LCN Article
Bringing Every Thought into Captivity to the Obedience of Christ

May / June 2021

Gerald E. Weston

Dear Brethren,

The Feast of Pentecost reminds us of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the fledgling first-century Church (Acts 2). But is there a special lesson regarding this day for those of us living at the end of the age? I suggest that there is.

We learn that the children of Israel entered into the so-called Old Covenant at Mount Sinai on Pentecost. It was at this time that God thundered the Ten Commandments to the Israelites (Exodus 20:1–17), but this was not the origin of these commandments. (See the sermon “Were the Ten Commandments in Force Before Moses?” available at

The Israelites were eager to receive God’s blessings and apparently considered it easy to meet His conditions, but they lacked the heart and faith to obey God in the face of trials and temptations (Deuteronomy 5:29; Hebrews 3:17–19). This is why there is a need for the New Covenant in which God writes His laws on our hearts and in our minds by the power of His Holy Spirit (Hebrews 8:10).

We may presume that we are above the errors of those who stood at the base of Mount Sinai. After all, did we not receive a different heart when we had hands laid upon us following baptism? Why, then, do so many fall away? Any of us who have been in the Church for a decade or more know of people, likely even close friends, who have chosen to go in a different direction, some abandoning the truth altogether. So, does the coming of the Holy Spirit completely and instantly solve the problem of the human heart? It would appear not—but why not?

The Spirit of This Age

The Bible speaks of four spirits: the spirit of animals, the spirit in man, the Holy Spirit, and “the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). The spirit in man empowers the human brain to think on a level far superior to all other physical living creatures (1 Corinthians 2:11). Consider how mankind has been able to send a rocket to Mars—as it travels around the sun at 53,853 miles per hour—and land sophisticated instruments on its surface! Incredible! But for all our brilliance, no matter where we look, humanity is marked by conflict of every sort.

The spirit in man is incomplete apart from the Spirit of God. Sadly, we too often rely on human reason alone. How often we say, This is how I look at it, or This is what I think, not realizing how much the prince of the power of the air influences our thinking. Mr. Herbert Armstrong rightly explained that Satan works through moods and feelings, stirring up attitudes of pride, vanity, and hurt. To any who have eyes to see, it should be obvious that he is working especially hard right now to stir up anger and an attitude of taking matters into our own hands—otherwise known as rebellion. Dr. Meredith explained in his booklet The Ten Commandments:

A revealing insight into modern man’s reaction to the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” was given by an Ohio minister, David Redding, who said, “We do not mean it. We don’t like authority, nor will we give in easily even if He is the King of heaven.... It is all too obvious that most men over most of the years have prayed earnestly: ‘Thy kingdom not come, my will be done’” (p. 69).

Yes, the attitude of my will be done is alive and well, even in the Church of God. This was seen over the last year with the “mask controversy.” How remarkable that people would leave over an issue so small. While some tried to make it out to be a moral issue, the truth is that too many got caught up in the spirit of this age. I have my rights—nobody is going to tell me what to do! A few members would respect the requirements of Walmart but balk at a Church judgment. Think about it, brethren! Can we not see who is stirring up strife and contention, even among us? How many of us would have survived the 40 years from Sinai to the Promised Land?

Is Jesus Christ the Head of His Church or not? (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22). Just as one can pray “Thy kingdom come” and really mean “my will be done,” so can one repeat that “Jesus is the Head of the Church” while really meaning, “as long as He agrees with me!” Of course, the problem comes in because God works through imperfect human instruments—whom some accept as “Christ’s servants” only so long as they agree with them.

Do Not Be Turned Aside

Dear brethren, I confess that I feel very inadequate to be correcting you. I know my own weaknesses and shortcomings, but I also know that I did not politick my way into the office of an evangelist, much less the Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God. I also know that this office puts the burden of leadership upon me, and that God will hold me responsible for how I carry that burden.

So, even though I am certainly not of the same stature as Mr. Herbert Armstrong, if I believe that this is the true Church of God and that Jesus is the Head of this Church, I must do as Paul instructed Timothy in his second letter to the young evangelist: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:2–4).

“Sound doctrine” does not involve whether or not to wear masks; rather, sound doctrine most definitely involves how Christ rules His Church, and the context of the above passage cries out against a “do-your-own-thing” attitude. Paul instructed another young minister, “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you” (Titus 2:15). Look carefully at the verses preceding this instruction. Titus was to address issues that were sticky then and remain so today: relations between men and women and between employees and employers.

If there is ever a lesson we should learn from the 40-year Exodus, it regards the consequences of “every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 12:8). Brethren, are we so blind that we cannot see how the prince of the power of the air is stirring up the same attitude of rebellion at the end of this age? He constantly broadcasts anger and the attitude of Who does he think he is? I have my rights! No one is going to tell me what to do.

No one can stop you from choosing your own way. But be warned that if you remain caught up in this world, you will perish with it! We are in a war—a war that takes place in the heart and mind.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3–5).

Brethren, please do not be naïve. There is another spirit seeking to destroy us. Recognize it! And remember the humble spirit through which God works in us (Isaiah 66:1–2). Recognize the difference between the Spirit of God and the spirit of this world. Recognize our inability to direct our own ways apart from God (Jeremiah 10:23–24). And, bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ!