Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dennis On: "The Tiring of the Churches of God"

"...entire Church of God phenomenon is worn out, tired, pooped, exhausted..."

The Tiring of the Churches of God

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorI have to say I miss the Feast.  My last was at Myrtle Beach where I spoke to about 8000 on the "Politics of the New Testament."  You know...James distrusted Paul and his teachings. Peter didn't like Paul.  Paul confronts Peter. John likes neither Peter or Paul and both don't like him.  It was a journey through the sarcasm and writing styles in the NT that show the animosity these guys had for each other.  I have to say I had a lot of fun with it and in a passive aggressive way, was able to show that nothing has changed in the Church to this day.  There never was a time when anyone all spoke the same thing, no matter the admonition to do so.  I pushed it a bit, kidding about how we must stop singing, "We are not divided, all one body we....."  and "One in hope and doctrine. One in charity," because we all know we had a long long way to go.  

In hind site it was a mistake to show where Matthew got his Virgin Birth views and how he made scripture mean what it never meant, but that is another story.  I did learn you don't say, "Where do babies come from?"  in such a venue ...LOL

But it was fun and the response was great.  I got a free dinner out of it that evening from a well known Evangelist type who wanted to know more.  

It was the last time I ever felt good about the energy and "we can work through this," attitude in the Church.   A few months later, I was gone.

The Churches of God are tired and suffering, whether they know it or not, from everything from "time is short," to "We are God's people," fatigue.  It's a normal cycle and the one you see played out in the New Testament itself, but one they never thought they would have to face themselves.  These are folk who have seen the hope of things to come blasted to pieces.  They have seen split upon split and suffered the loss of friends who used to stick closer than a brother.  They have gone from trusting everyone, sometimes to their harm, to trusting no one.   Teachings that were so sacred have been trashed and replaced by those that most feel are merely a reinvention of the wheel or simply bullshit.  

The splits and schisms  (I once said "shits and splisms" in a study) are expected and men who have waited in the wings for decades unnoticed now have their chance to step forward and make fools of themselves simply because they can read the Bible.  

In my view, the cold and unstable former full time WCG ministers that most wished back then would simply go away, have risen to be the millionaire gurus of dozens.  They are doing today what they did back when and I see little life change or personal introspection in these guys whose names we all know well.  They dis-courage their congregations with their "much speaking,"  and haven't grown an inch in their understanding of the Bible in their entire lives.  These are not men who can admit that what they learned between 18 and 22 might have more to the story than they were told.  While some might be flashy or mouthy, for the most part, the active ministry is ignorant of Bible origins, background and intent.  They fill congregations of people who, while sincere, are listeners  and not thinkers.

Ron Weinland talks to his followers as a disgusted parent to the children who need to get it.  He is no teacher.  Dennis Luker, a formerly good friend, looks and sounds exhausted.  Dave Pack, as ever, just sounds stern and in charge.  Michael Meredith's thrown together "Let's rejoice at the Feast in Hawaii," is a metaphor for the exhaustion and boredom most are feeling.  His video was simply awful and whoever let it be the one they wanted must be in a fog of fatigue.  The "Jelly" video concept is beyond embarrassing and the fatigue is shown by the fact that no one cares if the church wants to make fools out of themselves. Few have the energy to be offended or at least express the idea that this might not be all that Gospel like.

People move around from church to church and Feast site to Feast site hoping to find what will never be found again.  There is no security, hope, specialness or inspiration.  One site at which I have family took in $19,000 the first Holy Day.  Remember when one site could produce nearly $180,000 and most felt we could do better the last day.  I suppose we can say those high amounts reflected our hope, firm belief in the Church being "THE" Church and our naive and simplistic views about the times in which we lived.  I had a sneaking suspicion that since Jesus did not return for the Holocaust, He might not return because of KISS or Queen, but I spare you.

At any rate, the entire Church of God phenomenon is worn out, tired, pooped, exhausted and sliding into home base.   Members always die. Even well known ones, but soon in the scheme of things the men of renown will pass.  A second or third generation will take up the mantle and grow even more weary being stuck in something they may not have personally chosen in hind sight.   Eventually it will simply be a memory in the tradition of Billy Sunday, Aimee Semple McPherson and Benny Hinn.  All the smaller churches and dramas will simply be forgotten.

