A glowing article about Restored Church of God appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal. It told how David C. Pack is preparing to build a world headquarters and launch a cable TV services to “deliver biblical prophecies.”1
People Seeking Answers
As a result of mounting problems in the world today, a number of people are beginning to seek answers. Therefore, it is most important to beware of anyone who purports to have all the answers, even offering a “way out,” but whose deceptive goal is to exploit others financially and cause psychological harm under the guise of being the only ones serving God and proclaiming His Gospel.
Brief History of David Pack
The Restored Church of God is one of several hundred offshoots that have sprung from Herbert Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God, an organization which was known at one time as one of the most destructive Bible-based cults in America, destroying thousands of lives through its mind control methods, while claiming to be “God’s one and only true church on earth.” Herbert Armstrong, a false prophet, gave over 200 false prophecies in his lifetime and these can be found on the Internet. David Pack quotes extensively from HWA.
David C. Pack is a former minister of Worldwide Church of God (WCG). After doctrinal changes, he left WCG and went to Global Church of God started by Roderick Meredith [see OIU 2, Pt 2, “Speaking of Global”] (also a former minister of WCG). Meredith later founded Living Church of God.2 In May 1999 David Pack founded the Restored Church of God (RCG) and in 2005 he declared himself to be a God-appointed, official “Apostle” of the 21st century. (Herbert Armstrong was considered “God’s end time Apostle” in the WCG.)
The ironic thing is that almost all of these totalistic Armstrong offshoots say that it is they who are really the “true church of God,” “extension of the true church, “restored church of God,” are “restoring original Christianity,” and so forth. Only they are proclaiming the true gospel as Herbert Armstrong taught it. The man Herbert Armstrong has become so important to many who were once a part of WCG that even large websites which contain all of his booklets, magazines, co-worker letters, audio sermons, etc. have been set up. All this becomes their life focus.
Excerpts From the News Article
Following are excerpts from the news article on RCG and includes ESN’s comments: (words from the article will be indented)
“David C. Pack is determined to do whatever he can to share the Gospel message of the return of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Kingdom of God.”
David C. Pack does not share (let alone preach) the Gospel about the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:1-4) Instead, he focuses on the “soon coming Kingdom of God,” and considers Christ as only the messenger who announced this. The Lord Jesus is not expounded as Savior of the world, but is relegated to second position in the “God family” which consists presently of two members–Jesus Christ and God the Father–and which qualifying members can enter into at the time of the first resurrection. This is considered their “ultimate goal”–a full member of the God Family. As Pack’s follow-up letter to newly baptized members states, ”
This goal of becoming like God will take tremendous work, willpower and determination. For the rest of your life, you will have to ‘pray as if it all depends on God, and then act as if it all depends on you.’ ” This is works salvation.
“We offer more literature than any organization on earth and we give it away,” said Pack.
This is debatable whether RCG offers “more literature than any organization on earth,” but it is a fact that the literature one receives will end up not being free in the long run. Prospective members and members soon learn that offerings, three tithes, and generous offerings are expected “by God” if one is to be obedient to the “government of God.”
“Our goal is to teach a way of life that is based on giving.”
The main “giving” will be done by the members as they relentlessly strive to send more and more money in to David Pack which ends up maintaining his luxurious lifestyle, paying for erecting massive buildings for his empire (including his “World Headquarters”), and drawing in more “workers.”
Leaders of exploitive groups are known to live much more lofty than the lowly members (although members will assert that this is deserved because he is “blessed by God,” “doing the Work,” etc.).
“To help reach that goal, the Wadsworth church is planning to construct a three-building world headquarters on Ambassador Drive, west of the Giant Eagle store off state Route 261 (Akron Road).”
Could David C. Pack possibly be trying to keep up with Gerald Flurry, founder of Philadelphia Church of God (PCG), who built Armstrong Auditorium in 2010 (referred to by members as the “House for God”) and which was said to cost $20 million? [Update: In 2012 Flurry told the members that the building actually cost $25 million because they had not included the cost of landscaping. (December 26, 2012 letter to ESN)]
“Church leaders did not disclose cost estimates, saying contributions from donors, believers and the membership are making the project possible.”
Yes, and at great sacrifice to the members and their families.
RCG Headquarters also includes a farm project that is being headed by the expert that ran Big Sandy, Texas’ organic farm project (Dale Schroeder). [Note by ESN: Name should be Dale Shurter.3] This was the farm WCG had when HWA was alive. Schroeder [Shurter] had been well known around the world, and Pack wants to use that to get their foot in the door in other countries.
The article goes on to say that auditor’s records show:
“Restored Church of God purchased a two-bedroom ranch at 303 Akron Road for $100,000.”
And who exactly will be living in this modest house? If it’s Dave Pack, then he will have a second home since he already owns one in Wadsworth. See: David C. Pack Lives in a “Rich” Neighborhood. (The letter following that one estimated the homes in the neighborhood at $750,000 and up.)
