Worldwide Church of God is Now Known as Grace Communion International
Is WCG (Grace Communion International) embracing New Age teachers and philosophies? This letter was sent to their National Director in the Philippines and pastors in the area by Edgardo Meneses, a former member of the WCG, regarding the gravity of WCG’s error in doctrine. This lengthy letter reached close to 350 Worldwide Church of God ministers, including those at Headquarters.
Includes at end an email reply from author Brian Flynn (Running Against the Wind) to a WCG Philippine deacon concerning how we must be discerning of false teachings coming into the church.
(Note: Headers inserted by ESN)
FOLLOW UP: Michael Morrison of WCG replied to “On Apostasy” and Edgardo replied, later sending that letter to more than a hundred WCG ministers and members. Read Edgardo’s A Rebuttal to Michael Morrison. (covers New Age; spiritual Israel, etc.)
Note: In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. (Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.)
Update: In April 2018, GCI relocated its headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina. Joseph Tkach, Jr. retired at the end of 2018 and Greg Williams replaced him as GCI’s President (GCI Update, March 14, 2018
Las Piñas City and Baliuag, Bulacan
September 11, 2006
Mr. EUGENE M. GUZON
Worldwide Church of God Philippines
Pastors Andrew Teng, Rey Taniajura, Len Joson,
Audie Santibañez, George Escara, Rex Dela Peña, Pete Melendez
This could be my last letter to you inasmuch as you do not reply to my emails. The three decades of my association and membership in the Worldwide Church of God speaks for itself as to why I have this earnest appeal before I finally cut myself off from you. I take your silence to mean that you do not want anything to do with me at all.
I am writing this letter not only in the spirit of Jude 3 but also in the spirit of 1 John 4:11. If I were indifferent I would just ignore what I know has been transpiring in the Worldwide Church of God for years.
As I said in my previous letters I am bringing to your attention only two things of concern: Amillennialism and Ecumenism. I see that you are not convinced of the gravity of error of this doctrine and movement, respectively. I think that you believe that the church is doing right by embracing the same. Therefore you feel sure that there is no cause for alarm whatsoever.
For several months I have been suspecting, from what I have been reading in WCG publications, that the church has adopted Replacement Theology which is an essential component of Amillennialism. Last week my suspicion had ended. I received an email which featured articles from “In Transition” magazine. The August 1995 issue had this quote from Dr. J. Michael Feazell (the interview happened during FOT 1992): “We cannot understand Revelation. It is filled with wild metaphor . . . . The advent won’t occur like we thought . . . . THE CHURCH HAS REPLACED ISRAEL. Why would there only be a few survivors of one nation in the world tomorrow? . . . Physical blessings don’t count if they are given 4,000 years later” (emphasis mine). An article on WCG’s website has this to say: “It seems clear that the vision in Revelation 7 has the church in view, not the ancient nation of Israel . . . The church is the extension of national Israel, or better, its REPLACEMENT, elevated to a spiritual plane” (“Who Are the 144,000?” 2000, WCG, emphasis mine).
It is undeniable, then, that the Worldwide Church of God believes in and teaches Replacement Theology. Now, you might say, what’s wrong with Replacement Theology? I would say that Replacement Theology is not only a wrong doctrine or concept, foreign to what the Bible says — it is a lie (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1,2 and Rev. 12 — Satan [the father of lies, John 8:44] hates Israel as well as the Church). Surely, as a church we would not teach people a lie (see Rev. 22:15). Let me quote scriptures that prove Replacement Theology is a BIG LIE:
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD” (Jer. 31:35-37). God has not cast off Israel (Rom. 11:26), but the WCG has presumed that He has. The WCG does not see prophetic significance in the nation of Israel. If we teach Replacement Theology we are making God a liar. This is very serious indeed. See Zechariah 2:8.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations . . . My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips” (Psalm 89:3,4,34). But apparently the WCG does not believe that; otherwise it would not have accepted Replacement Theology.
