Open Response to Worldwide Church of God
Regarding David Covington
ESN's open response on the Internet concerning David Covington's Resignation Letter. (David Covington, ex-WCG pastor) Reveals WCG's "damage control." (Includes whitewashing of Herbert Armstrong by WCG minister Keith Brittain.)
NOTICE: 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.) (More info below under "Update on WCG.")
From: Exit & Support Network
TO: David Covington, INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org
DATE: 5/23/96 5:41 PM
RE: Copy of: Our Regards--Read First
By now, all lurkers and users of this forum should have received David Covington's resignation; in addition, it sets up doctrinal issues as a "straw man." In fact, it reads like distracting propaganda in effort to cover the actual events occurring behind the scenes.
David Covington articulately explains his story in his letter. The readers should be aware that David Covington's role was significant in furthering the goals of the leaders of which he originally thought were honest. Many publications such as the WWN [Worldwide News1] have highlighted David Covington as THE counselor dealing with the abuses that have occurred in the WCG. The leaders assigned David to speak with others in the Evangelical community in effort to convince the EV arena of WCG's sincerity toward "true evangelical change." It was he who was responsible for much of the materials presented at the "healing seminars for ministers." As David's letter clearly explains, he was an instrumental figure, billed with respect by the leaders throughout several publications, and it was he who was propped up in the forefront to prove to others that the church was dealing with abuse (my words, not his).
While the WCG response serves as damage control (and boy do the leaders need it with this case), it is highly deceptive to twist the issues, setup doctrine as a reason for David's departure, and put a spin on the issue of "government." The propaganda denotes that David basically jumped ship due to his impatience with change. Here are some facts:
David stated his concerns over continued abuse, duplicity, and pseudo Christian behavior throughout his letter. He carefully stuck to the facts as he witnessed them. He documented his reasons for concerns and offered constructive advise based on his reading and education with spiritual abuse. He kindly left out his personal. awareness of the massive deception that permeates the WCG and communicated through a Christian frame of reference. As minister, David nourished his church area to the best of his ability with honesty as he saw it.
Last Saturday or Sabbath, depending on your frame of reference, David planned on meeting together with his congregation in effort to allow healthy [non-controlling] communication and in hopes for assisting those in his congregation with reorganization and suggestions. He had intention of abandoning the people he cared for during his ministerial position. To the surprise of some, the Roanoke and Lynchburg congregations were prevented from meeting in that capacity with David Covington. Instead, Mr. Brittain [Keith Brittain2], Regional minister rushed to the area in the early part of last week. Several private emergency meetings were held by Mr. Brittain with other key ministerial personnel in that area. Random calls were made by phone and the members were prepped prior to meeting with this English Bricket Wood minister, Mr. Brittain. Approximately, 130 attended Roanoke out of the 300 past members associated in that area.
Instead of meeting as members expected, Mr. Brittain took charge of the podium. After his opening, alluding to his personal study on the Civil War, the members (Southern of course) were reassured that, Mr. Brittain felt Southerners were of great courage and would never give up. He associated his analogies to doctrine. This served as an introduction and focus on doctrinal issues. The content was relating David Covington's problem as "doctrinal problems." Another "straw man" for WCG.
Brittain soon rushed into reading several testimonies from letters from outside evangelical ministries. All the letters read were supposedly written by Protestant Christian ministries who were highly supporting Joe Tkach and WCG. Letter after letter spieled glowing remarks about the wonder of the Holy Spirit working in Joe Tkach and the church, commending Joe for all his stand with the Gospel. Excerpts were taken from the following letters and ministries:
American Messianic Mission
Pentecostal Holiness Church, St. Paul North Carolina
COG Seventh Day
Advent Christian Denomination
United Baptist Convention of United Policies
Missouri Synod Lutheran Church
Azusa Pacific University
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
(In the book, The Fine Art of Propaganda, the above is termed, Testimonial and Bandwagon technique.)
Following the above segment, little time was left for questions and answers. Before allowing any questions Brittain had everyone turn to Eph. 4:30 and proceeded to preface all questions by reminding members they are at a worship service and questions must reflect that of Jesus Christ.
Several members offered questions regarding income, salaries, and tithes expenditures only to meet with the old WCG tactics of avoidance. "All the gold is God's." "Leave it to Pasadena to worry about that..." One gentlemen confronted Brittain about doctrine being a straw man and Covington's issues of abuse were ignored. Again, Brittain skirted the issue and moved to the next question. One lady said, "If WCG is truly a Trinitarian Church, how could they continue to believe and practice the old ways." Brittain kindly told her he would discuss that with her after the meeting.
The question and answer period lasted about 20 minutes with no questions being answered with substance. Britton relayed that Carn Catherwood would visit "next Sabbath" (this weekend) and he repeatedly told everyone NOT to ask Mr. Catherwood questions because of his illness with cancer.
