The mission of the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Portland, OR is to follow the Great Commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 that instructs us to GO, MAKE DISCIPLES, BAPTIZE, and TEACH. To enable this mission to be accomplished most effectively, we follow the instruction in Ephesians 4:12 to equip the saints “…for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Thus we emphasize the importance of leadership development and membership involvement in all aspects of the church.. Since we are the family of God, fellowship is encouraged.
The Church of God (Seventh Day) grew from the efforts of dedicated advent believers living in Michigan and Iowa in the late 1850’s. In 1863, the Michigan church began to extend its influence into the eastern and central U.S. through a publication called The Hope of Israel. This magazine invited fellow Christians to assemble at conferences and camp meetings, and created interest in their distinctive doctrines: the second advent of Christ and the seventh-day Sabbath.
Through these means, the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) was organized in 1884 and incorporated in Missouri in 1899. Its offices were located in Stanberry, Missouri, until 1950, when they were transferred to Denver, Colorado.
Over the years, The Hope of Israel also moved from Michigan to Iowa, then to Missouri. After several name changes, it is now known as the Bible Advocate. More than 100 years later, this flagship publication of the Church continues to be published and mailed six times a year from the conference offices in Denver.
The Church of God (Seventh Day) recognizes more than 200 congregations in the United States and Canada. It also has affiliated ministries in more than 35 countries outside North America, with a worldwide fellowship near 300,000 members. As an agent of God’s grace, the Church offers warm-hearted fellowship and willing support for people everywhere who trust and obey the same Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. It is in serving others that the Church finds relevance for its Bible-centered message and its God-inspired mission.
Both of these church organizations began in the mid-1800’s as outgrowths of the William Miller Adventist movement. The two share several major teachings in common, including these:
- We both believe that the whole Bible, Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God.
- We both believe that salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
- We both believe that all of the Ten Commandments are standards for God’s people today and that the seventh-day Sabbath is to be observed on Saturday.
- We both believe there is no consciousness for humans between death and resurrection.
- We both believe that Jesus Christ will soon return physically to the earth.
- We both believe that the wicked will finally be annihilated, not suffer eternal torment in hell.
Most differences between the groups involve the role and writings of Ellen G. White. Mrs. White was a founder of the SDA Church and is regarded by it as a true prophetess. The Church of God (Seventh Day) considers Mrs. White as it would any other writer since the completion of the biblical canon: Her “truth” is mixed with error. It regards neither Mrs. White nor her writings to be an expression of the “Spirit of Prophecy.” This is the fundamental difference between the two churches.
Beyond this basic difference, here are some teachings of the Church of God (Seventh Day) that are not endorsed by Seventh-day Adventists:
- We believe that the year 1844 has no special significance in Bible prophecy. We believe that provision for salvation was completed when Jesus died, rose from the dead, and returned to heaven — not in 1844. Therefore, we believe that SDA teachings about the cleansing of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment are invalid.
- We believe that the earth will be inhabited by the saints — not desolate — during the 1,000-year reign of Christ.
- We believe that the entombment of Christ was for three full days and nights, from Wednesday evening until Sabbath evening.
- We believe that the common celebrations of Christmas and Easter are seen as a compromise with pagan customs and should not be practiced by the Church.
The Church of God (Seventh Day) teaches that Christians are not obligated to observe the feast days, the annual Hebrew holy days of Leviticus 23. Here are seven reasons for this position:
- The annual holy days were part of the Levitical law of the old covenant and were intimately linked to its system of animal sacrifices.
The annual holy days were neither Creation ordinances nor included among the Ten Commandments, but they belong to a portion of law that may be called ceremonial.
- The annual holy days were commanded to the nation of Israel when it departed from Egypt and were to be observed where the Lord placed His name: Jerusalem.
- The annual holy days have an agricultural framework, inextricably tied to the land, crops, and climate of ancient Palestine.
- The annual holy days were observed according to an ancient (Hebrew) calendar that is impossible to decipher from Scripture.
- The purpose of the annual holy days was for the Hebrew nation to celebrate its own history and to anticipate the greater salvation that would come through Messiah.
- Observance of the annual holy days often casts a shadow on the final work of redemption and grace that was accomplished by Christ on the cross.
For a more detailed study of this topic, please request our booklet A Study of the Feast Days Given to Israel.
- The annual holy days were part of the Levitical law of the old covenant and were intimately linked to its system of animal sacrifices.
The Church of God (Seventh Day) endeavors to carry out the Great Commission by discipling people for the Lord Jesus Christ through evangelism and instruction from the Word of God. To assist the Church in this, the North American Ministerial Council, comprising the Church’s ministerial body, has adopted the following twelve statements of belief to introduce the Church’s teaching and practice. While the Church has always maintained an open creed, these statements preserve its theological heritage, and present its latest and best understanding of Scripture.
To find out more about the denomination we are affiliated with you can visit the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) website.
The Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, is God’s inspired Word. Inerrant in its original writing, the Bible is the only authoritative and infallible rule of faith and conduct for humanity.
The sovereign deity of the universe is God Almighty, who is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. He is eternal, infinite, holy, self-existent Spirit who created, sustains, rules, redeems, and judges His creation. He is one in nature, essence and being. God is revealed in Scripture as Father and Son.
God the Father
God the Father of whom are all things, whom no one has seen nor can see, reigns in the heavens and transcends our complete knowing. He is revealed as our loving heavenly Father by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately, God the Father will restore perfect harmony to all creation through Christ and reign eternally over the redeemed.
