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Sunday, 24 February 2008

Sesquicentennial

150 years ago, in the wake of the Great Disappointment, Gilbert Cranmer began what was to become the Church of God (Seventh Day). A group of Adventist Christians, estranged from the charismatic figure of Ellen White (prophetess of Seventh-day Adventism), set out on a resolutely independent path; one that leads - over much stony ground - to every single one of the Churches of God in the Armstrong tradition.

It's worth remembering that the Church of God (Seventh Day) is still out there, and still publishing the Bible Advocate, the periodical that once featured Herbert Armstrong's by-line on the front cover. Looking at the sad record of subsequent schisms, COG7 clearly had something the Armstrong clones didn't: staying power.

Remember the Twentieth Century Church of God, the Biblical Church of God, the Associated Churches of God? How about the Global Church of God or the Church of God - a Christian Fellowship? Our history is littered with failed splinter groups, almost always centered around one man, with soon-to-be-dashed delusions of adequacy. In that, at least, they were true to Herbert Armstrong.

When today's crop of sects are footnotes in history, will COG7 endure? I'd like to think so. Part of the reason lies simply in the collaborative way things are run. No overbearing hierarchy, no defensive hyper-congregationalism, just a practical General Conference system that keeps people together while providing for diversity. The people Armstrong dismissively referred to as the "Sardis Era" have outlasted the upstart ad-man and most of his imitators.

May the next 150 years also be kind to them.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

How ironic. Here is a church that never knew it represented the "Sardis" era, part of a fictitious biblical time line invented by the SDAs, and exploited for profit by the Herbster. And yet this "dead" church continues on, while the Herbster lies dead in his grave.

A foot note in history for the ACOGs you say, Gavin? Nah, I don't think the "Philadelphians" will even warrant that. Worldwide what??

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the article in The Journal that said Al Carrozo and his son are trying to spearhead a GCC CoG7-inspired "drive" to re-unite all of the splinter CoGs.

Did someone say "herding cats"?

Lussenheide said...

The CoG7 has upwards of 200,000 globally. It is growing in some third world areas so rapidly that there are congregations and new ministers that even HQ Denver has no idea about.

The "White/Anglo" COG7 is in decline. Perhaps 5 or 6k members. In fact, many if not most of the USA congregations are Spanish speaking, and these are the ones that are growing.

I believe that we can take some important lessons from this group as to why it has had "staying power"...

* Its lack of embracing of the US/BC theory has allowed it to be more proactive in areas like Mexico, South America, Africa etc., which are much more receptive to a religious message. The wealthier and more educated a country is, the less open they are to God.

* Its means of growing was not based on an expensive "media campaign" via money based marketing. Word of mouth is extremely cheap, and is very effective in poorer societies where communal communication happens with greater frequency.

* It never revolved around a falable "personna" as its dominating identity. Thus church leadership could die or leave and it did not create a "crisis of faith" or "identity crisis" for the org as a whole.

* The church allows for diversity of belief. Some COG7 folks keep the annual holy days for instance. Although the church teaches against it, if one celebrates Xmas, it is not grounds for a tribunal.

* Congregations are very self directed and Denver HQ is only a service organization aiding a confederacy of churches without a centralized tyrant.

* Individuals are free to explore their own personal ministries , projects etc, without permission asking or overmanagement.

* They do not claim an exclusivity or "we are the only ones" nonsense.

* They dont use the Purple Hymnal!

The Armstongist COGs count conversions in the third world, similar to what slaves were counted as in the original US Constitution for census purposes, 3/5ths of a person. When you are a money based operation, a conversion in a third world country is not an "asset",( a tithing member who will end up giving more to the org, over and above his maintenance and acquisition cost,) but rather is viewed as an "expense". Hence the reluctance for Armstrong spinoffs to invest in the ripest and most receptive markets for souls... Non English speaking , non white , poor second and third world nations.

I guess some souls are worth more than others.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Neotherm said...

Tom Mahon wrote:

"If there is a question of semantics, the question is for you to pose and answer. The truth of what I said is confirmed by scripture."

No it is for you to answer because you are the one who is trying to communicate something. I agree with what you intended to say (after I discovered what that was), you just didn't say it.

-- Neo

Neotherm said...

In the realm of process engineering, there is something called CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration). Within this there are five levels of organizational maturity. The least competent, Level 1, is that level where activities are personality driven, there is little methodology and there is little stability. This describes
beautifully the XCOGs at this time.

This is also why these organizations split so easily. The personalities involved have a vested intererest, centered on themeselves, in not resolving differences.

It is what Paul called "carnal". He catalogs the fruit of the flesh and it includes "variance" or "factions". While many organizations experience internal debate that leads for purification of views, Armstrongite organizations split prolifically, evidencing strong internal dysfunction.

-- Neo

Richard said...

COG7 is the group herbert Armstrong called a "dead" church.

Which one is more alive today?

Anonymous said...

Living?

Anonymous said...

In the realm of process engineering, there is something called CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration). Within this there are five levels of organizational maturity. The least competent, Level 1, is that level where activities are personality driven, there is little methodology and there is little stability. This describes
beautifully the XCOGs at this time.


Not certain whether to agree or not.

Is there a level 0?

Anonymous said...

Answering my own question:

Recent versions of CMMI from SEI indicate a "level 0", characterized as "Incomplete".

By the way, there are 5 levels to the model.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps on of the reasons COG7 and other Sabbatarian churches are able to go on and survive without the drama and trauma of their leadership is best summed up in a comment I heard Rod Meredith, several times, in a Freshman Bible Class. It is something I never forgot and I seriously doubt was never a comment made by any COG7 leader of any time. Had they had this mentality, I am sure they also would have splintered, split, slivered and pooped out long ago as well.

"Now fella's and girls, in God's church we have God as supreme. Under God is Jesus Christ and under CHRIST is Mr. Armstrong. Then comes Garner Ted, MYSELF and a few other leading men in God's church."

I noticed that after himself, he could come up with no specific names that were under him. That was because no one wanted to be under him. It would have been a sure sign of being brain dead.

