Friday, November 2, 2012

Jonathon McNair and His Angry God

We are a few days after hurricane Sandy.  Death and destruction lie in it's wake with damage into the hundreds of millions if not much higher.

Every time there is some major storm, some large weather pattern, some violent outburst, the Churches of God start screaming "...prophecy coming alive!"  God is really, really pissed and he isn't taking it any more.  Or, maybe it is Satan let loose upon the world to thwart the message of the true church of God.

Johnathon starts out letting everyone know that not a single Living Church of God member suffered any damage.  Our members are blessed and preserved from calamity because we are special while the rest of the world are sinful losers.

As a pastor of congregations in the region hit by Hurricane Sandy, I was thankful to learn that the Church members in my area were safe and unharmed. Yet some of the harm caused by Hurricane Sandy may not yet be evident, as the damage caused by the “storm surge” is further evaluated, and the cleanup continues.

McNair naively believes that Americans think things of this magnitude happen else where.  What a load of rubbish!  We know we have large hurricanes, tornado's, earthquakes etc.  The problem now is that more people live in the larger metropolitan areas than they did when Herbert started.  That, combined with instantaneous news coverage and disasters quickly become major stories.

For many of us, flooding, earthquakes and famines are disasters that are supposed to happen in “other places”—perhaps Bangladesh, Haiti or Ethiopia, not the prosperous and modern and efficient United States. We take “survival” for granted; we watch other nations struggle with it, and the closest many of us have yet come is to watch Survivor on reality television.

History books tell the story of natural disasters through the years. Storms and floods and droughts and famine are not new to human history. But for the better part of a century, we have enjoyed a time of unprecedented prosperity in the United States, allowing us to assist other nations with their disasters.

He goes on to talk about global warming, and other contributing factors:

Yet it seems that times are changing, and even in the complacent U.S. many are beginning to take notice. “The number of weather-related catastrophes has been rising dramatically since 1980 on all continents, with the steepest rise in North America. Insured losses on the continent soared from an average of $9 billion a year in the 1980’s to $36 billion a year in the 2000s,” according to Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurance firm.


Some suggest that human-induced “global warming” is the culprit. Yet others dispute this idea, pointing to New York’s major hurricanes in 1821 and 1938. Are we simply in a normal cycle of the earth’s atmospheric conditions, or have we done irreparable harm to our world? Certainly we can take Hurricane Sandy and similar great disasters as a learning experience in preparedness—but should we see them as something more?

Only in one sentence did McNair mention Jesus.  He did however have lots to say about his angry God that is ready to dish out some whoop-ass.  His god is filled with wrath and anger.

The words of your Bible reveal that there is a God, and He uses the weather to teach and warn. In a prophecy directed to ancient Israel, He says, “I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit” (Leviticus 26:19-20). How many today realize that the United States is identified in Bible prophecy as the modern descendant of ancient Israel’s tribe of Manasseh (to learn more, order a free copy of our booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy)?

God warned the Israelites—and He warns us today—that He would use the weather to show His wrath against their evil. In Genesis 7, we read that God used a flood to destroy most of the world’s inhabitants, not just the Israelites, for their wickedness. To learn more about how God works through these dramatic events, order a free copy of our booklet, Who Controls the Weather?
 Be ye warm and filled with the law.  Only then will you receive a chance at salvation.
 Hurricane Sandy is a powerful reminder that the storms on our nation’s horizon are bigger than any man. So, will our nation repent of its evil ways, turn its focus to God, and obey Him? Thankfully, no matter what direction the U.S. and other nations may take, Jesus Christ died so that you, individually, could repent, be baptized, and live a joyous life in harmony with His laws and His ways, preparing for the day when His Kingdom will rule the earth. God speed that day!


Anonymous said...

During a Tuesday night Bible discussion/conference call, a minister with Living God Ministries (fired from WCG years ago) said he's praying all survivors of Sandy learn it's dangerous to be "outside the will and protection of Almighty God."

I don't think that group has any worshipers in the hurricane damage zone.

Anonymous said...

It's doubtful LCG has that many people in the metro NYC area. Even UCG reported they had 80 members.

Anonymous said...

No members in an area where tens of millions live is not a good sign of success in "going to all the world..." I suppose if there is a television program there or some literature, that is good enough to fulfill the basics.

LCG leadership has never critically thought out whether Bronze Age views on weather and swapping Baal for Satan is the enlightened sane view of weather.

"Have you journed to the springs of the seas or walked in the recesses of the deep...?"
Job 38:16

"What is the way to the abode of light? and where does the darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?"


