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Where Is God’s Church Today?
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Jesus said, “I will build My Church…” There is a single organization that teaches the entire truth of the Bible, and is called to live by “every word of God.” Do you know how to find it? Christ said it would:

  • Teach “all things” He commanded
  • Have called out members set apart by truth
  • Be a “little flock”

Do you know David C. Pack?

There Came a Falling Away

by David C. Pack

Herbert W. Armstrong led the Worldwide Church of God for 52 years, teaching hundreds of true doctrines. He proved them from the Bible and told us to do the same. His successors changed them all. Do you think some changes were right? Do you realize ALL were wrong? Have you recognized them? Here they are!

PROLOGUE

Dedication

The final edition of this book is dedicated to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, who would have wanted someone to preserve the truth that God established through him—and to the sheep he so faithfully served, who needed a shepherd’s help in retrieving what had been stolen from them.

We are pleased to present you with a copy of There Came a Falling Away. It is a different kind of book from the others written to those in the splinter offshoots of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). In fact, it was originally prepared for those still in the WCG because most of the organizations that eventually broke away had not yet formed. The passing of time has made it into more of a reference and history book. And it can be studied over time before, during or after your final decision regarding our Splinter Explanation Packet (SEP).

It took a staggering number of hours and the help of many people to make this very large volume a reality. I am most grateful for their assistance. It would be difficult to know where to start and stop in thanking the contributors. God knows who they are, and He will reward them.

This effort began in the spring of 1993. The result was a thick ring binder then called Except There Come a Falling Away, which comes from a prophecy in II Thessalonians 2:3. This was really the first edition of this “newer” book, There Came a Falling Away. Over the next year, as more doctrinal changes occurred in the WCG, six more editions were offered. In the spring of 1995, an extensive appendix was added to the seventh edition. During the next five years, there were no substantive additional changes, editions or appendices. Different editions have circulated (almost 24,000 by the Spring of 2006), with no one edition in the hands of all readers.

While I have returned to amend, expand and improve the book many times over the years, this is the final edition, and also my final effort to tell the story and explain at least certain basic elements of the true meaning of the apostasy in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). I pray that it will continue to help more see what happened there with full and correct clarity.

Much has been added to this final edition—clarifications, adjustments, additional author’s notes, also this Prologue, etc. It is still not perfect, but no effort of this type could be. It is hoped the reader will understand that an initially small staff of basically untrained (in publishing), but very dedicated, people “pulled off” a project that would normally only be tackled by a large publishing house.

The book now includes an Author’s Statement followed by a Biographical Foreword, which are then followed by several sections, each offering important elements of what happened.

Realize that a book of this type defies the normal tradition of writing in the form of a story flow. The apostasy must be viewed from different perspectives to see the entire picture. What were the changes? How did they come about? Why was the apostates’ seduction so effective? What exactly did God prophesy would happen? Why was this great trial sent upon God’s people? Did Mr. Armstrong ever warn the Church that it was coming? How was the idea for this book formed? Why did I feel that I must undertake the project of compiling and presenting it? What should a true Christian who wants to fully hold fast do about the material in this book? These are all part of why this extensive volume was written as it was.

Carefully reading (and possibly studying) all of the material is vital to seeing the whole picture that is presented. Although this could occur over time, you will commit an injustice against yourself if you do not read all parts. Seeing all of the contrasting quotes on point after point carries its own weight of convincing authority as to the two minds—in reality, two spirits—that were in conflict during the apostasy. I suggest the following approach: Read the book straight through in the order in which it is written, without deviating, sometime after first reading our absolutely vital book The True Church – One Organization, or Many?, if you have not done so already. That book should be followed by the equally important books “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People, The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties and The Work of God – Its Final Chapter!, in that order. Finally, be sure to read Why The Restored Church of God? – Should You Join?)

There Came a Falling Away steps on many toes. While no author actually sets out to do this, in the case of this book, it is not only unavoidable, but for everyone who survived the apostasy, it is necessary. If what you learn deeply sobers you, then it will have served its purpose. Also, some of those it offends have turned and attacked its source. Since “men love darkness because their deeds are evil” (John 3:19-21), there have been some who have gotten very angry about the light this book sheds on the darkness they prefer. Of course, we are living in the darkest age in history. No converted person doubts this. Since Christ and all His disciples “are the light of the world,” then this alone puts true Christians in harm’s way—just as much as it did Christ Himself. After 40 years in the truth, I was not naïve about the level of persecution this much “bright light” would produce—and neither should you be.

Some people wish to be secret admirers of God’s truth and way, meaning they “love” the truth as long as they can remain unseen “in a closet.” It takes spiritual courage to be true Christians, because they are part of “a city set on a hill that cannot be hid.” Jesus Christ said that Philadelphians have “not denied My name” (Rev. 3:8). It is apparent that one of the ways many have done this (those of the seventh era) is that they will have been embarrassed by certain truths that left them feeling “uncomfortable” when under scrutiny from worldly peers. Many have gone to certain organizations because they determined in advance that they could be more “comfortable” there. They may have convinced themselves that they should shed some of God’s more “difficult” truths. Of course, these “embarrassing” doctrines—those that brethren are often ashamed of—vary from person to person.

Many do not want to appear extreme by holding to all that God’s people once treasured. Others have found a wonderful convenience in being able to declare they “grew out of” certain teachings. Coincidentally, these will probably be the same doctrines they considered embarrassing. Of course, they cannot see that they denied Christ’s authority (His name) by saying, in effect, He was too weak to fully guide His apostle. This means some will have to conclude that the many times Mr. Armstrong told the Church, “Christ puts truth into the Church through apostles” were merely misguided statements of a sincere man, but one who was occasionally doctrinally confused. They may further conclude that he was an apostle—but one who taught wrong doctrines.

Some demand written proof that The Restored Church of God is committed to exact doctrinal integrity. That is certainly fair! This book, along with all of the others prepared for the splinters, publicly and permanently removes all doubt. No other organization is willing to go on record as clearly or thoroughly as Restored. This way, other organizations can remain “fluid” with certain doctrines—and I do not apologize for the strength of this statement! I have often said, “If I ever tried to forsake parts of the truth, I could never get away with it, because people could simply confront me with my own books”—and if they didn’t, they probably should.

Also, this book, and The Work of God – Its Final Chapter!, basically silences those who say that either The Restored Church of God or I am not committed to doing the Work of preaching the gospel to the world. Let me explain. While we are also using other means, and I have personally rewritten every one of the truths contained in Mr. Armstrong’s books, booklets and articles, a synopsis of most of God’s doctrines could be placed in the hands of new prospective members in just this one book! In fact, note that the Work being done here today is already otherwise immense in size, compared to all other groups.

Millions once heard and read the words of Herbert W. Armstrong. The majority of these people are still alive and scattered around the world, still searching and wondering what happened. Some have contacted us, and this is increasing as time passes. It is no accident that the very first doctrinal change documented in this book is the replacement of the true gospel with the Protestant counterfeit that Jesus Christ is the gospel, instead of the Messenger of it. This has always been the first change listed in the book. The replacement of the doctrine of the soon-coming kingdom of God, with the false idea that the kingdom is here now, is second. For all who have eyes to see, this was its own plain statement about our determination to do the Work very early on!

Because of the passing of time and further advancement of events post-apostasy, I repeat that this extensive compilation of information is now more of a reference work—one very helpful for research and comparison of organizations claiming to teach the truth, but which can be proven to teach false doctrines where some truth once stood. The book is still able to present extremely helpful facts and very interesting information in regard to elements of truth large and small that the reader has almost certainly lost. How ironic that the reader will discover so many splinter leaders saying the very same thing this book demonstrates that Joseph W. Tkach and the other apostates taught.

May God help all who examine this book to see what they have lost and to deeply desire to have all of it back again!

AUTHOR’S STATEMENT

In December 1992, I sat down in a restaurant with a notepad and a cup of coffee. I had decided to make a list of every doctrinal change I could think of that had occurred in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) to that point. Working from simple recall, my very first list exceeded 30 in number. Over the next ten weeks, until I was fired from the WCG in early 1993, the list slowly grew to 75. Within a month after my termination, I had discovered well over 100. By early May, I had created a somewhat more formal list of 154 changes, which I typed out for distribution to anyone who asked for it. Somehow this list found its way to Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. It is the list to which he referred in the quote shown on the back cover of this book.

An Idea Was Born

Within three days of being fired from the WCG on March 2, 1993, my phone began to almost literally “ring off the hook.” Nearly everyone I spoke to had the same two questions, always phrased about the same: “What are the changes?” and “What do we do about them?” Throughout the apostasy, these remained the two biggest questions in people’s minds. And they become central to the thinking of every true Christian who faces the painful reality that false leaders have captured the visible, meaning in this age corporate, sheepfold. I spent a staggering number of hours repeatedly answering these two questions. (In fact, circumstances in the splinters have kept these two questions alive and well, as they will be throughout the age.)

I was soon worn out by the endless long days of wading through proof of the doctrinal changes, one by one, with each person, one by one, and the biblical reasons, one by one, for following the truth. Many were the days I never made it out of my pajamas or even had time to eat. I barely had time to stop for a drink of water as the crush of phone calls became never-ending. Initially, there were no other pastors who had yet been fired or had resigned from the WCG who could help me. Slowly, I realized that I had to try to record the changes in a book that could be offered to anyone who wished to have it. As enormous as the task appeared to be, various editions began to emerge over the next two years. This book became my attempt to answer the question, “What are the changes?”

At this same time, I began to produce a three-part sermon series, each having a slightly different title, but containing the words “30 Reasons to Follow the Truth.” That series complemented this book and reflected 90 biblical reasons why Christians should always follow the truth and not a human government that left the truth. These tapes were generally enclosed with the book from 1993 through 1997.

These sermons actually represent the biblical perspective of a very large doctrine that was never really taught in the Church in any coherent way. This teaching is best summarized by the question, “What does God (not men) say to do in an apostasy when false leaders have captured the corporate ‘Church’?” This doctrine was never seriously addressed (Mr. Armstrong did periodically refer to false leaders who brought the onset of the “lost century” in early Church history) because the Church did not understand that it needed to research and explain it. Why? Because in the past, it was felt that a full-blown apostasy simply could not happen! Since Christ was the Head of the Church, we assumed false leaders could never capture the corporation! Since He was in charge, He would surely “put the Church back on track,” just as Mr. Armstrong did in the 1970s, when the Church had grown liberal. One simply needed to be patient until God did this.

To leave “God’s government in the Worldwide Church of God” was inconceivable—incomprehensible—for most people. For many, it was completely out of the question. So I was forced, over the next 21 months, to carefully, thoroughly research what God instructs Christians to DO under these circumstances. I was amazed at how much the Bible had to say about this largely overlooked and misunderstood subject. These sermons became my attempt to answer the second of the above two questions, “What do we DO about the changes?”

It has been estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 people heard those tapes and left the WCG to go to one of several major “splinter” groups. Many more than this hold various editions of this book.

A Killer and Destroyer at Work

God inspired the apostle Paul to compare heresy to both leaven and cancer. Everyone understands that leaven always spreads until it fills its host (Gal. 5:7-9). Similarly, cancer always spreads until it kills its host (II Tim. 2:16-18—the margin allows for a translation of “gangrene,” which functions in the same way as cancer). No one can dispute how these two agents work. Certainly God has always understood this, and must have carefully chosen these terms as the best comparisons for false teaching. While people have forgotten how they spread, God has not! But everyone knows that cancer and gangrene are killers!

With this introduction in mind, examine the entire 10th chapter of John. This fascinating chapter of scripture is particularly instructive today. There, in addition to calling false leaders “wolves” and “strangers,” Christ also calls them “thieves and robbers.” In verse 10, He explains, “The thief comes not, but for to steal, kill, and to destroy.” God calls the devil a murderer (John 8:44) and a destroyer (Rev. 9:11). Satan loves to kill people, physically and spiritually, and would destroy—do away with—the truth however he could. He has never wanted human beings to have the salvation that has been denied him.

As you read, consider the amount of truth that Satan and his agents have successfully subverted from the minds of God’s people. Also consider the number of people who have been spiritually “slaughtered” by this long process. What has occurred could only be described as a Church of God “holocaust.” The survivors among God’s people have literally been witness to a spiritual holocaust in the WCG.

A thief is a thief! He is one who steals what is not his. Why does Christ label false leaders, who have crept into His Church, as “thieves”? The answer is simple! They always steal at least three things: (1) PEOPLE who belong to Christ—that He has “bought with a price” (I Cor. 6:20); (2) TITHES, which belong to God (Lev. 27:30)! (hundreds of millions of God’s tithe dollars have been stolen from Him by false leaders over a period of years); and (3) TRUTH from the visible Church.

No one who loves the truth of God can question that Mr. Armstrong led the Philadelphian Era of Christ’s Church. We could then ask: How could this man—or this era—have been wrong on so many basic, vital, important doctrinal truths and have received no criticism from Christ in the book of Revelation (3:7-14)? (The Philadelphia and Smyrna eras are the only two eras for which Christ had no correction, though both did have problems with a special fraternity of liars called the “synagogue of Satan.”) One must rectify this apparent enormous scriptural discrepancy in order to believe that either these wholesale changes or any changes—supposedly toward the truth instead of away from it—are correct.

Since Philadelphians are told, “Hold that fast which you have” (Rev. 3:11), and this is tied directly to retaining their crown, then accepting any of the changes becomes its own real problem. Consider this statement carefully! However, anyone who chooses to reject all of the changes is invariably called “an Armstrong worshipper,” to deliberately obscure the fact that he is really “a truth of God lover.” But it certainly does “play in Peoria” better if these are depicted as worshipping Mr. Armstrong.

An Old Pattern Returns

The 280 doctrinal changes listed in this book are not random and meaningless. The great architect of false religion always leaves the same footprints. While Satan is extremely cunning and deceptive, he is largely unoriginal! These changes reflect a direct return to the long-held, popular teachings and beliefs of this world’s churches. Some reflect Catholicism. Others reflect Protestantism. Still others reflect Greek Orthodoxy. And still others reflect the rudiments of this world’s philosophies. Do not ever disconnect this central master plan, and result, from what all these false teachings represent—what they mean! The WCG is not returning to the world—it is already there, just as much as any other Sunday-keeping group is—and has been there since 1995! (Most or all WCG congregations now keep Sunday.) Sadly, many people’s recollection of the teachings of the churches from which God originally called them, has faded. Many have re-accepted their same pre-calling, pagan beliefs, without proper recognition, merely because of different, more clever packaging—and because of a highly aggressive marketing campaign to sell them to the membership. (Thousands in the splinters have done the same.)

II Thessalonians 2:3 reveals that a “falling away” (Greek—apostasia—“a defection from truth”) would precede Christ’s Second Coming. Verses 10 and 13 explain that receiving salvation is attached to both a “love of the truth” and a “belief of the truth.” Everything that happened in the WCG was foretold nearly 2,000 years ago. No one should any longer doubt that these events occurred exactly on schedule. While many seem terribly confused by what occurred, they should be encouraged and excited. Prophecy is right on schedule! Nothing is out of control! In its own way, this should excite and inspire brethren who can now see through what has happened, and is still happening to the scattered brethren throughout the splinters—to those who are not fully holding fast! (To learn more about the “falling away” of II Thessalonians 2:3 being fulfilled in the WCG, and how the Living Church of God now claims this verse is a future worldwide rebellion/revolt led by the man of sin, read the article covering this subject in my book Surviving “Perilous Times”.)

Titus 3:9-11 says heretics are to be rejected and avoided. Two thousand years of Church history demonstrate that people of truth and courage (always the small minority) have been willing to follow this biblical command. (To understand much more, listen to the sermons “God’s Way: Small, Little, Few” and the “90 Reasons” series.)

What Is the Church?

Many brethren never stop to consider whether there is a Bible definition of the Church. There is!—and it is found in I Timothy 3:15. Consider the following translations of this scripture as you evaluate where the living, active, true Church of God is always found: “…the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (KJV), “…the pillar and foundation of the truth” (Goodspeed), “…and the support of the truth” (Berkley NT), “…and buttress of the truth” (Weymouth), “…and bulwark of the truth” (Moffatt), “…and mainstay of the truth” (Montgomery NT), “…and staythe prop and supportof the truth” (Amplified), “…and the base of what is true” (Basic English NT), “…the foundation upon which the truth rests” (Knox NT).

With this framework, consider this quote from Mr. Armstrong, from a broadcast of approximately 30 years ago. It is found almost verbatim in his booklet The Plain Truth About Easter (pp. 15-16). The powerful impact of its message is an amazing parallel of today. Of course, the emphasis is mine throughout:

And even in Paul’s day many among those attending at Antioch, at Jerusalem, at Ephesus, at Corinth, and other places began to apostatize and to turn away from the truth. Divisions [Author’s note: Notice that Mr. Armstrong understood that the first century apostasy produced numerous groups, holding to a variety of different wrong ideas mixed with truth.] sprang up and those individuals unconverted or turned from God’s truth and way of life were no part of God’s true Church though visibly assembling with those who were. The mystery of iniquity was already working as the Apostle Paul wrote in II Thessalonians, the 2nd chapter, and it was working inside of the visible churches. This apostasy increased and by the year of 125 A.D. the majority in most churches now, the majority assembling for services in most churches [were continuing in many of their old pagan beliefs and practices, though professing to be Christians]. And, incidentally, they still assembled on the Sabbath day – believe it or not – that’s the day we call Saturday…Now, gradually, a smaller and smaller portion of the visible churches going by the name Christian remained truly yielded to God and to His truth and led by His Spirit. And after Emperor Constantine took virtual control of the visible professing church, in the early 4th century, the visible organization became almost wholly pagan and they began excommunicating and persecuting all who held to the true Word of God – the Bible! And finally it became necessary for all real Christians, even as a scattered people, it became necessary for them to flee. And they, the ones that were led by the Spirit of God, the ones in whom Jesus Christ was living His life in them, they alone composed the true Church and they had to flee the jurisdiction of the government in order to truly worship God. That’s what’s happened my friends, to the Church, but GOD STILL HAS HIS MINISTERS. GOD STILL HAS HIS CHURCH. I want to tell you that God’s truth is still written in the pages of your Bible if you’ll blow the dust off of it and look at it as it is.”

No Intention of Attacking People

I tried as hard as humanly possible not to write this book in a spirit of attack or hostility, and I am neither bitter nor angry, though I have been accused of this. But I do hope that many brethren will have “righteous indignation” in a proper way over what took place in God’s Church. These feelings are not wrong and are actually scriptural in certain circumstances—and this can keep people zealous for full solutions—not partial ones. Jesus taught, “Be not angry with your brother without a cause.” God says that He “is angry with the wicked every day,” and that He will be angry at the entire world for a full year during the “Year of God’s Wrath,” usually called the “Day of the Lord.” Mr. Armstrong was not bitter or angry when he powerfully pointed out the false doctrines and errors of this world’s churches. And then only physical destruction was at stake for those who did not heed. Should I be less thorough or fervent when eternal life is at stake for those who will not listen?

The Bible contains a long list of God’s servants who had to point out error even though it brought them accusation from their detractors. I am neither villain nor hero. I know that I have the pearl of great price and I am determined to keep it full, round and smooth, and none of it can be allowed to be chipped away. My ordination as a minister, and training by Mr. Armstrong, require me to help as many sheep as possible to do the same.

I have no interest in attacking personalities as some do—that is Satan’s role! True ministers are for the truth, not against individuals.

Comprehensive Record

This is a truly exhaustive compilation of virtually every WCG doctrinal and policy change through 1995. To my knowledge, it is the only published attempt to capture the full scope of what happened there. While some of these changes are smaller and less significant, others are huge and have a devastating impact on belief and practice. Also, many of the changes involved numerous re-explanations of individual scriptures that could have been listed separately, thus making this list almost unending.

Note that changes 236-280 were originally recorded in an Appendix, separate from the book. They reflected the final wholesale abandonment, in late December 1994, of the central biblical teachings that involve and require obedience to God, and on numerous vital matters. Earlier reported changes that I listed did not reflect that this had yet happened. Basically, I recorded changes in the order that they occurred! Therefore, some author’s notes may not appear to reflect a clear recognition of what would later be a more obvious and open abandonment of certain truths.

A more comprehensive approach was carried out, at the risk of being called picky or twiggy, because the final product would demonstrate that wrong doctrine eventually leavens everything that it touches. In this regard, carefully note the Section II lead-in, “Why So Many Changes are Included.”

Although not always possible, I have also tried to keep edits and commentary to a minimum throughout in order to allow the reader to be convicted by the weight of the changes themselves. In some instances, author’s notes are necessary to make clear the apostates’ overall strategic and/or tactical thinking.

“Proving All Things”

Space does not allow for the inclusion of all the information needed to prove the old teachings correct. This is not the purpose of the book. (The Restored Church of God has a vast array of other literature that does this, and in exhaustive detail.) But it is hoped that this record will spur as many as possible to their own research and conclusions, and our literature is very helpful in cementing—or recementing—God’s doctrines into the mind.

Truth has always had its own attraction to those who love it. If someone deeply covets the truth of God, I have often said that he will “run through fire barefoot, over broken glass, jump deadly snakes and swim through alligators” to reach it! Make no mistake! This book will challenge—and is in part intended and written to challenge—you deeply on how much you love God’s truth and His way of life. Again, this means that you may find some personal research is necessary after you finish it.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 quotes are included in the book. Assuming that the truth could be quantified, this book demonstrates that nearly 100% of what Herbert W. Armstrong taught God’s people was thrown from the WCG! Possibly, some tiny fragments of a few truths may still remain there. I stopped counting years ago. Even the name of the church has now changed.

Title Revised

The original title of the first editions of this book was in a different tense, having been Except There Come a Falling Away (again, a reference to Paul’s prophesied warning in II Thessalonians 2:3). Since the worst part of the falling away is now behind the Church, I decided that the title should come to reflect past tense. However, in one sense, the falling away from some aspects of the truth is still occurring in numerous ways within the splinters and slivers. It is most crucial to understand this. Therefore, the reader will occasionally see a reference to these groups—“splinters”—among the author’s notes. One large section (“Endless False Doctrines”) of our book Surviving “Perilous Times” discusses this widespread continuing problem in much greater detail. So do virtually all of the others to the splinters, with THE TRUE CHURCH, “ANOINT YOUR EYES,” THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD, THE WORK OF GOD and WHY THE RESTORED CHURCH OF GOD? being the centerpiece books.

Repeating a note from the Prologue, a side note is important here: Understand. The Worldwide Church of God has long since gone back to the world. What is presented in this book are largely established facts of history, now involving a look back at a period of time—the early- to mid-1990s—when these things were actually happening. The author’s notes all through the book have slowly come to reflect a time period that is over. Some do not. Today, many would be written differently—from the perspective of the early 21st century, as though they had happened years ago. But continually altering the book as the years pass becomes an unnecessary and complex endeavor toward no real helpful end. So periodically remind yourself of why much (not all) of the book is written in present tense—I was trying to help people who were becoming entangled at that time, rather than offering a review of a time long past from today’s perspective.

No Further Editions

The book now contains 280 doctrinal changes. In 1993, I realized that eventually the WCG leadership would throw away everythingthat God used Herbert W. Armstrong to teach to His Church. Therefore, I wanted a record for all who wished to know everything that had been changed, and how and where they could have it restored. I repeat: The scope of what happened is now a matter of public, and even historic, record. This book attempts to capture this record in an organized way for the many who have asked (and for a few who may still be asking), “What were the changes?” All with eyes to see and ears to hear will understand that 280 documented changes are more than sufficient to convict the follower of truth that he must leave error—wherever it is being taught!

I encourage you to read the entire book to grasp the full scope of what happened. The same process led by the same spirit is still at work within the splinters, but it is simply happening at a slower pace! To hop around or only read selected parts of the book will greatly obscure the complete story, including this part!

It became inevitable that this book would fall into the hands of people whose goal would be to attack and discredit it. I claim it to be neither complete nor perfect. My book Should Accusers Be Answered?explains why I rarely answer critics. Do not let yourself worry about what people will say as you decide what to do! Remember, critics always seem to know exactly how to critique the work of others, while being too lazy or weak to ever attempt that same work themselves! (You may also wish to read the thorough brochure Do You Know “David Pack”? – My Life and Ministry—Rumors and Lies vs. Facts and Truth.)

Clever arguments can probably appear to explain away a few of these changes. Will you permit that to obscure the massive scope of probably the greatest apostasy in history? Or will you prove all things, hold fast that which is good and only follow teachers of the full restored truth?

Also note that the changes are listed in the general order that they were introduced within the apostasy. This means that the reader must recognize the worst and most obvious changes appeared later, after the Church had been conditioned and inoculated to the way the process worked when lower-profile truths were being thrown away.

Mr. Armstrong’s Warning

Mr. Armstrong left a message for everyone today. We need not wonder exactly what he would say if he suddenly reappeared to survey the devastation. In 1934, when he decided to leave the Sardis era of the Church over (what some consider) relatively minor issues of truth, he demonstrated by his actions what he would do. At the individual level, he saw people depart from the truth over and over in his lifetime:

“Rather astonishing, isn’t it, that people who have heard God’s TRUTH preached for many years – people who at first accepted it in the love of God, professed it, started out practicing it – should, through the years, fall away from the truth…[and] begin to embrace false doctrines and errors…

“What is God’s sentence upon them? Listen!

“‘It is IMPOSSIBLE for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted of the good Word of God…if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh’ (Heb. 6:4-6). ‘Let it be a warning to ALL, and let all FEAR, and TREMBLE before the all-powerful WORD OF GOD!’”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Why Local Churches?”, GN, March 1957

A Final Thought

It is too late to help many thousands who have completely fallen away from God’s truth. It is impossible “to renew them again unto repentance” (Heb. 6:6). The incredible destruction that swept so many away caused me to often ask, how could so many give up so much so fast because of the deception of so few? The answer lies in this famous quote by Adolf Hitler: “What luck for rulers that men do not think.”

Do not let yourself be one of those people who “do not think”! Pray, study—and THINKas you read this book, and decide how you will act upon it!

BIOGRAPHICAL FOREWORD

Many have asked about me personally—who I am and why I prepared There Came a Falling Away. Why did I separate from the WCG when I did, in early 1993? Why did I choose the original Church affiliation that I did?

Here is a personal background, describing in the briefest way certain key events in my ministry. (Much more can be learned by reading my 2-volume biography—The Authorized Biography of David C. Pack.)

God called me in 1966 when I was 17 years old and living in Lima, Ohio. I went to Ambassador College (Pasadena) a little over a year later in 1967 and graduated in 1971. My first field assignment was as a summer assistant in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1970. Upon graduation, I married Miss Shirley Ochs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (who died in 2007), and was again assigned to Indianapolis.

My wife had been Mr. Armstrong’s secretary, off and on, for a period that spanned eight years until 1971 and included her years as a student. She graduated in 1968 and had become his secretary again for one and a half years before we were married. I still remember his counseling her before our wedding for about two hours, via long distance from the Philippines. In fact, it was my wife’s position as Mr. Armstrong’s secretary that led me into a special friendship with him, which lasted until his death. The teaching and observations I gleaned from him could form its own separate book.

My entire ministry was a continuous series of assignments replacing ministers who were either fired, suspended or who had quit their pastorates and the Church. As a result, I continually found myself serving where people were divided, embattled, experiencing false teaching and generally confused. Sometimes, many brethren had just left the Church, 165 in one area. While the details would be tedious to read, these assignments became experiences that defined and galvanized my ministry into what it is today.

Unfortunately, addressing the problems that existed in pastorates that I had inherited made it impossible to avoid a whole variety of tough decisions. Because I was determined to always squarely face those decisions, I developed a reputation for being “tough and mean,” when all I had really done was administer a basic distinction between right and wrong. While most others apparently found this difficult, for those who follow Scripture it is simply what you have to do. Taking the political route or avoiding these decisions would have made my life much easier in the short run, but I would have neglected the true needs of the flock in the long run.

The greatest lesson that I learned through those many difficult years is that true—uncompromising—leadership can be terribly lonely. I spent much of my ministry “in trouble” because I would not cover my eyes to, or sweep under the rug, matters of clear right and wrong—and what I must do about what I saw.

Demoted to Associate Pastor

Just before Mr. Armstrong died, his soon-to-be successor demoted me to Associate Pastor. After serving a large pastorate in Buffalo, New York, my wife, three children and I were sent to serve in the most difficult parts of New York City. This man intensely despised me and had often directly threatened me because of my relationship with Mr. Armstrong. My demotion lasted for over four years, and during this time I was permitted to do very little, even when compared to the regular duties of an Associate Pastor.

During this punishment period (the late 1980s), in order to avoid bitterness while waiting for God to deliver me, I spent a great many hours writing out, by hand, thousands of scriptures on every biblical subject I could think of. I determined to never forget the painful, humbling period that God allowed me to endure upon my removal from perhaps the Church’s largest pastorate, at least shortly before that time. I still review these handwritten verses.

In February 1990, I was sent to Akron, Ohio, and allowed to serve as a full pastor once again. The timing of this transfer coincided with the replacement of a minister who had been fired in late 1989 and started his own group. By this time, I had begun to notice certain subtle doctrinal changes slipping into the Church’s literature. One year later, a headquarters minister (who was at the time my best friend) was sent to “reason with me” about the changes I was resisting. I had been registering my complaints with this particular man since the 1989 Feast, when we discussed future changes that he hinted were “coming downstream.”

Key Conversations

In this February 1991 visit, I raised four specific concerns: the issue of Christians being “born again” in this life, the idea that trying to “imitate Christ” was now being seen as a “false hope,” men wearing earrings, and the most early beginnings of the trinity doctrine. Several of these issues had appeared in a January 1991 Pastor General’s Report. At the same time, the bi-monthly publication for ministers, known as Reviews You Can Use, also hinted that the trinity was on the way, but most ministers were missing the clues. To say that our discussions were “vigorous” would be an understatement! Since this man had been sent to “quiet me down,” it was only his friendship that apparently kept me from being fired or demoted at that time.

I slowly developed a crisis of conscience until May of 1992, when I flew to Pasadena for the ministerial “Refresher Program.” I met with this same minister for a period of 11 hours, at lunch, then dinner, and afterward at his home. It was during this discussion that he explained the new headquarters “vision.” What he said shocked and stunned me beyond belief: “We [various key men in Pasadena involved in the plan] believe Herbert Armstrong was a cult leader who built the Church on sand and filled it full of prophecy freaks [his words]. He never built on Jesus Christ. We’re going to blow all the sand and prophecy freaks from the Church, even if we lose half the members, and build on Christ for the first time. Furthermore, Mr. Armstrong was a dictator, a plagiarizer, a hype-artist who exaggerated everything, and an autocrat who was lost in the 19th century.”

This man also said (and here I am paraphrasing): “I doubt that some of the senior evangelists were ever converted because we are finding they are so hopelessly filled with ‘Armstrongism.’” It became obvious that he was one of the key architects of the previous, and yet-to-be-announced, doctrinal destruction, which he related with such excitement. (Sadly, and this is still an unfolding surprise to those who are carefully investigating, later history demonstrated that all of those senior evangelists he referenced were not as filled with so-called “Armstrongism” as many supposed.)

No Turnaround Coming

At this point, I realized that there was no hope for a turnaround in the Worldwide Church of God. And I had been privately warning of this, since early 1991, to many friends in the ministry. They shared some of my concerns, but none shared them all. I also focused on trying to reach as many as possible in my pastorate. At that time, I had not a hint, inkling or clue that God wanted me to “start another church.” I did realize that He had to raise up someone who would hold fast to the full truth that Mr. Armstrong had taught (and the Church had proven to be correct). I assumed that this had to be a senior evangelist, and I thought at the time that I knew who this man might be.

I determined to wait patiently until God raised up the man who would hold to all that God had taught the Church, without compromise. One other pastor had left (I briefly referred to him earlier) in December 1989. I knew, however, that, in addition to being untrained and insufficiently experienced, this man’s thinking and writings were even then—and he is much worse now—so unsound and bizarre that it was not possible that God would use him to lead the reorganization of His Church. So I waited, from May 1992, for God to raise up one whom I thought He would use.

Because of God’s overall plan and lesson-learning that He had in mind for me, it never occurred to me once, for even a split second, to strike out on my own. While this may trouble some who think that I should have done this earlier, the timing would have been all wrong, from the perspective of God’s purpose. (Details of this, including my training and preparation, are thoroughly covered in other SEP books.) I was determined, however, to never consciously compromise, and to speak out forcefully against all false teaching whenever I saw it. I recognized that I would not remain undiscovered for long.

Another “god”

In the fall of 1992, the infamous God Is… booklet was introduced to the Church. Through this booklet, it was clear that a false, pagan, 1,700-year-old, manmade, non-existent “god” was being presented to the Church in place of the true God. This was a tremendous shot across the bow of the Church that went largely unrecognized. I knew that the acknowledgment and adoration of the pagan cross must soon follow. In fact, this happened in January of 1993. It became clear that my time had run out. At that time, I thought that the WCG had become the Laodicean Church. It was not until some time later that I realized the leadership would depart from God altogether. Though I am jumping ahead, it was in 1994 and 1995 that it became clear that people of two kinds of thinking were fleeing the apostasy, in an essentially co-mingled condition! Some had accepted wrong teachings, but desired the full truth—and others had knowingly accepted different doctrines, but had no interest in returning to what they considered “old ideas.”

The Bible demonstrates that God’s people must depart the organization when a new god is introduced—and that this change is always the doctrinal “point of no return.” Once the true God is disfellowshipped from the Church, it cannot possibly be the Church of God any longer. Literally, it would then become the “church of ANOTHER god!”—and we could add “another Jesus” (II Cor. 11:4). I Corinthians 10:6-15 states bluntly that people must flee when confronted by idolatry and the worship of a false god. Carefully note verse 14 and the phrase “flee from idolatry.” I recognized that Revelation 3:20 pictured the true Christ outside Laodicea “knocking on each man’s door.”

In December 1992, the minister who would start the Global Church of God (on January 2, 1993) was fired from the WCG. He was an older evangelist who had entered Ambassador College in 1949. I had always thought him to be doctrinally sound. After he was fired, he spoke of “restarting the Work” and “preaching the full truth” again, and I believed him. This man and I were, literally, family to one another (in-laws through marriage) and had been relatively close friends for well over 20 years. Another senior evangelist spoke privately to me of joining him. This man was also a friend and “family.” I had always also thought this second man to be doctrinally sound, one who respected the Work and who would defend all of Mr. Armstrong’s teachings.

I now believed I had received a clear signal from God as to where He wanted me to go. I thought this leader would be used to gather and lead the remnant of the Philadelphian era. (My “90 Reasons” series reflects that I have always felt that we must leave the Laodicean Church to remain Philadelphian. “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People includes an explanation why I have never departed from this biblical understanding.)

So I began to make preparations for what had become another imminent termination and gave blunter warnings to various friends and brethren over the next two-month period. I became even more active in speaking against the doctrinal changes. Since a local deacon and an elder in the Akron congregation were carefully monitoring me and reporting to Pasadena, it became clear that I would not survive much longer in the Worldwide Church of God.

A Final Sermon

With time short and events tightening around me, I determined that I should give a special, powerful sermon on February 27, 1993, on the word truth as it is found throughout the Bible. I decided to include, as many as I could possibly fit into one sermon, all of the important aspects of this single word, simply titling the sermon “Truth!” I surveyed a great many scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, and demonstrated that this one word represented the single most important subject in the entire Bible, and that it is the umbrella that overarches every other subject. Though numerous false stories have been spread concerning my separation, this is all that I did on that date. (This sermon is available on our website.)

On that particular Sabbath, there were a number of guests visiting from surrounding areas. A firestorm arose immediately after I finished. A tape of the message was overnighted to Pasadena, and I was summarily fired on Tuesday, three days later, without proper, or even any, notice. Several ministers, who have since gone with the largest splinter, turned me in, and I actually learned of my termination by word of mouth.

I gave this sermon because of a personal admonition given to me by Mr. Armstrong fourteen years before. Had this not happened, I might not have known exactly what to do. He told me directly, face-to-face, “If false leaders ever take control of the Church, I hope you won’t teach their false ideas.” Many long-time ministers can remember him making similar statements openly, more than once, in meetings back in the 50s and 60s. He would say words to this effect: “If you men ever get rid of me, Loma and I will just walk across the street and start over.” This is still public record.

A true minister of God must be willing to give up friendships, through disfellowshipment, to continue teaching God’s truth. He must always be willing to “lay down his life” for the sheep. I did not believe for a minute that “quietly resigning” satisfied this command, and I could not conceive of Mr. Armstrong doing that. (Of course, most ministers quietly slipped from the WCG having issued essentially no real or in any sense thorough warning to anyone.) Three times, when I attempted to fight for God’s people (in 1993, 1998 and 1999), three different Church headquarters called me a liar. This was sufficient for the majority who heard these charges to presume they must be true. Yet, it is its own great irony in our time that those who will not teach the truth are seemingly presumed to always tell the truth—especially about people who will not compromise doctrinal truth.

One of the tasks of a true minister has always been fulfilling Titus 1:9-11, in which it speaks of selecting men for ordination into the ministry. One must be found “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” The next two verses explain that he must fight to protect whole households from “vain talkers and deceivers” who are “subverting” them.

Change 280 will make clear, and in painstaking detail, the duty of all true shepherds. On page 262 of MYSTERY OF THE AGES, Mr. Armstrong wrote the following: “It is the duty of Christ’s true ministers (and how scarce today) to protect the begotten but yet unborn saints from false doctrines, and false ministers.” (Emphasis his.) It is this and other quotes like it that still lead and motivate me as I strive to preserve God’s precious truth for all who still care about it.

Global Church of God Minister

I was fired from the WCG ministry, after 22 years, and became a minister of the Global Church of God (GCG), serving a wide region of the United States from Akron, Ohio. Over time, I found myself establishing dozens of “video groups” (as we called them) throughout the northeast, southeast and central portions of the country. By mid-1994, I became a Regional Pastor supervising the full-time ministry in this general part of the United States and Canada. In early 1995, at its outset, I was appointed to the Global Council of Elders. Periodically, I also wrote for various publications that this group produced. The six years and two months that I spent in GCG was a time of vast lesson-learning and of gaining much valuable experience.

By 1996, I had already expressed several small doctrinal concerns in which Global was drifting from what the Bible and Mr. Armstrong had taught. I ALWAYS presented these concerns to the Council and rarely was anything ever resolved. The leader, Roderick Meredith, had his own doctrinal agenda. This indicated the path that the organization would eventually take. Each time I stood up for doctrinal truth, within my region or in the GCG Council of Elders, I found myself “in trouble.”

A familiar pattern was returning.

By the end of 1996, I was removed as a Regional Pastor and replaced by a man who was terribly liberal in his doctrinal understanding and approach to the ministry. This was a very clear statement to me! I strove through 1997 to take a strong stand on doctrinal and administrative matters, which demanded no compromise. I boldly confronted the leader (first alone and then with witnesses) about his doctrinal drift and other matters. Slowly, all throughout 1998, a definite division grew in the Council, involving the leader’s teachings and conduct. (It serves no useful purpose to cover particulars, and I am determined to never attack the personal character of specific splinter leaders. I will, however, always fight vigorously for true doctrine.)

By early fall of 1998, I was privately warned that I was being “targeted” by the leader for removal and termination. I had been hearing rumblings for a solid year that he had this in mind for me. However, each time I asked him about it, he denied it. On November 7, I determined, once again (as in 1993), to give a powerful sermon, while visiting in Michigan, titled, “Eight Signs of a True Philadelphian.” Just as I understood what was at stake almost six years earlier in similar circumstances, I recognized what was likely to happen again if I were to give a sermon on that topic.

In this sermon, I forcefully stated that numerous false doctrines had entered GCG, and the problem was growing, but that Philadelphians are commanded by God to “hold that fast which you have.” Again, I saw that I had reached the same crossroads that I had faced at the end of 1992 and early 1993, and that I was in a Laodicean organization. The leader’s ambition had blinded him to the role in which God used Mr. Armstrong, and there would be no reconsideration on his part.

Just four days later (at a previously scheduled Council meeting), I was, quite literally, put on trial, lasting eight hours—all day!—because I would not compromise the doctrines that were being trampled by the leader. Of course, the usual charges of “sowing division and discord” were thrown at me, just as they had been when I was fired from the WCG. In a fascinating twist, with complications too numerous to relate, GCG’s leader, Roderick Meredith, was himself fired (over unrelated matters) by the Board of Directors about ten days later. Approximately 80% of the Global Church of God followed him in establishing his new “Living” Church of God, believing him to be merely the victim of a rebellious conspiracy. And his growing list of now over fifty separate doctrinal errors remained largely but not entirely ignored until the beginning of 2005, when brethren finally began to leave him and his organization in large numbers.

This leader’s long-designated successor remained with the remnant of Global. I fervently hoped this man would set the church “back on track.” But, because of tremendous financial problems that ensued from the Global split, not only did things not get better doctrinally, but financial implosion eventually resulted. The previous leader had left the Church with massive debt and little chance of ever repaying it. (Almost ten months later, in September 1999, that previous Global leader’s direct assistant actually sued the Global Church of God out of existence. A very sad chapter was ended!)

The New (Post-Split) Global

By March of 1999, it became clear that certain GCG pastors, who were now more openly teaching mass heresy (now in the remnant of GCG), were not going to be reined in by the new leadership anymore than the previous leader would rein in himself. I stepped up my complaints to headquarters and the process of directly warning brethren that numerous false doctrines (large and small) were still growing like cancer within the Church. In early April, I was warned for the last time, now by this new leadership, to “go along and keep quiet”—in almost these exact words. Once again, I was told that I was “sowing division and discord.”

By late April, a particular pastor, actually an untrained local church elder who had been hired and promoted, brought formal “charges” against me before the Council of Elders. I was once again officially put on trial for another eight-hour period that spanned parts of two days. My “sentence,” among other things, was that I was cast from the Council, had my pastoral responsibilities reduced, was told to be quiet and go along and was ordered to apologize to the two worst outright heretics whose false teachings I had withstood.

These terms were impossible, and I told the Council that I would get back to them shortly before I “did” anything. I intended to respond in three days. The very next day, however, the Council carefully ambushed me by announcing throughout Global and on the Internet what they had done to me. I responded to these charges on my personal website on the Sabbath of May 1, after first notifying the GCG headquarters (as I had already intended to do) that I could not accept the terms of their sentence. I fully understood what this meant.

I was fired two days later, on May 3, 1999, after six years and two months in the Global Church of God!

A Realization Had Been Dawning

It was not until late March or early April of 1999 that it first occurred to me that not one senior minister (or organization) was remotely holding to all that the Church had been taught by Mr. Armstrong. This left me with two clear choices!

One: Seek to join some other organization, this time clearly knowing in advance that I must compromise to do this. Two: Like Mr. Armstrong, when he departed from the divided organizations that comprised Sardis, be willing to recognize that all of the groups had doctrinally and in works drifted into Laodicean thinking, and forsake all of them. I had come to realize that, collectively, they comprised the seventh, scattered, divided, dominant and final era of the Church—and I had to leave them all!

I remembered my promise to Mr. Armstrong—that I would not consciously teach doctrinal error under any circumstances. I determined that if I found that I had ever drifted into a departure from any part of the full truth of the Bible’s teachings that God gave us through Mr. Armstrong, that I would acknowledge it (publicly, if necessary) and return to the correct teaching immediately. I had no choice but to proceed forward alone, doing what Mr. Armstrong did, trying to restructure the Church after the pattern and teaching that we all understood. (No minister can start a “new” Church. Christ did that in A.D. 31.) I realized that all of the people with God’s Spirit—and who wished to return to the Philadelphian condition, meaning those who would “anoint their eyes” as Christ commanded in Revelation 3:18—had to be slowly gathered by Christ out of the numerous groups that developed after the apostasy.

For many reasons, I understood that it was ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE for Christ to gather all Philadelphians at the time of flight to the Place of Safety. (You may read my splinter book on THE TRUE CHURCH and hear my vital sermon series on the “Body of Christ” to understand why this is true.)

So, The Restored Church of God is not a “new church.” It is the reorganization—the continuation—of the only Church that Jesus Christ founded, now almost 2,000 years ago. (You may read our book Where Is the True Church? – and Its Incredible History!, as well as The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties, among over 200 other books, booklets, articles and Bible lessons, plus our three magazines, to learn more about us.)

Section I – HOW THE SEDUCTION SUCCEEDED OR THE STORY OF THREE METHODS

The Worldwide Church of God had about 155,000 people in 1990 (151,601 attended the Feast that year). Over 110,000 appear to have been completely seduced and taken out of God’s Way. Of course, many thousands of these had never been converted. It is also true that almost all of the rest have been partially seduced. This is a truly staggering statement, but true nevertheless. Many will refuse to accept this and will ignore the facts. (The majority of those who left the truth will never be reached or helped by this book, or the rest of what we have written for those in the splinters.) The fact remains—it did happen! The question is not whether it happened, but, rather, how. The methods used in a mass seduction of this scope bear their own examination!

There were three great hallmarks of Herbert W. Armstrong’s teachings. First, he used plain, simple, truthful language. Second, he challenged people to accept no belief until they had seen it absolutely proven from their Bible. Third, he repeatedly emphasized obeying and holding to those proven beliefs, no matter what ANY man tried to teach otherwise. The WCG’s biggest and most profound change was the abandonment of these three great tools of learning, and the change in most people’s thinking to allow it.

In their place now stand three counterfeits—three classic hallmarks of false teaching! First is the use of confusing, complicated, deceptive double-talk. Second is the employment of psychological tricks to induce people to believe things that they have not seen proven. Third is the cult-like emphasis on going along with new, unproven beliefs out of the fear of Church government.

Before we are ready to study the changes themselves, we must examine how the three original hallmarks used by Mr. Armstrong were so successfully exchanged for their counterfeits. SECTION I gives an overview of these original three hallmarks of WCG teaching and their three cunning, serpentine substitutes.

Method One

Sound Teaching: Based on Plain Truth or Confusing Double-Talk?

OLD TEACHING:

“Immediately I set out to develop a distinct and effective style. It had to be fast-moving, vigorous, yet simple, interesting, making the message plain and UNDERSTANDABLE.”

“Some speakers and writers seem to think they impress their audiences or readers by their ability to use big words beyond the comprehension of the audience. Others succumb to the temptation to become too ‘scholarly,’ speaking over the minds of their hearers – but never plainly into their minds.”

Plain Truth and Good News articles and the Correspondence Course lessons are INTERESTING – they SAY SOMETHING, and say it in a manner extremely easy to read!”

“In any event, this early training resulted in literally thousands of letters during recent years from radio listeners and readers of The Plain Truth, saying that the FACTS are being made more plain, more clear and understandable than they ever heard them before!”

“But there is another principle…even more important than any of these. That is to be honest – to stick to the TRUTH!”

Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1, 1986, pp. 62, 66, 67

“Even at the beginning when Mr. Armstrong put me in charge of the Church’s publications, he insisted that all of the publications be of the highest quality to reflect God’s standards, and to sound with clarity long-hidden truths written simply and plainly. Never must anyone misunderstand God’s truth because of a poorly written article or sloppy design, he emphasized over and over again.”

D. Faulkner, “Editor in Chief Lives On Through Training of Staff,” WN, Feb. 10, 1986

“I have often been asked, ‘How was Mr. Armstrong received?’ For those who already had met him the reception was warm and affectionate. To those meeting him for the first time, they quickly saw him as a man of understanding and wisdom. As Mr. Armstrong would say, ‘It makes sense, and it is the only explanation that does.’”

Aaron Dean, “Inside Mr. Armstrong’s Travels,” WN, Feb. 10, 1986

“…the major part of [Mr. Armstrong’s] drive and energy came from his knowledge of the spiritual significance of his message. He had a burning desire to challenge and grip the listeners. He wanted to make the truth plain to them.”

N. Smith, “Evangelist Remembers Early Broadcasts,” WN, Feb. 10, 1986

The Star-News published interviews with Church members after the funeral.”

“‘[One] church member said her most lasting memory of Armstrong is “his speaking ability, his teachings and his writings. He had a way of writing that anyone could understand, and he was a powerful speaker.”’”

Jeff Zhorne, “Media Mark Death of Herbert W. Armstrong,” WN, Feb. 10, 1986

“My life was affected for good from the very first time I heard Pastor General Herbert W. Armstrong on the radio in January, 1951. As the years passed it was affected more profoundly.”

“I thought he knew far more about his subject than anyone else I had heard. I soon concluded, ‘No man ever spoke like this man!’”

Leroy Neff, “HWA’s Favorite Subject: The Work of God,” WN, Feb. 10, 1986

“What Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong valued most, and what he labored hardest to build was his understanding.”

“He turned his energy and his formidable ability to concentrate on searching out the answers to some of life’s most important questions: Does God really exist? And if He does, what does He expect of us? What was His purpose in creating man?”

“Mr. Armstrong was not prepared to accept fuzzy and often muddled concepts that masquerade as answers to these questions. He wanted the truth.”

“Mystery of the Ages is the product of that understanding. Mr. Armstrong did not underestimate the importance of this last work, for it contained vital keys to understanding the plan of God as revealed in the Bible.”

Joseph W. Tkach, “He Remembered You,” PT, Nov.-Dec. 1986

NEW TEACHING:

“Some brethren feel that God’s Church is always changing. You know, they are right.”

“After a while, I realized the errors in the [Mystery of the Ages] could make the whole subject seem unreliable, and I had to do what I perhaps should have done to begin with.”

“When the book was finished, Mr. Armstrong made some very strong claims regarding the book.”

“He was human, and…he simply got carried away in his description of it.”

“So what was I to do? How could I before God continue to print the book, knowing it contains errors…?”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, May 21, 1990

double-talk 1: language that appears to be in earnest and meaningful but in fact is a mixture of sense and nonsense 2: inflated, involved, and often deliberately ambiguous language”

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1976), p. 342

“We have found that we have used certain language in the past that didn’t really describe what we believed and we have attached our own internal meanings to them…And so we have, as a result of discussions with Dr. Tucker and other people, re-evaluated certain things.”

Michael Snyder, WMUZ radio interview, Detroit, Michigan, Dec. 13, 1991

“We frankly are troubled by what appears to be a double standard in the Worldwide Church of God material.”

McDowell and Stewart, The Deceivers: What Cults Believe/How They Lure Followers (1992), p. 286

“In a slightly different category is the teleological argument, also known as the argument from design. This argument claims, from an analysis of objects in the world, that there is evidence of design. Then it reasons that design demands a designer, defined to be God.”

