Saturday, 27 December 2008

Tithe Abuse

Recently Robert Taylor, a British COG blogger with Messianic Jewish leanings, wrote:

Critics often tarnish the Armstrong movement into one sweeping broad brush, one idealistic set of doctrines, but that is far from reality, usually, this is to reinforce stereotypical beliefs of tithing and church government.

If I understand Robert correctly, he's saying critics (that'd obviously include a lot of people who visit and comment on AW) have a kind of myopia: we can't get past the bugbears of tithing and church government in order to fairly assess the other positive aspects of our former heritage.

Robert goes on: There are churches within the Armstrongite movement that do not teach tithing to its members. The Church of God in Williamstown and Bible Research are examples.

Putting aside the fallacy of "church government" for the moment, I think its fair to say that tithing is still one of the hot keys for many of us: a much-loathed expression of manipulation and abuse. We saw hard earned dollars extorted with grand claims and outright lies, and what did it bring forth? An auditorium, inflated paychecks for church leaders, a college that was sold off, and third-tithe funded ministerial home improvements. The Work collapsed; the magazine, radio and TV outreach disappeared, and membership was decimated. The lasting fruit of all that giving and sacrifice?

Not much.

The cost - not just in money (30% of gross income in some years) - but in missed opportunities, health, stress, and retirement prospects, was often horrendous.

Robert cites two micro-sects that no longer teach tithing. The Williamstown church, apparently just one small congregation in the Australian state of Victoria, and Bible Research - which is so obscure most of us hadn't heard of it before. These two tiny groups (if Bible Research is a group and not just one guy with a Word Processor) are very much the exception. On the tithing side of the divide are all the major splinters (UCG, LCG, PCG, COG-AIC), and Holy Mother Church presided over by Flip-flop Joe. ("You don't need to tithe. Hey, where's the money gone? You need to tithe!")

Tithing is in the DNA of the COGs. David Pack yells from the pulpit: "If people don't tithe, they're gone!" Of course, plenty of other churches encourage a version of the practice (almost all more benign than Herbert Armstrong's interpretation.) The real problems are inflexibility, inflated claims, irresponsible proof texting, and negligent stewardship by those holding the purse strings. Being generous with a percentage of your income is in itself no bad thing, but:

  • There is no mandate for tithing - as described in the Bible - today. Ernest Martin's popular booklet made this crystal clear. Neither Christians nor Jews can tithe in the biblical sense in the absence of a priesthood or temple. Earlier examples of tithing (e.g. Abraham to Melchizedek) were clearly intended as "one-off" arrangements. Biblical tithing was based on agricultural produce (food!), not salaries (which, like the Bank of America, didn't exist in agrarian cultures.) The Catholic roots of church tithing only go back as far as Charlemagne (777 CE.) What we call tithing today in the Church of God, Adventist, Mormon, Baptist, and various non-conformist Protestant bodies, is something else - a modern tradition largely unheard of before the 1870s.
  • The management of any program of giving remains with the giver. To hand over large, regular sums to any church or charity without demanding accountability is good for neither donor nor recipient. For the donor it's a cop-out, for the recipient it's a license to do whatever they want.
  • If a family or individual decides to set aside a certain portion of their income for good causes, there's nothing in the Bible to say it all has to go to one organization. The initiative - and the responsibility - is in your hands. This is the whole point of the "priesthood of all believers" (which WCG now refers to as the "ministry" of all believers - which is to entirely miss the point.)
Which is to say that the Churches of God - with an occasional rare and insignificant exception at the far fringes - also miss the point.


Note: Ernie Martin's tithing booklet is available online. Also available is a long (2 hour!) presentation by Russell Earl Kelly on Google video. If you have the interest (and the patience) he makes a very solid case against tithing from a conservative Evangelical perspective.

80 comments:

Den said...

Gavin noted:

"Putting aside the fallacy of "church government" for the moment...."

That's the bottom line. It's a fallacy where bold men use select texts to enrich their organizations and themselves.

God never loved a cheerful GIVER in the COG's just an obedient tither. You don't give as you are able. You give as you are told.

On an interesting note concerning the original Apostles in the NT and so called harmony of beliefs and cooperation between Apostles. Once you see that Peter hated Paul, Luke and Paul scorned Peter. James did not agree with Paul. Paul agreed not with Peter, James and John, and John felt he as "the beloved disciple" was not a denier of Jesus as Peter was and thus should be in charge, there appears to be nothing new under the sun.

In fact, EVERY time John mentions Peter in his Gospel, he makes him look stupid and sandwiches him between two comments about Judas. To John, denying Jesus or betraying him was no big difference and Peter was not leadership material.

Jn 6:63-71, John 13:1-11 and 13:21-27 This is the pattern of Betrayal, Peter, Betrayal story. Also notice it's Judas, son of Simon and Simon Peter. These references were not lost on the original audience.

This probably why Jesus tells Jesus to feed my sheep three times in the second ending of John 21...to undo these three equations with Judas, Peter, Judas in John.

On top of this, you have the ludicrous story of Annanias and Saphira who said they do one thing, give all, and did another, held back, being killed by this Peter who said he'd do one thing, never leave Jesus, and did another, deny Jesus. That story was hilarious to Luke and Paul's audience. It was meant to show Peter was no leader. Romans don't let you kill off church members at random and just bury them without inquiry.

I know, who cares. I just didn't want to start the "ohhhhhhhh tithing" thing again..... :)

Lyle said...

I have written an article concerning tithing, which is likely very similar to the book "The Tithing Dilemma" only I go much further and say that tithing is a sin.

I had loaned a printed copy of the article to a woman I slightly knew, who was a Charismatic Christian. Later I asked her what she thought of it. She said she didn't understand it, so she showed it to her pastor. She then told me it was blasphemy and stormed off. Based on this analysis I must be on the right track.

Here is the offending article for you to decide for yourself.

Fraudulent Church of God said...

Gavin said:

Putting aside the fallacy of "church government" for the moment, I think its fair to say that tithing is still one of the hot keys for many of us: a much-loathed expression of manipulation and abuse. We saw hard earned dollars extorted with grand claims and outright lies, and what did it bring forth? An auditorium, inflated paychecks for church leaders, a college that was sold off, and third-tithe funded ministerial home improvements. The Work collapsed; the magazine, radio and TV outreach disappeared, and membership was decimated. The lasting fruit of all that giving and sacrifice?

Not much.

The cost - not just in money (30% of gross income in some years) - but in missed opportunities, health, stress, and retirement prospects, was often horrendous.

MY COMMENT – Oh Gavin, you know how to open up wounds!

What about the generation of children that grew up listening to the lies through no choice of their own? As a child in the R/WCG, I never dreamed I would have a future in this world. I never married and stayed somewhat reclusive feeling too weird and different from others.

Here is a relevant excerpt from my unpublished WCG essay:

Words Not Said

In review of my Sabbath Service notes, I am struck by the things that were not said from the Worldwide Church of God pulpits. For a church that prided itself as being God’s one and only true Church, and also prided itself on its special understanding of bible prophecy, I am amazed by the events that have occurred since the failed 1972 prophecy that were never mentioned by “God’s ministers” in their prophetic sermons of the 1960s or early 1970s.

