PCG boasts that they alone are “God’s one true church.” They proclaim that their literature is offered “completely free.” What are you not being told?
For the undiscerning, the Key of David and the Trumpet end up being a gateway into something very dark and destructive. While the booklets and programs appear captivating and newsworthy (helping one to “live the Bible way of life”), individuals who have been deceived by this organization have found themselves facing much more than financial exploitation. Freedom of thought is taken away and relationships outside PCG are destroyed.
See: Mike’s Page for much info on PCG and Gerald Flurry, including testimonies and letters.
NOTE: If you have a loved one who is involved with PCG, be sure and read: If You Have a Loved One in a Deceptive, Exploitive Group.
SKIP DOWN TO: Teachings and Beliefs of Philadelphia Church of God (following that is Destructive Methods of Mind Control)
History of Philadelphia Church of God
After Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of Worldwide Church of God, died at age of 93 (January 16, 1986), Gerald Flurry (born April 12, 1935 and a minister in WCG since 1973,1 was one of those that disagreed with the new changes that Pastor General Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. began instigating. Flurry refused to accept any change in the teachings of HWA and, as a result, he was disfellowshipped from the WCG December 7, 1989.
On December 16, 1989, Gerald Flurry, along with John Amos (a WCG minister who was also disfellowshipped at the same time, but later died in 1993, [Read: What Did John Amos Really Die of?]) founded the Philadelphia Church of God, headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma, originally with 12 members, and proclaiming to be the only church that holds fast to all the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong. During that time, Flurry placed large ads in the New York Times, promoting Herbert Armstrong and announcing the WCG’s doctrinal changes. By 1996 he claimed to have over 6,000 members. (See more on membership figures below under Membership Declining.)
Who Were the Early Deacons and Elders in PCG?
Following are the only ones known:
- John Amos (local elder and associate pastor of Oklahoma City congregation) (deceased)
- Tim Thompson (deacon in Oklahoma City congregation) (deceased)
- Vyron Wilkins (local church elder in Oklahoma City congregation) (deceased)
- Dennis Leap (editorial dept, from Buffalo, NY congregation)
- Frank Garcia (deacon from Amarillo, TX congregation)
- Wilbur Malone (local church elder from St. Louis, MO congregation) (deceased)
- Don Marshall (unsure as to whether he was a deacon in Oklahoma City congregation)
(Unsure if the following men came into the PCG in 1990 or 1991):
- Jim Mortensen (local church elder from San Antonio and Uvalde, TX)
- Don Roth (local church elder from Wisconsin)
- Winston Davis (preaching elder for Southeast U.S.)
Gerald Flurry’s wife Barbara died September 5, 2004 after suffering health problems for years. Read: Mrs. Barbara Flurry Suffered For Years With Health Problems (September 8, 2004 letter to ESN)
On October 30, 2020 Gerald Flurry announced his plans to marry Vicki Barreiro on November 16, 2020.
In 1990, Gerald Flurry wrote Malachi’s Message stating that it was “a new vision from God and a new revelation”2 concerning the “Worldwide Church of God falling away from the truth” and that HWA fulfilled the prophesied role of “God’s end-time Elijah.” (“Just as one John the Baptist prepared Christ’s way the first time, so one messenger [HWA] has prepared the way for Christ’s Second Coming.” Malachi’s Message, p. 8.) Flurry, along with stating that HWA was also “the modern Zerubbabel,” previously stated in this book that Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. was “the Man of Sin” and HWA, until his death, “held him back.” However, Flurry finds himself having to update MM every so often, as his predictions often don’t come to pass; i.e., the fulfillment of “the Man of Sin” switched from Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. to Joseph Tkach, Jr., mainly because Sr. died, when he was “supposed to live on into the Great Tribulation and repent” and then Tkach Jr. was replaced by Greg Williams after Tkach Jr. retired end of 2018.
In 1997 there were 5,000 members in PCG. (See the part “The Key Players” in OIU Newsletter 4, Pt. 4) By 2004 Flurry’s membership figures started dropping. Feast sites have been combined as members continue to leave. In September 2008, the PCG website said an updated version of the old hymnal by Dwight L. Armstrong (younger brother of Herbert Armstrong; died 1984) had been reprinted and 4,300 copies were being mailed to the PCG feast sites. By 2009 there were reports that PCG was down to 3,800 baptized members, plus family members.(See: January 23, 2009 letter to ESN: Membership Down in PCG and October 24, 2010 letter to ESN: Members are Dwindling Greatly in PCG.) Recent exiters of PCG have stated that there were always more members leaving than new members joining and that the numbers have been declining each year. By January 2012 the membership figure was said to be down to 2,500-3,000. In October 2021 it was reported there were 4300 members but this is counting babies and non member spouses who attend. (See October 22, 2021 letter: Membership Total Worldwide) Many have gravitated to other offshoots, especially to Restored Church of God.
