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Comments are again being allowed.
I figure there may be someone who needs my help, and posting a comment may be easier than emailing me. I would prefer an email, but I am here to help those in need.

**Do you have history in the Worldwide Church of God? Are you still attending one of its offshoots? Do you see cracks in the doctrine and want more information, or do you not know why you're still there anymore? Is there a hole in your heart and just don't know why God isn't granting you the happiness you were promised would come through tithing and following a man? Do you find that no matter how hard you try you cannot live up to your own standards, and you feel like a failure? Do you find your pursuit of God to be based on fear?
Investigate with me the answers to these questions and more!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Funny Little Story

I'm trying to space out my posts a bit to give you, the honored guest here at my humble blog, more opportunity to read without feeling pressured. I will try to post at most 1 or 2 times per week.

This week, I have a small tale to tell. 
In December 2008, I wrote a two-part post about Slandering HWA - I Think Not! In these posts, I got into a regrettable conversation with an impatient minister of Armstrongism whom I had previously held in high esteem. Well, what I did not mention is that I was a member on his website's chat forum. I logged on one day after our exchange to see if he had remembered to cut me off. He had not. So, I posted a couple mild things.

One person (an anonymous and unsuspecting third party) had a topic in there in which he was expressing shock about censorship in the media. This stroke of luck I simply could not pass up! I replied with something along the lines of "You're shocked about censorship? Censorship is a common occurrence in Armstrongism! How many times have you been warned about what you read, or how many times has a person been disfellowshipped and we were told to have nothing to do with them, or how many times had the church put out questionable material which they hid from us? Why, censorship is a staple in Armstrongism." (That is an approximation of what I said. The exact details have faded from my memory.)

To prove my point, I started my own topic. Therein I posted a chunk from Herbert Armstrong's prophecy from the June/July 1934 edition of the Plain Truth magazine where HWA stated Christ would return by 1936. I also pasted my favorite quote there, which you can see at the top of this blog whenever you wish:

"But who today understands what the prophets foretold? Why, only the ministers today whose word comes to pass!-those who are appointed and guided by God to preach the truth! Those whose utterances do not come to pass have not spoken the prophecies truly. We give you here the record of what we have been proclaiming for the past 2 years-a message which no other voices, to our knowledge, have been proclaiming.... But what we have been warning you about is happening!-precisely as we have stated.... This is how you can know that our work is not of men but of God!"

You can guess what happened within two days from that time. Yes, my account was revoked. I had been censored. My point was proven.

(MATT. 23: 13-15) 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Robbed of Tithes And Offerings?

Malachi is a small book, only four chapters. Yet its words are very potent. In my continuing investigation into tithes, I would like to investigate Malachi.

Much ado has been made by Armstrong, and especially Flurry, about Malachi 3: 8-9, where God says:
(MAL. 3: 8-9) 8 Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 

But let's take a much closer look here. Who is the majority of Malachi speaking to?

(MAL 1: 6) To you priests who despise My name.
(MAL. 2: 1) And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.
(MAL. 2: 7) For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

The entire first chapter is to the priests. [There are no more priests in the New Covenant, but Christ only.] The first half of the second chapter is to the priests. [There are no more priests in the New Covenant, but Christ only.] We should ask, which priests are we referring to here?

(MAL. 2: 4, 8) 4 Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant with Levi may continue
8 You have corrupted the covenant of Levi

There is not a priest who draws breath who is under the covenant of Levi. Malachi is God's (to borrow a phrase) final witness to the Old Covenant priests. The very same ones Christ supplanted, as described by the author of Hebrews (HEB. 7: 11-13).

Now, the first half of the third chapter is a prophecy of the coming Christ. Herbert Armstrong would have us believe it is about His second coming. I will remind you that all prophetic interpretation is speculation, and nothing to base theology on. I take the position that this speaks of His first coming. The temple in Jerusalem is gone. Judah was judged. And Malachi was fulfilled:

(MAL. 3: 1) And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant [the New Covenant!], in whom you delight.

We can see the fulfillment of these very verses in Matthew 17.
(MATT. 17: 5) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

And the very same thing again!

(MAL. 4: 5) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

We again see the fulfillment spoken of in Matthew 17.
(MATT. 17: 10-13) 10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. 12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

I like how it is worded in Mark 9: 12-13 as well.

The only reason why Mr. flurry is so adamant that Malachi is about this time is because he is wedded to the false idea that Herbert Armstrong was Elijah. And why that? Because Herbert Armstrong is the sole and singular source of authority, for Gerald Flurry and all of Armstrog's many self-appointed successors, to assume the position of priest and to extract tithes from people against the clear teachings of God's New Covenant. But how many times do you hear them go on about this next verse?

(MAL. 3: 5) And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness... against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans

Will there be a future fulfillment? This idea has been debated for 2,000 years - starting at the very time of Paul. It probably will have a future fulfillment. But that foreshadowing is peppered in with words meant directly for the time Malachi wrote them. Thus, Armstrong makes a terrible error in assuming the entire book of Malachi is explicitly for the future, and every last word in it. How does he explain the exhortation in Malachi to keep the covenant of Levi (which Christ clearly removed)? He does not. But he does spend an exorbitant amount of time concentrating on the verses dealing with tithing. A double standard? Or cherry-picking perhaps?

The book of Malachi is addressed to the Israel. But then it immediately starts God's case against the priests. The priests who despise God, that is. What warning does any of Armstrong's ministers take from this? They use it as a tool to accuse the ministry in competing organizations. They compete for tithes and they compete for control and they wield the scriptures as a club to beat each other over the head with. (GAL. 5: 15)

In contrast, the Gentiles are prophesied to glorify God.
(MAL. 1: 11) For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,” Says the LORD of hosts. 

The "Gentiles" are the people of the New Covenant; the covenant brought in fulfillment of Malachi 3: 1. No doubt that the New Covenant is implied here. Never before were the Gentiles invited to worship God. The incense are prayers, BTW (REV. 5: 8). 

Israel may be judged, but it is not forgotten. Even in Israel there are those who fear God. They will be remembered.
(MAL. 3: 16) Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name. 

Read Malachi 1 to get the context of this book. Who offers offerings? Just anyone? No. The priests! Who claim over and over to be the modern priesthood? The ministry. [That's their claim, not mine. I say Jesus alone is a Priest.] Nevertheless, by this claim they incriminate themselves. To ignore the guilt, they pass blame onto the membership.

How was God robbed in offerings?

(MAL. 1: 12-14) 12 But you [the priests] profane [God's altar], In that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is defiled; and its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’ 13 You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it, says the LORD of hosts. 
And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?" says the LORD. 14 “But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and takes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished

God makes it quite plain what the problem was with the priests – they took their duties for granted, they were tired with the services of the temple, they despised God's worship. So they stole from God the perfect sacrifices He is due, substituting all sorts of lesser sacrifices, and keeping the good, which they certainly had available, for themselves. This is very much in line with what I have observed and heard about among the ministry of Armstrongism!

Finally, how many times have we heard the following verses?

(MAL. 3: 10-12) 10 "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the LORD of hosts; 12 and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.

Yet Armstrong did not understand what he preached. You see, we in the New Covenant are not ever going to receive these promises - tithe or no tithe - because these promises aren't for us!

(HEB. 8: 6) But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

Herbert Armstrong and his students had us all looking for physical promises of a physical covenant when the far better covenant with far better promises waited for us!

Beloved by God and dear to His heart, understand this - you are not a part of the Old Covenant! It is gone. It has been gone for 2,000 years. You cannot be a part of it even if you want to. The opportunity has passed. The world waited for 4,000 years for what we have received. Prophets and angels deeply desired to see it arrive. Now, delivered to us without any help from us, through no effort on our part, which we do not deserve nor have we earned, comes the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ. To this we are called. The breach between man and God has been healed! Our sins are forgiven us! Why insist on attempting to resurrect that which Christ has replaced? Step into the New Covenant!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Living Armstrongism

Ambassador Watch made it known that there is a new Armstrong blog on the block. I definitely want to throw my support behind RedFox712 at Living Armstrongism.

