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Monday, December 29, 2008

Slandering HWA? I Think Not! - Part 2

This is a follow-up post to my original post "Slandering HWA? I Think Not!"
The minister responded! I am shocked, to say the least. Here is the correspondence, as promised.

Original message from me to minister:
I recently listened to your message about Slander. I find that in general, your advice was good.

However, I would point out that you have preached it to be true that the Catholic Church is a harlot and the Protestant churches are the daughters of harlots - often calling them all "so called Christians" or some similar thing, insinuating that they do not follow Christ but the deceptions of Satan - and all of this based largely upon unprovable prophetic speculation and the teachings of a proven false prophet. Your accusations are virtually baseless!

You say it is NEVER good to say anything other than what is positive, it is NEVER allowable. You who participate in the accusation and slander of BILLIONS, shall one not be accurate to call you a hypocrite?

Original response from minister to me:

Slander is making untrue charges about others. I don't know where you are coming from with your insinuation that I am a hypocrite or that "my accusations are virtually baseless". I am not making accusations--only teaching the accusations made by God. God throughout the OT indicts Israel as well as all nations for harlotry when they pursue false gods and idolatry. If you have ever studied any history of the Catholic church and all of the groups that came out of the RCC, then you cannot deny that they all practice idolaty. The entire Xmas season is considered harlotry by God. Easter, Lent, etc. are all the continuation of idolatrous practices founded in ancient religious rites. The indictments against the mother of harlots in Revelation are made by the same God from the OT. Jesus' example was the same: He indicted the Pharisees by calling them serpents and a generation of vipers; that was not slander, it was the truth. It is the duty of Christ's ministry to teach what God says; if you don't like that, consult God and tell Him you aren't in agreement with His charge to the ministry to preach the Word. While you're at it ask Him to help you examine your condemnatory, self-righteous attitude because the tenor of your correspondence to me is not a humble one. In fact, I will never again respond to anything you send if the attitude is not different than what you exhibited in this email.

Final reply from me to minister:

I am sorry you were so easily offended by my letter to you. I did not insinuate that you are a hypocrite. I merely pointed out that what I heard you say doesn't match with what I know you say in other places. Is that an invalid topic? I know in the past no minister would have allowed such a question. I thought you were different. I was wrong.

I have studied the history of Catholicism, as well as the history of Armstrongism. I have studied the accusations of Alexander Hislop and found him to be utterly false. Indeed the Catholics are in error, but not any more than you are - only in different ways. You say "the law! the law!" You seem to believe it all is made better by a confession that you have flaws. But it still remains that you fail to keep the whole law. Tell me, when is the last time you made a booth at Tabernacles, as you are commanded to do? I'll wager not once. Or when was the last time you traveled three times in the year to the place where God puts His name, as Deuteronomy 16 commands? No, you only travel once. And these are minor examples! The parts of the law you do teach are twisted and cherry picked in favor of making lords of men who rob homes and lead away captive the hearts of God's children into the yoke of bondage. You have failed in more than one portion of the law, yet you disregard your own teachings of the law that only a keeper of it is justified. You charge the entirety of the earth with idolatry, but you overlook your own flawed teachings. You yourself have made a false god of Herbert Armstrong and his cherry picked version of the law as well as his failed prophecies. Name two that have come to pass? Certainly you will not include his prediction of Christ's return in 1936. The very name of Christ is disparaged around the world because of the horrendous damage the "ministry of God" as you call it has caused. And this is not slander, but the horrible truth.

I think I would be wise to cease corresponding with a person whose best answer to a valid question is to vomit more accusation. And then you attempt to place some burden of humility upon me as if you bear none of your own. It is a right proper indicator of the true contents of your heart. I can see plainly that you do not grasp the very New Covenant which you claim to be a minister of. I deeply believe the ministry of God is charged to preach and warn. What I fail to see from you is proof that you are a minister of God. But merely a minister of error, false prophecy, accusation, and hypocrisy. I see a Pharisee.

Good day.

My commentary:

Well, I suppose it was a bit much hoping I could ask an Armstrong minister about hypocrisy. What did I expect? Was he going to think it over? No. He did the typical holier-than-thou maneuver and claimed I wasn't being humble. I've gottent that treatment somewhere before. I once received this gem from the false prophet du jour, Ron Weinland:

"This will be my last attempt to respond, as it is quite evident your mind has been made up on many matters for some time. You are seeking to find fault with me. ... It has been obvious to me that you did not recognize me as your minister. If I am not your minister, I am certainly not your brother. You can't have one -- in this case -- without the other. You don't seem to recognize your true relationship with God. A minister is to teach and instruct God's people in His ways, but when those whom He has called are in judgment of His ministers, then instruction is obviously being rejected. You are in a spirit of bitterness and can't even see it because of your self justification. 

