Monday, 24 December 2007

Garner Ted and the Archbishop


"This year, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, Dr. Rowan Williams, has echoed some of the same points made by Garner Ted Armstrong."

Those are scary words, and GTA is probably rolling over in his grave at the very suggestion. The quote comes from British writer Adrian Morgan, in an article called The Struggle for the Soul of Christmas.

"In the United States, Evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong, who died in 2003, argued that Christmas as it is currently celebrated has little to do with the known details of Christ's birth. He has written: "But it is impossible to 'put Christ back in Christmas,' since He was never in Christmas in the first place!" Armstrong's arguments have some weight."

It's a reasonably balanced, thoughtful piece that chronicles the curious customs of Christmas. Interesting too that, in dear old Blighty, it's Ted who's remembered after all these years - thanks to all those rambling monologues on Radio Caroline - rather than his father.

Related link: Top Anglican: Christmas Tale Just A Legend

88 comments:

DennisDiehl said...

The Archbishop is simply noting the truth of the matter. The day will come when only the most naive and Sunday School (Or is it YES) educated will believe the Birth narratives are coherent, inerrant and literally true.

They were inserted for a purpose but as we see, Mark, who was probably the first Gospel knows nothing of Jesus birth and his Mary thinks he may have lost his mind,

John referees an arguement about his not being from Bethlehem as the Messiah should be and "we know where this man is from." (Nazareth), along with "we weren't born of fornication" problems.

Paul merely says he was born of a woman (nothing special there) and is Davidic but then goes on to promote his Cosmic Christ never mentioning anything about a human Jesus or quoting him.

Of course, in 1 John we already start to have the problem of some saying Jesus never existed in the flesh and these poor souls had to be avoided by the "Church" at all costs.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Jesus human existence as recorded in the Gospels which came after Paul wrote and died.

Clerics who live in the world of higher criticism and access to research of others know....

DennisDiehl said...

"Clerics who live in the world of higher criticism and access to research of others know...."

Let me restate that.

Clerics who live in the world of higher criticism and open minded views of timeless problems with the texts..know.

In this day and age, we all have access to most of the information and questions about the "how could this be" of the Bible.

Bamboo_bends said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bamboo_bends said...

According to this web site Garner Ted Armstrong is related to these people plus an obscure cannibal.

Larry Joe Bird - Basketball Player

Glenn Close - Actress

William Frederick Cody - "Buffalo Bill" The man infamous for starving Indians by killing buffalo

Allen Welsh Dulles - Founder of the CIA

Tennessee Ernie Ford - Country Musician

Al Gore Jr. - Self Proclaimed Inventor of the Internet, and Global Warming Doom Prophet

Merle Ronald Haggard - Country Musician

Richard Milhous Nixon - Impeached President

Jessica Ann Simpson - Actress/Singer "I do think something jumped up into my undercarriage."

Anonymous said...

But on the plus side, GTA was related to Spike Jones!

Anonymous said...

Any information on whether GTA was related to the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Anonymous said...

This year, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, Dr. Rowan Williams, has echoed some of the same points made by Garner Ted Armstrong.

Isn't the Devil know to quote Scripture?

Still, echoing or making pronouncements vaguely like someone else's isn't either a quote or a ringing endorsement for the "flavor" of what someone else said. People wildly opposed in philosophy, perhaps not even knowing one another, can, on occasion say something similar -- even if quoted in context.

This is paper tiger sort of stuff.

But still amusing.

Anonymous said...

There are far more echoes on this topic around than just GTA of the past. Actually, it's more like a chorus than an echo.

camfinch said...

"Al Gore Jr. - Self Proclaimed Inventor of the Internet, and Global Warming Doom Prophet"

No matter what you might think of Gore's environmental warnings, it's important to finally put the "inventor of the internet" claim into the rubbish bin of urban legends where it belongs.

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

Anonymous said...

Well at least the Archbishop of Canterbury has a better story to tell than the Vatican seems to have this year in changing Jesus being born in Joseph's home in Nazareth as they seem to think the Gospel of Matthew says, which it doesn't.

Next thing you're gonna read is that there is no Limbus Patrum, Purgatory or that Evolution is probably just as fine a way to explain life as Genesis, if not better.

Anonymous said...

From today's Washington Times

Christmas in a Strangled Bethlehem
By Lamis Andoni

"Yes I have been brought up in a predominantly Muslim culture. But my Muslim friends have always celebrated Christmas with us. The more recent commercialization of Christmas is a world wide phenomenon. I am currently in Qatar, where Christmas is mostly evident in shopping malls--partly an effect of commercialization but fortunately also part of the presence of Western and even Arab Christian expatriates. I view the Christmas manifestation partly as a very positive indicator of co-existence and mutual appreciation among religions. But the excessive commercialization robs it of its meanings of giving, loving and sharing."

There is "giving, loving, and sharing" in a Christmas without Jesus.

Tom Mahon said...

>>>"In the United States, Evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong, who died in 2003, argued that Christmas as it is currently celebrated has little to do with the known details of Christ's birth.<<<

The fact that Adrian quoted GTA is insignificant. He could have quoted hundreds of other religious people who said the same as GTA. Perhaps he cited GTA because GTA had a high profiled TV programme, and, after being expelled in 1978 from WCG by his father, was revered by the ignorant, who hated HWA.

Still, GTA and the Archbishop have much in common. GTA was deceived and the Archbishop is deceived; GTA presided over a heresy and the Archbishop presides over a heresy.

But perhaps there is where the similarities end. The Archbishop appears to be happily married, but GTA was exposed, on at least two occasions, for his lecherous behaviour. So whatever he had to say on any aspect of the Christian teaching, is undermined by his lecherous behaviour and treachery against his father.

Southern David said...

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Anonymous said...

"The Archbishop appears to be happily married, but GTA was exposed, on at least two occasions, for his lecherous behaviour."

I see why Tom has no problems with HWA's lecherous behavior- HWA wasn't 'exposed," therefore, it never happened.

Actually, the real reason Tom despises GTA is for the same reason all die-hard Armstrongists despise GTA. HWA denounced him. Everything elese is window dressing. That's all it took. If HWA had never kicked GTA out, Tom himself would revere son like father, and make the same excuses and overlook the same behavior.

It was quite a shock (as a fomer member of GTA's splinter)to hear the version of history held by the die-hard Armstrongists. It was GTA who sent all those nasty ministers into the field to abuse the brethren. It was GTA who wasted all the tithe-payers money. Everything bad that happened in the WCG was GTA's fault. HWA was a lovable old gentleman who didn't have clue what was going on until he had to come back to Save The Church. I was told all this with great sincerety by family in LCG. They really believed it. GTA was the devil, the interloper, He Who IS Not To Be Named.

Paul

Tom Mahon said...

DennisDiehl said...

>>>Tom said I was a vomiting dog and wallowing pig..<<<

I never said anything of the kind. If you are going to quote me, please try to be accurate.

You have questioned the divine origin of the bible, scandalised HWA, and have either explicitly stated or implied that you will be celebrating xmas. You were once an ordained minister, who taught others that the bible was the word of God, that HWA was God's servant and that xmas was of pagan origin. To now repudiate what you once hold to be true, is described by the infallible word of God, as a "dog returning to its own vomit, and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire." These are not the words of Tom Mahon, but of God Almighty.

>>>..but in the spirit of the Birth of the Sun, I feel compelled to forgive him. But he hurt my feelings :)<<<

You deserved to have your feelings hurt. Just think of the height from which you have fallen, and count your blessings that you are still alive, but only just!

BTW, I don't need your forgiveness, for I have done nothing to harm you. On the contrary, I have pointed out the awful situation you are in, not to mention the terrifying prospect of you having to explain to Jesus why you have abandoned his wholesome teachings, to revert to idolatry.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

I'm sure Dennis is grateful to you for pointing out the speck in his eye...Now about that giant beam in yours...

DennisDiehl said...

Wow Tom, I"m speechless. Thou art truly a piece of work. The only thing missing from your speech was the preamble of "Behold.."

If it helps, I would never keep Xmas as a Christian Holyday since I know way too much if you have kept up with these posts.

Secondly, I know way too much about the birth narratives and associated problems to take them seriously as well.

Thirdly, I was being a little light of heart in my comments and generous to you as one who comments here. Others have not been so kind, but in fact, you don't really deserve it. I guess the old adage from the Almight, "he will have no mercy who shows no mercy" may be your fate, if I believed you had to worry about your fate to begin with.

And in hindsite, I don't consider myself to have fallen from anything. Actually, I have been able to get off my knees and stop worshipping the god of ignorance, deceit and self appointed lecturers for God.

Whenever Jesus takes the time, and it would be a first, to have a talk with me personally, I also will have a few questions for him.
If he is any kind of a leader, he will thank me for asking, say something like "Behold...that's why I always liked you Den," and tell me how tired he gets of those who aren't able to think for themselves and ask a good question.


