The Worldwide Church of God
The Worldwide Church of God (WCG) was founded by Herbert
W. Armstrong (1896-1986) in 1933. He and his church became the world's most influential
promoters of British-Israelism. This is the concept that the
British (and by extension Americans, Canadians, and others) are the spiritual and literal
descendants of the ancient Israelites. With the advent of the counter-cult
movement in the early 1970's, the WCG came under extensive attack as a
"cult". Many books and booklets condemned the Church for its deviance from
traditional Christian beliefs. Control passed to a new Pastor General, Joseph W.
Tkatch, upon Armstrong's death. Joseph W Tkatch Jr, in turn, succeeded his father in 1995.
The Tkatchs instituted a program to abandon many of the non-orthodox beliefs and practices
of the denomination. They brought the denomination into alignment with other conservative
Church membership dropped from its peak of about 150,000 members in 1986. In the
US, its membership slid from 1986 to 1996 from about 89,000 to 49,000, largely because of
the shift in the denomination's beliefs..
Policies towards homosexuals:
The WCG has no "official, written policies on this topic. That awaits further
research and consultation." 9 Specifically, they
have no official policy as to whether:
||homosexuality is caused by genetics, by environmental factors, or by a combination of
||homosexuality is a choice or a fixed orientation.
Celibate gays and lesbians are free to join the WCG as members. Homosexual orientation,
by itself, is not considered a sin. However, homosexual behavior is considered a sin - no
more or less serious than any other sin. They do not knowingly ordain active gays or allow
then to join as members. Also, they "do not knowingly allow people to become
members if they are involved in sexual activity outside of marriage and have no intention
of quitting." This prohibition includes persons of all sexual orientations.
The Worldwide Church of God maintains a WWW site at: http://www.wcg.org/index.htm They have a FAQ
section which includes a brief statement about homosexuality at: http://www.wcg.org/lit/AboutUs/oftenasked.htm
The WCG congregation at Buffalo South NY has a home page at: http://www.epix.net/~batchler/wcgbufs.html/
The WCG congregation at Nashville TN has a home page at: http://126.96.36.199/wcg/
In Transition: News of the Churches of God is an independent publication which
describes activities in "the Worldwide Church of God and its offshoots".
It is published by Clearinghouse Press at P.O. Box 450 Monroe, IN 46772 USA
H.W. Armstrong, "The United States and Britain in Prophecy", The
Worldwide Church of God, Pasadena CA (1980)
Mather & Nichols, Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult",
Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI, (1993), P. 320-325
W.L. Ingram, "God and Race: British-Israelism and Christian Identity" ,
P. 119 - 126 of T. Miller, Ed., "America's Alternative Religions" , SUNY
Press, Albany NY, 1995
Camilla F. Kleindienst, "When your church says it's wrong," The
Worldwide News, 1996-AUG-27
- Personal communication, Michael Morrison, Supervisor of Publications,Worldwide Church of