As examples, while Richard Nixon was referred to as an end time President, there were never any prophecies of Ford, Carter, and the Reagan revolution, the Bushes or even Hilliary and Bill Clinton. I don’t recall any 1960s sermons that predicted the internet, or prophesied the rise in the American prosperity. I heard no prophetic sermons foretelling the demise of the evil Soviet Union empire or warning that Islamic radicals would be a threat and someday would slam airplanes into buildings (the September 11 attackers did not look German).

We were constantly told by Garner Ted Armstrong on radio that the “pride of America’s power had been broken”. Herbert W. Armstrong stated in a Feast of Tabernacles sermon on October 4, 1971: “We are here for a purpose. The United States has no purpose. That is one reason why the country is going down”. So, there were no 1960s or 1970s prophetic sermons that predicted America would ever be successful in any future military actions. We were mis-lead by the Armstrongs and the Church to believe that America was in its prophetic decline and that America had won its last war. I remember recalling Armstrong’s words during the liberation of Kuwait during the successful 1991 Operation Desert Storm.

More importantly, there were also no sermons recorded that instructed people to plan their life for a whole lifetime – 20, 30, 40 or 50 years or more out into the
future. The message of Armstrong’s Worldwide Church was always the same: 1) time is very short, 2) “The Work” must be completed, and 3) send more money to headquarters to finish “The Work”. As widely documented elsewhere, we now understand why the constant plead for money from Armstrong and his minions.

I remember Herbert Armstrong once wrote an article to church members instructing them to prepare themselves for a decline in their personal standard of living. In Co-worker letters and service notes, members were constantly badgered for money – over and above their various tithes. But for many outside the sect, standards of living improved during the prosperity of the 1980s and 1990s. Certainly, as well chronicled on the internet, Herbert Armstrong’s personal standard of living did not decline during his ministry from the 1960s forward. Armstrong and his minion’s massive miss-use of money extorted from members is a matter recorded by many in writings on the internet. While Armstrong lived the opulent life style of the super rich, he was telling rank and file members to
prepare for a decline in their personal standard of living. The word “hypocrite” certainly comes to mind.

END OF EXCERPT

Richard

Give till it hurts....... said...

Isn't it ironic that the "Apostle" who lives in a 750,000 home with 4 bedrooms for just him and his wife along with his stepson, condems his followers for not paying their tithes..... to him!

Who made this madman an "Apostle"? He himself and only himself did. What utter nonsense.

He tells others to sell their insurance policies and their homes while he lives in a very upscale home of his own. Sacrifice brethern.............

In his latest sermon the "Apostle" claims that he is not concerned with statistics....what a turnaround!!! What happened to we will be a Colossus???

Anonymous said...

When I was a Catholic, I remember a lot of derisive remarks from non-Catholics about collection. I joked that in addition to long mass and short mass there was a new short, short mass, which consisted only of collection.

Herb wrote that a member complained to him about not hearing "good old days" sermons anymore, on topics like third tithe. Herb assured us that ministers would be giving such sermons in the future.

As for "up to 30%", remember second tithe (apart from "tithe of a tithe","excess second tithe", etc) was for our own use at the feast. Some ministers went so far as to allow second tithe to cover all expenses incurred attending services, including having your suit dry cleaned.

When he was in Australia, Denny Luker made waves when he said the Australian government welfare system took care of most expenses that would be covered by third tithe. He suggested a few dollars added to each tithe payment would suffice. GTA made a similar statement in an ICG sermon. Bob Thiel assured us that the LCG has not lowered itself to such non-Herbal practices.

Byker Bob said...

How could there be blessings for coerced, or madated donations and offerings? Especially when a church organization demands that it must be the sole recipient of one's tithes and offerings! I can see where people who give from the heart would be blessed, as seems to be the New Testament or New Covenant teaching.

The splinter group leaders of the ACOG movement seem to want to use the coerced tithes to live the lifestyles of the Hasmonean Kings, or chief Scribes and Pharisees. I believe Jesus had a little something to say about such people. It might not be quite so bad if they were truthful prophets, but they're not even that. What a waste!

BB

Juan Rhineland said...

BLESSED BE THE TITHES THAT BLINDS
(To the tune of Blessed Be the Ties That Bind)

Blessed be the tithes that blind
Our hearts to Christian love;
The salesmanship of cultic minds
Is nothing like that above.

Before the Apostles throne
We throw our hard earned bucks;
Our fives, our tens, our twenties, our hundreds
Our groceries...man this sucks.

We share each other's woes,
Our money we threw in the air;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

We'd like them to show us just how,
They do it without a care;
No guilt, no feelings, no quams, no conscience,
Just send it now here or now there.
.
This crazy topic revives
Our stories of tithing galore;
Was never enough to do the great work
One always just had to send more.

From sorrow, toil and pain,
New freedom shall all of you find,
God doesn't need money, not his, hers or mine
Blessed be the tithes that blinds.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.....meeeeeeeen!

Anonymous said...

Most Evangelical churches expect their members to tithe. They may say it is not required, but then they turn right around and expect their members to tithe.

Here is the rational...

"This brings us to the question of whether the tithe should be grasped as a New Testament concept. I’ll grant other Christians hold to a reformed view of theology which says that the church is the Old Testament’s Israel brought into a new covenant and therefore the things which aren’t done away with in the New Covenant are still valid for New Testament saints."

So if you don't want to be pressured into tithing, I suggest you not only stay away from the Churches of God, but you stay away from Sunday keeping Evangelical congregations.

You go there and the Pastors will pressure you to tithe.

http://www.intendo317.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=30

"I’m afraid there are few other issues where the laity and the pastor differ more. Most pastors say: 1) A tithe = 10%; 2) The Bible requires it; 3) It should go to the local church; 4) it is an obligation; and 5) it should be given without concern for being thanked."

Anonymous said...

That's one of the reasons why I do not attend any church. It infuriates me when the basket is passed. It's like "you sit in this seat, you pay. You pay if you want to worship, you pay if you want to listen to some guy rattle off a few words that aren't worth listening to, you pay to pray." And I haven't found a church yet that doesn't demand some kind of payment, whether they call it tithes, offerings, or "give as you have been blessed" guilt trips.

What ever happened to "God will provide"? If God is indeed a part of that "organization", He will indeed provide the monies for it, and not through begging or extortion. It will simply be there when needed.

I refuse to give to any "organization", especially if they ask for it. I do give, though, to those that need it, whether it be a meal, a few bucks for gas, a listening ear, a visit in the hospital, etc.

I can't afford to go to church.

Anonymous said...

As for accountability, I think were told enough times that we need not be concerned with how HWA spent the money; he "would have to answer". Gerald Waterhouse went so far as to say if Herb chose to throw the money away (I believe he said "off the Harbour Bridge" when he was in Sydney) that was not our concern (read: none of our business). But we were responsible to keep the money coming in...

