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?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Youth Camp in Nigeria

As I had mentioned Friday, today’s post will be a first-hand account. It is of my daughter’s time attending a UCG Youth Camp in Nigeria. First, some setup: In the mid-2000s, UCG Nigeria started their Youth Camp, dubbed “United Youths Camp,” and invited the young people of my former group to join them. We gladly agreed. Unknown to us, there was some improper conduct in the camp that was clearly incompatible with our calling as Christians. It was not until the third year of our children’s attendance that we began to hear vivid details of these things. We decided to stop them from further attending. The narration of some of the incidents in the camp is better described in the words of my second daughter, who attended for three straight years. Extra detail is included to understand the spirit guiding the camp. This includes some setup and background.
“The UCG youth camp was filled with a competitive spirit, and rules were ignored. The competition was not just between sports teams. There was also unhealthy, parochial competitions between the various tribes represented from different parts of the country. Those from the UCG Regional Office in Lagos were always in the majority and their language was Yoruba, the Owerri branch spoke the Igbo language, the Benin branch spoke Edo, and the youths from NWCG Abuja mostly spoke the Gbagyi language. Campers had been told during orientation to cease from speaking their native languages in favor of English, in order to prevent barriers between people and undue strain. But with the lackadaisical attitude of the campers and even some members of staff, that rule was ignored and everyone did whatever pleased them.

“The major strain was caused by the leaders themselves, who were from the Yoruba speaking group. The Yorubas in Nigeria are generally known to love their native language so much that they simply could not go a day without speaking their mother tongue—in defiance of camp instructions. Because the Southerners (the Yoruba, Edo and Igbos) kept speaking their language, there was no shortage of gossips, which in turn polluted the camp and robbed the setting of a true Christian atmosphere. Members of the two major Southern tribes, the Igbos and the Yorubas—traditional arch-rivals in Nigeria—were like cat and mouse, resulting in several unruly clashes between them in the camp. The leaders being Yorubas themselves knew of these but did nothing. Rather they would always favor their tribesmen and mete out harsh treatment to the Igbos. As a result of the intensity of the rivalry and disagreements, plus undue favoritism by the Yoruba-dominated leadership, the Igbos on two occasions angrily left for their homes before camp had officially ended.

“Uncontrolled fights occurred between the campers over very trivial and unreasonable issues, and more often than not, these were never resolved. At times, the staff did not even know what was going on. Male campers called and visited female rooms frequently and proposed “love” for some of the female campers. Most of the fights that occurred were over accusations of “boyfriend”- and “girlfriend”-snatching by campers. The character breakdown in the youths from UCG was very clear and made it obvious that they were not being taught how to live God’s way of life, and neither were they taught dating and courtship God’s way. There was certainly no clear difference between the UCG youths and those in the world. Because the young people of Narrow Way had been better trained and taught the basics in interpersonal relationships, they always stood by and watched in dismay what was going on between the UCG youths.

“The youths from NWCG had a lot of experiences to share about what they faced and their observations throughout the camp. Though the church is named the United Church of God, unity was never visibly present. Besides the obvious breakdown of character seen in the campers, tribalism and nepotism were at a level even unbelieving traditional ‘Christian’ churches would be ashamed to discuss in public!”
This is one more example of the bad fruits found in UCG—in this case so obvious that a teenager can easily recognise them. Among youth as among the adults, so much of the world has been brought into this group and this is not limited to “faraway places” such as Nigeria. I challenge UCG members to examine the atmosphere in their organization, asking what kind of faulty spiritual foundation would produce such things. Start by viewing an outrageous YouTube video “spoof” featuring UCG’s Ambassador Bible Center faculty and students, titled “The Home Office.” Its utter vileness, and the shocking public messages it sends, must be seen to be believed—and it is only the beginning of wrong, worldly standards so widespread, but so willingly tolerated, in UCG. Truly, a single video is worth a thousand words.


For a clear and wonderful contrast to UCG’s camps and “college,” readers will want to watch two videos. One is a short video about RCG’s Ambassador Training Center. The other showcases RCG’s annual Ambassador Youth Camp.

  

 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Another Voice Speaks Out

[The following letter, in its entirety, is a “must read.” - rcgtruth.com]

Greetings! My name is Vidal Wachuku, a pastor in The Restored Church of God (RCG). Before telling the story of my previous affiliation with the United Church of God (UCG), I first want to urge you, brethren: do not allow slander and false accusations against Mr. David Pack, Mr. Dale Schurter or RCG to keep you from returning to the “faith which was once delivered” (Jude 1:3)! Have you ever considered that ignorant and mischievous people falsely accused Jesus Christ of all types of sins? True servants of God have over the millennia similarly been attacked, including Mr. Armstrong!

To provide some brief background on myself, I am a Prince of the Royal Wachuku family of Nbawsi in Abia State of Nigeria. My grandfather was the Supreme Head of All Ngwaland, presently constituting 7 of the 17 local government Areas of the State. I come from a large extended family of lawyers, judges, doctors, engineers and other professionals. My legal career commenced under the tutelage of a late Uncle, Dr. Jaja Anucha Wachuku, who was Nigeria’s first Foreign Affairs Minister, the country’s first Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and First Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives. He later served two terms as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Over the years, I have also had the privilege of serving in distinguished capacities in my country.

As an Attorney-At-Law (Solicitor & Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria), I was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1984. My wife, Christine, is a professional colleague who was admitted to the Bar in 1986. She served as a State Prosecuting Counsel for some years before joining me in private legal practice.

