Exit and Support Network

OIU Volume Five

OUTSIDER'S INSIDE UPDATE™

Volume FIVE ... a newsletter of understanding ... Dec. 1997

 

VOLUME FIVE contents:

OIU 1 | OIU 2 | OIU 3 | OIU 4 | OIU 5 | OIU 6

Next to OIU 5, pt. 2 of 4.

OIU FIVE and SIX are detailed reports surrounding the Ecumenical Movement (EC) and the current EC strategy involving the Worldwide Church of God conglomerate. Those interested in researching the "reasons behind the events" and activities of the Worldwide Church of God, United Church of God, Global Church of God and other splinters, will find these two Volumes helpful, thought-inspiring and possibly shocking. The WCG propagandizes a doctrinal transformation. The OIU exposes the real activities and associations pertaining to the "transformation." One Global Church and United Religions is the force behind the WCG "transformation" and "fragmentation." It's time the real story behind the deception and spiritual destruction is shouted from the rooftops.


From the Editor:

Welcome to another edition of the Outsiders' Inside Update (OIU). This issue provides pertinent information about the real story behind the event. The Exit & Support Network™ (ESN) is well into its fourth year of service as a support, research and investigative ministry assisting those exploited by deceptive bible-based churches or pseudo news reporting services. The ESN has spent the bulk of its time and concentration on revealing the truth and facts behind the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) and its current strategic maneuvering into what is now termed mainstream Christianity. No other organization has been in the forefront of the political evolution of the WCG conglomerate. No other newsletter reported the detailed facts behind the massive marketing strategy and architects of this multi-million dollar empire. No other resource has painstakingly placed itself in the eye of the storm and monitored the chronological WCG events that propelled the WCG to be popularized as the "cult that turned to mainstream." No other Christian service has committed thousands of their personal dollars toward the spiritual, psychological and emotional well being of the countless victims traumatized by the works of the Worldwide Church of God, its leaders and current propagandist affiliates.

The ESN has had its challenges during our first four years. Lack of finances and lack of in-house help, along with ESN assistants being geographically scattered, has placed delays on many sought after Investigative/Research Reports. 1997 surfaced as one of our most difficult years due to personal afflictions with family deaths and illnesses. Despite these hardships, the ESN continues to carry on its mission to: illuminate the real story behind the events, expose the works of evil, clarify the exploitation and bring the deception into full view, while continuing to assist and support victims of the spiritual, psychological, and financial fraud perpetrated by the Worldwide Church of God and its leaders and other associates.

The word "historic" has been largely publicized and propagated to positively explain the unique transition of a cult that became an evangelical church. As we continue to review and expose the decades of corruption, deception and lies the word "historic" takes on an opposite meaning. It depicts a destructive, pseudo church, which concealed a massive, deviant corporate and political empire. Yes, the Worldwide Church of God transformed into another dimension. As the facts of the WCG story continue to unfold, those who care will become enlightened that the WCG was not Transformed By Truth, as Joseph Tkach's latest book of publicity is entitled. It was however, Transformed By Lies™. And there are reasons behind the event.

The OIU readership has a vast mixture of spiritual affiliation and views. The OIU never intends to offend specific personal spiritual beliefs, nor judge others for their religious affiliations. Under the circumstances surrounding the spiritual and psychological traumas caused by the WCG, the OIU strives to be sympathetic and understanding toward all who have been caught in the web of such grotesque deceit. We realize our readers base their present positions on their personal biases and experiences. Few have been privileged to the vast amounts of resources or documents that enable us to view the bigger picture surrounding the WCG fragmentation. It is our hope and prayer that those who care and are committed to cutting through the deception and exploitation fostered under the guise of Christianity, become inspired to discern the greater story through education, research and evaluation of critical facts and analysis for the benefit of themselves, their children, their neighbors and their futures. If we ignore this segment of Christian history, the traumatism behind the WCG history and transformation will be repeated. We cannot stop the horrific works of evil; we can however, expose them. (Eph. 5:6-12.)

The ESN may be guilty of delays in reports due to financial and time/overload restraints, but the ESN is the only service that maintains an open email or phone line to answer questions and respond to all who need immediate assistance. For many, the ESN has been the only hand reaching out to those crying desperately for help. Let it be known that it would take no effort or expense to throw together a hodgepodge lightweight newsletter consisting of several legal size sheets filled with bits and pieces and recycled Internet clips and call it a Report. ESN policy from the start gate was to furnish the reasons behind the events. We're not an extension of the lies, distortions and manipulations behind the WCG conglomerate. We don't target the already exploited with spin print and propaganda that serves the goals of the WCG perpetrators. We're not funded by the perpetrators to continue the web of deception via a newsletter. We, at the ESN, work from our hearts and conscience, which is exactly what is missing from the frauds and architects of diversion.

