The Church of God under the leadership of Bishop James C. Nabors

The Church of God under the leadership of Bishop James C. Nabors

The Church of God over which James C. Nabors is General Overseer is a pentecostal Christian body (denomination) with roots in the late 19th century American holiness movement and early 20th century Pentecostal revival. It shares a common history with The Church of God (Charleston, Tennessee) (TCOG), until August and September 2006, when a separation occurred. The official name is "The Church of God"; the words "under the leadership of Bishop James C. Nabors" are added to distinguish this group from many others denominated Church of God.

In August 1886, Elder Richard Spurling (1810-1891), an ordained Baptist minister, rejected the dominant Landmark Baptist views on the church, which he believed were too creedal and exclusive. With seven members from Holly Springs and Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Churches in Monroe County, Tennessee and Cherokee County, North Carolina, he organized the Christian Union. These Christians hoped to free themselves from man-made creeds and unite on the principles of the New Testament. In September 1886, Elder Spurling's son, Richard Green Spurling (1857-1935), was ordained as pastor of the Christian Union congregation. He also formed two other congregations.

The father and son shared a vision to restore the church. Around 1895, a holiness movement and Holy Ghost revival under the preaching of B. H. Irwin swept into the area. Richard G. Spurling accepted the holiness teachings, but was wary of the extreme direction in which he felt the movement was headed. But the revival was effective in moving Spurling's group away from the general faith and practice of Baptists and toward that of the Holiness. In 1902, R. G. Spurling influenced a holiness group led by W. F. Bryant to form the Holiness Church at Camp Creek, North Carolina. Spurling was elected pastor and Bryant was ordained as a deacon. The next year brought into the church an energetic and powerful leader, Ambrose J. Tomlinson. Tomlinson (1865-1943), a former Quaker who experienced an inner change of regeneration and sanctification, came in 1899 to the Appalachian region as a missionary. He became acquainted with Spurling and Bryant and spent a few months preaching at Bryant’s home with the local congregation. Brother A. J. Tomlinson felt good to be in the presence of these saints from the Holiness Church at Camp Creek.

On June 13, 1903 at W. F. Bryant’s home were the local services were being held, they had all came to an agreement to study the word of God (Bible) to see if they could find The Church of God of the Bible. During that morning Brother A. J. Tomlinson woke up and climb up to Burger Mountain to what is now known as Fields of The Wood, in North Carolina. During this intensive time of prayer, A. J. Tomlinson received the Divine Revelation of The Church of God of the Bible. Not knowing at that time but bible prophecy time had come, and the church would come out of a deep sleep from the Dark Ages. Isaiah 60:1 would be fulfilled "“Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee”" After this time of prayer brother A J. Tomlinson climbed down the mountain and took the Covenant to join The Church of God of the Bible. A. J. Tomlinson soon became the leader of the Holiness Church at Camp Creek. And soon became the acknowledged leader. New churches were organized in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. At the first General Assembly of The Church of God which was held in 1906 in Cherokee County, North Carolina, the name "Church of God" was adopted in 1907. A J. Tomlinson professed a baptism of the Holy Ghost experience in 1908, which firmly established the church as part of the Pentecostal movement. This took place under the preaching of Gaston B. Cashwell, a minister who was very influential in bringing Pentecostalism to North Carolina, the Appalachians and the east coast.

In 1909 A. J. Tomlinson was elected General Overseer of The Church of God. He held that position until 1923. That year Tomlinson was impeached, due to lax financial bookkeeping on his part. One explanation often cited for financial discrepancies was that Tomlinson may have used church funds to support struggling pastors and churches and had, on many occasions, reappropriated money from otherwise-designated funds, causing shortfalls. Although there was no indication that Tomlinson used church funds for himself, there were many within the organization who felt that such circumstances were revealing flaws within the organizational structure of the church. The ensuing separation by the followers of Tomlinson resulted in the formation of "The Church of God over which A.J. Tomlinson is General Overseer”. Tomlinson continued as General Overseer over the newly formed church until his death in 1943. The name "of Prophecy" was added to the "Church of God" on May 2, 1952, due to a ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court that mandated a distinction be made between the original group and the church under Tomlinson's leadership, as donations for the Church of God (Cleveland) orphange had been sent to the wrong organization.

In 1944 the presbytery believed that the Lord directed them to bring the younger son, Milton A. Tomlinson (1906-1995), forward to leadership. This was confirmed by the General Assembly in 1944 and he became the General Overseer of the Church of God. Under M. A. Tomlinson's leadership, the church began the White Wing Publishing House, White Wing Christian Bookstores, The Voice of Salvation radio and TV programs, and numerous other ministries. He served as General Overseer until age-related disability prompted his retirement in 1990.

