People at United who concede to one degree or another its doctrinal and governmental chaos actually justify it primarily on the ground that it has the most members and ministers from the old days.  Commonly these brethren came to United in a sudden “wave of exodus” along with a substantial part of their old WCG congregation and their old minister; they came without even knowing the particulars of United's doctrine and government (a number of ministers came without such knowledge as well).


Many people in each of the organizations kept not a single Sabbath's interval between the Tkaches' service and their new organization's.  Before becoming acquainted with their new organization most argued the right response to the apostasy was to continue “assembling” in the services of the WCG despite the evil, and they typically professed that those who had left (to home or an organization) were sinning.  As soon as they found their new organization, most professed that any Christian still attending the WCG was sinning greatly in God's sight.  Even those sinning Christians, however, likely to be cut off from God for their continued attendance in gross apostasy, were considered to be doing better in congregating with the lawless ministry than those who shunned the apostasy by keeping the Sabbath “at home.”


Thus, a substantial segment of God's people today, whether literally or just effectively, seem to believe the Holy Convocation is a commanded appearance before other people in a certain customary association, setting and arrangement, rather than a commanded appearance before God's throne.  Speaking frankly, it is a subtle form of idolatry to consider it more important to “assemble” in an organization, even for the purpose of doing a work, than it is that the organization's leadership rejects Truth restored to the Church by Christ through His proven apostle (consider the principle of Jeremiah 7:4-14). Remember that Garner Ted Armstrong continued to proclaim aspects of the true Gospel of the Kingdom for some years after his father disfellowshipped him, with greater recognition than any of today's splinter leaders.


The apostle Paul warned that when a serious spiritual problem infects a significant part of a congregation, even if the problem has not yet reached the point of outright apostasy and disfellowshipping it can still mean that the Church members “come together [assemble] not for the better, but for the worse” (I Cor. 11:17). In other words, assembling is actually worse spiritually than not assembling under the circumstances. The spiritual problems Paul rebuked in Corinth were growing division and negligent regard for apostolic direction.


As Mr. Armstrong said frequently, even in the true Church it is possible to “go to services” faithfully, consider yourself in agreement with all the Church's teaching, enthusiastically participate in all aspects of the service, spend much time talking with brethren, join in many Church activities, and yet completely fail to attain the greater spiritual meaning of the Holy Convocation and the Church.  Mr. Armstrong warned this is a common problem of the Laodicean condition, because of its tendency to find the more physical aspects of God's Church, worship and the Christian life more important and appealing, indeed more real, than the greater spiritual aspects.