The Living Church of God has preached and taught a false gospel for years. A recent article by its leader makes this more painfully obvious than ever—to those who still care!
Here is undeniable proof!
The apostle Paul wrote, “I am set for the defense of the gospel” (Phil. 1:17). With a special curse attached for altering it, he knew that this doctrine—truly the centerpiece of God’s Word—must be defended at all costs. God’s servants today must do the same. Therefore, your leaders will not want you to read this document. Nor will they want you to read my book The Work of God – Its Final Chapter!, particularly chapters four and five.
Read everything that follows, skipping nothing! It took a tremendous amount of time to produce this document—but it will have been worth it if even a few are delivered from LCG’s false gospel.
Understand. God’s enemies have blown a trumpet. They are now more actively attacking Christ’s gospel, and are, in fact, stoutly defending their false gospel. The stakes are too high to ignore this. And if these enemies feel compelled to publicly defend error, how can I do less with the truth? The lives—the crowns—of God’s people hang in the balance!
Like Paul, I am also set to defend the gospel—the true gospel!—the one the Bible teaches!—the only one Mr. Herbert Armstrong taught!—THE KINGDOM OF GOD! This subject involves crucially important truth! In fact, belief of Christ’s one gospel—“that precise identical Gospel,” as Mr. Armstrong put it in his gospel booklet—is tied directly to receiving salvation! This alone ought to get your attention.
The seriousness of the subject does not permit this document to spare. What follows does not. Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The world has sunk into a complacent, indifferent slumber…Soft words and pretty speeches do not arouse people out of this pleasant dream. It takes a jolt!” (Personal, PT, Sept. 1965).
Make no mistake—I am trying to JOLT you! Be careful not to sneer at what could save your eternal life! Living Church of God members: With YOUR salvation at stake, YOUR leaders are deceiving thousands about the gospel! Are you included? If so, will you permit this to continue?
I have recently been called a “hate-filled false minister” by Rod Meredith in the specific context of being unwilling to share his false belief about the gospel and to directly disagree with Mr. Armstrong.
LCG’s most recent article about its gospel, published in the July-August 2011 Living Church News, contains the most blatant errors yet. Titled “Two Vital Aspects of the Gospel,” it plainly asserts that the gospel is comprised of two elements—(1) Christ’s sacrifice and (2) the kingdom of God. Since it becomes another defining statement on LCG’s position, we will quote it extensively to begin.
The article begins by asking (all emphasis is original, including bold):
“Are we in the Living Church of God preaching the true Gospel? Most of us understand that Gospel, and understand that we are truly preaching it. But a number of our newer members, and even some of our older brethren, sometimes become very mixed up about this absolutely vital topic! It seems difficult for some to understand that there are two major aspects of the true Gospel.”
From the outset, this leader disparages both new and older (senior) members who find LCG’s doctrine “difficult to understand.” He calls into question the intelligence and spiritual maturity of anyone troubled by new teachings, contrary to those held by God’s Church for decades before the apostasy struck. This tactic is designed to discredit any who would try to hold fast what they were once taught regarding the gospel (Titus 1:9).
Incredibly—and this takes gall—he then openly acknowledges Paul’s double curse in Galatians 1. For anyone reading his article carefully, this becomes self-incriminating:
“Christ later inspired the Apostle Paul to pronounce a double curse on anyone who would dare preach a different Gospel. He told the Galatian Christians, ‘But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed’ (Galatians 1:8-9).”
But here are his conclusions:
“So, our very salvation depends upon our willingness to believe in and respond to the true Gospel. Again, we need to realize that and be willing to prove to ourselves that the Gospel is the message Jesus preached about the coming Kingdom of God. And it is also the good news that the King of that Kingdom has died for our sins so that you and I can be part of that coming Kingdom! Without the King, there would be no Kingdom, nor could you or I take part in it! The true Gospel is comprised of both of these vital aspects. Either one without the other is in-complete.”
The article continues with a bizarre reference to the Genesis Creation account in an attempt to explain the two supposed elements of the gospel:
“It is just as silly to say that the true ‘Good News’ is only about one part or the other as to say that ‘mankind’ consists only of men—leaving out the female of the species. When we read that ‘God created man in His own image’ (Genesis 1:27), we need to read and acknowledge the rest of the verse which states that ‘male and female He created them.’ Either one without the other is in-complete. And either part of the Gospel without the other is not the complete Gospel!”
(This is one of the silliest lines of reasoning that has arisen in the decades since the apostasy!)
Next comes an updated statement of LCG’s official position. All LCG members should take a long, hard look at these words and, in light of the curse pronounced through Paul, ask whether they are ready to accept this gospel—one that is 50% classic Protestantism, the kind many had to unlearn and reject when they were called:
“We need to understand that there are two fundamental parts of the true Gospel:
“First, the good news is that the Christ of the Bible really is coming back to set up the Kingdom of God on earth and to bring genuine peace and joy to all humanity (Revelation 11:15; Psalm 72).
“Second, this includes the good news that Jesus Christ of Nazareth came into this world to die for our sins and to make it possible for us to be forgiven for those sins. And also it involves the wonderful promise of receiving the Holy Spirit—thus making it possible for us to grow in grace and in knowledge and to be those ‘overcomers’ to assist Jesus Christ in ruling this entire world when the Kingdom of God is set up on this earth.”
We will soon see from the pages of the Bible and in Mr. Armstrong’s writings that the above quote is patently false! But first, more from the article:
“What part of the Gospel did the Apostles primarily preach as the inspired New Testament Church of God began? Scripture makes this plain.”
The author goes on to teach, through deceitful handling of Scripture (II Cor. 4:1-2), that the first-century apostles’ preaching about Jesus Christ—a special necessity at that time due to the Jewish peoples’ misunderstanding of the Messiah—was also part of the gospel. He claims that the section of Peter’s first sermon recorded in Acts 2:36-40 proves this:
“This powerful message of Christ’s sacrifice and the ‘gift’ of the Holy Spirit was wonderful good news!...So, the very ‘cornerstone’ of our salvation is belief in the ‘name’ of Jesus Christ! All of this is an absolutely vital part of the ‘Good News’ of the New Testament message. The Apostles were brutally beaten for their preaching. And what was the main emphasis of their inspiring preaching? ‘And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ’ (Acts 5:42).”
Later in this article we will see the plain truth of what the apostles were preaching, and the vital importance of the context of a verse or passage. But ask: Does this passage anywhere label “teaching and preaching Jesus” as part of the gospel? Absolutely not!
These statements follow:
“So, the true Gospel is about the work and sacrifice of Jesus Christ to reconcile us to God through His death, and Christ’s message of the coming Kingdom of God on earth. Probably because the Kingdom was not to come for another two millennia, the original Apostles’ main emphasis was frequently on the tremendous recent event that had just taken place: the death and the startling resurrection of Jesus Christ!”
“Indeed, were it not for Christ’s death and resurrection, the coming Kingdom of God would have no meaning for us as Christians today. We cannot separate the two and have one aspect of the Gospel without the other. Neither could the Apostles.”
Notice the repeat use of the phrase “one aspect of the Gospel.” Never mind that the concept of a gospel with multiple “aspects” or “parts” or “components” is found nowhere in the Bible! See through this!
The author concludes by explaining that LCG focuses primarily on the kingdom of God instead of Christ’s sacrifice only because God’s kingdom is imminent. But the serious reader will see this final quote for what it is—an attempt to backpedal from everything the article just explained, and in effect soothe those who would be—rightly!—troubled:
“Dear brethren, I am sure that nearly all of you deeply understand from our telecasts, our dozens of magazine articles, our booklets, our messages on the Internet and our sermons, that we nearly always emphasize that part of the Gospel that has to do with Christ’s Second Coming and the coming Kingdom of God to be set up on this earth! I would have to recite hundreds of instances of this to even begin to start to commence to give you the whole picture. But that is a fact. It should be obvious to anyone. We take this approach because most people in the world who call themselves ‘Christian’ already understand at least part of the message about Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. But we do not deny or negate the full Gospel message by emphasizing the part that is ‘new’ to most of our viewers and listeners and readers. Of course, since God’s intervention in human affairs is now speeding up in a powerful way, now is especially the time to emphasize Christ’s Second Coming, and the wonderful Government of God soon to be set up to bring peace on this earth.”
