United Church of God
|United Church of God, an International Association|
United Church of God Headquarters Building
|Classification||Church of God|
|President||Victor Kubik (May 2013 – present)|
|Council Chairman||Donald Ward (May 2016 – present)|
|Separations||Church of God, an International Community, Church of God, a Worldwide Association.|
The United Church of God (UCG) is a denomination of Christianity. It is one of many denominations to come out of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in 1995. The Worldwide Church of God was started by Herbert W. Armstrong.
UCG calls itself "The United Church of God, an International Association", with the last three words italicized. This is so people do not confuse it with other churches. UCG is its own denomination.
Beginning[change | change source]
After Herbert Armstrong's death in 1986, leaders in the WCG began to change the teachings of the church. This started in 1994. They changed the teachings to be more like other Christian churches. Many of the members wished to keep the original teachings, which they believed were the same beliefs as the early church of the First Century. Because of this, they left to start their own churches. UCG was established in May 1995 and is the largest church to come out of the WCG.
UCG began when former WCG ministers met in Indianapolis, Indiana in the spring of 1995. The were concerned about the changing teachings of the church. UCG's first president was David Hulme. He was later removed from office because he refused to move the church's home office to Ohio in 1998, among other reasons. After this, he started a new church called "Church of God, an International Community." After Hulme, church elders elected other new presidents. They elected Les McCullough in 1998, Roy Holladay in 2002, Clyde Kilough in 2005 and Dennis Luker in 2010. Victor Kubik was elected to serve for three years in May 2013.
Government[change | change source]
UCG is led by twelve men called the "Council of Elders". They are elected by a group of church ministers called the "General Conference of Elders." This is not like the WCG, which was led by one man only. The General Conference of Elders meets once a year in May to decide how money should be spent and how the church should be run. They also decide the teachings of the church and go to seminars. The council meets four times a year.
UCG's "Home Office" and is in Milford, Ohio, (a suburb of Cincinnati). This office is led by UCG's President, who is also the church's main spokesperson. He also leads the church's ministers and controls the printing of the church magazine, newsletter, and booklets. He is elected by the Council of Elders (COE) and can be removed by them.
Teachings[change | change source]
The UCG believes and worships like many other Christian churches, except:
- UCG believes that some Christian beliefs have been wrongly changed long ago in the early church. It believes they were changed by people who tried to mix their own ideas with Christian beliefs. It believes they did this because they hated Jews, or were pagan, or Gnostics, or Greek philosophers. These wrong ideas became traditions in the Catholic church and Protestant churches, which they believe go against the teachings of the Bible. So, for example, they don't worship holidays that started out as pagan, like Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and New Year's Day.
- UCG does not believe in the Trinity. It believes that this was also a wrong idea that was later mixed into the teaching of the Bible. Instead, it believes that the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is the spirit/power of God and of Christ Jesus and is not a separate person. They believe that God "the Father" and Jesus Christ are two separate beings in the "God Family".
- UCG believes that Christians are begotten as children in the "Family of God", and after they die, at the return of Christ, they will be resurrected as spirit beings who are like God and will rule the universe with God as part of His family.
- UCG believes Jesus Christ's main message was about the Kingdom he was coming to establish on earth to rule over all the nations. UCG believes that Christians will not go to heaven when they die, but will live and rule forever with Jesus Christ on earth. Later, they will also rule the universe with Jesus as part of the "God Family". UCG also believes that sinners who do not repent will not go to Hell, but will be simply be destroyed by God. It believes that the idea of "Hell", as some teach it, is not really in the Bible.
- UCG believes that the people of Western Europe (and early settlers of the United States) are from the Ten Lost Tribes of the northern kingdom of ancient Israel. It also believes that Jews today come from the ancient southern kingdom of Judah. They do not believe this because they believe that some races are better or worse than others, but because they believe there are prophecies about the United States and Europe in the Bible.
- UCG believes that many laws in the Old Testament should be obeyed by Christians today, such as the Ten Commandments. They believe that certain foods such as pork and shellfish should not be eaten by Christians. They also believe the Holy Day festivals in the Old Testament should also be kept by Christians, including the "Days of Unleavened Bread", and the "Feast of Tabernacles". They also believe in observing the Sabbath on Saturday (from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset), and that Christians should not commit sexual sins. They do not believe in obeying the laws in the Old Testament about sacrifice, because they believe these laws were "fulfilled by the sacrifice of Christ."
- UCG believes that people who do not know or really understand the truth of the Bible during their life will be given time to learn after a "Second Resurrection" to a new physical life, living again during the Millennium in God's Kingdom. If they still reject God's Holy Spirit and way of life, God will destroy them after the "Third Resurrection" along with former believers who had also rejected God. They are destroyed in the third resurrection (the "resurrection of fire") in the Lake of Fire, along with Satan and his demons.
- UCG teaches that members should give 10 percent of their income to the church to fund the gospel mission. Members are also taught to save a Second tithe, or another 10 percent for them to use themselves to observe festivals like the Feast of Tabernacles.
