Saturday, 27 February 2016

It's just a facade, and it always was

Gary has posted further pictures of the demolition at the former Ambassador College on the Banned by HWA blog. Of the Hall of Administration, he notes;
"This was the seat of the power that controlled the church and established doctrines. It was also the seat of those that abused the members so terribly. It's fitting that this is the last building to be demolished."
The photograph here was posted on FB by Wes White. It shows the facade of the Hall of Admin still standing, awaiting the final indignities.
Facade: a deceptive outward appearance."her flawless public facade masked private despair" synonyms: show, front, appearance, false display, pretence, simulation, affectation, semblance, illusion, posture, pose, sham, fake, act, masquerade, charade, guise, mask, cloak, veil, veneer "a facade of laughing bonhomie"
There's got to be a parable in that.


Anonymous said...

I remember the feeling of pride and belonging I got as a teenager when I received my glossy booklet This is Ambassador College A picture tells a thousand words,it is said But not the same words to all the beholders So for me as a current Armstrongite I experience deep sadness mixed with nostalgia in witnessing how corruption,abuse, authoritarianism,human sinfulness and pride have destroyed, now literally ,what I still believe God had built Fortunately, as in the past when houses of God(temples) were destroyed because of the transgressions of our predecessors ,the Israelites(the authentic ones!)The truth managed to survive beyond the walls These photos serve as a chilling reminder to current leaders of the movement like me that the same faith awaits our buildings,literal or otherwise, if we are not careful how we build Thanks ffor helping to warn us Ian Boyne

Byker Bob said...

I was on the cover of one of those booklets, standing by the egrets with some of the other prefabricated students who were considered to represent what an AC student was supposed to look like. In case anyone still has the booklet, I'm the blond haired guy in the blue Pendleton shirt.

It was a beautiful, and opulent place, no doubt about it. Sometimes, mental prisons are like that. My work has taken me to other cultic campuses. Synanon Center comes to mind. Ditto the L.A. offices of the Church of Scientology. And Jon Rogers' campus. In such environments, the forest always has too much presence for one to see the trees. All these years later, I am simply spell-bound by the wisdom of Gamaliel!


Anonymous said...

I would not have my hard copy edition now,regrettably,as I would rush for it to see what the insightful and intellectually engaging Byker Bob looked like then A great pity we lost someone like you (though I am absolutely sure you have regrets about having escaped such a toxic,destructive cult! I am such a fan of your posts that I have gone eagerly in search of your past writings coming upon treasure troves on The Painful truth website and searching on Silenced and other anti-Armstrongite blogs for other outpourings I was fascinated in reading about your journey into agnosticism and hedonism and now back into some version of Christianity I must confess that I find it much easier to understand and emphatise with those who have rejected Armstrongism for either agnosticism or atheism or even for religious pluralism or theistic existentialism, but when bright people exchange some version of Armstrongism for Evangelical Christianity I find it such a letdown In my view if you are not throwing out a conservative approach to Scripture I think Arnstrongism minus the fanaticism and dross is the best thing in offer I personally fine agnosticism immensely attractive intellectually If I leave Armstrongism I am likely to be an agnostic as my own exposure to and,indeed, immersion in,critical scholarship makes it very tempting to give up on Biblical authority But for those like you, Byker Bob ,who have stridently rejected HWA's teachings but still have a conservative, orthodox view on the Bible(I presume) I say it seems like a poor exchange to me I noticed your incessant emphasis on HWA's prophetic errors which are so well documented and his espousal of the discredited British Israelism and I frequently a ask myself what if you threw out those as well as the authoritarianism ,abuse etc could you find Armstrongism as a theological system of value?Or have you bought into lock stock and barrel so-called New Covenant New Chrisrianity?I guess our dialogue has begun! Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Oops! II meant NO regrets, not regrets about leaving Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Re your comment about the wisdom of Gamaliel,I think, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the death of Armstrongism have been greatly exaggerated! Perhaos even Douglas Becker might agree..., Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Please guys I warned you before about my careless typing Just picked up ""fine" where there should be "find"I warn I don't believe in my own inerrancy Lol. I better go to sleep its three thirty on sabbath morning and I have been up in sermon preparation and meditation I am preaching in an outlying area today Oh I am orthodox todayI will be teaching on the Deity of Christ showing why Arianism is heresy One of the truths Armstrong preserved Ian Boyne

Connie Schmidt said...

