You have reached the portion of our website explaining the apostasy of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Start here if you do NOT have a WCG background.
Founder and Pastor General of The Restored Church of God, Editor-in-Chief of The Real Truth magazine, and voice of The World to Come program, David C. Pack has reached many millions around the globe with the most powerful truths of the Bible—unknown to almost all. He has authored 80 books and booklets, personally established over 50 congregations, and appeared as a guest on The History Channel. Mr. Pack attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, entered the Worldwide Church of God ministry in 1971, and was personally trained by its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong.Learn more
“Consider Your Ways”—Self-examination Begins NOW!
By David C. Pack
NOTICE: This is the EIGHTH in a series of special announcements. They collectively unveil the massive, ongoing expansion that God’s Church, Work and Headquarters are experiencing. There is a reason for this expansion! The reader should contrast these announcements to the increasing bad news and bad events in UCG, LCG, PCG, COGwa and ALL splinters and slivers of the Worldwide Church of God. You must see what they are NOT announcing, and why they never will—and what GOD is bringing upon them. The place to start reading is either the fifth announcement—“God’s People Back Together—SOON!”—or the first one to catch up on all you have missed. If you begin with the fifth announcement, then read those before and after it. They are all important. An enormous and detailed prophecy is now being carried out by God. He is preparing events to soon bring His people back together—all of them. It is not my task to convince you the prophecy is true. God will do that! My job is to systematically lay out the specifics of what will happen and WHY—good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant. YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS A SINGLE ANNOUNCEMENT! If you do, CATCH UP. Also, you will miss the full impact if you skip sections of these announcements.
In previous announcements, we covered the big elements of the “Church of God” landscape that will change in light of the Haggai prophecy. We saw reunification of God’s people will explode the size and scope of God’s Work and that brethren will be together for the Feast of Tabernacles, Sabbath services, socials, Spokesman/Graduate Clubs, youth camps, Ministerial Conferences, college and more. Obviously, these changes will be BIG, but in a sense not as big as those that must occur in the lives of individual Christians. YOU must be ready to give up doctrines, traditions, practices, policies and standards that you have unwittingly (or wittingly) absorbed. This EIGHTEENTH announcement covers how God’s people, throughout the splinters and slivers, must examine themselves.
While Haggai 1 was previously explained, brief review is necessary. Recall what God twice tells the remnant: “Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts; CONSIDER YOUR WAYS. You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but you have not enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus says the Lord of hosts; CONSIDER YOUR WAYS” (Hag. 1:5-7).
One of the Bible’s most profound passages has become one few any longer read: “Seek you the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:6-9). Most people live their lives generally believing their ways and thoughts are probably much like God’s—that God is sort of like they are. They assume they are generally pleasing Him. They do not live with the daily reality that they fall far short of what God expects—as far “as the heavens are higher than the earth.” And this would be under normal circumstances. Add that God’s people today are in the wake of an apostasy. They are divided, involved in every kind of wrong conduct (ways) and thoughts, while participating in a variety of humanly devised “works of God.” And they have accepted a host of false doctrines. How much more would the God of Isaiah 55:6-9 expect you to “Consider your ways” today, and to do this with zeal and drive because of the urgency of our times? This passage by itself should help you understand WHY God says to “Consider your ways.”
In Part Two of the Haggai series, I explained that these announcements have been a vital part of God telling YOU to consider YOUR ways! In fact, The Restored Church of God has been doing this for over 14 years. Ask: Which other organization has taught in explicit detail—through scores of books, booklets, articles and sermons (over 2,100 pages of just Splinter Explanation Packet material)—what God expects His people to do during and after an apostasy? Which group has carefully maintained and held fast to ALL of Mr. Armstrong’s teachings—which you once understood came FROM THE BIBLE? Which organization has gathered God’s people back to one organization, restoring all that was destroyed by the apostates? The remnant of God’s people outside His Church has been told countless times BY ME to “consider its ways.”
