Cartwright’s Journal Out: History related to the apostasy, 18 truths, death of Graemme Marshall, and 2015 Feast of Tabernacles’ sites


The latest issue (says #172, print date April 30, 2015) of The Journal was sent out electronically and received today.

The main item covered included a lot on the historical views of the apostasy/falling away in the old WCG and the 18 truths.  The Journal also mentioned the death of Graemme Marshall and had a listing of 2015 Feast of Tabernacles’ sites.

Here is some of the information on the ’18 truths’ in the major article of the current edition of The Journal:

Church history: Did the WCG leaders have doctrine agenda?

By Mac Overton, John Robinson and Linda Moll Smith

In the months immediately following the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, the pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God, in January 1986, his successor, Joseph Tkach, repeatedly vowed to build on the doctrinal foundation of Mr. Armstrong. Over and over Mr. Tkach expressed his commitment to established church doctrine, both orally and in the pages of church publications.

One of the most striking examples of his pledge was an article in the Aug. 25, 1986, issue of The Worldwide News, a WCG member newspaper. In that issue under the headline “God Restored These 18 Truths: How Thankful Are You for Them?” an introduction to the article over Mr. Tkach’s name read: “As you prepare spiritually for the coming Feast of Tabernacles, please spend time with this important article, reviewing each of the 18 truths and thanking God for restoring them to his Church.”

The concluding paragraph of the WN article asked: “Where would we be without these truths? Without them— without Herbert W. Armstrong’s legacy of these 18 restored truths—there isn’t much left.”  …

In spite of Mr. Tkach’s vigorous endorsement of Mr. Armstrong’s “18 re- stored truths,” within a year of his predecessor’s death a handful of then high-ranking WCG ministers and others close to Mr. Tkach and his administrative staff were beginning to voice concerns about the depth of Mr. Tkach’s commitment to the “18 truths.”

Part of the point of the above article was to point out that Joseph Tkach, Sr. later decided to do away with most of those truths and some agenda affected him.

I, however, would take it a step further related to the ’18 truths.’

The article in The Journal listed what I call the Tkach version of the 18 truths.  Many years ago, I discussed this with the late evangelist Dibar Apartian and he told me that what the Tkach Administration published was NOT Herbert W. Armstrong’s list, but one that certain ones decided to put together.  My wife Joyce and I researched this further and concluded that the Tkach’s had changed the 18, even as far back as the 1986 listing.  Our findings were published in The Journal back in 2005.  Those who want to know see the only list of 18 truths that Herbert W. Armstrong’s once publicly gave himself (it was in a sermon I listened to), can check out the article The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?

Here are comments from the article Church history: Did the WCG leaders have doctrine agenda? related to early apostate/change concerns:

Concerned in 1987

Donald Ward, until 1995 president of Ambassador University, said he was first worried about doctrine as early as 1987.

Dr. Ward, who at the time was a member of the WCG’s doctrinal committee, said Mike Feazell, Mr. Tkach’s administrative assistant, would periodically make “enigmatic comments that led you to believe his theological underpinnings dramatically differed from those of Herbert Armstrong.”

Leon Walker, a member of the WCG’s advisory council of elders at the time of Mr. Armstrong’s death, also said he had reservations early on. “I remember one time in the late ’80s—I don’t recall the precise time— Mike [Feazell, Mr. Tkach’s assistant and considered by insiders to be one of the chief architects of the WCG’s doctrinal changes] said, ‘God doesn’t have to have a thumb,’ ” Mr. Walker said. “I was puzzled at the comment, not sure at the time what he was referring to. But, as the nature-of-God discussions unfolded, I realized what he was driving at.”

Both Mr. Walker and Dr. Ward said that at first there were just hints dropped here and there by: Mr. Feazell; Joe Tkach Jr., director of the U.S. ministry and later director of the entire min- istry; and Greg Albrecht, editor of The Plain Truth, the old WCG’s flagship magazine.

