World Wide Church of God

The following links consist of files discussing the doctrines of the World-wide Church of God. Please note that there are two types of emphasis in each descriptive file in this section. False doctrines are underlined while important points are in bold. Please remember this as you read the information!

If you have any comments on any of the material, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail by clicking on my name at the bottom of this web page. Updated information will be added as it becomes available.


Statement of Beliefs of the World-wide Church of God

Introduction

The World-wide Church of God, with its administrative centre in Pasadena, California, has members in 120 countries and territories. The mission of the church is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world and to help members grow spiritually (Matthew 28:19-20).

As a Spirit-led body of believers, the church is exhorted, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). The Spirit of God leads the church into all truth (John 16:13). Accordingly, this Statement of Beliefs does not constitute a closed creed. The church constantly renews its commitment to truth and deeper understanding and responds to God's guidance in its beliefs and practices.

God

God, by the testimony of Scripture, is one divine Being in three eternal, co-essential, yet distinct Persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the one true God, eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. He is Creator of heaven and earth, Sustainer of the universe, and Source of human salvation. Though transcendent, God has a direct and personal relationship with human beings. God is love and infinite goodness.

(Matthew 28:19; Mark 12:29; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 John 4:8; 5:20; Titus 2:11; John 16:27; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Corinthians 8:6)

Jesus Christ

Jesus is the Word, by whom and for whom God created all things. As God manifest in the flesh for our salvation, he was begotten of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, fully God and fully human, two natures in one Person. Jesus is the Son of God and Lord of all, worthy of worship, honour and reverence. As the prophesied Saviour of humanity, he died for our sins, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven, from where he mediates between humanity and God. He will come again in glory to reign as King of kings over all nations in the kingdom of God.

(John 1:1; Colossians 1:16; 1 Timothy 3:16; John 3:16; Matthew 1:20; Acts 10:36; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 7:25; Revelation 19:16)

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, is the Comforter promised by Jesus Christ, sent from God to the church. The Holy Spirit lives in us, transforming us through repentance, sanctification, and continual renewal. The Holy Spirit is the Source of inspiration and prophecy throughout the Scriptures, the Source of unity and communion in the church, the Provider of gifts for salvation and for the work of the gospel, and the Christian's constant Guide into all truth.

(John 14:16; Acts 2:4, 17-19, 38; Matthew 28:19; John 14:17, 23; 1 Peter 1:2; Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; Acts 20:28; John 16:13)

The Holy Scriptures

The Holy Scriptures comprise the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. They are the inspired Word of God, the foundation of truth, and the accurate record of God's revelation to humanity. The Holy Scriptures constitute ultimate authority in all matters of doctrine, and embody the infallible principles that govern all facets of Christian living.

(2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 17:17)

The Angelic Realm

Angels are created ministering spirits, endowed with free will. The holy angels serve God as messengers and agents, are appointed to attend to those who will obtain salvation, and will accompany Christ at his return. The disobedient angels are called demons.

(Revelation 1:1; 22:6; Hebrews 1:14; Matthew 25:31)

Satan

Satan is a fallen cherub who heads the evil forces in the spirit realm. He is referred to in the Bible in various ways including the devil, adversary, evil one, murderer, liar, thief, tempter, accuser of the brethren, prince of demons, and god of this world. He is in constant rebellion against God. Through his influence, Satan generates discord, deception and disobedience among human beings. His dominion and influence as god of this world will cease at the return of Jesus Christ.

(Revelation 12:9; 1 Peter 5:8; John 8:44; Revelation 12:10; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:1-3)

Humanity

Humanity was made mortal, male and female, in the image of God, and endowed with mental and spiritual faculties. God formed the first man, Adam, of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. He formed the first woman, Eve, from Adam's own body. They were given dominion over all the earth and the freedom to choose whether to obey their Creator. Because they chose sin, they and their descendants became alienated from God and can be reconciled only by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ and his saving work. The destiny of the saints is to inherit eternal life in glory through Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God.

(Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7, 22; Romans 5:9-21; 1 Peter 1:3-9; Romans 6:23)

Sin

Sin is lawlessness, that is, a state or condition of rebellion against God. From the time sin entered the human race through Adam and Eve, humanity has been under its yoke -- a yoke that can only be removed by God's grace through Jesus Christ. The sinful condition of humanity is manifested in the tendency to consistently choose self and self-interests over God and God's will. Sin causes alienation from God, and suffering and death. Since all humans are sinners, all humans need the salvation God offers through his Son.