If you haven't read OIUs Part One through Five and Part One of, "As The Whirlwide Turns," you might feel as if you are jumping in well after the WCG drama began. Understanding the events as they unfold with the "cult that joined Christian mainstream" is integral toward the discernment and big picture of the "historic" WCG. This New Age restructuring has roused gross distraction within the evangelical and counter-cult community since the death of Herbert W. Armstrong.1 The distraction and diversionary tactics have camouflaged one of the greatest religious cult deceptions in history--the Worldwide Church of God Cover-up!!!

Before you proceed, please read the five-page article attached, entitled:  

Making An Obedient Mass

Then--continue:

For the sake of our varied readership, let's start with current events and review more recent WCG behavior. Below is a sampling of the impressive publicity maneuvers spearheaded by the WCG leaders of late. Note the names and associations that have been in the forefront with the WCG propagandists and marketers as we expose the significance of Tkach allies and associations.

"As The Whirlwide Turns", Part Five - TRANSFORMED BY LIES? OR……. TRANSFORMED BY TRUTH!

The inside cover of July issue of The Plain Truth released a full page ad announcing the release of Transformed by Truth, supposedly authored by Joseph Tkach, Jr.:

"THE TOP RELIGIOUS STORY OF THE DECADE…"
EVANGELICAL ASSOCIATION CHRISTIAN PUBLISHERS

"For nearly 70 years the Worldwide Church of God, founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, preached a 'different' gospel.' Then in 1995 only ten years after Armstrong's death, the leadership of the WCG publicly renounced it unorthodox teachings and entered the evangelical mainstream." What Happened?

"In this fast-paced and exciting record, Joseph Tkach-President, Pastor General of the WCG and a major player in the WCG drama-delivers the plain truth. Here is the remarkable story of how, little by little, men and women have been transformed by the power of the gospel."

"I praise God for His work of renewal in, and restoration of, the Worldwide Church of God, believing this to be one of the great miracles in the Body of Christ during the twentieth century. Rev. Joseph Tkach and the leaders of Worldwide Church of God are to be commended for their uncompromising dedication to the infallible Word of God and their courageous stand for its truths in the face of great opposition and criticism." Dr. John R. Holland, President, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel)

"Wow!!! What a story! Transformed by Truth was a healing balm for this old preacher's cynicism. Read this book and rejoice with the angels. You'll be glad you did." Steve Brown, Professor of Preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida)

This full-page advertisement was etched in black and red print on the inside front cover of the July/August issue of The Plain Truth Magazine. The often-utilized picture of Herbert W. Armstrong sporting his six-pointed, multi-diamond, Star of David cufflinks, served as the faded gray-toned backdrop of this startling declaration. Armstrong's gravestone is enmeshed into the artwork with many subliminals for the observant eye. A striking crack pierces through the left side of Armstrong's head leading one to question the occult significance of such a depiction. Centered amidst the verbiage is a small color snapshot of the once highly esteemed exclusive home for the "Great Architect Of The Universe," the multi-pillared Ambassador Auditorium.

The word MULTNOMAH is highlighted but does not indicate that it is the publisher. Readers are informed that Transformed By Truth can be found in "Christian bookstores everywhere."

The eve of the now famous New Covenant sermon delivered by Joseph Tkach, Sr. in January 1995 commenced a well-contrived publicity campaign targeted toward the Christian arena. What prevailed during the past two and one half years to award Joseph Tkach, Jr. his self-awarded title as Reverend? Listed here are titles of publicity articles and media clips, which vindicated the residing Pastor General, President and now Reverend Tkach. It was through this medium that Tkach, Jr., Mike Feazell, Gregory Albrecht, Bernard Schnippert and other WCG spin artists falsified the real story of the Worldwide Church of God and replaced the facts with massive history revision. The uniquely orchestrated propaganda not only re-invented and restructured the multi-million dollar corporate empire; it attached undeserved fame to Joseph Tkach, Jr. the latest "image" of WCG hierarchy.

May 1994 --- Bible Answer Man radio show
Ron Rhodes and Paul Carden announce the WCG is no longer a cult but has embraced the true tenants of Christianity. [Copy of radio show with ESN]

January 28, 1995 --- LA Times
"Ambassador Concert Hall to Close in May"

January 30, 1995 --- LA Times
"And Then There Was Silence in Pasadena"

Feb 8, 1995 --- USA Today (from "Across the USA" section)
"A month after telling parishioners that tithing is voluntary rather than God's command, the WCG has lost 30% of its income…"

February, 1995 --- MacGregor Ministries
Visits the leaders in Pasadena and returns to British Columbia endorsing the WCG

[UPDATE 2008: MacGregor Ministries now operates in the United States under MM Outreach Media Ministries.] 

