Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Journal - UCG, McDonnell & Jutsum

Dixon Cartwright has released the latest issue of The Journal, one that is sure to have high interest value for members and friends of the UCG, with major items and a comprehensive interview following recent developments at the elders' conference. For those who belong to one of the major derivative groups from WCG/GCI, the existence of an independent, objective and professional news source such as this is a huge asset, and hopefully one they avail themselves of.

Two other items particularly caught my eye. One is an essay by Dianne McDonnell, reacting to an earlier article by Sheila Graham. Mrs Graham is a prominent member of WCG/GCI, and a women's advocate within that group. Mrs McDonnell is the sole female pastor in the COG splinter tradition, serving the independent Church of God - Dallas/Fort Worth.

If Mrs McDonnell's pastorate is thought of as progressive, given her position, this doesn't seem to flow through into theology. McDonnell takes Graham to task for suggesting that Bible texts can be used to justify contradictory positions.

Brethren, that is just not true. The Bible can be bent and twisted and hammered and taken out of context to look as if it is saying something it is not. But, if you take each verse in context and check a difficult passage carefully back to the Greek words with some good software, you can stand solid on Bible verses.

When you find two verses that seem to contradict each other, one of the verses has been badly translated or is being misunderstood in some way. The Bible does not contradict the Bible when rightly understood. Beliefs that aren’t Bible-based are just the traditions of men.

Nor is McDonnell particularly enamored with Paul.

Obviously the WCG (now known officially as Grace Communion International, or GCI) is mired in the writings of Paul, as are many Protestants. The apostle Peter says of Paul, “His letters contain some things that are hard to understand,” and then he warns about people who distort Paul’s words “to their own destruction” in 2 Peter 3:16. Jude reveals the presence among Christians of “godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (verse 4).

If you've ever wondered what happened to Ross Jutsum, perhaps WCG's most gifted musical talent, there's a substantial article by the editor that covers his story. There's a wonderful quote from Herman Hoeh who, when first hearing Jutsum's Strine accent, remarked: “Young man, you do realize that Australia is a cultural vacuum?”

Perceptive fellow that Hoeh, and four million New Zealanders saith "amen."

There's a download of the first and last pages available free at http://www.thejournal.org/issues/issue135/jf053109.pdf

24 comments:

Tkach's $wiss Banker said...

"Obviously the WCG ..is mired in the writings of Paul..Peter says of Paul, “His letters contain some things that are hard to understand,”

Not hard to understand once you realize the bible is a contradictory mess.

Anonymous said...

So, "Churchwide Discipleship" is the latest UCG goal, according to the lead article.

The COG groups are constantly announcing these religious-sounding yet ultimately meaningless phrases as a means of keeping their congregations excited. I guess the "Prophecy is exploding forward and our mighty Work will wrap up in 3-5 years" is wearing thin now, so other slogans have to be employed.

What exactly does "Churchwide Discipleship" mean to the tired, anemic sheep who keep following what they view as "God's Work?"

Surely, to the old timers, this is yet another slogan that will quickly fade away only to be replaced by the next one to come along.

This whole COG shlock is so boringly predictable.

Russell Miller said...

Eh. They always go back to the "it's hard to understand" when they encounter something they can't easily explain away.

If someone's telling you something's hard to understand, it's because they don't and are hoping to hell you don't either.

Byker Bob said...

Actually, the New Testament is a series of "sermons", written by a number of individuals, and used to resolve some issues, share memoires, or to make any one of various theological points, or teach lessons.

These were all devoted to assisting Christians in their faith, by providing lessons for daily life.

Though the lessons and intent are consistent, it is inevitable that there will be inconsistencies based on the fact that the narratives are provided by multiple witnesses. To see one of the most dramatic case of conflict or inconsistency, read what Luke said about Paul in Luke and Acts, and contrast that with what Paul said about himself in his epistles. Yet, all of these accounts were devoted to the singular goal of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, making the practical application of His teachings both plain and inspiring to the reader.

I used to deliberately look for inconsistencies, and things wrong with scripture, in an effort to solidify my own non-belief. Like anything else, one generally will find what one is looking for, and will successfully justify one's findings. These days, I can read the book of Ecclesiastes, God's message to atheists and other non-believers, and truly appreciate how God used my non-belief to draw me back to Him.

BB

Lyle said...

It always makes me laugh when they use verses like those found in second Peter to prop up the idea that Paul was not to be given much attention. For what is being warned against is the misuse of Paul's teachings. And Peter doesn't leave us without a remedy (the very next verses 17 and 18)

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Had they only listened to these warnings and been vigilant against unprincipled men *cough* HWA *cough*, or at the least given any substantial glory to "our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".

