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Capping 18 months of unprecedented upheaval, the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) was voted into membership by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) May 7, following an examination of doctrinal changes in the once-shunned denomination.

In welcoming the Pasadena, California-based group, NAE President Don Argue said, "The Worldwide Church of God did not rest in the refuge of their historically held doctrines, but sought the truth through careful study of the Scriptures—even at significant cost to the denomination."

For example, the WCG is fighting a splinter group over the reprint rights to a book containing discredited teachings, written by WCG founder Herbert W. Armstrong, who died in 1986.

The WCG, which under Armstrong rejected the Trinity as a pagan doctrine and enforced tithing and seventh-day Sabbath observance as conditions for salvation, has changed under Armstrong successors, the late Joseph Tkach, Sr., and his son, current leader Joseph Tkach, Jr. The organization lost thousands of members and hundreds of ministers in the process.

Among those dissidents is Gerald Flurry of Edmond, Oklahoma, whose Philadelphia Church of God sponsors a syndicated television program and has reprinted Mystery of the Ages, Armstrong's last book, which reiterates the WCG's now-abandoned doctrines. In February, the WCG filed suit against the Flurry group, claiming copyright infringement. Flurry retaliated with ads in the Los Angeles Times attacking the WCG's stance.

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In the Magazine

June 16, 1997

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