Wednesday 20 January 2016

Joe Tkach - the Final Curtain?

A fascinating post over at Gary Leonard's blog suggests that the Last Days might have arrived for Joe Tkach's Grace Communion International. Word is out that the sect is dumping its employment pension plan, along with rumors that the various congregations are set to be cut loose from the Glendora office.

If true, what once was the Worldwide Church of God, a highly centralized, monolithic body, will disintegrate with nary a whimper.

The church has, as I understand it, stayed afloat in part thanks to bequests accrued down through the decades under Herbert W. Armstrong, providing an ongoing baseline income. Enough to fund the downsized operation, and Joe in the big boy's chair. Now the speculation is that Pastor General Joe wants to lay down the crown leaving the remaining stalwarts to fend for themselves. Gary suggests Joey doesn't trust anyone else to take on his faux-"episcopal" role, and so will destroy what's left of the sect he inherited from dear old dad.

Needless to say, if this is the case, the plebs in the pews are unlikely to get a say. All the bullgeschichte about "reform" hasn't meant empowerment for the members. Despite the elaborate window dressing GCI is still run like North Korea when it comes to issues that count. Apparently Joe gets to call the shots and everyone else be damned.

It goes without saying that, if this turns out to be correct, many past and present stakeholders will be highly focused on what might follow.

We eagerly await denials from Glendora HQ.


  1. suggests

    Well, yes, entropy does seem to have taken a particular stranglehold on the GCI -- not unexpected given that the participants in the enterprise seem to have wanted to destroy what Herbert Armstrong built (not entirely a bad thing, mind you), take the money and run. There's little doubt that to oversee the demise of the stinking putrid enterprise was a murky goal from the very beginning.

    But now those who are left are just plain tired of maintaining the mouldering decayed collapsing ruins and want to walk away.

    I visited the local congregation a few years back. I think there were 11 people. There used to be over 200. Then there's the website:

    Note that it still calls itself the WCG and that it meets on Saturday afternoon -- at the local Scottish Rite Masonic Center.

    At least they have a pianist and organist, so the music is good.

    Still... it's a waste of time, even if Mr. Pate's sermons are good (he had an excellent sermon on I Thessalonians the day I was there).

  2. Tkach is brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! There should be an episode of "American Greed" on him!

    Sell off $200 Million worth of assets, stay on as the unaccountable "Pope" and then get rid of every single responsibility of the Church , and every single payroll burden!

    Frankly, one of the biggest HEISTS in history on any level!

    The address for GCI is very telling...2011 E FINANCIAL WAY, glendora, California, 91741-4614

  3. Hey, Joe, where you goin' with that loot of yours? / I said, hey Joe, where you goin' with that loot in your hand? / I'm gettin' out while the gettin's good / You know, I'm kinda tired of runnin' the show / And that ain't too cool / It's time to take the money and go...

  4. Do you want Christian 'Salvation'?
    Then you will need to have 10% your Church-tax go to the Eggheads at Glendora,
    who can interpret Karl Barth and keep you in compliance with Orthodox Theology

  5. Tired. Tired. Tired.

    That seems to be the keyword here.

    Just where is that life and fire of Christianity? Where is the burning desire to spread the Good News of Redemption? Where is the enthusiasm (Greek enthousiasmos, from enthous ‘possessed by a god, inspired’ (based on theos ‘god’)? The energy?

    Has his get up and go gotten up and gone?

    Compare his energyless existence with that of the fiery Herbert Armstrong, shouting, waving his arms (pointing up into the air), the relentless pursuit (sounds like a board game Milton-Bradley might want to sponsor) of cult religious excellence.

    Yes, compare.

    Then it won't be much of a stretch to understand why GCI is failing: He didn't inherit high grip -- or maybe he's lost his grip.

  6. I've always had mixed feelings about this man. Clearly he would never in our wildest dreams have been "pastor general" of a church based on his own ability or accomplishment. He got lucky and inherited the church from his Dad. He's been able to pay himself a good income the past 20+ by winding down the church's assets and using the proceeds to pay himself. Now he's retirement age and he's tired. So let him retire - who cares? The world isn't fair. Lots of people get rich unfairly. He's one of them.

    Goodbye Joe Jr. I'm sure you've got a nice 401K nest egg and will have a comfortable retirement.

  7. When I read comments like those of Skeptic's above, I often wonder just WHO would satisfy the "criteria" for being the head of a Church, or any church for that matter. The Catholics wrestle with this every time a Pope dies, and the process by which this is accomplished is still a closely-guarded secret, or more likely, a mystery.

    So Joe, Jr. got "lucky"? I am not sure that becoming the head of such an organization places a person in the category of good fortune? After all, since he has been there, he has been targeted by all kinds of people. Maybe it is jealousy, maybe it is just meanness. I don't know.

    1. I could name five people immediately, quite off the top of my head, who would have been better, more qualified leaders than Joe Jr. Of course none had a chance in the Byzantine system of nepotistic patronage that reigns in GCI and its splinters. The key words here are legitimacy, accountability and a mandate from the membership. Of course if none of that means anything to you then Joe is a fine leadership choice, along with the other despots who rule in a thousand sects.

