Sunday, 25 October 2009

Egg White

Will Herbert Armstrong ever surpass the reputation of the woman whose footsteps he, at least partly, followed in?

Ellen G. White is often referred to as the founder of Seventh-day Adventism, and this report indicates that her influence endures some ninety four years after her death. The SDA movement may have a lower profile, but is actually larger than its brasher cousin, Mormonism.

SDAs have also impacted on the everyday lives of all of us living in the West, thanks to Corn Flakes, peanut butter and, may God forgive them, Young Earth Creationism.

Ronald Numbers, whose name comes up in the item linked above, is himself a former Adventist, and author not only of a leading biography of the prophetess, but The Creationists,a hugely enlightening history of creationism that should be compulsory reading for anyone who wants to express an opinion on that subject. Even cut down to size by twenty first century academics, the lady is formidable.

But what will be the legacy of Herbert Armstrong, whether for good or ill? His followers have built no hospitals nor given the world a breakfast cereal. Ninety four years out from his death, in 2080, will he be anything other than a minor footnote in an obscure volume on twentieth century sectarian figures?

36 comments:

Richard said...

This is why I think Gerald Flurry is doing what he's doing.

He's trying to be the reservoir of Armstrongism - quoting him often, showing his picture on TV every week, and even building a small-scale version of A.C. in Oklahoma.

It's a matter of carrying on the legacy -- which is far more than food products. I attended an SDA congregation for several months, and marveled at how Ellen White (aka "the Spirit of Prophecy") was quoted in Sabbath School Quarterlies practically every week.

Monkey Pus said...

The Mormons officially claim 13.5 million members, but that deceptive figure includes anyone ever baptized, who wasn't excommunicated or asked to have their names removed off their list.

SDA claims an inflated 17 million members. The Adventists have built 168 healing hospitals.

bear_track said...

Numbers correctly identifies one of the problems with the advocacy of creationism. It has been taken over by evangelicals espousing the "young earth" hypothesis. The "young earth" hypothesis is kind of like finding a bug in your cookie. It makes the whole cookie unpalatable.

Evangelicals are the least credible supporters of creationism. These are people who do not have love for others adequate for them to support general healthcare. They support a free market that excludes and condemns some to destruction and yet claim to be Christian. They hate abortion on principle but show little compassion for the born. Evangelicalism does not fit the Chistian model but conforms nicely to the neoconservative or neoconfederate model. Evangelicals form the uneducated foot soldiers for the Republican, pro-upper class agenda. Anything they advocate is immediately suspect and I believe that this caution is appropriate.

On the other hand, atheistic evolution (advocated by Richard Dawkins, et al) seems to attract a collection of strident ranters who also compromise credibility. I, for one, when I witness all the drama and zeal and shouting over such a dry and unresolvable topic, can't help but suspect that there is some underlying dysfunction with these people that is just as nefarious as anything you might find in evangelicalism.

A counterpoint to Numbers' book would be a book on atheism that closely examines the state required atheism of the Soviet Union, who adovcated it, why they advocated it and what social impacts it had.

The Bear

Carolyn said...

_Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America, Second Edition_ by Ann Braude, suggests that E. G. White, among other 19thC women leaders, used channeling to acquire the necessary moxie to speak in public with no prior experience or training.

Anonymous said...

No one with eyes to see could say Mr Armstrong followed in the footsteps of Mrs White.In 90 years from Mr A will be a spirit born son in the Kingdom of God. God's Kingdom will have been firmly established on earth. What will happen to you and the other enemies who knows?

Anonymous said...

".In 90 years from Mr A will be a spirit born son in the Kingdom of God."

Even though the Church has already been waiting for the Kingdom for 75 years?

Leonardo said...

Bear_track wrote:
"They hate abortion on principle but show little compassion for the born."


So true, Bear! An excellent and insightful observation on your part, and “the born” would clearly include the many physicians born-again Christians have murdered in cold blood for performing abortions. I agree with your statement 100%.