“The church also bought more than 25 acres at 293 Akron Road for $1.15 million. Plans include a four-story, 38,000-square-foot administration building; a 450-seat auditorium; and a three-story, 19,200-square-foot training facility that will house a printing and mailing center, office space and classrooms.”
As it stands now, Pack’s “headquarters” will not be anywhere near as extravagant as Gerald Flurry’s but there is high tech security. We were told by one source that it is the most expensive and secure system they had ever seen.
Omits Gospel About Christ
Jeffrey Ambrose, spokesman for RCG said:
“We believe television will affect everything we do, exponentially. It’s going to be an excellent way to get the Gospel of Jesus out. Our primary purpose is to preach the Gospel of the kingdom of God to all nations.”
RCG focuses on only one aspect of the Gospel: “the Gospel of the Kingdom,” which, as Herbert Armstrong said, is a “Gospel about government.” While Pack is busy getting this gospel out–through his literature, programs, sermons, and the Internet, he omits the Gospel about Christ–the salvation and grace He brought and how we have been redeemed through His blood and forgiven forever. Nor does RCG preach the Lord Jesus as the disciples at Antioch did. (Acts 11:20)
“Visitors are invited by a member or a minister, usually after viewing videos and reading literature at its website.”
One may not just walk in to RCG services.
“Once a minister is satisfied that the individual understands the basic doctrine, he or she is invited to a service.”
Once a minister has visited the potential member to make sure they are in agreement with the basic teachings of RCG (making sure they “count the cost”) then they may attend.
Before someone gets to this point, though, they should ask the following questions, making sure they receive adequate answers:
“Membership is made official at baptism, usually three to 12 months after a first visit. Baptism is offered only to adults.”
This lengthy bit of time gives the individual lots of time to become indoctrinated into the teachings of Restored Church of God. RCG teaches that the only way one becomes converted is by first repenting of their vile, carnal human nature, then being baptized by immersion and having hands laid on them afterwards by the ministers. (Prior baptism in a mainstream Christian church is invalid as these churches are considered “Satan’s counterfeits.”)
The Dear Prospective Member Letter
Following is the letter presently mailed out to prospective members showing exactly what they must do before they can become a member of Restored Church of God: [all emp. theirs]
Dear Prospective Member,
Someone will soon be counseling you for baptism now that you have requested it. There are several things that you should do in preparation for counseling, including reading scriptures and literature, and proving certain things.
Before the initial baptismal counseling session, you should prove to yourself that this is the only true Church of God. You should also diligently study the crucial subject of repentance.
What is real repentance? How do you know you have truly repented? What are you repenting of and turning to? When you look at your human nature, what do you see? What is it that you want to bury in baptism?
To see yourself as God does, you must know how God defines your human nature. Prayerfully study the following scriptures and seek the gift of repentance (Romans 2:4). If this gift is granted, you will see yourself as God sees you, to the point of deeply wanting to change. As long as you have a basic understanding of all that baptism symbolizes and means, once repentance has been granted, you are ready for baptism. With your assistance, the person performing the baptism will make arrangements.
Must Read Literature
At this point the potential member is instructed to “be sure to prove” that God exists, the Bible is His Word and this (RCG) is His church. In order to make sure they do this, they are given a list of RCG booklets to study:
- Goes God Exist?
- Bible Authority … Can It Be Proven?
- Where is the True Church and its Incredible History!
In addition, they are told to also read the following RCG literature:
- What Do You Mean Water Baptism?
- Which Is the True Gospel?
- The Awesome Potential of Man
- What Is Real Faith?
- What Is True Conversion?
It is noteworthy to add that part of “counting the cost” before becoming a member of RCG entails never questioning the authority of David Pack, or becoming “rebellious” to the point where you leave God’s only true church (RCG), because if you do and fail to repent and return to RCG, there will be no hope for you outside of the Lake of Fire.
The follow-up letter mailed to newly baptized members says, “But you must now be willing to pay the price!” (And, we might add, the price will be high.)
Services to Be a Classroom
“We view our services as a classroom. God’s people come to learn more about God’s way of thinking and God’s way of living.”
During this “classroom,” members will concentrate intensely on the speaker and take copious notes of the sermonette and sermon (totaling two hours or more in length) while the Bible is being used figuratively to beat them over the head with. (Unless members have ever had an awareness of what it is to live by faith without the works of the Law, they will endure this and try harder.) They will be deceived into believing they are “growing in character” when they are really only growing in submission to David Pack and the government (rules) he enforces in RCG.
“God’s people,” “God’s way” and “God’s way of living” are only a few of the many buzzwords that are used not only in RCG but also in similar HWA offshoots. To learn more about this, read:
Loading the Language (also shows how it is used in totalistic groups)
“Although the ministry has been criticized by some cult-watching organizations, followers report that when Armstrong died in 1986, his church was attracting 120,000 people to weekly services, with an annual income of about $200 million.”
