To Our Family in the United Church of God
This is the most urgent time in history, and God’s people have a big job to do!
For years, Herbert W. Armstrong proved to us from the Bible that the United States would fall, that Europe would unite, that Germany would rise, that the nations of Asia would come together.
Today we see everything he talked about happening before our eyes.
Read the headlines. The U.S. is a spent force. China is becoming a powerhouse and allying with a resurgent Russia. And look at Europe. There you see a consortium of nations building a single federal government, using a single currency, just as Mr. Armstrong said. Right now, it faces deep economic crisis. European leaders are contemplating radical measures to address it. And the strongest nation—the nation everyone is looking to for answers—is exactly who Mr. Armstrong and Bible prophecy said it would be: Germany.
For years, time and again Mr. Armstrong prophesied of a unified Germany leading a European alliance of 10 kings. Watch closely—because that is exactly what is about to emerge from the crisis in Europe! And as prophecy warns, that power is going to dominate the world during the worst time of suffering in history, the Great Tribulation.
This world needs this warning from God now more than ever. Now is the time God’s Church must be blasting that message!
That is exactly what the Philadelphia Church of God is doing, as vigorously as we possibly can.
But sadly, tragically, most of God’s people today are not supporting that effort.
The vast majority have lost their urgency just as it is needed most. They have lost their understanding of why the Church. As Mr. Armstrong repeatedly taught us, we are not here for our own salvation. God has called a select few today out of season expressly to do a work. That is our purpose.
You know that God blessed the work abundantly under Mr. Armstrong. Especially in Mr. Armstrong’s final years, when he was physically most frail, God used him powerfully, miraculously—and all of us who supported him—to loudly proclaim His message throughout the world: The Plain Truth circulation soared over 8 million; The World Tomorrow aired on over 400 stations; Mr. Armstrong delivered the gospel personally to audiences and leaders all over the world. The fruits show conclusively that the living Christ empowered him and the work.
Today, though, the vast majority of the people who once backed God’s apostle are divided, bickering, accusing, politicking. As the Apostle Paul once wrote, “It hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren … that there are contentions among you” (1 Corinthians 1:11). This was a problem in the first-century Church—and it is a massive problem today.
“Is Christ divided?“ Paul demanded (verse 13).
Where is the work? The time of Christ’s return is closer than ever—and He is preparing! Those of His people who have remained faithful, Christ is actively leading to get ready—to prepare for the marriage of the Lamb—and to warn this world!
Time is fast running out—and Christ earnestly, passionately wants you to be of that number! Will you zealously get behind the work Christ is doing today?
As much as it frustrates and wounds you to see the church you have been a part of splintering—as much as it pains all of us to see bitter division among God’s people—it grieves God far more.
God wants His people deeply, beautifully unified. David sang, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). Paul wrote that all of God’s people should remain “in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). Christ prayed that we would all be “one, even as we [Father and Son] are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be madeperfect in one” (John 17:22-23).
That is the only way the great work of God can be accomplished by a “little flock” that humanly has “little strength” (Luke 12:32; Revelation 3:8). That is a Spirit-led unity that is only possible among God’s people! That is the unity Christ and His wife will enjoy forever!
If we are not building and living that unity with God and with each othertoday,we must repent quickly—or we will not be part of that unified God Family forever!
Looking at the Church as a whole today, how much of that unity do you see? The fact that there is such precious little should be a source of deep concern and shame to God’s people. God’s work today would be a hundred or a thousand times more powerful if all of God’s people were energetically fulfilling their exalted calling as God’s firstfruits and Christ’s bride!
Do you know why there is so much division among the body of believers that once did such a powerful work for God?
When Paul encountered division among God’s people, he dealt with it forcefully. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak thesame thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
When Mr. Armstrong was on the scene, and he encountered division, he too used the authority God gave him to confront it! And we can all thank God that he did. You might remember the liberalization of the Church in the 1970s. It was an ominous preview of what would happen after Mr. Armstrong died. But in that instance, Mr. Armstrong was still around to set things right. He submitted to Christ, the Head of the Church, and Christ used him to get the Church back on track. And look at the results: The Church enjoyed several years of the most explosive growth in its history.
A lot of God’s people today can recognize what a disaster happened once Mr. Armstrong was gone. But far too many have drawn a completely erroneous conclusion. Surely you have heard, if not come to believe, that the problem was the one-man government structure of the Church. That is a diabolical lie. That government structure was a beautiful, wonderful blessing—for as long as that one man submitted to Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church! (Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:15; 5:23-24; Colossians 1:18). Christ never could have solved the problems of the 1970s without that government. The government of God produces good and pleasant unity—it produces a people of one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel—it produces spiritual growth in every last person who embraces it!
The problems that seized the Church after Mr. Armstrong died came not because of one-man rule, but because the leader did not follow Christ (Colossians 2:19). Failure to submit to God’s government always produces oppression and conflict. The continued fracturing among and within all the churches of God that have splintered off the Worldwide Church of God is proof that any government without Christ at the Head is doomed to fail.
The ministers who formed your organization wanted to be “United.” But because they rejected God’s government and established a worldly form of government, they wrote that organization’s epitaph before it even started.
The tragedies within God’s Church over these past 25 years have spiritually wounded all of us. Many—bruised, exhausted, disillusioned—have decided to turn their back on their calling, and have given up.
But God has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
Every single Church member who has received the Holy Spirit, God has intense, yearning love for. We can be “confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). God finishes what He starts. Even when we fail Him, He does not give up on us. He chastens us when we need it—in a concerned effort to turn us around (Hebrews 12:5-11). Thank God for that chastening!
Even the Tribulation is loving correction from God—for the world and even for those of His people who are lukewarm. Read Revelation 3:14-22 for the message God has for the last era of His Church before Christ’s return. It is clear from this and other passages that many of God’s people will not be protected in a place of safety during the Tribulation—and even in the context of that nightmarish reality God reminds us: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:be zealous therefore, andrepent” (verse 19).
Do you realize that God’s rebuke, spoken of in this verse, is coming now—before the Tribulation? God loves His people and is pleading for repentance now. Anyone who is zealous and repents today will not need the chastening of the Tribulation—and God will protect him or her from it. That is our earnest prayer for you.
Remember, judgment is on the house of God today (1 Peter 4:17). For those who possess God’s Spirit, everything is at stake. Eternal life hangs in the balance. That is why God is so deeply concerned.
God is the father in Luke 15, searching the horizon for any sign of his son. “[W]hen [the son] was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. … [And] the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”