Is the book truth or propaganda?
I found nearly every sentence in this book twisted with manifold untruths and omissions on every page; therefore, it was only possible to try and keep track of some of them. The most appalling thing beyond the myths and gross distortions was the lack of feeling for the abuse, suffering and trauma of members and exiters.
Essentially all of the important dates for significant happenings; i. e., when the Worldwide Church of God leaders met with evangelicals and apologetic ministries are omitted, and there is also no index in the book to enable one to quickly compare statements.
In chapter 7, “What We Believed,” the author uses the word, “doctrine” in its various forms twenty times, yet “heretical” is only used three times. In chapter 11, “How Could We Have Believed These Things?” he uses “heretical” once and “doctrine” in its various forms, four times. Instead of using the word, “heresies,” for what Herbert W. Armstrong taught, he labels these beliefs with such terms as, “unique teachings,” “doctrinal distinctions,” “esoteric doctrines,” “unbiblical interpretations,” “error,” misunderstanding,” and the best one of all —”cognitive dissonance,” which was used twenty-four times in chapter 11 alone. He used the word “denomination” in its various forms seventeen times throughout the book, the word “cult” in its various forms sixteen times, and the word “we” (which always referred to those in “God’s Church”) was used so extensively as to be beyond counting.
The author appeared quite cunning in the sense that he has obviously studied thoroughly not only the doctrines of neo-evangelicals today, but also their common terminology. He uses words such as, “minister to,” “a blessing to me,” “came to know the Lord,” “my personal testimony,” “godly,” “lordship,” etc. The Worldwide Church of God ministers and members never used such words as this, and wouldn’t unless they had been around other Christians for a long time; therefore when this book was written. this language would have been completely foreign or uncomfortable to them, indeed for quite awhile. Yet the book has the author starting right off using these words like he has no problem in the world doing so. In other words, he is now “one of them”—or so he wants others to believe. The author has a knowledge of psychology and is quite skilled in using it. This should be no surprise since he was a former social worker. (“Honey, I Shrunk the Church,” New Times Los Angeles, December 4, 1997)
When the author tries to present his own—almost nostalgic view—of Herbert Armstrong, he fails to quote the “miracles” from HWA’s autobiography. Long time members will remember them: HWA praying for and receiving ten cents for a vitally needed bottle of milk for his baby (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. I, p.401-402); the angel taking hold of his steering wheel and forcing him to go down the street where he talked to the “Pentecostal” crippled man1 (Ibid., p. 335-336.), and many others. One would think that to reference those would surely would show evangelicals that Herbert W. Armstrong was a “sincere Christian man.”
Lastly, the author tells the world that the WCG is “Trinitarian” now, but his mention of the Holy Spirit in the book approaches zero.
WCG headquarters (now known as Grace Communion International) has been whitewashing and repainting Herbert Armstrong since the beginning of their doctrinal changes. (Read: Has WCG (GCI) whitewashed Herbert W. Armstrong? for some examples.) One reason for doing this would be to not offend present members who still have nostalgic feelings toward HWA (and also don’t want to feel they were duped). Discerning Christians will be able to see through the myths.
Garner Ted Armstrong, Herbert Armstrong’s son (now deceased), played a vital part in the Worldwide Church of God organization; however, he is barely mentioned in this book.
ESN encourages researchers to check Herbert Armstrong’s older articles, booklets and Good News issues online, along with his Autobiography and our PDF download Mystery of the Ages (a critical review), to read what he really believed and taught, and then compare it with what is stated in this book.
In this critique, “Tkach” refers to the author Joseph Tkach, Jr. unless otherwise noted; “HWA” refers to Herbert W. Armstrong; “WCG” refers to Worldwide Church of God; “WN” refers to the Worldwide News2; PT refers to the Plain Truth, and AC refers to Ambassador College (later renamed Ambassador University in July 1994).
I will make comments regarding the author’s words in each chapter and will show some of the contradictions, distortions and myths, which I will bold in blue. The author’s words from the book will be in quotation marks.
Note: We recommend that the reader further educate themselves on how sociopaths and spin doctors work. Also see: The Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation by H. Michael Sweeney [offsite article]
UPDATE: We no longer post ESN’s entire critique of Transformed by Truth, 1997, due to the length.
