Churches of God General Conference (Winebrenner)

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Churches of God, General Conference (Winebrenner) - a baptistic Christian organization that originated in the revivalism and evangelistic efforts of Reverend John Winebrenner.

The Churches of God, General Conference might best be described as a fundamental Bible church, though it has often been categorized as German Baptist or Arminian Baptist (e.g., see Rays of Light from All Lands, by George J. Hagar and A General History of the Baptist Denomination in America and Other Parts of the World, by David Benedict).

The Churches of God, General Conference began in 1830. John Winebrenner (1797-1860) was ordained on September 28, 1820 as a minister of the German Reformed Church. He was given charge of the congregation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Winebrenner labored extensively in revival meetings, but some of the older members opposed what they considered "unusual efforts for the conversion of sinners." In 1828 the General Synod of the German Reformed Church dropped him from its roster of ministers. In July of 1830, Winebrenner was rebaptized by immersion by Jacob Erb. That year, he and co-laborers sympathetic with his efforts met and organized the General Eldership of the Church of God. Representatives from various denominations were present, and the new organization reflected that diversity.

In the early years of the Church of God, the people were popularly called Winebrennerians after their founder. The official name was changed to the General Eldership of the Churches of God in North America in 1845, and to its present title in 1975.

The basic theology of the Churches of God, General Conference is Arminian, conservative and evangelical. The church holds three positive ordinances - baptism by immersion, the Lord's supper, and feet washing. Church government is presbyterial in nature. The Bible is their only rule of faith and practice. The Churches of God is also divided into regional conferences. Headquarters are in Findlay, Ohio, where they operate Winebrenner Theological Seminary. The Church Advocate is an official periodical published quarterly by the church. The church had 336 congregations with 32,208 members in 2000, principally in Pennsylvania and the midwest.

External links

References

  • History of the Churches of God in the U. S. A., by C. H. Forney
  • Religious Congregations & Membership in the United States, 2000, Glenmary Research Center
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