John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Where is the True Church?
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong's Duel Test
Where is God's Church Today?
In the late 1920’s, Mr. Herbert Armstrong came into contact with the Church of God headquartered in Stanberry, Missouri (Rev. 3:1-6). Although he failed to see where the Sardis Church was bearing much fruit, he knew that this was the Church that had more Bible Truth than any other Church he could find. This was the ‘resting place’ for God’s people at the time. It professed the commandments of God and had the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Around this same time, even before Mr. Armstrong was ordained into the ministry, his mind was being opened to the understanding of some Biblical Truths which this little Church (Sardis) did not teach or accept. So, in 1929 he decided to try and test the authenticity of the Church. He wrote about a dual test in his autobiography and is important advice for those trying to find God’s Church today:
“Now, it was a simple truism that if each individual member of the Church must be growing in the knowledge of God, constantly overcoming, being corrected, and eliminating error, then all the members together, which form the Church, must also be CONSTANTLY WILLING TO CONFESS ERROR AND ELIMINATE IT, and to ACCEPT THAT WHICH IS “NEW LIGHT” FROM GOD’S WORD to the Church. I knew of no church or sect or denomination that had ever publicly confessed error or embraced new truth. Yet, plainly, THIS WOULD BE A TEST OF THE TRUE CHURCH. As a first step in this test, I wrote up an exposition of some 16 typewritten pages proving clearly, plainly, and beyond contradiction that a certain minor point of doctrine proclaimed by this Church, based on an erroneous interpretation of a certain verse of Scripture, was in error. This was mailed to Stanberry, Missouri, headquarters to see whether their leaders would confess error and change” (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, pg. 344, Vol. 1).
As outlined by Mr. Armstrong, following is the dual test to prove where God’s true Church is:
As it turned out the physical head of the Church at the time, Mr. A. Dugger, explained that if he were to correct a false doctrine and publicly confess error, much of the membership would not accept it. He feared people would leave the Church because of New Truth! Dugger believed the membership would not allow Christ to correct error and restore Truth to the Church! Evidently, the physical leader, and the membership, looked to people rather than to Christ, the spiritual Head of God’s Church! This must have shaken Mr. Armstrong’s confidence!
After much study on another topic, Mr. Armstrong exhaustively proved that the lost Ten Tribes of Israel had migrated to the areas in North Western Europe and the sons of Joseph - Ephraim and Manasseh - migrated to Britain and the United States respectively. He began to understand that the British were the descendants of Ephraim and the United States represented modern day Manasseh. Mr. Armstrong typed up some 300 pages explaining this Truth substantiating it with Scripture, proving that this was the key to understand more than a third of the whole Bible! Six months later, Mr. Armstrong received a reply saying that although this was Truth, the Church could not proclaim it! This was outright and blatant rejection of God’s Truth! 1929 turned out to be an important year for God’s Church! It was during that year that the Sardis Church of God refused to accept, preach or publish new truth which came right out of God’s Word. Sardis wasn’t submitting to the Spiritual Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, and as a result (spiritual) growth was no longer being borne!
The sequence of events outlined above, are a fulfillment of a most important prophecy found in Luke 13:6-9:
“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”
Christ allowed the fig tree three years to produce fruit. When He found none, He contemplated cutting the tree down but was convinced to give it one further year to see if it would produce fruit. When no fruit was produced in the four year period, Christ cut down the fig tree!
This parable demonstrates a direct parallel to what happens in God’s Church before God ignites or moves His Candlestick/Church! When God’s Church refuses to submit to Christ, He gives the physical leader four years to repent and to begin producing fruit once again! If this doesn’t happen, God will move His ‘resting place’ by igniting a subsequent Candlestick and start working through another human representative (see Rev. 2 & 3)!
From the time Mr. Armstrong approached Mr. Dugger in 1929, God gave the leader of Sardis four years to (a) be corrected and (b) implement New Truth. Sardis failed the test on both counts! Because of this, God had to move the ‘resting place’ for His people and begin working through another physical leader who would allow himself and the Church to be corrected and to proclaim His Truth! In 1933, God ignited the Philadelphia candlestick through His humble servant Mr. Herbert Armstrong. God’s Church was incorporated under the name Radio Church of God.
