-1926: Tracts and Foreign Expansion
Elder O.R. Osman, newly appointed as the head of the colporteur work, launched an aggressive program to sell Bible Home Instructors and other tracts and books. Outstanding colporteurs under his guidance were Elder C.E. Groshans, a fairly new minister in Indiana, who baptized seventeen in Detroit. Among other colporteurs of note were: J.D. Bagwell, G.A. Smith, W.W. McMicken, Horace Munro, Rudolph Haffner, and Sister Delphia Buck .
An unsurpassed record in colporteur work was achieved in 1926 when Elder Osman and Brother E.S. Henderson sold $88.00 worth of books in one day.
The 17-tract series on doctrinal issues, "Gems of Truth," was written and adapted for missionary work in 1925. One of these tracts was entitled, "The Third Angel's Message." In the period from August 1, 1925 to August 1, 1926, some 624,000 pages in English were printed in tract form on practical, doctrinal and prophetic subjects. A book bindery was bought and paid for to add to the press at Stanberry, and $2,300 was borrowed for an addition to the publishing house. The Sabbath School Missionary was changed to a weekly.94
Under direction of the Executive Committee, the book Our Time in Bible Prophecy was published.
In the foreign work, two printing presses were purchased and established in foreign lands. In 1925, the message was being preached in ten foreign fields, and in 1926, ten more foreign areas were added to the list. Previously, the message had been established in: England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Trinidad, India, China, Norway, Argentina, Mexico, and South Africa.
In 1926 these countries were added: Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, West Africa, Jamaica, Sweden, Bolivia, Central America, Palestine, and Dominica.
The Bible Advocate was being printed in German at Eureka, South Dakota and in Spanish at Dallas, Texas.95
In Australia, W. Allport was reported doing missionary work in 1926.96
In 1926, it was noted that a Catholic priest in Central America had recently accepted Church of God doctrine, and now had over fourteen churches of God in San Salvador, Costa Rica and elsewhere. Apparently he had a printing press, and was translating the message into Portuguese, Italian and French. There were prospects of uniting the Protestant Evangelical Church with the Church of God, and if successful, would total forty churches in the area.
Elder B.L. Ramirez of Mexico City reported that he had three small presses there. Another minister, Elder Davis, united with the Church of God in Jamaica, where Elders Walters and Clark were working.97
Of note is the establishment of the work in Palestine. A special fund was established for the Jerusalem work. The booklet, "How Shall We Know Him?" showing that Jesus was the Messiah the Jews were looking for, was published for distribution among Jews. The first Church of God in Jerusalem since 70 A.D. was organized in 1926 by Elder David Nield who was on a trip around the world. Afterwards he went to Ethiopia.
A certain F. Clouson, formerly from South Dakota, went to Sweden and in 1926 he translated English tracts into Swedish. Elder J.M. Orn-Naerem began to spread the Church of God message in Norway at about this time. An A.H. Lindsay who lived in the Panama Canal Zone sparked interest in the Church of God in that area.98
Field Work: 1925-1926
Among the Germans, Christ Kiesz, Jack Dais, John B. Brenneise, and P.J. Kornmesser held meetings in Wishek, North Dakota in 1925. Kornmesser, a German minister from Chicago, held several meetings in both North and South Dakota, as well as Canada where he met with isolated brethren. Several of the Kainer family near Vibank, Saskatchewan, became members of the Church of God, one becoming wife of Elder John Kiesz. The German Bible Advocate went into the Dakotas, Montana, California, Washington, Canada, and elsewhere. The first campmeeting held at Eureka, South Dakota was in June of 1925. Among those attending were Kornmesser, Elders Christ Kiesz, John Brenneise, Martin Reuscher, Christ Meier, Burt F. Marrs, and A.N. Dugger.99
The Nebraska and Kansas Conferences met at Bassett on October 7, with elders Presler, Kornmesser, Jensen, Christ Kiesz and the Dugger brothers present.100
The Wisconsin conference and campmeeting was held later in June of 1925 at Stanley. Leader of the state work was Elder J.S. Beggs. Elder Ed Severson, who spoke Norwegian as well as English, worked among the Norwegians in Wisconsin. Dugger, Henry Brenneise, and a young ministerial aspirant, John Kiesz, traveled from South Dakota to attend the Wisconsin meeting.
In Oklahoma, Elder R.A. Barnes organized a church at Tahlequah, Ed Severson held meetings at Broken Bow, and R.K. Walker in Arpelar. The State Conference was held the first week of August at Fairview, succeeding the campmeeting preaching services which began on July 24.
In Arkansas, B.F. Daily seemed to be one of the leading brethren. A conference was held in August at Deluce, near DeWitt.
The Missouri Conference and Campmeeting as well as the General Conference and Campmeeting, were held jointly in August at Stanberry. Elders J.T. Williamson and William Alexander held a tent meeting at Gifford, Missouri in June of 1926.
Michigan had no campmeeting in 1925, but had its Conference sessions for three days near Jenison, with John Goodin as President.
The Iowa Conference met at Marion in October, and the Texas State Conference of the Mexican brethren met in November. Elder J.M. Rodriguez organized a church at Knox City, Texas in 1925.
Other ministers considered as "home evangelists" in 1925 were101: A.H. Stith, J.H. Hinds, R.K. Walker, F.C. Robinson, G.W. Sarber, Jacob Wilbur, William Stanley, B.C. Delgado, J.W. Carroll, B.L. Ramirez, J.S. Beggs, R.E. Hosteter, and T.J. Marrs.
In other fields, Elder J.G. Smith of California planned to start a tent work there in May of 1926. Elder W.W. West, one time associate with Parham (?) or the original Pentecostal movement in Kansas, held a Sabbath school in Los Angeles, and worked among both whites and Negroes.102 Michigan, Iowa, and Dakota brethren each planned to buy a tent.
George C. Shorey was pioneering the work in New Hampshire in East Rochester. Elder W.W. McMicken was in North Carolina, Elder E.J. Benson at Allentown, Pennsylvania, while the team of Elders Salkeld and Slankard were holding meetings in Philadelphia in 1926.
At the close of the 1926 campmeeting, men were stationed as follows:
Michigan C.E. Groshans
Nebraska, Wis. L.L. Presler
(New Auburn, Stanley)
Alabama W.W. McMicken, J.D. Bagwell
Oklahoma R.A. Barnes, R.K. Walker, Ed Severson, Enos Hawkins, J.W. Williams, Elders Quinton and Whitehead
Arkansas Roy Daily, E.F. Thorp, Z.B. Black, Horace Munro
Texas M.W. Unzicker (after a Gentry, Missouri meeting)
Nebraska J.F. Jensen
Omaha Irvin Gillespie
Chicago Theo. J. Flo
Iowa L.I. Rodgers
St. Louis A.D. Ross, Hiram Fay
Des Moines C.W. Salkeld, J.G. Slankard
South Dakota P.J. Kornmesser, Henry Brenneise, Jacob Dais
South Missouri T.A. Williams, J.T. Williamson (a new field)
Churches - 1925
The September 22, 1925 Advocate lists some 79 Churches of God in 17 states. Although the state of each church area is not listed, the following is an attempted classification103:
ALABAMA: Philcampbell, Russellville.
ARKANSAS: De Luce, Floral, Ft. Smith, Hagler, Heber Springs, Humphrey, Mena, Newport, St. Charles, Salado.
CALIFORNIA: Hayward, Los Angeles, Modesto, Orange, Pasadena.
IDAHO: Emmett, Meridian.
IOWA: Corydon, Council Bluffs, Marion.
MICHIGAN: Battle Creek, Deckerville.
MISSOURI: Anderson, Anderson (W. route), Buffalo, Easton, El Dorado Springs, Frisco, Gentry, Green Castle, Hatfield, Maryville, Milan, Mt. Carmel, Nevada, Phillipsburg, Pleasant Hill, Rich Hill, Stanberry.
NEBRASKA: Bassett, Omaha, Orafino.
NORTH CAROLINA: High Point.
OKLAHOMA: Alabama City (?), Atoka, Broken Bow, Claremore, Crowder, Dale, Fairview, Fairview (Dane Star), Foster (?), Henrietta, Kusa, Lindsay, Pierce.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Eureka
TEXAS: Hamlin, Hico, North Uvalde, Oakville.
