History of the Church of God

Please read the article at the link below:


John Holdeman’s book “History of the Church of God” attempts to establish his claim of being The One True Church.  He goes to great lengths to establish this claim, and in so doing makes many cleverly false assertions. If the reader is not aware, and reading with a mind to discern error, he might very easily be deceived by these writings, as they are so very cunningly devised and deceptive.  The claim of being the only Christians on the face of the earth that God is pleased with is a very common one.  Many sects and denominations make this claim.  Let us examine the claims of Holdeman and see if we can discern the error. Before we begin to present the works of Holdeman, it is a good idea to establish first of all, the information available regarding the sect of the Waldenses.  There are other sects that existed at the time of the Waldenses, and they will be discussed at a later time.

Holdeman endeavors to establish his church upon the foundations of early Christians and makes a big claim of being in the spiritual lineage of a number of early sects.  One of the most prominent of these is the Waldenses.  Before reading further here, take a look at what other historians say about the Waldenses.  This particular paragraph is important; please take note of it;

“The book by the Baptist historian McGoldrick that demolishes the above statements is titled Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History (The American Theological Library Association and The Scarecrow Press, 1994). McGoldrick examines many groups claimed as “early Baptists” (or early Evangelicals who are “baptistic”) such as the Montanists, Novatians, Paulicians, Bogomils, Albigenses, Waldenses and other groups and individuals. None of these groups were in fact “early Evangelicals” but were either explicitly Catholic in doctrine or grossly heretical (such as the later Albigenses who denied the Incarnation). Baptists originate in the early 17th century in Holland and England.”

The following statement is also worthy of note;

“The movement did not seek to alter Catholic dogma and was not intended to be a separatist church. The bishops at first would have found nothing about which to object had not the Waldenses assumed the right to preach. It was unauthorized preaching in public places that aroused suspicion and led the Archbishop of Lyons to attempt to stop them.”

Peter Waldo was a Catholic and did not separate from the Catholic Church, but rather his movement existed as a rogue sect within the Catholic Church.  Many other sects and denominations besides the Holdemans have attempted to claim the Waldenses as a part of their lineage, and thus establish for themselves some sort of special position.

Although there is unanimous agreement among reputable scholars that the Waldenses originated with the work of Waldo, and despite the fact that modern Waldense historians themselves concur with this opinion, successionists of various affiliations have inducted them into the line of “true” churches which have maintained Gospel purity since New Testament times. As one might expect, the Waldenses have been claimed as Baptists (and Plymouth Brethren by E.H. Broadbent, and Seventh-day Adventists by Ellen G. White, and others).”

This of course, brings us to the question of exactly which claim is true.  All claim it with equal fervor.  This should tell us that trying to establish one’s position as God’s only true church, the only one with which he is pleased, is risky at best, and utterly false at worst.
There is another error common to those who claim lineage through these medieval sects, and that is a claim that many of these sects fall into the line of succession back to Christ.  The truth is that many of the sects of this time (Albigenses, Paulicians, Cathars, etc) existed separately from one another and cannot be placed in a linear succession.  Not only that, they had widely varying beliefs and practices, some of them very strange and even heretical.

The confession of faith as held by the Waldenses was fairly acceptable, in fact the pope himself even commended them for the beliefs that they professed to hold. They were very much in line with Catholic teachings. “In a statement of faith submitted to the bishop of Albano, Peter Waldo affirmed his belief in transubstantiation, prayers for the dead, and infant baptism. The famed Baptist historian A.H. Newman drew the only conclusion warranted by the evidence.  “Waldo and his early followers had more in common with…Roman Catholicism than with any evangelical party. His views of life and doctrine were scarcely in advance of many earnest Catholics of the time.” 

So by reading other information about the Waldenses, as well as the link at the beginning of this post, we can establish several things; many modern sects claim a line of succession back to the Waldenses, the Waldenses were Catholic in their beginnings and remained so, Peter Waldo was a man who wanted to control his own group of followers and he did so in rebellion against the church which was established at that time, he professed many Catholic beliefs, transubstantiation among them and eventually the movement came closer to the teachings of Martin Luther and other reformers.  This information should prove interesting as we follow Holdemans silly claims that he and his movement have validity because they can tie themselves to the medieval sect of the Waldenses. There is information that is very favorable towards the Waldenses, as well as information that completely discredits them.  The favorable information is presented by members of groups who wish to claim a line of succession through them.  The unfavorable information could very well have a strong Catholic bias.  The point is that it was so long ago, the information is so unreliable, and ultimately claims of succession are not valid. They are not necessary.  Anyone can become a follower of Jesus Christ today and be in the direct line of succession to him!




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1 Response to History of the Church of God

  1. It should be clear from reading this that there is a very strong Catholic influence in the structure of the Holdeman church. At some later time we will make a comparison of various writings in the book of the Catholic Catechism and Bible Doctrine and Practice. Remember that the Catholic church was very prominent during those centuries, and in fact it was the only understanding that most people had of church or religion. Those who defied the Catholic Church did so only in some points. Many characteristics and beliefs were never even questioned or doubted. They were smoothly incorporated into the breakaway sects. Ideas such as strict shunning and excommunication, arrogant and competiteve claims of being the one and only true church, and taking drastic measures against “heretics” cruel cleansing tactics, hierarchical leadership and authority, etc. were never even questioned.

    The Holdeman church is built on the same pattern as the Catholic Church. If they had actually established a true New Testament church it would look very much different.

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