From the Apostle of Wadworth's latest sermon, it sounds like he's setting himself to be able to pull the plug. All the books and booklets have been written. His versions of Ambassador will spew out new ministers. When the new membership peaks and levels off "the Work" is over... He can then sit back and wait...

Anonymous said...

"I can't afford to go to church."

I'm afraid I can't either, that is one of the reasons I don't go.

Sad but true...

Anonymous said...

Lyle ---

You made some good points.

It's interesting when you look at those scriptures outside the context of the AC Bible Correspondence Course (lesson 7). I'm sure when I did that course I only looked in the verse to find the answer to the directed question, not for what it actually said.

A Messianic teacher said when someone quotes a proof text, it's good to read the surrounding verses to get the context .. even better to read the whole chapter.

Anonymous said...

An alternative is proposed in the following article, sponsored by CGOM

http://www.cgom.org/Publications/Articles/ShouldAChristianTithe.pdf

Anonymous said...

PAY, PRAY, STAY, OBEY - GO GRAY. But only if you are a LAY person

Dennis said...

As a child growing up in the Presbyterian church, I remember a rather permanent and attractive wooden board on the wall by the organ that displayed last week's and this week's attendance along with last week's offering amount.

It always seemed like so given to me for the 80-120 typically in attendance at this rather small but wonderful place of my youth.

Seems I remember typical offerings of 150-300 or so a week.

However...the tables in the side rooms where I sat at catachism and got asked to leave for asking too many questions or goofin, are still there. The pews that my folks sat me in when I could first sit up, are still there. The stage where I was one of the wisemen at xmas is still there. The room where I found the xmas candle bulbs and threw them into to parking lot to hear them pop is still there :). The poles in the basement that held the back lit sheets up where we did shadow surgical operations for entertainment of our parents are still there. The fire escape where I sat talking with "gurls" and fell in love at least three times is still there.

What was the name of that Church I joined again at 18...where is it?

Hmmmmm...gates of hell are pretty powerful after all.

Send it in at your own risk...

Anonymous said...

I pledge to give to my church. I don't even know what percentage of income it is, but it feels so good to not do it out of obligation. I think that's what it means to be a cheerful giver. You can't be cheerful when you are told you are cursed if you don't do it.

Still, even some mainstream Baptist churches teach that you are robbing God if you don't give a tenth. Just look at where the money goes in churches that teach tithing. Mostly it is used to cover their monthly mortgages for multi-million dollar building projects. They can't just rely on vicarious giving.

Mr. Scribe said...

Robert wrote:
Critics often tarnish the Armstrong movement into one sweeping broad brush, one idealistic set of doctrines, but that is far from reality, usually, this is to reinforce stereotypical beliefs of tithing and government....

Really this whole Armstrong church cult subject is meaningless. Who here believes Psalm 127:1

"Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."

Armstrong'ism has failed because God is not, nor has He ever been part of this make-believe religion. This is the MAIN point that Armstrong'ist are in denial about.

Secondary is the abuses that came about with "church" government and tithing. I never once saw an Armstrong'ist receive from God the "bounty from heaven" that was promised by Herbert and his minions if you tithed. With the exception of some rich, tight fisted brethren, most drove unsafe beater cars that should have been scrapped years ago. Relics on wheels. The children went without quality food and clothing.

Then there is church government.
Men who when given an position of power, abused their subjects, stoled from them, taunted them, interrogated them as if they were enemies instead of brethren. This is the legacy of Herbert W. Armstrong.

So Robert, spare us the lecture that the failure of many to follow on in Armstrong'ism is our fault! Tithing and church government has been and is a source of pain for many of us, however there is indeed much more to this story! How dare you taunt us with your ignorant rant!

Anonymous said...

Amazing! Most of the comments above reflect the truism: "we can't get past the bugbears of tithing and church government in order to fairly assess the other positive aspects of our former heritage."

larry said...

Anon 05:31, I too, am astonished! There is much more to life than money. It sure seems like that is THE major topic around here when it comes to a discussion about the Church. (except for "government")

Well, I got news fer ya, folks. It ain't all about the money.

You are going to leave this world with exactly the same amount of money you came in with, no matter what.

Myra McQueen said...

Methinks Dennis is setting his own judgement seat up here. Just so that I do not reap his wrath, let me say that I am just FYI here,because I do not think you are covering all parameters in your conclusions here.
In the first place, Peter did not "kill"Ananias and Saphira, unless he did it by mental telepathy?? So guess what happened? and so we are going to tell God, "that the wrong thing to do God. You should have struck down Simon Peter instead"?
As far as the fact that both he and Judas Iscariot's father had the same name('Simon,' which means 'hearing')what does that have to with the price of eggs in Denmark?
God says that He looks on the heart, because He says that He is no respecter of men(Rom.2:11) and apparently His Judgements are righteous. At least He says so. Do you have something on God that the rest of us need to know about?

Byker Bob said...

Larry, think of this site as one extended exit interview from Armstrongism. The fact that the most dramatic topics or issues still in people's minds center around fiscal abuse, and abuse of authority speaks volumes.

I agree that there is more to life and spirituality than money. But, the Armstrongs made it everything. It was probably mentioned more than Jesus Christ! If they had given priority to spiritually mentoring the brethren, rather than threatening and coercing, you wouldn't find the level of sheer dissidence amongst former members.

It took me over thirty years following my exit from Armstrongism to have the trusting heart to once again contribute to people who are doing the work of Jesus Christ.(and the recipients are not Armstrongites, believe me!) While I hope that others will learn to trust again, I know that there are people right here on AW who believe that such offerings are tantamount to flushing money down the family commode, or leaving it for Leprechauns or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I hope to live to see the day when we all have healing. Some bad things require long recovery times.

BB

Fraudulent Church of God said...

Larry said, "Well, I got news fer ya, folks. It ain't all about the money.

You are going to leave this world with exactly the same amount of money you came in with, no matter what."

MY COMMENT - Well, there you go again Larry. WRONG AGAIN. For HWA and the WCG, it was ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! And, I well remember all the badgering the Armstrongs did to exort money from the members under threat of eternal damnation.

Herbert Armstrong lied to the masses so he could dine with the classes. Yes, he left without a penny like all of us will, but he had quite a ride in this life living the lifestyle of the rich and famous off the backs of good people who belived his lies.

Shame on you Larry for justifying this wicked man as someone who should be honored and respected. HWA was a con man fraud. And nothing you can say will ever change the truth. Time has proven HWA a fraud and a liar.

Richard

Corky said...

Larry saith,
You are going to leave this world with exactly the same amount of money you came in with, no matter what.

It's the "no matter what" that gets you. It's the time between when you "came in" and when you "leave". Some will use you to get rich and live a lavish lifestyle while you struggle.

"send it in"

Sure, they will leave empty handed but, so what? They had a good life and lived high on the hog while you abused your wife and children paying tithes to a monster.

"send it in"

While the poor member was trying to scrape up enough money to pay the light bill, the man they were paying tithes to was building auditoriums.

