Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Tales of the Good Old Days - Part 2


Another excerpt from Bumming With the Furies: Out on the Trail of Experience by Peter Leschak (pictured), as posted on the WCG Alumni board.

Bill stood up to ask a question in Theological Research, the third-year Bible class. He was genuinely puzzled, and politely (I thought) disputed the conclusion we were supposed to have reached as the result of completing a homework assignment concerning the canonization of the Bible. The instructor, a minister named (Benjamin) Chapman, immediately bristled. I could actually see him stiffen, tensing up as if for a physical battle. If he had been a dog, his hackles would’ve risen. An argument ensued, with Chapman not addressing Bill’s question, but rather accusing him of arrogance and insubordination. Bill stated repeatedly that he wasn’t challenging Chapman’s authority (though the question by its very nature of course had) nor showing disrespect, but the irate professor ridiculed him, demanding to know if he even believed in the Bible. A few students told me later that they had grown increasingly bewildered, amazed at what they considered to be a serious overreaction by Chapman. They said that if Bill had walked out, they’d have followed. (There’d been many complaints about the class among students.)

But finally Bill decided to just shut up and sit down. He was shocked, genuinely perplexed by what vehemence and contempt of Chapman’s reaction to what Bill considered a legitimate question. This public attack by a superior, an ordained minister of God, was so distressing that Bill felt the whole thing must’ve been his fault. That evening he went to Chapman’s home and apologized. This humbling, magnanimous effort received a cold, “Well, you should apologize” response. There was no sense of warmth or conciliation, and absolutely no admission of at least partial wrong. Bill left angry and humiliated, violated once again. He believed that at “God’s college” there should be some recourse, so he made an official appointment with Chapman through his secretary, and asked if I could tag along. We discussed the “mission” at length and decided our purpose would be to respectfully inform Chapman that the majority of his students were dissatisfied with the way his course was run, and to propose some changes we felt would be beneficial. We believed the attitude of the class, especially after Bill’s excoriation, was ugly and that Chapman should be aware of it.

Unfortunately we were not granted an audience for three long weeks.

On a Friday evening in December, we finally entered Chapman’s office, nervous and intimidated…. We spent two hours discussing these matters, and all was serene and friendly, at least on the surface. We shook hands as we left, and Bill and I were satisfied that all had gone well. We congratulated each other, convinced we had accomplished some good. Silly boys.

Next morning at Sabbath services, Chapman delivered the sermon. The standard length of a sermon in the WCG was one to two hours (though I sat through some as long as three, and heard about a few legendary five-hour marathons). Chapman all but personally attacked Bill and me for nearly an hour and half. I was stunned. Bill had opted for the afternoon services and thus missed another public thrashing. In a vicious assault upon those who question and doubt, Chapman referred to several points we had discussed only several hours before in the apparently benign atmosphere of his office. I expected to hear our names spewed out at any moment, held up as pariahs or perhaps insidious dupes of Satan. He set up straw men and violently knocked them down, quoting excessively from an outside theological work, which was obviously sloppy and in error as far as his audience was concerned. He used the book as an intelligent scapegoat, a means to ridicule contemporary scholarship in general (and hence thinking in general). He lambasted and belittled those who critically examined what he billed as the Truth. He laid it right out, asserting clearly, without equivocation: “IT’S NOT YOUR PLACE TO QUESTION WHAT YOUR TEACHERS TELL YOU!” So there it was - the true face of AC and the WCG. The hierarchy was not after truth, but power. They had all truth; there was no need to seek more and there was especially no need to take any gruff from mere students - lowly sheep of the flock.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not the Bill mentioned, but I was In Pasadena at the time and had my own experiences along this line with other ministers. To question what was taught was to question the teacher's/minister's authority and God Himself!

Bill Hohmann

Dennis said...

In my experience, ministers react badly to questions when the questions cannot be dismissed out of hand. Most questions like that are never asked to begin with. When a student myself, WCG had a large tome that answered "difficult scriptures." It was really a book that prooftexted it's way along to uphold already understood beliefs by the church. In hindsite, the book showed a terrible lack of even knowing what questions to ask. Dave Pack loved this tome and I believe adopted it in RCG.

Churches don't exist for growth...they exist to perpetuate sameness. I would love to return to former classes knowing what I know now. Of course they would be former classes never completed by me thrown out.

Every minister and member adopts a story about what they Bible says. That's what denominations are and why they exist as there is no one way to see it all clearly. When you begin to see it more clearly and question the mythological vs. historical or literally true vs. Midrashically true, well moving on is not far in your future. WCC and COG ministers, along with most, are not well able to sincerely say, "Now that's a good question."

For example, I had a client who lost an only daughter to a car wreck recently ask me, "why is it such a big deal that God gave 'his only begotten' son as a sacrfice for us, when he knew he'd get him back in three short days, fully God again? My daughter is still dead." Now that's a good question. She asked, "should a real sacrifice not stay dead to be a real sacrifice?" You see her question was born of real pain and real life and it made her think about the stories she had been told about how hard it was for God to give Jesus. Maybe not as hard for God as it was to her after losing her only begotten. It is a good question and that's all I said to her as we talked about how to cope. If you ask that kind of question in a COG setting, well somehow you are going to marginalize yourself a bit with others because it shows you think and are willing ask hard questions. It also challenges core beliefs. It probably will catch up with you eventually in any setting that demands sameness.

Never close your mind to a better answer and never think you have the final one. We're all here to learn and while most churches claim we are to "grow in grace and KNOWLEDGE," they seldom like it when one actually does.. The translation of that is .."Grow in the Grace we permit and the knowledge we have for you to memorize." Life is not a game and truth should actually be encouraging to those who seek encouragement.

brave anonymous poster said...

I know Ben Chapman, and unfortunately I can believe that story.....while I haven't had any contact with him in several years, he seemed to have calmed down some, although I never backed him into a corner.....


and I'll just throw this out here for folks to chew on:

as for the "sacrifice" of God sending His Son...

The Father had no way of knowing if Jesus would succeed or not.....up until the moment He lost conciousness in death on the cross He could have sinned....and had that happened they would have been separated forever because Jesus could not have been resurrected.....

The Father would be left alone for all eternity, and as we died that would be the end of us too, for there would be no one left who could "try again" to make a way of salvation for us.

so yes, they truly risked EVERYTHING

Shirley said...

I stopped listening to ministers several years ago. I stopped putting my trust in man as scriptures tell us and started doing my own reading and studying. I can read as well as they can, and if I am wrong then it will be because I can't fully understand, but not because I listened to some man who thinks he knows. They are not infallible and I have found them to be wrong too many times. I do not attend their organizations anymore either.

Steve said...

"The Father had no way of knowing whether Jesus would succeed or not"

This is baloney and more of that HWA teaching! The Father KNEW that Jesus(GOD)would "succeed". There was never any doubt. Suppose for just a moment that Jesus would have sinned somewhere along the line in His life(I speak as a fool). Are you saying that God would not forgive Him? And, you don't think that the Father of Jesus would have sacrificed Himself for His Son, and for the rest of us?

Steve K.

brave anonymous poster said...

you know, Steve....I take quite a bit of heat from the Church leadership every time I imply that there are things that the Father does not know....but it's fact, and it's that way by God's own design.

now stop and think for a moment....IF the Father sacrificed Himself to rescue Jesus, who would there be to raise Him from the dead?

brave anonymous poster said...

oh and one more thought on Ben Chapman...

our environment affects our attitude more than we realize.....

the right enviroment helps us beat down the less desirable aspects of our personalities...while the wrong enviroment will bring them to the surface.

so maybe the environment he was in back then contributed to his attitude...who knows?

just a thought.

