Archive for November, 2013

Ordinations and the Church Part 3

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Ron has a new weekly post up.  Ron’s god has not yet decided to reveal new truth concerning women speaking in church.  We’ll see if that becomes necessary in the 27 months remaining in Ron’s scheduled time to serve his prison sentence

—  Ron’s post ———————

n this series, we have focused upon how it is God who has given His Church a ministry. As it has already been stated, the primary purpose of that ministry is to bring people in the Church to a mature state (spiritually) so they can in time be changed into Elohim. It has also been stated that this structure exists to lead, teach, guide, and serve to help fashion God’s people, and that this is accomplished through imperfect human beings.

The most important job (responsibility) given to any minister is that they “faithfully speak” God’s truth (word) to others. This can be in counsel, preaching, or simply general conversation with others. The words of those who are ordained are often given higher regard by others and often tend to “carry more weight” in the eyes of others. Therefore, a higher standard and responsibility is upon every minister, because if their words are not in unity with God, it can lead to confusion, division, bad attitudes, and rebellion in others. Such influence should never be taken lightly, but in the history of the Church that influence has been taken lightly, not even grasped, and has far too often been used to wrongly sway others to their “own” thinking that is not in harmony with the Church and God.

So there are many ways a minister is to faithfully speak God’s word toward others and this is not simply limited to the few who are most visibly seen and recognized by the sermons that are given Sabbath to Sabbath. Again, this “faithful speaking” can be done through various ways spiritually, including what is written, even lived through example to others, and in any number of scenarios that involve conversation with others.

Yet God desires that all who are called into the Church and those called into the ministry will serve Him faithfully. However, it is also by design and purpose that all have free will and free choice. God does not “make” (force) members of the Body of Christ to be faithful, but He will “make” (create and transform) them to become faithful if that is their desire to yield to such a process working in their life. The same is true concerning the ministry. God does not force them to be faithful. So when all is said and done, every individual is personally responsible to judge what they hear and what they see (examples) from all others as to what is in unity with God and what is not in unity and harmony with God. No one can blame another, not even a minister who has gone astray and has begun to speak divisive things, if they follow wrong words or the wrong actions of others.

Free Choice
So as in all of God’s creation, “free will” by its very nature also provides a way of learning and teaching that can be accomplished through no other means. The angelic realm experienced the result of this as nearly a third of those spirit-composed beings chose to quit yielding themselves to the “way” of their Creator. Two thirds of the angelic realm were made stronger and more fully convicted of God’s ways through this experience.

By our very nature as human beings, whether a member of the Body of Christ or one who has also been given a responsibility added to their life by being ordained, some will choose a “way” that is not of God and will then become a vessel to dishonor.

God designed this process of “free will” to work in both the angelic realm and the Church in order to try, test, cleanse, and refine His creation so that it can come into great unity and oneness with Him. This has even more to do with what Paul was saying concerning the structure of the ministry in the Church, as this aspect of free choice and free will exists in the process that Paul was describing about the structure of the ministry and its purpose in Ephesians.

Paul went on to say that this structure was for “the edifying of the Body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). Others can take these things that Paul is describing as though the ministry is close to being perfected or highly perfected, since its purpose is for the “perfecting” (maturing) of the saints, along with the work of God’s service (ministry) to His Church, and the edifying of the Body of Christ. Certainly, the goal of “all” who are in God’s Church should be to seek to faithfully serve God’s Church (one another) in such a way. The reality is that all in the Body have human nature and some turn away from God by free choice – even in the ministry. But such examples of becoming vessels to dishonor also serve to perfect (mature) and ultimately edify God’s Church – for those who become more fully sobered to reality and the capabilities of their own human nature, as well as becoming more fully humbled, guarded, and strengthened in wisdom.

This word “edify” in English means “to instruct, to improve morally, and to profit spiritually.” Vessels to honor and vessels to dishonor can produce this edification if one is yielding themselves to God’s spirit to work in their life. The real life experience of this process of edification working in ones life is two-fold. It will produce a positive, inspiring, and enjoyable result that can be received from those who are faithfully serving God, but it can also produce a positive result spiritually from growth in wisdom, spiritual strength, and conviction that can be received through learning from a bad example of a vessel to dishonor that has been unfaithful to God.

