Teachings and Practices of the Church of God Outreach Ministries

By COGwriter

Church of God Outreach Ministries (CGOM) is to a degree comprised of individuals who once were part of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), who left WCG in the 70s to support Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA) when he founded Church of God, International (CGI), but who left CGI after they learned certain information about GTA's behavior. CGOM was began in 1996. CGOM "is an informal, loose affiliation of individuals and groups, many with memberships in more than one COG organization" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.1).

CGOM's actual statement of beliefs is very similar to CGI's.

Actually, about the only subjects that CGOM has actually renounced from CGI is GTA, governance, to a degree prophetic focus (as shown below).

This article will primarily focus on the teachings and practices of CGOM that differ from what WCG used to teach when Herbert Armstrong was alive. Many quotes come from CGOM's 2003 conference which was covered extensively by The Journal (possibly because CGOM met at the Tulsa congregation of the Church that The Journal's editor affiliates with). It also includes quotes from other sources, including some from 2014. It should be noted that since CGOM claims not to be a church, that it is difficult to know if the group believes much or all of what its individual spokespersons/writers have stated. But quotes from leaders do give a reasonable way of assessing beliefs.

My comments will be in italics.

CGOM is Not a Church

"Later in the day, Mr. Dennis, the elder from Coffeyville, spoke from the lectern about “what is our business, and what is none of our business.” The CGOM, he said, is a voluntary association of independent local assemblies. “CGOM is not a denomination,” he said. “That is what we are not. We’re not church either. There is no central human authority. We believe this is the proper] structure for the whole Church of God . . . There is no one person in charge of our organization. We have shied away from that word organization.”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

"Mr. Gregory commented that CGOM affiliates must keep in mind that the CGOM is not a church. “We provide assistance to groups,” he said. “It’s easy for us sometimes to think we’re like one body and we want to do all of these things.”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.27).

It is also the position of Ron Dart's Christian Education Ministries and a few others that they are not churches either.

Governance

"It became clear that the New Testament church was not a monolithic organization, 'ruled from the top down'. The true church of God is made up of all, wherever they are, in whom dwells the Spirit of God. The visible church, i.e. those who bodily associate together, also embraces unbelievers, 'learners' - and its complement of heretics!...The pattern adopted by CGOM is for these individual fellowships to voluntarily work together through a noncoercive but supportive association. It's the principle that the whole is greater than its parts'. By combining our resources - spiritual gifts, human talent and financial - we can in combination accomplish more than can any single fellowship" (CGOM in Perspective. CGOM PDF Booklet. Undated, but read online 6/28/03).

The facts, including some mentioned later in this article, would suggest that other fellowships are accomplishing more than CGOM.

"As with any joint effort, a measure of oversight is essential. In CGOM this is achieved through several volunteer Committees (all members have secular jobs or are retired) appointed through our annual Conference. They are responsible for Financial oversight, Outreach, Member Services, Marketing and Research. Appointments are unpaid, with remuneration for part-time accounting and for Conference-approved expenses (e.g. visits in support of local assemblies or scattered individuals.) Accounts are published annually in our Newsletter. Delegates to Conference are representatives appointed by each local fellowship (usually elders or stewards). The Conference is open to any brethren who wish to attend and contribute ideas" (CGOM in Perspective. CGOM PDF Booklet. Undated, but read online 6/28/03)."Mr. Cruz, at the lectern again, explained the way the CGOM is set up and how it operates throughout the year. Five chairmen direct five committees. Committee members meet via teleconference at least five times a year. He listed the names of the committees and their chairmen:  Outreach: Jeff Henderson.  Member services: Steve Andrews.  Research: James McBride.  Budget: Lawrence Gregory.  Marketing: Renee Steel. Committee coordinator is Mr. Cruz, and Web-site coordinator is Matthew Steel. Mr. Cruz led a discussion (rather than a formal vote) in which delegates decided to reappoint all five committee chairmen to serve in the same positions for the coming year" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.7).

UCG is the other COG that is very committee oriented, though it does tend to have formal elections (though not for all committees). As far as governance, please check out the article The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government.