February 11, 1995 --- LA Times
"Church in financial crisis"

February 25, 1995 --- Dallas Morning News
"Contributions down at Worldwide Church"

May 4, 1995 --- LA Times by Larry B. Stammer
"Another Schism Racks Worldwide Church of God"

May 5, 1995 --- LA Times by Larry B. Stammer
"Group splits from the Worldwide Church of God"

May 12, 1995 --- LA Times by Larry B. Stammer
"Worldwide financial crisis deepens - auctions sterling silver purchased by Herbert Armstrong"

July 22, 1995 --- Longview New-Journal
"Worldwide Church changes beliefs"

August 1995 --- Living Light - (Canadian publication)
"Worldwide Church of God seeking a new direction"

September 22, 1995 --- Joseph Tkach, Sr. dies

October 1995 --- Worldwide News (church publication)
Hank Hanegraaff makes his debut. Hanegraaff and Joe Tkach, Jr. embrace each other tightly at the funeral of Joseph Tkach, Sr. The image of brotherhood between Hanegraaff and Tkach, Jr. is magnified in the October issue of The Worldwide News and serves as an introduction of Hanegraaff to the WCG members. [NOTE: 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.]

October 2, 1995 --- Christianity Today
"The Road To Orthodoxy" --David Neff

CT readers will be glad to know that they [WCG] are no longer considered among the harlot daughters of the Great Whore. But how will we respond? Sadly, Christians outside the WCG have been suspicious and slow to extend the right hand of fellowship. (A few leaders have been helpful, WCG leaders say: Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute and Ruth Tucker of Trinity International University, for example; and faculty from Regent College, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Azusa Pacific University have also helped inform the transition."

Fall 1995 --- Greg Albrecht contacts Janis Hutchinson and requests the WCG not be listed as a cult in her next edition of Out of the Cult and Into the Churches. Letter writing campaign continues for several months. [See Letters to Hutchinson] [NOTE: This letter to Janis Hutchinson covers some of the questions Janis Hutchinson asked of Greg Albrecht and his answers.]

Fall 1995 through 1996 --- Hank Hanegraaff repeatedly hails the WCG as a true Christian church via radio broadcasts, and monthly advertisements to CRI readers. Hanegraaff uses the PR as a tool to collect donations. Greg Albrecht testifies that Hanegraaff is paid as a consultant.2

November 26, 1995 --- L A Times, by Larry B. Stammer
"Denomination Driven by Dramatic Changes in Doctrine"

January 1996 --- Tkach, Jr., Mike Feazell, and Greg Albrecht are first time guests of Hank Hanegraaff on Bible Answer Man radio show. 

Winter, 1996 --- Christian Research Journal
"New Beginning, New Leadership for the Worldwide Church of God"

Winter, 1996 --- Christian Research Journal
"The Worldwide Church of God: Resurrected into Orthodoxy"

February 1996, --- Janis Hutchinson takes a WCG paid trip to meet with leaders.

February 1996 --- Tkach, Jr. is the radio guest of Pastor Helms of the Pentecostal Ecumenical International Church Four Square Gospel.

March 1996 --- The East Texas Christian Monthly
Faith in the 90's

April 18, 1996 --- Four Square Gospel Church features Tkach, Jr. as guest speaker at services. [Copy of sermon with ESN]

April 1996 --- Janis Hutchinson endorses the WCG. Hopes to sell her book in WCG catalog and gain PR with interview in The Plain Truth.

April 30/May 1, 1996 --- Religious Right evangelist, D. James Kennedy's radio broadcast, Truths That Transform, host Tkach, Feazell, Albrecht, Lapacka as featured guests. [UPDATE: D. James Kennedy died 9-5-07 at the age of 76.]

June 1996 --- Watchman Expositor
"Are We There Yet?"

July 15, 1996 --- Christianity Today by Ruth Tucker
"From the Fringe to the Fold, How the WCG discovered the Plain Truth about the Gospel."

December 1996 --- Ambassador University in Big Sandy, TX Closes [UPDATE: In March 2000 WCG sold the Ambassador College Big Sandy campus to Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., who leased the campus to Bill Gothard, president of Institute in Basic Life Principles. Gothard bought all the property in the buildings. (Calvary Contender, May 15, 2000) For an offsite in-depth exposé on Bill Gothard and his pharisaical, cultic "system," read article: Bill Gothard.] UPDATE: Bill Gothard resigned from his organization in 2014 after allegations of rampant sexual harassment.