I am thankful that my wife and I had the privilege to be trained in the traditions of British jurisprudence and were taught to thoroughly examine the facts of a case before arriving at a conclusion, just as God instructs in Proverbs 18:13—“He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

Sadly, so many thousands today are more than willing to “answer the matter” of RCG without investigating it themselves. They’d rather have others do their thinking for them. I will comment more on this later.

When my wife and I were first being called to God’s Church decades ago, my wife was the first to respond, but for me it did not come that easily. After initially resisting, I deployed my legal training in examining the evidence available to me to determine the authenticity of the Worldwide Church of God’s (WCG) claim to being the continuation of the Church founded by Jesus Christ in AD 31. Several months of intense study and research convinced me beyond all reasonable doubt that it was indeed God’s Church. After attending for a while, we were both baptized. Eventually, I was ordained into the ministry. In time, with the Church’s doctrines being watered down and eventually thrown out by apostate leaders, some members, including two other faithful ministers and I, later formed the Narrow Way Church of God (NWCG), with our base in Abuja, Nigeria. From this group’s inception, we believed that God’s true Church and the Body of Christ was somewhere out there, and we resolved to find it and get reconnected. We strove to continue in the original doctrines of God’s Church as taught by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong until November 2008, when God led us to His one Church—The Restored Church of God. But this also did not come easily.

A former minister in WCG, who shielded the Nigerian congregations from much of what was going on in the U.S. during the days of the apostasy, was the one who tried to discourage most of us from going to RCG, even though he stated that Mr. Pack and RCG are “teaching 99.9% of what Mr. Armstrong taught.” Having then just returned from UCG’s 2008 Feast, he went on to declare that he would never attend their Feast again. During a meeting, he shed tears, as he declared that UCG had irredeemably lost any claim to being a Church of God! Yet, he advised that we should not go with RCG, but rather retain our independence as NWCG, because, as he saw it, “RCG’s leader is not an apostle.”

Even though some followed his advice, the majority decided to individually investigate RCG, and came to the conclusion any discerning inquirer will reach: that in the cacophony of dissenting and disagreeing voices among the “COGs,” RCG, by its fruits, stood out (and still stands out) as the only genuine continuation of the Work led by Mr. Armstrong. For us, the process started with several days and sleepless nights of investigating the over 300 splinters and slivers on the Internet, followed by several weeks of intense study. Despite all the attacks launched against Mr. Pack and RCG, our studies revealed that it alone held to and taught the precision of doctrine as restored by God through Mr. Armstrong. In the circumstance, my wife and I, after anointing our eyes (Rev. 3:18), along with our children, became reconnected to what we once all knew and believed. So did more than two-thirds of the membership of the now defunct NWCG. This was a homecoming that immediately rejuvenated many who were beginning to be discouraged.

I have first-hand knowledge of what Mr. Schurter and others are battling as they return to the Body of Christ. He looks forward to resuming his posts on this site, but as he continues to work intensively with members, I and other ministers will relate our own personal experiences. Recognize that deceivers (II Tim. 3:13), including many “long-time ministers” thought to be “faithful,” will do everything in their power to cloud the real issues and distract us from what really matters—truth, traditions, standards and fruits!

Prove for yourself!

Prior to this, UCG had, through one of its other ministers, tried everything possible to get NWCG to become part of UCG, including promising the three of us ministers that we would be retained as such in UCG. We turned down the offer when we asked him if UCG was the one true undivided Church of God. UCG’s representative was sincere enough to tell us that it was not, further stating that they in UCG were also looking for where the Work of God would be reconstituted so that they could join it. (Are they still looking for that Work today?) He then went on to say that the Body of Christ is scattered in the different COGs. We disagreed with him on that point and restated Mr. Armstrong’s and the Church’s long-held belief that the Body of Christ is one (Eph. 4:4-5), and therefore cannot be scattered in several places. We also used his own reasoning to tell him that if UCG was not the one true Body of Christ, and the Church is scattered, then there was absolutely no basis for us to merge with UCG. Sensing they might lose us entirely, he then proposed we affiliate with them.

UCG Begins Its Attack

At the time we made contact with RCG, the aforementioned UCG minister immediately flew to Nigeria and came to Abuja to try to persuade us not to go with RCG. He and the former WCG minister (who had so recently passionately disavowed UCG) succeeded in convincing some (15 out of 55) who were not willing to study and anoint their eyes. The attacks on Mr. Pack got so personal that even the UCG Pastor in Nigeria sent text messages to one of my daughters, claiming that Mr. Pack would lead her astray and advised her not to follow us to RCG. My daughter, of her own volition, rebuffed him. Interestingly, not one of those who attacked Mr. Pack and RCG in Nigeria did so based on doctrine or policy; rather they focused their attention on discrediting him! Their major grouse was that his claim of being an apostle was a dangerous one as that would enable him to introduce new doctrines to the Church! Some also claimed that he was not a man who “showed love,” while some said the books written by him were plagiarised and as such some people urged my wife not to even bother reading them. Furthermore, they also printed and circulated a highly distorted version of a 2007 sermon without taking time to listen to it for themselves—an action clearly contrary to I Thessalonians 5:21!

Following our professional training to verify the facts of any issue, my wife and I contacted the Church’s Headquarters to determine the veracity of the printed sermon summary that was being circulated. We got an immediate response advising us to listen to the sermon for ourselves. We promptly did. In fact we listened to it twice, only to discover that the entire sermon was interpreted out of context!

In the light of this malignant tumour of misinformation and character assassination by those who are supposed to be leading you, have YOU, as an individual who appreciates that eternal life—YOUR eternal life—is at stake, taken time to investigate and determine for YOURSELF whether RCG is what it claims to be—the only true Church and Body of Christ? Or will you allow those who speak in ignorance to do your thinking (read II John 8)? In Acts 17:11, the apostle Paul commended the Bereans because they did not swallow everything he taught them hook, line and sinker. They went back to the Scriptures to prove for themselves “if those things were so”! Shouldn’t we all do likewise, when so much is on the line? Again, read the burden God puts on you in II John 8.

Have you taken time to investigate the fruits of RCG to know if they are genuine? Or do you just rely on hearsay bandied about by your leaders? Remember what Mr. Armstrong always thundered, “Do not believe me, believe your Bible!” What you believe is what you have chosen to believe—it is not foisted on you! Again, remember that what is at stake here is YOUR eternal life. Will you trust such a crucial matter to others? Will you forget Paul’s admonition to “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12)?

I urge you to take time to find out what RCG is. Determine to dismantle the mythology that others have woven about Mr. Pack—just as my wife and I did, along with many others! There is not space here to tell you all that I discovered and how life has taken on a new meaning since we returned to God’s Church. This is partly because I do not want you to believe me just because I say it. Rather, my prayer is that after reading this, you will be galvanized into action—you will begin digging today, to know for yourself if these things are so!

I will have many more things to say in future posts, but my next one will come from what my daughters personally observed over three years time in UCG’s youth camp. It is written first-hand.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Personal Admission---And Challenge to Ministers and Individual Members

Greetings again, everyone. I hope that many of you have read, or will read Mr. Pack’s Open Letter, which provides an eye-opening look at what has been and continues to be accomplished in God’s Work today.

It has come to my attention that I have been “under fire” from one who I once pastored, and while these comments were clearly intended to malign, I am actually grateful this has come to light. It creates an opportunity to address a number of issues head-on, but before addressing my errors, some foundation should be laid.

Those in the United Church of God understand that this group allows, or encourages, local ministers to present “study papers” and include input from local members before sending them on “up the ladder.” I personally have worked on several research, study projects, and would sometimes share the study with the local congregations I pastored. The idea was for brethren to be like the Bereans, who “searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so,” and to give feed-back and input, etc. It was always my intent to help broaden and deepen our understanding of a doctrine (if doctrine were indeed involved). While well-intentioned, I now realize this was wrong.

Without church government as we understood was restored to God’s True Church through Mr. Armstrong, this type of confusion occurred. And, yes, through anointing my eyes with more oil and eye-salve, I found that I had some repenting to do…and I have; and as I continue to see more clearly, I continue to restore the full truth in my life, lifestyle and teachings. This includes repenting of my slow changing and watering down of church doctrine, traditions and practices because I had lost sight of how---through which office---doctrine is placed into God’s Church.

While the “modern” approach appeals to the typical twenty-first century, democracy-oriented mind, it is wrong---and the fruits make this plain. Just this practice makes it impossible to follow Paul’s exhortation in I Corinthians 1:10: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” This is the environment that I realized I had to come out of, after learning many hurtful lessons from inside it. And I have had to wash out of my mind the approach used there---so different from what God established and used through Mr. Armstrong’s tenure as Apostle and Pastor General of the Church of God. Mr. Armstrong’s---and the Bible’s---approach, and this washing is an ongoing process.

Some of what has been reported of my past beliefs is true. Thus, I found I had strayed, although unintentionally, from truths in a number of areas. I realized from scripture that one cannot be “partially” in a Laodicean era condition, we are either Laodicean or we are not.

For example, I developed an incorrect focus on the Hebrew names of God. I did not intend to be part of any “sacred names” movement (and I never taught that it is “evil” to say “God” or “Jesus Christ”). Our Father’s and Savior’s names are pronounced differently in many different languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, German, Hebrew, etc. However, I often over-emphasized the Hebrew to the point of creating a potential stumbling block. I firmly believe that we should speak God’s names in our native languages…wherever we live around the world. Those who make Hebrew names a point of contention become self-righteous and divisive. This can be seen among some groups that make the “sacred names” their sole identity.

I had also moved toward the idea of a “young earth,” based on certain Bible translations. I had a certain line of reasoning driving my thinking. I had forgotten that Mr. Armstrong was settled in his mind on this by explaining the time “gap” between Genesis 1:1 and verse 2, and re-confirmed it in his final book, Mystery of the Ages.

Similarly, I have preached on the subject of the Wedding Supper. UCG has no official position on the particulars of this event, and I set forth my ideas. Since coming to The Restored Church of God, I have been made aware that this doctrine---the timing and location of the supper---has been clarified and explained, and thus I have come to see that my previous speculations on the subject were not correct. However, at one point, Mr. Armstrong said to us ministers that he was not sure, so I did not feel that I was “out of line.”

As I encounter other areas in which I have drifted from what God used Mr. Armstrong to restore (Matt. 17:11), and that I see restored in God’s Church and government, I am prepared to root these ideas out also. So must we all be.

This said, some of what has been presented regarding my past is either misrepresentation or pure fiction. I did study new moons from the agricultural perspective, as astronomical events related to growing seasons, and the way to mark the beginning of a month, years, etc., using God’s calendar. Most of this stems from when I was asked by Mr. Armstrong to lead the agricultural department at Big Sandy. But I never advocated new moons as holy days for the church to observe, as some have proposed. And, I also continue to believe and teach that the Sabbath begins and ends at sunset, not at any other time. Recent reports to the contrary in order to discredit me (and RCG) are simply invention, or perhaps the intent of what was spoken/heard was communicated poorly, not understood correctly, or both.

Many of you may believe that, “in your own way,” you are holding to what you learned from God through Mr. Armstrong. But I have learned how far one can drift from his teachings, traditions, and example and not realize it!

