Tuesday, 24 October 2006


This entry first appeared as a "Southern Exposure" column on the old AW website. It's been slightly updated.

This is hardly the first time someone has attempted to disentangle the alphabet soup that forms much of the cult-speak used by COG members. It is far from comprehensive, and some of the references are dated. Does anyone remember Al Portune? But as a senior evangelist his initials were as much a perquisite of office as his lofty ecclesiastical status. Others were newly minted as the WCG cannibalized itself in the ham-fisted "reform" process.


AC - Ambassador College
ABC - Ambassador Bible Center, training school operated by UCG.
ACCM - Ambassador College of Christian Ministry, the WCG's current arm for training lay ministers.
ACD - Association for Christian Development, founded by Ken Westby, and all that's left of the 1974 breakaway Associated Churches of God.
AICF - Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, defunct WCG front organization.
AJP - Albert J. Portune, former business manager and leading evangelist in WCG
AR - Ambassador Report. Dissident newsletter produced by John Trechak from the mid-70s through till the mid-90s.
ASK - Association for Scriptural Knowledge, founded by ELM.
AU - Ambassador University, the short-lived accredited version of AC
AW - Ambassador Watch, the website that predated this blog.


BA - The Bible Advocate, magazine produced by CG7
BCG - Biblical Church of God. Defunct splinter group which separated from WCG in the late 70s. Founder Fred Coulter went on to launch CBCG.
BI - British Israelism


CBCG - Christian Biblical Church of God. Sect led by Fred Coulter after his initial splinter, BCG, fell apart.
CEG - GCG splinter group Church of the Eternal God
CEM - Christian Educational Ministries, run by RLD.
CG7 - Church of God (Seventh Day) based in Denver. Also called COG7
CGE (or COGE) - Church of God, The Eternal founded by Raymond Cole (brother of CWC)
CGG - Church of the Great God. Sect led by John Ritenbaugh.
CGI - Church of God, International. Founded by GTA
CGOM - Church of God Outreach Ministries. Made up mainly of former CGI members.
COE - Council of Elders. The 12 big cheeses than govern the United Church of God.
COG - Church of God or Churches of God. A collective term for the various Sabbatarian splinters.
COG7 - see CG7
COG21 - Raymond McNair's miniscule but grandly named Church of God 21st Century
COG-AIC - Church of God - An International Community. Splinter sect of UCG led by it's ousted first president, David Hulme.
COG-EIM - Church of God - Established in Modesto. Originally pastored by Don Billingsley until he walked the plank to form COG-FF.
COG-FF - Church of God - Faithful Flock. Don Billingsley's current sect.
COGW (or COGWM) - Church of God Worldwide Ministries (formerly Churches of God Worldwide), a splinter from ICG.
COGwriter - Bob Thiel's LCG-friendly site
CWC - C. Wayne Cole, once a top minister in WCG


DLA - David L. Antion, another top minister who separated in the late 70s, and brother in law to GTA.
DP - "Dateline Pasadena", a Pasadena-based source used by AW.
DUB - Days of Unleavened Bread


ECG - Eternal Church of God, Art Braidic's group with the unintentionally humorous name
ELM - Ernest L. Martin, influential dissident theologian who founded FBR, then ASK.
ESN - Exit and Support Network. Fundamentalist ex-member support site. Founded by Lin Stuhlman. Currently operated by Dee Hubbert.


FBR - Foundation for Biblical Research, created by the late Ernie Martin (see ELM).
FN - Faith Networks, independent ministry associated with Guy Swenson.
FOT - Feast of Tabernacles


GTA - Garner Ted Armstrong, deposed son of HWA
GTAEA - Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, now run by Ted's son Mark and regurgitating old TV shows
GCG - Global Church of God, the original Meredith splinter (see LCG)
GIF - Grace International Fellowship, proposed name for the WCG, quickly ditched in favor of GIC (Grace International Communion) which was wisely also ditched.
GN - The Good News, a member publication for WCG members (out of print), but also a cloned outreach magazine published by the UCG (in print)
GRF - Gerry R. Flurry, PG of the PCG.


HLH - Herman L. Hoeh, WCG's foremost cult "scholar", author of the Compendium of World History, and one of few original leaders who supported the New Covenant changes.
HWA - Herbert W. Armstrong


ICG - Intercontinental Church of God. GTA's second splinter after he was turfed out of CGI


JLF - Forum run by Mark Tabladillo catering for those who now lean to evangelical beliefs.
JWT - Joseph W. Tkach. Comes in two flavors, Senior & Junior. Both ascended to the office of PG in the WCG.


LCG - Living Church of God, created out of the ashes of the GCG by that old phoenix RCM.


