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OIU Volume Six

OUTSIDER'S INSIDE UPDATE™

Volume SIX ... a newsletter of understanding ... January 1998

 

VOLUME Six contents:

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

Next to OIU 6, pt. 2 of 7

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.


Propagandist Hank Hanegraaff Makes It Big Promoting the Tkach/Albrecht Transformation Deception - The New Age Evangelicals hop the bandwagon and "profitize"

The propaganda continues to permeate the radio and television airways promoting the mega myths about the "miracle of the Worldwide Church of God transformation."

Now in the tenth year of its multimillion-dollar corporate restructure agenda and marketing campaign, the WCG, with its front men, Joseph Tkach and Greg Albrecht, has successfully infiltrated its devised religious package into the greater Ecumenical Evangelical Party. The in-house PR team, spearheaded by Greg Albrecht, continues to manipulate press releases, Christian radio talk shows, Christian magazines and freelance writers, with the "true transformation" of the WCG. Without fail, the same deceptive myths, propagated by WCG PR front men, stand as a testimony to what Hanegraaff considers, "the greatest miracle since the Reformation."

"Earlier this year, the Worldwide Church of God was accepted into the National Association of Evangelicals. The church's movement from the fringes of Christianity into evangelical Christianity has been called the 'top story of this decade by the Evangelical Christian Publisher Association." [Sect Moving Headquarters Here, by Stephen Huba, The Cincinnati Post, 11/17/97]

The same myths seem to appear in every article or within every interview. Discerning listeners can see through the layers of deception just by observing the techniques of propaganda used to confuse, dupe, and distract the audience away from the real story behind the WCG "transformation" event. What are the myths? There are many, but the incessant myths you can expect to hear repeatedly are those directly pertinent to the cover-up of multi-million dollar empire liquidation. The front men claim: "If this transformation wasn't genuine and from God…"

  1. Why would we risk losing significant income?
  2. Why would we risk losing half of our members from our 1986 membership count of 140,000?

Other Tkach/Albrecht myths:

  1. We never understood orthodox Christianity. We didn't know we were part of heresy.
  2. We never intended to mislead anyone.
  3. Our lives have been threatened because of our stand for the truth.

Myth 1 and 2 - the greatest of them all

[NOTE: This info about the Myths is also covered in ESN's Letter to author Janis Hutchinson and "Worldwide Church of God History & Changes" (audio tape by L. A. Stuhlman, founder of ESN).]

Plenty of totalitarian cults transform after their leaders die. WCG is no exception. What makes the WCG unique is that this destructive cult was managed by a greater political machine than ninety-three year old Herbert W. Armstrong. Despite the propagated falsehood of membership around 150,000 in count, the ailing WCG church, which at the time of HWA's death, was below 40,000 in membership. As far as the "little flock" was concerned, it was a church, but to the big boys handling the multimillion-dollar enterprise, layers of corporations, multitudes of businesses, and last but not least, the non-taxed massive real estate empire, The Worldwide Church of God was anything but a church. That's right, the WCG church was a front. It fronted a mega-investment/political empire that allowed sleazy con men the power to control and operate the scam of the century.

The only explanation that seems to rationalize public acceptance that the "destructive Armstrong cult," (as it was notoriously described in thousands of exposés), honestly transformed into "orthodox Christianity" via a miracle, is the extensive and costly Public Relations/Marketing Campaign organized by many deceitful, unconscionable men affiliated with the multimillion-dollar non-profit empire. The real story behind the event is power, control and wealth. That political nucleus is well masked by the fraudulent marketing campaign focusing totally on issues of doctrine changes. Every "evangelical" participant responsible for furthering the WCG cover-up joins the evangelical team of apostates who serve their own deceived, self-centered egos. The Worldwide Church of God successfully covered-up most forms of corruption throughout its wealthy, political, totalitarian and dictatorial history. The latest BIG LIE, termed transformation, is no exception. As the WCG architects carry out their daily financial activities under the guise of a church, onlookers fall prey to the psychology of deception, distraction and decoy maneuvers. While most are looking in the direction of the BIG STORY marketed by life long cult leaders, the real agenda operates daily, sight unseen. The lies pertaining to WCG history, Herbert Armstrong and every other aspect of the conglomerate are so extensive, it leads the uninformed, believing they must be true. So the deceivers carry on their daily activities, for the most part without challenge. They cannot, however, become too cocky, as they must preserve the secrecy surrounding their true selves, their personal activities and the financial empire they are controlling. The myths are essential to their selfish welfare.

