Church of God 7th Day, Salem (West Virginia)

By COGwriter

While the Denver-based Church of God (Seventh day) is larger, the Salem group that split from it still exists.

This article is about the Church of God 7th Day of Salem, West Virginia (CG7-S).

In June 2020, I of the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) spoke to two leaders there. Their leadership says it has about 5,000 people worldwide.

Information on its 1933 Separate Declaration

While the group points to a 1936 book by A.N. Dugger and C.O. Dodd for distant history, here is information about the reasons that it separated from another group:

The Reorganization

According to Church of God historian A.N. Dugger, this is how the division occurred: Church of God members across the United States were simultaneously inspired to become impressed with the "improper and unscriptural organization of the church." They wrote one another of the "evils manifest in state and general elections of presidents, vice presidents, and suggesting the need of the restoration of the Scriptural organization of the twelve to look after the spiritual affairs of the church, and seven to take charge of the financial business, and also the seventy to go forth two by two in giving the warning message for the hour."

Elder Otto Haeber of California, Dugger's cousin, wrote A.N. Dugger in Battle Creek, laying out before him the need of the "Bible Organization," as had been suggested by others living in California.Coincidentally, before Dugger received Haeber's letter, he had written Haeber telling him of a movement in favor of this form of organization, and that it would be brought up the next fall at the General Conference at Stanberry.

Furthermore, unknown to the church in general, Elders R. A. Barnes of Arkansas and Ed Severson of Oklahoma had for some time been talking over the matter between themselves. A few months after Dugger returned from Palestine (early 1933), Theodore Gillespie, an old time member of the St. Joseph, Missouri church, suggested the matter to Dugger, who replied that the church at Jerusalem felt this way, and that others were seriously considering the matter.

It was felt by these members that Rev. 19:7-8 showed that the church was not ready and must "make herself ready," by conforming to "Scriptural organization," instead of patterning her government after the civil organizations of this world, and furthermore, the church should make herself ready by moving world headquarters to the place Jesus had chosen—Jerusalem.

November 4, 1933—Salem, West Virginia

The time and place chosen to perform this work of "reorganization" was Salem, West Virginia, November 4, 1033.For several weeks prior to November 4, a call was sent to many countries for prayer "That God would again choose men to lead His church as in the former time."

Countries listed were: Jerusalem, South Africa, Australia, Egypt, England, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, China, India, New Zealand, Panama, Japan, Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad, Guam, Canada, Nova Scotia, Liberia, Barbados, Venezuela, Syria, Madagascar, Burma, Newfoundland, and Mexico.

The call was also sent to about 10,000 people in America.The incoming ministers and members arrived at the Salem Church of God, some of them having traveled 1,000 miles.

Friday night the 4th was spent in prayer and fasting in a general church meeting. Services opened on Friday afternoon with "Oh, To Be More Like Jesus," "The Church of God," and "Humble Thyself to Walk With God."

Preparation For Lottery

Early Sabbath morning, letters from ministers all over the world were gone over, and 140 names were presented and placed in a box, to be drawn by lot for the new leaders of the church. This was supposed to be a continuation of the practice of drawing by lots, as in the choice of Matthias to replace Judas as apostle.

Dugger later described the selection of names in the following account:In the fall a general meeting was called of many ministers and leaders of the church to consider a reorganization of the body patterning it more in accordance with the Bible organization....Ministers and local elders of congregations in many parts of the world were invited to attend or submit names of ministers favoring the reorganization policy, and consequently there were 145 names submitted together with the company assembled. These names were used in choosing officers, respectively, for the different offices according to the Scriptural organization. The Salem church chose three men whose names were placed on slips of paper and dropped into the box. Elder Dodd drew the slip containing John Adams of Salem, the one chosen to draw out the minister's names for the 12 and 70. Church of God ministers' names were placed in the box, a brief silent prayer given, and the drawing began by Adams at a few minutes past 11:00a.m.