NOTICE: Some who are well versed in understanding the occult have picked up that the front dust jacket of this book contains occult symbols and overtones. Also, the word “transformation” is as a New Age term. After the changes, WCG (now known as Grace Communion International) has gone on to endorse New Age teachers and philosophies.
- FORWARD: “HANK HANEGRAAFF”
- INTRODUCTION: “JOSEPH TKACH”
- CHAPTER 1: “IS THIS A CON??”
- CHAPTER 2: “CHRISTMAS EVE SERMON, 1994”
- CHAPTER 3: “MY PILGRIMAGE”
- “CHAPTER 4: THE RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP”
- CHAPTER 5: “CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND REJECTIONS”
- CHAPTER 6: “A SERVANT OF THE PEOPLE”
- CHAPTER 7: “WHAT WE BELIEVED”
- “CHAPTER 8: :”THE FIRST REFORMS”
- CHAPTER 9: :”THE CENTRAL PLANK CRACKS”
- CHAPTER 10: :”WHAT’S ALL THIS ‘JESUS STUFF’?”
- CHAPTER 11: “HOW COULD WE HAVE BELIEVED THESE THINGS?”
- CHAPTER 12: “THE ENIGMA OF HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG”
- EPILOGUE: FROM ETERNITY TO HERE”
- COMMENTS ON TIME LINES AT END OF BOOK (by ESN)
p. 10. “God can redirect entire movements by changing the hearts of the leaders…”
p. 11. “Those who have not continued on the journey that God was taking us on have left.” The author tries to made readers think that God has been taking a Bible-based cult (i. e., mind manipulating group) on a “journey.”
There were many reasons people left the WCG at the time of the changes; e. g., one or more of the following: disfellowshipped; exited to an Armstrong offshoot; witnessed continued abuse and control by the authoritarian hierarchy; discovered they had been in a religious cult (a.k.a. an exploitive, abusive, high demand group); realized Herbert W. Armstrong was a false teacher and false prophet and lied; found out the true history of the WCG; saw the double-talk and twisting of Scripture; found out there was much more freedom to worship Christ on the outside.
p. 12. “HWA…was a mentor to my father and me…he was a skillful leader, and we would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for him.”
p. 20. “We [the WCG] had a truckload of problems, but justified lying wasn’t among them!”
It seems rather strange that the author should mention “justified lying” in view of all the contradictions, whitewashing and distorted history that has gone on since the doctrinal changes were instigated.
CHAPTER 2: “CHRISTMAS EVE SERMON, 1994”
p. 23. [The “Christmas Eve” sermon of 1994] “once and for all convinced the skeptics within our own church that the changes were real and that they were permanent.”
The members were never told the date of this sermon. See WN Jan. 10, 1994. Tapes received for this video were marked 1-7-95.) Why would headquarters use the words “Christmas Eve”? Did they feel it would win them attention and acceptance from the Christian ministries they were targeting?
CHAPTER 3: “MY PILGRIMAGE”
p. 36. “By the time I was baptized, I already had a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Members were taught by the leadership that they had to receive the “laying on of hands” after baptism in order to receive the Holy Spirit, so one wonders how the author can claim that he was “already saved” before he was baptized, since he taught otherwise? Also mentioned in chap. 12, p. 176.
p. 37. “I can point to several defining moments in my life when the light of scripture blazed in my mind with a power and clarity I had never known before. … Suddenly it struck me like never before…And I missed it! Until now, I didn’t see any of it.”
Contradiction: See p. 118b when the author talks about how it was the members that started asking questions after HWA died. How could he miss what ministers like Earl Williams were beginning to teach about the New Covenant and what David Covington clearly wrote to Joseph W. Tkach in 1994? What about the evangelists in the `70s who brought up doctrinal issues time and again to the leaders at HQ and were instead slandered and accused as being “instruments of Satan”? The leaders of the WCG today were in the organization at that time and are well aware of this.
p. 45. “I doubt we would have made it this far without a healthy sense of humor. To keep our sanity…we have found it necessary to make fun of ourselves and laugh at events and at each other. That’s helped tremendously.”
p. 52. “David Hulme…was given the task of articulating what the church believed to the outside world—yet he himself did not believe what the church now taught.”