God is reaching out to His people, explaining that, cut off from Him, their efforts have brought no real “yield.” After up to 20 years, most of the splinters are roughly the same size as—or smaller than—15 years ago. (One well-known sliver leader just admitted publicly that he has lost “95%” of his “congregants.”) The “works” of these organizations have also remained about the same size—or smaller. Some much smaller! Yet—and this becomes a good place to start examination—almost no one (ministers or members) seems to “consider” THIS—their futile, faltering works of men. Phrase by phrase in Haggai 1, God is telling His people in other “houses” that what they are doing is not working. Their “earnings” go into “a bag with holes.” This is due in large part to many elements of their conduct—their WAYS.
Before looking at the individual examination process all Christians must go through, let’s revisit recent history. It sets up how to, but also why you should, consider your ways as God commands, which will follow in a few paragraphs after a couple difficult questions. This background is important.
The Bible warns in many verses about spiritual “drunkenness.” This condition in the Worldwide Church of God caused many brethren to close their eyes and drop off to sleep, forgetting about the crucial role of self-examination. This was largely produced by the fact that many people used God’s Church as a giant, nonstop party for many years, and some for decades. We now know that most were obviously in it (or, over time, came to be in it) for the “good times,” and, spiritually speaking, the “alcohol” flowed freely. (This became a literal problem as well. I know—I saw and dealt with it.)
Be honest with yourself and acknowledge what God’s Church became for so many—and probably you—as it grew to the globe-girdling size that it reached. There was literally something for everyone, and something was almost always going on. As a result, enormous numbers stopped thinking about the need to pray, study, fast, meditate, exercise God’s Spirit—and copy Jesus Christ in building the perfect, holy, righteous character of God, en route to awesome rulership in God’s kingdom.
Instead, they focused on the next picnic, dance, potluck, basketball and other sporting tournaments, Y.O.U., Y.E.S. (youth programs), singles activity, fundraising project, senior citizen dinner, track meet, Spokesman Club Ladies’ Night, talent show, youth camp session, snow party, deacon/elder meeting, get-together, etc. (Yet Church Bible Studies were cancelled long before anyone felt the need to reduce any of the activities mentioned here.)
Though these things were not wrong of themselves, collectively they became a huge distraction that blinded scores of thousands of people from God’s true purpose at work in their lives. This happened because, with so much of their time stolen, people had stopped practicing the Christian basics—meaning they stopped living God’s Word, never mind all of it (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4). Intoxicated with activities, they went off to sleep. They simply had forgotten the sole purpose for why they were born—that God had put them on Earth to build His character and to be born into His very Family! While most would have said that such an astonishing “memory loss” could not happen, it did!
After the apostasy, like so many addicts, most brethren went to, and today continue with, organizations that could best feed their activity addiction—that could best continue the familiar feeling they enjoyed of still being “churched” as they once were. Obviously, the big splinters have been able to continue many of these things in a way the others can no longer experience. This is one of the biggest reasons that many will remain so reluctant to leave their big place to fellowship. No one wants to leave friends, family and the “good times” of fun, fellowship and an endless cornucopia of activities behind.
See these things as they happened—and how they affected you, no matter your feelings otherwise!
Two Hard Questions
Mr. Armstrong described one of the great earmarks of Laodicea as teaching doctrines that are “less strictly biblical.” ALL the leaders and ministers of the splinters mirror this description. These men certainly say that their doctrinal changes are biblically based. Who would say otherwise? Now, astonishingly, over 200 easily known, but largely unrecognized, false teachings exist throughout the splinters—with more all the time. How could this be? How could standards have collapsed so far that God’s people dress and act much like worldly Christians, and below the standards of my Baptist in-laws? Consider rereading Part Four of the Haggai series to recall the graphic picture of how much like the world the splinters have become.
The answer: Spiritual blindness prevents these men from seeing their new doctrines and standards as false.
Look around you. Examine your organization. Look at Sabbath services, activities, socials and gatherings. Put aside any fun and enjoyment of fellowship you see, and ask yourself two hard questions:
(1) “Why are we not holding fast to that which we have?” (Rev. 3:11)
(2) “Who is truly washing, cleaning and purging themselves in God’s Word, seeking daily more of the Spirit of truth?”
The longer you have been where you are, the more the law of spiritual inertia—that “objects in motion tend to stay in motion and objects at rest tend to stay at rest”—came into play. Coupled with the natural group instinct or “lemming effect”—to stay with the crowd—over time, inaction takes on a life of its own. This should sober—and frighten—you!
