The ministers of the Armstrong Churches of God put a whole lot of energy into trying to convince their members that anyone who criticizes them is trying to pull God's sheep away from God's truth. In other words, "if you accept what they're saying about us, you won't make it into God's Kingdom!" Don't think so? Here are just a few recent examples from two ministers of the Church of God International: Remaining Christian in An Evil World and Beware Lest Any Man Spoil You.
It's an old tried-and-true trick that they've employed in the battle against their critics for many years now (stretching all the way back to the Herbert Armstrong days of the movement). This way, instead of actually acknowledging and answering their critics, all they have to do is threaten their members with the fires of Gehenna! The logic goes something like this: "You've already proven the truth of our doctrines from your Bible, so anything that contradicts those teachings must be wrong (and designed to lead you away from God and his truth)." They've learned too, over the years, that the tactic is pretty damn effective! The corollary, of course, is that "you shouldn't have been listening to/reading that stuff anyway!"
Hence, the poor little lamb under their control not only sees the fires yawning before them - they also feel guilty for even entertaining criticism of God's ministers and church! It's a double whammy! And, as I've already pointed out, the church doesn't even have to address the criticism - no additional research, reasoning, no additional effort of any kind required from "God's servants!"
In this connection, they love to equate themselves with the Apostle Paul and quote extensively from his warnings about false teachers and heretical teachings. Never mind that those passages are actually much more applicable to them and what they're teaching! They also love to quote Christ's Parable of the Seeds and Soils. From their perspective, the critics are obviously represented by any of the things which keep the seed from taking root and producing fruit! "Critics are the servants of the evil one."
For these folks, "growing in grace and knowledge" means immersing themselves in ACOG doctrines - reinforcing and repeating the same things over and over again! It could NEVER mean that they might have more to learn about something, or HEAVEN FORBID - relearn something that they didn't get right the first time around! When I hear these kinds of messages from these folks, I always think about that passage from the book of Revelation: "You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." (Revelation 3:17)