Tag Archives: history

Historical Account of Danish Missionary Captured in New Book

Morris C. Johnson

By Carl Stagner

Simon Jacobsen, a Christian historian and author from Denmark, has recently published a book capturing the history of one of the first two Church of God missionaries to Denmark, Morris C. Johnson. Two years after surrendering his life to Christ at the age of sixteen at a Church of God congregation in the United States, he accepted a call to missions. Since his grandfather had immigrated to the U.S. in 1872 from Denmark, Johnson vowed that he would return to the Scandinavian country of his ancestry. The influence of Johnson’s work, beginning in 1910, was thereafter extensive yet, until now, accounts of his impact for the Church of God—and the kingdom—have been scant, at best. Thanks to months of diligent research across national borders, through the Church of God Archives at Anderson University, and with Church of God Ministries, Simon Jacobsen has chronicled the unique story of Morris Johnson’s life—one of drama, adventure, conflict, and Spirit-fueled perseverance. Continue reading

D. S. Warner Life Story as Told by AU’s First President

A new biography of Church of God pioneer D. S. Warner brings together a series of articles that appeared in the longtime Church of God magazine, Vital Christianity, leading up to the church’s centennial in 1980. Drawn from an unpublished book manuscript by John A. Morrison, former president of Anderson College (now University), A Life Sketch of D.S. Warner tells the evangelist’s story as a colorful narrative. Continue reading

From the Archives: Revisiting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Sethard A. Beverly

Recently, I read Harry S. Truman’s interesting book, Where the Buck Stops, edited by his daughter Margaret, and published posthumously in 1989. That is when I began to see Dr. Martin L. King Jr. as great. Continue reading

Drunkenness: A Sobering Reality in Church and Society

By Carl Stagner

A November 16, 2018, article published in USA Today spells out the latest statistics on the rise of alcohol-triggered deaths in the United States, especially over the last decade. While the media has shone the spotlight on the horrific and very real epidemic of opioid abuse, the article suggests the alarming truth that alcohol kills far more people each year through liver cirrhosis, cancer, pancreatitis, and suicide—not to mention traffic accidents. Meanwhile, the conversation about alcohol has started again in the Church of God, as the general director of Church of God Ministries issued a column on the subject in the October issue of Move! in the wake of the hotly debated Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings. David Sebastian, dean emeritus of Anderson University School of Theology and Christian Ministry, has talked about the subject for years in the classroom, at conferences, and at camp meetings. As he’s observed, drunkenness is a sobering reality in church and society. That’s also the title of his new book, which challenges Christians to re-examine the issue of alcohol use and abuse. Continue reading

Out of Death, Life: Gathering Celebrates CHOG History, Ohio Church’s Unique Story

Nyle Kardatzke highlighting stories of the CHOG in Elmore, OH at the recent Historical Society retreat.

By Carl Stagner

Stories connect us. They connect us to each other, to our roots, to our God. Stories help us learn from our past—to repeat the good and avoid the mistakes. Jesus used stories to communicate concepts with his listeners, and preachers do the same today. Individuals like the Church of God historian (Gary Agee) and our archivist (Nicholas Stanton-Roark), as well as groups like the Historical Society, strive to preserve, tell, and retell stories, too. Their stories take place within the context of the Church of God movement, and all point to the love of an eternal Father whose provision is not bound by time and space. At a late-June gathering of the Church of God Historical Society in Anderson, Indiana, Nyle Kardatzke was invited as a guest speaker to highlight some of the common experiences of “growing up Church of God”—both serious and whimsical—as well as the unique story of one Ohio church that came to life in the wake of death. Continue reading

History in the Making: Arizona Church Unearths Time Capsule

Digging up the time capsule.

By Carl Stagner

At 5536 N. 6th Street in Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll find sacred grounds. On these grounds, souls have been won to Christ. Believers have been baptized. Lives have been transformed. Memories—of both challenge and triumph—have been made. Of course, it’s not the address, the parking lot, or the building that make it so special; it’s the Lord, whose providential hand has preserved that space for his glorious work for three decades. And it’s the believers themselves, who had worshiped at another location even longer—since the 1940s. Though the name over the door has changed over the years, the Lord over all has remained the same. In view of The Gathering Place Church of God positioning itself for expansion, congregants from generations past-to-present recently reunited to unearth a time capsule, whose contents not only bring back cherished memories, but speak of an unchanging, eternally faithful God. Continue reading

Crossings Community Welcomes Movement Back for 2018 Regional

The Chapel at Crossings ready to receive Convention guests!

