In a December 24, 1977, sermon in Pasadena, Worldwide Church of God pastor Richard Rice bemoaned the worsening reputation of the Worldwide Church of God worldwide. He began by stating: “The reputation [of the Worldwide Church of God] at this point in time isn’t that bright, frankly.” He admitted part of his cause for concern was due to a recent series of articles released by the Associated Press wire service concerning several U.S. religious groups. (These AP articles on the groups headed by Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Rex Humbard, Garner Ted Armstrong, and Reverend Ike appeared November 25, 1977.)
Confiding in his congregation, Rice commented that all the other religious groups “came out pretty good and unscathed, for the most part.” But the Worldwide Church of God, he said, “didn’t fare quite so well. As a matter of fact, we came out about the last on the bottom of the list, the bottom of the barrel. The reputation of God’s church around the earth right now, and especially in America and Canada, isn’t quite that pure and quite that pleasant.”
Is it any wonder?