Many today use innuendo, outright lies and other forms of deception to confuse and divide in order to control followers. False leaders always face the same dilemma. Unwilling to admit what they are, they must create a series of obvious lies to cover their actions in the eyes of people too far away to know the truth. The cover-up includes misrepresenting, denying, hiding or blurring the facts. Others participateâand assistâby seeking out their slander (Psa. 4:2). When facing this, what do you do? So few look to the teachings of a man to know whom to follow. This means confrontingâand prosecutingâall forms of deception to defeat them.
For this article to help you, you must read it all. However, if you read very far into it, you may be unable to stop. Pulling no punches, what you read will forever change your view of what God expects.
A Tale of Two Leaders
Most in the splinters live as though the apostle Paulâs warning for the last days of âevil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceivedâ (II Tim. 3:13) is other peopleâs concern, not their own. It is other people who are deceived or in danger of it, not themselves. Why be concerned over what only applies to others?
Here is whyâŚ
In the late 1980s, a self-proclaimed apostle (Joseph Tkach) arose and came to power in the Worldwide Church of God. This new leader promised he would uphold the truth and âwalk in Mr. Armstrongâs footsteps.â Yet he began almost immediately to rebel against what Mr. Armstrong taught, and to throw the truth out of the Church. He claimed, âThere are no changes,â but years later, after resistance to new teachings had diminished, openly admitted there were, but that the Church was âgrowing in grace and knowledge.â There were also shocking revelations about the manâs personal character that came to light. The senior ministersâthe evangelistsâwith the Advisory Council of Elders, saw what was happening, but did not come together with the Board of Directors and fire him if he were unwilling to publicly repent. Inaction prevailed. The corporation ultimately collapsed, and all the assets were essentially stolen by one lone, particularly weak false leader, working to pull the whole thing off with basically only five junior co-conspirators. A great percentage of brethren and field ministers witnessed the process, and lamented, âWhy did the evangelists, Council and Board fail in their duty? How could they have let Joe Tkach and Co. get away with throwing out the truth? How could they let him take all the money and buildings, and close and sell off the colleges? Why was he allowed to destroy everything? Why was nothing done?â
The end result? Very few pursued the facts and the truth. About 80% of the Church succumbed to lies and deceit, and either followed Joe Tkach or went home in confusion. Thousands of these had declared, âWait for God. He will set things straight!â Having forgotten II John 1:8ââLook to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wroughtââmost of these became âlost to history,â spiritually dying where they sat. The remaining 20% fell into following various bickering, disagreeing splinter leaders teaching selectedâpreferred!âparts of the truth. Slowly over the years, some of the 80% awakened to what happened. But only a relative few.
Fast forward to 1993-1998, to sample one splinter. An evangelist (Roderick Meredith) arose and came to power in the Global Church of God. This second new leader also promised that he would uphold the truth as the Church âunderstood it in January 1986,â at Mr. Armstrongâs death. Yet he began almost immediately teaching numerous false doctrinesâmany of them big. He asserted, âWe teach the whole truthâthe whole counsel of God,â but years later, after resistance to new teachings had diminished, openly admitted to them and accelerated his changes, saying the Church was âgrowing in grace and knowledge.â Again, all of this happened on top of shocking revelations about his personal character. And again, both the majority of the Council of Elders and the majority of the Board of Directors plainly saw him for what he was. But this time, remembering the past, they intervened and confronted him several times, over a period of more than a year, seeking to reason with him and to get him to repent. Rod Meredith eventually promised the entire assembled group that he would stop certain conduct and that he would âdo better.â But the Board was almost immediately after forced to fire him for not changing. Incredibly, when facing almost identical circumstances (the dissimilarities were minor), the majority in the Church this time took a different view, and lamented, âHow could the Council and Board have done this to Mr. Meredith? The Board had no right to fire him! The Council should have supported him. How could they think they could intervene and take the assets? Who do they think they are? There has been a rebellion against Godâs appointed leader!â
The end result? Very few pursued the facts and the truth. About 80% of the Church succumbed to lies and deceit, and either followed Rod Meredith or went home in confusion. Thousands in LCG today declare, âWait for God. He will set things straight!â Having also forgotten II John 1:8ââLook to yourselvesâŚââmany of these may soon also become âlost to history,â again spiritually dying where they sit. (Evidence is plain that some already have.) Again, slowly over the years, some of this 80% also awakened to what happened. But this time more than a few (with the process accelerating).
Why do so few seem able to spot even the most obvious deceivers?
What was the difference in the two men? Certainly not the end result, nor that both were false. In the first case, people complained about inaction. In the second, they got what thousands of Worldwide Church of God members said they wantedâand what should have happened to Rod Meredith. They still complained. In the end, only the names were different. There were lies, deception and false doctrines by two top leadersâone a false apostle, the other a false evangelist. Both were able to control the thinking of the majority with deceit. The second case even saw the majority of the Council and Board in agreement about what to do. No matter. A covert âmiddle of the nightâ letter by Rod Meredith, filled with lies and a completely false narrative, was sent to Globalâs members (spreading far outside Global) despite promises made before the whole assembled Council of Elders not to do anything âbehind their back.â It âslewâ 80% of the Global Church of Godâs membership, who ârolled overâ the next Sabbath into the Living Church of God (LCG) with little or no resistance.
To summarize, Rod Meredith rebelled against Godâs government and many of His truths, including the form of government that Mr. Armstrong taught. He openly adopted (and still does) the Protestant (anti-christ) view about what is the true Church and Body of Christâthat it is composed of many organizations, groups (âbranchesâ) and scattered individuals, thus rejecting what Mr. Armstrong taught and the Bible teaches about Christ leading a single unified organization under a single chosen leader. He altered the truth of the gospelâand numerous other truths taught by the Bible and Mr. Armstrong. This was because he first rejected the great primary teaching that doctrinal truth only enters Godâs Church through apostles. Over time, Rod Meredith openly affirmed what he was by adding many more false teachings than these, including more notorious recent ones such as the falling away of II Thessalonians 2:3 is to be led by the man of sin and applies to the world, not the Churchâand that the wedding supper will be in heaven.
This false leaderâs list of heretical teachings now runs into the scores.
For years, since 1998, Rod Meredith has loved to claim, âDave Pack caused all the trouble in Global.â In fact, this man knows his doctrines and his conduct caused all his trouble. It was the Board of Directors, not I, that fired Rod Meredith. Make no mistake. I completely agreed with their action. But as a member of the Council of Elders, not the Board, I was neither part of, nor in any way connected to, his termination, or even aware that it happened until it was over. Of course, most were never given a chance to know this. (The interested reader may read several chapters covering the details of this period in my two-volume biography.)
At the time, to get away with their conduct, Joe Tkach and Rod Meredith had to put an entirely different face on their actions. (David Hulme, Dennis Luker, Clyde Kilough, Jim Franks, Gerald Flurry, and others like Ron Weinland, have done the same, but each in his own way.) Meredithâs altered âfaceâ has been effective enough to permit 14 years of cover-up. One-third of Global ministers refused to follow him. Two-thirds stayed with him. These were unwittingly drawn into agreeing and working together to misrepresent events because they were geographically too far removed to know the true facts. Many of these men have since left Rod Meredithâor have died, often in horrible fashion, as did Joe Tkach.
How many have been instructedâand soberedâby this?
The Only Response
False leaders always face the same first big challenge. Unwilling to admit what they are/did, they must invent a series of obvious lies to cover their actions in the view of people too far removed to know the facts. These deceivers seem to innately know what Adolf Hitler knew when he famously stated, âWhat luck for rulers that men do not think.â Their cover-up includes misrepresenting, denying, hiding or thoroughly blurring the facts, as well as publicly and privately smearing all voices of truthâmaking the whistleblower(s) appear to be the perpetrator(s) and the false leader the victim.
Obvious lies play the most crucial role.
The greatest series of demonstrably provable falsehoods and false narratives about events in 1998 that Rod Meredith has continued through the years have been about me. But as the leader of the Church, just as did Mr. Armstrong, I draw regular fireâdeceit and powerful liesâfrom a host of sources in the splinters and slivers of the former Worldwide Church of God. So few look to the teachings of a man to know what to do and whom to follow. And for whom not to follow. This means being willing to confront and âprosecuteâ deception in order to overcome it. Most will not âtry the spiritsâ (I John 4:1) as God COMMANDS because it takes too much thought and effortâtoo much study and careful consideration of facts and truth. Also, one must know how to do this. The material here will show you! For instance, when UCG split in 1998, this knowledge would have shown the members not to follow either side. The same in January 2011 when UCG split again and âCOGwaâ was born. Both sides were to be rejected both times. Some saw this. More will. Many never will.
Why the Need to Now Be Personal
In this article I will be much more open about many of the personal facts of my life as per false accusations, just as was Mr. Armstrong on occasion. I will address longstanding rumors about my business, inheritance, supposed âwealth,â home, office, salary, benefits, expense account, teachings, relationship with Mr. Armstrong, my first wifeâs role and her relationship with Mr. Armstrong, rewriting Mr. Armstrongâs literature, our advertising practices, the early decades of my ministry, and other things.
Many today are literally trapped in the WCG splinters and slivers by endless falsehoods about me. These are spread by their leaders and pastors. Long troubled where they are by false doctrine, altered traditions, lax policies, worsening conduct, minimal productivity and generally bad fruitâmany are naturally very unhappy. We hear from them daily.
Able to see the very different fruit of The Restored Church of Godâuncompromising truth, immense Work, beautiful Headquarters (and extensive building program), enormous array of books, booklets, articles and magazines, Ambassador Center, powerful media reach, state-of-the-art websites, national television, doors opening to world leaders, rapid worldwide growth in ministers and members, exploding income, programs for youth of all ages and emphasis on quality in everythingâthousands are more than intrigued. Tragically, blatant falsehoods about me personally have prevented many of these from taking action.
A quote from a famous novelist applies at this point: âFacts and truth really donât have much to do with each other.â This is because facts can often be spun into âfacts,â which no longer paint a true picture. Truth is truth. This article contains the TRUTH, but also necessarily many basic factsâall accurate.
Rod Meredithâs and other leadersâ efforts against me today have paralleled and continued what Joe Tkach started when he and his team long ago began to systematically falsely accuse me, and eventually made me the first pastor fired in early 1993. I know the fault lay at the devilâs feet, and that these men are merely his agents. My goalâand sincere hopeâis to help true brethrenâthose led by the Spirit of Godâcut through the biggest and most obvious lies about me. They need factsâtruth!âand I have decided it is my duty to present them. Salvation is at stake. While many may want me to now move directly into these factsâI understand human natureâa brief but crucial setup must come first.
Two Well-known Examples
In late December 2002, the FBI announced it had credible information that five potential terrorists had entered the United States near Buffalo, New York, coming in from Canada. Photos were prominently displayed. Names were released. The result was that most of America heard about them. For at least a week, and after intensive effort to find them, there was great concern about why these men could not be located.
But a dramatic announcement altered the unfolding drama of this story. The âinformantâ who had passed on his âtipâ to the authorities admitted that it had all been a hoax. Astonishing! One lone man was able to invent a lie so monstrous that, quite literally, the entire world was put on notice of the possible alleged actions of these âfive suspects.â Think of the time, money, energy and worry that went into the investigation of this story. I believed it. Most likely you did, too. Yet, it was an absolute BALD LIE!
On another occasion, this time in July 2004, a 22-year-old French woman reported to the authorities that she had been accosted by a gang of six teenagers at a suburban Paris train station.
She claimed that, with her 13-month-old toddler watching, the attackers, said to be Arab or African, cut off her hair with knives before tearing her shirt away and drawing swastikas on her belly. She also reported that no one on the train answered her cries for help and came to her rescue.
With anti-Semitic crimes already on the rise in France, the nation was stunned. French President Chirac expressed outrage, as did many religious leaders. (I read it and was appalled.) The police called for anyone with information to come forward and assist the investigation. Any facts that could prove the account turned out to be lackingâno corroboration developed. Next, apparent inconsistencies appeared in the womanâs story.
