I have proven to myself, most prayerfully, that the Philadelphia Church of God is the most unique of all the groups who've distanced themselves from the Worldwide Church of God's devious doctrinal changes. Only Malachi's Message clearly speaks with AUTHORITY and not "like the scribes" (Matt. 7:29). I've listened carefully for THE Voice of the Shepherd, hearing what the Spirit says to God's Church today, checking out everything with the Bible and what Mr. Armstrong faithfully taught us (John 10:3; Rev. 3:22; 2 Thess. 2:15).
Of course, there are those who claim to follow the traditions we've been schooled in, yet they've refused to humble themselves and submit to the fact that JESUS CHRIST had already moved HIS LAMPSTAND by the time they finally saw the light! All that was necessary for them to do was to go where Christ had already gone, and support HIS WORK of knocking the errors in the Worldwide Church of God, while holding on for dear life to God's truth! We either GET A GRIP - or we lose it! (Rev. 3:11).
Instead of working with Christ, some have chosen to do their own thing, contributing to the Church's state of confusion, rather than helping to RESTORE ORDER (1 Cor. 14:33). Why duplicate efforts, wasting precious time and money? Why not join ranks with the PCG so we can present a UNITED FRONT to an increasingly divided world? This would enable us to effectively share with others the message GOD would have them to hear (John 12:49). We ought to come together, in Christ, especially since we've all been taught repeatedly: "There is only one Church. Not a parent church and many little daughter churches that have split off in disagreement. Divisions splintering off are NOT STILL IN THE CHURCH" (Mystery of the Ages, pg. 243).
Whether we like it or not, God, in His infinite wisdom, chose Gerald Flurry to reveal to God's Church what was going on - and thereby allow us to show our true colors by how we responded to Malachi's Message. (That doesn't mean Mr. Flurry is infallible or that he doesn't need to continually apply the principles of Malachi's Message to himself and organization, as we all do as explained in my article "Worldwide All Over Again?").
Restored to Zion!
If I'm so convinced that Christ is only with the PCG, and that the others are self-willed, for the most part, resisting God's lead, why don't I attend their services? (Matt. 7:21; 1 Sam. 15:23). And how can I believe that God is actively working through me in the Middle East? Because I've unjustly been disfellowshipped (2 Thess. 3:2), yet I remain loyal to God's truth they teach!
It's BEWILDERING to see an organization that apparently started out so good and strong and righteous degenerate into a personality CULT that rules through intimidation and fear and borders emperor worship! Yet they have more truth in many regards than the others, just like Herbert Armstrong saw Sardis (Church of God, 7th Day) did however impotent. Strange but true! Perhaps it's like Saul was still the anointed until he was punished by death for his sins and then David reigned.....
When Gerald Flurry wasn't anything in his own sight or mind God used him and now, unfortunately, it appears to have gone to his head, all the new revelation (simply a deeper understanding of some things), and he forgets that all truth is from and belongs to GOD and that God can use a donkey to deliver it! (1 Cor. 4:7). Mr. Flurry has become so swollen in his own imagination that he fails to see that he is the leader of LAODICEA! He knows what warning God is giving the Laodiceans, of which he is chief! He had better heed his own words!
Under Herbert Armstrong Pasadena, California was the headquarters of the Philadelphia era of God's Church; now Edmond, Oklahoma is the headquarters of the Laodicean era, and next in God's plan is the restoration of His headquarters to Jerusalem!
God knows my attitude and actions still support the work God's given them to do, but I truly believe what Gerald Flurry teaches: their work's almost finished! It'll just slightly overlap the beginning of GOD'S FINAL WORK as outlined in my book, Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall (John 3:30). Minister Dennis Leap wickedly disfellowshipped me for believing that GOD has ORDAINED that I should promote its timely truth (Isa. 61:1), even though I'm NOT from the "school of the prophets" (Ambassador College), or going about it in the "conventional" way (1 Sam. 17:39).
I've come to better understand that God has already begun the transitional process of RESTORING His Menorah - His Lampstand to JERUSALEM! (1 Kgs. 11:36; Amos 9:11). As prophesied, a NATIONAL MESSENGER will be on active duty in Jerusalem, preparing the way for Messiah's imminent return(Zech. 12:8). God reveals He would send this outspoken individual to deliver a BLISTERING MESSAGE and a SCORCHING CONDEMNATION to the NATIONS - just before NUCLEAR FIRE AND BRIMSTONE RAINS DOWN upon those who've rejected GOD'S ULTIMATUM! (Isa. 41:27; 30:27; Micah 3:8).
