Monday, March 21, 2005

Worldwide Church of God...

I have always understood the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) to be a cult. Living in Utah makes one very suspicious of people 'claiming' to be Christians. When Ravi Zacharias came to speak in Salt Lake City at the Mormon tabernacle, November 14, it was for a gathering of Christian evangelicals and Mormons. A gathering where a dialogue could begin, a sharing of one another's beliefs in a civilized manner. We are sitting in the pews through the announcements etc., when Pastor Greg Johnson of Standing Together announced that Mr. Tkach ( I believe that was the man's name) from the WCG would lead us in the opening prayer. I have to admit, I was very uncomfortable and wondered if this whole thing was just a huge mistake. I looked at my husband and my friend, Lana, as they looked back at me. We bowed our heads in prayer. I listened very intently to his prayer. There was nothing wrong, doctrinally, with his prayer.

However, my alarms were going off in my head. Having lived around and dealt with a false religion for over 24 years I decided to do some checking. My first query began with Standing Together and it was there that I first heard that the Worldwide Church of God had renounced their past teachings and come full circle to believe as evangelical Christians. I got a little excited, for this would be the first known cult group, that I was aware of, coming to Jesus Christ and rejecting their past doctrinal stances. I was cautiously excited.

It always intrigues me to see the Lord work. A few months ago, a couple with several children moved to our area and began attending our church. He had attended seminary for a couple of years before deciding that the Lord was leading them in a different direction, whereas, he left seminary and finished getting his degree in mechanical engineering. My husband and I met with them and began to get to know them. Imagine my surprise when he said he "had come out of a cult" and that cult was WCG (before he became a Christian). In fact, he had been born on their college campus in the infirmary. He was very open about how the church leadership had begun to see doctrinal errors and how they had decided to meet it 'face on', so to speak. They were not going to hide or cover up their past doctrinal errors but would move forward, instructing and explaining why the 'old' had to be discarded (because it did not line up with biblical teaching) and the Truth embraced. This man went on to explain that there were a number of people who did not see 'the Light' and chose to break off from the Worldwide Church of God. If you are interested in reading about their history and their transformation to an evangelical church read this.

There are days, I have to admit, when I get discouraged in my witnessing with mormons. So many times I feel like I am hitting my head on a brick wall. I have to stop and remind myself of people like Michelle and Phyllis (my November archives have their stories). As I have pondered the changes that have taken place in WCG I am again encouraged that there is not anything that is too big for God! His power is limitLESS!!! There is nothing He can't accomplish! So, fortified anew, I press on, always looking for opportunities to share the Good News with whomever the Lord pleases to put in my path.

17 comments:

Maurice said...

Great post Clair! It is an amazing thing what has happened in the WCG. God is always at work.

Also, It is no accident that God has you in a place surrounded by Mormons. He has you there for a reason. Keep being a light for Him!

Pilot Mom said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Maurice. Several people at my husband's work have come across my site. I don't want to change how I approach things so I am praying fervantly that the Lord will use whatever I post for His glory! If it will begin a discussion regarding their eternal destination then, Hallelujah!!!

Roger R. said...

WCG is a very minor presence in the UK, but it's nice to know what is happening in a place where you are 'surrounded'...

Much love,

Becky said...

You go girl! I agree with Maurice, God has you and your family there for a purpose. "Don't grow weary in doing well, don't surrender in the fight, Keep on stormin' the gates of hell, keep on doin' what you know is right"

Anonymous said...

Claire: Why didn't you tell me that you already had a blog? ..just curious ~ASJ~

Pilot Mom said...

Thanks to each of you for responding so encouragingly! My heart just breaks for someone who has a desire to know God, and thinks that they do, but will ultimately miss out because of believing in false doctrine.

The more I ponder about the WCG it just blows my mind. So what would the problem be for the Lord Almighty to get a hold of the false prophet in the LDS church? None at all!

I have always believed that the top three in the LDS church knew exactly whom they serve...but, maybe they don't. Surely they are just as blinded as everyone else, until God removes the scales from their eyes and opens their ears to see and hear the Truth that He sets before them.

Thanks again for helping to 'fortify' me anew! :)

Kim said...

Claire, did you know that as a teenager I almost joined the LDS church? I have a rather dramatic "deliverance" from the decision....I'd like to share it with you sometime.

G~ said...

Wow, Claire. What a great post. I am often puzzled and almost frustrated by things like this. I grew up in the conservative Christian beliefs that I still hold today. I didn't go from denomination to denomination, etc., so it's hard for me to comprehend other belief systems that are so vastly different from basic Christian doctrine.
We have some Mormons here in the SE Ky area, many JW's and a few other 'fringe' cult-ish organizations. It's hard to know just how to deal, but God does put us where He wants us to work.
Hang in there and blessings a plenty on you!!
~hugs~

Catez said...

