Monday, 25 September 2006
“...your Bible predicts a great TRADE WAR between the economic power in Europe and the United States. It predicts terrible financial collapse of this country...” (The Plain Truth, December 1963)
Trade War has been a constant jeremiad in COG circles. The bad guys vary: Germany, Japan and now China. The good guys? Well shucks, it's the US of A, who else?
I was introduced to the concept with the second or third issue of The Plain Truth that I received as a teen in 1970. I may be misremembering, but I believe the bad guy de jour then was Japan.
But lo, nothing changes in the copycat sects. The latest issue of Meredith's Tomorrow's World (he even stole the title of his magazine from the 1970s WCG) is “U.S. - China Trade War: Coming Soon?”
Notice the question mark. The strategy is to suggest very strongly – so strongly the reader is meant to conclude that there's no doubt about it at all – but not actually say it. Weaseling is also a fine COG tradition.
Then there's that helpful little word “if.” “If China were to stop buying U.S. Treasury notes...” “If China were to sell its U.S. Securities...” “If the dollar declines in importance as the international currency...” (All quoted from the article in TW.)
All of this ties into the wacky prophetic scenarios advanced by Herb Armstrong and his Adventist predecessors. If the path to Last Trump appears to disappear behind an occasional fog bank, fear not, the outcome is assured: “The Bible reveals that at the end of the present age...” “Regular readers of Tomorrow's World understand that the prophecies concerning the house of Israel just before Christ's return tell the future of the U.S. And the British Commonwealth nations.” “Tomorrow's World will continue to keep you informed...”
Ironically the Editor in Chief, Rod Meredith, has an editorial in this same issue entitled “Biblical Ignorance: A Real Problem.” Naturally, he's not talking about brain-dead ignorance in his Living Church of God, he simply doesn't exhibit the degree of introspection to make that even a faint possibility, but then Rod was always more enthused over splinters than logs.
So maybe it's apt to end with a quote from someone who can address this Biblical ignorance issue with a little more authority. John Collins isn't a COG member and, as far as I know, has never speculated on Trade War with anyone. He is a past president of the Society for Biblical Literature, a professor at Yale, author of a commentary on Daniel, along with many other books including Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures (from which the following quote is sourced):
“The responsible use of the Bible must begin by acknowledging that these books were not written with our modern situations in mind, and are informed by the assumptions of an ancient culture remote from our own.”
If that's where you begin, then Spanky and his band of merry men in Charlotte have yet to step up to the starting line. In fact they're running in quite the wrong direction.