PCG plans new campus in spirit of Ambassador
By Mac Overton
Philadelphia Church of God founder and pastor general Gerald Flurry announced plans for a new college, which he says will offer "a vision of hope" to a "dying world."
In his column in the August edition of the PCG-sponsored Philadelphia Trumpet magazine, Mr. Flurry said he plans "to start a small college in 2001, perhaps 2002."
In June the PCG bought 38 acres of land in Oklahoma, near the church's headquarters, that includes a three-acre lake.
"Our short-term goal is to use that land to build a college that will better educate our youth today," wrote Mr. Flurry. "But that is just a small beginning of a process that will one day fill the whole earth with hope-filled education!"
The Philadelphia founder said the PCG is "resurrecting an educational system established by [the founder and pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God] Herbert W. Armstrong."
Since Mr. Armstrong's death, in 1986, said Mr. Flurry, "his own followers have obliterated some or all of what he taught. But the world needs his teachings now more than ever!"
The Oklahoma-based evangelist quoted from an article Mr. Armstrong wrote for the September 1978 edition of The Plain Truth, the WCG's magazine, about Mr. Armstrong's seeing the need in 1947 to found a college.
Ambassador College, which began that year, provided a trained ministry for the church, along with others who filled the increasing numbers of administrative offices in that organization.
Mr. Flurry quoted from an edition of the annual Ambassador College catalog titled "The Missing Dimension in Education."
Mr. Armstrong wrote that "it is generally recognized by educators that dangerous evils have leavened the educational system. Curricula, generally, have become wholly materialistic. Demands in scientific, technological, industrial, commercial and professional fields have put the emphasis on the purely technical and intellectual, at sacrifice of spiritual, moral and cultural development; on curriculum rather than on character; on earning a living at the neglect of learning how to live!"
Mr. Flurry said Mr. Armstrong founded Ambassador College on the spiritual foundation every other college lacks.
"We will do the same," he said. "At our college, we will prove to our young people that evolution is a fable. We will prove the existence of God. Our college students will learn the Bible as they could in no other institution . . .
"At our college, we will teach our young people to open their minds to all truth and 'prove all things. And I mean proof that anybody should be able to see. We will give them hope, based on proof.
"Like Mr. Armstrong, our aim will be to provide students with a well-rounded, liberal arts education. We plan to have strong classes in history, journalism, music, nutrition, computers, television production, speech and leadership.
"We will have a class on news analysis, where students will be taught the true meaning behind world news. They will see how world news is fulfilling Bible prophecy. Their Bibles will come alive as they never imagined!
"We also have the capacity to teach accounting, agriculture, English, Spanish and some other basic classes.
"It will obviously start small, just like Ambassador College did. Mr. Armstrong began AC in 1947 with only eight instructors and four students.
"But Ambassador grew into three different campuses, educating several hundred students each year. God tells us not to despise the day of small beginnings (Zech. 4:10). We must see where that small beginning leads."
Mr. Flurry said purchase of the land is "only the beginning." Now "we must start a building program, which will be backed by enthusiastic supporters."
Depending on how much time is left until the end of the age, "we are going to use this land to build two, three or four major buildings."
He said the first building should be finished in early 2001.
His description of it makes it sound similar to the "field house" on the now-defunct Ambassador University, Big Sandy, Texas:
"It will be a 22,000-square-foot field house. Inside will be an elegant gymnasium with a raised stage at one end. At the other end, there will be locker rooms and a cafeteria with a commercial-sized kitchen. There will also be several offices in the building.
Mr. Flurry said the building would serve as "the hub of activity for college life" and would serve as an excellent summer-camp facility for the church's teenagers who are too young to attend college.
He said that this year the PCG had canceled its summer camp for the first time in nine years.
"To this point, we have always rented a camp facility. Next year, we will be thrilled to offer our young people an even better camp experience--on our own property!"
The field house will also serve other needs and will give the church room to expand its Edmond, Okla., headquarters and will provide a weekly meeting hall for the local congregation, as well as for conferences and festivals.
Mr. Flurry said the campus will be a beautiful school, as was Ambassador.
"Ambassador College was a vision of what could be. So will our college be a vision of the future. I believe the small lake on our property increases the potential beauty 10-fold."
"Ambassador College under Mr. Armstrong was different, because the faculty and students ate from the tree of life. They didn't experiment with different religions of mankind. They lived by every word of God--the tree of life.
"We are going to follow that example. Physically, our small college will be a vision of hope."
List of questions
The Journal submitted the following questions by E-mail to the Philadelphia Church of God about the planned college:
Stephen Flurry, managing editor of the church's flagship magazine and son of Gerald Flurry, told The Journal the new college will be near church headquarters, but that other details had not been decided.
For more information, or a copy of the magazine containing the complete text of Gerald Flurry's column, call (405) 340-7474,
Or write the Philadelphia Church of God, P.O. Box 3700, Edmond, Okla. 73083, U.S.A.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God