Welcome to the club! Here's to your continued success in escaping Armstrongism!!
You've got a long row to hoe, but we're all here for ya!

Shoot me an email sometime, eh?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Great Falling Away?

Few "proofs" of Herbert W. Armstrong's claims to greatness are promoted quite like the doctrinal changes implemented by Joseph W. Tkach Sr. But I ask the question, is the breakup of the Worldwide Church of God the "Great Falling Away"?

(2 THS 2: 1-12) 1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Paul is referring to questions about the coming of Jesus and the gathering of His own to Him - ie. the second coming. Keep this firmly in your mind while you read! Though the prophecy of the Antichrist progresses over the millennia, this section is not speaking of anything other than the return of Christ. Not some wispy time previous, not another in a long line of inter-organizational disputes, not some minor blip in the overall workings of mankind, but the single greatest occurrence of the common era. Note that we have not experienced any second coming to date. Ergo, this selection in no way refers to either our current time or more importantly our past. 

Paul is calming the worries of the readers who have been troubled by deceptive reports, from false prophets. People were saying "it has passed", but Paul said "no, it hasn't", and he gives specific details of the very end. 
Notice how he says "as if from us". Someone claiming authority, special understanding, or some secret revelation, was troubling them. If I have demonstrated anything about Herbert Armstrong, it is that he claimed all three of these things, yet he was a false prophet. (See my posts on "False Prophecy" for more details. My blog is the least of sources on this topic! Try this article on for size.) Paul begs us "Let no one deceive you by any means". It's not some simple thing that we can just assign any interpretation we want to this. It is not a ball that we should just casually toss it about. I've read the writings of many COG splinters and they nearly unanimously say "we know the falling away has passed", one even claimed they could prove it! Honestly and plainly, think about it, if this day were past, Christ would be here. I asked you to keep in mind at the beginning that this section is about the return of Jesus Christ. Where is He? If He hasn't returned, then there is no great falling away.
It is currently 2009. The 'great falling away' is claimed to be 14 years ago. Where is Christ? Then that was NOT the great falling away!

Even the very so-called "ministers" who promote this silliness will say there is nothing unusual about the splits in Worldwide.

"Apparently, five of the seven eras were led into oblivion and disaster!"

What Gerald Flurry doesn't tell you is that he has no understanding of the history he claims. Most of the men Herman Hoeh claimed were ancestral leaders of the Church of God were actually Catholic reformers. Others were Baptists. Read my post "50 Truths - Part 1" for more info on that.

There are several things listed in the above verses by Paul, not just one. The COGs have been told the falling away has already come, as if it stands alone. It does not. Read it again. There is a falling away, a man of sin revealed, false miracles and wonders, the return of Christ, and finally removal of that man. He is alive when Christ returns. Anyone who says this particular falling away has passed is grossly misinformed. I remind you again that Paul said, "Let no one deceive you by any means." All the claims and all the boastful talk in the world cannot undo the plain words of this epistle. They are nothing but hot air.

I ask, how can a church who boasts that it proves what it believes from the Bible be so very far from the simple words therein?? No one can say "I have proved" that the falling away happened 15 years ago. It cannot be done! Where is the "man of sin"? Joseph W. Tkach Sr.? He's been gone since September 23, 1995! Read the words again "whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming." Where is the Lord? Has He returned? No. Have any saints been gathered to meet Him in the air? No. Did He destroy Joseph Tkack at His coming? No. Joe Tkach Sr. died of complications related to cancer. Was Mr. Tkach accompanied by "all power, signs, and lying wonders"? No. Not a single thing fits. Not one. Yet to bolster their own positions and use prophecy as a tool for control, most COG ministers teach the falling away has passed. This, dear readers, is the very deception Paul warned against!

I will say a third time "Let no one deceive you by any means." Have you allowed these false prophets to deceive you?
O, how very many times I have read damning accusations against the people who remained with the WCG - that they were sent great delusion so they would believe a lie since they do not love the truth. Who is it that believes an untruth? Anyone who accepts Joe Tkach was the "man of sin" and that the falling away has passed are the ones who accept a clear lie. Who, then, is deceived? And this after we were sternly warned by Paul not to be!

These things precede the return of Christ. If there is any explanation for a deceiver that precedes Christ's return, it is here:
(REV. 19: 20) Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

What do we see here? 
Joseph W. Tkach: Deception? Check. (But no more than is common to all mankind.) Wonders? No. Powered by Satan? Highly unlikely. Destroyed at Christ's return? No. This does not meet the requirements.
False Prophet of Revelation: Deception? Check. Wonders? Check. Powered by Satan? Check. Destroyed at Christ's return? Check. This one meets all requirements. 

Are you willing to say Joseph W. Tkach Sr. is the False Prophet of Revelation? Hardly! Then it is high time we relegate all this slander about Mr. Tkach where it belongs, in the trash!! It is ungodly to misapply these things to someone, especially in such a malicious and deceitful fashion. The truth is in the Bible; the lie is in the slander of the ministry who love to perpetuate a blatant lie. This is not righteousness, but unrighteousness!
"...that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

What personally bothers me the most about all of this is how "the great falling away" is held up as the greatest "proof" of Herbert Armstrong's apostleship; I hear few things more often. But it clearly is no proof at all! These shameless self-promoting ministers twist the gospel for their own gain. Beloved by God, open your eyes and see the truth staring you in the face! For example, read the following:

"Several different churches have been formed by former Worldwide Church of God ministers. All of these churches—including the wcg—are Laodicean, except one. So says your Bible! Only one church has God’s lamp."

What is that? Slander. Pure and unadulterated, ungodly, self-promoting deception! Of the same sort which Paul warns us about in 2 Thessalonians. Though I am using him as the example here, Gerald Flurry is not by any means the only one caught up in this type of thing. Almost to the last one, most of Armstrong's ministers are engaged in it.
And it's competition as well. These ones say "God is unity in love", but they display in every way competition in bitterness. 
And for a group who claims their unique relationship with God is based on keeping His commandments, this grossly violates the 6th (EXO. 20: 13; MATT. 5: 21-26) and the 9th (EXO. 20: 16) Commandments. Paul tells us in Romans 13: 9-10, that love is the fulfillment of the law. Yet I see no love here. Christ says in Matthew 22: 39 that the second most important instruction God ever gave us it to love your neighbor as yourself. Are we to assume this is how the ministry would like to be treated? In Matthew 5: 43-47, Jesus takes it even farther and says to love your enemy. Yet I see no love whatsoever in such deceitfulness and opportunistic misapplication of prophecy. On one hand, they call each other "brother", but in the other hand is a knife.

(PRO. 21: 28) A false witness shall perish, but the man who hears him will speak endlessly.

Boy, howdy! Do they speak endlessly! Bearing their tale again and again against the ones they call "God's church" (the Laodiceans are still Christ's).

(PRO. 19: 9) A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish.

This type will tell you there has been the final and great "falling away from the truth", but over and again I have shown in this blog that the truth was not with them to begin with. Certainly not with men such as these! How do you fall away from the truth when there was precious little truth to start with? On the other hand, falling away from a lie is a good thing!

(REV. 2: 2) "and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars"

I'll let Mr. Flurry have the final word on this one:
"If the Ephesus Church members, in a right attitude, tried those who said they were apostles, shouldn’t you?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

By What Measure You Use

I would like to talk frankly about the pedestal some people have placed Herbert Armstrong on.

Have you ever picked a person to be on your team simply because they were your friend? Have you ever avoided someone simply because they look a certain way? Have you ever taken sides on an issue you aren't quite familiar with simply because someone else you respect also holds that opinion? Of course you have! We all do those silly things at least once in our lives. We're human and humans do those things. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just a fact of nature.

