There are two types of COGgers, inclusives and exclusives, open and closed. Which people identify with says a lot about whether they're caught up in a sectarian spirit or not.
Take Ken Westby. Ken was one of those who took the high road in the mid-70s and walked away from what was then a very successful religious operation and a comfortable ministerial lifestyle. Is Ken "open" or "closed"? Here's a quick quote:
"The Azusa Street Revival launched an amazing modern movement and I'm sure there are many sincere Christians included in it, but to suggest it is a modern display of the events and gifts of the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection is folly and has no basis in Scripture."
Ken seems to be stating two things. (1) He believes that there are genuine Christian people within the Pentecostal fold, and (2) Pentecostalism nonetheless isn't the same thing as the early church experienced. Fair enough, he's being gracious in his disagreement and leaving open the possibility that the Good Spirit works among these people too.
Now compare what another COG commentator has to say about Ken's comments.
"There are no sincere real Christians involved with the Azusa Street Revival--there are many sincere people who do not truly know Christ. And actually, that is a problem with ACD--ACD's [sic] denies the pre-existence of Christ and the accuracy of the New Testament (please see the article Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning), hence I do not believe that ACD really is a COG."
Here's a typical exclusionist in full cry. Those boundary markers are really important, and they have nothing to do with the beatitudes or loving service to others. Nope, those boundaries are dogma. When you think "faith" means "doctrine" it's really important to patrol the perimeter, bark at those beyond and chase out any who are out of step. That is what makes a sect work. He does both things here: yaps at the Azusa-style Charismatics - they're definitely beyond the pale - then nips at Ken's heels to demonstrate that he has no right to be counted as a member of the inner circle, a brother or an equal.
How anyone can stay quite this staunch and rigid I'm not sure. The society in Jesus' day was, as far as we can tell, a very exclusionary one with lots of religious boundary markers. The Jesus portrayed in the Gospels doesn't seem to have given a hoot about them.
Most of us were drawn into the WCG (or a splinter) at a time when we saw the world in black and white terms. Good and evil, God and Satan, blessing and cursing, Sabbath or Sunday. Most of us are still not so good at recognising shades of grey. But life is a subtle thing, and the "heretical" Samaritan is the one who stops to help the stranger, the "heretical" Quakers are at the heart of the anti-slavery movement, and the "wicked liberals" have done more to establish a just society than all the Bible-waving evangelists added together. Which kind of makes you wonder whether the COGs, which have contributed so little to the betterment of our world, do anything but look utterly foolish when they utter their jeremiads on society's alleged ills. Faith is a lot more than assenting to some doctrine or other, and doctrinal correctness is a lot less than faith.
He drew a circle that shut me out -
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the will to win
We drew a circle and drew him in.
Which seems a nobler thing to do than putting one's energies into patrolling the boundaries and piddling on the fence posts.
Oh, sure keep it up. The next thing you know, there will be publicans and sinners in the Kingdom, along with that thief on the cross -- not to mention the good Samaritan.
Be a liberal.
The next thing you know, pretty much the whole world will be saved and we will have peace.
And what will the xCoGs have then? It won't be limited to just 144,000: There will be an innumerable multitude in the Kingdom with just the few Pharisees and judgmental ministers and administrators on the outside, weeping, wailing and gnashing their teeth.
What a terrible thing to let so many partake of Jesus! The xCoGs won't be special any more. Although they will remain peculiar.
While in general I do agree with Ken there is a problem with this as a philosophy. For Example Mormons teach that God the Father used to be a human on another planet and that He and Mrs God have sex in heaven to produce souls.
Jesus was concieved when God came down to earth and had sex with Mary to conceive Jesus.
Can everyone see why I might doubt the Christianity of someone who believed this?
Ultimately it is not my decision and who am I to limit God by my theology? BUT THERE ARE LIMITS.
Good Gavin said
"Which kind of makes you wonder whether the COGs, which have contributed so little to the betterment of our world, do anything but look utterly foolish when they utter their jeremiads on society's alleged ills."
But you know, the Orthodox community did all it could to destroy the WCG. Just like their forefathers did in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th centuries and on. And you know they succeeded... they pulled it off....
So the old WCG did not had a chance to reform. They were taken over by Orthodoxy.
We are in that process now... it is a time of reform in the Churches of God.
Given the opportunity to reform, the Churches of God will do just fine.
What would you say to the people who call reform "Laodeceanism"?
Reform in the COGlets????????? Stop! I can't stop laughing! You are hilarious dude!
