Tuesday, 5 May 2009

UCG - in transition?

A thoughtful commentary on the changed composition of the Council of Elders comes in private correspondence from someone who is closer to both the personalities and the issues than most of us. The points made:

(1) The new board members are fairly "free thinkers" in the UCG context.

(2) For the first time younger individuals are in the majority on the council. While this won't mean a change in doctrine, it could well mean changes in policies and administration.

(3) Many of these individuals lean towards greater accountability in United's operations.

(4) Many of these individuals want to see a change in the way the ministry treat the members (including supporting the right of members to express themselves freely.)

(5) Many of these individuals want to see the lack of unity that exists among the ministry addressed.

(6) Most of these observations can be documented from their bios which were issued prior to voting.

Putting aside cynicism, this sounds like a positive step as UCG appears to move closer to the principles which it started out with. The precedent here may be unparalleled in the Church of God tradition - excluding the exemplary record of the Church of God (Seventh Day) - and is a forceful reminder that the Tkach WCG/GCI continues to lag far behind its biggest splinter in establishing mechanisms for accountable governance. The real litmus test may be whether rapprochement will eventually be possible with some of the congregations (one thinks immediately of COG-Big Sandy) that left UCG under previous administrations.

60 comments:

Lyle said...

So let me get this straight. It is a panel of men who openly admit that they are mere men and that their decisions are not inspired, who make administrative decisions for the "One True Church"? I am sure that they pray that God would guide their decisions, but the evidence on the ground forces them to acknowledge a more modest reality. In the end it becomes (or always has been) a religion of man's making.

I am reminded of the ministers who would pray to God that the hot dog they just bought from the concession stand was not unclean, right before taking a bite.

Hypatia's Husband said...

If a church doesn't understand Church History.

If a church doesn't understand the politics of the OT and NT...

If a church doesn't understand the origin of the texts...

If a church won't admit to errancy in the scriptures...

If a church tries to hard to mix true science with Bible stories...

If there is no understanding of Gospel origins and conflict...

If there is no seeing the evolution of the concept of Gods and polytheism to One God and monotheism in scripture...

If they neither understand intercalation or midrash...

If they don't know the origins of the creation stories or the Noahian Flood story.

If archaeology and the realities of ancient history recorded fly in the face of the OT literalisms.

If they really don't understand their own lynchpin of understanding, the Book of Revelation, it's intent, origins and symbolism...

If they don't understand or change anything when they suspect they do....

Does it really matter who is on the Board?

Sue said...

Having been in UCG (my husband was a UCG elder--we're now independent) I do agree that the 2 men who replaced the 2 standing COE members are indeed younger and more "free thinkering". And I can say I sincerely hope that the necessary changes needed in UCG can take place.

About the part about younger men...I am not sure who the youngest member would now be, but the majority are men in their 60s and 70s. I think maybe 2 or 3 of them are in their 50s...but not early 50s. So they are not all that young. Most are at or above retirement age of 65.

Also, anyone who knows much about Boards knows that a Board should be diverse. Take a look at the pic of the COE on the UCG web page: http://www.ucg.org/about/councilindex.htm As you will see, not much diversity there. To be truly diverse and for me personally to see any real changes in UCG, I would need to see lay members and even (don't faint) women on the Board. I do know that even some on the COE agree with that.

Educationally, it is still difficult to get on the COE if you are not an AC grad...however, I beleive there is only one on there who is not an AC grad. If I am wrong about that I am sure someone will correct me. Again, not much diversity there.

International areas should be represented by truly International folks. One of the International folks is truly International ...Bill Eddington. Paul Kieffer comes close, since he has actually lived in Germany for many years. But even so, they are all older, white, AC educated males. Where are the Hispanic, African American (from actual international areas) faces? Some of the ones up for election are about as International as I am.

A little baby step in the right direction...but will it be enough for even a second baby step to be taken?

We will see.

Not much chance for those who are out of it to want to come back...I am sure including COG Big Sandy. There would have to be some really giant steps taken for that to happen.

My 2 cents worth.

Sue

Russell Miller said...

As I've mentioned on my blog, I'm not entirely sure how this system of governance is compatible with Armstrongism. But if they can pull it off, it's the next step.

Once the people start feeling comfortable asking questions, it's all over.

larry said...

They would probably be welcomed back into the GCI, but I suspect (sadly) that they have burned those bridges. Maybe younger leadership can be a plus here. Oftentimes, pride gets in the way of good decision-making.

Anonymous said...

Transparency and honesty should be the first goal of the UCG administration. The perception of Clyde being sneaky has most of the tithe payers being suspicious of almost any action from home office.

Anonymous said...

Clyde Kilough is one of the most genuine and honorable Church of God ministers I have ever known. Anyone who truly knows him would have to agree that he is an extremely mature, affiable, and kind man. Just ask people in the congregations he has pastored, he genuinely is very highly respected and well liked.

Doug Henry said...

Sue mentions that some of the UCG Council of Elders believe women should serve on that body. That is extremely progressive and bold for a Church of God.

Sue, would you be so bold as to mention their names openely and how you know this?

If what you say is true, it seems dishonorable that it is hidden from people. We always talk about expecting transparency from leadership of the COG's . . . so we should apply transparency to any leader and their view that may be controversial.

Anonymous said...

