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The Hottest New Cult

Tara and I received a free subscription to “Plain Truth”, a Christian magazine. We had never heard of the magazine, but the articles were interesting. There were certain topics the editor seemed to like to constantly revisit, but the magazine as a whole had a reasonably broad, balanced and current coverage of topics.

In the last few issues, some of the articles started getting a little strange. They argued unconventional views more strongly than in the past. We began to look at Plain Truth Magazine as interesting, but possibly dangerous. Then we received a notice from the publisher that prompted me to do a bit more research…

In the 1930s, there was a man named Herbert W. Armstrong who had a popular radio ministry. He started as a member of the Church of God (Seventh Day) requiring observation of the Sabbath on Saturday. But his teachings went too far to stick with that church. He split from them and began calling for believers to observe the Jewish holidays, shunning doctors in favor of divine healing, teaching that Great Britain and the United States were the new Israel, anticipating the Tribulation by 1972, etc. Mr. Armstrong (calling himself an “apostle”) named his radio broadcast the “Radio Church of God” as he had started his own church (a cult), preaching over the airwaves. His sincerity and zeal attracted many to his “church”. His message expanded to print in a magazine titled “The Plain Truth”.

In 1968, the cult’s name was changed to the Worldwide Church of God. During the 1970s, the church survived the apparent rescheduling of the 1972 apocalypse, as well as moral and financial scandals. During the 1980s, the church enjoyed significant growth until Armstrong died in 1986. At its peak, there were 145,000 members worldwide.

After Armstrong’s death, Joseph W. Tkach took over his position. He and a few others from the leadership of the church (including the church’s Media Director, Greg Albrecht) began changing the church’s doctrines. Some of Armstrong’s works were removed from publication and others were edited. Over the next few years, they gradually cast off the extreme views and converted the cult into an evangelical church. 1 2 By Tkach’s death in 1995, the church had been accepted into the National Association of Evangelicals, and about half of its members and ministers left the “apostacy” of Tkach and his fellow leaders. Spin-off churches adhering to Armstrong’s teaching include the Philadelphia Church of God, the Living Church of God, and the United Church of God.

Armstrong’s magazine, “The Plain Truth” was handed over to an organization created by Greg Albrecht named “Plain Truth Ministries”. He also began broadcasting a radio program “Plain Truth Radio”. Albrecht preaches against legalism on the radio and in the magazine. He calls his message “Christianity without the Religion”. Albrecht seeks to help others scarred by religion.

It seems that for Greg Albrecht, the pendulum swung the other way. He went from following Armstrong’s unconventional legalistic doctrines to promoting his own unconventional anti-legalistic doctrines. Much as Armstrong’s ideas became the church’s doctrines, so Albrecht determines his ministry’s message. Greg Albrecht recently published a book “Revelation Revolution” which interprets Revelation as already fulfilled. Plain Truth magazine then included an article (by another writer) which used a little numerology and some well-chosen verses to advocate the same view.

Plain Truth Ministries recently announced that it will be starting a church, “Christianity Without Religion”. Its first 30-minute service debuts on February 19th. It is not merely a radio sermon, but a church intending to be the home for otherwise disenfranchised Christians, their worship, prayer, and tithes. This announcement of a new church is what prompted my research.

In the 1930s, you started a virtual church over the radio. In the 2000s, you do it over the internet. You can take the man out of the cult, but can you take the cult out of the man? Now thousands of people will be able to experience Albrecht’s version of the gospel, his interpretation of Scripture, and “attend” a church controlled by him.

This latest development seemed like the beginning of a cult. When I investigated Albrecht’s background, I learned all the above and found that it isn’t the beginning of a cult, but rather the re-birth of one.

February 13, 2006 36 Comments.

36 Comments

  1. Tara replied:

    Heading out now to do a little check-up research on another church: Christianity Without the Denomination (aka Plymouth Brethren). :)

    February 13th, 2006 at 4:34 pm. Permalink.

  2. Shannon replied:

    How do you define cult?

    February 15th, 2006 at 8:23 am. Permalink.

