Sunday, March 4, 2012


Due to the present state of the church's spiritual level, do you think that the Reformation Movement of the Church of God has abandoned the message of Holiness and Unity?

This question came to me just this way. In reading it, I perceive the interrogator holds a negative, or low, opinion of the church's spirituality. The question, as worded, calls for an obvious conclusion of negative proportions, but there may well be two jet streams of opinion regarding the church today, rather than just.

In looking at the question, I will agree that the popular opinion of the church may be low today, even abnormally low … but not necessarily. That does not necessarily make it so, for it is also possible that the Church of God, Anderson is healthier today than it has been, with its dysfunctional history. I see some reasons to view the church negatively.On the other hand, good reasons for negative views may say as much about the person with the opinion as it does the church.

I for one, choose to participate in the church, with a positive view, for two reasons:
1. I am part of the church. The level of the church's spirituality is determined in part by me and my relationship with God.
2. I happen to believe God can-and-will take better care of "His Business" than you or I can. Thus, I am willing to entrust it to Him, take my marching orders from Him, and do all I can to make His Work look as good as possible.

The Church of God Movement and Church of God Ministries are more than a Movement today; we are an Institution, which has a life all of its own, with or without my participation. Some may find that personally threatening and uncomfortable. However, as an Institutional Body [of Christ], I believe we are healthier as a Movement than we have ever been earlier.
1. We have more means with which to pursue our task than ever before, and we continue to make better use of what we have.
2. We are better trained and educated as people than ever before, and we have a better understanding of who we are and what we are about.
3. As a self-governing institution, we continue to improve our self-governing processes. We have a more open fellowship, and a greater transparency than ever before. Dialogue is encouraged more than discouraged. Differences are accepted, without being demonized, and that makes for a more spiritually and emotionally healthy Body (of Christ).

That is NOT to say we do not have issues, or even problems. We do, but we are Family. Having been married 65 years, and having raised a family, I have lived with all the ups and downs of a relationship that often had different perspectives, different points of view, different generations, and all the problems these entail. Yet, we have a wholesome Family Relationship that dares to differ, dares to dialogue, and dares to love and trust one another when differences come. And, I have yet to find one willing to be the first defector.

This is generally true in the Church, in spite of greater mobility between differing Faith Communions. It is true to such a degree that I rejoice and push forward.When we retired from pastoral ministry, we began calling the 100-member North Avenue Church of God our home. This many years later, some 600 people call North Avenue home.

The pastor does not preach the Bible and Church doctrine in the manner that I did. I can, however, testify that we have a church full of people who are growing in the love and knowledge of THE WORD and in the theological practices common to this Movement, and the fellowship is close and harmonious, while open in all directions and growing.

What I can say is, A REST HOME FOR THE SAINTS, NORTH AVENUE IS NOT! Does it always look like traditional Church? ‘Fraid not! We may range from black suit and tie to cut-off blue jeans. I can‘t say I always like the music, but there is always a sense of worship and prayerfulness blessed by warm fellowship. When Tommie and I examine more closely, we see the results and conclude the proof is in the pudding--changed lives--transformed living--as metamorphosed as is the worm-become-butterfly.

We have all the stages in process of that metamorphosis (a wonderfully descriptive word). It is more like an Emergency Room than some of the churches I pastored, with all of the attendant sicknesses congregations have, and I always considered myself pretty mainstream, theologically orthodox,, and at times even “cutting edge.”
Seen are North Avenue Work Campers

From Warner’s World, another time we’ll look more closely at whether the Church has abandoned holiness and unity …

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