Update 234



On March 11, 2006, Rene Messier and Brian Gale will give split sermons.

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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How Are We Doing?

by Edwin Pope

We often stop and examine the actions of our individual lives to be
certain we understand the path upon which we are traveling; the way we
are living our lives. This is the season when we are told,
specifically, to be examining ourselves. Is our present path in line
with the calling which we have received?

Once God allows us to
begin receiving the precious knowledge of His Way and allows us to
receive the gift of His Spirit, He does expect to see us moving more in
the direction of His Way. And God’s Way is totally contrary to the ways
of this world.

With this being Satan’s world (See Ephesians
2:1-3; Matthew 4:8-9; John 12:30-32; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4), we find the
world moving more in the way of war, in the way of hate, in a way
totally opposite from God’s approach to life to which we have been
called. God’s Way is the way of peace!

How are we doing, collectively and individually?

James makes a profound statement in James 3:13-18, which says:

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast
and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not come from above, but is
earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist,
confusion and every evil thing will be there.

“But the wisdom
that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to
yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without
hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who
make peace.”

Thus we have been called to be a people of peace–not a people of war!

the power of God’s Spirit within us, and with the true knowledge of
God’s Way, which He is revealing to us, we have the ability to receive
true wisdom and understanding within our lives. It is this wisdom, this
understanding that should be motivating us to be able to live peaceably
within our homes, within the Church and in the community as a whole.

How are we doing?

the new world, which God the Father and Jesus Christ will be
establishing soon on the earth, this approach will be the order of the
day. But in the meantime, the world we live in is at war–nation
against nation, kingdom against kingdom–and people cannot seem to get
along peaceably within the boundaries of their own households.

have been called to move in a different direction from the way the
world is living. We have been called to live a new and a better
way–the way of love, the way of peace, the way that will bear the
fruit of righteousness!

How are we doing?

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Germany Emerging as Europe’s Leader

The EUobserver reported on March 7:

“Germany has indicated that it might be willing to lead EU peacekeeping troops to secure elections in Congo, but member states are reluctant to provide soldiers to the mission. According to Reuters, when asked if he expected Germany to drop its initial reluctance to lead the mission, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said ‘I think so’. At a meeting of EU defence ministers in the Austrian alpine resort of Innsbruck on Monday (6 March), German defence minister Franz-Josef Jung appeared to soften Berlin’s reluctance to lead the operation, but insisted that he expected others to offer troops for the mission. ‘We have always said we will not sidestep a responsibility, but there is an overall responsibility for Europe here,’ Mr Jung said. ‘We have always said very clearly that it must be a combined European effort, there must be a fair distribution. Germany can’t commit to sending 1,500 soldiers,’ he added… Britain and France both refused to lead the mission meaning Germany was the only member state left with sufficient military capacity to do so. Portugal and Austria have said they might ‘symbolically’ send half a dozen soldiers. Spain has been asked to send soldiers, but despite foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos expressing ‘good intention’, Spanish diplomatic sources at the meeting in Innsbruck said that the chance of Spanish troops being deployed in Congo were ‘minimal’, writes daily ABC. Finnish defence minister Seppo Kaariainen said that Finland might consider contributing a few staff officers to the operation, but no troops.”

In a related article, Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 8:

“The European Union has once again postponed deciding whether to send peacekeeping troops to Congo during elections this June… any mission to the strife-torn African country threatens to become a farce… Germany, which has reluctantly been pushed into taking the lead of any eventual EU mission, apparently can’t even find enough other European countries willing to contribute troops. Poland on Tuesday pledged 30 troops and Austria promised to send 10… Whether even a determined mission by the EU could help turn things around is questionable. But some observers fear a wishy-washy deployment that only appears to be ensuring Westerners have a safe getaway when things fall apart could even do more harm than good. Still, members of the German government seem convinced Europe cannot afford to stand by and do nothing. ‘Europeans have a special responsibility for Africa,’ said German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, explaining Europe must finally follow words with deeds. ‘Anything else would be an admission of failure.'”

The EUobserver added on March 7: “Germany, who had earlier indicated that it might be willing to lead the EU force, insisted more talks were needed with Congolese leaders before deploying soldiers for the operation. German defence minister Franz-Josef Jung told reporters in Innsbruck that Berlin would not agree to take the lead until it had clear offers of support from other EU members and firm agreement from Congolese authorities.”