What caused all this?  Human and Ego and the human propensity to be deaf, blind, dumb and stupid.  It didn't have to be this way.  Or maybe it did.

I believe it was the True Church at one time.  I could read the Bible and see everything from Holy Days to tithing and Sabbath.  Kingdoms sounded much better than Heaven and I'd rather burn up in hell than just burn.  While British Israelism never captured my interest and I never spoke on it, it had a ring to it, if you lived in the the 19th Century.  I didn't see where the New Testament cared about such things and it did seem contrived to me.  But then again, I thought, being Presbyterian in the past, one could take and leave different views as believed or not believed much. 

I just didn't have all the facts I would have liked to make better decisions.  The Booklets and media did a great job in my youth of capturing my attention.  In reality, just like Bob Jones University two streets over from me, WCG and the COGs are mid life crisis factories.  Only those who never thought to think outside the box or only allowed their church to inform them are still keeping on.....and they are exhausted, tired and quietly wondering what the hell happened to their good intentions, hopes and dreams of The Wonderful World Tomorrow. 

The COGs have simply relived and created all the drama and disappointment , excuse making and doctrinal evolution that we see in the New Testament.  They have gone from "soon" and "shortly" to "I fought a good fight," and now I'm going to die.  Paul still hates Peter and James still thinks Paul is a putz. John still views Peter as no better than Judas and Paul still is the only one in the various shits and splisisms who thinks he really is an Apostle, Prophet, Watcher or Presiding Somebody and eventually got his butt bounced out of Ephesus...

Anyone got an orange sticker????   :)

Dennis C. Diehl


Anonymous said...

Michael Meredith's thrown together "Let's rejoice at the Feast in Hawaii," is a metaphor for the exhaustion and boredom most are feeling. His video was simply awful and whoever let it be the one they wanted must be in a fog of fatigue.

What do you mean by "whoever let it be the one they wanted"? Do you really think anybody in LCG can get away with telling Rod Meredith that his son is anything less than the very best? Remember that the last top Meredith aide who tried to point out flaws in a Meredith son was unceremoniously "retired" and sent away.

People in LCG have learned that you gain favor with Rod Meredith by telling him the lies he wants to hear, and you lose favor with Rod Meredith by telling him the truth he does not want to hear. What possible purpose could be achieved by telling Rod Meredith that his son is a liability? In Rod's mind, that son isn't a liability; he's the heir and you are the liability if you aren't 100% in support of that heir!

Anonymous said...

If Jim is the anointed one, that will hasten the demise of LCG, which is an extremely good thing.

Steve Kisack said...

Is it Michael or Jim? Which one is going to be in charge? As far as you are concerned, Dennis, you made me laugh. Good for the soul.

Anonymous said...

Jim is the one being groomed to replace Spanky. LCG will soon start having problems when this happens. He is intensely disliked by many. Mike is not thought of very highly either.

Assistant Deacon said...

No need to argue about the who's who of the LCG, because, well, irrelevant is irrelevant.

Dennis, your conclusion is spot-on. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Dennis C. Diehl,

Can you write an article and tell us EVERYTHING you know about David C. Pack?

He acts like he has the "relentless drive and zeal" that the other splinter leaders lack. He does not appear to be as godless as the UCG leaders or as satanic as the PCG leaders. His group started smaller than the others but appears to be growing, while the other splinter groups started larger but are either stagnant or in serious decline.

Is DCP sincere?

Is DCP reasonable?

Is DCP all about money?

Is DCP all about numbers?

Can anyone ever get along with DCP?

How does DCP's Restored Church manage to grow with such high member turnover?

Etc., etc., etc.?

I would like to learn the quick, easy, inexpensive way rather than the other way.

DennisCDiehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mish-Mash said...

Great insight Dennis. I feel exactly the same way. Even though I don't attend any COG group, my dad does and he feels the same way too. Although dad is a blowhard when he gets on is doctorine train, but I can knock the steam out of him as soon as I bring up the politics.