“The central issue in the debate over the validity of the teleological argument is whether the universe shows evidence of design. If there is design, then the argument is valid. However, design would only prove the existence at some time in the past of a designer; it would not prove that this designer still exists or that the designer is the God of the Bible.”

God Is…(1992), p. 6

“The concept of conversion as a rebirth was common, and any Jewish leader would have understood.”

“The Talmud says, ‘A man who became a proselyte is like a child newly born.’”

“To interpret ‘born again’ as the resurrection would run counter to the commonly understood meaning of that concept. Why would Christ use that concept for something totally different from its known and accepted meaning?”

“For that matter, if a resurrection was meant, why not simply say resurrection? Why use a figure of speech at all? Christ used a figure of speech to convey the difficult and new concept of conversion. The resurrection was neither difficult nor new, and thus not in need of an illustrating figure of speech.”

B.W. Schnippert, “The Breathtaking Miracle of Being Born from Above,” WN, Feb. 3, 1992

“Someone might say, ‘I see the need to change when we’re wrong, Mr. Tkach, but if we thought we were right before, but now we see we’re wrong, how can we be sure we are right this time?’

“This is an important question. How can we be sure we are right this time?

“The answer to this question makes sense only if we walk in the humility of Jesus Christ. Since we look to God to lead and guide us, we must at all times remain willing to undertake even further change if and when we find that our understanding is still incomplete.

“Do we all understand the importance of that attitude?”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, June 24, 1991

“Some may say, ‘Well, I guess we are saying we just don’t know what the Holy Spirit is.’ It is true that our present position is less explicit and dogmatic than the positions we have taken before. We feel we have erred in the past by being simplistic and superficial. We attempted to oversimplify the transcendence of God – a subject that does not have simple answers.

“The nature of the Holy Spirit is one of the most profound concepts within Scripture. As the booklet took pains to show, the Holy Spirit has been the subject of intense debate for nearly two millennia.”

Joseph Tkach Jr., “Church Administration,” PGR, Dec. 8, 1992

Method Two

Accepting or Changing Belief: Based on Proof or Psychological Tricks?

OLD TEACHING:

“It is US Satan is seeking to deceive. He will deceive even the very elect IF POSSIBLE. And it is possible if we are careless, and assume things without careful study of all sides, and ample PROOF from the Scripture. We must be continually ON OUR GUARD never trusting any man, or even a board or group of men, but God alone, through His holy word!”

“The scriptures speak of FALSE apostles, and of ‘them which SAY they are apostles, and are not, but hast found them LIARS.’ (II Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2). Let us beware being deceived. It is the COMMANDMENT KEEPERS whom the Devil seeks, in these latter days, to deceive!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Did Christ Reorganize the Church?”, GN, Feb. 1939

“And just remember my friends, that your salvation doesn’t depend on some group or organization of men that may scoff. Your salvation is a private, personal thing between you and your God. And you’re going to be held accountable. So you look this over. And you look in your Bible and you believe what you find in your Bible.”

“Now I can’t accept error. I can’t just swallow every wind of doctrine that comes around. Well, neither should you, my friends! Now maybe I’m just giving you some new wind of doctrine…you shouldn’t swallow everything that comes along. But let me tell you, my friends, your eternity is at stake, and it’s a personal, private matter between you and God. And your Bible says many deceivers, many false prophets, are gone out into the world. And many of them are absolutely sincere.”

“You know, people that have ever tried to change me find that I don’t change easily or quickly, but my mind is open. But I need to be sure.”

“But of course you need to be very careful and your Bible says ‘PROVE ALL THINGS’ – don’t just carelessly accept something. Now this booklet…I’ve talked to you about, if it isn’t proved don’t accept it!”

“This whole world – human nature is good and evil mixed – and in this world you find truth and error mixed. And we have to get the truth and prove it, my friends! Prove all things and be careful.”

“Do you know how I studied this question originally?…I got down on my knees and I would read it awhile, and then I would close my eyes and pray to God about it, and ask, ‘Oh God, open my eyes, open my understanding. Help me not to be misled or deceived, but whatever is truth help me to see it and receive it.’ Why don’t you study it that way – with your Bible – and believe what you see in your Bible?”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Proving the Truth,” WT Radio Broadcast, #9879

“Would you, had you lived there and then, have gone to the big religious organizations and asked whether Jesus spoke the truth?”

“Any who are teaching things different from CHRIST’S OWN GOSPEL…will naturally disagree, oppose this true message, probably accuse us, today, of being false prophets.

“They may even attempt to discredit – to impute evil and diabolical motives – to accuse of dishonesty – to try to assassinate character. Possibly they will malign, impugn, use every psychological trick to set up PREJUDICE, so that you won’t listen or check up, for yourself, in your own Bible!”

“BELIEVE GOD’S WORD, regardless of men.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “If You Had Lived in the Time of Christ,” GN, Oct.-Nov. 1983

NEW TEACHING:

Author’s note: Most remember the many ways changes were introduced while we were told that nothing was really changing. I decided to count all the ways that changes were described as “non-changes.” Here is the list I originally created. How many do you remember?

  • This change is not a change.
  • It’s a matter of semantics or re-wording.
  • It is only a clarification.
  • It is only a change in explanation not in doctrine.
  • It’s not a big change or the trunk of the tree.
  • Details will come later (but they don’t).
  • We must not major in the minors.
  • Mature Christians will see it (and no one wants to feel they’re immature).
  • We must grow in grace and knowledge or, translated, “change is growth.”
  • We were trapped by a paradigm or this is a paradigm shift.
  • We are just putting the emphasis where it always should have been.
  • Be patient with the weaker brethren who can’t see it yet (which appeals to people’s nobler motives to accept the change).
  • They say nothing and just change it.
  • They cloak it so deeply in the language of scholarship that no one recognizes a change was made.
  • “This change will not lead to that change” (known as the red herring tactic that diverts attention from the change being made).
  • The belief is still true poetically, or symbolically, or metaphorically, or analogically, or parabolically, or even “theologically,” just not literally.
  • We must have faith and courage to change when we’re wrong (and no one wants to appear to lack either one).
  • The change has nothing to do with salvation.
  • Most scholars agree the change is correct.
  • The change will help to avoid unnecessarily offending the world.
  • God is leading His Church to see these changes must be made.
  • The Holy Spirit is leading us to see these changes must be made.
  • This change is made by the authority of Jesus Christ.
  • Anyone who cannot accept the changes isn’t satisfied with the leadership God has provided for His Church.
  • This new interpretation is balanced.
  • They misrepresent old teachings to make them look ridiculous and then change them (known as building straw men to knock them down).
  • Anyone who resists these changes is “spiritually rich and increased with goods.”
  • We have known for years that this change needed to be made.
  • We should not reject a point just because it is Protestant.
  • This change is not really Protestant (they point out a minor detail that is different).
  • There haven’t really been any changes (as they make another change).
  • There was an impure underlying motive for teaching this in the past so we aren’t going to teach it anymore.
  • A thorough investigation has been made.
  • Mr. Armstrong would have agreed with and made these changes himself.
  • Mr. Armstrong changed doctrine often and we must follow his example.
  • Mr. Armstrong once believed the doctrine this way.
  • Mr. Armstrong said privately before his death to make this change.
  • Mr. Armstrong had strong beliefs and sometimes exaggerated because of it.
  • Mr. Armstrong was not a scholar.
  • Mr. Armstrong always secretly believed this change.
  • Anyone who resists these changes is only interested in glorifying the memory of a man.
  • This change will not affect how we worship God.
  • A bitter, Satanic mind does not want to accept these new truths.

These gimmicks, ploys and psychological tricks are all still used, and even more effectively, throughout the “splinters.”

Method Three

Unconditional Obedience: To the Bible or to Church Government?

OLD TEACHING:

“The thing is, whoever is the Apostle, whoever is guiding and putting the truth into the Church must be honest with the Word of God! Now, if you ever find me dishonest with the Word of God you reject me as God’s Apostle.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, taped Bible study on II Cor. 2, Tucson, AZ, Dec. 6, 1980

“Messrs. Ray and Oberg immediately offered a resolution that I be required, if I remained in the conference, to baptize people their way instead of the Scriptural way…

“As soon as I heard of the action taken, I immediately wrote a letter canceling the $3 per week salary…”

“‘As for me and my house,’ I then said firmly, ‘we shall serve the Eternal our God, and Him ONLY shall we serve. If MEN pay us a salary – even as small as $3 per week – we have now learned we must preach only what MEN order us to preach. If we are to WORK FOR GOD we must look to God as our EMPLOYER, AND TRUST HIM TO SUPPLY OUR EVERY MATERIAL NEED.”

“This final crucial test had proved that I would be FAITHFUL to God and His Word, even at the cost of giving up everything!

“I know of evangelists who probably are sincere in supposing they are serving God – and who would like to be free to proclaim many truths they now hold back. They reason something like this: ‘If I go further, and preach those things, I’ll lose all my support. I’d be cut off from the ministry altogether. Then I could preach NOTHING. Better serve God by preaching as much of the Biblical truth as possible, than to be prevented from preaching anything.’

“They are relying on the financial support of MEN. Or of organizations of men. Anyone in that predicament is the SERVANT OF MEN, and NOT OF GOD, whether he realizes it or not.”

“Repentance means GIVING UP your way – the world’s way – the world’s opinion of you! It means turning to the WAY OF GOD – the way of His law! It means SURRENDER – unconditional surrender – to live by EVERY WORD OF GOD. Since the Bible is the Word of God, it means to live by the Bible! It means utter voluntary submission to the AUTHORITY of God, as expressed in HIS WORD!”

“It really did hurt Mrs. Armstrong and me, and all very loyal to God’s true Work, very deeply to see some we loved very much willing to be misled by greedy and self-willed little powerless preachers. But such is life, and such is this world!”

Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1 (1986), pp. 524-525, 528, 597, 635

“Even in Paul’s day, many among those attending at Antioch, at Jerusalem, at Ephesus, at Corinth, and other places, began to apostatize and turn from the truth. Divisions sprang up. Those individuals unconverted or turned from God’s truth and way of life, were no part of God’s true Church, though visibly assembling with those who were. The ‘mystery of iniquity’ was already working inside these visible churches. This apostasy increased! By the year A.D. 125 the majority in most churches, especially those Gentile-born, were continuing in many of their old pagan beliefs and practices, though professing to be Christians! Gradually, a smaller and smaller portion of the visible churches…remained truly yielded to God and His truth, and led of His Spirit. After Constantine took virtual control of the visible, professing Church in the early fourth century, this visible organization became almost wholly pagan, and began excommunicating and persecuting all who held to the true Word of God!

Finally, it became necessary for real Christians, who, even as scattered people, alone composed the true Christian Church, to flee from the jurisdiction of Rome in order truly to worship God!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, The Plain Truth About Easter (1973), pp. 15-16

“So, as the first step in this test, I wrote up an exposition of some 16 typewritten pages proving clearly, plainly, and beyond contradiction that a certain minor point of doctrine proclaimed by this Church, based on an erroneous interpretation of a certain verse of Scripture, was in error.”

“The answer came back from their head man, editor of their paper and president of their ‘General Conference.’ He was forced to admit, in plain words, that their teaching on this point was false and in error. But, he explained, he feared that if any attempt was made to correct this false doctrine and publicly confess the truth, many of their members, especially those of older standing and heavy tithe payers, would be unable to accept it. He feared they would lose confidence in the Church if they found it had been in error on any point. He said he feared many would withdraw their financial support, and it might divide the Church. And therefore he felt the Church could do nothing but continue to teach and preach this doctrine which he admitted in writing to be false.

“Naturally, this shook my confidence considerably. This Church leader, if not the church itself, was looking to people as the SOURCE of belief, instead of to God!”

Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1 (1986), pp. 360-361

“I asked him WHY the Quakers did not believe in water baptism.”

“‘Well, Herbert,’ he said finally, ‘I’ll have to confess I can’t honestly justify our church position by the Bible. This very thing bothered me a great deal when I first felt called into the ministry. At first, I felt I could not consistently become a minister in the Friends Church because this stand on water baptism really bothered me. But then, I looked at some of the great preachers of the church (naming several, including my own great-uncle Thomas Armstrong), and they all seemed to be holy men of God. And so I decided that if such great and holy men could preach against water baptism, so could I.’

“Here was a man who looked into the WORD OF GOD, and saw one thing. Then he LOOKED TO MEN, who appeared to be righteous and holy, and he followed the example of MEN instead of the teachings of God!”

“This was only the start of my disillusionment about preachers. I had to…trust only God, but to have love and charity for all men.”

Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1 (1967), pp. 303-305

“These CHIEF ministers of the BIG established and reputed denominations said Jesus, the very Christ, was a false prophet.”

“NOWHERE does your Bible tell you to RELY on MEN. Don’t go to MEN to learn whether we preach the TRUTH!”

“BELIEVE YOUR BIBLE! BELIEVE GOD, not man!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “If You Had Lived in the Time of Christ,” GN, Oct.-Nov. 1983

“One young man had made quite a splash in the ministry. He started out accepting the sponsorship and backing of human religious organizations. To be free of narrow sectarian bias he reasoned he should remain interdenominational. But this did not increase freedom to declare God’s TRUTH, but, on the contrary, further restricted it! He soon found that he was limited, in what he was free to preach, to those few doctrines which all of these sponsoring, but differing, denominations approved.

“God has shown me that when a man sets out to answer God’s call to serve HIM, he must rely on God alone. If he relies on MEN, he must serve MEN – not God.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Why This Work Is Unique,” GN, Dec. 1984

“Jesus said that His Church would be persecuted. Why? Because His Church is composed of those that have forsaken their own ideas and the customs and the ways of society, and they’re living by every word of God. They’re the people who look on the Bible with respect and with awe and as the supreme authority and who recognize the authority of the word of God, who look upon God as the Supreme Authority.

“What do most people do? Well, they look on their own conscience as their authority, or they look on the proclamations of men or the decisions of their church board. They say, ‘Well now, our Church looks at it like this…’ And the person who says that usually had no voice in the matter. That’s what the committee at the top decided the Church would believe.

“And all of them, you know, well they’re just like little children that had funnels stuck in their head and the committee at the top of the church decides what the church is going to believe, and that’s their ready-made propaganda or their doctrine, and they go pouring it out a pitcher down the funnel into the brains of these people and they say, ‘Now this is the way our church believes on this. And so and so is the way some other church believes on it.’

“Now the real people of God have forsaken all of that sort of thing and they look on God as the Supreme Authority. And how do you know what God says? Why, the Bible is His Word. And that makes the Bible a Supreme Authority. And it is the authority over their lives and they obey it and they tremble before the Word of God.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “True Church,” WT Radio Broadcast, #9797

“It was but natural to look upon the man whose prayer God had so miraculously answered in healing my wife as a ‘man of God.’ So even though I felt sure this truth was proved, I wanted to be doubly sure.”

“‘Well, did you [and your pastor] find any error in what I wrote?’ I persisted.

“‘Well, no, Brother,’ he admitted, ‘we couldn’t find anything wrong with it. It does seem to be according to the Scriptures, but Brother, we feel that studying into that kind of subject is likely to be dangerous. It might get you all mixed up…It’s best just to keep your mind on Christ.’

“‘But,’ I rejoined, suddenly disillusioned, ‘if the resurrection was on the Sabbath, and not on Sunday, the only reason anyone has for Sunday observance is gone…’

“‘Well, now, Brother,’ he tried to reassure me, ‘that’s just the trouble. You see how it could get you all upset. All the churches observe Sunday. We can’t start to fight all the churches. Now we are saved by GRACE, not works…Better just get your mind off of such things.’

“I walked back to our home…grieved and sorrowfully disillusioned. I had had a lot of confidence in this man. Now here he was…advising a newly converted man who had confidence in him to reject THE WORD OF GOD!

“Arriving home, I happened to turn to Hosea 4:6, where God says that because we have rejected His knowledge, He will reject us.”

“God used this man no more.”

Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1 (1967) pp. 327-329

“…inferiority manifests itself in a desire to belong to a group, club, society, church, group, organization to which one belongs. One would fear to be disloyal, lest the others in this factional group consider him as a traitor…”

“Yes, it is human to fear the society to which we have become attached in the way that we should fear the Creator God!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Why God Is Not Real to Most People,” Reprint Article #186

“Christians must be alert to the prophecy that even from among their leaders some would arise speaking perverse things – twisting God’s Word (Acts 20:29-31).”

“So respect and obey God’s true ministers, but constantly study to acquire the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5) and to perceive a deceiver who might arise.”

“And even then, if there is ever a case when you have a real conviction that one of God’s ministers is teaching something contrary to His will, you ought to ‘obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29).”

“In all matters, then, it’s God’s opinion that really counts! He is the final authority!”

Roderick C. Meredith, “The Final Authority,” GN, June-July 1979

NEW TEACHING:

“The truth is, God places no human under the unconditional authority of another human.”

“Was [Abigail] disrespectful to her husband because she did not sit still while he caused himself and his family to be destroyed? Hardly. She was responsible and faithful even though Nabal was a fool and she had to act contrary to his desires.”

“The same principle applies in a local congregation…we must in all due respect and without resentment refuse to disobey God whether or not the government over us demands it.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, June 27, 1988

“People who decide to leave the Church because they have not come to understand changes in the doctrine should not be treated as enemies.”

“If they choose to go someplace where they can be with people who believe as they do on their points of difference, that is up to them, and that does not make them our enemies.”

“Mr. Armstrong set the example in that way decades ago when he continued to have a friendly relationship with the Church of God (Seventh Day).

“There were instances when our members even attended congregations of that church when there was not one of our congregations available.”

“If their motivation is selfish, that is, if they are seeking status and recognition, regardless of where they decide to attend they will still have to deal with that selfishness before they can have a positive relationship with God – before their increased level of service will be meaningful.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Nov. 17, 1992

Response to questions WCG received regarding the above quoted “Personal”:

“We know we are the true Church of God. But we also know that we are not all there is to the true Church of God. The definition of a Christian is one in whom the spirit of God dwells.”

“Did the article imply that disfellowshipped people can go attend some other church and still maintain their relationship with God?”

“We must understand that this is not always a question we can answer in every case…We do not need to make judgments about their relationship with God. The Church does not have power over a person’s access to God.”

Computer Memo: Worldwide Church of God ministry

Section II – WHY SO MANY CHANGES ARE INCLUDED

By the time I wrote the appendix to the Seventh Edition of this book (June 1995), the list of doctrinal changes included had reached 280. There were over 25 other false doctrines that I decided to omit because everything in life has a limit. Although other changes have been made in the years since, I had to ask: What would be gained by making more editions—at great time and expense—to a book already proving overwhelmingly that an apostasy had occurred? At what point is enough, enough? Sufficient evidence had been presented to readers to convince even the most ardent “doubting Thomas”—if one had even a slightly open mind.

However, over time, various critics arose who at least generally agreed with the book. But they had different ideas about what it should contain, how long or short it should be, which might be the best quotes to prove this or that point, etc. Eventually, decisions had to be made about what to include, and someone had to make them.

The “buck stops here,” with me.

Some have suggested that certain changes included here are picky or trivial. I disagree. But, if this were true, the problem would have been identifying those of which it may have been true. Removing them or categorizing them as “less significant changes” is fraught with problems. In effect, I would be assigning God’s truth a value, and would receive two-sided criticism. On the one hand, some might say, “I think such-and-such change should have been included among the more trivial changes.” On the other hand, others might say, “How could you put change such-and-so among the smaller, more trivial ones? It’s big.” Experience has shown that no two people agree on what is “picky” or what is “big.” You are left to decide which are smaller and which are bigger.

The WCG defended “small” changes in the following way: “When we find that we’ve been wrong, regardless of how small the point may be…we have an obligation before God to change it” (Personal from Joseph W. Tkach, WN, June 24, 1991).

Therefore, if an idea was considered important enough to teach in the first place, and considered important enough to change later, I felt it was important enough to acknowledge here. Also, the WCG said that it felt dutybound to change any doctrine it felt was wrong “no matter how significant or insignificant it might seem to be” (Joseph W. Tkach, WN, Nov. 17, 1992). Should I have been less thorough in detailing and preserving God’s truth than they were in erasing it?

I have also noticed that those who feel certain changes are minor or insignificant, invariably agree with some of the changes and/or want to make their own changes! This should not be lost in your thinking.

Some have asked about the publication Reviews You Can Use, quoted often in this book. At the time of this writing, Reviews You Can Use was a bi-monthly publication of the WCG that was only sent to the ministry. An article titled “How Authoritative is Reviews?” by Ralph Orr, in the March-April 1994 issue, describes its purpose in this way: “We edit Reviews with the ministry in mind. They should feel free to use anything in Reviews that will help their ministry. Care is taken to assure that each article is in general biblically sound and supports the Church’s doctrines, positions and policies…Reviews is written with the ministry in mind. They should feel free to use it with confidence.”

For those who are interested, the quotes are taken from the letters to the ministry in the Pastor General’s Report (PGR) but are also found in The Worldwide News (WN). These same letters appeared in the WN as “Personals,” generally about two weeks after the date of the PGR.

Occasional confusion has arisen over page numbers found in the literature references that follow each quote in the book. If you cannot find a quote on the given page number in the literature you have, look a few pages backward or forward. You probably have a different printing of the book or booklet than the one quoted. Even though the copyright dates may have remained the same, the layout of books often changed from printing to printing, shifting the text.

Following the summary list of 280 doctrinal changes is a “Topical Index of Changes” to assist in finding specific changes more quickly. Note that some are listed under more than one heading.