Neotherm said...

In my thirty years as an Armstrongite, I learned some important principles that must be scrupulously observed when asking an Armstrongite minister questions. They are:

1) Can you possibly avoid asking the question? You will be happier if you can. The quality of the answers you get will be low and if you ask too many questions you will be labelled a dissident. Carefully weigh the large cost against the small benefit.

2) When you ask your question, you will receive a response. Do not analyze the response. Don't expect elaboration or refinement. Don't raise contradictory evidences. If you do carry the issue further, be prepared for an angry ad hominem attack. You will be left wondering how this suddenly became personal. The minister is not engaging in an exchange with you. He is telling you what you are supposed to believe and do without question.

3) Never ever imply to the minister that you are evaluating his answer. Just accept what he says as if it were a gift. Smile, say thank you and walk away. Don't say something like "I think your're right" or "I agree with you on that" because that implies that you are a person, have human dignity and can think for yourself. To the minister you are clearly none of these things. You are a presumptuous rebel.

Why is this such a thorny issue? Because inquiry strikes at the heart of Armstrongism. It will not bear up under scrutiny and every time the mental wheels turn and analysis happens, Armstrongism is potentially in jeopardy. Armstrongites sense this. They want marching legions of pre-programmed robots. They want you to ask questions within prescribed boundaries (to give the impression of open-mindedness) and they want you to be as defensive of the "Truth" as they are.

I was in the Tulsa, Oklahoma Church back in the early Eighties and asked a local elder in the congregation a question. He was an AC Graduate so he was fully trained. In a matter of moments he was standing with his face in mine and shouting at me. My part of the exchange actually amounted to very few words. But at one point, I said "I'll buy that" as a means of expressing my agreement with what he said. This triggered a Tsunami of anger instantly. After that, I always avoided him. It was a little too creepy. The sad thing is that I think this guy is still a minister in the current WCG.

The way Armstrongites handle questions of theology from lay members is one of the clearest evidences of subtle brain washing. The idea that Armstrongism is a cult and engages in brainwashing has been hotly denied by Armstrongites. But the careful way in which their ministers shape behavior in such question and answer scenarios is obvious.

-- Neo

AW fan said...

The main thing I remember about Ben Chapman is his having had to ask HWA for permission to marry. Why? Because he married Dick Armstrong's widow, Lois. After Dick's death, Lois continued to be considered part of the Armstrong family (and was working for the Armstrongs as one of their executive secretaries as late as 1979). Ben would tell the story of his apprehensively asking for the old man's approval to wed and his joy at being welcomed "into the family" by HWA.

Steve said...

You know, anonymous, there is so much that us puny humans can't comprehend about God that our discussion borders on stupidity. Could God not raise Himself up? I think I read that somewhere in the Scriptures. But, anyhow, what about the more important question. Would the Father give up on His Son for all eternity if Jesus would have committed just ONE sin? What if God killed somebody? Wouldn't that be breaking His own law?

Steve K

The Ex-Christadelphian said...

"now stop and think for a moment....IF the Father sacrificed Himself to rescue Jesus, who would there be to raise Him from the dead?"

Yes, do stop and think for a moment. God, if he existed, is immortal and cannot die. Therefore, no god was sacrificed.

Another thing I have a problem with is sacrifices, animal or human. Is that something modern, educated people should even be talking about?

Don't sacrifices date back to savage, barbaric early man? Why would a god want animal sacrifices to start with? To lead the Jews to Jesus' sacrifice? Then why didn't it work? All other savage,barbaric peoples made sacrifices too. So, were the Aztec gods trying to lead people to Jesus? Were the Egyptian gods trying to lead people to Jesus?

Get real, this is the 21st century. We should leave the gods and their sacrifices where they belong - in the early bronze age.

It wasn't just the Jews that made sacrificing animals to a god part of their religion, they all did. Worshipping gods is about 2,000 years out of date for the enlightened.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shirley,

You said, "I can read as well as they can, and if I am wrong then it will be because I can't fully understand, but not because I listened to some man who thinks he knows."

An answer to you may be: "The problem of how to assign meaning to words seems to have first entered Christianity when salvation was extended to Gentiles, a differing reader community from circumcised natural Israelites, but the problem of assigning meaning began with the start of Jesus’ ministry … within a reading community [a construction that can be taken to absurdity] the assignment of meaning to words is generally agreed upon, which doesn’t make the assignment right or wrong but only the assignment accepted by the community. Communication flows somewhat freely. Linguistic icons are uttered or inscribed, and the community effortlessly assigns objects to these icons. Problems only become apparent when an icon is used in an unfamiliar manner; such as Jesus telling Nicodemus, … "

More of this discussion on the assignment of meaning to words within "communities" can be found at: http://portaustinbiblecenter.com/sukkot3.html

Respectfully,
Anonymous

Neotherm said...

What took place with God when Christ died is not easy to understand. Most theologians believe that God is impassible, that he is not affected by external forces. Consequently, he does not experience what humans call emotion. He may experience something that corresponds to it but that we would not readily comprehend.

Christ was subject to passion, however. And Christ is one of the Persons of the Trinity. It is difficult for me, and I think anyone, to understand how the suffering of one Person of the Trinity, at the time incarnate, would affect the other Persons.

Certainly, the Father knew he would get Christ back in three days but that does not mitigate the actual moment to moment suffering that took place in the Passion of Christ. Christ suffered as a human would suffer and the Father was in deep sympathy to this.

I think it is a mistake to say that the Father is a parent as we are parents. But he has a comprehensive understanding of what we experience.

Shoud a sacrifice stay dead to be a real sacrifice? Actually, it is God who made the decision about how the sacrifice would work. In my view, God did not even have to have a sacrifice (Jesus forgave sins before he was ever sacrificed) but did so to demonstate his involvement with us. He accepted Christ's suffering as the sacrifice and not Christ's eternal non-existence.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

Dear Steve,

You said, "The Father KNEW that Jesus(GOD)would "succeed". There was never any doubt. Suppose for just a moment that Jesus would have sinned somewhere along the line in His life(I speak as a fool). Are you saying that God would not forgive Him?"

In considering sin/evil, consider the following:

What is seen in the introduction of evil in the temptation account is how the anointed cherub (Ezek 28:14-15) drew a third of the angels into lawlessness, and how he did it without being immediately detected. He begins by making possessing the knowledge of good and evil a desirable thing. In essence, he appeals to vanity, telling the entity that the entity has a good mind and can determine for the entity's self how to determine good and evil, or better what is right. Evil becomes the choice of determining what is right. Hence, evil is nothing more than choosing what the entity considers is right. So as long as the rebelling angels agreed with God's decisions, believing that God was making the correct decisions, then no rebellion was detectable, even though rebellion had occurred, thereby, allowing this anointed cherub to seduce many into determining for themselves what is right.

Because Jesus did not speak His own words, but only the words of the Father throughout His earthly ministry, He could not commit evil.

For more on this, see: http://sabbatarian-anabaptists.blogspot.com/2007/01/what-is-evil.html

Respectfully,
Anonymous

brave anonymous poster said...

well Steve....the "there is so much that we cannot understand" argument is what the Protestants fall back on when shown biblical evidence of their error...

yes, there are some things we cannot understand, like, how exactly is life given to a being?...but you know what? that's not information critical for our salvation.

the stuff that's critical, we can understand, and everyone will eventually understand those things...

and if God is dead, then He cannot raise Himself, since death is the absence of life...the bible is quite clear that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead., and yes, Jesus was dead just like everyone else that had ever lived and died (if He did not die, then He did not pay the penalty for sin)...