WEST VIRGINIA: Wilbur
WISCONSIN: Waupaca, Wisconsin Veterans Home
UNKNOWN: Badger, Dykes, Empire, Farmer, Marsh, Shaw
Advocate Staff - 1925
Even the listed Advocate staff of 1925 demonstrated the expansion and growth the church was going through. G.E. Hughes assisted Dugger who was editor. Lewis Charles Sheafe, S.S. Davison and A.F. Dugger, Jr. were associate editors. Other officers were104:
A.N. Dugger President of General Conference
G.T. Rodgers Vice-President
P.C. Walker Secretary
Mrs. G.E. Hughes Treasurer
Burt F. Marrs Executive Committee
O.R. Osman was General Missionary Secretary and Field Manager of the Colporteur Department. Other Field Representatives of the Advocate that year were:
R.F. Barton Waterbury, Vermont
R.E. Hosteter Jenison, Michigan
B.C. Manson Richmond, Virginia
F.C. Robinson Anderson, Missouri
R.A. Barnes Crowder, Oklahoma
J.D. Frazier Lonoke, Arkansas
G.W. Sarber Knox, Indiana
C.E. Groshan Baroda, Michigan
A.H. Stith Nampa, Idaho
L.I. Rodgers Milan, Missouri
M.W. Unzicker Oakville, Texas
J.G. Smith Los Angeles, Calif.
J.F. Jensen Scotts Bluff, Neb.
E.G. Thorpe Lonoke, Arkansas
J.T. Williamson Appleton City, Mo.
W.W. McMicken Russellville, Ala.
W.H. Stanley Hayward, California
J.W. Crouse Pasadena, Calif.
Church History Begins to Develop - Seven Eras Taught
It was an axiomatic belief of Adventists, from which the Church of God sprang, that there were seven church eras in time Revelation 2 and 3 and that they constituted the final, Laodicean era. William Miller was said to have sounded the First Angel's Message ("angel" being translated "messenger" and referring to humans, occurs more times in Scripture than it does to heavenly angels) to the Sardis era of the church. His message was that the hour of God's Judgment was near (1843 or 1844). As Ellen G. White states in her Great Controversy, "The condition of the church at this time is pointed out in the Savior's words the Revelation: 'you have a name that you livest, and art dead'." The reason for this condition, she states, was that the churches refused to learn new truths.105
Adventists did not a first constitute a separate body, but were found throughout many denominations. When the Advent message became very strong, some Millerite ministers were put out of their churches; members were too. Charles Fitch, a leading Adventist, wrote an article, "Come Out of Her, My People!" which was said to constitute the Second Angel's Message: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen!" Those who did come out of their churches (most of whom did not observe the Sabbath yet) were said to be the Philadelphia era.106
When after the Great Disappointment the Sabbath became adopted by many Adventists, from the Seventh Day Baptists, the remnant, the discouraged few, were labeled Laodiceans, and the message of keeping God's Commandments, including the Sabbath, became referred to as the Third Angel's Message.107
It appears that Church of God leaders like A.C. Long, and later, A.N. Dugger, taught essentially the same as the Adventists on the Seven Church Eras and the Third Angel's Message. The Church of God and the Seventh-Day Adventists both taught that they themselves were the true remnant church of the Laodiceans. The Bible Advocate in 1908 states flatly, "this is the Laodicean period."108
Miller's Views on Church Eras
William Miller, the leader of the Adventist movement, and whose writings continued to have wide influence after his death, taught that the Ephesus era referred to the apostolic age. Smyrna lasted approximately from 100 to 312 A.D. The reference to Smyrna being persecuted 10 days was thought to be the ten imperial persecutions, the first of which was under Nero and the last under Diocletian in 303. Pergamos was said to last from 312 to 538, when the anti-Christ (the Pope) became all powerful. Thyatira was from 538 to the 10th century. Reference is given to the book, Israel of the Alps, which talks about the Waldenses. The Sardis era was said by Miller to refer to the period of the later Waldenses, from the 10th century to the Reformation. Philadelphia lasted from the beginning of the Reformation to 1798, and Laodicea began in 1798.
Miller said that Laodicea in its root meaning designates "judging of the people," and refers to a "haughty, proud, self-exalted church" on which God pours out His judgment. "Is it not a general complaint," Miller wrote in the 1840's, "with all of our churches, of coldness, of a want of spiritual life, and a great failure in active spiritual duties? Yes."
Significantly, Miller notes lessons that we can learn from the last three church eras:
1. Sardis teaches us that we must be on guard against the introduction of errors into the church, and that we need to strengthen ourselves in the truth (see Jude 20), and have not only the proper name, but the power of the gospel.
2. The lesson from the Philadelphia era is that if we keep God's work, God will keep us from trials and judgements, and open the door to spread the gospel that no man can shut, and that we must be on guard lest any man take our crown.
3. The Laodicean lesson is that we cannot serve two masters; one cannot love the present evil world and at the same time be servants of God.109
Seventh-Day Adventist View on Church Eras
Uriah Smith, a leading Seventh-Day Adventist doctrinal writer, stated that the Pergamos era lasted from 323 to 538, the time of Constantine's professed conversion to the establishment of the papacy. Thyatira he said lasted for the 1,260 years of papal supremacy, 538 to 1798. Sardis, which means "prince or song of joy," or "that which remains," lasted from 1798 to the time of the Second Angel's Message. Philadelphia was the shortest era, consisting of those who received the Advent message up until the autumn of 1844. Laodicea is since 1844, and Laodiceans consist of those who believe in the third Angel's Message.110
J.T. Williamson's Church of God Views
Whether the article entitled "Seven Churches of Revelation," by J.T. Williamson in the April 1, 1924 Bible Advocate was the first on the subject of church eras, is not known. In it he definitely holds similar views, but not exactly, with the Seventh-Day Adventist viewpoint.
Williamson begins by affirming that Jesus Christ, not John, was the revelator. He goes on to show that the seven churches show the time period from Christ's first advent until His second coming. The seven churches are seven eras of time, "the 'Church of God' in each of these seven periods of time, like a lamp or candlestick illuminates the life of Christ (light to the world) . . . ." The "angels" of the seven Churches are the "agent, minister, or messenger . . . who had the oversight of the church as a comforting angel," in other words, the leading minister of the era. Few definite dates for the eras are given, although Williamson notes that the ten times persecution was the ten-year period of persecution under Diocletian, as reported in Myers General History, pages 330-331.
Sardis covers "that which remains," or the concluding period of papal supremacy, ending in 1798, when the pope was taken captive by General Berthier and the door opened to free public worship. Williamson does not elaborate when the Philadelphia era ended (but presumably it was in 1844), but notes that his was definitely the Laodicean era. He concludes, "We realize there is a proneness to apply the sad condition of the Laodicean church to nominal professors; but brethren, this is addressed to the Church of God in this period."
Dugger's Research into Church History
In an article entitled, "History of the 'Church of God'," in the February 9, 1926 Bible Advocate, A.N. Dugger shows the origin of his understanding of church history, which was later to lead him to write the book, History of the True Church (1936, reprinted 1968).
On June 12, 1922, the prince of Ethiopia, Wixzezyxzrd Challoughezilzise, accompanied by his secretary, Elder Robert B. St. Clair (an Adventist turned Seventh Day Baptist), arrived at Stanberry, Missouri, where he spoke to audiences for several nights. How he came to visit Stanberry is unknown. The prince was well-educated, and quite a musician. In 1922 it was said that Ethiopia kept the Sabbath as a nation, and held many tenets of faith similar to the Church of God. While in Stanberry, the Prince was presented with two Bible Home Instructors (which have Church of God doctrine arranged according to subject in a question and answer form), which he apparently prized highly. From Stanberry he went to Marion, Iowa (previous headquarters of the Church of God), on his way to Chicago, from where he expected to return to Ethiopia.111
From St. Clair, Dugger was given "first insight" into the true facts of church history. Dugger learned that the Ethiopian church were Sabbath-keepers and dated their origin from seven hundred years before Moses, "and also that they called themselves the Church of Christ and Church of God." His curiosity piqued, Dugger learned from St. Clair that the Seventh Day Baptist church also called themselves "Church of God" during their early history in America, and showed Dugger certain books where this could be verified. Dugger learned that even as late as 1926, the name Church of God was on some old "Seventh Day Baptist" church houses in the East. Dugger came to conclude "that the Church of God does not date its history back to 1861 and then follow through the Seventh Day Baptist channels, but rather through that company of people who held to the same name we hold today and consequently our history is perpetuated without a break."
