UCG to Re-Educate its Brethren and Ministry
Dear fellow elders and wives, deacons and deaconesses, and staff members,
The Council of Elders left the home office a week ago after holding a very profitable set of meetings that touched on so many aspects of the Work of God. It started with a retreat on Sunday, December 7, where the spiritual state of the Church was discussed. The discussion I was involved with, as President, dealt with setting personal priorities and making certain that with all of our myriad tasks that we don’t neglect our own relationship with God. Then we can be teachers who effectively “labor in the word” (1 Timothy 5:17) and truly provide the spiritual nourishment that our congregations need. As ministers, teachers and leaders we are judged by a much stricter standard (James 3:1).
My assignment from the Council is to oversee an online training course for our ministers in “dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) so that we can then “preach the word” conscientiously (2 Timothy 4:2). This course will not only be for our newer ministers, but a refresher for our veteran elders, as well. Roy Holladay and I are already roughing out a program and will be soliciting the help of ministers with academic and teaching experience to plan and teach such a course. Some of the lessons of the course will be expository preaching, exegesis, mechanics of speaking, inspiration/motivation, hermeneutics, research and more. I’m excited at this upgrade, as many of us have not been refreshed lately on some of these fundamentals.
ADMIN: Exegesis: Discovering the Original, Intended Meaning of the Text. The focus will now be on “growing” and changing the past “understandings” of scripture towards Tkachism.
During the Council meetings, I led a discussion about consolidating and simplifying our media identity in a manner that increases audience awareness of the benefits of God’s way, the gospel message and the Church. This includes assessing how all of our media products can become more recognizable, with one identity for quicker identification by the public we are reaching. It includes a name change for the Good News magazine as part of the process. Sometime in the next year we will be changing the name of the Good News magazine to Beyond Today. Darris McNeely and I provide more details in a podcast we recorded earlier today that will be posted Friday on our UCG website. It explains more of the reasons and background for making this change. You will be able to hear it at directly at www.ucg.org/blog/inside-united-podcast-episode-041/ after its posting on Friday.
Tkach, WCG and UCG
This post contains material that some who are not yet aware of may find shocking, or some may not be willing to believe. I assure that this is true and is published for the greater good; to provide an indisputable warning to the brethren. I have no doubt that this post will offend many. Please ask yourselves why I would post such things except out of a loving warning to all the brethren to STOP idolizing men; and to START exalting the Word of God above the words of men? I do not enjoy being despised, but if I am to be a godly watchman I have no choice except to warn the brethren of what is going on.
This material affects all the Armstrong based church of God groups.
This post contains material from numerous sources. Everything has been confirmed by several sources and by personal information I have received from contacts.
The most sordid details have been held back in this history, however enough is presented in this overview to lay the foundation needed to explain what has happened and what is now happening in the COG Groups.
This is a history that the COG Groups have tried to hide, and while many brethren will say that they knew much of this already, many others will be shocked.
SOURCES: A few of the many sources used include:
Ted Armstrong’s booklet on “The Origin and History of the Church of God International”
David Antion’s tape “79 Disfellowshippments and Firings”
C. Wayne Coles tape on ”My Side of The Story”
“The Liberation of The Worldwide Church of God”, Michael Feazel
Various statements by prominent ministers over many years.
Personal contact information.
And many other sources.
Worldwide Church of God Power Struggles Leading to The Tkach Takeover
No COG including the Worldwide Church of God has ever been “God’s Church” at all; they are all human organizations made up of men; some converted and zealous and others weak,.
To say that this or that corporate church is “God’s Church” is either extreme spiritual ignorance or a LIE!
The COG Groups including the Armstrong WCG were/are mixed with many tares, thorns, weeds and thistles as evidenced by the majority supporting Joe Tkach and straying from the little truth they had.
In the Ekklesia we are commanded to cast OUT the obvious thorns, weeds and brambles, the heretics who will not accept the doctrines of Holy Scripture; while being carful not to harm the sincere tares who appear as wheat and are trying their best to faithfully keep the whole Word of God. No, we are NOT to as much as share a meal with the wicked who follow idols of men away from our God.
1 Cor 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator [Pornea refers to ANY sexual sin], or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
In the COG Groups we have not only failed to teach and require passionate obedience to God: We have openly sought the addition of the obviously unconverted into our numbers with our watered down business model outreach.
The various groups teach on just about any subject: EXCEPT on the definition of sin and the need to zealously keep all of God’s commandments; and when they do speak of zeal for the commandments, they are speaking of zeal to follow themselves and not referring out any zeal to keep the Word of God. Which zeal for God they openly reject and rebuke;’ demanding instead obedience to themselves as idols set up over the brethren!
Unscrupulous men have always been attracted to God’s Ekklesia, and many throughout history came in with certain talents and abilities and quickly rose to the top; and once in high authority they perverted the gospel of warning and repentance and they made merchandise of the brethren, turning the brethren AWAY from following Christ and toward following themselves.
This has ever been so. One need only consider Diotrophies or the continual falling away of physical Israel which was recorded for our instruction.
The faithful to God, in either spiritual or physical Israel, even in the corporate church of God groups today, are very few compared to the overall numbers of the brethren.
Jesus said that “many are called, and FEW will be chosen,” and that the called out will be surrounded by many false teachers and false brethren. We ought to believe Jesus Christ!
Today we will look into the internal power struggles of the HWA WCG from the death of Loma to the death of Herbert Armstrong. This article is not about Herbert Armstrong although of necessity he is mentioned.
