by Fred R. Coulter
- When Fred Coulter resigned from the Worldwide Church of God in the fall of 1979, he explained the reasons for his decision in a sermon to the congregation he was pastoring. In this sermon, entitled Call to Repentance and Resignation, he also warned of the dangerous consequences of the WCG's sinful practices. These warnings have come to pass in recent years. The entire sermon is now available below in audio and text.
- Please see The Rest of the Story #1-2- These audio sermons deal with Herbert W. Armstrong, and the background leading to Fred Coulter's resignation from WCG (World Wide Church of God). They were originally given April 14, 2001.
Day of Atonement - 1979
"Call to Repentance and Resignation"
Fred R. Coulter
…events of the times in which we’re in. But this is this morning’s paper. My wife pointed this out to me this morning, that there are three significant articles. “Bitterness Marks The End Of The Panama Canal Zone: In an unmistakably funeral mood, their eyes misty, throats tightened by nostalgia and bitterness, the Americans who have long operated the Panama Canal, Sunday marked the demise of the Canal Zone. At midnight Panama recovered jurisdiction over the 533 square mile strip for the first time in 76 years. And the American enclave, as well as an entire way of life, came to an end.”
And it’s true to the prophecy that God said He would break the pride of our power. That has been broken long ago. We are now in the process of becoming the tail, and no longer the head. And to reemphasize that, “[unintelligible] Clarify Cuban Stance.” And we have enemies right at our door. Our leaders, in their weakness, have agreed to keep them. And right under that, “Pope Visits Irish Holy Spot.” Now how many here have been following the travels of the Pope? You watch. As I saw last year when he was coronated as Pope, I knew that this man was going to be, just by looking at him, by seeing him by just feeling the momentous events that were taking place, that Satan had gotten permission to put the man there that he wanted to bring the Catholic Church to the fore. And that is why Satan has created confusion, debauchery, liberalism, drugs, dope, sex, war, terrorism, so that he could raise his man to the scene and say what the Pope is saying.
And I think it’s very significant that we find out what he said. I think it’s very significant that on this Day of Atonement, as we’re all gathered to be at one with God, the Pope lands in Boston. Let me read a little bit of what he has said here. It knocks Ireland. “Pope John Paul II took his peace pilgrimage…”, and I hope you saw it, where the two million Irish were out there. And they were singing, “John Paul! John Paul! John Paul! John Paul!” And in English that is momentous as it is an Italian: “Viva Papa! Viva Papa!”
“…And there he gave a forceful denunciation of terrorism and said, ‘Murder is murder, no matter what the motives or the ends.’” And of course, you know Satan is able to quote scripture in a true and proper place, as we will see a little later in the sermon. “And so the pontiff called on Northern Ireland to end the conflict, this great wound now afflicting our people. And he appealed to the Virgin Mary to cure and heal it.” And so we are seeing the momentous events taking place. Maybe we are right now at that point of Revelation 6 were the first seal is opened and the first horse, a white horse, symbolizing righteousness sitting on it. And he goes forth, conquering and to conquer.
And now you see Satan’s plan: that he has deprived the world, brought it to it’s knees in the swill and the sickness of moral depravity, and then to raise up his leader as a minister of righteousness. And the world is going to go after him. And so that means we have a grave responsibility and commission from God.
So as we’re here on the Day of Atonement, and we’re fasting, and as we’re here to say goodbye, which is not easy. And the circumstances are not pleasant. And as someone remarked to me, to the room, to the time, to the Sabbath and the Holy Day, Act Two, Scene Two. And so, being able to say goodbye, realizing that God, calling of God in his service, there are opportunities and areas of responsibilities. And as I look back - of course, whenever we look back we have to look forward too - as I look back I’ve been here four years and four months. And you know and I know that these have been very difficult yearsin the entire church. Difficult years in the world. Difficult years in your own lives. And through all of the trauma and the trials and the blessings, realize that the ultimate end purpose is that God creates in us His love, and His character, and His righteousness, and His goodness.
