United Church of God

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Scout, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. Scout

    Scout Scout

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    A friend of mine is getting involved with a group called the United Church of God. Does anyone know anything about them? Are they a cult?
     
  2. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    It's roots are 20th century. The World Wide Church of God (led by the charismatic Herbert Armstrong) was founded as an offshoot of his "Radio Church of God" (he was the original and prototypical tele-evalgelist) during the depression.

    His son (and those who wanted to appeal more to the mainstream) continued on with the tele-evangelism out of the home church in Southern California. Those who wanted to continue with the elder Armstrong's strong Fundamentalist, non-trinitarian and "british israelite" (wherein the original Britons were the lost 10 tribes of Israel) formed the UCG in the 1990s.

    There are two types: the UCGIA (united church of god, international association) run out of Cincinnati, and the UGC which is a grouping of independent churches.

    By large neither group claims they are "Armstrongians" (the old WWCG did). Instead they take all of Armstrong's teachings and revelations and teach that they are scriptoral. That is, they proove something like "the Holy Spirit is the power of G!d and Christ and Jesus and G!d are distinctly separate" using just the words of the scripture (as interpreted by HWA). They definately have (in my opinion no or) little relationship with the wellspring Christianities of Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy or the Catholic Church.

    If you believe Mormans, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, and Jehovah Witnesses are members of a cult, be assured you will find UCG a cult.
     
    Robert Sparkman likes this.
  3. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    You're slighting his contemporaries Aimee Semple McPherson, who did Pentecostalist faith-healings over the radio, and pioneered the scandalicious crash-and-burn; and Father McCoughlin, who pioneered the marriage of televangelism to extreme-right-wing politics. But yes, Armstrong was one of the early greats in the field.
    I once saw a copy of the very first issue of Armstrong's magazine "The Plain Truth" published in March 1933. In large red type the headline proclaimed "A GREAT WORLD DICTATOR IS ABOUT TO EMERGE!": pretty impressive, since Hitler was just about to assume the Chancellor's office in Germany. Except, that the headline continued in smaller black "Will it be Stalin? Or Mussolini? Or ROOSEVELT?" (the capitalization indicating which "world dictator" Armstrong feared the most). Inside the magazine, it turns out that the political wrangling in Germany wasn't even on his radar scope-- but that would change. All during World War II, the Plain Truth prophesied our inevitable defeat. The UK and US were "Manasseh and Ephraim", the tribes of True Israel, and Germany was "Assyria", and we were in the war in Ezekiel when True Israel had to get totally crushed-- never fear, that was all part of God's plan; Jesus would be coming back soon, once the Beast had established his rule over all the world and [blah blah blah, you know the drill].

    Armstrong was genuinely taken aback when the Allies won the war. He was a primary spreader of the conspiracy theory that Hitler had not really committed suicide in the bunker, but had been smuggled out in a submarine by Bormann and others of the Nazi leadership who were unaccounted-for. Hitler was hiding in a secret base in Antarctica, and would amaze the world when he re-appeared, fulfilling the verse in Revelation about the Beast receiving a mortal wound but recovering. Decades passed, and the story started sounding implausible; so in the late 60's the aging Armstrong put out his masterwork, a definitive chronology tying all the prophecies in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation together, concluding that the world was bound to end in 1975. He persuaded a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses (he had started out as a slightly heretical JW) who also spread the panic about 1975 (I was college-age at that time, just the right age to get the full blast of urgent tracts and pamphlets handed to me by street preachers). When 1976 rolled around, Armstrong discovered his miscalculation: he had forgotten to take into account the years of Nebuchadnezzar's madness, it seems, and this threw the chronology a little off. But the world was bound to end REAL SOON NOW.

    I know a nice couple who met in that church (Brian knows the husband: he posted as "Aaronsdad" back on the old board where we met, before Brian founded this board), and decided to get out of it during the schisms that followed Armstrong's death and the resulting controversies about how much of "Nebuchadnezzar's madness" to repudiate. He's white, she's black: one thing that must be said in favor of this sect, as I have also seen among the JW's, 7th-Dayers, and many Pentecostal groups, is that they have long had mixed-race congregations (rare in the US; Sunday morning, it has been said, is the most segregated time in America) and honestly "do not even see color". They shared with me their collection of old Armstrongite literature, knowing that I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.
     
  4. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    I believe that HWA was the first key televangelist (McPherson was dead and Couglin banned by the time TV came around. At the least we was the crucial link between these two and televangelism.

    I did not want to get into the middle of discussing his beliefs, but now that you have broached the subject:

    Regardless of what UCG says it is an anti-scripturial cult with absolutely no relationship to any other branch of Christianity except what is left of the WWCG. Their only passing relationship with most Christians is that they refer to the same book. Their interpretation is more than a little extreme, just look up "Armstrongism" on wiki.