Now, have you ever seen someone doing something and spoken out against it (in public or private)? Perhaps you've spoken out against the wealthy taking a ride on the backs of the poor. Perhaps you've spoken against sexual abuse and child molestation. Perhaps you've spoken against some televangelist for asking for money all the time. Perhaps you've spoken against the poor quality of education children get these days. 
Or... on the flip side... perhaps you've glossed over someone's indiscretions because you like them. Ever lambaste a corrupt politician from the other side of the aisle but let your own corrupt politician go free? Ever give special attention to someone because they are related to you? For example, turning a qualified stranger down for a job in order to give it to your relative?

(MATT. 7: 2) For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
(LEV. 19: 15) Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
(ROM. 2: 11) For there is no respect of persons with God. 

God desires us to use the same measuring stick across the board. Not that we are to be without mercy, but without partiality. James says, in the second chapter of his epistle, "if you show partiality, you commit sin" as well as "Mercy triumphs over judgment." Now, these are all things you well know. Let me now ask you some more pointed questions.

Have you ever called Hal Lindsey, Benny Hinn, or Marshall Applewhite & Bonnie Nettles, for example, false prophets? Or how about William Miller, Ellen G. White, or David Koresh; ever call them false prophets? Or Ron Weinland, Geral Flurry, Rod Merideth, Dave Pack, et al? Perhaps you glossed over one or more of that last bunch, eh? Are you prepared to use the identical measuring stick across the board? If one makes predictions that fail, and you apply the label "false prophet" to that one, then you should be impartial to do the same for the rest - or excuse them all. Why then do so many excuse Herbert Armstrong, who has a long history of false prophecy stretching from the very beginning of his ministry? Either Herbert W. Armstrong is a false prophet, or none of those people are.

Have you ever seen a minister or an elder or perhaps an evangelist who wasn't living up to the office to which they attained? Perhaps you were less than satisfied with Gerald Waterhouse, or Joe Tkatch Sr., or a minister who followed along with Joseph Tkatch? Have you ever said "Hey! That person doesn't meet the qualifications of I Timothy 3: 2-7 and Titus 1: 8-9?" How does politics weasel its way into church like it does? But if we label one person unqualified, we must label them all unqualified, or forgive them all. Are you prepared to use the identical measuring stick across the board? Why then do so many excuse Herbert Armstrong, who fails the qualifications of I Timothy in some 11 points? Either Herbert W. Armstrong is not qualified, or all of those people are.

(I TIM. 3: 2-7)
2 A bishop then must be blameless [FAIL!], the husband of one wife, temperate [FAIL! His temper was well known.], sober-minded [FAIL! He was not very well self-controlled. John Keisz all but called him paranoid.], of good behavior [FAIL! He flew his jet to Romania for "sex therapy". He lived as a king while others starved and went bankrupt. His wife died of an intestinal blockage while he often went to the hospital.], hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine [FAIL! He was infamous as a drunk. Garner Ted said they had to "pour him into bed"], not violent, not greedy for money [FAIL! He was indeed greedy, and the church was a cash cow. He wasted the money, constantly demanded more, ruined lives, bought influence, etc, etc], but gentle, not quarrelsome [FAIL! He was removed from the ministry of the COG7 for being impossible to work with.], not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well [FAIL! This goes without saying.], having his children in submission with all reverence [FAIL! Incestuous rape isn't the submission Paul had in mind. Need I also mention Garner Ted?] 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil [FAIL! "God's Apostle" "Elijah" "Third Angel's Messenger" "Witness" "Spiritual and temporal leader of God's Church on earth" "Zerubbabel" compared himself to King David, Paul and Peter... need I say more?]. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside [FAIL! One British newspaper called him "the Kinky Apostle". If it wasn't for the lavish gifts he gave to dignitaries, would he have been so well received?], lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Have you ever spoken against Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Mark Foley, Barney Frank, David Vitter, or the any of the rest of the immeasurably long list of government figures who were caught up in sexual scandal? What about Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Paul Crouch, Ted Haggard, certain Catholic Priests, and all of the disgusting misrepresentatives of everything that is called good - ever speak out against them? Or maybe even Garner Ted Armstrong? Why on earth do these people betray our trust like that? They are supposed to be the ones we can trust! But if we label one, then we must label all, or let all go free. Are you prepared to use the identical measuring stick across the board? Why then do so many excuse Herbert Armstrong, whose sexual exploits are so well known and so well documented ...and so disgusting that I shudder to mention them...? Either Herbert W. Armstrong is not up to snuff, or all of those people have hit the mark.

He was dishonest. He made claims that he was the first person in 1,800 years to teach "the truth"; however, the majority of what he taught came to him from A. N. Dugger and G. G. Rupert of the COG7 or from books he read (eg. "Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright" by J. H. Allen). He claimed he was never a part of any other organization; however, he was a paid minister for the COG7 and one of the preaching 70 (until he was let go). He often made fiery public announcements about not ever knowing this, that, or the other thing when the mouth of two or three witnesses verifies he most certainly did know.

He falsified history. He said the first century church practiced as he taught, when it most certainly did not. He said the move from Passover to Easter was pagan, when it most certainly was not (it was affected by paganism later). His claims about the horns (Vandals, Visigoths, and Ostrogoths) in his publication "The Beasts of Revelation Thirteen" were incorrect and even self-contradictory. He said the church had an unbroken line of history back to the Apostles. However, that is entirely false. I can personally trace his history to 1844 - there it stops with William Miller. Most of the people Hoeh named in his plagiarized history were Catholic.

Then there's the plagiary. He plagiarized all or large parts of "The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy", "The History of God's True Church", "The Proof of the Bible" booklet, "Has Time Been Lost?", several articles he allegedly authored for the magazines, and who knows what else.

The list of cherry-picked beliefs is too long to get in to. Either keep the whole law, or don't. This is what Paul says. There is no cherry-picking! I often hear "We are not justified by the law, but we have to keep it." Then why don't you keep all of it? There are 613 laws in the Torah, of which the COGs keep a small fraction. Not to mention the MANY teachings of Armstrong that are simply flat-out wrong - like tithing, for example. You know as well as I what the law says! (Tithes are for Levites.) You know as well as I what the holy day offerings were really about. (They were burnt offerings - fulfilled by Christ.) You know the holy days are not kept right! (Where is your Tabernacles booth?) You remember the rule against medicine (that killed many people, but HWA often exempted himself from). You remember (divorce and remarriage, aka. "D&R"). You remember the Pentecost controversy. People say to me "Mr. Armstrong changed the law out of necessity." Is that some small thing? He called himself Elijah, is he God now too? NO MAN CAN CHANGE THE LAW!!

Is this article angry? Is it bitter? Is there a root of bitterness in me? This is not about me. These things I report are true as testified by the mouths of many witnesses. Rather than deal with the facts, people castigate the messengers as "bitter". It's a cheap slight of hand to get your attention away from the facts. And if "bitter" isn't used, then "slander" will be, or some other phrase. And that word, slander, is tossed around by ministers who judge and condemn billions of people based on little more than prophetic speculation. When people toss around phrases like 'slander' against people, it is the equivalent of calling them liars. But we have a law, "Do not bare false witness against your neighbor." (EXO. 20: 16) We had better be sure we don't dismiss God for the sake of pride.
All of this judgment and condemnation has gotten out of hand.

(JOB 40: 8) Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?

I do not say these things in bitterness, but in warning and love to you!! I am not angry, but joyful to help those who are in bondage to a severe cult. I am not a novice or unfamiliar with the subject, but 30 years I spent following and teaching Herbert Armstrong. I am not deceived, as the information I share with you is readily available and is proven fact!
Nor either do I say this to condemn Herbert Armstrong. I try my hardest not to condemn anyone. God will judge. I merely find it necessary to make you aware of these things that are hidden from you in order to wake you up to the truth and to shake you out of the spell Armstrongism has you under. These are bitter pills to swallow for sure, but should you accept the quality of the fountain, then perhaps you can accept the quality of the water -- and stop drinking it!