Are we to believe this? It is known that David Hulme did a very unusual about-turn. Read: A Cult in Transition and search for the words “David Hulme.”
p. 56. “Our connection with Azusa began with Greg Albrecht started taking classes there back in the late seventies.” [Tkach speaking] “I started going to graduate school at Azusa Pacific (then Azusa Pacific College, now Azusa Pacific University, APU) in 1976. I went at the time because Ambassador College here in Pasadena was pursuing accreditation.” [Greg speaking]
Greg Albrecht tells how he started going to Azusa Pacific University (which by the way was without the members’ knowledge) because Ambassador College was “pursuing accreditation” and he needed at least a master’s degree. He was asked to get one and received it in 1977. He does not say who asked him to get this. See chap. 8, p. 118a which shows AC didn’t pursue accreditation until 1988 (ten years later). To makes things more confusing Ambassador Report #34, January 1986, states that HWA received a letter in March 1985 saying AC was given full accreditation by the International Accrediting Association of Modesto, CA–yet that accreditation association was not fully recognized by the state of California. In 1992 AC was pursuing accreditation again. (AR, Oct. 1992, p. 8.) So what was Albrecht’s true motive for attending Azusa? Also read: New York Times Los Angeles 1997 article “Honey, I Shrunk the Church” which also shows it was not just Greg Albrecht who began “quietly attending” attending Azusa at this time, but Bernie Schnippert, Michael Feazell and “the church’s inner circle.” Read more about Albrecht at Azusa in OIU 6, Pt. 2 [Search for words “Gregory R. Albrecht”). Azusa Pacific University is considered to be a theologically liberal institution, Charismatic/Pentecostal, and a member of Willow Creek Association. (Note: The college was accredited in 1994. Read this part in OIU #1, Pt. 2 [Search for words “The Worldwide News”] about how graduates were then deceptively instructed to say that Ambassador University was accredited, not when it was accredited. Also, this part in OIU #6, Pt. 5 [search for words “The Tkach regime”] for how former Ambassador College graduates were eligible to replace their “lost diplomas.”)
CHAPTER 5: “CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND REJECTIONS”
p. 67. “When the church began making doctrinal reforms, some of the people closet to my dad couldn’t accept that he was behind them; the only way they could cope was to develop conspiracy theories that ‘explained’ what was really going on.”
Three theories are discussed, which were supposed to be started by: (1) a former senior minister; (2) David Hulme, and (3) an unnamed person. It appears that the author brings out about “conspiracies” in order to discount any who would believe in such. However, the word is mentioned several times in the Bible. The word simply means: ‘scheme, plan or plot.’
p. 68-69. [David Hulme’s 1995 resignation letter and Tkach, Jr.’s reply.]
This is quite a strange correspondence given the fact that David Hulme was one of the main PR men for the new changes in the beginning. He even threatened to sue one ministry for questioning his authority regarding the doctrine change/duplicity. Read about this and more in OIU 3, Pt. 2 [search for “David Hulme”]. Also OIU 2, Pt. 1 [search for words “seven evangelists] brings out that David Hulme was later offered a healthy severance package which looked like hush money.
p. 74. “One man who identified himself as a member of …(Global Church of God) visited our worship service in Pasadena in the spring of 1997. After services he approached me, tapped me on the shoulder, and announced his name and church affiliation. He then told me that if he “had the authority” he would kill me. In front of many others he declared that he would like to cut my head off.”
This writer has never heard of any members who would be bold enough to attempt something like this. Global was an offshoot began by Roderick C. Meredith, who later founded Living Church of God, that Tkach, Sr. (during his video in 1995) was advertising and telling members if they wanted to go with Global to go ahead. WCG has been known to exaggerate things in the past. Is this just more propaganda? Or was it staged to have the same effect?
p. 74. “These are but a few of the examples in my own experience of what it means to ‘share in the fellowship of his sufferings.’ It has not been easy. It has not been pleasant. It has not led to long nights of restful sleep or carefree days of blissful ease.”
p. 84. “There were some astute members who saw that the first two or three changes we made required that other changes would soon have to be made. They accurately predicted most of the corrections we announced in the following 3-4 years. Yet at the time, we saw none of this. … Never was there an agenda.”