  3. Jeremy replied:

    This may be too narrow to be a general definition, but I see a cult as a religion whose followers accept unconventional doctrine simply because the leader proclaims it so. This situation generally requires a leader with a certain attractive personality and members who believe that studying their leader’s words equates to thinking for themselves. I would expect such a cult to become gradually more bizarre in its doctrine, offer reasons why those with conventional beliefs are corrupt, and to further exalt and empower its leader.

    February 15th, 2006 at 9:41 am. Permalink.

  4. Shannon replied:

    How would you define “unconventional”?

    February 16th, 2006 at 8:39 pm. Permalink.

  5. Jeremy replied:

    Not conventional. How would you defined “exasperate”?

    A conventional doctrine or belief is one which has been widely debated and is held by many people who are well aware of the arguments of its detractors. Unconventional doctrines are created by one person (or group) and held only by the followers.

    Conventional Unconventional
    Christ will return with his angels to take his faithful And he’ll do it in a UFO following a comet
    The world will end in 1972
    We must repent to be saved We must repent from religion

    February 17th, 2006 at 12:10 pm. Permalink.

  6. Shannon replied:

    I really like that definition. I would suggest “weird” as a synonym for unconventional…well, maybe not…the term has a rather hostile connotation.

    February 17th, 2006 at 10:15 pm. Permalink.

  7. Shannon replied:

    I should perhaps clarify that I really didn’t know how you would define unconventional…I was thinking of unconventional as “different from me or my group.” For example, I might say the Seventh Day Adventists are unconventional because they meet on Saturdays. I much prefer your definition!

    February 18th, 2006 at 7:46 pm. Permalink.

  8. Jered replied:

    Beware all the spinoffs from the WCG (Worldwide Church of God)! This is one of the most damaging cults around psychologically. They put on a lamb’s face but are wolves inside. I know as I have been in both the WCG and the PCG (Philadelphia Church of God) and my parents unfortunately still remain in the PCG. The PCG is also one of the very worst of the cults and is a prime candidate for a Jim Jones type event.

    Luckily I got out but I still find myself automatically thinking the way they told us to on some matters and have to consciously clear my head and think it through. Since I was raised in the WCG I took almost everything they said for granted. Since my father was a highly educated man (doctorate, fisheries science, genetics and statistical modeling) I assumed he just couldn’t be suckered into something completely crazy, but he was. Now that I have perspective, I can see how crazy it was. But they play to peoples egos and fears to keep them in and it is very hard to break out even if you are intelligent and educated.

    I just wanted to warn any of your readers to beware these cults. Look them up on the internet and you’ll see just how damaging and crazy they are. Pray for those who are stuck in them, too.

    Thanks.

    [Editor addition: Jered discusses his family’s history with PCG on his blog]

    February 22nd, 2006 at 1:54 pm. Permalink.

  9. Jeremy replied:

    Thanks, Jered. There are many other stories on the web of people who left WCG. This one has the tag line “Losing Faith in Faith Since 1997”. Some contributors use strong language.

    February 22nd, 2006 at 3:44 pm. Permalink.

  10. Robert McNally replied:

    I run the aforementioned Losing Faith in Faith Since 1997 site: Ex-WCG Non-Believers. My site deals specifically with people who both had experience in the WCG and who have found good reason to question religion in its entirety. A niche to be sure, but I’d like to point out that I commonly encounter the attitude of, “Boy, glad I didn’t grow up in that cult! I’m just a plain old Christian.” Sorry if this offends anyone, but to those of us who grew up in any flavor of Christianity and ultimately rejected it, it all looks like a historically destructive (and still potentially dangerous) cult, or at minimum a widespread (if amicable) lunacy. Perhaps it’s just a bit easier to see the lunacy when one has experienced its extremes.

    My basic message is: You are your own ultimate authority. Accepting anything less is to abdicate your first and ultimate freedom: to think for yourself.

    February 22nd, 2006 at 4:36 pm. Permalink.

  11. Mark A. Hershberger replied:

    Interesting developments here since I last checked.

    Jeremy, I prefer the word “unorthodox” to “unconventional”. Do we exclude only the weirdos? There are core orthodox (and I use the little o here for broader meaning) that many mainstream churches don’t hold as inviolable.

