Church Of God Belief Statement
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be read always to give and answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
1 Peter 3:15
The Church of God is a global movement of people seeking to fulfill God’s mission in the world. We’re committed to studying the Word of God and faithfully living it out. We’re committed to the mission that Jesus Christ gave every believer: to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:18–20).
The Church of God movement appeared in the 1880s in the midst of the broader American Holiness Revival. The pioneers of the Church of God hoped to restore a more biblical understanding and practice of what it means to be the church. One of our early church songs says: “The Bible is our rule of faith and Christ alone is Lord.” This lyric still summarizes the core belief of Church of God people. We have not issued any official belief statement, and we have no formal creed. Yet, the following statements reflect the heart of the Church of God:
- Salvation makes us members of God’s church. We believe that the church is composed of every person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. We enter into the life of the church, not by joining a denomination or a human organization, but by committing our lives to Christ (John 3:1–7).
- Christians are called to be one. We believe that God calls all followers of Christ to live in unity and peace, regardless of who they are or the church they attend (Gal 3:28). While we may not agree on everything, we can rally around our subject, Jesus.
- We must be holy. We believe that followers of Christ have been called to live a life of love, purity, and godliness. We are called to live like Christ, taking on a new nature (2 Cor 5:17).
We also embrace these biblical principles:
- The Lordship of Jesus. There is one Lord, who is God’s Son Jesus Christ, over the church. Christ is the church’s ultimate authority on all matters (Acts 2:36).
- Making Disciples. Each of us is called to fulfill Matthew 28:18–20, making fully devoted followers of Christ—disciples—who will then teach others to follow Christ.
- Loving God and Neighbor. We are called to fulfill Matthew 22:37–39, not only loving God with our entire being, but also loving all that he loves.
- The Work of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit equips believers with unique gifts that enable us to carry out the mission of Christ in the world. At the same time, the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in every believer (Galatians 5:22–23), which demonstrate the Spirit’s presence within us.
- Stewardship. Since God is the source of life, all of life is to be used for the honor, glory, and service of God (Psalm 24:1).
You will find a great diversity of convictions and practices within the Church of God. Though we have differences, we share a common story of faith, growing together into the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). We worship and serve as citizens of God’s kingdom. We celebrate our life in Christ and accept our call to be the body of Christ in our world—all to the glory of God.
The following free downloads (PDF) are available to provide more detail on the beliefs of the Church of God: We Believe (Anderson University School of Theology, 2 MB), What We Teach (Barry Callen, 129 KB), and the following booklets by Arlo Newell: Salvation (121 KB), Holy Living (106 KB), Membership (114 KB), Ordinances (112 KB), Divine Healing (89.2 KB), and Return of Christ (111 KB).
Want to learn more about the beliefs, practices, and history of the Church of God? Check out the following resources available from Warner Press.
- Following Our Lord, by Barry L. Callen
- I Saw the Church: The Life of the Church of God Told Theologically by Merle D. Strege
- Meet Us at the Cross by Laura and Oral C. Withrow
- The Quest for Holiness and Unity, 2nd edition, by John W. V. Smith and Merle D. Strege