COG size and Banned lies


Some of Satan’s allies at Banned by HWA website continue to post lies about those of us in Continuing Church of God (CCOG) and other COGs.

Notice the following that was recently posted at Banned by HWA:

Spiritual and physical abuse in the Church of God had/has been going on for decades and people were and still are sick of it. That is why fewer and fewer people stay in the spiritually abusive cults of Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, Ron Weinland, and other groups. Even the so-called “enlightened” groups led by Weston, Theil, Kilough, Kubik, Thiel, Hulme, and others, who imagine themselves to not be spiritually abusive, have been unable to keep members or draw in new cash cows members. After all, what this really boils down to is money flow. (Leonard, Gary. How A Marked and Disfellowshiped Employee of Living Church of God Is Making A Difference In The World November 30, 2020)

Since my name was mentioned twice (and misspelled once), let me start off by saying that no, we in the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) have not been the source of spiritual or physical abuse. We will deal with the ‘money lie’ from Banned later in this post.

As far as Ron Weinland (CGPKG), Gerald Flurry (PCG), and David Pack (RCG) go, they have all shown themselves to be false prophets–they are false prophets because they have publicly made false predictions that they said God told them that did not come to pass.

As I have stated for years, I do not believe that they are converted Christians and, hence, are NOT truly COG (though some who have been drawn to them, often only for a time, have been). David Pack’s financial greed is also something I have denounced, for over a decade.

Now regarding four of the “enlightened” COG groups (Weston-LCG, Kilough-COGWA, Kubik-UCG, Thiel-CCOG) they have not been unable to keep members as Banned indicated (we do not have specific information on Hulme-COGaIC–as that group split several years ago and seems to be a small fraction of how it started out).

I personally contacted members/leaders in four of the groups who provided me, and/or directed me, to specifics on their size.

LCG reported:

11,183 Living Church of God attendees were able to worship Him in person or online during the Feast of Tabernacles in 2020. This is a 1 percent increase over the total in 2019 (11,070). (Winnail D. Weekly Update, November 5, 2020

This slight growth is despite losses associated with the departure of Sheldon Munson and the start of his Church of God Assembly in 2020. And since those associated with COG Assembly essentially remained COG, there were not real COG losses happening with this.

COGWA reported:

2020 FEAST OF TABERNACLES ATTENDANCE … TOTAL  11,894 (2020 FEAST OF TABERNACLES ATTENDANCE. One Accord, November-December 2020, p. 18

The above is up a little from a report that COGWA sent out two years ago. So, COGWA has not been shrinking.

As far as festival attendees go, not all who attend with the various groups are part of them and some who are part do not attend, but the number gives an idea of size.

UCG’s Aaron Dean sent me the following yesterday:

Hi Bob,
We have about 12,000 worldwide.  That does not include between 5,000 and 6,000 in Africa, Asia and South America that want to be part of us, (and some even call themselves UCG) but we have chosen to not fully integrate them although they use our literature, fundamentals of belief and sermons as their basis for teaching.  Our reason is that we may damage them to try to fully integrate and credential their elders when we have no way of fully vetting them. To credential some and not others could cause jealousies and splits in their groups which we do not wish to do.  We do consider any of them  who truly have God’s spirit a part of the overall spiritual body of Jesus Christ as we do many in other groups who practice the biblical truths and have God’s spirit.

This is similar to the 12,360 that UCG’s Peter Eddington reported on 26th February 2018.

As it happens to be, throughout the late Fall of 2020, CCOG has been reporting parts of its membership in different nations in some of its Letters to the Brethren.

These reports were all consolidated, with additional information, in its Letter to the Brethren: December 10, 2020. That post shows that CCOG leaders have reported a total of 5,275 (mostly Gentiles) worldwide.

Sadly, many who claim to be Christian seem dismissive of Gentiles in places like Africa. This is despite scriptures like the following:

25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)

27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:27-29)

Yet, many use prejudices and other factors to dismiss the truth that the Gentiles count as much as non-Gentiles and that the New Testament shows that more must be called before Jesus returns (see also What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?).