In his 1926 article, Dugger maintained that the 1,260 year period of the true church in the wilderness was from 538 to 1798. From 1844 and 1861, the Sabbath-keeping Adventists referred to themselves as the Church of God or the Church of Christ. In October 1861 the Seventh-Day Adventist group met at Battle Creek and selected Seventh-Day Adventist instead of the true name, Church of God as their official name. They commanded people not to marry (fulfilling I Timothy 4), as verified by ministers living (in 1926), Elder R.F. Baron of Waterbury, Vermont, and J.J. Kolvoord, Irvindale, Battle Creek. They also commanded to abstain from meats which God created to be received, and lapsed into further errors. Seventh Day Baptist leaders drifted away from the true faith at this time and earlier (even began teaching evolution and "higher criticism"). Dugger concluded his remarks by stating that in the future he intended to go into more detail regarding the history of the Church of God.112
In April of 1926 Dugger wrote to a "brother in England," George H. Vane of London (possibly a Seventh Day Baptist), asking him to make an investigation into church history at the London Public Library, and personally providing funds for this venture. By July 6, Dugger was able to report the first of Vane's findings, revealing "some remarkable facts, vindicating the word of God, and proving his care and preservation of the sacred name, 'The Church of God'." Dugger also noted that he had "long believed" that "the true church of the New Testament was called the Church of God, all through the gospel dispensation," and that the name was even preserved during the 1,260 years in the wilderness. Now he was searching for more facts in order to publish a pamphlet or a book on "The History of the Church of God," which would "add great weight, force and strength to the message." Vane had made 37 trips to the library and other places and was out of funds, Dugger requested the members to send in donations for this venture.113
On July 20, Dugger reported that the Waldenses were especially being investigated in the research project. It was learned that "they observed the Lord's Supper yearly, and kept the true Sabbath, but also that they held to the name 'Church of God'." True Christians have existed under different names at different times, viz. Novatians, Donatists, Paulicians, and Albigenses, Cathars and Waldenses. The history of Peter Waldo is given, with the conclusion that "the Church of God of today is actually the remnant church, cared for in the wilderness, and preserved for a definite purpose in the end of this age."114
The result of these researches was a book, The History of the True Church, first published in 1936, and available from Giving & Sharing.
1927: Expansion Into Oregon
The year 1927 saw the addition to the publishing plant completed and almost paid for. The plant must have been working at full speed, for in 1927, some 2,526,643 pages of literature were distributed; a good portion of this being tracts on the Third Angel's Message (Sabbath-keeping), sold by ministers, colporteurs, and volunteers. The work had become a well oiled machine.
Dugger stated that "this was the year that marked the real beginning of the work in North Carolina, Oregon and Panama." The Oregon work was led by G.A. Hobbs. Elder M.W. Unzicker held meetings in Oregon, gaining some nineteen converts.
Some of the newer young ministers in 1927 were Elders Roy Dailey (Arkansas), and Frank Walker and Ennis Hawkins (Oklahoma). C.E. Groshans spent sixteen weeks in field work in Michigan. Rudolph Haffner of Kansas was the leading colporteur of the year.115
Ministerial reports for the year 1927 were:
Arkansas E.L. Dummond
North Carolina O.R. Osman, L.B. Ramsey
Nebraska J.F. Jensen
Idaho A.H. Stith
Alabama W.W. McMicken
Missouri L.I. Rodgers
Oregon M.W. Unzicker
Missouri, Ark. T.J. Marrs
Iowa, Glendale, California
C.W. Salkeld, J.G. Slankard
Rich Hill, Mo. W.M. Alexander
Eureka, S. Dak. Christ Kiesz
California J.G. Smith
Wisconsin L.L. Presler, Ed Severson
Oklahoma R.K. Walker, R.A. Barnes, Burt F. Marrs
In the foreign work, J.A. Murray was doing Church of God work in Jamaica and Trinidad; J.M. Orn-Naerem in Norway, and B.L. Ramirez in Mexico. In Central America, Arthur G. Tavel brought fourteen churches into the Church of God, and a press was established. Foreign printing plants numbered four, and the work was said to be expanding to Japan, several Balkan states, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.116
Church Politics: Marrs Becomes President
At the campmeeting and conference for the entire church held at Rich Hill, Missouri in 1928, elected officers were:
Elder Burt Marrs President
Elder J.T. Williamson Vice President
Charles E. Brush Secretary-Treasurer
The by-laws of the Constitution were altered so that no member could teach any doctrine in public which was not believed by the conference body, without clearly stating that such belief had not been endorsed by the Church of God, but that it was his own individual opinion.
Another decision was "that the Church of God believes and teaches the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but denies that 'speaking in tongues' is THE evidence."
On September 22, 1927, Elder S.W. Mentzer, a former long-time President of the General Conference, died. Marrs and Elder Stockwell of the Seventh Day Baptist church had charge of funeral services (possibly indicating that Mentzer later leaned to the Seventh Day Baptists).117
1928: Field Events
The February 14, 1928 Messenger stated that a great many calls for literature and letters inquiring about Church of God doctrines were being received. It was thought that more new names were added to the Advocate subscription list in the previous two weeks than any such time period in the previous fifteen years.118
Elder William Fiedler, an ex-Seventh-Day Adventist from North Dakota, moved to Stanberry in 1928 to take charge of the German department and the printing of the Advocate in German. Previously the German edition had been printed in Eureka.
Elder Charles J. Ellis was working for the Church of God in 1928 in Cuba. Later he worked in Jamaica. Also in foreign fields, James Tulvana of South Africa was called into the work, and made a missionary journey of over 900 miles, preaching to congregations he formerly knew, organizing several Churches of God.119
Talk of a Church of God Radio Work
Also in 1928 a drive to get the Church of God message on radio began, with Elder Ervin Sooter of Missouri starting the pledge for a broadcasting station. He was joined by Sister Alpha Siddens, who wrote: "Oh! We must wake up, we don't need fine dresses, we don't need fine food, we have no need of jewelry, we've got to wake up and live up to our calling, that's all."120
Previously, in 1925, Dugger wrote an article entitled, "The Third Angel's Message By Radio." He stated: "As God has a purpose in every achievement wrought by man . . . . We believe it is God's will that we make a proper use of this wonderful discovery 'radio,' and put it to work for God . . . . [because this is a] great opportunity . . . to preach the gospel to the world."
Dugger's idea was to erect a broadcasting station in mid-America that would be powerful enough to reach all the United States and Canada, and even to Europe and Asia. One man (Sooter, possibly) offered $1,000 for this purpose, and was later joined by another in the quest for a total of about $50,000.121
Apparently little ever came of this project as the funds failed to materialize. When the first Church of God minister ever appeared on radio is not yet known.
The January 22, 1929 Advocate carried a report of the campaign to put the "Third Angel's Message" on radio stations, and had a blank form for contributions to the same. In the December 17 issue of that year is the report that A.N. Dugger would be broadcasting from WJSV radio of Washington, D.C., for ten straight evenings, at 7:30 p.m. The station reportedly reached all parts of the United States, and even into England.122
This may have been the first time the Church of God had appeared on radio.
By 1948, the following ministers were giving once weekly half hour programs on these stations:
R.A. Barnes KWIL Albany
Edgar Lippincott KFNF Shenandoah, Iowa
W.T. McMicken KTTR Rolla, Missouri
Stanley J. Kauer WFVR Grand Rapids, Michigan
In 1949, half hour Church of God programs were heard on KBRO Bremerton, KASH Eugene, and KRES St. Joseph.123
1929: Attempt to Harmonize Disagreements
When the 1928 Passover date was announced, it was advised that to prepare for the event, Church of God members meet every night for a week previous, so "that there may be a general season of refreshing, a time of forgiveness and settling of differences should there be any, and a refilling of the Holy Spirit."124
The year 1929 saw a downturn in events for the Church of God. From 1922-1929, converts never matched the increase of 1,000 in the year 1922. A possible reason is that Dugger had pushed through a tighter policy on doctrine: members were not so free to express their own views when they differed from "official" church doctrine, which had previously been the case (and which made it possible for the eastern pentecostals to enter Church of God ranks for a time). The turning point was possibly the year 1925, when Dugger's editorial stated that "our ranks will never again be disrupted by taking issue through our papers on debatable questions, and thus spreading contention and strife."125
Check the end of the WordPerfect document for information about undefined fonts. Dugger apparently was not alone in his effort to have all speak and write the "same thing." Kiesz notes that "many of our people were becoming disgusted with our way of doing things. Many felt that without a harmonious message they could not hand out our papers to newly interested folks, because of the confusion and discouragements that were being created thereby."
As a result, the 1929 General Conference at Stanberry resolved that the ministers teach against eating the Biblical unclean meats, and the use of tobacco. Some Church of God men resented this, and the fact that the Advocate refused to print their articles on controversial subjects. Some resorted to printing their views in independent bulletins.
