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?
Skip down to Prophecy Teachings (includes mark of the beast and coronavirus)
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. (More info concerning this is found in OIU 3, Pt 3 under “The United Church of God is Born”).
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. [United News Dec. 2007] 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 until his death March 14, 2013. Victor Kubik is now the new president. Also read: “Victor Kubik Using Lifenets as Front.”)
United Church of God says they are the “true church of God” and that one key in identifying the true Church is the correct day of worship, which is the Sabbath. [Q&A Jan 26, 2011]
They claim to be “committed to understanding and practicing New Testament Christianity” 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”).
They believe the Holy Spirit is only “Spirit of God and of Christ” and that God is “two distinct divine Beings” God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son. They believe these two beings make up the “one God family” but others will be born into it later.
They reject the eternal sonship of Christ and believes He was created at His human birth. (Read: The Eternal Sonship of Christ by George W. Zeller and Renald E. Showers).
They teach that “tithing remains a universal law” and that it is “the duty of the Church to teach people to tithe, but it is the responsibility of the individual to obey.”
More about UCG’s false and heretical beliefs can be found by reading their booklets, especially their fundamental beliefs, or going to their Questions and Answers.
UCG has an array of glossy and slick “free” literature. The United News is the church-wide newsletter for members and their TV program is called “Beyond Today.” They even have a “Ambassador Bible Center” (ABC) which teaches the same “theology” classes that were formerly taught at Ambassador College (founded by Herbert W. Armstrong in 1947).
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 their “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.
Only Road to Eternal Life
UCG’s belief system is taught to be the “only road” to eternal life. UCG’s booklet, The Road to Eternal Life (1995, 1996, 2009), incorporates “buzzwords” that all mind-manipulating groups use and which have meaning to the members. (Be sure and read: Loading the Language/How Loading the Language is Used in Totalistic Groups.) Following are a few quotes from the booklet, bolding emphasis ours; italics theirs:
“We must recognize the sin within us and comprehend our deep-rooted hostility to God.” (p. 7)
“Yet while salvation is given to us as a gift, there are conditions attached.” (p. 13)
“We see that the Holy Spirit is given to us by the prayer of and laying on of hands by God’s ordained ministers, serving as His representatives.” (p. 19)
“Overcoming our habitual sins and selfish nature does not happen instantly. It is a lifelong process, often involving great effort.” (p. 21)
“As long as we actively seek God’s will and allow His Holy Spirit to work in our lives, our eventual salvation is guaranteed.” (p. 31)
“Now that you know what to do, will you act on it, or will you let this precious calling from God go unheeded?” (p. 31)
“Laid before you, then, is the road to eternal life—the only road.” (p. 31)
“We trace our origins to the Church that Jesus founded in the early first century.” (Back of book: If You’d Like to Know More…)
The booklet goes on to inform the reader that they are to submit to “the government of God” (p. 15) (which means submitting to the UCG leaders over them).
Their entire dogma and belief system is rooted in the teachings of Herbert Armstrong, known as a false prophet who gave over 200 false prophecies. (Read: Did Herbert Armstrong Set Dates?)
They have several prophecy articles on their site which are rooted in Herbert Armstrong’s dogma.
Teachings on the Mark of the Beast:
Included on their site are several fearful articles on the Mark of the Beast. For instance:
In Beyond Today, Bible Questions and Answers, “What is the Mark of the Beast Talked About in the Book of Revelation?” they say the mark is evidently a “mark of disobedience to God” and go on to say, “Many Bible students have pointed to God’s seventh-day Sabbath” as an identifying sign of God’s people, yet they don’t reveal who these “many Bible students” are. (Seventh-day Adventists? COG 7th Day?)
The heading for the article says: “God’s people won’t accept the mark of the Beast [which is referred to as forced observance of Sunday] and will not be permitted to engage in commerce.” But nothing is said about how or if they will be able to survive. HWA taught that those who took the mark would suffer the seven last plagues and those that didn’t may be tortured to death in the Great Tribulation. So that doesn’t leave them much of a choice.
In the Beyond Today article, “Will you Be Ready to Reject the Mark of the Beast?” it says the “very important thing we should ask ourselves: Will I be ready to reject the mark of the Beast when that time comes?” Members are to “prepare their heart to choose God” and “be ready to reject the mark of the Beast.” The fear in this article is very similar to how HWA would write except he talked of a place of safety in Petra.
In their extremely fear-filled booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled they state that God promises protection for His people at the end of the age, but no mention of where this protection, or place of safety, is. Instead, they say, “Though some are prophesied to survive the Satan-inspired onslaught, the Scriptures reveal that many others will be martyred.” It is found in their booklets on the Place of Safety where they talk about “flying into the wilderness” as HWA taught, while part of the church suffers persecution. But they don’t know how, when or where they will be protected. They will know it at the “essential time.”
Read: What is the Mark of the beast and how do we keep from being afraid? (Q&A on ESN).
Fearful Articles About the Coronavirus:
In Beyond Today, “Coronavirus and Rampant Fear” (March 17, 2020), the article tries to tie in the coronavirus to the Great Tribulation. as it talks about “coming dire events prophesied in the Bible,” and “terrifying expectation of worsening events and resultant widespread fear.”
[Update: In the April 22, 2020 issue of Beyond Today they updated this same article with a new title of “Covid-19 and Rampant Fear.”]
But yet readers are told not to react with” paralyzing fear” or to “buy into fear.”
As they go on to say, “Christ’s faithful followers need not fear,” their answer appears to be to pray that they “will be accounted worthy to escape all these things.” [emp. mine]
So does UCG know exactly where they are going to escape to? They admit they don’t. As mentioned above under the Mark of the Beast, they (the ministers?) will know when and where to go at the “essential time.”
This article says that Covid-19 is the “harbinger of greater and more deadly storms to come” and members need to examine if their foundation is on the rock and to “watch and obey” (i. e., obey the Law).
They end the article by telling members not to give in to fear or panic and despair (in spite of all the fear in the article), and say, “This is a time to lift up your head and heart to God and seek Him while He may still be found.” [emp. mine] This is no doubt a reference to Isaiah 55:6, but it comes across as another subtle fear statement that things could come to the point where it would be too late for them to seek God.
Yet the Scriptures say, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17 and many other “whosoever” verses.) This is an invitation to receive God’s free gift of eternal life and carries no fear with it.
The article talks about “Many are worried and scared–very scared” and use many other such fearful statements, some posed as questions.
UCG in their literature picks and chooses selected scriptures in order to establish their closely held belief that they are “spiritual Israel” and will go through the time of “Jacob’s trouble” believing they are “Jacob.” This is a mixture of covenant theology and British-Israelism.
Splinter Group is COGWA:
Church of God, a Worldwide Association is a splinter of UCG that formed in 2010. UCG stated the next year that it had lost 53% of its paid ministers in the United States.
In 2018 UCG was said to have about 12,000 members; as of 2020 they had a little over 7,000 members.
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)
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
Updated May 18, 2020
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