"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?"
Job 38:22


"........" Job 38:21-30




Douglas Becker said...

The parable of the wheat and tares suggests a solution to the question of why LCG members weren't touched by Big Sandy.

How quickly we forget incidents like the student water skiing on Lake Loma who went on to an island, was bitten by poisonous snakes and instantly died.

The members of churches whose leaders are false prophets (based on the thoroughly disproved idiocy of British Israelism) are being spared until the Lake of Fire, by all appearances -- being reserved for judgment because they will not repent.

Douglas Becker said...

Yes, it certainly is a blessing from God to be protected in LCG services from a gun man who shoots and kills the minister and several of the members (obviously punishment from God because of the sins of Roderick Meredith -- the leaders are responsible for the wrath of God, as in David's time).

Dozens were spared (the gun man probably ran out of bullets).

M. T. Gunchambers

Anonymous said...

I want to express my appreciation for the many comments made in response to the articles posted on this site. My world is generally uneventful and my impression of people is one of respect with the belief that all people have a basic good if we get to know them. Most of the people I know have a belief in God and attempt to live a moral life.

It has been an eye opening experience to see the critical condemnation of people that do not live by standards believed to apply to human life. Even if God didn’t exist a world of people that use critical condemnation to express their frustrations would eventually self destruct. If the biblical God exists (I believe He does) it is doubtful that critical condemnation will be acceptable in solving the problems of humanity.

Todays hew and cry is “change” but the changes desired seems varied. I believe the only change needed is an internal change that recognizes the value of each individual and that critical condemnation changes nothing. Changes in the world must start with a change in people. It does no good to put people down (as many do) the solution is to lift people up to the point that they see the true value of the potential of human life. I wish those involved in promoting their personal beliefs could make this change.

Byker Bob said...

Ah, yet another example of the loving and compassionate preaching of the gospel! Typical. The ones at ground zero actually helping the victims are behaving in a more Christ-like fashion than any of the ACOGS who are chanting their mantras of "Let the dead bury the dead", or "We ought not help those whom God is punishing!"

Caution, folks: Armstrongism, if practiced as recommended in the correct "Philadelphian" manner may cause anxiety, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, skin irritation or rash, massive sexual dysfunction, alcoholism and substance abuse, loss of memory, extreme paranoia, personality disorder, psychosis, loss of belief in God, vision problems, isolation, simultaneous outbreaks of halitosis, B.O., and gas, and in extreme cases death. The severity of these disorders will be directly proportional to length and intensity of exposure.

Antidotes include immediate discontinuance of usage of the "product", and copious washing with the blood of Jesus Christ and the living waters of the Holy Spirit! For best results this should be accompanied by unfiltered and undiluted Bible Study, and frequent prayer. Prognosis for complete and total recovery is excellent when antidotes are used!


Painful Truth said...

LCG Mind Numbed Robots
| |
| | | |
____ ___|_|___ ____
()___) ()___)
// /| |\ \\
// / | | \ \\
(___) |___________| (___)
(___) (_______) (___)
(___) (___) (___)
(___) |_| (___)
(___) ___/___\___ | |
| | | | | |
| | |___________| /___\
/___\ ||| ||| // \\
// \\ ||| ||| \\ //
\\ // ||| ||| \\ //
\\ // ()__) (__()
/// \\\
/// \\\
_///___ ___\\\_
|_______| |_______|

Anonymous said...

BB said “Antidotes include immediate discontinuance of usage of the "product", and copious washing with the blood of Jesus Christ and the living waters of the Holy Spirit! For best results this should be accompanied by unfiltered and undiluted Bible Study, and frequent prayer. Prognosis for complete and total recovery is excellent when antidotes are used!”

I assume the “product” is LCG since that is the object under discussion and I agree that it is a potential problem, but the solution offered is difficult to attach to real life. Just how does a person become washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and the living waters of the Holy Spirit? How do we engage in unfiltered and undiluted Bible Study? What Translation do you suggest? Frequent Prayer should be standard for anyone who embraces the Christian faith, but I suppose we all need a constant reminder.

An interested observer

Anonymous said...

It is exactly this type of article / sermon that drove me to leave the churches of god a few years ago.

I clearly remember Jim O'brien's sermon after the big tsunami that struck south Asia and killed nearly a million people. Someone had asked him why god would allow this, and his response was that they weren't trying to live a godly lifestyle so they all deserved to die as a result.

I'm sure all those little babies that were washed out to sea must have been engaged in some vile, wicked activities.

