Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Not to say that Ernie was a "liberal" by non-COG standards. In many ways he continued to embrace a very wooden, literalist understanding of the Bible. Theologically tolerant he was not. I well remember a peevish letter he sent to Christianity Today making fun of an article on the Trinity. Many in the ex-WCG community however considered him a scholar without peer, especially as he churned out book after self-published book on everything from the Jerusalem temples to the star of Bethlehem. He died in 2002, and is modestly immortalized with a short Wikipedia entry.
Martin's magnum opus was supposed to be a fresh translation of the Bible putting the various books in what Martin considered their original order. After his death the task was passed on to James Tabor, from where it seems to have been slowly killed off.
In recent times Ernie's legacy has been faithfully promoted by David Sielaff. Sielaff continues to beat the prophecy drums, and to turn up to events like a recent "prophecy conference" in Colorado Springs. In his latest monthly newsletter to the dwindling faithful he explains how his views differ from the prophecy-obsessed evangelical fringe which he seems to freely mingle with. Sielaff also regurgitates a 1977 article on prophecy by his master.
The disciples of Ernie and his Foundation for Biblical Research (since morphed into Associates for Scriptural Knowledge) once made up the most radical wing of the WCG diaspora. Today what remains is looking very tired and shopworn.