Who were displaced by the newly elected ones?

Anonymous said...

Let's hope there is rapprochement as the alternative is 'reproachment' (sic - but sounds similar). Harmony is always better than rebuke.

Tom Mahon said...

Sue said...

>>My 2 cents worth.<<

Just two cents? But priceless, you may be pleased to learn.

Bamboo_bends said...

The blog said:

(5) Many of these individuals want to see the lack of unity that exists among the ministry addressed. Is their respect and love for fellow ministers so absent that they have to worry about differences of opinions on doctrines? ...and by this you shall know them, those that love one another...In the name of unity, do they really want to constrict the spiritual growth of all to that of the lowest common denominator?

When it comes to spiritual growth, glaciers move faster than that.

My wife pointed out the other day that getting booted out of a church is often a sign of spiritual growth (for the person booted). Smart lady! You can't grow beyond what your church doesn't understand if the fellowship is based on commonality of belief.

Russell Miller said...

Larry, I think the UCG going back into the GCI would be the epitome of *terrible* decision making.

They have something that's doctinally screwy, but they're making more progress towards an open church than Tkach ever did.

Anonymous said...

"They have something that's doctinally screwy, but they're making more progress towards an open church than Tkach ever did."As I've said elsewhere, and repeatedly, I call BS on this. Their sermon archive (particularly the sermons from last year) presents a completely different face of the church, one that is as close to pure Armstrongism, as the church of old used to be.

There is simply no way they can be considered progressive, "new covenant", or in any way headed for change, based on these sermons they are still indoctrinating the sheeple with.

larry said...

Russell, the UCG returning to the GCI would be a sign that it was growing up. Teenagers are often rebellious, but eventually see the error of their ways and have a "rapprochement" with their parents.

Byker Bob said...

It'd just be a gas if they'd dump the British Israel racism, and get to the same places in prophecy with a more Christ-like doctrine. Yes we are Abraham's heirs to all the blessings, but this includes all Christians, not just us Anglo Saxon gentiles. Jesus Christ is a direct descendent of Abraham, and our legacy is through Him. That's how we're the heirs, not through some sort of convoluted physical geneology.

BB

Mark said...

Inspired notes on his sermon:

1) Discipling? His story upfront told everything- make sure that you, as a preacher, feel the person is "ready" to come to church. (cult flag)

2) Everyone gets a second chance. That's what they believe. So, the only reason to evangelize (disciple) is to get money to support their church. But why? retirement packages I guess. If EVERYONE has a chance at salvation after death, then there's no need to try to save their souls.

3) He understands that HWA was all about the marketing. In that light, he said they are no longer a unique voice, but they have a unique package. How do they know this? Because they have been searching the Internet. In the privacy of their homes, they have been researching!

4)Ishtar comments No, they aren't changing doctrines.

5) Clean/unclean meats comments. Not very progressive at all.

6) Many other worldly Christians are incorporating parts of what they teach and are making a profit from the sale of books.

7) He thinks that people are attracted to only parts of their doctrines, but not all. (comment: I don't think they are attracted to any of their doctrines, but other preachers with a more compelling presence have similar teachings. Duh. It's in the Bible. UCG isn't the author of the Bible)

8)They don't do a good job with generational issues.

9) End time warning message. Yep, still a part of their culture. But, they should be nice about it (consider the tone). (reference to Weinland?)

10) "You can get stuck in an old testament mind or get stuck in a book of Revelation mind and forget where God's mind is."
This was the best statement of the entire sermon.

No, same old doctrine, fresh coat of paint. Nothing compelling.

Anonymous said...

The changes that will occur in UCG will ultimately be the opposite of what they think will keep the UCG united. I believe the new "Free Thinking" leaders will attempt to unify the minds of the ministry and that this will cause more splinters in the UCG. The big joke for years is that there is nothing united about United. They are the group that is the furthest from being "like minded" of any of the ex-COGs. UCG enjoys the largest membership because it allows every wind of doctrine to go unchallenged so long as nobody breaks up the social club. The end result is that any attempt to have the ministry become like minded will most likely end horribly for the UCG body. If they want to become like minded, they will have to choose whose mind will be the one they all want to become enlikened to. Doing so suggests that they accept a leader and a governmental structure that promotes this like mindedness. The UCG wont be able to stomach following one man as a leader. If they could, David Hulme would still be UCG's Chairman.

Russell Miller said...

Lary, you've gotta be a troll. No one serious could make that kind of comment with a straight face.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mark Lax. Visit ISA for my own blow-by-blow.

Pity, really, if any of the splinters could make Armstrongism "work" (as wonky as it is), you would think it would be United. Guess the doctrine really is rotten from the inside out. Not like I'm surprised, but the impression I had before listening to Dick's sermon was that UCG was, of all the other splinters, "mostly harmless".

Definitely not the case, if you listen closely and read between the lines.

United Church of God --- Where time stood still, in 1986.

Byker Bob said...

After the brief dissertation on British Israel racism above, I've come up with a few more pointers in congregation building, just in case any of the elders are tuned in here.

