PTM is trying hard–almost too hard–to show others that they are a part of what they call “authentic Christianity.” However, one can’t help notice that they offer a doctrinal mixed bag on their resource page; i.e., material from reformed theologians, ecumenicals, Neo-Evangelicals, C. S. Lewis1 and themselves.
(Note: PTM was launched in 1996 by WCG (name changed to GCI) and Greg Albrecht was at the forefront of WCG maneuvers. PTM later added the sub-title “Christianity Without the Religion” to their Plain Truth Ministries site. An update on Greg Albrecht is at end of this article.)
PTM has a “Plain Truth Ministries Partner Newsletter” and it is authored by Greg Albrecht, the host of Plain Truth Commentary. Albrecht has been noted to have a voice that sounds almost identical to Hank Hanegraaff of the Bible Answer Man. His voice over the years has even become slower (like Hank’s) since he was first interviewed on the BAM in 1996.2 (Hank Hanegraaff was PR man for the Worldwide Church of God. [See OIU Newsletter #6, Pt. 1)
The only address that Greg Albrecht gives at the end of the weekly Plain Truth Commentary radio program (along with the website and a toll free number), is PTM, Pasadena3, 91129. The Plain Truth Commentary (a.k.a. Plain Truth Radio) and Plain Truth magazine are affiliated with the Worldwide Church of God. In fact, Greg Albrecht is WCG Media Director.4
It is evident that Worldwide Church of God (GCI) likes to hold onto the word “Plain”–Plain Truth magazine, Plain Truth Ministries, Plain Truth Commentary, and Plain Truth Ministries Partner Newsletter. Could it be because members are used to this word since Herbert W. Armstrong first started using it? Looking past the new evangelical jargon, it is easy to see that the writing style in these magazines and newsletters is still somewhat reminiscent of the way WCG wrote under “reformer” Joseph Tkach Sr.–which can sometimes be a rather crude, in your face, manner.
To give some examples, some of following appeared in the April 2004 PTM Partner Newsletter (all bolding ours):
“The cross of Christ and his empty tomb call us out of the gutter of human passion, lust, greed, envy, competition and vanity.”
Herbert W. Armstrong was known to talk about the “vanity, jealousy, lust and greed” of the human heart. The above is very similar talk.
To go on:
“He [Christ] alone can save us from the bitterness, divisiveness, animosity and hatred that so characterize our world.”
Is he talking about everyone in the world, or trying to make the reader feel the world is a dangerous place? This also sounds more like something Herbert W. Armstrong would blare out, except HWA would re-word it slightly using the words “the true gospel” in place of “He.”
This entire newsletter could have been picked apart to show how we find exception with much of its implications, but we want to touch on only certain things.
Strangely, some of the sentences in this PTM newsletter sounds almost macabre and fearful (perhaps with occultic undertones?) Notice the following:
“Considering one path you see the tombstones of now dead and buried travelers who chose that route. They died deep within the woods without ever being rescued.”
“Standing in the road several hundred feet from you is Someone saying, “Follow me. I know the way. I will lead you out!“
While relating a Greek novel called The Greek Passion, Albrecht writes tells about several things that are quite disturbing, three of which we will quote:
“During the service the man who was chosen to play Judas stabs the shepherd boy to death.”
“…murdering and butchering Greeks in bloody atrocities.”
“…made him touch the corpses of dead men.”
More on the “dark forests”:
“We can get out of the deep and dark forests of our lives where we are lost without hope because Jesus knows the way.”
“…the Author and Finisher of our faith to lead them out of the forest and through the valley of the shadow of death.
Doesn’t this sound like it is saying that Jesus will lead Christians out of one dark forest and then through another dark valley? The valley of shadow of death, according to the Scriptures, refers to death.
“Every spring we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus because it is the great event in history that proves God is more powerful than all of the forces of darkness and death.”
For those looking for a more refreshing ministry, sound in doctrine, and with an emphasis on the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, we recommend Thru the Bible Radio Network with messages from the late J. Vernon McGee. He goes through the entire Word of God in five years, alternating between the O.T. and the N.T. (broadcast in over 100 languages and dialects).
Greg Albrecht Today
Greg Albrecht hasn’t changed all that much since the above article was written. On May 10, 2021 he posted a question and answer article entitled, “The Devil and the Problem of Evil.” (The title almost sounded like a book C. S. Lewis wrote by the name of A Problem of Evil.)
In answering the question, Albrecht steps around words and is never really clear in answering the question which makes his answer nothing but confusing, while at the same time making himself sound pious. The question sent in had to do with a sermon Albrecht had given and where he (Albrecht) had asked how real Satan is and how symbolic he is. The person said they believed Satan was real but wanted Albrecht to elaborate.
Notice some of the things Albrecht says (and we have only focused on a few things; emp. ours):
“I have no idea how real and literal Satan is, and that fact does not bother me…” [goes on to talk about how he believes in the reality of God].
This sounds like he does not take Satan seriously, but he wants us to know he does believe in God.
He talks about how you can have an “unhealthy interest” in evil and darkness [which would not apply to the person who merely asked a question], then says:
“Thus, I suggest the more literal one tends to take Satan and his demons, and how much power one attributes to them, the ‘weaker‘ and more ‘vulnerable” ‘one’s faith is.”
He is mixing two views here to make them seem like one. Someone may believe the first (Satan is literal) without the holding to the second (I John 2:13-14), but Albrecht combines both and then says the person’s faith is “weak and vulnerable.”
“Whatever and whomever the devil and his henchmen are, and whatever they may do (Paul calls him “the prince of the power of the air”) the Bible clearly teaches they are limited in their scope of influence.”
