March 12, 2008

What Does Christ Gospel Church Teach?

Over the last few years, I have been researching a small and generally unknown sect whose world headquarters is in my hometown. I thought it would be a good idea to post some of my resulting analysis over the next several weeks. They are a good example of an unfamiliar group that is aggressively working to expand their presence around the world (including Africa). Who am I referring to? The Christ Gospel Churches International, Inc. [CGC]. Their basic informational booklet introduces them by saying:
Jeffersonville, Indiana is home to the international headquarters of one of the fastest-growing Christian denominations in the world, Christ Gospel Churches International, Inc. . . . . With a staff of 45 employees and many volunteers, Christ Gospel Churches International, Inc. oversees a world-wide organization of more than 1,300 churches in 25 countries.[1]
B.R. Hicks AutobiographyEven if CGC is exaggerating how rapidly they are growing, this new religious movement has made tremendous inroads around the globe (especially in Mexico and India). They even have affiliate churches in half a dozen African countries and shortwave broadcasts to many more throughout the continent. Founded by Reverend Berniece R. Hicks, the movement is a self-described "fundamentalist, pentecostal Christian group."[2] Their continuing worldwide success requires a closer examination of Hicks' teaching on such fundamental areas as Scripture, mankind,[3] God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the good news.

What is my goal? To accurately present a summary of her teaching in these fundamental areas. Since we must take the time to correctly understand her errors before critiquing them, my study will not directly challenge the distinctive theology of CGC. Rather, this series will focus on bringing together their basic teachings. Once these are understood, Christians can properly assess and address the differences that exist between our beliefs and what is taught by CGC.

Intrigued? Great! I'll continue next week!

[1]Preaching a Crucified and Living Christ to a Dying World: Christ Gospel Churches International, Inc. (Jeffersonville, IN: Christ Gospel Churches International, Inc., 1993). No page numbers are provided.
[3]Since Hicks uses "mankind" and "man" in her works, this series will follow her terminology to remain as close to her language and thought as possible.