Dr. Feazell’s statement notwithstanding, God had not reneged on His promises to Israel after a few hundred or a few thousand years. During Armstrong days we used to quote Abrahamic covenant scriptures and teach that God’s promises to Abraham were everlasting (Gen. 17: 6-8; 26: 3,4; 28: 13,14). Postponement of God’s promises doesn’t make Him a renegade. If God can break His promises to Israel, then He may also break His promise of salvation for us. We would have no assurance of salvation then.
Of course we know that God cannot lie (Titus 1: 2; cf. Micah 7: 20). The problem is unbelief. Instead of believing the plain meaning of scriptures, we look for hidden meanings. Spiritualizing scriptures is a main cause of Replacement Theology and Amillennialism. It is not a purpose of this letter to argue for a literal approach to reading scriptures. I know that writers in Glendora have all their reasons for believing as they do. I would just point out that the New Testament shows that Old Testament prophetic scriptures were fulfilled literally. Therefore, the message of the Bible will escape us if we are prone to allegorizing or spiritualizing scriptures. It has happened to many, including WCG writers.
I cannot think of why the Worldwide Church of God has come to adopt heretical doctrines except that the Bible says apostasy will permeate Christendom in the last days (2 Thess. 2: 3; 1 Tom. 4: 1,2; Luke 18: 8; Rev. 3: 14-18, etc.). Looking at its history I could see that the WCG has been susceptible to deception. In the process of going mainstream the leaders in California did not discriminate among theologians and church leaders whom they went to for help and recognition as to who had sound biblical doctrines. The result is that the WCG has ended up espousing unbiblical doctrines and liberalism.
In WCG’s doctrinal articles, the way the authors write casts doubt to the reader’s mind instead of upholding firm belief in the Word of God. This is true with the articles on creation and science and on the Millennium. It looks like the authors write from Higher Criticism point of view, lending more weight to man’s thinking instead of believing what the Bible plainly says. In this regard here’s a startling statement: “Out of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, only part of one is about the millennium. I suggest that this shows its relative importance (Michael Morrison, “Three Views of the Millennium,” 2000, WCG). Dr. Morrison is saying that part of God’s Word — Rev. 20: 1-10 — is not important. He is saying in effect, “Lord Jesus, your revelation [Rev. 1: 1] that the Messianic kingdom will last a thousand years is not important. The fulfillment of voluminous Old Testament prophecies are not that important, are they?” That’s Dr. Michael Morrison versus God.
Downplaying the Millennium
I have said in another letter that the WCG downplays the Millennium. I’m not sure if I was correct in saying that. Maybe I should have said the WCG has written it off as doctrine of the Bible. Here are other testimonies to that effect: “Although the Worldwide Church of God has traditionally been premillennial, the church does not require its members to believe that Christ will set up a temporary kingdom after he returns . . . Millennialism is not a doctrinal point on which we must seek conformity” (“A Balanced Approach to the Millennium”). “Raising premillennial dispensationalism to the level of primary doctrine causes division in the body of Christ . . . Neither Jesus nor the apostles preached a millennial gospel” (“18 Truths Restored by HWA”). This is unity at the expense of doctrinal purity. More on this later. I have to comment first on the claim that the Lord and the apostles did not preach a millennial gospel.
Dr. Morrison also wrote, “No other scriptures [except Revelation, he says] speak of a temporary kingdom to be set up when Christ returns . . . The Millennium was not part of Jesus’ gospel” (Discipleship 101, Unit 10A — The End – Only the Beginning,” 1997, WCG, insertion mine).
The Millennium not part of Jesus’ gospel? On the contrary, the following scriptures will prove that the millennial kingdom was the main thrust of the Lord Jesus’ preaching prior to His rejection by the Jews. (You well know these scriptures. I’m quoting them here to emphasize their literal meaning as opposed to their allegorized or spiritualized reading):
1) “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1: 30-33). It seems to be a belief of WCG writers that the Jewish hope of a Messianic kingdom was just a vain wish. But the angel who talked to Mary didn’t think so. If the Messianic kingdom that the Israelites hoped for was just a figment of their imagination, why would the angel talk like that? Surely, Mary could not think of anything else but a literal kingdom over which the Messiah would rule. This is nothing less than an announcement by the angel Gabriel of the millennial gospel.