The Twelve

The twelve spiritual leaders chosen, corresponding to the twelve apostles, were the following Church of God elders:

J.M. Orn Naefem of Norway
F.C. Robinson of Missouri
R.A. Barnes of Arkansas
R.L. Taylor of Oregon
C. Heywood of Michigan
W. W. McMicken of West Virginia
C.E. Groshans of Indiana
Henry Wood of Massachusetts
Raymond Saenz of Mexico
H. Negby of Palestine
John Kiesz of Missouri
Charles L. Royer of Connecticut

The Seventy

And the seventy to go forth two by two, all Church of God elders, were these:

John Anderson, Missouri
D. Davis, Michigan
H. Tavel, Central America
Adolph Gusman, Mexico
William Bodine, Arkansas
Otto Haeber, California
E.H. Shadel, Arkansas
Robert Nance, Arkansas
L.M. Jackson, Alabama
William Berry, South America
W.A. Summers, Oklahoma
John Brenneise, South Dakota
V. Amos, India
Samuel Brown, London, England
Will Barnes, Arkansas
Andrew J. Williams, Texas
J.E. Benson,Panama
J.D. Bagwell, Alabama
N.P.Daniel, India
E.O. Bradberry, Arkansas
G, Flores, Mexico(?)
L.F. Claspell, Indiana
Kenneth Freeman, West Virginia
V.J. Benjamin, India
B.Israel, South India
Pete Bartschi, Arkansas
S. A. Oberg, Oregon
H. Snyder, Washington
J; A. Ijames, Jr., North Carolina
A.H. Stith, Idaho
Ti V. Taylor, Lousiana
D.B. Garcia, Mexico
E.Campos, Mexico
E.P. Roche, Michigan
J.E. Codrington, Pennsylvania
Noah Barnabas,Palestine
C.Sobers, New York City
A. C. Turner, Michigan
E. Echiavaria, Texas
Herbert Armstrong, Oregon
A.Steede, Michigan
J. W. Tarver, Lousiana
J. A. Ijames, North Carolina
J.E. Hamilton, Central America
Allen Castor, British West Indies
J. G. Smith, California
L.W. Runyon, Oklahoma
CO. Vallery, Louisiana
J. M. Rodriguez, Texas
J. Servantes, Mexico
W.W. West, California
E.J. Younce, Illinois
V.J. Joseph, India
CO. Dodd, West Virginia
J. Siler, Michigan
Archie Craig, Oklahoma
Roy Kanady, Arkansas
B.Bernsten, China
G. Thompson, Panama Canal
James Relford, Kansas
Charles J. Ellis, British West Indies
Charles Welch, Oklahoma
E.H. Jenkins, Arkansas
EdSeverson, Oklahoma
W.C. Bryce, Texas
Albert Bodine, Arkansas
Arthur Barnes, Arkansas
Hugh Brown, London, England
Will Briley, Arkansas
F.-G. Zoller, Nebraska ...

What Dugger Left Out

The full story of the "Reorganization," as Dugger terms the 1933 split is not given in hisHistory of the True Church(1936).

So far, only pieces of the full story have been obtained.

The August, 1933 General Conference

As he said he would, Dugger brought up the issue of re-organization at the 1933 Church of God Conference at Stanberry, which convened on August 20.

Kiesz' history notes that 1933 was "the fateful year for the Church of God," as "more and moor pressure had been exerted by probably half of the membership, that all should speak the same thing. On the other hand, probably the other half felt that our people were denied their personal liberties and freedom of expression."The church was in a crisis that split it right down the middle.

On the one side, Andrew N. Dugger and others held to "reorganization," of church government, clean meats, no tobacco, and Passover on Nisan 14. On the other hand, Burt F. Marrs led a group of "independents" that were pro-pork and tobacco, and felt Passover should be on Nisan 15. ...

