I picked up a second hand copy of the 9th edition (1990) a couple of years ago, and found it intriguing. When I discovered that the 2010 edition was available on Kindle, it seemed a no-brainer to update.
You might not be too surprised to learn that the first entry I checked out was Grace Communion International. It's a very fair overview, and one I'd definitely recommend for impartiality and accuracy. So far so good.
The only GCI splinters that get a dedicated entry in the Handbook are the Philadelphia Church of God and the United Church of God. From what I can gather, only bodies with in excess of 5,000 members qualify for a listing, so that's tough luck for Pack and the other minor league wannabes, though I'm not sure why Rod Meredith's group didn't qualify.
But let me quote a bit from the UCG entry.
The United Church of God... was founded by several leaders in the Philadelphia Church of God in 1995 who objected to the leadership of George Flurry.George Flurry? UCG is a PCG schism?
Well, whatayaknow! Live and learn!
The PCG entry just compounds the same errors. Both were clearly written by the same person who, it seems, didn't know much about the subject and wasn't too bothered to check the facts.
In reality, this seems incredibly sloppy research which has been further compromised by poor editing. Craig Atwood, the current editor, needs to pull his act together if the Handbook is to retain its hard earned credibility, certainly before the 14th edition hits the presses. The publisher, Abingdon, also needs to take a long, hard look at its internal processes. In short: not a good look.
But, on the humorous side of things, you'd have to reflect on the power of the old adage: Say what you like, just spell my name right. Or, in Gerry Flurry's case: If you can't spell my name right, at least choose a near approximation. Who knows, based on the influence of this esteemed volume, future generations of researchers into fringe American sects may be convinced that UCG fits under PCG on the family tree, and that the Flurry cult was founded by some otherwise unknown geezer named George.
Poor old Gerry.