(The World Wide Web Church of God site)
"Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
- II Peter 3:18
Welcome to a web site for believers of all faiths begun in July 2000, with a focus on issues important to Saturday-keeping "Church of God" denominations. Our goal is NOT to start our own church -- but to use the Bible to stimulate your thinking toward a proper understanding of God, and true unity in Jesus Christ.
Your webmaster is a former long-time member of the Worldwide Church of God (now Grace Communion International), who decided to leave in the summer of 2000 due to doctrinal disagreements with Headquarters. All items posted express the views of the individual authors, and are NOT necessarily those of the webmaster, any organized church or denomination.
Check some of my other projects (now including audio messages) by clicking here!
Hear samples from my album, One God, Many Moods.
=== NEW! CURRENT FEATURE ARTICLE ===
MARKS - A LOT - A parody image on Facebook led one church member to mention tattoos. That led me to think about Jesus, the Kingdom of God and eternity. Should you mark your body - and is there one God wants you to have? (Posted 6/2/18)
=== INTERACTIVE AREAS ===
THE PROPHECY SCOREBOARD - Keep track of what ministers are prophesying, and report what you've heard! Who has the gift - and who doesn't? (Updated 12/23/17)
YOUR QUESTION, PLEASE - Stumped about something in the Bible? Have a question about a statement or article on this web site? "Come, let us reason together." (Updated 4/15/11)
=== WCG DOCTRINAL CHANGES ===
LATEST:SALVATION - LOST AND FOUND? - Baptized at 25. Doomed at 85?! Some COG's indicate you can be "saved" today and "lost" tomorrow, assuming you were ever saved at all. We dig deep into what the Bible really says about "eternal security." (Posted 12/23/17)
THE ASSEMBLIES OF THE SAINTS - If you're "home alone" to keep the Sabbath, are you really keeping it God's way? Should a Christian feel compelled to go to every church meeting, big or small? We search the Scriptures, for a better guide to godly gatherings.
BRITISH ISRAELISM - FACT OR FICTION? - It's been called the "central plank" of Armstrongism theology. But does the modern-day identity of Ephraim and Manasseh have support from the entire Bible? After months of review and research, we offer some of our conclusions. YOU MAY NEED the book United States and Britain in Prophecy by Herbert W. Armstrong.
BRITISH ISRAELISM - FACT OR FICTION? PART 2 - Completing a review of one of Armstrongism's foundational books and teachings. Have "prophecies for the immediate future" become reality, since they were written decades ago? YOU MAY NEED the book United States and Britain in Prophecy by Herbert W. Armstrong.
BY WHAT AUTHORITY? - "My Bible and my Bible alone," declared a founder of the Church of God-Seventh Day. Do spinoff COG's really believe that - or can modern church leaders override the words of Scripture?
CALENDAR CONFUSION - Some 21st-century "Christians" say they can't compute their calendar for the year until they check barley crops in the Middle East. They say it's Biblical. Using one group's study paper, we decided to find out.
THE CASE OF THE SLEEPING SOULS - Church of God ministers love to poke holes in the "immortal soul" teaching. But there are a few key Scriptures they might be overlooking.
CHANGE, CHEESE AND THE CHURCH - Does God change? Is change good or bad? That word is at the core of disputes between the WCG and other groups. YOU MAY NEED the book Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson.
CONSIDERING "CHRISTMAS RECONSIDERED" - A minister's booklet has changed a lot of WCG members' minds about the holiday, but how strong are its arguments? A lengthy analysis, at 68kb. YOU MAY NEED the book Christmas Reconsidered by Ralph Woodrow.
CONSIDERING THE COVENANTS - A long-awaited United Church of God book attempts to settle all questions about the new covenant. After more than a year of study and review, we decided it didn't. YOU MAY NEED the UCG book The New Covenant - and be warned, this is not a quick read.
A CONVERSATION ABOUT CONVERSION - Church of God groups don't tend to have a lot of members, perhaps because their founder advised against converting people. Check whether his personal experience is really Bible-based.
DOES SATURDAY WORSHIP MEAN NO GROWTH?- Well, no. This short item is about a denomination that the late Paul Harvey speculated could be the fastest growing in the U.S.
