This is a story about God’s Church gone off track and what God did to correct the tragedy.
Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in 1934 (though it began with a different name) and led it for over 51 years to its height in membership, global impact and income at the time of his death in 1986. The successor he chose, Joseph Tkach, began as pastor general with the spoken aim to “follow his example.”
Soon, however, disturbing and significant changes in Church doctrine began to be introduced. The changes revealed a diversion in course, one that led to catastrophe.
Malachi’s Message was originally written in 1989, when the new direction in God’s Church was, to many of its members, not very perceptible. The book was primarily intended to alert the ministry of the Worldwide Church of God (wcg) as to what was really happening and, secondarily, to alert the Church membership. When an early draft of the book was brought to the attention of wcg leadership in Pasadena, California, Gerald Flurry and his assistant, John Amos, were fired from their positions as wcg ministers. As this book explains, the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg) began immediately.
Since its first printing in 1990, more than 100,000 copies of Malachi’s Message have been distributed. In early reprints of the book, the pcg tried to keep up with doctrinal changes as they emerged from the wcg. The changes came very fast and became increasingly apparent to people both within and outside the Church.
By the late 1990s, however, so much had changed, and the landscape of the now-fractious Church of God was so different, we decided to preserve the book essentially as it was in the midst of the wcg’s doctrinal metamorphosis. The wcg today is hardly recognizable as the one Herbert Armstrong founded. Various other churches have formed, after leaving the wcg, each with varying degrees of the truth Mr. Armstrong established. These groups continue to change and splinter at a fast rate. Rather than making minor changes throughout the body of Malachi’s Message, we have chosen to bring the reader up to date by addressing major developments that have occurred since 1995 in an afterword.