Armstrongism has now hit the over 500 mark for splinter cults off of the harlot mother church. All are lead by little tyrants who think they are God's gift to humanity. When these sniveling money grubbers bite the dust, then maybe there will be reform in COGlet land. By that time, by the grace of God, Armstrongism will be extinct!
"While in general I do agree with Ken there is a problem with this as a philosophy. For Example Mormons teach that God the Father used to be a human on another planet and that He and Mrs God have sex in heaven to produce souls.
Jesus was concieved when God came down to earth and had sex with Mary to conceive Jesus."
From my perspective, the Mormon view is no stranger than the "orthodox" view. It's all pretty strange...
"But you know, the Orthodox community did all it could to destroy the WCG. Just like their forefathers did in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th centuries and on. And you know they succeeded... they pulled it off...."
Depends on what you mean. There were quite a number of variants of Christianity in the first and second centuries; in the third century, an early "orthodox" Christianity began to take precedence, and eventually became the accepted "true" Christianity. (Although eastern and western forms of this Christianity increasingly differed from each other.) There were certainly some alternative variants of Christianity extant during those early centuries; as to what may have been "true" Christianity, or otherwise, is for the reader to decide. The true early history of Christianity seems too diverse and sometimes contradictory to go around hedging bets, if that's what you feel you need to do.
My pastor at church this past Sunday made a statement that is appropriate to the latest subject matter on this blog:
"The difference between authentic and inauthentic religion is this: Inauthentic religion focuses more on how religion sees God. Authentic religion focuses more on how God sees you."
In other words, work on making yourself a better person and let God take care of the rest.
Assuredly, there must be some standard criteria for evaluation.
Would it be fair to use Scripture for the measurement of Spirituality or should we just make it up as we go along, based on how we subjectively feel -- or better yet, who is currently in power as The Authority?
Ken Westby sets a great example that I wish more people in the COGs would follow.
He treats others with acceptance and respect, finding common ground and not getting hung up over points of disagreement.
A recent example: He has just posted at his website an article by Jared Olar, not worrying about the fact that Jared as a Roman Catholic doesn't share his unitarian views. Ken just recognized an excellent piece of work that deserves to be widely circulated.
"Depends on what you mean. There were quite a number of variants of Christianity in the first and second centuries; in the third century, an early "orthodox" Christianity began to take precedence, and eventually became the accepted "true" Christianity."
Oh... I do wish it were that noble and that innocent. Elaine Paigles writes in The Gnostic Gospels, page 118
"The bishops drew the line against those who challenged any of the three elements of this system: doctrine, ritual, and clerical hierarchy --- and the Gnostics challenged them all. Only by suppressing Gnosticism did orthodox leaders establish that system of organization which united all believers into a single institutional system structure. They allowed no other distinction between first- and second-class members than that of laity, nor did they tolerate any who claimed exemption from doctrinal conformity, from ritual participation, and from obedience to the discipline that the priests and bishops administered. Gnostic churches which rejected that system for more subjective forms of religious affiliation, survived as churches, for only a few hundred years."
In the early first century there was the pure faith--true apostolic Christianity practiced by Christ, the original Apostles, Paul and James the Lord's brother (which has rarely been taken seriously since the second century when most of its teachings were labeled "heresy"). Few groups have tried to return to that original faith--which, as historical resources prove--include the seventh-day Sabbath, Biblical annual holy days, clean and unclean meats and looking toward the return of Christ to establish the millinium (read the applicable sections of Will Durant's Rise and Fall and other works). The only church I have been able to find that is giving apostolic christianity a go is Living, which is why I attend there. The situation is not perfect (but reading Acts, 1 and 2 Corinthians, it never has been--man the church at Corinth had problems), but we are trying.
To the last "anonymous", Maybe you are trying but the leadership of LCG just do not care to fit that bill in my belief. Their carelessness is evident and they refuse to correct error they make.
There have been many articles from LCG over the last several years that show nothing short of hypocrasy when they do not practice what they preach.
The sloppiness of their scholarship is one case in point.
Over at the blog on "wally's world", you can see mentions of some of this. Just look them up yourself. Of course any organization can and will have problems, but they are doomed to failure if when they have become aware of "real" problems, and then fail to even try to correct them. LCG was approached about the many glaring errors (including the one about Christ being resurrected on a Saturday night(which would be Sunday) and that was the proof of the Sabbath!
Oh! it took something like 4 and a half months to correct their LCG WEB site with this error.
Since many articles as stated were written by these guys admonishing all to put their best foot forward in scholorship and the like, i ask why was those writing those same articles , not willing to do the same?
