The End-Time Church of God

TABLE of CONTENTS

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The End-Time Church of God

The Bride’s Challenge: Making Herself Ready

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Chapter 1 Who IS the Church? . . . . . . . . . . . ( Identity ) . . . . . . . . . . ( 6 pages)Page 1

 

Chapter 2 The Dynamics of True Fellowship. . . ( Atmosphere ) . . . . . . . . ( 4 pages)Page 7

 

Chapter 3 The Love of the Brethren. . . . . . . . . ( Due Affections ) . . . . . . . ( 5 pages)Page 11

 

Chapter 4 Can We Escape the World of Cults?. . . ( Cultishness ) . . . . . . . . ( 6 pages)Page 16

 

Chapter 5 Embracing the Trunk of the Tree . . . . ( Cognitive Stagnancy ) . . . . ( 3 pages)Page 22

 

Chapter 6 Tares Among the Wheat . . . . . . . . . ( Infiltrators ) . . . . . . . . ( 3 pages)Page 25

 

Chapter 7 In Perils Among Brethren. . . . . . . . ( Affiliations ) . . . . . . . . ( 4 pages) Page 28

 

Chapter 8 Making Do With the Residue . . . . . . ( Falling Away ) . . . . . . . . ( 4 pages)Page 32

 

Chapter 9 I Am of Paul; I Am of Apollos . . . . . . ( Favoritisms ) . . . . . . . . ( 6 pages)Page 36

 

Chapter 10 Behind the Curtain of Exclusivism . . . ( Exclusivisms ) . . . . . . . ( 4 pages)Page 42

 

Chapter 11 The Nicolaitan Factor. . . . . . . . . . ( Hierarchies ) . . . . . . . . ( 5 pages)Page 46

 

Chapter 12 AUTHORITY and submission. . . . . . ( Overlording ) . . . . . . . ( 5 pages)Page 51

 

Chapter 13 Oppose Overlording. . . . . . . . . . . ( Facilitation ) . . . . . . . . ( 3 pages)Page 56

 

Chapter 14 Apostasy’s Accomplice. . . . . . . . . ( Authoritarianism ) . . . . . ( 6 pages)Page 59

 

Chapter 15 Breaking With Diotrephes. . . . . . . . ( Isolationism ) . . . . . . . ( 3 pages)Page 69

 

Chapter 16 Woe Be to the Shepherds . . . . . . . . ( Pastoral Indifference ) . . . . ( 5 pages)Page 68

 

Chapter 17 Woe Be to the Sheep . . . . . . . . . . ( Personal Indifference ) . . . .( 5 pages)Page 73

 

Chapter 18 Have WE Lost our First Love?. . . . . .( Congregational Indifference ) . . (7 pages)Page 78

 

Chapter 19 The GREATER Commission. . . . . . . ( Outreach ) . . . . . . . . ( 4 pages)Page 85

 

Chapter 20 The Unprofitable Servant . . . . . . . . ( Slothfulness ) . . . . . . . ( 3 pages)Page 89

 

Chapter 21 I See Napkin People . . . . . . . . . . . ( Faithlessness ) . . . . . . . ( 3 pages)Page 92

 

Chapter 22 Talents and God’s Church. . . . . . . ( Suppressionism ) . . . . . .( 3 pages)Page 95

 

Chapter 23 The “AT LARGE” Christian. . . . . . . ( Generosity ) . . . . . . . . ( 3 pages)Page 98

 

Chapter 24 The END-TIME Martyrdom of Saints. . . ( Individual Perfection ) . . . . ( 3 pages)Page 101

 

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F O R E W O R D

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About one generation ago, the Church of God embarked on a phase of its development that we referred to as “making the Bride ready”. The assessment was made, recognizing that the members’ understandings and personal dedication wasn’t fully ready for impending inclusion into Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. It was considered to be the mandate of the Pastor General at that time to make ready the Bride, but his decease seemed to end that process rather positively. It was considered that perhaps he had adequately accomplished the task, but then, such assessment was challenged by subsequent events that we wouldn’t have believed could happen, had anyone predicted what was to come.

We are, in this booklet, going to take an extensive (and perhaps unsettling) look into some of the more deeply-rooted fundamental premises that we had incorporated into our ‘organizational doctrine’ over the years. With good intentions, a number of organizational considerations were inserted into our Culture, at first subtle, but later more emphatic: that “God always works through just one man”, reinforcing that with the premise that Peter was indeed the Chief Apostle of the early New Testament Church, and that all other Apostles deferred to him. That pronouncement eventually led us to the declaration that “the only thing that the Catholic Church has right is Government” (referring to its hierarchical structure). Not all were comfortable with that, but it became the basis for our deferential regard for our ministerial class and to a large degree, conditioned our regard toward one another.

We ultimately ‘institutionalized’ the human character defect, or at least the carnal immaturity, spoken of so plainly in the first three chapters of First Corinthians, a condition that also plagued the Corinthian Church. This was not new in the world of religion. It’s just that our doing so exposed the carnal immaturity so deeply embedded in ourselves as well, an approach exhibiting an inappropriate regard for the persons of men as all we humans are naturally prone to do.

Though calling attention to the focused task of getting the Bride ready for the return of her Bridegroom, we failed to realize that we had actively promoted a premise that itself was counter-productive. A major cause of our un-readiness was a conceptual defect we ourselves had incorporated into our thinking just a generation before. To be honest, it was done with good intentions: to keep the Church unified, to keep it focused on its mission, but more needfully, to discourage members from affiliating with comparable ministries that threatened to draw away members, thus undermining much coveted support. We insisted that there is only One True Church, not allowing that God’s True Church could encompass more than just one ministry, at least, as we alleged, not at one time.

While the reader may wonder why it would take so many differing chapters to address this subject, we should realize that there are many ramifications of the approach to Church government such as was undertaken. Not every person has experienced all of the negative things that can result under a human imposed, over-controlling environment, and isn’t always prepared spiritually to deal with them. There are a number of considerations important in the process of correcting ourselves of their effects.

So, in the process of the Bride ‘making herself ready’, as Revelation 19:7 jubilantly exclaims, we are exposed to an incredible array of corrective developments being brought to bear. Given opportunities to examine our perceptions of how God’s Church ought to conduct itself, through an amazing series of negative developments (such as rank apostasy), we proved that we would not repent. The consequence of that was recurring and polarizing divisions. The more we held (or hold) to our mistaken concepts of lord-it-over type church government, the more the need for God to refine us down to our lowest common denominator (the smallest groups possible). Christ is refining His truly called-out ones in a most remarkable way. As we proved we wouldn’t self-correct, we are being refined and restructured by Christ, our Apostle and High Priest. At least, if we are not ‘ready’ organizationally, we can be certain we will at least become so individually.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done!

Rich Traver

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