OIU Volume Three - Pt. 2 of 5
OUTSIDER'S INSIDE UPDATE™
Next to OIU 3, pt. 3 of 5
Well after we learn of Dennis Luker's involvement with the "reform church," we learn of his resignation with the Worldwide Church of God. [UPDATE: Dennis Luke was President of United Church of God-AIA when he died of cancer on 3-14-13]
"Dear Mr. Tkach and Joe Tkach, Jr. [excerpts from a one page letter.]
I write to inform you that with this message, I hereby submit my resignation from the ministry and membership of the WCG."
"I therefore, remain a member of the Body of Christ, the true Church of God." "Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong ordained me a Pastor in Jan. 1967 and an Evangelist in Jan. 1979. I have faithfully obeyed and served God and His people for nearly thirty-two years in the ministry of Jesus Christ."
Before the date of 4/11, in a FAX to "Denny," JWT says:
"Regardless of how you wish to sugar-coat your efforts to divide the Church, division is still the game you are playing."
JWT acknowledges Denny's position and states:
"What you are about to do, do quickly."
The letter leaves the impression that the Tkach Company was not aware of the "reform church" being organized since February. This seems rather peculiar being that the organizers were significant WCG men on the payroll, men of whom have been involved in the WCG for decades, men who remained extremely loyal to HWA through all the exposed corruption, and transferred that loyalty to the JWT administration. These same men were and are VERY aware of the true history of the Worldwide Church of God. They are in the know! They did not only watch the turn of events these past decades, they were part of them.
[UPDATE: Dennis Luker died March 14, 2013 of cancer.]
David Hulme joins the pack of exiters with his early April resignation letter of six pages. The thrust of Hulme's letter focuses on JWT's contradiction--duplicity--and deception with doctrine. Now, this seems quite humorous in light of the fact the David Hulme was an "in-crowd" kind of guy. He was snugly positioned in HQ and functioned in many significant roles, such as, on the doctrinal committee with Ruth Tucker; Church Administration Dept. (CHAD), Public Affairs and Public Relations, The World Tomorrow telecast and administrator with Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF). He has corresponded with other cult watching ministries and even threatened to sue one ministry for questioning his authority regarding the doctrine change/duplicity. In a letter to Mr. Craig Branch, Alabama Director of Watchman Fellowship Inc. (WF, March 5, 1991) Michael Snyder, Assistant Director of Public Affairs, states the following:
"...you may be interested to know that David Hulme (who is presenter of the World Tomorrow television program and member of the Church's doctrinal committee) and I traveled to Chicago last week, where we participated in two days of open and intense discussion with faculty members and graduate students of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (the attached doctrinal summary was presented in front of more than 400 students and faculty members.) We also reviewed church activities and beliefs with various theological journalists who were present. We found all of these discussions to be helpful and were thanked for our honest approach."
In response to charges of duplicity and deception, Snyder writes:
"I am sorry to read that you regard our direct and explicit statements about Church beliefs as insufficient. When you write that you "do not appreciate any duplicity or deception," I hope you realize we hold the same opinion about Watchman Fellowship. The church emphasizes the discovery and practice of Biblical truth over the maintenance of membership rolls."
"Clarifying points for doctrinal summary:
- The WCG teaches the full divinity of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and affirms the oneness of God.
- The Church no longer promulgates the statement that man can become "God as God is God." This is impossible for anyone to accomplish for a number of reasons. The Church does believe that certain attributes of God--including eternal life-- will be conferred upon Christians.
- Upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior, a Christian is "born again."
- Herbert W. Armstrong's book, Mystery of the Ages has been discontinued.
- The Church's beliefs concerning modern identity of ancient Israel are currently under review.
- The Church's position concerning the annual Feast days is this: the annual Holy Days are an expression of personal worship, resulting from the conviction of the Holy Spirit residing in the individual Christian. Perfect observance of either the weekly Sabbath or the annual Feast days will not result in salvation."
[UPDATE: Michael Snyder left WCG in 1993 accusing it of being a "cult." (The Watchman Expositor, Vol. 10, No. 7, 1993, p. 3) However, after disappearing for awhile, he was found to have done a complete about face. Read: "The Marketing of Religion" where it reveals that Michael Snyder was giving "marketing" advice to UCG in 1998. (Note: This article is posted on an atheist site.) Michael Snyder joined United Church of God-AIA in 1998 where today he is said to be "an advisor to the Council of Elders and the President of the United Church of God on occasion since 1998." UCG-AIA is an offshoot of WCG that continues to teach Herbert Armstrong's dogma. Read: Michael Snyder Was a "Change Agent" for WCG (2014 letter to ESN)]
In a several page document with letters from Hulme to James Walker, Head Director of WF, Hulme repeatedly strives to convince Walker that the WCG is making honest changes:
Aug. 3, 1993
"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, which you feel 'are perpetuating the errors of the past.' There is a sensitive way of presenting this material to the members so as not to encourage them into the arms of splinter groups."
