John Thomas came to the United States from England in 1844 and joined the Disciples of Christ, with a heart for restoring the church and returning to primitive Christianity.
But soon he became convinced that their doctrines were also apostate and left to organize his own group which came to be known as Christadelphians during the Civil War.
The doctrines developed by the Christadelphians were a rejection of the Trinity, a denial of a personal devil, a denial of the preexistence of Christ, a belief that Christ is not God, and a denial of the immortality of the soul. Salvation is accomplished by righteous works (Handbook of Denominations in the United States, Mead and Hill, 8th edition, pp. 70-71).
L.T. Nichols was a Christadelphian who began to disagree with some of the teachings of his church and split to form a new group in 1880. The main issue for Nichols was the key to salvation - what one must do to be saved (conversation of author with Executive Editor of Megiddo Church).
Between 1902-1905 Nichols and his following moved to their current location in Rochester, New York and changed their name from Christian Brethren to the Megiddo Church, which means "a place of troops for soldiers to renew who are engaged in spiritual warfare" (The Megiddo Message, January, 1991, p. 3).
Their local congregation numbers about 50 people who gather not only for Sunday worship in both the morning and evening, but according to their current president and pastor, Newton Payne, they meet every night together for study, prayers and business.
There is a gathering of followers once a year on the Jewish New Year, the first of Abib. Even though they are small in number locally, they maintain followers in Canada, Australia, England, and the U.S.
Like the Worldwide Church of God's, Plain Truth, the Megiddo Churches point of contact is the Megiddo Message magazine. The circulation is about 15,000 which includes doctors' offices and libraries (conversation with president Payne).
The church puts out a 22 section Bible study course which teaches on topics espoused by L.T. Nichols, although according to Mr. Newton, has been elaborated on somewhat.
The Megiddo Church, like the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Armstrongites claim that the great apostasy has already occurred. The Megiddo Church believes that scripture foretold of their founder, L.T. Nichols, as the one who would come forth to restore the true doctrines and church (Understanding the Bible: Apostasy and Restoration, Sec. 6, pp. 28-29).
The Megiddo Church teaches that the Godhead (Trinity) is of pagan origin. They make the same erroneous and factually inaccurate statements that the other cults do, claiming that the Council of Nicea developed the doctrine of the Trinity and "in no way can be traced back to Christ or His apostles" (Ibid, p. 12).
They confuse the two natures of Christ as well. Like Seventh Day Adventism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Armstrongism , they deny that hell is a place of eternal punishing and that man has an immortal soul. Instead they also teach annihilations (Ibid, Section 7, pp. 10, 16).
An interesting twist though is that the Megiddo Church denies that a personal devil exists. They claim to agree with Harper's Bible Dictionary that the devil is only a principle, then "anything or anyone opposed to God or His will is called a devil or Satan" (Ibid, Section 8, pp. 2-3).
The Megiddo church rejects water baptism claiming that the "one baptism" of Ephesians 4:5 refers to a "a full surrender, a complete death to sin" "the utter death and destruction of the old man that the new man may walk unimpeded in `newness of life'" (Ibid, Section 9, pp. 10-11).
This process of baptism sets the stage to understand the "different gospel" (Galatians 1:6-9) of the Megiddo Church. They clearly teach obedience to every thing written in the scripture.
Like every other cult, they teach that one "must first qualify before he can receive it." Receiving the free gift (God's Son) "is conditional" based on obedience to all of the commands given in the New Testament (Ibid, Section 13, pp. 12-13).
Pray for these people that God will provide a witness in Rochester so that these people will be released from their bondage of sin and understand the necessity of Christ's imputed righteousness by faith.