There will be a short series directly on HWA sometime in the future; beginning with extensive HWA quotes: “HWA in His Own Words.”
What we will see today is very ugly and repulsive to the true saints of God, but it is necessary for the truth to come out, that we may understand that NO corporate church is God’s church; and that God’s only true church is the spiritual body of believers [very often scattered and never concentrated in one corporate organization] who have responded to the Father’s call with a deep love and diligent obedience to God’s word; striving with all our hearts to be like our Father; as any little child looks at his Father and declares “I wanna be like him”
Many who have learned of these sins and struggles have been turned off on religion and God; having believed the lie that the corporation is God’s church; not realizing that the corporate COG Groups including the Armstrong WCG are [were] only institutions of men; and are NOT God’s true church at all.
Brethren, these things were and are allowed; to teach and test God’s people, as to whether they will follow God or some other. God is teaching us to obey and follow men ONLY as they follow Christ.
Herbert Armstrong was raised Quaker by a strong dominating father, who treated him with extreme strictness and many beatings. As he grew up he responded to that with an intense desire to succeed as he himself wrote.
For Herbert the definition of success was to be accepted by the leaders of business and politics and to be esteemed by the great and near great of this world. He had an intense desire for money and for the good things of this world that money could buy, however the pursuit of wealth was for him only a means to the end of achieving the respect and admiration of other worldly successful men.
All his life his standards were wrong, being based on physical bench marks instead of the spiritual.
At a certain point he was down and out and somewhat humbled, and began to study the scriptures through the admonitions of his wife Loma. He then realized that he had found something that he could successfully sell during the depression: From then on, he would enter the religion business; to sell hope for a bright future to the masses.
He requested baptism which was refused him because of a lack of evidence of sincere repentance from his overwhelming ambition to dominate others and impress the worldly. He then sought out anyone who would baptize him and found a Baptist minister willing to perform the deed. His Baptist baptism is in his own words in his Autobiography.
Then he sought ordination which was refused him because he did not meet the biblical requirements for even baptism, and was a novice, full of pride and ambition. He used his skills as a high pressure salesman to convince a small local congregation to ordain him and make him their minister.
Then when the COG7 decided to select 70 elders by lottery, he sent in his name and was selected along with 69 other men and was presented with credentials from the COG 7. He was to be paid a monthly salary and all tithes and donations were to be sent to COG 7.
In spite of this Herbert began to take all contributions along with his COG 7 salary for himself and began his own work. The COG 7th day was working on setting up a radio broadcast and was getting nowhere, so HWA set up his own program in Oregon and from then on never looked back. He should have informed COG 7 that he wanted his own work but instead stole from them until he was decredentialed by them.
Then came the war years and HWA presented himself as a prophet, making scores of predictions; very many presumptuously in “The Name of The Lord,” all of which failed; [Wait for HWA in His Own Words] Making him a presumptuous false prophet according to the Word of God in Deu 18:22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid [shall not listen to him] of him.
Then in 1950 he promoted himself to apostle, while continuing to make many failed prophecies; one of which has come to pass [the reunification of Germany] and one which will soon come to pass [the rise of the New Europe].
In 1956 Stanley R Rader met Armstrong, leader of what was then called the Radio Church of God, at its new headquarters offices in Pasadena, California. Coming under contract with the Radio Church of God, Rader worked on improving its accounting system, thereby creating a highly favorable impression with Armstrong, who then urged him to attend law school at Armstrong’s expense. In 1963 Rader graduated from University of Southern California Law School
The Radio Church of God had been previously registered on March 3, 1946 then incorporated in Pasadena. Prior to the Pasadena event the RCG had been an unincorporated voluntary association [like I am doing now] based in Eugene, Oregon named after its radio broadcast.
On January 5, 1968, which was the year following the death of his first wife, Loma, Armstrong, as president, together with the secretary of the corporation, amended its Articles of Incorporation to reflect the change of name to the Worldwide Church of God. (By then its radio broadcast had also been renamed The World Tomorrow).
Loma Armstrong had been a counterbalance to Herbert’s ego and weakness for flattery, and when she died Stan Rader used flattery and his knowledge of HWA’s weakness of wanting respect from the worldly successful, to insert himself into church financial affairs until he largely controlled the finances of the organization. He then set up companies owned by himself and channeled nearly all church business through his own companies making massive profits in clear conflicts of interest.
After convincing Herbert to build the extravagant white elephant known as the Ambassador Auditorium, Rader actually paid off the low bidder with church funds and then ran the construction through his own hand picked company; making a vast sum in commissions and inflated prices.
Then Herbert demanded that construction continue on the Sabbath, and paid bonuses to construction workers to work on Sabbath.
This was all an attack by Satan to destroy the work being done, through the destruction of its financial base.
The auditorium was an attack on the work of the church, as was the AICF and all the other diversions of funds from the work into supporting secular humanism; as well as the pollution of the outreach from a warning message of repentance into a more evangelical mainstream masonic message of “A strong hand from somewhere” which denies Christ and makes the identity of that strong hand up to the hearer’s discretion.
Stanley Rader used his own professional legal accounting practice, and also incorporated new companies with which to conduct profitable business enterprises [for himself] acting on behalf of the Worldwide Church of God and funneling their business through his own companies.
