Sunday, 12 June 2016

Bwana Bob vs Daktari Dave

Bob lands one on Dave
It's a "rumble in the jungle", Church of God style. Bwana Bob Thiel seems to be taking over a major COG franchise in Tanzania, the operation formerly run by Daktari David Hulme. Not that we're going to learn that from Dave, who is about as forthcoming on his mini-me operation as the government of North Korea. The news comes via Prophet Bob's latest "letter to the brethren".

Bob's "pastor" in that part of the world is Evans Ochieng. Here's how Evans reports developments.
I noticed that so many people were in church of God in Tanzania. But due to poor management and relax made the congregations in Tanzania to die. The people who were in United and international community churches of God were so many in Tanzania. But poor management killed them. Before I met Andrew and his group, I met with Samson who was in United Church of God. This man was very happy to meet with me. When I introduced myself to him and and introduce the continuing church of God and the work we are doing, the man was so pleased. I gave him our magazines and statement of belief. I also explain to him why we know that continuing church of God is the only church where the truth is at this time. With prophesies, true salvation, repentance and ordained feasts. The work was so big in Tanzania that forced me to promise them another visit in July. So many people turned to join CCOG. It made me happy because of late, I wanted to pull off from Tanzania. What I noticed is that, pulling out wasn’t God’s plan. Satan was trying to block ways. But he is defeated. Martin was very happy when he met new people who are long-term members of God’s church. We were doing visitation to every member’s home. Every person whom we got his or her calling, we visit. The work was very good and made some steps a head.
After that we sat down and talk about the feast of tabernacles. How it can be organized this year. We noticed that people who will attend the feast of tabernacles this year in Tanzania will be many. We also noticed that to hire hotel for all those people will be very expensive. So Martin offered a land where we can put semi-permanent rooms to help those in Tanzania this year during the feast of tabernacles. I recommended their suggestions and when I was there I gave funds to start bringing sand. To make them it needs USD 2500. I hope this will help them and will make them steady. When I will be going back in July, I will also go and baptize 2 ladies who wanted baptism but I told Martin to continue teaching them the importance of baptism.
Bob adds:
‘Martin’ above is Martin Wanga.  He first contacted me in 2013. The ‘international community’ is a reference to the Church of God, an International Community (COGaIC)... That group initially had a relatively large presence in Africa, but many of COGaIC’s top US leaders left it a couple of years ago, and that affected their operations in Africa.
Hulme seems to have neglected Africa over a long period of time. Now that Dave's dreams have turned to custard, Africa has apparently dropped even further down the priority list. Developing local leadership and providing them with the skills to build and educate their congregations is a pretty basic imperative. It seems that, in the end, the COG-AIC members were desperate enough to jump into the arms of Evans and his Great White Prophet in California with not much thought or research. That's not as easy in Tanzania as it is in the developed West, but Dave certainly hasn't made it easier either. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

And does Bwana Bob really expect the newly rebranded Hulmites will be his till the Second Coming? The sociological factors indicate otherwise. People who struggle to get ahead in Tanzania have a whole lot of reasons for attaching themselves to a blowhard American sect, and they're not the same reasons as recruits in the Anglo world. You can bet Prophet Bob hasn't factored that in. How can two guys who both boast PhDs be so clueless?

So it's a fail all round. It's also a bit pathetic and tragic.

The obvious question now is - just how many people remain with the once ambitious Hulme? We know the British and American churches have been hit hard, and now the African brethren appear to be sailing away from Dave across Lake Victoria and into the sunset.

Too bad they're heading off after Bob.

(HT to Gary)


Byker Bob said...

I wonder if the American Bwanas truly "get" the plight and humanity of the Tanzanian people, and can adequately minister to them. These folks are not just some sort of validating trophy to make a pitiful ACOG look more grandiose than it really is, there are real lives in play here, real people with real needs. The Armstrong movement does not have a very impressive or encouraging track record in administering to such needs. This is the big time, the point at which the rubber meets the road. I hope that Thiel does not let them down, although I confess that I am afraid to even watch.


DennisCDiehl said...

Wait til the "Nigerian Church" catches on to what makes Bob feel good about his giant and only true church work.

Connie Schmidt said...

I could purchase/bribe/own all of "Bob's Flock" for a one time check of $5000 to Africa.

Steve D said...

I teach Methodists in Tanzania each year for about two weeks. These people have no money for the splinter groups. All they can gain is the "bragging rights" that the work is growing and is more global. Being a "msungu" (white person,in Swahili), they all think that I am wealthy and ask for things from me. The splinters will end up spending more money than they get from any Tanzanian church. Perhaps a month after a visit from Pastor Bob Thiel, the same people might be gathering for a photo op from some other church leader.

Redfox712 said...

As if those people in Tanzania didn't have enough problems already.

Minimalist said...

The splinters will end up spending more money than they get [in Africa]

Exactly, no Return-on-Investment in the Third World. HWA knew this.

nck said...

Minimalist your remark is offensive and wrong regarding hwa.

The Western World (2nd world) as you call it in Cold War terms, has greatly benefitted from return without investment in Africa. Only now is it getting nervous now China does indeed invest heavily and is getting a huge return on investment.

hwa as an agent of the western (american world) visited countries that needed to be in "our bloc" during the cold war. Look up the travel logs of the GII in old worldwide news and compare that log with american foreign (asian, african) policy during the cold war.

So the ROI for maintaining contacts with these decolonised, former part of the british empire, now to be under the umbrella of the rising american empire countries was huge.

The return for wcg alone was ok also. People in western countries would give higher margins to the church since the "worldwide " aspect legitimated the worldwide aspirations (world tomorrow) of the church.

The same goes for some of the more affluent parts of the church. Even "the Work" in the 7th , 8th, 9th wealthiest countries of the world was actually sponsored by the Canadian Branch of the WCG during hwa's time.


Near_Earth_Object said...

I agree with Steve D. There is little economic value for Armstrongite involvement in Africa but much publicity value. Building a global image is important to the laughably tiny and localized Armstrongite organizations. You know the words: worldwide, international, global, etc. It is kind of like finding a small country airport with a dirt runway scraped out of a wheat field referring to itself as Podunk International.

There are several known problems with Africa for Armstrongites:

1. The levels of poverty in Africa are beyond the imagination of the average American. I had a buddy who worked in the letter answering department in Pasadena back in the Seventies. He showed me letters where Africans would write to Pasadena and ask for, in one case, a tractor. He stated that the African probably saw a picture of a tractor in a PT and simply wrote to ask for it. For them, America was a Disneyland of wealth there for the asking. Associating yourself with Americans puts the African closer to the wealth.

2. He also stated that offering a free subscription to the PT to these people was a useless gesture. Every impoverished African would sign up for the PT and Pasadena could dump its entire printing run into the African continent without recruiting a single tither.

3. Rod Matthews years ago stated that many African converts to Armstrongism were not really converts as we would define a convert. While they attended services on Saturday morning, they continued pagan tribal practices at other times. So reports of surging membership in Africa had to be taken with a grain of salt.

Steve D said...

Redfox asks if the people in Tanzania don't have enough problems already? Are you suggesting that teaching them the basic of the Bible and helping them move away from their their "traditional beliefs", their superstitions, etc. is adding to their problems? In Tanzania, albinos are hunted down and butchered. Their body parts are sold to witch doctors. Albinos are thought to be ghosts who do not feel pain. Moving them away from these beliefs to conservative Bible teachings (not Armstrongism) is a move in the right direction. Helping protect them from the prosperity preachers and their false teachings, is a move in the right direction. Helping them to think critically, like Bereans of Acts 17:11 is a move in the right direction.