When was the last time you heard any CoGer say the term "our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" with a straight face? What frauds.

Neotherm said...

"But, if you take each verse in context and check a difficult passage carefully back to the Greek words with some good software, you can stand solid on Bible verses."

This idea is facetious. It is a step up from HWA, however, who used to recommend looking in a standard English dictionary.

Many Christians understand the loose construction of some parts of the Bible. Hence, we have two great schools of thought that come out of the same collection of scriptures: Calvinism and Arminianism.

Armstrongism, which claims that there is one incontrovertible interpretation of the Bible and that is whatever HWA says it is, is no better. It ultimately relied on HWA as the authority for settling Biblical disputes. And HWA made mistakes. We observed Pentecost for years on Monday. There was the doctrine of Divorce and Remarriage and the untold volumes of misery that this doctrine caused.

The odd but prevalent view among Armstrongites was that "God backs his ministers." Whatever HWA said was correct, was in fact correct in spite of what the Bible might say. That is, during the period of time HWA said Pentecost was on Monday, it was on Monday. I recall Hoeh used to keep it on Sunday and Monday - or at least someone told me that.

So we have these irrational propositions:

1) There is one and only one truthful interpretation of the Bible (determined by God).

2) What the Bible means at any given moment is what HWA says it means (determined by HWA).

On one hand the Bible is rigid and on the other hand it is quite mutable.

Actully, the recommendation to get some good software and come up with a DIY exegesis is a very progressive view for Armstrongites.

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

"the existence of an independent, objective and professional news source"

How did you manage that little gem with a straight face, and lack of (visible) airsick bag, Gavin?

Anonymous said...

"What exactly does 'Churchwide Discipleship' mean to the tired, anemic sheep who keep following what they view as 'God's Work?'"

GIVE MORE MONEY TO GAWD'S DISCIPLES, MINDLESS PEONS!

Anonymous said...

Australia a cultural vacuum?

Never!! How could you quote Herman Hoeh on that one.Only joking.

Rob Muldoon,a former Prime
Minister of NZ stated that when
Kiwis moved to Australia,the IQ of both countries improved simultaneously.

Cheers,

Jorgheinz

Tom Mahon said...

>>The apostle Peter says of Paul, “His letters contain some things that are hard to understand,”<<

Even for genuine Christians, who are given understanding of some of the mysteries of the kingdom heaven, find some passages in Paul's epistles hard to understand. For instance, not many Christians are able to explain the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31, or the analogy of Romans chapter 7: and what about the great mystery of Ephesian chapter five or the paradox of Galatians 2:20?

Of course, I am well aware that cynics, sceptics and scoffers, who are ignorant of the teachings of the bible, aver that all things can be understood. But Paul is trying to blind them by describing the revelation of God as a mystery.

Yet, even in the physical world there are many things that are hard to be understood. For example, it took many years before Andrew Wiles solved Fermat's theorem, and yet some people are unable to understand the solution.

So why should it come as a surprise that some things in the bible are hard to be understood?

Mark said...

"What exactly does "Churchwide Discipleship" mean to the tired, anemic sheep who keep following what they view as "God's Work?""

It means they're in it for the long haul. It means they have formed enough of a bureaucracy that they need new tithe slaves to keep the bloated overhead employed.

Corky said...

Yes, Paul said a lot that was hard to be understood by people who didn't want to understand that the OT law was "done away".

The CoGs have bent over backward and twisted themselves into a knot trying to make Paul say the opposite of what he plainly did say.

Anonymous said...

sounds like "pastor" McDonnell is the one confused by Paul's writings. lol

Russell Miller said...

Wow, BB, that was a work of art. No need to explain away the inconsistencies now, huh?

Bamboo_bends said...

Ever notice how what used to be called simple "public service" has been renamed "ministries" in almost every church you can think of? Yet most churches would never let those same people speak from the pulpit. Especially those in "women's ministries".

I guess some are more minister than others?

Bamboo_bends said...

Russell Miller said...

Wow, BB, that was a work of art. No need to explain away the inconsistencies now, huh?



He also misses the point that what he calls the "Gospel of Jesus" is the mystical Jesus Paul speaks of. It differs quite a bit from what the 12 disciples (who lived with Jesus) understood. Yet for some reason Paul's viewpoint is elevated above all others and not open to questioning.

Christianity is all about Paul's interpretation of Jesus death and significance more than it is Jesus and what Jesus said. Its through the eyes of Paul's writings that people are forced to suspend logic about virgin births and a God that needs blood before he can forgive carbon-based life forms.