Doing The Work?

"Matthew Steel of Tulsa made a presentation based on the CGOM’s Web site. Mr. Steel, who maintains those numerous cyberspatial pages, said a purpose of the site is to instruct. “We’re seeking to teach right there on the [computer] screen,” he said, “to teach people as soon as they come to our site, to guide and encourage them, to reach out to the world with good news.” Mr. Steel has lately streamlined the site to make CGOM printed materials more “immediately available” to its perusers. He credited the writing of much of the material to a CGOM founder who because of health problems could not attend this year, James McBride of Lincoln, England" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.7)."

Many CGOM affiliates finance their own varying ways of what the COGs have traditionally called “doing the work.” So it is difficult for CGOM leaders or anyone else to evaluate how much good is being done—evangelizing, feeding the flock, warning the world— by CGOM members as a whole...Their hopes and plans, as was the case at last year’s conference, took the form of a growing emphasis on cyberspace, specifically the CGOM’s Web site (www.cgom.org)" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.1).

It is my understanding that CGOM does not have a highly popular website. Most of the articles at it are in PDF format which takes longer to load for viewing than html files do, thus if the internet is its emphasis, it is not obvious.

"Mr. Gregory said he feels a lack in the CGOM of printed materials that expound on the COGs’ traditional belief that the United States and Britain and other countries of European origin are the prophesied Israel of the Bible" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).Jeff Henderson stated, "Church of God members should be involved in the work of evangelism. That is one of your primary duties. It’s not the work of the church leadership; it’s not the work of CGOM; it’s your job.”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.7)."Brian Davis, said he believes Church of God members’ focus “should be more on fruits.” “Fruits,” he said, “are evidence that we are Christian.” Knowledge is good, but the proper emphasis on fruits can easily be neglected" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

Jesus also taught, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16). It seems to me that CGOM has neglected that proper emphasis on fruits. I should state, however, that Tom Justus, an elder affiliated with CGOM, has rewritten some WCG booklets and sent out 700,000 of them--this appears to have been somewhat independent of other CGOM efforts.

Two articles of possibly related interest would be Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? and The Final Phase of the Work.

Once Stated that it May No Longer Sponsor its Own Feast of Tabernacles Site

"Announced in this year’s sessions was that a traditional way of COG folks to get together might no longer be officially sponsored by the CGOM. This year delegates discussed the possibility that the organization in 2003 for the first time might not sponsor a Feast of Tabernacles site" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

It is my understanding that CGOM may continue to sponsor one or more sites, but also may encourage its members to support others such as David Antion, Ray Wooten, Fred Coulter, and David Havir--none of which are, to the best of my knowledge officially part of CGOM, as they run COGSC, United Christian Ministries, CBCG, and Big Sandy COG respectively. Some may also attend CGI as their beliefs are fairly similar.

"The CGOM has traditionally sponsored Feast sites, besides the several that are operated by individual CGOM-affiliated congregations and individual church members. This year, however, the discussion revealed that support might be lacking to sponsor a site for Feast 2003, which most Church of God members will observe Oct. 10-18...Members of CGOM congregations still have many options for the Feast, said the speakers. One is a site sponsored every year at Lake Texoma (on the Oklahoma side of the lake) by CGOM member Steve Kieler (who was present at the conference). Several other Feast sites operate in the Tulsa area, including ones sponsored by the Church of God International and Christian Biblical Church of God. Mr. Kieler commented that Feast attendance at specific sites around the world is down because of the proliferation of sites in recent years and a change in attitude of church people. “I think the church in general is losing the dedication of the people,” he said. “They’re not committed to the church; they’re not committed to the Feast; they’re not committed to second tithe; we’re just losing a lot of the basic foundations of the church.” Mr. Justus agreed. “The Feast of Tabernacles has become very competitive in the church,” he said. “. . . It’s fine; I’m not criticizing. But the big appeal now for most of the people is to go to Florida, to the coastline"" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.26).

Other COG groups, like the Continuing Church of God, have Feast of Tabernacles sites in various lands.