The WCG did not lose members and income due to doctrinal teachings; it changed teachings because it was losing members and money!!! True, members did exit following the trauma of deception, but the impetus for changing strategies was due to the decline of the WCG, starting in the 1970s. The myths, however, support the secret financial disbursements of millions of dollars and assets.

Every time Joe Tkach, Jr. and Greg Albrecht hit the PR trail, you can be assured they will announce the great myths in an effort to manipulate the audience away from the real facts. If it were revealed that the WCG never had the membership to support the outrageous income it suckered into WCG headquarters throughout the years, what would that mean for the architects orchestrating the WCG agenda? Let's rethink the televangelist exposure. What happened to Jim Bakker? Jimmy Swaggart? Robert Tilton? and others who were caught with their pants down…financially?!!! The WCG transformation miracle has been wrongly promoted by self-appointed, egomaniacal marketers of Christian products, like WCG's paid consultant, Hank Hanegraaff, or David Hulme's good friend, Ruth Tucker. [For more info, see: Research Letters on WCG Changes] This historic reformation and "WCG revival," along with the fragmentation of this destructive cult, should be top investigative priority for the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the State Department and all investigative organizations pertaining to fraud and non-profit charities.

Instead, we hear or read about the "historic transformation" of a "fringe church" that embraced true Christianity through accepting evangelical orthodox doctrines. While the financial swindle continues under the guise of "spiritual" matters, few are looking at the real history of this church front, or scrutinizing the massive financial mendacity surrounding the multimillions that line the pockets of swindlers, commonly called ministers.

On November 18, 1997, Tkach, Jr. and Albrecht were once again Hanegraaff's guest on the "Bible Answer Man" radio broadcast. Tkach, Jr. commented that the WCG, at one point, grossed over one hundred million a year prior to the "miracle transformation." Let's take a look at the Income Statements audited and approved by Arthur Anderson & Co., and Cooper and Lybrand in the 1990s, to see how accurate Tkach, Jr. is:

YEAR WCG INCOME
1993 175,639,000
1992 191,391,000
1991 196,985,000
1990 211,563,000
1989 211,777,000
1988 201,259,000
1987 192,081,000

That certainly is "over one hundred million dollars." Tkach, Jr. didn't even round off his estimate to the nearest 100 million. A soon to be released ESN report will list membership figures, contradictions, and lies as they were reported over the past several decades. There is excellent documentation testifying to WCG member count and growth since the 1950s. Equally documented is the significant loss in membership throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The orchestrated "transformation" of the 1990s WCG is inspired by WCG's demise prior to the Jonestown Massacre! The church front became even more of an eyesore following Jonestown but the obliteration of cult members at Waco compounded the problems for the already ailing structure. These factors, combined with Religion 2000 goals, prompted restructuring and financial "transformation" of the cult.

In a pamphlet printed July of 1994 and distributed upon request by the WCG Public Affairs Office entitled, "Financial Overview," we note some interesting findings. It states the following:

"The vast majority of the Church's income is contributed by Church members. Although it varies slightly from year to year and from country to country, about 85 percent of income from contributions comes from Church members or those who regularly attend services of the Worldwide Church of God. About 15 percent of contributions come from others who choose to make donations."

Interesting to note is the fact that the WCG has not issued an income statement since 1993. The ESN has not been able to obtain a statement from the IRS, as the church is not required to submit an income accountability report. For that matter, it is not required to produce an IRS non-profit 990 form upon request. Those attempting to verify statements made by international WCG wealth holders, find it a difficult task to get answers. The ESN is preparing a very thorough report on this topic, which will surely raise the eyebrows of those who care about organized financial church fraud.

"Expenditures of the Worldwide Church of God are disbursed through nine general categories," states the brochure:

Support for Local Congregations  34.3%
Publishing activities  11.6%
Electronic Media    9.9%
Mail Processing    5.0%
Support of Ambassador University    7.0%
Aid to Needy Members    5.8%
Operation and Maintenance of Property   6.9%
Support Services  14.2%

Anyone with experience of how the WCG operated and managed its "little flock" would surely be amazed to learn that 34.3% of 175 million dollars went to support local congregations. The fabricated percentage is preposterous and outright insulting in light of how the impoverished congregations were managed. While many area congregations met in MASONIC HALLS, others were renting bargain facilities like school auditoriums. In addition to the three-tiered tithe system the local churches were always feeding Headquarters additional financial support with generous offerings. The BIG MYTH about membership is equally disturbing as it is telling. A trip through the voluminous archive of WCG related materials reveals statement after statement pertaining to membership counts in the WCG. The 1993 WCG Income Statement printed in The Worldwide News member publication, revealed the following by Tkach, Jr.:

"In international areas, we employed 275 ministers who serve 30,350 baptized members in 372 congregations with an average monthly attendance of 38,000. The international ministry baptized 1,344 new members, conducted 220 funerals and removed 1,045 individuals from membership."
"In the United States, we paid salaries and expenses for 478 ministers serving 67,444 baptized members in 469 churches with an average monthly attendance of 84,892. The church received 12,238 new visit requests, and the ministry baptized 1,751 new members, performed 542 marriages, conducted 621 funerals and removed 2,907 individuals from membership."

Let's compare other published totals from the same Income Statements:

The 1993 totals:
Membership (baptized) 100,889
Ministers employed 753
Congregations 742

The 1992 totals:
Membership (not listed)
New baptisms 3,333
Ministers employed 623
Congregations 838

Other membership totals:
1991 -- 99,000
1990 -- 97,000
1989 -- 95,000
1988 -- 92,000

Please note: Financial Reports between the years 1988 to 1993 were the only available statements offered for member viewing. It's ironic that the only time WCG demonstrated any financial accountability was following the 1987 Internal Revenue investigation into fraudulent religious institutions such as Jimmy Swaggart's and the Bakker's. There has not been a Financial Report published in the WWN since 1993.

While attending a guest appearance on James Robison's New Life Ministry television show in Texas this summer, Greg Albrecht stated that the church, at one point, had 150,000 members, but due to doctrinal changes half the members have left leaving 70,000 members. The 1989 Income Statement published in the WWN posted the highest yearly income, being $211,500,000 (that's million), but notice--the membership was supposedly 95,000. That's right! 95 thousand members. So, again we see another false report of phantom membership totals. The question remains, what church is Albrecht talking about, and who exactly are all these members? Could he be distorting the facts and quoting from 1934 onward? If we were to believe that there were 95,000 members (only one third of which would be working, tithing males) generating over 211 million dollars, let's see the income statement when WCG supposedly had 150,000 members. Should we estimate the income at $350,000,000!!!? [NOTE: This is not to discount those few who were working wives within the WCG and who contributed to the husband's income.]

Now, let's take a look at what the 1994 brochure "Financial Review" states regarding membership:

 "The Worldwide Church of God is primarily a pastoral organization serving its members. It has more than 840 congregations in the United States and abroad. More than 1,800 ordained ministers serve members and others attending these congregations. While 96,000 people are baptized members of the Worldwide Church of God, attendance at Church services averages 120,000. Pastoral expenses, hall rentals and other support needs of these congregations generally comprise about 34.3 percent of the Church's overall annual expenses."

In Tkach's latest propaganda release, Transformed By Truth! He states the following:

Page 105: "So after all the doctrinal changes over the past few years this is where we stand. Close to 70,000 people remain with us, which means that we have lost about 70,000 members. Only 30,000 people, perhaps less than that, attend the splinter groups. A larger number of 40,000 people sit at home confused, frustrated not knowing what to do or what to believe."

[Note: Read: An Open Letter to Joseph Tkach, Jr. (mentions these "40,000 people sitting at home")

Tkach, Jr. and Albrecht have found it necessary to enhance the exaggeration of inflated church membership numbers making the latest account higher than all other false statistical statements. The reader should see the relationship surrounding the continuous contradictions and false presentations of membership in relationship to the reported income during the years an Income Statement was released. Statistical analysis will pose vital questions as to where the WCG amassed such an extravagant income. And what are they currently doing with the cumulated millions of dollars extracted from the spiritually deceived sheep? An income that exceeds that of Focus On the Family, Benny Hinn, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Bakker's Theme Park, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Promise Keepers certainly leads to speculative questions. Bear in mind these organizations are well established and popular in the evangelical arena giving them a very large "religious" audience that fills stadiums by the multi-thousands and provides a juicy market to…. sell, sell and sell religious products to boot. How did the aberrant, heretical cult derive such vast corporate income per year especially when many were called but few chosen as picks for the one true church? Added to that question, is the multimillion-dollars in real estate holdings and assets. An extraordinary article written by James A. Haught, The God Biz (Penthouse, December 1980) demonstrates how the religion business was more profit, than prophet, as early as the 1970s, before the New Age evangelicals were barely slain with the ecumenical spirit.

