A decade ago this organization came together. We believe God would want us to continue building on that foundation and to fill in some gaps for people not there during our formation. First, we need to look at a few foundational issues and how we believe God has led us to address them.
The Spiritual Nature of Governance
Governance has a large bearing on the spiritual state of the body of Christ – the body being made up of God’s people. Christ used the analogy of a flock of sheep, and He stated how He wanted His flock of sheep to be shepherded (John 10:3-4,7-9). Christ is the Shepherd and the flock are His sheep. There is no man mentioned here.
We spent a great deal of time looking at Ezekiel 34 and felt there was a very strong message for us to address (Ezekiel 34:1-4). John 10 and Ezekiel 34 are direct opposites in terms of governance of God’s people. Autocratic govt in the realm of man creates a “lordship” style that Christ condemned. This was one of the driving factors that led to our addressing governance and to ask, “What is the nature of governance?”
Genesis 1 is the first, strong clue that we can find in the Bible:
“God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28),
‘Dominion’ and ‘subdue’ simply mean rulership, oversight of. These first created beings that were male and female were to govern God’s creation in a particular way in the Garden of Eden. They were to dress and keep it (Genesis 2:15). They were to attend to and to nurture. They were to care for and to govern with love and concern for God’s earthly creation. But what is the form and the structure on which that this government was based?
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
This is the first governing body that God placed over His creation. It is the first union from which comes a family. The ‘one flesh’ is based on the Elohim family, mirroring the oneness of the Father and the Word (John 1:1).
Godly government was based on the family model from the beginning. The original Genesis model is as it should have been. But it did not stay that way for long. Adam and Eve’s disobedience cut them off from God’s Spirit, the source they needed to govern properly and they reaped negative consequences (Genesis 3:16,24).
They didn’t have access to the love and focus that comes from the power of God that they needed to govern in a correct and proper way. Cut off from the tree of life, mankind embarked on a path of self determination. History is strewn with bad decisions with man left to decide for himself how to rule. But that doesn’t negate the nature or the structure of the governance that God designed. Man abused it even though what God set in place was good.
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (I Corinthians 11:1-3).
There is a pure, simple, beautiful governance structure that leads to the Father through the family structure under Christ. There is structure and authority within the family/marriage model. The family and governance in the Church merge together.
Marriage and the Church are not separated (Ephesians 5:22-23,31-32). The question became how do we apply that within a church organization? We were faced with what is required to put together an organization to operate legally within the bounds of the IRS and California’s nonprofit statutes. The state of California requires a president, a secretary, and a treasurer. And it requires a board to support that in order to be accepted by the state and federal authorities.
Superimposing this structure over the church and claiming it to be of God is a fallacy we have seen often repeated. It is simply typical of Babylonian style of government.
At the beginning of The Church of God, the Father’s Call, we separated the functioning of the required secular structure from the overall shepherding role that is required by God. We have a council of ministers that the pastors formed. And we put the ministerial shepherding role over the secular state requirements and its officers. The president is not in charge and the president does not even have to necessarily be ordained to be the president.
The focus of this form of governance is submitting one to another in the fear of God as is required within a marriage and family. It’s probably not perfectly correct but it’s as close as we could see to the model that God has in the Bible. The next area of importance was:
A Ministry of Reconciliation
Reconciliation merges with governance in that Christ is the reconciler and the focus of government within the Church. There’s a very strong unity aspect to the understanding of reconciliation. Christ’s sacrifice allows man to be reconciled to the Father. We felt the need to revise some of the emphasis within the Church on the role of the Father. The main point and object of reconciliation is the relationship with God the Father (Colossians 1:19-20).
However, reconciliation is not just for us personally. Nor is it just a one time situation between an individual and the Father. It’s broader than that. It is about a new creation that is formed by repentance. The Father calls and brings an individual to Christ and through repentance, the ‘body of His flesh through death’ removes the sinful barrier between us and the Father. We become reconciled. The Church then, becomes a group of reconciled people individually through personal repentance but then collectively. It’s a vital part of the work we have been given to do as ambassadors for Christ. Peace with God and then peace with each other (2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Ephesians 2:14-18).
Divisions in Christ’s Body does not represent peace. The whole Body needs reconciliation. We’ve tried our utmost to break down the walls and barriers and to reconcile members with each other. The family model must operate as the Father and Christ operate – complete unity and peace. That’s a goal we strive for among the spiritual body, the Church.
Another aspect that we spent a lot of time addressing in the early days is:
The Church’s Teaching about US & BC in Prophecy
One aspect of the motivation to form what has become known as The Father’s Call was the realization that what the Church had taught about United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy was being rejected.
The predominant issue for some with the U.S. and B.C. in prophecy is the supposition that the Church teaches British-Israelism. It does not.
British-Israelism can be considered a form of racist ideology. It is a belief system that suggests that the British people are descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel. Proponents of British-Israelism use this as a justification for a divine right to colonize other nations. And most alarmingly, it is often associated with white supremacy.
The Church recognizes that God’s great plan includes all people of all nations. God made a promise to Abraham and He chose to use Abraham’s offspring to accomplish His purpose. They were not special in any way except they were given God’s laws and way of life – which they rejected as surely as Adam and Eve did. They failed. God’s use of Abraham’s family was only the first step in God’s amazing plan. (For more regarding Israel’s purpose: Why Israel?)