It is also interesting to note that the use of this word in Greek that is translated into English as “edifying.” It is composed of two words that mean “to build” and “a dwelling,” which is by implication us as a family, a household, or a temple. This same word is translated as “building” in Ephesians 2: “In whom all the ‘building’ is fitly framed together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for an habitation of God through the spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22).

The purpose for the structure of a physical human ministry is for the maturing of the members of the Church as a means of God “building” (edifying) the Body of Christ. This process is to work in us “until we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a matured person in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (into Elohim)” (Eph. 4:13). As we learned all too well after the Apostasy and ever since, this does not occur easily in our life, but it involves numerous battles, testing, fire, heartache, and struggles in life. Conquering human nature in order to bring it into complete subjection to God, as well as fighting against and resisting an evil spirit realm, is not easy. It requires a constant vigilance, never giving in or giving up, and a determined conviction to run the race to the finish. All this requires a growing unity and reliance (in faith) upon God to constantly strengthen and deliver us.

So yes, we are to learn from the bad examples as well. We are to learn from and become wiser from our own mistakes (sins) and those of others, including ministers. The structure of a ministry in the Church has worked to magnify this process – both in that which is faithful and that which is manifested as unfaithful. In the context of these things that have just been covered in Ephesians, it would be good to read some of the verses on your own that follow what has been quoted to this point.

Recent Past
In the nearly 2,000 years of God’s Church, the more recent history of the ministry in the Worldwide Church of God and that of this present time, reveals much about how God has molded and fashioned (actively created) His people through the structure of His ministry. This is true and has been more easily seen and understood by the right examples and work of those who have been faithful in serving God. When I consider such people, I think first and foremost of Herbert and Loma Armstrong. There are others who also come to mind, but they fall largely into a unique category.

This unique category of ministers of which I speak, especially of some who were evangelists and leading pastors, are examples of some who faithfully served in the ministry for two or more decades. The lessons to be learned from what happened in their lives teach much about God’s power to lead, guide, mold, teach, and to “correct” His Church. This is largely a matter of learning to exercise faith in the belief that God is in full control of His Church and of what He allows it to experience as part of His process to create Elohim.

Until the Apostasy, God was in control of His Church. That does not mean that God made (forced) His Church to obey Him. After the Apostasy, God was still in control of His Church, through those whom He was awakening spiritually to continue as His remnant. God allowed a spirit of pride and lukewarmness to develop in His Church (through individual free will). Then, when the sermon was given that created the Apostasy, God spewed the Church from His presence. He no longer dwelt in it nor gave it His sustaining holy spirit. At the same time, God began to draw a small remnant to repentance through whom He would begin to rebuild and restore His Church.

Although these evangelists and other leading ordained men that I mentioned as being in a unique category had been faithful ministers through so much of their lives, they succumbed to spiritual pride and a lukewarm spirit as was described about Laodicea. For most of these men, their faith stood firm while serving under the apostleship of Herbert W. Armstrong. After his death, these men drifted off to sleep spiritually, but in God’s time, He will awaken them as He did to those He called to be a remnant in this end-time.

One of the great lessons that all should learn from this is that we are to remain spiritually alert and on watch (guarded) to the end of our physical lives. The conquering of self is a battle until the end! It should also be obvious from this experience that vessels to honor can become vessels of dishonor if anyone lets down spiritually and begins to trust in self rather than God. God told these men and the entire Church that they had become so increased in goods (rich in self-esteem and pride), by relying on self rather than God, that they had actually become naked, poor, and blind.

