The number one problem—as extremely harassing humanity in this world—is simply, poor communication. Most Pastors may agree—this is as true as descriptive of what causes marital break-ups and juvenile delinquency. Why do spouses fail to effectively listen to each other? And why do parents fail to effectively listen to their children? It seems inability to listen is commonly considered as necessary—being one way of avoiding conflicts in human relations?
Joseph, out of desiring to communicate with his siblings—shared his dream—only to invite acerbic persecution (Genesis 37:5-8). Joseph was one of the twelve sons of Israel—desiring not to be treated badly. Yet Joseph’s brothers considered it sensible—even slave-trading him to strangers?
Stories, similar to that of Joseph, exist in the Christian Bible—not just for purposes of ornamentation. But for Christians to take stock, in considering how they stand, as Christ’s followers. Time is too short for humanity, in this world. What one does in those short days of survival, is what counts. As long as God is not in picture, toiling on this planet projects nothing but vanity.
God’s revelations are not predictably limited to those considered as honourable individuals. This is just as in Joseph’s case, God did not follow consideration of who came first, in the hierarchy of birth. In human ways of looking at things, Joseph’s dreams ought to have settled on Ruben, rather than Joseph. As the eldest of the twelve sons, Ruben could be considered as carrying the right to be honoured ahead of everyone else.
The same could be said of what prevails in David’s story. The mystery associated with choosing David to be King, ahead of the other notable sons of Jesse, can be intriguing. Indeed, Eliab, the eldest brother, must have been regarded as one of the respectable individuals, in the community of Israel. This was as he sternly attempted to give ‘wise’ counsel—against David’s desire to confront the most feared towering giant—Goliath (1 Samuel 17:28).
I personally experienced effects of wrong teachings by the late founder of Worldwide Church God—Hebert W. Armstrong. But what has vividly reflected in my mind is that HWA may have truly been one of the most outstanding servants of God. This is when comparing what he taught, against clear errors—as also churned out by the world most renowned theologians.
Why and how do errors come about in Christianity? As perceived through what I observed as having derailed HWA’s truthful teachings—two mistakes stand out—as must be common with every other denomination. This describes what appears as clear formula for the existent confusion in the entire Christian community.
The first mistake was Armstrong’s focus on himself—more than focusing on God. For instance, others have accused HWA of having plagiarized material from other writers, making it his own. If this accusation was true, HWA may have sought to obtain credit, due to focusing on self, rather than God. The opposite could have been true if—in Armstrong’s case—focus had been on God alone.
This is just as the British-Israel doctrine basically focuses on race—promoting white supremacism—more than salvation ought to be for the entire humanity. This error is similar to those maintaining the view that wrongness will always be with others and not with the person making judgment. The focus on race, promotes what is physical—being what was castigated by Paul:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8) ESV).
One of my recent discoveries is that in Christianity the wrongness of others is actually a reflection of my own wrongness. There is nothing like being right where others are wrong. Jesus demonstrated this reality by taking the plunge—dying for humanity on the cross—yet He Himself was without sin. See [By rejecting the child born they became antichrists].
HWA’s second error—also common with orthodox Christianity—concerns hierarchical structures. Authoritarian culture is viewed as extremely necessary for church governance. HWA ensured structured governance of the Worldwide Church of God—as to make him solely responsible for the production of Church material and Church direction. Yet that position is reserved only for Jesus Christ.
True, nothing functions without anyone being given full responsibility—similarly to what goes on in secular organizations. But a Church organization, whose responsibility falls under Christ, cannot be treated as a secular organization. Just by missing this reality one falls into serious error. Albeit, this statement can be viewed as controversial—to those still stuck in falsehood of rank structured Church organizations.
Indeed, structural organizations are commonly projected among all Christian Church organizations, as characterizing denominational phenomenon. This dummy was first suggested by St Paul, when instructing his protégé, Timothy, to meritoriously appoint Church leaders (1 Timothy 3–). This suggestion had no precedent and flies against what Jesus taught.
What is missed by most people is that, unlike Jesus, the apostle Paul was also worldly, like all of us. His recommendations to Timothy were his opinions—based on what is common with worldviews and not necessarily doctrinal.
This is just as Jesus promised never to leave His followers as orphans (John 14:18). While Jesus, the Son of Man, left the scene, Jesus, Son of the Living God, never left the scene. After the ascension of the Son of Man, the presence of the Son of the Living God would be spiritual. He would incarnate on any individual, but not delegating His power on any one specific human being. The measuring standard is in that, only Jesus’ Word stands—against all other fallible human beings.
