150 years ago, in the wake of the Great Disappointment, Gilbert Cranmer began what was to become the Church of God (Seventh Day). A group of Adventist Christians, estranged from the charismatic figure of Ellen White (prophetess of Seventh-day Adventism), set out on a resolutely independent path; one that leads - over much stony ground - to every single one of the Churches of God in the Armstrong tradition.
It's worth remembering that the Church of God (Seventh Day) is still out there, and still publishing the Bible Advocate, the periodical that once featured Herbert Armstrong's by-line on the front cover. Looking at the sad record of subsequent schisms, COG7 clearly had something the Armstrong clones didn't: staying power.
Remember the Twentieth Century Church of God, the Biblical Church of God, the Associated Churches of God? How about the Global Church of God or the Church of God - a Christian Fellowship? Our history is littered with failed splinter groups, almost always centered around one man, with soon-to-be-dashed delusions of adequacy. In that, at least, they were true to Herbert Armstrong.
When today's crop of sects are footnotes in history, will COG7 endure? I'd like to think so. Part of the reason lies simply in the collaborative way things are run. No overbearing hierarchy, no defensive hyper-congregationalism, just a practical General Conference system that keeps people together while providing for diversity. The people Armstrong dismissively referred to as the "Sardis Era" have outlasted the upstart ad-man and most of his imitators.
May the next 150 years also be kind to them.