Truth and Doctrine
By Daniel E. Cohran
How does God infuse truth and doctrines into His Church? Is it through the ministry or the lay members? Do we remember
"the way" that God does this?
There is only ONE WAY that God has revealed truth and doctrines into His Church since the founding of the New Testament
Church in A.D. 31 by Jesus Christ Himself, and that is through His apostles!
It should be noted here (and it will be repeated again) that since 1986, there has been NO apostle in the true Church of
So is it the apostles that we should follow, or Jesus Christ Himself? The answer of course is BOTH. The Bible clearly
shows that we are to follow God’s apostles and their instruction AS they follow Jesus Christ. And this of course shows
that they are true apostles of Jesus Christ.
This may sound "too fundamental" to many today. However, evidently it is VITAL KNOWLEDGE that has been lost or forgotten
by the vast majority of God’s people today.
Notice what God’s Word says concerning this in Acts 2:42, which states:
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking
of bread, and in prayers."
So does this mean that apostles have their "own" doctrine separate from Jesus Christ? Of course not! It’s the
SAME doctrine and truth that Christ revealed to them and instructed them to teach.
Notice what the apostle John says as he speaks on behalf of himself and the other apostles. In I John 1:1-3 it says:
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and
our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and
declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard
we declare to you, that you may also have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His son
Notice now, what God's end time apostle said concerning this from a coworker letter dated Sept. 13, 1980. Mr. Armstrong
Excerpt from Sept. 13, 1980 Coworker Letter:
In I Corinthians 1, we are commanded by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ "that ye all speak the same thing, and that THERE BE NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU" (verse 10). You Australian brethren must
not be divided APART FROM those in America, in England, in Germany, in Black Africa, in the Philippines. We are all ONE in
Christ!!! (end of excerpt)
In verse 12, some of you must not be followers
of one human leader apart from another and others followers of other ministers. We must be JOINED TIGHTLY TOGETHER! We must have ONE doctrine and belief.
And HOW did God put doctrine and belief into His Church? By Jesus Christ -- but Christ taught
the Apostles and the CHURCH received its teaching and doctrines through the
APOSTLES. Now Jesus is the Word of God in Person. The BIBLE is the Word of God in writing -- but
the SAME TRUTH! Brethren, I did not put myself into God's Church nor make myself Christ's Apostle -- HE DID!
Just as God taught the first century original Apostles through Jesus the Personal Word of God, even so He taught me the
SAME TRUTHS AND DOCTRINES through the WRITTEN Word of God, the Holy Bible! If I teach not accurately according
to this inspired WORD OF GOD, write to me and show me, and on proof I will correct it for the WHOLE CHURCH!
So it should be clear from these examples that indeed the apostles’ doctrine is one and the same with the teachings
of Jesus Christ.
Today in the "churches of God", we see many different doctrines and "truths" that have come along SINCE the death of the
last apostle of the Church age – Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. The very fact that there ARE now so many differing views
of truth and doctrines among God’s people, should be proof enough to show WHY God gave authority ONLY to His apostles
to infuse truth and doctrine into His Church!
When it is left up to the ministry or lay members to decide what is truth or doctrine, MASS CONFUSION results! This is
NOT God’s way!
Men can come up with a myriad of ideas (excuses) of WHY Mr. Armstrong was "wrong" on this subject or that, and therefore
begin to "reason" (pervert) through the scriptures that this is the way that "they see it", and that leads to changing
of basic vital life-saving truth!
There is also another way that doctrine and truth has been changed, and it is more subtle, but just as devastating to God’s
truth. And that is simply by "omission", or in other words just "dropping" certain doctrines or truth by NOT teaching
them any longer. This is like the "sin of omission", which is not always so obvious, nevertheless just as deadly.
