The "New and Improved"
Worldwide Church of God
(This was forwarded to me. Ed)
Date: Sat, 01 Jan 2000 11:35:08 [Name withheld] wrote:
For those interested, someone just forwarded to me the reply from the WN staff (Paul Kroll) to the former Worldwide Church of God member who responded to James Henderson's article, "The New Worldwide Church of God". I think the dialogue is not only interesting, but something you will NEVER see published in the "Letters to the Editor" section of the "Worldwide News" because the WN only publishes "nice," "positive" items and things they want to hear, often ignoring the truth which can be painful, yet freeing to those who receive it. [Name withheld]
To Whom it may concern:
I am responding to the January '00 WN article entitled, "The New Worldwide Church of God" by James Henderson (also referenced in Mr. Tkach's "Personal").
In regards to the "new" and "future" Worldwide Church of God, I used to think like Mr. Henderson. I had high hopes that God would transform our "former cultic" organization into something magnificently glorifying to Him.....until I painfully chose to see truth and reality.
Mr. Henderson states, "What we need to understand now is that our future is being shaped by our present--what we do today and in the months to come will affect us in the new millennium." But he fails to acknowledge that over 50 years worth of not just erroneous beliefs--but perverted, UN-Christian beliefs and abusive practices that damaged countless individuals......made up the foundation of the Worldwide Church of God and were ingrained in every spiritual leader's heart and mind. Even though the Worldwide Church of God may have corporately and individually asked for and received forgiveness from God, the effects of the damage remain here in the present.
Mr. Henderson mentioned that he received a "negative" comment and states, "The comment was to the effect that we (the Worldwide Church of God) have come all this way just to break up and dissipate into nothingness." He is in a sense, making an assumption that those who have been called out of the Worldwide Church of God and living viable, Christ-centered lives have already contributed to the "dissipation of nothingness". This shows the same co-dependent, "cultic" (if you will) limited mindset that has been the hallmark of Worldwide Church of God since its inception. The very idea that someone might have a "negative" comment to encourage the further destruction of Worldwide Church of God is called "siege mentality" by Christian organizations who study and follow cults.
Mr. Henderson also states, "If God had wanted to end the Worldwide Church of God, he could have done so during the time of our doctrinal confusion, or just have left us in it," which is a logical and valid statement to make but is certainly no guarantee that God intends to "do" anything with the Worldwide Church of God as a collective group. This just shows that God is gracious and does not wipe out human beings or organizations just because they are doctrinally confused. By the same token, we could say that God could have ended Hitler's life before he killed all those Jews. We don't always know God's plan and purpose for why he allows and does not allow certain things to occur.
Mr. Henderson continues, "I do not know if God has an over-riding purpose for us other than to feed the flock he has given us and to preach the gospel, but those are reasons enough for me." But may I suggest that when you study the life of Paul, you find that God did not "do" anything with Paul in the way of "feeding the flock" until 14 years AFTER his conversion from NON-Christian TO Christian. Up to that time, Paul spent time ALONE with God so He could be clear about knowing Truth from error. And with that in mind, I can't help but wonder why they would even think for one moment that they are equipped and/or qualified to teach ANYONE the true gospel of Jesus Christ.....when they were filled with unbelief for so many years?
You may want to consider what one Christian organization ("Personal Freedom Outreach") who studies and tracks cults has to say about the Worldwide Church of God's claim to orthodoxy at http://www.pfo.org/bandwagn.htm. PFO advises all of us to be critical and scrutinizing of the claims made by the Worldwide Church of God, in order to be wise and discerning so that we are not deceived again. The last two paragraphs of their most recent article are especially telling in their assessment of Worldwide Church of God:
"Yet, despite all the above, the most important reason for caution is Matthew 7:15-20. Jesus identified cultic and aberrational groups as false prophets. He said we would know them by their fruit (v. 16) and that a rotten tree does not produce good fruit (v. 18). Yet the leadership today is telling us that the Worldwide Church of God is capable of producing good fruit. It has had to rework and relegate its "bad tree" history into a "good tree" image which just needs a little care and some pruning and fertilizer. Yet Jesus said, "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (v.19). He did not tell us to coddle, prune and nurture it.
