Saturday, July 21, 2012

What If The End Isn't Near?

Pam Dewey has had an excellent series on Are You Prepared for.... the Unthinkable? The latest entry had this:

The blog entries in this series have been building up a case for the possibility that Christians have been “preparing” in recent times … physically and emotionally … for the wrong thing. So many have been absolutely sure that we are living in the very End Times, often because of “conditions” they see around them like those above.  Their idea of getting physically ready for what they have believed is “imminent and inevitable” in biblical prophecy has sometimes included stockpiling survival supplies for The Great Tribulation, which many are sure could start this year, or next year, or by the latest, five or seven years from now.

And their idea of being mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for what they expect to happen has often been to just hunker down, study prophecy under some favorite prophecy guru, and wait for The End.

This blog has suggested you just MIGHT want to consider … WHAT IF the “unthinkable” happens? If you’ve been thinking that The End is at Hand, WHAT IF it isn’t?

What if you find yourself just growing old and gray ten or twenty or thirty years from now? Have you made ANY actual preparations to deal with the reality that this unexpected scenario would bring?


Pam Dewey said...

Hey! Pam Dewey here ... Thanks for the nice plug for my Prophecy Panic Button blog series! Hope folks will go back to Part 1 and follow the whole thing ... there's LOTS to chew on, and lots more coming up that will be looking at related ideas in surprising ways. Also ... don't know if you've mentioned it on here, but I've added an extensive new section to my Field Guide to the Wild World of Religion website that I've dubbed The WCG Family Tree. It starts in the early 1800s and follows all the twists and turns clear up to the split of UCG and COGAWA and the loonyness of Weinland. I've had over 3/4 million visitors since I put the website up, and this new Family Tree section has proven to be a popular draw in recent months.

Anonymous said...

So true Pam! I think you're right! So many Christians, especially within various cults, have wasted decades of their lives (if not their entire lives!) giving heed to false prophets like Herbert Armstrong or Charles T. Russell or Ron Weinland etc. who were simply disturbed individuals seeing the apocalyptic doom and gloom in every single news event. And yet to their followers somehow they supposedly had "perspective" on it all? The sad fact is that "the end" really did come for a lot of these people who were just a little naive, maybe all-too ordinary, and so full of potential when they finally woke up (if at all!) to see these gangsters for what they truly were and the toxic messages they were spreading to take the minds, lives and futures of so many who have never recovered! A pox on these creeps and those who continue to defend them (Psalms 109)!

Anonymous said...

Pam Dewey wrote: "...The blog entries in this series have been building up a case for the possibility that Christians have been “preparing” in recent times … physically and emotionally … for the wrong thing. So many have been absolutely sure that we are living in the very End Times, often because of “conditions” they see around them like those above..."

It has been known by some for many years now that so many people, organizations, group leaders of xcogs, including WCG, have applied their "here a little, there a little" theory and have fallen backwards.

For example, so many think "everlasting peace" is to be established with Christ beginning his rule on earth with a thousand-year, so-called "Micky Mouse millennium (MMM)."

But usually ignored are scriptures that talk about Satan coming out of that bottomless pit, again deceiving the entire world and war again occurring on earth. Then, there could not be an "everlasting peace," could there with the MMM?

Apparently, many have misapplied numerous scripture by striving to apply them to the MMM, when they will actually apply after that short/little time/season after Satan is loosed from that pit.

I'm sure others can think of other such examples.

I find it interesting to see that Pam Dewey does now believe that "the unthinkable happens!"

It is a reality...the "end" is a lot further off than most realize.

Those 10 kings of Revelation 17? Those 10 nations? That's another example. People keep looking for them to come on the scene "any day now," but it appears, by scripture, that it's for the time after Satan comes out of that pit, but time will tell...


Douglas Becker said...

The most frightening prophecy of all:

It will never end!

Byker Bob said...

Well, been there, and done that. Those of us who attended Ambassador College in the 1960s most certainly felt that end time crunch as we moved towards 1972 and the supposed beginning of the tribulation.

I don't know whether we're in the end times, or not. I don't even know how one would prepare for something so catastrophic other than through the things we're supposed to be doing anyway, such as developing a close personal relationship with God. The Jewish reckoning of history would seem to indicate that if the 6,000 years for man, 1,000 years for God model is accurate, we've probably got about 200 years ahead of us before we need to worry about the end.