Throughout Mr. Armstrong’s ministry, God was able to restore much Truth to the Church. The most important Truths which God restored through Mr. Armstrong related to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. God gave Mr. Armstrong, the end-time Elijah, the commission of preaching the Gospel as a witness to the whole World (Matthew 24:14). Mr. Armstrong fulfilled this commission prior to his death in January 1986 (this subject will be explained in detail in the next issue of this periodical). On page 291 of Mystery of the Ages, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “These prophecies, [of the preaching of the gospel] have now definitely been fulfilled. The true gospel has been restored and has now gone in power into every nation on the face of the earth.” Undeniably, Mr. Armstrong knew that the commission given to him to preach the gospel to the world had been fulfilled (Matt. 24:14). Just before he died, Mr. Armstrong stated that all that was left for the leadership to do was to ‘get the Church ready’ before Christ’s return!
On January 16th 1986, Mr. Armstrong died and Mr. Tkach Sr. began leading God’s Church. This turned out to be another landmark year for the Church. A four year test on the Church commenced. History proves that the new leadership immediately began to make monumental changes to the doctrines and Work of God. In retrospect, we could see that God was closely watching His Church giving it three years, and then an additional year, to see if it would produce fruit (Luke 13:6-9). Things in the Church went from bad to worse! By 1989, God began to open the mind of one of His faithful ministers on the situation developing in the Church at the time by revealing an important truth on the identity of the ‘man of sin’. New understanding was given by God to Mr. Flurry, a WCG minister over the Oklahoma congregations. Here is an excerpt from the preface of his manuscript, Malachi’s Message, outlining events as they took place when this new Truth was brought to the WCG leadership:
“Malachi’s Message was originally written in 1989, when the new direction in God’s Church was, to many of its members, not very perceptible. The book was primarily intended to alert the ministry of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) as to what was really happening, and secondarily to alert the Church membership. When an early draft of the book was brought to the attention of WCG leadership in Pasadena, California, Gerald Flurry and his assistant, John Amos, were fired from their positions as WCG ministers.”
The WCG leadership refuted New Truth from God which was brought to them by Mr. Flurry and his assistant, Mr. Amos. The WCG leadership was not willing to (a) confess error, eliminate it and (b) accept ‘new light’ from God’s Word! The WCG leadership had taken the Philadelphia Church (WCG) off track! God had to set things straight for His people!
By January 1990, four years after the death of Mr. Armstrong, God moved the ‘resting place’ for His people. He ignited His Laodicean candlestick through His loyal servant, Mr. Gerald Flurry. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia candlestick was not extinguished! Here is an extract from the Church of God’s Faithful booklet entitled The Midnight Cry, detailing the events that took place as Mr. Flurry and Mr. Amos were fired from the WCG: “In retrospect, it surely appears that, as these two men stood there before Joseph Tkach Jr., a tremendous change in Church leadership took place. After four years, the Tkach’s and the WCG ministry (kowtowing to that corrupted administration) had disqualified themselves in the eyes of God (see Luke 13: 6-9). So what was God to do? Through hindsight it is apparent to me that, at that precise moment, the candlestick of Philadelphia was removed from the disqualified WCG in Pasadena! The candlestick was not extinguished, as scripture clearly shows in Revelation 11:3-4 … it was given to John Amos! Also, amazingly, the seventh era of the Church began as the Laodicean candlestick was ignited and given to Gerald Flurry ... these two men … represented the last two of the seven Churches.” (See Mat. 24:41 and Luk 17:35).
Obviously, all seven of God’s Church’s started well. The PCG, as God’s Laodicean Work, was no exception. With Gerald Flurry as the physical leader, the Laodicean Work started well by fearlessly and tirelessly warning God’s people of the destruction in God’s Church (WCG). A dynamic warning work was being done for God! However, there is a terrifying prophecy about the fate of Laodicea:
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write….I know thy works…So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth…thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked…” (Rev. 3:14-17).
