The Historical Society of Church of God Movements held their annual meeting on Thursday, May 23, in Cleveland, Tennessee. Dr. Harold D. Hunter presented “Fire Baptized Impact on the Church of God.” Hunter serves as director of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church’s Archives and Research Center as well as IPHC Liaison to the Greater Christian Community.
Church of God of Prophecy Historian, Bishop Adrian L. Varlack Sr., and Church of God Historian, Dr. David G. Roebuck, responded to Hunter’s presentation. Twenty-five people attended the meeting representing five denominations.
According to Church of God Historian Roebuck, “A knowledge of events during the time between R.G. Spurling’s founding of the Christian Union in 1886 and our first General Assembly in 1906 is vitally important to better understanding the historical and theological development of the Church of God.
Although the lack of documents from that time period continues to hinder a complete telling of our story, Dr. Hunter’s examination of the impact of the Fire Baptized Movement continues our search for understanding.”
The Church of God at Jerusalem Acres hosted the 2019 meeting. Presiding Bishop Lavell Craig and Deaconess Vickie Craig attended; and local pastor and secretary general, Bishop David W. Kramer, welcomed the Society with a brief history of the host denomination.
While most Church of God movements trace their birth to the restorationism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Church of God at Jerusalem Acres (http://www.thechurchofgodntj.org ) includes the restoration of New Testament Judaism in their doctrine and practice. According to their periodical, The Vision Speaks (June 2018):
- We are a Pentecostal, charismatic church that celebrates the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- We choose to love everyone unconditionally because that’s how Jesus loves us.
- We honor the Sabbath yet we are not legalistic. We simply choose the Sabbath because it pleases God.
- We recognize that our righteousness comes through the blood of Jesus Christ alone—it is not by our works.
- We believe that Jesus did not do away with Judaism—He simply reformed it into what we call New Testament Judaism.
- We celebrate the reformed festivals of Judaism namely Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
- We practice Inner-Healing Ministry/Counseling because we believe that forgiveness is the key to living an abundant life and to counteract the defiling effects of unforgiveness and the resulting bitterness.
- We are a State Certified Faith Based Recovery Congregation.
The Historical Society of Church of God Movements began in 2002 in order to provide opportunities for representatives of the various denominations that use the name Church of God to better understand both common and unique aspects of their history and heritage.
Membership is open to all persons who wish to learn more about the history and heritage of the movements, contribute to our historical understanding, or support the work of the Society.
The Society meets annually on the Thursday prior to Memorial Day at a place determined by the officers. Officers for the current year are Dr. Don G. Brock, president; Bishop David W. Kramer, first vice-president; Mr. Robert L. George, second vice-president; and Mr. Frank R. Shroyer, executive secretary/treasurer. Retiring President Shaun McKinley moderated the meeting.
Hunter’s more comprehensive “The Fire-Baptized Holiness Association of America Impact on the Emerging Church of God (Cleveland, TN): 1898-1906” can be found at
(Source: David G. Roebuck)
“Some of those attending the annual meeting of the Historical Society of Church of God Movements held at The Church of God at Jerusalem Acres in Cleveland, Tennessee.”