There are several corporate church organizations claiming to be the one and only true church of God, and even going as far as claiming that only their brethren have access to God.
Those who swallow that position whole, have placed themselves at the mercy of that corporate organization and will do anything, will tolerate anything; to maintain their place in such an organization.
To believe that someone has the power to control our relationship with God, and to decide our eternal fate of death or reward; is to give those we believe; ultimate power over us. To truly believe this is to be bound to that man or organization by spiritual and mental chains stronger than any chains of steel.
Before believing such a statement we should check it out by the Word of God, to make absolutely certain whether this is true and which corporate church, is God’s true church.
For over a thousand years the Roman church who’s proper name is “The Universal Church of God at Rome” [“catholic” meaning universal] adopted what is generally called the Primacy of Peter teaching, which says that the Pope has the authority to come between man and God and to bind and loose the Word of God as he sees fit. It is further stated that anyone not subject to papal rulings is cut off from God
About fifty years ago a COG leader [see the Modern Armstrong COG History category on the side bar] did a complete reversal of his previous teachings and adopted this Roman Catholic Nicolaitane position for himself, declaring himself the leader of the only true church of God; and wrote a paper titled “The True Name of the True Church.” This paper focuses on the NAME while slipping the True Church concept past the unsuspecting reader.
The paper uses the KJV to claim that the name “Church of God” is used in the NT and is therefore the true name of the true church.
Let us examine the word “church” and see directly from the scriptures what the “true church” and the “true name” really are.
DEFINITIONS: The English word “church” is defined as “an organized religion or the building in which it meets.” The word “church” is not a translation but is used IN PLACE OF the Greek word “Ekklesia” which means “called to assemble,” or in a religious context “called to assemble with God”
The biblical word “Ekklesia” properly means “the called out to God,” and since Jesus taught that we are to live by every Word of God, Mat 4:4, the word “Ekklesia” properly means “those who live by every Word of God.”
The English word “church” does not exist in the scriptures. “Church” is an English word specifically commanded by King James to be used in place of the word Ekklesia.
The word “church” is substituted for an accurate translation of “Ekklesia” which means a people called out to God. To put it simply, the word “church” appears in the King James Version (KJV) because King James ordered it used there. He demanded that the word ekklesia not be translated by the word “congregation” or “assembly” or in the religious sense “called out to God.”
In the days of Christ and His apostles, the word “ekklesia” was an everyday word that simply meant “assembly,” “congregation,’ or “gathering” of people. Any gathering of people, whether religious, political, or even criminal in purpose, was called an “ekklesia.”
The word itself when used generally, gives no indication of the kind or the purpose of the assembly (ekklesia). It is the religious context of the word Ekklesia which means “those people called to God”
In Acts 19:32, 41, ekklesia is translated “assembly” and refers to an unlawful gathering, a mob. In context it has reference to a “lawful assembly” in Acts 19:39. The word ekklesia appears in reference to the faithful believers who live by the Word of God more than 100 times in the Greek NT Scriptures, but only in these three instances in Acts 19 is the word correctly translated assembly!
In reference to a religious gathering, the English word “church” is always substituted for the correct translation; at the express command of King James.
The translators were forbidden to render the true meaning of the word, except in the three above instances and were required by the King to substitute the word “church.” Rule 3 of the “Rules to be observed in the Translation of the Bible” specifically says: “The old Ecclesiastical [Roman Catholic] words [were] to be kept,” meaning the word church not to be correctly translated. The translators obeyed the King and that version is rightly called the King James Version!
Now, why do you suppose that King James made such a command?
Long before King James the Roman Catholic’s had also used the word “church” in place of Ekklesia, because the word “church”: meant a building, organization or corporate entity!
When King Henry the VIII broke with Catholicism he placed himself at the head of the Catholic church in England now calling it the English or Anglican church and proceeded to govern and change that corporate church according to his own will.
King James wanted to keep his authority over the corporate church of England and could not permit the translators to inform the people that the Ekklesia was NOT a corporate body [it was not until the English civil war and the defeat of King Charles 1 in the 1640s that religious freedom was gained by the English people].
In ancient Rome the emperor was declared a god, why? Because he wanted the absolute authority and obedience that only a god has. Then along came Paul and turned the Roman world upside down by declaring that there was only one God and the emperor was not God.
Herbert Armstrong knew that the Ekklesia consists of those called and faithful to live by every Word of God, regardless of affiliation with any corporate organization. But he changed his teachings and began to falsely insist that his corporate WCG was the one and only true “church.”
At the same time he adopted the Roman Catholic Nicolaitane governance system placing himself and the ministry as a layer of authority enabled to bind and loose God’s Word according to their own decisions.
Why did he adopt and begin to knowingly teach this lie? He wanted to exalt himself in power over the brethren like the pope, and he wanted to decide for himself and his followers what was right and what was wrong, instead of living by every Word of God.
Rod Meredith knows this is true and like HWA he also knows that he is lying when he calls his corporate entity “God’s Church.” There is NO SUCH THING as a corporate church of God! God’s people are the Ekklesia, they are all those who have been called and have responded with sincere repentance to go forward living by EVERY WORD of GOD!
The True Name
Besides the “Ekklesia” the faithful are also called the bride, the first fruits, the brotherhood, brethren, lady, the saints, the flock of God, the elect, the called etc.; every one of which is a fit name for the Ekklesia of the called out who live by every Word of God.
If we know the scriptures we know that we are called out to live by every Word of God and by doing so we are to be a Shining Light of example for others.
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
It is for this reason that this site is named TheShiningLight but the true name of the called out is the Ekklesia [the Called Out and Faithful to live by every Word of God] of God.