As I have written in the past, I had a fairly “ordinary” upbringing, like many of you who read this magazine. I grew up in southwest Missouri, and for 19 years was a member of a very respectable “mainstream” church. My parents graduated from a college sponsored by this major church denomination. I was, for a year or two, president of my Sunday School class. I graduated from Joplin High School and was co-captain of the track team and the star mile runner for three consecutive years. I lettered in football, and was a two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion. I became a first lieutenant in my high school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps. Later, I attended Joplin Junior College, and was elected President of the Junior College Luncheon Club—an organization devoted to discussing civic affairs and world events.
I was definitely a “regular” guy—part of “mainstream America.”
Early in high school, however, one of my best friends was killed in a wrestling match. This tragedy propelled me to search into the reality of God, and to look for real answers. I came to see that the genuine “key” to true Christianity was whether or not we would actually believe and practice what Jesus Christ and the original Apostles believed and practiced. What did they say about going to heaven or hell? What did they say about the real purpose of life? Which weekly and annual days of worship did they observe? What did they actually say about the “end of the world,” Christ’s Second Coming and what the true saints would be doing after Christ’s return? What would our “reward” actually be?
A vital step for understanding the puzzle of modern “Christianity,” which directly contradicts the teachings and practices of Christ and the original Apostles, is to study the way of life of the original and true Mother Church—the Church of God at Jerusalem.
Paul wrote to the mainly Gentile believers at Thessalonica, saying: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 2:14). Nearly all historians recognize that the earliest Headquarters Church was at Jerusalem—and that it set the pattern for the teaching and way of life practiced by true Christians.
A respected and thoroughly researched secular history of this period is Edward Gibbon’s monumental work, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Writing of the Apostolic and post-Apostolic Eras, Gibbon states: “The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregation over which they presided united the Law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ. It was natural that the primitive tradition of a church which was founded only forty days after the death of Christ, and was governed almost as many years under the immediate inspection of his apostle, should be received as the standard of orthodoxy. The distant churches very frequently appealed to the authority of their venerable Parent” (chap. 15, sec. 1).
I should point out here that “the law” the early Christians observed was not the complete Law of Moses. What the true Christians did observe were the Ten Commandments, along with God’s statutes—all now magnified even more so in the spirit than they had been in the Old Testament. True Christians did not believe that they were required to persist in the ceremonial aspects of the Law of Moses, nor in the physical administration of civil law that God gave Israel. But because these early Christians still observed the biblical Sabbath, God’s annual Festivals, tithing and certain dietary restrictions (cf. Leviticus 11), many historians wrongly persist in saying that they followed the “Law of Moses”—trying to lump God’s commandments and statutes in with animal sacrifices and ritualistic washings. This is absolutely wrong, and it is deceptive!
The truth is that there has always been a “little flock” (Luke 12:32) of believers, who followed the teachings and practices of Christ and the Apostles. However, since Apostolic times, they have been hounded and persecuted, and little noticed by the world at large. As the early apostates took over the existing church structures and the name “Christian,” the last remaining original Apostle was inspired to write about one of those apostate leaders: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church” (3 John 9–10).
So the true worshipers were “cast out” of the local congregations, and even John, Jesus’ beloved friend among the Apostles, was not certain whether he would be able to come and rectify the situation!
Centuries later, most people are still confused about the true religion of Jesus Christ. Those who profess Christianity are divided into hundreds of competing sects and denominations. But very few understand the original form of Christianity that Christ and His Apostles taught and lived! The “Christian” world has been built on shifting sand. Its moral system is impotent without the sure foundation of God’s law. Secular forces are increasingly dictating its standards of conduct, which used to be the prerogative of religious leaders.
Today, we behold the spectacle of perverts taking over more and more key posts in government, in education and even in some of the mainline churches! We behold the horrifying statistics of millions of unborn babies having their skulls crushed and being vacuumed out of their mothers’ wombs! We behold a civilization that is truly coming apart at the seams. We are a society that will soon be directly punished by the Great God who gives life and breath to all.
Why? In no small measure because our peoples have been deceived into believing in “another Jesus”—because our peoples have truly lost contact with the true God and His revealed way of life.
Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21–23).
Yes! The religion that assumed the name of Christianity adopted the pagan concepts and practices of the Babylonian Mystery Religion in direct violation of the law of God! In 2 Thessalonians 2:7, the Apostle Paul referred to this as the “mystery of lawlessness.” This false worship system was instituted in place of the simple way of life that Jesus and the Apostles had taught. Jesus’ way of life was based on obedience to the Ten Commandments, through the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit received after repentance and baptism.
We in this Work of the living God teach and practice—to the best of our ability and with God’s help—the same basic “way of life” taught by Christ and His Apostles. One of our basic mottos is: “Restore Original Christianity!”
If you would like to learn more about this return to the “original” Christianity and all that it involves, be sure to write or call us at the Regional Office nearest you, as listed on page 4 of this magazine.