Quit putting obstacles in front of people who want to attend. Advertise your address in the Yellow Pages with the other churches. When curious people show up, don't have the gestapo give them the first degree starting in the parking lot, try instead to create an environment so that they feel welcome and actually want to come back, and maybe learn something more. Remember, Jesus and John the Baptist didn't tell people who wanted to be baptized that they had to quit smoking, start tithing, split from second or third marriages, so in maybe six months they could qualify for baptism and the Holy Spirit. They baptized the people the same day so the the Holy Spirit could come into their lives and help them bear fruits.

Drop the dress code. Of course, the congregation should not take advantage of this, but what's wrong with some dude showing up in Levis, a Harley shirt and Tevas? If his attitude is right, why focus on the physical.

Dump the Purple Joykiller. Appoint a worship leader, and have him put together a band with contemporary instruments. Need a clue as to what constitutes inspiring praise music today? Listen to Christian radio, or tune in JCTV. There is some awesome and very inspiring music being produced these days, and the ACOGs are out of the loop on it.

Quit treating Herbert W. Armstrong as if he was equal to the priests, Kings, prophets, or apostles in the Bible. Question his models, his methods, and above all, some of the speculative and extra-Biblical doctrines that are antiquated and obviously not working. Remember, the church started by Jesus Christ is about Jesus and God, not about Herbert W. Armstrong.

Get accountable! Have a third party evaluate your finances to ensure that everything is within typical accounting guidelines for a modern religious organization, so that you can make a case for broadcasting on TBN. That's where the greatest harvest is happening today! With the Messianics and the Prophecy related teachers, believe me, your message might fit in better than you could possibly imagine.

Learn to preach in love, and not with an angry, growling tone. Your message gets across much better to a broader cross section of the general public when they know that you are preaching out of love, rather than from a position of Pharisaic condemnation.

Learn how to deal with dificult personality types, and how to assist in their spiritual development without using the disfellowship tool. Reserve that tool only for sexual predators in the congregation, and other extreme cases.

Get involved with your community. Give back. Help in disaster relief, and do volunteer work. Contribute to charities. Interact, don't cloister yourselves, that just hides your light! Armstrongism has a despicable history of being the most selfish and self-absorbed religious movement in the history of the USA.
Work hard to obliterate that perception.

Those would be my recommendations in a nutshell. I am sure others could add to the list. I must say, though, that I seriously doubt that any ACOG leader, or aspiring leader would be capable of acting in this fashion. You'd probably actually need God's guidance to behave in such a converted and Christlike way.

BB

Anonymous said...

Byker Bob, physical genealogies are anything but convoluted. They're absolute and straightforward. The post-flood genealogies prevail to this day, as do the geanologies of Israel, whether or not we're aware of them. They are patrilineal, and every descendant of Israel carries Jacob's DNA. No other father can crack into the lineage. Inheritance of tribe and land is absolutely patrilineal.

"Neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, male or female" is either a spiritual concept or it makes no sense at all. We all know there are differences between males and females in the real world -- at least I hope we do. And the same is true of Greeks and Jews, bond and free. There is nothing remotely convoluted, inferior, or even superior about the physical lineage of Jacob's descendants. But that family does bear an unalterable calling, which in due time will be fulfilled.

"If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant ... for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them."

This is not to denigrate any other familial line in the human family, as we are all equally children of God, all uniquely chosen, all invaluable and irreplaceable. But the family lines still prevail, and will.

Bamboo_bends said...

Larry said...

Russell, the UCG returning to the GCI would be a sign that it was growing up. Teenagers are often rebellious, but eventually see the error of their ways and have a "rapprochement" with their parents.
If that happened, it'd give credence to the old rumor that the UCG is owned by the WCG and was planned as a holding tank for those "holding to the faith once delivered".

I never gave much attention to that rumor, simply because I don't think the leadership of the WCG is all that smart and WCGEXIT promoted that rumor. Reasons enough for me to discount the idea. As Mark Dixon once said to me, "don't attribute to conspiracy what simple stupidity might just as easily explain". Gotta love Aussie sensibilities.

I see nothing in the WCG/GCI worth returning to. Why swap bad doctrine for bad governance? The WCG is just new doctrines, new name, same old cult bureaucracy. I mean really, going after Monte Wolvertoon's book profits from his father's artwork. How greedy can the WCG get? And Monte considered Joe a friend! Those two grew up together in Imperial and Ambassador.

Did I mention the WCG is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals? One issue voters. Al Capone could promise to outlaw abortion and they'd make him President. They're the same bunch that put GW Bush in power and he bankrupted the country and got us in two wars. What has greed wrought?

Miguel de la Rodente said...

"Byker Bob, physical genealogies are anything but convoluted. They're absolute and straightforward. The post-flood genealogies prevail to this day, as do the geanologies of Israel, whether or not we're aware of them. They are patrilineal, and every descendant of Israel carries Jacob's DNA. No other father can crack into the lineage. Inheritance of tribe and land is absolutely patrilineal."

Alright, you just convinced all of us that you are a Rhodes scholar there, Anonymous. Heh. Problem is, most of us have seen the genetic studies which refute your theories. In case you have not, let me give you the Cliff's Notes. Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews throughout the diaspora exhibit the most striking similarities in dna. That is a no brainer. Some African tribes are related fairly closely to the Jews, as are Armenians, some Ethiopians, and many of the Arab neighbors of Israel. But the genetic similarities to the Anglo Saxons who have been tested are negligible, and presumed due to the occasional "Jew in the woodpile". (very limited intermarriage)

I bet you believe in the scholarly worthiness of "A True History of the True Church", too! Your vaunted scholars apparently even failed to perceive the linguistic subtilties differentiating sabbath keepers from sandal wearers!

