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WHY THE CHURCHES OF GOD WILL NOT REUNITE

by Felix Taylor

READERS ADVISORY: To those who are members of the various splinters, this is NOT an attack on the churches of God. I believe I have an obligation to point out certain damaging heresies, teachings and approaches that are producing bad fruit. For me not to do so is a dereliction of duty.

An idea of an article like this has come to mind since in the message board of Mark Tabladillo, a fellow by the name of Whistler (I guess it's his message board name) had a post called, "Are the WCG offshoots cults? You decide!" He (Whistler) perfectly and brilliantly described the components of what makes a church a cult. I later responded and added my own components that if one denies the essentials of historic Christian faith one is down the path of cultic doctrine. I hear from WCG conservatives (responsible conservatives and GRUMPS alike) and from those of the offshoots that they will be an "Elijah " as prophesied in the last chapter of Malachi to come to unify the various Churches of God. It is my firm hope to see the various Churches of God to come together. The reality is that these groups WILL NOT UNITE and may NEVER unite because of certain attitudes and damaging doctrines they may possess. If they would only listen with an open mind and take what will be said UNDER SERIOUS ADVISEMENT, there may be a breakthrough. Here are the reasons why the splinters of the Churches of God will NOT REUNITE!

1. DENIAL OF THE TRINITY
An essential mark of dividing Christianity and the cults. Those in the splinters (sadly even the liberal ones such as Church of God, International, and certain elements in the Association of Christian Development, the outreach of the Associated Churches of God formed in 1974) still hold onto the God-family doctrine which canNOT be supported by scripture. If one really looks at Revelation 21.3, there is a DISTINCTION between GOD and MANKIND and IN NO UNCERTAIN WAY ARE THEY CONFUSED TOGETHER!! YES, MEN AND WOMEN WILL EXIST AFTER THE MILLENNIUM AND THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH, BUT THEY WILL HAVE GLORIFIED, PERFECTED AND ETERNAL BODIES!! Some hold to other heresies such as Unitarianism (God the Father is only God; Jesus was a great teacher who was given all the attributes and character of the Father). Others have a modified heresy (or an originating heresy) of the God Family doctrine called Bitheism (two God Beings). The Church of God (7th Day), headquartered in Salem, West Virginia are bitheistic (the United Church of God also has a form of bitheism). HWA had unfortunately compounded on this heresy and managed to form the God Family doctrine. Some of the splinters have what I would call the mildest of heresies (but nevertheless it is a heresy) called binitarianism (One God existing in two persons; The Holy Spirit is God's work on earth). The Church of God (Seventh Day) headquartered in Denver, Colorado "officially" (and must be stressed officially because there are Trinitarians in the group) holds this position. They are currently debating the subject; one hopes that they will have an official Trinitarian position soon. The Bible clearly says that there is only One God (Deut.6:4). Isaiah 43.10 states there was no god before one True God and there WILL NOT be A SINGLE GOD FORMED AFTER HIM. John 1.1 states Jesus is God (sorry Jehovah's Witnesses); Acts 5 identifies that the Holy Spirit is God, not a mere created power that like electricity. Hebrews 9.14 states it is eternal. Acts 13.2 clearly states that He spoke to Saul(Paul) and Barnabas for the work HE sent them. This is a clear indicator that the Holy Spirit is PERSONAL! Despite those that argue and may argue well that the Holy Spirit is God's active force and merely that, may I say that we don't say in our modern day that the"telephone spoke to me" or the "computer told me to do this" or "the television had a discussion with me;" why can't we recognize the personality of the Holy Spirit? When one denies the trinity, a defective Christology will follow and a defective view of grace will develop, as we will see later.