The companies largely owned and controlled by Rader included:
Rader, Helge & Gerson who provided legal representation for the church;
Rader, Cornwall, Kessler and Palazzo who provided accounting services for the church;
Worldwide Advertising, Inc., which booked The World Tomorrow on radio and television stations;
Mid-Atlantic Leasing, which leased light aircraft and a Gulfstream II, all paid for by the Worldwide Church of God, to enable Stanley Rader and Herbert W. Armstrong to fly around the world;
Wilshire Travel, which made the travel bookings for Stanley Rader and Herbert W. Armstrong;
Gateway Publishing, which printed all the church’s literature.
Herbert Armstrong was an admitted alcoholic and drunkard who was poured into bed most nights; and during those evenings of drinking often revealed or said things he later regretted.
Stan Rader did not shrink back from taping endless hours of conversation with HWA and with other items, gained full control over Herbert with blackmail to get whatever he wanted.
The plan of Stanley Rader and his aide Robert Lawrence Kuhn [both members of the same Rabbinic synagogue] was to use Herbert’s desire for worldly recognition to transform Herbert W. Armstrong from an elderly evangelist into a more secular leader, casting him as a vital “Ambassador for World Peace without portfolio”.
Rader’s plan required the creation of a totally new and secular cover entity from which to operate, distanced from his Worldwide fundamentalist sect, which might prove unpalatable to prominent world leaders [read Masons] as HWA played out his role as quasi-ambassador.
One of Rader’s main reasons for enticing HWA in this direction was to gain further opportunities to take financial advantage and to keep HWA away from Pasadena for long periods so that he could loot the church away from prying eyes. And if course Satan was moving to destroy the Gospel of warning and repentance.
In 1975, therefore, he incorporated the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF) which was mainly funded from the tithe money of members of the Worldwide Church of God. Rader then ran the AICF booking agency making a huge profits on nearly all AICF events.
As a consequence, the AICF transformed Ambassador Auditorium on the Ambassador College campus from a church auditorium in which Saturday Sabbath church services were conducted, into a “Carnegie Hall of the West”, and began a concert series featuring the top names in classical music, jazz and the performing arts. PBS and other television networks made use of this glamorous new venue.
The AICF also created a new glossy secular coffee-table commercial magazine called Quest with a circulation of several hundred thousand copies, featuring articles antithetical to church teachings; bought the book publisher Everest House and funded the motion picture Paper Moon starring Tatum O’Neal.
Herbert W. Armstrong, in the company of Stanley Rader, began using his new masonic contacts, introducing himself to any world leader who held political power willing to meet with the aging grandfatherly figure while receiving expensive gifts such as Stueben crystal and a large donation of cash; in exchange for a photo op with himself in the presence of and apparently accepted by these leaders.
Buying the respect from the worldly that he had always craved, for the price of tens of thousands of dollars per photo op and at the cost of perverting the Gospel message of warning and repentance, as well as siphoning off tens of millions of dollars AWAY from the declared work of the church.
Armstrong sold his new AICF portfolio approach to the church membership, as being a “new phase” in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, that gospel message had now changed to a watered down ecumenical mix of lip-service to commandments like the Sabbath, while rejecting what God said about how to keep the commandments.
The message was now a false teaching about; giving as opposed to getting, with the brethren doing all the giving and him doing all the getting, living like a king while squeezing the brethren dry and avoiding any reference to Jesus Christ in his visits, Instead HWA used a longstanding masonic position, previously used in a US News and World Report editorial headline about A Great Unseen Hand from Someplace as being the savior of the world.
Then Rader and HWA claimed that Rader was baptized in Hong Kong, this putting Rader in a better position for his power struggle with GTA.
Because of the huge rip off of scores of millions by Rader, the church was continually teetering close to bankruptcy; and a power struggle developed between Rader and Herbert’s son GTA.
As Ted tried to protect his father from Rader’s influence and tried to protect the WCG, from Rader’s thievery; Rader enriched himself. Then each side began to promote people loyal to themselves into key positions, and struggled to get something on each other.
Ted fired Rader in early ’78 [with his father’s support] and then changed advertising agencies for the WCG, from one owned by Rader to another agency.
Rader fought back, rushing to HWA and reminding him of his personal knowledge of many things Herbert wanted kept secret and threatening him with a lawsuit; forcing HWA to attempt to send Ted on a six-month “leave of absence” on June 13th of ’78, but that was not good enough for the recently fired Rader. He knew that Ted was still able to come back and so the thumbscrews had to be applied to HWA in order to get Ted out of the way for good.
Interestingly, HWA had agreed to Ted’s proposal in early ’78 to hire a new advertising agency (other than Rader’s) and to separate the church HQ from the College by placing the college (AC) in Big Sandy, and the WCG HQ in Pasadena in order to be accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools & Colleges) as that was a problem (according to Ted-”Origin” pg 51) related to the desire of HWA to call Ambassador a coeducational institution while being under strict control of a hierarchy. WASC would not okay that. If the hierarchy was to be maintained, there had to be a separation of church and college.
On pg 80 of “Origin” Ted states that he is referring to “The same man whose resignations I had acquired by December of 1977, but whose resignations you refused to accept on January 3, 1978. The same man whose resignations you were fervently attempting to obtain in December of 1978, and the same man to whom you had a hand delivered letter sent on the night of January 2, 1979. Remember the letter, Dad? …Remember his response? It must have frightened you badly to be told, “you will hear from my lawyer” …… Your own voice was heard by 20 million American people saying, you believe this man is, in effect, trying to do the very thing you put me out for trying to do, -take over the work! You know, and you know that you know that he has threatened you, for you admitted it before 20 million American people” (heard on “60 Minutes” Jan ’79)
Now that Ted was out in 1979, Rader was able to freely move his men up the ranks, and carefully placed college maintenance men loyal to himself, including Ellis Laravia, Joseph Tkach and Aaron Dean in key positions over the ensuing years.
