"Test Your Leaders" -- Gerald Flurry.
What Went WRONG with the
“Philadelphia Church of God”?
In January 1990 Gerald Flurry and John Amos broke away
from the Worldwide Church of God and began a new church
called "The Philadelphia Church of God." They have pointed
out many of the drastic changes Worldwide is going through,
and claims to want to return to the faith of Herbert Armstrong,
whom they look upon as "Elijah." They banish all cosmetics,
rule the flock with rigor, and emphasize "Church government"
as Worldwide also does. They claim the 144,000 of Revelation
are the "Laodicean" Church and will all be martyred. They
further claim Joseph Tkach is the "Joshua" of Zechariah 3.
They began with a flourish -- but where did they go wrong?
William F. Dankenbring
received the following letter from an ex-member of the Worldwide Church of God
"Thank you for your excellent literature! My enthusiasm has never been higher.
I've been starving for such inspiring exhortations. Although my living was not
at stake, such as in your case, the treatment I've received from church 'leaders' is
about the same.
"After being too vocal in my questioning of the WCG's direction, I was 'disfellow-
shipped' in February of 1990. It was actually a relief since it was becoming more
and more difficult to even motivate myself to attend. The last three years were
The correspondent continues his personal, in-depth report based on his own findings:
"I then came to Fellowship with the 'Philadelphia Church of God' headed by Gerald
his instructions to 'TEST YOUR LEADERS.'
He claims remnant
Christians should back the PCG. 'Unfortunately' again, I have just been 'suspended'
by John Amos for asking about PASSOVER and the '144,000' doctrine. Mr. Amos
also claimed I was disrespectful to his office. He claimed that myself and others
even gotten around to PENTECOST yet!)."
The letter writer continues:
"Mr. Amos was supposed to visit me to counsel me about my 'hang up' about
Passover but changed his mind and called me to cancel our 'golf date-counselling
session' and to tell me I have been suspended For not being in 'agreement' and
For being 'disrespectful' to a minister. All conveniently by telephone -- just For
asking questions. The old AT & T 'Reach out and disfellowship someone' plan.
"I probably do sound disrspectful in this letter. But I'd prefer to characterize it as
you would and say I and the others there were being bold to get to the TRUTH.
So far there are three --
possibly Four -- here in
that has been revealed to you by God. Yes, and now we're being called all sorts
of things in return."
happened? Why was this sincere seeker
for the truth of God abruptly thrown "out" of the new
"Philadelphia Church of God," which claims to be the true
"remnant" of the "
"Once the PCG organized itself and began teaching 'strong government' everything
died. The PCG seems like a new
taught (along with some errors), but Freezing everything at that point and refusing
"We were just 'made examples
of' to the
actual congregation in this part of the country -- (around 40-50 people). All of this
without talking first with any of us to our faces. Mr. Amos has Forsaken the strays
to 'save' the ninety-nine. It's BACKWARDS!
"Anyway, needless to say, your literature has sown to me that to continue to prove
all things and to Follow Christ -- not men with their own personal agendas -- thru
getting back to serious Bible study and prayer IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR US ALL.
It appears that Laodicean ministers can't magically change into Faithful shepherds,
just by calling the organization 'Philadelphian.' A worthless shepherd is a worthless
shepherd. I've only heard by the 'grapevine' that my status is now officially 'disfellow-
shipped.' No one has told me to my Face. It's shameful!
"I can't tell you how encouraged I am by your reprints. I've just written this letter a
fter having read your article 'Escape From
your study aids and other publications. It won't be easy though. Already I'm con-
sidered 'lost' by my own sister who still attends the PCG. She 'lovingly' refers to
your literature as 'POISON.' Hopefully she'll come around -- before it's too late.
"By the way, I'm no stranger to your articles. I'd received the 'Plain Truth' and
'Tomorrow's World' magazines in the early seventies. I'd attended the WCG since
1973. I have many issues from the sixties also. Please keep the 'presses' rolling and
thanks to you and all who are helping you to teach the truth so all who will be willing
to prove and accept it can do so. Thanks so much. Our prayers are with you."
The writers then adds the following postscript, a candid appraisal of the Flurry organization:
"P.S.S. Also if I can be of any help in regards to the 'PCG' please do not hesitate
to ask. Mr. Flurry's errors are very dangerous, I feel. Thanks."