SUMMARY LIST OF CHANGES
  1. The Gospel— Kingdom of God or Jesus Christ?
  2. Kingdom of God— Future or Present?
  3. Prophesied Elijah— HWA a Type of or Only the Church?
  4. Matthew 24:14— Prophecy for Us or Wrong Focus?
  5. Warning the World— Commanded Duty or Self-Righteous Stench?
  6. United States and Britain— Identity Revealed to HWA or Not?
  7. National Identity of Israel— U. S.  and Britain or Jesus Christ?
  8. Purpose of Prophecy— Warning or Encouragement?
  9. Christ’s Return— Imminent or Far Off?
  10. 7,000 Year Plan— Reality or Unfounded Myth?
  11. Trinity Doctrine— False or True?
  12. Family of God— God Is One or Has One?
  13. God and Christ— Persons or Entities?
  14. God’s Body— Literal and Actual or Metaphoric and Formless?
  15. Image of God— Man Looks Like God or Not?
  16. World’s Religions— Source of False Knowledge or Knowledge of True God?
  17. Sons of God— Real or Adopted?
  18. Christ’s Death— He Really Did Die or He Really Didn’t Die?
  19. Father and Son— Literal Relationship or Metaphor?
  20. Antichrist— One Who Denies Christ Could Sin or Anyone Against Christ?
  21. Imitating Christ’s Example— Way To Eternal Life or False Hope?
  22. Crucifixion Instrument— Stake or Cross?
  23. The Cross— Utterly Pagan Symbol or Symbol For WCG?
  24. Interracial Marriage— Wrong or Right?
  25. Marrying Unbelievers— Means Those Outside Church or Can’t Be Narrowly Defined?
  26. “Unequally Yoked Together”— Many Applications or Needs Redefining?
  27. Divorce and Remarriage— Few Exceptions or Many Acceptable Reasons?
  28. Marriage Annulment— For Fraud or For Whim?
  29. Place of Safety— Real Hope or Selfish “Save-Your-Skin” Motivation?
  30. Church Eras— Important Detailed Prophesy or Generalized Instruction?
  31. Church History— One Church or Many?
  32. True Church— Narrowly or Broadly Defined?
  33. Salvation— Saved Later or Saved Now?
  34. The World— Cut Off From God or Not?
  35. Social Activism— Christ’s Job At His Return or Duty For Christians Now?
  36. Personal Evangelizing— Not Member’s Role or Is Member’s Role?
  37. Evangelism— Role Of Evangelist or Gift For Lay Member?
  38. Church Functions— Restricted To Members or “Open Door” Policy?
  39. Ekklesia— Ones “Called Out” or Ones “Called Together?”
  40. World’s Salvation— Future or Now?
  41. Prospective Member— Invited By Ministers or Invited By Members?
  42. Worldly Organizations— Shouldn’t Be Joined or Should Be Joined?
  43. Grace and Works— Both or Grace Alone?
  44. “New Testament Christianity”— Old Testament Needed or New Testament Enough?
  45. Definition of a Christian— Based On True Doctrine or Love?
  46. Obedience and the Holy Spirit— Which Comes First?
  47. Baptism— Required or Not?
  48. Laying on of Hands— Fundamental Doctrine or Not?
  49. Members— Produced Through Baptism or Loosely Defined?
  50. Focus of Literature— Overcoming Sin or Grace, etc. ?
  51. Character Development— Necessity or Not?
  52. False Christianity— Plain Historic Fact or Self-Righteous Accusation?
  53. The Ten Commandments— Foundation of Obedience or Just One Small Part?
  54. Liberalism— Wrong or Right?
  55. Co-workers— Non-Members or Brothers and Sisters In Christ?
  56. Politics and Voting— Spiritual Harlotry or Personal Preference?
  57. Third Tithe— Every Third Year or Compute Annually?
  58. Tithing— Command or Concept?
  59. Abortion— Murder or Not Equated With Murder?
  60. Earrings for Men— Inappropriate or Acceptable?
  61. Proper Hair Length— Can or Can’t Be Determined?
  62. Smoking— Stay Home and Overcome It or Attend Services and Do The Best You Can?
  63. Repeating the “Lord’s Prayer”— Vain Repetition or Not?
  64. Prayer Attitude— Godly Fear and Humility or Any Carnal Attitude?
  65. Proper Sabbath Attire— Important or Not?
  66. The 144,000— True Church of God or Unknown Group?
  67. Prophetic Charts— Valuable or To Be Avoided?
  68. The Beast— Holy Roman Empire or Racism?
  69. Amount of Prophecy— Over 33% or Less Than 22%?
  70. “Many Will Come in My Name”— False Christian Ministers or Political Leaders?
  71. Woman Astride Beast— Catholic Church or Unknown System?
  72. Babylon— Present or Future?
  73. God’s Holy Days— Picture God’s Plan or Celebrate and Honor Jesus Christ?
  74. Colossians 2:16-17— Shadows of Things To Come or Shadows of No Value?
  75. The Azazel Goat— Satan or Christ?
  76. Focus of the Bible— God The Father or Jesus Christ?
  77. The Christmas Tree— Condemned By God or Not?
  78. Church Steeples— Pagan Fertility Symbol or Acceptable Christian Architecture?
  79. Passover Bread— Christ’s Body Only or Church Also?
  80. Body of Christ— Literal Spiritual Organism of Church or Mere Metaphor?
  81. Sign of Jonah— Three Days And Three Nights or The Resurrection?
  82. Three Days and Three Nights— Exactly or About?
  83. Christ’s Resurrected Body— Spiritual or Physical?
  84. Eating Unleavened Bread— Symbol of Obedience or Symbol of Grace?
  85. Easter— Utterly Abominable Paganism or Venerated Christian Holiday?
  86. Crucifixion Date— 31 A. D.  (Wed.  Passover) or 30/33 A. D.  (Fri.  Passover)?
  87. Day of Passover— 14th OR 15th of Nisan?
  88. Leaven— Type of Sin or Not?
  89. Christ’s Body and Blood— Dual or Singular Sacrifice?
  90. Medical Science— Rely on God More or Rely on Both?
  91. Physical Sin— Fact or Fiction?
  92. Emotional Turmoil— Control It or Get Anointed For It?
  93. Persecution— Fact of Life or Embarrassment to be Avoided?
  94. Anointing Oil— Symbolic of Holy Spirit Alone or Symbolic of Medicine Also?
  95. Treating Disease— Harmless Remedies Acceptable or Methods Make No Difference?
  96. Signs to Accompany Gospel— For Us Today or For First Century Church Only?
  97. Transgressing Laws— Breaking or Contravening?
  98. Masturbation— Perversion or Release Of Tension?
  99. Disease as Punishment— Biblical Fact or Unmerciful Condemnation?
  100. Purpose of Disease— Teaches Lawkeeping or Teaches Faithfulness While Suffering?
  101. 7 Keys to Understanding the Bible— Keep Them or Throw Them Out?
  102. Amount of Holy Spirit— Can or Can’t Be Increased?
  103. Church Growth— Proof God Is Pleased or Unreliable Superstitious Thermometer?
  104. Blessing for Obedience— Bible Promise or Deceitful Hype?
  105. Tongues Gibberish— Dangerous Demonism or Profitable When Done Privately At Home?
  106. Women Teaching— Not To Have Positions Of Authority Over Men or May They?
  107. Outside Jobs for Wives— Should Be Avoided or Should Be Pursued?
  108. Marriage Ceremony— Women Should Vow To Submit or Not?
  109. Worldly Theology Degrees— Trap to Be Avoided or Should Be Pursued?
  110. Existence of God— Proven or Accepted On Faith?
  111. Proof of the Bible— Needed or Not?
  112. Commentaries— Often Misleading or Authoritative Source of Truth?
  113. “Train up a Child”— Refers To Moral Training or To Developing Natural Talents?
  114. Pictures of Christ— Idolatry or Helpful Artwork?
  115. Sabbath Keeping— Required For Salvation or Not?
  116. Quartodeciman Sabbath Keeping— Seventh Day or Sunday?
  117. Mark of the Beast— Sunday Keeping or Unknown?
  118. Sabbath Hours— Begin At Sunset or Begin At Dark?
  119. Sabbath Activities— Guidelines Needed or No Do’s And Don’ts?
  120. Assembling on the Sabbath— Commanded or Numerous Exceptions?
  121. Invisible Church— Rare Occurrence or Wide-Spread Phenomenon?
  122. Makeup— Guidelines Should Be Enforced or Not?
  123. Birthdays— Acknowledgements or Celebrations?
  124. Denomination— God’s Church Isn’t One or Is One?
  125. Nimrod— Found In Historical Records or Not?
  126. Lesson of Job— Repentance of Self-Righteousness or Steadfast Faithfulness?
  127. Fish Symbol— Idolatry or Christian Custom?
  128. Polygamy— Sin or Just a Custom?
  129. Human Life— None Before Adam And Eve or Was There?
  130. Strata— Laid Down By Floods or Epochs of Time?
  131. Creation— Literal Genesis Account or Theistic Evolution (“Creative Development”)?
  132. Days of Creation— Literal 24-Hour Days or Metaphors For Epochs?
  133. Genesis 1-11— Literal People and Places or Metaphors?
  134. Human Races— All Descended From Eve or Not?
  135. Noah’s Flood— Worldwide or Local?
  136. Essential Basic Truths— Original 18 Of 1986 or Protestant 8 Of 1992?
  137. Divinely Guided Bible Study— Possibility or Ridiculous Idea?
  138. 666— Number of Roman Empire or Unspecific Identity?
  139. Sign of Christ’s Return— Gospel Preached or Cosmic Disturbances?
  140. Expounding Prophecy— Prophet Motive or Profit Motive?
  141. Apostle— Same as New Testament Office or Modern Administrator?
  142. Children of Members— Should Stay In Church or May Have Valid Reason To Leave?
  143. The S. T. P.  and Doctrinal Team— Curse or Blessing?
  144. Adultery— Sin Against God, Family, And Society or Symptom of a Bad Marriage?
  145. “Perfect in his Generations”— Refers To Noah’s Ancestry or To His Character?
  146. Bible Versions— Conservative and Word-for-Word or Liberal and Paraphrased?
  147. Protestant Language— Sentimental And Meaningless or Good Way To Communicate?
  148. Biblical Numbers— Important or Not?
  149. The Earth— Not Created In Chaos or Was It?
  150. Church of God (Seventh Day)— Part of Sardis Era or Not?
  151. Interpreting the Bible— Not Necessary or Is It?
  152. The Sabbath— Literal Creation or Literary Creation?
  153. “Born Again”— At the Resurrection or At Conversion?
  154. Firstborn from the Dead— Birth/Resurrection Connection or Title of Preeminence?
  155. Protestant “Born Again”— Ignores The Resurrection or Ignores True Conversion?
  156. Gennao— Refers To All Stages Of The Reproductive Process or Not?
  157. Begotten— Refers To The Father’s Role In Impregnation or Not?
  158. Anagennao— A Word And Analogy In The Bible or Not?
  159. I John 3:9— Refers To The Future or The Present?
  160. Dual Sonship of Christ— Biblical or Not?
  161. Nicodemus— Knew Who Christ Was or Not?
  162. Wind Analogy— Pictures Spirit Beings or Pictures Converted Men?
  163. Biblical Pregnancy Terminology— “With Child” or “With Fetus”?
  164. Spiritual Fetuses— Awaiting Spiritual Capabilities or Same as Physical Fetus?
  165. Babe/Conversion Analogy— Not a Contradiction or Is It?
  166. Roman Catholic Church— Apostate or Not?
  167. The Millennium— Christ’s Earthly Reign At His Return or Differing Views?
  168. Length of the Millennium— A Literal 1,000 Year Period or Maybe Not?
  169. Society in Zechariah— Will Occur in Millennium or Goal For People Now?
  170. Peace on Earth— At Christ’s Return or Before Christ’s Return?
  171. The Bible— Coded Book or Not?
  172. All Scripture— Profitable For Doctrine or Not?
  173. Commandment Keeping— Humanly Possible or Not?
  174. The Holy Spirit— “It” or “He”?
  175. Christmas— Pagan Day With Christian Name or Christian Festival?
  176. Christmas Customs— Originated In Paganism or Maybe Not?
  177. Christmas Gift-Giving— Wrong or Not?
  178. “Let’s Put Christ Back into Christmas”— Impossible or Good Reminder?
  179. The Christmas Story— Veils or Reveals The Purpose of Christ’s Coming?
  180. Celebrating Christmas— Forbidden By Bible or Nowhere Mentioned In The Bible?
  181. Protestants— Daughters Of Babylon or True Christians?
  182. Repentance and Sin— Not Understood By “Christianity” or Are They?
  183. Christ’s Temptation— Qualified Him To Rule or Not?
  184. Christ’s Suffering— He Actually Learned From It or Just Pretended To?
  185. The Acting Profession— False Pretense or Not Wrong?
  186. Curse of the Law— The Penalty For Disobeying It or The Law Itself?
  187. Mercy— Based On Repentance or Based On Compromise?
  188. Blood and Organ Donations— Pandora’s Box or Christian Duty?
  189. Cremation— Pagan Custom or Perfectly Fine?
  190. Heart Symbol— Pagan or Godly?
  191. The Fall of Man— Never Happened or Did It?
  192. Eve’s Sin— Sign Adam Wasn’t Leading Properly or Not?
  193. The Sabbath— Pictures A Millennial Rest or An Eternal Rest?
  194. Lazarus and the Rich Man— Parable About Resurrection or Folklore?
  195. Reward of the Saved— Inherit The Earth or Go To Heaven?
  196. Conversion— Usually At Baptism or When God Calls One?
  197. God’s Omnipresence— By His Spirit Alone or In Totality?
  198. Glorified Resurrected Bodies— Have Form or Are Shapeless?
  199. Receiving the Holy Spirit— At Conversion or From Birth?
  200. Spirit in Man— Unique Human Spirit or No Such Thing?
  201. Angels— Have Bodies or Are Formless?
  202. The Fall of Satan— Literal Event or Mere Metaphor?
  203. Prayers of the Unrighteous— Not Heard by God or Are They?
  204. Sending Prayers— Secretly From Your Room or Fax Them To The Wailing Wall?
  205. Prophecy Fulfilled in Type— Forerunner Of Real Event or Metaphoric Fulfillment?
  206. Christ as Conquering Hero— Literal King Soon To Come or Just a Metaphor?
  207. Shunning Heretics— To Be Broadly or Narrowly Applied?
  208. Passover Service— Called Passover or Also Lord’s Supper, Communion, Eucharist?
  209. Satan the Destroyer— God Permits Him To Do a Lot of Damage or Not?
  210. God of this World— Satan or The God of Peace and Love?
  211. Knowing Christ— Linked To Commandment Keeping or Not?
  212. Attaining the Resurrection— Obedience Required or Belief Is Enough?
  213. Worldwide Church of God— Is Not Protestant or Is And Always Has Been Protestant?
  214. Human Reason— Dangerous Substitute For God’s Revelation or Gift From God?
  215. Helping a Rebellious World— Lawkeeping Needed or Imitate Ronald McDonald?
  216. Vain Worship of Christ— Using the Traditions of Men or Pretending to Believe?
  217. Preaching the Gospel— Done By One True Church Only or By All Churchianity?
  218. Counseling with the Ministers of this World— Worthless or Profitable?
  219. Repenting of Homosexuality— The Mind Must Change or Outward Actions Only?
  220. Sin— Can or Can’t Be Defined?
  221. Nude Art— Does Not Measure Up To God’s Standards or Acceptable?
  222. Two God Beings and the Holy Spirit— Explained By Mr. Armstrong or Unfinished Business?
  223. Christ as Logos— The Spokesman of God or The Thought of God?
  224. “Us” in Genesis 1:26— Refers To God Beings or To God and The Angels?
  225. Christ at His Crucifixion— Forsaken By God or Not?
  226. Passover Symbols— Memorial of Christ’s Death or Communion Also?
  227. New Testament Passover— Passover With New Symbols or Completely New Ceremony?
  228. New Testament Sabbath— Same as Old Testament or Entirely New Sabbath?
  229. Sunday Keeping— Satan-Inspired Disobedience or God Inspired Obedience?
  230. Sign Between God and His People— The Sabbath or Faith In Christ?
  231. Sabbath Breaking— A Reason Christ was Crucified or Not That Important To God?
  232. Context of Romans 14— Days of Fasting or The Sabbath And Holy Days?
  233. Following Christ— Means Holding To The Truth or Constantly Changing Our Beliefs?
  234. Unity— Based On True Doctrine or Blind Loyalty To Church Government?
  235. Binding and Loosing— Refers To Administrative Decisions or To Doctrine?
  236. The Law— Still In Full Force And Effect or Done Away?
  237. The Ten Commandments— Obedience Is Required For Salvation or Not?
  238. The Sabbath and Other Commandments— In Effect Before Moses or Not?
  239. Law in New Testament— Meaning Depends On Context or Refers To Entire Old Testament?
  240. Slaves in Bondage— Those Who Disobey The Ten Commandments or Those Who Obey Them?
  241. New Commands of Christ— Keeping The Law With Faith And Love or Just Faith And Love?
  242. Source of Faith— The Holy Spirit or Human Imagination?
  243. The Faith That Saves— Gift of The Holy Spirit or Work of The Flesh?
  244. What was Nailed to the Cross— Our Sins or The Law Itself?
  245. Who was Liberal— The Pharisees or Christ?
  246. Enemy of the New Testament Church— The Religions of Men or God’s Law?
  247. Working on the Sabbath and Holy Days— Sin or Your Personal Decision?
  248. Holy Day Observance— Still Required or No Longer Mandatory?
  249. Christmas, Easter, Halloween— Pagan And Evil or Perfectly Fine To Keep Them?
  250. Partaking of the Passover— Once a Year or of Undetermined Frequency?
  251. The Sacred Calendar— For Christians Today or For Ancient Israel Only?
  252. Keeping the Sabbath— Commanded In The New Testament or Not?
  253. Why Christ Kept the Sabbath and Holy Days— To Obey God or Because He Was Jewish?
  254. New Testament Sabbath— One Day a Week or Every Day All The Time?
  255. Holy Time— Made By God or Made By People?
  256. “The Lord’s Day”— Day of God’s Intervention or Sunday?
  257. Tithing— Required Under The New Government or Not A Part of It?
  258. Lizards, Snakes, Spiders and Skunks— Not Suitable For Food or Perfectly Clean?
  259. Sin— Transgression of The Law or Rebellion Against General Morality?
  260. Perfection— Refers To Perfect Obedience or To Pronouncement By God?
  261. Feast of Tabernacles— Held In Geographical Locations or In Each Christian’s Heart?
  262. The Millennium— A Literal Future Hope or Just A Metaphor For The Present?
  263. Kings and Priests of God— Will Rule In The Millennium or Already Ruling Now?
  264. Old Testament Prophecies— For Our time or Only for Ancient Israel And Judah?
  265. Day of the Lord— Time of Christ’s Return or God’s Intervention At Any Time?
  266. The Key of David— Knowledge of Identity Of Modern Day Israel or Christ?
  267. Israel and Judah as Separate Entities— Plain Fact or Difficult idea To Sustain?
  268. Open Door Before Philadelphia— Opportunity To Preach Gospel or Access To Salvation?
  269. Meaning of Pentecost— The First of Two Harvests or Complete Harvest Now?
  270. Name of True Church— One Proof of It’s Identity or Not Important?
  271. Military Service— Wrong for Christians To Participate In or Opportunity for Service?
  272. Miraculous Healing in the WCG— Working of the Holy Spirit or Witchcraft?
  273. The Apostles’ Creed— Fraudulent or Not Objectionable?
  274. Religious Titles— Inappropriate for All or Only for WCG Ministers?
  275. Attending a Church— A Matter For Free Moral Agency or Nonsensical Intimidation?
  276. Bride of Christ— To Marry Christ At His Return or Married Now To a Church Government?
  277. Bible Scholarship— Based On The Holy Spirit or Simple Matter of Listening To Others?
  278. The Bible— Follow It As The Inspired Word Of God or Follow A Spirit That Rejects It?
  279. Teaching Children Lies— Condemned By God or Commanded By God?
  280. Minister’s Duty— To Preach What God Wants or To Preach What a Man Wants?
TOPICAL INDEX OF CHANGES

Baptism

47. Baptism— Required or Not?

48. Laying on of Hands— Fundamental Doctrine or Not?

49. Members— Produced Through Baptism or Loosely Defined?

Bible and Bible Study

44. “New Testament Christianity”— Old Testament Needed or New Testament Enough?

101. 7 Keys to Understanding the Bible— Keep Them or Throw Them Out?

109. Worldly Theology Degrees— Trap to Avoid or Goal to Pursue?

111. Proof of the Bible— Needed or Not?

112. Commentaries— Often Misleading or Authoritative Source of Truth?

137. Divinely Guided Bible Study— Possibility or Ridiculous Idea?

146. Bible Versions— Conservative and Word-for-Word or Liberal and Paraphrased?

148. Biblical Numbers— Important or Not?

151. Interpreting the Bible— Not Necessary or Is It?

171. The Bible— Coded Book or Not?

172. All Scripture— Profitable For Doctrine or Not?

277. Bible Scholarship— Based On The Holy Spirit or Simple Matter of Listening To Others?

Character Development & Overcoming

20. Antichrist— One Who Denies Christ Could Sin or Anyone Against Christ?

21. Imitating Christ’s Example— Way To Eternal Life or False Hope?

43. Grace and Works— Both or Grace Alone?

50. Focus of Literature— Overcoming Sin or Grace, etc. ?

51. Character Development— Necessity or Not?

62. Smoking— Stay Home And Overcome It or Attend Services and Do The Best You Can?

84. Eating Unleavened Bread— Symbol of Obedience or Symbol of Grace?

88. Leaven— Type of Sin or Not?

126. Lesson of Job— Repentance of Self-Righteousness or Steadfast Faithfulness?

173. Commandment Keeping— Humanly Possible or Not?

182. Repentance and Sin— Not Understood By “Christianity” or Are They?

183. Christ’s Temptation— Qualified Him To Rule or Not?

184. Christ’s Suffering— He Actually Learned From It or Just Pretended To?

212. Attaining the Resurrection— Obedience Required or Belief Is Enough?

260. Perfection— Refers To Perfect Obedience or To Pronouncement By God?

Child Rearing

59. Abortion— Murder or Not Equated With Murder?

113. “Train up a Child”— Refers To Moral Training or To Developing Natural Talents?

142. Children of Members— Should Stay In Church or May Have Valid Reason To Leave?

279. Teaching Children Lies— Condemned By God or Commanded By God?

Christian Appearance

60. Earrings for Men— Inappropriate or Acceptable?

61. Proper Hair Length— Can or Can’t Be Determined?

65. Proper Sabbath Attire— Important or Not?

122. Makeup— Guidelines Should Be Enforced or Not?

Christmas

77. The Christmas Tree— Condemned By God or Not?

123. Birthdays— Acknowledgements or Celebrations?

125. Nimrod— Found In Historical Records or Not?

175. Christmas— Pagan Day With Christian Name or Christian Festival?

176. Christmas Customs— Originated In Paganism or Maybe Not?

177. Christmas Gift-Giving— Wrong or Not?

178. “Let’s Put Christ Back into Christmas”— Impossible or Good Reminder?

179. The Christmas Story— Veils or Reveals The Purpose of Christ’s Coming?

180. Celebrating Christmas— Forbidden By Bible or Nowhere Mentioned In The Bible?

249. Christmas, Easter, Halloween— Pagan And Evil or Perfectly Fine To Keep Them?

Church Government

36. Personal Evangelizing— Not Member’s Role or Is Member’s Role?

37. Evangelism— Role Of Evangelist or Gift For Lay Member?

38. Church Functions— Restricted To Members or “Open Door” Policy?

41. Prospective Member— Invited By Ministers or Invited By Members?

106. Women Teaching— Not To Have Positions Of Authority Over Men or May They?

141. Apostle— Same as New Testament Office or Modern Administrator?

207. Shunning Heretics— To Be Broadly or Narrowly Applied?

234. Unity— Based On True Doctrine or Blind Loyalty To Church Government?

235. Binding and Loosing— Refers To Administrative Decisions or To Doctrine?

274. Religious Titles— Inappropriate for All or Only for WCG Ministers?

275. Attending a Church— A Matter For Free Moral Agency or Nonsensical Intimidation?

276. Bride of Christ— To Marry Christ At His Return or Married Now To a Church Government?

280. Minister’s Duty— To Preach What God Wants or To Preach What a Man Wants?

Commission

1. The Gospel— Kingdom of God or Jesus Christ?

4. Matthew 24:14— Prophecy for Us or Wrong Focus?

5. Warning the World— Commanded Duty or Self-Righteous Stench?

36. Personal Evangelizing— Not Member’s Role or Is Member’s Role?

217. Preaching the Gospel— Done By One True Church Only or By All Churchianity?

268. Open Door Before Philadelphia— Opportunity To Preach Gospel or Access To Salvation?

Creation and Evolution

110. Existence of God— Proven or Accepted On Faith?

129. Human Life— None Before Adam And Eve or Was There?

130. Strata— Laid Down By Floods or Epochs of Time?

131. Creation— Literal Genesis Account or Theistic Evolution (“Creative Development”)?

132. Days of Creation— Literal 24-Hour Days or Metaphors For Epochs?

133. Genesis 1-11— Literal People And Places or Metaphors?

134. Human Races— All Descended From Eve or Not?

135. Noah’s Flood— Worldwide or Local?

149. The Earth— Not Created In Chaos or Was It?

Doctrinal Approach

45. Definition of a Christian— Based On True Doctrine or Love?

48. Laying on of Hands— Fundamental Doctrine or Not?

54. Liberalism— Wrong or Right?

109. Worldly Theology Degrees— Trap to Avoid or Goal to Pursue?

112. Commentaries— Often Misleading or Authoritative Source of Truth?

136. Essential Basic Truths— Original 18 Of 1986 or Protestant 8 Of 1992?

143. The S. T. P. and Doctrinal Team— Curse or Blessing?

147. Protestant Language— Sentimental And Meaningless or Good Way To Communicate?

172. All Scripture— Profitable For Doctrine or Not?

214. Human Reason— Dangerous Substitute For God’s Revelation or Gift From God?

233. Following Christ— Means Holding To The Truth or Constantly Changing Our Beliefs?

277. Bible Scholarship— Based On The Holy Spirit or Simple Matter of Listening To Others?

278. The Bible— Follow It As The Inspired Word Of God or Follow A Spirit That Rejects It?

Easter

81. Sign of Jonah— Three Days And Three Nights or The Resurrection?

82. Three Days and Three Nights— Exactly or About?

85. Easter— Utterly Abominable Paganism or Venerated Christian Holiday?

86. Crucifixion Date— 31 A. D. (Wed. Passover) or 30/33 A. D. (Fri. Passover)?

249. Christmas, Easter, Halloween— Pagan And Evil or Perfectly Fine To Keep Them?

Faith

242. Source of Faith— The Holy Spirit or Human Imagination?

243. The Faith That Saves— Gift of The Holy Spirit or Work of The Flesh?

False Christianity and One True Church

25. Marrying Unbelievers— Means Those Outside Church or Can’t Be Narrowly Defined?

31. Church History— One Church or Many?

32. True Church— Narrowly or Broadly Defined?

45. Definition of a Christian— Based On True Doctrine or Love?

52. False Christianity— Plain Historic Fact or Self-Righteous Accusation?

55. Co-workers— Non-Members or Brothers and Sisters In Christ?

70. “Many Will Come in My Name”— False Christian Ministers or Political Leaders?

71. Woman Astride Beast— Catholic Church or Unknown System?

78. Church Steeples— Pagan Fertility Symbol or Acceptable Christian Architecture?

105. Tongues Gibberish— Dangerous Demonism or Profitable When Done Privately At Home?

109. Worldly Theology Degrees— Trap to Avoid or Goal to Pursue?

121. Invisible Church— Rare Occurrence or Wide-Spread Phenomenon?

124. Denomination— God’s Church Isn’t One or Is One?

166. Roman Catholic Church— Apostate or Not?

181. Protestants— Daughters Of Babylon or True Christians?

210. God of this World— Satan or The God of Peace and Love?

213. Worldwide Church of God— Is Not Protestant or Is And Always Has Been Protestant?

216. Vain Worship of Christ— Using the Traditions of Men or Pretending to Believe?

217. Preaching the Gospel— Done By One True Church Only or By All Churchianity?

218. Counseling with the Ministers of this World— Worthless or Profitable?

270. Name of True Church— One Proof of It’s Identity or Not Important?

273. The Apostles’ Creed— Fraudulent or Not Objectionable?

Family of God

11. Trinity Doctrine— False or True?

12. Family of GodGod Is One or Has One?

15. Image of God— Man Looks Like God or Not?

17. Sons of God— Real or Adopted?

19. Father and Son— Literal Relationship or Metaphor?

153. “Born Again”— At the Resurrection or At Conversion?

154. Firstborn from the Dead— Birth/Resurrection Connection or Title of Preeminence?

155. Protestant “Born Again”— Ignores The Resurrection or Ignores True Conversion?

156. Gennao— Refers To All Stages Of The Reproductive Process or Not?

157. Begotten— Refers To The Father’s Role In Impregnation or Not?

158. Anagennao— A Word And Analogy In The Bible or Not?

159. I John 3 :9— Refers To The Future or The Present?

160. Dual Sonship of Christ— Biblical or Not?

161. Nicodemus— Knew Who Christ Was or Not?

162. Wind Analogy— Pictures Spirit Beings or Pictures Converted Men?

163. Biblical Pregnancy Terminology— “With Child” or “With Fetus”?

164. Spiritual Fetuses— Awaiting Spiritual Capabilities or Same as Physical Fetus?

165. Babe/Conversion Analogy— Not a Contradiction or Is It?

224. “Us” in Genesis 1:26— Refers To God Beings or To God and The Angels?

