Saturday 13 January 2007

Peddling the Gospel

It's a peculiar thing, but the Churches of God are, despite their reduced circumstances, one of the more visible presences on the World Wide Web.

The proof of that assertion is in those irritating Google ads that tie in website content with whatever wares a retailer has to peddle. It doesn't have to be a specifically COG association either; chances are that if the keyword is Bible, prophecy, Sabbath or something similar, Google will deliver a smorgasbord of the usual suspects.

Example: the current AW poll results are surrounded by Google ads. I'm not knocking it, because it means the service is free (or alternatively, the COG advertisers shell out for it, which is a satisfying thought.) But even when the text of the poll has nothing particularly COGish about it, Papa Pack turns up to the party, usually just across from UCG. And, horror of horrors, Hulme seems to have finally “caught on” in a bid to attract traffic to his Vision website, and even Ron Weinland is promoting his brand of soon-coming doom.

So what? Well, I don't notice the Mormons using this strategy, or the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the SDAs. Maybe they're just not as desperate. On the other hand, maybe Pack and friends have hit on a really successful way of marketing the One True Gospel!

Yeah, right.

Meanwhile Don Billingsley has a new magazine for his faithful flock (who, as you can see, feature on the cover.) Something to put on the coffee table alongside The Good News, Vision, Tomorrow's World, The Real Truth, The Philadelphia Trumpet, The... oh, you get the idea. The new entrant is called The Philadelphia Remnant. Nifty title huh! Now to pick up a few subscribers maybe someone could suggest he spend some of the generous tithe money on those cool little Google ads...


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this is just another attempt to prove to everyone that this group is the ONLY one faithful to all the teachings of HWA. My question to all of the COG organizations like this is....Who is being faithful to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Bible itself? We are to be examining ourselves, and not comparing ourselves. Where does God ever require us in the Bible to read another book for religious instruction? All of us need to quit following men and follow the example of Christ Himself. I include myself in this.

Richard said...

Along these lines: it's intersting to note that UCG's Bible Reading Program is putting a surprising new spin on an oft-quoted Church of God verse from Proverbs 23:

"Buy the truth, and do not sell it" is sometimes seen as a prohibition against selling religious books, even Bibles. But this is not the point of the verse. The meaning is that we are to expend all we must to gain true knowledge and, once gained, never sell it away—for any price.

Is UCG setting members up for something here?

Anonymous said...

"We are not divided, all one body, we;"

And with ads out there, we make google history....

Anonymous said...

(Sigh) It was nice when the information was in magazine form, and when it appeared in newspaper display boxes outside of supermarkets, one could surreptitiously spirit the contents away to a local trash dumpster.

I guess in a way, though, the internet is better, because a google search will also bring up information which counters the
ACOG theories.


Anonymous said...

Now if they just HAD the one true gospel. The gospel was that Jesus was coming back "soon", in that generation, to establish the kingdom of God on the earth which was "shortly" to come to pass and in Revelation was "at hand".

But, alas, it didn't happen. What a disappointment that must have been - even worse than the great disappointment of the Millerites in 1844, huh?

Anonymous said...

Now if Mister Billingsley had put a picture of COWS on the mag cover instead of sheep he could have called it The Philadelphia RUMINANT

Anonymous said...

Say... Isn't this the Mr. Billingsly who drove that car into the oncoming lane that resulted in the death of Richard David Armstrong?

As was typical of the Radio Church of God, Mr. Billingsly had little sleep: There was always so much to do and so little time -- which is pretty typical of these little cults where sleep deprivation is a part of the overall cult experience, one which was shared by AC students who typically could get little more than 6 hours of sleep a night. Narcissistic cult leaders demand such devotion from their followers that providing a narcissistic source taps the totality of life from the source who give their all mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically, psychologically and socially.

Hopefully, the new leader has had enough experience to allow his followers to have enough sleep. On second thought, his sermons are probably a good resource for that -- as well as articles in "The Philadelphia Remnant" so the remnant doesn't become much smaller too quickly.

