All churches will eventually die. That's a given. Most think they must and will survive. A church might be hanging on physically, but is dead spiritually. The following questions give a good indication of your church's health, if it is growing or dying out.
SSo what are the signs that your church is in permanent decline?
Has attendance declined in at least seven of the past ten years?
Has financial support declined in at least seven of the past ten years?
Does the church look more like the community or less like the community that it was ten years ago?
Are conflicts significantly more frequent today than past years?
Is your church’s budget decreasing rather than on the increase?
If your church is dying out, what will it take to reverse that trend?
Consider Matthew 16.18, “I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
It has been said that a church will tend to die out when the organization becomes disconnected with the focus of their worship which should be Jesus if they are true Christians. Remember what Jesus was quoted as saying, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” But this is not necessarily true if one considers the Mormons. Their focus is on Joseph Smith and yet they are still growing. In the ACOG movement, the focus is on Herbert Armstrong. It never has been focused on the Christ. Its all about Herbert and what he said. The ACOG's are just like the Mormons, with their worship of Joseph Smith.
When people start to realize that Armstrong and his son were theologically full of shit, when they realize that the church leadership was the ultimate self serving group of hypocrites they ever had the misfortune to come across, when they come to the conclusion that they were part of a elaborate hoax sprung on them by unscrupulous men, it is at this point in time that the belief and trust they put into Herbert begins to die.
They realize that their former identity has been stripped from them and they go searching for who they were before their time in Armstrongism. Armstrong knew this, hence he and his henchmen always spoke about a “dog returning to his vomit” or “don't get put on the list.” It was and is all about the manipulation of your emotions to get you to do what they want you to do.
Armstrongism is dying, and is a symptom of a deeper rooted problem(s). One of the root problems is that the attendees have turned the responsibility of their own personal spiritual growth over to the leadership. This will not only stifled spiritual growth, it will kill it. Perhaps this is why Jesus is quoted as saying “Many will come in my name saying 'I am the Messiah' and will deceive many.” Some so called pastors take on the names of various dead prophets of old and the membership never calls them to account for these statements that go against the teachings of the Christ. This is because they have misplaced loyalties. They are loyal towards the leadership of their church group, and away from their Savior.
Essentially, all of them have fallen away from the faith once delivered by Jesus Christ. It wasn't Herbert that wrote the bible or started the Christian faith in case your wondering. Falling away from Armstrongism is not a sin, it is a choice. You chose God over Herbert. Remember what Jesus said, that his burden is light? In Armstrongism I know your burden is not light. It is excruciatingly painful! A dreadful apocalyptic dooms day religion that contributes nothing to the whole of mankind.
In a healthy church the leadership should be encouraging daily or weekly spiritual disciplines such as private bible studies where the people can speak their thoughts on various scriptures and come away with their own interpretation. Or prayer that is not the canned worship type of prayer you get in church. You know the one's that go like this, “Father in heaven, please bless the speaker....” This is where the word “Father” is used a half dozen times in what should be a brief prayer, instead turns into propaganda from the pulpit. This propaganda reinforces the idea that God is only working through the leader/leadership. That is bullshit. You sow what you reap. Use your own talents, don't bury them by handing them over to someone else. They are not a Levite of millenniums ago, they are hirelings in whom you do not have to tithe too. But few in the ACOG's have studied that issue on their own. They have failed themselves.
In conclusion, the success or failure of a church is almost always tied to the pastor and the embedded leadership. Take for instance David Pack of the restored church of god. Years ago he warned his membership that if he should go off the deep end and starts to claim this and that, they should not follow him. So what does the membership do? They follow him. He has made a mockery of Jesus Christ and the scriptures. It seems to be clear that the membership follows after Dave Pack instead of Christ. They have rejected their Savior, and have embraced the spirit of the anti-Christ. They have fallen away!
In the end, it is not only the membership that is killing off Armstrongism, it is the leadership. They as a whole are the authors of their own destruction.
"Armstrong was a man utterly without honor, without principles, without a shred of genuine decency or patriotism. He was the ultimate exterminator of religious life for thousands, and the grand compelling creator of a vast army of atheists."
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