I say to you "come out of her"! Jesus gave up all that exists for you - I implore you to consider what great price was paid for the New Covenant. I implore you deeply to consider what Herbert Armstrong leads people away from. Consider how you are called to be attached to the Vine, directly to Jesus Christ the Head over all things, and not to any man. Consider the price and consequences of glossing over the real HWA - for whatever reason. Don't fall for clever little sayings like, "if any man today was found to be guilty of what David did that they would be rejected as a servant of God as well." This is a diversion. David had real prophets. David was accompanied by real miracles. Most importantly, David repented. Herbert Armstrong's many "sure" prophecies have not come to pass, miracles are non-existent, and there was no repentance.

Apply evenly the measurement which you apply to others and open your eyes to what you are doing, lest you find you call God wrong to justify HWA. Remember how Waterhouse said if God doesn't return during HWA's life, then the Bible is wrong?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Following A Man

I was looking for something on the Internet when I stumbled quite by accident across Raymond C. Cole's 'Church of God, The Eternal' website. He attempts to answer the question "By What Authority Do We Exist?" Instead, he illustrates everything I mean when I say that Armstrongists follow a man.

At first, Mr. Cole explains that a minister must be called and sent. He doesn't claim to be called or sent, he just states that one must be. He speaks about true doctrine, but does nothing to show he preaches any. He then shows how a minister has a responsibility to actually do his job. I still don't know what that has to do with proving anything about Mr. Cole's legitimacy.
After this, Mr. Cole basically says "by their fruits you shall know them." Once again, great. But so what? The question was about his legitimacy. Is he saying no one else has good fruits? Why aren't they legitimate if they do? I wonder by this point if there is going to be a response to the initial question.

"It was not until the failure of prophetic interpretations that the wholesale lowering of standards and watering-down of doctrine began," he says. So he admits Armstrong's prophecies failed? I'd hate to have to tell him, but it was the surety of those interpretations that was THE proof that the WCG was the one true church! If they've failed, where does that leave him?

Let's look into his mind a bit, "His [Jesus'] church and His people, for the most part, have forsaken Him!" I agree in part. Many people have forsaken Christ... for Armstrong. But what's more important right here is how Mr. Cole's view of Christ's Church is that of a physical organization instead of a Spiritual body. This displays a complete lack of understanding of the New Covenant.

"Christ kept His promise to preserve His Truth (Matt. 16:18), or there is no truth." Unfortunately, this contradicts the 1,900 years without truth theory. A 1,900 year prophecy is found nowhere in the Bible. It is actually a generalization built on Armstrong's 19-year time-cycles theory. Again, not Biblical, and having little to do with "the Truth". But I digress.
"The Worldwide Church of God never proclaimed ... that one is in hopeless religious confusion." Armstrong never said the Bible is fraud, even though Waterhouse said if Jesus doesn't return in Armstrong's life then the Bible is wrong. He did say the entire world was and is in hopeless confusion (except for his church).

Over and again Mr. Cole speaks of "the truth" and "the revealed truth". Let me explain what Mr. Cole is saying without the cloaked phraseology. He is saying "Contend for the faith once delivered....... by Herbert Armstrong."
   THAT is the real issue here.
He says, "Either the Worldwide Church of God taught the Truth, or we have no basis for calling ourselves Christians today."
Mr. Cole's first assumption, the one assumption that makes much of his conclusions fail, is that Herbert Armstrong was delivered a special revelation from God. From this one assumption arises all of his further conclusions, including his assumption that he is a valid minister - and hence the reason he dances around the plain answer to the original question, which answer is "I follow a man." Let me demonstrate.

In his "An Open Letter From Raymond C. Cole", Mr. Cole plainly says, "The concept of divine revelation was the bedrock factor upon which my faith and loyalty to God stood..." I believe every word of this, save one: "God". That should read "Herbert Armstrong". The divine revelation he truly refers to is that which Herbert Armstrong claimed.
Again from the Open Letter, Mr. Cole recalls, "For days Mr. Armstrong continually insisted God had revealed to him that which he was preaching. ... I was left with a single decision to make. Was I going to protect the self, or was I willing to accept in faith and absolute conviction that which had been demonstrated—divine revelation [to HWA]. One of the greatest psychological releases I have ever experienced came at the moment when I decided Mr. Armstrong was right—God reveals His Truth to a chosen servant [HWA]. It, therefore, is absolute and cannot change.

In plain English this means, "I follow a man." His faith is so very much tied to Herbert Armstrong that if HWA was wrong, he sees clearly he is not anywhere near what the actual truth is. He must defend HWA. Everything he has depends on it. Not Christ, HWA. 
No, Mr. Cole, either Christ died for us, or we have no salvation. If HWA does not match the Bible, then choose the Bible!

Mr. Cole now begins to pressure those whose faith in men manifested differently than his.
"Those who refuse to accept the validity of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong's original commission ... and the revealed truth, are denying the validity of their baptism.
Fear and control; typical. Keep in mind Mr. Cole means "original" when he says "original"; ie. prior to the 1970's doctrinal changes. In the Open Letter, Mr. Cole refers to 1973-1974 as "an apostasy". Need I say more?
"A true minister will never separate for anything but a departure from revealed truth. Those who have left and started their own works because of personal differences or administrative debates outside the realm of doctrinal perversion, prove by such actions, that the Word, the Truth, is not paramount in their thinking."
Mr. Cole left Armstrongism in the 1970's. This is tantamount to saying HWA departed from the truth, and that's why Mr. Cole left. This was decades before Tkach.
Take this as a whole and it means that if you deny pre-1974 Herbert Armstrong, then you are not a Christian. Now he adds to that.
"If one has accepted doctrinal changes, then he is admitting he never knew the Truth."
So, if you deny pre-1970's HWA, you're not following Christ, and if you accept post 1970's HWA, you were never following Christ. Oddly enough, in his mind, this makes perfect sense.

Now, I tell you the most ironic part of this entire page. I don't think Mr. Cole thought this through very well or he wouldn't have said it like this. He said in the previous quote that if you accept doctrinal changes then you never knew the truth. But it was Mr. Herbert Armstrong himself that approved the changes that caused Mr. Cole to leave the Worldwide Church of God. Even though Mr. Cole may with his words want us to suppose he is standing against Joseph Tkach, with his actions he shows that isn't exactly true. The stand against change that Mr. Cole took was not against Joseph W. Tkach but against Herbert W Armstrong! So this says, in effect, that Mr. Armstrong accepted changes and thus never knew the truth!! How ironic is that?? So, to say that the truth is what Mr. Armstrong taught originally, and then to make an enormous gaff like this and say Mr. Armstrong never knew the truth, why, that's just talking one's self in a circle.

Your only job as a Christian is to accept that Mr. Armstrong received pure truth at the beginning of his ministry, and all changes are of Satan. This, in my opinion, is tantamount to blasphemy. It sets Herbert Armstrong nigh equal to Jesus Christ who came to reveal God's truth. Herbert Armstrong was not the Savior of anyone. Nor was he a valid prophet as he claimed. Nor were there prophecies about him. Nor did he fulfill any prophecies (save possibly for the ones about false prophets). We can talk about Elijah all day long, but the facts remain: 1) Christ said plainly that Elijah was John the Baptist (MATT. 17: 10-13), 2) Herbert Armstrong did not live to introduce the returning Christ, 3) Herbert Armstrong did not return the hearts of the children to the fathers or vice versa. I could go on, but why?

"Now can you understand why I was so troubled by the changes which constituted the apostasy of 1972-74? Can you understand why I will not budge regarding doctrine even now? I fear to compromise. I want only that Truth which is recorded in God's Holy Word and was revealed to an end-time servant (Matthew 28:19–20)." [emphasis mine]
Here is the issue. He doesn't want Christ's version of God's word, he wants HWA's version of it.

