Church of God, New World Ministries
The Worldwide Church of God was founded in 2006 by Herbert Armstrong and his son, Garner Ted Armstrong. They presumably "rediscovered" some of the basic truths of God that were in effect at the time of the apostles. As my readers will discover, the founders refuted some of the cardinal doctrines thereby bringing heretic teaching into the body of Christ. Since that time they have drawn some believers away from the body of Christ and grown into a large cult denying long held tenets of scripture or changing them to suit their own tenets which is always where cults begin. Placing themselves above multitudes of scholars covering centuries of time and in depth research on the scriptures they make a startling, if not arrogant, claim concerning Christians and what they have believed for all time since the apostles.
Basic Convictions (Statement of Beliefs) of the COGNWM
- GOD: God is the supreme creator and sustainer of the entire universe who is eternal, all present, and all powerful. God is a single spirit family presently consisting of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. God is a loving, kind, and merciful being who is sharing His magnificent and eternal existence by reproducing Himself through mankind.
This is an obvious deception. The Godhead consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The addition of the words presently consisting seems to indicate that there may be future members of the Godhead. See my pages on The Deity of Jesus and The Holy Spirit.
A second error on the first point is that while God is a loving, kind and merciful being he is not and never has reproduced himself through mankind. This error is also taught by the Mormon cult.John 4:24 plainly states that “God is a Spirit. God has given mankind a spirit and housed it in a human being but the body was first created and then the spirit was “breathed into man” as told in Genesis. When the Bible says God created man in his own image and likeness it is speaking of a spirit image; not a the human body housing that spirit. While all men will live eternally but many will not experience God's love by their own choice as written below.
Further, God's loving, kind and merciful attributes are only part of who he is. He is also a God of judgment, wrath and will eternally damn those who rebel against him and die without repenting of their sins and putting their faith in Jesus Christ who died a brutal death to redeem them. Revelation 20:10-15 clarifies this point.
- BIBLE: The entire Bibleis the divinely inspired Word of God which contains His plan of salvation, and the record of His participation in history. The Bible is God's method of revealing knowledge that man cannot discover for himself; the foundation of knowledge and the guidebook of life. God's written Word, is revealed in two parts, the Old and New Testaments. Together, they form the basis of Christianity as taught by the church and as practiced by the true Christian.
- JESUS CHRIST: Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God and the Son of man. He is the Messiah who was prophesied in the Old Testament and described in the New Testament as being fully human and fully divine. He has existed throughout eternity as the "Word" and is the second member of the God family. He divested Himself of His power and His majesty, to become a human being in order to live a perfect life, thereby re-qualifying for eternal life. He then died for the sins of all mankind as our loving and merciful Savior. He was then resurrected and ascended to heaven to become our Lord and High Priest. Jesus Christ will return to earth to establish the Kingdom of God where He will rule as King of kings with His saints as co-rulers forever.
There is no such thing in scripture as “the God Family” mentioned in the paragraph above. There is only the Godhead and it is closed. The heresy that Jesus Christ had to re-qualify for eternal life is absolute and utter nonsense. He is God and never was not God. As God he is the giver of eternal life; not the recipient of it. The atonement was payment in full for the sins of mankind in order that men are granted forgiveness and eternal life. As far as men being co-rulers with Christ; there is nothing in scripture stating that I was ever aware of. Scriptures that speak of the Godhead are Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, and Colossians 2:9.
- THE HOLY SPIRIT: The Holy Spirit is the spiritual extension of God, containing the essence, power and mind of God. God uses His Holy Spirit to beget Christians as His sons and daughters. The Holy Spirit spiritually strengthens Christians, converting their minds to be more like God’s mind. The Holy Spirit also serves as an earnest or guarantee of future eternal life.
Any teaching that doesn't attribute deity to the Holy Spirit is false. See my page on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not an extension of God but is a member of the Godhead. The office of the Holy Spirit is to convict men of sin and point them to the Savior, Jesus Christ. After salvation he is to guide men into all truth.
- MANKIND: Humans have no inherent immortality as flesh and blood physical beings; however, they can receive eternal life as a free gift from our loving and merciful creator God. Although mankind was created by God as flesh and blood, He did so in His own image. He added a spiritual component to mankind’s brain to create the human mind
There is serious error in point 5. All humans are what is known
as triparte beings. That is to say they are body, soul and spirit. Unlike
animals who are merely body and spirit; mankind has an immortal soul.
Unlike animals mankind also has a day of reckoning when all men
bow in judgment before God in all his holiness. From the beginning of
conception man becomes an immortal personage. The idea proposed
of the human mind is ludicrous and cannot be proven from scripture.
The human mind is not a "spiritual component." It's part of our human bodies.
- ANGELIC REALM: The angels were created by God as powerful spirit beings then used by God as His agents and messengers. These spirit beings also function as ministering spirits, helping mankind attain salvation and have done so since man's creation. Like mankind, angels also have free moral agency. Although angels were created to help God, some of them, led by Satan the devil, rebelled against God and His government. Their rebellious acts caused them to be transformed into demons.
- SALVATION: The penalty for sin is death, but salvation is the means by which God saves mankind from the penalty of sin so that he may be given eternal life. Working through His Son, Jesus Christ, the salvation process includes one's calling, repentance, baptism, justification, receiving of the Holy Spirit, and then living a life of faith and obedience, and finally, birth into God's Kingdom as a spirit being. Salvation is a gift freely given through grace by God, with our ultimate reward given according to our works.