For any ministers or members in the splinters who are troubled with where your organization is headed, I encourage you… even challenge you as a brother and friend, to embark on a thorough self-examination, especially with Passover approaching, anointing your eyes with eye salve as did Mona and I, and acknowledge to God where you find you have departed from truth! Reflect back on when we joyfully experienced all that we had in the past, yes, with God’s government in place…the same government that will continue in place in the World Tomorrow in the Kingdom of God. It is again available today.

As stated in my letter, “We all remember that as the apostasy came to fullness, many of us determined to stay the course. Truth ‘as delivered to the saints,’ as we understood it. Much doctrine, in word and practice, had been slowly watered down, and thrown out. Virtually all in the WCG (who were now leaving) had already been affected to one degree or another, including me and Mona.”

I am encouraged when I recall that mistakes made by Moses, King David, and others are recorded in Scripture for our learning---and that, because of their repentance, they still will receive great reward in God’s kingdom. It is good to again be in the Government of God. Again, the good fruits of The Work He is accomplishing through the leadership of the Pastor General of The Restored Church of God, Mr. David Pack and his support team, is both encouraging and inspiring. On a more personal note, I have heard Mr. Pack say, just as Mr. Armstrong often said both publicly and privately, “I have made mistakes in the past for which I have repented and also, when proven wrong, I changed and corrected the error.” Good example.

Brethren and friends, if my public admissions, needing to anoint my eyes, repent and change will help others to do the same, this would be a rewarding joy. I do urge you to seek God’s help to anoint your eyes. You will find Mr. Pack’s book, “Anoint Your Eyes – Christ’s Warning to His People,” contains all of the scriptures to recognize where one stands, and how to go about the anointing.

Please understand that I am deluged with emails and calls, and that other RCG ministers who were formerly in UCG (and some in other splinters) will be writing posts for the next period of time. It was always the plan to include other voices on this website (as outlined in “About This Website”). These men are “chomping at the bit” to add support to what I have written over the last week and a half.

Do not miss the posts that will come in the next several days.

Friday, January 13, 2012

RCG’s New “Open Letter”

Greetings! In lieu of a post from me today, I would like to direct everyone to Mr. Pack’s new Open Letter to the Splinters, “RCG Fruits—Obvious Fingerprints of God.” I encourage you to read it all.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Both Positive and Negative Responses

Greetings again, everyone. As I continue to hear from people around the world, many are emailing and calling from several of the break-away groups of the WCG, in addition to folks in general. Comments indicate my letter has already helped many to see that they have slacked off in regular and heartfelt daily prayer and Bible study, among other things, and some have again committed to “get back on track.” As of this evening, my website has reached 960 cities in 40 countries. How encouraging and sobering at the same time.

And yes, some comments are negative, a few of them even hostile in nature. How we all long for the day “the accuser of the brethren” is no longer able to accuse the faithful daily before the throne of God. However, the vast majority of the comments are positive, including comments of appreciation to receive a “wake-up call,” and gladness to be back in touch again. Please continue to pray for all the brethren and those being called of God….yes, including those who do not yet understand in full, and strike out at others. This can be painful, but should never dissuade us from our commitment to the Father and Jesus Christ to stay the course to which we are called. Remember, “All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim. 3:12).

As indicated in the letter, Truth sets us free as we learn and practice it, and the whole Truth wholly sets us free. My intent for writing was/is to share the truth of eternal life in the Kingdom of God, and as a wake-up call and encouragement for each of us to “anoint our eyes,” which enables a true self-examination to see if we, as individuals, are still fully in and living the faith given through Jesus Christ and the Apostles to this very day, as passed on to us by them through the Holy Scriptures. We must all always be “Bereans,” checking “to see if these things be so.”

Recall the last post about a choice that each of God’s people faces in this age. As you undertake this decision, recognize that some of the battles will be “uphill” and some will be a breeze…the rest will be somewhere in-between. The scriptures are clear that there is one faithful and true Church of God, the Body of Christ, comprised of individual members.

Those of you who may still be confused as to the recent decisions we have personally made, I encourage you to please re-read my letter….and to investigate the fruits of RCG for yourself.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Choice God’s People Face

In beginning to go through, one by one, the many incoming emails, phone calls and voicemails thus far, it is quite encouraging to receive so many….so quickly. My letter has reached people in some 645 cities in 33 countries at this point. Yesterday Mona and I hosted an Open Forum all afternoon and were able to answer a large number of questions, personally….questions (and answers) which may be posted later. I was especially encouraged by one attendee who said, “I’m so glad to hear what you’ve been saying. I’m so in need of more strength and spiritual truth.” Brethren, that strength and truth can be found only in the Holy Bible, The Scriptures, and is taught in its fullness in The Restored Church of God, yes, as taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

My wife and I made an important decision, and are very thankful for the exciting calling and opportunity to now be enabled to assist RCG and its Pastor General, Mr. Pack, in reaching out to people around the world who face that same choice where this is being accomplished. We must come to understand all that it means to be in the very last years of the very last era of the Church. It is soon going to come to an end, and it is time for all of us to wake up to that reality. God’s work needs to be done, and my goal is to help brethren understand the reality of the stark choices every person in the 7th era faces…to wake up now, before the Tribulation strikes….and not wait until it is upon them. I pray all of God’s people will begin to investigate the truth now, before it is too late….and find themselves in a much worse situation.

Many say, “We’re waiting for Christ to return,” but do not realize that they must react and respond to Christ’s knock at their door to return fully to the place where He is fully working (as mentioned in my letter). What could be more important in our lives right now than taking time to consider whether we will answer Christ’s knock—and return to His Body?

