MODERN  HISTORY  OF  THE  CHURCH  OF  GOD  7TH  DAY  OBSERVERS  #9



Elder O.R. Osman and Colporteur Work


In May of 1924, Dugger went to High Point, North Carolina, where he and Elder O.R. Osman, a former Seventh Day Adventist, held separate meetings among the white and black people. A white Church of God was organized under Dugger's auspices.


At the August General Conference meeting at Stanberry, Osman was appointed as head of general missionary and colporteur, work in the United States. The next year he launched a "very aggressive program" to sell Bible Home Instructor, Bibles, and other Church of God tracts through colporteurs.    


Colporteurs and Home Missionaries


In May of 1924, Dugger wrote an article in the Advocate entitled:


"Wanted:  Men For Ministers." In it, he stated that "calls are coming in from far and near, from home and foreign fields for workers and ministers to come. We cannot begin to supply the need.... [therefore] We plead with young men earnestly to go to school, and to college, and prepare for the calling of God." Men of education were needed, especially for the foreign fields.


To augment training of workers for the church, a colporteur training class was held in connection with the yearly Missouri Campmeeting. A dozen or twenty were expected to enroll in a ten day free course in home missionary and colporteur work.


Each state conference (of which there were Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan and others)  had a "State Missionary Secretary," distinct from the State Secretary that was elected by the state conference. The Missionary Secretary was the representative of the General Conference, corresponded directly to the General Conference headquarters at Stanberry, and in general stimulated missionary activity in the state. The names of independent Sabbath keepers came to the general office through several sources, and a list was sent to each state secretary of those in his area. The state missionary secretary thereupon corresponded with them, sending them tracts and other literature.


Further, each church had a Local Missionary Secretary, for "preventing

the spirit of lethargy and indifference.... [and] to awaken and enliven

missionary zeal...."


Each church was supposed to set aside the first Sabbath of each month for a "testimonial service" in which brethren reported the missionary work they had done in the past month. The evening of the first Sabbath of the month was the time to pay tithes and offerings.  Isolated members could mail their tithes to the State Treasurer, or the Missionary Secretary if there was no treasurer, or to the General Conference at Stanberry.


Tent Meetings Lead Church of God Growth


Dugger reported in 1921 that "The greatest success that has been achieved through the Church of God evangelists, has been accomplished by tent work."   A Church of God tent campaign was a thoroughly prepared effort. Its meetings must have gained wide public Interest. Systematic preparation was characteristic of each effort. Every house was notified of the coming meetings. From beginning to end, a meeting could take two or three months to "thoroughly educate the people in the fundamental truths."


A desirable piece of ground near the center of the city was obtained, the tent was erected and wired by city electricity.  A piano was rented, and a pulpit and platform were acquired. Bills were printed at Stanberry, each bill announcing the sermons one week ahead of time.


Bible workers  (usually women) divided the city into sections, and took a bill to every home, delivering it personally to the family, inviting: them to come out the first night. Bills were attached in all the autos in the town. "The result is that the meetings start off with large crowds which steadily increase for a month or more, until the message delivered becomes too strong for some who will not yield, and consequently they discontinue their presence."


At the beginning of each week, Bible workers took new bills announcing sermons to every home, again issuing a friendly invitation. After the first few days, interested people began to invite the Bible workers into their homes, asking them many questions. Often there were more requests for visits than workers available. Frequently there was opposition and even heckling. The meetings were expensive, but Dugger and the rest of the church leadership felt that the results far outweighed the cost.


In justifying the extensive use of women in tent meetings as Bible Workers, Dugger explained in the "Question Corner" of the April 21, 1925 Advocate that I Cor. 14:34-35 and I Tim. 2:12 show that women  are not to be religious leaders, but that they can be used as workers, having a part in the work, Rom. 16:1-2.


Some Churches and Their Ministers     1924


Passover Reports for the year 1924 included the following churches

with their pastors:


Hayward, California 

Watts, California and Pasadena 

De Luce, Arkansas 

Tucson, Arizona 

Maryville, Missouri 

Anderson, Missouri 

Jacksonville, Florida 

Marion, Iowa


Ministers for above


W.H. Stanley 

J.W. Crouse 

J.D. Frazier 

J.B. Rhodes 

Brother West 

F.C Robinson 

W.R. Peterson 

Carl W. Carver


Ministers     1924


Credentialed ministers in 1924 included the following:


Adair, 

Blair, 

Barnes, 

Barton, 

Black, 

Buchtel, 

Beggs, 

Carlisle, 

Crouse, 

Coronado, 

Cassillas,  

Davison, 

Dugger, A. F. (Jr.) 

Dugger, A. N. 

