The Pack Vulture Tries to Sell UCG Members Another Pack of Lies

“Blow the dust off your Bible and prove it for yourself. Don’t believe me, believe the Bible.”

~ HWA, at various times and places

In a shameless display of vulturism, David C Pack, head of The Restored Church of God (RCG), has put out yet another open letter to pick off the low hanging fruit from problems occurring in United Church of God of late. In “A New Open Letter to UCG Members and Ministers”, he goes above and beyond in spreading the misunderstandings and errors inherent in the teachings that the Church is God’s government upon the earth.

David C Pack, who is famous for his 3 hour ego-stroking sermons, has done more recently than any other sister COG in trying to make gains in membership from the misfortunes of UCG. While he makes a valid point that the recent UCG troubles are a “disgraceful public fight that is an embarrassment for the ages to God’s Church”, it really does pale in comparison to those like Pack who would so outlandishly attempt to profit from it.

In this rather long letter, Pack wrote:

Recall that Mr. Armstrong often repeated, “Government is everything!” Here are two quotes from him about what he believed was his role in the restoration of God’s government to His Church. The first touches on Mr. Armstrong’s recognition that he had fulfilled the “Elijah” role—but also to what he saw as the centerpiece of what the modern Elijah restored (Matt. 17:11). Read slowly, pondering Mr. Armstrong’s words, asking if the passing of 25 years could change such crucial understanding:

“Jesus said the Elijah shall yet come and restore all things. [The original] Elijah did not restore what was taken away…The Government of God was taken away. It was to be restored…God raised me up to restore it. God raised me up to restore the Government of God. But it is only restored so far in the Church. I have no authority from God, no ability, to restore the Government of God any further than just over you brethren in the Church. But that has been done. That has been done, brethren. You go back and read Malachi 3:1-5 and Malachi 4. [And] where Jesus said, ‘Elijah truly shall come’—even after John the Baptist was put in prison, He was yet to come. He [the Elijah] was to restore. John the Baptist didn’t restore. You’d better realize what this Church is and what you are behind when you say you are behind me 100 percent.”

Sermon, Oct. 2, 1982

“But to go on with the things that have been restored…The Government of God has been restored to the Church, and the Government of God has been placed in the Church. You read that in Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12. Christ is the Head of the Church and under Christ in the administration of the Government are an apostle or apostles, then evangelists, then pastors, then all are called elders, ministers all the way up clear down to the lowest. So then there are teachers and elders, both speaking elders and preaching elders, deacons and deaconesses. And the Church is restored in that form of Government. The Sardis Church didn’t even have the right form of Government.”

Sermon, Dec. 17, 1983

So, why not take Mr Herbert w Armstrong’s advice and look up these verses and see what they really do say?

Mt 17:11

11And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. (Matthew 17:11, King James Version)

“See?” the one-man rule advocate will say, “’All things’ includes God’s government!”

There’s one tiny problem with that thought, though. In context, Jesus tells His disciples that Elias had already come!

12But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

13Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:12-13, King James Version)

So, questions:

  1. Did John the Baptist come to restore “God’s government” on the earth?
  2. Did John the Baptist set up a church?
  3. What was John’s mission?

1In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

2And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

3For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (Matthew 3:1-3, King James Version)

Notice that John stated “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, which would mean he was not setting up any type of government structure. Rather, he was to “prepare … the way of the Lord”, or he was preparing people for the real ruler, the real king, “the Lord”, the master or the “kyrios” to come upon the scene.

How did John prepare people for the Lord? By telling them to repent! Rather than building up some structure of power, ego and earthly glory, he was cutting down what was evil and unrighteous!

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

9And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Matthew 3:7-10, King James Version)

I’d advise you, Mr Pack, to heed this warning you have conveniently left out of your open letter.

Furthermore, once John had prepared the people for the kyrios, the Lord, what did Jesus Himself say about His own government?

36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36, King James Version)

Stupid question: If Jesus did not establish His government then, when will He?

At His second coming!

44And in the days of these kings [at the time of the end!] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44, King James Version)

Pack is another case of the blind leading the blind. Like the Pharisees and Sadducees, it is about gaining power and recognition from men.

