Sunday, 18 September 2016

To See Ourselves...

... as others see us.

I'm sorry I can't embed this, so you'll have to cross over to

This is the CGI "Bring On the Sabbath" episode for Friday night. Wes White does a six minute monologue on websites like Ambassador Watch and Banned by HWA (without naming either). He takes a conciliatory position, conceding that we provide some kind of valid service. Well, what do you know? The whole show lasts 90 minutes, but the relevant section begins just before 17:00.

I'm really interested in what you think of Wes' comments.


NO2HWA said...

I don't think any of us that have these "dissident" blogs or web sites are out to tear down sincere believers. I think Wes is correct in pointing out that we are out to expose the lies, hypocrisy, and men that have self appointed themselves up as spiritual leaders anointed by their "god." Do things get caustic on some of the blogs and web sites? Absolutely! Sometimes it takes something caustic to wake people up. If a person truly believes in what they do and are sincere, we cannot change their minds, AND they do NOT get offended by reading negative things about their leaders or churches.

Of all the COG's out there, CGI seems outwardly to be more "open" in their beliefs, though I do find it interesting that Wes was interested in a dialogue with of us as long as it was respectful, and yet they prohibit comments.

When you compare the comments of Wes to those of Rod Meredith concerning the blogs, they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Byker Bob said...

We just don't read the horrifying reports about pastoral abuse in the churches that Garner Ted founded, as we do about some of the other splinters. I believe that relates directly to why Wes, Ian, and their colleagues don't see the information presented on the "dissident" sites as being threatening from the standpoint of undermining their authority, or causing their members to leave. Not that human love can be perfect, but in this case, perhaps a more nearly perfect love casts out that type of fear.

These folks present themselves fairly well. Seemingly regular people, and likeable at that. However, the lingering cynicism from my own Armstrong experience prevents me from accepting it all at face value. In other words, guys, don't expect a phone call from BB requesting counselling. However, if people who are in some of the really toxic ACOGs, and wanted to retain the classic doctrines but without the abuse, CGI might not be a bad alternative.


Gavin R said...

No2HWA: Yes, I pretty much agree with you. I wondered too about the no-comments on the YouTube page, but maybe it is just a way to avoid those caustic ranters. I'm not interested in being particularly civil with the likes of Bob Thiel, but with non-hierarchical groups like CG I it seems to be a different kind of scenario.

Gavin R said...

BB: Like you it'd take wild horses to drag me into the orbit of even a relatively benign group like CGI, too much water under the bridge and, well, "been there, done that." But the same would be true of a thousand non-COG groups which believe strange stuff but genuinely seem to serve their members and do good in the broader community. As for counselling... if the person hasn't got a legitimate academic qualification, I'd steer well clear whatever their affiliation.

PS. I hope Wes doesn't think your reference to BB in the last paragraph refers to Buckaroo Bob. Now there's a dude who could handle some counselling (and can't a hand puppet also be a sock puppet??) ;-)

Connie Schmidt said...

I appreciate Wes' and companies observations and openness. Good stuff and way out of the box for the COG.

However, I want to see the next show be hosted, with open debate and discussion between Buckaroo Bob and Jelly.

Byker Bob said...

I had no idea that there were other puppets in the church besides Jelly. When you Google Buckaroo Bob, the CGI site comes right up on the list.


Near_Earth_Object said...

The packaging is different but the product is the same. Sort of a glib, folksy, talk show approach. If we simplify this to its foundation, these people are rank heretics who have been brain washed. Perhaps they are in the more liberal end of the Millerite spectrum. Maybe they are soft Armstrongists. But they are marketing Armstrongism nevertheless.

And Wes deftly converted the criticism found on blogs such as this to something that is intended to be supportive instead of critical. In other words, they will not recognize genuine criticism at its face value. Instead it is something that God made possible to strengthen Armstrongism.

It is profoundly sad to realize that these people, like many Armstrongists I know, cannot understand the quagmire of delusion they are stuck in.

This is just another Armstrongist media package that will go nowhere.

Miller Jones said...