Among the issues in question were the time of the New Birth, the time for observing the Lord's Supper, Meats, Tobacco, the work of the Holy Spirit (pentecostalism), and the Third Angel's Message. Some still held to the idea that Jesus was the son of Joseph, and therefore not divine.126
The Advocate reported that the 1929 Conference was the scene of considerable confusion and dissension. On August 16, Marrs, Dugger, Unzicker, and other leading ministers signed a covenant "that in all matters of essential doctrines, we shall conform to the Bible standard of interpretation in our book known as The Bible Home Instructor; and on other points, we shall either conform to the standard, or be silent on the same until accepted by two-thirds of the conference." Other signers were Sam Oberg, Pete Bartschi, Frank Walker, and William Alexander. The next meeting was slated for 1931. Significantly, the Presidency changed hands, from Burt F. Marrs to A.N. Dugger.127
Field Events - 1929
Elder Ed Severson organized several Oklahoma churches in 1929. Elder C.F. Knott, a former Seventh-Day Adventist minister, preached at Spokane, where he converted a young Pentecostal minister to the Sabbath. Oregon work was being conducted by elders A.J. Ray, Sam Oberg, and Roy Dailey. Elder Pete Bartschi was Arkansas State Evangelist. Three West Virginia churches at Salem, Parkersburg and Moundsville, were organized (possibly with some former Seventh-Day Adventists and Seventh Day Baptists).128
A press was shipped to Central America to print Spanish and Portuguese literature. A press intended for Jerusalem was delayed from shipment and sold, and another was sought for the Palestine work.129
1930: A Quiet Year; Dodd Enters Church of God
Early in 1930, Dugger and A.A. Cramer of Washington, D.C. held an evangelistic effort near Canton, New York and organized a church there.
Elder W.W. McMicken moved from Alabama to West Virginia, and conducted a number of campaigns in the state. He was West Virginia state evangelist at the time. In August 1932, the first Church of God campmeeting in West Virginia was held in Salem.
Elder C.O. Dodd of Salem, West Virginia, apparently came into the Church of God in 1930. He was said to have been divinely led into the Sabbath truth by a miracle. He began a preaching campaign in Salem in 1930.130
1931: Dugger Goes to Palestine; Alexander Becomes President
Andrew N. Dugger had long felt the importance of going to Jerusalem and working to convert the Jews to Christianity. It was Church of God doctrine that the return of the Jews to Palestine must occur before the Second Coming, and events since the capture of Jerusalem by General Allenby in 1917 had been closely watched by Dugger. There had been numerous articles in the Advocate about "Jerusalem and the Jew." After A.F. Dugger, Sr. died in 1910, Andrew had a vision in which he saw the light of heaven shining around him, and then moving in the direction of Jerusalem. He thus kept in the back of his mind the importance of this "divine mission" to the Church of God, when he accepted the call to edit the Advocate in 1914.131
As noted previously, reportedly the first Church of God in Jerusalem since 70 A.D. was organized in 1926 by Elder David Nield, and the booklet, "How Shall We Know Him?" was printed for distribution among the Jews.132
Earlier indications of Church of God work in Jerusalem go back as early as 1921, when the Messenger reported that a Brother J.A. Behar had been called to Jerusalem to establish the work there. He was conducting regular Sabbath services in a rented hall. A Church of God that same year was expected to begin at Corinth, Greece.133
Also, in 1925, an H.A. Volkovitch reportedly established a Sabbath-keeping church in Jerusalem, made up entirely of Jews, who believed on Christ. He asked for Church of God literature in Hebrew, and reported another young man was requesting baptism.134
In the fall of 1931, the General Conference voted that the church send some one to Jerusalem to look after the work and prepare the way for moving the world headquarters of the Church of God there. The man chosen was the chief exponent of the ideas, A.N. Dugger. He had served as editor of the Advocate since 1914.
To fill the gap, Elder John Kiesz of South Dakota was called to Stanberry in September to be "copy editor," and later in 1932, to serve under the full editor, William Alexander.
On October 3, Dugger gave his farewell address at the Stanberry church. On his way to Palestine, he stopped off at England for a while, doing some "gospel work" there. He held meetings in London with Brother Samuel Brown, and arranged for the shipment of a printing press to Jerusalem.
The August General Conference had chosen Elder William Alexander, President; Elder Frank Walker, Vice-President; and Charles E. Brush, Secretary-Treasurer. Other members of the Executive Committee were Elders Ennis Hawkins, C.O. Dodd, John Kiesz, and A.N. Dugger.135
Other Events in 1931
January, 1931 saw the establishment of the Young Peoples' Department, headed by Elder S.J. Kauer. Other developments included the moving of Frank Williams from Michigan to Stanberry to work in the Advocate office. The son of Elder Timothy Amzy Williams of Missouri, Frank Williams, later became business manager of the Church of God publishing house.
Elder Archie B. Craig of Oklahoma, the youngest minister of the Church of God, started a campaign effort, in which he assisted Elder Ed Severson.
Sister Mary Welch of Ryan, Oklahoma, who had suffered for several years from pellegra, was reportedly healed instantly through prayer.136
1932: Dugger and the Jews
Dugger's departure to Jerusalem did not mean that he no longer influenced the Church of God back in America. In his "Notes by the Way" column in the Advocate, Dugger reported much of his work in the Holy Land.
In the summer of 1932, Dugger, with the help of a Jewish Christian, Elder Henry Cohen, published some 150,000 gospel tracts in Hebrew. In August, Dugger, with Jacob Futerman, David Golden, Jacob Kort and Henry Cohen went all over Judaea, Samaria and Galilee, systematically distributing tracts and preaching in all Jewish cities and towns. Dugger reports that "a good number" of Jewish converts to the Church of God were baptized in 1932, and Hebrew workers were carrying on with the message.137
In the fall, Dugger and his family left Palestine, once again stopping off in England for some evangelizing there. Arriving in the United States in October, Dugger began holding meetings in St. Joseph, Missouri, and soon established a church there.138
On November 2, 1932 Dugger returned to Stanberry. The Advocate reports that he was accompanied by Elder C.O. Dodd, possibly indicating that Dodd had been with Dugger on his trip.139
Alexander Becomes Editor and a Key Figure
Already President of the General Conference, in September of 1932, William Alexander was chosen Editor of the Advocate, with Dugger associate editor, and John Kiesz remaining as office editor. Elder Alexander traveled extensively over the field, holding meetings in various places. Alexander was to be a key figure in the developing threat of doctrinal division in the Church of God.
The September 19 issue contained a notice: "Hints to Contributors - The Bible Advocate will strictly adhere to the Word of God, and send forth only doctrines in harmony therewith as accepted by the Church of God in general."140
As if to underline the developing controversy within the church, Dugger in the January 9, 1933 issue wrote an article entitled, "Our Foundation":
The 'Church of God' stands on the BIBLE, THE WHOLE BIBLE, AND NOTHING BUT THE BIBLE. We have no creed outside of the Bible. The Bible is the Book through which God has revealed His will to man, and if doctrine will not stand the fire of the Bible we reject it . . . . We do not stand upon any one-man interpretation of the Word of God, or any one-man leadership, save Jesus Christ the Son of God . . . . Paul warned the Church of God nearly two thousand years ago that men would arise among us speaking perverse things 'to draw away disciples after them.' Read, and re-read, Acts 20:28-31. For this reason the church humbly stands upon the Bible, and where the Bible speaks the Church of God speaks, and where the Bible is silent, the church is silent.141
The only difficulty with Dugger's statement was that factions within the Church of God who differed with "official church policy" refused to keep silent. What had not been resolved in 1905 was to explode into a major catastrophe for the Church of God in 1933.
Doctrinal Framework Before the Division
Sketches of Church of God doctrine have been given previously in this paper. Before describing the momentous events of 1933, it is imperative to give a clearer picture of the doctrinal issues which precipitated the division.
The second session of the Church of God General Conference at Stanberry in 1885 outlined 24 articles of belief. Current Church of God beliefs are outlined in the booklet, "What the Church of God Believes, and Why," containing 38 articles.
The early groups, Church of God, Church of Christ, and Church of the Firstborn probably held widely divergent views. A.F. Dugger, Jr. wrote that "It is doubtful if any one of these had all of the truths now taught by the church . . . each contributor [was] responsible for his or her views of the Scriptures."142
This long continued to be the policy of the Church of God papers, until Dugger in the 1920's attempted to clamp down on this confusion.
Church of God - Seventh-Day Adventist Differences
A.F. Dugger, Sr. wrote a tract at least as early as 1907, later reprinted, on the doctrinal differences between the Church of God and Seventh-Day Adventists. He listed ten general points of difference143:
1. The Basis of Faith and Belief. Since the Hope of Israel stated its beliefs were solely on the Bible, the basis of faith and belief of the Church of God has been the Bible, and the Bible only, not the additional visions of Ellen G. White.
