Sunday, 1 May 2016

Another Astonishing Heresy

To continue the theme of heresy, that was endemic in The Worldwide Church of God: it was believed and subtly proclaimed, but sometimes openly promulgated, especially by Arthur Suckling, that God chose Abraham because of his obedience to God's instructions.  The text that was often cited by those who thought that God was an Englishman, or in some cases, even an American was Genesis chapter 12:1-4, with special emphasis on verse four thus: "So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken on to him"(Gen.12:4).  Other texts that were quoted in support of Abraham's justification by works or obedience are, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him...(Gen.18:19).  And when Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his son Isaac, the narrative runs thus: "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son..."(Gen.22:3).  So these texts, in particular, were cited to support what is called in modern language, racism, but what the bible calls, "respect of persons"(Rom.2:11), and to foolishly proclaimed that Abraham was chosen by God because of his obedience.

Of course, the subtext of the teaching of this heresy was, that the Gentile members of the church were descendants of tribes of disobedient, rebellious people, who hated God.  But can now count themselves "lucky" to be members of God's church.  But they still cannot be trusted to be obedient to the teaching of the bible.  So they have to be constantly watched, in case they bring the church into disrepute.  But, the hireling ministry, who claimed to have been descended from Abraham, were very successful in bringing the church into disrepute, because the watchman fell asleep.

However, the Great Apostle, loving called by his Lord and Master, A Chosen Vessel, in explaining the doctrine of grace posits this question: "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found?"  Firstly, we need to unravelled this knotty question, and rewrite it in clearer English.  The interrogative phrase, "what shall we say," is asking, what conclusion should we come to about the calling of Abraham?  Was he justified by works or by faith?  And the Chosen Vessel answered the question he posited thus: "For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God"(Rom.4:2).

That inspired text has been in the bible for nearly two thousand years, according to the Jewish calendar.  Yet, Arthur Suckling, a man of unstable character, a cabal of hirelings and Dr. Meredith, who likes to boast that he taught the Epistle of Paul at Ambassador College for 25 years, never read or understood it.  That is astonishing!  On second thoughts, perhaps it isn't that astonishing!

Anyway, after the Chosen Vessel went on to explain that God prophesied through David, that his elect will be justified by faith through grace, he prefaced his question thus: "For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness"(Rom.4:9).  Then he posits the question: "How was it then reckoned?"  And in the process of logical deduction, he asked: "when he was in circumcision, or uncircumcision?"  And the answer is: "Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision"(Rom.4:10).  What does it all mean? Perhaps we ought to ask Dr. Meredith, who taught the Epistle of Paul for 25 years at Ambassador College?

Firstly, however, let me deal with uncircumcision, which by nature is how every boy child in born.  So Abraham was uncircumcised, therefore, he was a Gentile: because that is the way he was born. Which means that Abraham was a sinner, like everyone else, in need of God's mercy.  But uncircumcision under the old covenant was a symbol of sin, as it goes back to the rebellion in the garden of Eden, where man lost control of his sexuality, and nakedness became shameful.  A subject that was never understood in WCG.

So under the old covenant, circumcision was a substitute for spiritual baptism, which came into effect, under the new covenant. So today, when God calls and redeems his elect, they go through the process of spiritual circumcision, not the cutting away of the foreskin, but the removal of the whole body of sin thus: "In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting of the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ"(Col.2:11); Rom.2:25-29), with special emphasis on verse 29.

So when Abraham was called and granted faith to believe in God, he was then circumcised to be transformed from being a Gentile to an Israelite, that is, to a man of God.  Today, the same is true of Gentiles.

NB. to be contined

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