Thursday, 2 October 2008

Weasel Words

Bob Thiel cites something Don Billingsley wrote in the last Journal.

...please know this could very well be the last normal year to observe the Feast of Tabernacles as has been done in the past years. When these ever-increasing disasters are understood in view of end-time prophecies, traveling could be fraught with life-threatening danger as well as lack of funds for many of God's people to even attend the Feast of Tabernacles in 2009 (Leviticus 26:18-22).

Note the weasel words: could very well be... could be fraught...

That's a stock in trade qualification for the fringe Adventists of the Churches of God. You'd think Don would have wised up by now and learned to bite his lip each time his mouth outstrips his brain.

No Don, ain't happenin'. Not next year, nor the year after, and not even in "three to five" years. But then you've covered yourself haven't you: could very well be... could be fraught... Death by a thousand qualifications.

With Wall Street now reaping what it's sowed, the hucksters of the Apocalypse will be working themselves into a lather about the End Times arriving. The chickens may have come home to roost on Fanny Mae's roof, but there are no heavenly armies parked on armored clouds above our heads. German tanks aren't about to roll down the streets of Milwaukee or Nashville either.

The WCG fed off the Apocalypse for decades: 19-year time cycles, Basil Wolverton's lurid art, sermons with carefully intoned quotations from Matthew 24... Flip through 30-year old issues of The Plain Truth and count the articles on impending trade wars, environmental collapse, the rise of Europe...

Crying wolf was our greatest "denominational distinctive." For many it still is.

The surprising thing is that while for some of us the hard-learned lesson is about disconfirmation, for others the Pavlovian conditioning still kicks in when scary things happen out there in "the world." Every unwelcome headline is taken as proof that "prophecy marches on." Too bad it seems to be marching in circles.

Whipping up the anxiety level means, of course, checks in the mail for the peddlers of the Apocalypse. Why give a sucker an even break?

61 comments:

Leonardo said...

Gavin wrote:
"...the hucksters of the Apocalypse will be working themselves into a lather about the End Times arriving...the Pavlovian conditioning still kicks in when scary things happen out there in 'the world'...Whipping up the anxiety level means, of course, checks in the mail for the peddlers of the Apocalypse..."

As Gavin rightly points out, constant fund-raising is perhaps the most primary drive behind the end-time oriented COG's.

But let's not overlook another foundational reason why their dire warnings of rapidly-approaching doom, after all such past predictions have failed 100% of the time, still, after all these failures, find traction in the minds of a certain audience willing to send in those dollars: ADDICTION.

I'm convinced many hard-line COGer's have, by constant repetition, literally become psychologically addicted to such end-time delusions, just like common street junkies become physically addicted to crack cocaine or heroin through repeated use.

They desperately (and constantly) need to hear that all the time and money and other valuable resources they've squandered through the decades in order to enable HWA's "end-time warning mission to the nations" has not been a complete waste.

Deep down in the innermost recesses of their minds, the smoldering spark of rationality still flickers, and struggles to come to life. I think many of them are aware, at least to some degree, of their addiction, but instead of cutting their losses and honestly admitting they've bet on the wrong horse all these years, they fall back into the much easier path of Pavlovian conditioning they’re become so used to, slogging onward, "enduring to the end" in the hopes that all the HWA-promoted prophecies they've banked on will SOMEHOW come to pass, and that all their past sacrifices will be vindicated.

How sad. What a tragic (and preventable) waste of life.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear ole Don is still alive, but I'm sad to hear he is still preachin that Armstrong's predictions. With age don't always come wisdom.

Billingsly was so gloom and doom. So depressing to listen to. I seldom felt uplifted or encouraged by his words. He was also a very poor public speaker. I remember that he would read his sermons page by page in a monotone voice, which had a sleepy effect on me. I also caught him reading off sermons I had already heard before.

Then there was his obsession with Armstrong over Jesus. I never saw anyone idolize a man as much as he did, until Flurry come along and give him a run for his money.

What I don't understand is why he is still preachin. He must be up there in age by now. Tad slower, less get up and go, memory slips. No shame in that now, but time to humbly step aside for a young buck with fire and fresh ideas I figure. Wonder how many younger folk have come in from Don's preachin. Not many I'm betting. Same plague that hovers over all the dead churchs of God. But how many times can you change out dirty oil with even filthier oil before that engine seizes?

Mr. Scribe said...

Well someday "The Don" will be correct and Herbert will rejoice while in burning in hell! Yes Herb will be finally right after being so wrong, so many times on all this prophecy BS we have put up with all these years!!

You see, time and chance shall have it's encounter. It may take another 5 years or 500 years. The odds will catch up when the Herbster will be partially right. But then we have the problem of sorting out the words of the false prophet. "In a few short years." "Of this very generation." So God was wrong also, that is if he was speaking to Herbert. Nothing ever materialized!

The old fart was so wrong and full of it that if he was of God, then God formally or currently is wrong and is of no consequence. Unless Herbie spoke through Satan, but that is another issue.

Herb the Prophet

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2.but IN THESE LAST DAYS he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

1972 Deja Vu Church of God said...

The following excerpt is relevant from my unpublished essay, "My reflections on the Worldwide Church of God - 1972 in Prophecy: God's Practical Joke?"


Famous Last Words – Words to Build Your Life With

I thought I would share the “genre of the times” with a small sample of the statements made by the Church leading up to the final climax with the 1972 German attack on
America. In retrospect, when I read my old sermon notes and the old co-worker letters, I
have to ask myself, “Does God play practical jokes on people?” It was always customary in the Worldwide Church of God (Fraud) to begin church services with prayer. When the
deacons and elders gave the opening prayers and asked God’s inspiration on the sermon
and to bless the Work, was God’s answering to those prayers some of these words:

• “All signs in the world show that time is getting very VERY SHORT”. (August 29, 1971 Herbert W. Armstrong Co-worker letter).

• “I will never again say that Christ couldn’t come tonight” (October 21, 1970 Mount Pocono Last Great Day, Garner Ted Armstrong sermon).

• “Our work could end in the first week of 1972” (October 16, 1970 Herbert W. Armstrong sermon Mount Pocono Feast of Tabernacles).

• “There is a great chance you will die in the next three years. When you die, be brave and die faithfully” (January 18, 1969 F. K. sermon).

• “We must put the Work of God first before any physical thing. The work must come first. God will take the people who worked to a place of safety…You will not flee to Petra, you will be taken” (February 1, 1969 K.W. sermon).

• “Mr. Armstrong stated at the ministerial conference that 1969 would be the year of preparation and 1970 would be the year of violence” (March 22, 1969
H. J. sermon).

• “Another age will start within the next 3 to 5 years” (April 7, 1969 Roderick C. Meredith sermon, Special Bible Study).

• “This Church will go right into the World Tomorrow” (May 24, 1969 K.W. Sermon).

• “There is only a certain time that Petra will be a place of safety…If we ever got hot in Petra, we could just pray for a cloud to cool us off” (June 7, 1969 K. W. sermon on Petra).

• “When we go to a place of safety, Mr. Armstrong will be about the same age as Moses when he led Israel out of Egypt”. (July 1, 1969 Bible Study).

• “The famine of God’s work is going to come in this decade… For 3 ½ years, we will go to a place of safety. This will happen in this decade” (March 7, 1970 V. P. sermon).

• “Petra was given to the Church by God” (December 17, 1968 Bible Study conducted by K.W and T.W.)

Obviously, in retrospect God did not answer the opening prayers with the inspiration of the above words - unless we believe God plays practical jokes on people! If God had inspired such words, then God has quite a sense of humor to set people up for a horrible great tribulation that God already knew wasn’t going to happen in 1972. If God didn’t inspire the Church’s preaching and publishing of a 1972 end time prophecy, then Herbert Armstrong and his Church preached a false prophetic message.

