Sabbath Message 15/13/33/120

Why the Churches of God Collapsed from the US

We will examine why the Churches of God and particularly the WCG collapsed and what could have been done to save them. They need not have collapsed and could have been brought into line with the historical Churches of God and the entire structures saved and redirected. They were not saved and indeed refused to be saved even though they and especially WCG could have been saved and still can be saved.

The basis of the corruption of the WCG system lay in the fact that the basic problems were in and stemmed from the religious system of the USA and were endemic to the Churches of God with a lot of help from Trinitarian and other plants.

The Adventists in the US had been penetrated by Trinitarians in the last part of the nineteenth century. The major problem was reportedly with the Jesuit groups and families that had entered the Seventh Day Adventists.  Right up until 1931, when the Biblical Unitarian theologian Uriah Smith died, the Adventists were Biblical Unitarian except for the plants within their ranks. The detractors of Adventism called them Arians to attack their theology. They had also been penetrated by the vegetarians and the false doctrines of Ellen G. White and hence the scene was set for their destruction.

In the early twentieth century the Adventists moved into South America and particularly Africa commencing from the Sabbatarians of Nyanza Province Kenya in a significant way. They penetrated the Sabbatarian Groups of the Nilotic people in East Africa who were Subordinationist and also understood the Sabbath from their historical roots.  For example, the word for Saturday in the DoLuo language of the Luo tribe is derived from the Sabbath, as it is in many languages.

From 1931 to approximately 1956 the distinction emerged of a penetrated ministry moving to Trinitarianism, and which was largely vegetarian, and a Biblical Unitarian laity that was neither vegetarian nor Trinitarian. These groups were originally based on the Churches of God and became by far the largest Sabbatarian denomination in the world. They continued being undermined by the Trinitarian plants until they declared Trinitarianism in 1978. However, they did not inform the conferences in Africa in general as they were not Trinitarians and not vegetarians. As they found out about the betrayal of the faith by these American Adventists, the SDA system began to collapse from the 1980s, picking up speed from 1990 to 2000, and from 2000 to 2007 they began to collapse en masse losing over six million people from 2000 to 2008. From 2009 to 2011 the losses began to accelerate. Most, in Africa, are moving to CCG, which in fact holds the original doctrines of the Churches of God and are easily recognised by them.

The Churches of God in the nineteenth century not with the Adventist groups were comprised of the Seventh Day Baptists Unions and the Churches of God (Seventh Day) in the US. These groups were all Biblical Unitarians as had been the Churches of God throughout history.

In similar manner to the Adventists, the Church of God (Seventh Day) (COG (SD)) also moved into many areas. Nigeria was one specific area where the COG (SD) made significant inroads. The Caldwell Conference established a significant group of many thousands in Nigeria. They also kept the Feasts, and used the Temple Calendar according to the Conjunctions. However, the division in the US and the Judaising of the group that moved to Jerusalem from the divisions of the Oregon and Salem Conferences was to fatally affect the Nigerians, and they had taken on the Hillel system.

The Seventh Day Baptists in the US were penetrated by Trinitarian plants and the Seventh Day Baptists in the US in the twentieth century became Trinitarians, whereas the International Unions remained Biblical Unitarian. As a result of this confusion, the Seventh Day Baptist Unions became more disaffected from the International Unions and completely divorced from the US Unions. One of their ministers working with CCG stated that it is now a case of: “You can believe what you like as long as you sing like us.” Most of the Unions in Africa are joining with CCG as they know what they believe and will not tolerate the Trinitarian system.

