Tuesday, May 23, 2017

In that Peter, James, John, Paul, HWA, GTA, RCM and many other leading Evangelists with more to follow shortly, have DIED...

Skeptics and "Scoffers" Are Your Friend

2 Peter 3: 
Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophetsand the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
"...as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking."
Good Idea

Members of the WCG knew these scriptures well and , in fact, all the scriptures that showed just how soon, around the corner, in the next 3, 5, 10, 15 (pick one) and shortly the Second Coming of Jesus was going to be.  So do all Evangelical Fundamentalists.

We were in the final gun lap, which turned into laps until WCG/COG ran out of bullets.  We all knew how the Apostle Paul went from all will live to see the Second Coming to some will die but not himself who would be changed to "oops, I fought a good fight and I'm outta here..."  

We all should also understand the Gospel Jesus telling the disciples that they would see it in their time as well.  "When YOU see..." meant THEM.   I know we tried, but you cannot make "soon" or "shortly" in the New Testament mean "a period of time lasting thousands of years that is still within the parameters of  the Bible meaning of 'soon' and 'shortly.'"  That is just nonsense.

So as time went on and on and on and on to where members were joining On and On Anonymous just to stay on track,  scoffers at the whole idea of "soon" arose in the Church.  Is that really all that difficult for us to believe and in doing so were they really doing it because they had evil desires?  Is that not a bit like saying "the only reason Scientists want to believe Evolution is because they don't want to obey or believe God and the Bible."  Really???  Is that their motive?  Of course not, but when scoffers, which is the church term used against people who merely notice things aren't going as advertised, arise, they have to be put in their place lest others start thinking this through on their own as well.

Peter (But not really Peter and rather a later Church Father type after time had worn on)  goes on to say that they "deliberately forget,"  about Noah's Flood to justify their evil ways. 

 Can we see the hot button words that are used against those who notice such realities,  to demonize them to the church members?   Is the scoffer to blame for observing that nothing of what has been said to date about Jesus returning and the arrival of the Kingdom of God has happened yet or appears to be about to happen?  Can we see that what would be considered mature and sane observations by those not in the Church are only called scoffers by those in?  Can we see it is the leadership doing the labeling and it is the membership who is at fault? Can we see they are losing members over this?  Of course we can.  

Peter again goes on to say that it is obvious God is giving humans more time in his infinite wisdom.  Sound familiar?  This is a classic recovery used when some predicted event does not come to pass. Currently, Dave Pack is stuck in this mode.  It is never that the prediction was slap wrong from the beginning.  It is now that God is just so much more merciful than we thought and we have more time to get our act together.  There is nothing new under the sun. It's a great out when a simple "I was wrong," would do.  

And when all else fails, tell the brethren that while soon had dragged on and God has given us more time, Jesus will still come quickly and in a much more sneaky way than when we first believed.   Dave Pack's current ploy. 

So there you have it.  Sincere observers are scoffers.  They do it be evil and forget the Noah story.  God is giving us all more time.  But it can happen tonight so still send it in.   2 Peter shows that ministers have been using the same excuses and accusations against the observers among them for 2000 years.

Remember the buzz words and phrases used by WCG (and many many other fundamentalist organizations) when someone strayed for the "soon", "shortly" and "3-5 years and I mean it brethren"?  

Just want to sin
Never converted
Fallen away
bad seed
fence sitter
Taken by Satan

But one man's scoffer is another man's cautious observer and critical thinker.  Let's face it... the scoffers that Peter rails against were right!  Now whoever actually wrote the text adds the new twist that again it is the members fault as they need to know that "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day."  You see, the problem is with the members misunderstanding how God views time.  Of course this was not taught or mentioned in the early years when soon meant soon and shortly meant shortly.  It is only something one throws in after years of disappointment, growing older and seeing the hopeful die like everyone else.  

Kinda like Ron Weinland chiding the brethren for thinking some things he said were literally true when in fact they were merely "spiritually true."  He made that up when what he also thought was literally true simply did not happen.  Of course, rather than say, "I goofed,"  the whole thing is redefined by leadership and the blame for ignorance is put on the membership.  Usually, "I NEVER said that," sneaks in there somewhere.  

