CG7-D’s claimed founder and CGG on ‘born again’


Church of God (Seventh Day)-Denver (CG7-D) no longer believes in church eras or continuity.

Officially, it essentially considers Gilbert Cranmer its founder. CG7 (prior to its move to Denver) used to hold to church eras, but lost that teaching. The Denver group later decided to start its leadership history with Gilbert Cranmer–we in the CCOG do NOT include Gilbert Cranmer as one of our predecessors for reasons such as his Christology.

While Gilbert Cranmer was in a group called ‘Church of Christ’ (which later merged with other Sabbath-keepers that used and adopted the name ‘Church of God’), he wrote about being born again in the old Hope of Israel magazine.

On July 1, 2019, a reader forwarded me that article that has just been typed out in electronic form on when a Christian is ‘born again.’ So, here is his article titled “The Birth of the Spirit,” from The Hope of Israel, 14 Sept 1863, p. 3:

I wish to express a few thoughts through ‘The Hope of Israel,’ with regard to the ‘new birth,’ or the ‘Birth of the Spirit.’ I am aware that upon this subject, there exists a great diversity of opinions, at the present day.

There is no subject taught in the sacred Scriptures, fraught with greater interest than the one before us; for, said Jesus to Nicodemus, ‘Verily, verily I say unto thee, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’’ John 3:5.

Some take the position that the ‘new birth’ is water baptism. But the 6th verse explains the two births. ‘For that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ Hence the first birth, is the birth of the flesh. The birth of the flesh Nicodemus well understood. But the ‘birth of the Spirit,’ was a mystery to him. This subject so involved in mystery, we are about to investigate, in the light of the sacred Scriptures.

First, Christ is said to be the ‘first born of every creature.’ Col. 1:15. Now we would ask, was Christ the first one ever baptized in water? Most assuredly not, for Paul tells us that 600,000 ‘were baptized unto Moses, in the sea and in the cloud.’ And again, John had been baptizing six months before Christ came and demanded baptism at his hand.

Again, according to the theology of the day, the new birth is considered to be a change of heart, or conversion. If this idea be correct, there never was a man who was converted, or met with a change of heart, until Christ came in the flesh; for he was the ‘first born of every creature.’ But ‘to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them.’ Isa. 8:20. Paul has told us in what sense Christ was the first born of every creature. Col. 1:19, ‘He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first born of the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.’ Again, Paul says, 1st Cor. 15:23, ‘That Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.’ And again, Acts 26:23, ‘That Christ should [suffer, and] that he should be the first that should rise from the dead.’ Again Rev. 1:5, ‘And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten from the dead.’

Now we will see if the Old Testament will be in harmony with the New, on this subject.

Psalm 89:27, 28, ‘Also I will make him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also I will make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.’ This scripture agrees perfectly with Paul to Colossians 1:18, that the first born Son of God ‘should in all things have the pre-eminence.’ Yet E.G. White, in one of her ‘visions,’ called ‘The Great Controversy,’ says, on page 43, that Moses had a resurrection 1400 years before Christ. Enough of that fable for the present.

In the above remarks, we have seen how Christ became the firstborn Son of God. Now we will see if the rest of the family are to be born after the same manner.

First, I take the position that Christ is to take the place the first Adam might have occupied, as the ‘Everlasting Father of all the redeemed family. Go with me to Isaiah 9:6, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ Now, the question arises, How, and when does he become ‘the everlasting Father’? Go with me to Isaiah 22:21, ‘And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.’

From the above scripture we have learned who is to be our ‘everlasting Father.’ Next, we ask, Who is to be our mother? Go with me to Gal. 4:26, ‘But Jerusalem which is above is free, and the mother of us all.’

Now go with me to Rev. 10:7, and we will have our father and mother married. ‘Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.’ Rev. 21:9, 10. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.’

Now turn to Isaiah 66:6, 7, 8, and you will see when the whole family is to be born. ‘A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies. Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.’

We learn from the scripture, just quoted that before the general resurrection of the saints, ‘the woman brought forth a man child,’ that shall rule all nations with ‘a rod of iron.’ See Rev. 19:15, And at the general resurrection of the saints, the earth will be made to give up the dead, and all the family be born ‘at once;’ or as Paul has it, ‘shall be changed, in a moment in the twinkling of an eye.’

In conclusion, I would say to the scattered flock of God, may that spirit that brought Jesus forth from the grave, dwell richly in all our hearts, that ‘our vile bodies’ may be quickened like his, at the sound of the last trump.

Gilbert Cranmer

Comstock, Mich.

Notice also the following from a later edition of the Hope of Israel:

I now propose to examine the doctrine of BEING BORN AGAIN. … If this is being born, then to be born again must be to be brought forth a second time. … Heb. 13 : 20 … Christ there was born again. … Christ was born a second time, or born again, or born from the dead.

