Sermon Excerpts by Joseph Tkach, Jr. Denying Changes
(Lafayette, Indiana, April, 1993)
“On his deathbed, Mr. Armstrong himself commissioned my father [Tkach, Sr.] to look into the very changes we have made. Therefore, we are following the wishes of Mr. Armstrong and, more importantly, God.” ~Joseph Tkach, Jr., 1991
“It is important to annually review certain topics and to help people understand the truth about the Sabbath in a balanced manner. … When this is done properly, it is an effective way of dispelling silly rumors, such as that we are doing away with the Sabbath or doing away with the law.” (Joseph Tkach, Jr., March 18, 1994 WN, p. 3)
Typically rumors do come from people trying to read something into an event, trying to so called, “read between the lines.” Generally when someone is reading between the lines, that means that they’re going to add something that’s not expressed. They are going to add something that is not there. And I guess the chances are 50-50 that they might add something correctly, or add something incorrectly. But the problem is, that half the time it adds something incorrectly.
So I want to go through some of the rumors that I’ve heard–this has been the last few months. Rumors that come from dissidents that are designed to confuse and to disorient.
One rumor that I have heard is that we as the Church of God are going to start keeping Christmas. I’m glad you laughed–that was my reaction. Because….
We’re not going to start keeping Christmas. Someone is trying to make merchandise of you by spreading that rumor around, if you haven’t heard it.
Another rumor that goes around, that circulates, is that we believe Mr. Armstrong was never inspired. That he derived all his knowledge from books. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
Another rumor that circulates is that the reason that we changed our explanation and understanding on the words in Greek “gennao and anothen” is because we wanted to please some Protestant group . A…A…A…A…A…N…K. FALSE!
The notion that we’re slowly turning Protestant as a church is another false rumor, contrived by dissidents to emotionally polarize you and get you to leave.
Another rumor that circulates is that I hate Mr. Armstrong. And I…I…find that one really absurd. I make a presentation to the whole ministry, in the Ministerial Refreshing Program… and in my presentation I give what I call my personal tribute to Mr. Armstrong as a pioneering theologian.2
Another rumor that circulates is that Mr. Armstrong–at least the rumor circulates this way, that I, or my dad, or certain other ministers in Pasadena believe that Mr. Armstrong was a false prophet. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
That’s not what we believe. That’s certainly not what we teach.
Another rumor that circulates is that we’re doing away with the Sabbath. A…A…A…A…A…N…K – WRONG!
I don’t know how people can come to believe such a silly thing. But some do. We published all our distinctive doctrines in a little booklet like this called “The Statement of Beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God.” Hope all of you’ve seen it. In this booklet we have a very profound statement about the Sabbath. Allow me to share it with you. (Even have one on prophecy, even have one on the Law, even have one on the festivals, even have one on tithing.)
Okay… “The Sabbath is an appointed day of rest and worship. It was sanctified at creation because on the seventh day God rested from his work. The observance of the Sabbath was enjoined in the Ten Commandments, was a sign between God and His people Israel and was affirmed by the example of Jesus Christ and the apostles.” (Let’s not forget we’re the spiritual Israel as Galatians 6 tells us.) “Following these scriptural examples the Worldwide Church of God continues to observe the seventh day Sabbath.” And then we quote several Scriptures: Genesis 2, Exodus 20, Exodus 31, Luke 4:16, Acts 17, Hebrews 4.
It’s sad that some people would listen to such a rumor combined with the other rumors, that we’re slowly turning Protestant and we’re doing away with the Law, and then they become emotionally polarized and leave.
Another rumor that circulates is that we’re doing away with the holy days. After all, if you believe the first rumor that we’re getting rid with the Sabbath, then it’s not that hard to believe the next one, that we’re doing away with the holy days. Of course, we have a whole booklet on it entitled, “God’s Festivals and Holy Days.”
But yet, the rumor circulates that we’re doing away with it [the Sabbath]. Very sad that people devise such evil things and spread them around to polarize people and pull them out of the church.
These two rumors are said so that people then can go on to say that we’re just doing away with the Law . A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
Ephesians 5:6 says, “Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not you therefore partakers with them.”
People who tell you such rumors–who hear such surmisings–what we should say to them is, “You know, you’re listening to a wrong source. You must be reading some bad material. Because if you eat out of a garbage can long enough, you’re gonna get sick.”
And that’s what happens to people who read that kind of literature.
We’re being falsely accused of having a plan to do away with the Law. There is a term for that in Biblical terms. The word is antinomianism. It means those who are against the Law. Antinomianism. It’s a heresy that teaches that you aren’t supposed to–or you don’t have to–or have no obligation, to keep God’s Law. People who are antinomians believe that you just love God and do what comes naturally.