Bear also wrote:
“On the other hand, atheistic evolution (advocated by Richard Dawkins, et al) seems to attract a collection of strident ranters who also compromise credibility. I, for one, when I witness all the drama and zeal and shouting over such a dry and unresolvable topic, can't help but suspect that there is some underlying dysfunction with these people that is just as nefarious as anything you might find in evangelicalism.”


Oops, here I cannot agree with you, Bear.

You call them “strident ranters” because you can’t intelligibly answer the many solid points they bring up in their literature. As an example, just look how you slunk off the field in the previous creation/evolution blog.

And you would call the origins question a “dry and irresolvable topic?” Wow, now that’s the kind of statement I would expect from you, Bear. Based on your comments in the previous creation/evolution blog, you seem to already have it resolved!

And a note to everyone else: notice that when creationists can’t produce their own evidence that can stand up to scientific scrutiny, or are completely unable to counter the evidence sustaining evolutionary theory, they almost always go to their next line of argument, and begin their condemnatory ad hominem attacks, the angry questioning of motives, etc. And as I pointed out in another blog, monotheistic religions are condemnatory by their very nature.

Psychology is fine (I was a psychology major at AC), but it’s a cheap and plainly evasive substitute to use when you can’t argue your points very well within the original topic of discussion to begin with.

Bear concludes:
“A counterpoint to Numbers' book would be a book on atheism that closely examines the state required atheism of the Soviet Union, who advocated it, why they advocated it and what social impacts it had.”


But there ARE many books on that topic, Bear. Just go to your local library.

The state-enforced atheism of the former Soviet Union was every bit as irrational as communism itself, or the widespread supernaturalistic religious superstitions that were rampant in Russia before the Revolution of 1917. You won’t get an argument from me on those points at all.

And why don’t you stop the labeling gig you seem to be on, and start seriously addressing the actual facts in evidence for once?

Vaughn said...

Anonymous Mon Oct 26, 08:32:00 AM NZDT said:
"In 90 years from Mr A will be a spirit born son in the Kingdom of God. God's Kingdom will have been firmly established on earth."

Then again that might be 95 years, but before this very century is over and definitely within 3 to five years from that date!

Bamboo_bends said...

Anonymous said...

In 90 years from Mr A will be a spirit born son in the Kingdom of God. God's Kingdom will have been firmly established on earth.



I thought that was supposed to happen LAST century! Now you've pushed it out till the NEXT century!

That's the really weird thing about apocalyptic cults, they never falter when their predictions fail.

They just re-double their "faith" and say "my Lord hath delayed his coming!"

Or as I heard Herbert W Armstrong say in person, "you brethren delayed the return of Jesus Christ!" It wasn't that he got it wrong, he said it was the members fault it didn't come true. "The Bride of Christ was not ready!"

See what you made God do!

Jethro said...

It is simply not true that HWA never produced any cereals. He produced several:

Quaker Life - The first one, produced early in his life long before he came into contact with sabbatarianism.

Crispy Critters - Illustrated by Basil Wolverton.

Product 19 - Limited production in 1934, 1953, and 1972.

Golden Nuggets - Often found in HWA's residence in Pasadena.

Honey Nut - This one was GTA's idea.

Honeycomb - Had its own building at AC.

Quisp - Advertised in Quest Magazine.

Chex - A favorite: HWA often asked for Chex.

Bamboo_bends said...

Monkey Pus (yech!) said...

The Mormons officially claim 13.5 million members, but that deceptive figure includes anyone ever baptized...



Mormons baptize the dead and people that don't believe in Mormonism. Does the membership figure include those people?

Monkey Pus said...

Bamboo Bends,

Does the Mormon count include dead people and non-believers?

Try
http://www.mormoninformation.
com/stats.htm

For all I can tell, it might even include Prophet Joe Smith, Jr.

Anonymous said...

HWA is being vindicated as we speak, especially in the area of Europe and the role the Vatican is expected to play......