Sat Feb 27, 09:07:00 pm Asked if it was possible for one to find a place in Christianity of an Armstrongism without British Israelism, Authoritarian Hierarchal abuse, goofy prophetic ideas and monetary exploitation.

I believe the answer is yes. The Church of God 7th Day has steered clear of all of that for more than 150 years of its existence. It cannot be described as a "cult".

One can believe in the Sabbath, clean meats, Holy Days etc and not be cultic. Many Messianic Christians do as well.

When one looks back on the history, Armstrong had to be one very brash and climbing individual. He finds out about the Sabbath in 1927, as a young unseasoned 35 year old, and within just 5 years of starting to attend church, he is advocating to starting his own church! When other ministers with decades long experience tried to calm his ambitious and vain ways down, he bolts off and rejects their advice. HWA taught a lot about "submitting to government" , but it certainly was NOTHING that he ever did or practiced himself.

Byker Bob said...

In partial response to Ian, I don't believe you can clean up Armstrongism. The bad and toxic elements which you mentioned are by-products of the basic package of picked and chosen legalistic elements from the Old Covenant. In Jesus' time those legalistic element were what produced the Phariseeism which He condemned.

My studies of some of the writings of the Antenicene fathers have led me to conclude that modern Christianity was spawned by Paul's "Church unto the Gentiles", whose members lived under Noachide law, as evidenced by James' statement following deliberation by the Jerusalem Council. This Noachide law was the same law that Abraham and Melchizedek lived under.

I believe that because there is a new covenant, that God has allowed it to become impossible to pollute the new with elements of the old, though some certainly try. There are too many complication with the supposedly sacred calendar to know when the holy days are, and as we know, if a priest entered the Holy of Holies on the wrong day, the penalty was instant death. With the International Date Line, and our own fixed calendar, it is impossible to keep sabbaths which were originally counted from the new moon. And with porcine vitamin D added to commercial milk, virtually all foods are unclean.

Thus, the Beatitudes, the Two Great Commandments of the Lord, and the Golden Rule, all of which are ethereal guiding concepts rather than physical legalism, are what we have to live by in this dispensation. This is what the Bible means when it says that the New Covenant will not be like the old one. Ethereal concepts are how the law behind the law, the royal law of love, becomes written in the hearts of man. The legalism was given to the Israelites for the hardness of their hearts as the first baby steps in their education towards the royal law of love.


Miller Jones said...

Yes, the legalistic interpretation of Christianity by Armstrong and his followers was clearly flawed. There was a façade of obedience to God with their strict adherence to the rituals which were given to the Israelites as part of the Old Covenant. Just like the Pharisees of old, they made an elaborate and public display of their devotion to God. Nevertheless, as Byker Bob has skillfully pointed out, they completely ignored/rejected Christ's teaching that the entire system was founded/motivated on/by love for God and each other.
In looking at Mr. Boyne's comments, I'm also interested to hear about how he reconciles his continued affiliation with an organization that so vociferously advocates British Israelism and scriptural inerrancy as two of their foundational doctrines?

Anonymous said...

The façade was enough for HWA. As long as it looked good on the outside. AC was not a real college, but an indoctrination center. HWA was no educator, he was a high school drop out. He was no scholar. But, everything looked good, from the outside.

Anonymous said...

@ Miller Jones, You wonder why Ian Boyne still continues with the CGI when they teach about British-Israelism. I cannot speak for his congregation but from 1998 to 2002 I was a member of the Toronto Canada CGI congregation, and they did not teach British-Israelism. Our ministers John Coish who was also the president of the CGI in Canada, and Horane Smith despised this doctrine and looked at it as as heresy and racist. They flat out refused to teach it.

At that time many new members like myself came in off the street to the Toronto congregation through their TV program the Armor of God. Many of these new converts never even heard of the Armstrongs, British-Israelism or the Worldwide Church of God. I did know about them as I was friends with a former WWCG member who ended up joining the CGI and invited me to services there.