End-Time Deceptions Abound
because a Church group comes out of the Worldwide Church of God, and possess
quite a bit of truth, does not necessarily mean that they are "God's
end-time Church," and the ONLY true
about you reading this article? Do you know how to really IDENTIFY God's
Jesus Christ said, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt.7:20). A Church's "fruits" involves both its TEACHINGS and DOCTRINES as well as its POLICIES and PRACTICES! Isaiah the prophet wrote, "To the law and to the testimony [the BIBLE]: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is NO LIGHT IN THEM" (Isa.8:20).
Now, I have nothing "personal" against Gerald Flurry and his new organization. Howver, I have heard some things about them which cause me to grieve. They appear to have retreated into a form of "isolationism" and are not carefully "proving all things," as Paul commanded us to do (I Thess.5:21). They have retreated into the past, a time warp, where Herbert W. Armstrong -- despite his many faults, blemishes and errors -- is virtually "worshiped," put up on a pedestal, and glorified as the "Elijah" to come. Yet Herbert Armstrong himself admitted he was not a "prophet," and made many, many mistakes throughout his life. The prophecies concerning the coming "Elijah" say that he will restore the truth of God. Herbert Armstrong did restore some of God's truth -- but far from all of it -- and he was in error on some very important points.
Furthermore, the Elijah to come is prophesied to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers" (Mal.4:6) -- and the dropout rate of young people from the Worldwide Church of God was enormous when Herbert Armstrong was alive. They have failed to truly reconcile fathers and children. Family break-ups were at record levels. Husbands were divorcing wives and wives were leaving husbands. The situation in the Worldwide Church of God, during Herbert Armstrong's later years, was chaotic, with divorce and remarriage at all-time highs. Certainly these would not be the "fruits" of the ministry of the "Elijah" to come!
Gerald Flurry is right to compare the present-day leader of the Worldwide Church of God to "Judas Iscariot." The modern leadership of the Church is indeed betraying Jesus Christ and His truth!
The Great Errors of Gerald Flurry and
However, Flurry is totally wrong to use the prophecy in Zechariah concerning "Joshua the high priest" and to claim it refers to Joseph Tkach. According to Flurry in his book "Malachi's Message,"
"Joshua was Zerubbabel's chief assistant. They are both end-time types
of two men who work together just before Christ's return. Joshua rebelled
and 'despised the day of small things.' He turned away from the way
Zerubbabel built. That is how Satan got to him (Zech.3:1).
"The 'man of sin' rules in
instructions of 'he' who was 'taken out of the way' (II Thes.2). There is
to be a Judas-like betrayal today, just as there was with Joshua.
"And end-time Joshua and the 'man of sin' reign in God's Church just before
Christ's return (Zech.3:8; II Thes.2:1-3). Are the one and the same? Both
turn away from past instructions. Both have filthy garments. Failing to
submit to Christ's government is the major problem of both men" (p.61).
this exegesis is all mixed up, spiritually.
The "man of sin" of II Thessalonians refers most directly to
the future "BEAST" or ruler of the end-time Babylonian Empire
(Rev.17:10) who will literally sit in the Temple of God, soon to be rebuilt in
Jerusalem (Rev.11:-1-2). He will
literally sit in the
like Antiochus Epiphanes, will desolate God's
Who is "Joshua" the High Priest?
also completely misunderstands the significance of "Joshua the high
priest" in Zechariah 3, also. Let's
notice this passage carefully.
"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel
of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, 'The LORD rebuke you, Satan!
The LORD, who has chosen
Notice! This man is snatched FROM the "fire," a type of the Great Tribulation. That means he is SAVED! He is a chosens vessel of Almighty God! He is most defnitely NOT an "apostate" who starts out well but ends up going astray! Rather, the exact OPPOSITE is true! Let's continue the passage:
"Now Joshua was dressed in FILTHY CLOTHES as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, 'Take off his filthy clothes.' Then he said to Joshua, 'See, I have TAKEN AWAY YOUR SIN, and I will put rich garments on you.' Then I said, 'Put a clean turban on his head.' So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by" (Zech.3:3-8).