Anyway, CCOG has been growing in each of its eight years and is the only COG to actually add 5,000 people in the past 8 years. And of those who came to us, a little over 1/2 did NOT have a prior WCG background. This differs from the larger groups as one formed from a confederation of ministers from the old WCG (UCG), another formed from a split from UCG (COGWA), and the other formed as a split from the old GCG (LCG), whose members had basically came from WCG.

If the reader is aware of any USA headquartered COGs with over 2,000 people that I have not included in this post, please send an email with some type of citation to

Note: Since I do not consider that Gerald Flurry, David Pack, nor Ron Weinland true COG leaders, so I do not mean them (PCG has probably around 3500; RCG maybe 750-1000–it has had a lot of ministerial losses the past few years and its number is quite unclear; CGPFKG maybe has one or two hundred).

Now getting back to Banned by HWA, one of the other Satanic tactics it has repeatedly done at its website is to use the “guilt by association” game. This is an old Satanic tactic that was done on more than one occasion against Jesus by some of those who rejected Him (e.g. Luke 5:30, 15:2). The Bible teaches that Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-10), and we have seen his allies do the same.

Here is a recent example of such guilt by association from Gary Leonard (Banned by HWA webmaster):

A reader here wrote:

Dave, and people like him, are fuel for websites such as this….he in no way represents The Church.

I believe that Dave Pack most certainly DOES represent everything the Church of God has come to be in the last 80 years. …

Pack is not alone in doing this though. We have Gerald Flurry …

Then there is Ron Weinland, one of the most pathetic prophets the church has ever seen, claiming he and his dingy wife are the two witless witnesses and his creature “jesus” is ready to return in the next few days. We also have Bob Thiel who … expects us to believe that he was doubly blessed to start a church and that his frequent nightmares are validation he is the final end-time church.

This is the legacy of the Church of God. A church now overrun with buffoons and charlatans that are leading people astray. So yes, Dave Pack does represent the entire church, as do these other peddlers of heresy. (Leonard, Gary. Does Dave Pack and his ilk represent the Churches of God as a whole? December 2, 2020)

No Gary Leonard, David Pack does not represent the true Church of God.

David Pack is a greedy bully who has long been overly focused on money. I believe his financial desires are covetous and abusive. He has also gone over the deep end doctrinally (see also RCG: Why Not the Restored Church of God?).

Sadly, Gary Leonard does not realize that teaching original Christianity is the opposite of heresy, which is what we in the CCOG do (see, for example, the free online book: Continuing History of the Church of God).

But those at Banned by HWA like to group the false and true ministers together and do not understand original Christianity. This improper grouping sometimes confuses people, which is Satan’s (John 8:44), not God’s (1 Corinthians 14:33), plan.

The anti-COG haters are like one, who was once associated with for a time with true Christians, Simon Magus. The Apostle Peter said was he “poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:23). That is was we seem to see from many at Banned.

The Bible shows that God frequently uses dreams (Genesis 20:3-7, 28:10-17, 31:10-13, 31:24, 37:5-10, 40:5-18, 41:1-32; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13-15; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; Acts 16:9)–but Gary Leonard calls ones I received as nightmares (which they were not). As far as being “doubly blessed” goes, check out the article How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God.

Gary Leonard, and sadly many others, do not believe that God could be using dreams in the 21st century, despite them being prophesied for the end times (Acts 2:17-18; see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?). Furthermore, it is not just I, but several others in CCOG that have had confirmed dreams (see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

As far as more ‘guilt by association,’ notice something else posted on the front page of the Banned by HWA website at the beginning of 2020:

The Worldwide Church of God was a cult. All of her splits, splinters and slivers are cults. Gerald Flurry and soon son, is a cult leader. Dave Pack is a cult leader. Bob Thiel is a cult leader, albeit a weak one. Gerald Weston is a cult leader, (Diehl DC. Restored Church of God’s Worst Nightmare: “For certain men have crept in among you unnoticed….” January 1, 2020)

The true Church of God is based on Jesus and the teachings He inspired the apostles and other writers of the New Testament to record. Details on the beliefs of the early true Christian church, which have specifically continued in the Continuing Church of God are in the free online book: Continuing History of the Church of God.

