Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don’t Allow Others To Do Your Thinking

Greetings! My name is William Behrer, and I have been serving as the executive director of operations at The Restored Church of God Headquarters in Wadsworth, OH. My previous employment was as the chief operating officer of an international non-profit organization in New York City, dedicated to strengthening ties between the people of the United States and Israel. My first trip to Jerusalem was through my work with the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation (AICF) and the International Cultural Center for Youth in Jerusalem (ICCY), an endeavor dear to Mr. Armstrong. I have been to Israel 40 times, most recently introducing Mr. Pack and others to senior government officials.

When my wife, Jackie, and I anointed our eyes (Rev. 3:18) we were living in northwest Connecticut. In addition to my five-hour daily commute to NYC via car and train, we traveled two hours to attend a United Church of God (UCG) congregation in Worcester, MA. My wife and I were both baptized into God’s Church (WCG) in the early 1970s and we attended the Worldwide Church of God until February 1994. I was ordained as a deacon in 1985 and as a local church elder in 1987.

After leaving the WCG because of the apostasy, we first attended the Global Church of God. When Rod Meredith started the Living Church of God, we knew that for obvious reasons we should not follow him and stayed with Global. After a short period, most of us merged with UCG. At the first combined service of the two groups in MA, I led songs and could feel tears welling up at this (as I then viewed it) “wonderful display of unity” that was bringing God’s people together. I had fallen so far into the Protestant-style “love-speak” of Laodicea that I completely disregarded what I had proven in 1995—that the organization we now found ourselves a part of, by its choice of government alone, had disqualified itself from being the True Church of God.

From our start in UCG, I was too focused on my business and travels to be very uncomfortable with what I saw there. After all, we were keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days, we “understood” some prophecy, etc. (Rev. 12:17). I wasn’t taking notice of how far UCG had strayed—and we were straying—from what we knew to be the Truth under Mr. Armstrong.

What finally got my attention was a young man from our congregation calling me from ABC (UCG’s Bible learning center). He said that he had been advised by a teacher to marry in the church—“if” he could find someone. What?! I participated in this young man’s baptismal counseling and covered this point clearly with him, i.e., that we should not marry outside God’s Church (I Cor. 6:14-18). He was confused by the counsel he had been given by his “teacher” and his statement hit me like cold water in the face. I began to see how “lukewarm” I personally had become regarding the Truth, standards and traditions God restored to the Church through Mr. Armstrong (Rev. 3:16-17). Shortly after this phone call, I saw the error of this “teaching” demonstrated when the local pastor consented to perform a marriage between a UCG member (man) and his Roman Catholic fiancée! Though my wife and I received an invitation to the wedding, we could not tacitly approve such disregard of Scripture by our attendance. When I later asked the pastor why he performed this marriage he said, “Well, they were going to get married anyway.”

My wife began to look for God’s Church because we knew it had to exist somewhere—somewhere else (Matt. 16:18). To my deep regret, in 1999 and early 2000, I had allowed the stories and avalanche of lies promulgated about Mr. Pack to keep me from seriously considering The Restored Church of God (RCG). I urge you not to make the same mistake. Do not let the several self-appointed Internet “watchdogs” (of varying perspectives) who espouse hatred, venom and disregard for the Truth to keep you from looking into RCG. Recognize that I had known Mr. Pack since the 70s and, even though I had never personally seen any of the things of which he was accused, I was still willing to buy into them. How much more would those who never knew him believe such stories?

When the volumes of material in the Splinter Explanation Packet (SEP) arrived, I took a week off work and we began our intensive study of the books and videos, comparing what we read and heard with our open Bibles. When I returned to the office, I printed copies of the material from the website so my wife and I could study together at the same time.

When I went to our pastor and told him my wife and I were reading “Anoint Your Eyes,” written by Mr. Pack, he did not address anything in the book scripturally—nothing, nor any other doctrinal points!—but rather began immediately to defame Mr. Pack. Sound familiar? I challenged him to read the book. He “agreed” and we arranged to meet again. Rather than point out ANYTHING from the Bible to contradict what was written in this book, he just continued to slander Mr. Pack. The meeting ended with him saying, “Well, we will have to agree to disagree.” When others in the congregation anointed their eyes and said they were going to attend RCG, this same pastor also engaged them with defamation of Mr. Pack, again always with no mention of the Bible.