WHEN ARE CHRISTIANS BEGOTTEN AGAIN? …. 1 Peter 1 : 3 …. Christians then are begotten again when they receive the Gospel, the word of truth : when they receive the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. …

WHEN WILL CHRISTIANS BE BORN AGAIN? — John 3 : 6 … As all Christians have been born of the flesh, they will be born again when they are born of the Spirit. 1 Cor. 15 : 44, 49 … when they become children of God, by being children of the resurrection. (Anon. Being Born Again. Hope of Israel, August 25, 1865, pp. 1,2)

Apparently, while there were questions some had, the Hope of Israel taught Christians are begotten upon conversion and receiving the Holy Spirit and born again at the first resurrection at the last trump.

The old Worldwide Church of God also taught that.

Regarding the resurrection and the last trump, the Apostle Paul wrote:

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:50-54)

As it has turned out, many get confused with English translations of koine Greek–the language the New Testament was written in (see also as the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic?).

The reason to mention this is that second century Christians, for example, would have a better understanding of whether or not begotten or born was intended–plus some of them knew people who knew the original apostles.

Notice in the second century (the century just after the Book of Revelation was written), there was at least one Christian that taught that we are not to be “born again” until the resurrection. Here is some of what COG leader Theophilus of Antioch wrote:

Of the Fourth Day. On the fourth day the luminaries were made; …

But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection” (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

So, Theophilus of Antioch taught Christians are born-again, not now, but at the resurrection.

An interesting thing to also observe here is that the Feast of Trumpets has traditionally been the fourth biblical Holy Day and a trumpet blast is associated with Christians being born again (1 Corinthians 15:50-54) Here is a link to a related sermon video: Trumpets and Being Born Again.

In the third century, Hippolytus (the greatest of the early theologians according to Roman Catholic scholars) understood that we are begotten by the Holy Spirit at baptism. Notice what he wrote:

This is the Spirit that was given to the apostles in the form of fiery tongues. This is the Spirit that David sought when he said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Of this Spirit Gabriel also spoke to the Virgin, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” By this Spirit Peter spake that blessed word, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” By this Spirit the rock of the Church was stablished. This is the Spirit, the Comforter, that is sent because of thee, that He may show thee to be the Son of God.

Come then, be begotten again, O man, into the adoption of God … For he who comes down in faith to the layer of regeneration, and renounces the devil, and joins himself to Christ; who denies the enemy, and makes the confession that Christ is God; who puts off the bondage, and puts on the adoption,–he comes up from the baptism brilliant as the sun, flashing forth the beams of righteousness, and, which is indeed the chief thing, he returns a son of God and joint-heir with Christ (Hippolytus. The Discourse on the Holy Theophany, Chapters 9,10. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Also, even in the fourth century, it was understood that Christians are first begotten, that Jesus was the first born of the dead, and that we become born again later. For even though he had other heretical ideas, Athanasius apparently understood this as he wrote:

For God not only created them to be men, but called them to be sons, as having begotten them. For the term ‘begat’ is here as elsewhere expressive of a Son, as He says by the Prophet, ‘I begat sons and exalted them;’ and generally, when Scripture wishes to signify a son, it does so, not by the term ‘created,’ but undoubtedly by that of ‘begat.’ And this John seems to say, ‘He gave to them power to become children of God, even to them that believe on His Name; which were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ And here too the cautious distinction is well kept up, for first he says ‘become,’ because they are not called sons by nature but by adoption; then he says ‘were begotten,’ because they too had received at any rate the name of son…He became man, that, as the Apostle has said, He who is the ‘Beginning’ and ‘First-born from the dead, in all things might have the preeminence … He said to be ‘First-born from the dead,’ not that He died before us, for we had died first; but because having undergone death for us and abolished it, He was the first to rise, as man, for our sakes raising His own Body. Henceforth He having risen, we too from Him and because of Him rise in due course from the dead … He is called ‘First-born among many brethren’ because of the relationship of the flesh, and ‘First-born from the dead,’ because the resurrection of the dead is from Him and after Him … And as He is First-born among brethren and rose from the dead ‘the first fruits of them that slept;’ so, since it became Him ‘in all things to have the preeminence (Athanasius. Discourse II Against the Arians, Chapters 59,60,61,63,64. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus the idea of being begotten when converted and being born again at the resurrection is not a relatively new one among professing Christians. But unlike the idea of being born again now, it is not a concept with pre-Christian (pagan) origins.

