Friday, June 28, 2024

Does God Call Every COG Leader to Discover New Knowledge on His Own?

Suppose a Church of God leader or pastor of a fellowship says, God did not call me to come up with new doctrinal ideas, and I am not smarter than Mr. Armstrong.  Is that wrong?

No, that is not necessarily wrong.  God does not open the mind of every COG leader to discover and learn new knowledge from the Bible as God did with Mr. Armstrong.  Likewise, God does not open the mind of every local minister, elder, or lay member to discover and learn new knowledge from the Bible apart from established Church teaching.

But it can happen, as it did with Mr. Armstrong.  God opened his mind to discover new knowledge from the Bible and from history in the matter of the identity of the lost tribes of Israel and the need to observe the annual holy days, but God did not open the minds of the leadership and ministry of Church of God Seventh Day on their own (Mr. Armstrong was attending with that Church fellowship as a lay member when he discovered these truths).  But Mr. Armstrong offered the knowledge of those things to Church of God Seventh Day leadership, and it could have been accepted, but was not.

In other words, God revealed to Mr. Armstrong, apart from the Church of God he was attending, new knowledge from the Bible, and then God used Mr. Armstrong to show it to the leadership of the Church, but the Church did not accept it.

Likewise, today, a lay member or local elder may discover new knowledge in the Bible, write up a study paper on it, and submit the study paper to the leadership of the Church.  God could be using that member to reveal new truth, always from the Bible, to the leadership.  And the leadership can accept it and teach it to the whole Church.  But God doesn't force him.  The leadership can choose to reject it even if it is true.

Why would God do such a thing as to reveal new knowledge to a lay member or local minister before revealing it to the top leadership?  I suppose there can be many reasons, but one reason comes to mind - to test both the leadership and the one submitting the study paper.

The one who has discovered new knowledge and submits a study paper on it is being tested to see if he respects and submits to government and authority in the Church by not promoting his idea among members, but peacefully and respectfully only submitting it to the leadership without causing division and not discussing it with others.  He is also being tested to see if he will believe God more than man, if he is willing to live by every word of God, and if he is willing to be truthful in what he says.  This last point is important for speakers who may be pressured to teach things they do not agree with, things they find disproved in the Bible.

The leadership is being tested to see if he has the humility to be corrected and to learn from a subordinate and is really willing to live by every word of God.

But if God has not opened the mind of the leadership to discover new knowledge on his own, will he be able to see it when someone submits it to him?

It is possible.

Loma Armstrong did not discover the truth of the Sabbath on her own, but when a Church of God member pointed it out to her from the Bible, she saw and accepted it immediately.

When Loma showed it to her husband, he had a real struggle with it - it was an emotionally painful test for him - but after long study he passed the test and accepted it.

Sometimes we have to help each other.  God made it that way.  That is why God says, in a multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14, Proverbs 24:6), and, iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).  But it takes love and humility for it to work the way God intended.

A top leader of a Church of God fellowship may not be able to discover new knowledge in the Bible on his own.  But he can examine a doctrinal premise and prove it from the Bible.  How can I know this?

Because he says he has done it and teaches the membership to do it - to prove truth from the Bible.

This may be in the context of Church of God teaching - our traditions which may be referred to as sound doctrine.  The leader claims to have proven the truths taught by Mr. Armstrong and he tells other members to do the same - prove the truth from the Bible.  How many times have we heard that?

So a leader must know how to take a doctrine - any doctrine - and prove from the Bible whether or not it is true.  He claims to have done this with Mr. Armstrong's doctrines and he teaches the members to do the same.

But if he can prove if Mr. Armstrong's doctrines are correct, he can do the same with any study paper submitted by a member.

It is the same process.  You prove the truth of any matter by getting all the facts, all the scriptures on the matter, putting them together, and letting the Bible interpret the Bible.  You prove the truth by believing what God says more than any man or tradition and more than your own opinion.  Mr. Armstrong did this.  It was hard for him, but he passed the test, and after that, God could use him.

This is what any leader should do when a member submits a doctrinal idea.

Of course, I understand that Church of God leaders have a heavy workload and may not have time to look at every paper, especially about minor matters.  But time permitting, the willingness should be there.

Speakers are taught to stick to "sound doctrine" when they speak, meaning doctrine that is consistant with the official teachings of the fellowship they are in.  This is correct.  New knowledge should not be introduced to a fellowship in a sermon, split-sermon, or sermonette without approval of the leadership.  That would cause division.  Let the leadership decide.  If he does not accept the new doctrine, keep quiet about it.  Speak on another subject.  Wait for Christ.  But continue to believe the truth as you can prove it in the Bible.  That is God's way.

Believing new knowledge we find in the Bible, even speaking to a pastor in private or sending in a study paper, does NOT cause division if we do it quietly without discussing or promoting it with the brethren.

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