[Editor's Note: The following letter was edited substantially, for factual accuracy and for protection from potential libel litigation.]
Dear Mr. Rawles,
Readers should be made aware that the ALERT Academy has some connection to the defunct Worldwide Church of God. I would never put any child of mine under this influence. While it sounds like a wonderful program, their founding roots were in a group that at one time had very dangerous doctrine. To understand the influence of cults, I recommend the Under Much Grace web site. I believe that you never intended SurvivalBlog to endorse this kind of doctrine. - Dawn S. in East Texas
JWR Replies: While I appreciate getting your letter, it is important to recognize that people and churches change. The Worldwide Church of God no longer exists. After Armstrong's failed prophecies about the year 1972, the church went through several splits, with the largest portion of their congregations adhering to Grace Communion International, which now has much more mainstream evangelical doctrine. Their statement of beliefs has radically distanced them from the wacky beliefs of Armstrong Senior (Herbert) and Armstrong Junior (Garner Ted). While the positions of Grace Communion International have modified substantially for the better, they might still have some doctrinal beliefs that do not match those of many Christian families--especially those who (like me) are five point Calvinists. (Most evangelical churches have Arminian doctrine.) I advise readers to closely examine the doctrinal position of any school or summer camp before enrolling their children!
According to Chuck Holton, ALERT was not founded by former members of WWCG. The academy was founded by Bill Gothard of Michigan. Later, the old Worldwide Church of God campus in Big Sandy was purchased by the Mardel family (owners of Hobby Lobby) and donated to ALERT for their use.