The Journal: Ambassador College Reunion for 2017, CGI changes, FOT sites, and ‘The Bible Answer Man’


The latest issue (says #174, print date June 30, 2015) of The Journal was sent out electronically and received today.

Items covered included an upcoming 2017 reunion for ex-students of the old Ambassador College from the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG), leadership changes at Church of God International (CGI), women, and Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2015.

The Journal also continued its series related to  the apostasy/falling away in the old WCG and someone called the ‘Bible Answer Man.’ Here is some of the information in the current edition of The Journal:

By Dixon Cartwright

Two leaders of the Worldwide Church of God, including the pastor general, took to the air Feb. 7 and 10, 1997, to answer calls from listeners to an international radio talk show.

Pastor General Joseph Tkach Jr. and Plain Truth magazine editor Greg Albrecht appeared on The Bible Answer Man with the answer man himself, Hank Hanegraaff, who also directs the Christian Research Institute in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Mr. Tkach, who took over the pastor generalship after his father, Joseph Tkach Sr., died in September 1995, answered questions along with Mr. Albrecht on heaven and hell, church leaders’ sincerity throughout the WCG’s massive doctrinal changes, their view of the WCG’s founder, the late Herbert W. Armstrong, pagan holidays, unclean meats and their “journey through the valley of the shadow of death,” as Mr. Albrecht characterized their coming out of the “cultic” teachings of the old WCG and entering the “pale of orthodoxy.”

They also spoke of British-Israelism, Mr. Armstrong’s track record as a foreteller of the future (if not a prophet), the splinter groups spawned by the Worldwide Church of God and the church’s stand on abortion. The same two leaders appeared on The Bible Answer Man several times…

The Worldwide Church of God, after Mr. Armstrong’s death, in 1986, was led by the senior Mr. Tkach until his death, in 1995.

He, beginning in 1993 and 1994, began going public with sweeping fundamental changes in the official doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God, including basic teachings such as the law of God, the Old and New Covenant and the nature of God, resulting in tens of thousands of WCG members leaving the fellowship to regather with others in several break- away groups—or, in many cases, to quit attending church altogether or join traditional Protestant denominations. At the beginning of the radio pro- gram Joseph Tkach Jr. wondered out loud why God chose him to lead the WCG out of the kingdom of the cults. “I wonder why did He put His finger on me to be the one in this position at this time,” he mused. “But that’s not for me to question.” Concerning the people who have held onto the traditional doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God, Mr. Tkach said their blindness is more than just a veil. “It’s more like a welder’s mask,” he explained to Mr. Hanegraaff. …

Mr. Tkach attributed his methods— which critics characterize as imposing new doctrines on a church body unilaterally and by fiat, rather than involving the general membership and ministry in the process—to Mr. Arm- strong, whom he quoted as saying, “Don’t believe me. Believe the Bible.” “If the Bible teaches something and we need to correct what we’re doing, then that’s what we’re going to do.

Well, if you tell a lie often enough, you often tend to believe it.  The reality is that when the Tkach Administration changed doctrine, it was not because of the Bible, but to fit in with traditional Protestant teachings–teachings that did not come from the Bible nor early Christianity.

Here are links to some documented articles which demonstrate doctrinal truths that the Tkach Administration changed to be like some of the world’s Protestant churches:

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.

Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD.

Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven? What do the Bible and scholars teach? What about ‘near-death experiences’? Here is a link to a related sermon: Heaven and Christianity.

Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up? How does one explain Revelation 14:11 in light of Malachi 4:3? What happens to the incorrigibly wicked?

Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?

The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.

Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?

Is the Genuine Church of God a Cult? There are misleading statements on the internet that this article tries to address.