What happened to Laodicea? How could things go so horribly wrong after God had begun such a magnificent and powerful Work beginning in December 1989? Let us take a close look at only three events which led to Christ leaving the Laodicean Church:
1) John Amos died in 1993. He was a stabilizing force for Mr. Flurry. When Mr. Amos died, the Philadelphia Candlestick was not extinguished, but passed on to another man who was completely unaware of the plans that God had in store for him (more on this later). With Mr. Amos taken away from the scene, the question must be asked: Was God starting a ‘three plus one year’ process (Luke 13:6-9) to see the kind of spiritual fruit that would be produced in Laodicea, without the buttressing support of Mr. Amos?
2) By 1997, four years later, there was growing evidence that the PCG leadership ceased from following and submitting to the Spiritual Head, Jesus Christ. Notice the change in commission in 1997:
"The first seven years of our Work were concentrated primarily on warning God’s own Laodicean Church’s…Now, that emphasis has shifted to the whole world and only secondarily to God’s Laodiceans.” (Philadelphia Trumpet, "Personal", February 1997) [Note: Shift in emphasis of commission].
Currently, the PCG no longer makes any provision in their commission statement to warn God’s people or seek out the lost sheep. (www.pcog.org/about/our-work).
The following quotes indicate the seriousness of the change in direction of the work:
By 1997, four years after the death of Mr. Amos,
“Gerald Flurry left his commission to do his own futile work! His 'new commission' was to take Mystery of the Ages to the ‘largest audience possible’---or in other words take the ‘Gospel to the World’. He was well aware that Herbert W. Armstrong had successfully accomplished that task already. As he roared off track, things became worse. He succumbed to his own vanity and pride through the deceitfulness of Satan and took to himself a title belonging only to Jesus Christ! Gerald Flurry began boastfully claiming he is “THAT PROPHET”! He who revealed to us “the man of sin sitting in the Temple of God”, has, himself, turned his back upon the Temple of God---and has become the ‘abomination standing in the Holy Place’!” (p.16, Elijah’s Message to the Philadelphia Church of God, by Robert Ardis, Church of God’s Faithful).
By 1997, “… vanity, impatience, and a lack of wisdom prompted Mr. Flurry to “turn away from the trunk of the tree.” If he could have Mystery of the Ages it would be a sign and a wonder to many of God’s people that he was the “heir-apparent” of Herbert W. Armstrong! But to God’s faithful people who were wide awake, the unlawful action of printing MOA was clearly seen as turning away from the Law of God…A true Philadelphian could not follow this man any longer because he ceased following Christ.” (p. 14, Whoso Reads Let Him Understand, by Robert Ardis, Church of God’s Faithful).
“Satan deceived Mr. Flurry into unlawfully publishing Mr. Armstrong’s book Mystery of the Ages (MOA) in an attempt to attract more members to his Philadelphia Church of God. The WCG held the copyright on MOA. But instead of negotiating with the WCG for their authorization for him to publish the book, Gerald Flurry impetuously violated the copyright law by printing and distributing MOA without permission. The following is a quote from Ralph K. Helge, legal counsel for the WCG, that sums up that violation: ‘First of all, he removed all inserts from the book that referred the readers to the Worldwide Church of God; he then changed the copyright notice from ‘WCG’ to ‘Herbert W. Armstrong’ to further hide the source of the work, and then, with the highest degree of chutzpah, he deleted the notice (as provided below) that forbade making copies:
‘No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the Worldwide Church of God.’
Mr. Flurry, early on in the PCG, was aware that copyright infringement was punishable by law. The booklet, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, also authored by Mr. Armstrong, was the most requested of all literature the WCG offered to the public during Mr. Armstrong’s lifetime. Gerald Flurry very much wanted that booklet for his PCG, but hesitated printing its most recent edition due to the copyright held by WCG. Instead, in 1993, he published a 1945 edition of the booklet that he assumed was no longer protected under the copyright laws. Nevertheless, in 1997 he illegally seized MOA and brazenly published and distributed several thousand copies” (p.11, Whoso reads Let Him Understand, by Robert Ardis, Church of God’s Faithful).
3) By 1997, “many of God's ELECT had [already] been greatly abused by some directly under Mr. Flurry. Many have been DISFELLOWSHIPPED based on false accusations or lies. I John 4:1 states we are to "try the spirits". We know Satan is the "ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN" (p.22, Elijah’s Message to the Philadelphia Church of God, by Robert Ardis, Church of God’s Faithful).
