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John Winebrenner

1797-1860. German Reformed pastor. Born in Maryland, he studied at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania (1855-58). He was a pastor in the German Reformed Church from 1820 to 1825 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At that time he conducted revivals among the Germans in the surrounding area and was censured for his evangelistic preaching. He withdrew from the German Reformed Church and in 1830 formed the General Eldership of the Church of God, stating his opposition to all creeds, forms, and nonbiblical names. The only creed was to be the Bible, since manmade creeds had led to sectarianism. The only cure for this was the restoration of the primitive apostolic faith and purity. By 1845 three elderships had been founded, and these were brought under the General Eldership of the Church of God in North America, the title still used. Arminian doctrines were held, and the ordinances of baptism, the Lord's Supper, and foot-washing became obligatory. Each local church has a council consisting of the pastor and of elders elected by the congregation. Originally in Maryland and Pennsylvania, the churches are now found elsewhere in the United States.