MODERN HISTORY OF THE OBSERVERS OF THE 7TH DAY SABBATH CHURCH OF GOD #20
UN-Denominatlonal Split; The Ultimate Trip
Splits for local autonomy, splits for feast day observance, splits for this and splits for that: the Church of God (Seventh Day) in recent years came to a full circle when there developed a non-denominational movement, the ultimate split of all.
In late 1943, correspondence between a few Sabbath-keepers of different beliefs and affiliations led to a self-appointed Committee of Six who in early 1944 sought to ascertain there was enough interest in an undenominational organization for promoting the Sabbath. Circular letters were sent to many known Sabbath-keepers, which resulted in the establishment of the Bible Sabbath Association at Fairview, Oklahoma in 1945. One of the leaders in the movement appears to be Lawrence Burrell of Fairview. Its founder was the late George Main, a Seventh Day Baptist.
In 1949, it appears, a paper, The Sabbath Sentinel was established. Since 1962, it has been published by the Bible Advocate Press in Stanberry, recently moved to Denver.
Some of the Bible Sabbath Association's aims are to restore the true Sabbath worldwide repeal all existing Sunday "Blue Laws," oppose adoption of a World Calendar (already adopted by Sweden) which would upset the weekly cycle. It publishes tracts for the Sabbath, Sabbath calendars and localized sunset tables, a Directory of Sabbath Observing Organizations, as well as supporting a radio broadcast, "Echoes From Eden, with Bob Rogers, heard on eight stations across the United States. Elder Frank Walker of the Meridian Group was the radio speaker from 1960 to 1971.
There is a separately incorporated Bible Sabbath Association in New Zealand.
Beliefs of the Bible Sabbath Association
The Bible Sabbath Association is held to be strictly undenominational and nonsectarian. The Directory of Sabbath-Observing Organizations is sent to those interested in affiliating themselves with a church, but is not offered unless someone asks for it.
Succinctly stated, the whole purpose is to promote Sabbath observance, for "None who are directors of the Bible Sabbath Association intend to turn the association into a church; The Bible Sabbath Association was founded upon the principle of various Sabbatarian groups WORKING
Supposedly non-sectarian, the Bible Sabbath Association does take a side on the issue of Feast Days: they are held to be done away, as "shadows of good things to come."
Significance of the Bible Sabbath Association
Of minor importance as far as numbers, the key significance of the Bible Sabbath Association is that it keeps alive the principles of local autonomy and "working together" among independent Sabbath groups. By publishing and publicizing the small splinter groups of Sabbatarians, the Bible Sabbath Association serves to perpetuate them. But it also definitely helps the historian attempting to keep track of them.
AS STATED THEY OFFICIALY TAKE A STAND AGAINST OBSERVING GOD'S FESTIVALS; WHICH WHEN I CAME TO KNOW OF THEM IN THE 1980s I THOUGHT LIGHT OF THEM. MAYBE THE ONE GOOD THING THEY HAD GOING FOR THEM WAS PUBLISHING A BOOK, ON AS MANY 7TH DAY SABBATH OBSERVING GROUPS IN THE WORLD, THAT CONTACTED THEM TO BE INCLUDED IN THEIR BOOK; AND OF COURSE MANY OF THOSE GROUPS LISTED DID SAY THEY OBSERVED THE FESTIVALS OF GOD. APART FROM THAT PUBLICATION I HAD LITTLE INTEREST IN THEM. AS FOR THE SABBATH DAY, DR. SAMUELE BACCHIOCCHI [A SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST PHD MINISTER] HAS DONE MORE WITH HIS BOOKS ON THE SABBATH, TO PROMOTE THE KEEPING OF THE 7TH DAY SABBATH, THAN ANYONE OR ANY ORGANIZATION HAS EVER DONE, ON A WORLDWIDE BASIS. SO THE BIBLE SABBATH ASSOCIATION HAS BEEN PEANUTS IN COMPARISON; HENCE IF THEY ARE STILL IN EXISTENCE I HAVE LITTLE GOOD TO SAY ABOUT THEM - Keith Hunt
The Merger Group Continues
Having carried on the story of the splits and divisions following the 1948-49 Merger of the Church of God, there remains the story of the Merger Group itself. Without at first a background of the post-Merger splits, one would have a distorted picture of Church of God history. The Merger Group contains the largest number of Church of God people today, but it would be inaccurate to describe it as the-only significant Church of God center, as the foregoing has shown.