This seems to be another twisted story. The OIU Newsletters discuss the reasons behind the doctrinal changes.
p. 85. “I have no doubt that the extreme difficulty of those days hastened his death on September 23, 1995…”
p. 97. “Mr. Armstrong was not always called ‘Christ’s apostle.’ But by the early 1950s some students at Ambassador College began to refer to him that way. Soon others picked it up. … Herman Hoeh [in 1951] used the title in a sermon… In 1955 he acknowledged the truth of this title, but he rarely used it or even mentioned it for the next twenty years.”
It was Herman Hoeh (who later became an evangelist and prophecy teacher in WCG) who was the student who proclaimed HWA as “God’s Apostle” in 1951 (pp. 216 & 217 of Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? See Feb. & Mar. `55 Good News). This couldn’t have been printed without HWA’s prior approval. Hoeh also stated in a July 1953 Good News: “Mr. Armstrong’s office carries with it divine authority, backed by the power of God. Jesus has sent him to speak in His name and by His authority…” It was statements like these that began to raise HWA to almost divine status among his members. (Ibid; p. 219) (Read a few statements by HWA calling himself an Apostle.)
p. 105. “A majority of our former members—it would be hard to assign a number—have joined other Christian denominations. These people may have felt the WCG congregation they were attending wasn’t making changes fast enough ….”
Contradiction. The Worldwide News, during this time, in a personal from the Pastor General, reported that thousands had left and were aimlessly wandering, not attending any church anywhere, so how could a “majority” have been attending “other Christian denominations?” The author relates why he thinks people may have left the WCG, but he doesn’t mention those who found out that WCG was a “cult” and, as a result, left.
p. 112. “[HWA] used the medical profession for almost everything. What amazes me now about this is that he would almost brag about what he was doing.”
Many twisted stories about HWA and his doctors and how the members reacted to it are related. Members, however, never got to read about these things the way it is described here by the author. Nothing is mentioned about the terrible suffering many members endured because of HWA’s healing doctrine.
p. 112. “All of these things finally conspired, I think, to make Herbert Armstrong realize that his stance toward the medical profession had to change.”
The author wants us to think that HWA’s conversation about this subject took place with his dad in 1985 shortly before he died. Nothing is mentioned here about how the WCG, under Tkach, Sr., knew they had to change the healing doctrine because of the many deaths and the resulting potential for increasing lawsuits. Read: How Did WCG Instruct Ministers to Deal With “Health and Medical Problems”?
p. 114. “…Mr. Armstrong himself would have been the first one to change and accept new understanding when God made it clear.”
[3-23-87 WN] When the new healing doctrine was introduced in the `90s, Tkach, Sr. called it “new truth” not “new understanding” as stated here by the author. HWA was presented several times with the “truth” about various doctrines; i. e., when to observe Pentecost (Sunday and not Monday) and later tithing in the 1970s. But he never would accept what was shown to him and would disfellowship those who disagreed with his teachings, even slandering and accusing them as being “of Satan.” Later he changed Pentecost to Monday, but never admitted someone understood it before him. HWA was full of pride and arrogance.
p. 116. “The vast majority of our members were happy with the church’s new understanding.”
Untruth. The vast majority were in confusion. Many members and ministers left to start attending Armstrong offshoot groups.
p. 118a. “Second, 1988 was also the year we pursued accreditation for Ambassador College.”
See chap. 4, p. 56 which shows contradiction on why Greg Albrecht was at Azusa. There is a conflict in dates here. Ambassador Report #34, January 1986, states that a letter was sent to HWA on March 21, 1985 from the International Accrediting Association giving AC full accreditation; however, AC students were not informed at the time.
p. 118b. “They [the members] were sure that we had some kind of hidden agenda or master plan for the complete reshaping of the church. Of course, we never had any such scheme; we simply were responding to the increasing numbers of questions posed by our members after the death of Mr. Armstrong.”