“Still, for those who sometimes may become confused about the two vital aspects of the Gospel, I wanted to make it clear that just as God has made ‘mankind’ both male and female, so the Gospel has two parts, or two aspects. One involves Christ’s sacrifice that brings about our reconciliation to God, so we can receive the Holy Spirit and then be able to participate in the second aspect of the Gospel—the coming Kingdom of God in which we hope to be those ‘kings and priests’ whom Christ is now preparing to assist Him in ruling in Tomorrow’s World (Revelation 5:9-10).”
“Let us deeply appreciate the magnificent good news of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. And let us equally appreciate God’s love in sending His Son back to this earth as King of kings!”
For those willing to investigate, there is no mystery about where LCG’s gospel comes from—its source.
For unmistakable proof, keep reading!
LCG’s position has in fact been a matter of public record since 2002, with the publishing of its “Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.” The following appears in that document under the subhead “THE GOSPEL”:
“The Gospel of Christ is the ‘Good News’ of the forgiveness of our sins through Christ’s sacrifice, and of the soon-coming Kingdom and government of God.”
Not just false, this statement actually presents Christ as the first element of the gospel. But you will learn later that there are two additional errors in LCG’s “gospel,” not reflected in this statement. Both are serious and both are connected to the first error.
I have noted LCG’s longstanding “gospel” error (and others) for years in books, sermons, and a list titled “How LCG’s Teachings Differ From Those of Mr. Armstrong and The Restored Church of God.” Rather than realizing the danger of teaching a false gospel—and the need to repent—the leaders of this organization have chosen to justify their teaching. LCG’s December 14, 2006 “Weekly Update” features a section titled “Confused Critics Limit the Gospel.” It names individuals, including me and other ministers of The Restored Church of God. In this letter, they attempt to rationalize their deceit, going so far as to carefully “cherry pick” a SINGLE statement from Mr. Armstrong—one that can be carefully ellipsed and disconnected from its context.
I have stated I will not answer accusers—except on matters of doctrine. Obviously, this is such a matter! I have been accused of teaching something different from Mr. Armstrong. I cannot stand mute, permitting this falsehood to go unanswered.
Four Keys to Deception
When leaders deceive, they have to employ a methodology—a logic—to the process. False teachers today must do four things:
(1) Ignore (or twist) the clear weight of scripture. LCG leaders have done this.
(2) Ignore the mountain of crystal clear, plain, conclusive statements from Mr. Armstrong emphatically stating the gospel is only about the kingdom of God. They have also done this.
(3) Isolate one less clear quote (or a few) to make their point. And they have done this.
(4) Carefully ellipse that statement because even it demonstrates, if shown in its entirety, that the gospel has nothing to do with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. And they have also done this.
It will later be made clear why these men only offered one quote to refute me: This is the only one they could find that could be altered to suit their purpose, which is to bring a different gospel than Mr. Armstrong (and thus Christ), lie to God’s people about it and seize His tithes!
Mr. Armstrong taught that one of the 12 rules of Bible study is to always begin with the most basic, plain scriptures, and only then go on to verses which are less clear. Let’s apply that principle, only this time to Mr. Armstrong’s writing on the subject of the true gospel.
What Mr. Armstrong Taught—Over and Over Again!
Here is what Mr. Armstrong taught, in his words—in one plain statement after another. Get them crystal clear in your mind before we examine the carefully contrived deceit from LCG Headquarters—and its top leader. Pay close attention to what is said—and to what is not. All emphasis Mr. Armstrong’s:
“Now what Gospel did Jesus preach? He proclaimed the Gospel of THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Mark 1:1, 14-15). Paul preached only the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to gentiles (Acts 28:30-31).”
Co-Worker Letter, January 22, 1982
“It’s about time that someone speaks out, in this world, and tells the world that the very Gospel of Jesus Christ was the advance announcement of this very world government— a government, not by selfishly motivated man but by the living all-powerful God.
“Jesus Christ’s message—His Gospel—was the Kingdom of God—the Government of the living God!”
What is the TRUE GOSPEL?, p. 12
“I realize that when ministers and evangelists of this world and its organized denominations claiming to have the ‘CHRISTIAN religion’ preach ABOUT CHRIST, urge people to accept Christ, to believe on Christ, to ‘make their decision for Christ,’ etc., that they are ‘preaching the Gospel.’ BUT THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL! Christ is NOT the Gospel—He was the Messenger who BROUGHT the Gospel! The GOSPEL was the MESSAGE He brought from God, as the MOST IMPORTANT AND SENSATIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT ever made to mankind.”
Co-Worker Letter, July 30, 1973
“And THAT MESSAGE IS THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD! It is CHRIST’S Gospel, that has NOT been proclaimed before in those nations.”
Co-Worker Letter, October 25, 1973
“The Trinity doctrine limits God to a supposed three Persons. It destroys the very gospel of Jesus Christ! His gospel is the good news of the now soon-coming kingdom of God—the only hope of this world and its mixed-up mankind!”
“The Trinity doctrine completely does away with the gospel of Jesus Christ. His gospel is the message he brought mankind from God the Father, the good news of the coming kingdom of God! That is the one thing above all Satan wants to defeat.”
MYSTERY OF THE AGES, pp. 51, 56
“This Work is the direct and one and only fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:14 for this very time: ‘This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the END [of this world] come.’ The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the ONLY true Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the first 20 years of the founding of the true Church in A.D. 31, a fierce controversy arose as to whether the gospel to be preached was the Gospel OF Christ or a gospel ABOUT Christ. A false church rose up, teaching a gospel of false prophets, ABOUT Christ. See II Corinthians 11:3 and verses 13-15. Also both Jude and John, writing in the 90s A.D., warned of false prophets already changing the truth of the Gospel, and warning brethren to turn back to the true faith once delivered to the saints. Also, Paul wrote the churches in Galatia, about A.D. 53, that they already had turned to ANOTHER gospel.”
“From that time on, a false gospel ABOUT Christ was preached in the name of traditional Christianity, by which (Rev. 12:9) Satan deceived the whole world.”
Co-Worker Letter, April 18, 1984
“But what is the gospel of the kingdom? It is the gospel OF JESUS CHRIST. In Mark 1:1, ‘the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ’ and in verses 14-15, it is ‘the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD.’”
“Traditional ‘Christianity’ has been deceived and has deceived the world with a false gospel ABOUT Christ, instead of the gospel OF Christ, which Jesus preached. He was a messenger sent from God with a message, and that message is the GOSPEL. The word gospel means ‘GOOD NEWS.’ It was an ANNOUNCEMENT about the coming kingdom of God—that we can be born into that kingdom, and that kingdom IS the divine FAMILY of God.”
Co-Worker Letter, August 23, 1984
“Even in the professing Christian religion of the Western world, we find different sects and denominations preaching a variety of different Gospels! Some designate their gospel as ‘The Gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Others call their gospel ‘The Gospel of Salvation.’ Still others profess ‘The Gospel of Grace,’ some ‘The Gospel of the Kingdom.’ And many now blossom out with a modern ‘Social Gospel,’ while others call their gospel ‘The Israel Message.’
“Why have they lost the only true Gospel which God sent by Jesus Christ? Why?”
“Jesus Christ said it is necessary to believe the Gospel to be saved! Yet the many—the hundreds of millions—today, do not know what that Gospel is! Again, His parting commission to His apostles, being sent out as His ministers to build His Church, was this: ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel.’ They were to preach the Gospel.
“Jesus then said: ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned’ (Mark 16:16). Notice! Jesus said, He that believeth. Believeth what? Why, believeth that which they preached, of course—the Gospel! Not a gospel. Not any gospel. The Gospel! On the authority of Jesus Christ, it is necessary to believe that precise identical Gospel in order to be saved! And to believe the true Gospel, we must first come to know what it is!” [Author’s note: Bolding mine. The next subheads are not.]
“Which Gospel Did Jesus Preach?
“And then we come to [Mark 1] verses 14 and 15: ‘Now after that John was put in prison’—there is the exact time for the beginning of the preaching of the true Gospel— ‘Jesus’—there is the divine Messenger by whom God sent it—‘came into Galilee’—the precise geographical location. So we now have the time, the Israelites residing there to whom God sent the Message, the place, and the Messenger— so whatever we find Jesus preaching here is the one and only true Gospel.
“And what do we read? ‘Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’
“Notice, Jesus said, ‘Believe THE GOSPEL!’
“What Gospel? The one He was proclaiming—‘the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.’