Brethren, do not let the stories you have heard or things you have allowed yourself to read on the Internet—about Mr. Pack, Mr. Schurter and others—keep YOU from investigating for YOURSELF as to where God is working today (Ezek. 14:14, 20). Examine fruits (Matt 7:20)—not accounts from others.

Anointing your eyes is NOT simply reading a book, and it is not a mantra from Mr. Pack as “watchdogs” accuse. It is an overt biblical command from Jesus Christ (Rev 3:18). It is a process that all those in the seventh era of God’s Church must undertake! Again, so says Christ. I had to come to understand that I was a branch cut off from the Vine, and to repent of thinking that I wasn’t. Though I still had a small dwindling amount of the Holy Spirit, like all in the seventh era of God’s Church, I had become blind to my spiritual condition. I needed to anoint my eyes, as Christ commands all in the Laodicean era to do (Rev. 3:17-20). It was the knock of Jesus Christ—NOT MR. PACK—that my wife and I heard. Open your ears to hear if He is “knocking” at your door.

The aforementioned watchdogs love to start their drivel with things Mr. Pack supposedly once believed in 1999 and 2000. These men are deceivers and they purposely open their postings about Mr. Pack with ancient history—false history—not the exciting news of the Work. They want to prevent you from checking for yourself. Will you let them do this? They don’t want you to understand that Mr. Pack—just like Mr. Armstrong, the apostle Paul, and other apostles—has been given (and is continually being given) more understanding by God each year. Recall how Paul grew in understanding between his first and second letter to the Thessalonians. In his first letter, Paul thought that he would be alive at the appearing of Jesus Christ. He later realized that some 2,000 years would have to pass. Had Internet critics been around in the first century, what a “tale they could spin” on this great servant. Modern evil men and seducers (II Tim. 3:13) do the same in so many ways with Mr. Armstrong. On the topic of Church government, rather than honestly report the truth he had come to learn and express in Mystery of the Ages, they instead dig up and present an article he wrote in 1939, which he later disavowed, and with careful explanation as to why! A similar tactic is used in regard to what he taught is the gospel. Take the apostle John’s challenge (I Jn. 4:1)!

The Restored Church of God does not claim to be the only place where people have God’s Spirit. But RCG is the only place where Christ is working, through the government in which He is Head. Many in the organizations of the seventh era (the Church [ecclesia] of Laodicea, composed of “called out ones”) DO have the Holy Spirit—and that is the reason for the urgency of our message! Christ is standing outside and knocking on the doors of individuals who are sitting in organizations HE DOES NOT LEAD. He is not the Head of your organization, else He is divided, no matter how your leaders spin this. In Laodicea, the people rule, not Christ!

Postings on this website are not intended to bash anyone. We are not AGAINST people. Rather, we are urging all in the seventh era to follow Jesus Christ. So many enjoy referring to Him as “our soon-coming King,” but how many are accepting His rule over them NOW? Examine yourself and your organization—“Anoint your Eyes” so you can see as you once did. Are you living, and is your group teaching, what Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, restored through Mr. Armstrong—the FULL TRUTH, as well as the standards and traditions? In Luke 6:46, Jesus says, “Why call you Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Also, take a moment to read II Thess. 2:15, where Paul stated the importance of holding fast to traditions established by an apostle.