The fatal flaw in WCG was that of everyone, with titles, seeing themselves as special. It was like a dis-sease of their brains. I've told the tale of the Evangelist who said to the gardener, "Just think, without me, you'd have no job," to which "just think, without my parents tithes, you'd not have yours." Of course, that comment may have ended in spiritual death. I found it very liberating and hilarious, after the initial "you ass," had passed.

Flurry, Weinland, Meredith and Pack and most others in the WCG remnants are all perpetuating the same formula for failure. Unless you install a relative, it's pretty much over in time. Joe Tkach stays and stays because his underlings are all close cronies from his past in Imperial Schools or all shared the same bitterness towards the WCG in their youth. He takes good care of them with the monies he has refused to account for, given by three generations of sincere and hopeful believers over decades. "

Den

Tom Mahon said...

>>>It's worth remembering that the Church of God (Seventh Day) is still out there, and still publishing the Bible Advocate, the periodical that once featured Herbert Armstrong's by-line on the front cover.<<<

Length of survival is not proof of God's presence among them. The Catholic, Protestant and Lutheran churches, to name just three, are still out there, but no sane person would argue that God is among them, or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the bible.

When HWA wrote that COG7 was dead, he meant spiritually, as they don't understand the doctrines of the bible. In the 150 years of their existence, they have not grown in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and saviour. They have continued to teach the same heresies that caused HWA to depart from among them.

So there is no need for Satan to destroy or divide them. They are already his captives. They are similar to people who have lived together in a common law relationship for many years, and as soon as they decided to get married, Satan disrupted and destroyed their marriage. As long as they carried on living together, Satan was happy. The moment they made the relationship legal, he destroyed it! This phenomenon has puzzled many couples over the years, and have left them bewildered!

>>>Looking at the sad record of subsequent schisms, COG7 clearly had something the Armstrong clones didn't: staying power.<<<

The so-called Armstrong clones were exposed to the truth, and some of them still have a few grains of it. Satan's plan is to completely destroy them, in order to discredit HWA, you may be surprised to learn!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the article in The Journal that said Al Carrozo and his son are trying to spearhead a GCC CoG7-inspired "drive" to re-unite all of the splinter CoGs.

Doomed to failure.

But can anyone say why?

If the majority of CoGs keep the Sabbath, the postponed Holydays and have most doctrines in common with the exception of picky little points with a such a fine distinction that one needs a quantum detection device to determine variances, it would seem to be a simple matter of just bringing the groups back together.

The real problem is the rank and file might be willing. It is the leadership which is divisive.

It's a rat race out there with intense competition for limited resources and the narcissistic hirelings are not about to sacrifice any of their turf. Even United, which may be higher on the Maturity Scale, than say, Living, Restored or Philadelphia, is given to the philosophy that they are the ones to whom the mantle of Herbert Armstrong passed and as a group of the Council of Elders is not willing to give up one square inch of their turf.

In the midst of this chaos and confusion, other parts of the world are clamoring for the kind of attention they perceive they could get by joining themselves to the prosperous Americans. African groups are among those who are hungry for the kind of resources the rich Americans can provide and are more than willing to compromise themselves to tap into the golden promises gleaming in their eyes. Some of the groups have played several different US church groups to get support for keeping the Feast of Tabernacles with contributions from United, Living and a few smaller nameless works from box addresses and living room offices. It's a lot like those e-mail scams. And the worst of it is, the churches of God fall for it in the hopes of building their membership. It's amazing what lust for numbers can do to the church corporate.

It's hard to say where all the competition for turf came from, but it is very clear where it will end up.

Anonymous said...

When HWA wrote that COG7 was dead, he meant spiritually, as they don't understand the doctrines of the bible.

And just what are those doctrines of the Bible the Church of God Seventh Day doesn't understand?

Prophecy of the United States and Britain falling and the Great Tribulation ending in 1975 perhaps?

British Israelism?

Fundamentally, there is little distinction between many of the basic doctrines of the CoG7 and the xCGs, just as there's practically no distinction amongst the xCGs themselves, except for the name calling.

As for the xCGs, there is no need for Satan to destroy or divide them. They are already his captives. They believe the lies and delusions of that great false prophet end time apostle, Herbert Armstrong. Yes there is no need for Satan to destroy or divide them because they are doing such a fine job on their own. They do so because that is what they were taught by the immature and immoral Herbert Armstrong.

It would be interesting to find if Mahon has actually attended CoG7 services before launching into his typical slander and libel of lies -- proof positive that God does not work through false prophets and baptism into the WCG was an exercise in futility, particularly given the spectacular lack of repentance.

Gavin said...

Tom said: "The Catholic, Protestant and Lutheran churches, to name just three, are still out there, but no sane person would argue that God is among them, or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the bible."

This coming from an admirer of Saint Augustine?

No sane person? Wow, there's a LOT of insane folks out there!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone received a picture of Tom?

Richard

Byker Bob said...

I believe that there are sincere, Spirit-filled Christians amongst every religious group one could name. Jesus Christ working in people's lives on an individual basis. How could this be possible? Because there is no "true church". Every church on the face of the earth teaches error. We don't even have an inerrant Bible upon which to rely! It all comes down to faith and basic attitude. In time, Jesus will straighten everything out.

HWA was baptized by a Baptist minister. When you get baptized, you don't get baptized into a church, you get baptized into the body of Christ. The person who dunks you is inconsequential, as Paul pointed out to some of the Corinthians who were boasting "I am of Apollo, or I am of Paul!" Nothing about laws, rituals, or personalities is supposed to enter into the spiritual equation in such a manner that it would make it possible for a Christian to boast, gloat, or feel superior.

New thought or observation: The Seventh Day Adventist Church has certainly grown. In fact, moreso than COG-7, WCG, or any of the Armstrongite splinters.

BB

Anonymous said...

Self Righteous Tom Moron wrote, "Tom said: "The Catholic, Protestant and Lutheran churches, to name just three, are still out there, but no sane person would argue that God is among them, or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the bible."

MY COMMENT: I am no religious expert. After all, all I know about religion is what the WCG taught me 1968 - 1976.