PCG began publishing the Philadelphia Trumpet in 1990, a free magazine, which is designed to look like a news magazine. It ties frightening end-time Bible prophecies to current events of today. The offer of more free booklets and eventually co-worker letters soon follows. The Trumpet is patterned after Hebert Armstrong’s Plain Truth magazine.
Gerald Flurry states: “The Trumpet is built on the same prophetic foundation Mr. Armstrong used for the Plain Truth magazine.” To examine this “prophetic foundation,” read: “Did Herbert Armstrong Set Dates?”
The Trumpet targets those who are wanting to “know more” about what is going on in the world, but will, at the same time, play on readers’ fears and then offer “solutions.”
PCG’s inside magazine for members only is Philadelphia News.
Their magazine for the youth is entitled, True Education (now an online magazine only) was first published in April 1999. It is interesting to note that Ellen G. White, co-founder of 7th-day Adventism, that Herbert Armstrong copied from, spoke much about “true education” in her book Education. She even had a “True Education Series.”
PYC (Philadelphia Youth Camp)
In 1992 PCG started Philadelphia Youth Camp for ages 13-19, which is patterned after Herbert Armstrong’s Summer Educational Program camps (S.E.P.). The young campers have to follow a rigorous schedule every day, along with studying Gerald Flurry’s booklets and correspondence course while they are there. (Read stories from those who have attended PYC and who tell what it is really like.)
Bible Correspondence Course
PCG offers Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course to the public, which is basically an edited and revised Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course formerly published by Worldwide Church of God. This free three year course is advertised as “no catch” but, unknowingly, readers will be subtly set up to be recruited into PCG. (Read: How Did Herbert W. Armstrong Recruit People?) A close examination of the lessons (which are based on a question and answer format) reveal that the Scriptures are taken out of context and their application altered in order to “prove” what the author is saying.
Note: A much better option than PCG’s College Bible Correspondence Course for studying the Bible is Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee or Bob George Ministries with Bob George. A description of both are listed on our Links.
Gerald Flurry purchased approximately 170 acres of land in Edmond, Oklahoma. He opened a college on this land in the fall of 2001, calling it Imperial College (IC). In 2006 the name of Imperial College was changed to Herbert W. Armstrong College (HWAC) and abbreviated as AC for Armstrong College. (HWA’s college was called Ambassador College, also abbreviated AC.)
In January 2008 the college had 50 students and they have both 2 and 4 year curriculum. One of the objectives for the college is “to teach its students how to live” and “prepare pastors for their local congregations” (words similar to what HWA said about his Ambassador College in Pasadena, California3). We have been told by former students that the work load is massive. The college, which is not accredited, is said to make use of thought reform methods to train men for the ministry in PCG. (Read: May 2004 letter to ESN which furnishes more info about their college and July 26, 2018 testimony: Life at Herbert W. Armstrong College which includes strict rules that are not found in the HWAC handbook.
Homes worth approximately $200,000 have been built on this land for the ministry. The grounds on the campus are furnished with security guards. The address is 14400 S. Bryant Ave, north of Waterloo in southern Logan County, Oklahoma. It is located two miles west of Interstate 35 off Waterloo Road, a few miles north of downtown Edmond, just outside of Oklahoma City.
On November 12, 2014 Flurry purchased Edstone Hall in Warwickshire, England for a new campus. The cost was $4.5 million. In 2021 the regional office and college campus in Warwickshire housed 53 students and four ministerial families. In spite of Gerald Flurry continually telling members “the time is short” the building and its grounds and outbuildings have undergone extensive ongoing renovations such as remodeling the basement and attic, installing a tennis court and soccer field, and updating light fixtures.
Imperial Academy (IA) is the name of their school for kindergarten through 12th grade. It opened August 14, 2008. It is patterned after WCG’s Imperial School which HWA started in 1958. As of 2017 Wayne Turgeon, Gerald Flurry’s son-in-law, was the Principal of Imperial Academy. In March 2021 Wayne Turgeon was transferred to Edstone, England and Joel Hilliker became the new principal of Imperial Academy.
Bought Copyrights to HWA’s Literature
On March 7, 2003 Gerald Flurry bought the copyrights to Herbert W. Armstrong’s literature, including Mystery of the Ages and 18 other books/booklets, from Worldwide Church of God for approximately $3 million dollars. PCG states that God helped them “win the victory” in the court case. Read: PCG Did NOT Win a Victory in the WCG vs. PCG Court Case (February 23, 2007 letter from Attorney at Law).
