The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God.The Painful Truth About The Worldwide Church of God

You Say The Worldwide Church of God Has Changed,
Here Is How To PROVE IT!

By
Steven B. Myers
sbmyers@ctlnet.com

The Worldwide Church of God has been through changes that may be described in many ways: remarkable...inspired...unbelievable...tumultuous. The church has seemingly changed course toward a more Christ centered organization putting aside its cultic doctrine and practices. Yet it has a very long way to go to achieve righteousness and that way seems to be the way of the "eye of a needle" spoken of by Jesus when explaining how difficult it would be for the "rich" to enter the Kingdom of God. (Mark 10:25 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.")

Despite the recent changes in the church the "way of righteousness" is being ignored or perhaps overlooked by the leadership of the church. The leaders seem to be unwilling or unable to make a complete and total break from the past sins of the church. The sins of the Worldwide Church of God are many. Abuses by leaders caused marriages to break up, families to split, jobs and businesses to be lost, lives to be ruined, and yes, even suicide. One was told he/she would be "blessed for putting God first" and the "cares of this world" last. In the committing of these shameful sins and teachings the most heinous sin of all was committed by the leadership-denying the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

I would like to relate my own experience (not unlike the experience shared by many current and former members). When I first became interested in the bible and had come to give religion some consideration I was confused about who and where to turn for help and guidance. Enter the Worldwide Church of God. The literature of the church introduced me to many eye-opening doctrines, practices, and beliefs such as: the Sabbath and Holy Days, clean and unclean meats, tithing (first, second and third as well as "tithe-of-the-tithe", seven annual Holy Day offerings, special offerings asked for from time to time, Summer Educational Program offerings, building fund offerings, regular voluntary offerings in addition to all other tithes and offerings, etc.), British-Isrealism, the "soon coming" Kingdom of God, etc. Somewhere in this packet of beliefs was Jesus Christ and him crucified. I greatly regret that my first contact with religion and the Christian faith was not the fact that Jesus Christ died for my sins. I realize that I chose the Worldwide Church of God of my own free will but I will always have that regret and feel somewhat cheated because I was not called to Jesus but to "days and seasons and times and years."

The normal scenario for an average person interested in the Worldwide Church of God is much like my story. First came the interest generated by the radio or television program. Then comes the request for literature, then the request for a visit by a minister of the church. If one was lucky he/she may be "invited" to come to services after a few visits-that is, of course, if he/she could give up his sins first and read and absorb the required literature. Next came continued study and requests for baptism which may take weeks or even months and years depending on how well the potential convert was "progressing" in his/her studies of Worldwide Church of God/Herbert W. Armstrong indoctrination.

A potential member was asked to seriously "count the cost" of dedicating one's life to God and taking on the responsibility of belonging to "the one true church." He/she was asked to consider the many things that would be required of him/her before making such a lifelong decision. God did not want quitters or slackers in his family and a person's "calling" was a serious matter indeed because he/she was being groomed and trained to rule with Christ as a member of the God family for all eternity (to be God as God is God).

My first contact with the church was in March of 1973 and I was finally baptized in July 1974. My request for baptism came in March of 1974. It was only at the occasion of my baptism that I was asked if I had accepted Jesus as my personal savior. The question was asked by the minister administering the baptism and actually surprised me somewhat because little had been said about the saving grace of Jesus Christ up to that point.

Now I come to the most blasphemous and ungodly sin of all committed by the Worldwide Church of God and its cultist representatives-denying the saving power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Consider this possible scenario: suppose a person had accepted Jesus Christ as personal savior, had come to the realization of how much he needed Christ in his/her life and had repented of his/her sins and asks for a visit from a Worldwide Church of God minister. During the visit the repentant person states his acceptance of Jesus as his/her savior and asks if he/she may come to Worldwide Church of God services. Then the unbelievable, unthinkable, absolutely repulsive and blasphemous statement is made by the visiting minister: "That is not enough." After all, the potential member knew nothing of the Sabbath, Holy Days, tithing, the true identity of Israel (British-Isrealism), the Worldwide Church of God's blasphemous teaching about the family of God, etc. How could one possibly be ready to actually attend services without such "basic" knowledge?