2) “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3: 1,2). “The kingdom of heaven” that the Baptist was talking about is not a kingdom in heaven. Rather, it is the same Messianic kingdom to be established on earth as prophesied by the prophets of Israel. John was Christ’s forerunner announcing or preaching the millennial kingdom.
3) “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4: 17). Having proclaimed that the millennial kingdom was at hand, the Lord Jesus proceeded to elucidate the laws of the kingdom. Hence the Sermon on the Mount. It is to be noted that the offer of the kingdom was conditional: the people had to repent. We know the story. The Jews rejected and crucified their Messiah. Thus the kingdom was postponed. God’s program for Israel was not discarded — it was only postponed because of their unbelief. At the Second Coming of the Messiah, the people will believe (Zech. 12-14), and the millennial kingdom will be set up.
4) “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily, I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19: 27,28). The regeneration of the world will begin with the onset of the Millennium. Who says the Lord Jesus didn’t preach a millennial gospel?
5) “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22: 28-30). The twelve tribes of Israel are on earth, not in heaven.
6) Matthew 20: 20-28 relates the story of John and James’ mother requesting the Lord for top positions for her sons in the coming kingdom. The Lord did not question the validity of the request. There was indeed a kingdom coming; only, He said that “to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given for whom it is prepared of my Father” (v.23).
7) “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1: 6) From the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry, no clarification was needed as to what the “kingdom” was. It was the Jews’ hope of a coming Messianic (millennial) kingdom foretold by their prophets. Again, the Lord did not censure the disciples’ question; it was a valid question. His answer: “It is not for you to know the times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (vv. 7,8). Because of the Jews’ rejection of the offer of the kingdom, judgment must first come, the kingdom being postponed until the Second Coming when the remnant of Israel will accept Him (Matt. 23: 39).
There are many more scriptures in the New Testament that prove that the Lord Jesus and His apostles preached a millennial gospel (Matt. 10: 5-7, etc.), contrary to Dr. Morrison’s bold but false statements.
Now concerning the matter of Ecumenism. True, as a Bible-based cult we have been exclusivist in the past. But to go to the other side of the pendulum, I believe, is not warranted. The Bible upholds the doctrine of Separation. There is the biblical injunction to separate from those who hold heretical doctrines. TO JOIN OR ENDORSE THEM IS TO APOSTATIZE.
I have quoted from a WCG article a statement that says to raise the Millennium question to the level of primary doctrine is to divide the body of Christ. Here is Dr. Joe Tkach himself speaking of the same thing: “Christianity would be better if we can focus on the primary core issues, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith and be more generous of the peripheral items. So often, the reason that denominations split is because they focus on secondary, peripheral items.” (“Evangelicals Today,” March-April 1998, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches). In other words, doctrinal accommodation for the sake of unity. Unity at the expense of truth.
Does the Bible contain peripheral doctrines? Who has the right to judge which parts of the Bible are important and which parts are not? Should we tolerate false doctrines and false teachers?
1) Matthew 4: 4 and Acts 20: 27 do not say that some parts of the Word of God are negligible or “peripheral.”
2) Acts 20: 29-31; Phil. 3: 2; Col. 1: 28 — If we love the brethren we will warn them about false doctrines and false teachers.
3) 2 Tim. 4: 2-4 — False teachers are to be reproved.
4) Romans 16: 17 — Apostate teachers are to be avoided.
5) Titus 3: 10 — They are to be rejected.
6) 2 John 10 — Receive them not.
7) 2 Cor. 6: 14 – 7: 1 — Separation from religious apostasy is commanded.
