The Church of God, (Seventh Day): History and Teachings (COG 7th Day)

By COGwriter

Everyone who was once part of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) or who has read the Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong is aware that he originally fellowshiped with the Church of God, (Seventh Day) (normally referred to as CG7-D in this article) (though in the actual 1973 edition of the Autobiography, he tends to refer to CG7 as the Stanberry {due to a CG7 split that later temporarily healed} or the 'Sardis' church) (the Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.).

This lengthy article will refresh readers memories of some Herbert W. Armstrong (though more on him is in the article Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today?) and CG7 history and discuss why a separation occurred as well as some current positions of CG7-D.

First Some Important COG History

The history of the Church of God (COG) is a long and turbulent one, with many players and many names. In my opinion, CG7-D somewhat descended from a long line of Churches of God (COGs) that began at Pentecost in 31 A.D. A version of this also used to be CG7-D's official position (it does not teach it the same way anymore, though some within it still believe that).

In 1860 a group opposing Ellen White the name Seventh Day Adventist became known as the Church of Christ or Church of God (Everett S. Christian Unity. Hope of Israel, November 2, 1864), and later after various groups came together General Conference of the Church of God (1884). In 1923, the name became the Church of God (Seventh Day). (Much more on COG history around that time can be found in the article The Sardis Church Era.)

In the 19th century, what was unofficially known as Church of Christ, which was later renamed Church of God (Seventh Day), published the Messenger of Truth:

The Messenger of Truth vigorously promoted the age-to-come doctrine until the paper closed in 1858. (Bull, Malcolm; Lockhart Keith. Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream.  Published by Indiana University Press, 2007)

In the lead article for the first issue of the Hope of Israel, published by the there was a teaching to the effect that Pentecost represented the former rain, but that a latter rain was to come:

The churches of God in Wisconsin, looking for the appearing of the Lord, and the same class of churches in Iowa and some of the same faith in Illinois, have taken their stand upon the word of God contained in the prophets of Jehovah, and the apostles of Christ, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; admitting no other authority for their faith, practice and discipline; yet are we waiting for the latter rain, spoken of by Joel 2:23. If, as Peter said on the day of pentecost, that which then was seen in the apostles was a fulfilling of the prophecy of Joel, surely it was but the former rain; and the latter rain is yet to come, attended with wonders in the heavens and in the earth and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Davison S. Letter from Iowa to H.S. Dille. Hope of Israel, Vol. 1, August 10, 1863, p. 1)

Before going further, note that the ecumenical 'latter rain' teaching that certain Pentecostals and others have is in biblical error. For details, see the article: Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! and/or the free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God's plan of salvation.

It should also be mentioned that various "age to come" views were published by some in the 19th century--but this was questioned in the 20th century and is not officially taught in the 21st century as former CG7-D President Robert Coulter told me personally (on the telephone and in person). Robert Coulter told me that they place their start year as 1858, with Gilbert Cranmer their first leader.

The groups that the current CG7-Denver trace early history through had a wide opinion on doctrine, and many early people and leaders part of it probably were not truly Church of God. But because it was an alternative to the SDA movement, had a somewhat open publishing policy, and because it ended up having a wide range internationally, over time it seemed to lean more COG and more COG doctrines were embraced by its top leadership.

Gilbert Cranmer, an early Sabbatarian Church of Christ leader, declared this about his learning the Sabbath:

Among other subjects, the seventh day Sabbath was being investigated. My attention was first called to it by an article in a paper called the “Midnight Cry” written by J.C. Day of Ashburnham, Massachusetts. They strongly urged the doctrine at the time, but I did not become fully established in the Sabbath truth until the year 1845. David Hewitt of Battle Creek and myself commenced it at the same day. About this time I made the acquaintance of Elder Joseph Bates. He too commenced the observance of the Sabbath ... In 1846 James White received the Sabbath truth from Elder Joseph Bates (Branch M.A.  Autobiography of Gilbert Cranmer 1814-1903 as told to M.A. Branch.  Sent by the Church of God (Seventh Day)—undated.  Original on file with the Bible Advocate Press, Denver, pp. 10-11).

So, Gilbert Cranmer began keeping the Sabbath before the Whites did. He first learned of it in 1843 (Kiesz J. The Sabbath Through the Ages. Bible Advocate, July 26, 1965).

The late John Kiesz wrote:

It is evident that there were Sabbath-keeping groups (independent) besides the Seventh Day Baptists, before and during the time of William Miller’s preaching and prediction of the end of the world, in 1844. Elder Gilbert Cranmer of Michigan wrote in his memoirs that he received his first light on the Sabbath in 1843 from an article in the Midnight Cry, a Millerite publication, written by J. C. Day of Ashburhan, Massachusetts. S. C. Hancock of Forestville, Connecticut, also advocated the doctrine in the same year (Kiesz J. SOME CHURCH OF GOD HISTORY (7TH DAY)).

A Seventh-day Adventist leaning book stated:

CHURCH OF GOD (SEVENTH DAY). Adventist group that traces it origin back to the original sabbatarian Adventist movement.  After H.S. Case and C.P. Russell came into conflict with Ellen G. White in Jackson, Michigan, in 1853, they began publishing the Messenger of Truth and two years later formed an alliance with J.M. Stephenson and D.P. Hall in Wisconsin ... advocating the belief that during the millennium individuals would have a second chance to accept Christ (Land G. Historical Dictionary Of Seventh-Day Adventists: Historical Dictionaries of Religions Philosophies, and Movements, No. 56. Published by Scarecrow Press, 2005, p. 63).

Of course, a “second chance” is not actually taught by the COG, but a legitimate first chance is (see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis). But it was in the 1850s that there was a separation between those that supported James and Ellen White and those that held to more traditional COG positions.

Ellen White had some "vision" and that stopped the SDAs from teaching the age to come.

in 1851, Ellen White, through a vision, helped a church member who was confused with the "age to come" error. (Douglass HE. Messenger of the Lord. Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1998, p. 436)

In the 19th century, some Sabbatarians published the Messenger of Truth:

The Messenger of Truth vigorously promoted the age-to-come doctrine until the paper closed in 1858. (Bull, Malcolm; Lockhart Keith. Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream.  Published by Indiana University Press, 2007)

In the 19th century, various ones like James P. Stephenson taught the “age to come,” though J.P. Stephenson himself was falsely accused of going insane in his later years by the SDAs, a group that still perpetuates that story (Stilson JT. Biogragraphical Encyclopedia: Chronicling the History of the Church of God Abrahamic Faith. Word Edge, 2011, pp. 248-254)

In the year 1863 there were many people in various parts of the United States who held to the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath and were looking for the soon return of Christ, but who either had never been connected with the Seventh day Adventists, or who had rejected the inspiration of the so-called "visions" of Mrs. E. G. White. These people were scattered and unorganized. In the summer of 1863 a number of them associated together and began the publication of a monthly paper, named "The Hope of Israel." The first issue was dated August 10, 1863, and was issued from Hartford, Mich. Enos Easton was editor and Samuel Davison and Gilbert Cranmer were leaders of the work. Some of those supporting the paper were loosely organized under the name "Church of Christ" while others held to the name "Church of God." But they were united in faith in the soon coming of Christ and a number of other doctrines, and also were opposed to accepting the "visions" of Mrs. E. G. White. (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1941, p. 36)

Church of God became the settled upon name. With the group being called Church of God in the 19th century.

In the Hope of Israel, then published by the Church of God/Christ there was a teaching to the effect that Pentecost represented the former rain, but that a latter rain was to come (August 10, 1863). Various "age to come" views were published by the 'Church of God' groups in the 19th century.

The 21st century CG7 no longer teaches that an opportunity for salvation that comes after the millennium and the second resurrection (though it suggests it is possible)--but the Continuing Church of God does.

CG7-Denver (the largest CG7 group) teaches this about its mid-nineteenth century and more recent history:

The Church of God (Seventh Day) grew from the efforts of dedicated advent believers living in Michigan and Iowa in the late 1850's. In 1863, the Michigan church began to extend its influence into the eastern and central U.S. through a publication called The Hope of Israel. This magazine invited fellow Christians to assemble at conferences and campmeetings, and created interest in their distinctive doctrines: the second advent of Christ and the seventh-day Sabbath. Through these means, the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) was organized in 1884 and incorporated in Missouri in 1899. Its offices were located in Stanberry, Missouri, until 1950, when they were transferred to Denver, Colorado. Over the years, The Hope of Israel also moved from Michigan to Iowa, then to Missouri. After several name changes, it is now known as the Bible Advocate. More than 100 years later, this flagship publication of the Church continues to be published and mailed ten times a year from the Denver offices (, 02/14/06).

One important item that CG7-D neglected to mention above is that many of its official founding members broke away from those that became the Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) when certain leaders took over, proposed the name Seventh-day Adventist, and came up with prophecies and other views which were never held by the true Church of God. The changes by the SDAs did appeal to some who were disappointed in 1844 as well as those who did not have the "love of the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:10) as well as to many SDBs (Randolph, pp. 202,228).

The Cranmer-era group was sometimes referred to as 'Cranmerites' (Kiesz, p. 23). They had a range of doctrine, not all of which acceptable to the COG. However, because these Sabbatarians had a range of doctrines and many that were not defined, various COG congregations began to have relationships with it (Coulter R. The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Robert Coulter, 2014, pp. 173-180).

CG7-D’s Robert Coulter reported the following history about what became his organization:

By 1860 a conference of several congregations located across south-central and western Michigan was organized ... another branch of the Church of God (Seventh Day) was founded in Iowa ... at Marion ...

Cranmer recalls in his biography that he seventh-day Sabbath was first brought to his attention in an Advent publication called The Midnight Cry ... Gilbert Cranmer, founder of the church in Michigan, 1858 (Coulter R.  The Story of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Bible Advocate Press, Denver, 1983, pp. 9,11).

Perhaps it should be mentioned that the Ellen White Adventists were not formally called Seventh-day Adventists in 1858. They did not adopt that name formally until October 1, 1860. 

The SDAs have reported the following about the group in Marion:

The Marion party adopted the name Church of God (Adventist) ... While retaining Sabbath observance, they differed in their understanding of the Millennium, favoring an earthly millennium at which time, with Christ’s presence upon the earth, all mankind will be converted.  They promoted the keeping of Old Testament Feast days and advanced the unscriptural notion that Christ died on Wednesday and arose Saturday afternoon, having spent seventy-two hours, three whole days and nights, in Joseph’s tomb.

... an offshoot of this church formed adopting the named Church of God (Seventh Day) (Standish RR, Standish C. The General Conference Confronts Apostasy.  Hartland Publications, , 2006, p. 84).

While we in the faithful Church of God do not teach that ALL of humankind will be converted (and it is possible that the SDA writer slightly misunderstood that point as I noted some other errors in that book, such as it called H.W. Armstrong, W.W. Armstrong), the doctrines listed above are consistent with the historical positions of the true COG (such as the fact that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday and was resurrected on a Saturday, for details, please see What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?).

Some in Ohio left affiliation with the SDAs once they had the name Seventh-day Adventist imposed upon them.

Notice the following report:

... the church carrying the message of truth, teaching the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, at this time was called "The Church of God," we submit the following, from the Review and Herald of April 9, 1861, under title of "Secession." It reads as follows:-- "Brother Smith: We conclude from present aspects that the name, Seventh Day Adventist,' is being made obligatory upon our brethren. Without further light Ohio cannot submit to the name, 'Seventh Day Adventist,' as either a test, or an appropriate name for God's people.-- "Being appointed a finance committee at the last conference, and having now on hand means for carrying on the cause in Ohio, we could not conscientiously expend those means in any other than the advancement and extension of the truth and the `Church of God.'-- "If such means are expended otherwise it will be necessary for the churches in Ohio to assemble in conference, and to give instruction to that effect, and to choose some other committee to make the disbursements. "Signed J. Dudley, L. E. Jones, J. P. Flemming, Finance committee of Ohio."(Dugger AN, Dodd CO, Chapter 22).

In 1863, Enos Easton wrote in the first edition of The Hope of Israel on August 10, 1863:

We shall stand firmly behind what the Bible reveals to be the truth ...

As principles we maintain,

1st. “That the Bible and the Bible alone” contain the whole moral law; and that its precepts are sufficient to govern God’s people in every age of the world ... ” (p. 12).

For believing the above, the SDAs apparently considered those in the Church of God movement rebels, but they themselves did not consider that to be the case.  Notice something on church circular that was later republished in the Hope of Israel in 1864:

On the 10th of June, 1860, something over 50 of us adopted a form of a church covenant drawn up by one of the approve messengers [to wit, M.E. Cornell] ...

Nearly a year and a half afterward, the same messenger held up publicly, some other volumes by the side of the Bible, or a recent date, and averred that these recent publications were of equal authority and urged us to adopt their teaching, also as a rule of faith and discipline ...

We now discover that the cry for organization, had been made under false colors; and that while the plea of holding church property, and securing church imposters was held out, the real object was to put the visions of Ellen G. White on the same eminence with the Bible. ...

As it regards rebels, we boldly assert that we are not rebels.  We have not rebelled against the constitution which we adopted, for we stand firm on it yet.  We have not rebelled against Ellen G. White, for we never endorsed her ... so the charge of rebellion reflects with shame on them who have made it, they being the ones who have departed from their first position [the Bible and the Bible alone] and have adopted a new one (Coulter, p. 16-17).

Thus, the faithful claimed that it was those who accepted Ellen G, White’s visions as at least as important as the Bible who were the rebels.  Hence, they are claiming (correctly) that the Church of God did not come out of the SDA movement per se, but that when they thought that the SDA movement believed in the Bible alone, they were originally willing to have organizational fellowship with it. Yet, once they realized that the SDAs rejected the position of the Bible alone to the position of the Bible as interpreted by Ellen G. White, that they could no longer be affiliated with it.

Yet, those in the true Church of God rejected Ellen White as a prophetess in the 1800s (and still do now) and most who did were not part of the SDAs. This does not mean that all her "prophecies" were false--even Roman Catholic "prophets" have made statements that came to pass--it simply means that we in the COGs do not believe that Ellen White was a prophetess sent by God, nor do we refer to her writings as "inspiration" as many SDAs do.

Another fundamental difference for the split between those now known as SDAs and those in the COGs can probably be shown from the sanctuary interpretation of 1844 by Ellen White. Notice what she wrote:

THE SUBJECT OF THE sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonius, showing that God's hand directed the great advent movement, and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people (White E.G. Will America Survive? 1888; Reprint, 1988 by Inspiration Books East, Jemison (AL), p. 405).

Now while I do believe that Ellen White was correct that prophecy is important, we in the COGs do not believe that the message of the Bible is that the Advent movement is correct because of her sanctuary interpretation. It is the Bible, and not Ellen White's interpretations, that unlock the mysteries of God and which is the complete system of truth.

The plain truth is that the Church of God people had a lot of biblical doctrines in the 1800s. The Whites came into contact, mainly indirect contact, with them and accepted some of their doctrines, and hence did teach many biblical truths. However, their excessive fixation on Ellen White's prophetic interpretations, combined with the fact that she (and ultimately nearly all other SDA members), began to lose many biblical COG doctrines shows that the SDAs are simply not part of the COG (although some who believe that they are in that movement may be).

I believe that the true COG Christians ended up associating with related groups and that in time, they assisted with correcting various errors on Christology that people like Gilbert Cranmer nor Jacob Brinkerhoof held to.

SDAs and Their Opponents

Ellen White made the following comments as part of her "Testimony for the Church," No. 6:

"No name which we can take will be appropriate but that which accords with our profession, and expresses our faith, and marks us as a peculiar people. . .

"The name Seventh-day Adventist carries the true features of our faith in front, and will convict the inquiring mind. Like an arrow from the Lord's quiver, it will wound the transgressors of God's law, and will lead to repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

"I was shown that almost every fanatic who has arisen, who wishes to hide his sentiments that he may lead away others, claims to belong to to the Church of God. Such a name would at once excite suspicion; for it is employed to conceal the most absurd errors."

(As cited in Loughborough JN. Rise and progress of the Seventh-day Adventists: with tokens of God's hand in the movement and a brief sketch of the Advent cause from 1831 to 1844. General Conference Association of the Seventh-day Adventists, 1892. Original from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  Digitized May 15, 2009, p. 227)

So, according to Ellen White's sixth “Testimony” nearly all who opposed her claimed to be part of the Church of God.

Looking over a variety of SDA books on its history makes it clear that most of the SDAs seem to believe that those who left it or were Sabbatarians that would not become part of them were fanatical people with character flaws and not committed Christians. The reality is that many in the Sardis period never were part of the SDAs.

Many SDA publications seem to focus on 4-10 individuals who opposed them and do not report on the totality of what occurred. 

SDA publications teach/indicate that Gilbert Cranmer left because he had bad habits and could not get credentialed as a minister. The truth is that Gilbert Cranmer (who left the Methodists in the early 1800s, because he did not accept the trinity, Branch, p. 4) was both licensed and ordained as a minister (Branch, pp. 4,7) by the same group that licensed and ordained James White.  