If you really look at these people, they just want to live in their COG fantasy world. Its all cherries and rainbows and if Christ doesn't come in 5 or 10 years well then he'll come 5 or 10 years after that. I wonder about how long it will take for these groups to completely fizzle out. About 25 years? Yea, that seems right. The 2nd genners (like myself) are around 50 -55. Once the "grand ones" are gone, and then their sons are gone in 25 years, it will all be just a footnote in history.

Douglas Becker said...

Ah, the inevitable entropy.

No outside energy to draw from.

This is how black holes are formed.

Yes, yes, collapse of the Armstrongist universe is imminent.

It just takes awhile.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said:

"I would like to learn the quick, easy, inexpensive way rather than the other way."

Ah ha ha ha. :) That is not how you learn anything!!! Experience is the only teacher, everything else is just hearsay


Allen C. Dexter said...

The whole process is painfully slow. Some, like Dennis and I were lucky enough to get out years ago. Others held on stubbornly and desperately, not willing to believe that they could have been wrong.

Emotional attachment is a strong force. It keeps millions in the grip of religion.

Anonymous said...

Dennis C. Diehl said...

Ah ha ha ha. :) That is not how you learn anything!!! Experience is the only teacher, everything else is just hearsay :)

Fine! Then relate some of your experiences with DCP. The time has come for you to put your great wealth of experience to use helping others. I have had enough of teachers like Miss Experience!! Give me some of your Hearsay!!!

I have already had all sorts of experience of my own with the WCG/GCI, PCG, GCG/LCG, UCG/COGWA, etc. and do NOT want any more such experiences!!!!!!!

Assistant Deacon said...

What is your bizarre obsession with Dave SeePack, Anon?

Go read his website. Read the "authorized" biography that he wrote himself. Look at his obsession over how everyone else who went to college with him and preached what he preached and practiced what he practiced is now a heretic and a liar and a minister of Satan, just because they aren't a part of his church.

Pack is willingly ignorant of simple biblical teachings and principles. You don't need stories from Dennis to prove that.

Decide for yourself. It's not that hard.

Anonymous said...

Mish-Mash said...

"Although dad is a blowhard when he gets on is doctorine train, but I can knock the steam out of him as soon as I bring up the politics."

That little observation brings up a major problem in the splinter groups these days. Some church teachings do appear to be biblically correct. However, the actual behavior of the members and ministers in the various splinter groups is so bad that the groups are not fit to attend.

Anonymous said...

Assistant Deacon said...
"What is your bizarre obsession with Dave SeePack, Anon?

Go read his website...."

Years ago I noticed that every church seemed to claim in its own literature and preachings that it was full of true Christians with the Holy Spirit and that it was full of light and truth and was growing in grace and knowledge and blah, blah, blah....

At the very same time, an actual physical inspection of the place would have determined that it was full of filthy perverts with evil spirits and was full of darkness and lies and was growing in crudeness and ignorance and puke, puke, puke....

Actually going to some place yourself is the true "acid test." Unfortunately, all the flying acid in some of these toxic environments could leave you scarred for life. Better to seek out someone with a disfigured face and question them about it.

You might remember that even your old friend HWA told people to ask the WCG any questions they had about it and not to ask its enemies. Now that you have "gone bad" and "departed from the faith" you probably wish in hindsight that you had asked around some more first.

Multitude of counsel is where its at, Dude. Speeds up the learning curve.

Assistant Deacon said...

I honestly have no idea what you're talking about, Anon, but Dave SeePack's church HQ is located in Wadsworth, Ohio, and he's building his new "campus" on Ambassador Drive or something like that. So, you know, feel free to buzz on by and puke over the perverts and evil spirits hanging around the place, if you want. :)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find it strange that Anon wants Dennis to spill the beans on Dave? Is Anon really Dave lurking on here or is it one of his flunkies?

Byker Bob said...

Since all the ACOGs are statistically negligible, and for all intents and purposes, I consider them irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.

