The Church of God (Jerusalem Acres)

A unique blend of Pentecostal holiness with a New Testament Jewish identity.

The Church of God (Jerusalem Acres) is a Pentecostal body with a distinctive holiness orientation, tracing its roots back to the Christian Union movement initiated by Richard Spurling, A. J. Tomlinson, and others. It officially identifies as The Church of God but is also known by its headquarters’ name, Jerusalem Acres, located in Cleveland, Tennessee. This denomination emerged from a series of reforms and splits within the broader Church of God movement, particularly separating from the Church of God of Prophecy over governance and doctrinal issues.


The Church of God (Jerusalem Acres) shares its foundational history with the Church of God of Prophecy. The division leading to its formation occurred after the death of A. J. Tomlinson when the Church of God of Prophecy adopted a resolution in 1948, declaring the General Assembly as the church’s highest authority. This decision was contrary to some members’ belief in a Theocratic Government with a singular Bishop or General Overseer at the helm. Grady R. Kent, an influential leader within the movement, led a split in 1957 to form The Church of God, later purchasing land in Cleveland, Tennessee, to establish its headquarters, Jerusalem Acres. The church places significant emphasis on Theocratic Government, where great authority is vested in the Chief Bishop or Presiding Bishop, a role currently held by Lavell Craig as of the last available update.

Faith and Practice

The Church of God (Jerusalem Acres) is known for its unique “New Testament Judaism” identity, reflecting a belief that Jesus came to reform Judaism rather than replace it. This perspective influences their practices and teachings, which include the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, acceptance of modern prophecy with the caveat that such prophecies are fallible, and anticipation of a post-tribulational premillennial return of Jesus Christ. Unlike mainstream Christianity, the church does not celebrate holidays introduced by the Roman Catholic Church such as Christmas and Easter, opting instead for a calendar based on the Hebrew calendar and observances that are distinctive to their denomination.

Observances and Governance

Among their unique observances are Reformation Day, marking the church’s official reorganization, and biblical feast days like Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated with practices derived from both the Old and New Testaments. The church’s governance is notably characterized by a Theocratic system led by an Anointed Leader, supported by modern Apostles, Businessmen, and Prophets, reflecting a direct, divine oversight model.

Community Impact and Presence

Jerusalem Acres has become a significant site not only for church members but also for visitors from across the United States and abroad, drawn to its scenic displays and the large cross, symbolizing its commitment to spreading the gospel. Despite controversies and the inherent challenges of such a distinct identity within the broader Christian and Pentecostal communities, The Church of God (Jerusalem Acres) continues to grow, with a presence in various countries around the world.

As of 2013, The Church of God at Jerusalem Acres reported having 18 churches in the United States and a global membership estimated at 35,000, with active ministries in countries including Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, South America, Africa, India, and the Philippines. The church’s headquarters, Jerusalem Acres, serves not only as a spiritual hub but also as a testament to the church’s rich history and ongoing commitment to its unique blend of Christian beliefs and practices.

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