Tkach and the maintenance crew of Ambassador College in Pasadena (along with several others both in and out of the ministry, including the Dean brothers) were known to be “Rader men” due to the fact that they were in his camp and taking orders only from Rader. This included HWA’s wife at the time, Ramona Martin.
The Armstrong family leadership was no longer in control of the Armstrongite ministry that had been trained by HWA. The personally loyal evangelists, such as Rod Meredith, etc. lost their high position in authority when Tkach was put in charge of the ministry in ’79. Many were disfellowshipped (ie, Dave Antion, C. Wayne Cole, etc.).
Rader did not seek the top religious position. He just wanted to be in control of the money. But with Ted gone, he knew that he had to place his agents in positions of control, in order to maintain control of the money when HWA died. He obviously knew where every dime was in all those corporate soles that were scattered out to other states, as well as in the thirteen bank accounts listed under HWA’s name.
Stan Rader had coached his secretary Ramona Martin on how to catch and marry Herbert, so that he then had one more control, right in Herbert’s bed.
It was very obvious that Rader was calling the shots by late 79 and that he had put the fear in HWA.
According to Ted’s booklet, HWA had been afraid of being “placed in a mental institution” (“Origin” pg. 67)”He was becoming paranoid about plots against him” (same pg). This accusation is also repeated in DLA’s tape “’79 Disfellowshipments and Firings.” along with the fact that C. Wayne Cole (the then head of the ministerial dept.) was consulted by HWA about how to go about firing Rader. Of course the loyal Cole tried to help HWA and was stabbed in the back as a result. This information is available on David Antion’s taped message, “79 Firings and Disfellowshipments”.
Rader recommended Tkach to be made head of the ministerial department after his [Tkach’s] ordination as an evangelist in ’79.
As head of the ministry Tkach then began promoting people loyal to himself instead of Rader loyalists into key positions and prepared to oust Rader.
In 1979 Tkach struck from behind the scenes at his mentor Stan Rader!
Earl and Shirley Timmons with John Tuit, backed from behind the scenes by Tkach and Ted Armstrong, launched a lawsuit on behalf ot the WCG requiring a financial accounting.
The man in control of all the finances who had been robbing the church blind, ran to Tucson when he heard that HWA had ordered Wayne Cole to cooperate fully with the investigation.
Herbert knew the target was Rader and wanted to be rid of him after realizing what Rader’s game was in 1978; it was in 78 that HWA began looking for ways to get rid of Rader.
- Rader was able to use his blackmail package to force HWA to reverse himself and contrary to church doctrine; fight the receivership. In an appalling episode Rader also made HWA fire Wayne Cole for Cole’s loyalty to HWA.
When I think back on how the brethren were manipulated into resisting lawful authority, contrary to church doctrine; and were conned into demonstrating on behalf of the very person robbing them blind; I am appalled, for I too bought into this fraud during those years.
I think this is a classic example and lesson; that we should always be true to God’s word. If the brethren had been true to doctrine and had submitted to lawful authority allowing the investigation; the WCG might well have been cleaned up and saved.
Although Rader appeared to have won the financial receivership battle, his plan to create the AICF cultural empire had come to a halt. He also lost his blackmail material to Joseph Tkach; making the big mistake of entrusting it to him for safe keeping from any inquisitive eyes during the receivership.
Unlike Rader, Tkach wanted the chancellery and the ‘Pastor General’ position, and the WCG Empire. In order to reach his goals, he simply took over Rader’s blackmail material.
This then placed him in position to move into HWA’s good graces and to remove his buddy Stan Rader once and for all.
As the receivership wound down in 1981, Rader felt it was time for him to move against HWA; The Dean bros acting in behalf of Tkach against Rader managed to tape a conversation between Rader and Ramona in which they were discussing placing HWA in a nursing home and taking over the church.
When HWA understood that the blackmail information against him was no longer in the possession of Rader, having been transferred to Tkach; and then received this Rader Ramona information, he fled back to Pasadena and divorced Ramona; Tkach man Aaron Dean was made HWA’s assistant, replacing Bob Fahey; and Joe T was now in secure control of the ministry.
In 1981 Rader was forced to resign as General Counsel and Treasurer of the Worldwide Church of God. Although Herbert paid Rader a special $250,000 bonus, after taxes, he said as a result of his efforts in vigorously defending the church against the state receivership.
Rader also received full salary for the rest of the remaining years of his contract. This in spite of robbing the church for decades. It is likely that this payment was to keep Rader’s silence about HWA’s personal conduct which was far far different than what was publicly claimed.
OF SPECIAL NOTE FOR UCG BRETHREN: Tkach promoted those people in the ministry who shared his evangelical approach as HWA grew old, blind, out of touch, and could do nothing.
By the time Dec 85 came along; Tkach was firmly in control of WCG and had no competition in HWA’s naming of him as his successor.
The apostasy into mainstream evangelicism by the top of the WCG hierarchy began in 1979 as Tkach began replacing Armstrong loyalists in top ministerial positions with his own doctrinal loyalists and this changeover into evangelicalism at the top was going big time by 1981.
The senior men trained by HWA and loyal to him were removed from the centers of power and replaced by evangelical leaning men; who bided their time.
In 1985/86 Joe Tkach was recommended by Aaron Dean as HWA’s successor and seconded by Herman Hoeh a closet Buddhist / Evangelical himself.