Certainly, time has proven Herbert Armstrong a fraud! His Worldwide Church preached a false prophetic message while profiting immensely through the extortion of money from its members to build a multimillion dollar business enterprise. Armstrong was in the “fear religion business” which held hostage peoples’ physical and spiritual salvation. People were manipulated to send large amounts of money to the Church’s Headquarters so they could be counted worthy to escape the prophesied German attack and be counted as God’s “very elect”. But time has shown God was not with Armstrong and did not inspire the prophetic messages of the 1960s and early 1970s – unless you believe God plays practical jokes on people!

Actually, Armstrong himself may have been the real practical joker. When the end of the second 19 year time cycle came to pass and the German attack on America didn’t happen as prophesied, what was Armstrong’s prophetic explanation of January, 1972? Armstrong provides the answer in his January 31, 1972 co-worker letter. Instead of German bombs dropping on America – instead of death, carnage, destruction, mayhem, the fall of America, and the beginning of the great tribulation – Armstrong explains the real prophetic significance of January, 1972 was advertising in Readers Digest!

What? Advertising in Reader’s Digest? A rather anti-climatic event after years of teaching a violent 1972 end time great tribulation message! Was this some kind of joke?

Armstrong writes: “On January 7th, the MOST POWERFUL DOOR in the history of this Work – of 38 years! – suddenly opened. Reader’s Digest opened their advertising pages to us IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES circulation….but, never before was the tremendous U.S. edition open to us”.

Yeah, right! Does anyone really believe Armstrong’s words that Readers Digest U.S. advertising space was not available until January, 1972? This was the same business empire that was one of the largest media purchasers of religious radio and television time. Does anyone really believe that Armstrong couldn’t at anytime advertise in the U.S. edition of Readers Digest given enough extorted member money? I guess Armstrong had to come up with something to explain the prophetic significance of January, 1972, so he reached back to 1953 and decided to orchestrate another Church media accomplishment as the comical prophetic explanation for the end of the second 19 year time cycle.

As I write this retrospective essay more than 30 years since the prophesied great tribulation was to begin, the lasting impressions of the Worldwide Church and
some of its effects have remained with me through the years. As mentioned, it’s been almost 30 years since I’ve had any direct contact with the Worldwide Church or its members. I can honestly say it was a very unhealthy experience for me. Through the years, I have had to de-program myself from all the false Worldwide Church teachings. Essentially, if I trace any thought that might be sourced to the Worldwide Church, I have had to learn to discard it. I would like to share some of my observations and reflections about this unhealthy church.

End of Excerpt

Richard

Anonymous said...

Good Gavin...

'No Don, ain't happenin'. Not next year, nor the year after, and not even in "three to five" years.'

Now you are a prophet as well !!!

So let's wait and see who is right. The Churches of God or Good Gavin. :)

Anonymous said...

The Bible warns not to despise prophecy and that is exactly what so many people are doing.They have blinded their eyes to events that God has warned to watch for. They have blinded their eyes to the number of babies being killed daily in the womb and the number of babies frozen in labs all over the world which ultimately be destroyed.They dont care that men are marrying men and women marrying women. Human life means so little now people are being killed even for fun now. There is so much hatred and anger in people of all ages and between the different races and between ethnics groups.More babies are born out of wedlock than within. Pornography the likes of which our grandparents did not know is now just common place.Child sex slaves all over the world, rampant drug use and genocide in different places. The gospel is the good news of God,s coming kingdom, I don't understand why anyone would not be looking foward to Jesus Christ ruling this world and destroying this present cesspool we live in. It is so mind boggling to me as to why people would want to continue living under these conditions. Some one help me understand please.

Gavin said...

Anon (5:28:00)

No prophetic gift needed. No Urim and Thummin. No chicken entrails. No "lost key" to Daniel or Revelation. Just plain good sense. Check back again in 5 years.

Ralph said...

Do you think perhaps that the young lad has cried 'Wolf!' too often?

Mickey said...

Regarding Anonymous who bemoans the state of the world and longs for the Kingdom.

Most of us don't like living in a world where evils exist. Some us actually believe that Christ will return at some point, when really isn't an issue.

It would be a lot more profitable to put that disatisfaction into action.

There aren't too many believers that do unfortunately. But those that do, render some great changes and inspire others. Think William Wilberforce, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa

Whether you agree with their religious views or not is beside the point. The fact is that they did something other than wringing their hands in response to the evils they saw is what matters.

Matt 25:40

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:11

You miss the point. No one here thinks the world is perfect or that horrific things don't happen on a daily basis.

The point is that herbie was wrong, all of his minister's predictions were wrong, and those still continuing to beat the 3-5 years mantra are wrong.

These guys continue to beat the drum but what are your tithe dollars buying? Not much. Weinland, Hulme, Meredith, Flurry, Pack, et al...are reaching what, probably less than .1 of 1% of the world's population?!

You keep these guys living posh lifestyles while you live in fear of a european country with a pacifist consitution.

Who is the sucker?

Wake up dude!

Anonymous said...

The word of God came to John in the wilderness a long, long time ago, and he said, "...who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance....Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire....So with many other exhortations also he preached the gospel to the people." Lk. 3:7b-18
Christ's words, of course, give even more direction for our lives. The TIME will happen...the goal is to be on the alert and ready. Oh by the way, this ADDICTION :o) is wonderful. Longing for the Kingdom and Christ's return and to be with the Father are beyond words.

Byker Bob said...

It seems that some need to acknowledge or apply more accurate definitions to some of the terms which are being thrown about.

Take as an example the misnomer phrase "Churches of God". Those are not "churches of God", they are in fact churches of Armstrong. It is very misleading to people who might be looking for truth, and good fruits, to call the churches of Armstrong "churches of God". They are no such thing.

Calling a religious scam "of God" does not mean that God is behind it, or provides His witness to it.

The fact that we are well past 1975, are not now living in the millennium, and don't all have pet lions, should be ample proof of this, Herb's prophecy letters which he falsely signed "In Jesus Name" notwithstanding.

BB

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 6:11 wrote:
"...I don't understand why anyone would not be looking forward to Jesus Christ ruling this world and destroying this present cesspool we live in. It is so mind boggling to me as to why people would want to continue living under these conditions. Some one help me understand please."


Anonymous 6:11, many contributors to this blog site would say I'm being incredibly naive here, but I'm sincerely going to take your words at face value, and assume you truly intend them in a spirit of good will and honest inquiry.

You refer to the world we live in as being "a cesspool." Yes, there are indeed terrible things happening all over the globe. No right-thinking human being would deny this observation. But a huge percentage of those evils can be demonstrably laid at the feet of some form or another of fundamentalist religion, of which you obviously are very much a part.

The indisputable fact is that the world today is not nearly the "cesspool" now that it was during the "yesterdays" of the past, especially the distant past. For compelling evidence of this, read almost any of the works of the late Dr. Julian Simon (I’d start with his book “The State of Humanity” or perhaps “It's Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 years”)

Please be willing to expand your mind with legitimate KNOWLEDGE, rather than mere subjective BELIEF for which there is absolutely NO empirical evidence. You have everything to gain by taking this approach: IF your views are really true, then they will stand up and only be strengthened by true knowledge – but if not, then you only have FALSE views to lose, and why would you not want to get rid of them? - “…PROVE ALL THINGS, hold fast to that which is good…

I humbly appeal to you to seriously consider the words of Proverbs 18:15 “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” or Proverbs 15:14a, “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge…”

Also, just the most basic knowledge of documented history would help answer your question as well, and give you some pause for thought if you truly believe humanity is in its “last days.”

For example, we as rational human beings can look back on a culture where for centuries God, Jesus, angels, demons and other such supernatural concerns were the central features around which all of western European society revolved. It was called the Dark Ages — an unparalleled time of human misery in western civilization where religious superstition, ignorance, mind-numbing poverty, suffering, sickness and premature death were the primary results. A time where incredibly irrelevant subjects such as how many angels could sit on the head of a pin were focused on to the exclusion of irrelevant “worldly” knowledge such as history, science, health, understanding the natural world, etc.