"send it in"

No matter what, there will always be some who just don't get it, who don't understand the difference between "minister" and "overlord". To those I say,

"send it in"

To those who never figured out the way of give (for the tithe payer) and the way of get (for the tithe recipient) I say,

"send it in"

For all those duped souls who never figured out that they were being used, abused, ignored and considered too stupid to even decide what color car to drive . . .

C'mon, send it in.

Anonymous said...

Larry et al -

Mel Brooks said:

We're not in it for the money.
We're not?
We're in it for a s*load of money!

Anonymous said...

all about the money...

Herb hinted in 7 Laws of Excess that money wasn't enough. You can't take it with you, and people don't remember you. So he had to erect edifaces and finance foundations.

And, of course, to do that, he needed money...

Don't Rob Me Of Your Money said...

Not a penny of what you earn, or a penny's worth of the value of what you can produce, is yours -- it all belongs to God to do as he directs. God has legally directed that after you have honestly paid him the one little tenth he requires for his creative work, then -- AND NOT UNTIL THEN -- God has decreed that the other nine tenths becomes legally yours!

That's God's law!

The first thing you do when you receive your pay is to give God 10 per cent that is his in the first place.

(In most nations, the government will already have taken its tax revenues out before you even see your check.)

Remember, though, God's tithes come out of the total increase or adjusted gross income, not on the after-taxes amount.

But LISTEN and HEED! It is not your tithe -- it is God's -- HOLY to Him! IT IS THE FIRST 10th of your income -- before all else -- before paying bills. You HAVE NO RIGHT TO IT!

Christ's chosen apostle has SPOKEN OUT...DO NOT MAKE EXCUSE!

Goodbye friends,
Herbert W. Armstrong


P.S. Hold up your hands, suckers. This is a STICKUP!

seeker said...

I have heard that before the Pharisees were in power (at about the time of the Maccabees) there was only one tithe required. This is in either the Encyclopedia Judaic or the Jewish encyclopedia. I have searched but cannot find the reference. Can anyone help? Thanks

Anonymous said...

It does not matter what the Bible says. It is not the final authority. Do what you wish to do. Be authentic. Be yourself. Make your own decisions. Don't be fooled by false authority. The Bible is NOT the final say on your life.

larry said...

Richard said,
"HWA was a con man fraud. And nothing you can say will ever change the truth. Time has proven HWA a fraud and a liar."

Simply untrue Richard, and "time" has proven nothing of the sort. You are entitled to your opinion, but it is only your opinion.

Dennis said...

Myra noted:

As far as the fact that both he and Judas Iscariot's father had the same name('Simon,' which means 'hearing')what does that have to with the price of eggs in Denmark?

Answer: You'd have to understand the technique of "intercalation" which is used by John to make his point about Peter and Judas. While using the terms Judas, Son of Simon and Simon Peter seem harmless to us, the audience understood the connection. It was a common first century writing style used to associate one event with another or one person with another.

Secondly, of course Peter did not "kill" them personally or the story would be even more literally ridiculous. The "Holy Spirit" did the killing, which again indicates, to me, the political and not literal nature of the story. I'm not the only one who thinks this by the way.

Even if it was in some way literally true, what kind of God is this that cuts down a couple people for not forking over more, may I say, money, than they could afford. It was only a very few years later, when the Second Coming seemed like a false alarm to the church, that they dropped the "all things in common" approach. That is a way of behaving that people adopt short term as they wait for something about to happen, not something that drags on and on and does not happen.

Myra said:

"Methinks Dennis is setting his own judgement seat up here. Just so that I do not reap his wrath,"

I don't do wrath. You don't know me very well. Every opinion about every event or statement in the Bible is a judgment by someone. I'd prefer to see it as an observation about the politics of these men we call Apostle and their on going struggle, as today, to show why each is more qualified than the other to be in charge. That "in charge" thing has always been a problem for the COGs.

When John tells us in John 20:3-9

"
3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4BOTH WERE RUNNING, but the other disciple OUTRAN PETER and reached the tomb FIRST. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but DID NOT GO IN. 6Then Simon Peter, who was BEHIND him, arrived and WENT INTO the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. HE SAW AND BELIEVED. 9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)"

The other disciple is John himself being "subtle" just as he is when he refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Every word here indicates to the original audience, a race, not to a tomb, but to the top of the Church leadership. Peter went in and looked around and still didn't understand. John understood before he looked. The 9th verse must be an addition by a scribe later to tell us why John was so insiteful since the rest didn't understand "From scripture", meaning the OT, that Jesus had to rise from the dead, though one can scarce imagine that from the content of the other Gospels.

Those that can't stand to work for or with anyone, or tolerate diverse opinion rise to the top, and those that don't do drama and learn to keep their observations to themselves sit in the pews, until they don't, and vote with their feet.

And no, God has not clued me in anymore than anyone else who observes behind the scenes and between the lines of the Bible story. But I do hope I wasn't too wrathful in explaining myself :)

Mr. Scribe said...

The following speaks volumes about HWA's character and incompetence. From the Kessler letter...

Mr. Armstrong is somewhat of a tragic figure. He is a man to whom a great calling has been given and through whom marvelous insight has been revealed. He is also a man motivated by strong passions, and is perhaps one of the most naturally selfish men to have walked the earth, ever. That he has been able to control his desires and egocentrism to an appreciable degree shows some measure of his tremendous will, and only God can judge to what extent he has overcome more than the rest of us, a well he may have. He is also an uneducated man, though he has proved more than any that this does not have to be a handicap; indeed, in his advantage to stick close to the source of his inspiration without trying to refine his understanding in the light of disparate thoughts. But there is a liability implicit in this background, and that is ignorance of the workings of the world, coupled with a disdain for the regulatory milieu in which the Church must survive. Christ didn't urge his disciples to needlessly insult Caesar; indeed, it is a distinct disadvantage to be neither wise nor harmless. (Cf. Matt. 10:16.) It will be easy enough to attract persecution simply by being righteous. It makes no sense to invite it for the wrong reasons.
As long as Mr. Armstrong and the Church receive competent advice on legal matters, however, the potential can be minimized. But Mr. Armstrong's advisors not only have to be knowledgeable, the must also be candid, forthright, and vigorous in curbing any of his untoward desires that run afoul of the laws of the land. Because of the tremendous power that his office has within the hierarchy, and because of the attitude of unquestioning obedience that is preached to all subordinates, and also because of the imbedded notion discussed above that he is accountable only to God, Mr. Armstrong is capable of causing considerable problems both for himself and for the Church. And he will do this damage without the benefit of competent counsel if anyone apprehends that he may be feeling a little too much like the queen of hearts on the day that they venture forth to advise.

Dennis said...

Intercalation is also seen in Mark 11 with the enigmatic story of the non productive fig tree (for it was not the season for figs). Here you have the story of(A) fig tree with no figs cursed.....(B)the cleansing of the temple....(A) story of the tree with no figs withered

The audience would understand that just as a fig tree that bears no fruit is not worthy of standing, so a temple that bears no fruit is not worthy of standing.