    Pax et amore omnia vincunt
     
  5. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    I don't know why, but I tend to think of them as branches of Christianity. All those you have mentioned above. A cult is too dirty a term to be used of them.
    Ben
     
  6. LOWRAB777

    LOWRAB777 New Member

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    I was born into wcg and I have to say I left it the first chance I had......
    However the thing i quickly noticed was that people viciously attacked my understanding and implementation of the scriptures I learned about......
    I have noticed that Christians most commonly label some of my beliefs as coming from (HBW)..... Yet I have also noticed a strict contempt to even consider the idea that many come to the same understanding with out even knowing who (HBW) is.....
    The idea that UCG adheres to unscriptural theology may be an easy thing for many to digest unless they are unwilling to submit all their prejudices to biblical truth instead of orthodoxed christian denominations. the biggest hindrance to this theology, that I have been able to find is from early roman Catholicism in witch i guess most every mainstream christian church basis their fundamental elements of belief.
    I do attend ucg functions and i have many friends who attend at ucg as a home church. Me and alot of my friends attend home based bible studies more commonly.
    the main problems i run into is the issue of the holy days / 7th day sabbath keeping / clean and unclean meats, and preloaded interpretation of scripture. This is about to turn into a bible study that I will have to return to as it it is after 12 pm my time but I would start with a word study. and if any one has the energy or will to look at the meaning of this scripture I would like to start there not with (hbw)

    Gen 1:14 And GodH430 said,H559 Let there beH1961 lightsH3974 in the firmamentH7549 of the heavenH8064 to divideH914 H996 the dayH3117 fromH996 the night;H3915 and let them beH1961 for signs,H226 and for seasons,H4150 and for days,H3117 and years:H8141
    H4150
    מועדה מעד מועד
    mô‛êd mô‛êd mô‛âdâh
    mo-ade', mo-ade', mo-aw-daw'
    From H3259; properly an appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): - appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed).
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    So if you substitute the words you propose what is the new sentence?
     
  8. LOWRAB777

    LOWRAB777 New Member

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    editing error
     
  9. LOWRAB777

    LOWRAB777 New Member

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    No new sentence, no substituting words. Only the understanding of the term for sighns and for seasons and the meaning of that term in the language it was translated from. for signs,H226 and for seasons,H4150 and for days,H3117 and years:H814. - Generally meaning God created a scheduled for for appointed festivals, appointed times , and solemn assembly's and he prepared them as part of his creation before hand. this speak of his holy festivals, in which few actually observe in respect today.it speaks of his seventh day sabbath rest it speaks of the harvest seasons it speaks of his jubalee year it spreaks of sun rise and sun down days. and he set that clock before he created a man.
    Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
    Gen 2:3 And
    God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

    Mar 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
    The sabbath was a gift to us "MAN" from God
    Heb 4:4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
    Heb 4:5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
    Heb 4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
    Heb 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
    Heb 4:8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
    Heb 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
    Heb 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
    Heb 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

    how would you feel if you made a great and valuable gift for your spouse and they disregarded it as a burden or reduced it to very little importance. or just devalued it altogether?
     
  10. LOWRAB777

    LOWRAB777 New Member

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    when does this scripture take place?
    Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
    Zec 14:17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
    Zec 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
    Zec 14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
    Zec 14:20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD'S house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
    Zec 14:21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
     
  11. LOWRAB777

    LOWRAB777 New Member

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    The biggest reason they are labled as a cult i have seen is because they observe the seventh day sabbath and Gods holy days / festivals, and they stem from the old wcg format. and some of hbw's teachings.
    however their there is nothing evil about keeping holy days or seventh day sabbath, believe it or not hbw did teach from scripture. I cannot adhere to the idea that ucg is a cult just because they spurred from wcg. WCG however did become cultish and that is the very reason that organization fell apart.
    ucg is a very biblicaly derived organization. and they teach directly from scripture. in fact if you go to a ucg service you will find that they teach directly from the bible as we all should.
     
  12. Corban

    Corban New Member

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    I attend with UCG as a visitor and while I believe keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days is correct, I do not agree with their interpretation of Deut 16:16 (they give 7 and not 3), going to restaurants on the Sabbath and a few other things. From my studies the Eternal Church of God is the most Biblically based Church of God.
     
  13. Robert Sparkman

    Robert Sparkman New Member

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    Yes, they are definitely a cult associated with the teachings of Herbert Armstrong. I used to be an Armstrongite, and am now an evangelical Christian so I am very familiar with their teachings. Armstrongite groups include Restored Church of God, United Church of God, Living Church of God and various other groups with "Church of God" in their name (although not all Church of Gods are Armstrongite groups).

    They deny the Trinity doctrine, instead claiming that God is currently two separate beings, the Father and Son, and that resurrected believers will become fully God. They teach that they are the "only true Church" and that the rest of those who call themselves Christians are false, "so-called" Christians who are part of the Satanic system called the "Great Prostitute" of Revelation 17. The primary characteristic of this Great Prostitute is that she doesn't observe the Saturday Sabbath. Anyone who does not observe the Saturday Sabbath is under the "Mark of the Beast" or will be under it during the Great Tribulation.