February 7, 1997 --- The Tkach PR team makes its second debut on the Bible Answer Man radio broadcast with Hank Hanegraaff.

Spring, 1997 --- Religious Broadcaster Annual Convention, Anaheim, CA. by Richard C. Dean "Open Arms: Welcoming the Worldwide Church of God"

March 1997 --- International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Press Release
"Let it be known to all, that the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel gives God praise for His work of renewal in and restoration of the Worldwide Church of God, declaring this to be one of the great miracles in the Body of Christ during the twentieth century."

May 10, 1997 --- LA Times, by Larry B. Stammer
"Evangelicals Accept Worldwide Church of God"

May 1997 --- UK Evangelical Alliance
"Coming into the fold--Hazel Southam investigates the soul-searching at the Worldwide Church of God" [UPDATE: Read 2006 letter to ESN: Worldwide Church of God in the UK Links to Evangelical Alliance]

May 1997 - CornerStone Magazine - Jon Trott, Jesus People USA
"The Saga of a 'Cult' Gone Good"

June 21, 1997 --- The Huntsville Times
"Church struggles for survival as it goes mainstream"

June 14, 1997 --- Associated Press
"Amazing Grace That Saved The Church"

June 18/19, 1997 --- Life Outreach International -with televangelist James Robison aired two publicity radio shows featuring WCG allies, James Walker of Watchmen Fellowship and Greg Albrecht, Chief Editor of The Plain Truth magazine.

August 24, 1997 --- Steve Brown Show - television Guest Joe Tkach, Jr., Michael Feazell and Greg Albrecht are glorified on radio by Steve Brown who also supports Seventh-day Adventists as true Christians. [Copy of radio show with ESN]

September 1997 --- Marketing campaign for propaganda book, Transformed By Truth, allegedly authored by Joseph Tkach, Jr. In a mass mailing under Plain Truth Ministries, Greg Albrecht writes the following excerpts:

"I'm writing to announce that Transformed by Truth, the new book by Joseph Tkach, is about to be released. It tells the inside story of what's happened among us."
"We have reserved a limited number of copies for friends of the Worldwide Church of God at a special discount price from the publisher, Multnomah Press. It will be in bookstores everywhere in September at $19.95 but we can have Transformed by Truth delivered to your door for $16.95 including tax and shipping."

He goes on to say:

"This is the only authorized story of the transformation of the Worldwide Church of God and The Plain Truth from the inside."
"But we have only a limited number of copies available at this special price, so it's important to act soon to reserve your copy." [Emp. Albrecht]

Hank Hanegraaff of Christian Research Institute, James Walker and Phil Arnn of Watchman Fellowship, Ruth Tucker of Trinity Evangelical University, Michael Kellner and Larry Neff of Christianity Today were among the most prominent mouthpieces for the WCG publicity campaign during the past five years. Watchman Fellowship conducted WCG update seminars in `94, `95 and `96 at the Evangelical Conference. Each seminar message propelled the WCG effort and propaganda into the ears of smaller Christian ministries and Evangelicals whose only venue to what was happening in the WCG was through the mouths of these main groups and spokespersons for the WCG. Hank Hanegraaff extended the WCG media blitz, as he claimed his own fame as the hero who guided the cult to orthodoxy and marketed that message as a money producer for his own agenda. Ruth Tucker claimed her fame through error-punctuated articles in popular Christian magazines. LA Times Religion writer, Larry B. Stammer, proved himself a pawn in the game as he honored the tailored press releases delivered to him directly by the WCG spin-doctors. He printed the party line-without question.3

The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing!  

Or does it?

The Propaganda Campaign effort receives its big payoff in 1997 through its newly established accomplices with The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Evangelical Christian Publisher's Association (ECPA) and associate member, National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). The latest partnership is with the American Bible Society (ABS). The March/April issue of The Plain Truth offered an exclusive interview with NAE promoter, Billy Graham. All the above associations must have marveled over Billy Graham's face on the cover of this once considered "un-American" political magazine of propaganda.

Popular Christian media evangelists such as popular Religious Right evangelist, D. James Kennedy,4 were useful tools in advertising the reinvented WCG. At the very least, their endorsements had to add credibility by association, a necessary propaganda stunt. But what did the selected propagandists have in common that inspired them to accept the cult leaders' words at face value? What motivated these mouthpieces to hail words regarding doctrinal manipulations, while simultaneously ignoring evidence and documentation surrounding abuse issues, financial improprieties and allegations of grave deception within the current WCG? Why would MacGregor Ministry endorse a "cult" as changed and concurrently report that Adventistism and Promise Keepers are dangerous? Doesn't Lorri MacGregor know that the WCG leaders highly esteem both organizations? In fact, WCG has become a major mouthpiece and proponent for the Promise Keepers. Did she and other WCG promoters just frivolously participate in the WCG propaganda without cause? Why would the LA Times Religion reporter, Larry B. Stammer, print news about the WCG based on WCG press releases delivered directly to him? Whatever happened to investigative reporting? Stammer directly told the ESN he printed what the press release stated and was disappointed when the WCG leaders didn't even say thank you. Why would the LA Times allow themselves to be used as a propaganda journal for the Worldwide Church of God?

