COGWA was formed December 23, 2010, due to “fundamental disagreements” with UCG-AIA (an offshoot of Worldwide Church of God). Several thousand members resigned at this time and dozens of pastors and elders were fired or forced to resign. UCG also lost a lot of young people to COGWA. According to a report in 2018 by their president they were said to have a membership of approximately 11,000 worldwide (5,500 in the United States). They are said to be the largest group to come out of UCG-AIA.
They are headquarted in McKinney, TX. Jim Franks is the president and is also tied in with (president of) “Foundation Outreach International” (FOI) in Allen, Texas. One well-known board member of FOI is Doug Horchak, former WCG minister and son-in-law of Joseph Tkach, Sr. (Read about Doug Horchak in the testimony: Still Working Through the Anger) While FOI’s Board of Director’s page tells how Jim Franks and Doug Horchak are part of Church of God, a Worldwide Association, nothing is revealed about their doctrines being based on the gospel according to Herbert Armstrong which teaches salvation by works.
In similar manner of many other WCG offshoots, they claim to be a “continuation of the Church founded by Jesus Christ and His apostles.” The error of their doctrines is thoroughly covered in our chapter to chapter critique of Mystery of the Ages by Herbert W. Armstrong (available as PDF download).
COGWA has a magazine which is ironically called Discern (“A Magazine of Life, Hope & Truth”), published every two months and available on their website by the same name: Life, Hope & Truth. The website leads visitors from one deceptive article to the next, and contains the same Herbert Armstrong rhetoric and propaganda. (This site is in addition to their COGWA Members site.) Their member news publications are called In Accord, and One Accord.
More Info on COGWA
Church of God, a Worldwide Association’s website has the potential to draw in the unwary and undiscerning. They are involved in an outreach program called Foundation Outreach International (FOI), spouted as being “dedicated to a world of good,” and which reaches into Ghana, Kenya, Jordan, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. Their website asks people to “get involved” in this project by sending donations and submitting an online volunteer application.
Instead of having a Bible Correspondence Course like HWA mailed out (refer to: How Did Herbert W. Armstrong Recruit People?), their Foundation Institute Center for Biblical Education is a nine-month program that offers “in-depth study of the Holy Bible” and whose mission is to “teach the doctrines of the Holy Bible, impart an understanding of God’s plan for mankind.” This Institute also has “The Continuing Education program” to “share more of the biblical instruction with those who are interested.” This “biblical instruction” turns out to be the false gospel of Herbert Armstrong.
No one would suspect that a false religious organization is behind FOI unless they dug deeper.
The link from COGWA’s site to “Life, Hope & Truth” says it is for those who are “looking for understanding about the purpose of life … for reliable truth about God, the Bible” (similar words that HWA would use). Along with posting articles, a “Daily Bible Verse Blog” (with explanatory commentary where one is then led to an article), newsletters, etc., they offer a link on every page to a “FREE subscription” to Discern (“a magazine of life hope and truth”), the email magazine for COGWA, available as download, or which can be listened to.
They list the location of their congregations on their website with the minister’s name and phone number. The articles on COGWA’s websites have a link inside them to booklets which end up being all based on Herbert Armstrong philosophy and doctrines. Many may not know who Herbert Armstrong was and that he was considered a false prophet. (Read: Did Herbert Armstrong Set Dates?) Many of their articles and booklets soon reveal their distaste for mainstream Christians that don’t hold to their (HWA) views.
Following are some of the “Fundamental Beliefs” of COGWA from their website (and which are the same errors as Herbert Armstrong taught):
Belief in a “God family” currently consisting of only the Father and the Son; Jesus not the Eternal Son of God; the Holy Spirit is only the “power of God”; our potential is to partake of God’s divine nature as children in His family; we do not have an immortal soul; our purpose is to be added to the God family; belief in a spiritual resurrection instead of a bodily resurrection; if we are seeking eternal life, we must “strive to obey the Ten Commandments”; baptism by immersion and laying on of hands makes us part of the spiritual body of Christ, the true Church of God; we must keep the 7th day Sabbath (the “identifying sign” and “perpetual covenant between God and His people”); “true Christians” will observe the seventh day Sabbath; we must keep the annual O.T. festivals or holy days (which “reveal God’s plan of salvation for mankind”); observance of clean and unclean meats; tithing (includes the festival tithe); not to serve in the military (it would “create problems keeping the Sabbath and holy days”); the biblical name of the church is the Church of God; belief in three resurrections; the first resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ, a second resurrection to physical life after the thousand years, and a third resurrection to the Lake of Fire (annihilation).
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
Letters we have received:
Why the Church of God, a Worldwide Association Will Splinter and Come to Nothing (February 2, 2011 letter)
I See a Bleak Outlook for Church of God, a Worldwide Association (January 18, 2014 letter)
Church of God, a Worldwide Association Uses Cover to Look Like a Normal Church (September 17, 2014 letter).
HWA Offshoots Don’t Represent True Christianity (April 21, 2016 letter) (covers Church of God, a Worldwide Association).