By the time of the FOT ’85 and on, Tkach and Aaron Dean were in complete control of what was left of the Armstrong empire, not even allowing access to “God’s Apostle” except by special permission and only in the presence of Tkach and/or Aaron Dean, claiming to be his protection from exposure to outside infections, related to his low blood count.
Those persons in WCG executive positions, by, at the latest 1990; were directly responsible for formulating and implementing the Tkach apostasy. Many of them later left WCG to infiltrate UCG and the present UCG is controlled by these same persons.
THE TKACH TRANSITION
Before I start I want to emphasize that HWA did not have ALL truth and that he did have some things wrong. I am NOT a blind follower of any man. My position is crystal clear to anyone who has been reading through this Blog for any length of time.
On the other hand Joseph Tkach did not just make a few adjustments to the teachings of a man; he utterly apostatized away from God the Father and Jesus Christ into an Evangelical Pentecostal travesty of sound doctrine and true religion. He leapt into the cesspool of tolerating and justifying sin in the name of a false “love love” Christ; and perverted sound biblical doctrine TURNING WHOLEHEARTEDLY BACK INTO EGYPT!
This is how he lead the brethren astray!
As we have seen, Joseph Tkach claimed the WCG corporate ladder by supporting Stan Rader and then knew exactly when to get off the Rader bandwagon. Joseph was advised by his friends Herman Hoeh and Aaron Dean, and knew how to play office politics with the best of them.
The answer is quite simple; although Tkach did have a group of backers, they played it cool and bided their time. Playing office politics shrewdly they knew just who to delude and deceive. Finally with HWA fading fast, Aaron suggested that Herbert ask Tkach’s good buddy Herman Hoeh for advice and Herman suggested Joseph Tkach.
Herbert, suspicious of Tkach; then insisted that Joe keep the HWA team of executives and Joe agreed. After the death of HWA, Tkach began to replace the HWA team with his own people and this consolidation of power took a little time and the significance of the personnel changes was not understood until later. It was not until 1989 that the full Tkach team was in place.
Then at the end of 89 a new doctrinal committee called the Doctrinal Manual Group was set up. The deception continued, as they presented themselves as the same as the past doctrinal committees; they declared that their purpose was to clarify and defend doctrine: NOT make changes. Sound familiar?
At the same time that Joe was deceiving the brethren and those unsuspecting elders who were NOT originally a part of this apostasy; he was reaching out to Evangelical groups and Theology media; crowing about the changes he was making.
We all need to understand the incredible amount of deception involved in these changes.. Only a relative few, who were not on “the inside” would begin to understand what was going on. It was not until the whole church had been reprogrammed into an attitude shift during the late 80s and early 90s that Joe was ready to announce the changes in doctrine.
Brethren the exact same thing has been going on in UCG for the past four years!
This attitude shift began in the late 80s with a real push to 1) focus people on unity through tolerance with each other and the organization, hiding the fact that religious unity is a unity of faith and begins with unity with God 2) A slow process of putting more and more focus on the false “love love” Jesus of the Evangelicals, 3) a strong encouragement for the brethren to “get involved” in the outreach by learning to be gentle and tolerant of differences, 4) an emphasis on what the church was doing, socials and the “We Are Family” aspects of the church.
THIS WAS ALL A GRADUAL PROCESS AND PEOPLE WERE CONSTANTLY TOLD THAT THEY WERE COMING MORE INTO LINE WITH THE LOVE OF GOD AND THAT BLEMISHES WERE BEING REMOVED AS THEY WERE BEING PERFECTED.
BRETHREN WERE CONTINUALLY TOLD THAT NO REAL DOCTRINAL CHANGES WERE BEING MADE, ONLY CLARIFICATIONS.
By Dec 94 the brethren and most of the elders had been duped and it was time to make the announcement that things had indeed changed.
That announcement was welcomed by those who had been made ready to swallow the changes by fully buying into the “love love” conditioning.
Many others were in a state of shock; finally realizing that they had been lied to!
Many brethren and a few elders began to leave in an exodus which began to escalate until about 1/3rd of the brethren had left. Some very good elders left with them! Other, not so good elders, who had been deeply involved in the changes and the cover up, also left and pleaded innocence as they joined the new entity.
Tkach WCG: The First Decade
When the 74 split led by Earnest Martin took place, he had been teaching his errors for several years already and had convinced many of his positions. Then Ted’s adulteries were made known and many had had enough. The situation was ripe for the Liberal Evangelical types to stage a walk away with the 74 split.
At the same time some who had been convinced of these Liberal Evangelical heresies were loath to leave their exalted positions, high wages and personal power; and the esteem in which they were held by the brethren. They chose to stay in WCG and bide their time as they worked to establish a power base for the coming death of HWA. A substantial group was elevated to high positions through taking advantage of the Ted/Rader power struggles.
These people believed that much church doctrine was wrong and false, yet they remained within the organization preparing for the time that they would be in a position to make changes. One such person was Herman Hoeh who had bought into the intellectual sounding arguments of Martin and chose not to give up his “In with the boss” and the esteem that many brethren held for him.
While paying lip service to the church doctrines in public, it was an open secret that he disdained those same doctrines in private. It was well known that he was an Evangelical with a strong lean towards Buddhism, he was also an amateur photographer and his collection of personally taken “dirty pictures” was legendary. He especially enjoyed taking pictures of naked young men. These things were no secret in Pasadena. He wanted to “shut the lights and lock the door” on HWA teachings; and kept his personal views secret as he flattered HWA. He personally recommended Joseph Tkath to HWA for his successor.