Christenson and Dailey gave notice that Dugger and the others had been defeated at the last Conference,after trying to dominate the conference by intimidation and otherwise, [and] are now calling for means to finance another organization.... These men teach in said pamphlet that our General Confence has fallen into the hands [of] dissenters who deny the Holy Spirit, sanction the use of unclean meats and tobacco, and want the Bible Advocate opened to the discussion of these topics. Furthermore, they teach that peace and harmony is no longer known in the Church of God, and the Lord's blessings have been withdrawn....these assertions are untrue. ...

Two Churches of God (Seventh Day)

Dugger did depart as he said he would. He succeeded in drawing nearly half the church with him. The November 4, 1933 Salem, West Virginia meeting followed with the establishment of Salem as U.S. headquarters far this group. On November 6, theBible Advocatewas printed at Salem, with the continuing volume number as the one still being published in Stanberry. Shortly thereafter, the number sequence was changed due to copyright laws.From 1933 to 1949 there existed two separate Church of God organizations, one at Stanberry, Missouri and the other at Salem, West Virginia. God had withdrawn His blessing.

A "united" Church of God(Seventh Day)was never again to be a reality. ...

August, 1949 Merger at Stanberry

The joint campmeetings for the two groups was held at Stanberry, August 12-20, 1949. The proposal to merge Stanberry and Salem was put to the membership.Straub reports that Dugger tried very hard to prevent the merger, but to no avail.The final vote showed an overwhelming favor of unity:Stanberry voted 121-15, and Salem 75-1. There was reported to be great rejoicing, now that the Church of God had finally become one again. ...

Headquarters Moved to Denver

In order to placate both the Salem people and the Stanberry people, it was agreed to move the headquarters of the Merger Group, and scene of the Executive Committee board meetings, to Denver. ...

Dugger ... and others who did not really approve of the whole idea went along with the merger for a time. ...

"Back to Stanberry" Group

Perhaps the major departure from the Merger Group took place in 1950-51. At Meridian, Idaho the "Bible Church of God - Seventh Day" was formed by elements formerly of Stanberry that refused to go along with the Merger. In spirit, if not in name, they constituted a "Back to Stanberry" Group. ...

"Back to Salem" Movement of 1950

Besides Dugger, there were other key figures in the "Back to Salem" movement. ...

The "Back to Salem" movement broke into at least three factions, (1) the original Salem people who stayed at Salem with it as headquarters,(2) Dugger and Severson, who went to Jerusalem, and (3) Olson and Groshans, who formed the Seventh Day Church of God in Caldwell, Idaho.

Original Salem Group Continues ...

The group publishes a magazine,The Advocate of Truth,which probably began in February of 1950

Salem is purported to believe that the saints will be raptured to the sea of glass while the seven last plagues will be poured out. It differs with the Denver Group in the date for the annual Lord's Supper, following the "Equinox Theory.".

(Nickels R. History of the Seventh Day Church of God. Giving & Sharing, 1988, pp. 147-180)

Let me add that I confirmed with CG7-S Pastor David DeLong that his group does teach the 'sea of glass' protection location from the seven last plagues on June 24, 2020.

We in the CCOG teach that Jesus promises physical protection to the Philadelphians from the 'hour of trial' (Revelation 3:7-10) in the wilderness (Revelation 12:14-17; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra). We also teach that the 'sea of glass' (Revelation 15:1-2) matter happens after Jesus returns, which is with the seventh and last trump.

Those with a Worldwide Church of God background, where Herbert W. Armstrong was once Pastor General, may find the following, once reported by the CG7's Bible Advocate Press of interest:

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). http://www.giveshare.org/churchhistory/rcogvscog7.html 6/24/06).

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, for a time (Coutler R. The Journey: A History of the Church of God (Seventh Day). 2014, p. 405). This seems to be when he put out a publication called the Mt. Zion Reporter in the English and Hebrews languages, where he allegedly seemed to have some affiliation with the sacred name movement, that he had denounced (ibid, p. 405).

CG7-S currently sends out Dugger and Dodd's A History of the True Church. That 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).

