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PHILADELPHIANS DO NOT LET ANY MAN TAKE THEIR CROWN
Because of Problems with Authority
In the Church we are required to live by God’s laws. Following rules builds harmony in the Church and keeps members from causing harm to others or being harmed by others. Ministers’ job in the Church is to ensure that rules of righteous and decent behavior are followed for the benefit of the entire Church. But some members may have simply resented being told what to do. They do not like authority in general.
When such members saw the Church splitting after Mr. Armstrong’s death, they saw an opportunity to be free from the authority of ministers and the pastor general. They felt they were finally free and since they now knew about God’s plan of salvation, believed in it and believed in God, they would not be denied eternal life. Such people formed their own groups, calling themselves by various names where no one was in charge. They felt they could govern themselves by consensus. Some thought they could be governed by the scriptures alone by searching the scriptures daily like the Bereans. Some in fact even called their group The Bereans.
But anyone who knows real life and something about functioning of organizations knows how silly such notions are. Could such a group agree on anything? Christianity has over 2000 major denominations, precisely because they cannot agree on the interpretation of the Bible, and among themselves. Could a group of a 100 people who are free to interpret the Bible as they wish agree on all the major doctrines? Could a group of 100 people who are engaged on a daily basis in earning a living have the time to research all doctrines, points of disputes all on their own, discuss them and reach a consensus?
The whole idea that members could accomplish all this individually is fantasy. And the idea that members will be able to reach consensus on all doctrines and issues without authority is ridiculous. A group of 100 people will never be able to reach consensus on all doctrines of Christianity with no one in charge. The result inevitably will be that such a group will split up into many tiny cells because of disagreement over one doctrinal issue or another. And that is precisely what has happened to people who separated from God’s Church and formed their own groups with no one in clear authority, because they have a problem with authority and being told what to do.
Such members need to wake up, open their eyes wide and look at the universe. There is no one who is not under authority in the universe except God the Father who originated everything. Even Jesus Christ, the second greatest Being in the universe, is in total submission to God the Father. He demonstrated His total submission to God the Father as an example for all of us by giving up all His glory, being born as a human being and dying for humanity. And even God the Father does not arbitrarily govern the universe. He has set in motion His laws and lives and governs the universe by those laws of love. So He has totally subjected Himself to His law of love.
Mr. Armstrong said it many times: two cannot dwell together in harmony unless one is in charge. So authority is necessary even in a group of two people. That is God’s method of government. The truth of this principle is demonstrated in family life. For a family to function harmoniously, the wife must be subject to her own husband, and the children to their parents’ authority. God created the human family to teach and enable them to experience His love for His creation, and to understand and learn to live under His authority.
But members who wanted freedom from authority should be aware that theirs is not a new experiment tried in governing with freedom from authority. Another creation of God tried to govern itself with freedom from God’s authority before humanity was created. Lucifer was put in charge of the earth with possibly one third of all angels under his authority. After working perhaps billions of years on earth, Satan decided it would be a greater pleasure for him to rule without God’s authority. So he probably deceived and convinced all the angels under his authority to believe that it would be a great glorious future for them all if they rebelled against God and lived free from His rule and authority. They would do as they pleased, create whatever they desired, and would not be answerable to God or anyone.
But after the unsuccessful rebellion, when Satan and all the demons were cast back to earth, possibly living in darkness they had created for themselves by destroying the surface of the earth, the demons found out that there is no such thing as freedom from authority. They found that on earth they had merely traded God’s authority for Satan’s authority. And there was no such thing as freedom to do entirely as one pleased. Pure self-interest would bring them into conflict with one another. To be able to get along with one another, they needed rules. Rules had to be enforced. To enforce rules, authority was required. One had to be in charge with that authority if that kingdom on earth was not to be divided. And Satan was that authority on earth. So the demons now had Satan in authority over them instead of God. They were free from following God’s way of life, but were now subject to Satan’s way of life. They either followed that way of life willingly, or were forced to follow it. There was no freedom from that way of life. Satan enforced his way on all the demons. The glorious future, with freedom to do as they pleased, free from God’s rules and authority turned out to be an illusion. Their lives turned out to be more repressed under Satan’s rule.
Thus, those who left God’s Church after Mr. Armstrong’s death because they wanted to be free from authority need to sincerely repent. If you can’t be ruled by God, then He will not have you in His kingdom. He will not grant you eternal life. Being able to live in God’s Church in subjection to authority God has established, is a test God has devised to test every human being to see if they will be able to live in subjection to His authority for eternity. It is much harder to live under authority of imperfect human beings. But those who demonstrate their ability to accept and live under the authority of human beings will convince God that they would be able to live under His authority for eternity. God will be pleased to grant them eternal life. Those who demonstrate their inability or unwillingness to submit to authority in God’s Church will lose their chance for eternal life. So those who left God’s Church because they had problems with authority need to repent and come back to God’s Church before it is too late.
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