Global Church of God
|Global Church of God|
|Classification||Independent Christian, or Restorationist|
|Founder||Roderick C. Meredith|
San Diego, California
|Separated from||Worldwide Church of God|
|Separations||Living Church of God|
The Global Church of God (GCG) is a Sabbatarian church based in England. It was founded in San Diego, CA in 1992 by Roderick C. Meredith. Following the dissolution of most church operations in the United States, GCG's operations shifted to the United Kingdom, and it reestablished a presence in North America under new organizational identities.
History and background
Roderick C. Meredith had been a minister in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) for 40 years. He established GCG in response to a number of major doctrinal shifts in WCG. GCG is one of the many Sabbatarian Churches of God to form after WCG's 1995 schism.
Herbert W. Armstrong had founded the WCG as a radio ministry (originally called the Radio Church of God) in 1934. Over the next 50 years, the church developed an international presence through The Plain Truth magazine, The World Tomorrow radio and television programs, and three campuses of Ambassador College in the U.S. and England. The WCG taught certain controversial doctrines, including observance of selected Mosaic laws as outlined in the first five books of the Bible (similar to aspects of Judaism), yet held to repentance and baptism and the testimony of Jesus Christ as taught in the New Testament.
Armstrong died in 1986 and was succeeded by Joseph W. Tkach. Under Tkach, WCG adopted a theology in line with historic and mainstream Christianity. During that period of change, many members left WCG, including many ministers who began their own churches in an effort to remain loyal to Armstrong's teachings. GCG was just one among these Sabbatarian Churches of God.
Similar in fashion to Armstrong's approach, Meredith and the GCG established a magazine and television program, both under the name The World Ahead.
Governance and new affiliations
GCG experienced an upheaval of its own after a dispute between Meredith and the church board over governance issues in 1998. Meredith then formed the Living Church of God, based in San Diego, California (which in 2003 was moved to Charlotte, North Carolina).
Membership in GCG declined to the point that it ceased operations under that name in the United States. Most U.S. members either affiliated with Meredith's new church or were later absorbed into the United Church of God, which had split from WCG in 1995.
Administrative affairs for GCG shifted to the church's office in the United Kingdom. The GCG re-established a presence in the U.S. as The Church of the Eternal God and in Canada as the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship.
Groups that formed out of the GCG breakup in 1998:
- Affiliated with the Global Church of God:
- Church of God, A Christian Fellowship (CGCF): Formed when the U.S. operations of GCG dissolved. The CGCF later merged with the United Church of God (UCG) and likewise ceased operations in the U.S. However, CGCF's Canadian office continued to operate in affiliation with the GCG in England. Based in Summerland, British Columbia.
- Church of the Eternal God (CEG): Led in the U.S. by a group of ministers who resisted the merger of CGCF with UCG. Based in San Diego, California, CEG is affiliated with GCG in the United Kingdom and CGCF in Canada.
- Not affiliated with the Global Church of God:
- Restored Church of God (RCG): Led by David C. Pack and based in Wadsworth, Ohio. Publishes The Real Truth magazine and a host of booklets and publications available on the RCG website.
- Living Church of God (LCG): Led by Roderick C. Meredith, former chairman of GCG's board. Publishes Tomorrow's World magazine and produces a telecast under the same name. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Church of God Fellowship: Led by minister Harold Smith and based in Spokane, Washington, with an office in Canada.
- Sabbath Church of God: Led by Warren Zehrung and based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Produces The Proclamation of Jesus Christ radio program.
- Church of God, 21st Century: Led by Raymond F. McNair, a former board member of both GCG and the CGCF. Based in Temecula, California.
- Global Church of God
- Church of God Timeline: 1981 to 1995
- Church of God Timeline: 1830 to 1940
- "Herbert W. Armstrong goes to his Reward", Ambassador Report, Issue 35, April, 1986
- "Meredith Downsized", Ambassador Report, Issue 71, February, 1999
- "Meredith's Living Church", Ambassador Report, Issue 72, April, 1999
- Church of the Eternal God
- Church of God - A Christian Fellowship
- The Restored Church of God
- "Church of God Fellowship". Church of God Fellowship. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- Sabbath Church of God
- Church of God-21st Century Homepage Raymond F. McNair
- Global Church of God
- Church of The Eternal God
- Church of God, A Christian Fellowship
- Archive of the Ambassador Report, publication includes critical history of Herbert W. Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God, and the Global Church of God'
- The Journal, News of the Churches of God