Thursday, June 28, 2012

Apostle Malm: A Vain Jangler On Law Keeping?

The apostle wrote today:

We are to stand on God’s word and not on the words of the heathen, pagan fables or endless genealogies about whether we are distantly related to some king and that make us something;  we are not to indulge in such nonsense which cause doubting of the truth and confuse people away from the word of God.

Well, that pretty much writes off a lot of Hebrew Scriptures since many deem genealogy as vital information.  Even Jesus' genealogy is high up there.

The apostle the writes a perfect description of himself:

Vain jangling; meaning a sound that signifies nothing.  many false teachers have now arisen and thinking of themselves as some great teachers are spouting vain nonsense not understanding what they are trying to teach.

Apostle Malm's has arisen in Armstrongism with what he perceives as a vital message that is sheer nonsense.
He then writes about an impossible scenario that neither he nor any of his acolytes are capable of doing:

People who keep all the commandments of God can do so because God’s spirit is in them and leading them to behave in a certain manner and to avoid certain wicked things, they keep the law by the very nature of God dwelling within them, because they have a new nature imparted to them through the indwelling of God’s spirit.

The Jews were never able to do this and cannot to this day. Christians cannot and never have done this and most specifically the Malmites are incapable of doing this.

The apostle then writes the main point of his preaching, its all about control!

The law exists to control the wicked nature of the natural man.

Grace frees and is entirely free.  No amount of slobbering over the law will earn you grace.  Freedom trumps law any day. Malmites and most Armstrongites cannot grasp the  concept of freedom from law.  They need control.  They need structure.  They need some outside source telling them what to do.

He then writes:

The law condemns wickedness. The law does not condemn the righteous. The law is there to keep people from wicked or evil behavior. It is there to keep people from sinning.

Apostle Malm fails to see that the law condemns the righteous along with the "wicked."  The law absolutely condemns the righteous because not a single human on earth has ever been able to keep the law.


Anonymous said...

"....because God’s spirit is in them and leading them to behave in a certain manner...."

Sorry, but there is no evidence to support that claim. Christians act no differently than other people.

People who claim that observing the Law is freeing are like those Muslim women who claim that wearing a burka brings them a sense of peace and freedom. It's a lie.

On a religious level, if I were speaking from the viewpoint of a Christian, observing the Law brings nothing but guilt, misery, bondage, and ultimately death.

Paul R.

Andrew said...

Yes, that's what I was going to say. The very first supporting element of my faith to fall away was the recognition that "God's Holy Spirit dwelling within you" was a load of horse manure, because people all act the same, but in the church they just pretend there is a difference.

There is no evidence that the holy spirit does exist, but there's plenty of evidence that it doesn't.

DennisCDiehl said...

I have not seen the Holy Spirit in the kind of action I think a Holy Spirit could perform, but the Karma Fairy stays over here when she comes to town and I see plenty of evidence of Her work in my life :)

Byker Bob said...

Well, my experience informs me differently about the Holy Spirit and His promptings and personal transformation. But, I will agree that due to the teachings of WCG reducing and diminishing the HS to an impersonal force, we never even got the real deal through our participation in Armstrongism. And, it's not my problem if people have their own logical or objectivist constructs which allow them to rule out God, although I understand the mentality because I did that same thing for decades.

As far as Malm goes, if he had a Dwight Armstrong type, I am sure they would rewrite "Amazing Grace", and retitle that wonderful old hymm to "Amazing Law".

Douglas Becker said...

The law exists to control the wicked nature of the natural man.

But, but....

I may not know a lot about Christianity, but I thought that a Christian repents and receives the Holy Spirit: There is supposed to be a transformation from the inside out and the wicked nature of the natural man is supposed to be buried and Christians are to be a new creature, imbued with the character of God which would NEVER think to like, commit murder or become a false prophet.

But since Armstrongist leaders and prophets are false prophets, would that not indicate that they simply don't have the Holy Spirit and are not Christians?

Andrew said...

In my own life experience, I followed the recipe, but god didn't do what Armstrongist ministers told me god promised he would.

I was born of believing parents, so according to an Armstrong interpretation of the bible, I was supposed to be "sanctified" and the holy spirit was supposed to be "working with me," which means that I am automatically "called." So then I got baptized, and now, the holy spirit was supposed to be "dwelling within me." And this was supposed to provide the help and power to keep the law that I previously lacked. Everybody said that things get more difficult at first, so don't expect anything. But I expected that over time, things would get easier. But things never any easier. For a long time I blamed myself and figured I just wasn't trying hard enough. But then I realized, I've already been giving this 100% and trying harder isn't an option. If god says I have to be Superman before he's going to help me, then we have a catch-22 situation, which doesn't make for very good theology. Twenty years later, I look back and conclude that there was no change, and that I did not receive any holy spirit.