FAIR AND UNBALANCED? - God is called "no respecter of persons," yet some Churches of God insist on making skin color an issue. Let's see if the Bible evidence is more than skin-deep.
THE FAITH EQUATION - It's "faith + _____ = salvation." Which Church of God group really knows its spiritual math?
FAMILY RADIO AND THE SABBATH - A leading Christian radio network claims the Sabbath Day has changed to Sunday. How persuasive are its arguments? YOU MAY NEED the Family Radio online article, "Sunday: The Sabbath?"
IS GOD A GAMBLER? - If God risked the entire plan of salvation with Jesus Christ, why can't you risk two dollars at a lottery window? A fresh look at the seemingly-separate issues of predestination and gambling, based on a WCG sermonette first given in October 1999.
"THE KEYSTONE COMMANDMENT" - Many Sabbath-keeping Churches of God trace their roots to the Seventh-Day Baptists in Rhode Island. This article shows how those Baptists defend the Sabbath.
UPDATED! "A KICK TO THE STOMACH" - A letter from a WCG District Superintendent that raised questions about what direction to take the church, in terms of traditions. Reposting a commentary first published on a WCG Opinion and Debate page in 1998. (Updated 5/19/12)
KJV VS. NIV IN THE WCG - Did a change of translations lead to a change of thinking in the Worldwide Church of God? In this first of a two-part study, one Pastor tries to argue KJV is preferred. Do you agree with his points?
KJV VS NIV IN THE WCG, PART TWO - Several Bible verses take on a very different understanding, when translations are compared. Are they evidence of how the WCG changes came about?
LAW SCHOOL 101 - Did Jesus Christ fulfill "The Law?" What did He mean by "fulfill," anyway? Did the New Testament change things or not? An attempt to sort through WCG and UCG arguments.
LOVE AND DOCTRINE - Some people suggest a Christian should prefer one more than the other. But do you really have to choose? A sermon presented in the Columbus, GA Worldwide Church of God in August 1998.
A NEW TESTAMENT GUIDE TO WORSHIP - If the New Testament is the standard for today's WCG/GCI, why isn't it considered the standard for worship? We repost a study first published on a WCG Opinion and Debate page in 1996, to the dismay of a WCG Pastor. (Revised 8/22/09)
THE PASSOVER PUZZLE - The 14th. The 15th. The Passover. The Lord's Supper. Who can make sense of all these different arguments? Based on an Ambassador Bible Center lecture, we'll try.
PENTECOST PUZZLES - A reply to a tract spread by the mysterious "Scribbler," which challenges Church of God thinking on when to mark Pentecost. It also gets into other "dating" issues.
SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN! - The Worldwide Church of God leadership uses Romans 14 to encourage tolerance regarding "holy days." But are some WCG ministers missing the message?
TIME FOR ME TO GO - Explaining why I decided to leave the Worldwide Church of God, after nearly 16 years as a baptized member.
THE TRUTH ABOUT NEW MOONS - Practically every Church of God group keeps one. This study might leave you wondering why they ignore all the others.
WHAT A CHURCH IS -- AND ISN'T - As the Worldwide Church of God changes its name, does that finally disqualify it from being a "true church?" Let's define terms, instead of playing turf games.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN - A PROPHET? - A Pastor mentioned in our Prophecy Scoreboard claimed he does not belong because he never said, "Thus saith the Lord...." What does Scripture say about this?
WHEN TO WORSHIP - Saturday? Sunday? ANY day? We dare to examine all the Biblical references to "worship," to sort out the truth on this divisive question.
UPDATED! WHOSE CHURCH IS IT, ANYWAY? - In all the debate about Church government and control, are we forgetting Someone? Reposting and updating an article first published on a WCG Opinion and Debate page in 1997. (Updated 5/5/12)
A WOMAN'S PLACE -- After years of analysis and internal debate, the group once called Worldwide Church of God now allows females to serve as pastors. Are WCG spinoff groups drifting in that direction - and based on the Bible, should they?