"Hey, this life is only a temporary existence anyway, right? And besides, this world is going to eventually be burned up anyway, isn't it?" This was the way they essentially reasoned – and you apparently still reason.

The objective historical record is plain to see to those who are willing to take the time to look at it.

That’s an extremely brief, overly-simplified version of why many of us no longer take the “end-time prophecies” of HWA seriously anymore. The evidence, historical record, and our own simple everyday observations and life experiences just don’t support such a view.

May I also recommend that you read (with an open mind in a spirit of humble inquiry) Sam Harris' very short book "Letter To A Christian Nation" for some extremely thought-provoking facts and statistics you may not know of, or have considered before.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 4:16 wrote:
"Oh by the way, this ADDICTION :o) is wonderful. Longing for the Kingdom and Christ's return and to be with the Father are beyond words."

...And your words prove my point exactly.

You believe and long for such fantastical fairy tales, not because you possess any strong evidence that they will actually ever objectively happen at some point in the future, but because they make you FEEL good in the present, because you WANT to believe them, because you earnestly DESIRE them to be true.

But "WISHING doesn't make it so."

A street junkie longs for his next "hit" of cocaine or heroin because it takes him away from his painful present reality, yet ultimately makes him ever more incapable of actually working to improve that personal reality so his future prospects will advance accordingly.

You do the very same thing - except you long for religious illusions instead of street drugs, and there is no end to the religious hucksters willing to provide YOUR next "hit" - and who make a very good living off of duping well-meaning yet gullible folks such as yourself.

But know this: passionate belief and longing don't make things actually true if they aren't already true. Your dogmatic, mindless faith has nothing whatsoever to do with it one way or the other. Reality is what it is, in spite of what we may subjectively WANT it to be.

Our goal is to discover what it actually is, and constructively harmonize accordingly as best we can.

When you short-circuit your rational mind and trade it in, in order that you may grasp onto illusions, all you do is sink ever further into a dark, delusional, subjective world of fantasy, while at the same time diminishing the capacity of, and ultimately destroying, the most important tool of survival you'll ever be given as a human being - your precious, irreplaceable mind.

Robert said...

We have traded in liberty [right to own property without debt]for enslavement [working 40 plus years to pay off a mortgage] for the sake of convenience.

God's law cancels out debt every seven years - the year of release and the Year of Jubilee.
God's law forbids charging interest.
God's law passes down the inheritance through family lines.

>>>But a huge percentage of those evils can be demonstrably laid at the feet of some form or another of fundamentalist religion, of which you obviously are very much a part.

In the past fundamentalists were called Zealots. They had a passion to defend their position until death. Fundamentalists have always existed but so has "orthdoxy" - the church. Is the author labelling the Orthodox church that ruled Europe a fundamentalist? If anything the Orthodox church was at war with fundamentalism.

The fundamentalism of Armstrongism is harmless because it neither advocated violence (unlike the Zealots) or the overthrow of government through intrigue, and promotes pacificism in place of self-defence.

So I fail to make the connection that Armstrongism is the sort of extremism that endangers others if anything it removes POWER from the individual.

Robert said...

>>>Those are not "churches of God", they are in fact churches of Armstrong.

The Armstrongite churches have for the most part continued the bedrock of beliefs given to them by Herbert Armstrong. This comes from the understanding that God gave them these truths or he was specially called by God to start the movement. Once, this is the foundation of the faith, it is very difficult to challenge or change any belief within the movement.

The challenge to Armstrongites is if the work was of God why did He destroy HWA's work after his death when other Sabbath keeping groups outside of Armstrongism have remained more faithful to God?

God wasn't against Sabbath keeping churches as independent ones existed pre-dating Armstrong's movement observing festivals and the Sabbath remaining faithful after the demise of the WCG. It seemed only Armstrong's church was the focal point of a complete destruction.

God destroyed the Kingdom of Solomon by dividing it into two kingdoms after his death. This seems to similar to HWA's movement. After the death of HWA, his kingdom was divided and destroyed. The reason was unfaithfulness--sin, diobedience to God on Solomon's part. Could HWA have been unfaithful to God?

Interest in Messianic Judaism and the Hebrew Roots movement was greatly increasing at the time of the demise of the WCG. Was God raising up a new movement to replace Armstrongism? Has God left Armstrongism and gone elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

"[Billingsley] was also a very poor public speaker. I remember that he would read his sermons page by page in a monotone voice, which had a sleepy effect on me."

Oh come on. The evangelist who took the gold in that particular category was absolutely Herman Hoeh!!

larry said...

If I were not in the Church of God, I would be very anxious about world events. The world is entering a period of increased chaos. This was described in a landmark article entitled, "The Coming Anarchy" by Robert Kaplan, that appeared in a secular magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, in 1994. Kaplan's analysis had nothing to do with Biblical prophecy, but was based on political science, economics, history, and demographics.

Now, in addition to those pressures, civilization appears to be even more threatened, as a worldwide Satanic death cult, Islamic fascism, attains more power, money, and with those things, weapons. And the weapons extant today are mind-boggling in their destructive capacity.

Some folks on here make light of the "doomsayers" as continually "crying wolf", but we live in a very dangerous world.

As far as prophecies go, I would suggest a little humility on the part of the naysayers. History confirms that setting dates is ill-advised, as your credibility can be damaged that way. But, it was none other than Jesus Christ Himself who prophesied the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (something that seemed HIGHLY improbable at the time). It did happen, but not for another 42 years. Judging by the life expectancy at the time, it is quite likely that almost everyone who had heard His foretelling did not live to see it happen, and thus went to their graves considering Him to be a fraud.

Anonymous said...

A word to the wise:

It is plain to see many of you don't believe anything anymore regarding God's Plan and purpose for man.

If there's anything I learned from Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong is that the reason for all the evils in this world, the nation, society, the family, and even oneself is because of our breaking of God's Laws--the ten Commandments. He taught us to repent personally and change from being Satan´s children to becoming God's children by walking in God's Laws.

This is what struck me about God's True Work. No one else in this world, no other religion seems to know or understand this simple truth.

The whole thing boils down to: Whom is God being merciful to at this time by calling them according to His great master Plan? Are you repenting of your sins? Are you changing from the darkness of this world to the light of God?
There's hope for you. The rest, may God have mercy on you and open your mind to understand.

We are here to learn the difference between good and evil, and to choose the way of the good even against our own tendencies and desires until we become God-like.

The plan is so simple even a baby can understand it.

Why so many don't?

Because of the lusts and wrong desires which many may not even know they have. They haven't looked deep enough. Or maybe God just hasn't called them to repentance.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that some of us did get God's message to mankind through His own end-time apostle.

Sincerely,

A brother in the faith.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 6:00, your pious "word to the wise" is nothing more than mere ASSERTION. It offers no evidence or proof whatsoever other than the fact that you BELIEVE it to be so, and thus it MUST therefore be necessarily true, and accepted by others as such.

Granted, that "argument" may work within the confines of the wacky world of Armstrongism, but it just doesn't hold water in the real world were proof, emphirical evidence and logic are demanded to back up one's claims.

You cite God's "end-time Apostle" - would that be the one who had sex with his own daughter during the years the Almighty was presumably revealing all His truth to the man? Just wondering. I asked my dear friend, the late Dr. Herman Hoeh, about this once, and he said he had no reason to believe otherwise that Armstrong did in fact commit this disgusting and completely unnatural act REPEATEDLY over a period of many years with his daughter Dorothy. Clear evidence of this has been documented elsewhere in various articles on Armstrong-related sites - if you have the stomach for it.

You end your assertion "A Brother in the Faith" - and righly so, because everything you said in your comment must be taken on blind faith since you can produce no real or persuasive evidence for it at all.

If you can, then I'll be willing to consider it.

Leonardo said...

Larry - You can believe whatever you wish, but when viewing the history of mankind from a deep and long-range perspective, the world is actually LEAVING a period of chaos, not entering into one. And this claim can be documented by a number of objective measurements and benchmarks.