Suddenly she made a startling admissionâshe confessed that she had made it all up. None of it was true!
Needless to say, the backlash equaled the initial outrage. How could she do this? And why? What motivated her? Her answer: She simply wanted attention and more support from her parents and boyfriend. Again, astonishing!
Here was another completely bald lie, published the world over by respectable news sources, that had appeared so credible, so believable, so TRUE!
Do you learn anything from such incidents? Have you been sobered by the power of lies? If you heard these stories at the time, were you surprised that people could âmake it all upââand that so many could be fooled? Do you recognize that stories can sound perfectly credibleâand yet be pure fiction? Joe Tkach, Rod Meredith and others today have long understood the tremendous power of such invented stories.
A common tactic used often in the business world works like this: If a business owner wants to drive a competitor out of business, he simply starts a rumor that his competitor is having âfinancial trouble.â The goal is to make this a self-fulfilling prophecyâand this is often exactly what happens. Customers and potential customers begin to pull back from business dealings with the targeted victim, thinking they could âget hurtâ if he folds unexpectedly. Then, if the victim does fail, ironically, the credibility of the slanderous liar who set the chain of events into motion is actually enhanced! In the end, the liar can appear to have been an authoritative source on the matter. In reality, we have described an evil manipulative personâand one who at least temporarily appears to succeed only because events and the truth have not yet caught up with him.
With false religious leaders, this sometimes means waiting for God to bring the ultimate justice to a man. It also means that those with Godâs Spirit who are following such men must reject them! The âSpirit of Christâ in them (Rom. 8:9) will âleadâ them (vs. 14) to His truth and His one Church (John 10:3-5; Rev. 3:18). If they ignore Christâs voice, they will lose the Holy Spirit (I Thes. 5:19; Heb. 6:4-6). Hebrews 10:26-27 describes their fate!
Two Types of Liars
There are two types of people who lieâand you must see the distinction! This means coming to grips with harsh realities, difficult to accept.
First, there are those who lie out of panic or fear, usually on short notice. Caught by surprise in a matter, many (almost all people) will cover themselves with a kind of reflex âknee-jerkâ falsehood. (Of course, the Christian tries to never do this, and repents when he does.) This kind of lie is born largely of self-preservation. The offender may feel himself threatened if he told the truth, so he protects himself via a âsnap-decisionâ lie. Such untruths are easier to understand, and to forgive.
While wrongâsin is sin!âthis could be likened to the thief who steals to feed his children, instead of due to greed. God made a distinction in the Old Testament between thieves, and the punishment for the latter (repaying, plus 100%) is five times greater than for the former (repaying, plus 20%).
But there is a second type of liarâand these are very different from the first. There are those who out of malice invent murderous lies for the sole purpose of harming the innocent. Their goal is to inflict maximum damage against one or more specific people, or against an organization or institution, perhaps a former employer. These are not merely those who told a lieâsomething they didâthese are liars. In other words, this is something these people ARE, not just something they did. However wrong it is, a person does not become a thief or an adulterer after a single act. Once a pattern is established, this becomes what the person IS, not merely something he or she did. The repeated act has defined his character.
Those who follow the second pattern of lying openly reveal who is their âfatherâ (John 8:44)âthese are murderous liars (I John 3:15), minds within which their spiritual father, Satan, can inspire whatever he wants them to say.
Letâs momentarily bring in another facet of this kind of liar. Psalm 81:15 speaks of them when it declares, âThe haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto Him.â This verse reveals that there are people who simply hate God. It is the plain message of the passage. Get this in your head before continuing! Accept it at face value. As with malevolent liars, it is equally difficult for some to believe that there could actually be human beings who hate God, but there are.
How are such people guilty of this hatred? How is it demonstrated? Letâs understand.
First, there are even those who get into the Church, but hate Godâs Law and His authority over them! These are a big part of the âtares among the wheatâ sown into the field by the devil. Notice that the verse states that these people will not âsubmit themselves toâ God. These are people then who hate Godâs government over them. Of course, that governmentâthe government of Godâis found only in His Church, the only one led by Jesus Christ. Obviously, Satan hates Godâs government knowing that it will soon banish him from Earthâand replace him with those in Godâs Church today.
Most politicians are cold, calculating liars. To them it is routine. They will say anything to harm opponents and gain political advantage. Who doubts that the devil would do everything in his power to defeat his âpolitical opponents,â as he would see Godâs people? What he would do to derail the Church of God is without limit.
Letâs return to the two types of liars.
Most can easily believe that the first type of person described exists because they have themselves likely told knee-jerk lies, probably more than once. But the second type presents a problem to those who have not, and never would, do such things. They simply cannot comprehendâcannot fathomâthose who would. They cannot grasp that there are human beings on planet Earth who would lie straight from pure malice and intent to harm. Think of it this wayâcomprehending such evil eludes the âaverageâ liar.
Understand. Certain murderous haters of the Lord have been sent by the god of this world to plague Christâs people in the âlast daysâ with lies. Read II Timothy 3:1, 3 and 13! No doubt, Satan reserves his worst, and most capable, liars for âserviceâ against the true Church and Work of God. He needs liars good enough to âbring home the bacon,â and at the end of the age God tells us he has them.
Now, as the father of murder and lies, if Satan were going to use his top agentsâamong the âwheatââto invent falsehoods against someone, who would be his most obvious target? Who would he most want to harm? Who would he most want to discredit? Who would he most want to turn people from following?
If you can understand the answer to this, you can see why Godâs leading servants through the ages have been slandered beyond all normal bounds.
Certainly Satan wants to harm all of Godâs people. All who have Godâs Spiritâthose begotten of a different Fatherâare his enemies. But those who are leaders within Godâs Church receive special attention. History demonstrates this.
If you read my book The Government of God â Understanding Offices and Duties, you will see with different eyes why Satan must attack Godâs servantsâespecially His chief servantâbeyond all limits. This book is not what its title might suggest. Far from tedious, readers describe it as fascinating, eye-opening and inspiring. But most of all it is called instructive, while at the same time grippingâhard to put down.
Above everything else on the devilâs agenda is to destroy Godâs Church and government, and to do so at all costs. He believes that if he can destroy the leaderâs reputation or credibility through lies, he has successfully undermined the government of God in His Church, and the result is that he would be able to at least limit or maybe even bring the Work of God to an end. After all, it is the government of God that gives the Church of God the ability to remain together, working in unity fulfilling its two purposesâfeeding the flock and completing Godâs Work!
The Government of God book also takes an extensive look at government within the splinters and slivers. It will take you on a journey from the 1950s to the 1980s, to Mr. Armstrongâs death, and compare how Satanâs best agents destroyed for a time the ability of Godâs government to continue producing the wonderful fruit and growth the Church and Work once enjoyed. Then it will bring you toâconnecting events toâthe present.
Reread this last section until it rings in your ears. Then read the book!
Around Mr. Armstrong
There were alwaysâalwaysâwolves in sheepâs clothing around Herbert W. Armstrong. Do you doubt this? Just remember what he reported in his autobiography about how often leaders and others stabbed him in the back and betrayed him all through his Oregon years. This pattern never really ended as the next 40 years continued. Have you forgotten how many top ministers and administrators completely fell away after his death? And have you recognized how many other once top ministers and administrators have severely compromised his teachings since his death? Obviously, this has also been true of scores of thousands of former WCG members.
But there is one main difference between Mr. Armstrongâs time and today. Those people, and of course local âmembers,â could not take their story to the Internet. At best, they could poison only a few people around them who were foolish enough to listen to their angry, twisted inventions (Rom. 1:30).
Grasp this! Many of these same leaders today, including many splinter ministers and members, hold a hatredâan outright loathingâfor Mr. Armstrong, and his authority, that is almost palpable. (We see their emails with their affiliations given.) Usually though, they do not say that they hate him. (But some do.) After all, even the apostates professed to love Mr. Armstrong. But their fruits say something very different. Even those who declare they genuinely respect Mr. Armstrong are more than capable of fabricating stories or distorting the truth of events.
Regarding doctrine, Mr. Armstrong could spot a liberal a mile off. When someone was seeking to water down doctrine, he knew it immediately. So do I. But, spotting false doctrine and a heretic is much differentâand much easierâthan identifying false witnesses. For instance, if a group of leaders come to agreement, and tell you that the Sabbath is Tuesday, you would immediately recognize that they were speaking falsely. On the other hand, if the same group alleges personal misconduct against a ministerâeven one who will not compromise the truth, and who is doing the Work of Godâpeople suddenly become confused and willing to believe their report!
Why?âespecially when God explicitly tells His people not to!
At this point, some might protest that âIn the mouth of two or three witnesses, a matter is established.â Yet, these forget that thousands charged falsehoods against Mr. Armstrong. But that did not make them true. How sad that so many can no longer, spiritually speaking, add two and two and reach four. The question that should always be asked: What did Mr. Armstrong teach?
The Restored Church of God and I have repeatedly been the target of incredible false accusations. Destructive, divisive liars have repeatedly sought to destroy us. They will try againâand againâand againâto do this. You must beware of such people. While perhaps the worst, Rod Meredith is just one.
But what do I teach?
Early on, we had numerous tares (exactly as did the WCG) enter the flock. After becoming friendly and familiar, they threw off their sheepâs clothing and proceeded to lie, confuse, divide and attack. They were every bit as devilish as Christâs New Testament warnings describe. I could tell true stories about former âinsidersâ that are so astonishingâso OUTRAGEOUS!âit would be almost impossible to believe someone could be capable of such conduct. Ironically, these very people covered their own appalling behavior by manufacturing stories about me. This is what Rod Meredith did. (And most did not consider his teachingsâor mine in contrast.)
One Powerful Lie
Let me start with one example of what could be called a powerful lieâan obvious lie. A former employee stated of me in about 2002, and I quote, that I âmake $125,000 a year (tax-free), have a huge expense account, live in a mansion and have a palatial officeâall paid for by about 200 brethren.â This received wide circulationâand maybe still doesâhis attacks having begun earlier with worse charges in late 2000, when he left us. While every element in this statement is pure fiction, some were foolish enough to believe such an outrageous report. But this has only been because, in the first place, they went to the Internet cesspool where ludicrous charges are routinely posted. (Of course, the Internet has been like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is not all bad. It carries much beneficial knowledgeâbut also much that is evil.)
Ask: Would you walk away from an opportunity to rejoin the only true Church of God, teaching the full truth and doing the real Work of Godâall under the correct form of governmentâbecause of what rumormongers can accumulate from slanderous liars and then spread through the Internet? Or will you examine our true fruits?âthe mass of what we produce and teach, and the lives that are being changed.
Of course, I realize the things said about me pale when compared to the hideous things said about Mr. Armstrong both during and after his lifetime. Would you be tempted to surf the Internet to find these storiesâor to believe them if you did? (Of course, some would and do.)
Do you think God wants His servants doing this? Do you think He âwinksâ (Acts 17:30) at it when they do?
Think about how many things a perfect, sinless Christ was accused of by people who must have appeared to be credible sources at the time. Consider once again: He was labeled a blasphemer, drunkard, traitor, bastard, heretic, demon-possessed, angry and abusive (when He overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple), Sabbath-breaker, ignorant, friend of publicans and sinners, and more. Yet He taught only truthâand was God!
Of course, the Internet did not exist in the first century. Perhaps most people of that time never heard these charges, spoken by false witnesses with personal motives. I ask: If you had heard these things 2,000 years ago, would you have believed that Jesus was qualified to be your Savior? Would you have recognized that He was the Son of God? Would you have followed Him?
Of course, none of these accusations about Christ were true! However, God allowed them to be recorded for ALL TIME in Scripture so we could know that even the innocent Jesus Christâan eternal God-Being!âcould be accused of things more horrible and numerous than one can imagine. Think how many from the New Testament age will at the Second Resurrection wish that they had focused only on Jesusâ wonderful teachingsâon the truth!
Ponder this. Your crown could depend on understanding it!