Certainly, it would be manipulative at best to base an evangelistic campaign on compulsory attendance of your church as an escape from the tribulation. The real God will either protect His people wherever they happen to be as endtime scenarios unfold, or will allow their deaths to provide very convincing testimony. It's all up to Him, and there is no scare about it. Faith is where it's at!


Anonymous said...

Either that or the world ended in 1975 and ever since then (unbeknownst to an unsuspecting world population) in an idyllic utopia under the millennial rule of Jesus H. Christ. It's just that it's a spiiiiritual utopia. That's why no one can tell.

Anonymous said...

Faith is where it's at!

For Muslims and many other religions, too!

I know, I know. I'm sure that not ALL gods of ALL religions would have been capable of going online and finding a transmission for your hot rod, Byker Bob!

Or raising all those people from the dead like you've been saying Jesus-followers have been doing recently!

BTW, BB, I must commend you on being so Holy-Spirit-Filled that you know that it's a bad idea to give details about those wonderful miracles.

Most numbnut mainstream Christians would think otherwise, but not you!

I loves it!


Byker Bob said...

Yes, Norm! Discernment is a wonderful blessing! It means that I can know when and with whom to share God's blessings, who will rejoice, and who will always attempt to rain on them!

After all, if people poke fun at the statistically improbable finding of a rare transmission, running no less, and with the former owner reversing himself as to whether to even sell it in the first place, what would they do if I shared business blessings which have brought a hobby business to the income level of a job I'd lost at the beginning of the recession?
And, how would some of you react to the healing of someone very close to me who was on the national transplant list for two lungs?

I can only tell you that as wonderful as these things are, and as encouraging and uplifting as they are, they are powerless against the hardened hearts of some, and powerless against Armstrongites who believe that since they didn't come through somebody's ACOG they must be of Satan. The only ones who praise God, and praise Jesus Christ for such awesome blessings are my fellow Christian brothers and sisters!

Don't you secretly wish that you could be one of us, so that you could feel so positively???


Byker Bob said...

P.S. Having a wonderful time! Wish you were here!


Anonymous said...

Don't you secretly wish that you could be one of us, so that you could feel so positively???

No. Did you really think I secretly wished so?! If so, you're more deluded than I thought.

Feeling positive is nice, I enjoy it.
But I'm not into the "false positives" which rabid mainstream Christian "Liars for Jesus" dish out by the barrel-full, in their sleazy attempts at personal evangelism.

But what's funny is that there are tons of people in a wide array of various belief-systems, who all have stories as "inspiring" as the ones you've offered, who hope that that both you and me will be inspired by their sleazy personal evangelism.

Somehow, they always think of themselves as being right, and that all people who don't succumb to their sleazy tactics, but see things differently, have problems like-

* Not having enough Holy Spirit,
* Not having proper "Christian discernment",
* Being under the influence of Satan,
* Being too "negative",
* Not having an "open heart",
* Listening to critics,
* Hating God,
* Not having eyes to see or ears to hear,
* Having a bad attitude,
* God not using His big-ass keyring to "open" the person's heart yet,
* The person is under a "generational curse",
* Having a root of bitterness because Jesus didn't find a hot-rod transmission online for them like Jesus did for Byker Bob.


Anonymous said...

Hi Byker Bob,

You recently wrote about how the Holy Spirit wants you to proselytize your rabid Christian message to anybody and everybody at every opportunity you can.

How cool is that!

It reminds me of the "Three foot rule" that some Amway salespeople use.
Basically, the rule is that if anyone comes within 3 feet of a rabid Christian salesman for Amway, then the rabid Christian salesman needs to try to sell to them.

It's Totally Awesome, Praise Jesus!

Click here to see how it's done!


Byker Bob said...

Speaking purely for myself, there was a time when, somewhat like those olfactorilly challenged individuals in my recent analogy, I could not recognize, appreciate, react appropriately to, or be thankful for God's blessings.

To me, a good working definition of a blessing is something positive which happens that runs against basic laws of probability; something that happens against the odds.

Acknowledging a blessing is not something that aggrandizes or adds to God. Thankfulness is something that sets off a positive chain reaction in us humans. It's kind of like forgiveness in that way.

There are other applied philosophies than Christianity, and in many cases, the mental disciplines which they teach can produce positive results, primarily because they add a sense of purpose.

I looked at your list there, and of course I take difference with the slant or spin which they create. There is no such thing for a Christian as not having enough of God's Spirit. God does not discriminate. However, different people listen or are tuned in to different degrees. Listening skills are very important, not to authoritarian teachers, but to what God is trying to say to you Himself.


