original sin

In Christian doctrine, the condition or state of sin into which each human being is born, or its origin in Adam's disobedience to God when he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. His guilt was transmitted to his descendants. Though Genesis describes Adam's sufferings as the consequence of his disobedience, it does not make Adam's sin hereditary. The main scriptural basis of the doctrine is found in the writings of St. Paul; St. Augustine helped make humanity's sinful nature a central element in orthodox Christian theology. Medieval theologians continued to explore the issue, and Thomas Aquinas offered a more optimistic view of human nature in his teachings on original sin than had Augustine. Martin Luther and John Calvin accepted a more Augustinian understanding, and modern evolutionary theory and biblical source criticism raised new challenges for the definition of original sin.

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The (Original) Church of God is a Pentecostal holiness denomination of Christians, located mostly in the southeastern United States. Its origins can be traced to a small meeting of Christians at the Barney Creek Meeting House in Monroe County, Tennessee in 1886.

This church is often denominated The Church of God (Chattanooga) to distinguish it from other related Church of God bodies, but the church's designation for itself is The (Original) Church of God, Inc.. It shares a common origin and history with the Church of God (Cleveland) and several other Church of God bodies. The (Original) Church of God, Inc. came into being in 1917, when the Church of God in Chattanooga, Tennessee, led by Reverend Joseph L. Scott, separated from the Cleveland-based church. This body's use of Original in parentheses reflects the belief that it is true to the original faith, purpose and practice of the Church of God movement. The church incorporated in 1922. Offices and a publishing house are located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Ridgedale Theological Seminary was founded in 1925.

Unlike the majority of its kindred Church of God groups, the Chattanooga-based The (Original) Church of God allows divorced and remarried persons to be accepted as members. Five ordinances are recognized: baptism by immersion, Biblical church government, The Lord's Supper, foot-washing, and tithing. Other beliefs include the need for repentance, justification & regeneration for salvation, the Wesleyan teaching on sanctification, divine healing, and glossolalia as the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.

In 1993 The (Original) Church of God had a membership of over 18,000 in 70 congregations, mainly in the east and south-central United States. One church was located in Trinidad and Tobago. The church meets annually in a general convention.


  • Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton, editor
  • Handbook of Denominations in the United States (8th ed.), by Frank S. Mead and Samuel S. Hill

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