Acceptance of Jesus is not enough? Doesn't the bible state plainly that one is simply required to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" and that he was crucified and raised from the dead to be saved? (Romans 10:9: "...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Acts 16:31: "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.") Christians are most certainly aware of this basic teaching from the word of God. Yet it was possible for an interested person to be told exactly that-that believing on Jesus Christ and accepting His shed blood for forgiveness of sins was not enough to become a member or to even attend services of the Worldwide Church of God! Shocking but true. Such a person would be thought to be deceived by Satan.

I do not know personally if such a conversation ever took place but after nearly twenty-five years in the Worldwide Church of God I know it would have been very highly possible because the former teaching of the church required "much more" than a mere acceptance of Jesus Christ as savior. Any long-time minister would confirm this. The endless list of prerequisites for membership did include Jesus Christ but it was a long way down on that list.

It is this same church that now claims to be changed, redirected, and reformed. To these claims by the leadership I say: "PROVE IT!" Prove to the world that the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God is serious about following and obeying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Show the critics and skeptics where your treasure actually lies. Reveal to all concerned that your motives are honorable toward the Lord Jesus Christ and that your prime motivation is not still money. Prove once and for all that you have shed your cult status and truly repented. Show all concerned that the church and its leadership is ready to put full trust and confidence in the Holy Spirit, looking to Him for guidance and instruction. In short, put your money where your mouth is. What follows is my opinion of how to do this.

The answer lies in Matthew 19:16-22: "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."

The Worldwide Church of God fulfills the role of the rich young man in this parable and this is exactly what the Worldwide Church of God must do. The properties of the Worldwide Church of God now up for sale must be sold and the profits given to the poor just as Jesus said. Given the blasphemous past of the Worldwide Church of God how, in good conscience, could the leaders and the paid ministers of the organization take the money and keep it all for themselves? Is it right? Is it pleasing to God for the Worldwide Church of God to profit from its cultic, sinful past?

The first priority (and possibly only priority) of the proceeds, according to church leaders, from the sale is to provide for the ministry in the form of a retirement endowment. The same ministry who would have told a sincere believer that his/her belief in the sacrifice of Christ was not enough to become a member of the church will be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement-all funded by past sins, lies, and deceptions. The buildings were built and the properties acquired on the backs of sincere, dedicated members and when sold those profits will be used to provide a retirement for the very same ministry who mislead them so tragically. That is just plain wrong and THAT is truth so plain even a child could understand.

So what should be done with the profits of the past when the properties are sold? As already mentioned they should be given to the poor. The leaders of the church should gather the best minds available to discover the best way to set up a foundation with the profits from the sale of the properties going to serve the poor and needy of the world. In short, they should do exactly as Jesus said-sell what they have and give it to the poor! Then the world would know without doubt where the heart of the Worldwide Church of God really lies!

Where is the concern of the leaders of the church? For the poor? No. The main concern of the leaders of the church seems to be for their own well-being and comfortable retirement. At whose expense? The present and past members of the church and the poor of the world. The question must be asked: "Where is the heart of the current leaders of the Worldwide Church of God?"

I am no longer a member of the Worldwide Church of God because I have lost all trust and faith in the leaders of the church and its hierarchical form of government. If the leaders would actually do what I have suggested along with truly reforming and changing the top down form of government that produced such blasphemous acts so that it would not happen again...if the leaders were to show they were more concerned for the poor and needy as well as for the membership instead of providing for their own future...if they showed more concern for following Jesus than maintaining their own organizational structure...if they showed more interest in accepting the leadership of the Holy Spirit than keeping their own jobs and living in a comfortable retirement...then I and many others like me might return to the church.

The church would gain respect from all others on the outside. But most of all the Worldwide Church of God would, for the first time, put total trust in God and His Holy Spirit and not themselves. The church for the first time would truly accept Jesus as savior and finally understand the way to righteousness.

 

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