I applaud moderation and common sense wherever they appear. However, as someone who fellowshipped with the Church of God International for many years, I have to agree with NEO. CGI is not benign or moderate. They accept and use disfellowshipping (although they don't practice it to the degree that Philadelphia or Living employ it). They accept and still teach British Israelism. They actively preach against the acceptance or toleration of homosexuality. They believe and teach that the Emperor Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church changed the Sabbath to Sunday. They believe and teach that most Christians aren't Christians. And I'm living proof that they do not tolerate views that differ from theirs and actively seek to limit the exposure of their members to different views.

Byker Bob said...

So sad. We can make allowances, and try to think the best of people and to look for good, but when we reach ground zero, somehow we find that Armstrong theology always produces the same results. One group's size and marketing (usually shocking statements that are made) may make it appear different from the others, but that, too, ends up being an illusion.


Near_Earth_Object said...

Isn't this kind of media package compatible with classical Armstrongism? They carefully conceal who and what they are from the unwary public. They seem like nice people. But they are not and they don't even know they are not. They are a vehicle for a religious philosophy that stands belligerently against genuine and admittedly flawed Christianity.

I expect, as the sun sets on Armstrongism, that more novel media concepts will be developed as an act of desperation. Eventually the traditional Armstrongist fear model will expend itself.

C.S. Lewis wrote:

"One's ears should be closed against any future William Miller in advance. The folly of listening to him at all is almost equal to the folly of believing him...
Fear (i.e. "perpetual trepidation about the Second Coming") is an emotion: and it is quite impossible - even physically impossible - to maintain any emotion for very long. A perpetual excitement of hope about the Second Coming is impossible for the same reason."

I fully expect to see more innovation of technique in marketing the same heretical product.

Connie Schmidt said...

Question for Miller Jones:

You wrote:
"They actively preach against the acceptance or toleration of homosexuality."

I ask:
When and how did this "acceptance" become a new Christian Doctrine? Doesn't the entire Bible preach against Homosexuality? Throughout the last 2000 years virtually all the Christian church has done such as well.

Certainly I am against hatred and aggression towards anyone who is Homosexual. Even Paul said that "of such WERE some of you" (past tense). But continual activity, along with any other type of sexual immorality, heterosexual or homosexual, fornication , drunkeness, and several others are directly condemned in scripture.

Im very surprised that you are indignant that a Christian church would hold such a view.

Miller Jones said...

Hello Connie, Thanks for the questions (I worked today, so I'm just seeing your comments and questions). Your questions and my responses follow:

"When and how did this 'acceptance' become a new Christian Doctrine?"
This is a trend that has been at least twenty years in the making. Check this out from Pew:
As you know, Episcopalians/Anglicans, some Methodists and a few other groups have even accepted homosexuals into the ranks of their leadership. In the ACOG's, United has begun a dialogue on the subject (admittedly, they have a long way to go, but they now have members with a known homosexual orientation.

"Doesn't the entire Bible preach against Homosexuality?"
There are actually only a handful of scriptures that actually touch on the subject/issue. We have Leviticus 18:22, 29; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27 and I Corinthians 6:9-10 (and maybe a few others if we're generous in our interpretations of what's being discussed). Some folks would also include Genesis 19, but I think that the majority of biblical scholars have decided that that one doesn't really have anything to do with homosexuality.

Over the last two thousand years, the Christian Church has taught many erroneous things about human sexuality. The fact that they've done it for two thousand years doesn't make it right, and I wouldn't want to lean on that thin reed as a justification for an anti-homosexual by Christians.

Frankly, I'm indignant at a great many views that Christian churches hold (I'm sure you could think of a couple that you're indignant about?)

Miller Jones said...

Sorry, tired! - that should be "stance/view" after anti-homosexual.

Minimalist said...

That's cowardly of them to disable the comments,
- but the thumb-down-dislike button still works!
Give 'em a big thumb's down negative vote.

Miguel de la Rodente said...

I don't know that disabling the comments is completely cowardly. People often play a little game called "straw man". IOW, some people attack anyone identifying as a Christian as if they are a young earther or fundamentalist, and they attack any ACOG as if it were united in doctrine and teachings with Pack, Weinland, or Flurry.

These dudes have left things so that people will watch their program and form their own opinions without being influenced by either brown nosers, or nay sayers. What's wrong with that?

Minimalist said...

Christianity doesn't do well sans censorship, thus no surprise to see the Bible Belt GTA cult disabling Comments.

Minimalist said...

I am the only Thumb's Down on there; it's lonely being correct.