I can draw one of three conclusions. Either I wasn't "called" and the 1 Corinthians 7:14 is not necessarily true, or else the church as a whole is not recognized as legitimate by god and nobody I have ever known was "called" either, or else the whole thing is Wizard of Oz make-believe bullcrap. Other lines of evidence seem to point toward the last one as probably being the correct one.

There's nothing wrong with law. We have civil and criminal laws, and it's generally a good idea to follow them. But the laws don't control anybody, it's the police that provide the teeth which keeps people in line. We need it, because without that, there's rioting and anarchy. I've seen it with my own eyes after the Rodney King incident. The same thing is true with some biblical "law," except Jesus is the po-po, and he's going to decide if you've been naughty or nice this year. You don't want a lump of coal do you?

However, there are so many disconnects between "law" and the rest of Christian theology that the thing taken as a whole doesn't make much sense. Depending upon which part a particular believer thinks is most important, he will get sent off in a totally different trajectory that another believer who thinks a different part of theology is most important. Just as the theology doesn't really work together, the believers can't work together either.

Anonymous said...


Let us say for a minute that there is a supernatural force that works within believers to help them to behave in a better, more moralistic way. If so, then it certainly isn't the Holy Spirit of the God of the Bible, because as people have pointed out to you many time before, for every Christian who points to their own lives (and others) as an example of the Holy Spirit in action, there is also a Muslim who says the exact same thing. There are thousands of examples of Muslims and Hindus and whatever else who had their lives "turned around" because of their God. So if there is a god, it isn't the god of the Bible. It is a god who accepts the worship of all believers of all religions. You can't point to life changes as evidence of the existence of your god while ignoring the same life changes of other religious believers.

Also, this is another case where Christians (and Muslims) will engage in mental acrobatics to keep their belief in the power of God alive- if a believer does something wrong, well, Christians make mistakes too. If a Christian does a whole lot of things wrong, well, then he or she obviously didn't receive the Holy Spirit. They go to any rationalization , except the obvious one- there is no Holy Spirit.

But to me it is very clear. The reason Christians act no differently, on average, than the non-Believer, is because there is no Holy Spirit. Because if there is a Holy Spirit dwelling within Believers, it's pretty much irrelevant and useless for it does nothing.

Christians who do change their behavior and act in a more moral manner are only doing the same thing atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Wiccans, Hindus, etc can do in changing their behavior and acting in a more moral manner- human beings can think and reason and can change their behavior. That's all. There is nothing supernatural about it.

But hey- if a person becomes a better person, more compassionate toward others and more at peace with him/herself through what they believe is a supernatural agent, then more power to them. I just wish they knew that they are the ones responsible for the change, not a supernatural entity.

Paul R.

Urim and Thummim said...

Armstrongites, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, etc. are all alike - they think they must DO something to get to the next level/eternity.

Some Christians have met Grace and believe there is NOTHING they can do to earn eternity.

Those Christians know Jesus has already DONE everything for them to have a a blissful eternity.

The Holy Spirit enables those Christians to appreciate that their blissful eternity has already begun.

Allen C. Dexter said...

"Christians who do change their behavior and act in a more moral manner are only doing the same thing atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Wiccans, Hindus, etc can do in changing their behavior and acting in a more moral manner- human beings can think and reason and can change their behavior. That's all. There is nothing supernatural about it."

Couldn't have said it better.

I made changes in my life before I became "converted" and I made a lot after, mainly based on the spurious theology of HWA. (All, i mean ALL, theologies are spurious.)

I threw away a lot of those dumb changes when I got my head screwed on a little straighter after 1975. Not based on any spirit, holy or whatever, but on cold hard decisions I made.

There were lots of other things that I had been convinced were dead wrong, like masturbation, that I never could get totally on top of, not for lack of some kind of spirit but an over abundance of testosterone that triumphed just like it did with the old hypocrit, Herb. Sure did fill me with a lot of guilt and angst though. But, that just played into the game I was caught in that the old hypocrit very skilfully played to my and others detriment.

I want to throw up when I hear all this talk about what the "holy spirit" supposedly does. It's all bullshit.

Yeah, I know, according to Paul's fear tactic, my saying these things condemns me as having committed an unpardonable sin. Pardon me for not trembling in terror. I'm not impressed by bombastic nonsense anymore, whether written or spoken.

John said...

