Here’s a testimonial from one of our readers who is going by the name “Centurion". This reader left Armstrongism just recently, and what a story they have. I am eager to share this with you. By the end of it I found myself sad that it was over. I hope you enjoy this and find some inspiration in it.
I would have you know - the reason we do reader testimonials is so that you, whoever you are, can see that you are not alone out there. There are others out there like you. Maybe you are currently attending a Church of God splinter group but you are hesitant to leave. Maybe you have already left and you wonder what others went through. Regardless of where you are, I hope you find something in these testimonials that help you along your way. I hope you find something you can relate to. And that they bless your heart and give you reassurance.
Hebrews also started saying some really crazy things:
You can read Hebrews any way you want, but you can’t get that the old covenant is still in effect.
But the covenant is NOT the law – sure the old COVENANT is gone, but the law remains, right? I was taught that the covenant is just the agreement to keep the law; it’s not the law itself. The covenant changes, but the law remains. After all, God says “I change not”!
And then this… I didn’t like this next verse at all:
Seriously? The covenant IS the Ten Commandments?
My subconscious must have known that was a bad thing to learn. Because if the commandments of Moses ARE the old covenant, and the old covenant is gone, then….
No, this was unthinkable. Surely the law remains!
I found these scriptures regarding the law in the new covenant.
And there are many more scriptures regarding the law, similar to the above, I won’t put them all here, but there are a lot of them. A lot.
The Roller Coaster
All the tenants of Armstrongism were chopped down now, and I came to a point I call “the Roller Coaster”.
Death blows had been struck to my religion and I realized I had nothing left of Armstrongism. This was incredibly unsettling. I felt like I was in free-fall. Prophetic events of Armstrong, gone. Identity of nations and church eras, gone. The law, gone. Sabbaths and holy days, gone. What did I have left?? Tithing, unclean meats, gone. Church exclusivity, gone. The Armstrong gospel, gone. My identity is being stripped away. The law, gone. Is this what it feels like to be deceived??
It was so emotionally scary, and I felt like I was spiritually going over the big hill on a roller coaster. My whole life, and all these challenges to Armstrongism were click-click-click going up the hill, but now, … now I’m finally going over the hill and I don’t know what happens next, but it is so scary. There is no escape, and I don’t want to go.
This new guy I’d never really been taught about but read all about. The Gospel. Jesus was all I had left, and he’s the one who caught me. Jesus is what’s left when everything else is stripped away.
For the first time in my life, I felt peace. No more anger at other churches for being wrong. No more frustration at other Christians for refusing to see the Armstrong truth. No more hating Christmas carols. (Why did I hate “joy to the world” so much?) No more anger with incompetent or deceitful ministers. No more Puritanical anger towards any behavior that didn’t meet the Church’s high standards. No more ager at my own lack of being able to keep the very law I defend. No more sweet-sweet anger at all. Just peace. And I liked it.
As I started re-educating myself in the scriptures I found that elusive fruit of the spirit – joy. Yes, this is good and real, not self-righteousness, or arrogance that I know something others don’t know, but just real honest joy for the chance Jesus gave me. It feels like this huge weight has been lifted off my heart; a weight I clung to for so long, for no reason. I have never felt freedom like this.
Another friend, who was never associated with the Worldwide Church of God or its many splinter groups, also had a lot of answers I needed. I would assault him with my various proof-texts from Armstrongism, and he had some profound-while-simple answers for me, patiently explaining things. He’ll never know how much I needed those answers. There were lots of proof-texts to investigate, but now seen in the light of New Testament Christianity, and the new covenant, things made sense.
I didn’t have all the answers, but I had to step out on faith that the answers would come, and they did.
The Worldwide Church of God always taught that Paul is extremely difficult to understand. Yet now the writings of Paul were simple, and plain. Paul became easy to follow as he taught about the law, grace, faith, salvation and the gospel – it felt like the New Testament was magically unlocked as it never had been for me before.
Thankfully I never converted anyone to Armstrongism. I tried. I thank God for that failure.
My buddies pointed me at church groups that could help me in my new-found Christian walk. I’d always identified as a Christian, but now I think back that I wasn’t really one after all. I’m the walking wounded, wondering if I can really be redeemed for the lifetime of deception I’ve lived. Jesus can fix that. God I love you.
It’s not all easy either, being on this side. I’ve had to forgive people, and that is hard to do – but found later that I’ve been the one who’s healed by forgiving other people (even if they think they’ve done no wrong). For me, that’s really hard to do, but it gets easier each time. You can’t understand it till you try it.
I’ve had to eat a lot of crow. I have friends and family still in COG splinter groups. I’ve had to tell my parents that I’ve left the church they raised me in – that they’re still in – and this creates a lot of family and social awkwardness for us. They think I’ve thrown the baby out with the bath water. I pray for them most every day and try to plant subtle time-bombs in their heads when I can. I want them to have the peace and joy I have.
But through the challenges of leaving the Worldwide Church of God culture, and the challenges of living this new covenant Christianity, it’s still completely worth it. To know that I have life is so amazing. To not wonder if I’m going to make it into the afterlife. To know that I’m forgiven, and yes, even will be in heaven someday – that’s provable too. The peace and joy and life is worth it. I finally understand what Paul meant when he said:
I spent a good year kicking myself for being so stupid and believing things so easily disprovable. How could I believe things that were so well documented and patently false? What an idiot I’ve been. So much to atone for, so much humbling myself before friends and family, because it’s not easy to admit to being so monumentally wrong.
Thanks, "Centurion". We hope all the best for you on your journey. There is much hope in your testimony!
Recently, I’ve thanked the Lord Jesus for giving me the Worldwide experience. I’ve mostly stopped kicking myself. I am actually pretty lucky to have been in the Worldwide Church of God. Why? Contrast! I know what I believe, not just because my parents told me this or ministers preached that, but because I’ve studied and am ready with an answer. I can help people still in the clutches of Adventism and Armstrongism and Legalism in a way few other people are able. I can show people that the opposite of legalism is not “illegalism”, but rather a real relationship with God.
It wasn’t a lifetime for nothing, or a wasted life, it was the journey God set for me to take, and He never gave up on me. It’s been an amazing roller coaster ride, and it’s not over.
No... not over at all. Just beginning.
We are very proud of you for having faith in our Savior and stepping into the New Covenant in His finished work on the cross. Praise the Lord!