God's Church is growing larger every day! With this great blessing comes a great danger of which most of the brethren are unaware!
MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY: GREETINGS brethren, from South America! I'm writing this article from the capital city of Uruguay, on the east coast of South America. Mr. Rea and I have been having important conferences with radio station managers, governmental employees and businessmen. We have been gathering information which will be useful in spreading the Gospel of God's government to this darkened part of the world when God opens the door.
The realization of the TREMENDOUS task yet to be accomplished sweeps over us with overwhelming force here, when we see the ignorance, poverty and superstition — the strangle-hold of the Catholic Church on the impoverished masses of people, the political turmoil and fear that grips most of South America. Also, it makes us realize all the more what a UNITED, SINGLE-HEARTED, completely DEDICATED body we must be, if we, as the very body of Jesus Christ, are ever to really FULFILL the great task God has set before us!
False Ministers Just as the early beginnings of our Church were fraught with DANGERS, so is THIS PRESENT AGE bringing us ever closer to the same identical dangers. When Jesus told His disciples of the times just before His return to this earth, He warned, "Take heed that no man DECEIVE you" (Matt. 24:4). In His warning about deceptions, Jesus talked of false MINISTERS who would be masquerading as TRUE ministers of the Gospel, who would "show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24).
This warning was about OUR times — NOW!
And to WHOM was the warning given? TO THE CHURCH!
Brethren, the time has come to candidly WARN you of a very grave DANGER that could mean the loss of salvation for many of the "babes in Christ" who have been called into the wonderful light of God's truth.
In the early Church, there arose false ministers, and lay members, who began to SET THEMSELVES up as "teachers" and "leaders" of the people. The whole theme of the New Testament, from the very inception of God's true Church to the end of the book of Revelation is one of APOSTASY, one of God's true Apostles and ministers constantly struggling against FALSE DOCTRINES creeping in, and against COUNTERFEIT MINISTERS who were trying to lead off people after themselves.
Notice, the council at Jerusalem was held for THIS VERY REASON! "And CERTAIN MEN which came down from Judea TAUGHT the brethren, and said, 'Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved"' (Acts 15:l). Notice further that these men wanted to ARGUE about the small, physical question of circumcision. "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small DISSENSION with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question" (Acts 15:2).
God's GOVERNMENT went into effect, and a DECISION was rendered by James, the chief Apostle at Jerusalem (vs. 19), and the other apostles then delivered a DECREE (binding, authoritative DECISION, as a LAW) to the brethren in the Church (Acts 16:4).
Paul's Experience In Paul's letters of correction and exhortation to the early Church, he was often forced to show them, by the manner of his calling and training the AUTHENTICITY of his office. Notice how many of his letters begin with statements of Divinely-ordained AUTHORITY (See Rom. 1:1-5, I Cor. 1:1, II Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:1-24, etc.)
Almost immediately after the beginning of God's true Church, certain men arose who began to lead away followings after themselves — out of human jealousy and vanity! "For I know this," Paul said to the Ephesian elders, "that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of YOUR OWN SELVES shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEM" (Acts 20:29-30).
In the three cities or southern Galatia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, the story had been circulated, apparently, that Paul was merely Peter's "messenger boy," and an attempt was made to appeal to SUPPOSED CONFLICTS WITHIN THE MINISTRY in order to confuse and divide the Church. Paul, FOR THAT VERY REASON, unhesitatingly stated the mistake Peter had made in disfellowshipping the Gentiles in presence of the Jews, and told the Church, "But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, 'If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?' " (Gal. 2:14). The remaining verses of this entire chapter are the inspired words PAUL SPOKE TO PETER! The often quoted, wonderful statement of Paul, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, BUT CHRIST LIVETH IN ME" (vs. 20) was a statement made directly to Peter to show the AUTHORITY by which Paul spoke. It was CHRIST who inspired Paul to speak thusly. Make no mistake! Peter and Paul were not enemies! Everything was done for the ADVANCEMENT of the Church, for the GOOD of the flock. The important thing to notice also is that Peter DID take the correction and later called him BELOVED brother — exhorting the Christians to TAKE HEED to the things Paul had written in his epistles! (II Pet. 3:15-16).
Does this ring a familiar bell to any of you?
Many have tried to accomplish the same identical thing in THIS Church age. Some have tried to say Mr. Raymond Cole teaches one thing, and Mr. Armstrong another, or that Mr. Herman Hoeh says one thing, and Mr. Meredith another, or that I say one thing, and my brother another. THESE ASSUMPTIONS AND RUMORS ARE SIMPLY FALSE!