"Your apparent love for a 'scoop,' however, did not give precedence to the lives of innocent members. If they get a misrepresentation from you, some might run to the splinter groups"
Hulme goes on to say...
"...you are prepared to circumvent our ability to make a wise announcement and presentation to the members. You are torpedoing the efforts of the Church to present truth in the right way."
Could Hulme have forgotten he left quite a documented trail citing his support for all the doctrinal changes in his rush to resignation? After all, nobody said it better than Hulme, that's why he had such an influential job as Public Affairs Director under the Tkach Company.
The publicized six page resignation letter turned many an eye as Hulme seemingly throws JWT quotes regarding change right back in JWT's face. Hulme leaves the strong impression that he was in the dark with the Tkach agenda.
"As far as I know, today the church is in the worst financial condition in its recent history. Upwards of 170 ministers are alienated, some terminated under questionable circumstances. The church's doctrinal position is publicly in tatters, and a significant number of its members worldwide are deeply disappointed."
"It is obvious that many do not accept the so-called "new truths," which in most cases are in fact rather old errors, as I indicated to you in my memo of January 16, 1995. These concerned members and ministers are anxious to preserve the truth and way of life they have learned and to which they are committed. They cannot be categorized fairly as legalists or Judaizers. Furthermore, they certainly are not willing to fall under the influence of Azusa Pacific University theologians, one of whom is reported to be writing "a new Constitution" for the Worldwide Church of God while others are said to be helping the church into the "Christian Mainstream" by advising on doctrinal matters."
[Mr. Hulme must have conveniently forgotten that he was the one who was meeting with the "others!"]
"My own persuasion is that we have had a more complete, though not perfect, understanding and explanation of these matters under Herbert W. Armstrong than ever we do today. Put simply, "it made sense." What is surprising and encouraging is that various contemporary scholars can be marshaled in support of the Church's long-standing beliefs. All of this is said without appealing to God's inspiration of Mr. Armstrong and the long history of the Sabbath-keeping people since the first century. These too are issues which I cannot ignore."
As Hulme attempts to construct chronological events of doctrinal change through his own eyes, he alludes that JWT has twisted his doctrinal position since the 1970's. Hulme centers JWT as the culprit of false teachings and sites examples that show JWT as a liar. Hulme neglects, however, to see that he, too, is very responsible for the exact same behavior that he accuses JWT.
"No wonder that my many protestations about radical change were never answered, and the changes proceeded as if no input had been given. And yet you continued to insist that nothing had really changed very much. Why? Prior to December 1994 did you feel it expedient to create the impression publicly that nothing had really changed in the church's view of the law? Was the time still not right? In any event, by mid-December as you said to me on April 13, Earl Williams was getting out in front of you, and that could not go on. You then had little choice but to agree with him openly in Atlanta on December 17, 1994."
"In light of the above it seems unlikely that you will reverse your present doctrinal and administrative course."
"Of course a list of contradictions and inconsistencies does not necessarily provide sufficient reason to separate oneself from fellowship, but the implications may."
David Hulme announced his support for the changes publicly, many times.. Page after page, Hulme sights the contradictions as if he were oblivious to the HQ strategy all along and attributes his 23-year involvement to a parting of the ways. Is Hulme now trying to deny that HWA was a plagiarizer? Does his letter represent his support for Armstrongism? For Hulme to allude to contradictions as the thrust of his departure leaves a stench of deception in its own right! Hulme was one of the most integrated evangelists in the entire WCG operation. His appointment to evangelist by the Tkach Co. only enhanced his participation in the intricate decisions made by the top "inner circle" dignitaries for the modus operandi. If anyone was considered part of the "in crowd," certainly Hulme would occupy a top slot.
Throughout the last several years, Hulme was the chief church official to respond to the negative PR that circulated in the public arena. On June 10, 1993, Dr. Paul Martin [died 8-14-09] from "Wellspring" (post cult rehab center) was contacted with the following letter:
"A copy of your book, Cult-Proofing Your Kids, was recently brought to my attention. In Appendix C of that work you list "recommended reading" that includes several books discussing the Worldwide Church of God. Since the Church was not contacted to verify the accuracy of these sources, I take the opportunity to inform you of their inaccuracy.
For the record, all three of the publications you recommend for information on the WCG contain many serious errors and present a decidedly inaccurate view of the Church. In each case, not only was the work based on faulty and incomplete research on the Church's position on many important doctrines, but the books are out-of-date, discussing issues long since resolved, individuals who are deceased or no longer part of the Church. [He must mean HWA.]
The Church welcomes responsible inquiries about its beliefs and practices and is very open about presenting these beliefs accurately and completely. However, it is puzzling to me how some continue to publish inaccurate statements concerning the Worldwide Church of God, all in the name of Christianity.
