Pride has always been the biggest issue in the Churches of God. In return for your support of what was considered the Most Important Man in the entire Universe (and his hirelings), you would be endowed with the highest reward, titles, recognition, power, and prestige.
The element of pride was introduced from the very beginning of your discovery of Herbert Armstrong's radio or television program. You were suddenly brought into very point in space and time of decision where you were given the change to either accept or reject what you had been exposed to. Should you deny it, you were told, you have rejected the opportunity to be a pioneer first-fruit in the New Order 3 to 5 years around the corner. Should you accept it - or, try to accept it, it should be said - you will be inducted into an elite - but very expensive club - where your pride will explode exponentially, and your humility will be constantly challenged and tested.
Indeed, if you buy into the theology of Herbert Armstrong, the rewards program you are buying into is most unusual and impressive - of extreme importance and prestige! Immediately, you are told you are privy to classified, detailed, hard to understand information that you now have the ability to suddenly understand. You are the recipient of the One and Only True Gospel - which, by the way, was concealed from all of humanity from the time of Christ until Herbert Armstrong came on the scene. This made you a very uncommonly special individual right off the bat.
Yes, you were told, you were hand-picked, specially selected by God himself to be in his only True Church. Yet this assignment comes with a very heavy, very pricey cost - not just financially, but in every area of your life.
If, however - you do submit to the rigorous demands and expectations of the Calling - the rejection of what is to be rejected, the acceptance of what is to be accepted - and fully assimilate into the collective mindset of the corporate - you have - in your mind - become what no one else in the world is except you and those assimilated with you - a Member of the Church of God.
You get it. You understand it. You believe it. You are most important, whether you are a child, a teenager, or a baptized member - you know exactly what is going to happen and when. You know why it is going to happen. You understand things about the World News, and prophecy, that no one else outside your group can possibly understand. You are called, chosen, and one of the Elect who has been begotten out of this world to bring in the Wonderful World Tomorrow.
That's your mission. Yes, and when that Wonderful World Tomorrow comes in just two or three Feasts - you will be someone most people could never imagine they would be. You will be a Ruler in a New World Order. How great of a ruler? How powerful of a ruler? That depends on how well you have bought into, supported, and assimilated yourself into obedience into the teachings and commandments and interpretations of Herbert Armstrong and company.
Not only will you be a ruler - you will be ruling over humans as a Super Spirit in the Millennium. They'll be human - you? You'll be powerful. You can walk through walls, order commands, judge, discipline, punish, report - you can be an authority figure with divine power. Yes, I said divine power - because you were taught you would rise up and become God Himself. You were taught YOU would even be powerful enough to counsel the Father Himself. You were taught all of this was just years away - and all you had to do was submit, obey - and most of all - PAY.
Whether one believes it or not - the amount of pride this developed in a person was dangerously enormous. You believed this - nothing else in this world or on this Earth mattered. Your job - your family - your income - your credit - none of this meant anything, it would all be gone in just a few years anyway. You were being trained for a purpose far bigger than anything or anyone could ever understand, because you believed what you were told you were. You believed in what you were told would happen. No one coupd sway you. Because YOU had the truth. And you would hang on to that truth until your very last breath of life.
The problem came in when the truth revealed that that "truth" you believed was NOT the truth at all. That "truth" was always punted down the line. That "truth" was always moved. That "truth" was always explained away when it failed to materialize. That "truth" turned out to be falsehoods - even outright lies that were meant to develop and enhance a physical real estate plan and business. The truth turned out to be lies, but the pride did not just evaporate, for many.
For many, it was beyond comprehension or belief that everything you believed, accepted, learned, bought into, rejected, ignored, removed, or avoided was a cunning financial con job. Yet, the evidence - whether believed or not - shows that this is exactly what Herbert's Worldwide Church of God was. Yet believing that that's what it was - many could not, have not, and will not accept what is absolutely and categorically truth.
For many of these leaders, instead of recognizing falsehoods as falsehoods, because of pride - they buried themselves deeper into the falsehoods. Now, because of pride -they see themselves as much greater than they were before. Now, they aren't just members or local pastors. Now, they are increasingly more important and more powerful, spiritually. Now, they are set apart far more then they ever were before. Now, they have understanding that no one else has. Now, they are a person of Biblical Importance - a spiritual and historical icon - an Apostle or an Overseer, and most important - a Business Owner of a tax-free enterprise of the potential of income of massive proportions. The rooted pride is now growing like a cancer far more than it ever had before.And suddenly, the only thing that matters is fueling that pride and ego, and believing and spouting lies at the expense of everyone and anyone around you - and nothing and no one is going to get in YOUR way of YOU being THE most IMPORTANT person on the face of the Earth. That is the power of pride. That is the power of lies. That is the power of deception. That is what you see in many splinter leaders today, whether they believe it or not.
Do you know of splinter leaders who have told lies and denied it? Of course you do. Do you know of splinter leaders who have said something is absolutely, definitely, positively, totally going to happen on a specific date - and that date comes, and nothing happens? Of course you do. Do you know of splinter leaders who have used the financial pushes for those reasons of failed prophecy and used them for material riches and jewels and card and jets because Herbert did and they now can to? Of course you do. That's the truth of the power of what pride does to someone. Pride can turn people into selfish, greedy, depraved, cold-hearted, lying, cunning, deceptive, and abusive people who will act in any way they can - appearing even to be holy - to feed their ego and fuel their supposed power through fear. This is what the teachings of Herbert Armstrong have done. They have enabled, fueled, and multiplied like cancerous cells pride - to the ruin of those they rope into their destructive patterns. They point to their materialism as proof of their calling and divine appointment - uncaring that their materialism was acquired to the detriment and harm of those who sacrifice for their gain. This is the effect of pride. This is what the truth has shown has happened.
Pride is an arrogant, lying, and uncaring force that always leads to self-fulfillment to the harm of others. The amount of pride that exists within the Churches of God is enormous - supposed "ministers" who either ignore or explain away the realities of the failures of their theological conclusions - or members who are convinced to believe in lies, using circular reasoning and irrational or untrue ideas to support their delusions - is a twisted distortion of reality that is too hard for many to even begin to think about. Because in Armstrongism in some cases but not all, wrong is seen as right, and right is seen as wrong - and the important is seen as unimportant, and the important is seen as trivial - mixed with JUST enough truth to be convincing and appear honest.
It is pride that started the Churches of God, it is pride that flourished the Churches of God, and it is pride that ignores truth in the Churches of God today. In the face of pride - falsehoods are distorted to appear truthful.This is what happens when materialism and spirituality mix - a potion not confined to Armstrongism - but a force that can rear its ugly head in any environment where money and power mix.
It is pride that enables, money that fuels, and selfish ambition that continues the farce Armstrongism is today. True religion - you know the definition. It's not in corporate Christianity. It's not Armstrongism. It's the whisper of Christianity in those who live Christianity in their daily lives, and the power of love through the Holy Spirit.
Not Jets, BMW's, buildings, campuses, lies, deceptions, and abuses, or selfish ambition of power, rank, money, buildings, or supposed eternal power. Wake up to the lies and the deceptions. See truth for what it is. Run from the face of evil. Live for love, and live for Christ - not supporting and enabling pride and evil. Reclaim your responsibility, and who you are. In Prayer - In Christ - Reclaim yourself. Because the only thing pride does in its bed of lies is eat, rot, and rust.