Today we might send a message by sandwiching a Dave Pack,Gerald Flurry, Bill Dankenbring or Ron Weinland story between two stories of Jonestown to make a point to the reader.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the differences in our lives after WCG -- fulfillment/success or the lack of such -- are the main drivers for the vast differences with how we now perceive our WCG experiences? I know of many who perceive the WCG years as great times (problems and all), but have been able to move on without a sense of "lost/wasted decades."

Dennis said...

The picture Gavin came up with for the postig is interesting. I'd guess from the 1940's maybe. As we can see, the "tithe and your remainder will go further than when you don't tithe," meme is well established.

Think how many times one felt obligated, when tithing, to come up with a list of "obvious" blessings for doing so. We somehow just had to see that truly, if we proved God, the windows of heaven would open. To not be able to see that in your life, when tithing, was an admission of ones badness or faithlessness. If you were not blessed in your tithing, you certainly did not tell anyone.

I met some very stubborn tithers who were obviously hurting themselves and their families by tithing when they had little to give. To tell them to give, as they were able instead of strict tithing, set off a whole string of bible verses (memes) thrown back at me to show me they had no intention to not tithe and miss out on the promises of those verses.

I told older people to STOP giving their Social Security checks, all of it, to the church, to no avail.

I told some to stop giving third tithe because they needed it themselves.

I told some to skip the feast this or that year until they were more on their feet or at least only come for part if they just had to.

All to no avail.

No one could ever say the COG tither was stingy. Unwise maybe, but sincere and looking more to the Bible, from my perspective, as the source of what they expected back.

Of course with ministers and leader types using the book to squeeze the faithful, it was tough to resist if one was sincerely hopeful of the outcomes.

I specifically remember Waterhouse saying HWA could throw money off a bridge and it not be our business. The words "jerk" and "bastard" did pass through my mind as I sat there quietly disagreeing. It was only years later that I told Gerald Waterhouse to his face that he caused far more problems for the members than he solved and he scared them more than inspired them.

He just looked at me and said, "Is that right?" I said 'yes it is.'
Nothing changed however and he told me he'd believe that HWA could die before Jesus returned only after three days and three nights.

I knew we were in trouble then :)

Those mind viruses can go deep.

lnrd said...

The answers that confront tithing on the surface underline the same conclusion that the Meal partaken by Jesus, was the Passover proper as it took place in the far past in the Land OF Egypt.

lnrd

Dennis said...

"I wonder if the differences in our lives after WCG -- fulfillment/success or the lack of such -- are the main drivers for the vast differences with how we now perceive our WCG experiences?"

That's a very fair and good observation. I can only speak for myself. It's difficult to find "success" after decades in the ministry if you don't just rehire yourself to a splinter and keep on with the same old stuff.

While not a hireling in fact as a very sincere "this is the most true I have found" minister, I guess I was a hireling that didn't want to get hired again and merely drop the old drama for new ones.

I could have taken the local church here and run with it as I was asked to do. But I had no further heart for it. And believe me, in this congregation, it would have been swapping Worldwide drama for local.

For whatever resons, having grown up Presbyterian and then switched to what seemed more correct to me, to have it all swept away and reverted to that of my upbringing was enough for me. Add to this my personal studies on the politics of the Bible and about all I can say is I relived a modern version of the NT Church, "No I'm in charge" story. Enough is enough.

It is useless to keep spinning through the old experiences and there comes a time to end it and move on. For each, I suspect that is something that is very individual and even the cessation of spinning can be perceived as another loss in the WCG experience, that one is not ready to give up.

Success is relative and not based on bucks or position. I count my success to be measured in personal growth out of false ideas and into more interesting possibilities.

It's also nice to answer the phone and have a client and not finding out you've just lost another friend through the WCG experience that you didn't cause but got to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Dennis said:

"I count my success to be measured in personal growth out of false ideas and into more interesting possibilities."

Dennis, your measure is both meaningful and healthy. All the best in continuing to build your success!

Anonymous said...

One of stories circulating years ago - probably started by Gerald Waterhouse - was that on Feast days Herb would give whatever he had in his bank account.

During my WCG years, I was single and had enough money to feel that I was being blessed. I assumed we were all being blessed - except for us with bad attitudes.

That's why I was shocked - shocked! - during an offering collection to hear John Halford say "most of you are probably treading water". That was so disappointing, as I was ready to start a COGa line chanting -

I'm a cheerful giv-er!
I'm a cheerful giv-er!
...

Dennis said...

Dennis said:

"I count my success to be measured in personal growth out of false ideas and into more interesting possibilities."

Dennis, your measure is both meaningful and healthy. All the best in continuing to build your success!"

Thank you...that was a very kind observation. I was afraid you'd incure my wrath...har har...My wrath is so whimpy.

Anonymous said...

"I have heard that before the Pharisees were in power (at about the time of the Maccabees) there was only one tithe required. This is in either the Encyclopedia Judaic or the Jewish encyclopedia. I have searched but cannot find the reference. Can anyone help? Thanks"

The story of the twelve tribes of Israel, with Levi being a Priestly tribe is a fabrication.

There was never a Moses...
There was never an exodus from Egypt...
There was never an OT Passover...

These are all fabrications.

Most of the Law of Moses is a man made law created in hindsight by the priest of Josiah's day. They created it in an attempt to establish a myth that would give the kings and priests legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

That means that tithing was created by men to take the wealth created by the working class and use that wealth to subjugate the laity.

A brilliant plan. Priest are not nice guys. Even today the priests and pastors demand the wealth created by the working class.

Tithing is not a law of God it is a law created by kings and priests.

2 Chr 35:1-3 NASB
(1) Then Josiah celebrated the Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover animals on the fourteenth day of the first month.

(2) And he set the priests in their offices and encouraged them in the service of the house of the LORD.

(3) He also said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the LORD, "Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel built; it will be a burden on your shoulders no longer. Now serve the LORD your God and His people Israel.

These are the guys who created the "law of tithing".

Bamboo_bends said...

I noticed the horn of plenty in the illustration was more a galvinized culvert of plenty than an horn of plenty. The horn being a illusion created as the culvert goes off into the distance.

I was wondering if this was due to the pagan origins of the horn of plenty versus the obvious road building functions of the galvinized water culvert.

Michael Servetus' Ghost said...

Bamboo Bends said:

"I was wondering if this was due to the pagan origins of the horn of plenty versus the obvious road building functions of the galvinized water culvert."

Nice try Mr. Bends. You're not so subtle attempt at converting us all to Culvertnism has been noted.

However, we are not so easily Bamboo-zeled here! :)

Leonardo said...

Dennis wrote:
"It is useless to keep spinning through the old experiences and there comes a time to end it and move on."

Dennis, I so very much agree with this insightful statement.

The fact that such a large number of COG members don’t "move on" is strong evidence to me that they have now become “spiritual junkies” as it were, folks who have become so emotionally ADDICTED to the COG-brand of religion, and cannot live without it in their lives anymore, or so they believe.

I see people who are rapidly aging, just barely surviving financially, and yet who stubbornly and foolishly INSIST on sending in generous offerings to their gurus.