In His time, God will awaken most who were scattered by the Apostasy. The experience of being separated from God (spewed out) and what they are experiencing to this day, as a result of being cast out on their own, will not be lost or in vain. In time, once God awakens all such people, they will experience a strengthened spiritual maturity (growth) and “edification” that could not have been achieved to such an incredible level without this experience in life. God’s power to create Elohim is complex (even hard to be grasped by the human mind that has God’s spirit working in it), highly varied (depending on what place in the temple God is fashioning someone to become), and so awesomely inspiring once it begins to be “seen” for what it is.

This highly painful experience of the Apostasy will produce incredible fruit, in God’s time, in most who were scattered (whether in the Millennium or the Great White Throne). However, it has already produced much fruit, great growth, and the ability to receive many more truths from God in those whom God has already awakened and also added to the Body since. Not only that, but this entire experience of those who lived in and through Laodicea will be an often used teaching tool in the Millennium and Great White Throne as part of the perfecting and building of God’s continuing construction of His temple.

The Present
We have now come full circle back to the present about how God has used ordinations to try, test, refine, and cleanse His Church. It has been covered how this process was magnified once God began adding larger numbers to His ministry beginning in 2008. But there is one area that has proven to magnify this matter of ordinations, and their fulfilling such a purpose in God’s Church, far more mightily.

This first began with the revelation that God is beginning to remove the curse of bondage that has been upon women in family and society since the days of Adam and Eve. God revealed that the very structure of the family and even His ministry would begin to be “seen” on a clearer spiritual plane as He intended it to be from the beginning.

The revelation about the removal of this curse was followed by God further revealing that women were to be ordained into His ministry. This change in the administration of God’s government has done more to “purify” the Church through this final end-time than any truth revealed since the Feast of 2005, which is when God more fully revealed that He alone has “eternally” existed and Christ’s life began with his human birth, with no pre-existing life before that. In addition to more fully purifying His Church through this new truth that women were to be brought into His ministry, the ordinations that resulted have proven to be one of the most powerful tools ever to indeed try, test, refine, and cleanse the Church.

God has been preparing the Church for the coming of His Kingdom to this earth and the changes that will help to more fully deliver families out of spiritual bondage. God has also been preparing His ministry and Church for even greater changes that are to come, as the primary building blocks of the apostles and prophets will have become firmly established by the time of the coming of Jesus Christ.

Earlier, the scripture was quoted concerning the “building” that is fitly framed together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord. Now, the previous verse needs to be quoted which speaks of those whom God has called, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).

Those apostles and prophets will be “in” that new government of those 144,000 who reign with Christ. There will be no need of such a continuing ministerial structure that is primarily led by an apostle and that has been occasionally enhanced by the addition of prophets. God’s Kingdom will be here on earth and there will be those of the 144,000 who will help serve in roles of government as kings. But there will be big changes that come to this earth as God’s spirit composed priesthood will be here and they will far more powerfully lead, guide, and teach God’s Church in awesome power, word, and absolute faithfulness that is void of human weakness or error.

That Kingdom is fast approaching and we are to hold fast to Christ’s coming as we continue to “move forward.”

(This concludes this series on ordinations.)

Ordinations and the Church Part 2

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Here’s Ron’s weekly post, a bit late this week.  God’s end-time apostle has still not announced that Laura and Audra are now allowed to speak in church, but there’s always part 3 next week.

————————————- False Prophet Ronald Weinland’s weekly posting —————–

In Part 1 of this new series, it was stated how that ordinations into the ministry actually “try and test” God’s own Church. This has been especially true since 2008, when many more people began to be “called” into the Church. As a result of such rapid growth in the Church, the need for an expanded, organized ministry became evident.

God led the Church to see the need for His government to be more firmly established in local regions where people were being called. Such structure is necessary in order to better serve the needs of new members, to help serve in the protection and guarding of God’s flock, and to provide a better flow of communication throughout the Church. In this post, we will look at some of this structuring process more closely as we began to touch upon the introduction to it in the last post where Paul was addressing “why” God established His ministry, through Christ, to the Church.