As my father has said so many times, the decisions have always been 100% UNANIMOUS whenever God's true ministers gather together to settle a question — or when doctrinal points are discussed in the annual ministerial conferences. And, so long as we remain GOD'S Church, in which dwells His Holy Spirit, this will continue to be true! God's True Church is a UNITED Church, even as Christ PRAYED it would be! (John 17:11).
Paul Was Criticized It has been said the busier a man becomes, and the more he accomplishes, the more criticism he will receive. God's word certainly bears this up! Jesus Christ was the BUSIEST and the MOST CRITICIZED man who ever lived. The Apostle Paul was constantly being criticized by unthinking, carnal-minded people who did not really fear God's government as they should have.
The Corinthians were accusing him of being covetous of what they supposed was THEIR money (which was really not THEIRS but GOD'S), and Paul answered by saying, "Mine answer to them that do EXAMINE me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink?" (I Cor. 9:3-4). He then proceeded to prove that the ministry should be supported from God's tithes. The entire first chapter of Galatians is Paul's affirmation of the DIVINE AUTHORITY with which he spoke and wrote.
The important thing to realize is that this defense was necessary ONLY BECAUSE OF THE FALSE TEACHERS AND "LEADERS" WHO WERE STIRRING UP THE PEOPLE — trying to discredit God's true ministers — TRYING TO LEAD OFF A FOLLOWING AFTER THEMSELVES!
Paul told the young evangelist, Timothy, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that IN THE LATTER TIMES (NOW) some shall DEPART from the faith [doctrine — body of beliefs), giving heed to SEDUCING SPIRITS, and doctrines of demons" (I Tim. 4:1).
Paul called BY NAME certain false teachers when he said, "But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word doth eat as doth a canker, of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus, who concerning the truth have erred" (II Tim. 2:16-17).
After describing the conditions which will be extant during this very time in the first few verses of the THIRD chapter of this second letter to Timothy, Paul said, "But evil men and seducers shall wax WORSE and WORSE, deceiving, and being deceived'' (II Tim. 3:13).
Remember, these letters to Timothy were concerned primarily with CHURCH GOVERNMENT! Never forget that even the FALSE ministers will appear AS the ministers of Christ! "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, TRANSFORMING THEMSELVES into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for SATAN HIMSELF is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINISTERS also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:13-15).
A Cloak of Church Authority Astounding though it may seem, these false teachers who began leading the members astray TOLD DIRECT, DELIBERATE LIES, or else led the people to believe by SUBTERFUGE and INSINUATION that they were known by, commissioned by, and ordained to their positions by God's true ministers!
Yes — they told the people they REPRESENTED Paul, or Peter, and that they came FROM them!
Notice, "I MARVEL that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another, but THERE BE SOME THAT TROUBLE YOU, and would PERVERT the Gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:6-7).
Paul then proceeded to put a binding CURSE on any such practice, even though HE HIMSELF might turn around and begin preaching differently in the future. "But though we (including ALL the apostles and the ministers) OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be ANATHEMA [cut off from Christ]" (Gal. 1:8).
Paul was forced to write to the brethren at Thessalonica: "Now we beseech you brethren... that ye be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled, NEITHER BY SPIRIT (an angel, or evil spirit), nor by word, (oral teaching from others) nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand" (II Thes. 2:1-2). Did you read it? Paul warned them not to be deceived, even though someone wrote a FALSE EPISTLE, and DELIBERATELY signed it with HIS NAME! In closing important letter, Paul purposely SIGNED it with his own hand — saying, salutation of Paul WITH MINE OWN HAND, which is the token IN EVERY EPISTLE, so I write [or, after this manner, I write]" (II Thes. 3:17).
He had told them, "Let no man deceive you by any means" (II Thes. 2:3), and then went on to give them an absolute key as to what WAS SURE to happen prior to the coming of Christ.
Peter Gave Warning, Too! Peter was not unaware of the undercurrent toward apostasy that was beginning then. He wrote, "But there were false prophets among the people, EVEN AS THERE SHALL BE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU, who PRIVATELY shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (II Peter 2:1). Paul had said the "falling away" from true doctrine was a mystery of LAWLESSNESS that was beginning in HIS time! (II Thes. 2:7).
The entire second chapter of Peter's second letter is a grave warning against false teachers.