It is heart-wrenching to see people whom I still count as dear friends cycle repeatedly through the COG drama continually, yet to no worthwhile, meaningful or enduring end whatsoever – just more of the same nonsense that they have gotten used to over the years and which now apparently appears normal to them.

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 3:29 wrote:
"The story of the twelve tribes of Israel, with Levi being a Priestly tribe is a fabrication. There was never a Moses...There was never an exodus from Egypt...There was never an OT Passover...These are all fabrications."

Some pretty confident ASSERTIONS on your part, Anon - care to provide us any documented EVIDENCE or reliable SOURCES for them other than you merely BELIEVE them to be so?

Anonymous said...

"Some pretty confident ASSERTIONS on your part, Anon - care to provide us any documented EVIDENCE or reliable SOURCES for them other than you merely BELIEVE them to be so?"

I agree. People have been telling me for years that the Bathargians of ancient America did not build vast empires east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and wage war on the wizards of the Kronos Empire, which ruled the Misissippi Valley. The naysayers need to provide EVIDENCE that these things didn't really happen.


Paul Ray
Scholar of Ancient America

Anonymous said...

"Some pretty confident ASSERTIONS on your part, Anon - care to provide us any documented EVIDENCE or reliable SOURCES for them other than you merely BELIEVE them to be so?"

During the past 30 years there has been a tremendous amount of archeological excavation in Israel, much of it impossible prior to the Six Day War. Most of us are unaware of what has been discovered and the historical implications of these finds.

Many in Israel readily accept this historical data. Most in the USA do not.

The USA is dominated by religious conservatives. Our culture is far too invested in Christian myth to allow an open discussion of the issues; the pastors would not get their tithes and the merchants would loose income at the holidays...

I would suggest you read "The Bible Unearthed" and "David and Solomon". Both are written by Israel Finklestein and Neil Asher Silberman.

Here is a link that provides a good overview of the subject.

http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/grounds.htm

Regarding Finklestein; "He deconstructs this foundation only in order to reconstruct it according to the logic that guided the ancient authors, and arrives at the conclusion that the stories about the conquest of the Land of Israel, the settlement period, the United Kingdom and the attempt to enhance the prestige of the Kingdom of Judah at the expense of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) are part of an ideological - religious and political - manifesto, a master stroke by a creative copywriter."

Leonardo said...

Thank you for the book recommendations, Anon - I'll check them out.

But the link provided didn't work - at least what I was able to grab from the one posted, which appears to be cut off by the right margin boundary and thus incomplete.

Anyway, I've just come to understand the need for sound evidence in arriving at various conclusions in my life, now more than ever before, especially when it comes to philosophical/religious conclusions - and that's why I ask for it.

If we haven't learned THAT vital truism from our journey through Armstrongism then, in my view, we really haven't learned anything. I'm really not trying to be confrontational or anything.

It's just that I find most COG folks to have long ago abandoned the need for reasonable proof for what they accept as true.

Anybody can make confident truth claims these days, and many do - but few can actually document such assertions in any reasonable or intelligible way whatsoever.

I do appreciate your providing some specific references I can look through and assess - thanks again.

Gavin said...

Leonardo, some of these issues were mentioned in an earlier posting. I've read both Finklestein books and found them fascinating.

Gavin

Anonymous said...

http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/grounds.htm
Here is the link to the interview with Israel Finkelstein. It does work if you copy the entire link and paste into your browser.

Another quote...

"Still, why was the United Monarchy invented?

"Because they wanted to seize control of the territories of the kingdom of Israel and annex them, because, they said, `These territories are actually ours and if you have a minute, we'll tell you how that's so. `Many years ago, one of our kings, David, reigned in Jerusalem and ruled them, and we are the only ones who have a historical claim to them' - and so the myth was created. `The kings of Israel were scoundrels,' the people of Judah said, `but as for the people there, we have no problem with them, they are all right.' They said about Israel what an ultra-Orthodox person would say about you or me: `Israel, though he has sinned, is still Israel.'"

Leonardo said...

I just quickly went out to Amazon to read some of the reviews on "The Bible Unearthed" and it appears to be quite controversial, with many of its more radical claims being little more than unsupported assertions.

This is one of those topics that you can find an expert to provide you with all the carefully selected “facts and evidence” you want in order to justify your current view, whatever it is - dogmatic believer or skeptical non-believer, or anything in between.

I noticed one of the reviewers out on Amazon recommended another, considerably more well-documented book on the same topic called "On the Reliability of the Old Testament" by Dr. K.A. Kitchen, an ancient historian and Egyptologist at the University of Liverpool - which apparently is much more rigorous and balanced in its evidence and research than "Unearthing the Bible" is.

It’s just too easy to merely read a book, consider yourself an expert on the topic, and then make bold and arrogant assertions without backing them up with legitimate evidence, which is apparently what Silberman and Finkelstein do.

I’m truly OPEN to the evidence, which ever way it leans – the objective truth being the only thing that ultimately matters - but not to poorly-supported assertions, which even many of the so-called “experts” are given to if they want to come to a given conclusion bad enough, or sell enough books.

Anonymous said...

Another book you might consider adding to your reading list, Leonardo, is "The Pagan Christ" by Tom Harpur.
Harpur is an Episcoplian priest or the Canadian equivalent anyway.

Lochinvar

Bamboo_bends said...

Michael Servetus' Ghost said...

Nice try Mr. Bends. You're not so subtle attempt at converting us all to Culvertnism has been noted.

However, we are not so easily Bamboo-zeled here! :)


Michael, Michael, you are obviously upset by that unsanctioned incident in Geneva all those years ago. HQ did not sanction the deacons to do that to you.

Have you examined yourself for the root of bitterness!

Sincerely,

Babbu Bamboo Booze-alot

Anonymous said...

"I've just come to understand the need for sound evidence in arriving at various conclusions in my life..."


Which is great...but where do you draw the line? Will you also demand evidence that leprechauns DON'T exist before you stop believing in them? And if you don't believe in them, how did you come to the conclusion that they don't exist without examining "documented EVIDENCE or reliable SOURCES?" A


Paul Ray

Dennis said...

I've probably mentioned this along the way, but one of my finest days spent in Megiddo at the dig was at a picnic table alone with Israel Finkelstein where he discussed the inflated pedigree of Israel as presented in the OT.

He is probably one of the most intelligent and honest archaeologists I have ever read or met. His description of 2+ million people standing, starting, marching and trying to stop all at once is hilarious.

He was perplexed at that time that no one seems to have dropped a pot along the way in the 40 year trek to walk a 9 day journey from Egypt to Israel.

Anonymous said...

I reel at the willingness of so many to simply dismiss the Hebrew Torah, out of hand, on the authority of a few Jewish skeptics. Torah is no collection of simple documents; it is a work of unparalleled genius.

Of course, there are many disciplines that require high intelligence and application, and failing to comprehend them is no condemnation of the disciplines. Ahem!

It won't do at all to write off the 12 tribes and Levi, the priestly tribe. Levi did receive a tithe of the livestock and produce of ancient Israel -- but it was and is a land-based requirement, not applicable outside the Land of Israel or in the absence of a functioning priesthood.