For your general knowledge, I have included our information packet. I respectfully request that in a spirit of Christian honesty these references to erroneous sources be deleted from future editions of your book. Please contact me directly if you have any questions about the Worldwide Church of God." (Copy to Tkach and Zondervan Publishing)
This represents many letters of this nature that Hulme applied his signature. Hulme was also responsible for sending many PR kits to mainstream (Protestant, Baptist, etc.) ministries. The kit included a brief description of changes, proving it has updated its beliefs since HWA's death. Tkach quotes are used to prove that the changes are sincere and that all the members are well informed of the "new changes." The PR kit speaks as if the new Tkach Co. is the "good-guy who, immediately following HWA's death, brought the church through apostasy, leading the reader to note that Herbert W. Armstrong was the only apostate and since his death, the "good-guys" were able to turn the church around.
Hulme is the leader of all this PR, the head honcho, the big wig, so the fact that he represents himself as he does through his resignation letter leaves no question as to a propaganda cover-up and a very shrewd attempt to discharge disinformation to the unsuspecting hopefuls for an Armstrong type church.
[UPDATE: David Hulme left UCG-AIA in 1998 and formed "Church of God, An International Community," Pasadena, California, a group which publishes a quarterly entitled, "Vision--Journal for a New World." He proclaims most of Herbert Armstrong's former teachings in his literature. (Hulme, along with seven other evangelists, were offered severance pay [hush money] from WCG).
[Also read: I Remember WCG's Moral Compromises and Politics (info on David Hulme who was handling the PR for WCG at this time; January 3, 2013 letter to ESN. More expose` on David Hulme is linked here on our Offshoots & Splinter Groups section.]
On April 26, JWT responds to David Hulme stating:
Dear Dave, "It is with regret that I accept your resignation, and with sorrow that I read your false accusations and misrepresentations."
In response to a quote that Hulme used from the April 1994 sermon, JWT says:
"You accuse me of having had a hidden 'agenda of doctrinal changes' Dave, there has been no 'agenda' set by humans."
"In April of 1994, I had no idea the Holy spirit would lead me to see that we had been wrong in our understanding of the old and new covenants and the implications of the fact on our understanding of Sabbath and Holy Day observance, clean and unclean meat and triple tithing. In hindsight, I can see now that there was indeed an agenda, but it was Christ's agenda."
"You seem to feel you have discovered some astounding revelation when you point out that last year I explained the Christian's relationship to the law one way, and then at a certain point this year began explaining it another way. I don't deny that. I began explaining it correctly as soon as Christ opened my mind to understand it correctly."
"You have twisted and misrepresented my comment that the recent changes have "been on my mind" since the 1970's to mean that I understood believed, and embraced these things at that time and have kept that fact a secret ever since."
How very interesting that a select few "resignation" letters from ministers, manage to become public knowledge and are accessible to many in different countries. After having read close to 50 resignation letters from the 1970-decade, it's immediately noticed that these modern select letters are short, sweet and emotionless while being tailored toward doctrinal issues only. The fact that Hulme pretends he was "in the dark" all this time offers a red flag to those carving away at the inner core agenda.
Dear Brethren, April 17, 1995: (four page letter) warning to members not to be pulled away by the newly disfellowshipped ministers.
"I am saddened to have to write you this important emergency letter to let you know that certain disfellowshipped former ministers are now forming their own church organization and have pulled out all stops in trying to disillusion and overthrow the faith of our brethren. I have to warn you that a few of these ministers want to disaffect as many members as they can in order to finance their efforts to divide the Body of Christ."
"Brethren, I implore you not to allow yourselves to be pulled into these or any other efforts to divide the Body of Christ. We have now been informed that some of these men have been at work for months, secretly laying the groundwork for their rebellion. We have also received information that certain ones would like to take control of Ambassador University from faithful University members. Some of them have tried to convince members that headquarters is 'doing away with God's law.' Nothing could be further from the truth, and yet some have used such reasoning to lead people away from the Church."
"Brethren, it grieves me that certain ministers have taken advantage of our patience and kindness toward them to devour as many of God's flock as they have been able"
"Brethren, I must also ask you to be especially generous with your offerings on the last Holy Day of the Unleavened Bread festival. These offerings are a voluntary expression of our love of Jesus Christ and support of his work through the church. We take them up on the Holy Days as a tradition, and not a commandment of God. Yet, brethren, I must tell you that we do really need these offerings, and especially at this time, when this rebellion has so negatively affected the church's income. Please give prayerfully and generously."
"And brethren, I do thank you so very much for the love and support of our Master that you are reflecting in you regular tithes and offerings. So many have expressed to me how much more meaningful tithing has become for them now that they realize tithes and offerings are given out of a devoted and loving heart rather than a mere duty. Your devotion in this way reflects your personal stewardship of the blessings God gives you. It is the way God has chosen to provide the financial needs of the church, and I thank you deeply for your generosity and faithfulness. The need is surely great at this critical time." (emp. Ed.)
As the momentum builds, more strategic occurrences and documents surface that appear to be very compatible to an inside plan for a church division. It is vital that the observer considers the histories of the key player and notice the timing of the events listed.
LaRavia prints two pages of accounts of his loyalty to JWT, pointing our errors and questionable behavior throughout the years. [Excerpts only]
"When it became obvious that you wanted to succeed HWA and did everything within your power to acquire the office of Pastor General, we still sought to support Mr. HWA in his decision."