He even gives absolutely incorrect information. "In its formative years, the Church of God was the only organization founded on divine revelation. No present religion is founded on the validity of divine revelation, not even the Worldwide Church of God, since its apostasy!" Then what are we to make of the Mormons, or the Seventh Day Adventists, among many others? Many groups claim divine inspiration. All of them are just as devoted to their "leader" as Mr. Cole is devoted to HWA. This claim by Mr. Cole is absolutely false on its face. But why make such a claim at all? He means to say that even though those other groups claim to be divinely inspired, they are not. Why not? They don't have HWA! In other words, he worships a man.

I appreciate that Mr. Cole was observant enough to see that HWA claimed to be divinely inspired, but later changed what he said God had revealed. Raymond Cole called himout on that. I don't think it was the best idea to continue believing what HWA said at first was any more valid than what he said at the end. 
Mr. Cole's authority to exist is based on what? Nothing more than Herbert Armstrong's insistence on his own office. And Mr. Cole swallowed it so hard, that he based the rest of his life on it. A Christian follows Christ; Raymond Cole follows Herbert Armstrong. I hate to be so blunt, but I'm trying to illustrate a point - that Armstrongists all say they follow Christ, but it can be demonstrated again and again that they follow a man.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On Following Men

No one has ever said to me "I follow a man". Of course most people would not consciously follow a man. It is easier to say "I follow Jesus Christ". If I ask one question here it is this: Do people, specifically the people in the COGs, really follow Jesus Christ?

Now, I want people to think about the irony of the statement "I follow Christ" from those who attend a church started by a man who described himself as "the spiritual and temporal leader of the church" and who then proceeded to change the laws of God. Is it following God to change God's laws? Did God come and change His own laws? No. Then who did? A man. When Herbert Armstrong changed his views time and time again, the Bible did not change with him. Yet people followed along before and after. So who were people following? A man. When Ron Weinland did the exact same thing, who were people following? A man. So who is being followed? Christ? That's just not possible!

I observed during my time in the COGs, and even participated in the practice, of following after my ministers in using the phrase "so called Christians". What is that? According to the COGs, that is any person who claims to be a Christian but does not follow the Old Covenant laws. Think of the irony. Think of the irony of a group of people who are not fully following the Old Covenant laws, calling people who do not follow the Old Covenant laws "so-called Christians". I recently got into a little tiff with a minister for this very thing. I attempted to show him the gap between what he says in one place and another. He basically told me I wasn't affording him the deference due him and vowed never to speak to me again. VERY Christian, that! On whose behalf was he offended?

For those who are still in Armstrongism, ask yourself, "Do I keep the law - the WHOLE law?" I understand the natural inclination to excuse yourself. Please fight that inclination and answer honestly. Understand that I don't mean to ask you if you could keep the law more perfectly. You are correct that Jesus Christ covers sins. I mean to ask you if there are portions of the law you don't keep at all. And I am not referring to third tithe. For examples of what I am talking about, do you build a sukkah (booth) at Tabernacles (LEV. 23: 42; NEH. 8: 14-17), or do you travel three times in a year to the place where the Lord places His name (EXO. 23: 14; EXO. 34: 24; DEU. 16), or do you regard a false prophet (DEU. 18: 20-22), or perhaps do you ingest animal fat (LEV. 3: 17)? 

Let's put this into a little perspective. According to James 2: 10 and Galatians 5, if you set out to keep the law but do not keep it all, if you even stumble in one point, you have nothing. Have you stumbled in even one point? Then you are guilty of all and are the same as a liar and a murderer and all other such things. Paul does one better and says clearly that if you even attempt to find your salvation through the law then Christ Himself profits you absolutely nothing (GAL. 5: 1-5)! Consider, or think deeply about, your calling!

This reminds me of Galatians 6: 13
(GAL. 6: 13) For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.

Not keeping the law while boasting in fleshly ordinances seems to be the way of Armstrong. Yet over and anon we used to say "we are God's true church because we keep His laws". But we didn't keep His laws! Oh, we said we did. And we were very confident in the law. But it goes to show that we never understood Paul or the law!

(I TIM. 1: 5-7) 5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. [emphasis mine]

The law is not the proof that God is working in us. His Spirit is. His Spirit does not come from the law, nor the keeping of it. Where do you ever read that? Man's own reasoning conjured it up. I'll tell you what we can read, however:

(GAL. 3: 2-5) 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

I've talked about this before in my post "By This All Will Know". You say the Spirit comes to those who keep the law. Paul calls it foolish to think the Spirit comes through law. So then, is the proof that God is calling you to be found in your foolishness? "Not many wise now are called," it says. Is it proof that you are poor, or in other words, not mighty nor wise? Does it make sense to say "I'm among the weak and foolish of the world, therefore I know God is working with me"? And what is it that is too hard for you to grasp? There is simplicity in Christ!
Or perhaps you view the proof that God is calling you to be found in that you are a "little flock"? As if to say, "We are part of a small church, therefore we are God's true church"? Then why boast about 33% growth each year? Why does the PCG website boast a great deal about increase in size? Why does the CGG write against using size as a measure? So both small size and large size are proof? 
Do you glory in your foolishness or your small size or your partial law keeping? In what are those who glory supposed to glory in? CHRIST! There is nothing confusing about that. It does not say to glory in the law or your understanding or your calling or that God has revealed to you some thing or anything at all to do with yourself. It says to glory in HIM. Him personally!

Christ did good for all mankind. All good flows from the Father through Christ. Christ's own faith is placed in His own people. Sin is conquered in Christ. Christ gave up all things, all things that exist. Christ inherited all things. Christ is worthy. Who is Christ? He is the Son of God, at the right hand of God, the Head over all things to His Spiritual Church. Make your boast in Him.
What good have we of ourselves done? None. What faith have we on our own? None. What sin have we personally resisted on our own according to God's standards? Not a single one. What do we deserve from God? Nothing. What have we earned from God? Nothing. Who are we? Nobody.

So why glory in "us"? Why boast in "us"? Why condemn "them"? Why say or even think such things as "God isn't working with them" or "they are as good as dead anyway"? Why sequester yourselves? Why hide what light you have? Matthew 5: 43-48 says you're no better than the tax collectors if you act this way. Why hold your head up over someone else? Why call attention to your organizations? We are all guilty of such things from time to time. But why? Are we not making ourselves wise; wise in our own eyes?! "Not many wise now are called." Put your boast in Christ, not your minister, or your responses to a magazine, or any sort or form of carnal thing. If you can clear away the "us vs. them" mentality, clear away this identification with a clique, then perhaps you will begin to see how "they" aren't one bit less important than "we". Perhaps if you see that Jesus Christ is trying to make one Spiritual man out of many physical men, then perhaps you will cease trying to divide things up again. "But they aren't called because they don't keep the law," you say. Well, you don't keep the law either! Then the rock of James 2 and Galatians 5 falls upon you and it will crush you.

Have we forgotten Philippians?
(PHP. 3: 7-11) 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. [emphasis mine]

Notice how many times Paul mentions Christ. It is obvious where his focus is. Let's contrast that.

On the Philadelphia Church of God website is a section on their history. There you will find this statement,"The PCG broke away from the Worldwide Church of God in order to preserve the teachings and legacy of its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong". Oh really? Not Jesus Christ? In all actuality, the words 'Jesus' and 'Christ' do not appear anywhere on that page. On the other hand, the word 'Armstrong' appears at least 13 times. A rich tale of HWA's past is told, there is even a link to another article all about Herbert Armstrong... again, no mention of Jesus Christ. Not one word. 
In the "About Us" section on the Living Church of God website, we see this "The Presiding Evangelist, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, was one of the original evangelists ordained by the late Herbert W. Armstrong in December 1952." Notice carefully where Rod Merideth believes he derives his authority. Once again, Jesus Christ is absent. 
The Restored Church of God mentions Christ 3 times, Armstrong 4 times. Not a bad start, until you notice the link to the eight chapter 'book' (complete with preface, introduction, and epilogue) about Herbert Armstrong's life. A glance into their uncompromising and unapologetic self-promotion left me queasy. Take for example this sentence "While many groups arose from the WCG, we are the only true extension of Mr. Armstrong's ministry—the Church in which Christ is now working!" In the RCG mentality that I see on display, if you aren't "us" then you are nobody.