âScurrilous Misrepresentationâ About Mr. Armstrong
Some facts of history would be helpful before looking more closely at my record. Mr. Armstrong was also, and often, accused of âbeing in it for the money.â And he found it necessary to periodically speak openly in the early years to the membership and coworkers about his own financial contributions to the Work. He also did this in a general way later so others could understand WHY he could speak with such conviction to brethren and coworkers about the need to truly sacrifice, and on a regular basis, for Godâs all-important Work.
In 1972, Mr. Armstrong decided that the Church should know certain facts about its leader. What he wrote served to neutralize what he called the âscurrilous misrepresentation of persecutorsâ:
âMy wife and I lived in real poverty for 28 years, in getting this Work developed into the powerful worldwide Work it now is. And not only that, I have been through the years the heaviest financial contributor to the Work. I only say that to let you know I am not asking you to do anything I have not, and am doing, setting the exampleâall scurrilous misrepresentation of persecutors notwithstandingâŚâ
Letter to the Brethren, May 31, 1972
You may be surprised that Mr. Armstrong was this candid with the Church about his personal contributions. When I first read what he described, I was. Yet, in the early years, Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong had to give sometimes beyond all measure. Their financial sacrifice was astonishing, and particularly so when he was so often attacked later for having a personal or selfish financial motive. Believe me, I can relate.
Here is just one additional statement from his Autobiography (it is also in our biography of Mr. Armstrongâs life) to demonstrate beyond any doubt where his heart was, even from the most difficult early years of the Work. I was stunned at what he was also doing behind the scenes for the Work (emphasis his):
âOn April 2, 1940, I had to write co-workers: âThe only way I have managed to keep the work going has been my personal sacrificeâtaking money intended for our family living, letting my family suffer. One of my daughters has had to stop school. We are about to lose our home. We have gone without badly needed clothing. I could tell you more, but do not want to talk about ourselvesâour heavenly Father knows. We are willing and glad to make any sacrifice. BUT THE POINT IS, WE HAVE NOW COME TO THE END, UNLESS SUBSTANTIAL HELP COMES AT ONCE. The work cannot be held up by this method of personal sacrifice any longer. As long as it was only us who suffered, I said nothing. But now the Lordâs WORK will stop unless substantial help comes quickly. For the workâs sake I must appeal to our helpers. I would starve, before I would ask one cent as charity for myself. But Iâm willing to humiliate myself in any way for the gospelâs sake.ââ
Vol. 2, Ch. 40, pp. 8-9
Probably few remember or ever knew that Mr. Armstrong died with virtually no personal possessions he could call his own, other than a handful of suits, a watch, and a few other simple belongings, including almost nothing of worth. This manâs pattern of unbelievable sacrifice over virtually an entire lifetime was evident to all who knew him. Therefore, it should come as no real surprise how few possessions he had at the end of his life. Nothing was EVER more important to Mr. Armstrong than Godâs Work! Yet, his motives were continually questioned, and by those who could not possibly understand them.
But I do understand. My children also went without for years, in regard to clothing for instance, largely wearing hand-me-downs from older cousins because I was systematically underpaid by Joe Tkach all during their growing up years. Clothing needsâmy childrenâs and their parentsâis only the tip of this iceberg.
Following Mr. Armstrongâs Example
This takes us to stories and falsehoods about me. In the spirit of Mr. Armstrongâs openness, I came to feel that the brethren at large should know similar things about the leader of Godâs Church today. If Mr. Armstrong could be so open for the purpose that he was, then so can I for the same reason!
Here then are a few facts regarding my personal finances in support of Godâs Work.
In late 2007, I gave two sermons, the second titled âClarion CallâThe Time Is Now!â, in part to tell the Church in some detail the story of what my late wife and I had been doing privatelyâand why. (Detractors made sure never to mention the crucial Part 1 of the series, which set up what many love to always deliberately quote out of context from Part 2âand inaccurately besidesâto achieve maximum damage and impact.) Understand. My wife and I did what you will now read because the early years of the Work demanded it (and this has proven to be ongoing)âjust as the circumstances required the same of Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong throughout the years when he led Godâs Work. We really had no choice, so I seek no âcreditâ as such.
The entirety of our life savings (mine and my deceased wifeâs) and virtually every extra dollar left in our budget month-to-month for years went to this Work, even to the point of taking out home equity loans (multiple times) to give more, when necessary, because our home kept appreciating in value until 2007. Several times, Mr. Armstrong had to ask the brethren to borrow for the Work (when the need was urgent). I have not done this. I did feel that I needed to give to the Work first myself (not loan) all along before asking anyone else to sacrifice in like manner. (Incidentally, the liar quoted earlier, who had worked at our Headquarters, was fully aware of this pattern of giving when he crafted his falsehoods.)
And all of this is in addition to not receiving any of the following: health benefits, life insurance, a fleet car, even a regular expense account, never mind a liberal one, or anything close to an annual full second tithe allotment given historically to all full-time ministers. I have not received any bonuses or any of the other things that virtually all regular field pastors received in the past, or certain items that those in the splinters still receive (who now only have to work a relatively few hours a week caring for small numbers of people)âand I am the leader of The Restored Church of God. In addition, my salary was for a long time FAR below what all the splinter leaders are paid. I know! I have no life insurance, no social security waiting in the wings, and very little home equity remaining (if any)âand am no longer in my twenties or thirties (or even fifties), with lots of years left to âsave for (any supposed) retirement.â Frankly, following Mr. Armstrongâs example, I plan to âretireâ either directly into the kingdom of God or through death (sleep in Christ) at the resurrection, whichever comes first.
What has been said about my âClarion Callâ message about brethren giving to Godâs Work was at least partly correct. However, I gave four more extensive sermons later proving this practice is biblical. (No one can dispute that the first-century Church had âall things commonââActs 2:44-45; 4:32-5:11.) But many donât accept Godâs Word. However, our entire ministry and membership saw the scores of plain scriptures involved for what they were. Few or none among the thousands with us have left the Church over this because the biblical explanation was so clear.
This short summary of almost eight hours of sermons may not change the readerâs mind. But we cannot apologize for what our entire ministry understands is absolutely biblical, and for what is today helping to explode the growth of Godâs Church.
A Large Inheritance?
Other facts need to be clarified. Many falsehoods have been spread about my first wife, my fatherâs supposed âwealth,â my inheritance, rewriting Mr. Armstrongâs literature, and whether I teach doctrines different from what he taught, as well as my relationship with Mr. Armstrong. There have been other charges not worthy of comment. The biggest point is that I have been under ferocious attack, from all quarters, with nearly endless liesâutter, complete fictionsâroutinely told about me. (And I still amâas was Mr. Armstrong for a lifetime.)
Now for the barest facts regarding what I inherited from my father upon his death in October 1995. I have never written of it or until recently even told anyone about it.
First, I received one tiny store (about 1,500 sq. ft. retail space)ânot two or multiple stores, as some have claimed, and certainly not ones generating any kind of âwealth.â Far from it. It was Rod Meredith who started the lie that âDave Pack is a millionaire,â and this story grew long legs. I chose never to address his deceit, believing God knew the truth. But in the end, many have been hurt by his lie.
I virtually gave away the one store I received to my son in July 2000. It is the only store today, and both sons still work there. There has been no benefit coming to me now for many years, and very little before 2000. My dad was not wealthy, or even close to it. I did not even know his worth until after his death. His total estate was worth under the $600,000 federal taxable limit applicable in 1995 when he died. (And its âworthâ passed a federal audit.) That amount was split 10 ways (three children, seven grandchildren)! I got my parentsâ one store.
It has been said that I âinherited a large sum of moneyâ from my father. Thatâs utterly false. This has also been partially a result of Rod Meredithâs lie. I did not receive one dimeâor one penny!âin cash. The store yielded some money through April 1997â18 monthsâuntil I began preparation to open a second store in January 1998âwhich never did well and virtually ended my âextra incomeâ from May 1997 forward, now over 15 years ago. Realize that it took two-and-a-half years (until January 2010) before I could even pay for any of my wifeâs funeral expenses (she died in July 2007). These funds came from a very modest inheritance after my uncleâs death in the spring of 2009.
Work of Faith
Some claim that starting The Restored Church of God was not done âon faith as Mr. Armstrong didâ since I was âwealthyâ or a âmillionaire,â and that I used âmy millionsâ to start and maintain the Church. First, were this true, why would critics denigrate what would be unbelievable generosity? Why would this be included in a list of negatives about me? I wish I had become a millionaire and could have given millions to Godâs Church. But nothing like it ever happened.
More brief history. In March 1993, when I was the first pastor Joe Tkach fired and marked publicly on video (March 6 from Tampa, Florida), I had to act solely on faith. Again, I had been systematically underpaid for much of my ministry by a vindictive Joe Tkach who hated me in large part because of my relationship with Mr. Armstrong. I had no money in the bankânoneâwhen Dean Blackwell came from Pasadena (weeping at my front door and carrying flowers) with a nearby pastor to take my car, computer and Church files. The result: my wife and I had no second car even to get groceries. We walked. Two weeks of severance pay (plus a few days of my unused vacation pay) had to last for several weeks until I could be paid by Global.
Here is how I obtained a fleet car from the Global Church of God in March 1993: I took a personal cash advance (maximum amount, and to my limit) on my only credit card at the time for $4,000 and sent it to Rod Meredith so Global could buy a car in its name with my moneyâwith the hopes that they could pay me back in the future, sometime?!?! (Of course in time they did.) I was happy to do this because it could help a tiny organization that was only eight weeks old at the time get better established. This is all very different from the way UCG (or COGwa later) began en masse, where no faith was needed because thousands of brethren and hundreds of ministers were moving together, and with most having large WCG severance checks in hand. Incidentally, not one other Global or Living Church of God minister was asked or needed to do what I did.
I have almost no money in the bank today. Some think I am wealthy because I never explained any of this when I paid for dinner in their presence with the little extra that I had for a while. I probably on occasion did do some a disservice by not explaining this in the face of what they saw.
I did tell Rod Meredithâplainlyâthat I was not wealthy, but he did not believe it because I initially gave some of the little bit of early store income to Global. On November 1, 1995, just three days after my father had died, Rod Meredith reached across the table in a restaurant to take my wallet to remove and literally count my credit cards, bluntly asking (as he did several times later), âDave, are you a millionaire??â He wanted contributions from meâand said so repeatedly!âbut it was not there to give. On one occasion, about a year later, he actually got angry at me in front of five others at a restaurant because I offered to pay for the meal! He declared, âWe want you to give large donations, not pay for dinner.â Such was the man. Of course he will deny these stories for the same reason he invented the others about me! But they happened.
I have been forced to have more faith regarding money all through my adult life than in any other area where faith is required. It is almost humorous that people think I âhave money.â I am possibly now âupside downâ in my house. I lease one car. I wore the same two pairs of shoes from 1993 to 2006 because I could not afford new ones. Again, I have never asked for, or received, any benefits from The Restored Church of Godânone! The Board of Directors has asked me to take them, but respected my over 13 years of declining. At certain times when I did have a little extra money in our early years the reader can guess where it was sent.
I could ask at this point: Did you need these facts about my finances? And then, because of the âscurrilous misrepresentationsâ of my persecutors, there is the question of whether what I have written will be believed. Did I âmake it all upâ to deflect criticism or gain sympathy? (Realize there is much more to add if this were my motive.) But since this concern did not stop Mr. Armstrong from reporting to the Church the facts of his contributions, neither should it stop me from reporting the same thing to Godâs people at large.
For those who still doubt after this explanation, I could go on to ask: Must I post a picture of my house for people to accept how ridiculous the earlier discussed accusations are? Must they see my tax returns for several years to know that my salary was farâFARâbelow the figure quoted above, and how tiny my occasionally reported expenses have been, even as the leader of Godâs Church? Would the report need to be certified by accountants and attorneys for readers to believe it? And then would some still not believe the facts, since they were willing in the first place to seek the reports of liars, rumormongers, talebearers and false witnesses?