Hoeh worked hard behind the scenes while keeping his personal views secret; to support Joe Tkach in his succession bid and assisted with the doctrinal changes taking place after 1986.
It took Joe Tkach a short time to fully consolidate his power and control and by 1989 the move to change the doctrine was underway.
The Tkach team worked together to change doctrine into the “love love” tolerance for sin of the Evangelical Movement, from the moment that Tkach took over; however Doctrinal Change did not fully get going until a new doctrinal Team called the “Doctrinal Manual Group” was set up in late 89. This was to be a new STP project hence the word “Manual”.
The following letter and information comes from a Tkach Headquarters source of the 80′s period:
I have searched but cannot find a complete list of Tkach’s doctrinal committee names. I have attached a list of names that were very much involved in his operation and there is a good chance most of these were on the committee.
It wasn’t that they just changed doctrine, they viciously went after anyone they thought might stand in their way by personally attacking them. While there were individuals that were attacked, there was a long list of department that was dissolved. I and others in the department were personally slandered. They made sure that the rumor mill spread the word of how evil those they attacked were before lowering the boom. It literally separated friends and families.
The words that I and others write cannot give anyone the real sense of what went on. I had nightmares for years. I know others did also. I was told by a friend in ministerial services to get out of HQ because it was filled with Jackals. I left and never regretted it for a second.
I hope this list helps. You have an uphill battle. The propaganda machine in WCG was very good. Most members and a lot of ministers had no idea what went on at HQ. They were taught all the time that they were in WCG that loyalty of HQ was loyalty to God. That became a part of them. So to them, when you say anything remotely critical of WCG, you were speaking against God. I use to be amazed that so many of the ministers that came in on sabbatical were so naïve.
To summarize Joe Sr, Joe Jr and Mike Feazel started the changes.
Schnippert, Albrecht and Don Ward were quickly on board. Don Ward was extremely evangelical and did his best to leads students towards evangelicism even sending on promising students to the Pentecostal Azusa University to learn “the truth”.
Hoeh and Kelly supported Tkach from among the old WCG leaders and supported the new path.
Dave Albert and Gary Antion were AC instructors teaching the new doctrines especially hard.
David Hulme ran AICF under Tkach. Hulme was obviously unconverted and a well known Evangelical, as his subsequent history demonstrates. The fact that her was chosen as the first leader of UCG is very telling.
In 40 years of doing business I have never seen the treachery and corruption that took place from the late 70′s to the late 80′s in the WCG.
Kevin Dean – Was a Rader supporter until he turned against him, informing on him in 82; then supporting HWA and leaving after his death in 86.
Aaron Dean – Strongly supported Joe Tkach.
Joe Jr. – Brought to HQ in 1987. Was raised from local elder to Pastor rank immediately. Was put in charge of the ministry. Larry Salyer then worked for him.
Mike Feazel – Personal assistant and ghost writer to Joe Jr. Lifelong friend of Joe Sr. Head of the Doctrinal Manual Group that made the doctrinal changes. Became Head of Theology and head of the new Doctrinal Manual Group in 89.
Robin Weber– Ministerial Services. Closest personal friend and constant companion of Joe Sr. A strong supporter of Tkach changes and known for disfellowshipping resisters to heresy.
Greg Albrect – Dean of Students and Theology instructor (had a well know reputation of getting students to reveal their problems and then use it against them). Bernie brought him over to editorial to head the PT.
Bernie Schnippert – Brought back in 1987 by Joe Sr. – raised to Director of Media Operations very shortly after arriving; was the coordinator of the Systematic Theology Project in 1977 that HWA exploded over.
Herman Hoeh – You know the story.
Leroy Neff – Treasurer and in charge of all financial services – Accounting, Purchasing, Feast Site business offices. He went however the wind blew. Was staunch Armstrong supporter, and then a staunch Joe Sr. supporter.
Victor Kubic– In charge of Ministerial Services kept the field elders in line by firing those that did not agree with the new teachings. When asked later about this he replied “I had to obey my boss to keep my job” This the classic I was only following orders and I would do anything for money attitude.
Ron Kelly – Long time minister, Festival coordinator, writer for magazines and TV presenter. Spoke often in Pasadena. became Controller of Tkach Team, strong Tkach man.
Dr. Stravanidies – Thought of as the best biblical scholar on campus. Often disagreed with HWA church teachings. played important role in changing them to the Evangelical Mainstream.
Don Ward –Worked on STP. Was the key person behind the accreditation of AC. HWA fired him as president of AC, Pasadena. Went to big Sandy and was reinstated under Leon Walker as academic dean . Joe Sr. brought him back to Pasadena in 1987 as vice chancellor of both campus’s. Liberal arts accreditation started once again. Used Ambassador to indoctrinate youth into Tkach changes. Sent promising elders off to Azusa Pentecostal college for indoctrination into Evangelicism.
NOTE: Accreditation was a euphemism for turning the school away from the HWA Theology and into a Evangelical school by emphasizing criticism of those doctrines in the name of open questioning by students. While I do believe in questioning to seek the truth; in this case the questioning was to move youth and future leaders into the Evangelical mold. The youth would ask a question and the instructor would then spout arguments so as to plant Evangelical ideas.
The youth and future leaders are again under attack through the various church education systems of several COGs.
Michael P Germano-Ambassador University was also Evangelically trained; completing post-graduate studies in anthropology, archaeology, and theology at Southern Methodist University and Texas A&M University at College Station. Involved in the Jordanian Archeological Project and highly critical of HWA teachings, strongly Evangelical. He is now head of LCG education.