“But, one may ask, don’t we need to believe on Jesus? Of course. Other scriptures teach that. But at this particular time Jesus said we must believe Him—believe what He said—believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God! [Author’s note: Get this! Of “belief on Jesus,” Mr. Armstrong explains, “OTHER SCRIPTURES (not the gospel) TEACH THAT.”]
“Some believed on Jesus, but did not believe Jesus—did not believe what He said (John 7:31; 8:30, 31, 46).
“What About the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
“But if the one and only true Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, what about the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Is that a false gospel?
“Not at all. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel He brought as God’s Messenger—the Gospel He proclaimed is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not man’s gospel about the person of Christ. It is Christ’s Gospel—the Gospel Jesus preached— the Gospel God sent by Him, and therefore it is also called, in Scripture, the Gospel of God. The Gospel of God is God’s Gospel— His Message—His Good News which He sent by Jesus.
“Also the Gospel of Jesus Christ is Christ’s Gospel—the Gospel Christ brought from God—the Gospel He proclaimed.
“We hear a great deal today of the gospel of men about the person of Jesus Christ—confining the message solely to the things about Jesus. As a result, millions believe on Christ, who do not believe Christ! But Jesus’ Gospel is His message!”
“And so now, what is that Gospel?
“The English word Gospel comes from the word ‘God-spell,’ and means good news. Daily, we read the news of world happenings—mostly bad news! We live in a troubled, chaotic world. And the very best news you can hear in this day, or any other, is the good news of the Kingdom of God.” [Author’s note: Not the “good news of the forgiveness of our sins through Christ’s sacrifice,” as LCG declares.]
What is the TRUE GOSPEL?, pp. 3-8
“Yes, Jesus proclaimed and taught the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. But did He command His ministers, in building His Church, to preach this same Gospel? Quickly let us notice the Scriptures.
“Luke 9:1-2: ‘Then he called his twelve disciples together…and he sent them to preach the kingdom of God.’
“Luke 10:1, 2, 9: ‘After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them…heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.’
“In Jesus’ prayer, so commonly called ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ He prayed, ‘Thy Kingdom come’— then it wasn’t here yet, and it isn’t here yet, today—but He taught us to pray for it to come, for His Kingdom and that alone shall bring peace and happiness to this sin-sick, war-weary earth! ‘Thy Kingdom come—thy will, be done on earth, as it is in heaven.’ The Father’s will.
“What Gospel did the early evangelists preach, in first sending out the faith once delivered? How did the early Church carry out the commission?
“Notice Philip preaching at Samaria! Acts 8:12: ‘But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.’ Philip preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God. [Author’s note: When pointing out the gospel, notice Mr. Armstrong carefully chose certain words for highlighting or emphasis in small caps, and that he did not include “the name of Jesus Christ.” Also notice the next several paragraphs do the same. The message here cannot be misunderstood. Yet Rod Meredith emphasizes “the name of Jesus Christ” in his July-August 2011 article as included in LCG’s gospel.]
“Paul? Acts 20:25, 21: ‘I have gone preaching the kingdom of God … testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.’ [Author’s note: The ellipse is Mr. Armstrong’s.]
“And notice the Gospel Paul preached to Gentiles, after he had turned completely away from the Jews.
“Acts 28:30-31: ‘And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ.’
“And, what gospel did Jesus say should be preached today?
“Matthew 24:14, speaking of the present: ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness’ —for a witness—‘ unto all nations; and then shall the end come’!—the end of this age.” [Author’s note: Notice that LCG uses this same passage in its mission statement, but modifies it by adding “witnessing Jesus in all nations.” Note the next quote.]
Ibid., pp. 10-11
“At last the weapons of mass destruction have been invented and produced that can erase all life from this planet earth. In these last days of mankind’s last gasping of breath, Jesus foretold how it would all end. After Jesus’ gospel had been suppressed, replaced with a false gospel of men about a different Jesus, he said, ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end [of this world] come.’”
MYSTERY OF THE AGES, p. 157
“On this point the entire world of traditional Christianity has been deceived. Here is a most important truth: Satan sitting on earth’s throne tried to kill the Christ child. He then tried to tempt and disqualify Jesus just before the Christ started his earthly ministry (Matt. 4). Satan caused the martyrdom of most of the apostles. He caused intensive persecution against the Church. He caused a violent controversy to flare up in the early months and years of the Church disputing whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel OF Christ, or man’s gospel about Christ. [Author’s note: History is repeating itself today—including intensive persecution. How well I know.] Satan caused the latter to win out, and in less than 20 years a false and counterfeit gospel about Christ was being proclaimed by all but the persecuted few who loyally remained as the small and persecuted true original Church of God.”
“Now another vital prophecy. In Isaiah 9:6-7: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.’ Notice the government would be on his shoulder. Jesus is going to be King over all the earth. And one of the purposes of his coming was to announce that kingdom. Jesus’ gospel was not only good news—it was an announcement or good news proclamation of the coming kingdom of God. What a tragedy that a ‘traditional Christianity’ has forsaken and lost that vital and glorious gospel message and substituted their own gospel about the person of Christ.”
Ibid., p. 211
“Today’s customary gospel about Christ believes that simply ‘believing on Christ,’ which is professing Christ as personal Savior, means that one is already saved. Yet Mark 7:7-9 shows that many even go so far as to worship Christ, and all in vain because they do not obey God’s commandments—especially the Sabbath—but follow the traditions of men by which Satan has deceived the whole world.”
Ibid., p. 277
“It seems that today all churches have lost the gospel of Jesus Christ. They preach primarily their gospel ABOUT Jesus Christ.” [Author’s note: Now read the rest of the quote that follows until you can never forget it.]
“What is the one and only gospel of Jesus Christ? The world does not know! It has not been preached for 19 centuries, strange as that may seem. Look into your Bible. Look at it from the very beginning!
“‘The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ’ you’ll read in Mark 1:1. ‘Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel’ (Mark 1:14-15).
“It is necessary to believe that gospel to be saved! And how can you believe it, unless you know what it is? And for 1,900 years, the world did not know. That gospel was suppressed and replaced by man’s gospel about Christ.
“Jesus went everywhere preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. He taught in parables about the kingdom of God. He sent out seventy men preaching, and commanded them to preach the kingdom of God (Luke 10:9). He sent the apostles, on whom the Church of God was founded, to preach only the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1-2). After the resurrection, before ascending to heaven, Jesus taught his disciples about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
“Isn’t it amazing that the world has lost the knowledge of what it is? [Author’s note: We could ask today: Isn’t it amazing that so many of God’s people in the splinters have lost this same knowledge?]
“The apostle Paul preached the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31). And God Almighty, through Paul, pronounced a double curse on man or angel that would dare preach any other gospel! (Gal. 1:8-9.)
“Why, then, do so many dare to preach so many other gospels? The good news of the kingdom of God is something you must understand, and believe, in order to be saved! Jesus Christ said so! You had better be finding out what it is! [Author’s note: Yes, today, “Why…do so many dare preach any other gospel?”]
“That gospel—the kingdom of God—is the subject of this chapter. It follows the chapter on the mystery of the Church, because the kingdom of God follows the Church. The purpose of the Church, remember, is to prepare ‘called-out-ones’ to teach and to rule in the kingdom of God.”
“Let me explain a very important fact here. Soon after Christ’s ascension to heaven and the founding of the church in A.D. 31, a violent controversy arose, according to church history, as to whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel of Christ, or a gospel about Christ. The latter won out. False prophets did arise in the first century, saying Jesus was the Christ, but omitting altogether Jesus’ gospel which was the message of the coming world ruling kingdom of God to rule all nations after Christ’s Second Coming.
“Mark this well. That gospel was not proclaimed to the world for 1,900 years. In the very first century, they turned to a different gospel—a gospel about Christ, but not the gospel of Christ. Read that again. To this very day, nearly all churches and evangelists preach their own gospel about Christ, but not the gospel of Christ about the coming kingdom of God to rule the world.
“For 1,900 years traditional Christianity has failed to preach about Jesus as coming king and world ruler in the coming kingdom of God to replace Satan on the throne of the whole earth. A false gospel has been universally proclaimed.
“Now with all this in mind, return to Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24. He was warning his own disciples about false prophets coming in his name saying he, Jesus was the Christ, and deceiving the many—not the few, but the many. That started in the very first century soon after the church was founded and has continued to this very day. It is true almost universally in a professed Christianity to this minute.”