BUT.... I thought there were two large Christian group categorizations - Catholics and the Protestants who were the groups that "protested the supremacy of the Pope". The Adventists, COG7 and its derivative groups including ACOGs would be classified in the broad second category known as Protestants. Lutherans, I would think, would also be categorized as a "Protestant religion".

So for Tom Moron to state "no sane person would argue that God is among them, or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the bible" either speaks to Tom's own insanity since he idolizes the Protestant religion of Herbert Armstrong, or he is demonstrating his own lack of logic and ignorance, or perhaps both.

Richard

Anonymous said...

Byker Bob,

Good point.

Perhaps Tom Moron can comment on why he would recognize the Baptism of HWA by a Protestant Baptist minister as valid while also stating "The Catholic, Protestant and Lutheran churches, to name just three, are still out there, but no sane person would argue that God is among them, or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the bible."

Tom, do you have an answer?

Richard

Anonymous said...

To BB: Your observation about the SDA is correct. Unfortunately they, like the CoGs, rely upon the teachings of Ellen White, the same way the CoGs rely upon the teachings of Armstrong.

As for Bill's assertions that the CoG7 is "better" than the rest: Gavin's point was, this was the church where Armstrong got his "theological" foundation.

Taking that into consideration, all the fiscal transparency in the world can't deny the fact that the fruit was just as poisoned, no matter which tree it is determined as having fallen from. Regardless of whether or not they use the purple hymnal! ;)

Dennis says:
"Flurry, Weinland, Meredith and Pack and most others in the WCG remnants are all perpetuating the same formula for failure. Unless you install a relative, it's pretty much over in time."

Time that both Weinland and Flurry followers are short on; Weinland predicts the opening of the seventh seal sometime around April 17th, and Flurry is spouting Left Behind garbage for 2009.

Any way you slice and dice it, there remains a direct lineage as Gavin pointed out, from the splintered CoGs to the grand-daddy CoG7.

Carrozo's group trying to bring the splinters back into the CoG7 "fold" whether or not it is successful, is an indication that the CoG7 still believes that it shares some form of theological fellowship with the various Church of God splinters. That, in my opinion, is not a good thing, no matter how stable and/or resilient the CoG7 appears to be.

Also, for Bill, if a legalist-church-by-committee actually worked, United would be the most successful splinter of them all. It is painfully obvious that is not the case, given the UCG's recent relocation woes.

Anonymous said...

"Length of survival is not proof of God's presence among them."


Hypocrite! If COG7 was non-existent, you would point to that as proof that God's presence was not among them! You remind me of GTA, who always pointed to ICG's low membership as fulfilling the sign of the "little flock." I imagine that said the opposite while gloating over the big numbers in the WWCG. Hypocrite. Pharisee.

Paul

Neotherm said...

"The Catholic, Protestant and Lutheran churches, to name just three, are still out there, but no sane person would argue that God is among them, or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the bible."


This is a generalization unsupported by fact. There are plenty of sane people that would argue that God is among Catholics and Protestants (Lutherans included in this latter category).

I would even argue that God is active in a limited way among Armstrongites, mostly working to rescue some small few, if possible.

Length of survival is not a sufficient condition for the Church but it is a necessary condition. This is why HWA, Hoeh, et al, went to such extraordinary effort to connect themselves with First Century Christianity. This is why Dugger and Dodd were studied at AC. The Gates of Hell were not to prevail against the Church.

This historical connection was necessary for HWA because he innovated at bunch of new ideas, foreign to Christianity. So he had to establish a provenance with the First Century Church. That effort, of course, failed and constitutes one of the proofs that modern Armstrongism has no bona fides and is not a latter day manifestation of true Christianity after eighteen and a half centuries.

-- Neo

Lussenheide said...

Weinland Watch and all:

I have attented the COG 7th Day many times. In fact, I even gave a sermon there once. I would reccomend that those who speak from no experience with the COG 7th Day do some homework and a field trip before indicting folks they know little about.

I am very familiar with COG7's culture and its tenor. It is NOTHING like Armstrong Legacy churches. The COG7 generally resents Armstrong, and know that they were called the "Sardis Church" by WCG. I have even met and spoken with an old man, now in his late 90s, who knew HWA up in Oregon in the late 1920s, early 1930s. His opinon..."No one could ever get that guy (HWA) to cooperate with anyone, or ever tell that guy a thing".

They are not a legalistic group. Being a "Sabbatarian", or someone who believes in "Soul Sleep", or "non pork eating" or any of the other doctrinal distinctives that mark the modern 7th day church, in and of themselves do not make you a toxic person (or even a legalist).

Im afraid that many here do not realize that these doctrines do not "cause" toxicity. No more so than keeping Xmas, or not having multiple wives, or not being cannibals as doctrines "causes" toxicity in general religion or society either.

It is not the customs or beliefs of the COG that causes toxicity except for the core root doctrine of Church Government. The idea that there is a "Hierarchy" of men, better than someone else, that one must submit to in order to have favor with God. The idea that there is an exclusivity of WHO is in charge and WHO God is working with and the authority that they get to carry with it. The lack of esteeming ALL human beings better than self.

For those of you struggling with your WCG past, I believe that it is a matter of "guilty by association" of either God, Sabbatarians or Christians with Armstrongism. Armstrongism is indeed toxic, but that doesnt mean these other things are too. It must be done on a person by person basis.

Remember the old "zen diagrams"?? Armstrong was in a "subset" of Believers, Christians, and Sabbatarians. That toxicity, being a subset, by logic, does not necessarily mean that the set of Believers, Christians, and Sabbatarians is toxic with it.

Perhaps Im an exception in being able to dissect my belief system from the social/religious system and still keep a sense of sanity from this very strange journey for me of the last 35 years. For some, they must flush it all, God, doctrine and Armstrongism in order to feel a sense of mental stability.

I understand, but realize and confess that it is indeed a "way too simple an answer" approach to this. Intelligent minds do not pigeon hole mass groups of people and dehumanize them. This is a fools game, and the genesis of all prejudices.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Questeruk said...

Bill,

Thanks for bringing a bit of balance and common sense to this blog

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Anonymous said...

