Greetings, brethren! My name is Gene Zhorne, an associate pastor in The Restored Church of God (RCG) in the San Antonio, Texas area. My experience in God’s Church goes back to 1965, when my wife, Connie, and I were both baptized in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). I was later ordained a deacon in 1975, and into the ministry in 1981.
Fast-forward to 1990-2000, when WCG went completely off track from all God used Mr. Armstrong to restore to His Church.
Doctrines were watered down, government became virtually non-existent, and general chaos took hold. I can still hear Mr. Armstrong saying, “Government is everything!” But as it turned out, few actually believed that—or much of anything else Mr. Armstrong taught. Tens of thousands left WCG during this ten-year period, and joined various splinter groups. The prophesied “falling away” was in full swing, and the last era (Laodicean) of God’s Church was underway (Rev. 3:14)—one that had lost the fire for the Truth it once had, and settled into a lukewarm state.
During this time, not attending with any group, my wife and I continued to obey what we had been taught, as best as we could remember. Out on our ranch, we were detached from what was going on in the various “churches of God,” and we did not spend much time on the Internet. So we were not exposed to where Christ was working. We thought at the time, as many still do, that the Body of Christ was scattered, and we were still a part of it off by ourselves. Little did we know that we had lost so much truth.
Then one day, we were led to the Internet by a long-time friend, an elder (currently in one of the splinter groups) whom I have known for 40-plus years. He recommended that we check out RCG and Mr. David Pack. Looking back, we couldn’t be more thankful for this conversation—it was the beginning of forever changing our lives.
We eventually found The Restored Church of God’s website and the book “Anoint Your Eyes” on the “Why the Worldwide Church of God Apostasy and Splinter” webpage. One word: wow! We learned how obeying Christ’s command would give us clear vision to see the miserable state into which we had drifted—and allow us to recapture the portions of the Truth we had lost over the years. We were counseled to “buy of [Christ] gold tried in the fire” (Rev 3:18) now, rather than go through the fiery trial of the Great Tribulation later, through which only one-half of all Laodiceans will make it.
We were on the Internet day and night—like the Bereans “proving whether these things were so”—whether RCG is exactly what it claims to be. It was not hard to recognize Jesus Christ’s voice of Truth (John 18:37), and we knew—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that RCG is God’s one true Church.
As we read more of the book “Anoint Your Eyes,” we came to the sobering reality that we too were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”—just as Christ said all of His people would become in the final era of His Church. This was a terrible shame on us before our Creator. Yet, our spirits were forged during this time of deep personal reflection.
To grasp all that it contained, we had to read the book a second time. One pass was simply not enough. We then went on to read The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties, The True Church – One Organization, or Many?, Surviving Perilous Times, There Came a Falling Away, among many other books offered in the Splinter Explanation Packet (SEP). This (literally) eye-opening packet is a must-read for all of God’s people. I urge you to request the SEP and study its contents, with both an open mind and open Bible. Like my wife and I, you will be shocked at how far from the Truth you have traveled, all the while believing you have been holding fast. And like us, you will be shocked at your having been a branch cut off from the Vine (John 15:2, 4), and having God’s Spirit slowly dwindling away. But then you will be full of joy that you can once again be reconnected and have the opportunity to replenish the all-important Spirit of Truth (John 16:13; I John 4:6)!
Shortly thereafter, we began attending RCG Sabbath services. You can’t imagine how thrilled we were to be back fellowshipping with God’s people, and with God and Christ. We were back home, and in the only place where the full Truth of God is being taught.
The Book of Numbers, Chapter 13 and 14, brings out an interesting parallel in the commandment that God gave to Moses. He was to select a man from each tribe to spy out the land of Canaan—the “Land of Promise.” They were to be “strong and of good courage,” and to bring back the fruit of the land, as well as a good report. Yet after searching the land for 40 days, only two men, Joshua and Caleb, out of the 12 who were sent, gave an accurate and positive report—that there was a land flowing with milk and honey. The rest were afraid of the land’s inhabitants. They lacked faith in God to fight their way into the land of promise. Because a different spirit was present in Joshua and Caleb, only they made it.
How many of God’s people will allow dishonest, fearful and fear-producing reports to dissuade them from “spying out the land” of RCG? Listening to the lies puts you at risk of being barred from the land of promise—eternal life in the kingdom of God! Again, remember, only half of Laodicea makes it, and those only through the fiery trial of the Tribulation. Don’t wait until it is too late, brethren.
Just as God, in Deuteronomy 22:9, tells us not to mingle seed, neither should we mingle truth with error. The end result with seed is a greatly inferior, tainted product, and the same can be said of the beliefs held by human beings. Error, like leaven, eventually spreads throughout its host (Gal. 5:9). But unlike leaven in bread, the end result for one with God’s Spirit is that He eventually loses it, and with it eternal life.
Just recently we had the opportunity to visit the World Headquarters of The Restored Church of God for several days, and spend time at the very “heart of the Work.” Words fail me to adequately describe what my wife and I witnessed—incredible zeal, true unity of purpose, doctrinal purity, brotherly love—and the love of God. One could clearly see evidence of God’s Spirit working.
Before our trip, we had “heard with the ear,” but now we have “seen with the eye.” And what a sight we looked upon! It is just so much more penetrating in our minds to see firsthand the Work being done at God’s Headquarters today, just as occurred in the past in Pasadena under Mr. Armstrong.
I leave you with this: Mr. Pack has been given the very serious responsibility of warning the last era of God’s Church. Someone was going to be given this role. Rather than believing what you hear from critics, why not examine RCG for yourself? Look closely at the fruits for yourself! Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16). He did not say, “By the words of their critics or accusers you shall know them”! Those who know Jesus Christ will follow His voice (John 10:5, 27).
There is only one Church, as there is only one God, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:4-6). We all once believed this—what happened to change your view? Blindness set in, and the only way to recover is to “anoint your eyes.”