And you know, there’s one thing that I realize, that a ministry is not a job. The ministry is not a salary. A ministry is a calling and a service - for God’s heritage, for God’s flock, for God’s people, because they are His. And I’ve had a lot of people ask me, because I’ve had to endure personally quite a few things, help all of you with your problems, your trials, the births, the deaths, the sickness, your ups, your downs, your aches, your pains, your joys, your sorrows. I’ve had people ask me, “Well, how can you do that?” And I said many times, number one: there’s something greater than all of us, and that’s God. And number two, we need not focus in on the problems, but focus in on the solution. And sometimes the solution is more painful than the problem. But sometimes the result will be better. And only with God’s Spirit and His mercy and love, and staying close to God's word are we able in this age and this time, in these circumstances, to stay close to God.
I think this Day of Atonement where we’re fasting, staying close to God, and we need to keep that always in mind. And that’s why God has us do this once a year. Because as long as we are human beings, and as long as we breathe, there are bound to be difficulties. There are bound to be problems. And so I've striven in the ministry that I have been called to, as other ministers have been called to in God’s work and church, to faithfully teach and preach God’s word; to faithfully serve God and His word, whether for my own personal good, or my own personal hurt. And with the difficulties that have been within the church and the changes that have been within the church, has presented a very difficult situation indeed. And I always tried to be honest and open and truthful and forthright. And I hope anybody that has opinions to the otherwise would reconsider.
And yet the greatest blessing is God’s Spirit, my wife and family, and serving the people in God’s Church. Since being here and Monterey, God has blessed us tremendously, spiritually and materially. But as we look at the spiritual treasure that God wants us to have, my wife and I fully count as what this day pictures, that any physical thing for the sake of the true service of God can be left, wherever it may be. God has given me opportunities in this area of service in the church. God has given me an opportunity to write a Harmony of the Gospels, which I hope fully represents the truth of the life of Christ, as best as could be expounded with God’s Spirit, with the knowledge of the doctrines that we have and understand that come out of the Bible.
God has blessed me with an opportunity for some experience in the area of radio, a little smattering of television. And I’m thankful for those opportunities, and realize they don’t come all the time. When I talked to Mr. Armstrong about it, after having been accused very vociferously and in a very negative way concerning it, he said he was very glad I had the time. He was very glad that I was able to do it, and he was 100% for me in that situation.
And being here today, the day, the time, when we as people really is not the important thing as far as the physical is concerned. Because there is a meaning to the Day of Atonement, in attitude and heart that’s very important. And God says in Leviticus 23 that on the 10th day of the seventh month you shall have a Sabbath, and you shall afflict your souls. That means fasting, humbling, yielding to God, as the day in which no one does any work or labor. And it is a day that if a person is not right with God he is cut off. So let’s focus in on our hearts and our minds and our attitudes.
And why did God choose fasting, anyway? Have you ever wondered? I think through the time we’ve been here in serving all of you, praying for each other, praying for the work, praying for Mr. Armstrong, praying for God's intervention in healing, that this church, as inspired by God’s Spirit, has developed an attitude of prayer and fasting. And I think it would be absolutely true to say that I hope before God that we have done the best we can in it.
But why does God have as fast? Because when you don’t eat and drink, you know there’s something missing. Now, God has us fast because we won’t die one day fasting. That’s why He doesn’t have the “Feast of Hold Your Breath.” But what is really food and drink? And there’s a spiritual symbolism and significance and meaning to it. Because food and drink are the essentials of life. And when we don’t eat and when we don’t drink, when we fast we’re acknowledging to God that everything we have comes from Him. Everything physical that there is - the air, the water, the food, our homes, whatever possessions we have.
And it also teaches us another very vital lesson: that there is something missing that we cannot obtain physically. That there is no food you can eat, there is no drink you can drink, there is nothing in this physical environment that is going to fill that void. Because that void can only be filled spiritually. And that void can only be sustained by God. And yet the desire is there. And as you see the world in this coming year flocking after the false prophet, flocking and searching after the answers for life. They think that in the man of the Pope they will find it, only to be disillusioned to find that the end is the same hypocritical thing that it has always been and will lead into the great tribulation.
And that’s why God is going to let so many millions die and suffer. He in His love will resurrect them, because they have been deceived. But all humankind is going to learn the lesson that the things that they need are not obtainable physically, but spiritually. And that’s where it counts. And the biggest undefined need is that everybody wants to be needed, and wanted, and loved. Regardless of whether he is young or old, rich or poor, or as the Bible says, “free or bond.” And this world will soon be in the bondage of spiritual Egypt - mentally controlled.