It's from Jerusalem that we must warn another HOLOCAUST is coming! That's the sensitive location where God will spark a NATIONAL DEBATE and ignite an INTERNATIONAL CONTROVERSY! (Micah 6:1-2). It'll shock the Jews and anger the Germans! It'll undoubtedly offend many holocaust survivors who now live in Israel, but they ought to understand and lend their voices of experience to ours, having personally witnesses GERMANY'S BRUTE FORCE, to help our efforts to ensure "Never Again!"
Regardless, we can expect a maelstrom of protest and a bitter backlash - but such persecution will only fan the flames of this BURNING ISSUE! (Isa. 54:15-16). Both Germany and Israel (for their own reasons), will want to immediately stop such "incitement" - calling it fear-mongering and racist - but they'll fail and God's Word will prevail (Jer. 1:19).
God must grant "political immunity" to His Two Witnesses, so they can be free to boldly say and do all that He commands, even though the world will regard them as public enemy number one! (Ps. 105:15; Rev. 11:10). Undeterred, they'll carry on God's Work and serve as His official government spokesmen, even in the hostile face of fierce opposition (Jer. 1:8). But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is all related in Beyond Babylon, but let's go back to the beginning - of the true Philadelphian era....
Experiences of Mr. Armstrong
In the words of Mr. Armstrong, referring to his dealings with certain Sardis ministers, "I Shall Not Hide the FACTS!" (Autobiography of HWA, Vol. 1, pg. 366). However, lest I be misunderstood, I'd been most hesitant to say or write anything about my experiences with certain professing Philadelphian ministers, but I feel compelled by GOD to state the truth, without fearing men's reactions, but trusting in God's PURPOSE!
Mr. Armstrong relates how he had presented a "dual test" to the Church of God, Seventh Day, to help him determine whether or not it truly was the Church of God. His first test involved mailing an "exposition of 16 TYPEWRITTEN PAGES proving clearly, plainly, and beyond contradiction that a certain minor point of doctrine... was in error... to see whether their leaders would confess error and change." Their leader admitted what Mr. Armstrong pointed out was true, but feared it might upset many of the members and even threaten to divide the Church! "Naturally, this shook my confidence considerably." (Autobiography of HWA, Vol. 1, pgs. 360-361, emphasis mine).
I, too, detected "a certain minor point of doctrine" taught by Dennis Leap (on the 144,000), was in error. I didn't want to rock the boat, and it wasn't something I'd lose sleep over, so I wanted to just ignore or overlook the matter, but God wouldn't let me! Amazingly, a dear friend asked me about the 144,000 out of the blue, and then somehow it came up again with someone else; so God succeeded in getting my attention to write Mr. Leap about it. I sent him my PAGE AND 1/2 LETTER, reproduced here - and didn't hear anything.
Finally, around my third try (I don't give up easily!), Dennis Leap discussed it with me on the phone. When I mentioned that the Scriptures clearly state that once you've broken your "seal" you've lost your salvation, and to claim we can somehow be "resealed" amounts to crucifying Christ twice, Mr. Leap stammered around, unable to justify his position, but remained determined to stick with it - to my sorrow. Like Mr. Armstrong's experience, "Naturally, this shook my confidence considerably."
Church Rejects New Truth
God used an evangelist in Florida to challenge Mr. Armstrong. He had written Mr. Armstrong and told him he was ignorant if he didn't know where we are mentioned in the Bible. After gleaning through the surprising amount of information on the subject in the library, Mr. Armstrong PROVED that the so-called "Lost 10 Tribes" are, in fact, the American, British and Northwest European peoples. He then sent the "lengthy manuscript of close to 300 TYPED PAGES" that he had written to support this truth to the editor and leader of the Church. "Did this Church accept and proclaim this vital new truth... But this Church refused then to accept it or preach it or publish it though their leader frankly confessed it was TRUTH and a revelation from GOD! Yet here was the Church which appeared to have more truth, and less error than any other... Truly this was bewildering!" (Pg. 362)...
David Ben-Ariel is a Christian-Zionist writer in Ohio and author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. With a focus on the Middle East and Jerusalem, his analytical articles help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out David's Beyond Babylon blog.