God alone has the authority to take a life...He gives it and only He can take it, so no He does not violate His own law by killing human beings ...(the death we suffer as humans is not the true death anyway, thanks to Jesus, but merely a "nap")

God would never commit murder...it's against His nature.

and God wouldn't be "giving up" on Jesus for one sin....they made the rules when they designed the plan, and they would stick to those rules....else they would be no better than Satan.

Anonymous said...

Oh! Yes!, Bring back the memories. Actually i was told in a strong belligerant way "that if the Holy Spirit was working in me i would not ask that question!" Of course i persisted and was belittled in a sermon as well, persoannly by name. That seemed to be the way it was. I even seen this from Pack in GCG.
rod 2

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting 25 years for this to occur.

Back in Auckland church in NZ,about 1981, there was speculation,driven from Pasadena, that Christ could have aborted his mission on earth.They didn't think any further.

In Singles' Club in Auckland one Saturday night I asked Jack Croucher,Auckland pastor,how could God have promised Daniel eternal (not mentioning David or the Patriarchs) life if Christ had thrown in the towel.He had no answer or defence and pulled rank.Today, I would stand up and decry,in front of him,and the others,his insolent attitude and that he was no minister of God.

That is where we came from.

A Nonny Mouse

Der Sar said...

Brave Anonymous Poster said, "and if God is dead, then He cannot raise Himself,"

Answer: The defining characteristic of heaven is timelessness. Time, or better space time, can be written as the function of gravity and as a function of gravity it is part of the created universe. So the first thing a person has to realize when addressing heaven is that all activity occurs in one unchanging moment. Therefore, what has life has live. Death is the absence of life. So the presence of life and the presence of death cannot co-exist in the same moment. Thus, in order for the Logos/Theos to die, He had to enter His creation where one moment changes to another moment. And this parade of moments is the passage of time. So when any spirit being is cast out of heaven and into the creation, that spirit being will die eventually. As a result, when the Logos was born as the man Jesus, He no longer had life in the heavenly dimension. The sacrifice had already occurred. Everything that happened afterwards—the entirety of the man Jesus’ life—brought about the death of the flesh.

Der Sar

Anonymous said...

The ministry of Worldwide were arrogant and still are.

Little Herr Hitlers,non-pareil.

With the benefit of hindsight,we should have staged a mass-walkout in 1972 when Herb was wrong.The official excuse was "the church is not ready to go to (Pooey) Petra".

The wheels were starting to fall off long before Jan 1972.

At our place we used to have bacon flavoured potato chips in the 1960s and 70s.Them ministers never got to know and the chips tasted delicious.

And during Unleavened Bread we heard of one chap who pushed his leavened goodies onto the vacant section next door,then retrieved them at the end of the time.Of course he repented deeply, I don't think.

We used to joke about Kosherised pork, and if perchance we happened to find ourselves with a bacon and egg pie in hand,we granted ourselves absolution before eagerly devouring the pie.

"SINNERS AND SEPTICS" were we.Hey,Gavin,who not start up a sister blog with this name or alternatively,create a link with this name.

Cheers

A Nonny Mouse

Dennis said...

Wouldn't it be great if there was one simple God who when we offended Him, we could say, "Oh I am so sorry.." and then He could say, "Hey no problem, I forgive you." Would sure cut down on the the theo-babble..I guess that is too simple.

Anonymous said...

Auckland COG 1960s-to 1980s

Wonderful days when we jumped the requisite height when they said so.
But,no longer.

A little more about this theological absurdity that Christ could have thrown in the towel and left mankind without his salvation.

I wonder what mindless mute at Pasasdena dreamt that one up.It almost bordered on blasphemy.This wonderful bit of theological stupidity would/could have rendered God a liar,in retrospect.
God had promised too many people life in the Kingdom for Christ to have failed.

Then the Right Reverend Peter Nathan came up with another bit of nonsense.That, in the Place of Safety, ( where else but Petra) the church would be persecuted for maybe half a week.Spare me.

He was the man who insisted that we pay FULL first tithe on gross earnings when wages were low and unemployment was high.Australia on the other hand was slightly more merciful: they only had to pay on nett.

And we have previously mentioned the 1972 debacle.We did use a book by Paul and Hugh Paddock to back up our position.Somebody should have been put out to pasture.

And of course,birthdays.HWA at his 90th had a "milestone".AMAZING.A rose by any other name.It says nowhere in the Bible we couldn't keep birthdays.Once again,someone misread the scripture or was trying to play God.

We had, of course, to call each minister "Mister" These days I would address them as "MESSERS".

One weekend in Auckland we had an evangelist coming, and one member living in the country had parked his bucolic jallopy near where the ministers' cars were parked:he was asked to move his car around the corner,out of sight, so that he would not defile the ministerial parking lot.

It was amazing how many young women in the church wanted to marry ministers before they went to A.C.Oh yes, in Auckland we had an in-group and an out-group.For the in-group,in the morning, the ablutions block never reeked of flatus.They must have ingested deodorant tablets.

At one Spokesman's Club Annual Dinner ( notice I did not say Xmas),a member did a spoof on the Thunder Box.When Graemme Marshall laughed, we followed.

Another time at Club,a member gave a joke about a beach polluted by sewage: swimming was disallowed,though you could go through the motions.Everyone started to smirk but Graemme Marshall sat there impassively.We are not amused was the message.All became serious.

Hope you have enjoyed this little toddle back through Memoryland.

A Nonny Mouse

lil' john said...

Nonny Mouse wrote:
He was the man who insisted that we pay FULL first tithe on gross earnings when wages were low and unemployment was high. Australia on the other hand was slightly more merciful: they only had to pay on nett.

We were just talking about that - thanks for reminding me. Australia apparently made more "noise" about their situation and word reached Pasadena. Tithing on net income suddenly became the norm in the U.S., although no one was discouraged from doing the former. (yeah... big surprize on that) ;-)
Now LCG is trying to figure out whaaa happened (?) The latest RCM offering on the subject has more than a few members confused and bewildered. IOW, business as usual.

lj

brave anonymous poster said...

wow der sar, that was really good!

(and you hinted at some very deep things there, but they are probably best left alone)

yes, the moment Jesus emptied Himself and became human He was destined to die....these flesh bodies will not last forever..

I wouldn't necessarily agree that the sacrifice occured the moment He stepped into the flesh though.....but His doing that showed that He put total trust in the Father, for the Father was His only way back to the eternity He enjoyed before.

I never intended to start a theological debate here, and I hope I haven't caused any upset...but it can be quite stimulating to discuss these things :-)

der sar said...

Dear Brave Anonymous Poster,

The Logos/Theos came as His son (John 3:16--read this in Greek), and He became the Son of the Father when the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and remained on Him. And it this relationship [that which makes Jesus the last Adam] that has not been well understood. So when Jesus is in the temple at 12 He is in His father's house, His father being the Logos/Theos.

What has been missing from the COGs for four decades or more is an intelligent discussion of what Scripture actually discloses.

Der Sar

Anonymous said...

Jesus did NOT come to die to pay the penalty for sin; so that our sins could be forgiven.

That is not why he came.

God can forgive sins any times He wants to. God did not require Jesus to die so that our sins could be forgiven. The entire theology of a God dying to pay the penalty for sin is a theological fabrication of orthodox Christianity.

The original sayings of Jesus did not include anything about his birth or his death. The passion stories in the gospels were all added much later.

Jesus came to teach the things the Father gave him to teach. That is what is important. Jesus came teach about the Kingdom and how to enter the kingdom. It was this message that caught fire with the common folk. Within about 100 years this message about the kingdom was lost; it was consciously changed by orthodoxy.

