Foreword to Transformed by Truth, by Joseph Tkach
The Worldwide Church of God has embarked upon a course virtually uncharted in church history—a course that has taken them from the kingdom of the cults to the kingdom of Christ. In Transformed by Truth, Joseph Tkach, leader of the Worldwide Church of God, candidly describes the movement’s transformation from the perspective of his own personal awakening. During their pilgrimage from cultism to the cross, I have come to know Joseph as both a friend and as a brother in Christ. I have observed firsthand his courage, his integrity, and his absolute commitment to Scripture as the final court of arbitration.
Joseph’s personal transformation, as well as the transformation of the Worldwide Church of God, has not come without cost. Income has plummeted, staff have been laid off, membership has declined, churches have broken off into splinter groups, families have separated, and friendships have been severed.
The transformation, however, has been well worth the cost. The leadership of the Worldwide Church of God now champions essential Christian doctrine. Their flagship magazine, The Plain Truth, is now focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ rather than on sensationalistic end-time speculations. As Joseph wrote in the Christian Research Journal,
Gone is our obsession with a legalistic interpretation of the Old Testament, our belief in British Israelism, and our insistence on our fellowship’s exclusive relationship with God. Gone are our condemnations of medical science, the use of cosmetics, and traditional Christian celebrations such as Easter and Christmas. Gone is our long-held view of God as a “family” of multiple “spirit beings” into which humans may be born.
The changes within the Worldwide Church of God are a tremendous encouragement to those of us who labor in cult evangelism. If God can redirect entire movements by changing the hearts of their leaders, there’s no telling what He may yet do through our continued faithfulness. The transformation of Joseph Tkach and the Worldwide Church of God is an enduring reminder that our mission is to reach, rather than repel.
PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Author: Hank Hanegraaff