Ambassador Bible College[change | change source]
Ambassador Bible College (ABC) is an in-depth nine-month program where students can learn about the Bible, Christian living and the teachings of the United Church of God. The program also prepares young people to lead and serve, and it prepares them to teach future generations. Students study church teaching and all the books of the Bible thoroughly.
Mission and Media[change | change source]
UCG states: "The mission of the Church of God is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, make disciples in all nations and care for those disciples." Their goal is to preach about "The Kingdom of God" to everyone, through the UCG website, through Twitter and YouTube, and through radio, magazines, booklets, and television.
UCG produces the following:
- Beyond Today magazine is UCG's main publication. It is a free magazine and is published every two months. The magazine contains articles about Bible prophecy, world news, church teachings and Christian living.
- The Beyond Today Television Program appears on WGN America and on the WORD Network and on 28 Public-access television cable TV stations. It also includes a multimedia website and a channel on YouTube and on Roku.
- Vertical Thought appears four times a year for young people, and appears on the internet only. It contains articles from both ministers and young people in the church.
- The United News is a newsletter about news within the United Church of God. It also includes articles about Christian living, and news about the death of church members, and births in their families.
UCG also has 33 booklets on different Bible teachings, and a 12-lesson Bible study course. It also has a monthly Bible reading program where the Bible is explained, and a number of articles. Kingdom of God Bible seminars began in September 2011 and are held at different locations around the world.
References[change | change source]
- Although an independent church, UCG belongs to a class of churches that prefer to refer to themselves generically as "Churches of God" or sometimes as the "Sabbatarian Churches of God". Detractors refer to them as Armstrongites, a term which is usually considered derogatory. Another classification which may apply would be Restorationist. The Handbook of Denominations in The U.S., 13th Edition (Mead, Frank S, Hill, Samuel L. , Atwood, Craig D., pp. 246–247  Abingdon Press, Nashville, pp. 246–247) classifies the church as doctrinally Adventist.
- About the United Church of God, from the UCG official website.
- "Transformed by Christ: A brief history of the Worldwide Church of God". Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- "Armstrongism, The Worldwide Church of God, The Church of God International" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-30.
- Tal Davis. "Armstrongism". Archived from the original on 2007-08-30.
- "What is "Armstrongism"?". Retrieved 2010-08-30.
- "Brief History of the United Church of God". Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- "The Uniteds". Ambassador Report, Issue 59, June 1995. The Painful Truth. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "United Dethrones Hulme". Ambassador Report - Issue 68, April 1998. The Painful Truth. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "New Leaders & Members for the United Church of God". January 1998. Servant's News. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Why would United's council of elders remove David Hulme from the presidency?". Issue 12, January 1998. The Journal.
- "Church of God Timeline 1996 to 2004". News of the Church of God. The Journal. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Ashley, Scott. "Warnings of Change in the Church". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "This is the United Church of God". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "The Church Jesus Built". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Kieffer, Paul. "Papal Authority, Protestants and Prophecy".
- Rhodes, Melvin. "Europe and the Church, Part 12: A Period of Change for the Papacy".
- Rhodes, Melvin. "Europe and the Church, Part 5: The Identity of the Little Horn".
- "The Rise of a Counterfeit Christianity".
- "How can I find the true Church of God?".
- McNeely, Darris. "Visions of Judgment: The Horsemen of Revelation".
- "Is God a Trinity?". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Partaking of the Divine Nature". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Heaven and Hell: What the Bible Really Teach?". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "What Does the Bible Teach About Clean and Unclean Meats?". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Sunset to Sunset: God's Sabbath Rest". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "If one accepts the Bible as inspired by God, then homosexual activity is intrinsically wrong and unacceptable in a truly Christian society" Petty, Gary. "The Gay Rights Battle".
- "The New Covenant: Does it Abolish God's Law?". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "The Biblical View of 'Hell'". UCG. The United Church of God, an International Association. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Seiglie, Mario. "Just Pray and Pay? The Seven "P's" of God's Church". UCG. United Church of God. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Tithing". UCG. United Church of God. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "United Church of God Live Events".
Other websites[change | change source]
- United Church of God - official web site.
- United Church of God - British Isles
- United Church of God - Canada
- United Church of God - Australia
- The Good News Magazine Online - Official website of the Good News Magazine.
- Beyond Today Online - Beyond Today Multimedia website.
- World News and Prophecy
- Vertical Thought
- Ambassador Bible College - official web site.
- United Church of God Good Works Program - official web site.
- Breaking Free Journal - official web site.
- United Youth Camps - official web site.
- United Church of God Council of Elders Website
- United Church of God Feast of Tabernacles Website
- Radio Church of God Fundamental Beliefs comparable to UCG Fundamental Beliefs
- Brief history of the United Church of God - Official history from UCG website.
- Exit Support Network - Insider view of United Church of God and other Armstrongite groups and their teachings and treatment of membership