Major Splinters

 

There are hundreds of apples that fell from WCG’s withering branches and keeping track of them is a daunting chore. But there are a mere handful of these cults that are large enough to make waves and effectively propagate Herbert W. Armstrong’s legacy on a mass scale.

These splinters have the most charismatic leaders from the COG’s aging ministry and have most effectively replicated WCG’s business model as they attempt to reclaim the essence of the “glory days.” Their media projects actually reach people (though convert few) and they draw millions in tithes and donations. It’s not merely a matter of membership size either, but rather the notability of their projects and the scope of their message.

As a result, these COG sects are the ones we write about most since their actions effect the largest number of people.

 

*Please note that Silenced does not endorse the content of these sites. This is merely additional information for educational purposes to make the public aware of how these cults present themselves so their scams can be more easily identified.

COG7

Church of God (Seventh Day)
Official Name
:
The General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh-Day) (COG7)
Estimated Membership:
211,000 worldwide
Leader
Whaid Rose
Headquarters:
Denver, Colorado/Salem, West Virginia

The Mothership

Before delving into WCG’s actual splinters, it’s important to recognize that WCG itself was a splinter group.

COG7 was started by Gilbert Cramner in 1858 after a falling out with Millerite/Adventists James and Ellen White. Cramner’s congregations were later organized into a state conference. In 1927, Herbert W. Armstrong was ordained in COG7′s Oregon conference.

COG7 itself split in 1933 over governmental issues, dividing the conference between the Church of God (Seventh-Day) stationed in Denver and Church of God (7th Day) in Salem, West Virginia. Armstrong joined with the latter.

The Radio Church of God was started in 1934 by Armstrong, who was a minister in the Salem conference at the time.  Armstrong’s ministerial credentials were signed that year by COG7 leaders  A. N. Dugger and C. O. Dodd, concurrent with the launching of Armstrong’s The Plain Truth magazine and KORE Oregon radio program. It was Dugger and Dodd who attempted to connect the COG back to the Biblical church in Acts, concepts still prevalent among the Armstrongite cults today.

Armstrong was not expelled from COG7 until 1937 for his teachings on British-Israelism, differing teachings on the Holy Days and his general inability to work well with others.

The influence of COG7 doctrines on Armstrong’s teachers are undeniable and today’s COG differs from those teachings in very few ways. COG7 did become more “Trinity friendly” in 1994, roughly the time that WCG had made a similar doctrinal shift. After WCG’s 1995 schism, many disenfranchised members disinterested in joining the new splinters instead clung to COG7 conferences, bringing the Armstrongite churches back full circle to their roots.

Related Resources*
Bible Sabbath Association
Church of God (Seventh Day)

Church of God (7th Day)

Wikipedia: Church of God (Seventh Day)

Wikipedia: Church of God (7th Day)

Philadelphia Church of God
Official Name
: The Church of God Philadelphia (PCG)
Estimated Membership: 5,000 worldwide
Leader: Gerald Flurry
Headquarters: Edmond, Oklahoma

Gerald Flurry

Gerald Ray Flurry is the founder and Pastor General of the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG), a small church based in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is also host of the television program The Key of David, is editor in chief of The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine, is founder and chancellor of Herbert W. Armstrong College, and is founder and chairman of the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation.

Flurry graduated from Ambassador College in 1970 and became a minister within WCG in 1973, and was transferred to Oklahoma in 1985. During the three years after Herbert Armstrong’s death in 1986, WCG made several doctrinal changes that Flurry objected to as ‘doctrinally false’. He began to openly oppose these changes, and felt God had “inspired” his Bible studies. Flurry eventually wrote a manuscript that would become the book Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today. These actions led to his summon before WCG leaders, who promptly fired Flurry on December 7, 1989.

Members of PCG must develop a deep respect and love for the PCG ministry. To them, the PCG ministry is made up of “faithful, dedicated men”, of which there are few.

Flurry has been criticized by detractors for the church’s teaching of disfellowshipment. The church, citing Romans 16:17, teaches PCG members to avoid associating with or fellowshipping with present and former baptized members of the Worldwide Church of God, prohibiting “any kind of fellowship with former PCG members and all ‘Laodiceans’, even if they are members of a church member’s immediate family.”