When Jesus was killed, he was not resurrected after three days and three nights to physical life.

After his death Jesus was resurrected and once again became a spirit, a divine being.

All who live good lives and follow Jesus do the same thing. They are resurrected and become spirit.

Anonymous said...

>>now stop and think for a moment....IF the Father sacrificed Himself to rescue Jesus, who would there be to raise Him from the dead?<<
Think about what you are asking. The whole situation is ridiculous at best. God allows his son, who is also God, to die an ignominious death in order to save the world from death. God did not know what God would do. Would God sin and forfeit his eternal life? God risked death who was also God, in order to save humanity from the penalty of sin which we all know now as death. God didn't know if God would chose a life of sin over righteousness.

God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham was willing to comply. But God at the last moment chose to tell Abraham not to bother with this murderous deed. He proved his faith to God. Abraham had murder in his heart. A crime of passion? No. A crime of just blindly following orders? Yes. You see, he had the excuse of faith. How many here have the faith of Abraham to kill their child? What kind of father kills their child? What kind of mother who does the same, what can be said of her? Well, the recent episodes of child murders (some of religious delusion's) that have crossed our path on the evening news, we must ask ourselves if this is sanity or the work of God! Why not ask that question? Maybe it was God asking the parents to kill their children! Who are you to say! Or maybe it is the examples of religious people, who are delusional and follow the examples from the pulpit and the bible! If God tested faith back millenniums ago in such a manner, why not now? The answer is in your level of sanity. Delusional as many of the coger's are, when put to the test, I believe that many in the cog's would question the sanity of those who speak the big words of faith from the pulpit! It is the pulpit that cleanses your mind from rational thought! Think “BRAINWASHING.”
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult_q4.html#cq_disturbed_guru

Kscribe.

der sar said...

Dear Kscribe,

You said, "Maybe it was God asking the parents to kill their children!"

The Lord [YHWH} told Moses that Israel was His firstborn son (Ex 4:22); yet because of the nation's lawlessness God gave Israel statutes and regulations by which the nation could not live (Ezek 20:25, 26). Yes God commanded Israel to kill its firstborns, not a practice He initiated and not a practice He approved, but a practice that He commanded the nation to continue.

However, in commanding Israel to kill firstborns, He did so so that Israel would be appalled by its behavior, but Israel was never appalled.

And what did it take to cause disciples within the WCG to be appalled by their behavior--the implication of what happened within WCG and without is that God killed the organization for its lawlessness concealed from the top down from most prying eyes, but not concealed from God.

der sar

Neotherm said...

As I scanned through the postings, I noticed how bound we are to speaking of God in analogies. How can it be any different? We have only our reality and what we know as reference.

So here are my analogies. Christ absolutely could not have failed in his mission. (I first became aware of this through a tape done by Dr. Stavrinides. He said the idea that Christ could have failed makes a good dramatic Spokesmans Club speech, but it is just not true. The fact that Jesus could not have failed does not mitigate his suffering.) God created this reality, past, present and future. Another way of saying this same thing is to say that God is timeless.

We experience time sequentially. God lives in the eternal present. Time was created. It is not a Divine, uncreated reality. Physicists have established that time and space interact.

So God instantiated a reality in which Christ did not fail. "Known unto him are all his works from the beginning." Christ was slain and his sacrifice was valid "from the foundation of the world." In fact, there may be no reality where Christ could have failed because, after all, he is the incarnate aspect of the omnipotent God Himself.

The malarkey that God does not know the future is based on the primitive Armstrongite notion that God is really just a very, very powerful human who relates to time like we do. The future already exists, we just haven't experienced it yet. Lest you think I am an extreme Calvinist, I also believe that God has woven our free will into the fabric of this reality he instantiated. The fact that the future already exists does not cancel the fact that we have free will.

The model of God that Armstrongites believe in is deficient. This naturally engenders questions among those who think about this model. But Armstrongite ministers do not want to permit these questions. Because rather than improve the model through careful study of scripture and Christian traditional understanding, they chose to stifle inquiry in order to preserve the "ex cathedra" property of Herbert's declarations. It all devolves into a form of idolatry.

-- Neo

der sar said...

Dear Neo,

You said, "I also believe that God has woven our free will into the fabric of this reality he instantiated."

Concerning free will: Your understanding of free will might be valid descriptively, but it pushes Paul’s analogy of disciples being clay vessels beyond a day of salvation. Under the second covenant mediated by Moses Israelites are told to “on this day” choose life or death. That choosing is certainly an expression of free will. But that choosing is confined to “this day,” a day representative of the day of salvation under the second covenant mediated by Christ, this day of salvation an indeterminate quantity of time that is not open-ended. It is that period when, in the analogy of the potter, the lump of clay is centered on the wheel. The clay tells the potter by making the choice of life or death whether it is workable; it tells the potter to make a vessel for honored use or a vessel for dishonorable usage, a vessel of wrath to be endured for a season. Once the shaping of the clay vessel begins, the potter has control—the pot does not tell the potter how to proceed. The pot doesn’t get to change its mind, except in the case of a vessel for dishonorable use leaving those things that are dishonorable (1 Tim 2:20-21). The vessel for honored use will become a vessel for honored use. Christ is in charge of each person’s salvation so that no one can glory in their own righteousness.

The use of figurative language, even when Jesus was explaining parables to His disciples, occurs because He is speaking the Father’s words, which are not descriptive of things in this world. Paul contends that the visible things of this world serve as metaphors of the spiritual things of God; therefore, words that describe those things of this world can only be mimetic or metaphoric representations of metaphors.

Der Sar

Der Sar said...

Dear Neo,

Please excuse my typo--it should read 2 Tim 2:20-21.

Der Sar

Anonymous said...

Yes, sadly that attitude still exists today in LCG. The same exact thing happened to me. It parallels my family's situation so exactly that I'm amazed only ours is still dragging on. I have heard from other LCG members that the same thing occurs regularly. In our case, there was lie after lie disseminated to destroy our family. It is amazing to me that so many ministers are lying, and somehow they think that God will wink at the same and give them eternal life.

In addition, the top is supporting these lies with the intent, if need be, to remove us...just for this type of thing.

An example of that lying is found at the top, shown in the archives of the letters back and forth about Bryce and RCM. Clearly, RCM lied again, as he did about the ministerial conference in May when producing a video showing that complete harmony and unity existed at the May conference when just the opposite was the case. How can they think they can escape the wrath of God?

Well, God will take care of these types of ministers. I know they all aren't alike; there are some that are just the opposite, and sad to say, they are the ones who normally get shot, or die prematurely.

There is a delusion occurring in LCG, and most are asleep to what is happening, as Matt 25 said would happen.

God speed His "Wonderful" government!

Anonymous said...

Life was full of absurdities back in the COG days in Auckland church in the 60s to 80s.

Remember Frank Sinatra's hit song, "I DID IT MY WAY". Under Graemme Marshall it became "I DID IT THE RIGHT WAY". I am sure this came from the "Thunk Tank" at Pasadena.

Then of course we had the purple hymn book, all kosher and approved by the Apostle himself. "BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON" was one I remember. BONEY M had their version and many was the time that their version was unofficially sung in church, "BY DE RIBBERS OF BABYLON".

"AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL" became "ISRAEL THE BEAUTIFUL".I'm sure Israel would have winced at being called "beautiful."

"ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS" had the words changed from "with the cross of Jesus" to " with the word of Jesus." They probably had a "Church Speak "department in Pasadena whose sole duty was to approve the verbiage for official
occasions of which Sabbath was one.

