This week I received a query from an officer of one of the WCG offshoots who has had experience with several. He posed two questions that are indicative of the prevailing comment among the offshoots in dealing with the operations and very existence of CCG.
The communication went as follows.
These aren't meant to be controversial, just questions that have been on my mind.
1. What to you is the importance of whether or not Christ is a created being? From what I've read of your writing, it seems to make no difference to salvation. I was just wondering why the emphasis on it other than its difference to what the other Churches of God teach.
2. How do you justify members appointing their own elders when the Bible clearly states (at least to me) that appointment is from the top down, not bottom up? I can find no Biblical reference to members appointing their own ministers. They certainly recommended people for ordination as Deacons, but not elders.
My reply to these questions is a matter of importance to the faith and to the history of the Churches of God. I told him that I would use this exchange as a teaching Sabbath Message given the issues.
I said in reply:
It is a fundamental matter of eternal life that there is only one true God and that He sent Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:3).
The rejection of the doctrines of false gods, including the Binity, or of the Trinity, is fundamental to the church.
LCG is now claiming, [through] pseudo-theologians like [name withheld], to be Binitarian as well as being previously Ditheist, which some now attempt to deny. The doctrine of Binitarianism came into Christianity in the second century in Rome from the worship of the god Attis. It was associated with his Easter festival and was the cause of the schism between us and the Roman Church between 154 and 192 CE (see the paper The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277) and the paper Binitarian and Trinitarian Misrepresentation of the Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127b).
UCG is hopelessly divided on the Issue. They have radical Unitarians (say 12%) Ditheists (20-30%% say), Binitarians and Trinitarians (60+%). They simply don’t discuss it, as it would shatter the church, as you well know.
The reason the church was destroyed was because it was divided and did not understand the Nature of God and the importance of the identification of the structure of the elohim as sons of God. They thus could not understand the redemption of the fallen host and especially that of Satan as explained in the prodigal son [see the paper Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son (No. 199)]. Their theology of the redemption of the host and that of mankind was fatally flawed.
Herbert Armstrong was untrained. He could not understand the issues and so he plagiarised and took the errors as well. They did understand that God was termed Eloah in the beginning and expanded to become elohim (Long Bible Course Lesson 8) [although this totally biblical Unitarian lesson explained the fact of the matter, they did not understand its implications, or the person who wrote it could not explain it to the rest of the ministry]. Eloah is the God of Israel at the Temple. Eloah is singular and admits of no plurality whatsoever. Ezra 4 to 7 shows that Eloah is the object of sacrifice and the emanation of the law and the Temple is His. Look up the Companion Bible and the name is identified easily by its print.
The importance of the elohim is indicated at Zechariah 12:8. Christ was the angel of the Presence that gave the law to Moses at Sinai. The church always understood that fact (see the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24) and The Elect as Elohim (No. 001)). The elohim are a council of the sons of God as we see clearly in the Psalms and Revelation 4 and 5.
The Church of God (Seventh Day) in the Caldwell conference was the true [or correct] line of the Sardis era. Armstrong was of the wrong line. They had the Nature of God correct and they had the Calendar correct and kept all the festivals. He did not join them because he could not run it. That was also the reason he chose the wrong calendar, to differ from them.
HWA was not appointed by anybody. He was ordained by laying on of hands, with his associate [who later went off into Sunday worship], by the crowd at an all day tent meeting and was later credentialed by the COG (SD). He says so himself. The arguments used against CCG are actually applicable to RCG/WCG.
Thus the entire line of the WCG system stems from people who were only in part of the Churches of God. He was never ordained or had hands laid on him by any elder of the Churches of God anywhere. If it is required to be ordained by a preceding bishop then the entire WCG system is invalid and all our work is in vain. That has never been the case. Baptism is the prior requirement and where any two or three are gathered together what they bind is bound in heaven. In fact, had I been ordained by the WCG system I would have been disqualified from this office in this system. It had to be a clean break. No WCG minister has been able to survive in CCG. In some cases the deacons and local elders have been able to take and hold office.
Our leaders are appointed by lot where there is more than one available. That was how the early church operated as we see by the replacement of Judas (Acts 1:23). [These two candidates were chosen by the church and decided by lot.]
CCG is a new line of the Churches of God. We are governed by a constitution that enables the congregation to credential its ministry every seven years. New ministers are appointed by me [or the national bishops, or my delegates, on discussion] as trainee Sub-deacons or Acolytes, deacon evangelists or deacon pastors or deacon administrators, and the congregations give their consent to be governed by those ministers. After due time they are promoted to the rank of elder or bishop both by consent of the council of elders and the consent of their people.
The WCG also was governed by constitution that enabled the congregation to dismiss the ministry but HWA tore it all up and effectively stole the church and the ministers let him. [name withheld] admitted as much to me when I referred to the constitution and he said: “Oh Herbert Armstrong tore that up years ago.”
Paul was never ordained by any man but appointed by Christ through the Holy Spirit [and baptized] (1Tim. 2:7).
The congregations were asked to choose men to be appointed to office as you agree (Acts 6:1-7).
That was always the commencement to office except where Christ had indicated otherwise as with Paul, [or] Armstrong at the Tent meeting, or, in our case, through the body of CCG.
He then replied:
“I have to admit that you raise some interesting points about WCG.
My concern is whether or not we follow what the Bible says rather than what WCG or LCG or UCG or any other group follows.”
That is indeed the real issue. Our concern is to follow what the Bible says and not to take what is convenient or the tradition of men, or to borrow pagan doctrines and festivals.
CCG has been dedicated from its formation to restoring the original doctrines of the church founded by Jesus Christ.
The first thing to be corrected was the doctrine of the Nature of God and the second was the Calendar. It restored the New Moons on its formation.
In the First and Second centuries any member of the Church that proposed the Binitarian doctrines would have been immediately exposed as a worshipper of the god Attis, or Adonis, trying to bring those doctrines into the faith.
That was why we would not accept the Easter doctrines in 154 and were in schism from 192 CE. It is not as though we do not know who Easter was. It is the Anglo-Saxon name of the goddess Ishtar, or Ashtoreth the consort of Baal, the Sun God. The deity was named Attis, or Adonis, or Osiris or any of the names of the Mystery and Sun Cults.
Do not be misled. Anyone who says that God is Binitarian or Ditheist is not a member of the Church of God operating under the power of the Holy Spirit. They are teaching heresy and have to repent.
Anyone who follows the Hillel Calendar, in any of its forms, is following the Babylonian system of postponements fixed at the era of the fall of the Temple under Judah to the Babylonians and which was later set up by the rabbis from Babylon and authorized by Hillel II in 358 CE. They only rarely keep a festival or Holy Day on the correct days or even months.
The Churches of God, and all other forms of Christianity, ignored it then because the church had been doing it correctly for 330 years previously. We were not taken in by it then and we should never have been taken in by it at any time, especially now.
Our eternal life depends on our understanding the Nature of the One True God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn. 17:3) and assembling on the days God demands to be worshipped.