By AT News Team, September 1, 2013
Pastor John Pinkston, the 76-year-old founder of the Congregation Church of God Seventh Day in Kennesaw, Georgia, was arrested last week by Cobb County sheriff's deputies because of an accusation filed by the parents of a six-year-old girl that he allegedly molested at the church between July 17 and August 22 this year. He posted a $35,000 bond as bail and was released pending trial.
The story was reported in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday and on the following day by the NBC Television news and CBS Television news affiliates in Atlanta, as well as the Associated Press. Pinkston spent from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesday in the county jail.
The congregation's Web site states that it is "a totally independent church and is not affiliated with any other organizations" and "was chartered in October 1990." It is very likely that this congregation has no prior history with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, but is among the tens of thousands of independent churches around the world that also keep the Sabbath and have a set of beliefs generally classified as "Adventist." A search of the yearbooks from 1883 to 2012 in the online archives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church finds no listing for a John Pinkston or similar name.
The statement of beliefs on the congregation's Web site is in many ways parallel to Adventist theology, but also includes two items that historically were promoted by Herbert W. Armstrong, the founders of the Worldwide Church of God. It observes versions of Old Testament festivals, scheduled in March, May and September in 2013. Also, "we believe America and Britain represent the two tribes of Israel known as Ephraim and Manasseh [and] that the nations of northwestern Europe are identified as the remaining lost tribes of Israel."
Pinkston has radio and television programs that are similar to Armstrong's in their focus on the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in current events. In addition to Sunday broadcasts on Channel 11 in Atlanta and Fox television in Macon, Georgia, his television program is also released in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; and Salt Lake City, Utah. The radio program is broadcast on a shortwave station in Nashville and AM stations in New Orleans, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Wheeling, West Virginia.
Armstrong died in 1986 and over the next two decades his denomination went through major theological changes. In 2009 it was renamed Grace Communion International and joined the National Association of Evangelicals. During the 1990s many groups that were affiliated with Armstrong in the past created several new denominations or became independent congregations.