"We did not leave the fellowship when you railed against HWA and then summarily modified, altered, or destroyed the legacy that he left."
"We did not leave the fellowship when my wife confronted you with your relationship with a secretary, that had all the wrong appearances."
"You have placed our very spiritual lives and salvation in jeopardy on this table of destruction. Abolishing the Sabbath and holy days, regardless of how it is shrouded, is still abolishing the law of God."
"You have apparently said to some recently that you have believed some of these so-called "new" understandings for over 20 years. I find this hard to believe with all the hours and days we spent together from 1979 when we endured the receivership together. We also spent many months traveling back and forth to Tucson getting direction Mr. Armstrong, oftentimes two or three days a week. You called me your best friend as I tried to assist in your ministerial services responsibility as well as your private life"
"Now we have come to this! I am incredulous as to how the condition of the church has so deteriorated. And it seems it continually worsens day by day."
"God's people have suffered enough! The prudent thing is to step down along with your administration and turn over the reins to the remaining members of the original Council of Elders with Leroy Neff presiding."
The letter closes by alluding to Mr. HWA's admonition about not masking any massive doctrinal changes. Of the several letters that mysteriously ended up in public domain, this latest achievement seems to be the most believable, unless, of course, you have some history on Mr. Ellis LaRavia. Interestingly, he never mentions Stanley Rader, when in fact LaRavia had several vital positions under Mr. Rader. The letter seems to offer information that paves the way for possible future events. The letter could be interpreted as the following:
- JWT was in charge all along.
- JWT was the mastermind behind all the changes. Acknowledgment of the "new truth" being around in the 1970's.
- All the blame for the "future events" on the shoulder of JWT (who has been the front man with fall-guy image all along).
- Puts HWA in a light that is not factual.
As far as propaganda goes, this letter is a success. If the JWT Co. was out to convince the media and members that they were not the plotters and planners, this would be the way to gain support.
[Note: Ellis LaRavia became a member of WCG in 1966.]
The Indianapolis Conference brings it all into focus
The conference convened on April 30-May 2, 1995. Over 345 ministers and wives flew from all corners of the United States to attend. Joining the WCG "renegades" were representatives from the Global Church of God and Church of God International. The goal was to organize as separate corporations under one umbrella or "Balkanize," as one we interviewed stated. The conference adopted the following:
A Mission Statement
A Brief Summary of Common Beliefs
A Transitional Plan
Attitude and Conduct During Transition
Several reported to the OIU that the conference was not as organized as they would have hoped and it left many with questions on various topics such as doctrine. Amazingly however, in just a few short months and supposedly behind the WCG leaders' backs, hundreds of ministers organized and UNITED to restore the noble teachings of HWA and re-institute the LAW, TITHING, SABBATH and HOLY DAYS. What is even more amazing is that JWT denies knowing that plans were in the making since January for:
The UNITED CHURCH OF GOD
The 1995 General Conference of Elders and Board of Director nominations, were as follows:
|David Havir||Bill Jacobs|
These individuals have long histories with the Worldwide Church of God. They were educated in the college system and witnessed all the turn of events that have transpired throughout the decades. When names like Gerald Waterhouse surface as the new current defenders of the HWA system, one must wonder why and how he suddenly changed his pro JWT attitude as he so aptly described in his more recent sermon 1994: [Excerpts only:]
What is Jesus Doing At This Time?
"Now I hope I can build into your own thinking about how God looks on people who assume that they know more about how to run God's church than he does."
"It's God's church! He built it all! He controls it all."
"If Christ left the church, He ought to be disfellowshipped."
"So it's a very serious thing to raise your hand against God's anointed which is raising it against the one who is using him, which is raising it against the one who was appointed by Christ to build the Church. And people in this time don't fear speaking evil of dignitaries--and especially those who are ordained the leader in the church, Mr. Armstrong, now Mr. Tkach."
"So whatever decision is made by the leader of the church, God backs it up. And if he [the leader] changes that, God looses it. If He binds it again, God binds it again. God binds and looses whatever the leader makes his decision in the church. So we can all know what to follow. You follow the current decisions, the practices of the church that Mr. Tkach is responsible for authorizing. If they're wrong, Christ knows it perfectly; if they're right, he still backs up the decision whether it is right or wrong."
And regarding JWT as a true apostle of Christ, Gerald says:
"There is only one [JWT] who has it legally, through the authority of Christ. That's the one Mr. Armstrong, who was God's apostle, appointed to carry [on]. You need to have it hammered in your mind, and I hope you do; so etched into your mind, your thought process, nothing else can get in there and interfere with it!"
"So we need to stick with our calling and make it sure. You can't leave it and make it sure, and not let Satan in any way get you thinking that you ought to be elsewhere. You stay where you've been called!"
[UPDATE: Gerald Waterhouse later left WCG and joined United Church of God-AIA in 1995. He died September 4, 2002 at age 76 after a long illness (swollen prostate, collapsed bladder and extreme toxemia).]