PCG boasts of Armstrong International Cultural Foundation (AICF) (modeled after Herbert Armstrong’s Ambassador International Cultural Foundation), which is on the grounds of Herbert W. Armstrong College. In January 2008 the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation broke ground for this auditorium (Performing Arts Center called Armstrong Auditorium, patterned after HWA’s Ambassador Auditorium which was located in Pasadena, CA). When it was completed in 2010, it was said to cost $20 million. But in 2012 Gerald Flurry told the members that the building actually cost $25 million because they had not included the cost of landscaping. PCG and members have referred to the auditorium as the “House for God.”
Read: AICF Portrayed as Something it is Not (letter to ESN)
In the summer of 2007 Gerald Flurry spent time in Jerusalem with his son Stephen working on the “Jerusalem Dig.” Gerald Flurry in 2013 has an office in Jerusalem. PCG students have been working with archeologist Eilat Mazar to unearth what they believe is King David’s palace. Flurry calls it a “continuation of HWA’s work.”4 [Update: Dr. Eliat Mazar, died May 25, 2021 at age 64.]
New gym is erected
In their September 23, 2022 Friday Philadelphian they had a caption at the end regarding a new gym that was being erected at HQs and included a photo of them working on it. An insider related that none of the “lay” members had any idea that this was being built. If Gerald Flurry believes they are so close to the Tribulation, as he has continually proclaimed, then why build another gym? The one in the field house was big enough for such a small college. Tithe funds no doubt were spent for this.
On April 12, 2017 Gerald Flurry purchased a Gulfstream G450 jet plane after receiving enough member pledges. Flurry said this purchase is about “the last piece of the raising the ruins.”5 The plane will be used to visit PCG members and “perhaps world leaders.” In sermons and lectures, the purpose of the jet is to “speed the completion of God’s Work.” Members have been doing fundraising to support the “aircraft fund.”
The jet was paid off in spring of 2021. Read: Gerald Flurry’s Jet Plane is Paid Off and More Money Received (May 2, 2021 letter).
Since 2021 he has been focused on his “work in Jerusalem.” He traveled to Jerusalem in 2022 to start these plans. Read: Another Insane, Ego-Driven Co-Worker Letter From GF (2021 letter) and Gerald Flurry Gallivanting to the Middle East in His Expensive Jet Plane (2022 letter).
The Key of David hosted by Gerald Flurry (also on TV) emulates HWA’s program The World Tomorrow as he “discusses world events in the light of end-time Bible prophecy.” Interlaced with fear-based prophecies and speculations.
Trumpet Daily Radio Show hosted by Stephen Flurry “proves the Bible’s relevance to your life” but which basically covers political subjects or news of the day while trying to link them to end-time prophecies in the Bible.
Trumpet Hour (“the voice of the Trumpet news magazine”) hosted by Joel Hilliker as he “sits down with Trumpet writers to discuss world events and trends from a biblical perspective.”
Watch Jerusalem hosted by Brent Nagtegaal (news and archaeology from a biblical perspective).
Behind the Work” hosted by Grant Turgeon, son of Wayne Turgeon. The show boasts of “interviews, feature stories, updates and statistical rundowns.” But also claims to use the Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong to “learn how the work of God today relates to the spectacular, miraculous, five-decade work of the end-time Elijah.”
(Here are more and I gave up describing them as there were too many:)
Just the Best Literature hosted by Dennis Leap.
Live by Every Word hosted by Brian Davis and Dwight Falk.
Music For Life hosted by Ryan Malone.
Rewind, Repeat hosted by David Vejil.
The Bible Story hosted by Michael Strachan.
The Sun Also Rises hosted by Jeremiah Jacques.
Trumpet Bookshelf hosted by Grant Turgeon
Viva de toda palabra hosted by Carlos Heyer (this is in Spanish) UPDATE: Carlos Heyer was dismissed as a minister on November 1, 2023 from the Colombian congregation. Read: “Carlos Heyer No longer a Minister In South America” (November 7, 2023 PCG letter).
Deceit of the Trumpet in the Search Engines:
The Trumpet advertises itself in the search engines as “World News, Economics and Analysis Based.” Those that have had no prior knowledge of them will be captured by the sentence, click on the link, and be led to a page overflowing with articles and links to choose from. Here is some of what is on there:
Trumpet Brief, Trumpet Daily, Trumpet Radio, Trumpet Hour, Key of David, The Bible Story, and The Philadelphia Trumpet (filled with fear).
Scrolling down on the page there are sections to click on to find out what is going on in different parts of the world. The “About Gerald Flurry” page gives the name of GF’s first wife, but not his 2nd wife, and is filled with boasting. Their “make a donation here” button is found on their FAQ and you have to sign up for an account in order to make your donation. The site is confusing and overwhelming as most HWA offshoot websites are today.