(I like that word 'behold' It also goes well with "fear not..."

Ok Tom, over to you. I know you have something brilliantly judgemental, condemning and self righteous to say.

Southern David said...

Tom, if you keep that up all you’re going to get from Santa is a bundle of switches.

Anonymous said...

Hey I just heard a new Carole sung by the Pope! "Away With the Manger." How cool is that!

DennisDiehl said...

And Tom...just so you completely understand me. In my wildest dreams I would never seriously judge you, mock you, scorn you or condemn you for where you find yourself along the path to seeking truth in whatever form you find it.

The world is full of poster children for the piously convicted yet marginally informed. It's always been that way, and always will be. But you do have control on how you communicate with others. And I believe that even Jesus or God as you perceive them, might slap your mouth for the ill will you spread in their name, should they coose to spend some time with you.

Douglas Becker said...

BTW, I don't need your forgiveness, for I have done nothing to harm you. On the contrary, I have pointed out the awful situation you are in, not to mention the terrifying prospect of you having to explain to Jesus why you have abandoned his wholesome teachings, to revert to idolatry.

Tom, the idolater, speaks.

"Wholesome teachings"? Isn't that a bit overstating the case? Especially since Herbert Armstrong often defied Jesus, just as you do.

And Dennis: You've been too kind and charitable to Tom, and being a de facto Christian without intending to do so. For shame.

DennisDiehl said...

Thanks Douglas...I believe one of my personal lessons along way is that one can be a better person the further away one gets from organized religion and the God haunted end time works that keep going and going and going and going......:)

However, I do miss being asked "so Dennis, just how did you come into falling out of the truth?"

Stingerski said...

Tom saith :

You [Dennis] have questioned the divine origin of the bible, scandalised HWA, and have either explicitly stated or implied that you will be celebrating xmas.

Since the books that make up your Bible are not of divine origin Tom, but the works of men, any thinking person (please exclude yourself here) SHOULD question them. This is why we no longer bow before bronze serpents, but go to competent medical practitioners to fix what ails us, as is necessary (despite what your "apostle" taught us to do).

As for HwA, he scandalized himself via his lascivious and wanton life style, jet-setting around the world off the tithes & offerings of widows & orphans. Your "apostle" was a drunken lout, a lying son of Satan, if there ever was one. And you seem to be gladly following right in his foot steps.

And lastly, every time you try to denigrate Christmas by referring to is as 'X'mas you put Christ (the 'X' of the early Christians) right back into the festival.

So, merry Xmas to you, Tom. :-)

nelson said...

THE WAR ON CHRIST(MAS!)
Seems the war against anything Christian continues, especially the beginnings of Christmas, the birth of the Saviour. Hence, the war on Christmas is really a war against Christ and His Lordship.

The theory seems to be guilt by association. Take long obscure legends that seem to be similar and then associate those legends and myths with the birth of Christ. The method is to keep pounding away about those similarities and little by little, public consciousness accepts them as one and the same.

In America, Christmas was first celebrated at Jamestown,Virginia in 1607 and has been continuously celebrated there. In fact, 2007 is the 400th birthday celebtration of Jamestown and they even have an internet site with all of the Christmas details.

Only the religious seperatists the "Puritans," who were wealthy religious elite, whose stated purpose for coming to America was to " establish a city on a hill," condemned Christmas. The Puritans were the ones who hanged 14 year old girls as witches and installed public stocks and floggings.

The problem is that upon closer inspection, the legends are not nearly as similar as you have been led to believe and in most cases are outright lies and propaganda.

I posted in the previous section several truths about Christmas that are undisputable. It bears repeating here IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, TO GIVE A TRUE HISTORY OF THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF CHRISTMAS!
1038 AD
CHRISTMAS DEFINITION: Cristes Maesse, OR CHRIST'S MASS, WAS FIRST FOUND.
YULE-The word is of disputed origin and has no connection to any word meaning "wheel."
GEOLA: An Icelandic word meaning "Feast of December."
FIRST CENTURY CHURCH DID NOT CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS: Probably because the first century church was still focused on the "imminent return of Christ," there had not yet evolved the "big picture," approach of Christ, meaning prophecy,birth,life,death and resurrection of Christ.
A.D. 200
Clement of Alexandria tells us that the Egyptian scholars had already placed the birth of Jesus on 25th of December.
Clement also shows that the Basilidians celebrated both the epipany and the Nativity of Jesus.
433 A.D.
Paul of Emesa preached before Cyril of Alexandria, and his sermons prove that December 25 was already celebrated there, we know this because "THERE ARE CALENDARS WHICH SHOW IT!" Therefore it is INDISPUTABLE that the December celebration reached Egypt between 427 and 433.
380 A.D.
In Capadocia, Gregory of Nyssa's sermons PROVE that in 380, December 25 was already celebrated there.
385 A.D.
In Jerusalem Etheria of Bordeaux wrote about the childhood nativity feasts already being celebrated there. The Bishop traveled nightly to bethlehem and then returned to Jerusalem for the daytime celebrations. However, the feasts there started on January 6th, because the early church celebrated both the Epiphany and the Nativity on the same date!
348-386 A.D.
Cyril of Jerusalem writes and states that his clergy cannot perform both festivities at one time and asks that JULIUS assign the "TRUE," date of the Nativity on December 25, "BASED ON CENSUS RECORDS BROUGHT TO ROME BY TITUS!"
385 A.D.
At Antioch Chrysostum preached that Christ's birth was on December 25. He showed that Zachary as High Priest entered the temple on Day of Atonement, recieved announcement of John's conceeption in September, six months later Christ was conceived i.e. March and then born in December.
395 A.D.
At Constantinople, Jacob of Odessa writes that Christmas was brought there by Arcadius and Chrysosum from Italy where, "FROM APOSTALIC TIMES," it has been celebrted.
345 A.D.
At Rome, the PHILOCALIAN CALENDAR, compiled in 354 contains in the civil calendar 25 December "NATUS CHRISTUS IN BETLEEM IUDEAE."
HENCE BETWEEN 354-379 THE DECEMBER FEAST WAS UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED.

ARMENIA ORTHODOX CHURCH RETAINS JANUARY 6 AS BOTH EPIPHANY AND NATIVITY- The Armenian Orthodox church still retains the joint date of Epiphany and natiivity. When the split of the two occured the Armenians who never followed pagan customs, thought that December was to close to the pagan festivals in December and erring on the side of caution, still retains the January dual celebration of Christmas.

COMMON MYTHS ABOUT CHRISTMAS:
1. MANGER SCENE WAS NIMROD
The truth is that the manger scene came from St. Francic of Assisi in 1223. He misinterpreted Is. 1:3 and included the ox and donkey.
2. CHRISTMAS SONGS AND CAROLS ARE ODES TO NIMROD!
The truth is that "PRUDENTIUS," in the fourth century was the FIRST to pen the Nativity.
3. CHRISTMAS TREES ARE FROM JER. 31:31
The Christmas tree was first mentioned in 1605 at Strasborg, Germany, and introduced in England and France in 1840 only, by Princess Helena of Mecklenberg.

4. GIFT GIVING IS PAGAN!
The truth is that Jesus Christ HIMSELF was the first Christmas Present. Luke 2:10-"BEHOLD I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY WHICH SHALL BE TO ALL PEOPLE!"
JOHN 3:16-"FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORL THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON, THAT WHOSOEVER SHALL BELIEVE IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE!"
5. IT WAS TO COLD FOR THE SHEPERDS TO BE OUTSIDE.
1 Sam. 25:14-16, King david's men kept watch in the fields all winter long over nabal's sheep. In nthe springtime, when Nabal sheared his sheep, David asked him for assistance. Sheep are sheared in the spring time, or else they would freeze to death. What season is before spring time? WINTER! The very words of the Bible disprove this common misconception.
6. GOD HID CHRIST'S BIRTH TO KEEP US FROM CELEBRATING IT!
The truth is that the birth of Christ was accompanied by the biggest display of natural occurances in man's history!
THE NIGHTTIME SKIES BECAME AS BRIGHT AS DAY! The ANOUNCING ANGEL WAS ACCOMPANIED BY MILLIONS OF ANGELS SINGING AND PRAISING GOD!
The truth is that the dark winter sky was so bright that the sheperds exclaimed, "lets go right NOW!"
The skies were so bright that wise men from the east, followed the bight skies for several nights to find the new born King.
The phenomena was so great that Herod was frightened at what was happening and he was so afraid that he ordered the slaughter of all males under two years of age.
To this day, 2,000 years later astronomers still study the Christmas time skies over Jerusalem.
7. St.NICK IS REALLY MINROD!
Unfortunately for Garner Ted,Herbert W.,Meredith,Flurry,Ames,Hoeh,Pack and the others, St. Nick is REALLY ST. NICK! YES! ST. NICK WAS A REAL MAN!
St. Nicholas was orphaned at an early age by very wealthy parents. Because his parents had taught him to follow Christ, Nicholas GAVE AWAY HIS ENTIRE FORTUNE TO THE POOR, MOSTLY CHILDREN! AND THE COOL THING IS THAT MOST OF ST. NICK'S GIVING WAS ANONYMOUS! THUS THE STORY OF ST. NICK COMING TO TOWN!
Now, why would armstrong and meredith and flurry NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT ST. NICK? LETS COMPARE ST. ICK TO THE CULT LEADERS!