Over the past several years, not only were individuals ordained in many regions where God was calling more people, but also God revealed the need to expand His ministry and teach them how to fulfill their roles so that they would be ready for a “future work.” God led His Church to see that there would soon be a time when He would begin calling large masses of people into His Church, once the final Trumpets begin being fulfilled. Today, God’s Church is prepared to baptize large numbers, even hundreds of thousands, over a short period of time. Also, God has since revealed that although this process will begin just before the Millennium is established, the greatest impact of this will be accomplished in the very beginning of the Millennium.

Although some who are in the ministry today will be part of the 144,000, they will not be involved in baptizing once they are in the Kingdom of God. The job of performing baptisms is for ministers who are physical, as it would not be spiritually healthy for people to be baptized by members of the God Family, Elohim.

Trying, Testing, Cleansing, & Refining
Over the past 2,000 years, God’s ministry has worked to help serve, teach, lead, guide, and protect God’s people. The focus of some of these duties has varied from time to time depending on God’s purpose and the uniqueness associated with specific periods during the different eras of the Church.

One of the most unique periods for God’s Church has been this very end-time due to the remnant which was drawn out of the scattering that followed the Apostasy and those who have been added since. Technology has provided a means for God to more fully solidify His government in the Church and to unify it in closer oneness (agreement) of spirit among members. This ability to more fully unify people in belief also gave rise to God revealing many more new truths to His Church. This power to enhance such unity in the midst of God adding so much more truth to His Church has been accomplished by Him speaking (in sermons and in writing) through a single, primary voice that His people worldwide could hear Sabbath to Sabbath. God has done this through His apostle. God also provided three evangelists to help assist in this preaching (teaching) on some Sabbaths and during Holy Day periods, and who currently carry a far greater role in such teaching.

Such a process of teaching people in so many regions and in such a unified manner never occurred before this. All this is a prelude to even greater changes that will occur in God’s ministry through physical human beings, once the Millennium has been established.

As a result of “how” God structured His ministry during this final end-time, especially in the larger number He added to it, a way was built whereby an accelerated process for growth could be accomplished in all the Church. The means for transforming the mind, the building of strong faith, and the very process of the creating of Elohim was powerfully and speedily enhanced. At the end of 6,000 years, the pinnacle of God’s “new creation” has been magnified to such a level that it has now “prepared the way” for a vastly larger creation of Elohim during Christ’s reign in God’s Kingdom.

In the midst of this final work God has been doing to firmly establish the whole foundation, the building blocks, and the very process of creating Elohim, is “how” God has used “ordinations” to complete this final phase of 6,000 years of work. In this final end-time phase, ordinations have served as one of the most powerful tools ever used to enhance and accelerate the creating of God’s Family. Ordinations have worked as a magnified process to “try, test, cleanse, and refine” God’s Church.

Choices Follow Ordination
There is much more to be learned from what Paul described concerning God giving His Church a structured ministry. As it was pointed out in the first post, God gave a structured and orderly ministry to His Church. Then Paul went on to explain the purpose of such ordinations, which is “for the perfecting (maturing) of the saints” (Eph. 4:12). God’s overall purpose of ordinations is to bring people in the Church to a mature state so they can in time “be changed into Elohim” (the process of “perfecting of the saints”).

A most basic reality and truth concerning all who are “called” into God’s Church is that not all will yield themselves to this maturing (perfecting) process. Not all who are ordained yield themselves faithfully to greater service to God any more than all of those who are baptized faithfully yield themselves to God’s creating process. This is akin to the example Christ gave in the parable of the “Sower and the Seed” (Mat. 13).

Some who are ordained become lifted up in greater pride and self-importance as a result of being ordained. As one then becomes spiritually weakened due to such a response and unrepentant spirit, then in time, Satan comes along and feeds that spirit to a level of pride that leads one to raise himself or herself above God’s government (those ordained to be over them) and above truths God has established in His Church.

Paul reminded Timothy of two ministers who responded to their ordination in such a manner. Paul had ordained Timothy and was admonishing him on how to be a good minister to God’s people and that he should stir up the gift God had given to him (Timothy) by Paul having laid hands upon him. Then he went on to tell Timothy of these two men who turned from the truth.