In the 1930s a branch of the COG (SD) in Oregon was joined by a man named Herbert Armstrong. He was baptised by a Trinitarian pastor and ordained at an all day tent meeting by the laying on of hands of the congregation at the meeting. He was subsequently credentialed by the COG (SD) and remained on their payroll until 1940 at least. The cheques were produced by their ministry in proof of that employment as the WCG officers trained by him began to deny that he was in fact a paid minister of the COG (SD) at Oregon. He began to teach the keeping of the food laws which Oregon either ignored or had let slide, and he also began to take the Feasts up as a requirement but, unlike the Caldwell Conference, he adopted the Jewish Hillel Calendar of 358 CE with all the postponements. To justify that error he coined the teaching that the Jews had retained the oracles of God (see the paper The Oracles of God (No. 184)). That erroneous system had never been kept in the history of the COGs with the exception of a small group of Judaisers in Transylvania in the nineteenth century as identified by Rabbi Kohn in his work translated as The Sabbatarians in Transylvania, published by CCG Publishing in 1998.

Armstrong established the Radio Church of God (RCG) which later became the Worldwide Church of God (WCG).  That system was penetrated by two specific factions or groups, one centred on the Freemasons based in the US, and another racist element based on the Clan. How specific that was is anyone’s guess as many may have come in incidentally as a result of their general proliferation of the message of the WCG system. One thing is certain and that is the racism of the Clan penetrated their thinking and writings everywhere.

Another aberration came into the COG (SD) which was not accepted or adopted by the RCG/WCG. That error was the Methodist aberration of substituting grape juice for wine at the Passover. The COG (SD) reorganised at Denver as the Denver Conference and at Salem and both groups appear to have adopted the aberration.

Armstrong appears to have had no idea whatsoever of the history of the Church of God and its doctrines as he invented a specific Ditheist aberration that had never been seen in the Churches of God over its 1900 year history. The doctrines are explained in the paper Ditheism (No. 076B). The WCG then developed a Theology based around multiple false doctrines which held that:

  1. God the Father was allegedly never mentioned in the OT and the God mentioned in the OT was Jesus Christ. They were two co-eternal Gods, one of whom agreed to come down and become the son of the other. These were the “God Family” of the OT. The Sons of God that were the Angelic Host were not really sons in the same way that Christ was a son of God, in that he became a son of God at his incarnation which he was not prior to that event.
  2. The oracles were given to the Jews and the Hillel Calendar was allegedly preserved by them. They did not understand that the Hillel system was not invented until 358 CE.
  3. The Angelic Host were created spirits and could not die and they differed from Christ who was part of the God family, which was only two beings and to which would be added the human host but not the Angelic Host.
  4. As spirit allegedly cannot die then the Fallen Host would be burned forever in the lake of Fire.
  5. All people who were baptised by the Church of God were a form of foetus that had no life outside of the church. Under their corrupt form of Born Again doctrine only the ministry were able to develop the laity. Anyone who left the WCG was consigned to death in the Lake of Fire. All such people were resurrected in the Third Resurrection specifically to be consigned to the Lake of Fire.
  6. Armstrong taught that God was not omniscient and in fact God chose not to know some things to preserve human freewill but could not restore the Fallen Host, who, being spirit, could not be restored once they sinned.  God thus has a 1/3rd failure rate in the creation. 
  7. The tithing doctrines were based on three tithes; the third tithe was every third year and with seven offerings a year instead of three. The brethren were thus fleeced by false doctrine.

The false doctrine of the Third Resurrection is explained in the paper The Fallacy of the Third Resurrection (No. 166). The correct tithe doctrines are explained in the paper Tithing (No. 161).

It was on these false premises that the massive campaign was commenced to recruit the US people to the Church of God and their monies were directed into the Armstrong system and ministry. 

This system of false doctrine and the elitist mindset developed were supported by the doctrine of fear invented by Armstrong to force the laity to remain in the WCG system. Questions were not encouraged and anyone who did not agree was hounded out of the system.

It is thus obvious that such a system could not survive, and it did not survive. The WCG system inducted over 300,000 people, over 200,000 of which were progressively lost, and at its height it numbered approximately 105,000 baptised members with an annual income of $US205,000,000 approximately.