Are We In the LAST DAYS?, p. 8-11
“The MESSAGE God sent by Christ was the GOSPEL—and that Gospel was the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It was the Message of the Covenant, which Covenant, as I said, shall establish the KINGDOM OF GOD on earth. The KINGDOM OF GOD is the GOVERNMENT of God which shall rule all nations. But also it is the FAMILY OF GOD into which we may be BORN—the DIVINE FAMILY which becomes a SPIRIT-NATION, ruling all nations on earth—a WORLD-RULING GOVERNMENT!
“Jesus was sent to ANNOUNCE that message—not to force men to accept it, believe it, and act on it. NEVER DID JESUS PLEAD WITH A SINGLE ONE TO BE CONVERTED. He merely announced the GOOD NEWS of the Kingdom of God, and He left it to people to decide whether to believe it and whether to act on it. He did not come THEN to CONVERT the world! He did not start a ‘soul-saving’ crusade—the Protestants did! He came to ANNOUNCE the GOSPEL—the GOOD NEWS of His coming KINGDOM!
“But people hated His message. Many BELIEVED on Him—realized and BELIEVED He was the Messiah. But they did not believe His message—His Gospel!”
“When the curtain lifts on that ‘LOST CENTURY’ of Church history, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God was no longer preached to the world. Jesus and His apostles had carried on a dual ministry—proclaiming the Kingdom of God and healing the sick. But after that ‘Lost Century’ neither the Gospel of God’s Kingdom nor healing was going out to the world.” [Author’s note: We will revisit this incredible paragraph later.]
“That happened. They claimed to be the ministers of Jesus Christ. They said Jesus was the Christ. They preached CHRIST (the Messenger) to the world, but NOT His message—His Gospel—the Kingdom of God. And they indeed have deceived the MANY—the MILLIONS and hundreds of millions!” [Author’s note: Take special note of the powerful warning here.]
Co-Worker Letter, February 21, 1974
“Jesus preached a definite Gospel. That and that alone is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a Gospel message about the Kingdom of God—the begotten and finally to be born family of God—a family of divine persons, begotten and finally to be born of God.”
WORLDWIDE NEWS, June 24, 1985
“Today you hear preached many different gospels. Some call what they preach the gospel of salvation—some the gospel of grace. Some the gospel of going to heaven. Some preach a message ABOUT Christ—about His PERSON—but although they may CALL it the gospel of Christ, it is NOT the Gospel Christ TAUGHT and preached. [Author’s note: Reread this last sentence until it crashes in your ears. Then consider. How often does LCG’s leader speak about—almost lapse into—“feeding on Christ,” “adoring Christ,” “worshipping Christ” and similar terms? Mr. Armstrong did not do this. He—and the Bible!—and Christ!—constantly point to the Head of the Family, THE FATHER!]
“Note it! The Gospel Jesus said it is necessary to believe is ‘the Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD’. A kingdom is a GOVERNMENT. So Jesus preached the Gospel—or GOOD NEWS—of the coming GOVERNMENT OF GOD being restored to the earth!
“It is VITAL that you establish, clearly once for all, WHAT Gospel Jesus brought from God—WHAT Gospel God also sent to the Gentiles. For ‘traditional Christianity’ HAS PREACHED A DIFFERENT GOSPEL. And your Bible says THE WHOLE WORLD—ALL NATIONS—have been DECEIVED!
“Have YOU? Better make SURE!”
The PLAIN TRUTH, Personal, April, 1968
Only the KINGDOM OF GOD
It is no accident that the kingdom of God was mentioned 63 times in just 18 short quotes. Mr. Armstrong sometimes seemed to speak of nothing else but the kingdom of God.
After so many plain statements—I had many more, equally clear, from which to choose—no commentary should be necessary. (We will revisit later more from Mr. Armstrong.) I will simply repeat the question about being deceived: “Have YOU? Better make SURE!”
Ask: Why did Mr. Armstrong never take even one occasion to include Christ in the gospel? Did you see a shred of evidence in any statement that he considered Jesus Christ or His sacrifice, death, burial and resurrection to be part of the gospel? The answer is an emphatic NO!
Understand: The Bible has much to say about Jesus Christ—but He is not the kingdom of God, and therefore is not the gospel. God’s Word also includes much about other vital subjects—God’s Law, the Sabbath, dietary laws, financial laws, grace, sin, forgiveness, healing, marriage, childrearing and countless other topics—but none of these are part of the gospel Jesus preached!
When an organization starts to blur the announcement of God’s kingdom with other elements—even if they are true, of and by themselves—it diminishes the power of the true gospel, and begins the slide down a slippery slope toward Protestant doctrine.
Some history: Worldly theologians once roundly criticized Mr. Armstrong for the gospel he preached. They accused him of bringing “another Jesus.” Why? Because they saw he left Jesus out of the gospel. LCG’s leaders know this! In an ironic twist, and connected to this, even carnal theologians recognized a difference between the “Jesus” in their “gospel” and the One who solely announced the KINGDOM OF GOD. How could LCG’s leaders have forgotten what they once defended?
Consider again. By teaching exactly what Mr. Armstrong taught, I have been labeled a “confused critic” by LCG’s leaders. Was Mr. Armstrong a “confused critic”? Was he in error when he “limited” the gospel to its correct Scriptural definition—THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
The LCG “Quote”
Now, with Mr. Armstrong’s quotes as background, let’s read the portion from his article that LCG used in their 2006 attack against those who teach the truth, with the sections they deleted re-inserted in bold. All other emphasis is Mr. Armstrong’s:
“Almost no one has this first key, believe it or not! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel that Jesus preached—a message sent from God by Jesus Christ as messenger. [Author’s note: The LCG excerpt skips the bold, and leads in with this next sentence.] The Gospel of Christ is Christ’s own Gospel—not a story about His Person!
“Today people are led to believe that the Gospel is telling a story about Jesus. Telling people about a Savior, they believe it is ‘the gospel of salvation,’ not understanding the true way of salvation themselves! No wonder there is no power in what is falsely preached as the ‘gospel’ today! [Author’s note: This vital, necessary section established that anything following must be consistent with it. In other words, Mr. Armstrong would not three paragraphs later immediately disagree with himself. LCG’s leaders knew it was imperative to eliminate this crucial, context-defining paragraph. But even the one lead-in sentence they kept sent a message.]
“The gospel of Christ ‘is the power of God to salvation’ (Rom. 1:16). Today most popular denominations do away with all that is vital in Christ’s Gospel, saying He was preaching only to Jews under the Old Covenant! What ignorance! [Author’s note: Exposed on this point by a senior minister who had recently left them, the majority of this paragraph also had to be cut.]
“What is Jesus Christ’s Gospel? What is the message God sent to mankind by Jesus Christ? It is the good news of the Kingdom of God! Kingdom means government! It is the message of divine government—government by God’s laws! It is the prophetic proclamation of the coming world government to rule all nations and bring today’s confused, chaotic, war-weary earth peace and joy! It is the vital, dynamic, powerful, living message of God’s government, first in individual hearts in God’s true Church, now in this world, later all nations internationally in the world tomorrow! [Author’s note: Ask—why was such a powerful, helpful emphasis on God’s government cut?—and the last two similar paragraphs cut…?]
“Of course that message includes the knowledge about the Savior, High Priest and coming King! Of course, it includes the true way of salvation, which the churches have lost! And it includes also knowledge of the location of the territory to be ruled over by the King of the coming Kingdom—the fact it is this earth and not heaven! [Author’s note: I repeat, unless Mr. Armstrong immediately contradicted himself, just three paragraphs apart, it is obvious the term “that message” can only mean the greater overall message the Church takes to the world—part of the “all things” Christ commanded in Matthew 28:19-20. And also obvious to those who examine, is that Mr. Armstrong would not here or anywhere else contradict the hundreds of OTHER statements he had made about the gospel solely being the kingdom of God. The LCG excerpt conveniently ended at this point, but the text does not.]
“But there can be no government without laws, and so the true Gospel also must proclaim the law of God, which alone can bring peace to the world and success, happiness and joy to the individual!
“The true Gospel has to do with the nations of today’s world, world conditions today and Jesus Christ’s reign over all nations in the world tomorrow! It is a full, complete, dynamic and powerful Gospel, which has been kept by the powers of darkness from the world for 1,900 years!
“This knowledge is the first key!”