Antinomians feel that they don’t need to study the Law or submit to it. That’s not what we teach. We teach that we should study the Bible; we should study the Law of God and obey the Law of God.
Another rumor that circulates–and this one is really profoundly absurd. But I know what happens is you hear a rumor–’cause I do this, we all do this, this is human–you hear a rumor and then you start to look for confirming evidence. So the rumor circulated that we’re going ask members to start displaying crucifixes. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. FALSE!
Displaying a crucifix is a violation of the second commandment. Nowhere in any of those articles, or explanations, did we even suggest such a thing.
But once someone is turned by the rumor; once they’re infected by the rumor, they see the article and now it takes on a suspicious dimension in their mind.
Another rumor that’s circulated, I hear recently, is that we’re changing the Passover to another night. Or that we don’t believe that there were three days and three nights between Christ’s death and resurrection. I…I don’t know where that one comes from. I…I’m totally shocked that someone would come up with that and believe it, because we’ve had no discussion on the issue at all.
But people generate rumors to emotionally polarize.
Another rumor that is circulated is that we don’t believe Adam and Eve are real beings; that they were just fictional characters and that’s all kind of a fairy tale in Genesis. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
Someone must have been reading Mad magazine too much.
Another one that really cracks me up–this rumor circulates around over and over–I heard this several times over the last several years, that Dr. Hoeh is secretly a Buddhist. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. Ha Ha Ha.
Another rumor that is circulated is that we no longer teach that wives should be submissive to husbands. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
Another rumor that circulates is that we now believe that all who attend any church they want, who are baptized in those churches, are all saved . A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
Another rumor that circulates is that we’re in the process of merging with some other church. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
Another rumor that circulates is that we’re gonna join the World Council of Churches. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
Then there’s another rumor that circulates, that we don’t believe in a place of safety.3 A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
Another rumor that circulates is that we are now pro-choice on abortion. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. WRONG!
We believe that abortion is murder.
Another rumor that circulates is that we now believe once saved, always saved. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. FALSE!
We do not believe that!
Some people have even circulated that we don’t believe in healing any more. A…A…A…A…A…N…K. ABSOLUTELY WRONG!
The things we have changed we have announced. We’ve written about them. We’ve put them in The Worldwide News. We include explanations about them in our literature. We’re not hiding the things that have been changed, we’re explaining them. And with as patient as possibly we can be, we continue to explain them to the people who have a hard time understanding them.
So please don’t fall prey to the rumors. Don’t become emotionally polarized.
******************* End of Sermon ********************
Transcribed by AJW
Exit & Support Network™
“Keep the person unaware of what is going on and the changes taking place.” ~Edgar H. Schein
UPDATE: In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International.;(Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.)
COMMENTS by ESN: Many contradictory and conflicting statements were found in this sermon when listened to in its entirety. (The tape was mailed to ESN.) It’s easy to see that members were being eased into the new changes by a layer of propaganda, lies and deceit. Other WCG evangelists such as Ron Kelley and Herman Hoeh had a part in this in the 1990’s. The following shows hows how Herman Hoeh later laughed about his Compendium and Ron Kelly made certain beliefs and teachings out to be “silly“:
The Compendium of World History by Herman Hoeh was used as history curriculum at Ambassador College when Hoeh taught history. It was dropped from publication in the early `70s but remained in church libraries through the `90s. During the Tkach reforms, Ron Kelly gave a June 2, 1990 sermon entitled, “Fun With Prophecy.” In it Kelly caused members to laugh at, and think silly, the teachings they had previously believed, including the “place of safety.” During this same period of time members watched a headquarters video where Herman Hoeh laughed about his Compendium and said, “If you believe everything we said, then you’re not thinking.” Feigning good humor, he waved his hands and said, “Just throw it out!” His grinning face and casual demeanor was an attempt at setting the members at ease over this discomforting revelation. This was all part of the propaganda to get members to throw out their old literature, change their established beliefs, and accept the new doctrinal changes. (By Kelly Marshall)
NOTE: Rumors were also denied in: Video Sermon by Tkach to Worldwide Church of God Members, January 1995 (transcript)
GCI – New Age and Ecumenical Connections
Shows their ecumenical, New Age, liberal and charismatic connections.
Grace Communion International History (formerly entitled “What in the World is Worldwide Church of God Doing Now?)
Includes selling the copyrights to HWA’s literature to Philadelphia Church of God for $3 million; sections at end: “What Are They Still Doing Today?” and “Need For Discernment.”
Footnotes by ESN:
3 Read: “Fun With Prophecy,” excerpts from a 1990 sermon by Ron Kelly where he made light of the place of safety, even making members believe it was their fault for believing in it.