This scene shows a man who was filthy with sins, but who REPENTED -- and who was then used mightily by God! This describes the very opposite of a man plunging into APOSTASY -- it shows a man FORSAKING apostasy and REPENTING of a grievous, filthy, spiritual past!
ancient times, Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel
the governor of
The TWO WITNESSES
Rather, he and Zerubbabel were TYPES of the end-time TWO WITNESSES of the Book of Revelation! Notice it! God shows Zechariah a vision of a gold lampstand with seven lights, and two olive trees beside it (Zech.4:1-3). God then says, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but BY MY SPIRIT,' says the LORD Almighty. What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of
"God bless it!' God bless it!"' Then the word of the LORD came to me: 'The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation; his hands will also COMPLETE IT. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you" (Zech.4:4-9).
Notice! This cannot refer to Herbert Armstrong, not even in type. Even if one suggests that God used him to begin His end-time work in 1934, he is now DEAD. He most certainly will NOT "complete" or "finish" the Work of the Church! Therefore, he was NOT an end-time "type" or fulfillment of "Zerubbabel"! That should be perfectly plain.
The Scripture goes on, however, "Who despises the day of small things? Men will REJOICE when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. . .' Then I asked the angel, 'What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?' Again I asked him, 'What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?' He replied, 'Do you not know what these are?' 'No, my lord' I said. So he said, 'These are the TWO WHO ARE ANOINTED TO SERVE THE LORD of all the earth'" (Zech.4:10-14).
What is this talking about? These two "anointed ones" were Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest! They were a type of the TWO WITNESSES of the End Time! They worked TOGETHER to finish and complete the WORK OF GOD on earth, prior to the return of Jesus Christ!
Therefore, in no way could this prophecy refer to Herbert Armstrong -- who is now DEAD -- and Joseph Tkach -- who has now turned ASIDE from the true paths of God!
Rather, as John writes in the book of Revelation, Almight God says:
"And I will give POWER TO MY TWO WITNESSES, and they
will prophecy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These ARE
the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the
Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from
their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how any one who
wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the
sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and
they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth
with every kind of plague as often as they want" (Rev.12:3-6).
How clear! Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel were two powerful servants of God who were types of the end-time Two Witnesses prophesied in the book of Revelation. In no way, therefore, is "Joshua" a type of that miserable dog and cur Joseph W. Tkach who has sold his soul to the devil and has departed from the faith and followed in the diabolical footsteps of Judas Iscariot, the supreme traitor of all time!
Flurry and the "
Flurry is also dead wrong when he claims,
if a temple is built in
commissioned to build God's temple -- as Zerubbabel was.
If they build a temple, it would be the Jew's temple" (
"Malachi's Message," p.47).
is utter nonsense. The prophet Daniel
foretold of a
to claim that this
about this end-time Temple, God says, "This is what the LORD Almighty
says: 'In a little while I will once
more SHAKE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, the sea and the dry land. I will SHAKE ALL NATIONS, and the desired of
all nations [Christ the Messiah!] will COME, and I will fill this house [the
'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty' (Hag.2:6-9).
Flurry says any
of the Messiah is the rebuilding of His
For a man who claims to be God's sole remaining representative on the earth, leading the sole remnant of the "one true Church," Gerald Flurry shows an astonishing amount of ignorance and an equally astonishing degree of pride and vanity and cocksure pompous arrogance. A little more "humility" would be much more becoming. God says, "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and TREMBLES AT MY WORD" (Isaiah 66:2).
The Mystery of the 144,000 Garbled Again!
is also wrong in claiming that the
Flurry states that the 144,000 of Revelation are "sealed" after the Great Tribulation and before the Day of the Lord (Rev.6:9-16; 7:1-4). This of course is true. But then Flurry goes off the track, and claims that only the 144,000 are "sealed" after the Great Tribulation because, according to him:
"The Laodiceans will DIE and be sealed during the 2 1/2 year
Tribulation. Therefore, we can see that the 144,000 of God's people
receive their salvation through the Tribulation experience -- and
This is utterly false! He adds,
"Again, the Bible indicates that all the Laodiceans who enter
God's Kingdom must DIE for God (Rev.6:9-11; 12:11-12).
You should read every word. . . . The Laodiceans have to
prove themselves by dying for God" (p.30, his emphasis).