What is called "Christianity" is really almost like Jesus in drag. Kind of looks like Jesus but something is unsettling about how people in it behave.

There's only one thing I think HWA got right, and that's that they talk about the man rather than what the man said. HWA's problem was he didn't quite get right what Jesus said. Especially those parts about the problem of being rich and being humble.

What is it with meglomaniacal preachers anyway?

  said...

Gavin-
There is less difference now.
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.19feb1b715ca8efe380725bb9914678e.741&show_article=1

Byker Bob said...

Russ,

Of course it it fascinating to discuss the inconsistencies, and to discover possible explanations. Certainly no need to cease and desist from that.

Consistency in how we deal with inconsistency becomes very important. This means that we should handle inconsistencies in the scientific record in exactly the same manner as we would that of the religious record. The problem is, nobody does. Agenda creeps in, and the whole scene becomes polarized along political lines, Bible vs Science. Usually, each side wants to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I, on the other hand, am the very rare person who believes in both the validity of the Bible, and the probable veracity of the theory of evolution. That makes me a detestable enigma for some, simply because I do not reject God.

It's funny, too. I'm not telling people to do anything other than to ask God to walk with them. Go for the personal relationship, and go wherever that takes you. That's about as neutral a religious statement as a person can make! Yet to hear some speak, that places me right on the verge of starting my own megalomaniacal cult. Go figure!

BB

Anonymous said...

Bob,

I hope you do not include me in the "some". I don't feel you are trying to start your own megalomaniacal cult. I do not consider you detestable, although, yes, enigmatic often fits. Your religious statements seem mild compared to those of many believers.

In my opinion, you're mistaken in your religious viewpoint, and sometimes illogical and sometimes even silly. But I'm glad it works for you, and you seem to have found peace. I have no negative feelings toward you, and I have to think that most of the nonbelievers who participate here agree with me.

The Skeptic

Anonymous said...

I predict that "Churchwide Discipleship" will soon go the same way "Servant Leadership" did about 10 years ago.

Great concept, only to be squashed by the Hitlers who run the organization.

Byker Bob said...

Thanks, Skeptic.

And, I was not thinking of you as I composed my post. Your posts have always struck me as being some of the more reasonable ones. Perhaps it would have been more beneficial to the AW blog for me to have listed four specific names, but then one opens the door to accusations of ad hominem attack.

Life is quite a bit more pleasant and fulfilling for me now, and this often makes one want to share positives. Though we differ in belief, I hope that your life is also filled with many positives.

BB

Anonymous said...

"I, on the other hand, am the very rare person who believes in both the validity of the Bible, and the probable veracity of the theory of evolution."

You believed the same thing when you were in the church, Bob; we all did; so just because you now accept the Trinity, that makes reverting back to this thinly-veiled Armstrongism of yours somehow OK?

"I'm not telling people to do anything other than to ask God to walk with them."

No, Bob, what you're telling people to do is create their very own imaginary friend, because they can't deal with the harsh reality of life, the universe, and everything, just as it is.

Your little "anonymous" dig at Corky was a good example of that "Christian love" you exhibit so strongly, however, so keep it up!

Byker Bob said...

Aggie, do you equate all belief in some way with Armstrongism? Are your comparisons of my beliefs with Armstrongism designed or intended as some sort of revulsion therapy for me? Marginalization? We all know that the Armstrongite label actually is appropriate when used on some of the people who have derived the majority of their beliefs from the so-called 18 restored truths. But, I am not one of them, and not only do you know this for a fact, all of the regular readers here know it as well. Your reasoning seems to be that since Armstrongites drink water, and since I also drink water, then I must be an Armstrongite. How pathetic. Is that all you can come up with?

Why would someone deliberately make such a sweeping and false or misleading comparison?
My suggestion to you is that if you desire to have any credibility at all, you do a better job of obtaining facts, and then address those facts. Creating false comparisons, or false issues, and then focussing upon or attacking them makes it appear as if you have no serious or valid points to make, leading to your compulsion to fabricate. I know you'd just love to have the power to shut me out here, as you have on ISA.

Finally, I know that God exists. However, all I have as "proof" of your alleged existence is a few words from time to time on my computer screen. So, in reality, you might well be the figment, or imaginary character. Let God be true, and all men liars.

BB

Corky said...

BykerBob said...
Finally, I know that God exists. However, all I have as "proof" of your alleged existence is a few words from time to time on my computer screen.
----------------------
Well, at least that's some evidence for Aggie's existence. I don't exist though, I am a figment of your imagination typing this.