And so this day, and our attitude toward God on a day of fasting, God is telling us that we need Him and His way, and His mercy, and His love. And He is telling us also that He needs us. Because without us, God’s plan cannot be finished. And without accomplishing the good work that He has started in us, there will be no rulers for the Kingdom of God in the world tomorrow. And that rule is going to be a rule of love, yet a rule of strength.
And so the whole purpose in your life, in a sense, can be personified in this day: to be at-one. And I think the greatest significance of it, as you will find in the sermon this afternoon with Mr. Neff, is that Satan is going to be put away. And it has a greater significance for us too. Because after the resurrection and the coming of Jesus Christ and being born into His Kingdom, that means that we, brethren, who qualify for the first resurrection, will forever be without sin. And we will forever be with God. And so that’s why we have to come to want God's way more than anything in this world. More than any desire that there is. And especially for us, because we know.
So how does God look at it? And what is God looking for when we fast? Is it just a ritual where we go through and say, “OK, well, let’s see - from sundown to sundown I’m gonna fast, and I can hardly stand the day, because I really would rather eat. I’d really rather have a big bunch of food. And you know, I have a headache because I missed my cup of coffee this morning…” or whatever. What does God look at? God is concerned in the attitude, because there’s something that happens when a man realizes that he is insignificant.
Let’s go to Isaiah 66:1. And I think lots of times that we could look at that negatively, but let’s look at it positively, and the good that can come. Isaiah 66:1, “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? And where is the place of My rest?” And so God is telling us that on this Day of Atonement, God is not interested in physical things. God can create a physical universe by thinking [snaps fingers] and it’s there. God can reproduce worlds and suns and galaxies, and they are there - but they’re empty. They’re hollow. They’re missing something. They’re missing the family of God.
And so that’s why God says, verse 2, “For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look…” And this is what is important. And this is the attitude we need to have for this day: “… even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My word.” And willing to follow God’s word, and willing to follow God’s way, regardless of the consequences. And I say that the near future is going to prove us whether we mean it or not.
Let’s go to Isaiah 58:3-4, “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not?…” We’re not going to force God to do something that God is not going to do. “…Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness:…” It’s the opposite attitude that Christ wants. That’s the opposite attitude that God wants, isn’t it?
Let’s see the attitude God wants us to have. Let’s turn to Psalm 34. And we know we’re all going to have trials and difficulties. And, I don’t know, it just seems as that in those that one trial prepares us for the next. How many have found that to be true? Yes it does. Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:1-6). And so when they come there’s a good psalm to turn to.
“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good:…” That’s why we have this Day of Atonement, that we taste and see that the Lord is good. And Jesus said, “He who comes to Me must eat My flesh and drink My blood” (John 6:54,56, paraphrased). Because, you see, Christianity is not a religion - it is a way of life. And the things that we do are not ritualistic. They’re meaningful in the Spirit. They’re meaningful in our lives and our eternal destiny. That’s why he says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. O fear the LORD, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. Come ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man ishe that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that to evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth” (vs. 8-16).
But there’s one thing that God always does: He lets the wicked prosper. And He lets them think that they have won. And we will see that repeated in the world scene with the events that are coming. He lets them think that they have won, but then He cuts them off.
“The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (vs. 17-18). And that’s the whole purpose of the attitude for the Feast of Atonement. That’s why it’s called the feast day, though it’s an affliction day. We afflict ourselves physically, but we feast spiritually. We see the physical things, and yet evaluate the spiritual consequences.
And as the day of oneness with God and drawing close to Him will also signify that time to the world when they will have the same opportunity. When Satan the devil will not be there. And you won’t have to walk down the streets and see the sick, and the lame, and the blind, and the halt, and the smog, and the dirt, and the filth. And you won’t have to read about murder and rape and accidents, plane crashes, kidnappings. It won’t be. And it can’t happen until the world is at-one with God. It never has been, and that day is coming. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous…”, yes, in this time, “…but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (vs. 19).
Let’s turn to Joel 2. And God shows what kind of fast that He looks to, what kind of attitude that we need to have. And it is certainly true that at this Feast of Tabernacles, approaching this one, that we need to approach it with fasting and with prayer. Joel 2:12, “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to Me with all your heart…” That’s what God is interested in. He wants your heart. He wants your mind. That’s why you have the physical body that you have. You have it for a spiritual and eternal reason. But this physical body is going to pass away, and this physical body is going to be gone. And as we were commenting, I saw a woman that I hadn’t seen in years, and she just made a remark, “Well, we all change, don’t we?”, and we do.