Upon the election of M. A. Tomlinson's retirement that year, yet another division occurred in the church. A small group of members of the Church of God of Prophecy declared that the selection process of Tomlinson's successor was a departure from what had historically been perceived as "theocratic government" within the body's governing structure and procedure. These members, organized a group called The Concerned for Bible Doctrine, due to perceived departures of the church in forms of doctrine, government, teaching and auxiliaries. In 1993, during a regular service in the South Side Cleveland Church, a "solemn assembly” service was called by this group, inviting all members of the Church of God of Prophecy to attend. During this "solemn assembly" yet another splinter group was produced calling itself "The Church of God", (commonly referred to as Church of God (Charleston,TN)) with a particular emphasis upon the word "The" in its title as a statement that this newly formed splinter, alone, was the singular embodiment of the New Testament Christian church. Robert J. Pruitt was chosen to be the new overseer, and he remained so until 2006, when age-related disability prompted his retirement.

Once again division characterized the succession process. A meeting of leadership of The Church of God (Charleston, Tennessee) during the summer of 2006 ended with the selection of Stephen Smith as the interim general overseer, even though many were against this selection, some claimed they were silenced, and some names were never submitted. Contrary to the traditional practice of the denomination, Smith was not selected by unanimous consent. In September of the same year, during the 101st General Assembly of TCOG (Charleston), Stephen Smith did not vacate the office of interim general overseer for The Church of God (Charleston). There was then a small group of people who chose to remove themselves from the Church of God (Charleston) and continue as The Church of God over which Bishop James C. Nabors is General Overseer.

During a meeting on September 3, 2006, at the Tivoli Auditorium, Bishop James C. Nabors was chosen to continue what the group views as the true theocratic church. Bishop James C. Nabors previously had been administrative assistant and field secretary to the former general overseer of The Church of God (Charleston), Bishop Robert J. Pruitt.

The Church of God over which Bishop James C. Nabors is General Overseer claims a membership from 50 states in the U.S. and 27 Nations World-Wide. The Official Church Publication of The Church of God, James C. Nabors General Overseer is called "THE ARISE SHINE"" it is printed monthly in Cleveland, TN and sent out internationally. It consists of a monthly message from the General Overseer and Auxiliary and Ministry Leaders. The church's general headquarters are located in Cleveland, Tennessee.


Here are a list of some of the Basic Beliefs of The Church of God, James C. Nabors General Overseer:
* That The Church of God, under the ladership of James C. Nabors, is the true church
* The church experienced disruptions in 1923, 1993, and 2006 but this body is the continuance of the true church of God
* The church was established before Pentecost around A.D. 28
* The church plunged into apostasy in A.D. 325
* The church was restored in North Carolina on June 13, 1903
* This is considered a fulfillment of the Isaiah 60:1-5 prophecy
* The new birth as a result of repentance, justification and regeneration
* Sanctification as a second work of grace, making holiness possible
* Abstinence from use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs
* Opposition to membership in secret societies
* Opposition to wearing jewelry and other ornamentation
* Against divorce and remarriage
* No swearing of oaths
* Baptism of the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking in tongues
* All gifts of the Spirit are in operation in the church (e.g., divine healing)
* Water baptism by immersion
* The Lord's Supper is a sacred ordinance reserved for sinless and consecrated Christians
* Feet washing is a New Testament ordinance
* Tithing
* The premillennial second coming of Jesus
* It is possible to lose salvation, or fall from grace, if one goes back into sin.
* The observance of the Sabbath was a requirement of Jewish law and as such was not carried over into the Grace Dispensation. Sunday is not the Sabbath but is merely a day set aside to give special attention to the worship of God. Instead of keeping only the Sabbath day holy, we are required in this dispensation to keep every day holy. The Jewish Sabbath is a type of Christ, who is our rest, rather than the day. See Hosea 2:11; Romans 14:5, 6; Colossians 2:16, 17.


External links

* [ The Church of God (James Nabors, General Overseer)]
* [ The Church of God Great Lakes Regional Site]
* [ The Church of God General Spanish Website (James Nabors, General Overseer)]
* [ The Church of God South West Regional Website]
* [ The Church of God Brownsville, Texas Local Website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Church of God (Charleston, Tennessee) — For other uses, see Church of God (disambiguation). The Church of God (Charleston, Tennessee) or TCOG is a Holiness Pentecostal movement based in the United States. The church s actual name is The Church of God; however, the parenthetical phrase… …   Wikipedia

  • Church of God — United States Christian bodies v · d · e …   Wikipedia

  • Cleveland, Tennessee — This article is about the city in Tennessee. For other uses, see Cleveland (disambiguation). Cleveland, Tennessee   City   Bradley County Cour …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”