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The Liberation of the Worldwide Church of God
by J. Michael Feazell
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Reviewed by: John L. Hoh, Jr.

When I attended Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin, my friends and I often picked up a free magazine at the local Pick 'N Save grocery store. It was entitled The Plain Truth, but we often referred to it as The Plain Heresy. To be sure, the magazine did have some scholarly articles. However, the endings were formulaic in a cookie-cutter sense. No matter what the world event being discussed, the magazine would finish the article by boldly proclaiming "This event was prophesied in the Scriptures." Never mind that the magazine or Herbert Armstrong never cited which Scripture prophesied the latest event-it simply asserted fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

This group also offered free booklets attacking every doctrine and practice of the Christian church. These booklets were ubiquitous with the vast array of text in italics and bold fonts. Rather than impress upon the reader his points, these formatting violations became a distraction that only highlighted the false theology contained within.

It had been years since I had seen that magazine, but a few months ago I ran across a copy of The Plain Truth. So I read it to see what latest calamity was "prophesied" in Scripture.

And I was surprised!

The articles were actually sound and Christian! Hey, what happened?

Well, Herbert Armstrong died. Herbie had been a totalitarian theologian who obviously clamped down on any dissent. After he had died, Worldwide Church of God theologians began speaking up and righting what had been seen as wrongs. And slowly the veneers of heresy were stripped away and the Worldwide Church of God came back into mainstream Christianity.

Not that there weren't troubles along the way. Many were upset at changes they saw. When you realize that Armstrong called himself "God's only true servant," and his followers believed him, you can see where the problem comes in. There was also the problem of education-or lack of it. When a doctrinal committee was set up, many sought to quote what Armstrong said about certain doctrines, not what Scripture said. Some also didn't know the difference between literal and figurative! They had accepted ALL of Scripture literally (a sure sign of trouble whenever you read Revelation).

And those booklets they used to offer? As inventories dwindled, the new leadership sought to revise them. Ultimately, no amount of rewrites could correct the vast number of errors. They were simply dropped from inventory.

J. Michael Feazell was an aide to Joseph Tkach, Sr., who replaced Herbert Armstrong as supreme pastor. It was in this position that he struggled with then-WCG teachings and Scripture truths. He was also in the middle of God restoring this flock to His Truth. As such he provides an insider's view. The book is well written and well-documented. It is evident that the emotions he felt during the tumultuous times were transferred to the written page.

And there are NO italicized and bolded words to distract you.


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