This is not to say that "all is well" in the world - not by a long shot - but the factual objective record shows just the opposite of your claim. I would cite the works of Dr. Julian Simon, as I did to a previous blogger, for objective, abundant and well-documented evidence of this, though little understood by the general public.

You cite a secular 1994 article "The Coming Anarchy" - which I've not read, but would like to. Though this of itself proves nothing - HWA based much of his now infamous "1975 in Prophecy" booklet on the highly speculative work of secular population biologist Dr. Paul Erlichman (specifically his book "Famine 1975"). Erlichman, a population biologist, claimed to have absolute “evidence” that massive droughts and famines would strike America and the world by the mid 1970’s.

Erlichman's hasty conclusions found a ready audience with many Church ministers and members, who desperately wanted to believe such secular assertions because they fit in with their prophetic beliefs and accompanying timetables, and so they never thought to question Erlichman’s assumptions by asking “Are his sources and presuppositions really valid? Is there reasonable evidence to support his rather extreme and dire predictions?”

Well, the rest of the story, as they say, is history. The actual record showed an abundance of grain crops through that decade - just the OPPOSITE of what Erlichman and "God's end-time Apostle" had predicted.

I could cite MANY such facts and occurrences based on the long and dismal prophetic track record of HWA and the WCG, but this has been done many times by others, and I think you get my point.

You mention the threat of militant Islam - but let's remember, this too is a fundamentalist, FAITH-based ideology, not a factual or rational one. The extremely violent history of it is well-documented since it's founder's death in 632 AD. My point being that it is rightly considered an Abrahamic faith, like Judism and Christianity - and suffers from the same shortcomings. Does the term "Spanish Inquisition" ring a bell? If it doesn't, just read any history of the time. Institutional Christianity was every bit as violent when it had political power as its later cousin, Islam. That's one of the reasons why America's Founding Fathers saw the clear need for a “wall of separation between church and state” as Thomas Jefferson would later refer to it as in his letter to the Danbury Baptists of Massachusetts.

Yes, we do indeed live in a dangerous world, as you correctly observe – but the fact is that the “doomsayers” have “cried wolf” all too many times – producing a clear and undisputed track record of being wrong virtually 100% of the time.

You suggest humility on the part of the naysayers – I respond by saying that all they are doing is simply pointing out the facts. Perhaps your suggestion ought to be directed toward the prophets of doom instead – as they seem to be in much greater need of humility than those who merely point out the dismal record of HWA and many other self-proclaimed servants of the Almighty.

The actual historical record speaks eloquently for itself, and I rest my case upon IT, not your faith-based and fear-promoting assertions to the contrary.

Leonardo said...

Robert wrote:
"Is the author labelling the Orthodox church that ruled Europe a fundamentalist? If anything the Orthodox church was at war with fundamentalism."

Hi Robert - I'm sorry but I'm a little confused by your inquiry here, and I can't really understand what the point of it is.

If by fundamentalism we mean appeal to a supernatural, transcendant realm completely beyond the reach of the five human senses, along with violently forcing others who do not assent to all the implications and truth claims such an assumption suggests, then yes, the orthodox Catholic church and fundamentalism is one and the same thing.

But perhaps I still am misunderstanding your comment.

Please clarify if desired.

Leonardo said...

Larry wrote:
"...it was none other than Jesus Christ Himself who prophesied the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (something that seemed HIGHLY improbable at the time). It did happen, but not for another 42 years. Judging by the life expectancy at the time, it is quite likely that almost everyone who had heard His foretelling did not live to see it happen, and thus went to their graves considering Him to be a fraud."

Larry, my friend, I have something to ask you: if some guy in the early 1970's made the claim that one day the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City would eventually come crumbling down, tell me, would the tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute irrefutable proof that this fellow was the Son of God?

It too would have seemed a "HIGHLY improbably prediction at the time" as well, yet it did, in fact, happen about 30 years later.

How would you answer this?

Robert said...

>>> This is what struck me about God's True Work. No one else in this world, no other religion seems to know or understand this simple truth.

Mac Overton, in the article, 26 religious organizations, most with no WCG links,teach Worldwide Church of God-like doctrines show that other Sabbath groups existed BEFORE HWA who taught the Sabbath and Festivals.

>>>Are you repenting of your sins? Are you changing from the darkness of this world to the light of God?

The author not only has the responsibility to repent but in order to walk in the light needs to live by "truth". Armstrongism is riddled with some contradictions therefore, it cannot all be truth. Armstrong left us with more questions than answers on tithing, circumcision, calendar, what LAWS are required, new moons, head coverings and others. And I have only scratched the surface, first century Christianity is not Armstrongism. God DESTROYED THE ARMSTRONG EMPIRE for a REASON. Open your eyes and start studying the truth that is out there.

The Sabbath and Holy Days are valid but not all the teachings of Herbert W Armstrong are kosher. It is your responsibility to sort out the truth from the error. God has given you a brain so use it.

Dennis said...

""...it was none other than Jesus Christ Himself who prophesied the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (something that seemed HIGHLY improbable at the time). It did happen, but not for another 42 years."

One might also notice that the Gospel accounts in which "Jesus" predicted the fall of the Temple were written AFTER the fall of the Temple. I know most believe that the names affixed belong to the authors, but they were added much later to give those particular versions of the story credibility over others rejected.

Always easier to write about the Destruction of the Temple after it's...well....destroyed.

Besides, the Jews having been routed over twenty times in their history for their various uncooperative rebellions against all other powers that be, (chosen types feel that's their calling) were always asking for it from the Romans and the Romans accomodated them again.

The Gospels read like there either were no Roman occupation of Jerusalem or that most Romans were dying to become Christians including the Roman heirarcy. Of course, this is bogus. In the NT, you could pick on Jews who could not hurt you but better obey the powers that be as they could destroy you in a heartbeat. This is the reason for Romans 13 and a lesson not lost on Paul if he were to survive, which he didn't though we don't know what they did to him.

The reason Daniel 11 seems so accurate is that it was written in hindsite in the 160's BC during the Maccabean revolt and not during any time of any Daniel. When you get to Daniel 12, a time yet future, you can see the generic change in what is going to happen because in that chapter it truly is in the futre and they truly don't know. So it's very general....and then it all works out.

Prophecy in hindsite is so very accurate. Prohecy of the real future is pretty dicey to get right. I do believe in prophecy. Just not accurate prophecy.

Dennis said...

"It is your responsibility to sort out the truth from the error. God has given you a brain so use it.'

I seriously doubt anyone who is in any religion would feel they have not done anything less than sort out truth from error. I have never met anyone who believes with all their heart that their use of their brain to end up where they have has ended them up in the false church or belief system.

Don't forget that in most fundamentalist and certainly one man show religions you are going to have the use of your "God given brain," minimized by such phrases as:

My ways are not your ways says the Eternal

There is a way that SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEMS right unto a man but the way thereof is death.

The wisdom of man is FOOLISHNESS with God.

and so on...

There is no outward proof that anyone, sincere and brain using, ends up in the true church. There never was a one true, coherent Church of God in history. You don't see it in the NT and you certainly don't see it in this worldafter another 2000 years of "things that must shortly come to pass."

The COG's think that IF they can just get the right combos of doctrine and belief, THEN the true church will be obvious. That is why they continue to breed new prophets and apostles who think they have just one more true piece of the true pie to offer, when they don't.

Christianity split up the moment Paul confronted Peter and James wrote against Paul's ideas about law. It split the moment Paul found out God called him from the womb and all in Asia turned aside from him. It split when he dismissed Peter, James and John as "pillars, so called" and said he learned NOTHING from them. It split when the Jews lost the meaning of their own book to the Gentiles who misread, misinterpreted and misunderstood it. It split when men learned there was money and power to be had starting your own version. It split when men forgot to ask themselves, "Just what would Jesus wear." :)

Mr. scribe said...