And while it is true because the Whites added a later requirement that they issue "a recommendation to the fellowship" (Coulter, The Story of the Church of God (Seventh Day), p. 13) to preach that they ended up denying to Gilbert Cranmer, the truth is that they would not issue it because he raised severe doubts about Ellen White.

Here is what Gilbert Cranmer wrote in 1863 about Ellen G. White and why he stayed for a while with those that eventually became known as the SDAs:

About ten years ago ... Bates came to our town and advocated the whole Law, the gifts of the Spirit, and many other glorious truths.  The gifts belonging to the Church, I had believed in for over 20 years.  Hence I felt to rejoice, supposing I had found the people I had been so long looking for ...

But as long as I was with them, I never knew of any being healed.  I have known them to try but they always failed ...

I also found that the gift of prophecy, with them, was wholly confined to a woman.  I became suspicious that I had got a board the wrong ship. I then commenced giving her visions a thorough investigation. I found they contradict themselves, and they also contradict the Bible. My doubts concerning the visions I made known to the brethren. At once they gave me the cold shoulder, and I was held at bay. Not knowing any people I could unite with, I remained with them for years, hoping they would get sick of the visions of E.G. White, and that we could yet walk together in unity of spirit. But instead of rejecting them, as I hoped they would, they only drew the reigns tighter. At last I made up my mind to not be part of a church ruled by a woman any longer (Coulter, The Story of the Church of God (Seventh Day), pp. 13-14).

Gilbert Cranmer also declared:

The “shut-door” doctrine formed a part of the doctrine of the church; that is, Mrs. White had seen in vision that the day of salvation for sinners was past, and those that fully believed in her visions as coming from God accepted that doctrine ... I did not believe the doctrine nor teach it ... matters ran quite smoothly as far as I was concerned until on Sabbath while I was preaching in Otsego.

Among other things, I stated that I had no evidence that the door of the Holy Place had been closed.  This did not meet the mind of some present.  One of the brethren called my attention to the visions. I said, “This may be evidence to you, but it is not to me”... and an effort was made to bring me into subjection with the visions. I saw no way of reconciling matters. Then I concluded to walk no farther with them and told them so (Branch, pp. 10,11).

So, Gilbert Cranmer originally waited for the bulk of the people to see what was obvious to him and when it was clear that many would not, he left in 1858.

Here is information related to meeting he had with a SDA leader after denying the "shut-door" doctrine from two who attended the meeting:

"Gilbert Cranmer ... came to our house. and while there Mr. Lester Russell came in and asked him if he really meant to say that the outer door of the Sanctuary was still open. In answer, Brother Cranmer told him that he had said what he meant, and that he had no proof to the contrary. Mr. Russell stated that the outer door of the Sanctuary was closed in 1844. Brother Cranmer asked him the nature of his proof, and he drew from his pocket Ellen G. White's book of visions and said there was his proof.

Brother Cranmer answered, "Perhaps Mrs. White's visions are proof to you, but they are not to me".

Some of the church got very much excited over the course Brother Cranmer proposed to pursue in regard to the "shut-door" question, and Mr. George Leighton went to Battle Creek to confer with Elder White on the subject. On his return, Mr. Leighton said that Elder White told him not to let Elder Cranmer speak to the church at Otsego ... The result of the conclusion of the matter was that they refused him the privilege of preaching to them or for them because he did not hold the visions of Ellen G. White to be inspired.

Mr. Leighton said in our presence that the visions were inspired, that they were better than the Bible because they were warm and fresh from the throne of God, and that anyone who did not accept them as inspiration absolutely would be {condemned by God}...These statements we solemnly aver to be true (Perkins Joseph, Perkins Louise. In Branch, p. 12).

Interestingly, the SDAs ultimately abandoned the shut-door doctrine themselves:

Joseph Bates and James White, amopng other leaders of the developing sabbatarian movement, both accepted the shut-door theory, and Ellen G. White experienced a vision in December 1844 that appeared to support this understanding. In 1849, however she had another vision that portrayed Jesus as shutting the door to the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary and opening the door to the most Holy Place...Soon some sabbatarians Adventists where speaking of both a shut door, referring to those that had rejected the gospel message, and an open door that was available to certain individuals despite the fact that they had not believed that Christ was coming in 1844...

Joseph Bates and James White concluded that their shut door views were wrong and by 1854 had largely abandoned shut door/open door language. (Land G. Historical Dictionary Of Seventh-Day Adventists: Historical Dictionaries of Religions Philosophies, and Movements, No. 56. Published by Scarecrow Press, 2005, p. 273).

So, it seems that it took Joseph Bates and James White several years themselves to accept Ellen White's opening and closing vision.

Here is simply one example where an SDA writers has blamed diet and health for “rebellion” against the SDAs:

The influence of ill-health in dissension and rebellion should doubtless not be overstressed; for the spirit should rule the flesh: yet that diet played a part is indisputable.  The heavy meat consumption and the use of fiery condiments were hindrances to self-control and balance and tobacco remained a temptation to which the diet ministered. Cranmer departed because of tobacco; Snook was nervously debilitated; Hull alternated between spells of moroseness with levity; Hall and Rhodes, early companions of the Whites, became progressively alienated as their health declined (Spalding, Arthur Whitefield. Captains of the Host: A History of the Seventh Day Adventists. Published by Kessinger Publishing, 2005, pp. 310-311).

It should be pointed out that “use of tobacco” (Standish RR, Standish C. The General Conference Confronts Apostasy.  Hartland Publications, 2006, p. 83) is one of the frequent SDA complaints against Gilbert Cranmer that I have read, but rarely do SDA books point out that Gilbert Cranmer was considered to be a “tobacco eater”(Bull, Malcolm; Lockhart Keith. Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream. Published by Indiana University Press, 2007, p. 107), by which this seems to be consistent with one that chews tobacco. 

Which is verified by something the SDAs published in the 19th century:

Eld. Cranmer. The time drew on for the conference to commence and C. arrived. Well, in the first place we found him addicted to the filthy habit of chewing tobacco. (Letter from S.B. Gowell written December 30, 1864, published in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. Vol. 25 Issue 10, January 17, 1865, pp. 61-62)

I think it should be mentioned that in the 1800s, that tobacco chewing would probably be close to the moral equivalent of gum-chewing today.

Also, perhaps I should point out that probably the leading natural, vegetarian, commercial source of a substance known as coenzyme Q10 is from tobacco leaves (Hendlor S, Rorvik D, eds. PDR for Nutritional Supplements, 1st edition. Medical Economics, Montvale (NJ). 2001, p. 103). Hence, many SDAs themselves who consume natural source vegetarian coenzyme Q10 supplements, in a sense, are probably also “tobacco eaters.”

But I should add here that I am not trying to make a personal defense here of Gilbert Cranmer, but just explaining some of the flaws in the SDA condemnations (because of his view of the Godhead, etc. I have severe doubts about whether Gilbert Cranmer was truly part of the true COG and we do NOT count our leadership succession through him). 

The SDA meat and fiery condiment accusation should also be addressed. Jesus clearly ate animal flesh (Luke 9:16-17; 24:42-43). Jesus could have been, and probably was (Luke 7:34), accused of heavy meat consumption. The patriarch Isaac was apparently into heavy use of condiments for meat (Genesis 27:7). Thus, saying that meat and spices lead to lack of self-control and rebellion is a biblical myth.

Now Gilbert Cranmer listed his reasons for not being part of the SDAs and tobacco was not one of them. Perhaps it should be emphasized that Gilbert Cranmer lived until he was over 89 years old, while Ellen White lived until she was over 87 years old and James White barely made it to age 60. Hence, perhaps Gilbert Cranmer's health habits were not worse, but actually better, than the Whites.

Trying to paint those that did not accept Ellen White’s visions as from God as mainly rebels without self-control is highly misleading. (More on Ellen White, SDA differences, and some of Ellen White's prophetic errors can be found in the article SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.)

Seventh-day Adventists Changed Doctrine

In 1873, the SDAs reported that they had 6,000 members (Andrews, p. 511-512; cf. p. iv). And though they have grown considerably since then, it needs to be emphasized that there simply were not tremendous amounts of Sabbatarians who chose the SDAs over the Church of God. Both groups only had a few thousand in the mid-1800s.

In addition to no longer believing in an "age to come" (Mrs. White taught a shut-door for a while, and what the SDAs now teach is not the "age to come" doctrine as understood by the truly faithful in the Church of God), an earthly millennium (Mrs. White taught it was in heaven), and the Bible above Mrs. White's visions, the SDAs also changed their views on the Godhead.

SDA scholar S. Bacchiocchi acknowledged that the SDAs originally were anti-trinitarian (which all the true COGs are), but now the SDAs embrace the idea of the trinity:

The doctrine of the Trinity has been under the crossfire of controversy during much of Christian history. Our Adventist Church has not been exempted from the controversy. In the newly released book The Trinity: Its Implications for Life and Thought (Review and Herald, 2002), Prof. Jerry Moon, one of the three authors, offers a most informative historical survey of the gradual evolution of Adventist pioneers from anti-Trinitarian to Trinitarian beliefs (Bacchiocchi S. The Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity. ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER NO. 147. 5/11/06).

Over time, the SDAs CHANGED their doctrines, with the trinity being an important change.

And this is one problem of COG history--many fall away and change doctrine to worldly, non-COG positions (this is documented much more fully in the article SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666). Jesus knew of this of course, and warned about it, as more specifically did Paul (Matthew 7:13-20;20:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

The Church of God Is Not Truly an Offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventists

Richard Nickels wrote:

Seventh-Day Adventist history states that the Church of God (Seventh Day) "was actually an early offshoot of the Seventh-Day Adventists." But Church of God historian Andrew N. Dugger dogmatically contradicts this by stating that Sabbath-keeping Adventists were originally known as "Church of God" people, and that those who in October, 1860 formed the Seventh-Day Adventist church at Battle Creek, Michigan "are a branch from [and withdrew from] the original church, 'The Church of God'." In other words, the Seventh Day Church of God believes that the Seventh-Day Adventists withdrew from them, while the Seventh-Day Adventists believe the Church of God withdrew from Seventh-Day Adventists! A modern Seventh Day Church of God minister and a Seventh-Day Adventist minister concur on a more "liberal" viewpoint: in the early 1860's, the two groups parted their ways (Richard Nickels, History of the Seventh Day Church of God).

Throughout the history of the Church of God (Seventh Day) and the Seventh-Day Adventists, the two groups have been in diametric opposition to each other.

Basically, those that became known as the Church of God (Seventh Day) did not accept Ellen White’s visions and certain doctrines (especially her view that “the investigative judgment” began and that there would be no earthly millennium nor future “age to come” where those who did not truly have an opportunity for salvation would receive it) nor the name Seventh Day Adventist.  When these became imposed on Sabbatarian congregations, there was a separation. (An article of related interest may be SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.)

Now, one problem I have had with the Sardis era reports from CG7 is that I have not accepted Gilbert Cranmer nor Jacob Brinkerhoof as true Church of God Christians as they had major problems in their Christology (did not accept the deity of Jesus, but seemed like unitarians).

On the other hand,, we accept as COG leaders,men like Abraham G. Long. People like Abraham G. Long seemed to hold to proper COG Christology. A.G. Long was a Sabbatarian possibly before Gilbert Cranmer was.

Two of Abraham G. Long's sons later became part of the COG ministry.

Notice one report about one:

[I]n 1871 there began to appear reports of A.C. Long doing missionary work in Missouri and Kansas. In 1872 he preached in Harrison and Worth counties, close to Stanberry (Gentry County). ...

A.C. Long's Missouri Efforts

Apparently, much of the Missouri growth was due to the preaching efforts of A.C. Long. In early 1874, he held three months of meetings in Harrison and Worth counties. At Martinsville, he garnered seventeen converts and began a church. ...

One meeting lasted for three weeks, and was held at the Union School House near the Moore residence in Harrison County. Six convents were added, making 23 Sabbath-keepers in the area.

In the year 1900, A.C. Long, perhaps the leading Church of God minister since the 1870's, died ... A Church of God member since the 1860's, Long was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, September 15, 1846. (Nickels R. History of the Seventh Day Church of God. Giving & Sharing, 1999)

As the leading COG minister for that period of time, he would have held the mantle of succession.

A.C. Long argued for the deity of Christ. (Coulter R. The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day), p. 190)

Here is some of what he wrote about the pre-existence of Jesus:

Christ lived before Abraham. "Before Abraham was I am" John 8:58. Christ was in heaven before he came to earth. "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven" John 8:13. "What if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?" John 6:62. The plain and obvious meaning of all these passages is that Christ had pre-existence before his birth of the virgin Mary. (From 1886 as cited in Coulter R. The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day), p. 191)

A.C. Long's older brother was W.C. Long. Against the trinitarian view of the Godhead, he wrote:

We do not believe that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit constitute one person. (ibid, p. 190)

Notice something about him and a song book:

E.G. Blackmon of Neosho, Missouri, a former Seventh-Day Adventist minister, was converted through the efforts of W.C. Long in 1886. He was a songwriter and became a leading minister in the Church of God. By January of 1893 he had prepared a church hymnal called "Songs of Truth." Most of the hymns therein, the music as well as the words, were composed by Blackmon. The new church hymnal went through several revisions and "the black book" continued to be used for many years by the Church of God. As Kiesz stated, "The songs were slanted toward truth so that our people could freely sing them, not only with the spirit but with the understanding also." Blackmon died in 1912. (Nickels R. History of the Seventh Day Church of God. Giving & Sharing, 1999)

Regarding succession, A.C. Long was a pre-Civil War Sabbatarian who seemed to hold the succession mantle from 1871-1900. Who may have held it immediately prior is less clear. But it may have been someone who had not been officially part of the Cranmer group.

The name Church of God (Seventh Day) (CG7) was formally adopted in 1923. By that time, this 'Church of Christ' had changed certain doctrines and gained support from those that were not Adventists, and basically had COG doctrines on items like the Godhead. And that last position was officially confirmed by the following statement:

The Church of God recognizes two Divine Beings called God, the Father and Jesus Christ His Son. (General Conference Report, Catalog of Minutes. Stanberry, Missouri, August 1924, pp. 1-2 as quoted by Robert Coulter to Bob Thiel via telephone on 11/14/12; also in Coulter R. The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Robert Coulter, 2014, p. 194)

Despite the above, some had differing views.

What the Church of God 7th Day (Denver) Now Teaches About its History

Here is some of what CG7-D states about its history:

The work in North America is correctly designated Zone 1 because this continent is the birthplace of the modern Sabbathkeeping Church of God movement. It began in the mid-1800s with a handful of brethren in Michigan and has since grown to a conference of about 215 congregations and missions. (General Conference-Church of God (Seventh Day). International Tour — North America. Bible Advocate. January 2007.)

It was in 1858 that Gilbert Cranmer began his independent work in Michigan, giving birth to what is now known as the Church of God (Seventh Day). Since that time, it has been a church on a journey through history, organizational change, and doctrinal and theological development (Rose, Whaid. Celebrate the Journey. 03/10/07).

Our beginning . . . The Church of God (Seventh Day) grew from the efforts of dedicated advent believers living in Michigan and Iowa in the late 1850's. In 1863, the Michigan church began to extend its influence into the eastern and central U.S. through a publication called The Hope of Israel. This magazine invited fellow Christians to assemble at conferences and campmeetings, and created interest in their distinctive doctrines: the second advent of Christ and the seventh-day Sabbath. Through these means, the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) was organized in 1884 and incorporated in Missouri in 1899. Its offices were located in Stanberry, Missouri, until 1950, when they were transferred to Denver, Colorado. Over the years, The Hope of Israel also moved from Michigan to Iowa, then to Missouri. After several name changes, it is now known as the Bible Advocate. More than 100 years later, this flagship publication of the Church continues to be published and mailed ten times a year from the Denver offices (, 02/14/06).

1858-2008 Celebrating 150 Years of God's Faithfulness 08/14/08).

In addition to ignoring parts of its real beginning, what these accounts of history leave out is that they formed after Mr. and Mrs. White took control of a collection of churches, changed its name to 'Seventh Day Adventists', and required that members accept Ellen White as a prophetess and her teachings as inspired prophecy.

Some of these and other details are documented in the book History of the Seventh Day Church of God by Richard Nickels, Giving & Sharing, 1988 as well as the book The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day) by Robert Coulter, 2014. Perhaps I should add that because of his and several other Cranmer-era leaders on the Godhead that I am not convinced that the top Cranmer-era leaders prior to Abraham Long were necessarily true COG leaders (though some COG leaders seemed to have influence with others they had affiliation with).

Below is how the current CG7-D has said it differs from the Seventh Day Adventists (other COGs generally agree with CG7-D on these particular points):

The basic cause of our differences is the role and writings of Ellen G. White. Mrs. White was one of the founders of the SDA Church and is regarded by them as a true prophetess. We recognize that she taught a lot of truth, but we believe it was also mixed with much error. We consider neither Mrs. White nor her writings to be an expression of the 'Spirit of Prophecy.' This is the fundamental difference between the two churches. Beyond this basic difference, here are some particular teachings of the Church of God (Seventh Day) not approved by Seventh-day Adventists: We reject any special significance in Bible prophecy to the year 1844. We believe the provision for salvation was completed when Jesus died, rose from the dead, and returned to heaven -- not in 1844. Therefore, SDA teachings about the cleansing of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment are invalid. We believe that the earth will be inhabited by the saints -- not desolate -- during the 1,000-year reign of Christ. We believe the entombment of Christ was 3 days and 3 nights, from Wednesday evening until Sabbath evening. We do not practice the common celebrations of Christmas and Easter. We do not emphasize the importance of any writings other than the Bible.