Speaks for God
Gerald Flurry has stressed that before anyone is able to be baptized by PCG ministers, they must acknowledge that he is “that prophet” (one of several titles which he has assigned to himself, including “apostle”), and that he is the man under God who speaks for God. He also makes members believe that “Christ is about to return.” None of his prophecies or predictions have come to pass.
Others feel Flurry is becoming fanatical. Here are quotes from some of his booklets:
“As we get into more trouble, they will really think we are crazy! But we simply are giving
ourselves passionately to God.” (Who is That Prophet? pp. 5, 88.)
“They [the members] will stay with God even if it gets them killed.” (Ezekiel, the End-Time
Prophet pp. 2, 116]
For more info, see Articles on Gerald Flurry.
Teachings and Beliefs of Philadelphia Church of God:
“The PCG has the distinct honor to SPEAK FOR GOD!” ~Gerald Flurry, Trumpet, December 1993, p. 21; Isaiah’s End-Time Vision, Chap. 2, 1994-2018
“Baptized members of God’s Church are the ONLY ONES WHO CAN HAVE A TRULY SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD—the rest of the world doesn’t have God’s Holy Spirit.” ~Gerald Flurry, Malachi’s Message
[NOTE: To understand exactly what PCG is teaching and how they justify it, download Mystery of the Ages (a critical review) by Kelly Marshall (PDF) Chapter by chapter review.]
PCG is alleged to be one of the most abject, fear-filled, and destructive of all the splinter groups from WCG. The fear and abuse may surpass the methods HWA used. Former members have testified that this high demand, totalistic group has exploited them financially and abused them emotionally and spiritually. Those with loved ones or family inside PCG have testified of the cruelty and total lack of empathy and love that they have experienced from PCG ministers and members.
- Teachings and end-time prophecies are mainly the same as taught by Herbert Armstrong, a known false prophet, except for when Gerald Flurry has “new revelations” or “new truths.” For an analysis of HWA’s teachings, see: Mystery of the Ages (a critical review) by Kelly Marshall. (PDF)
- PCG claims to be “the only true church and God’s Work on earth today6 and the “Philadelphia era of God’s Church” (i.e., “the only church in the inner court”).
- Herbert W. Armstrong is considered to have been the “end-time Elijah” and “Christ’s end-time messenger” who prepared the way for the Second Coming of Christ, restoring the true gospel in 1934 (which had “not been preached since 69 A.D.” until HWA began preaching it). No one is allowed to attend PCG services without a prior visit by the ministers and without believing that HWA fulfilled the role of the end-time Elijah.7 All their beliefs are based on what HWA taught.
- Flurry calls his position a type of Elisha’s office8 and in his Live Presentation in 2020 he said “Elisha was a greater prophet than Elijah.” He has proclaimed to his members that he is “That Prophet”9 mentioned in John 1:21, 25. He says he is in the role of “lawgiver to God’s Church”10 and the “messenger to the Laodicean era,” and that God has worked with him the same way that God worked with HWA, even giving PCG new revelation.11
- Members are not to question Gerald Flurry’s teachings, or they will be disfellowshipped.
- Students at HWAC are they need to “commit fully to the program” (buzzword), they are to have very limited contact with people outside the college, including members of the PCG, and they are not to speak about what is being taught to people outside of the college. (Refer to: Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Thought Reform)
- Women are in a subordinate position and are to be submissive to the minister and their husband. (Read: Philadelphia Church of God is a Sick System!)
- Other churches “in the world” are looked upon as Satan’s counterfeits.
- PCG believes they are right and everyone else is wrong.12
- The PCG expects persecution as a result of the message they preach.
- Malachi’s Message is the centerpiece of PCG’s literature (their whole message is built around it) and “PCG was commissioned by God to deliver Malachi’s Message.” Before one can become a member they must believe MM is the “little book” of Revelation 10.
- The members meet in various places such as masonic lodges, hotels, motels, homes, etc., which are not known to the public. Only their lavish Headquarters in Edmond, OK and Edstone, England are visible to the public.
- The Worldwide Church of God members are “Laodiceans” and the “Synagogue of Satan” and are being cursed because they have turned away from the doctrines of HWA and from obeying “God’s government.”
- Flurry and his members have been “commanded by God” to get out the end-time message about God’s law and soon coming government on earth, or else they will suffer in the Great Tribulation and/or end up in the Lake of Fire. Only those that are ruled “unconditionally” (i.e., by the government in PCG) can accomplish this “Work of God” and qualify to rule with Christ and be in the Kingdom.13
- Only a few being called now; those in PCG are considered “the elect.”
