Sunday, 23 October 2016

After the Feast

Tomorrow (Monday) is the Last Great Day on the COG calendar. Lots of Feast sites in 2016, they seem to proliferate as competing sects vie for the annual holy day windfall. But overall attendance is another thing, and there you are more likely to see shrinkage. Contrary to the hi-de-hi "best feast ever" schlock, every year more people come away disillusioned with a take-away message "last feast ever".

The reasons are various, but few more poignant than this, posted a few days ago to an older thread where it would hardly be noticed. It deserves a wider circulation.
My wife to be is a member of RCG. She is at their feast of tabernacles in Arkansas. Today she calls me crying that some of the things they are preaching seam odd and even disturbing. I have listened to her explain her church and often joked about them being a cult. I felt I was hurting her feelings. But today as she cried to me she explained she had googled the church and came upon several sites like this. She fears it is true and she is scared and must endure this for a few more days before she can get home. I feel terrible for her but I haven't been there 1st hand. The more I read I pray to the god of love to bring her home safe. Please pray with me.
 The Feast, as observed by the Churches of God, is not a biblical observance. It was created in the early days of the Radio Church of God, completely ignoring the existing Jewish tradition. The influence of ministers like Pack demonstrates just how woefully shallow and manipulative it can become.


Byker Bob said...

I'll definitely pray for you and your wife.

One thing to remember, be supportive, but let your wife come to her own conclusions. We've seen cases in the past where one mate attempts to talk the other one out of these churches, and unfortunately that ends up just driving them back into it, and sometimes even deeper. Easy does it.


Near_Earth_Object said...

"Odd and even disturbing..."

There is a reference to RCG (Radio Church of God) in the statement so I assume this is a dated statement - something out of the 1950s. Is that correct?

Kathleen said...

NEO, I would guess that it refers to the Restored Church of God.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Part 1

The first of the last two times I attended United, I met a well-heeled professional looking young black young man in his twenties. He was visiting and there because of his long time friend (with whom he had apparently grown up with or attended school) who was the son of a family I had known since my twenties and who was, by this time, giving sermonettes in church. We got into a discussion. He told me that he was interested in keeping the Sabbath and he got around to the question of the Feast. He asked me if it was necessary to keep the Feast for salvation. I told him that there was very little, if any evidence, that Christians should keep the Feast and it certainly was not a requirement for salvation. He wasn't back for the next service in UCG and I believe that never did return.

For some people, that is the question: Do I need to keep the Feast? According to the New Testament, in spite of all the posturing to the contrary (and in the words of my friend, Alan Knight), support for keeping the Feasts is weak. The short answer is no, no matter what apologists have to say. It was coupled with animal sacrifices that were done away. Herbert Armstrong didn't make up keeping the Feasts (and strictly speaking, they are Biblical, but in an Olde Testament Christianity sort of way -- meaning it is required for unconverted Pharisees, one would expect), instead he plagiarized the whole thing from G. G. Rupert, which those who have read his booklet on God's Law as I have, would realize was taken almost verbatim by Herb. Of course, this required by the Radio Church of God from its Armstrong origin in the 1930s all the way up to 1968 when it was transmogrified into the Worldwide Church of God with the same recycled crap with just a new name on the door.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Part 2

Now in order to address someone who has concerns about keeping the Feast, it is vitally important to listen carefully and ascertain the particular point of view the person has about the Feast. Is the point of view, immediate, inward, outward, microscopic, telescopic or suspicious? (Obviously, it could not be the blind point of view or else the whole discussion would be moot.) By determining the basic reason the person keeps the Feast can be key to reaching them with a solution to the problem of their discomfort.

One of the many strategies which can result in a positive result is to capitalize the discomfort with the group and its leader. In fact, "Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships" by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias recommends that the person attempting to escape the clutches of a cult leader learn everything they can about that cult leader. This can arm you to assist in devising your next steps out of the cult.

To this end, if you subtly suggest what the person has already concluded, that the group is disturbing and there is something wrong with their leader, one of the first options is to lead them to conclude that they need to attend another group. Before you panic, this is just the first step. Once you derail their addiction to the specific group and leader, you might be able to get them to change -- especially if you appeal to them by showing the advantages of the new group (I've done this and it is effective -- for some).

The next thing is to show the person that the Feasts are being kept on the wrong day for the group. Postponements are just wrong. This needs to be done skillfully and does require due diligence in the research into the calendar, but once done, it can be endless fun to explain the new moons and how the Feasts are calculated. Often the recipient of your research will tend to get bogged down and trust you with the details, at which you are off and running.