Jesus the Son
Jesus Christ is God’s one and only begotten Son. As begotten, not created, He shares the nature, names, and attributes of God with the Father. As Son, not Father, Jesus is subordinate to His Father in rank. From eternity, the Son was with the Father, shared the Father’s glory as the pre-incarnate Word, and with Him created and sustains all things. Jesus the Christ (Messiah) was born of the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus uniting two natures — human and divine. Jesus lived without sin, died as an atoning sacrifice for sin, was entombed for three days and three nights, was resurrected bodily, and ascended to His Father to serve as mediator and high priest. He reigns as Lord in heaven and will return to earth as judge and king. Now it pleases the Father that the Son is preeminent in all things and receives our worship.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the promised divine helper who proceeds from the Father and Son. The Spirit is God’s presence and power in the world and indwells believers. By the Holy Spirit, God inspired and illuminates the Scriptures; convicts and regenerates sinners; sanctifies, teaches, comforts, guides, and preserves believers; and empowers them for service. Evidences of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life are faith in Christ, obedience to God, and the spiritual fruit of love.
Humanity was created in the image of God: sinless, though not naturally immortal. Through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, all human beings became sinners by nature and by choice. The penalty for our sin is alienation from God, physical death (without consciousness), and, ultimately, eternal death for those who do not receive the salvation offered by Christ. It was Satan, the adversary of God, who tempted our first parents in the garden. The Devil is still capable of transforming himself into an angel of light but will finally be destroyed in the lake of fire.
Sinful humanity may be saved from the penalty of eternal death and receive eternal life instead, solely by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, apart from human merit, works, or ceremonies. Atonement for sins, with its attendant promise of eternal life, comes through Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf and is received in human experience by faith and repentance.
The church of God in Scripture is a spiritual body of believers who hold the faith of Jesus and keep the commandments of God. Under the lordship of Christ and the authority of His Word, the church exists universally and locally for purposes of worshiping God, preaching the gospel, nurturing believers, and serving humanity. Christians should participate in the church’s mission by service to others and fellowship with believers.
Christ prescribed two ordinances that confirm faith in Him: 1) baptism, preceded by a confession of faith in Christ and repentance, symbolizing the believer’s initial union with Christ by death to sins, burial (immersion) in water, and rising to new life; and 2) Lord’s Supper, an annual memorial of Christ’s death in which believers eat the bread and drink from the cup — symbols of His body and blood. We extend charity toward those who may observe communion at other times. This communion service demonstrates fellowship with our Savior until He comes again. It is accompanied by footwashing.
The Ten Commandments were known and obeyed by faithful people before the law was given at Sinai. Later incorporated into the new covenant by the example and teaching of Christ, they constitute the basic moral code for humanity and are obeyed to demonstrate the believer’s love for God and his fellowman.
The seventh-day Sabbath is God’s gift to humanity from creation, was written into the Ten Commandments by God’s finger, kept and taught by Jesus, and observed by the apostolic church. A memorial of both creation and redemption, the Sabbath should be faithfully celebrated by believers now as a day of rest, worship, and well-doing.
Marriage is an institution of God and is an exclusive lifetime union between one man and one woman for the purpose of perpetuating humanity and enriching human experience. Reflecting the bond between Christ and His church, marriage may be broken only by sexual immorality. Like the Sabbath, marriage dates to Creation week, is intrinsic to the moral law, is reformed in Christ’s teachings, and finds its ultimate meaning at His return.
Christians are called to holiness in thought, word, and deed and to express faith in Christ through devotion to God and godly interaction with others. As a result — not a cause — of redemption, believers should 1) develop relationship with God through Bible reading and study, prayer, fasting, worship, and obedience; 2) relieve the physical and spiritual needs of humanity by compassionate social action and gospel witness; 3) oppose pride, envy, indolence, lust, covetousness, and other evils in the spirit; 4) refuse immoral amusements and practices such as pornography, sexual immorality, and homosexuality in the flesh; and 5) observe these Bible principles: give tithe and freewill offerings for the support of the church and its gospel ministry; eat for food only those meats the Bible describes as “clean”; regard participation in physical warfare as contrary to a Christian’s humanitarian calling; avoid intermixing Christianity with extra-biblical practices, as in the common observances of Sunday, Christmas, Easter, Lent, and Halloween.
Bible prophecy preserves and strengthens a believer’s hope for the Second Advent. It identifies religious, social, and political trends and events, including the rebirth of the nation of Israel, which point to the imminent return of Christ and the eventual establishment of God’s eternal kingdom on earth.
The kingdom of God (kingdom of heaven) is realized in three phases:
The Present Kingdom
The spiritual kingdom of grace exists now as God rules in the lives of obedient believers. This kingdom was announced and revealed through the prophets and the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. We enter this kingdom when we turn from sin to serve God through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Millennial Kingdom of Christ
Jesus will return to earth in power and glory to resurrect the righteous dead, bestow immortality and eternal life upon the resurrected and the living righteous, avenge the saints, and be glorified in them. His earthly reign of one thousand years will be a universal kingdom in which all principalities, powers, and enemies are overcome. At its conclusion, the unrighteous will be resurrected to suffer annihilation at the great white throne judgment.
The Eternal Kingdom of God
God’s eternal kingdom will begin when Jesus Christ, having put all enemies under His feet, turns the kingdom over to the Father. God will dwell with the redeemed in a new heaven and a new earth where no disappointment, defilement, or death can enter and where righteousness and peace will prevail forever.