I think most of us know that the Armstrong mandate requiring members of his church to send him 10 percent of their gross incomes was an extrapolation, still advanced by Christian leaders all over the place. Earnest Martin's assertion that tithing is sinful, based on some Rabbi's statement, would only be true if Rabbis -- or even Levites and priests -- tried to require 10 percent of their congregants' incomes. There is no sin in following Jacob's example by giving up to a tenth, or even more, to charity, even if the charities were connected to synagogues. The hypothetical sin could only derive from misapplication of Torah, and there is no sin in volunteering a tenth after Jacob's example.

As for 2nd and 3rd tithes, they're there too, a valid and important part of Torah, and also wrongly taught by HWA. The concepts are OK, but he grossly distorted them, not understanding their application. For one poignant example, the holiness of livestock was transferable to money to facilitate travel to Jerusalem for Succot (Booths). Once in Jerusalem, the money had to be transferred back into livestock for feasting. 2nd tithe was for feasting in Jerusalem.

In the 3rd and 6th years of each 7 year cycle, the 2nd tithe was diverted to orphans, Levites, widows, and it was called 3rd tithe. But one still made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, paying for the trip from one's largesse, as always. The holiness transferred into cash for journeying was not convertible into food and lodging along the way, but only worked between 2nd tithe livestock and cash, and back again into livestock once one arrived in Jerusalem.

The holiness of 1st tithe was not transferable into money; the livestock and produce were given by landed Israelites, as they saw fit, to local Levites and priests for their upkeep. There was no central clearing house from which 1st tithes were distributed. How would all that livestock and produce find its way to Jerusalem and back again -- since its holiness was not transferable into money?

On the other hand, in terms of American law, Armstrong had a right to extrapolate from the ancient process to suit the needs of his church as he saw fit. He had no right to clandestinely misapply Scripture, but I'm quite sure he was unaware of his error.

Churches have dealt in distortions and creative reassignments of pagan practices -- Christmas, Easter, Assumption of Mary, Trinity, ad inf. -- so long as there have been churches. And their membership continue to hold them in the highest esteem. It's quite a wearying mystery.

People would be far better equipped to properly judge Scripture, its claims and teachings, if they had been given a properly derived bundle of truth from day one.

Anonymous said...

Bamboo_bends said...

I noticed the horn of plenty in the illustration was more a galvinized culvert of plenty than an horn of plenty. The horn being a illusion created as the culvert goes off into the distance.



Bamboozler,

Look again.

That is neither a "horny of plenty" nor a "culvert" in the picture.

It is obviously a giant, flexible, vacuum cleaner hose. It is sucking away all that guys wealth-- including his garden vegetables--off to some far away cult headquarters.

It is impossible to tell exactly where the plunder all goes. Perhaps at the sucking end the take could be distributed to the 300 or more different splinters, slivers, and thorns in the butt.

Seeker said...

I have seen Finkelstein on a number of interviews and I have not been impressed. It is my own opinion, but it seems that anything that might disprove the Bible he supports and anything that might support the Bible he calls a fake or tries to dismiss or ridicule it.
No help on the tithe changing from one tithe before the Pharisees to three after they came to power?? Can anyone give information on this...I ask again. Thanks

Mel said...

Ah, tithing...
It was herbie's favorite song.

And IMO, there's a better way to be.
Careful, there's a bad word in that second one!(hint: it starts with "cluster")

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:47 -

You're right! He was distracted by trying to push his money into the smaller wallet his wife was goaded into buying him as a Feast present!

As for distributing wealth to the splinters, HWA has me well trained. I can live with not sending money to the WCG now, but I'm deathly afraid of sending any money to a splinter, because it may be the wrong one!

As an aside -- I remember discussing the cleanliness or otherwise of fried rice in a Chinese restaurant with a church member. He then started talking about tit-hees (tithes). When I first read a story on the wealth returned from tithing, I didn't know how the word was pronounced either.

Anonymous said...

"It’s just too easy to merely read a book, consider yourself an expert on the topic, and then make bold and arrogant assertions without backing them up with legitimate evidence, which is apparently what Silberman and Finkelstein do."

At least read the books before you make this kind of judgement.

Much of the worst Biblical Scholarship in the world comes out of the United States. Scholars in the America refuse to follow the evidence; they are forced by cultural pressures to make history fit the Bible and that is how they write.

The reviews you read are from this crowd. They want to stop you from reading such books and from discussing them. They have apparently succeeded once again.

Many in Israel accept the well documented archeological evidence presented by Finkelstein and Silberman.

Anonymous said...

"Harpur is an Episcoplian priest or the Canadian equivalent anyway."

Anglican. Not Episcopalian. And I believe they have subsequently removed his license, because of his "heresy". (How very Christian. I say that without irony.)

You can also watch The Pagan Christ (the documentary of the book) online.

Gavin said...

A note to the "Anonymous" who submitted an entire article from New Horizons as a comment. Please just send a link and a brief cover note.

Michael Servetus said...

Mr Bends said:

"Michael, Michael, you are obviously upset by that unsanctioned incident in Geneva all those years ago. HQ did not sanction the deacons to do that to you.

Have you examined yourself for the root of bitterness!"

I'm sorry. I know I am bitter. Actually I'm crisp. It burns me up to just think about it. But not to worry. I am here in Heaven and have spent centuries inquiring about Mr. C, but no one seems to have heard of him. :)

Oh, BTW...Jesus loves Finkelstein's book! He keeps telling God..."See, I told ya they'd figure the Exodus thing out."

On another note and concerning why tithing provokes so many responses.

Money is energy. The WCG and all churches demanded lots of your life energy in many ways and pooped out people talk more about it.

Well gotta go. Garner Ted and I are going to dinner after God's daily lecture series on "I Was Only Kidding When I said...." We met at the spa. I really like that guy.

Oh wait..he wants to say hi.

"And Greetings Friends around the world!"

Ok, ok...we gotta go. He's laughing. He says that a lot!

Leonardo said...

Paul Ray wrote:
"...where do you draw the line? Will you also demand evidence that leprechauns DON'T exist before you stop believing in them?"


Paul, you can't "prove" a negative. The burden of proof is always on the person making a particular claim to provide positive evidence, not on someone who denies the claim.

If I say "God exists" - then I have the responsibility to provide evidence or rationale for such a claim. Those who deny God's existence have no such burden - they simply do not believe because of lack of evidence.

Believers who arrogantly demand "Well, prove to me that God DOESN'T exist!" are incredibly foolish, and fail to realize that there simply isn't enough time to refute every single truth claim made by humans. It's up to those making the claims to offer legitimate evidence.

The same with leprechauns, by the way, or any other claim asserted as true.

This is one of my biggest complaints with Christian apologists these days - they make various claims, or rather promote those of past generations - and then fail to adequately make their case.

But then often the skeptics are equally incompetent at establishing their counter-claims (such as Silberman and Finkelstein, apparently, though to be fair, I have not read their work because my reading list is incredibly long enough as it is already).

I think this is at least one reason why there are so many "unbelievers" - because believers have failed miserably in proving the case for their beliefs in any cogent, intelligible way that provides actual evidence.