Some International Reservations

"Mr. Kieler talked about problems with associating with other ministries overseas. Sometimes it’s difficult to gauge from afar how sincere and legitimate the leaders of those ministries are. Do they seek fellowship and encouragement, or are they looking for money? He estimated that 50 percent of overseas ministries that contact American ministries are “scams,” and the scams are “extremely difficult to sort out” from the worthy causes" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.27).

I agree with that, but by having an overseas ministry, some COG groups can normally discern the sincere from the scam artists.

Unsureness

"Julian Cruz of San Antonio, a CGOM founding member and pastor of an independent congregation in his city of residence, kicked off the proceedings Saturday with a keynote presentation...“I don’t know, brethren, what God is doing,” said Mr. Cruz. “I don’t know why we’re scattered. I don’t know why we’re in the situation we’re in. But we’re in it, and we just need to move forward. We need enthusiasm, and we need a lot of wisdom.” Mr. Cruz blamed the COGs’ inability to grab an abundance of traction in their gospel-preaching and unchurched- converting efforts on the “disunity” of the Churches of God in general. “It breaks my heart,” he said" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

"Gene Lamb of Strasburg, Colo., commented that at last year’s conference he had asked “some newcomers” if they would be back in 2003. They had assured him they would be here, yet they did not return. “I don’t know what the problem is,” he said, “but somewhere or other they haven’t latched onto the idea of cooperating independent groups, and I feel sorry for that. But I really don’t know what to do about it.”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

But Some Think They Are the Best

"Mr. Walsh, the new delegate from Napa, said he is “fascinated” by the CGOM. “You guys have really the best concept there is out there” among the COGs, he said. The CGOM concept, he said, “decentralizes” and “gives responsibility to individuals, and in reality it’s really the best form.” Mr. Walsh said he had “a few passionate ideas,” otherwise he came to Tulsa to learn" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

"Tom Justus, who at times has spoken critically of the CGOM, even at one point a few years ago withdrawing his membership, said from the audience that now he believes CGOM has caught a vision.” The “vision” Mr. Justus thinks is appropriate in the Churches of God is one that has individual Christians and individual congregations deciding how to go about their ministries without help from a central denominational office or headquarters. An umbrella organization, such as the CGOM, should not presume, in Mr. Justus’s view, to be the hub of a church denomination. It should not have the power, for example, to extract tithes and other payments from member congregations. It should serve rather than be served" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

"Mr. McBride said that something has been on his mind lately: the “special contribution that we and CGOM can make to the Churches of God.” He noted that the COGs are “experiencing dropouts.” “Even not just individuals but whole local churches seem to be going,” he said, “and that’s not new even back to the first century, all this division. “But I think there’s less impact when you follow the New Testament model, which I believe we’re doing with our independent groups.” The CGOM has its growing pains. But, he said, even a 100-year-old Church of God movement, the Church of God (Seventh Day), still has its problems.

In comparison with that church (probably a reference to the CG7 denomination headquartered in Denver, Colo.), “I think we’re doing very well.”...“Our purpose is to be, I suppose we should say, at the cutting edge of outreach,” he said. “I know over here [in Britain] our main problem is just lack of personnel.”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.7).

I am not sure why CGOM feels it is doing very well, but it states it nonetheless. A more recent view of their internet reach, done on July 10, 2014, demonstrates that. CGOM.org had an Alexa ranking of 6,493,496, which means relatively few read its articles; to put that in perspective, the COGwriter.com website has an Alexa ranking of 98.773 and the Continuing Church of God CCOG.org website's ranking was 582,204. The lower the number, the greater the reach. Even the Spanish language website of the Continuing Church of God, CDLIDD.es (Alexa 6,329,516) reaches more more than CGOM's main website.

Third Tithe

"A further constraint on our giving is that there will always be those among us who for some reason are restricted in their finances, even destitute. The principle of the third tithe is that we care for such - especially those who are of the Body of Christ (Galatians 6:6-10). Any of us who are in employment will already be contributing for this purpose through our National insurance - currently a whopping 11% of gross salary year in, year out! We were warned (I Samuel 8:10-18)! For us, the giving of a third tithe is obsolete, replaced by generous willingness to share with those in need over and beyond obligations imposed by a profligate government! Each local assembly, indeed, should have a fund dedicated to this end" (McBride, James. Should a Christian Tithe? CGOM PDF Booklet, 1993-2000. Viewed online 6/28/03).