Malachi 3:1-5

1Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

2But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

3And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

4Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

5And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1-5, King James Version)

Question: Would someone please point out to me where “government” is mentioned in this passage?

Even if government is in this passage in an indirect manner, Who is coming and Who is judging (ruling)? Certainly not a bunch of men with titles, rank and position.

Malachi 4

Fortunately, Malachi 4 is short.

1For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

2But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

3And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

4Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

6And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4, King James Version)

Of course, this is what the disciples were referring to about Elijah restoring all things. However, we see here that one of those things is turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice versa. Again, what we do not see is Elijah setting up some headquarters or some large organization and calling it “God’s government on earth”.

The Tabernacle and Temple

We see a great deal of detail given in the building of the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting in Exodus. Everything is documented as to how large, what material to use, where to place the hooks and rings, etc. A few chapters are devoted to it, there is so much detail.

Later, we see King Solomon building the Temple in Jerusalem. Again, we see the detail as to how large, how high and how wide. We even know the number of oxen within (12).

All this detail, and yet not word about how to organize the Church other than 12 apostles were initially set over it?

Government Over Whom?

Maybe it’s because it isn’t about ruling over other people at this time.

24And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

25And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

26But ye [Who?] shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

27For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. (Luke 22:24-27, King James Version)

Did Jesus come to rule the first time? No, He came to serve, and He commands us to do likewise.

Are those who participate in power grabs interested in serving? Are those who would prey upon members of another church not looking out for their own bellies?

Government Where?

We who have been steeped in COG theology are fully aware that Christ will come and set up a literal kingdom that will govern the entire earth. Do we fully appreciate how He is doing this and how He is preparing for this now?

God wants billions of children. However, He only wants one Satan. We must grow in character and take on His very nature before He will give us rulership. This physical life is just a training ground.

A kingdom has to have a king. That king, of course, is Jesus Christ. A kingdom has to have subjects, and that would be the true Christians today. A kingdom has to have laws. I think we understand that, but perhaps we have underestimated it.

10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:10-11, King James Version)

It starts here. It starts with us. We are the beginning. We are the firstfruits. Christ is going to appoint kings and priests to rule with Him on the earth (Rev 5:10).

We often talk of the Kingdom of God in the future sense, and that isn’t wrong. However, for us, the Kingdom of God is something we are supposed to be preparing for now – internally.

That’s why this passage means so much more than what so many take it to mean:

20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21, King James Version)

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary on this section states:

20-25. when, &c.–To meet the erroneous views not only of the Pharisees, but of the disciples themselves, our Lord addresses both, announcing the coming of the kingdom under different aspects.

It cometh not with observation–with watching or lying in wait, as for something outwardly imposing and at once revealing itself.

21. Lo here! . . . lo there!–shut up within this or that sharply defined and visible geographical or ecclesiastical limit.

within you–is of an internal and spiritual character (as contrasted with their outside views of it). But it has its external side too.

[Emphasis theirs, but appropriate]

If you truly understand that the Holy Spirit is a seed planted within us, and it can grow as long as it is watered and nurtured. When the new birth into spirit beings has been accomplished, the Kingdom of God will then begin to take on a much fuller meaning.

Today, we have the laws, the king and the subjects. When Christ returns, then there will also be the job appointments and the territory. That will be the external manifestation of the Kingdom. Today, however, it is smaller, quieter and growing within each of us as God writes His laws upon our hearts.

The Church is not the Kingdom! The Church is the Bride of Christ! While related, they are separate! The Bride will help her Husband rule the Kingdom!

That’s why I say over and over again: We must become self-governing under the control of the Holy Spirit! We must be obedient to the Kingdom laws before we can administer them. We, as the Bride of Christ, must willingly submit to Him!

It starts small, in the conversion of our hearts!

Pack of the Hill

Pack goes on to state that “And just as they [the Protestants] had to reject Catholic government, the splinter leaders necessarily also had to reject God’s Government. Here is why. The leadership of one man (taught by Mr. Armstrong) cannot be spread over many groups.” Makes one wonder why leaving the Catholic Church is OK, reading this garbage. Think about it. At some point, you had to rebel against whatever the conventional wisdom is when you decide to become baptised into God’s Church!