St. Nick-he gave away his wealth to the poor and protected children.

The cult leaders such as armstrong- they took wealth from the poor and children!
St. Nicholas--a giver!
Armstrong--a taker!

Do you see how the cult leaders don't want you to know about St. Nick?

The above are but a few of the undisputable facts about Christmas! Please, accept the free Christmas gift of God and accept His Son, Jesus Christ! ITS FREE TO ALL WHO WANT TO TAKE IT!

Anonymous said...

"Organized Religion" ranks right up there with...

jumbo shrimp · larger half · linear curve · liquid gas · long sleeved t-shirt · marital bliss · Microsoft Works · military intelligence · minor crisis · minor miracle · modern history · moral majority · non-working mother · normal deviation · obscene art · old news . open secret · original copies · peacekeeper missile · plastic glasses · plastic silverware · · real potential · religious tolerance · resident alien · rock opera · rolling stop · rush hour · sad clown · safe sex · sanitary sewer · same difference · scheduled spontaneity · scientific belief ·seriously funny · soft rock · student athlete · successful suicide · sweet sorrow · sweet tart · synthetic natural gas · Tame cat · taped live · temporary tax increase · terribly enjoyable · terribly pleased · tight slacks · twelve-ounce pound cake

DennisDiehl said...

Nelson:

I haven't heard those common WCG misconceptions for years. They were indeed fairly lame but have since been replaced with much better scholarship and information both theological and historical.

Stage one is seeing the meaning given to the Winter Solstice but the more annoying stage is the second where the actual birth texts, circumstances, history, midrash and such about Jesus in the Bible are questioned or explained.

I hadn't thought abut ol Nimrod in years!

byker bob said...

Good points, Nelson. It's nice that such information can be presented and discussed now by all of us. The fact is, if, as a member of WCG, you had presented this information to your local minister for consideration, you would have been disfellowshipped. People like HWA and GTA probably wouldn't have read or considered it.

Small minded people do not tend to think very expansively. The computer geeks have come up with the term "binary" thinking to describe those only capable of thinking in terms of black and white, right and wrong, good, and bad. In a climate of binary thinkers, such as classic WCG, the minute anyone detects the least suggestion of paganism, the entire idea or practice that has been associated with paganism becomes a horrible abomination, and must be forbidden and avoided at all costs. I guess these brilliant thinkers forget that the pagans drank water!

I am of the opinion that it wasn't so much holidays and different items that made paganism an abomination, it was whom the pagans were worshipping, and the horrible debauched practices of worship that God hated. Take the winter solstice, as an example. It's a legitimate event. It marks the day which consists of the least amount of daylight. After that, everything renews. The days become longer, and spring soon follows. There's nothing wrong with that.

But, a god who knows He's the only God, and one who promotes good laws and practices that make for an orderly and wholesome society is going to be filled with righteous indignation if people credit a false god with the winter solstice, and have orgies to commemorate it, complete with infant sacrifices. I don't know any Christians today who are celebrating Christmas in this sort of pagan manner. People who don't take Christianity seriously sometimes mess up office Christmas parties, but that doesn't constitute a full blown pagan orgy.

There's legalism, and there's balance. I believe that anything which makes people focus on Jesus and to want to do good should be encouraged. Let God straighten things out in His own time if He so desires. Nobody can really know the full extent of what He wants for us today, anyway. There's too much confusion, too many well-stated arguments pro and con, and a plethora of fakery promulgated by the religious industry.

BB

nb said...

Nelson, Christmas has a long history, as you state, but it's also true that Easter is the more important festival on the mainstream calendar. Christmas as it's observed today is a fairly recent phenomena. The "family" centered version - kiddies unwrapping presents under the tree - goes back only as far as Victorian times.

The nonsense in the Two Babylons (Hislop) is discredited, but that doesn't mean there are no pre-Christian antecedents: there clearly are.

Just as clearly there are Canaanite antecedents to the Old Testament festivals. In any religion there are few original elements.

And that includes your altar call at the bottom of the posting.

Bill Daughtreive said...

The GTA article states that Baby Jeezus birthday was the first day of Feast of Tabernacles (booz), a day of grand offering.
I liked hearing about his knowledge of Jet Aircraft, I am an avid golfer and his explanation of what might have caused the accident that killed Payne Stewart
was insightful.

DennisDiehl said...

I think Payne Stewart's plane had a hole in one which caused a bogey. Ok, I don't play golf!

Bamboo_bends said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well, my (and family's) very first Winter Solstice/Yule is going smashingly! We have a huge multicolored Christmas tree festooned with all sorts of glittery trinkets with a couple of gaudy presents (socks, books, ect) underneath. I have lights and multicolored bells all up and down the staircase, with wreaths here and there. Just finished a big plate of pork tacos and black beans, and next we'll snack and watch the claymation Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer show with eggnog and cookies. All together.

This makes the Feast of Tabernacles seem like a day at Buchenwald.

And by the way, all this (tree, decorations, food, and presents) have run us about 350 bucks. The tree is fake so next year the cost will be a hundred bucks lower. Point is, this is much, much cheaper than the Feast of Booze. In fact, this Christmas is cheaper than one month's tithe!

Merry Christmas, Solstice, and Yule!

Paul

DennisDiehl said...

Sounds good Paul...Just sitting here with Handel's Messiah, which for whatever reason, I have memorized playing on XM. There are still hymns and such that bring up a sentimental me that can get misty eyed. What complex beings we are.

But I can also play "We are the World" and cry for people to wake up and try something new on the planet besides genocide and fundamentalism.

I got rid of the TV seven years ago but have youtube and cd's. Hell, I get teary over "Walking with Dinosaurs!"

So many amazing things on the planet to learn besides binding one's mind with religious chains that demand faith over facts for the most part.

"This makes the Feast of Tabernacles seem like a day at Buchenwald."

That's very funny! We'll I mean if you weren't actually at Buchenwald...

Corky said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Paul.

And a merry Christmas to all who celebrate it.

It's a wondrous time of the year for sure, even if it is a bit stressful, especially if you wait til the last minute like I do every year.

It's Christmas eve here in Arkansas, USA and tomorrow will be a full day for me. Places to go, people to see and tons of food to eat - might even have some "holiday cheer" too, if I can talk my wife into driving me home.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmm...is it just me or does the Archbishop look like Gregory Peck with a beard?


Paul

Byker bob said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS! (to everybody who happens to celebrate it).

BB

Kscribe said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Organized Religion" ranks right up there with...

Uh, you forgot condoms! I wear a mind condom when ever I go off to a ucg event. A man need safe entertainment you know!

Also I understand where Tom is coming from after watching a video about his upbringing

Tom Mahon said...

Paul said:

>>>I see why Tom has no problems with HWA's lecherous behavior- HWA wasn't 'exposed," therefore, it never happened.<<<

What lecherous behaviour are you referring to? If you are referring to the slanderous rumours that HWA abused his daughter, where is the evidence that will stand up to legal scrutiny? Am I supposed to have a problem with HWA because his enemies make unproven allegations against him?

>>>Actually, the real reason Tom despises GTA is for the same reason all die-hard Armstrongists despise GTA.<<<

You are very sadly mistaken, for I don't despise anyone. I am, as God is, particularly critical of those people who "call good evil, and evil good." Which is what you and the cabal have been doing.

>>>It was quite a shock (as a fomer member of GTA's splinter)to hear the version of history held by the die-hard Armstrongists.<<<

To follow GTA, knowing that he had been exposed for his inability to control "the passion of sin," is a clear demonstration of your ignorance of the wholesome teachings of the bible. No genuine minister of God could ever be guilty of adultery.

Anonymous said...

Happy Solstice!

My WCG upbringing still causes trouble for me to say Merry Christmas.

As an aside, I usually take winter vacations driving down I-95 to the South. In recent years, I have re-discovered Jekyll Island, Georgia where I first attended the WCG Feast of Tabernacles in 1968.

Amazingly, the island is largely the same as I remember it in my youth. The hotels a have great deals during the winter break, and you can get ocean front a better rates than the motels along I-95.

The island is still very beautiful.

I was reflecting about Jekyll with my brother (who was a local church elder) and we started wondering if you could put up a tent the size the WCG used on Jekyll in this day and age? I believe the tent used for services was billed as the world's largest tent.

I hope all is well with my once WCG brethren on this Solstice Day!

Richard

DennisDiehl said...

