Churches of God, General Conference, conservative evangelical Christian bodies, Arminian in faith (see Jacobus Arminius), with certain Baptist doctrines. The movement originated during revivals held in Harrisburg, Pa., by John Winebrenner, a minister in the German Reformed Church. In 1830 the first cooperative "eldership" was organized by the independent congregations of Winebrenner's founding; a General Eldership of the Churches of God in North America followed in 1845. In 1975 its name became Churches of God, General Conference. The church polity is presbyterial. The Bible is the sole rule of faith and practice. Additional congregations have spread westward into adjoining states; there are mission ministries among Native Americans in the Southwest, in Bangladesh, Haiti, and India. They have about 31,000 members (1997).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.