December 1984, Good News
Nothing in this quote changes anything in the previous ones from Mr. Armstrong. Can you see the deceit? Can you recognize how LCG’s leader blurred the picture?
Are you shuddering at all you have seen? Is there righteous indignation? Do you feel “had”—betrayed—by men you believed to be God’s servants? You should!
These false leaders knew exactly what they were doing! They knew hundreds of quotes disproved their position. They also KNEW the one, lone quote they settled on could not be shown in its entirety, or their purpose would be defeated. No one could FORGET so much.
Will you dismiss this as an innocent error?
An irony appears. Note that the above statement was taken from an article titled “7 Keys to Understanding the Bible.” Mr. Armstrong presented the true gospel as the first key to understanding God’s Word—to keeping straight all of the other doctrines of God. The reader should ponder whether this error is connected to WHY the Living Church of God gets so many OTHER doctrines wrong.
In fact, other false doctrines flow directly from a blurred gospel. One of the hidden elements of the curse God places on those who pervert the gospel is that they automatically slip into additional false ideas!
LCG and “Witnessing” Jesus
In LCG’s mission statement (on its website under “Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs”) is found this:
“The Living Church of God, with its denominational world headquarters in the United States of America…fulfills a threefold mission: 1. To preach the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14; Matthew 24:14; Ezekiel 3 and 33), and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12) to all nations as a witness. 2. To feed the flock and to organize local Church congregations to provide for the spiritual and material needs of our members as God makes it possible (1 Peter 5:1-4; John 21:15-18). 3. To preach the end-time prophecies and to warn the English-speaking nations and all the world of the coming Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).”
Before explaining the enormous ADDITIONAL “gospel” error bolded above, note that LCG should have correctly placed the “Ezekiel 3 and 33” reference into their #3 mission description. (Having also ignored Mr. Armstrong’s instruction to wisely avoid public summaries, or “mission statements”—a big policy error—LCG is paying the price.)
Further, the Nov.-Dec. 2006 Living Church News adds (emphasis theirs—bold is ours):
“After His resurrection, Jesus added a further dimension to the gospel message. He told the disciples that they were to be witnesses to the world that His suffering, death and resurrection were necessary for the forgiveness of sin (Luke 24:44-49). Yet even after His resurrection, Jesus continued to focus on the Kingdom of God, as did His disciples (Acts 1:3, 6). The apostolic Church understood and taught both about the coming Kingdom of God and the things concerning Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12; 28:23, 31). Sadly, the ‘mainstream Christian’ world has lost sight of the gospel of the kingdom, and has mistakenly focused only on the life and person of Jesus Christ. Many churches have missed half of the gospel message because they have followed misguided leaders who have lost the proper focus.”
Does this unscriptural, half-and-half, witnessing “gospel” sound remotely like what Mr. Armstrong taught? In fact, it reduces HIM to a “misguided leader” who “lost the proper focus.” The first sentence—the premise—is false. Without it, the rest of the paragraph would be true—until the last sentence. This conclusion—written with the typical cunning wording we saw so often with the apostates—is utterly false. In other words, written to appear to disagree with, and distance itself from, the Protestants, it endorses them. Reread it until this is clear.
But, and worse, LCG’s newest booklet Prophecy Fulfilled: God’s Hand in World Affairs goes further. Pulling back even more from the truth than does their definition of the gospel in their statement of beliefs, Roderick Meredith states this, under the subhead “Christ’s Message a Coming Reality”:
“The powerful Good News that God sent to mankind by Jesus Christ is not only His wonderful offer of total forgiveness from our past sins and mistakes, but also the message of a world government soon to be set up and ruling all the earth.”
This kind of outrageous spiritual pollution reduces the kingdom of God to merely a “but also” within the gospel, something even lower than the second position it is constantly given in their description. In fact, the truth already overshadowed by a forgiveness emphasis, notice that the term kingdom of God does not even appear in the definition. At least “world government” was bolded.
Mr. Armstrong and “Eye-witnessing” Jesus
We will momentarily examine what Protestants say in their own words about witnessing Jesus. First, read what Mr. Armstrong wrote about this. It comes from Chapter Four of THE WORK OF GOD. Bolding is mine:
“In other words, not one of them knows what spiritual salvation really is, what the KINGDOM OF GOD (Christ’s whole Gospel) really is, WHY God put humanity here on earth: WHAT is our real ultimate human POTENTIAL, or HOW we shall reach it. They know not God’s PURPOSE, nor His MASTER PLAN for working it out. They do not know why we are here, where we are going, or THE WAY. Those are the BIG, MAIN branches of the tree of knowledge. They are the MISSING DIMENSION in knowledge.” [Author’s note: Mr. Armstrong plainly called the kingdom of God “Christ’s whole Gospel.” This permits no ambiguity, and no adding of other elements.]
“Of course I always did, from the very beginning of this WORK OF GOD, proclaim the good news of the COMING KINGDOM OF GOD.
“The original apostles proclaimed the KINGDOM OF GOD, but they also put very special emphasis on something that specially applied only to their time, right then. They were personal EYE WITNESSES to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In THEIR day, the chief opposition and persecution came from those Jewish leaders who rejected Christ as the promised Messiah. [Author’s note: In other words, if the apostles did not first establish that Christ was the Messiah, no one would even consider the message He brought. The Bible—God’s permanent recorded Word—now witnesses what the apostles had to personally report. Mr. Armstrong will momentarily make this absolutely clear, with the last paragraph of this quote adding more.]
“DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND. The Jews as a whole did not reject Christ. Indeed, virtually all His followers—the 120 that were WITH HIM and the apostles (Acts 1:15) from which the church started—all were Jews (or proselytes). The church BEGAN as almost 100% JEWISH. The Apostle Paul always went first to the Jews, and most of his churches started out as Jewish. The persecution was not so much from the rank and file of Jewish people, as from their Jewish RULERS, who held political jobs under the Roman government—the Pharisees—and also the scribes and Sadducees.
“Nevertheless, the EARLIEST opposition and persecution the apostles faced at the BEGINNING of the church was from these officials who REJECTED Christ as the promised Messiah. The apostles were EYE WITNESSES to His life, death and RESURRECTION. They spent 40 days with Him AFTER His resurrection.”
Co-Worker Letter, November 19, 1976
“Originally there were 12 apostles. The principal work of the 12 apostles, if you will read carefully in the book of Acts and if you will analyze their sermons, included not only the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, but they put emphasis on the big question at that time in Judea—Jesus’ messiahship.
“The Jews had been influenced by the Pharisees and Sadducees to not believe in the existence of Jesus as the Messiah. Now the Pharisees knew, as Nicodemus said in the third chapter of John, that Jesus was the Messiah. But they feared Him because they had government positions over their own people.”
“Now the common run of the people were not told that Jesus was the Messiah. And the 12 apostles—God needed 12 because they were eyewitnesses of the resurrection—put main emphasis during the first years of their ministry on the fact that they were eyewitnesses of the resurrection, proving that Jesus was the Messiah.”
“So, though the Church is a spiritual organism, it is organized not on a carnal human pattern, but on God’s spiritual pattern. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the message that Christ proclaimed. That message was the Good News or the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. That is the message He preached, the restoration of the Government of God by the coming Kingdom of God.
“The apostolic Church from A.D. 31 proclaimed it. They proclaimed that message but with special emphasis, as I said, on the resurrection of Jesus Christ of which they were eye-witnesses. It required 12, as in a 12-man jury, to make it absolutely certain and to convince the people in Judea.” [Author’s note: Notice the words “in Judea.”]
WN, Congress Of Leading Ministers, March 6, 1981
Can you see the truth behind witnessing, or more correctly, EYEwitnessing, as Mr. Armstrong explained it, versus how LCG’s leaders and their Protestant associates employ it?
Rejecting and Retaining the Wrong Things!
Mr. Armstrong’s last statements introduce a curious confusion that grips almost the entire world of Christendom. It has to do with apostles and their commission to witness events surrounding Christ’s last days. It touches on the Living Church of God.
Let’s understand. Virtually no theologian or minister of the world’s churches will accept that there could be apostles after the first century. This is because they define this office solely as men who were personal eyewitnesses of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Ironically, on the other hand, they do believe there does remain a responsibility beyond the apostolic age to “witness” or “profess” Jesus Christ, or more accurately as this is done today, to witness or profess the name of Jesus Christ everywhere. Obviously, they recognize that no one can speak as an eyewitness to what only the apostles saw. But they read instruction that should be seen as solely to the original apostles, such as Acts 1:8-9, 22, 2:32, 4:33 and others, and use these as authority for their own re-invented “witnessing Christ” agenda.