He has written, “We must not keep company or fellowship with them [‘Laodiceans’] by going to restaurants and things like that. In the past some members have been told that these relationships are okay so long as religion is not discussed… there should be a complete cut off.” Exceptions to the teaching are if an apostate or Laodicean spouse of a PCG member is “pleased to dwell.” Scripture, Flurry said, dictates that “that relationship should be preserved as long as the [disfellowshipped or Laodicean] mate is pleased to dwell.” He cited 1 Corinthians 7:10-14. The other exception to the disfellowship rule is “unbaptized children” and other former PCG attendees who may have been baptized but were not “validly baptized.” The PCG disfellowshipment teaching does not apply to family members not formally associated with the WCG.

Members are tossed out of PCG regularly, either for fraternizing with outsiders or for disagreeing with Flurry’s special brand of Armstrong-based doctrine.

Flurry is frequently cited as an egomaniac as part of the church’s initiation process is to read his book and accept every single word of it as inspired scripture. Anyone who does not revere him is removed from the fold and shunned. He has been quoted several times as stating, concerning himself: ”Following God’s Man is actually following God.”

This is a full listing of Gerald R. Flurry quotes, with regards to adoration and loyalty to him and his office.

1989: Philadelphia Founded

Supporters rallied around Flurry in the aftermath of his termination. They were convinced that God was using him to ‘get the church back on track’. Together, four families (12 people in all) met as the Philadelphia Church of God on December 16, 1989. On December 20, PCG became an incorporated entity. One of its first actions was to publish Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today and distribute it to as many WCG members as possible. Since the initial mailing, Flurry has done the following:

• In 1990, he began publishing the Philadelphia Trumpet magazine.
• In 1993, he began the weekly Key of David television program.
• In 1992, he founded Philadelphia Youth Camp.
• In 1996, Gerald Flurry founded the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation, establishing a concert series in Edmond and supporting humanitarian projects abandoned by the WCG in Jordan and Israel.
• In 2001, he founded Herbert W. Armstrong College, a four-year liberal arts college in the tradition of Ambassador College.
• In January 2008, Flurry broke ground on Armstrong Auditorium, an 800-seat, $18 million performing arts center located on the Armstrong College campus. The center, pattered after Mr. Armstrong’s famed Ambassador Auditorium, is scheduled to open in February 2010.
• In August 2008, he founded Imperial Academy, a primary and secondary school pattered after the WCG’s Imperial Schools.

WCG Copyright Dispute

Despite the fact that the WCG owned the copyrights to Mystery of the Ages, Flurry decided in 1997 to print and distribute hard copies under the “fair use” clause of copyright law. The book had been put out of print and copies destroyed by the WCG leadership within three years of Armstrong’s death. PCG published the book in order to distribute it. The leadership of WCG rejected that the PCG printing of this book was “fair use” of their copyright and thus began a six year court battle over fair use of the copyrights, with the WCG losing the initial round at the appellate level on February 18, 1997. WCG then appealed and won a split decision with the Ninth Circuit Court on September 18, 2000. After this PCG then petitioned the twenty-six judges of the Ninth Circuit Court, after they all rejected it they appealed to the nine justices of the Supreme Court, none would hear the case. The WCG leadership offered Flurry and the PCG all of Armstrong’s works for three million dollars on the condition that internal WCG documents, memos, and emails obtained through discovery be handed back by the PCG.

According to Stephen Flurry’s (Flurry’s son) book Raising the Ruins, this condition was regarded as a deal breaker and the WCG was told to prepare to resume litigation. Within hours, the condition to the sale of the copyright was removed from the proposal and an agreement was reached. PCG agreed to pay WCG $3 million, in exchange PCG would acquire the copyright to Mystery of the Ages and the other eighteen disputed works. In order to pay this amount PCG had to abandon coverage of The Key of David program on all TV spots except on WGN. PCG now owns the copyrights to nineteen of Armstrong’s works, including all his full length books.

Youth Programs

The Philadelphia Youth Camp is the youth camp of PCG. PYC campers participate in athletic activities and a wide variety of social and educational activities during the three week event, encouraging teamwork and cooperation. PYC is located in Edmond, Oklahoma, but PYC camps are also held annually in Australia and the Philippines.

Herbert W. Armstrong College

The PCG administers a small liberal arts and theology college, Herbert W. Armstrong College, located in Edmond.