A good skeptic will keep you more on track than an unbridled theological fool. 

When I or anyone else who has grown through the WCG years,  observes the reality of this or that wrong idea in the past or the foolishness of the ones being currently offered to keep the faithful faithful,  we are not scoffing.  It is a realistic, up to this moment and a true observation based on the observable fact that yet another date for "Soon" has come and gone.  

 It is not scoffing to notice that 100% of the predictions of Jesus Second Coming have been 100% wrong, 100% of the time over the last 2000 years.  That is just a 100% accurate observation.  It is only leadership within an organization that wants to keep the system intact and the "just around the corner" motivator alive and running who calls people scoffers and full of evil desires.  

Leadership must assign judgmental and negative labels to those who think outside the box and observe what any clear thinking human would observe in such situations.

The Apostle Paul NEVER admitted to anyone he was wrong about his soons and shortlys.  He kept changing the meanings until all he could come up with was "I have kept the faith..therefore there is laid up for ME..."   Kinda sad actually. While he does add "and not only to me," someone could have penned that in to fix the problem of all the others who had been faithful like Paul not being counted.  Habitually it was all about him in his writings.  Almost feels like the excuses the Captain of the latest Cruise Ship disaster made when he said he slid down the deck when the ship tipped and fell into a lifeboat that then left the ship.  (His second in command also ended up in that very same boat of all things.)  It is just terribly difficult to say, "I was wrong."

When "all those in Asia have forsaken me,"  Paul was unable and unwilling to ask himself why.  He simply asked God not to hold it to THEIR charge.  It would never have crossed Paul's mind to wonder why everyone thought he was nuts.  And so it is today.

As a result of Peter's statements, the soon that wasn't has been dragged out into a "soon" that only has meaning if one reads the Bible. Bible "soon" and "shortly" as well as days far spent really mean long, longer and really long times.   In the real world, we know better.  

A healthy skepticism protects people from going down the wrong paths or at least recognizing they are on one and rethinking the trip.  It is not scoffing. It is reality.  That "Scoffer" label is what those who do not think critically, or refuse to see what they do see, or refuse to say what they need to say, or believe everything they are told in the updates by the church, use.  Blame the messenger for the message is a very old old concept when it comes to Church leaders getting input they don't want to hear.  

Noticing that nothing has happened in 2000 years since the story ended is not scoffing.  The ultimate problem is that the WCG and the current COGs do not take observations from the bottom up.  All observations and skepticism on this or that must come from the top down.  If it does not, it is not a problem and the membership should not concern themselves with it.  Problems the leadership does not notice or have a clue about simply don't exist.  Problems the membership notices and has plenty of clues to work with are simply one of those listed on the  labels for the lazy and lying slackards listed above. 

To question Church teaching as part of the leadership is just endeavoring to stay on track and obey God with an occasional admission of "God is revealing more truth to the church."  To question the church teachings, or even the Biblical text from the bottom up is rebellion and is nothing but trouble for the one who notices. 

It's ok to be skeptical of claims made by Bible readers, including the minister.  It's ok to not be impressed with his education or the way he cobbles scriptures together to weave a tale.  The reason it is ok is because there will be things you will be expected to do because of his tale weaving.  It might be to send more in than you can afford, do something you normally would not do or believe something and act it out hurting yourselves, your family and mind in the process. 

