Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Church of God: Embarassed By The Cross?

Given the extent many of us were entrenched in Armstrongism I am sure we all heard how evil crosses were.  Armstrongism has had a deep hatred for crosses over the decades.

Years ago there was an opera in the Auditorium.  The opera was TOSCA.  The first act of Tosca takes place in a chapel.  Traditional European chapels contained crosses.  This opera company had a large cross set up on stage in the stage sets.  HWA was in the habit of coming down to the auditorium to play the piano early in the morning.  When he walked in and saw the cross he just about lost it. He started screaming and yelling that that cross had to be removed or the opera would be cancelled.  The shit hit the fan rather fast and flew all over the place.  It made the headlines in the local papers and the Los Angeles Times.

That hatred still carries over to this day to the Living Church of God where we saw the disgusting articles put out by Bob Thiel after the Milwaukee LCG murders.  Local citizens erected crosses in memory of those killed.  Thiel went ballistic about the pagan crosses and how inconsiderate and unthoughtful the citizens of Milwaukee were to the LCG members.  He made a royal ass of himself and caused LCG more problems.

Today, I received a note from a reader telling me about Gerald Flurry's cult and it's latest article condemning crosses.  Flurry's lap poodle, Wayne Turgeon, has a short blurb on PCG's web site about how evil crosses are.

He writes:

First, are you sure that Christ died on the cross? History, and more recently archeology, show that the cross was used as a religious symbol centuries before Christ. The shape of the two-beamed cross had its origin in ancient Chaldea and was used to represent the god Tammuz. Tammuz is the deified Nimrod, the first man to lead the opposition against God after the great Flood. He founded the city of Babylon, and along with his mother/wife Semiramis, founded the pagan Babylon mystery religion—the origin of all false religion today. The Egyptians used crosses in abundance, as did the Hindus. The British Museum, for example, exhibits statues of the ancient Assyrian kings wearing almost perfect Maltese crosses around their necks.

He is so concerned about pre-Christianity’s use of crosses, yet never discusses the feast days and holy days that were observed by the "pagan" nations that surrounded the Israelites who basically copied those dates and re-imagined them for a new purpose that fit the story of the Children of Israel.

With Armstrongism's deep hatred of the cross they need something for what they call "Jesus Christ" to be killed on.  So they pick a few verses that call the instrument of Jesus’ death a "stake."

Turgeon writes:

The New Testament does not specifically describe the instrument upon which Christ died, but the following accounts all use the Greek word xulon, which can be translated as “tree,” but can also mean “a stick, club … or other wooden articles” (Strong’s).

·         “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 5:30).
·         “And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 10:39).
·         “And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre” (Acts 13:28-29).
·         “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).
·         “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Unlike Wayne and PCG, when Christians wear a cross, it is because they have unashamedly chosen to pick up their cross daily and follow the person they claim as Savior.

Jesus said this to his followers:
Matthew 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not
worthy of Me.
Luke 9:23 And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot
be My disciple. 

These people would not be ashamed to have carry a cross or even wear one.  Of course this makes no difference to those entrenched in Armstrongism.  They have no idea who the man is, they can't comprehend any thing about the guy, what he supposedly was here to accomplish or even what it means to be the People of the Way.

Philadelphia Church of God leaders and followers worship a man.  There are buildings built in his honor, rocks dedicated to his name, sculptures and crystal bought by him, and much, much more.  Herbert Armstrong is the face of the PCG. Jesus is not.  HWA's face and name are on everything.  Booklets, books and articles glorify his name and his writings as on par with the Gospel.  They have whored themselves out to a rock, some metal birds, and a false man.

I think what really pisses off the Armstrongites the most is the understanding that Christians have that the law passed away at the cross.  The law in Armstrongism is far more important than the cross.  The law is far more important than Jesus.  Jesus to them is like an annoying zit.  You see it there and ignore it for a while and then you have to pop it open so it will go away.  They begrudgingly have to mention Jesus once a year at Passover and then conveniently do away with him the rest of the year.

Since Wayne and Gerald Six-Pack claim to be Christians I wonder why ignore this:

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that a good many in the COGs worship a man. Idolizing HWA is probably the biggest problem in the COGs. Sadly, they don't realize that they are doing it.

Assistant Deacon said...

Worshiping a man, indeed. A friend told me years ago about stopping in at UCG's "home office" in Ohio to see old friends, and noticing portraits of HWA and Loma side by side on the wall. He said he wondered at the time where the portrait of Ramona was. It's all an exercise in selective memory.

PCG worships two men, actually. HWA is one, Gerry is the other. He and his jackboots make sure of that. Such nonsense.

Good choice, quoting I Cor. 1:18. Leaves the tree-huggers scratching their heads.

Douglas Becker said...

Armstrongists: One thing is clear.

You don't want to cross them.

Anonymous said...

The COG's have driven a stake into their own and most others hearts so a stake works!


Byker Bob said...

Interestingly enough, many Christians interpret an individual's fear or hatred of the cross as an indication of demon possession. This is even part of popular folklore. How many times, in vampire movies, have we seen the cross utilized to repel evil? It certainly gives one pause for thought, doesn't it?

One of the things I did upon my return from prodigal condition about five years ago was to restudy the whole issue of crosses, and their origin. If I share this, it becomes just "BB telling us that such and such is so". Therefore, I'll simply recommend that all readers do their own due diligence. Read up. Learn.

Virtually any symbol which mainstream Christianity utilizes as part of identification/identity is automatically assumed by Armstrongism to be of pagan origins. They even attribute the origins of the little Christian fish symbols to some obscure fish god that contemporary civilization has never heard of.

The fact is, there is nothing new under the sun. You can't choose any color, symbol, practice, or food that has not been used in some way by people who worship gods other than the real one. It's not the thing, it's the use of the thing and the attitude which are of primary importance.


Corky said...

"Try the spirits". Is the wearing of a cross done in the spirit of hate or murder or is it done in the spirit of hope and love?

Do Christians celebrate Christmas in the spirit of malice or in the spirit of giving and sharing?

The ACoGs never try the spirits to determine if they are good or bad. To them, everything is bad and that's why they live in the spirits of fear and dread and gloom and doom.

Painful Truth said...

"Local citizens erected crosses in memory of those killed. Thiel went ballistic about the pagan crosses and how inconsiderate and unthoughtful the citizens of Milwaukee were to the LCG members. He made a royal ass of himself and caused LCG more problems."

This is why Thiel and his master poodle are so despised. They are not winning hearts for Jesus, they are burning their own churches.

Douglas Becker said...

Yeah, yeah.

Next they'll be condemning Holy Water.