E.U. Official Lauds Benedict XVI's Words, Affirms Europe's Need to Recall Religious Tradition
http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=98305

VIENNA, Austria, OCT. 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe regarding religious persecution is expressing support for Benedict XVI's call to Europeans to recover their Christian roots.

Anonymous said...

Jethro, loved the cereal examples.

I reckon attending WCG was like being in a bowl of granola / meusli...

"What weren't fruits and nuts were a bunch of flakes!"

Anonymous said...

Funny to read that HWA is going to be resurrected in 90 years.

At least the apologetics have learned to stop predicting that the end is only 2 or 3 years away.

HWA is dead. and buried. which is where he'll stay for a about a billion years or more till the sun swallows up the earth in a dying gasp.

Anonymous said...

Anon said: "HWA is being vindicated as we speak, especially in the area of Europe and the role the Vatican is expected to play......"

*YAWN*

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:32 said: "...In 90 years from Mr A will be a spirit born son in the Kingdom of God. God's Kingdom will have been firmly established on earth. What will happen to you and the other enemies who knows?"

--------------------
Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Flurry have often said that it's likely "you and the other enemies" have never deeply repented and have not been truly converted. So please do not become overly worried by the Anon 8:32 post. Although you can not count you will be in the second resurrection, there is a good chance that will happen.

bear_track said...

Leonardo:

Just to indicate why I have no intention of engaging people of your type:

You stated: "You call them “strident ranters” because you can’t intelligibly answer the many solid points they bring up in their literature."

I call them strident ranters because they are strident ranters and I think reasonable minds can review the thread of a few days ago an agree to this.

Further, if I have never responded to your questions, how do you know that your observation that I cannot "intelligibly answer" is valid? This is just gratuitous polemic for the sake of polemic.


You state: "Based on your comments in the previous creation/evolution blog, you seem to already have it resolved!"

Are you above this kind of criticism? Do you mean to imply that you don't already have it resolved in your mind?

You stated: "As an example, just look how you slunk off the field in the previous creation/evolution blog."

This kind of imagery is false, disparaging and ad homoneim. I told you straight up why I would not engage you in debate. It has to do with the kind of person you are and not what arguments you may offer.

The Bear

Baywolfe said...

...What will happen to you and the other enemies who knows?

As much as I despise the anonymity of the Internet, it is revealing to see how people feel about those that disagree with their beliefs. No intelligent discourse, but just a flat refutation and a smug “I’ll be gloating when you finally see that I’m right” vapor trail.

Not the attitude of Christ or his psychotic old man. It’s either too virulent or not enough.

Leonardo said...

Bear_track wrote:
"I call them strident ranters because they are strident ranters and I think reasonable minds can review the thread of a few days ago an agree to this."


Great “reasoning” there, Bear!

But you know, that's just what I recommended several days ago: for bloggers to go back and review the recent creation/evolution blog in its entirety. In fact I already have. I copy and pasted it into a Word document, made the font larger and more readable, printed out a copy, and carefully read through it.

I challenge anybody with the “reasonable minds” you mention above to do this, and see for themselves who really DOES have the better arguments and evidence—and who has only mere assertions to show for their efforts!

Bear_track continues:
“Further, if I have never responded to your questions, how do you know that your observation that I cannot "intelligibly answer" is valid? This is just gratuitous polemic for the sake of polemic.”


But Bear, can’t you see? - you already HAVE responded by REFUSING to intelligently or cogently respond. The blog record is beyond dispute on this point.

It’s not a matter of mindless polemics for the sake of mindless polemics – it’s a matter of factual truths, of which your side has virtually none. So few, in fact, that you refuse to even remotely engage in the discussion.

Bear further asks:
“Are you above this kind of criticism? Do you mean to imply that you don't already have it resolved in your mind?”


But I openly invite reasonable and evidence-based criticism!

That’s why I blog here on this public forum!!

But mindless assertions and accusations such as you weakly attempt to bring to the discussion is only a way of escaping having to deal with what I often refer to as the “rough and tumble” of real-world debate and discussion. You’ve plainly shown yourself incapable of this. It hurts your feelings.