Worldwide Trips to Unite Church of God Efforts
As reported earlier, Burt Marrs traveled to Jamaica, Trinidad and Mexico in 1950. Also of the Merger Group, Elder Charles E. Adams went in 1951 to Africa for almost a year, and then on to India and the Philippines.
Before leaving Nigeria, Elder Adams organized a board of seven men, with Elder Tlkili chairman. In 1953 he toured the Caribbean islands. In the meantime, Elder E. A. Straub, chairman of the General Conference, made an extended tour of the United States and Canada, in order to stem the "Back to Salem" movement.
As noted earlier, Elder A.N. Dugger and Elder A.C. Olson toured Nigeria in 1951-52, apparently for the same reason: to garner the foreign work under their particular organization. Also in 1951, Elder Charles J. Ellis of Jamaica spent several months in America, and attended the Red Rocks Church of God campmeeting of 1951, near Denver.
THIS WOULD ALL HAVE HELPED BUILD UP THE NOW 18 MILLION 7TH DAY SABBATH KEEPERS IN THE AFRICAN CONTINENT, NOT BELONGING TO THE SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS, WHO HAVE ONLY 2 MILLION MEMBERS - Keith Hunt
Canadian Churches Dedicated
In June of 1952 a church building was dedicated at Nipawin, Saskatchewan, with Elders Pete Hrenyk, R. C. Moldenhauer and John Kiesz present. The following July another building was dedicated at Calgary, with guest ministers Charles E. Adams, E.A. Straub and John Kiesz.
I DO NOT KNOW IF THE SASKATCHEWAN CHURCH IS STILL IN EXISTENCE. THE CALGARY CHURCH STILL FUNCTIONS - Keith Hunt
New Developments, 1952-1955
Dr. A.L. Carlin of California moved to Stanberry in 1952. Besides teaching at Midwest Bible College, he serves as town doctor.
Elder Floyd Merriam, as head of the Home Missions Department, in 1953 with the help of others prepared the Searchlight Bible Correspondnece Course and the Membership Instruction Course. Elder Kiesz with his Committee prepared a Personal Evangelism Handbook.
In accordance with the 1949 Merger Constitution, property was secured in Denver, at 1510 Cook Street, to be used as church headquarters and conference building. The first General Conference and campmeeting held In Denver was at the Assembly of God Campmeeting Grounds in August of 1953 or 1954. It continued to be held there bi-annually for many years.
Shortly thereafter, a Church of God radio program was instituted, "Faith for our Time," and Elder K.H. Freeman of West Virginia became its speaker, serving for many years, until replaced by Ray L. Straub in 1972. In 1973 the program was going out on 32 stations in 18 states.
RADIO BY 1973 WAS REALLY A LOST CAUSE; A THROWING MONEY DOWN A BLACK HOLE; FEW BY THIS TIME WERE INTERESTED RADIO PREACHERS; TV WAS TAKING OVER; ONLY THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD WAS QUICK ON THE BALL TO USE TV EVANGELIST WORK - keithHunt
In 1953, Elder Clayton L. Faubion replaced Ray Benight as editor, serving until 1956.
Also in 1953, Midwest Bible College had its first graduating class, (It is basically a two-year institution for men, although a few women attend for Biblical Foundation courses.) the first graduates being Haskell Hawkins and Robert Harris, Elder Burt F. Marrs (died 1956) became its director.