CHAPTER 8: “THE FIRST REFORMS”
p. 107. “Not long before he died HWA told my dad that some things in the church needed to be changed.”
p.124-125. “It was prophecy that led to his (HWA’s) conversion.”
Untruth. HWA said in his autobiography that his conversion came about as a result of his trying to prove evolution and the Sabbath wrong. (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 1, 1957, chapters 16 and 17).
p.124-125. “HWA started keeping the Sabbath ‘just in case’ it was what God wanted.”
Twisting of facts. HWA taught that he had proved the 7th day was the Sabbath. He said, “I studied carefully everything I could obtain which attempted to refute the Sabbath. … I know now she [my wife] could not have been deceived. Finally, after six months, the TRUTH had become crystal clear.” (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 1, 1957, p. 304, 306)
CHAPTER 10: “WHAT’S ALL THIS ‘JESUS STUFF’?”
p. 136. “Unquestionably, there was an element of the church that opposed hearing regularly about Jesus.”
Myth. It was HWA who taught members that the message Jesus preached (said to be about the coming Kingdom of God; i. e., “Government of God”) was what was to be focused on, not the message about Jesus. This is placing blame on the members.
p. 144. “All we have done is to take seriously Mr. Armstrong’s instruction to find out what the Bible teaches and then go and follow it.”
All members did was submit and obey whatever HWA taught them because they were afraid not to. (Read: How Did Herbert W. Armstrong Recruit People?) HWA picked and chose the Scriptures to suit what he was trying to get people to believe. Furthermore, no credit is given to those WCG evangelists in the `70s who presented some of these same doctrinal reforms to the Armstrongs, but were instead accused, slandered and disfellowshipped. (Read: Worldwide Church of God History) Also see the very turbulent 1970 era talked about in ESN’s letter: What Really Occurred with Worldwide Church of God?
p. 146. “..when we started announcing these changes, people kept coming to us and saying, ‘Well, Mr. Armstrong was an apostle. … equivalent to the twelve and these things were revealed to him. The things he taught are equivalent to canon in Scripture…”
Exaggeration. This writer never heard members use words in this manner. They may have believed HWA was an apostle and brought God’s revelation (because they were taught it), but they did not say that HWA was “equivalent to the twelve” or what he taught was “equivalent to canon in Scripture.”
p. 146. “Don’t believe me, believe the Bible. That’s exactly what we were committed to doing.”
HWA said these words before one entered the WCG, but after entering it soon became clear that members were to listen to HWA (“obey the government”) and that he revealed “God’s truth” to the members. Those that didn’t comply were thrown out.
p. 152. “How is it possible that we did not see the contradiction? I marvel at how long I failed to see the lack of logic behind accepting both the teachings. …escaped our notice.”
How could members have possibly known that cult leaders foster “contradiction” and “lack of logic” since members are taught they aren’t in a cult? The author fails to say that God is not the author of confusion.
p. 158. “So the question keeps rising to the surface of my mind: How is it that for more than fifty years we couldn’t see what should have been so plain? It was right in front of our eyes.”
Maybe the author needs to mention that the reason members couldn’t see these things if because they had been influenced by thought reform. This is an obvious blaming of the members. Refer also to chap. 11, p. 152.
CHAPTER 11: “HOW COULD WE HAVE BELIEVED THESE THINGS?”
p. 149. “Hank thought the idea of cognitive dissonance could provide the foundation for a great book”
The author repeatedly uses the word “cognitive dissonance” in this chapter, leaving out any discussion about mind control (a.k.a. thought reform). Read in OIU# 4, Pt. 1 how cognitive dissonance was used on the members, esp. during the changes. [search for words “Cognitive Dissonance” when OIU opens]
CHAPTER 12: “THE ENIGMA OF HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG”
p. 165. (ADVISORY) “I believe that God loved him, that he loved God, and that his security rests in Christ alone.”
The author fails to mentions HWA’s heresies, hypocrisy, plagiarism, opulence and incest of his daughter. This is an obvious attempt to put the founder of the WCG in a good light. (Read: Has WCG (GCI) whitewashed Herbert W. Armstrong?) This entire chapter is filled with myriad myths and untruths and is an example of WCG’s history revision.
p. 167. “Mr. Armstrong…could be both loving and harsh, gracious and antagonistic, humble and proud.”
