To the Ekklesia [“assembly” or “church”]:
I was baptized into the body of Christ (the Ekklesia) in 1983. As a member of the Worldwide Church of God, I learned about the eternal truths and the 18 truths restored.
I sincerely believed I was a member of God’s True and only Church. The many booklets and literature of the WCG made us feel unique and special. We felt we knew the truth and our understanding of future events was right.
We had booklets titled: Mystery of the Ages, What Do You Mean the Kingdom of God?, Which Day is the Christian Sabbath?, Pagan Holidays of God’s Holy Days?, The Plain Truth about Healing, Is All Animal Flesh Good for Food?, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, The Book of Revelation Unveiled At Last, What is Real Christianity?, All About Water Baptism, What do you Mean Born Again?, What is the True Gospel?, What is the Holy Spirit?, Where is God’s True Church?, etc. These made us think that we knew God’s truth and that He was working only through us.
We financed a worldwide work with Plain Truth, Good News, Youth 95, Worldwide News, correspondence course, a radio broadcast, a television broadcast and other programs that were reaching millions! We had a college that trained Christians for the service of God.
We kept the Sabbath, Holy Days, did not eat unclean meats, did not keep pagan holidays, did not marry or date outside the church, did many do’s and don’ts. We first, second, and third tithed, gave offerings and preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world!
We were special: God’s only chosen ones. The only ones with God’s truth. We belonged to God’s true and only church—doing God’s work. We were called and chosen as the only true Christians.
It was great! Comforting. We assembled in peace and unity, fellowshipped with true believers, had our own lingo, and were fed and nurtured by “headquarters and the local ministry.”
The Holydays were the best time of the year! 150,000 strong! Record breaking offerings! Inspirational messages! Family time, making new friends, new places to see, things to buy, foods to eat—a happy time! We were special!
Then God stepped in—shook us from our sleep and when we opened our eyes we saw ourselves for who we really were.
We were not the only ones. We did not have the only truth—not even all the truth. We were not God’s only “church” and people. Many things changed. Doctrine changed. Our focus changed. Our understanding changed. Our “truths” changed. What we believed in changed. Our understanding of God changed. We changed.
Brethren started asking questions. Reading “dissident” literature. Visiting “other” churches. People began to study the Bible—to prove if these things were so. A whole network of people began to take form. Brethren started calling brethren. Information, articles, study papers, other literature and understandings or other churches of God were exchanged and shared. No longer could internal information stay internal. We began to look at everything—not with a magnifying glass, but with a microscope.
Brethren began to leave “the church,” ministers left and formed new churches of God (each one with its own focus). Many joined but many remained independent—proving all things—before even considering joining.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?
Slowly as the dust settled, the emotions waned and the shock was over. We began to see that God was there all along working out His purpose in us.
Why am I writing this open letter?
I would like all of the church of God groups to understand that I am no longer the “pay and pray, obey, sit and keep quiet, and believe and think only what we tell you” individual I used to be.
I can no longer allow any church, minister, or person to interpret doctrinal or scriptural truth for me nor dictate how I should live my Christian life. Nor how I should think or believe.
Nor would I again make church government of a church my idol. I cannot accept any doctrine or decisions just because “that is what the church says and that is what we should do.”
Nor can I allow any church organization to prohibit me from fellowshipping, visiting, or reading any other church’s teachings.
I will be very cautious of any organization that disfellowships members for their personal beliefs—that claims they are the only true church, with the only truth, doing God’s only work, the only ones understanding prophecy and scripture.
I will be very cautious of any church with a one-man rule, with top-down government or even a church with a board of directors making all the decisions.
I will not join an organization that attacks other organizations rather than using its resources (magazines, booklets, and broadcasts) to reach and preach God’s word.
If any church organization allows me the liberty in Christ to fellowship with all true believers, allows me to visit any other group I desire, allows me to study any literature from any other group, allows me to believe what God has brought me to believe, treats me as an equal in Christ rather than a subordinate, allows me to independently think for myself, allows differences and diversity in Christ, then I will fellowship with you.
Is any such group perfect? Is any group God’s true and only church? Are there true holy spirit-led Christians in only one church organization? Does any one group have all of God’s truth? God is working in many groups and churches but He has only one Church—the Body of Christ.
Christ said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Let us stop attacking, judging, condemning one another! Let us stop creating divisions, rumors and animosity between one another! Let us overcome the bitterness, the resentment, the hurt and hate we have for one another! Let us stop looking at our differences and share what we have in common.
Let us put our trust and hope in Christ, in God and in His Word. Let us love one another, fellowship with one another, tolerate one another and learn from each other.
God has called us to peace and unity under one faith, one body, one God. He did not call us to argue, fight and destroy one another but to love one another!
When I visit you, please treat me as a fellow believer, a fellow brother in Christ, as one of the saints of Christ’s ekklesia, not as a “potential tithe payer” nor as a “potential dissident” nor as an ex-WCG member, but as a brother in Christ.
Thank you for your understanding and may we fellowship together in peace.
One of Christ’s disciples,
60 Surrey Lane, Colonia, NJ 07067
Work: 908-205-7456 or 205-5795