IT WAS PRETTY USELESS EXCEPT TO PROMULGATE RUN OF THE MILL, STUCK IN THE RUT OF CHURCH OF GOD, LACK OF GROWTH DOCTRINES - Keith Hunt
In 1955 a young minister Carl Stacey was killed in an auto work while visiting in Bakersfleld. He was a member of the Executive Board and pastor of the Los Angeles church at his death.
Church development, 1956-59
A new church building was completed in 1956 at Grand Junction, Colorado, where John Kiesz was pastor. Also that year, Max Morrow, Deloris Forkel, Lyle Schueler, ClarettaLing and Nelson
Caswell graduated from college. The following year Morrow became office editor of the Advocate while Charles E. Adams replaced Clatyon Faubion as editor of the Advocate and the Harvest Field Messenger.
LITTLE IF ANY PROGRESS TO SEARCH FOR MORE TRUTH, TO BE CORRECTED, TO GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST JESUS, EVER CAME FORTH; IT WAS BASICALLY TREAD WATER TEACHING - KEITH HUNT
In 1958, Elder K. C. Walker became Director of the college, and the Stockton, California church building was secured. Elder Ivan Harlan pastored Lodi and Stockton at the time.
Adams lasted only a year as editor, resigning in 1957 at the Denver campmeeting, with the idea of going to New Zealand and Australia.
WHICH NEVER AMOUNTED TO MUCH AT ALL - keith hunt
Horace Munro became editor, K. C. Walker assistant editor and Max Morrow office editor. In 1959, Morrow became editor.
In 1959 there was launched a "Free Tract" program in which tract were given away free, instead of having a charge as in the past. Financing for this program came from a special fund for which
offerings were taken by local churches. Men who died during these years were Elder Otto Haeber in 1958 at Hawthorne, California, and A.S. Christenson and Roy Davison in 1959.
"Facts of Our Faith" Split from Merger Group
Charles Adams the head of the Home Missions Department of the Merger Group headed a "Layman's Research Committee" of Seven Men in 1958 and 1959 which sought to reform the church from within. The object was to put the control of the church back in the hands of the laymembers, not the ministers. One of these members was Ed Blenis of McKenzie River, Oregon. Possibly others were Roy Marrs and Wilbur Domberger.
Apparently the movement affected about a third of the entire church, but the Ministerial Council got wind of the development and nixed the idea. At the 1959 Conference, the Laymen's petition was not even allowed to be read before the conference meeting, and of 475-500 delegates, they in the end received only 17 votes, and still later only 11.
SHOWING DIVISION WAS RIPE AND STRONG - Keith Hunt
Churches in Denver and Los Angeles separated from the Merger Group, but now only the church in Los Angeles is left. There Roy A. Marrs heads the "Church of God, Sabbatarian" at Torrance, California, which publishes, free of price, the Facts of oar Faith magazine, and apparently has a radio program as well His associate is Elder Wilbur C. Oornberger of Huntington Beach.
Elder E. A. Straub was President of the General Conference at the time, and says there were no real issues for the split. The Layman's Group asked 20 why's, but these were based on false information of the condition of the church. They still believe in the Merger Group's principles, and do not fellowship with Meridian. Roy Marrs sent his daughter to Stanberry for college, and Straub feels that they will eventually come back to the Merger Group, once the older generation
AS WE SEE THE SPLITS IN THE CHURCH OF GOD WERE FAR FAR FROM OTHER - KeithHunt
1960-1962: Church of God Continues
In 1960 anew church building was erected in Blbomington, California, where Elder Trinidad Padilla was pastor. He was a former Roman Catholic that had brought more than fifty of his relatives out of that church into the Church of God. Bloomington attendance at that time was over a hundred.