In addition, even today, the Eastern Orthodox Church teaches:

Frank Schaeffer … calls the standard evangelical doctrine a “false bill of goods.” “The simplistic ‘born-again’ formula for instant painless ‘salvation’ is not only a misunderstanding, I believe it is a heresy. It contradicts the teaching of Christ in regard to the narrow, hard, ascetic, difficult way of salvation.” (Clendenin D.B. ed. Eastern Orthodox Theology, 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2003, p. 268).

Most groups whose leaders were once part of the old WCG teach that Christians are begotten by the Holy Spirit upon conversion and getting hands laid on them and born again at the resurrection.

Here, for example, are some teachings in the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God:

11. Christians are Begotten Now (An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)

12. Born-Again at the Resurrection (An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?) …

Without going into more detail here, the second century writings of Theophilus of Antioch, for example, demonstrate that Christians believed that they were to be born again at the resurrection (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XV) and other early writings do demonstrate that there were those who professed Christ after the death of the original apostles that seemed to hold to those “restored truths.” …

Christians will literally be born again at the resurrection (John 3:5-7) as Christ was (Romans 1:4-5).

But some hold to other views.

For example, CGG’s John Ritenbaugh has instituted a variety of doctrinal changes within his group. CGG is teaching a concept more similar to that of certain (but not all) Protestants:

How does one explain “this or that” regarding this “born again” question? It is very helpful to know that being “born again” is an entirely spiritual operation…

It should be easy to understand why there can be confusion over the words. We can interpret it only by what they can legitimately be translated into. They can be translated as “begotten again, “born again,” “born anew,” or “born from above.” And this may seem a little bit wild, but it is true. It can even be understood as “from a beginning” or “at a beginning.”

Now on the basis of how God deals with us in the rest of the New Testament, and after John 2 and 3, it must be understood as “born again,” and not “begotten again.” God never even one time speaks of us as being in a womb as an embryo or a fetus…Nicodemus’ error was sincere, and Herbert Armstrong’s error was sincere. (Source: Ritenbaugh J. Born Again Sermon, Part 2, June 20, 2009)

So while John Ritenbaugh admits that the terms translated as “born again” can be translated as “begotten again,” he has decided against the idea of teaching that God spiritually begets His offspring in this life who are then born again at the resurrection.

CGG has made doctrinal changes, as well as inaccurate changes (in my opinion) to prophetic understandings as well. All should compare what their church teaches with the Bible.

According to Hislop’s The Two Babylons, being born again on earth is a long-standing pagan belief. Hislop quotes Asiatic Researchers (Vol. vii, p. 271, London, 1806) that the Hindu Brahmins boast that they are “twice born” men. Thus, the “born again now” idea apparently originally existed outside of Christianity.

Getting back to the born-again teaching, we have seen various ones in early and later centuries that hold to the original position.

Christians are only begotten now, but will be born again at the first resurrection. And that is the view that we in the Continuing Church of God still hold to.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Born Again: A Question of Semantics? Many Protestants use the term born-again. Do they know where the concept came from or does it matter? Are you born or begotten upon proper baptism? Here is a link to a sermon video: Trumpets and Being Born Again.
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections? Here is a link to a related sermon: Understanding the Resurrections.
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, Mystery of Race, and The Mystery of YOU.
What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God? What is your ultimate destiny? What does the Bible teach? Is deification only a weird or cultic idea? Are you to rule the universe? Here is a link to the video sermon What is Your Destiny?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc. Here is a link to a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.Here is a link to a related video sermon: The Smyrna Church Era.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church. Here is a link to a related sermon video: Pergamos Era and the Antichrist.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition. It claimed succession from the apostles. Here is a link toa related sermon: Thyatira, Succession, and Jezebel.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses some early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, CG7-Salem, Jerusalem 7DCG, and COG-7th Day-Denver. Here are links to two historical sermons: Sardis Church Era: Beginnings, Doctrines, and Leaders and Sardis: SDBs, SDAs, & CG7s.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
CG7.ORG This is a website for those interested in the Sabbath and churches that observe the seventh day Sabbath.
CG7-D: Church of God, (Seventh Day): History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace part of their history through some affiliation with this group. Loren Stacy is the president of the largest CG7 USA group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
CG7-S: Church of God 7th Day, Salem (West Virginia) This group formed by A.N. Dugger in 1933 when he split from the CG7 group he was once president of.
CGG: Church of the Great God This group, led by John Ritenbaugh, says the bride must first be made ready (it de-emphasizes the priority of public proclamation of the gospel). Might this lead to a selfish bride? This group also seriously seems to misunderstand end-time prophecy.
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of GodContend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) ” & continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs–the Statement gives answers? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu. Here is a related link in the Chichewa language: ZIKHULUPIRIRO ZA MPINGO WA CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD.

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