Notice, however, that there is always ONE THING THESE TEACHERS HAVE IN COMMON. Even Korah, and the ones he led with him in his rebellion against the authority of Moses, showed the same traits (See Nos. 16:1-3).
"But chiefly them that walk after the flesh," who are concerned about the PHYSICAL SENSES, and the fleshly, carnal sensations, the vanity they might have in obtaining an office, the POPULARITY, the MONEY they covet, — "in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government [AUTHORITY, RSV]." (II Pet. 2:10).
Do you see?
These false teachers who are prophesied to enter in among you brethren will always despise the GOVERNMENT of God. They will TALK AGAINST the AUTHORITY in God's Church — promising LIBERTY, EMANCIPATION from the authority of God! That is exactly what Nimrod did. He promised the people LIBERTY from any rule, any ORDER and government that might REGULATE their lives in the ways of God's laws, which lead to everlasting happiness and peace.
"Presumptuous are they," continues Peter (II Pet. 2:10). Yes, they are always PRESUMING to have office, position and authority — while busily engaged in teaching AGAINST it! They wish to ARROGATE to THEMSELVES a position of authority — yet promulgate a doctrine of NO authority! They contradict their own words by their ACTIONS, which are visible to all!
"... SELF-willed [not doing the will of God, but of SELF), they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (II Pet. 2:10). These are never really SUBMISSIVE to the authority in God's Church, but just "go along" with it, until it steps on THEM — THEN they suddenly show their true colors, and are not in the least bit fearful to speak openly AGAINST Mr. Armstrong, or any other of God's called and chosen servants. Have YOU ever listened to such a person? ARE you such a person? If you ARE — then CHANGE your ways, before it is too late!
God says of such: "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they UNDERSTAND NOT" (they never have the facts of the picture, and so jump to false conclusions), "and shall utterly PERISH in their own corruption" (II Pet. 2:12).
The Church, during its first age, called the "Ephesian" age, or the Church at Ephesus, in the letters to the Churches in Revelation, was commended because it had "TRIED them which SAY they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them LIARS (Rev. 2:2). Jesus showed here that many TOOK THE TITLES of offices in the Church and tried to use the SANCTION of the Church, a CLOAK of "authority," to deceive the flock!
Same Situation Possible Now Most of us are asleep to the danger of that identical thing developing RIGHT NOW! Brethren, whether most of you realize it or not, there are, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, FALSE TEACHERS WITHIN the Church of God!
God's true ministers are aware that there are, at this moment, men who are in scattered parts of the country, holding "Bible Studies" and meetings, even PREACHING, in so-called "campaigns" from time to time, visiting, perhaps, with some of YOU people. They DELIBERATELY LIE, saying they are from the Headquarters Church in Pasadena, saying they were ordained by Mr. Armstrong and the other ministers, and that we in Pasadena have commissioned them to labor in the doctrine!
Yes, astounding though it may seem — some are deliberately LYING to listeners of the broadcast — deluding them into believing they represent the ministry of this Church.
We have heard reports of men who have been visiting members, or perhaps just listeners to the broadcast and readers of the PLAIN TRUTH magazine, in various parts of the United States.
Every year, at the Feast of Tabernacles, we realize we must be CONSTANTLY ON GUARD to prevent any lengthy "Bible studies" from developing where certain dominant personalities begin to "teach" the people — FALSE DOCTRINES!
It is GOOD that God's people should talk about the Bible. It is right, just and godly that all of God's people SHOULD do this — but when certain ones try to set themselves forward as ministers; as teachers of the Word, then God's true ministers must exercise the all-powerful AUTHORITY God has given them, with the very POWER OF GOD, in PUTTING DOWN such false teachings in order to protect the flock!
Watch for these things!
Do NOT let yourself become an "interested" listener to damnable heresies, evil speakings and gossip against someone else, or AGAINST God's great work, or AGAINST any of the ministers as individuals!
Ministry a Grave Responsibility It is because the ministers must labor in TEACHING others that God lays such a heavy responsibility on them. Notice Peter's exhortation: "The ELDERS [all ministers are Elders] which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder... feed the flock of God which is among you... neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock" (I Pet. 5:1-3).
To cause another human being to LOSE SALVATION is the most dastardly act a person can commit! Notice what Jesus said of such an act: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offenses [causing another to stumble — and go back into SIN]! for it must needs be that offenses come, but WOE to that man by whom the offense cometh!" (Matt. 18:6-7).
The well-known 3rd chapter of James, the lesson on the evils of the tongue — of evil speaking and gossip — is directed primarily to those who TEACH OTHERS — the MINISTRY."
