The founding of The Church of God occurred in 28 A.D. when Jesus Christ called together His twelve apostles on Mt. Kurn Hattin near Jerusalem in Palestine, now known as Israel (Mark 3:13-19). She was endued with power on the Day of Pentecost, but She was in operation prior to this point in time. The Church continued under theocracy, governed by the immediate direction of God, growing and expanding until Her influence was felt in the entire known world.
Its success and identity were interrupted, however, on June 14, 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicaea when the Church, under the power and influence of the Roman government, headed at that time by Emperor Constantine, abandoned theocracy and established an Episcopal form of government to replace it. It was at this point that the true Church ceased to function but the organization continued. Read and study Isaiah 54:7 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
From 325 A.D. to 1903, God was not asleep. He began revealing the truth to men once again. Martin Luther received divine understanding of justification by faith; John Wesley began teaching and preaching the doctrine of sanctification and holiness. Dr. Albert Simpson began preaching divine healing. A mighty revival broke out in 1896 in the mountains of eastern North Carolina at the Schearer Schoolhouse. Over one hundred were baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire and spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.
After 1578 years, a time known in religious history as the Dark Ages, the true Church arose from its long sleep and again began to function (Isaiah 60:1-5). The time was June 13, 1903 and the place was Cherokee County, North Carolina. In this historic meeting, one among the group who came together to pray and study the Word of God, A. J. Tomlinson, made the statement after he had gone to the top of a mountain nearby for an extended session of prayer:
"I came back down the mountain and entered the meeting. Questions were asked. Bible answers were given. They said they took the whole Bible rightly divided as their only rule of faith and practice. I said, Well if you take the whole Bible rightly divided, that makes it The Church of God... Then I said, you have agreed that this that I have said makes it The Church of God, and will you be willing to take it and keep it The Church of God? They said they were willing. I then asked if they were willing to take me in with the understanding that It is The Church of God — not going to be, but is The Church of God. They were willing... Brother Spurling... took the Bible and gave it to me. He handed it to me and said, "Will you take this (Bible) as the word of God, believe and practice it, obey its precepts and walk in the light as God is in the light?" Right there I gave my hand to Brother Spurling... I took the obligation with deep sincerity and extreme sacredness, never to be forgotten..." (Upon This Rock, Vol. 3, p. 64, C. T. Davidson, White Wing Publishing House and Press, Cleveland, Tennessee, 1976).
In 1923 a disruption caused a split in the Church, resulting in two groups both calling themselves the Church of God. In 1933 God gave the banner (Psalms 60:3, 4), the Church flag, to His Church; to those who feared Him too much to be led astray from the truth. On May 2nd, 1952, "of Prophecy" was added to the name Church of God.
In 1990, the Church of God of Prophecy departed from theocratic government. Through the Holy Ghost, God called for a Solemn Assembly to be held July 23-25, 1993. On July 24th, the Holy Ghost gave direction to separate from the apostasy of the past three years, and to continue truly as The Church of God, clearly designating Robert J. Pruitt as the General Overseer. The Church of God thus returned to the true theocracy.
These separations did not constitute new organizations, but the reorganization of The Church of God as the true theocracy of God, the exclusive Body of Christ:
- Which was set in order by Christ and functioned in theocratic order until A.D. 325;
- Which arose from the Dark Ages on June 13, 1903;
- Which continued true to God in "faith and practice, government and discipline" following the 1923 disruption;
- Which is doing likewise since the similar disruption in 1993.
From the humble restoration of the Church which Christ established in 28 A.D. to this present day there have been glorious times, great victories and reports of great revivals, healings, and divine deliverances. With Holy Ghost direction the Church is now operating in forty-seven countries with more countries being opened each year.
Details of the future are, of course, unknown; but the prophecies of God are clear concerning His Church. The hour is late, but the brightness of the "Arise, Shine" lies just ahead. Without a doubt, perfection will be attained, for it has already been declared of the Church that Christ will "present it unto himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27; see also Revelations 19:6-9).