As time went on our Minister John Coish was replaced with by Bill Watson the presenter of the TV program, probably around 1999 or 2000. John Coish was given the Kitchener Ontario congregation. In the beginning Bill did not preach BI, but over time he began to re-introduce it. To the new converts and myself we were very uncomfortable with this, but the old time Armstronites welcomed it. I even remember Horane Smith bitching about it, but what could he do as Bill was in charge of that congregation.

One by one the new converts including myself left leaving the old time Armstronites to their wacky doctrines of British Israelism, we'll be gods teachings, and Jewish holidays, etc.

A few months ago I took a look into the CGI Toronto site to see if this congregation still exists and yep they do. Horane is still there, I guess he drank the kool-aid, Bill Watson is still in charge and still pimping British-Israelism, and it appears they have a new minister. As a side note I've noticed that John Coish has bailed out of the CGI and started a ministry called the

Back around November I went into the main CGI site and noticed a video with Bill Watson and Wayne Hendrix speaking about the USA and Britain in prophecy. So I'm guessing Mr. Watson must now be in charge of the CGI or has risen up in the ranks as a leading minister. He is still pushing this doctrine, and now he is on the internet and TV pushing this. In the beginning it appeared that the CGI was dropping some of the Armstrongism but it appears they are sinking right back into it. Thank God I got out when I did.

As for Ian Boyne, I obviously cannot speak for him, but perhaps as the Toronto congregation stopped teaching it for a while, his congregation did the same thing. I see that he is a minister in a Jamaican church and that Bill Watson is the Minister in Charge. See the connection? Bill teaches BI, he runs those congregations and perhaps like he did in Toronto he gradually brought in and re-introduced this doctrine to Ian's congregation. Maybe Ian was caught off guard or he fell for it? Like Horane Smith in Toronto I'm sure Ian is not a paid minister so therefore what does he have to gain by being in the CGI who teaches BI. There is no financial gain by any CGI ministers as it's not a paid ministry, or at least when I was a member the ministers were not paid, they had to have real jobs. Maybe when Bill's not around he does not teach this in his church? So why stick around? I guess it's like wearing a pair of worn out comfortable shoes. yeah, they're not pretty but their comfortable.

Anonymous said...

I thank anonymous for his reasoned and balanced contribution to this issue of my sticking with CGI despite its teaching British-israelism I thank him,too, for making the point that CGI ministers are not paid and, by implication, we stay for non-financial reasons Horane ,incidentally, is also Jamaican and a trained journalist We attended university together and he came in the church though me He is also an accomplished novelist and one of the humblest persons you can find He and I are not hungering for influence as we have had some professional success I say this not as a manifestation of ego but to answer critics who think we who are ministers in Arnstrongism must be in it for either the money, or because of some psychological need to be before people Or both Say Horane and I are deluded Fine That is quite possible Re British-Israelism, it was the very first doctrine,interestingly , I had serious doubts about even before I became a member of the WCG In 1972 I read a book by a leading Adventist theologian Harry Lowe titled Radio Church if God :How It's Teachings Differ From Those of Seventh Day Adventists It was a thorough and extensive critique of Armstrongusm But I was not convinced and I joined But one doctrine I thought Lowe gave a good critique of and that was British-Israelism But because I never did and don't now hold the flawed view that the true church cannot have any error I was never bothered So yes some ministers in CGI still teache it but no one has ever instructed me to teach it I have never given a sermon or even sermonette on it and I have been a minister now for twenty years and leading the CGI here since 1982 It is not listed as one of our fundamental doctrines We follow the former WCG STP which does not include this doctrine CGI is a healthy ,open ,respectful group under the leadership now of one of the most informed theological minds in the entire Armstrong movement,Vance Stinson I will respond to Miller Jones and Byker Bob's Interesting posts another time I am enjoying my interactions here and am delighted at the caliber of the exchange Finally, anonymous, I invite you to return to CGI It is certainly a better option than orthodox Christianity And you need to look at the significant theological reassessment going on now on the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith as well as fresh studies on deification There are elements of Armstrongism far richer than many on these blogs realise But then classical Armstrongism's obsession with prophetic speculation,British-Israelism ,time cycles plus all the corruption,abuse, skullduggery and obscurantism have blind-sided many There has been so much dirty bath water that the baby has been thrown out with it ! Ian Boyne

Gavin R said...