It’s also funny how the “one-man rule” doctrine always leads to whatever group the speaker/writer is in charge of, eh? Of course, his organization must be the correct one, right? Again, I’d ask if such a power grab is becoming a true Christian, let alone the leader of a supposed church of God.

It’s the COG version of the game of King of the Hill.

Consider how many judges were ruling concurrently in the Book of Judges. According to’s article “The Chronology of Judges Solved!”:

The chronology of the book of Judges has been a problem because when you add up all the numbers and dates given in the book of Judges, the sum of years is about 100 years more than what it should be.

Consider the following chart on their page as a visual aid to make the point clearer:

Consider how Solomon was anointed as king even before David died. Was Solomon then sinning by becoming king?

Consider how the Kingdom of Israel split into two after Solomon’s death. Did Jeroboam sin by becoming king over the northern kingdom? Or, was that ordained by God?

Pack of Lies Continues

However, at least one might excuse such an erroneous statement by saying that it is his true belief – a weak argument at best, but at least an argument. However, he goes on to list other such “doctrinal errors” like “use of cosmetics – dress codes – hair lengths”. So, guys, you better get a haircut before your burial, or you won’t be allowed into the Kingdom!

Then, there are just outlandish statements, lies even, without any frame of reference at all:

  1. “marriage between ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers’” – no explanation offerred for what he’s talking about
  2. “what is the Church and Body of Christ” – ditto
  3. “who is the end-time Elijah” – so, if you don’t believe HWA was the Elijah, are you not saved?
  4. “how truth enters the Church (Mr. Armstrong taught this was only through apostles)”

    So, is Pack lying now or when he wrote this:

    With the exception of two or three families, none of the Sardis brethren would accept the truth God had revealed to Mr. Armstrong early in his calling: the observance of God’s annual feasts and holy days, the identity of the Anglo-Saxon peoples of the United States and Britain as descendants of the ten “lost” tribes of Israel, and other biblical teachings. The people of Sardis were content with the small number of doctrines they possessed and were not willing to change.

    Mr. Armstrong had even tested Stanberry headquarters with biblical proof that they were teaching error. Privately, they admitted that he was right, yet they refused to correct their errors. They were too afraid of upsetting tithepayers, fearing that they might leave. Even the top leader privately admitted that new Bible truth had been revealed to Mr. Armstrong—but that minister, like the others, publicly rejected the truth, and even attacked Mr. Armstrong for preaching it.

  5. “The Bible definition of the true Church is “The house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). The Body of Christ is where “THE truth” is—not “some of the truth” or “much of the truth” or even “most of the truth”—and certainly not “truth mixed with error”—but rather simply “THE TRUTH”!”

    It is arrogant to believe you are the possessor of all truth. So, Mr Pack, how about it? If you know all truth, then will Christ return?

    However, Mr Pack, did you notice what HWA wrote?:

    “I did not fully realize, then, that this was a crucial turning point in the history of the Church of God. My wife and I did not leave the Church. This was God’s Church. Of that I was not, then, completely sure. They came closer to Biblical truth than any other — but I was seriously disturbed by their lack of power and accomplishment.”

    And yet, this was and still is one of the Churches of God. Some believe it to be a remnant of the “Sardis era”. If that is true, then it is still a COG, no matter how you slice it and dice it. Therefore, it is still part of the “true Church”. So, is Pack in rebellion against God’s true Church? Was HWA in rebellion for splitting members off from it?

So, Mr Pack, why would anyone want to submit to such a power hungry liar as yourself?


  1. Great post with many insightful remarks! Your words are always really dense with teaching.

    By the way, the formatting got jumbled up after the part where Pack quoted Armstrong's sermons, and everything after that is in italics. It didn't stop me from reading, but I know you'll want to fix it 😉

  2. @Steven: Thanks for the compliment.

