Sunday 12 April 2009

Time to Break Free

So the WCG is now Grace Communion International?

You know, the really ironic thing is that Pope Joe and Cardinal Mike sat on their hands all through the fiasco of the eighties and early nineties.

The Apostle raved, and they joined in cheering.

Decent, honest people were purged, and they whistled and hooted.

These guys knew what was going on, and they assented.

Joe and Mike were active collaborators with evil.

Of course, now they've "seen the light." But only after it was convenient to do so.

And they've reformed the church, and now with a final coat of whitewash, even renamed it.

They reformed the doctrine, but not the structure.

One wonders why.

Sabbaths are out, Pastor Generals stay in.

The Trinity is in, but an elected Board with inbuilt checks and balances is locked out.

Financial transparency is shunned, but feel free to wave your arms at appropriate moments in services.

Sure, the church's teachings needed an overhaul: and a really radical overhaul. That's a no-brainer. But the church's hierarchical, oppressive structure needed dismantling even more.

It still does.

But there sits Joe in his comfy high-backed swivel chair, the third Pastor General.


None, other than Daddy tapped him on the shoulder.

And Joe Senior? He was tapped on the shoulder by whom?

Herbert W. Armstrong.

To dress this up as some kind of episcopal governance is plain deceitful. This was, and continues to be, a top-down structure that spits in the faces of those that rally to it, even those who sacrifice hugely for it.

There is more accountability in the Roman Catholic communion than the post-Armstrong sect that Tkach and his buddies reign over.

Let's be clear, the name change illustrates just how Pope Joe operates.

Who suggested the name (initially something like Grace International Fellowship)?

Pope Joe.

All the "consultation" was pro forma. Window dressing. Rubber-stamping. Right from the start it was evident that Pope Joe the Petulant would have his way. You'd have had to be particularly dense not to realize that when Joe christened the church's post-graduate program "Grace Communion Seminary." Even a moron in a hurry could see the writing on the wall.

Joe Tkach is no better than Herbert Armstrong. In fact he's arguably worse, in a weak-kneed, underhanded way.

Those members who remain with WCG/GCI might well ponder what benefits now remain for continuing:
  • to attend a church which denies them the rights of full members
  • to fund a church which allows no meaningful participation in decision making
  • to support a denomination which is now virtually indistinguishable from a thousand evangelical bodies, almost all of which carry less toxic baggage
  • to financially contribute to a church which has a history of sub-standard financial accountability and undisclosed salaries
It's time to tell Joe where to go. Now is a great time to finally break free.


Anonymous said...

None of the changes in doctrine, name change, etc. would have happened if it was up to one member/ one vote. I think that is pretty clear.

So, if you believe that doctrinal reformation was necessary, then it really is up to those with doctorates in theology, religion, etc. to make those decisions.

However, now that those changes have been put into place I believe that Joe and the board will put some steps into place to have term limits and other more "democratic" approaches to governance.

And when that happens will Gavin shut up? Naw. He'll find something else to be bitter about.

BTW, I haven't been a member of WCG for 3 years but I've seen enough of the transformation and have spent enough time with those "in charge" to know that it is genuine.

A quote I once read. "It is hard to hate those you really know."

Gavin said...

Yadda yadda...

I'm sure on a personal level he's a swell guy, just as long as you don't ask too many questions, or get "ideas above your station".

Russell Miller said...


He's had, how many years now? 10? More? That's plenty of time. He's beyond hope, and you damn well know it.

Of course, your "bitter" comment makes me think you're just an Armstrongite in disguise. Only they have the nerve to call people who are critical of the abuses of Armstrong and Tkach "bitter". Of course, since you took the coward's way and posted anonymously, we'll never know - and you'll never be able to disprove it.

Anonymous said...

It is curious to note that since the "reformation" and those who believed HWA was correct have departed the WCG, that there has not been any known high level "power struggles" or any new splits to come out of the WCG.

I think a couple of local congregations have become independent but I haven't heard of any "new covenant" denominations being formed out of WCG (now Grace Communion).