- Members “qualify” for the Kingdom by submitting to “the government of God.” If you question it, you are questioning God.
- God is a “family.” This “God Family” is comprised at present of the Father and the Son, but members will be born into it at the Resurrection and rule the earth with Christ from His throne.
- The Holy Spirit is not a Person, but only “the power of God” which can be lost.
- Baptism by immersion, followed by laying on of hands by PCG ministers, is necessary as a condition for receiving the Holy Spirit and becoming a member of PCG. (Young children are not baptized.)
- There is no immortal soul, nor conscious existence until the first resurrection. Members do not “go to Heaven,” but “sleep in the grave” (soul sleep) “Born again” refers to a physical (1st) resurrection, not to spiritual birth. They deny the bodily Resurrection of Jesus.
- The blood of Jesus “doesn’t finally save any man.”14
- There will be a “2nd resurrection” (a 100-year period after the thousand year reign on earth) when all those who “never had a chance to hear the gospel” (as taught by Herbert Armstrong) will be resurrected from their graves and given their “first chance.” Then there will be a “3rd resurrection” after the Millennium for those who had their chance and willfully rejected “the truth” and who will be annihilated in the Lake of Fire.
- Cutting off ties with family members and “worldly” friends and co-workers is practiced. (Refer to: Gerald Flurry’s Sermon: Exposing Satan)
- Sunday, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc., are considered “pagan days” and are not to be observed. Only Thanksgiving and national holidays, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, and wedding anniversaries can be observed–as long as they aren’t overdone.
- Clothing styles and hair length are regulated.
- Use of the medical profession is strongly discouraged (including receiving vaccines). Most have no medical insurance. It is considered being “weak in faith” to go see a doctor, or depend on medicine. Instead, they are to be anointed by the elders and urged to look to God to heal them. However, some use doctors and medicines without advertising it. Many of the ministers and their wives are still going without medical attention and dying. Read: Philadelphia Church of God Healing Doctrine and How Did WCG Instruct Ministers to Deal With “Health and Medical Problems”? (policies taught to “avoid prosecution”). If a member does die; i.e., of cancer, the ministers say that the person must have had some “hidden sin” or it wouldn’t have happened. If the member didn’t go to the doctor, they say that person “died in the faith.”
- Members are not to vote. “God’s government” (government in PCG) is the only true government.
- Members are not to take up arms in military service. They must trust God for protection.
- Three tithes must be paid to PCG headquarters (3rd tithe given every third year in seven), plus offerings are taken up in the Spring and Fall during the Old Testament feast days (“annual Sabbaths”). This is in addition to contributing to the building fund, the Aircraft fund, and sometimes other funds. They also teach that if someone isn’t tithing they are “under a curse.”
- Makeup is considered vanity and “a sin.”
- Men cannot wear earrings.
- Tattoos are not allowed.
- No nursery or classes are provided for the children during services; children are expected to sit and be quiet for two-hour services, or sleep on a pad beside the parent’s feet. Children are to be disciplined according to the principles in the older Garner Ted Armstrong child rearing booklet: The Plain Truth About Child Rearing (which sanctions spanking babies and harsh discipline of children).
- Dating and marriage are heavily regulated; dating outside the organization is forbidden.
- Divorce is considered “a sin.” The ministry decides whether or not a marriage should be dissolved (it can be considered grounds for separation and later divorce if a mate leaves PCG and becomes “Laodicean”). They are forbidden to marry a non-member of PCG.
- Racist doctrine of British-Israelism/Anglo-Israelism/lost Ten Tribes of Israel (described in HWA’s books, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy and Mystery of the Ages), which states white Anglo-Saxons are “God’s chosen race” or descendants of Israel. Separation of the races policy is practiced.
- They are living in the “last days” and “last hour”15 and the prophecies in the O.T. are for U.S., Britain and other English speaking nations today. The Great Tribulation (believed to be 3 l/2 years in duration) is imminent. A “United States of Europe” with Germany at its head, is to arise and attack the United States and other English-speaking nations.
- Those who are not loyal to the teachings of HWA are called Laodiceans and they “must give up their lives to prove themselves to God.”16
- PCG members who are not loyal to the “government in PCG” will not be taken to the “place of safety” (which was originally thought to be Petra17). Instead, they will go into captivity and be martyred or suffer the seven last great plagues and the wrath of God.