    I "fixed" it. It actually was correct, and it displayed correctly in Firefox, but it seems IE was insisting on an additional line break. Oh well, an additional space is easier on the eyes than all italics. 🙂

  3. Hello to you once again John and good day to you!
    This article about a vulturistic (if there is such a word) individual who preys upon the people of God in a time of distress and perhaps weakness of some, is deplorable. However, he is not alone and it is a shame that he did have some valid points in that letter. Facts are facts though, even if it is the undesirables that point them out. That said; perhaps you and your readers may not take to kindly to what I have to say from here on, but then again I know that perhaps thousands will agree. this is not said to hurt anyone or cause offence and is based on the version I read much earlier this morning; the reason I am writing is really about what you have said that could also be misleading to some and cause confusion, which I am sure that is NOT your intent. But bear with me in a couple of specific examples. First off, your use of the Scripture; Luke 17:20-21 which is very badly translated in the KJV. The word "within you" is misunderstood by many, as you seem to acknowledge. The NAS and the RSV have it more accurate; Luke 17:20-21 "Now having been questioned by the Pharisees (Note who were questioning Him) as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, 'Look, here {it is!} or, 'There {it is!} For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." (NAS) This does not make reference to the Holy Spirit in them or anyone else, not even us today, as you seem to have suggested, because they did not have it nor did anyone else at that time except Christ, which is the context. (John 7:39) the real meaning behind what Christ said was the He himself was in their midst as the only begotten Son of God-a representative of the Family of God and future king of the coming kingdom. He was in their midst and they could not even observe Him as the Messiah and Son of God. You seem to indicate that the coming time and place is the kingdom; whereas Scripture indicates the first fruits and bride, along with Christ ARE the kingdom–not yet born–a ruling family that will be established thru resurrection.
    The other thing is that you seem to indicate that John the Baptist was the fulfilling of Matt.17:11 which also could not be what Christ meant, if the wording is carefully scrutinized. This passage and Mark 9:10-13 both make it clear that there was to be a future one coming in the spirit of Elijah, because the term "first" is used in both cases referencing a future time and just before the second coming. it is obvious that John the Baptist is already dead when Christ speaks of this. Another point to consider is the fact that so much truth had be lost down through time to our time, which certainly began to be restored to the COG thru HWA. A lot of this was not restored by John the Baptist because Christ had not yet even begun to build His Church. There are many things to consider about these statements from Christ that require more than just superficial reading. Christ also did establish government in His Church and it is from the top down. You see it first through Moses, Joshua-senior elders and captains of different groups for ancient Israel-then Christ and apostles, prophets, evangelist and elders in the COG.
    Eph.4:11 is not talking about "job titles" that apply as every minister just being an elder in the apostolic era, as UCG has presented it, falsly claiming there is no "rank" if that is what you want to call it, in the COG. Sorry John, no offence intended and please don't take any, but there are several things you have said that are very questionable when doing a deeper study of the word. I hope this does not come back to bite you by those you have set out to critcize.(if I have misunderstood your meanings, then please forgive, but what I have said I think is acurately based on Scriptural revelation.)

    The editor for mtCOGsm

  4. I find David C. Pack to be rather interesting sometimes. Sadly, I have caught him telling outright lies when the facts of history were not what he wanted people to know. He seems to prefer people who do not know all the relevant facts about the past history of the Church of God.

    The main practical problem with David C. Pack is that he will shout at people to sell their houses, and cash out their retirement savings plans, and send him the money. Then, he will shout at them to "get out" of his church if they do not go along with everything he comes up with.

    David C. Pack himself once mentioned in one of his sermons that 400 people from the PCG went with him, but one by one they all left him, too. Scary! This makes one wonder what luck UCG members would have in his group.

    David C. Pack's church appears to have a very high member turnover rate. He is very secretive about the actual numbers, though he likes to brag about certain percentages when they sound good.

    David C. Pack tries to impress people with his "free literature," but quickly cuts them off if they don't soon send money.

    David C. Pack calls his critics liars and complains about people believing "obvious lies." Unfortunately, from what I have heard him say myself in his own sermons, and from what I have seen myself of how he operates, it appears that his critics are telling the truth about his behavior. By the time people find this out for themselves, they might be out a lot of money.

    After David C. Pack gets through with people, they seem to have a tendency to become atheists after the bad experience with his idea of God.

  5. @The editor: As far as Luke 17:20-21 goes, I know I am breaking with COG tradition on that point. For the record, I am not saying that the Kingdom of God is "in your heart" or any such BS like that. That is what some Protestants teach (and maybe a few Catholics, but I think they officially view the church as the "kingdom").

