The Fundamentals of Belief of Church of God, The Eternal
The “Fundamentals of Belief” of Church of God, The Eternal, enumerated herein, are taken verbatim from the “Fundamentals of Belief” of the Radio Church of God (later incorporated as the Worldwide Church of God).
The Church of God, The Eternal, believes the Worldwide Church of God was the true Church of God until its acceptance of unauthorized doctrinal changes, which occurred in 1973–74. Since that time, we believe, God’s true servants have been basically scattered-yet have continued to maintain and practice the original “Fundamentals of Belief” of the Worldwide Church of God.
In those instances where there is a variation from the original Radio Church of God “Fundamentals of Belief,” a notation is made. Also noted are those inclusions not found in the original Radio Church of God “Fundamentals of Belief.”
Biblical support for the “Fundamentals of Belief” is not included in this summary, since detailed doctrinal proofs are found in our other material. It is not the purpose of this summary to give supportive evidence for the various beliefs found therein, but rather to give a synopsis of each belief. The reader can determine—by either his own Bible study or those proofs made available by Church of God, The Eternal—the validity of each fundamental of belief.
We believe in ONE GOD, eternally existing in the heavens, who is a Spirit, a personal Being of supreme intelligence, knowledge, love, justice, power, and authority, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that in them is, and the source of life.
We believe Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the Christ, the divine Son of the living God, begotten of the Holy Spirit, born in the human flesh of the virgin Mary, and that He is true God and true man, that God created all things by Jesus Christ, and without Him was not anything made that was made.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of God and of Christ Jesus; the power of God with which all things were created and made; that thru the Holy Spirit, God is everywhere present; that the Holy Spirit is divine Love, Faith, Understanding, Power, Joy and all the attributes of God—the Spirit of life eternal.
We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are God’s revelation and complete expressed will to man, inspired in thought and word, and infallible in the original writings; that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and in life, and the source of Truth. We believe all teachings contrary to the Holy Bible are false. We accept the Bible alone, and not the Bible and “something else.”
We believe Satan is a personality, a spirit being; and as the Devil is the adversary of God and the children of God; and that he now has dominion over the world which God allowed him for a definite “week” of seven thousand-year days—the first six of which are his six working days for his labor of deception, leading the children of Adam into rejection of God’s law and therefore rebellion against God—the seventh thousand-year day of which will be the DAY OF THE LORD (the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God), during which Satan will be forced to rest from his work of deception while Christ rules the nations of the earth. Satan’s power is merely to influence and lead, not to force men arbitrarily against their will. He has ruled by deception with the aid of a host of demons which are rebellious angels, spirit beings, who have followed Satan in his rebellion.
We believe man was created in the image of God, formed of flesh, which is material substance, living by the breath of life, and is wholly mortal, subject to corruption and decay, without possibility of eternal life inherent in himself, except as the gift of God under God’s terms and conditions as expressed in the Bible; that God placed before the first man, Adam, his free choice of eternal life through obedience to God’s commandments, or death through sin; that Adam sinned, thereby incurring the death penalty without having received eternal life, having yielded to the temptation of Satan, and that the sinful fleshly nature with its sensual desires and its pride passed on all men, so that all become sinners, thus bringing upon themselves the penalty, death.
We believe sin is the transgression of the Law; that the Law is spiritual, perfect, holy, just, and good, summed up in the word “LOVE;” that it involves the two great principles of love to God, and love to neighbor, and that the Ten Commandments compose the ten points of that Law, and that the breaking of only one point makes one guilty of sin. We believe this fundamental spiritual Law reveals to us the only right and true way to life—the only possible way of happiness, peace and joy; that it has existed from Adam, is immutable and binding thru-out eternity; and that all unhappiness, misery, poverty, anguish, and woe has come from its transgression.
We believe God so loved this world of helpless sinners that He GAVE His only begotten Son, who, though in all points tempted as we are, lived without sin in the human flesh, and died for us as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice thus making it legally possible for man’s sins to be forgiven and for God to release him from their penalty, since Jesus, whose life was of greater value than the sum-total of all other human lives (because it was He who brought them into being) has thus paid the penalty in man’s stead.
We believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead after His body reposed three days and three nights in the grave, thus making immortality possible for mortal man; that He thereafter ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God the Father, as our High Priest and Advocate.
We believe that all who truly repent of their sins in full surrender and willing obedience to God, accepting Jesus Christ as personal Saviour in faith believing, are forgiven their sins by an act of divine GRACE, justified, pardoned from the penalty of past sins, reconciled to God, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which literally comes and abides within, supplying the divine LOVE which alone can fulfill the law and produce righteousness; and thus are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ which is the true CHURCH OF GOD. We believe in a true change in life and attitude and that only those who have the indwelling presence of, and are being led by the Holy Spirit are Christ’s. Bible evidence of being thus baptized by the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit in one’s life. (See Matthew 7:20; Galatians 5:22, 23). “Manifestations” regulated by I Corinthians 14.
