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Should the true gospel still be preached "to the world" today? What did Mr. Armstrong say about this?

The Great Commission


Do God’s people today still have a mandate to fulfill the “Great Commission” that Jesus Christ gave to the Church? What was the purpose of the great commission? Has it been fulfilled?


To be sure, you will not find the term “great commission” in the Bible. However, Mr. Armstrong DID use that term many times to describe the first of the two-fold mission or work of God’s Church during the Philadelphia era. The first of course being: “To preach the true gospel to the world as a witness” (Matt. 24:14), and the second was to: “Feed the flock”.


It should be stated at the outset the PURPOSE of Christ’s commission mentioned in Matt. 24:14. The purpose of the gospel going to the world was to be a WITNESS, and only a witness. That IS what the scripture says. Not to “convert” or “save” anyone. This was explained and made evident by Mr. Armstrong many times. However DURING this time of witnessing to the world, many were “called” into God’s Church, it was indeed afterall the time that the spiritual temple was being built.


This article will show much PROOF as we proceed, that Mr. Armstrong did indeed fulfill this commission. He stated many times in the last 3 years or so of his life, that the true gospel HAD BEEN preached in EVERY nation on this earth.


So the big question here is: “Is there still a mandate to preach the gospel to the world today?”, OR has it been fulfilled? And if so, WHAT are we to do?


I wrote a longer article on this almost 10 years ago with basically the same proof that will be shown in this one. I submitted this to various self proclaimed “scholars” in some of the larger church groups that have splintered off from the old WCG. And in EVERY case, it was more or less pooh-poohed away as some insignificant ramblings of a “confused” lay member. BUT, the proof is still there nonetheless, and it will be made PLAIN.


Just think about this for a moment. HOW can the true gospel be preached today in this Laodicean era? Each group out there has its “own version” of the gospel. How, you ask? Well at first they may “appear” to be the same or almost the same in their beliefs. But, then WHY are they divided? It is because they are NOT in agreement! If they were, they (we) would all be united! The Bible says that two canNOT walk together unless they be in agreement. This most certainly is NOT the case today throughout the “churches” of God.


This is WHY when you read in Revelation 3, you DO NOT see an OPEN DOOR given to Laodicea, as was given to Philadelphia (Rev. 3:8). This in itself should be proof enough to show why the true gospel cannot be effectively preached today. But as we go on, we will see that the commission to take that gospel to the world HAS ALREADY been fulfilled! Many today just plain refuse to acknowledge this! They have many excuses or reasons that they must continue on with that gospel message, but they refuse to see what has ALREADY been done.


Matthew 24:14 is fulfilled prophecy!


Do we see ANY of the splinters or groups growing today at any significant pace? Of course not. Some do claim a “little” growth here or there occaisionally, but it’s not much. Listen, the Baptist and Muslim and Catholic religions are growing at a much faster pace today than these groups are! So if they “think” that God is blessing their efforts, they need to think again. Their work is based on HUMAN EFFORTS, and not by the power of God.


Remember how the work grew and grew while Mr. Armstrong was alive? Especially from 1978 to 1986 when the Church was being put back on track again (from the liberal attacks). But even going back to 1934 through 1986, the Church had many years of growth and expansion. This was prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes. The Philadelphia era was given an OPEN DOOR to go to the world, and it was given ONLY to Philadelphia!


Furthermore, the Church was under strong leadership. Led by a faithful servant who would NOT COMPROMISE one “iota” with God’s truth.


But today we see almost 400 different groups splintered off from God’s Church, ALL claiming to BE God’s Church!  This SHOULD NOT BE!


So just “assuming” that the gospel IS to be preached today, who then has the AUTHORITY to so? ONLY apostles have that authority! But there are NO apostles today. That also is evident by the mass confusion we see today in God’s Church. Many “reason” around this today by saying that they are still carrying on “Mr. Armstrong’s work” or the work he was given to do. And because of this faulty reasoning, we can SEE the result- NO FRUIT being born, NO GROWTH!. God is NOT BLESSING these works of men who are attempting to duplicate what was done through Mr. Armstrong. Just as God is NOT BLESSING the works of other men and their groups who no longer hold to the basic truths that God gave us through Mr. Armstrong. Some of these groups are building upon their own “new revelation”. But they are works of “men”, and they will NOT prosper. They will “come to nought”.