=== OF GOD AND JESUS ===
LATEST: THE GREATEST MATH PROBLEM EVER TOLD - Is "Jesus" a lesser God than "God"? Has it always been that way? We try to sort out the heavenly flow-chart - and even where you might fit into it. (Posted 2/11/17)
AMEN CORNER - If you say "amen" during a sermon in support of the Pastor, are you a Pentecostal freak? An eye-opening look at this four-letter word, which left even the author surprised.
AND HERE IS YOUR HOST.... - TV shows have them. So do websites. But what does the Bible mean by a host? Can you find one here, or somewhere else? YOU MAY NEED The Good News of November-December 2003.
THE BOOK OF MORMON - FACT OR FICTION? - The 2012 U.S. Presidential race brought a close examination of one candidate's religious faith. But does that faith's "holy book" match what the Bible says? I settled that matter in one hour, on a Sabbath afternoon.
A BOOK OF NUMBERS? - We don't mean the Old Testament book. Some think the entire Bible is replete with numbers which contain deep spiritual meaning. But is that thinking deceptive? Let's do the numbers and find out.
CROSS WORDS - Some Church of God members seem to talk more about the wood used to execute Jesus, than Jesus's actual death. Do we really have to be that nitpicky in understanding our Lord?
THE GOD-FREE ZONE - Can a Christian call a "time out" from God, or keep an area of life off-limits from Him? It may sound silly - or then again, you may be doing it.
GOD'S WILL IS.... - Are you puzzled by how to end that sentence? Especially concerning your life, and the major decisions you face? Believe the Bible's answers. We tracked them down.
THE GREAT DIVIDER - Is God for unity among humankind? Always? A big Church of God split led me to some surprising discoveries from Scripture about separation.
IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT - Conferences in Pasadena on "the nature of God" sparked all sorts of discussion in 1993. If you've put the trinity and Holy Spirit questions "on the shelf," this may challenge you to take another look.
IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT: AN ADDENDUM - A 2012 follow-up to our original 2005 article on the Holy Spirit and trinity doctrine, spurred by a new Church of God booklet.
IS "WWJD" DOA? - A United Church of God leader said during the 2010 Feast of Tabernacles "What Would Jesus Do" items are "trite and meaningless." WCG/GCI might agree with him. Find out why - and consider whether that's a valid claim.
JESUS LOVES YOU - BUT HOW? - "Words of love.... won't win a girl's heart anymore." Did Jesus realize this long before Mama Cass sang it in a 1960's song? Based on a WCG sermonette presented in November 1999.
MEASURING THE MASTER - A song in Jesus Christ Superstar says the Savior was "just a man" while on Earth. Was He "fully God" as well -- and is it heresy for a Church of God minister to say so?
MEET THE SUPREMES - There's God the Father and Jesus the Son. Who's in charge here? Our study found some Church of God groups may not have the answer exactly right.
MY ANGRY LOVER - An old TV show had this classic line: "Don't make me angry - you wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Does this describe a loving God as well? Get a glimpse of His many moods.
THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS - Forget about you. Is God trying to save your PET? Plain Truth articles actually have hinted at it. YOU MAY NEED The Plain Truth from January-February 1997 and May-June 2001.
POWER POINTS - If Church of God groups say the Holy Spirit is "the power of God," why does the Bible say Jesus is? Along with other things? What we found in Scripture might make a powerful change in your thinking.
REVIEWING "THE REAL STORY" - One Church of God group offered a major booklet about Jesus Christ. But how truthful is it about "the way, the truth and the life?" We went page-by-page through it to see. YOU MAY NEED the United Church of God booklet Jesus Christ: The Real Story.
A THREE-DAY FOREVER - Are some key doctrines of Seventh-Day groups as everlasting as God Himself? This eye-opening word study of "forever" might challenge your thinking.
UPDATED! THE TIMING OF TRIALS -- True or false: disasters always happen for church members and the world at large around the annual "Holy Day" seasons. Let's be students of both Scripture and history, to find the right answer.
TO TELL THE TRUTH - Jesus said He was. Yet some Church of God groups seem to focus on another definition. Let's search all the Scriptures on "truth," and find a complete answer.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE - Who puts demons in people? Do wrong actions open the door for evil spirits? And can Church of God groups close that door for good? Scary-sounding questions, but the Bible offers helpful answers.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN - SOLEMN? - A classic Church of God hymn calls for sounding drums on "solemn feast days." So why does no one do it on Passover night? A close look at that word might surprise you.