We believe in TWO ORDINANCES for this age; water baptism by immersion, into Jesus Christ (not a denomination) for the remission of sins, following genuine repentance; and Lord’s Supper as continuation of the Passover, observed at night on the anniversary of the death of our Saviour, the 14th of Abib.
We believe that from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. On this day we must rest from our labors following the commands and example of the Apostle Paul, the New Testament Church, and Jesus.
We believe the seven Annual Holy Days as given to ancient Israel by God through Moses, kept by Christ, the Apostle Paul, and the New Testament Church, as evidenced by the books of Acts and Corinthians, are to be kept today. The sacrifices, which were added, are not to be kept on those days nor any other day of the year. During the spring festival of seven days, leavening in any form is not to be eaten, as Paul instructed the Corinthians.
We believe that certain foods called “unclean” are not to be eaten under any circumstances as they are harmful to body and health and also violate our bodies which are called the temple of the Holy Spirit of God.
We believe that Christian disciples of Christ are forbidden by Him and the commandments of God to kill, or in any manner directly or indirectly to take human life; by whatsoever means; we believe that bearing arms is directly contrary to this fundamental doctrine of our belief; we therefore conscientiously refuse to bear arms or to come under the military authority.
We believe the PROMISES were made to Abraham and his “seed,” Christ, and that the Covenants (including the New Covenant), and the promises pertain alone to ISRAEL. That our white, English-speaking peoples of today are enjoying the national phases of the promises—that of MATERIAL blessings—called the “Birthright,” which was handed down thru the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, whose descendants we are; but that the “Scepter”—the promise of kings, and the SPIRITUAL phase of the promises, including Christ and salvation thru Him—was given to and shall not depart from Judah of whom are the race we know today as the Jews. We believe eternal life is God’s gift resting upon the promises made to Abraham and his “seed,” Christ, designating this earth (made new), not heaven, as our eternal home and reward. That salvation is thru Christ alone, and not inherited thru the Birthright (right of birth) and that salvation is freely open to Gentiles, who, thru Christ, become Abraham’s children and are adopted into the family of Israel and become heirs according to the promises.
We believe God’s purpose is the creation of high spiritual character, and therefore the very object of redemption is to rescue mankind from SIN (transgressing the fundamental spiritual law), and its resulting degradation, misery and unhappiness; and that the object of the present dispensation is to fit those whom God now calls, with their consent, thru a life of trial and test and overcoming sin, growing in grace and knowledge to possess the KINGDOM and to become kings and priests reigning with Christ after His return. We believe Christians must therefore live a clean, pure, holy life by faith according to the Bible standard, with constant Bible study and surrendered prayer, trusting God in and for all things, that yielding to pride and lust of the flesh is sin, that God hears and literally answers the believing prayers of His children who keep His commandments—according as He has promised in His Word, including physical healing, deliverance from temptation and trouble, providing the way for every actual need.
We believe the Church is merely that body of believers who have, and are being led by the Holy Spirit; that the true Church of God is not a denomination; that the inspired name for this spiritual organism is “THE CHURCH OF GOD;” that the Bible name for each local assembly is “THE CHURCH OF GOD,” and, considered collectively, “The Churches of God;” that the mission of the Church in this time is to preach the Gospel (Good News) of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD . . . to reconcile to God, and to save, thru Christ, such people as are now called; and to minister to the Church of God, strengthening and edifying the brethren in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. [Note, regarding the commission to the Church: The phrase, “with special stress on the warning to America and Britain of the prophecies pertaining to them, into all nations as a witness, reaching the vast multitudes with power and conviction”—which is included in the original Radio Church of God “Fundamentals of Belief”—is excluded from the beliefs of Church of God, The Eternal. We believe this commission may well have been fulfilled by the Worldwide Church of God prior to 1973. If this commission has not been fulfilled, or if there is to be a further commission, God will in due time make His will known and raise up a Work to fulfill it.]
We believe the only hope of eternal life for mortal man lies in the resurrection; thru the indwelling (now) of the Holy Spirit; and that there shall be a bodily resurrection of the just and unjust—the just to eternal life as spirit beings upon earth, the unjust to receive the second and final death in hell (Gehenna) fire in which they shall perish in eternal punishment.
We believe in the personal, visible, premillennial, imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule the nations of earth as King of Kings, and to continue His priestly office as Lord of Lords; that at that time He will sit upon the throne of David restoring all things during a thousand year reign upon earth and establish the KlNGDOM OF GOD upon earth forever.
The following six fundamentals of belief are an addendum to the original Radio Church of God “Fundamentals of Belief”:
We believe that Pentecost always falls on a Monday—following a complete fifty-day count from the Sabbath occurring within the Days of Unleavened Bread. That this day pictures the receipt of God’s Holy Spirit and the beginning of the New Testament Church.
We believe proper administration of church government does not include the exercising of authority over the personal lives of members. It is the responsibility of the ministry to proclaim the Truth, to maintain peace and harmony among the brethren, to stop heresy within the Body of Christ, and to remove blatant sin from within the Church if it occurs. The responsibility of the ministry is limited, therefore, to those areas which affect the church membership as a whole. Beyond that, it is the responsibility of each member to live up to his own conviction and level of faith. Each member, whether minister or lay member, will be judged as an individual before God (Rom. 14:12).