Could you share some more of your pearls with us?

Anonymous said...

Miguel de la Rodente, I'm not pushing British Israel. Just using logic and very elementary pre-genetics 101.

Look at the king lists, or the Biblical genealogies. We see patrilineal genealogies throughout the Bible, even in Matthew and Luke. Forget BI.

In the case of Zelophehad, the Menassite who had daughters only, they inherited land on condition that they marry a close relative within their own tribe. Otherwise the inheritance would have defaulted to another tribe, which would have thwarted the tribal land grant. Women married into the tribes of their husbands, and produced children of their husbands' tribes -- like the converts, Rahab and Ruth. Those Africans with the (Y chromosome) Cohen genes quite likely descend from Aaron, which would connect them to the Tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron.

Tribal identity and Israelite inheritance aren't about Jewishness -- which has mainly to do with cultural upbringing, and is matrilineal.

We have promises that all the Israelite tribes will eventually return to their ancestral lands. For this to be possible the family lines must still exist, or there would be no tribes to return. We know they're scattered, but we also know they're concentrated here and there because Jacob implied as much at the beginning of his deathbed blessings.

All the branches of Noah's family listed in Genesis 10 should still exist if they've not died out. If the Biblical record is trustworthy, the ethnicities on earth today find their origins in these early families. Patrilineal lines are a function of Y chromosomes, as I'm sure you know, and cannot be supplanted by other ethnicities.

People naturalize as members of other nations or peoples, as always, by learning new laws and changing or adding allegiances a la the melting pot USA, or the guy in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But once again that's cultural, and doesn't impact tribal identities locked forever within the good old Y chromosomes.

Please correct me if I'm wrong here. Muchas gracias.

-----El Raton Mickey

Time Is Short Church of God said...

Byker Bob said, “Dump the Purple Joykiller. Appoint a worship leader, and have him put together a band with contemporary instruments. Need a clue as to what constitutes inspiring praise music today? Listen to Christian radio, or tune in JCTV. There is some awesome and very inspiring music being produced these days, and the ACOGs are out of the loop on it.”

MY COMMENT – This is so true. My teenage daughter has been listening to Christian Contemporary Music radio lately. The message in the music and the music itself is absolutely inspiring. I keep thinking how this inspiring music would be considered so unacceptable by WCG ministers for the youth who grew-up in the WCG in the 1960s. I particularly like the song we were listening to the other day with the lyrics, “I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul”, which I think is so good musically that it should be on the contemporary Top 40.

The ACOGs are completely clueless on it. The Armstrong’s threw away an entire generation of children which is one of many reasons why the ACOG movement is dying out into obscurity and insignificance. From a business perspective, I found it interesting that the lifetime works of a dead apostle is only worth $3 Million – the price PCG paid the WCG for the copyrights of HWA’s writings – not much when you consider the size of Armstrong’s business empire at its zenith!

Richard

Anonymous said...

I couldn't bite my tongue any longer when Biker Bob wrote "Quit treating Herbert W. Armstrong as if he was equal to the priests, Kings, prophets, or apostles in the Bible". Herbert W. Armstrong was playing EXACTLY the same game as the priests, Kings, prophets and apostles of the bible!

Those in leadership positions in Israel during the bronze age and iron age wrote the bible, edited the bible, amended the bible as needed and preached the bible with one set of goals: to hold power over the people and to get income from the people. It worked well then and it works well now. The bible was used by HWA, and it is still being used by countless others, for the same purpose for which it was originally written.

You guys don't actually still believe that GOD inspired every word of that self-contradictory, science-defying, reality-defying, endlessly edited set of ancient writings, do you?

Mark said...

What I have never understood is how the UCG (and the COGs in general) all insist on Biblical purity and being true to the literal word of God, yet they insist on believing and teaching extra-biblical (dis-proven) theories like British-Israelism. The ONLY reason they could believe BI is because they believe that HWA was divinely inspired when he taught this.

My thinking is that they ONLY reason why people would choose to be a part of these high demand churches is because they believe their version of prophecy. When BI fails, so goes the rest of the distinctive doctrines and so goes the focus on HWA as a prophet.

Jim Butler said...

The six points relayed by Gavin are interesting. It would be great if the individual that gave these points to Gavin felt comfortable making them himself---and elaborating on each point. I understand why he is not. There is still an improper fear. The main reason for this fear, I suppose, is it might be considered offensive, or not acceptable to some in the organization. Some might leave, etc.

Until it can be seen by many in the organization that this is a wrong paradigm, and make the necessary steps, the organization will never be able to be really transparent and the maturity level will remain low.

God wants his Church, collectively (all or most) to grow in maturity. This thinking will prevent that, to a large extent. Why will it prevent maturity? Many, probably most, in any organization conform to the thinking of the organization. If the thinking of the leadership is immature on a foundational aspect of teaching, most in the organization will suffer from the same immature thinking.

This paradigm change would facilitate growth and maturity in so many ways. I hope there is some long thought and discussion on this point. Much, if not most, of the leadership does not consider the current thinking, on this issue, to be immature.