Dummond, 

Fay, 

Frazier, 

Guevara, 

Gilstrap, 

Hayden, 

Hayes, 

Howe; 

Hosteter,

Hinds, 

Jensen, 

Marra,  

McMlcken, 

Mossey, 

Mentzer, 

Murray, 

Munger, 

Naerem, 

Osborn, 

Plumb,

Rlggs, 

Richards, 

Robinson, 

Rodgers, 

Rodgers, G. T. 

Rodriguez, 

Sarber, 

Severson,

Smith, 

Stith, 

Slankard, 

Salkeld, 

Thorp, 

Torres, 

Unzicker, 

Ward, 

Williams, 

Andrew J. 

Williams B.

Wlliams, S.E. 

Williams, T. A. 

Williams, J.F. 

Williams, J.M. 

Williamson, 

Wilbur, 

Winsett, 


Licensed ministers for the same year included the following:


Bagwell, 

Benson, 

Codrington, 

Conrad, 

Echavaria, 

Gatchell, 

Groshans, 

Hipolito, 

Howe, 

Jacobs, 

James, 

Lee, 

Morse, 

Marrs, 

Murray, 

Neal, 

Nelson, A.

Nielson, N. 

Osman, 

Porter, 

Raymond, 

Rawson,  

Shorey, 

Sheafe, 

Skinner, 

Smith. A. A. 

Smith, D.O. 

Smith, J.G. 

Snyder, 

Stanley, 

Williams, E.A. 

Williams,  T.L. 

Walker, 

Flo, Theo. J.


Advocate Staff  - 1924


Dugger was editor and business manager of the Bible Advocate in 1924. Assisting him, and listed on the-masthead were G. E. Hughes,  Assistant Editor;  Evangelist Milton Grotz and Lewis Charles Sheafe, Associate Editors; S.S. Davison and A.F. Dugger, Jr., Contributing Editors, and R.F. Barton, B.C. Manson and W.T. Jones,  Field Representatives. 

The paper was termed the "Official Organ of the Church of God (Seventh Day)."


1925-1926:   Tracts and Foreign Expansion


Elder O.R. Osman, newly appointed as the head of the colporteur work, launched an aggressive program to sell Bible Home Instructors and other tracts and books. Outstanding colporteurs under his guidance were Elder C. E. Groshans, a fairly new minister in Indiana, who baptized seventeen in Detroit.   Among other colporteurs of note were Elders J. D. Bagwell, W. W. McMicken, Horace Munro, Rudolph Hafmer, G. A. Smith and sister Delphia Buck. An unsurpassed record in colporteur work was achieved in 1926 when Elder Osman and Brother E. S. Henderson sold $88,00 worth of books in one day.


The 17-tract series on doctrinal issues, "Gems of Truth," was written and adapted for missionary work in 1925. One of these tracts was entitled, "The Third Angel's Message." In the period from August 1, 1925 to August 1, 1926, some 624,000 pages in English were printed in tract form on practical, doctrinal and prophetic subjects. A book bindery was bought and paid for to add to the press at Stanberry, and $2300 was borrowed for an addition to the publishing house.  The Sabbath School Missionary was changed to a weekly.


Under direction of the Executive Committee, the book "Our Time in Bible Prophecy" was published.


In the foreign work, two printing presses were purchased and established in foreign lands. In 1925, the message was being preached in ten foreign fields, and in 1926, ten more foreign areas were added to the list. Previously, the message had been established in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Trinidad, India, China, Norway, Mexico, South Africa, and Argentina.  In 1926, Barbados, Bermuda, Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica, Central America, Bolivia, West Africa, Palestine and Sweden were added.


The Bible Advocate was being printed in German at Eureka, South Dakota and in Spanish at Dallas, Texas.


In Australia, W. Allport was reported doing missionary work in 1926.


In 1926, it was noted that a Catholic priest in Central America had recently accepted Church of God doctrine, and now had over fourteen churches of God in San Salvadore, Costa Rica and elsewhere. Apparently he had a printing press, and was translating the message into Portuguese, Italian and French. There were prospects of uniting the Protestant Evangelical Church with the Church of God, and if successful, would total 40 churches in the area.


Elder B.L. Hamirez of Mexico City reported that he had three small presses there. And another minister, Elder Davis, united with the Church of God In Jamaica, where Elders Walters and Clark were working.


Of note is the establishment of the work in Palestine. A special fund was established for the Jerusalem work. The booklet, "How Shall We Know Him?", showing that Jesus was the Messiah the Jews were looking for, was published for distribution among Jews. The first Church of God in Jerusalem since 70  A.D. was organized in 1926 by Elder David Nield who was on a trip around the world.  Afterwards he went to Ethiopia.


