One subject that comes up over and over again ad nauseum is who has the ultimate authority in God’s Church. The Bible provides a very good answer for that, but many will attempt to reason around it.
Seriously, shouldn’t that settle the matter? If someone comes along and teaches something other than what is in God’s Word, then should we listen to them?
Question: Who were the apostles speaking to?
Question: Are there any exceptions?
You know, Herbert W Armstrong (HWA) said and taught many things during his lifetime. Many of those things were true. We in the Church of God have an entire package of doctrines that were restored by his efforts. There may have been other groups that held bits and pieces of these truths, but God raised him up to restore a systematic theology to the Church.
Question: Was he always right?
HWA taught not to believe him but believe our Bibles. Admittedly, he did reserve the right to make decisions in various “gray areas” such as makeup, but his basic approach usually was that the Bible corrected all. Even later in life, he corrected such things as how Pentecost was to be reckoned. Why? Because he continued to study and learn.
HWA was a fallible human being, and so he was not always correct. That’s why I’ve always given credit where credit was due in that when UCG first formed, it went through the doctrines to prove them. Very few, if any, other groups did that, including PCG and GCG (which was headed at that time by Roderick C Meredith).
That is why UCG rejected HWA’s notion of governance. “Church government” is not a phrase found in the Bible. There are principles of governing, many of which should apply to any form of governance, but there is no “Thou shalt have an apostle”, “Thou shalt appoint seventy elders”, or any other form of governing. The form of governance is not as important as how the leaders govern.
In fact, Christ spoke of “fellowservants”.
45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
Are there any evil servants today? That rule by fear and intimidation? That take monies that were set aside for the poor and widows and build opulent houses? That are hypocrites, play acting that they are religious?
Should we be fearful of those placed over us in the Church?
5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
While a reverential attitude should be maintained towards God, should we be ruled by fear?
Did Jesus command the Church to be fearful?
Should anyone fear God?
It is clear that the wicked have God’s judgment to fear. Should we fear those in a church? Of being put out of a church organization?
It is clear that we should be unafraid of doing what God tells us to do and believing what the Bible tells us is true and not worry about ignoring the teachings of men that do not mesh. Note this is not about rebellion or having a rebellious attitude, but it is about putting God first (Ex 20:2-3).
No matter whose teachings it is or was.