Remember those hot sweaty afternoons in the early days when one had to keep one's suit coat on."All People That On Earth Do Smell" was the appropriate hymn.And it was B.O.( bloody offal),too.

And then there was the footwashing ceremony at Passover.Here was this bucolic chap,hirsute, and one who deigned axillary assistance, with a malevolent look in his eye, who was tweaking his toes.And guess it, I got to wash the steamy bipedal organs,toejam and all.I think the polite name is "Tinea Pedis."

Atonement had a wide range of observances.The real zealots stopped eating at midday.The Pharisees and peasants amongst us crammed in as much as we could, right up to the vital minute when the sun would set.The hot waterjug was put on a timer and set to boil right on sundown,for the next day. Then came the rush to the kitchen,like a herd of buffalo heading for pasture.

Ah,for the days thereof.

A Nonny Mouse

Dennis said...

Some of you sound like you are analyzing the Greek gods, their motives, thoughts and methods, as if you knew. I'm thinking that God might be a spherical standing wave that can manifest as wave or matter depending on where the wave crests converge. This would account for Jesus only appearing human and material in the flesh and yet...oh never mind...just kidding.

I gave the example of God's three day sacrifice as an example of a hard question, which was the original intent of the post. The meanderings to find an answer have been fascinating, however I have to say I dont miss feeling driven to come to some final and eternal true conclusion. The freedom not to feel the compulsive need to convince others of what is in fact a philosophical argument that is unprovable in any real sense, and just more opinions about theological issues, is wonderful. Thanks for reminding me.

Questeruk said...

We seem to be getting a whole lot of nonsense about time and how it works. The complete confidence that God lives outside of time. It’s true that the bible refers to one day with God being as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Of course – compared with eternity a thousand years dwarfs to nothing.

Are we suggesting that when we become a spirit beings time disappears – that events happening over what we would now consider millions of years, in fact eternity, somehow all happen at the same time? That there is no sequence of events, our entire existence all happens and is laid out at that moment. Do you really believe that or have I somehow missed something? The concept of God living sequentially (one event following another) is not unbiblical.

Could Jesus Christ have failed? If there was no possibility of failure, then everything was a bit of a sham, it didn’t really matter, Christ was going to succeed. No, there had to be a possibility of failure, although you can be sure this was carefully thought through by the Godhead, and failure would clearly be very unlikely, but still possible.

And if Christ had failed – what about the promises of eternal life given to those in the Old Testament? The promises would be fulfilled – how? By God bringing into play Plan B. What was Plan B? We don’t know, because we don’t need to know, as Plan A worked fine. We can ask Christ at His return what the backup plan was. But you can be sure of one thing – there was a Plan B.

Douglas Becker said...

Someone convince me that the whole venue of the church of gods isn't totally nuts.

Let's try a do over to illustrate, supposing we could go back in time but retain our memories and knowledge of today.

OK.

Bill stands up in Benjamin Chapman's theology class and asks his question. Chapman responds irrationally. Then... Bill asks a few more questions:

1) Since Herbert Armstrong predicted that the United States and Britain would lose World War II along about the middle of World War II, he is a false prophet: Given Matthew 7:15, is he a ravening wolf in sheep's clothing?

2) How is it that Garner Ted Armstrong has bedded over 200 AC Coeds and is still considered #2 in the only work of God on the face of the earth?

3) Why hasn't Mr. Armstrong kicked him out?

4) Are we really sure that Pentecost is on Monday? Why do the Jews keep it on Sunday?

5) Why do we accept the authority of the Jews setting the calendar when we know it is wrong and that the Jews rejected the Messiah? And why don't we really obey the Scripture that no man judge us save the Church of God?

6) When 1975 comes and goes and Herbert Armstrong is found again to be a false prophet, why should we stick with him and the WCG?

7) Why do you commit idolatry by refusing to follow the instruction of Matthew 18 in the Bible?

Of course, that is just an amusing thought.

More realistic is the question:

Why are there 1,000 bickering spit-offs from the WCG unable to obey the Scripture and reconcile?

Did Benjamin Chapman stay with the WCG or go to United? There would be other follow up questions, depending on.

As for "If he had been a dog"... in Revelation dog refers to male prostitute. Are we certain that there isn't such a thing as a spiritual prostitute selling himself to those with itching ears?

Woof!

[And don't go there -- I'm a cat person!]

Finally, don't you all know that godliness is measured in terms of how long you can hold your victims hostage without giving one shred of truth in a fact free environment?

Someone convince me that the whole venue of the church of gods isn't totally nuts.

Dennis said...

Well all I can say is that in my world, I require one second of time for every 186,000 miles of space and that if God is light, he/she/it has no mass, is not material, travels no distance and takes no time to do it. I think it's all relative...ity. :) Now how he split himself into two beings etc, and left a part behind to bring himself back, I don't know...I used to know everything..just ask me! But now...not so much.

Whether I fully understand it or not, the most calm and interesting people I know seem content knowing not more, but less. They are more willing to live with ambiguity in the present moment, which is all that is real anyway.

"When I was young, mountains were just mountains, rivers were just rivers and trees were just trees..

But when I was older, I was told, mountains are not just mountains, rivers and not just rivers and trees are just not trees...

Now that I am old, I know that mountains are just mountains, rivers are just rivers, and trees are just trees..."

I think one can take that trip through religion too....

Anonymous said...

Neo Said.....

"The malarkey that God does not know the future is based on the primitive Armstrongite notion that God is really just a very, very powerful human who relates to time like we do."

Not sure where you get the 'notion' that Armstrong ever thought that the great God was a very, very powerful human. Just the thought of that seems a bit absurd. One thing he always said was that God chose not to know the future. He chose not to know what decision we would make. Whether or not we agree with that, he was indicating that God was so powerful that he willed not to know.

Anon in USA

Anonymous said...

Not strictly on-topic but very relevant to topic, I hope:

A "WCG Alumni Board" or "WCG Alumni Forum" has been mentioned here more than once. I tried to locate it using Google, but I only got "hits" refrencing the mentions here. Where is this board? How do you subscribe?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

One thing that would be nice here is what the question was. Of course he felt that the question seemed to asked nicely. Just wondering what was the question?

I remember hearing that one person asked HWA about whether he was preaching Christ and him crucified to the nations and a very big deal was made of it and we heard about it out in the field. Apparently, the person asked it with a motive for some reason. The reaction to this question seemed a bit much though.

The story was that the guy was being a 'wise guy' the way he asked the question. There are though horror stories about asking questions and even contradicting these guys in a public setting. Some could not handle a question and would not even listen long enough for you to complete your question or what you were attempting to get at without yelling at you. What a shame.

Really, as with the 'wiseguy' I mentioned above, firstly, if they thought he was wrong, here was an opportunity for a teaching moment. It would have been a teaching moment whether or not he was being a wiseguy. Really, who is anyone to judge anothers heart. First, the question should be, 'Why do you ask?' or 'What do you mean by...?' then knowing where the person is coming from you can answer them from that context.

Being quick to hear and slow to speak seems to only be an instruction and not a practice in most of the CoGs or otherwise. It would be best if it were practiced, even on this blog site.

Anon in USA

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous who said

"I have heard from other LCG members that the same thing occurs regularly. In our case, there was lie after lie disseminated to destroy our family. It is amazing to me that so many ministers are lying, and somehow they think that God will wink at the same and give them eternal life."

I hope you have found you way out of there. If you still have your beliefs about the CoG teachings, please, for the sake of your family find another fellowship. These guys would not stick with you, obviously they have not, like you have seemed to stick with them.