These are just a few of the questions many researchers have offered as they investigate the uncanny chronological events with the WCG and its main extension/splinter groups.

There have been several ministries that have spoken out against the rush to judgment such as Biblical Discernment Ministries and Way of Life Ministry. Many others take a "no comment" stand or refer questioners to Christian Research Institute or Watchman Fellowship. The propaganda has been very controlled by a tight ecumenical association of evangelicals that have, in fact, been aligned with the WCG for several years now. What is really going on here? What are reasons behind the event? How in the world did forty-five year old Joe Tkach, Jr., with a full cult life experience and minimal business knowledge, suddenly become the chief holder (on paper) of the massive WCG investment corporation, plus qualify for his newly promoted title as Reverend Tkach. The party line wants to promote the idea that a miracle has taken place. Be assured there will be those that swallow the nonsense. However, the WCG architects, no matter how hard they try to re-invent or cover up their actions, past and present, can't cover their multiple agenda or personalities. The legacy of this organization spells holocaust, and no matter how much the truth is bulldozed, there will remain bone fragments that will stand as a testimony to the truth behind the "historic" cover-up as the cult that converted to orthodoxy.

Within the past few years, conscientious researchers in the field of Christianity/religion/politics have monitored the intensifying developments of the Ecumenical Movement among the Catholic and Evangelical denominations. While many adherents from each spiritual camp frown upon the uniting of two opposite doctrinal beliefs, the Catholic and Protestant ecumenical partnership is gaining lofty ground through the combined and planned efforts of the ecumenist honchos using massive media propaganda. Before we can comprehend the convoluted WCG deception with doctrine and corporate organization, we must delve further into the political infrastructure behind the strategic ecumenical marketing of the WCG wealthy corporate empire.

Ecumenical Movement

The often repeated Marxist quote, "religion is the opiate of the masses," has definitive meaning when we observe the complex history of religious development. Centuries of historical documentation demonstrate how the course of history was often changed by the hand of a charismatic leader. Time and again the proletariats (rank and file) flocked down the commanded paths with unquestioning faith, as the masses accepted their leaders' rule at face value! As we monitor the permeation of re-invented NEW AGE thinking into our current society, fundamental Christianity becomes less recognizable each day as its definition molds to media indoctrination.

As political and powerful architects pour millions of dollars into marketing and development of the ecumenical, one world religion, the populace in search of faith and salvation are being swept into a cesspool of deceit in the name of Christianity.

In the OIUs continuing effort to explain the reasons behind the events, it is often stated that the reader must broaden his critical thinking and understanding of the bigger picture through education and discernment of the religio/politico developments through the past two centuries. Taking the initiative to explore the historic events that mold Christianity today provides foundational understanding of the current adaptation of what was once considered, mainstream fundamental Christianity.

Words such as, global, unity, bridge builder, equipped, interdenominational, one world, volunteerism, reconciliation, environmentalism, along with many other common words and phrases, are repeatedly downloaded into our minds through the visual and print media. Those joined to Protestant or Catholic denominations are currently being conditioned to accept the mission of global unity in Christianity. While not every church, denomination or pastoral leader is participating in the uniting of Christianity, the majority is jumping on the bandwagon through the ever-present conditioning process escalating the international Christian amphitheater. On the surface, it's tempting. Unity masks itself as love in a spiritual sense and as history has proven repeatedly, the masses can be united through utopianism, as in communism or with one kingdom ideology, as in fascism . As history teaches, when an ideology represents answers for contemplative questions and provides purpose and hope, the populace manifests a fanatical or militant response. The Ecumenical Movement (EC Movement) of this century is the mortar cementing unsuspecting Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims and other non-traditional religious organizations together as one religion, which will further the quest for one world religion and global government.