- Disfellowshipping and marking is enforced. Those who leave PCG, or are disfellowshipped, are “considered Laodicean” and members are commanded to shun them, even if they are of their immediate family.18
- Belief that God prophesied the Worldwide Church of God would be destroyed by Satan after Herbert W. Armstrong died.”19
- Gerald Flurry hinted that the “last hour” could come on January 16, 2010. (figuring another 19-year time cycle from the “Elijah work”20)
- Jesus Christ is not the central figure of the Gospel. (Read letters: The Absence of Jesus Christ in PCG and Flurry’s Denial of Christ is Very Subtle)
- The most important book, next to the Bible, is Mystery of the Ages21
- Faith to be healed is the same as faith to be resurrected and they are to have the faith “of” Christ.22
- Belief that they are becoming like God and will be “co-Saviors.”23 Members will “be part of the God family.” 24
- Teaches members will “become God’s family” (which is merely a re-wording of HWA’s teaching which said they become a member of the God family; thereby becoming God.)
- Those who want to attend services not only need to be sending in money but must study PCG literature for years beforehand. Flurry feels they “just need a little more education first.”25 Required reading for prospective members before they are contacted by a minister is: Mystery of the Ages, Malachi’s Message, and Who is “That Prophet?” (in that order).26 (The God Family Vision has since been added to the list.)
- Much emphasis is placed on dates, especially the anniversary of HWA’s death, January 16.27
- Gerald Flurry hinted that the “last hour” could come on January 16, 2010. (figuring another 19-year time cycle from the “Elijah work”)
- Teaches that members must keep “God’s law” or they will not receive eternal salvation.28 This means the Ten Commandments (especially the seventh day Sabbath), the seven Old Testament feast days (“holy days”) and the law of clean and unclean meats (Leviticus 11).
- Members are not to exalt Christ above the Father.29
- Abusive and harsh methods used on children.30
Destructive Methods of Mind Control
- Fear: Fear to question, doubt or read literature that is critical of the group; fear to leave the group; fear of losing salvation; fear of the Great Tribulation; fear of the “Lake of Fire”; fear of being “cursed”; fear of demons and/or becoming demon possessed.
- False guilt: Blamed for things they did not do in order to break them down and cause them to submit more fully to the leadership; feeling guilty over not measuring up.
- Shame: Sins are dwelt on in sermons, literature and counseling sessions; shame at their imperfections.
- Secrecy: The leaders rely on secrecy to hide their control and manipulation. Members taught to keep their core beliefs a secret, as “outsiders will not understand.” Meeting places are kept secret and members usually meet in hotels, motels, etc. As of 2005, tape libraries were shut down and tapes/CDs of sermons from headquarters are destroyed after being played to members.
- Unquestioning submission: Must obey the authority without question or doubt.
- Control: Control of every aspect of members’ lives, including their thoughts.
- Isolation: All those on the outside (“the world”) are influenced by Satan. Flurry has a “no-contact” ruling which is causing members to cut off from family, and in other cases to commit suicide.
Instructions to ministers on how to conduct “proper and effective in-home visits” are in Gerald Flurry’s November 5, 2004 Pastor General’s Report, p. 5-9. This is revealing in how it shows PCG determines who is ready to attend services. Their 2004-2006 Pastor General’s Reports can be read online. (See the December 10, 2005 PGR for the “no-contact” ruling and “CD and Tape Policy.”)
Similarities Between PCG Doctrines and
Doctrines of the Branch Davidians
David Koresh and his members (the Branch Davidians) all kept the Seventh day Sabbath and also believed the books of Daniel and Revelation had been unsealed. They claim to have the Key of David. They teach that the Daily (aka the “Continual”) has been taken away. They give the identification of the tribes of Israel today. They teach about the Elijah messenger. They hold to clean and unclean foods. They teach about the two trees, and the two witnesses. They also claim to understand the firstfruits harvest. They claim New Truth and New Revelation. They distinguish their faith as special and unique and they believe they are God’s chosen people and are living in the end times. The Branch Davidians (David Koresh) were an offshoot from the Millerites (Seventh-day Adventists), just as the WCG was. More can be read under: “WACO (we start to investigate.”
Gerald Flurry continues to proclaim to his members that God is giving him “new revelation.”31
According to informants with inside info, PCG is becoming not only more abusive but more exclusive and paranoid.
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
Last updated May 1, 2021; March 31, 2022
“For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
For every tree is known by his own fruit.” ~Luke 6:43-44
Confession and Freedom From Specific Cult/Occult Strongholds (includes PCG)
Five Year PCG UK Financial Review (Showing the Decline of Philadelphia Church of God)
1 “Then, in 1973, I was ordained a local church elder.” (Jude – The Most Urgent Prophecy Yet for This End Time! Gerald Flurry, 2005, p. 35)
2 “Malachi’s Message was revealed to me in 1989. GOD REVEALED IT! There was no reason for God to do so if a few already understood the message! I hope all of us would challenge such statements. Malachi’s Message is a new vision from God. It’s a NEW REVELATION– not something somebody already knew!” (The Little Book, Gerald Flurry, 1995)
3 “Regarding AMBASSADOR COLLEGE, all of you know that the purpose for which it was founded is to provide a trained ministry for the Church of God to assist Mr. Armstrong in this world-wide work. We carefully screen applicants for the College — because not all young people are potential candidates for the ministry.” (Good News, March 1958, “Who May Attend Our Schools?”)
