Friday, June 22, 2018

GCI: Reigning In Some Chaotic Worship Services And Ending Saturday Meetings

This was sent to me today:.
It appears GCI is setting forth some uniform standards as to what happens in weekly worship services. It seems that due to its relaxed standards of letting each congregation set their own guidelines for worship, things have gotten rather chaotic in some congregations  
The GCI has given some latitude towards some congregations in allowing them to continue to meet on Saturdays for the last twenty years.  
Those days are now coming to an end.

Ordering our worship
Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders:

Greg and Susan Williams
Is there a particular way that worship services in the church should be conducted? That’s not a new question—the apostle Paul addressed it in his first letter to the church in Corinth. Their services had become contentious and chaotic, and Paul wanted to help them solve the problem. He did so by noting that, while their desire to exercise their spiritual gifts in worship was commendable, they must do so in ways that build up the church rather than causing division and confusion (1 Cor. 14:2633). Paul exhorted them to conduct their worship in “a fitting and orderly way” (1 Cor. 14:40). Believing that Paul’s exhortation is relevant for us today, I encourage all our pastors to gather with their leaders (including those who plan and direct worship) to evaluate their worship services.
History of worship liturgy
Let me share some relevant history. As various worship traditions developed, some churches and whole denominations adopted a “liturgical” approach to structuring their worship services, while others adopted an approach called “non-liturgical.” By definition, liturgical churches follow a set liturgy (order of worship). Some utilize a “high liturgy” that is fully-scripted while others have a “low liturgy” that, being less-scripted, allows more flexibility. Non-liturgical churches, while still having an order of services, are even more flexible. Historically, many Protestant churches became non-liturgical—not because they were against order in their worship, but because they did not like what they felt was the excessive ritual of the liturgy practiced in their day.
Whether liturgical (high or low) or non-liturgical, all churches (whether acknowledging it or not) have a liturgy—some sort of “order” to their worship. That’s good because a lack of order can lead to the chaos Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 14. Interestingly, there is a movement today among some non-liturgical churches to return to certain elements of the ancient, more formal liturgy of the church (click here and here for more information). They find that this shift makes their worship more appealing and inspiring to both regular attenders and visitors.
GCI’s history and a challenge for us today
Historically, worship in GCI (reaching back to WCG and beyond) followed a highly structured, standardized order. With our reformation came greater flexibility in how our congregations ordered their worship services. However, it is my observation that in adopting a less structured approach, some of our services have become somewhat chaotic and thus not as edifying as they need to be. Given that situation, I ask all our pastors and fellowship group facilitators to gather with their leaders to examine how they are conducting their worship services. Here are some questions to ask:
  • Do our services focus on who God is as revealed in Jesus?
  • Do they reflect the communal nature of our triune God who exists in harmony and unity?
  • Are our services uplifting and hope-filled, or are they uninspiring?
  • Do all aspects of our worship build up the church, or is there confusion and chaos?
  • Do all who are open to hearing the gospel (including non-Christians) feel welcome in our services?
Conducting this evaluation and making needed changes will take careful and intentional effort. That’s appropriate since the root words of liturgy mean “the work of the people.” Wanting to assist you in that work, we have published in this issue an article that addresses worship in GCI congregations. It includes a standard order of services (liturgy) that, though not required, is strongly recommended. Over the next six months in GCI Equipper, we’ll publish additional articles that will provide further guidance to help you discern the Spirit’s direction concerning your worship services. As you go through this time of discernment and restructuring, I encourage pastors to discuss their insights and plans with their Regional Pastor (U.S.) or Regional Director (elsewhere).
Points to ponder about congregational life
Though our worship services are vital, they are only one part of a congregation’s life. With this broader perspective in mind, as pastors gather with their leadership teams to evaluate their liturgy, I challenge them to also evaluate some other key issues. To help them do so, I’ve listed below some points to ponder. It’s my observation that we’ve tended to overlook some (many?) of these issues. Perhaps that’s because we’ve been (necessarily) focused on doctrinal and theological renewal over the past several years. I believe it’s now time to attend to these other issues as we enter a new season of living out of the loving, inclusive relationship we have through Jesus in the power of the Spirit.
  • If your congregation is functioning more like a small group (with high levels of interaction and sharing of the leadership/facilitation role), it’s likely that you should consider yourself a “fellowship group” rather than a “church” that provides a well-planned and executed worship service. Healthy churches need to have a combination of both well-executed worship services as well as small group gatherings where disciples are enriched, and depth of community is built. Please be satisfied with what you can currently offer, and trust the Lord for the future growth you desire.
  • If you are holding your primary worship service on Saturday, that puts you out of step with most of GCI and the rest of the Christian world. Doing so sends a misleading signal about who GCI is. While circumstances may have prevented some GCI congregations from moving to Sunday services, making that change should now be a priority. In my far and wide GCI travels, I have rarely experienced a strong, vibrant and growing GCI church that is meeting on Saturday.
  • If you are meeting at an awkward time of day that makes it hard for people to gather, then you need to make a course correction.
  • If you are gathering in a hall that is difficult to locate and is out of the flow of normal activity, then consider how to improve your location, and find a target community to be immersed in.
  • If you are renting space in a church building that is owned by another congregation/denomination, consider the problems you face with identity. Is it clear that you are a congregation of a separate denomination?
  • If you have a rotating speaking schedule with multiple preachers, it’s likely that you are in “maintenance mode,” lacking cohesive leadership and vision for your church. The lead pastor should preach a minimum of three times per month, and it is even better if they preach five out of six weeks.
  • If your lead pastor also fills the role of “chief deacon,” then members need to step up. Perhaps the pastor needs to let some things go.
  • If you have people conducting the musical aspects of your worship (instrumental and/or vocal) who are not musically gifted, something needs to change. Get people involved in worship, but in accordance with their giftedness.
  • If your weekly worship service is structured in accordance with GCI’s past tradition, and hasn’t been examined in a long time, now is the time for a “come to Jesus” meeting! Take a good, hard look and have the difficult conversations. You will be glad you did!
Once again, I encourage pastors to discuss their findings concerning these points with their immediate supervisor. Let us work together as a team to bring improvements to the worship and other aspects of congregational life in our churches and fellowship groups. Thank you for your cooperation.
Your brother in Christ,
Greg Williams, GCI Vice President