What is currently viewed as ecumenicism has been a keenly orchestrated work in progress starting before the nineteenth century. The rise of Protestant Missions between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries provided the groundwork for the Evangelical Awakening of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A basic study of the history of the EC Movement enlightens the researcher on the chronology of events that have been culminating these past few years. As author William Richy Hogg states in his well-documented work, Ecumenical Foundations (1952):

"It has become common knowledge that the nineteenth century marked Christianity's greatest period of missionary expansion. The now familiar words of the late William Temple have indelibly stamped in our mind another closely related reality: the Ecumenical Movement, "the great new fact of our era," has resulted from the missionary enterprise of the last one hundred and fifty years. While the Ecumenical Movement is greater than the sum total of the so-called "ecumenical organizations," these have helped to give what is essentially a movement of the Spirit tangible reality. One of the earliest of these bodies, worldwide in membership and outreach, was the International Missionary Council. Engaged today in an ever-broadening program, it stands as a progenitor of the World Council of Churches. While virtually unknown to most church members, the International Missionary Council affords, for one who will observe its emergence, a key for understanding the spirit of the Ecumenical Movement and it organization."

The history of the EC Movement is as astounding as it is appalling, inasmuch as few that profess Christian faith have any knowledge of it at all. A century of significant, historic International and Foreign Mission Conferences prefaced the most significant event with the Ecumenical Movement of this century. Under the genius of John R. Mott the World Missionary Conference convened in Edinburgh, 1910:

"High on 'The Mound,' not far from Edinburgh Castle and close to St. Giles Cathedral, stands the University of Edinburgh's New College. Its buildings surround the Assembly Hall of what in 1910 was the United Free Church of Scotland. In this great room, so admirably suited for discussion, the World Missionary Conference met from June 14 to 23, 1910"

The Edinburgh 1910 Conference established an international common mission that would change the definition of Christianity forever more. Attention must be given to Edinburgh's significance. As Hogg highlights:

"Edinburgh has distilled the best from past missionary co-operation and offered this powerful concentrate to the churches. Yet Edinburgh was more--did more--than this. Something new had happened. Those present knew that from within their midst something different was emerging. It was a desire for an inclusive togetherness unknown before. From Edinburgh sprang a new willingness to respect and recognize wide differences and at the same time to work together as Christians. Here was born the kind of international and interdenominational Christian co-operation that has increasingly characterized the twentieth century."

Edinburgh 1910 Conference, instituted phenomenal ecumenical objectives. Among them, Hogg notes:

  • Edinburgh stood as a prototype for all world conferences.
  • It hastened the Ecumenical Movement started by the Evangelical Awakening.
  • It established the principle of bringing together delegates from around the world that would in turn prepare their churches for unity with the Ecumenical Movement.
  • It instituted the principle of broad, denominational inclusiveness. It deliberately sought to bring together people who disagreed with one another and established co-operation without compromising their own fundamental beliefs.
  • Edinburgh marks the twentieth century beginning of the two most representative embodiments of the Ecumenical Movement, the International Missionary Council and the World Council of Churches.
  • Edinburgh first brought British, continental and American Christians together in the equality born of shared endeavor.
  • Edinburgh is uniquely responsible for the World Council of Churches, chief symbol of the Ecumenical Movement of today. The World Council of Churches founding as a world body resulted primarily from the extension of the Edinburgh's influence through four decades. [1910-1950]

Hogg also relays:

"One may define the Ecumenical Movement as that growing consciousness in all churches of the church universal conceived as a missionary community. To this end the whole of Edinburgh contributed. Three of its topics were especially relevant: 'Carrying the Gospel to the Non-Christian World,' 'The Church on the mission Field,' and 'cooperation and the Promotion of Unity.' "

The World Council of Churches (WCC) was formed in Geneva by Oxford University and Edinburgh in 1937 to monitor and combine the efforts of various ecumenical denominations. In 1938, those appointed at Oxford and Edinburgh, together with some co-opted Christian leaders, devised a constitution for a World Council of Churches. From 1910 to 1948 the ecumenical logic put forth at Edinburgh evolved into the mission of the National Council of Churches. Within slightly less than four decades, what in 1910 only few had dared to dream was realized. "The great confessions of Protestantism and representative Orthodox churches had come together in a permanent council. In its ecumenical meeting they shared a 'foretaste of the unity of His People.' "

The OIU highlights some of the historic facts about the Ecumenical Movement in hope that the reader will be inspired to broaden his knowledge of the significant events that have shaped this century's evolution of organized religion and religious politics. As we probe through the propaganda strategy obscuring the deception of the supposed transformation of the Worldwide Church of God and its main extension groups, we must extend ourselves toward viewing the bigger picture and not hide beneath our comfort zones, fears and biases.5

As we travel through the ecumenical progress of this century we find before us the astounding reasons behind not only the deceptive fragmentation of the Worldwide Church of God, but the real architects of the unification one religion scheme under the camouflage of Christianity.