Mr. Armstrong (God’s end-time apostle!) made it VERY clear, so that a little child could understand it, that ONLY
the apostles and the ministry UNDER them, had the authority to infuse truth or doctrine into God’s Church. Today,
there are NO ministers under the apostle’s authority, because there is NO apostle! The ministry
today has gone a different "way", which simply put is OFF TRACK.
Matthew 18:18 CLEARLY shows that Jesus Christ gave authority only to His apostles to "bind or loosen"
doctrine and truth into His Church. The first century apostles clearly understood this. Mr. Armstrong clearly understood
this, as will be shown below. But many ministers or men today "dispute" this by saying (in disagreement) that "it really
doesn’t mean what it says." These men are disputing with God!
To put it in the most simple language, after the death of Mr. Armstrong, the ministry AND lay members SHOULD HAVE continued
(as the scripture says) IN THE APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE. But we did not!
As mentioned above, men (ministers) today PERVERT the pure teachings of Jesus Christ through His end time apostle, by distorting
and perverting and "reasoning" around these sound doctrines and scriptures, in order to establish their OWN doctrines or "new
truth" or to do away with doctrines altogether! I personally have seen this done many times in the past 20 years.
Many of these ministers use a number of the same "catch phrases" over and over to ESTABLISH the presumed fact that "they"
are correct and Mr. Armstrong was wrong on various doctrines or truth.
For example: Some take a famous statement by Mr. Armstrong which is: "Don’t believe me, believe your Bible!", and
try to use the Bible itself to prove Mr. Armstrong wrong as they attempt to prove "their theory" or what they presume is "the
truth" to be correct. Again – DON’T BE DECEIVED! In order for these men to accomplish this, they have to
TOTALLY DISCOUNT (do away with) what God Himself gave us through His apostle, regardless of what the subject or "point of
Another example is when men try to justify their "new truth" by taking a scripture out of context showing that we need
to "grow in grace and knowledge". But when you look AT the actual verse, it DOES NOT say anything about NEW TRUTH!
This verse of course is in II Peter 3:18, and it says to: "grow in grace and knowledge OF our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ". So it is simply saying to grow in grace, and to grow in knowledge OF Jesus Christ, in other
words putting on the mind of Christ! It nowhere says to grow in NEW TRUTH!
Other men or ministers will say that "Mr. Armstrong didn’t know it all". Well, I don’t EVER recall Mr.
Armstrong saying that he DID know it all. But I do know what God’s Word says about this man in Matt.
17:11, and there Christ says that He would send an end-time Elijah to restore ALL things. This is now fulfilled prophecy,
regardless of what "men" may say.
Still again, others will say that Mr. Armstrong was "not infallible and made mistakes". Well yes this is true, Mr.
Armstrong was human, just like you and I, and he had his weaknesses, just like you and I, AND just like all
the apostles of the first century! ALL of God’s servants down through time have had their weaknesses and none
were perfect especially in the eyes of man. But God STILL accounted them as RIGHTEOUS! And they WILL BE in God’s
Mr. Armstrong may have had his weaknesses or imperfections (as WE ALL do), HOWEVER, when it came to doctrine
or truth, when he saw he was in error - he repented before God and the WHOLE Church publicly and CORRECTED
it! This only happened a couple of times. Do you see ANY ministers today doing this? Absolutely not. That
would take true humility. Mr. Armstrong taught that this was a "sign" of God's True Church, when it would admit mistakes
and accept correction.
And it should be noted here again that ONLY God’s apostles (NOT ministers!) have the AUTHORITY to bind or loosen,
in other words "correct errors" as well as establish new doctrine or truth into God’s Church. Yes that means
make a CHANGE in doctrine if necessary. But remember, it is the apostle only that has this authority (on earth), given by
Jesus Christ Himself (Matt. 18:18). And guess what? When that apostle makes that decision one way or the other, it BECOMES
BINDING UPON THE WHOLE CHURCH! God HIMSELF binds it, or "loosens" it in Heaven! So a "minister" CANNOT come along
and change, add to, or do away with ANY doctrine or truth that Christ has placed into His Church through
His apostles! So says our Bibles! Don't let men tell you otherwise.