Herbert W. Armstrong College is a small liberal arts and theology college located north of Edmond, Oklahoma. PCG is based on the college’s campus. HWA College offers two-year and four-year degrees, but does not offer accredited degrees.

The college was established in 2001 as Imperial College of Edmond, but was renamed after objections by Imperial College London. Armstrong College graduated its first class in 2006 and was granted permission to accept international students in 2003.

Flurry’s versions of Armstrong’s works  are used as teaching tools in the college. The college claims that it is based on the continuation of Armstrong’s educational philosophy used at his now-defunct Ambassador College.

HWA College, through the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation, hosts a variety of performing arts events for residents of the area. The organization states it’s activities are based on Armstrong’s original Ambassador International Cultural Foundation.

Imperial Academy

In 2008, PCG launched a sister school to HWA College, an elementary school for the children of the church’s members. It offers primary and secondary education teaching children about Flurry’s particular brand of Christianity and reverence for Armstrong, “character development” and basic subjects such as math, history, language and science, all with a special PCG spin.

Armstrong International Cultural Foundation

The PCG established a humanitarian arm called the Philadelphia Foundation in 1996 when it took over a project in the Kingdom of Jordan that the WCG’s Ambassador Foundation had left behind. In 2005, the name was changed to the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation. Since 1998, the foundation has sponsored a performing arts series in Edmond, Oklahoma, and in 2005 it began supporting archaeological excavations in Jerusalem. In 2006, the PCG broke ground on Armstrong Auditorium, a 800-seat performing arts center located on the HWA College campus in Edmond. The hall is the new home of the foundation’s concert series.

Influence and Media Presence

Philadelphia News is the internal newspaper for PCG members featuring organization news, announcements and letters from ministers.

PCG also publishes the Philadelphia Trumpet, a monthly magazine patterned after WCG’s The Plain Truth. It’s content covers Biblical doctrine, prophecy, British-Israelism, creationism against evolution, Christian Living advice, and other articles that were commonly found in the magazine it was directly based on.

The Key of David is PCG’s television program run on hundreds of network stations worldwide, hosted by Gerald Flurry in the same vein as Armstrong’s The World Tomorrow broadcast.

Related Resources*
The Philadelphia Church of God
Herbert W. Armstrong College
Imperial Academy
The Philadelphia Trumpet Magazine
True Education
The Key of David
Wikipedia: Philadelphia Church of God
Wikipedia: Gerald Flurry
Wikipedia: Herbert W. Armstrong College
The Plain Truth About Gerald R. Flurry

Living Church of God
Official Name: The Living Church of God (LCG)
Estimated Membership: 8,000 worldwide
Leader: Roderick C. Meredith
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina

Roderick C. Meredith

Rod Meredith is the leader and founder of the Living Church of God. As one of the first five Evangelists of the Worldwide Church of God, he was ordained in 1952 by Herbert W. Armstrong. For many years he was one of the Church’s leading theologians, top executives, and professors at Ambassador College.

Establishment Post 1995 Schism

After the collapse of WCG, Meredith headed the Global Church of God. Following a heated dispute with several members of the GCG’s corporate Board of Directors over Meredith’s authority within the church, he was fired by a 3-2 majority of the board on November 25, 1998. Meredith’s firing was widely unpopular with most of the GCG membership, and approximately 80 percent left the organization and came with him. In addition to the majority of the membership coming with him, approximately 70 percent of GCG’s ministers and Council of Elders joined him as well.

Meredith and others founded LCG. Meredith is the organization’s CEO and Presiding Evangelist of Church. He is also the Editor in Chief of Tomorrow’s World magazine and one of the four regular presenters of the LCG’s television program, Tomorrow’s World.

LCG, like WCG before it, places strong emphasis on the Hebrew roots of Christianity. The church teaches members should not take part in politics, juries or military service, and that the end times are imminent.

Governmental Structure

Following the controversial firing of Meredith by GCG, LCG was incorporated in San Diego, California in December 1998. Meredith and his followers believed, as Armstrong did, in one man rule of the church. According to Armstrong, the church was to be governed “from the top down.” He created a structure of ranks in the WCG ministry that allowed for progressive increases in responsibility and salary, including deacon, local elder, preaching elder, pastor, regional pastor, and others. Evangelist was the highest rank attainable except for the title of Apostle given to Armstrong. LCG tries to mirror this structure.