"You have placed yourself in the position of the minister -- of the teacher -- you have elevated yourself above what God gave you. Read your letter again. You are now the teacher. Do you really believe that is how God works? 

"You even signed your name as a minister of Jesus Christ -- in His service. You have never been ordained to that responsibility. You have truly taken too much on yourself and I do fear for you if you do not repent speedily for such presumptuousness. Do you think you can do this lightly before God and He not correct you mightily for it? ... you have really gone way too far. In addition, it is quite evident from such a response that you are far from having any love for me as a brother, but instead you are in a gall of bitterness and it will eat away at you and consume you if you fail to repent.

"Please don't delude yourself by speaking about Jesus Christ, God and love, and do so in a railing manner with such sarcasm and anger." -end

Notice any glaring similarities? It almost seems as if both letters were written by the same hand. Well, it seems that the whole lot of Armstrong ministers are indeed cut from the same cloth. I am without words to express my grief that so many people are under the sway of these men. 

I once held this particular minister in very high esteem. I thought of him as a friend. I defended him often when others attacked him. My heart is torn for him. I will pray for this minister that he doesn't end up like Ron Weinland. He could use your prayers as well.

**A very brief follow-up to this post can be found here: A Funny Little Story. If you're interested.


Byker Bob said...

It's been my experience that the members and ministry of the ACOG splinters are totally incapable of responding to any of the issues we raise without resorting to cliches. For them, it never becomes any deeper than that.

In their minds, HWA is not a false prophet. They feel that the prophecies have simply been delayed. And, they will continue to do this until it finally becomes obvious that world events have changed so radically that the fulfillment of HWA's WWII era prophecy model has become impossible.

HWA preached that "all these churches can't be right". Of course he was using this to make the point that only his church was the true church, after 1900 years of "deception". One wonders how an ACOG member could explain the fact that there are now over 600 splinters, each one of which refers to itself as "God's Church", and each one claiming to be the remnant of the Philadelphia era. Any "end time" message currently preached by Armstrongism has become so fragmented and diluted that it is microscopic and nearly invisible. I've often remarked that it appears as if God Himself has divided and confused their tongue. They appear to have literally been spewed from the mouth of God.

When I left the organization in 1975-76, I left because of the lying false prophecies, some very easily disprovable doctrines, the speculative extra-Biblical teachings, and the overall bad fruits produced by their distortions and misapplication of scripture. There was also horrible cultic elitism resulting in the absence of Christian love for anyone who was not part of the WCG.

I was aware of GTA's sins. Who wasn't during that era? I was also aware of HWA's sexual prosthesis, the product of an operation performed during his travels overseas. I was baffled by his "strong hand from somewhere" approach to preaching the gospel. At least Billy Graham wasn't ashamed, and actually spoke of Jesus Christ to the presidents and world leaders with whom he visited! But, I had not heard the allegations of HWA's incest, or the stories of his rampant alcoholism. In a way, I wish such things had never come out, because I believe they cause HWA loyalists to be filled with such outrage in defending their "apostle" that they become distracted from the very real scriptural and logical disproofs of Armstrongism.

It is very rational, very logical, and very ethical to warn potential victims of a false prophet. It's the Christian thing to do! The only thing almost as bad as a false prophet would be the followers, defenders, and supporters of a false prophet.
We can never expect them to act honorably or to tell the truth. Our only honorable recourse is to keep making the truth (our first person experiences) accessible to people who might be in the process of making a decision to become part of such groups. And, of course, to remember such folks in our prayers!


Raccoon said...

The letter from that minister was bad, but RW's letter was pomposity exemplified. It's amazing what pride can do to a person - and I think that is why those who still defend discredited false "prophets" continue to defend them so tenaciously.

Think about it. You've been in Armstrongism for x years. You see some things you don't agree with, but are told to stay the course, that the truth is only found here. You start to become aware of ever larger cracks in doctrine and false prophesies, not to mention the lifestyles of the so called leaders but your pride prevents you from taking action. To do so would mean that your time spent there was somehow wasted, your numerous tithes and special offerings for naught, or even *gasp* that you were duped. So the bunker mentality sets in. An attack coming in against any tenet is seen as an affront (and a reminder) to you and your bruised pride - so you lash out and fall back on the only thing you know.