Where is the focus? Why, "we" are the focus, of course! Complete and utter "us vs. them" mentality. Competition. Strife. Envy. Pride. Godly? No!
Time would fail before I investigate with you all of the various groups who make Herbert W. Armstrong into an idol and a requirement for salvation.
This kind of thing is par for the course with Armstrongism. For more of this exact same thing, please read my earlier posts "What Do You Mean, One True Church" parts 1 and 2.

What have we seen so far? As a general rule, the boast of the COGs is in Herbert Armstrong. The authority is from HWA. The focus is often on HWA. The teachings came from HWA. And even though many will like to say "but from Christ through HWA", this is clearly not the case since HWA clearly changed the laws of God. So, when given the choice between the version of the law in the Bible and the version given by HWA, the COGs choose HWA. Is HWA greater than God? Where, then, is the focus? And not only did HWA change things, but he contradicts the clear words of the Bible! When HWA says "The Spirit comes to those who keep the law", the COGs eat that up! Yet when Paul says "The Spirit does not come by law but by faith, grace, and promise" and again "the law brings condemnation", the COGs say NO! NO! So, where is your focus? The Bible says "by their fruits you will know them." When scores and scores of primary and secondary witnesses come forward to tell about the kind of fruits HWA had (and his ministers after him), the COGs say "if any man today was found to be guilty of what David did that they would be rejected as a servant of God as well." And after such an avalanche of confirmable, demonstrable, falsifiable evidence the COGs cover their ears and bury their heads and say, "Slander!" Where then is the focus? All of this for a man?

Please understand my motives are not to attack you! I do not confront you with this for your harm. Quite the opposite! I care about you, and I want you to see the distance between yourself and Christ so you will take the steps to close that gap! There were barriers in my way when I was in Armstrongism, and I know those barriers are before you. To see those barriers, you need to accept a few things. 
First of all is that God loves you so much He died for you. But not just for you - for all mankind! God is love. Love comes first. 
Second, I hope beyond hope that I can get you to see how judgmental and condemnatory the belief system is. The condemnation has got to stop. I think one of the greatest obstacles to my own personal happiness while I was in my former association was the condemnation. No one can be truly happy while condemning others. 
Thirdly, and the focus of this post, is I pray you see, by the grace of God, where your focus lies. Is it with Christ? Because I'll tell ya, from the evidence, it does not look good. Or is it with a man or the ministries of men? If that is so, that has got to change immediately. 

I want you to ask yourself a question: "Who is the leader of your church?" If you didn't immediately respond, "Jesus Christ", then please allow me to suggest you have much work to do. I would like you to ask yourself another question: "What is my church?" If you didn't respond, "It is the Spiritual body of Christ, composed of everyone with God's Spirit, regardless of all man-made organizations" (or some such thing along that vein), then may I please suggest you have much work to do. How will you know these people? The Bible tells us without doubt "by their fruits." I have looked at the fruits of the COGs and asked, "Do people, specifically the people in the COGs, really follow Jesus Christ?" And from what I see, the answer is a resounding NO!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Quotations from the Hypocrypha

Most of you have probably never heard of Ron Weinland's former publication "News Watch". He started to put these out years ago when he was still in the UCG. I had totally forgotten about them. Mike from Don't Drink the Flavor Aid helped me stumble across these again.

Here are a few selections to show the difference between Ron Weinland of 1999, and Ron Weinland of 2009. The differences are so striking to me, that I have dubbed his collective publications, "The Hypocripha". I had originally put these up as comments on my last post, but I thought they would be easier for everyone to access if they were here.

The larger point I'm hammering away at is that this is exactly the same thing that Herbert Armstrong did. If RW is such and such a person, then so is HWA, because they are both the same! Yet so many people see RW for what he is, and still give HWA a pass. This astounds me. It's a complete double standard. They still say (and this is a recent quote I received from a minister), "if any man today was found to be guilty of what David did that they would be rejected as a servant of God as well." Incredible! The lengths to which people will go to reason around what they don't want to accept. If that's how this minister honestly feels, then he should completely accept RW as a servant of God. That's not gonna happen.

Shall we begin?

[God's government] is not about rank or position, but a matter of serving and giving. That is spiritual!"
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", July 1998

"The ministry has fallen back into the old, comfortable administrative style learned in WCG. Such administration is rarely one of shepherding, but of control, manipulation, politics and lethargy, all of which has been hard on God's people. ... The blindness within the ministry is so great that many elders will not have the remotest idea what I am talking about. But there are humble, faithful brethren who do know and see clearly what is being said."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", July 1998

Hypocrisy upon hypocrisy!
Those 'humble, faithful brethren' are here, reading this, and seeing through RW like so much glass.

RW quotes Eze. 13: 8-10 and then says,
"These words should be intently sobering when one considers how we in the ministry can go about building a structure after the image we once knew [meaning the WCG] and do so to the neglect of so many of God's people who have been scattered or lost. And when flaws in the structure are pointed out, every effort is made to secretly cover those flaws as hurriedly as possible, making declarations about false accusers or attacks from Satan. The flaws and weaknesses are denied by declaring stability, growth and the need to go forward doing God's work."
"Sometimes it is hard for God's people--especially within the ministry--to see themselves realistically. We seem to believe we cannot be in error if we are His people, especially if we are His ministers. But God gives warnings to His people and to His ministers."
"We need to be jolted by the reality that we will reap what we sow, not deceiving ourselves that we are somehow exempt from judgment simply because we bear God's name. We must not deceive ourselves by thinking we are special as His ministers and somehow bear no accountability."
"Continuing with "business as usual" or total denial of our problems will only bring swift punishment."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", July 1998

"We have not done well in this regard, often failing to love others ... as we should. This simply reflects the state of dysfunction in many spiritual lives, which means we really are not as spiritual as we think we are. A major part of the problem is that we do not tend to see ourselves realistically. Therein comes the"denial."
The ability to see oneself realistically --as God sees us-- is a matter of the spirit, His spirit. It is only natural or carnal for us to deny our true spiritual state. It is a normal consequence of man's selfish nature to "pass the buck" concerning personal responsibility and to also deny ones own culpability."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", August 1998

Wait a minute here... are we to believe that hearing voices and declaring ones self the One Witnesses is being realistic?

"[Some ministers] are trying to strengthen their hold on the congregations they are supposed to be "serving and leading," instead of "ruling and controlling!"
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", August 1998

"Brethren are becoming easy prey to charlatans, false ministers, and crackpots who are only making merchandise of them. One of the primary purposes of News Watch is to warn brethren and expose these kinds of dangers to God's scattered flock."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", August 1998

HA!! Is this a joke??

"[Ministers] often fail to grasp that their own practices have spawned a great deal of the adverse reaction and heightened sensitivities"
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", Oct/Nov 1998

"ministers focus on themselves and all the work they are doing to build up themselves and the organization they serve. They make great plans for the future and try to get others to focus on those dreams."
"Yes, the ministry has been turning inward. Many are concerned about job security and retirement. As a result, compromise subtly encroaches on sound standards of shepherding, integrity, moral leadership, faithful administration, and sound-mindedness. Self-preservation, control, compromise, and other sins become the norm and cannot be recognized nor admitted because sin leaves one groping in the dark. Ministers get caught up in petty jealousies, worrying about brethren listening to other ministers (even within their own organizations). They become territory conscious and numbers conscious, all out of selfish gain."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", Oct/Nov 1998

I feel this completely applies to RW's current self.