Before we can fully discern the Ecumenical Movement post 1962-Vatican TWO, an historical view of the Evangelical Movement is necessary.

The Evangelical Movement of this Century

The term Evangelicalism has been used since the Reformation, often representing a variety of definitions. Martin Luther's followers often classed themselves as Evangelical to distinguish themselves from Reformed Calvinists. In his book, The Young Evangelicals, Richard Quebedeaux explains:

"The Evangelical revival in the eighteenth century was represented by pietism in Germany, Methodism in England, and the Great Awakening in America. Since that time, especially in English speaking countries, Evangelicalism has been looked upon as the school of Protestant Christianity, affirming salvation through faith in the atoning death of Christ and denying any saving efficacy either in good works or in the sacraments. This Evangelical tradition, which has included both a wing of the Anglican communion and churches that developed as a result of the eighteenth-century Evangelical revival, also regarded as central tenets of the Christian faith the inspiration and authority of the Bible, man's inherent depravity, and the more or less symbolic nature of the sacraments."

With the division between Modernists (now referred to as Liberals), and Fundamentalists in the early twentieth century, particularly in America, Evangelicalism took on another shade of meaning. After 1940, Neo-Evangelicalism became recognizable in the United States as a strong force within conservative Christianity--one which holds firm to what it believes is biblical or historic Orthodoxy, but at the same time repudiates the theological and cultural excesses of Fundamentalism.

"Contemporary Evangelicalism is characterized as a school of Christianity espousing a Christian faith that is experiential. As an ideologically conservative Movement, Evangelicalism's purpose was to transcend denominations and their politics with intentions of spiritually uniting in an organized fashion to evangelize the world for Christ while seeking the conversion of sinners. Without unity of doctrine, the Movement attested to three major theological principles:

  1. The complete reliability and final authority of Scripture in matters of faith and practice.
  2. The necessity of a personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior from sin and consequent commitment to Him as Lord.
  3. The urgency of seeking actively the conversion of sinners to Christ."

At the time of his writing in 1974, Quebedeaux stressed the following:

"Evangelicalism is rooted firmly in what it understands as historic or biblical Orthodoxy. The late Edward John Carnell of Fuller Theological Seminary [in Pasadena], one of the most highly respected Evangelical apologists, describes Orthodoxy in The Case for Biblical Christianity6 as 'that branch of Christendom which limits the ground of religious authority to the Bible.' "

[UPDATE: Read exposé article on Fuller Theological Seminary.]

Protestants Splinter

Fundamentalists and Liberals divided during the 1920s and `30s. Following the Civil War and thereafter, Protestant theology was greatly influenced by the intellectual climate of the United States. Between Darwinian biology and numerous studies conducted by psychological and sociological scholars, along with criticism from German universities that undermined the authority of the Bible, increased threat permeated Protestant theology.

Soon to take hold was Social Christianity, later called the Social Gospel.

"Supported by the general optimism of the age, Liberal pastors and seminary professors espoused the centrality of the kingdom of God in Christian doctrine. Inherent in their interpretation of the kingdom was a belief, later considered naïve, that the kingdom of God could, in fact, be established on earth primarily, if not exclusively, by the efforts of men and women working for political and social reform. For these clergymen and religious thinkers, social salvation was often the message of the Gospel."

In 1908, the Federal Council of Churches7 was formed and adopted the "Social Creed of the Churches." The Social Gospel became the mainframe of orthodox Christianity by World War One.

"For the Liberals, the social dimension of the Gospel, with its almost exclusive attention to the horizontal needs of man in society and its neglect of the vertical desires of the heart for God, became orthodox Christianity."

Dissension among Protestant camps increased throughout the early twentieth century causing denominational splits. Liberalism permeated most Protestant denominations, causing fighting within many of the denominational ranks for ecclesiastical standing and their jobs. Great controversy prevailed over the Orthodoxy rival giving rebirth to Dispensationalism.

"This Orthodox school of theology was based upon the speculations of J. N. Darby (1800-82) in England, then popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible (1909) which imposed a rigid schematization and periodization on the biblical materials by relating every part of the Bible to a timetable of dispensations, of which signifies a different way in which God relates to man. Inherent in this theological stance was a feeling that all established denominations had become apostate, and true Christians, therefore, would do well to separate themselves from those inclusive ecclesiastical bodies."

