THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF GOD
The people of God are under a serious warning not to worship the Beast or the Image of the Beast. It is quite alarming therefore to be able to identify many Catholic doctrines, practices and beliefs in the Church of God in this end time, but the facts don't lie.
Below is a list I've compiled, but no doubt more points could be added.
1) Image of the Beast Church government (a.k.a. "the primacy of Peter", or "one man rule").
Not every Church of God (COG) practises this, but quite a number of large ones do, as they follow in the footsteps of Herbert W Armstrong (HWA). See "THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD" for a full explanation.
2) Baptism in the name of the Trinity.
See the page "BAPTISM INTO THE TRINITY".
3) Futurism rather than Historicism.
The Churches of God have in this end time largely adopted a Catholic method of interpreting prophecy known as Futurism. During and after the Reformation, the opinion generally held by Protestants was that prophecy provides an overview of history, given in advance. This viewpoint is perfectly logical. They also understood that the prophetic times mentioned in Scripture usually covered long periods, supporting the method of interpretation known as Historicism.
For instance, the prophecy about the "Man of Sin" (II Thes 2) was held to refer to the Papacy, and that "there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies" for 1260 years, not a literal "42 months" (Rev 13:5). However, during the Catholic Counter Reformation, to deflect suspicion from the office of the Pope, an explanation was concocted by the Catholic Church that most major prophetic events were yet in the future, and would be fulfilled in a final apocalypse. This philosophy, known as Futurism, over time found its way into other churches and eventually also into God's Church.
Hence, today, the Churches of God still look for an Antichrist to arrive, a Great Tribulation to come, a "ten toed" European power to emerge, Two Witnesses to appear, a Jerusalem Temple to be built, the battle of Armageddon to be fought etc. Additionally, they have explanations for the 1260, 1290, 1335 and 2300 days found in Daniel, all in the end time, when far wiser students of Scripture from previous eras could see that these numbers refer to years, not literal days, and that whereas men could perhaps bring about short term events, only an all powerful God could make events occur over long stretches of time - one of the main purposes of prophecy being to prove the existence of God.
As God Himself states in Isa 46:9-10, "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done".
4) Believers cannot interpret God's Word.
Only the Priest/Apostle/Prophet/Minister can interpret the Scriptures.
5) The placement of images in significant places, depicting leaders or former leaders.
As in Catholicism, the Churches will deny that these images are worshipped.
6) Infallibility of the leader.
Only "in matters of faith and doctrine", as the Catholics say.
7) The Church's authority overrides God's Word.
God says no food is to be purchased on Sabbaths (Neh 10:31 and 13:15-22), but the Church says it's okay. God's Word says we shouldn't do as the Gentiles do, and cut down a tree, set it up and decorate it (Jer 10:1-5), but some Sabbath keeping Churches do exactly that, as they participate in Christmas celebrations.
8) Traditional Christian standards applied to Sabbath keeping.
As long as you go to Church on the Sabbath, you can do with the remainder of the day what you like, including frequenting businesses.
9) The use of relics.
Some years ago, the PCG identified what it believed to be Herbert W Armstrong's "prayer rock" in Oregon and transported it to its Oklahoma headquarters. HWA mentioned this rock in his Autobiography. The PCG now teaches that this "prayer rock" has replaced "Jacob's pillar stone", the stone that used to be under the Coronation Chair in Britain, as being indicative of where God's throne is located today!
10) Clapping for leaders.
When the Pope appears at St Peter's Square, or anywhere for that matter, the crowds clap for him. During Herbert Armstrong's reign and that of subsequent Church leaders, we have also begun witnessing this strange phenomenon in Church services when the leader appears. Many of us find this disconcerting to say the least, and are hesitant to join in. Is the Church of God a theatre or a circus? Should leaders in God's Church be idolised like pop stars or movie stars or, amazingly, even like the Pope?