CHURCH OF GOD
By Lorri MacGregor
Research by Chris Palmer
When the Worldwide Church of God began to move away from the aberrant doctrines of their late founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, many splinter groups developed. The Philadelphia Church of God, under the leadership of an Armstrong clone, Gerald Flurry, quickly came to the forefront. Gerald Flurry founded his church soon after he was fired from the WCG, on December 7th, 1989.
The outspoken Mr. Flurry commented in his publication, "The Philadelphia Trumpet" (TPT) of August 1994,
"...God began the work of the Philadelphia Church with two ministers who would not submit to heathen filthiness".
Today, they claim their magazine is received in over 60,000 homes'. (TPT 1/96 p. 1). The work has spread to five international offices, with a claimed annual income of over five million dollars.
Mr. Flurry may currently be seen expounding Mr. Armstrong's doctrines and adding a few of his own on his TV program called "The Key of David". His enormous ego will be evident to all.
As one might expect, Mr. Flurry claims that his church is the only true church on the face of the earth today. In true cult-leader fashion, he repeatedly makes statements like,
"...that truth is in only one church today, God's church. Only God's Philadelphia Church has retained God's Law in this end time". (TPT 3/94, p.5).
Not only does Mr. Flurry claim to be the only true church, he also claims to be the only one who understands Satan!
"Only the Philadelphia Church of God understands Satan today. Only we can reveal Satan to the Laodiceans and the world". (ibid)
Obviously recognizing that the mark of a cult is claiming exclusivity, Mr. Flurry is careful to record this disclaimer in "The Philadelphia Trumpet" of March, 1994, page 19, "Some in the world try to label the PCG a cult. Actually, we are God's only true representative on this earth!...".
With typical cult-leader arrogance, Mr. Flurry continues on page 22, "What a wonderful future for God's true Christians today. We are being trained to teach the whole world".
Move over, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Branch Davidians, and all other self-appointed prophets and leaders--Gerald Flurry has served notice that you are all obsolete since 1989!
Of course, Mr. Flurry must ride into this position on the coattails of Herbert W. Armstrong, the late prophet of the Worldwide Church of God. He is counting on the loyalty of his followers to HWA. He has therefore elevated Herbert W. Armstrong to heights of glory. The Trumpet of February, 1995, page 5 had this statement,
"Only the true disciples knew that John the Baptist filled the first century role of Elijah. And only God's true disciples today know that Herbert W. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah!"
Arrogantly claiming exclusive revelation from God, Flurry continues,
"Only the Philadelphia Church of God is receiving new prophetic revelation from God today". (TPT, 3/95, p. 4).
Jehovah's Witnesses especially will be most upset over Mr. Flurry applying this next scripture to himself and his church, when they feel they "own" it.
"Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season?"
After quoting this scripture from Matthew 2445, Mr. Flurry goes on to give his slant on it,
"The "household" is God's Family or true church. It's the family that God rules. This is God's inner circle--His very elect. One servant, one leader or one man is made ruler over God's church. Only this church (The PCG) gives meat in due season. Only this church is doing God's work!" (TPT, 05/95, p.1)
The extravagant claims the late Mr. Armstrong made for himself, and which the revised Worldwide Church of God is downplaying, the Philadelphia Church of God is emphasizing!.
Here are a few examples, taken from their official publication, "The Philadelphia Trumpet" of April 1994.
"Mr. Armstrong prepared the way for Christ's second coming. He preached the gospel to the whole world for the first time in almost 2,000 years (Matt. 24:14). He also restored the great foundational truth of God's family to the earth. (Mal. 45-6)" (p.8).
"In terms of people exposed to the gospel and converted members, Mr. Armstrong probably did the greatest work of God in 2,000 years." (p.8)
"...Mr. Armstrong is our primary connection to God in this end time!...Mr. Herbert Armstrong was that messenger who prepared the way for Christ's second coming." (TPT 7/94, p.11).
Over and over again, in every issue of his magazine, Mr. Flurry exalts Herbert Armstrong and names himself and his church as replacements. This appeals greatly to those who placed all their trust and faith blindly in Herbert W. Armstrong, and now have found a place to transfer their devotion. They cannot, or will not , look for correction to the word of God, but want an Armstrong clone. They want to be given "absolute truth" by an "absolute leader". What a dangerous mind set!