We regularly hear from brethren throughout the splinters and slivers who want “only true doctrine.” They recognize they cannot remain where they are, and many do leave the splinters. But many turn out to be not prepared to return to everything God’s Church once believed. After working with thousands of these, it is evident there are only shades of difference between the organizations they attend. Their reasoning is similar. They all disagree with Mr. Armstrong, but cannot agree on where they disagree. Therefore, they cannot walk together (Amos 3:3). Their first love of the truth is long gone.
Thousands of others, confused by their circumstances, do not fall into either of these categories. They are in the middle. For these, the effect of confusion can be removed—if they address its cause!
The path to considering one’s ways starts with taking an honest look at the condition of the many organizations small and large that sprang from the WCG. The spiritual landscape within the splinters is a scene of doctrinal devastation. UCG has proven to be unsound in ways that have greatly exceeded the liberal years of the 1970s—and their ongoing changes in teaching seem to have no end in sight. (The same has come to be true of LCG.) The apostates formed a committee to examine all of the Worldwide Church of God’s doctrines. UCG, with its endless committees and study groups, is continually reviewing virtually every doctrine Mr. Armstrong taught. This has allowed it to fall into scores of false teachings—with seemingly more every day—and they have also broken with many wonderful established traditions that the Bible instructs should also be held fast (II Thes. 2:15; 3:6).
Their example is so public and “loud” that it cannot be missed—except apparently by most within it! Their condition is so appalling that even many ministers in the other groups (though these themselves are terribly compromised) are able to see that Mr. Armstrong, if he were still alive, would immediately disfellowship their entire ministry. This is no overstatement! But his indictment of the other groups would be scarcely less scathing, particularly COGwa, which is a clone of UCG except that it has made almost no effort to do any kind of “work” in two and a half years.
The splinters and slivers present a huge obstacle that brethren have to address on an individual basis, because no organization would ever collectively admit to its condition—and conveniently solve the problem for all its members. Therefore, individuals must be willing to see that their conduct is wrong. Remember that “They that compare themselves among themselves are unwise” (II Cor. 10:12). And remember that “For not he that commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends” (vs. 18).
Scrutinize All Areas
We are now ready to examine step-by-step the responsibility of each one of God’s people. The prophet Haggai is primarily speaking to individuals—ministers and members—not organizations. A Christian must take his or her spiritual temperature in a thorough, methodical way. You must be willing to carefully examine all aspects of your conversion and Christian life. A cursory review, in the way some people typically prepare for the Passover, will not do, or even come close. Notice what Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?” (II Cor. 13:5). Here is a list of questions that, as the barest minimum number, you should ask yourself, first focusing primarily on conduct.
Tools of Growth
Regarding the five tools of Christian growth: Are you regularly praying, studying, fasting, meditating—and actively concentrating on exercising God’s Spirit? In which of these are you weak? Where could you do better—or more? How long and how often do you do these things? Then, how long have you been insufficient in the use of these vital Christian tools, known to the Church for decades as the only way a Christian can grow spiritually?
For those who have answered honestly, ask why you permitted yourself to fall so far short, and for so long—and then ask how determined are you to do something about it. Is this something you are going to improve NOW, or plan to “address later,” when you “have more time”? God says “consider your ways” NOW.
Sabbath and Holy Days
How do you view God’s Sabbath? Do you properly prepare for it—and welcome it when it arrives? Do you occasionally “forsake the assembling of yourself together”? If so, what has made you think that you can do this (Heb. 10:24-26)? How far have you relaxed your dress code on the Sabbath from what the entire Church once practiced when it was on track? Is your conversation filled with idle words—are you actively striving to remove them from your Sabbath discussions with other brethren? Do you still listen attentively at services, taking careful notes with an open Bible, because you plan to revisit those notes one or more times in the coming week? (I realize most of the sermons you hear are worth little more than the hot air that propelled them.) How long is the television on, and for what purpose? Has this element of your standard of conduct degenerated as per Sabbath-keeping? Do you still see the Sabbath as God’s test command? Or have you told yourself that permissive Sabbath conduct is being “balanced”? Do you believe that a 90-minute service, with its 45-minute “sermons”—both taught to you by Joe Tkach, and your leaders who obviously agreed with him!!!—is better than the established traditional two hours (with 75-minute sermons) that Mr. Armstrong taught?