Sad when these guys are all too human.

Douglas Becker said...

Ministers never heard of "empathetic listening", I guess, or if they did couldn't understand the concept or didn't want to.

My experience has always been that they want to answer a thing before they hear it, in complete violation of Proverbs.

At this point, if they aren't listening to us, why should we listen to them? And really, are they listening to God? Seventy years of experience says, "No!".

Anonymous said...

Neo said... >>>One thing he (Herbie) always said was that God chose not to know the future. He chose not to know what decision we would make. Whether or not we agree with that, he was indicating that God was so powerful that he willed not to know.<<<
Well, what father never looks out for his sons or daughters future? I chose to look into my children's future in order to point them into the right direction. I see traits that may lead them into a life of crime. I see traits that may lead them into a life of drug abuse. I see traits that may be detrimental to their long term well being. I have a choice to correct my children, that they may live happy and productive lives! One step well beyond Herbert W. Armstrong's God!
Kscribe.

Anonymous said...

To kScribe in answer to this:

"God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham was willing to comply. But God at the last moment chose to tell Abraham not to bother with this murderous deed. He proved his faith to God. Abraham had murder in his heart. A crime of passion? No. A crime of just blindly following orders? Yes. You see, he had the excuse of faith. How many here have the faith of Abraham to kill their child? What kind of father kills their child? What kind of mother who does the same, what can be said of her? Well, the recent episodes of child murders......"


Not sure how people killing children squares with your writing above and the story of Abraham having anything to do with it, but really, in the case of Abraham the issue was NOT one of death but one of LIFE.

ISAAC WAS HIS PROMISED SON

There really is no one on earth who had the promise that Abraham had of a son that would bear a seed and other offspring that would be like the sand of the sea. God specifically promised this through Isaac before he was even conceived, of course, you have to believe the story as it is written to accept this as fact.

Isaac when he was taken to be offered up to God had not yet had any offspring himself. Abraham had waited at least 25 years for Isaac, now being much older, he is told to offer up his only son, the son of promise. The Jews refer to this as one of Abrahams many tests from God. Some he faltered at, some he passed with flying colors.

This is one he passed, and why?

Isaac was 1)promised to have offspring, 2) he was the one through whom the blessings were to come, 3) although he could have died, since the above had not yet happened, he would have had to have been raised to life again to fulfill at least #1 so #2 could happen. (Please no #1 and #2 puns)

Abraham who was tested so many times prior to Isaac's birth and after God made promises to him was being tested for basically one last time. God, after so many years of working with Abraham said, 'now I know.' After all these years the great God now knew that Abraham believed him.

Isaac was going to live no matter what happened on the mount. Abraham believed that he would live and God intended something by this request. That great voice intervened and told Abraham to stop before he did the deed anyhow.

These people today have no such promises and since the churches, whether the ones maligned here or ones elsewhere know not how to resolve and answer this puzzle, people who are cruel and perverse are not taught the truth about the above.

Anonymous said...

To kScribe, and "Well, what father never looks out for his sons or daughters future?"

Thank you for the come back. It was not Neo who wrote to you, it was anon responding to Neo.

I agree we need to keep on our children absolutely and I believe God does as well. I was answering Neo's comment and his view of the issue and not attempting to show by that that God does not care. I really believe he does care, dearly for us all and for what is happening here. I believe too, Spanky and the gang like him (PCG, RCG) excepted, that most of the CGs really hope that whatever work they are doing is to help mankind in the long run, no matter how ineffective.

Gavin said...

To the "anonymous" who asked about the WCG Alumni Forum. Try
this link

lussenheide said...

All: (OFF TOPIC)

I believe that it must have been accidental, but did anyone else notice that on page 13 of the latest "Good News" magazine that the North Korean soldier on the left is giving "The Finger", and the North Korean soldier on the right is mimicking that he is holding his private parts?

Guess this one slipped thru editorial review!

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

lussenheide said...

Good News magazine picture with North Korean soldier obscenities

http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn68/gn07jf.pdf

PAGE 13, shows the picture on the PDF file.

Neotherm said...

To Kscribe:

Neo said... >>>One thing he (Herbie) always said was that God chose not to know the future. He chose not to know what decision we would make. Whether or not we agree with that, he was indicating that God was so powerful that he willed not to know.<<<


I did not say that. Someone said that in response to one of my posts.

-- Neo

Neotherm said...

To Anon in USA:

You stated: "Not sure where you get the 'notion' that Armstrong ever thought that the great God was a very, very powerful human."

The god that HWA fabricated was a single person (Christ was the second discrete person in the God Family - this is blatant and pagan polytheism) who had a humanoid body and who lived inside time and space. HWA understood that when man was created in the "image of God" this meant that we had bodies like God. Armstrong or his understudies even postulated that God was of a certain racial type. So he had the characteristics of a human being though he was very powerful and immortal. Although it is chilling, I think that HWA's description of the god he worshipped was probably accurate. But that god was not the Creator God.

The idea that God experiences life in time sequentially and that he also knows the future (but chooses not to in our case) is contradictory. If God experiences time sequentially, the future does not exist yet for Him or for us. So there is nothing to know. The Biblical references to God seeming to experience time sequentially are anthropomorphic.

I could spend a lot of time on this but I would recommend that you read "Creating God in the Image of Man?" by Norman Geisler. This book is really a response to Clark Pinnock but Pinnock's ideas closely correspond to HWAs. Pinnock seems to have rediscovered the Armstrongite heresy.

-- Neo

Questeruk said...

Hi Neotherm

It must be me that you are misquoting, as I don’t believe anyone else used the term ‘God experiences time sequentially’.

You stated:-
‘The idea that God experiences life in time sequentially and that he also knows the future (but chooses not to in our case) is contradictory. If God experiences time sequentially, the future does not exist yet for Him or for us. So there is nothing to know. The Biblical references to God seeming to experience time sequentially are anthropomorphic.’

You are misquoting me as I never said anything about God knowing the future. Under the scenario I am suggesting God would not KNOW the future, as indeed it does not yet exist, either for mankind or for God. However God is all powerful, and can shape events to ensure things such as specific prophecy do actually come about.

If God does not experience time sequentially, which you seem to suggest, do you then suggest that He experiences all eternity all at the same time, everything that we humans would look at as eternal past and eternal future? All in one moment? So there can never be anything new for God, as He is aware of everything that ever has or will happen to Him.

As well as being a rather strange concept, it would also appear to be a rather boring one as well.

Neotherm said...

To Questeruk:

I don't think I was quoting anybody, but I do know that Armstrongites believe that God experiences time sequentially. Armstrongites believe that God actively creates the present with the future just a theoretical construct in the mind of God. He plans but until he executes, it doesn't exist, according to the sequential model.

If we assume that God experiences time sequentially because we as humans experience time sequentially, we are making a logical error. We are ascribing the human mind and its perceptual limitations to God.

Some people say that God created time to keep everything from happening at once. This human view is fine for humans but why must we insist that God Himself must be bound by human limitations. Because we cannot sort out timelessness with our minds, it doesn't mean that God cannot. What is strange and complex to us is simple to God.
("For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.")

God created all of our reality: time, space, matter and energy. Time ineracts with the physical universe and is altered by gravity. It is a physical property.
("For in him we live, and move, and have our being")

Did this physical property precede God so that he lives in time like we do? If it preceded God then it is an uncreated Divinity with the same status as God.

How does an infinite mind deal with eternity? I can't say. If God determines everything is it boring for him? I don't think so but I don't know. We could postulate God is bored under the Armstrongite model just as well as we could under the traditional Christian model. If he actively determines and creates the future as he progesses through time, why would that be less boring?