Most of this discussion would be downright depressing if it were not for the earlier prediction in this blogsphere that an xCG would go out of business this year... maybe two. That's a downright positive cheery outlook!

So which two would it be? Weinerland seems promising, but I'm not counting Packatolla down and out in the down and out department.

It's clear the PCG probably isn't going to be down and out for the count this year, but let's just take it one or two xCGs at a time. There will be plenty of encouragement in 2009.

Just think: The pain and suffering will end for a lot of people, but, unfortunately not before a lot of people go through some pain and suffering. Consider it a "year of release" for some people....

Anonymous said...

I attended the CoG7 for awhile. Nice people. Appear to have a lot of love. Some are very smart.

They are all very much affected by the xCGs, mostly because of family ties that go back a very long way. There was a death of a member in United and about 20% of the congregation went to the funeral.

Nevertheless, the CoG7 has avoided so much of the nonsense associated with the cult of Armstrongism. While religion by committee might not an indication of viability of a church of Jesus Christ, it sure cuts down the immaturity of focusing on a mortal man who has raised his narcissistic personal opinions to the level of doctrine, has been completely arbitrary and downright chaotic and subjected the church to great grief for his personal gain and that of his family.

It is all too easy to forget the story of Eli and the judgment of God against him and his sons, partly fulfilled in I Samuel 4, but those alert may note I Samuel 2:31. This is not dissimilar to Herbert Armstrong and GTA where GTA was to carry on the torch, so to speak, but was put out of the ministry and GTA's son is not now a minister.

But then, some think the Book of Samuel was a satire written by a woman and analogies abound which have no basis in reality.

João Workentine said...

Dennis, Nice sentiments. You mind find his piece on Ellen White worthwhile:

http://adventistsnotcult.blogspot.com/2008/08/divine-gift-of-prophecy-call-for.html

Anonymous said...

Not to change subjects, but there is plenty of discussion about Ron Weinland's predictions at the following link:

http://ironwolf.dangerousgames.com/blog/archives/459

Richard said...

An Adventist evangelist has been in my town for two weeks, conducting a "Creation/Evolution" themed series.

Several times he's put up a slide saying: "The Bible and the Bible only...."

Which tells me they have a big blind spot -- because they quote Ellen White at least once a week in Sabbath School quarterlies. And this evangelist gave an intro "sermonette" (my name for it) in an SDA church which quoted EGW six times, along with six Scriptures.

carl said...

The first century church saw the danger of the legalistic teachings by the early descendants of COG7 and armstrongism, namely the pharsees.

James was so committed to stopping their encroachment into the early church that he personally wrote a letter to the entire gentile church, had every living apostle sign it and then ordered two high ranking apostles Judas and Silas, to PERSONALLY deliver it to and testify to the gentiles the authenticity of the letter!

the entire text of the letter is thus:
"The Apostles and Elders send greetings unto the brethren which are of the gentiles in antioch, syria and cilicia.
"Forasmuch as we have heard that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, SUBVERTING YOUR SOULS, saying ye must be circumcised and KEEP THE LAW; TO WHOM WE GAVE NO SUCH COMMAND!
"It seemed good unto us, BEING ASSEMBLED WITH ONE ACCORD, to send CHOSEN MEN, unto you with our beloved Paul and Barnabas.
MEN THAT HAVE HAZARDED THEIR LIVES FOR THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
"We have sent therefore Judas and Silas WHO WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THINGS BY MOUTH!
For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, TO LAY UPON YOU NO GREATER BURDEN THEN THESE NECESSARY THINGS:
That ye abstain from meat offered to idols and from blood and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves ye shall do well. Fare ye well!"

The intent of this was to make sure that the entire focus of the church was Jesus Christ, not legalism. Today, that letter is entirely hidden from the COGs. WHY? Because as James stated, the COGs are "SUBVERTING THE SOULS," of the innocent sheep of Jesus Christ!

2 Cor. 3:15 plainly states that whenever the law of Moses is read, a veil descends upon the heart. Why? Because as the very next verse 2 Cor. 3:16 says, "when that heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away!
:17 For the Lord is that spirit and where the Spirit is THERE IS LIBERTY!

My friends, the truth is clear, you cannot serve Jesus Christ and observe the law! The law was tempoary until the mediator of the new covenant came.

THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO!

EVERY SIN YOU HAVE EVER COMMITTED OR EVER WILL COMMIT HAS ALREADY BEEN FORGIVEN!

All that is required is for you to accept the sufficiency of Christ! No tithes,holy days,fastings,clean meats or lack of make-up will ever save you! they cannot!

ITS JUST JESUS!

please on this day accept the free gift from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

HE WILL SET YOU FREE!

Gavin said...

Thanks for the altar call Nelson, but this isn't the place for it.

Tom Mahon said...

Tired Skeptic said...

TM>>>When HWA wrote that COG7 was dead, he meant spiritually, as they don't understand the doctrines of the bible.<<<

TS>>>And just what are those doctrines of the Bible the Church of God Seventh Day doesn't understand?<<<

There are as follows:

01.Predestination
02.Grace
03.The role and function of the
ministry.
04.The binding of the devil
05.The mystery of marriage
06.Melchisedec
07.The duality of the Holy Days
08.The mystery of the rejection of
the Jews and the calling of the
Gentiles
09.The mystery of Christ suffering
10.The allegory of Gals. 4:21. That
is, what is meant by, "For it is
written, that Abraham had two
sons..."

Need I go on?

TS>>>Prophecy of the United States and Britain falling and the Great Tribulation ending in 1975 perhaps?<<<

You must not ask questions and then provide convenient answers to try and score points! To the discerning mind, it make you look silly, to put it mildly!

Anonymous said...

'The real problem is the rank and file might be willing. It is the leadership which is divisive.'

Both have contributed. Try easing a group of ex-wcgers to even have a picnic with 'them' - any other group!!!

PS One down: Jean Carion (Belgium, I think, LCG) has died this month

Tom Mahon said...

Lussenheide said...

>>>I have attented the COG 7th Day many times. In fact, I even gave a sermon there once.<<<

That says it all!

Tom Mahon said...

