Thursday, June 14, 2018

Gone with the wind...

It was estimated at one time that the Radio/Worldwide Church of God had over 500,000 people pass through its doors over the 8 decades of its existence.

This was before the massive defections from the church in the mid to late 1990's.

Loyalists are quick to point out that these half million people were not converted
and had no desire to stay with the truth.

It always seems to be others fault instead of the institution's fault.
Even the current "larger" splinter groups cannot stop the defections.

On a good day, the Armstrongist Church of God movement is lucky to have 40-50,000 active tithe-paying members worldwide.


Anonymous said...

If there were 500,000 and only 50,000 are left, then 90% have left. There is much hope for Stephanie's son!

Anonymous said...

Reality Check:

A majority of those people sitting in the chairs in that Warehouse:

1. Expected Christ to return in 2 to 10 years.
2. Believed that the prophecies (and yes, that's what they were) that HWA uttered were correct.
3. Trusted the ministers' word as from God.
4. Gladly sang Dwight's songs. From memory.
5. Believed they were a part of The Truth.
6. NEVER thought the WCG would completely destroy itself within a generation's time.
7. Thought HWA would not die.
8. Thought of the world outside that Warehouse as evil and satanic.
9. Used ALL of their vacation to sit in that Warehouse. Gladly.
10. Were hard-core spankers of their children.
11. Thought applauding for special music was a cardinal sin. ;)
12. Were shunned by the ministry in the same Warehouse.
13. Are NOT with the Church today, if they are still alive.
14. Are elderly, if they are still alive.
15. Thought their eternal life would be at stake if a piece of pork slipped through their mouth.
16. Had cold butts.
17. Had sore butts.
18. Had asleep butts - if Warehouse Waterhouse spoke.
19. Took over an hour to get out of the dang parking lot.
20. Thought the name "Stavrinede" (sic) was really important.
21. Wished the sound guy knew how to get rid of the feedback.
22. Had a stack of Envoys at home they never read.
23. Believed they were the Elect.
24. Got sick at some point during of after the Warehouse Meeting. Close Quarters!
25. Could not wait to get out of the Warehouse.
26. Had a hand-fan nearby if it got too hot.
27. Had a multi-colored, margin-scribbled Bible.
28. Noticed what church area the folding chair in front of them was from.
29. Wanted to play tic-tac-toe on the bald spot in front of them for entertainment. (OK, maybe not the majority. But a few?)
30. Were hungry and wanted to leave early to get to the few restaurants FIRST.

Allen Dexter said...

I certainly remember. Thirty percent growth every year. New feast sites needed on a regular basis. etc. Those were heady days. Then, 74 and 75 hit. We began to see the cracks and inconsistencies. At least, some of us did. We were shocked by the moral decadence at the top. Troublesome questions I'd pushed to the back of my mind could no longer be squelched. It was the same for many of my close associates who came to the stark realization that we'd been "had." It was all a farce, a big con game. Traumatic it was, but we got through it much like the people of Germany after 1945. Do I miss the assurance that I'm one of the chosen elite? Not any more. I'm relieved to have been able to figure it out and extricate myself.

Byker Bob said...

‘75 was when we “saw the Wizard”, clicked our heels, repeated “there’s no place like home”, woke up from the nightmare, and figuratively all went back to Kansas. Unfortunately, some preferred the nightmare to reality.


Anonymous said...

A Little Country Tune.......written by me.....inspired by this thread.

