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The Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) is an international church based in Edmond, Oklahoma. PCG traces its roots to the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, and teaches a "new revelation" which its founder, Gerald Flurry, says God has shown to him from the Bible since Armstrong's death. It was founded with the stated purpose of continuing Armstrong's teachings, which were repudiated by WCG after its founder's death in 1986, as it embraced mainstream Christian beliefs like the Trinity that had formerly been rejected.
Gerald Ray Flurry (born April 12, 1935) is the founder and Pastor General of PCG. It is taught within PCG that he is "That Prophet", a divinely appointed successor to Armstrong, akin to Elisha after Elijah.
PCG was founded by Flurry and his assistant pastor John Amos (1929–1993) and incorporated in the United States on December 20, 1989. They were previously ministers serving Oklahoma City and Enid, Oklahoma WCG congregations at the time.
Eventually he transferred to Oklahoma in 1985. During the three years after Herbert Armstrong's death in 1986, WCG made several doctrinal changes that Flurry objected to as doctrinally false. He began to make known his opposition to these changes and produced a manuscript that would become the book, Malachi's Message to God’s Church Today. These events led to his being summoned by WCG leaders to appear before them. Flurry and Amos were disfellowshipped from WCG in 1989 for challenging the doctrinal changes.
A group of supporters began to form around Flurry at this point, including John Amos, Tim Thompson, Vyron Wilkins, Dennis Leap, Frank Garcia, Wilber Malone, Don Marshall, Jim Mortensen, Don Roth and Winston Davis. They disagreed with the doctrinal changes occurring in WCG. Together 12 people met for the Philadelphia Church of God’s first service on December 16, 1989. On December 20 the PCG became an incorporated entity. With the founding of PCG one of its first actions was to publish Malachi's Message to God’s Church Today and distribute it to as many WCG members as possible.
Flurry has written the following literature:
Flurry co-authored the following literature:
Similarly to WCG and Armstrong's doctrines, PCG teaches God is a family of divine beings currently composed of the Father and the Son which humans may be born into.
The church observes sunset Friday to sunset Saturday as the Sabbath day of worship.
PCG members observe dietary laws as laid out in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
The church teaches British Israelism, the idea that the British and Americans are descended from the lost ten tribes of Israel.
PCG also possesses a system of tithing where 10% of one's income is donated to the church ("First Tithe") for its operations and for spreading its teachings. A second 10% is saved for the member's expenses during the Holy Days ("Second Tithe"), mainly the Feast of Tabernacles. During the third and sixth year of each seven-year cycle, a third 10% is used for the indigent, widows, and orphans within the church ("Third Tithe").
PCG also has strong apocalyptic teachings inherited from WCG. It teaches a Great Tribulation will soon occur in which a united European power will emerge, composed of ten nations or groups of nations, which will conquer the modern descendants of Israel (the USA, Britain and Israel) and take them into slavery. An alliance of eastern powers (including Russia and China) will gather up its forces and wage war upon the European power. Then Jesus Christ will return and liberate the Israelites and usher in a thousand years of worldwide peace, which is called the 'world tomorrow'.
PCG also teaches some distinctive doctrines which distinguish it from WCG.
PCG claims the adoption of mainstream Christian doctrines by WCG was prophesied in the Bible and that it represents the beginning of the seventh era of God's Church (Laodicea), which PCG is not a part of, but instead is a remnant of the sixth era (Philadelphia). Gerald Flurry's first book, Malachi's Message, is held to be the 'little book' of Revelation 10, a divine revelation hidden until 1989.
Aside from being viewed as an Apostle, Armstrong is also thought to be the end time Elijah, as John the Baptist is also held to be a type of Elijah for Jesus' time. A church magazine article in the 1990s stated no one is invited to a PCG service unless they agree with this belief.
Gerald Flurry is also taught to be 'that prophet', a figure held by PCG to be biblically prophesied to succeed Herbert W. Armstrong.
PCG sponsors media projects, including television shows and regular publications, to preach its message and continue the legacy of Herbert W. Armstrong.
The Key of David is a weekly religious television program hosted by Flurry, in which he discusses world events and issues from his perspective of the Bible and its prophecies, covering topics such as the human mind, politics and war.
The program is aired in Africa, Australasia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Philippines, and the United States. The Key of David was taken off the air for a while when PCG was embroiled in a legal battle with the WCG over copyright issues, but returned after that matter was resolved through mediation.
The Philadelphia Trumpet is PCG's monthly news and prophecy magazine.
A program called The Trumpet Daily featuring Flurry's son Stephen premiered 9 May 2011.
PCG runs several foundations and educational institutions aimed at promoting Armstrong and Flurry's teachings to its members and their children.
The PCG administers a small liberal arts and theology college, Herbert W. Armstrong College, located in Edmond. The college was established in 2001 as "Imperial College of Edmond," but was renamed after objections by Imperial College London. Armstrong College graduated its first class in 2006.
In August 2008, Flurry founded Imperial Academy, a primary and secondary school for the children of church members patterned after the WCG's Imperial Schools.