    Like too many things, though, I think the COG (and some Protestants as well) in the past have overreacted to that and gone into the other ditch. Jesus, the embodiment of the Kingdom (esp since He is its Ruler), was in the midst of the Pharisees when He made that statement. And, yes, it can be translated "in your midst" or "amongst you".

    BUT, it can also be legitimately translated "within". It is "entos" (Strong's G1787). The funny thing is that it is only used twice in the NT. The other is in Mt 23:26, "Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within [entos] the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."

    I believe the word was purposefully chosen to show that the first part of God's plan starts with changing the internal carnal nature being obedient to the One standing right there. In other words, the KOG was in their midst certainly, but it also starts with an internal change upon repentance and conversion. It is part of the "Kingdom" because God's Law is written on our hearts and minds, just as Jesus is part of the "Kingdom" because He is the ruler, plus those who are now called and converted are the subjects of the "Kingdom".

    The main point is that "government" starts with us. It starts by becoming willingly obedient. It is external only in that we are to submit to those placed over us — in whatever capacity — as long as they submit to God.

    Like I said, though, that is a departure from our traditional teaching, and I don't want to misrepresent it as such.

    If you don't agree, that's OK, because it isn't something to start a church over (hope I don't give anyone any ideas).

    I would more strongly object to the idea that the listing of positions and job titles is necessarily rank, however. The only real rank I see in the NT is that apostles are overall in charge, then elders/ministers and perhaps then deacons. Even that last one is arguable.

    Is pastor a rank? Evangelist? If there are any ranks, then shouldn't Ep 4 list them as 1, 2, 3…? Like, oh say, as in 1Co 12:28? Hmmmm, no "evangelist" there. No "pastor", either.

    Don't get me wrong, either, that lack of hierarchy means no one is in charge. Certainly, Moses, Joshua and even Jesus had the advantage that they were handpicked by God. God made it clear who was in charge. However, during the days of the Judges, sometimes different people were in charge in different areas at the same time. That doesn't sound very hierarchical to me. To the outsider, and even to the Israelites, it seemed like mass chaos. However, God was in charge the whole time. It was a very, very flat structure, though, even for our day.

    As far as someone criticizing me over what I said, well I get that now. 🙂 I have stood my own against atheists, evangelicals and even Dr Thiel. 🙂

    Your comments are welcome, and I don't claim perfect knowledge in any case. People have made valid arguments before that have persuaded me either of another way of looking at things or even to reconsider a previous position. In fact, sometimes they were atheists, evangelicals and even Dr Thiel. 🙂 🙂

    [Bob, if you are reading this, it is meant in friendly fun.]

    Hopefully, I'll never stop growing and edge ever closer to God's truth continually.

  6. Actually John,
    "is Pastor a rank"? Yes I think it could be considered that way when you look at the definitions and the way it is explained to Titus to ordain elders–which seems to be a different office than a deacon. that "numbering" is the way I see this passage, from the top down; Eph 4:11-12
    V.11 And He Himself gave some to be (#1)apostles, (#2)some prophets, (#3)some evangelists, and (#4)some pastors and teachers,
    12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,—(NKJ) However I am not saying this is set in stone and there can be no other way to understand it–
    but I am sure you recall reading how the apostle Paul "charged" or commanded Timothy and Titus to do things and Timothy of course is called an evangelist and was told to also charge some not to teach contrary to established doctrine—which indicates to me that he also had authority over the elders he was to put in place.
    Paul also mentioned in 1Cor.14 that the "prophets" were to submissive to other prophets–there were many prophets–and he does not say "elders"—though there were also elders, as in Acts 20, when he called them together–the Jerusalem council was certain presided over by apostles as the highest in command–including Barnabas and Paul as apostles to gentiles.
    I know that UCG tries to present these as all elders–but the Scriptures clear mention the apostles first and of course many of those were appointed by Christ and would have authority over elders who were ordained by them, don't you think? This what I am meaning as for Rank in the COG—but I do agree with you there were times in the OT that there was no specific "one man" to rule, and I also agree that during the time of the apostles to the Jews and Gentiles–those apostle ruled collectivly. There is a lot about this that could be gone into, as I am sure you know. (I have tried to address much of this in various ways and different articles over the last three years–as food for thought from Scripture for the scattered brethren.)


