Teaching Students About the Worldwide Church of God
It is important for students to understand the various religions and belief systems that exist in the world today. One religion that may not be as well-known as some others is the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Here is some information that can help teachers introduce their students to this relatively small but historically significant faith.
History of the Worldwide Church of God
The Worldwide Church of God was founded in the 1930s in the United States by Herbert W. Armstrong. He believed that many traditional Christian teachings were incorrect and set out to spread his own message based on what he saw as a literal interpretation of the Bible. However, his teachings were controversial, and many Christians disagreed with him.
One of the most controversial aspects of Armstrong’s teachings was his rejection of many mainstream Christian holidays and practices. For example, he believed that Christmas and Easter had pagan origins and should not be celebrated by true Christians. He also saw the Sabbath as Saturday, rather than Sunday, as many Christians do.
The church grew in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s as Armstrong’s radio and television broadcasts became widely known. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, the church went through a period of turmoil, including a major rift between Armstrong and his son, who later took over leadership of the church after Armstrong’s death.
In recent years, the church has undergone significant changes and is now known simply as the Church of God.
Beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God
Like many Christian denominations, the Worldwide Church of God believes in one God who has revealed himself through Jesus Christ. However, they have some unique teachings that set them apart.
One of the most important is their belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible. They see the Bible as the inerrant word of God and believe that they are called to live by its teachings as closely as possible.
In addition to rejecting many mainstream Christian holidays, the church also believes in the imminent return of Christ and the establishment of a literal Kingdom of God on earth. They also believe in the resurrection of the dead, the judgment of all people, and the eventual restoration of the earth to its original condition.
How to Teach Students about the Worldwide Church of God
When introducing the Worldwide Church of God, it is important to provide context for students. Talk about the history of the denomination and how it fits into the larger context of Christianity.
You can also explore some of the controversies surrounding the church’s teachings, such as their rejection of mainstream Christian holidays. Use this as an opportunity to discuss how different people interpret the Bible in different ways and how this can lead to disagreements and even conflict.
Finally, be sure to emphasize that while the Worldwide Church of God may be a relatively small denomination, it has had a significant impact on the broader Christian community. It is an important part of the diverse landscape of religious belief in the United States and worldwide.
Teaching students about the Worldwide Church of God can be a valuable lesson in diversity and religious exploration. It can help them understand the complexity of religion and how different people can interpret the same text in very different ways. As such, it is an important part of a well-rounded education.