Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Cult botch?

Cult watch groups are a bit like Contrary Mary: when they're good they're okay but when they're bad they're worse than useless. The least credible cult watch groups are those that hide behind a nifty URL but provide no information about the sponsors - individual or corporate. Those dudes could have variable competence or a wacky agenda, who's to know?

Consider this entry at www.cults.co.nz.

Worldwide Church of God (New Zealand). Not Yet Rated Under investigation. We have been informed that the Worldwide Church of God in New Zealand is turning away from the teaching of Joseph Tkach and is returning to Armstrongism. See Worldwide Church of God (United States) for more information about the WCoG's reformation away from Armstrong's false teachings.

Uh? Well, that's a surprise. But does this information have credibility? Who or what is cults.co.nz anyway? The person responsible is Ian Mander, but in our eagerness to contact him AW ran up against a minor problem: no email address. Ian seems to be well regarded among his peers, and has got himself some publicity with his views on a group called "Gentle Wind." There is supposed to be a contact form but - wouldn't you know it - "the feedback form/survey is offline at present."

My advice to Ian (apart from fixing the contact thing) is to simply pick up the phone and give Rex Morgan a ring. Rex is a decent fellow and has a reputation for being an honest bloke. I'd be very surprised if he was leading any charge back into the herbal fog-bank.

Oh yeah, it took years to get around to it but - behold - WCG-NZ finally has a web presence. Congrat's Rex, but ya gotta do something with that church news page...

25 comments:

Lyle said...

I know that this doesn't apply to NZ, but if you find a site like this in the US you can give this trick a try.

In the US there is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which says that if someone posts copyrighted material (say in the comments section) then the site must provide a straightforward way for the copyright owner to contact that site. This way the site can be alerted to the offense and can take it down and not get sued. If they don't do this, they can be taken to court.

Anonymous said...

I posted this on Don't Drink the Flavor Aid, but wanted to cross post this here:

I wonder- Why is it that these COG offshoots have so much resentment towards "traditional Christianity" yet whole-heartedly accept its version of the canonized Bible? The New Testament was canonized in 375AD, some 50 years after the first Council of Nicea. One of the main criteria of what was included in the Bible was the worldview of who Jesus was, and his central message. Revelation was only included after much debate (it contained an Old Testament view of God, not keeping with the other books).

My question is, why do the COGs accept the authority of scripture from those that they ultimately despise and condemn as "satanic"?

Anonymous said...

Well if you really want to find out, Gavin, all you have to do is show up at the congregation nearest you.

You'll know if they meet you at the door with an attendance sheet or turn you away, versus inviting you in (as they are allegedly supposed to do), whether or not status is still quo with the 5th column.

On reflection, it appears there are a few "In Home" or living room congregations. Could this be where the alleged unrest is being fomented?

Without the iron rod of the WCG under-sheriff to monitor them closely, Horus only knows what "new truths" they've been coming up with on their own!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:33 -

Some COGs will claim the 375 AD canonization was merely acknowledgement of what had been accepted by the true church since the first century - although scholars claim some of the books hadn't been written yet.

And to reverse another COG argument, the Council of Nicea didn't "change Saturday to Sunday", ir confirmed what some churches had done already.

Anonymous said...

"My question is, why do the COGs accept the authority of scripture from those that they ultimately despise and condemn as "satanic"?"

Cognitive dissonance.

Anonymous said...

PH, perhaps that should be COGnitive dissonance!

Bamboo_bends said...

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Anonymous said...

:-P

;-)

Anonymous said...

"And to reverse another COG argument, the Council of Nicea didn't "change Saturday to Sunday", ir confirmed what some churches had done already."

I think that anonymous has his Councils mixed up. The second Council of Nicea did "outlaw" Passover in favor of Easter. But it was the Council of Laodicea that "Outlawed the keeping of the Saturday sabbath and solemnifying Sunday as the Christian sabbath" wasn't it? Here is what it actually says: "Canon 29:
Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ."

Don't think some of your info is correct. Sue

Anonymous said...

no fair Sue!....you're using facts!

Anonymous said...

Anon (Sue)

I wouldn't doubt if what I wrote was incorrect. I was commenting on things I remembered from when I was in the WCG. The 325 Council of Nicea (and the "hijacking the church", "Babylonian mystery religion", on and on) always figured prominently. Sorry I didn't check the facts...

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all for their contributions about the Sabbath change, etc...

Here is what I found at bibarch: "Constantine convened the Council of Nicea in CE 325 in his effort to consolidate his power and influence by making Greco-Roman Christianity the religion of the Roman empire and to eliminate the major controversies in the Greco-Roman Church concerning the question over the deity of Christ and the celebration of Easter. The Council, which did not include Judeo-Christians or other Jewish Christians, was anti-Semitic and took a harsh approach toward Jews, Judeo-Christians, and other religious groups. Whether Judeo-Christians did not join the Council as they preferred to maintain their own autonomy or they were otherwise excluded by the Gentile bishops, remains to be seen.