What Herbert Armstrong Said About CG7 and Why He Left

Herbert Armstrong wrote about what was going on with him in the early the late 1920s and early 1930s (all references are from the 1973 edition--the later editions were edited after his death and removed all references to 'Sardis' and 'Philadelphia'):

The only Church I had so far found which "kept the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ," and at the same time bore the NAME of the original true Church, was this almost unknown little Church of God with its small publishing house in Stanberry, Missouri" (Autobiography 1973 ed., page 312).

...So, as the first step in this test, I wrote up an exposition of some 16 typewritten pages proving clearly, plainly, and beyond contradiction that a certain minor point of doctrine proclaimed by this church, based on an erroneous interpretation of a certain verse of Scripture, was in error. This was mailed to the Stanberry, Missouri, headquarters to see whether their leaders would confess error and change. The answer came back from their head man, editor of their paper and president of their "General Conference." He was forced to admit, in plain words, that their teaching on this point was false and in error. But, he explained, he feared that if any attempt was made to correct this false doctrine and publicly confess the truth, many of their members, especially those of older standing and heavy tithe payers, would be unable to accept it. He feared they would lose confidence in the Church if they found it had been in error on any point. He said he feared many would withdraw their financial support, and it might divide the Church. And therefore he felt the Church could do nothing but continue to teach and preach this doctrine which he admitted in writing to be false. Naturally, this shook my confidence considerably. This church leader, if not the church itself, was looking to people as the SOURCE of belief, instead of to God! Yet, here was the only Church holding to the one greatest basic truth of the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, kept in the NAME of God, and in spite of this and a few other erroneous teachings, nevertheless being closer to the whole truth than any church I had found. If this was not the true Church of God, then where was it? (pages 315-316).

... This Umapine experience was one more in which no fruit could be borne as long as I teamed with one of the ministers of this church, connected with, or springing from the Stanberry, Missouri, political center. Years later, still in my search for the one true church, still questioning whether this could be that church, still not having found it elsewhere, I asked Mrs. Runcorn (whom Mrs. Armstrong and I looked upon as our "spiritual mother") if she could point out a single real bonafide convert, brought in from the outside, resulting from the ministry of any of the preachers affiliated with "Stanberry." She thought seriously for quite a while. Then she slowly shook her head. She knew of none. I asked several others who had been in the church for years. Their answers were the same" (page 385).

... This was the crossroads -- the final pivotal, crucial test before the living Christ began opening the doors of mass communication through which GOD'S WORK at last could come to life after centuries of sleeping, and go forth in mighty power to all the world, preparing the way before Christ's return to earth as Ruler over all nations. I did not fully realize, then, that this was a crucial turning point in the history of the Church of God. My wife and I did not leave the Church. This was God's Church. Of that I was not, then, completely sure. They came closer to Biblical truth than any other -- but I was seriously disturbed by their lack of power and accomplishment. What actually was happening, though we did not understand it then, was that a NEW ERA was dawning in the history of the Church of God. The words of Christ are quoted in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the Book of Revelation, foretelling the history of God's Church in seven successive eras, or phases. Events since that time have revealed was the transition from the 'Sardis' (Rev. 3:1-5) into the beginning of the 'Philadelphia era'. Mrs. Armstrong and I continued to fellowship with these brethren. I continued to work with them, and with their ministers, as far as that was possible. The lay brethren continued to look to me for the leadership for getting the Work of God going to the world. But from that "all-day wrangle" I was independent of them and their ministers, financially. From that time I was dependent, solely, on God. We did not ask or solicit financial contributions from any except those who voluntarily became financial co-workers with us. And that has been the policy ever since" (page 385).

Now the living Christ began opening DOORS! Later research into church history identified where we stood, at the moment, in the prophecy concerning the seven stages, or eras of God's Church from the time of the original apostles, up to Christ's return to earth and establishment of the Kingdom of God. I had been fellowshipping with, working with, the latter part of the Sardis era, as described in Christ's own words in Revelation 3:1-5. The time had come for the Philadelphia era to begin. It did begin a week later, with the ending of the Firbutte meetings, and establishment of a new local Church of God starting out with 19 members! It is to the Philadelphia era that Christ said He would OPEN DOORS that His Gospel might be worldwide, into all nations, in power. This could not have started as long as I was being employed by MEN, ruled by MEN, not free to serve God FULLY, His way!" (page 450).

As shown in the preceding quotes, Herbert Armstrong left CG7 primarily because of doctrine as well as the fact that to him CG7 did not seem to feel that its top priority should be to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the world as a witness.

In a sermon give December 17, 1983 titled Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era by Herbert W. Armstrong, the late Pastor General of the old WCG, he related his encounter on the third angel's message in the Church of God 7th Day in the late 1920s/early 1930s:

I came among the true Church of God of the Sardis Era. They didn't know what the gospel was, they thought it was what they called the third angel's message. They didn't know what the gospel really was. They called it a third angel's message.

Perhaps I should add that the Denver based group did not have any teachings online related to the three angels' messages when I did some searches for that in January 2022--it those messages are not of the same import to them as they apparently were in the 1930s (more on the angels' messages can be found in the article Church of God on the Three Angels' Messages and 'Babylon'). I also confirmed this with former CG7-Denver president Robert Coulter on January 24, 2022. who said it was not a focus and:

We do not really take any position on it.

So, that obviously is not an emphasis of that group.

What about British-Israelism?

Like Herbert W. Armstrong, Church of God related leaders such as G.G. Rupert, R.K. Walker, Frank Walker, J.W. Rich, and Merritt Dickson, had “Anglo-Israel” (also known as “British-Israelism”) beliefs and teachings in the early 20th century (Nickels R.C. History of the Seventh Day Church of God. Giving & Sharing, Neck City (MO), 1988, pp.76,142). And while versions of this view are still held by many groups with origins in the old WCG, the main CG7 group, never would teach it.

In his autobiography, Herbert W. Armstrong included a letter one of CG7's top leaders wrote that CG7 would not teach British Commonwealth and United States peoples were descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, even though that leader believed what Herbert Armstrong had written on that subject was true. Notice what A.N. Dugger wrote:

Dear Brother Armstrong:

I ... have just finished the manuscript on the Third Angels's Message and British Israel ... You are surely right ... I cannot use it ... May the Lord bless you ...

(A photo of the signed letter from A.N. Dugger, dated July 28, 1929 is in The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstong, 1973 edition, p.372--note that this letter was removed from the 1986 ed. that was produced after his death--but it is shown at the following link: Herbert W. Armstrong). A.N. Dugger also admitted the truth of the Anglo-Israelism doctrine to Merritt Dickinson in 1912, but A.N. Dugger would not teach it (Nickels, p. 143). Herbert Armstrong considered that CG7 was the group in Revelation 3:1-10, the representatives of the Sardis era of the Church of God.

He also wrote Andrew Dugger on 11 April 1937 and said the following:

“I know God has called me to His ministry … I know He has fitted me specially for the radio work …” (p. 1)

“Brother Dugger, SOMETHING HAS BEEN WRONG with the Church of God. It has not GONE FORWARD with the P O W E R it should. Why? There is a REASON! …

“WHY have we been declaring the Third Angel’s Message with such a pitifully weak whisper? …

“The Church of God IS AT THE CROSSROADS!” (p. 3)

“… I sent you the manuscript of a complete book I had written on the ISRAEL question then entitled “The Third Angel’s Message.” I believe (and which book, re-written, is now being published, incidentally), and I repeatedly wrote you asking “AM I RIGHT on this question ... [you replied] saying I surely WAS RIGHT, and that you say a purpose in the Lord revealing this truth to me at this time. Yet nothing was ever done with this truth…

“This has become a Church stand, I believe, not merely your personal stand - - but I have become convinced from these several incidents that you have taken the stand that we must CLOSE THE DOOR to advancing light and truth, or to purging out any possible error in present teachings…

“But the Church has come to a CRISIS, and its fate will be decided in about five weeks … So I beg of you - - I plead with you, IN JESUS NAME, for the sake of the Church, for the sake of the souls, for your own person sake, will you not now COME OUT BOLDLY WITH THE STAND THAT THE CHURCH WILL KEEP THE DOORS OPEN TO ADVANCING LIGHT AND TRUTH?” (p. 3) [emphasis mine]

He then goes on to say that Dugger did not “fully accept the conclusion [due to not preaching it] that the white English speaking people are the true HOUSE OF ISRAEL, as your letter written on the train that night surely indicated you DID accept …” (p. 4). He then makes that CG7 was holding to a policy “of the CLOSED DOOR.” (p. 4) 

Three months later he wrote to Church of God elder, John Kiesz, the following concerning the manuscript he sent to Dugger on the ‘lost’ tribes of Israel:

“As long as ten years ago, I had submitted some things to Dugger which he wrote and acknowledged to be TRUTH - - acknowledging he was preaching error, and year refusing to change it and accept the truth and confess the error to the brethren, on the grounds they would not all accept the truth, and the truth might split the church, and so we had better go along with a stand he admitted to be false.” (July 1937, p. 1)

It appears that Andrew Dugger continued to believe this doctrine until he died, but did not preach on it. In a booklet The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Not Lost but Found (c.1970), he wrote:

“There is evidence, however, of the “Anglo-Saxon” people being one of the tribes of Israel which subject we have looked into very carefully, but many people carry this entirely too far, becoming extremists on the question” (p. 1)

So, AN Dugger basically admitted that HWA was right on this for a long time, but refused to publicly teach it in the 1930s, and that was a reason that Herbert W. Armstrong felt he had to leave AN Dugger.

In October, 1937, the Oregon churches that HWA was associated with severed relationship with the Salem, West Virginia organization, adopting the name, CHURCHES OF GOD IN OREGON, although all business activities were carried on under the name of “RADIO CHURCH OF GOD.” See also: The Philadelphia Church Era.

Herbert W. Armstrong as well as G.G. Rupert felt that what Christ said regarding Sardis described the Church of God, Seventh Day (CG7):

Rupert and Armstrong both held that the Church of God (Seventh Day), headquartered at Stanberry, Missouri, was the “Sardis era” of the Church, while Stanberry believed itself to be the “Laodicean era.” (Nickels R.C. Six Paper on the History of the Church of God. Giving & Sharing, Neck City (MO), 1993, p.196).

I should add that when he was part of CG7, Herbert Armstrong chided the entire CG7 that it was not being successful in getting the warning message out to the world. This is clearly documented in a front page article in CG7's The Bible Advocate in 1928, by Herbert Armstrong, who wrote:

... the Adventists and the Church of God...Have either of these bodies been, so far, winning converts to the message by the thousands--by whole cities? Has this message, so far, gone forth with the POWER, the BOLDNESS, and the results in converts ... ? ... It can't be because God is not doing His part ... Folks, let's come to life! Let's awake from this state of coma. Let's tear away from the inertia that holds us ... Perhaps we need MORE POWER! (Armstrong H.W. Have we tarried for the power to carry the third angel's message? The Bible Advocate, LXII, 41, October 16, 1928, pp. 431-434).

The reality is that A.N. Dugger, former CG7 leader, had problem in being unwilling to change incorrect doctrine, proclaim certain doctrines publicly that he agreed were right, boldly try to fulfill Matthew 24:14, etc. And although Herbert Armstrong did not directly mention it, according to another former CG7 President Robert Coulter, A.N. Dugger also had some serious personal integrity issues around this time that Herbert W. Armstrong would have likely known about (Robert Coulter not only told me this personally, it is documented in his book The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day) pp. 262, 271, 283-285, etc.). So, Herbert W. Armstrong left CG7 and formed a group he named the Radio Church of God.

Why CG7-D Said He Left

The reasons Herbert Armstrong gave for leaving are consistent with what CG7-D has officially stated.

For documentation, here is what CG7's Bible Advocate Press reported about Herbert Armstrong's departure:

In 1933 the Church of God (Seventh Day) suffered a severe schism, dividing right down the middle. The half that severed (both in members and ministers) established their headquarters in Salem, West Virginia. This new organization was headed by Andrew N. Dugger, who had served as president of the old conference from 1914 to 1928 and as editor of the Bible Advocate from 1914 to 1932. The two divisions reunited in 1949, eventually establishing new headquarters in Denver, Colorado. A small number of dissidents remained separate from the reorganized body, and kept a skeletal work in Salem. Mr. Armstrong gravitated toward the Salem movement. He had aligned himself with A. N. Dugger, thus following Elder Dugger in that association. By 1934, Mr. Armstrong had accepted appointment as one of "the seventy," a group of ministers and church leaders who were charged with "the message for the last days."... Mr. Armstrong was granted ministerial credentials at that time. It was also about this time that Mr. Armstrong began a radio broadcast ministry which he identified as "The Radio Church of God," and which he later contended to be independent of the Salem body’s support or endorsement. Interestingly enough, the Salem body was publishing his reports and articles at the time, so apparently they did not share his understanding. He was carrying the highest documentation that the Church bestows. During the ensuing months and years, Mr. Armstrong began to take an outspoken view on his understanding of British Israelism and the Hebrew feasts. The brethren encouraged him to present to the ministerial body as a whole his views on those subjects, rather than to continue preaching and promoting most forcefully his personal position. It was at Detroit, Michigan, that Mr. Armstrong’s material on the Hebrew festivals was presented. The ministerial body gave full treatment to the positions of Mr. Armstrong and a majority rejected the doctrine as unscriptural. But Mr. Armstrong was most insistent and continued to present his viewpoints in an antagonistic manner. So, in 1938 the Salem organization revoked Mr. Armstrong’s credentials. Official records show the doctrinal dispute to be the reason for the severance" (Quoted in Transformed by Truth, Chapter 12).

An individual who was part of CG7's publishing arm when Herbert W. Armstrong left wrote the following:

It was in the fall of 1937 when Elder Armstrong’s credentials were revoked by the Salem Church of God organization. The reason given by the Board of Twelve for this action was because he taught and kept the annual Feast days. (Kiesz J. The Worldwide Church Of God Vs. The Church Of God (7th Day). 6/24/06).

In addition here is a question and answer that was on CG7-Denver's official website on Herbert Armstrong,

What connections did the Church of God (Seventh Day) have with Herbert Armstrong? -- Herbert W. Armstrong was a licensed minister of the Church of God (Seventh Day) for several years in the 1930's. He was personally known by many of the Church's ministers at that time and worked in cooperation with them. In the late 1930's, Mr. Armstrong left the Church to begin his own work, which became known as the Radio Church of God and later the Worldwide Church of God.

A.N. Dugger also had some serious personal integrity issues around this time, so this was probably another reason that Herbert Armstrong decided that he had to leave CG7. But oddly, despite having the Holy Days difference, sometime after Herbert Armstrong left, A.N. Dugger adopted the keeping of the Holy Days himself (Coutler, The Journey, p. 405). Furthermore, A.N. Dugger's A History of the True Church book specifically lists the apostles and Nazarenes as part of the true church. The apostles and the Nazarenes kept the biblical holy days, including the Feast of Tabernacles (which the Nazarenes taught helped picture the millennium). Keeping the biblical holys was a practice of the true and original Christian faith.

Currently, CG7-S teaches against the biblical holy days (telecom with David DeLong 06/24/20). This is in stark contrast to the CCOg (see Should You Keep God's Holy Days or Demonic Holidays).

It should be pointed out that the Salem group still exists.

More on the Salem group can be found in the article CG7-S: Church of God 7th Day, Salem (West Virginia).

Herbert W. Armstrong Cited 18 Major Doctrinal Differences After Leaving CG7

Herbert Armstrong wrote:

I continued to work with and fellowship with West Coast members of the Sardis era until 1942, when the rapidly growing work of the fledgling Philadelphia era required my full time. The present era was officially begun in October, 1933. (Armstrong H. Worldwide News, Special edition, June 24, 1985)

1933 is the year that Herbert Armstrong felt that the Philadelphia era began.

Herbert Armstrong also wrote:

At least 18 basic and essential truths have been restored to the True Church since" the year 1933 (Mystery of the Ages, Dodd & Mead, 1985, p. 251)."

These are truths he felt that the main body of CG7 lost. They included, according to Herbert Armstrong, knowledge of the true Gospel ("I came among the true Church of God of the Sardis era. They did not know what the gospel was, they thought it was what they called the third angel's message"), purpose of God, God's plan through the Holy Days, governance ("The Sardis Church even didn't have the right form of government"), who and what God is, the what and why about humankind ("The Sardis Church didn't know"), the human spirit in man, first-fruits, knowledge of what the Millennium is ("Now the Sardis people knew Christ would rule a thousand years. They knew it would be a Millennium. They had no idea in the world what would happen in the Millennium. They had no idea of the purpose of the Millennium"), the truth about the Holy Spirit, that Christians are begotten now, Christians will be born-again at the resurrection, the identity of Israel, understanding that identity opens up Bible prophecy, second & third tithe, identity of Babylon and her daughters, Satan is the guilty party, and that those called of God are to be separate (Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era. Sermon, December 17, 1983--please see article The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?).