There are a number of reasons why most ministers do not consider this immature thinking. I believe their thinking comes from a true concern for people. But a concern for people based on wrong thinking is not a godly concern. Godly thinking is always, first, true. It is always right, accurate, based in reality.

The teachings of true Christianity (following God and Christ) start with (after, of course, having his spirit) true, mature, godly thinking. If the thinking on a fundamental plank of being a disciple of Christ is flawed, and in this case seriously flawed, this affects virtually all other fundamental planks. One might realistically consider it a heresy.

Perhaps what I'm saying, especially the point about this being a heresy, is considered "way out" by most ministers. Many do not even see a relationship between this issue and "doctrine" and certainly don't see it as a possible heresy. Consider the importance of our minds and our thinking to God and how relevant our growing in maturity of thinking (as opposed to holding the right "doctrines") is to God in his deciding who will be first fruits. Godly thinking is the foundation. True godly hearts and behavior come only after godly thinking. Yes, people are different
in this way. Some are intellect based, some emotion based, some behavior based, if you understand what I'm saying. But all three of these "types" can, for the most part, only grow in
worshipping God with all their heart, mind and soul by growing in mature, godly thinking. Give it some thought.

We live in a politically correct world. There is a lot of hazy, confused thinking, a lot of immature thinking. The Church of God has tended toward simplistic definitions without
elaboration. We must all speak the same thing, government is from the top down, unity, peace in the Church, etc. are defined in simple terms and no deep thought and elaboration of these concepts are forthcoming. God wants maturity and is not interested in superficial peace or a false unity. We have to understand what these concepts really mean before we can
accomplish them.

The six points give hope. Clyde was quoted in the minutes of this last conference: " Our governance structure makes the wheels of innovation and change move slowly, but we cannot delay making some of the difficult decisions on how we implement our education and training programs, and how we prioritize our gospel media efforts."

This is true.

However, a godly governance structure would facilitate quick change. And I'm not talking about "one man rule." Repentance should only come after thought, but
once thought through deeply, with a good deal of wise counsel---repentance should come quickly.

Jim

larry said...

Mark, lots of folks believe in British-Israelism who have never heard of Herbert Armstrong. BI has never been disproved. It is an elegant theory, and you should be aware that most theories that are elegant turn out to be accurate.

It is no longer preached in the GCI, not because it has been disproved or is racist (as some have said). It is neither. It is simply irrelevant to the current mission of the Church.

You are correct in one respect though. Those who joined the WCG or any church for that matter, because of "prophecy" about world or end-time events, did it for the WRONG reasons.

True Christians are and always have been those who were willing to put the wishes of God and the welfare of others ahead of their personal needs and desires. One does not even have to be literate to do this.

James said...

Biker Bob,

The churches that still hold true to Armstrong exist only to worship the man. Herbert is the way to the means of mammon. He is the prostitute that the various COGlets sell to increase their wealth and power over others.

Armstrong is the force. Armstrong is the way. Armstrong is the means of legitimacy for the existence of the cults of god.

The bible was a tool Herb used to expound his authority over others, gain money and amusement to fulfill his narcissistic personality.

In the end, people of the cult fail to realize that Herbert did not give a rats ass about the "brethren" nor their problems. Still yet, some chose to keep a fairy tale faith that continues to harm them week after week, year after year. They embrace Herbert Armstrong as Christ in the flesh. Why do you think the six-pack prophet gets away with calling himself "that prophet?"

It is because people desperately do not want to believe that they have been hoodwinked for decades. They do not want to believe or accept the facts about this man that bear witness against him and his prophetic misgivings.

Anyone who REALLY IS objective can only come to one conclusion. Herbert W. Armstrong was a fake, a charlatan, a narcissist, and worse of all, an incestuous, rotten to the core sob.

So when you COGlet members go to church Saturday, just remember that you are in a Armstrong church to keep the memory of this man alive. Nothing more. You worship this man with all your heart and soul. You love and honor him. Not for having sex with his daughter, (some of you approve his behavior by forgiving this crime) but for the memories and lies he gave you. And know this. If he was alive today, he would have you on your knees for another purpose, for that was the kind of man HWA and GTA were.

James
PT-Editor

BI bye said...

Mark, various sources such as WCG's history of BI in the COG show how BI fit in with Herb's audience. HWA wasn't the first, but his marketing skills were better. And, if independence was his objective (why work for a small salary when you can live on tithes) it was a wedge between him and CG7.

COGs that just repackage BI are just pushing a product that has past its use-by date. Maybe it's time for new truth, brethren!

Byker Bob said...

"The ONLY reason they could believe BI is because they believe that HWA was divinely inspired when he taught this."

So true, Mark. I was thinking more deeply about this last evening.

Herbert W. Armstrong always said "Prove all things!" Yet, you cannot prove British Israelism, and he made it the cornerstone of prophecy. That is not to say that HWA did not try to prove BI. He did. Only he used lying witness to do this, making up ridiculous things such as 'saac's sons, Tuatha del Danaan, and berith-ish, from whole cloth. And even though the stupity of these Hebrew-Ebonics combinations, sound alikes, and witty guesses were pointed out, his followers continued to publish them unashamedly as gospel truth. What are we saying about doctrine if we must use lying witness to prove it, and doesn't that raise questions about the entire body of teachings?

