Gerald Flurry - The Philadelphia Trumpet
 
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December 7, 2008 marked the Philadelphia Church of God’s 19th anniversary. For nearly two decades, the church has been headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma. During that time, it has grown from a mere handful of supporters in 1989 to a worldwide work that reaches millions of people.

Many of these people have become aware of the church because of its weekly Key of David television program, presented by the pastor general of the church, Gerald Flurry. Since its beginning on WGN in 1993, coverage has expanded to include over 200 other stations throughout the United States, Canada and Asia. The Key of David program has generated nearly 1 million viewer responses over the years and taped over 860 episodes.

The Philadelphia Church of God has also produced a storehouse of literature—hundreds of booklets, books, pamphlets and magazines. In 2008 it distributed nearly 4 million pieces of literature, and much of this material is also made available on its website. The church has distributed over 50 million pieces of literature since 1990, all of it free of charge.

The Philadelphia Church of God was once part of the Worldwide Church of God, led by Herbert W. Armstrong. Prior to his death in 1986, Mr. Armstrong was the world’s leading televangelist and one of the most prominent religious figures of the 20th century—watched, read and followed by millions worldwide. Regarding his 57-year ministry, President Ronald Reagan said, “Mr. Armstrong contributed to sharing the word of the Lord with his community and with people throughout the nation. You can take pride in his legacy.”

The church’s stated mission is to uphold that legacy. After Armstrong’s death in 1986, the new administration changed all of his teachings and many members were kicked out for holding fast to their beliefs. On Dec. 7, 1989, the Philadelphia Church of God began with just four families from Edmond, Okla.. Over time, the work prospered and the church’s headquarters operations multiplied. The church now operates from a 170-acre campus in North Edmond.

In 1997, the church began to print Armstrong’s books and booklets, since the Worldwide Church no longer wanted them. The WCG sued the PCG for copyright infringement in a stated effort to suppress those writings from the public. A six-year legal battle ensued for the right to make that material freely available to anyone who wanted it. Finally the WCG sold the PCG the publishing rights. Stephen Flurry, vice president of the PCG, has written extensively about this grueling, six-year lawsuit in his book Raising the Ruins.

The PCG’s liberal arts college is named after Herbert W. Armstrong. Since its inception in 2001, Herbert W. Armstrong College has admitted hundreds of students from all over the world, including India, the Philippines, Colombia, England, Australia and the Netherlands. It is largely through the college and its cultural arm, the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation, that the church continues Herbert W. Armstrong’s legacy in its local community and abroad. The foundation sponsors an archaeological dig in Israel and a series of concerts at its facility in Edmond. The concert series will move into its new home, Armstrong Auditorium, in early 2010.

 


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    Gerald Flurry was born in Oklahoma City in 1935. He grew up in Oklahoma with a less-than-ideal home life before his life turned around.

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