I met a man in Philadelphia who was keen to tell me about his group, the "Church of God". They seem to have some unusual beliefs. From our brief conversation, these included:
- In addition to God the Father, there is God the Mother. He identified her with the Bride and the heavenly Jerusalem from Revelation, and also cited Galatians 4:26. She apparently is responsible for birthing all life. It was not clear to me whether she was envisaged as a separate god, or as another aspect or person of a single God.
- The church has been in apostasy for most of its existence, certainly since Constantine. This explicitly includes the Reformation, wherein various non-Biblical doctrines were invented. He mentioned Martin Luther specifically as being wrong.
The marks of this apostasy include:
- Use of the cross symbol.
- Keeping the Sabbath on the wrong day (should be Saturday).
- Communion - which he regarded as a pagan-inspired ceremony, not a sacrament or even a memorial, saying that the Last Supper was a one-off event. "Do this in remembrance of me," in his view, was a command to continue celebrating Passover.
- Not recognizing God the Mother.
The Bible should be interpreted literally, and studied at all times. He showed me his Bible, which had the name of his church printed in the front.
(Not sure if I understood this one properly.) The second coming of Jesus has already occurred, without most people noticing, but we are still waiting for his final appearance, per Revelation.
I thought he might be a Seventh-day Adventist, but points 5 and especially 1 don't seem to fit what I know about them. Of course, there are enormously many churches called "Church of God", but I'm curious about who these particular people are, where they come from denominationally, and what led them to have these (in my opinion, very peculiar) beliefs. If it helps, the man was Korean.
I hope that this question is not "too localized"; I certainly got the impression that there is a group involved, and not just this one man. Also, it seemed that the Mother thing was a central and important belief, as he kept coming back to it.