These Scriptures simply do not say what Gerald Flurry says they say. Rather, Rev.6:9-11 speaks of MANY true Christians dying during the Great Tribulation. But it does not say ALL will perish in martyrdom! Similarly, Revelation 12:11-12 merely states that the devil will come down to the earth with
great wrath and fury. Verses 14-16 show that some of God's people will be protected from Satan; but others will be persecuted. There is NO MENTION OF MARTYRDOM, although it will certainly happen to SOME! Persecution is NOT "martyrdom"! Many will be persecuted, thrown in prison, and treated horribly. Some will definitely be martyred -- but nowhere does God say all the Laodiceans will be martyred -- only that they will suffer the "fire" of the Great Tribulation (Rev.3:18). In the process, many of them will finally REPENT, and learn their lesson.
then are the real 144,000 of Revelation?
Let's understand! The apostle
John sees them after the Great Tribulation (Rev.6:11-17), during a pause before
the Day of the Lord begins, when God Himself sends plagues upon the earth
(Rev.7:1-2). John says quite clearly that they are 12,000 from EACH of the 12
What is this "sealing"? It cannot be receiving of God's Spirit -- they already have that, being "servants of God." To claim that is is "death," as Flurry does, makes no sense whatsoever. These people are SURVIVORS, still alive at the end of the Great Tribulation! What, then, is it? Notice!
The Mystery of the "Mark"
I heard him call out in a loud voice, 'Bring the guards of the city here, each with
a WEAPON in his hand.' And I saw six men
coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a
deadly weapon in his hand. With them was
a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze
altar. . . . Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, 'Go
throughout the city of
Ezekiel continues: "As I listened, he said to the others [other angels], 'Follow him through the city and KILL, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old me, young men and maidens, women and children, but DO NOT TOUCH ANYONE WHO HAS THE MARK" (Ezekiel 9:1-6).
This "mark" is the same thing as the "seal" in Revelation 7:3 -- it is the "seal" or "mark" of divine PROTECTION and setting apart! In other words, the PLAGUES OF GOD which will fall upon the earth during the Day of the Lord, will not harm or touch the "sealed" and protected servants of God who are still alive at that time! They will be supernaturally SPARED and SAVED from the judgment that will fall upon the heads of all the wicked!
"The Government of God"?
Gerald Flurry's so-called "Philadelphia Church of God" is no more the
Flurry believes that the "government of God" is only in his "church" group today. He thunders at everybody else:
"When we reach 'the great and dreadful day of the Lord,' all
rebellion from the Church against the Elijah Work [which he
claims is his work] is removed. At that point, all Firstfruits
support what Christ has restored through HWA or they are
dead spirtually! Even though HWA died before 'the great and
dreadful Day of the Lord,' there are many who still don't support
what Christ restored though him. When that Day arrives,
ALL CHURCH MEMBERS WHO STILL REBEL AGAINST
GOD'S GOVERNMENT WILL BE CUT OFF FOREVER!"
Flurry's "church government" is no more God's Government on earth than Worldwide's, Church of God, International's, or any other sect or cult today! He says of those he calls "Laodiceans," "They have a serious GOVERNMENT PROBLEM. They are in the Tribulation for that very reason!" (ibid.). But Flurry's group has shown it has that identical problem!
Will they wind up then in the very same place?
Flurry threatens all who don't follow HIM and his group with DEATH in the Great Tribulation, unless they repent NOW. He claims their "sealing" means being MARTYRED during the Great Tribulation. What a total perversion and twisting of the plain and simple Scriptures of Revelation 6, 7 and 12! Knowing that we serve a righteous and a just God, I suspect that God will reserve for Gerald Flurry and his group the very punishment that he so quickly threatens so many others with! I would sincerely not want to be "caught" among them.
On the last page of his book, page 83, Flurry asks the question:
"WHO HAS A GOVERNMENT PROBLEM?"
"We are going to be accused of rebelling against God and His
authority. WE ARE DOING JUST THE OPPOSITE! . . . Who
has a government problem? The whole battle we face is struggling
to cling to Christ's government. . . . WE ARE NOT REBELLING
-- WE ARE TAKING A STAND AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE!"