    Are they cults or are they simply heretics? I’d say heretics because “cult” has the wider meaning of “a system or community of religious worship and ritual”.

    Re: to those of us who grew up in any flavor of Christianity and ultimately rejected it, it all looks like a historically destructive (and still potentially dangerous) cult, or at minimum a widespread (if amicable) lunacy.

    People who hold this view of Christianity haven’t thought it through very thoroughly. Think back over the 20th century. The most destructive movements from that period were specifically anti-religious and anti-Christian.

    Does the Christian movement have black spots? It does! But Western Christianity has also been a driving force behind much of modern thought.

    To claim that it is just dangerous or lunacy is to ignore the whole cloth of Christianity’s influence.

    February 28th, 2006 at 11:35 am. Permalink.

  12. Robert McNally replied:

    Re: To claim that it is just dangerous or lunacy is to ignore the whole cloth of Christianity’s influence.

    I’m afraid you’re attacking a straw man here. I said “potentially dangerous”, and an “amicable lunacy.” You’re ignoring these qualifiers. There are certainly other dangerous ideas, communism and fascism for instance, and there are plenty of other lunacies. The fact of their existence does not excuse Christianity however, and it is Christianity we are discussing.

    February 28th, 2006 at 12:13 pm. Permalink.

  13. Amicable Lunatic replied:

    Mr. McNally, I might feel that you are not terribly well qualified to discuss Christianity, as it seems you have experienced only its extremes (and the opinions of admitted cynics).

    Another thought — if Christianity as I understand it is True, you might stand to lose a lot as an atheist (whereas if it’s not a Christian doesn’t have anything to lose). Not a reason on which to base one’s entire philosophy but something to ponder, nonetheless?

    March 1st, 2006 at 11:45 am. Permalink.

  14. Robert McNally replied:

    Mr. or Ms. Amicable Lunatic,

    I have known many Christians of many stripes over the years, some of whom remain my friends. I have also extensively studied mainstream Christian apologetics, and been a participant in many discussions and debates on the subject. Thus I can only take it as prejudice on your part to assume my lack of qualifications when it comes to discussing Christianity as a whole.

    Your other thought is popularly known as Pascal’s Wager and is widely consider to be a quite amateurish argument for belief. It is well-covered here.

    March 1st, 2006 at 1:46 pm. Permalink.

  15. Mark A. Hershberger replied:

    Oh, come on! Straw men are fun to burn. They blaze brightly!

    I’m taking issue with the statement that Christianity is at “minimum a widespread (if amicable) lunacy.” I understand that as meaning “whatever else Christianity is, it a madness — you can’t escape its insanity.” Please rephrase If I’m paraphrasing you incorrectly.

    What does that mean? What makes Christianity Lunacy? What do you make of Christianity’s contributions to humanity? Or do you think it has made none?

    For my part, I’m no fan of Pascal’s wager — it wants us to make a bet instead of having genuine faith.

    March 4th, 2006 at 5:12 am. Permalink.

  16. Mark A. Hershberger replied:

    Hmm… I feel I must add that I don’t think it is necessary for Christianity to have pragmatic value (“What do you make of Christianity’s contributions to humanity?”) Christianity would be worthwhile even if the act of following Christ doesn’t contribute to the progress of mankind.

    Perhaps that is what you meant by lunacy?

    March 4th, 2006 at 5:14 am. Permalink.

  17. Robert McNally replied:

    Mark,

    Re: What makes Christianity Lunacy?

    I think your question is worthy of a thoughtful response. I have crafted one and posted it in my general topics blog. Sorry about the length– like Mark Twain, I didn’t have time to write anything shorter.

    March 5th, 2006 at 6:49 am. Permalink.

  18. Barry Chase replied:

    Isn’t Christianity without the Religion really what Herbert W. Armstrong promised? The WCG was supposed to be
    “true” Christianity without the trappings of manmade religion.

    Is Greg promising on something he won’t be able to deliver, without religion? Sounds like he is turning HWA upside down and building a cult around himself and his own thoughts! Why should we listen to Greg or give him a nickle when he cannot be honest about his salary and the WCG’s millions of missing dollars? Now that’s Christianity without any money!

