Exit and Support Network

Called to Be Free

(Is it Truth or Only More Worldwide Church of God Propaganda?)

 

Pt. 1 | Pt. 2

"That was the shot heard 'round the world." (Ron Kelly)
"It was a showdown. It was a Dodge City. High noon. It was the OK Corral. (laughs) (Greg Albrecht)
 "When you have been a Sabbatarian and you hear 'done away,' it...it...there is nothing more shocking....nothing more shocking to your ears than to say 'The Sabbath is not required for Christians." (Ron Kelly)

Let's quote Tkach, Sr.'s exact words from the video sermon (which are filled with contradictions) and see if he said "the Sabbath is not required of Christians":

"It's the Sabbath and contrary to any other rumor you might have heard about that we are going to do away with the Sabbath, pray tell what day are we here on today? Is this Monday? Friday? This is the Sabbath, the seventh day, the example that Christ established for us. We're not here to do away with the Sabbath, we're here to gain a better understanding of what God does require of us."
 "In the New Testament we see examples of people keeping the Sabbath and we see statements that tell us that the Sabbath is a shadow pointing to reality who is Christ. That doesn't mean that the Sabbath is done away with, but it means that the Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ." (See Video transcript)
"Does that mean I'm minimizing the importance of the Sabbath? Absolutely not! Our sign is faith in Jesus Christ."
"Our desire should be to have fellowship with one another, fellowship with God on the Sabbath. We should be that way everyday of our lives with emphasis on the Sabbath."
"But so far have I said we are no longer required to observe the Sabbath? No! Did I say we aren't going to? No! The question is, is the Sabbath required in the New Covenant, or as another possibility is transformed, to be kept in a different way, no longer saddled with those burdens that we had before?"
"Does the Sabbath give us spiritual benefits? Hello? Yes? You all agree with that? You bet it does! The Sabbath gives us spiritual benefits, absolutely. Not only do we benefit physically from the weekly rest, but we benefit spiritually. From time to time if devoted to God should we forsake this spiritual benefit? That's ridiculous! Should we use all our time for our own pleasures simply because now we don't find the Sabbath under the under the New Covenant. No! A Christian should want more time devoted to God, not less."
"The Sabbath is a blessing, we rejoice in it. We don't want to give up a good thing. But we do need to understand that there are changes in the way the Sabbath is presented in the New Testament from the role that it played in the old, that's all."
 "Consequently, the way the Sabbath is to be observed under the New Covenant differs from the way it was to be observed under the old. We're not doing away with it."
"We should respect and honor the Sabbath. AM I DEGRADING IT IN ANY WAY deliberately?!! NO!!!"

The written words to this sermon were posted in WCG's January 10, 1995 Worldwide News (VOL. XXIII. NO 1). However, in comparing it with the audio portion of the video, it is easily seen that HQ changed some of Tkach, Sr.'s words and omitted all his abusive statements. Today WCG says that "WN's before September 1995 are not available." [Tape/CD of the video is available through ESN]

"When we said that the rest is in Christ, not in a 24 hour time, people just...just...smoke came out of people's ears; their fuses were blowing." (laughing) (Greg Albrecht)
"After the service broke up, people were huddled in crowds, people were in tears, and some people were angry, and people were talking, "What does this mean? What's the significance of this?" (Dan Rogers) Slow, quiet music is playing.
"The phone lines were burning all over the world." (Tkach, Jr.)

Is this what really happened, or were people confused, quiet and disorientated due to the duplicitous way the changes were presented? Letters we have received from those who were in services when this video was presented show an entirely different picture. Read a few testimonies about what happened after the video was presented in their area.

"He [Tkach, Sr.] says that we don't have to tithe our money to the church anymore." (Dan Rogers)

The message was given that "if you loved God you would give more than a tithe." (documented in Letters to Author, Janis Hutchinson)

The propaganda that Rogers is spreading is that members (after viewing the video) were saying, "He's saying that we don't have to obey God? We don't have to keep the Sabbath? He's saying we don't have to keep the festivals? He says that we don't have to tithe our money to the church anymore." In reading the transcript of the video (or listening to the sermon) one can see clearly that this is untrue.  

Ronald Urwiller tells how people were laid off "because of cut back."

Why not tell about the 167 ministers who were disfellowshipped by HQ and/or made an exit?

"The majority [in our congregation] left. So I can't say that the majority held the Word of God above the doctrines of Herbert Armstrong." (Barb Edwards) Quiet, slow music is playing.

This statement sounds like all who left Barb's congregation held on to HWA's doctrines. (Tkach, Jr. gave the same impression in an interview on March 16, 1996. Copy of interview with ESN.) Many had already been leaving in the five years prior. There were many others who exited after this video because they realized it was a deceitful organization that had not been truthful with them.  