To the Dispensationalist, Liberalism was the work of Satan! In 1910, the same year the Ecumenical Conference convened in Edinburgh, "The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth" was widely distributed throughout the Protestant arena internationally. Funding these treatises of doctrine were two wealthy Los Angeles businessmen, Milton and Lyman Stewart. The extensive distribution ultimately led to the establishment of a doctrinal basis by some of the most powerful voices of Orthodoxy not only in America, but also in Canada, England, Ireland and Germany.8

The turbulent decade of the 1920s gave rise to more Protestant fragmentation and theological debate continued throughout the 1930s. Fundamentalism was declining but held on through development of colleges, seminaries, publishers and periodicals, missionary and evangelistic associations, boards and councils of churches. Many social factors and historical experiences such as World War Two influenced individual commitment to the Social Gospel. The divided Protestant Church sought to restore basic Christian unity internationally. The Ecumenical Movement would become the force to unify Protestantism.

"Ecumenical comes from the Greek oikoumene [inhabited earth]. Upon the analogy of the application of the term oikoumene to the Greek [and later to the Roman] world, the Ecumenical movement designates the contemporary attempt to restore Christian unity throughout the inhabited globe. In 1908 the Federal Council of Churches (which became the National Council of Churches in 1950) was established. Later, in 1948, the World Council of Churches was organized in Geneva. Added to these conciliar Ecumenical efforts were various denominational mergers and the new rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church effected by Vatican TWO."

[NOTE: Modernism denies the Deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, Christ's Blood for the propitiation of all sins, and the Bodily Resurrection. Refer to the book New Neutralism: Exposing the Gray of Compromise which has excerpts online and The New Evangelicalism (the deadliest ism of all) by Rolland C. Starr which may be ordered from Cornerstone Baptist Church. Also read, 7 Men Who Rule the World From the Grave by Dave Breese, noticing especially Chap. 6 on Julius Wellhausen, the man who initiated higher criticism and modernism. (Available through Amazon)]

Ecumenical Movement Regroups

In 1942 The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) was formed under the leadership of Harold Hohn Ockenga for the purpose of strengthening unity among Neo-Evangelicals. Scholarly interest of Evangelicalism resulted in the founding of Christianity Today in 1956 with its first editor, Carl Henry. The Christian Century and Christianity and Crisis became the official periodical voice of the new Evangelicals.

Enter Billy Graham -- 1950 into the NEW AGE

No person has been more credited for the popularization of the Evangelical Movement than Billy Graham. Recruited in 1945 by Youth for Christ, Graham quickly gathered world notoriety with his charismatic, evangelistic personality that emanated from the podiums of highly funded revival campaigns.

Throughout the 1950s Neo-Orthodox theology struggled for definition surrounding political and social change.

"Evangelicals insisted that only men and women who had been born again and thus were personally transformed by the Spirit of God were adequately equipped to build a more righteous national and world order."9

As Neo-Orthodoxy passed out of existence, a new radical Liberalism moved into its place and became known as mainstream Ecumenical Liberalism. While some more radical Christian thinkers strove to connect the Social Gospel to revolutionary social and political movements, the layperson in the Liberal churches became disenchanted with the messages and the goals of the Ecumenical endeavor and the lack of solid Biblical theology. Many Protestant adherents lost interest for lack of purpose, identity and meaning.

The era of the 1960s and 1970s not only spawned the hippie movement, it also motivated many Protestants and Catholics alike to question their Christian heritage and make radical personal changes in their "spiritual" allegiance toward their traditional Christian organizations. It was during this decade that hundreds of newly formed cults recruited thousands of new members.

Establishment Evangelicalism

The NAE significantly impacted the growth and cohesiveness of the Evangelical Movement. Despite constant fighting and disputes among the Orthodox scholars, evangelicals agreed that evangelism or proclaiming the good news was their primary concern. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, along with other less prominent organizations provided cohesiveness for the Evangelical Movement. Their cause has been propelled by founding of Christianity Today, an ecumenical Christian magazine.

Establishment Evangelicalism is represented by denominations that are members of the NAE such as the Baptist General Conference, Assemblies of God, the Brethren Church, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, Christian Catholic Church, Evangelical Free Church of America, Free Methodist Church, Churches of Christ, Conservative Baptist Association, Christian Reformed Church, Church of the Nazarene, Southern Baptist Convention, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, International Church of the Four Square Gospel, International Pentecostal Church, Mennonite Brethren Churches USA, Pentecostal Church of God, Reformed Episcopal Church, The Salvation Army, The Wesleyan Church, Reformed Churches of America and Conservative Lutheran Association. In addition, it is representative of individual churches related to the NAE whose denominations are members of the National and World Council of Churches. Establishment Evangelicalism is a stance held by small to large contingents within most of the Ecumenically aligned denominations apart from any separate affiliation with the NAE. The latest official member "denomination" of the NAE is none other than the Worldwide Church of God!!!


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UPDATE: In 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name to Grace Communion International in the United States. (Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.) Church Multiplication Ministries is a ministry of GCI. 

 

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