Ten years ago, we moved to Mexico to take care of my husband’s aging parents. I didn’t speak Spanish and didn’t affiliate myself with any church here. At that time, a friend sent me the Philadelphia Trumpet magazine, which I found to be very interesting. Not knowing anything about Herbert Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God, or the Philadelphia Church of God, and thinking it was a mainline Christian church, I began requesting literature and Bible studies (free home Bible Correspondence Course1). Since I didn’t go to any church, worshipping in my home on Saturdays was fine, and at first I felt very good about everything.
I was contacted by one of PCG’s ministers, and even met with him on a trip to Texas. But as time went on, and the more I read, the more condemnation I felt. The PCG minister told me that even though God’s Spirit had been “working with me” for thirty years, I was not truly saved and that God’s Spirit2 did not dwell within me, and would not, until I was baptized by one of their ministers (the only ones who can truly baptize). I found this hard to believe and became more and more confused. I accepted Jesus as Savior thirty years ago, was baptized, and had attended mainstream Christian Churches.
I also took issue with certain teachings about race separation, and told him so. His tone, when I asked tough questions, was condescending. I asked many questions about things in the Bible, and found his answers incomplete and contradictory. Thank God, He gave me enough discernment to know the truth. I had longed for fellowship and the PCOG’s correspondence courses and books seemed to fill the void for a while until, by God’s mercy, I was no longer able to tolerate the condemnation and doctrinal errors.
One of the “last straws” with me was when I received a letter requesting donations for an enormous building project they are undertaking. I asked the minister why they were embarking on such a project when they teach that the United States is going to be destroyed by the revised Roman Empire led by Germany? His answer, as usual, was that Christ would preserve them and this place to worship when He returns. I then reminded him that they teach the “called” will be told to physically leave the U.S. before this destruction and flee to Israel to be protected there. I think he became impatient with my questions, so I cordially ended the conversation.
Then I sent an e-mail to the minister stating exactly why the PCG was not for me, why I was cutting off ties with this group, and pointing out some of the objections I had because these teachings are just not in the Bible!!
A few days later, he wrote back. It was short, and he quoted Amos 3:3 about “if two cannot agree, how can they walk together?” I sort of felt sorry for him for a minute, because he was raised in the WCG and his whole family left to follow Gerald Flurry. I felt sad because I know he is walking down the wrong road, but is so thoroughly convinced they are in the right. I must remember to pray for him to be delivered from this bondage. Imagine the great testimony he, and the other ministers, would have if they would accept the truth. “God’s Word never returns void…,” so I pray that as they study the Bible, that the truth of God’s Word would break through the darkness and lies and bring life and light to them. I do pray that God would continue to deliver people from this cult, and that their deliverance would be used for His glory to reach others.
Around this time, we purchased a computer, and I was able to research the Philadelphia Church of God, and access other Christian websites. Although I never officially joined the PCOG (Thanks be to God!), I can testify to the subtle way in which they try to draw you in. I am now fellowshipping online with a wonderful group of Christians. Once I extricated this erroneous thinking from my mind, I felt such a peace and restoration of my relationship with my Savior.
Thank you for your ministry of exposing this group and helping those who have been affected by it.
Read Camille’s letter to ESN: Ways I Suffered Spiritually Because of PCG (5-1-08)
I Could Not Obey the No-Contact Ruling (Have Courage to Look Into the Hard Questions)
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from
the power of Satan unto God…” ~Acts 26:18
Footnotes by ESN:
1 This is called Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course. Note: A much better option than PCG’s Bible Correspondence Course for studying the Bible is with Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988) of Thru the Bible who goes through the entire Word of God in 5 years (M-F), alternating between the O.T. and N.T. This recommended ministry is listed on our Links.
2 Using the words “God’s spirit” instead of the Holy Spirit was a term often used by Herbert Armstrong and all splinter groups which believe the Holy Spirit is only a force and not fully God. Read: Is the Holy Spirit Only the Power of God? and accompanying scriptural verses.