The United States always had a fringe of scripture literalists obsessed with sin, of one-preacher denominations, of Pentecostals who spout "the tongues," of faith healers who grab the lame, of hillbilly congregations picking up rattlesnakes, of Adventists who periodically announce the end of the world, of sex-haters who burn books and rock albums, of tabernacle-goers who "dance in the spirit" and writhe on the floor, of Bible prophecy fans who think that the Lost Tribes of Israel moved to England and became American settlers.
Why did they cease being a fringe and seize the foreground with such numbers and money? What -- besides changes in the national mood -- caused the billion-dollar gospel boom? Much of it was created by three electronic marvels: (1) super-slick videotape production that gives a "class" look to television shows; (2) fixed-orbit satellites that relay broadcasts all over America for pickup by stations and cable systems; (3) computerized fund-raising centers able to receive millions of letters bearing $10 and $20 checks and to mail back machine-written responses selected by coding and disguised to appear personal.
As television's drawing power grew apparent, a crowd of celebrity preachers took to the air, competing for listener-donors. Today more than 1,000 different gospel shows are bounced off the satellites or distributed by radio tape and videotape to stations and cables. It's a bonanza for the broadcast industry. A typical clear-channel radio station, WWVA of Wheeling, sells $1 million worth of evening half-hours to revivalists annually. Billy Graham pays up to $25,000 per television station per hour for his prime-time crusades.
Listeners foot the bill. Most shows work like this: Watchers are invited to write for a free gift, such as a four-cent "Jesus First" lapel pin. Once a viewer's name and address go into the computer, he gets letters urging him to become a "faith partner" and send monthly donations. The computer keeps track of big givers and little givers -- and ejects names that don't produce after three mailings. (Some evangelists raise extra money by selling their donor lists to others.) Computers also dispatch monthly newsletters and sometimes choose pre-written replies to viewers who write about spiritual or personal problems.
The more magnetic a revivalist is, the more watcher-supporters he draws, which allows him to buy time on more stations, which draws more donors, which buys more air time, which draws more donors, etc. His operation also can expand by sale of books, records, magazines, gospel novelties, and tape cassettes. A big entrepreneur usually starts his own gospel college and creates an overseas mission. So far, the top evangelists, their shows and the best estimates of their yearly grosses rank like this: [At the time this article was written, 1980]
The World Tomorrow (WCG) $75 million (#1)
Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association  $60 million
Pat Robertson (700 Club and Christian Network) $58 million
Jim Bakker (PTL Club and Network) $51 million
Jerry Falwell (Old-Time Gospel Hour) $46 million
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association $40 million
Rex Humbard (Cathedral of Tomorrow) $25 million
Jimmy Swaggart (Camp Meeting Hour) $20 million
Robert Schuller (Hour of Power) $16 million
James Robison (Man with a Message) $15 million
"Rev. Ike" Eikerenkoetter (United Church) $6-15 million
Ernest Angley (Grace Cathedral) (secret)
Established, mainstream denominations worry that one-man television sects are siphoning off members and money that would otherwise go to hometown churches. Dr. Martin Marty, a Lutheran scholar, says the "ruffle-shirted, pink-tuxedoed pitchmen" are formidable rivals, and "the loser is the local church." Presbyterian Survey magazine sneers at "show-biz religion" and "TV salvation for sale" and "the hucksterism of big-time religious broadcasting." Everett Parker, communications chief of the United Church of Christ, says, "They are on television to make money so they can expand their television exposure and make more money."

Haught goes on to say:

The suspicions, the talk of charlatans, arise partly from the fact that U.S. evangelists are allowed to keep their finances as secret as they wish. Under federal law, anything that calls itself a church is exempt from taxes and disclosures. (Even a saint might be tempted if he handled secret money everyday. A revivalist always begs, "Give to God," but he knows God's name isn't on the bank account; he knows who gets to spend the money.) Michigan has passed a state law requiring churches that solicit from the public to file financial disclosures, as charities do. The Michigan law already has been challenged in court as a violation of freedom of religion. Reader's Digest published an appeal last November for a U.S. law to force disclosure of all church money. It wouldn't harm reputable denominations, the Digest said, but actually "would help them by exposing the spiritual con artists who cast shadows on all religious fund-raising."
"The evangelical bandwagon continues to roll, spanning all the way from born-again President Carter to Manson cult killers Tex Watson and Susan Atkins, now saved and selling paperbacks about it. And the gospel gold mine continues to produce billion-dollar revenues, with no end in sight." [End of excerpts]

Notice: "no end in sight." Here we are, almost 20 years later, and the God Biz is bigger than ever imagined. Millions of dollars line the pockets of the "hucksters," operating without accountability. Meanwhile, spiritual seekers from all walks of life are being swept into religious fraud at a record pace.

