As part of the command to “hold fast” (Rev. 2:25; 3:3, 11), God expects us to choose Truth above all until He restores right government and unity of the Truth in the whole Church.  It is an obvious fact, which the unfaithful leaders of the various organizations could not seriously deny, that if they began to teach exactly what they do now while Mr. Armstrong was alive, he would have disfellowshipped them.  The fact that they still agree with most of Mr. Armstrong's doctrine would have availed nothing:  under clear Biblical command, knowingly teaching against even one authoritative doctrinal point is enough to remove a man from office and for God's people to shun him until he repents.  If Christ would have disfellowshipped such a teacher then, what is spiritually different now? In fact the division these leaders have caused today is far greater than they could have done when Mr. Armstrong was alive.  Has Christ changed?


Mr. Armstrong often repeated a life and death warning during several difficult doctrinal controversies in which God's people had to choose whom and what they believed—including the rebellions in 1974, in 1978-81, and the makeup controversy of 1981 forward:  “Do you really want to bet your eternal life that God's apostle, with proven fruits of revealed knowledge and unprecedented power in proclaiming the Gospel, does not understand God's word and law as well as you or subordinate ministers?”


As discussed earlier, Christ gave us the standard to distinguish true apostles from false apostles/teachers:  “you shall know them by their fruits.”  Whether they claim the office of apostle or not, the leaders of the splinter organizations (including the several governing ministers of United) effectively usurp the authority of an apostle when they overrule doctrine Christ set in the Church through a proven founding leader.  None of the splinter leaders disputes that Mr. Armstrong was the God-appointed human governor of the Church for over fifty years.  The Bible shows exercising the authority of an apostle to overrule Church doctrine when Christ has not conferred it is not simply an “error” in spiritual judgment an otherwise faithful minister may make: all who usurp such authority are called false apostles unless they repent quickly (Rev. 2:2; II Cor. 11:13).


Thus, Mr. Armstrong himself either died a true apostle or a false apostle—there is no “in-between” for one who claims the office.  If he died a true apostle of Christ, no one today has the authority to overrule the doctrine he established in the Church.  None of the groups believes Mr. Armstrong a false apostle.  Even a number of Tkach followers don't believe that.  The fruits of Mr. Armstrong's work prove overwhelmingly he was “one sent forth”: God's faithful messenger of restored Truth and “voice crying out” the end time warning in the earth in God's name. God could not have used him in such power if he were falsely calling himself an apostle.  It is a documented fact that in the approximately thirty years of his life after he acknowledged the office of apostle, the already astonishing growth of the Church and Work multiplied by huge percentages in every category:  World Tomorrow audience, availability and prominence; nations and regions reached; Gospel materials readership; national and international recognition; co-workers, financial support and other resources; facilities; and membership.  “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you” (consider II Cor. 12:11-12).