Now let’s look at a few of Mr. Armstrong’s own statements about this gospel commission.


There are countless examples in Mr. Armstrong’s writings and publications about WHO was given the “authority” to proclaim Christ’s gospel message as well as how it was to be administered. Notice for example in MOA: “Mystery Of The Ages” (softback ed.).  On page 218 Mr. Armstrong was just stating the two-fold commission of the Church. In fact he says the FIRST commission is the “great” one. At the top of page 219 he says:


“This first and great commission was given to the apostles.”


He goes on to state that evangelists and other ministers under the apostle also have some responsiblility in this, but it has to be UNDER the apostle’s supervision!


Notice what Mr. Armstrong writes on page 202 of MOA under the subheading “One Church with one government”. He writes:


“Evangelists were leading ministers, proclaiming the gospel to the public, even raising up local churches and having supervision over some churches under the apostle.”  


But as has been stated earlier, there is NO apostle alive today to “supervise” these evangelists or other ministers. And we can SEE the result of this.


Now back to page 219, under the subheading “Part of the Lay Member”. In the first paragraph Mr. Armstrong writes:


“For example what part does the individual local member have in taking the gospel message to ALL THE WORLD? This is done primarily and directly by the APOSTLE.”


Now these are only a couple of examples, but it should be clear that Mr. Armstrong knew and taught to us, that only the apostles had the authority to take the gospel to the world. This can be found in many of his writings with only minimal research.


So DID the true gospel go to the whole world, and into every nation? Listen to what Mr. Armstrong says in one of his very last coworker letters. In fact I will post the whole letter because it is a short one. It follows:


                      WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD

                     PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91123




                                              January, 1986


Dear Brethren and Co-Workers:


       Once again the time has come to send each of you your

receipt for tithes and offerings -- for 1985.


       I want you to realize the magnitude of the accomplishments

you have helped make possible this past year -- yet I wonder if it is

humanly possible to comprehend just how great is the work the

living Christ is accomplishing through our combined efforts and

sacrifice under him and through the boundless power of the great

God in heaven.


       We are humanly inclined to judge by what we can see

physically.  What we see physically is a small church body on

earth.  Yet what we should see spiritually is something so

stupendous as to defy any comparison, so colossal above all that

has been accomplished by all the combined efforts of the large

churches of this world.  Spiritually it is a gigantic worldwide

accomplishment compared to no spiritual accomplishment whatever.


       Jesus Christ sent forth the first apostles to the small

world of that day centered around the Mediterranean Sea.  In 20

years there was violent controversy over whether the gospel to be

proclaimed was a gospel ABOUT Christ, or the gospel OF Christ.  For

nearly 1,900 years Christ's Gospel of the Kingdom of God was there-

after NOT PROCLAIMED to the world.  But Jesus had said, "THIS

gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a

witness unto ALL NATIONS, and then shall the end [of this world]



       The tithes and offerings of this small church began the work

of proclaiming 1,900 years later the Gospel of the Kingdom -- the

only true Gospel -- throughout Europe after it had gone forth for 19

years over the United States and Canada.


       It is now true that this Gospel has been proclaimed within



       NO OTHER CHURCH has proclaimed THIS true Gospel at all!


       Following are current worldwide figures you should know for

the year 1985.


       + Seventy-four million PLAIN TRUTH magazines were either

         mailed to subscribers or distributed through newsstands.


       + Seven million GOOD NEWS issues were sent out.


       + Two million YOUTH 85 magazines went to young and old



       + Six million booklets, books and reprint articles were

         mailed upon request.


       + More than one million Ambassador College Bible

         Correspondence Course lessons were sent to students.


       + Our Mail Processing Center received more than one million

         phone calls, mostly in response to the WORLD TOMORROW

         program on television.


       + Our offices around the world received more than 10 million

         letters from subscribers responding to the work of the



       What tremendous accomplishments your tithes and offerings

have made possible in 1985.  Now let's keep it up in 1986!


                         With love and gratitude, in Jesus' name,


                         Herbert W. Armstrong


The point being made above of course is that Mr. Armstrong stated that the gospel HAD BEEN proclaimed, and to EVERY nation on earth.


