Saturday 1 August 2009

A Birthday Wish from Doctor Bob

Over at his COGwriter blog, LCG cheerleader Bob Thiel notes that Herb Armstrong would have been 117 today (July 31). Quickly Bob assures us that "we in the COGs" do not celebrate birthdays. I'm not quite sure exactly how Bob got himself appointed as spokesperson for "we in the COGs" - how would that work? I know of COG members who do celebrate birthdays (in an understated way admittedly, but especially with reference to their children) - but no matter.

Bob concludes his preachments - after a typical rant about founders of other churches like Luther and Calvin - with a quotation from his idol.

Don’t believe me – BELIEVE YOUR BIBLE – BELIEVE GOD! I always say…check up! Listen without prejudice, with open mind, then check up–go to your BIBLE, and BELIEVE what you read there.

Bob then delivers his final homiletic stroke:

This is what I encourage readers of this website to do.

Oh, duh! The problem, Bob, is that people have read their Bibles, and discovered that the literalist, fundamentalist approach taken by Herb (and his sycophants) is just plain wrong. The Bible is many things, but it isn't a collection of proof-texts that can be cherry-picked to "prove" half-baked doctrines. It isn't some kind of 1000 piece jigsaw where you have to place the pieces just-so.

If you do believe your Bible - read sensibly and appropriately - you'll find yourself laughing at the doctrinal pratfalls of Herb Armstrong such as British Israelism. And if you do want to engage with the Bible intelligently, you'll have to adapt another piece of cheap advice that dropped from Herb's gracious lips: first forget what you think you know; especially, you'd have to say, from Armstrong's own literature.

Happy birthday Herb.


Paco said...

What Dr. Bob and lot of other xcg folks seem to forget is that Herb himself (sometime in the late 1970's) told church members that what he said about "Don't believe me, believe your Bible..." did not apply to members. Once you became a member of the WCG, you were (from Herb's point of view", spiritually obligated to believe him and what he said. He was God's Apostle, after all.

Just another HWA word game intended to draw people into the trap and then change the perceived rules of the game...

Baywolfe said...

The Plain Truth is that they never actually taught us how to read the bible. Just how to apply their filters to the words. From that standpoint, they were always right.

KScribe said...

It seems my prophecy about what Bob would say may go unfulfilled! Remind me of this tomorrow so that I can do what any good false prophet should do. Jump into the lake of fire head first!

Anonymous said...



I think of all those birthday parties I missed out on and all those cakes I never got to eat.

Didn't Herb have a party for his NINETIETH milestone?HYPOCRITE that he was.



Anonymous said...

Birthdays never were part of the Israelite lifestyle of Biblical times. Their celebration in more recent years has been picked up, at least by Jews knowingly in exile, from surrounding peoples, and is not considered a breach of covenant.

Mexicans celebrate name days. A name day is the day on which a saint, after whom the person is named, is celebrated during the annual daily cycle of the Mass in Catholic churches. I would imagine that Mexican-Americans would do both. I doubt that Mexicans in their own country feel deprived because of name day celebrations instead of birthdays.

Armstrong made a big deal of eschewing birthdays until numbers of years lived got so high that an achievement was noted. He did this for his mother in front of the whole Pasadena congregation in the Civic Auditorium on one of the annual Holydays; I think it was her 90th. He also gave Annie Mann a bouquet of 90 roses on her 90th birthday, as I remember. He did this openly, explaining the achievement factor. I suppose it raised some eyebrows, but one wearies of "majoring in the minors," as the saying went back then.

When one of the Grabbes, I think it was Lester, said, in a sermonette, that birthdays were a "non-issue," they immediately became a big issue and were forbidden once again. Some of the folks I know just kept on observing them, in the name of consistency, lest their non-church relatives think them bonkers for their on-again-off-again beliefs.

Ach. Does anyone think that observing birthdays is at the core of the world's problems? Would we have world peace within a decade or two of the universal cessation of birthday observance? And what about those Catholics and others who observe name days? Should we stick our holy noses into that too?

Questeruk said...

I thought NOT celebrating birthdays went out twenty years ago.

But maybe I was on a different planet?

Ned said...


No, you're on the right planet, it's Bob "we in the COGs" Thiel who is lost in space.

Anonymous said...

1803 - "John Ericsson, American naval engineer"
1927 - "Peter Nichols, English author"
1929 - "Lynne Reid Banks, English writer"
1944 - "Geraldine Chaplin, Actress & daughter of Charlie"
1944 - "Jonathon Dimbleby, Broadcaster"
1951 - "Evonne Crawley, Australian tennis player"

- "Jim Reeves, the American country and western singer, died in an aircrash"

Anonymous said...

i noticed this statment from Dr. Bob as well:

"...HWA actually did teach sola Scriptura."

that simply cannot be true as the calendar is not in the bible. the truth is, The Church is a mixture of scripture & tradition. of course, this makes it easy for the Sunday crowd to claim legitimacy since they cannot distinguish God's tradition from man's.

and by the way, I'm COG and I celebrate birthdays, as does every COG'er that I know. the "no birthday celebration" thing is just another of HWA's over reactions. pagans build fires and eat cheeseburgers too, but that doesn't mean I'm going to give either of those up either. any one person (Dr. Bob, or whoever) claiming to speak for the Church is what opens it up to ridicule.