I was sitting in the warehouse
Thought I was in Gods house
Listened to ol' Waterhouse
Not knowing what he said

I was hearing that ol' Armstrong
Singing loud that last song
Running out the doors, gone
A Full day lies ahead

It was life in the 80s, sittin' at the Dells
taking in the festival, sniffin' all the smells
Everything was rosy, it was all going so well
You never could have told me
It would soon go all to hell

I would sit down at the motel, hangin' with my friends
wearing that grey jacket, what could lie ahead
bunko party coming, bible bowl's a go -
hanging at the festival, runnin' to and fro

It was life in the 80s, sittin' at the Dells
taking in the festival, sniffin' all the smells
Everything was rosy, it was all going so well
You never could have told me
It would all soon go to hell

It's many decades later, Time has come and gone
The Festival that once was, is only in a song
For what I thought was always there, what would so always be
Turns out that all it simply was - just one man's fantasy

He said that He would come to Earth in just a couple years.
He said that Jesus spoke through him, of that we knew for sure.
And we would rule forever, Kings we would surely be
Turns out that all it simply was - just one man's fantasy

It was life in the 80s, sittin' at the Dells
taking in the festival, sniffin' all the smells
Everything was rosy, it was all going so well
You never could have told me
It would all soon go to hell

No, you never could have told me.....

....It would all

....soon go..... hell.

Anonymous said...

Eventually everyone who tried the WCG under HWA will have either left or been expelled from one or more groups, even if they did not deliberately go with some rebel group like GTA's CGI or his later ICG.

People originally joined the WCG under HWA, but then the Tkaches totally changed the WCG. The believers had to move on. They either left or got kicked out of the WCG, which then became GCI.

Most believers looking for a new home after the Tkaches' apostasy went from the WCG to the UCGaIA. Some UCGaIA people let Hulme's COGaIC splinter group sidetrack them early on and waste their time. Later, many UCGaIA leaders and people left to form the COGaWA.

Other WCG people originally went with Meredith's GCG, but then later left it to go with his LCG. The GCG then went bankrupt and its people reportedly got scattered among about seven different groups.

Some WCG people got tricked by false prophets like Flurry and his PCG, but most who did so later left the PCG or got kicked out of it. Some people later went with Pack and his RCG. People come in the front door of his RCG, and a continual stream of them go out the back door, minus all their earthly possessions.

One simply cannot settle down and get too comfortable. One has to be sort of a rambling man, travelling here, travelling there, and gathering memories.

nck said...


Oh man.

That song! I could see some street artist in Prague play it on the bridge with some improvised speakers and a cracked bass. Tourists licking their icecreams or gazing, with their little water bottles in hand, little socks in white sneakers. I would be the one flip some paper in your hat, no coins, for the effort.


Anonymous said...

One of Herbs biggest lies was that Christianity is a sprint rather than a marathon. It takes a long time for a person to mature. His "3 to 5 short years" timeframe caused thousands to make rash life changing decisions that they came to regret.
He put his trust in marketing rather than truth, 'the marketing will set you free.'

Anonymous said...

In that time frame you have to account for people who have died in the faith. And sadly the ones who died because of their faith.

Anonymous said...

My relationship with my dad, never very close or loving, was strained about to its limits when I became an Armstrong slave. I was supposed to be on my own by my early twenties, but there were "reasons" for which he, very reluctantly, gave me financial support into my thirties, and all, I would say, because I dumped so much money into Armstrong's Private Fund for Silk Sheets, Solid Gold Tableware, and Luxury Private Jets.

When Mom first called me on the phone after I sent them word I had gone back to being a Sunday Protestant, Dad got on the phone as well (!!!) to talk to me. This alone cancelled out any fear generated from the notes I received from "church friends" warning me about the consequences of leaving the Armstrong-led fold.

Many of us -- I was one -- left family we knew ALL OUR LIVES for a group of people, completely unknown to us as first, just because of some promise we read in some printed publication that was, it happened, sent to us "absolutely free with no obligation." It is physically painful to me yet to think about how stupid and irresponsible such a decision, such an act was.

How very little I received back for all I invested in the Fantasies Created by Herbert!

I pray for the freedom of those left in the The Deception. That they are few, and getting fewer, is a great thing!

Anonymous said...

4:19 is right, very few members benefited from all that money, only a few like Stan Rader, John Halford, and Rod Matthews and his fellow executives in Australia, living it up on the Gold Coast (Australian HQ chosen by the high-living Dennis Luker ) in water-frontage homes (a city only good to live in if you are rich like WCG higher-ups)

Anonymous said...