2.DEFECTIVE CHRISTOLOGY (THE GREAT GAMBLE THEORY)
It is interesting to note the late Walter Martin's work called the Kingdom of the Cults (Hank Hanegraaff, Martin's successor of the Christian Research Institute, has recently compiled a new edition). What was interesting to notice that all the cults mentioned, ALL denied the proper role of the Deity of Jesus Christ except for guess who, the Worldwide Church of God. We always understood that Jesus Christ is God (John 1.1, Hebrews 1.8) but we did not have a FULLY orthodox view of Jesus Christ! I appreciate Church of God, International 's Ian Boyne's recent article on defending the deity of Jesus Christ and is a good place to start to learn about the deity of Jesus. About 80%-90% is correct, though I am a little worried about their view on subordinationalism in dealing with the nature of Christ. As James R. White, author of the book, The Forgotten Trinity had said about the heresy of subordinationalism: if you deny the equality of persons in the Godhead, this is its end result. I do hope the in the very near future CGI will, too, recant their God family position for a more fully orthodox view on what who God is. Though most of the splinters have an orthodox view that Jesus is God, some do believe in the Great Gamble Theory, which means that Jesus took a big risk coming to earth in the flesh, he indeed had sinful flesh and it could have been possible for him to sin. The WCG is not alone in inventing this heretical doctrine. The Seventh Day Adventists at one time believed this, but thankfully recanted this heretical position. This does not mean every certain individual member has recanted this heresy; unfortunately some cherish this heresy. Here are scriptures that properly explain the deity and humanity of Christ: But what of Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and forever?" If his nature is constant, what does it mean for him to evolve? Why, if he inherited sinful human nature, did he never offer sacrifices (to atone for his SIN, even though he committed no sins), never pray for forgiveness (although he prayed that OTHERS might be forgiven), never acknowledge moral weakness or failure? Why does the New Testament depict him as "holy" (Luke 1:35), as one who "knew no sin" (II Cor.5:21), as "without sin" (Heb.7:26), as being "without blemish"(Heb. 9:14 and I Peter 1.19), as one in whom "there is no sin" and who is "righteousness"(I John 3:5-7)? Guided by these and similar Scriptures, the historic Westminster Assembly framed the following statement:
The Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father did when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, YET WITHOUT SIN: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person……Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man." 1
Most of the splinters defective Christology lies therein is they preach that Christ was resurrected a "spirit" and deny his bodily resurrection in a glorified body. Search the Christian Research Institute's web site at www.equip.org to search a brief article on this subject.

3.FAITH + WORKS = SALVATION
With most of the splinters, you will hear that the sacrifice of Christ covers "past sins." I say if it only covers that, why did Jesus come down to die in the first place? What was the bother; we could just work our way into the kingdom perfectly fine ourselves. Another type of salvation by works is that most of the splinters believe in baptismal regeneration, which in laymen's terms meaning "salvation by baptism." They will say if you are baptized, have hands laid on by the minister, then you are saved. Cults like the Church of Christ (Boston movement), Oneness Pentecostalism, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and even Roman Catholics and some Anglicans hold this view. The problem with this view is that it compromises the sound teaching on salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It suggests we are not saved by faith alone; baptism supplements it. This is one of the reasons I delayed my baptism in the Worldwide Church of God until I was 27, in April 1997. I knew that wasn't right. Even as a teenager, I couldn't reconcile the fact that one became a Christian when he was baptized. Until 1995, when I read the festival Youth 95 magazine, the Church finally recognized that one can have the Holy Spirit and be a Christian without being baptized. Let us make it perfectly clear, baptism is a command of Christ (Matthew 28.19,Acts 2.38) but one must realize that it is A RESULT OF SALVATION, not a MEANS OF BEING SAVED! Though I have a radical universally different view and strong bitter disagreements of how the Bible should be read than Earl Williams (former WCG pastor and leader of Christ's Church of Grace), he is right on the money and totally accurate on the issue of baptism. Here are some important excerpts of his article which can be found on David Covington's web page: "No form of works, whether baptism or any act of obedience, can produce nor be an essential prerequisite for salvation. The instrument or means which we accept God's gift is faith. Good works(such as baptism) follow salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10)……Acts 2:38 associates baptism and forgiveness, but forgiveness is not a result of baptism. Jesus forgave sins without having to perform a baptism. People are forgiven on the basis of faith, and baptism follows……So when does a believer receive the Holy Spirit? Paul tells us: 'And you were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. When they are being led by the Holy Spirit, they are children of God(Romans 8:14).'

