Saturday, 7 May 2016

One Accord

There are a couple of things that strike home about the latest issue of COGWA's member mag, One Accord. The first is a financial statement. There for all to see. Transparent. $11 million bucks in member-sourced income. Whatever reservations you have about COGWA, and I have a truckload, you can only wish certain other groups - particularly one based in Glendora - would follow suit and open the books up to their members and supporters.

The second is the blunt attempt to root COGWA in its pre-divorce prehistory. COGWA is a fairly recent UCG split. Not so, gentle reader, if you take the mag seriously.
* Mark Whynaucht [a COGWA minister] has been in the Church almost his entire life, ever since his parents started attending when he was 3 years old.
* 50th Anniversary of the Western Arkansas Church of God
* A Mr and Mrs Baker "began attending the Greensboro, North Carolina, congregation in November of 1963."
A casual reader unaware of the long history of divisions would think that COGWA has been around for yonks. The real pedigree is nothing like the impression One Accord promotes.

Elsewhere Jim Franks has a math lesson on counting Pentecost, Doug Horchak reports on an elite program for couples chosen by their all-wise pastor for future greatness (how else?) and Mike Bennett waxes eloquent on the Holy Spirit, Pentecost and "the awesome power of wind".

The PDF is available for download.


Pam said...

Gavin wrote: "The second is the blunt attempt to root COGWA in its pre-divorce prehistory. COGWA is a fairly recent UCG split. Not so, gentle reader, if you take the mag seriously.
* Mark Whynaucht [a COGWA minister] has been in the Church almost his entire life, ever since his parents started attending when he was 3 years old.
* 50th Anniversary of the Western Arkansas Church of God
* A Mr and Mrs Baker "began attending the Greensboro, North Carolina, congregation in November of 1963."

Then again, as far as I can tell, almost EVERY COG group, down to ones of a half-dozen people in a living room church of god, speak in those same terms. They ALL root themselves as far back as they can into the Worldwide or Radio Church of God, ignoring any internicene squabbles that may have been along the path to where they are now.

GTA started out in the CGI ranting about his dad and the old WCG (an early sermon insisted that the parent church's efforts had become "The Illusion of the Work.") But by the end of his life, he was touting in church literature the fact that he was the proud son of pioneer radio evangelist Herbert Armstrong, and had been the voice of the World Tomorrow broadcast.

Other bitty little denominations of a couple hundred, perhaps splits off of splits off of CGI for instance, in their "about us" tab on their websites, give the length of time their ministers or founder had been in the ministry, going back to their Radio COG or WCG ordinations, mentioning AC graduation with pride. (But assiduously avoiding mentioning the decade or more that had been spent in whatever sub-groups they had split from.)

One good example: Check out this "Church of God History" page on the site of The Church of God Worldwide Minstries (Sevierville, TN) website.


The website states that "Our mission is to ***continue the work our founders began*** back in 1934, spreading the truth of the word of God to all the world." So on their history page, you will see photos of HWA and GTA, and a banner labeled "FOUNDERS: Herbert W & Garner Ted Armstrong." And the note that "For over seven decades, Herbert W Armstrong and his son Garner Ted Armstrong led thousands into a better understanding of biblical truths. Their work still has a profound effect on a great number of people all over the world."

This little group's history goes back to the CGI. When GTA split from CGI and founded the Intercontinental Church of God, these people would have been with him. But after his death, they resisted the leadership of Ted's son Mark, considering him "not qualified" to rule the church. So they left and started the COGWWM. But their page has no hint of the split between HWA and GTA, even. There is a direct path to this little group from Herb's 1934 Work. (Nor do they mention that about a year after they formed, there was a split from them already, and a group formed the "Church of God Ministries, International.")

The one thing the COGWWM has going for them is that they actually "own" the name The World Tomorrow, granted that right by Joe Tkach Jr! Thus they have the only legitimate broadcast on the Internet by that name. They broadcast archived versions of several old HWA radio shows from way back, and have a stable of mostly grey-headed (or bald) old guys that are "guest presenters" for new video episodes.