Bear concludes:
“This kind of imagery is false, disparaging and ad homoneim. I told you straight up why I would not engage you in debate. It has to do with the kind of person you are and not what arguments you may offer.”


But how are my comments false or ad hominem? My words with you have been plain for all to see. If they are as false as you boldly claim them to be, then you should quite easily be able to openly refute them. Right?

But you haven’t.

Bear, you fail to realize that I have engaged in many of these kinds of discussions in many different forums and settings (written and in person), and thus have plenty of experience in debating with the fundamentalist/pseudoscience mindset. And I’ve heard all these excuses many times before when people are trying to bow out and cower away off the field of debate, and yet want to save face, and their religious beliefs from public embarrassment.

You won’t engage me in debate because you are unprepared to, and so you use the excuse that somehow I’m a mean-spirited and disparaging person. But I think anyone who has blogged here over a reasonable period of time knows I am more than open-minded and willing to consider views that differ from my own. This is how we learn.

Yes, I am direct. I freely admit this. And you don’t like that because you’re not used to folks who can answer your silly assertions with factual evidence and iron-clad reasoning.

You just assume you know my heart, make a condemnatory judgment about me, and arrogantly refuse to discuss the matter further.

Now I ask you, is this the response of an educated Christian who has the spirit of “power and of love and of a sound mind” in defense of his beliefs – or the evasive tactics of an unprepared coward?

You answer this question for yourself.

It’s plain for the rest of us to see what the answer actually is.

Anonymous said...

"HWA is being vindicated as we speak,"

Still no word on your bogus degrees then what Bob?

Anonymous said...

"it's likely "you and the other enemies" have never deeply repented and have not been truly converted."

judge not lest ye be judged

Big Dandy said...

Anon 3:13 said: "Although you can not count you will be in the second resurrection, there is a good chance that will happen.
---------------

I know it's totally irrational on my part, but somehow this gives me a sense of mild relief.

Questeruk said...

Leonardo said...

“But you know, that's just what I recommended several days ago: for bloggers to go back and review the recent creation/evolution blog in its entirety. In fact I already have. I copy and pasted it into a Word document, made the font larger and more readable, printed out a copy, and carefully read through it.

I challenge anybody with the “reasonable minds” you mention above to do this, and see for themselves who really DOES have the better arguments and evidence—and who has only mere assertions to show for their efforts!”

Hi again Leonardo.

Interesting. I too copied and pasted that blog. And reading through it I know who I think really does have the better arguments and evidence. However I doubt if it’s the same that you think, Leonardo.

There are lessons for BOTH of us there. One lesson, if we are both honest with ourselves, is that items posted that are in line with what you think yourself usually seem so much more sensible that those posted that oppose your own view.

That is probably a universal truth, but it is something that is worth remembering, especially when reading items opposed to one’s own view.

Leonardo said...

Questeruk, I very much agree with what you've written above.

And that's WHY I printed out a copy of the previous creation/evolution blog discussion - because I want to see, among other things, where I may have been unclear, or abrasive, or not as accurate in my wording as I could have been.

(As the old saying goes, "You can often learn much more from your enemies than you can from your friends.")

And I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to have done this. Perhaps it’s a carry-over from our days in Spokesman’s Club - you know, evaluations and all that! I always found that giving a succinct yet useful evaluation was probably the most challenging aspect of Club, at least it certainly was for me.

I really do try to give my thoughts and sentiments the clearest verbal expression I can at the moment of writing.

And I very much agree that BOTH sides have things to learn. I know I certainly do. I find these blogs, even though they can be truly "rough and tumble" at times, to be, on the whole, very intellectually stimulating, and not a waste of time at all. I learn a great deal from them, and find it unfortunate that some see them instead as little more than useless, combative polemics.

These are very foundational subjects we discuss here - and deserve the best of our energies and abilities.

It’s true, none of us have all the answers. That’s why we’re here!

Anonymous said...