What about the Feast of Tabernacles? Do you attend every service of the Feast every year—and, again, how do you dress? Per God’s command, do you still keep a full second tithe in preparation for the Feast, always turning in the excess before and after it so others, less privileged, may also attend? Does your attendance reflect loyalty to your organization, or do you attend whatever site is nearest or most attractive to you, regardless of affiliation?
Bible Study and Reading
How often do you study your Bible to intensively review basic doctrines—or for personal correction in this way? When did you last pick up even one of Mr. Armstrong’s books or booklets—and carefully read it with an open Bible? (In this regard, I Timothy 4:13, “give attendance to reading,” has vital application.) How often do you do this, if at all? Now ask: “How many Christians of previous ages would covet the many books and booklets that are only gathering dust on my shelf?” How many years—or decades?!—have passed since you carried out this exercise?
Lacking this practice, how often, and to what degree, do you typically practice reading your own group’s literature in this fashion? (This is in no way said to endorse its material, but to help you take your overall temperature.) How often do you think about, talk about or study with the concept of—the very word of—truth in your mind? How often do you find yourself consciously and specifically thinking about the need to (the very words) hold fast, with Revelation 3:11 in mind? Ever?
Watching Prophecy Fulfilled
How urgently do you study prophecy—meaning the truth of prophecy? Almost one-third of the Bible, does prophecy still give you goose bumps, firing you up to the tremendous urgency of our time—and leaving you a more fervent Christian each time you study events that will soon come to pass?—events that will crash “on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:35)!
There are far fewer years left than when Mr. Armstrong was alive and telling us to simplify our lives (January 1980) because he knew catastrophic events were soon to crash upon an unsuspecting world. Over 33 years have passed. How thoroughly are you applying Luke 21:36—“watch and pray always”—recognizing the extreme danger for you if you ignore verses 34-35 that precede it—and particularly verse 35? Can you still (or could you ever) correctly explain the beasts, heads, horns and toes of Revelation 13 and 17 and Daniel 7, and the great statue of Daniel 2? Can you name the seven seals of Revelation in order? What about the meaning of the 1,335 days?—the 1,290 days?—the 1,260 days?—before Christ returns? How often do you concern yourself with being “taken” instead of being “left” (Luke 17:34-36) just before horror breaks out throughout the modern nations of Israel?
There are other areas of Christian conduct. Do you drink too much alcohol? Does your conversation throughout the week reflect what Christ would say—and are you actively concerned with this? How is your marriage doing, and to what degree are you focused on improving this God-plane relationship that you learned is “a divine institution, ordained of God”? Is it still special—and growing more so every day?
Are you routinely practicing the biblically prescribed principles of childrearing? Are you consistent and unified in what you do, knowing that you are training little potential members of the God Family, and that this is only a temporary stewardship administered on God’s behalf until they reach adulthood?
Do you still faithfully tithe on every dime you earn? What about offerings, also commanded by God (Mal. 3:8-10)? I cannot let it pass without saying that tithing to any organization but God’s Church is stealing, and also throwing your money down the drain. Tithes belong to God. They cannot be used to support a mixture of good and evil knowledge—true and false doctrines. Do you still pay third tithe, or are you in one of the groups that has dismissed God’s eternal law on this subject, ignoring the command to take care of the widows, orphans, needy, strangers and Levites? Have you let the “arguments” of your leaders (UCG, COGwa and some smaller groups) convince you that God did away with this law simply because they rejected it—because they convinced you Mr. Armstrong would have made this universal decision for the Church if he were still alive?
Fervent for the Work?
When Mr. Armstrong was alive, he spoke continually about the importance of God’s Work. It literally drove his life for over 52 years. Setting aside for a moment how God’s true Work is to be done and His full truth preached, do you, at least within your group, still believe progress in your group’s “work” is important? How often do you pray about these things? How long and how specific are your prayers for more “laborers” (Matt. 9:36-38)? Do you think in terms of regularly sacrificing with extra offerings, as Mr. Armstrong reminded us monthly in almost every Member/Co-Worker letter he wrote? How much do you think about the announcement of the kingdom of God going to all nations and the sobering Ezekiel warning going to the modern nations of Israel?