Included in belief is repentance. When people turn in faith to God, they are repenting. They experience a change of mind about their life and sinful ways. They then turn in faith to God to save them.
When a person truly believes and accepts God's gift, God accomplishes their salvation in one comprehensive act. Notice this powerful statement in Romans 8:30: "Those he predestined, he also called, those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." "2
Other supplements of salvation with the offshoots would be the Sabbath and the Holy Days. I for one, am staunchly pro-Sabbath, pro-Holy Day under the liturgical calendar in the New Covenant dispensation. I remembered when the late Pastor General Joseph W. Tkach Sr. visited Buffalo in 1993 and exclaimed that he kept the Sabbath, not to be saved BUT BECAUSE HE IS SAVED! At that time I wanted to cheer him on publicly since his famous "How dumb can we be?" sermon in 1992. There are other Sabbatarians like Whaid Rose, General Conference of the Church of God(Seventh Day) in Denver, Colorado and evangelical Seventh Day Adventist scholar, Dr. Desmond Ford of Good News Fellowship (you can surf his reviews and debates with Dale Ratzlaff on www.goodnewsunlimited.org )who also hold to this position. Certain Messianic Orthodox Jews believe the Holy Days are an obedience issue (strictly a sanctification issue, NOT a justification issue). Of course, many in the Worldwide Church of God and other Christians who accept the WCG's recent theological version on the New Covenant believe that you can voluntarily celebrate the Sabbath and the Holy Days as Christian festivals of worship and they are just as good (or better for some) as keeping the Lord's Day on Sunday or keeping Christmas or Easter. The great big BUT is when you say that you must keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days in order to maintain your salvation and if you don't you are NOT a Christian THEN I have serious problems with your line of reasoning. It is not the Biblical view on what grace is. A gift ceases to be a gift, no matter how small the price. It is the sacrifice of Christ plus nothing else. Galatians 3:2 and Ephesians 2:8 and other ample Biblical references show us that we are saved by faith alone. With this attitude of faith +works = salvation is legalism, and those who practice it are not sure of whether that they are saved or not, whether they will make it into God's kingdom whereas the Bible says otherwise! Paul meant what he said that we are NOW SAVED by grace in Ephesians, NOT will be! Galatians 1:8 is unambiguous about a results of a false gospel.