2. The Purpose and Place of Church Organization. Seventh-Day Adventists say that they are the true church, the "remnant people of God." They say there may be people saved that were never in their organization, but all who hear their message and have the opportunity to join them, must do so to be saved. They hold that they are the only organization God is directly leading. They reverence their organization and leaders, and the powers exercised by Seventh-Day Adventist leaders are similar to those of the Catholic hierarchy. There is a strict test of fellowship, and those not complying are excommunicated.
The Church of God of Stanberry follows Christ, and they believe Christ has not established any exclusive church organization. Membership in an "organization" is not, and never has been, a requisite for salvation. No "organization" has divine authority. "Mutual fellowship and co-operation, with brotherly love have always characterized the true followers of Christ." The Church of God is an association of believers working together to spread the gospel, and does not claim to have all God's people. "All who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus are invited to fellowship with us."
3. The Church Name. This difference is obvious, and the reasons have hitherto been explained for the Seventh-Day Adventist - Church of God name difference.
4. The Atonement and the Sanctuary. The 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 are believed by Seventh-Day Adventists to have been fulfilled on October 22, 1844, while the Church of God believes they were fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes. John Reed, an early preacher for the Hope of Israel in Michigan in the 1860's, wrote an article on the Sanctuary Question ridiculing the Seventh-Day Adventist idea that Christ didn't enter the holy of holies until 1844, because Paul said Christ was at God's right hand in the first century, A.D.
5. The Judgment. Seventh-Day Adventists believe there are three periods of judgment: investigative judgment, executive judgment and an investigative and review judgment during the 1,000 years when the saved are in heaven going over the books, deciding the amount of punishment of the wicked before they are destroyed.
The Church of God believes in one period of judgment for all who now have the opportunity to hear the gospel and either accept or reject it.
6. The Millennium. The Church of God believes that Christ will come all the way to earth, Zechariah 14:4, Acts 1:11. The earth was created to be the home of mankind, not to be destroyed, Isaiah 45:18. The saints will rule during the 1,000 years on the earth, Revelation 5:10, 20:6. Ellen G. White stops in the middle of the sentence in Isaiah 24:6, supposedly showing that there will be no inhabitants left on earth, during the millennium.
7. The Second Coming of Christ. Seventh-Day Adventists and the Church of God believe the end is near, and don't set dates. Seventh-Day Adventists speak of the Advent as especially near, at any time, that Christ comes in clouds, and goes back to heaven. The Church of God teaches that the saints meet Christ in the air, and come back with him on the Mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:4, 9. The Church of God is not sure who will be on the earth besides saints, but they are to preach the gospel until Christ comes.
8. The Time of Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection. Seventh-Day Adventists hold to the Friday-Sunday mainstream Christian belief, while the Church of God believes in a Wednesday-Sabbath time element.
9. Time of Observance of the Lord's Supper. Seventh-Day Adventists believe that there is no certain time, but follow the custom of observing it four times a year, in connection with their regular Sabbath services. The Church of God keeps it at the same time, beginning of evening, and the same day of the year as Christ did.
10. Differences in Prophetic Interpretation. The Seventh-Day Adventist church was founded on prophecy. The Church of God is greatly interested in prophecy, but its doctrines do not depend on prophecy. The Church of God believes that the prophecy of the return of the Jews to Palestine to be a sign of the Second Advent, while Seventh-Day Adventists do not.
Tracts and Books
As early as 1871, "The Bible Student's Assistant" was available to Advocate subscribers, as a compilation of Bible references on subjects as the Kingdom of God, the Millennium, the Resurrection, Sabbath, Ceremonial Sabbaths, Faith, Repentance, Baptism, State of the Dead, Destruction of the Wicked, Restoration of the Jews, name of the church, Daniel's image, etc. It was the predecessor of the Bible Home Instructor.
The tract, "The Bible Sabbath Defended," first printed around 1880, was still available in 1963. In the 1890's, tracts under the "Bible Truth Series" were printed, among them, "The Two Kingdoms," which was about the Kingdom of Grace and the Kingdom to Come. During this period, some 30-35 tracts were printed by the Church of God.144
The tract, "Visions of Ellen G. White Not of God" by B.F. Snook and William H. Brinkerhoff, was advertised (price: 10 cents) in the Advent Christian paper, World's Crisis, from October 10, 1866 until the end of 1868. Other anti-White tracts, such as the one of Carver, have previously been noted.
"The Two-Horned Beast of Revelation 13," by A.C. Long, refuted the Seventh-Day Adventist view that this beast represented the United States, instead identifying it with a religious and ecclesiastical government, probably the Catholic Church.145
Tracts, Circa 1907
Tracts, with their authors, pages and price, as advertised in 1907 issues of the Bible Advocate are146:
Baptism, J.T. Williamson, 16 p., $.05
20th Century Truisms, W.C. Long, 46 p., $.08
Is it a Literal Fact? (about Lazarus and the Rich Man), A.F. Dugger, 16 p., $.03
Tithing System, B.F. Purdham, 8 p., $.02
The Two Kingdoms, B.F. Purdham, 12 p., $.02
An Old Habit, C.S. De Ford, 4 p., $.01
Meat in Due Season, J.W. Marsh, 43 p., $.05
Introduction to Open Letter, S.D. Heady, 32 p., $.05
Reasons for Embracing and Observing Jehovah's Sabbath, Almon Hall, 8 p., $.02
The Two Laws, A.C. Long, 8 p., $.02
A Talk to the Children, A.F. Dugger, 32 p., $.05
The Thief on the Cross, A.F. Dugger, 8 p., $.02
Modern Prophets and Prophecies, Harlan P. Peck, 48 p., $.08
The Restitution, A.F. Dugger, 16 p., $.03
The Future Home of the Saints, W.C. Long, 32 p., $.05
The False and the True on the Law, W.L. Crowe, 32 p., $.10
The Holy City of God, a sermon, by W.C. Long, 8 p., $.02
The King of the North, who, or what is it? E.S. Sheffield, 47 p., $.10
The Week, A.J. Eychaner, 32 p., $.05
Bible Lessons, No. 1, J.R. Goodenough, 16 p., $.03
The Desolation of the Earth examined and refuted, A.F. Dugger, 12 p., $.03
The Two-Horned Beast of Revelation 13, Showing its Application to the Papacy, A.C. Long, 24 p., $.04
Second Coming of Christ, Jacob Brinkerhoff, $.03
God's Sabbath Day from Eden Until Now, W.H. Ebert, 13 p., $.03
The Two Covenants, W.C. Long, 16 p., $.03
Mrs. White's Visions, Jacob Brinkerhoff, 16 p., $.03
The Restoration of the Jews to their own Land, W.C. Long, 8 p., $.02
Thoughts on the Lord's Supper, or "The Christian Passover," W.C. Long, 16 p., $.05
Thoughts on the First Day of the week,
A.F.Dugger, 16 p., $.03
The True Sabbath, W.C. Long, 15 p., $.03
Crucifixion and Resurrection Azazel and Other Essays, C.S. De Ford, 94 p., free
The Ten Commandments, W.C. Long, 16 p., $.03
Change of the Sabbath - Who Authorized It? A.C. Long, 16 p., $.04
Christian Materialism, Jacob Brinkerhoff, $.03
Sunday versus Sabbath, Albert D. Rust, 38 p., $.08
The Bible Student's Assistant, $.10
Points of Difference between The Church of God and Seventh-Day Adventists, A.F. Dugger, 88 p., .10
Begotten Again, or Born Again - Which? David Nield, 16 p., $.03
Songs of Truth, 235 p., $.40
The Gospel of the Sanctuary, E.P. Dexter, 35 p., $.15
The Good Friday Problem, David Nield, 16 p., $.03
Conditional Immortality, E.E. Rogers, 32 p., $.08
The Importance of Keeping the Sabbath, L. Niel, 14 p., $.03
Additional Tracts, 1913-1916147
Future Punishment, S.P. Whitney, 28 p., $.03
Thoughts on Matthew 24, S.S. Davison, 14 p., $.02
Repentance, H.T. Whitehall, 8 p., $.01
The Two Kingdoms, B.F. Purdham, 12 p., $.02
The Word Made Flesh, Minnie Presler, $.01
A Sermon Submitted to Opposers of God's Law, E.G. Blackmon, 14 p., $02
Why I Observe the Sabbath, the Seventh Day of the Week, Jacob Brinkerhoff, 16 p., $.02
Meat for Thinking Minds, Apostles Commission to preach gospel, H.T. Whitehall, 28 p., $.04
Is the Soul Immortal? And, What is the Soul? S.P. Whitney, 43 p., $.08
The Coming King; Watchman, Where are we? Second Coming of Christ, S.S. Davison, 13 p., $.04
The Bible or Roman Catholic Catechism, Which? E.G. Blackmon, 8 p., $.01
Bible Teaching of Future Life in Kingdom of God, and a History of the Temple in Jerusalem, Alpheus Davison, 122 p., $.15
The Bible Student's Assistant, Doctrines of the Church of God, 48 p., $.05
Rome in Prophecy, I.N. Kramer, 28 p., $.03