Somehow, the facts do not stack up to an honest agenda. Have all these men been opposed to the changes on an ongoing basis? Was it coincidental that the radical cutbacks (listed in Vol. TWO) were on the heels on the "new truth" videos? Was the decline in church revenue really the members' fault for withholding tithes? What would inspire David Hulme to purport "doctrinal contradictions" when he, in the past eight years, documented his supportive position on the change through many publicity measures?
Now, look who shows up as CHAIRMAN OF THE UCG. It's our suddenly unhappy, WCG camper. Hulme slides into position as top gun, within days after his rush to resignation. The following excerpts were taken from articles placed in the LA TIMES. Keep in mind, it was Hulme and Lapacka who decided what the newspaper was to relay.
Another Schism Racks Worldwide Church of God, May 4, 1995:
"The new church-announced at the close of a four-day conference in Indianapolis-will be headed by David Hulme of Pasadena, who resigned from the Worldwide Church of God."
"Earlier this year, the church reported a dramatic drop in income from member tithes..."
"Irreconcilable doctrinal differences have brought the church to the brink of destruction,' dissidents involved in the Indianapolis meeting wrote."
"Tom Lapacka estimated that the new UCG will attract more than 100 of the church's pastors. There were 350 pastors in the WCG as of Feb., but 104 have since resigned or been terminated because they cannot accept the church's movement toward mainstream Christianity, church officials said."
"Directors of the new United Church of God include six of the 14 regional pastors. Before the six resigned, they had jurisdiction over nearly half of the Worldwide Church of God's local congregations in the US."
"Also elected to the new United Church of God board of directors were three former evangelists, the highest ranking clergy in the WCG and second only to Pastor Tkach."
Group Splits From Worldwide Church May 5, 1995
"A former pastor in the WCG said yesterday his defection to establish a new church was prompted by doctrinal changes. David Hulme of Pasadena said he will lead a new sect, dubbed the United Church of God, which was unveiled Wed. at the end of a four day conference of former Worldwide pastors and elders in Indianapolis."
" 'A number of us want to have continuity of belief and practice,' Hulme said, "We feel we had to do what we did."
"The United Church of God will emphasize Sabbath and mandatory tithing, which had been cornerstones of the Worldwide church until recent changes.' "
"The WCG finances suffered a major setback earlier this year when tithes, which the church suddenly deemed voluntary, dropped dramatically, and 10,000 members if the church's 92,000 congregates left the organization. The drop in donations caused the church to cancel the Ambassador Auditorium's popular concert series in Pasadena because leaders couldn't afford the annual $2,5 million subsidy."
"The crisis arose last year when church leaders traded the longtime teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, who founded the church in 1933, for doctrine that was closer to mainstream Protestantism."
So, right in the middle of the article the viewer is entertained by an oversized picture of David Hulme, with the caption stating, "HULME WILL ESTABLISH A NEW CHURCH!"
How interesting! Every article stresses that the income has drastically dropped due to the changes in tithing. As Vol. TWO, "Special Edition" pointed out, it is becoming clearer to all that the sudden January doctrinal, "law keeping" release, allowed for an excuse and cover-up to the real agenda and quite possibly aids in masking what is currently going on with the shifting of money. Equally amazing is the smooth transition the many pastors and evangelists make on the crossover to the UCG, especially the ones who were Tkach's right hand men!
In quick review:
We recall how disinformation seemed to be surfacing from Pasadena. Evangelists were reported to have been fired and then re-hired, retired and then reinstated. It left onlookers puzzled as to the real Tkach Company agenda. Ralph Helge is one such person, a loooooong time head of the WCG legal department and one time partner with Stan Rader from the office of Rader and Helge. Reports surface that Helge retires; Helge leaves the church; Helge sets up legal format for "Global"; Helge sets up legal format for United COG; Helge is still in church, but not in the legal entity; Helge is just renting space in Pasadena. And it goes on and on. The funniest report we've had is, "Helge quit because he sees some things are wrong." Well, Mr. Ralph Helge has been thickly involved with the WCG in EVERY degree (and in many courts). We do not doubt that he is very aware of what is WRONG!
[UPDATE: Ralph K. Helge retired as legal head of WCG in 2005 and was replaced by Bernard Schnippert (now with UCG). Helge was referred to as an "unprincipled liar" in Jack Kessler's 1981 Letter to Worldwide Church of God Board of Directors.]
When we consider:
--The unique timing and smooth transition of the UCG developments.
--The "key players" such as David Hulme, Dennis Luker, Victor Kubik, Gerald Waterhouse and Ellis LaRavia.
--How the Tkach Company implemented these "changes" during the past few years.
--And the massive duplicity and confusion that the Tkach Company generated with the outside Christian Cult watching ministries. (The secular cult watchers never bought into the propaganda.)
We pause to consider whether this UNITED CHURCH OF GOD development is another INSIDE BUSINESS MANEUVER.!!!
- The WCG was not in a healthy recruiting position in the 1970's or 1980's.