See my next post for the rest of the details on this BabyCOG group.

Pam said...

More on the COGWWM mentioned in my previous post:

For those with a sense of WCG history, the name Earl Timmons will be familiar. He is the actual founder of COGWWM...and was the fellow who instituted the suit that led to the Receivership in 1979, and helped bankroll the founding of the CGI for GTA. Timmons is in his 80s now. (And still obviously worships the ground both Armstrongs walked on.)

Rumor has it that Earl was able to get the rights to the WT program name because he had some "goods" on Joe Jr over some past shenanigans from years ago at AC as leverage, although I have no independent verification of that.

The two main speakers on the WT program put out by the COGWWM now appear to be former LCG minister John Blanchard and his brother in law, Randall Ricker, who made the switch to COGWWM last year. Other "guest speakers" on the program evidently have less illustrious credentials. One fellow that was doing most of the shows in 2013, a man named Bruce Horne, left in a huff and started his own ministry in Chattanooga in early 2014. He took along some contributors and the church mailing list, and threatened to sue the COGWWM if they continued to use his WT recordings. (He died within months, and that was the end of that.)

I'm going to guess that there may be a couple hundred backers of the COGWWM ministry at most. It's quite humorous to see a bunch of old white-haired guys attempting to play King of the Sand Box. Especially with SUCH a tiny sandbox.

Connie Schmidt said...

One Accordian is good. Two, and you have an Octoberfest!

Byker Bob said...

The items Pam pointed out are why some of us have spoken of these groups as "Armstrong franchises" run by "Armstrong franchisees". They seem to regard HWA as their founder, use the so-called 18 restored truths as the basis for their doctrinal approach, and employ all of the Armstrong shibboleths, such as "God's Church", and "God's ministers".

I read somewhere that while HWA labeled the receivership lawsuit as being an attack on "God's Church" by Satan, Earl Timmons, John Tuit and others had brought the suit not because they intended to leave, but because they were exasperated by the continual failure of efforts to bring financial accountability and good stewardship to the church. They saw the suit as being a last ditch effort towards reformation, and stuck with the package of doctrines.

If HWA were alive today and had his mental faculties intact, regardless as to his rightness or wrongness as a teacher, we can know that he would not be praising splinters. They would be without excuse before him. He'd have some mighty harsh words for them, and the cartoonish potpouri that has become the adverstising section of the Journal. HWA only saw things in simplistic black and white terms, such as authority (his), unity, and rebellion. These guys who cite him as their founder would not be getting any pats on the back, or awards pinned on their chests.


Pam said...

Speaking of religious franchises...I've been using that term myself since before the Internet even, and have applied it not just to the splits of the COGs, but to religious cults in general. For instance, here's something I wrote back in 2002 to someone responding to my Field Guide site.

"Back in 1983 Raymond Franz, former member of the High Command at the Jehovah's Witnesses HQ wrote the book "Crisis of Conscience" about his experiences in the cult and in leaving it. I first saw a copy when a friend in the CGI started passing it around because it was SO relevant to our experiences coming out of WCG. If you didn't know the author was a JW, and if the specific references to the group name were removed from the book, you'd SWEAR you were reading a chronicle of the WCG of the same exact time period. Hey, they predicted 1975 in Prophecy too, and gave the exact same fudge excuses when it didn't pan out!

The same is true for Walter Rea's 1983 book "The White Lie" about his experiences as a Seventh Day Adventist minister who became disillusioned. The appendices in both books have all sorts of "disfellowship" letters and letters of resignation from ministers and members giving their reasons for leaving that could easily have been written by their counterparts in the WCG.

As my hubby first said long ago, "It's a franchise." It's as if there is some big central cultic HQ where all these guys go to learn how to concoct and market their product. Then they get to go back and create their own franchise outlet with their own logo on the door. And with only slightly different "menus," and prizes in the Fun Meals. But serving the same old warmed over baloney at every one of them. One just chooses to deep fry the baloney and serve it with greasy fries, the other chooses to flame broil it to a crisp and serve it with greasy hash browns."