Is this supposed to prove that numbers equal a ministry that is approved by God? Or can it show how effective HWA was at deceiving and exploiting others? According to Mike Hollman, director of data processing in WCG from 1972 to 1973, WCG’s highest number was about 53,000 in 1973. [See OIU 1, Pt. 2 beginning with “A Church in Decline”] (See the part in OIU 2, Pt. 2, about “discrepancies with the growth picture starting around 1978.” The sentence begins with “We find some discrepancies”) Read “Myth 1 and 2 – the greatest of them all” in OIU 6, Pt. 1 about how Joe Tkach, Jr. and Greg Albrecht found it necessary to enhance the exaggeration of inflated church membership numbers making the latest account higher than all other false statistical statements. (This also shows the millions WCG was pulling in compared to other top evangelists of the time.)
“In 2009, the Worldwide Church of God adopted a new name — Grace Communion International — after rejecting Armstrong’s doctrines. Grace Communion is currently a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.”
Questions About WCG’s Changes
There is much more to Grace Communion International than all the positive propaganda. When an organization makes changes through layers of lies, should we believe everything they say? If they later start endorsing New Age philosophies and teachers, should we be discerning and investigate? Read the following (which is only some of what we have on our site about them):
“The Restored Church of God considers itself unique in that it does not fit under the three main branches of Christianity (Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism).”
Would it fit under the category of an apocalyptic, Bible-based destructive group? Especially since RCG believes obedient members are going to flee to a Place of Safety (Petra?) right before the Tribulation starts and before America is destroyed. It would be wise to read:
“It also teaches that Jesus came, not as a savoir but as a messenger, to announce the coming of God’s kingdom, to replace Satan and reign over the kingdom, and to reconcile mankind to God.”
They not only teach that Jesus did not come as a Savior (which is a false gospel in itself), but that He was not fully God and fully man while in the flesh which can be considered blasphemy.
“The goal of the broadcast … is to explain causes and solutions to the world’s problems.”
The broadcast (similar to HWA’s The World Tomorrow) offers black and white answers to life. The “solution” is for everyone to keep the Law (that was given to the nation Israel as a covenant). Then the world will have peace. RCG believes they are “modern-day Israel.”
British Israelism–True or False? (Are Britain and the United States part of the lost ten tribes of Israel?)
Lengthy Sermons and Videos
David Pack, as most false teachers / false prophets, can rattle on for 100 or more pages to say something that could be easily said in a few pages. (The same holds true with his lengthy sermons and videos.) But what most may not understand is that repetition of various themes such as law, obedience to the government in the group, giving, etc., and interspersed with a heavy dose of fear, threats, confusion, shame and guilt, is a key ingredient in mind control.
Restored Church of God presents an inviting website for those who are interested in end-time Biblical prophecies, understanding the Bible, or may have left other offshoots such as Philadelphia Church of God and are now seeking to find one that this time will be the “correct true church of God” But becoming a member of RCG has proven to many to be nothing more than another dive into emotional and spiritual abuse, not to mention a much lighter wallet.
Ex-PCGers Enticed by RCG
Some former members of Philadelphia Church of God that have left, calling it the “Laodicean church,” are subsequently being enticed by David C. Pack.
Be discerning! The message preached by David Pack in the Restored Church of God is not the true Gospel, but another gospel which the Apostle Paul warned about. (II Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6) Don’t be taken in by those who are clever enough to deceive you and cause you to send your money for another “Headquarters.” Look only to the Lord Jesus Christ, not to any man who may claim to be “doing the work of God” or proclaiming the “true or restored gospel.” Pray that you come to know more about Christ Jesus and His grace and that you will not be led into any deception.
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
May 5, 2020
NOTES: On June 21, 2013 David Pack held a “ribbon cutting celebration” for his new Hall of Administration building. In the future he plans to build Imperial Auditorium (which he says will be “the centerpiece of the entire campus”).
On June 23, 2013 the Akron Beacon Journal published another article entitled: “The Restored Church of God has officially moved into its new home — a multimillion dollar, 40,000-square-foot building at 1000 Ambassador Drive.”
“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now
of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. ” ~ II Peter 2:3
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived:” ~Luke 21:8
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus;” ~I Timothy 2:5
Concerns in Wadsworth About Restored Church of God (letter to ESN)
Profile of a Sociopath (A number of abusive, religious leaders may exhibit many of these behavioral characteristics)
2 Roderick Meredith died May 18, 2017 of cancer. For more into on LCG including links to Expose` Articles on Meredith as a Minister, see: Living Church of God.
Dale Shurter was the one who came up with the idea of storing foodstuffs for the Tribulation. However, HWA knocked that idea down soon afterward as he did not want money spent on the members. [Related to ESN by long time WCG member]