(In Gary Scott’s former blog XCG, I wanted to revise this article that I original had on Richard Burkard’s blogsite. I will try again on my own blog and I pray with much success!)
1999, was the last time I wrote the article. It was published on “the worldwide web” on a dear friend’s site by the name of Richard Burkard, a current member of the United Church of God. I have always felt it appropriate to write another version of that article. One that is bolder in its approach and to reflect certain viewpoints that I have progressed over the past half decade. Richard Burkard in his assessment of my article said that I “discussed Sabbatarian churches big and small” and “finds fault with all of them”. To be more specific, they are the splinters of the Worldwide Church of God. By no means the Worldwide Church of God is exempt from this tough-minded assesment and neither its parent organization, the Church of God (Seventh Day) which I have had the pleasure to meet their dynamic, Christ-loving and centered leader, Whaid G. Rose.
With the title article, I put a readers advisory in explaining that I was not attacking the Churches of God but warning of its destructive practices. Years later, I feel I must be bold in what I need to say and need not submit to a “politically correct” view of pleasing everybody. With an assessment that I had made, it obvious I cannot please everyone reading it. My bold response to those who are about to be offended is that you should not be offended but get serious. Get serious with the word of God. This means turn off the TV set of your leader and put aside the literature he espouses and read the Bible as it is. You will be surprised as well as refreshed.
I, with great joy before the Lord, rejoice that Armstrongism and the spiritual bondage that it produced was defeated in the Worldwide Church of God. It is a self-righteous religion, a religion of manipulating and destroying the spirits of people. It produces a religious culture of cruelty and takes a negative view on human beings of not only being evil but also perhaps demonic. It is a religion that is purely self-centred because of its unhealthy preoccupation of avoiding sin. Believers of course are to avoid sin but we in no way stop there. We are created to do good works because we are saved. We are to love one another as Christ loved us and have a love for mankind because Christ died for the sins of humanity. True Christianity is God centred.
A few years ago in Mark Tabladillo’s Jesus Loves Fellowship (JLF) message board, wrote a thread questioning that would the past scandal about the founding WCG leadership doom the ultra conservative fundamentalist splinters? I concluded that if that was so, my automatic wish would be a screaming “YES!” One person on the message board from the splinters (a follower of RCM to be more specific) was upset with my remark (I did make peace with him on our private e-mails) but over a half decade later, I am being more bold that my wish is still yes! I am not backing down and I am so glad that there are people, including former WCG ministers who are behind me, so I don’t have to say, “yes” alone. May I add that as I write in 2007, this person who had that disagreement with me is a “former” RCM, Living Church of God supporter. Hint: I have almost literally showered this individual with a lot of press on my blog as of late. It also good that a former opponent somewhat agrees with my (and many others) sentiments.
In 1998 was my departure from the Worldwide Church of God. I have explained here before that it was a painful decision that had to be made. It was a very lonely one to say the least but no other decision could have been made. Looking back, it was for the best. A church leadership that thrives on confusing its members and constantly putting their minds on a constant state of altertness without any sense of a “mental rest” do not deserve my time, participation or energy. A leadership that has secret agendas and refusing constantly to be bold and forthright, again does not deserve my support. A leadership that seeks to change practices and a church culture that are not necessarily cultic (no pun intended) but in fact can be just as biblical, in order for the sake to please other evangelical Christians, do not deserve their wishes for me to walk behind them to materialize in anyway. That same year I left the WCG, I was over at a United Church of God local elder’s home celebrating the Feast of Trumpets with Kentucky Fried Chicken and Ravioli (Oh what a meal! Italians really do it better!) and in the moments I spent with the local elder and his family, he in effect told me to get over the idea that a “great deliverer” would come along and settle the upheaval in the Worldwide Church of God. Actually, it is an idea from the old-line members of the Worldwide Church of God who wish to return it to its so-called “glory days” of the 1950’s and 60’s and God forbid that return to a “spiritual and theological Neanderthal” state.
Also this idea from the old-line members of the WCG is that this great deliverer would do the work of the prophet Elijah and would unite all the churches of God, Worldwide, United, Living, Incontinental, International,etc. This is a fantasy. A self-righteous religion such as Armstrongism has been built on faulty sand and has destroyed many lives as probably damned souls as well. In my previous edition, I was hoping that the Churches of God would reunite but under certain conditions. Unfortunately, to one who holds to the tenets of Armstrongism, I was making firm, inflexible, unbending and resolute demands. What I said was too much for them. Believe you me, these demands are still firm and non-negotiable today as they were then. I will not compromise any of them because I strongly believe these demands are a foundation of a healthy religion. Many, if not all, these demands are entrenched in historic Christian faith, which seperates from what I believe to be the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the cults which lines should never, ever be blurred.
Splinters who want to persist in heretical, anti-Biblical teaching deserve to be doomed to irrelevancy. Those so-called “ministers” who preoccupy themselves about their pocketbooks, their comfortable lifestyle, material goods and their imaginary power over the lives of their members deserve the justice of God by seeing it wither away when their members have a real and lasting relationship with Jesus Christ ,have true empowerment by the Holy Spirit and completely and fully conclude that they cannot support a ministry that is in effect “anti-Gospel”. It is immoral for me or any other believe to wish otherwise.
Of course, none of the splinter groups in the collective sense will listen and take note but it is my wish that those who are in these group individually would read this, take note and make the course corrections needed to make the steps to spiritual freedom. I have heard one case that certain circumstances led a minister out of the Church of God, International into a real relationship with Christ through study at a Southern Baptist seminary. Praise God! I pray for a thousand more stories like that in the next few years. I hope this series will in some way also steer many in the same direction.
I have picked several reasons that the Churches of God will not reunite they are:
- Defective view on the Godhead,
- Defective view on Salvation,
- Exclusivity: Armstrongism is Christianity, the Rest is Pagan!
- Majoring in the Minors, Minoring in the Majors,
- Foundation is in HWA, not Jesus Christ,
- A false authority and
- an Unteachable Spirit.
It is my hope that the remaining months of 2007 and early 2008, as my schedule permits, I hope to go through all of these seven reasons. Let the liberation from ALL the Armstrongite Churches of God to begin. May the adventure be exciting, challenging and vigorous! Most of all, may it be worth it!