GCI: Doctrinal Comparisons – Three Sects


This chart compares the teachings of three groups that split away from the Worldwide Church of God.

 

Philadelphia Church of God Living Church of God  United Church of God
Church Government Episcopal Form of Government 

Formed in 1989 and is a snapshot of the WCG in the 1950s. Many would describe it as a militant church of God.

“The Philadelphia Church is the ONLY PLACE ON EARTH were the GOVERNMENT OF GOD is administered, so says Mr. Armstrong!” (God’s Family Government, p. 35)

“Recently Mr. Rod Meredith, who was considered the third man in charge of WCG for years, started his own church and now teaches COLLEGIAL GOVERNMENT. THAT IS THE STRANGEST AND MOST ABOMINABLE DOCTRINE OF ALL!” (God’s Family Government, p. 27)

Presbyterian Form of Government

Formed in 1992 and is a snapshot of the WCG in the 1960s. Many would describe it as the authoritarian church of God because of the number of known authoritarian pastors.

“Even after several years of guiding the college, Mr. Armstrong still did not clearly understand church government, and said so openly a number of times.” (When Should You Follow Church Government? p. 5)

“All our members know that we have continued to practice the same form of church government that Mr. Armstrong did!” (When Should You Follow Church Government? p. 37).

A Mixture of Congregationally Representative and Presbyterian Form of Government

Formed in 1995 and is a snapshot of the WCG in the 1970s. Many would describe it as the liberal church of God because it mirrors that period of time known to insiders as the liberal years.

“In May 1995, the values of association for the individual churches in the United States was not something that was clarified. Indeed I would go as far as to say that an international association with rules of association for its own domestic region made little sense. It may in fact contain an inherent contradiction” (New Beginnings, September 16, 1996)

Commission to the Church “God commands us to hear His word and WARN Israel. IT IS NOT A TIME TO RESTORE ALL THINGS AND/OR PREACH THE GOSPEL AROUND THE WORLD.” (The Ezekiel Watchman, p. 9)”Isaiah 22:20-25 means God used that man [Herbert W. Armstrong] and that man ONLY TO TEACH US ABOUT THE TRUE FAMILY GOVERNMENT OF GOD IN THE END TIME!” (God’s Family Government, p. 4)

“As the end-time ‘Elijah’, Herbert Armstrong fulfilled Matthew 17:11 by restoring at least 18 points of truth to the era he was used to raise up.” (The Philadelphia Trumpet, November 1992, p. 22)

“The Global Church of God believes that the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and democracies of northwest Europe are, in truth, the physical descendants of the ‘Lost Ten Tribes of Israel….’ Though some people may not like the trumpet blast of God’s powerful warning message, it must be given if we are to remain faithful to our God’s commission. God says to you and me, ‘So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman over the house of Israel….’ This inspired Ezekiel commission given to us is a wonderful and awesome responsibility” (Global Church News, November/December 1995, pp. 11-15)”This is not the time when God is trying to save the world and the church doesn’t exist to get as many people saved now as possible.” (Global Church News, May/June 1994, p. 18) “Most branches of professing Christians assume that God intended for everyone to hear the message of salvation starting immediately after Jesus Christ’s resurrection.” (The Good News, May 1996)”God the Father calls whom He chooses and leads them to submit to Jesus Christ. Those individuals who accept that calling and who receive the Holy Spirit comprise the Church of God. God the Father has made known to the Church, His family through Jesus Christ, His intention and purpose for creation.”

“The mission of the Church of God is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, make disciples in all nations and care for his disciples.” (Constitution of the United Church of God, an International Association)

Gospel “Now the WCG teaches that Christ is the central figure of the gospel. That is tragically unbiblical.” (Malachi’s Message, p. 51)”The Gospel is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. The WCG talks about the gospel of salvation, the gospel of grace, the gospel of reconciliation, etc., etc. These doctrines are only part of the Gospel — not one of them is the true Gospel.” (The Ezekiel Watchman)

“Mr. Armstrong was commissioned by God to preach the Gospel around the world. That was the first time the Gospel had been preached around the world since the first century! No one can logically deny that Mr. Armstrong did that.” (God’s Family Government, p. 12)