I'm pretty certain all the other "big" COGs have had multiple splits since the 1990s.

Boondock said...

I met Joe in the late nineties. He stated then, in a ministerial conference, (which I had access to) that he would be stepping down because the Pastor General role would be limited to 7 years.
He also said that the financial control would be given to the churches and that HQ would only get a small amount of the moolah.

Anonymous said...

It has been quite a few years that WCG congregations process their own donations and give a 15% denominational fee to HQ -- much like any other denomination.

I wouldn't be surprised if Joe Tkach hasn't stepped down because in likelihood, all the other leaders have said they don't want the job. Gone are the days when the job was a big power trip with lucrative perks. Flying 50 trips a year in coach class might rack up frequent flier miles but it isn't fun.

Anonymous said...


Insert sounds of wild cheering and applause here. Best post ever Gavin. I've excerpted the choice bits on ISA.

Anonymous said...

"I think a couple of local congregations have become independent but I haven't heard of any "new covenant" denominations being formed out of WCG (now Grace Communion)."

A small number of the ex-members I know who left after the splits, but continued on with religion, went with Adventist Baptists.

ED said...

Call us ex-wcg members who want the wcg/gic and its off-shoots to fall apart "bitter", but all we want is the people that we know still being abused and controlled be these abusive organizations to be freed. The only way this will happen is the total calapse of the remnants of Armstrongs religious empire.

Anonymous said...

More info on Junior's shenanigans, courtesy of Stan Gardner:

Tkach Axes Canadian Governance.

Grounds for Impeachment

Tkach's Tithing Tactic

Watch Monte Wolverton spend money!! (Almost a cool million a year?! Ol' Mont is rolling in it!!)

Stan, I was looking for that post you had up about Junior's travel requirements (white limousine, fresh fruit, the best suite in the hotel, etc.), but I can't find it. Can you please provide a link?

Anonymous said...

“What we offer is unique in all of the annals of Christianity. Ours is a brotherhood of persons all on the same voyage, all saved by the Grace of God in the same new communion. Our church is born and saved uniquely by grace and at its birth is uniquely international. We are like Israel, when it first met God and was separated from the rest of mankind. As time passes, our fellowship will grow in Christ at the same pace and from the same starting points, and our traditions will grow as ages pass. We are a new variety of Christian hybrid flower with our own distinct color and ambiance—a new tile in the mosaic of the evangelical movement, one that becomes richer by the moment, thus making the entire parade of faith more full of fantastic and mature promise,” Joe Junior might type into his Mac, in between sessions of trying to figure out how to make his new slushie machine freeze blush wine.

And then he laughs that laugh of his.

He’s won the stinking game, you know.

The game is Viking. The objective is to loot. First, you scare everyone away. Then you steal everything that isn’t tacked down. Thus far, the only real surprise in this game has been that there’s still anyone in the village that you have sacked.

It’s been such a long raid and such a rich haul. Like all bad things, it started as a crime of opportunity when it first dawned on Joe The First.

Suddenly, it was all his. The old fool had left it to him, after all. All heirs had been dispatched. Even the accountant, the old man’s partner in crime these last few years, had been chased off. Thanks to the church’s long history of criminal dealings, a ruling had been passed down from the highest court in the land. It was there in black and white: You can do whatever you want with this and no one can stop you.

Even the best of men might have been tempted to stray.

One quarter of a billion dollars in fixed assets, free and clear. There’s a church that goes with it, but why bother? That involves confederates. Besides, stealing something this big is a full time job.

Today the nuggets are all safely squirreled away. None of the gang will really ever have to work again. Now we move for bonus points.

In the end, we have the best of all cults. Anyone who hasn’t left by now simply won’t. No more nasty dogma to defend. No new dogma to create, except the stuff you might half heartedly crib from Christianity Today. On occasion one word processes happy talk and narrow casts it to the tempest tossed.

Pink slushie, anyone?