Doctrine not the real issue:

In spite of this video wanting us to focus on correct doctrine, doctrine is not the real issue here. The members have been psychologically coerced, manipulated and mind-controlled. (Read: How Mind Manipulation is Used for Influence and Control) The word "doctrine" was rarely used in the WCG. Instead it was called, "a way of life," or "God's way." The WCG was an authoritarian, dictatorial organization, hierarchal in its management, and very abusive.

"Those who wound up staying were people who went to the Bible to see whether these things were so. ... Those were the ones who made the change." (Mike Feazell - talking slowly)

Actually, HQ just moved them on over into a new belief system. Their minds were still being manipulated because they weren't given all the facts about what WCG was all about and how they had been controlled and used in a very exploitive way. The ones that stayed believed they should be "loyal" to WCG. One year later Joe Tkach, Jr. gave a sermon where he told the members to "let go of the baggage" (November 9, 1996; sermon with ESN). There was a magnitude of duplicity and deceit going on at the time.

"A good sermon was if it really beat us over the head ... and really told everybody off about their sins. And you could go away feeling just right guilty. That was a good sermon. Oh, it was powerful!" (Mike Feazell)
No member would ever say they enjoyed a sermon where they felt beaten down. We didn't want to hear sermons on lo-o-v-v-e. That was weak and insipid, and did nothing; it was just silly clap trap, you know." (Mike Feazell)

Was it really the members that didn't want to hear about love, or was it the leaders that didn't want to preach on it because of HWA and GTA's sarcastic views? The true love of God was what the members needed to hear about and didn't.

"We didn't talk about Jesus. ...Of course, He's always been in the Word. How we missed that, I don't know." (Katherine Carter - talks enthusiastically) Light music is playing. After she talks about how she "raised up her hands" to worship in services and how she "just had to do it," we see and hear members raising hands and singing loud praise music.

Why doesn't Katherine come out and say that because of Herbert Armstrong's teaching, their focus was on Christ's message about "the Kingdom," instead of on the Person of Christ? Are we to believe she missed that??

"Those who didn't make the change; who were committed to Armstrongism simply went to their proof texts to reinforce what they had always heard rather than letting the Bible in its full context speak to them." (Mike Feazell - talking very slowly) Serious, quiet music is playing.  
"There were others who left us that held the doctrines of Herbert W. Armstrong over the Word of God." (Barb Edwards - talking very slowly)

We're made to think that all those who didn't make the change were "committed to Armstrongism." Those who held to HWA's teachings felt they were being faithful to the Word of God. After all, they were programmed with this thinking. What would have happened if the changes had been presented in a totally different manner? But mind control entails confusion.

"He (Tkach, Sr.) would have far more people who were good friends of his, companions, long time friends, who would...uh...tell him he was an idiot, a fool; he was a heretic, he was a...you know...whatever. And it tore him up. He had an existing condition. A cancer. But...uh...most of us believe that that was hastened by the incredible stress. And he died prematurely." (Greg Albrecht - talking very slowly) Sad music is playing, which finally turns into people singing "Amazing Grace," as pictures of Tkach, Sr.'s outdoor funeral are shown, with Mrs. Tkach, Sr. being led to her seat, the hearse being drawn by a horse, and still pictures of Tkach, Sr.

Albrecht relates the above in a sad manner, almost like it is too hard for him to talk about it.

"Armstrongism ... the higher you got up in the organization the more answers you were supposed to have and that inflates your ego. And in the transition I thought, you know, I don't have to pretend that I am any more special than anybody else. ..." (Tkach, Jr.) Happy guitar music starts playing.

Then why is he still in the Pastor General position?

"In the history of our organization, one of the phrases that was used was that we're the obedient, true Christians--we're the authentic Christians--and all the other churches are disobedient and Christians falsely so-called. Of course, that was an egregious error on the part of our organization...uh...and for anyone that we've offended with that kind of rhetoric, you have our sincerest apologies." (Tkach, Jr.- talking slowly)

Tkach, Jr. does not admit to the fact that WCG told members that other churches and Christians were "of the devil" or "Satan's churches." It sounds like he is apologizing to outside Christians here and not to the members and children raised inside. Nothing was done to rectify the innumerable injustices that had been perpetrated on the members, children and loved ones. (Read: Did Herbert Armstrong Abuse His Flock?)  

