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Author Topic: WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD  (Read 3353 times)
Joe Sperling
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« on: January 08, 2009, 12:37:55 am »

Last night I was reading the old Walter Martin book "The Kingdom of the Cults" and
read a bit about the Jehovah's Witnesses. Then I noticed there was a chapter on the
"Worldwide Church of God", once led by Herbert W. Armstrong.  I had remembered seeing him
on television often in the past, and also remembered he died at age 93.  He had many
strange doctrines to say the least, and thus was listed in this book of "cults". His teachings
on God and salvation are what put his church in the classification of a "cult".

I was also intrigued when I saw that Armstrong taught salvation was a "process"(he actually used this term which really intrigued me) and not the instantaneous salvation taught by Evangelicals. I had recently posted about this very same issue, so I was surprised to see that Armstrong taught this "process" also, and had a completely different definition of what being "born again" meant. He actually taught that Christians when accepting Christ are "begotten" but not yet "born again".  After a life of faithfulness and striving they will one day resurrect to a reward of "regeneration". Salvation is just a beginning, a "begetting", until one has served faithfully enough to be considered worthy of eternal life, and being "born again" at the resurrection. Basically he was teaching that one is "begotten" through Grace, but must "earn" the right to be born again at the resurrection through one's faithfulness, striving and tears. Very strange teaching indeed!  I wondered what had become of this "cult" after the death of it's founder. Over 100,000 people had followed his strange teachings, and I wondered if they still did.

So, today, I went onto the Internet and looked them up.  Reading the link below really filled
me with joy. If you have the time to read the page I link to you will see that Jesus can take a "cult"
and turn them around and bring them back again to the truth.  It is amazing to see how over a ten year period the church dropped all of their cultish teaching (little by little) and have now become
Evangelical Christians, espousing all of the doctrines that are so very important to our faith.  I found reading this article a real testimony to Jesus and his restoring power, and really encouraging in the fact that even those straying far away can be brought back to the path of truth.  Check it out---especially if you remember this group and their wacky teachings!   Grin

There are those who have left that say that the church still has many changes to make in regards to financial accountability, authority of the leaders, etc.----but with the constant change that has taken place over 10 years perhaps the Lord is beginning to deal with those issues also.

http://www.wcg.org/lit/aboutus/history.htm

Also, here is another short post of apology from their own Leadership. It is amazing what the Lord can
do in the hearts of those who are willing to admit how wrong they were in their teaching, and to admit
also, and take responsibility for, the injury they inflicted on the flock as a result:

http://www.wcg.org/lit/aboutus/media/forgive.htm
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 01:42:15 am by Joe Sperling » Logged
Oscar
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2009, 11:02:23 pm »

Joe,

One of the professors I had at Talbot participated in the conferences that they had with the WWCG leaders.  Dr. Craig Hazen and other scholars from Talbot Seminary were meeting regularly with Mormon scholars from Brigham Young University when I was attending there.  Interesting what?

What happened to the WWCG was that the Royal Family died off or was discredited.  Herbert W.'s son Garner Ted Armstrong fell by the same method GG did.  He took advantage of the womenfolks.  After the Royal Family is gone, all bets are off.

Before the demise of the assembly I used to think about what would happen when GG was gone.  GG was born in October of either 1927 or 28, which would make him either 79 or 80.  Betty is 5 years older than George, so she is either 84 or 85.  I never imagined that GG would give up his authority on his own, so I figured he would keep going until he could not continue due to incapacitation or death. 

What I figured would happen was that the assembly would continue the pattern of all Brethren type groups.  First, there would be some attempt to continue as before, with an annual conference and itenerating preachers.  Next, some differences of opinion would arise between strong leaders.  My guess was Tim Geftakys, Mark Miller, and Mike Zach, with the possibility of others I never met after I left.  Or, perhaps, Roger Grant from Chicago. I saw some pretty strong disagreements come up even in the Leading Brother's meeting in Fullerton.  George always squelched these pretty fast, but with GG gone who knows what would have happened.

Anyhow, I predicted that groups of assemblies would begin forming splinter groups from the old Assembly controlled organization.  Then there would also be splits within existing assemblies.  I think Fullerton had this potential.  But who knows.

What really happened we all know already.  David blew GG's cover, some women spoke up, and GG was over.  I think it is better this way.  The Assembly culture was really toxic and folks really needed to get out to be exposed to healthier forms of Christianity.  Most of the ex-assembly folks I have contact with are enjoying being in evangelical churches and fellowshipping free of fear and control.  In my mind, Brethrenism is so filled with problems that people remaining in such groups rarely flourish as Christians.

Blessings,

Tom Maddux
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Joe Sperling
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2009, 01:07:06 am »

What happened to the WWCG was that the Royal Family died off or was discredited.  Herbert W.'s son Garner Ted Armstrong fell by the same method GG did.  He took advantage of the womenfolks.  After the Royal Family is gone, all bets are off.
 

Yes---this is very true in a lot of cases.  But there are other heretical groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses
and Mormons, who even though the original "Royal family" is gone have continued to hand down the same heretical teachings to the next group of leaders with very little change to their doctrine. Some, the Jehovah's Witnesses for example, will even distance themselves from their founder (Charles Taze Russell), claiming they are not influenced by him,  yet still teach almost exactly what he did.

What I found refreshing was that this group, upon the death of their founder Herbert W. Armstrong (the son, Garner Ted Armstrong, actually split off another group of the original church and held to most of the teachings before he himself died later) actually began to seriously investigate many of the deep heretical teachings, and have now come to a place of repudiating almost all of them and accepting Biblical truth as it is taught by the Holy Spirit. Also, reading the letter of apology and appeal for forgiveness led me to thinking of the Assembly, and how there was indeed an excommunication of the leader there, but never a real letter of apology written by Tim Geftakys or other Leaders involved there concerning the false teaching, and undue wielding of authority that was used in an unbiblical manner.  But who knows?  Maybe one day. Not that it is entirely necessary, but it does show a working of the Spirit in the heart, with that same heart responding and wanting to make things right with all--willing to repent, accept fault, and change for the better.

I just found it very interesting to see a church (worldwide church of God) listed in a book about Cults now a part of mainstream Christianity.  None of the other groups listed in that same book has thus far changed course as they have. The Worldwide Church of God did have the "splintering" you mentioned, where some members continued to hold the old beliefs----but what I found so encouraging is that a large portion of the original church actually completely repented of some really far-fetched heretical teaching and came back to historic Christian Doctrine. That can only be the work of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks for the post!

God bless,   Joe
« Last Edit: January 09, 2009, 01:45:34 am by Joe Sperling » Logged
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