History of the Children of God

(The history of the Children of God is a colorful and eventful one and could easily take a series of volumes to do it justice. This brief summary only touches on the highlights, though more may be added in time.)

The history of the Children of God is a colorful and unconventional one from its very beginnings, as its zealous hippie members issued a call for spiritual revolution and a return to the faith and lifestyle of the early Christians, picketed and conducted sackcloth vigils, and decried the evils of war and injustice. The uncompromising tone of their literature written by its founder, David Brandt Berg (1919–1994), and the unconventional methods of preaching and demonstrating the Gospel used by its members drew much attention from the media and became known around the world.

In Europe and South America the Children of God became famous as their original music gained popularity when their bands landed recording contracts and big-stage performances, particularly in France and Brazil. From radical rock-style songs denouncing the hypocrisy of the establishment of the day, to heart-touching folk ballads about God′s love, original music became a prominent feature of the movement′s outreach and culture.

The Children of God was first and foremost an active missionary movement, and during its first decade many members migrated out of the United States to establish mission posts in countries throughout the world. By 1977 there were 741 Children of God communities in 73 countries. By the end of 1977, members had distributed over 306 million pieces of Gospel literature and prayed with 1.5 million people to accept Christ.

The organizational entity known as the Children of God (COG) came to an abrupt end in February 1978. Reports of serious misconduct and abuse of authority by a number of its leaders prompted the founder of the group to dismiss all of the leadership and to declare the general dissolution of the Children of God. The movement would reorganize as the Family, later known as the Family International. (More on The Children of God)