A certain F. Clouson, formerly from South Dakota, went to Sweden and in 1928 he translated English tracts into Swedish.  Elder J. M. Orn-Naerem began to spread the Church of God message in Norway at about this time.  And an A. H. Lindsay who lived in the Panama Canal Zone sparked interest in the Church of God in that area.


Field Work  -   1925-1926


Among the Germans, Christ Kiesz, Jack Dais, John B. Brenneise, and P. J. Kornmesser held meetings in Wishek, North Dakota in 1925. Kornmesser, a German minister from Chicago, held several meetings in both North and South Dakota, as well as Canada where he met with Isolated brethren. Several of the Kainer family near Vibank, Saskatchewan, became members of the Church of God, one becoming wife of Elder John Kleaz. The German Bible Advocate,went into the Dakotas, Montana, Califorhia, Washington, Canada, and elsewhere.   The first camp-meeting held at Eureka, South Dakota was in June of 1925.   Among those attending were Kornmesser, Elder Christ Kiesz, John Brenneise, Martin Reuscher, Christ Meier, Burt F.. Marrs, and A.N. Dugger.


The Nebraska and Kansas Conferences met at Bassett on October 7, with elders Presler, Kornmesser, Jensen, Christ Kiesz and the Dugger brothers present.


The Wisconsin conference and campmeeting was held later in June of 1925 at Stanley. Leader of the state work, was Elder J.S. Beggs. Elder Ed Severson, who spoke Norwegian as well as English, worked among the Norwegians in Wisconsin. Dugger, Henry Brenneise, and a young ministerial aspirant, John Kiesz, traveled from South Dakota to attend the Wisconsin meeting.


In Oklahoma, Elder R. A. Barnes organized a church at Tahlequah, Ed Severson held meetings at Broken Bow, and R.K. Walker in Arpelar. The State Conference was held the first week of August at Fairview, succeeding the campmeeting preaching services which began on July 24.


In Arkansas, B.F. Daily seemed to be one of the leading brethren. A conference was held in August at Deluce, near DeWitt.


The Missouri Conference and Campmeeting as well as the General Conference and Campmeeting, were held jointly in August at Stanberry. Elders J. T. Williamson and William Alexander held a tent meeting at Gifford, Missouri in June of 1926.


Michigan had no campmeeting in 1925, but had its Conference sessions for three days near Jenison, with John Goodih as President.


The Iowa Conference met at Marion in October, and the Texas State Conference of the Mexican brethren met in November. Elder J.M. Rodriguez organized a church at Knox City, Texas in 1925.


Other ministers considered as "home evangelists" in 1925 were A.H. Stith, J.H, Hinds, R.K. Walker, J.W. Carroll, T.C. Robinson, G.W. Sarber, Jacob Wilbur, William Stanley, B.C. Delgado, B.L. Ramirez, J.S. Beggs, R.E. Hosteter, and T. J. Marrs.


In other fields, Elder J. G. Smith of California planned to start a tent work there in May of 1926.  Elder W. W. West, one time associate with Parham (?) or the original Pentecostal movement in Kansas, held a Sabbath school in Los Angeles, and worked among both whites and Negroes. Michigan, Iowa, and the Dakota brethren each planned to buy a tent. George C. Shorey was pioneering the work in New Hampshire in East Rochester. Elder W. W. McMicken was in North Carolina, Elder E.J. Benson at Allentown, Pennsylvania, while Elders Salkeld and Slankard were holding meetings in Philadelphia in 1926.


At the close of the 1926 campmeeting, men were stationed as follows:  C.E. Groshans, Michigan; L.L. Pressler, Nebraska and Wisconsin (New Auburn, Stanley); W.W. McMicken and J.D. Bagwell, Alabama; R.A. Barnes, R.K. Walker, Ed Severson, Enos Hawkins, J.W. Williams and Elders Quinton and Whitehead, Oklahoma; Roy Daily, E.F. Thorp, Z.B. Black, Horace Munro, Arkansas; M.W. Unzicker, Texas, after a Gentry, Missouri meeting;  J. F. Jensen,

Nebraska;  Irvin Gillespie, Omaha;   P.J. Kornmesser, Henry Brenneise, Jacob Dais, South Dakota;   C. W. Salkeld and J. G. Slankard in Des Moines;   Theo. J. Flo, Chicago; L.l. Rodgers, Iowa; T.A. Williams and J.T. Williamson in southern Missouri,  a new field;  and A.D. Ross and Hiram Fay in St. Louis.