PCG: We are the "Hope of the world - the ONLY hope there is!

Now that we know the true history of the most holy Stone of Herbert, it is time to trace the history of that other old dirty stone that was used at the coronations of UNCONVERTED Kings and Queens.  Get ready for that great Church of God myth to trotted out once more.  Good old Jeremiah and his daughter Tea-Tephi took Jacobs pillar stone and the Ark of the Covenant with them to Ireland where they buried the Ark in Hill Tara. Jacob's pillar stone later made its way to Scotland and then down to England. The devastating travesty in all of this was that royal keisters of many unconverted Kings and Queens sat on it.

In Jeremiah 33:17-18, God promised that there would always be someone sitting on the throne of David, and that there would always be a priest or minister doing the Work of God and teaching about that throne.
Look again at 2 Samuel 7:12-16. There God promised to establish David’s throne and said that Solomon would sit on it. He said, “If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him ....” God told David how He would sustain the king sitting on that throne: He would use men to chasten him and keep the throne with the line of David.
But what if that nation becomes so evil that God must destroy it and plant the throne in another nation? Anciently, God sent the Prophet Jeremiah to warn Judah of its destruction. That is a type of what is to happen to Britain, America and Judah in this end time. (Request a free copy of my booklet on Jeremiah for a full explanation.)
After ancient Judah was destroyed, Jeremiah was used by God to overturn the throne of David (and take the destiny) to Ireland by taking a direct descendant of David, one of King Zedekiah’s daughters, the princess Tea-Tephi. David’s throne was later moved to Scotland and eventually to England where it has resided for several generations, again with those sitting on the throne being descendants of King David. In the coming Great Tribulation, however, God does not send a prophet to remove David’s throne from Britain. So what happens to that throne?
God has revealed the clear answer to this question.
The soon coming tribulation will strip away any right that Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles or Prince William have towards the Stone. Because they are all unconverted heathens, the god of Gerald Flurry had to raise up a new stone, the Stone of Herb so the true line of David could continue to sit upon the true stone. King Gerald will occupy it for a while and then turn the reigns over to the creature he calls Jesus Christ.
Think deeply about the prophecy in Hosea 3:4: “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image [the stone of destiny] ....” By the time this prophecy is fulfilled, Britain will have been conquered by the Holy Roman Empire. The British lose their king, and they lose their stone (a symbol of David’s throne), and there is no Jeremiah type to protect the stone and the king. God doesn’t have somebody there to tear down and destroy and transplant that throne.
What does this mean? God promised to continue that throne forever, yet here we see that suddenly there is no king and no stone, and the prophecy doesn’t even say where they are. During the Tribulation, the king will probably be dead! Jacob’s pillar stone will be lost; we don’t know what will happen to it but it could be destroyed.
If no one sits on David’s throne, God will have broken His promise!
The truth is, by the time this prophecy is fulfilled, the throne in Britain is no longer David’s throne!
Even before Britain loses its king and stone, the British throne is no longer the throne of David, or God’s promise is broken.
Hosea’s prophecy shows that before the Tribulation, God must have a new stone and a new king—a new throne.
Otherwise He could not allow Hosea 3:4 to happen. How else can you explain what is going to happen in Britain?
God must no longer recognize the throne in Britain as David’s throne.
Flurry goes on to state that during the tribulation people will see that there is no king on the throne of England and will immediately realize that their god broke its promise and they will be devastated that god lied to them.  What? As if any during a time of tribulation anyone would even have time to think of such a thing is beyond ridiculous.  Especially if you are hanging on a meat hook in some German concentration camp!  Would you care if Charles was sitting on a throne in London? 

