Sacred Name Movement

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This article is about the Adventist movement. For the theological term, see Sacred name.

The Sacred Name Movement (SNM) is a movement within the Church of God (Seventh-Day) in Christianity, propagated by Clarence Orvil Dodd from the 1930s, which claims that it seeks to conform Christianity to its "Hebrew Roots" in practice, belief and worship. The best known distinction of the SNM is its advocacy of the use of the "sacred name" Yahweh (יַהְוֶה), i.e. the reconstructed proper name of the God of Israel, and the use of the original Hebrew name of Jesus, often transcribed as Yahshua.[1] SNM believers also generally keep many of the Old Testament laws and ceremonies such as the Seventh-day Sabbath, Torah festivals and kosher food laws.


The Sacred Name Movement arose in the early 20th century out of the Church of God (Seventh Day) movement, following on the preaching and ideas of Joseph Franklin Rutherford who founded Jehovah's Witnesses in 1931 based on his belief in the importance of the Hebrew name of God.[2] C. O. Dodd, a member of the Church of God (Seventh Day), began keeping the Jewish festivals (including Passover) in 1928 and he adopted sacred name doctrines in the late 1930s.[3]

Dodd began publishing The Faith magazine starting in 1937 to promote his views.[4] It is currently freely distributed by the Assembly of Yahweh, the oldest of any still existing Sacred Name Assembly. American religious scholar J. Gordon Melton wrote that "No single force in spreading the Sacred Name movement was as important as The Faith magazine."[5]

The Sacred Name Movement consists of several small and contrasting groups, unified by the use of the Name Yahweh and for the most part, Yahshua. Angelo Traina, a disciple of Dodd, undertook the writing of a Sacred Name edition of the Bible, publishing the Holy Name New Testament in 1950 (see Tetragrammaton in the New Testament) and the Holy Name Bible in 1962, both based upon the King James Version, but changing some names and words in the text to Hebrew based forms, such as "God" with "Elohim", "LORD" with "Yahweh" and "Jesus" with "Yahshua". Each group within the Sacred Name Movement uses a Sacred Name Bible, others having been produced since Traina's.

Sacred Name family tree[edit]

The Movement started with the formation of the Assembly of Yahweh in Holt, Michigan, U.S. in the early 1930s.

The Assemblies of Yahweh, Bethel, Pennsylvania, was begun by Jacob O. Meyer, after ordination by members of the Assembly of Yahweh. Over time, the Bethel organization became independent of the Michigan group, and expanded their national outreach.

Donald Mansager and several Elders split from the Assemblies of Yahweh over autocratic issues and formed Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah in the early 1980s. Mansager left that organization in dispute over the handling of an adultery scandal, involving a prominent minister in that group. He then formed Yahweh's New Covenant Assembly in 1985. The name was changed to Yahweh's Assembly in Yahshua after an internal split in 2006. Alan Mansager (Donald Mansager's son) parted ways in 1998 because Alan disagreed with his father on the scriptural qualifications for ordaining ministers. Alan formed Yahweh's Restoration Ministry. Robert Wirl split from the Assemblies of Yahweh, Bethel, Pennsylvania, and formed Yahweh's Philadelphia Truth Congregation in 2002. He has since joined with Yahweh's Restoration Ministry.

It can be argued that all the above groups are a "Sacred Name group", since they all have ties to the original "Assembly of Yahweh" and have almost identical doctrines. Because there is no formal enrollment to be a "Sacred Name group," the term is loosely defined. Many authorities[who?] include groups that use "Yahweh" as the Divine Name (and/or the form "Yahshua" for the figure referred to by mainstream Christians as "Jesus"), but otherwise teach very different doctrines than the above groups, to be nonetheless "in the movement".

There are numerous other Sacred Name groups with no established ties to the Assembly of Yahweh, Holt Michigan. One of the better-known includes The Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day in Cisco, Texas, which developed their liturgy under their own leadership. They have extensive dealings with the mainstream Sacred Name groups listed above, exemplified by the fact that they host the Unity Conference every year. Their doctrines differ from mainstream Sacred Name doctrines such as using the vernal equinox to calculate their calendar, rejecting the pre-existence of Yahshua (commonly called Jesus) and differing views on what constitutes Sabbath rest and deviations from it.

The Assemblies of Yahweh, Bethel, Pennsylvania, and the House of Yahweh each maintain an exclusive flavor to their fellowship patterns, and have distanced themselves from the mainstream of the movement. It is rare for a member of either of these two organizations to personally have dealings with Sacred Namers on the outside. The Assemblies of Yahweh (Bethel) still has many beliefs and practices in common with the Movement, while the House of Yahweh has evolved a liturgy and a doctrinal system that is considered unorthodox by much of the rest of the movement.

Sacred Name Pentecostals[edit]

Since the 1970s, the Sacred Name Movement has influenced many members of Pentecostal denominations (especially those with a Oneness Pentecostal background). The House of God, a seventh-day Pentecostal organization founded in 1918 by R. A. R Johnson, has become inundated with certain sacred name doctrines. The Apostolic Deliverance Assemblies, (7th Day), founded December 1983, presided over by D. L. Foster and co-founder, William H. Greggs, Jr. is an exclusively ‘sacred name’ independent Pentecostal body.

There are other notable Pentecostal organizations that are adamant about using the sacred names such as Victorious Covenant Community, Straitway, The Rock (Panama City, Florida, U.S.) and Assemblies of Messiah in the Apostles' Doctrine.


The use of the sacred names has led to the production of Sacred Name Bible translations. Most of these Bibles use mainstream translations with the common titles "God, Lord," replaced with the Sacred Names. These include:


The Sacred Name Movement has few adherents and includes the following groups:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]