  7. @Editor: Obviously, I didn't make myself very clear.

    The question was if "pastor" is a rank, then why doesn't 1Co 12 state it, esp. since the latter more likely could be interpreted as a ranking? Ep 4 just seems to be a listing of various roles while 1Co 12 uses "first", "secondarily", "thirdly", etc.

  8. To me these titles are clearly spiritual gifts, not ranks. Eph 4:7 and 8 set the scene by stating that these are God’s gifts, then lists some of these gifts.

    Could 1 Cor 12:28 not be a ranking order of authority, but a linear order of how the gospel was preached and is preached today.

    1. apostle – People of God are sent out. Apoelste NT:652 apostolos ( is, lit., "one sent forth" (apo, "from," stello, "to send").
    Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words

    When they are sent out – What do they do? They proclaim God’s message.

    2. Prophets. NT:4396. "one who speaks forth or openly, "a proclaimer of a divine message," denoted among the Greeks an interpreter of the oracles of the gods.
    Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words

    from a compound of NT:4253 and NT:5346; a foreteller ("prophet"); by analogy, an inspired speaker; by extension, a poet:
    Strong's Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.

    Once people respond to their proclamation of the message, what then do they do? They teach the converts.

    3. Teachers
    NT:1320 didaskalos, a teacher; in the N.T. one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man:
    Thayer's Greek Lexicon

    And what does this teaching lead to? It leads to knowledge and these additional gifts such as healing etc. These are not numbered because they are a range of gifts coming out the staged process of preaching the gospel and then teaching the fruits of the preaching, the 2 great commissions.

    In fact, in what we would call today, multitasking, one individual may fulfill more than one of these roles. Paul for example was an apostle to the gentiles, he proclaimed and he healed (for example at Ephesus. {Acts 19}). In other cases different individuals fulfilled these roles. 1 Cor 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase”. NKJV. Paul here proclaimed the message, Apollos follow him with teaching.

  9. BureaCat said–"To me these titles are clearly spiritual gifts, not ranks. Eph 4:7 and 8 set the scene by stating that these are God’s gifts, then lists some of these gifts."

    If Eph.4:11 is only meant as mere gifts and has no level of power as an authoritative office, then how would you explain away these things as mere gifts to various elders that are all to be considered equal, as UCG seems to advocate?

    From Him (Christ) they received their endowment with the Holy Spirit for the work . (b) Paul claimed for himself, and by inference, for the other apostles, authority to exercise discipline in the churches, "which the Lord gave for building you up" <2 Cor 10:8; 13:10>. All the church's ministers exercise oversight and admonition over the churches (from International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)
    Titus 2:15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. (NKJ)
    Jude 1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. (NKJ)
    Acts 20:28 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (Strong’s-A superintendent –one in charge of a church), to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (NKJ)

    I submit (as my understanding of this) that "He gave some" is not just a gift but also a level of responsibility and an office, just as with Moses' captains of 10's, 50's 100's and 1000's.
    The editor

  10. There are many references in the New Testament about leaders. Paul even instructs in Timothy and Titus how to select them. My point was not about leadership, but that the context and underlying Greek word meanings in Eph 4 and 1 Cor 12 in my view are about spiritual gifts, not leadership ranks.

    One of the things we need to be careful of is applying 21 century thinking to some of the words used. For example you quote Acts 20.28 and the word “overseers”. This is not the same meaning as we would use today in say a corporate environment. Especially when we see it used in context of flocks and feeding or shepherding the flock which means to tend to a flock.


    One of the problems with emphasizing Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong as the Elijah to come is that the Bible places no emphasis whatsoever on knowing who the Elijah to come is. God knows who he is, and that is sufficient. As I point out in my book, Jesus and John the Baptist never raised the issue. The questions about the Elijah to come originated with the scribes and Pharisees and priests.

    I think that Mr. Armstrong probsbly was the Elijah to come, but whether he was or was not doesn't change anything. He did the work God wanted him to do. He was restoring doctrinal truth long before he thought of himself as possibly the Elijah to come. Whether he thought of himself that way didn't affect how God was able to use him to grow the Church and restore doctrine.

    Bottom line: It can be fun and maybe inspiring to research it and talk about it, but we don't really need to know.