Never fear though, Gerald's god has some tricks up its sleeve.  It has now transferred its blessing to the Stone of Herb. Things are now all cool and kosher again now that it is in the hands of CONVERTED PCG leaders.  No outsider could ever sit on the Stone of Herb, but a CONVERTED PCG leader could!
Could this king be someone outside God’s one true Church? That would be impossible. This king is speaking the truth and hasting righteousness, so it must be a converted member in God’s Church.
God has to have a king in this Church who is a descendant of David. And we also must have a stone that is a symbol of David’s throne. God has given us a new stone. The stone is always associated with the throne—not only as a symbol of the throne, but also a symbol of our Rock, our Leader, Jesus Christ! 
It was right around January 16, 2017, that God revealed the truth about the new stone of destiny. 
And it was on this date that God moved the throne of David to this Church!
Aren't we blessed to know that the Stone of Herb now has the complete blessing of Gerald's god! So amazing!  Even more amazing is the rest of Gerald's claims...
God is getting us ready to go to the place of safety where David’s throne is prophesied to be. There is a new king and a new stone. There has to be for this prophecy to be fulfilled! And this new king would have to be God’s apostle, at least for this time.
The prayer rock, the new symbol of David’s throne, also came to us through a descendant of David, Herbert W. Armstrong. And it all happened around January 16, 2017, the anniversary of his death.
God made all these things happen miraculously. This is all prophesied, and God has brought it about in a way that is truly mind-staggering when you think about it.
Three dates are significant in the Philadelphia Church of God. Those dates do not pertain to the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ or his death and resurrection, as one might possibly assume. No, the date of Herbert Armstrong's death, the date of the day that Stephen Flurry read his dad's plagiarized copy of Malachi's Message, and the date that the PCG took possession of the Holy Stone of Herb, are the most significant dates PCG honors on its sacred calendar.  The location of this miraculous reading is Robbers Cave in Southeast Oklahoma.  It is now a place of an annual pilgrimage for HW Armstrong College students in March of every year. Imagine sitting on the very park bench the Holy Son Stephen sat on or walking the same pine needle-strewn paths that the Holy Son of King Gerald walked upon!  How awesome would that be!  Who needs some miserable trip to Israel to see biblical places where the feet of Paul and Jesus trod! The holiest places are right here in Oklahoma!

Flurry continues:
Even now, the United Kingdom no longer has the throne of David. And Jacob’s pillar stone is no longer relevant. There is a new stone.
Think about this: If Britain no longer has the throne of David, this strongly indicates that Britain is going to go down rapidly! How could it be otherwise? This is a great condemnation by God against that people! And, in a sense, against America as well.
Jeremiah was there when Judah was conquered by Babylon. He took Tea-Tephi—a princess of the house of David—and the coronation stone with him to Ireland and preserved David’s throne. Now, a modern Babylon is going to conquer Britain, America and Judah and destroy them—all together (Hosea 5:5)— and David’s throne is no longer in Britain. But God has preserved it another way.
What does all this mean for the Philadelphia Church of God?
We must think about this deeply. What does this require of us? This is some of the most amazing prophecy ever revealed to the PCG!
Here, in this Church, is the hope of the world—the only hope there is! 
That damn Jesus just had to get in the way, again!  How dare he be the hope of the world when the PCG is the ONLY pathway to salvation! PCG's pathway leads to Petra though.  It should be a scary warning to any outside Armstrongism to read Flurry's words below.  

PCG is ready to flee to Petra!
It is mind-boggling to even think about what God is doing. But this is real. This is what these revelations from God are all about. We have the throne in our possession now! God’s very elect now plays the key role with David’s throne. It is no longer in Britain—it is here in the pcg, which means we are now ready to go to a place of safety.
I can just see some of the more rabid Flurryites now packing bags to be ready to flee to Petra, much like in the old Worldwide Church of God in 1972 where many had bags packed sitting by their front doors. COG members do that kind of thing.
David escaped to the cave of Adullam along with several hundred people. Prophecy shows that, in the end time, God’s people will have to escape to a cave as well. They will go to a rocky fortress to escape the Holy Roman Empire, which has been chasing them for centuries! The Church had to flee into the wilderness for 1,260 years (Revelation 12:6—described prophetically as “days”). Now, we will have to flee for 1,260 days (verse 14). When we do, we will take with us the throne of David.
We must be prepared to go to the cave of Adullam, the place of safety. Make this a part of your thinking, because we live in the most urgent time ever! We must be willing to go anyplace and do anything God wants. We must get our minds conditioned to do that! He often offers opportunities or directs us to do things we don’t want to do, humanly. We all have to do things we would rather not do; that is good for us! We must have the mindset that whatever God says, we will do. That will bring the most wonderful reward you could possibly receive!
You can review the history: David and God’s people came to power shortly after he left that cave. God says that immediatelyafter we leave this rocky fortress, the place of safety, we are going to come to power! We will rule the world with Jesus Christ on David’s throne!
PCG members will blindly follow when Gerald makes the decision. They will not stop to question the absurdity of it all. Their eyes will be fixed on the idea of becoming gods just like Jesus Christ. 

By this point in time, Herbert Armstrong will be third in command of the entire universe, directly under Jesus Christ himself! Jesus however, will be in some side room of the third heaven due to the fact HWA and Flurry have commandeered his throne.

What a glorious time awaits us all!    NOT!!!!!!!!