Tom said:

"No genuine minister of God could ever be guilty of adultery"

How about the King anyone professing to be the Messiah had to be related to?

How about the four rather sexually suspect women in Jesus geneology (Rahab, Jezebel, Ruth, Bathsheba) leading to Mary being Jesus mother? Do you think there might be a hint there that the Deity can work even through suspect women since no one wanted to include the Sarah, Hannah or Deborah types in the geneology to make a point about Mary.

How about boinking "son's of God" who saw that the daughters of men were babes?

How about a Deity that conceives a child with a very young woman, perhaps underage?

How about a hot tempered, emotional, got this thorn in my flesh Paul?

How about 12 unmarried young men all hanging out together for a couple of years together with the master?

Far as I can tell from the script, only Satan has kept himself chase with regards to women.

Jesus himself is criticised by the disciples for kissing Mary too often on the lips. The Gospel of Philip indeed describes Mary M. as the "one who was called his companion", i.e. the companion or wife of Jesus. Jesus "loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth....The rest of the disciples offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, 'Why do you love her more than all of us?'..." Jesus reply to them was,"why does she love me more than you?"

I know this will crack your skull Tom, but if Jesus was real and not just the concocted one of the Gospels and others knew it, I think he Mary M were lovers, because it just seems true to me. Ever believe that something just "seems" true when you understand real people's lives and ways? Ok, I know you wouldn't.

DaVinci seemed to think Mary belongs on Jesus right hand in his work The Lord's Supper. However, I will grant that the Marriage in Cana was probably Jesus own wedding. I'm not sure you could be called Rabbi and not be married.

How about the "has already committed adultery in his heart" types?

Time would fail to explain the lives of the membership of any church. Human relationships are not so simple or idealistic as written stories would have one believe.

The lives of real people do not match the lives of literary creations. I suspect some things are rather left out along the way.

DennisDiehl said...

Little side note on human relations suppressed by the powers that be who can't take it.

The traditional version is taken from the King James Bible, Genesis 3:16. It says: "And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

Sounds like the normal patriarchal, sexist tone in which we have always accepted that the Bible was written. Loveless relationships based on obligation and obedience to the male.

Here is the new translation of the exact same phrase: "To your man's body your belly will rise, for he shall be eager above you." (Book of J)

Now to me, "rule over you" and "eager above you" mean two very different things - it actually seems pretty close to being a 180 degree swing in perspective.

This new translation sounds as if there is nothing shameful about sex. As if maybe it is not bad to have a normal human sex drive, maybe it is not True that the flesh is weak and the spirit exists somewhere way out there.

Most real humans cycle through their passionate youth, obligatory years and then comes the "brother living with sister" stage, for many reasons.

I have those that share with me the problem of being told, "no more sex, by a mate" along with the warning to better never stray. Nice life there. "Do I allow the other to determine the end of my sexuality?" is usally the question to me. Also realize that rarely does "counseling" work. Few want to feel their partner was counseled into tolerating sex, which is the basic of all needs for comfort and care.

I could take this to a deeper level of discussion but will spare you.

Most religions slay the sexuality of it's adherents as a prerequisite to the "joy" they offer in him.

Anonymous said...

Dennis Diehl,

You have opened up some WCG wounds of mine on this Solstice Holiday.

Having grown up weird in the WCG and left when I was 20, I never found "the wife of my youth". Part of it was the WCG cult teaching that we were not to marry outside our cult. I didn't attend AC (thankfully) so the opportunity to find a mate within the cult was nil. I felt inferior ("weak of the world", a "base thing") and took me another 20 years to overcome after I left the cult.

Therefore, I had no real sex life throughout what should have been the most productive period of my life. To this day, I never married and I remain unmarried. I never had a regular healthy sex life and I do attribute it mostly to the WCG and my upbringing.

Why did Terry Ratzmann go on his shooting rampage in Milwaukee? What were the 9/11 terrorists promised as their ultimate reward? Both answers: Sex.

My understand of what I have read about Ratzmann was that he was frustrated by not having a wife (with sex implied). I believe Ratzmann was age 44, and well past his sexual prime.

Not everything written in the Bible is bad. A Proverb that has always stayed with me all these years is the Proverb "Hope deferred makes the heart sad". For me, and perhaps many others, the long postponement of one of life's most intimate enjoyable physical pleasures can make the heart sad.

Thanks Dennis for understanding. I respect the fact that you are the ONLY WCG ex-minister with the integrity to post here under your own name, and your posts have been very helpful to me.

Richard

Lussenheide said...

I have only one opinion:


http://www.equipministry.com/xmas.mp3

Copy and paste into browser with sound on.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Douglas Becker said...

Far as I can tell from the script, only Satan has kept himself chase with regards to women.

Which would make the Devil as righteous as Roderick Meredith... and Tom, of course.

No genuine minister of God could ever be guilty of adultery.

Which, in the case of Herbert Armstrong, given the testimony in the Divorce trial, as well as direct witness of David Robinson, would pretty much end the credibility of Herbert Armstrong.

But we shouldn't have to work that hard. * HERBERT ARMSTRONG WAS A FALSE PROPHET * And as Tom has pointed out, God never works through a false prophet, except if you count Baalim or that lying spirit God commissioned in II Chronicles 18 to get Ahab to go up to Ramothgilead through false prophets. Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet. Not a hint of "slanderous rumour" there. Not only is the evidence fully online and laying around in old Plain Truths and Good Newses, WE ACTUALLY LIVED IT: Tens of thousands of witnesses. Tom, will of course, discount every last one of them because he is a liar, the son of Satan the Devil -- the Devil who never committed fornication or adultery because he couldn't, unless you want Genesis 6:2. No, wait! The angels married the daughters of men. NOT!

So Tom, the idolater, worships a dead false prophet, holds him up, puts him on a pedestal, and then routinely impeaches his own witness as it suits him.

This is what I think: Tom and Roderick Meredith want to believe that they are about the only ones who will ever have salvation. In their arrogance, they want every one else who ever lived, including those currently in the Churches of God to fall down and worship them as in Revelation 3. They want power over others to control and manipulate them, to dominate them, to force them into the same mold from which they sprang. They want to be the rulers and kings with absolute cultic control of being God as God is God to make people miserable -- to make them perform empty rituals devoid of faith for all eternity, just for their own aggrandizement.

The behavior of Tom here, underscores a very sick abusive personality of manipulation and control, with murder in his heart, who can never be satisfied, but wants people who disagree with him to suffer terrible torment and go through great tribulation just to satisfy his blood lust. If he could be Hitler, he would be, in our time. If he could shut up his critics when they tell him to repent of his rotten attitude and get his facts right, he would, and punish them in the most miserable way.

There is no love there: Tom is nothing but an empty black hole, devoid of compassion, caring and forgiveness. He wants judgment without mercy and will not be satisfied until the United States and Britain are destroyed.

It's not really about the Kingdom of God. It's power and dominance. He's like Jonah, sitting like a spider, waiting for fire from heaven to fall on his enemies. And his enemies are people who refuse to capitulate to him and won't adopt his own sick fancies. You don't have to have sexual lusts to be a pervert. Tom is living proof.

Here's the way the Bible spreads it out: Humanity will be gone one day. The people living today will have an opportunity in the Second Resurrection, during which Satan will be loosed a little season, if we are to believe Revelation 20, to sift out those, like Tom, who are Pharisees and will not show kindness to others. Most of humanity will be saved and all of Israel will actually turn to God as a loving, kind, merciful, forgiving Father. People will feel sorry for the things they have done to others. The wicked will be destroyed and those who shown kindness to the sons and daughters of God will be granted to be sons of God as well -- not God, just mere sons of God. Then everyone will be comforted and every tear will be wiped away in love. Humanity will move on and there will be, as it says, delights at the right hand of God, for the which we barely have a hint. Everyone will love everyone else and the satisfaction may well be derived from the loving care each person has for another.

In Tom's Kingdom, there is only austerity devoid of love with heavy burdens.

I'd prefer to be in the Kingdom of God. If I have to be in the Kingdom of Tom, I'd really prefer the Lake of Fire.

One other thing: Tom is the sort which cause the Gentiles to blaspheme. Perhaps he should think about that.

DennisDiehl said...

Hi Richard,
Thank you for your kind comments and I am very sorry for the pain that has come in hindsite with your church associations.

First of all..you thought you were doing the right thing at the time. So don't be the monkey on your own back anylonger in this issue.

People don't even talk about such things in most churches, much less address or solve them. My mind turns off these days when advice contains the words "should" or "must."

There are more ways to develope relationships that just those expounded by the rather Talibanish OT and NT.

Terry R was no doubt torn between his need for touch and intimacy and "the rules." He struck out, wrongly so, against the symbols of his pain.

Humans were never meant to be celebate and I find that Paul probably was, not because he was such a stud with character for his cosmic Christ, but that he was unlucky in love and hung up on the rules, fear, guilt and shame. I believe Gerald Waterhouse was married for four months once. I see similarities in mentality in he and Paul. I bet there were similar "problems" that went with it.