Churches    1925


The September 22, 1925 Advocate lists some 79 Churches of God in 17 states.   Although the state of each church area is not listed, the following is an attempted classification:


ALABAMA


Philcampbell 

Russellville


ARKANSAS


De Luce 

Floral 

Ft. Smith

Hagler

Heber Springs 

Humphrey 

Mena 

Newport 

St. Charles 

Salado


CALIFORNIA


Hayward 

Los Angeles 

Modesto 

Orange 

Pasadena


IDAHO


Emmett 

Meridian


INDIANA


Knox


IOWA


Corydon 

Council Bluffs 

Marion


KANSAS


Sabetha


MICHIGAN


Battle Creek 

Deckerville 

Freeland

West Olive


MISSOURI


Anderson

Andersoa (W. route)

Buffalo

Easton

El Dorado Springs

Frisco

Gentry

Green Castle

Hatfield

Maryville

Milan

Mt. Carmel

Nevada

Phillipsburg

Pleasant Hill

Rich Hill

Stanberry


NEBRASKA


Bassett 

Omaha 

Orafino


NORTH CAROLINA


High Point


OKLAHOMA


Alabama City  (?)

Atoka

Broken Bow

Claremore

Crowder

Dale

Fairview

Fairview  (Dane Star)

Foster  (?)

Henrietta

Kusa

Lindsay

Pierce

Stidham


PENNSYLVANIA 


Shingiehouse


SOUTH DAKOTA 


Eureka


TEXAS


Hamlin

Hico

North Uvalde

Oakville


WASHINGTON D. C.


WEST VIRGINIA 


Wilbur


WISCONSIN


Waupaca

Wisconsin Veterans Home


UNKNOWN


Badger

Dykes

Empire

Farmer

Marsh

Shaw


Advocate Staff -  1925


Even the listed Advocate staff of 1925 demonstrated the expansion and growth the church was going through.  G.E. Hughes assisted Dugger who was editor.   Lewis Charles Sheafe, S.S. Davison and A. F. Dugger, Jr. were associate editors.   Dugger was President of the General Conference, G.T. Rodgers Vice-President, P.C.Walker Secretary, and Mrs. G.E. Hughes Treasurer. On the Executive Committee were S. A. Moore, L.L. Presler, W.E. Carver and Burt Fi Marrs.


Field Representatives of the Advocate that year were O.R. Osman, who was General Missionary Secretary and Field Manager of the Colporteur Department, R.F. Barton of Waterbury, Vermont, R. E. Hosteter of Jenison, Michigan, B.C. Manson of Richmond, Virginia, F.C. Robinson of Anderson, Missouri, R. A. Barnes of Crowder, Oklahoma, J.D. Frazier of Lonoke, Arkansas, G. W. Sarber of Knox, Indiana, C.E. Groshans of Barodaj Michigan, A. H. Stith of Nampa, Iowa, L.I. Rodgers of Milan, Missouri, J.W. Crouse of 134 Harriett Street, Pasadena, California, M.W. Unzicker of Oakville, Texas, J. G. Smith of Los Angeles, J.F. Jensen of Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, E.F. Thorp of Lonoke, Arkansas, J. T. Williamson of Appleton City, Missouri, W. W. McMicken of Russellville, Alabama, andW.H. Stanley of Hay ward, California.


Church History Begins to Develop  — Seven Eras Taught


It was an axiomatic belief of Adventists, from which the Church of God sprang, that there were seven church eras in time  (Revelation 2 and 3) and that they constituted the final, Laodicean era.  William Miller was said to have sounded the First Angel's Message  ("angel" being" translated "messenger" and referring to humans occurs more times in Scripture than it does to heavenly angels) to the Sardis era of the church. His message was that the hour of God's Judgment was near (1843 or 1844).  As Ellen G. White states in her Great Controversy, "The condition of the church at this time is pointed out in the Savior's words the Revelation:  'you have a name that you livest, and art dead'." The reason for this condition, she states, was that the churches refused to learn new truths.


Adventists did not at first constitute a separate body, but were found throughout many denominations.  When the Advent message became very strong, some Millerite ministers were put out of their churches; members were too. Charles Fitch, a leading Adventist, wrote an article, "Come Out of Her, My People!" which was said to constitute the Second Angel's Message: "Babylon is fallen, is fallenl" Those who did come out of their churches (most of whom did not observe the Sabbath yet)  were said to be the Philadelphia era.


When after the Great Disappointment the Sabbath became adopted by many Adventists, from the Seventh Day Baptists, the remnant, discouraged few were labeled Laodiceans, and the message of keeping God's Commandments, including the Sabbath, became referred to as the Third Angel's Message.


