In his defense of God's people seeking out unbelievers on the Sabbath and purchasing the fruit of their labor, Mr. Pack invokes the memory of the late Herbert W Armstrong. He implies that because Mr. Armstrong occasionally dined out on the Sabbath and never formally addressed the issues, the matter is settled. Furthermore, this COG leader attempts to eviscerate anyone who would suggest that Mr. Armstrong may not have possessed all knowledge in all things. Here is how he expresses this view.
David C. Pack:
"In researching Mr. Armstrong’s member/co-worker letters and literature, dating back to 1947, nothing was found in reference to whether Christians should avoid eating at restaurants on the Sabbath—either for or against. Though restaurants were mentioned quite often in Mr. Armstrong’s personals, articles and letters, they were virtually always in reference to his dining with various dignitaries such as the Mayor of Jerusalem, the President of Hebrew University and others. Nothing was written against dining out on the Sabbath—rather, other sources supported it. For example, when discussing special events at Spokesman’s Club, the Pastor General’s Report stated, “Such occasions are often held at a banquet room in a restaurant where the Club members and their wives or dates simply sit down to a served meal and fellowship until the end of the Sabbath” (Sept. 3, 1982)."
"In order to promote their theories, advocates of this new movement must discredit Mr. Armstrong and portray him as having compromised on this issue. As a result, he is presented as having fallen short on their “yardstick” for measuring righteousness."
"We must ask: Do you see how utterly ridiculous their thinking is? Are you able to see why Mr. Armstrong never bought into this confusion?"
For Mr. Pack to suggest that those who question the practice of going to restaurants on the Sabbath are somehow attempting to “discredit” Mr. Armstrong is simply not true. In all due respect to Mr. Pack, his words actually dishonor the man he respects so greatly. Here’s a news flash for Mr. Pack! Mr. Armstrong was not perfect. This is a fact that even he was more than willing to admit. His invocation, “Don’t believe me believe your Bible,” was not some marketing ploy. It was real. His words declared to all who were affected by him to "prove all things" through the scriptures. Furthermore, Mr. Armstrong was willing to change when proven wrong. With that said, let's examine Mr. Armstrong's relationship to this issue.
Mr. Armstrong and A Sabbath Test
It is indisputably clear that Mr. Armstrong NEVER made an exhaustive study of this subject. Mr. Pack’s own words acknowledge this truth. For him to conclude that even though this great teacher NEVER commissioned one ounce of research addressing this subject, he has somehow spoken powerfully on it, is utter nonsense and reveals the lengths some COG leaders will go to when attempting to prove the unprovable. With that said, we have a question for him (Mr. Pack). Do you sincerely believe that Mr. Armstrong would have dismissed this topic if it had exploded on the Church as it has today? If yes, why didn't you ignore it as well?
If God's people truly desire to seek Mr. Armstrong's wisdom on this topic they need to honestly ask themselves how this true and faithful servant would see this issue if he had made an in-depth study of it today? We at Blow the Trumpet sincerely believe he would be astonished at how the Church has bought into this practice. Furthermore, we are absolutely convinced by recent history, that if confronted with this debate Mr. Armstrong would see dining out on the Sabbath as HUGELY symptomatic of a laodicean attitude that has infested God's Church today.
To illustrate how God's Church has changed over the past few decades consider the following. When Mr. Pack was a student at Ambassador College in Pasadena (1967-1971), there was a restaurant less than a block away from campus. It was called "Gwens." It was a very popular spot for students to visit on Saturday nights after a basketball game. We are sure Mr. Pack went there as well. Our question is this: Did he ever (EVEN ONCE) go there on a Friday evening before Bible study or on a Saturday afternoon after services? Did he ever take a co-ed there on a Sabbath morning date just to make the day more special? Furthermore, does he ever remember any student doing such a thing? Our guess is NO! Because to do so was unthinkable back then. At that time the Sabbath was far more respected by God's people and His ministers than it is today.
David C. Pack continued:
"Additionally, there are two individuals at the headquarters of The Restored Church of God who knew and closely worked with Mr. Armstrong—one of them going back as far as 1963. Both stated that Mr. Armstrong never communicated, in any way, that God’s people should avoid dining in restaurants on the Sabbath."