I kept that sermon tape from Jim. Really I should frame it - hearing that rubbish was one of the final pushes I needed to begin my journey toward freethinking.

Mish-Mash said...

Does it seem like they are preprogrammed with the same response over and over and over? Do they ever have an original thought in their heads? Here's a novel idea, oh pastor of a dozen churches in the metropolitan area...organize some help for these poor people. Take up a collection, get some people who have trucks to bring ice and water. Take a lesson from Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing. They are the on the scene faster than the government. But that would take money out of your pocket, wouldn't it? Ever read James 2, don't say to people, "peace, be warm and filled", MEET THEIR NEEDS! Show faith by actions, something none of you ACOGers have ever done. So in conclusion, they have NO FAITH, since they have NO ACTIONS, other than to suck money away from people who can't afford to supply their life styles, and claim they are doing it in the name of the "living Christ" and of course, never mention Jesus.

Assistant Deacon said...

"Jesus Christ died so that you, individually, could repent, be baptized, and live a joyous life in harmony with His laws and His ways, preparing for the day when His Kingdom will rule the earth."

Anonymous said...

I am replying to the anonymous who wrote criticising "critical condemnation". He/she thinks most people have good in them.....perhaps but I believe some don't, and some who don't are religious leaders and hypocrites. Not all religious leaders of course, but some who tell people to do things they don't do or believe in and who live lives of plenty and luxury supported by their followers. Another group who don't appear to have good in them except maybe buried very deep are those who abuse children and go to poor countries and abuse poor children with desperate families. I don't know any of these people but one does read about them (ah the local politician or community leader just trying to relieve his stress).
I also object to his/her "most of the people I know have a belief in God and attempt to live a moral life". Well he/she probably only knows people who believe like him (must be him), and his version of God. One can be moral without believing in God. Many people are. Why is it that "god believers" think non-believers are immoral and who knows what else? Would they be without their god?
Whatever critical condemnation may be, critical thinking is necessary

Byker Bob said...

Well, Interested Observer, although the general aura of LCG prompted my observations, my comments apply to all of the Armstrong splinter groups. All are overflowing with error, and authoritarian enforcement of that error, partially because members are taught to view HWA as a quasi-biblical character, equal in significance to Jesus Christ and the original disciples/apostles. That core belief closes so many doors!

You are correct in observing that the solution which I mentioned is very difficult to apply in physical life. That is because the things mentioned are gifts from God, available on request. They are not qualities which one can work up through physical legalism, determination, or will power. The Bible contains both a "higher" story (involving God's work and motives), and a secondary or lower story (involving man and man's reactions). What I'm learning, and this is different from my twenty years in Armstrongism, is to listen directly to God. With His guidance, many things come to one not only during quiet time with Him (prayer, Bible Study, meditation), but also throughout the day in normal daily human routine.

Regarding that Bible Study, I don't like to put all of my eggs in one basket. All translations have their fans and detractors, and these are often based on the doctrinal bias of the individual. Within the past thirty years, and with the development of the science of textual criticism, some of the new translators began by assembling as many manuscripts as are available. These were evaluated in an attempt to discover age, originality, completeness, and authenticity. Those which the scholars (by concensus) considered to be the best possible exemplars were then used as a basis for translation. There is also more complete knowledge of ancient Hebrew on the part of linguistics scholars than was available at the time of the translation of the KJV. In addition to the KJV, I mainly utilize TNIV, and the New American Bible. The notes on the first pages authenticates the scholarship behind the processes which the translators used.

The basic problem with the ACOGs is comparable to what can happen to a gene pool where a particular group is attempting to maintain purity. So, I also read widely. The complete works of Josephus were very helpful, as were the writings of the Antenicene fathers (spiritual descendents of the original apostles). One really should read these in entirety, and not just the spoon fed excerpts which some feel supports Armstrongism.

There is a vast difference between allowing God to be your guide, or allowing a corporate authority structure to be your guide. It's much more difficult to have faith in something not seen, than to have faith in a physical church group and its teachings. Bottom line for me is that on judgment day, I don't get to have a minister or teacher standing next to me, functioning as some sort of spiritual attorney. Why allow them to be so presumptuous and controlling in one's life as one works towards that day? Guide, yes. Unfortunately, it's a deeply engrained practice in the ACOGs to do more than simply guide. They see themselves not as guides, but as gatekeepers.


Anonymous said...