In 2003, LCG’s corporate headquarters was moved from San Diego to Charlotte, North Carolina.

By 2006, the church reported it had 294 congregations in 44 countries, with over 7,100 members attending its annual 8-day long festival the Feast of Tabernacles at 45 sites in 30 countries located in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America, and South America. An independent auditor specializing in non-profits reported in 2006 the church had an annual income of $11.1 million. This revenue was received through tithes, holy day offerings, and other contributions from its members.

Youth Programs

LCG holds annual youth camps for pre-teens, teens and young adults known as Living Youth Camps. Two preteen camps are held in Missouri and Texas, and the main LYC is in held is Pennsylvania. An adventure camp is also held at a different park every year that is geared towards young adults and older teens. LCG also holds singles weekends. Pairing off between boys and girls is discouraged at LCG camps, as are electronic devices or anything that is construed as a “distraction” from the experience of camp activities, community and morning Bible studies.

Sabbath school programs are run locally in congregations with sizable enough populations of grade-school aged children, usually during the first portion of the church service or directly after. They often focus on simple Bible stories and elementary Biblical knowledge, but also focus on specific church doctrines such as “the World Tomorrow.”

As homeschooling is extremely common, interactions with schoolmates are often discouraged, and since proms are often held on Friday nights, church proms are held to compete with or replace annual school proms and are usually held on Saturday nights in close proximity to prom season. Several young adult dances are also held throughout the year for those who have graduated.

Living University

In 2007, LCG started Living University, a nonprofit online institution. Its mission is “the development of the whole person by educating men and women in the skills, concepts, and values that lead to success in life, while helping them prepare for leadership and worthwhile service to God and humanity.”

The school is continuing to explore accreditation for its undergraduate degrees, diplomas and certificates. It is similar in curriculum to UCG’s Ambassador Bible Center, and of course the original Ambassador College, though it offers its materials freely, unlike the aforementioned programs.

Influence and Media Presence

By December 1998, the organization started producing a weekly half-hour television program, Tomorrow’s World. The program is anchored by Meredith, Richard Ames, Rod King, and Wallace Smith. The two-time Telly Award winning telecast is shown on 211 television stations throughout the world.

In May 2006, LCG’s media department reported that the television program was accessible to nearly 78 million American households, or 71 percent of the American television market. According to reports in March 2007 by Nielsen Research, the program was estimated to reach an average of 50,000 new viewers each week. To date, approximately 320 programs have been taped and televised since 1999.

A free bi-monthly magazine and website, also called Tomorrow’s World, is mailed to 1.8 million subscribers yearly. From the magazine’s inception in 1999, 8.3 million copies have been sent out. The bimonthly circulation for the magazine in 2008 was 326,000.

Related Resources*
Living Church of God
Tomorrow’s World
Living Youth Web
Living University
Church of God Living: Feast of Tabernacles
Wikipedia: Living Church of God
Wikipedia: Roderick C. Meredith
Living Youth
Facebook: Living Church of God
Facebook: Northeast Area Living Church of God
Northeast Area Living Church of God

United Church of God
Official Name
: The United Church of God, an International Association  (UCG)
Estimated Membership: 10,000 worldwide
Leader: Dennis Luker
Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

Establishment Post 1995 Schism

The United Church of God was established in May of 1995 and is the largest of splinter group to branch from WCG. Its focus is to continue the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, however their focus on his life, words and literature is substantially less than that of UCG’s sister groups. UCG is perhaps the most corporate of all of the COG groups and it is considered the most “liberal” by its fellow sects.

Governmental Structure

UCG was founded at a conference organized in Indianapolis, Indiana in the spring of 1995 and attended by  former WCG ministers concerned by the doctrinal changes introduced into the church.

The first president of UCG was David Hulme, who left the church after he was voted out of the office in 1998. Following Hulme, elders selected to serve as president have been Les McCullough in 1998, Roy Holladay in 2002, Clyde Kilough in 2005 and Dennis Luker since 2010.

Unlike other COG groups who follow Armstrong’s one man rule precedent, UCG is governed by a 12-man Council of Elders. Those serving on the Council of Elders are elected by the General Conference of Elders. The General Conference of Elders meets once a year in May to perform tasks that include approving a budget, operation planning, strategic planning, electing members of the Council of Elders, and participation in seminars designed to strengthen the abilities and enthusiasm of the ministry for UCG’s work. The Council of Elders acts as the governing body for the international association and is responsible for forming policy and doctrine for UCG. The Council meets four times a year.