Finance

57. Third Tithe— Every Third Year or Compute Annually?

58. Tithing— Command or Concept?

103. Church Growth— Proof God Is Pleased or Unreliable Superstitious Thermometer?

104. Blessing for Obedience— Bible Promise or Deceitful Hype?

Health and Healing

62. Smoking— Stay Home And Overcome It or Attend Services and Do The Best You Can?

89. Christ’s Body and Blood— Dual or Singular Sacrifice?

90. Medical Science— Rely on God More or Rely on Both?

91. Physical Sin— Fact or Fiction?

92. Emotional Turmoil— Control It or Get Anointed For It?

93. Persecution— Fact of Life or Embarrassment to be Avoided?

94. Anointing Oil— Symbolic of Holy Spirit Alone or Symbolic of Medicine Also?

95. Treating Disease— Harmless Remedies Acceptable or Methods Make No Difference?

96. Signs to Accompany Gospel— For Us Today or For First Century Church Only?

97. Transgressing Laws— Breaking or Contravening?

98. Masturbation— Perversion or Release Of Tension?

99. Disease as Punishment— Biblical Fact or Unmerciful Condemnation?

100. Purpose of Disease— Teaches Lawkeeping or Teaches Faithfulness While Suffering?

104. Blessing for Obedience— Bible Promise or Deceitful Hype?

188. Blood and Organ Donations— Pandora’s Box or Christian Duty?

189. Cremation— Pagan Custom or Perfectly Fine?

272. Miraculous Healing in the WCG— Working of the Holy Spirit or Witchcraft?

Heaven and Immortal Soul

191. The Fall of Man— Never Happened or Did It?

193. The Sabbath— Pictures A Millennial Rest or An Eternal Rest?

194. Lazarus and the Rich Man— Parable About Resurrection or Folklore?

195. Reward of the Saved— Inherit The Earth or Go To Heaven?

Holy Days and Plan of God

10. 7,000 Year Plan— Reality or Unfounded Myth?

73. God’s Holy Days— Picture God’s Plan or Celebrate and Honor Jesus Christ?

74. Colossians 2 :16-17— Shadows of Things To Come or Shadows of No Value?

232. Context of Romans 14— Days of Fasting or The Sabbath And Holy Days?

247. Working on the Sabbath and Holy Days— Sin or Your Personal Decision?

248. Holy Day Observance— Still Required or No Longer Mandatory?

251. The Sacred Calendar— For Christians Today or For Ancient Israel Only?

253. Why Christ Kept the Sabbath and Holy Days— To Obey God or Because He Was Jewish?

255. Holy Time— Made By God or Made By People?

269. Meaning of Pentecost— The First of Two Harvests or Complete Harvest Now?

Holy Spirit

11. Trinity Doctrine— False or True?

46. Obedience and the Holy Spirit— Which Comes First?

102. Amount of Holy Spirit— Can or Can’t Be Increased?

174. The Holy Spirit— “It” or “He”?

196. Conversion— Usually At Baptism or When God Calls One?

197. God’s Omnipresence— By His Spirit Alone or In Totality?

199. Receiving the Holy Spirit— At Conversion or From Birth?

200. Spirit in Man— Unique Human Spirit or No Such Thing?

222. God Beings and Holy Spirit— Explained By Mr. Armstrong or Unfinished Business?

Idolatry

22. Crucifixion Instrument— Stake or Cross?

23. The Cross— Utterly Pagan Symbol or Symbol For WCG?

76. Focus of the Bible— God The Father or Jesus Christ?

77. The Christmas Tree— Condemned By God or Not?

78. Church Steeples— Pagan Fertility Symbol or Acceptable Christian Architecture?

114. Pictures of Christ— Idolatry or Helpful Artwork?

127. Fish Symbol— Idolatry or Christian Custom?

190. Heart Symbol— Pagan or Godly?

“Jesus” Emphasis

1. The Gospel— Kingdom of God or Jesus Christ?

7. National Identity of IsraelU. S. and Britain or Jesus Christ?

36. Personal Evangelizing— Not Member’s Role or Is Member’s Role?

73. God’s Holy Days— Picture God’s Plan or Celebrate and Honor Jesus Christ?

75. The Azazel Goat— Satan or Christ?

76. Focus of the Bible— God The Father or Jesus Christ?

114. Pictures of Christ— Idolatry or Helpful Artwork?

178. “Let’s Put Christ Back into Christmas”— Impossible or Good Reminder?

179. The Christmas Story— Veils or Reveals The Purpose of Christ’s Coming?

211. Knowing Christ— Linked To Commandment Keeping or Not?

Law

43. Grace and Works— Both or Grace Alone?

53. The Ten Commandments— Foundation of Obedience or Just One Small Part?

97. Transgressing Laws— Breaking or Contravening?

115. Sabbath Keeping— Required For Salvation or Not?

173. Commandment Keeping— Humanly Possible or Not?

182. Repentance and Sin— Not Understood By “Christianity” or Are They?

186. Curse of the Law— The Penalty For Disobeying It or The Law Itself?

187. Mercy— Based On Repentance or Based On Compromise?

211. Knowing Christ— Linked To Commandment Keeping or Not?

212. Attaining the Resurrection— Obedience Required or Belief Is Enough?

215. Helping a Rebellious World— Lawkeeping Needed or Imitate Ronald McDonald?

220. Sin— Can or Can’t Be Defined?

236. The Law— Still In Full Force And Effect or Done Away?

237. The Ten Commandments— Obedience Is Required For Salvation or Not?

238. The Sabbath and Other Commandments— In Effect Before Moses or Not?

239. Law in New Testament— Meaning Depends On Context or Refers To Entire Old Testament?

240. Slaves in Bondage— Those Who Disobey The Ten Commandments or Those Who Obey Them?

244. What was Nailed to the Cross— Our Sins or The Law Itself?

245. Who was Liberal— The Pharisees or Christ?

246. Enemy of the New Testament Church— The Religions of Men or God’s Law?

257. Tithing— Required Under The New Government or Not A Part of It?

258. Lizards, Snakes, Spiders and Skunks— Not Suitable For Food or Perfectly Clean?

259. Sin— Transgression of The Law or Rebellion Against General Morality?

271. Military Service— Wrong for Christians To Participate In or Opportunity for Service?

Marriage and Sex

24. Interracial Marriage— Wrong or Right?

25. Marrying Unbelievers— Means Those Outside Church or Can’t Be Narrowly Defined?

27. Divorce and Remarriage— Few Exceptions or Many Acceptable Reasons?

28. Marriage Annulment— For Fraud or For Whim?

61. Proper Hair Length— Can or Can’t Be Determined?

98. Masturbation— Perversion or Release Of Tension?

107. Outside Jobs for Wives— Should Be Avoided or Should Be Pursued?

108. Marriage Ceremony— Women Should Vow To Submit or Not?

128. Polygamy— Sin or Just a Custom?

144. Adultery— Sin Against God, Family, And Society or Symptom of a Bad Marriage?

145. “Perfect in his Generations”— Refers To Noah’s Ancestry or To His Character?

187. Mercy— Based On Repentance or Based On Compromise?

219. Repenting of Homosexuality— The Mind Must Change or Outward Actions Only?

221. Nude Art— Does Not Measure Up To God’s Standards or Acceptable?

Millennium

2. Kingdom of God— Future or Present?

10. 7,000 Year Plan— Reality or Unfounded Myth?

35. Social Activism— Christ’s Job At His Return or Duty For Christians Now?

167. The Millennium— Christ’s Earthly Reign At His Return or Differing Views?

168. Length of the Millennium— A Literal 1,000 Year Period or Maybe Not?

169. Society in Zechariah— Will Occur in Millennium or Goal For People Now?

170. Peace on Earth— At Christ’s Return or Before Christ’s Return?

193. The Sabbath— Pictures A Millennial Rest or An Eternal Rest?

261. Feast of Tabernacles— Held In Geographical Locations or In Each Christian’s Heart?

262. The Millennium— A Literal Future Hope or Just A Metaphor For The Present?

263. Kings and Priests of God— Will Rule In The Millennium or Already Ruling Now?

Nature of God

11. Trinity Doctrine— False or True?

13. God and Christ— Persons or Entities?

14. God’s Body— Literal and Actual or Metaphoric and Formless?

15. Image of God— Man Looks Like God or Not?

16. World’s Religions— Source of False Knowledge or Knowledge of True God?

18. Christ’s Death— He Really Did Die or He Really Didn’t Die?

19. Father and Son— Literal Relationship or Metaphor?

110. Existence of God— Proven or Accepted On Faith?

197. God’s Omnipresence— By His Spirit Alone or In Totality?

222. God Beings and Holy Spirit— Explained By Mr. Armstrong or Unfinished Business?

223. Christ as Logos— The Spokesman of God or The Thought of God?

224. “Us” in Genesis 1 :26— Refers To God Beings or To God and The Angels?

Passover

79. Passover Bread— Christ’s Body Only or Church Also?

87. Day of Passover— 14th OR 15th of Nisan?

89. Christ’s Body and Blood— Dual or Singular Sacrifice?

208. Passover Service— Called Passover or Also Lord’s Supper, Communion, Eucharist?

225. Christ at His Crucifixion— Forsaken By God or Not?

226. Passover Symbols— Memorial of Christ’s Death or Communion Also?

227. New Testament Passover— Passover With New Symbols or Completely New Ceremony?

250. Partaking of the Passover— Once a Year or of Undetermined Frequency?

Prayer

63. Repeating the “Lord’s Prayer”— Vain Repetition or Not?

64. Prayer Attitude— Godly Fear and Humility or Any Carnal Attitude?

203. Prayers of the Unrighteous— Not Heard by God or Are They?

204. Sending Prayers— Secretly From Your Room or Fax Them To The Wailing Wall?

Prophecy

3. Prophesied Elijah— HWA a Type of or Only the Church?

4. Matthew 24:14— Prophecy for Us or Wrong Focus?

5. Warning the World— Commanded Duty or Self-Righteous Stench?

6. United States and Britain— Identity Revealed to HWA or Not?

7. National Identity of Israel— U. S. and Britain or Jesus Christ?

8. Purpose of ProphecyWarning or Encouragement?

29. Place of Safety— Real Hope or Selfish “Save-Your-Skin” Motivation?

30. Church Eras— Important Detailed Prophesy or Generalized Instruction?

66. The 144,000— True Church of God or Unknown Group?

67. Prophetic Charts— Valuable or To Be Avoided?

68. The Beast— Holy Roman Empire or Racism?

69. Amount of Prophecy— Over 33% or Less Than 22%?

71. Woman Astride Beast— Catholic Church or Unknown System?

117. Mark of the Beast— Sunday Keeping or Unknown?

138. 666— Number of Roman Empire or Unspecific Identity?

140. Expounding Prophecy— Prophet Motive or Profit Motive?

150. Church of God (Seventh Day)— Part of Sardis Era or Not?

205. Prophecy Fulfilled in Type— Forerunner Of Real Event or Metaphoric Fulfillment?

264. Old Testament Prophecies— For Our time or Only for Ancient Israel And Judah?

265. Day of the Lord— Time of Christ’s Return or God’s Intervention At Any Time?

266. The Key of David— Knowledge of Identity Of Modern Day Israel or Christ?

267. Israel and Judah as Separate Entities— Plain Fact or Difficult idea To Sustain?

Return of Christ

9. Christ’s Return— Imminent or Far Off?

139. Sign of Christ’s Return— Gospel Preached or Cosmic Disturbances?

206. Christ as Conquering Hero— Literal King Soon To Come or Just a Metaphor?

Resurrection and Spirit Bodies

83. Christ’s Resurrected Body— Spiritual or Physical?

197. God’s Omnipresence— By His Spirit Alone or In Totality?

198. Glorified Resurrected Bodies— Have Form or Are Shapeless?

200. Spirit in Man— Unique Human Spirit or No Such Thing?

201. Angels— Have Bodies or Are Formless?

Sabbath Keeping

10. 7,000 Year Plan— Reality or Unfounded Myth?

65. Proper Sabbath Attire— Important or Not?

115. Sabbath Keeping— Required For Salvation or Not?

116. Quartodeciman Sabbath Keeping— Seventh Day or Sunday?

118. Sabbath Hours— Begin At Sunset or Begin At Dark?

119. Sabbath Activities— Guidelines Needed or No Do’s And Don’ts?

120. Assembling on the Sabbath— Commanded or Numerous Exceptions?

132. Days of Creation— Literal 24-Hour Days or Metaphors For Epochs?

152. The Sabbath— Literal Creation or Literary Creation?

193. The Sabbath— Pictures A Millennial Rest or An Eternal Rest?

228. New Testament Sabbath— Same as Old Testament or Entirely New Sabbath?

230. Sign Between God and His People— The Sabbath or Faith In Christ?

231. Sabbath Breaking— A Reason Christ was Crucified or Not That Important To God?

232. Context of Romans 14— Days of Fasting or The Sabbath And Holy Days?

238. The Sabbath and Other Commandments— In Effect Before Moses or Not?

247. Working on the Sabbath and Holy Days— Sin or Your Personal Decision?

252. Keeping the Sabbath— Commanded In The New Testament or Not?

253. Why Christ Kept the Sabbath and Holy Days— To Obey God or Because He Was Jewish?

254. New Testament Sabbath— One Day a Week or Every Day All The Time?

255. Holy Time— Made By God or Made By People?

Salvation

33. Salvation— Saved Later or Saved Now?

40. World’s Salvation— Future or Now?

43. Grace and Works— Both or Grace Alone?

47. Baptism— Required or Not?

115. Sabbath Keeping— Required For Salvation or Not?

212. Attaining the Resurrection— Obedience Required or Belief Is Enough?

243. The Faith That Saves— Gift of The Holy Spirit or Work of The Flesh?

269. Meaning of Pentecost— The First of Two Harvests or Complete Harvest Now?

Satan

75. The Azazel Goat— Satan or Christ?

149. The Earth— Not Created In Chaos or Was It?

202. The Fall of Satan— Literal Event or Mere Metaphor?

209. Satan the Destroyer— God Permits Him To Do a Lot of Damage or Not?

210. God of this World— Satan or The God of Peace and Love?

Sunday Keeping

82. Three Days and Three Nights— Exactly or About?

86. Crucifixion Date— 31 A. D. (Wed. Passover) or 30/33 A. D. (Fri. Passover)?

116. Quartodeciman Sabbath Keeping— Seventh Day or Sunday?

117. Mark of the Beast— Sunday Keeping or Unknown?

229. Sunday Keeping— Satan-Inspired Disobedience or God Inspired Obedience?

256. “The Lord’s Day”— Day of God’s Intervention or Sunday?

World

5. Warning the WorldCommanded Duty or Self-Righteous Stench?

16. World’s Religions— Source of False Knowledge or Knowledge of True God?

26. “Unequally Yoked Together”— Many Applications or Needs Redefining?

34. The World— Cut Off From God or Not?

35. Social Activism— Christ’s Job At His Return or Duty For Christians Now?

39. Ekklesia— Ones “Called Out” or Ones “Called Together?”

40. World’s Salvation— Future or Now?

42. Worldly Organizations— Shouldn’t Be Joined or Should Be Joined?

56. Politics and Voting— Spiritual Harlotry or Personal Preference?

72. Babylon— Present or Future?

93. Persecution— Fact of Life or Embarrassment to be Avoided?

203. Prayers of the Unrighteous— Not Heard by God or Are They?

Section III – DOCUMENTATION OF 280 DOCTRINAL CHANGES

1. THE GOSPEL
The Kingdom of God or Jesus Christ?

OLD TEACHING:

“Soon after Christ’s ascension to heaven and the founding of the church in A.D. 31, a violent controversy arose, according to church history, as to whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel OF Christ, or a gospel ABOUT Christ. The latter won out. False prophets did arise in the first century, saying Jesus was the Christ, but omitting altogether Jesus’ gospel which was the message of the coming world ruling kingdom of God to rule all nations after Christ’s Second Coming.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Are We In The Last Days? (1985), p. 8

“Jesus Christ said it is necessary to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL to be saved!

Yet the many – the hundreds of millions – today, do not know what the Gospel is!”

“But, one may ask, don’t we need to believe on Jesus? Of course. Other scriptures teach that. But at this particular time Jesus said we must believe Him – believe what He said – believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God!”

“We hear a great deal today of the gospel of MEN about the PERSON of Jesus Christ – confining the message solely to the things ABOUT Jesus. As a result, millions believe on Christ, who do not BELIEVE CHRIST!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, What Is the True Gospel? (1972), pp. 4, 6, 7

NEW TEACHING:

“I am occasionally criticized by certain ones who think we are not preaching the gospel…But, much to their chagrin, I don’t listen.”

“I listen to the true gospel, the real good news…Jesus Christ and him crucified…which is the gospel of the kingdom of God!”

“But what about the gospel of the kingdom of God?…For the sake of answering our scripturally confused, dissident friends, let me digress a moment.”

“It is sheer nonsense to say that one of these is the gospel and the other is a false gospel.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Aug. 11, 1989

“…I was particularly happy with the powerful focus of these issues on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – in other words, the true gospel and its true meaning for humanity.”

Joseph W. Tkach, letter to the ministry, PGR, Apr. 20, 1993

“The letter-writer stated his concerns in these words: ‘A new gospel, about the person of Christ, is being substituted for the glorious truth about the kingdom of God.”’

“The message about the person of Christ is…assumed to be different from, or a ‘substitute’ for, the message about the kingdom of God.”

“He was both the messenger and the message.”

“I hope the letter-writer I quoted above is the only one who has been laboring under those false assumptions. If not, I hope this has been helpful in refocusing our attention on the true gospel.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach: Understanding the True Gospel,” WN, May 25, 1993

“Why has the Church been preaching so much about Jesus Christ? Because Jesus Christ is what the gospel is all about.”

“That is why the Church is preaching about Jesus Christ so much! And that is precisely what the Church is going to continue to do.”

Joseph W. Tkach, letter to the ministry, PGR, Aug. 4, 1992

“During his lecture tour of the United States in 1962, Swiss theologian and author Karl Barth…was asked what his most important theological discovery was.”

“In this oft-told account, Dr. Barth is reputed to have said: ‘Jesus loves me this I know/For the Bible tells me so.’”

“How right he was.”

“The gospel is the good news that the long-awaited Messiah has come.”

Neil Earle, “Amnesty for Sinners,” PT, Nov.-Dec. 1994

Author’s note: Much was being said about Christ. Great focus and attention were given to His Person as though this was coming to more spiritual maturity. The WCG commonly quoted the New International Version (NIV) in their new, revised literature. The NIV translates Hebrews 6:1 as follows: “Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…”

The NKJV also adds helpful insight into this verse’s true meaning: “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection…”

Notice what Mr. Tkach wrote: “God is right now calling many of the people in this church to Jesus Christ for the first time, and the sad part is, some of them do not want to go. They didn’t have Christ where they came from, they don’t have Christ right now, and they are still refusing to listen to the voice of the One who is right now calling them to Christ.”

“God still demands one thing of you: believe in Jesus Christ. Nothing of any value at all has been taken away, and the focus has been placed on the one and only thing of eternal value: Jesus Christ.”

“That is what the Church is teaching today.”

Letter to member, Feb. 9, 1994

2. KINGDOM OF GOD
Future or Present?

OLD TEACHING:

“Haven’t you heard men speak of the Kingdom of God something like this: ‘By Christians every-where working together to bring about world peace, tolerance and brotherly love, the Kingdom of God may at last be established in the hearts of men.”

“Notice – read it in your own Bible: Jesus ‘added and spake a parable…because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear’ (Luke 19:11). WHY did Jesus speak this parable? Because some, even then, mistakenly thought the Kingdom should immediately appear – because some thought it would be THE CHURCH!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Just What Do You Mean…Kingdom of God? (1972), pp. 8, 20

“World leaders today are virtually unanimous in concluding that man’s only hope of being saved alive for even another generation lies in establishing an all-powerful super world government. Yet all confess that nations are utterly unable to bring it about.”

“But doesn’t it make you want to shout for joy, to realize what a civilization – what a world – is actually coming?”

“Doesn’t it make you want to really put your heart into your prayers, praying earnestly, ‘Oh God! Thy kingdom come’”

Herbert W. Armstrong, The Wonderful World Tomorrow, pp. 68, 73

“We must know whether the Kingdom of God is here NOW, or coming later…whether it is literal or figurative, real or unreal. And on many of these things, a great many people are ALL MIXED UP!”

“In Jesus’ prayer, so commonly called ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ He prayed, ‘THY KINGDOM COME’ – then it wasn’t here yet, and it isn’t here yet, today – but He taught us to pray for it to COME, for His KINGDOM and that ALONE shall bring PEACE and HAPPINESS to this sin-sick, war-weary earth!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, What Is The True Gospel?, pp. 8, 11

NEW TEACHING:

“We have entered God’s Kingdom, and it absolutely changes our perspective.”

Ted Johnston, “From Birth to Inheritance: Entering the Kingdom of God,” WN, Dec. 29, 1992

“The kingdom is present…It exists right now.”

“Sermonette: When Is the Kingdom?”, Reviews You Can Use, Mar.-Apr. 1993

“The long-awaited rule of God was near. This message was called the gospel, the good news. Many thousands were eager to hear and respond to this message of John and Jesus.

“But consider for a moment what the response would have been like if they had preached, ‘The kingdom of God is 2,000 years away.’ The message would have been disappointing news…‘The kingdom is far away’ would have been considered neither news nor good.”

“John and Jesus preached a soon-coming kingdom, something that was near in time to their audiences.”

M. Morrison, “The Present and Future Kingdom of God,” Reviews You Can Use, Mar.-Apr. 1993

“Another overworked and misleading statement, ‘We can’t solve humanity’s problems,’ is, again, nothing more than an excuse by some to do nothing.”

“…we are called to participate in the kingdom of God! That means we, like Jesus, must get involved in relieving suffering.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Jan. 12, 1993

“God’s purpose was that Adam and Eve and their descendants expand the Garden of Eden until it filled the whole earth (Genesis 1:27-28). In the same manner, He means for Christians to expand what He has given us spiritually – the kingdom of God – until it fills the whole earth.”

Sheila Graham, “Stop Abusing God’s Creation,” PT, Mar. 1993

“Jesus was in the midst of the Pharisees but he lives within Christians. Jesus Christ brought the kingdom in his person.”

“In the same way, as he now lives in us, he inaugurates the kingdom of God.”

Norman L. Shoaf, “Jesus Christ Is Coming,” PT, Sep. 1993

“But we must submit our lives to the rule of Jesus Christ here and now if we are to enter his realm in the future. If we remain under the rule of the kingdom of God, our eternal future has already begun.”

Paul Kroll, “Your Place in the Kingdom of God,” PT, Oct. 1993

3. PROPHESIED ELIJAH
Herbert W. Armstrong a Type of or Only the Church

OLD TEACHING:

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

Malachi 4:5 (NKJV)

“Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things.”

Matthew 17:11 (KJV)

“…John the Baptist was a man in the power and spirit of Elijah. John the Baptist came to prepare the way before the First Coming of Christ. He was a type of someone to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ.”

“So now prior to the Second Coming of Christ, there is someone…with a voice in the spiritual wilderness…crying out amid religious confusion…and preparing the way not for a physical Jesus, but a glorified Christ coming in all the supreme power and glory…”

“…the job God has called me to do is a prophesied job.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Congress of Leading Ministers…,” WN, Mar. 6, 1981

Author’s note: While the Church’s former understanding is included here as a matter of historical record, this has been supplanted by the crystal-clear, irrefutable truth that Mr. Armstrong actually fulfilled a GREATER prophetic role—that of the end-time Moses, to be followed later by another who would be the final Elijah (Mal. 4:4-6). My sermon series “First a MOSES, Now ELIJAH—130 Proofs!” brings a massive—and conclusive—body of evidence on this subject.

NEW TEACHING:

“Just as Malachi prophesied of John the Baptist and just as the angel Gabriel expounded, a people would be prepared for God. From the Ephesian era until now, the Church of God fulfills that role of preparing a people for God.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Feb. 15, 1988

4. MATTHEW 24:14
Prophecy for Us or Wrong Focus?

OLD TEACHING:

“…there was a violent controversy over whether the gospel to be proclaimed was a gospel ABOUT Christ, or the gospel OF Christ. For nearly 1,900 years Christ’s Gospel of the Kingdom of God was thereafter NOT PROCLAIMED to the world. But Jesus had said, ‘THIS gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto ALL NATIONS, and then shall the end [of this world] come.’”

“It is now true that this Gospel has been proclaimed within EVERY NATION ON EARTH BY THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD. NO OTHER CHURCH has proclaimed THIS true Gospel at all!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Co-worker Letter, Jan. 1986

“Meanwhile, prophecy is being fulfilled by GOD’S Church. When Jesus was asked for the sign that His coming was near, He said, ‘This Gospel OF THE KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end [of this world] come’ (Matt. 24:14). While you have been backing me proclaiming that Gospel for the first time in 1,900 years into ALL THE WORLD, the weapons of mass destruction have been produced that could ERASE ALL LIFE FROM THE EARTH. That had to happen before the Great Tribulation. All prophecies leading to the END OF THIS WORLD are being rapidly fulfilled.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Co-worker Letter, June 22, 1983

NEW TEACHING:

“[Mr. Ronald Kelly] also noted that the Church was not always accurate in its understanding of prophecy.”