The Bible Sabbath Defended (3rd edition), A.F. Dugger, 120 p., $.15
Truths, Past, Present, Future, E.S. Sheffield, 16 p., $.02
Law and Order, Disorder and the Gospel, J.F. Flory, 54 p., $.10
Comparison of Early Writings of Ellen G. White with Later Publications, A.C. Long, 16 p., $.02
Power for Witnessing, Albion F. Ballenger, 201 p., $.75
The Reformation, Alonzo T. Jones, $1.00
The Turkish Tangle, Alonzo T. Jones, 96 p., $.20
An Appeal to Skeptics (Is the Bible true?) A.D. Rust, 298 p., $.50
Are We Duty Bound to Keep the Sabbath in this Age? L.O. Van Nostrand, 28 p., $.05
The Twelve Tribes Scattered Abroad, Loretta Reynolds, $.01
Liberty of Thought in School or What is History, Lloyd Shanklin, $.05
The Plan of Redemption, J.R. Goodenough, 32 p., $.08
Parable of Ten Virgins, C.S. De Ford, 16 p., $.05
Babylon, The Great Systematical City of Confusion, W.S. Ward, 28 p., $.08
The Worship of the Beast and His Image, Elder Willis Logan, 31 p., $.05
The Passover and the Lord's Supper, H.T. Whitehall, 8 p., $.03
Destiny of the Wicked, J.R. Goodenough, 15 p., $.03
The Bible a Much Misunderstood Book - Why? Alpheus Davison, 17 p., $.02
The Spirits in Prison, J. Neusch, $.01
New Tracts, 1920148
The Battle of Armageddon, A.N. Dugger, 49 p., $.20
The New Testament, J.R. Goodenough, 31 p., $.06
Justification by Faith, J.R. Goodenough, 30 p., $.06
The Divine Paternity of Jesus, E.G. Blackmon, 24 p., $.05
The Intermediate State and Judgment Age, I.N. Kramer, 60 p., $.10
The Resurrection of Christ - Which Day Did it Occur? A.N. Dugger, 12 p., $.03
The Name Church of God, A.N. Dugger, 6 p., $.03
Present Truth, J. Neusch, 120 p., $.25 A Glimpse of The Closing Work of God in the World and Its Relation to the Sabbath and Seventh-Day Adventists, G.E. Fifield, $.05
Counterfeit and Genuine Sabbath, my experience with Both, G.W. Sarber, 8 p., $.02
Conditional Immortality, E.E. Rogers, 24 p., $.05
Future Punishment, S.P. Whitenew, 16 p., $.05
How to Tithe and Why, by a layman, 8 p., $.03
In Memory of Our Beloved Dead, H.C. Kilgore, 14 p., $.04
Plan of Salvation, Mary E. Eastman, 30 p., $.10
Proclamation of Liberty, 280 p., $1.00
The Four World Empires, A.N. Dugger, 12 p., $.03
The Death Penalty, A.N. Dugger, 10 p., $.04
The Sign of Jonah, John Kolvoord, 36 p., $.15
The Sanctuary, M. Yvonne Hastings, 11 p., $.05
The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast, A.N. Dugger, $.05
Priest Enright's $1,000 offer; an offer by a Catholic priest for Bible evidence of Sunday sacredness, free
Destiny of the Wicked
The Name Church of God
Does the Bible Teach Church Organization?
Vision of the late Mrs. Ellen G. White
The Two Laws
The Future Home of the Saints
Sunday and Sabbath
The "Gems of Truth" Series
To accompany the sale of Bible Home Instructors, a series of tracts were printed in the 1920's to outline more fully Church of God doctrines. The purpose of the tracts was to build churches and add members. Colporteurs would call on homes, leaving tract #1, come back a week later, and if the response was favorable, leave tract #2, and so on.
They sold (probably to the colporteurs, who gave them free) for 2 cents each, or $1.00 per 100 and $5.00 for 1,000. Tracts listed in the series in 1925 included150:
1. The Return of the Jews
2. The Signs of Our Times
3. The Battle of Armageddon
4. The Bible Name for the Bible Church
5. The Two Laws
6. Has Time Been Lost?
7. Bible Baptism
8. The Resurrection of Christ, Which Day?
9. The New Testament Sabbath, $10,000 offered for opposing scriptures
10. The Third Angel's Message
11. The Mark of the Beast
12. The Number of the Beast is 666
13. Where Are the Dead?
14. The Spirit, Eccl. 13:7, Explained
15. Bible Facts About Hell
16. Justified by Faith
17. In His Image
Laying On of Hands
A 1925 Advocate by Mrs. Rosa Frazier stated that laying on of hands after baptism is "plainly taught in Scriptures," and is part of the gospel, as believers who are baptized should have this done for the receipt of the Holy Spirit.151
One of the crucial issues in the 1933 division of the Church of God was the date of the Lord's Supper, or Passover.
The April 12, 1881, Hope set forth reasons for observing the ordinance annually at the time of the Passover. Pro and con articles followed, but Passover reports in the spring of 1881 showed that many brethren had accepted it.
The April 26, 1881 issue states that the Passover was kept on the evening after the 13th of Nisan, with footwashing, at Brother Samuel Barackman's in Nebraska. Also, R.E. Caviness of Beckwith, Iowa reported observing it, and Brother S.S. Davison spoke in favor of an annual Passover. The May 24, 1881 issue contained a long article by A.F. Dugger explaining reasons for annual Passover observance.152
In 1907, a letter in the Advocate from Sister Katie R. Gilstrap reveals that she and her husband were Seventh-Day Adventists, but came into Church of God beliefs because Seventh-Day Adventists would not accept the Passover. She wishes "Brother [J.H.] Nichols" could visit them, as they live in an isolated place and have no contact with Church of God brethren. Mrs. Gilstrap noted that Advocate readers would probably not see the need of still keeping the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the two Sabbaths (March 31 and April 6 of that year, as she calculated, which is a day ahead), but she and her husband believed Christ and the disciples kept them, and we should too, referring to Acts 12:3 and 20:6. Mrs. Gilstrap was pleased to see from the last copy of the Advocate that the Church of God people would keep the Passover of 1907 on the "correct" time, on the 15th night. She notes that they formerly kept Passover on the night of the 14th, and is happy to see a church not bound up in a creed that doesn't turn from past errors. The Gilstraps had kept the Passover since 1893, but knew of no one else who kept it at the time they did. Subsequently, Brother Nichols, De Ford and a Dr. Reed took up this truth, De Ford wrote it in Azazel, Dr. Reed in Gleanings, and both later in the Advocate.153
The Advocate of that same year also carried a letter of an Elder Richardson of London supporting observance of Passover on the night of the 14th, March 28 of that year. J.F. Flory of Lemoore, California kept the Passover with ten others at his house. First they had a supper, then washed each other's feet, had the bread and cup, and sang an hymn.154
Two Dates Kept - 1908
Elder R.E. Caviness celebrated the Passover at Pleasant Plain, Iowa with the Cramers and several others on the evening of the 14th, with foot washing afterwards. At the Pleasant Hill, Missouri church, they celebrated it on Nisan 15, Brother G.W. Richards officiating. Again, the Scranton, Iowa church kept it on the 14th.155
Further Date Controversy
In 1909, the correct date of Passover (Nisan 14) was April 5 (observed the evening of April 4). Yet in the 1909 Advocate is mentioned that Passover is to be observed on Monday night, April 5, and in so doing that this fulfilled keeping the Passover on the 14th of Nisan. The Church of God at Glen, Colorado observed Passover on the evening of April 3, or the evening of April 2. The Stanberry church met for the Passover the night after Sabbath, April 3. It is obvious that there was one or two days variance in Passover observance.156
In 1910 the dispute was still on. S.W. Mentzer computed Passover as the evening after the Sabbath, which fell on April 23. Nisan 14 that year was April 23. J. Nuesch refuted Mentzer, saying that the Passover lamb was not slain until the evening of the 14th, not until the 15th. J.G. Gilstrap disputed Nuesch, saying Passover should be observed that year Sunday evening April 24.157
In 1917, the Advocate contained reference to observing Passover the beginning of the 14th of Nisan, which fell on that year on Friday, April 6. Thus the observance was on Thursday evening, April 5.158
In 1924, the term "Lord's Supper" appears to be used generally for the first time instead of "Passover." It was observed (correctly) on Thursday evening, April 17. A lead article in the April 8th issue is entitled, "Why Unfermented Wine Is Used at the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper," and written by Evelyn L. Long. The article stated that Jews used unfermented wine, Christ did, so we ought to also. The Church of God was listed as observing "the Passover or Lord's Supper" at the beginning of the 14th. Christ was killed between three and five o'clock in the afternoon of the 14th, the same time as when the Passover lamb was killed. This implied that the true Jewish Passover was on Nisan 15. It appears that 1924 was the first time generally that "Passover reports" of the churches were given, indicating the location of various churches keeping the Passover.159
In 1926, there was a report of when the Mill Yard Church of God in London observed the Passover. It was correct, on Sunday evening, March 28, the beginning of the 29th. The Advocate noted that this was the same time calculated by the Church of God.160
Passover - 14th or 15th of Nisan?