- The "apocalyptic" belief system generated resistance rather than interest. WACO and the televangelist exposure compounded the already lagging Christian public interest.
- Despite WWN propaganda about growth, local church buildings, open houses, etc., the local areas were stagnant and not generating income to cover their costs.
So what do you do???
- A de-culting campaign combined with joining evangelical Protestantism would provide an avenue of recovery.
- A strategy to fragment the congregations would push the non-tithers out, the legalists and Armstrongites to the offshoots and the dedicated enduring to the end Tkachites to be even more dedicated.
- Dividing the congregations could be done by injecting confusion and contradictions, cutting off financial assistance from HQ and manipulating the "unknowing and deceived" ministers.
- Organizing an offshoot such as, "Global" to attract the super Armstrongites. Attach the Islands through Colin as a test program.
- Enforce the Protestant system on the membership fast and furiously just prior to the division and possible bankruptcy.
- Segregate the conservatives from the liberals. Push/pull all the conservatives into the new United Church of God. Set them up as conservative local ministries and separate corporations, as to dilute the cult appearance.
- Re-institute the WCG conglomerate under various names, United Church of God for the Conservatives and New Covenant Church of Christ (NCCC) for the Liberals. (We are told that this name was put on hold due to "legal" reasons. While it is unclear as to the exact name that will be used for new Protestant/Evangelical Church, assuredly, it will be changed. We nominate, The Weaver Church of God!) [UPDATE: In April 2009 WCG changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. (Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.)
- Once the UCG is positioned, strongly-strip away any old WCG teachings. Start Sunday keeping, traditional holidays with Christmas trees and Easter eggs; start fellowships and evangelism; manage by discipling methods for recruiting and concentrate on the YOUTH all the way; have lots of emotionalism.... maybe throw in "speaking in tongues"--hey, a lot of Christians like that, don't knock it--with immortality of the soul and the concept of heaven and hell. That's a start!
Since the Indianapolis meeting, the UCG has been maneuvering with great speed spreading zeal across the land (and the computers) for their new (old WCG) church. The new UCG recruits instituted an "Attitude Policy Statement," which states:
"We will not criticize, judge, or condemn any individual or group publicly or privately." (point 3)
While many observers view the excitement emanating from the inner circle of the UCG, others are showing signs of discontent and lack of trust with the set-up at large. Some have voiced concern over a lack of doctrinal clarity. While the ministers continue to set up their own Corporations, the newly formed Elders concern themselves with how the tithes will be distributed. Zeal abounds while the members and UCG locals set up shop. Here is a typical zealot statement:
Los Angeles County: (May 9th) one UCG member tells his computer companions, "What a relief to be back in fellowship with those that hold true to the Word of Almighty God! The SPIRIT of the gathering was so refreshing. The central focus of the UCG is once again to preach the Kingdom of God in the context of Christ returning to rule the earth. Mr. Hulme gave a brief run-down on the INDY conference and Mr. Brian Orchard gave the sermon. Truly inspiring message of open-mindedness towards all walks of faith with a single-minded purpose to preach the GOOD NEWS OF THE COMING KINGDOM OF GOD. A WORLD HELD CAPTIVE. Purpose of the church is to live Christianity, not to merely preach it. One overwhelmingly important aspect: NO PLACE IN UCG FOR THOSE DISPARAGING WCG OR OTHER SPLINTER GROUPS." (emp. theirs)
Another member from Alabama stated to us that, Mr. Rick Beam held his first Sabbath meeting with about 50 members and the sermon was just like the olden days. Good old Lake of Fire, God's One True Church, the 3rd and perishing resurrection, God's Government, and all the rest of the goodies.
This member said people were in a trance and seemed to love the message. Bet they did!
Solid emphasis has been placed on controlling any discussion regarding other splinters. Could that be because WCG, Global and the UCG conglomerate are "woven" together by the weavers? As the data and the facts mount, we shall see!
An exact figure for the UCG attendance is not clear at this time, but it is estimated (from several sources) to be approximately 15,000 members with 50 Corporations and climbing. Global reports 100 ministers and 7000 members also. The future of the UCG remains to be seen as the dust is far from settled and many lower ministers are questioning those "in charge" of these breakaways. The benefit to all this "hoopla" that has taken place these past few years is that some have really started thinking. It is only a matter of time for those who are under the victim column, to wake up.
Letter from JWT, Jr. to the ministry: [excerpts only]
"I am very sorry to have to report, yet again, that a number of our fellow ministers have chosen to resign. Some have also chosen to leave the church. This is a personal blow to me, because some of these men and their wives were among my best friends."
"When anyone leaves the Church, it is a tragedy. But it is especially traumatic when it is someone we have worked with, relaxed with and laughed with for almost as long as we can remember. They have become a part of our lives, and their leaving hits us like a death in the family. So it is with an especially heavy heart that I find myself having to write these things."
"But even as we grieve, there are practical matters to be taken care of. Some congregations have been left without full-time pastors, and in some cases, we are not able to assign a replacement pastor until our personnel needs and resources can be assessed more fully."
