In a recent issue of The Good News I mentioned that often I have said to the public, on the air or in The Plain Truth, "Don't believe what I say because I say it, but look into your own Bible and believe what you see there."
But then I said in this article that I do not say that to our own members. I think some may have gotten the idea I said members should not read the Bible or even read over what I have said to better understand by seeing it all in context for themselves.
Apparently some got the idea I said nonmembers must believe only what THEY SEE FOR THEMSELVES in the Bible, but that members must NOT read the Bible or believe it, but believe ONLY WHAT I say or write. Of course I did not mean that.
What I did mean is that members should have checked up in the Bible and assured themselves what God's Church teaches is true BEFORE being baptized and coming into the Church. What I meant was that members should not disbelieve everything we teach and read the Bible for the purpose of trying to prove that we teach falsely.
I suppose the reason that came to mind is that we did have, a few years ago, a group of self-professed "intellectuals" who started a "doctrinal committee," when their sole PURPOSE was to HARM God's Church by trying to MISUSE the Bible and misinterpret it to try to convince others that the Church taught falsely — when in fact, this is the ONLY church on earth that DOES have the TRUTH!
Bible study encouraged
Let me make it crystal CLEAR! I encourage nonmembers to SEE the truth for themselves in their own Bibles. But, after one becomes a MEMBER, he is supposed to know we have the truth. He has checked up — he has seen it in his own Bible. Therefore I do NOT encourage members to QUESTION all over again what we preach.
I most certainly have always encouraged all members to read and study the Bible continually — to increase their own knowledge and understanding — but NOT to deliberately try to DISAGREE with the Church and study for the PURPOSE of disagreeing and causing dissension and division in the Church.
But, in continuous Bible study to ADD to one's store of biblical knowledge, if one comes across a knowledge of something new to the Church — something not proclaimed or preached in the Church, he may go to his local pastor with it, or he may contact headquarters at Pasadena or he may bring it personally to me.
If it is either contrary to Church doctrine or something in ADDITION to Church doctrine, he MAY NOT spread it to other lay members. IF his new understanding is correct and biblical, it will be brought to me personally, even though he takes it first to his local minister or one in Pastoral Administration at Pasadena. And God has always seen to it that my mind is open and able to see NEW TRUTH, or to admit ERROR if PROVED and then correct it.
I know many will say Herbert Armstrong is human and subject to being prejudiced or closed-minded. I am human all right, but the living CHRIST has chosen me and MADE ME HIS APOSTLE. He is the DIVINE Head of this Church. Do you not think HE, the ALMIGHTY Christ, has power to see that my mind will be opened to either new truth or to correct error? Otherwise YOU QUESTION JESUS CHRIST!
Church is a spiritual organism
REMEMBER, this Church may be made up of mortal humans, of which YOU are one and I am one. But this Church of God is a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM — not a humanly organized and purely humanly led and influenced operation of MAN, started BY man, run by man!
I'm afraid that is the point many of us have not realized. I shall write a separate article on that subject.
Those of us IN God's Church are HUMAN. But God has called each one of us or else we should never have been accepted into this holy fellowship. Our call has come from GOD! The HOLY SPIRIT of God has actually entered into each of us, or else we do not belong in this Church. It is a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM, not a human organization, though it is well ORGANIZED on GOD'S PATTERN and not as other purely human organizations.
Now, do you not, then, understand that the living CHRIST has PUT HIS POWER, by the Holy Spirit, into His own chosen apostle, so that He is able to open His apostle's mind to either new truth — as He has done repeatedly for 52 years — OR to recognize and purge out ERROR? Does CHRIST have that power — or do you question His power? It is not my human goodness — for that is nothing to brag about. I am talking about the LIVING JESUS' power and ability!
You must study the Bible
SO UNDERSTAND. I certainly did not mean to say those in the Church must not study the Bible. Indeed everyone MUST! What I did mean is, if ever you think you see in your Bible that what I, or the Church, teach is in error — or if you see a biblical TRUTH the Church does NOT preach, then YOU MUST NOT MENTION THAT TO ANY OTHER MEMBER, OR TO ANYONE EXCEPT YOUR LOCAL PASTOR, OR WRITE TO THE PASADENA OFFICE OR DIRECT TO ME.
Jesus Christ, through His POWER of the Holy Spirit, is guiding and ruling and heading this Church. It is ENERGIZED by a POWER that is MILLIONS OF TIMES GREATER THAN A HYDROGEN BOMB — yet this supreme POWER of God's Holy Spirit is NOT SEEN — therefore the world knows NOTHING OF IT!
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