“The Church’s commission is based on Matthew 28:19, 20, which says to go into all the world, not Matthew 24:14, continued Mr. Kelly.”

“‘We’ve refocused on the main crux of Christianity, the message of Jesus Christ.’”

“Forum and Assembly,” The Portfolio, Mar. 4, 1993

“Mr. [Michael] Snyder’s letter to us, dated April 29, 1991, stated: ‘The Church no longer makes the claim that the gospel was not preached for eighteen and a half centuries.’”

McDowell and Stewart, The Deceivers: What Cults Believe (1992), p. 286

5. WARNING THE WORLD
Commanded Duty or Self-Righteous Stench?

OLD TEACHING:

“Through the years, The Plain Truth has continued to act as a ‘watchman’ of world events (Luke 21:36; Ezek. 33), to explain what certain trends mean in light of Bible prophecy and warn our readers of perilous times that lie just ahead.”

“Instead of retaining false hopes of human-devised world government, The Plain Truth has for 50 years pointed to the ultimate solution for solving mankind’s overwhelming problems. We announce the restoration of the government of God by justice and true mercy to a confused world.”

“Where We Have Been,” PT, Sep. 1985

“God Almighty has called and authorized me to ‘CRY ALOUD, AND SPARE NOT, AND SHOW OUR PEOPLE THEIR SINS! [Isaiah 58:1.]’”

“Personal from Herbert W. Armstrong,” PT, Sep. 1985

“Ezekiel’s message is NOT to the Jewish slaves among whom Ezekiel was living. It was to the HOUSE OF ISRAEL (Ezek. 2:3 and 3:1). The prophet Ezekiel was never able to break loose from Babylonish slavery and proclaim his message to the kingdom of Israel, by then dwelling in western Europe and Britain. THE MESSAGE OF THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL IS GOD’S MESSAGE TO US TODAY – FOR WE ARE THE PEOPLE of the ancient house of ISRAEL, of the tribe of Manasseh.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Now God Speaks to You Ministers,” GN, Oct.-Nov. 1979

NEW TEACHING:

“When we cut down the religious beliefs of others we were a self-righteous stench in the nostrils of God! Isaiah 58:1 isn’t even talking about the world – it’s talking about the Church!”

Joseph W. Tkach, sermon preached at Detroit, Michigan, 1990

“[A disfellowshipped evangelist] clings to the error that Ezekiel 33:1-7 is a commission to the Church…”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Jan. 26, 1993

The Plain Truth has been redesigned ‘cover to cover’ according to Pastor General Joseph W. Tkach, publisher of the magazine.”

“Mr. [Greg] Albrecht said the new design ‘firmly positions the magazine with our readers as a religious magazine with a dignified, thoughtful, friendly approach, while avoiding an overly dogmatic feel.’”

Sheila Graham, “Redesign of The Plain Truth…,” WN, Dec. 29, 1992

“Ezekiel’s timeless warning preceded Babylon’s final destruction of Jerusalem. The Jews did not respond to his call for repentance and active social involvement.”

“The same message applies to Christians today.”

“Groups such as the Salvation Army epitomize the Christian mission to participate by standing together against the forces that are eroding and destroying our societies and families.”

“Christians refuse to stand by and watch the world crumble.”

Greg Albrecht, “Making a Difference,” PT, Feb. 1994

6. UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN – IDENTITY
Revealed to Mr. Armstrong or Not?

OLD TEACHING:

“After exhaustive study and research, I had found it PROVED that the so called ‘lost Ten Tribes’ of Israel had migrated to Northwestern Europe, the British Isles, and later the United States – that the British were the descendants of Ephraim, younger son of Joseph, and the United States modern-day Manasseh, elder son of Joseph – and that we possessed the national wealth and resources of the Birthright which God had promised to Abraham through Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.”

“Did this Church accept and proclaim this vital new truth – the KEY that unlocks the doors to all PROPHECY? Here was the KEY to understanding one-third of the whole Bible. But this church refused to accept it to this day…”

Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 1 (1986), pp. 361-362

“Concerning your question about how I as a professional historian feel about attaching my name to any rewrite of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, I have no qualms about being included…The new publication will, of course, be more a theological statement than a historical one. As Dr. Hoeh has observed, ‘there is some fragmentary evidence in history, but the proof is in prophecy.’”

“Is there historical evidence to make the case? Absolutely! In fact, there is far more than we could ever use…”

“While our thesis may not be welcomed or accepted by every member of the scholarly community, no one has submitted any more plausible an argument. At the risk of repeating myself, history cannot prove our position wrong. Indeed, history provides us with a substantial body of evidence to build our case.”

Names withheld, Ambassador College interoffice memo, Dec. 5, 1991

NEW TEACHING:

“I would not preach on the topic of Israel in end-time prophecy…All it will do is generate more questions and possibly more confusion. To directly answer your question, I would not stick my neck out on it at all.”

“When you stop and consider the significance of Acts 4:12 (neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved) the teaching of US & BC has no significance. The national identity is of no consequence given Christ’s sacrifice.”

“In light of the New Testament, and the centrality of Christ in God’s plan of salvation (as mentioned above) much of the relevance of our teaching on US & BC is reduced to – so what!

“All of our traditional proofs are based upon folklore, legend, myth, and superstition.”

“It is not possible to say that this was revealed to Mr. Armstrong…”

Joseph Tkach Jr., message to field minister, Aug. 10, 1992

7. NATIONAL IDENTITY OF ISRAEL
United States and Britain or Jesus Christ?

OLD TEACHING:

“Notice the twofold promise: 1) ‘I will make of thee A GREAT NATION’ – the national, material promise that his flesh-born children should become a great nation – a promise of RACE; 2) ‘…and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed’ – the spiritual promise of GRACE.”

“This is a pivotal point. This is the point where professing ‘Christians’ and their teachers jump the track of truth. This is the point where they switch off the track that would lead them to the missing master key to the prophecies. They miss the fact that God gave Abraham promises of physical RACE as well as spiritual GRACE.”

“The spiritual promises – the promise of the ‘one seed,’ Christ, and of salvation through Him – the Bible calls the sceptre. But the material and national promises relating to many nations, national wealth, prosperity and power, and possession of the Holy Land, the Bible calls the birthright.”

“‘The sceptre shall not depart from Judah…’ (Gen. 49:10).”

“‘…But the birthright was Joseph’s (I Chron. 5:2).”

“These material promises for this life, then, belonged to an altogether different tribe among the children of Israel than the sceptre promise of the kingly line culminating in Jesus Christ, which spiritual promise belonged in the tribe of Judah!”

“Of proof that our white, English-speaking peoples today – Britain and America – are actually and truly the birthright tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh of the ‘lost’ house of Israel there is so much we shall have space for but a small portion in this book.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, The U.S. and Britain in Prophecy, (1980), pp. 22, 23, 35, 36, 49, 119

NEW TEACHING:

“It is also interesting to study why these genealogies were included in the Gospels.”

“[Matthew] showed that the ultimate purpose of Israel’s history, including the lives of its most famous people, was to accomplish the birth of Christ. Jesus Christ fulfilled the major purpose of the national identity of Israel.”

“Q & A,” PT, Nov.-Dec. 1992

“We have removed The United States and Britain in Prophecy from circulation because of several problems. The Church has never addressed the fact that many of the covenants and promises in the Old Testament were fulfilled. Additionally, we have never addressed how these promises should be understood with respect to the sacrifice of Christ.”

David G. Hunsberger, WCG PCD Letter to Member, July 22, 1993

8. PURPOSE OF PROPHECY
Warning or Encouragement?

OLD TEACHING:

“God inspired His Prophet Amos to tell us, ‘The Lord Eternal never does anything without telling his servants the prophets’ (Amos 3:7, Moffat translation).”

“Before God intervenes in the affairs of a nation, or the world, He first sends His servants to warn those who will be directly affected by what He intends to do.”

“The purpose of prophecy, therefore, is threefold. First, it is given in love to encourage people to repent of their sins so they can escape punishment. Second, it is given for those who don’t repent at first, so that when their punishment comes, they will then acknowledge their sins and repent toward the God who will then deliver and rescue them! (Deut. 4:25-31) Third, it announces in advance the coming Kingdom of God, the wonderful world tomorrow – a time of the restoration of this earth to a condition of prosperity, peace and abundant well-being.”

How to Understand Prophecy (1972), pp. 5-6

NEW TEACHING:

“God has led us to see that the purpose of prophecy is to guide us to Him…to remind us that He is Judge…to assure us of His love, mercy, faithfulness and justice, as well as to encourage us and to reassure us that our faith is not in vain.”

“God promises to see us through hard times, not prevent them.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Aug. 19, 1991

“For some ministers and members, it can be as real an addiction as dependence on drugs. I know this is difficult for some of you to read. I know because I used to be somewhat of a prophecy addict also.”

“If you begin to think that this is ‘Armstrong bashing,’ then please realize that you may have a more serious case of prediction addiction. Please discontinue such misrepresentation of reality.”

“We need to assist people in breaking through the first stages of denial (of prediction addiction) and help them overcome it.”

Joseph Tkach Jr., “Church Administration,” PGR, Mar. 17, 1993

9. CHRIST’S RETURN
Imminent or Far Off?

OLD TEACHING:

“The KINGDOM of GOD is, simply the world-ruling GOVERNMENT of God. It is absolutely not a sentimental, ethereal, imaginary something ‘set up in the hearts of men.’ It is something REAL! It is SOON COMING!”

“And Jesus Christ was born to be the KING of the WORLD GOVERNMENT (Luke 1: 30-33; John 18:36-37; Revelation 11:15; 19:11-16). As Jesus so promised His disciples that He would return – so, now soon He will return to RULE THE WHOLE EARTH and bring us peace at last!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “What Is Now Prophesied!” PT, Mar. 1980

“World events are moving swiftly toward the grand-smash climax at the CLOSE of this world – THIS CIVILIZATION!…indications now are that God will allow Satan to SPEED UP his wrath, for he knows he has but a short time! The devil knows it because Jesus’ SIGN we are near the END OF THIS WORLD (Matt. 24:14), which YOU have backed me in proclaiming to the world – the Gospel of THE KINGDOM OF GOD – has been going to the world in great POWER!”

“Yes, we are running out of time! World events are moving now swiftly!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Co-worker Letter, Sep. 17, 1982

NEW TEACHING:

“We tended to look at all prophecy primarily in the light of the end time – the future.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Nov. 25, 1991

“As we look at today’s rapidly changing political world, we must not be deceived into believing that the end of the age is imminent.”

Joseph W. Tkach, Co-worker Letter, Apr. 22, 1992

“…we should have learned our lesson. But…we continued to proclaim…that worldwide calamity followed by Jesus’ return was unquestionably imminent.”

Joseph W. Tkach, “Prediction Addiction,” PT, Sep. 1993

Author’s note: Christ said, “But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 24:48-51, NKJV). The WCG began voicing the idea that “100 years and 3 more world wars” could precede Christ’s Return.

10. 7,000-YEAR PLAN
Reality or Unfounded Myth?

OLD TEACHING:

“[God’s] Master Plan involves a duration of 7,000 years. The seven literal days of creation were a type.”

“With God, ‘one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day’ (II Peter 3:8).”

“So, in other words, the first 6,000 years were allotted to allow Satan to labor at his work of deceiving the world, followed by 1,000 years (one millennial day) when Satan shall not be allowed to do any of his work of deception. Put another way, God marked out six millennial days to allow man to indulge in the spiritual labor of sin, followed by a millennium of spiritual rest, under the enforced Government of God.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, The Wonderful World Tomorrow (1979), pp. 47-48

NEW TEACHING:

“We will undoubtedly hear prophetic speculations about the end of the world as the year 2000 approaches.”

“According to this concept, the seven days of the week or the seven days of creation are considered types of this 7,000-year plan…interpreted by the ‘one day is as a thousand years’ statement of II Peter 3:8.”

“[Peter] used the thousand-years statement as a metaphor of God’s eternity, that human measurements of time mean nothing to God.”

“Personal Answers,” PT, July 1992

“Based on the seven-day week, and on the seven days of creation, some have reasoned that God has also set aside some 7000 years to work with man. Verse 8 in 2 Peter 3, which includes the words ‘one day is as a thousand years,’ is used to support this view.”

“It is not wise to use this reference to establish a set method for calculating biblical chronology that God has not clearly revealed.”

“God’s plan centers around his power, love, and saving grace, not chronologies and ‘endless genealogies, which cause disputes’ (I Timothy 1:4).”

WCG PCD Letter L057

11. TRINITY DOCTRINE
False or True?

OLD TEACHING:

“GOD IS NOW A FAMILY of Persons, composed so far of only the TWO – God the Father and Christ the Son…all being filled and led by God’s Spirit shall become BORN sons of God. The GOD FAMILY will then RULE ALL NATIONS with the GOVERNMENT OF GOD RESTORED!”

“The Trinity doctrine limits God to a supposed three Persons. It DESTROYS the very gospel of Jesus Christ! His gospel is the good news of the now soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD – the only hope of this world and its mixed-up mankind!”

“The word trinity is not used anywhere in the Bible.”

“The counterfeit Christianity spawned by Simon the Sorcerer was promoting it vigorously along with the pagan Easter. But the true Church of God vigorously resisted it. The controversy became so violent it threatened the peace of the world.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages (1985), pp. 50-51, 54-55

“No one can possibly understand the ‘three in one.’ When pointedly questioned concerning the belief in a Triune or three-in-one God, the answer is in effect – WHO KNOWS? It is something we must accept in faith.”

“‘The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who would try to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind. But he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul’ (Harold Lindsell and Charles J. Woodbridge, A Handbook of Christian Truth, pp. 51-52).”

“Why has Satan palmed off the doctrine of the Trinity on the world? Because he doesn’t want YOU to rule in his place.”

“If they can make you believe in the Trinity, you will be deceived into thinking that the Godhead consists of only three persons. You would then never in your wildest dreams ever imagine that YOU were created to be born into the GOD FAMILY and actually share in ruling the universe.”

The God Family and the Holy Spirit, pp. 7, 12, 13

NEW TEACHING:

“The Bible does reveal three entities within the one Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

“All Christians realize that any humanly worded formula cannot really describe God with complete clarity. Thus the Trinity doctrine has been accepted as a mystery – part of the ‘mystery of godliness’ (I Timothy 3:16). It is accepted on faith, with the admission that it cannot be perfectly understood.”

God Is…, pp. 41, 44

“The one true God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – created all that is.”

Joseph W. Tkach, “The Greatest Scientist,” PT, July 1993

We are teaching a form of the Trinity, though not the exact variations of the concept that have been commonly taught. We find flaws in most Trinitarian teachings that we are attempting to avoid. The word ‘trinity’ originally meant ‘three’ and we have always believed that the one God is somehow three – Father, Son and Holy Spirit as mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 28:19.”

David G. Hunsberger, Letter to Member, WCG PCD, Sep. 23, 1993

The Worldwide Church of God does teach a form of the Trinity since we believe there is One God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

“Is [your second question] a restatement of number one? Or do you mean something else by the term ‘Trinitarian Church’?”

Since we do teach a form of the Trinity, this question is negated.”

David G. Hunsberger, WCG PCD letter, Jan. 11, 1994

“God, by the testimony of Scripture, is one divine Being in three eternal, coessential, yet distinct hypostases, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

“God,” Statement of Beliefs (1993)

“Yes, the Worldwide Church of God believes in a form of the Trinity. This is explained in our latest edition of the booklet God Is…”

“The Church has been reviewing this doctrine for several years and formally announced it to the membership last summer.”

David G. Hunsberger, WCG PCD Letter, Mar. 1, 1994

“Another heresy is the idea that…the one God is sometimes the Father, sometimes the Son, and sometimes the Holy Spirit, but not all three all the time.”

Joseph W. Tkach, PGR, July 27, 1993

Author’s note: Carried to the end of this thinking, that God is “all three all the time,” where was the Father when Christ was on the earth? And if God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit were sort of “Siamese triplets,” how could one-third of one being die? By this definition, mankind has no Savior. We have a Christ who stayed alive, inextricably bound into a three-in-one godhead, with what must only have been a “discarded body” when He died. (See change 18, where this concept is clearly developed.) The term “Siamese triplets” is not meant to be irreverent or disrespectful. It is merely used to explain the classic trinitarian concept of three-in-oneness. A trinitarian believes there are three distinct God “hypostases” within one indistinct spirit that permeates all things all the time. Hence, the term “Siamese triplets”—where one is the other two all the time.

“In this letter I want to focus on why we have chosen the word hypostases over the word persons…When we express the biblical truth that God is one and at the same time three, we need to use words that do not imply three Gods, or three separate God beings.”

Joseph W. Tkach, PGR, Aug. 27, 1993

Author’s note: “The Worldwide Church of God’s term of choice for God is hypostases. Following are the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary definitions of the word. Certain of the definitions have to do with medical terminology…pertaining to the blood, are not relevant, and have not been included: ‘hypostases 2a. in the original Nicene use: the essence or the substance of the triune Godhead—called also ousia; b. in later use (1): one of the persons the Godhead or Trinity (2): the individual as subject or substance; c. the whole personality of Christ as distinguished from his human and divine nature… 4. philos a. plotinism [as taught by Plotinos, 205-265 A.D.]: any of the three aspects or essential principles constituting the Godhead (1): the transcendent one (2): nous, or spirit (3): Logos, world soul; b. Thomism: the substance or rational nature of an individual or person; also: personal, individual; c. substance as an ontological entity or category: a self subsistent reality or mode of being; d. a hypothetical or conceptual entity: a reified abstraction.’”

“The Church puts all questions about the nature of God in perspective by recognizing that their importance is primarily historical…”

“…the Worldwide Church of God has made a clear distinction between issues that are strictly biblical, and issues that are essentially theological or philosophical.”

K.J. Stavrinides, Reviews You Can Use, Jan.-Feb. 1991 (Doctrinal Statements…within the WCG, 1991 Tanner Lectures, Trinity Evangelical School, pp. 7, 8)

“We need to keep this subject [the nature of God] in its proper place. The Church [K.J. Stavrinides] has stated that understanding ‘the nature of God’ is not necessary for salvation. It has been admitted to be a peripheral issue.”

K. Williams, Letter from pastor to member, Rochester, New York, Sept. 1, 1993

Author’s note: This entire new teaching amounted to the absolute disfellowshipping of the true God from the Worldwide Church of God.

“I was first challenged on this point when I put a ‘Personal’ in The Plain Truth, in which I set forth the traditional arguments against the Trinity. In response, I received a letter from a priest, who said he had respected The Plain Truth, but now realized we had no idea of what we were talking about.”

“I put several men to work on it, and what we began to find, after a short time, was that most of what we had written on the development and history of the Trinity doctrine was at best superficial and based on misunderstanding, and at worst, just plain false.”

“Mr. Armstrong, as I said, was simply never formally challenged on this point, or I’m confident he would have changed it himself.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Aug. 3, 1993

“In the centuries following the apostolic age, reflections on the nature of God…became ‘Trinitarian’ in order to combat heresies…not to foster ‘pagan’ beliefs.”

Joseph Tkach Jr., “Church Administration,” PGR, Jan. 11, 1994

“In February of 1991, two authorities of the Worldwide Church of God were invited to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Illinois) to speak about their doctrinal changes at the Tanner Lecture Series. Dr. Ruth A. Tucker, along with several noted theologians and apologists, listened and responded with questions to the speakers. The Worldwide Church of God was changing positions on doctrines and was asking for the input of Christian leaders.”

“The Worldwide Church of God representatives were Michael A. Snyder, David Hulme (Director of Communications and Public Affairs), and J. Michael Feazell (Executive Assistant to Joseph Tkach, Pastor General).”

“There will be ongoing dialogue with the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God. Since their doctrines are in a stage of transition, we have placed them in this special section of our book.”

“When we got to the rejection of the Trinity, we found that there were some unsettled questions among the authorities. We were assured that they are still studying on it and it is not a closed subject with them.”

“On the subject of the Holy Spirit we saw that one of the authorities was willing to call Him by the personal pronouns found in John 14, 15, and 16 – He, Him, His. The gentleman said he cannot deny what John has written and promised more study in the future.”

McDowell and Stewart, The Deceivers: What Cults Believe, p. 286

“The Worldwide Church of God teaches the full divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and affirms the oneness of God.”

“The Worldwide Church of God teaches the full divinity of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit – the biblical foundation for all Trinitarian discussions.”

“The doctrine of grace…is as fundamental to Christianity as the doctrine of the nature of God.”

“Even though the Worldwide Church of God considers some positions of the Trinity to be heretical (for example, all forms of Arianism), it sees the Eastern, Western, Protestant, and modernist views of the nature of God as genuine attempts to reach a deeper understanding of God’s nature.”

K.J. Stavrinides, Reviews You Can Use, Jan.-Feb. 1991(Quoted in Summary of Doctrinal Statements…within the WCG, 1991 Tanner Lectures, Trinity Evangelical School, pp. intro, 7, 8)

Author’s note: The above quotes reveal an astonishing sequence of events. They were written and prepared in 1991 as the official public position of the Worldwide Church of God on the doctrine of the trinity. This was a full two and a half years before it was admitted to the brethren for the first time. The incredible truth this picture represents is that Church leadership had carefully and deliberately planned years before to make this change while denying it over and over to the Church. Anyone who tried to say the new teaching defining God as three hypostases in one being was the trinity was deemed a rumormonger and liar. Incredible! (See change 174 for one such denial that preceded the coming reality of what was denied.)

“With regard to the current issue of your publication…the headlines on the lower front cover, ‘Insiders Report: Worldwide poised to adopt Doctrine of the Trinity,’ and on page 3, ‘Worldwide Church of God Accepts Trinity Doctrine,’ do not reflect the vital distinctions and definitions that have been made.”

“It is no secret that Mr. Tkach wants to improve the doctrines of the Church wherever this is necessary. Neither is it a secret that some splinter groups have been formed…There is a sensitive way of presenting this material to the members so as not to encourage them into the arms of splinter groups.”

“You are torpedoing the efforts of the Church to represent the truth in the right way.”

D. Hulme, Letter to James Walker of the Watchman Fellowship, Aug. 3, 1993

“Thank you, Dr. Tucker, and good afternoon to you all.”

“Allow me to take you through some of the present thinking then of the Worldwide Church of God. We had a pretty vigorous discussion yesterday with a number of senior members of the Trinity faculty and we were appreciative of their views. What I did was to take them through some of the same material that you’ll find in the handout.”

Author’s note: The handout referred to above was the Summary of Doctrinal Statements and Recent Changes within the Worldwide Church of God, which was quoted from under change 11.

“What I will do is try to take you through some of the more important changes that have occurred in the last four to five years. I think sitting down and exploring some of these things in an open environment, which I certainly had the feeling yesterday we were in, is a very encouraging development. So we’re here for two reasons: to open a dialogue with other major religious groups, and to hopefully clear up some of the misconceptions that exist.”

“…the publication of Herbert Armstrong’s work Mystery of the Ages, which was his last book, was an attempt on his part to catalog the major beliefs of the Church, drawing mostly on previously published material. He himself considered that work to be in need of revision almost as soon as it had been published and said so on videotape which we have. But then he died and we were left with the quandary then what we’d do with this book that he himself had said needed revising. We were already in the process of making a number of changes so we decided to pull that book from circulation. That book is no longer circulated in the Worldwide Church of God.”

“Shortly after Herbert Armstrong’s death, Joseph Tkach organized a senior group of Worldwide Church of God ministers into a doctrinal review team. I sit on that panel along with a number of others. and we’ve been extensively examining all of the major beliefs of the Church. That’s a process that will go on for many months to come.”

“Most of you probably haven’t realized the degree of influence that theologians and religious scholars have played over the years within in the Church of God. I’m talking about scholars external to the Worldwide Church of God.”

We recently issued a new paper on the subject of the Trinity. which was drafted by a senior Church minister who is a graduate of the University of London, studied under Christopher Evans, [unintelligible word] New Testament, at King’s College. We consider yesterday’s discussion here on that subject to be very helpful. Michael Snyder and I went home last night and thought a great deal and talked a great deal about what we heard yesterday from a number of scholars here.”

“Let me come to our Statement of Beliefs then. I think it’s profitable to review some of the items from the latest Statement.”

Now. I should also mention at this stage that we published a fairly scholarly paper on the Trinity, which has been sent to some theologians. I invited the gentlemen yesterday to write a critique of that paper. Not to indicate anybody here, but so far I have had – we have received – no critique of that paper. Now, if we’re to have an honest exchange, then someone has to give us something in response to what we give, and we’d be happy to consider it.”

“[Reading from the Statement of Beliefs:] ‘The Worldwide Church of God teaches the full divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and affirms the oneness of God.”’

Author’s note: The above statement is the trinity by all definitions.

“[Reading from Dr. Stavrinides’ paper on the Trinity:] ‘The Worldwide Church of God teaches the full divinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – the biblical foundation for all Trinitarian discussions. It accepts every facet of God’s self-disclosure as found in the Holy Scriptures. It does not teach an eastern or a western formula, and it does not endorse a particular philosophical or theological position as preferable.

