Once we have been converted and put into God's church, should we continue to meet with our acquaintances on Sunday, or send our children to Sunday School? ON THE recent baptizing tours, it has come to our attention that one of the most important problems that new converts face is how to separate from the world — foolish practices and religious customs.
Many recent converts have been assembling in churches of this world on Sunday morning. They have sent their children to Sunday school because of friends or relatives. It seems to them that they ought to continue to assemble. "We might be able to convert our friends," it is usually reasoned. "Besides, our children DO need personal instruction." But is this the right way to win friends or instruct our children?
Christians to be Separate Truly converted Christians belong to God's church, not a church of this world, organized by men, teaching false doctrines that seem right to the carnal mind. Let us notice the instructions of Jesus and Paul.
Christ said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Mat. 5:16). He did not say "hear your arguments," but see your GOOD WORKS, — living God's way of life.
We are to let the world see that we have the love of God in our hearts — which means our keeping ALL the commandments (I John 5:3) — that we have no part with this present lawless society. We are to be in the world, but not OF the world (John 17:14). The only way we can let the world understand that God's way is right and that this civilization, its politics, its society — yes, even its religious organizations, are wrong, is to be SEPARATE from this world. If we take part in worldly politics and social functions, if we assemble for religious purposes on Sunday — which God forbids as SIN — we are not letting our light shine in this dark world.
WE MUST APPEAR AS LIGHTS FROM above, separate and pure from the errors of this age, observing ALL the commandments in humble obedience to Gods authority.
World Has Its Churches There are hundreds of organized denominations throughout the land. These churches are not the true Church of God, even though some of them appropriate that name to themselves. They are the churches of this world, this order or society, under the sway of the god of this world!
This explains why Paul admonished us: "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness... Wherefore come out from among them, and be SEPARATE, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (II Cor. 6:14-18).
Notice that it is impossible to have true fellowship with unbelievers. HOW can two walk together, except they be agreed? But the members of this worlds churches do not agree with God; they teach unrighteousness, which is the breaking of God's law. They condone divorce and remarriage, they reject the gospel of the kingdom of God, they refuse God's sabbath and instead assemble on Sunday — a day on which God commands us to work!
The sermons preached from the pulpits of this land on Sunday mornings are not of God, but of human origin. We are not to go to them for instruction in the word of God.
Send your children to Sunday School? Hear what God's Word commands you: "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge" (Pro. 19:27). Observe that Solomon, in this verse, wisely advises us not to listen to preachers on Sunday morning who teach against the faith delivered once for all time to the true church of God.
It is inevitable that if you continue to assemble and to listen to false teaching, that you will soon become confused, then doubts will enter your mind, and soon you will be overthrown. God will then REJECT you because you have rejected Him. This is more serious than you may have first believed.
Assemble with Other Converts Only Instead of assembling with the unconverted, with whom we can have no real spiritual fellowship, we are admonished not to forsake "the assembling of OURSELVES together, as the manner of some is" (Heb. 10:25).
It does not say we are to assemble with the world, but with OURSELVES — those who are truly converted. God has not convoked weekly religious meetings on Sunday morning; neither are we to assemble on Saturday with a carnally minded sect which sees the argument about the Sabbath but which follows the visions of a woman "prophetess" and rejects the gospel of the kingdom of God. God is not in these churches. They merely assemble themselves together, by their own authority and not by the command of God's ministers.
Our Heavenly Father knows that most of His people are scattered, as salt of the earth. Many do not have places to assemble each week. When there is no trained minister with whom you brethren can assemble, then God does not expect you to assemble on the weekly Sabbath.
But there are special times in which God does want you to meet with other brethren, and those are at the annual festivals when hundreds gather to hear the TRUTH and enjoy their only fellowship with other converts.
But beside the annual festivals, you can hear the truth each day of the week through the power of radio, as Mr. Armstrong comes into your home to speak directly to you. Then throughout each month of the year you are receiving two magazines to assist you in your studies and Bible reading. What a marvellous opportunity to acquire an understanding of God's way.
No, there just wouldn't be time to assemble with the unconverted, if you really spent your time in listening to the truth on the "World Tomorrow," and in studying your Bible with the help of the magazines and the booklets, and in teaching your children regularly.
Of course, it would not be wrong if there is special reason to attend, occasionally, a worldly religious gathering as an outsider. To learn what others believe is sometimes necessary, but to listen to them as though they were God's representatives, to fellowship with the unconverted, or to worship God through their rituals is sin. You should never make a practice of going to religious services of this world.
"Come out from among them and be SEPARATE." You can't reform the churches, or convert those who are blinded to the truth; it can't be done.
Let us, instead, use our every opportunity to let the world see that we belong to His church, and that we are separate from the lawlessness of this world, and from its churches who defame the holy law of God, which brings us inward peace and happiness. Let us show the world that we know how to find the time and that we have the understanding to train our children properly at home. This is God's way!
Bad Example for Children In connection with this is the practice of a number of newly converted brethren who have allowed their children to attend Sunday school. This is not the right kind of example for our children. How will they understand what is right when the parents explain the truth at home and then deny the faith by sending their children to Sunday school to hear exactly the opposite.
It is the duty of you parents to teach your children at home. A good example of this I can cite from our recent baptizing tour. We met a wonderful lady who had solved the problem of child instruction very well. She studied with her children each day of the week. Then, since there was no local church which God had established, she spent an extra portion of the sabbath, not only in study, but also in reading the Bible to them. This impressed upon the minds of her children that the Sabbath was a special day, to be devoted to rest, prayer, worship, study and reading.
Many of you older brethren, and most of the newer converts, can profitably follow this shining example — and this lady and her children are shining examples in their community, respected by all for their good works. If any of you have difficulty in finding the time or acquiring the ability to teach your children, then you ought to kneel before God and ask him for wisdom, and begin to study bow to attain this ability. It may take time and effort, but God expects it of you — whether fathers or mothers — if He has committed children to your care. This is your most important parental duty!
Special Helps for Children (Editor's Note) The Church is now actively at work planning special helps for you to use in teaching your children in your own home. One of our girl students has been making special preparation to speak on the radio program once a week, bringing approximately a seven-minute Bible-instruction talk just for children.
These talks are being written by one of our ordained ministers, with Mr. Armstrong's help and collaboration. They will be presented in a manner which radio experience has shown most effective in getting messages over to children, and in arousing and holding their interest, but they will be carefully prepared by Gods called ministers, and the speaking done by a specially-trained, fully converted and consecrated young woman who has a very special love for and interest in your children in her heart. These talks will appear on a definite night or day of each week, so that at the regular time you can assemble your children before your radio each week. The time will be announced later.
Beside this, one of the elders of one of the churches, a nationally known artist whose work has appeared twice in several-page sections in "Life" magazine, is now devoting full time to preparing the first "Bible Story" book for children. The first book, to be published very soon, will illustrate in vivid picture form the story of Noah and the Ark, and the great Flood.
This first book is designed for smaller children, under nine. But it is planned to publish, later, continuous books showing powerfully in cartoon-strip style — (like the newspaper comic-strips, only these are not worldly "comics," but dynamic and fast-moving action pictures of the Message of the entire BIBLE) — the TRUTH of Gad's Word, and of the TRUE GOSPEL of Jesus Christ, made practical by tying it constantly to TODAY'S life, average family problems, and world conditions. There has never been anything like it.
We are planning to give you continuous and increasing HELP in teaching your own children AT HOME, which is the Bible way for instructing children.