Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pam Dewey on Propehcy Prognosticators

Pam Dewey has another entry into her series on "Are You Prepared for…the Unthinkable? Part 21: Back to the Future"

With her background in the Church of God she has first hand knowledge of the endless stream of men who trumpeted out one silly prophecy after another.  The same thing they were shouting 60 years ago are the same topics today.  This is not unique to the Church of God.  It is a problem with most conservative, fundamentalist groups.

Yet for the past almost 50 years, religious commentators have endlessly taken whatever the current crisis was … the Viet Nam war, American race riots in the ‘60s, the rise of Chinese power in the world … and insisted that it was cause for “more anxiety than ever in our history.” And reason to believe that the Return of Christ was imminent.

Yes, there are indeed many things that can go wrong in the coming years … and likely will. Maybe we will face conditions in the US as difficult as those of the Dust Bowl years and the depths of the Depression. Maybe we will be embroiled in military actions as horrifying as those faced by our military in Europe and the South Pacific in WW2. But when I look in the faces of the people shopping in the local Walmart right now, I do not see terror or uncontrolled anxiety.  I don’t see them particularly fearful as they cart out to their car the box with the big screen hi-def TV, and fill their carts with goodies for the next tail-gate party.

Are they just ignorant and don’t know they should be daily living their lives filled with anxiety and fear about the possibilities of future calamities? Perhaps. But I am fully aware of all of those possibilities, and I’m not filled with anxiety and fear. I am continuing to live as productive a life as I can, and appreciating the blessings of each day. Would I be better off if I were spending more of my time reading anxious, panicky, speculative prophecy newsletters?

I am convinced the answer to that is NO.

But won’t I miss getting biblical advice on how I can “escape” the bad times coming? Don’t I need the wisdom of prophetic speculators on how to “prepare for the doom-filled future”?

I am convinced that the answer to those questions is NO also.

Typical “preparation” advice from such folks includes one, some, or all of these concepts:
  1. Be continually “watching world events”—preferably through the filter of the writings and recordings of the prognosticator
  2. Continually take in speculation from conservative commentators on what’s going on “behind the scenes” in government and the world of finance
  3. Study the prophetic passages of the Bible with the guidance of the prognosticator’s recordings and writings so you can pinpoint the Time as closely as possible
  4. If you don’t believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, purchase survival supplies … sometimes, from the over-priced offerings of the prognosticators themselves
  5. For the more militant … purchase guns and ammo to hold off the hordes until Jesus gets here
  6. For the less militant, just “pray, study, and fast” to “get close to God.”
Now mind you, I don’t have anything against some of those suggestions as being generally applicable to one’s life. For instance, I’m not ignorant about national and world news. But after almost 50 years of having people tell me that every hiccup in news headlines is “fulfilling Bible prophecy,” I’ve become very skeptical that the purpose of staying up with the news has a whole lot more value than just being “culturally aware” so that I can intelligently discuss things with others.

As for those ranting commentators who insist that I need to know the latest hidden activities of the Global Elite or whoever … it isn’t clear to me why I need to spend much time with this. If there really is a shadowy Global Elite running things, I can’t vote them out of office—since they weren’t voted into office. I don’t have super-powers, so I can’t infiltrate their secret meetings in Belgium or wherever and thwart their plans. I don’t have enough money to hire hit-men to assassinate all of them to keep them from carrying out their plans. So it seems to me like my best bet is to just … get on with my life.


DennisCDiehl said...

NO2HWA notes:
"So it seems to me like my best bet is to just … get on with my life."

Loved the last paragraph. The idea of Prophecy always implied to me that it was all set and we were just bit players in the unfolding drama and soap opera of life and religion. Christians have been wasting their time on that concept for 2000 years. The "applies at every time in history" prophecies just distract or give a perverse hope that "we" live in the real times spoken of with the real rescue and change to immortal spirit just around the corner.

bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...thanks for playing...

The condition of the world is the condition of the world. It has nothing to do with it being prophecied to be so. It is how we explain our world to comfort ourselves and give us hope, but it is probably not an accurate way to instill hope.