(1 John 3:4; 5:17; Romans 1:20-21; 5:12; 7:24-25; Mark 7:21-23; Galatians 5:17-21; Romans 6:23; 3:23-24)

Salvation

Salvation is deliverance from the bondage of sin and death, and the restoration of human fellowship with God. It is the gift of God, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not earned by personal merit or good works. God gives salvation, not only for the present life, but for eternity, to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

(Romans 6:18, 22-23; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:4; Romans 8:21-23)

Grace

Grace is the free, unmerited favour God bestows on a sinner who repents. In its broadest sense, grace is expressed in every act of God's self-disclosure. By grace, a person comes to know God and Jesus Christ, is justified, and is saved. Through faith in Christ, the Christian remains always under grace.

(Romans 3:24; 5:2, 15-17, 21; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:7)

Justification

Justification is God's gracious act of pronouncing a believer righteous in his sight. It follows repentance and is made possible through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and acceptance of him as Lord and Saviour.

(Romans 3:20, 24-31; 4:1-8; 5:1, 9; Galatians 2:16)

Faith

Faith is belief and trust in God as our righteous, omniscient, and omnipotent Lord and our gracious, merciful, and faithful Saviour. Faith includes the conviction, based on natural and scriptural evidence, that God exists, that he rewards those who seek him, and that he gives eternal life to all who are in Jesus Christ. Faith is enabled by God's grace.

(Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; James 2:17-18; Romans 6:23)

Sanctification

Sanctification is the state of holiness imparted to the believer through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Though all Christians sin, the Holy Spirit leads them in a life characterised by repentance, obedience, and Christian growth -- that is, a converted, or changed, life evidenced by the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification is made possible by God's grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.

(1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:8; 3:6, 9; Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 5:1)

Repentance

Repentance is a change of mind and attitude toward God. It follows conviction by the Holy Spirit and is grounded in the Word of God.Repentance entails an awareness of personal sinfulness, accompanied by a positive response to God's call. Repentance toward God leads to faith in Jesus Christ and a converted life sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

(Acts 2:38; Romans 2:4; 10:17; 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11; Matthew 3:8; Romans 12:2)

Water Baptism

Water baptism signifies a believer's repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The World-wide Church of God practices baptism by immersion.

(Matthew 3:16; Mark 16:16; Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:4-5; Matthew 28:19)

The Lord's Supper

The evening before Jesus was crucified, he took bread and wine, saying, "This is my body. . . . This is the new covenant in my blood." At our Lord's Supper service, we participate in the new covenant as we partake of bread and wine in remembrance of our Saviour, who gave his body for us and shed his blood so that we might be forgiven. Our ceremony includes the washing of feet, which represents our spiritual cleansing in Christ and points us to the Christian life of humility and service in love.

(Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17; Philippians 2:1-8)

The Church

The church, or the Body of Christ, consists of all who have faith in Jesus Christ and in whom the Holy Spirit abides. The church is commissioned to preach the gospel, to teach all that Christ commanded, to baptise, and to nurture the flock. In fulfilling its mission, the church is directed by the Holy Scriptures, led by the Holy Spirit, and looks continually to Jesus Christ, its living Head.

(1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:9; Matthew 28:19-20; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22; Acts 2:1-47)

Church Leadership

The Head of the church is Jesus Christ. He guides the church in the will of God, as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. In the World-wide Church of God, the decision-making process under Christ involves councils of ministers who report to the Pastor General, who holds the chief administrative office in the Church.

(Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 4:11)

The Christian

The Christian is the person who lives by faith in Jesus Christ and in whom the Holy Spirit abides. The Christian experiences a new birth through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and is placed in a right relationship with God and fellow humans by God's grace. The Christian's life is characterised by the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

(Romans 8:9, 14; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:4-6; Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:35; Galatians 5:22-23)

The Gospel

The gospel is the good news about salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the message that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to his disciples. It is the good news that the kingdom of God has been inaugurated by the saving work of Jesus Christ.

(Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 1:14-15; Acts 8:12; 28:30-31; Luke 24:46-48; 1 Corinthians 15:4-5)

The Law of Christ

Christian faith includes allegiance and obedience to our Saviour, who gave himself for us. The purpose of his law is summarised in his commands to love God and neighbour. Therefore, faith in Christ leads to works of love and service. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ transforms the hearts of his followers, producing in them the fruit of love, joy, peace, faithfulness, meekness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, righteousness and truth.