Adopting False Teachings
Warnings against apostasy are spread throughout the Bible. God does not take apostasy lightly. I am appalled, therefore, at how the Worldwide Church of God has adopted false teachings from individuals and organizations such as the following:
1) RICHARD J. FOSTER — Dr. Tkach has announced that Dr. Richard J. Foster will be the guest speaker at WCG ministerial conference next year [July 26-29, 2007]. He will speak on “spiritual formation.”1 WCG ministers have learned from Dr. Foster. Headquarters probably distributed Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline. While I do not have the historical facts here, I know the current fact: that the church is being fed the teachings of a New Ager.2 The members are perhaps unaware that Dr. Foster’s teachings derive from Catholic mystics and are not biblical.3 He may quote scriptures, but he has his own agenda of spirituality foreign to the Bible.
The WCG endorses a 1995 letter that Richard Foster sent to those on his Renovaré mailing list regarding prophecy. At the conclusion of the letter Foster praised Augustine for opposing “the prophetic literalism of Chiliasm. Instead of the imminent material, millennial kingdom of Chiliasm, he helped his people see ‘the City of God’ . . . May something of the same faith-filled sensibility arise today.” Augustine’s Amillennialism/Replacement Theology has caused horrible tragedies in the world — Roman Catholicism, Crusades, Inquisitions, Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, etc. And the WCG has chosen to believe Augustine . . . and Foster.
2) RICK WARREN4 — The celebrity of Purpose-Driven fame. My sister received a copy of the book, The Purpose-Driven Life, given to her by a church member in Bulacan. I also received a copy from a friend who is residing in California. I know that the WCG endorses the book head over heels. There are Purpose-Driven seminars based on Warren’s spiritual growth strategy. Little do the members realize that the book contains questionable teachings, suitable paraphrases from The Message of Peterson, mysticism [New Age], pop psychology, etc. Warren, out of his desire for church growth, uses marketing techniques to lure the unchurched to join the emerging church. It is my personal view that Warren is teaching his brand of salvation by works doctrine, which we know will not save anyone.
3) EUGENE PETERSON — The WCG endorses his blasphemous New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs version. Blasphemous because he dared to alter the words and meaning of scriptures. How liberal can the church get? Peterson — and those who endorse The Message5 — have forgotten Revelation 22: 18,19. Not only does the WCG recommend The Message in its articles, it actually buys copies of the book and distributes them to people who are object of evangelization (e. g., at their youth summer camps).
The Message actually deletes some words of the Scriptures and puts in instead the author’s ideas. Although most of the book may be just fine paraphrases, the watering down of key verses makes the book unworthy to be equated with other Bible translations. The author dared to distort moral and doctrinal teachings of the Word of God.
4) The GRAHAMS — Last February WCG members attended Franklin Graham’s festival crusade in Manila. Although I do not know much about Franklin, I know that Billy Graham has been apostatizing for decades. His cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church is well known. He has praised the Pope as the leader of the Church. He is number one promoter of Ecumenism, sharing the slot with the Pope.
[Update: Billy Graham died February 21, 2018 at age 99.]
5) HANK HANEGRAAFF — One of the first Christendom leaders that top WCG leaders went to for help in their quest for orthodoxy. Unfortunately they came to a confirmed preterist.6 Who knows how much of Hanegraaff’s preterism was caught by Dr. Tkach and Co.
6) BRIAN MCLAREN — Author of A Generous Orthodoxy. Recently Christian Odyssey ran a short article introducing the book. McLaren7 is another intellectual voice for Ecumenism. The WCG doesn’t need to be convinced.
7) PROMISE KEEPERS — One of their promises is to support one’s pastor 100%. Mormons in this organization do that. So do the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Roman Catholics. Seventh-day Adventists, too, etc. Promise Keepers is religious tolerance (Ecumenicalism) organization.8
I limit myself to sevens. There are others, of course.
