PO Box 370; Watertown, CT 06795
December 4, 2001
Greetings. In the May/June 2001 issue of the Servants’ News, p.25, you asked some questions of your readership. To my knowledge, I never received your original letter but would like to respond just the same. I may paraphrase your queries.
1. “Do not the members of our organization prove that God does not always govern from the top down?” Yes. The strictly hierarchical notion that HWA/WCG supported and encouraged was in error. The singular Yahweh God works the way He wants to. Who are we to suggest that He can only do it our way? The idea of top-down governance—that is, only the top dog gets to call the shots and his word cannot be questions, is cultic in nature and flawed.
2. “Members leaving WCG, joined others, and then came here are part of the Church and therefore brethren?” Absolutely they are brethren. In fact, I would not limit “brethrenship” to merely members of old WCG who cycle through various groups, but to any persons whom God thinks are brethren and therefore has put that person’s name in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, long before the law was in place. Who are these people? Nobody knows them all. Are they all Sabbath-keepers? Probably not. Who are our brothers and sisters? They are those who do the will of God, whether we like it or not.
3. “Is it possible the Eternal intended to end HWA’s work?” Not only possible but probable. Why would God allow a corrupted work to continue? The WCG caused much pain and suffering along with the good. Those who insist on HWA or the highway will fail in their endeavors. The old HWA “work” was relatively great but if size is a factor of greatness, look at orthodoxy and the Catholic Church. If quality is a better indicator of greatness, HWA / WCG does not fare that well. Today, the various churches of God are perpetuating many of the same old myths and lies, plus much of the truth. But a mixture of error and truth devolves to a corrupted message that has to be cleaned up. Yet, many of the groups, even the more forward-reaching ones, are not terribly willing to really clean up the old message—they are not visibly, at least, seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. They are willing to maintain the cult status. And that saddens me. HWA was a false prophet—let’s admit the truth of the matter. That doesn’t make all he said wrong but it should tell us to beware his teachings and not be afraid to closely examine his “exalted word”. And we must indeed judge ourselves harshly, lest a stronger judge take us in hand. In Christ Fellowship Ministries, I do answer the difficult questions. Because I am openly willing to confront issues, my own WCG past, and let the chips fall where they may, I have lost “friends”. Consequently, I have grown and have discovered things hidden from others—things they are unwilling or unable to see. Thank you.
— F. Paul Haney
[I did not send the original copy of this letter to Paul Haney because I never considered him a “hierarchical leader”. I agree with his answer. Our understanding of what the Bible says about government and our opinion of what God is doing with the WCG is very similar—but we did not learn it from each other. He did his own study and so did I. We receive each other’s newsletters, but we do not always have time to read them all. Paul Haney teaches a Seventh-Day Baptist congregation, has two on-going prison ministries and works with other groups. Everyone is welcome to attend in the groups where he teaches—whether they get literature from 100 church of God groups or from none. He does not try to stop people from visiting other groups. Mr. Haney has no trouble defining what the Church is: “persons whom God thinks are brethren.” He realized the futility of trying to write some document defining that, because we simply cannot now know everything that God knows. If someone who attends with him appears to offend or lead astray other brethren, it is dealt with on a case by case basis using the appropriate scriptures (Matt 18:15–17; Rom 14; Gal 6:1–2; Tit 3:10, 1Jn 4:1). May more and more groups have the faith to work this way. — NSE]
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