A sure indication that a Church of God may be potentially heading in the right direction regarding "grace" is when you see the Official Pharisee of the Church of God get his Levitical bloomers all in a legalistic twist.
Pharisee and Zealot James Malm is all in an uproar over a paper Mark Mickelson presented to the UCG on who the God of the Old Testament was and its relationship to Jesus. The Chief Pharisee has been screeching for many months now that UCG was changing its doctrine on grace.
Zealot Malm writes:
This article deals specifically with the UCG Doctrinal Statement claiming that God the Father was the God of the Old Testament together with the Being who became flesh as the son.United Church of God has specifically denied that they considered Mickelson's paper.
The Zealot writes:
Council of Elders StatementThe Doctrine Committee and its subcommittees completed review of the paper titled “The God of the Old Testament” submitted by Mark Mickelson. The conclusion reached by the Doctrine Committee was that God the Father and the Word were and are both very active in all of Scripture. The [Mickelson] paper did not receive support to move forward. The Council recommends that everyone read the UCG study paper “The Nature of God and Christ,” to gain additional background on this subject.
All of you KNOW that I get my doctrine directly from the Holy Scriptures and that I do not blindly follow HWA, yet he did teach the same as I do on this matter; often clearly stating that Jesus revealed the Father.
It is true that the Father’s existence is implied in the scriptures, but he was NEVER actively involved and was not active or known before the physical life of Jesus Christ who revealed the existence of the Father and the Being who became the Son as two separate God Beings.
For years Mark Mickelson has been falsely cloaking himself in the name of Christ and of Herbert Armstrong to teach the Protestant error that God the Father was the God of the Old Testament who was the Lord of Hosts.
This is not the teaching of Herbert Armstrong, it is not my teaching and it is not scriptural; it is gross error.
Nothing infuriates the Chief Pharisee more than grace, particularly the accepted understanding of it. As with all things when zealotry is involved, Pharisee Malm's grace comes with lots of conditions. So when people say that grace trumps the law, the spittle starts flying. Your computer screen almost gets wet from it flying!
The Pharisee attempts to end any discussion on grace by spitting out that it is "evangelical" anytime it does not require keeping all 613 laws and HIS interpretations along side it.
Mark’s position is very evangelical, presenting the Father as the uncompromising God of the Old Testament, with Christ adding Grace later. In reality Mark has been allowed to openly teach this heresy and his paper was a “Trial Balloon” on the subject.
Many brethren would not agree with the idea and so these same folks who brought this error into the Tkach WCG came up with a more subtle statement that accepts the evangelical position that God the Father was the God of the Old Testament, but added that Christ was also active then to pacify the brethren.
What this statement does is to promote the evangelical heresy that God the Father was the God of the Old Testament and that he was the God of Moses and the Mosaic Covenant and the laws of Moses.
In due time the other shoe will drop that Jesus brought grace through his sacrifice thereby freeing us from any obligation to keep the laws of Moses. Then the heresy long taught in UCG at ABC and elsewhere that “We keep them because WE want to, not because we have to” will kick in and very many will decide that if they don’t have to, they will simply decide not to.
UCG is now rapidly becoming a Protestant Sabbatarian organization. Make no mistake, this seemingly innocuous Doctrinal Statement is earth shattering in its implications for UCG!Pharisees, Zealot's and legalists are all about condemnation through the law. In the Church of God, condemnation has always been the driving force in all matters of the church understanding's. Divine punishment and retribution is the expectation or so many in the church today that they actively seek to see people they deem "lost" to be destroyed.
The Subtle Power Of Spiritual Abuse, 1991; David Johnson/Jeff VanVonderen
"The legalist will always want to see another punished, or made to perform as a compensation for weakness or sin."A perfect description of Pharisee Malm:
The New Manners And Customs Of Bible Times 1987 Ralph Gower
"Pharisees . . . Their name means 'those who separate themselves.' . . . They wanted to be legally pure, separate from any form of defilement. They believed that the difference between being 'clean' and 'unclean' depended upon that law. What was 'clean' was obedience to the law; what was 'unclean' was disobedience to the law. This position regarding the law created problems, however, for although there are 613 commandments in the Torah (the books of Moses), they are not always specific. If the Sabbath day is to be kept 'holy,' then exactly what may be done and what may not? There were lengthy discussions on such subjects as whether or not it was lawful (or unclean) to eat an egg laid on the Sabbath. The Pharisees developed a set of regulations designed to save people from breaking the law itself . . . the Pharisees had failed to understand what the law was all about . . . The Pharisees seem to have taken the law and changed it . . . into a great burden -- 'This is what you have got to do; if you fail, God will punish you' . . . It was so out of tune with what God intended that Jesus attacked it."
Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Acts 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke (the law) upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled in the yoke of bondage. [the law]
Rightly Dividing The Word 1920 Clarence Larkin
"THE LAW demands holiness"
"GRACE gives holiness"
"THE LAW says--Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them"
"GRACE says--Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sin is covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute iniquity."
"THE LAW declares--That as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the law."
"GRACE declares--That there is no condemnation (Judgment for Sin) for those who are in Christ Jesus for they have passed from death unto life."
Living Victoriously 1987 Victor Paul Wierwille
"A believer's peace is lost when he allows sincere, religious people to put him under the covenant of works of the Old Testament [legalism]. And when a believer loses sight of the truth of his standing in Christ then he loses sight of grace, mercy, love and the power of God. Then he gets into confusion as to the truth, and his peace evaporates, and it is gone."
Legalism destroys your peace, and it leads to confusion as to your state and standing with God. The sincere religious legalists love to tell people that they are unworthy and that God is displeased with them, or that God doesn't love them, or that God wants to punish them.See more here:
Legalism vs Grace
Legalism vs Grace: They Lying Truth
A LOGICAL LOOK AT LEGALISM/Bad Christian