It should be made clear that CG7 admits that it changed some of its teachings. Notice what a former president (and current member) of CG7, Robert Coulter, admitted on two of the restored truths:

...there was a point in time when some ministers in the Church of God (Seventh Day) taught that we were begotten but not born again...

But that was a temporary thing [in the CG7]. It was like going through a phase. The church finally said, no, our conversion is a completed work. When Jesus said you must be born again, He facilitates the spiritual rebirth of the convert, and it’s a completed work. We continued then to strive for sanctification, a lifelong process.

Anyway, we abandoned that position years and years ago... (Cartwright D. Former CG7 president gives his understanding of history of Church of God and Mr. Armstrong. The Journal: News of the Churches of God. Sep-Dec 2008).

Thus, CG7 admits that it changed (or in Herbert W. Armstrong words, lost) at least two of the truths that it once had.

The Philadelphia Era--A Major Difference in Teachings

When Herbert W. Armstrong attended with CG7, it believed in the concept that the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2 & 3 represented seven consecutive eras of the Church of God. However, it taught a couple of eras at different times that Herbert W. Armstrong later did:

The Seven Church Periods--The church had at this time passed through five periods, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, and Sardis, and but two remained ahead...The history of the early days of the church in America, from about 1620 to 1789 is covered by the latter part of the Sardis period. The word "Sardis" means that which is left, and the message as given, "Thou hast a few names, even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy"(Rev. 3:4). This verse shows how the true church would be reduced by persecution into a small remnant" (Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Johnson Graphics, Decauter (MI), reprinted 1995, pp. 250-251).

Now we enter in the Philadelphia period, or the sixth...This open door of religious liberty soon spread to other nations, and the Lord had said of this period, He would set before the church an open door which no man could shut...The Philadelphia period evidently had for its beginning about the year 1789, for it was then that the constitution was drafted and ratified by eleven states, which placed that open door before the church that no man, or set of men, have since been able to shut. It was the only official document in the world ratified by a national government, granting freedom of worship, freedom of speech and freedom of the press" (Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Johnson Graphics, Decauter (MI), reprinted 1995, pp. 253-255).

Herbert W. Armstrong taught that the Philadelphia era did not start until the 1930s, and most precisely 1933.

Here is what an employee of Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about CG7 over 50 years ago:

The "Church at Sardis" had a name that it was alive BUT IT WAS DEAD (Rev. 3:1). Only a minute fraction of its people were really surrendered to God and holding to the faith once delivered. This is just the picture of the Church of God for 400 years after the outbreak of the Reformation...It was not until about 1650 that there were again enough Sabbath keepers to establish local congregations. They often called themselves the Church of God, but the world termed them "Sabbatarians" and Sabbatarian Baptists ...The remaining brethren retained the name "Church of God," with headquarters finally at Stanberry, Missouri. Among local congregations only a few individuals repented and strengthened the truth that was ready to perish in their midst. But most of the ministers resorted to organizing pitifully weak evangelistic work on the pattern of state conferences rather than yielding themselves to God's government and direction in the carrying of the gospel with power. In fact, instead of the true gospel, most ministers taught a "third angel's message," which they had accepted from the Adventist people. They also published a small paper called the "Bible Advocate."...John writes to the "Church at Philadelphia": "I know thy works: behold, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR, and no man can shut it: FOR THOU HAST A LITTLE STRENGTH, AND HAST KEPT MY WORD AND HAST NOT DENIED MY NAME" (Rev. 3:8). Here is a Church with little strength, few in numbers, but which has kept the word of God; one which has not denied the truth. Here is a Church which is preaching the gospel with power because Jesus promises to set before it AN OPEN DOOR until the work of the Church is completed...The time had come for the gospel TO GO AROUND THE WORLD! Having tested and proven that Mr. Armstrong would remain faithful and subject to His government, God opened before him and a few faithful brethren the marvelous DOOR of radio and the printing press to carry forth the gospel. From a minute beginning in Oregon, in 1934, the work of God spread to cover much of North America in 19 years. In 1953 it leaped to Europe and the world! " (A TRUE HISTORY of the TRUE CHURCH by Herman L. Hoeh 1959 edition).

When I called CG7 sometime ago, I was told that it no longer teaches Church eras. This was also confirmed throughout Robert Coulter's book The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day).

CG7-D Beliefs

So what does CG7-D actually believe? There is such a statement of beliefs on the internet at Here is that statement (bolding shown is in original):

Our beliefs

The Church of God (Seventh Day) believes that…

Thus, with the exception the statement that humans are sinners by birth and some points related to being in the spiritual body, most of the preceding other belief statements are somewhat in-line with what WCG under Herbert Armstrong used to teach. Herbert Armstrong also acknowledged:

Well, the true Church HAS kept the commandments of God and the true name, and the Sardis Era didn't have that. Many of them had tithing, but they didn't all even believe in tithing, but I think you call say the Church did. And God's true Church believed those three things through most of the time (Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era. Sermon, December 17, 1983).

Although I am not completely sure about CG7-D and the third angel's message (it appears to be related to Sabbath observance and warning against Sunday; and now they tend to teach it was already fulfilled; see The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Robert Coulter, 2014), one of its then members wrote, "What will happen, then, when the era of the third angel's message arrives and Sunday observance is required by law? Those that resist will lose their jobs and homes. Many of us will end up living under freeway overpasses in order to remain faithful to God" (Knight A. The 666 of Revelation 13 and 14: Consider a new interpretation. The Journal, September 30, 2004, p.8).

The current Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God is available for those who wish to review them.

Herbert Armstrong was right about the '18 truths' and the fact that CG7 did not teach them. For example instead of believing that we are begotten now by the Holy Spirit and born again at the resurrection, CG7-D teaches, "Christians must be born again now, in this life!" (The New Birth. Bible Advocate Press. 1996). (A related article of interest may be Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)

It is my understanding that CG7-D's presidency is an elected official (Coulter, The Journey, p. 448). CG7-D apparently condones voting in national elections by its membership (which was something Herbert W. Armstrong taught against) as the following quote from its then President Whaid Rose demonstrates:

I'm curious about your take on the recent elections. I don't want to know who you voted for or whether you are Republican or Democrat. Rather, I would like to know your perspective on our country's political process. Was this election important to you? Did you take the time to go to the polls (those of you who are old enough to do so)? Do you think your vote counts? (Rose, Whaid. CG7 E-vision, November 7, 2002).

An article of related interest may be Should a Christian Vote?

Against the Biblical Holy Days, But...

The Church of God, Seventh Day (Denver) teaches against the observance of the biblical holy days, even though it has historically observed Passover on the 14th of Nisan. Notice what its website has stated:

Do you celebrate the feast days? If not, why not?
The Church of God (Seventh Day) teaches that Christians are not obligated to observe the feast days, the annual Hebrew holy days of Leviticus 23. Here are seven reasons for this position:

(Note for some reason its website does not have dot on the second listed "reason.") Let's address each of the above "reasons."

As far as the first CG7-D reason, when confronted by the Sadducees, notice what Jesus did:

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God..." (Matthew 22:29, NIV).

Whoever wrote CG7-D's answer above does not understand Genesis chapter one:

Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years (Genesis 1:14, NKJV).

The Hebrew term translated as "seasons" in the above is mowed`. Notice the following:

mowed` (mo-ade'); or moed` (mo-ade'); or (feminine) mow` adah (2 Chron 8:13) (mo-aw-daw'); from OT:3259; properly, an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; specifically, a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand):

KJV - appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synogogue, (set) time (appointed). [Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.]

The Bible is clearly endorsing the concept of seasonal and biblical festivals from the creation! Furthermore, notice:

For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).

Notice that Jesus was the Passover Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. God's Holy Day plan was thus not just for Israel, but intended for all humankind from the beginning of creation!

CG7-D's reason two is inconsistent and wrong: The New Testament Passover (sometimes called "the Lord's Supper") is also ceremonial, yet CG7-D claims to keep that. Thus, this is a red-herring argument.

CG7-D's reason three is in historical error: The biblical holy days were clearly observed in places other than Jerusalem.

John, Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, and other early Christians all kept them in various cities in Asia Minor. Also, notice that the Bible specifically states:

And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide... (Deut 14:23).

You can read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and it nowhere says that Jerusalem is the only place that God will place His name. The children of Israel did not even observe the holy days in Jerusalem until the time of David as it was still controlled by non-Israelites until then. Even Roman Catholics admit that the biblical holy days were kept outside of Jerusalem by those who professed Christ (even though John Chrysostom claimed made that false Jerusalem-only argument)--please see the article What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?.

CG7-D's reason four is irrelevant: Many aspects of the Old Testament had agricultural frameworks. Until 200 years ago, pretty much the entire world was agriculturally-based. This is a red-herring argument that CG7-D has raised.

CG7-D's reason five is contradictory to itself: CG7-D keeps the Passover based upon the same calendar that it is saying cannot be determined from scripture. Thus complaining about the accuracy of the calendar is another red-herring argument. Protestants and Catholics, even though they do not as a rule realize it, keep Easter based on a convoluted version of the same calendar.

CG7-D's reason six shows lack of understanding: The purpose of observing the Holy Days is to obey God and better understand His plan of salvation. It is because CG7-D does not do this that it does not have a proper understanding of many areas of prophecy, including salvation.

CG7-D's reason seven again shows lack of understanding: The observance of the Holy Days does better explain the purpose of Christ's death. The observance does not cast a shadow--it points to what God is doing now and what God will do in the future. The non-obserance of them for invented days (and CG7-D has its own version of those) clouds the meaning of the Bible. It is terrible for CG7-D to write that the observance of God's commanded Holy Days makes it harder to understand God.

However, the The September 2007  Bible Advocate magazine contained the below editorial by the editor, Calvin Burrell:

Beyond Sabbath

Fifty-seven delegates representing twenty-three member nations of the International Ministerial Congress sit with me in a crowded hotel conference room as I begin this writing in early July...

An item of study for this congress in Kansas is titled “Other Days.”  It’s on our agenda because among seventh-day churches around the world are those who also observe one or more of the following:  birthdays, wedding anniversaries, national holidays, Mother’s and Father’s days, thanksgiving days, days of fasting, annual Hebrew festivals of Leviticus 23, and more...   

Based on the gospel of Christ and the liberty it brings, the congress seems to say we are free to observe or not observe days according to personal persuasion (vv. 3-13).  Lest this liberty be abused, however, they note these provisions for celebrating “other days”

  1. Celebrations may not violate clear Bible teaching (v.22b).
  2. They must be done in faith, not as a legal requirement (vv.18, 22a, 23).
  3. Observers and non-observers alike should take care not to offend others by their freedom, nor to impose their convictions upon others (vv.15-21).

This CoG7 congress continues its firm commitment to the weekly Sabbath of Scripture.  Beyond Sabbath, the tolerance of Romans 14 to regard other days - or not - is accepted:  “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore” (v. 13).  In my opinion, this demonstrates Christian maturity and increases our opportunities to work in concert with more of God’s people on the planet.  What do you think?

I think that it is good that CG7-D is now becoming, nearly officially (Calvin Burrell was once its president, still is in CG7-Denver, and is in good standing in that group), accepting of the fact that COG members can keep biblical holy days. However, I feel that putting the biblical days on the same level as birthdays (which early Christians did not celebrate) and national holidays (which the Bible shows can be observed), is not properly differentiating between God's days and man's days. I would also state that the biblical support for keeping the weekly and annual Sabbaths seems to be similar, hence the observance of the one seems to necessitate the observance of the other.

It should be noted that other CG7 groups (such as the one that was in Meridian Idaho) have long kept the biblical holy days. CG7 (Denver), however, is by far the largest CG7 group.

They Keep the Sabbath, But . . .

Although CG7-D keeps the Sabbath, officially they have tended to be more caviller about it this century.

For a dramatic example of that consider thar the September-October 2010 edition of The Bible Advocate had an article they said was not "official policy" by "Minister Jose Antonio Vega" of Lanham MD" whom CG7-D called "a respected pastor," that stated it was fine for members and deacons to work on the Sabbath if their jobs required it:

Q Please reiterate our position on the Sabbath. If, due to the economy, a member who is a deacon takes a job requiring him to work late on Friday, but he still attends Sabbath day services, does God's mercy allow him to continue as deacon? How would you handle this?

Editor's Note: Not official policy, here is a respected pastor's answer to a not uncommon problem in CoG7. Reader response is invited.

A We're no longer under old covenant law but under the new covenant of God's grace (Rom. 6:15; Heb. 8:13).

Every believer must strive, out of love, to dedicate the glorious Sabbath to the Lord. When forced to work, he does not violate the law of love. He continues to love his Lord and His day, regretting that he cannot keep it as he wished. That's completely different from one who mocks the commandment by working on Sabbath, even though he could keep it, and smugly says we are under grace.

One who cannot attend Sabbath services obviously cannot hold an important church office, since he's not aware of what goes on there. The deacon who is required to work in the dark hours of Sabbath to provide for his household is not wrong. He may continue to serve because he attends worship during the day when church activities take place and he knows what's happening.

(Questions & Answers. Bible Advocate, September-October 2010, p. 7).

So, one can violate the Sabbath command by working, and still hold a church leadership position, as long as one make's it often to Sabbath services. This is unbelievably wrong, but apparently CG7 wanted that position published.

Since historically CG7 tied in breaking the Sabbath (or replacing it with Sunday) as part of the 'third angel's message, then telling members and leaders they can work at regular jobs on the Sabbath is contrary to that as well.

By the way, not only did CG7-D call Jose Vega a 'respected pastor,' they named him 'Pastor of the Year' in November 2010 according to one I know who was in CG7-D then.

Offer of Salvation and the 'Unpardonable Sin'

Perhaps one of the more positive developments within CG7-D is an increased tolerance of the view that God's plan of salvation includes offering salvation to all. Notice something it published in the Summer of 2012:

Jesus said that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31). Blasphemy had a death penalty (Leviticus 24:16), and the wages of sin is still death. Jesus did not sin but died for our sins. No one will be forced to accept Him as Savior. You can pay for your own sin in the resurrection of damnation if you wish. Everyone has the choice of eternal death or eternal life. The unpardonable sin comes in two forms. The first is refusing to repent. This does not mean a one-time refusal by someone first told about Jesus or salvation. It is an attitude or lifestyle of unrepentance over a lifetime. I offered a Bible to a Muslim woman, who calmly said, “No, I just believe what my parents taught me.” Not having God’s Spirit, she did not commit the unpardonable sin. Her chance for salvation will be when God opens her mind. God wants all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). There are physical harvest seasons and spiritual harvest seasons. In the Old Testament, only a few were called to knowledge of the truth. Joseph in Egypt did not reveal himself to his brothers the first time, just as Jesus hasn’t revealed Himself to most Jews yet. Joseph revealed himself the second time (Acts 7:13), just as Jesus will be revealed to all Jews during the one thousand-year reign (Romans 11:25-32). As many as 50 billion people have lived and died. Most never heard of Jesus, the only name for eternal life (Acts 4:12). If these are the only days of salvation and most of those 50 billion are lost, then Christianity is a logical failure. God has several resurrections at the millennium of Revelation 20, while Satan is bound. All the dead will be resurrected but not all the same day. Verse 6 guarantees eternal life to all in the first resurrection. The resurrection of damnation at the end is for those who committed the unpardonable sin. Between the two are the resurrections of grace (1 Corinthians 15:23). The sin of blasphemy is as simple as refusing to repent after the Spirit of God reveals truth. The second way to commit the unforgivable sin is to fall from grace and turn back. We can enjoy sin so much that we refuse to quit, which is why we are warned to remember Lot’s wife. Hebrews 6:4-6 says it’s impossible to bring people back if they had the Holy Spirit but fall away. This would be like a dog returning to his vomit (2 Peter 2:22). If we sin willfully after having knowledge of the truth, there is no longer a sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:26). To struggle against sin while trusting in Christ is not unpardonable, but to abandon self to sin and unbelief may be irreversible. (Gieselman, Arlo. The Unpardonable Sin. Bible Advocate, July-August 2012, p. 21)

Despite the fact that perhaps a couple of things should have been slightly re-worded, I was very pleased that CG7-D agreed to publish the above. In 2009 or 2010, I spoke to the editor of the Bible Advocate, Calvin Burrell, about the idea that God had a plan to offer salvation to all who ever lived.  And he told me then that although it was not the official teaching of CG7-D, that there were many in CG7-D who believed it.  He and I also discussed biblical texts that supported that belief and he asked me to send him my article Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis, which of course, I did.

Now, the not-so-good news is that CG7-D still does not officially teach this doctrine as it decided to put the following disclaimer after that particular article:

Arlo Gieselman attends the Church of God Kansas City in Independence, MO, and conducts a ministry to truckers at nearby truck stops. Though Arlo is a good friend of the editor and of CoG7, not every idea in his Viewpoint necessarily represents positions adopted by the Church.

But despite the disclaimer, this is a positive doctrinal step for CG7-D. And while in many respects, CG7-Denver has lost a lot of prophetic knowledge over the years, the fact that it went so far to publish Arlo Gieselman’s article is a real positive.