Now think about all that has been said and written about me. If it were all true, I would have had to get our staff, field ministry and thousands of brethren who stood up for the truth to falsely agree togetherâto conspire to lie with meâabout the facts in this article. (In fact, most of our Headquarters ministers read the contents of this article before posting.) Also, my daughter has been professionally trained in accounting and worked in our Business Office since early 2000. She has been aware of my finances for years, and would also have had to participate in any âcover-up.â
Few consider the source of accusations: For instance, how many know that the man who reported about my income and houseâto quote Paul, my modern âAlexander the coppersmith,â who âdid me much evilâ (II Tim. 4:14)âis publicly on record as vehemently against Mr. Armstrong, as well as for outright defending the devilâs conduct in the Garden of Eden. He bluntly disavows the Bibleâs validity and openly lampoons God!
Few know any of this about the early employee who attacked me. But thousands have read his lies. The same with Rod Meredithâsâand Joe Tkachâs. The outright falsehoods they toldâwhat I once thought would be easily seen to be obvious liesâhave taken on the same life through the years. Like Paul with Alexander, I am left to say, âThe Lord reward such men according to their works.â
Questionable Advertising Practices?
Some claim our advertising methods to the splinters are âwrongâ and amount to âsheep stealing.â First, we acknowledge our policy and practice, but not that it is wrong. Although our ad budget is focused mostly on the world, there remains an obligation to WARN Godâs people of IMPENDING PUNISHMENT if they do not anoint their eyes (Rev. 3:18)âif they do not repent and return to Godâs Church, Truth, Government and Work!
Understand. We have written much more literature to the world for those learning the truth for the first time (over 5,000 pages of books and booklets, plus articles) than for the splinter groups (2,100 pages of books) to help people escape the apostasy. I would never apologize for our practiceâand I would do 10 times more if I could! When I look at the absolutely HORRIFIC DOCTRINESââdamnable heresiesâ (II Pet. 2:1-2)âtaught by LCGâs, UCGâs and COGwaâs âleadersâ (PCG also), it is hard not to vomit.
The good news is that our warning is having a real effect!
While most of our growth is coming from the world, hundreds of people have come to us from LCG (the rate is speeding up), hundreds more from UCG, and more hundreds from PCG, plus from other smaller groups. Hundreds of former WCG brethren are coming with us after going home for years. ALL of the splinter leaders are savaging Godâs people with false doctrines that Mr. Armstrong decried time and againâand far beyond what occurred in what were called the âliberal yearsâ of the mid-70s. Mr. Armstrong would have disfellowshipped the entire LCG and UCG ministries ON THE SPOT before they got one-tenth the distance they have. How he dealt with all the 1970s liberals, including disfellowshipping Rod Meredith in 1979 for divisionâas well as so many others through the yearsâmakes this impossible to misunderstand.
Make no mistake. I will do everything in my power with Godâs help to WARN the remaining tens of thousands against the utter vileness that has been spewed on them by their leaders in the name of âtruthâ for almost 20 years. I speak here of much more than their evil governments. This is but the beginning of a long list of false doctrines for which Mr. Armstrong would THUNDER WARNING to those who would listen!
Some say Mr. Armstrong would not do what I am doing. I say he would! If I could, I would write every member in LCG, UCG, COGwa, PCG, and every other splinter and sliver, about the literally hundreds of wolves who are lying (doctrinally) to them from pulpits in the name of Herbert W. Armstrong.
If the reader is truly interested in seeing what Mr. Armstrong would doâand what he DID DO under less dire circumstances!âread an article I posted in March 2012 ââCry Aloud, Spare NotââWhat All Forgot.â Then hear a crucial sermon âThe âSynagogue of Satanâ Identifiedâand Marked!â I challenge you: read the article and hear the sermon! Then read in I John 2:18-19 of where the apostle John spoke of âmany antichrists,â but more importantly of where they came from.
Regarding the charge that âMr. Armstrong did not reach out and ârecruitâ Sardis,â understand that this era was spiritually dead. There were not many there to warn. Albeit in weak condition, many in the splinters are still (barely) spiritually alive. Incidentally, there is a quote in which Mr. Armstrong stated that he wrote all the Sardis people he knew when he leftâabout 300 names on a list. (He had no Internet to give worldwide reach as Google helps us do today.)
Mr. Armstrong was the âEzekiel watchmanâ to the nations of Israel and Judah when only PHYSICAL life was/is at stake in the Tribulation and Day of the Lord. How important by comparison is also warning spiritual Israel when ETERNAL life is at stake? What watchman who cared even a little for Godâs sheep would not do all in his power under todayâs circumstances? All the big splintersâ public sermons and broadcastsâI have heard manyâare so anemic they would have to get better to be called pitiful. Thousands know this. There is no real effort or even thinking at work in UCG, for instance, to warn the 630 million Israelites in 30 nations and territories today. LCG is doing almost nothing. COGwa has no extra money to do anything, and never will. But here, coupled with announcing the kingdom of God worldwide, urgency to warn drives all in Godâs Church like a POWERFUL ENGINE does a car! Sadly, many former WCG members cannot even remember such a driven mindset. But then they have not seen it in action for 27 years, since almost the day Mr. Armstrong died.
More could be said. But know that we apologize for nothing and rather are sorry we cannot do more! In time, we WILL!!!
My First Wifeâs Relationship with Mr. Armstrong
Certain detractors say that my first wifeâs 25-year personal relationship with Mr. Armstrong was simply her having âworked on some dinners at his home,â or having just been part of his secretarial âtyping pool.â Too much to outline here, my wife was very close with both Mr. and Mrs. Armstrongâand long before I was in the picture. Just after Carl McNair married her oldest sister in September 1961, she began a relationship with the Armstrongs starting at that Feast. (She had met the Armstrongs at the Feast of 1960, the year her sisters went to college.)
In 1963, as a freshman student, my wife began serving as one of Mr. Armstrongâs secretariesâuntil the Armstrongs personally took her on a ship (with a couple others) to Bricketwood in 1965 to stay for one year. At graduation in 1968 (after a fifth year back in Pasadena under Mr. Armstrongâs âtermsâ because she had requested a second year in England), she became one of Mr. Armstrongâs two personal secretaries for the next three years until our marriage in 1971, when her second secretarial stint ended.
Mr. Armstrong wanted to âknow meâ before he âsigned offâ on our engagement. He was so disappointed that he could not perform our weddingâhe had to be in the Philippinesâthat he called Shirley long-distance to speak for two hours after arrival there to give additional last-minute marriage counseling the day I graduated (June 4), two days before our wedding on June 6.
Mr. Armstrong more than once made sure that I heard the story about why Shirley was special to him, and how my big, gregarious, German father-in-law had made him âpromiseâ in 1963 to watch out for his âlast daughterâ so that she didnât marry the âwrong man.â Mr. Armstrong enjoyed my father-in-law, Mr. Peter Ochs, in a more than usual way. That quickly became obvious to me even before marriage. Incidentally, Mr. Armstrong reported for many years that Mr. Ochsâ Festival choir and music was the âbest in the whole Church.â
My Relationship with Mr. Armstrong
My relationship with Mr. Armstrong has not been immune to false accusations. Some have said I claimed to have been Mr. Armstrongâs âpersonal confidant.â I have never said this, and in fact was not. But my relationship with Mr. Armstrong was unusual, and close.
That I was a field pastor was helpful to Mr. Armstrong. During most of that period he was surrounded by administrators in Pasadena who had their own agendas. He was also somewhat isolated during the period he lived in Tucson. (A heart attack and marriage had temporarily taken him there.)
It was through phone conversations and several personal visits that I slowly began to realize my relationship with Mr. Armstrong had changed. I had become an advisor from the field perspective. Mr. Armstrong expressed that he appreciated frankness and honesty, even when it meant respectfully disagreeing (of course never on doctrine). He wanted that, and it stood in stark contrast to the usually sugarcoated, self-serving political anglings he so often experienced in Pasadena. Advisors there largely shielded him or told him what they thought he wanted to hear.
These are the facts! I did not come this far teaching the uncompromised truth to fabricate stories now. There were maybe one or two times through the years that Mr. Armstrong did not take my callâbut I was instructed to call him back a little later. I would. He never once ended the call, meaning he never a single time said that he âhad to go.â He called me a few times to read whole Co-worker Letters to me, and at least another time to read a short article I had suggested he write. He wanted my opinion on it.
Details of my relationship with Mr. Armstrong could continueâstarting with how he knew me from 1967 simply because I was a well-known swimmer on campus. But also because I was 6â 7â tall on a small campus. My marriage to his secretary served to solidify the relationship from 1971 forward. I later framed this in my mind as part of a crucial training under a special man toward an awesome responsibility at the end of the age.
Rewriting the Literature
Next is the accusation that our literature is all mere âcopiesâ of Mr. Armstrongâs books and booklets. First, any who read them know they are absolutely NOT copiesânot even a little!ânot a single sentence! And NONE of the books and booklets are paraphrased versions of Mr. Armstrongâs, but rather are completely rewritten, only containing the same truths he taught. I rewrote every one of Mr. Armstrongâs books and booklets (except Mystery of the Ages, which he felt was Godâs task for him as messenger to the sixth era of Godâs Church). None are copies. Why such a point would be on a list of ânegativesâ about meâthat Godâs truth was rewritten so thoroughlyâis beyond comprehension. No one else even began to take on such a daunting task.
There is a story behind how the literature was written so rapidly. I would arrive at the office at 8 oâclock every morning with my wife for almost five years (half Sundays included, having preached most Sabbaths). We would type most of each day until about 8 oâclock in the evening (sometimes later), until my wifeâs eyes began running with uncontrollable âtears,â not from crying but because she could no longer stare at the computer screen. (I had to watch carefully because she would not tell me, not wanting to break my thought pattern.)
In fact, for a three-and-a-half-year period, from December 2000 to the middle of 2004, neither of us ever stopped to eat lunchânot once!âand a late dinner came three or four times a week in the same nearby restaurant, often as late as 9 or 9:30 p.m.! (Also, we did not eat a single breakfast or a single lunch or dinner togetherânot oneâat the table at home from 1999 until the months she was dying in mid-2007. There was no time.) That workload would probably kill any three men lacking the help of God so obviously given to us.
Frankly, this may be a big reason my first wife is gone today. I walked around my office calling out the words (our nickname for me was the âcaged cougarâ) of each new book without any notesâNONE, there was no time to prepare anyâand only a Bible in my hand. (My wife had to just sit and type. That was harder. I could burn off stress and suppress my appetite with coffee.) My wife, many staff membersâand Godâknow this routine to be true. My first wife never complained a single timeânot once!âand in some ways it could be said she virtually died at her post where she sat having typed over two million words (plus scores of thousands of individual edits). All those who witnessed her efforts know that she would not have had it any other way.
It should be said that none of this was made any easier when Rod Meredith was telling so many appalling lies about us. After all, he had baptized my wife in 1963 as an 18-year-old Ambassador freshman.
Unprecedented Amount of Material
A helpful comparison, not said to boast but to clarify: Mr. Armstrongâs total lifeâs work (books and booklets) was 1,155,000 words (by a software word count). My books and booklets total over 2,900,000 words (approaching triple the numberânot including articles like theseâand in a fraction of the time, with endless other duties swamping my days)! Incidentally, all of this becomes a big reason I had to virtually give away my store in 2000.
I had to write much more than Mr. Armstrong because there was a need for additional literature not needed during his time. No one came to help, so I âsquared upâ and did what Mr. Armstrong didâwith the unending power of God so obviously making it possible! And this was while men in the splinters attacked and attacked and attacked me for what all of them collectively would not do. Denigrating statements about my having written mere âcopies of Mr. Armstrongâs materialâ dismiss and minimize what no other WCG minister would even attempt. Our critics have no idea the awesome size of what we offerâof what Godâs Spirit achieved!
