You will know them by their fruits. COGIC does not represent the beliefs of the majority of Christians and some of their beliefs are rightly considered heretical by Bible-believing Christians.
The Church of God in Christ was formed in 1897 by a group of disfellowshiped Baptists, most notably Charles Price Jones (1865–1949) and the founder Charles Harrison Mason (1866–1961). Jones and Mason were licensed Baptist ministers in Mississippi in the 1890s who were disfellowshiped by the local Baptist association for preaching the doctrine of Christian perfection also known as "Holiness." They became associated with a group of men who would become the early African American leaders of the Holiness Movement in the late 19th century.
Holiness was interpreted by many Christian mainline denominations of the late nineteenth century as heresy because proponents of Holiness taught that an individual could be delivered from the practice of sin and live free from sin in this present world through the power of the Holy Spirit. This could only be experienced however, if one had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit which was an experience subsequent to salvation where the believer was cleansed from his or her original sin that had been passed on to all men through Adam. This experience became known as "sanctification." Many revivals were conducted and many new converts testified to being "sanctified," thus being transformed from sinners to "saints." This term "saint" is still used by the COGIC faithful when addressing themselves. Jones and Mason began teaching the doctrine of Holiness and Sanctification in their baptist churches. Mason was heavily influenced by the testimony of the African-American Methodist evangelist Amanda Berry Smith who testified that she had been sanctified in the early 1890s. However, once people testified to being "sanctified," many were persecuted and expelled from their mainline churches and began to establish new independent churches. In 1896, Jones and Mason conducted such a revival in Jackson, Mississippi that led to their expulsion from the local baptist association.
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