All the groups I am aware of that were once part of CGI teach that third tithe has been replaced by the government and/or is otherwise obsolete. For a different perspective, please read the article Is Third Tithe Still Valid Today?

"He seemed to be saying that there is nothing wrong with, for instance, donating to charitable causes such as the Salvation Army, but the commission to preach the gospel, to inspire people to repent and be converted, transcends such concerns. “I do feel that CGOM have the right goal now, I really do,” he said....Mr. Justus commented that, if people want to donate to a worthy charity, they can look up the local chapter of the Salvation Army" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6, 26).

It should be noted that Tom Justus was not specifically discussing the subject of third tithe in those quotes.

Demons Will Cease Existence

"Perhaps a third of those spirits God created have aligned themselves with the Adversary, Satan. In due course they will cease to exist, for God will purify His kosmos, His Universe, restoring it to the pristine order He first created" (McBride J. Can Spirit Die? OUTREACH Jan/Feb 2006).   

See also Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?

Funeral Renumeration Acceptable

"Mr. Gregory talked about the “gratuity or honorarium,” the fee normally paid to the minister who delivers the funeral message. “The funeral director will write a check and give it to the minister,” he said. “My recommendation is that, if at that time you are offered an honorarium or gratuity, I would say don’t refuse it. They [the family and funeral home] want to do this, and it’s custom and accepted.”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.26).

CGOM Indicated it was Smaller than It Once Was

"Steve Andrews of Tulsa, an elder who works with Mr. Gregory in the host congregation, said from his chair in the audience that he has watched CGOM from its beginning, “and, yes, it has grown smaller, but I think the character and spirit has grown stronger.” Since the CGOM can help people, especially through the Internet, who “are seeking answers,” and since the CGOM understands “the only hope humanity has,” then “we’re doing the right thing,” said Mr. Andrews" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

"Delegate Patrick Dennis of Coffeyville, Kan., commented from the floor that the CGOM is “small in numbers, but God likes to do great things with small groups.” “It’s been seven years since we began this endeavor,” he said. The CGOM has “had its ups and downs, but mainly I feel we’re on the right track.”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

"Steve Kieler of Fort Dodge, Iowa, spoke of the perceived need to “eliminate duplication of effort” among the COGs. Then he wondered aloud “what is the problem with the churches.” He didn’t at that moment directly answer his own question, but he said a healthy church must be “driven by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God.” “Once we get ourselves right,” he said, “then the growth and everything else is going to fall into place. I think with Passover approaching we really need to pray and get down and get ourselves individually right with God, then we will be right before Him as a church. Then we will really see growth.”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

Apparent Official Size

"A notebook of information picked up by each delegate at registration listed listed a total of 95 names of CGOM members. THE JOURNAL noticed that, although many on the list were not in attendance, likewise many in attendance were not on the list" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

Outreach Growth

According to its Richard Gawith, CGOM has many people who at least receive some information from it as this report is from the COGUK Nov-Dec 2005 Newsletter:

We have added 177 NEW names to the international mailing lists this year
....We have added 382 NEW names to the USA mailing list this year
.....Our mailing list totals are now up to 4,334 active subscribers of a mailing list of 4,982 for the USA
....658 active subscribers of a mailing list of 1,010 for the International list

Financial Report

"Richard “Rick” Gawith of Tulsa, a member of the Tulsa Church of God (and stepson of pastor Lawrence Gregory), presented a financial report Saturday evening. “Right now we’re sitting with $6,000 in the account,” Mr. Gawith said. “At this time we don’t have any outstanding expenses that are staring us in the face. The only things we mail out now are New Horizons and the Bible correspondence course.” Mr. Gawith distributed and read from a financial report that showed CGOM income for the year ending Dec. 30, 2002, at $59,731.89, expenses of $58,324.24 and a bank balance of $10,388.26" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.7).