Of course, competition in the Church Corporate, since natural selection enforces survival of the fittest, will sort out the chaff from the skim milk of the word at the shallow end of the gene pool to insure survival of the species -- in this case, the species being the Churches of God.

Unless this is a dinosaur thing.

Anonymous said...

For those unfamiliar with these smaller splinters, the word among them is that God is dividing up the church as prophesied to insure preserving "The Word".

There could be another view: The genera is dying.

Anonymous said...

My vote: Dinosaurs.

Pray for meteors.

Anonymous said...

"There was always so much to do and so little time -- which is pretty typical of these little cults where sleep deprivation is a part of the overall cult experience, one which was shared by AC students who typically could get little more than 6 hours of sleep a night."

"Little more than 6 hours of sleep a night" is sleep deprived? When I was single, and also when I was in college, I *voluntarily* deprived myself of sleep. Staying up all night was not uncommon for me back then. Even now I still stay up late working on some project or other, sometimes because of my job and sometimes because it's the only way for me to get something done I want to do. I do best when I get 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night, but I do just fine with 5 or 6 hours.

Then there are the sleep deprived years that come with raising children. If I'd know that marriage was tantamount to joining a cult, I might have thought twice about it. ;-)

"The gospel was that Jesus was coming back 'soon', in that generation, to establish the kingdom of God on the earth which was 'shortly' to come to pass and in Revelation was 'at hand'."

"At hand" means "has come," "is here," "has arrived." According to the New Testament, the Kingdom of God has already come and has been here since the birth of the king, Jesus, and the One "who was, and who is, and who is to come" is always coming for His own.

Anonymous said...

Lots of experiences from AC vary wildly.

Most students were not necessarily tapped in to the pot parties in Pasadena in the Seventies, but may have participated in the beer busts, for example.

And, uh... the beer busts of AC in the Seventies did not involve wet coed beer soaked t-shirts... as far as we know.

Douglas Becker said...

"It's a peculiar thing, but the Churches of God are, despite their reduced circumstances, one of the more visible presences on the World Wide Web.

"The proof of that assertion is in those irritating Google ads that tie in website content with whatever wares a retailer has to peddle."

"Example: the current AW poll results are surrounded by Google ads."

Maybe not always, Gavin. Bring on those Benny Hinn ring tones! Benny Hinn has his own ring tones?!!?

God is Poll Results for: Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ads by Google
Benny Hinn Ringtone
Send this ringtone to your phone right now!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Yes! Rod Meredith himself wrote about this by saying how the pitiful spectacle of over four hundred sects ought to sicken the heart of any sincere believer in Christ. He goes on to say the cause of the confusion is one basic reason of not comprehending and applying the purpose of God's word. He says for all readers to not kid themselves, because you would be dishonest in twisting and perverting scripture, changing the subject, and not admitting error when you are proven it.
He then contradicts himself by belittling a person who wrote a letter asking him (Meredith)to admit his (Meredith's) mistake.
Interesting as this letter shows why LCG won't correct mistakes they make and refuse anyone's input, however humbly put across to them, to do the right thing. After all they think they are above Christ's plain instructions on the subject.
I think that anyone in all the cog's that would take the time and see that they are all using the wrong yardstick for their version of the "truth?" maybe, just maybe, they could come to see what the REAL TRUTH is. And it ain't HWA and the splinters,
jim hamby

Anonymous said...

I did not know where else to post this, but on Dr. Bobby Thiel's site he has the last LCG update. You need to check it out in the departments of their numbers for 2006 and the income as well as the False teacher paragraph.
It may explain the confusion of the 8-9 % growth in lcg.

Anonymous said...

I also didn't know where else to put this so I am posting here. It appears that Living didn't won't people to hear what Mr. Ames said about the Sabbath when he visited Arkansas in December. They have threatened Doug Grace with a law suit if he doesn't remove the taped sermon from his site at Did Mr. Ames make some mistakes in the sermon one would wonder.

Anonymous said...

Oh, boy.