And I think with the Day of Atonement and we focus in on that the physical things will never succeed; we all realize that we have no control over birth, aging, taxes, or death. Whether you’re happy, whether you’re miserable, whether you’re rich, whether you’re poor, whether you’re a man, whether you’re a woman. That is true. And so that’s why with this Day of Atonement God says He wants us to turn to Him with all our heart, “…and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God:…” (Joel 2:12-13).
That’s what we need to do. That’s what it is concerned about. That’s the only way we can be at one with God. God doesn’t need the physical things. He can make those. The earth is His footstool, and yet the world powers struggle over it to control it, and fight and war over it. To have it, to use it, to abuse it, to manipulate, to control, to deceive, to own, to possess, to only have it and die. You read the history of every great leader in this world and they have died, and many of them ignominious deaths. Why? Because the flesh profits nothing. And that’s why when God has called us and we have His Spirit, He is concerned about our hearts and our minds. He doesn’t want the tearing of garments. He doesn’t want physical ritual. And even as He told the Pharisees - while I hope you were generous in your offering - that even though they blew the trumpets, and even though they sounded the alarm when they put in their amount into the treasury, that the heart was more important than the amount. So God wants your heart and turn to Him. “…For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him;…” (vs. 13-14).
And so that’s why it’s a good time to reevaluate everything that you thought you had stood for as a Christian, everything you thought God has called you for. Let’s turn to Luke 4 now. A good time to look at the life of Jesus Christ and evaluate what He did, what He said, what His attitude was, how He conducted His life, and what that has for us in meaning for this day. Now it could very well be, it doesn’t say, that this temptation and fasting was on or near the Day of Atonement. But it could very well be. But this day of fasting for us, the lessons out of Luke 4, are very important because it tells us the attitude that Jesus Christ had. It tells us the attitude that we need to have. It tells us the attitude that can only come from God. We can only furnish part of it. God has to furnish the other half of that with His Holy Spirit.
Luke 4:1-2, “And Jesus being full the Holy Ghost [Spirit] returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days He did eat nothing: and when they were ended He afterward hungered.” Forty days. Now, you can just imagine what kind of shape He was in physically. And you can just imagine how much weight He lost. You can just imagine how gaunt and thin and miserable that Jesus was as a human being, because the Son of God was going to have no pride in the flesh. So that’s why He met Satan in this condition.
“And the devil said unto Him, If thou be the Son of God command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” (vs. 3-4) And that’s the meaning of this day when it says, “taste and see that the Lord is good.” That God’s word is more important. God’s Spirit is more important than physical life. And that is why in this age of materialism, as we kaleidoscope down in the vortex of all of the prophecies that are rapidly shooting out in front of us, it’s going to end in the martyrdom of Christians. It’s going to end in the martyrdom of Christians who are rich and increased with goods and naked and blind. Because if they love God they can’t love the flesh. Because man shall not live by bread only, food alone, but by every word of God.
“And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” Just like on a great panoramic screen - every nation, every people, every kindred, every tongue, every civilization. All the powers, all the troops, all of the mechanisms, all of the beauty, all of the gold, all of the wealth, all of the buildings - everything. “And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” (vs. 5-6). And Jesus was tested to see if He would sell the salvation of the world for the control of it. Maybe the Devil even told Him, said, “Now, I know You’re the Son of Man, but if You worship me, You can rule now. I will let You rule the world, but You must worship me as God.”
“And Jesus answered and said and unto him, Get thee behind Me, Satan: for it is written, Thou…” Now, that is not talking to Satan, because Satan is never going to worship God. He’s quoting the scripture where the scripture says “you” to mankind. As a human being He was quoting the scripture to Himself, saying, “God says you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” And He was saying and rebuking Satan in a straightforward way, that “You are not God.”
“And Jesus answered and said and unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence for it is written…” Chapter, verse, scripture! I got it right here! It says, “…He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee: And in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shall not tempt the LORD thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season.” (vs. 8-13).
And I imagine when that was over, the account in Matthew says that angels came and ministered to Him, that He was so weak, physically, that He could barely raise His hands. He could barely stand on His own two feet. And I imagine if we go back to Psalm 84 we could get a good idea of what Jesus was thinking about at that time. Maybe this is what He was thinking about. Maybe this is what He had on His mind.