Allows for the Belief that Non-COG'rs are Christian and that Easter has Value

"Mr. Davis also expressed his interest in defining who are the “unchurched.” “Who are our customers?” he asked. Do they “include all the churches? Are we classifying them [non-COG Christians] as unchurched or not?” Some non-COG Christians, he said, “know that Jesus Christ is Savior. Some of them are willing to give their life for what, especially the evangelicals, know should be done: that we’re supposed to be conformed to Jesus Christ. They know about His Holy Spirit . . . But they don’t have some of the knowledge that we have.” The enlightenment that COG ministries can provide for evangelical Christians, he said, might include the understanding of the Sabbath day and pagan holidays. But even then COG ministries must be careful, he said. For example, COG people commonly say that Easter “has nothing to do with the plan of salvation.” “But it does,” said Mr. Davis. “It focuses on Jesus Christ” even though it does it on the “wrong day.” “They’re lacking, but they’re doing the best they know how. We have things they want that we can give that will help them be better Christians.” Not only that, sometimes non-COG Christians “do things better than we,” he said. “Sometimes their fruits are better. Maybe we can learn some things from them in how to be fruitful . . . [while we say] to them, ‘Here are the feasts of God, [which] all point to Jesus Christ.’ ”" (Cartwright, Dixon. Churches Need a Few Good Goals, Says CGOM Speaker. The Journal, March 31, 2003, p.6).

I think the previous quote is one of the most dangerous from a CGOM leader. If CGOM itself disagrees with it, it made no pubic correction that I am aware of. The tendency to think that Protestants are Christians who simply lack knowledge of the Sabbath is horribly dangerous and inaccurate. For additional information, please read the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants. Easter WAS NEVER observed by the true church.

Prophetic Changes

"The prophecies tell us, however, that when the Jews return to their inheritance in Palestine they will 'dwell safely'. (See Ezekiel 38:11) That certainly is not the case now. They will return accompanied by 'the House of Israel' - the so-called 'lost tribes'. (See Ezekiel 37:19-22) That has not happened. They will return with the LORD JHVH at their head. (See Jeremiah 23:6-8). Certainly not now. They will return, a mere remnant of both Houses, freed from a time of enslavement - largely from throughout the Islamic world and from 'the north' It will surpass the darkest days of twentieth century Europe - a time called 'Jacob's trouble'. (See Isaiah 11:11-12, Matthew 24:21). That is yet future. ['Eurabia': Islam has 120 million adherents in Europe - including Turkey] They will return 'broken-hearted' - sorrowing for their sin. Not so now." (McBride J. Road Map To Israel. OUTREACH Newsletter: September/October 2006).

The above contains a mix of truth and change. It is true that there is another time in the future when all the house of Israel will return and dwell safely. However this will be well AFTER the time of "Jacob's trouble." If CGOM is teaching that the European superpower will be highly Arabic or Moslem, this is an inaccurate change. Those who rely on changes in prophetic understanding by CGOM may do so to their own peril.

Two Witnesses...Oil represented God's Holy Spirit which seems to indicate that these two sons of oil may be symbolic of spirit beings rather than human...These two witnesses, if cherubim, will be manifested in the form of men...Although the Bible does not definitely say whether the two witnesses will be angelic beings or human there is enough evidence in the Bible to suggest that they most likely will be angelic beings. But some may have difficulty with the concept of spirit beings being killed and resurrected which is prophesied for the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7-11)...As the world moves closer to the end-time configuration will we see more false witnesses pronouncing Christ's return? (Morton, John. Two Witnesses. New Horizons, a CGOM magazine. July-Augist 2007, pp. 4-5).

Since the two witnesses do die and the Bible clearly calls them "men," CGOM's John Morton's speculation should be ignored. Those wishing to learn more may wish to read the article Who Are the Two Witnesses?

In 2014, James McBride put out the following:

It Will Happen...

Many Bible believers express concerns as to how to interpret the end-time prophecies or doctrinal issues. If they get it wrong—will that condemn me to ‘the great tribulation’? ...