Funnily enough, Ian, I also read Harry Lowe's book (more an oversized booklet really) before joining WCG. I seem to remember a pointed aside about Herbert's drinking problem. Like you, I put it to one side as a biased account.

Anonymous said...

@Ian Boyne,I have to say that Horane Smith is a very decent man and well grounded. I always thought highly of him and his wife as they are very nice people. I could never understand how he got mixed up in the CGI with its teachings of British Israelism (Especially that he is a black man and how racist this teaching is and how much of a racist HWA was), plus the keeping of Jewish holidays, etc. I guess at the time the CGI did not beat their members over the head with this crazy doctrine. I now wonder why Bill Watson and Wayne Hendrix seem to want to push this doctrine, especially when they know this will not attract new members.

I also remember in a sermon many years ago where John Coish wanted the church to change its name to the Church of Jesus Christ as he wanted to shake off Armstrongism. This would have been a great idea especially since there is a crazy cult, not related to the churches of God, with the same name as the CGI.

Compared to other Churches of God the CGI is the more sane and rational of the bunch. My experience with them was not bad, I just could not buy into certain teachings. I will admit that they did not attempt to police anyone's faith. They never policed tithing, or demanded second or third tithes, they did not kick anyone out for not keeping the feasts or working Friday nights. They had no dress codes and there were even men in services with long hair something the other churches of God will not put up with. Their teachings were more Christ centered and they were not afraid to use the name of Jesus. There were doctrines other than British-Israelism that I could not get my head around and that is why I left. It seemed like every time Bill Watson came to Toronto he would start pushing BI. Don't get me wrong I like Bill and think he is a nice guy but I wish he would look into this teaching and realize what a pile of crap it is and stop teaching it.

I'm sure the CGI could be a great church if they would shake off more of the Armstrongism and embrace Jesus. Bill Watson needs to take a chill pill and stop with British-Israelism, especially if he wants to attract new members. Maybe the CGI should have also taken John Coish's advice all those years ago and change their name, just sayin.

Miller Jones said...

Anonymous, I appreciated your response to my comments. You may be interested in this post on my blog:

Miller Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks for your fine and refreshingly accurate representation of the CGI,especially in contrasting us to the cultic and controlling churches of God It is clear that theological issues are your main beef with CGI I am much more sympathetic to that than to the emotional reasons which have led so many away I don't want to minimize people's pain and my movement's abuse of them ,but I think making decisions based on emotional hurt is not intellectually respectable I would not reject atheism because atheistic communist regimes have slaughtered millions of people One would have to prove that abuse is inevitable and intrinsic to Armstrongismbog whatever variety to begin to make a case for leaving just because leaders have been abusive and corrupt Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

@Miller Jones, Thanks for the link to your blog that was a good article. It's a shame your dad Wayne Hendrix is teaching this along with Mr. Watson. I knew Bill Watson as he was our minister, and I met your father once and he seems like a decent man. Hopefully he'll wake up one day to realize the fallacy of the BI doctrine and reject it. I'll check out more of your blog later on. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

@ Ian Boyne, You're correct, I left over doctrine issues as I have no axe to grind with the ministry. In my time with the CGI I have never witnessed any abuse from the ministry, as a matter of fact I found Horane Smith, John Coish, and Bill Watson be be nice decent people, and I have met Bronson James several times and found him to be down to earth as well. I know from checking the Toronto CGI website lately that they have a new minister, I cannot comment on him as I have never met him.

I have always felt that if the CGI could shake off the teachings of HWA and GTA that they would be a great church. I still agree with many things such as the Sabbath and other bible doctrines that the CGI follows, but as for what the Armstrongs added such as BI, triple tithe, a third resurrection, we'll be gods - forget it! They're just a bunch of non-biblical nonsense, or not a part of the new covenant.

I'm not saying that God's commandments are done away with under the new covenant, but there are old covenant things that are no longer required by Christians. I think the CGI could bring about great changes if they took a fresh look at their beliefs and study them in the light of God's word and make changes where they are warranted. Maybe one day Bill Watson, Wayne Hendrix and others in the CGI will see the fallacy of some of the silly doctrines such as BI and reject them.

