Should you be wary of United Church of God? Are they a high demand, deceitful group that uses methods of mind control in order to recruit and retain others? Where does their belief system really originate from?
United Church of God, An International Association, is one of the major breakoffs from the Worldwide Church of God. It was founded in 1995, within six weeks of the WCG changes, by Bob Dick and David Hulme in Arcadia, CA.
In December 2007 UCG-AIA announced that their headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio would be moved to property near the town of Denton, Texas that they purchased for $1.6 million dollars. Clyde Kilough (former Ambassador College graduate) was the new president of UCG in 2009; however, in April 2010 he was asked by the UCG Council to resign and Roy Holladay became the acting president. Then in June 2010 Dennis Luker (former minister in WCG) became the new president. (UPDATE: Dennis Luker died March 14, 2013 of cancer and Victor Kubik is now the new president. Also read August 23, 2015 letter: “Victor Kubik Using Lifenets as Front.”)
United Church of God has said that they are the “continuation of the one and only true church of God”3 (tracing their origins to “the church that Jesus founded in the early first century” and following “the same teachings, doctrines and practices established then.”). What UCG actually follows are the teachings, doctrines and practices of Herbert W. Armstrong who founded the Worldwide Church of God in 1934 (it was originally called “Radio Church of God”), proclaiming it was the “one and only true church of God.” UCG believes they are “God’s true church” evidenced by their “obedience to God’s Laws” and being a “small flock.” Members are admonished to “find out where God is working” and to “finish the Work of God” (which members are to support through their tithes and offerings).
While they say they are “a continuation of that body Jesus Christ founded,” have a “distinct identity” but “do not claim that all Christians are among our fellowship,” they believe those in “counterfeit” Christianity (whom UCG says are teaching a “false gospel”) “remain blinded to the real meaning of sin, repentance and conversion” but “God’s special people” “understand the Scriptures” and “strive” to obey God’s Law.
They affirm they are “committed to understanding and practicing New Testament Christianity”7 when, in fact, it is nothing but old covenant theology given to the nation Israel (along with scriptures redefined by Herbert Armstrong). By not understanding the New Covenant (including the book of Galatians), they are in essence denying Christ’s finished work for them on the cross. (Read: The Law of Moses and the Grace of God)
They teach what is known as “God’s Plan for mankind” (the O. T. Feast days; also known as “Annual Sabbaths”).
UCG has an array of glossy and slick “free” literature; e. g., World News and Prophecy (to “discern the times…in light of Bible prophecy”); The Good News (“a magazine of understanding”; published from 1995 to 2015); Beyond Today Magazine (May-June 2018); Compass Check (formerly “Vertical Thought“) for youth; and Virtual Christian Magazine (“Hope and Encouragement For the Real World”). The United News is the church-wide newsletter for members and their radio program is called Good News Radio Program. They even have a “Ambassador Bible Center” (ABC) which teaches the same “theology” classes that were formerly taught at Ambassador College (founded by HWA in 1947). Their TV program is “Beyond Today.”
UCG is eager to introduce people to their “free Bible Study Course” (which is also online), including “Sabbath School Lessons” and a “Teen Bible Study Guide” for the youth. This 12-lesson Bible Study Course (which emphasizes that “obedience brings understanding” and presents several other “keys” to Bible understanding that Herbert Armstrong taught) is one of the first steps to getting people to believe their teachings are truly Bible-based and, as a result, end up joining. (HWA also made use of these same tactics. See: How Did Herbert W. Armstrong Recruit People?)
If one carefully examines United Church of God’s “free” literature (including their free 12-lesson Bible Study Course), they can clearly discern that it is filled with mind control methods of guilt, striving for perfection, preoccupation with sin and repentance, fear, and “true church” dogma.
UCG’s belief system is taught to be the “only road” to eternal life.
For more info on the beginnings of United Church of God-AIA see OIU 3, Pt. 2, OIU 3, pt. 3 and OIU 4, pt. 4. (OIUs available as PDF download)