Why Are We Not All Together?

I hear it all the time from our viewers and readers: “Why are you not together with this or that organization which is also a part of the Church of God, since we are all believing the same thing?” If that were true, then we should all be together, but in reality, this perception is simply not accurate. In fact, we differ greatly in doctrine, administration, approach and purpose.

The founding documents of the Church of the Eternal God state the following in our Statements of Beliefs, under “Doctrinal Foundation”:

“The major doctrines of the Church are those, which were taught by Herbert W. Armstrong, derived from the Biblical teachings as followed by God’s faithful servants, and originally established by Jesus Christ through the founding of His Church in the time of His chosen early apostles. Since we are to increase in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, we are committed to review and alter any of our teachings, if and when proven to be wrong by from the Bible.”

Unlike other Church organizations which declared from the beginning of their existence that “everything is on the table” and that all doctrines and teachings of the Church must be reviewed and reconsidered, we have been taking the opposite approach. For us, nothing is on the table, unless a doctrine, teaching or administrative practice is proven to be wrong, based on Scripture. This means, even if we cannot fully prove a particular established teaching from the Bible, we will not change it, if we cannot prove it to be in violation of God’s written Word.

At the same time, we will change if a doctrine or administrative practice is shown to be in contradiction with the Bible. However, there are groups which say that nothing can be changed after Herbert W. Armstrong’s death in 1986… and some even go so far as to say that none of the Church’s changes can be accepted which occurred subsequent to 1974 and 1975, including major changes pertaining to the correct day of Pentecost and our teaching on divorce and remarriage. This concept that nothing can be changed today is clearly unbiblical and must be rejected.

Our approach, as described herein, is the ONLY safe approach which ALL Church organizations in the Body of Christ should take, because only then true unity in doctrine and administration can be achieved. To just give one example, it is simply not acceptable that one organization disfellowships a person for Scriptural reasons (compare Matthew 18:17-18; Romans 16:17), and another organization, claiming to be in the same spiritual Body of Christ, embraces him or her with open arms, without even inquiring into the cause of the excommunication. Another unacceptable policy prevails in many Church organizations which sanction and officiate over the re-marriage of divorced persons in their fellowship who are still married in the eyes of God, since God had bound their marriage (Matthew 19:4-9; 1 Corinthians 7:10-15) and no subsequent biblical grounds existed for divorce and re-marriage. Such conduct gives some of the many reasons as to why there is no unity amongst many Church groups. Unity can only come through the working of the Holy Spirit, based on the teachings of God. How CAN two walk together, unless they are agreed (Amos 3:3)?

We in the Church of the Eternal God and our affiliates in the UK, Canada and German-speaking areas are committed to grow in Christ’s knowledge. As Mr. Armstrong changed or modified doctrines and practices when he found them to be wrong, so have we. A careful study of our literature shows our willingness to change in areas of administration and teaching, but all of our changes have been clearly documented and proved by the pages of the Bible.

If someone wants to find out what we teach, he or she must study our literature and listen to our messages. Just to go back to old and ancient Church literature may or may not give an accurate picture of our current teaching. At the same time, all our changes and modifications are based and built on the doctrines which all of us have learned. We are not going to deviate and depart from the faith which has been—once for all—delivered to the saints (Jude 3). This is our commission and God-given responsibility, which we are determined to fulfill to the best of our ability.

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