I’m so thankful to be working in The Church of God, with the Government of God in place, the Church that has the vision of striving to awaken brethren out of their slumber, while also powerfully preaching the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God to a spiritually and physically sick and dying world.

As mentioned with conviction in my letter, if you have yet to do so, please do thoroughly check out the Restored Church of God. Ask the hard questions with which you may still be struggling. We are confident Jesus Christ, the Head of His Church, is in it and leading it, through Mr. David Pack as Pastor General.

With love from a brother,

Dale Schurter

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Brief Update

Good afternoon, everyone! We had a very profitable Sabbath day yesterday.  I am receiving many positive calls and emails from around the world; I intend to answer each one, so please be patient with me. More posts will be coming throughout the week.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dale Schurter Speaks Out: UCG Resignation Letter

Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, and fellow ministers in Christ,

Greetings to each of you from Mona and me. Your outpouring of love over the many years has been an encouraging source of strength as we journey on the path to eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

Many of you have known us personally over the years (or as our son, Vernon, says, “over the decades, Dad”). You know our demeanor, our walk with God and love for the Truth. We have shared joys, pain, heartaches and victories together.

In the early years, Mona and I had the honor to know Mr. and Mrs. Herbert W. Armstrong personally, and over the years spent many hours with them….especially with Mr. Armstrong, on numerous occasions. We learned much directly from him one-on-one about the way of God and His purpose for all of us, in addition to the many ways we all learned from God and Jesus Christ through him --- directly or indirectly. This brings responsibility, hence the length of this letter.

Now in the very last years of this age I am both burdened and moved to share a message of hope, vision and serious concern for our spiritual wellbeing --- and a way out of spiritual confusion in which the churches of God find themselves. God and Christ provide the way out, and it includes “anointing our eyes” with the oil of the Holy Spirit and “anointing our ears” with the Word of God. Everyone can read Revelation 3:17-18 --- “anoint your eyes with eye salve” --- but many fruits and teachings in the churches indicate it is not understood as it applies to each person individually.

My message is straight and to the point, and shared in sincere love for each of you.

Mona and I now know that the Truth which was lost during the buildup and final volcanic eruption of the apostasy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, following the death of Mr. Armstrong, has definitely been found and restored to God’s Church….including the all-important Government of God headed by Jesus Christ.

Some time ago, my wife and I visited the Headquarters of the Restored Church of God. We were en route to see family in Ohio and stopped in Wadsworth, Ohio to spend the night with longtime friends and brethren, Bill and Jackie Behrer. They have been members in the Restored Church of God for the past few years, and at my request gave us a tour of the Church’s Headquarters the following morning.

What an unexpected and heartwarming surprise! Entering the beautiful complex was immediately reminiscent of walking into the Administration Building of the Worldwide Church of God in Pasadena, California in its prime. As we began the tour, meeting the friendly, outgoing staff, seeing quality everywhere, and experiencing the common spirit present in the atmosphere and staff with that of our own, I made the comment to Mona and Jackie that this was like a homecoming.

At a point, we were warmly welcomed by Mr. David Pack, Pastor General of the Restored Church of God. Following greetings with bear hugs, I repeated to him the feelings of homecoming I was experiencing. We reminisced of the time we served in adjoining church areas with the WCG, he in Westchester and the Bronx, NY when I was Pastor of Nassau County, NY. As he personally introduced us to many of the 60 employees (we met everyone), all very busy doing The Work, each would take a break to meet and welcome us. To say the least, we were simply amazed at the volume of work being accomplished by so few. We found that ALL the literature and programs Mr. Armstrong was used by God to develop and produce, Mr. Pack had rewritten and reproduced --- everything! Below is just a sample.

Mr. Armstrong - WCG
Mr. Armstrong – Worldwide Church of God
Mr. Pack - RCG
Mr. Pack – The Restored Church of God
The Plain Truth (The Real Truth), The Good News (The Pillar), Youth ‘81, etc. (Ambassador Youth), The Bible Story book series, Ambassador College (Ambassador Center – 85 students attending), over 100 books and booklets, 30-lesson Bible Correspondence Course, dozens of articles, Feast of Tabernacles Brochure, RCG Hymnal, Teen and Pre-teen Bible Study lessons and outlines, the largest internet presence of the Churches of God….congregations and ministers on every continent (a more complete update review of the work accomplished just in 2011 will be included later). All was/is so heartwarming, again, to say the least.

The work and work atmosphere we witnessed was also seen in a four-day follow-up visit that included a great many hours of interaction with Mr. and Mrs. Pack, department heads and staff. Both visits reflected the same spirit of unity and zeal we saw during the exciting growth years of the Worldwide Church of God when it was fully “on track” under the leadership of Jesus Christ through Mr. Armstrong and his support team.

All who lived in the Philadelphian era knew that Mr. Armstrong was selected and appointed as the “one sent” (an Apostle) by God and Christ, and that he was ordained and commissioned to establish the sixth era of the CHURCH OF GOD. This twentieth century messenger was the one GOD chose to restore Truth that had been lost during past eras of the Church. This “restoration of all things” (Matthew 17:11) included the very Government of God to properly organize and efficiently do God’s Work, and take His Truth and Plan of salvation in the last days to all nations. It was also to announce the coming Kingdom of God as a witness, and explain how to prepare for it.

Yet the one we once all recognized as the final “Elijah” has been almost universally rejected today as having restored all things --- as having been the Elijah. Some have even tried to suggest he “didn’t really believe he was” when the statements from him --- the facts, and I have recently reviewed them --- make plain that he did.

It was through the faithful submission and work of that servant, that Apostle, that God used to call and nourish the vast majority of us, either directly or indirectly. We could see that we had the Plain Truth, the Real Truth.

