GCI: A Trip to the Past gives Vision for the Future; COGwriter: GCI has a False Vision


In its latest public letter, Greg Williams, president of Grace Communion International (the current name of the Protestant group that took over and changed the old Worldwide Church of God) had the following:

A Trip to the Past gives Vision for the Future

April 21, 2021

During a recent trip to Southern California,  … I trekked westward, crossing the 210 Freeway and onto the property that used to be Ambassador College and Home Office of GCI. I worked as a campus tour guide while in college, which gave me a broader understanding and appreciation for the property. One tidbit of information concerned the footprints of Herbert Armstrong and the original four Ambassador students dating back to 1948. These sets of footprints were cemented into a square of concrete at the stairway entry to the lower gardens, or at least they used to be. The footprints are no longer there.

Before going further in his letter, let me state that my wife Joyce and I visited the old Ambassador campus several years back, while there were some recognizable buildings, many were destroyed and some were in the process of destruction. For those interested in seeing some photographs, here is a link: Joyce’s Pictures of the Pasadena Campus of Ambassador College and the former Headquarters of the old Worldwide Church of God.

Now, back to Greg Williams’ letter:

On the heels of my California trip, I was on a zoom conference call with GCI Development Coordinator Cara Garrity and Superintendents Mike Rasmussen and Heber Ticas. Our topic of discussion was evaluating where are we in the process with this strategy of our GCI Ministry Training Centers (MTCs). We concluded that we are just getting started with the MTC strategy, and before we can pinpoint MTC sites around the globe we must first see churches with pastors applying “Team-Based Pastor-Led” leadership, see all three ministry avenues operating and functioning well, and witness a core group of younger people demonstrating a hunger for deeper involvement in ministry. In other words, we want to see the overall expression of Healthy Church on display. …

Another good news detail is that we have the combined effort of Grace Communion Seminary that can allow us to have the best-educated ministry we have ever had. Do you realize that GCI is too small of a denomination to own and operate a seminary? And yet here we are.  … I am convinced that the Risen Lord has us where he wants us, and he knows with certainty where he is taking us.

No, GCI will NOT have the “best-educated ministry we have ever had” as it long ago changed its focus from believing the Bible to accepting traditions of Protestantism.

GCI has a false, and unbiblical vision.

The reality is that GCI is focused on being and appearing to be Protestant to the world.

Its cross-containing logo (see picture at the beginning of this post) was intended to do that.

They certainly did not get that from the Bible or the practices of original Christians (for proof, check out the article What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?).

Protestant groups like GCI do not share the biblical hope of salvation.

According to their theology, most of the people who ever lived will not be saved, but will be tormented throughout eternity.

But that is NOT what the Bible teaches (for scriptural details, check out the free online book Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

The ‘Jesus’ that GCI claims to have its hope in, is just not the “God of salvation” that we in the Continuing Church of God worship.


Here is something from our book, Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism:

The Bible teaches that all of God’s commandments are righteousness (Psalm 119:172), not something to be set free from.

Notice a statement from a Protestant minister related to a Protestant preacher:

A preacher once said …, pointing to the Ten Commandments hanging on the wall …: “They are an offence to me. Jesus kept them for me. I don’t want to have anything to do with them.” (Murray W. What Is The True Christian Religion? New Age Press, 1947, p. 24)

Yes, Jesus did keep the commandments for He said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments” (John 15:10). The Bible teaches “All Your commandments are faithful” (Psalm 119:86). Yet, God’s Ten Commandments are not an offence to real Christians. Furthermore, Jesus did not say He kept them so others would not need to strive to do so.

Notice that the Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Like Jesus, the Apostle Paul also kept the commandments (cf. Philippians 3:5-6).

While many Protestants like to make statements such as “It’s all about Jesus,” it is only about their version of Jesus, not actually trying to imitate how He lived.

According to Jesus, it’s actually ‘all about love’ (cf. Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34-35) and while Jesus is certainly part of that (cf. John 3:16-17, 15:9-17), He also taught that the commandments were aspects of that love (Matthew 22:37-40). While the Apostle Paul specifically taught that love was the purpose of the commandments (1 Timothy 1:5).

Christians imitate Jesus and the Apostle Paul by striving to keep the Ten Commandments. Many Protestants do not understand that. They also do not understand the statement by Peter and the other apostles that God’s Holy Spirit is “given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). Those who say Jesus is Lord, but practice lawlessness, will not be in His Kingdom if they do not truly repent (Matthew 7:21-23).

