Most of the Pentecostal churches which bear the name "Church of God" can be traced to a holiness revival in the mountains of northwest Georgia and eastern Tennessee. In 1884, R.G. Spurling, a Baptist minister in Monroe County, Tennessee, began to search the Scriptures for answers to the problems of modernism, formality, and spiritual dryness. An initial meeting of concerned people was held on August 19, 1886, at the Barney Creek Meeting House to organize a new movement that would preach primitive church holiness and provide for reform and revival of the churches. Christian Union was the name accepted by the first eight members enrolled that day. Spurling died within a few months and was succeeded in leadership by his son, R.G. Spurling, Jr. After ten years of little growth, three laymen influenced by the Spurlings' work claimed a deep religious experience similar to that written about by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, and as a result began to preach sanctification. The three laymen began to hold services at Camp Creek, in Cherokee County, North Carolina, among a group of unaffiliated Baptists, Spurling and the Christian Union moved their services to Camp Creek and united with the group in North Carolina. During this revival that followed this merger, spontaneous speaking in tongues occurred. After searching the Scriptures, the group recognized the phenomena as a Biblical occurrence and as a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
II. BASIC THEOLOGY AND BELIEF
The Church believes in an experiential understanding of justification by faith, sanctification as a second work of grace, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues. It also believes in the restoration of both ministerial and spiritual gifts to the Church. They are believing Christians, who use the Holy Bible as the basis of their teachings. They do practice "footwashing" at least annually, and they do encourage mid-week services,...