One manipulation after another prevailed from Regional Brittain [Keith Brittain]. The usual tactics were evident regarding guilt techniques and scolding. Here are some quotes from his sermon:
"I look forward to the time when The Plain Truth will reach that all time figure of 8 million. That figure is much less now because of the finances. In fact we are getting the FREE PRESS because other ministers (Tkach's EV [evangelical] coalition) are standing out there and saying, 'this is an excellent magazine.'"
"Professor at Azusa University, Professor Gran of the Korean Church says, he is extremely excited about the WCC. Gran said, 'If his professors could see the teachings on the grounds of the WCG in Pasadena3, they would roll over in their graves.' He (Gran) was so thrilled to be able to teach the managerial instruction to WCG. He made this statement, 'If you people could convince Americans of United States and Britain in Prophesy, you of all people can convince America of the need of Jesus Christ. And you of all Americans are the best to do it, because the rest of Christianity is so complacent they can't even see the Gospel.'"
Regional Brittain goes on to state: "I believe one reason that God raised up Herbert W. Armstrong and started a new Christian religion from fresh, from scratch, and took it through several experiences from Old Testament to New was to make us a dynamic religion. And that's one thing about the WCG, it's been through a lot of things, but like I said last year, one can never say it's dull. We've been through an exciting roller coaster ride. We know better than any other Christians out there brethren, that what has been going on here is special. A lot of people are looking at this denomination and they can recognize it like Dr. James Kennedy, who said on his broadcast, 'I'm jealous, you are going through the same experience the First Century Church has gone through!'
"You and I know that the bulk of Christianity is, just nominal Christianity, and many are sort of settled in institutionalized, traditionalized, pasteurized form of Christianity. Much of Christianity was completely worn down before God called Mr. Herbert Armstrong. But we went from scratch and we made a lot of mistakes along the way. We were like children and we became teenagers. And you know how children are when they get to a certain stage in their life, and that's the way we were and we're finally coming reasonably spiritually, mature adult Christians who Jesus Christ: can use--ourselves--to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the suffering and very hungry. We're going from the shrine to the saints, to a hospital for sinners.
"I believe big days are up ahead of us and that's why Mr. Tkach before he died said, 'We look for the day of the golden age of the Worldwide Church of God.' " (I believe the term was, NEW AGE!)
For those who have listened to the Four Square Gospel church praise Joe Tkach, it would he very interesting to see what the Four Square Gospel Church thinks about these statements.
The WCG message to David Covington's congregation was, stay where you are. Christ picked the WCG to clean up the entire WORLD WIDE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. This is the precise type of spiritual abuse David Covington points out.
The Exit and Support Network™ joins many in wishing David Covington a peaceful future. We join others with respect to doctrinal differences and praise David's personal account toward the continued abuse that prevails within the WCG. We hope and pray he will, in his way, communicate his first hand experiences to the greater Christian arena that has been victimized through propaganda and deceit. They may not listen, but they need to hear David's side.
David's resignation was not about doctrine, government, or change going too fast or too slow. It. was about, deceit, abuse, manipulation, hypocrisy, and pseudo Christianity in the name of power and money.
We read you loud and clear David!
Our hats off to you!
From a Network of ex-members!
Worldwide Church of God's Faulty Orthodoxy (Robert L. Summer gives a frank, candid appraisal and gives us strong reasons to be skeptical in accepting their new changes and forked mannerisms.)
The Worldwide Church of God’s "Orthodox" Bandwagon (mentions David W. Covington and Robert L. Sumner) [The Quarterly Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, July-September 1998, Editorial; offsite PDF] (Note: Please be aware that Personal Freedom Outreach (PFO) is a member of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (EMNR), a Lausanne-covenanted organization. Worldwide Church of God joined the EMNR in 1998. For more info, please see this offsite report: Evangelical Ministries to New Religions.)
Transforming the Truth--WCG Continues to "Make" History (The Quarterly Journal, Vol. 18, NO. 3, July-September 1998; offsite PDF)
Update on WCG:
Has WCG (GCI) whitewashed Herbert W. Armstrong? (for quotes from WCG HQ about HWA)
In November 2004 the Worldwide Church of God moved its headquarters from Pasadena to Glendora, California. In April 2009, they 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.) Today they have gone on to embrace New Age Teachers and philosophies. Read: Grace Communion International - New Age and Ecumenical Connections and Letter to Worldwide Church of God, Philippines (On Apostasy--A Radical Proposal) (this lengthy letter reached close to 350 WCG ministers, including those at Headquarters).
Footnotes by ESN:
1 In February 2005, The Worldwide News in the United States was changed 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.
2 An article on Keith Brittain appeared in the September 2004 Worldwide News: Meet Your District Superintendent Keith Brittain: Mid-Atlantic district. Brittain attended Ambassador College, Bricket Wood, England, from 1962 to 1966.
3 In November 2004 the WCG moved its headquarters from Pasadena to Glendora, California. (Pasadena Star-News, October 25, 2004) By May 2006 all their offices were moved to Glendora. (Together, May-June 2006).