The international headquarters of UCG is referred to as the Home Office and is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Home Office is headed by the UCG’s president, who is charged with administrative responsibility over the day-to-day functions of the church and acts as its official spokesman. The president leads a team of Operations Managers which includes Financial Services, Ministerial Services and Media and Communication Services.

Youth Programs

There are numerous United Youth Camps camps held each year, usually in the summer, at various locations throughout the world. These are catered to middle and highschool students and are staffed by ministers and volunteers alike. There is also a yearly Winter Camp held in Wisconsin.

Youth Camps vary in length and scope of activities, but most are just under a week long, and feature standard camp activities such as canoeing, hiking, ropes course, softball, and other organized team sports. Each morning is started with a “Compass Check” after breakfast, a small Bible discussion geared towards getting campers’ minds in “The Zone,” a state of mind free of any outside influences such as non-church friends, movies, music and video games. Each days also ends with these kind of studies, with activities and meals sandwiched between their daily lessons.

UCG’s Sabbath school programs are run locally in congregations with enough grade-school aged children, usually during the first portion of the church service or directly after. They often focus on simple Bible stories and elementary Biblical knowledge, but also focus on specific church doctrines.

UCG also holds church proms to compete with annual school dances and are usually held on Saturday nights in close proximity to prom season. Several young adult dances are also held throughout the year.

The Winter Family Weekend is a yearly sports tournament sponsored by UCG that also attracts youth from other splinter groups such as LCG. It’s held in Louisville, Kentucky over the course of Christmas break, as UCG members do not observe or acknowledge Christmas as a celebration. Over the weekend there are numerous workshops held and lectures, as well as a church service.

Most of the members stay in nearby hotels in Louisville and drive to the handful of rented athletic complexes to partake in basketball, football, volleyball and other sporting, either casually or as a part of tournament play. It’s regarded by teens and young adults as a massive speed-dating exercise (much in the same vain as the Feast of Tabernacles), as there are multiple teen and young adult dances and nights out, and the rented hotel environments lead to romantic escapades, which is frowned upon by UCG leadership, yet cannot be adequately stopped or contained.

Ambassador Bible Center

The Home Office in Cincinnati houses the Ambassador Bible Center. ABC is a nine-month program of classes in Biblical and theological studies. The ABC program is designed to give young adults and all interested people a foundation in the teachings of UCG, and is modeled on the now defunct Ambassador College. There is no dormitory housing since ABC is not a school ground. Rather, students move to Cincinnati during the nine-month period and often forced to work part-time jobs to pay for the high tuition fees to attend the program. Housing is often provided either by members who rent out places to students or they have to stake out and find nearby apartments on their own.

Despite charging for the courses, UCG makes the entirety of the curriculum freely available online, calling into question the value of the courses taught at ABC. There is no testing at ABC, but rather copious note-taking of rapidly-given lectures.

Influence and Media Presence

The Good News Magazine is UCG’s flagship publication published bi-monthly. The magazine contains articles that discuss Bible prophecy, world news and trends, social issues, Biblical doctrine and Christian Living.

Subscriptions are funded by the tithes from UCG members. The Good News currently has a circulation of over 400,000 and has subscribers in over 120 nations. It is published in English, Spanish, German, French and Italian.

The Beyond Today television program is shown on over 100 public access stations and is accompanied by a multimedia website and a presence on Youtube. It is hosted by UCG pastors Darris McNeely, Gary Petty and Steve Myers. It’s format is one that is hosted by a moderator, a UCG pastor, who then has two other UCG pastors on, and they proceed to agree with each other on everything in their discussion. The show has much lower viewership than that of other broadcasts by UCG’s sister groups.

The World News and Prophecy newsletter is published monthly and contains articles focused on world news as they relate to Bible prophecy. World News and Prophecy alleges the rise of the European Union, the decline of U.S. and British power, and the moral decay of Western culture will lead to the Apocalypse. Within this context, the newsletter presents issues and editorial opinion from the point of view of Armstrong’s teachings on British-Israelism and biblical prophecy.