The Philadelphia Youth Camp (PYC) is the youth camp of PCG. PYC campers participate in athletic activities and a wide variety of social and educational activities during the three-week event, encouraging teamwork and cooperation. Church doctrines are also stressed throughout the children's camp experience, both in day-to-day activities and in mandatory sermons and Bible studies. PYC is located in Edmond, Oklahoma, but PYC camps are also held annually in Australia and the Philippines.
The PCG established a humanitarian arm called the Philadelphia Foundation in 1996 when it took over a project in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan that the WCG's Ambassador Foundation had left behind. In 2005 the name was changed to the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation. Since 1998, the foundation has sponsored a performing arts series in Edmond, Oklahoma, and in 2005 it began supporting archaeological excavations in Jerusalem.
In January 2008, the PCG broke ground on Armstrong Auditorium, an 800-seat performing arts center located on the Herbert W. Armstrong College campus in Edmond, built in the spirit of Ambassador Auditorium at Ambassador College. It was completed in September 2010, and became the venue for the foundation's concerts. It has three of the largest chandeliers in the United States. The Auditorium is hosting a world class concert series including such artists as The Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, Andre Watts, The Eroica Trio, and the Russian National Ballet Theatre.
Flurry teaches that Malachi's Message is the 'little book' of Revelation 10, a hidden part of Revelation hidden by God until 1989.
Despite the fact that the WCG owned the copyrights to Mystery of the Ages, written by Herbert W. Armstrong, Flurry decided in 1997 to print and distribute hard copies under the “fair use" clause of the copyright law. This book summed up Armstrong's teachings. The book had been put out of print and copies destroyed by the WCG leadership within three years of Armstrong’s death. PCG published the book in order to distribute it. WCG's leadership rejected that the PCG printing of this book was "fair use" of their copyright and thus began a six-year court battle over fair use of the copyrights, with the WCG losing the initial round at the appellate level on February 18, 1997. WCG then appealed and won a split decision with the Ninth Circuit Court on September 18, 2000.
After this, PCG petitioned the twenty-six judges of the Ninth Circuit Court. After they all rejected it, the PCG appealed to the nine justices of the Supreme Court, but none would hear the case. WCG's leadership offered Flurry and the PCG all of Armstrong’s works for three million dollars on the condition that internal WCG documents, memos, and emails obtained through discovery be handed back by the PCG. According to Stephen Flurry’s (Gerald Flurry's son) book Raising the Ruins, this condition was regarded as a deal breaker and the WCG was told to prepare to resume litigation. Within hours, the condition to the sale of the copyright was removed from the proposal and an agreement was reached. PCG agreed to pay WCG $3 million. In exchange, PCG would acquire the copyright to Mystery of the Ages and the other eighteen disputed works. In order to pay this amount PCG had to abandon coverage of 'The Key of David' program on all TV spots except on WGN.
The Philadelphia Church of God now owns the copyrights to nineteen of Herbert W. Armstrong’s works, including all his full length books.
Since at least 2005 it has been PCG policy that all sermons sent out on CD be immediately destroyed after being heard in local areas. No one is to listen to the message again and the CD is destroyed with a witness present. In spite of this air-tight ruling, several sermons are available on the internet. The sermons that are posted up on the internet have come from former members who secretly brought recording devices and the like into the meeting halls and recorded them while they were being played at church services.
Flurry has been criticized by detractors for the church's teaching of disfellowshipment. PCG, citing Romans 16:17, teaches church members to avoid associating with or fellowshipping with present and former baptized members of WCG, prohibiting "any kind of fellowship with former PCG members and all "Laodiceans," even if they are members of a church member's immediate family." He has written, “We [PCG members] must not keep company or fellowship with them [‘Laodiceans’] by going to restaurants and things like that. In the past some members have been told that these relationships are okay so long as religion is not discussed…[but to the contrary] there should be a complete cut off.” 
Exceptions to the teaching are if an apostate or Laodicean spouse of a PCG member is "pleased to dwell." Scripture, Flurry said, dictates that "that relationship should be preserved as long as the [disfellowshipped or Laodicean] mate is pleased to dwell." He cited 1 Corinthians 7:10-14. The other exception to the disfellowship rule is "unbaptized children" and other former PCG attendees who may have been baptized but were not "validly baptized." The PCG disfellowshipment teaching does not apply to family members not formally associated with the Worldwide Church of God.
Any WCG member or ex-member or members of similar offshoot groups are held to be a part of the seventh era of God's Church (Laodicea) and hence such people are to be avoided by PCG members. Members are also told to cut off contact with friends and family who have left, were excommunicated from, and/or are in disagreement with the organization (as stated unambiguously by Flurry in his December 10, 2005 Pastor General's Report, "The principle to remember is this: there should not be any contact with converted church members who have left--and that includes family members other than a mate.")
In 2008, an Oklahoma City news station KOKH FOX 25 broadcast an in-depth report on PCG, which Flurry viewed as being "sensationalistic" and largely negative, claiming the church was the victim of an "ambush" and depicted inaccurately.