I got caught up in the Church of God International around 1999. I knew very little about them or their founder Garner Ted Armstrong. GTA had been fired by CGI by the time I joined, but they still offered his books and sermon tapes for a short time after he left. I was around 28 nor 29 years old when I joined and I only had a basic understanding of the Bible so it was easy for me to fall for some of this false doctrine of the so called “true church” and the holy days.
I would take time off of work without pay to attend these events, spend my hard earned cash on the Feast of Tabernacles with nothing to show for but an empty wallet and a credit card bill. As for the Sabbath, because I was required to stop work at sundown Friday nights I had to ask my employer for that time and the problem was because I worked steady afternoon shifts and they would not accommodate me, so instead they put me on the midnight shift. So that was four months of hell, because it is not natural to be up all night. After four months, regardless of the Sabbath, I had to return to the afternoon shift, so I could sleep at night again and regain my sanity and physical health.
From the beginning I knew something was wrong with many of their teachings. As I already said, I didn’t know enough of the Bible at that time, but perhaps I knew more than what I thought because some things they were teaching just did not add up, and I guess it was by the grace of Jesus Christ that I started to catch on almost immediately. They taught the “three resurrections,” British Israelism, and they used a statement Jesus made in John 10:34 to “prove” we will be “gods.” None of these are biblical at all. As for the “gods” bit, according to my New King James Study Bible it was in reference to being judges. And when you look in the Psalms where Jesus quoted that from, that particular passage is referring to judging and being judges, not to becoming God. After all, God says He knows of no other gods, and he will not give his glory to anyone.
I read at that time GTA’s book The Real Jesus. After reading the book I threw it out, as it was nothing but pure speculation by Ted Armstrong about how Jesus might have lived while He was on the earth. He claimed Jesus “might have had red hair, owned at least two homes, was a business man, did healings before He even started His ministry, and his parent hired private tutors to educate him.” That’s strange because the Bible states that people were surprised that Jesus could read “never having studied letters.” The Bible never said what Jesus in His human form looked like, and His turning water into wine was His first miracle. So much for the credibility of GTA. Once again the Bible proves him to be a liar. It should come as no surprise since Herbert Armstrong, GTA’s father, wrote a lot of trash as well. I read Herbert Armstrong’s Mystery of the Ages. I had to throw that out after reading up to the chapter about angels. Like father like son.
I feel sorry for the many trees that had to lay down their lives to be turned into pulp and paper to have this Armstrong dribble written upon.
By Nathan (Former member of CGI)
Update: Garner Ted Armstrong died of pneumonia at age 73 in a Tyler, Texas hospital on September 15, 2003. His group today is known as Intercontinental Church of God. The Church of God International, located in Tyler, Texas, continues to teach and proclaim the dogma of Herbert W. Armstrong. Their TV program is called “Armor of God.”