MOA - Mystery of the Ages. Final book by HWA, regarded as near-scripture by the Flurry cult (PCG)..
MD - The Missing Dimension. Inspired by HWA titles such as The Missing Dimension in Sex and The Missing Dimension in Education. Used by the AW website through till December 2004, and also the name of a now closed Yahoo board moderated by Douglas Becker.


NTE - New Testament Evangelism. Cooperative COG group led by Guy Swenson, a former UCG minister.


PCG - Philadelphia Church of God, led by "that prophet" (Gerry Flurry)
PG - Pastor General. Title given to HWA and passed on to his successors. Also used by GRF.
PT - The Plain Truth, but also the Painful Truth
PTM - Plain Truth Ministries, publishers of the present PT


RCG - Restored Church of God, a small cultish splinter reigned over by David Pack. Also Radio Church of God, the original name for the WCG.
RCM - a.k.a. "Spanky" and "Lord Merry Death". Roderick C. Meredith.
RFM - Raymond F. McNair. An evangelist-rank minister who followed RCM into the wilderness, separated from him, returned, then absconded again.
RLD - Ronald L. Dart, longtime associate of GTA and currently running CEM.


SEP - Summer Educational Program. WCG Youth Indoctrination camps.
STP - Systematic Theology Project. An attempt to put WCG's teachings into some coherent format. Torpedoed soon after it was launched by HWA, who decided it was too liberal because it left out his proof texts.


TCW - Twentieth Century Watch, GTA's version of the PT, originally a glossy magazine published by CGI, now a cheap tabloid produced by ICG
TPM - Triumph Prophetic Ministries, Willie Dankenbring's work
TW - Tomorrow's World. Title of a WCG co-worker magazine that was later appropriated by RCM and his LCG sect.


UCG - United Church of God. More properly known as UCGia.
UCGia - United Church of God, an International Association. The original version was UCGaia, until some wiseacre questioned the apparent appearance of the word "Gaia" in the sect's name!


WCG - Worldwide Church of God, the original Armstrong gulag.
WN - Worldwide News, propaganda tabloid published by WCG. Now re-titled WCG Today.
WNP - World News & Prophecy. UCG publication that tries to tie in Bible prophecy with current events.
WWCG (sometimes WWCOG) - Common but incorrect acronyms for WCG


XCG - Website and blog run by Gary Scott
XCOG - ex Church of God.
YOU - Youth Opportunities United. WCG Youth program.


Neotherm said...

It is interesting to Google for various COG websites. One of the themes that runs through these sites is "hiding information." Use of acronyms is a mild form of information hiding. I have thoroughly examined some COG sites where it is impossible to tell who runs the organization. No personal names appear on the webpages. When I first began to attend the WCG in 1967, a gauntlet of deacons guarded the front door of services. The paranoid secretiveness made the Cold War look tropical. Christ came bringing a public message called the Gospel and here were a group of people hiding in ballrooms, motel meetings rooms and school auditoriums and at the same time claiming to be the one and only true church. But, as it turned out, this "church" was really a very vulnerable pseudo church whose principal form of self-defense was the withholding of information. Hence the many acronyms and the mysterious websites. But this really speaks to people who need to be "insiders" as a boost to self-esteem.

-- Neo

The Ex-Christadelphian said...

Amazing, ain't it? All those splinter groups and all those "true ministers" of God scattered all over hellandgone when just 30 years ago it was all just one big money making machine.

What is really amazing is that the money making machine turned out to be rotten to the core, from the top down, and was cut down as any bad tree should be but yet people still make nests in the rotten tree's branches.

Viola! A new Babylon is born, a confusion with a language all it's own. A tower was built toward heaven but God destroyed it and scattered them abroad but it seems that some still want to play among the rubble.


jorgheinz said...

COG had all the COGonumbs but it was severely lacking in VOWELS of compassion.


Byker Bob said...

I am staggered by the growth of such acronyms since 1975 when I left. I believe there might have been perhaps nine of them at that point in the history of WCG. I do recall that it was considered disrespectful to simply say "HWA", or "GTA". You were supposed to say "Mr. HWA" or "Mr. GTA". And, Ramrod was never called by his initials back then. Actually rcm, in lower case letters signified "regular church member" to church administration.

If you take the acronyms along with jargon specific to the WCG, it would be very difficult to understand the "insider" conversations amongst members. It's almost as bad as one might encounter when listening to Scientologists, although the Scientologists are the undisputed kings where creation of insider language is concerned.

In the '60s and '70s, one could readily recognize the WCG members and AC students in the Pasadena area, because they all ran around saying "Ghastly!"