Those who strive to obey the Ten Commandments are those who properly will acquire the fruits of the Spirit:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 But those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, we should also be walking by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)

However, some Protestants teach that it is ‘Pharisaical’ to try to keep the Ten Commandments. Many improperly teach that is why Jesus condemned the Pharisees. Yet, the Pharisees were condemned for their hypocrisy by Jesus because they did not properly keep the Ten Commandments (cf. Matthew 15:3-9; 23:13-29)—not because they actually did.

The view on the law remains one of the differences between many Protestants and the Continuing Church of God today. …

For example, the Apostle Paul wrote and warned:

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

Christians are to live differently once they have repented, accepted Jesus, and been baptized as they are “not to receive the grace of God in vain.”

Real Christians have repented, been baptized, and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

Here is essentially the biblical definition of who is and who is not a real Christian:

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Romans 8:9)

A real Christian has the Spirit of Christ, no one else is a true Christian.

Who receives that Spirit?

Only those who obey are given the Spirit of Christ (Acts 5:32). …

Gospel of the Kingdom

Contrary to what some critics seem to feel, the message of the Continuing Church of God is one of hope for all humankind.

The message of the Bible includes the hope of the resurrection and the promises God made (Acts 26:6-8). It is the gospel, the GOOD NEWS, that God will intervene in world affairs and establish His kingdom on the Earth (Mark 1:14; Acts 20:25; Revelation 11:15):

3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:3-5).

The Protestants (in general) and the Continuing Church of God accept this plain teaching from Revelation 21, but tend to understand some of the ramifications of the Gospel of the Kingdom differently.

Lutherans essentially teach that the Gospel is about personal salvation in this age:

Lutherans showed how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always the vibrant, beating heart of the biblical and historic Christian faith and life. (What Lutherans Teach about The Gospel. Concordia Publishing House, November 23, 2015)

There is no Gospel but the Lutheran Gospel … It’s Still All About Jesus (There is no Gospel but the Lutheran Gospel by Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. YouTube, uploaded October 2, 2017)

In the Greek New Testament, the noun euangelion (‘gospel’) appears just over seventy times. … The word gospel most simply means ‘good news’. … In examining these texts, we discover that sometimes the word gospel refers broadly to all aspects of the salvation and new life that Jesus gives His people, and sometimes it is used narrowly to refer to what Jesus does for us outside of us. In other words, sometimes the term gospel refers broadly to Jesus’ work of justification and sanctification for and in His people, and sometimes it refers narrowly to Jesus’ work of justification. (Godfrey WR. What Is the Gospel? Ligonier Ministries, April 12, 2019)

Yes, personal salvation for those called in this age is an important part of the gospel—but it is not the only part.

Lutherans repeatedly neglect that the focus of Jesus and His early disciples was on the good news of the Kingdom of God. That message was one that showed that human civilization would be replaced and God’s government implemented. A government based on the laws of God (cf. Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2).

Here is a link to our free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism.

The truth is that GCI’s religion is not based upon enough of the Bible nor did early Christians practice it. GCI does not understand the true hope. The book, Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants, goes into not only history, but numerous doctrinal truths that Protestants like GCI do not hold to–but instead teach against.

The “consequence” of being Protestant is that most who consider themselves will hear words from Jesus that they will not want to hear (Matthew 7:21-23).

As far as church history goes, you can also check out our free online book: Continuing History of the Church of God.

Now, perhaps it should be pointed out that God’s plan is actually a mystery to almost everyone–irrespective of the religions they do or do not follow.

We produced a book on that as well.

Here is a link to our free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?

If groups like GCI would actually focus on the word of God and act on it, they would better understand the real hope that Jesus offers.

Anyway, my hope for any still part of GCI is that they will study God’s word, agree to truly live by it, and pray that Jesus would set them free (cf. John 8:32) from Protestant errors and support the most faithful church.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? Two related YouTube videos would be Beware of the ‘Ecumenical Cross’, The Chrislam Cross and the Interfaith Movement, and Origin of the Cross.
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.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Being Separate: What Did Herbert W. Armstrong and the Bible Teach About Where Not to Fellowship? Some believe that it is acceptable to attend groups called COG, but who are not actually. What did Herbert W. Armstrong and the Bible teach about this?
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have. Here is a link to two related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan and Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan.
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.
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?
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
Joyce’s Pictures of the Pasadena Campus of Ambassador College and the former Headquarters of the old Worldwide Church of God Here is some pictures of the old campus taken in 2016 for those interested in what it did look like and what remains.

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