If for no other reason, the words of Christ require that Christians do not uncritically accept this church's image transformation. Nevertheless, PFO rejoices and thanks God for the individuals who are being set free from the bondage of false doctrine and spiritual abuse and not because of this sect's claim of the plain truth, but because of the atoning work of the Savior on Calvary's cross."
May God abundantly bless whatever work He is doing in Mr. Henderson personally as well as other believers in Africa and all parts of the world. As for the name and the organization of the Worldwide Church of God and the anti-Christian foundation upon which it was founded, may it be cut down and thrown into the fire. The idea of going back into the Worldwide Church of God and hoping for a positive outcome would be like expecting an abused wife to go back to her abusive husband because he says he loves her and will never do it again, even though he still slips up now and then. In fact, "battered wife syndrome" is what I suspect that many current, "hopeful" Worldwide Church of God members and leaders have....and I pray for all of you regularly that God will grant you abundant freedom in His Son.
Sincerely, [Name Withheld]
Paul Kroll email@example.com
Thanks for your E-mail. I certainly sympathize with your feelings in that your past contact with the Worldwide Church of God apparently was quite unappetizing. I don't know what happened, specifically, to make you so angry and cynical about us, and I'm saddened to read that you feel so negative. From your E-mail, you seem to be talking about situations that occurred many years ago. We apologize for any hurtful actions that may have come your way.
If I may say so, however, I believe you have some misperceptions about the dramatic changes that have occurred in the Worldwide Church of God in recent years. You seem to believe that it is impossible for real change to occur among a group of Christians, if they have held sectarian beliefs, and as a result may have been abusive. It seems to me, that this is denying the power of the Holy Spirit to affect real change in human lives.
I have been with the church since 1956, through its many stages, and I am assured that real, spiritual change has occurred in our denomination. We are a different people today, both in our beliefs and what you might call our "culture" as a church. I know this for a fact because I have experienced the changes in myself and in others.
I think the reason you see our fellowship so negatively is that you do not have any first-hand experience of us as a changed body. You are relating to the hurts you may have experienced in the past, and as a result your beliefs about our present condition is interpreted in the light of your experiences of long ago. This, as you would probably agree, can lead to some gross misperceptions about the present.
My suggestion would be for you to experience directly what the church is like today. I don't see how you can do this unless you fellowship with us and come to know us as we are today. I don't know where you live, but I invite you to attend our worship services, our small group meetings, and otherwise mingle and fellowship with our people and pastors. (If you are interested, you can find the address of the Worldwide Church of God church nearest your home by accessing our web page at www.wcg.org. Click on the "Churches" button on the left-hand side of the home page. When you do, the church locator will pop up.)
If I may be so bold as to say so, I believe you need to suspend your negative feelings, come amongst us, and then decide whether or not some magnificent changes, both doctrinally and in attitude, have been wrought in our fellowship by the Holy Spirit. I believe you will be extremely surprised.
Thank you for taking the time to express your feelings to us. May the merciful grace of God through Christ be with you always.
In Christian Service,
Paul Kroll Personal Correspondence firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Kroll,
Thank you for your response to my comments regarding the current and future state of Worldwide Church of God based on the WN article by Mr. James Henderson. No offense, but your comments to me are typical of someone well grounded in a cultic background and content to stay there.
Let me give you an example. I consider myself a messenger of the Lord committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with believers and unbelievers alike. I am a defender of the historic Truth of God, and was simply offering another perspective from Mr. Henderson's article, based on scripture (Matt. 7:15-20).
What you chose to do was to change the subject I had brought up. Instead of thoughtfully considering my comments, you decided to judge my emotional state of being by insisting that I am being "negative" and "angry" and have "misperceptions" about the Worldwide Church of God. I can assure you that I have been affiliated with the Worldwide Church of God almost as long as you have, and I do not have any "misperceptions" about the organization. In fact, like it or not, there are hundreds--perhaps THOUSANDS--of other like-minded individuals both within and outside of Worldwide Church of God who share MY perspective!
A Christ-centered mind, grounded in truth and reality, recognizes their freedom and responsibility to carefully and critically scrutinize any claims made by any organization or individual who has appeared to make such dramatic changes. Those who seek God's spiritual realities and eternal truths find it important to be "fruit-inspectors", and when they perceive the fruit isn't very good, they drop it to the ground.
I hope you will re-read my comments again, and also take a look at the article on the "Personal Freedom Outreach" website.
God bless, [Name Withheld]
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