It may not be that way for all still in the grip of Armstrongism, there will always be "true believers", those that will swallow anything they are fed, but I suspect that feeling runs deep in many. So, Byker Bob, I agree with you 100% that these people need our prayers. Prayers to overcome pride, ignorance to the truth or whatever it is that keeps them from seeing the trap they are in.

Keep the faith guys, and remember, God is good and He will overcome.

xHWA said...

Thanks again guys for the comments.

Bob, I'll join you in those prayers!

Raccoon, you pretty much summed up the reason why I stayed so long. Funny thing is I had no clue that is what I was doing. I honestly was not seeing the cracks until right before the dam broke and I left. I never sought to leave. I didn't have that 'separation theology'. I'm glad God was able to break through my stubborn pride, though.

I'm glad, like Bob is, that someone out there was praying for me. How could I not do the same for others? Like the COG7 minister said to me - Jesus Christ is the most amazing gift you could possibly receive. How could you keep such a gift to yourself?

xHWA said...

I do have to admit, I can be a bit blunt at times. It comes off as being arrogant, but it's really just my natural Italian spiciness! I don't think those men should have gone off on me as they did, but perhaps at the same time it would have been better had I not returned bluntness for bluntness.

"Oh, great! Now I have guilt!"

Mary Lane said...

We are to reprove the powers of darkness(Eph.5:11)as you probably know.
Armstrongism continues to be promoted on some of the links, like Messianic News(on the Shadows site)and they have cut off the passwords of those who disagree with their recent blog called "A Tribute to Herbert Armstrong" showing videos that promote his corrupt system.

xHWA said...

Hi Mary,

Oh yes, they do cut off access to people who disagree. I find that to be incontrovertible evidence that they are a cult. No dissension allowed. Much like my email to said minister. I got the "I'll never speak to you again", loving and gentle response. Any word search for "gentle" will show his missing of the mark.

Thanks for commenting. Come back and chat with us some more.

xHWA said...

One other thing I should point out is that this minister honestly believes he's won the argument. He gives a message about how it's never OK to slander, then he gives me a couple examples of it being OK to reprove a hypocrite to justify his own slander, but he hasn't shown how what he says is true. He didn't even address the point I brought up about basing his slander on speculation and the teachings of a false prophet.

Sure, Christmas has pagan traditions mixed in. But is that really foundation enough to condemn billions of people? He has error after error, but it's OK. They have one perceived error, but they'll fry in Gehenna for it. Yet he says he's just pointing out what's in the Bible. OK. Find the justification for following a false prophet in the Bible.

He's an ordained minister!! And who am I? Well, for starters, he was ordained by a false prophet and I was not. I'd say I'm ahead on this one.

I suppose he thinks he's terribly clever.

xHWA said...

Curiouser and curiouser!

I hear there is trouble in the ministerial ranks in this particular organization. Said minister isn't abiding any dissent by even his long-time ministers.

Isn't it ALWAYS the same with Armstrongist ministers? They want control, they want followers, they want tithes - and they want no questions.

Byker Bob said...

Well, they say that they are accountable to God. But, their behavior, attitudes, and activities would seem to indicate that the majority of them are atheists! Or that God's opinion of them is of no concern.

They most certainly got double F's on their Carnegie International correspondence courses!


xHWA said...

Isn't that so, Bob!

I feel, from what I've experienced, that these people are entirely backwards in their priorities. They place such a value on legalism, that legalism trumps love in all ways. It would be loving to act like a servant and overlook offenses, but it would be legalist to condemn and push the unwashed masses away. In this they feel they are so close to Christ. Such a shame!

Bill and I discussed and agree completely on this - the veil is over their eyes to this day! They cannot understand. They are blind.
Blind guides heading for the ditch.

“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them." (JOHN 12: 40)

My heart goes out to them.

xHWA said...

Just so that everyone is updated (sorry this update is months and months late)---
The minister who is the subject of this and the last post has caused a division in his organization and lost several of his ministers. Just as expected.
I understand it was over his attitude and tendencies towards control, inflexibility, and fundamentalism.

I do not recommend any Armstrongist church, in fact I recommend you run from them, but I checked out the new organization formed from the split, and from what I read in the Statement of Purpose they are truly a unique group. They mention Jesus Christ - only once, but right up front. Herbert Armstrong is not mentioned once. They emphasize love and deemphasize the Sabbath. They do not put themselves up on a pedestal nearly as much as I have come to expect.
Not bad, all in all.