Beliefs in 1936

Here is information on the beliefs of the CG7 Salem group in 1936:

Chief Tenants of Belief and Practice of the Church of God (Seventh Day), Salem West Virginia (1936)

Note: this is the group led by Andrew Dugger that split from the Church of God centred at Stanberry. Richard C Nickels reports on their doctrines in History of the Seventh Day Church of God, chapter 11 (1973, 1999).
--------------------------------------------
1. The Bible was held to be the only inspired writing.
2. The Holy Spirit is that which abides in the believer and not a third person.
3. Christ was in the tomb exactly three days and three nights, rising at the end of the
Sabbath.
4. The apostolic organization and government must be followed today.
5. The "Church of God" is the inspired Bible name for God's people.
6. Prayer and anointing will save the sick.
7. Laying on of hands (at baptism) is to be practiced.
8. Lord's Supper is to be observed annually at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan.
9. The Sabbath is to be observed from even to even.
10. Payment of tithes on increase is obligatory.
11. Participation in carnal warfare is condemned.
12. The Law of clean and unclean meats is to be observed in this age.
13. Habitual use of narcotics and habit-forming drugs, alcohol and tobacco is condemned.
14. Under this gospel age the judgment is upon the house of God.
15. The return of Christ will be literal, personal and visible, is imminent, and He will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, ruling the world with the righteous saints on the earth.
16. Righteous saints will be resurrected at His second coming.
17. There will be a final regathering of the dispersed nation of fleshly Israel.
18. The dead are unconscious.
19. The wicked dead are resurrected to final judgment, with no probation but will be eternally
destroyed.
20. The Third Angel's Message is a present day message.
21. The seven last plagues are literal and fall at the end of the gospel age.

(HISTORIC CHURCH OF GOD FUNDAMENTALS OF BELIEF Tracking the development of core doctrines. Assembled by Craig M White, Version 1.1, January 3, 2015, p. 16)

And these views were mainly held by Herbert Armstrong. Many are also in the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

A.N. Dugger specifically claimed to have the succession mantle:

Apostolic Succession…
“The view that a wise and perfect form of church government and organization was set in order by the New Testament founders of the church, which has right to continue, and that that order has been handed down by the apostolic succession, was maintained by many.”… -- Britannica Encyclopaedia, volume 5, page 759, article, “Church.”…

That succession of the apostolic power has come down unbroken… Gladstone attacks this in a friendly criticism, by expressing doubt as to why a church would remain silent for some thirteen centuries and then be able to speak. This mystery, however, is made clear with a correct understanding of the prophecy of Revelation, where it was clearly shown beforehand that it would be so. The church was to go into the wilderness and be nourished there for 1260 years, from the face of her persecutor, the beast. Then as the earth helped the woman, she was to come forth again. This actually took place, and while remaining in silence, as far as the world was concerned, yet she is not only able to speak, but divinely empowered with the right to do so.

Britannica Encyclopaedia, volume 2, page 194 says, “Very early, however, the notion that the apostleship is essentially an hierarchical office, found entrance into the church…”

The Scriptures teach us most emphatically that the apostolic virtue and power was handed down from apostle to apostle by the divine ordinance of laying on of hands and prayer. -- Numbers 8:10, 27:28; Acts 6:6; 13:3; I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:5.

That the Sabbath-keeping "Church of God," has a most definite link of connection back through holy men to the days of the apostles is certain. The very same faith, and practice in divine worship, have been definitely handed down to the present time by strong men of God, filled with His blessed Holy Spirit, zealous for the precious commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, fervent in zeal, and faithful unto death. (Dugger AN, Dodd CO.  A History of True Religion, 3rd ed.  Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day). 1990 reprint, p. 308)

Some will claim that these are simply assertions, yet only those who kept the original apostolic practices could have "apostolic succession," and these seem to be among the leaders in the past 160 years. (The clergy itself does not give God's Spirit at baptism nor ordination. The clergy beseeches the Father to give the person His Holy Spirit via prayer and the laying on of hands. The Spirit is given by the Father, if the Father answers the clergy’s prayer (which is mainly dependent upon the sincerity/repentance of the person). Therefore, even if the specific clergy member who performed the ceremony has issues or falls away from the truth, the procedure is still valid.)

