Admitting Error

It took me a lot of time in 1991 and 1992 to unravel the tangled web of deceit called the "born again" doctrinal change. I typed up the errors I found and gave them to the local pastor, Tim Snyder.

He didn't get back with me, so I approached him again. He said he had went over my papers and would cover the subject at the next local Bible study. I went to that study, but he spoke on a different topic. When I asked him about it, he said he would address "born again" at the next study. So I waited and went to that one, too, but he spoke instead on the subject of time management (which I thought was ironic, given how much of my time he was wasting). I didn't approach him again.

Then, not long after, he began a sabbath sermon by telling some thoughts he said came to his mind upon waking in the morning. He rambled on for a minute or two about Jesus having to be already born and not a fetus (transribed in its entirety below), but never addressed any of the errors in the new "born again" teaching. That was the sum total of his response to the considerable amount of material that I had presented to him. He dodged his responsibility and refused to admit the errors.

Right before that sermon, there had been a "special music" presentation by the choir singing a song titled "Give Us a New Vision." Tim Snyder sang with the choir in a very loud voice — louder than all the rest. That was the last time I attended a service with the Worldwide Church of God.

Joseph W. Tkach, K.J. Stavrinides, Bernard W. Schnippert, and Joseph Tkach Jr. never admitted any of their errors in regard to the "born again" doctrinal change, while continually proclaiming that their only intention was to admit and correct error. That was their con game.

And Herbert Armstrong, as the previous pages have shown, did teach the truth about when and how a person is "born again" according to the Bible.

The Error

Tim Snyder

Tim Snyder, Worldwide Church of God pastor, Kalamazoo, Michigan, sermon, 1992, thoughts upon waking:
"Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God.

"Thought to myself: With our new understanding of born again, if Christ were not born from above, if He were conceived only — in our previous understanding of conception of the Holy Spirit — if He were only conceived from above, we never in the pages of the Bible, we never see the fullness of the magnitude of God in the flesh. We at best see a fetus that reaches the point of birth at His death.

"What a tremendous limitation I recognized that puts on the Savior, God in the flesh. And I saw instantly, rather, He was born from above. He was the walking embodiment of God in the flesh in every way. I thought — it had never crossed my mind before — that Christ was fully in that sense God portraying what we shall become through growth and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

"The only Lamb of God that there would be. There hasn't been another and there will not be another."

The Tkaches

Joseph W. Tkach, letter to ministry, Pastor General's Report, June 8, 1994:
"Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead his people into all truth.... And that means, of course, that sometimes we are required to admit previous errors. We have to admit our mistakes and change, even though it may be difficult to do so. That process is part and parcel with the Christian life."

"When the Holy Spirit leads us to realize that we have misunderstood the Bible in some way, we can't just be silent and pretend that mistakes have never happened. We have an obligation to correct the error we had taught. We have to admit that we were wrong, and we have to begin to go the way now revealed.... [W]e must admit where we were mistaken, and we should thank God for the correction he gives us."

Joseph W. Tkach, letter to member, February 9, 1993:
"Some congregations, some churches, are spiritually stronger than others. Our goal is to be as strong as we can be. And part of that spiritual strength is the humility to admit our errors and turn from them."

"I hope these thoughts are helpful to you as you strive to understand what God expects of us, and why we have had to humble ourselves before him and admit our mistakes."

Joseph W. Tkach, fellow workers letter, September 1994:
"How tragic that at the very time God is bringing his Church into a deeper relationship with Jesus, some are blinded by the light and turn away to go back to what they find more familiar and comfortable. Pray for those who have left the Church."

"Have you considered what a blessing it is to have been called into a Church that is not afraid to respond to God's correction?"

"Yes, God chastens those whom he loves. To go through doctrinal changes, as we have had to do, may be traumatic and painful. But when God is behind it, as he certainly is in his Church, the end product is a Church more fully equipped and prepared for service to their Lord and Master!"

Joseph W. Tkach, letter to the ministry, Pastor General's Report, October 18, 1994:
"God has been 'sifting the wheat' in the Church, so to speak. He has shown us some of our errors, our mistakes, and given us the courage through his Spirit to go to work on correcting them. For those who love Christ and respond to his correction, this has been good news indeed! For some who cannot accept the fact that the Church was wrong on any of these matters, it has been their spiritual undoing. They have chosen to justify errors instead of admit them and turn from them."

Joseph W. Tkach, "Personal," Worldwide News, February 3, 1992:
"The Worldwide Church of God has proven its deep and faithful commitment to serve God wherever he leads. The Church has never claimed infallibility, and it has demonstrated over its history its faithful willingness to put off error and to embrace truth."

Joseph W. Tkach, "Personal," Worldwide News, December 27, 1994:
"Some wish we could have a 'slower pace for change.' But, as the Pastor General, I cannot just say to God, in effect: 'Well, God, I know you'll understand if I just keep on tolerating this error for a little while. After all, you know, the people have already had several changes, and they might not like this. They might withdraw their support. I know you have shown me it's an error, but surely you don't mind if we keep it for a while, do you?'

"Please understand that I'm not making change just for the sake of change. But as I feel Christ leads the Church, I cannot continue a teaching I feel he has led us to understand is erroneous."

