Does Church of God (Seventh Day) consider itself part of the Protestant Reformation? If so, in what ways?
Rather than claiming an exclusive role in Christian history, the Church of God (Seventh Day) affirms its kinship with all true believers — those who hold the faith of Jesus Christ and endeavor to keep the commandments of God (Revelation 12:17; 14:12). This is the spiritual body of Christ and biblical church of God, known only to Him (2 Timothy 2:19).
Theologically speaking, CoG7 finds its roots in the early church that recognized the Hebrew Scriptures, produced the Christian Scriptures, and generated the Apostles’ Creed, that early confession of the fundamental gospel truth:
I believe in God the Father Almighty;
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
Who was by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary;
Under Pontius Pilate was crucified and buried;
The third day He rose from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;
From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
And [I believe] in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Church;
The forgiveness of sins;
[And] the resurrection of the body.
Historically speaking, CoG7 identifies with the Protestant Reformation movement of the 16th century — much more closely than with the Roman Church against which the Reformers protested. Our theological roots find common cause with many views held by Peter Waldo (of the Waldensians), by John Wycliffe and William Tyndale (champions of the Scripture for everyone), by Martin Luther and John Calvin (German and Swiss reformers), and by Menno Simons (Anabaptist reformer) — fallible men though all of these were.
We share a common conviction for the Reformation principles of sola Scriptura (the Bible alone as our authority in matters of faith and practice); sola gracia; solo Cristo; sola fide (salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone). In this sense, yes, we do consider ourselves to be heirs of the Protestant Reformation that erupted 500 years ago this year.
Organizationally speaking, CoG7 is nearly 160 years old. Our beginning in the late 1850s was among the followers of William Miller who appeared amid Baptists, Methodists, and other Protestants in the early 1840s. The Miller-led Adventist movement was punctuated by a Great Disappointment in 1844, when Christ did not return as predicted, and soon thereafter by the introduction (by a Seventh Day Baptist woman) of seventh-day Sabbath observance among remaining Adventist believers.
Now, 2,000 years after Jesus’ first coming, 500 years after a much-needed reformation within Christendom, and 160 years after further reforms among God’s people, CoG7 continues to pursue the light and fullness of Christ’s grace and truth wherever it leads (John 1:14).
— Elder Calvin Burrell
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