Richard said:

>>>I am no religious expert.<<<

Prefacing you ill-informed comments with the above is no excuse for your ignorance of the bible, and the history of the reformation.

>>>After all, all I know about religion is what the WCG taught me 1968 - 1976.<<<

It taught you, but you didn't learn anything!

Tom Mahon said...

Tired Skeptic said...

>>>I attended the CoG7 for awhile.<<<

O no, not another one! Perhaps you can join hands with Bill and do the church hopping dance.

Tom Mahon said...

Neotherm said...

TM>>>"The Catholic, Protestant and Lutheran churches, to name just three, are still out there, but no sane person would argue that God is among them, or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the bible."<<<


>>>This is a generalization unsupported by fact.<<<

Well, let us examine the facts. Both the Catholic and Protestant churches are "full" of homosexuals, who have been found guilty of abusing boys. The leadership's response is normally to deny that the practice is widespread, and seek to cover up the vile practice by quietly paying compensation to the victims.

Yet, the bible emphatically states that homosexuals will not be in God's kingdom. So how could God be among these perverted people?

As the Lutheran church has its roots in Germany, I am not sure what its leader's attitude is to the vile practice homosexuality, but doctrinally it is as ship wrecked as COG7, and most other denominations.

If God is among any people, they are bound to have a good understanding of the wholesome doctrines of the bible; without which man does not know how to live in order to please God.

Anonymous said...

You must not ask questions and then provide convenient answers to try and score points! To the discerning mind, it make you look silly, to put it mildly!

Isn't that what Tom Mahon does?

Anonymous said...

Yet, the bible emphatically states that homosexuals will not be in God's kingdom. So how could God be among these perverted people?

The words "homosexual" and "homosexuals" do not appear anywhere in the Bible, but then Tom Mahon has provided example after example of corrupted Scriptures by adding to and taking from them.

Revelation 22 is suggestive that Tom Mahon will not be in the Kingdom of God because he has added to and taken away from the Bible and he is a liar. Actually, more accurately, he won't get into the Kingdom and curses will be added to him for adding to the Scripture things which are just not there.

But being an infidel destined for the lake of fire doesn't seem to bother him. It is a wonder: Does he even believe in God and the Bible or not. Or is he just a parrot, "Herbert Armstrong, Herbert Armstrong, Awk!".

Anonymous said...

O no, not another one! Perhaps you can join hands with Bill and do the church hopping dance.

As opposed to setting up your own church in your own living room because you are too rebellious to cooperate with anyone else.

Yes, it's nice to be in charge and be an expert even when you have absolutely no credentials and expertise.

Anonymous said...

Well, let us examine the facts. Both the Catholic and Protestant churches are "full" of homosexuals, who have been found guilty of abusing boys.

Just as was the WCG under Herbert Armstrong. This means, but this perverted non logic logic, that God was never with Herbert Armstrong or the WCG.

Anonymous said...

Need I go on?

Yes, he needs to go on because he hasn't said anything.

By all means, he should go on -- to repentance and to another forum with people as dense as he is.

Weinland Watch said...

Re: "One down - Jean Carion is dead."

This isn't relevant to Weinland's "prophecies". Taken from the obituary on the German UCG site:

"In recent years they were not aligned with any of the larger Church of God organizations, but were always hospitable to guests, including Mr. Roderick Meredith, who visited last November, and recent guests from United."

Credibility people. Credibility and unimpeachable fact. I can't stress that enough!

To Bill Lussenheide: You sound just like Mark Carrozo, when I tangled with him here last December, so I say to you the same thing I said to him:

On the one hand you say you're not legalist, on the other hand you say you keep the law, and that it's all okay because there isn't an end-time prophet standing over you and telling you that you have to.

If you keep the letter-of-the-law rules from the book (whether you go from the initial Torah or James' translation of Constantine's version of the book), then you are a legalist.

Life is far too short and time is far too precious to waste measuring granules of white sugar, Bill. I do not mean that to be offensive to you, so please do not take offense.

Those laws may have had their place when there was no indoor plumbing, and food could not be cooked as thoroughly as we can cook it today, but they have no place in the modern world. They had no place in Constantine's time, which was why they were dispensed with, at the council of Nicea.

Which brings me to my question: How much of your legalism is based on the CoG7's teachings, and how much based on your Armstrongist past? With respect, how much of your legalism is just a continuation of doing what you were raised to do?

You may see us as throwing the baby out with the bathwater by rejecting legalism, but I also reject all religious systems, because no religious system is effective, efficient, or useful for me. Legalism being the least effective, efficient and useful of all.

That said. I do not stand in the way of you practicing legalism. That is your choice, so long as you are not actively involved in the ministry in one of the Church of God splinters, all of which take legalism to its extremes (yes even United).

As long as you are not bringing legalism down on the heads of others with fire and brimstone and the usual invective, then perhaps the CoG7 is the right "home" for you, and I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

I am not going to respond to the self righteous Tom Moron.

Proverbs 10:19 comes to mind - "In the multitude of words there lacketh not sin, but he that refraineth his lips is wise".

See?

That self righteous Tom Moron says I didn't learn anything? Meanwhile, Tom Moron will quote Saint Augustine and his god idol HWA, but not the words of the Bible.

Richard

Anonymous said...

"On the one hand you say you're not legalist, on the other hand you say you keep the law, and that it's all okay..."


Bill is a member of what many call the Independent COG's. While they do eschew much of the more dangerous elements of Armstrongism, they still hold on to legalism, though they spend countless hours claiming that they are not legalists. I was a part of this movement after leaving ICG. Ron Dart is probably the most prominent minister of the movement. They believe in a confused mishmash of NT Theology and old style Armstrong legalism, trying unsuccessfully to reconcile the two. In fact, I think Dart wrote a book or two on the subject(glad to see he is trying to support himself). It all comes down to the unsupportable notion that the Law of God/Moses(well, part of it) was from the beginning and is humankind's rule of law. Therefore everyone is bound to keep it (if they love God), so it isn't legalism.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Bill L's ok in my book. I've poked at him and he has been tolerant of me and others doing so.
He has a good sense of humor, imo.