But that is something that those at Banned by HWA cannot handle. They are like the critics that the Apostle Paul encountered. Notice that Paul was charged with being the leader of a religious cult:

2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against Paul in the following address to the governor: “Your Excellency…5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker who is constantly stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes

10 … Paul said, “I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I gladly present my defense before you. 11 You can quickly discover that I arrived in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago to worship at the Temple. 12 My accusers never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring up a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city. 13 These men cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing.

14 “But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets.

(Acts 24:2,5,10-14, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust.)

Christians with “Nazarene” practices have long been accused of being part of a cult (or “sect,” Acts 24:14, NKJV/NJB) by persecutors of various types.

Jesus warned that the faithful would be persecuted and insulted:

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12, NKJV)

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12, NIV)

Paul even claimed that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecutions” (2 Timothy 3:21). So, of course, keeping the same practices that Jesus of Nazareth, the Nazarene ringleader called the Apostle Paul, and others throughout history does not make one part of an inappropriate “cult” (see also Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes?).

Notice something that the Apostle Peter was inspired to write:

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

So, for those who wonder about the truth, this post contains “a defense,” a true response to some of the many false assertions at the anti-COG Banned by HWA website.

And as far as the oft repeated lie at Banned site that the COGs are all about money, regular readers of this COGwriter Church of God News page are aware that neither my wife nor I take a salary from the Continuing Church of God (nor did we from the old Living and Global Church of God when we were part of them). This seems to grate against the false view Gary Leonard has about the various COGs which is probably one of the reasons that I personally seem to get more lies posted about me there than most others in the COGs.

The assertion that teaching the truth of the Bible is really only about money is simply false. As far as how CCOG actually has spent what it receives, this is reported on its Donations page. The following is a chart from that page:

But, Banned is not interested in the truth, but instead tries to lump us in with people like David Pack who are overly focused on getting money.

The last book of the Bible has the following it its last chapter:

12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:12-16)

Those who believe the false assertions at the Banned by HWA website are among those that love and practices lies.

Those who do so should repent–and are in my prayers.

Jesus taught:

44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:44-45)

The Book of Proverbs teaches:

16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can answer sensibly. (Proverbs 26:16)

Which is more sensible? The truth or rants from accusers of the brethren?

The Continuing Church of God has remained the fastest growing xWCG group in the 21st century. But some want people to believe that all the COGs are shrinking–and that is not the case.

Can you accept the truth or do you prefer the lying assertions from sites like Banned by HWA?

Some items of perhaps related interest include:

Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch There are various ones that oppose the Church of God, but they will not prevail (Matthew 16:18).
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?
Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18? A related sermon in the English language is also available: 17 Last Days’ Signs of the Holy Spirit.
Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? Here is a link in Spanish: Sueños, la Biblia, la Iglesia de Dios de la Radio, y la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles? Some in the West discount God’s calling of Gentiles, but the Apostle Paul wrote about the need for them to come to the truth before Jesus returns.
What is the Ezekiel Warning? Should the end-time descendants of Israel and Joseph be warned? What should the watchman warn about? Regarding a watchman, you can watch the following video: Go, Set a Watchman.
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? Two related sermons are available The Work per HWA and the Bible and Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short 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.
Preaching the Gospel in Over 100 Languages Which languages are being used to fulfill Matthew 24:14?
The Philadelphia Remnant: It’s All About Love This is what CCOG teaches. It is important to remember.
LCG: What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God? This article explains some information and doctrines of the Living Church of God, now led by Gerald Westin, and some concerns about them. (En el idioma español: ¿Qué hay acerca de la Iglesia de Dios Viviente? ¿Hay diferencias doctrinales con la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios?) See also Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God.
Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God Several have speculated reasons, but here is the truth. (En el idioma español: ¿Por qué Bob Thiel dejó la Iglesia del Dios Viviente?)
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

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