    March 15th, 2006 at 6:48 am. Permalink.

  19. GCTS Guy replied:

    Found you blog after Googleing Albrecht’s book. You’ve got a nice recap of the history of Plain Truth Ministries, but a couple things need clarification. Armstrong’s radio program was called “The World Tomorrow” (as was a later television version), although the parent “organization” (for lack of a better word) was, indeed, the Radio Church of God (later Worldwide Church of God). Another bit of information that may need clarification is that there is still a strong enough connection between PTM and the WCG (which has recently announced intent to change its name) to consider the two outfits as still one and the same. As (yet another!) who was there during “the changes”, I can state that the typical member has embraced a more orthodox Christianity, and even some of the newer field ministry have genuine, Biblical faith. Can’t say as I trust most of the upper leadership, though. Oh, they’re likeable enough, but I still question the sincerity of their belief.

    April 8th, 2006 at 4:51 pm. Permalink.

  20. Bruno Gebarski replied:

    Greetings,
    Well it would be interesting to see if how a cult defines itself! Many professing Christians believe to be on the right side of things! Remember the scriptures?
    1. Mat 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 2Co 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Does large, popular or accepted means it is necessarily on the right track? Do we classify a religious organization as a cult because of its acceptance or because it does or does not follow the commandments of the bible?
    Have you ever read in your bible God’s Holy days being presented in the old or new Testament as Jewish? Get a concordance and check it out for yourself! Your might be surprised! And if you do not have a concordance: here is a free site where you can download an electronic bible free of charge!
    http://www.e-sword.net
    Not only this program is free but it is outstanding! Now after you downloaded it! Check out JEWISH FEAST DAYS! Looking forward to any comments!

    Regards

    Bruno Pierre Gebarski

    April 15th, 2006 at 11:00 am. Permalink.

  21. Jeremy replied:

    You’re right! I starting reviewing the Old Testament and I’ve found that none of God’s commands were presented as only for the Jews. I can’t believe I’ve lived so long in disobedience to His commands.

    I need to make tassels for the corners of my clothes, bind scriptures to my hands and forehead, construct a parapet for my roof, throw out my wrinkle-free shirts, make considerable changes to my diet, and much more!

    I hope I have enough vacation time to take off for all the festivals and holy days. I wonder whom I’ll celebrate with? Do you know any other Christians who have ignored the clear teaching of the New Testament?

    April 17th, 2006 at 12:17 pm. Permalink.

  22. Bill Ferguson replied:

    I am not surprised Greg wants to go after the great “unchurched”, a good 40,000 of them come from the WCG. But we won’t be paying him tithes anytime soon.

    These guys continue to look to “new markets” as a way to justify their employment.

    Unfortunately the evangelical community embraced the “reformed” WCG without demanding it change its abuse hierarchial structure. Its the structure of the organization that enables it to so effectively abuse funds and people without any accountability.

    Shame on Christianity for thinking a cult consisted only of “incorrect” doctrines, and shame on Hank Hanegraaf for giving his seal of approval to a group of men with no observable conscience.

    The WCG with a congregational structure would have simply been Seventh Day Adventist. The two are theological cousins.

    Religion is all about control. Its unlikely Greg, or Joe Jr is going to give up any control of their organizations.

    Can a leopard change its spots? Some of us would settle for just a little peer-reviewed defanging.

    June 15th, 2006 at 12:14 pm. Permalink.

  23. Steve replied:

    We were going through some very trying times these past couple of years. I was injured and couldn’t work for 3 months; we had a battle with a Christian school that has taken on a very legalistic view (more concerned about the outward behavior than the spiritual wellbeing of it’s staff and students from our prospective) that really left us hurting. Our daughter got caught up in the Word Faith Movement temporarily just to mention a few of our struggles.

    During this time, my wife found the PTM website and has bought into their program hook, line and sinker. I realize that she was very vulnerable at the time and their message went right to her heart.