Once truth has been established into God's Church, or a doctrine established or CHANGED by God's apostle, then it is up
to US as members of God's Church to either follow that government, or NOT. It is a TEST for us to see if we will follow God's
government. That is what it's all about: GOVERNMENT. Can we be governed? Can we be governed by God's government? If not, then
we will NOT be in His Kingdom (government) that will soon be established on this earth!
Many left the Church years ago because of changes made by Mr. Armstrong in the observance of Pentecost and also the Divorce
and Remarriage doctrine. These people left because they thought that you could not or should not "change divine revelation"
as they term it. One thing they overlooked is that God gave the authority to make those changes to His apostles, including
the end time apostle. And remember, those were the days that doctrine was STILL being established in
the Church. It was a time of rapid growth as the temple was being built. And again, Mr. Armstrong taught us that a SIGN
of God's true Church is that it would admit error and be CORRECTED. Do we see this (willingness to be corrected) happening
today in the church(es) of God? Of course not. That also should be a "sign".
Mr. Armstrong noted before he died that the Church was "back on track" and moving forward. If it was on track at
that time, with the doctrines that CHRIST gave us, did Christ somewhere along the line SINCE the death of Mr. Armstrong, "change
directions" or "get off track" and decide that His doctrines needed to be changed or some of them done away with? This may
appear as a ridiculous question to some, but apparently some ministers believe this else they wouldn't be CHANGING or WATERING
DOWN or ADDING "NEW TRUTH" to what God Himself already gave us through His apostle! Again, there is no apostle
around now to do that BINDING OR LOOSENING. Although there are many today "claiming" to be apostles, or prophets, and some
even have set themselves up as "pastor generals" of their groups.
Mr. Armstrong often said that he would not compromise ONE IOTA with God’s truth or law! Today we can see compromise
EVERYWHERE in the churches of God.
Today ministers have become complacent with "holding fast" to what was already given to them, they want to CHANGE God’s
truth to fit their agendas or "versions" of truth. But we should ask ourselves the question here: "WOULD WE CHANGE WHAT
WAS TAUGHT BY THE FIRST CENTURY APOSTLES?" Of course NOT! If not, then WHY would we change what God gave
us through His end time apostle? Think about it! God gives ALL of His apostles the SAME authority! An apostle
is an apostle!
Here is another example of how men today are changing God’s truth. ANYONE can take a "Strong’s Concordance",
and look up any word or phrase or scripture in the Bible, and what you will get is MANY definitions for each word. Therefore
it is simple enough (and very deceptive) to CHANGE the meaning of a word or passage in the Bible, by using some of the
alternate definitions presented. This of course can totally change the meaning of what a word or passage in the Bible
is actually saying!
This is a very cunning and deceptive practice which has been used, and is STILL being used by self-professing prophets
or scholars and ministers within the churches of God today. We should ALL (including me) be WARNED about this!
Mr. Armstrong taught us HOW to study the Bible. That teaching included keeping the use of scriptures IN THEIR CONTEXT as
well as gathering as many other scriptures as possible about a particular topic and putting them all together to get
a clear picture.
God clearly gave us life-saving TRUTH through Mr. Armstrong. This was and is wonderful precious truth FROM GOD HIMSELF.
How DARE ANY of us tamper with, modify, add to, do away with, water down, or change what the GREAT GOD and
our CREATOR gave to us!
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a concordance to get a clearer understanding of a word or passage in God’s
Word. Mr. Armstrong used concordances himself. HOWEVER, when it is used to intentionally CHANGE revealed truth
or doctrine or to conform to some ministers’ agenda or "new truth", then BEWARE! This is NOT truth!
Remember, TRUTH and DOCTRINE comes from Christ to us THROUGH His apostles!