God’s plan for humanity is to show love through the forgiveness of sins, to ultimately reveal His loving plan of salvation to all, to give more to human beings than they can even imagine, and so that all will to be able to show love to others throughout eternity. CG7-D is starting to grasp more of that.

For more on the 'unpardonable sin,' please see the article What is the Unpardonable Sin?

Special Meetings, Conferences, Etc.

Instead, of biblical holy days, CG7-D has 'special meetings'.

Yet, it also observes "the Lord's Supper',

Because the first Lord's Supper was at Passover, we have chosen to observe it on Nisan fourteen of the Hebrew calendar. We extend charity toward those who may observe communion at other times. At the supper, we follow Jesus' example and command by washing one another's feet in service and humility (Doctrinal Beliefs of the Church of God (Seventh Day), 1996).

It 2006 announcement regarding "the Lord's Supper" did not mention Passover. I suspect this is because CG7-D sometimes is trying not to look too different to outsiders (though this is not a recent change).

Six days after Pentecost in 2002, there was a special meeting:

Come celebrate a day of Music, Inspiration and Blessings at GENESIS, to be held Saturday, May 25, 2002 beginning at 11:00 am. This event is hosted by the San Diego Church of God (Seventh Day), 2717 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104. The phone number there is (619) 298-0657. [GENESIS] is a day of music and celebration sponsored by SeventhEnt. We welcome you and your family to join us as we celebrate the gifts of our Lord through music and message. This event is FREE to everyone we wish to inspire and teach. Various performers and Special Guests will be there. This is a free event for all ages!!! You can't afford NOT to be there! Come early, and bring a friend! We will have LIVE bands and Vocalists" (Cog7 e-News 05.07.02).

Instead of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, CG7-D normally has 'family conferences' and camps in the summer (Cog7 e-News 05.07.02). It also tends to have biennial meetings:

At biennial conventions, members have the privilege of participating in Church business, including election of the board of directors — twelve men who serve as the Church’s governing body when the Conference is not in session. The board appoints a president, who is responsible for daily management of the work and for long-term leadership. Doctrine, ministerial documentation, and ethics are handled by the North American Ministerial Council, composed of licensed and credentialed ministers. (General Conference-Church of God (Seventh Day). International Tour — North America. Bible Advocate. January 2007.)

It is of interest to note that CG7-D has taught against Christmas:

The Church does not promote the tradition of Christmas celebration for these reasons: 1. We believe Jesus was born in early- or mid-autumn, certainly not on December 25. This date was celebrated by idolatrous religions many years before Christ. Many Christmas customs are borrowed from ancient pre-Christian traditions (see Jer. 10:2; 1 Cor. 10:18-22; 2 Cor. 6:14-18). 2. No official celebration of Christ's birth is prescribed in Scripture. Christmas wasn't observed as a Christian holiday until nearly 400 years after Christ. 3. The feasting, drinking, spending, partying, etc. of Christmas trivializes and insults the One whose birth is remembered. The entire season is so compromised that some Christians, at least, ought to decline as a form of protest against its materialism and hedonism (see 1 Peter 4:3, 4)" (Elder Calvin Burrell. Q&A Bible Advocate. May 2002).

Sadly, though, this seems to have changed for some.

A former Church of God, Seventh day-Denver (CG7) member sent me the following he received on December 18, 2017 from Bruce Noble, who was the once the Chair; CG7 (Denver) General Conference Nominating Committee:

Help, I need help!  Christ birthday is just around the corner and it’s time to celebrate.

          Actually we should celebrate all the time, but we get to do it in the Shiawassee Jail on December 23rd, this year.  So once again I need your help.  We need homemade cookies individually wrapped, with no staples or strings, just like you like for your family along with individually wrapped candies.

          These are given to the inmates in a way, that shows God Loves them, every year we see people come to Christ through this out pouring of your Love.

          We need the cookies and candy delivered December 22nd @ 6:30 at St Pauls Episcople Church, in Corunna so we can pack them.

December 25th is NOT Jesus’ birthday. For some details, people in CG7 and elsewhere may want to watch our latest sermon: James Ossuary, Fake News, and Jesus’ Birth. Furthermore, early Christians did not celebrate it nor other birthdays (see Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?).

While visiting prisoners is a good thing to do (cf. Matthew 25:36-40), giving prisoners Christmas cookies is certainly not a spiritually nor physically healthy thing to do.

Instead of using the opportunity to explain the Satanic pagan days (e.g. see our free online booklet: Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?), they promote Christmas cookies instead.

Now, let me add that on December 21, 2017, I spoke with CG7-Denver's President Loren Stacy about this.

Loren Stacey stated that CG7-Denver does not observe Christmas nor the other worldly holidays that many who profess Christ do.

Christians are to not compromise with the world’s pagan substitutes for God’s Holy Days or His truth.

The Apostle Paul warned about those who wanted to compromise with the religious practices of the world:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 ‘I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Christians are to be separate from the false worship that the world promotes.

As Jesus said:

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

Pagan holiday promotion is not a worship of God in spirit and truth.

End-Time Position

In the December 2006 edition of CG7-D's Bible Advocate, in an article titled What If It Really Is ‘The End’? Whether it is or not, here’s how to prepare the right way, Dianne E. Butts wrote:

At times world events can send me spinning into an intriguing game of “What if?” What if this is it? What if we’re nearing the end times? What if we’re in the end times?!

What if we did find ourselves thrust into that “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21)? Should we cash in our investments and pay off our houses so if the government runs amuck, it can’t take them away? Should we buy some land in the country so we could grow our own food? Should we run out and purchase a generator? Fuel? Radios, batteries, blankets? Seed to grow food? A water purification system?

What about weapons?

Should I take the advice given to the Christians of Judea in Matthew 24:16 and flee to the mountains? Or should I throw faith in the face of fear and book a flight to Israel for a front-row view of the action?

In case God’s Word might suddenly become limited or illegal, maybe I should bury a Bible in my backyard.

If I knew the world was in, or would soon be immersed in, the prophesied Great Tribulation, what would I do?...

While it is not wrong to prepare in practical ways for possible hard times, my game of “What if?” challenges me to tend to my spiritual health. There’s nothing like a crisis to help us get our priorities straight. Can I feel the pressure of the coming crisis? Do I truly believe Jesus’ words in Revelation 22:7 “Behold, I am coming soon!”? We may not know the actual date of Jesus’ return, but one thing is for certain: We are about two thousand years closer to it than we were when John penned those words.

Any way I look at it, time is short; there’s none to waste. So what should I be doing?

I should be using every moment wisely by diligently studying and preparing to wield my weapon, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). I should be feeding on the Bread of Life so that I’m nourished and strong. I should be gulping down the Living Water and passing it on to others.

Whether Jesus comes back next week, next month, or the next millennium, aren’t these the things I should be doing anyway?

While Ms. Butts is correct that true Christians should study the word of God, she neglected to mention that in the Bible, Jesus specifically teaches:

And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath (Matthew 24:20-21 NKJV).

The understanding of biblical prophecy has never been a strong point of CG7-D, nor have I seen anything in the CG7-D literature about a place of safety, like Petra. It does not appear that fleeing to a place in the wilderness (see Revelation 12:14) to be protected (see Revelation 3:10) are being taught in CG7.

Additionally, CG7-D seems to have little understanding of the end time prophecies in the Book of Daniel. Notice the following:

Daniel in a sentence: While he and his brethren are captives in Babylon, Daniel remains faithful to God under test, gains official position there, interprets the kings' dreams, and receives four visions of wide historical/political scope to encourage God's people under oppression. (STUDYING THE BOOK of Daniel. Copyright © 2007, Church of God (Seventh Day))

Apocalyptic: Daniel's prophetic style named for its colorful imagery, numerics, and dramatic historical intervention seen in visions and dreams.  The Book of Revelation is called the Apocalypse...

1290 and 1335 days: enigmatic numbers that extend the 1260 BASE...Fulfillment uncertain...

Most predictions in the last great prophecy (chs. 10-12) were fulfilled in ancient Persia and Greece. We wait for the grand finale (ch. 12) at Christ's return. (GETTING TO KNOW THE BOOK, INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF Daniel. Bible Advocate, January-February 1998, pp. 2,3).

Yet, there certainly is a future fulfillment of about 1/2 (or even more) of Daniel 11. Not understanding this indicates that CG7-D will not be among those that are wise (cf. Daniel 12:10). To learn more about Daniel 11 and the 1290 days of Daniel 12, please see the article Who is the King of the North?. Perhaps I should mention that the above cited CG7-D article never uses the term King of the North. Hence, CG7-D is not likely to understand what will happen--nor believe it when we of the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God get more to hear the truth about it.

Futhermore, here is another writing that suggests that CG7-D is somewhat timid in the area of prophecy:

The expression “Day of Lord,” which occurs about twenty-eight times in Scripture, is a general term used to describe God’s intervention in the affairs of people — for punishment or for blessing. Often this is accomplished through human instruments. “Day of the Lord” can certainly refer to a yet future intervention by God at Christ’s return, but it is usually used in the context of past events.

The expression “latter days” does not necessarily refer to the last days of planet Earth. It may mean simply the latter days of the kingdom of Israel, the distant future, or “days to come,” as it is sometimes translated. In addition, New Testament writers frequently referred to their time as the “last days” (Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3)...

Has a prophecy already been fulfilled?

When we consider an Old Testament prophecy, we need to consider whether it is completely fulfilled in the Old Testament context, whether it was completely fulfilled in the first coming of the Messiah, or whether it was only partially fulfilled. For example, the apostle Peter proclaimed about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people’” (Acts 2:16-21, NIV, cited from Joel 2:28-32). Do we conclude that Joel’s prophecy was completely fulfilled in Peter’s day and that the “glorious day of the Lord” was the incarnation of Jesus? Do we conclude that the grandiose language of “wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below” was figurative so as to underscore the dramatic proportions of what was happening — that the very Son of God laid aside His glory to walk in human flesh and die so that all might be saved? Or do we conclude that while Peter thought he was seeing the fulfillment, he was in fact seeing only a partial fulfillment and that the grandiose language is literal and has yet to be fulfilled in a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit and “glorious day of the Lord”?

How we answer these questions will dramatically affect how we understand New Testament prophecies and the apocalyptic material of Revelation. (Wiedenheft, RA. Important Considerations in Understanding Prophecy. Bible Advocate Press. © 2006 The General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day)).

I agree with that last statement. But sadly, that is how the article ends and CG7 does not really say what it believes. I believe that this is part of why Jesus warned Sardis, "you will not know what hour I will come upon you" (Revelation 3:3).

Furthermore, CG7-D seems to state that the Book of Revelation cannot really be understood. Notice the following two articles:


The Bible's last book is both intriguing and puzzling. More than any other, it uses figurative and symbolic language. Every word is true, but not every word can be read in its usual sense.

Revelation's 404 verses contain as many as 278 quotes from, or allusions to, the Old Testament, especially Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah.

Four ways to interpret:

1. Preterist: applies the book primarily to the first century church in the Roman Empire

2. Historical: finds its fulfillment from the first century until the return of Christ in pagan and papal Rome, the rise of Islam, medieval Europe, the U.S., Russia, etc.

3. Futurist: expects chapters 4-19 to be fulfilled in seven years around the rapture of the church to heaven

4. Idealist: instead of relating the language to specific events, this sees an allegory encouraging anyone in difficult times to trust the final triumph of Christ over Satan...

 Revelation in a sentence: In scenes of apocalyptic suffering and glory, Jesus Christ reveals to John the testing of saints, the judgment of sinners, and the final deliverance of the church that would shortly come to pass. (STUDYING THE BOOK: Introduction and Summary of Revelation, Church of God (Seventh Day))

The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ does not just signal the end of the Bible; it discloses the very end of time. If the apparent doom it forecasts does not discourage us from further examination, then the bizarre imagery clinches it. The book is formidable, to be sure.

It is peculiar that a volume this obscure should be called Revelation...

The prophecy

The Apocalypse speaks the lyrical language of dream; our old senses cannot comprehend it. As with the seers Ezekiel and Daniel before him, what John sees defies rational explanation. To be “in the Spirit” is to be transported out of the prosaic confines of the literal and logical into the startling world of metaphor and mystery (1:10; 4:1; 17:3; 21:10). Seven times in twenty-two chapters (1:3; 11:6; 19:10; 22:7, 10, 18, 19) Revelation describes itself as prophecy. God will “show His servants — things which must shortly take place” (1:1; Amos 3:7).

But the future that John experiences and conveys is not brute history but more poetry. The divine glimpse of reality has urgency and grandeur that conventional discourse cannot contain. Heaven opens, human expression fails, and only inscrutable awe remains. Beauty is indefinable and melody unexplainable; they must be experienced, not translated, to be known.

Revelation is such a melody. It calls us to be a prophetic people, not just farsighted but capable of mediating in the Spirit the melodious beauty of encounter with the divine (1 Corinthians 12:10; 14:1-39; 2 Corinthians 12:1-7)...

The Word

The Apocalypse weaves the fabric of vision from the thread of memory. John states that his prophecy is the “word of God,” a phrase he uses seven times in the book (1:2, 9; 6:9; 17:17; 19:9, 13; 20:4). But this new song is taken from the old (5:9; Psalm 96:1) (Overman, Jason. Songs of the Apocalypse. Bible Advocate Online, December 2007).

While CG7 does accept that certain prophetic events, like the return of Jesus, will take place, it seems to discount biblical prophecy. And it is not sure how to understand many prophecies. The above articles are simply more proof of that. Preterism is dangerous (see also The Dangerous Rise of Preterists).

CG7 Considers Many Future Prophetic Events Already Fulfilled

The December 2009 issue of CG7’s Bible Advocate starts with an article from Calvin Burrell, CG7’s former president and current editor for the Bible Advocate:

I Think . . .

I’m in a confessing mood today, ready to admit my heresy. Here it is: I’m not sure that the whole world is becoming only worse and worse, as many Christians claim and a few Bible texts seem to say…we enjoy a higher quality of existence than did those in Bible times, those in the Middle Ages…

The recent spate of bad news about economy (not half as bad as the 1930’s), about government (mostly from one political perspective), and about church (Christianity is on the ebb in Europe and North America, where only 5-25 percent of people attend church) has convinced many folks that Armageddon is near…It may be slow or no growth for Bible-loving, Christ-sharing folks in America, but believers still have it good around here…

I think we should stop quoting a few prophetic clichés to support our negativism and let the Bible paint its own multi-hued version of our present and future. Jesus’ story of wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) suggests this more realistic, balanced view. He planted good seed, and the Devil planted bad. Both grew together until the harvest…

…I think there’s enough good going on around the planet, thanks to Jesus’ seed, to keep us thanking God, sowing more good seed, and trusting that tomorrow will, in many respects, be better than today. What do you think?

What do I think? I think that this particular issue of CG7-D’s Bible Advocate contains heresy as Calvin Burrell essentially admits. Now it is true, even until the end, that the gospel should be preached to the world as a witness (Matthew 28:19-20). But that of itself is not proof that the end is not near (actually it should be a sign that the end is near per Matthew 24:14). And while it is true that not everything is getting worse, the Bible indicates that God is not pleased with humankind during the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Peter 3:1-12). I also think that in the Great Depression the USA was not as vulnerable to collapse as it is now, that no nation in the history of the planet has been in as much total debt as the USA in the 21st century, and that Bible prophecy shows doom for the highly indebted at the time of the end (Habakkuk 2:1-8). The Bible is clear that a dismissive attitude towards prophecy is dangerous (Revelation 3:3,16-19; 2 Peter 3:1-12, Luke 21:34-36).