All the reader needs to do is visit our websites and view all that is there, moving slowly, thoughtfully, title by title. But this wonât tell you the marvelous quality of the hardcopies we distribute, which some claim, âDo not even exist because RCG is merely an âInternet ministry.ââ We are far, far more than that. Look at the vastness of what we have, and what becomes the clear evidence of the Holy Spirit at work. Critics should think hard before attacking me. These in fact overcredit me because no human could do what was done on human power alone.
Try to summon Godâs Spirit as you read these words because the subject is not like a criminal court case, but rather one that demands the discernment that comes of that Spirit.
Believe me, I donât think for a minute that I could carry Mr. Armstrongâs water, and in probably any regard. But having also done almost 180 half-hour World to Comeâ˘ broadcasts and about 250 audios, with hundreds of sermons and scores of Bible studies just since May 1999âplus endless meetings and other duties, just one being the writing of well over 5,000 emailsâmy workload over the last 13+ years would stagger a whole herd of elephants. I know what Mr. Armstrong meantâlike no other minister alive today!âwhen he said that he lived, breathed and functioned by the power of God.
Oh, do I understandâŚ
Before undertaking the rewriting of Mr. Armstrongâs books, I called five copyright lawyers to see if I might paraphrase them sentence by sentence. Three of them said, âAbsolutely no problemâ because âideas cannot be copyrighted.â The fourth said, âHighly unlikely that paraphrasing is a problem.â The last one said, âIt is probably okay, but it is America and anybody can sue anybody.â I took the last manâs adviceâthe safestâand completely rewrote everything. I looked through Mr. Armstrongâs materials generally after the fact with each new book or booklet to be sure I had not missed critical points. (By the way, what many have called a truly inspiring story of this process can be found in chapter 16 of my book The Work of God â Its Final Chapter! It is titled âA Personal Story â Rewriting Mr. Armstrongâs Literature.â) My wife was permitted to live long enough to bring her high-speed typing to all but the last few books and booklets. Speed typing is not my strength, so someone else later typed in her place, just as someone else is typing this article.
Some claim that I teach doctrines contrary to Mr. Armstrong. That is pure fiction, coming from people who know it is. Our greatest strength is that we have not departed in any way from âhold that fast which you haveâ (Rev. 3:11) and âhold fast the faithful word as you have been taughtâ (Tit. 1:9). Knowing Mr. Armstrong was the prophesied Moses who laid the doctrinal foundation (Mal. 4:4) in the Church, we âcontinue in the things which we have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom we have learned themâ (II Tim. 3:14). We also do not deviate from Mr. Armstrongâs teaching, written and preached time and again, that truth only enters the Church through apostles, never committees or offices of lower rank (I have his many quotes).
This overall position forms what I have called the FOUR GREAT WALLS of defense against all forms of false teaching at the end of the age. Despite my office, I also am not permitted to overturn what Mr. Armstrong taught as doctrine. I have certainly added details (almost all in prophecy)âbut that is entirely different from supplanting established truth with something else, so commonly done today.
Beyond the flagrant sins of (1) rebellion against Godâs form of government, and (2) the adoption of the Protestant/apostate view of what IS the church, the big splinters have (3) all rejected the foundation laid by Mr. Armstrong and (4) the great truth that doctrine only enters the Church through apostles. Huge errors in themselves, these things have opened a Pandoraâs Box of other false ideas. For instance, and this is but the start of the list, virtually all of the splinters permit marriage âoutside the churchâ (after all, they say in effect, âWho knows where Godâs Church/Body of Christ starts and stops, anyway?â). And permit women to wear cosmetics. These groups almost all have âopen doorâ policies regarding who may attend, thus virtually inviting the world to come in and mingle with their churches. UCG has thrown out third tithe, inserted Jesus into the gospel of the kingdom of God (as has LCG, COGwa and COGaic), has ceased to warn the nations of modern Israel, has permitted all standards of personal decorumâhair, dress, jewelry, tattoos, music, etc.âto collapse. LCG, COGwa and COGaic have also permitted most or all these things. Much about the third of the Bible that is prophecy has also been abandoned, diminished, skewed or completely lost in the splinters. These are but a few false teachings so widespread today.
There is so much, much more that could make this list several pages in lengthâŚ
How Many Disfellowshipped?
Possibly more than any other single subject of rumors about me are the stories regarding supposed large numbers of people I disfellowshipped throughout my ministry. This has served to create a straw-manâthat of a harsh, merciless dictator who was constantly disciplining people and throwing them out of the Church. While this is ALL utter fiction, it does deserve comment.
Through the years I came to understand what was the crucial (but very rare) need to disfellowship people who did not belong in Godâs Church, according to His plain instruction. I only very infrequently had to do this. Any true minister knows that he has to occasionally remove people from membership, either to protect the Church, or even to protect the person from himself. To do otherwise is to disobey God. But, depending on the circumstances a pastor inherits, this is generally rare.
Incredibly, I have become a subject of legend in regard to something I almost never had to do! I very, very rarely had to disfellowship anyone. People who did not agree with the Church usually left on their own. A wise and skilled minister understands that people who do not belongâand we now know that scores of thousands never had Godâs Spirit in the WCGâcan be gently steered with a smile and handshake back to the world where they belong. I figured this out early on.
I did not have to put many people out of the Church. During the 1970s, there were maybe half a dozen where this happenedâand these were the âliberal years,â where thousands were leaving the Church worldwide. In the first half of the 1980s, after arriving in Buffalo, New York, I disfellowshipped an even smaller number. This was over a four-year and seven-month period. And that pastorate was in disastrous condition when I arrived, its previous pastor having just been himself disfellowshipped by Pasadena three days before I took over. The same condition was true of the Rochester and Syracuse congregations, demonstrated in part by its pastor leaving the Church (June 25, 1977) the day he gave his final sermonâand the very same day I arrived. Over 300 people had left these three congregations over the previous three years. Yet in each case, and spanning an eight-plus-year period, these pastorates quickly turned into the fastest growing congregations in the entire Church, worldwide, month after month. Church Administration, later renamed Ministerial Services, reported this to me time and again. I even got several visits from headquarters ministers (at least four I recall) asking me what it was that I was doing to achieve such growth. They also wanted to know things like why my Bible Study attendance was routinely triple or quadruple the percentage of most other pastorates. Their goal was to apply principles that they could use with the rest of the WCG ministry.
Of course, none of this is ever reported. It fights the false narrative about me.
In the latter half of the 1980s, I was not in a position to put anyone out of the Church, because Joe Tkach had reduced me to an Associate Pastor and sent me to New York City (as Mr. Armstrong was dying). Once I became a pastor again, from February 2, 1990 to March 2, 1993 (when I was fired from the WCG), there were only two people who had to be disfellowshipped in Akron, Ohio. Two ladies who went with PCG left me no choice. This congregation again became the fastest growing congregation in the United States, even while the rest of the Church had begun to decline in attendance, with the highest attendance at the Feast of Tabernacles having been the year 1990 (151,601 attended the Feast that year). We all know what happened over the years that followed.
Between March 1993 and May 1999, while I was in the Global Church of God, there were only two people (there may have been a third) that I disfellowshipped. Stories told by Rod Meredith to the contrary are completely false. Incidentally, one of the two people was able to come back to Church soon after and thanked me for having put him out. Of course, Rod Meredith is sure to never mention that I raised up over 40 congregations in the Global Church of God, personally inviting about 1,000 people to services.
Today, in The Restored Church of God, we are almost 14 years old. In that time, I have not disfellowshipped even one person anywhere in the world. Our Church Administration Department began in 2003. It, and our ministry worldwide, have rarely (only a handful of times) had to disfellowship anyone over the nine years that followed.
While my detractors will state that this report is false, I assert that it is TRUE! Others at our Headquarters would vouch for its veracity. Those who think that others in our office would conspire with me to lie about such matters are not the kind of people who could be helped by this article.
My first wife always marveled that I disfellowshipped so few peopleâeven when I was serving in terribly divided pastorates where almost everything imaginable had been permitted before I arrivedâbut that other ministers could disfellowship many more people than I and never be questioned about it because of who they knew. She said this many times.
I recognized that there was a âlegendâ slowly growing up about me that was pure fiction. Throughout my ministry, I had to live with the reality of being accused by ministers that I knew to be of a different spiritâmen who were not converted. (Time proved this.) My wife was more than right. These same men actually got away with terrible wrongs themselves. These accusers often abused and neglected their pastorates, then got away with it due to connections in Pasadena. That they would attack me when they experienced the naturally resulting decline in growth that their conduct brought was at times very hard to bear. But Christians are to endure such things looking to God.
In the end, the tragedy is not my bruised ego or reputation, but the fact that Godâs people are fed lies and my ministry and the Work of God today have been clouded by rumors. Those with Godâs Spirit will decide if what they have just read is true.
Through the Decades
Here are a series of additional items where facts are helpfulâthings that are generally NOT known about my ministry, but that are true.
For my entire ministry, I sought to âthink out of the box.â This habit started in childhood simply by being born to the particular parents that I came from. Mr. Armstrongâs example enhanced this influence. It was important to me to always relate my pastorate to the greater overall Work of God. Constantly on my mind through the decades was âWhat else can I do? How can I make the whole Work bigger?âmake it more effective? Is there anything I am missing that could make a difference?â (When understood, this is the very reason I am writing this long, time-consuming article.)
A way in which ministers could directly serve Godâs Work was through Headquarters inviting local Plain Truth subscribers to Public Bible Lectures (PBLs). Beginning in the mid-1970s, I conducted more of these lectures than almost all other ministers. In the spirit of the previous paragraph, I added a feature to my lectures. It involved asking Headquarters to send us one copy of every piece of literature the Church had, along with 10 of the larger, more important books or booklets. At first Pasadena balked over the cost, but later saw the approach was effectiveâthat it brought growth. They never hesitated again to send what was requested. I heard at one point that this began to be employed in PBLs elsewhere because it was demonstrated to make a difference.
I later took the idea further, suggesting that Headquarters send a senior ministerâa recognizable name from The Plain Truthâto my area. My thought was: If Bible Lectures were successful with only a local minister present, how much more fruitful might they be if a recognized representative visitedâa World Tomorrow broadcast presenter? Pasadena was intrigued. This idea later spawned a program in which for a short while various of these men were sent to large American cities to give lectures.
It was surprising to me that more ministers did not use this tool (PBLs) very often to expose local residents to Godâs truth. Of course, some did. I made sure the PBLs occurred all through each of my pastorates (every 12-18 months), and made sure that as many local brethren as possible were involved in some way in their success. They loved playing a part, and it served to unify and excite the congregation for a period before and after the lectures. Just recounting it recalls fond memories.
I was the pastor who developed the Plain Truth Newsstand Distribution Program into what it ultimately became. I did not originate the program, but carefully structured it in a way that Pasadena could maximize its effectiveness, should they wish to extend my ideas to all pastorates. They did. But you need not believe my report on this. Anyone who has the old Distribution Manual will see that it is based on Buffalo, New York maps, and what I wrote up for Headquarters to employ everywhere.
Similarly, I saw that Youth Opportunities United (Y.O.U.)âthe Churchâs formal program to develop its teenagersâwas starting at too late an age (13) to effectively shape young minds. I had three children (2, 7 and 9) at the time (1982), and saw the need to begin with children as young as five. So I developed a local program in Buffalo for 5 to 12-year-olds. It was tremendously successful (we had a childrenâs choir of 99, which we fit on the stage at one time!), and involved a variety of sports, camping and fundraising ideas, plus Bible classes, to teach, unify and bond the children. Pasadena found out about it and asked me to write up what I was doing. I didâand the result was Youth Educational Services, or Y.E.S. as it came to be known. This is why Godâs Church today does so much for its youthâmore than all the other groups combined!
Understand. I am not writing these things to gain credit, but rather to explain the truth of my ministry.