Youth Camps began to be held at this time, at campgrounds owned by other denominations. In 1961 one was held at North Silver Falls Creek, Oregon. Elder Ray Straub reports many young people "began to pray loudly and groaned for the filling of the Spirit of God," In a revival meeting. Some 26 youths were baptized on the last Sabbath of the meeting.
In 1961, K.H. Freeman was Conference chairman.
From 1949-1961, it was the practice of the Merger Group to hold the campmeeting and General Conference sessions in Denver every odd-numbered year. But in 1962, the Central States Districts held a meeting near Dover, Oklahoma instead of Stanberry, on some land that had been recently purchased by the Church.
At the Ministerial Council, held on October 30, 1962, there were 40 credentialed ministers and five licensed ministers from the United States, plus one credentialed minister from Canada and one from Mexico. Two doctrinal positions were approved.
Centennial Celebration — 1963
The Hope of Israel began in August of 1863, and thus in August of 1963, a special centennial issue of the Bible Advocate was published, which contained a number of historical items, excerpts from older issues, a list of editors from 1863 to 1963, some twenty-five in all, and an analysis of Church of God doctrine through the years.
Ministers in 1963 and their locations were as follows:
Augustine Adams, California
J. D. Bagwell, Alabama
Ray E. Benight, Idaho
Carl Bentz, Idaho
E. Bernal, Texas
Garland Branson, West Virginia
Hugh Butrick, Oklahoma
Julian Camero, Michigan
Noah Camero, Minnesota
Nelson Caswell, Michigan
L.L. Christenson, Missouri
T.U. Conner, New York
Robert Coulter, Michigan
Archie B. Craig, Colorado
Floyd Craig, Oklahoma
James Crane, California
Tieman DeWind, Michigan
A.F. Dugger, Colorado
E. Dugue, Texas
Burt Ford, Oklahoma
K.H. Freeman, West Virginia
Curn Gilchrist, Colorado
Israel Haeger, California
Rudolph Haffner, Oregon
Ivan Harlan, Arkansas
Ennis Hawkins, Oklahoma
C.J. Heywood, Michigan
Peter Hrenyk, Canada
Harry Johns, Washington
Ross Johnston, Oklahoma
S.J. Kauer, Missouri
Roy Keim, Michigan
Christ Kiesz, South Dakota
John Kiesz, Missouri
Fred Krumsick, Oklahoma
James Kuryluk, Iowa
A.E. Lidell, Michigan
Clyde Maher, Oklahoma
Eric Mathis, New York
William McCann, Michigan
Reuben Moldenhauer, Canada
Max Morrow, Missouri
R. C. Moldenhauer, Missouri
Deroy McGill, Oregon
W.W. McMicken, Florida
Horace Munro, Missouri
Delvin O'Banion, South Dakota
W.H. Olson, District of Columbia
Trinidad Padilla, California
Vernon Patchan, Wisconsin
Roland Peterson, Nebraska
Sam Poff, Oklahoma
Emmett Presler, Colorado
Jesse Rodgers, Arkansas
L.I. Rodgers, Arkansas
Louis Sanchez, Minnesota
Manuel Solis, Texas
Archie Stiede, Washington
Ray Straub, Oregon
Nathan Straub, Oregon
E.A. Straub, California
Heber Strickland, Maryland
Marion Strunk, Oregon
Belton Sweety Texas
B. G. Sweet, Texas
Melvin Sweet, Texas
S.R. Tedrow, Ohio
Floyd Turner, Michigan
Clifford Turtle, Missouri
K.C. Walker, Texas
R.K. Walker, Oklahoma
Fred Walter, Oregon
O.T. Whitten, Oklahoma
C.W. Wilderson, Michigan
Victor Youngs, California
THESE NAMES TODAY ARE MAINLY SOMEWHAT REDUNDANT AS IT IS TOO FAR BACK TO MEAN MUCH TO ANYONE - Keith Hunt
Extent of Work - 1963
The Executive Board in 1963 was composed of the following Twelve:
K.H. Freeman, W.H. Olson, Carlos Garcia. Reuben Moldenhauer, Nelson Caswell, K.C. Walker, Floyd Turner, E.A. Straub, Robert Coulter, Trinidad Padilla and Archie Craig.