One of the key issues mentioned as the cause of the 1933 Church of God division was the issue of when to observe the Passover. Dugger leaned to observance on the beginning of the 14th, and this was adopted as the official church doctrine. There was opposition. The Stanberry group (as opposed to the Salem group) leaned toward the 15th date. In a 1937 Bible Advocate of the Stanberry group, Darrell A. Davis wrote an article, "True Christian Observance of the Lord's Supper." He said that the wine should be grape juice, the footwashing before the ordinances, and the hymn should be afterwards, without a closing benediction. The leftover bread should be burnt, and leftover wine poured out. Interestingly enough, the paper listed two "Lord's Supper dates".161 For articles proving that the Christian Passover is to be observed on the first part of Nisan 14, and that wine, not grape juice, should be used for the service, please write to Giving and Sharing.
Custom of Fasting Before Passover
From time to time it has been noted that the Church of God advised a period of fasting prior to Passover observance in order to properly prepare for the important event. In 1924, the General Conference committee set aside a week of fasting and prayer to precede Passover of that year. It was not recommended that everyone fast an entire week, but each member was to use his own judgment.162 In 1925 again it was recommended a week prior to Passover, to get member's minds on the sacredness of the event.163
Feast Days: Sleeper Issue
A more quiet issue, alluded to earlier by Mrs. J.G. Gilstrap, was that of whether or not the feast days should be observed. The discussion of the Sabbath question naturally raises to the fore the question of the validity of the annual sabbaths, or holy days of Leviticus 23. The same arguments used against Sabbath observance are used against feast day observance.
James White had early rejected the feast days. (See the first issue of The Present Truth in 1849.) Seventh-Day Adventist J.N. Andrews refuted the feast days in his work in 1873. He said,
There is no evidence that the jubilee was ever observed, and it is certain that the sabbatical year was almost entirely disregarded. Leviticus 26:34, 35, 43 and II Chronicles 36:21. Pentecost nor the Feast of Tabernacles could not have been observed until after the Hebrews entered Palestine, and the annual sabbaths were part and parcel of these feasts, and could have no existence until after the feasts to which they belonged had been instituted.
Isaiah 1:13, 14 shows that God hates "your new moons and your appointed feasts," while Hosea 2:11 shows God will cause to cease "her feast-days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." Christ abolished them completely, according to Andrews.164
Some in Church of God Held to Feast Day Observance
In May, June and July of 1913, issues of the Bible Advocate carried articles supporting the observance of feast days. They were written by G.G. Rupert, later the publisher of the paper, The Remnant of Israel (1915-?), a former Seventh-Day Adventist. Rupert's starting premise was that "there is not a single text in the New Testament that teaches that any law that God ever gave was abolished and nailed to the cross . . . " and that only the sacrifices and oblations have ceased, as stated in Daniel 9:27.165
Rupert was an independent who for a time went along with the Church of God from Stanberry, but because they refused to accept his teachings, formed an independent movement.
Sarber Supports Annual Feast Days
In 1916, G.W. Sarber from Knox, Indiana wrote in the Advocate supporting the annual holydays. He mentioned that Pentecost is 50 days from Nisan 16, the Feast of Tabernacles is the 15th day of the seventh month, and the eighth day of Tabernacles is also a sabbath rest. "These are the feasts of the Lord, and from the Bible standpoint they are as binding upon the sons of God at this present time as they were when God commanded them to Israel of old." The editor, A.N. Dugger, included a caption stating that "Every writer is held responsible for their sentiments."166
Official Church of God Position Against Holy Days
The 1917 article, "What the Church of God Believes and Why?", written by A.N. Dugger, stated in Article 21 that the commandments nailed to the cross included only animal sacrifices, and yearly sabbath days that were governed by the day of the month, new moons, feasts, and other holydays, referring to Ephesians 2:15, Hebrews 9:10-12. In the same issue, in the "Question Corner" section, Dugger explained Romans 14:15 as follows: "The death of Christ made an end to the feast days, and meats and drinks, which were shadows. Those who rejected Christ were still keeping these feast day Sabbaths . . . " and Paul gave them contrary instruction, Colossians 2:16.167
Another "Question Corner" answer by Dugger in 1924 stated that Acts 18:21 refers to the feast of Passover day, and Acts 20:6 (Days of Unleavened Bread) refers only to the Passover, not the whole week.168
Holy Days were to be a latent issue within the Church of God, accepted by some, but rejected by many. Though the official church position was against them, some supporters of the Church of God continued to believe and keep them, yet still maintaining Church of God membership.
The Meats And Tobacco Issues
In 1866, articles began to appear in the Hope of Israel against the use of pork, apparently prompted by deaths from trichinosis.169
Generally, the meats issue was not a test of doctrine, and not included specifically in Church of God articles of belief. Jacob Brinkerhoff and A.F. and A.N. Dugger, longtime Editors of the Advocate, were personally opposed to eating pork. The May 12, 1908 issue noted that the Editors believed in the law of clean and unclean, but others of the brethren believed it was a thing of the past.170
In 1911, Editor Jacob Brinkerhoff stated that "on the subject of Food we must be lenient with those who do not see the matter as we do."171
Yet in the 1929 General Conference at Stanberry, it was resolved that ministers teach against the eating of unclean meats, as well as tobacco.172
As far as tobacco is concerned, Cranmer's associates were labeled by Seventh-Day Adventists as tobacco users. S.C. Hancock of the Church of the Firstborn in the East said that his people regarded tobacco as a "dirty, loathsome, expensive, unhealthy practice, and from which every disciple of Christ should abstain."173 John Reed, one of Cranmer's leading associates, reportedly quit the habit in late 1864.174
In 1928, an unnamed man from Arkansas wrote in the Advocate saying that some Church of God brethren said they were too poor to pay tithes, yet they were heavy tobacco users. Dugger replied that they were not really in the church if they did so, for "The Church of God stands on record opposing the use of tobacco in every form, and our ministry is constantly teaching the people their duty along this line."175
Passover and Meats were to be two key issues which were to precipitate division in the Church of God in 1933.
The Jew and Israel
The "Age to Come" doctrine held to by the Church of God is that the prophecies relating to the regathering of Israel in conjunction with the Second Coming of Christ apply to literal Israel rather than spiritual Israel. Who is literal Israel?
In 1861, Elder R.V. Lyon (mentioned by Dugger's history as a Church of God minister) wrote a pamphlet entitled, "the Scattering and Restoration of Israel." In it he stated that in conjunction with the return of Christ, Judah and the Ten-tribed House of Israel would be regathered. They are spoken of as separate entities, and are the "two sticks" to be rejoined as foretold in the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:15-28. Lyon reported that this prophecy was written 134 years after the Ten Tribes went into captivity, and they were never brought back to their land, were never united with Judah. He neglected to report where they are today, though.176
A 1903 issue of the Advocate contains a statement by S.S. Davison that "The [re]turn of the Jews to the land of Palestine is a sure sign and forerunner that Christ is soon coming."177
The capture of Jerusalem from the Turks by General Allenby in 1917 is especially noted as hastening the return of the Jew to Israel. In 1923 and later years, a regular section in the Advocate was devoted to "Zion News," and the regathering of the Jews. Note was made in 1923 that "27,000 Jews entered Palestine since 1918." In 1924, columns entitled "Palestine From Day to Day" noted further progress along this line.178
Dugger and the Church of God in general have believed that the Jews are the only ones that fulfill prophecies relating to the regathering of Israel.