4.EXCLUSIVITY: "ARMSTRONGISM IS CHRISTIANITY, THE REST IS PAGAN!"
The fourth tragic mistake of the Churches of God is exclusivity. With the various splinters of the Churches of God around, they will NOW recognize that the competing churches of God are Christian part of the invisible body of Jesus Christ, but if you are Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, R.C. Sproul, Dr. Billy Graham or David Mainze, you may do great works and help a lot of people but you must wait 'til the second resurrection. Only baptized, Sabbath-keeping Church of God members will only take part. Sometimes the splinters confuse genuine evangelical Christians with the world! I know one person who barely passed into the kingdom of God the "Seventh Day Adventists" because they did not have the name "church of God" attached to it. The individual probably gave the Church of God (Seventh Day) from Denver, Colorado a better passing grade(but probably a C- )because they did not accept most of what Mr. Armstrong taught and was orthodox leaning. I am so happy that God IS BIGGER THAN THAT! I am so happy that if one believes in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and surrenders themselves to Jesus they are in a NEW relationship with Him. They are rescued from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of his son (Colossians 1.14). One does not need to belong a corporate institution having "church of God" attached to it. Let me make no mistake, there is nothing wrong for a denomination to be called "Church of God" because it is a perfect reminder to know who REALLY is IN CHARGE. The Church of God (Seventh Day) has the best approach by saying "We are not trying to be saved by that name," it's a Biblical pattern to use. You will find those in that relationship in the kingdom of His Son who are Seventh Day Adventist, Seventh Day Baptist, Church of God (Seventh Day) Denver, Colorado, and Messianic Judaism in the relationship with Christ. You will also find Baptist, Methodist, Anglican, Episcopalian, Christian Reformed, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Lutheran, Mennonite, Quaker, or any orthodox Christian denomination who holds to the essentials of historic Christian faith also in that relationship too! No one church has a corner of truth. I felt liberated and free from that "cultic, sectarian yoke of bondage" when the late Mr. Tkach Sr. proclaimed that they were other Christians in other churches. Others felt enslaved by that proclamation. It ruined and damaged their narrow view of what they were in Christ. They wanted to be an elite corps, but they felt that was forever smashed! They should talk to a second generation member of the WCG about how LONELY, DEPRESSED and WORRIED about being part of the so-called one true church of God felt like! I always wondered how the Worldwide Church of God was going to reach the world with our "narrow" view of what we thought was the gospel. That verse in Matthew 24.14 in many ways is fulfilled, that the gospel is much more than we thought it was. God is truly the God of the individual! But for most of the churches of God, they have a very narrow, rigid theology and view of the world because of this exclusivity. It is sad that those competing churches of God call each other Laodicean because one of the churches may be liberal or progressive on a particular point of doctrine and will needle, nag and boast on how "conservative" they are and how much of HWA's "truth!" they preserved! Some will question, is this Christianity? This brings me to the next point.

5.MAJORING IN THE MINORS, MINORING IN THE MAJORS
Another sad reason that the Churches of God will NOT unite is that the big problem of majoring in the minors, minoring in the majors. In Raymond Cole's group, the "Church of God, the Eternal" one split over the issue of whether duck is unclean or NOT! I, for one, like John Halford said in a sermon a few years ago, "I may live and believe in the New Covenant, but I eat like if I'm under the old", but may I add I am not that Pharisaical about it either. This is absolutely one Church of God I plan not to visit in my lifetime! Some of the groups still have repressed puritanical hang-ups on make-up, hairstyles, music, ultra-conservative dress codes (here's an idea: I would love to see Shania Twain visit, but please never join the extreme splinters, wear especially the dress she wore in the Grammys this February (1999). Bill Dankenbring or Raymond Cole would fume and croak and contrast that to a visit to a more "liberal" Church of God like the United Church of God. I know Gary Antion would embrace her with open and ask her to dress a little less steamy if she visited next week), interracial relationships between dating and marriage, prohibition on voting, birthdays, etc., sexual positions and other prohibitions on things that are pleasurable (I will leave that to the imagination here), other strict extra-biblical man-made rules on dating and so forth. Some have hang-ups about the so-claimed pagan origin of crosses (When I received my first Bible Advocate in February 1997, published by the Church of God (Seventh Day), I saw a picture of a family and the daughter wore a cross) and church steeples. Some have angry hang-ups about others taking the Lord's Supper other times of the year other than Passover. Again the Church of God (Seventh Day) from Denver, Colorado has no hang-up about that either. They too take the Lord's Supper on the 14th of Nisan but extend charity to those who keep it other times. I think it's time that some of the splinters stop calling CGSD, the "Sardis church" and high time they HONOR THEIR PARENT CHURCH with respect to the fifth commandment! They were way ahead of us in many areas that we didn't understand about. There are even those that believe bow ties are sinfully pagan! Some are what I call "pagan-phobic" meaning that what anything pagans did, we must avoid. Some have gone to extremes such as celebrating the New Moons (to paraphrase Mr. Halford and myself, I live and believe in the New Covenant but I celebrate like the Old, but I am not Pharisaical about it). They turn the Lord Jesus Christ into a Lord of legalism! You tell these guys about the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They will say, "That's not important", that's "mother-stuff "or "it's so basic" let's go on to something complex. Mind you I am not a Jesus freak or one who has to have every third word out of my mouth say "Jesus" (I want to use his name relevantly and with reverence) but a big mistake of the historic Worldwide Church of God and its splinters is that ONE should NEVER EVER call the life, death and resurrection of our Lord, "Non-important". We are saved by those very acts! Nothing else! I advise those who are in the splinters to talk to the SECOND GENERATION MEMBERS of the WCG OR their own respective off-shoot and ask them why they didn't stay. They will tell you almost unanimously: A LACK OF THAT EMPHASIS and they were "GRACE STARVED!" I ask those if the life, death and resurrection of our Lord is a false gospel, THEN WHY DID THE DISCIPLES EVER BOTHER TO WRITE MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE AND JOHN that talk about Jesus Christ? Now some will say, Felix you don't believe in a "gospel of the kingdom?" Nothing can be further than the truth. Read Dr. John Walvoord's book, Major Bible Prophecies: 37 Crucial Prophecies That Effect You Today. He discusses on page 301, about a gospel of the kingdom as the solution to mankind's ills and evils in the world. The historic Worldwide Church of God was wrong for NOT giving equal time and harmonizing the GOSPEL OF SALVATION! I am a firm believer in his bodily return as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (and a 1000-year millennial reign on earth), but without Calvary his return is NOT possible!