“Shun profane and vain (spiritually empty) babbling (rambling), for they will increase unto more ungodliness. Their word will eat away as gangrene (like a cancer), of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus, who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is already past and have overthrown the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:16-18).

A minister (or even any member) can become so lifted up in pride that they can take themselves away from being under the authority of God’s government. This begins by the individual finding some self-perceived fault or error of doctrine in the one (or ones) God has placed over them. This then leads the way for the conscience to even be justified to change doctrine (truth) God has established in His Church. Through some kind of justification, ordained individuals (or any member of the Body) can begin to believe that God is working through them to reveal different matters (truth, doctrine, or even prophecy) to others in the Church.

Two other ministers who had turned away from the Church in Asia, Phygellus and Hermgenes, used Paul’s imprisonment and being bound as part of their justification to turn against the leadership of Paul that God had given to him for the gentiles. Although these two ministers left the Church, Onesiphorus is mentioned as one from that region who remained faithful and was not ashamed by Paul being bound by chains (Gk.- fetters, chains, or other restraints: Acts 28:20, 2 Tim. 2:15-17). It is in the context of these struggles and battles in the Church that Paul went on to clarify an important lesson concerning ordinations, directly after Paul warned Timothy about ministers like Hymenaeus and Philetus.

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and earth. Some are to honor and some to dishonor” (2 Tim. 2:20).

This is very much like the example of baptism. Being called by God and then baptized into the Church is a most awesome occurrence in one’s life, but that act of baptism and God personally having called the person does not insure one’s place in Elohim. There are life-long choices that must then be made by the one baptized. Being called into God’s ministry also does not insure one’s place into Elohim, regardless of the level of ordination (although there is no record of any prophet or apostle in the Church who has turned against God). All who are baptized and all who are ordained have great weaknesses, faults, and pride. These simply occur at different levels of growth and maturity, but selfish human nature is still there and must be conquered. That is why Paul goes on to show that there is still much work to overcoming that must continue even when one is ordained. But sadly, it has been all too often that after being ordained it could simply fuel one’s pride (either quickly or much later) and one then becomes blinded to the true picture of “self” that must always be battled.

“If a man will therefore purge (rid) himself of these (the things of dishonor), he shall be a vessel unto honor, and sanctified (set apart for holy use and purpose) and meet (profitable) for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21).

Purging Impurities
The instruction from Paul to purge oneself of those things that produce dishonor was in the context of instruction to a minister, but it applies to all. The reality is that everyone is to continuously work to purge themselves of all impurities or they themselves will be purged. This is just as Paul instructed the Corinthians concerning the observance of Unleavened Bread when he told them to “purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may become a new lump” (1 Cor. 5:7).

Not a few, but many members through time and those who were ordained have failed to purge themselves of spiritual leavening that has directly concerned the ordination of others or that of themselves. In this final end-time, God has used the ordination of many to more quickly cleanse and refine His Church. For those who actively addressed a continuing process of ridding their lives of the things of dishonor, especially in this one specific area where God’s government expanded so quickly in the Church, there was great spiritual growth and strengthening of living faith.

For those who let ordinations “eat away” in their life, either through elevated pride and/or attitudes of jealousy and envy, they were purged by God. Those who unrepentantly let such a thing “eat away” at their spiritual lives simply became weaker and weaker spiritually. They came to the point of being purged as God gradually removed His spirit from them, which led to their own actions of removing themselves through rebellion to His government and truths. Thankfully, such numbers have been proportionally small compared to many other periods in the past. But in all such cases in recent time, this has worked as a powerful means of refining and cleansing of the Church.

The “perfecting (maturing) of the saints” as part of God’s purpose in giving a firm structure of government, and to provide many levels of service to His people, and a strong means of teaching that comes through His ministry, does not come about by a “perfect” ministry. On the contrary, it is God’s purpose that people “learn” from and through an imperfect ministry. This is what “tries, tests, cleanses, and refines” God’s Church to a very large degree and has been the primary tool of doing so at this end-time. There is no such thing as a perfect ministry in human flesh. Understanding this has much to do with what God is teaching His Church and preparing to give to the world – a ministry of priests who are spirit and fully perfected – matured and in Elohim.