"The environment in some church corporations makes [looking to God first and foremost] almost impossible to achieve because their structures require a kind of allegiance that is actually spiritual idolatry."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", Oct/Nov 1998

Look to "2008 God's Final Witness", (or "Mystery of the Ages"), not the Bible! (He says sarcastically.)

"But the sad reality is that too many ministers abuse their power, control and manipulate brethren..."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", Oct/Nov 1998

Right! And RW's one of 'em.

"Sad to say, we find many within the scattered organizations who are coming to the defense of 'the church of their choice,' justifying and excusing the errors, false teachings, unrighteous behavior, and corruption of some of their leaders. Our condition has deteriorated to the point that many brethren not only justify, but also lend strong support that enables such leaders to strengthen their hold and become more deeply entrenched in their wrong practices. This is not a small thing before God, and He holds both the supported and supporter responsible."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", Dec 1998

"For some, lying is apparently justifiable if it is deemed to be for the greater good of an organization, for unity, or for the sake of 'the Work.' Some abdicate all responsibility saying it is not our place to judge our leaders, regardless of their actions. Of course, complacency is so prevalent that many are unconcerned about lies and either are unable to see them or choose not to see them. Some simply give blind support."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", Dec 1998

"Please don't misunderstand, I do not consider myself above them, nor am I speaking out of resentment. I am speaking out of my own shame and heartache for what I have done in my weaknesses as well."
Ron Weinland, "News Watch", Jan 1999

Where the heck is more of this? Where did this Ron Weinland go?

I don't terribly much enjoy posting this stuff. I prefer a more civilized approach to blogging. There's something uncomfortably negative about this. Even so, I feel it has to be done. People need access to this information. I have probably one more post that I want to do in this vein. I just came across an old sermon that RW gave years ago, right before he kicked out half the Toledo congregation. I found it interesting. Then, I seriously hope to return to a more 'comfortable' format.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ron Weinland on Government

These words were from a man few would recognize. It goes pretty well in line with my previous article where Herbert Armstrong declared the very governmental structure of the Worldwide Church of God to be none other than the Image of the Beast of Revelation.

This post is going to be a tad more negative than what you're used to here, but I feel in the mood to hold a person to his own standards.
I would submit for your inspection evidence that in all ways Ronald Weinland is like his mentor, and if anyone will call Ron Weinland a false prophet, false apostle, Christ monger, hypocrite, flip-flopper, or any other such thing, then they must in kind use the exact same measure on the other.

"Brethren can become quite confused when they begin listening to all the different ideas about government put forth by competing organizations. Who is right? Where is God? Is God as divided as it would appear when listening to so many conflicting views on the subject? And after all, doesn't each organization believe it has the best structure, or even the only correct structure?

"Some believe organization or government is all about the proper structure. The pendulum swings far and wide on this subject. On one end we are told that only one man can be at the top in a kind of hierarchy, while at the other end it is claimed that such structure is of Satan, of the gentiles, or the way of the Nicolaitans. And between these two is another great smorgasbord. Where is God in all this?

"Is God's government established upon rank, administrative structure or control? Some seem to think so. Do such things produce the fruits of unity and closeness God desires in His family? Obviously not!

"Any government or organization (corporation) is only as good as the integrity and morality of those who administer it and submit to it. 

"As a case in point, it might be good to comment on the obsession with the name Philadelphia. Many want to see themselves as Philadelphian, because they believe it sounds so good. ... Bearing the name of a Philadelphian is not nearly as high a commendation as what God said to some in Thyatira: "I know your works, love [agape], service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first" (Revelation 2:19, NKJ).

"If ministers and brethren use biblical terminology to jockey for position, despising those whom they see as inferior, is it any wonder people have strayed so far from understanding what the gospel message is all about? 

"Those are powerful words! Do you understand the depth and beauty of what they say? Can you discern such love? To do so demands a close relationship with God, being truly yielded to Him in genuine humility--by God living in us. Too many people in God's Church have allowed His love to wax cold in their lives. The result is the growing confusion over organization and government that we see today."

I should remind everyone that this was published less than one year before the time when RW started prepping his Toledo, Ohio congregation to accept him as sole possessor of authority and master of top-down government. He took over the church board, disfellowshipping them, and expelled many of the congregation in February 2000. (Check out the fabulous and improved timeline over at Don't Drink the Flavor Aid for more details.) 
I conclude, therefore, that he knew he was being deceptive when he penned it, and did so merely to throw off suspicions.

Oh how the mighty have fallen...
Sick, sick, sick.

**See my next post on Quotations from the Hypocrypha for more of this sort of thing.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Church Government - Image of the Beast?

Did Herbert Armstrong say the government of the Worldwide Church of God is the Image of the Beast of Revelation? It shocks me too!

I was reading the Painful Truth and came across this gem entitled "Herbert W. Armstrong's 209 False Prophecies" by "the Watcher". Yes indeedly do, I recommend it!

Anywho, I get to this one, "23) 1940 PT: 'Christ will come after 3.5 years of tribulation in October 43'", and I decided this was so interesting that I had to read the source for myself. There was no month stated. I decided to start at the beginning of the year. Well, I got to April-May, and I found a major curiosity. You simply have to read it for yourself:

"The first pope, in the real sense of the word, was Leo I (440-461 A.D.)," says the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 7, page 829. To him this form of GOVERNMENT of the Roman Empire was the most marvellous thing on earth. It became an obsession. He applied its principles to the CHURCH, organizing the church into a GOVERNMENT, forming the PAPACY. This CHURCH GOVERNMENT or ORGANIZATION is the IMAGE OF THE BEAST. Says Myers' Ancient History: "During the reign of Leo I, the Church set up, within the Roman Empire, an ecclesiastical STATE (government) which, in its constitution and its administrative system, was shaping itself upon the imperial MODEL." The Britannica calls the papacy an ECCLESIASTICAL WORLD EMPIRE! This IMAGE---church government---compelled people to WORSHIP THE CHURCH! And since the church was organized into a government, this was worship of the IMAGE---FALSE worship---IDOLATRY!!

"But this church became a MOTHER, and DAUGHTER CHURCHES came out of her ... And ALL ARE ORGANIZED , and have CHURCH GOVERNMENT. ...

"Yes, CHURCH GOVERNMENT is the "IMAGE" of the "BEAST." When people speak of "MY Church," they mean their organized denomination. And today people seem to IDOLIZE their CHURCHES! This is "worshipping the IMAGE of the BEAST."
Herbert Armstrong, Plain Truth, April-May 1940, p. 9 [emphasis his, if that wasn't obious]

Church government is the "IMAGE of the BEAST"?? Oh, where to begin?

Perhaps I shall remind you that church government is the first, number one, el numero uno, primary, of the 18 "truths" restored by HWA. Yet, church government, Armstrong said in 1940, is the "IMAGE of the BEAST." We all know of the time when HWA said church government is the one thing the Catholics got right.

Why the flip-flop? Yet this isn't the only time he flippidy flopped!

"There is not single HINT in the NEW TESTAMENT of any Church BOARD with authority to rule, to govern, to decide doctrine, or to handle tithes and church finances (the whole church). In a later number we shall devote an article to explaining Acts 15, which certainly sets no such example.
"Jesus never organized, or re-organized his Church! There is NO SCRIPTURE for it!
"All authority and power to rule is limited solely to each LOCAL congregation. But there is NO BIBLE AUTHORITY for any super- government, or organization with authority over the local congregations!"
"How, then, did ORGANIZATION, and the idea of CHURCH GOVERNMENT get into the Church? It came out of BABYLON! Spiritual BABYLON -- that is, ROME! The same as nearly all the false doctrines of Satan."

