Some CG7 History

Rebuilt Gymnasium in Sardis.

This is one of the most impressive buildings in the area of any of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. However, it has been recently and massively rebuilt as its original condition was in ruin. And while it and its size are impressive, it no longer functions as it once did.


Nearly all COGs (Churches of God) have had some indirect connection to the Church of God (Seventh Day), CG7, based out of Denver.

During the nineteenth century, the COG clearly separated from those known as Seventh Day Baptists, as well as those known as Seventh Day Adventists.

The late Dr. Herman Hoeh reported:

In 1843 several followers of Miller in Washington, New Hampshire, became acquainted with the truth of the Sabbath. It was not until after the miserable disappointment of 1844, however, that the general body of adventists had the Sabbath question called to their attention. A small number accepted the Sabbath and SOON UNITED WITH THE FEW REMAINING CHURCH OF GOD BRETHREN who refused to be affiliated with the Seventh-day Baptist Conference (Hoeh, A True History of The True Church).

Somewhat similarly, the late John Kiesz wrote:

It is evident that there were Sabbath-keeping groups (independent) besides the Seventh Day Baptists, before and during the time of William Miller’s preaching and prediction of the end of the world, in 1844. Elder Gilbert Cranmer of Michigan wrote in his memoirs that he received his first light on the Sabbath in 1843 from an article in the Midnight Cry, a Millerite publication, written by J. C. Day of Ashburhan, Massachusetts. S. C. Hancock of Forestville, Connecticut, also advocated the doctrine in the same year (Kiesz J. SOME CHURCH OF GOD HISTORY (7TH DAY)).

A Seventh-day Adventist leaning book stated:

CHURCH OF GOD (SEVENTH DAY). Adventist group that traces it origin back to the original sabbatarian Adventist movement.  After H.S. Case and C.P. Russell came into conflict with Ellen G. White in Jackson, Michigan, in 1853, they began publishing the Messenger of Truth and two years later formed an alliance with J.M. Stephenson and D.P. Hall in Wisconsin…advocating the belief that during the millennium individuals would have a second chance to accept Christ (Land G. Historical Dictionary Of Seventh-Day Adventists: Historical Dictionaries of Religions Philosophies, and Movements, No. 56. Published by Scarecrow Press, 2005, p. 63).

Of course, a “second chance” is not actually taught by the COG, but a legitimate first chance is.  But it was in the 1850s that there was a separation between those that supported James and Ellen White and those that held to more traditional COG positions. The current CG7 teaches no longer teaches that an opportunity for salvation comes after the millennium and the second resurrection–but the Living Church of God clearly does.

CG7-Denver (the largest CG7 group) teaches this about its mid-nineteenth century and more recent history,

The Church of God (Seventh Day) grew from the efforts of dedicated advent believers living in Michigan and Iowa in the late 1850’s. In 1863, the Michigan church began to extend its influence into the eastern and central U.S. through a publication called The Hope of Israel. This magazine invited fellow Christians to assemble at conferences and campmeetings, and created interest in their distinctive doctrines: the second advent of Christ and the seventh-day Sabbath. Through these means, the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) was organized in 1884 and incorporated in Missouri in 1899. Its offices were located in Stanberry, Missouri, until 1950, when they were transferred to Denver, Colorado. Over the years, The Hope of Israel also moved from Michigan to Iowa, then to Missouri. After several name changes, it is now known as the Bible Advocate. More than 100 years later, this flagship publication of the Church continues to be published and mailed ten times a year from the Denver offices (, 02/14/06).

One important item that CG7 neglected to mention above is that nearly all of its founding members broke away from those that became the Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) when certain leaders had infiltrated the Church of God, took over, proposed the name Seventh-day Adventist, and came up with prophecies and other views which were never held by the true Church of God. This did appeal to some who were disappointed in 1844 as well as those who did not have the “love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10) as well as to many SDBs (Randolph, C.F. A History of the Seventh Day Baptists in West Virginia, 1905. Reprint 2005. Heritage Books, Westminster (MD), pp. 202,228).

CG7’s Robert Coulter reported the following history about his organization:

By 1860 a conference of several congregations located across south-central and western Michigan was organized…another branch of the Church of God (Seventh Day) was founded in Iowa…at Marion…

Cranmer recalls in his biography that he seventh-day Sabbath was first brought to his attention in an Advent publication called The Midnight Cry…Gilbert Cranmer, founder of the church in Michigan, 1858 (Coulter R.  The Story of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Bible Advocate Press, Denver, 1983, pp. 9,11).

Perhaps it should be mentioned that the Sabbatarians were not formally called Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) in 1858.  They did not adopt that name formally until October 1, 1860.

The SDAs have reported the following about the group in Marion:

The Marion party adopted the name Church of God (Adventist)…While retaining Sabbath observance, they differed in their understanding of the Millennium, favoring an earthly millennium at which time, with Christ’s presence upon the earth, all mankind will be converted.  They promoted the keeping of Old Testament Feast days and advanced the unscriptural notion that Christ died on Wednesday and arose Saturday afternoon, having spent seventy-two hours, three whole days and nights, in Joseph’s tomb.

