“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?
“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.
- Did John the Baptist come to restore “God’s government” on the earth?
- Did John the Baptist set up a church?
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
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:
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:
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 Bible.ca’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:
- “marriage between ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers’” – no explanation offerred for what he’s talking about
- “what is the Church and Body of Christ” – ditto
- “who is the end-time Elijah” – so, if you don’t believe HWA was the Elijah, are you not saved?
- “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.
- “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?