If it's true that some groups prohibit him from attending their FOTs, because he speaks his mind, even though he's a Sabbatarian and believer in observing the FOT, then it's a shame for those particular groups.

Anonymous said...

'Those laws may have had their place when there was no indoor plumbing, and food could not be cooked as thoroughly as we can cook it today, but they have no place in the modern world.'

Shall we gather for a feast: delicious roast rat au gratin is on tonight's menu. Or you may choose marinated boa.\Or a bacon sandwich.

Anonymous said...

I'll take the bacon, with adultery on the side. Hey, no law -right?

Anonymous said...

"I'll take the bacon, with adultery on the side. Hey, no law -right?"

That's right. When I stopped observing the dietary laws and started eating flesh composed of the same molecules as "clean" flesh, the very next day I was robbing banks, indulging in bestiality, and gambling my child's milk money; for you see, outside of the Christian-Judeo Holy Book, a human can not possibly know right behavior from wrong behavior. It's impossible.

Idiot.


Paul

Weinland Watch said...

Anyone for fried alligator? I can definitively say that it's delish.

Never mind me, I'll just be over here munching away on my delectable stuffed squid........

Thanks to anonymous for the information on Bill L. I had the mistaken impression from his comment that he was a member of a group operating under the CoG7.

Corky said...

Anonymous said...
I'll take the bacon, with adultery on the side. Hey, no law -right?

Good grief! Even without the bible, everyone knows that adultery is wrong. Oh, by the way, murder is wrong too - just thought I'd let you know. You know, in case you're one of those stupid, ignorant people who has to be told what to do and how to think.

you'd be surprised said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well, if society has such an efficient built in mechanism on morality and instinctively knowing right from wrong, then why is the legality abortion ever debated? Why were some cultures cannibals? Why do soldiers kill perfect strangers?

I could make a list that goes on and on. Sorry, but people need laws and guidelines that define where the pavement ends and the cliff begins. God gave them to man, and you most likely learned a few of them from a Judaeo Christian society and family.

I don't buy this "we just instinctively know better" stuff! I think we'd be very surprised at the depths we humans could sink if we didn't have spiritual guidelines and laws written down for the past X1000's of years that put the brakes on our carnality.

You didn't "know better" when you called me an idiot. Didn't your conscience just cry out that it's "wrong" to get personal in a debate?

The HS in you isn't enough without His Word to back up one's thoughts, conscience, impulse or instinct.

Anonymous said...

"You know, in case you're one of those stupid, ignorant people who has to be told what to do and how to think."

Who is more moral? The one who comes to the conclusion through observation and critical thinking that certain behaviors are wrong, or the one who has to be informed via ancient Holy texts and invisible dieties- and have that behavior enforced through fear of supernatural punishment after death???

I would say that Christians are more immoral, for by their own admission if they were without the Bible they would indulge in all manner of "sinful" behavior, since there is no moral compass outside of the Bible.

Idiots.

Paul

Anonymous said...

"Well, if society has such an efficient built in mechanism on morality and instinctively knowing right from wrong..."

I did not say that morality is a built in mechanism, nor an "instinct," however, it is something a human can come to using observation and critical thinking skills.

"...then why is the legality abortion ever debated? Why were some cultures cannibals? Why do soldiers kill perfect strangers?"

For the same reason Christians exhibit wrong behavior. Some people ~choose~ to do wrong, while some accept the traditions of those that came before them. Some people will always choose to do wrong. But the idea that no individual can ever, ever come to the conclusion that certain behaviors are right and others wrong outside the Bible is foolishness and shows a complete lack of critical thinking.




"Sorry, but people need laws and guidelines that define where the pavement ends and the cliff begins."

Did anyone say otherwise?



"God gave them to man.."

No he didn't. God doesn't exist. Men wrote the Bible.

"...and you most likely learned a few of them from a Judaeo Christian society and family."

That's true. I would have also come to the conclusion that rape and murder aren't very nice without that environment, too.


""I don't buy this "we just instinctively know better" stuff! I think we'd be very surprised at the depths we humans could sink if we didn't have spiritual guidelines and laws written down for the past X1000's of years that put the brakes on our carnality."

Are you that stupid? Are you so blind to reality to think that mankind could never, on it's own, down the years, come to the conclusion that some behaviors are wrong????

"You didn't "know better" when you called me an idiot." Didn't your conscience just cry out that it's "wrong" to get personal in a debate?

Not at all. I don't think calling an idiot an idiot is wrong at all, especially when said idiot's critical thinking skills are severely curbed(willingly, I might add) by a religious text (among many) supposedly inspired by a magic being. They didn't call it the Dark Ages because the sky was overcast.

"The HS in you isn't enough without His Word to back up one's thoughts, conscience, impulse or instinct."

According to your Bible, it is. That, my idiotic friend, is the Big Secret that Armstrongists deny or will never understand. You have just described, in a way, the Key to Christianity. Armstrongists reject the Holy Spirit in favor of The Law.

Paul

Weinland Watch said...

Regarding the debate of whether or not morality and altruism is hard-wired or god-wired, I submit respectfully the example of the new breed of "christian" who claims they can get away with murder (literally in the case of most so-called believers on Death Row), but because they've accepted Jebus into their hearts, they're good to go straight to heaven, do not pass hell, do not collect thirty pieces of silver.

One of the strains of anonymous said:
"The HS in you isn't enough without His Word to back up one's thoughts, conscience, impulse or instinct."

There exist certain religious schools of thought, and their adherents, who would be gravely offended by that statement, since they believe that the holy spirit is in everyone, regardless of their belief or non- in a christ figure mythology, or whether or not one chooses to assign the christian mythology to a description of same.

There are a multitude of religions in this world. Only christianity, in all its forms, insists that it is the only religion that is "valid". Much like the "one true church" that we grew up believing we were members of.

There is a further multitude of those of us who do not believe in any religious system in particular---and we still live "moral" lives---in some cases moreso than the believers!

Byker Bob said...

Let's get a little common sense going here!

One truism HWA used to thunder from the pulpit: Human nature is a combination of good and evil.