How could HWA have been loving, gracious and humble when he threw people out of the WCG for not doing as he said, destroyed families, deceived and exploited others, and refused to listen to those who tried to correct him? The author seemingly plays “dumb” that he really didn’t understand HWA.
p. 168. (The author says one group) “greatly admires” HWA and the other group wants the author to “denounce” HWA and call him a “false prophet.” He says he won’t take either side, and he says he won’t condemn HWA as a “hateful heretic.”
A lack of convictions are shown here by riding the fence and wanting to please both sides. What needs to be brought out, though, is that those who called HWA a “false prophet” were most likely the ones who exited. Those who stayed had HWA put in a good light (i. e., he only “made some mistakes,” “was misguided,” etc.). The ones who left for offshoots/splinter groups continued to see HWA as “used by God” or the one who “restored the true gospel.”
p. 168. “The overriding reason our reforms have developed and taken root is that Mr. Armstrong himself always insisted that those who want to follow God must find out what God’s Word really says, then go and do it. As we have followed his instruction in the past few years…”
Untruth. HWA repeatedly taught the members that God had revealed His truth to him, and those who didn’t listen to HWA found themselves on the outside of the organization.
p. 176. [HWA] “was passionate about discovering biblical truth and was deeply committed to living by it; on the other hand, many of the doctrines he championed were flawed and unscriptural.”
HWA was passionate about teaching his truth, which was never Biblical truth. His lack of concern for the members and his opulent lifestyle testifies to his lack of commitment to the true God of love. The author uses the words “flawed and unscriptural” and refrains from saying “heresies.”
p. 176. [Tkach says,] “it was through his [HWA’s] ministry that I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
Myth. HWA did not even teach a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, which is by faith–not works–so how could those that were unconverted come to a saving knowledge of Christ? See my comments on chap. 3, p. 36
p. 182. “At the beginning, people convinced Mr. Armstrong that we were doing an Elijah-like work… certain people began to play on his ego….”
The author spends time talking about how it was “others” that influenced HWA. No accountability is demanded for HWA’s own actions.
p. 183. [HWA] “didn’t like the idea that he should be called an apostle. He wanted to be called superintendent or pastor or some other descriptive title.”
HWA liked being called an Apostle. He loved his authority and he loved having power over the members. The title was used to gain more subservience from the members.
p. 184. “Mr. Armstrong may have never wielded absolute power in our church…”
Untruth. HWA controlled members by fear, guilt, shame and other mind-control tactics. (Read: Identifying Marks of an Abusive Group) More about HWA’s absolute power beginning in the `70s can be read in Chapter IX of Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web. Marion J. McNair in Armstrongism: Religion or Rip-Off? said that “by the mid-`60s Armstrong lauded the principle of dictatorship and by 1973 he had fixed the doctrine of spiritual dictatorship firmly upon the shoulder of his adherents.”
p. 187-188. “God has not asked us to be the judge of Mr. Armstrong, his son or others who held high administrative positions in the historic Worldwide Church of God.”
The Scriptures say otherwise. See Lev.19:15, John 7:24, Isaiah 61:8, Proverbs 21:15; I Corinthians 2:15. Also read: Loving What’s Right Means Hating What’s Wrong (Includes Is It Wrong to Judge?)
p. 189. “It was Mr. Armstrong who put the system in place that eventually got us where we are today. While much of what [HWA] taught was in serious error, he also gave us some things—a profound respect for the Bible, for example—that helped to pave the way to our current biblical understandings.”
It is more accurate to say that HWA used the Bible (religion) in order to exploit others, instead of stating that he had a “profound respect” for it. There is not only a continued failure to mention “heresies,” but the attempt is made to credit HWA for WCG arriving at “correct doctrines.”
p. 189. “Second, I could point out that many men God has used did a lot of foolish things or made many inaccurate or even harmful statements. All of us show our brokenness in one way or another.”
The author then goes on to quote John Wesley, Martin Luther and John Calvin and their sins. “Foolish things” is quite different than deceiving and exploiting innocent people and using fear to control them. True ministers of Jesus Christ, never twisted the gospel of salvation, nor called outside churches and ministries “Satan’s churches preaching a counterfeit gospel,” such as HWA regularly did.