I am still glad I discovered GTA on the radio 50 years ago. I was raised Catholic so I knew nothing about the Bible. I was taught Mary worship, ring bells, lighting candles to statues, relics, praying to dead saints, and hoping to avoid Purgatory. Yes the Armstrongs behavior is inexcusable. But I never idolized them like some did. I never drank the Waterhouse cool aid.

My first year in WWCG, I learned the leadership missed the point of following Christ's example. I was always an "outsider", but I didn't want to give up the "Truth".

God's not a Trinity. You don't burn forever in Hell. You're not going to play a harp in Heaven for eternity. The Sabbath and Holy Days (even though they are often worshipped or over focused on like the Pharisees) A salvation plan that offers hope for the majority of mankind. And we can become part of God's family.

All the ego driven poor leadership proves that "putting on Christ" is the real "Truth", which they missed because of the Armstrongs dropping that ball.

nck said...

7:23 you sound optimistic and energetic. I'm kinda agnostic but you make me wanna shout hallelujah, raise my arms and say, "if lovin' the lord is wrong, I don't wanna be right"


Live long and prosper.


Connie Schmidt said...

50k left??? No way, probably on a good day that might be about 25k.

Funny how the so called "Sardis Church" , the Church of God 7th Day, can claim about 200k members now, and is still growing!

Anonymous said...

But can the Church of God 7th day offer its members the holy spirit or only a water baptism. My point is, numbers aren't the only consideration.

David Rickman said...

10:38 AM, the Church of God (7th Day) is & always proclaimed the gospel truth. Herbert Armstrong poisoned his followers minds with the false doctrine of "church eras" because of his hatred of the Church Of God (Seventh Day). End of discussion!

Steve D said...

"But can the Church of God 7th Day offer its members the Holy Spirit?" It is my understanding that no organization can "offer its members the Holy Spirit." Acts 10:45 shows that the Holy Spirit came upon faith, not a ceremony. With or without a water baptism or laying on of hands, people are saved by grace through faith . . . Nothing more. Rituals are not the means of salvation.

Anonymous said...

50k left??? No way, probably on a good day that might be about 25k.

Yes, their numbers are pathetically low. The biggest lie imo is the numbers claimed for GCI. My local area is down from 1,500 to a handful of suckers who could fit into a VW minibus.

Anonymous said...

Proclaiming 'the gospel truth' and having the holy spirit is not one and the same. The bride of Christ is finite in number rather than infinite.
'End of discussion?' My, aren't we bossy. Sieg Heil!

Opinionated said...

Steve D said: "But can the Church of God 7th Day offer its members the Holy Spirit?"

Its for sale, so yes, they can offer you the holy spirit. Same with the acog's.

Connie Schmidt said...

ANON AT 10:38--- NO "CHURCH" can offer the Holy Spirit! It is not owned by any human organization. The concept that there somehow has to be just one "exclusive franchise" that has the unique right to dispense the Holy Spirit borders on the notions of Simony!

This is a hook that is used by COG charlatans. That you can only find God and the Spirit at "their place". This is used for control, spiritual bondage and spiritual harvesting.

Only GOD dispensed the Holy Spirit , and he will do so where and when, and to whom that he decides.

Anonymous said...

From the very beginning of HWA's ministry, the goals had always been self-centered and conceited.

In fact, the very foundational "study" that HWA embarked on - the validity of the doctrine of Sabbath Observance in a New Testament church - was conducted for literally all the wrong reasons. He even states himself in his autobiography - and this I do not believe is fictionalized - that his reason for unleashing such a study was to "prove his wife wrong".

When you do a major theological study on a particular doctrine - especially one as important on the principles of New Testament Christianity - with a self-centered, egotistical approach to "prove" his wife wrong - you can't seriously expect good things to come out of it. With absolutely no training in context, and starting your study the way he did - Hanging the New Testament on the Law and the Prophets (because of the order in which he read, admittedly), - you're simply going to get your understanding all screwed up. He says he came to understand his wife was right and repented of his error. I am not convinced of this. What I believe he came to understand and studied was the harsh, commanding, legalistic approach he saw in the Old Testament, liked it, and built the framework of his entire understanding on the foundation of Old Testament power and authority. This approach never helped with the things about HWA that caused him to start the study in the first place - arrogance, conceit, power, and authority.

