One of the biggest weapons of control in the Churches of God, ever since Herbert Armstrong, rebelled against the Church of God 7, has been the "doctrine" of the church called "government." Government was used in the Church of God to control everyone. Any question, doubt, or difference with a minister was a direct violation of the law and subjected the person to disfellowshipmentt and marking. When that happened the person was in grave danger of losing one's salvation.
Following government allows men to put forth their delude thinking like we see in Pack, Flurry, Malm, and Thiel. Their so-called revelations from their god make what they say "divine law" and is never to be questioned.
This is also what allowed the Worldwide Church of God change its doctrines and expel those who disagreed. That power left those in charge, to remain in charge, and still are to this day.
If you take any book on Catholic theology and COMPARE it with the April 1979 Good News, as well as with Mr. Armstrong's book Mystery of the Ages, you will find the doctrine of the primacy of Peter to be almost IDENTICAL -- even in form and layout! Further, in the November 20, 1978 Good News (article, "How Christ Gave the Church Its Beliefs" -- page 14, column 5) you will find the following statement: "Now notice how Jesus gave Peter PRIMACY over apostles...."
Actually, scores of articles have been published by the Churches of God that lay out, in great detail, the PRINCIPLES of government upon which these churches rest. The bottom line is -- the Worldwide Church of God, and others, DO INDEED believe and teach the doctrine of the primacy of Peter! And when Joseph Tkach took over, then his son, NOTHING CHANGED regarding this doctrine!
Men have always denied that which makes them look bad. The Worldwide Church of God is no exception. But, realize this, once you understand the heart or the CENTRAL CORE of the "Primacy" doctrine -- its motives and its purpose -- it no longer matters what name men attach to it. A ten-year-old child could spot it!
The Worldwide Church of God and the Catholic Church are by no means the only groups practicing this ancient doctrine. It is a prominent part of the so-called Philadelphia Church of God as well as Meredith's Living Church of God and Dankenbring's Triumph Prophetic Ministries. In one form or another, it holds a place of high honor within the doctrinal framework or policies of most of the churches of modern-day "Christianity." And, note well, most -- if not all -- of the great PAGAN RELIGIONS of the world also hold this doctrine close to their hearts.
This ancient doctrine is the SINGLE GREATEST TOOL ever devised by errant church leaders to preserve UNITY. All the great despots of history have used it to preserve unity amongst their peoples. It is, without a doubt, the "perfect" form of government.
No other doctrine of government can boast anything like the success enjoyed by this VILE and PERVERTED teaching.
The awesome power of this doctrine to manipulate and control the minds of men and to strike fear into their hearts, is the result of the belief that Yeshua the Messiah has empowered a man to RULE his Church for him -- IN HIS PLACE -- until he and YEHOVAH God return.
This doctrine places a MAN in the enviable and POWERFUL position of being the SOLE SPOKESMAN for the Messiah on this earth.
Now, the doctrine of the "Primacy of Peter," or the "Vicar of Christ," or the "Hierarchy of Order" gives a man (in simple terms) the SOLE AUTHORITY to interpret the Bible, define sin and set doctrine.
Furthermore, it gives him the authority to BIND his interpretations, definitions and doctrines upon the conscience of other men. His decisions, therefore, become binding (according to this doctrine) before Almighty God -- binding upon pain of disfellowshipment, eternal death or even eternal torture in hell-fire!
Men can only work together in peace through the SPIRIT OF YEHOVAH, otherwise they must have a government controlling their actions! When men resist YEHOVAH's spirit it departs from them, to be replaced by their own selfish desires.
To maintain peace, those groups of men (or churches) who are resisting the spirit of YEHOVAH MUST resort to one of the many forms of government patterned after the primacy of Peter. Once a church begins to resist the influence of the holy spirit, only TWO OPTIONS are available: Break up and go their separate ways, or develop government.
A study of history soon reveals that EVERY government of men inevitably becomes dissatisfied with merely directing the actions of men. Eventually they always seek to CONTROL their very consciences.