"My brethren, be not many masters," is better translated, "My brethren, DO NOT MANY OF YOU BECOME TEACHERS!" (vs. 1), "... knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation [JUDGMENT]."
Why? Simply because, as Paul said to Timothy, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, AND THEM THAT HEAR THEE" (I Tim. 4:16). The minister can help SAVE people by the RIGHT, DILIGENT, FAITHFUL preaching of God's true word! He can also be responsible for sending people straight to Gehenna fire by the wrong use of the position in which God has placed him!
It is because of that TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITY that James said, "Don't MANY of you become teachers!"
Anyone — be he false minister, professing teacher, deliberate liar, or innocent lay member trying to "do good" to others, who teaches doctrines to any other person which LEAD THAT PERSON ASTRAY comes under the condemnation of the word of God — which says WOE unto that man! (Luke 17:1-2).
And, perhaps even without realizing it, YOU could be teaching false doctrines to another person! "EXAMINE yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; PROVE your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is IN you, except ye be reprobates?" (II Cor. 13:5). "Let him that THINKETH he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Cor. 10:12).
Perhaps many of the brethren have not realized the GRAVITY of the responsibility of being a steward of God's word. Many times, "old wives' tales" and cure-alls for petty ailments and afflictions are freely passed out when one person learns another is sick. This could constitute a vitally serious infraction against Almighty God — and against the sick brother or sister! These are JUST A FEW of the ways in which it is possible to cause a brother to stumble! But REMEMBER, God's word is literally FILLED with fearsome WARNINGS to any and all who would PRESUMPTUOUSLY SET THEMSELVES UP as "teachers" of the people, when God has not specifically PLACED them in that office!
How God Calls His Servants My father fully explained the principles of ordination in his article entitled, "Must God's Ministers be Ordained by the Hand of Man?"
It is GOD who chooses and calls His servants. (Eph. 4:11, I Cor. 12:28). The WAY He calls them needs to be definitely understood!
Notice, Jesus said to His disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU, AND ORDAINED YOU..." (John 15:16). When He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He said to Peter and Andrew, "FOLLOW ME, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). Notice, NOT ONE of Jesus' disciples whom He called and ORDAINED to the ministry CHOSE THEMSELVES!
I want you to think VERY CAREFULLY about this next statement! It constitutes a great principle of God's word — and a vitally important KEY to be used in God's true ministry!
THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE — ANYWHERE IN THE BIBLE, WHERE A CALLED AND CHOSEN SERVANT OF GOD CAME FORWARD AND VOLUNTEERED FOR THE OFFICE!
Moses argued that he was unfit for the job, Jeremiah said he was too young, Jonah RAN AWAY, Samuel was directly called of God, David knew nothing until Samuel announced it to him. ALL of the prophets say, "The Word of the Lord CAME unto..." them, not that they volunteered for the office!
Jesus CALLED and APPOINTED His true disciples. Paul was STRUCK DOWN by a miracle. Paul "took" Timothy unto him, and so it is THROUGHOUT the history of God's Church. My father FOUGHT VIGOROUSLY against the truth of God before He was finally called.
However — AFTER a person has been called into the CHURCH, and becomes a Spirit-begotten child of God, it is not wrong, but rather a GOOD THING if he DESIRES an office in the ministry (I Tim. 3:1).
God Works Through Human Instruments But Jesus said, "Wherefore BY THEIR FRUITS ye shall know them!" (Matt. 7:20). The Scriptural QUALIFICATIONS imposed upon any person whom God is calling to the ministry are so absolutely RIGID that there is no possibility of unqualified, uncalled and untrained men being ordeined.
One great principle that seems so difficult for some few to understand is that the Creator who gives us every breath of air we breathe accomplishes His plan here below — yes, and even GOVERNS HIS CHURCH — THROUGH HUMAN BEINGS — HIS INSTRUMENTS!
God is now sending the Gospel of His soon-coming Government into many parts of this darkened world. But He is not yet shouting with His own booming, earth-shaking voice — He is sending the Gospel over the airwaves by the voice of HIS HUMAN INSTRUMENT, Mr. Armstrong!
He is seeing to it that YOU are receiving this magazine, to feed and NOURISH you in His truth, to WARN you of impending dangers, to try to HELP each hungry "babe in Christ" gain an entrance into His glorious Kingdom. But the magazine is written, edited, typed, printed, and mailed by HUMAN INSTRUMENTS.