4 Ambassador College was involved in the “Jerusalem dig” from 1968 to 1976. HWA told members they were “cleaning off the rubble” where David’s throne was in order to prepare for Christ’s return. After claiming it was “the most important archaeological excavation of our time” he ended up spending thousands of dollars for nothing. More is covered in “AC’s Participation In Jerusalem Dig Ends” (AR#2, 1977. The “Jerusalem dig” is a project of Dr. Eliat Mazar, a legitimate archeologist. The only involvement of PCG with the “Dig” is that some HWAC students have volunteered to help in the labor of the project. The PCG’s involvement with the project is much over-hyped. See June 13, 2016 letter: Gerald Flurry’s Grand Ideas Reaping Only Struggle and Hardship.
5 “PCG Buys Corporate Jet,” The Philadelphian, 2nd Quarter 2017, p. 6.
6 “Actually, we are God’s only true representative on this earth!…”(Philadelphia Trumpet, p. 19 March 1994) “…that truth is in only one church today, God’s church. Only God’s Philadelphia Church has retained God’s Law in this end time.” (Philadelphia Trumpet, p.5 March 1994)
7 “Elijah Has Come Already and ‘They Knew Him Not'” by Stephen Flurry, Philadelphia Trumpet, July 1995; “Herbert Armstrong was Christ’s end-time messenger.” (The Key of David, Gerald Flurry, chap. 2) “Mr. Armstrong’s writings are the foundation of all that we believe.” (Personal, “Miracle Victory! And What it Means,” Philadelphia Trumpet, March-April 2003, Gerald Flurry) “When prospective members come to the PCG, the first and perhaps most important question we ask them is, ‘Do you believe Mr. Armstrong fulfilled the role of the end-time Elijah?’ If they don’t believe this then we don’t invite them.” (Philadelphia Trumpet, January 1993, p. 15)
8 That Prophet: Part Five, “The Elisha Work,” Gerald Flurry.
9 PCG’s ministerial conference, June 1999.
10 Mr. Armstrong had to establish God’s law and government. He was the Elijah who restored all things just before Christ’s return. I have continued the same law and government that he taught. … Mr. Armstrong and I each have been used to fill the role of lawgiver to God’s Church and the world.” (That Prophet: Part Four, Gerald Flurry, p.21)
11 “Mr. Armstrong was not a prophet in the sense that God spoke to him like He did with the prophets of old. God spoke to Mr. Armstrong THROUGH THE PAGES OF THE Bible. … God has worked with me in the same way. He has not spoken to me directly in vision, But He has given me all kinds of new revelation from the Bible–new revelation that you can prove.” (That Prophet: Part One, Gerald Flurry, p.8) “And–most importantly–God has continued to bless us, as He did Mr. Armstrong, with new revelation.” (Philadelphia Trumpet, February 2006, “From the Editor: An Open Letter to the Churches of God” by Gerald Flurry
12 “After all we are right, God is with us, and everybody else is wrong and they’re going to have to see that.” (“The Mantle of Elijah,” 3-8-03 sermon by Gerald Flurry, Pt. 2, Tape 2, Side 1)
13 “We must submit to God’s government today, or we’ll never rule with Christ or be in His Kingdom!” (Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible, “Why Israel Failed,” Gerald Flurry, p. 53)
14″The blood of Christ does not finally save any man.” (All About Water Baptism, Herbert Armstrong, 1972, pp. 1-3.) “People want to believe we are simply saved by our faith in Christ’s blood. As Mr. Armstrong said, that ‘is nothing but a dead faith–and a dead faith never will save one soul!'” (Philadelphia Trumpet, Gerald Flurry, May 1994, p. 15). HWA often contradicted himself, so we will find him saying such things as: “The blood of Jesus Christ was so precious it paid for ALL OF OUR SINS!” (1979 co-worker letter from Herbert Armstrong); we are “justified by the blood of Christ” and acceptance of Christ is “for remission of sins” (Just What Do You Mean Salvation?). However, in his typical Scripture twisting manner, HWA (the same as Gerald Flurry) turned around and said that Romans 3:25 meant we only have remission of sins that are “past.” (Pagan Holidays—or God’s Holy Days—Which?) (NOTE: The Power of the Blood of Jesus by Andrew Murray is listed on our Booklist. This book may also be read online)
15 According to Flurry, the “last hour” began on May 5, 2001. He later claimed that the last half of the last hour began on June 4, 2005. (The Last Hour, 2004; Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ, 2/2/04; Jude, 2005, PCG sermon by Wayne Turgeon, 12/24/05, etc.) In 2006 he denied that he was preaching the last hour. Then in 2010 he extended the “last hour” for another decade (April 2010 sermon).