The group in Stanberry group that eventually relocated to Denver, Colorado. CG7-D does NOT teach succession from the apostles, but that they began with Gilbert Cranmer in the 1800s.

Jerusalem Headquarters?

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.

In an addendum to his "A History of the True Church" in a 2003 version by the Salem group, the following was CG7-S added:

In the bottom paragraph on page 305, we read that the world headquarters were to be in Jerusalem. This was never physically done. The world headquarters were established in Salem, West Virginia. They have remained there and are still there to this very day. (Dugger AN, Dodd D. A History of the True Church: A Protestant Work. 1936, 2003 printing, p. 318--addendum by CG7-S in 2003)

So, the FACT is that CG7-S was never truly headquartered in Jerusalem.

As far as Jerusalem goes, some have wondered if it should be the headquarters of the most faithful in the Church of God--that is not the case. Here is an article on that: Does the Church of God need to be headquartered in Jerusalem?

It should also be pointed out that when, in June 2020, I spoke with David DeLong and objected to Dugger and Dodd's work claiming Protestantism, he agreed that his group was not Protestant--though they put out a book on history that states that they are Protestant.

As far as Protestants go, check out the free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism.

Beliefs in 2020

The following is from the website of Church of God 7th Day, Salem (West Virginia) under FAQ:

What is the foundation for the beliefs of the Church of God (7th Day)?

The Church of God (7th Day) is a Bible believing church and we base our church on the Bible and only the Bible.  Because of this focus on the Bible, we do not follow religious traditions such as keeping Sunday as the Lord's day and the celebration of Christmas. ...
Why does the Church of God (7th Day) go to church on Saturday?
God established the seventh day, or Sabbath, to be a day of rest and worship for man.  Man was commanded by God to keep this day holy and to refrain from his daily labor on the Sabbath.  The Sabbath was established on the seventh day, which falls on Saturday on our current calendar.  The law regarding the Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments which are part of the Melchisedec priesthood and was not done away with when Jesus came to the Earth ...
Why does the Church of God (7th Day) follow the law of the clean and the unclean?
God created the Earth and everything in it.  Some animals (like cows, sheep, and chickens) he created for consumption by man and some (like horses, dogs, and pigs) were not to be eaten.  Instructions concerning these animals were given to Noah and the details of which animals were clean and which were unclean were reitereated to the Children of Israel before they entered the promise land.  The law of the clean and the unclean was established before the Levitical law and is therefore part of the Melchisedec priesthood. Jesus did not do away with the law of the clean and the unclean and we are to follow it today. ...

Why does the Church of God (7th Day) not keep Christmas and Easter?

The date of Jesus's birth is not known.  We know that it was sometime in the autumn when people within the Roman empire were commanded to return to the place of their birth for tax purposes.  The Bible gives us no instructions as to the celebration of Jesus's birth.  The practice of celebrating Jesus's birth on December 25th was established by the Roman Catholic Church to encorporate the Pagan holiday of the rebirth of the Sun god right after the winter solstace.  We do not celebrate December 25th because we do not wish to be associated with the Pagan holiday of the Sun god's rebirth.