Hope defered makes the heart sick and all that....
(Weird that's in a Book that does nothing but defer hope.)

On top of this, much of OT prophecy never came to pass as advertised, was added as false prophecy to begin with to make either priests or scribes look like false prophects (bible politics) or written after the fact (Daniel and especially Daniel 11). NT prophecy is written in the style of Midrash, especially in the Gospels which go back and mine OT scriptures to write a story which looks like amazing prophecy fulfilled, but in fact is not prophecy at all.

Matthew makes his fatal mistake writing the story of Jesus entry in to Jerusalem on two animals because he misunderstood the OT and proved he made the story match the OT. Luke and John corrected his goofy mistake showing they understood what he did wrong.

Moving on can be a challenge. It is like letting go of a friend that is not good for you but at least was there as a friend at times....and there don't seem to be many new ones around

Anonymous said...

"So it seems to me like my best bet is to just … get on with my life"

Amen sister!

Douglas Becker said...

Over 50 years of false prophets predicting depressing doom, destruction, devastation -- all failed prognostications (and even a bunch of prophecies they should have made, but didn't) all in the name of the Lord (God, Jesus), blaspheming, taking God's Name in vain with nary a hint of repentance among the lot of them.

In fact, some of them have declared they have never committed a MAJOR sin after their baptism, because, as you know, lying and being a false prophet is only a MINOR sin punishable only by death.

Douglas Becker said...

Oh, and yeah, which one of these false prophets predicted Hurricane Sandy in specific details in advance?

Anonymous said...

In the wild world of religion, it's nice that that some are shown by their words to be interested in prophecy.
That way, I know I should not take what they say seriously.


Byker Bob said...

Basically, I've come to the same view as Pam.

When I re-entered the world of Christianity, one of the most difficult things for me to address or accept was this end of the age thing, a concept that WCG had taught in a most unloving, unnurturing way. Fact is, they beat our asses with it every opportunity. But, I was able to put all of that aside, and re-examine it.

There is no Biblical or Christian reason to allow this topic to agitate one, or to spoil one's life. It's either going to happen, or not. If it does, whatever will happen in each of our lives is what will happen. Something so catastrophic, it would require help from God to get through. I personally believe that if you have a relationship with Him, whatever happens will be in your best long-term spiritual interests, be it total protection, or chastisement.

There are numerous ministries that emphasize the end times, though none indulge in the full exploitation of their members to the extent that the Armstrongs did.
For many, it's just a background thing, a possibility, yet the emphasis is on daily living of the Christian lifestyle.

I personally am up in the air over this issue. On the one hand, you have the Olivet discourse, in each of the synoptic gospels, all mentioning the sprouting of the tender twig, and there are those who teach that this uses Biblical symbolism to portray the rebirth of Israel as a nation. The existence of Israel would seem to be a necessary ingredient in the prophecies of Revelation. But, is the interpretation of this twig symbolism accurate? It seems to indicate that the baby boom generation won't die off until the prophecies in the Olivet discourse are fulfilled. Based on how long I live, it's something I either will know or won't know before I die, and that's where I leave it.

There is no need for all of that end time paranoia fomented by Armstrongism. They magnified this paranoia greatly by teaching that God's love is conditional, and that HWA and his delegates had the power to separate members from God, thus consigning them to the Germans or the Lake of Fire. They lied.


Anonymous said...

Why is it that the women in the Church of God make more sense and are more grounded than the morons in charge? Maybe if we had had some women in charge we would not be such a fucked up church......just sayin.....

Anonymous said...

"There are numerous ministries that emphasize the end times, though none indulge in the full exploitation of their members to the extent that the Armstrongs did."

If you believe that, you are quite naive or ignorant!

Byker Bob said...

Cite one. Show me their dissident websites.


Anonymous said...

The post concluded with Pam's words: "...So it seems to me like my best bet is to just … get on with my life..."

Excellent point, especially when so many prophecy prognosticators have applied the principle of "...line upon line...here a little and there a little!" Where did that principle really get those who used it?

"But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." Isaiah 28:13

Yes, that "...they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

And by their fruits/works we know them...