Changes termed a "miracle of God":

Toward the end of this video, several statements are repeated, to enforce the belief that WCG's new changes were "a miracle," and "of God":

"I think the thing that pushed me over the edge of believing that this was a true miracle was to see what the Worldwide Church of God gave up, what they sacrificed to make right decisions that were...uh...based on...uh... Biblical truth." (John Wallace, President, Azusa Pacific University)

Regardless of WCG appearing to lose income by members going over to Global Church of God (with Roderick C. Meredith) and United Church of God at this time, Tkach, Jr. said, according to Bernie Schnippert (in spite of lowered income), the WCG remained in "sound financial condition," the Pasadena property was "totally debt free" and they had "ample financial reserves to meet all their obligations." (March 23, 1996, sermon, Toronto, Canada. Sermon with ESN.)

WCG had been liquidating lots of their real estate in the late 1980s, but the members had no idea of what was going on. (Read this part in Letter to author Janis Hutchinson)  

We might also bring up the issue of the $3 million WCG received in 2003 from Philadelphia Church of God (a destructive offshoot) for the sale of the copyrights to Herbert Armstrong's heresies, and what about the monies received from HWA's massive treasures that were sold (some of which were auctioned off to Philadelphia Church of God)?

"The transformation of the Worldwide Church of God is absolutely genuine. There's no possible motive for them doing what they have done unless it was driven by a pursuit of truth." (Hank Hanegraaff - talks slowly)

How many are aware that the word "transformation" is an occult term?  

Hank Hanegraaff (who has no degree in theology) was the PR mouthpiece for WCG's propaganda. He endorsed WCG while abuses were still going on inside. More exposé on Hanegraaff can be found on the links on Letters to Hank Hanegraaff.

There were many reasons that propelled WCG to do a "conversion." One only has to look at what was going on through each decade to lead up to all that transpired after Herbert Armstrong died. (See Research Letters from L. A. Stuhlman and OIU Newsletters.) WCG was not recruiting as before, especially post Jonestown. Continuing as they had been doing was no longer advantageous. (Read: An Open Letter to Our Acquaintances in Worldwide Church of God by ESN founder.)

"Watching the Worldwide Church of God... uh... shift its theological center...uh... is...is...nothing short of miraculous. I...I...I have no other way to describe it." (Kevin Mannoia) Light guitar music starts.

The doctrine must be divided from why they made the changes. This is the total picture. Deception in the name of religion is commonplace because religion is a multi-billion dollar industry today. If WCG was a dying organism after HWA died, then they had no other choice then to mainstream.

"Yes, He has done the most powerful thing in our midst already by transforming us from all the errors to embracing Jesus as the Person of truth." (Joe Tkach, Jr.- talks slowly) (Light guitar music is playing)

Worldwide Church of God [now known as Grace Communion International] is taking a middle of the road stance with certain doctrines, such as what happens to the soul after death. (see Is Grace Communion International Still Holding to Some of Herbert Armstrong's Doctrines?) Ever since the changes they have given several views of different doctrines to the members and then allow them to decide which one they want to believe.

"God, in His infinite love and wisdom and mercy to us, stepped in and said 'I want to work a miracle in the 20th century. I want to bring a group of people out of error, out of theological heresy.'" (Ron Kelly)
"God did this in spite of us." (Greg Albrecht) Uplifting piano music is playing.

WCG became known as a destructive, mind-manipulating religious cult filled with immorality, financial opulence and corruption at the highest levels. All this has been documented by those who were once a part of the system. (See Booklist and Articles on WCG Research and Exposé) Yet WCG wants everyone who watches this video to believe that "God" stepped in to work a miracle because their concept of grace was erroneous. Certain cults have been continuing to mainstream for years and many have already gained social acceptance. The ecumenical movement has been penetrating Christianity and the whole world, and these cults are realizing it is finally feasible to become a part of it. (Read about the church growth movement) Much money is being made today with the words "Jesus Christ."  

Serious music starts to play.

Whitewashing of Herbert Armstrong:

"Was he a...false prophet? Yes, I believe Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet. [kind of laughs] The facts speak to that." [he shrugs and gives a funny look] (Greg Albrecht)

For years after their changes, WCG leaders continued to say that HWA was "a sincere Christian," "a man of God" and "dedicated to Christ" (Charisma and Christian Life Magazine, 1996; March 7, 1995 The Worldwide News, Vol. XXIII, NO.5, p. 3; MacGregor Ministries, "News & Views," p. 4; 4-30-96 and 5-1-96 interview on D. James Kennedy's "Truths that Transform"), and not until now do they say "yes, I believe Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet." [Note: In Feb. 2005 The Worldwide News in the United States changed its name to WCG Today. In May 2006 it was changed to Together. A few years later Together was no longer available Their magazine is now Christian Odyssey.]