I'll stick my neck out here and say,I am not the same person I was just a few years back. I believe in "intimate friends" and those I know who also do are the most balanced, happy, openly communicative with partners and mates that I know. They are not hung up on should and must. None of them allow a church to define their life experiences or lack of them. They all were once in churches and none are now. They are happier by far.

I guess I can only say so much on an open blog concerning these things. Give me a call and we can chat. Contrary to Tom's ideas, today means little to me except that I know the sun is coming back and we aren't going to be plunged into eternal darkness (hey think about that analogy!)

We all put portions of our brains and lives on hold for religious ideals. It's done all over the planet. How will the dead suicide bomber feel when he finds all the virgins have left town or there are none left for him?

While it might take not doing so for a time, learning to think for oneself and then act on it regardless of the opinions of others is a freedom most never experience in life.

1 864 905 5804

DennisDiehl said...

ROTFLMAO Luss!

DennisDiehl said...

Richard..We have to come to see that the Apostle Paul "ruined" the lives of the young in the Church of Paul. With time short, his advice was typical and he held his own celebacy up as the ideal. (Not exactly what Jesus taught, but Paul didn't know what Jesus taught on most real topics).

How many stayed single due to Paul's assinine views? "Let him who has a wife be as if he had none." How much stress did he put on marriages? For Paul, to marry was so you don't fornicate and to be like him was the best route of all.

He was wrong and a liar and it hurt many many real humans now long gone. It is one's job to learn from the past and not let such foolishness continue.

When a minister or cleric or religious organization offers up it's views on sex and sexuality, we must learn to say "Thanks for the input, I'll take that under advisement." If one's spirituality is tied to such nonesense, vote with your feet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dennis for your posts.

Perhaps someday I will take you up on your offer, and call you directly. I still have a lot of anger toward WCG and its false ministers.

I have been posting here excerpts from my unpublished essay, "Reflections on the Worldwide Church of God - 1972 in Prophecy! God's Practical Joke", excerpt below is relevant:

Additionally, I had the very heavy burden and grave knowledge of the impending 1972 great tribulation and the destruction of the whole world thinking all my classmates would soon be dead! Thus, I trace the origins of becoming a “loner in life” to my Worldwide Church experience (I’ve spent most of my adult life single and alone. At age 39, I had my only real relationship that lasted only 4 years but did produce a wonderful daughter).

I didn’t feel that I fit in anywhere. In fact, in retrospect I now realize I didn’t even "fit in" in the Worldwide Church itself. When I applied to the Church’s S.E.P. summer camp program and to its Ambassador College, I was rejected in both cases. I remember a conversation I had with a girl at church who also applied to Ambassador College. At church, I had informed her that I had received my letter notifying me that I was not accepted to the
College. She hadn’t heard yet whether she was accepted, but promptly informed me that she had hoped to get into Ambassador “because that was where the best guys are”. Thanks, I really needed that! She was accepted, and hopefully, she learned some tact at Ambassador.

I did not feel good about myself in the years I grew up in the Church and the feelings of
inferiority that the Church helped nurture stayed with me for many years. I sold myself short in a number of instances in my professional and personal life because I didn’t think I was worthy of good things happening to me. Although the Church prepared me for a 1972 German attack, the Church did not prepare me for life itself. To demonstrate the mindset of people in the Worldwide Church in the early 1970s, I recall telling a member that I was planning to go to College. The member replied, “Why go to College? The World is going to end soon!”

End of Excerpt.

I went on to receive a B.S. degree and M.B.A. degree from well known accredited University institutions in spite of Herbert Armstrong's teaching that "Time was very short".

Now realizing the truth about Herbert W. Armstrong and his character flaws, when Armstrong was teaching the Church that "time was short", I now believe Armstrong meant "time was short for Herbert Armstrong" given how self centered he was.

Thanks again for your posts, Dennis. They are most insightful.

Richard

DennisDiehl said...

That's a lot of burdensome stuff. I'm glad you can share it thought at least and not simmer without an outlet.

I was outside the AC teen acceptance drama thing in local churches as I went from Presbyterian right to AC and never was a part of a local church until I actually pastored one if you can believe that. I can understand that though as my previous affiliations had the same kind of "get accepted" mentality with Calvin College in Michigan. It was the church place to go if one was so inclined.

When at AC, I guess I tuned out the '72 thing as being anything but speculation as I watched the church build the auditorium in 71 and such which seemed like somewhere someone had more practical plans with time not being so short after all.

"Perhaps someday I will take you up on your offer, and call you directly. I still have a lot of anger toward WCG and its false ministers."

No time like the present :) I'll put on my HWA voice and you can yell at me for therapy! I won't take it personally

Kscribe said...

Terry Ratzmann could set the example for murderous behavior if the cog's continue on for much longer. I just wish that next time it is the guru and not some innocent kids.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine after all the reckless change by the Tkaches, they have not had to watch their backs literally.

I expected such an event to first occur in Pasadena.

Anonymous said...

In many ways, the WCG was nothing more than a microcosm of the world's evils and lusts for power and control.

See this clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuBo4E77ZXo

Robert said...

>>> However, I will grant that the Marriage in Cana was probably Jesus own wedding. I'm not sure you could be called Rabbi and not be married.

I have to agree with Dennis. He is likely to be right in his assertion that Jesus was probably married. It would have been a great source of contention in Jesus' day if He wasn't married. I have heard that the term "Rabbi" was not used in Jesus' day but is a later usage (but of course I am not certain on this).

From my reading of the Mormon doctrines they also point to the wedding at Cana to be Jesus' own wedding.

There has been an attempt throughout the centuries to hide the real Jesus even in the gospel accounts. It is likely an unseen hand rewrote parts of the New Testamant in favour of the ruling orthodox view at the time.

Jesus warns this is going to happen in the book of Revelation, so He certainly allows people to tamper with the Holy Book. I suppose He has allowed enough information out there for us to question the sacred writings.

DennisDiehl said...

One last thought Richard:

Emotions ebb and flow. Most good counselors let us express how we "feel" about this or that, but don't want to dwell on the emotional part which is the body's reaction to the mind. They want to ask, "where do we go from here?" "What action can we take to change things?" etc.

Sometimes we get stuck in the emotions of an experience as if explaining them is the solution to moving on. It is not. Moving on is the solution to moving on. Emotions come and go and keep us from taking some meaningful action. We tend to wait for some magical time when we "feel better" about something before moving on. It does not work that way.

It's like thinking that if we could just have God's true answer to all our "why God?"s we'd understand and move on. We would not. We would argue with the true why and ask "why did it have to be that way?" It would never end.

Anonymous said...

My Xmas wish is that those remaining in Armstrongism snap out of it and break the thrall. We don't need anymore 'news' or shootings. I hope time and common sense will take their toll.

Mark Lax

Kscribe said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I expected such an event to first occur in Pasadena...

Really, I thought this should have happened at the 6-pack prophets little church of horrors! Spanky was my second choice!

Anonymous said...

The WCG bore no responsibility whatsoever for their inept and damaging advice. "God will work it out" was their echo.

And for those of us who, on rare occasion, approached the ministry with the outcome of their bad advice, how quickly they changed the subject and walked away.

Anonymous said...

"No genuine minister of God could ever be guilty of adultery."

Tom, you have spoken true. The irony is thick today.


Paul

Tom Mahon said...

Douglas Becker said...

>>>Far as I can tell from the script, only Satan has kept himself chase with regards to women.<<<

But he has made sure that most other people haven't.

TM>>>No genuine minister of God could ever be guilty of adultery.<<<

>>>Which, in the case of Herbert Armstrong, given the testimony in the Divorce trial, as well as direct witness of David Robinson, would pretty much end the credibility of Herbert Armstrong.<<<

Where is the evidence that HWA, under cross examination, admitted that he was guilty of adultery?

>>>So Tom, the idolater, worships a dead false prophet, holds him up, puts him on a pedestal, and then routinely impeaches his own witness as it suits him.<<<

This is nonsense, and you know it! I have openly admitted that HWA was not perfect. In fact, I have been disturbed by some of the things he got wrong. But when I analyse them against the Laodicean condition of the church, I am able to put them in context. But the idea that he wasn't a servant of God is palpable nonsense!

Also, I have never said that I am perfect or beyond criticism. My righteousness is a gift of God to me, and this life I live in the flesh, is lived by his grace and mercy.

>>>Here's the way the Bible spreads it out: Humanity will be gone one day. The people living today will have an opportunity in the Second Resurrection, during which Satan will be loosed a little season, if we are to believe Revelation 20, to sift out those, like Tom, who are Pharisees and will not show kindness to others. Most of humanity will be saved and all of Israel will actually turn to God as a loving, kind, merciful, forgiving Father.<<<

Sadly, none of this is true. This is what was taught in WCG, without any supporting evidence. The sad thing about it, it offers false hopes to sinners, who should be warned to mend their ways now!