Vertical Thought is a quarterly publication published for UCG’s youth. The publication contains articles from both church ministers and youth, and aims to strengthen the Christian faith of its youthful readership. It’s aimed at both teens and young adults, and often attacks today’s media and youth culture.

The United News is a newsletter focusing on news and events within UCG. The newsletter contains articles on UCG missions, church activities, reports on church governance, doctrinal and Christian living articles, and birth and death announcements of church members. As an internal organ, there is only praise and good news attributed to UCG and its members.

UCG has also produced about 33 booklets on various Biblical and prophetic topics, a 12-lesson Bible study course, a monthly systematic Bible reading program with commentary, various article reprints, a national radio program, local access television programs, and a website.

Crisis and Split

A decision to move the Church’s home office to Texas was rescinded in 2008, causing considerable tension within and between the Council of Elders and the General Conference of Elders. In 2009, two members of the Council of Elders resigned. This included then-president Clyde Kilough, whose resignation was effective July 28th, 2009, and Richard Thompson, effective July 27th, 2009. Personal reasons were cited  by both members. In 2010, disunity started to tear UCG apart.

In 2011, UCG had roughly 5,000 of its members split from the church over disputes over leadership, a home office move, the Latin American and African congregations, and the perceived hostile takeover of Dennis Luker and his allies of the organization’s leadership reigns. Full coverage of this split can be found on Shards.

Related Resources*
United Church of God, an International Association
United News
Vertical Thought
World News and Prophecy
Good News Magazine
Beyond Today
YouTube: Beyond Today
YACOG
Wikipedia: United Church of God
Wikipedia: The Good News Magazine
United Church of God Congregations
Facebook Organization: United Church of God
Facebook Fan Page: United Church of God
Facebook: United Church of God Young Adults
Facebook: UCG Dallas Young Adults
Facebook: UCG Houston Young Adults
Facebook: UCG Louisiana Young Adults
Facebook: UCG Arizona Young Adults
Facebook: UCG Twin Cities Young Adults
Facebook: UCG Akron, Ohio
Facebook: UCG Bloomington, Illinois
Facebook: UCG Houston, Texas
Facebook: UCG Little Rock, Arkansas
Facebook: UCG Youth Corps
Facebook: Help Support United Youth Corps!
COG World Travellers
Victor Kubik’s Website

Church of God, Worldwide Association
Official Name: Church of God, A Worldwide Association, Inc (COGWA)
Estimated Membership: 5,000 worldwide
Leader: Jim Franks
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

The Church of God, a Wordwide Association splintered off from UCG due to a year-long dispute between many of its pastors and the new church president Dennis Luker. The reasons for the dispute centered around UCG pulling funding from its poorer subsidized congrations in Latin America and Africa, the cancellation of a planned headquarters move from Cincinatti to Denton, Texas, and the what many pastors deemed to be a hostile takeover or the organization after former president Clyde Kilough was ousted.

The crisis at the top of the organization was largely kept secret from the average laymember, pastors only hinting to their congegrations as to what was happening. When ministers started to get fired for questioning UCG’s authority and others started to resign, members started to get wonder, yet received little in the way of answers. One anonymous blogger, Abigail Cartwright, was the only resource members could go to as he or she leaked council letters and documents detailing some of the reasons behind the dispute.

On January 8, 2011, after scores of ministers had resigned their post, they had a secret meeting that formed a new church. A small percentage of members left their former congregations without a word or a farewell to their former brethren. Families and friendships were torn apart.

Essentially, the reaction of those leaving was largely emotional, as many to this day do not understand the reasons for the split other than that Dennis Luker was a ‘paranoid tyrant’. As true as that might be, they chose not to fight for the organization they spent 15 years building with their tithe money. Most in the third world congregations shifted over to COGWA, the new organization inheriting a massive yearly expense to subsidize their work.

There are no doctrinal differences between COGWA and UCG, but rather a difference in an approach to leadership, finances, and media projects. UCG had been leaning towards a cable TV campaign, purchasing a slot on WGN for its show Beyond Today, abandoning previous projects that had been focused on the internet.

COGWA announced it would launch a school similar to UCG’s Ambassador Bible Center, the Foundation Institute, Center for Biblical Education.