We believe free moral agency involves the right of free choice, without coercion from the ministry or lay members. Therefore, the basis of baptism and the hand of fellowship must not involve conformity to outward appearance. Each member must be given the right to develop individually and is responsible before God for his own actions. It is not the Church’s responsibility to force members into conformity resulting from fear of disfellowship or ostracism. It is through patience and understanding that each member must be allowed to develop his own character and level of true Christianity, and this development can come only by each individual constantly examining himself before God.
We believe prophecy is a forecast of future events, signifying God’s intent and purpose. A prophecy is a charge placed upon the one who proclaims it, as well as upon the one who receives it. Prophecies are either short or long in range: a) Short-range prophecies are given to substantiate both God and the prophet representing Him. Such prophecies are understood quickly, due to the limited time period which they involve. b) Long-range prophecies do not concern themselves with the prophet’s substantiation, except as a historical record. These prophecies, therefore, are intended to substantiate God only. They are understood only after they happen.
Hence, there is no Bible authority for any prophet foretelling the future based on conclusions derived from personal Bible study. General prophetic understanding can be derived from Bible study, as a result of inspiration by the Holy Spirit; however, specific dates cannot be discerned except by direct revelation. Every Bible example of true prophetic insight is that of direct revelation.
While the Bible indicates prophetic gifts will be manifested “in the latter days,” the substantiation of any prophet is the fulfillment of his prophecy. Prophecies which fail to materialize are a proof of the presumption of the prophet who gave them.
We believe spiritual truth is divinely revealed. This revelation comes directly as a result of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16–17, 26). While Bible study and research are valuable aids to understanding God’s Word, we believe they are not the basis for spiritual understanding. The basis for spiritual truth is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, motivating the mind and heart of each true Christian (John 16:13; 6:44). Therefore, Bible truth and understanding do not come by “scholarship,” research, or superior human intelligence (Matt. 11:25–27; I Cor. 2:9–14).
Furthermore, we believe divine truth to be unalterable and unchanging. Spiritual truth is permanent and cannot be changed. While God exercises the prerogative to change His mind, relative to His dealings with man—He never changes His Law, His overall purpose, or His plan for mankind. Therefore, “doctrinal changes” cannot reflect “new insight” or “new understanding,” for original truth is revealed and unalterable. The only legitimate “doctrinal changes” are those which the Bible clearly indicates (e. g., sacrificial system, priesthood, etc.). All other “doctrinal changes” are illegitimate and do not have Biblical substantiation.
Such absolute defense of unalterable truth does not preclude godly growth and progressive expansion of understanding. We believe God continues to inspire His Church as a living and thriving entity, but that new understanding will never contradict past revelations of that immutable Word of God.
Every word of God is important and worthy of fear and respect. No converted mind will take exception with that fact. Yet, what ought to be especially evident is the fact that due to times, conditions, circumstances, and other factors a slight variation of emphasis may not only be practical but absolutely essential. For example, the acceptance of Christ in His human form and the belief of the words which He espoused took on monumental significance only after He was born of woman. In like manner other concepts vary in significance based on time and circumstance. The general relevancy of God’s truths is perpetually the same. But, at times a specific doctrine assumes a special relevance due to the times in which human beings live. On the basis of this concept two issues are of grave significance in these times of last-day turmoil. They are the doctrine of divorce and remarriage and the teaching concerning holidays of this world. Therefore, these two concepts will be specifically added to the fundamental beliefs of The Church of God, The Eternal.
Marriage is sacred to God. If for no other reason—and there are many—marriage as instituted by God pictures the spiritual relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5). True marriage pictures an unending relationship between Christ and His chosen bride. Divorce would and does, do violence to this eternal principle.
On the basis of ervah (Deuteronomy 24) of the Old Testament and the porneia of the exception clause introduced by Christ (Matthew 5) there are cases where a marriage never really took place. That is, God did not bind the marriage because He, reading hearts and minds, knew some type of fraud was involved. God does not bind the innocent to those who employ deception and subtlety to gain advantage over another person. Separation at the time such knowledge surfaces is not divorce. It would be better called annulment. Employment of the exception clause is serious and must not be practiced lightly. The party who employs the exception clause lightly faces a terrifying future. Marriage is absolute. It must be honored and respected. Trivializing it for the sake of personal advantage is abominable in the sight of God. There is no remarriage.
Church of God, The Eternal believes the true way of life is found in the true Holy Days given to Israel at the time of Moses. These were statutes practiced by Jesus Christ, taught by the apostles, and given to Gentiles by the Apostle Paul. These Holy Days were established within a calendar given to Israel by God.
Most holidays of this world have roots in a heathen system of worship God allowed Gentiles to practice. These holidays form no part of the true way of life which Christ taught, gave to the apostles to teach, and in these last days gave to a chosen vessel to proclaim. Such holidays are a part of this world. The faithful must come out of the world.