And, of course, I believe humans, even when resurrected, will always experience time sequentially, because we will never be God as God is God.

-- Neo

jorgheinz said...

Jared,Gamaliel and others,

GENTILEMEN,

For such we ALL are.

How could I, a barely littorate Japhethite,still chiselling Ruinic inscriptions,believe in the British Herbalite doctrine after your lengthy and eloquent
testy-moany.

I repent in SAKA-cloth and ASHERIM.

One is simply overwhelmed with the opulence of your supportive evidence.How could I ignore it?

Even with perhaps 5000 pages of material to call on,which could be presented to you,I am convinced that the sheer weight of your own amassed evidence would completely overshadow mine.It is hardly worthy of your august and lofty attention.

It is far better that a novitiate and neophyte such as myself, defer to your accumulated enlightenment and use it to guide my faltering spiritual steps.By the radiance emitted by your erudition and scholarship,and your docents excelsior approach,I can hardly become benighted.

It has been an absolute pleasure exchanging mutually heretical views.You are to be encouraged in your search for El Dorado.

I am convinced that we are pursuing a common goal of unbelief whilst treading disparate,divergent and intransigent pathways.

Indole Skatologically yours,

Jorgheinz

Anonymous said...

To NEO:

"The Biblical references to God seeming to experience time sequentially are anthropomorphic."

Not sure about sequential nature of the argument here. Really, if we say that man is made in God's image, to say that man 'looks like God in form and shape' would really be the other way around.

There is so much of an argument coming out of eastern religions that have effected the way we look at God in the West over the centuries. Although God does not have a 'body' as humans do, to say he has a form instead of being amorphis would be something to consider.

To say that God is white like white men is really very rediculous and anyone who said that type of thing really should have put out to pasture, how absurd.

There are so many instances of the amorphic god type, Braka's (not sure of the spelling here) Brain and God being in all things, omnipresence is one thing, but in everything is first a theological argument. Biblically, God was in the burning bush and the place where Moses stood was Holy ground. If God was in everything, all would be holy ground and we would have to always walk barefoot, at least you would think.

The presence of God in a thing makes it holy so the argument goes. I guess that is the reason that there is so much disagreement about the great God and the God Head.

Thank you for your response though, interesting stuff.

Anon in USA

Anonymous said...

God is Eternal.Is time itself a part of God's "being"?

God, I am sure,exists in many dimensions simultaneously; nothing with God is impossible.

Some say God exists outside time.Who knows? He has give man certain revelations and some matters are private to him

A Nonny Mouse

Byker Bob said...

Anon in the USA:

This is interesting! How could cows be appropriate as sacrifice to appease "God", but somehow profane holy ground when their skin is utilized as shoes?

If there is a God, I believe that all human attempts to describe him would be anthropomorphic, and totally inadequate.

BB

Gamaliel said...

Jorgheinz,

Hey, bro, everything's cool. Stick around. You have a good sense of humor, and most certainly know how to use your thesaurus!

Gammer

the TWEETYNATOR said...

Yes, Bob, it does amaze, the extent to which some folks claim to understand "God".

Armstrongites proudly puff themselves up and (essentially) squawk, "I AM ONE OF THE SPECIAL ELITE WHO KNOWS THE UNKNOWABLE, SO THE UNKNOWABLE WANTS ME AND THE OTHER ELITE TO RULE THE WORLD SOMEDAY!"

Yet, when the bait(and further feedings) people have swallowed while on their wild ride in Armstrongism, an INCREDIBLE amount of that which they claim to "KNOW" turns out to be only the rantings of a lying, manipulative cultmeister with a gift for selling sh**, as shinola.

Armstrong was a good marketing man, in that he knew how to "create a market" in people's minds for his ideas. His speeches and writings were designed to rub our minds to create a static-charge in us, of a "Need to KNOW". And then, he'd offer up the (oh-so-dubious) 'KNOW-ledge' which would naturally go Zoink! and attach itself to our static-charged brains.

That so much of that "KNOW-ledge"(which is easily shown to be bunk) is still adhered to by so many Armstrongites(pick a doctrine, any doctrine, lol!) like a person clinging to a mental life-raft, is a testament to the insidiousness and resiliency of a particular virus of the mind:
Armstrongism.

I like what Dennis said about the wisdom of a person accepting that he doesn't know things.

I'm not gonna boggle my brain with trying to KNOW the unknowable.
And I'm not gonna slip into the Armstrongist fantasy of believing that I KNOW, so I'm one of the superheroes in a superfantastic PLAN, who will one day RULE THE WORLD, lol!

Questeruk said...

I remember Dr Stavrinides (mentioned earlier in this thread), showing how God lived outside of time in his famous tape series on the trinity, back in the early 1990’s.

He made the point that if someone phoned from America to Australia, the person you were speaking to would be several hours different in time. But then he followed up with the fact that ‘God was still there both in America and Australia at the same time’, and so he concluded that this proved that God was ‘outside of time’.

Now that is a pretty impressive proof don’t you think? I don’t remember him offering any other ‘proof’ on this point. Sort of set the quality of the argument.

There are numerous statements in the Bible which would be difficult to square up if God did NOT ‘live sequentially’. One I quite like is a comment in Jeremiah 7 v 31

‘And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.’

In effect it never entered God’s mind that they would take things so far. If God knew all things future He obviously would be fully aware of what would happen, and His comment would not apply.

The same would apply to a number of other scriptures scattered through the Bible.

So does God exist outside of time? This you might expect if God created time. But who can say that God had to create time. Time may just be an attribute of God. This would seem to square better with the Bible, and at least make the concept partially comprehensible to the human mind.

Neotherm said...

Questeruk:

God's timelessness is a difficult topic espcially for Armstrongites who have always believed that God is subject to time and does not know the future, as human beings are.

First, we cannot settle this here but there is a lot of literature on this topic. Armstrongites with inquiring minds do not lack for well reasoned understanding in this area that they might study. You don't have to get your understanding from Neotherm on Ambassador Watch. Ambassador Watch has other valuable functions.

I mention these outside sources because the sad truth is that Armstrongites do not read material other than what their churches permit. Consequently, Armstrongites really do not know what Christians believe. They only know what HWA said that Christians believe. I have witnessed Armstrongites arguing for the falsity of Christianity based on ideas that are nowhere held within Christianity, but were only ideas they read in Armstrongite literature or heard in sermons.

So I will make some observations:
If God experiences time sequentially, then if we go backwards in time, there would be one event after another into historical infinity. Since historical infinity never ends, God would never make it into the present. This absurdity is caused by trying to apply the past, present, future model to an infinite being.

There are many scriptures in the Bible that imply that God experiences time sequentially. They are all anthopomorphic. They are couched in our time-space language. Otherwise, we would not understand the ideas. God speaks our language, we do not speak his.

>> Time may be just an attribute >> of God.

To the contrary, it is well established that time is an attribute of the physical universe that God created. Einstein's work adequately demonstrated this.

The question we must ask is why this question, like the Trinity, is such a hot button for Armstrongites. The reason why the standard Christian interpretation is so unacceptable is based on the solemn Armstrongite belief that Christians are really pagan and don't have anything right about God. And, a corollary to this is that God experiences time sequentially because Herbert said he did.

The truth is that if you make a serious study of God and his relationship to time and what time is based on the findings of physicists, you discover the Armstrongism is wrong on the one thing, after 18 and a half centureies, it should be right on, that is, the nature of God.

-- Neo

Questeruk said...

