Click over to the UCG website and you'll find the following claim:
“We trace our origins to the Church that Jesus founded in the early first century.”
Oh really? How so?
There are two pathways “True Church” groups like UCG validate their ties to the early Christian church: one might be called the “remnant theory,” the other the “restoration theory.” Both are very different from the standard concept of "reformation."
The Remnant Theory is the usual one used by Church of God groups, and was inherited from Seventh-day Adventism. Basically the idea is that the True Church started out as pure as the new-driven snow, until the naughty proto-Catholics came by and led 99% plus away into horrible apostasy. There was a lost century, and when the curtain lifts we find the Trinity, bishops, monks, purgatory and fish on Friday.
There ensued "the lost century" in the history of the true Church of God. There was a well-organized conspiracy to blot out all record of Church history during that period. A hundred years later, history reveals a "Christianity" utterly unlike the Church Christ founded. (Herb Armstrong, The Incredible Human Potential, 5.)
However, so the theory goes, there was always a remnant who “held fast” against the Gates of Hell, tidily arranged into seven "eras" to go with the seven churches of Revelation. A particularly hilarious example of this sort of thinking came from Dugger & Dodd, who held that Ireland's Saint Patrick was actually a Sabbath-keeper. More usually the remnant were variously identified as Waldensians, Anabaptists and a variety of other persecuted minorities, ending up as Seventh Day Baptists who morphed into the Sabbatarian Adventists of the Church of God. So taught Ellen G. White, Dugger and Dodd, and Herman Hoeh.
The humble remnant of the Church of God listened to [Peter Waldo]. Soon many new disciples were coming to repentance. "His disciples became almost as many co-workers for him" (p.26). The world called them Waldenses. God's Church was again spreading the gospel! (Hoeh, A True History of the True Church, 22)
Unfortunately the facts keep getting in the way. For example the Waldensian Church still exists, but they don't much resemble the UCG. The “remnant trail” is fantasy parading as history, as is immediately clear to anyone who bothers to do a little digging. If UCG thinks otherwise, let's see the evidence, the learned articles in scholarly journals, the testimony of legitimate historians (sorry Bob, a degree in naturopathy doesn't really count.)
Theory two, the “restoration,” begins the same way. Everything is fine and dandy, but then Satan comes along and the True Church is extinguished. Popes and rosary beads flourish, incense wafts, but genuine Christianity is obliterated until... along comes a certain someone who is authorized to reboot the True Church after long centuries have passed. That's the path taken by the Mormons. God came along, revealed to Little Joe (Smith, not Tkach) that all the sects of Christendom were in error, then ordained Joe with the long forgotten priesthood offices and sent him forth to restore all things with the aid of magical spectacles.
Apparently that makes sense in Utah, but has never had the same clout in Church of God circles, although a certain Pasadena Apostle used to say that the "true gospel" hadn't been preached in over 1900 years (perhaps he hadn't read Herman's booklet properly.) It's possible Herb gravitated more toward restoration and away from the remnant theory as his megalomania grew.
So back to the the UCG's bold assertion. Where's the evidence?
The lads at Ambassador Bible Center spend a lot of time exploring obscure issues. Intellectual giants of the stature of Melvin Rhodes could doubtless help out by pointing us all in the direction of historically credible data to back up their claim.
Then again, maybe not. And if not, the honest thing would be to remove the statement on their website and confess that there is no direct connection.
Time to put up or shut up.