But I know one thing in the experience of being a minister, in serving people here in Monterey and the other congregations I have been, that when the time of deprivation and sorrow, and sadness, and sickness, and disease, and pain, and misery strike, that is the time when people really look forward to the things of the Kingdom of God, when they really look forward to those spiritual things of God. And I imagine Jesus was then. I imagine Jesus could look down and see how thin He was and how weak He was, and I imagine His hands were trembling and His mouth was thick and tight and almost filled with, like it was, with cotton or sand.
Psalm 84:1, ”How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!” How pleasant they are, God, how right they are, God. “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh cryeth out for the living God.” Because He knew what was important, and He knew what was right, and He knew what was good. And he says, “Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine alters, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be still praising Thee. Selah.” And blessed shall it be when we are in God’s house, when we are in God’s Kingdom, when we are there with Jesus Christ and God the Father. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.” (Psalm 84:1-5).
Let’s go to Psalm 15, “LORD, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walks uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not”. That his word is his bond, that he means what he says. “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things [the right things] shall never be moved,” (Psalm 15:1 5).
Now let’s turn to another psalm, Psalm 63. This is always one of my favorite psalms. It’s always the best way in the attitude to ensure that you will stay right with God, you will be right with God. Verse 1, “O God, Thou art my God; early will seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee as in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” Just picture yourself in the heat of a desert, having gone through all the mirages of the invisible lakes that are on the desert, and maybe you’re about ready to die. Maybe you need some water, whatever it may be. And then you think maybe it’s going come to an end. And you think, “O God! What a tremendous thing it would be to be with You, and my flesh cries out for You!”
“To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee.” (vs. 2-3)
"Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after Thee:…” And that’s the way it needs to be in our lives, brethren, that our souls, our hearts, our minds, our being follow hard after God. Don’t let this world, and don’t let anything detract you. Don’t let anything detour you. Don’t let anything hold you back from following after God hard. “…Thy right hand upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone that sweareth by Him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped” (vs. 7-11).
Now let’s go to Matthew 5 and carry on what Jesus said. One of the beatitudes that we need to have, one of the things that we need to really understand, one of the things that we need to realize in the best and proper way, and this day epitomizes and pictures more than anything else. Verse 1, “Blessed are the poor in spirit:…” That means that spiritually before God they are right. They come to God and say, “Yes, God, I know that in the flesh I’m nothing. I know that of my own self, my own mind, my own heart, that I am capable of doing nothing in serving You, in doing Your will and doing Your ways.” And that we understand it comes from God.
“…For theirs is the kingdom of [God] heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:1-6). And that’s the meaning of this day. Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Do you hunger and thirst after those things that are right and good? Have you set your heart and your mind and your course in this life and in your Christian life that God has called you into, to do that, to seek that? God says you will be filled.
And it’s after righteousness, and righteousness is doing right. And righteousness is doing good. And righteousness is serving God with a right heart and mind and attitude and spirit. Or do we end up like the world – fighting, striving, backbiting, bickering? Because I guarantee you, spiritual murder is worse than physical. And the righteousness that can only come from God, and that only God can fill, that only God, with His Spirit, can put into the void to make us see and understand His word, and live by it. And He gave the Constitution for Christian living in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. And upon which, brethren, I submit that none of us at any time, or any station, have the right or the authority to change it.
Let’s turn to Mark 12:29 and see what the biggest missing ingredient is that God has to give. “And Jesus answered him…”, when they came to ask Him, “Well, what’s the first and great commandment, or what’s the primary, the most important commandment of all?” “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel…” And you can put your name there, because this is what Jesus is telling us. If there’s any one thing that is going to please God, if there’s any one thing that is going to put you in right standing with God, if there’s any one thing that is of the most paramount importance in our life to achieve, it is this: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:29-30).
This is the primary commandment. Because on that, then, if you love God then you don’t love your own life unto death. And if you love God, you can have the faith to face the future. And if you love God then He will be with you. Verse 31, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” And I think that there are an awful lot of us from time to time who come to the point of hatred for our neighbors, because we hate ourselves. And we hate ourselves because we don’t love God. And that doesn’t mean to turn around like the world and say, “The only way you can love your neighbor is love yourself.” No, the only way you can love your neighbor is to love God first, and then your neighbor as yourself. It’s the only way it’s going to be.