Now notice something overlooked or “ignored” by many today. In MOA pages 238 and 239, under the subheading: “Restoration of God’s Truth to Church”.  On page 238 Mr. Armstrong writes:


“This era of the Church was to produce fruit.  To this era – or to its human leader- God had set before it an open door.”


On page 239 Mr. Armstrong goes on to state the prophecies of the coming ELIJAH (Mal. 3:1-5, 4:5-6) as well as the commission in Matt. 24:14, and that the door was to  be opened TO THIS LEADER of the Philadelphia era. Then concerning these two prophecies, down in the fourth paragraph Mr. Armstrong states:


“These prophecies have now definately been fulfilled. The true gospel has been restored and has now gone in power into every nation on the face of the earth.”


PLEASE read that again! WHY is it that the majority of God’s people today have either forgotton this or ignore it completely! Why is this so hard for so many to believe? The PROOF is there for all to see. Most of us LIVED through or DURING the Philadelphia time period when God did a great worldwide work through Mr. Armstrong! Can any of God’s true people DENY this?


In Matthew 24 verse 3, Christ’s diciples came to Him asking for what would be the SIGN that the end of the age was near and the return of Christ would occur.  Then Christ gives them many “signs” in verses 6-13. Then in verse 14 He says this gospel of the kingdom would be preached in all the world as a WITNESS, then the end would come.


Well that gospel HAS BEEN preached in ALL the world, to ALL nations. And something DID end! The end of the Philadelphia era happened. Now we are in the Laodicean era and the church “age” is about to end. Believe it or not there are some today in God’s Church that are “not sure” IF we are in the Laodicean time period! They simply don’t SEE it.  In Rev. 3:18 Christ says to the Laodiceans:  “ANNOINT YOUR EYES WITH EYE SALVE, THAT YOU MAY SEE”.  This is referring to “spiritual” blindness.


When Mr. Armstrong died in 1986, there was talk for a short time about the “passing of the baton” to Mr. Tkach. It was even shown in a “behind the work” film at the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall of 1986. Many of us saw that film.  But shortly thereafter that term was “snuffed out” and NOT mentioned again. Why? Could it be because “someone” at headquarters in Pasadena began to realize what it signified?


Notice this excerpt from the May 1986 Good News:


"Passing the Baton"


     Though God has chosen to take the life of Herbert W.

Armstrong, the late human leader of God's Church, both the Church

and the work of God continue unabated under the leadership of

Joseph W. Tkach.

     Jesus said the gates of the grave would never prevail

against God's Church (Matthew 16:18). The announcement of God's

coming kingdom must still be made to all the world (Matthew

24:14). Disciples must still be made of all nations (Matthew


     Jesus Christ, the living Head of the Church (Ephesians

1:22-23), is at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. He

continues to actively lead and govern the Church through Mr.

Armstrong's designated successor, Joseph W. Tkach.

     Mr. Armstrong termed his appointment of Mr. Tkach "the

passing of the baton." It's interesting how a baton is passed. It

is not passed to end a race, but to continue a race, with a

temporary readjustment as the baton is handed from one runner to

the next. Once the baton is received by the next runner, there is

a speeding up. That's what's going to happen in the work today!

Re-adjusted, we're going to go on running, under the human

leadership of Joseph W. Tkach, with the baton that was given to

Mr. Armstrong before us, with the teachings God revealed through

him, using what has already been accomplished, building on the

foundation and continuing toward the finish line.

     A native of Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Tkach served in the U.S.

Navy during World War II. Following his military service, he

studied industrial management, industrial safety and human

factors in industry. In 1946, he was employed by a midwestern

manufacturing corporation, where he began his management

experience. Before he resigned to assume a full-time role in the

ministry, Mr. Tkach was responsible for several hundred


     He was once fired for keeping God's Sabbath, which falls on


     "I was threatened if I didn't come in on that Sabbath for a

special meeting that I would be fired," Mr. Tkach recalls. "Upon

coming home from church services there was a telegram waiting for

me stating that I was fired.

     "Monday morning I received a telephone call from the

personnel manager saying, 'Management would like you to come in

immediately, as fast as you can get here. I didn't know what to

expect," says Mr. Tkach. "But after arriving at the plant, out in

the parking lot there were over 200 people milling around on a

wildcat strike because they heard I was fired.

     "You see, we serve a God who fights our battles for us. My

job was given back to me."