Maybe the leaders are blinded and deceived. The trouble is the membership are as well. When the leader goes on a video (some should be made into blooper reels),and makes glaringly inaccurate statements and refuses to correct them, i would say he is a very ineffectual leader.
What makes me wonder about all of this is; Do these guys even read the sources from whence they quote? If they did, i ask how RCM, AMES, WINNAIL and the late JOHN OGWYN have all quoted the same non-existant source? All this to make HWA a true prophet of God. ESPECIALLY after they were told of it a long time ago and i see AMES in the latest Tommorow's World doing it again? Amazing!
If they did, i would think they would make sure it was done accurately. After all their reputation is at stake here.
Especially since so many are wrong, it makes me think they just make stuff up.(actually a lot is, you need to just check the references they site). When i write a letter to the editor , i always at least check to see if it is what i want it to say.
I had brought to LCG attention long ago, these errors. I did so in a humble fashion. I worded it such as to show nothing but respect and to approach LCG with
a helpful act, especially when the hits on the web site of LCG were growing because of the Wisconsin shooting. I stated how it would behoove all to be careful in the research and quotes, because the media and such were looking for something to use against the Church in light of the shooting.
I was met with derision from them out there. At least i had a nice local minister, who was a very big help.
Since LCG does not have a spirit of discernment nor one of repentance, i feel they are liars and deceivers.
What else would you think if they continue to quote non existant sources and out of context ones as well? And don't forget the out and out lies of HWA never setting dates. RCM states over and over about how they came close but never did. At Least UCG admits that in their very first "World News and Prophecy" magazine.
JIm Hamby said:
"Oh! it took something like 4 and a half months to correct their LCG WEB site with this error."
So you admit that the error was corrected; how gracious of you. Guess there is an interest in correcting error at LCG--just not fast enough to suit you personally; now we can all understand. Frankly, as overworked and understaffed as those guys are, it is no surprise that it took a while to get to that one detail of so very many.
"What makes me wonder about all of this is; Do these guys even read the sources from whence they quote? If they did, i ask how RCM, AMES, WINNAIL and the late JOHN OGWYN have all quoted the same non-existant source?"
The fact that they made a typo by typing "Plain Truth", when they should have typed "Good News" was already explained in the Wally thread--and here you are making the same false accusation over again in this thread!
"Since LCG does not have a spirit of discernment nor one of repentance, i feel they are liars and deceivers."
Obviously LCG did have sufficient discernment to run off a negative false accuser like you.
As far as repentance, I have never seen any Church leaders humbly admit to being "very" human, having "many" faults and making mistakes like Mr. Meredith and the other leading ministers in LCG. Mr. Meredith has acknowleged his past mistakes and appologized more than any COG minister I know of. By misrepresenting him otherwise, it is you who are a liar and deciever.
A bitter and twisted spirit is a terrible thing to behold. You should get rid of it before it eats you up inside.
To reply to the last "anonymous" i must state a few things in what you brought up.
One mistake taking over 4 months to correct, in light of all the world checking out LCG to find a reason why Terry Ratzmann shot to death those church members in Wisconsin, would have sufficed an immediate change in any error brought to their attention.
Making one correction and failing others is like saying HWA was a true prophet of God when he made one or two predictions that came true and the other 458 or whatever number of those that were wrong seem to be alright!
On the subject of a "TYPO" in the reference to the last "Tommorows World " is an interesting thing for you to bring up.
I knew where the quote came for when the men i mentioned using the non existant PT, used it in their writings. I asked respectfully if maybe they had the PT in question for my viewing , or maybe if HWA did not put the issue out that was quoted. I was informed by them "That an April 1952 Plain Truth does exist, that they did quote from it and it was just a hard one to find."
I had three people of authority in the church out at HQ look into this for me. When one came out with the mistake, (they did not apologize), they blamed a news letter written by a guy that had predicted the 1980's stock market crash, because this guy had quoted the info as coming from "Herbert Armstrong Editor of the Plain Truth magazine in April 1952 ". This guy did not say "April 1952 Plain Truth Magazine". Now LCG decided to use this and send it to me as an excuse of their mistake.
The truth is that Richard Nickles before he died had went to bat on my behalf and pointed out to Mr. Meredith where the quote came from (the Good News), plus the fact that RCM had continually misquoted Nickles church history book.
I did not have a "Bitter and Twisted Spirit as you alude to in your post.
I had heart failure every time i delved into this stuff.
It all started when i had a Minister in LCG go on the internet and e-mail lots of higher ups in LCG wrongly falsely accusing me in a bunch of areas. I went to him as well as "cc'd) those he had sent the e-mail to.
