From Connections: Of 'works' and crowns and chapters closing
By Mark Farmer Connections Publisher
This issue of Connections will be my last as publisher. Beginning with the February issue, Connections will be published by Dixon Cartwright, who also publishes The Journal.
With this last issue, I want to share a few final thoughts before this chapter in my life is closed.
For years, the "Work" of God, as I was taught, was synonymous with The Plain Truth magazine, "The World Tomorrow" telecast, the booklets, the Gulfstream III, etc. Before Mr. Armstrong's death, many, including myself, believed that he was God's only anointed servant and that he alone could point someone toward the truth of God.
After his death and the ensuing disintegration of what has become known among some as "the Armstrong dynasty," various groups and individuals have scrambled to redefine the meaning of "the work of God." Leaders of certain groups seem to feel that the mantle worn by Mr. Armstrong was passed directly to them upon his death and that God's "work" is whatever they say it is--and, usually, nothing beyond that. If that group publishes a magazine, produces a telecast, or has a prison ministry (pick your medium), then that sums up the whole of the "work" of God.
However, there are problems with that logic.
First, one must assume that God's only activity is bringing many sons to glory. While I would be the first to argue that this is perhaps His main objective, I would never assume that God sat around doing nothing until the instant that He decided to create man. God may have other irons in the fire that we know nothing about. In fact, just how much do we really know about events which occurred prior to the creation of the earth, or what life will be like with the coming of the New Heavens and the New Earth?
If, in fact, God is involved in other projects, would those not qualify as God's "works?"
Even if God is only focusing on preparing a people for Himself, isn't it a little presumptuous for any man to say that what he says sums up the "work" of God? If I read the book of Revelation correctly, God uses men, angels, demons, natural disasters, diseases, etc., to accomplish His will. At least one of the men mentioned will be a very arrogant, sinful man (II Thessalonians 2:3). Yet he unwittingly does the "work" of God, since it will bring about prophesied events.
When the angels pour out the vials full of the wrath of God (Revelation 15:7), will they not be doing the "work" of God?
Even raising children to live God's way is part of His work. He commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, a command that is still in effect.
There is also the belief among some that God is going to reunite His people under a single umbrella in the near future. However, if we are truly in the end times, I believe we will find that the only group that will be united is the one that worships the beast (Revelation 13:12). God's people, in all probability, will be scattered throughout the earth and members only of Christ's spiritual body, not some physical church. The beast will certainly stamp out all organized opposition early on.
If that is the case, then we will likely continue to fragment until not one stone is left upon another. Some attribute this to God; others to Satan. In any case, a single unified body of believers doesn't appear to be in the offing.
Whatever the next few years may bring, may God bless and keep you. Stir up the spirit that is in you while it is called today. Hang on to your crown, even if it means that you lose your physical life.
I now close this chapter and prepare to open another. I thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts. I have truly enjoyed providing Connections and hope that it has been--and I'm sure that it will continue to be--of benefit to all.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God