The Church of God (7th Day) keeps the Lord's Supper as instituted by Jesus shortly before his death.  The name of the holiday "Easter" comes from the celebration of the Pagan god "Ishtar" and the holiday was also instituted when the Roman Catholic Church merged the Christian and Pagan religions.  We do not keep the holiday to the Pagan god "Ishtar" and instead celebrate the events surrounding Jesus's death in the way that Jesus commanded, the Lord's Supper. ...
What does the Church of God (7th Day) believe concerning the state of the dead?
We believe that when people die, they remain unconscious in their graves until Jesus returns.  At that time everyone will be resurrected and will face judgement.  The saints will receive eternal life on a remade planet Earth and the sinners will be cast into the Lake of Fire where they will be consumed with fire and cease to exist.  The belief in an immortal soul they either goes to Heaven or Hell when a person dies is not supported by the Bible and was grafted into Christianity from Greek and Roman Mythology. ...
Does the Church of God (7th Day) believe in the Trinity?
We believe in one true God who is the creator of all.  He is omnipotent, omnicient, and omnipresent.  He sent his son to Earth to be a sacrifice for our sins.  He is a separate being from his son, Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is the power of God and not a separate being with a separate consciousness.  

We do not believe in the teaching of the Trinity, in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three parts of a single being who is God.  We believe the Father and the Son are separate beings with separate consciousnesses and that the Holy Spirit is not a conscious being but instead the power of God. http://www.churchofgod-7thday.org/FAQs.html accessed 06/23/20

Many are also in the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

In the 21st century, CG7-Salem (where A.N. Dugger went) does continue teach it has succession from the apostles:

The Church of God (7th Day) stands not only for a true and definite faith, but for an equally definite and constituted order. This organization comes directly from Christ, who first set into the church first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, etc. (I Corinthians 12:28). The twelve Apostles and their successors have been traced down through the centuries to this present time. (Our Apostolic Church. The Advocate of Truth, September 24, 2018, pp. 5-6)

Yet despite their literature suggesting a list tracing leaders from the time of the apostles, they do not have one (per telecom with David DeLong 06/24/20). We in the CCOG teach a laying on of hands apostolic succession and have a basic list--including those of the Church of God in Smyrna (who A.N. Dugger referred to, but without listing an leaders' names, other than Polycarp of Smyrna--a leader who did keep the Holy Days).

Furthermore, although A.N. Dugger taught church eras (which he called 'Seven Church Periods'), and some in CG7-S teach them, they are not officially taught. This was confirmed by David DeLong on 06/24/20. We in the CCOG officially teach 'church eras.'

Here is a CG7-S teaching on the start of the last days:

Actually, the last days began with the first coming ofJesus to earth. We find in Hebrews 1:1-2: "God, who atsundry times and in divers manners spake in time pastunto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last daysspoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heirof all things, by whom also he made the worlds". (DeLong David. The Last Days. Advocate of Truth, p. 10, January 28, 2013)

We in the Continuing Church of God agree that the "last days" began at some point during Jesus' earthly ministry.

We, however, also tie this in with God's 6,000 year plan (for details, check out Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?)--but there were no such ties founds at the official CG7-S website when searched during June 2020.

CG7-S teaches the following related to alcohol:

The church's belief on alcohol and tobacco is that partaking of and use of intoxicating liquors, alcoholic stimulants, narcotics, tobacco, and any habit forming drug is contrary to the nature of man.

The Bible tells us that everything we eat and drink be sanctified with the Word of God and with prayer, and that it be partaken of in moderation.  We are the temple of God in which his Holy Spirit dwells, and we should treat it as such. 

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.  [1 Corinthians 3: 16-17]

Let us take steps to cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh, that we may present ourselves without spot or wrinkle before Jesus when he comes in glory.

http://www.churchofgod-7thday.org/Ascent/AlcoholTobacco.html accessed 06/25/20

The Bible, however, does NOT prohibit the consumption of alcohol.

Actually, alcohol consumption is specified as a valid option in the observation of times like the Feast of Tabernacles:

26 and thou hast given the money for any thing which thy soul desireth, for oxen, and for sheep, and for wine, and for strong drink, and for any thing which thy soul asketh, and thou hast eaten there before Jehovah thy God, and thou hast rejoiced, thou and thy house. (Deuteronomy 14:26, Young's Literal Translation)

Jesus taught:

37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. (Luke 5:37-38)

That must be referring to wine as the fermentation process back then would have stretched the wineskins. That is NOT something that happens with pure grape juice.