We all remember that as the apostasy came to fullness, many of us determined to stay the course of Truth “as delivered to the saints,” as we understood it. Much doctrine, in word and practice, had been slowly watered down, and thrown out. Virtually all in the WCG (who were now leaving) had already been affected to one degree or another, including Mona and me.

This becomes very evident when comparing the doctrines and practices of the many groups that split away. Some 75% of WCG attendees fell completely back into the doctrines and practices of the churches of the world, in open rebellion against all Truth. They yielded to the deception of men who “appeared as ministers of righteousness,” but who were instead followers of Lucifer, who pawns himself off as “an angel of light.”

But did all such deception end with the apostasy (read II Timothy 3:13-14)?

The remaining 25% splintered into groups of “like minds” and formed various organizations --- “Churches of God.” Of course, being different organizations with different names, different leaders and different forms of governing, over time, sadly, we have witnessed that --- instead of becoming of one mind, one body under Jesus Christ --- they have become more divided. We have seen much of this in the United Church of God since it was established in 1995, having undergone two major splits (in 1998 and 2010). These two offshoots each feel their ways and practices are superior to those of UCG, or they would not have left.

Virtually all others who splintered from the WCG also have a history of continuing to divide into smaller splinters, sometimes even into slivers off splinters. Is this really of Almighty God? Is the true Church divided when Jesus instructs that, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself cannot stand” (Matthew 12:25)?

Brethren, how could we believe that all of these churches are “part of the Body of Christ” --- “true churches”? How could we let ourselves come to agree with Joe Tkach and Billy Graham instead of Mr. Armstrong and God’s plain Word? Jesus Christ built one unified organization, and this was under His form of Government. How could we have rejected two such giant doctrines so plainly and powerfully restored to us, and from such a great servant? And this is just the beginning of what is a long list of doctrines rejected.

We now see the full-blown Laodicean Era, the last era at the very end of the church age just before the Bridegroom returns. But He is returning to His Bride, the True Church --- the unified Body of Christ. This Body is not a collection of splintered, divided organizations and scattered individuals. It is comprised of true Philadelphians --- those who have anointed their eyes and those who will yet do this, who will yet repent and return to the Philadelphian condition before the great tribulation. THESE are part of the Bride --- and THESE will escape torture and martyrdom.

We know some will anoint their eyes during the fiery trials unto death during the tribulation. Notice what Jesus the Revelator said in warning those of Laodicea, “I stand at the door and knock…” DID YOU CATCH THE POINT? He is not WITHIN the church of the Laodiceans but rather OUTSIDE, looking in, KNOCKING….“if any ONE hears My voice….” (Revelation 3:20). Besides knocking, He is also calling out….“Anybody home? Anybody in there? Can you hear Me? If you will open to Me I’ll come in and dine with you and you with Me on real life-saving spiritual food.” Upon recognizing our condition, we must anoint our eyes with the Holy Spirit before the tribulation (as do the five wise virgins of Matthew 25:1-12 during it). We use the “eye salve” of the Holy Spirit, through in-depth personal Bible study, prayer, fasting and meditation.

The five foolish virgins will allow their oil, the Holy Spirit, to get so low they lack the desire to repent of the sin they returned to and the false teachings they fell into. The Bridegroom will say, “Depart from Me, you who work iniquity [lawlessness]” (Matthew 7:23). These will have chosen to continue in sin, chosen to continue rebelling against Truth, God’s Law and the Government of God. They will also have chosen to reject what they once enjoyed. Sobering thoughts.

If we have ears to hear at all, and even eyes that see dimly, the scripture is simple. It is clear that ALL who do not repent of being Laodicean will ultimately not make it, they will not be in the first resurrection, not be part of the Bride.

Jesus said, “Thy Word is Truth” and promised that “the Truth SHALL make you free.” This is how to return to “faith with works,” the biblically defined Government of God and how to return to Philadelphian fruits in our lives. Only the TRUTH can set us free from the disagreement and confusion that now exists. Every group today feels it is more right than the others, yet proclaims to still be brothers in the same faith. This is classic Protestant thinking, which says that the “true church” is not divided, while all the groups are VERY divided.

Think about this. When the conference of “elders-of-like-mind” convened in Indianapolis in 1995 and established the United Church of God, some among the leaders present openly commented that a government based on casting lots (balloting, voting) was, at best, a poor second choice compared to the Government of God restored by Christ in the Philadelphian Era through Mr. Armstrong. The idea was to keep our eyes open --- to watch for fruits of a work that might emerge in or from one of the “Church of God” organizations. It would reflect the Government of God at work, and have fruits similar to the WCG when it was on track and being so obviously blessed by God. THIS would be the signal for all the groups to reunite as one!

To my knowledge no committee was ever formed --- and assigned --- to be a “watchman” to look for this organization. Mona and I, as a self-appointed committee of two, have been keeping our eyes open, being frustrated with the fruits of division all around.

When we were led to the Restored Church of God, and did due diligence in our research, we confirmed to our satisfaction that the works and fruits of this organization were of God. Christ is the Head of this Church. We saw Christ at work through one He had called and appointed to finish the work --- to fulfill the prophecy of Revelation 10:11, which we should all know, “You must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” This prophecy was on Mr. Armstrong’s mind, especially in his latter years.

The first time this was done was in the 20th century. This was the first time it was possible to fulfill such a commission. This was accomplished by God through His appointed leader and support team of the entire membership of the Worldwide Church of God. Now, just before the work of the two witnesses begins, the instruction is for His Church to repeat --- under the leadership He has appointed and sent (one sent from Him) --- yes, under another Apostle --- to “prophesy (preach, proclaim) again before many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

We have found and confirmed to ourselves that the Restored Church of God is just what its name implies. And that Mr. David C. Pack is the one sent, an end time Apostle, through whom Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, is powerfully working.