However, suffice to say, if you understood what Jesus meant, when said: "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house," you would have learnt that the binding of the devil occurred after the death and resurrection Christ, and before the day of Pentecost. But once again, it is likely to be a waste of my time to post a detailed exposition of the relevant texts, which explain the binding of the devil.

The rest of your post, reviling me, I was tempted to describe as a celebrated harangue, but it wasn't that good, you might be disappointed to learn. Still, you may keep trying, if you so wish.

Tom Mahon said...

Robert said...

Dennis>>>However, I will grant that the Marriage in Cana was probably Jesus own wedding. I'm not sure you could be called Rabbi and not be married.<<<

Robert>>>I have to agree with Dennis. He is likely to be right in his assertion that Jesus was probably married.<<<

You are crazier than I thought!

Anonymous said...

"I have openly admitted that HWA was not perfect. In fact, I have been disturbed by some of the things he got wrong. But when I analyse them against the Laodicean condition of the church, I am able to put them in context. But the idea that he wasn't a servant of God is palpable nonsense!"

You are a sick freak, Tom Bombadill. A doctrinal error but not incest disturbed you? I am beginning to think that you are a bit..well, evil.

Paul

DennisDiehl said...

The wedding in Cana is a fascinating story found only in John and he calls it Jesus "First" miracle. One would think the other gospels would note such a great miracle but there is no other mention of it in any Gospel.

It's a story that occurs on two levels.

1. Mary acts as if she is the host and Jesus is the groom and the one she would check with when wine ran low etc...Thus the suspicion that it was actually Jesus wedding.

2. It's a take off on the story of the God Dionysius who also turned water into wine to prove he was a god. This miracle, in John, shows that in the same way, Jesus is God. These were familiar tales to the locals.

What Jesus did was no different than what Dionysus/Baccus, the Greek God of wine did.

“This story is really the Christian counterpart to the pagan legends of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, who at his annual festival in his temple of Elis, filled three empty kettles with wine, no water needed. And on the Fifth of January, wine instead of water gushed from his temple at Andros. If we believe Jesus miracle, why should we not believe Dionysus’s.” (The Jesus Conspiracy, Archarya).

Interesting that January 5th was the day that Dionysus, Greek savior, announced his manifestation as a God by turning water in to wine. January 6th is celebrated by the Catholic Church as the Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas and the time when ..”The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany also called “The Adoration of the Magi” or “The Manifestation of God.” Jesus is declared “God” as well by this turning of Water into wine.

I guess we have strayed from the original postings but it's all rather interesting.

Southern David said...

1. Mary acts as if she is the host and Jesus is the groom and the one she would check with when wine ran low etc...Thus the suspicion that it was actually Jesus wedding.


I don’t follow your logic, Dennis. John states that "Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding." John indicates that Jesus was a guest at the wedding, not the bridegroom. The wedding in Cana had a governor or director that was in charge, and it wasn’t Jesus or Mary.

Bamboo_bends said...

Tom said...

But when I analyse them against the Laodicean condition of the church, I am able to put them in context.



The really funny thing about the above sentence is outside the context of the +/- 500,000 who trotted through Armstrongism at one point or another over 50+ years, saying there is a "Laodecian context" is absolutely meaningless.

The whole abstract mental construct of there being a Laodecian era to Millerite splinter sects (of which the WCG is but one in a long series)is a theological contruct created out of whole cloth by the very man whose sins you say you place within it.

If Armstrongism is anything, its circular in its logic, and self-referential.

Or for the geeks among us, For the definition of recursion See: Recursion.

Robert said...

>>>You are crazier than I thought!

Tom,

I guess that I am just as much "the heretic" as the others on the forum even if I do hold HWA in high regard and continue in Torah.

The Sabbatarian movement is made up of many branches. Armstrongism is only a small part of it! The great thing is that some of us can look beyond the differences and continue to view each other as fellow believers in Christ Jesus.

I know it may surprise you but some of us in the Sabbatarian movement have moved away from Armstrongism joining another branch of the movement.

Sabbatarians that have left Armstrongism have ended up in Sacred Name groups, the Hebrew Roots movement, the Adventists, Church of God Seventh day to name but a few. They have maintained their Sabbatarian foundation however they have moved to groups which are less tainted with the "emotional" baggage of armstrongism.

Anonymous said...

Christmas is obviously a Christian holiday. But what percentage of Americans today identify with a Christian religion?

About 82% of Americans in 2007 told Gallup interviewers that they identified with a Christian religion. That includes 51% who said they were Protestant, 5% who were "other Christian," 23% Roman Catholic, and 3% who named another Christian faith, including 2% Mormon.

Because 11% said they had no religious identity at all, and another 2% didn't answer, these results suggest that well more than 9 out of 10 Americans who identify with a religion are Christian in one way or the other.

Has this changed over time?

Yes. The percentage of Americans who identify with a Christian religion is down some over the decades. This is not so much because Americans have shifted to other religions, but because a significantly higher percentage of Americans today say they don't have a religious identity. In the late 1940s, when Gallup began summarizing these data, a very small percentage explicitly told interviewers they did not identify with any religion. But of those who did have a religion, Gallup classified -- in 1948, for example -- 69% as Protestant and 22% as Roman Catholic, or about 91% Christian.

It's one thing to identify with a religion, and another to be actively religious. What percentage of Americans are actually members of a church?

Sixty-two percent of Americans in Gallup's latest poll, conducted in December, say they are members of a "church or synagogue," a question Gallup has been asking since 1937.

FYI

Bob said...

Tom Mahon prattled:
"What lecherous behaviour are you referring to? If you are referring to the slanderous rumours that HWA abused his daughter, where is the evidence that will stand up to legal scrutiny? Am I supposed to have a problem with HWA because his enemies make unproven allegations against him?"

Tom why don't you put your money where your mouth is? Do you have the guts to read the court records? I doubt it. They are available to you if you have the courage to obtain them.

Part of the divorce settlement between Herb and his second wife was that she would get possession of a house and certain other things, cash among them if memory serves. This would be in exchange for her not bringing up, during the divorce proceedings, her knowledge of Herb's incestuous relationship with daughter Dorothy. It is all there in black and white. All you have to do is obtain a copy of the transcript from the Phoenix courthouse. Some of that transcript was quoted in the Phoenix Star newspaper at the time, and used to be available on the internet, although it no longer is. But the transcript is still available.

Again Tom, do you have the guts to read it? No, I thought not. You will come back with some lame excuse.

DennisDiehl said...

Southern David:

The story is not overtly about Jesus wedding. They tend to get rearranged in the telling etc. The point is that either Mary and Jesus were the caterer's and thus her concern when the wine ran out, or something is going on. Mary would not to have been concerned with those issues as a guest either.

I tend to think the story is more Jesus being introduced as a God like Dionysius. This water to wine tale would resonate with the people and the point would not have been lost on them as a story.

As noted, only John even recounts the tale in the Gospels.

The entire NT is male/female relationship unfriendly. There are no real human relations stories to speak of. Here Jesus even refers to his mom as "woman" Not very nice.

It's the story not spoken underneath this story that seems to leak out at times.

Note also that immediately after the miracle: "The governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now." (John 2:9-10).

These words would seem to be addressed to Jesus, such that Jesus and the bridegroom are one and the same.

Questeruk said...

Dennis said:-

>>>>How about the four rather sexually suspect women in Jesus geneology (Rahab, Jezebel, Ruth, Bathsheba) leading to Mary being Jesus mother?<<<<

Where is Jezebel shown in the geneology of Christ? She is the only one on your list who didn’t repent (not that Ruth had much mentioned to repent of). I don’t see Jezebel (wife of King Ahab) in either of the genealogies.

byker bob said...

Bob,

Those records are in the Tucson courthouse. The transcripts cover many pages, and would be very expensive to purchase.

While I was there, it was suggested by the clerk that I preview the files on the computer work stations, available to the public. Upon locating the pertinent information, he'd be glad to print out select pages. I hate to seem indifferent, but HWA's rotten church already wasted enough of my time, and I really didn't feel like spending hour after hour reviewing a couple thousand pages of transcripts.

Really, if a person wants to know whether HWA was a servant of Christ, one doesn't even need to consider the incest issues. According to Matt 5:40, Jesus told him to settle prior to court, and give Ramona more than she requested. Imagine all the tithes and widow's mites that were squandered on court because "God's Apostle" failed to follow instructions.

BB

DennisDiehl said...

You're right. I was thinking of them off the top of my head. I meant Tamar.

Ruth was a moabite.

It's not a repentance thing. It's a woman with questionable background thing. Also, women were not really included in geneologies leading to Messiahs, so who was listed had a connotation of God working through questionable women in Israel's history. Like I noted. there were many great women to choose from and the fact that none were chosen and these were was not lost on the reader.