BB thanks for your response
If I understand you correctly you believe and accept as fact that Jesus Christ and the original disciples/apostles had a significance that is different than other human beings. I assume the significance the disciples/apostles possessed was due to their direct contact with Jesus Christ or perhaps the receiving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Is this correct?
You say the “copious washing with the blood of Jesus Christ and the living waters of the Holy Spirit!” is very difficult to apply because they are gifts from God available on request. Since spirit is related to wind, air, and breath where does water come in? Why is it difficult to apply a gift if you have requested it and God has given it? Is there some specific formula that must be used in requesting this gift?
You say you are learning to listen directly to God, I’ll assume it is via the Holy Spirit, but this doesn’t matter. Just what does God tell you? Does he tell you how to live and what He wants you to do in living your physical life or is it more along the line of spiritual and religious activities?
I see you read from several different sources to judge the accuracy in understanding the scriptures and obviously use personal insight in determining the understanding you believe to be closer to being accurate for today’s reader. Is this correct?
I need clarification a couple more things regarding scripture. One is in regard to the “higher” story, involving God’s work and motive. What have you determine to be God’s motives and how do you define the work He is doing. The other is about the secondary or lower story involving man and man's reactions. What have you learned from scripture about man and his reactions that man doesn’t learn by experience?
I know this is rather long, but these are legitimate questions that need to be addressed since what you have presented appears to be based on personal experience and understanding rather than biblical examples. I realize that faith is a vital ingredient in those who become followers of Jesus Christ, but faith needs an intellectual foundation or it is just wishful thinking. There is a need for some common ground that is unshakeable and indestructible to help people avoid unhealthy relationships. What do in your belief system would be a common ground?

Byker Bob said...

Jesus's special significance is/was, that He is the Son of God, and died to pay the sin debt of humanity. His disciples were hand chosen, were personally taught by Him, and commissioned to share His teachings with humanity. All of God's children are special to Him. God is working a plan to save and restore mankind to the state Adam and Eve were in prior to the sin which separated them and all mankind from God.

Being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ is, in essence, being forgiven of sin, but there are other Biblical promises associated with it as well, including healing, and protection. The living waters do what Jesus taught the Samaritan woman at the well. They satisfy the natural thirst humanity has for God. They also gradually purify one, through the sanctification process all Christians undergo as their hearts are transformed to mirror Jesus Christ's own nature. There is no specific formula for asking for these gifts other than that you do it sincerely. Humans sometimes lose their focus due to being caught up in the problems and challenges of daily living. This can sometimes make it difficult to apply these gifts.

Of course the Holy Spirit facilitates our listening to God, and yes, that does matter, very much. I don't know how God speaks to everyone, but I can assure you that sometimes when I've asked Him about a specific problem the solution will come to me by some chance reading of scripture. I can perceive the effects of non-Christlike behavior on others (and on myself). I also sense open doors (metaphorically), and can determine whether God has opened them, or whether they have been opened by the enemy for the purpose of temptation. There is a desire to learn more from scripture, a hunger to study God's word, and to pray..

And, yes, doing due diligence in establishing accuracy, coupled with the personal insights given by the Holy Spirit is key to understanding. However, the most important factor in Bible Study is discerning how it applies to me, how to put it into practice in a loving way. I often miss the mark, but trust God to keep me on course.

God's work is what He sent Jesus Christ to initiate: reconciling sinful man to Himself. The restitution of all things. The raising of, mentoring to, and eventual perfection of His children. His motive, in fact His very character is love. What I've learned from scripture is that man without God becomes as described in Ecclesiastes. Man likes to think that life is like Burger King, where we can have it our way, and will often exercise free will to take wrong, hurtful paths. The Bible chronicles this as it also does the ideal. The thinkers amongst our species always pride themselves on their pragmatism, but pragmatism often provides incomplete solutions, and actually requires that mistakes be made to produce education.

Personal experience, sharing one's own before and after transformation can be inspiring, both when reflected upon by self, and when shared with others. Common ground often comes with an attitude of being able to listen to one another. Unfortunately, this becomes difficult when one or another of us has left certain beliefs, or lack of beliefs behind because they did not work. That tends to make us close up towards those who still hold on to those beliefs. God gave us intellect for a reason. It's an essential part of the total package, and should be used wisely.

My beliefs are instructed and corrected by scripture. However, I've learned that the mere quoting of scripture, in an otherwise civil discussion, can set off a horrendous argument. I feel as if it is meant to be personal, for personal correction. Not a bully club used to beat others into submission. If we read it from a standpoint of gaining wisdom, and attempt to apply it in a loving way, then we're in complete compliance with the TGCOL (two great commandments of the Lord: love for God, love for man).