Hi Claire,
Great post. I too was surprised when i first learned the WWCOG had thrown out their false doctrine. Unfortuantely the splinter group Living Church of God are a cult and still follow Armstrongism. I think there are major differences with the WWCOG and the LDS though. The WWCOG have not had a replacement for the bible - so when they examined their basis they found they were wrong. On the other hand the LDS has the Book of Mormon which is quite contrary to the bible and which is given priority. The best avenue for a mormon is to leave the LDS. It is very interesting hearing your perspective and about how you are bringing the light (that light which is the life of men!) to others. God bless you.

Pilot Mom said...

Catez, thanks! And, I agree with you wholeheartedly. The LDS do not use the Bible as their authority and yes, they MUST leave. However, I have a neat story about a mormon woman who came out of mormonism listening to Christian radio (BBN). I'll do a post on her one of these days because she is such an encouragement to the Christian community!!!

Teresa said...

It must be very difficult for you, but remember, it is all worth it for one lost sheep. God will be glorified by your humble obedience. God bless you. My sister-in-law is a Christian who converted to Mormonism because they cared for her. I think that she is coming back around. Is there any help that you could give me with this?

Catez said...

Hi, this is a sort of trackback. I featured your post in my Scene and Herd: Easter Edition. God bless.

Kristen said...

Great post...it is awesome to see what the Lord is doing.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I would sure love it if someone could point out for me the false doctrines that WWCOG turned away from? What kind of things did they believe in that was so offensive?

Pilot Mom said...

Dear Anonymous, thank you for asking for more information. Some of the more blatent teachings rejected the biblical doctrine of 'salvation by grace through faith alone', also they rejected the Trinity, and the bodily resurection of Christ.

You might be interested in reading more about World Wide Church of God at this link: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/w01.html
If you still have more questions please feel free to contact me again.

Anonymous said...

Hello Pilot mom.

Interesting, I thought no one would have answered me because this was started so long ago in 2005.

The point of not being saved by faith alone is not uncommon today. I have even heard Evangelicals preaching last week on channel 161 Sirius Satellite radio that you need to repent and turn from your sins and follow Jesus. Is this not an example of contradicting the statement faith alone? James 2:18 tells us we need to have works so our faith is shown through our works. Works don't save us, yes you are right, but it shows we love Him and are willing to obey Him. Jesus tells us plainly if you love Me, keep My commandments John 14:15,21. Commandment keeping is works is it not?

As for the trinity, from what I could tell about Worldwide and HWA's teachings, they believed that the Holy Spirit was part of God. The trinity says its a separate unique person and HWA said it was something given by God. These opinions are not really all that far off from each other and does not change anything important about God's ultimate plan for mankind does it not? There is no where in the bible that states you need to acknowledge the Holy Spirit or pray to it is there?

Thirdly, no where has Worldwide ever taught that the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ never happened. Is that what you are saying?

Fourthly, the link you gave me is also full of false facts too. They never gave 30% of their income to the church. There is the 10% 1st tithe that most evangelical churches preach today, another 10% for second tithe that the members spent on themselves going to God's Holy days like hotels, food, etc. And third tithe which was every third year only that was given to go directly to all the downtrodden in the church like the widows, handicapped, etc. That third tithe was eventually done away with though in North America because it seemed that when the church supplemented incomes to these people the government would then claw back the equal amounts off of the support payments they sent them.

Mr Armstrong was not a perfect man, I will be the first to agree with you on that. He made a lot of crazy prophecies that never did and cannot ever happen now because his time lines expired on them .. BUT..... he was heading in the right direction. We as Christians need to mirror Christ in everything He did and He kept the Holy Days, so did the Disciples after Christ returned to heaven. Paul also taught the gentiles the Holy Days too so we can't say they were just for the Jews. We can't say the Sabbath was ever changed to Sunday by Jesus either because the Pharisees never condemned the disciples for keeping the Sabbath on the wrong day either after Jesus went to heaven. You would think that somewhere just once in the new testament that the days would be recorded that the Sabbath changed days. Check your history books on where the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday. Read Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi who is a respected Italo-American scholar who has done tons of research on the Sabbath day with the use of the famous Pontifical Gregorian University, where he was the first non-Catholic to be admitted in over 450 years of its history. He was even awarded a gold medal by Pope Paul VI for attaining the academic distinction of summa cum laude for his class-work and dissertation From Sabbath to Sunday. This man has never had anything to do with the WWCOG so he is not a brain washed person.

In closing, I implore you, read, study, the word of God, study what people try to sell you. try to disprove what I am writing now with the bible. PLEASE, LOVE GOD with ALL your heart and mind. Deut 6:5 Mark 12:30 Luke 10:27

Pilot Mom said...

Anonymous, I will get back to you on your comments but it may not be until Monday. Thanks for your patience. :) Blessings....