And that’s the biggest missing ingredient that only God can give us, you see, because God is love. He doesn’t have love. He is love. We can only possess what God gives us. And therefore it has to come from God. And that’s why we fast and pray. And that’s why we yield to God. Let’s see what this Christian way of life and this attitude of being at one with God, and serving God, and being close to Him, should lead us to do, and how we ought to conduct our lives, and how we ought to conduct ourselves.
Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…” You see, because the flesh doesn’t count. It’s only a vehicle to achieve the righteousness that God wants. It’s only a physical vehicle and mechanism through which God’s Spirit can work, that we may develop the character and heart and mind and attitude of God. “…That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…” Living. The root word there is zoaewhich means zealous, active. Implicating then, “dedicated”, because the word “zealot” comes from the same root. “…Which is your reasonable [or your intelligent] service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2).
And there’s something else we have to do. There are many instructions here in Romans 12. We won’t go through the whole thing. He says in verse 9, “Let love be without dissimulation…” You know, the most dissimulating show of love that has been recorded in the world’s history: the kiss of Judas. “…Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” So there has to be a fight. There has to be a struggle. There has to be a war - and it is a spiritual war, and it is a mental battle, and it is that something that needs to be worked on all the time.
Let’s go to Ephesians 5 and see how God wants us to be. God doesn’t want us to be as part of this society, as part of this world. What does God say about the friendship of this world? That if you are a friend of the world you are an enemy of God. He says, “Woe unto you when men speak well of you for so did they of the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26, paraphrased).
Ephesians 5:1, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering [an atonement] and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.” And let’s not let the stench of the dung of sin interfere with that offering. “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know…” (Eph. 5:1-4). And God is saying in His love, and God is saying in His truth, and God is saying inspired through the apostle Paul - remember what he said to those who thought they stand, he said “Take heed for those of you who think you stand, lest you fall,” (I Cor. 10:12, paraphrased).
And he said this: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame to even speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:5-12).
Let’s turn to Isaiah 58 again, and verse 1. As we see the world, like a comet, streaking towards its destruction, God says we are to cry aloud and spare not, and lift up our voice like a trumpet! And part of the very love of God is to warn of the sin that is there. And part of the righteousness of God is to reveal the evil that is there. And the hardest thing that’s going to be, brethren, is to stand up and tell the world that the Pope is of the devil! And they won’t believe us.
Isaiah 58:1, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” And since we’ve come out of the world, brethren, we are affected by the world. And those things affect us; and those things affect the spiritual temple of God.
Let’s go to the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 7:1, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel…” I think maybe as we’re going to the feast, and maybe as we’re evaluating our lives in these times in which we live, let’s think about these words to us. Let’s think about these words to our lives individually, to our lives collectively; to our purposes, to our goals; for our representation of God. And God says, “…Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD are these,” (Jer. 7:1-4).
Because all you have to do is read the history of the Church of God. And all you have to do is realize and know and understand that God has told us, as Christians, as those that He has called, that our choices are the things that count. And I’ve often heard a lot of people say, “Well, why does God allow this? And why does God allow that? And why does God allow the other things?” Well, brethren, because if there weren’t free moral agency, then God wouldn’t allow it. What will God allow? Anything but the destruction of the earth. And what will God allow in your life? Anything you decide to do! That’s why it has to be right and good. That is why there has to be repentance. That is why God says that we need to amend our ways. And the last people on earth that need to be saying, “We’re the people of God! We’re the people of God! We’re the people of God!”, should be us - to say how good and righteous we are.
Verse 5, “For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor…” Resolve the issues that come. Bring forth the difficulties to the light. “…If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” (vs. 5-10). Shall we brethren, really? Can it really be so? Can it really be true?
Let's go to 1 Timothy 6:1. You know, the greatest hypocrisy that can ever be is that if we end up like the rest of the world. You know, Jesus didn’t say that the Pharisees were wrong for having the scripture. He did not say that they weren’t there in authority. But He did say, “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees” didn’t He? And that is put there that we may learn. And that is put there that we may understand, and that is put there that we may learn not to do those same things.
1 Timothy 6:1, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort,” (1 Tim. 6:1-2). And that’s all the things leading up there, all through 1 Timothy, the first five chapters. “These things teach and exhort.”