    I am having trouble with some of their teachings, but can’t put my finger on what it is that is troubling me. I do feel that Albrecht is using his “church without walls” to keep people from looking elsewhere, thus questioning his teachings. It seems that he casts doubt on any other point of view before it is even expressed. When he is questioned, he just points back to his earlier comments and says “see, I told you so”.

    Can anyone help me out with more solid information I can use to try to reason with my wife. She has a tendency to go to extremes in her beliefs. She generaly is very critical of anyone who doesn’t see things her way, and goes to great lengths to discredit their beliefs.

    August 16th, 2006 at 2:53 pm. Permalink.

  24. Bill replied:

    The WCG, both its conservative and later more conventional incarnations like PTM, have never been very accepting of ministries outside their own. They pay lip service to the evangelical community but don’t really tolerate those they consider “their flock” visiting other groups. That is considered “poaching”. In other words “they own you” and your search for truth.

    The problem with all these groups is they still cling to the misguided view that God cares more about doctrine than about people. It simply seems to escape their minds that one can disagree with interpretations of scripture and still respect other human beings as equals in God’s sight.

    Despite a professed belief that the body of Christ is the people of the Church, these men have never known participatory democracy and don’t practice it. The body of Christ may be Jesus, but He doesn’t get to vote.

    They openly profess a love for the “historical faith” yet not so privately call The Roman Catholic church “a cult”. They tend to fall back into their old ways of using very clever and intimidating arguments to enforce their particular brand of orthodoxy. To them doctine is everything. Not having any firm convictions of their own, they turned to the likes of Hank Hanegraaf to define for them a new orthodoxy and to remove their cultic stink gland.

    The WCG reformation has to be first reformation in history where their doctrinal premise came after the revolution. The reformers who had real convictions were fired or driven off by insiders.

    For all their new found enthusiasm for the New Covenant, they tightly embraced tithing scriptures meant for Old Covenant Temple maintenance. American evangelicals were the only “market” in American tithe paying religion that was expanding. Its easy to understand the confusion of conservatives and why they formed their own organizations.

    While they professed for years to follow truth where it led them, they in fact sought to mine the fertile grounds of mainstream evangelicals for new members to replace a demographically doomed older system of belief. PTM and the WCG are more about “market share” and ratings than conscience.

    I do not know if Greg has “expanded” his views, but I tend to doubt his sermons are anymore enlightened than his famous penchant for quoting Janice Joplin.

    They’d all quite gladly sacrifice friends and family (more likely yours than theirs) in the name of their professed beliefs. They are among the most closed minded individuals on earth, and they insist on perpetuating organization structures with tight cult like hierarchial control.

    I was a member of the WCG for 37 years. There were two things wrong with the WCG, its beliefs, and its structure. Only half of that equation has been addressed and even then half heartedly.

    The only positive trend I can see in PTM is a decidedly LESS apocalyptic view on the world. But one can’t help by wonder if nuts like John Hagee didn’t pick up the Apocalyptic mind virus from Herbert W Armstrong. Millions werer spent propagating that message over 50 years. Just like his son Garner Ted did much to start the pseudo-religious meme of environmental doom. The Armstrongs knew how to market ideas!

    PTM and the WCG are Chesire cats. There’s nothing “real” about them. Most of us still hope they simply fade away.

    August 16th, 2006 at 6:58 pm. Permalink.

  25. Jeremy replied:

    Steve,

    There is a lot about what Greg Albrecht preaches that is true. If you or someone else (like myself) slam him as a dangerous cult leader teaching lies, your wife will tune out. I suggest you emphasize the common ground first and then gently point out areas where PTM differs from the Bible or from mainstream Christianity. Perhaps your wife would be willing to also listen to a good non-combative preacher who holds to a more traditional interpretation of the Bible.

    August 17th, 2006 at 10:17 am. Permalink.

  26. Douglas Becker replied:

    There were two things wrong with the WCG, its beliefs, and its structure.

    Actually, three: Its beliefs, its structure and its example.

    October 27th, 2007 at 12:26 pm. Permalink.

  27. Truth Seeker replied:

    So which is the true form of christianity..??Do you mean that the true form of christianity don’t need to keep the Sabbaths and the Feasts??
    Do you call it a cult because they keeps the feasts and the sabbaths..??