The group to choose next is vital, but not obvious. It depends on who you are trying to convince. Much of the time, and especially if the person is particularly sensitive and / or greatly concerned about "doing the right thing", it would be important to choose a group which has an obvious obnoxious controlling leader who will, once exposed, will be an incentive to leave that group, leaving the way for the person to conclude that it's just not worth it to be associated with the Armstrongist groups entirely.

Now this is just one such strategy which can be pursued and be warned that it will work only in a number of cases, but for those for which it does work, it is very effective.

Near_Earth_Object said...

The keeping of the Feast of Tabernacles, from the view of Christian orthodoxy, is an error. To say that it is required for salvation is heresy.

The short story is that the Old Covenant became extinct when the New Covenant was inaugurated. The OC hung on for a while but vanished after a transition period. Under the New Covenant, the meaning of Sabbath and Holydays are subsumed in Christ and there is no longer a necessity to engage in the forms associated with this meaning. So, in fact, the Sabbath is eternal because it has its New Covenant implementation in Christ who is eternal.

Armstrongites do not keep the Old Covenant Feast of Tabernacles. They observe a rendition of the OC Feast that was wholly manufactured by HWA and his minions. The ancient Jews lived for eight days in little brush huts not the Doubletree. The Doubletree and eating in restaurants are a Herbert innovation. There is very specific language in the OT about how the F of T is to be observed. But Armstrongists believe that Herbert had the right, as apostle, to change the observation of the Feast. So his modern rendition is widely accepted.

Herbert, et al, totally missed the New Covenant concept of the Holy Days being subsumed in Christ and assumed that the F of T had to be kept for eternity as prescribed in the OT (With some adjustments for all those people who would not sleep in a brush hut. You can only go so far with this kind of thing. People might just decide that they could find an easier church to be in somewhere.). This particular error in decision making is a leitmotif within the "theology" of the WCG.

Now I'm wondering what she heard that was "odd and disturbing". Can there be anything worse than traditional Armstrongism. Maybe someone announced that it was not really necessary to keep the Feast anymore. Who knows.

Black Ops Mikey said...

"Can there be anything worse than traditional Armstrongism"

Yes, there can be. Untraditional Armstrongism, such as the House of Yahweh of Yisrayl Hawkins ignominy has been featured on Dr. Phil. There are also some perfectly awful smaller sects of untraditional Armstrongism which make Scientology look relatively benign.

Outside Armstrongism, the FLDS of Warren Jeffs' infamy is also weird and creepy.

Nevertheless, traditional Armstrongism is weird and creepy enough after you scratch the surface of the thin veneer of appearances.

Herbert Armstrong, as you say, came up with his very own version of the 'Feast of Tabernacles' which is nothing more than a corporate convention. This is because that is exactly what Herbert Armstrong knew: He was used to the corporate world because he had to represent it through his ad copy writing. Once everyone comes to recognize the evils of corporations (especially helpful is "Moral Mazes" by Robert Jackall), it is no stretch of imagination to apply it to Armstrongism: Except for the name on the door, no one can effectively differentiate them.

It's so bad that if you don't understand the working of the Corporate Fortune 200 company, you can't begin to understand Armstrongism.

Armstrongism is a church or religion, it's a religious cult corporation where the end always justifies the means and is a triumph of image over substance.

Gavin R said...

These days RCG refers to Pack's Restored COG. The chances of Dave declaring that the FOT is no longer necessary to observe are zero.

Byker Bob said...

The lady well may have heard Dave's "common" doctrine in which all of one's assets belong to the church and he can demand them at any time, or that spouses of "unconverted" mates can send him community assets without consulting the non-member mate. Or, just declaring himself an apostle or prophet, calling himself Joshua, and stating that other ACOG leaders were going to suffer spontaneous human combustion all are pretty scary when you get right down to it. Dave is way out there!


Minimalist said...

Near_Earth_Object said...
the Old Covenant became extinct when the New Covenant was inaugurated

That's fine as long as we concede it is a theory sans evidence.
I wonder who invented it? Probably Paul in the 40s or 50s,
later embellished by the writer of epistle to Hebrews in the 60s:
Setting the stage for the fantastical Gospel of Mark in the 70s

DennisCDiehl said...

Minimalist said !