“Some modern paraphrases render this phrase as ‘gospel about Jesus Christ.’ But this is a terrible mistranslation! The gospel is not a message about the Messenger; it is a message of the Messenger — His message, the message He was given to preach.” (Do You Believe the True Gospel? p. 6)”The gospel which Jesus had sent the apostles to preach was not centered on believing on Christ’s person or receiving forgiveness of sins through His sacrifice.” (Do You Believe the True Gospel? p. 9)

“Jesus NEVER said, please accept me or won’t you give me your heart.” (The World Ahead, September 1994)

“Salvation through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is indeed part of the gospel message, but it is not exclusively (as many assume) the gospel message.” (The Good News, January 1996, p. 35).”Churches do not agree on either what the gospel is, or what the Kingdom of God is.” (The Gospel of the Kingdom — Web site)
Nature of God Believe in a form of polytheism (ditheism) holding that there are two separate Gods. Notice the following quotes:

“But we will BE GOD – PART OF HIS VERY FAMILY!” (WCG Doctrinal Changes and the Tragic Results, p. 60)

“No doctrine is more Satanic than the Trinity doctrine.” (WCG Doctrinal Changes and the Tragic Results, p. 63)

“The Holy Spirit is a power or force to convert us and bring us into God’s family. The Bible rejects any idea of a third being.” (WCG Doctrinal Changes and the Tragic Results, pp. 60-64)

“Satan is intent on being on the same level with God and Christ. He is the third being of the Trinity. The Trinity doctrine is a direct reflection of Satan’s desire to be God.” (The Philadelphia Trumpet, November 1992, p. 7)

Believe in a form of polytheism (ditheism) holding that there are two separate Gods. Notice the following quotes:

“But the Bible does not even once say that either the Father or the Son are omnipresent. Rather, as we saw in a previous article in this series, the Father lives in heaven, while the Son lived on this earth for about 33½ years. They weren’t in both places at the same time. It is the Holy Spirit that is OMNIPRESENT – not the persons known as Father and Son.” (The World Ahead, September 1994)

“Some professing Christians believe ‘God has a family,’ but stoutly deny that ‘GOD IS A FAMILY!’ The proponents of the Trinity doctrine would have you believe that the God family is forever limited to only three divine Persons.” (The God You Can Know, p. 27)

Believe in a form of polytheism (ditheism) holding that there are two separate Gods. Notice the following quotes:

“The Holy Spirit is the mind and love of God in action in our lives. But nowhere does the New Testament teach that the Holy Spirit is a ‘person’ in the way that it teaches that God is our Father and Jesus Christ is His son.” (New Beginnings, June 16, 1995)

“The Holy Spirit, rather than being a distinct person, is spoken of in the Bible as being God’s divine power.” (The Good News, May 1996)

“The Trinity is not part of God’s revelation to humankind.” (The Good News, May 1996)

Redemption & Salvation “God is reproducing Himself and no other church on earth knows that or preaches it…. God is a family into which we may be born and also become God.” (WCG Doctrinal Changes and the Tragic Results, pp. 60-64).”One who is born of God is in reality, only conceived. Spiritual birth will only occur at Christ’s second coming. So far, Christ is the only one to receive salvation.” (What Do You Mean Born Again?)

“God says, faith alone is dead or that salvation by faith alone is dead! Of course salvation can’t be obtained by works. But you don’t even become a candidate without works! Salvation is by grace — a gift. But without proper Sabbath keeping you’ll never be saved!” (WCG Doctrinal Changes and the Tragic Results, p. 50)

“We cannot earn salvation, but we must still qualify for it by overcoming.” (The Philadelphia Trumpet, July 1992, p. 17)

“The Bible reveals that the process of salvation is the means by which God the Father and Christ are reproducing their own divine kind.” (The World Ahead, November 1993)”In plain language, God was indicating that They — the God Family now known as the Father and His Son Jesus Christ — would begin to reproduce themselves — to add more members to the God Family!” (Your Ultimate Destiny, p. 19)

“How can you be filled with ALL the ‘fullness of God’ and not be God?” (Your Ultimate Destiny, p. 31)

