The other day, I posted, “Does Jesus Need You?” about how, on one level, God the Father and Jesus Christ need us. The intense desire for them to have a larger family is so great that it could be classified as a need. If they need companionship and fellowship, then how much more us?
Ironically, the day I posted that, news of PCG’s so-called “house of God”, aka Ambassador Auditorium, was announced. COGWriter, Dr Robert Thiel, in Church of God News article “PCG Proclaims Armstrong Auditorium ‘A House for God’” accurately wrote:
And, it seems, in the past several years, PCG has really been into physical relics and seems highly focused financially on looking the most physically like the old Worldwide Church of God.
I think Thiel hit the nail quite accurately by pointing out their focus on things not spiritual.
What Is Ironic?
Perhaps you are wondering why that is ironic. Well, let me ask you, “Is a house always a home?” For one thing, one is a physical structure, while the other has more to do with one’s inner spirit – the heart, or the “spirit in man”.
It is ironic (and, in a very sad sense, certainly not in the sense of tickling one’s funny bone) because PCG teaches that “God is a family”. That can sound confusing until you realize “God” has a plural sense and “God” has a singular sense. Mainstream Christianity tries to resolve the difference via their doctrine of the trinity. However, that particular theory has several problems, as I point out in “God’s Plan 1: Who Is God?” and other articles.
Whether or not you agree that God “is” a family does not change the irony. PCG has done more than any other “Church of God” that I know of in breaking up families here on earth. The doctrine of shunning one’s own family for arbitrary and unbiblical reasons has caused much pain and anguish. Why would a God Who is love and Who wanted a family so much to send His (at that time) only Son to die for us in order to make us part of His family want such havoc and destruction of the families of believers in this age?
Church of Whom?
Think about that a moment. Are they even worshipping the same God as you and I?
I don’t think so. They should change their name because they are not a Church of God. They are a church of a god they have made in the image of Gerald Flurry. Perhaps Church of Herbert W Armstrong might be more appropriate. Or, how about the Church of Gerald Flurry, A Latter Day Prophet?
From their beginning, their admiration and adoration of Herbert W Armstrong was quite evident. By proclaiming that Mystery of the Ages was a such a necessary part of their theology that they were willing to go to court over it, they elevated a man’s writings to the level of Scripture.
Over time, their focus has shifted to Gerald Flurry. Rumors that one must proclaim that Gerald Flurry as a prophet prior to baptism have not gone away. His declaration that he is “That Prophet” is not just presumptuous. It is downright blasphemy.
So, I feel the facts bear out their arrogance and presumption in declaring that Armstrong Auditorium is “the house of God”.
Another irony was that where I was at services yesterday, the subject of the sermon was humility and why it is important.
Like the Pharisees, the outward appearance is there: Keeping the Sabbath, the holy days, etc. Where is love? Where is joy? Explain that to the grandmother who hasn’t seen her grandchildren in six months.
Where Is God’s House?
Why is there no physical Tabernacle on the earth today? Why is there no physical Temple on the earth today? Why would God allow that?
Maybe it is because God’s Temple is a spiritual building. Are we reading the same Bible? What do the Scriptures say?
What defines what a "temple" is? In the NT, the words used describe much of how we think about temples today. Some refer to specific parts of a temple or shrine, while some mean the entire land, entrance ways and gates as well. However, the OT word for “temple” was more specific, but it can also mean “palace”, i.e., a house for royalty. In the OT the Temple is often simply referred to as a "house"! By calling something "God’s house", one is declaring that is where God lives. God’s home, then, to use the analogy of a house vs a home, is where God’s Spirit dwells.
Paul states that we believers are the Temple if God’s Spirit dwells in us.
16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16, King James Version)
19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19, King James Version)
However, it isn’t just about individuals. Like a brick in the building, each member bonded with other members make up the whole building.
12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12, King James Version)
16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (2 Corinthians 6:16, King James Version)
18And because of Christ, all of us can come to the Father by the same Spirit. 19You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God. 20You are like a building with the apostles and prophets as the foundation and with Christ as the most important stone. 21Christ is the one who holds the building together and makes it grow into a holy temple for the Lord. 22And you are part of that building Christ has built as a place for God’s own Spirit to live.
~ Ep 2:18-22 (CEV)
God’s House Is the Church
Most people know the NT word “ekklesia” often translated “church” literally means “called out ones”. “Called out” to where though? It is amazing that people forget that in order to leave one place, you must go to another. The Children of Israel left Egypt to go into the Promised Land. Similarly, Christians are called out of this world to enter God’s household. But, what does that mean?
According to the entry for Strong’s G1577 on ekklesia, we see:
a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
So, when and where are Christians commanded to assemble together? That’s right! On the Sabbath at His Church!
How can we obey God unless we do so? Not only is it one of the Ten Commandments, not only does Lev 23 command a “holy convocation”, but we are told in Heb 10:25 to not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together”.
Furthermore, we are told to edify one another, love another, exhort one another, submit to one another, etc. How can this be done unless we are together?
If God is building a family, and He certainly is, then are the bonds of love and fellowship just supposed to appear at the resurrection? I submit to you the answer is “No.” We are supposed to be building them right now!
God’s House is the sprit-filled and spiritual entity known collectively as “The Church”. Scattered among normal human beings going about their daily lives is a small number of unique individuals called out to be something different. However, they are not just called out, but they are called into something. They are called into a different way of life. They are called into a training camp called “The Church”.
Those who overcome will be called into God’s Home.
Great points all around – especially the last section! This reminds me of a sermon that Ron Kelley gave on this topic, "Building the House of God." It has actually become my favorite sermon of all time, and I highly recommend it if you get a chance (you can get it on the UCG members' website).
@Steve: Thanks. I may have listened to that before, but I'll have to make sure I look it up to make sure it is the same one.