It appears that Church of God leaders like A. C. Long, and later, A.N. Dugger, taught essentially the same as the Adventist viewpoint on the Seven Church Eras and the Third Angel's Message, with the exception, of course, that the Church of God, and not the Seventh Day Adventists, which had changed the church name and gone after a false prophetess, were the true remnant church of the Laodiceahs. The Bible Advocate of 1908 states flatly, "this is the Laodicean period."


Miller's Views on Church Eras


William Miller, the leader of the Adventist movement, and whose writings continued to have wide influence after his death, taught that the Ephesus era referred to the apostolic age. Smyrna lasted approximately from 100 to 312  A.D. The reference to it being persecuted 10 days was thought to be the ten imperial persecutions, the first under Nero and the last under Diocletian in 303.   Pergamos was said to last from 312 to 538, when the anti-Christ (the Pope) became all powerful. Thyatira was from 538 to the 10th century, and reference is given to the book, Israel of the Alps, about the Waldenses. Sardis was said by Miller to refer to the period of the later Waldenses, the 10th century to the Reformation. Philadelphia lasted from the beginning of the Reformation to 1798, and Laodicea began in 1798.


Miller said that Laodicea in its root meaning designates "judging of the people, " and refers to a "haughty, proud, self-exalted church" on which God pours out His judgment.  "Is it not a general complaint," Miller wrote in the 1840's, "with all of our churches, of coldness, of a want of spiritual life, and a great failure in active spiritual duties? Yes."


Significantly, Miller notes lessons that we can learn from the last three church eras:  (1) Sardis teaches us that we must be on guard against the introduction of errors into the church, and that we need to strengthen ourselves in the truth  (see Jude 20), and have not only the proper name, but the power of the gospel. (2)  The lesson from the Philadelphia era is that if we keep God's word, God will keep us from trials and Judgments, and open the door to spread the gospel that no man can shut, and that we must be on guard lest any man take our crown.   (3) The Laodicean lesson is that we cannot serve two-masters; one cannot love the present evil world and at the same time be servants of God.


Seventh Day Adventlst View on Church Eras


Uriah Smith, one of the leading Seventh Day Adventlst doctrinal writers, wrote that the Pergamos era lasted from 323 to 538, the time of Constantine's professed conversion to the establishment of the papacy. Thyatira he said lasted for the 1260 years of papal supremacy, 538 to 1798. Sardis, which means "prince or song of joy," or "that which remains," lasted from 1798 to the time at the Second Avent message. Philadelphia was the shortest era, consisting of those who received the Advent message up until the autumn of 1844. Laodicea is since 1844, and Laodiceans consist of those who believe in the Third Angel's Message.


IT  IS  INTERESTING  THE  SEVENTH  DAY  ADVENTIST  CHURCH  OPENLY  ADMITS  IT  IS  THE  LAODICEAN  CHURCH.  AND  THEY  WILL  DO  NOTHING  ABOUT  SEEING  THEIR  ERRORS  AND  REPENTING.  NO  DATES  CAN  BE  GIVEN  FOR  THE  7  CHURCH  ERAS.  WE  CAN  KNOW  THAT  AT  THE  TIME  OF  THE  END  THE  LAST  3  ERAS  WILL  BE  LIVING  SIMULTANEOUSLY.  THE  PHILADELPHIA  PEOPLE  WILL  BE  THE  "LITTLE  FLOCK" THE  "SALT  OF  THE  EARTH" [SPRINKLED  HERE  AND  THERE]  THAT  JESUS  TALKED  ABOUT.  THEY  WILL  BE  THE  RELATIVELY  FEW,  BUT  WILL  HAVE  AN  OPEN  DOOR  TO  PREACH  TO  THE  WORLD  -  AND  A  GREATER  OPEN  DOOR  THAN  THE  INTERNET  AND  YOUTUBE  THERE  IS  NOT.  THEY  WILL  BE  THE  ONES  WHO  "HUNGER  AND  THIRST  AFTER  RIGHTEOUSNESS"  AND  "LOVERS  OF  THE  TRUTH"  -  THE  ONES  "EARNESTLY  CONTENDING  FOR  THE  FAITH  ONCE  DELIVERED  TO  THE  SAINTS"  -  Keith Hunt


J. T. Williamson's Church of God Views


Whether the article entitled "Seven Churches of Revelation," by J. T. Williamson in the April 1, 1924 Bible Advocate was the first on the subject of church eras, is not known. But in it he definitely holds similar views, but not exactly, with the Seventh Day Adventist viewpoint.