Joseph Tkach Jr., "Where Is the Church Headed?" Worldwide News, 31 May 31, 1994:
"Some experience a spiritual identity crisis whenever an error in our interpretation of Scripture is corrected. Such feelings prevent people from understanding our responsibility to God to be consistent and accurate in doctrine."

"It seems harder for some than others to admit that the Church made mistakes."

Joseph Tkach Jr., "The God of the Old Testament," Reviews You Can Use, November-December 1994:
"A few of God's people still cling to the old concept because of what they think Mr. Armstrong taught about it. What they overlook is Mr. Armstrong's willingness to change whenever he realized his understanding differed from the Scriptures. That example remains a legacy for God's Church today."

Joseph Tkach, Jr., "Born from Above," taped sermon, September 1992:
"Other sermons have been presented to you on the topic, Bible studies on the topic, but I want to present it to you in my way. Because the more you hear it — the more it's explained — the better you're able to understand it."

"You can know the truth if you're honestly willing to face the facts."

The Truth

Herbert Armstrong

Herbert W. Armstrong, "How and Why We Know We Have the Truth," Good News, January 1985:
"God says, 'PROVE all things.' That means you are fallible. That means all the 'great' men are fallible! ALL are human. ALL can be wrong — and nearly all are. The whole world is DECEIVED (Revelation 12:9). That means its religious leaders and churches are deceived!

"The very recognition of that fact is the beginning of right knowledge. We do recognize it — and that we ourselves could be wrong. That is the first step toward coming out of the fog of error and deception, starting toward the truth. It is not a matter of who has the greater intellect. A man may have the highest IQ in the world, and in his intellectual VANITY refuse to admit he could be wrong — reject all correction — and thus embrace error and deception.

"The second step, if you would know TRUTH, is to be willing to admit being deceived, or in error, and to reject it and accept truth. Ask yourself: 'Am I really willing to confess error — to admit I'm wrong — when proved — and reject it? Am I willing to accept truth new to me — when proved — even though unpopular — even though it cuts me off from my family, friends, associates or club members — even though everything in my selfish and vain nature rebels against it? Am I willing to act on it — OBEY the truth — no matter what the cost?'

"Ah, yes! Perhaps now you are beginning to see why 'all these great theologians — these noted preachers and heads of great religious denominations' could be in error. Did you ever know a person of great intellectual powers who did not have the kind of VANITY that shrinks from confessing he has been WRONG — and has misled others? To find and live the TRUTH requires a HUMBLED mind."

"Yes, we CAN KNOW, if willing to know, whether we are right or wrong. It is not a matter of superior intellect, but of SUBMISSION TO GOD."

Herbert W. Armstrong, letter to brethren, September 12, 1985:
"The natural mind of man cannot understand the Word of God except by and through the Holy Spirit dwelling within. We read in I Corinthians 2:9 that the human eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor has it entered into the human mind, the spiritual things of God. But, verse 10 says God does reveal those things to us through, and only through, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. No matter how great the human mind — no matter how many PhDs or high degrees one may have after his name, he cannot understand what God has put in his Word — the Holy Bible — without the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, 'I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes [mentally, educationally]' (Matt. 11:25). No others can understand the Bible, which is the Word of God."

Herbert W. Armstrong, "Proving the Truth," World Tomorrow radio broadcast #9879:
"The very first requisite if you want to be a Christian — if you're wanting to be a child of God and come to all the glory of salvation that is promised — the very first requisite is that you must be willing to admit where you have been wrong."

"And remember, my friends, that your salvation doesn't depend on some group or organization of men that may scoff. Your salvation is a private, personal thing between you and your God. And you're going to be held accountable. So look this booklet over. And you look into your Bible and you believe what you find in your Bible."

"Do you know how to get around an argument that you can't by logic or by reason or by factual evidence get around? Just laugh at it and sneer at it, and a lot of people, if you can sneer at it, a lot of people think, 'Well, it's been so belittled I guess it can't be true.' And you can influence a lot of people that way when you don't have the mind power or the truth or the logic to do it. Honestly. Well, I think just trying to sneer a thing down is quite a dishonest method. I don't want to reject anything because I heard someone sneer at it. But if I find it's not true then I'm going to turn it down because I find it's not true.

"Now maybe I'm just giving you some new wind of doctrine. I know that. I have to tell you that that may be the case. You know, you can find a lot more than 57 varieties of religious doctrine and teaching today. And you shouldn't swallow everything that comes along. But let me tell you, my friends, your eternity is at stake. And it's a personal, private matter between you and God. And your Bible says that many deceivers — many false prophets — have gone out into the world. And many of them are absolutely sincere. Now, it's your personal responsibility between you and God that you get this thing straightened out, because your eternity is at stake."

"And your Bible says 'prove all things' — don't just carelessly accept something. Now this booklet ... I've talked to you about — if it isn't proved, don't accept it."

"Get this booklet. Study it with your Bible. Pray over it as you do. Do you know how I studied this question originally? I studied it on my knees. I would get a Bible. I would set it on a chair not on the table. I used the chair for a table. I got down on the floor on my knees, and I would read it awhile, and then I would close my eyes and pray to God about it and ask, 'Oh God, open my eyes — open my understanding. Help me not to be misled or deceived, but whatever is truth help me to see it and receive it.' Why don't you study it that way — with your Bible — and believe what you see in your Bible?"

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