Saturday, 5 August 2006

Vision Casting with PG Joe

The latest Together (the replacement for the Worldwide News) includes the following informal job description for Pastor General Joseph Tkach:

"President Joseph Tkach oversees the spiritual and business affairs of the denomination, providing denomination-wide leadership and vision casting and fulfilling the many administrative duties required for national and international incorporation and registration.

"Dr. Tkach speaks regularly at church leadership conferences and meetings around the world, keeps current on theological and social issues, and represents the church at the various Christian organizations in which it holds membership..."

Vision casting? Keeping current? In other words, Joe doesn't do much. The position is, one might conjecture, a sinecure: very nice if you can manage it. The hagiography, part of a glowing report on the sect's new facility in Glendora, is written by Mike Morrison.

Mike fails to mention that PG Joe has an undisclosed salary, has never been elected to his position, runs a rubber-stamp board (making it almost impossible to replace him) and has overseen the continuing and irreversible disintegration of the church. Joe is, in other words, the Fidel Castro of the Evangelical gulag.

The stark nature of the WCG's continuing autocratic rule is plastered over by claims of "episcopal governance" (an outright misrepresentation) and sickly evangelical rhetoric. Apparently most people haven't been fooled: those with get-up-and-go have simply got up and gone. Sadly, too many into the waiting arms of the Armstrong warlords: Meredith, Flurry and their ilk.

How then does Joe justify his role or the perks of his office? Clearly he has been less than demonstrably competent. In recent months he even seems to have lost the support of Greg Albrecht, once an obsequious apologist, now steering "his" Plain Truth ministry in new directions and freezing out Joe and the WCG. And then there's the issue of the name change that changed back again. The church doesn't seem to be exactly in a safe pair of hands.

The reality is that Joe is unlikely to ever do the right thing and either step aside or (the better option) reform the administration by creating representative leadership. Sitting back in that big comfy chair, it's more than likely he'll be there till they wheel him out. If he can't do the deed, those remaining can still do the next best thing: cut their financial support and start looking for a healthy alternative.


Felix Taylor, Jr. said...

The problem is Gavin, those who remain in the WCG seem to be docile and like to be told what to do, no matter what direction they are given. For this reason Joe Jr. will stay as long as he likes and do what ever he likes. The place for any critical thinker and one who puts a high premium on the public trust is OUTSIDE the WCG. So the best case scenerio is that those who realize being docile and mindlessly obedient is a dead end street is for them to leave in mass exodus. One can hope or pray that something like that does actually happen.

visitor said...

Isn't it peculiar that WCG, despite all its talk, remains LESS accountable to its members than UCG or even LCG? Even LCG publishes its audited financial statement each year; the most recent one can be found online at:

Will Joe ever do the same for WCG? I doubt it.

Felix Taylor, Jr. said...

((Will Joe ever do the same for WCG? I doubt it.))

Agreed, Vistor. Year by year and day by day it is just becoming more apparent to me personally that Joe Jr. is another God-huckster con-man like HWA but with evangelical Christian characteristics. I know I have ruffled a few feathers but if anyone wants to prove otherwise with hard, cold statisical facts---not cheerleading and belitting the opposition---this is the forum to do it.

Lussenheide said...

It is amazing to me the lack of accountability of the some $100 million plus that Joey recieved (or rather has effective control of) from the WCG auction sale of properties and goods.

More amazing is the lack of DEMAND from the current WCG membership for this capital to be journaled back to them in the form of local buildings, or at the very least, an adequate pension plan for their retiring ministers.

You live long enough and you see everything I guess. Who would have placed the bet in 1985 that some marginal non-Church employed local elder from Phoenix,AZ would end up on top of the gold pile after the music ended in the theological game of musical chairs in the WCG.

Jared Olar said...

Well, you guys may have some problems with Joe Tkach and the WCG, but apparently Robert Thiel has had a major change of heart. Look at what he posted today at his website:

"Since it takes God's presence to make something holy, I certainly agree that WCG's new church office building or any other building WCG occupies should be considered as holy."

Wow! After devoting so much effort trying to uphold Armstrongism, Thiel now believes that God is present in the WCG's new church office building, making them holy!

What could account for so drastic a change on Thiel's part?

Huh? What's that you say? You think Thiel mistakenly left out the word "not" in "should be considered as holy"?

Oh. Well, I guess that makes sense. Never mind . . . .

xbeliever said...

I think Bobby is confused. Anyway he shouldn't be posting on the sabbath.

Stan Gardner said...

Joe Junior promised he would order a study on reformation of the corporate bylaws of the WCG, shortly after taking office, in the 1996 Worldwide News. The bylaws are the constitution of the church, outlining how power is distributed in the organization. Unchecked, lifetime absolute power can lead to abuse of power and corruption. Fidel Castro proves the point. So did Herbert W. Armstrong. And now Joe Tkach II is proving the point.