--Mark Lax

jack635 said...

After seeing 35 years of hypocrisy do I really think that after washing the pig, it won't return to the mire?

I think all of the pastors/elders subscribe to the Homer Simpson principle of Theology:

"If I'm wrong I'll recant on my deathbed."--Homer J. Simpson

I'm curious as to whether or not they still have that ole Gulfstream fanjet Herb and Teddy used to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Also don't forget that Junior's daughter showed us where the money goes. Some of it, at any rate.

(If Pope Daddy II pulls the link, you can read the relevant excerpt on ISA.)

Tkach's $wiss Banker said...

"The game is Viking. The objective is to loot. First, you scare everyone away. Then you steal everything that isn’t tacked down. Thus far, the only real surprise in this game has been that there’s still anyone in the village that you have sacked."

Yes, of course. Why wouldn't he reveal, with joy, the amount for the campus real estate sales to his flock? It's none of their business, that's why. It's a tough life working for the Russian $ectmaster - most won't, but a small self-loathing remnant don't seem to mind.

The new church name sounds like an urban "storefront" church. I see a marketing angle here: Educated English speaking people are abandoning christianity in droves so the growth market is uneducated minorities. By 2050 the US population will be 455 million with a Latino majority. In other words the USA will look like present day Los Angeles (which has a high % of non English speaking and underfunded dysfunctional schools turning out dummies, and is where Tkach - coincidentally - operates out of). Marginally educated people with poor English are much more vulnerable to Christian Mythology and Tkach knows it. The market for superstition (Christ Myth) is huge and growing!

Stan said...


There was
Tkach Travels Worldwide Airlines; Fall Cruises For Beer, but I think you are referring to Tkach Sr.'s transportation, hotel, welcoming schedule and requirements to visit local areas found in AR 50 under
God's New Rep on Planet Earth.


Anonymous said...

You're the man Stan, that's just what I was looking for.


The Easter Bunny said...

We the undersigned affirm our part in keeping Mr. Joe Tkach Jr. in place so as to perpetuate our mythological influences on Christianity.

Osiris of Egypt
Dionysius of the Vinyards
Adonis the Handosme
Mithras who shoulda got Christmas

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

It is curious to note that since the "reformation" and those who believed HWA was correct have departed the WCG, that there has not been any known high level "power struggles" or any new splits to come out of the WCG.


You seem to be implying that all is peace and harmony under those church hijacking terrorists. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The WCG had a huge power struggle throughout the entire organization, from top to bottom, over many years. This resulted in hundreds of splinters.

After an explosion like that, nobody pays much attention to additional problems and splintering.

After just about everybody is gone, and those who remain do whatever they feel like, there is no powder left for another explosion that large.

Anonymous said...

How's it feel, Galvin, to realize that the only reason you exist is that you make money on destroying the righteousness of HWA?

Mickey said...

When the church started going through its "changes" and the handwriting was on the wall that it would become mainstream I held that it would be far better for the church find an established denomination to join in fellowship. Even if it meant becoming absorbed by that fellowship and losing our WWCG identity.

Ultimately, if we were becoming a miniature replica of any denomination, the above option would make more sense. Why maintain this separate identity when you are a poor copy of the original?

At no point in time has anyone really tried to teach people about their options. The only things they know about other denominations are what WWCG told them over the years, or whatever organization they came out of prior to joining WWCG.

We still could have maintained that separate identity had we become part of a more healthy (I say more because I don't think there are any totally healthy churches to be found) with liberal ideas under which we could have become an association. Their resources could have supported us as we weaned off HWA (I mean theological resources) and our folks could have eventually transitioned someplace else.

Instead we ended up with leaders who wouldn't relinquish control, arrogantly assuming they would determine what was best for their congregants to know and believe. Leaders in whose theological credentials and history, I have very little trust.

Perhaps all the above is too naive. I do have some idealistic tendencies. It may be that the desire to hang on to the WWCG identity was too strong to be broken for most people.