Here is what is in articles in the December 2009 and March-April 2010 issues of the Bible Advocate from another former CG7-D’s president, Robert Coulter:

The dragon (Revelation 12:3) gave this beast its power and authority. The fact that crowns, on the heads of the dragon, are now worn on the horns of the beast (13:1) indicates that the dragon’s authority has been transferred to the kingdoms that developed in western Europe upon the fall of the Roman Empire. One of the beast’s heads is fatally wounded, but to the astonishment of the world, the wound was healed (v. 3). This wound was to the head representative of Rome. It was initiated by Emperor Constantine, who divided the capital of Imperial Rome between the cities of Rome in the west and Constantinople in the east…

The wound was healed (v. 3) by the Frankish king, Charlemagne, a pretender of Christianity and supporter of the papacy…The second beast of John’s prophecy arose out of the earth (13:11), a succession from within the kingdoms described in Daniel 2 and 7. It had two lamb-like horns and spoke like a dragon, indicating the dual nature of a church (lamb-like) united with civil authority (a dragon). This beast represents the Holy Roman Empire, the union of the Romish church with the political kingdoms of Europe…

Erecting an image in honor of the first beast because of the power it was given (v. 14b). This addressed the fact that the Roman church’s hierarchy was organized and operated much like Imperial Rome, even to emperor worship in the worship of its popes as “Holy Father.”… Gave breath (life) to the image of the first beast so that it could spew its blasphemies and require the saints to adopt its heresies, or be killed (v. 15). It did this through the use of its clergy, puppet kings, and magistrates… This beast forced people to receive a mark in their right hands or their foreheads as a prerequisite to pursuing the ordinary activities of life (vv. 16, 17)…

John calls for wisdom and insight in calculating the number of the beast (13:18a)…Many attempts are made to identify this mysterious figure, but speculation about his identity is unimportant because enforcement of his mark is now history. Although the manifold blasphemies, heresies, and antichristian ideologies of the beast still exist in this apostate church, it no longer exercises the authority to enforce its edicts either through papal decree or through the agency of the state…

Many teach that the mark of the beast is yet to be enforced by a latter-day antichrist. That is impossible if John’s time allocations are taken literally. The time God allowed the saints to be persecuted and overcome was 1,260 days, or three-and-one-half years (12:6, 14; 13:5), equaling 1,260 years. This period indicated by John is identical with the time given to Daniel’s little horn to oppress the saints (Daniel 7:25)…That time is now past. For all practical purposes, the beasts of Revelation 13 have been rendered impotent, even if the dregs of their heresies and idolatries linger on in the world. (Coulter R. The Persecution of Christianity. Bible Advocate, December 2009)

The eighteenth chapter of Revelation describes the judgment of the beast-riding prostitute first introduced as a little horn (Daniel 7) and later described as a two-horned beast (Revelation 13:11-17). God purposed that the kingdoms she reigned over would ultimately rise up against her, hate and destroy her. An angel of great authority appeared, illuminated the whole earth, and shouted, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird” (18:1, 2). This cry of judgment was upon the harlot church that God had permitted to make war against the saints and exalt herself against Him for an extended time (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5). That time had ended; now God held her accountable for her wickedness. The 1,260 years reign and judgment of the prostitute did not occur in John’s day. He was privileged to anticipate it, while we are blessed to look back on it in history… Thank God! His judgment on the prostitute has occurred in history. It is not the judgment that will occur when the Lord Jesus returns to claim His kingdom, but it prevents the Roman church from enforcing her will upon God’s universal church in our time. (Coulter R. God’s Judgment. Bible Advocate, March-April 2010, pp. 19-20)

Q What do you understand to be the mark of the beast?
A...the mark of the beast on the forehead or hand symbolized belief and participation in the idolatrous, heretical mode of worship of the state church that prevailed in Europe for more than one thousand years.  — Elder Robert Coulter. (Questions & Answers. Bible Advocate, March-April 2010, p. 7)

Now while I personally like Robert Coulter, the teaching that Revelation 13 and 18 are completely past or impotent for the future is a major theological error. The whole world has not yet worshiped the beast (Revelation 13:3-4), his mark is not past, and people were able to buy and sell without the “mark of the beast” during the Middle Ages, the harlot church has not been destroyed, hence Revelation 13 and 18 has not yet been fulfilled. A careful read of Daniel 7:25-26 shows that God’s kingdom is established right at the end of that particular, and future, persecution. Persecution also clearly affects Christians just prior to and during the Great Tribulation according to what is recorded in Matthew 24:9-22, Mark 13:9-20, Luke 21:12-24, and Revelation 12:13-17. Daniel clearly teaches that this happens at the appointed time of the end (11:28-39, 7:25). The Beast of Revelation has not fully risen up. To teach otherwise is wrong, major heresy, and dangerous.

Additionally, the Bible is clear that the beast powers persuade the world through sorceries (Revelation 18:23; 13:12-15), and while some may have occurred during the Middle Ages, the reality is that it was a political-religious alliance that existed in the Middle Ages as opposed to a highly sorcery-based empire. The prophecies related to the sorceries have not come to pass as the merchants of the world did not mourn the fall of the "Holy Roman Empire" which they will for the coming one (Revelation 18:23).

Perhaps it may be a good idea to remind everyone that CG7 once taught that the Beast would rise up again in the last days. Notice what the late A.N. Dugger wrote, as well as what Robert Coulter wrote:

The Beast that he demands all people to worship has a number, which is the same number as "A MAN," and that number is 666 (verse 18)...Beware, dear reader of BEAST WORSHIP. This is a message for these last days (Dugger AN. Daniel and Revelation. Mount Zion Reporter Press, ca. 1960s. Reprint by Giving & Sharing, 2000, pp. 40, 44)

As a teenager in the 1940s, I attended a Salem branch of the Church of God (Seventh Day). At that time the Church was preaching the imminent return of Jesus and the third angel’s message as a warning of impending judgment upon worshippers of the beast (Revelation 14:9, 10).

Other elements of this teaching were that the Antichrist was preparing to enforce the “mark of the beast” upon the Christian world (13:11-16). (Coulter R. Joy of Our Advent Hope. Bible Advocate November-December 2014)

The position in The Hope of Israel (Sheffield ES. On Our Position. Volume 1, No. 13. 1864) of the Church of God was that the prophecies of the Beast and its image were still to be fulfilled. Gilbert Cranmer later wrote (1865-1866) that he too believed that the image and two-horned beast were still future. Between 1900-1902, Elder W.H. Littlejohn wrote an article about the future of the ten-horned beast and the papacy still to fulfill Revelation 17.

Thus, Robert Coulter has strayed from the teachings of several CG7 pioneers as well as what he admits he was once taught by CG7.

Another article stated the following in the December 2009 issue from a CGOM-UK member:

Much of the Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24) came to pass in Palestine by AD 70… (McBride J. Prepare to Meet Your Doom? Bible Advocate, December 2009)

Now although there was some ante-type events in 70 A.D., the Olivet prophecy was NOT fulfilled in 70 A.D., the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:21 still has not come to pass, nor have many other steps in that chapter of the Bible. Pretty much all of the “Olivet prophecy” still has a future fulfillment.

Yet, CG7-D itself is so unsure of prophecy, that it is no longer even sure if the Great Tribulation is a future event:

The BA asked Church of God (Seventh Day) ministers their views on the tribulation period prophesied in Matthew 24:21 (see also Mark 13:19 and Luke 21:20-26), whether its fulfillment is in the past, in the present, or in the future. This is an issue on which the Church has no firm position. (The Great Tribulation.  The Bible Advocate, November-December 2011, p. 5)

Yet, notice that it was events for, and leading up to, the end of the age (and the great tribulation) that disciples were asking about: 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying,

“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)

Thus, the focus of the Olivet message (when Jesus answered those questions) is the end, not mainly events that were to happen over 1900 years ago. Jesus listed many events that would occur and then stated:

"21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened."(Matthew 24:21-22).

This simply has not happened.

Yet, another article in the December 2009 issue of the Bible Advocate also stated:

The Second Coming has been explored with many viewpoints since Jesus spoke directly to it in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21)… Comparing Jesus’ words to events since He spoke tells us that most of those events have come to pass. (Kueur DM. Is Jesus Coming Soon? Bible Advocate, December 2009)

Luke 21 has not basically been fulfilled as that article indicates. If it were, there would have been no reason for Jesus to state the following in Luke 21:34:

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).

Those who get taken in by CG7-D’s message of future prophetic minimalization will likely not watch events as Jesus warned, will not be praying to escape all these things as Jesus advised, and will allow “that Day” to come upon them unexpectedly because they ignored what Jesus taught. Now CG7-D admits in another article, “Very possibly we do live in the last days.” But the emphasis of this particular issue of its Bible Advocate is that these are probably not the last days, many things are improving, there are not two future beasts of Revelation 13, no great Christian persecution is coming, and be not concerned as Jesus will come some day. But by dismissing most of Matthew 24, Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13, and other future prophecies as past, those in CG7-D simply do not understand how world events are aligning with biblical prophecies.

CG7-Denver has, in my opinion, clearly crossed the line on prophetic interpretations with its December 2009 issue of the Bible Advocate. Thus, unless its members individually repent, all associated with it will suffer the fate that Jesus warned of when He spoke about Sardis in Revelation and those who do not watch in Luke 21. The specific fate that awaits is shown in Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:17, and apparently Revelation 14:12-13.

Instead of repenting of these views, instead it continues to attempt to minimize the importance of prophecy. The January-February 2010 issue of the Bible Advocate stated that its ministers want CG7-D believe:

Jesus is coming soon, and we’d better be ready. Understanding prophecies is secondary. (What the Church Needs Now — CoG7 Survey. Bible Advocate, January-February 2010, pp. 15).

Yet, the return of Jesus, the resurrections, etc. are ALL prophetic events. Yet, the leadership of CG7-D feels that prophecy is of relatively little importance. If not, it would correct the recent errors in its understanding of various prophetic events.

CG7-D Misunderstands Israel in Prophecy

The 21 century CG7-Denver has major difficulties in the area of prophetic understanding.  Here is some of what is in an article in the December 2008 edition of its Bible Advocate magazine:

Israel in Bible Prophecy

W esley Walker of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, has served CoG7 as a pastor and in other capacities for more than forty years. He recently pub-lished his first book, Answers to Bible Questions. Elder Walker’s answers here reflect the Church’s historic views on Israel.

BA: What’s the big picture of land ownership in the Middle East, as you see it?

The present problems there began with Abraham. In Genesis 12 God speaks to Abraham and tells him to leave his father’s house and go into a land that He would show him. Abraham obeyed and left his homeland.  Then God gives Abraham the boundaries of his inheritance in Genesis 15:18. Check a Bible
map; you will notice the river of Egypt is to the south of Israel and the Euphrates River is to the north. The great sea would be the western border. We do not know exactly how far east it extended, but it may have been into modern Jordan and Syria, east of the river Jordan.

For more than sixty years now Israel has been in the news be-cause of land disputes between her and her Arab neighbors, especially the Palestinians. This conflict will continue until true ownership of the land is estab-lished…

BA: What prophecies were ful-filled for Israel in the past cen-tury?

The Zionist movement began in 1897, and a few Jews went home. In 1922, when the League of Nations approved a British mandate over Palestine, the British government appointed a Zionist board, and more went home. By the end of World War II and the Jewish Holocaust, six hundred thousand more Jews had returned to their homeland. Today, again, Israel is alive in her own land, with these prophecies fulfilled: Isaiah 11:11, 12; Jeremi-ah 31:7-12; 32:37-44; and Ezekiel 36:6, 7, 21-24; 37:21-28.

The most convincing proph-ecy of Israel’s ultimate return may be in Amos 9:14, 15. Through the prophet, God spoke a permanent presence of His people in the land of Israel. They would build, plant, eat, and no one would uproot them again! I believe this has happened in my lifetime...

Israel has not yet gotten all the land that was promised to Abra-ham, but she will. She did not get it all at once in the beginning, nor is she getting it all at once to-day. But little by little, Israel will, and there will be more violent events before she does.

CG7-Denver fails to understand that the prophecies to Israel in the Bible were NOT limited to the tribe of Judah.  Furthermore, I do not think that it is at all possible that the current nation of Israel will increase its size to end up with all the land that God promised the descendants of Abraham.

If that is one of the signs that CG7-Denver is looking for prior to the return of Jesus Christ, then it will sadly not know what is happening when the Great Tribulation begins. 

Anyway, what about Wesley Walker’s point about Amos 9:14-15 as the most convincing proof of his position (which according to the Bible Advocate reflects CG7-Denver’s historical view)?  Let us look at what the Bible actually says here:

14 I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
15 I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them
Says the LORD your God (Amos 9:14-15)

Notice that the above indicates that Israel will not be pulled up from the land.  Well, there are two significant problems with the nation of Israel and that prophecy applying now:

  1. The current nation of Israel still has not received all the promised land.  Hence, until it does so, the above truly is not being fulfilled.
  2. The current nation of Israel returned some of the land it did receive to Egypt some years ago as part of a peace deal.  Hence, it allowed itself to be “pulled up” from the land.

CG7-Denver may wish to re-think its position here, because the modern nation of Israel has not received all the land and in fact has given some back.

Additionally, Wesley Walker cited Jeremiah 32:37-41 (I left out verses 42-44 for space) which states:

37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. 38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. 41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’ (Jeremiah 32:37-41)

Does anyone really think that the modern nation of Israel has one mind to fear God today?  Israel is essentially a secular state that is divided politically.  It simply does not fulfill Jeremiah 32.

Perhaps I should add that while Wesley Walker also cited Jeremiah 31:7-12, this is referring to Ephraim and hence is not limited to Judah.  But since CG7-Denver refuses to acknowledge the true identity of Israel in prophecy, it overlooked that critically important point.

FWIW, I also looked up Ezekiel 36:6, 7, 21-24; 37:21-28 and disagree that the current nation of Israel has necessarily fulfilled any of these.  One of the reason why is that Ezekiel 36:21-24 specifically leads into verses 25-28:

24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:24-28)

Of course, this simply has not happened.  And notice that until it does, the prophesied dwelling in the land promised to fathers (like Abraham) will not happen.  Also, we of the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God believe that the prophecies in Ezekiel 37:21-28, do not happen until after the resurrection in mentioned in Ezekiel 37:12-14.

The fact is that CG7-Denver does not properly understand prophecy.  It is no place of safety.

Basically, CG7-D considers itself preterist (Coulter, The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day), pp. 94, 204, 206-207, 210), which means it believes that most prophetic passages of the Bible have already been fulfilled (see The Dangerous Rise of Preterists).

Those who truly wish to understand about Israel in prophecy should read the article Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.

Trend Towards A Few Non-COG Beliefs

There has been a trend in CG7-D to soften/water-down certain of its teachings. Even the beliefs list provided about is shortened from what it still considers officially to be its doctrines (for example, CG7-D does have a booklet titled Doctrinal Beliefs of the Church of God (Seventh Day), but many are not listed in its beliefs list currently).

Concerning the Holy Spirit, CG7-D's doctrinal booklet states,

The Holy Spirit is the promised Comforter sent from God after the ascension of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit dwells in those Christians who ask of God and obey Him. All believers have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.

However, in CG7-D's 2nd Qtr (Apr,May,and June 2002) Adult Sabbath School quarterly, in Lesson 12 page 59, Whaid Rose stated,

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is crucial to the process of revival. All believers have the Holy Spirit, but not all are filled with the Spirit and yielded to him. To be filled with the Spirit is to be under his complete control and influence. A church filled with Spirit-filled believers is a Spirit-filled church.

Furthermore, CG7-D published the following on the nature of God in a question and answer format in its Jan-Feb 2002 Bible Advocate: Question, "What is your position on the Trinity?" CG7-D answer,

Historically, we are a non-Trinitarian church, preferring other views of this complex subject. Some of us are comfortable with Trinitarian statements. But more of us, I suspect, prefer biblical wording and deem it unnecessary to adopt the philosophical language of many creeds (e.g., "three co-equal, co-eternal, con-substantial persons"). Such wording stresses the symmetry within the Godhead, without acknowledging the more irregular landscape of the Bible regarding Father, Son, and Spirit. For example, Scripture regularly subordinates the Son to the Father (John 14:28; 1 Tim. 2:5; etc.), but it is easy to miss this in most creeds. And the New Testament omits reference to the Spirit in many places a Trinitarian would expect it to be mentioned (John 17, the doxologies, the greetings, and benedictions of most epistles, etc.). This suggests that the Holy Spirit may not be a "third person" in the same sense that the Father and Son are persons. Our statements on God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit indicate our belief that there is a kind of "three-ness" about the way God is revealed in Scripture, but the Church prefers to avoid the non-biblical term Trinity. No longer do we use much energy trying to show that the concept is borrowed from pagan religion. More of us now acknowledge that Trinity is one possible interpretation, or model, of the biblical material, but not the only one. Endorsement of Trinity is certainly not a requirement for salvation, as some would have you believe. - Elder Calvin Burrell

Additionally, CG7-D published the following on the nature of the Holy Spirit God in a question and answer format in its Jan-Feb 2012 Bible Advocate:

Is the Holy Spirit, then, a third person of the Godhead, as the Father and Son are persons? There is no simple  answer nor complex formula by which the Christian Deity may be fully analyzed and finally summarized…

Since the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in most apostolic salutations, benedictions, or doxologies (as are the Father and Son); since the Spirit is not pictured as enthroned or reigning in heaven (as are Father and Son); since the Holy Spirit is not recorded as being worshiped or as being addressed in prayers (as are Father and Son); and since the Holy Spirit participates in no “I-Thou” communications with Father or Son as they do with each other; thus it is better to think of the Spirit as the personal presence of the Father and Son on earth and within believers, rather than as a third person of the Godhead.

Notice something from its May-June 2012 Bible Advocate::

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God — the divine entity, reality, and personal presence who completes the chain of Deity, doublelinking earth with heaven. Just as Christ the Son came to reveal God the Father, so did the Holy Spirit come to speak of Jesus and remind us of all Christ said and did. Just as the Son made the Father known in human terms — bodily and locally — so the Spirit makes the Son known in heavenly terms — spiritually and universally. And just as the Father was one with, and fully present in, the Son, so the Holy Spirit came to provide the presence of the Son, not to replace the absent Son (Colossians 2:9; John 15:26b; 16:13-15). The divine chain is now complete: from God the spiritual Father in heaven to Christ the fleshly Son on earth and back again through the Holy Spirit — eternally blessed God. (Burrell C. All About the Spirit. Bible Advocate.  May-June 2012, p. 6)

CG7-D is still officially a group that does not claim it believes in the trinity, but the trend toward accepting the trinity by some of its membership is a disturbing trend (the Seventh-day Adventist church made the change from anti-trinitarian to trinitarian according to most of its scholars, please see SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666).