God can bring about even the Messiah through questionable circumstances...ie..Mary's pregnancy and the associated rumours of Jesus being born of fornication.

Of course, this conflicts with Jesus being begotten by God himself thru the HS as literal father making geneolgies moot.

Questeruk said...

Dennis quotes the suspect Gospel of Phillip as saying:-

>>>>Jesus "loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth....The rest of the disciples offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, 'Why do you love her more than all of us?'..." Jesus reply to them was, “why does she love me more than you?"<<<<

In reality several words of this manuscript are missing, including WHERE he kissed her. The word is physically missing from the manuscript – so it could be the mouth – it could equally be the cheek, or face, or head – or why not the hand! Your guess is as good as, but no better than, anyone else’s.

And of course let’s use a bit of common sense – if Mary was his wife or mistress, why would the disciples say ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ Would they seriously want to be kissed by Jesus in the same way a man would kiss his wife or lover?

byker bob said...

One more thing.

Does anyone know what the grounds were for HWA's divorce? Did he file, or did she?

Was adultery involved? If so, there were biblical grounds for the divorce.

If it's a case of believer-unbeliever, then I Cor 7:12-16 makes it the unbeliever's choice as to whether to remain in the marriage.

Seems to me I recall that it was a matter of Ramona not wanting to submit to HWA's authority. And, of course, as we all know, forget about just a divorce, that meant instant Gehenna!

BB

DennisDiehl said...

If Jesus was understood to be the illegitimate son of Mary — an accusation not unknown in the gospels — then was this genealogy responding with, So what? She was nevertheless married into a line which was sustained by Bathsheba who adulterously conceived Solomon; by Ruth who was a gentile and who teamed up with Boaz through a the euphemistically labelled custom of “uncovering his feet” when he was asleep; by a Rahab, a gentile prostitute; and by Tamar, a daughter of Judah when she turned to prostitution.

These women were included to send a message to reader about the less than believable circumstances of Jesus birth and being the "Messiah" related to David no matter what.

Remember as well the story of the woman taken in adultery is inserted in John 8 right in the middle of a discussion or actually blowout between Jesus and his accusers about who his father was.

Jesus explodes on them with "you are of your father the devil.." Emotional stuff. The story of the woman may have been inserted as it is noted by most bibles, to say, "leave my mom alone. She is forgiven."

The story says 'caught in the very act." However, the man was not the issue and was not included as guilty of anything in this story.

Robert said...

The Virgin Conception and Yeshua as the Davidic Messiah

by Tim Hegg of Torah Resource

from the article, The Virgin Birth, An inquiry into the Biblical doctrine.



One of the arguments often raised against the Gospels’ record of the virgin conception is the question of Yeshua’s legitimate claim to Davidic lineage. Since the Messiah is clearly prophesied to be from the house of David,26 anyone making a claim to be the Messiah would therefore need to be from that line. The virgin conception, some have maintained, makes it impossible for Yeshua to claim Davidic lineage since such lineage came through one’s father. There are, however, a number of important answers to this line of reasoning.

First, it is clear that in some cases, one’s tribal connection could be through the mother. The daughters of Zelophechad are an example. Having no son, the inheritance of the father is given to his daughters and the tribal inheritance passed through them to their sons. But was Mary from the tribe of Judah?

Even from the early centuries of the Christian Church, some have maintained that Luke 1:27 assigns Mary to the “descendants of David,”understanding the phrase to describe Mary rather than Joseph:


Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26–27)


It is possible that all of the descriptions apply to Mary in this text:
(1) virgin,
(2) engaged to Joseph,
(3) of the descendants of David,
(4) named Mary.

But the fact that the term “virgin” is repeated in the final clause would strongly suggest that “of the descendants of David” describes Joseph, not Mary.

For if the phrase were descriptive of Mary, then it would be more nature for the final clause to read “and her name was Mary.” The addition of “virgin” is necessary since the former clause related to Joseph. Thus, the argument that tribal lineage could be traced through the woman, true as it may be, most likely does not apply in the case of Yeshua.

Indeed, it is clearly the purpose of Matthew to trace the lineage of Yeshua through Joseph, for he begins with Yeshua as the “son of David” and ends with Joseph the husband of Mary.

The fact that Matthew emphasizes three periods of 14 generations (1:17) may also signal his intent to show that Yeshua was in the line of David, since 14 is the numerical equivalent of David’s name. But could Yeshua claim Joseph’s lineage if he were not, in fact, his natural father? The answer is “yes,” and this through adoption. The fact that Joseph rather than Mary names Yeshua (Matthew 1:25) signals his legal position as father to Yeshua. Adoption in the Ancient Near East was well known and gave the adopted person clear legal rights, including inheritance.

Further, that adoption of orphans was known in ancient times is clear from historical as well as archaeological records. Leon lists four inscriptions from Jewish tombs in ancient Rome to this effect. R. Shimon ben Pazi (3rd Century Amora), in his midrash on 1Chronicles 1:14 is recorded as stating: “… anyone who raises an orphan boy or girl in his house, Scripture considers it as if he bore him.” Likewise, in the midrash, the statement is made (pertaining to Israel viewed as a orphan), “he that brings up a child is called a ather, and not he that gives birth.”

This accords with the words of Luke 3:23, “When He began His ministry, Yeshua Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph….” The English word “supposed” gives the sense of something perceived but not true, and the Greek word nomizo which it translates can have this meaning. But the word can also describe what is generally held to be true or customary. We could just as well translate the phrase “he was, as commonly held, the son of Joseph,” meaning that Joseph was recognized by his community as the legal father of Yeshua. Thus, from a legal status, Yeshua was the rightful heir of Joseph. And it is therefore in no way contrary to the message of the virgin conception that Mary and Joseph are called His parents. Such a legal arrangement is by no means foreign to the Torah.

In the laws of the Levirite, the children fathered by a deceased husband’s brother are reckoned as bona fide heirs of the deceased even though they did come from him through procreation. Likewise, the adoption of Ephraim and Menassah by Jacob, through which they were granted the status of sons rather than grandsons and given their share in Jacob’s inheritance, illustrates the point that through legal declaration, a person may be granted all the rights and privileges of sonship even without direct physical generation from the father.

But there is an additional aspect of Yeshua’s relationship to Joseph that we must mention. For though Yeshua was legally the adoptive son of Joseph, He was so in a unique way. In normal adoptions, the child is actually the offspring of a human father and thus the “birth father” is distinguished from the “adoptive father.” Not so in the case of Yeshua. The only human father that could lay legal claim to Him
as a father was Joseph. And it would therefore be equally true that from an historical viewpoint, it could have only been through Joseph that Yeshua could be reckoned as in the line of David. Like King David himself, who was granted the promise of an eternal dynasty not through lineage but by God’s sovereign choosing and appointment, so Yeshua was chosen and sent to be the fulfillment of that promise.

In fact, though the Gospels record that Yeshua was often called the “son of David,” they offer not one instance in which His detractors contest His Davidic lineage. Surely those who wanted to disprove the claims of His messiahship could have easily done so if His Davidic lineage was openly suspect. That they did not, even at His final trial, fits the general tenor of the Gospels, namely, that Yeshua’s Davidic connection was accepted within the Jewish community of His day, even by those who were opposed to Him.37

VonHowitzer said...

Quoting Tom:

>>Also, I have never said that I am perfect or beyond criticism. My righteousness is a gift of God to me, and this life I live in the flesh, is lived by his grace and mercy.<<

Perhaps you expressed yourself poorly, but when people say "my righteousness" my stinking fish meter goes off the scale.

Or, you may want to review those scriptures that talk about the righteousness of Christ being imputed to the saved. The difference in perspective is very important.

KMS

Bamboo_bends said...

DennisDiehl said...

If Jesus was understood to be the illegitimate son of Mary — an accusation not unknown in the gospels — then was this genealogy responding with, So what?


The issue of Jesus parentage only poses an issue if (1) you claim a special divinity for him apart from any other human being (2) your religion has certain views about sexual "purity" that would conflict with that religions ideas of who God would use based on lineage or means of conception. That's the line of thinking you get into when you make sex a sacrament. But religion makes everything a sacrament, from washing hands, to circumcision, to the butchering of meat in a temple. But these things were the daily life in a hunter gatherer society. Humans sacaralize the familiar. It seems to be how humans celebrate life to God.

If God is not a respecter of persons or rank, does not visit the sins of the parents upon the children, nor discriminates based race or circumstance of birth, what difference does it make?

The 12 disciples in Judea seem woefully ignorant of Jesus "virgin" birth, and if Jesus makes a point of anything by what authority he does things, he says I am the son of man. Or more literally, I do these things things by the right of being a human being. And what message can be more empowering than that? Paul quotes his education. Jesus has more balls than that, he says I do this because I am a human being! That's language we don't hear again until the US Declaration of Independence, where men have God given rights.