Prophecy Not Being Preached
A major problem with the Worldwide Church of God is that prophecy is not being preached from the pulpit as it should be — another swing of the pendulum. Prophecy is a large part of God’s revelation, therefore it is not hard to see that to refrain from teaching it to the members is amiss. One reason given as to why the present-day WCG does not give emphasis to prophecy is that of past debacle with “prediction addiction.” But I think we should not be held back from teaching prophecy by the memory of past proclivities of Armstrongism that we did. We were a cult then, therefore our posture on prophecy at that time should not be considered as a reference point in deciding how we preach the prophetic Word today. The Bible is the guide.
Now, prophecy says that in the last days, a world religion will exist, called Babylon. During the Tribulation Period this world church will be a cohort of the Beast and the False Prophet. The book of Revelation tells the story, a story that will be fulfilled as foreseen by the apostle John. I believe that today’s Ecumenical Movement is the beginning of this end-time religious Babylon.
We had better be warned! More than ever we need to have DISCERNMENT. Let us not suppose that because the goals of this ecumenical movement are good in themselves that there is nothing wrong with it. Ecumenical churches are ripe for the picking. If we neglect prophecy we are wide open to deception by the enemy. The WCG, steeped in ecumenicalism and neglecting prophecy, is too close to the trees and it cannot see the forest, or, it is like the frog in a pot of slowly boiling water.
I believe that the foregoing is serious enough an expose to merit a doctrinal conference of the Philippine ministry. If you are concerned about doctrine — and I know you are — you will not ignore this letter. May I have a suggestion to make:
I have asked Mr. Paul Kroll for Dr. Tkach’s email address, but my request was refused. I suggest that this letter be forwarded to the Pastor General himself. If he is concerned about doctrine — I presume that he is — he will make a reply. From there, you would know what to do next.
Ignoring Letters Warning of Apostasy
Based on track record, however, church officials in California would not readily listen to members or field ministers pointing out to them some doctrinal errors. It may be expected therefore that they will ignore letters of this kind.
Haven’t we noticed that it is the “imperialists” who have [wittingly or unwittingly] deceived us in the past? This is not to prejudice other nationalities, but only to learn from past and present experience. Many of our brethren in the old WCG are right now being misled by non-Filipino leaders of UCG, PCG, LCG, CGI [ICG], RCG, WCG Remnant, etc. Can’t we judge things with the Bible as our guide, independent of ministers from overseas? We don’t have the Americans, or Australians, or Irishmen, or Germans, or Russians to interpret the Bible for us.
With the foregoing premise, therefore, I am proposing to the Philippine ministry of the Worldwide Church of God for them to at least for a while keep a distance from Headquarters and take time to review things for themselves.
If Headquarters will not change from their doctrinal errors, then Acts 5: 29 is the scripture to follow. To do otherwise would be treason to truth. Declaring independence from religious oppression by HQ is imperative if they will not listen to reason and revelation. Surely, an organizational connection is very little to give up when it is God who is calling us to His side.
I hope that this letter will serve as a whistle blower. Apostasy in the church must be arrested. You owe it to the members to be on the side of the truth, and most of all, it is to God that we have to account for how we respond to His Word.
Sincerely, in Christ,
EDGARDO S. MENESES
cc: WCG Bulacan
COMMENTS FROM ESN:
Edgardo (who also goes by Edgar) said he sent this letter out of concern for the WCG pastors, and especially out of concern for the members and in obedience to God. Few, if any, bothered to reply, and those that did were either unfavorable towards what he sent, questioned if he had “misconceptions,” or else remained silent. It is evident that most pastors will not easily give up their affiliation with WCG even when they see errors.
One person that received his letter was a writer for the “new” WCG and a member in a WCG congregation in North Carolina. He replied to Edgar’s letter by saying,
“I have read your letter and email and unfortunately your theology and reasoning is extremely flawed. Having been in your position once, I realize no amount of reasoning with you would be of help as your mind is made up and only God can help you to see the errors and false teachings that you have embraced.” [October 6, 2006 email; emp. ESN’s]
Another WCG minister in the U.S. replied with these words to Edgar:
“May our loving Father have mercy on your poor blind soul.” [December 2006 email; emp. ESN’s]
And still another WCG minister told Edgar that he (Edgar) had chosen to follow “heresy” of dispensationalism, which (according to this minister) is “elevating Israel above the body of Christ–the Church.” [December 27, 2006 email; emp. ESN’s.] One must ask if WCG is the one accepting heresy by their endorsement of New Age teachers such as Richard J. Foster, Rick Warren, Dallas Willard9, etc.?
