Worldwide Church of God is Now Known as Grace Communion International
In his book Transformed by Truth, Joe Tkach Jr.’s reverence for Herbert Armstrong is quite apparent. One chapter that I especially took issue with was Chapter 12: “The Enigma of Herbert W. Armstrong.” I find it strange that they let HWA’s doctrine go without letting the man go.1 I have to wonder, if Tkach, Jr. had been a Mormon and came to understand the Gospel, would he revere Joseph Smith the same way?? I would think a spiritual advisor in the true sense would have to teach truth!
GCI has some doctrines I would definitely disagree with. It’s interesting that they say that their statement of beliefs “is not a closed creed.” It is in flux. That could mean anything. But the Gospel doesn’t change. Then again, in GCI it could.
I can’t believe what Joe Tkach has written here. If the rest of it is as inaccurate as this chapter, how disrespectful to the membership and ex-membership. I can’t believe he had the nerve to post it online, let alone sell it!
At the beginning of Chapter 12 it says:
To all current or former members of the Worldwide Church of God:
Please Read This First!
This chapter is not written to attack or belittle Herbert Armstrong in any way. I will not dare to judge the quality of his spiritual relationship with God – that’s not for me or anyone else to attempt. I believe that God loved him, that he loved God, and that his security rests in Christ alone. This chapter represents my personal attempt to come to grips with the central place Mr. Armstrong holds in the history and shaping of our church.”
This is nothing but head games! I found it shocking to read it.
How could HWA’s “security rest in Christ alone,” when he not only slandered other Christians and their ministries, but added works to grace? WCG was never a “church” but a destructive, Bible-based cult that destroyed countless lives. Many (especially child survivors) are still suffering the ramifications and losses to this very day.
Here are some excerpts from Chapter 12 of Transformed by Truth, along with my comments. [Tkach, Jr.’s words will be indented and in quotes.]
When I look back at the long life and career of Herbert W. Armstrong, I am struck by several things. On the one hand, he was passionate about discovering biblical truth and was deeply committed to living by it; on the other hand, many of the doctrines he championed were flawed and unscriptural. He taught that people were not saved by law-keeping but by the grace of God through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ, yet he also taught that God would finally save only those who obeyed Him, including obedience to WCG teachings such as observance of the Saturday Sabbath and the annual holy days. His teaching minimized the sufficiency of the saving work of Christ and emphasized the coming millennial kingdom. He often characterized Christ as little more than a divine messenger.”
HWA taught that we were not saved by law keeping but the grace of God?? Really?? Is that a typo or is he serious?? That is not only shocking, it is a blatant lie!!
“To this day I am not certain how to relate to the memory of Herbert W. Armstrong. He was my spiritual leader and teacher for almost forty-five years, and it was through his ministry that I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ;”
I really take issue with the above statement. How could you “come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ” by a liar who blinded people to the true Gospel?? What a weird statement.
“Yet as I sit in the chair he once occupied, I have come to recognize how far short our church [?] had fallen from biblical norms. He dogmatically taught an inaccurate view of church history which amounted to one gigantic conspiracy theory. There are, however, several lasting and positive legacies Mr. Armstrong bequeathed to us.
1. Respect for the authority of Scripture”
If he had respect for Scripture he wouldn’t have attacked and called false and “of Satan” the whole of the Christian church including the contributions of many Christian writers. Tkach, Jr. is blinded to this basic fact.
“From his earliest to his last days, Mr. Armstrong maintained a reverential respect for Scripture. He believed and taught that Holy Scripture was the very Word of God, faithful in all respects and utterly worthy of our loyalty and obedience. As he wrote, “Our teaching and doctrines MUST COME FROM GOD! Through CHRIST!… Jesus Christ is the Word of God in PERSON. The Bible is the same Word of God IN PRINT!” [emp. HWA’s]
Where was the Holy Spirit to lead HWA into all truth??
HWA said that he had received direct from Christ the “key to unlocking prophecy” and the restored gospel which had been lost! We show this on our site. Instead of maintaining a “reverential respect for Scripture,” HWA in fact twisted the Scriptures, taking them out of context, added to them, and used methods of mind control, especially fear, for the purpose of controlling and exploiting others!]
“He would often say that if it could be shown that something he was teaching was unbiblical, he would change his teaching, since the Bible can make no error. It was this strong heritage that created the rails along which our doctrinal train has been running these past few years. Without the deep commitment to the Scriptures which God instilled in us through Mr. Armstrong, we would never have embarked on the journey we have taken. It was this passionate dedication to the truth of the Bible that has emboldened us to make the corrections that Scripture demands.”
HWA was shown back in the 1970s his errors (a.k.a. heresies) by many faithful men in his employ.2 They were treated with disrespect and cruelty and thrown out of the organization. Conveniently, Tkach, Jr. never mentions this.
I was shocked by the inaccuracies, cover-up and falsehoods in Tkach, Jr.’s reasoning.
Richard Foster “Renovaré” and his spiritual formation movement3 have taken hold of GCI (not to mention the New Age ramifications). Spiritual formation has made inroads into a lot of modern churches today. It is often hidden as some new “spiritual discipline.” I feel this is adding to Christ, and grace is no longer sufficient. Members need to get out of these systems.
The New Age will definitely be the order of things in the future, but I also believe that God will bring these things to light to all who truly believe and trust in Him. We are fortunate to see this now. May He give us discernment in all things.
Exit & Support Network™
NOTE: Let the reader be aware that the word “transformed” is a New Age term and that after the changes WCG (now GCI) went on to endorse New Age teachers and philosophies. They have become involved with the ecumenical movement today. See our Links under “Discernment.”
READ: New Age Terms in the Church.
Worldwide Church of God Whitewashes Herbert Armstrong After New Changes (Includes quotes from GCI’s 2019 booklet)
Footnotes by ESN:
1 Doctrine was used as a massive distraction in making WCG’s changes, and these changes were instigated through a layer of deception and confusion. (See the OIU Newsletters; available as PDF download)
2 Worldwide Church of God History by Kenneth Westby (former evangelist of WCG), Hanky-Panky and Revolt in the Worldwide Church of God (an article which appeared in True magazine).
3 See article: Richard Foster’s Renovaré President Admits They Have Taught Spiritual Formation to “Hundreds of Thousands of People.” Update: Seminaries such as Dallas Theological Seminary are promoting spiritual formation.
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