Calvin Burrell wrote the following about Jesus in the Jan-Feb 2002 Bible Advocate,

To some people, if Jesus is God, then there must be two Gods. No! The Bible says again and again that there is only one true Deity, not two or three. He is our Heavenly Father - Creator, King, Savior, and Judge of the universe. The same God who is our Father in heaven has revealed Himself on earth through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is both God (i.e., from the divine substance in heaven) and man, having taken on human form at His birth in Bethlehem. Not another God, Jesus is the perfect visible image of the only true God (read Hebrews 1 carefully). In His origin, nature, essence, and Spirit, Christ shares the deity and divinity of His Father in heaven. He is God become man. - Elder Calvin Burrell

CG7-D declared at its North American Ministerial Council meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma in May, 2004,

...the statement: ‘He is of the same substance as the Father’ to mean that Jesus is an equal member of the Godhead (Deity) and shares the nature, attributes, and title of “God” with the Father. As the Son, Jesus is subordinate to the Father in rank.

One concern to those in the COGs, however, is that historically this 'same substance' comment is used as part of the trinitarian argument (the COGs teach that there is one God family which began with two beings).


Here are some of CG7-D's the old and new military teachings,

When the United States entered the war in 1917, {A.N.} Dugger {Church of God, Seventh Day}, with a Missouri congressman, had a personal interview with President Woodrow Wilson, obtaining Church of God exemption. (Nickels RC. History of the Seventh Day Church of God, p. 92)

Wars among nations and violence between persons are not God's perfect will, but result from greed, lust for power, selfishness, and other sinful motives. Christians should renounce such carnality and the weapons of human strife, and should not participate in military combat through the armed forces" (Doctrinal Beliefs of the Church of God (Seventh Day), 1996).

And here is what Whaid Rose, then the CG7-D president wrote in the 21st century:

Christians should renounce such carnality and the weapons of human strife, and should not participate in military combat through the armed forces (Rose, Whaid. E-Vision, October 1, 2001).

Apparently however, CG7-D's president was considering changing his view as he concluded that same article with:

You should know that over the years I have defended the church's pacifist stance, but that the events of September 11th has me thinking much about this. Would you say that this "different kind of war against America" calls for an exception to the rule?

I have publicly disagreed with Whaid Rose on this point. Those interested may wish to read Military Service and the COGs (an earlier, shorter version was published in Oct 2001 issue of The Journal).

In 2002 CG7-D's Congress announced:

The congress reaffirmed the CG7's traditional opposition to "carnal warfare" and advised members who participate in branches of the military to seek noncombatant status." (Cartwright, Dixon. CG7 congress affirms Sabbath belief, writes guidelines for members on hot-button issues. The Journal. August 2002, p. 5).

In most COGs, participation in the military is prohibited, and this prohibition is stronger than to advise that members seek non-combatant status--this CG7-D position seems similar to that held by the Seventh Day Adventists.

Women's Leadership Roles

There are many similarites, but possibly a few differences, between how CG7-Denver and other COGs view the biblical roles of women. In the September 2007 issue of CG7-D's Bible Advocate, Calvin Burrell wrote:

Elsewhere in the Bible, women are permitted a part in public teaching and prophesying, provided they do so with decorum and under proper order. Examples of this are the many inspired prophetesses in both testaments: Exodus 15:20ff; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; Luke 2:36; Acts 2:17, 18; 18:26; 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11:4, 5. In giving full credence to these texts, it would place too great a strain on the harmony of all scriptures if we universalized Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14:34 by claiming that they require all women in all churches to keep silent at all times.

This passage goes on to speak of the submission of women (v. 34b), as addressed in the law (Gen. 3:16, probably) and elsewhere by Paul (1 Tim. 2:8-15). The principle of submission, also required of men (Eph. 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5), captures the spirit of everything the apostle urges in this chapter. “Keep silent” is merely one way submission might be demonstrated in first century Corinth, as well as in any similar modern circumstance...

In today’s church, women find their places as teachers; as leaders of children, youth, and other women; as musicians; as worship leaders; as deaconesses; as board members; as counselors; as presenters in matters of their expertise; and so on. About the only roles that women do not typically fill in the Church of God (Seventh Day) are those of ordained elder and senior pastor.

The COGs essentially have women fulfill almost all roles expect preaching at services or being an ordained elder, pastor, or evangelist. As I really do not know what a "worship leader" in CG7-D does, as COGs do not usually use that title for any one, so will not comment here on whether a "worship leader" role is or is not appropriate for women. For more information on women and their biblical roles, please see the article Women and the New Testament Church.

Working on the Sabbath Now Seems to Sometimes be Allowed

The Sep-Oct 2010 of CG7-D's Bible Advocate magazine has a piece apparently allowing people to work on the Sabbath:

Q Please reiterate our position on the Sabbath.  If, due to the economy, a member who is a deacon takes a job requiring him to work late on Friday, but he still attends Sabbath day services, does God’s mercy allow him to continue as deacon? How would you handle this?…

A We’re no longer under old covenant law but under the new covenant of God’s grace (Rom. 6:15; Heb. 8:13)…Every believer must strive, out of love, to dedicate the glorious Sabbath to the Lord. When forced to work, he does not violate the law of love. He continues to love his Lord and His day, regretting that he cannot keep it as he wished. That’s completely different from one who mocks the commandment by working on Sabbath, even though he could keep it, and smugly says we are under grace. One who cannot attend Sabbath services obviously cannot hold an important church office, since he’s not aware of what goes on there. The deacon who is required to work in the dark hours of Sabbath to provide for his household is not wrong. He may continue to serve because he attends worship during the day when church activities take place and he knows what’s happening.

This is an outrage.  No one is being forced to violate the Sabbath, simply pressured.  We are all pressured to sin in many ways, but that does not make sin right.  It is still sin.

To try to reduce dissent from this outrageous response, CG7-D had the following weasel words attached to the article:

Editor’s note: Not official policy, here is a respected pastor’s answer to a not uncommon problem in CoG7.

This is still an outrage.

People either have the faith that God will provide or they do not.

Those who knowingly violate the Sabbath simply do not have the faith.

Perhaps I should convey a related personal story. When I was doing poorly financially struggling to get our business profitable, an opportunity came up for me to have a booth at a seminar on the Sabbath which would have likely resulted in noticeable financial benefits to our struggling business.  At the same time (around November 1994), the late J. Tkach had some article come out that essentially said that if you need to support your family it was okay to work on the Sabbath.

Yet the Bible says:

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.  (Exodus 20:8-11)

So, instead of listening to Tkach-accepted logic, I decided that it was an act of faith to not work on the Sabbath, but of course to work the other days.  I agreed with the Apostle Peter and others in Acts who faced persecuting pressure:

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men…” (Acts 5:29)

Peter and the others were beaten then (Acts 5:40), but that and various threats did not stop them from obeying God (Acts 5:41). They ignored being “forced” to disobey God. And actual force was used against them.

Furthermore, the Book of Psalms clearly says:

25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. (Psalms 37:25)

My wife and I have faced various trials associated with keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days over the years (my wife was even fired for attending the Feast of Tabernacles from one company).  We have made it through, though it was not always easy.  We never had to beg for bread.  Jesus taught to pray to God for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).  He did not teach to rely on carnal reasoning.

We knew that Jesus warned:

33…In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

So, the fact that it is not always easy to obey God does not justify disobedience. Jesus taught that the way to life was difficult and few would find it (Matthew 7:14).

How does the Bible say that Christians are supposed to conduct their lives? To compromise with the world? Or to do something else? Notice:

7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:6-8)

Giving in to societal pressures in order to fulfill the carnal requirements of the flesh is not biblically sanctioned (cf. Romans 13:14).  Some believe God is faithful, while others look to their own understandings.   The Bible says to trust in God and not your own understandings (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Real Christians accept that God is faithful and do not compromise:

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

There have been harder trials in the world than facing job loss in a Western society.  Almost no one actually starves in 21st century America/Europe, and if the “deacon” truly believed God, God would provide for him (and if not, likely the government) even if it does not seem so carnally (cf. Genesis 22:8).  Do he and others not realize that God is faithful?

Sadly, CG7 is encouraging people to look to their own carnal understandings and do what is right in their own eyes (cf. Proverbs 12:15; 21:2).


The October 2003 issue of CG7-D's Bible Advocate contains this in its Question and Answer column:

Does the Bible say anything about the "age of accountability"? Are infants and young children who die before this age in the first resurrection or the second resurrection? Human uncertainty abounds about how God will handle some circumstances of resurrection and judgment, but His children who are raised to eternal life will like whatever He does. No Bible text speaks specifically about "age of accountability." When a person understands what sin is and that Jesus died to free us from sin, he becomes responsible and is being drawn to Jesus for salvation. There is no definitive answer - only assumption - as to how God will deal with infants and young children. However, we can depend on Him to do the right thing (Gen. 18:25b; Psa. 119:137; 145:17). - Elder Melvin Sweet

The 'age of accountability' is a Protestant teaching and I am glad that CG7-D correctly points out that it is not biblical. But not knowing what happens with infants who dies is another area where CG7-D is closer to Protestant teachings than COG teachings--this is probably because CG7-D does NOT keep the biblical holy days which show God's plan of salvation (it has long been true that some in CG7 keep them, but CG7 officially does not, thus this affects its doctrinal positions). The article Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestant religions shows what the COG's generally teach on this matter.


The following is a list of CG7-D presidents in from 1900 to present:

W. C. Long 1900-05
S. W. Mentzer 1905-1921
A. N. Dugger 1921-1927, 1929-1931 Burt Marrs 1927-1929, 1943-1949 William Alexander 1931-1933A.
S. Christenson   1933-1937
Roy Davison 1937-1941
Carl Carver 1941-1943A.
E. Lidell 1949-1953E.
A. Straub 1953-59
K. H. Freeman 1959-1963
Robert Coulter 1963-1987
Calvin Burrell 1987-1997
Whaid Rose 1997-
{2015} (Twentieth Century General Conference Presidents. 6/24/06)

Loren Stacy 2015 - present

Note: The list on the A.N. Dugger line is due to a split that occurred in 1933. A.N. Dugger eventually decided that the church should be in Jerusalem and established an office there that did little more than put a stamp that said Jerusalem on various documents.

Other Matters

One of CG7-D's annual conferences, according to Calvin Burrell, announced:

The congress approved participation of church members in political elections through voting and running for public office but charged pastors not to promote specific candidates from church pulpits and at church gatherings (Cartwright, Dixon. CG7 congress affirms Sabbath belief, writes guidelines for members on hot-button issues. The Journal. August 2002, p. 5).

Within CG7-D there have been some signs that it has moved a bit closer to mainstream Protestantism (there is an article about this in the December 31, 2001 issue of The Journal). It has not gotten anywhere near WCG has (WCG actually also changed its name and took out the term "Church of God"), but enough so that this has become an issue in CG7-D circles. The biggest battle appears to be between those who believe Christians need to keep the ten commandments and those who do not believe this. There are many articles at the COGwriter home page which scripturally challenge various anti-ten commandment arguments.


The following which is purportedly from the October 2003 edition of CG7-D's Bible Advocate and was written by its then president, Whaid Rose, states:

When God wants to do something significant in the world, He calls a man or a woman and sets him-her to the task." {Speaking of the Protestant Reformation}, "That event is remembered each year during the month of October. What better time to celebrate the blessings of the Reformation and contemplate the impact of your own life...There were many other reformers besides Luther."

Norman Edwards reported that he attended the 2007 Summer convention of CG7-Denver and while he apparently liked the convention, here is some of what he reported:

President Whaid Rose stated, “We are Protestant.  We protested the Catholic Church and embraced ’sola scriptura’. We just protested more than the rest.” (Edwards N. 2007 G.C. Convention Church of God (Seventh Day).  Servant’s News, July-Aug 2007, p. 6).

CG7-'s then President must realize that, years ago, even CG7-D did NOT trace its history through the Protestant reformation. Thus, celebrating the 'blessings of the Reformation' seems odd. As does claiming to be Protestant.

The plain truth is that Martin Luther really respected his own opinion over the Bible (please see the article Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther: What Did Martin Luther Really Believe about the Bible?) and we in the Continuing Church of God do not consider ourselves truly affiliated with him or his movement.

Much of the Protestant Reformation on the European continent was really a politically expedient excuse for revolution, while England's part in it was for the purposes of accepting adultery of King Henry VIII! And while it is good that more distanced themselves from some traditions of the Catholic Church, the truth is that the Protestant reformers accepted many Catholic traditions then, and still do today!

Furthermore, it may be on interest to note what a CG7-D member has written (bolding mine),

In fact, gnostic Christianity was only the first of two waves involved in the downfall of the apostolic church. Gnosticism arose inside the church in the first century, but soon most Gnostic Christians left the church to form their own independent churches. The second wave of apostasy was Roman Christianity...From the beginning we realized that gnostic Christianity was more similar to Protestantism than Catholicism...Scholars have known about the historical connection between gnosticism and Protestantism for decades. It’s one of those things that don’t get talked about outside of scholarly circles because no one wants to hear it. But there it was. There were historical events, well documented, through which gnostic theology was reworked and handed down from gnostic Christianity in the early centuries after Christ to the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century...Did you know that salvation by grace alone, though it was one of the themes preached by Martin Luther, was not the theological foundation of the Protestant Reformation? The foundational doctrines were predestination and eternal security (once saved always saved). And those two doctrines were first preached by gnostic Christians more than 1,000 years before...There are indications that the Antichrist prophecies are fulfilled in part by a single individual, as seen in 2 Thessalonians 2. However, the apostle John in his first epistle says there is not just one Antichrist but “many antichrists have come” (1 John 2:18). Later he talks about the “spirit of antichrist” and says that in his time, in the first century, “it is already in the world” (1 John 4:3, NRSV). The problem is that John’s epistles are talking about gnostic Christianity...Apostate Roman Christianity had not even gotten started at this early time. If John says there are “many” Antichrists, and that the spirit of Antichrist entered apostate Christianity through gnosticism, then apparently Antichrist is not solely a Catholic phenomenon as most Protestants believe. If Protestantism is a latter-day manifestation of key gnostic doctrines, shouldn’t we find the spirit of Antichrist in Protestant theology as well? Indeed, our latest research demonstrates that evangelical Protestantism, the largest and most respected, conservative branch of American Protestantism today, is one of the primary manifestations of what the apostle John calls the spirit of Antichrist. Why is that important? The reason is that evangelical Protestantism is behind most of the crisis in primitive Christianity today...Many Sabbatarian churches praise and honor evangelicalism. The Church of God (Seventh Day) proudly advertises itself as an evangelical institution...Revelation 17 and its description of the great harlot is another example of the advancement in our understanding of prophecy and the end time. It is traditional to assume this refers exclusively to Catholicism and the papacy. There is now evidence that this is talking about something much larger than just Catholicism. Indeed, John’s description of the harlot, who commits fornication with the kings of the earth, is a direct reference to an unusual religious ritual in ancient Babylonia...we traced the doctrine of the immortal soul from modern Christianity all the way back to a great pagan religious reformation in ancient Greece seven centuries before Christ. But what about before that time? What is the ultimate origin of this ancient heresy?...Remember Genesis...In Hebrew religion there was no guaranteed salvation, no once saved always saved. In Hebrew religion one’s conduct was a vital component of salvation...the classic effect of this equally ancient and modern doctrine of eternal security, which always, then and now, leads to antinomian license to sin. The idea that salvation was open to all mankind first evolved in paganism in ancient Greece (and Egypt). Paganism now claimed that many more people than the ruling class possessed an immortal soul. Some began to believe that all men have a divine, immortal soul, and that opinion ultimately prevailed. Nevertheless, the idea that some persons are predestined to be saved and others lost, and that this is guaranteed regardless of conduct, persisted in Greek religion. It was adopted by many gnostic Christians, from whom ultimately Martin Luther and John Calvin formed their own doctrines of predestination and eternal security, which come down to us today as evangelical Protestantism" (Knight Alan. After all theses years, primitive Christianity is still in crisis. The Journal. February 29, 2004, pp. 12-13).

Although there are some significant differences between Gnosticism and Protestantism, COG supporters MUST realize that Protestantism is a danger. Protestantism is so much so that it enveloped WCG and is to a major degree taking over CG7-D. CG7-D should have known that Protestants were the daughters of the harlot. While I am glad that Alan Knight is starting to understand that, he still appears to be supporting CG7-D.

Whaid Rose, formerly president of the CG7-Denver has not stopped pushing Protestantism. This time, he has done this in the form of highly promoting Martin Luther. Here is what he wrote in the May-June 2017 issue of CG7-Denver’s Bible Advocate magazine:

The Reformation’s Brightest Light

By Whaid Rose

What’s the story of the Reformation’s main man?Born to Christian parents in Germany in 1483, he was reared under strict discipline. But inner peace eluded Luther as he grew older; he struggled to know freedom from sin and assurance of salvation. Keeping his promise to become a monk if spared from a life-threatening thunderstorm, he joined the Augustinian Order and devoted himself to a rigid monastic lifestyle. But this only deepened his anxiety and despair.