Let's face it, being considered a valid member of one of the lost tribes is an internationally coveted status! Ethnically based heritage societies and associations have dumped untold thousands of dollars into finding the proofs that their particular group has such status. There is only one problem. They wanted to do this though valid research, research which would be universally accepted by academics around the world, and that has seemingly been the elusive part! A British group was one of the first such associations to fund comparisons of alleles soon after the human genome was mapped. That's how we learned that the African Lemba tribe takes some of its roots from the Kohanime (Levites).

So far, no proof positively corellating the lost ten tribes with modern nations of today has been uncovered. We do have Biblical and historic evidence that many of these people were returned to their homelands at the end of the Babylonian captivity. Some evacuated to Judah prior to the captivity, and others were assimilated into the tribe of Judah
following captivity.

The only evidence the ACOGs have supporting the theories in USBCIP is that "God's Apostle said it was so." Yet they teach this as fact, and base their entire existence upon it. It's just another tool in their arsenal of manipulative leverage.

There is also no way to link the Germans with the Assyrians. If the Islamification of Europe and the immigration patterns between the Arab countries and Europe continue, that may raise some interesting possibilities decades in the future, but for now, the telltale genetic similarities between the Jewish people, and the general populace of Western Europe and the USA are simply not there. England and the US have always been melting pots, which anyone can prove with a minimum of independent study.

BB

BI bye, bye said...

...it (BI) is an elegant theory...
Larry, by "elegant theory", do you mean simple, clear and clever? Does BI actually fit this definition? As far as disproof, what about the genetic evidence?

...most theories that are elegant turn out to be accurate.You opened a can of worms with that gem.

Tom Mahon said...

James
PT-Editor

Gavin, James signed off PT editor, which is a little puzzling to me. Does PT stand for Plain Truth? If is does, which church still publish the PT?

Tkach's $wiss Banker said...

If the Anglo-Israel Theory is so crash hot, then why does the UCG have it near the bottom of their booklet list ?

Fact is the tithe-raking millionaire leaders of the UCG-Cult don't believe this nonsense - they only continue with it to prevent offending their best tithers (the old geriatric dumbasses that populate their boring meetings)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "You guys don't actually still believe that GOD inspired every word of that self-contradictory, science-defying, reality-defying, endlessly edited set of ancient writings, do you?"YES WE DO! and nothing your scoffing says will change that. Sorry, but you and your father don't have power over our minds anymore. We have absolute faith that God will do everything he said he would.

Mark said...

"Mark, lots of folks believe in British-Israelism who have never heard of Herbert Armstrong. BI has never been disproved."

Lots of folks also believe that 9/11 was an FBI conspiracy. As for it not being disproved, that's just plain not true. It is about as biblically accurate as the Da Vinci Code.

Adherents to BI have absolutely no credibility on anything else.

Mark said...

"Herbert W. Armstrong always said "Prove all things!" Yet, you cannot prove British Israelism, and he made it the cornerstone of prophecy. That is not to say that HWA did not try to prove BI. He did. Only he used lying witness to do this, making up ridiculous things such as 'saac's sons, Tuatha del Danaan, and berith-ish, from whole cloth. And even though the stupity of these Hebrew-Ebonics combinations, sound alikes, and witty guesses were pointed out, his followers continued to publish them unashamedly as gospel truth.

And let's not forget that HWA clearly and irrefutably copied most of his "inspired" work from some book he read in the Eugene, OR public library. Why plagiarize? Because it isn't inspired and he just thought he could sell it. After all, he WAS a failed salesman, looking for something else to sell. He has a lot of ego problems.

Bye bye BI said...

thought he could sell itMark, I sometimes hypothesize on minutiae like that. It's interesting that Herb kept his correspondence from the early days, to be used later by the Tkatch WCG to dismiss BI. If the bookseller who handled JH Allen and other such authors had published Herb's rewrite, what would have happened...?

And the rest of the lost tribes were found by Herman Hoeh. He was told to write up an article placing the non-Josephites throughout Europe. And despite Hoeh hanging on to the new WCG, the splinters still follow his writings as well as Herb's works.

Miguel de la Rodente said...

Tom Mahon,

Do you really not know that to most of us the "PT" is the Painful Truth website at www.hwarmstrong.com?

You should check it out. The site is a very valuable resource, where the many evils of Armstrongism are catalogued, exposed, and discussed.

James is the new editor, and is doing an excellent job.

Anonymous said...

"If the Anglo-Israel Theory is so crash hot, then why does the UCG have it near the bottom of their booklet list ?"

It's on the front page of the Canadian UCG site, and is the first book they recommend. Has been for years.

Anonymous said...

UCG - in transition?Nah, those lying politicians are just on their way to fry in the trib.

Mel said...

BI is an "elegant" theory ?!?!?

Well, maybe if pounding a square peg through a round hole is considered "elegant".
But really, I doubt that the word "elegant" has come to have a new meaning lately.

For describing BI, I could go with "fantastical".
Yeah, that's the ticket.
But, no one's gonna say that most "fantastical" theories turn out to be true.

Oh, never mind. I give up!
BI must be elegant!
Anything bookletized by GOD'S TRUE HERBIE must be "elegant", since God gives only the very finest and most elegant things unto HIS VERY ELECT.