Byker Bob said...


I hope that some day you might know God's purpose in life. It's not to be the disruptive kid in God's classroom. Been there, and done that myself for too many years.

Some day, you may feel very badly about the things which you so freely mock. Make no mistake, I do believe that it's actually beneficial to mock toxic and false systems such as WCG/HWA. But, just because one group claiming to be Christian proved to be so damaging it doesn't mean that all others are false as well. If so, you'd have to get rid of all money, distrust it completely, just because occasionally one runs across counterfeit.


Dave said...

Ah--the end is near--the favorite theme of many sects--denominations and other "christian" faiths to keep the flocks in the pews and to keep them giving $. It's a despicable scam that's been going on since the first century.It ain't happening folks--how many more centuries are people going to be suckered in by this nonsense? To you old-timers who believed the book The Late Great Planet Earth was THE word on the end-times,still think it's going to occur like that hustler Hal Lindsey said it would? Still looking for that 10 nation European Union? Keep looking!

Here's another favorite--healing--anyone know of anyone who really had a terminal disease and was healed by prayer? A true diagnosed case--not this here say nonsense?
On a related note: what they should have done is prosecute all those Worldwide and off-shoot pastors who taught that true believers do not go to doctors, that if you did so you were doomed? How many people died because they got suckered in by this utter BS?

Anonymous said...

"There is no such thing for a Christian as not having enough of God's Spirit."

That's one explanation of how those rabid Christians who run those rabid mainstream Christian TV stations have none.

Mind you, it's "your" explanation, and not necessarily a correct one.


Retired Prof said...

Norm and BB, your bickering was entertaining at first. You sounded like two guys in a bar trading comments that would turn into taunts and become by stages more strident. Finally the bartender would say, "Take it outside!"

Unfortunately we other patrons will not have the excitement of following you out to the parking lot and watching a scuffle and a bout of fisticuffs, because this is not an argument in a bar. It's all just cyberbluster, just pixels on a screen. Since your taunts are never going to lead to the violent consummation we would eagerly anticipate in a bar, we spectators grow jaded.

BB, you believe that Norm is going through the same process of rejecting religion you went through and that he will eventually return to belief and claim the same peace you now enjoy. Wouldn't it be best to just let him proceed at his own pace?

Norm, you believe BB is so hopelessly misguided that he's nothing more than an embarrassment. Wouldn't it be best not to call attention to what you see as his shortcomings, on the same principle that you don't stare at cripples?

I once took an unreasonable dislike to a guy in my gym class. One day he said something that triggered me off, and I piled into him with my pitiful little fists flying. (I was a scrawny kid.) After the very brief fight was over and our tempers cooled, we became good friends. Maybe if you two could meet behind the bleachers somewhere in realspace and hash things out, something similar would happen to you.

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof,

Thanks for your comments, I was thinking some similar thoughts earlier this afternoon. I do agree with some of your characterizations, although not all.
Odd thing is, that both me and Byker Bob believe that we each were once in a mindset similar to which the other is now in, and we both believe as individuals that we've moved on to greener pastures in how we see things.

I've certainly reacted to what I've seen as BB's cheesy proselytizing for the brand of Christianity he's adopted.
Have I done cheesy proselytizing for the brand of agnosticism that currently suits me? Perhaps so, even though cheesy proselytizing is a pet peeve of mine.

I do consider BB to be a friend. If we got together in person, I think we could have a couple of beers while he showed me some things about his hot-rod transmission and I showed him some helpful tips about dealing with Shimano shifting systems.
I realize that a "prime directive" of his brand of Christianity is to proselytize, though, and maybe that triggers an emotional response I've developed to people trying to "convert" me to their brands of Christianity, as well as an emotional response I've developed to people trying to "convert" me to other belief-systems and things I've seen as scams, too.

To give one example, I had a neighbor who was always trying to convert me to his brand of Christianity. We were OK friends otherwise, but when it came to this, holy cow, he couldn't stop! When I would ask him to please stop proselytizing, he'd falsely claim he wasn't doing that. Like I said, that sort of thing triggers an emotional response I've developed to people doing similar stuff.

(Like when a gal finally convinced me to go to a Landmark Education Corporation "informational" meeting one evening. The "sell" was on! Even though I clearly said I was not interested in taking any of their courses, I later started getting phone calls from Landmark people, who claimed they just wanted to say "HI!" and make sure I was well, and asked how my life was going and if I'd like to improve it, and how they had the tools to do so, etc. When I'd tell them, "I want you to stop calling me and trying to get me to sign up for the Landmark Forum.", the response was, "Oh, no! I'm not trying to get you to to take the Landmark Forum course. We just care about you and want to see how you're doing!")

