If you walk into nearly any Christian bookstore and ask about information on the Anglo-Israel or British Israel movement, you will be directed to the section on cults. In this section there will be books on Mormonism, Christian Science, The Worldwide Church of God, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. You will immediately get the idea that the mainline churches reject the teaching of our Israel truth movement. A definition of a cult given in the Webster’s dictionary is, “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious”. By that definition Christianity itself could have been called a cult at one time. Later, after the Protestant Reformation, the Roman Catholics could have called the Lutheran Church a cult. Members of the Church of England could have called the Baptist Church a cult in the eighteenth century. Some Baptists had to meet in secret in homes at that time. At the end of the nineteenth century, mainline churches could have called the Pentecostal movement a cult because of their speaking in tongues, and falling to the ground, overcome by the Spirit. That which is called a cult in one generation is an accepted part of Christianity in a later generation.
When I looked at different books on cults, reading the parts on the Anglo-Israel movement, I saw a shifting of emphasis over time. A book written in the 1930’s mentioned Howard Rand and John Lovell and their influence on America. It noted that the movement was growing and estimated the numbers of believers in the Anglo-Israel message at about two million worldwide. What it did not say is that there were a significant number of Anglican clergymen who led the movement in Britain and the British Empire. I spotted a number of errors in the book which could have been cleared up if the author had read the book “The Triumph of British Israel” by Bishop James Mountain.
Jumping ahead to the 1960’s, another writer on cults still branded Anglo-Israelism as a cult, but stated that there were a large number of Christians in the movement, and that they were in error in their beliefs. Then he launched into discussing the Worldwide Church of God, better known as the Armstrong movement, started by Herbert W. Armstrong. This organization was gaining in popularity at the time and our movement was in decline.
Moving ahead to the 1980’s, the modern writer did not even mention our movement, but dealt with the Armstrong movement because it was large and influential. This seems to be the pattern of dealing with our movement. We are not regarded as important because our numbers are small. We do not have the influence in the world that we once had and are looked upon as a thing of the past.
In my opinion, the mainline churches have not been our problem in getting our message out. The problem is the Worldwide Church of God and the Mormons. They have used parts of our message for their own purposes and we have been linked to them by the mainline churches. However, we are very different from those movements for two reasons. First, we believe in Salvation only by the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for us on the Cross. Secondly, we believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, the second person of the Trinity. If we had not been linked to those other movements, it is possible that today we would be an accepted part of the Christian community.
Despite this, there are many fellowship meetings of our people throughout the English speaking world, and several magazines that are going out, as reported by Pastor Jory Brooks in the December “Thy Kingdom Come” issue. The movement is still strong and healthy in some sectors. If we remain faithful to God and the Bible, and filled with the Holy Spirit, there is nothing that can kill our message. Let us remember the words of Jonathan, David’s beloved friend, “it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” I Samuel 14:6.