Now he used the words “whatever and whomever” and gives the impression that he doesn’t know for sure if he believes in Satan, even though he quotes Paul saying he is “the prince of the power of the air”–which is what Herbert Armstrong would always emphasize, calling it a “wave length” we might get on. Albrecht’s words give the impression that Satan is nothing to be concerned about. Yet Paul says in II Corinthians 2:11: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” We are also told in Ephesians 6:11 to put on the whole armour of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. This is repeated in vs. 13 that we may be able to withstand in the evil day. Then Peter says Satan is our adversary, walking about as a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour and that we should be vigilant.
This is far different than Albrecht’s ho-hum attitude. Does he really know what he’s talking about as he dances around with words and reveals how ignorant he is of the Scriptures?
“At times a fallen spirit world (whatever such a spiritual dimension is, and I do not pretend to know specifically and doubt anyone who dogmatically claims they know) they often have power and influence in someone’s life because an individual allows and gives them such powers.”
This again is confusion in how he answers this question. He goes back and forth and ends by again putting the blame on any person struggling with evil forces by saying they “gave the demons power.” What about someone who is in need of freedom from spiritual strongholds? He no doubt would say they “allowed it.”
“Satan may be in some way responsible for much of the evil we see in the world, and in some ways he may stand for and symbolize evil in some biblical references.”
He says Satan “may” be responsible for much evil in the world and he “may” symbolize evil. This did not answer the question of whether Satan is literal or symbolic.
“Whether we take all biblical references to Satan being ‘literal’ and ‘real’ or not is a bit of a snipe hunt, I believe.”
So to try and get a straight answer is considered a “practical joke” or a “fool’s errand.” He ends by showing he “doesn’t know” one way or the other whether Satan is real or not. Why didn’t he come out and say it in the beginning? Because he is known for cognitive dissonance and spin. Neither Albrecht nor any of GCI’s ministers ever give a clear, straightforward and simple answer (without fitting blame in somehow). Instead they lead their readers and members down a winding dark road that leads to nowhere.
For more on Greg Albrecht search for his name in the OIU Newsletters (opens as PDF).
Greg Albrecht is also mentioned in the article: What Really Occurred With Worldwide Church of God? beginning with the heading “Change Not Detected Until 1994.” We also recommend you do a search on Greg Albrecht’s name on our site.
Snake in the Grass
On PTM’s “About Us” page, when asked if they are connected with the late evangelist Herbert Armstrong, part of their answer is “Although Armstrong was a popular religious broadcaster for many years, his doctrines were deeply flawed.” This is withholding information and twisting the truth. Herbert Armstrong was never an “evangelist” nor did he ever consider himself one. Not only was he was a false prophet who gave over a hundred false prophecies, but he was known as a religious cult leader and con-artist, proclaiming that the WCG was the one and only true Church of God but in actuality he had plagiarized and copied his doctrines from other cultic groups. For decades, he destroyed innumerable lives through his heretical (not “flawed”) doctrines and use of thought reform to coerce members out of thousands of dollars. GCI (Grace Communion International) continues to whitewash him. Much more about him can be found in our section Herbert W. Armstrong and in our PDF books on the Worldwide Church of God. It appears that Greg Albrecht is still the snake in the grass that he always was.
For more on GCI, read: Grace Communion International History (covers the unbelievable things they have done in the past and what they are doing today to move GCI over into the ecumenical one world religion).
Updates by AJW
May 13, 2021
Note: Plain Truth Ministries Worldwide (PTM) was formed in May 1996 as an affiliated corporation of the Worldwide Church of God” [now known as GCI] (See OIU Newsletter, Vol. 6, Pt. 2) Mike Feazell noted that Plain Truth Ministries, which broadcasts The Plain Truth Commentary and offers Plain Truth magazine, is a “WCG spin-off.” (News Watch Column of the Christian Research Journal, vol. 28, No 6, 2005). When WCG HQ moved from Pasadena to Glendora, CA in 2004, PTM didn’t make that move with them, as there was disagreement over the rent that PTM would be required to pay in the new facility.
Deceit in the beginning: In 2005 The Plain Truth Commentary began running a tag line at the end of their broadcast in various areas which said their program was sponsored by such and such church in the local vicinity and then the pastor’s phone number was given. (WCG Today, July/August 2005) This church was none other than a Worldwide Church of God congregation which paid for half the cost of the broadcast. However, the name “Worldwide Church of God” was never mentioned at this time as part of the name of the church. Evidently PTM did not want others to know that they have been affiliated with WCG, or that Albrecht is known as WCG Media Director. [Note: 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. Then from 2005 to 2015 they had Christian Odyssey. Today it is Equipper (a monthly e-magazine).]
1 C. S. Lewis – Why So Popular Among Evangelicals? (disturbing elements about C. S. Lewis’ beliefs) and Trouble in Narnia: The Occult Side of C.S. Lewis . [offsite links]
2 The dates when Greg Albrecht, Joseph Tkach and Michael Feazell were interviewed on the Bible Answer Man are as follows: 1-4-96; 1-12-96; 11-28-97; 11-19-97; 2-7-97. Greg Albrecht alone was interviewed on the program on 5-1-98. WCG’s “doctrinal change on the Trinity” was announced on the Bible Answer Man on 5-5-94. [Tapes with ESN]
3 In November 2004 the Worldwide Church of God moved its headquarters from Pasadena to Glendora, California. (Pasadena Star-News, October 25, 2004) By May 2006 all their offices were moved to Glendora. (Together, May-June 2006). In 2006 they were considering a name change. In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. (Read: Worldwide Church of God Changes Name)
4 Noted on the 2004 “Called to Be Free” Video/DVD.