Jr. goes on to say...
"It is not wrong to be different. It is wrong to be divisive, and to try to pull away from the Church to a competing group--especially if there is the ulterior motive of trying to obtain their financial support. The Church--any church-- should be characterized by love, and not by strife and angry accusations. We hope that our brethren have learned to be aware of such tactics. However, divisive people can sometimes give persuasive speeches and thus mislead people. Let me be blunt: Sometimes the very gifts and talents that make someone an effective minister can be turned around and be used against the very people he used to serve."
"One example of deception is the claim that we in Pasadena are the ones who are teaching contrary to what we have learned--we have departed from the teachings of Mr. Armstrong. But surely the standard of truth is the Bible, not any particular teacher, even a highly respected one. Mr. Armstrong frequently warned us to avoid division and to avoid dissidents. In this, he was faithful to the message of the Bible."
"Dissident activity is sin. The Bible condemns those who cause divisions, who revile things they don't understand, who rebel against the authority over them and who are fault finders (Jude 8-19). Jude uses strong language, but it was understandable. I also have to fight anger and resentment when I learn how some have been actively working against the Church even while accepting paychecks. Some have even taken Church property with them when they formed their own congregations."
"False teachers generally seek more followers so they can have more power and money."
Jr. closes by listing 51 ministers that he classified as Disfellowshipped and credentials evoked.
From all points, his letter seems skillfully crafted and entrenched with "psychology." Also, when we think how litigious the "church" has been over the decades, one wonders why they haven't gone after the stolen merchandise with all the avenues available to them. Actually, it appears that HQ sends these ministers off to their next assignment with warm regards. We also notice how calm the WCG HQ remains while a supposed catastrophe in occurring within its fold. Considering the fact that the church only had approximately 50,000 members from the get-go, a 15 to 20,000-member loss would severely impact the financial condition--unless, of course, the church was held together by some other means. And, what about these hundreds of ministers who faithfully remained with the WCG until this point, supporting WCG all the way while the WCG paid them hefty salaries? Are we to believe that suddenly they had a massive change of heart and decided they could not preach heresy? Highly doubtful!
As some view this whole picture, they recall JWT's frequent commercials to "go join Global" if they didn't like the changes taking place in the Worldwide Church of God. You will recall Vol. TWO of the OIU discussed the possibility that Global was set up by the WCG to catch the law keeping, Sabbath-keeping and pro-tithing zealots before they were led astray.
Now that we see Global, UCG and CGI getting "buddy buddy," shall we say, the possibility of an inside set-up takes an even stronger hold.
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny --James Madison
Where Does "Big Sandy" Fit In With All This?
Here are some of the "rumors" that have been surfaced from various sources:
- The AU will have to file bankruptcy at the finish of 1995 semester.
- The AU will combine with Azusa Bible College and become one entity.
- AU will be (is) annexed from Pasadena HQ and will function as a separate entity.
- Funds to AU have been cut off by HQ.
- AU will be picked up by the UCG.
- UCG, Global and Church of God International will together combine and assume the AU.
As one reads the possibilities, it can be safely assumed that the AU will be repositioned strategically according to the entire agenda. As we witness all the major law-keeping/Sabbath- keeping offshoot churches uniting, we can be reassured that the AU will fit snugly into the scheme of things.
Recently, there has been much rumble on the AU campus regarding a new proposal for a student contract of beliefs. As we understand it, AU is hopeful to get their students to sign contracts stating they will uphold the beliefs set forth by the church. The contract would allow for doctrinal change by the organization and the contractee would be accountable to adhere to the change. This issue is full dialog these days within the AU area and will most likely be refashioned due to Amendment rights! The OIU will clearly define the decisions in the next issue. One person commented that what AU is attempting to do is analogous to a bank changing the terms of mortgage loan without the lender's knowledge and then foreclosing because of a breach in the new mortgage contract.
A Sabbath Conference: JUBILEE `95 - The Sabbath in the 21-Century
Speakers and attendees from WCG, SDA, CGI, GCG, CG7, UCG, etc., combined on May 28--29 as Sabbatarian fellowships to attend many Sabbath related seminars, participate in Q&A, visit Educational booths, fellowship and to spiritually bond. This new conference sponsored by "Friends of the Sabbath" was held at Dana Point Resort, Dana Point, CA. The conference was open to all for $95.00 per person or $175.00 double.
The organizers stated that there would be no proselytizing, or nothing to join, just a reaching out across corporate and church bounds, to serve those in need. Attendees will be entertained by speakers: Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, Dennis and LeeAnn Luker/UCG, Ron Dart/CGI, Peter Nathan, David and Sandy O'Malley and others.
This is another opportunity for the "spin-offs" to come together and unite as one. Possibly, next year they'll be able to hold this conference in beautiful Big Sandy.
Observers scrutinizing the events of the WCG these past few years have been quite puzzled as to unfolding of events within the organization. There are some, however, who have not been so distracted by doctrinal persuasion and have looked deeper into the agenda of the Tkach Co.