Sometimes, when things get confusing and I'm feeling down, I just lay back and bask in the wonderfulness of UNDERSTANDING that God has blessed me with His TRUTH, as revealed by the ONE TRUE HERBIE.
Ahhhhhhh! Feels good to get myself back on track.

larry said...

Elegant in this case means...beauty that inspires admiration.

Like it or not, British-Israelism is a theory that is relatively simple, but solves a lot of mysteries and answers a lot of questions that would otherwise remain unsolved and unanswered. Genetic "evidence" has not confirmed it, but has not disproved it either.

I get the distinct impression that the major opposition to "BI" on this board is because HWA made it a centerpiece of his preaching (although he didn't "invent" it) and Gerald Waterhouse certainly did. Therefore, in any attempt to discredit Herbert Armstrong, BI is an "easy target" so to speak.

I guess it doesn't bother anyone that BI makes a great deal of sense from a historical, geopolitical, and Biblical prophecy standpoint. Even many Jews believe it. But, we can't have that, can we?

Tom Mahon said...

Miguel de la Rodente said...

>>Do you really not know that to most of us the "PT" is the Painful Truth website at www.hwarmstrong.com?<<

Thanks for the info. I just wanted to set James' comments within the culture of the organisation or media he represents, as I had never heard of him.

I will check out the site and reply to his unsubstantiated allegations.

Byker Bob said...

Larry, we have to remember that during the era when Herbert W. Armstrong was writing advertising copy, it was not uncommon for there to be ads in magazines stating "9 out of 10 doctors who smoke prefer Chesterfields"

If you claim to be speaking for God, while preaching the gospel or prophesying, it is important to keep things real. When you use unprovable theories or shoddy research as an integral part of such a message, you not only discredit the message, you also cause people who know better to mock.

I'm just so thankful to have had these lying false witnesses as an example. That background has helped me to find and appreciate a church where the ministry and members do strive to keep things real.

One of the things which I found particularly reprehensible while I was a student at AC was that the majority of the students gradually subverted their own natural personalities and adopted a super plastic fake personality, now known as the "Universal Ambassador Personality", or UAP for short. It was instantly recognizeable. You'd see it every sabbath, as all the ministers who had attended AC had it.

BB

Russell Miller said...

"I will check out the site and reply to his unsubstantiated allegations."

Don't bother. they're substantiated. And if you claim they're not, you are a liar.

Anonymous said...

Just rereading Gavin's post again. In light of Bob Dick's "Time stood still in 1985" sermon from May 2, does anyone have access to these bios in question? Would be interesting to read them to see if they stack up to "the source" and its unfounded rumours, or if it turns out to be so much smoke and mirrors, designed to get people to pay attention to the UCG, the way its rumours about Dick's sermon did.

That said, drawing attention to UCG seems to have an entirely unintended effect: It's made people realize how much United really hasn't changed, and is never going to change, no matter what rumours exist.

A look at the bios though, to prove the allegations of the source, would be interesting. Especially in light of how far off the mark the source was, in re: Dick's sermon.

Gavin said...

Yeah, well, but...

People usually inch toward changed positions rather than leapfrog. Change in UCG is building a head of stream, from what I can gather, but it might not take the direction you or I would predict. Quite minor changes from an outsider's perspective can be a huge deal from an insider's view. I was skeptical about claims on some other blogs that it might all lead to a schism with tears before bedtime, but now I'm not so sure.

Anonymous said...

"Quite minor changes from an outsider's perspective can be a huge deal from an insider's view."

That's just the thing, though; listening to Dick's sermon, and reading through the sermon archives, and looking at the church literature, UCG is exactly the church I remember; in other words, they haven't changed at all.

They have long been viewed by many in the ex-member community as mostly harmless, and I believe this latest "rumour source" has been actively trying to promote that view amongst ex-members and on various blogs and forums.

(You will note that, since all of this hit the fan, the one publicly-posting UCG member has now completely disappeared from the ex-Church of God blogosphere.)

If UCG really was having a 1993 moment, you would start seeing reissued church literature with revamped doctrinal concepts they don't really understand themselves; there would be an influx of United members onto the blogs and the Internet, trying to find out what's happening, inside an impregnable leadership; and there would be many more "wars and rumours of wars" that would make it to light.

Instead we get a long and jovial screed from Bob Dick about how good it was in the old Ambassador days of field ministry, and joking about how professing Christians are taking up with Adventist and Jewish doctrines The One True Church had first.

I agree with you, minor changes which seem like no big deal are and have been catastrophic, to those on the inside (I remember the 1990 - 1996 period in the church all too clearly, thank you.), but it is my opinion that none of these changes, nor changes even remotely similar to what the Tkaches enacted in the 1990s, is happening here.

United is, in my opinion, not changing or changed at all, in the slightest, from the church exactly as I remember it.

Anonymous said...

Aggie, I listened to Bob Dick's sermon and from what I've come to learn about United's "new guys" on the block, I'd say he was choosing his words with extreme caution and care. He's from the old guard and has been replaced. And, from what I've heard, the new guys want to return to television at the tune of ~million plus dollars per program, and they are willing to do anything to get their way...even, believe it or not, hang the full time ministry out to dry. Can you say "ruthless?" Hmmm, doesn't sound like an "ethical" approach to me...how is this type of behavior going to "build unity" amongst the ministry? Guess it will be easy if there aren't any ministers to have to be unified with!!? Another observation: why is there a secret underground Elder's Forum by invitation only, if the new guys want transparency?