The modern identity of Israel as it pertains to Jacob passing on his name Israel, to his grandsons, is extremely important in the scheme of things. They were to become a great nation and a multitude of nations in the latter days. Why is this understanding of Ephraim and Manasseh and their identity today important?
Firstly, the identity of Israel upholds the law of God as being relevant today. Israel is the covenant people whether they know it or not. A covenant made by God cannot be broken. It stands and it is firm today. They are the covenant people even though they have become lost to themselves – but not God. And their example, as God intended it in Deuteronomy is a witness to other nations. That witness can be made positively or it can be made negatively.
Today we are seeing the negative aspects of it, but they are an example. When the identity of Israel is understood then current conditions have a clear context. In Lamentations it simply states, “Because of the multitude of her transgressions.” All the traumatic upheaval happening right now is because of the transgression of God’s law by the multiple nations that came from the sons of Abraham.
Secondly, there are many promises and prophecies which pertain only to the Israelitish nations. What is contained in the prophets was upheld by Christ. Christ’s ministry did not destroy the prophets (Matthew 5:17).
Within the prophets there are many statements regarding “the latter days” especially certain promises to the descendants of Israel including Ephraim and Manasseh through Joseph in Genesis 49. If you deny the existence of Israel in terms of Joseph’s sons there’s much of what’s going on in the world that you also have to deny. If Israel doesn’t exist, then what is the relevance of the prophecies? Did God mean for us to ignore these prophecies by denying who is Israel today? We don’t think so.
Thirdly, world events are shaped by God’s interaction with Israel. Understanding who Ephraim and Manasseh are today helps the Church frame a message for the world at large. The purpose of physical Israel as the covenant people was to uphold the name of the Eternal God. They failed but those nations will again have the opportunity to do that as we as Spiritual Israel must today.
“The Gospel” is very important because underneath that is the subhead: “Doing the Work’. The gospel is a broadly compelling message of hope for all mankind. In addition to proclaiming the coming Kingdom of God, the gospel speaks to the progression from a physical mind to a spirit-led mind. This comes only from a spiritual relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus was walking on the earth He instructed his disciples to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God throughout the world. They did that to the best of their ability and we as followers of Christ must be similarly engaged. After Christ’s death and the Holy Spirit becoming available, those who were involved in preaching the Gospel focused more on the meaning of Christ’s death for mankind rather than just simply the coming Kingdom of God. This is clearly seen in the Apostle Paul’s writings. He understood the whole package and strove to share that with those in and outside the church. His message included the good news of what Christ’s sacrifice can do. In Romans 1, Paul addresses the gospel. He doesn’t talk about the Kingdom of God per se but he says: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).
On Paul’s mind as he thinks of the gospel is Christ’s sacrifice and what that means for mankind to be able to have a relationship with his Father, his Creator. This is a broadening aspect of the gospel away from just a simple statement of the Kingdom. It’s a gospel that leads to salvation (Romans 15:15-19).
We believe that the preaching of the gospel is both an individual and a collective responsibility (I Thessalonians 1:5-8). Our words must be backed up by an example that you represent in your being – with Christ living His life in you. Then people will be more convicted by your message.
Paul focused on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ reinforcing it by example. The individual members of the body are intended to be living examples of the gospel message. This is a variation to what it used to be where ‘doing the work’ was done from headquarters and we out here in the hinterland, were covered by the fact that somebody was “doing the Work”. People hid behind that. They weren’t doing the work but they felt covered by it.
We believe the work that God has shown us to do is profoundly important. God hasn’t given us the ability to have TV programs or a printed magazine. We are working hard to further the spreading of the gospel message as well as focusing on what we are to be as living examples of that gospel:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you” (Titus 2:11–15).
This brings us to the present, the way forward from here. We’d like to demonstrate it with a principle we came across. It’s simply The Importance of Elsewhere:
“Everywhere you look there are signs of a world turning inward. Globalization is out and
“decoupling” is in. But with humanity facing problems that transcend political boundaries, local communities must find a way to maintain allegiances with the world. Global citizenship sees human beings as shaping their lives within nesting memberships: a family, a neighborhood, a plurality of overlapping identity groups, a nesting membership spiraling out to encompass all humanity.”
We believe that’s the vision that we must gain. There is nothing wrong with the concept of a nesting membership unless it is exclusive and inward focused. We are brought into the body of Christ. We are nurtured within the body of Christ. We are shaped, we’re formed within the body of Christ but the intent is not that we are here for ourselves to feel warm and filled. It’s to prepare us for that outreach, for looking outwards.
The principles that The Church of God, the Father’s Call embodies should produce a people with a particular mindset:
- The Father is paramount in our minds.
- Christ is the Head of the Church.
- The Church is a spiritual organism not a corporate body.
- We are individual members of that organism.
- We each have been given the Holy Spirit for the profit of all.
- We accept the personal responsibility that the health of the body requires each ‘joint’ to supply its part.
- Our example is to speak as loud as our words.
This is what this church group envisions. This is a nesting place where we are being trained to be living witnesses of Christ for the benefit of others.
And we need to provide food for people who are looking for it. The pieces currently coming together on the world scene are incredibly significant for the Church. As the Western world decreases the Church of God must increase. In the turmoil of growing conflict there is a crying need for people who exemplify the Elohim family and share the message of hope that we represent. The world needs it and the Church is commissioned to address that need (Titus 2:7-12, 1 John 5:19-20, Matthew 28:19-20).