I wrote a number of articles for The Good News magazine that did not get me a pay raise or a bonus. I wanted to serve and help people as far and wide as I could. Others in the field ministry wrote, but these men were few. I held annual regional activities for singles, as well as certain annual sporting tournaments, which always involved hundreds of people. The last singles activity I held, in 1992, was attended by 400 singles from 38 states. My pastorates fundraised on behalf of the Work tens of thousands of dollars that could be sent to Pasadena, and not just during the one or two times that Pasadena asked congregations to collectively do this. A sermonette seminar that I gave in Syracuse in the spring of 1978 was developed into a very extensive handout, which found its way to Dean Blackwell in Pasadena. I learned that, for the next 15 years, it was used as a speech preparation tool at Ambassador College (still carrying my byline). My son called me in 1991 to tell me it was a speech handout that his class was to study.
Most other ministers just never did any of these kinds of things, never mind on a regular basis. Sadly, all of these activities served an additional hidden purpose that I found myself up against: they caused a very real resentment from pastors around me who thought I was âhorn-tootingâ or âgrandstandingâ to impress Pasadena. I was making them âlook bad.â Rather than copy the parts that would have helped their service to Godâs people, they chose to spread rumors about me. It is some of these very rumors that have taken on a life of their own and led to this article.
Joe Tkach and a couple men around him were able to actively nurture and use this resentment against me to their advantage. He literally ordered five pastors who lived nearby to âwrite me upâ in the summer of 1985, just before Mr. Armstrong died. Two of these men called me about six months later to confess what they and three others had done, and to relate how they were given âno choice.â These five men today have all completely left Godâs Way. One stayed in the WCG. Another stayed there and had a complete nervous breakdown. Another became an alcoholic. Another one gave up all of the truth and went homeâŚand so on.
Yet so many have come to believe what men like these, working in concert with men like Joe Tkach in his time, and later Rod Meredith for the same reasons, had simply invented. Again, those led by Godâs Spirit will decide if all that they have just read is true.
Letâs talk about fruits TODAY! I never cease to be sad when I think of how others could experience what we experience on a daily basis all through Godâs Churchâand in so many ways (certainly not perfectly). The peace, happiness, love, extraordinary unity of doctrine and purpose, zeal, unrelenting sacrifice, efficiency and productionâso much wonderful FRUIT!âare almost physically palpable in Godâs Church. (Just our rented office, over 20,000 square feet, entirely remodeled as a labor of love for the owners by volunteer work over the years, would astonish the reader as it does everybody who sees it.) None of this speaks to regular dramatic healings, demons cast out, many miracles, open doors, blessings and incredible GROWTH in all statistical categories (including over 20% growth on average in Church attendanceâfor 13 years runningâthe last four averaging almost 25%).
Our income in 2011 was 102.2% above 2010. 2012 greatly exceeded 2011. (Both of these years and several before them have been in a terrible economy.) Our income has averaged about 35% increase annually for 13 years, well above the robust 20% growth in Church attendance. (A sharp increase in co-workers and donors has long made this difference.) Letâs ask: What happens when the full effect of national television kicks in? And when our beautiful world Headquarters campus opens in May 2013? More doors seem to be opening (some have already) to world leaders. Newspapers across the world are doing articles about us (check the Internet), and we are told by sources that this is just warming up. We will have over 110 employees just at Headquarters (about 80 now) by next summerâwith full-time ministers across the world being in addition. Massive high-quality literature inventory is permitting us to follow through with ALL of this! While enemies predict we wonât finish our building project, we are not even using a bank! We are on an entirely cash basis on our first multi-million-dollar building. (Time will tell if it stays that way with other buildings scheduled to follow soon.)
During this same period, we actually were able to undertake national television, and to hire many more ministers and staff. We have also been able to increase our literature budget by 11 timesâor 1,000%!!!âat the same time. These are all evidence that GOD IS WITH USâbecause no man or men could do these things, whether Mr. Armstrong, me or anyone else.
SEE THESE THINGS! Ignoring them will come at a terrible price!
City Set on a Hill
If individual Christians are each by themselves a âcity set on a hill that cannot be hidâ (Matt. 5:14), as with our beautiful, developing campus, todayâs Church and Work is truly Godâs âGREAT city set on a hill whose fruit cannot be hid.â
An unbelievably powerful Work is underway in The Restored Church of God. This is because we did not break the grand pattern set by Mr. Armstrongâany of it! It is because Jesus Christ actually does HEAD this Church. In one to two years maximum, the profile of Godâs Church and true Work will be beyond imagination. It will take your breath and leave your ears ringing. The good news is that more ministers and members are leaving ALL of the splinters to return to Godâs one Church. Thousands will join us, and you will see it! This means our power, impact and growth will be further affected upward. We expect to be the largest presenceâthe loudest voice!âin religious television in the world some time in 2014, and maybe before. And this will be backed up by the largest amount of literature ever compiled by any single organization on the face of the earth.
One could only wish that students at UCGâs âBibleâ Center, LCGâs âUniversityâ and PCGâs âCollegeâ could see the Ambassador Wayâthe true, pure, wonderful AMBASSADOR WAYâstill at work as before at our Ambassador Center. Several hundred students and graduates all tell the same story. Even the Envoys that we produce are of the same quality every year as those of 40 years past.
Finally, I urge every reader to view all of our 63-minute âBehind the Work 2012â film, which presents an eye-opening look at Godâs Work around the world. You will be glad you did. In fact, you will almost not believe what you may be about to view. You are challenged to contrast it with the truly sad, tragic productions by other groups in 2012 (but also every year).
See if you do not come away tremendously inspired by what you may have thought was gone forever!
Focus Away From the Man
Mr. Armstrong long ago offered an instructive statement to Godâs people about what should be their focusâtruth, not any human being. His words seem more instructive and important today:
âWHO AM I? A false prophet, or a man sent from God with a Message? Do you know they asked Jesus Christ that question?
âThey asked John the Baptist. Was he the Christ? Was he Elijah? No, he answeredâhe was merely a voice in the wilderness of religious confusion. But the man is not importantâit is his Message.
âWhy do people seem always to want to follow a man? Why do they look to the man, himselfâand either become a follower of him, or an accuser and persecutor? Why must they look to the man instead of the truth?
âThe enemies of the truth know this trait of human nature. And they utilize it to turn people away from the truth by discrediting the person who proclaims it. Or else they seek to attract people to their false way by exalting the person of their leader, and inducing people to follow that person.â
âDo you want to know who I am? Well, who I am is not important. But if you want to know the truth about it, do not ask those who are imbued with this worldâs competitive spirit. They canât tell you the truth about who I am, or whether what we proclaim is true, because they donât know! If you want to know about me personallyâitâs not importantâbut if you still want to know, ask me, not uninformed enemies. [Authorâs note: I ask this same question of those who are uncertain as to whether they should believe attacks against me.]
âCheck up, as the Bereans did on the Apostle Paulâthey listened with open minds, unprejudiced, then searched the scriptures, whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).
âIf we proclaim the truthâif we make it plain and understandable, and lead you to the truth which you prove to be the truth, then believe that truth.
âLook to the Fruits. By the thousands, people are being convertedâtheir lives changedâbrought to Christ and the Kingdom of God. Christâs own gospel is being proclaimed, as a witness, to the whole worldâon every inhabited continent. Godâs own flock is being fed. Those brought to Christ, and who through Him are now begotten children of God, are finding happiness and joy that literally radiates in their lives! The sick are being healed. Future leaders in Godâs work are being trained in Godâs Colleges. Those are the fruits. This is the work where God is working. [Authorâs note: Today, this paragraph describes The Restored Church of God.]
âYes, even as Jesus, the living head of this work of God said: âThough you believe not me, believe the Work [of God], that you may know âŚâ
âBe a follower of jesus christâI am not seeking followers of my own. Donât be a follower of a manâbut of christ!â
PT, Personal, Sept. 1963
In like manner, throughout our splinter material, we urge people to prove that we teach the full truth, and that we emphasize and do the true Work of Godâproclaiming the kingdom of God to the world and Ezekielâs warning to the modern nations of Israelâexactly as Mr. Armstrong did! Christâs flock is being fed and lives are being changed. Millions are hearing of Godâs Way, thousands are learning why they were bornâand hundreds are being baptized and converted each year.
God Selects His Leaders
One final quote from Mr. Armstrong is truly instructive at this point for those who will receive it. As you read it, set aside Joe Tkachâs appointment because he completely fell out of the equation for those who understand what God has done over the last 27 years. Mr. Armstrong was speaking in a July 21, 1978 Headquarters Bible Study about Zerubbabelâs temple and the proper view of how God would replace him if he died:
âAre you worried about if anything happens to me? Iâm not. I know that God will do one of two things: Heâll either keep me alive or Heâll raise up the right man, thatâll be His man. And it wonât be someone that you people are going to vote on. Youâll have nothing to say about it!â
It is time to step back and see the big picture. Think for a moment about the leaders of LCG, UCG, PCG, COGwa, COGaic, going carefully through the names in your mind. Which of these (other names also apply) did not either: (1) appoint himself out of the gate, or (2) receive the top office through votingâearly on or after someone else was âvoted outâ? Never mind for the moment that none of these men have held to the truth.
My story is very different. After being fired, I sought a faithful leader over a period of six years and two months. Like Mr. Armstrong, the top position was given to meâand at least in part because I never sought it. Certainly my peers or âthe peopleâ did not select me. No one else would teach the whole truth! My trouble came when I would accept nothing else.
In light of the above quotes, like everyone else, and like Godâs choice of Mr. Armstrong, I also had ânothing to say aboutâ who God chose to finish His Work. In the beginning I supported other men after leaving the Worldwide Church of God. I had to learn that Rod Meredith and Raymond McNair were both false. God had not picked them to take up the baton. He had selected someone else.
Where Godâs chosen leader is not present as the human leader of an organization, and a Board of Directors or elected eldership has voted in its leader, that leader has, in fact, accepted the authority of a board over him. It would be utterly dishonest for a man to claim that God installed him into leadership, when it was a committee of men who cast ballots placing him into office over the organization he âleadsâ!
The leader of Godâs Churchâthe man whom God has chosenâwould NEVER allow himself to be voted into office by a group of any kind in the first place.
Godâs leader is always placed into office by Christ after he has been carefully trained and preparedâafter he has endured numerous trials and tests, designed to ensure that he would never compromise, with either the truth or Godâs Work, once God has installed him into office! This training process, of necessity, ensures that Godâs selected leader must lead an organization coming from the humblest possible beginningâwhere the fruits of growth, works and truth expand around and under him, after he began essentially aloneâas Mr. Armstrong did. He cannot rise through the ranks of an already-existing organization run by committee without having to derive his authority from the committeeâs decision to hand him the top position.
What committees of men can give, they can also take away! UCG has done both numerous times.
Any large organization beginning with hundreds or thousands of people, and involving many ministers, like UCG or COGwa, would automatically face the difficult question at the outset of âWho is in charge?â Of necessity, because it started this way, such a group would think it had no choice but to elect a leader. Think this through, recognizing that Godâs chosen leader would never participate in such a process. It would be anathema to him. Of course, UCG and COGwa justify their rejection of Godâs method of selection, in place of their own, by continually asserting that God has not yet made clear His choice for them to follow. Ask: Who among them is looking to see if God has sent another chief human shepherd today? We will momentarily return to this issue twice more.
I repeat: The Government of God â Understanding Offices and Duties is of titanic importance to those who really want to know why all the confusion and chaos of the Laodicean age. The reader must study and grasp the contents of that book. It is unlike anything you have ever read on this subject, and recaptures the truth of Godâs government that so many have lost.
I implore you to carefully consider the spiritual logic of what Mr. Armstrong understood when he left Sardis with only 13 brethren joining his family of six. This represented truly the humblest of beginnings, yet it began an organization that eventually grew to enormous size, and impacted every corner of the world. This was because of the miraculous power of God working through the man that He had chosen and sent.
Be careful not to overlook the message God sent within Mr. Armstrongâs example!
A New Leader Chosen
God has selected a new leader for His Church. Just as Mr. Armstrong would not apologize for Godâs decision to use him, neither can I. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that God selected me is because I never sought this officeânever dreamed for a split second that God could have this position in mind for me. (If I am accused otherwise, that is someone elseâs error.)
