PCG Press Release: WCG Betrayed HWA

PCG made a press announcement:

Philadelphia Church of God Press Release – August 2, 2007…        

Fleecing the Flock: Church Leaders Cash in after Emptying the Pews, According to New Book

When Worldwide Church of God leaders rejected the teachings of church founder Herbert W. Armstrong, a mass exodus occurred. A decade later, church leaders have made millions selling off church property. Bewildered ex-members and former tithe payers are finding answers in a new tell-all exposé.

Edmond, OK (PRWEB) August 2, 2007 — Patricia Malone, 65, shakes her head as she watches disgraced Enron executives on the nightly news. Though she is not an investor, she identifies with the feelings of betrayal and loss.

Malone and her late husband, Wilbur, were some of the hundreds of thousands of members and former contributors to a church founded by 1980s televangelist Herbert W. Armstrong.

“We’re all asking the same questions,” she explains. “How could this happen to our church, and where did all that money go?”

Author Stephen Flurry claims to know the answers. “Had it happened in the corporate world, the CEOs and executives responsible for hijacking a corporation and robbing its investors would have been fired, if not prosecuted in a court of law,” he writes…

Flurry, a former member whose father was fired from the WCG ministry after Armstrong’s death, is on a mission to tell the millions who used to follow Armstrong’s ministry “the truth about what happened inside his Church after he died.” In his new book, Raising the Ruins – The fight to revive the legacy of Herbert W. Armstrong, Flurry draws upon thousands of pages of official reports, internal memos, and personal interviews to “expose the depth of corruption and deceit that was ‘Tkachism’ – the administration of Joseph Tkach, who succeeded Armstrong as pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God.”

According to G. Jeffrey MacDonald of the Religion News Service, “Flurry’s new book emphasizes how Armstrong’s hand-picked successor, Joseph Tkach Sr., and his allies ‘betrayed’ and dismantled all that the world valued about Armstrong. It’s a high-profile challenge to the WCG’s official line, which renders the church’s 180-degree shift from ‘Armstrongism’ as ‘a sign of God’s grace in action.'” In 1994 Tkach publicly disavowed Armstrong’s teachings and later the church officially labeled its founder a “heretic” and a “false prophet.” 

For Patricia Malone, the revelations in the book are troubling. “We knew things were bad, but I was shocked by the premeditation of the conspiracy. I didn’t know it went all the way back to the 1970s before Mr. Armstrong died,” she says.

Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/8/prweb543867.htm

It is true that after Hebrert Armstrong’s death, the top leadership of WCG dismantled the church and changed its teachings.It is true that Stephen Flurry’s book selectively documents some of that.But his book is not quite new.   Also, others have attempted to explain much of what happened during that time.An article, for example, by my wife and I that was published over 4 years ago in The Journal dealt with many of the accusations against HWA and not just the changes in WCG (it is available on-line and titled 15 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert Armstrong).

But more than that, sometimes PCG seems to miss the point.  Yes, it is true that the new top WCG leadership turned against the biblical teachings and practices of Herbert Armstrong.  And yes, it is true that they dismantled the physical assets of the old WCG.  And yes, it is also true that they do not want a lot of the message that HWA preach taught any longer.

But, one does not “raise the ruins” by attempting to physically have items of outward appearance of the old WCG.

Notice the following by Bob Kuhne:

The Liberty Bell Park children’s playground was a gift in 1978 to the children of Jerusalem paid for by the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation which was founded by Herbert W. Armstrong.  Upon discovering in 1997 that the original plaque commemorating the park’s donation was missing, Gerald Flurry offered the city a replacement plaque.  The new plaque states that the playground was a gift from the Philadelphia Foundation, Herbert W. Armstrong founder and Gerald R. Flurry president, which is a two-fold lie:  The playground was not donated by the Philadelphia Foundation which was not founded by Herbert W. Armstrong.  This is just a lying “sign,” written up in the July/Aug. 2001 Royal Vision, pg. 1.


In addition, the Philadelphia Church of God has many other signs & wonders which supposedly “prove,” for anyone who really wants to believe, that it is the one-and-only church organization doing the work of God today.  Below is a partial list of PCG copycats.  Note: After spending over $100,000 to purchase HWA’s piano and two candelabras (see below), a $100,000 tithe check was “miraculously” received to cover the cost (we think we know who sent it in).


HWA Original GRF Counterfeit
Ambassador College (called A.C.)

Imperial College – now renamed

Herbert W. Armstrong College, and

shortened to Armstrong College (AC)

Imperial School

(elementary & high school)

Ambassador Academy

(elementary & high school)

Ambassador International

Cultural Foundation (AICF)

Philadelphia Foundation – now renamed

Armstrong International

Cultural Foundation (AICF)

Auditorium (house of God) Auditorium (house of God)
Plain Truth magazine (PT) Philadelphia Trumpet magazine (PT)
Good News magazine Royal Vision magazine

Worldwide News

newspaper for members

Philadelphia News

newspaper for members

Booklets Booklets (same size and format)
TV Program TV Program (same format)
Copyrighted literature

Purchased 19 HWA copyrights

($3,000,000 + $2,000,000 court costs)

HWA purchased Steinway piano in


Purchased WCG’s 1983 Steinway piano

($52,500) – they got the wrong one

Two candelabras in auditorium

Purchased HWA’s two candelabras


Black ebony table and 10-12 chairs from

Mr. Armstrong’s conference room at

Bricket Wood

Purchased this table and chairs ($27,000)
Young Ambassadors (singing group) Young Ambassadors (singing group)

…Comment:  PCG members get a warm and fuzzy feeling and are made to feel right at home with all the many  WCG/PCG similarities. 

PCG, who has changed the message, governance, and so many teachings that HWA’s WCG had, seems to focus a lot on the above type of outward appearances to try to persuade themselves and others that they are more similar than they are. It may be a good time to remind everyone that Hezekiah destroyed the bronze serpent that God had Moses make in Numbers 21:8-9 because of how it was revered later (2 Kings 18:4).

Jesus Himself taught:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous (Matthew 23:27-29).

An article of related interest may be Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees?

Furthermore, PCG has made many, many unique changes.  It changed the work, it changed governance, and came up with extra-biblical practices that HWA never endorsed.  These and more items are documented in the article Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God.

The real legacy of HWA that needs to be understood is that he restored many truths to the true Church of God and helped to reach more with the true Gospel than any one else had in centuries.  The following articles help explain that:

Did You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made? Some have said healing, others other subjects, but probably the first change had to do with eliminating being part of the Philadelphia era. This article documents what those changes were and compares the Tkach list of restored truths to HWA’s list of restored truths. It contains many quotes from HWA.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and HWA expect from evangelists?
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church.

And it is those who are continuing the actual Work of God that HWA helped lead that are continuing the legacy.  Not those who focus on outward appearances.

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