Question: "What is the Restored Church of God, and what do they believe?"
Answer: The Restored Church of God (RCG) is one of many offshoots of the original Worldwide Church of God (WCG), founded by Herbert W. Armstrong in 1934. The Restored Church of God was started by David C. Pack in 1999 after he was fired from the Global Church of God. The Restored Church of God claims to retain the “tenets, style, and structure of the earlier Worldwide Church of God, before the death of Herbert W. Armstrong in 1986.”
The mass splintering of the Worldwide Church of God began after a series of major doctrinal changes in 1992. This has given rise to so many groups (including the United Church of God, Grace Communion International, the Philadelphia Church of God, the Global Church of God, the Living Church of God, House of Yahweh, the Intercontinental Church of God, the Church of God—Worldwide Association, and the Church of God—International Community) that the term Armstrongism was coined to cover all their errant theologies.
David Pack considered himself an “Elijah” to Herbert Armstrong’s “Apostleship,” until he more recently began claiming the office of Apostle for himself. According to Pack’s website, “he has reached millions around the globe with the most powerful truths of the Bible, unknown to almost all” (emphasis added). It is this “special knowledge” of the Bible that is part of the problem with the Restored Church of God.
The church’s belief system is founded on select principles from the Old Testament such as the Ten Commandments, dietary laws, tithing (three types are required), and compulsory celebration of the high Sabbaths and feast days. They follow an Old Covenant Sabbath, worshiping from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Celebration of Easter and Christmas is not allowed.
Members of the Restored Church of God are warned that leaving the fellowship will cause them to lose any chance of eternal life. Salvation is found only in the Restored Church of God. All other churches are considered apostate or counterfeit.
The Restored Church of God teaches binitarian theology rather than trinitarian. They believe that the Godhead temporarily consists of Jesus the Messiah, as the creator and spokesman, and God the Father. Their God Family doctrine states that every human who ever lived may be spiritually born and enter into the Godhead.
Pack teaches an imminent end of the world, with World War III beginning in the United States and Britain, the economy collapsing, and death and destruction reigning. In making such prophecies, Pack continues the tradition of Armstrong himself, who made over 200 prophecies (with specific dates) of massive destruction in the United States. Armstrong’s prophecies never came to pass. Pack typically avoids referencing specific dates.
The Restored Church of God teaches the false Anglo-Israel theology, stating that residents of Britain are the tribe of Ephraim and that those of the U.S. are Manasseh. They also teach that white Anglo-Saxons are the chosen people of God.
A religious sect can be considered a cult when it denies the basic theology that defines the Christian faith. Armstrongism, with its denial of the Trinity, its false prophecies, and its promotion of Law-based justification, has always been considered a cult. The Restored Church of God, in seeking to restore the original doctrines of Armstrongism, falls into the same category. “‘They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:9).