WHAT IS GOD'S WRATH - REALLY? - Did God display it in the killer earthquake and tsunami which struck the Indian Ocean? Is it on you, if you take the wrong pills? Rushed out in light of breaking news, we built this timely Bible study online day by day.
WHY 2011 WAS NOT THE END - Forget that Mayan calendar. The President of a U.S. Christian radio network claimed Jesus would come in May 2011 -- then declared the world would end October 21. So what went wrong? We studied a key book in 2010, and found several flaws. YOU MAY NEED the Family Radio book Adam When?
=== CHRISTIAN LIVING ===
LATEST: SECTS AND THE MIND OF GOD - Are Sabbath-keeping Church of God groups "cults"? Does trying to think in a godly way at all times move you in that direction? Let's see if being "brainwashed" by the Bible is a good or bad thing. (Posted 12/30/13)
ARE BLOGGERS A BOTHER? - One Church of God group sparked an online fuss by saying teenagers (and even most adults) should not have blogs. Are the "Biblical principles" it cites for this decision correct?
ARE THESE CURSES FOR REAL? - Some say the Chicago Cubs broke a long curse in 2016. But the Bible speaks of curses, too - so should they receive the same treatment as that billy goat?
BEING RIGHTEOUS AND BEING RIGHT - If you had to choose between these two, which would you take? Should a Christian have to choose between the two at all? First of a two-part study on godly righteousness.
THE COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT - Anyone can gripe. But does that mean anyone should -- especially with God hearing everything you say? Don't automatically assume you know the answer to this one.
GLUTTONS AND PUNISHMENT - If you eat too much at the church picnic, should you go behind a tree to kneel and repent? Let's see what the Bible says about the growing Western problem of obesity.
GOD'S WORD FOR FAILURES - You've blown it. You flopped. You feel lower than the curb. Now God wants to speak with you - but what He has to say might actually make you feel better.
HOW CAN I SAY THANKS? - Andrae Crouch asked that question in song. Church of God groups debate whether there are right or wrong answers. We take a "whole-Bible" approach to giving thanks to God. (Posted 6/15/13)
HOW TO BE A MINISTER - Do you have to go through special training at a denomination's "Bible college?" A Biblical review of the term shows the ministry is much more open than that.
IN ALL MODESTY -- The Trayvon Martin case in Florida is a reminder about how several Church of God groups are on a campaign to clean up how members dress -- especially women for church services. Is this effort to be "appropriate before God" forgetting some things?
IS BEING BITTER BETTER? - Some people only seem happy when they have something to be unhappy about. If this describes you, you could have a bitterness problem -- or is it a problem, really?
THE MEN PLEASERS - Some critics say the Worldwide Church of God changed its doctrines and ways merely to please others. But is pleasing men necessarily a bad thing? A sermonette presented in WCG in June 1999.
MERCY-HOW-FUL? - Churches of God sing hymns about it, but how many really practice mercy -- with themselves and with others? We search the scriptures, for a proper understanding.
THE NEW "B" WORD - No, it's not the one in Revelation which Herbert Armstrong said several times on TV. It's the opposite of "good," and some Christians suggest you shouldn't say it out loud, either. We're getting into judging here.
O BROTHER, WHO ART THOU? - Church of God preachers frequently refer to their congregations as "brethren." But how far and wide does that definition go? The Bible's answer could make you stop and think.
THE PATH OF PEACE - AND HOW TO FIND IT - In a time of warfare and debate about Iraq, some suggest we pray for peace. But do believers have to wait for Jesus Christ's return to obtain it?
THE PERFECT GAME - Baseball pitchers dream of it. Some Christians feel like failures before God, if they don't achieve it. Yet amazingly, the command to "be perfect" may not be as difficult as it first sounds.
POKER AND THE "KING OF KINGS" - So this Christian walks into a poker room. Is anything wrong with that? One minister says so, but this believing card player begs to differ.