Of course, Joseph Tkach and the Worldwide Church of God do accuse Flurry and his group of rebelling against "Church authority" and the "government of God." But now Flurry and his group are accusing others of the very same thing when they disagree with him! So what we see here are "two wolves," all right -- the Worldwide "wolf" gnashing its teeth at a rebellious young "whelp" of a "wolf" which has led off a group of people to follow him to his own rendezvouz with destiny, and the Great Tribulation -- unless he, himself, bitterly repents of his own serious, fatal errors!
If Flurry were taking a stand against those who are rebelling against God, and if he were standing up for the TRUTH of God, and not just for old ERRORS and doctrinal mistakes of the past, then I would have nothing against him -- I would cheer him and and root for his team. But alas, I cannot do that. The "fruits" have proven that his group is just another "miniature Worldwide" with all of its governmental errors and doctrinal faults -- including the abuse of authority and stubborn refusal to admit and confess their mistakes, and to repent and receive proven and provable new Truth!
"BELIEVE YOUR BIBLE -- NOT MEN!"
Finally, Flurry ends his book:
"Brethren, please study and digest this message, and pray
fervently for God to guide you. BELIEVE YOUR BIBLE
-- NOT MEN! Your eternal life hangs in the balance" (p.83,
On this one thing Gerald Flurry is certainly right.
You should definitely "BELIEVE YOUR BIBLE -- NOT MEN!" (p.83). And that includes Gerald Flurry!
Flurry also tells people who read his book, "
"GOD COMMANDS -- TEST YOUR LEADERS" (page 5).
This also is very good advice. And it applies just as much to Gerald Flurry as it does to Joseph W. Tkach, or any other man on the earth, today!
is also right, when he says, on page 4, that the apostle John had a "run
in" with a certain church leader of his time, one Diotrephes,
who would not let the brethren receive emmisaries
from John, but forbad them from doing so and even "puts them out of the
church," John wrote (III John 9-10).
Flurry says these cast out ones were the faithful brethren, the one's
who had God's Holy Spirit. These cast out ones became the new faithful
"The point is, THOSE CLOSE TO GOD FOLLOWED
JESUS CHRIST -- not some of the deceived leaders in
"We often ask the question, 'Is he out of the Church?' But that
isn't the most important question. That isn't the question the
Apostle John was most concerned about. His followers were
out' of the
because they were actually FOLLOWING CHRIST! Following
Christ has gotten many people kicked out of God's Churches --
when those Churches were going astray. A CHRISTIAN IS ONE
WHO FOLLOWS CHRIST -- not a man or a church organization"
(p.4, "Malachi's Message").
Isn't that amazing? Gerald Flurry knows this truth. He even writes about it. Indeed, a TRUE CHRISTIAN IS ONE WHO FOLLOWS CHRIST! But then Flurry does the very same thing DIOTREPHES DID whom the apostle John had his confrontation with -- he casts true Christians out of the Church! Flurry does the very same thing to others that Joseph Tkach and his minions in Pasadena did to him!
Is that the right "Christian example" to be set?
Is Flurry, therefore, really "FOLLOWING CHRIST?"
The experience of the man who was in the "Philadelphia Church of God" for a while speaks volumes concerning the true state of affairs of the "Philadelphia Church of God."
His letter is very revealing and definitely shows a wrong attitude on the part of the ministry -- a self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitude that is blind to error and their own mistakes and shortcomings. Christ Himself will deal with such reprehensible, devious ministers who refuse to repent when confronted with the plain and simple Word of God.
"WOE To the Shepherds"!
The Word of God thunders, "To the shepherds: Thus said the Lord GOD: Ah, you shepherds of Israel, who have been tending yourselves! Is it not the flock that the shepherds ought to tend? You partake of the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, and YOU SLAUGHTER the fatlings; but you do not tend the flock. You have not sustained the weak, healed the sick, or bandaged the injured; you have NOT BROUGHT BACK THE STRAYED, or looked for the LOST; but you have DRIVEN THEM WITH HARSH RIGOR, and they have been scattered for want of anyone to tend them" (Ezek.34:2-5, Tanakh).
Jeremiah the prophet wrote, "'WOE to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!' declares the LORD. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: 'Because you have SCATTERED my flock and DRIVEN THEM AWAY [through "disfellowhipment" as well as other means, including "boring them to death" in some cases] and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow PUNISHMENT on you for the EVIL you have done,' declares the LORD'" (Jer.23:1-2).