Hi Neothrem

Don’t presume too much. I have no desire to get my understanding from Neotherm on Ambassador Watch!

Before I ever heard of HWA, from a very early age I had an interest in astronomy, and read Einstein’s theories. I always felt very uneasy about the assumptions being used by the ‘divine timelessness’ theory, and felt the ‘divine temporalist’ view had more merit, although there are dozens of variations on both these views.

That this seemed to match HWA’s view was convenient I suppose, (if this was actually the COG view – I have heard many sermons over the years stating that ‘God is outside of time’).

I do attend a COG fellowship, and deeply resent the blanket statement that ‘the sad truth is that Armstrongites (I particularly resent that term actually) do not read material other than what their church permits’. For a start I have no idea of any literature that is not ‘permitted’, and have always taken the view that if it’s truth, it can stand on it’s own feet.

There are many theologians that reject divine timelessness (although admittedly they would be a minority), for differing reasons. Some consider that it is an import from Greek Philosophy, and has no Biblical basis, some would say that you cannot have both timelessness and the view that God knows what happens at different times, and brings about events in time, yet others just doubt the sense of the whole concept.

Maybe you should also read a little more widely, and you will find there are alternate views!

Of course, whatever the views, in reality I don’t believe we as humans can conclusively prove this one way or another. A lot of the various arguments depend on you definitions. For example, just what is time itself? It has various definitions, and depending on the definition you care to use, so goes the theory that supports it.

Neotherm said...

To questeruk:

>>Maybe you should also read a >>little more widely, and you will >>find there are alternate views!

There are two principle views. The orthodox Christian view and the view recently espoused by Clark Pinnock. Pinnock constructs a God that is very similar to the one that HWA constructed. I am not sure if Pinnock is regarded as a heretic by most evangelicals or not. I do know Norman Geisler has opposed Pinnock's neotheism (which is the old theism of HWA).

And Pinnock does indict traditional Christianity for borrowing too much from the Greeks.

I have looked at both side of the issue and have found the Pinnock/HWA model to be deficient. (This is not to suggest that HWAs beliefs about God are identical with Clark Pinnock's. There are major divergences. Pinnock is not a polytheist, for instance.)

You may be in a very liberal COG. There are so many now, I have lost track of where they all sit in the spectrum. But when I was an Armstrongite, Christianity was regarded to be pagan and reading that literature was an activity of no merit. A good WCG member would not want to enter a Bible Bookstore for all the demons that might be lurking there.

I believe "Armstrongite" is a charitable term. There are many other terms that might justifiably be applied that are not as scholarly sounding.

-- Neo

Questeruk said...

Of course I realise there are groups and splinters such as you describe. However they would not want me to darken their door, nor would I wish to darken it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding religion, there are as many opinions as there people.

Did not Paul and Barnabas have a flaming row and subsequently went their separate ways.

Politics are in the same vein.Everyone has an opinion and a democratic society allows opinions.

If we all lived in a society that strictly adhered to purist doctrine,left, right or centre,where any deviation from the "norm" was not tolerated, we would all be most sorry people.

Tolerance and accommodation should be the order of the day.

A Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

Note to Dennis Becker Re Gentle Ben Chapman:
Ben went to the Church of God, International and serves on their Council of Elders where he moans and groans constantly about his high blood pressure and his aching feet, and grouses about his wife Lois being in Garner Dead's Intercontinenal Church of God (she left with Ted when he was asked to exit over his bedroom olympics caught on video at the massage parlor, and then the other little affair with his son's ex fiance down in New Orleans.) As to his demeanor--he is as arrogant as ever, but doesn't have the power to wield the same deadly axe as before.
An interesting CGI aside: they are busy trying to cover the fact one of their leading Armor of God telecasters worked on the Sabbath for years building a personal fortune, with a fervor that rivals that which they employed for GTA until they could go on no further with the facade.

Anonymous said...

Neo:
There are many theologians within evangelicalism who accept open theism, or the view that God created a world with a future partly settled and partly open. Most open theists are conservative and trinitarian and hold fast to "orthodox" Christological dogmas such as the hypostatic union, two natures (human and divine), virgin birth, bodily resurrection, etc. Further, many who hold to classical theism believe that God exists in the same "now" that you and I exist in (the only "now" there is), but that He has perfect knowledge of the past and of the future. He literally has foreknowledge, not just knowledge of what is present to Him. The idea that God dwells in the "eternal now"--and that all events we see as past, present, and future are present to Him--was never, to my knowledge, demanded by any council or creed of historic Christendom. Some believe that God created time when He made the universe and that He entered into time so that He could truly interact with His creation, something a timeless God cannot do. Regardless which theory we prefer, I think all will agree that God is capable of creating a world with a partly open future. The question is, Did He? One thing seems sure: If God has exhaustive knowledge of all future free choices, then the future is settled. That means there is no such thing as a potential member of God's everlasting family. It means that the final destiny of each of us, though decided by us in time, was in fact settled from all eternity. You cannot look at an innocent little baby and say, "That's a potential member of God's everlasting kingdom." His or her destiny is certain. It was certain before the world was created--if classical theism is correct. In any case, trust me on this: Clark Pinnock's journey from Calvinism to Arminian/Wesleyan thought to Open Theism involved a theological investigation that hardly resembles Herbert Armstrong's methodology.

Vance Stinson

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote: "An interesting CGI aside: they are busy trying to cover the fact one of their leading Armor of God telecasters worked on the Sabbath for years building a personal fortune, with a fervor that rivals that which they employed for GTA until they could go on no further with the facade." I've heard the rumor about the telecaster having worked on the Sabbath, and I'm aware that the source of the rumor is very bitter toward the accused, but I don't know of any diligent cover-up effort at CGI. Since I work at the office in Tyler and am in regular communication with the one other minister who works there, you'd think I'd know something about this cover-up effort. If you want to talk with the accused, you can email me at the office and I'll put you in touch with him so you can get his side of the story. Further, I'm the one who went to GTA and asked him to go into retirement. I did it after coming to the conclusion that we would be wrong to let him continue as the sole voice of all we stood for and believed. My actions were not due to the inability to maintain a facade; they arose from a sense of responsibility and duty (I was on the ministerial council at the time). I know my heart; you don't. Your characterization of our actions is based on your ignorance of the facts. I was there experiencing the whole ugly ordeal. I don't believe you were.

Vance Stinson

Lisa said...

Fact 1: CGI has a long history of covering up and keeping SECRETS (but so do all the COG's) It was asked to one Tyler minister why anything in Gods church should be a secret?...as always cover up the cover up. Afraid of truth?

Fact 2: This is also the same (alleged) CGI minister that is traveling around the country sullying the reputation of the SOURCE with lie after lie!... as well as other former CGI people. Afraid of truth?

Fact 3: Not one of you from Tyler has called the SOURCE to hear the OTHER side of the story. I guess its easier not knowing because knowing truth might mean change.
Afraid of truth?

Fact 4 If some of the minsters of CGI spent as much time developing a relationship with Jesus Christ as they do gossiping and tearing down people, they might actually have some growth...wishful thinking.

Fact 5: Since Worldwide,nothing has changed with any of these COG organizations and they continue to become corrupt.
AFRAID of truth?!?

I've sat by silent, watching the reputation of too many good people being tarnished with lies. SILENT NO MORE!!

NEVER mistake TRUTH for Bitterness!!

Lisa said...

But I clarify... Never mistake Truth for what you call bitterness!! Still afraid of the truth?

Jackk23 said...

I'm looking for a forum template similar to this sarging forum - any ideas? With the upsurge of foums lately I'm thinking of setting up my own.