    August 8th, 2009 at 5:08 am. Permalink.

  28. Truth Seeker replied:

    Hello brother..

    I am just astonished…thinking what made God ie Jesus Christ tell these(the below 3 verses from 3 Gospels)….that too 3 times…don’t worry I am a catholic….actually IF God did not have plans to continue with His Sabbath……then i believe that He would have said us SPECIFICALLY through His Holy Spirit(ie in the Bible through the Apostles)…..

    Christ says that He is the Lord even of the Sabbath….oh no!!!…..I am afraid….

    Matt:12:8: For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

    Mark:2:27: And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and
    not man for the sabbath:
    Mark:2:28: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

    Luke:6:5: And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

    (around) 70 years after Christ’s resurrection…John speaks in revelation….He too speaks about the Lord’s day…..which according to Jesus our Lord is the Sabbath….

    Revelation:1:10: I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a
    great voice, as of a trumpet,

    And today I heard this scripture read in my Church….

    M’t:15:4: For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
    M’t:15:5: But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
    M’t:15:6: And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
    M’t:15:7: Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
    M’t:15:8: This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
    M’t:15:9: But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    I became really convicted within….because are WE not transgressing the Commandments of God with OUR man-made tradition???actually He was speaking of the Biblical 5th commandment…moreover God has spoken the commandments in the ORDER OF IMPORTANCE right????……for example…if we put the 1st commandment the 8th and the 8th commandment the 1st…what will it look like…??

    My catholic priest says that the Word of God is LIVING…and also John the apostle says that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us”…..

    Could this be like Jesus Christ is directly speaking to us???…through His Word??

    I must do more research….because I have just begun my research….in the begining itself i wonder!!!….oh no…….I have got to read the old testament too…but I read the commandments before…

    Don’t worry brother…I am a catholic…but I got to learn a lot…
    bye

    Thanks brother for reading patiently,
    Yours friendly,
    Truth Seeker

    August 13th, 2009 at 5:33 am. Permalink.

  29. Ra replied:

    I think WCG and many of its splinters had most of the Biblical truths right. It’s only that extremism took over, so much that power and control took centre stage. The result was the need to keep followers obedient by all means, and hence some of their cultic tendences.

    The other extreme is what most Christian churches do today, where Bible truths have been so diluted that there is almost no difference in stance between the the world and the church on morality, values, etc. Except for the name, most of today’s churches are very much a reflection/representation of the world.

    In principle, it is not wrong to strive to stick to what the Word of God says, than to try to please the world by teaching what people want to hear and is convenient to liberalism. They would rather easily accept and promote circular, pagan traditions than the other way round (history points to this kind corruption in the traditional mainline churches).

    The church we have today is in many respects very different to the first century Apostolic church w.r.t. doctrine and pratice. This change also came through corrupt church leaders, who still pursue the cause to this day.

    So, either of the extremes is wrong. We should rather be focusing on what God expects of us, as stated in the Bible, than what is convenient for us as individuals or politicians.

    April 19th, 2010 at 10:39 am. Permalink.

  30. Doug replied:

    The biblical feasts point to Jesus !st & 2nd coming.The only commandment that says REmember is the fourth…keep the sabbath holy.God rested on the 7th day-what we call saturday. IT is the seal of God.If you rest on the sunday-day 1,you keep the commandment of men.
    Isaiah 58:13
    Matthew 15:3-9
    The churches of God are closer to the truth than most churches.Of course we are not judge regarding new moons,sabbaths and meats.Are we not to follow Jesus?What day did he keep?They explain all the bible very well.The Lord’s day is the day 7 sabbath, your jesuits and consantine change things. God does not change things.
    see chick.com

    June 27th, 2010 at 9:57 pm. Permalink.

  31. grant replied:

    As someone who has been associated with the WCG before ‘the changes’ and has watched the entire evolution into it’s current, fully-orthodox identity, and as someone who also reads the PTM website and magazine, I’m astonished by the lies, rumours and half-truths expressed in this blog and subsequent comments. The slander and innuendo expressed towards the various individuals reveals more about the commenters than the targets.