Now,it would be easy to simplify and to state that good can only come from God, and evil only comes from Satan. That's not possible. When you become conscious of a concept, you also, by implication, become conscious of the opposite of that concept. It's unavoidable. IOW, to be familiar with truth means that you will also recognize the absence of truth, or a lie. In Genesis, the Serpent tells Eve that if she eats the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, she will become as a god, and know both good and evil.

Evil, or bad comes in two forms: mala in se, and mala prohibita. Mala in se describes acts which have been recognized throughout history by nearly all cultures as bad. Murder, rape, robbery, child beating, incest, and other acts which harm fellow humans are mala in se. Human experience, coupled with logic and survival instincts, make it obvious what is mala in se.

Mala prohibita encompasses acts which are bad only because they are prohibited, or forbidden. Speeding, failure to get a building permit for mods to your home, smoking marijuana, or getting a bogus smog certificate for your car are all examples of mala prohibita acts.

Much of the legalism in the Bible covers the mala prohibita activities, while at least some of the ten commandments cover mala in se.

As a Christian, I recognize that there are many atheists and agnostics who have a good code of ethics. I trust them more than some of the modern day Pharisees, and manipulative Christians whom I've met.

Cliches, and back and forth accusations just don't begin to accomplish as much as a little well placed discernment here and there!

BB

Anonymous said...

"Human experience, coupled with logic and survival instincts, make it obvious what is mala in se."

Well said. It's a shame that many others cannot grasp this fact.

"Cliches, and back and forth accusations just don't begin to accomplish as much as a little well placed discernment here and there!"

The problem here is that one side can't discern- at all. Their religious beliefs prevent them from making observations (throughout history humans/civilizations have developed/express morals outside the Bible)and critically analyzing those observations and coming to rational conclusions based on those observations (therefore morality must exist outside of the Bible).



Paul

Anonymous said...

Tom said: The Catholic, Protestant and Lutheran churches, to name just three, are still out there, but no sane person would argue that God is among them, or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the bible.

Really? Not even one sane person would argue that God is among them or that their doctrines reflect the teachings of the Bible??

Somehow I doubt Tom is a licensed mental health specialist -- though, who knows, he might be in need of the services of one.

And when did the Lutheran church stop being one of (actually the first of) the Protestant churches?

Anonymous said...

There are a multitude of religions in this world. Only christianity, in all its forms, insists that it is the only religion that is "valid".

Yes, only Christianity . . . and only Islam, and only Orthodox Judaism, and only . . .

Anonymous said...

Are you so blind to reality to think that mankind could never, on it's own, down the years, come to the conclusion that some behaviors are wrong????

If mankind is really on its own, then it hardly makes any difference whether or not some behaviors are wrong, or whether or not some people happen to believe that some behaviors are wrong.

Lussenheide said...

Paul wrote: Bill is a member of what many call the Independent COG's. While they do eschew much of the more dangerous elements of Armstrongism, they still hold on to legalism, though they spend countless hours claiming that they are not legalists.

Weinland Watch wrote: Thanks to anonymous for the information on Bill L.

MY RESPONSE:

Greetings Friends! Write me now at PO BOX 111, and request the following two booklets "Is there a REAL Bill Lussenheide?" and "Mystery of the Lussenheide".

Bill Lussenheide , Menifee, CA USA

PS- Send me an offerng twice in a six month period and you will receive my special exclusive "coworker letter".

Anonymous said...

I did not read through all of the comments in this section and this question may have been asked, but didn't COG7, at least some of its congregations, go back to Xmas observance? This is a question to look into and not an accusation. I thought Alan Knight had some good articles on their observances.

Lussenheide said...

Annonymous and all:

The COG7 does not officially endorse Xmas.

However, the COG7 does not police its membership and allows a very libertarian fellowship. There are people in the COG7 who do celebrate Xmas. Although it would not surprise me if it occurred, I am not aware of any singular congregations who officially celebrate Xmas.

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee CA USA

Anonymous said...

'Not at all. I don't think calling an idiot an idiot is wrong at all, especially when said idiot's critical thinking skills are severely curbed(willingly, I might add) by a religious text (among many) supposedly inspired by a magic being. They didn't call it the Dark Ages because the sky was overcast'

Poor Paul. Please switch on the light for him, someone.

Anonymous said...

'I would say that Christians are more immoral, for by their own admission if they were without the Bible they would indulge in all manner of "sinful" behavior, since there is no moral compass outside of the Bible

'Poor Paul etc'


I'll try some light:

Human nature needs controls. The 'Law' is part of man's conscience (so said the other Paul). Christians believe it was implanted by the Creator as the best way for His creation to live (and isn't it! The alternative is that we make up our own rules as we please

Every society imposes some controls or it disintegrates

Anonymous said...

"If mankind is really on its own, then it hardly makes any difference whether or not some behaviors are wrong..."

Why doesn't it make any difference?

Once again, we see the total abscence of morality in the Christian, for they only see the necessity for good behavior if they have a Diety breathing down their neck. It's sad, and sick in a way. I wouldn't feel comfortable living next to a person whose only reason for not harming me is because his God forbids him; he hasn't, on his own, grasped the concept yet as to why it is wrong to murder.

Paul

Anonymous said...

"Human nature needs controls.'

Yes, and man has invented those controls.

"The 'Law' is part of man's conscience (so said the other Paul). Christians believe it was implanted by the Creator as the best way for His creation to live..."

So everyone then knows right and wrong because a magic being implanted the His magic Law in them? Well, then we don't need the Bible, then do we?


"..and isn't it! The alternative is that we make up our own rules as we please."

I notice this viewpoint always includes "as we please" or as "man sees fit" which implies that the rules that man will devise could not possibly be moral rules, but would only be rules that would allow more evil behavior. Newsflash: Man did make up his own rules. In fact, some cultures wrote these man-derived rules down, for instance the Bible.

Paul

Anonymous said...

I can see a Christian making the point that a Christian's belief system and faith in the deity will get you into the Kingdom, or Heaven, and that maybe there are blessings for living the Christian life right now, in real time, today.