And even then, such evidence can be interpreted in different ways, much as the case is here for the historical reliabilty of the Old Testament.

Anonymous said...

It matters not one whit what the Bible says or does not say about any topic. It is just as much human opinions about how it all is as any other book.

God did not write it. Gods don't need to write books. If they are real, they can conduct seminars, live and in person.

Stay home from church...save ten percent.

Anonymous said...

Here is a current article that shows the lack of religious tolerance here in the United States.

This kind of pressure is not just in the military. It pervades our society, including Biblical Scholarship...

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D95CN0T80&show_article=1

"TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An atheist soldier suing over prayers at military formations claims a larger pattern of religious discrimination exists in the military, citing attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and an evangelical bias in a suicide prevention manual.

The expanded lawsuit filed Monday by Spc. Dustin Chalker and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in U.S. District Court in Kansas City also claims the military doesn't take complaints of religious discrimination seriously enough."

Bamboo_bends said...

Anonymous said...
Bamboozler,

Look again.

That is neither a "horny of plenty" nor a "culvert" in the picture.

It is obviously a giant, flexible, vacuum cleaner hose. It is sucking away all that guys wealth-- including his garden vegetables--off to some far away cult headquarters.



Could it be brethren? A revelation has been given to us by Brother Anon? We now know where the other sock goes!

Ross Perot warned us about a giant sucking noise! And that crazy aunt in the basement.....just how did he know about her?

lnrd said...

a new take on tithe,

one ministers view!

Anonymous said...

That is neither a "horn of plenty" nor a "culvert" in the picture.

It is obviously a giant, flexible, vacuum cleaner hose. It is sucking away all that guy's wealth--including his garden vegetables--off to some far away cult headquarters.



TITHING to the WCG and/or one or more of its many splinter groups has always been a VERY RISKY thing to do.

Consider, for example, those who supported Joseph Tkach in the Worldwild Cult as he cleverly changed all the church's teachings to reject what the Bible says on so many issues. What a horrible thing to have done, to have financially helped such an apostate!

Consider also the people who spent good money to feed the bad politicians in the United Cult. These politicians helped Joseph Tkach to change most of the WCG's teachings, and then went off to start another church that agreed with most of the changes that Tkach made in the WCG, but so far has not yet endorsed all the changes that he made. What an inefficient waste of money it is to feed such politicians.

Consider, for another example, the thousands of fools who rushed in to support Gerald Flurry's cult, called the Philadelphia Cult. They thought they were holding fast to the truth when in fact they were falling for outrageous new lies. Now, the aforementioned fools are GUILTY of having supported a complete fraud that was built on deliberate lies. This burden of GUILT is even worse than the burden of sending away the money was.

What about those who supported the relatively small, unknown false prophets and kooks? What a shameful, embarrassing thing that will prove to be.

If there are now over 300 splinter goofs, or maybe even more than twice that number, one's chance of supporting the one true splinter group is reduced greatly.

When trying to support these characters with real money, "the odds don't ride with you." It is risky business that inevitably leads to great losses.

Mel said...

Re: the Horn of Plenty image-

I thought it seemed rather long, although it didn't remind me of a vacuum cleaner hose or a culvert.

It reminded me of a leech- one about to attach itself to the guy's leg.

Does the Horn of Plenty really have pagan origins, as someone mentioned?
Dang, and I thought Thanksgiving was the one safe "worldly" holiday.

I might as well just celebrate New Years! I watched a program tonight in which Snoopy, Woodstock(s), Peppermint Patty and friends engaged in such pagan debauchery as dancing and playing musical chairs during at a New Year's party.

Ha!
***********************
Here's wishing a very happy and healthy New Year to all!
***********************

Anonymous said...

Mel -

It reminded me of something from a 50s science fiction movie, or Star Trek original series.

But speaking of parasites, while the leech is a bloodsucker, I have a gut feeling it's a tapeworm.

Anonymous said...

There is a useful approach to 'tithing' promoted by CGOM in New Horizons magazine. Access it at

http://www.cgom.org/Publications/Articles/ShouldAChristianTithe.pdf

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'll get it right this time!

Tithe article from CGOM:

http://www.cgom.org/Publications/Articles/ShouldAChristianTithe.pdf

Anonymous said...

There is a useful approach to 'tithing' promoted by CGOM in New Horus Suns magazine. Access it at

MyGodDon'tNeedMoneyNoHow.con.doh.no.calm

Bamboo_bends said...

"Thanksgiving as a Safe Pagan Holiday"

I remember my surprise at the looks I got from English WCGers for celebrating mother's day.

If anything would seem to be scriptural it'd have to be honoring your mother right?

I was told in England it had some druid origin of some sort. I pictured ancient people traversing in the light of the moon in white robes to stone megaliths for the latest in Hallmark Cards.

Or perhaps it was something obscure and dangerous like Morris dancers, which always reminded me of what people do when they suddenly find out there are mice around their feet.

So they had different rules. Different truth revealed for the first time in 1900 years. But it was different from my truth. And I looked the fool for not measuring up to "God's standard'.

Some places on this globe even tithed on the net income AFTER TAXATION.

Which seemed fair to me, its not like what the government stole was ever "YOURS" to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Anon said There is a useful approach to 'tithing' promoted by CGOM in New Horizons magazine. Access it at

http://www.cgom.org/Publications/Articles/ShouldAChristianTithe.pdf

Wed Dec 31, 10:25:00 PM NZDT I had a read, sounded balanced but there seems to be mixed signals there. Next article was "the blessings of tithing" care to coment

Anonymous said...

Purple Hymnal said...

You can also watch The Pagan Christ (the documentary of the book) online.



Purple Haze,

Thanks for pointing out yet again that the Catholics and Protestants worship a false Christ, a pagan Christ. They do not worship the true Christ of the Bible. They do not observe His weekly Sabbaths or annual festivals. Instead, they observe pagan-based customs like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Sunday church services, etc.

But then, Herbert Armstrong knew and taught all that.

Now, how is it that you claim to have gone to the WCG in the past, and yet you do not seem to have understood anything that was taught or its significance? Did you not "get it"? Are you still lost in a fog?

Or, did you mean to say that you attended the WCG under the reign of Joseph Tkach, who no longer taught the truth after HWA's death? If so, go back and learn the facts. Then, say goodbye to the purple haze.

Pagan Origin of Catholic Teachings

Infinite said...

Geez, with the False Profit of the CGoM blathering all over the place here, this comments thread is beginning to resemble a copy of Connections.

Anonymous said...

Wed Dec 31, 10:25:00 PM NZDT I had a read, sounded balanced but there seems to be mixed signals there. Next article was "the blessings of tithing" care to coment.

It's good to see an openess to variant ideas in the same group! You don't see that much in the COGs.

Anonymous said...

Just watched Dave's, umm, broadcast. Tithing is a sign of the true church.

Only 1TO mentioned, maybe 2T and 3T are a little overwhelming early in the game. The windows of heaven open? Cool! Tithing is a Hebrew word? I thought it was Middle English. Well, I'm not an Apostle.