COGWA’s 8th anniversary

Laodicea has many ineffective structures


It was nearly eight years ago, on December 23, 2010, that the Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA) reported the following:

Announcing the

Church of God, a Worldwide Association

Today we are announcing the formation of a new international congregation of believers, the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. Our church organization incorporated on December 23, 2010 and has members, congregations and ministers around the world.

The formation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, results from several fundamental disagreements within United Church of God, an International Association. After numerous efforts to engage in biblical resolutions and reconciliation, all efforts failed, and a separation became inevitable.

COGWA split from the United Church of God (UCG).

There was a report from COGWA (titled Timeline for the Establishment of Church of God, a Worldwide Association, dated about January 3, 2011) where it basically states that it did not decide to form until after UCG essentially rejected a 12/4/10 letter and that various discussions did not happen until the week of December 13, 2010. It also says that it was not until 12/20/10 that it was proposed that COGWA be formed, and that this was somewhat based on a 12/17/10 letter from Dennis Luker, where he indicated to certain ministers that they resign and have a “peaceful separation.” Apparently, some at COGWA were concerned how UCG was portraying this. UCG, on the other hand, had been indicating that it has information that suggests that those who left it were part of some long running conspiracy.

What is the truth?

Probably a little of both. There probably are some in COGWA who had long hoped to break-away from UCG, while many there probably only recently made a decision to do so. And UCG probably has some information on the former. But in my view, they are likely to be the two sides of the same ditch. There was also controversy about how a Sabbath matter was handled in Latin America. UCG lost most of its Latin American elders in the summer of 2010, because of that and apparently governance concerns.

Although the name Church of God, a Worldwide Association was possibly only going to be temporary, on January 11, 2011, that name was formally adopted to be continued by its voting elders:

January 11, 2011 – The meetings began as Interim Board President Mike Hanisko called upon Kevin Epps for the opening prayer. Mr.Hanisko then announced the result of the ballot for our church name. Of the 118 ballots cast, 78 chose “Church of God, a Worldwide Association.” So our temporary name has now become our official name.

Since essentially all the top ministry of COGWA was originally ordained by the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG), the selection of COGWA seems logical on its surface.

On May 27, 2011, COGWA reported that it had 9,037 attend the first Day of Unleavened Bread.

COGWA made a couple of pronouncements after it started which suggest that it should proclaim the gospel:

(December 23, 2010) Our mission is to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations and make disciples from among those whom God calls. Our doctrines are based in the first century teachings of Jesus Christ as practiced by the apostles. Our values are grounded in the biblical record. We will strive to humbly follow this example.


January 10, 2011 – …Ken Treybig then gave a presentation on preaching the gospel. We want to assure everyone that we are committed to doing this he said. Continuing, he noted that we must fulfill the commission Christ gave the Church. How we can do this with a smaller group? Perhaps it will have to be done in a measured way, most likely with an Internet focus, but also with print…

But the priority of gospel proclamation in reality, as opposed to theoretically, has been an issue for COGWA.

In its member letter of 12/06/12, COGWA’s Jim Franks wrote:

We have seen many good things happen in the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, during the past 12 months. Personally, I don’t believe for a moment that any of them happened because of our great planning, wisdom or ability…in 2013 we will be investing more funds into our media efforts for preaching the gospel and into Ministerial Services to provide care for the brethren. Our media budget was increased by 70 percent over the 2012 figure…

That is his take on it.

It took COGWA until late Spring of 2012 to put up its public proclamation website,

COGWA’s main seven accomplishments since it formed seem to have been:

  1. Getting much of the paid US based ministry of the United Church of God to leave and support it.
  2. Holding the Feast of Tabernacles in many locations for several years.
  3. Getting thousands of former UCG/WCG members to support it.
  4. Finding and moving to an office in Texas.
  5. Not falling into the type of apostasy that happened because of the Tkach WCG/GCI takeover.
  6. Starting a few websites, including, which seems to be its most effective.
  7. Coming up with a publication called Discern.

COGWA has several prophetic misunderstandings, some of which I have covered in the past (e.g. Warning: COGWA wrong on Daniel 11:39 and Daniel 9:27 and Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

It has compounded one by again wrongly teaching the following in the current issue of its Discern magazine:

Writing to Church members in Thessalonica, Paul implored them “not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled … as though the day of Christ had come” (2 Thessalonians 2:2). He explained, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (verses 3-4).