Even though these events show again how reluctant Europe is to get involved in trouble-spots outside Europe–and that Europe presently does not have one mind and does not speak with one voice–it is still interesting that GERMANY is being pushed into a leadership position in Europe. THAT is exactly in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy (compare Revelation 17:12-13). For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Did the Soviet Union Try to Kill the Pope?

On March 2, 2006, AFP reported the following:

“Leaders of the former Soviet Union ordered the assassination bid on Pope John Paul II in 1981, the head of an Italian parliamentary commission announced. But the post-Soviet intelligence service of President Vladimir Putin immediately dismissed the allegation as an absurdity. Italian Senator Paolo Guzzanti said the findings of the commission showed ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ that Moscow’s military secret service, the GRU, was responsible for the shooting as the late pope greeted pilgrims in St Peter’s Square. The assertion, for years a favourite of conspiracy theorists in Italy, reopened old Cold War wounds. ‘This commission believes, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the leaders of the USSR took the initiative to eliminate Pope Karol Wojtyla [John Paul II] and that they communicated this decision to the military secret service ….to commit a crime of unique gravity, without equal in modern history,’ said a draft made available to journalists…

“Historians have long held that John Paul II’s support for the Solidarity-inspired democracy movement in Poland was a thorn in the side of the Soviet Union, and the late pope has been credited with helping to tear down the Berlin Wall in 1989… The Russians had also used the East German secret service, the Stasi, to spread ‘disinformation and media poisoning…'”

Venezuela Prepares for War with the USA

The Telegraph reported on March 3:

“Venezuela begins training a vast army of civilian reserves today to fight off the attack its Left-wing president, Hugo Chavez, says the United States is plotting against it. The oil-rich state aims to teach up to two million volunteers, from the unemployed to office workers, shop assistants and housewives, basic military skills such as marching in step or shooting to kill. If it reaches that size, the force will be the largest civilian reserve army in the Americas, double the size of Washington’s reserves. Its creation will further inflame relations between Venezuela and the US, already characterised by insults and tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats… Mr Chavez has been buying military hardware, including Russian helicopters, 100,000 AK-47 rifles and Brazilian and Spanish equipment he says Venezuela needs to defend itself.”

But what are Chavez’ real intentions? The article continued:

“… many Venezuelans see Mr Chavez, not the US, as the real threat. They are increasingly afraid the civilian reserves will be used to intimidate and, if necessary, suppress the opposition as he campaigns to win six more years in power later this year. A message written in the dusty window of a Caracas van sent a silent plea to the US not to invade but to rescue the Venezuelans from their maverick leader. ‘We are counting on you, Condoleezza [Rice]. Intervene, please.'”

U.S. House Panel Votes to Block Ports Deal

The Associated Press reported on March 8, 2006, that “a House panel dominated by Republicans voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to block a Dubai-owned firm from taking control of some U.S port operations. By 62-2, the Appropriations Committee voted to bar DP World, run by the government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from holding leases or contracts at U.S. ports. Bush has promised to veto any such measure passed by Congress, but there is widespread public opposition to the deal and the GOP fears losing its advantage on the issue of national security in this fall’s elections… By its vote, the House committee attached the ports language to a must-pass $91 billion measure financing hurricane recovery and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The full House could consider that measure as early as next week. While GOP Senate leaders hope to delay a quick showdown with Bush on the issue, the House panel, including members of Bush’s own party, showed a willingness to defy him.”

Did God Tell Tony Blair to Go to War?

AFP reported on March 4 about Tony Blair’s recent highly controversial comments on God and the Iraq war:

“Details emerged Friday of Blair’s interview on an ITV1 television talk show where he said God and history would judge his action in joining the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. ‘That decision has to be taken and has to be lived with…’ Blair… a devout Christian [said]. ‘If you believe in God, it’s made by God as well.’… Blair’s remarks reminded him of US President George W. Bush who was quoted as saying last year that God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan… Blair is seen by some as the most religious British premier since William Gladstone (1809-1898), who gave up his vocation as a pastor to enter politics… There is speculation he plans to convert from High Church Anglican to Catholicism after leaving office. Blair’s wife Cherie is a strong Catholic and he regularly attends Mass with her and their children at the prime minister’s country residence in Chequers. The Catholic priest of that parish, Timothy Russ, has revealed that Blair asked for advice on moving between the churches. But Blair says he has no plans to convert and only attends Catholic services so the family can worship together.”

War With Iran?