Dave Albert – Instructor in theology. Degree in Psychology and was an advocate of pop “its not your fault” psychology. Norman Smith, Denny Luker and John Elliot also in the pop psychology attitude of “sin is not your fault; denial of personal responsibility” and “love love” tolerance. Luker was fired by HWA for his evangelical and pop Psych; but Tkach stepped in to stop that firing.
David Hulme – TV presenter. Became AICF director in 1987, replacing Ellis LaRavia (Ellis was now out). Was strongly into Evangelicism and helped destroy the teachings of HWA for Tkach.
Paul Kroll – Was disfellowshiped by Mr Armstrong for his ultra-liberal views, he was brought back in to write articles for the literature
Larry Salyer – Appointed Director of Church Administration. He left to join Global and then fell out with Rod Meredith joining UCG, then COGWA. Here is a very interesting interview concerning the period when Larry was over the Doctrinal Committee from 86 to 89. The committee was reconstituted in 89 with Larry leaving and Mike Faezel becoming head of Theology at AC; and as such head of the new “Doctrinal Manual Group”.
NOTE: This may be a good account of that time frame and the developing situation. When the interviews of any leader of the period come into play; consider that these folks are consummate politicians and spin experts, with a genuine interest in glossing over their personal involvement. They will state points in their favour and not mention anything else; making the WHOLE truth very difficult to discover.
By 1990, Joe Jr, Mike Feazel, Bernie Schnippert, Greg Albrecht and Don Ward: all strong supporters of the Evangelical doctrinal changes: were raised to Evangelists.
It was in late 89 that Tkach authorized the formation of a “Doctrinal Manual Group”, consisting of thirteen ministers and Mike Faezel as Chairman [the 14th member], consisting mostly of Ambassador College faculty members [mentored by Don Ward]; with the mission of assuring doctrinal consistency, refinement of Doctrine [read change to Evangelical teaching], and advice to the Pastor General [that is, changing doctrine by clarifying doctrine: Sound familiar?].
This Committee was headed by Mike Faezell who was sent to an Evangelical Seminary in 1990 by Don Ward to further his indoctrination into the Charismatic Evangelical world. Tkach reviewed and made the final decisions on all recommendations made by the group. Tkach was actually more of a front man for the group and did what the majority wanted.
A quote from Mike Faezel’s book:
“At Donald Ward’s recommendation, C. W. [Faezell Assistant; Charles Wallace Davis], and I [Mike Feazell] began attending the C. P. Haggard Graduate School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University in the fall of 1990.”
Azusa had also been attended by Greg Albrecht [AZUSA is a Trinitarian, Ecumenical, Evangelical, Pentecostal aligned University] who obtained a Masters in Theology.
“Dr. Earl Grant, associate dean of the graduate school, met and prayed with C. W. and me in late summer that year. To my knowledge, he was the first Christian leader who offered support and encouragement to the Worldwide Church of God as the denomination’s transformation was getting under way in 1990. From the day of our first meeting, Earl has been a true Christian brother and friend. [NOTE THE DATE]
Dr. Grant’s gracious acceptance of our fledgling desires for sound Christian education and his heartfelt prayer for God’s blessing on us and our denomination was characteristic of the reception we received from the faculty and administration of the graduate school.”
No, Joe did NOT do this alone! In 1990 the infamous five year plan was adopted as well.
We should not forget the notorious five year plan of about 1990:
The task force included Dexter Faulkner, editor of the Church’s publications; Barry Gridley, manager of Publishing Services; David Hulme, manager of Communication and Public Affairs; Joseph Locke, Ambassador Foundation vice president for international affairs; Leroy Neff, treasurer; Larry Omasta, producer of The World Tomorrow; Rick van Pelt, manager of Facilities Administration; James Peoples, manager of Computer Information Systems, Purchasing and Travel; Richard Rice, manager of the Mail Processing Center; Larry Salyer, associate director of Church Administration for international areas; Mr. Stevens, Joseph Tkach Jr., associate director of Church Administration for the U.S; Donald Ward, president of Ambassador College; Mr. Wright and Ronald Sower and Scott Weiner, who assisted Mr. Schnippert with the five year plan.
Don Ward, Herman Hoeh, Mike Feazell, Robin Weber, David Hulme, Greg Albrecht, Bernie Schnippert, and many others were directly and deeply involved in the effort to revise doctrine.
The very first and most important thing was to take over the education of the church’s youth; Ambassador College [University] [Don Ward’s job] and then spread out from there.
This has been done in UCG with Gary Antion teaching at Ambassador Bible Center, where he continues not only as a teacher but also as head of Student Affairs and Head of Admissions and Don Ward involved.
The same is true in LCG with Michael Germano. Germano’s subtle evangelical teaching twists in LCG [mainly getting the youth to question the LCG teachings in favor of evangelical teachings is fast infecting with evangelicalism under Rod’s nose. This has progressed very far and has resulted in deep divisions in LCG.
Most of the members of the Doctrinal Manual Group who apostatized the church’s doctrine, were facility members from Ambassador; their names have always been a deeply kept secret.
THE CONDITIONING OF THE BRETHREN BEFORE ANNOUNCING THE MAJOR CHANGES
The changes were brought in through the following conditioning of the brethren; please read carefully and think about this and its present application to what is happening in the UCG.