The dispersal and destruction of the COG system

The Churches of God over the two millennia have had more or less consistent doctrines. If the history had been researched and taught correctly then the Churches of God in the US in the 19th and 20th centuries would not have been led astray and into such serious error. They became the source of error for the Churches of God throughout the world. It was a simple matter for the Trinitarian system and the secret societies to penetrate them and pick them off. 

Armstrong’s errors left them defenceless against the Binitarian and then Trinitarian heresy when it entered the system. It is so entrenched that many of the uninformed pseudo-theologians in the offshoots are claiming that the original doctrines of the church were Binitarian. They don’t understand the Biblical Unitarian structure of the first and second centuries and they don’t understand where in fact Binitarianism came from in the first place. They misuse the history because they don’t understand it.

The Trinitarians penetrated and took over the system and in order to preserve the pension funds they were forced to split the church into a further two divisions over and above the two divisions that left. The ministry appeared not to care what the doctrines on the Nature of God were because they knew that formally defining it would split the church.

The WCG became Trinitarian after Tkach succeeded Armstrong formally on the latter’s death in January 1986. Armstrong had tried to make the WCG more acceptable to the mainstream in the 1970s under the Systematic Theology Project (STP). However, the church would not accept Trinitarianism and the Protestant STP and he had to withdraw it and deny all knowledge of its existence. In fact the senior ministerial assistant to Herbert Armstrong behind stage when he gave the famous “Getting the church back on track” sermon told me the exact circumstances. This minister stated that he and another, who was also there with him, were embarrassed by the lies. He resigned shortly afterwards.

They did not learn that the more solid brethren would simply not put up with the Trinitarian system. They thought that after a while they could re-educate them and re-introduce it later. They tried again in 1989-1993 and it failed miserably.

From 1989 they again began to introduce the Trinitarian system, at first subtly. By 1991 Gerald Flurry had seen the opportunity and left. Following the standard procedure, the first one out with the doctrines of the founder usually gets the funds and followers. However, with the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) things did not quite work that way.

Rod Meredith thought he could pull it off with Global but made some major errors.

On the New Year of 1 Abib 1994 Christian Churches of God (CCG) held its first service. Unlike the rest, CCG resolved to correct all errors of the WCG and eliminate Armstrong’s errors from the Church of God. They had none of the paid ministry of WCG to prevent them.

In 1995 the remainder of the WCG ministry, that saw that the WCG could not survive under the Trinitarian doctrines, reformed. They decided they had to reform in 1994 but delayed it until 1995. They reformed as the United Church of God (UCG) an international association. They did not join Global under Meredith due to the many factions and the intense animosity in the WCG ministry at all levels.

CCG had formed with the correct Temple Calendar and had restored the Jubilees and the New Moons. Global saw this was the correct position and Rod Meredith tried to introduce the New Moons to Global as CCG had done. The ministry on the Global Board out-voted him and the New Moons were not introduced there. Not one of those elders who voted against the New Moons is now in LCG. The majority are dead and the others are in UCG. Some of the WCG ministry have stated that they have always considered the New Moons should have been kept.

Global collapsed through power games and the Living Church of God (LCG) was formed amid some acrimony. Another group was also formed by Dave Pack (RCG). The LCG was the final and demarcation church of the Sardis system (Rev. 3:1). It was the only COG in history to take the name Living Church of God.

The result of all this division and error was a hopelessly divided and erroneous system where each of these WCG offshoots had multiple false doctrines on the Nature of God. The system also retained in large part the errors of the Hillel system. It was in short a hopeless mess that had only one way to go and that was downhill.

The WCG offshoot system proceeded to lose the churches on two continents. The African churches simply left the offshoots and virtually all joined CCG for doctrinal reasons and also because CCG would not tolerate corruption or recruit or retain corrupt officers. The Latin American Church was in large part with UCG but due to the political infighting in UCG they left under Leon Walker prior to the UCG aia and COG aWA split. They are still separate entities.