How could he have been a false prophet and yet be all these other things they stated he was? He couldn't have. Is their late-coming confession somehow supposed to nullify all the years when they were supposedly making their new changes and didn't denounce HWA as a false prophet? (For an example read WCG minister Keith Brittain's words about HWA during the changes.) No it doesn't, and the history is there for all to see.

Furthermore, we still haven't heard the leaders confess the whole truth about HWA and then go on explain to their members what a destructive religious cult is (not just telling them that they had wrong doctrines and "didn't understand grace"). They do not own up to the devastation and misery this "way of life" caused, many whom are still suffering today. How many members really understand thought reform and how it was purposely was used on them in order to control, use, and victimize them? A rudimentary knowledge of mind control and thought reform is needed in order to break free of it, but books on mind control have not been recommended to the members.

"Was he a heretic? I believe he was a heretic, but I believe I was a heretic, too. So I'm not attributing anything to him that I'm not willing to face myself." (Greg Albrecht) Low, suspenseful music is playing.

This statement will cause the members to believe "they" were heretics, instead of putting the blame directly where it belongs--on Herbert Armstrong's head. (One must also ask why it has taken Albrecht almost ten years to agree that HWA was a "heretic.")  

Serious music starts playing.

"And there was a time when I was angry with Herbert Armstrong. I came to the point in my life when I said, 'I blame Greg Albrecht for giving control of Greg Albrecht's life to Herbert W. Armstrong.' " (Greg Albrecht)

Again, the message is that we (who were/are members) are to "blame ourselves." Those who have dealt with victims of mind control have confirmed that anger toward the abuser is a part of their recovery. Several sentimental stories are given toward the end with sad, slow quiet music playing.

Several sentimental stories are given toward the end with sad, slow quiet music playing.

"It has happened through...through prayer and through the work of the Holy Spirit. 'Cause otherwise it's simply not explainable." (Paul Kroll)

It's explainable when we understand the reasons for their changes and how they had no choice but to change. Read the OIU Newsletters.

"One of the pastors out there made reference to our church and...and was talking about what can happen...um...through the power of prayer, and how members, including Jack Hayford2, used to come to our campus and prayer walk the perimeter of our campus. I didn't know this! And here years after they'd done this, our church has changed to accept grace by faith. And here I am sitting in his [Hayford's] congregation! I wanted to stand up and say, 'I'm here!! It worked!! It worked!! I'm here!" (Katherine Carter - talks excitedly) Slow music continues playing.

Jack Hayford is part of the modern Charismatic movement and his connections are well covered in this offsite article. Hayford is on Renovaré's speaking platform. Renovaré is considered a mystical movement and WCG has endorsed them`.3

"But why us? Do you have a purpose for us? Do you have a calling for us? Is...is there something that we are to proclaim on your behalf? Are we to give hope that other cults might have hope...that something wonderful could happen in their midst?" (Dan Rogers - talks slowly)

WCG has always made members think that they have "a purpose," "a calling," and are to "give hope someday to others." This will sound very familiar to members and make them feel they are in a special class with a special purpose.  

The music rises and we hear HWA's loud, disturbing voice. At the same time we see pictures of HWA and then serious, unsmiling pictures of Rogers, Albrecht, Kelly, as if they are listening to HWA's voice. We see Tkach, Sr. preaching. HWA's words are shouting, "I don't think that you know any organized group that calls itself a church that has ever changed its doctrines, that has ever admitted it has been wrong, that has ever admitted that it had taught something that it now finds was an error and admits publicly and tells the people it has been in error and now it preaches the truth!!!" Music rises and is suspenseful.

"And yet it...it...has happened." (Paul Kroll)  
"But an organization has come from cultism to Christ." (Hank Hanegraaff)

When HWA spoke the above words he was talking about how he had "the truth" and other Christian churches wouldn't admit they were wrong. He was saying that he had admitted he had been wrong for believing these other Christians. This statement of HWA's cannot apply to WCG, because, although WCG has changed some doctrines, they themselves have shown they have not been honest all along.  

The music changes to slow and suspenseful.

"And if at the end of it all, what do you have? You have your God, you have your Savior, you have the Spirit that lives in you, you have salvation assurance. (shrugs) What can you say?" (Ron Kelly)

Worldwide Church of God does not teach eternal security, meaning a true believer cannot lose their salvation. Read: Is Grace Communion International Still Holding on to Some of Herbert W. Armstrong's Doctrines?

"And we pray for it in the lives not only people we know, but in the lives of other organizations that someday, somehow, may come to the same miraculous life experience." (Ron Kelly) Soothing music is playing.