I remember some of the false information that WCG leaders were giving at the time and some from the falsely named ‘Bible Answer Man.’ WCG leaders kept telling the membership that the changes were not planned, but more information points to a plot to introduce heretical doctrines–that was a lie at the time (here is a link to a post that has some information on that Cartwright’s Journal Out: ‘Bible Answer Man,’ Walter Martin, & the ‘Council of Venice’). WCG is now named Grace Communion International and is basically just another Protestant sect. Real Church of God groups, like the Continuing Church of God are NOT Protestant, as our histories and doctrines greatly differ (see details, for two examples, in the booklets Where is the True Christian Church Today? and Continuing History of the Church of God).

Here is information on a planned reunion for those who once attended one of the three campuses of the old Ambassador College:

Bob Gerringer and other organizers plan a reunion of former Ambassador College students for 2017 in Las V egas, Nev. Unlike several reunions in recent years, this one will target all three AC campuses, which operated in California, Texas and Britain. …

Students from all three campuses— Pasadena, Bricket Wood and Big Sandy—who attended AC during its first 30 years, 1947 to 1977, are “warmly and enthusiastically invited to attend the 2017 reunion. …

Bricket Wood, England, former students are asked to E-mail Jean Ehlert Updegraff (jean@acpasadenareunion. com) so she can add them as “guests” on the Pasadena website (acpasadena The organizers thought about settling on Pasadena as the 2017 site but chose Las Vegas for several reasons including economic. For example, the hotel rooms in the Nevada city are 60 percent less expensive than the rates at Hilton Pasadena Hotel. The reunion will run from Sunday, March 12, to Thursday, March 16, 2017, at the Orleans Hotel and Casino on Tropicana Boulevard. Sign

Despite false statements from some on the internet, I personally did not attend nor graduate from the old Ambassador Collage.  That being said, my wife and I were married on the Pasadena Campus of Ambassador College and were frequents WATS line volunteers there for the old Worldwide Church of God.

Here is some of what was reported about Church of God International (CGI):

TYLER, Texas–The Church of God International, based in Tyler, announced June 29, 2015, a change in top-level employees prompted by the impending retire- ment of Charles Groce, chief execu- tive officer and chairman of the board. Mr. Groce, 67, who has served as CEO of the church since 1998, plans to retire from his salaried duties Sept. 1. Succeeding him will be two men: Vance Stinson, 63, as CEO and chairman, and Jeff Reed, 45, as pastor of the headquarters congregation. …

CGI history

Four people, including Garner Ted Armstrong, founded the CGI in 1979 after his falling out with his father, Herbert Armstrong, pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God, in 1978. The three other CGI founders were Shirley Armstrong, Guy Carnes and Benny Sharp. All were former WCG members. All founders except Mr. Sharp have died.

Mr. Groce replaced Mr. Armstrong as the chief executive of the CGI on Jan. 9, 1998, when the board asked Mr. Armstrong to accept a paid retirement. He refused, he said, because the retirement provisions would prevent him from preaching or otherwise communicating with CGI members. At the time of Mr. Armstrong’s taking leave of the CGI, a board member, Bronson James, told THE JOURNAL that the board’s request for Mr. Armstrong to retire was based on concerns about his “ministerial qualifications.”

The Church of God International continued with Mr. Groce at the helm. Mr. Armstrong and other Church of God International members who supported Mr. Armstrong founded the Intercontinental Church of God and the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, currently headed up by Garner Ted Armstrong’s son Mark Armstrong.

Garner Ted Armstrong was asked to retire basically because of sexual impropriety.  He then founded the Intercontinental Church of God and remained there until he died in 2003.

The Journal also had a listing Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2015.  Those interested in learning more about the Feast of Tabernacles may wish to study the article The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians?

The Journal also had the usual letters to the editor and other advertisements, various comments, and opinion articles.  One of the articles had to do with women, and I would suggest those interested in the subject of women and the New Testament study the article Women and the New Testament Church.

The Journal itself is available by paid subscription (though Dixon Cartwright says some subscriptions are free to those who cannot afford it).  It tends to have a non-Philadelphian approach to many matters.

Get news like the above sent to you on a daily basis

Your email will not be shared. You may unsubscribe at anytime.