God Demands Teamwork!
the rapidly increasing growth of God's work,
we again need to read this vital article which appeared six years
ago in the Good News
IN his little-known prophetic
message for the Church today, Jesus promised that He would set before
us an open DOOR for the spreading of the gospel.
own words for our church today: "I know thy works: behold, I have set
before thee an open DOOR, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a
little strength, and hast kept my word" (Rev. 3:8).
DOOR — the opportunity of spreading the gospel (II Cor. 2:12) —
includes today the means of radio and the PRINTING press! The true
Church of God today has little strength in this degenerate age. It has
no great financial resources, yet through Jesus' miraculous guidance
this great work is constantly expanding around the world—now to
Australia, and with radio time this month available to go to all Europe
in the German language. It is not the work of one man, nor even of two
dozen men. It is the work of every member of God's Church—everyone of
The Church Is a TEAM!
fundamental lesson we all need to learn in this world is the need for
teamwork. Even' in athletics, the best players can't achieve victory
unless the entire team works together in perfect cooperation and
The apostle Paul taught the need of teamwork by
saying that the church is one body although composed of many members.
Every truly converted Christian has his specific function in the Church
just as each organ of a human body has its function.
now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath
pleased him. . . . And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need
of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you"
(I Cor. 12:18-21 ).
The Church is like a team
or a body. Every member in the Church of God is essential. Perhaps it
appears that those who help only through prayers, tithes, offerings,
and letters of encouragement are of little need compared to preaching.
the work of God cannot function without every necessary part anymore
than a human body can. "The World Tomorrow" program would not be
encircling the globe today if it were not for the constant prayers and
faithful tithes and offerings of God's people. Paul said: "Nay, much
more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are
necessary (I Cor. 12:22).
Satan Causes Division
devil knows that one of the easiest methods of wrecking teamwork in the
Church of God is to cause contention and division. It is a natural
human tendency to precipitate strife and controversy. That is the
special reason why each of us must strive against our carnal human
nature and be on guard constantly to preserve harmony and teamwork in
the spirit of love.
Notice, for a moment, how easy it was for
the devil to cause contentions and divisions in the apostolic church.
At Corinth it was reported to Paul that there were cliques and
dissensions developing. "Now this I say, that everyone of you saith, I
am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas (Peter); and I of Christ.
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?" (I Cor. 1:12-13)
Corinthians were still carnally minded. They wanted to be followers of
important men. Some preferred the eloquent style of Apollos' preaching
(Acts 18:24), others liked Peter's. Without realizing it they were
getting into confusion and contentions over Paul, Apollos and Cephas
who were faithful ministers of Christ. Just as then, so today many do
not realize the harm that can be caused by factions within the Church.
Wherever the spirit of strife, envy and dissension enters the church,
it will embitter the brethren unless stamped out by God's ministers.
those Corinthians the Adversary cleverly induced many to criticize and
find fault with the labors of Paul. They began to say among themselves:
"I don't believe Paul is doing this right. I am going to support
Apollos from now on." After leading the Corinthian converts into fault
finding, the devil's next step was secretly to introduce false brethren
who set themselves up as ministers and who transformed "themselves into
the apostles of Christ," and who professed to be "the ministers of
righteousness" (II Cot. 11:13-15). Because they sought to follow men
instead of Jesus Christ, it was only natural that the Corinthians would
be led astray by smooth-talking false preachers.
human nature has not changed since then, Satan is trying this very
method today in order to thwart the work of God and overthrow numerous
brethren. It is so easy to criticize those whom God places in authority
and whom He is using. For years the devil has struggled to gender the
spirit of contention and rivalry. Satan knows that if he can embitter
the brethren against God's ministers, particularly Mr. Armstrong, he
can devour them and wreck the teamwork that is so essential among God's
How to Prevent Division
is going about, as always, seeking whom he may devour. He will try
every imaginable scheme to overthrow you brethren. How shall we
preserve the wonderful spirit of cooperation which still permeates the
Let us notice the method Paul
used in order to maintain teamwork and loving cooperation among the
churches. In I Corinthians 3:10 he wrote: "According to the grace of
God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the
foundation, and another buildeth thereon."
Jesus Christ used the
apostle Paul directly in carrying the gospel to the Gentile nations.