Connie Schmidt said...


Im still waiting for my prize in the COG Happy Meal!

In fact, I would just settle for ketchup and a napkin at this stage of the game!

Near_Earth_Object said...

Byker: Nobody in the pre-1995 WCG was even thinking about a period of time after HWA but before the return of Christ. Some were preaching that HWA would not die and leave a vacuum. The extraordinary amount of splintering that has taken place is a demonstration that the WCG was "personality driven" organization. Once HWA was gone as the one and only personality that counted, fractal churches began appear. Each fractal church was headed by a man who wanted to be an HWA doppelganger, sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtly. Joe Tkach, Sr. was just a speed bump on the way to this state of disarray.

In this sense, the WCG was actually chewed up by its own beliefs about the future.

Black Ops Mikey said...

One Accord

Is that the total extent of their ministerial auto fleet?

Byker Bob said...

NEO: Yes. We've used the phrase "personality cult" for years to demonstrate that the WCG was an extension of HWA himself, a sleight of hand which artficially made HWA the highest level of accountability in the minds of the members.

Herbert Armstrong bluffed his hand of cards right up until the end came for him, not the end of the age which he had forecast. So, for all intents and purposes, these ends became one and the same. The only clone that could have preserved and maintained most of the status quo had undergone assisted self-destruction years earlier.


Anonymous said...

Pam, you have no independent verification of the rumor the Timmons used blackmail leverage on Joe Jr to obtain the World Tomorrow rights, because you are the one who started to false gossip rumor right here at this blog in your precious post. The fact, the truth is Shirley Timmons was a caregiver, a private nurse aid, to Shirley Tkach, SR's wife when she was ailing. Shirley Timmons called Joe Jr to inquire about the broadcast name and rights shortly after they split from ICG following GTA's death. Joe Jr fondly remembered Shirley and Earl from his childhood and their personal friendship with his parents and the great loving care Mrs. Timmons provided to his mom. So, Joe Jr. instructed Ralph Helge assist the Timmons with the acquisition copyright and trademark right for TWT for FREE. Previously it had been up for sale like most of the assets, asking price $300 THOUSAND. The only offer came from David Hulme, who offered Joe Jr $100 THOUSAND for the rights after Hulme left UCG. Junior turned down the Hulme $100K offer. God miraculously blessed the Timmons with the rights, for FREE!

Anonymous said...

King James Bible
And I heard the man (Angel) clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he (the Angel) held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him (capital H, He; God/Jesus) that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he (capital H, He; God the Father AND His son Jesus Christ) shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

God is the one scattering the (financial) power of the holy people (the scattered splinter groups of His TRUE church); commonly referred to as splits, splinters, franchises of The WorldWide Church of God, founded and led by Herbert W. Armstrong AND his son, Garner Ted Armstrong.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Senator Bob Dole ordering the preservation of GTA's tapes into the national archives of the United States TV division of the Library of Congress - (HWA's broadcast tapes of the World Tomorrow from 1978 to '86, were never ordered preserved by Dole, but were included miraculously by God, as a clerical "error" by a library staffer) - THE WORLD TOMORROW will once again ring out around the world over TV, radio and Internet social media websites, hosted posthumously and jointly be the tandem father and son duo of Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong. We needed to have a PROGRAM TO DO AN ENDTIME WORK OF WITNESS AND WARNING, and GOD our father along with His son, Jesus Christ put it into the mind of a POWERFUL UNITED STATES SENATOR TO PRESERVE THE ORIGINAL MASTER BROADCAST TAPES OF THE WORLD TOMORROW!! ����❤️����
Watch “Sermon - “2nd Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, 1998” - Garner Ted Armstrong sermon” on Vimeo:

Anon said...

I wonder if Whynaucht would be held up as a paragon of church longevity if he had been charged with 3rd degree sexual assault for his relationship with his then 14 year old church girlfriend when he was 18? Instead the ministry swept that under the rug and now he's a "pillar" of the COGWA. Par for the course. What a joke.