Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Statement, "Truth Never Changes", Should Set Off Alarm Bells!

Have you ever heard a speaker in the Church, perhaps giving a sermon or sermonette, say, "the truth never changes"?

What does that mean?

If you take it literally, it is so obvious that it carries no meaning.  It doesn't mean anything.

Of course truth doesn't change.  Circumstances might change.  But truth itself cannot change.   

So why does the speaker say this?  

It is often a verbal trick to mislead the listeners.  

It is a combination of a literal truth so obvious that it cannot be denied, thus establishing credibility, with an implication that is false and misleading.  The implication is that doctrine, in other words teaching, should never change.  And that implication is based on an assumption that our knowledge and understanding of the truth is always perfect and complete.  That is a false assumption.  God says our knowledge is not complete, but we know only in part.  "For we know in part and we prophesy in part" (1 Corinthians 13:9).  The history of the doctrines of the Church shows that the Church, and even Mr. Armstrong, made mistakes, and those mistakes should be discovered and corrected.  

Mr. Armstrong originally thought Pentecost was on Monday. and this was a doctrine of the Church.  Later, that doctrine was changed to reflect our new understanding that Pentecost is on Sunday.  Our doctrine changed.  Did the truth change?  Of course not.  The truth was always that Pentecost should be kept on Sunday, but our knowledge of which day is Pentecost was imperfect and incomplete.  This was a perfect example of God's teaching in the Bible that we know only in part, not completely or perfectly (1 Corinthians 13:9).

Therefore, while truth itself never changes, our knowledge of the truth and our doctrine based on our knowledge should and does change as we find and correct errors and as we grow in knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), letting God teach us new things as He wills.

Mr. Armstrong wrote an article titled, "Should We Listen to Others?", in the May 1960 issue of the Good News.  Dr. Meredith in a sermon once praised the article and mentioned that he might look into having it reprinted.  It is available today on the Internet.  You can find it in the HWA Library (  In the HWA library, search on the word, "listen".  In the article, scroll down to the section heading, "Didn't I say LISTEN?".

Anyway, in the article Mr. Armstrong discussed how a member should react if he finds something in the Bible he feels is contrary to the teaching of the Church.  Should he hide his eyes from it?  Mr. Armstrong says, no.  The article further explains, do not discuss it with other members, but take it to the ministry either by bringing it to your local pastor or writing to headquarters.  If you, the member, are right, "we" (Mr. Armstrong and church ministry) want to know and will correct the error in church doctrine for the whole Church, but if you, the member, are wrong,  it will be explained.

This is the process Mr. Armstrong taught in the Church!  That same process should be followed today, as I have been saying in this blog for years.  

Mr. Armstrong was willing to be corrected by members who found errors in church doctrine provided they did not cause division by discussing it with other members.  No doubt Mr. Armstrong remembered that he himself submitted doctrinal correction to Church of God Seventh Day when he was a lay member.  

There has been a saying in the Church for years, "correction in the Church is always from the top down, not from the bottom up".  That is true, but only in a certain sense.   Authority to make changes always flows from the top down.  Corrective punishment and enforcement come from the top down.  God's government is hierarchical, not a democracy.  But advice, counsel, information, and suggestions for correction and change can and sometimes should come from the bottom up.  The Bible teaches this in the example of Naaman, the Syrian army commander who came to Elisha to be healed of leprosy.  Naaman's servants gave good, corrective advice to Naaman when Naaman didn't want to do what Elisha told him to do, and Naaman heeded his servants, and God blessed this corrective advice from the bottom up with a miracle of healing.  I have written about this before in this blog.  You can read the account in the Bible in 2 Kings 5:1-14.

It is not wrong to suggest changes in doctrine to church authority in a proper and respectful way without causing division.

Do not be misled by the statement, "truth doesn't change".  Truth does not change, but our understanding of the truth, and therefore doctrine, does change as we correct errors and learn additional knowledge from the Bible we did not have before.

We must let God teach us new things we did not know before.

Who will go to a place of safety?  Those who have an open door for effectively and powerfully preaching the gospel and getting a warning out to the hundreds of millions of people who need it.  Those who hold fast to the way of life taught and practiced by Mr. Armstrong, a way of learning and practicing new knowledge from God, a way of life of admitting error when corrected and being willing to let God teach us new things from His word, the Bible, as He wills.

If we say that God taught us through Mr. Armstrong and we should learn from Mr. Armstrong's teachings, we should be like Mr. Armstrong in learning new knowledge, for Christ said that he who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40).

Many assume that if they are just zealous enough for the truth they know they will go to a place of safety.  That is not true.

Laodiceans are lukewarm.  They will not go to a place of safety.  We must not be lukewarm.  We must be zealous, the opposite of lukewarm.  But that is not enough.

It is not just Laodecians in the Church who will go through the tribulation.  There are seven messages to seven churches in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.  Seven spiritual conditions are described, and Christ repeats in every message, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 2:7, see also Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:29, Revelation 3:6, Revelation 3:13, and Revelation 3:22).

Christ doesn't just say, look at the message you think applies to you.  We should look at all the messages.  Each message describes the predominant characteristic of one of the seven eras of the Church, but you can have individuals in any condition in any era - Mr. Armstrong taught this also.

And only Philadelphians are promised protection in a place of safety.  Not individuals in the other six conditions described.

So it is not just lukewarm Laodiceans who will go through the tribulation.  You can be zealous, red-hot on fire, and not a Laodicean, but not be a Philadelphian either.  If you are in one of the other five spiritual conditions described, you are not promised protection.

You must not be lukewarm.  But you must hold fast to what you have been given through the example and teaching of Mr. Armstrong who said, don't believe me, believe God.  He was always willing to learn new things from God, and that is part of what made him a Philadelphian, and we must do likewise.  And the evidence will be an open door for finishing the work.

If you are not willing to learn and practice new knowledge from the Bible as Mr. Armstrong was willing, and you do not have an open door for POWERFULLY getting the warning message out, forget about the place of safety.  Don't kid yourself.  You are not a Philadelphian like Mr. Armstrong.  You are going through the tribulation if you are alive when it comes and you haven't repented, I don't care how hot you are for the truth you have.  Perhaps God will make an exception in your case and protect you anyway even though you are not a Philadelphian, but I wouldn't count on it.  You have no such promise to claim.

Lukewarmness is not the only danger.  You must be willing to learn new knowledge from God and let Him correct your doctrines.  Then, God will give you an open door, not a token door, for getting the message out, and that door will open wide in God's time.

If you can't do that, then stop thinking about the place of safety.  That promise is not for you.  Instead, start thinking about how you will have the spiritual strength to endure the suffering and martyrdom of the tribulation and repent during the tribulation, so you can be saved.