      I've beaten the keyboard on this issue more times than I care to remember. For the record"

      Groundhog Day in GCI
      A Dark & deceitful reformation
      Wisdom ignored

    2. "When I read comments like those of Skeptic's above, I often wonder just WHO would satisfy the "criteria" for being the head of a Church".

      OK, here are a few hints. You may not be the best qualified man to be leader of the church IF:

      1. You were not even on the payroll as a minister prior to your father becoming leader, then suddenly you got promotion after promotion by - guess who? - your father.

      2. You were a factory foreman until your father became leader of the church, THEN got quickly promoted to Evangelist by your father.

      3. You would not even have been among the contenders prior to your father becoming leader of the church, BUT your father is the only one who gets to vote!

      4. You got the job because your father named you second-in-charge and then died.

      I could go on and on.

      Yes, Joe Jr. got lucky. This is a man who was a factory worker, earning what a factory worker earns. His father died and left him a church, after which he has paid himself a six-figure salary from 1995 to present. Sincere people donated to WCG from inception to 1995 with the intent that this money be used to preach the gospel as HWA taught it. This man instead stopped preaching the gospel as we understood it, sold off the assets and used the proceeds to pay himself. That's unethical and would be criminal in any field other than religion (protected by separation of church and state).

  8. Criminal? Hell no! He's the Ronald Reagan of churchdom. He totally fragged an evil empire which was based on extrabiblical theories and lying prophecies. How many of us would have gladly taken up contributions to pay someone to do exactly that? It was an abusive and coercive organization that in a perfect world should have disbanded and fallen apart immediately after the big lie of 1975 failed to validate.


    1. Don't be bitter, You're just a man who God has caused a delusion not to see his Truth. It all works out in the end... : )

  9. Gosh, David was anointed as a king while he was a teenage shepherd. Somehow I doubt that the people of Israel would have ever even considered him for the position based on his "qualifications".

  10. So who says David did such a great job? Even taking the stories a face value, his rulership doesn't come across as being very beneficial to his people. Large numbers of men were killed in his wars, with widows and orphans left behind. He took multiple wives and neglected wives once he got tired of them. Did he raise his sons to be good rulers? Before and after his death his sons killed each other seeking to succeed him. The son who succeeded him (Solomon) bled the kingdom's economy dry, which set up a split once Solomon died. Tell me, what was it David did that makes you think he was a good king?

    1. Acts 13 Verse 22
      Romans 3: versus 10 through 12
      Romans 8 verse 33
      Matthew 7 verses 1 through 3
      I was a member of the worldwide Church of God for over 15 years when was coming up to the church and being used for the purposes of the church through the ministry it is a fact that the wcg did not understand the New Covenant and the elders in conjunction with Joe to cut did come to some new understandings but I also believe that they fell short as well.... if you believe in Scripture if you believe in the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ is the son of God let God be concerned with those things that are present on this Earth seek your own salvation I think would be the best advice
      God judges!!!

    2. You do know David was a man after Gods own heart? Sounds like you don't believe the Bible is the ordained word of God...

  11. Skeptic, point taken. Apparently though, GOD seems to think he did some things well, as He intends to place David as King forever, over all of Israel. Your statement is proof positive that the human way of evaluating "leadership" doesn't always jive with God's way.

  12. Larry, I doubt God thinks or intends any such thing. I give God credit for more sense than that.

    What this really shows is that the modern way of evaluating leadership differs from that of bronze-age Palestine. I know, you think the bible is inerrant. It's clear to me the bible has plenty of errors and reflects not a message from God but the writing of bronze-age scribes who were clearly not unbiased but were advocates.

  13. If I remember correctly, Joe Jr. had quite a few troubles when he was in the employ of Intel - and he has hated unions ever since. If he removes pension plans, he is breaking a pact between employer and employee which is punishable by law if it can be proven that it is a willful act. Such funds should have been kept in a separate bank account if it was a private company.
    Just because we are dealing with an organization in the field of religion doesn't change anything. Or shouldn't anyway. But many will, of course, say that our low opinions of both Joe Jr. and his dad are caused by bitterness because it makes it less likely that sheep will listen to common sense.
    I have never liked Joe Jr. - he appears dishonest and in it for the quick buck.

    So happy I got out of Armstrongism in time to regain clarity of vision!

  14. Tkach Jnr & Snr were downright thieves. !!!

  15. Why don't you folks quit your gossip and hashing about JT and pray for him instead?

  16. I was brainwashed in this cult from age 12 til 25. It's up there with scientology as evil and manipulative

    1. So now you're free and enjoying the Pagan worship of men? lol... Good for you.

  17. Where did you attend church and who was the minister?

  18. I was a member from 1976 I was 10 years old Till 1990 Buffalo NY church David Pack was the minister

  19. Member in Bismarck late 60s, should have split after 72 became a lie. Gradually God has brought me back and last 20 years has revealed reformed theology to me for which I'm massively grateful