A RADICAL FORGIVENESS - Should you wait for a confession before letting someone off your hook? Some Church of God ministers say yes, and have Scripture to back it up. This topic may stir your thinking about a variety of Bible matters.
RIGHTEOUSNESS IS.... - What's your definition? Is it Biblical? Is it the only one in the Bible? The second of a two-part study looks in-depth at how godly righteousness should apply in your life.
SHOULD I HELP? - From the July-August 2000 Plain Truth magazine. Seeking a balanced approach to the "needs" of panhandlers, beggars and homeless people.
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARTHA - Mary gets the praise from many preachers, while Martha gets the put-downs. Yet the "bad sister" has good points you may have missed. A sermon presented in the Columbus, GA WCG in February 2000.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN -- "CHILD OF GOD?" - The funeral for a father leads to a new examination of a common, perhaps overused Christian phrase.
WHAT'S SO BAD ABOUT DOING GOOD? - The department store commercials say, "Good works." Yet some Church of God ministers sound like they disagree. Let's settle this.
WHAT'S YOUR TESTIMONY? - If Jehovah's Witnesses annoy you, does that mean witnessing is completely wrong? Learn what a real witness is, has and does -- and consider whether Church of God groups really practice it.
WHO DO YOU TRUST? - Church of God groups sometimes seem to have embedded "backstabbers," even in high places. Does this prove a Christian shouldn't trust anyone -- ever?
WHY I'M NOT AN ADVENTIST - They've kept the Sabbath a lot longer than most current Church of God groups. So why can't they all seem to get along? We attended an SDA congregation for several months to find out.
WISDOM AND WEAPONS - After the bloodbath at a Church of God service in Wisconsin, is it time COG's reconsidered their words about gun ownership? And why didn't Bible promises of protection for obedient believers seem to work? We built this Bible study day by day online.
=== CHURCH HISTORY ===
LATEST: REFLECTIONS ON 1975 - It may be the booklet most lampooned by Hebrert Armstrong's critics. But how accurate was 1975 in Prophecy - really? We reviewed it from front to back. (Posted 8/4/12)
30 YEARS AGO IN THE CHURCH OF GOD - Were prophetic errors and curiosities in WCG publications and messages only during the 1950's and 1960's? This year-long series (first posted in 2004) examined what was uttered in the year of my baptism.
=== WCG SPINOFF GROUPS ===
LATEST: THE "KNOCK" ON ARMSTRONG APOLOGISTS - "He was right!" one Church of God proclaims in its ads about Herbert Armstrong. Really? On everything? We take up a visitor's challenge to review a booklet by a backer. YOU MAY NEED the Vigilant Church of God booklet The Plain Truth About Matthew 24:14. (Posted 7/25/12)
DIARY OF A NEW SEEKER - Our hunt for a new place of worship after leaving the WCG. (FINAL as of 11/19/00)
DIVIDING FROM "UNITED" - With United Church of God coming apart at the seams, I recall my own "trial separation" from UCG. It wasn't about Sabbath papers, but inaccurate preaching and a denomination which didn't seem fully engaged.
KEYS TO A GROWING CHURCH - A WCG District Superintendent's list of traits that can add worshippers to a congregation. Do you agree with his points?
WCG DOCTRINAL CHANGES, AND THEIR TERRIBLE REPORTING - The Worldwide Church of God changes may have you shaking your head, but wait till you read the Philadelphia Church of God's explanation! A posting to a WCG Opinion and Debate web site. YOU MAY NEED the PCG booklet on "Worldwide Church of God Doctrinal Changes."
WHY THE CHURCHES OF GOD WILL NOT REUNITE - Felix Taylor's lengthy analysis of Sabbath-keeping groups, large and small. He seems to find fault with almost all of them.
=== CONTINUING BIBLE STUDY SERIES ===
A BIBLE COMPANION - Does the United Church of God's Bible Reading Program answer all questions and critics? A series of articles will use it as a basis, to raise Bible-based questions for you to consider -- some of which may challenge Church of God beliefs. (VOLUME 18, Psalms-Proverbs, added 3/17/07)
IF YOUR ISSUE ISN'T HERE, BE PATIENT - IT MAY BE COMING!
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Some Scripture quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
Some Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 By The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
© 2000-18 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.