The day might come when you will thank the Skeptic who opened your eyes to a problem that needed to be recognized and not just view the observations made as coming from unconverted, fallen away and whose end is to be burned Scoffers.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dave Pack: Those were furious times, so bad I never got out of my pajamas nor drank water becauseI had no time to go to the bathroom

Dave, in his own words:

I mean, when Joe Tkach saw my first list of 154 doctrinal changes, he went to the entire church on video and said “Dave Pack has been eating poisoned mushrooms! We haven’t made those changes.” But a few here and a few there said he did. When he got my first copy of There Came a Falling Away, evangelists, who were in the room with him…when somebody handed it to him, he got so mad, he took the book and threw it as hard as he could against the wall, in what used to be Mr. Armstrong’s office. “He’s causing terrible trouble!” Trust me when I tell you they would have dispatched me right quick. I know the spirit we’re up against. You better come to grips with this, and let it motivate you to escape.
Those were furious times, and I had to work as hard as I could, 18-hour days were nothing…nothing. I never got out of my pajamas, sometimes, talking to people. I couldn’t drink water, because I didn’t have time to go to the bathroom. I didn’t eat meals sometimes. My wife was…You know, I mean, I was alone. I was up against “the power”—“the system”—alone, almost alone, I had a wife…but alone. Vilified, laughed at, excoriated…You know, I mean, just…just horrible things said. And it doesn’t make me great…I just, I just said…I…I left these things. I gave up a lot when I was a kid. You know, I had achieved some things in my life and before I gave them up, I thought long and I did a lot of research, and so I had really proven.

No man on earth, nor anyone in the COG can ever compare to Super Dave.

Cognitive Biases: Making Right Decisions

From a reader here.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Melvin Rhodes: Why He And COG Ministers Have Proven They Prefer Following Men Than The God They Claim To Serve

Melvin Rhodes has an interesting post about life in the fractured Churches of God (The Eclipse of the Church.)  One of his friends died recently whom he had been close to when they were both part of United Church of God (and WCG).  When the United Church of God imploded and thousands of members and 3/4 of its ministry left to form Church of God a Worldwide Association, his friendship was fractured.

Rhodes is experiencing what almost all COG members have experienced because he and the rest of the cabal plotted and schemed for over 6 months in Pasadena while still on WCG payroll.  The actions of this group of men was designed to ensure a steady income because they were soon to be terminated from the WCG.  Thousands joined up with the cabal and formed United Church of God.  They ripped families and friendships apart and it did not care.  Following the new leader, the new human organization was more important!

Rhodes writes:

I lost a good friend this week. [Todd Carey]
We worked together a long time ago.   For many years we’ve been hundreds of miles apart, but we were always able to see each other, with our wives, at our annual church conference.
That is, until the latest split took place.   He and his wife went one way and we went the other.   So, for the last few years of his life, we did not get together.
Church splits can be devastating on relationships.   Even marriages have fallen apart when partners don’t see eye to eye on church affiliation.   More than one church I know of teaches that its followers should have nothing to do with people in other church organizations, even when they are family.
It’s ironic when you consider that Jesus Christ said:  “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another” (John 13:35).
Then Rhodes has this to say:
Unfortunately, churches are not immune from selfish ambition, differences over administration or doctrinal disagreement, three of the primary causes of splits.
The selfish ambitions of the upper echelon UCG leaders are what caused the disruption of thousands of lives, ripping families apart, destroying marriages, and caused numerous suicides.
True Christians will always strive to fulfill the words of Jesus Christ; even as others in their midst will deliberately cause division, believing that God is on their side.
True Christian would  NEVER have lorded themselves over the members, enforcing man-made rules and laws that Jesus never expected or required.
One of the root causes of division is that people have a tendency to follow men.   The Apostle Paul wrote about this in I Corinthians where some were following Apollos, some Peter and some Paul.   As Paul said elsewhere, we should only follow one man and that man is Jesus Christ.   That means we should all live in accordance with His words.   What a novel idea!!!
Just WHEN has the ministry of the Church of God EVER followed Jesus Christ?  They don't even acknowledge him other than continue to break his body each Passover, where they leave him broken and bloody on some school gym floor or Masonic Lodge till the following year.

The law always trumps everything about Jesus.  It trumps everything he said.  It trumps everything he every implied.  It allows spiritual abusing idiots like Bob Thiel, James Malm, Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack, Vic Kubik, Jim Franks, Gerald Weston, and many more, to make the daily lives of church members as miserable as possible.  The church ultimately lacks joy.  It lacks freedom.  It lacks grace. Above all, it lacks mercy.