It is the same in calling His ministry!
Many have assumed the Apostle Paul was the exception to the rule that ministers were always ordained through HUMAN INSTRUMENTS, by the LAYING ON OF THE HANDS OF THE MINISTRY!
That assumption is false!
Paul's Ordination Read the account of Paul's ORDINATION by human instruments with your own eyes!
Turn to Acts, the 13th chapter. Here, you see the gathering of the elders at Antioch, and the ordination of Paul. The entire account was explained in a former article, but very briefly, remember that Paul had been struck down on the road to Damascus, blinded, and MADE WILLING to receive God's Spirit through a REAL REPENTANCE!
He was able to "preach Christ" to the Jews at Damascus then, "PROVING that this is very Christ!" (Acts 9:20 & 22). But notice that Paul was not a MINISTER — he was not an active member in the Governmental body of the Church — he was merely doing what ANY OF YOU should be ABLE to do — "... be ready always to give an ANSWER to every man that ASKETH you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Pet. 3:15).
After this short "witnessing" that Jesus was the true Christ, Paul went to Arabia (Gal. 1:17) and returned to Damascus (vs. 18). After THREE YEARS (vs. 18), Paul then went down to TARSUS, the city of his birth. Prior to this time, however, Paul had been with the other Apostles in Jerusalem, after Barnabas had told them of the miraculous way in which God struck him down. He LEARNED from them, "And he was WITH THEM coming in and going out at Jerusalem" (Acts 9:28).
Just as God's ministers are actually sent out to a local church to preach sermonettes — or perhaps even serve as acting Pastor for a period of time — so PAUL was TRIED AND PROVED in the actual ministry.
Notice how Barnabas, also a disciple of the Church, later took Paul with him when he went to Antioch, and they taught many people for another additional YEAR (Acts 11:25-26). It was only after this time of actual ministerial experience and training — having been ALONE with Christ in the desert — having been under the direct supervision of the headquarters church at Jerusalem, then taken with Barnabas who was older in the faith, to Antioch, that God finally led His servants to ORDAIN Paul!
Notice, as the elders were ministering to the Lord at Antioch, they were FASTING (Acts 13:2). During this time, as they were in fasting and prayer — the "Holy Spirit said "'Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (vs. 2).
God's Holy Spirit directed the minds of His praying, fasting servants — His HUMAN INSTRUMENTS! For example, the Holy Spirit said, "Separate Herman Hoeh and Roderick Meredith unto me for the work hereunto I have called them!" He directly REVEALED to Mr. Armstrong — who could see by the FRUITS being borne of these men, by their consecration and dedication to God's work, by the NEED of the work — by their spiritual leadership and qualifications that GOD was doing the calling!
And so it was with the Apostle Paul!
The ministers were told to "separate Paul! A SETTING APART or a "separation" for an office is just another word for ORDINATION! Notice what happened!
"And when they had FASTED AND PRAYED [as in ALL cases of ordinations], AND LAID THEIR HANDS ON THEM, they sent them away" (Acts 13:3).
There is the record of the ordination of the Apostle Paul BY HUMAN INSTRUMENTS, in the exact same way God ALWAYS calls and chooses His true ministers — after conversion, a number of years of STUDY and PREPARATION, actual field testing and proving in the ministry, and final ordination when GOD shows His ministers His will!
False "Visions" and "Dreams" Some, however, who are always looking for ways to GET AROUND the set and established ways of their Creator and RULER, want to "have their own way," and so try to achieve their own goals by wrong means!
Frequently, some will get a certain "feeling" they are being called to the ministry! Setting their heart on the ministry they DECIDE God has called them to be His stewards — and begin to FORCE THEMSELVES IN! Notice, they have NOT been trained — have NOT fulfilled the Divinely imposed Scriptural qualifications, have NOT been observed, tested and proved by God's true ministers — they merely "make up their minds" and then VOLUNTEER!
BUT NONE OF GOD'S TRUE SERVANTS HAVE EVER VOLUNTEERED IN THIS MANNER!
Others have a "dream" and then come to the ministers, TELLING THEM God is calling them to the ministry! But WHO HAD THE DREAMS IN THE BIBLE? The one being called? Or the human INSTRUMENT used in the actual calling?
Notice! In the case of the Apostle Paul, the miraculous vision on the road to Damascus WAS ALSO COUPLED WITH A VISION WHICH APPEARED TO ANANIAS — a truly converted man, who was ALREADY in God's Church — whom God used as the instrument in BAPTIZING Paul. Ananias DID NOT ORDAIN Paul — he merely BAPTIZED him!
