According to a posting on the JLF board, 86 Tkach congregations have disappeared since 1999. Eighty six. Two have been formed in that time. Net loss: 84.
Yes, the Lord sure has blessed the WCG, as Oral Roberts used to say, "real good." Or was that someone else?
And the credit goes to Joe and the team out in Glendora. Take a bow guys. Now Mike, no need to hide at the back. I think we all feel a praise chorus coming on!
Okay, so the JLF writer (Anne) has a proven track record, and featured several times as a guest writer on the old AW. She's going to have the details available in the near future. And, as Anne points out, these figures don't "cover the human loss and what condition the remaining congregations are in."
But 86... that's congregations, brethren! Disbanded, gone, kaput! In seven years. And that's just in the USA!
[Drag out calculator: 86 divided by 7, um, where's that = key?] That's twelve congregations down the gurgler per annum! One every month.
Twelve? Seven years? Quick, someone contact Willie Dankenbring and crack open the Book of Daniel: prophecy marches on!
No, okay, just kidding.
Now remind me again, Joe is still Pastor General and President because...
...because the WCG has an exemption from the RICO statutes.
...because California passed the Petra bill.
...because the bylaws allow him to be in office longer than Methuselah, then personally appoint one of his family members as successor.
...because under the bylaws, Tkach can do no wrong. At least no wrong he can be held accountable for.
he can be.
And, darn it all, after all, even with his protestations otherwise, he wants to be.
WCG is not alone.
In 9 years, United lost 40 congregations. Not one a month, but still.... Still it seems the largest left standing.
Should we really be complaining about this? It seems fair to critique the leaders of both WCG and UCG for their failures, but isn't this really a good thing that so many people are being liberated from these dastardly, life-ruining cults?
I'm hoping they're all gone within the next ten years. Such validation will make my retirement oh so pleasant!
Darn . . . it's just gotten so hard to keep people in cults anymore. All the little coglets should get together and form one group called "The SOBs" (same ole boys).
Change doctrines (no big deal there) and go with preterism - it's all the rage now because of Jeebus delaying his coming.
Hey, ya gotta go with what you can sell. Create a little fear that "all scripture" has been fulfilled (Luke 21:22) and only "the church" can tell what lays in store for the future beyond the fulfilled Revelation though the profit, er, "prophet".
Just gotta come off that pre-millennialism, people are beginning not to buy into it anymore. I mean, two thousand years . . . come on, that's getting hard to swallow.
Every plant, which my heavenly Father has not planted, shall be rooted up. Matt 15:13
Has anyone ever considered that the WCG is a total reject by our Creator? I wish people would get down the real business of life and stop sucking the life-blood out of other people in the "name of Jesus."
Although there is always some sadness about the failure of the WCG, like the sadness over any kind of loss, still we can be very happy that the WCG, which really never should have existed in the first place, is continuing to lose members. Some unfortunately are just moving from error to error, but if they are abandoning Armstrongian or Tkachian misinterpretations of the Bible, or are giving up solifideism, I can't help but be happy about that.
What can we say.
The nett loss of 84 congregations couldn't have happened to nicer people.
While the membership of the current WCG may fluctuate, its disappearance from the American religious scene would be unfortunate. The WCG still functions as a half way house for people exiting Armstrongism. I think most of the potential exiters are within the ranks of the WCG.
When I was exiting Armstrongism, I discovered how ill equipped other denominations are to deal with ex-cult members, in general, and Armstrongites, in particular. My second discovery was the extraordinary prevalance of nominalism within the North American denominations. If the WCG vanishes, these denominations will not be of much help in bringing people into the Christian mainstream. They can barely help themselves to that status.
Theologically, "Tkachian interpretations" are well within the bounds of orthodox Christianity. If we think of the Calvinists at one pole and the Arminians at the other, the WCG occupies the middle ground towards the Arminian end. Not really that bad. Most of the criticism can be levelled at WCG's implementation of ecclesiastical and fiscal governance.
"its disappearance from the American religious scene would be unfortunate."
Perhaps. But not as unfortunate as the creation of the WCG was for the American religious scene.
"Theologically, 'Tkachian interpretations' are well within the bounds of orthodox Christianity."
Defining "orthodox Christianity" in a somewhat more loose, post-1517 sense, yes. But for me, I'm not more interested in listening to a Joseph Tkach hold forth on what the Bible supposedly means than I am in giving heed to the opinions of Herbert Armstrong. Whether it's the opinions of a high school dropout autodidact or the opinions of an Azusa Pacific doctorate, it still boil's down to some guy's opinion.
As for Arminianism vs. Calvinism, personally I'm undecided about whether Thomism or Molinism makes more sense. Thomism is bit more like Calvinism (only without the double predestination idea of God choosing to damn most people to hell before He ever creates them), while Molinism is a bit more like Arminianism. I've seen decent arguments made for both theological opinions.
But I'm getting way off topic now . . .
Half way house or not, what the wcg needs to do is to die. If the mental cases that still sit in the pews want to jump from truth to truth, let them! This is their existence. From one preacher harlot to the next, they learn little, however mentally, they do find it beneficially self gratifying. I have termed this “religious masturbation!” Theologically speaking of course!
Never fool with a successful formula. Herbert Armstrong had one.
The WCG should have stuck with the tried and true. They'd have a winning team and have kept the money.
You can't get the same ingredients you could pre 1990s. Because of the change in the nature of society, the tried and true formula would blow up in your face: The ingredients went bad.
So the new formulas based on the old aren't success right now either. Vanilla has slipped to vanillin. Not the same. Flavor is similar, but not as satisfying and people are looking for something that is more the genuine article.
Unfortunately, the seekers won't find it because, darn it all, the whole thing was imitation from the beginning.
While there might be a lot of losses in the US where most Christian churches are still losing members, the WCG has had phenomenal growth in places like Africa, the Philippines and places in Latin America in the last few years.
Many of the churches in the US had to die, if for no other reason than everyone was driving in one hour to church. A healthy church has to be community based (where it can serve the community they are in) not commuter based.
I look at the website for the church I once attended, mostly old people
They get my vote as having the ugliest website of the COG splinters I've visited.
Image is everything. Style always precedes substance.
At least paint something on the outside of that warehouse wall they are now stuck with as a headquarters! It's STILL So-Cal, baby!
Gavin seems to be quite selective in the information he shares about any of the COGs. Anyone researching this issue will find that the WCG is having lots of growth in various areas.
"On the weekend of the December 2, the Kenyan WCG leaders met to review the current situation of our church there, and to discuss possibilities for the future. We reviewed the church in terms of statistics over the past 10 years. In 1996, we had two congregations with about three hundred in attendance. Of those three hundred, about 60 left due to doctrinal issues, and of course some people have left for various other reasons, and some, sadly, have died. Today there are 25 churches with a maximum attendance of just over 1100."
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