Sunday, July 29, 2007

Church of God schisms and splits

I stumbled across something interesting.

As some of you know (and others don't) the Church of God Reformation has many more offspring than just the "Anderson, Indiana" group of which we are part. Over the past 127 years there have been a number of divisions that have resulted in close cousins who share the same basic name, heritage and doctrinal ideals. But all is not well in the Church of God family, as many of these relatives rarely communicate, and when they do there is much misunderstanding. At least one group, Church of God Restoration, is even considered by many to be a cult.

What I discovered is an interesting chart created by Dale Rude (I have no idea who he is) that depicts schematically all the major schisms and splits (plus major Church of God leaders) that have occurred in the Church of God. It's a fascinating historical study, and itself speaks a strong message concerning our DNA and practice of unity.


Rude rhetorically asks: "The Church of God ... One Body Is?"


Anonymous said...

Intresting and informative chart....

I think much of this depends on how one defines a "schism" or "split." Does the departure of one person qualify? How about one congregation? I'm sure that many people have left different Church of God congregations over the years. I don't know how many of those departures could be classified as "schisms" or "splits."

Kevin Stiffler

Lloyd said...


The chart is somewhat misleading in that it tends to highlight individuals in some of the boxes (including former Gospel Trumpet editors who were not schismatic). I take this to mean that the author was simply highlighting influential individuals. If there was a true split he typically identifies the issue over which they split.

True, one person or family does not make a schism or split. But, an influential leader leaving with a group who also set themselves up as the "Church of God" does.

Lloyd said...

Additional information (provided by Wayne Warner):

Dale Rude lives in Dayton, OH and belongs to the Newark group now associated with Lawton,OK 7th Trumpet.

PJ said...

While I am not familiar with many of the chart groupings (although some of them are well known) I think Kevin's comment is well taken. I'm not sure how many of these are true schisms. However, on the other side, nothing is mentioned about the Scott Depot, W.Va. church and the Loren Helms situation. That was one that I lived through when I first entered ministry. Helms got his hooks into Church of God congregations through some relatives and did much to ween away small groups from within Chog congregations (like the one in Hickory, N.C. where I was serving at the time) and took whole congregations is W.Va. It had some traumatic effects at the time.

Steve Nelson said...


Thanks for posting this link! Very very interesting indeed.

Steve Nelson

Dale Rude said...

The schism chart you reference was going the centerfold of a booklet that I was working on a few years back that described what the original pioneers of the Church of God tried to portray with the teaching of unity. However, I never finished the booklet and got involved in something else, namely, and .

The numbers and letters are for reference purposes. Where there is a letter (1 or 2), 1 represents the larger of the two bodies. The alphabet is the sequence in which the splits have developed. I have written references for each split, but I have not complied all of them together. It would be a full time job trying to keep up with this stuff! There are several new splits since I stopped updating the chart in 2003.

Where less than 30% of the group split off, I have categorized it as a schism rather than a split. In such cases, there is only one box coming off from the previous. A split is shown by two boxes coming off from a previous one.

Hope this helps. - Dale Rude

Anonymous said...

Dear Dale Rude and others,
I am really interested in this discussion, as I am considering allying with the non-denominational COG.

I read Rude's chart with the 40+ splits, and it makes me cringe. I was once a member and minister of the Churches of Christ, which sprang up in the 1800's as a New Testament Restoration Movement-somewhat similar to the COG. I left the COC in 1971, but am being led to the holiness churches. Which one. I like many of the emphasis of the COG, but hesitate, after my brutal experience with the COG.

Any help here? My email is

if anyone wants to personally write. This is an interesting blog.

Thanks and God bless,

Gary Cummings


Cryptoreformer said...

Make that "my brutal experience with the COC"-Churches of Christ.


More Christ Like Blog said...

You also many find this blog on Church of God Restoration of interest.

Anonymous said...

Dale Rude's chart is just as inspired by God to me, as the Scriptures themselves. It is a solemn commentary on how we in the COG Reformation have preached unity and practiced division. There are more splits and schisms and I am going to add to the chart and re-post it. But One major thing the chart misses: D.S. Warner himself also split from the Winebrennarian group. He was a schism himself.
Much worse, if you read Winebrenner's literature, it sounds exactly like ours.

In "The Birth of the Reformation" Byers suggest they left Winebrenner to "join all holiness with truth" and come out of denominationalism. But Winebrenner believed the name of the church to be "Church of God" He was less denominational than the churches on Dale's chart. But guess what? D.S. Warner was not a denomination, but he was a sect. His wife divorced him for it. And all churches stemming from him on Dale's chart have that same spirit of sectarianism. Us 4 and no more.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I almost forgot. TO learn about John Winebrenner:

To see his doctrinal views:

Why did D.S. and company truly leave him. TO start a sectarian reformation, built on sectarianism, will only lead to more sectarianism.

Anonymous said...

well first, this chart is interesting and really informative. but to clearly understand every term about the doctrine of The Church of God is to understand what it means to be a member of the Church of God. i think we should be more informed or rather be more knowledgeable about the doctrines of the bible than to know things to criticize others.... remember, if this is of the Lord's then it will stand or else we will be found fighting against God. the final judgment will surely come and the real Church of God will be seen in its beauty and splendor... anyone can claim to be a member of the church of God bur salvation puts you there and holy life will keep you there. try searching about the real meaning of "church" and "of" and "God".
God Bless

Anonymous said...

Those who cry against the Church of God doesn't know anything than to criticize. BIG TALKERS....

eric osomurie okhuakhua winter said...

Nevertheless, the foundation of [or the Church founded by] God stands sure: the Lord knows His people. Let everyone that name the name of God, depart from iniquity.