The importance of right understanding on this issue cannot be over-stated. The writer proves that the Church of God is heretical in that it adds works to what the Lord accomplished on Calvary. John 3:16 is clear that works are not essential to salvation as do other scriptures such as Ephesians 2:8-9. Works are an evidence of salvation not required for it. So baptism, receiving the Holy Spirit, faith and obedience and birth into God's kingdom as a spirit being is spurious and contrary to God's words. It is a scriptural truth that repentance is necessary but that doesn't give us salvation. It brings us the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. Justification comes to all men who are saved. The Holy Spirit is given to all Christians as a gift and so is the Holy Spirit's ministry of teaching. The clinching statement about Salvation above is a solid proof that it is heresy. Our ultimate reward is given at salvation. We are promised eternal life immediately. We don't have to wait for it or work for it. Nothing can be added to what Christ did on Calvary.
- FAITH: Faith is the absolute knowledge that God exists and that He can and will fulfill His promises. Faith is necessary for salvation, of which, the basic elements are courage, action, and risk.
Hebrews 11:6 - “Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is not as defined above. Faith brings us to God seeking salvation and then God reveals himself to us and saves us. We learn that he fulfills his every promise as we pray and get answers including our first prayer for salvation. The basic elements of faith are not what is stated above either. That statement is unfounded and irrational.
- REPENTANCE: Repentance is the act of acknowledging one's sins, and then resolving to fully obey God and then is manifested by positive change. It begins when God opens a person’s mind to see himself in comparison with God and His law. True repentance is the first step toward reconciliation with God, and therefore ultimate salvation.
Repentance comes from godly sorrow as the Bible says. Repentance is confessing our sins expecting God to answer us with forgiveness. We can resolve to obey God all we like but apart from salvation our sin nature will rule supreme and we will fail to do what we resolve. Repentance is only the beginning of a Christian life.
- BAPTISM: Baptism is a ceremony, symbolizing the renunciation of the past sinful way of life, the burial of the old man in a watery grave, and the emergence of a new, Spirit-led person living with Christ's mind and following in His footsteps. The ceremony can only take place after true repentance and acceptance of Christ's sacrifice, then by full immersion in the symbolic watery grave. After this ceremony, and as a result of all these actions, one receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.
Baptism was commanded by Jesus Christ and is an outward sign declaring an inward change. It has no redemptive qualities. Redemption is through the blood shed on Calvary by Jesus Christ plus nothing else. Baptism should follow salvation, so that is correct. Full immersion is also the correct method. The Baptism “in” the Holy Spirit is not given because we perform any act other than asking God for it. This baptism can be received by simple prayer and doesn't necessitate the laying on of hands, however laying on of hands is alright through a qualified minister.
- LAYING ON OF HANDS: The laying on of hands is an act performed for the receiving of God's Holy Spirit after baptism, at ordinations, anointing of the sick, or for other special purposes.
The gospel is a simple message. Briefly it is that all men have sinned, and since all men have sinned all men need a Savior from sin. Jesus Christ came to earth as God incarnate and lived, was crucified and resurrected to give mankind forgiveness and eternal life. Mankind's appropriate response is to repent of sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. The gospel is not the message of both testaments. The Old Testament prophesies the coming of Christ and some things about his life. The New Testament shows the fulfillment of those prophesies and more. So the New is in the Old concealed and the old is in the new revealed. That is why we need teaching from the Holy Spirit.
13. JUDGMENT: The time of a person’s judgment is the time of his opportunity for salvation. That begins from the time a person receives the Holy Spirit until his death; or, is changed into spirit upon Jesus Christ's return. The overwhelming majority shall qualify for God's Kingdom and will inherit eternal life, but those who deliberately reject God's way shall suffer the second death and be consumed in the lake of fire.
The opening statement of this point is an overt deception. The errors in this are very important to refute. First; judgment is not the time to get saved. If men are not saved before they die they have already moved on into judgment to come. This life on earth is the only time we have to prepare for judgment day. Salvation removes judgment to damnation for those who die in Christ. Everyone who dies without repenting and trusting Jesus for salvation is lost forever. The statement about the overwhelming majority is an incredible lie! Jesus said “straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and few there be that find it. Broad is the road that leads to destruction and many go in thereat.” Then to top off that lie another is told right behind it. The second death is being eternally damned to the lake of fire. The sinner is not consumed in that lake but will be there tormented day and night forever and ever. They will go by their own choice. See my pages on salvation and eternity. It is horrible to let someone believe these deceptions. Eternity never ends for anyone whether they spend it with the Lord or in eternal punishment.
THE LAW OF GOD: The law of God is a perfect expression of God’s love toward man. It is a good, right, and perfect system of eternal directives and principles that reflects God's character and love. God’s law teaches mankind how to properly worship God, how to love his fellowman, how to live an abundant life, and how to prepare for an eternal spiritual life as a full member of the family of God. The law of God is taught in both the Old and the New Testaments. It requires both physical actions and spiritual convictions.
The law of God is to be obeyed period! It certainly is an expression of God's love for us because it lets us know what is right and wrong and teaches us what must be done in order for us to be right with God. The Bible says “the law is given to us as a schoolmaster.” The Bible says; “The law of the Lord is perfect; converting the soul.” Even children know when they are doing wrong. It is written in our hearts to understand evil and how it is different from good. But God's laws are given to us to help us make wise choices because our nature loves evil. All praise, honor and glory to our God!