Well someday "The Don" will be correct and Herbert will rejoice while in a burning hell! Yes Herb will be finally right after being so wrong, so many times on all this prophecy BS we have put up with all these years!!

You see, time and chance shall have it's encounter. It may take another 5 years or 500 years. The odds of time and chance will catch up when the Herbster will be partially right. But then we have the problem of sorting out the time frame of the false prophet. "In a few short years" (video). "Of this very generation." So God was wrong also, that is if he was speaking to Herbert. Nothing ever materialized!

The old fart was so wrong and full of it that if he was of God, then God formally or currently is wrong and is of no consequence. Unless Herbie spoke through Satan, but that is another issue.

larry said...

Leonardo said,

"Larry, my friend, I have something to ask you: if some guy in the early 1970's made the claim that one day the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City would eventually come crumbling down, tell me, would the tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute irrefutable proof that this fellow was the Son of God?"

Well, Leo, if you are going to use this example to show that the fulfillment of prophecy does not provide irrefutable proof, then you would have to say the reverse is true: the non-fulfillment doesn't disqualify anyone either.

There is a radio talk show host in the USA named Art Bell, perhaps you have heard of him. He would routinely interview mediums and self-proclaimed prophets on his late-night show. None of the soothesayers he had met predicted the disaster of 9/11, so he proclaimed that none deserved the credibility (and airtime) he had given them. They have not been on since. Is this valid?

Were the events of 9/11 so significant to world history that someone should have prophesied about them? The proponents of "The Bible Code" say that God did. Do you believe that? Prophecy can be a very tricky problem.

Byker Bob said...

First, nobody has commented on how cute the weasel is! Could that natural appeal be part of his ruse?

I believe that unlike WCG members, mainstream Christians have a much more enlightened outlook towards the possible future calamities. While acknowledging that such events will eventually happen, they don't live in constant fear of them. They have faith that everything is in God's hands, and He works events out for His childrens' long term spiritual good.

Let's use an experience of Peter's to illustrate a difference in attitude. While Peter was walking on water, had the disciples in the boat been WCG members, they would have been warning Peter about the storm on the horizon, and actually disrupting his focus on Christ. OTOH, had they been mainstream Christians, they would have been encouraging Peter's faith, and exhorting him not to take anxious concern about impending physical circumstances, but to concentrate on the task at hand, and to rely on Jesus.

WCG always concentrated on the fear element, choosing to focus on the physical. Perfect love casts out fear. Love of God is a purer motivation. It makes you part of His activities, giving you freedom from fear.

Robert cited the Messianic groups. While I am not a Messianic, I'd have to comment that if these groups are functioning without using HWA's fear motivation techniques, and if they are not caught up in enslaving members to build empires, or fund affluent lifestyles for the leaders, they are probably more advanced than WCG. Unfortunately, they are still limited by being stuck in, and blinded by, the Old Covenant.

BB

Anonymous said...

"If I were not in the Church of God, I would be very anxious about world events.

You're not IN "the Church of God" anymore Larry; the protestant evangelical WCG you claim to be a member of has long since given up on all that prophecy and kingdom-preaching "last age of mankind" nonsense. Or so they would have us believe.

So does that mean the current evangelical protestant WCG really is still teaching the same Armstrongist garbage, "behind closed doors", as it were?

Or are you Larry, as we have long suspected, really a GRUMP?

Anonymous said...

"Unless Herbie spoke through Satan, but that is another issue."

Demiurge much?

Anonymous said...

Dennis wrote,

"One might also notice that the Gospel accounts in which "Jesus" predicted the fall of the Temple were written AFTER the fall of the Temple."

Yes but Jesus' sayings were spoken long before the temple was destroyed. The very first Christian documents were collections of Jesus' sayings, like the Gospel of Thomas and also the "lost gospel of Q".

Please read "The Lost Gospel of Q The Book of Christian Origins" by Burton L. Mack, also read a copy of the Gospel of Thomas.

The question is, is the following a genuine saying of Jesus?

It certainly could be...

Mat 24:2 And He answered and said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down."

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, they are still limited by being stuck in, and blinded by, the Old Covenant."

That remark is more than slightly anti-Semitic IMO. I thought you were better than that, Bob.

Dennis said...

"While Peter was walking on water,"

I guess it's just me these days, but this strikes the giggle bone in me as does,

"when the serpent said to Eve"
"when the ass said to balaam"
"when the bush said to Moses"
"when Joshua stopped the rotation of the planet by raising his hands to kill more humans."
"While the polar bears and penguins sweat like crazy in the middle eastern ark."
"When the iron axe floated to the surface."
"When the Roman soldiers fell asleep on guard and were told to just tell their boss they did."
"When Peter killed the two church members so the others would be very afraid."
"When Paul heard a voice and saw a great light and got to tell us all how it all is."
"When Paul went to the third heaven but was told not to tell us anything about it."
"When Jesus was talking but then began to lift off and go up into the sky until he was out of sight."


I know... I have no faithin literalisms. I actually do in many regards, but not the kind I used to have or felt I had to come up with. Faith to me has become what one has until the facts present themselves. It might take a few hundred or a few thousand years, but truth wins out over mythology, midrash, astro-theologyical observations and literalism every time.

My heart can't follow what my head no longer believes as it once did.

However, I DO respect and appreciate each person for where they are on the path. I only speak from my own experiences and perspective anymore and allow everyone theirs. That is the only way to be in life and show respect for others and unconditional love and acceptance of everyone as they are and as I hope they will extend to me.

Might I suggest a viewing of "Religulous" when it comes to your town. It will never make it to Greenville I guarantee you but can see it in Asheville, NC where the openminded souls abide.

Anonymous said...

The old WCG mentality, continued today with the major COG successor groups, is:

(1) hype imminent crises (some of which are very real)
(2) you are helpless to take any meaningful earthly action to prevent the imminent catastrophes.
(3) In fact, you MUST not get any stupid ideas of attempting to intelligently adress the issues for that is participating in "human solutions" which are doomed to fail.
(4) The only solution is the coming Kingdom of God, therefore send us loads of money to further spread and broadcast points 1-4.

As Dennis Diehl would say, "makes perfect sense!"

It makes as much sense as if your house is on fire, doing a rain dance while condemning the neighbors trying to organize a fire brigade to put out the fire.

It is the doctrine of faith healing (do not attempt human medical solutions) applied at the world level. It works about as well too.

These attitudes follow many people into post-WCG life, even after much of the theology is abandoned.

There is good politics and there is dysfunctional and unintelligent politics. But there is no substitute for the hard work of learning the issues, engaging the issues, and taking intelligent human action.

This is what the WCG was utterly hostile toward. How well I remember Headquarters commanding young people in the WCG in the 1960s NOT to get involved in Nader's environmental activism--after the Plain Truth had hyped the problems with corporate pollution of air and water. Say what you will about Nader, but he and the young people organizing with him then did effective things about environmental issues that we take for granted today.

As the Jewish saying goes, what hands does God have except ours? (To do the works of God on earth, to bring about a peaceful safe world.)

Obama '08

Leonardo said...

Larry, I'd be more than willing to respond to your last comment - but after reading through it over and over again, it still seems rather unintelligible to me, so I'm afraid I have nothing to respond to.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Leonardo, you're wrong. The booklet "Prophecy 1975" was NOT based on Paul Ehrlichman's nonsensical screed. I first read HWA's booklet in the late fifties and I understand it was based on a magazine article allegedly describing the future.

Lochinvar

Byker Bob said...

Aggie, "anti-semitic" would be making a statement like "I don't like Jews". Now, I can't honestly make that statement, because I actually do like most of the Jewish people whom I've met in my lifetime. Attacking, or addressing their philosophies, or ideas is not anti-semitic. You can refer to people as having been blinded by the Old Covenant, like Paul did, without being some sort of racist or hate-mongerer. Paul gives every evidence that he loved his Jewish brethren, yet he openly states that he was deeply grieved that they could not understand that Jesus Christ was their messiah.