This video has not shown a "miracle," but unbelievable propaganda. The top leaders try to come across as very convincing, but they don't do a very good job of it. At the end of the video we hear country guitar music, combined with a violin, playing "Amazing Grace."  

Conclusion:

Here are several things to look at in regard to WCG and their changes:  

  • Many of these same doctrinal issues were brought up to the Armstrongs in the `70s. The top leaders today were in the WCG then.
  • Why would Christ work through a layer of deceit, contradictions and blame?
  • Do WCG's connections involve Neo-Evangelicals, Charismatics, liberal theologians and New Agers? What about the NAE?4 Hank Hanegraaff was the main PR person for the WCG. What is Hanegraaff's background?
  • Other cults have been trying to mainstream and gain social legitimatization.
  • The ecumenical movement has moved into many of the churches.
  • Is this all going to fit into a coming apostate new world religion?

Let us not be deceived concerning what is going on today under the guise of Christianity and religion.

By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
January 30, 2005
Last updated September 2, 2014

*Speakers on the video/dvd:

Ron Kelly, controller, WCG
Michael Feazell, WCG National Media Director, coordinated the interviews (has been attending WCG since age 4) [Update: Feazell retired in December 2011]
Joseph Tkach, Jr. (President, Pastor General WCG, son of Joseph W. Tkach, Sr.)
Dan Rogers, superintendent of Minister U.S.
Greg Albrecht, WCG Media Director (Albrecht later became the host of Plain Truth Commentary, president of Plain Truth Ministries,  and Editor-in-chief of Plain Truth magazine.
Bernie Schnippert, Director of Finances and Planning  [Update: Bernie Schnippert died 9-12-14.]
Ronald Stoddart, WCG pastor
Randal Dick, Superintendent of Missions
Ronald Urwiller, Archivist, WCG
Tony Murphy, Producer, Director, PTM
Michael Morrison, Executive Editor, WCG Media
Terry Akers, Denominational Publications, WCG
Monte Wolverton, Managing Editor, PTM (son of Basil Wolverton)
Dr. Kevin Mannoia, Dean of Graduate School, Azusa Pacific University
Jon Wallace, President, Azusa Pacific University
Paul Kroll, Personal Correspondence, WCG
Hank Hanegraaff, President CRI
Barb Edwards, Executive Assistant to Randal Dick
Katherine Carter, WCG member
Paul and Leigh Sniffin, WCG elder and members
Merv and Laura Walton, WCG elder and members
Deborah O'Bryan, WCG member
Roman Borek, Ambassador Campus Guide
Bermie Dizon, WCG pastor
Karen Golden and son, Aaron, WCG members
Stephen Golden, WCG member

Pt. 1 | Pt. 2

Footnotes:

1 During this time, the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Lutheran Church of America, the National Council of Churches (NCC), the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, Synagogue Council of America, General Association of United Presbyterian Church of U.S.A., the Unification Church (Moonies), and the Northern California Ecumenical Council (those who were part of the ecumenical movement) all strongly supported the WCG. All of these organizations, including the WCC, wrote the legal petitions against the state of California.

2 Jack Hayford is founding pastor of the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California (Foursquare Church, Pentecostal), where Paul and Jan Crouch (Trinity Broadcasting Network founders) are members. He is on the board of Promise Keepers and is one of the founders and first officers of Charismatic Bible Ministries, a leadership organization initiated by Oral Roberts in the mid-eighties. He is hyper Charismatic, speaks in tongues (read: Jack Hayford), and has involved himself in unity movements around the world with New Agers and Catholic leaders. He was instrumental in helping the Worldwide Church of God become a member of the NAE.

3 WCG recommends New Ager Richard J. Foster's books and has often quoted from him. Foster  is co-founder of Renovaré and Professor of spiritual formation at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Foster teaches all the techniques of the New Age such as quietism, mantras, centering, Buddhism, Yoga, T. M., the exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, Eastern religion and so on. One of the essential elements of Renovaré's strategy involves ecumenism. Read about Renovaré (Mystical & Occult Spirituality).

4 The NAE has now accepted the NCC (National Council of Churches) and WCC (World Council of Churches) members. WCG is a member of the NAE. The WCC is known as apostate and radically liberal.

Ted Haggard was former president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) which represents almost 50,000 churches in America. During this time, there were a number of serious concerns regarding him, including his spiritual manipulation, hypocrisy, and promoting the agenda of C. Peter Wagner. On Nov. 4, 2006 Ted Haggard resigned as president of the NAE and was dismissed as senior pastor of the 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO as a result of sexually immoral behavior. (Read: Letter to NAE and other concerned Christians.)


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