Examining and Overcoming
How often do you stop your activity and take the time to examine yourself? Recognizing the power of Jeremiah 17:9, how often do you fervently pray for correction (10:23-24), beseeching God to show you yourself as He sees you? How often do you deeply repent of what God’s mirror (Jms. 1:22-25) reveals to you?
How concerned with daily copying the life of Jesus Christ are you (I Pet. 2:21)? How often do you think about this continuous responsibility? How broken up about your conduct are you—and how determined are you to defeat your problems? What areas of weakness can you say that you have honestly addressed—and overcome? How often and to what degree do you feel a “hungering and thirsting after righteousness”? How often do you actively think about and try to display the nine “fruits of the spirit”—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal. 5:22-23)—recognizing Jesus’ sobering instruction, given four times in John 15, to “bring forth more fruit” (vs. 2, 5, 8, 16) as proof you are His disciple?
Why You Were Born!
How often do you actively, consciously, think about ruling with Christ—actually sitting on a throne reigning over nations? How much do you think about the process of qualifying for rulership? Are you connecting this to properly ruling all areas of your life now? Do you often—or ever—meditate on whether God is truly ruling you? Do you periodically remind yourself that you are in training to be a TEACHER?
This list could go on and on, but what I have included is intended to be a starting point—a place to begin. It is far from complete—and the sincerity of your interest in considering your ways will be partly defined by the length of your own list beyond the one I have provided. It will also be measured by how honestly you grade yourself. If you whitewash yourself, turning a blind eye to unChristian behavior, you will only hurt—and eternally jeopardize—yourself!
Nothing short of a declaration of war against your condition, carried out with tremendous zeal, will restore you. This will automatically lead you to the next stage—deep, profound, sincere, heartrending repentance for having departed from God into such a horrible, wretched, miserable spiritual condition. This includes every minister, elder and leader who is reading these announcements! Be careful you are not dismissive of these words, which merely reflect what Christ declares about the vast majority of those with His Spirit today. I am not exaggerating for effect! Neither is Christ.
Remembering Isaiah 55:6-9, be careful you do not assume you have obeyed this passage when you may not have even read it for years.
Wake Up and See the Light
Paul told the Ephesians to produce “the fruit of the spirit in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (5:9). He continued by explaining, in the most graphic terms, what he could easily be saying to God’s people today: “Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light [truth]. See then that you walk circumspectly [looking around—watchful], not as fools, but as wise, redeeming [buying back] the time, because the days are evil” (vs. 14-16).
Obviously, having a problem with spiritual sleepiness is not unique to this age. But certainly our “days” are the most evil the world has ever seen. And they will grow much worse.
Did you notice the phrase “and arise from the dead”? For some, trying to wake them up is like trying to “wake the dead.” If you have ever tried to awaken one sleeping this deeply, you know how futile it can be. Believe me, I have tried this many times throughout my ministry with those who were spiritually asleep. In fact, I am doing this now, and have been doing it for over 20 years.
Did Paul describe your spiritual condition? Are you of those walking “as fools” today? You must awaken yourself. I can only jostle you—shake you with these announcements—but you must rouse yourself from sleep. Jump up! Stretch! Throw cold water on your face! Blink your eyes to begin clearing your vision! Get started! Waste no more time! Apply zeal! Buy back—“redeem”—the time you have lost!
Take responsibility for the condition you find yourself in. Start down the road, one step at a time, to full recovery and spiritual productivity in God’s Church and Work! Like the prodigal son, you must repent, return to what you had—and to the condition of the sixth era from which you have drifted. Do not continue as a fool asleep.
The only time God describes sleep in a good or positive context is when His saints have died, and become “asleep” in Christ. If this has not happened, in other words, if you are still alive, then you are never—NEVER—allowed to fall asleep spiritually!
Once awake, determine—promise yourself and god—that you will not ever fall asleep again!—and that you will keep your eyes unceasingly on the truth! But this will only have happened if you return to God’s Church, Truth, Government and Work. If you have not yet done this, you will soon be given a FINAL CHANCE to return to these things.
CONSIDER YOUR WAYS! Soon, the ways of all the splinters will be GONE—false doctrines, traditions, standards and policies. Also gone will be all the groups that spawned them—UCG, LCG, PCG and COGwa, as well as all others!
Keep reading EVERY Friday announcement!