6.FOUNDATION IN HWA, NOT IN JESUS CHRIST AND A FALSE AUTHORITY
As I mentioned about the message board of Mark Tabladillo, the dark side of the founder Herbert W. Armstrong is discussed. I am NOT going to discuss in detail about it (there are plenty of sites to discuss about it). Trust me, I had a post in Mark's message board suggesting would the revelations of the dark side of HWA were media exposed, would it doom the conservative splinters of the churches of God. I had one particular person fuming over my wish to see some of those splinters gone, and other strong reactions. That conservative splinters do get a little defensive when constructive criticism is made about the founder is to say the least, an understatement. I was not perfect. At age 14, I first came across the Armstrong Empire (it discusses where he was wrong theologically and administratively, and does not discuss his personal life) by Joseph Martin Hopkins. When reading this book I was angry at the author, wishing that thunder would consume him. By the grace and the divine mercy of God, I have matured of these attitudes ever since. Deep inside as a teenager, I did think HWA was unnecessarily harsh on a few things and that had bothered me for some time. Usually when one visits the splinters, "Mr. Armstrong used to say this", etc. it just makes you want to say, "Don't you as a group have anything original to say?" OR "Is there anyone else who you quote?" " You guys are a new group, why are you so hung up on a leader of a past affiliation?" One person on the message board was very insightful that the splinters whether they admit or not have a focus on personalities. The majority of those in the Global Church of God who went to follow Rod Meredith in the Living Church of God proves the point. Mind you, there are those in the Living Church of God who will argue to the death that the opposite is the case. I'll comment about this event later on. Without the foundation in Jesus Christ, you HAVE A FALSE AUTHORITY. Reg Borrow had some interesting insight:

Here's something that adds to what you wrote above. It's what had us controlled for so many years. It seemed Biblical. We simply had to obey and pay. I read this book back in early 1996. This book lifted the wool from my eyes and brought my mind out of the fog it was in to see things clearly. I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Highly recommended for all COG members.
(Quotes from the book, "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by David Johnson)
FALSE AUTHORITY
"Because I'm the pastor, that's why!" The words come hard and fast, their meaning penetrates. "How dare you doubt me!" "Are you questioning my authority?" Don't be a troublemaker." "Keep the peace." "Submit to your elder."
Scripture verses come quickly to mind in seeming support of a blind sort of obedience and submission. Heb.13:17:"Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give account." Romans 13:1-2:"Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves."
With these scriptures echoing, we tell ourselves, I believe in the Bible, I want to be obedient. He's the pastor, the shepherd, God's servant, His mouthpiece. He really must know more than me. I really must be out of line. I must be seeing this wrong. Who am I to question? I guess I had better go along. Why? Because he's the pastor, that's why.
This type of thinking is a symptom of living under leadership that legislates and demands obedience to their authority. It rests upon a false basis for authority. The sole basis on which they grasped this authority was because of their rank as ministers alone. In other words, their authority was NOT founded on the fact that they were wise, discerning and true. It was based solely in the fact they were in charge.
In the New Covenant, we see that Jesus established a new basis of authority. It was no longer age, gender or race. It is now based on the evidence of the Holy Spirit within you. Attributes like maturity, wisdom, genuine holiness, and real knowledge are required in order to evidence Jesus' brand of authority. "Because I said so" does not work anymore." "Because I'm the pastor" does not cut it. So if my basis for authority is solely that I hold an office, I have a false basis for authority.

We do not have authority in God's eyes simply because we are named the pastor, the elder, or the chairman. We are going to have to speak the truth to have real authority. We are going to have to be sensitive to the Spirit to have real authority. We are going to have to be wise, and seek to know and say what God says clearly and accurately. 3

7.A STUBBORN AND UNTEACHABLE SPIRIT
A recently retired pastor in the congregation that I attended said that most of us in the WCG are "a stubborn people". I had disagreed with him on a lot of things, but he was right on! This is an attitude to not always be proud of (I am no better myself and need to constantly to ask God to give me a teachable spirit and to let go which I cherish that is not harmoniously backed by scripture). How would you like this judgmental statement lashed at you, "HOW DARE YOU WEAR THAT PAGAN CROSS!" Or how about a statement like this, "Your false pagan messiah is nothing!" Or you question their authoritarian hierarchical ways and say, "Where is the love in it all?" You get a diatribe with, " I am sure Lucifer thought the same way before he rebelled against God's government!" Or "ANYTHING that came from the fourth century I WILL NOT BELIEVE IT AND ACCEPT IT!" This is an angry polemic when one of the members of the offshoots will not accept the trinity. Well, the Bible was canonized in the fourth century(about 380 A.D.). Are they going to now give credit to Mormonism or traditional Seventh Day Adventism (they have extra-Biblical sources which they claimed that was given to them "divinely" in 19th century)? It would be preposterous to say the least. When I had this topic as a discussion thread, someone who supported the PCG came along with his delusional ravings that the Church of God is united and I must join him and his brand of legalism "before it's too late." Thankfully, someone (who is himself a controversial character on the message board) rebutted this person's fanatical ravings. The person who rebutted this PCG supporter was trying to tell him that the Churches of God have roots in the Adventist movement, but told me he felt like it was trying to put a thread in a needle with boxing gloves. This is truly an unteachable spirit. I come under the same frustration of telling Jehovah's Witnesses their theological roots, and they too behave childishly and argue to the death that their cult was divinely sent down from heaven. A stubborn spirit is a spiritual dangerous attitude. It can simply stunt one's spiritual growth and could grieve the Holy Spirit AND QUENCH IT! A person with a stubborn spirit is a person with a heart of stone, not a heart of flesh. A stubborn spirit is also a controlling spirit! As most of the splinters remain under cultism, the controlling spirit will be still in existence! The Bible is very clear about stubbornness and the LINK to IDOLATRY (I Samuel 15:23)! I felt that during the Global Church of God crisis, it baffled my mind why these people DID NOT exclaim, "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I am going to my local Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Adventist church and GET A BROADER VIEW OF CHRISTIANITY!" Instead most (about 75%) decided to follow along with Rod Meredith and chose to believe that it was only Satan attacking "the Church". Like I said before, there are some in the LCG who will tell you to GET REAL. "It was the message that Rod was giving that was important! When they kicked out Rod, the message was gone!" they say. Time will tell if that was a true statement not only to those they exclaimed it to, but more importantly, themselves. Another experience I came across with a stubborn and unteachable spirit was during the Feast of Tabernacles in 1998, when meeting a man who I knew since my childhood; I would classify him in the GRUMP category of the WCG. The acronym GRUMP stands for "God's Remnant Under Much Persecution." This is an ultra-conservative fundamentalist wing in the WCG who believed that God placed his name in a denomination and cannot leave (I am glad that Acts 4.12 explains who saves us, not a church). These are far different in their approach than the "responsible conservatives" in the WCG (Dr. Hoeh, Gene Hogberg, etc.). They must warn and condemn the apostate New Covenant believers. Centrists (like myself) in Worldwide are also no exception.

