Some of the features:
- A list of Feast of Tabernacles sites for 2016
- An article by Dave Havir on dubious beliefs about leadership in the COGs
- A major book promotion (in the ad section) by Fred Coulter, presumably anxious to increase his market share
- An article by Wade Fransson defending the de-emphasis on the person of Jesus (oops, sorry, Christ) in the ministry of Herb Armstrong: "it is my opinion that the WCG did right by God and Jesus to emphasise the coming Kingdom aspect of His message."
And a good deal more, but those are the things that caught my eye.
As always, the complete issue can be downloaded in PDF format. Back copies of The Journal dating back to 2012 can also be accessed from the sidebar.
The Huckster Section once again is embarrassing but accurate in its characterization of Armstrongism. This clearly conveys the Medicine Show aspect of this non-Christian religion. All these guys wannabe Herbert with all the perquisites that pertain thereunto.
Speaking of non-Christian, Wade Fransson asserts that focusing on predictive prophecy rather than Christ was the right thing to do. I am not sure what he means by the terminology "focusing on the person of Jesus." I have a feeling he cast a broad net. He writes that all the facts about Jesus are well known anyway and why should we get in an uproar about this (he condemns himself with his own words).
I can understand why Armstrongites are defensive about the topic of Christ. It is in the example and words of Christ that you find a renunciation of Armstrongism. And it is this "glossing over" that has led Armstrongism to be a Jesus Plus cult with an impaired understanding of the role of the OT in contrast to the role of the NT.
When I was an Armstrongite, I did not hear much about Christ or what he preached. For example, the concept of grace, brought to us by Christ, was almost non-existent in the sermons, sermonettes and literature of the pre-1995 WCG. When grace was mentioned it was condemned as if the only kind of grace was "cheap grace."
Christ brought the gospel of salvation by faith through grace for humankind and it necessarily focused on his life and sacrifice. It also entailed but was not dominated by a milieu new to humanity called the Kingdom of God or Heaven. The message was not overburdened by the end time events, Wolvertonian scenarios, great destruction and fear. That is a fund raising ploy capitalized on by Millerite Hucksters.
Fransson's article should be viewed as tailored ideological support for The Journal's usual Huckster Showcase.
Fransson looks really creepy and scary in the pic of him accompanying his article.
Jesus stands in direct contrast to the great teachers of humanity, collectively known to some as the "ascended masters". He is the one who made His message about Himself, as the Son of God, the One through whose sacrifice salvation of mankind is given. To deny this critical element and yet to call one's self "Christian" is to miss the entire idea of His life, death, and ressurrection. Yet, Armstrongism muted or denied this essential ingredient, the part of the message involving the personhood of Jesus. The advertisers in the Journal, and some of the writers, perpetuate this egregious error.
It is also interesting, in spite of the failure of Armstrongism as a prophecy-based movement, how every little piece of strangeness behind each of the political candidates is extrapolated into worst case prophetic scenario. They think of things in terms of the Armstrong "government from the top down" mode, and for prophetic purposes they assume that the president has nearly absolute power. The truth is, his or her hands will be tied in so many areas by the constitutional checks and balances, and by embedded power in the government agencies which do not experience a changing of the guard just because a new president is elected. Each president must fight powerful headwinds from various sources to secure policy victories. The things the candidates are saying and doing during the campaign are subject to massive compromise and modification once the office is finally taken.
There is very little of intellectual or spiritual value to be found amongst the paid adverts.
I just read Dave Havir's article. I believe he is making a break with traditional Armstrongism. He has done this in other articles. He strikes at the dark heart of Armstrongism and with impunity because he is running the show in his splinter group. No doubt his views would get him dis-fellowshipped if he were a mid-tier minister in another splinter group.
Armstrongism, like the Roman Catholic Church, has never espoused the idea that lay members have a direct relationship with god. They have always, in practice, used a model in which the lay member must go through the human, earthly ministry to approach god. Lay member fit within the lowest rungs of a very elaborate hierarchical class system and have no direct access to god. You may switch from one evangelical Protestant church to another and not lose your status as a Christian but if you leave an Armstrongite church, your credentials as a Christian are invalidated and your connection to god is revoked.
Havir, in saying that the lay members should have god ruling over them instead of men, renounces the Armstrongite ecclesiastical model.
Interesting obit notice in this issue of The Journal (page 12) concerning John Kineston, a nearly forgotten insider on the Stan Rader team (Ex-wife Virginia was Rader's executive secretary). The obit quietly discloses this little claim: "John cowrote the book with Stanley Rader, about church vs. state." While Rader always claimed 100% pure authorship (as re-stated in Rader's inflated Wikipedia inclusion - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Rader), it was widely thought along West Green Street that the book was a composite result between various figures in the Pasadena Letter Correspondence Department (LCD) and a New York-based Everest House rewrite pro. RIP, John.
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