The Eternal Church of God is one of the many hundreds of little splinter personality cults that has popped up over the decades. It is also one of the more uber-legalistc groups out there that seeks to control much of everything its members do, in much the same way that James Malm does with his Pharisaical lies.
One of the ECG biggest pet peeves is COG members who dare to eat out on the Sabbath. This is utter blasphemy and is equivalent to jabbing the spear into Christ's side at the crucifixion. Every time you eat out on Saturdays, God puts another black mark in your book of life. There can be no greater blasphemy.
Apparently Eve ate that apple on the Sabbath and when you eat out at Denny's on the Sabbath you too shall die.
WarningHaving a Big Mac is also condemned by Nehemiah:
Nearly 6,000 years ago Satan told Eve to disobey God and “you will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). She ate the forbidden fruit and ultimately perished. Today there are some who teach God’s people that it is acceptable to go to restaurants on the Sabbath. In other words, eat and you won’t die. However, God clearly stated that if we choose to violate His Sabbath we will pay the ultimate consequence.
Engaging in business with food services, as either the retailer or the consumer, is the very conduct that inspired Nehemiah’s righteous indignation. With this in mind, here is a question to consider. Would Nehemiah think differently about buying and selling today?Later this comment is made:
Those who dine out on the Sabbath are breaking every aspect of God’s command with respect to eating and resting on His sacred day. Consider what they do. They acquire food on the Sabbath. They have it prepared for them on the Sabbath. They go outside the community of faith to procure the food as well as to consume it. Then they engage in a business transaction by paying for the meal and tipping the server. Tragically, many of God’s people rationalize every one of these practices. Even more tragic is the fate that awaits them if they fail to repent of this sin.Yep, the lake of fire is ready to fry those poor hapless fools that stop by In-n-Out for a burger.
Those that dare to eat out are accepting the Mark of the Beast.
The question is which mark do we carry? One of the most obvious displays of God’s mark is our behavior on the Sabbath. The Church of God must realize that when people choose to frequent restaurants they are rejecting God’s authority, they are refusing to accept His mark, and giving way to the mark of the beast!
Although Jesus undoubtedly provided meals for His family during His lifetime on earth, there is no example of Him doing so in the New Testament. However, one example does appear in the Old Covenant that speaks volumes about how God approaches that which is holy.
Members once knew that eating at a restaurant on the Sabbath was wrong, but many have compromised this truth. It occurred slowly at first. The ministry once suggested that there might be times when eating out on the Sabbath was appropriate. No doctrinal studies were done, no papers were produced, and no official changes were ever made. As time went on, more and more people began dining out with greater frequency. Men began to take their wives out to dinner Friday night. Eventually this practice became habitual.Then the ECG tries to explain how Herbert Armstrong was wrong and he had been "tripped up" by a question he had never had time to think about, take to the Council of Elders for advice, nor have time to study deeply into at home...or apparently at the library in Eugene, OR.
One large organization published an article stating that dining out on the Sabbath has always received a stamp of approval by the Church. They claim that the Church of God has “consistently taught that eating in a restaurant on the Sabbath was permissible.” In an attempt to justify this belief, they quote Mr. Armstrong who said the following prior to a Bible study.
“Now if you go out to a restaurant on the Sabbath, that restaurant is going to be there and that food is going to be prepared whether you go or not and the other people are going to be working anyway. They don’t keep the Sabbath. They pay no attention to that. Now I had never thought until .this evening when the question was brought up to me about whether it’s wrong to go to a restaurant to eat. I know when I travel, I have to do it or do without. And so I do.”
Before anyone can claim that Mr. Armstrong approved of this practice, we must first understand the context of his statement. When asked about this issue, it was five minutes prior to a Bible study he was to give on a separate subject. His reply came from an “off the cuff” perspective. He did not take the question home and study it before responding. He did not present it to the council of Elders and produce an article to the Church changing this doctrine. This fact is obvious from the words “I had never thought until this evening when the question was brought up...”
In addition, Mr. Armstrong traveled the world visiting various leaders and dignitaries. In his case, he believed it was necessary to occasionally visit restaurants during the Sabbath or he would have to do without any food. Therefore, because he did it on occasion, he felt that it was probably permissible under certain circumstances. His unusual set of circumstances likely motivated his statement. However, over the years, these words led many brethren to believe that they can do business at a restaurant any time they want. This is simply human error.
We must recognize that the only man who was ever perfect was Christ. While Mr. Armstrong was an apostle, he was not faultless. All of the apostles have made mistakes.God's apostle obviously made a mistake, even though Jesus personally worked through him 24/7. The dance that COG member make to get around things and justify their stances are actually quit comical at times.
No he would not have! To say so is a lie! Cooks, housekeepers, chauffeurs, secretaries, Auditorium stage crew, support staff on church jets, and those that travelled with him all did work on Saturdays, bought things whenever the boss said to and were paid. Even his Doctor was paid to visit him on Saturdays! The Ambassador Auditorium was allowed to be built on Saturdays as were many other campus buildings. Feast sites were also built on Saturdays.In like manner, the apostle of our age modified his teachings as he came to a more complete understanding. Over decades he made changes to the church position on the doctrines of government, the destiny of mankind, divorce, remarriage, and Pentecost.
The Church of God is one of the only churches that admits wrong and changes when it finds the truth. We are told to prove all things, and hold fast to what is true (1Ths. 5:21). Our process of growth and understanding was not meant to stop when a leader died. Therefore, we are convinced that if Mr. Armstrong would have lived to this day, he would have changed on this doctrine. Eternal Church of God: The Sabbath Test
Certain COG leaders have this same issue because they can't get past the physical etched stone 10 commandments. Their entire emphasis is placed upon the law and obedience while they ignore everything about Jesus and the new covenant. Legalism puffs them up so they can feel superior to everyone else. They are God's called out. The Chosen. Kings and Priests. Afterall, THEY have the "truth." Legalists are always looking at the outward visible signs of obedience. It is important to be seen doing "right" so they can click their tongues at those stopping off at the DQ for some ice cream.
All of the Malm's, Thiel's, Meredith's, Pack's, Flurry's and others out there infecting COGland with their needless rules and regulations need to do us all a favor and follow Paul's exhortation to emasculate themselves. Maybe then they would shut up and stop lying.
Why Jesus Hates Legalism (Luke 11:37-54)
The Naked Gospel: The truth you may never hear in church
The Sabbath in Crisis
Twisted Scriptures: Breaking free from churches that abuse