History of the Church of God
(WorldWide Church of God)
by Peter Salemi
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 31, 1892. He was born into the Quaker faith that emigrated from England to Pennsylvania with William Penn, a 100 years before the U.S.A became a nation.
He married a woman named Loma. One day his wife Loma Armstrong began to discover that it was the Seventh-Day Sabbath, not Sunday, Christians ought to keep. Mr. Armstrong thought his wife went crazy. At one point he almost divorced her. Instead he looked into it, because he said "all these churches can't be wrong."
After intense study of the Sabbath, and evolution, he came to the conclusion that what he was taught in church all his life was completely opposite of what the Bible said.
Mr. Armstrong repented, and gave his life to the service of Almighty God
After his conversion he began searching for God's true church. Through the process of elimination he was able to narrow it down to three churches.
He fully reviewed the teachings of the Seventh-Day Adventists, and the Seventh-Day Baptists, (which had gone apostate from the truth at this time) and proved them wrong in a lot of their doctrines, like the Trinity and so on.
Then he came to the last church, that even had the right name. This was a small, little-heard-of Church of God whose headquarters were at Stanberry, Mo. He noticed in the Bible as well that Jesus called his church the "little flock." This was a 2000 member church called theCHURCH OF GOD Seventh-Day.
The he became an ordained minister of that church. Then he realized that the church was not producing fruit. Every time they would hold a meeting it was always fruitless. Every time he would try and raise up a church, it would collapse because of outside interference. Mr. Armstrong decided to go it alone.
In 1934 he started a radio program called the Radio Church of God, then it became the Worldwide Church of God. He also had a publication called the Plain Truth Magazine. This publication circulated at its peak at about 8,000,000. Then he came out with the program called the "World Tomorrow." This man evangelized and took the Gospel on Radio, Television all over the globe. Many called him a modern-day Apostle Paul because of his conviction.
Many of the mainstream churches like their predecessors in Rome called this church a "cult." The reason, they cling on to the observance of the Sabbath, and the Holy Days. They rejected the Trinity, and believed that God was a Family, consisting of the Father and the Son. There are many books on this subject. One book is called "The Kingdom of the Cults" by Walter Martin. The mainstream labelled him a cult for Those reasons.The Jews keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days why doesn't anyone call them a Cult? But Mr. Armstrong just shrugged it aside and continued his work. His son Garner Ted Armstrong got into trouble with his father over a doctrinal dispute, and he got excommunicated out of the church in 1978. But he went on doing a work himself called the Church of God, International.
The Worldwide Church of God's peak attendance was about 150,000 members.
Many people of the world call the doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God "Armstongism," just like their predecessors who called the true church of God in Europe, Paulicians, Bogomoils Lollards etc.. (nothing has changed). But 70% of the doctrines of Herbert W. Armstrong were found in theBible. We today just take issue with the religion of Amrstrongism that had developed in the church itself. The man made doctrines and speculations like Petra, church eras, the only true church doctrine, 19 year time cycles, God's Apostle, The Elijah Doctrine, Zerubbabel, God working through one man. These mistakes made we have discarded from our beliefs here at the BICOG. Yes Mr Armstrong did not get it all right, but the majority of his doctrines were Biblically based which is the most important point.
In 1986 Mr. Armstrong died, and Joseph Tkach was his successor. He died in 1993, and his son. Joseph Tkach Jr. is now the leader of the Church. Only now they have clung to the observance of Easter, Christmas, and the doctrine of the Trinity. Now they have become apostate as well. May they repent and come back to the truth of God.
However, his Son's organization today still clings on to the truth that was "once delivered," and have purged the mistakes that Hebert W. Armstrong had made. Yet now with the ousting of Garner Ted Armstrong, many changes in Doctrines have taken place. They still have most of the truth, but some of the changes could lead the Church of God international into a fallen church as well if it is not careful.
We of the British-Israel Church of God, still cling on to the beliefs of the Apostles, of keeping the Sabbath, and the Holy Days [The Law], and the testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is our Lord and Saviour, and we all worship Jesus, not a man. No, we are not a cult. Neither are any of the churches out there that cling to the fundamental doctrines of the bible. Those who "keep the Commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:7). "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:12). We all have the same beliefs, we all ARE BRETHREN! Jesus said "I am the vine, YE ARE THE BRANCHES [plural]" (John 15:5). God's church are scattered brethren wherever they might be. Names of the churches don't matter. What matters is the mark of God's church. The mark, are they that "Keep the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ." That could happen anywhere in the world!