BB

Anonymous said...

byker bob said, "I believe that unlike WCG members, mainstream Christians have a much more enlightened outlook towards the possible future calamities. While acknowledging that such events will eventually happen, they don't live in constant fear of them. They have faith that everything is in God's hands, and He works events out for His childrens' long term spiritual good."

If you mean wwcg members who now attend with UCG, then that does not apply to us. I don't know of anyone that attends locally at the UCG I attend who lives in fear of future calamities, etc. I believe we trust God and try to be ready for Christ's return.

larry said...

Leonardo, I understand your predicament. My use of double negatives was confusing, but was done to prove a point. And it obviously worked.

The problem with the whole issue of the fulfillment of "prophecy" in general, is that it gives people "proof" without faith.

God wants, demands, expects,....and provides faith. People want proof, "seeing is believing", but God is calling leaders for His Kingdom right now. And they must be folks who are willing to trust Him implicitly, without proof.

Remember the lesson of the Israelites, who watched the Red Sea parted for them. Such a miracle should have sufficed for them to believe every word from God. It didn't, because they had no faith.

You may think that you would be different, but you are not.

Anonymous said...

Larry's comment given to Leonardo Sun Oct 05, 04:47:00 PM NZDT
was absolutely excellent! He stated that, "God wants, demands, expects,....and provides faith. People want proof, "seeing is believing", but God is calling leaders for His Kingdom right now. And they must be folks who are willing to trust Him implicitly, without proof." Again I say, "EXCELLENT!!"

Anonymous said...

"You end your assertion "A Brother in the Faith" - and righly so, because everything you said in your comment must be taken on blind faith since you can produce no real or persuasive evidence for it at all."

Dear friend: Who said anything about "blind faith"?

God indeed is doing the most wonderful work of reproducing Himself.

My proof is the same proof God Himself revealed to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.

How do I know it's true?

IT'S IN GOD'S WORD!

God Himself promised He would send someone in the power and spirit of Elijah to restore all things.

Now if you can't follow through, I just don't know what to tell you.

But one thing I do know, is that the proofs are there for anyone with "eyes to see," and "ears to hear with."

You either do or don't get it, that's all there's to it.

Sorry I can't help you understand it. I simply can't do it if God hasn't call you to repentance yet.

I wish you the best in your search for God's truth though.

Why don't you ask God in your prayers to help you, and go back to reading everything His end-time apostle wrote? Perhaps God will have mercy on you and will finally open up your mind to His understanding.

Sincerely,

A brother in the True Faith.

Anonymous said...

"God wants, demands, expects,....and provides faith. People want proof, "seeing is believing", but God is calling leaders for His Kingdom right now. And they must be folks who are willing to trust Him implicitly, without proof."

I'm sorry, God is not calling leaders for His kingdom. That is not the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Jesus is offering the Kingdom to people now, in this difficult and evil age. It is the main way that Jesus saves folks now and gives them a good life.

But the kingdom is a small thing. It is no more then a small "mustard bush". Like a small bush that provides shelter to small birds, the kingdom provides shelter to individual Christians.

Most people don't see the kingdom and most don't experience it.

Gospel Thomas 3
Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

and

Gospel Thomas 13
His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."

The editors of the New Testament changed Jesus kingdom message, they changed the gospel.

Byker Bob said...

Anonymous 4:28, first of all, let me say I admire the tremendous courage it must have taken for an anonymous ACOG member to use the "evil" internet, and to post here. Welcome! We're all here to learn.

Secondly, I have no idea what is taught in UCG, because I've never attended any of their services. All that I know is that the vast majority of the people who were "called" into Armstrongism back in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, ended up in WCG because HWA and GTA had scared the bejesus out of them with their version of the "gospel", which was heavily based on a British Israel approach to prophecy, and indicated that the Germans, whom they had falsely identified as descendents of the Assyrians, would soon overwhelm all of the English-speaking peoples for "forgetting" their national identities, and turning their backs on the Old Covenant practices, which, in fact, they had never known. In other words, you had a huge number of people looking to save their behinds by joining a toxic cult, and allowing their guru to do their thinking for them, largely buying into his speculative theories, and uneducated eisegesis of the scriptures.

Unfortunately, part of the HWAcaca that we were subjected to, once on the inside, was constant belittling, and unrelenting implication that we might not be worthy to escape the coming calamities, because (gasp!) we might be Laodecean. (More extrabiblical garbage!) So, everyone pretty much lived in a state of limbo, or terror, never knowing if we'd be good enough to escape. I later learned that this line of thinking is in fact a natural byproduct of legalism, which is why Jesus was so critical of the Pharisees.

Now, if UCG no longer reveres HWA as an "apostle", and if British Israelism has been repudiated as the unprovable ridiculous theory that it really is, then I am happy for your church group, because it would seem that you might have progressed a bit on the path to spiritual enlightenment. Jetisonning extra-biblical teachings is always a good starting point in finding truth.

I believe that Jesus will look after His own, and that no matter where we are, if in fact God decides that the prophecies need to be kicked in during our lifetimes, each of us will experience as individuals exactly what God feels we need for our longterm spiritual good. I've learned that some people from the extreme faith movement even believe that Christians are going to want to be right in the thick of the tribulation, as it unfolds, so that they can minister to their neighbors, and to work where they can see that God's Spirit is working leading up to Jesus' return. Others believe that 3-1/2 years in, Christians will be caught up into the heavens to wait out the most horrible portion of the calamities.

Old school Armstrongism always exploited fear. It was the basic marketing technique for their version of the gospel. If UCG now places more emphasis on faith, and has dumped the fear-mongering, then good for them. God values most the things that we willingly choose to do. Good is of no value if it was the path chosen under duress. That's why fear-based religion is such a falacy.

BB

Anonymous said...

"Paul gives every evidence that he loved his Jewish brethren, yet he openly states that he was deeply grieved that they could not understand that Jesus Christ was their messiah."

Let us leave aside whether or not Paul, or Saul, or if you're Robert Price, Simon Magus, actually existed, and address the underlying semiotics of that particular scripture, shall we? Beginning with the passage I have highlighted.

Is it A) Condescending B) Elitist C) Presupposes "The Jews got their own religion wrong!!" D) All of the above, and so very much more.

I wouldn't take Paul or Saul or Simon Magus, as a very good example of a role model to take after though Bob (if he actually existed at all): The man portrayed in the canonical NT is vain, self-centred, sounds like he wants to be the early Pope instead of Peter, likely had temporal lobe epilepsy, was fallen by several illnesses later in life (There's that scripture, "by their fruits"....?) and let us not forget the couched-in-religious terms-and-thinly-veiled anti-Semitism.

But perhaps that is the point the author(s) of the Pauline texts were trying to make, and the satire slipped under the radar of the literalizing Nicene Council.

(I can hear the argument against my contention that the texts are anti-Semitic now. "Oh but Paul was Jewish!" Hm. "He", or one of the authors of the various books pseudepigraphically attributed to him, said he was. But wait, he also (or one of the authors of the various books pseudepigraphically attributed to him) said he was a Roman. What to do, what to do, the contradictions strike again.)

Not that I'm shilling for any particular religion, they're all systems of crowd-control. But the Christians should have just taken the new testament, and left aside the Torah and Tanakh altogether. The "proving" scriptures in the OT are very few and extremely far between, and actually "prove" zilch, as far as I'm concerned.

Christians nominally claim descendance from Abraham (at least those who cling to a modified form of Anglo-Israelism do), but really that's bunkum too. So there's nothing Christians can take from the Old Testament, so they should excise it from their bibles completely, go their own merry little literalist ways, and (here's the important part) stop making those snide little comments about the Jews!

Is that really so difficult?

Yes, I suppose it is, for without someone to blame, that leaves the Christian religion with having to stand on that "love thy neighbour" crap, which clearly they don't do either.