To be honest, I've been re-studying the significance of baptism for a while now. On one side, it’s argued that water baptism is unnecessary for salvation. The case is made for Christians being "baptized" (or "immersed") into Christ by His Word, which has in many respects a symbolic correspondence with water (e.g. Jn. 3:5; 7:37-39; 15:3; Eph. 5:26). And thus, it's upon our belief or faith in Him and His Word that He gives us His Holy Spirit. On the other hand, others like the WCG and its offshoots have argued otherwise emphasizing the absolute importance of water baptism along with the ritual of "laying on of hands." On the face of it, those who uphold the latter position have much in common with those early Christian Jews of the apostolic era who deemed the ritual of male circumcision necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1). We know that the Jerusalem Council decreed otherwise in that regard, however (v. 24). Even the apostle Paul emphasized the significance of spiritual circumcision in contrast to physical circumcision (e.g. Rom. 2:29; Phil. 3:2-3). If the traditional Armstrongist interpretation, as subscribed to by WCG offshoots, is correct then we are left with many inconsistencies and unanswered questions. Why was HWA baptized by a Baptist minister not a COG(SD) minister? Why the double-standard in the omission of “laying on of hands” accompanying his baptism, yet the ritual was so crucial for the rest of the membership to supposedly receive the Holy Spirit? Why was there nothing to demonstrate the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues or prophesying (e.g. Acts 19:6) after his baptism or the baptism of WCG converts as confirmation to believers and unbelievers alike (1 Cor. 14:22)? Why does the Holy Scriptures explicitly state that it was only “through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given” (Acts 8:18) not anyone else? We note, for instance, Philip simply baptized new converts (Acts 8:12, 38), but it was the apostles like Peter, John and Paul who would perform “laying on of hands” (Acts 8:17; 19:6). In other words, the focus seems to be on style over substance. Even Paul subtly brings this up in his epistle to the Romans: “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (2:29). The Jewish Christians were so focused on the rules and regulations of the Mosaic Law, such as physical circumcision, that they went so far as to negate the eternal moral principles embedded within those same laws (Mt. 23:23; Mk. 7:10-13). Thus, according to Paul it wasn’t just the Gentiles that were under condemnation before God since they failed to honor Him even though His existence is proven by natural revelation, but the Jews also stood condemned since although they had His law they failed to keep it. As Christians, we cannot make the same mistake as the Jewish legalists of Christ’s day who defined righteousness as obedience to the Mosaic Law for such falls far below that presented in the New Covenant and even God Himself declared way back in Isaiah 64:6 that: “all our righteousnesses are as [used tampons!]” What a visual, huh?! Thus, unlike the Jewish religionists Paul affirms that Christians “should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Rom. 7:6) for God will “justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith” (Rom. 3:30) and it is in this way that “we establish the law” (v. 31) that we may “be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9).

Anonymous said...

Malm and you are right that we cannot perfectly keep the law on our own.

But the Ruwach (spirit) of the Messiah living in a believer CAN keep it as we follow him. His Ruwach can guide our human ruwach.

When we fail, we have an advocate with YAH in order to gain ongoing pardon and restoration.

That is why that Jews never kept the law perfectly because they didn't have this ruwach 'belief' mixed with their law-keeping, which would have enabled them to also keep the ruwach law of YAH.

Those who had the Ruwach of YAH like Moshe and the Nabiy were able to keep the law through the Ruwach.

Pardon (what you called 'grace') IS free, but we shouldn't continue to willfully sin. Our obedience through the power of the ruwach is the EVIDENCE that we are redeemed by pardon.

Belief without works is dead - it takes BELIEF plus obedience plus repentance when we fail.

The COG emphasis has always been on law-keeping, which breeds legalism and self-righteousness.

But continuous BELIEF - REPENTANCE - CONVERSION - OBEDIENCE through the Ruwach works.

Anonymous said...

It all gets back to 'love.' If you love YAH, you obey Him. Plain and simple.

Remember back to one of your parents, perhaps, or a teacher or other leader. How you followed and obeyed them because you wanted to please them, and so that they would notice and appreciate you?

That's how it should be--and so much more--with Our Maker.

Only a rebel like Satan wants to disobey, and all those who promote that anti-societal lifestyle and attitude.

Anonymous said...

"When we fail, we have an advocate with YAH in order to gain ongoing pardon and restoration."

Jesus died so you could get away with breaking the Law.

Paul R.

Anonymous said...

The final comment on this post states: "...Apostle Malm fails to see that the law condemns the righteous along with the "wicked." The law absolutely condemns the righteous because not a single human on earth has ever been able to keep the law."

Malm fails to see a lot of things. One reason why he does not "see" how he, himself, cannot perfectly keep God's law is because he does not see God's law is against him/us:

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" Colossians 2:16

James Malm, did you read that? The law is "against us!" It is "contrary to us!" You sin; you die! It's been appointed once for all humans to die.

James Malm, the same spirit in "the rest" of us humans lusts to it does within you, yourSELF!

"Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?" James 4:5

James Malm, even with God's Spirit, which you believe you have, you do not have sufficient strength to Not lust to envy, to NOT sin:

"He that committeth sin is of the devil..." I John 3:8

James Malm, you can't weasel around those verses. And neither can "the rest" of us.

For a particular reason, applicable to Christ only, He did not sin although that same spirit that lusts to envy was also in Him.

Yes, Christ died, but not because He sinned. He was murdered.

God does not impose/inflict His law on this world, so why do yu impose/inflict God's law upon all of us. Remember, you aren't perfectly keeping that law!

What will God do?

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." 2 Cor 5:19

God does that! Not you, or me or us!


Douglas Becker said...

Mental illness and mental disorders are defined by mental noise and if you want further information on that proposition then Shadow Syndromes by Dr. John J. Ratey, M.D. and Catherine Johnson, Ph.D. should render an understanding of this concept for you.

One of the many inherent things embedded in Armstrongism is its level of mental noise. Hearken back to Herbert Armstrong's sermons and everything he wrote and you can easily perceive the mental noise he generated by SHOUTING AT US!!!! both in spoken sermons and in his writings.

This is not a healthy environment in which to find oneself, since all the generated hyperbole drowns out good judgment and sensible thinking. The thoughts in your own head are replaced by ones from a crazy kook.

The more successful of the Armstrongist groups maintain this level of noise, particularly in veritably shouting out the false prophecies about coming doom and broadcasting ABSOLUTE LAW KEEPING!!!!! YOU MUST KEEP THE LAW TO GAIN SALVATION!!!!

As I understand it, Christianity is about the Peace of Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace. Jerusalem is rooted in the word Salem which means peace.

Stick with Armstrongism and you won't have any.

But you will have chaos, confusion and insanity.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if YAH loves ALLAH.
(Or, is YAH a jealous schmuck?)

And does ALLAH love YAH?
(Or, is ALLAH maybe jealous, too?)

And how would Jesus and Muhammad get along?- would they play well together and secretly wisecrack about their "two daddys"?

Can someone with a heapin'-helpin' of Ruwach tell me?


Anonymous said...

Malm says, "We are to stand on God’s word and not on the words of the heathen, pagan fables "

I wonder if Malm is capable of responding to the fact that many of the words in the Bible are built upon "the words of the heathen, pagan fables"

Would Malm be as jealous as YHVH claims to be?

Anonymous said...

My personal view on some of the things in comments here.

About law: I believe the law being addressed here is basically the Mosaic Law that includes moral standards and a structured program for governance of those coming out of life of enslavement. It was supposedly designed to avoid future enslavement to any corruptive system of behavior. There king was to be the God that had been active in freeing them (not the type of God that many read into the Old Testament record)

About Holy Spirit: While this has been personified it, is one of those words uses to define the unknown. The use of Holy emphasizes perfect goodness as opposed to evil. Its influential value is dependant on a person’s willingness to choose goodness. There is no indication that it is a controlling force.

Water Baptism: My understanding of baptism is that it is symbolic of the cleansing power of the sacrificial blood of Jesus the Christ. The willingness to undergo the physical baptism reveals the understanding and willingness to accept this substitution.

The laying on of hands: This again is a symbolic physical action that shows a person’s subjection to Jesus the Christ as savior and owner of their life.

Conversion: A person’s mental readjustment after awareness that life in the flesh needs the hope that only a Being with greater intelligence and power can offer.

Repentance: The turning from a life of corruption and destruction to building a life that is constructive and productive.

Life: That is what is happening while I am planning something.

These are some of the guiding factors in living my life.

Byker Bob said...

Paul R,

Congratulations on your degree, by the way. I know you put a lot of work into your studies, and I hope you find much success.

Also, I hear what you are saying regarding the Holy Spirit. However, this time around (as opposed to my experience in Armstrongism), I went through an involuntary or unconscious transformation in several key ways, ways in fact which were totally contrary to the patterns I'd established throughout the rest of life.

Probably the most profound involved my attitudes towards retaliation. Most of my life, I really savored opportunities to make people who went up against me eat crap, bigtime. Also, because I was philosophically unsatisfied, I had been an adrenalin junkie, running around doing all manner of exciting and dangerous things. Flamboyance was also part and parcel of that same package, as every action was calculated to draw attention to self. There was also an element of anger boiling just below the surface. However, within a short matter of weeks or months, all of these factors simply drained from my psyche.

I believe, having gone through this process, that in order to believe it were even possible, others would need to experience it for themselves. It's not something one hears and just kind of automatically believes, and then goes off seeking it for oneself. Remember, I was hostile towards this sort of thing at one time, and most definitely did not sign up for this. It was involuntary, and even shocking.

It seemed uncomfortable and even strange at first, but the healing aspect of it has made the whole experience worthwhile. I'm also convinced that this could happen for just about anyone, hostile or not.