(2 Corinthians 5:15; Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:9-10; Galatians 5:6, 22-23; Ephesians 5:9)

The Christian Sabbath

The Christian Sabbath is the regenerated life of faith in Jesus Christ, in whom every believer finds true rest. The weekly seventh-day Sabbath, which was enjoined upon Israel in the Ten Commandments, was a shadow that prefigured the true Reality to whom it pointed our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Because Christians are not enjoined by Scripture to limit corporate worship to any particular day of the week, our practice is to accommodate the choice of day which the local congregation, in its discretion, prefers.

(Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 11:29-30; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 4:3, 8-10)

Annual Festivals

The World-wide Church of God sponsors a variety of annual festivals, including traditional Christian festivals and festivals based on the feasts God gave to Israel in Leviticus 23. While the program of annual festivals varies from congregation to congregation, all these festivals are to serve as memorials of God's great acts of salvation in history and as annual celebrations of God's power, love and saving grace in Jesus Christ. The church places primary emphasis on the celebration and rehearsal of God's great saving act in Jesus Christ as expressed in the biblical record of Jesus' incarnation, death, resurrection and return.

(Leviticus 23:1-44; John 7:37; Acts 2:1; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Colossians 2:16-17)

Tithing

Tithing is the scriptural practice of giving a tenth of one's increase to God. Giving tithes and offerings was commanded under the old covenant, but is a voluntary expression of worship and stewardship under the new covenant. The church uses tithes and offerings to fulfil its God-given mission to preach the gospel and feed the flock. Tithing and giving reflect the believer's worship, faith, and love for God, who is the Source of salvation and Giver of all good things.

(Leviticus 27:30; Matthew 23:23; Hebrews 7:4-14; 1 Corinthians 9:1-14)

Bible Prophecy

Bible prophecy is part of God's revelation of his will and purpose to humanity. In Bible prophecy, God reveals that human sinfulness can be forgiven through repentance and faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. Bible prophecy proclaims God as Sovereign Judge of all, assures humanity of his love, mercy, and faithfulness, and motivates the believer to live a godly life in Jesus Christ.

(Isaiah 46:9-11; Daniel 4:17; Jude 14-15; 2 Peter 3:14; Luke 24:44-48)

The Second Coming

Jesus Christ, as he promised, will return to earth to judge and reign over all nations in the kingdom of God. His second coming will be visible, and in power and glory. This event inaugurates the resurrection of the dead and the reward of the saints.

(John 14:3; Revelation 17:14; Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)

The Millennium

The Millennium is the time span described in the book of Revelation during which the resurrected saints reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years. After the Millennium, when all enemies will have been put under his feet, and all things made subject to him, Christ will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, and both heaven and earth will be made new.

(Acts 3:19-21; Revelation 11:15; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Revelation 21:1, 5; Revelation 20:1-15)

The Inheritance of the Believer

The inheritance of the believer is salvation and eternal life as an immortal child of God in communion with the Father and Jesus Christ. This inheritance is reserved in heaven and will be bestowed at the second coming of Christ. The resurrected saints will reign with Christ in the kingdom of God.

(1 John 2:25; Romans 8:16-19; Daniel 7:27;1 Peter 1:3-5; Revelation 5:10; 1 John 3:1-2)

The Fate of the Unrepentant

Unrepentant sinners are those who deliberately and ultimately reject the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. Their fate is to perish in the lake of fire. This death is eternal, and the Scriptures refer to it as the second death.

(Matthew 10:28; 3:12; 25:41; Revelation 20:14-15)

The Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God in the broadest sense is God's supreme sovereignty. God reigns in the church and in the life of each believer who is submissive to his will. The kingdom of God will be established over the whole world after the return of Jesus Christ and will increase to encompass all things.

(Luke 17:20-21; Daniel 2:44; Mark 1:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 11:15; 21:3, 22-27; 22:1-5)

Eternal Judgement

God will gather all the living and the dead before the heavenly throne of Christ for judgement. The righteous will receive eternal glory, and the wicked will be condemned. It is the belief of the World-wide Church of God that the Lord has made righteous provision in the Judgement for the unevangelised dead, and that many will respond to their risen and glorified Saviour in faith and be saved, while the rest will be condemned.

