The Church of God
Pine Grove Bible Church belongs to a Conference of cooperating churches known collectively as the Church of God General Conference with headquarters in McDonough, GA. In the past, the name ‘Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith’ was used. The Churches of God in many parts of the world form a unique segment of the religious world with which you should be familiar. While small in size, its contribution to the Bible understanding has been great. In many ways its leaders have pioneered a reawakening in the understanding of Bible truths that were long hidden in the darkness of human traditions. Pine Grove is a member of a regional conference within the national organization called the Minnesota General Conference. We meet twice a year at Fall and Spring Conferences at Long Lake Bible Camp for fellowship, sharing of progress, and working cooperatively for God’s Kingdom.
Churches of God are congregational in government, thus they maintain complete local independence. There is close cooperation, however, in the maintaining of publishing facilities, the operation of Atlanta Bible College, and the mission efforts of the Church of God. Delegates from each church meet annually to determine denominational plans and policies and elect officers, who serve on a board of directors. There are established professional standards for pastors, and there is also cooperation in the creation of Sunday School curriculum and coordinating a national youth ministry.
Members of the Church of God accept the Bible as the supreme and literal standard of faith. They strongly emphasize the second coming of Christ, when Jesus will establish a literal kingdom of God on earth that will originate in Jerusalem, and where Christ will rule as messianic king. The Church of God believes that the promises made to Abraham will be fulfilled in the church and in the faithful of Israel through Christ.
Where the Church of God Began
The Church of God as it is known today came into being as small groups of individuals in England and North America, who through personal Bible study, became convinced of the doctrinal truths that are set forth as the Statement of Faith. In most cases, these groups and their leaders did not even know of the existence of the others. In the mid-1800’s, however, some of the leaders such as Joseph Marsh in Rochester, NY, and the Wilson family who migrated from England to Geneva, IL, and other leaders in various states (TX, MN, IA, PA) began to publish papers which gained wide circulation. Through these publications the small groups of Bible students and individuals around the country became aware of each other and began to exchange correspondence. Circuit preachers visited back and forth among these various local groups and new churches soon grew up in other places.
Over a period of years, groups of churches formed state and regional conferences. A national organization was instituted at Philadelphia in 1888, which met again in 1889. However, because of strong convictions relating to congregational rights and authority, the national body ceased to function until 1921, when the present General Conference was formed at Waterloo, IA. The corporate name today is Church of God General Conference with its headquarters in McDonough, GA, a suburb of Atlanta.