When I was last in the CGI about eleven or twelve years ago I saw some positive things such as making Jesus the center of their worship. I remember when he would preach Horane would never quote or mention HWA, he would teach right out of his bible. I wish more ministers in the churches of God would do this, but they would rather worship HWA than Jesus. At least the CGI is more Christ centered, but please do your members a favor and forever dump the remnants of any HWA teachings that you have left and fully embrace Jesus. God Bless!

Miller Jones said...

Mr. Boyne, you appear to be a thoughtful and compassionate leader. My father (Wayne Hendrix) and Bill Watson are thoughtful and compassionate leaders. I personally know and love many fine people within the ACOG culture, but that doesn't excuse or negate the fact that many of them have chosen to perpetuate a system that was founded and built by individuals who were not thoughtful, compassionate or decent. Moreover, for almost all of the folks who choose to comment here and the other anti-ACOG blogs, hurt and pain underscore the realization that the theology of our former affiliation was flawed.

Anonymous said...

I put out a gentle challenge to my friend who is a firmer CGI member Go to the CGI website or Google Ian Boyne Man's Awesome Destiny and read my defense of that doctrine of God's reproducing Himself I draw on Scripture and scholarship to prove that doctrine Read that booklet carefully and then point out just two flaws You seem open-minded Take up my challenge Re the feast days, it is utterly inconsistent to keep sabbath without feast days They stand or fall together Byker Bob is at least consistent in rejecting both with his New Covenant Theology You can't maintain continuing validity for the sabbath while believing the feast days are abolished I challenge you with all the courtesy there is Thanks Miller for your kind words and graciousness

Anonymous said...

I meant former CGI meant Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

@ Ian Boyne, I like a good challenge. I'm assuming you are talking about my earlier statement that I don't believe "we will be gods"? I'll look up your booklet and compare it to the word of God from the pages of the bible. Things I already know is that God says he knows of no other gods, his glory he shall not give to another, after him shall not come another, etc. So I'll take up your challenge.

As for the Sabbath and holy days, you say they either stand or fall together. My understanding of the Sabbath is that is was in effect even before the holy days were, and that the holy days were given to Israel at mount Sinai, and that the Sabbath was in effect from creation. So I don't see how they are connected.

I will look up your booklet. Cheers!

Black Ops Mikey said...

In line with this discussion, I would like to bring your attention to the "Kruger-Dunning Effect":
Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessment from those fun guys at Cornell University.

It's pretty clear that with the incredible level of incompetence in the Armstrongist Churches of God with their narcissistic inflated egos, there's not a chance that any of them could ever create a viable ministry of any sort after being a part of the poisoned well of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia.

Such people are incapable of even comprehending what competence is....

Anonymous said...

Anon 18:00 wrote, "...but as for what the Armstrongs added such as BI, triple tithe, a third resurrection, we'll be gods - forget it!"

CGI does not teach the old triple-tithe system, and I know that the church's ministerial council has looked at the "third resurrection" concept, and it appears that it will be regarded as speculation, not doctrine. BI is still taught by some, but the ministers who reject it or consider it theoretical do not make an issue of it since they know it's firmly entrenched in the thinking of so many, and trying to forcibly extract it would probably do more damage than good. They just simply don't teach, and they're tolerant of those who do because they realize it's foolish to think there is a perfect organization whose ministers teach only perfect doctrines.

I would say that your characterization of the teaching on the deification of man is somewhat inaccurate. HWA did not teach that "we'll be gods"; he taught that man would become God (not "gods"). He believed the one God was composed of more than one person, and that we could become a part of that "family." Thus, man's destiny was to "become God." Unlike Flurry, I don't think either of the Armstrongs ever said, "There are two Gods." Nor did he say, "We will become Gods, and then there will be more than two Gods."

I know of CGI ministers who believe in a form of theosis, or deification of man, but you'll never hear them say, "Man will become God AS GOD IS GOD!" They believe God will share His divinity with humans, and that they will have an everlasting familial relationship with the Father and the Son, but they will ALWAYS worship the Father and the Son and be subject to them.

Anonymous said...

Corrections: Second paragraph: "They just simply don't teach" (add "it"--referring to BI). Third paragraph: "Nor did he say..." (change "he" to "they"--referring to both Armstrongs).