Christ is present among His disciples, though not physically observed. The same Jesus who interacted with the first disciples, taught against hierarchical structures in His Church. There cannot be anyone else with the responsibility to override what Jesus taught, when He walked on this planet. See https://newcivilization.co.zw/phenomenon-denominationalism-christianity/
God’s Church is not of this world, as to necessitate governance according to worldly patterns. According to Jesus, there is not a single one of those worldly Church organizations—able to teach truth—when founded on denominational governance. Adherence to denominationalism implies departing from Jesus’ clear instructions in Matthew 23:8-12.
It is not even necessary to argue with anyone, as this was said by Jesus Himself. This is one of the pivotal causes of Hebert Armstrong’s deviation from truth. He had been sold to the idea of projecting orderliness in structural arrangements—without realising that such viewpoint had no approval of Jesus.
Who reports to who, was found to be extremely necessary for the smooth functions of Church activities? Yet this viewpoint is exactly what caused the demise of WCG. This is what caused failure to detect other numerous errors—as discovered only after Armstrong’s death.
I suppose God will not find fault with people like HWA—having unknowingly advanced wrong teachings during their lifetimes. Although, the story would be different, if deliberately rejecting truth out of arrogance or pride. God is not a respecter of persons—as to value other people ahead of others.
Someone may choose to treat everything proffered, even in this document as trash. That is common with humanity and acceptable as well. But God requires searching all things—giving room for all possibilities (1 Corinthians 2:10).
If, indeed trash, one carries the responsibility to assist the person advancing the wrong information to come out of error. And yet when found to be truthful—the responsibility rests with the one discovering it as such. That person would be expected to accordingly disseminate truthful information to others. Anything truthful should be treated as directly coming from God, as all truths come directly from God.
Nothing is surprising in the culture that treats ‘juniors’ as incapable of advancing valuable information. Those are symptoms of human rebellion—as affecting everyone. Truth itself is repellent—as very few are willing to face it. Most people choose to avoid, rather than confront truth.
This is notwithstanding that it is unacceptable to avoid responsibility, on issues that affect fellow humanity. Keeping truthful information to oneself—assuming that no-one would accept it, could expose one to unpardonable sinfulness. Each of us is our brothers’ keeper—regardless of whether the society unfavourably downgrades or lavishly exalts us.
If truly Christians—we are the children of the same family, in the household of God (Ephesians 2:19-22). But it is a question of how we treat others, that determines our being bona fide Children of God. Obviously, when using worldly lenses, what is proffered here, may be assumed as not making sense.
In this world it is normal to pretend to be in agreement, even when not in agreement. We live in a world where one can say one thing, as in agreement, while totally in disagreement. Jesus called it hypocrisy and showed His utmost disgust of such kind of behaviour.
On the other hand, when using spiritual lenses, this matter requires immediate commitment in engaging with one another—handling issues that cause division. At the end of it all, God would be glorified, as opposed to glorifying self—or glorifying one another. This is what highlights the supremacy of communication—as representing the shading of light in the world of darkness. There is no division in God’s Kingdom. But all symbols of discords are caused by poor communication.
Such poor communications spring from the now exposed two common errors: (1) Focus on self and (2) Unnecessarily applying hierarchical structures in God’s Church. These two errors serve only to impede smooth flows in communication. What may remain as mysterious to most people, is that the responsibility of Christianity falls only under one supreme authority, who is Jesus Christ.
Jesus remains as the only one who took the plunge to save humanity—nothing has changed, ever since. All confusions—causing failure to understand this reality—emanate from poor communication. There is no other human being, under the sun, expected to be better or worse than other fellow human beings.
As the light of the world, Jesus was the chief communicator, as described by John, in John 1:4-5. For anyone to become an effective communicator, one needs to first carefully listen to the chief communicator. By failing to take verbatim what the chief communicator said, anyone is prone to miss the mark.
While it is necessary to listen to one another, as human beings, the starting point is listening to the chief communicator. What we hear from those, with whom we interact, can be very important—but only when in agreement with the chief communicator. Jesus came to demonstrate that none is better or worse—when compared with other fellow human beings. It is self-centredness that contributes to failure to listen, due to considering other fellow humans as more or less important than self.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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