And what did he say? What were some of the things that he said to the minister? Let’s go back and see some of those things. 1 Timothy 4:6, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness,” (1 Tim. 4:6-7). Then he says that bodily exercise profits a little, but that which is spiritual is best.
Verse 10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, Who is the Savior of all men, specially of those who believe. These things command and teach,” (vs. 10-11). There are certain things we have to command and teach. He also told them in 2 Timothy 3 that there are times when you have to say things that may not necessarily be pleasant. And there is a time to say them, there’s a season to say them, and there is a way to say them.
2 Timothy 4:2, let’s pick it up in verse 1. “I charge thee therefore [and this to Timothy, a minister] before God, and before the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Tim. 4:1-3). And you know, brethren, that could happen within the church as well as without.
“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” And then he told them back in 1 Timothy 6:3, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ…” You see, because brethren, the truth is we’re not an Old Testament church. The truth is that we are to follow and live by every word of God. We’re to live by the words of Jesus Christ. And the truth is, when Jesus said, that if you be sued, give them your cloak. And the truth is, agree with your adversary while you’re in the way with him. Those are the wholesome words of Jesus Christ. The truth is that we are to obey the magistrates and be subject to the powers to be, whether for good or whether for evil - and Paul said that of a dictatorial government, where there were no constitutional rights. As we sow, so shall we reap. As we live, so shall we die. And if we are not dedicated, individually and collectively, at all times and in every place to uphold the Sacred and Holy name of Jesus Christ and uphold what God stands for, God Himself shall have His judgment upon us. And God Himself shall tell us.
And there does need to come to time when there has to be a crying aloud and sparing not. And there does have to come a time when there has to be a public evaluation of our sins as a group, and each of us individually. Not for condemnation, not for judgment, not for vanity, and not for vain-talking, not for hellfire and brimstone. But in love and strength and concern that we all make it into the Kingdom of God; and that we can eternally love each other, and we can eternally be right with Him.
1 Timothy 6:3, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness: He is proud…” And the Greek there is “puffed up” - unconverted; filled with leaven. “…Knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself,” (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
When I first got the call Friday morning from Mr. Luker about what had transpired, and about what had gone forward, I’ve since had a long time to really think about and pray about the things that have transpired, from the first encounter, before the Sabbath before Pentecost and the one this week. And I’ve had to examine my life and my heart before God Almighty. And I had to make sure that I love God more than anything there is. Because Jesus Christ said, “He who seeks to save his life shall lose it,” (Matt. 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, paraphrased). And on the Day of Atonement I think it’s very fitting that we understand we’re not going to save ourselves by physical means!
As the circumstances and events have occurred in my life, at this point in my life I would have the greatest need to hold on to something physical. I would find the greatest reasons to compromise the truth of God to survive. And when I got that call Friday morning I was very upset. I was not mad, I was not angry. I was very disappointed. And in praying about it I determined that if it were God’s will that I transfer, I would go, and go willingly.
But I got a call later in the afternoon stating that the most unthinkable had happened. And that showed me I could no longer continue with the Worldwide Church of God in a conscientious way when I heard that Stanley Rader was ordained as an evangelist, when Mr. Armstrong said he never would; who had taken God’s name in vain publicly on national television; who has taken to himself the vengeance of God; who is, in vengeance, out to do in everyone who will not agree with him. And I feel, brethren, that the sacred tithe money and offerings that you send in to God, to be used on the projects initiated and suggested by Mr. Rader are an effrontery and blasphemous before God - of which I suggest you read Quest Magazine.
And I am sure that, true to God’s word, that as a church and as a work - and I’m not saying this in condemnation; I’m saying pray for them, brethren, because they need your prayers. And I’m not saying this because I want to hold on to something physical that I possess; and I’m not saying this because I want to be uncooperative and not transfer. And I’m not saying this to be dramatic and tell you to follow me. But I’m saying this because the worst evil that could ever happen is that God’s Church be deceived from within.
And a man, who in my judgment with the Spirit of God - though I know it is not my final judgment to make, but we shall know them by their fruits - has been placed into one of the highest offices in the Church, and we may find ourselves in very desperate trouble. And I do know that there are sins and high places, that, as the apostle Paul has said, are so despicable they are unrepeatable. And that unless these are repented of, and our parts in agreeing with it, we shall all be vomited out of the mouth of God.