God's true servants are not called by weird dreams and visions which God keeps HIDDEN from His ALREADY-called and ordained officers of the Church. A lay member will not be called to the ministry without the MINISTERS being the FIRST ONES TO RECOGNIZE IT — BEFORE THE LAY MEMBER EVER DOES!
A Host of "Volunteers" The Bible is also explicit on a whole GROUP of men who "volunteered" for the ministry, or a prophetic office, or a position of leadership in the congregation!
"Now Korah rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel... against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, 'YOU TAKE TOO MUCH UPON YOU, seeing ALL the congregation are holy... wherefore then lift ye up YOURSELVES above the congregation?" (Nos. 16:1-3).
Notice! Moses and Aaron were accused of having APPOINTED THEMSELVES and "lifting up themselves" over the congregation! YOU and I know, however, that Moses and Aaron were CALLED OF GOD!
But — as is nearly ALWAYS the case when a presumptuous person tries to USURP authority, he repudiates the office of the one in the already-established position, and accuses that person of having arrogated the office to himself!
Let's never let this happen to any of us! Notice the fearsome END of Korah! "... the ground gave asunder that was under them, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods... and they PERISHED from among the congregation" (Numbers 16:31-33).
Satan "volunteered" to TAKE OVER THE OFFICE OF GOD! All the FALSE Prophets SET THEMSELVES up, claiming to be the true prophets of God! Adonijah, Solomon's half-brother, tried to set himself up as King over Israel, and was finally killed for his presumptuousness! Simon, the sorcerer, wanted the power of God, and tried to BUY it with money! Peter said, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money... thy HEART IS NOT RIGHT in the sight of God" (Acts 8:20-21).
Any person who tries to ARROGATE TO HIMSELF an office of the ministry JOINS RANKS WITH KORAH, WITH ADONIJAH AND ALL THE FALSE PROPHETS, AND WITH SATAN THE DEVIL HIMSELF!
Many Do Not Know Who All of God's Ministers Are! God has granted such wonderful GROWTH and NEW VITALITY to His true Church, it has presented another problem we need to overcome!
Many of you brethren are in scattered areas — and do not really KNOW who all the ministers are! Usually, we have always printed in the GOOD NEWS Magazine an article about any ordinations that have occurred — but many new members have been brought in to the flock of true believers in recent months and years, and they are unsure as to WHO is a minister, and who is not!
For that reason, we give you the following LIST, which comprises ALL the God-called and ordained ministers, deacons and deaconesses in the True Church of God for today!
The one whom God has placed in the office of APOSTLE AND GENERAL PASTOR: Herbert W. Armstrong;
EVANGELISTS: Garner Ted Armstrong, Richard D. Armstrong, Raymond C. Cole, Herman L. Hoeh, Raymond F. McNair, Dr. C. Paul Meredith, Roderick C. Meredith, Norman A. Smith;
PASTORS: Dean C. Blackwell, C. Wayne Cole;
PREACHING ELDERS: James L. Friddie, Jr., David Jon Hill, H. Burk McNair, George A. Meeker, Jr., R. Carlton Smith, Kenneth R. Swisher, Gerald D. Waterhouse;
LOCAL ELDERS: Richard Prince, Jr., Basil Wolverton;
DEACONS: Alton B. Billingsley, Widd Boyce, Gene Carter, Otis Cole, Eddie Eckert, Buck Hammer, Roy Hammer, Dave Henion, F. William Homberger, A. R. Jantzen, James F. Kunz, Malcolm Martin, H. A. Olson, A. N. Roesler, Otis Rowell, I. E. Starkey, Dwight Webster;
DEACONESSES: Mrs. Roy Hammer, Mrs. Annie Mann.
There you have a COMPLETE list of ALL the ordained ministers and officers in God's true Church of this age! I hope all of you are really REJOICING in the growth God is granting, and, as every one of us should be, PRAYING "ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" (Matt. 9:38).
REMEMBER brethren, God's word WARNS us of false teachers who will arise — and try to deceive many of YOU! You should not only pray for additional TRUE ministers to be called, but you should also be diligently praying that God will protect His flock — and protect YOU — from being deceived and led away from His only true Church by a FALSE minister.
God's true ministers are ordained for the GOOD of the flock, for the spiritual edification and GROWTH of each one of you, "TILL we all come in the UNITY of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS of Christ!" (Eph. 4:13).