By Carl Stagner

The first Church of God Regional Convention of 2018 has come and gone, but the impact is still being felt by those who descended upon the desert Southwest last week. For several days, social media was abuzz with pictures and posts from the event, giving people across the country a glimpse of what these events have to offer. Beginning Tuesday, April 24, for much of the Church of God, especially those in the central region of the country, the “Receive, Hear, Embrace Life” experience will come into full view. A tremendous lineup of speakers and worship leaders are slated to inspire, challenge, and equip pastors and laypeople to reclaim what hell has stolen in their cities and towns. Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City is perfectly suited to open their doors, once again, for another life-giving gathering of the Church of God. Continue reading

From the Archives: New Year’s Reflections

By F. G. Smith

Most people regard the closing hour of the old year and the introduction of the new year as a sort of a milestone along the pathway of time. It is then that a general retrospect of past events is taken and new resolutions and purposes are formed for the upcoming year. While the Christian should at all times be actuated by the highest resolutions and purposes, it is desirable to pause at intervals and take a brief survey of the past and, profiting by all its experiences, be better able to face those problems which are to come. The result of such a consideration is beneficial, not to the individual only, but also to those with whom he stands associated; and the same principle holds true of any cooperative work in which we are engaged. Continue reading

From the Archives: The Glue That Holds Us Together

By Merle Strege

I have often observed and said that the Gospel Trumpet Company, publishing house of the Church of God movement, has provided its way of being together, its polity, for much of the movement’s history. Furthermore, I have stated that certain virtues are necessary for a church that has such a polity.

If I might slightly alter my metaphors here, the publications of the Gospel Trumpet Company/Warner Press have been the pot that contains the glue that has held together the rich and diverse fellowship called the Church of God movement. That glue is composed of several elements, but three in particular are the moral virtues of love, courage, and presence. Continue reading

Radio Ministry Celebrates 70 Years of Broadcasting Hope

Photo: CBH recording studio on the camp meeting grounds in Anderson.

By Mykaela Alvey

In 1947, an Anderson College student named Richard Lee Meischke, who had an interest in radio, conceived the idea of a nationally distributed radio broadcast about the Church of God. This idea, followed up by conversations with a talented preacher at Anderson’s Park Place Church of God, Dr. Dale Oldham, and the Board of Church Extension and Home Missions, led to the launch what would be known as Christian Brotherhood Hour in January of 1947. Using the sanctuary of Park Place Church, they began producing programs, with Dr. Oldham acting as host and speaker. Their slogan would be, “A united Church for a divided world.” Continue reading

New Video feat. Jim Lyon Urges Pastors, Delegates to Attend General Assembly

More than three decades passed before the new movement known as the Church of God established the General Assembly. The engine of the movement then was the Gospel Trumpet Company. As the movement grew, competing agendas and dysfunctional operations became too much for even the catalytic Gospel Trumpet to handle. In 1917, it had become apparent to Church of God pastors that some recalibration of the movement was needed to keep it going and simultaneously breathe new life into its sails. Since 1917, the General Assembly has been the voice for the movement—not Church of God Ministries, not the various agencies and schools, not the general director. The voice of the General Assembly is the strongest, however, when its shepherds and lay delegates participate. In a new video released by Church of God Ministries, Jim Lyon, general director, urges pastors and lay delegates to make this historic year—one hundred since the GA’s inception—a priority.

View or download the video on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/209904704.

Church of God Family’s Museum in Convention Host City a Must-See

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Photo: The Museum of World Treasures, founded by the Kardatzkes.

By Carl Stagner

In Philadelphia last year, many convention-goers were privileged to see the Liberty Bell and sink their teeth into mouth-watering cheesesteak. Near Vancouver, the breathtaking Multnomah Falls received a lot of attention before and after the first Regional Convention of 2016. Two years in Oklahoma City afforded the opportunity to solemnly remember victims of the 1995 federal building bombing, but also the chance to taste some of the best barbecue around. While in Wichita this June for Church of God Convention 2017, you may want to plan a visit to one Old Town Wichita museum which sprang forth from the story of one influential Church of God family. Continue reading

From the Archives: Looking Across the Years

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By Earl L. Martin

Fact Number One: We are all going to live all the rest of our lives in the future. Fact Number Two: There will be changes in that future. I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, nor do I want to speculate. But I have here state two simple facts which no one can successfully contradict. Continue reading

Church of God Historical Society Releases New Film

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By Carl Stagner

Several Church of God pastors and lay leaders arrived in Anderson early for the June Regional Convention to watch a special pre-screening of a new film. A few weeks later, the Historical Society of the Church of God was excited to announce the release of Anderson University Roots: The Workers’ Home Years (1906–1918) on DVD. The film documents stories of the early days of the Church of God as early leaders settled in Anderson, Indiana. Unlike From Heaven to Earth and other historical snapshots of the movement’s history, this new offering virtually transports the viewer to the present-day campus of Anderson University and shows exactly where our pioneers trod. Fascinating, thought-provoking, and inspiring, this new film about a portion of our history speaks life into our future by revealing a mighty God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Continue reading

The 50th International Youth Convention: History to Repeat Itself

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Photo: IYC1948 in Charleston, West Virginia.

By Levi Scott

On June 20, 1924, what we now call the International Youth Convention of the Church of God was just beginning to take shape. For the first time in the history of the Church of God, there was an entire day of Anderson Camp Meeting devoted to young people. Back then it was called the Convention Youth Day. Influential leaders of the time, such as J. A. Morrison, Frances Tallen, and others spoke to both youth and other church congregants about the challenges that youth faced in their context. These speakers encouraged, warned, and ministered to many young people that day, but they were likely unaware of the plans that God began to put into action at that time. Shortly thereafter, Convention Youth Days became an annual occurrence. A look back over the past fifty IYCs reveals an experience that has shaped not only the life of young people who attended these services, but the Church of God itself. Continue reading