Isn't it astounding how the Worldwide Church of God was number one for the top religious moneymakers? That's a lot of millions of $$$$ per year marketing a message that is now considered "apostate." Even more suspicious, is how the WCG income increased to $211,000,000 within ten short years. But what about recruiting?

By most documented accounts, the WCG had under 40,000 members in 1986 when Joseph Tkach, Sr. assumed Pastor General position. Church statements reflect that recruitment of new members sharply decreased through the 1970s and 1980s. The ESN report, Transformed By Lies, will document the evolution of membership growth and decline using WCG's documented sources. Throughout the decades, WCG pacified its members by stating the church grew by 30 percent yearly. Inside church documents obtained expose the secrecy surrounding the actual membership count and need for gross exaggerations. Inflated membership counts clearly define the need to verify the giant multimillion-dollar income.

[MORE INFO: Read: A Church in Decline? which tells what Mike Hollman, director of data processing in WCG from 1972-1973, revealed. Also see this part in OIU 2, Pt. 2 about "discrepancies with the growth picture starting around 1978" and this part in OIU 4, Pt. 4 about the manipulated numbers and the IRS.]

When the orchestrated splintering of United Church of God occurred in May 1995, it brought with it approximately 17,000 members. Combined with the Global and Philadelphia Church of God separations prior to 1995, the WCG was left with approximately 10,000 remaining members. Several thousand of which fragmented into the arms of the Seventh-day Adventist, pro-Vatican author, Samuele Bacchiocchi and John Merrit of Friends of the Sabbath. Through the assistance of propagandist, John Robinson, the In Transition newspaper timely launched in May 1995, successfully manipulated and distracted the wounded and spiritually distraught WCG exiters with issues of doctrines and history revision. Numerous articles complimented the WCG re-structuring agenda. If that were not enough, those who read the Ambassador Report (since 1994) were tossed into deeper mystification and complexity by Carl Jungian apprentice and Editor, John Trechak.

[UPDATE: In the beginning Trechak and the team he worked with appeared to have a very noble goal. But after awhile, the message in his AR became mixed, causing people to become bitter instead of being on the road to healing. Later reports were referring readers off to agnostic, aberrant, meta-physical, humanistic, and anti-Bible sources through comments, letters, addresses and book titles. John Trechak died September 2, 1999. The AR is now posted on an atheist website.]

[Read: "Brother of John Trechak Confirms Trechak Drifting Into Jung, Etc." (2014 letter to ESN)]

[Note: Carl Jung’s family had occult linkage on both sides.]

Do the Tkach/Albrecht myths stand to cover-up a massive financial corruption? The Worldwide Church of God is built on the foundation of multi-layered lies and deception. What in the world would induce anyone to accept the hyperbole of a transformation marketed as "truth"?

What is in store for Hanegraaff and his personal financial future with his close friends, Tkach, Jr. and Greg Albrecht? Only time will tell as we continue to see the benefits that Hanegraaff and others reap for their WCG PR propaganda contribution. Amidst his globetrotting travels to Israel with Albrecht and wife, Hanegraaff's face can be seen in The Plain Truth magazine, and his signature highlights the Forward on the Hanegraaff promoted book, Transformed By Truth, supposedly authored by Joe Tkach, Jr. Has anyone wondered how the WCG could manipulate such a deception without its good ecumenical consultant, supporter and friend, Hank Hanegraaff? The ESN has been monitoring every aspect of the event for several years now and while Hanegraaff's streets may be paved with gold, many are following the yellow brick road, right through his pearly-gated community at 30852 Via Colinas, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92679-4013. Hanegraaff's 14 room, 4,656 SF mini-mansion was assessed at $731,000.00 in 1991. God only knows what the selling price would be in today's market value. Sadly, many of his deceived contributors are not aware that his house alone commands over $10,000 in taxes yearly. Little do they know their meager donations add up to Hank's kingly living arrangements.

[UPDATE: Christian Research Institute (also known as Christian Research International) re-located to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2005, with an affiliate (CRI Canada) in Calgary, Alberta.]


Next to OIU 6, pt. 2 of 7

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

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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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