In the aftermath of the departure of thousands of members from the WCG in 1995 (the WCG would change its name to Grace Communion International in 2009), more and more former insiders were talking about what appeared to be an agenda for doctrinal change that dated back at least to the time of Mr. Armstrong’s death. …

Clearly an agenda

Although exactly who was involved in orchestrating the mid-1990s massive doctrinal shifts in the WCG remains uncertain, it became clear there was an agenda for change. A Nebraska-based researcher who is a former member of the Worldwide Church of God said he did research into possible WCG doctrinal changes in 1987. …

One of those he revealed the information to was John Merritt, a church member and medical doctor from Southern California and a regent of Ambassador University in Big Sandy in the ’90s. Dr. Walburn and Dr. Merritt first met at the Feast of Tabernacles in 1991. “I first met Dr. Walburn on the Last Great Day of the 1991 Feast of Tabernacles in Norfolk, Va.,” Dr. Merritt told In Transition.  …

The Trinity formula Concerning radical doctrinal changes, Dr. Merritt said Dr. Walburn “first mentioned that there was going to be a change in the born-again doctrine. We’d heard that already, but then he mentioned there would be a change in the nature-of-God understanding.

“He also said that the church would adopt the Trinity formula.

“We laughed at that. My wife asked him who he was, and he said, ‘Just consider me your angel.’

“My wife said, ‘That would not have been my first guess.’

“Then he told about the plans for going to voluntary Sabbath and voluntary holy-day observance and voluntary tithing, and then he mentioned introduction of Christmas and Easter and eventually moving to a Sunday worship.

“Later, when we would see these things about to happen and someone would say, ‘How do you know?’ we would jokingly say our angel had told us. But he literally did outline for us ahead of time what was going to hap- pen, and it was helpful for us because then we weren’t surprised after the first round or two.”

I will add that certain doctrinal changes began earlier than 1987 (see also Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?).  The old WCG finally dropped the historical and biblical view of the Godhead (see Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning) and adopted the trinity like most of the world’s churches did (see also Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?).

The Church history: Did the WCG leaders have doctrine agenda? article also had information provided by former WCG minister Steve Sheppard.  He documented that Michael Feazell had gone over an agenda to stop teaching that the Feast of Tabernacles was part of God’s plan of salvation (for a differing view see The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians?), that Anglo-Israelism would no longer be taught (yet it is true, see Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel), that the Gospel of the Kingdom should not be preached (in violation of Matthew 24:14; see also The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church) and that the COG should not trace itself to the first century (but the CCOG can, see Continuing History of the Church of God).

Furthermore, the Church history: Did the WCG leaders have doctrine agenda? article had this about Michael Feazell:

Mr. Feazell said that in the New Testament all Christians have to do is “just believe.” He said that in the example in the book of Acts there was no mention of law-keeping or Sabbath-keeping when the 3,000 were baptized at one time.

It was because of the above, that I started to write articles and post them online related to the Ten Commandments.  Notice the updated versions below:

Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai? Some have said not. This article provides biblical quotes to answer this important question.
Job and the Ten Commandments Was Job written prior to Mount Sinai? Did Job know about the ten commandments? This article provides biblical answers to those questions.
What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? This article quotes what Jesus actually said about them (His words are in red).
Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Some have said so. This article provides some biblical quotes to answer this important question.
What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments? Many say Paul taught against the ten commandments. Is this true? This article quotes Paul with his words in green.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well. Here is a version in the Spanish language:.¿Están vigentes todavía los diez mandamientos?
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.

I would also add that Peter in Acts 2:39 told people to REPENT and believe, not just believe.  He did not need to mention the Sabbath then as he was speaking to Jews according to the account in Acts 2.

Notice also something else from the article Church history: Did the WCG leaders have doctrine agenda? related to early apostate/change concerns:

Mr. Walker, a 1960 graduate of Ambassador College, has been an elder since 1963 and was ordained a WCG evangelist in 1981. He said that shortly before Mr. Armstrong’s death the WCG pastor general was undecided about who to name as his successor. “One day he’d be leaning toward Mr. [Leroy] Neff [who died in 2014]. Another day he might be leaning toward someone else,” Mr. Walker said.

