August 12, 2022 Brethren Letter
A few years ago, there was a Church member who wrote something that I found to be very thought-provoking. This person wrote, “It’s an astounding age, with so many ex-WCG ministers going WAY off track–not only from the faith, but from reasonable sanity.” Well, in light of what has occurred over the years, this person’s statement doesn’t seem as profound as it once might have. Personally, I’ve seen everything promulgated upon God’s people (by the ministry), from farfetched scriptural interpretations, to carnal human reasoning. Members should be keeping the faith as it was once delivered. Satan, is very subtle and has used many of the same techniques repeatedly throughout Church history. There is nothing new under the sun! (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
(3) Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
(4) For certain men have crept in unnoticed…
(29) For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
(30) Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
After seeing some of today’s fruit, some members might reason that Mr. Armstrong should never have ordained many of the ministers who were ordained. However, we can also see in the book of Acts (as shown above), that during Paul’s time he realized there would be ordained ministers who would rise up speaking “perverse things.” Here is part of an article written in the Good News magazine (March 1958), which illustrates this point very well. Oddly enough, the very man who wrote this article in 1958 was eventually removed from the Church years later. Sadly, he too sought to draw off disciples after himself.
Paul, … called a brief ministerial meeting at Miletus, south of Ephesus, when he was on his way to Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost, in the Spring of 56 A.D. Paul was later captured, left in prison at Caesarea for two years, and then taken to Rome in the FALL of 58 A.D.
Apparently, his haste in wanting to be in Jerusalem prohibited a short overland journey from Miletus to Ephesus, so he called the ELDERS of the Ephesus area to him.
THESE MEN WERE TRAINED UNDER PAUL’S PERSONAL DIRECTION DURING HIS THREE-YEAR STAY in the region of Ephesus (Acts 20:31).
They had been ordained as Elders in God’s Church. They had qualified. God had revealed through Paul the iron-clad regulations that must be adhered to in choosing Spiritual leaders of the flock. But notice what Paul predicted of them!
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves,” he said, after reminding them of his past efforts in diligently preaching the Gospel, “and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you OVERSEERS, to FEED the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. FOR I KNOW THIS,” admitted Paul, “that after my departing shall GRIEVOUS WOLVES enter in among you, NOT SPARING THE FLOCK.
“Also of YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL MEN ARISE [SOME OF THESE VERY ORDAINED ELDERS], speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30).
Many years later, Christ’s message to the Ephesus Church through John was this: “Remember therefore from whence thou art FALLEN” (Rev. 2:5).
Yes, Paul knew even as he ordained some, that they might yield to human vanity and greed, and ultimately turn sour.
Mr. Armstrong has also had some similar experiences. Years ago, he realized the need of ordaining ELDERS, in some instances, to help oversee the flocks that were being gathered together in Oregon. According to the needs of the work — according to all the evidences in the lives of the men concerned, the “fruits” of their sincerity and faithfulness — Mr. Armstrong was led, like Paul, to ordain Elders! Later, when tests came, some of these very men turned their backs on God’s work — and became more interested in their own selfish pursuits! Some God struck down — others were scattered, until today none remain faithful.
MISTAKES WERE MADE! BUT WHO MADE THE MISTAKES?
PAUL, FOR ORDAINING ELDERS AS GOD HAD COMMANDED? — MR. ARMSTRONG, FOR ORDAINING ELDERS AS GOD DIRECTED? OR THE ONES WHO HAD BEEN ORDAINED, AND GIVEN THE SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY OF OVERSEEING GOD’S OWN CHOSEN PEOPLE, AND WHO THEN TURNED AWAY FROM GOD?
Once Elders were ordained, the responsibility was THEIRS! NO HUMAN BEING CAN FORESEE THE END FROM THE BEGINNING! Even GOD does not foreordain WHETHER or not YOU will “turn sour!” Yes, mistakes were made — not by God’s Apostles — but by those unfaithful ones who TURNED AWAY, following their own lusts and selfish interests!
Clearly, Satan has played the same “song of deception” over and over again. What we see today with ministers is not a new phenomenon. We, as members, must realize it is our responsibility to LOVE the TRUTH. We must recognize when any man has departed from it, whether he’s an “evangelist”, self-proclaimed prophet, or pastor! The important part we should always be focused on is what is being taught!
(6) Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
(7) Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
(14) that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
(15) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–.
I will continue with this subject again next time.
Have a wonderful Sabbath!
Your Brother in Christ,