"Daughter Of Babylon,
The True History of
The Worldwide Church of God"
by Bruce Renehan
Chapter 10 Ye Shall Know Them By Their Fruit
For nearly a quarter of a century, I took the ministry and leaders of the Worldwide Church of God at their word and never questioned their interpretation of Church history or the Bible. When I did begin to question, I spent a year and a half in phone conversations, correspondence and research. This led me to a peculiar discovery. As I tried to view the teachings of the Bible and nearly 2,000 years of Christian history in a non-biased way, I started drawing totally different conclusions than I had formerly accepted. I wondered, "How was it possible for Worldwide Church of God ministers to draw their conclusions about history?"
I interviewed many knowledgeable people across the country trying to piece together the real history that led up to Herbert Armstrong's radio ministry in the 1930's. In the process, I discovered many worn-down pathways. I found myself crossing paths with old friends who had been disfellowshiped years before. Friends I had shunned and felt that somehow had lost their minds to hedonism. This made me feel foolish and I apologized to them. They were cordial.
I also found myself crossing paths with another group. This was the top leadership of the Worldwide Church of God, who were spending hours in the Seventh-Day Baptist library in Wisconsin and were carefully photographing Mumford's church in Rhode Island. Why? And why were they secretly apologizing to Church of God, Seventh-Day leaders in Colorado? Why did they publish their strange apology in the Sabbath Sentinel magazine?
Subversive behavior on the part of my church was beginning to unfold and I saw that the only ones who were being kept in the dark about the matter were the unsuspecting members of the Worldwide Church of God. As a member of the Church, there was nothing I could do to expose this fraud.
I spoke openly to Worldwide Church of God ministers about this perversion of Church history. I spoke to several close friends that I had in the Church. Many local ministers knew that the Church had invented its history--perhaps their good salaries made them weak-kneed about confronting the issue with headquarters. The close friends that I spoke to asked for me to keep them anonymous and began to help me investigate the Church. Through long-distance phone conversations and personal correspondence, our investigation led up to the highest echelon of the Church. In fact, we were searching for anyone who could prove that we were wrong. No one in leadership positions protested. The Worldwide Church of God had falsified its history.
Everyone in this network was admitting to the error. The moment I went public with my information, I was disfellowshiped from the church I had been a member of for over 23 years. This was the way the Worldwide Church of God would take a person's credibility away. Being disfellowshiped meant that I no longer existed.
I knew what kind of control the ministry held over the membership. There was no way that Worldwide Church of God members would believe me if I exposed my discoveries to them, even though I was receiving various reports of Church evangelists and even Joseph Tkach, himself, being thoroughly aware of this fraudulent history.
Let me condense the facts presented earlier in this book that show that this teaching is false:
1. Worldwide Church of God historians--against the teachings of orthodoxy--assumed that ancient Judaizers were the one true church.
2. The first-century Judaizers (Ebionites) were heretics, still teaching circumcision a century after the beginning of the Christian era. The historian quoted by the Worldwide Church of God points this fact out.
3. The Worldwide Church of God authorities completely overlook Judaism having its own pagan and traditional perversions that were taken out of the Babylonian captivity of Nebuchadnezzar. The Pharisees practiced these traditions in the days of Christ. Centuries later the Pharisees would codify their Judeo-Babylonian religion in the Talmud. The Talmud itself was written in Babylon. But the WCG views Judaism as a better Mother than Roman Catholicism.
4. In time, "The Lord's Supper" was assumed to be the same memorial as the Jewish observance of Passover. This led Herbert Armstrong to the conclusion that it is necessary for Christians to observe all Hebrew holydays.
5. Polycarp was a Christian bishop acknowledged as authentic by Eusebius. Anicetus was also acknowledged as an authentic bishop in Rome by Eusebius. Anicetus did not observe the Passover on the 14th of Nisan as the Jews did and did not persecute Polycarp for observing that date if he chose to.
6. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Jews could not calculate the Passover correctly. If the correct calculation for Nisan 14 is important, what were the Christians to do?
7. The Quartodeciman controversy was not a basis for a true/false church schism. It had to do with choosing a date for the observance of the Christian Eucharist. It was meant to create unity among organized Christians.