The Guardian reported on March 6:

“The US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, has told British MPs that military action could bring Iran’s nuclear programme to a halt if all diplomatic efforts fail… While the US and Britain keep a united front over Iraq in the UN security council, there are clear differences over Iran. Britain has ruled out a military option… The US has not… Some believe Iran has secret facilities that are buried so deep underground as to be impenetrable. They argue that the US could never be certain whether or not it had destroyed Iran’s ‘capability’.”

On February 16, 2006, Der Spiegel Online had stated:

“Thousands of soldiers and civilians would likely be killed if the United States or Israel were to attack Iran. The strikes would also spark a lasting regional crisis in the entire Middle East and the risks would be enormous, a new British study warns.”

The Associated Press reported on March 8:

“Iran threatened the United States with ‘harm and pain’ Wednesday for its role in hauling Tehran before the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program. But the United States and its European allies said Iran’s nuclear intransigence left the world no choice but to ask for Security Council action. The council could impose economic and political sanctions on Iran.”

Reuters added on March 8:

“If the U.N. Security Council is incapable of taking action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself, Israel’s defense minister [Shaul Mofaz] said on Wednesday…’The Israeli approach is that the U.S. and the European countries should lead the issue of the Iranian nuclear program to the table of the U.N. Security Council, asking for sanctions. And I hope the sanctions will be effective,’ Mofaz said… At a news conference with Mofaz, [German defense minister Franz-Josef] Jung told reporters Germany was already discussing with the five permanent Security Council members — Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France — what the council could do to prevent Tehran getting the bomb. ‘Everything must be done to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons,’ Jung said.”

Bird Flu–and No End in Sight…

The Associated Press reported on March 6:

“Three cats have tested positive for the deadly strain of bird flu in Austria’s first reported case of the disease spreading to an animal other than a bird, state authorities said Monday… The World Health Organization called bird flu a greater global challenge than any previous infectious disease, costing global agriculture more than $10 billion and affecting the livelihoods of 300 million farmers. Poland reported its first outbreak of the disease, saying Monday that laboratory tests confirmed that two wild swans had died of the lethal strain.”

China and India’s New-Found Friendship

Der Spiegel Online reported on March 6 about the relationship between China and India. The article was titled: “When Former Enemies Become New Friends.” It was stated:

“Though the people of India and China may still be keeping prejudices alive that have divided the two countries for decades, a rapprochement is taking place on the political level. In recent years, New Delhi has signaled that it may align with its former military enemy and current economic competitor in its battle for shares of the world market and to increase Asia’s military clout. Together, the countries aspire to move up into the league of rich nations. Last year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao negotiated an economic cooperation partnership with the Indian government which would see an increase in trade from the current $13 billion a year to $20 billion by 2008. A declaration of intent states that more cross-border businesses, roads, rail and flight connections should be created. Cooperation should also be strengthened ‘in the development and use of oil and gas resources in third countries.’ If these new Asian friends successfully implement their plans, a partnership that first caught Europe and the United States by surprise could soon fuel fear in the West. The most ambitious idea being floated in Beijing and New Delhi is that of creating a joint Sino-Indian common market based on the European model. If that effort ever prevailed, it would result in the world’s largest economic unit, with around 2.5 billion consumers, one-third of the world’s population…  by aligning its economy with China’s, India might still emerge as an economic powerhouse. ‘When China awakens, the world will tremble,’ French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is believed to have said about 200 years ago.”

In an earlier article, titled, “Can the Dragon and the Elephant Be Friends?”, the magazine wrote on April 18, 2005:

“Asian giants China and India may be teaming up. It’s a development that is sending shockwaves around the world and may threaten the global balance of industrial and political power… China and India — two nuclear powers whose populations account for close to 40 percent of the globe — are growing closer… Strategists at the CIA… insist the emergence of the two giants has political and economic consequences as ‘dramatic’ as the rise of Germany in the 19th century and the rise of the United States in the 20th century… In [a] plan, China is looking to use battleships outside its own borders to secure its oil supply. In fact, in the fight over natural resources, the new Asian partners remain bitter opponents. Both China and India are desperately trying to gain oil and gas supplies from all over the world. But even in this dealing, the Indians and Chinese are using a pragmatic approach: In Sudan, an Indian company is building a pipeline while Beijing is supplying the corresponding refinery. And in Iran, India holds 20 percent of an oil field, while 50 percent belongs to China.”