The "Christian" religion as we know it today has little to do with Abraham or David, or David's mythological "descendant" (Who "was not born of man", oddly enough, yet he's supposed to be the direct lineage of David. Huh what?), and everything to do with the Egyptian mystery schools of Isis and Horus and Osiris, whose adherents understood the tales about same were allegories and myths.

"It might take a few hundred or a few thousand years, but truth wins out over mythology, midrash, astro-theologyical observations and literalism every time."

Amen to that! I have personally found that truth can be gainsayed through a personal application of the underlying allegories of mythology, but that's not to say my truth is or should or can be, anyone else's but my own.

"but God is calling leaders for His Kingdom right now."

I really would like to know whether or not your local ministry knows you post here Larry, and whether or not they know exactly what it is you post? Weren't you listening in December of 1994? Senior cancelled that kingdom, boy-o, so you've got exactly bupkus to look forward to.

Unless it was a case of "Shhhhhhh....we still believe the same crap about being old testament overlords in the Kingdom of Gawd after the End of the World. Just don't tell the evangelicals we're bedding down with!!"

"It didn't, because they had no faith.

You may think that you would be different, but you are not."


I actually agree with this, Larry, you're absolutely right. I have no faith whatsoever. And my life has improved immeasurably ever since I dispensed with it.

"God indeed is doing the most wonderful work of reproducing Himself."

Gawd as gawd is gawd theology again. That god who's reproducing himself isn't the god you think he is, anon.

"Larry's comment given to Leonardo Sun Oct 05, 04:47:00 PM NZDT was absolutely excellent!"

Look Larry! The hard-core Armstrongist actually agrees with you! That would send Junior and Weazell into conniptions if they knew!

"Jesus is offering the Kingdom to people now, in this difficult and evil age."

Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to. "Oh we don't hold fast to any Armstrongism! No way! But the world ("THE world") really IS evil and terrible and horrible and Satan's dominion!"

Yeah, what's Armstrongist about that?? (Picture me rolling my eyes at this point.)

"But the kingdom is a small thing. It is no more then a small "mustard bush"."

Mustard seed. The least you can do, anon, is get your own mythology right.

"Most people don't see the kingdom and most don't experience it."

Elitism, by any other attitude, still stinks as much as it used to. "And here let me beat my bible at those who don't see it cause otherwise they're gonna FRYYYYYYYYYYYYYY......" Yeah no. No we're not.

"Gospel Thomas 13
His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."


This verse, along with the verses below it supporting a Petrine misogyny, are thought to have been added to the original collection at a later date.

"The editors of the New Testament changed Jesus kingdom message, they changed the gospel."

Changed it? Not exactly. They excised the more blatant "gospels" that pointed to the truth of the actual religion as it was practiced on the ground, in the first and second centuries.

No, what Constantine and the Council changed was the approach taken to the gospels; instead of being read as allegories and parables, mythologies and legends, the texts were to be taken as divinely inerrant and literal historical truth. And Constantine had his crowd-control, ready-made and pre-packaged.

Instead of rising up against their corrupt emperor (who styled himself a god-king in his own right), the christianized masses slipped into a religious stupor, dreaming gently of some fantasy far away and never-to-come, while Rome burned around them.

Two thousand years later, the blinded-by-faith "Christian" believers of the world still haven't woken up.

Mr. Scribe said...

Anonymous wrote:

"There is good politics and there is dysfunctional and unintelligent politics. But there is no substitute for the hard work of learning the issues, engaging the issues, and taking intelligent human action."

Then he inserts "Obama '08"

What Herbert was to religion, Obama is to politics. Obama has no real life experience to be in a position of leadership of the most powerful country in the world! Herbert was a high school dropout that also spoke if as he had authority from God almighty. Herb didn't have any authority. He spoke what you wanted to hear. All this to feed his insatiable desires. Lust for power, position and money! A true religious whore!

Anonymous said...

"God Himself promised He would send someone in the power and spirit of Elijah to restore all things."

And that was fulfilled. Read Matthew 11:14.

Just because someone co-opts the claim to the title doesn't make it true.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and be sure to read Matt 11:13 as well. Just to make sure you see who Elijah is in context.....

Anonymous said...

Hello. I am Anonymous 4:28 and this is what byker bob said:

Byker Bob said...
"Anonymous 4:28, first of all, let me say I admire the tremendous courage it must have taken for an anonymous ACOG member to use the "evil" internet, and to post here. Welcome! We're all here to learn."

Thank you for the compliment but I did not even think of courage or a lack of it when I wrote my response. Thinking back on it, I hope wisdom causes me to be anonymous in these forums because I do not know who I am dealing with here. I am not saying you (byker bob)would be a problem since you might be an enlightening person to discuss with, but in general I do not know who these people, for the most part, are. I remember Dennis Diehl since he baptized me in 1981 and I remember the comments of the brethren about him. They loved him so. I have continued on with much of what he taught us, that I found to be truth since 1981. Some teachings I have reexamined but the 10 commandments etc. are there to guide us into right living because of our relationship with Almighty God, Christ, our brethren and mankind.

Anonymous said...

"Old school Armstrongism always exploited fear."

No... the old WCG was a counter culture movement in which one could feel the Holy Spirit moving.

Once you have felt her you know what she's like. You can't find the Holy Spirit working in the same broad organizational way today.

Very unique and very lovely...

That is why people joined.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Scribe wrote responding to my earlier "anonymous" comment:

"What Herbert was to religion, Obama is to politics. Obama has no real life experience to be in a position of leadership of the most powerful country in the world! Herbert was a high school dropout that also spoke if as he had authority from God almighty."

No comparison. HWA was uneducated and preached toxic values. Obama is educated, a constitutional lawyer, a college professor, a state senator for eight years and now US senator, and highly intelligent. The "lack of experience" objection doesn't carry weight to me since the real issue is policies and staff, and Obama seems likely to pick competent people based on all indicators I have seen so far. Modern presidents set priorities, sell visions and policies to the public, and choose the staff who do the actual work of carrying out policies. Obama shows every sign of doing all of this well and I think Obama would be effective as president.

Now consider: both old WCG and ex-WCG-land are about 90% hard-right Republican politically. Why is this?

It is not Obama that is the analogy with HWA, but the Christian Right and HWA. The christian right, with end-times "judgment of God" interpretations of things like 911 and Katrina, end-time notions of Israel and nuclear war, notions of turning America into a theocracy, notions of American imperial right to rule all of heaven and earth like the kings of babylon and Tyre of old, anti-science, suppression of women, and other things advocated by Christian Right leaders ... THAT is the analogy with HWA/WCG-land of old. The christian right organizations and political clout comes complete with a hapless few tens of millions of voting grassroots supporters (largely decent people individually who have bought the snake oil) like the faithful WCG supporters of old ... that is the analogy. And the Christian right is the largest voting base of the Republican Party, the voting bloc that gave us and the world Bush-Cheney, the largest voting bloc for McCain-Republican continuity. This is the continuity from HWA and WCG outlooks on the world. Step back for a moment and see it for what it is!

Obama-Biden won't be perfect by a long shot, but I think they will be among the more capable of Democratic administrations. To re-elect Republicans again for control of the executive branch, when McCain has essentially the same people, the same ideology, and the same party that ran the Bush-Cheney presidency, in my opinion is WCG-HWA-scale insanity on a national scale.

That's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is the choice is between the center-right party, in European terms, and the hard-right party. The center-right party being Democrats and the hard-right party being Republicans. Not ideal, but that's the choice. Or a third way of looking at it: the constitutional lawyer who has shown intelligence and concern for greater respect for constitutional limitations on a runaway executive branch (Obama) versus a possible aging expendable precursor to actual runaway executive power aka fascism (a McCain presidency followed by exit of the expendable McCain, with deepening consolidation of the "unitary executive").

Two books worth reading (both accessible online): The Iron Hand, by Jack London, and It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis. Both are fictional portrayals of fascism coming about in America.

Greg D.

Ralph said...

