Church of God
Asia & the Pacific
An Introduction to The Church of God Movement
by Rev. Neville N. Tan (Senior. Pastoral Advisor, Singapore)
Asian Church of God Conference
The founder of the Church of God Movement, D. S. Warner was convicted by the Holy Spirit that the church was corrupt. Corrupted by the works of man. To him, the Church was being run like an organisation. Manís will, not Godís will was being done. Sects and denominations were dividing up the Church which he firmly believed to be the one Body of Christ. This conviction was so overpowering that it caused D. S. Warner and others of the same conviction to leave the mainline church and begin the Church of God Movement.
The Church of God Movement came to Singapore in the late 70s. It came through the vision of the Rev. Dr. Sidney M. Johnson of the Missionary Board, Anderson, Indiana. Through recommendation and introductions, Dr. Johnson was able to make contact with me in Singapore.
When I first heard the name "Church of God," I was a little bit apprehensive and suspicious. Especially so, when the person involved was an American. There have been several cults groups from America that had infiltrated Singapore then, and some of them had caused a lot of damage and hurt among local Christian churches. One of them had a similar name while several had names linked to the name Church of God.
During the first few months of our association, I was given several books to read. Books that attempted to introduce me to the Church of God Movement. At first I was not impressed. The literature and books I read told me nothing new. I had myself come out from a denominational church that was also at first a "movement." A movement that preached an almost identical message as that of the Church of God but in practice, was just another "church organisation," or another denomination. There was, however, a few teachings of the Church of God that captured my attention and was aligned with my own convictions.
A Movement, not another Denomination
When I first shared Dr. Johnsonís invitation to me to identify with the Church of God Movement with my wife Anne, her first reaction was, "why another denomination?" Were there not enough denominations in Singapore already? It took quite a while for Dr. Johnson and others (Dr. Don Johnson, Edd Foggs, Don Williams) to finally open the door of our minds to grasp the fact that the Church of God is not "another denomination." A movement happens when God is at work among man to unite, to reconcile man to God and man to man. To be the "light of the world,." and not to allow our light to be dimmed (covered by a basket). We are to be a city set on a high hill that cannot be hidden, to let our light so shine that man may see our good works and glorify God.. To be the salt of the earth and . . . to be careful not to "lose our flavour" and end up being "thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."
A Movement or another Denomination?
The verses from Matthew 5 gives us ample warning to be careful. It is so easy to be salt and to "lose our flavour." To be so diluted by "watering down" that we dissolve into oblivion. Our "taste" is our message. Our calling, our conviction to be different from others. To let
our light shine. To do this we must allow our Lord's priestly prayer in John 17 become a reality in us. Jesus' prayer for us was for God to be seen in us "so that the world may know
that God had sent Him and had loved them as God had loved Christ." But how do we let God be seen in us, in our movement? By being one with Him and one with each other. "Unity."
"Oneness." With God and with ourselves. There must be no divisions in the body of Christ. We must be careful of the things which divide. There should be no test of fellowship. The Church is where "The Christian experience makes you a member." By the term "Christian experience," we mean the "born again" experience. In trying
to make the prayer of our Lord a reality, we also need to be careful that we do not become so exclusive that we ourselves become a sect and further divide the Church. Thus we sing: "We
reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one
." In other words we try to become "exclusively inclusive."
There must be unity in the expression of our faith. We must be in total agreement with the doctrines taught in the Bible. The whole written Word of God is our statement of faith.
We believe in what the Bible teaches about oneness in Galatians 4: that there is "one body and one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is
above all and through all, and in us all."
The Church of God Movement has congregations in almost all the Asian countries. These congregations have their own identities and are all autonomous and yet not "independent." We are "interdependent." Once every two years, delegates from the various Asian countries congregate together for an Asian Church of God Conference. Recently we had the honour of welcoming Church of God congregations in the Pacific region
into the Confrerence. The President of the Asian Church of God Conference is Rev. Satoru Kanemoto, Pastor of the Nerima Church of God, Japan. Vice-president is Rev. Asim Das of Cuttack, India.
||Rev Neivelle Tan and his Family|
||Rev. S. Kanemoto - President of the Asian Church of God Conference|
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