“One Regional Director at the 1996 PCG Ministers’ Conference boasted that he had disfellowshipped or suspended 173 members of the Philadelphia Church of God [in less than a four year period]! Elaborating further this modern-day Diotrephes exclaimed, "Now we have it like God wants it!" Is that what our Father, the God of love, really wants? Is that concern for the good of the governed as the Elijah instructs?” (p. 22, Elijah’s Message to the PCG, by Robert Ardis, Church of God’s Faithful).
The above three points demonstrate when and how Laodicea went off track. Laodicea and Philadelphia worked together for seven years (Matt. 24:41) until Laodicea veered off track by (a) refusing to be corrected and (b) refusing to accept New Truth. Laodicea still blatantly refuses to acknowledge any of the 75 New Truths revealed since 1997 through the Church of God’s Faithful! (Ask for our booklet entitled Set Apart By Truth for more information on these New Truths). By 1997, Laodicea ceased submitting to the Spiritual Head of the Church and instead began submitting to a man. (Among other things, those in Laodicea now unashamedly misappropriate titles belonging to Christ, promote dysfunctional family by misapplying the no-contact ruling, endorse unbiblical regulations for baptism, divorce and more). In 1997, God allowed this further split to take place (Matt 24:41; Rev 3:20) by preparing a ‘resting place’ for His people through a man who stood up for Him and His Truth. God now wants to see who will hear His voice and follow Him (Mal 3:1-3), or who will instead follow and submit to a man. In 1997, Christ left Laodicea and started working through His loyal remnant, the “Church of God’s Faithful”. As of that point, the Philadelphia candlestick no longer worked alongside Laodicea (Rev 3:20). Christ is currently knocking on the door of Laodicea (Rev. 3:20) and also seeks after the lost sheep (Eze. 34).
How can we be absolutely sure of where God is working today?
Mr. Armstrong’s advice, as supported by scripture, still holds true today:
a) God’s Church must be willing to be corrected and confess error (Mark 6:12; p.344, ‘Autobiography of Herbert Armstrong, Vol. 1).
b) God’s Church must be willing to accept that which is ‘New Truth’ from God’s Word (p.344, ‘Autobiography of Herbert Armstrong, Vol. 1). It will be set apart by truth (John 17:17), and continually growing in grace and knowledge as recorded in His Word (2 Peter 3:18)
God’s Church won’t only keep ‘old’ Truth, it will accept where it was wrong and it will continue to grow in new Truth. This shows a Church that is humble and submissive to its Spiritual Head, Jesus Christ. Which Church today has these qualities and lives by them? Research into the splinter groups shows that many keep much of the Truth which was restored to the Church through the end-time Elijah while others have lost much of it! Laodicea no longer has revelation from God because of pride and vanity (Rev. 3:17). In each of these cases, whether wittingly or unwittingly, Christ’s voice has been rejected; (a) past errors are not being corrected and (b) New Truth from God that can be proved from the Bible is blatantly being rejected!
The Church of God’s Faithful (CGF) is the only Church which passes the dual test of God’s True Church! It has more new understanding than any other Church! You will have to prove this for yourself! You can begin by proving the 75 New Truths given to the CGF! In many cases, these New Truths (a) correct some of the misconceptions of the past and (b) have allowed the Church to grow in grace and knowledge. Some of the New Truths given to the Church of God’s Faithful include:
These are only a few of the seventy five New Truths which God has revealed through the Church of God’s Faithful. Download or write us for Church of God's Faithful literature (sent to you free of charge) and PROVE IT for yourself with your Bible!
“My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place” (Jer 50:6).
Many have been wrongfully disfellowshipped by Laodicea or have left of their own accord because they recognized what was going on around them.
Through prayer and diligent Bible study, you will find the ‘resting place’ that God has prepared at this time. The Church of God’s Faithful is the place where God reveals ‘secrets’ to His remnant flock in this most crucial time during the Day of the Lord! Now is the time to demonstrate spiritual courage by continuing to prove all things and to once again regroup with other faithful Philadelphians under the authority of Jesus Christ, the Head of His Church!
© Church of God's Faithful 2017