With all of my faults and weaknesses, only God knows why I could be useful as His tool. But this much I can sayâI never once looked in the mirror, in the 28 previous years I had served in Christâs ministry, and said anything akin to, âBehold, I am Godâs answer!â
I never did. Prior to being fired from the Global Church of God in the spring of 1999, the fact that God had selected me for a special purpose had not occurred to me, even once. Only at that timeâthree weeks before God established The Restored Church of Godâdid I begin to look back at my remarkable training and experience, and conclude that God had been preparing me for a very long time. And this only came to me because I could no longer find a single senior minister, or even one trained minister, who was fully holding to all the truth I treasured.
When I was finally forced to look back at my years of preparation and experience, one of the things I saw was that I had been, in part, trained personally by Mr. Armstrong during the first 15 years of my ministry (again, after marrying his secretary in 1971). I recognized that I had been prepared to be able to continue the Work as he had done it. I was familiar with how he thought in a host of ways that would be invaluable to anyone who was thrust into what had to be done. And I remembered he had repeatedly said that he would âwalk across the street and start overâ if necessary.
This meant there was no excuse for not being willing to do the same. While the amount of work necessary to press on was beyond what I could at that point comprehend, the training was in place from Mr. Armstrongâand Godâand I was only left with whether I would follow through as he would.
In addition, God had caused me to travel an extremely difficult courseâyou have read only summary excerpts of itâas He does with all His leading servants, in preparation for the time to gather all the rest of Godâs peopleâthose with His Spiritâback to His Church after the apostasy. I did not appoint myself. No one else came alongâand believe me, I searched for someone who was not compromising!
Of course, many will never accept Godâs selection. This is true even among those who still feel that God only works through one man at a time. If they do not âanoint their eyesâ first, they will notâactually cannotâlook with the right criteria in mind. To understand this process, read my book âAnoint Your Eyesâ â Christâs Warning to His People.
Blind Splinter Leaders
Consider again the well-known thinking of the twelve-man, elected committee that leads UCG, still having the largest number of people who âsurvivedâ the falling away. Their leaders plainly adopted democratic government, where the elected committee then votes on who should be their leader for a set âterm of office.â They justify such appalling confusionâwhere the tail wags the dogâby stating, again, âGod has not raised up a single man, as with Mr. Armstrong. If He did, we would follow him!â Several there have told me this in social settings over the years.
God has selected His leader, but they do not follow. Why?
To appreciate their âchurchview,â take a glance back to the final years that the leaders of UCG and COGwa remained in the Worldwide Church of God. This includes the period through the spring of 1995 (many ministers who went with other groups also left at either this same time or only slightly earlier). These leaders compromised, appeased, politicked and played along, while at the same time being perfectly willing to sit in the presence of the false, pagan trinitarian god for 2Â˝ years after it was introduced in late 1992! Facts are stubborn things. And the facts of history are that most of these men accepted this false godâthey ALL tolerated itâand only later conveniently reassessed their position to one degree or anotherânever publicly.
Subsequently, having absorbed dozens of false doctrines and ideas to which they had unconsciously grown accustomed, these ministers left at the last possible moment, when they saw the membership leaving without them. They saw themselves about to permanently lose their paychecks if they did not immediately follow thousands of tithepayers out of the WCG. But, not wanting to appear to be followersâand horrified that many who were leaving were either joining or contemplating joining one of the two established, more doctrinally conservative splinters of the time (GCG and PCG)âthey quickly jumped in front of the departing flock, claiming to be their leaders.
However sincere these men may beâthen or nowâthey have a long history of deep blindness! Of course most of them will never follow me as I follow Christ (I Cor. 4:16; 11:1). Of course they will not recognize where and through whom God is working. Of course they will not give up their power, authority and influence. And of course they spin stories about me, as do so many others, to frighten as many brethren as possible into remaining frozen where they sitâbecause this keeps the tithes rolling in.
Many of these leaders also enjoy a relatively good relationship with the leaders of the other organizations, because the beliefs and practices of the big splinters are much more similar than these leaders are willing to admit. However, because none of these leaders are willing to give up their individual seats of power, organizations that could otherwise probably be combined remain separate.
I repeat: The reader will want to listen to my sermon âThe âSynagogue of Satanâ Identifiedâand Marked!â
Those Not Prepared
Understand that I am not trying to attack these men. What is taking place behind the scenes, if you knew the truth, is the opposite of thisâand by now you may understand that their attacks on me started long before any of us left the WCG. I am relating certain events so that you can understand how virtually ALL of the splinter leaders think. They ALL share a complete blindness that prohibits their ability to see how much truth they have lostâand where the one organization is that has not compromised any of it.
Again, God thoroughly trains His servants over a long period of difficult coursework. His choice could never be one of the âgolden boysââthe âbeautiful people.â These are the ones who generally attained high office through political dexterity and smoothness, and by rarely taking tough stands or making difficult, unpopular decisionsâunless it personally advanced them.
I have known many men who are gifted at âwalking the halls of powerâ and only rarely offending any of the many constituents that they felt they must please, if they were to continue in officeâand to continue advancing. Such âleadersâ would automatically draw large numbers of followers simply because they were âname brandsââand because they have such smooth, comfortable personalities, good at telling people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. These are some of the same men who were (still are) able to secure enough votes to be installed into UCGâs or COGwaâs top positions. They are men like Rod Meredith who can cover up their own sins and false teachings for years and get away with it. That takes a certain âskill.â
May God help you see this.
Ask yourself: Why do so many people look for a leader to follow among those who played along and sat silent with little or no resistance for years while Mr. Armstrongâs successors slaughtered scores of thousands of Godâs peopleâtheir brethren? Why do so many want to be ledâagain!âby such weak non-leaders? Why would anyone want to follow followers, let alone a second time? Yet, so many do. And why would one want to follow a leader like Rod Meredith who long ago so openlyâand OBVIOUSLYâdisqualified himself as a man of God?
Understand the following: Mr. Armstrong could never have picked the one whom God would use as the true successor to lead His Church. If he had, Godâs purpose for the apostasyâto test which brethren in the Church loved all of His truth and way of lifeâwould have been thwarted. Godâs people would also never have gone on to face the second stepâand testânow upon them, that of leaving bickering, disagreeing splinters to return to Godâs one Church.
Fix this firmly into your thinking!
Before God can use the man He has chosen, all of the manâs coursework, suffering, training and experience must be in place. Eventually God would have to make His choice known for those waiting to return to His Church. Self-appointed, compromised, cowardly leadersâblind to the age, lacking true training for the job, and seeing Godâs choice as a rivalâwould have to denigrate that man. They would have to! Their blindness, and the general nature of how they conducted their ministry for years, prohibits them from understanding his leadership. After all, they have proven they never understood Mr. Armstrongâs leadership style!
The Worst Hypocrisy
Letâs consider one final time the United Church of God, and also COGwa, for a message they carryâthat the committees leading them believe God has not raised up one man to follow. Again, they repeatedly declare that if He had, they would follow that manâand that if God does in the future, they will yet follow him.
Such phoninessâsuch hypocrisy! Who is kidding whom?
Many questions ariseâfor them and for you: Have they sought that man? Have they examined the fruit of possible candidates in their thinking? Do they know what to look for? Where do they think this man will come from? If they are eliminating possibilitiesâministers or organizationsâare they doing this on the right basis? Do they concern themselves with, or even once think about, the doctrines this man would have to be teachingâand how many teachings they would have to change to follow him? Do they realize that this man could notâand would neverâcompromise Godâs government as they do? Is there a working plan in place for how to close down UCG (and COGwa) and follow him when he arrives? I speak as a fool.
Most important, have they sought Godâs guidance to find this leader, perhaps collectively praying and fasting in their search? Then, have they considered that God would never condone their âwaitingâ for such a man under completely unbiblical forms of government? Do these men actually believe that they will suddenly be willing to come under the authority of one man again after so many years of following leadership by âconsensusââwhere they had a vote and âvoiceâ?
Again, who are they kidding with such mind-boggling hypocrisy?
No serious personâone who even begins to think this throughâcould possibly believe the elected bunch professing this is actively doing ANY of these things! Like the researchers seeking a cure for cancer, this gang knows if they actually find the man they often described as âthe one through whom God is workingâ they will be out of a job. Do not let this committee deceive you into believing that you can safely trust them to let you know when they have located âGodâs man.â They are not looking for him. They have no plan or process in place to find himâand are not about to devise one! (We could say humorously that it is surprising they have not appointed a committee for this purpose since they have one for everything else!) But neither are most ministers in LCG looking for Godâs leaderâbecause they assume that they have already found him. How desperately wrong they areâŚ
Willing blindness has covered so many eyes. But they are without excuse. Like so many todayâif these men were lookingâthey would be inclined to seek one whom men speak well of, even though Christ said, âBeware when all men speak well of you.â Will you follow them, or men like them? Is their shallow, phony, self-serving âpromiseâ to âjoin forcesâ good enough for you?
Be sure that YOU are not looking to follow one who âplayed the game,â rose to the top, and has the approbation of men.
Pause and consider yourself. Think hard. After witnessing apostate leaders, coupled with one or more compromised splinter leaders, including Gerald Flurry, who began the first splinter in December 1989, and who has used government to brutalize his flock, you are presented with a personal choice. Mr. Armstrong consistently taught, âGod always works through one man at a time.â Therefore, you must either: (1) Conclude that the system of government led by one man was wrong, because it was capable of producing bad leaders, and support putting power into the hands of an elected committee to select your leader, or (2) in faith, determine to find the uncompromising man whom God has trained and raised up.
There are no other choices. Carefully think this throughâthere are no other choices!
Godâs government was restored to the sixth era of His Church. Mr. Armstrong taught that âgovernment is everythingâ (his words). No apostate leader or any man carries the authorityâor the powerâto permanently banish or remove that government from Godâs Church. Neither can they alter its form. The government of God is found where His full truth is taught and practiced, where the gospel is being preached to the whole world, where the special warning is being given to the great nations of modern Israel, where the flock is being properly fed, and where Jesus Christâs appointed leader is found.
There can be only one such place!
Never forget! Human beings enjoy hearing what they want to be told. Many people throughout the splinters and slivers are more than happy to hear lies and deceit, rather than the truth of a matter, especially in regard to obeying God. This is why there are so many successful deceivers at work today. These simply offer people what they want!
Titus warns of âgainsayersâŚvain talkers and deceiversâŚwhose mouths must be stoppedâ because they âteach things which they ought not, for filthy lucreâs sakeâ (1:9-11). In the end, false teachers always have a money angle hidden in their teachings. II Peter 2:3 shows that it is through âcovetousness which they with feigned words make merchandise of you.â Another way of stating this is false prophets try to deceive you so they can take your money!
Do you believe plain warnings? Will you allow yourself to be made into merchandise?
Here are two remarkable scriptures about how human beings enjoy false ideas, rather than what God actually says: âA wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means [not according to Godâs Law, His government or His appointment]; and My people love to have it so: and what will you do in the end thereof?â (Jer. 5:30-31). Reread the last phrase as many times as necessary until you can see where wrong choices always END (Prov. 14:12; 16:25)!
The second passage: âThis is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceitsâ (Isa. 30:9-10).
Ancient Israel enjoyed hearing lies from false prophets. Why? Because they DID NOT WANT TO OBEY GOD! They, like thousands today in the splinters, preferred to hear false leaders tell them they did not need to change their ways. They, like millions today, preferred to continue in sin and hear false prophets tell them that âno evil will come upon themâ (Jer. 23:17)! Israelâs deceitful heart would not allow them to admit their errors and turn to God. Neither will thousands in the splinters do this. But you might.
So many today have âitching ears.â Do you? When outrageous statements are madeâabout anyoneâdo you just believe them, simply because they âseem credible,â or because there appears to be âoverwhelming evidenceââin other words, because a group of liars has banded together? Their lies should still be obvious for what they are.
