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! Click Here to read the Book The End Time Church of God – The Bride’s Challenge: Making Herself Ready