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27. WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD: SPLITTING CULTS

By

PROF. RICHARD G. BENEFIELD


Cults often split up into new cults. Some Baptist denominations claim that they, Baptists, increase by dividing. Splitting up can at times increase numbers in the split groups, but eventually the splits (divisions) catch up with different groups. For example, the Southern Baptist Convention, which is not a cult, lost 20,000 members in Oklahoma in 1998, and lost members all over the nation, as reported by the news media during the churches’ recent Convention (1999).
 

I. ARMSTRONG WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD
 

A. HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG (1892-1986)

Armstrong’s church (cult) began in 1934, the year I was born. It was first called Radio Church of God, and later Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Armstrong was able to put a lot of money into his pet cult, and it grew. It distributed much free literature including the “Plain Truth” magazine.
 

B. CHURCH OF GOD INTERNATIONAL: SPLIT

Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong is a son of Herbert W. Armstrong. Garner Ted was in and out of the graces of his father, and was finally ousted from his father’s church. It was said that he was ousted because of immorality. For whatever reason he was out, and started the Church of God International (CGI) with world headquarters in Tyler, Texas.
 

C. PHILADELPHIA CHURCH OF GOD: SPLIT

Another split occurred when the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) set up its headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1989. Mr. Gerald Flurry heads this church.
 

D. OKLAHOMA AND TEXAS CULTS

Many people go culting in Oklahoma and Texas. After the Branch Dividian Cult, with David Koresh, and many of his followers, including children, died in a huge compound fire, near Waco, Texas, the news media reported that Timothy McVeigh was mad about that. He proceeded with the help of Terry Nichols and built a huge truck bomb which blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which killed 168 people.

Later a reverend minister, and some of his followers, from Eloheim City, in eastern Oklahoma, decided to go bombing. They were arrested, and the minister told the news media that they intended to “take out,” blow up, four more federal buildings.

People of course “go culting” in all 50 states, and around the world.

Some of the major religions can be classified as cults; some as extremely dangerous cults!
 

II. OTHER CHURCH OF GOD GROUPS: SPLITS
 

The beat goes on.

The beat goes on.

Armstrongism continues spawning other splits, and more can be expected.

There is the Church of God, Seventh Day denomination, not to be confused with the Seventh Day Church of God. Etc., Etc.

Church of God, Headquarters in Anderson, Indiana (1830 or 1880), and the Church of God (1886), Headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee, are not cults, but legitimate church denominations.

Church of God of Prophecy, Headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee, (A.J. Tomlinson church), split off of the Church of God. The Church of God of Prophecy has several non-Biblical teachings.

When I was very young in the ministry, a fellow I know became a Church of God of Prophecy minister. He nagged me to be a guest preacher in his church. I didn’t want to, but finally told him that if I did, then I would say why I can’t accept your denomination. He kept on. I finally said, “Okay.” I told the congregation why I could not accept several of their doctrines. Later, the fellow I knew got carried away, got under the piano, and kicked out the bottom. A little later the church closed.

My intention is not to close church denominations, cults, or religions. When they stay in business there are more splits and divisions. In divisions there is weakness, and in unity there is strength.
 

III. ARMSTRONGISM’S INFLUENCES
 

A. CHANGES

Armstrongism, sometimes called “British-Israelism,” had a great deal of influence, especially in causing divisions. In efforts to be more acceptable the World Wide Church of God closed Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, and aimed at getting her college in Big Sandy, California, accredited. Various educational accrediting associations are not without problems, and pitfalls. Not to mention money needs. Sometime ago a Carnegie Foundation study produced details on accrediting agencies. I expect many changes to occur during the next few years.

Armstrong’s World Wide Church of God is known for publishing the “Plain Truth Magazine.” However it discontinued various other publications. It also continued to change various doctrines. While some people think that Armstrong’s WCG has become evangelical it is not yet in that category.
 

B. SEVENTH-DAY SALVATION

Armstrong’s WCG now claims that people need not keep the Seventh-Day Sabbath (Saturday) to be saved. The Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) claims that Seventh-Day Saturday keeping is essential to salvation. Of course it never was! Neither is Sunday-keeping essential to salvation.
 

C. MOSES’ LAW

WCG members are backing off from keeping the Law of Moses. But the PCG claims that Christians should keep the Law of Moses.

But the Law of Moses was fulfilled in Christ. (Matthew 5:17). Furthermore the New Testament teaches that whosoever tried to be justified (made right) in the sight of God, by the Law of Moses, is fallen from grace. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” - Galatians 5:4. Better read that again.
 

D. RACISM AND OPPOSITION TO INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE

Herbert W. Armstrong taught that the white race is the chosen race. He taught separation ot the races, and believed in white supremacy. During the past few years the WCG has changed some, but not that much.

Armstrong taught against interracial marriage, and so does the PCG. Racism is presented as a Christian doctrine by these cults, and by many other cults, and church denominations.

Interracial, and inter-ethnic marriages, are opposed as being evil, and against the will of God. This is false, and nonsense. See my writing, “Interracial Marriage and Mixture in the Bible.” Moses was married to a Black lady (Numbers 12:1), and to an Asian lady (Edodus 18:1-4), at the same time. But racist religionists will never admit it.

My grandfather Benefield married a Choctaw Indian lady, in Alabama, but not without facing, and fighting, some white opposition. My wife is three-fourths German, and one-fourth Creek Indian. Our youngest daughter is married to a 100 percent Mexican, who is a fine man. He is an American citizen.

Religious racism was rampant in religions, church denominations, and cults. Religious racism continues to be very strong in many religions, church denominations, and cults, in the United States, and around the globe.
 

E. CULTS HAVE NO MONOPOLY

Cults do not monopolize racism, anti-interracial, and/or, anti-ethnic marriages, and other false doctrines which they pedal in the name of religious or Bible doctrines.
 

IV. SPLIT, SPLIT, SPLIT, SPLIT!
 
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