Many people come together for evil purposes. Some gather to commit crimes. Others to perpetrate terrorist acts. Still others for group sexual immorality. Others organize to deliberately undercut, through use of âdirty tricks,â political opponents. Think. All of these groups practice an automatic additional sin. They must cover up their purpose through deceit. In other words, they are forced to add lie upon lie to hide actions. Of course, these kinds of people are of the world and recognized to be unconverted. Such conduct is expected there.
But why do so many among Godâs peopleâwho have been plainly taught by God to know betterâfail to recognize that the same kind of carnal people, this time among and leading the splinters, could, willâand do!âgather for malicious intent, whether willful or themselves deceived? Matthew 13:24-30 explains that the devil has been permitted by God to sow tares into Godâs field. More should have remembered this. You are responsible before god for recognizing their actions at work!
There is a âplusâ to Internet attacks against The Restored Church of God and me. They serve to screen from joining us most of those not committed to following the full truth and to doing the Work. If people will not cut through the silly nonsense of such obviously false charges against either Godâs Church or me (but also invented charges still occurring today against Mr. Armstrong), they do not belong in Godâs Church. In this way, âAll things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purposeâ (Rom. 8:28) applies to us. It can be said that the long list of ridiculous stories about me performs a certain âgoodâ in this way. We understand Godâs winnowing and sifting process (I Cor. 11:19; I John 2:19).
The Internet: God long ago understood and purposely allowed the creation of this amazing technology. It plays a central role in His end-time Plan for all converted people. Each person must fight his way through endless lies (assuming one has also been foolish enough to seek or listen to them in the first place) as part of the process of choosing where he will resideâincluding whether he will ultimately choose to thrust himself into the lake of fire!
What âEvil Reportsâ Should Teach
II Thessalonians 3:1-2 describes âunreasonable and wicked menâ plaguing the apostle Paul. This passage includes his instruction to pray for Godâs ministers so the âword of the Lord may have free course [Greek: âspeed onâ].â Paul was an authority on what he was inspired to write about.
A spiritual principle, related to how evil reports about a faithful minister should be received, is contained in II Corinthians 6:3-10. Paul explained that âevil reports,â mixed with âgood reports,â and charges of being a âdeceiver,â when he was âtrue,â actually validated his role as Godâs servant and apostle! He described his life as full of âdistressesâ and âtumultsâ (Greek: âtossings to and froâ). My ministry testifies to these things. But they are true of every faithful leader of God.
Take time for a moment to read this eye-opening longer passage. It contains 28 different phrases that are inseparable from the lives of ministers God is using. If you read it, you will never view these menâs role or their âprofileâ the same again.
Have you recognized that charges of deceit and evil reports about a man can help identify him as Godâs servant? Are you surprised Paul was considered to be a deceiver?âthat there were evil reports about him? These accusations surely turned some aside from entering and remaining in Godâs Church and following one of His greatest servants (I Cor. 4:16; 11:1). They can turn you aside from Godâs Church and Work today.
Proof of a manâs life or ministry never rests solely in good reports, honor, and acceptance by society or peers. This has never been the case even with worldly leaders, let alone with those God has raised up. There will inevitably be accusations, slander, every kind of evil report and shame brought to bear upon Godâs servants. Those led by the Spirit of Godâthe âSpirit of Truthâ (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13)âwill see beyond smokescreens from the accuser of the brethren. Remember, Paul also cited public beatings, imprisonment, and even a stoning, as proof of his apostleship!
Have you considered these thingsâor even known of them before?
All of the explanations presented in this article necessarily force you to examine the office I hold. I am either a true apostle or a false apostle. I cannot be both or half of each. It must be one or the other. I know this. You must know which it is. I either was âgivenâ (Eph. 4:11-12) by Christ to be an apostle (like Herbert W. Armstrong), or took the office to myself (like Joseph W. Tkach). The fruit and proof of my apostleship is inseparable from the fruit and proof associated with Godâs Church. Much of the answer to the question of my office is addressed in various of my booksâparticularly The Government of God and âAnoint Your Eyesââbut also in certain sermons discussing my office that are available on our website.
All who profess to be true followers of Christ: Do not listen to rumors, gossip and talebearingââevil reports.â Reject them. Do your own thinking. Understand that there are âinventors of evil thingsâ (Rom. 1:30) abroad in the worldâand throughout the splinters. Christians must endure âall manner of evil said against [them] falsely for [Christâs] sakeâ (Matt. 5:11-12). Recognize the great power of lies and deceit, and the devilâs murderous determination to use his agents to employ these things on Godâs servants (John 8:44) to scare themâto scare you!âaway from the only place God is leading and working. These agents can be false apostles, false prophets, false evangelists or false pastors and elders.
Those with Godâs Spirit are to see His fingerprints. So much the more when they are as obvious as they are with us.
If you are willing to take seriously Godâs instruction on these matters, then review the following verses (among many others), perhaps regularly. They are Godâs plain instruction to you about matters described in this article. Read and think:
- âAn ungodly man digs up evilâŚin his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man sows strifeâ (Prov. 16:27-28).
- âA lying tongue hates those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth works ruinâ (26:28).
- âThese six things does the Lord hate: yes, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongueâŚa false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethrenâ (6:16-17, 19).
- âThe bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soulâ (29:10).
- âWhose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregationâ (26:26).
- âA righteous man hates lyingâ (13:5).
- âA foolâs mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soulâ (18:7).
- âA false witness shall perish; but the man that hears speaks constantlyâ (21:28).
- âCast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yes, strife and reproach shall ceaseâ (22:10).
- âThe words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the bellyâ (26:22).
- âHe that hates dissembles, and lays up deceit within himâ (26:24).
- âUnto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobateâ (Titus 1:15-16).
- âBut evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceivedâ (II Tim. 3:13).
- âFor the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fablesâ (II Tim. 4:3-4). [Authorâs Note: We have learned that doctrinal fables are not the only ones that people listen to today!]
- âIt is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding has wisdomâ (Prov. 10:23). [Authorâs Note: Those with wisdom understand what is happening today.]
The apostle Paul specifically warned of the âperils of false brethrenâ (II Cor. 11:26). Every one of Godâs people must be on constant guard for such people. The Restored Church of God chooses to ignore false brethrenâwhether they attack from inside (a few have) and leave, or from outside (where many do this). Our brethren know not to wait for a minister to formally disfellowship such people, when it is immediately obvious that one has disfellowshipped himself from the Body of Christ. Paul also admonished the âbrethrenâ to âwarn them that are unrulyâ (I Thes. 5:14). Turn and read to whom Romans 16:17 is addressed.
Our Headquarters makes no attempt to keep up with the speed of the Internet, emails, faxes and telephones, when used by malicious liars. YOUâpersonallyâmust âbe strong in the power of [Godâs] mightâ (Eph. 6:10), âstanding against the wiles of the devil,â knowing YOU are âwrestlingâŚagainst wicked spirits in high placesâ (vs. 11-12), as YOU âwork out your own salvation with fear and tremblingâ (Phil. 2:12).
Remember this âsimplicity in Christâ (II Cor. 11:3).
It has been said: âA lie runs around the world while the truth is still lacing up its sneakers.â How even more true this is in the Internet age. It is the speed and power of lies that made me finally realize the need to write the kinds of personal facts and stories that this article contains.
All those of Godâs one Church have a responsibility that continues for a few more years: âKeep your [mind] with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from you a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from you [this could refer to the lips of others or your own]. Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove your foot from evilâ (Prov. 4:23-27).
Jesus declared, âHe that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be savedâ (Matt. 24:13 and 10:22). Many will not endure because so much confusing outright evil is occurring all around them (24:12). They will not âkeep their mind with all diligence,â and will be swallowed by obvious lies.
At this point a disclaimer is necessary. I am 64 years old, and have lived a full life. I suppose that other stories could be, and perhaps some already are, alleged against me that I have not addressed. Everything in life has a reasonable and natural limit. The answers and clarification that this article contains have reached that limit. However, be ready for the same liars who invented these stories to spin and deny the truth written here. Expect this! They may even fabricate new lies to keep you under their control. But you can now make an informed choice about who to believe.
With each future supposed ârevelationâ about my character, or that of any of our ministers, some will collapse into Satanâs armsâand pull back from rejoining Godâs one Church. They will not stop long enough to consider Revelation 3:11 and its all-important warning to let âno man take your crown.â Sadly, some are almost eager to hand their crown to anyone with a story!
If you think that you love Godâs Way, but liars can dissuade you from joining The Restored Church of Godâthe only place where the real Work of God is being done and His full truth, with His government, is upheld and taughtâYOU DO NOT LOVE THESE THINGS! You are kidding yourself that you do. The devil has defeated your conviction with heinousâand obviousâlies! You were unwilling to fight through the blizzard of deceit about my leadership, and return to Godâs Church.
My book Should Accusers Be Answered? addresses the subject of this article in detail. I urge everyone who cares about Godâs instruction on this matter to read it. Study each verse listed carefully as you do. This is vital to survive the age. (The interested person may wish to read my thorough two-volume biography, which explains much more of all that is covered in this article.)
Be vigilant. Determine to remain focused on the full truth and on doing the true Work of God. How often did Mr. Armstrong admonish this? Satan has for 2,000 years âdetonatedâ his agents in the midst of Godâs people, with his focus on assassinating the character of Godâs leaders. In the New Testament, this started with attacks on Christ. Like terrorists with explosives strapped to their bodies and hidden under a trench coat, these âtwice deadâ âclouds without waterâ (Jude 12) board a âbusâ or enter a âcafĂŠâ (spiritually speaking) and blow themselves up in hopes of perpetrating mass murder of innocent victims who never saw it coming.
Understand how desperately the devil wanted to suppress the return of Godâs full truth in writingâand its distribution around the worldâand his need to destroy this Church at all costs! Matthew 16:18 makes clear he cannot succeed.
No Higher Stakes!
Stop wallowing in an ocean of false teachingsâand nonstop falsehoods. You cannot remain outside Godâs Church, unconnected to Jesus Christ the Vine, and retain Godâs Spirit. Mr. Armstrong taught this time and again, no matter what liars try to spin about his plain teaching in this regard. You must return to Godâs one ChurchâTHIS ChurchâThe Restored Church of Godâor you will fall away and lose the Holy Spirit!
Do you fear this? It is evident that many (including around you) already have lost Godâs Spirit. Many others (including around you) apparently never had it. Others will lose Godâs Spirit if they do not act soon. Will this include you? Many would do well to read and reread four critical wordsââQuench not the Spiritâ (I Thes. 5:19)âuntil they canât think of anything else.
WAKE UP to what is happening among Godâs people! WAKE UP to the hatred and deceit that abounds at the end of the age (Matt. 24:3, 10-11)! WAKE UP and recognize that after becoming offendedâthen angry and embitteredâpeople spin and distort the truth of matters to suit their own ends! Be ready to take your head out of the sand to see the âclear and present dangerâ that these things are to youâand to your salvation. I must âcry aloud, sparing notâ (Isa. 58:1) about these things, because no one else isâor will!
If you reject all of my explanations in this article as untruthsâas so many lies themselvesâyou are in a dilemma. Think carefully. You have decided that those who teach heinous doctrinal lies are telling the truth about me. Further, you have decided that a man with a long track record of teaching the uncompromised truth of the Bibleâand suffering for it has chosen to now tell lies about himself. Consider the logic, or rather the illogic, of your position. Are you sure you want to do thatâwith eternal life at stake?
Enormous new heresies are spreading in the Living Church of God, but also everywhere else. Read my thorough articles âThe Wedding Supper Is NOT in Heaven!â and âIs the âFalling Awayâ (II Thes. 2:3) a Future Worldwide Rebellion Led by the Man of Sin?â, as well as âA 3-fold, False GospelâHow LCG Leaders Deceive Their Members!â But, again, to understand the great process that all those with Godâs Spirit must undergo, read âAnoint Your Eyesâ â Christâs Warning to His People.
Everything is at stake! Will you disqualify yourself from returning to Godâs Church and Work, thus losing the Spirit of Godâand very salvation!âbecause you believed, or even sought out, obvious lies?