So, they have it backwards on both counts. The world’s churches threw out what they should have kept, and kept, but with a twist, what they should have thrown out!
Let’s make this more plain: There can still be apostles after the first century (God’s people certainly recognized Mr. Armstrong was one), because the office of “one sent” involves infinitely more than being an eyewitness to events surrounding Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. However, while there is no further need to establish Christ’s messiahship through eyewitness accounts (the Bible now does this), there has never been an instruction or command to profess—or witness for—Jesus Christ! (Instead, Christians are to CONFESS Him when put to the test.) The Protestant practice of witnessing Jesus became a necessary invention that was the automatic next step for those who placed His role into the gospel. If Jesus were the gospel, they had to “preach” their “gospel”—i.e. “witness” Him. (In fact, the apostates now cannot seem to do this often enough.)
Can you see what is happening? Do you see how the spirit of this world’s god is taking the Living Church of God, and other splinters, straight toward the thinking of his churches? Can you see why—how—they are falling further into error—and why it will continue?
LCG and the Protestants
Now let’s compare Mr. Armstrong’s explanation of the true gospel and the correct view of the apostles “eye-witnessing” Jesus Christ to the “witnessing” that LCG and the Protestants practice. Notice how these denominations connect witnessing “Jesus” to their gospel.
Will you be sobered at the spirit these quotes reveal to be mirrored in your church?:
United Methodist Church:
“As United Methodists, we have an obligation to bear a faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of the Church’s life and witness…striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time.”
“What does it mean to create a culture of witness in our churches, society, and world?…The answer is contained in one Name: Jesus the Christ!”
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
“All ELCA mission personnel are called to witness to the good news of Jesus Christ through their work.”
Presbyterian Church (USA):
“Who are we Presbyterians? As far back as 1837 the General Assembly declared that the church, by its very nature, is a missionary society whose purpose is to share the love of God in Jesus Christ in word and deed and with all the world. Witnessing to the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world…preach the gospel, heal the sick, and educate new generations for the future.”
“Let’s look more closely at what Jesus said. It’s true that the apostles had been witnesses of all that Jesus said and did during his earthly ministry, but what Jesus says in today’s reading is, ‘you will be my witnesses.’ Our testimony is about him, not just about what happened long ago and far away. We are to give evidence about what we ourselves have heard, seen, experienced. We can’t be witnesses unless we have met the Risen Christ—unless our lives have been transformed by him. If we could in good conscience go before a notary and sign a paper attesting of the presence of God in our lives and in the world, then, and only then, can we be his witnesses.
“This is something that we, as Christians, probably do a lot more often than we know. St. Francis of Assisi said it well: ‘Proclaim the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.’ How many persons in your own life have been witnesses, silent or otherwise, to you?...We are called to do the same, and this call is not issued just to teach us individually, but also to us as members of the Body of Christ—and, more specifically, to us as members of this congregation. We should be seriously considering how we are called, in this place and at this time, to be his witnesses.
“Probably we don’t think of ourselves in that way. Nevertheless, if the Lord Jesus calls us to be witnesses, we’d better not think of this as something optional.”
These quotes could easily have been written by LCG’s leaders. How long will it be before they, like the apostates, urge their members to practice “personal evangelism”? (The United Church of God has long condoned this, and their “gospel” is not as far wrong as LCG’s.)
Under the apostates’ influence, and the Protestants who taught those men, LCG’s leaders were conditioned to believe Christ’s command to the 12 apostles applies today. Remember, Mr. Armstrong described the 12 apostles as having the additional responsibility, applicable only in the first century and in Judea, to prove Christ was the Messiah—to serve as a kind of jury of 12 in this regard—or people would not believe the message He taught. This is easy to understand.
Also remember, this was before the New Testament was written! The New Testament is our witness to Jesus Christ. Actually, the apostles are still eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ through the pages of the Bible. No one needs to witness this anymore because the Bible does this. Mr. Armstrong understood this—and so should YOU! Of course, the roles of Jesus Christ must still be taught and explained, just not as part of the gospel—and not with the wrong, nonstop emphasis given by LCG and the Protestants.
The already great length of this document simply does not permit the individual examination of passages such as Luke 24:46-48, Acts 2:31-32, 4:33 and others.
But the error of witnessing Jesus is also synonymous with another violation of Scripture. The Bible nowhere commands Christians—and this includes ministers—to actively profess Christ, but rather always to confess Him when challenged in their belief: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Pet. 3:15). Here are a few more passages:
“Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33).
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11).
“That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).
Mr. Armstrong always spoke of announcing the kingdom of God. LCG’s “witnessing” Christ is also the equivalent of professing Him “to all nations.” While the Protestants would approve, GOD DOES NOT!
Witnessing (professing) Christ within the “gospel” is to in fact deny Him—by denying what was His message.
A Gospel Including Healing?
Some in the world have preached a gospel of healing. Did you notice that the Presbyterians include healing with their gospel—meaning alongside it?
In the Sep.-Oct. 2006 Living Church News, an article by Roderick Meredith titled “A ‘Missing’ Part of Christ’s Gospel” makes another giant leap away from the true gospel by asserting that healing is part of it. (Even the Presbyterians do not go this far with their gospel!) His rationale: Since Christ’s sacrifice is part of the gospel—and part of that sacrifice was Christ’s physical beating, which made possible forgiveness of physical sins—and also since Christ healed the sick—then healing must be part of the gospel. Consider rereading his article, but with open eyes.
But this cannot be found anywhere in Scripture! Yet, this is what happens where Satan leads people into even a partial focus on Christ as part of the gospel. Next naturally comes witnessing. Then comes healing. After that could be personal “evangelism,” and then on to anything else into which the devil wants to take the organization.
How soon before LCG members recognize all of this as a walk down memory lane, when it was the apostates teaching the things they are now hearing the SECOND TIME?
Nowhere did Mr. Armstrong ever suggest, or even speculate, that healing is part of the gospel. I was warned 40 years ago (as were all other students) of this gospel by my first Bible instructor at Ambassador College.
LCG’s leader openly bemoans a lack of healing in his organization, while testifying to healings in the Worldwide Church of God. Here is what this leader acknowledges about the past:
“We must remember that when Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong led the Church, thousands of people were healed of all kinds of sicknesses, ailments and maladies. I know. I talked to them. I read the letters that came pouring in during those days.”
This is true! But how incredible that this man cannot connect the many healings of the past to Mr. Armstrong’s defense of the true gospel—his unwillingness to compromise it by adding other elements—Christ, witnessing, healing or anything else that does not belong—that dilute the announcement of THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Mr. Armstrong could read the Galatians 1:6-9 curse! And he FEARED GOD! But he also understood a connection. I said we would later revisit an earlier quote. That time is now:
“When the curtain lifts on that ‘LOST CENTURY’ of Church history, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God was no longer preached to the world. Jesus and His apostles had carried on a dual ministry—proclaiming the Kingdom of God and healing the sick. But after that ‘Lost Century’ neither the Gospel of God’s Kingdom nor healing was going out to the world.”
Co-Worker Letter, February 21, 1974
The Source of LCG’s Gospel Teaching
The first change I documented in my book There Came a Falling Away was the apostates’ altering of the gospel. This section was titled “The Gospel—The Kingdom of God or Jesus Christ?”, and included statements, in their own words, from the WCG’s wayward new leadership. It will be helpful to revisit an excerpt. We begin with the old teaching from Mr. Armstrong, which is now review:
“Soon after Christ’s ascension to heaven and the founding of the church in A.D. 31, a violent controversy arose, according to church history, as to whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel OF Christ, or a gospel ABOUT Christ. The latter won out. False prophets did arise in the first century, saying Jesus was the Christ, but omitting altogether Jesus’ gospel which was the message of the coming world ruling kingdom of God to rule all nations after Christ’s Second Coming.”
Herbert W. Armstrong, Are We In The Last Days? (1985), p. 8
“Jesus Christ said it is necessary to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL to be saved!
“Yet the many – the hundreds of millions – today, do not know what the Gospel is!”
“But, one may ask, don’t we need to believe on Jesus? Of course. Other scriptures teach that. But at this particular time Jesus said we must believe Him – believe what He said – believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God!”