Then there’s the interpretation of the prophecies. Who is ‘the Beast’ or the ‘False Prophet’ or the ‘man of sin’? Or, is the ‘King of the South’ an Islamic force, or a secular power? Or other? What if I’m not sure this truly is ‘the end time’, and it turns out it is? Will I be left behind? And what about Daniel’s much-discussed prophecies? All genuine concerns! And yes—we should...

And prophecy? The interpretations are endless! Given enough time most human speculations—that’s what they are—fall by the wayside. I don’t need to know when Jesus will return. I must just stay in a state of preparedness. I needn’t know who may be the ‘two witnesses'; God will manifest them for all to see in His good time. . I need not be concerned about world chaos— just be personally ready for when the end comes.

There is, however, one clear instruction direct from the lips of Jesus: ‘...Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them ... and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world’ (Matthew 28:19-20).

(McBride J. It Will Happen... OUTREACH Newsletter: July-August 2014)

The Knowledge That Counts

What do you need to know to become a Christian? Is doctrine important? And must you understand the prophecies? ...

That is exclusive— acceptance of Jesus as Saviour, and commitment to him and to the Father. Anything else?

Not prophecy. For multitudes have died in the faith not understanding them—or getting it wrong!

(McBride J.The Knowledge that Counts. OUTREACH Newsletter: July-August 2014)

Knowledge of the Bible, Jesus, the Kingdom of God, and salvation are important, but some of that knowledge also is based upon future prophetic events. Those who misunderstand about certain aspects of doctrine and prophecy are not growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus as they should (cf. 2 Peter 3:18) and are subject to deception and not being a Christian and/or living as a Laodicean (which Jesus prophetically warns against in Revelation 3:14-20).

Laodicean groups have been teaching prophetic errors about the King of the South (see Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?), the man of sin (see Who is the Man of Sin?), and the prophecies in Daniel (e.g. The 'Peace Deal' of Daniel 9:27 and Who is the King of the North?).  For a longer list, please check out the list in the article The Laodicean Church Era. Those who wish to possibly be protected need to 'gather together' as the Bible tells in Zephaniah 2:1-3 and with Philadelphians as they are the only ones Jesus promised protection from the coming hour of trial in Revelation 3:7-13 (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).

Jesus taught a lot about prophecy and groups like CGOM are not teaching that as they should. I believe that because of following false and Laodicean teachers, those in groups like CGOM will not know what is happening prophetically. As far as whether one should be concerned about 'world chaos,' Jesus repeatedly told His followers to watch those type of events, as He did five times in Mark 13:5-37. Watching world events from a biblical perspective helps us realize that this age will come to an end and that Jesus will return to reign and establish the Kingdom of God--this helps proper watchers keep their lives in perspective and should motivate them to live as a proper Christian. Notice something that Jesus taught:

34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:34-36)

Notice that Jesus used the information about coming prophecies related to world chaos to motivate Christians. Should that not exhortation be done today as we are closer to the time of that day approaching (Hebrews 10:25; Romans 13:11).

Unless they change, those associated with CGOM, like other apparently Laodicean groups, will end up going through the Great Tribulation. Not because they do not understand all nuances of end time prophecy, but because of their attitudes about themselves, the work, etc. they will not listen enough to change or understand prophecy. See also Is there a need for a prophet now?

Birthdays, Jury Duty, Voting, Church Eras, Place of Safety, Military Service

Since CGOM traces its history through CGI when GTA was in charge of it, and because I have seen no CGOM literature to the contrary, I believe that CGOM allows the celebration of birthdays, participating in worldly juries, and voting in worldly elections. I also do not believe it teaches the concept of Church Eras or that there is a physical place of safety as GTA taught against them.

Actually, a few years after I wrote the above, I did see the following urging Christians to vote:

The Anglo-Saxon model of ‘representative democracy’ allows—at least for now!—Christians locally and nationally to potentially influence (or express an opinion on) key issues. Our ‘world view’ based as it must be on the Christian Scriptures, however, is too often contrary to that of  ‘the world’. But that should not hinder our taking a stand by peaceful and legal means and ‘...with a conscience void of offence towards God’—for example through a vote.(McBride J. COGUK Newsletter, May-June 2010).