Williamson begins by affirming that Jesus Christ, not John, was the revelator.   And he goes on to show that the seven churches show the time period from Christ's first advent until His second coming.  The seven churches are seven eras of time, "the 'Church of God' in each of these seven periods of time, like a lamp or candlestick illuminates the life of Christ  (light to the world)...."  The "angels" of the seven Churches are the "agent, minister, or messenger... who had the oversight of the church as a comforting angel," in other words, the leading minister of the era. Few definite dates for the eras are given, although Williamson notes that the ten times persecution was the ten-year period of persecution under Diocletian, as reported in Myers General History, pages 330-331.


AND  THAT  IS  THE  KEY  TO  BELIEVE  THIS  IS  INDEED  7  AGES  OF  THE  TRUE  CHURCH  OF  GOD.  THERE  WAS  10  YEARS  OF  PERSECUTION  UNLIKE  ANY  TO  THAT  TIME  FOR  HORRENDOUS- NESS;  IT  WAS  CONSTANTINE  WHO  PUT  AN  END  TO  THAT  PERSECUTION,  AS  HE  BEGAN  TO  MAKE  "CHRISTIANITY"  THE  RELIGION  OF  THE  ROMAN  EMPIRE.  ANOTHER  REASON  TO  BELIEVE  THIS  IS  7  AGES  OF  THE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  IS  THAT  IT  IS  IN  A  PROPHETIC  BOOK,  THE  LAST  PROPHETIC  BOOK  OF  THE  BIBLE  -  CERTAINLY  IT  ALSO  HAS  INDIVIDUAL  TEACHING  FOR  THE  INDIVIDUAL  CHRISTIAN  AND/OR  INDIVIDUAL  LOCAL  CHURCH  -  Keith Hunt 


Sardis covers "that which remains," or the concluding period of papal supremacy, ending in 1798, when the pope was taken captive by General Berthier and the door opened to free public worship. Williamson does not elaborate when the Philadelphia era ended  (but presumably it was in 1844), but notes that his was definitely the Laodicean era.  He concludes, "We realize there is a proneness to apply the sad condition of the Laodicean church to nominal professors; but brethren, this is addressed to the Church of God in this period,"


HE  LIKE  OTHERS  IS  OFF  THE  MARK  IN  TRYING  TO  SET  ANY  SPECIFIC  DATES.  AND  HE  PROBABLY  LIKE  OTHERS,  DOES  NOT  SEE  THAT  THE  CHURCH  AGES  OVERLAPPED  -  SOMETIMES  BY  HUNDREDS  OF  YEARS.  HENCE  THERE  WILL  BE  AND  IS,  3  BASIC  ERAS  NOW  EXISTING,  AND  WILL  EXIST  TILL  JESUS  RETURNS,  THEY  ARE  THE  LAST  3  ERAS  -  Keith Hunt


Dugger's Research into Church History


In an article entitled, "History of the 'Church of God'," in the February 9, 1926 Bible Advocate, A.N. Dugger shows the origin of his understanding of church history, which was later to lead him to write the book, "History of the True Church"  (1936, reprinted 1968).


On June 12, 1922, the prince of Ethiopia, Wixzezyxard Challoughezilzise, accompanied by his secretary, Elder Robert B. St. Clair (an Adventist turned Seventh Day Baptist), arrived at Stanberry, Missouri, where he spoke to audiences for several nights. How he came to visit Stanberry is unknown. The prince was well-educated, and quite a musician. In 1922 it was said that Ethiopia kept the Sabbath as a nation, and held many tenets of faith similiar to the Church of God. While in Stanberry, the Prince was presented with two Bible Home Instructors  (which have Church of God doctrine arranged according to subject in a question and answer form), which he apparently prized highly. From Stanberry he went to Marion, Iowa (previous headquarters of the Church of God), on his way to Chicago, from where he expected to return to Ethiopia.


From St. Clair, Dugger was given "first insight" into the true facts of church history. Dugger learned that the Ethiopian church were Sabbath keepers and dated their origin from seven hundred years before Moses, "and also that they called themselves the Church of Christ and Church of God." His curiosity piqued, Dugger learned from St. Clair that the Seventh Day Baptist church also called themselves "Church of God" during their early history in America, and showed Dugger certain books where this could be verified. Dugger learned that even as late as 1926, the name Church of God was on some old "Seventh Day Baptist" church houses in the East. Dugger came to conclude "that the Church of God does not date its history back to 1861 and then follow through the Seventh Day Baptist channels, but rather through that company of people who held to the same name we hold today and consequently our history is perpetuated without a break."


