Saturday, January 29, 2011

COG Worldwide Association Claims False Roots (short version)

The FAQ on the Church of God A Worldwide Association website makes this claim: “We trace our history back to the first-century Church of God.” Oh no, they most certainly do not! They do not trace back at all. Rather, they presume. I would like to look in to this and why it is dead, dead wrong.

To make this easier on people who can't stand history, I’ll split this article up into two posts - the short version, and the long version. This post is...


This is what you'll see if you look at the first few paragraphs of their FAQ...
What is the origin of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association?

We trace our history back to the first-century Church of God. Jesus promised that from the time He founded the Church onward through His second coming to the earth there would always be believers who understood and held to the truth.

"I will build My church," Jesus said, "and the gates of Hades [the grave] shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). In other words, He promised that His Church would never die out. However, He also prophesied the rise of counterfeit churches throughout the ages (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Acts 20:29-30). In comparison to these other churches, His description of the original group of disciples proved prophetic, for He called them a "little flock" (Luke 12:32). The Church of God has always remained small in comparison to others, but Christ has kept His promise, His Church has survived, and it continues today.

Secular history is not always helpful in tracing the history of the Church of God because it focuses principally upon churches that preach "another Jesus" and a "different gospel" (2 Corinthians 11:4). Even so, we can find glimpses of the Church Jesus founded in Europe in the Middle Ages among the Waldensians and Anabaptists. The Church of God thrived for a time in England, but persecution eventually drove some believers to the American colonies in search of religious freedom.

We find the origins of Sabbath-keeping in the colonies in a small group led by Stephen Mumford in Rhode Island. Henry Clarke wrote in A History of the Sabbatarians or Seventh Day Baptists in America: "Stephen Mumford came over from England in the year 1664; and brought the opinion with him, that the whole of the Ten Commands, as they were delivered from mount Sinai, were moral and immutable: and that it was the antichristian power which thought to change times and laws, that changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week" (1811, pp. 8-9).

Although remaining relatively small, the Church of God grew in America. A group of faithful believers in the state of Oregon incorporated in 1930 as the Oregon Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day). In 1931 this Conference ordained a man whom God would eventually use to do a powerful worldwide work, Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986).

The FAQ is thoroughly wrong. They didn’t “trace” anything. They presume much.

They presume that since Jesus promised that His church would never end, and since they see themselves as the “true” church, therefore they must have always existed since the time of Jesus. Proof? None. Oh, they'll quote a book or two. But check into it and you'll see it isn't so.
They borrow their information from the Worldwide Church of God. The one who "traced the history" was Herman Hoeh. Hoeh wrote the definitive history of the WCG, entitled “True History of the True Church.” This was mostly plagiarized from the COG7 booklet, “A History of the True Religion Traced from 33 A.D. to Date”. 
Funny, I didn't see that in the FAQ.

They do not come from the Waldensians. 
The Waldensians were reformers of the Catholic Church. One man who is credited with forming the Waldensians, Peter Waldo, even asked Pope Alexander III for permission to preach. They were anathematized in the Fourth Laternian Council. If the COGWA trace themselves there, then they trace themselves to the Catholic Church.
They do not come from the Anabaptists. 
The Amish, Menonites, Brethren, and Friends movements came from the Anabaptists. These groups bear very little resemblance to the Adventists/Armstrongists. Once again, they were reformers of the Catholic Church. Once again, if the COGWA trace themselves there, then they trace themselves to the Catholic Church.
They do not come from the Seventh Day Baptist church. 
Well, not directly anyway. Their belief in the Sabbath doctrine does come from there, but not their church movement itself. The Adventist movement was never associated in any way with the Seventh Day Baptist church. They merely adopted one precept from the Seventh Day Baptist church.

According to the original idea, that the church would never die out, there has to be an unbroken line. Problem is, these groups do not trace themselves to each other. How can the COGWA trace themselves to these groups? They cannot. It isn't good enough to say, "This group separated from the Catholic Church, so we were them. And that group 500 years later, they baptized by immersion, so we were them. Oh, and that other group over there, they kept Saturday Sabbath, so we were them, too." That's not "tracing." That's "making it up as you go along." That must be why, "secular history is not always helpful."
So, where do they come from? Answer: Ellen G. White and the Adventist movement.

In the late 1830’s, William Miller thought he had calculated when Christ would return (the Second Advent). In 1843 his prophecies fell through. According to record, it was one member of the Seventh Day Baptist congregation in Verona, New York, by the name of Rachel Oakes Preston, that introduced the Sabbath doctrine to Adventism. She moved her family to Washington, New Hampshire where she met a group of William Miller’s Adventists. It was between March 1843 and the autumn of 1844, immediately after the “Great Disappointment,” that Rachel’s Sabbatarian influence bore its fruit. John and Ellen G. White accepted the Sabbath in 1946. After years of disagreements with Ellen G. White’s prophecies, Gilbert Cranmer officially split from the Adventists in 1860 and proceeded to form what became the Church of God (Seventh Day). It was this group which first awarded Herbert W Armstrong his ministerial credentials in 1931. And the rest, as they say, is history.

They do not trace their history to the first century A.D. Their history stops at the false prophet William Miller who founded the Adventist movement in the late 1830's. And that is a fact.

So, the FAQ on the COGWA website is dead, dead wrong. Did they “trace their history?” If they didn’t, then why do they say they did? If they did, then they know about what I am telling you, yet they persist in claiming something that is not true.
I suspect they know good and well that their FAQ is wrong. Notice how they completely skipped over their Seventh-day Adventist history, and their roots in Millerism. Both William Miller and Ellen G. White are considered false prophets. Why would they skip that if it weren’t for how damaging it would be to them to admit it?

How can the “true” church come from such a background of false prophets? Would the “true” church lie about its history like this?

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; ) Acts 17:11

1 comment:

xHWA said...

Looks like they've updated their website and taken out the information this post was written to address. A very positive move on their part. I approve.