Merritt Dickinson and Anglo-Israelism
Besides R.V. Lyon, another Church of God minister held to the conviction that the Jews were separate from the Ten Tribes of the House of Israel. In December, 1919, Merritt Dickinson of Longdale, Oklahoma wrote a series of articles in the Advocate, also printed into a tract, entitled "The Final Gathering of the Children of Israel." Only the concluding article has thus far been located.
Dickinson stated in the article that England is Ephraim and America is Manasseh, and presumably the rest of the lost Ten Tribes are in northwestern Europe. He stated that the Ten Lost Tribes were scattered as well as Judea, the Jew, and will just as certainly be gathered. His article concluded by stating that Advocate readers could write to the editor for a free supply of tracts on "The Final Gathering of the Children of Israel," for distribution.179
Born about 1864 in Ohio, Merritt Dickinson as a boy moved with his family to Michigan, where they lived near Saginaw. In 1883 at the age of 19, Merritt married Ida Nichols (possibly the daughter of J.H. Nichols), a colporteur who worked under Ellen G. White. Merritt and his brother Leroy knew the Whites' personally, and were practically next door neighbors for a while, but reportedly never went along with the Seventh-Day Adventists. They were part of the Church of God in Michigan, and attended conferences in White Cloud. Campmeetings those days lasted 8-10 days. Interestingly, some of the Dickinson's relatives were said to have been Seventh Day Baptists. While in Michigan, Leroy and Merritt kept the Passover, but on Nisan 15.
Through self-study, Merritt Dickinson came to believe in Anglo- Israelism. He reportedly read the book, Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright. Leroy, Merritt and their mother went to Jerusalem for three years, 1898-1900, and along the trip, stopped off at London and saw the Stone of Scone. After the trip they settled in Oklahoma. By now, they were observing the Sabbath by themselves.
By 1912, Merritt was preaching, holding meetings in Oklahoma. It was that year that A.N. Dugger had a street conversation with Merritt as recalled by his niece, Mrs. Otis Cole. Dugger stated: "You can preach about that (Anglo-Israelism) if you want to, and there may be some truth to it; but you can't get anywhere with the people while preaching that." Merritt Dickinson replied: "You admit it is the truth, but you won't preach it!" This discouraged Dickinson about the Church of God. He later turned down ordination and a minister's license, because he refused to be tied down and muzzled.180 Yet in the General Conference Report on Ministers in 1923, M.N. Dickinson is listed as an ordained, recognized and credentialed minister, next to A.N. Dugger.181
In 1913, Elder M.W. Unzicker began meetings at White Horse school house on June 1 at the request of Dickinson. Bad weather plagued the meeting, and Dickinson helped conduct a meeting also.182
Elder L.O. Van Nostrand has been said to have typed the manuscript of Merritt Dickinson's tract on Anglo-Israelism, and was listed as co-author in the tract when published at Stanberry.183
Merritt Dickinson was not the only one in the Church of God who believed in Anglo-Israelism. R.K. Walker, Frank Walker, S.S. Davison, and Roy Davison were prominent Church of God ministers holding similar views. The issue was to be another question that tended to divide the Church of God, and continued to be held by some who stayed in the church.
Sunday Church of God: Ties with Seventh Day Church of God
In relation to the restoration of the nation of Israel prior to the Second Coming and its pre-eminence in the Kingdom of God, another church has taught much the same as the Church of God (Seventh Day). This is the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith, also known as the Churches of God in Christ Jesus, Church of God (Oregon, Illinois), or Restitution Church. The 1908 Advocate stated that "these people hold the same faith and doctrines as we do with the exception of their rejection of the Sabbath."184
A 1907 issue even advertises the Twelfth Annual Conference of the Churches of God in Christ Jesus, held at Waterloo, Iowa, August 17-25. Again it is mentioned that, though they do not observe the Sabbath, they were "believers of the other points of our faith."185
The question naturally arises whether these people held to the observance of an annual Lord's Supper, certainly a primary Church of God (Seventh Day) doctrine.
Elder C.E. Groshans of Indiana used their church building in Grand Rapids for meetings, and noted that their "faith we heartily endorse."186
The Restitution church appears to be an Adventist body whose origins may be traced back to Joseph Marsh. Scattered groups of Restitutionists, Age to Come Adventists and others organized in 1888 at Philadelphia as the Churches of God in Christ Jesus. The next year the "organization" ceased to function, and it wasn't until 1921 that a General Conference was organized at Waterloo, Iowa. Headquarters was established at Oregon, Illinois. A loose group, based on the state conference system of government, the church had 2,224 members in 1916, 3,528 members in 1926 and about 5,800 in 1965.187 In 1917 the church had two periodicals, The Restitution (Cleveland, Ohio) and The Restitution Herald (Oregon, Illinois), which paper had apparently been going since about 1851. Churches in 1890 were at:
Fairview, Neb. (N.H. Hornaday elder)
Andover, South Dakota
Frontier County, Nebraska
Happy Woods, Louisiana188
Interestingly, the 1917 Yearbook of Churches confused the Church of God (Adventist) with the Churches of God in Christ Jesus (Adventist).
The Restitution Church of God tended to consist of independents. One such "man of strong individuality" who "followed no one's leading" was Bible scholar and debater Elder George M. Myers (1838-1908). His obituary in the 1908 Bible Advocate gives him as the author of "The Atonement," "Covenants of Promise," and also a Church of God hymnal, "Glad Tidings." Myers was the publisher of secular and religious papers and periodicals in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas, and helped to organize and re-organize conferences of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri-Kansas, and Kansas-Oklahoma. He was President of Missouri-Kansas Restitutionist Church of God at his death. He was termed a firm believer in the Sabbath, Anglo-Israelism, the covenants of promise, the Second Coming of Christ and the Kingdom of God on the earth.189
Further research may show more of the interesting ties between the Church of God (Seventh Day) and the Churches of God in Christ Jesus.
Similar to the Seventh Day Baptists, the Church of God has from time to time preached against Christmas, and Easter, but has not been adamantly against the Christmas holiday.
A 1907 Advocate stated that Easter was of pagan origins. In 1909, W.A.H. Gilstrap wrote that Christmas is a pagan holiday, comparing it to the "day of the sun," or Sunday. In 1925, there was a strong article stating that Christ was not born on December 25, and that Christmas is of Papal origins. Readers were encouraged to read an encyclopedia article on Christmas, renounce the holiday custom of gift-giving, and put their money directly in the work of the Lord.190
The Ministry - Ordination and Recommendation
Church of God ministers fell into two categories: licensed ministers and credentialed ministers. Young ministerial aspirants were first granted a license by their state organization, before being ordained and granted credentials by the General Conference. As a "precaution against wolves," the General Conference credentials went to ordained, fully recognized ministers who adhered to Church of God teachings. Ordination was done by anointing with oil and laying on of hands, as shown in the ordination of Harvey Briggs of Muskegon Heights, Michigan, by Elder C.E. Groshans.191
Those reported as licensed and credentialed by the General Conference were not all the ministers of the church. Licensed ministers residing in a state that had a state conference were not listed by the General Conference.192 About 1911, the Church of God required all ministers with credentials to report their work at the end of the year to headquarters, and they had to show some activity in order to be continued as church ministers. Later, because many ministers were getting old and became unable to be active, they were placed on a retired list, and still recognized in good standing.193
Issue of Church Government - Critical Problem
As in 1905, doctrinal questions were allowed to split the Church of God because the issue of Church Government had not been resolved. Was the church to have authority to discipline its members? Or was each allowed to have his own private opinion on various doctrinal subjects?
As early as 1908, the General Conference stated that "no member of this conference shall be allowed to teach any doctrine in public which is not believed by us as a Conference until it is first investigated by said Conference and accepted." Violation of this principle could bring refusal to renew a minister's credentials for one year.
It is interesting to note that at this Conference, the five member Executive Committee was elected by a majority vote of ordained ministers. Each state could send a delegate, even if it was not organized into a state conference. The General Conference allowed regular lay members to participate in deliberations, but not to vote in proceedings. Further, the Conference stated that it would withdraw fellowship from any of its members for a good cause.194
In 1924, Elder J.T. Williamson reported that an unnamed "co-laborer" had left the ranks, wanting to be independent, feeling that the Church of God had "popes."195
In 1928, the By-Laws of the Constitution were altered so that no member could teach any doctrine publicly which was not believed by the Conference. It had to be clearly stated that such a belief was not endorsed by the Church of God, and that it was his own individual opinion.196
Such procedures did not prove effective. Those who held divergent views refused to be kept silent. The result was division. W
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