Several people couldn't accept the changes made not based on theological grounds but because they couldn't bear to think that so much of their lives had been invested in this church and to admit that it had been wrong would be to say that they had been blind all those years.

I'm just throwing some of these thoughts out there and am interested to hear if anyone else thinks they might have worked for the church at large or been a total bust.

Gavin said...

To the "Anonymous" before Mickey:

You think I make money from AW? I wish! Notice the absence of Google ads. In all the years AW has been around, first as a website and now as a blog, not one donation has been received. The offer was made twice, and declined. I do occasionally get a small credit when folk visit Amazon by clicking on the widget, but it doesn't even cover postage on any orders I make.

Lately there has been an attack of anonymous cyber-clones who all seem to have studied at the Tom Mahon School of Charm. I've already been consigned to the eternal flames twice this morning, even before breakfast... they've gone straight into the trash. But to be accused of tithe-farming is plain ignorant on your part. Go whinge to the pulpit-straddling scam artists hiding behind their NKJV Bibles, not me.

As for "the righteousness of HWA": you obviously live in a fantasy bizzaro world of comic book dimensions.


Anonymous said...

The leaders of the former WCG have dissolved their raison d'ĂȘtre with the new moniker. Members who ponder the change will soon realize that all Christian communities are "grace communions." Their main reasons for staying with GCI will be their friends and paid positions because grace is everywhere -- the lifeblood of all Christianity. Where DON'T Christians hear that Jesus emptied himself of Godhead to be born human, then suffer, die and live again, for mankind?

If GCI wants a future, they'd better dream up a reason for existing and an appropriate name to catch the eye and hold attention.

larry said...

Anon 10:43,
You bring up a very good and interesting point and possible dilemma for the former WCG. However, you make the assumptions that "all Christian communities are 'grace communions'", and that "grace is everywhere". Are you certain those assumptions are true?

What could and would separate the GCI from other churches, and is it even necessary that the GCI be seen to be different?

Jared Olar said...

Ultimately, if we were becoming a miniature replica of any denomination, the above option would make more sense. Why maintain this separate identity when you are a poor copy of the original?Because Joe Tkach and his friends like their paychecks and their positions of authority, and out of a need to invest their religious experiences with a lofty meaning. When the WCG claimed to be THE Church, they had a justification for their existence. When they started to say that the WCG was just one part of a vast interdenominational Church, and when they admitted that Herbert Armstrong never had any right or justification to found the WCG and preach his unique doctrines, then they as much as admitted that the WCG should not exist and he had no right to give them the jobs they have today -- which means they have no right to the jobs they have today. They ought to just pull up their stakes and stow the tent now, and find somewhere else to live. The WCG, or whatever they want to call themselves now, doesn't have anything good that you can't get in thousands of other places that have a better justification for their existence.

Anonymous said...

This WCG to CGI name change business only confuses the issue and muddies the water. How is this different from, let's say, the "Church of England", where somehow they go by "Anglican Church" and "Episcopalian Church" depending on where the location is, but is the same church. It seems like every couple of decades this organization changes names, like it's the flavor of the moment kind of thing. I do hope that those in the USA churches that do not agree with the name change will finally split their local churches from Glendora for good.

PH said...

"I do hope that those in the USA churches that do not agree with the name change will finally split their local churches from Glendora for good."What purpose would that serve? The pastards wouldn't have access to their pension fund if they split off now. I would say all of the ones left in, are in it to the bitter end, for that reason only.

Mark my words: That pension fund account at the Bank of Wachovia is the one and only thing that's keeping most of the WCG/GCI ministurds hanging on at this point IMO. Not any kind of "divine revelation".

No matter how much Junior and his minions spin like tops, trying to keep the tithe slaves from finding out.

They've even manufactured a fake charity scam to fleece the members of at least one congregation; the tell is, the money for this completely fabricated "international" organization still has to be sent to Headquarters: Right down the black gaping maw where all the other "free-will" donations get sucked, and disappear forever.

Convenient, that.