So, a couple of years back when Byker Bob posted something and I responded that he was making a "conversion call", and he responded "No I wasn't.", that triggered an emotional response I'd developed to similar experiences I'd had.
And since then, our "back-and-forths" have escalated to the point you felt the need to say something.

Tho I've tried to be somewhat concise in this post, I hope it explains a bit of my perspective.

Again, thanks for your comments. They are appreciated, and I will thoughtfully refine my postings in a way that's more considerate of the "other patrons" here.


Retired Prof said...

I know the feeling, Norm. Proselytizers trip my trigger. I once blew up at a '60s-era Jesus Freak who wouldn't honor my polite request for him to leave me alone. However, that was a face-to-face encounter One of the good things about Armstrong's teaching was "We don't buttonhole people."

Sometimes I feel like blowing up in response to blog posts too--I guess because they seem more intimate than a radio or TV broadcast. They aren't really, and when I remind myself that the other person and I literally have a screen as well as miles of distance between us, the irritating words are easier to ignore.

Byker Bob said...

Norm and I were better friends when I, too, was a nonbeliever. We exchanged email, and actually know one another's real names. As it turns out we're both PK's, and are from the same area of the country. And, yes, I echo what he has expressed in that I do consider him to be a friend.

There are two factors that were kind of a catalyst to my somewhat animated, and regular responses. One is that I don't have a particular "brand" of Christianity.
I'm independent, and consider myself as just someone who has a personal relationship with God. That's basically all I can do at this point, because experience with the WCG has caused me to be very defensive towards intrusion. It's why I anonymously attend a megachurch and continue to fail to join their neighborhood groups or take any of their classes. I like the smiles, a nice place to take communion, and the praise music is very uplifting. If someone happened to ask me about God, I would probably answer their questions and recommend that they find a Bible-based church for themselves. In short, I'm not a TBN stereotype. It's just that a few very learned and wise teachers happen to be able to purchase time on that network.

The other thing is this transmission deal. Norm keeps bringing that up as if I should feel embarrassed for recognizing this as a blessing straight from God, and frankly, it was against all odds that I ended up with that transmission, a virtual bolt in, and even in working condition. Anything over 50 years old is not that easy to find, especially reasonably priced, delivered to my doorstep, and in good working condition!

Finally, so long as non-believers share their reason for non-belief, I don't believe I am out of order in relating my own perspectives. Frankly, I don't know if I'd respect someone if they became a Christian just because BB was agnostic and is now Christian. It's got to run deeper than that.

Norm and I have not been indulging in forum flaming here. But, if this stuff is beginning to annoy some of our friends, I'll try to ratchet it down.


Anonymous said...

"I don't have a particular "brand" of Christianity."

Maybe "type" would be a better word than, "brand"?

That would change the wording to, "your type of Christianity" and "my type of agnosticism"

I can understand your aversion to the word "brand" given your not wanting to swallow whole a rigid set of beliefs that an "officially branded" church has.

For example, even within the group of people who consider themselves to be Catholic(and I do consider Catholicism to be a "brand" of Christianity), a large segment of Catholics don't accept everything the Vatican states as true.

IOW, I was using the term "brand" loosely, allowing that even within any given category of Christianity, there are a variety of mindsets on the individual level, just as there are with people in many other religions(and also within agnosticism, too).


Byker Bob said...

Good on ya', I guess. What I've found on the internet, and this expands to more categories than just spirituality, is that people claiming to think outside of the box themselves, in certain notable cases, want to stereotype others and put them into a familiar box. That way, instead of delving more deeply into what they actually think, it makes it easier just to deal with a stereotype.

I can't tell you the number of times when I've quoted people like Gary Amirault, Charles F. Stanley,
Bishop Wright, or others, and people respond with "Oh, so is he your new guru now?" Somehow that never happens if someone quotes Shakespeare, or Tolkein.

I've come to the conclusion that most of the people who came out of Armstrongism have really had their minds warped to the point where they can only see black and white, good or bad. Because of the ways in which God was used, He's automatically lumped in with the bad or even nonexistent. But, that's OK. I've become accustomed to that. Friendships are as oft based on similarity of thought as they are actual enjoyment of personality.