8. The groups that are believed to be the one true church between the time of Polycarp and Peter Waldo are mostly known by legends, not factual or reliable histories.
9. The early Christians were scattered and persecuted until the fourth century. They did not pay tithes, had no earthly potentate, no earthly headquarters, met in private homes, their bishops were like hosts not masters and they had diversity of doctrines (but unity in spirit).
10. Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire after the council of Nicea in 325 AD This Council made Christianity one universal church subject to the bishop in Rome. No diversity of Christian belief was allowed upon threat of ex-communication. The Roman bishop declared himself successor to Peter based upon a misinterpretation of Matthew 16:13. This spawned the doctrines of "apostolic succession" and the teaching of "one true church."
11. This same belief system based on Matthew 16:13 was used by the Worldwide Church of God to create its own mythical lineage.
12. The Worldwide Church of God lineage completely ignores several gaps of time in history where no such "parent" church can be found. In these periods, the Worldwide Church of God always changes what was a previously organized system, such as the Ebionites, into a scattered and almost "invisible" one until our interest is shifted to another group, such as the church in Asia Minor, thus weaving an imaginary thread through history.
13. The name "Church of God" is a designation of the Roman Catholic church. The Worldwide Church of God historians have misquoted historians to invent an imaginary medieval church with that name.
14. The twelfth-century reformer Peter Waldo was a Catholic who later became excommunicated because of his desire for the Papacy to renew its ancient vow of poverty.
15. Waldo and his followers observed the Catholic Sabbath, Sunday. They did not observe Hebrew holydays, did not preach the Millennium, did not pay tithes or practice any other Old Covenant rituals.
16. The Waldensians did not call themselves the "Church of God."
17. The Waldensians cannot be linked to Polycarp in any way.
18. Neither Polycarp nor Peter Waldo are ever called "apostle."
19. The desire to create an apostolic lineage from the ancient Waldensians has been attempted by many other spurious religious groups.
20. John Wycliff did not observe the seventh-day Sabbath.
21. The Lollards were not Sabbatarians.
22. Wycliff and the Lollards were not members of a "Church of God" unless it was the Catholic Church of God.
23. Sabbatarian Christians did appear in England in the 17th century but they were never named "The Church of God"--they were Seventh-Day Baptists.
24. According to Seventh-Day Baptist documents that are still in existence, Stephen Mumford was not an apostle and did not belong to a "Church of God."
25. The Seventh-Day Baptist Church, Waldensian Church and Church of God, Seventh-Day still exist to this day and do not accept any form of this false Worldwide Church of God history.
26. The Waldensians, Seventh-Day Baptists, and the Church of God, Seventh Day all consider their churches to be Protestant churches. If the Worldwide Church of God was truly a descendant of these groups then it too had to have been a Protestant church.
27. To prove Armstrong's belief in "apostolic succession" and true church lineage, the Worldwide Church of God edited documents from other churches and overlooked key facts. These unedited documents and key facts, in reality, proved the Worldwide Church of God history was false.
It seems evident now that the one doctrine that gave Armstrong the foundation to build his church was a counterfeit of the grandiose myth of apostolic succession. This becomes painfully evident if one studies how other churches portray their own histories. Most of them make no haughty claims that they cannot document. The Worldwide Church of God saw itself larger than life but could not present accurate documentation. Other churches present records, dates, and names of key figures in their histories. The Worldwide Church of God called its leader an apostle with great authority and calling but could not prove how this had occurred. Other churches find their centrality in the teachings of the New Testament. The Worldwide Church of God found its centrality in the revelations of its self-ordained apostle.
Finally, from the eighteenth century ministry of Stephen Mumford (whom they falsely claimed as one of their own apostles), they failed to mention one key figure in history until Herbert Armstrong claimed apostolic authority in the twentieth century. There was never a mention of how the Church of God, Seventh Day ever came to be. This is suspicious because either there is no clear history of this group or the Worldwide Church of God refused to talk about it.
In Part III, we will study the real history of the religious movement that led up to the organization of the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God.
Go to the "Painful Truth" page.