The WCG offshoots have an extraordinary plethora of doctrines on the Nature of God and the UCG appears to be collapsing even further into Sabellianism from Armstrong’s error of the false doctrine that God the Father was not mentioned in the OT.

Following the comments regarding the alarming new developments concerning the Nature of God in UCG it is perhaps appropriate that we isolate just how many different doctrines there actually are in the offshoots of the WCG and other COG systems.

We know that CCG has only one Doctrine on the nature of God and that is Biblical Unitarian. There is only one True God and He sent Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:3). The SDAs have collapsed in their theology and our French officer Jean-Alphonse reports that in Madagascar they are not only praying to Christ, they are also praying to the Holy Spirit. So also are most of the Protestant systems.

From our conversations with others of the LCG and UCG we know they have Biblical Unitarians among them. That has been the longstanding doctrines of the Churches of God for almost 2000 years. The Seventh Day Baptist Unions in the international associations are Biblical Unitarians, but they also have Trinitarians among them with others of a Binitarian view that do not properly understand what they are. The Seventh Day Baptists in the US became Trinitarian some years ago and they are all over the place theologically.

The Church of God (SD) Denver Conference went Binitarian in 1995 and Trinitarian in 1999, but they have some Biblical Unitarians in the US. The Biblical Unitarians in Africa have all joined CCG and the COG (SD) does not exist to all intents and purposes in Africa. A minister of the WCG system told me in 1993 that the Nature of God was irrelevant: famous last words. He later went to UCG in 1995. Let us see just what doctrines are extant among the UCG:

Biblical Unitarians are quite a few but they exist under intolerance.

Radical Unitarians at one stage made up about 10% of UCG. They deny the pre-existence of Christ.

Ditheists still hang over from WCG in significant numbers.

Binitarians argue that they are the real doctrine rather than Ditheists which they pretend do not exist and they pretend that Armstrong was a Binitarian, which is false.

Trinitarians are now in significant numbers in UCG although many have not come out of the closet as yet.

Sabellianism seems to be making inroads into the UCG from recent reports where some are praying to Christ and claiming that Christ is the Father and the True God and they are “sons of Christ.”

Given the bizarre and untutored doctrines it would not be surprising to see just how many strange doctrines will emerge over the next year or so.

LCG seems to be more stable doctrinally than UCG but still has a number of doctrines. They also seem to share some congregations with UCG and also a few with some Sunday worshippers who seem to be Trinitarians.

LCG has a pseudo-theologian writing independently that claims that the original doctrines of the early church were Binitarian and alleges that is what the LCG is doctrinally. That assertion is false on both counts. The original First Century Church was Biblical Unitarian and the WCG under Armstrong was Ditheist with a number of Biblical Unitarians, Radical Unitarians and Binitarians/Trinitarians among them. Both LCG and UCG are open to what is a diverging, degenerating and scattered incoherent theology that they inherited from the WCG because they cannot and will not bite the bullet theologically and correct the errors. They are frightened they might lose people and prejudice their tithe base.

To correct their errors they will have to admit that Armstrong was wrong and that will further risk losses to the raving cases on the fringes that wave Armstrong's flag at every opportunity precisely to attract the WCG Armstrong worshippers who cannot face the possibility that the Idol Shepherd was in error.

The procedure for saving the WCG system is fairly simple. It requires some basic principles. These are:

  1. Honesty
  2. Integrity
  3. A governing board that is not paid as a ministry.

All three of these principles have been absent from the WCG governing system since its inception.

The first step is to admit that Herbert Armstrong was untrained, incorrect and wasted the resources of the Church of God in the billions of dollars. Everyone knows this to be true and the offshoots have to have the integrity and decency to admit it.

The second step is to convene a doctrinal committee that will genuinely correct the errors introduced by the Armstrong system.  CCG will participate in this process as required.

Thirdly, all paid ministry are disqualified from sitting on any governing board of any national group. The Constitution of the CCG should be used as the basis for the reorganisation.