And I hope and pray that there is someone in Pasadena today standing in the pulpit, calling God’s people to repentance, to amend their ways! And to use the resources and power and manpower and money that God has given into the hands of the church to preach the name of Jesus Christ around the world! And we’d better sound religious! And we better uphold the name of Jesus Christ! Because our foe is Satan the devil, and if we try and preach the salvation of God without the name of Jesus Christ, that is another gospel that is being preached that Christ didn’t send! And if we fall victim to that, Satan’s coup de gras within has taken place! And evil, and fear, and terror, wretchedness, suspicion, doubt, lack of love, and hatred will all come. And to which, brethren, I’m very sorry.
And my heart and my mind and my attitude go out for Mr. Armstrong personally. I’ve been with him; I’ve talked with him. I also know the circumstances involved, and I also understand, and I also know - true to what God says - unless there is the kind of repentance, which I thought was coming a year ago in January, a year ago in June, when he said, “Sell Quest”, and that Mr. Rader was no longer going to have any power in the church, at which time Mr. Rader threatened to sue Mr. Armstrong. Of which I submit: that if I had threatened to sue Mr. Armstrong, how long do think I would have lasted, let alone be ordained as an evangelist?
And you have seen your brothers and your sisters, and fellow ministers and deacons become prey to the devourer from within and from without. And it’s all time that we come to God in prayer, in fasting, and yielding to Him, that God Almighty would save His people. That God Almighty would turn us to serve Him with all our heart and mind and soul and being, and that we quit deceiving ourselves.
Because just like God allowed with Job, it went on, and it went on, and it went on. I imagine Job said, “How long, God?” Till he had his mind opened. Till he could understand what was right before God. And God gives a warning. And I submit to you, brethren, every one of us in the Worldwide Church of God fit into this - Revelation 3:14 on. And God Almighty says that we are to repent, every one of us – me, you, all the way up the line!
Revelation 3:15, “I know thy works that thou art neither cold nor hot:…” Almost double spirited. Almost double minded - one standard for people, one conduct for others: the equal and the more equal. “…I would thou wert cold or hot.” We ought to be on fire, brethren.
Let me tell you, I called an author - one of the articles here, which is a lot of first level witchcraft practice of burning their relatives and letting their children run their fingers - the ashes through their fingers, and wish the spirit well on its travel to the other side; and initiate his son into the mysteries. I called this man. He lives in Berkeley. He is an atheist genetic Jew, who believes in Eastern Maharishiism. And when we first got the “Human Potential Magazine” with Mr. Armstrong’s article in it, this was presented to us as the thing that it would be. And the switch came later, that advertises Christmas, takes the name of God in vain, and uses the tithe money of God! I’m sorry, brethren.
“So then because thou art lukewarm…”, half in the world, half in the church, not zealous for God, “…and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Rev. 3:16-17). And you know, brethren, I don’t know any minister that has been happy. We have all been miserable. And I come before you to repent of my part. And I come before you not to say “I’m perfect”, or “I am free of sin”, but I come before you to warn you, as a minister of God, that unless we all repent collectively as a church, that the devices of Satan have been set in motion that’s going to destroy it and tear it apart!
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see,” (vs. 17-18), instead of being deceived.
And may we all say together, “God, put our sins under the blood of Jesus Christ, that the blood of Jesus Christ forgive us for our wretchedness; that the blood of Jesus Christ forgive us for becoming wicked, and evil, and vile; that we may see, because, God, we know You love us. Because, God, we know You have called us.”
“I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;…” (vs. 18). Because, brethren, God will expose us to the world and we shall be ugly, sinful, despicable, wretched. And they will look at us and say, “You represent God?”
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock…” (vs. 19). And it’s true, and Mr. Armstrong is right - the coming of Christ is soon. But we’d better be about God’s business and God’s way, to serve God. Because if not, He will not say to us, “Well done good and faithful servant.” He will say, “Cast him into the lake of fire, because he was unprofitable.”
And so, brethren, I appreciate your prayers. I love you. I love God’s Church, and I love Mr. Armstrong. I don’t say these in any way in vindictiveness. I know after I step down from here I will be marked, disfellowshiped, branded, and discredited, and I understand that. But I count it, brethren, to be cast out of the Church of God for telling the truth, an honor.