HWA firmly came out against church government to such a degree that he pulled out all stops to attack the idea. He even invoked the name of Nimrod! Not only does this prove he flip-flopped, but it is is solid evidence against the fabled 'divine revelation after prayerful Bible study' story we've all heard a million times. Recall Pentecost, D&R, healing, meats as a physical issue only, and others - all changed over time. 
If there was a revelation, wouldn't it be right the first time, and not after a few iterations? Not only that, but how can the diametric opposite of what was 'revealed' eventually become the "truth"? After the alleged revelation, HWA said government was evil; the "IMAGE of the BEAST" no less. Decades later, government is great! It's one of the proofs!

Is it just the Catholic Church's government that HWA spoke of? No. He said "ALL ARE ORGANIZED , and have CHURCH GOVERNMENT." But which was the best? That is obviously the governmental form employed by the Catholic Church. If Leo I gushed over Rome, HWA gushed over Roman Catholicism.

I would now like to deconstruct a few things from the above quote.

"an ecclesiastical STATE (government)"
The Catholic Church is also a state. Certainly that doesn't apply to the WCG, right? Ahhh, but the Worldwide Church of God was also a state. Stanley Rader admitted to so much.
The following is a snippet of transcript from an interview Stanley Rader did with Mike Wallace on television's "60 Minutes" back in 1979:
[Wallace] "Are you suggesting that Herbert Armstrong is a head of state?"
[Rader] "Exactly. Exactly. And..."
[Wallace] "And you're the Secretary of State?"
[Rader] "You got it. By God you got it, Mike. That's it! That's the whole key. This is a state and we are representatives of God, and I am Mr. Armstrong's Secretary of State."
Stanley Rader, 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace (starting at time stamp 8 minutes 29 seconds)
(You can download the audio file in .mp3 format from the Painful truth here. Look at the bottom of the page for "".)

"in its constitution and its administrative system, was shaping itself upon the imperial MODEL
The government of Rome, which the Catholics copied, and which HWA copied in turn, was 'imperial'. Oddly enough, the name of the church sponsored grade school was what? Imperial! A name which the Philadelphia Church of God carries forward to this day. How appropriate it is when one says, "Herbert Armstrong built an empire"!!

"this church became a MOTHER, and DAUGHTER CHURCHES came out of her"
Let's give HWA some of his own medicine. This "mother church" is the Worldwide Church of God, and her "daughter churches" the UCG, LCG, PCG, RCG, CGG, PKG, CGF, etc, etc, etc ad nauseum.
Not so nice when the barrel of that gun is pointed at you, is it?
I point this out for one reason. Do we not see what a tangled web and a fine kettle we have when we start condemning and judging others? 
To quote Harold Smith, of the Church of God Fellowship, "All prophetic interpretation is speculation." Based upon absolutely nothing more than speculation, Herbert Armstrong judged and condemned BILLIONS of people. His ministers mimic and perpetuate this same unsavory nonsense. HWA put the above into writing, thinking he was doing a service to God. His words have now come full circle to bite him in the rear. Certainly - certainly - all of this condemnation must stop! All of the bickering and arguing over who is the false church and who is the one true church has done absolutely nothing good.

"When people speak of 'MY Church,' they mean their organized denomination."
Yes. And this is exactly what the splinters promote. If it were not so, then there would not be so very many splinters.

(I COR. 3: 3-4) 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

"This IMAGE---church government---compelled people to WORSHIP THE CHURCH!
And I say there is NO difference between what Leo I did and what HWA did.
"And today people seem to IDOLIZE their CHURCHES!"
This is exactly what we were taught to do in Armstrongism! This is exactly what they promoted! All that talk about "one true church". All of those "proofs" and "truths restored" and great swelling words about how HWA was "God's Apostle" and "Elijah" and "the voice in the wilderness". All of the buildings and the temple in Pasedena and the international trips and the Steuben crystal and the magazines and the radio shows and the "work". All of that pomp and circumstance was hyped and pushed and advertised to show how we should honor and respect the 'one true church' so we could all pay, pray, and stay. 
And what exactly was all of that? Herbert Armstrong himself will sum it up:
"this was worship of the IMAGE---FALSE worship---IDOLATRY!!"

(II COR. 11: 13-15) 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Beloved and prized by God who are still in Armstrongism, look at the evidence for yourself. Open your eyes and see the confusion! God is not the author of the decades of flip-flopping and condemnation. God is not the author of all of these splinters, each clamouring to continue the idolatrous empire. I implore you, by the love of God, do not let those men deceive you any further. There is another way! A simple way. A loving way. Step into the New Covenant!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

MORE COG Theological Ancestry

Back in September 2008 I posted about the COG Theological Ancestry.  I still believe that HWA gained much of what he believed from A. N. Dugger, but I wonder how much he got from G. G. Rupert. Rupert is undeniably a large source of inspiration for HWA. But was he as important as I had previously assumed? It may seem I overestimated Rupert - in at least one area.

I happened across an article on, of all places, the Worldwide Church of God website. I may not be willling to send my tithes in to Joe Jr., but I like his new direction. The WCG has access to material I could only dream of. I would love to spend a month in their archives! And they aren't afraid to apologize for their past. 
One manifestation of their guilt is a well written three-part document entitled "Herbert Armstrong and Anglo-Israelism" By Ralph Orr, from 1996. Here is a quote to whet the appetite:

"How did Mr. Armstrong come to believe in Anglo-Israelism? One possible source is G.G. Rupert, a Sabbath-keeper in Oklahoma. In 1915 Rupert convinced A.N. Dugger to allow him to advertise his book The Yellow Peril in The Bible Advocate. Thus it is possible that Herbert Armstrong could have come across Rupert's book in back issues of the Advocate. However, no evidence exists that proves Rupert to be the source for Mr. Armstrong's Anglo-Israelism. Rupert's Anglo-Israelism was not his Anglo-Israelism.
"However, Herbert Armstrong did (perhaps later) become familiar with Rupert's work. Copies of Rupert publications were among Mr. Armstrong's possessions. Rupert's observance of the biblical festivals might have increased his attractiveness to Herbert Armstrong. Still, an examination of Mr. Armstrong's correspondence for the late 1920s proves that his Anglo-Israelite beliefs came from another direction, which we will now discuss."

This study touches on some great topics, such as how HWA came to believe he had a special calling from God. Wouldja believe, it was because some strange woman arrived at his door and asked him to unload some wood? Sounds like a Monty Python skit to me. Strange women, walking around in towns, distributing wood, is no basis for a church government.

"There was no vision. There was no dream. There was no voice. There was only the woman at the door with an offer for him to stack wood, which he concluded was an answer to prayer. That offer to stack wood kept the Armstrongs from starving and enabled him to continue to write. This was all it took to convince him that he had a unique calling — a God-ordained commission to shout the Third Angel's Message to the world."

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. This is what Armstrongism is based on - wood stacking.

Whenever the topic of HWA's flaws is brought up among his followers, inevitably there is this response: "If King David were alive today, would you reject him for his flaws too?" Answer: if King David were alive today he would be speaking with God via legitimate prophets, with signs and other wonders, and not relying on a hunch and an old woman with wood. If only it were true that he spent hours studying the Bible and praying on his knees and God revealed the truth to him. Yet that isn't so. I can demonstrate quite easily how his theologies grew and changed over the years (remember church government, Pentecost, D&R, etc?). There was no great revelation. It really, truly, incredibly boils down to a woman and a pile of wood. Hundreds of thousands of people call him an apostle because of this.

The most important thing to understanding Armstrongism is British-Isralism. That was what HWA was on about in those formative years. The false doctrine of British-Israelism is key to understanding Herbert Armstrong. It is the main reason the WCG split from the COG7. This study is incredibly informative on many fronts, but especially on how HWA came to accept British-Israelism. I highly recommend it!

One bad thing is that navigating the website is clunky. The WCG needs to revise the site. I think the study used to be in 5 parts, because the links are numbered incorrectly. On the bottom of the second page, after the list of references, is a link to the next section. It says it takes you to part 5. Ignore the incorrect numbering and just click the link. Even the naming of the html pages is totally incorrect.
If it makes things easier, I will link to the three parts here for you.