Fourthly, the reorganised structure cannot and will not afford these minsters as such a highly paid class. Their wages cannot be afforded and the pension system cannot be afforded either. We all know that these ministers are doomed and all will face penury in their old age because of their behaviour over the years. The brethren need to simply take over and tell them to take a walk or do as they are told. The unpaid local elders can be used as a cadre.

Fifthly, the ministry need to be placed on half pay immediately for those that remain on duty as a paid operative of the Church of God. These officers will not be allowed to hold voting office on the board of the church. Every board must also have some female representation.

Sixth, the ministry need to be retrained doctrinally and the brethren with them.

Seventh, all Radical Unitarians that deny the pre-existence of Christ, and Trinitarians need to be removed from the churches immediately and be reconsidered on re-education (see the paper The Pre-existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243)).

Eighth, the Hillel Calendar has to be scrapped forthwith and the correct tithing and Jubilee system commenced.

Now this is a simple eight step sequence that can be carried out in a few weeks. People who will never understand or don’t care about the truth like Pack, Flurry, Ritenbaugh, Coulter, and the Radical Unitarians in UCG and those like Westby, Hunting, Cartwright, Buzzard and the plethora of the 70s splits with their Monday Pentecost and the mindless D and R laws can be completely ignored. They are irrelevant.

The Church of God in the US will not survive unless it acts now and it gets one point through its head and that is that God is the One True God and He sent Jesus Christ and eternal life depends on knowing that fact and these beings (Jn. 17:3). There are not two true gods, nor are there three true gods and the US insanity that claims there are at least two gods is not inspired. It is a doctrine of demons. The Churches of God will act without the US groups unless they correct their errors. Herbert Armstrong was not only uninspired he was also uninformed and heretical. Get over it.

For example, the following are the texts that refer to the Father in the OT when Herbert told everyone there were none:

Deut. 32:6
2 Sam. 7:14
1 Chr. 17:13; 22:10; 28:6
Ps. 68:5; 89:26
Prov. 30:4-5 (as having a son)
Is. 63:16; 64:8
Jer. 3:4, 19; 31:9
Mal. 1:6; 2:10

Abiel=God is my father (1 Sam. 9:1)

Eliab=My God is father (1 Sam. 16:6)

Joab=Yah is father (2 Sam. 8:16)

Abijah=Yah is my father (2 Chr. 29:1)

The Eighth division of the Priesthood, that of Abijah, is named for the fact that God is the Father.

Hebrews 1:5 is also reference to Psalm 2:7 and Acts 13:33. The first texts of Hebrews 1:1-9 refer to at least seven texts of the OT that refer to the Father and the Son in the OT.

The name of the Father in the OT is Eloah. He is the One True God. The details here are included in the paper Effects of the 20th Century Doctrines on the Nature of God (No. 076D) among many other important matters on the Nature of God.

Eloah is the God of the Temple and we know from Deuteronomy 32:15 that He is the creator and from Deuteronomy 32:17 that He is the object of sacrifice. He is the God of the Bible.

He is the Most High (Elyon) and He divided the nations according to the number of the sons of God (Deut. 32:8 RSV and DSS). He gave Yahovah's portion to be the Children of Israel. Thus Elyon and Yahovah, as God and son of God, are set in place here in the Torah where Yahovah is one of the sons of God and Eloah is set as the creator. For this reason the Masoretic Text (MT) was forged in this text in the post-Temple period and that is why the KJV is false.

Job mentions Eloah in 45 places. The redeemer is listed as one of the Thousand and is not Eloah in Job (Job 33:23).

We know for an absolute fact that Eloah is God the Father from Proverbs 30:4-5. His name is supplied in the Hebrew of verse 5.

This name is singular and admits of no plurality whatsoever. The texts completely destroy the myth that Armstrong created, namely that the OT referred only to Christ who was the God of the OT and the Father was unknown in the OT. That is a lie.

Ezra identifies Eloah as the God of the Temple and proceeds from the texts in Ezra 4:24 to identify the Temple as the House of Eloah, The God (Eloah) of Israel (Ezra 5:1), The prophets at the House of Eloah are the prophets of Eloah (Ezra 5:2), It is the "eye" of Eloah that observes and commands the activities at the Temple.

Darius was petitioned over the House of the Great Eloah at Jerusalem (Ezra 5:8). The Jews knew and stated that they were the servants of the Great Eloah of Heaven and Earth (Ezra 5:11). But it was the fathers of Judah that provoked the Eloah of Heaven to wrath. (Ezra 5:12). There is only one Eloah of Heaven and Earth and that is the Father. To suggest otherwise is idolatrous blasphemy.

The Jews acknowledged that it was Cyrus that gave the command to build the House of Eloah at Jerusalem (Ezra 5:13).

The vessels of the House of Eloah were returned to the prince of Judah (Ezra 5:14) and ordered returned to the House of Eloah as it was built in place (Ezra 5:15). The request was made as to whether the decree of Cyrus existed regarding the House of Eloah (Ezra 5:17).

Darius ordered a search and the decree of Cyrus was found regarding the construction of the House of Eloah at Jerusalem (Ezra 6:3) as well as the return and use of the vessels of gold and silver, taken by Nebuchadnezzar from the House of Eloah, be returned to the House of Eloah (Ezra 6:5). Thus the old temple and the new temple were both the House of Eloah.

Thus the attackers were ordered to leave the construction of the House of Eloah alone and the Jews be left to build the House of Eloah (Ezra 6:7).

The tribute beyond the river was allocated for the construction of the House of Eloah (Ezra 6:8) and also for the sacrificial offerings to the Eloah of Heaven (Ezra 6:9-10).

It was Eloah that caused His name to be put there in the House of Eloah and a hundred bullocks were offered to the dedication of the House of Eloah (Ezra 6:12,16-17).

The Priests and Levites were set in divisions for the service of Eloah at Jerusalem (Ezra 6:18).

Artaxerxes recognised Ezra as a scribe of the Law of Eloah of Heaven (Ezra 7:12). Ezra was sent to assess Jerusalem according to the Law of Eloah which was in his hand (Ezra 7:14) and the king and his counselors offered silver and gold to the Eloah of Israel who is the Eloah of Heaven whose habitation is in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:15). They had to purchase animals for offering to Eloah in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:17) and then they were to use the rest according to the Will of Eloah (Ezra 7:18). Then they also had to deliver the vessels of Eloah before the House of Eloah at Jerusalem (Ezra 7:19). Whatever else that was necessary to bestow on the House of Eloah was to be taken from the king’s treasure house as Ezra the scribe of the Law of Eloah directed (Ezra 7:20-21. Whatever was commanded by the Eloah of Heaven was to be done diligently for the house of the Eloah of Heaven (Ezra 7:23).

Also the priests, Levites, singers and porters, Nethinims were ministers of the House of Eloah and it was not lawful to impose toll, tribute or custom upon them (Ezra 7:24).

Ezra was commanded to act according to the wisdom of Eloah to appoint magistrates and judges. Whoever did not do the Law of Eloah and the law of the king was to have judgment executed speedily upon them (Ezra 7:25-26).

This being Eloah is the One True God. His name admits of no plurality whatsoever and the Law emanates from Him and He is the object of sacrifice at the Temple. The priesthood including Christ as High Priest after the order of Melchisedek worship Him and serve Him. The elohim emanate from Him as Ha Elohim. They as Elohim, which is a plural word, are the sons of God and they are the council of the Elohim of the Psalms and the Council of Revelation chapters 4 and 5.

God will tear the sheep out of the hands of these so-called shepherds and they had better understand that fact now. It is happening right before our eyes, in case no one has noticed.  There is a way of saving their hides but it is not negotiable and it can only be done one way. We are prepared to do it but we will not waste our time.

Watch it all continue to fall to bits as they procrastinate.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General.