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Tremendous Fear and Intimidation of the Hierarchy
Resignation of Worldwide Church of God Minister Gary Arvidson
"As you know this creates tremendous fear and intimidation. I hope someday the Worldwide Church of God can come to understand the truth of the scriptural Church of God which is a divine organism not a singular organization. I also hope the Church organization would come to understand the New Testament form of Church government. And I believe these factors are the crux of the current fear syndrome."
February 22, 1974
Dear Mr. Antion,
Yesterday I decided to write this letter. I intend that it be brief and to the point about conditions in the Worldwide Church of God which affect me.
I had intended to send a letter to Mr. Ted Armstrong about the problems in the Work as they affect me. But the letter had become extremely long. I realized that a letter of that length and scope would probably have gone against me anyway. This is confirmed by statements that have been made about Ernest Martin's letter of resignation. It seems we have come to the point that it is almost impossible to express one self or present the truth without being judged as having a bad attitude.
I have been put on notice. If I attend one more lecture of Ernest Martins, I will have by that action placed myself into a position where I will be of no further use to the organization. Ernest is not infallible-- I fully recognize, but I highly respect him as a gifted teacher. Over the years he has demonstrated an intense love for the scriptures. He has been an avid and relentless researcher in many areas of Biblical knowledge. I have always been impressed with his ability to teach the Bible in a manner that is truly inspirational. But there is one primary thing he has done--and that is to bring many truths out of the pages of the Bible.
It has been my intent to continue learning from Ernest even though he is not employed by the College. However, I am informed by Robert Kuhn that if I attend one more lecture I would be subject to termination. And then of course in the minds of many people I would become an enemy of the Church. Many of the Church brethren are so highly structured (we have taught them this) that they equate Christianity solely with the organization. They believe that if a person is "in" he is good, but if he is "out" then he is bad.
As you know this creates tremendous fear and intimidation. I hope someday the Worldwide Church of God can come to understand the truth of the scriptural Church of God which is a divine organism not a singular
organization. I also hope the Church organization would come to understand the New Testament form of Church government. And I believe these factors are the crux of the current fear syndrome.
I acquiesed to the pressure Robert put on me Tuesday night and did not attend Ernest's lecture. I know that Robert has been given broad powers by Mr. Ted Armstrong, therefore I can only conclude that he speaks for him in these matters. But isn't it strange that I could attend classes at Fuller's Theological Seminary or any other "worldly" college whereas to attend a lecture of Ernest's when he teaches truth means that I am bad.
The Church teaches us to count the costs. I know we have serious problems with the doctrines of the Church such as Church Eras, Tithing, D&R, U.S. & B.C., Passover, Healing, 19-year-time cycles, Calendar, Prophecy, New Covenant, Gospel, Church Government and other things. Yet I cannot evaluate both sides of the story without being expelled from the Work. We have come to a sad state of affairs. If only every Church member were permitted to understand what the issues are. But I am afraid there will be attempts to keep them uninformed lest they become unsettled.
I realize the unnerving affect to the Church as a whole when ministers resign. I know they are classed with the "great falling away. " It would be considered as heresy for a person to consider the possibility that the organization has already fallen away from much truth and people like me only wish to see it restored.
I have decided to attend Ernest's next lecture. I want to study the Bible so that I will be able to more effectively evaluate the issues. It is interesting that people who contact Dr. Martin or listen to his tapes privately are safe--but it is those who are open about it that have to fear loss of job. Since this decision is tantamount to my resignation, I felt that I needed to be forthright in coming to you about this matter. I wanted to document my reason for attending his lectures before I am suspended from the organization--not the body of Christ.
Living in this atmosphere causes me continual inner turmoil. I have not intended to resign, but then again I cannot comply with the demands of the organization..
In Christian love,
Gary E. Arvidson,
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