It was June 13th 1903 when early one morning a man by the name of A. J. Tomlinson climbed to the top of a small mountain in Cherokee county North Carolina to pray. While in prayer on his knees, weeping before God, the inspiration and understanding of God concerning the church of the Bible began to shine in this man’s heart. He walked back down the mountain to join others who had gathered together in the home of W. F. Bryant. For those who had gathered, including A. J. Tomlinson, the purpose of this meeting was to find the Church of God of the Bible and through prayer they had prevailed. Following is Brother Tomlinson’s testimony of what transpired when he entered the meeting.
“I came back down the mountain and entered the meeting. Questions were asked, Bible answers were given. They said they took the whole Bible rightly divided as their only rule of faith and practice. I said, ‘Well if you take the whole Bible rightly divided, that makes it the Church of God. Why do you want to call it the Holiness Church at Camp Creek?’ They agreed with me but couldn’t answer my question. Then I said, ‘You have agreed that this that I have said makes it the Church of God, and will you be willing to take it and keep it the Church of God?’ They said they were willing. I then asked if they were willing to take me in with the understanding that it IS the Church of God?’ They said they were willing. So I stood right there in front of the fireplace and Brother Spurling, who has gone to heaven, took the Bible and gave it to me. He handed it to me and said, “Will you take this as the Word of God, believe it and practice it, obey its precepts and walk in the light as God is in the light?’ I thought deeply. I remembered what a time I had on the mountain. I meant business. God meant business...Right here I gave my hand to Brother Spurling...I took the obligation with deep sincerity and extreme sacredness never to be forgotten.”
The revelation, inspiration and excitement that was experienced on that day continues to live on in the church today. A fresh new wave of what was felt then has entered into our people today. The vision of A. J. Tomlinson, Spurling, Bryant and others that was gathered in that small building some 116 years ago is still alive in The Church of God. It is still alive because it is God’s plan for these last days.
Nehemiah spoke of the plan that God had laid on his heart. We read of the plan that God shared with Noah for his day and of God’s plan for the temple that he placed in David’s heart. Just as God had put His plan in the heart of men and women of the past for their day, so God puts His plan for this day in men and women’s heart. Not everyone sees it, even though it is outlined in the Word of God. It takes the divine revelation that Jesus talked to Peter about in Matthew chapter 16 and that they experienced in 1903.
Since 1903 when God’s light brought that marvelous understanding of His church to those saints who had gathered together to seek Him, many more saints have been blessed but it is so sad that many people’s vision has faded through years. Again this year we welcome the new churches and ministers who have joined the ranks of The Church of God and encourage each one to hold dear the message of the Lord and His church.
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