…an offshoot of this church formed adopting the named Church of God (Seventh Day) (Standish RR, Standish C. The General Conference Confronts Apostasy.  Hartland Publications, , 2006, p. 84).

While we in the Living Church of God do not teach that ALL of humankind will be converted (and it is possible that the SDA writer slightly misunderstood that point as I noted some other errors in that book, such as it called H.W. Armstrong, W.W. Armstrong), the doctrines listed above are consistent with the historical positions of the true COG (such as the fact that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday and was resurrected on a Saturday, for details, please see What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?).

Some in Ohio left affiliation with the SDAs once they had the name Seventh-day Adventist imposed upon them.

Notice the following report:

…the church carrying the message of truth, teaching the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, at this time was called “The Church of God,” we submit the following, from the Review and Herald of April 9, 1861, under title of “Secession.” It reads as follows:– “Brother Smith: We conclude from present aspects that the name, Seventh Day Adventist,’ is being made obligatory upon our brethren. Without further light Ohio cannot submit to the name, ‘Seventh Day Adventist,’ as either a test, or an appropriate name for God’s people.– “Being appointed a finance committee at the last conference, and having now on hand means for carrying on the cause in Ohio, we could not conscientiously expend those means in any other than the advancement and extension of the truth and the `Church of God.’– “If such means are expended otherwise it will be necessary for the churches in Ohio to assemble in conference, and to give instruction to that effect, and to choose some other committee to make the disbursements. “Signed J. Dudley, L. E. Jones, J. P. Flemming, Finance committee of Ohio.”(Dugger AN, Dodd CO, Chapter 22).

In 1863, Enos Easton wrote in the first edition of The Hope of Israel on August 10, 1863:

As principles we maintain,

1st. “That the Bible and the Bible alone” contain the whole moral law; and that its precepts are sufficient to govern God’s people in every age of the world…” (Coulter, p. 19).

For believing the above, the SDAs apparently considered those in the Church of God movement rebels, but they themselves did not consider that to be the case.  Notice something on church circular that was later republished in the Hope of Israel in 1864:

On the 10th of June, 1860, something over 50 of us adopted a form of a church covenant drawn up by one of the approve messengers [to wit, M.E. Cornell]…

Nearly a year and a half afterward, the same messenger held up publicly, some other volumes by the side of the Bible, or a recent date, and averred that these recent publications were of equal authority and urged us to adopt their teaching, also as a rule of faith and discipline…

We now discover that the cry for organization, had been made under false colors; and that while the plea of holding church property, and securing church imposters was held out, the real object was to put the visions of Ellen G. White on the same eminence with the Bible. …

As it regards rebels, we boldly assert that we are not rebels.  We have not rebelled against the constitution which we adopted, for we stand firm on it yet.  We have not rebelled against Ellen G. White, for we never endorsed her…so the charge of rebellion reflects with shame on them who have made it, they being the ones who have departed from their first position [the Bible and the Bible alone] and have adopted a new one (Coulter, p. 16-17).

Thus, the faithful claimed that it was those who accepted Ellen G, White’s visions as at least as important as the Bible who were the rebels.  Hence, they are claiming (correctly) that the Church of God did not come out of the SDA movement per se, but that when they thought that the SDA movement believed in the Bible alone, they were originally willing to have organizational fellowship with it.  Yet, once they realized that the SDAs rejected the position of the Bible alone to the position of the Bible as interpreted by Ellen G. White, that they could no longer be affiliated with it.

And those in the true Church of God rejected Ellen White as a prophetess then, and still do now (this does not mean that all her “prophecies” were false–even Roman Catholic “prophets” have made statements that came to pass–it simply means that we in the COGs do not believe that Ellen White was a prophetess sent by God, nor do we refer to her writings as “inspiration” as many SDAs do).

Another fundamental difference for the split between those now known as SDAs and those in the COGs can probably be shown from the sanctuary interpretation of 1844 by Ellen White. Notice what she wrote:

THE SUBJECT OF THE sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonius, showing that God’s hand directed the great advent movement, and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people (White E.G. Will America Survive? 1888; Reprint, 1988 by Inspiration Books East, Jemison (AL), p. 405).

Now while I do believe that Ellen White was correct that prophecy is important, we in the COGs do not believe that the message of the Bible is that the Advent movement is correct because of her sanctuary interpretation. It is the Bible, and not Ellen White’s interpretations, that unlock the mysteries of God and which is the complete system of truth.

The plain truth is that the Church of God people had a lot of biblical doctrines in the 1800s. The Whites came in contact with them and accepted many of their doctrines, and hence did teach many biblical truths. However, their excessive fixation on Ellen White’s prophetic interpretations, combined with the fact that she (and ultimately nearly all other SDA members), began to lose many biblical COG doctrines shows that the SDAs are simply not part of the COG (although some who believe that they are in that movement may be).

I should also mention that although in the early 20th century, CG7 believed in the doctrine of “church eras” (as they pertain to the churches of Revelation 2 & 3), they no longer do.

However, the Living Church of God still does.

The “church era” doctrine, in my opinion, helps better explain the history of the true church from its beginning in 31 A.D. until its end (which appears to be in the 21st century).

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
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?
Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
SDA/LCG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The Living Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White.
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.

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