One man forwarded ESN a recent email correspondence that he had with a WCG pastor in a North Carolina congregation. The pastor was asked if he believes that Christ is coming back to earth to set up a millennial Kingdom for one thousand years. Here was his reply: [emp. ours]
“In reference to your questions about Jesus coming and setting up the ‘Kingdom in all its fullness’ I would say that his emphasis was on ‘all its fullness’. Our focus doesn’t tend to be on a physical 1000 years of millennial bliss but rather on the eternity with God the Father, Jesus the Son and God the Holy Spirit. For an in-depth view of the millennial concepts let me direct you to our parent website …”
Mike Morrison of WCG HQ (now a “doctor” as a result of his studies in Fuller Seminary10 also received Edgar’s letter and replied with a lengthy letter on 10-16-06 to “set the record straight.” Morrison also Cc it to the other eight ministers. Some of his confusing words were:
“…we do not teach amillennialism. But we do not teach premillennialism, either”
Then what do they teach? Morrison didn’t make that clear.
Some of the words Mike Morrison used (in regard to Edgar) were: [emp. ours]
“…simply poor scholarship on your part.”
“That is not what I said and not what I meant.”
“Your ‘proofs’ of the millennium are inadequate.”
“That was poor logic.”
You are worried about ecumenism for the strangest reasons.”
“I had to laugh.”
Morrison ended his letter by stating:
“You believe that you have the truth, but we don’t believe you. We have to believe what God says to us when we read his word.” [emp. ours]
“When the person advances an argument against your decision, you never confront his argument but confront the premise on which his argument is based. That is the rule.”
-Quoted from L Ron Hubbard on the Confusion Technique from The Letters of Milton Erickson
Morrison also included three “Wows” to some of Edgar’s statements. One ESN helper who reviewed Morrison’s letter said it was “belittling” and the “overall deception was thinly veiled.” In spite of Mike Morrison denying that WCG teaches the Church is “spiritual Israel,” there are enough quotes on their site to prove otherwise. Morrison included with his email an attachment on “Replacement Theology” which was to explain that they don’t teach it, but in reality was actually supporting it!
NOTE: Edgardo replied to Mike Morrison’s letter, commenting on each of his statements. This is covered in: A Rebuttal to Mike Morrison (includes Morrison’s statements).
Leaders at WCG headquarters, in their ambivalence, will deny that they are teaching or endorsing certain things, or are a part of the ecumenical movement. They make it hard to pin down exactly what they do believe, and when confronted with their errors and what they have said, they simply give more spin control, discount evidence, and/or saying they were “not quoted accurately.” In the meantime, their mixed bag of beliefs is compatible with many modern, liberal churches.
Replacement Theology teaches that God is finished with the nation of Israel and that the promises in the Bible concerning Israel have now been given to the Church. For further study, see the following: How is the Term Israel Used in the New Testament? (Shows how the church is not “spiritual Israel”) (also covers Galatians 6:16)[offsite article]
WCG’s Mumbo Jumbo Concerning Their Stand on Israel and the Millennium (excellent 2011 letter regarding correspondence with GCI regarding this topic. As of 2019, they haven’t changed.)
“Beware of the Organic Church and Frank Viola” (October 18, 2012 letter to ESN) Also read the letter immediately after this entitled, “Churches Nowadays Are Watered Down.”
A Directory of Authors (Three NOT Recommended Lists) New Age, occult, eastern-style meditative practices and all manner of aberrant and heretical teachings have become commonplace among Christian bookstores. Lists many Christian authors whose books are rife with with New Age occult teachings and practices.