These are interesting developments. The Bible predicts that in the end, China and India will become strong allies, even militarily, together with such countries as Russia and Japan. Europe will feel more and more intimidated and threatened by rumors emerging from that region of the world–so much so that it will unsuccessfully attack this new emerging power bloc (compare Daniel 11:44-45). For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Iraq’s Coming Civil War

On March 6, Der Spiegel Online wrote about the real threat of civil war in Iraq–because of religious animosity in that country. The article was titled: “Religious Strife Is Pushing Iraq towards Civil War.” It was pointed out: “The conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Basra is overshadowing the insurgency against occupation forces, as armed groups controlled by radical clerics take over power in the country. As Iran systematically expands its influence in southern Iraq, the Americans are being relegated to a secondary role.”

South Dakota’s Fight Against Abortion

On March 6, 2006, The Associated Press reported:

“Gov. Mike Rounds signed legislation Monday that would ban most abortions in South Dakota, a law he acknowledged would be tied up in court for years while the state challenges the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. The bill would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless the procedure was necessary to save the woman’s life. It would make no exception for cases of rape or incest. The governor issued a written statement saying he expected a lengthy legal battle over the law, which, he said, would not take effect unless the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it.”

New Solar Storm Coming

On March 7, ScientificAmerican.com reported about the increased danger of solar storms. A new model is supposed to predict the intensity and timing of solar storms. The article stated: “This model proved more than 98 percent effective in predicting the relative strength and duration of the past eight solar storm cycles… it calls for the next cycle–so-called Cycle 24–to be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the present one. Solar outbursts have effects on everything from satellites to the electrical grid here on Earth.”

The article pointed out that, according to the model, Cycle 24 will begin in late 2007, or early 2008, but some scientists disagree, stating that it will begin in late 2006.

In a related article, the Stanford Solar Center speculated whether solar storms might cause global warming, stating: “Some solar scientists are considering whether some part of global warming may be caused, by a periodic but small increase in the Sun’s energy output. An increase of just 0.2% in the solar output could have the same affect as doubling the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Since there were clearly solar storms in the past, which would have changed the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, this proves the inaccuracy of the postulated age of fossils according to the radio carbon method. After all, that method requires, in order to give accurate results, that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was constant at all times and never changed.

Finns Unhappy with Europe

The EUobserver reported on March 8 that “One in four Finns would like their country to withdraw from the European Union, according to a poll published on Tuesday (7 March)… On the budget, nearly 70 percent… said that Finland’s contribution to the bloc’s common coffers was too high compared to what the country got back. Finns also have reservations about the euro. Some 44 percent said they were unhappy with the common currency… The poll comes just ahead of Helsinki’s time at the helm of the EU, with the country set to take over the bloc’s presidency in July. Among the reasons given by Finns for being discontent with the EU are the dominance of the largest member states.”

According to Biblical prophecy, there is a strong possibility that countries like Finland and Sweden, as well as the United Kingdom, will NOT be part of the final configuration of the United States of Europe.

Poland Against Europe?

The EUobserver reported on March 8 that “Polish president Lech Kaczynski has said it is too early for the creation of an EU foreign minister post, following calls from Paris for a strengthened role for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana… adding that the time is not ripe for the creation of a European diplomatic service either. The Polish stance comes amid French calls for quicker implementation of single elements of the EU constitution to strengthen the EU’s voice in the world… Small states like the Netherlands are also wary of a strengthened role for Mr Solana as he is seen as following the agenda of big member states France, Germany and the UK… Mr Kaczynski reiterated his opposition to attempts to revive the EU constitution… The Polish leader also pushed the idea of a NATO-style EU energy security pact, rebuffing German proposals that EU energy security should be modelled along the looser structure of the OSCE which also includes Russia… Energy is set to be one of the topics dominating talks between Mr Kaczynski and Ms Merkel, amid frequent criticism by Warsaw of Berlin’s signing of a bilateral deal with Moscow on a direct German-Russian gas pipeline bypassing Poland.”

Poland’s position is very understandable, especially in light of past occupations of Germany and Russia. However, it is very likely (although not necessary) that Poland will become a strong supporter of European unification under German leadership.

EU Joint Defense Research Fund

On March 7, 2006, the EUobserver reported: “EU defence ministers have given the green light to create a common defence research and technology… fund, aimed at narrowing the gap between the US and Europe in high-tech military equipment… One EU proposal suggests member states pool a small part of their defence budgets for EU cooperation on military research… the move has been heavily criticised, with opponents saying it would constitute a threat to national control over military affairs. Britain is among the states that has strongly opposed the fund, which would be managed by the EU’s European Defence Agency… and controlled by national governments… the British have now agreed to spending more money on research and technology in the bloc, although London has stressed that the money should be spent on concrete projects, and not be paid to Brussels ‘in blanco'”.