From 1986 to about 1994, the church maintained most of its past doctrinal approach with the brethren, while the leaders reached out to the Evangelicals with a newly devised marketing strategy to gain approval from a select group of evangelical publishers and luminaries.
Brethren that did question the few changes they detected, were disfellowshipped, shunned, and often marked publicly for leaving the fold and going the way of Satan. Vic Kubic head of Ministerial Services kept the elders in line with firings and disfellowshipments. That continued until 1995.
By 1992, the most astute members could pick up that there were a few changes; however, “change” was not even detected by the bulk of the members until it was announced in late 1994.
The reason is that the leaders, Joe W. Tkach, Sr., his son, Joe Jr., Mike Feazell, Greg Albrecht; David Hulme, etc., were drilling the members that “nothing is changing, but God is giving us new insight to enhance our understanding.”
‘The usual Armstrong theme about the “one true church; obey God as I say or you’ll be thrown into the Lake of fire” was constantly drilled into the membership.
Lie upon lie was told to the membership, and the duped believed their leaders. Constant propaganda, contradictions and duplicity were the mainstay for those inside the church while a major PR campaign to reach out to the Evangelical World took place.
Newly devised PR kits designed by the PR man Michael Snyder were sent to the evangelical ministries with publishing clout around 1989. Slowly, the WCG PR team started recruiting individuals such as Ruth Tucker, Hank Hanegraaff, Azusa Pacificuniversity and others with writing clout. WCG leaders financed visits from many pertinent Evangelical Authors and Selected Evangelicals to headquarters for chats about how the WCG was changing its HWA doctrines.
Michael Synder was the Tkach front man to the Evangelical Movement from at least 1990. Watchman Expositor, a Protestant, Evangelical newspaper which focuses on “exposing the cults,” or those who disagree with mainstream Protestantism, reported that Michael A. Snyder, Assistant Director for Public Affairs for the Worldwide Church of God, lamented about the problem the Worldwide Church faces in changing so many booklets and articles, saying to the Evangelicals, “I hope you can understand the serious logistical challenge we face in updating [???] more than 100 separate titles. That process is underway, but will take some time.” Watchman Expositor, “Doctrinal Changes in the Worldwide Church of God,” vol.8, no.5, 1991.
All the while, within the church, the same leaders were outright lying to the members about change. As I said, propaganda was flying from every direction. The leaders would say one thing to the Christian Evangelicals and print the opposite in the member publications.
The leaders of doctrinal change may have claimed that they were implementing the changes slowly to prevent damage or loss [that is they took the time needed to deceive most of the brethren]; the fact is, all steps were taken with the greatest deception and lies to boot.
As they were denying changes in doctrine to brethren, Michael Snyder was saying this to outsiders:
In a letter to Mr. Craig Branch, Alabama Director of Watchman Fellowship Inc. (WF, March 5, 1991) Michael Snyder, Assistant Director of Public Affairs, states the following:
“…you may be interested to know that David Hulme (who is presenter of the World Tomorrow television program and member of the Church’s doctrinal committee) and I traveled to Chicago last week, where we participated in two days of open and intense discussion with faculty members and graduate students of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (the attached doctrinal summary was presented in front of more than 400 students and faculty members.) We also reviewed church activities and beliefs with various theological journalists who were present. We found all of these discussions to be helpful and were thanked for our honest approach.”
In response to charges of duplicity and deception, Snyder writes:
“I am sorry to read that you regard our direct and explicit statements about Church beliefs as insufficient. When you write that you “do not appreciate any duplicity or deception,” I hope you realize we hold the same opinion about Watchman Fellowship. The church emphasizes the discovery and practice of Biblical truth over the maintenance of membership rolls.”
“Clarifying points for doctrinal summary:
The WCG teaches the full divinity of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and affirms the oneness of God.
The Church no longer promulgates the statement that man can become “God as God is God.” This is impossible for anyone to accomplish for a number of reasons. The Church does believe that certain attributes of God–including eternal life– will be conferred upon Christians.
Upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior, a Christian is “born again.”
Herbert W. Armstrong’s book, Mystery of the Ages has been discontinued.
The Church’s beliefs concerning modern identity of ancient Israel are currently under review.
The Church’s position concerning the annual Feast days is this: the annual Holy Days are an expression of personal worship, resulting from the conviction of the Holy Spirit residing in the individual Christian. Perfect observance of either the weekly Sabbath or the annual Feast days will not result in salvation.”
While the PR team; Joe Jr. Mike Feazell, Greg Albrecht, Michael Snyder and David Hulme were speaking “new doctrine” to the outside world, the big internal push for change; was “personal evangelism.” This meant that the brethren were being newly trained on how to bring in recruits to the church, and how to relate to new people in loving tolerance.
Between the years 1989-1994, any modifications or supposed changes were conditioning patterns in preparation for a “paradigm” shift. Brethren were conditioned into a “love and tolerance” mode in preparation for the coming doctrinal changes. The same process is taking place in UCG today!
Although a member could not possibly detect the plan or strategy, they could discern that “loving tolerance” for sin, was very different than what they were accustomed to.
The method used was to focus the people on becoming involved in the work of the organization; and then to make changes when the people were even more deeply committed to the organization. The focus was on personal service to the brethren and the organization, a “we are family” kind of unity with each other as being godly [when it is unity with God that is important] and on tolerating each others sins for the sake of that unity. Sound familiar?
Deja vu! The whole purpose of this article is to bring these things to remembrance and reveal what is taking place today, as well as to point out that we are not to follow men: We are to follow men ONLY as they follow Jesus Christ our espoused Husband!