The Apostle Paul wrote to "not given to much wine" (Titus 2:3). And that is correct too much is not allowed, but some is.

Furthermore, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy the evangelist:

23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities. (1 Timothy 5:23)

Jesus' first miracle, of course, was to make wine for a wedding (John 2:1-11). That was not grape juice--no matter how some wish to twist the context of this.

Furthermore, at Jesus' last Passover (which some call the Lord's Supper), Jesus used unleavened bread and wine.

Notice that Jesus introduced the use of the wine cup:

20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:20)

27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:27-29)

The cup symbolized His blood. As blood is red and grape juice back then was not, this was a reference to red wine, not juice. The Bible teaches that wine is the blood of the grape (Deuteronomy 32:14).

Now could "this fruit of the vine" possibly have been grape juice?

No.

It is not logical to conclude that they were drinking grape juice at Passover in Jesus' time as grapes are NOT in season then. Grapes ripen in the late Summer or early Fall. Having been to Israel once, it occurred to me that they would not have had any way to store the juice. They did not have refrigeration and there was not enough freezing there to freeze very much for very long.

Grape juice would not last through the winter and into the Spring back then. It would have spoiled and not been fit to drink as juice by the time of Passover (which is always in the Spring).

Thus, it is not logical to conclude that grape juice was used by Jesus in His final Passover. Wine, on the other hand, can be stored for years.

Jesus warned about those who used traditions to override scripture:

1 "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 5 But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" — 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

8 "These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (Matthew 15:3-9)

Scripture commands using wine at Passover (Matthew 26:27-29).

Jesus used wine for Passover.

In the second century, Irenaeus who claimed to have been taught by Polycarp of Smyrna, clearly wrote that Jesus drank wine as he tied that in with Matthew 11:19 (Irenaeus. Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter 31, verse 2). Irenaeus also condemned those that would not use wine in the Passover service (Irenaeus. Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter 11, verse 3).

A Sabbatarian COG group (called itself 'Independent Church of God') kept Passover with bread and wine in the early 1900s (Stanford JS. When to Partake of the Bread and Wine (Which is Passver). Remnant of Israel, March, 1931, p.1).

It is not just groups like the Continuing Church of God that use wine--but we have continued with the original practice. And that is what the faithful (unless they have some strong allergy to one drop of wine--which is the most anyone has to use), do and we normally use about a teaspoon.

Wine is NOT intoxicating at that level. It is certainly not in violation of scriptures, including "not given to much wine" (Titus 2:3).

The most faithful Christians obey the commands of Jesus and do not dismiss them because of 'traditions of men.'

Concluding Comments

The Salem group does not teach a huge amount about prophecy and my discussions with them indicates that they have limited knowledge on church history.

As far as Herbert W. Armstrong goes, he considered the Salem group to be part of the Sardis remnant of the Church of God (Revelation 3:1-6).

1"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. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 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. 4 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. 5 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.

6 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' (Revelation 3:1-6)

It is not clear how well those associated with the Salem group "watch" as Jesus admonished there as well as in Luke 21.

Anyway, Church of God 7th Day, Salem (West Virginia) holds to certain historic Church of God doctrines. Though it does not accept the biblical holy days and hence does not fully share certain doctrines of God's plan of salvation.

Jude told Church of God Christians:

3 ... to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)

Because of its position on matters like Holy Days, we do not believe that CG7-S does that.

But we in the Continuing Church of God do.

We assert we are the most faithful continuation of the original seven day Sabbath keeping Church of God which began on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 and has been confirmed by manifestations of God's Spirit (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

We believe that our writings on doctrine as well as matters of church history prove it to those willing to believe the Bible and facts of church history (some details are in the free online books Where is the True Christian Church Today? and Continuing History of the Church of God).

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-S, and come to that conclusion. Here is a related article of possible interest: What is a True Philadelphian?

Thiel B., Ph.D. Church of God 7th Day, Salem (West Virginia). https://www.cogwriter.com/cg7s.htm (c) 2020 0630

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