I cannot understand the need, and I say this as a Christian person, to imply that non-believers can't come up with a system of ethics or moral behavior, leading to an orderly society. That is the kind of elitism that tends to make atheists and agnostics stick to their beliefs.

BB

Corky said...

If mankind is really on its own, then it hardly makes any difference whether or not some behaviors are wrong, or whether or not some people happen to believe that some behaviors are wrong.

Mankind really is on its own and over time did invent rules to live by. One tribe of people wrote theirs down in a book. Another tribe wrote a set of rules on an obelisk. Yet another tribe wrote their rules in cuniform on clay tablets.

The rules matter because of the consequences of breaking them. For adultery and murder the consequence is death, for theft it is cutting off one's hands. This is the ancient rules of several different tribes of mankind.

However, in the USA there is no death penalty for adultery but it is still against the rules and it does have consequences - divorce is one of many of those consequences.

Theft no longer gets your hands cut off, as per the Bible, but you can land in jail for a good long while.

Ignorance says it hardly makes any difference whether or not some behaviors are wrong But it does make a difference because anarchy would make a hell of a difference from a society with rules.

Every nation in the world had rules for its people to live under long before Moses was even a wet dream.

Anonymous said...

"That is the kind of elitism that tends to make atheists and agnostics stick to their beliefs."

I think it is due to ignorance more than elitism, just as believing in a 6,000 old earth is ignorance, not elitism.


Paul

Byker Bob said...

Yeah, but some of them turn ignorance into elitism, Paul. Remember how anti-intellectual the tone always was at AC/WCG.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, but some of them turn ignorance into elitism, Paul."

Point taken.


paul

Anonymous said...

"If mankind is really on its own, then it hardly makes any difference whether or not some behaviors are wrong..."

Why doesn't it make any difference?


Because if mankind is really on its own -- I mean really on its own -- then mankind is nothing more than a highly intelligent form of worm food, and morality is unnecessary for worm food.

Once again, we see the total abscence of morality in the Christian, for they only see the necessity for good behavior if they have a Diety breathing down their neck. It's sad, and sick in a way. I wouldn't feel comfortable living next to a person whose only reason for not harming me is because his God forbids him; he hasn't, on his own, grasped the concept yet as to why it is wrong to murder.

I think what you really meant to say is, "Once again, we see the TOTAL ABSENCE of morality in the Christian, for they only see the NECESSITY for good behavior if they have a Diety BREATHING DOWN THEIR NECK!!! It's SAD, and SICK in a way. I WOULDN'T FEEL COMFORTABLE LIVING NEXT TO A PERSON whose only reason for not harming me is because HIS GOD FORBIDS HIM; he hasn't, on his own, GRASPED THE CONCEPT yet as to WHY it is WRONG TO MURDER!!!!"

There. That looks much better. Such extremist and illogical, mush-brained, bigoted, and hyperdogmatic rants as you've been wont to spew lately really need to be presented in Armstrongian SCREAMING ALL-CAPS. You really do seem to be the Armstrong of Atheism and Anti-Religion.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance says it hardly makes any difference whether or not some behaviors are wrong But it does make a difference because anarchy would make a hell of a difference from a society with rules.

Big whoop. It won't matter when we're dead.

Anonymous said...

"Because if mankind is really on its own -- I mean really on its own -- then mankind is nothing more than a highly intelligent form of worm food, and morality is unnecessary for worm food."

So, if there is no God, then you see no point in being empathetic and kind to your neighbor? You would see no point in striving to build an ordered, peaceful society? You see no reason why you should let others live in peace? You demonstrate my point that you really have no inherent morality, or for that matter, a will to live life without a supernatural being ruling over you.

"There. That looks much better. Such extremist and illogical, mush-brained, bigoted, and hyperdogmatic rants...."

All I did was take your admitted viewpoint (which you repeated again in your last post) to it's logical conclusion. You just said that without God, morality is pointless. This shows that you have no inner morality of your own; you really don't understand why stealing is wrong- apart from Zues or Jebus informing you that it is wrong. You've never sought to understand using your own mind why murder is wrong. I don't want to be around people who honestly have no understanding of morality.

Paul

Anonymous said...

' All I did was take your admitted viewpoint (which you repeated again in your last post) to it's logical conclusion. You just said that without God, morality is pointless. This shows that you have no inner morality of your own; you really don't understand why stealing is wrong- apart from Zues or Jebus informing you that it is wrong. You've never sought to understand using your own mind why murder is wrong. I don't want to be around people who honestly have no understanding of morality.

Paul '

For Christians our goal is to shape our lives towards the pattern set by Jesus. That is perfection - a goal toward which we work. At the same time we know we are NOW (excuse the caps) 'children of God', and only unbelief can annul that. That is 'light' not experienced by the unbeliever.

Anonymous said...

"For Christians our goal is to shape our lives towards the pattern set by Jesus."

That's swell. If some people can't exhibit good behavior on their own, then I suppose whatever it takes to induce them to express morality will work- including worshipping imginary beings.

"That is 'light' not experienced by the unbeliever."

I am not sure what you mean by "light," but many normal (people who do not believe in imaginary beings) people exhibit the same behavior Christians do. All without benefit of a Bible or a "Holy Spirit."


Paul

Corky said...

Ignorance says it hardly makes any difference whether or not some behaviors are wrong But it does make a difference because anarchy would make a hell of a difference from a society with rules.

Big whoop. It won't matter when we're dead.

No, but it matters a whole lot while you're still alive, doesn't it?

Weinland Watch said...

Hear hear!

Anonymous said...

I have some questions about COG7.
Is it true some in the CG7 teach that there is no law under the New Testament? Do some teach that there came a second revelation of Christianity after the resurrection and that Jesus' earthly ministry cannot be trusted? Do they use the explanation that during His earthly ministry Jesus functioned merely as an Old Testament prophet to the Jews? Would that be the modern replacement for docetism as the rationale for rejecting objectionable portions of Jesus' earthly ministry IF they teach this? Is the buzzword in the CG7 for the second revelation of Chrisitianity "spiritual Christianity"?
I believe Christ kept the law perfectly and we are to imitate Him. He shows us what to do in the scriptures.
These are my questions and not accusations and a side note of my belief.