Worldwide Church of God
The Worldwide Church of God was formed in America in 1934 as "The Radio Church of God" by Herbert Armstrong. Just as with Russell, Armstrong started a new religion despite having no formal seminary training.
Beliefs as taught by Armstrong that coincided with Witnesses were as follows:
The major difference was the belief in keeping the Sabbath.
Armstrong appointed a long term follower, Joseph Tkach to replace him when he died. Just as of Russell's followers left under Rutherford's leadership, the Worldwide Church of God split at the death of Armstrong due to Tkach changing many of the Church's original teachings.
Tkach changed almost all the teachings listed above, feeling they were plainly unscriptural. Witnesses would say for them to go back to Christendom's teachings proves it is now being blinded by Satan. Does this mean that Armstrong's ability to break away from Christendom and Satan's wrong teachings mean that he was being guided by Holy Spirit? Or are the Witnesses and Armstrong no more than Bible students whose study led them in a similar inaccurate direction?
When the doctrines were changed Tkach showed heartfelt sorrow for the sufferings the Church had caused. The apology relates to enforcing unnecessary and unbiblical burdens and over adherence to Old Testament law. It is interesting to notice how closely this compares with current Watchtower practice.
The apology appeared at gci.org/aboutus/forgiveus (of of May 2013).
"Forgive Us Our Trespasses" by Joseph Tkach
One difference between the history of Jehovahs Witnesses and the Church of God is how they have approached changing teachings. Whereas Tkach apologised to the Church members for the mistakes of the past the Watchtower Society has never acknowledged there to have been changes of any consequence. Watchtower changes are attributed to increasing light, or the misunderstanding of members, such as this statement about those that believed the end would by in 1914.
"Some read into the Watch Tower statements that were never intended" Jehovahs Witnesses in the Divine Purpose p.52
The history for the Worldwide Church of God could be the history of the Jehovahs Witnesses. Most interesting is the last paragraphs description of what happened when they changed back to the teachings of Christianity.
In the early 1930s, Herbert Armstrong began a radio ministry, a magazine and a church that eventually became "The World Tomorrow," The Plain Truth, and the Worldwide Church of God. He had many unusual doctrines. These he taught so enthusiastically that eventually more than 100,000 people attended weekly services.
Ed Mentell is a former Worldwide Church of God member and runs what their organization refers to as an "apostate" site at http://www.hwarmstrong.com/ (as of August 2008). He attempts to show why the Worldwide Church of God is not Gods organization. The way Worldwide Church of God members view Ed is the same as how active Jehovah's Witnesses refer to former members, with a quote on his site referring to him as:
Old, burnt out Ed, Sr.'s behavior demonstrates once again that: As usual, the godless have no problem lying for Satan.
United Church of God
When Rutherford took over from Russell and changed Russells teachings the Bible Students splintered into a number of groups wanting to uphold the original teachings, including the Russellites. Likewise, the changes to the Church of God led to the religion splitting and the formation of the United Church of God, determined to continue with the teachings of Armstrong. Their official website is http://www.ucg.org/about/. It is interesting to see how they have progressed into the 21st century. The website is professional and modern, the doctrines presented in an appealing way, yet still they hold to what they believe to be the doctrines of the Bible. They are family oriented and organise events for their youth. Their website discusses events such as cruises that are set up for singles at http://www.ucgsingles.org/ and address the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing. They also do not go to war.
As of 21/07/2005 the introductory paragraph stated;
We trace our origins to the Church that Jesus founded in the early first century. We follow the same teachings, doctrines and practices established then. Our commission is to proclaim the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God to all the world as a witness and teach all nations to observe what Christ commanded (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20).
They do not teach an immortal soul or believe in the Trinity, and discuss the same fall into paganism that the Witnesses teach. There is a strong focus on morals and preaching. Their Governing Body consists of 12 men, based on Jesus model of 12 apostles.
The official website for the Church of God was wcg.org, but as of May 2013 redirects to gci.org.
Many former members of the Church of God have set up websites, such as batteredsheep.com.