In his 1926 article, Dugger maintained that the 1260 year period of the true church in the wilderness was from 538 to 1798. From 1844 and 1861, the Sabbath-keeping Adventists referred to themselves as the Church of God or the Church of Christ. But in October 1861 the Seventh Day Adventist group met at Battle Creek and selected Seventh Day Adventist instead of the true name, Church of God as their official name. They commanded people not to marry (fulfilling I Tim. 4), as verified by ministers living  (in 1926), Elder R. F. Barton of Waterbury, Vermont, and J.J. Kolvoord, Irvindale, Battle Creek. They also commanded to abstain from meats which God created to be received, and lapsed into further errors.  Seventh Day Baptist leaders drifted away from the true faith at this time and earlier (even began teaching evolution and "higher criticism").   Dugger concluded his remarks by stating that in the future he intended to go into more detail regarding the history of the Church of God.


In April of 1926 Dugger wrote to a "brother in England," George H. Vane of London (possibly a Seventh Day Baptist), asking him to make an investigation into church history at the London Public Library, and personally providing funds for this venture. By July 6, Dugger was able to report the first of Vane's findings, revealing "some remarkable facts, vindicating the word of God, and proving his care and preservation of the sacred name, 'The Church of God'." Dugger also noted that he had "long believed" that "the true church of the New Testament was called the Church of God, all through the gospel dispensation," and that the name was even preserved during the 1260 years in the wilderness. Now he was searching for more facts in order to publish a pamphlet or a book on "The History of the Church of God," which would "add great weight, force and strength to the message." Vane had made trips to the library and other places and was out of funds, Dugger requested the members to send in donations for this venture.


On July 20, Dugger reported that the Waldenses were especially being investigated in the research project.  It was learned that "they observed the Lord's Supper yearly, and kept the true Sabbath, but also that they held to the name 'Church of God'." True Christians have existed under different names at different times, viz.  Novatians, Donatists, Paullcians, and Albigenses, Cathars and Waldenses.  The history of Peter Waldo is given, with the conclusion that "the Church of God of today is actually the remnant church, cared for in the wilderness, and preserved for a definite purpose in the end of this age."


The result of these researches was a book, "The History of the True Church," first published in 1936.


THE  ABOVE  VARIOUS  PEOPLES  IN  HISTORY  WERE  NOT  ALL  7TH  DAY  SABBATH  OBSERVERS;  BUT  AMONG  THEM  THERE  WAS  A  PEOPLE  OBSERVING  THE  7TH  DAY.  AS  SHOW  IN  OTHER  STUDIES  HERE,  THE  BRITISH  CHURCH  BEFORE  THE  ROMAN  CHURCH  CAME  AROUND  500  A.D.  WAS  OBSERVING  THE  7TH  DAY  SABBATH,  AND  THE  LORD'S  DEATH  ONCE  A  YEAR,  IN  THE  SPRING  TIME.  THE  ROMAN  CHURCH  REPRESENTATIVE  WROTE  BACK  TO  THE  POPE,  THAT  THE  BRITISH  WERE  HERETICS  AND  JEWISH  IN  THEOLOGY  -  Keith Hunt


1927:  Expansion into Oregon


The year 1927 saw the addition to the publishing plant completed and almost paid for.  The plant must have been working at full speed, for in 1927, some 2, 526, 643 pages of literature were distributed; good portion of this being tracts on the Third Angel's Message (Sabbath keeping), sold by ministers, colporteurs, and volunteers.


Dugger stated that "this was the year that marked the real beginning of the work in North Carolina, Oregon and Panama." The Oregon work was led by G. A. Hobbs. Elder M. W. Unzicker held meetings in Oregon, gaining some nineteen converts.


Some of his newer young ministers in 1927 were Elders Roy Dailey (Arkansas), and Frank Walker and Ennis Hawkins (Oklahoma).  C.E. Groshans spent sixteen weeks in field work in Michigan. Rudolph Haffner of Kansas was the leading colporteur of the year.


Among other ministerial reports, E.L. Diamond was working that year in Arkansas; O.R. Osman and L.B. Ramsey in North Carolina; J.F. Jensen in Nebraska; A.H. Stith in Idaho; W.W. McMlcken, Alabama; L.I. Rodgers, Missouri; M.W. Unzicker, Missouri, Texas and Oregon; R.K. Walker, R. A. Barnes, and Burt F. Marrs, Oklahoma; T.J. Marrs, Missouri and Arkansas;  C.W. Salkeld and J.G. Slankard, Iowa and Glendale, California; W.M. Alexander, Rich Hill, Missouri; Christ Kiesz, Eureka, South Dakota;  J.G. Smith, California; and L.L. Presler  and Ed Severson, Wisconsin.


In the foreign work, J. A. Murray was doing Church of God work in Jamaica and Trinidad;  J.M. Orn-Naerem in Norway, and B.L. Ramirez in Mexico. In Central America, Arthur G. Tavel brought 14 churches into the Church of God, and a press was established. Foreign printing plaits numbered four, and the work was said to be expanding to Japan, several Balkan states, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador.