(This series will be continued in Pt. 3.)

Ordinations and the Church Pt 1

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

False Prophet Ronald Weinland is getting back on schedule for posting on his blog.  Wonder if this will be the blog post series in which the apostle reveals new truth making his wife and daughter eligible to speak in church.

—- Weinland’s posting ————————-

It was on the Passover of 1981 that I was first ordained into God’s ministry in the Worldwide Church of God. Now that I have served in the ministry of Christ for over 32 years, God has shown me that there is always more that can be learned about the purpose of His use and structure for ordinations in His Church.

In this post, there is neither room for nor time for me to record all that God has shown and taught me concerning the role of the ministry and lessons we can learn. This series of posts will be geared to addressing some of these lessons we are to learn from the “uniqueness” of the ordinations that have occurred in God’s Church since the time that God’s final witness began in 2008.

In early 2007, due to the size of God’s church, the existing organizational structure could handle the needs of the Church and the “work” God had placed before us to do. However, as that year drew on, the “work” before us began to grow at a very fast pace. This in turn led us to begin making changes in the way we were structured. At that time, we really had no idea of all that God had in store for us concerning this “greater structure” and the important powerful role it was to play in the transforming (creating, molding, and fashioning) of His Church.

As we address some of this structuring process as it progressed, lessons and truth to be learned concerning ordinations will also be covered along the way. Of all the things that will be covered in this series of posts, one of the most important lessons and truths about ordinations that you should hold fast is that ordinations “try and test” God’s Church. As we now understand as it has been covered in several posts, God’s Church has gone through a most unique period of trying, testing, refining, and strengthening. The role of ordinations in the Church has played a very large part in all this.

It Is God’s Church
The reality is that ordinations can bring out some of the best in people (in those who yield more fully to God’s spirit being “in” and “leading” them), and ordinations can bring out some of the worst in people (in those who do not yield to God’s spirit, but to their own selfish carnal spirit).

Those who yield to God’s spirit will react to an ordination in a spiritual way – after a godly manner. This can include both the one being ordained and those who respond to (observe, witness) it. This can and does try and test people as to their true spiritual development.

A true spiritual response from one being ordained will first be an attitude of humility and soberness of mind. One will recognize that an ordination can be dangerous, as it can feed pride and self-importance, since that is the natural human response to such an occasion. Not only will one be sobered to the dangers of normal human nature, but also one will be sobered to a realization of greater responsibility and expectation before God. The soberness and care that is taken to heart concerning one’s own example and speech (words that come out of the mouth) will grow in importance, practice, and guardedness. Within the midst of this soberness is also a “joy” due to understanding the greater opportunity for growth and service to God and His people.

A true spiritual response from those who witness the ordination of another will also be one of humility, as one recognizes this is from God and then desires to support, help, and rejoice in the ordination. A spiritual response will be to combat and guard against any carnal response that “will” emerge. A right response and decision (choice made) will also be the complete willingness to “come under” any form of government structure that may now involve that person’s life in relationship to the one ordained.

For such individuals who have or seek to have a right spiritual response to an ordination, there is the conviction at the forefront of it all that “this is God’s Church.” God will be seen (understood) as fully being over His government in His Church. Every member of the Body of Christ who is affected by an ordination in God’s Church is always tried and tested when such occurs.

Then there are those not yielding to God’s spirit who react to an ordination in a completely carnal manner. For the one being ordained, the response can be one of “expectation,” as though they deserve this, are finally recognized, or have earned it. The response is one of pride and eagerness to be “lifted up” above others – to be “over” others and to be “seen” as having authority. Such a spirit is often one that rejoices more in “being served” rather than in serving others, even if by examples sake alone (which has great value to God’s people when lived well). It also needs to be understood that a person can begin with a humble and true spiritual response to their own ordination, but “can change” in time by not yielding to God’s spirit as they let down spiritually (through sin and/or becoming lukewarm in spirit) and begin turning to selfishness and pride. The example of Saul, Israel’s first king, reflects this kind of change. All such people seek the recognition and esteem of others.

