Continuing Church of God: Continue what?

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)


As most readers now know, it became necessary for me to cease my affiliation with a group based out of North Carolina and form the Continuing Church of God.

So, since the word “continuing” is part of the title, the question to be briefly addressed today is:  Continue what?

First, it needs to be understood that according to Jesus, the church itself would continue and the gates of Hades (death) would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

Second, despite what the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics seem to wish to believe, the Bible is clear that no one city would remain the main location of the true church throughout the church age–it is the Church of God and not some particular city that is supposed to continue.

Let us look at what Jesus and the Apostle Paul taught on this matter:

22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes (Matthew 10:22-23).

14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come (Hebrews 13:14).

Since Christians have no continuing city, it is the Church of God, not some city such as Rome or Alexandria that was supposed to continue to lead Christ’s church.

While the Apostles Peter and Paul held leadership positions in the Church of God, after they died, the Apostle John rose to higher prominence, and despite certain Roman misinformation, John would have been the leading ecclesiastical authority on earth the last one to four decades of his life.  He also wrote the last four to five books of the New Testament.  Despite that, even the Apostle John had opposition (3 John 9-11).

But he also had supporters and followers.  One that John apparently ordained was Polycarp of Smyrna.  Unlike many in the so-called “apostolic succession” lists of the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics, Polycarp was ordained by one or more of the original apostles according to relatively contemporaneous records, Polycarp wrote information that is still preserved (such as his letter to the Philippians), and a book/letter was written about him shortly after he was martyred (around 160 A.D.).

But was he faithful?

Well, according to pretty much all Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholics scholars, he was.

Notice some of what Ignatius wrote in the early 2nd century:

…to Polycarp, bishop of the Smyrnaeans…So approving am I of your godly mind, which is as it were, grounded upon an unmovable rock, that my praise exceeds all bounds…Do not let those who appear to be trustworthy yet who teach strange doctrines baffle you.  Stand firm, like an anvil…Grace will be…always…with Polycarp (Ignatius.  Letter to Polycarp. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p. 194-201).

Irenaeus records this about Polycarp in the late 2nd century:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna…always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4).

Notice that Irenaeus is claiming that Polycarp was appointed bishop (pastor/overseer) of the Church in Smyrna by the apostles in Asia (which would most likely have been John and Philip and perhaps some others) and that Polycarp continued the faith and practices of the original apostles. Notice that Irenaeus is claiming that there was a list of men who have succeeded Polycarp until the late 2nd century and that they held to the teaching of the apostles. Thus the only universally accepted apostle to “bishop” transfer of leadership for the 1st and 2nd centuries that continued until at least the end of the 2nd century was through Polycarp of Smyrna (more on “apostolic succession” can be found in the article simply titled Apostolic Succession).

So, what did Polycarp teach?

Well he taught the Bible, the kingdom of God, the resurrections, the commandments of God, the love of God, etc.  Here is some of what he wrote in his Letter/epistle to the Philippians with some scriptural citations that I added:

Polycarp, and the presbyters with him, to the Church of God sojourning at Philippi: Mercy to you, and peace from God Almighty, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, be multiplied.


I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because you have followed the example of true love [as displayed by God], and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God (Colossians 3:12) and our Lord; and because the strong root of your faith, spoken of in days long gone by (cf. Philemon 5), endureth even until now, and bringeth forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. John 15:8), who for our sins suffered even unto death (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3), [but] “whom God raised from the dead, having loosed the bands of the grave” (Acts 2:24). “In whom, though now you see Him not, you believe, and believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8); into which joy many desire to enter (Matthew 13:17; cf. 1 Peter 4:13), knowing that “by grace you are saved, not of works,” (Ephesians 2:8-9) but by the will of God through Jesus Christ (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10).


“Wherefore, girding up your loins” (cf. Ephesians 6:14;1 Peter 1:13), “serve the Lord in fear” (cf. Hebrews 12:28) and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude, and “believed in Him who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory” (1 Peter 1:21) and a throne at His right hand. To Him all things in heaven and on earth are subject (1 Peter 3:22; cf. Philippians 2:10). Him every spirit serves. He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5). His blood will God require of those who do not believe in Him (cf. Luke 11:50). But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also (1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Romans 8:11), if we do His will, and walk in His commandments (2 John 6;cf. Revelation 22:14-15), and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness (cf. John 7:18), covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; “not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing” (1 Peter 3:9), or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing, but being mindful of what the Lord said in His teaching : “Judge not, that you be not judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you; be merciful, that you may obtain mercy; with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again; and once more” (Matthew 7:1-2, cf. Matthew 6:12,14; Luke 6:36-38), “Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20; Matthew 5:3,10).


These things, brethren, I write to you concerning righteousness, not because I take anything upon myself, but because you have invited me to do so. For neither I, nor any other such one, can come up to the wisdom (cf. 2 Peter 3:15) of the blessed and glorified Paul. He, when among you, accurately and stedfastly taught the word of truth (Ephesians 1:13) in the presence of those who were then alive (cf. Acts 16:13). And when absent from you, he wrote you a letter (Philippians), which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards God, and Christ, and our neighbour, “is the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26). For if any one be inwardly possessed of these graces, he hath fulfilled the command of righteousness, since he that hath love is far from all sin (cf. James 2:8-9).