“We hear a great deal today of the gospel of MEN about the PERSON of Jesus Christ – confining the message solely to the things ABOUT Jesus. As a result, millions believe on Christ, who do not BELIEVE CHRIST!”
Herbert W. Armstrong, What Is the True Gospel? (1972), pp. 4, 6, 7
Now for the apostates’ teaching, introduced after Mr. Armstrong’s death:
“I am occasionally criticized by certain ones who think we are not preaching the gospel…But, much to their chagrin, I don’t listen.”
“I listen to the true gospel, the real good news…Jesus Christ and him crucified…which is the gospel of the kingdom of God!”
“But what about the gospel of the kingdom of God?…For the sake of answering our scripturally confused, dissident friends, let me digress a moment.”
“It is sheer nonsense to say that one of these is the gospel and the other is a false gospel.”
“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Aug. 11, 1989
“…I was particularly happy with the powerful focus of these issues on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – in other words, the true gospel and its true meaning for humanity.”
Joseph W. Tkach, letter to the ministry, PGR, Apr. 20, 1993
“The letter-writer stated his concerns in these words: ‘A new gospel, about the person of Christ, is being substituted for the glorious truth about the kingdom of God.”’
“The message about the person of Christ is…assumed to be different from, or a ‘substitute’ for, the message about the kingdom of God.”
“He was both the messenger and the message.”
“I hope the letter-writer I quoted above is the only one who has been laboring under those false assumptions. If not, I hope this has been helpful in refocusing our attention on the true gospel.”
“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach: Understanding the True Gospel,” WN, May 25, 1993
Notice the language used in the above quotes. “Refocusing our attention on the true gospel” nearly mirrors the stated purpose of the Living Church News article quoted above. LCG’s leader simply merges the true gospel—the kingdom of God—with a false gospel about Jesus’ person. Further, he makes it sound as if this is what we have always believed! Make yourself see through this! Now for more statements from the apostates:
“Why has the Church been preaching so much about Jesus Christ? Because Jesus Christ is what the gospel is all about.”
“That is why the Church is preaching about Jesus Christ so much! And that is precisely what the Church is going to continue to do.”
Joseph W. Tkach, letter to the ministry, PGR, Aug. 4, 1992
“During his lecture tour of the United States in 1962, Swiss theologian and author Karl Barth…was asked what his most important theological discovery was.”
“In this oft-told account, Dr. Barth is reputed to have said: ‘Jesus loves me this I know/For the Bible tells me so.’”
“How right he was.”
“The gospel is the good news that the long-awaited Messiah has come.”
Neil Earle, “Amnesty for Sinners,” PT, Nov.-Dec. 1994
During this great prophesied test that came upon the Church in the late 1980s and early 1990s, much was being said and written about Christ. Great focus and attention were given to His Person, as though this was coming to more spiritual maturity. The WCG commonly quoted the New International Version (NIV) in their new, revised literature. The NIV translates Hebrews 6:1 as follows: “Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…”
The NKJV adds helpful insight into this verse’s true meaning: “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection…”
Notice what Mr. Tkach wrote:
“God is right now calling many of the people in this church to Jesus Christ for the first time, and the sad part is, some of them do not want to go. They didn’t have Christ where they came from, they don’t have Christ right now, and they are still refusing to listen to the voice of the One who is right now calling them to Christ.”
“God still demands one thing of you: believe in Jesus Christ. Nothing of any value at all has been taken away, and the focus has been placed on the one and only thing of eternal value: Jesus Christ.”
“That is what the Church is teaching today.”
Letter to member, Feb. 9, 1994
Does this sound familiar? Are you disturbed by the amount of common ground between LCG’s leader and the apostates?
Protestant and Apostate Thinking Continues
Over 200 separate heresies are now taught throughout the splinters, including a variety of gospel errors. (Almost this many are listed in my book Surviving “Perilous Times”.) A great many are pure Protestantism. Splinter leaders are teaching anew these same old wrong ideas, and, therefore, the apostates still control the thinking of thousands who feel they left all wrong doctrines and thinking behind.
Many splinter leaders accepted the apostates’ false teaching about the gospel. Yet the leaders of LCG once professed to believe the opposite—what the scriptures state. And most of these same men have no real idea—no recollection—of what changed their thinking—or when it happened. They have forgotten who taught them their present understanding!
Think about the dilemma your leaders have put themselves in. And think about how it was Joseph W. Tkach and company (remember, who were taught by the Protestants) who taught these “leaders” to believe what they now teach YOU about what is the gospel. Remaining too long in the WCG left your “leaders” deeply influenced by the false leaders there whose presence they eventually left, but whose numerous false doctrines (there are many others beyond the purview of this article) they took with them when they did. They have been teaching these false doctrines to YOU. While you saw them as “standing up for the truth,” they were in fact standing up for some of the truth. When understood, it was the very greatest Bible truths that the apostates helped them to throw out. That is the truth no one else will tell you.
The question becomes, do you care? Many do not even seem to know what their organization teaches. I hear this regularly. Upon telling these people what their group believes—and teaches openly—I hear things like, “Oh, they do? I didn’t know!” They will sometimes go on to ask, “Are you sure?” At this point I am always incredulous, thinking, “Why don’t you know?—It’s your group! Whose fault is it that you don’t know? Are you checking—are you reading and studying your organization’s literature and really listening to its sermons? If so, how much—and how carefully?”
The Cause—and the Blame
Will LCG leaders read this and repent of where they placed blame for lack of healings in a matter Mr. Armstrong well understood was a problem with a specific cause? He knew “the Gospel of God’s Kingdom” must be preached, or healing will not “go out to the world”—or, I would add, occur in the Church. This is not hard to understand.
On Christ’s authority, and in agreement with Mr. Armstrong, I tell you the Living Church of God will therefore never receive the gift of healings. And here is ANOTHER great reason: The Bible lists healing as a gift given within the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:9). LCG now holds the world’s view that the true Church and Christ’s Body now consists of many organizations. Of course, this is totally false!
This, along with the curse on any who would bring another gospel, also explains why so many ministers in LCG—tragically and unnecessarily!—have died, sometimes in horrible and painful ways.
In contrast to LCG, The Restored Church of God sees healings (some dramatic) on a regular basis. But then the gospel of God’s kingdom IS going out to the world from THIS CHURCH! We also still recognize Christ leads, and therefore gives the gift of healing to, only one organization.
Will LCG readers be willing to connect the solution to teaching only the gospel the Bible teaches—the one Mr. Armstrong taught—the one solely about the kingdom of God? And will they connect the gospel we teach to why the scope and power of the enormous Work being done here is expanding at a rate never before seen on earth?
I can already hear accusations of “He’s exaggerating,” accompanied by the usual vicious slander from the LCG leader. But then I merely remember what Mr. Armstrong said:
“Every now and then some religious leader of some small group, often writing in some local denominational church paper, will ‘expose’ me as a ‘false prophet,’ usually ‘proving’ to his readers that what I preach from the Bible is false, by showing that it is quite different than the error his particular denomination embraces. But always, it seems, such men suppose that I must be as conniving and dishonest and greedy as themselves, for always, it seems, they impute dishonest, deceptive, and ulterior motives. Always they ACCUSE, following the sway of their father the devil, who is the accuser of the brethren. Yet he, like they are, is guilty of the very thing of which he falsely accuses the servants of God.”
Plain Truth, Personal, September, 1962
In the same article referenced above, Mr. Meredith decries a lack of faith and zeal in his church. My heart goes out to the LCG members, whose leader essentially blames THEM in his article for the lack of healings in his organization. How long before the membership wakes up and holds HIM (and HIS gospel) accountable?
Beware of anyone who knowingly perverts what Mr. Armstrong taught about Christ’s gospel—the kingdom of God—by adding miracles to it in pursuit of special power.
We are encouraged by the hundreds from LCG who have come with us. We look forward to more who may enjoy with us not only healings, but being able to participate in announcing to the world the true gospel of God’s world-ruling supergovernment under Christ and the saints with a power and effectiveness none of the splinters even begin to enjoy!
In 2010, the size of the Church grew nearly 30% over 2009. In 2011, The Restored Church of God has grown in the following categories: The Church—already about (as of mid-August) 22%; Income—(January through July) almost 34%. All indications point to the final numbers surpassing last year! Then there are the marvelous materials we produce, more abundant than all the big splinters combined. Most important, WE NEVER COMPROMISE TRUTH!