It is again Great Britain which seems to be slowing down European unification. The Bible strongly suggests that continental Europe will finally decide that they are “better off” without British participation in the formation of a United States of Europe.

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Some state that the Church of God must not change any of the teachings established by Herbert W. Armstrong prior to his death in 1986. It is further stated that his doctrinal understanding has the weight of uncanonized Biblical truth! As a basis for this position, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2 is quoted. Our answer to this belief is set forth in the following response.

Before addressing 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, we need to give a brief
background on Herbert W. Armstrong and the Biblical teaching about
“apostles.” Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986) was led by God to
establish the Radio Church of God in the early 1930’s–later to be
renamed the Worldwide Church of God. This powerful work focused on the
Biblical guidelines that characterize the true followers of Jesus
Christ. Mr. Armstrong’s ministry was based on the understanding given
to him, and he often spoke of his personal growth in understanding. He
even mentioned in his old age that he had been learning more within the
last year than ever before–and as it occurred, this was the last year
of his life. He continually taught what the Bible records in 2 Peter
3:18: “…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

who were members of the Worldwide Church of God recognized the
tremendous zeal and the obvious fruits of Mr. Armstrong’s leadership in
his service to God. Based on this and the Biblical examples, many also
came to believe that Mr. Armstrong fulfilled the office of an apostle.
Beyond the original twelve apostles chosen by Jesus Christ (compare
Luke 6:13), the New Testament identifies others who became apostles in
the Church of God in that first generation of believers (compare Acts
1:15-26 regarding Matthias, who replaced Judas; Acts 14:14 regarding
Barnabas and Paul; and Galatians 1:19 regarding James, the half-brother
of Jesus Christ). That others in subsequent times would also become
apostles in the Church of God is supported by Scripture, as we will now

Consider that in the organized administration of the
Church, God has established offices through specific ordination. 1
Corinthians 12:28 states: “And God has appointed these in the church:
first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles,
then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”

adds to this: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets,
some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, FOR the equipping of
the saints FOR the work of ministry, FOR the edifying [margin: building
up] of the body of Christ” (4: 11-12).

Paul reminded the
Corinthian Church of his work with them: “Truly the signs of an apostle
were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders
and mighty deeds” (2 Corinthians 12:12). In his earlier letter to this
Church, Paul also addressed the proof of his apostleship: “Am I not an
apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you
not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet
doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal [Margin: certification] of
my apostleship in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 9:1-2).

The Biblical
principle that these verses reveal is that an apostle will be known by
his fruits (Compare Matthew 7:16, 20). We see the example of a sorcerer
named Simon who wanted the “power” that was associated with the work of
an apostle: “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the
apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may
receive the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 8:18-19). Quite obviously, Simon wanted
the same office and abilities as the apostles, but he wanted them for
entirely wrong purposes!

Others arose in the Church of that day
claiming to be apostles. Their fruits did not build up the body of
Christ! Here is Paul’s very poignant warning–a warning we must
continue to heed in our time: “For such are false apostles, deceitful
workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no
wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform
themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according
to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

In the message to the
churches, Jesus addresses the problem that this first generation of the
Church (Ephesus) faced, and He encouraged them in having a right
approach: “‘I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you
cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they
are apostles and are not, and have found them liars'” (Revelation 2:2).
His concluding statement includes something He sternly cautioned each
era of the Church to be mindful of and to do: “‘He who has an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Verse 7).

Even in
our day, some have arisen, falsely claiming to be apostles. We must
continue to judge according to the fruits we observe–regardless of
what some may claim, when their statements are not supported by God’s
Word! Paul wrote to the Church of God at Corinth and chastised them for
trying to divide Christ. They had become followers of one or another of
those who led the Church. Evidently, some even rejected all of the
apostles and claimed they followed Christ. Conveniently, that would
remove them from Paul’s oversight and authority (compare 1 Corinthians,
chapters 1, 2 and 3). However, Jesus Christ has clearly shown that the
leadership of His appointed ministry was to be followed. If fact, the
living Jesus Christ has continued to lead the Church of God to this
time through the organized administration He has appointed. As in the
lifetime of Herbert W. Armstrong or any of those who served the Church
in earlier generations all the way back to the original apostles,
faithful ministers will be known by their fruits!