“‘The Church puts all questions about the nature of God in perspective by recognizing that their importance is primarily historical. Had the early churches not been plagued with this problem, the nature of God would not need to be isolated above other doctrines, Of course, the nature of God should be but one of many doctrines that need to be constantly searched for a better understanding and better formulation, and a greater refinement.

“‘Speaking from the perspective of God’s Word, there is no reason for the Church today to hold the doctrine of God’s nature in isolation as a criterion of orthodoxy or heresy. What the Church needs to see is its own role in a broader light to confront modern issues and to overcome obstacles that affect its worldwide mission. In order to facilitate this goal, the Worldwide Church of God has made a clear distinction between issues that are strictly biblical and issues that are essentially theological or philosophical.’ (And a missing statement) – ‘The former are easily accessible through the Bible in any translation, while the latter requires special training or expertise.

“‘The Worldwide Church of God has made all biblical truths an indispensable part of its teaching including the teaching that God is one but not the specific way in which God is one, which is entirely a philosophical matter. It teaches the full divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but it does not argue whether God is an essential, a personal, or a super-personal being in the way these terms are used by theologians.

“‘The Church highly respects the need for deeper theological work. It believes that a full and accurate statement on the nature of God would be a major achievement in the history of dogmatic, but, in the meantime, it defers to experts whose task is to dissect, analyze, and define what normally lies beyond the resources of the vast majority of believers.

“‘Even though the Worldwide Church of God considers some positions on the Trinity to be heretical – for example: all forms of arianism – it sees the eastern, western, Protestant, and modernist views of the nature of God as genuine attempts to reach a deeper understanding of God’s nature. The impact of each view on the other issues is colossal. After all, the interrelationships we ascribe to the godhead are bound to be reflected in the daily life of the Church.’ (An issue that came up yesterday.) ‘Furthermore, all truth is precious, and only through a continuing sincere and healthy dialogue can some truths be firmly established.’ Written by a Greek scholar, K.J. Stavrinides, January-February 1991.

“Mike Snyder is going to take a session in a few minutes. Well, thank you for your attention.”

D. Hulme, WCG Director, “Recent Trendy,” Tanner Lecture Series, Trinity Evangelical Divinity Seminary, Feb. 1991

“The Triune nature of God is an essential part of Worldwide Church of God doctrine. Many people find the doctrine of the Trinity mystifying. But it need not be a barrier to faith. We publish a booklet entitled God Is…to help readers understand the three-fold nature of God.”

We’re Often Asked (1994), p. 4

“Concerning the nature of God, for example, we used to teach what amounted to a polytheistic view: two God beings.”

“Therefore, we now teach what the Bible teaches – one God and only one God. He exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…Three distinct (but not separate) hypostases, or three divine Persons…but one and only one God, who is always Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…We have also produced a new, revised edition of the booklet, God Is, which goes into detail explaining that this doctrine is essential to the Bible’s revelation of God.”

“Unless the official Church doctrine on the nature of God is biblically correct, the door is left open to all kinds of damaging heresies.”

Joseph W. Tkach, Letter to Ministry, PGR, June 8, 1994

Author’s note: This last statement is true. This is because when you open the heresy of the trinity, one must necessarily drag with it many other damaging heresies into official teaching.

“The Bible tells us there is one and only one God, and then presents us with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all eternal, and all doing things only God can do.”

“At first glance, the concept of ‘one in three’ and ‘three in one’ appears illogical to human reason. Yet we believe it, even though it is not simple or easy to explain, because the Bible reveals it.”

“In trying to express the oneness and threeness of God, Greek-speaking Christians used a special word…”

Hypostasis or, in plural form, hypostases, is appropriate to use of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

“Mainstream Christianity adopted belief in the Trinity, which describes God as one divine Being existing in three, co-essential hypostases, or persons, at the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381).”

“This article is excerpted from the booklet God Is…”

“God Is…”, PT, July 1994

“You asked if the Worldwide Church of God is a Trinitarian church. The Church believes, and has publicly stated, that there is one God (Romans 3:30) who is revealed in the Bible to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). This is considered to be a Trinitarian teaching. The word trinity means ‘three’ and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three in one sense and one in another sense. This is explained in our booklet God Is…”

D. Hunsberger, Letter to Member, PCD, Apr. 24, 1994

“The Worldwide Church of God believes in one God (Deut. 6:4). In this context, it teaches the full divinity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – the biblical foundation for all Trinitarian discussions.”

WCG PCD Letter L308

“You mentioned that it has not yet been made clear to you whether our teaching about the nature of God is Trinitarian. Yes, our teaching is Trinitarian.”

“If someone asks you if we are Trinitarian, you can simply say ‘yes’ and this will be correct.”

David G. Hunsberger, Letter to Member, Jan. 14, 1994

Author’s note: As shown above, the WCG began at that time plainly admitting to its membership that it was a trinitarian church. As pointed out in change 11 of this book, the administration was in the process of accepting the doctrine of the trinity years before it confessed such a belief to the membership. Change 174 proves that the leadership was denying it believed the trinity as late as August of 1993, in spite of the fact that it was being taught in the God Is… booklet in 1992. Phillip Arnn of the Watchman Expositor explains why a full admission took so long.

“In our opinion, the leadership of the WCG is caught between a rock and a hard place.”

“Many of their top ministers are attending bible schools outside of the church and are being exposed to orthodox theology. They are bringing these doctrines, these new doctrinal understandings, back into the church and actually changing church doctrine – the doctrine of who God is, the doctrine of ‘born again’ – these have all been changed to conform more with orthodox Christian thinking.”

“So we applaud them for their research and their understanding. But at the same time, to make such a drastic change, they are concerned that they’re going to lose a lot of members, ‘cause these are 180 degrees opposite of what they have always taught. So they are actually telling the members that they are not making any changes whatsoever, but that they’re just explaining the old doctrines in a different way.”

“The new scholarship that’s coming into the church, into the leadership, is moving towards and really is indistinguishable from the Trinitarian view of God.”

Talking about the Holy Spirit, they said that the Holy Spirit is Divine the Holy Spirit is Divinity. Now when you say that you paint yourself into a corner. There is no way of saying that the Holy Spirit is Deity without saying at the same time that the Holy Spirit is everything that the Father is and everything that the Son is. So they have accepted the Trinity doctrine, even though for the sake of their membership they will not actually use the term trinity. So it’s a major doctrinal shift.”

“We understand the position that the church is in. We really don’t have a problem if they don’t use the term trinity as long as they teach the Trinity. They have a problem with their membership perceiving that they’ve accepted a doctrine that historically they have taught was pagan. The membership had been taught for 59 years that the trinity was a pagan doctrine, and now all of a sudden the church is teaching that. So they have to use a different language with the membership, than they are with the orthodox Christian community. And we can understand their position.”

Dr. D. Kennedy, interview with Phillip Arnn, “Truths That Transform,” 1993

Author’s note: How revealing—a “Christian” man condoning what the WCG has done in lying to and deceiving its membership! Let’s not forget that while the WCG leadership was admitting to the world in FEBRUARY OF 1991 that it was coming to accept the doctrine of the trinity as legitimate it was still telling its membership the following in July of 1991.

“‘How are we any different from the Protestant churches?’ one person asked. ‘What makes us unique anymore?’”

“At the risk of sounding silly, let me remind you of just a few ways in which we differ.”

“We do not believe the doctrine of the Trinity.”

Joseph W. Tkach, “Personal,” WN, July 22, 1991

Author’s note: The next quote illustrates the point that Philip Arnn was making.

“The newly printed Statement of Beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God will be mailed to you soon.”

“In the statement about God, you will notice that the final sentence reads:

“The Church affirms the oneness of God and the full divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Someone may ask. ‘Does this mean we now accent the doctrine of the Trinity?’ No. It does not.”

“Someone may ask, ‘Why does the statement use the word divinity in reference to the Holy Spirit?”’

“We need to understand that the Holy Spirit is divine and eternal.”

“We affirm what the Bible reveals: the oneness of God and the divinity and unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Dec. 23, 1991

12. FAMILY OF GOD
God is One or Has One?

OLD TEACHING:

“The fourth word in all the Bible is ‘God’ (Gen. 1:1). And the original Hebrew word is Elohim, a uni-plural [collective] noun like the word family, church or group. The family is God. There is one God – the one Family, but more than one Person.”

“God…purposed to reproduce Himself, through humans, made in His image and likeness, but made first from material flesh and blood, subject to death if there is sin unrepented of – yet with the possibility of being born into the Divine Family begotten by God the Father.”

“And that is why God put man on the earth.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, The Incredible Human Potential, p. 54

“How ridiculous – how nonsensical – for professing Christians to claim they are ‘children of God’ – to call one another ‘brethren in the Lord’ and to call God ‘Father,’ and then to deny that God is a FAMILY, and that we may actually be BORN INTO His very divine FAMILY – becoming Spirit as He is – becoming DIVINE as He is divine!”

“And how BLIND to deny this plain and simple BIBLE TEACHING and follow with the deceived Christian-professing crowd the false teachings of the false prophets! When the blind lead the blind, they all fall into the ditch of ignorance, superstition and deception!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Why Marriage Soon Obsolete?, p. 38

NEW TEACHING:

“The Bible tells us that, upon conversion, the Christian is ‘born again’ into the kingdom of God as one of the ‘children of God’ (John 3:3, I John 3:2). Thus we learn that God has a family.”

“It is not biblically accurate, however, to say that God is a family. For lack of clearer language – and human language falls short when we try to describe God – some Bible students have explained that the Hebrew term Elohim translated ‘God’…describes a family group of more than one Being. Most scholarship contradicts this interpretation of the word Elohim.”

“Thus, while God has a family, the word Elohim does not define God as being a family.”

God Is…, pp. 49, 50

“Yes, the Church once believed that God is a Family and that the saved would enter that Family upon being glorified. This belief is no longer held and was repudiated in our member newspaper, The Worldwide News, in 1991.”

D. Hunsberger, WCG PCD, Mar. 1, 1994

13. GOD AND CHRIST
Persons or Entities?

OLD TEACHING:

“So back to our question, ‘WHO and WHAT is God?’ Before anything else came into existence there was God and the Word, composed of spirit, not of matter, but nevertheless very real. TWO Persons – not three.”

“…God’s Word reveals that God and the Word – two supreme Personages – coexisted ALWAYS…”

“Is God, then limited to only two Persons? The false Trinity teaching does limit God to three Persons. But God is not limited. As God repeatedly reveals, His purpose is to reproduce Himself into what well may become billions of God persons. It is the false Trinity teaching that limits God, denies God’s purpose and has palpably deceived the whole Christian world.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, pp. 43, 44, 45

NEW TEACHING:

“The Bible does reveal three entities within the one Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

“…the word person is not exact enough.”

“…in recent years the word person has come under attack. Some prefer to speak of three ‘modes of existence’…The English word person (as well as any other word, for that matter) is at best a weak metaphor.”

“God is infinitely more than any human word can convey.”

God Is…, pp. 41, 44, 45

Question: “Michael…Herbert W. Armstrong…called the doctrine of the Trinity a heresy…In the current state of theological reflection of the WCG, what is the present status of the doctrine of the Trinity?”

Snyder: “we don’t use language any more as [you] previously described…”

Question: “OK, then let’s talk about the concept of ‘person.’ Would you describe the Godhead as one God subsisting as three persons?”

Snyder: “No…We talk about the fact that it is not even really an appropriate label to call God a person…We don’t believe in the Holy Spirit as a separate person, but I don’t think – and you may correct me if I am wrong – that many theologians would use that sort of language either.”

Interview with Michael Snyder, WMUZ radio, Detroit, Michigan, Dec. 13, 1991

“We do not believe that the Bible teaches that the Father and the Son are persons.”

Letter to the Editor, PT, Jan. 1993

Author’s note: Of course, they came to believe all three are persons. They first reduced the Father and Son to “not persons” in order to make them “equal” with the Holy Spirit. Then they said the Father and Son are persons and, since all three are “equal,” this also made the Holy Spirit a person. (See change 174.)

14. GOD’S BODY
Literal and Actual or Metaphoric and Formless?

OLD TEACHING:

“In various parts of the Bible, it is revealed that God has a face, eyes, a nose, mouth and ears. He has hair on His head. It is revealed God has arms and legs. And God has hands and fingers.”

“God has feet and toes and a body. God has a mind.”

“If you know what a man looks like, you know what is the form and shape of GOD, for He made man in His image, after His very likeness!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, pp. 46-47

NEW TEACHING:

“Human language describing God – even the language of God’s inspired Word, the Bible – must be based on analogy.”

“The Bible says God has a body…a head and hair…a nose and nostrils…a mouth…lips…a voice…a tongue and breath…arms, hands, and fingers…a chest…a back…a waist…and feet…”

“As all of these references demonstrate, much of the Bible is written in poetry, analogy, simile, metaphor and symbol. Therefore, we should not always interpret every Bible statement literally.”

God Is…, pp. 19, 22

“God does not have or need a body…”

“If we cling to a belief that God has a body (a male body, many will attest)…then we have inadvertently reduced God to an ‘image made to look like mortal man.’”

Joseph W. Tkach, PGR, July 27, 1993

15. IMAGE OF GOD
Man Looks Like God or Not?

OLD TEACHING:

“In Genesis 1:26, ‘God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ We know the form and shape of man. That is the image, likeness, form and shape of God.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, p. 46

NEW TEACHING:

“Scholars have long debated the meaning of the expression ‘image of God’…”

“One view is…the ability of humans to think, to reason and to make decisions.”

“A second suggestion is…our capacity to have a relationship with God.”

“A third perspective is…the responsibility of dominion that God has given humans over the earth.”

“Perhaps the best understanding of the image of God is a combination of these three perspectives.”

Bill Palmer, “Three Historic Views,” PT, May-June 1994

16. WORLD’S RELIGIONS
Source of False Knowledge or Knowledge of True God?

OLD TEACHING:

“How did the whole world become so BLINDED – so mixed up – in such religious CONFUSION?…Satan has deceived the WHOLE WORLD (Rev. 12:9).

“That’s why in religions, religious leaders, deceived by Satan, blinded to GOD’S TRUTH, have started this world’s religions – Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Billions Not Being Judged?”, GN, Jan. 1981

NEW TEACHING:

“When we cut down the religious beliefs of others, we were a self-righteous stench in the nostrils of God.”

Joseph W. Tkach, sermon preached at Detroit, Michigan, 1990

“The major religions have contributed to the search for who and what God is…”

“From the primal polytheistic religions comes a deep sense of the unity of all life.”

“Judaism emphasizes that God is One and Supreme…”

“Islam presents us with the concept of surrender to the immortal source and ruler of life.”

“Hinduism focuses on life’s hidden mysteries.”

“Buddhism points to the need for discipline in seeking answers.”

“Judaism. Christianity. Islam. These three great faiths all look to Abraham as their father.”

God Is…, pp. 4, 24

“Biblical scholar Philip Comfort answers the question of which translation is best with his own thought-provoking questions. He asks: ‘…best for whom? For young people? For adults? For Protestants? For Catholics? For Jews?’”

Paul Kroll, “Choosing a Bible?”, PT, May-June 1993

17. SONS OF GOD
Real or Adopted?

OLD TEACHING:

“[Genesis 1] says plainly God made whales after the whale kind – birds after the bird kind; cattle after the cattle kind, chimps after the chimp kind – but God made MAN after the GOD kind.”

“…the truly converted Christian, having God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within, being led by God’s Spirit, is a SON of God. In prayer he addresses God as ‘Father.’”

“The purpose of life is that in us God is really recreating His own kind – reproducing Himself after His own kind – for we are, upon real conversion, actually begotten as sons (yet unborn) of God.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Why Were You Born?, pp. 6, 28, 29

“In the KJV the word adoption is wrongly translated and should be rendered ‘sonship’ in the English, for it is speaking of becoming begotten and born sons of God, not adopted sons. Real sons!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “The True Meaning of Predestination,” PT, 1976

NEW TEACHING:

“We should note that we become the children of God through a birth experience (John 3:3). Paul also uses the metaphor of adoption. We become God’s children through adoption when we are given the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:15-17).”

“The Greek word translated as ‘sonship’ in verse 15 is huiothesia. The word can also be translated as ‘adoption.’”

Gene H. Hogberg, “The One Who Loves You,” PT, Sep. 1993

“…the teaching we once held – that the destiny of human beings is to become gods – [is] not one that we [can] support theologically.”

Joseph W. Tkach, PGR, July 27, 1993

“One of our old catchphrases (which we have not used for many years), ‘we are to become God as God is God,’ is an example of a statement that went beyond the biblical revelation.”

Joseph W. Tkach, “How Do You React to Change?”, WN, July 22, 1991

18. CHRIST’S DEATH
He Really Did Die or He Really Didn’t Die?

OLD TEACHING:

“‘For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living’ (Romans 14:9).”

“The expression ‘He was revived’ indicates Christ had been unconscious – that he was dead – not that he rose from a state of mental activity.”

“Yes, Jesus Christ died and was dead! But God the Father RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD.”

“Some seem to believe…a BODY Christ lived in died, but CHRIST HIMSELF never died. Christ was God, and, they argue, God could not die!”

“They do not realize that Christ had given up his immortal life…for the purpose of DEATH.”

“If Christ did not die for their sins – if it was only a mortal body that died – then we have no Savior…”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Why Christ Died and Rose Again,” PT, Mar. 1982

NEW TEACHING:

Author’s note: In a sermon sent to all ministers in 1991, Greg Albrecht stated that Christ resurrected Himself. If Christ resurrected Himself, then he never actually died (apparently because God can’t die). We can therefore have no real Savior.

“While [Christ] was on earth, he had two natures, human and divine. Now that he had been glorified…the limitations that define human nature…were taken away. This is what made it possible for Christ simply to materialize in the upper room.

“This is not to be confused with the eternal status of the Son hypostasis, which continued to exist, unchanged, throughout infinity and eternity.”

Joseph Tkach Jr., “Questions and Answers,” PGR, Oct. 1993

“The Son of God died in his human form, but he as a person couldn’t die.”

“The Son – hypostases – became flesh, but not the totality of the hypostases.”

“He [i.e. Christ] is in heaven and on earth at the same time.”

“Only the person died, not the Son hypostases.”

K.J. Stavrinides, Discussions on the nature of God sent to WCG churches, tape 12

19. FATHER AND SON
Literal Relationship or Metaphor?

OLD TEACHING:

“God gave you the precious gift of His Holy Spirit – He is now your FATHER! Not figuratively, but actually – REALLY!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “An Open Letter to Our Newly Begotten Brethren,” GN, Mar. 1981

“Humans, by repentance, surrender to God and acceptance of Christ, may be in mind and attitude converted – may receive God’s Holy Spirit. Thus, they are actually begotten as God’s children. They may have direct contact with God and call him FATHER! They are brought into a FATHER-AND-SON relationship with God!”

“Humans are, if converted through Jesus Christ, the heirs of the GOD FAMILY. They are to enter the divine FAMILY. They are, even now, the begotten children of God.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “The Family – God’s Plan for Mankind,” PT, February 1985

NEW TEACHING:

“…much of the Bible is written in poetry, analogy, simile, metaphor and symbol. Therefore, we should not always interpret every Bible statement literally.”

“The Bible also describes how God wants us to relate to him, often using familial language. Jesus taught us to pray to ‘Our Father in heaven’ (Matthew 6:9).”

“Yes, what Christians enjoy with God is a family relationship – but in analogy.”

God Is…, p. 22

20. ANTICHRIST
One Who Denies Christ Could Sin or Anyone Against Christ?

OLD TEACHING:

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

I John 4:1-3 (NKJV)

“The Satan-inspired doctrine that Jesus…did not really come ‘in the flesh’ as a normal human being – this is the doctrine of antichrist.”

“…the idea of sinning entered Jesus’ mind.”

“But from birth, Jesus would always reject these wrong ideas, these temptations…He went to God the Father for POWER to always do right.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Millions Do Not Know What Christ Really Was!, pp. 3, 4

“…the growing child Jesus, filled with God’s Spirit, resisted from infancy this magnetic ‘pull’ we call human nature.”

“Jesus never had a carnal mind, hostile against God. His mind, from earliest childhood, was subject to the law of God. Thus He was constantly and continually overcoming Satan, in a manner no other human had experienced.”

“After forty days and forty nights without a morsel of food or a drop of water, Jesus was physically weak but spiritually strong. Then ensued the most titanic battle ever fought – for the highest stakes of all time in the universe.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, The Incredible Human Potential, p. 112

NEW TEACHING:

“The word antichrist simply means one who is ‘in place of’ or one who is ‘against’ Christ. A political or religious leader could be an ‘antichrist,’ but so could any number of quite ordinary people.”

“Questions & Answers,” GN, Aug. 1987

“…there was no possibility that Christ might sin, even while he was on the earth.”

“…Jesus rejected Satan’s suggestions immediately. There is no suggestion that Christ entertained even the thought that Satan’s ideas might be attractive.”

“Questions & Answers,” PGR, Jan. 22, 1991

“I think this idea of Jesus taking a gamble or risk got started in our honest zeal to show how great Christ’s sacrifice was.”

“We tried to show that he was putting his very Godhead on the line for us, willing to take the great gamble that he might sin and therefore fail as Savior and remain dead forever.”

“He was fully God and he was fully man, but the idea that his humanity was separate from his divinity is an old Gnostic idea.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Oct. 28, 1991

21. IMITATING CHRIST’S EXAMPLE
Way to Eternal Life or False Hope?

OLD TEACHING:

“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments…For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.”

II John 6-8 (NKJV)

“The underlying PURPOSE of Satan…in formulating the doctrine of an antichrist is…to deny the fact that a normal man…could, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit…live in perfect obedience to the LAW OF GOD as Jesus Christ did.”

“…His obedience was our EXAMPLE!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Millions Do Not Know What Christ Really Was!, p. 3

NEW TEACHING:

“Did Christ come so that we can imitate his sinless life and thereby make it into God’s Kingdom?”

“No. Christ was God clothed in human flesh; we are not. Christ came to destroy the works of Satan; we cannot do that. Christ was sinless; we are not.”

“Trying to earn salvation by attempting to be sinless as Christ was sinless is make-believe, and the Christian who attempts such a course has a false hope – a hope that is nowhere echoed in the teachings of the New Testament.”

Joseph Tkach Jr., “Questions and Answers,” PGR, Jan. 22, 1991

Author’s note: The term “earn salvation” was cleverly substituted for “strive to imitate,” because the Church always taught that one could never earn salvation. The net effect was to prejudice people against continuing to do what we have always taught.

22. CRUCIFIXION INSTRUMENT
Stake or Cross?

OLD TEACHING:

“The New Testament does not specifically describe the instrument upon which Christ died, though Acts 5:30, 10:39 and 13:29 refer to it as a ‘tree.’”

“There is absolutely no evidence that God’s true Church ever used the cross symbol in any shape or form.”

“Questions and Answers,” GN, Feb. 1981

NEW TEACHING:

Stauros refers to a pole with or without a crosspiece. Acts 5:30 and 10:39 tell us that Jesus was put to death on a tree (xulon in Greek). This word can mean a tree, club, stick or other wooden article. Though information is limited, historical and archaeological evidence shows that the Romans generally used a cross bar, not a vertical post alone, when crucifying individuals.”

WCG PCD letter, WN, Feb. 9, 1993

“To summarize, though information is limited, it appears the Romans generally did use a crossbar along with a vertical post when crucifying individuals.”

“It does describe the probable crucifixion device in the case of Jesus. At least, there is no justification for saying it was simply an upright stake.”

Paul Kroll, “Should We Use The Word Cross?”, WN, Feb. 9, 1993

Author’s note: Christ may or may not have been crucified on a cross. The point is that it cannot be conclusively proven one way or the other—yet, the WCG wanted to make the cross its symbol and battle cry, wanted to wear it, display it, look to it for forgiveness and atonement, and ignore the fact that pagans have always used it (see change 23). God has nowhere commanded Christians to use crosses.

23. THE CROSS
Utterly Pagan Symbol or Symbol for WCG?

OLD TEACHING:

“The cross, in many shapes and forms, was used centuries before Christ by abject pagans!”

“There is absolutely no evidence that God’s true Church ever used the cross symbol in any shape or form. Nowhere does the Bible command such a use, which it surely would if God intended this of Christians.”

“Only after three centuries…do we find professing Christians using the symbol – and they adopted it from pagan worship.”

“Questions and Answers,” GN, Feb. 1981

NEW TEACHING:

“…why and how Christians began to use the symbol of the cross in their worship is somewhat obscure.”

“But we cannot establish conclusively at this time whether or not the Christian cross came out of paganism.”

Paul Kroll, “Should We Use The Word Cross?”, WN, Feb. 9, 1993

“What about those who have not yet accepted the cross of Christ as an atonement?…We need the forgiveness…that the cross makes possible.”

“God is willing to apply the cross to us, and make us one with him…”

Paul Kroll, “To Know Christ and Him Crucified,” PT, Apr. 1993

“For the Christian ‘army,’ however, there is only one battle cry, one fundamental reference point providing the courage, strength and morale to endure to the end in the good fight of faith. That battle cry is: Remember the cross!”

Joseph W. Tkach, “The Christian Battle Cry,” PT, May-June 1993

“Others have asked whether it would be wrong to have a cross on a bracelet, a necklace, in a picture, on a key chain, etc. Again, unless the cross becomes an object of worship, it is not a sin to wear or display one…”

“If a person wears a cross as a reminder of all these things, how can anyone gainsay that? We must not allow the misuse of the cross by some churches to dictate how we should view it in light of the Bible teaching.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, May 11, 1993

24. INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE
Wrong or Right?

OLD TEACHING:

“‘You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.’”