Some accounts speculate Jesus/Yeshua was collateral damage of the Roman conquest. Some accounts even refer to him by the moniker Ben Panterra, (Panterra was a Roman general) Was Mary raped by Roman soldiers? We don't know. Its possible. Jesus sure takes enough crap about his origins from his enemies. Did Jesus incredible insight into the tender "Abba" nature of God come from his experience with Joseph and the unconditional acceptance and love Joseph gave him despite the circumstances of his birth? Its food for thought. I've sure met a lot of people with awful fathers who have a hard time dealing with God as a "father figure". The reverse must also hold true.

Many times in the Bible of God lifts the lowly and oppressed making something out of them. He uses what others reject. Jesus himself is called the rejected pillar stone. Do we owe the brilliant insights by Jesus about God to the kindness of Joseph?

Its a shame we don't know the circumstances. Its been stolen from history from us, or hidden, because lesser men thought we couldn't handle the truth. A lot of orphans and single mothers could find solace and comfort in knowing the true circumstances.

Instead we have been given ridiculous myths that defy biology, and there is no scriptural precedent for God dealing with mankind either through celestial rape/divine impregnation (Mary wasn't given a choice in the gospel accounts - its fait accompli and blessed thou art! ) Where was Mary's free moral choice in the issue of that birth according to Matthew? Only in the "pagan" cultures do we find virgin births and god's dying and resurrecting. Such was said about Caesar. It was the basic super hero boiler plate of the time. So you have super powers? Check. Virgin Birth? Check. Any tendency to float on water? Check. Right this way your divinity!

There's no history of men from extra-human biology, God seems to prefer working through men and through their culture and biology.

Unless of course you believe the story Balaam's smart ass and the talking serpent in the Garden of Eden to be literally true.

Questeruk said...

Bamboo_bends said...


>>>>.. God dealing with mankind either through celestial rape/divine impregnation (Mary wasn't given a choice in the gospel accounts - its fait accompli and blessed thou art! ) Where was Mary's free moral choice in the issue of that birth according to Matthew?<<<<

This is a completely unbiblical claim.

The gospel of Matthew doesn’t comment on choice one way or the other – he just sets the scene that Mary ‘was found with child of the Holy Ghost.’ He is setting the scene for Joseph’s reaction, not referring to ‘did Mary have a choice’.

Luke gives more detail, the angel tells Mary what God’s plans are, and this is BEFORE she is pregnant. She replies ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word’. In other words she is agreeing to this plan. If she had not agreed are you suggesting that God would in effect have ‘raped’ her?

Tom Mahon said...

VonHowitzer said...

Quoting Tom:

>>Also, I have never said that I am perfect or beyond criticism. My righteousness is a gift of God to me, and this life I live in the flesh, is lived by his grace and mercy.<<

Von>>>Perhaps you expressed yourself poorly, but when people say "my righteousness" my stinking fish meter goes off the scale.<<<

I was referring to, "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ(Roms.6:17). Whether we use the term impute or gift it means the same thing. The Christian righteousness is a gift of God.

Von>>>Or, you may want to review those scriptures that talk about the righteousness of Christ being imputed to the saved.<<<

Thanks for the suggestion, but I am very familiar with the Scriptures that explain the grace of God in all its forms. But I would be very interested in your comments.

Tom Mahon said...

Bob said:

>>>Do you have the guts to read the court records?<<<

I do. If you are able to access them, please send a copy to me.

>>>This would be in exchange for her not bringing up, during the divorce proceedings, her knowledge of Herb's incestuous relationship with daughter Dorothy.<<<

This sounds more like blackmail to me. However, if you can produce the court transcripts, I will read them and post my comments.

Thomas Munson said...

The story line of god the father impregnating an engaged to be married virgin with Jesus his son, sure seems against all standards of decency and wholesome family life.

Even some christians would have to agree that impregnating an unmarried yet engaged to be married virgin with a child is a somewhat morally questionable act for a God to be doing.

Thomas Munson said...

Wouldn't it have been easier for God to do the right thing and become married to Mary and have his son Jesus in a legitimate mannar?? Why did God feel the need to intrude on an engaged couples life with his morally questionable demands? There was no choice given to Mary, just an announcement that it would happen. Joseph seemed to be away at the time and was not consulted.

Just because Mary said in essence that she was powerless to stop God, does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that she consented to being raped by God and impregnated with his son.

She was a virgin saving herself for Joseph on their wedding night after all!!!

Questeruk said...

Of course Mary had a choice – there is no question about it.

This is what life is all about. Everyone has a free choice in everything that they do. God ultimately wants each individual to come to Him – but only if THEY want to, and taking into account their genuine understanding. God isn’t forcing the issue with anyone.

Do you really think that God is going to force someone into being the mother of Jesus Christ? This is an event that was to be absolutely unique in human history. God isn’t going to force someone into this without their willing participation. What sort of impact would that have on normal family life for that family?

Obviously as free choice is involved, Mary could have declined. God’s plan never hangs on the decision of an individual human being. If she had declined, there would have been other potential mothers who would have fulfilled the prophetic requirements.

Speculation obviously, but who knows, maybe Mary wasn’t God’s first choice. Maybe someone living in Bethlehem had already declined God’s offer. This would not cause a problem to God, but he then would have to arrange events so the baby could be born in Bethlehem.

Southern David said...

DennisDiehl:>The point is that either Mary and Jesus were the caterer's and thus her concern when the wine ran out, or something is going on. Mary would not to have been concerned with those issues as a guest either.

Nor does the scripture paint her as a guest.

Joh 2:1 And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.

It simply states Mary was there. I do believe Mary was involved in the wedding. Like at most weddings it is customary to have family or close friends help out.

DennisDiehl:>These words would seem to be addressed to Jesus, such that Jesus and the bridegroom are one and the same.

Not really. You are jumping at conclusions to paint him in the role of bridegroom. We are told he was invited to the wedding. You do not invite yourself to your own wedding.

Joh 2:2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.

Jared Olar said...

The day will come when only the most naive and Sunday School (Or is it YES) educated will believe the Birth narratives are coherent, inerrant and literally true.

Dream on, Dennis.

Well at least the Archbishop of Canterbury has a better story to tell than the Vatican seems to have this year in changing Jesus being born in Joseph's home in Nazareth as they seem to think the Gospel of Matthew says, which it doesn't.

Sorry, when did the Vatican say Jesus was born in Joseph's home in Nazareth, and when did the Vatican say or imply that the Gospel of St. Matthew says Jesus was born in Joseph's home? If you bothered to tune in to Christmas Midnight Mass at the Vatican, you may have noticed a reading from the Gospel of St. Luke relating the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

The underlying problem here is that non-liturgical, non-sacramental Protestant and post-Protestant thinking has pretty much killed a lot of people's religious imagination. If Christians can place the Magi at the stable in Bethlehem even though we've always known the Scriptures say otherwise, or if we can put oxen and asses in the stable (cf. Isa. 11), why couldn't Christians create a scene of an infant Jesus at home in Nazareth with Joseph and Mary? Most Christian religious art and iconography has not been in the Realist style -- it has never been intended to be merely photographic. Art is too important to be restricted and stifled like that. Christian art is intended to convey a religious message through signs and symbols, and if you approach Christmas creches in a literalist frame of mind, you're going to completely miss the point of the creche.

Jared Olar said...

Okay, never mind . . . Apparently that planned Nazareth creche was nixed -- they ended up making a creche depicting residence in Bethlehem instead:

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0707356.htm

Judging from this story, the Nazareth creche was probably the brainchild of some lamebrained Vatican official who'd had a little too much eggnog while reading St. Matthew's Gospel, because the creche was being billed as placing Jesus' birth as taking place in Nazareth, in accordance with the erroneous claims of many Bible critics and exegetes, not merely depicting the Holy Family in Nazareth after Jesus' birth.

Jared Olar said...

By the way, the tail end of the URL should be:

0707356.htm

not:

070735

reality said...

From Dennis:

"1. Mary acts as if she is the host and Jesus is the groom and the one she would check with when wine ran low etc...Thus the suspicion that it was actually Jesus wedding.

2. It's a take off on the story of the God Dionysius who also turned water into wine to prove he was a god. This miracle, in John, shows that in the same way, Jesus is God. These were familiar tales to the locals.

What Jesus did was no different than what Dionysus/Baccus, the Greek God of wine did."

Hi Dennis,

This really is interesting that the Dionysas/Baccus account also records a similar miracle. Thank you for your comments here as well as the many other informative points you often make.

There is another possible side to the story though - that is if the account is historically true.

Jesus had brothers and at least one sister (I think). In another place where Jesus' mother is present and his brothers were also present, it sounds as though his father, Joseph, was not around.

It seems possible that this could be the wedding of one of Jesus' brothers or maybe that of a sister, and if Joseph were deceased at the time, then Jesus would likely act in place of the father figure and that might explain why Mary (his mother) seems to take an active part as well.

Just a thought.