“But the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). Knowing, therefore, that “as we brought nothing into the world, so we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7), let us arm ourselves with the armour of righteousness (2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:11); and let us teach, first of all, ourselves to walk in the commandments of the Lord (John 14:15). Next, [teach] your wives [to walk] in the faith given to them, and in love and purity tenderly loving their own husbands in all truth, and loving all [others] equally in all chastity (Titus 2:4,5); and to train up their children in the knowledge and fear of God. Teach the widows to be discreet as respects the faith of the Lord, praying continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17) for all (cf. 1 Timothy 5:5), being far from all slandering, evil-speaking, false-witnessing, love of money, and every kind of evil; knowing that they are the altar is of God, that He clearly perceives all things, and that nothing is hid from Him, neither reasonings, nor reflections, nor any one of the secret things of the heart (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:25).

So, Polycarp realized that the true church was called the Church of God and that he placed a high priority on the scriptures and the doctrines in them, including the commandments and love.

This is what we in the Continuing Church of God also are striving to do.

Now, here are some of the beliefs that Polycarp and others in the early Church of God held to that we in the Continuing Church of God. also hold to:

Baptism was by immersion and did not include infants.
The complete Bible with the proper Old Testament and New Testament was relied on by the true Church in Asia Minor.
A Binitarian view, that acknowledged the Holy Spirit, was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.
Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.
Born-Again meant being born at the resurrection, not at the time of conversion.
Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.
Church Governance was hierarchical.
Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings.
Circumcision, though not required, was long practiced by original Nazarene Christians.
Confession of sins were not made to priests and did not require penance.
Deification of Christians was taught by the early leaders of the Church.
Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental–nor did they dress as many now do.
Easter per se was not observed by the apostolic church.
The Fall Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.
The Father was considered to be God by all early professing Christians.
The True Gospel included the kingdom of God and obedience to the law of God and was so understood by the faithful.
Heaven was not taught to be the reward of Christians.
Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.
Hymns were mainly psalms, not praises to Christ.
Idols were taught against, including adoration of the cross.
Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught.
Jesus was considered to be God by the true Christians.
The Kingdom of God was preached.
Leavened Bread was removed from the homes of early Christians when the Jews did the same.
Lent was not observed by the primitive church.
Limbo was not taught by the original church.
Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians.
Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians.
Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.
Passover was kept on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second century Christians in Asia Minor.
Pentecost was kept on Sunday by certain Jews and was observed then by professing Christians.
Purgatory was not taught by the original apostolic church.
The Resurrection of the dead was taught by all early Christians
The Sabbath was observed on Saturday by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church.
Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that (or other doctrines) practiced “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
God’s Six Thousand Year Plan for humankind to rule itself was believed by early professors of Christ.
Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and original post-apostolic Christians.
The Ten Commandments were observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians–and in the order that the Church of God claims they are in.
Tithes and Offerings were given to support the ministry, the churches, the needy, and evangelical travels and gospel proclamation.
Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians, but was never supposed to supercede the Bible.
The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians, though a certain threeness was acknowledged.
Unclean Meats were eaten by the early allegorists, but not by true Christians.
The Virgin Birth was acknowledged by all true ante-Nicene Christians.

We in the Continuing Church of God are striving to best represent the most faithful remnant  of the original Church of God that began on Pentecost in Acts 2 (c. 31 A.D.) and we believe and teach the doctrines of the original apostolic and faithful post-apostolic Church of God, and in particular, the Philadelphia-era of the Church of God.

The Apostle Jude wrote to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

How can one contend earnestly for the original faith if one does not know what what it consisted of?

Well, one of the goals of the Continuing Church of God is “To restore knowledge of more of the truths of original Christianity (Jude 3)” according to our mission statement and that is part of what we are striving to do.  As well as to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God and His son Jesus the Christ.

The New Testament also says to:

32 continue with the Lord (Acts 11:23)
43 continue in the grace of God. (Acts 13:43)
22 exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
22 continue in His goodness. (Romans 11:22)
2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it (Colossians 4:2)
15 continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:15)
16 Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)
14 you must continue in the things which you have learned (2 Timothy 3:14)
1 Let brotherly love continue. (Hebrews 13:1) or more literally, Let Philadelphia continue.

And we to be “continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT) which is also what we in the Continuing Church of God are striving to do.

Earlier this week, we also established another YouTube channel.  This one is titled ContinuingCOG.  It now has a two-part sermon (in total both parts are about one hour) titled Continue What (1/5/12) Part 1 and Continue What (1/5/12) Part 2 for those of you who might wish to watch it.  Additional sermons are planned to be added to the ContinuingCOG channel on a regular basis.

Teaching the truth and love of the word of God to the world in general and those called in this age in particular (Matthew 28:19-20) is the mission of the Continuing Church of God.  You can click here for Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

The official website of the Continuing Church of God is

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