The Council of Nicea was the first such ecumenical council and the group made the Sunday observance of Easter universal through its imposition on all orthodox Christians. Harsh discriminatory decrees followed such as Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea which stated:

Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ. (.)

Concluding the 381 Council of Constantinople Emperor Theodosius I ordered the immediate surrender of all churches to the orthodox bishops "who confess that the father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of one majesty and power, of the same honor and dominion." Such harsh intolerance led many Jews, Judeo-Christians, and others to move out of the cities into the country and the mountains in an effort to preserve some form of religious freedom.

The emerging Greco-Roman Church ostracized Judeo-Christians, lumping them together with Ebionites, considered them as followers of Arius (the Arian Heresy). The continued persecution by the Greco-Roman Church and the Roman state resulted in the general migration of members of these groups, out of the effective reach of the Roman empire, in the West primarily into the Alps and in the East into Armenia.

Mel said...

I agree that it hurt's a cultwatch group's credibility by being (however)anonymous.

Yet I also see how some critics are afraid to say who they are, especially toward particularly litigious groups. Gentle Wind Project was in the litigious category, and “Moe” and “Tubby” of the GWP used lawsuits and threats to silence their critics.
IIRC, they were shut down for selling their bogus 'healing instruments' in one US state, but just moved, and changed their name, and opened up their con-game shop elsewhere.

Was Ian a WCG member or sympathizer in the past?

Anonymous said...

Please email the local cult watch group and have them read

"The Christian Myth" by Burton Mack

they can also visit the following web site

http://www.pocm.info/

If they do that they will be much less likely to condemn any of the Churches of God; they will be forced to admit they are no better.

They all hold to basically the same myths...

Anonymous said...

From the previous post this was listed: "Roderick Meredith was disfellowshipped from WCG too. And why? Because he would not go along with the changes and would not accept a 'retirement bribe' to prevent him from preaching."

He pleaded for his job and even admitted in a sermon that he really was forced out and did not leave on his own.

Anonymous said...

Pope Sylvester is the one who forced people to Fast on the Sabbath so they could remember that Dominical day was the right one. The Sabbath was made for man and he made man fast on it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:01 -

In my WCG days, I remember that the Sabbath was a Feast day - and there was some argument about the Day of Atonement never being on a weekly Sabbath. And somewhere we were told not working on Sunday was also out.

But -- whenever HWA called a special fast - it was always on Saturday. And when I told a church member I worked on Sunday, his reply was no, we all need a day off. I guess the WCG Sabbath was not seen as restful.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

From the previous post this was listed: "Roderick Meredith was disfellowshipped from WCG too. And why? Because he would not go along with the changes and would not accept a 'retirement bribe' to prevent him from preaching."

He pleaded for his job and even admitted in a sermon that he really was forced out and did not leave on his own.



Yeah, he stayed just long enough to have the WCG liability insurance pay out on his million dollar liable case with Mrs McNair for defaming the woman in an AC classroom.

Poor man, having to stay around long enough to have that paid out for him and even offered a retirement package.....the truth of God requires such sacrifice!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:59

Yes, I've read a few stories about how different ministers parted from the post-HWA WCG.

Now, years later, doctrinal change seems to be the default reason given for leaving the WCG - willingly or otherwise. And the default draw of different splinters is restored doctrine.

What I found interesting was when the principal players left - which could be seen as how much change they tolerated, and why. Using Dr Bob's chronology, the first changes started in 1986-7. And the first major departure was Flurry in 1989.

As with so many other things in life, there is the reason, and the real reason.

Anonymous said...

"The Sabbath was made for man and he made man fast on it."

So anon are you saying you starve your kids once a week? 8-O

Anonymous said...

Purp, I think Anon 6:01 meant Pope Sly said the Sabbath was to be a fast day, not a feast day.

Feast/fast - eminds me of one Billy Bunter strip...

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. :-(

Anonymous said...

"Purp, I think Anon 6:01 meant Pope Sly said the Sabbath was to be a fast day, not a feast day."

I don't get it. :-(

Anonymous said...

Sorry, don't get what?

Anon said the Pope made the Sabbath a fast day, to push the importance of Sunday. The same as another Pope forced a fish feast on Friday to boost local fishing industry.

Anon said the Sabbath was made for man, and the Pope made it a fast day. You're not trying to make a joke about "fast" food are you? Like the fellow who would say lunch was on him on the Day of Atonement...

Anonymous said...

Didn't know about the fish thing, I think I get the joke now. :-) No intentional humour implied, if there was a joke in there, it was definitely on me! :-)