Monday, March 14, 2005


By Stockton

Wis. Sect Focused on 'End Time' Prophecy

By The Associated Press

Terry Ratzmann, the man who police say killed seven people and then himself during a church service, was a member of the Living Church of God, a denomination that focuses on "end-time" prophecies.

The church's estimated 6,300 members in 40 countries place a strong emphasis on using world news to "prove" that these are end times, to be followed by Christ's second coming.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based Living Church of God grew out of a schism in the Worldwide Church of God, formed in 1933 as the Radio Church of God by Herbert W. Armstrong. Armstrong, an Oregon advertising man, preached that Anglo-Americans were Jews, descendants of the lost "ten tribes of Israel."

The schism dividing the Living Church of God and the Worldwide Church of God occurred in 1933. Living Church of God doctrine explicitly stated that Christ would return in 2-3 years while World Wide Church of God members believed Christ would return on Labor Day weekend, 1938. Each faction considers the other heretics.

Earlier, in 1928, another faction splintered from the group. That faction believed that Christ had already returned, didn't like what he saw, and left.

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