Tuesday, May 19, 2009

You’ve Left… Now What?

You’ve dared to question. You’ve dared to be honest with yourself. Huge steps. And then the really huge step… you left. But now what? Where is the truth? Who has it? Does anyone? How do know who has the truth? How do you find them?confusion

Let me share with you what happened for me.

For me, what got me to questioning Ron Weinland’s teachings, was at FOT 2005 when he stated that Christ was created. I just about had a cow! I was attending with my Mother, and I remember that evening, she was talking to me, asking me questions, as if to see where I stood. I was shocked that she would even entertain the idea. But she seemed to accept is so quickly and so easily. I was beside myself.

Upon returning home, I continued to listen to Ron every Saturday and immersed myself in the Bible, in search of truth. I started by asking questions of my spouse, who had been New Covenant for years. Everything I heard seemed to make sense. Then I would call my Mother and ask her questions. Everything I heard seemed to make sense. How could that be? They believed differently, so how could they both seem to make sense?

I went around and around in circles for a good week like this, asking them questions. That’s when I realized I had gone to the wrong source in search of answers. They weren’t with my Mother. They weren’t with my spouse. They were with God. I told God: “I want to know the truth. I want your truth. I don’t care what it is, I have no preference… if we’re to keep holy days, fine. If we’re not, fine. It doesn’t matter, all I want is your truth.”

I spent, literally, ten solid months immersed in study, and I repeated my request to God frequently… and you know what? He granted it… and I’m not the only one who asked for this and received it. I’m convinced this is what’s required in order to receive the truth; truly and without preference, wanting God’s truth.

Ask yourself, and be honest; “Do I have a preference? Would it matter to me if “A” was the truth and not “B”, or vise versa?” This can be revealing, and being honest with yourself is highly respectable.

In case you’re thinking it, I’ll mention something my sister said when she was trying to figure our if Ron Weinland was God’s prophet or not. She said that some of us need others to teach us stuff because they know more than we do.

Well, it is true that some are more mature in the Word than others and that’s why I love Bible discussions with others, but the Holy Spirit is our teacher. Read these verses:

1Jn 2:26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him.

Jn 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Jn 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth.

1Co 2:12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

Mt 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

So, you’ve left… Now what? You ask yourself if you have a preference. If you do, then you have something to work out. Talk to God about it. If your sincere, I’m sure he will help you with that… and then when, or if, you don’t, you tell God, and you ask him to reveal his truth to you, you dig into your Bible and you see anew!

You don’t need to set out looking for a new teacher. Don’t be counting on someone else for your salvation. It is your responsibility to make sure you are receiving the truth. You can’t ride someone else’s coattail into the Kingdom. Don’t mistake what I’m saying, I’m not negating church, church and fellowship is great, I’m saying just don’t rely on someone else for truth. Rely on God and his Holy Spirit to teach you all things.

God bless you in your quest for his truth.OneMinuteBibleStudy

You may be interested in reading my articles: Do We Need To Be Taught By Others?, and: On Bereans & Poem From Ex-Member


xHWA said...

Thanks for sharing that with us, Seeker.

I had an experience much like yours. After seeing inconsistencies in the COG teachings, I started to suspect there was something to this grace stuff I had been hearing about. I prayed to God for His truth to be revealed to me. I prayed fervently for weeks. I wanted His truth -- no matter what came of it. I knew it would be a trial, I knew that in some way it would change my life.. I just didn't know it would end up like this, with me leaving Armstrongism!

Well, I left when the truth was undeniable. I was pretty much given a choice - accept what was plainly before me (mainly that Jesus finished salvation on the cross when He clearly said "it is finished"), or clamp my eyes shut and insist that the old false prophet and Christ-monger Herbert Armstrong (and his false prophet students like Ron Weinland, Rod Merideth, Gerald Flurry, et al) were correct. I chose Jesus Christ.

Since then, a world of Biblical truth has opened like a blooming flower. Words that I had purposefully reinterpreted according to whatever means were necessary to make the Bible fit what I wanted it to say were now clear. The gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus our Savior did fulfill all the law and the prophets. Salvation is complete, and Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient. The O.C. law which no man keeps (especially not in HWA's highly cherry-picked interpretation) is not necessary for salvation. All are saved who have faith in Jesus Christ -- including me!!!