In 50, maybe 100, words or less can someone explain to me the difference between the "old' and the "new" covenants?

larry said...

Greg D, you are quite right. The election of Obama would be the finishing touch to the development of a socialist state in America. Fascism would be right around the corner and not far behind. The Democrats have made it clear that private property should be "taken" by the government and given to those "less fortunate", and that freedom of speech will no longer be allowed.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 12:35/Lochinvar wrote:
“Sorry, Leonardo, you're wrong. The booklet "Prophecy 1975" was NOT based on Paul Ehrlichman's nonsensical screed. I first read HWA's booklet in the late fifties and I understand it was based on a magazine article allegedly describing the future.”

Hi Lochinvar,

Leonardo stands corrected…well, sort of, at least in part.

I could have made my post in question with more precise verbal clarity – obviously, “1975 in Prophecy” (first published in 1956 – and still available on-line at: http://www.cgca.net/pabco/1975pro.htm) was literally “based” on HWA’s incorrect understanding of prophecy, especially as fueled by his belief in the “19-year time cycles” of Dr. Hoeh.

Paul Ehrlich’s (not Erlichman) work (“The Population Bomb” from 1968, as well as “Famine 1975!” which was published around the same time by William Paddock) was referenced in later editions of “1975 in Prophecy”, as it was in other WCG literature of the time as a source of secular support for HWA erroneous predictions.

So although my blog comment was in error on some technical points, which I humbly acknowledge, the primary thrust and conclusion of its argument was not: as both HWA’s and Erlich’s predictions ultimately proved completely wrong.

I sincerely do appreciate your comment, Lochinvar, which helped correct and clarify my understanding on the more technical points of the issue.

Leonardo said...

Larry wrote:
“Leonardo, I understand your predicament. My use of double negatives was confusing, but was done to prove a point. And it obviously worked.”


But isn’t the ideal of communication to be to make your points with CLARITY? Your use of double-negatives was indeed confusing, and I still fail to see what relevant point it actually proved, so obviously it didn’t work, at least it didn't for me.

The rest of your response makes perfectly good sense…IF your audience assumes and accepts as valid the same blind ASSUMPTION you make: that the ancient manuscript we call the Bible is the literal, unerring, “Word of God.”

Fundamentalist religion, especially HWA’s brand of it, never intelligibly made it’s case regarding this hypothesis – although it tried, most notably with the embarrassing “Proof of the Bible” booklet, which was basically plagiarized from other material, and eventually pulled from the WCG shelves because of all it’s errors in research and false conclusions reached.

Anonymous 6:37 makes the claim: “Larry's comment given to Leonardo Sun Oct 05, 04:47:00 PM NZDT was absolutely excellent! He stated that, "God wants, demands, expects,....and provides faith. People want proof, "seeing is believing", but God is calling leaders for His Kingdom right now. And they must be folks who are willing to trust Him implicitly, without proof." Again I say, "EXCELLENT!!"

What is this person REALLY saying? “Larry agrees with my foundational assumptions about the Bible, and so his comment to Leonardo is excellent.”

But to get back to my original point: you’ve still not made your case with any real evidence, and yes, Anonymous 6:57, your mere assertions must be taken on blind faith. You can’t provide solid, comprehensible evidence, proof, or logic that your assumption/assertion is correct. CLAIMING that it is doesn't constitute legtimate proof.

Christianity has been trying to do this for centuries now, and they keep re-cycling the same worm-eaten apologetic arguments that have been soundly refuted time and time again. Serious thinkers and Christian apologists like Blase Pascal and C.S. Lewis openly acknowledged this.

Notice that Anonymous 6:57 wrote: “My proof is the same proof God Himself revealed to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. How do I know it's true? IT'S IN GOD'S WORD!”

But this is nothing more than the fallacy of circular reasoning at it’s best (worst!) - something Fundamentalist Christians just can't seem to work beyond. A Muslim, for example, can make the same essential claim for a point of Islamic teaching: “The Quran says infidels must be killed. How do I know this is right and true? What is my evidence? Allah tells me so through the words of the holy Quran!”

This “argument” wouldn’t convince you, would it? Why? Because it carelessly ASSUMES you take the entire unproved premise it's built upon to be true!

But yet you use the IDENTICAL kind of circular reasoning! Therefore, your essential argument doesn’t work for those outside your fellow believers any more than the Muslim’s argument doesn’t persuade you.

This is so because all such arguments are founded upon the mere quoting of a series of ancient writings ASSUMED and taken on faith to be the one and only “Word of God.” But mindlessly quoting from them doesn’t prove them to be the inerrant “Word of God!”

An absolutely critical distinction must be drawn between KNOWLEDGE and FAITH. You can BELIEVE with great passion, and HOPE and WISH with all your heart that a certain premise or assertion be true, but WISHING won't make it so. It either IS true, or it ISN'T true, and all your subjective emotions won't change that fact.

American president Abraham Lincoln used to ask audiences, "If we call the tail of a particular dog a leg, how many legs then does the dog have?" People would chuckle, and yell out "Five!" To which Lincoln would respond "No, the dog still has only four legs, because CALLING a tail a leg doesn't actually MAKE it one!"

Libro 66 said...

Anon: //--No... the old WCG was a counter culture movement in which one could feel the Holy Spirit moving.

Once you have felt her you know what she's like...

That is why people joined.
--//

"Her"? You mean the Holy Spirit??

I'm afraid you may be talking about a different "old WCG." Perhaps you are referring to "Women of the Church of God" of Anderson, Indiana, established in 1932?

On this blog, we've been discussing the Worldwide Church of God, a group founded by a former advertising agent named Herbert W. Armstrong in 1933. There are several daughter groups today. In this particular "old WCG," Armstrong taught most vociferously that the Holy Spirit is not a "her" -- in fact, is not even a Person in the sense that the Father and the Son are.

People of this particular "old WCG" would not have joined because of feeling the feminine presence of the Holy Spirit.

Libro

(Armstrong also carefully identified himself as non-Pentecostal...)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Mon Oct 06, 06:12:00 AM NZDT said:

"No... the old WCG was a counter culture movement in which one could feel the Holy Spirit moving.

Once you have felt her you know what she's like. You can't find the Holy Spirit working in the same broad organizational way today."

Once you have felt her? The Holy Spirit as a her? I do not remember ever reading that before and regard "it" as being a correct reference to the power that God and Christ use.

Anonymous said...

All you guys on here are more proof of the validity of the word of God. Scoffers mockers scorners just like Christ told us.

larry said...

Ralph,
The Old Covenant was a contract between God and the nation of Israel involving the granting of national power and prominence in exchange for obedience to a prescribed set of rules.

The New Covenant is also a contract, but between God and all of mankind. Mankind is granted eternal life in exchange for having the willingness to accept the sacrifice of God’s son on their behalf.

In both contracts, it appears that God does most (or all) of the giving. That would be true. The New Covenant supercedes the old one on spiritual matters.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 3:44 wrote:
"All you guys on here are more proof of the validity of the word of God. Scoffers mockers scorners just like Christ told us."

Then enlighten us all, Anonymous 3:44, exactly why are YOU here then? To provide us with a powerfully reasoned and well-expressed witness against us from God?

And frankly if you consider the various comments made on this blogsite "proof of the validity of the word of God" then you truly are building on a foundation of sand.

Mel said...

"No... the old WCG was a counter culture movement in which one could feel the Holy Spirit moving.
Once you have felt her you know what she's like. You can't find the Holy Spirit working in the same broad organizational way today."

LOL! "movement"?
Well, something WAS moving:
Herbert had a bowel movement and he crapped on the members' heads.

Maybe you are one of those who has a fetish for such things.
I don't.

But, your comment did crack me up. I don't think I've heard quite the nostalgic look-back at Herbert's org(somewhat akin to nostalgically thinking of old seagoing wood-and-sail vessels) before.
Well, maybe I have.

I should have had CSNY's "Wooden Ships" playing as I read your comment!