Now that the balance of power on the Council has shifted there is no stopping these men from making whatever changes are necessary to fund their dream of TV. Why do you think Mr. Dick spent so much time illustrating the sheer numbers of religious programing on TV today?...United would be a very small fish in a huge ocean. Think about it, why is there now, in United, discussion about more responsibility being given to the brethren and diminishing the role of the pastor/shepherd? Does anyone really believe this model of governing is better? Could it be because it frees up minister's incomes for use elsewhere...TV programing? So, it's hello congregationalism...bye bye minister, and, hello local elders and deacons to run the show...all this to attempt to preach the gospel on Television?! Television? From the research I've read religious television is dead!!!

Anonymous said...

"Another observation: why is there a secret underground Elder's Forum by invitation only, if the new guys want transparency?"Whaaaaat?! I thought people were being facetious about that!! Anonymous, if you've got some kind of inside scoop on that, do tell!!

"Television? From the research I've read religious television is dead!!!"The fact that they want to spend over a million bucks on Beyond Today pretty much screams of hard-line Armstrongism --- I remember several coworker letters begging us to fund "Preaching the Gospel of Christ to all the world through the telecast".

I'm telling you, nothing has changed. That single, small part of the parallel Armstrongist universe, still exists --- in the United Church of God.

And the ministry shenanigans you speak of?? Were 100% par for the course, back in the day. Why do you think ministers got bumped around as much as they did? Politics. Every congregation was rife with it.

Changes in United? Only if they start bleating about the trinity, get rid of the food laws, and eradicate the British-Israelism. And, no matter how "liberal" they may claim to be, there's no way on earth (this one, at any rate) they're going to do any of that.....Unless, by some freak of chance, Kilough hands over the reins to a Tkach-wannabe.

But, yeah, if United does split --- that's going to be the last major splinter group of the church, down the tubes. Which means the footprint of Armstrongism on the world will be even smaller than it is now. That is definitely something to hope for, in my opinion.

Once United goes bust, it's all downhill from there, for the Churches of God movement. They may have lasted for three-quarters of a century (and no kingdom yet), but there's no way they will be celebrating a centennial. Not in this timeline, at any rate.

SKMarin said...

I was finally able to find Mr. Dick's sermon on-line. After listening, it seems tha UCG fears its message is drowning in all the religious babble, when in actuality, it is going down for the third time with its dying breath.

Changing the tone of the message will not help--the message is wrong.

If you type in search terms like: man of perdition, daniel and revelation, essential endtime man or typological exegesis, links associated with http://www.portaustinbiblecenter.com/links.html appear on the first page of google results--sometimes the first ten search returns contain multiple entries from PABC's associated sites. UCG, PCG, WCG, biblestudy.org are pages back.

Typological exegesis, the supposed bailiwick of religious greats like Jonathon Edwards, Samuel Mather and John Calvin, have lost the limelight to Homer Kizer.

Why?

Anonymous said...

"Typological exegesis, the supposed bailiwick of religious greats like Jonathon Edwards, Samuel Mather and John Calvin, have lost the limelight to Homer Kizer.

Why?"

Because Homer Kizer, a former member of the church, has his own Bible Correspondence Course, that seeks to piggyback on the (worst) tenets of religious Gnosticism, with a really blurry, syncretic Armstrongism that makes my eyes ache to read.....And, oh yeah, he "ordains" every lowly church member who ponies up the tithes, so any CoG member who's been in long enough, but who hasn't made it up the ranks in the lay-ministry, can get in on the ground floor with Kaiser.

Er, I mean *Kizer*. Yeah, that's it. ;-)

Questeruk said...

Purple Hymnal said...

“United is, in my opinion, not changing or changed at all, in the slightest, from the church exactly as I remember it.”

Actually Aggie, UCG is a lot different animal to WCG of the 1980’s.

Particularly the emphasis has shifted on to individuals having personal responsibility to think for themselves in what they believe, and not be looking for the church to do their thinking for them.

Obviously guidance is available, but every individual needs to believe what they believe because they believe it, not because someone tells them to believe it, which was the flavour of the 80’s.

(Incidentally, who is the one publicly-posting UCG member who has now completely disappeared from the ex-Church of God blogosphere? I hadn’t noticed anyone missing recently.)

SKMarin said...

Dear Purple Hymnal,

I don't know where you get your information re: Kizer.

He has never ordained anyone and doesn't ask for tithes.

Mel said...

Questeruk,

FWIW, I've seen many cults use the "personal responsibility to think for themselves" thingy, while actually it's a way of the cult further getting their claws into members and making them THINK they are "thinking for themselves", and the members believe they are so 'free', yet are simply buying into manipulative rhetoric, while they become less free than before.

Anonymous said...

"Dear Purple Hymnal,

I don't know where you get your information re: Kizer."

Here.

SKMarin said...

Dear Purple Hymnal,

You are sadly mistaken if you think that Homer Kizer, http://homerkizer.org and Dr. Keizer from http://www.hometemple.org/ are one and the same. You should really get your facts straight before you malign others.