I approached him in this e-mail about the wrongful accusations he brought up and asked him why he did not come to me privately as the New Testament admonishes us to do with having a problem with a brother. I explained that i had found i had to send my reply to those he had sent his e-mail to, so we could clear it up. After all protocol had been severed by him anyway.I found out real fast that Ministry and HQ leaders do not have to follow this approach. I was even sent an article from GTA showing how they did not have to abide by the same standards as the sheep.
My Local minister had me compile a list of my concerns about the scholarship problems out at HQ.
The more i looked into this stuff and found so much more, i got so sick my heart failed on me 3 more times. I was bitter then. I have since that time realized the deception from them and no longer get to the point of having heart problems.
My local minister was very helpful as was LCG before Carl McNair died. I had no reason to question any of them then. But i became Disillusioned with LCG HQ when i was told that they did not agree with the bias of their quoted sources for their articles. I asked the question "Why do you quote a source you don't believe in, then change it to your agenda in the first place?" and then go on and misquote the source or just make it up?
By the way i have kept the correspondance from them in these regards and so my purpose is to help those who are in the cluthes of Armstrongism not be "spiritually deceived, twisted and bitter". I want them to see the truth before it is too late.
Now finally there is the "False accuser" label you attached to me. I have the proof of what i am writing here, so if you are willing to try proving me wrong., go for it. I just hope you don't get as sick as i did when i found this stuff out.
In my post that you criticized me for, PROVE ME WRONG.
I might ask permission to pass the proof along to you on a web page or LCG post, from Gavin here on the "Ambassador Watch"
I may be allowed to pass on a 2 page letter from RCM as well to help me prove the problem was to be corrected , but being a few years down the road, it has not except one or two instances.
So i have gotten rid of the "spirit" you attached to me.
I am just setting the record straight here. I compiled over 1800 pages of this stuff over the last several years and my minister before i left, was overwhelmed and asked me to just come up with mistakes since 1995. After i approached him, he asked just from LCG, then i was asked just the last two years before i left. It was still too much. Overworked you say and understaffed. I had three people looking into these matters out there and received three different answers to almost every thing i brought up. How could three people have done the job if they were so overworked etc.?
And then get the different responses back.
To Doug Winnail's Son's credit out there at Charlotte, he did find the source to be a "Good News" instead of "Plain Truth" on the April 1952 issue.
Oh, I forgot to respond to the poster's "running me off" comment in regard to LCG's great discernment in doing such, i can only comment that we had always been told that if the church went off the track, to leave. it was not the true church. This is paraphrasing but the message is there.
Sorry, a few more things.
It was hard for me to come to the decision i did to leave the LCG in light of their generosity in helping me through some tough financial times when i became disabled. They kept me from losing my home for one thing.
I was brought to this blog by someone who had a similar experience at Copper Mountain Colorados FOT LCG site.
He had traveled a few hundred more miles than i did and had a somewhat similar experience.
The experience of not seeing the family when your family had asked you to come to visit.
We both were turned away and because of the experience, we both feel as though LCG had some input in it as we both don't attend anymore. Two like examples may not be a conspiracy against those who don;'t agree with LCG, but one would wonder. The other poster has stated to me that he informed his wife and kids that HE would not have his Grandkids used as pawns in this matter. Now i think he may be bitter. I am somewhat bitter about this incident but at least i did get to see my grand kids a day before the FOT..
Just trying to clear up the "bitterness" charge against me. After all there were not all bad things in the church. I gave up smoking and drinking and such. My health is better for it as a result of a lot of things they taught. But reality sets in when you start to research them out in many other areas.
Well reading anonymous 6:38 P.M.,
If you all who really think it was ok for HWA and his successors to make mistakes, i must point you to Dr. Hoeh and what he said in the January 1952 Good News Magazine when he stated thus: "One in God's Office can't afford to make ANY mistakes" and he goes on to say if one in God's Office did make a mistake "That is why you have to suffer the consequences of ignorance!".
With that said, either HWA and company made no mistakes (that may explain why some never admit to them), or they have indeed suffered the consequences of their collective ignorance!.
Now you all say RCM admits to mistakes , but i also have heard him over the years repeatedly state he had never committed more than a minor sin since his baptism.
Interesting to say the least, especially since that is categorizing sin and we were taught that Sin is Sin. Therefore Ponder's son-in-law violating the Sabbath was ok because of Why? I am sorry i forget -Why?
Oh!, silly me, there are two sets of standards, God's and the COG Leaders, and the COG leaders set of standards supercede God's plain instructions!,
Post a Comment