Everything outside of the way HWA viewed his interpretations was thrown out as wishy washy, pansy, lovey lovey emotionalism that he absolutely despised. Those who he attracted into his ministry agreed, hence the large masses of law-minded, unemotional, love-hating, power-minded, and super-conceited individuals that turned the WCG into the cesspool of muck and hate it would become. There will be those who will condemn this point of view. All one has to do to counter-point the indignation of such a brash accusation is to read the autobiography and notice what the overall, constant themes are throughout the whole book. You will notice it is unabashedly a story of self-congratulatory success on a money-making mission of power and conceit. Everything else built on that - and that is why after HWA died, Tkach not withstanding - it did not take long for everything to implode against itself, and the remnant left is insignificant in every standard of measurement - 25 to 50K members worldwide - MAX.

David Rickman said...

Anon 2:23 PM, I would rather be in COG7 or even Seventh Day Baptist than be in the ACOG cults.

Anonymous said...

Steve D June 15, 2018 at 11:42 AM wrote: "...Acts 10:45 shows that the Holy Spirit came upon faith, not a ceremony. With or without a water baptism or laying on of hands, people are saved by grace through faith . . . Nothing more. Rituals are not the means of salvation..."

What does Acts 10:45 say about faith? Nothing!

"And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 10:45

Faith? No mention of faith, besides faith is a fruit (Galatians 5:22) that God provides/gives along with that gift of the Holy Spirit, and that faith would come by measure:

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Romans 12:3

:6 uses the word "proportion" in lieu of "measure," but God must give it.

God's Spirit and its fruits (e.g. faith), and other of God's gifts, are all provided by God's grace:

Romans 12:6 "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;"

And as you said, "...people are saved by grace."

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,"

And before the world began? Sounds like a nice deal, perhaps some "good news!"

You wrote: "...Rituals are not the means of salvation..." True, and neither are faith and works!

And why not? Wasn't that a promise of God? Here is something else "before the world began:"

"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" Titus 1:2

Eternal life? Promised a long time ago? Anything else related from the foundation of the world?

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:" Matthew 25:34

Nothing mentioned about faith, works, self, overcoming, etc. It seems like God is just going to do it, perhaps knowing that none of us could really overcome enough, have enough works, or gin up enough faith to qualify for that "gift of salvation" you mentioned.

That's a lot of "good news," but avoid that MMM: Mickey Mouse Millennium about Jesus Christ "coming very soon" to reign on earth. As you know people are asking: "Where is the promise of His coming?" Well, He never promised a MMM! Over a 1,000 years from now people will still be asking: "Where is the promise of His coming?" You probably know the verse I'm referring to.

Satan, still an enemy, exits the pit after 1,000 years to again, in great wrath, deceive the entire earth's inhabitants: all of them! Death (That last enemy) will still exist. Jesus Christ was not reigning on earth...yet!

Time will tell...


Anonymous said...

"And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." 1 Kings 19:14

"Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." 1 Kings 19:18

theyre out there; they may not be a part of "the establishment" or the ecclesia, but they are out there: God has always done it this way, in that He makes the least conspicuous the Greatest..and they will Judge us...

c f ben yochanan

Angela Storey said...

Herbert tainted the church with his pride and greed. The emphasis on being top dog and materially successful infects cog people to this day. These two character traits of being proud and greedy are not of Christ but rather of satan. What a shame to pollute people with these behaviours and attitudes while at the same time pairing them with commandment keeping. The pairing of a negative with a good thing is a means of aversion conditioning. Now people hate the commandments of God because of evil men.

Anonymous said...

"Now people hate the commandments of God because of evil men."

Well said Angela!