“The greatest need amongst Christians and Christian leaders is for discernment which is so sadly lacking in the Church today.” ~David E. Garner
Email From Brian Flynn:
Following is an email from Brian Flynn, author of Running Against the Wind, to a WCG deacon and member of the pastoral team in the Philippines (Cc to ESN). He decided to email Flynn’s ministry (Cc to ESN) after contacting us to say he strongly disagreed with Edgardo (even though admitting he had not read Flynn’s book, or done any other research on this subject). While this deacon told us he understood the gospel of Christ, he was unaware of WCG’s dark past and history revision since he was not in the WCG when HWA was alive. He was encouraged to read more about the beliefs of Brian McLaren, Rick Warren, etc., and contemplative spirituality, so he could be fully informed. Flynn’s email below shows how we all must be discerning concerning false teaching coming into the church. (Brian’s words are in blue.)
—– Original Message —–
From: Brian Flynn
Cc: Exit & Support Network™
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2007 4:57 PM
Subject: RE: Brian Flynn’s Book
—,[name withheld] Thank you for writing. Occasionally, I receive emails like yours asking the question “What’s the big deal?” I am puzzled by this ignorant view of Scripture. The Bible is replete with warnings to beware of false teachers and false doctrine, Acts 20:28-30; 2 Tim 3:1-9; Mat 24:23-25; Gal 1:6-10. Have you read none of Paul’s epistles? Are you unaware of the Galatian heresy? False beliefs and teachings were already going on before the end of the first century. You are correct that the church of Jesus Christ will prevail but does this mean we should ignore all false teachings and allow them to grow within the body of believers? My question to you is when Jesus warned of these things was he a liar? God’s children cannot be deceived? “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” Matt 24:24
What makes you think that because some people have understood something and doing something that is not to your understanding, you think they are in error and you have “Christ truth”? At any point in time we all are working from different database and God I believed allows this. Most are incomplete, inaccurate and with error.
—, we are instructed to measure all things by His word. If as you suggest that we do not have this ability, why does God command us to do so? If you read my book you should recall the believer who was saved out of contemplative prayer. She was a believer who was misled. How did she realize her error? She was experiencing strange things and started to question whether this was of God. When she looked to the Gospel she realized her error. To look to the Bible for guidance on matters such as these is not difficult but you must be willing.
—, if you wish to remain spiritually lazy that is your choice but you are not being obedient to what God has instructed you to do. If this is what you are being taught by Worldwide Church of God than perhaps it is time to question their authority. Perhaps, you are afraid that if you look to the Gospel you will discover that your church leadership is in error. You may wish to pray about this.
I will leave you with another Biblical warning, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Col 2:8
Brian Flynn Director, One Truth Ministries
Note: Note: Brian Flynn resigned from ministry in 2009.
“Delving into the books written by the contemplatives themselves and well-documented research papers, I became convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that contemplative spirituality was and is a heretical practice.” ~Brian Flynn, Running Against the Wind, p. 194.
Links on: Discernment & Research (covers apostasy and error in Christendom; the church growth movement, etc.
Grace Communion International and Their Heretical Beliefs:
November 7, 2019
I just want to thank you for your website. It was a plethora of information for me. I spent 30 years in WCG from birth until age 30. I’m a graduate of Ambassador College as well. My family left WCG in the late 90’s after our church struggled going through the changes. I was frankly sick of hearing how it was “our fault that WCG had found itself in error.” Of course, HWA had “errors” in his doctrine, but “the membership was culpable for believing and obeying it and not doing the work and study they should have been.” This idea was propagated by using the mind techniques that put us in the blame. HWA’s “errors” became our errors as if we were responsible for coming up with the heretical doctrine. HWA was kept in a good light and the explanations were that he just had made mistakes or errors. Never was it said that he was a false teacher or had heretical doctrines. The blame being put on us by the leadership of our local church that the church was breaking apart and it’s all our fault was a little more than I could take! So my family left WCG in the winter of 1997.
