There are some who claim affiliation with the Church of God who love to speak against "organization" or "corporation" in the Church of God, and they often accuse brethren and ministers of being more loyal to Church of God corporations than to God. Some who teach against organization are also disrespectful to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and are filled with a spirit of accusation. While they speak of the need for repentance, they are blind to their own need to repent (Matthew 7:3-5).
Now, there is a time to give godly warnings and correction in the spirit of "iron sharpens iron" (Proverbs 27:17), turning a sinner from his ways and towards righteousness (James 5:19-20, Daniel 12:3), and giving a warning to those who need it (Proverbs 24:11, Ezekiel 3:16-21, 33:1-11). But Satan, who is the great deceiver and counterfeiter, can inspire false teachers to stir up a spirit of accusation among the brethren in the guise of godly correction. But their criticism and fault-finding is anything but godly.
I have been reminded of these things after reading a post by Mr. Wally Smith in his "Thoughts En Route" blog titled "On Talebearing, Pettiness, Food Fights, and Passover", dated March 15, 2013. Actually, there have been several good posts in that blog (which I think is one of the best blogs on the Internet) about this subject. Links:
"Has the Church given up its freedom to speak?":
"Follow up to 'Has the Church given up its freedom to speak?' ":
"Warning: The internet is full of ninnies":
"On Talebearing, Pettiness, Food Fights, and Passover":
Some characteristics of those who wrongly accuse others is a tendency to blow things out of proportion, to assume the worst about people they accuse, assuming guilt on the flimsiest of evidence, and assuming wrong motives, which they cannot prove. They also make personal accusations against individuals and spread unfavorable (and sometimes inaccurate) information and gossip about individuals that others cannot know or prove or disprove. I am not talking about debating a doctrinal position or practice someone might openly teach, but revealing personal details about people's private lives and accusing them of sin, which matters have no purpose in an open forum like the Internet.
And some may have found a gimmick or method of accusing others that may sound righteous, but isn't. "Stop following corporations and organizations and start following God", they may say.
Beware of those who rant against organization and corporation in a general sense.
While it is true that our first loyalty should be to God, not to an organization, we must realize that God Himself uses government and organization to accomplish His purposes, and He requires that we respect those He places in office in those organizations.
Those who speak against all organization are often really against authority, even the authority of God's government, and ultimately even God's authority. They like to use God's name to back up their personal opinions, but they often are worshipping a god of their imagination, a god they created in their mind and in their own image, a god who agrees with their opinions. But people like them do not really submit to God's word.
And they love to speak evil of dignitaries.
"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
"For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) - then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
"But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption .... These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever" (2 Peter 2:1-17).
"But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
"Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!' But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah ....
"These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit" (Jude 5-19).
By the way, I often wondered why these two passages are so similar. Read them together, as if side by side, directly in your Bible (you will have to do a lot of page flipping, so have book markers handy), and you will notice that, while the words differ, the sequence of thoughts and points is nearly identical. I don't think one man copied from the other. Perhaps God gave both writers the same inspiration, letting each man choose his words and examples to express the same thoughts God was inspiring in their minds to show us by example how God inspired the New Testament writers, but let them choose their own words and examples, to express the thoughts God was inspiring.
I notice that those who teach against organization do not seem to have zeal for God's work of preaching the gospel to the world and the Ezekiel warning to Israel about the tribulation to come. That takes organization to do it effectively. It takes teamwork.
We should be motivated by love to want to get the message of the true gospel and the Ezekiel warning out to the world. But those who rail against organization and incorporation do not seem motivated that way.
Don't be infected by a spirit or attitude of accusation and disrespect against Mr. Armstrong and all authority in the Church of God from those who criticize all Church of God organizations. Don't be fooled by their claim to be teaching repentance and loyalty towards God. Their teaching is spiritual poison.
Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:
CHAPTER 3 - THE EZEKIEL WARNING
CHAPTER 4 - WHY PREACH THE GOSPEL?