     March 31, 1951, Mr. Tkach married Elaine Apostolos, a native

of Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Tkach have a son and two daughters. Mr.

Tkach was baptized on March 1, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois, and

began to assist the ministry in the Chicago churches. He was

ordained a deacon January 7, 1961, and a local elder June 3,


     Mr. Tkach -- now the Pastor General -- helped establish churches

in South Bend, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Indiana; Rockford and

Peoria, Illinois; Davenport, Iowa; Grand Rapids, Michigan;

Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio; and St. Louis, Missouri.

     In 1966 Mr. Tkach entered Ambassador College, where he

attended for three years before being assigned to serve in

congregations in Southern California. In 1970 he began working in

Ministerial Services. In 1974 he was raised in rank to preaching


     Mr. Tkach was named director of Ministerial Services (now

Church Administration) in July, 1979. That same year, Mr.

Armstrong ordained Mr. Tkach an evangelist and named him

associate pastor of the Pasadena Auditorium P.M. church, pastored

by Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Tkach was also appointed by him in 1981 to

the Advisory Council of Elders, an advisory body to the Pastor


     "He taught us the importance of why we were called," Mr.

Tkach says, referring to Mr. Armstrong. "We are here to be

trained. Now is not the time to throw up our hands and to quit.

Now is the time to stand up and be counted to do God's work.

Remember, this is our life.

     "So as the chapters are increased in the living book of

Acts, there should be no gaps, but merely a marker of

faithfulness to help us start building where Mr. Armstrong left

off. This is the legacy that has been left to us, to carry on

with the work. We have an awesome responsibility."


Now notice what Mr. Armstrong says in Mystery of the Ages. He uses this term of “passing the baton” to show changing of CHURCH ERAS!  On page 232 is the subheading: “Seven Church Eras”. On page 233 Mr. Armstrong writes:


“The history of the Church would fall into seven distinct eras – each with its own strengths and weaknesses and its own special trials and problems.  Just as a message could pass along the mail route from Ephesus to Laodicea, so would the truth of God be passed from era to era.  It was like a relay race – in which the baton is passed from runner to runner, each one doing his part, until the finish line is reached.  Some time during the early decades of the second century, the baton was passed from the Ephesian era to the people that God had called to the Smyrna era of His Church.”


Mr. Armstrong then goes on to show that the “baton was passed” from Church era to Church era all down through history. So was Mr. Armstrong trying to tell us something when he said his appointment of Mr. Tkach as pastor general was the “passing of the baton”?  It should be very evident today! Mr. Armstrong was aware of a lot more than he is given credit for!


Mr. Armstrong made it very clear over and over again that the job of preaching the gospel to the world was the job of an APOSTLE.  Can we begin to see why NONE of the Laodicean groups are experiencing growth? They simply are not being blessed because they do NOT have an open door to preach that gospel. That door was closed when Mr. Armstrong died. There was some “residual” growth in the WCG for a year or so after he died, but that was still as a result of what God did through HIM. The truth and doctrines were already being watered down or changed by this time.   


So what then IS the “work” of God today? It SHOULD have been exactly what Mr. Armstrong said. The Church was to continue on, with the ministers feeding the local congregations with the spiritual food they needed. But that has NOT been done.  All the ministers had to do is CONTINUE to follow the doctrine and directives set forth by the apostle. EXCEPT for the gospel commission which was the apostle's job.  But that has NOT happened. Instead an apostacy took place, and a falling away from the truth. Then when ministers DID begin to leave the WCG (the majority in the mid 1990’s) they had already adopted so much “watered down” or polluted doctrine, that it was too late.


Now what do we see?  A Church DIVIDED! There is NO strong leader or apostle to take charge and again “make straight the way”. Instead there are “many” ways. Many churches, many differing doctrines, many “gospels”.


It’s beginning to come more clear to some of us that ONLY the mighty power of God can straighten this mess out! And that is exactly what is prophesied to happen soon. God will empower his two witnessess. They will be the final two humans doing any noticable work of God. And they WILL BE NOTICED! Only God knows who they are or from where they will come, and when.


In the mean time God gives us instruction and encouragement from His Word. Jesus Christ is STILL High Priest! Do we not have access to the throne room of God, through PRAYER? Christ is the GOOD SHEPHERD (John 10). He will not forsake His faithful elect. They HEAR His voice.   


To be continued........








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