None of those curses that I had grown up fearing came upon me. In fact, my life is in every possible way better. MORE Spiritual, MORE Biblical, MORE familial, MORE outgoing, MORE appreciative, MORE joyous... in every way superior to the old life I led under Armstrongism. My wife and I remark often how much better things are.

After reading about how very many cults there are out there who in startling ways are just like Armstrongism (we were told we were the only ones on earth like that), I believe I have come to some conclusions. I think it is important to make a clean break. Come out of her! I think it is important to choose truth and stick with it - do not let those who remain drag you back down with them again (they WILL try). I think that even if you feel you simply cannot be close to any church right now - go to church. The fellowship is invaluable at this point. I highly recommend the COG7 for all who come out of Armstrongism. They are a fine and upstanding organization! Most importantly, don't give up on or blame Christ. The answers to why these things have happened to you will come to you when you're ready. YES, Christ was working with you and leading you this whole time. NO, He never left you. He was merely working with you in a way you didn't suspect, and leading you to a pasture you didn't anticipate. Let His will be done. Now, from here on in, the future is open to you and a new stage in your relationship with Christ is unfolding. And that future is bright!

Questeruk said...

I am posting this a second time, because I think I may have posted it accidently in the 'poem' section (the blog immediately before this). If I have, sorry, it was meant to be here. What follows is identical to the previous posting.

xHWA said...

“I highly recommend the COG7 for all who come out of Armstrongism. They are a fine and upstanding organization!”

Hi xHWA - Interesting that you say that. I admit I am a little curious that you recommend COG7, but yet have just written the series on ‘’Common Legalist Arguments’.

Would not COG7 be considered ‘legalist’? E.g. they do not believe in the trinity, they do believe the 10 commandments should be kept, including, of course, the Sabbath. I know they are not into the annual holy days, but I think I am correct in saying they keep to clean foods, and a few other things that I thought you might consider ‘legalist’.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is very positive that you recommend COG7 – it’s just I was slightly surprised that you do, as you clearly do not recommend ‘Armstrongite’ groups.

Just wondered.

xHWA said...

Hi Q!

It's an odd thing, I guess. But when I left Armstrongism and started in at the COG7, I just couldn't believe the difference in attitude. Here was a group that kept the 10 Commandments, but they didn't hold anything against anyone who did not. They put faith in Jesus first without making the Sabbath a wedge issue. It was so refreshing and inspiring to listen to messages about the grace of Jesus as opposed to the superiority of [partial] law keepers.

I saw there was a willingness to serve the community. They would generously give to people regardless of their religious affiliation and without any implied obligation to join the church. That which is regular at COG7 is something I extremely rarely saw in Armstrongism.

I saw them use material from Protestant churches. If they see that someone has a good inspiring thing to say, they aren't above learning from it. In Armstrongism, that is tantamount to blasphemy. All Protestants are "worldy", "uninspired", "deceived" etc, etc. I NEVER heard that sort of thing at the COG7.

When I left the COG7, the minister made sure that I knew I was welcome back, he made sure I knew we were still loved, he made sure I knew he felt God was still with me. When I left Armstrongism, at first I was urged to come back, I was told I was still family, and then.... nothing. I don't get a response anymore. My COG7 pastor? Emails me all the time. He's a great guy!

I personally am in no way opposed to people who feel they should keep the 10 Commandments. Yes, I feel they could follow a more perfect way. BUT so very many people from Armstrongism use the law as a wedge, to divide and separate. They do not put any common faith first. And there was always a sense of superiority in the teachings that the Protestant world was destined for Tribulation. Not so in the COG7. They keep the 7th day, but they put love and faith first. They do not think the worst of everyone else.

Just request a copy of the Bible Advocate once. If the writing style doesn't seem like night and day to you, I don't know what else to say. Yes, it's a bit simplistic, but it's genuine and from the heart. It's not canned articled re-run from decades passed and re-worded. It's genuine people spilling their guts about their walk with Christ. I find it refreshing!!

If I had to be bluntly honest, the COGs are in every way acting like a cult while the COG7 is in nearly every way acting like a Protestant religion that keeps the 7th day Sabbath. (I mean no insult to anyone by that.)

Those are just some of the reasons why I continue to recommend the COG7 even though we disagree about some things. I consider them God's own. I hope that never changes.