After Paul had founded the Corinthian church, Apollos was one of
several evangelists who continued to build on the foundation which Paul
laid. Paul and Apollos cooperated in every way possible; but Paul, who
was an apostle, supervised the work of Apollos and generally directed
his labors just as he did the labors of the other evangelists, Timothy,
Titus and Silas (Titus 3:13).
Undoubtedly one of the major
reasons for the division at Corinth was the fact that Apollos, an
eloquent speaker, had not been taught and trained personally by the
apostle. Apollos was doctrinally in error on several points,
particularly the distinction between the baptism of John and Jesus
(Acts 18:24 and 19:-1-7). No such controversy is noted between Paul and
the other evangelists whom he personally trained.
that in order to preserve harmony and the spirit of cooperation, he had
to direct Apollos and also train other young men who could serve him as
evangelists. These young men who accompanied him on his journeys were
under him in authority, in the same manner that Paul was under the
authority of Christ. It was the government or rule of God. God the
Father made His will known to Jesus who in turn made it known to Paul.
The apostle then explained it to the evangelists who in turn taught it
to the elders and the local congregations. Wherever Paul journeyed, the
evangelists who built on his foundation were under his authority.
let us note another important principle found in Romans 15:20-22. Paul
wrote: "Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ
was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: but as it
is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that
have not heard shall understand."
Here Paul quotes Scripture
from the Old Testament to prove that those of apostolic rank, being the
direct representatives of Jesus Christ, should not build where others
have preached the true gospel of the kingdom of God. This is important
for us to remember today.
In order that the "World Tomorrow"
broadcast should not be hindered by duplication, God directs that no
others of apostolic rank should build upon the foundation that Jesus
Christ laid through the ministry of Mr. Armstrong. And all who do build
on it must be under his direction and authority. The Bible itself
plainly reveals that any other plan leads to confusion and trouble. Any
individual or group not yet understanding this phase of the government
of God is only going to cause confusion and dissension among God's
History of Our Church Recorded in Autobiography
a little history is important at this juncture. Our Church is not a
Church founded or built by Herbert W. Armstrong. It was founded in A.D.
31 by Jesus Christ. It is the very Church Jesus Christ built! He is its
governing Head. His Church has government, and that government is from
the TOP down, through those whom Christ has set directly under Him in
When Mr. Armstrong first started preaching, he was
under the authority of the Oregon Conference of the Church of God, now
clearly identified in the light of carefully documented historical
research as the "Sardis" church described prophetically by Jesus in
Revelation 3:1-6. That church was not properly organized according to
the New Testament pattern of God.
Nevertheless Mr. Armstrong
was under the authority of those holding offices of authority in that
Conference. He was ordained by that Church—God's Church for that period
—in the year 1931. He received salary from them, was sent by them,
first to engage in a tent meeting in Eugene, Oregon, then to St.
Helens, Oregon, and then to Umapine, Oregon. When the meeting at St.
Helens ended, he waited there while the minister he was assigned to
work with drove down to the Willamette Valley to obtain authority from
the constituted Church Board to go on to Umapine and hold the meetings
In those days, under the period of the "Sardis" Church,
Mr. Armstrong was wholly UNDER authority. No one can ever be put IN
authority under Christ until he has demonstrated by experience that he
can faithfully be UNDER authority, and can loyally and faithfully
participate in the teamwork which constitutes the very structure of
God's true Church.
In early December, 1931, the Oregon
Conference treasury was drained, and Mr. Armstrong was released from
ministerial duties for the time being. He then re-entered the
advertising and publishing field, becoming advertising manager and
acting business manager of a daily newspaper. Those were the depression
days. At the end of February, 1933, the president of the Oregon
Conference came after Mr. Armstrong, and returned him and his family to
Salem, Oregon. There, with another evangelist, he held a five months'
evangelistic campaign under salary from and under the authority of the
Oregon Conference, the Church of God—the "Sardis" Church of Rev.
Mr. Armstrong UNDER Authority
this campaign ended in July, 1933, Mr. Armstrong received a call from a
family brought into the Church under his personal ministry in 1931, in
Eugene, to open a campaign in a one-room country schoolhouse eight
miles west of Eugene. But, before daring to accept this call, Mr.
Armstrong waited for the Church Board to act and decide whether he
could go, or whether he was to be sent to some other place. The Church
Board decided to send him to this country schoolhouse west of Eugene.
