Saturday, 18 June 2016

Why Suffering, Part 2

For those who are not hard of hearing, we learned that the Apostle Paul was a role model of suffering as a pattern for all those who subsequently believe on Jesus to life everlasting(1Tim.1:16).  We also learned that the vast majority of members and ministers, that were associated with The Worldwide Church of God, never suffered anything in defence of the gospel, which is a clear indication that they were not converted.

The vast majority of WCG members never took their children out of school or requested leave from work to keep the Holy Days or attend the Feast of Tabernacles. They requested permission from work or school to attend a conference, which indicated they were going to attend a regular event that is often held in the world.  They were ashamed of their association with Christ.  Yet Christ warns thus: "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his father with the holy angels"(Mark 8:38).  That is a terrifying thought!  Yet, sadly, even Mr Armstrong in the 1980s, during his travels to various countries around the world, never stated that he was chosen by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel to the world.  In all the videos that I saw, I heard him saying, "I am an ambassador for peace, and a strong hand from some where will come to solve the problems of the world."  It is not for me to judge another man's servant, but that nonsense is not in the bible! 

If HWA had followed the pattern given to him by God via the Chosen Vessel, he might have been imprisoned in China or Japan for preaching salvation through Jesus Christ thus: "For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved"(Acts 4:12), especially if he had added with emphasis, all other religions are of the devil(1 Cor.10:20).  

Furthermore,  if he and Les McCullough had not remained silent about the racial separation of churches in South Africa, they might have been sjambox or imprisoned on Robin Island, for defending the truth of the gospel.  But they would have been able to rejoice with the Chosen Vessel, by saying: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus"(Gal.6:17).  

So when I compare and contrast the Apostolic church with WCG, there is no comparison that can be made: and the contrast is even more astonishing!  In the midst of severe, brutal and savage persecutions, the Apostles did not fear to preach that Christ was risen from the dead.  They bore in mind the promise and warning of Jesus Christ, when he says: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my father who is in heaven."  But, now comes the warning: "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father who is in heaven"(Matt.10:32-33).  As a consequence of former members and hireling ministers denying Jesus, by linguistic gymnastics or total silence, they are now facing denial before God!

In contrast, the Vessels of Mercy who have confessed Christ, have suffered persecutions by false brethren, family members, work colleagues, neighbours and character assassination by false ministers, who thought the church belong to them.  But the Vessels of Mercy were told: "In nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God"(Phil.1:28).  In his letter to the Thessalonians, the great Apostle told them, their persecutions and sufferings "Is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer(2 Thess.1:5).  And him to whom the keys of the kingdom were given, was inspired to write:"If you be reproached for the name of Christ happy are you; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you"(2 Pet.4:14). 

Finally, the paradox, which is a deep mystery, is that Christ, who did no sin nor was guile found in his mouth, learned obedience by  those things he suffered(Heb.5:8).  And though he was perfect, we are told that he was made perfect through sufferings(Heb.2:10). Now if Christ leaned obedience and was made perfect through sufferings, it logically follows that true Christians are also made perfect through sufferings.  

But most of the members of WCG never took up the cross of suffering to follow Christ into perfection.