    December 29th, 2010 at 1:09 am. Permalink.

  32. Chuck replied:

    [Editors note: Chuck left a couple of interesting comments, but he used a fake email address, so I will not display them. Chuck, if you want your comments displayed, email me at JeremyStein@everybody.org.]

    July 28th, 2011 at 11:29 am. Permalink.

  33. John replied:

    I started seeking God when I was 25 years old. I had never been to a church before, and had no idea of any denominational boundaries. I started with God’s word, and devoted my self to almost 2 decades of study, apologetics, and doctrinal study of every church I could dig up information about, and experiences in various churches. In this research I have learned many truths and falsehoods. I believe that God’s word is the final authority. It saddens me how it has been manipulated and abused by mankind over the last 1900+ years. John wrote that we should walk as Christ walked. What did He do? Sabbath, Holy days, love, and compassion, mercy, forgiveness, long suffering, and complete disgust for man made heresy that violates God’s word. My sincere desire as a Christian is to mold my life to God’s word, by closely following the example of my savior Jesus Christ, if that makes me a cult, then I am proud to be in one. I do not believe that following God’s law will save anyone, I believe that faith in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit I received at baptism, compels me to keep God’s law, as it is my reasonable service, and God’s commandments are not grievous. May God richly bless each of you here and i hope that what I have said from my own experience can help someone. John

    September 6th, 2011 at 8:43 pm. Permalink.

  34. Anonymous replied:

    The Living Church of God is an excellent church. I at one time considered joining it, but I like one of LCG’s sister churches that I have been attending for about the past 15 years, the United Church of God, an International Association. I also like the almost identical Church of God, a Worldwide Association, the church I now attend. All 3 churches are about as Bible based as you can get. The churches teach that Christians need to obey certain Old Testament laws such as complete tithing, the dietary laws, and observance of the Mosaic festivals, laws that mainstream Christians believe have been abolished. The Apostles, though, went out of their way to specifically identify the animal and grain sacrifice and circumcision laws as now truly done away with, but not most of the other Mosaic laws. These 3 churches quickly admit that Christians are now living under grace, and that salvation cannot be earned. The sacrificial death of Jesus has paid for our sins up to the time of our repentance and baptism, just like a presidential pardon releases a convicted murderer from prison. The murderer, though, is expected to no longer murder anymore after the pardon. It is the same with Christians, the pardon that Jesus has given us is conditional. We need to stop breaking God’s laws, which are good, reasonable, and not really burdensome. The Old Testament laws help preserve health (like protecting us from eating oysters that are almost always contaminated with potentially flesh eating Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, discovered only relatively recently in 1985, etc.) and help prosper us financially (paying the third year food [or charity] tithe can give you blessings, ask the rich Orthodox Jews about that who diligently observe that law). According to just too many very explicit verses that you cannot walk away from and forget, Christians are obligated to continue obeying certain Mosaic laws. Isaiah 66:17, 22, and 23 reveal that in the distant future the Mosaic dietary and Saturday Sabbath laws will finally be actually enforced, and Zechariah 14:16-19 shows that in the distant future the Mosaic law to attend the annual, week long, eat, drink, and be merry Feast of Tabernacles will also be enforced, using prolonged drought as punishment. Few Christians know that Matthew 7:23 refers primarily to the Mosaic laws: “…… depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” The original Greek word for “lawlessness” is anomia which refers primarily to the Mosaic laws. Read world renowned Bible word expert Joseph Thayer’s definition of anomia.The exeGeses Companion Bible comes right out and says what the Greek says: “…… depart from Me, you who violate the Torah.” 1 John 3:4 defines sin as referring mostly to the Mosaic laws. The anomia word appears in that verse.

    October 4th, 2011 at 11:15 pm. Permalink.

  35. marti oconnell replied:

    Excellent insightt!!

    September 2nd, 2014 at 5:44 pm. Permalink.

  36. marti oconnell replied:

    please see http://www.exitsupportnetwork.com

    September 2nd, 2014 at 5:51 pm. Permalink.

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