Mr. Armstrong went there, started those meetings UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE
OFFICIALS OVER HIM IN THE CHURCH.
Most of those in the Church
today know nothing of this early history of the beginnings of what are
described in Revelation 2 and 3 as the "Philadelphia" Church—which in
fact is merely another time-era in the history of the CHURCH OF GOD,
which Christ founded A.D. 31.
Another vital point our present
members do not know: Mr. Armstrong did not build what has developed
into the "Philadelphia Church" on any OTHER man's foundation. He did
not go to a place where a number of people, converted -through another
man's ministry, lived. He went where one family, brought into the
Church through his own work, lived, and started preaching to people who
never heard the Truth before. A goodly number were converted —brought
INTO the Truth by his preaching in this six weeks' campaign—and a
little Church of 19 members, the harvest of his own labors in the Lord,
It was about the time of the close of these
meetings that the Church Board demanded that Mr. Armstrong preach and
act unscripturally. Two human "wolves in sheep's clothing," seeking to
devour the flock, had come in from the outside and managed to charm and
deceive the layman board officials. So far as carrying out the divinely
commissioned PURPOSE of the Church—to proclaim Christ's Gospel to the
world— the Sardis Church died at that point. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong
voluntarily relinquished the small salary, and solemnly placed
themselves in God's HANDS, relying solely and altogether upon God for
guidance, for financial support and every need from that time on.
"Philadelphia" Church Emerges
this, the DOOR WAS OPENED for the broadcast and publishing work. The
broadcast began the first Sunday in 1934. The Plain Truth began
February 1st, 1934. April 1st that year a campaign in downtown Eugene
resulted in another small Church in Eugene, then late that fall and
early winter another church of 15 members—all new converts—was raised
up at Alvadore. These three were then combined into the one Church of
God at Eugene, which has continued to this day.
that was the actual beginning of another era—the "Philadelphia Church"
era—in the true Church of God, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. Since
that time Mr. Armstrong has been solely, wholly, altogether under the
direct authority of Jesus Christ. What has been accomplished since then
could never have been brought about by mere human power. The fruits
abundantly reveal the mighty Hand and Power of Almighty God, who has
ruled, governed, guided and directed—and blessed—this work ever
Gradually, from that day to the present, the work of God's Church grew and grew. The sick have been healed.
true Gospel has been preached to all North America, and now to all
Europe, and soon to all the world! Thousands of lives have been
changed—converted into begotten children of God. The same fruits have
been borne as under the apostles in the first two 19-year time-cycles
of Christ's true Church. God Himself has revealed, by His blessings,
miracles, and fruits borne, that He has chosen, and placed in apostolic
power and authority in His Church, the minister whom He called and used
through these years in the building and growth of the "Philadelphia"
era of the true Church of God!
Why Ambassador College?
the imperative need for young men to assist him, Mr. Armstrong was led
to found Ambassador College in order to provide adequately trained and
qualified help for the work in North America and now in Europe. This is
the same pattern that Jesus himself followed. The Savior collected
disciples (which means students or learners) and trained them. Jesus
could not use them all, for we read in John 6:66, "From that time many
of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
had to test those whom he chose. The disciples had to demonstrate that
they were willing to yield to the government of God the Father.
like manner today, Mr. Armstrong is extremely careful not to ordain any
ministers or evangelists UNTIL they have first proved not only called
of God, competent, and fully trained, but also that they are willing to
submit unreservedly to the government of God, just as he, himself does,
and has done from the start. This explains why none are ordained until
they have completed at least four years of intensive training at
Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, or in London, England.
who have a part in the ministry must learn to work together as a team.
There can be no insubordination—the very sin of the devil who wanted to
carry out his own will instead of that of the Creator.
of spreading the gospel is so important, and its enemies are so
numerous and deceptive, that it is vital for everyone of you brethren
to realize the necessity of teamwork in God's Church today. Only
through constant prayer and Bible study can we maintain a spirit of
love and cooperation so that no effort of the devil can interfere with
the peace and harmony that must reign in the Church of God. Let us all
do our part on God's team, whether it be small or great, each part is
absolutely essential for the growth of the work.
By Herman L. Hoeh The GOOD NEWS December, 1959