Church Politics:  Marrs Becomes President


At the campmeeting and conference for the entire church held at Rich Hill, Missouri in 1928, Elder Burt Marrs became President; Elder J.T. Williamson, Vice-President; and Charles E. Brush, Secretary-Treasurer.


The by-laws of the Constitution were altered so that no member could teach any doctrine in public which was not believed by the conference body, without clearly stating that such belief had not been endorsed by the Church of God, but that it was his own individual opinion.


Another decision was "that the Church of God believes and teaches the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but denies that 'speaking in tongues' is THE evidence."


On September 22, 1927, Elder S.W. Mentzer, a former long-time President of the General Conference, died. Marrs and Elder Stockwell of the Seventh Day Baptist church had charge of funeral services (possibly indicating that Mentzer later leaned to the Seventh Day Baptists).


1928:   Field Events


The February 14, 1928 Messenger stated that a great many calls for literature and letters inquiring about Church of God doctrines were being received. It was thought that more new names were added to the Advocate subscription list in the previous two weeks than any such time period in the last fifteen years.


Elder William Fiedler, an ex-Seventh Day Adventist from North Dakota, moved to Stanberry in 1928 to take charge of the German department and the printing of the Advocate In German. Previously the German edition had been printed in Eureka.


Elder Charles J. Ellis was working for the Church of God in 1928 in Cuba.   Later he worked in Jamaica. Also in foreign fields, James Tulvana of South Africa was called into the work, and made a missionary journey of over 900 miles, preaching to congregations he formerly knew, organizing several churches of God.


THERE  ARE  ABOUT  20  MILLION  PEOPLE  IN  THE  AFRICAN  CONTINENT  THAT  OBSERVE  THE  7TH  SAY  SABBATH;  ONLY  2  MILLION  OF  THEM  ARE  SEVENTH  DAY  ADVENTISTS  -  A  BOOK  ON  THE  SUBJECT  WAS  WRITTEN  BY  AN  SDA  MINISTER.  I  HAVE  THIS  BOOK  IN  MY  HOME  LIBRARY  -  Keith Hunt


Talk of a Church of God Radio Work


Also in 1928 a drive to get the Church of God message on radio began, with Elder Ervin Sooter of Missouri starting the pledge for a broadcasting station.   He was Joined by Sister Alpha Siddens, who wrote: "We must wake up, we don't need fine dresses, we don't need fine food, we have no need of jewelry, we've got to wake up and live up to our calling, that's all."


Previously, in 1925, Dugger wrote an article entitled, "The Third Angel's Message By Radio."  He stated:  "As God has a purpose in every achievement wrought by man.... We believe it is God's will that we make a proper use of this wonderful discovery of 'radio.', and put it to work for God.... [because this is a] great opportunity... to preach the gospel to the world."


Dugger's idea was to erect a broadcasting station in mid-America that would be powerful to reach all the United States and Canada, and even to Europe and Asia.  One man  (Sooter, possibly) offered $1000 for this purpose, and was later joined by another in quest for a total of about $50, 000.


Apparently little ever came of this project as the funds failed to materialize. When the first Church of God minister ever appeared on radio is not yet known.

The January 22, 1929 Advocate carried a report of the campaign to put the "Third Angel's Message" on radio stations, and had a blank form for contributions to the same. In the December 17 issue of that year is the report that A.N. Dugger would be broadcasting from WJSV radio of Washington, D.C. for ten straight evenings, at 7:30 p.m. The station reportedly reached all parts of the United States, and even England. This may have been the first time the Church of God message had ever appeared on radio.


By 1948, Elder R. A. Barnes   (KWIL Albany), Elder Edgar Lippincott (KFNF Senandoah, Iowa), Elder W. T. McMickin   (KTTR, Rolla, Missouri), and Elder Stanley J. Kauer  (WFVR, Grand Rapids, Michigan) were giving once weekly half hour programs.  In 1949, half hour Church of God programs were heard on KBRO Bremerton, KASH Eugene, and KRES St. Joseph.

………………..


THE  MAN  WHO  MADE  THE  MOST  OF  RELIGIOUS  RADIO  BROADCASTING,  IN  THE  CHURCH  OF  GOD,  WAS  HERBERT  W.  ARMSTRONG  -  WHO  BY  THE  MID  1960s  WAS  ON  100s  OF  RADIO  STATIONS  AROUND  THE  WORLD,  WITH  HALF  HOUR  BROADCASTS  -  Keith Hunt


TO  BE  CONTINUED