When Mr. Armstrong was age 91 --- about 1984 --- Mona and I had opportunity to spend several hours with him in his home in Pasadena to visit and further report on work he had commissioned us to do. We were to report directly back to him. He talked freely of the mighty work God had given him to accomplish. He went on to tell us there was yet a bigger work still to be done, to go again and repeat what has been done, but with more power and with a stronger warning, just before the work of the two witnesses would begin. He said it would be a “short work” (Rom. 9:27-29) compared with the longer time to complete the work he had been given, and that it would be “cut short.” That’s when the great tribulation would begin, as would the work of the two witnesses. These would last for three and one-half years.

The Restored Church of God is truly about our Father’s business. I am thankful to be a part of this very end time work --- and I urge you to take a very serious look. Investigate it as we have. I heartily recommend as a starting point Mr. Pack’s book “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People.

I must caution that you will probably experience a “blizzard” of lies and deception about Mr. Pack. Do not let this deter you. I have prepared myself for some of the same treatment. You all know me, and I have known Mr. Pack for almost 30 years. Think of how Mr. Armstrong was and still is being slandered and attacked. It could not be different with Mr. Pack --- and maybe with me!

Please read the warning in Proverbs 16:27. “An ungodly man digs up evil: and in his lips there is a burning fire.” Just like in politics, distortion, deception and slander becomes necessary if one cannot win on TRUTH, right STANDARDS, correct TRADITIONS --- or FRUITS! Consider the source of what has or will be “dug up” about Mr. Pack, and what is being said about Mr. Armstrong. As the scripture above states --- those who do this digging are “ungodly men.”

Will you believe the lies… or seek out The Truth?

My wife and I believe that the Work of the Restored Church of God fully reflects the FRUITS of the Spirit, individually and collectively; with vision and zeal, and the Government of God in place and working well, and as we experienced when we were called into the Church decades ago. By God’s mercy we had our eyes opened, and we repented, were baptized and received God’s Spirit in order to be placed in the Body of Christ, the True Church and under the Government of God. We are so delighted to be “home” once again, and yes, under the leadership of Jesus Christ through Mr. Pack.

I’d now like to quote Mr. Armstrong’s May 2, 1974 personal letter to the brethren (all emphasis is his):
“Today some in the Church of God do not UNDERSTAND just what the Church of God really IS! Some have become confused as to whether there is ORGANIZATION or government in it—and I mean in GOD’S OWN CHURCH! And God HAS ONLY ONE CHURCH! (Cor. 12:12, 13.) But we ‘of the wise’ shall understand! That understanding shall be made PLAIN in this letter.”

“Many times I have told you, dear brethren, that when God first called me, beginning in the autumn of 1926, that the living Christ brought me into His truth a step at a time. YOU have not had to learn the truth so slowly—Christ used me to do it for you. And one of the very last truths He opened to me was that of CHURCH ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT!”

“Brethren, I have felt it necessary that you should know and understand these things, so you may realize WHY I did not yet fully understand the truth regarding church government and organization, in February 1939—MORE THAN 35 YEARS AGO—when I wrote an article on church organization.”

“The parallel instruction on the RANK of authority in the Church is Eph. 4, beginning with verse 11: ‘And He (Christ) gave some,…) the RSV translates it more clearly: ‘And His gifts were that some should be apostles,’ etc. Continue, ‘Some prophets, and some evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for THE WORK of the ministry (proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom to all the world), for the edifying of the body of Christ…’”

“God has ONLY ONE CHURCH on earth, which He directs in the Doing of His Work—not TWO churches—not MANY denominations and sects, and ‘groups.’ But now are they many members, YET BUT ONE BODY’ (1 Cor. 12:20—see also v. 12,13). ‘For by one Spirit are we all (not part of us) baptized into ONE body.’”
To our surprise, we also found that over the years several hundred UCG brethren, with many brethren from all the other major splinter groups, have already anointed their eyes and gone to the Restored Church of God to support the only true Work of God. They, as we, have found where all that we had in the past has been restored and is again available….including the same Government and the same gospel of the Kingdom of God.

This “little flock” has and is producing fruits so manifold that they could only be accomplished by the grace of God, with Jesus Christ the head of the Church --- through a servant faithfully dedicated and committed to Truth. We are confident that we have located the remnant continuation of the Body of the True Church of the Philadelphian Era and its leader, for whom so many have been praying and waiting.

Here are some of RCG’s end-of-the-year statistics out just this week. They review the work accomplished in 2011. As you read, remember, “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16, 20). This is an excerpt from a list (only part of it) in Mr. Pack’s January 4 Brethren/Co-Worker Letter. The whole list --- and other points --- will appear next week in his annual Open Letter to RCG’s website readers. Do check out the entire report.

“Every year the statistical growth in all categories within God’s Church and Work show an increase, and usually all of them a significant or large increase. But what follows next, brethren, is nothing short of a STATISTICAL TIDAL WAVE unlike anything we have seen before—and we have seen a lot of growth!

“Here is a bullet list of simply staggering—PHENOMENAL!—statistical increases. Some numbers compare the year 2011 to 2010, but others include additional years to help show a trend. Take time to savor what you read:

1. WEBSITE VISITORS
          2008—2,523,452
          2009—3,215,594 (+27.4%)
          2010—4,557,793 (+41.7%)
          2011—6,748,760 (+48.1%)

2. WEBSITE DOWNLOADS (in December we passed 56 million since launch on our three sites)
          2008—4,282,034
          2009—4,819,707 (+12.6%)
          2010—7,886,972 (+63.6%)
         
2011—13,445,333 (+70.5%)
         
● Books: 395,074 (+68.2%) ● Articles: 409,480 (+41.3%) ● Bible Course: 105,334 (+36.4%)
         
● Splinter Books: 98,213 (+108.2%!!)—This huge spike represents more in the WCG splinters researching us.