If they were actually to become what they aspire to be, it would be quite a different matter, as one or more would be prominent in the news, well known by world leaders, and perhaps even taken seriously in the Christian community. The fact is their empire peaked years ago, and has been in decay ever since their prophecies failed to materialize in any substantive or specific ways.

It's like the old joke about "ignore Amos".


Anonymous said...

I always wonder how the Jehovahs Witnesses have kept their church going for so long. In many ways they are similar to WCG but they sure have lasted a lot longer.

Byker Bob said...

Anonymous, the JW's have had their share of failed prophecies, and they do have a strict set of beliefs and code of behavior. But, members are governed in a completely different manner. There is not the cruel and mean-spirited authoritarianism at Kingdom Hall that you would normally find in a local ACOG congregation or their headquarters area. The concept of sacrifice is well known amongst the JW's, but it is left up to the individual conscience of the believer, not demanded or shamed out of members from the pulpit.

The main aspect which has ruined the otherwise harmless doctrines of classic WCG is extreme, and often cruel exploitative and intrusive governance. They say that this is God's way, thus usurping the function of the Holy Spirit in members' spiritual lives. Inevitably, anyone who believes that this cruelty is actually God's way ends up needing to wrestle with an occasional hatred of God problem. Often this hatred persists and becomes even worse when a member leaves the church. It takes years to receive healing from this and to actually receive the blessing of a loving relationship with God. I can't think of anything worse that a church group could possibly do to its members than to take oppressive Satanic behavior and to convince church members that that is God's way! You end up with massive bitterness and a God-repellent mind.


Allen C. Dexter said...

BB, you obviously don't know much about the JWs. Just try leaving their organization and you will be subjected to drastic censure and draconian shunning.

They were even more insistent on 1975 being the end. I had a former sister-in-law who laughed at one of the relatives who had turned JW and told her she would take her out to dinner in 1976. Don't know if she actually did. Lots of time for big dinners since then.

Anonymous said...

Good on you Dennis for telling it like it really is!

I think the whole COG movement as started by HWA has imploded on itself so many times over to the point that it'll probably take just 1 or 2 more in the next 5 to 10 years for everyone with their eyes still wide shut in these groups to finally realize the jig is up and how duped we all were!

Would you believe in a LGD sermon on prophecy this past Monday UCG pastor Bill Bradford asserted that, "Herbert W. Armstrong was right! Maybe his timing was a little off, but he's completely correct! Everything he said that would come to pass is happening now!" I for one was left gobsmacked that he would utter such baloney! HWA wasn’t correct about anything! He was wrong about tithing, wrong about a Monday Pentecost, wrong about church government, wrong about divorce and remarriage, wrong about masturbation, wrong about the true church, wrong about the British royal family being descended from King David, wrong about Hitler being the Beast and Pius XII being the False Prophet, wrong about WWII being Armageddon, wrong about America and Britain being destroyed in a nuclear holocaust by 1975 and enslaved by a German-led European alliance, wrong about Christ returning by 1975, wrong about water baptism and laying on of hands, wrong about conventional doctors and medication, wrong about makeup, wrong about a place of safety and Petra, wrong about famine, disease epidemics and other natural disasters destroying America, wrong about God commissioning him through a dream to Loma to warn the world of Christ’s return by 1975, wrong about him being the Elijah to come or one of the two witnesses, wrong about so many things that it beggars belief that anyone with any shred of decency or integrity would say such nonsense! And pray do tell what exactly was so accurate about his prophecies that gave him greater insight and divine approval above other Christian groups like the Jehovah’s witnesses claiming Christ would return by 1975 or Bible fundamentalists claiming that the 10-nation EEC in Europe during the 1980s was the Beast of Revelation or the BIWF claiming that the US and UK are going to be punished in a future WWIII? His record was dismal, he lacked prescience about a lot of contemporary issues of the day and there’s no way he had God’s seal of approval! I think St. Malachy has a better track record in predicting the popes than Armstrong had in predicting anything! Besides when the Bible prophecies are in the process of being fulfilled it won’t be known by a secret few, but by the whole world!