Anon quote: "Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Flurry have often said that it's likely "you and the other enemies" have never deeply repented and have not been truly converted."

Ha! I was converted but I got better. Now I gladly and openly deny the holy spirit.

It is usually better if I deny the holy spirit while spouting profanities, that brings a bigger sense of relief to myself and freedom from the cult of Herbie.

PurpleHymnal said...

LOL at all the people asking "But do the Smithites count all the "we-baptize-dead-people" on the membership rolls as well" comments.

Duh, you know they do, it's organized religion. Much the same as these other "organized" people.

Mel said...

Jethro, please don't forget that Herbert Armstrong's greatest legacy is a bunch of Corny Flakes.

Pour 'em in your bowl and watch 'em fight each other!

They all claim to have the meat, but are really barely ready for the milk.

Anonymous said...

Armstrong's Church of God and Ellen White's 7th Day Adventists both descend, spiritually speaking, from the Church of God, 7th Day, whose spiritual forebear was William Miller's early 19th century N. American Advent movement. Earlier, Miller had been a Deist, Freemason and eventually a Baptist.

It's hard to think of Grace Communion International as maintaining any connection with Armstrong other than the autocratic form of its governance; and it's just as hard to imagine anything with an innocuous name like GCI surviving at all, particularly in light of its already ubiquitous belief system.

Clones of the Armstrong original like United, Living, Philadelphia, Triumph -- each with its own form of "only true church" syndrome -- are Armstrong products, as are the campuses that once strove to enlighten students eager to learn of God and godliness.

Branch Davidians are Ellen White SDA offshoots.

Perhaps it works to think of these groups as competitive in terms of separate legacies, but it might be more accurate to view the lot of them as William Miller's legacy, including even this blog, which would not exist unless Miller had first created the Advent movement with its emphases on prophecy and the 7th day Sabbath.

I guess I'm trying to say that we're not so much in competition with Ellen G. White as the still spreading spiritual family of William Miller.

larry said...

I personally believe that folks from the various "COG splinters" will eventually return to the GCI as they wise up. Some of them have been doing so already. They are always welcome.

I don't really expect many of the former ministers to do so though, because most of them have burnt bridges behind them. They would still be welcome though. The GCI is an INclusionary church.

Leonardo said...

Larry wrote:
"I personally believe that folks from the various "COG splinters" will eventually return to the GCI as they wise up. Some of them have been doing so already. They are always welcome."


Perhaps some, Larry, as foolishness often tends to repeat itself.

But for the vast majority of us, I can assure you, the following scripture takes on great meaning…

“As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11

larry said...

Leonardo, we would even welcome YOU back into the fold. Of course, you would have to make a few changes in your belief structure. But, that will happen eventually anyway.

Leonardo said...

Larry, your persuasive arguments and laser-like logic are, as always, stunning - but I think I (and the rest of us) will take a pass on your invitation back to the pigpen.

Anonymous said...

"I personally believe that folks from the various "COG splinters" will eventually return to the GCI as they wise up..."

Let us say that I am a believer, a former COG member who has now totally rejected the theology of Armstrong (which I was). Why should I join the CGI?

Why shouldn't I join the local mega-church? Similar theology. Open door policy. Interactive member-leader relationships. Many programs to volunteer and serve the community. Overseas missionary programs. Counseling services. Babysitting services. Several group activity programs. Lively worship. Transparent leadership.

What does the CGI have to offer?


The Apostate Paul

PurpleHymnal said...

"I guess I'm trying to say that we're not so much in competition with Ellen G. White as the still spreading spiritual family of William Miller."

That's my take on it too.

Anonymous said...

"What does the GCI have to offer?"

They will look the other way if you want to keep the Sabbath, keep the dietary health laws, and even if you believe in the Holy Spirit as a force or a power they will look the other way.

As long as you warm the seat every week, give your tithes on time, and are willing to sleep through the local minister blathering about how we should all believe in pagan professing Christianity. Even though said minister does not really believe in it himself.