I'm a little late in the game, but it looks like this is the offensive bit -- or at least, the part of Richard Ames' sermon I take the greatest exception to. It's about 27 minutes into the second half:

What about examples in the past when doctrines were off base? Did everyone leave the Church because we were keeping Pentecost on the wrong day? We kept Pentecost on Monday for years, and Mr. Armstrong would not change, although others knew from biblical research that the scriptures plainly bring out in the Hebrew that you count beginning with, not exclusively. And once Mr. Armstrong understood that from a biblical Hebrew scholar that that was the correct understanding of the scriptures, then we changed it from Monday to the correct biblical day of Sunday.

But what about those years we were keeping Monday, and others in the Church said they knew better? You know what? Monday was required, because God backs up authority within His Church. There is loosing and binding, and we were under God's government to keep Monday. But those who knew they should keep Sunday also kept Sunday on their own privately, without causing dissension in the Church, and went through an appropriate procedure to bring the issue to the attention of the Church and Mr. Armstrong and the appropriate process brought about the change. You're not seeing appropriate processes in our day today. God organizes His Church; there is Church government.

(Any transcription errors are entirely my own.)

This reminds me of good ol' Gerald Waterhouse, who said if Mr. Armstrong told him to eat unclean food, he'd do it -- because Mr. Armstrong is God's Apostle, and it's Mr. Armstrong's fault if he's wrong, not GW's.

I hate it when the people who are supposed to be teaching us to follow God forget that we are responsible to God first, and any humans given authority by God second.

Anonymous said...

Well, what is not known to many is that HWA kept Sivan 6 for a year or two in the 40's.
But remember how HWA had written so much about how Pentecost could never be on a SUNDAY, on how GOD had led him (HWA) to write those articles and booklets about why it could never be on a PAGAN SUN god day, how GOD the Father would not allow it for so many reasons.
How soon Ames and others forget .
And for the Hebrew Scholar that HWA contacted about the change to Sunday for Pentecost, That scholar wrote 17 renditions of his Grammatical Hebrew and the last one had a section in Hebrew and English on the Leviticus 23:15 "Mimocharat Ha shabbatt" counting of the Wavesheaf, and guess what? This scholar did not count it the way WCG told us this he did.
On top of that just go to the letters HWA sent out to the membership in January and February of 1974 and check to see if ANY of those references where HWA stated he had the scholars etc. humbled into seeing it HWA's way, ever panned out. THEY DID NO. An easy one to check would be the RSV people HWA said in those letters of convincing about Leviticus 23:15. Just check out the New Revised standard that came out years later and you will see that NO changes were made despite HWA's insistance. Now to top it all off, the WCG came out later in 1974 with their "Introduction to the Hebrew calendar" where if you read it, all the COG's including WCG after 1974 kept the counting wrong in many of the years. According to their own teachings in this very long paper, you could never have a Friday night Passover, a Saturday Night Night to be much Observed, or a Sunday !st Day of Unleavened Bread". To say the least, just check out the few references they make in that paper to see if they even quoted them accurately. You may be surprised at the con job we were all pawned off on.
Then try to find in the years when WCG, GCG or LCG had a Friday Night Passover and check what was written or said those same years.
HWA each time until he died wrote about it incorrectly according to the 1974 change. RCM never got it right as far as i have seen. He ,if you remember the FOT opening night videos for years, read and spoke it wrong. Confusion reins supreme as far as i can tell.
Why? I ask, Why? can't these guys get their stuff together?

jim hamby

Anonymous said...

LCG doesn't seem to have it together on other matters either. In Dr. Winnail's update he stated that he had a very profitable visit with congregations in Fayettville Arkansas and----. He said that it was very encouraging to see the positive attitudes and overall stability of the brethren in that part of the country. I have been told since that one of those "very profitable" visits resulted in the closing of the Fayettville congegation except at the times they might have a visiting minister in the area. It seems that out of the few members left there is no one to be in charge to open and close the hall and do the other things. So was it profitable or not, I wonder.