Here are two quotes related to an anti-place of safety teachings from CGOM:

"LINCOLN, England—“I will keep you from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10)...One scenario claims that, because of their faithfulness to specified teachings, certain Christians will escape the sufferings of those terrible years...Any “escape” is individual, not collective, not an entire church group. Good things are reputed to come in small packages, but so does poison" (McBride J. Will you be protected from the adversity to come . . . or not? The Journal, July 31, 2006).

"Some earnestly desire and yearn for a place of safety which by itself may place them in great danger. Jesus Christ said: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. (Mark 8:35)... “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17) Spiritual safety would seem to be at the top of the priority list for circumstances such as these... Christ has commanded us to let no man deceive us. We must be alert and have our strategies in place, to avoid being deceived. Now is the time to have on the whole armour of God" (Hufton, Ian. Do You Want Safety? New Horizons, a CGOM magazine. July-August 2007).

Although CGOM cited Revelation 12, it neglected in the last article above, it neglected to cite or discuss the verses there that discuss physcial protection. An article of related interest may be There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra.

For those interested in GTA's positions on these matters please see the article Teachings of the Intercontinental Church of God (these are essentially identical to the positions CGI held on these matters). Although I do not know if CGOM has an official position on military service (groups like the Continuing Church of God prohibit it in their statements of belief), CGOM sometimes endorses Ron Dart who does believe that military service is appropriate for Christians. A related article, which quotes Ron Dart, HWA, and others, is titled Military Service and the COGs.

Some Church of God Beliefs that CGOM Holds

CGOM does hold to certain COG beliefs. In his Jan-Feb 2008 newsletter, James McBride wrote:

I still believe the basics of what I was taught because I have since put it to more intense scrutiny.

Sound Bible teaching has largely fallen by the wayside. But tell me, from the Christian Scriptures, if you can dispute the following teachings.  (My Methodist Sunday-school teachers certainly didn't, for most points, convince me otherwise.

...Jesus Christ died and was resurrected - for me
...Jesus will return to reign over all mankind for a thousand years or so
...the Christian 'sabbath' is not Sunday but the seventh day - Saturday
...Jesus did not 'do away' with his Father's Law
...I won't go to heaven when I die - nor will anyone else
...'hell' [hades] is not a place of eternal torment but simply everyone's final resting place
...the soul has no pre-existence nor does it survive death
...everyone will be resurrected at some time, for judgment
...the Christian Scriptures know no other divinely- sanctioned 'holy days' than those  in Leviticus 23
...Jesus said he would build a church - and records show it existed since founded early in the first century, however now deviant from his teachings

I repeat - show me evidence that these beliefs are not Scriptural. They are the basics, though experience and study has somewhat modified my understanding.

While I would have worded those a bit differently, the fact is that the COGs do rely more on the Bible than other groups that try to pass themselves off as Christian. I just feel that CGOM is too self and world-oriented and simply does not put the right priority on proclaiming the Gospel or holding to many biblical beliefs.

The group that follows the word of God the best at this time is the Continuing Church of God.

Here are articles related to most of the topics he brought up:

Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach?  Why did Jesus have to die for you?
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism and a 6000 Year Plan? Was a 6,000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth (often called the millennium) taught by the early Christians? Is this time near?
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? How clearly endorsed Sunday?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church?
What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? This article quotes what Jesus actually said about them (His words are in red).
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection? Is there more than one future resurrection?
Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Does God's plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Is there eternal torment?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the COGs differ from mainstream Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a COG background.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
Is There "An Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church?

Concluding Comments

CGOM is another small group that hopes that its existence is what God intends. It tends to be liberal in doctrine and light in the area of proclaiming the gospel. It seems to believe that its confederation/committee form of governance is what is best for the COG. I must disagree as its fruits, including doctrinal liberalization, suggest otherwise. I believe that those that follow it will not be protected in a place of safety during the Great Tribulation.

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Thiel B., Ph.D. Teachings and Practices of the Church of God Outreach Ministries. www.cogwriter.com (c) 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2014 0710