A Question for Two RCG Employees
We have a question for these RCG employees. During the sixties there was a market right across the street from Ambassador College's Pasadena campus. It was called "El Rancho." Students and employees would flock there on Friday afternoons to purchase Sabbath snacks and meals, making sure to be back on campus before sunset. If you served Mr. Armstrong for any length of time, you would have gone there as well. Now for our question. Did you ever shop for your Sabbath meals on Friday evening after sunset? Furthermore, if you told Mr. Armstrong that you occasionally did, how would he have responded? Additionally, during the early and mid 60s did you ever make reservations to dine out on the weekly Sabbath other than during the feast? Our guess is NO. Once again, Sabbath behavior in the church was much different then.
An Acknowledgement Regarding Mr. Armstrong
At this point it is important to understand that we are acutely aware that Mr. Armstrong occasionally dined out on the Sabbath and that he never spoke out against this practice. He even acknowledged that it was done on occasion by spokesman's clubs in local congregations during special meetings (Ladies Night). However, for Mr. Pack to argue that this is a definitive doctrinal statement is an insult to Mr. Armstrong. Furthermore, this man would have been furious at him for advancing this characterization of his words.
We are also aware that Mr. Armstrong made some brief comments regarding dining out on the Sabbath at a Bible study in the early 80s. However, even then he acknowledged that he hadn't given the subject any thought before that evening. For Mr. Pack to embrace Mr. Armstrong's "off the cuff" comments as an official doctrinal pronouncement of the church is bizarre. Just out of curiosity, can he name one other doctrine of the church that Mr. Armstrong only commented on for less than 10 minutes in his entire life?
The absence of any clearly definitive statement on this issue by Mr. Armstrong is clearly due to the fact that what takes place in the church today is light years from what took place during the life of that true and faithful servant. Clearly this issue was NOT what it is now. If it was, Mr. Armstrong certainly would have addressed it. This is not to suggest that we think his occasional dining out on the Sabbath was appropriate, for indeed it wasn't. However, the circumstances surrounding Mr. Armstrong's Sabbath dining were so unique he never detected this as a potential problem. We at Blow the Trumpet sincerely believe that if he heard the position articulated in A Sabbath Test, he would be genuinely moved—and yes, he would have repented.
Here is something for all of God's people to think about. This is Satan's world. As such, what takes place in it is not intended to enhance our worship nor draw us closer to the true God. Satan has one agenda when it comes to God's people—to push them away from the source their hope. With that said, it is interesting that the practice of dining out in restaurants is relatively new. Just a few decades ago families would rarely, if ever, engage in this activity on any day, let alone the Sabbath. Today however, the world Satan rules has made dining out so much a part of our daily lives that we have come to accept it without thinking. Some even regard it as a necessity in our complex world. Even Mr. Pack contends that without going out to restaurants and buying their Sabbath meals, God's people would be deprived the basic necessity of nourishment that comes from food (see: Eating is a Necessity). He also argues that without going to a restaurant on holy time it would be impossible for some brethren to fellowship (see: Rehabilitating Evil).
Whether Mr. Pack likes it or not, the very thing he thinks we need so much actually requires God's law to be trampled on. Imagine that! In order to dine out on Holy time God's people must go back into spiritual Egypt and actively seek out Sabbath-breakers. They then must pay them for their Sabbath labor. Why? Because like Dave Pack, so many have been lulled into accepting their Sabbath-breaking behavior as just another part of our modern culture. Can you say "Laodicea"?
Just a Suggestion
Here is something for Mr. Pack to ponder. Is it possible that God never intended for Mr. Armstrong to address this issue? Is it possible that He reserved it for the last era of His church? Is it possible that the Great Creator of Heaven and Earth has allowed His "Sabbath Test" to be thrust on this generation to "prove" whether His people will "walk in His law or not" (Ex 16:4)? Furthermore, will Mr. Pack truly honor the memory of the greatest servant of God in his generation by blowing the dust off his Bible and letting God’s wisdom fall where it may.
Our appeal to Mr. Pack, and all of God's people, is to trust scripture on this (Pro. 3:5)—not some convoluted theory that claims, “If Mr. Armstrong didn’t address it, we shouldn't address it either." The stakes are simply too high to cling to a practice that actually requires us to ignore every part of a command that was intended to set us apart.
"The Authors Have an Agenda"
Return to Directory