    Salvation is basically about being a god in embryonic form, with abortion assured for those who don't develop sufficient character to be trusted with the full powers of godhood.

    Their doctrines are a product of the mind of Herbert Armstrong. He was a very divisive, proud and vain man, who considered himself to be both an Apostle and Prophet, in the same sense as the NT apostles and OT prophets. He considered himself to be the Elijah to Come. UCG, in particular, attempts to divorce themselves from Herbert Armstrong, but they teach identical doctrines. I consider Armstrongite doctrine to be the National Enquirer mentality; their focus is on the sensational like prophetic speculation, and it is geared largely toward discrediting Christianity, which they consider to be a Satanic counterfeit.

    Their mentality is very like the mentality of the National Enquirer, focusing on sensational issues like prophecy and adopting a conspiracy theory mentality of church history. Hislopite beliefs and British Israelism are a part of their childish belief system.

    Regarding their politeness, politeness is not the measure of a cult. Unorthodox teaching is the measure we should use. The essentials, such as the deity of Jesus Christ, the Triune nature of God, justification by faith, the bodily resurrection, the virgin birth, and the judgment of the righteous and unrighteous are doctrines we should measure groups against.

    They also deny the bodily resurrection and the concept of biblical regeneration, and justification by faith alone. Their theology is very fear and condemnation oriented.

    I strongly warn against their teachings, and encourage anyone who is looking for a good, sound source of teaching to attend an Evangelical Free Church of America, Christian And Missionary Alliance, or various other evangelical church congregation.

    I would be glad to answer questions about them if anyone is seriously considering joining them. I did an overview on their teachings on YouTube. Look for the channel Exposing United Church of God. It is not the best quality video, and I likely will try to refine it in the future.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  14. Robert Sparkman

    Robert Sparkman New Member

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    No, they teach that they will become God in the resurrection. This is blasphemous.

    The Sabbath, festivals, and clean/unclean meat laws are a secondary issue. There are Messianic Jews and others who observe them without claiming they will become God in the resurrection, and without claiming the rest of Christianity is false.

    Armstrongism teaches that all other believers are counterfeits. They claim that the Great Prostitute of Revelation 17 is the Roman Catholic Church, and that the daughters of this harlot are Christians who do not observe the Saturday Sabbath.

    One only needs to read their literature to see that they consider themselves to be the true Church, and consider others to be false and satanic. And, their contempt for other believers is openly expressed by the language they use in their literature. Their intention is to discredit the rest of Christianity and to exalt themselves and their own teaching. They consider themselves to be the autonomous, trustworthy seekers of truth, and the rest of Christianity to be blinded by tradition and false teachings.

    I was an Armstrongite for over a decade so I am very familiar with their teachings and their prideful attitude. In fact, Darris McNeely, one of the presenters for United Church of God, was my first pastor for about five years. He baptized me. I am very familiar with Armstrongism.

    Don't be fooled by the "Church of God" part of their name. They are divisive and are seeking to discredit the rest of Christianity. In addition, they teach against the Trinity, the bodily resurrection, biblical regeneration, and justification by faith alone, all of which are considered essential to biblical Christianity, and have solid biblical basis.
     
  15. Former WWCG

    Former WWCG New Member

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    The definition of a cult is a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous according to Webster. I would agree with the first part and not the last. Even though I no longer attend for more basic doubts about God as a whole, I never considered WWCG nor the more recent UCG, which was formed due differences in opinion regarding doctrinal changes made by the WWCG leadership, dangerous or extreme. I listened to Mr. Armstrong and he always encouraged following along in the Bible and self study. I think it was more how people treated him or thought of him rather than anything Mr. Armstrong demanded. Some people, no matter what religion, want a figure to worship as in the time when the Hebrews demanded a king and Samuel was it. I don't know why people consider UCG not Christian when they believe Christ died for our sins, that he was the Son of God, and Christ was resurrected, and that he will return some day. Christ was immersed at baptism so why not now? To be very simplistic, they don't believe the holy days and ten commandments of the Old Testament were done away with at Christ's death. He did say he came to magnify the law. They do not believe that works will save you but that you will want to do good works if you have God's Holy Spirit. The Trinity is a Catholic supposition and many religions, no matter how old, are really off shoots of Catholicism keeping what they liked or could prove and doing away with what they didn't whether that be Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Mormon, etc...they all evolved. My husband still attends UCG and we have a happy long lasting marriage even though I haven't attended for many years. When I sometimes attend functions, the people of the congregation are welcoming and friendly. They espouse tithing, which other churches do. They espouse immersion baptism as an adult (Christ wasn't baptized until the age of 30 or so), so do other churches. They espouse the Saturday Sabbath, which, try to prove that it isn't. You will find the Emperor Constantine changed many of the so called holy days and Sabbath. Because of these they don't observe Christmas or Easter or Sunday Sabbath. Different, yes. Dangerous, no. For those raised in the church, I think the difference in how their parents behaved and believed. My mother began attending when I was 13 and, most of the time, had a very balanced approach to observance. Hope this helps.
     

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