16 The Lion Has Roared, Gerald Flurry, “Laodiceans face death,” 1991, 1992, 2006. Malachi’s Message, Gerald Flurry, “Laodicean Era / Who Are the 144,000?” 1990, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2008.
17 Flurry has talked about Petra being the “possible” place of safety. (Philadelphia Trumpet, “The Place of Safety,” July 1995; Nov./Dec. 1998 issue of Royal Vision.) Read this part in Philadelphia Church of God and the Place of Safety where it mentions Adullam as the place of safety.
18 December 3, 2005 sermon by G. Flurry to members. Refer to the partial transcript on our site.
19 Flurry said America, Britain and Israel were “about to enter into the Great Tribulation.” (Philadelphia Trumpet, July 1995, “The Place of Safety.” Ezekiel, The End-Time Prophet, pp. 87-88. Ezekiel–The End-time Prophet, 2002, p. 142. “The Mantel of Elijah,” Royal Vision, July/August 2003.)
A few years ago he was figuring another 19 year cycle from Jan. 16,1991 which would have suggested January 16, 2010 as a target year. January 16 is the month and day that Herbert W. Armstrong died and Flurry has placed great emphasis on it. (see footnote #25)
20 Ezekiel-The End Time Prophet, Gerald Flurry, 2002, pp. 87-88.
21 “Without them [Mystery of the Ages and The United States and Britain in Prophecy] we can’t understand the Bible or God’s master plan!” (1-21-97 co-worker letter by Gerald Flurry.] “I candidly feel it may be the most important book since the Bible.” (Dear Brethren & Co-Worker letter, September 1985, by Herbert W. Armstrong.) Read: Mystery of the Ages Idolized in Philadelphia Church of God (critique of a 2020 PCG sermon) Note: After a long court battle, Worldwide Church of God sold the copyrights to nineteen of Herbert Armstrong’s works (including MOA) to PCG for $3 million (March 7, 2003).
22 Feast of Tabernacle sermon, Gerald Flurry, October 6, 2004.
23 “We have a Savior, and He is teaching us to be co-saviors. God is teaching us how to save people today and during the Millennium. We are becoming like the Savior God!” (July-August 2004 Royal Vision)
24 “God is recreating Himself. We’re either going to be God–or we’re going to be nothing!” (Malachi’s Message, 1990; p. 7. “We look just like Him, because we are created to be part of the God Family!” (Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet, 2016, Chapter 1)
25 Pastor General’s Report, Vol. 2, No. 4, February 12, 2005, p. 7.
26 Pastor General’s Report, Vol. 1, No. 8, November 5, 2005, p. 3, 6.
27 “Malachi’s Message was first received by many people on Jan. 16, 1990, the very day of the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death (Jan. 16, 1986). … You are going to see the date of Mr. Armstrong’s death take on more significance as time goes on. … The number 40 is significant in the Bible. The third 19-year time cycle of the work of the WCG ended in January of 1991—the same month as the fifth anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death. … The Persian Gulf War began on Jan. 16, 1991! God considers the date of Mr. Armstrong’s death to be very significant.” (Malachi’s Message and Chapter 6, Isaiah’s End-Time Vision, by Gerald Flurry)
28 “You Are Saved by Grace!” by Stephen Flurry, November 23, 2007, Philadelphia Trumpet. Read: ESN’s critique of this article: A Critique of “You Are Saved by Grace!”
29 August 17, 2009 letter to ESN: Gerald Flurry Declared Christ is not our Savior.
30 Children have received harsh corporal punished, along with severe emotional and verbal abuse. Read: Spanking Babies and Harsh Discipline of Children in PCG (includes Screaming Sessions at Children in PCG) The Royal Vision May-June 2000 ran a series of child rearing articles by Ron Fraser. Update: Ron Fraser died October 4, 2013 of congestive heart failure.
31 “God has continued to bless us, as He did Mr. Armstrong, with new revelation. The living God did not stop speaking to His people when Mr. Armstrong died.” (Philadelphia Trumpet, February 2006, “From the Editor: An Open Letter to the Churches of God” by Gerald Flurry) “Do you realize, brethren of God, for ELEVEN YEARS–eleven years–every year at the Feast of Tabernacles God has given me new revelation?” (Exposing Satan, December 3, 2005 sermon by Gerald Flurry.)
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