Monday, January 25, 2021

I Did NOT Learn the Doctrines I Believe from the Church of God!

Where did I learn the doctrines I believe?  From the Church of God?  Or from Mr. Armstrong?

No.  I learned them from the Bible.

Did the Church of God help me?  Emphatically, yes.  Did Mr. Armstrong help me learn the truth of the Bible?  Absolutely, yes.  I couldn't have found the truths I found in the Bible without the help God provided through Mr. Armstrong and the Church of God.

But I didn't know the truth until I saw the truth in the Bible.

I read the true doctrines in Church of God literature, and I heard them in the preaching of Mr. Armstrong on radio.  But until I learned these doctrines from the Bible, they were just theory.  I didn't believe any of them till I found them in the Bible.

Mr. Armstrong and the Church helped me find them in the Bible.  But I only believed the Bible, not the Church.

That is why I say I didn't learn the truth and the true doctrines of God from the Church.  You can't say you learn something if you don't believe it.

I learned about the true doctrines from the Church of God.  I also learned about the doctrines of the Catholic Church and some of the doctrines of various protestant churches, the Jewish religion, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Muslim religion, and even the views of agnostics and atheists.  I learned about these things even when I did not agree with them.  But that does not mean I learned any of these doctrines were true from the teachings of these groups.  I did not learn that the doctrines of the Church of God were true from reading and listening to those doctrines from the Church of God.  I only really learned those doctrines, that is, learned that they are true, from the Bible.

What about other COG members?

No doubt some do learn what they learn from the Church, not the Bible.  They just assumed and believed that those doctrines were true when they learned them from the Church.  But that form of learning was not taught by Mr. Armstrong when he said, don't believe me, believe your Bible.

Perhaps more and more COG members are falling away from the thinking and the way of life that are our roots as a church.

Our roots are a tradition of looking to the Bible for all truth, not the Church of God.  That is the way of life Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong practiced.  That is the way of life Mr. Armstrong taught to his radio listeners and Plain Truth subscribers.

But it is a way of life many or most leaders of Church of God groups today have departed from.  They teach their members to believe the Church and its ministry more than the Bible.

The Church of God certainly has a teaching role.  The Church and its leadership and ministry should help members to understand the Bible and to find answers in the Bible.

But in learning something, there is a point where belief kicks in.  You can learn about a theory, an idea, or someone's opinion without agreeing with it or believing it.  But you really learn it when you come to believe it - when you are sure it is true.  And with a Christian who puts his faith in God more than man and who has committed himself to believing what God says in the Bible, that point of belief comes when he sees it for himself, with his own understanding and faith, in the Bible.

I had read the Plain Truth magazine and the literature of the Worldwide Church of God for years before I proved any of it.  I knew all about their doctrines.  They sounded plausible, they even sounded good and wonderful, but I wasn't sure they were true.  Then I proved the Bible was the word of God, and I saw these doctrines for myself in the Bible.  I proved the doctrines in the Bible.  Now I knew they were right.  That is when I really learned.

That is why I say I did not learn the doctrines I believe from the Church.  I learned them from the Bible.

And I don't think I am the only member who learned this way.

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