Those who witness (observe and/or are directly affected by) an ordination and respond carnally can display a number of different responses. It can be one of jealousy and envy in which case the individual can believe a mistake has been made (that God is not in the picture) and/or that they should have been ordained instead. Often such carnal responses include personal “judgment” toward the ordained individual. They themselves have determined that the qualifications of the one ordained are lacking. This kind of judgment can view things about a person’s past though eyes that are unforgiving and blind to one’s true spiritual growth.

Other carnal responses can also produce things like bitterness, anger, resentment, depression, escalating harsh judgment, unfaithfulness, presumptuousness, and other spiritually debilitating attitudes. These attitudes are not just confined toward the one who is ordained, but are often turned toward (against) those in the government of the Church. In reality, that kind of wrong response is actually a spiritual one that is against God because the individual does not “see” God as being in full control of His Church for whatever His purpose might be.

God’s Purpose
To better understand God’s purpose in ordinations, it is important to know some of the history of God’s Church, along with the lessons and teaching that can be gleaned along the way.

Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, recorded that there was a structure in the Church in which God leads, teaches, guides, and fashions His people. That which he recorded reveals the basic structure whereby God “gave some apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11). Over the past few decades, the positions of responsibility within the ministry have carried varying descriptions, while others have remained the same. There have been positions within this structure known as elders, local elders, preaching elders, and in recent time, associate elders and senior elders. The function of apostle, prophet, and evangelist has remained more consistent throughout the centuries. The function of an apostle has always carried the understanding of those directly under Jesus Christ who serve to carry the primary leadership of the Church on this earth.

In the beginning, when the Church first began in 31 A.D., God gave 12 apostles to serve and establish His Church. These apostles were sent primarily to Judah, but also to a far lesser degree, to some of the scattered tribes of Israel (James 1:1). Of these 12 apostles, Peter was the head or “chief apostle” to Judah. John is recognized as the last of those early apostles, whom God also gave to be a prophet to His Church. From the beginning of the Church, there have only been two who have been know as both an apostle and a prophet.

When God raised up the era of Philadelphia, which was the era that would lead the Church into the final end-time, God raised up Herbert W. Armstrong to be the only apostle who would lead His Church through that entire period. When Herbert W. Armstrong died in January of 1986, the era of Philadelphia ended and the era of Laodicea began. At that time, Joseph Tkach, Sr. was recognized as the one who was placed in position (to “sit” in authority in the temple of God – 2 Thes. 2:4) to carry on with the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God. Although he was not recognized as an apostle, he was an ordained minister in God’s Church.

There is much to be learned from this account of the transition in God’s acting government from the leadership of Herbert W. Armstrong to that of Joseph Tkach, Sr., who eventually fulfilled the prophetic role of the “man of sin” and “son of perdition” for the end-time. Remember, this is God’s Church that is being addressed here. God had the power to prevent Joseph Tkach, Sr. from entering that position of leadership, but it was God Almighty, in His power, who placed him there as part of “His purpose” to be fulfilled in “His Church” during Laodicea.

All ordinations into God’s Church are under God’s control and purpose. Some are to honor and some are to dishonor, but God is over “His” Church. Only God can manifest, in His time, what His purpose is. No one can presume to judge God and His purpose that He works out in His Church.

It also needs to be noted here that many in God’s Church were “tried and tested” from the moment Joseph Tkach, Sr. was placed in his position at the beginning of the era of Laodicea. This transition itself manifested the truth concerning some who had either never truly been under (never submitted in spirit to) God’s government or who came to believe “their way” was better. In the beginning of Laodicea, when Joseph Tkach, Sr. began leading the Church under Christ, all in God’s Church were to support and be loyal to that change in new leadership. It was God’s Church, and it was a matter of being in subjection to God’s government.