3. WORLD TO COME
BROADCASTS (video and audio)
           2008—275,545
           2009—907,003 (+229.2%)
           2010—2,898,690 (+219.6%)
           2011—6,420,415 (+121.5%)
           ● Video: 3,615,873 (+49.1%) ● Audio: 295,597 (+484.5%) ● YouTube: 2,461,405 (+608.1%)

4. THE REAL TRUTH MAGAZINE

The Real Truth had its most expansive year, with 1,633,881 downloads—a 134.06% increase over 2010. The online subscriber list grew by 50% above 2010, with subscribers in 162 countries/territories. 2011 also saw our single most popular article ever—“Is May 21, 2011 ‘Judgment Day’?” Downloaded 674,623 times, it worked in tandem with a special related World to Come video.

5. CHURCH INQUIRIES (those asking about a local church)
          2008—806
          2009—1,428 (+77.2%)
          2010—4,789 (+235.4%)
          2011—7,795 (+62.8%)Be sure to ponder the message in these increases.

6. CHURCH GROWTH

RCG experienced 20.4% increase in attendance over 2010. Since its inception, the Church has averaged just over 20% growth every year for 12 years! More important, the first five of these years (2000-2004) averaged 15.2% growth, while the next seven (2005-2011) averaged 23.5%—when the baseline number was naturally growing bigger, and thus making it much harder to even grow at the same rate. As with income, we do not list our attendance. This is because, however large we have become, size is not important. Realize that thousands consider themselves members with us. While we do not count these, it should be obvious that 20% growth for 12 straight years puts our official member total in the thousands.

7. FIELD MINISTERS AND STAFF
          2011—7 fulltime ministers added (9 more are planned in 2012)

All ministers (and wives) undergo a
very extensive, sophisticated training program, via Ambassador Center, The Pastor General’s Report, numerous, special Pastoral Care lectures, and an annual Conference for all ministers, among other means. Nothing like our training program is occurring anywhere else. Headquarters staff grew from 56 at the end of 2010 to 64 this year. (At very least 14 more hires, including some students, are already scheduled for just the next five months, and just at Headquarters.)

8. TOTAL 1ST TITHE AND OFFERING INCOME
           2011—102.2% above 2010 (and in the worst economy since the Great Depression!)

It is time to explain why we do not list our income. This is because
percent of increase is the true indicator of growth—not income “bragging rights.” This is what counts in examining the fruits of God’s Work! Think of it this way. The millions of dollars we received in 2010 more than doubled in 2011!!! The many fruits in this letter represent the “fingerprints of God” for those interested and willing to look.

9. LOCAL FUNDRAISING
          2010—$72,231
         
2011—$442,742 (+512.9%)

Last year saw an historic worldwide local congregation fundraising effort. The hard work, dedication, vision and innovation of God’s people were incredible. The 2011 goal began at $120,000 and became $200,000 by June. This number seemed almost unattainable. But the brethren nearly quadrupled the original goal! They more than
sextupled 2010’s amount. The goal for 2012 is $1 million.

The Church’s fundraising efforts have been so successful that the down payment for all of the six buildings will be entirely financed by local congregation fundraising (2011, 2012 and 2013). Some accuse God’s Church of extravagance while “gouging members” to fund projects such as our new campus. As with virtually everything else our enemies declare about us, this is completely false—members are funding this project voluntarily, through fundraising! This evidences a zeal that our critics simply cannot comprehend. My January 14 update sermon will make this brief description more clear—and even more inspiring!...


15. VISITING WORLD LEADERS

The “short Work” (Rom. 9:27-29) of “prophesying again” to “peoples, nations, tongues and kings” (Rev. 10:11) saw new doors opened, with opportunities to meet with national and municipal officials in the nation of Israel. I was received by dignitaries from the Knesset, the cities of Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, and dined with a former ambassador. These meetings, along with growing contacts with diplomatic missions at the United Nations, are paving the way for invitations to meet with other world leaders in 2012, either in their nation or at the UN in New York. More about this will come later. We also were able to film seven
World to Come broadcasts at historic locations, and to visit Petra.”

Dear brethren and fellow ministers, let’s “anoint our eyes” individually. I encourage and challenge every member and minister to please read “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People. Then apply its contents. You will benefit from it greatly, as have Mona and I.

As I have been doing for several months, yes years, I urge all members and ministers --- in every group --- to read and quote Mr. Armstrong’s writings. The sooner the better!

I encourage every minister and member who is able to visit the Restored Church of God Headquarters and see it for yourself.

Mona and I remain available to serve you and all others, spiritually or physically, just as we have continued to serve others around the world over the years. However, from now on I will be a minister of the Restored Church of God, serving in the New York City area. I will also be serving as a “pastor at large”, freely communicating with anyone in UCG or individuals in other groups who wish to contact me.

I will regularly write on an important website/blog (www.rcgtruth.com) to keep you informed and updated. This will include more of my observations and thoughts. It will also contain exciting updates about God’s work, including reports from other ministers who have joined RCG, but also many other kinds of information. There is much more to say.

Our hearts and home remain open to you as they always have. Do not hesitate to contact us in person, by phone, email, snail-mail or fax.

With brotherly love and respect,

Dale L. Schurter
daleschurter@juno.com
(631) 561-8784