Related Resources*
Church of God, a Worldwide Association

Restored Church of God
Official Name: The Restored Church of God (RCG)
Estimated Membership: 1000 worldwide
Leader: David C. Pack
Headquarters: Wadsworth, Ohio

The Restore Church of God is a small splinter group formed in the wake of the collapse of the Global Church of God. It is led by David C. Pack, who was excommunicated from GCG for rabble-rousing. RCG is primarily an Internet-based congregation, but there are about 140 members that attend live church services in Wadsworth each week.

Pack is infamous for his lengthy open letters to other COG groups in attempts to draw away members and pastors from his rivals, which has been somewhat effective in recent years. Pack announced the construction of an Ambassador College-like world headquarters for RCG in Wadsworth.

Its structure and doctrine mirrors that of WCG and its sister splinter groups. It runs a television program called The World to Come, hosted by Pack. It also prints a magazine called The Real Truthalong with a teen-oriented magazine called Ambassador Youth. It’s internal news organ is called The Pillar.

It holds a single annual youth camp where teens from its scattered congregations meet from all around the world. Like its sister groups, it has several, approximately 17, annual sites for their annual ‘Feast of Tabernacles‘ observance.

David C. Pack is the strong man of the organization and the unquestioned leader over his small church, in the tradition of Herbert W. Armstrong, whom its members revere.

Related Resources*
Restored Church of God
The Real Truth
Information on Restored Church of God (David C. Pack)Testimonies from those impacted by Restored Church of God
To All Who Are Considering Joining Restored Church of God
David C. Pack Declares Himself an Apostle
Exposé of “Clarion Call—The Time is Now!”

COG-PKG

Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God
Official Name: Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God (COG-PKG)
Estimated Membership: 800 worldwide
Leader: Ronald Weinland
Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

The Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God is a small Christian church that claims to provide “support, education and warning to the scattered Church that was formerly united in the Worldwide Church of God.”

COG-PKG is led by Ronald Weinland, and have adopted apocalyptic beliefs stating we are currently in the process of watching the world end. Weinland has identified himself to be the spokesman of “His two end-time witnesses” mentioned in Revelation 11:3. Weinland also claims that he and his wife Laura are both prophets, and that he is the “end-time Elijah” to come as mentioned in Malachi 4:5-6. He also claims to be the Zerubbabel who will rebuild the Jewish Temple.

According to his blog, “the final countdown has begun, as the 1335 days before the actual day Jesus Christ returns began on Tuesday, September 30, 2008.”.  In a sermon given for April 18, 2008, he identified his wife Laura, as the other witness of Revelation 11 and called Pope Benedict XVI a “false prophet.”

Weinland has changed the prophesied date for the return of Christ to May 27, 2012 and recently began to ordain women in his church as elders. Weinland delivers his sermons weekly on Saturday afternoons on a live basis to members throughout the United States and Canada via streaming internet podcast.

Weinland was indicted on federal tax-evasion charges in late 2011 for abuse of member donations. He was found guilty on all charges in June and faces up to five years in prison and fines up to $250,000 for each of the five counts of tax evasion brought against him and will sentenced in September. He is currently under monitored house arrest.

Related Resources*
The Prophecies of Ron Weinland
Wikipedia: Church of God Preparing for the Kingdom of God
Church of God Preparing for the Kingdom of God
Ron Weinland of the Church of God
False Prophet Ron Weinland

Church of God International
Official Name: Church of God International (COGI)
Estimated Membership: 2000 worldwide
Leader: Garner Ted Armstrong (deceased)
Headquarters: Tyler, Texas

The Church of God, International is headquartered in Tyler, Texas. Incorporated in 1978, the organization was led until 1998 by Garner Ted Armstrong. In 1998, amid accusations of sexual impropriety, GTA was removed from office by the church’s board of directors. A significant ministerial reorganization followed which resulted in the present sharing of administration and leadership among church pastors, similar to the structure of UCG.

Many CGI doctrines are similar to other COG groups. However, CGI has a focus on “refining and honing” church doctrines, as opposed to the stringent attitudes of other COG splinters, which rarely if ever deviate from the groundwork laid by HWA. CGI attempts to base all church doctrine as plainly as possible on a “simple and direct reading” of the Bible, which causes its viewpoints to be rather fundamentalist, though they often claim they are not literalists.

CGI produces a television program entitled Armor of God and has congregations in the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Ireland, Australia and the Philippines.

Related Resources*
Church of God International
Wikipedia: Church of God International