John Amos, one of the two top ministers of the "Philadelphia Church of God" -- I have to put that name in quotation marks, because by their fruits they certainly are NOT the "Church of Brotherly Love," which the name "Philadelphia" would imply -- accused a man of having a "hang-up" about Passover and the 144,000. But I have noticed it is the one who does the accusing who usually has the real spiritual "hang-ups."
The leaders of the "Philadelphia Church of God" appear to be stuck in "neutral" spiritually and are going nowhere fast. As the letter writer said, they have all the major "truth" virtually "frozen solid" -- as of the time of Herbert Armstrong -- except what Gerald Flurry decides to change, for his own benefit.
Concerning the Passover controversy, Flurry and Amos both should read my many articles on this subject which prove beyond any question that Passover must be observed at the END of Nisan 14, on Nisan 15, the same time as the Jews have always observed it. The wine and unleavened bread are to be taken with the Passover meal or seder, in a family setting, the only difference being they represent the blood and body of Christ our Saviour who rescued us from sin. (See the articles "Wonderful New Truth about the Passover!," "Passover -- The Final Solution," "When Should We Observe the Passover?" and "Myths about the Passover!")
Likewise, they should study into the subject of the right day to observe Pentecost. This holy day has been grievously misunderstood. The Jews have always celebrated both Passover and Pentecost on the right days -- they never lost this
fundamental truth of God, anymore than they ever lost the true knowledge of the weekly Sabbath! (See my articles "How Should We Count Pentecost?", "Pentecost -- the Final Story," "The Pentecost Enigma!", "The Incredible Truth about Pentecost," and "The Plain Truth about Pentecost!")
I sincerely hope that Gerald Flurry and John Amos will both come to full repentance before they go so far adrift from the truth which they once held that they earn for themselves the full, undiluted and undiminished WRATH and fury of God, which He will pour out on the wicked shepherds, the evil ministers, and all those who MISLEAD God's people!
As the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, "The WRATH OF GOD is being revealed from heaven against ALL the godlessness and wickedness of MEN WHO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. . . . so that [these] men are without excuse" (Rom.1:18-20).
This is no small matter, but something all should take with the utmost seriousness and urgency.
Presently, the "Philadelphia Church of God" possesses fatal and dangerous errors. They came out of Worldwide, but not "all the way out" of Babylon! They still have the Babylonian, authoritarian, despotic form of "church government" which does not come from Scripture but from Babylon and the tyranny of Roman Catholicism, masquerading as the truth of God. God's true ministers are not autocrats or dictators -- they are loving and gentle shepherds who love the flock with tenderness and rule with meekness and gentlesness (I Pet.5:1-4; Matt.23:8-12).
The "Philadelphia Church of God," as it seems to boastfully call itself -- not illustrative of what I would call an attitude of humility -- needs to repent, and develop an attitude of true humility. Certainly, people need to be warned against every vestige of false teaching that remains in the Worldwide Church of God. But we need also to repent and change every vestige or particle of error that formerly was taught by the Worldwide Church of God. Just "following Herbert W. Armstrong" as he used to teach is not good enough. He was still just a man -- mortal, fallible, weak, and sinful. Following him blindly would be no safer than following any man blindly!
The Scriptures state unequivocally: "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing" (Psalms 146:3-4). This certainly happened in the case of Herbert Armstrong. He left the Work of God in the hands of a spiritual FOOL!
The Word of God says, "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes" -- or ministers or any human leaders (Psalms 118:8-9).
I hope and pray that the leaders of the Philadelphia Church of God will come to a much fuller and deeper repentence and submission to the will of God. It is right that they should help expose the errors of Worldwide -- but they should not blind themselves to REAL new truth, and bring people into servitude and cruel "bondage" to themselves -- replacing one dictatorship with another! They themselves must also open their eyes to the fact that Herbert Armstrong did not have all the truth, and that we must continue to GROW in grace and the knowledge of God's Word and HIS LAWS (II Pet.3:18). If they follow the example of Worldwide, and put people out for asking questions, or bringing up serious new truth, then they are no better than the apostates they are fleeing from -- they are just "the pot calling the kettle black" -- modern hypocrites! We should not rejects the extremism of Worldwide only to retreat into a rigid reactionary neo-conservative cultism.