“Mr. Armstrong later told me that he was choosing Mr. Tkach based on his strength, firmness and dogged determination in the receivership crisis of 1979. He said to me, and this is a direct quote, ‘One thing I know about Mr. Tkach: He will not change doctrine.’ ”

Some today act like the late Herbert W. Armstrong did not sometimes make serious prophetic errors.  Well, it should be clear he did related to Joseph Tkach.  Joseph Tkach did denounce Church of God doctrine and led the WCG to have the type of ‘falling away’ that Herbert W. Armstrong had long been concerned about (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).  Lest any cast aspersions on Leon Walker’s testimony here, I have encountered other evidence that also 100% agrees with what I quoted from Leon Walker above.

Finally from the Church history: Did the WCG leaders have doctrine agenda? article about Michael Feazell that I want to quote is the following:

Mr. Feazell said “we cannot understand Revelation,” including Revelation 2 and 3.

“It is filled with wild metaphor.”

Mr. Sheppherd then asked what is the purpose of the book of Revelation. Mr. Feazell said it was written to tell all Christianity to hang on, “that it will all work out.”

Concerning the traditional WCG teaching that Jesus will return to earth and establish His government, Mr. Feazell said, “The advent won’t occur like we thought.”

The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther also said he could not understand the Book of Revelation (see Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? ).  But consider that the term ‘revelation’ means revealing–it was intended to be understood.  As far as the Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 go, consider the following articles:

Old Testament Church Eras Are there seven church eras in the Old Testament? Do they parallel those in Revelation 2 &3?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3
from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. 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.

As far as the Book of Revelation goes, those who call themselves preterists improperly do not believe the Book is prophetic for our time (see The Dangerous Rise of Preterists).

As far as the return of Jesus (called ‘advent’ by Mike Feazell), the following may be of some assistance:

Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? A related sermon is titled The Millennium.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2022 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?

Anyway, there were a lot of apostate changes that the Tkach WCG put in place, yet few today realize that the first was possibly related to downplaying the teaching about ‘church eras’ (see The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?).

The Journal also had the following death announcement:

Graemme Marshall died April 26, 2015 area. ¶ Graemme and Lynn Marshall served in the ministry for almost 50 years. He was one of the pioneers of the work of the Church of God in New Zealand, serving as regional director there for eight years, later serving in Australia and most recently in Toronto. ¶ Graemme suffered from health challenges on and off, and over the past 10 months his condition deteriorated considerably. He also lost a lot of weight during that time. ¶ He loved the church and the work of the ministry and helped his wife in the UCG Canadian office right up to the end of his life. ¶ He leaves his wife, Lynn, and two grown children. ¶ Before his death he requested cremation and asked that there be no funeral or memorial service. Cards may be sent to Lynn Marshall, P.O. Box 33034, Cambridge, ON, Canada N1R 8R0.

Although I have been to both Australia and New Zealand, as well as Canada, I do not recall if I ever met Graemme Marshall.

Anyway, The Journal  had a listing of Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2015.  Here is what I emailed its editor concerning those for the Continuing Church of God:

Denver, Colorado, USA. Continuing Church of God, contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Continuing Church of God, contact Herb Haddon email

Amsterdam/Utrrecht, Netherlands. Continuing Church of God, contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email

Taupo, New Zealand. Continuing Church of God, contact John Hickey, email

Silay City, Philippines. Continuing Church of God, contact Oscar Mediavilla, email

Gambella, Ethiopia contact Koang Deng, email

Ndhiwa, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email

Bomet, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email

Nairobi, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email

Transmara, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email

Migori, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email

Tanzania. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email

This year Feast of Tabernacles services will begin the evening of September 27th and continue until the Last Great Day which is October 5, 2015. More information for the Continuing Church of God sites is in the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2015.  We also may have a site for Nigeria, which is not listed above.

The Journal also had the usual letters to the editor and other advertisements, various comments, and opinion articles.

The Journal itself is available by paid subscription (though Dixon Cartwright says some subscriptions are free to those who cannot afford it).

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