The "selected" men on the board of United Church of God have been significant partners in the WCG leadership for the past decades. These are men who have witnessed ALL the behind the scenes occurrences with the HWA and JWT regimes. They were privy to "inside information" in every degree. It is likewise fair to state that they knew HWA's/Stan Rader's every move and have not only been in step with the directions of the Tkach Co., but have been instrumental in carrying out the plans.
Now these men claim, through resignation letters, to deny their knowing what was going on. As they hide behind the "HWA beliefs," they postulate as being naïve to modus operandi of their parent organization. At best their letters read like smoke screens.
How interesting to observe individuals such as Waterhouse, Hulme, Luker, Kubik and others pretend that they too were victims of the contradiction and confusion put forth by the Tkach Co. Do these men think they have not left a "sawdust" trail behind their impromptu exodus? Have they been so successful in the past to "snow" their public that this recent move should also obtain positive results?
After several years of postulating change, the "mainstream" strategy escalates on the heals of Earl Williams' Grace and Gospel preaching exposure. The Tkach Co. found itself displeased over Earl William's preempting of the Protestant message to the WCG members. Could Earl William's have been used as catalyst to expedite the "Tkach new truth?" Interestingly, the demise of Earl Williams came on the heals of the New Covenant Video. But why, some ask, did JWT wait so long to make the changes? Why hadn't he come out straight with the Protestant teachings from the beginning?
[UPDATE: Read: Was Atlanta a "Test" area?]
When that same question was posed to Joe Jr. and Mike Feazell by other Christian Ministries, their reply was, "We're mindful of a rapid loss of membership." Therefore, the leaders decided to make the changes in small increments in effort to placate the membership rolls. How uncanny that the Tkach Company decides to enhance the speed of Protestant changes as the UCG is well positioned to assume the previous WCG role.
As the legalists scurry over to the newly devised UCG corporations with their tithing dollars in hand, the WCG announces to the public that financial affairs are in danger.
The LA Times, Pasadena Star News and other publications have printed the financial distresses just the way the information was relayed to the papers by the WCG leaders. Whatever has been printed in the papers is exactly what the Tkach Co. wants printed. As the news about the WCG financial downward spiral is advertised, the leaders earn recognition for their courageous and faithful decisions regarding doctrinal changes. If all goes well, Joseph Tkach and Co. could be viewed as a man after God's own heart by the Christian ministries-- despite the fact that the church may, in the future, file for bankruptcy.
The Tkach Company might like observers to think that:
- Joseph Tkach is the decision maker on all doctrinal issues.
- The UCG was a rebellion or coup attempt formed by those who protested the changes. (All along the leaders were telling the outside Christian media that the ministers were not accepting the changes and protesting against the changes. Protestant Evangelical ministries were reporting publicly that the leadership was "doing it right, but the ministers were rebelling and refusing to teach the new doctrines.")
- The WCG leaders were completely unaware of the underground plans with the bulk of the ministry.
- The financial decline is due to the UCG exodus.
[UPDATE: In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. (Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.)]
The old WCG will be demolished as if it never existed. Armstrong will live on through the offshoots; meanwhile, the "new church" will grow into an evangelistic association with discipling methods most likely holding home fellowships and video presentations. [Move over International Church of Christ. You have competition!]
Can anyone think of a better way to chop up the existing cult? If we really think about it, the plan is ingenious--something for everyone. The Christian cult watchers are happy because they think they finally won, the conservative/legalist members are happy because they think their ministers are faithful to the real truth, and the Tkachites are happy because they are enduring to the end where God placed them in the first place. The Tkach Co. is happy because all the WCG assets are in Joe Tkach's name, maybe even all the international bank accounts are too. Actually, the only unhappy ones are the ex-members who lost loved ones, had their lives destroyed by some of the same ministers that are in UCG today, were victims of intense abuse in every form and the ones who were robbed, deceived, manipulated and coerced throughout their WCG tour. [No small figure.]
If in fact, the leaders of the WCG orchestrated the events that have unfolded these past several years as a planned strategy, which inevitably would lead to Bankruptcy or demolition of the WCG, as it is known, would they not be guilty of Bankruptcy Fraud??? A VERY SERIOUS CRIMINAL CHARGE!!!!
Careful scrutiny of the WCG past indicates that serious activity transpired on numerous occasions. One cannot think that because the leaders or church were not shut down due to unsavory acts, that the WCG is left free from guilt. The leaders and legal leaders have used every bit of strength and tithing dollars to keep the organization protected under the rights for religious institutions within the Constitution. The only reason the WCG did not succumb to the receivership crisis is because they banded together with the Catholics, the Mormons, evangelicals and various cults to fight the government from peeking at the affairs of the "religious organizations." More on this in the future, but for now we must realize that there are "reasons behind the mounting events" and they have nothing to do with salvation in Jesus Christ!
Excerpts from Ecclesiastics 10:"There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler--Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh a hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better. The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. Woe to thee, O land, when thy King is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning, By much slothfulness the building decayeth… and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things. Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter."
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of the Worldwide Church of God demise.
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