We have ALREADY been given by Jesus Christ through His apostles, including His end-time apostle, THE TRUTH
we need to attain our salvation IF we hold fast to it, and CLING to it. It was given to us DURING the
Philadelphia era of God’s Church (Rev. 3:11 & Matt. 17:11).
The whole purpose of this brief article so far, has been to introduce the excerpt below from "The Incredible Human Potential"
by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.
It has also been posted elsewhere on this website. But I feel it is such a VITALLY IMPORTANT statement,
that has been so overlooked and ignored by ALL of God’s ministers today, and the vast majority of the
members of God’s Church.
PLEASE look at it closely for what it is saying, and read it again and again! If ALL of God’s people would
heed this, or begin to heed it, we wouldn’t have the confusion or dis-unity we have today! I realize though that
it would take more than this to "unite" God’s people now. And indeed something IS coming soon that will again
unite God’s people. But it will NOT be what people expect. See the article entitled: "ONLY HALF?" to find
out what that is.
Beginning on page 119 of "The Incredible Human Potential", in the sixth paragraph, Mr. Armstrong writes:
"How does God infuse HIS TRUTH into the Church? NOT through
each individual separately – but through the apostles, and other
ministers under them.
In the time of the first apostles – the first century – the Bible was not yet completely
written. God used a very few prophets, through whom He communicated. The prophets gave the message to an apostle. Today
the Bible is complete. God has used no prophets in the Church in our time.
However, the laity of the first century Church received their teaching and instruction from the
apostles. The original twelve had been taught by Christ in person – and so also had Paul. Jesus Christ
was the personal Word of God. The Bible is the written Word of God. It’s all the precise same TRUTH
and TEACHING, whether from Jesus in person, when on earth, or from the written Word of God. God’s apostle for our
day was taught by the written Word of God – the SAME IDENTICAL TEACHING!
But what of the separated individual believer, who tries to GET his salvation all by himself –
or by following some MAN or any of hundreds of professing christian denominations of our day? He is CUT OFF from
that TRUE teaching which Christ reveals to and through His apostle!
What if one in the church disagrees on some point of doctrine? Then he is out of harmony
with God’s Church. And God HAS ONLY THE ONE CHURCH.
And all in the Church are commanded to speak the same thing – and it must be what CHRIST,
either in person, or by written Word, has taught His apostle."
(End of excerpt)
I cannot emphasize enough, how IMPORTANT this statement by Mr. Armstrong is! Please read it and study it and meditate
on it! LOOK at that last paragraph again. ALL are COMMANDED to speak the same thing, and it MUST
be what Christ TAUGHT HIS APOSTLE! What is so HARD to understand about that statement!
But men today, yes MINISTERS - want to DO AWAY with this! They want THEIR OWN way! Therefore they will
soon face severe correction, and so will those members who FOLLOW these men if they don’t REPENT, so says God’s
Notice also that Mr. Armstrong makes it very clear that God has used NO PROPHETS in this Church age. However, many today
"claim" just that – to be prophets of God! DON’T BE DECIEVED! These are FALSE prophets! Please see the article
on this website entitled: "When a prophet prophesies".
There is a time coming however, just before or at the end of this Church age, that God Himself WILL raise up two prophets
or WITNESSES, to proclaim a final message (testimony- Rev. 11:7) to God’s people and to the world.
Will God’s own people even KNOW HOW to identify or recognize these two prophets when they come on the scene?
Will these two men come from one or more of the many DIVISIONS of God’s Church? Wouldn’t that be showing
partiality? God says in His Word that He is NOT a "respecter of persons" and does NOT show partiality. (Deut. 10:17
& Acts 10:34).
The Bible nowhere indicates "where" they will come from. But the Bible DOES indicate HOW to recognize or identify
them! It is so plain and simple if we have listened to God’s end time apostle! See the article on "The Two
Witnesses". But they obviously WILL be two men who have God’s Holy Spirit.
