In the days of the World Wide Church of God, Mr. Armstrong used to tell us that the Church was the body of Christ. That is the people of God composed the church, not the organization. And yet he also taught us that The WCG was the only church that God was working with. In that context he was speaking of the organization.
In the Philadelphia ERA or time phase of God’s work that was true. Below is a scripture that shows clearly what God was doing in Philadelphia. He opened a door for Mr. Armstrong our Apostle and certainly someone called in the spirit of Elijah to restore all things(doctrines) to walk through.
Rev 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
If you left the church which was tasked with taking the Gospel of the Kingdom to the world as a Witness;
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
there was simply no other church doing that work. In order to protect the people of God anyone going off and teaching anything different were causing division and should not be fellowshipped with. In that day and age of the church it was understandable.
So what about today. Should the same procedure that worked for and was good for the body of Christ in Philadelphia work in today’s scattered groups of of the “Church of the Laodicean(s)”?
That central organization “the World Wide Church of God” that contained the bulk of the body of Christ in Philadelphia was scattered by the Apostasy that occurred after Mr. Armstrong’s death. Now we have the people of God those spirit filled members of the Body of Christ who constitute the CHURCH, scattered into over 300 different organizations and groups and many completely outside any group. So should we not fellowship with each other because we are no longer in the same organizations?
First let’s look at what Christ is doing in this ERA or Time Phase that is different from what he did in the Philadelphian time phase. In Philadelphia He opened a door for the church of that ERA to walk through to fulfill a prophecy of the Witness to the world. But what about now? Is He still doing the same work in Laodicea that He did in Philadelphia? And does that affect how we should fellowship together.
Today Christ says that instead of opening a door for a mass witness to the world He is instead going to each member of the Body of Christ that can hear Him in time to show them their need for repentance and Zealousness.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Now there are members of the body of Christ in hundreds of different organizations. We are told to fellowship with the brethren by the word.
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
God attaches great importance to our fellowshipping together;
Heb_10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Yet many of our larger and even smaller church groups forbid assembling or fellowshipping with anyone not in their groups. Even though we have God’s Spirit and are part of the body of Christ. They say that they are trying to protect the members as Mr. Armstrong did. But in Mr. Armstrong’s day the Body of Christ truly was embodied by one church Group who Christ was working with to do a prophesied work. Yet today as you have seen He is doing a different work with the Individual members of the body of Christ. Not an Organization. So if we all have the same foundational beliefs and have God’s spirit what can we not fellowship together?
My own believe is that it is more a fear of loosing members to another group rather than trying to protect them. I believe that Ezekiel 34 and Jeremiah 23 clearly show that God is displeased with what is happening with most of the ministry in the ERA/Time Phase of His church. And is going to do something about it soon. the 1335 is coming on us soon and I pray that we can as the body of Christ repent and zealously be about getting ourselves ready.