God worked through Joseph Tkach, Sr. to begin giving some much needed balance and understanding to His Church in some very basic areas of life. For those who yielded to this process and “learned” what God was giving, it opened the way for God to give more upon which one could build and grow spiritually. However, the rejection of these corrections and changes caused stagnation and squelched the growth of many. Many started to become “stuck in time” and to serve God from a “physical” plane rather than a growing spiritual one. Even then, strong growth did not follow, as this period was also coupled with a rapidly growing spirit of lethargy and a lukewarm spirit that was filled with pride.

One such example of change that reveals a high level of “physical” application rather than a “spiritual” one concerned the observance of birthdays. During Philadelphia, the observance of birthdays was basically forbidden as it was understood to be evil and sin to participate in such actions. Mothers and fathers were unbalanced in this as they did not “make special note” (acknowledge or communicate) the anniversary of the birth of their own children. Yet it is healthy for children to see that their addition to a family carries great joy, meaning, and thankfulness. Certainly, there is balance in such recognition where someone in God’s Church would not engage in large parties, expectation of numerous gifts, and drunken celebration that is often practiced in the world. On the other hand, the verbal or written acknowledgement of parents, perhaps a special meal, a toast, a decorated cake, or even the giving of a gift is not wrong in any manner. But during Philadelphia, the Church did not have this balance.

As a result of the era of Philadelphia recognizing Christ’s birth was nowhere around December, that its observance was of pagan origin, and that God never gave command that His Son’s birth was to be celebrated, all birthday observance was subsequently determined to be wrong. Due to the Church’s zeal to obey God (which begins first on a more physical plane) when it came out of Sardis and was having truth revealed to it, spiritual balance took time to develop. By the end of Philadelphia, there were several areas where a matter of balance had not yet been addressed wherein people could grow in true spiritual understanding of such matters.

Many who are still scattered into various organizations and even a few who have become part of the remnant still battle with the balance in the observance of birthdays and/or still consider it wrong. All these people unwittingly fail to recognize that they partially observe and even celebrate the real birth of Christ. Certainly, this has nothing to do with the false observance of Christmas. It does have everything to do with the birth of Christ into Elohim, which is the day of the wave-sheaf offering. This anniversary occurs during the “Feast” of Unleavened Bread and is also magnified by the beginning of the count to Pentecost, which pictures the establishment of the Kingdom of God to govern the earth upon Christ’s coming as King of kings.

Some of the early changes that God inspired to occur in the first couple of years of Joseph Tkach, Sr. leading the Worldwide Church of God were not received by some, as they were “tried” in their faithfulness to God’s government. True attitudes of disloyalty, presumptuousness, harsh (hardened) judgment, self-righteousness, and pride began to be made manifest within the Church. Some who tended to be more to the “right” and ultra-conservative in nature (not spiritual) in dealing with God’s truth on a “physical level” determined that Joseph Tkach, Sr. was not qualified to lead God’s Church, and they left to form their own organization. This organization saw itself as one that would uphold a physical concept of being faithful to Philadelphia rather than becoming Laodicean, as they saw all others. They could not “see” that by presuming to be faithful to an era of God’s Church that they actually became unfaithful to God.

This large group became the second group to separate itself from the Worldwide Church of God by taking with it a few thousand people. The first group was the International Church of God that formed under the leadership of Garner Ted Armstrong while Herbert W. Armstrong was still alive. In both cases, these people separated themselves from God’s true Church by becoming presumptuous that they could “start” or take with them God’s Church.

No one in the last era of Laodicea had the choice to separate themselves from the organization in where God had placed His leadership until He manifested that He no longer worked in it. God made this manifest at the time of the Apostasy when the First Seal of Revelation was opened by Christ.

This history of how God has worked in His Church over the past two eras of the Church becomes important to understanding more about how He has worked in the remnant of His Church through the ordinations that began to multiply rapidly after the time that His final witness began in 2008.

(Part 2 of this series will be posted next week.)