Anyway, I caught this man in the middle of a conversation with another longtime member, getting defensive over people constructively critical of HWA and thought that there was nothing wrong with the historic WCG (he had one hang-up with one doctrine he didn't like but that's another story). I tried my best to show how one is saved by accepting the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior. It angers me to the bone that some take that and choose that interpretation as "easy believism." When I explained to this man these things he had to interrupt abruptly many times, not really interested of what I had to say, instead he ranted his misinterpretation of Acts 5.32 like Rod Meredith saying, "GOD GIVES HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO THOSE WHOM HE OBEYS!!!!!" I was appreciative (though still a little mad at him, and I am still frustrated in his belief in a narrow view of Christianity and the world) that he apologized to me for "chewing my hide" the next day. He said that he was "in the world" and does not want to be deceived again by it. I hope he can read scriptures that Jesus promised that he gives his children LIFE! NOTHING CAN SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND!!! (John 10:28-29) The Book of John promises that the Holy Spirit is our teacher and will teach us into all truth. When one denies the personality of the Holy Spirit, one cannot comprehend this.

I have given you seven sad reasons why the churches of God will NOT reunite. Forget about the extreme splinters that claim that they are united. They only have uniformity under a delusional theological despotic leader with an iron fist. Jesus Christ said that his yoke is light (Matthew 11:30); these splinter leaders are modern-day Pharisees who place heavy burdens on their members and who refuse to help them. When minor issues are treated as life and death situations, the group goes cultic. When one belittles the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, you get someone out there who will take things literally through no fault of his own and become grace-starved. When you don't know who God really is and why Jesus came to this earth, your view of God is limited. He becomes just a mere superman who lives with another superman, Jesus Christ, on planet "heaven," and their "love" is the Holy Spirit which they attempt to make it a pathetic "it". When you declare yourself the one and only group, a prideful spirit creeps in, and the Lord God says in Proverbs 6:16 says he hates that. When the focus is on either HWA, Rod Meredith, Gerald Flurry instead of Jesus Christ, the leader of that group becomes your mediator between you and God, while it should ONLY be Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:5). A stubborn and unteachable spirit becomes a mean-dogmatic spirit, and is NOT in the conformity with the mind and love of Jesus Christ and the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). These groups can unite if they all repent about those seven reasons that's barring them from uniting and allow themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit and know who He is. Jesus Christ at the Sermon on the Mount had a message for the Pharisees, "DOWN WITH HYPOCRISY, DOWN WITH RITUALISM, DOWN WITH JUDGMENTALISM!" Jesus' solution was, "UP WITH SINCERITY, UP WITH LOVE, UP WITH TOLERANCE!!!" Will ever the splinters take what Christ meant seriously? Mark Tabladillo said eloquently at the conclusion of the message thread, that ALL will come before Christ, kneel before Him and say that, "Jesus Christ is Lord!" My hope for all the splinters is that when they will say that when Jesus Christ returns, may they say that being the friends of Jesus Christ rather than His enemies. May God have mercy on us all!

Sources

1 Joseph Martin Hopkins, The Armstrong Empire, 1974
2 Earl H. Williams, Pastor General's Report, November-December 1993
3 David Johnson, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, 1995

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