That's fine as long as we concede it is a theory sans evidence.
I wonder who invented it? Probably Paul in the 40s or 50s,
later embellished by the writer of epistle to Hebrews in the 60s:
Setting the stage for the fantastical Gospel of Mark in the 70s

Now that was refreshing! Once you put Paul first and then the Gospels, things fall in to place and make sense. It never crosses anyone's mind the Gospels were written long after Paul and he never heard of them, his Christ being cosmic and hallucinatory.
Paul also never quotes any earthly Jesus because he never heard much of one.

Minimalist said...

Part II

As a failed messianic movement, Christianity should have Peter'd-out(pun intended)by mid century.
But Mark's Gospel - the greatest literary hoax in history - hit one out of the ballpark.
What to do next? What would Hollywood do? Go with a sequel - or two - or three.

DennisCDiehl said...

With Luke Quoting 54% of Mark and Matthew 94%, they hardly count as "eyewitness accounts" More like "Eyecopiest Accounts!"

Minimalist said...

Near_Earth_Object said...
Under the New Covenant, the meaning of Sabbath and Holydays are subsumed in Christ

Then why have Christians canonized prophecies of future theocracy observing Moses' holydays?

Ain't easy being a Christian, living with contradictions.

Near_Earth_Object said...

So if God decides to restore the form of the Feast in the future, are you going to walk up and tell him he can't do that? I would like to be there. On second thought, maybe I want to be at a distance.

I am unfamiliar with the idea that Paul's concepts preceded the Gospels. That I think is the implication. The date of actual publication, if it can even be incontrovertibly determined, doesn't mean much. This knowledge circulated orally. If anyone has a credible source on Pauline theology preceding the Gospels, I would like to peruse it.

Questeruk said...

Black Ops Mikey said..
“The next thing is to show the person that the Feasts are being kept on the wrong day for the group. Postponements are just wrong.”

This is a strange point to try to get across – after all the main COG groups use the same calendar as the vast majority of the Jewish religion (amounting to many millions of people), which very definitely includes postponements.

Also postponements don’t even come into the basic calculation of the calendar – it’s only after the dates for the year have been calculated that it is then looked at to see if postponements need to be applied for that particular year just calculated.

Maybe you could mention to the person that the calculated calendar takes the average length of the month (the molad) to be 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 3 and one third seconds. And then mention that modern day NASA calculations for this period Is half a second different per month.

It’s interesting that this was calculated so accurately 2000 years ago, without aid of digital clocks, or even the accuracy of a pendulum clock.

Minimalist said...

Near_Earth_Object said...
Armstrongites do not keep the Old Covenant Feast of Tabernacles

Exactly, so I wonder how F.O.T. can "foreshadow" a Kingdom when it was only observed "correctly" in that original alleged theocracy? Having failed to sustain this, they ingeniously invented messianic expectation (something factions of their derivative Christian & Muslim religions would later employ). But bravo to the ancient Hebrews though for being consistent, because what deity worth his salt wouldn't provide a utopian theocracy for his creation? Skeptics can press the faithful on this point. And, not having achieved or sustained this: Jews, Christians, and Muslims have then tried to install theocracies with their own (military) efforts. Military because people/nations are generally reluctant to live in dictatorships where dozens of 'infractions' are subject to corporal & capital punishment.

Near_Earth_Object said...


Like a good recovering Armstrongist, you are citing what the WCG taught about the FoT. The idea that the holydays presage eschatological events is a theory manufactured by HWA that I do not subscribe to. Nowhere in the OT or NT is the eschatalogical foreshadowing suggested. The holydays are based upon the exodus from Egypt and the harvest. The NT asserts that these days along with the Sabbath foreshadow Christ.

A clear point of collapse for HWA's theory is the 100 year period. It is based on some very unclear scriptures of doubtful interpretation. And he used the doubtful interpretation rather than the clear statements of the OT regarding what these days represent. WCG members would plead "inspiration" but why wasn't 1975 and inspired decision on the part of H?

The man wasn't inspired and there is no 100 year period.

Minimalist said...

Near_Earth_Object said...
"[Minimalist is a]..recovering Armstrongist"

Poor confused minimalist,
if only he would accept Jesus and believe the Bible
-- where the Gospels are placed before the epistles --
...(implying they were written first)

Minimalist said...

Mosul Iraq:
Yahwism's latest 'Utopian Theocracy' devolves to a bloodbath.

Not quite as bloody as when the 30-Years-War Christian civil-war showdown.
(body count 8 million)

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