This “lawless one,” “man of sin” and “son of perdition,” as Paul called him, will claim to be Christ (verses 3-4, 8). Because of the “power, signs, and lying wonders” granted to this man by Satan, many will be deceived by this “delusion” (verses 9-11). But this evil man will be destroyed by Christ at His second coming (verse 8).

Since Paul had written about this individual several decades prior to when John penned his general epistles, John may have had Paul’s teaching in mind as he wrote about the Antichrist. (Treybig D. Discern, November-December 2017)

The final Antichrist promotes the ‘man of sin’ of 2 Thessalonians 2. While that ‘man of sin’ is AN antichrist, he is NOT the one identified by John as the coming final Antichrist.

COGWA, like many other groups, has several prophetic misunderstandings which, unless it changes, will prevent its people from knowing when the Great Tribulation will begin until it is too late.

On December 5, 2018, The 7th Day Sabbath Church of God News website had the following on its news page:

The figures reported by the churches are:

United Church of God: 12,360 according to Peter Eddington on 26th February 2018.
Church of God a Worldwide Association: approx.11,000 (5,500 in the USA), according to Jim Franks on 29th November 2018.
Continuing Church of God: 3,800 according to Robert Thiel. (Over 3600 are in Africa.)
The LCG, PCG and RCG do not give out numbers, but attendances for all three have been declining significantly.
Living Church of God: 6,000? 9,000 was presumably the attendance when Robert Thiel left LCG to form his own church, and it surely hasn’t sunk to 3,000 today. The only membership loss announced publicly was the transfer of the Geneva, Switzerland, congregation to COGWA.
Philadelphia Church of God: 3,500? Stephen Flurry commented a couple of years ago that PCG had levelled out at around 5,000. In 2017 The Philadelphian magazine listed 143 congregations, indicating that 2,000 must be on the low side.
Restored Church of God: 1,000? If it isn’t down to this figure (or lower) now, it surely will be soon – David Pack is continually losing members and ministers – even his second-in-command left recently.

COGWA is the natural beneficiary of transfers from LCG, PCG and RCG, because it has retained the tenets of Armstrongism, and has a more Christian leadership.

As Jim Franks commented in the June issue of One Accord, “I enjoyed my four years at Ambassador College, and I learned a lot. But I also realized that there is more to developing leaders than attending four years of college … One thing we have learned is that leadership without conversion is of little value. Over the years we have seen many examples of outstanding leaders and great speakers who were lacking in this most basic principle of Christianity.”

COGWA no longer vets prospective members before allowing them to attend. Instead it has copied the United Church of God in introducing a standardized website for each congregation, stating location and times of services, and welcoming people to visit. Whereas the Festival of Tabernacles in LCG, PCG and RCG is restricted to members and their families, COGWA has an open attendance policy.

As far as LCG goes, that 6,000 estimate is low. FWIW, let me mention that I called its Charlotte HQ on 12/05/18 the one I spoke with stated that they have a little over 10,000, with a weekly attendance of about 9,000.

While size is not an indicator of truth, the truth is that the CCOG has been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century. The three groups with more congregants than CCOG (UCG, COGWA, LCG) have essentially been slow growing and the other two shown on the post (PCG and RCG) have had substantial losses of congregants in the past 6 or so years.

Unlike UCG, COGWA, and LCG who got the bulk of their members because of a split from another organization (as PCG also somewhat did–but not as quickly or directly as the others did), CCOG did not do that.

Currently, about 3,800 are considered and/or wish to be considered congregants with the CCOG.

Anyway, the only group in the list above to add over 3,000 congregants in the past six years in the Continuing Church of God which began with 5 people on December 28, 2012. The three groups with more congregants than CCOG above (UCG, COGWA, LCG) have basically been stagnant as far as congregant growth goes in the past 1/2 dozen years (they have had relatively little) and the two groups with less congregants than CCOG in that list have significantly lost congregants during that period.

While I do not believe that COGWA’s intent was to remain stagnant and mainly grow from getting people once in UCG (including those once in COGaIC) or LCG, that essentially seems to be what has happened.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association This seems to be the largest group that came out of the United Church of God. Here is some history and concerns about it.
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from two of the largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
CCOG’s 6 Years and Scriptures Laodiceans Miss CCOG has the fruits Jesus talked about. But many onlookers have not properly understood various scriptures.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it?
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
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? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.

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