“God wants you to be like Him in every way as His son or daughter so that you will be part of His very family at the time of the resurrection.” (The Good News, May 1996)Salvation is received by taking many necessary steps. “Baptism and related steps we must take are only the beginning of the road to eternal life. Before we arrive at our ultimate destination, however, there are miles of road to travel.” (The Road to Eternal Life)

“We believe God’s purpose for mankind is to prepare those whom He calls, and who elect through a life of overcoming sin, developing righteous character, and growing in grace and knowledge, to possess the kingdom and to become Kings and priests reigning with Christ on His earth after his return. We believe that the reason for mankind’s existence is literally to be born as spirit beings into the family of God.” (Fundamental Beliefs)

Legalism Believe that Saturday is the only correct day of worship and the seven Holy Days given to ancient Israel are commanded observations under the new covenant and that it is a sin not to observe them. Therefore, these days are required for salvation. Notice the following quotes:

“Listen to God’s end-time prophet, Gerald Flurry: ‘God began to reveal Malachi’s Message to me…. Some people scoff at this, but it is still true and shall be true forever!… (The Philadelphia Trumpet, October 1996, p. 11)

“The Sabbath day was created for man so we could learn how to be God! This is the essence of the Gospel.” (The Philadelphia Trumpet, August 1992, pp. 20-21)

“God’s faithful elect must never forget that HWA said, ‘How subtly Satan used makeup to start the Church off the track.”’ (WCG Doctrinal Changes the and Tragic Results, p. 19)

“This is how you ‘deliver thy soul’ or save your life! IT’S YOUR TICKET TO A PLACE OF SAFETY! If you don’t warn the WCG and Israel, YOU PAY WITH YOUR BLOOD!” (The Ezekiel Watchman, p. 10)

“We have not changed, or even tampered with, even one of Mr. Armstrong’s 18 restored truths. Mr. Meredith’s group started in early 1993 and already has attempted to destroy the most important truth of those 18 restored truths – government!” (God’s Family Government, p. 52)

Believe that Saturday is the only correct day of worship and the seven Holy Days given to ancient Israel are commanded observations under the new covenant and that it is a sin not to observe them. Therefore, these days are required for salvation. Notice the following quotes:

“Satan has substituted his day (Sunday, the day of the sun) in place of the Seventh-day Sabbath.” (Global Church News)

“So the Sabbath is a test commandment – the one that really shows who is committed to God’s way” (The World Ahead, September 1995, p. 13)

“2 Corinthians 3:6-11 – But this is where many go astray They assume that the stones on which the administration of death was written were the stone tablets Moses received from God…. Paul was not talking about stone tablets. He was talking about massive stone walls.” (The World Ahead, May 1995)

“It should be comforting to know that the major Christian denominations throughout history have not been demonstrating God’s plan for this world.” (What Is a True Christian? p. 5)

“Incorporated in our Constitution and Bylaws is a statement saying, ‘all major doctrines are those in the Church at the death of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong on January 16, 1986.’” (Global Church News)

Believe that Saturday is the only correct day of worship and the seven Holy Days given to ancient Israel are commanded observations under the new covenant and that it is a sin not to observe them. Therefore, these days are required for salvation. Notice the following quotes:

“The Sabbath is also a test commandment demonstrating our level of commitment to obeying God regardless of any consequences. The Sabbath also lays the groundwork for our relationship with God and the religion of the heart.” (The Good News, January 1996)

“Christ has not become our Sabbath rest, thereby negating the need for Sabbath observance.” (New Beginnings, September 16, 1996, p. 10)

“We believe that those meats that are designated ‘unclean’ by God in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, are not to be eaten.” (Fundamental Beliefs)

“Who but those who understand the meaning of those Holy Days truly comprehends the vastness of God’s mercy? Can you find any other faith that understands the breadth of God’s compassion?” (New Beginnings, September 16, 1996, p. 10)

“Mr. Armstrong’s 18-point list of restored truths, while not a doctrinal statement in itself, stands confirmed in its essentials by the board.” (New Beginnings, June 16, 1995)

 

Author: Joseph Tkach

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