Consider how far WCG offshoots have strayed from the Truth, standards and traditions God restored to His One True Church, the Body of Christ, through Mr. Armstrong—what 150,000 once believed. (These conditions may vary from one congregation to another, but this of and by itself is a reason for the continual division, fighting and contention among God’s people of the seventh era.)
  • Rejection of the plain biblical teaching (restored by Mr. Armstrong) of how Jesus Christ built a single unified Church, in favor of what the apostates and what Protestants teach about “the church and Body of Christ.”
  • Rejection of Mr. Armstrong’s fulfillment of the Elijah role to “restore all things.”
  • Rejection of one of the very greatest truths in itself, that of how God puts truth into His Church only through apostles.
  • Rejection of the government of God as Mr. Armstrong taught it—every aspect of it. At its inception in 1995, ALL ministers in UCG actually resigned from the Christ-ordained offices into which they were placed (Eph. 4:11): Evangelists, Pastors, Preaching Elders—everyone became an elder with an equal “vote,” no matter how long they had been in the ministry. (I am a Pastor [in rank] in the Restored Church of God, as well as a member of the Advisory Council of Elders.)
  • Permitting all kinds of marriages that are unbiblical and should NEVER be allowed.
  • Use of makeup is permitted, even though Mr. Armstrong said time and again this is the very thing that permits the devil to get a toehold in the Church.
  • The injection of the Person of Christ into the gospel.
  • A lax almost non-approach to the all-important central “Ezekiel Warning.”
  • Members in some groups no longer have the responsibility to keep third tithe (denying them the blessings promised by God – Deut. 14:28-29), and instead are encouraged to depend on social security and other government aid to care for widows, orphans and others in need.
  • Assistance to worldly relief organizations in times of disaster is encouraged—instead of following the clear command of Christ to care for the brethren (Matt. 25:40).
  • Most physical standards from the past have been thrown out—proper hair length (men and women), proper dress, Sabbath or otherwise (men and women). If your congregation is a little closer to “Ambassador” standards, but others are not, how is that “all speaking the same thing” (I Cor. 1:10)?
  • Voting is permitted in a host of settings—in the world and the church, including on the most important things—leaders, doctrine, policy and budget. (I certainly had to repent of this.)
  • Seventh era organizations:
    • throw open the doors of the church. An “open door policy” now exists (COMPLETELY CONTRARY to Scripture and what Mr. Armstrong taught).
    • allow birthday celebrations, a wide liberalizing of how the Sabbath is observed, as well as Sabbath attendance, Holy Day and Feast attendance (some no longer recognize the opening night of the Feast as a commanded assembly).
    • allow true ministers to retire (being temporarily or permanently forced aside by bad health is different), with the church (really the brethren) giving them a pension to do nothing.
    • And so much more…

Brethren, if your neighbor has a huge crack in the foundation of his house, is warning him “bashing him”? Or should you just show “love” by only commenting on his nice new siding? The first will save his house from collapsing, while the second will make him feel good until it collapses. You see the point.

Every single person in the seventh era has a decision to make—there are no exceptions. You can decide now by anointing your eyes, as did my wife and I and so many others. Or you can decide during the Tribulation. Remember, all 10 virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) will go into the Tribulation. Half will refuse the Mark of the Beast, die as martyrs, and be in the Kingdom—the other half will take the Mark and later die the second death in the Lake of Fire.

Those in Laodicea speak endlessly about “unity” and “love” among God’s people, but without ever addressing the ONLY foundation of these—steadfast continuation “together” in all the “apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42), and keeping ALL God’s commands (I John 5:1-3; Rom. 13:10). And only one Church would be teaching ALL things that God commands.

The Bible shows that the church of the seventh era keeps the Sabbath and has the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev 12:17). They are also told by Christ that though they think they are “increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” their condition is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). Do you start with the assumption that YOU are in this condition? Or do you believe it only applies to others? The latter is most dangerous.

The unordained or self-appointed types want you to believe that having the exact figures for the annual income of RCG, or its attendance, are the primary factors to consider in the decision we must make. Don’t fall for this! And believe me, all with eyes to see should easily recognize The Restored Church of God has a very healthy income.

The Restored Church is not trying to “get” anything from you, despite what deceivers say. Each year RCG’s fruits show that Christ is our Head. The many blessings He continues to pour out are being used to finish His mighty Work:
  • Preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God to all nations, as well as the Ezekiel Warning to the nations of modern Israel
  • Feeding the Flock—caring for members around the world through an ever-growing ministry, and
  • Reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the offshoots of the WCG, urging them to anoint their eyes and let Christ in—i.e., come back to the Body of Christ and let Him lead, through the government He has established in His Church.

Finally, I leave you with a quote from Mr. Armstrong, from the October 1962 Good News article “Must God’s Ministers Be Ordained by the Hand of Man?”
“The Word of God clearly teaches us that there is but the one Spirit, and the one Body. (I Cor. 12:12-13, 20.)” 
“That one body of Christ, carrying on His work, must function as a unit. It must work in harmony and unity, with teamwork, for God is not the author of confusion. There must be no pulling off in different directions by different men in that one Body. There must be no competition, or division. And any who knowingly promotes, or encourages anyone in promoting, such disharmony, competition, and division, becomes the enemy of God, and is serving the devil and not God! 
“In order that this oneness—this unity of purpose and action—this harmony and co-operative teamwork, be maintained and preserved in God’s work, God has ordained government in His Church. And He has empowered His Church with divine authority. 
“That government in God’s Church is government from God, thru Christ, thru apostles, thru evangelists, thru pastors, thru other elders, in that order!
Did Mr. Armstrong’s statements apply only to his time? Or are they timeless, and applicable today?