It should be very CLEAR now, that there is no APOSTLE living today. Mr. Armstrong was the last apostle of the church
age. The teachings and truth and doctrine that Jesus Christ HIMSELF instilled into His Church THROUGH His end time apostle
are STILL BINDING on all of God’s people today!
Unfortunately that precious truth is being trampled under foot by all of Christ’s own ministers, who are no longer
faithful servants. But that is soon going to change! Christ will NOT let His truth be cast down for much longer.
He is soon going to begin to drastically intervene in the affairs of mankind and in the affairs of His very own Church.
Will we recognize that intervention when it comes? So what then are we to do?
This website is serving as a warning and a WAKE UP CALL to God's people, if they will only listen and heed.
So what specifically are we to do? The first thing to do at this time is clearly written in God's Word, and it's one of
Christ's last admonitions to us all.
Notice Revelation 3:19 which states: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and REPENT."
There is much instruction in that one verse that ends with the command to REPENT, or turn back from something. We now know
that the "something" is the Laodicean condition of being self-right, or let US the people decide for ourselves.
But Christ says those He loves, He rebukes and chastens. In other words He CORRECTS them. Correction is not always
easy to receive or handle. It goes against our "human nature". But if we have God's Spirit, and are trying to
subdue our human nature and be conformed to God's nature or character, then "correction" should indeed be welcomed into our
Christ also says in the above verse, to be ZEALOUS. Many of God's people today "think" they are zealous, but it is
for the WRONG reasons! Why else would Christ spew out an entire era? We need to be zealous for the RIGHT reasons,
based on what God has revealed to us here in the end time through His faithful servant - Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.
Therefore Christ says to REPENT. As it says there in Jeremiah 6:16 we need to seek the old paths and STAND (or stay
or hold fast) therein. This verse says that this is the GOOD WAY, and we are to WALK IN it. THEN and only
then will we find rest for our souls (lives).
Listen to the words of the watchman as written in Isaiah 21:12 which says: "The watchman said, 'The morning comes, and
also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; RETURN! COME BACK!'".
This is a call and warning to return to and come back to the foundation and truth restored to God's people in the end time
through God's end time Zerubbabel! It all points back to ZERUBBABEL!
God promises protection to His faithful flock from the coming great tribulation. We have been taught this for years, and
it is soundly based on God's Word. How many will be in that place of safety? Only God knows, but it does not look
like very many. The Bible clearly indicates that the majority of God's people will go into the tribulation in order
to qualify for His Kingdom. They have to qualify as martyrs! But it does NOT have to be this way.
Christ's last admonition to His people before they fell away from the truth in the Laodicean era, was given just before
that era comes, DURING the Philadelphia era. That "glorious" era, at the end of which God's apostle was used to set
the Church BACK ON TRACK. For the last 7 years or so of his life, Mr. Armstrong focused on getting the Church back on
track doctrinally and focused on preparing us for the Kingdom of God.
And it was to this era that Christ says in Rev. 3:11: "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that
no one may take your crown." But we now know that era is OVER and is behind us as Church history.
So the Laodicean era is told to repent and turn back to something! Return back to what WE HAD in that previous era,
that Christ says will enable us to attain our "crowns" if we would only hold fast to it!
So the message is simple. To REPENT. It's a simple message, but apparently so hard for so many to do.
As God's people, we must ALL repent and turn back to the FOUNDATION that was laid by the hands of the end time Zerubbabel.
God is going to again gather the members of His True Church upon that foundation. The temple that was once built and
completed upon that foundation, but is now in a state of decay, will be rebuilt again. (Zech. 4:9, Hag. 2:9, Amos 9:11)
But this message will be magnified and amplified. It will be more direct and blunt as we
approach the doors of the tribulation. Israelites (physical and spiritual) are hard headed and have grown dull of hearing.
The message, which applies to every single one of us, will be clear and strong for those who have ears to hear.
This message in its most simple form is: Repent of your ways, or perish IN your ways!
We are almost out of time.