The nine District Overseers were District 1, Robert Coulter; 2, Delvin O'Banion; 3, Ray Straub; 4, E.A. Straub; 5, K.C. Walker; 6, James Kuryluk; 7, John Kiesz; 8, Nelson Caswell; and 9, Floyd Turner.
General Conference officers in 1963 were Robert Coulter, Chairman; Ray Straub, Vice-Chairman; Larry Russell, Secretary—Treasurer.
Heads of Departments were: LeRoy Dais, Publishing; Elden Fischer, Young Peoples; S.J. Kauer, Sabbath School; Emmett Presler, Home Missions; Grover Davis, Foreign Missions; Delvin O'Banion, Ministerial; and Dr. A.L. Carlin, Education.
From Church of God "United Fund" receipts, 30% went to Publishing, 20% to Home Missions, 20% to Ministerial, 15% to Foreign Missions, 12% to Christian Education (half each to the college and the high school), 2% to Sabbath School and 1% to Young People.
In the Foreign Work, Mexico had over 200 ministers, led by brothers Alberto and Carlos Garcia in Mexico City.
Other foreign workers were Charles J. Ellis of Jamaica;
V. H. Gibbons of British Guiana;
John Raybourne, Wilfred Saunders, and Hubert Weekes, Trinidad;
Benjamin Dingal, E.Peniaredondo and H.C.Rosell, Philippines;
F. A. Tonge, New Zealand; F. Joseph, India; Helmut Strauss, Germany; and B.I. Tikili of Nigeria.
Extent of Work, Circa 1973
Robert Coulter continued to be the Chairman of the General Conference, and Floyd A. Turner the editor of the Bible Advocate and the Harvest Field Messenger. Robert Coulter and S.J. Kauer were the editor's advisors and Ray Straub, L.L. Christenson, K.H. Freeman and Bose Dickens were contributing Editors. Ray L. Straub was speaker of the radio program, "Faith for our Time."
Mead's Handbook of Denominations for 1970 listed the Merger Group
with 76 churches and 5000 members, and the Salem group with 67 churches and 2000 members.
The old "Church of God Publishing House," which served from 1908 to 1948 gave way to the newly constructed brick L-shaped building in 1948, which served the Stanberry church, the press and the college.
The General Conference offices moved to Denver in 1952. A new headquarters building near Denver was constructed in 1971-72 at a cost of about $195,000. The press was moved into the new complex in March of 1972. In the 13 months since the publishing plant was moved, some half million tracts were printed for me "Free Tract Fund."
LeRoy Dais continued to be chairman of the Publishing Department, while Raymond C. Moldenhauer was head of Home Missions, Reuben Moldenhauer of Foreign Missions, Harvey Fischer of Sabbath Schools, Elden Fischer of Christian Education, Calvin Burrell of Young Peoples, and E. A. Straub of Ministerial. Max Morrow directed Midwest Bible College and S.J. Kauer remained the chief instructor.
TODAY MOST OF THESE NAMES WILL MEAN NOTHING TO MOST PEOPLE; IT'S HISTORY WASHED UNDER THE WATER.
SOME MEN DID SOME GOOD THINGS, BUT A LOT DID NOT; IT WAS A HOG-POG OF POLITICAL INFIGHTING; EGO TRIPS; AND A LACK OF DEEPLY GROWING IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST JESUS, AND THE MAJOR TRUTHS OF THE BIBLE. BY AND LARGE ALL THIS SECTION OF THE CHURCHES OF GOD, HAD A NAME THAT WAS ALIVE, BUT FOR THE MOST PART SPIRITUALLY DEAD - THE SARDIS ARE STILL HERE - Keith Hunt