PCG VIEWS ON GOD AND JESUS CHRIST
As expected, Mr. Flurry echoes the heretical views of Mr. Armstrong. The Worldwide Church of God has corrected Mr. Armstrong's theological and biblical errors on the nature of God, but Mr. Flurry charges on without restraint.
He continues to present God as a "family" who will incorporate all believers into His arrangement. (TPT 7/94; p.10; p.22).
He continues to teach Armstrong's heresy that a person is "born again" at the time of his resurrection, not at the time of conversion. (p.22).
The Holy Spirit is relegated to being the power of God. (TPT 05/94; p. 15).
The Trinity is called "pagan". The Worldwide Church of God is attacked for now accepting the biblical view of God's nature. (TPT 9/10/94 p.21).
SALVATION IN THE PCG
The shed blood of Christ is mocked by Mr. Flurry in these words,
"People want to believe we are simply saved by our faith in Christ's blood. As Mr. Armstrong said, that "is nothing but a dead faith--and a dead faith never will save one soul!". (TPT 5/94, p. 15).
Rejecting the biblical teaching that Christ has completely atoned for our sins at Calvary, Mr. Flurry adds,
"After accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, Paul was very clear about our need to live in accordance with God's Law".PCG followers try very hard to keep the Old Testament Law by their works and festivals.
They are apparently unwilling to be corrected by the Bible which states that the Law was our tutor, or teacher, leading us to Christ. Galations 325 concludes, "..we are no longer under a tutor". Christ abolished the Law. (Eph 214-16).
Even the Jews knew the old Law Covenant would pass away as prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31. Read this for yourselves. In Romans 10:4, Christ Himself is described as the "end" (in Greek, "telos" or "terminator") of the Law. We are no longer under the Law, but under grace.
Mr. Flurry says "A mere faith in Christ alone will not save one soul". (TPT 5/94 p.14).
Disagreeing with Mr. Flurry, the Bible says in Ephesians 28,9,
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works,
Notice, please, that we "have been saved"--past tense. It is not a future event at our resurrection, but was a "done deed" already, when the living Paul wrote to the living Ephesian church.
One of the worst things about being in a cult, and I speak from bitter experience, is the state of NOT KNOWING you are saved. You love God, and try to serve Him by living up to your cult's expectations of you, but you are always kept in a state of uncertainty.
Once you are truly converted, truly born again, you are filled with peace. It is exactly as 1 John 5:12, 13 says,
"He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may KNOW that you have eternal life".
Notice, nothing is said about blindly following some self-appointed leader and knowing all he teaches. Rather, you need to have the Son of God, Jesus Christ truly in your heart and your life. If you have the Son, you have life! (present tense here, not future).
Notice also that you may KNOW you have eternal life. Since I gave up the teachings of the Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses and their phony "Jesus" (the Archangel Michael, a created being, and only a good man on earth) and searched the scriptures until I found the real Jesus (truly God, truly Man) I was never free!
How can we break through false teaching, false prophets, false interpretations? Leave it all behind and turn to Jesus in prayer!
I was 15 years a Jehovah's Witness when I fell to my knees and cried out "Jesus, I don't know for sure who you are! Whether you are God, a god, or the Archangel Michael, but Jesus, I WANT to know who You are! Please come into my life, and into my heart and show me who You are!".
The presence of the risen Christ filled my life and my heart and I knew that the Bible did not lie when it said Christ was "in you". I then set aside all my Watchtower propaganda and devoted myself to reading the Bible alone, praying for the Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth. It was like blinders fell from my eyes! I could see the simple truth of God's word without my "Watchtower glasses".
Dear ones in the PCG, will you not turn your hearts to Jesus and trust Him alone? Do you realize how dangerous and mind-controlling the PCG is? Do you really want to be the type of person who condemns, attacks, and acts like the Pharisees of old? Please write to us if we can help you.
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Exit and Support Network's goal is to spred the word of the true Jesus to those who were in the XCG and those that are still in. We ministered to the deceived in these organizations and also those who are recovering.
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