EPILOGUE: FROM ETERNITY TO HERE
p. 191. [God] “has chosen to slowly move us from error…into truth.”
Does God move slowly from error to truth and do it by deceit, blame, confusion and spin control? Read the transcript of Tkach, Sr.’s video to the members when the changes were first introduced in 1995 to see if this is how God moves. There is also no mention here of members and children that died, holding to these beliefs, or thousands who left for splinter groups, or those who exited and gave up their faith. The blame is just placed on the members.
p. 194. “The apostle Paul, after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus….Yet it took some time for him to be accepted into Christian fellowship.”
WCG has been using this story about Paul for years to try somehow to relate it to their own changes. Read Transformed by Christ under heading: “Paralleling Themselves to Biblical Authority Figures” and An Open Letter to Joseph Tkach, Jr. under heading: “Comparing Paul to the WCG.”
p. 196: “They were angry and bitter… [said] the WCG had been built on false pretenses and therefore had no right to exist. … [WCG] belongs to Him [Jesus]”
The WCG was not just built on “false pretenses,” it was a Bible-based religious cult that exploited thousands of innocent people. It never “belonged to Jesus” because HWA taught a false Jesus from the beginning.
p. 200. “We can take no credit…He [Christ] is still shaping us for His purpose.”
Why would Christ shape members one way for decades and then suddenly start shaping them another way? The answer is that Worldwide Church of God was never “God’s church to begin with. Read background historical info on WCG.
COMMENTS ON TIME LINES AT END OF BOOK (By ESN)
The first time line at the end of this book is entitled “Roots of the Worldwide Church of God.” The line has been changed in WCG’s online version from what was originally in the book. For instance, the online version leaves out the “1650s Seventh Day Baptism” (with Stephen Mumford) and “Society of Friends (Quakers)” which was in the book. There is also no mention of “1639 Roger Williams founds the first Baptist church in American” which was at the end of the book’s chart, but not online. The online chart says “By Joseph Tkach (that is Jr.) December 1995 — updated May 1996,” yet the book was published in 1997. Even in the book, however, the line is still twisted and did not present the full truth of WCG’s history, especially by telling how their line should have listed the Branch Davidians (David Koresh), which were an offshoot from the Seventh-day Adventists, just as the WCG was!
Also see: Roots of the Worldwide Church of God which includes at end “A point-by-point refutation of the WCG’s interpretation of American Sabbath history (Letter to WCG from William T. Voyce, June 3, 1985.”
The second time line is: “Worldwide Church of God Organizational Splits.” Words online, but not in the book, say: “Chart based on information available in 1997.” In the book WCG has misspelled Des Griffin’s last name as “Griffen.” (Des Griffin founded Emissary Publications in 1975 and offered several books exposing Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God. (See our PDF downloads as we now offer three of these books in PDF.)
One must ask: How much was the true Jesus Christ of the Bible really behind these doctrinal reforms and changes when contradictions, manipulation, blame, deception, distortion, myths and confusion played a part in instigating the changes?
And lastly, do genuine, true Christians, changed by the Holy Spirit, engage in history revision and subtle deceit? Or is this only for those in other deceptive groups?
By D. M. Williams (former WCG member)
Exit & Support Network™
January 6, 2001
Last updated April 2006
New links added April 2022
NOTE: We encourage others to do their own investigation into how much of this book is actually true and how much is propaganda. Helpful research articles on WCG are available on our site. Read: Loving What’s Right Means Hating What’s Wrong (Includes “Is It Wrong to Judge?”) [Shows Christians are indeed to judge.]
Transformed by Truth or Transformed by Lies?? (a close scrutiny of what Joseph Tkach, Jr. classified as his personal story)
Transformed by Christ (a critical review of GCI’s booklet)
1 This story about the angel and the steering wheel is also on p. 66 of Mystery of the Ages. (Read: Leaders of Totalistic Groups Have These Traits in Common which will cover “sacred myths.”)
2 In Feb. 2005 The Worldwide News in the United States changed its name 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.