While we have long recognized the Living Church of God teaches the error that Christ is part of the gospel, you have now seen this is but one of THREE distinct and separate ways in which (just) their “gospel” is false.
Restoring Apostolic Christianity?
LCG members should ask this towering question: Could an organization that cannot remember the gospel, cannot remember the difference between professing (witnessing) and confessing Christ, cannot remember healing accompanies the gospel, cannot remember the Body of Christ is one organization, and cannot remember it is this Body that enjoys healings, have even a remote chance of “restoring apostolic Christianity,” as it claims to be doing?
In light of all that we have examined, the sincere, honest and discerning Bible student will ask: “What else is my organization teaching that is wrong?” Remember, Paul compared false doctrine to leaven, cancer, and gangrene. All of these spread in an irregular, unpredictable fashion until they either fill or kill their host.
Having rejected Mr. Armstrong as the final Elijah (Matt. 17:11), LCG leaders have forgotten the two things he stressed over and over as the most important doctrines God used him to restore. They are interconnected: (1) the government of God and (2) the gospel of the kingdom of God.
Of course, these leaders have rebelled against God’s government in several ways. (My book The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties demonstrates this.) They have adopted the Protestant (see Revelation 17:5) view of the Church and Body of Christ. Similar to their deceit about the gospel, they have also asserted that Mr. Armstrong always taught what they teach about the Church, when in fact it was Mr. Armstrong’s SUCCESSORS—not him!—who first taught the divided Body idea to God’s people. They once knew this! And these men forgot something else…
The True Church, not a DENOMINATION
Here is what happens when you no longer understand or accept what the Bible teaches about the Church and Body of Christ.
We should recall another doctrinal change that LCG’s mission statement exposes. (You may wish to go back and reread it first.) It creates yet one more clue—one more tell-tale connection—in their thinking that mirrors the Protestant world. Ask: Is it strange that LCG refers to its “denominational headquarters,” thereby using a term Mr. Armstrong expressly rejected and forbade? Let’s notice three statements. The subhead is his:
“From south-central India, comes this letter: ‘Dear Sir: In your programme last night you advertised the free magazine, “The PLAIN TRUTH.” Will you kindly send me one, please. I enjoy listening to your programmes. By the way, what denomination are you? I’ll close now, but I hope Jehovah God will bless your programmes and you’ll be able to reach many hearts.’ WHAT DENOMINATION? The answer is, no denomination. Christ did not organize a lot of denominations. He did not join or belong to any. We belong to the only TRUE Church of God, the Body of Christ—the very Church Christ Himself BUILT—of which He is today the living HEAD, and we carry His Gospel to the world in HIS NAME, not that of any denomination.”
Co-Worker Letter, July 12, 1954
“Not Baptized Into a Denomination
“Notice carefully, too—we are ‘BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST’ (verse 3, above), or, as Jesus expressed it in Matthew 28:19, into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—NOT INTO SOME CHURCH ORGANIZATION OR DENOMINATION.”
ALL ABOUT WATER BAPTISM, 1972 edition, p. 17
“God did not start us in this, HIS Work, until we had cut loose from all obligation to MEN—UNTIL I was FREE from being MUZZLED by any man, group, denomination or organization. NEVER, since going on the air, have we been muzzled or controlled in any way, except by the living Christ!”
“HOW HAS THIS WORK BEEN FINANCED? WHAT DENOMINATION? Just as Jesus Christ joined NONE of the sects or religious denominations more than 1939 years ago, so this, HIS WORK today, is NON-denominational. It is, simply, the WORK OF GOD, carrying out CHRIST’S COMMISSION, preaching HIS Gospel straight from the shoulder, without fear or favor, not to please men but to please GOD—not by the will of men or by the sponsorship of any organization, but in THE POWER OF GOD!”
Subscriber Letter, November 21, 1966
Do not dismiss this as a picky point. It reflects a deeper cancer at work in LCG. You must not be afraid to let Mr. Armstrong talk to you—teach you. These, and all the other quotes included from him, should be TEACHING YOU. But this can only occur if you permit it. (To learn much more about the subject of the one true Church, read our book The True Church – One Organization, or Many? It provides ironclad proof that Christ leads only one, undivided Church.)
More False Doctrines
Another example: The leaders of LCG have truly deceived the brethren with a simple false statement, repeated over and over again to condition the listeners: “Mr. Armstrong went back and forth on the use of makeup.” The facts demonstrate otherwise, and these men know it. If you would like to see the facts documented in detail, and understand this huge lie being foisted on you, read “Makeup: What Happened in the Church!”
Realize these are just a few of the many false doctrines believed and taught in the Living Church of God. Of course, the reason this organization has fallen into all these errors is simple: They have permitted ANOTHER SPIRIT into their midst! So have the other splinters. But the United Church of God, for instance, has been more honest. Teaching more false doctrines than any other group, they have made no real pretense of holding to what Mr. Armstrong taught. They regularly speak of reviewing past doctrine for “revision” and “improvement.” (Since many who began in UCG have also come with us, UCG may also be feeling the heat. They seem to at least mention Mr. Armstrong a bit more these days.)
Pass the Test!
One of the great tests at the end is whether you can cut through the deceit and confusion of “evil men and seducers” foretold to grow continually “worse” (II Tim. 3:13). God expects you to pass this test! Chapter 12 of THE WORK OF GOD explains much more about this obstacle to your salvation.
Paul wrote, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are [being] lost: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:1-4).
This passage connects the inability to SEE the true gospel with a BLINDNESS that comes from “the god of this world”—Satan—who is in those who “handle the word of God deceitfully.” Remember, Christ also called Laodicea “blind” (Rev. 3:17). Evil leaders will not consider their actions, but this condition can be removed by those of Laodicea willing to anoint their eyes.
Adolf Hitler once declared, “What luck for rulers that men do not THINK.” The goal has been to keep you from THINKING! LCG’s leaders hope you will not THINK about what you are reading now. But, they do not want you thinking carefully about what they say either.
It took long hours to prepare this article and the book The Work of God – Its Final Chapter! These present the facts in a way that cannot be disputed by honest minds. You must not be afraid to THINK. Deceitful men have offered wonderfully clever “spin” regarding what Mr. Armstrong taught. These cynical men, who I know sneer at Mr. Armstrong privately—as well as from the pulpit for those who are listening (I hear it)!—are hoping you will not THINK. They want you to quietly succumb to the outrageous slander they tell about me. Again—above all—they do not want you to THINK!
Grasp this. Some false leaders are wrapped in thicker sheep’s clothing, and you must get much closer to see “what big eyes they have” and “what big teeth they have.” You must examine them—remove their sunglasses—open their mouths—and look beneath the costume!
You ought fear to follow the leader of LCG even one more step!
I urge you again to at least read chapters four and five of The Work of God – Its Final Chapter! (of course, reading the whole book is much better), and Which Is the True Gospel? Also, consider hearing the detailed, four-part sermon series “The Gospel—Kingdom and Christ?”
Most people ignore warnings! This will prove true of most around you. They will quietly acquiesce to seductive arguments and spin brought forth to counter what you have seen. It will not take much to satisfy them. And, tragically, the most confused will actually be angry at me even though I am trying to save their lives, instead of angry at their leaders for deceiving them and threatening their eternity. The sad message from history is that most stoutly defend God’s enemies and attack His true servants.
However, many LCG members DO see the problems, but report—“We must be patient. Christ will work this out. There is still time, because they haven’t gone that far yet. Besides, there is nowhere to go” (so they believe). It is amazing what we hear. This is exactly what was repeated countless thousands of times by “patient” WCG members in the 1990s. The bitter lesson was learned later—that Christ was not present—that He could not turn around what He did not lead—that things had gone too far—and that precious time had been lost, given to the apostates so they could further CONDITION more people’s thinking to FALSE IDEAS.
Christ is outside Laodicea. He wants you to LEAVE that condition, and join Him where He is leading!
There is no middle ground on this most important of biblical truths. A Christian is to “War a good warfare” (I Tim. 1:18), and the gospel is the “hill” he defends to the death. He would deeply fear to deny Christ on this matter—just as I fear not to defend His gospel.
What will you do with what you have read? Will you confess the truth of Christ’s gospel? Will you ignore what others choose to do and “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”?
How many will believe the time to act is NOW?