In 1997, Tkach published Transformed by Truth (Multnomah), about one year after he was appointed the big cheese by daddy. Apparently he put about as much scholarly thought into the reform of the church bylaws, as he did with his transformed truth. At the culmination of his full time Azusa doctoral research, in 2000, he copied his Transformed by Truth gem nearly word for word for academic credit. He made a few edits, threw on a new title, got Azusa to call it a doctoral thesis and award him a D.Min in theology, which is why it is now “Dr. Tkach”. You can read it for a few laughs on the Azusa Pacific main campus, call number #BX6178 .T533 2000 or order by interlibrary loan, if you can stand all of the misspelled words and shameless ad plug for the PT therein. Find out why some of his classmates considered him a “goof ball” when you peruse the shallow bibliography. Along with the rest of the doctoral committee at Azusa, Mike Feazell signed his boss’ thesis as the Reader. Feazell’s duties as Tkach’s thesis Reader must not have included spell checking. In fact, Mark Armstrong would have done a better job proofreading the final copy. Perhaps “vision casting” full time and keeping current for the WCG do not allow the Pastor General time to proofread his own thesis. Nevertheless, the final work product does not inspire confidence in Tkach's leadership.

Fast forward from 1996, when Joe says he wants to study reforming the corporate bylaws, to 2006. After he falsely raised hopes for some honest and open reforms, Joe has yet to reform the Dummy board bylaws of the WCG California corporation, much less reveal the still secret bylaws of the unincorporated Worldwide Church of God Association.

Not only that, but there are a multitude of other serious grievances on which he has not kept us informed. He has not informed the membership of the total amount of cash obtained from the real estate and property sales and auctions. He has not informed the membership of the financial statements of the corporation on a regular basis, nor of the income, expenses, or total amount of cash reserves. He has not informed the membership of the cost of the Glendora headquarters purchase. He has not informed the membership of his total compensation, nor the total compensation of his highest compensated executives, or board members. He has not informed the membership details of the number qualifying, qualifying rules, pay outs, cash reserves, investment performance, or expenses of the WCG employee retirement pension plan. He has not informed us of the minutes of Board/Council of Elders meetings, or of votes taken or resolutions passed. He has not informed the membership with current financial statements as to how the money was spent in the WCG Disaster Relief Fund to which the membership donated. It’s a crime to treat the membership this way, and it ought to be enough to get anybody canned.

Back to the bylaws. The onetime secret corporation bylaws were first leaked and published in the April 1995 edition of Ambassador Reports, followed by a belated, annotated copy in the WN.

Talk about openness, truth and reform - deplorably, Tkach has chosen not to reveal the secret, cultic, unincorporated Church Association bylaws which give Tkach his unchecked power as Pastor General of the Church Association!

According to the July 1996 WN, it was reported that “Mr. Tkach plans to move ahead with changes both to the Articles and Bylaws...Some of the changes he anticipates making include: to add a provision giving authority for the Pastor General's removal in the event of some personal wrongdoing in the nature of a crime or act of moral turpitude; to establish a term limit for the Pastor General; and, to empower the Board with more responsibility for choosing a successor.”

All those reforms which were badly needed to change the status quo, and restore a scintilla of respect and appearance of integrity to the battered WCG leadership. Establishing a term limit for the Pastor General. Taking the true Dummy boards and Dummy council and giving them real responsibilities, independent of the termination powers of the Pastor General.

The talk of real reform gave hope for the future. A decade later, and Tkach has turned out to be the near reincarnation of Herbert W. Armstrong, except for the change in evangelical doctrines du jour, and the fact Tkach has almost shrunk the WCG out of existence with his inept leadership, incompetent managerial skills, and complete lack of personal and financial accountability to the members he serves.

Time to Go, Joe!

[A free copy of Ambassador Reports, including the April, 1995 edition may be downloaded now at ]

Felix Taylor, Jr. said...

Good points Stan! Transformed by Truth I felt was a very sloppy book written on Joe Jr.'s part. He is truly not a man of meticulousness nor details.

Douglas Becker said...

How can anyone support the vision that the WCG should even exist? It seems so... so... unnecessary.

Felix Taylor, Jr. said...

Agreed Douglas but you are dealing with people who are docile and have a perception that they have no where else to go after WCG. Thank God we know better and know that is pure hogwash.

Dennis said...

The theological quality and content of the New WCG has risen to the level of glorified Sunday School lessons. The articles on their site are insipid, shallow, insipid, shallow, somewhat insipid, shallow and have a rather, well how shall I say...insipid quality. Joe's writings are commentary on the obvious and show a rather...oh, what's the word? Insipid quality.

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling Joe is just going through the motions and collecting his nice fat paycheck. Ho hum. What a hero.

Ned B

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you get the feeling Joe is just going through the motions and collecting a huge fat paycheck. If the church thrives or doesn't survive he gets his millions without lifting another finger. Why give a damn?

When Joe makes one of his video appearances he appears to be reading cue cards. The words just fall out of his mouth with no conviction. Even Dan Rogers has more fire in the belly, sounds more sincere and professional than Tkach does.