In the early 1930s, Herbert Armstrong began a ministry that eventually became our denomination. He founded the Worldwide Church of God which adhered to unusual doctrines that fell outside the bounds of orthodoxy. Even though much of Armstrong’s doctrinal foundation was faulty, there were still core Christian truths in the message he preached. Many unchurched people, who had little prior exposure to Christianity, came to faith through his media outreach. People came to Christ, accepted his sacrifice for their sins, and trusted in him for salvation. Many lives were transformed from sin and selfishness to service and humility.
Just as Jesus Christ changes lives, he too has the power to change an organisation.
After Herbert Armstrong’s death in 1986, our organization began to shift dramatically. Church leaders began to realise that many of his doctrines were not biblically sound. These doctrinal changes took the better part of 10 years.
These were years of turmoil and tremendous reorientation during which many left the church over these changes. Those who remained had to reorient themselves and fully re-evaluate their relationship with God and what they believed. After struggling to understand the doctrinal change, many members began to experience a new sense of peace and joy through a renewed faith in Jesus Christ. Their identity was in him, not in any particular laws they had kept. Through all this, many members were transformed and rejoiced with a renewed zeal for their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Today, the leaders of our denomination reject Armstrong’s doctrinal errors. We acknowledge that such errors were deep and serious, but that, above all, Christ has rescued us from them.
The church is now an Evangelical denomination and is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals in the US and a member of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK. To reflect these doctrinal changes, in April 2009, the denomination changed its name from Worldwide Church of God to Grace Communion International. The Church in the UK formally changed it legal name to Grace Communion International in 2022. The name Grace Communion International better reflects who we have become and what we now teach:
GRACE is at the heart of who God is, as revealed by his Son, Jesus Christ. God relates to us out of his unconditional love and grace. Grace is God’s undeserved favour, through which he has saved us and made us one with him solely out of divine kindness and generosity.
COMMUNION is about genuine relationships: real fellowship with the Father through the Son in the communion of the Holy Spirit, and therefore, in Christ, real fellowship with one another. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one Being in perfect communion, and Jesus prayed that his disciples would share in that relationship and reflect it to the world (John 14:20; 17:23).
INTERNATIONAL identifies us as a unified body of believers who span the globe, sharing a common history and journey of faith. God has drawn us together into a church that is truly international in scope across 70 nations and territories.