Luther’s transformation began when, as head of the theology department at the University of Wittenberg, he began a serious study of Romans. Suffice it to say, he discovered justification by faith (1:17) — God’s sovereign act whereby He declares us “not guilty” and places us in right standing with Himself, on the basis of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. Luther’s life was suddenly and forever unshackled.

As a result, Luther became increasingly unsettled by the unbiblical practices of the Roman Catholic Church, which led him to nail his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church on October 31, 1517. These were merely questions and propositions for debate. But thanks to zealous university students and Guttenberg’s new invention, Luther’s theses were soon spread all over Germany, sparking a firestorm. When his books were burned in Rome, he appealed to the emperor for a hearing. It was granted, bringing us to the showdown at the Imperial Diet (assembly) in Worms, 1521. Asked if willing to recant, Luther begged time to think it over and spent the night in agonizing prayer.

It’s believed that Psalm 46, the biblical framework for Luther’s signature hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” was before him that night. As Luther stood before the assembly the following day, his inquisitor demanded a final answer, prompting his now famous response: “I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me.”

This is Christiandom’s finest hour.

The landscape of Christianity was forever changed. Five hundred years later, we still need Luther. His inner struggles encourage us; we’re not alone. His humble circumstances remind us that God uses ordinary people, that one person can make a difference. His discovery in Romans urges us to return to Scripture and get the gospel right. His conviction and courage embolden us to take our stand, to seek a new Reformation.

An old Bohemian psalter features a picture of Wycliffe striking the spark, Huss kindling the coals, and Luther brandishing the flame — an accurate depiction of Luther’s role in the Protestant Reformation. Among Reformation lights, Luther shines brightest. Yet we celebrate his legacy, not so much because he was a religious hero but because he points us beyond himself to the God who alone re – deems us in Christ — by faith alone.

This is horrific and seems to be supportive of the ecumenical agenda that many these days advocate.

The true Church of God is NOT Protestant, nor does it trace itself through the Protestant reformation. Whaid Rose has not shown himself to be among the “few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments” (Revelation 3:4).

All should realize:

  1. Martin Luther was never a Christian.
  2. His psaltery statements were NOT “Christendom’s finest hour.”
  3. He did not truly respect the Bible.
  4. We certainly do not need another person like him today.
  5. Martin Luther intentionally mistranslated the Bible for it to say “faith alone” the way he advocated it.

See also the free online book, Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism, which features Martin Luther on the front cover.

As far as the Bible goes, notice what Martin Luther wrote about the Book of James:

In the first place it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works. It says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac; though in Romans 4 St. Paul teaches to the contrary that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone, before he had offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15…But this James does nothing more than drive to the law and to its works. Besides, he throws things together so chaotically that it seems to me he must have been some good, pious man, who took a few sayings from the disciples of the apostles and thus tossed them off on paper. Or it may perhaps have been written by someone on the basis of his preaching. He calls the law a ‘law of liberty’, though Paul calls it a law of slavery, of wrath, of death, and of sin (Luther, M. Preface to the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, 1546; originally 1522).

Martin Luther did not like the Book of James for many reason, like what James 2:24 teaches:

New International Version
You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

New Living Translation
So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

English Standard Version
You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Berean Study Bible
As you can see, a man is justified by his deeds and not by faith alone.

Berean Literal Bible
You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.

New American Standard Bible
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

King James Bible
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Martin Luther did not want to believe the word of God.

As the following quotes show, Martin Luther did not care for several books in the Old Testament either:

Job spoke not as it stands written in his book, but only had such thoughts. It is merely the argument of a fable. It is probable that Solomon wrote and made this book…Ecclesiastes ought to have been more complete. There is too much incoherent matter in it…Solomon did not, therefore, write this book…I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist, for it Judaizes too much…The history of Jonah is so monstrous that it is absolutely incredible. (as quoted in O’Hare, p. 202).

Martin Luther had problems with many books of the Bible, including several in the New Testament. For additional information, please read the article, Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther: What Did Martin Luther Actually Teach about the Bible?

The Bible, in Romans 3:28, states:

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Martin Luther, in his German translation of the Bible, specifically added the word “allein” (English ‘alone’) to Romans 3:28-a word that is not in the original Greek. Notice what Protestant scholars have admitted:

…Martin Luther would once again emphasize…that we are “justified by faith alone”, apart from the works of the Law” (Rom. 3:28), adding the German word allein (“alone”) in his translation of the Greek text. There is certainly a trace of Marcion in Luther’s move (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 64-65).

Martin Luther reportedly said:

You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word alone in not in the text of Paul…say right out to him: ‘Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,’…I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102; see also Luther M. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127).

This passage strongly suggests that Martin Luther viewed his opinions, and not the actual Bible as the primary authority–a concept which this author will name prima Luther. By “papists” he is condemning Roman Catholics, but is needs to be understood that Protestant scholars (like HOJ Brown) also realize that Martin Luther changed that scripture.

Martin Luther did not stand up for the truth. He endorsed his views above the Bible (see also Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther: What Did Martin Luther Actually Teach about the Bible?).

Martin Luther wrote many things that a real Christian would never have written, such as the following:

My heart is fuller of these thoughts than my tongue can tell. I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God as all the prophets have predicted. He who neither reads nor understands this, as yet knows no theology, in my opinion. And so I presume the men of Cologne cannot understand the Scripture, because it is necessary that such things take place to fulfill prophecy. If they are trying to stop the Jews blaspheming, they are working to prove the Bible and God liars (“Martin Luther’s to George Spalatin,” from Luther’s Correspondence and Other Contemporan, Letters, trans. by P. Smith (1913), Vol. 1, pp. 28-29).

Furthermore he wrote:

I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them…They are so blind and stupid that they see neither the words found in Genesis 17 nor the whole of Scripture, which mightily and explicitly condemns this lie…They are real liars and bloodhounds who have not only continually perverted and falsified all of Scripture with their mendacious glosses from the beginning until the present day. Their heart’s most ardent sighing and yearning and hoping is set on the day on which they can deal with us Gentiles as they did with the Gentiles in Persia at the time of Esther…The worse a Jew is, the more arrogant he is, solely because he is a Jew — that is, a person descended from Abraham’s seed, circumcised, and under the law of Moses. David and other pious Jews were not as conceited as the present-day, incorrigible Jews…I wanted to present this to us Germans so that we might see what rascals the blind Jews are and how powerfully the truth of God in our midst stands with us and against them (Medieval Sourcebook: Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543)

Martin Luther advised his followers:

…to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulphur and pitch (Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 as quoted from Luther’s Works, Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). pp 268­293).

Advocating persecution, murder, and theft is not something a real Christian leader would do–yet Martin Luther did that and more.

Does that mean that everything Martin Luther did was bad?


But he is not an example to emulate.

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation was October 31, 2017.

Even Pope Francis is advocating it as part of his ecumenical agenda (watchPope Francis’ Celebration of Reformation’s 500th Anniversary).

It is disappointing that, at least indirectly, CG7’s Whaid Rose was as well.

In a departure from its normally tamer reporting of its version of its history, in a 2-page spread entitled “Division and Reunion: 1933-1963“, the July-August 2008 edition of the CG7-D’s Bible Advocate contains the following:

Around 1930 Herbert W. Armstrong, an advertiser by trade, began to preach for the Church and was granted a ministerial license… These were revoked in 1937 when he insisted on promoting Hebrew festival observance and Anglo-Israelism, teachings the Church never embraced. Mr. Armstrong later moved his work to Pasadena, California, where it became a prosperous and exclusive cult: the Worldwide Church of God.”

It is sad that CG7-D wishes to pejoratively label the old WCG a cult, but as it has moved closer towards Protestantism, I suppose this is to be expected.

What the Bible Says About the Sardis Church

Here is what Jesus said in Revelation 3:1-6:

"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." '

Jesus seems to be warning Sardis to know its history, stop changing doctrine, and pay attention to prophecy.

With its intentional lack of knowledge on church eras/history (see CG7 Admits Change, But Sardis A Joke?), its doctrinal changes, Sabbath compromising, and its lack of prophetic understanding, it really does seem to me that no other group throughout recent history fits Jesus' description of the Sardis church than CG7-D and apparently CG7-Salem.

Additionally, fewer and fewer are likely to be true Christians. The Apostle Paul taught:

2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-7)

CG7-D says so much prophecy is in the past that it will be overtaken like by a thief in darkness. CG7-D does NOT advocating watching for many prophetic events as it teaches that they are past.

CG7-D has claimed in the past that its size proves that it is not Sardis. And CG7-D is quite large by COG standards. At the home page of its website, CG7-Denver’s Whaid Rose reported:

The General Conference, Church of God (Seventh Day), is a family of more than 200 local congregations scattered across the United States and Canada. Through its International Ministerial Congress, the Church of God (Seventh Day) is a global church, connecting 300,000 members around the world.. ( viewed 04/03/12)

CG7-D seems to be connecting 300,000 brethren to error.

In the past several years, CG7-D has been making it clearer and clearer that it does not understand end time prophecy.  And it is teaching this in such a manner as to likely mislead most of its claimed 300,000 brethren. They apparently will be overtaken as with a thief in the night. They seem determined to ignore the warnings to the Sardis Church.

What A CG7 Member Said About What Seems to be Happening There

The Nov-Dec 2005 issue of Giving & Sharing's Church of God News had this piece from a CG7-D member:

There have been apostate groups and individuals within CG7 for the past 20 years that have lost their conviction about the Sabbath, but most have left the Church. One of the most recent was just a few years ago in which a California congregation split, with the Sunday leaning group finally dissolving and joining local Sunday Churches.What has changed on an official basis within CG7, is the teaching today that Sabbath is only a secondary issue or as they like to say, a “distinctive” that has no bearing on the core beliefs of Christianity. In that kind of environment, I expect we will see many more such apostate groups forming within the Church, and whether they continue to leave or finally organize within the Church is a serious question.

My own prediction is that in the end time, most Sabbatarian Churches will buckle under severe pressure from both inside and outside forces, and allow a mixture of Sunday and Sabbath observing congregations within their midst, to avoid persecution and censure by dictatorial governments that will soon return to the Western world in a time of great crisis. That is when Revelation 18:4 will come into play in a special way, to separate the goats from the sheep, and who will escape the final end time plagues and who will not.

It may be of interest to note, that the joint keeping of the Sabbath and Sunday apparently began in Rome and was documented to have occurred as late as the 4-5th century. But I suspect that the actual Sabbath will be legislated against by the Beast power to not allow for this joint observation.

On July 18, 2019, I received an email related to changes in CG7-D from another CG7-D member:

Your comments on the slippage from doctrine really caught me and the section "What A CG7 Member Said ..." was very true but now out of date.

The church appears to have been slowly taken over by liberals and in the past 6 months doctrine has really begun to shift. The church has an open doctrine, which sounds like a good idea - as our understanding improves we adjust doctrine. But it also opens the door for evil people to bring in bad doctrine.

Open doctrine for the CoG7 as an organization has come to mean, believe whatever you want, at the individual level. Coupled with a liberal view that despises whatever it calls legalism, focuses on outreach and largely ignores doctrine, this is to be expected.

As part of the liberalism, CoG7 is trying to make itself more acceptable and thus to appear more like traditional churches. The official position has not changed but the stance on Easter and Christmas is softening in an attempt to welcome people into the church on those days.

The Sabbath is the biggest casualty. I wasn't there to see it but it appears the church has not taught what the Sabbath is or how it should be observed in a long time. As a result, people do whatever they want. The only element that remains somewhat common is not doing your employment job on the Sabbath.

That's the current state of observance but a recent Bible Study lesson from CoG7 (BA Press) teaches a Sabbath that has no keeping and instead has an observance (celebration) that consists entirely of going to church on the Sabbath ("celebrate" is a liberal word meaning "go to church").

Now, it is not my experience that CG7-D is doing away with the Sabbath. My experience is, however, that CG7-D is open to allowing many doctrinal ideas, including many that I do not believe are COG, as well as the fact that many within it have drifted away from the truth in various ways.

Meeting With CG7

In the Spring of 2013, I attended a service of a CG7 -offshoot in Rio de Janeiro. CG7-Denver listed it as part of them, though when I inquired those in Brazil said no, they were affiliated with some group out of Florida. Anyway, I was asked to speak to them, and in English and broken Portuguese did give some doctrinal and prophetic messages.

In late September 2015, I was able to actually meet with Robert Coulter at CG7-D's offices in Denver, Colorado.


This worked out because, I had flown to Denver, Colorado to be at one of the sites for the Feast of Tabernacles for the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).

While in Denver, I got an opportunity to visit the headquarters of CG7-Denver and met with its former president Robert Coulter.

CCOG’s Bob Thiel and CG7-D's Robert Coulter

Robert Coulter and I have conversed over the years, mainly on matters of church history, Christology, and working with people in South America and Africa.  This was our first face-to-face meeting and we discussed those subjects and more.  He and I had more personally in common than I thought as I learned we both spent time in Africa, South America, and Michigan doing church work.

Robert Coulter also showed me CG7-D's ‘vault,’ which is a storage room with original copies of old CG7 publications. He showed me, for example, the first edition of the old Hope of Israel magazine.

Robert Coulter with the first edition of the 'Hope of Israel' which has a print date of August 10, 1863

While in Denver, I had also hoped to meet with another former CG7-D president, Calvin Burrell.  However, he had recently moved to the State of Oregon–Calving Burrell has since emailed me to see if we can meet in the future.  He and I have discussed doctrinal matters as well as matters related to contacts in Africa.

Several groups in Africa who have contacted the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) in the past couple of years have used some version of the name Church of God Seventh-Day and I have tried to determine their sincerity as well as their possible connections to the group in Denver.

In 2015, we in the Continuing Church of God were contacted by groups in Ethiopia and Ghana who use a version of the term Church of God 7th Day as their name. I discussed those groups with Calvin Burrell some months ago.  After that and additional contacts, I determined it would be wise to send CCOG Pastor Evans Ochieng to meet those in Ghana in August 2015. I also worked on matters related to supporting those in Ghana to observe the Feast of Tabernacles that year, as well as assisted in clarifying doctrinal issues related to the Feast of Trumpets and the Last Great Day. We hope that CCOG Pastor Evans Ochieng will be able to go to Ethiopia again to meet with those interested in that nation.

Those groups in Ghana and Ethiopia were not breaking away from the Denver group according to Calvin Burrell (nor had I thought so, but wanted to check). When I met with Robert Coulter, he explained that there are groups that are formally part of the CG7 International Conference, but that there are also independent groups that have associate status–but that it is really a name-only association.

Robert Coulter and I discussed how I was told the Ethiopians first became affiliated with a Church of God minister from Kenya and that there were around 200 in the group that contacted us (how many are truly interested in the CCOG remains to be seen). I also mentioned that there were about 500 in the group in Ghana that we were starting to work with. He provided some of his insights to that part of the world, and he and I discussed our own respective visits to Kenya and other parts of Africa.

While in Denver, I was unable to meet with new CG7-D president Loren Stacy as he had not yet moved to CG7's Denver office in his new role--but eventually, we spoke over the telephone.

My main interests in meeting with CG7-D was to improve information on church history, pass on doctrinal information, help prevent misunderstandings, reduce the possibility of getting misled by pretenders to the COG located in various parts of the world while we in the Continuing Church of God work to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.  We also discussed, but did not dwell on, prophetic and other differences, but did discuss the belief that God will call all.

Anyway, the meeting I had in person with Robert Coulter was helpful and productive as were my previous telephone and email contacts with him and Calvin Burrell (both of whom I spoke with in 2019).


Herbert W. Armstrong considered CG7's name suggested it was alive, but he felt CG7 was dead because it did not bear much fruit.

CG7-D is the largest claimed "COG" but has so few that are truly part of the COG that Jesus warns it that it is losing what makes it part of the true Church of God.

Recent discussions within CG7-D have suggested that some (though not all) in its ranks wish to become more like the world's churches and less like the Church of God (assuming Herbert W. Armstrong was correct about the old CG7 being Sardis, the quote "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent" seems to more applicable now than when Herbert W. Armstrong was alive).

However, lest any forget, remember that Jesus did state,

"You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy"

Thus, there are still a few true CG7-D members who our spiritual brothers. An article of related interest may be The Sardis Church Era.

Yet even though Jesus told Sardis that it had a few names who are worthy, CG7-D is NO place of safety. Notice that Jesus told many in Sardis "you will not know what hour I will come upon you" (Revelation 3:3), while He told Philadelphia, "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" (vs. 10).

And Jesus told both groups,

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (vss. 6,13)".

CG7's lack of prophetic understanding and watering down of certain doctrines is apparently going to ultimately have rough consequences on its followers.

End Note Although it has been reported that "The doctrinal differences among the Churches of God are minuscule. You can't get a knifes edge between us on doctrines" (Dart, Ron. CEM Founder Talks About Bickering, Bridges, the Future. The Journal. July 31, 1999. p.6), this author does not believe that one can examine the teachings of groups, such as CG7-D, and come to that conclusion. Here is a related article of possible interest: What is a True Philadelphian?

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Thiel B., Ph.D. The Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings. (c) 2002, 2003, 2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2019/2020 /2021 /2022 /2024 0606