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The Worldwide Church of God is a Christian denomination that was founded in 1933 by Herbert W. Armstrong as the Radio Church of God. Armstrong was a minister in the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh-Day), and the "church" (at the time, actually a congregation with a component radio ministry) he created was initially not a separate denomination, but a part of that conference.

According to Christianity Today, in 1986 the Worldwide Church of God had a reported income of $170 million a year, which was larger than the Billy Graham and Oral Roberts ministries combined. Today the church is considerably smaller, has liquidated most of its real estate properties and relocated to Financial Way in Glendora, California. Its doctrines today are relatively mainstream Christian and it is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals.


Main article: History of the Worldwide Church of God

  • between 1917 and 1927- Loma meets a woman who eventually convinces the couple to convert to the Adventist movement.
  • January 7- The World Tomorrow is broadcast on Radio Luxembourg
  • Armstrong begins to view his ministry in two epochs of 19 years each (1934-1953, and 1953-1972).
  • January 5- Church changes name to Worldwide Church of God.
  • March 15- Church is featured in a report of TIME magazine, where Armstrong announces his split with son Garner Ted.
  • later that year- Garner Ted Armstrong returns to host The World Tomorrow after public outcry over his leaving, and the failure of Herbert Armstrong's prophecy.
  • California passes a bill exempting religious organizations from allegations of fraud.
  • Rader writes Against the Gates of Hell: The Threat to Religious Freedom in America.
  • 1986 - Herbert W. Armstrong dies; Joseph W. Tkach Sr. becomes pastor general.
  • 1988 - Members permitted to seek medicinal help, observe birthdays, and wear cosmetics.
  • 1991 - Revised teaching on new birth; personhood of the Holy Spirit accepted.
  • 1993 - Doctrine of the Trinity accepted.
  • 1994
  • Church teaches that true Christians are found in other denominations.
  • Church announces Christians are no longer under the Old Covenant laws.

Current status[edit]

The Worldwide Church of God has perhaps 6,400 members in 860 cells in around 90 nations across the world (2004). Headquarters are in Glendora, California. The church has held membership in the National Association of Evangelicals since 1997.

Current organizational structure[edit]

The Worldwide Church of God is established under an hierarchical form of government. The chief ecclesiastical officer of the denomination is called the pastor general. The denomination's ecclesiastical policies are determined by its Advisory Council of Elders (ACE), which is controlled by the Pastor General. A Doctrinal Advisory Team systematically advises the ACE on the denomination's doctrinal statements, publications and theology projects. Under ecclesiastical bylaws,the Pastor General may "pocket veto" such advice, e.g., on the issue of the ordination of women.

In addition to the international leadership, the Worldwide Church of God maintains national offices and offices in multinational regions.

Within the United States, denominational contact with local assemblies (known as local churches or local congregations) is facilitated by district superintendents, each of which is responsible for a large number of churches in a geographical region (such as Florida or the Northeast) or in a specialized language group (such as Spanish-speaking congregations).

Local churches are generally led by a senior pastor or a pastoral leadership team, each of which is supervised by a district superintendent. Some senior pastors are responsible for a single local church, but many are responsible for two or more churches. Local church leadership also includes an Advisory Council, a number of ministry leaders (some of whom are also called deacons), and often additional elders or assistant pastors. [1]

Original Worldwide Church of God splinter groups[edit]


  • Handbook of Denominations in the United States, by Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood
  • The Liberation of the Worldwide Church of God, by J. Michael Feazell

External links[edit]