However, after 12 years, we got reconnected with WCG through their SEP summer camp [Note: All future SEP regional camps were cancelled by GCI in 2019] and then started attending and supporting a local GCI church. I had erroneously believed that with more than a decade of time, GCI had become solid theologically–that is until I started looking into their website that was spurred on by a seminar being given on spiritual formation in the Denver area. Their statement of beliefs on the GCI website at the time (2010) was solidly evangelical (the statement has been revised to reveal their heretical belief that all humanity are included in the atonement of Jesus Christ insinuating that all their sins are forgiven even if they continue to reject the Gospel). I was stunned to find out they were soft universalists, believed in universal reconciliation, spiritual formation, The Shack theology, inclusivism, anti-penal substitutionary atonement, promoted the neo-orthodoxy of Karl Barth and the Torrence brothers, promoted Baxter Kruger and Paul Young beliefs, as well as other emergent and ecumenical doctrines.
They were promoting postmortem salvation back in 2011 on their Surprising God Blog. However, they have a new post from October 2019 allowing for the possibility of postmortem salvation while creating plausible deniability of such a doctrine.
GCI’s churches in the U.S. are not very big nor are they growing much, but churches in the Philippines and Australia are increasing in numbers. I believe this is mainly because of their lean towards hyper-grace and their soft universalism.
It’s a tragedy to read about all the corruption that was going on in WCG while we all thought we were in God’s true church. Again, I appreciate the plethora of information that is contained on your website. Praying for your ministry and thankful for such a fantastic resource. –[name withheld]
Update by ESN (December 11, 2019):
GCI is still promoting a “second chance” after death:
“Therefore we can believe that one way or another, he [God] urges every person who ever lived, or who ever will live, to trust in him for salvation. That might be before they die, at the point of death, or even after they die. At the last judgment, if some people turn to Christ in faith when they at last learn what he has done for them, then he will not turn them away. (By Joseph Tkach, “The Message of Jesus: Is Jesus the Only Way of Salvation?”) ...all humans are, in spite of themselves, loved, forgiven, and included in Jesus Christ, who is their Lord and Savior (“The GCI Statement of Beliefs/ The Judgment”)
1 “Coming Events – activity calendar for the WCG”; “Worldwide Church of God Caribbean,” July 26, 2006. [Update: More than 800 attended the conference, including 19 Filipino WCG ministers with their wives.]
2 See the exposé article: A Critique on the Ministry of Richard Foster.
4 Rick Warren was mentored by Robert Schuller who is tied in with New Age leaders and philosophies (Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Church by Warren Smith). (Note: Robert Schuller died April 2, 2015 of esophageal cancer.) Also see the following: Change Agents in the Churches — Rick Warren and An Analysis of Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven” Church Growth Strategy.
5 For more info about The Message, read The Message: The Mystical Bible.
7 For exposé articles on Brian McLaren, do a search for his name on Lighthouse Trails Research Project (Exposing the Dangers of Contemplative Spirituality).
10 Many of the ministers in WCG in the U.S. who have Doctorate degrees obtained them from Fuller Theological Seminary (some from Azusa Pacific University). (The WCG Philippine ministry goes to Haggai Institute for leadership training, which trains them in “quality control.”) Most of the “church growth movement” (i. e., Rick Warren, etc.) can be traced back to Fuller. Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the New Age WCG mentors, houses the extensive archive of David J. DuPlessis (1905-1987). DuPlessis, a South African British agent, was head of the imperial “cultmaster” Apostolic Faith Mission denomination, who came to America and supervised the creation of Pentecostalism. He was consultant to International Missionary Council and World Council of Churches. DuPlessis was characterized as “Mr. Pentecostalism” for his success in infiltrating American denominational churches with Charismatic Pentecostalism and British-Israelism. The World Council of Churches put their stamp of approval on DuPlessis, as the designated-by them-world representative of the new, “improved” Pentecostalism. For more info on Fuller Theological Seminary, read this offsite article.
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