(Matthew 25:31-32; Acts 24:15; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:11-15;
1 Timothy 2:4-6; 2 Peter 3:9; Acts 10:43; John 12:32; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28)

Hell

Hell is a term commonly applied to the eternal separation from God reserved for all incorrigible sinners. In the context of spiritual judgement, hell, like heaven, is not primarily a location but a spiritual condition. In the New Testament, hell is figuratively referred to by the terms "lake of fire," "outer darkness," and Gehenna (a gorge outside Jerusalem where garbage was dumped and burned). Hell is characterised by punishment, torment, anguish, eternal destruction, weeping and gnashing of teeth. The biblical terms Sheol and Hades, often translated "hell" or "the grave," usually refer to the realm of the dead, not to eternal destruction. Because the precise nature of the afterlife is not defined in Scripture, the World-wide Church of God does not hold a dogmatic position on whether unrepentant sinners are annihilated in the lake of fire or experience conscious eternal ruin.

(2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8; Matthew 10:28; 25:41, 46;
Revelation 14:11; 2 Peter 2:6; Psalm 49:14-15)

Heaven

Heaven is a biblical term commonly applied to the abode of God and the eternal destiny of all Gods redeemed children. To be "in heaven" is to live in the presence of God, apart from all pain, sin and evil. Heaven is characterised by everlasting joy, blessedness and peace, and the righteousness of God.

(Deuteronomy 26:15; 1 Kings 8:30; Matthew 6:9; Acts 7:55-56; Hebrews 8:1;
John 14:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Matthew 5:5, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-8; Philippians 1:23;
2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 22:1-5; 21:3-4)

The Intermediate State

The intermediate state is the condition of the dead until the resurrection of the body. Christians hold various viewpoints on the nature of the intermediate state based on their interpretation of relevant biblical passages. Some passages suggest a conscious intermediate state, and others an unconscious state. The World-wide Church of God holds no dogmatic position on whether humans are conscious between death and the resurrection of the body.

(Isaiah 14:9-10; Ezekiel 32:21; Luke 16:19-31; 23:43; Romans 8:38-39; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 1:21-24; Revelation 6:9-11; Psalms 6:5; 88:10-12; 115:17; Ecclesiastes 3:19-21; 9:5, 10; Isaiah 38:18; John 11:11-14)

Eternal Security

Eternal security is a term that refers to the belief that the elect in Christ, by God's power and grace, will never lose salvation. The Bible affirms that all who remain in Jesus Christ will be saved, and that nothing can snatch them out of the hand of Christ. Whether a person can fall out of belief is not made absolutely clear in Scripture. The Bible emphasises the infinite faithfulness of the Lord, the total sufficiency of Jesus Christ for our salvation, the dynamic love of God for all peoples, and the gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe, while it urges believers to remain firm in the faith and to make their calling and election sure.

(John 10:27-29; Rom. 8:28-30; 9:21-24; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:4-5, 11; 2 Tim. 1:9;
Luke 8:13; 1 Cor. 15:2; Gal. 5:4; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26, 29;
1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Tim. 2:13; John 6:35; Heb. 7:25-26;
John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18
1 Cor. 16:13; Heb. 4:14; 12:1; 2 Pet. 3:17-18)

If You Would Like to Know More...

Who We Are

This is published by the World-wide Church of God, which has members and ministers in more than 100 countries and territories. The church proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ and helps disciples of Jesus follow him (Matthew 28:19-20). The gospel announces that redemption and salvation are available through Christ. It also conveys the hope of the future coming of the fullness of the kingdom of God, beginning with the return of Jesus Christ.

Provided Free of Charge

This literature is not to be sold. It is offered free of charge, provided by those who voluntarily contribute to support this work. We are indebted to the generous tithes and offerings of the members of the World-wide Church of God and our extended family of co-workers. Contributions are gratefully welcomed to help us share this message of hope with others. The World-wide Church of God, in accordance with responsible Christian stewardship, uses an external, independent auditing firm.

Personal Counsel

Fulfilling Jesus' command to feed his sheep (John 21:15-17), the church has local congregations in many nations around the world. In these congregations, believers assemble to worship God, to be instructed from the Scriptures and to fellowship.

The World-wide Church of God has committed itself to faithfully understanding and practising the Christianity of the New Testament. And we want to share God's way of life with those who seek to worship and follow Jesus Christ. Our ministers are available to counsel, explain the Bible and answer questions about Christian living. If you are interested in contacting a minister or visiting one of our congregations, please feel free to write to us at one of our addresses or contact us by telephone. For congregations, pastors, phone numbers and e-mail addresses in the United States, click here. For other nations, go to http://www.wcg.org/international.htm.

Copyright 1995, 1998 World-wide Church of God.