The following appears on the Texas-based Baptist Standard website.
Worldwide Church of God changes name. The Worldwide Church of God, which re-examined and later rebuked the teachings of founder Herbert W. Armstrong after his death in 1986, has changed its name to Grace Communion International. It’s the second name change for the denomination that Armstrong founded as the Radio Church of God in 1934, and church leaders say it’s a better reflection of a move toward more mainstream evangelical theology. Armstrong denied the Christian belief in the Trinity and took Old Testament law to heart. He urged followers to abide by ancient dietary restrictions, to observe traditional Hebrew festivals, to mark the Sabbath on Saturday and to reject Christmas, Easter and birthdays as pagan holidays. The Glendora, Calif.-based denomination says it lost half its members, 95 percent of its 1,000-person staff, millions of magazine readers and its college in Pasadena, Calif., when it officially repudiated Armstrong’s teachings and “prophetic speculation” in the mid-1990s. Grace Communion International claims 42,000 members in 900 congregations worldwide.