by Matt Slick
Founder: It was founded "by Bob Dick and David Hulme in Arcadia, CA,"1 offshoot of Herbert W. Armstrong and was formed in May of 1995.
Headquarters: Milford, Ohio
Origins: The United Church of God is an offshoot of the Worldwide Church of God. They claim to trace their origins back to the "Church that Jesus founded in the early first century."2 How this is done is not explained.
Practices: Worship on Saturday
Analysis: The United Church of God is a non-Christian cult that denies the Trinity, the true divinity of Christ, and requires both baptism and obedience to the commandments to be saved. It teaches that there is a "God family" of which we can become members through keeping the Law. Jesus is one of two divine beings, the Father being the other. The Holy Spirit is a force, a power, and is not the 3rd person of the Trinity, and it is received only through the laying on of hands by their church members. It also teaches that their members are obligated to keep the Sabbath and must observe seven festivals. They cannot eat unclean meat. This is a false religious system that teaches a false God, false Christ, and false gospel. Stay away from it.
They teach that the wicked, or unsaved, are not alive in hell but are annihilated. Baptism is by immersion. The Bible is inspired and inerrant. They are premillennial and maintain that Satan is a fallen, evil angel. Christians are not to go to war and should refuse being drafted.
- God: God consists of two different beings, Father and Son, in a "family."
- " . . . the one God is a family, presently consisting of God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. And God is in the process of adding to the divine family multitudes of others - eventually all human beings who are willing and who faithfully choose to follow God's way . . . the Father and Jesus Christ are both God . . . The real message in these pronouncements is that there is no other God apart from the true God'that is, outside the God family now consisting of two divine Beings, the Father and the Son. In short, the God family alone is God . . . the true God means the one God family to which others will yet be added."3
- Holy Spirit: The UCOG denies the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is God's divine power. " . . . the Holy Spirit is the very nature, presence and expression of God's power actively working in His servants . . . the very essence and life force through which the Father begets human beings as His spiritual children . . . The Holy Spirit is spoken of in many ways that demonstrate that it is not a divine person."4
- The Holy Spirit is received by the laying on of hands, after being water baptized by immersion.5
- "Jesus is one of two divine beings"6
- Jesus is sinless, the creator of all humanity, who was raised from the dead, (physical resurrection is not explained).
- Jesus will return.
- Law: "The Ten Commandments are the 10 points of God's law of love. We believe that breaking any one point of the law brings upon a person the penalty of sin. We believe that this fundamental spiritual law reveals the only way to true life and the only possible way of happiness, peace and joy."7
- Man is fallen but can become "partakers of the divine nature." This means that they can be added to the God Family.
- After death, you cease to exist but are resurrected for judgment. "The soul ( nephesh ) is not immortal, because it dies . . . what happens to the spiritual essence that separates man from animal? Does it continue as a conscious, immortal soul independent of the physical body? Certainly not!"8
- "We believe that at the return of Jesus Christ a resurrection to spirit life will take place for all who have been God's faithful servants."9
- Sabbath: Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the proper day to worship God.
- Salvation: Salvation is through Jesus only, but you must be baptized to be saved. Salvation can be lost.
- You must acknowledge your sin, that your sin condemns you, and that you need forgiveness in Jesus. The person must repent and be baptized. You " . . . must forsake the sinful ways that brought the death penalty upon us and made Jesus' sacrifice necessary in the first place. We must undergo a life-transforming change of heart and direction, a process the Bible calls repentance . . . When you are baptized, God forgives your past sins and clears your record . . . After our baptism, Christ's ministers are to place their hands on us and pray for the gift of God's Spirit for us. It is at this point that God gives His Spirit to a repentant, baptized person."10
- "After baptism and our receiving of God's Spirit, we are justified. That is, we become righteous in God's sight"11
- "If we stumble and sin after baptism, we must ask God's forgiveness and return to Him so that our state of forgiveness is not lost by our return to our old sinful way of life . . . If a Christian at some time during his life, after committing to serve God, turns away and renounces Jesus and God's way in word or action, he will lose his salvation."12
- The saved don't go to heaven but will live on earth with Jesus.
- "God will offer salvation all who have lived, including those of non-Christian religions, in a time described in Revelation 22: 5, 11-13. This is a period known as the Great White Throne Judgment when God will offer salvation, through Christ, to those denied such opportunity in their life."13
- "We believe God's purpose for mankind is to prepare those whom He calls, and who elect through a life of overcoming sin, developing righteous character and growing in grace and knowledge, to possess God's Kingdom and become kings and priests reigning with Christ at His return."14
- "Such individuals are justified, pardoned from the penalty of sin and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which literally abides within them and supplies the divine love that alone can fulfill the law and produce righteousness."15
Media and Publications
- The Good News magazine
- Beyond Today Television Program
- World News Prophecy
- Vertical Thought Magazine
- 1. exitsupportnetwork.com/artcls/ucg.htm
- 2. www.ucg.org/booklet/fundamental-beliefs
- 3. http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/do-some-verses-deny-divine-family, emphasis in original
- 4. http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/holy-spirit-person/
- 5. http://www.ucg.org/fundamental-beliefs-info/
- 6. http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/do-some-verses-deny-divine-family, emphasis in original
- 7. http://www.ucg.org/fundamental-beliefs-info
- 8. http://www.ucg.org/booklet/what-happens-after-death/mystery-death, emphasis in original
- 9. http://www.ucg.org/fundamental-beliefs-info
- 10. http://www.ucg.org/salvation, What must we do?, emphasis added
- 11. http://www.ucg.org/salvation, What must we do?
- 12. http://www.ucg.org/salvation, What must we do? emphasis added
- 13. http://www.ucg.org/blog/salvation-without-jesus
- 14. http://www.ucg.org/fundamental-beliefs-info
- 15. http://www.ucg.org/fundamental-beliefs-info