With this
background, let us address 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, where Paul states:
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren,
that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I
delivered them to you.” It is difficult to see how someone can argue,
based on these passages, that the Church of God must not correct any
error today, when the Bible clearly reveals such error; but there are
indeed some who take this strange position. They reason that we must
follow an “apostle,” no matter what–even if an apostle should be
incorrect in teaching or action–as we are to follow an apostle as we
would follow Christ. This is, however, NOT what 1 Corinthians 11:1-2
conveys. In fact, just the OPPOSITE is true.

Matthew Henry’s
Commentary explains this passage as follows: “Yet would not Paul be
followed blindly. He would be followed himself no further than he
followed Christ. Christ’s pattern is a copy without a blot; so is no
man’s else.”

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown state: “We are to follow Christ first, and earthly teachers only so far as they follow Christ.”

translation of 1 Corinthians 11:1 says: “Be imitators of me, EXACTLY as
I am of Christ.” Certainly that translation would clearly show that we
are to follow another individual only as long as he imitates Christ
exactly. Paul was encouraging people to follow his good example, which
was in direct contrast to the one that many Corinthians seemed to be
setting. At the start of this epistle, in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul
addressed the problems regarding contentions over men (compare verses
10-12). The same has happened in this modern age, showing that
nothing really changes.

1 Corinthians 11:2 states that Paul
delivered traditions to the Corinthians, but he was the deliverer, not
the originator. This is being said in the context of him having seen
and spent time with Christ personally (Acts 9:1-9; Galatians

The Church was built on the foundation of Jesus
Christ and the apostles and prophets because Christ was perfect and,
while the apostles and prophets weren’t, only that which is correct
doctrine has been preserved and canonized.

This is not to
say that the Bible DOES NOT report of wrong conduct of the early
apostles, both before and after their conversion. Quite to the
contrary! Are we to assume that Church members had to follow the
apostles, even if they acted wrongfully? Let us not forget that Judas
Iscariot was an apostle. Should he have been blindly followed in spite
of his example?

When converted Peter, who was also an apostle,
played the hypocrite and refused to eat with the Gentiles (Galatians
2:11-13), so that even converted Barnabas, another apostle, was
influenced by this hypocrisy, should the Church have followed Peter and
Barnabas? That would be following apostles irrespective, as some
teach today; but Paul–a third apostle–did not approve of such a wrong
concept. He challenged, rebuked and corrected Peter openly, explaining
that he was no longer following Christ in that incident, and that Paul
could not follow Peter in that regard. In fact, Paul asked Peter to
change. Should Peter have been blindly followed at that
time in spite of his example?

Before he died, Mr. Armstrong
exhorted members to follow the new Pastor General after his death. But,
it should have been clearly understood that Mr. Armstrong did not mean
that we were to follow the new Pastor General in ways opposite to the
Word of God. Sadly, many in the Church did so and adopted false
teachings and practices, especially, when the new Pastor General began
to claim that he was an apostle (even though his fruits showed that he
was not). This wrong concept, which is only a variation of what some
teach TODAY, ended in disaster, as under Mr. Armstrong’s successor,
much truth was removed from the Church and gross error introduced.

Armstrong stated many times in his life that we were ONLY to follow him
AS he was following Christ, and that we would have to REJECT him or his
teachings if he was to CEASE following Christ. Many will remember how
Mr. Armstrong told the Church time and time again: “Don’t believe me.
Believe the Bible.” The Church, under Mr. Armstrong, taught its
students at Ambassador College that Paul was telling the Corinthians,
in 1 Corinthians 11:1: “Follow me as I follow Christ, but don’t follow
me if I don’t follow Christ.”

In 1 Corinthians 3:10 Paul
states that “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a
wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on
it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” The foundation
must always be that as revealed by God and if an apostle is in accord
with God’s revelation of truth, then he may be imitated as he imitates
Christ. The original apostles who were eye witnesses, recorded the acts
and teachings of Jesus when He was here on earth, together with other
much needed information which, when added to the Hebrew Scriptures,
give us God’s complete and perfect revelation to mankind. But even
these apostles should not be followed blindly, as Scripture clearly

Acts 4:8-12 sets out that there is salvation only
through the name of Christ and not through any other third party:
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the
people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good
deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let
it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised
from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is
the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the
chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is
no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Corinthians 11:1 can, and must be taken at face value: We are to follow
Paul or any other servant of God ONLY to the extent that he follows

Lead Writers: Norbert Link, Dave Harris and Brian Gale

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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