Leviticus 19:19 (NKJV)

“For it is written in the Law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.’ Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt this was written…If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?”

I Corinthians 9:9-11 (NKJV)

“If you are a livestock breeder, planning to enter your prize animal in a livestock show…you will be sure to enter only thoroughbred or pedigreed stock! Mixing the breed alters the characteristics.”

“God originally set the bounds of national borders, intending nations to be SEPARATED to prevent interracial marriage.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, pp. 148-149

NEW TEACHING:

“…in areas where society in general is tolerant of interracial marriage and both families accept the marriage, the Church would not refuse to perform the wedding ceremony on the basis of racial difference alone.”

“On the other hand, the absence of a ‘Thou shall not’ does not mean that interracial marriage is divinely and universally approved.”

“But the person who is looking for a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in order to determine that interracial marriage is sin, will not find it in the Bible.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, July 30, 1990

25. MARRYING UNBELIEVERS
Means Those Outside Church or Can’t be Narrowly Defined?

OLD TEACHING:

“A religious difference between husband and wife is a serious handicap. The Bible forbids a converted person from marrying an unconverted.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Should You Try to “Convert” Others?, p. 2

“One in God’s Church should never marry outside the Church. There should be like-mindedness spiritually and secularly.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, The Missing Dimension in Sex, p. 229

NEW TEACHING:

“When someone dates and marries outside the Church, it is important to remember that our policy is to deal with each case on an individual basis.”

“Some people wonder how 2 Corinthians 6:14 applies to such a situation. ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…’”

“The Church has traditionally interpreted a believer…in an extremely narrow sense to mean only a baptized member of the Worldwide Church of God.”

“Christians…are those who claim to believe in God and Christ. We may not agree with their interpretation of Scripture…but [that does not make them] ‘false Christians’…”

“…some…such as the Sacred Names assemblies, the Church of God International, the Global Church of God, the Philadelphia Church of God…[we] would not consider…to be candidates from which we would choose a mate…”

Joseph Tkach Jr., “Church Administration,” PGR, Apr. 20, 1993

Author’s note: Though the apostates believed members should only marry true Christians, it was amazing that Worldwide brethren were told that they can essentially marry anyone of any professing Christian denomination except one who had gone to a “splinter” group. Is this not a remarkable indictment in that they are stating it would be an equal yoking for a Worldwide member to marry nearly any other professing Christian? Ironically, one must, in fact, conclude that a “splinter” member would be unequally yoked in marriage to a Worldwide member. Again, though they were right for the wrong reason, what a remarkable self-indictment.

26. “UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER”
Many Applications or Needs Redefining?

OLD TEACHING:

“Many have asked: ‘Would it make any difference if a Christian were to become engaged in a business partnership or similar close relationship with a nonbeliever?’”

“Notice II Corinthians 6:14-15 where we read: ‘Be (become) ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:…for what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?’ This scripture has a direct application to any close relationship or partnership that one might enter.”

“Before concluding this letter it is important to ask the reader one question: Just what is a true Christian? Many think they are Christians, but are falling woefully short of living the type of life Christ lived.”

WCG PCD Letter L922

“SATAN, not God, built this house. Jesus did not come to REPAIR the improperly constructed building that is this world.”

“Instead, Jesus said: ‘Come out from among them [of this world], and be ye separate’ (II Cor. 6:17-18).”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Where Is the True Church?, p. 13

“Christians are called to separate from the world and all its affiliations, whether social, political, economic or religious (II Corinthians 6:17).”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “How Would Jesus Vote for President?”, GN, Oct.-Nov. 1984

NEW TEACHING:

“Some people wonder how 2 Corinthians 6:14 applies to such a situation. ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?’ (King James Version).”

“In context, the verse is in a discussion of the problem of idolatry, not marriage. While we can extract a principle of not being tied to an idolatrous situation, it may be applied to marrying someone who is an atheist, agnostic, a witch or a pagan. But it would not be appropriate to apply the verse to everyone who does not understand scripture the way you do.”

“Christians, in the broad definition, are those who claim to believe in God and Christ.”

Joseph Tkach Jr., “Church Administration,” PGR, Apr. 20, 1993

Author’s note: By the definition of a Christian given in the last line of the quote above, demons are not only Christians, but they are better Christians than most because they believe and also tremble (James 2:19). Mr. Armstrong understood this—see change 212, end of his quote from The Plain Truth About Healing.

27. DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
Few Exceptions or Many Acceptable Reasons?

OLD TEACHING:

“If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, and he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him…For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”

I Corinthians 7:12-13, 16 (NKJV)

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.”

“Likewise you wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”

I Peter 2:18-19; 3:1-2 (NKJV)

“The believing member is not given grounds for breaking off the marriage. It is only IF the unbelieving one leaves – severs the marriage relationship – then and only then is the believer (Church member) no longer bound and free to obtain a divorce (I Cor. 7:15).”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Official Doctrine of Divorce and Remarriage,” GN, Oct.-Nov. 1979

“Paul was also inspired to write that a converted person must not leave or divorce a mate who is pleased to continue the marriage (I Cor. 7:10-13). To divorce a faithful mate and marry another is adultery (Matt. 19:9).”

“Although the unconverted world cannot receive Christ’s teaching, all who are His ought to obey Him implicitly, not only in refraining from divorce but also in using all their resources to build a truly loving relationship…”

WCGPCD Letter L054

NEW TEACHING:

“‘If divorce occurs’ because of ‘habitual conduct like that of an unbeliever’ then ‘remarriage is permitted.’ The ‘variety of ways’ that now constitute grounds for divorce include ‘mental and physical abuse,’ ‘sexual abuse,’ ‘addictions,’ ‘emotional and spiritual abandonment of the relationship,’ ‘habitual immoral or criminal conduct,’ ‘involvement in spiritism,’ ‘impurity,’ ‘discord,’ ‘jealousy,’ ‘selfish ambition,’ ‘envy,’ ‘greed,’ and ‘slander.’”

Joseph W. Tkach, Official Divorce and Remarriage Policy, Apr. 20, 1993

28. MARRIAGE ANNULMENT
For Fraud or For Whim?

OLD TEACHING:

“But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality [fornication] causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”

Matthew 5:32 (NKJV)

“First, just as we understood it in the Church before, Jesus gave fornication (prior to marriage) as the grounds for nullifying a marriage. This clearly was a form of fraud.”

“But the Church would not apply this annulment if the couple had continued living together for a period of time. There could be other types of fraud – such as marriage enforced at the point of a gun.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Official Doctrine of Divorce and Remarriage,” GN, Oct.-Nov. 1979

NEW TEACHING:

“The Church will consider a marriage voidable…if either party informs the Church in the earliest months of the marriage that he or she regrets his or her decision to marry…or if a legal annulment is obtained.”

“In cases of annulment, it is as though the marriage never took place, and both parties are free to remarry.”

Joseph W. Tkach, Official Divorce and Remarriage Policy, Apr. 20, 1993

29. PLACE OF SAFETY
Real Hope or Selfish “Save Your Skin” Motivation?

OLD TEACHING:

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Luke 21:36 (NKJV)

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write…Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

Revelation 3:7, 10 (NKJV)

“[In] Luke 21:36, [Christ] was giving you and me a PROMISE of divine protection from these very things He had been describing – IF we do watch world events AS PROPHESIED, and remain obedient and continually in contact with God through prayer.”

“In [Rev. 3:10] is Christ’s PROMISE that because we have been faithful WITH HIS WORD [verse 8], He will also keep us from ‘the hour of temptation.’ But the marginal reading – the correct translation from the Greek original – is ‘trial’ or ‘Great Tribulation.’”

“Take heed and read the further promise of PROTECTION not only through the Great Tribulation, but also the PLAGUES of the Day of the Lord to follow, in the 91st psalm.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “There Is a Way of Escape,” PT, Dec. 1981

NEW TEACHING:

“Do any of our ministers or members believe Jesus promised that all the faithful at the end of time would be physically protected from harm in a place of safety?”

“The idea that only the weak in the faith will suffer persecution and that all the strong will be spared in a place of safety is simply not accurate.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Aug. 27, 1990

“Prophecy programs [on The World Tomorrow telecast] will not lose sight of the gospel message by trading the true gospel for a ‘10-nation/save-your-skin’ gospel (Galatians 1:6-10).”

“To preach that if you repent and obey God, you will not be killed in a war, taken captive, go hungry or get a disease, is to preach ‘another gospel,’ not the gospel of Jesus Christ (II Timothy 3:12).”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Nov. 19, 1990

30. CHURCH ERAS
Important Detailed Prophecy or Generalized Instruction?

OLD TEACHING:

“…the final generation of the Church shall be LUKEWARM – not less emotional, but more ‘liberal,’ more secular and less spiritual – less strictly biblical – yet half of them shall be SAVED at Christ’s coming, though half shall be spewed out of Christ’s mouth…”

“Speaking of the present ‘Philadelphia’ era, it says…because we have kept God’s Word faithfully, not liberalizing nor watering down, God will keep us from the ‘hour of temptation, which shall come upon all them that dwell on the earth’ to try and test them.”

“Personal from Herbert W. Armstrong,” PT, Aug. 1980

“But, the BAD NEWS, as it appears today, my dear brethren, is that we, undoubtedly of the Philadelphian era – my son’s ridicule notwithstanding – are in serious danger of BECOMING also the Laodicean era. I am personally much concerned about that. If YOU are NOT concerned, then indeed we are in mortal DANGER.”

“Personal from Herbert W. Armstrong,” GN, Aug. 1979

NEW TEACHING:

“Over the years, some have referred to the faithful in the Church as Philadelphians, and the unfaithful as Laodiceans.”

“It is simply not biblical to say that the best spiritual state is the state of being Philadelphian, and that we should strive to be Philadelphian above others.

“What the messages to the churches do tell us is that we should look carefully at our spiritual state, whatever it is, and repent whenever necessary, so that we will be ready when Jesus returns – no matter the century or the era.”

“The best spiritual state is that of being forgiven.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Jan. 9, 1989

31. CHURCH HISTORY
One Church or Many?

OLD TEACHING:

“We have a history of the true Church of God through every century from Christ until now.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Has Time Been Lost?, p. 20

“It is time you knew how to recognize the true Church which Jesus founded!

“Jesus Christ did not found many denominations! Christ said, ‘I will build my Church!’ He did build it! ONE Church…”

“But what do we find today? Hundreds of different and disagreeing sects, all founded by MEN…a modern religious babylon!”

“Nowhere is there any prophecy that the one true Church should become great and powerful…Jesus called it the ‘Little Flock’…despised, persecuted, scattered BY the world – separate from the world…”

“You have not read much of the history of THAT Church!”

Herman L. Hoeh, A True History of the True Church (1959), pp. 3, 4

“[The true Church] left few records. Occasionally they appear as a footnote of history, rejected as heretics, ridiculed, and hounded by their enemies.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, p. 285

NEW TEACHING:

“…I would say that the current position of the Church is that we are not an exclusive body by any means…”

“We make no attempt to trace ourselves to the first century.”

Michael Snyder (Assistant Public Relations Director to David Hulme), interview on WMUZ radio, Detroit, Michigan, Dec. 13, 1991

“Throughout history, Christians, individually and collectively, have had to face the challenges of growth.”

“Many events have forced Christians to look at themselves and see where they have fallen short of Jesus Christ’s example.”

“The bloodletting unleashed during the Crusades…the maniacal execution of those labeled witches in medieval Europe and Colonial North America…are two examples.”

Dan C. Taylor, “Growth With Conviction,” PT, July 1993

Author’s note: The WCG stopped printing all “true Church history” literature very early.

32. TRUE CHURCH
Narrowly or Broadly Defined?

OLD TEACHING:

“WHERE IS the original true Church that Jesus Christ founded – the one the living Jesus Christ STILL HEADS today?”

“…as in Romans 8:16, God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God – now begotten of God and to be born at the resurrection as spirit beings.”

“This tremendous TRUTH leads to understanding of WHY the Church, and WHICH IS the one true Church of God!”

“Many have appropriated God’s name, but are not proclaiming the KINGDOM OF GOD, as the GOVERNMENT of God, which we must OBEY – teaching obedience to God’s Law (Ten Commandments) – teaching REPENTANCE of rebellion and transgressing God’s Holy Law – teaching that we may be now BEGOTTEN into the KINGDOM (Family) of God, and may, by the resurrection, be BORN into the GOD FAMILY!”

“There is only ONE such Church [that teaches these things]!”

“It is doing THE WORK OF GOD. It is, as Jesus said it would be, a ‘little flock,’ persecuted, despised by the world.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Where Is the True Church?, pp. 1, 7, 8 26.

“The CHURCH is composed of those who are begotten CHILDREN OF GOD – of the FATHER of the divine Family. One becomes a begotten SON of God upon receiving within him the Holy Spirit of God.”

“…the true Church of God is a spiritual organism. It is NOT a human organization. This spiritual organism is the ‘Body of Christ’ existing for the PURPOSE of carrying on THE WORK OF GOD.”

“But it is a BIG, WORLDWIDE WORK. If every individual goes out alone, independently, trying to carry out the entire divine Commission in whatever way he sees fit, we shall have confusion, a house divided against itself.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Just What Is the Church?”, WCG Article Reprint, 1970

“‘Joining’ a group that calls itself a church…does not make one in true fact a member of THE Church Jesus founded. Here is proof: ‘But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his’ (Romans 8:9).”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Where Is the True Church?, pp. 7, 8

“Can one who does not know of the true organized Body doing God’s Work and therefore is outside of it, be a member of the true Church which Christ built? The answer is yes – for it is possible for one to have truly repented, believed, and received God’s Spirit – and be following that Spirit as far as he sees and understands – who does not know of the organized Work Christ is using today. But surely God’s Spirit in him would lead one, in due time, into his part in the organized Body the living Christ is directing.”

“The answer is YES – I have known of a few. But in every case, either they came INTO the organized spiritual organism Christ is using in the real Work of God – or, when their eyes were opened to further light and truth, they rejected it and LOST the Spirit of God. And this was amply demonstrated by the fruits.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Where Is the True Church?, p. 10

NEW TEACHING:

“There are Christians in the Catholic Church, there are Christians in the Methodist Church, there are Christians in the Baptist Church, there are Christians all around this world!”

“‘Oh, how can there be, because the Sabbath is a sign between God and us, and that’s what sets us apart as Christians?’…The Jews have the Sabbath and the Holy Days as their sign. Are they Christians?”

“Someone will say, ‘Well, what about those people who are observing the Sabbath on Sunday?’ If God hasn’t revealed to them the importance of seeing the difference between Saturday and Sunday is that going to jeopardize their salvation if they have faith in Christ?”

Joseph W. Tkach, sermon given in Atlanta, Georgia, Dec. 17, 1994

“People who decide to leave the Church…should not be treated as enemies.”

If their motivation is selfish, that is, they are seeking status and recognition, regardless of where they decide to attend they will still have to deal with that selfishness before they can have a positive relationship with God – before their increased level of service will be meaningful.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Nov. 17, 1992

Question: “That sounds very, very noble and everything, but [Herbert Armstrong] had a sense of divine call…I had the understanding that he understood the WCG…as a special organization in an exclusive way…”

Snyder: “Well, he certainly wrote along those lines. But I would say that the current position of the Church is that we are not an exclusive body by any means…”

Interview with Michael Snyder, WMUZ radio, Detroit, Michigan, Dec. 13, 1991

“Another thing that I’m being accused of, that I no longer believe this is the true Church of God. I believe it with all my heart. You are my witnesses. And I’ll add another factor in, too. We cannot limit where God chooses to work.”

Joseph W. Tkach, “A Point of Light,” sermon given at Columbus, Ohio, June 12, 1993, sent to be played in all churches Aug. 1993

Author’s note: As stated in previous editions of this book, there is a difference between believing that the Worldwide Church of God is “the” true Church and believing that it is “the ONLY” true Church. The current administration eventually became willing to admit this difference.

“There is no question that we are God’s true Church. The point I have made is that we are not all there is to God’s true Church. There is a monumental difference in those two statements.”

“There is only one Church of God, not many. That one Church is made up of every person who has the Holy Spirit, regardless of where they are, when they lived, or what organization they belong to.”

Joseph W. Tkach, Letter to WCG field minister, Spring 1994

“The Bible…does not support any believer’s attempts to become exclusive (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14).”

Joseph Tkach Jr., “Church Administration,” PGR, Jan. 11, 1994

“I believe that Mr. Hulme stated in the letter you enclosed, that any person who has the Holy Spirit is a child of God and therefore part of the Body of Christ, including all converted persons in all denominations, and that the membership of the Worldwide Church of God does not comprise the entirety of the Body of Christ. On the other side of the coin, I believe there are people in the Worldwide Church of God, as well as in all other denominations, who are not, ‘born from above’ as evidenced by their obvious lack of commitment to Jesus Christ.”

D. Register, Field Pastor (currently Director of Education of the largest splinter, including its college) Letter to P. Arnn of The Watchman’s Expositor, Nov. 12, 1993

“We believe that the Church (the spiritual Body of Christ) includes all persons who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, regardless of what denomination they may fellowship with currently.”

“Faith in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes a person a Christian, not the denomination he fellowships with. We have always acknowledged that there are truly converted Christians who do not recognize the Sabbath.”

David G. Hunsberger, WCG PCD, Mar. 1, 1994

“God has commissioned us to lead people to Jesus Christ, not to ourselves.”

Joseph W. Tkach, PGR, Jan. 11, 1994

“The point is, God is bringing his people to Jesus Christ, not to any particular human organization. The criterion for salvation is faith in Jesus Christ, not membership in a particular denomination.”

“What makes any church a valid church? Faith in Jesus Christ. God does not give us special favor for being different or for being unique. He saved us, just like everybody else, by his grace through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Joseph W. Tkach, Letter to Member, Feb. 9, 1994

“It is obvious, from the fruits, that some Sunday-keeping Christians have the Holy Spirit.”

Joseph W. Tkach, Letter to WCG field minister, Apr. 12, 1994

“As you know, in my speaking and writing I have often commented that we cannot limit where and with whom God works when it comes to other Christian churches.”

“…the true Church of God is not limited to any corporate entity nor any human organization.”

“The true Church of God consists of converted people, all people who have the Holy Spirit. That is a point Mr. Armstrong frequently stressed. As he explained, it is not…the incorporated organization that constitutes the Church of God. It is the people in whom God dwells by his Spirit that makes up the Church, the Body of Christ.”

“Therefore, we should understand that we do not form all there is of the true Church of God.”

God has called us to lead people to him, not to ourselves.”

We preach the gospel so people will come to Christ, not so they will come to us.”

“God works where he pleases, and all converted people everywhere make up the true Church of God.”

“It is not correct to say that any particular church organization, including ours, is, of and by itself, the true Church.”

Joseph W. Tkach, Letter to Ministry, PGR, Apr. 26, 1994

Author’s note: The point Mr. Armstrong stressed, referred to above, was that not all Worldwide Church of God members were converted. Only those who had truly received God’s Spirit were. This point was twisted to imply Mr. Armstrong was referring to members in all churches, as though he had always taught that God’s Spirit was dwelling in some members of every church. The splinter leaders bought their thinking wholesale.

“John wrote: ‘Everyone who believe that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well’ (I John 5:1). Accordingly, the Worldwide Church of God does not consider its membership to be all there is to the Body of Christ. Our position is that any person who has the Holy Spirit is a child of God, regardless of the church he or she belongs to, and we recognize that God works where he pleases. This is different from the position once held by the Church.”

David Hulme, letter to James Walker of the Watchman Fellowship, June 24 1993

“…we no longer condemn Christians who have chosen Sunday as their day of gathering together for their services to worship and praise God. Christianity is defined by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the individual believer, not necessarily by outward customs or practices in group worship.”

David G. Hunsberger, WCG PCD, Nov. 18, 1994

“How sad that some among us were actually upset and angry to learn that there are true Christians in other churches besides ours. That in itself is an indicator of how far from Christ some of us have become – to the point that some of us actually find it unpleasant to know that God has called others besides us to salvation!”

“Isn’t that selfish, arrogant attitude one that pervades Christian churches? Many churches believe that they and they alone are the truly faithful and obedient fellowship of believers. And just like so many of the others, we have been guilty of the same sin.”

“There are Christian churches, congregations and Bible societies that are also, just as we are, doing God’s work in this dark world.”

“But as I have explained often, salvation is not in Sabbath and Holy Day keeping; salvation comes only by the generous grace of God and only through faith in Jesus Christ.”

“We should be able to exemplify the kingdom of God by extending the right hand of fellowship to believers who are different from ourselves.”

“But, true to human nature, some of us have allowed these blessings [the Sabbath and Holy Days] to become a snare by becoming arrogant and self-righteous about them…And, I’m sorry to say, it is one of the very things some among us have chosen not to repent of.”

“…we must not condemn and reject Christians God has called into other fellowships and given other tasks. I have explained before that the Sabbath was given as a sign of the special covenant relationship between God and his people, Israel. But the sign of God’s people in the New Testament is the Holy Spirit in them, expressing itself in love…”

“God will work with them as he sees fit.”

Joseph W. Tkach, Letter to the Ministry, PGR, Oct. 18, 1994

“Do [we] claim to be the one true Church?”

“The one ‘true’ Church is the Body of Christ, made up of all believers who are called by God and in whom the Holy Spirit abides. It is not limited to corporate entities or any single church organization. God works where he wills, and it is not the place of any church to limit God’s work to itself (Mark 9:38-40).”

We’re Often Asked (1994), p. 5

“More than a third of the world is Christian, making Christianity the religion with the largest number of adherents in the world.”

“One in Three Are Christian,” PT, Oct. 1994

“Africa not only has some of the world’s poorest countries, it also has some of the most Christian ones. An estimated 327 million Christians live in Africa…”

John Halford, “The Challenge of Africa,” PT, Nov.-Dec. 1994

“How can we say there are many Christians outside the Worldwide Church of God?”

“It might help to imagine yourself holding a 10-meter pole. You take the pole and cut off 1 meter. Now you have two poles. One is 9 meters long, the other 1 meter. Stand them on end beside each other in comparison to each other, which of the poles is little? The 1-meter pole, of course! That 1-meter pole represents 10 percent of the original pole. So 10 percent can be little.”

“Therefore, if 10 percent of the world’s population were converted, the Church would still be little and the world would still be deceived. With the world’s population soon to exceed 6 billion, 10 percent of that figure is 600 million. Yes, 600 million can still be little in a world of 6 billion.”

“This figure reminds me of John’s vision of an innumerable multitude of converted (Revelation 7:9). That multitude is still a little flock living in a deceived world.”

“Is 10 percent too big a figure? Then let’s choose 1 percent. One percent of 6 billion is 60 million, still a hefty sum.”

“…it seems evident from the Scriptures and from logic that Christ’s little flock is many times bigger than we thought.”

Ralph Orr, “How Little Is Jesus’ Flock?”, Reviews You Can Use, May-June 1995

“Concluding the conference, Mr. Tkach Jr. spoke about…why dissident groups are not biblically viable alternatives to the Body of Christ.”

Paul Monteith, “Mr. Tkach Outlines Vision,” WN, June 14, 1994

Author’s note: Although the WCG administration came to believe that there are hundreds of millions of Christians and hundreds of churches forming the “Body of Christ,” it continues to make an exception when referring to groups like The Restored Church of God (or the “splinter” groups—see change 103). The only Church today that still holds to all of the biblical truths taught by Mr. Armstrong, changing nothing, is Restored.

33. SALVATION
Saved Later or Saved Now?

OLD TEACHING:

“The popular denominations have taught, ‘Just BELIEVE – that’s all there is to it; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are that instant saved!’”

“The death of Christ did pay the penalty of sin in our stead – it wipes the slate clean of past sins – it saves us merely from the DEATH PENALTY – it removes that which separated us from God and reconciles us to God.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, All About Water Baptism, p. 6

“‘Justified’ does not refer to the future – it has to do only with your guilty past!”

“So, continue: ‘Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved by Him.’”

“Look at it! It says ‘we SHALL BE saved.’ Not that we already are saved. It says ‘being now justified’ but it does not say ‘being now saved.’ It says ‘we shall be’ – yes, in the future – saved…Don’t believe preachers who say you are already, now, saved!”

Herbert W. Armstrong, What Do You Mean—Salvation?, pp. 17-18

NEW TEACHING:

“Those whom God has justified, while still subject to physical death, are as good as alive forever.”

“Because we are saved by God’s grace, from his point of view, salvation is an accomplished fact.”

“When God saves us, we are his children forever.”

What Is Salvation? (1992), pp. 8, 12, 14

“We have entered God’s Kingdom, and it absolutely changes our perspective.”

Ted Johnston, “From Birth to Inheritance: Entering the Kingdom of God,” WN, Dec. 29, 1992

“Let us understand that entrance into the Kingdom of God is salvation. Being saved and entering the kingdom of God are the same thing!”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Aug. 11, 1992

“We call this renewal or rebirth being saved.”

Paul Kroll, “Grace Is Free…,” PT, Jan. 1994

“New birth. Eternal life. Salvation. The Kingdom of God. These terms all refer to the same transforming event of conversion.”

Paul Kroll, “Your Place in the Kingdom of God,” PT, Oct. 1993

34. THE WORLD
Cut Off From God or Not?

OLD TEACHING:

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”

“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God…”

“Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.”

“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us.”

“By this we know t