Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's Time For UCG, COGWA and LCG's Annual Christmas Celebration Weekends

It's late December and time for the annual United Church of God, Church of God a Worldwide Association and Living Church of God's pseudo-Christmas weekends.  All three groups have been been raked over the coals for holding this event for years now.  They pick Christmas time to do this every year.

Of course this has set apostle Malm off the deep end today because he sees this as further proof that paganism is rampant in the Church of God.

The apostle starts his article off today bemoaning the fact that none of the COG's keep the 7 day Unleavened Bread like the WCG did prior to Loma's death.  Malm blames this on Stanley Rader, but for most it was a matter of survival to not have to travel twice a year to feast sites.  Jobs were lost, families suffered and children had issues at school.

Malm wants these two 7 day feasts back because they are true festivals of God, unlike the Christmas festivals that UCG, COGWA and LCG now hold. He does not like the fact that they refuse to keep these days like they used to, but instead pay homage to Christmas in an indirect way.

Malm is not entirely wrong in pointing out the hypocrisy of the UCG's stance on Christmas when they have these weekends during Christmas.

Why mention this now?  Because most of  the WCG daughters still do not obey God and keep the Festival of ULB for the full seven days like Tabernacles, yet they can hold several days of partying around Christmas time.

Whether it is called a “Winter Festival”  or a “Winter family Weekend”  is only semantics.  If it is observed between the winter solstice and the end of December it is a Christmas celebration in the eyes of every onlooker and it is a terrible example for society.

To teach that it is wrong to observe and then to be out partying as others hold their office and pre Christmas party’s makes us all appear hypocrites and is most confusing to people.  This is most definitely NOT letting our light of example shine before the world.  Quite the opposite it is an appearance of evil and an attempt to get as close to what we claim to abhor as we can without using the actual word Christmas.

COGWA is also holding their own version that is animation of UCG's weekend.  Malm writes

This annual event is now being copied by several other churches, including the Church of God a Worldwide Association, which is linking attendance at its Family Weekend in Louisville, Kentucky (Dec 21-25), to pursuing righteousness (Matt.6:33)
“Throughout the years the Winter Family Weekend has served the church as a wonderful escape from what the world offers during December.” 
When UCG stated this family weekend end it was done so a supposed opportunity to "escape" from the filthy pagans around them.  The problem is that they hold these events in locations that are decked out in Christmas decorations each year.  COGWA just carries on that tradition since they apostatized from UCG.

Malm is particularly incensed at COGWA for the location of it''s winter family weekend. It is in a location that is decked out to the max for Christmas.  Malm is is right in asking what they are supposedly "escaping" from.

COGWA denounces the pagan symbols and rituals of the Christmas festival, but how will its choice of venue, the Galt House Hotel, help its “spiritual family members … to escape from what the world offers”?

COGWA President Jim Franks says this weekend in Christmas fantasy land will exceed even the Feast sites!  WOW!  I love it!

Jim Franks, COGWA President, states that the attendance at the Galt House Hotel will exceed that of many of their Festival of Tabernacles sites.

Then Malm points out the best part.  Dave Register is having a White Elephant gift exchange at their Christmas weekend!
In Portland, Dave Register is asking everyone to bring wrapped presents for a White Elephant Bingo. This is a party game with one gift being given to each person, and then when unwrapped they are traded around.
 David Register:    Pastors Update and Announcements – Dec 13 2012
White Elephant Bingo!
We will be playing Bingo on Saturday night, December 22nd. As a participant, please bring a wrapped, inexpensive (under $10) prize/gift that has no markings on the wrapping. No one should know who it is from or what it is. Adult tables will be able to trade in their prize for a better option. The children tables will not be trading gifts. More details to follow. Please bring both adult and children gifts that are individually wrapped. Please see the White Elephant Rules on the announcement table for more details.
 Malm nails them with this comment:

 How like a traditional pre-Christmas party game.  But the name is different so it isn’t really observing Christmas?  Right?  What pathetic and childish  self deception!  Remember that Christmas was originally a celebration of the winter solstice and  the rebirth of the sun, and was only relabeled Christ-Mass by the Roman Catholics.
Even Meredith's shrinking group is joining in for Christmas celebrations at this time.  However, like most hard core Armstrongites, LCG is looking backwards in time.  Things were better years and decades ago.  Things were simpler.  In light of those wishful times LCG is encouraging their family weekend attendees to dress up in costumes of clothing that they think earlier generations of COGers wore.  I mean REALLY????  How stupid is this?  Dressing up like COG members in Eugene Oregon?  Give me a break!

LCG Winter Weekend in Kansas City:   We will have a Friday night Bible Study beginning at 7:00. Services on Saturday will begin at 1:00 p.m. We will be serving taco salad with all the fixings for dinner after services. Or if you’d prefer, there are plenty of options for restaurants in the area. After the meal, we’ll be having a fun show and dance.

The theme for this year’s fun show and dance is “Through the Ages.” Dress up in your favorite fashions of any decade in the 20th century. Remember, you don’t have to dress in “church clothes,” but the tasteful styles that might have been worn by Church brethren during a specific decade in the 1900s. Of course, casual wear, including jeans, is acceptable. For entertainment before the dance, the “Through the Ages” Radio Show will “broadcast” timeless songs, skits and fun for all ages. We would love to add YOUR talents to the show! If you care to share, please visit the Web site and click “Fun Show” to sign up. If you can perform or put a spin on a song, comedy routine, famous radio broadcast or even a commercial of the 1900s, please sign up.

Merry Christmas and to all a good night!


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to all!


Assistant Deacon said...

Dressing in styles that COG members might have worn in bygone eras? What a hoot.

Why, women and girls can come (sans makeup, of course) in threadbare dresses that extend down past the knee -- preferably ones they made themselves -- and men can come in suits from the Goodwill and re-soled shoes, and maybe a tie that is two decades out of date.

They could even drive up in rust-bucket clunker cars and carry briefcases with the cardboard showing on the corners.

Ministers and their wives should wear only the finest of everything, of course.

Party on!

Douglas Becker said...

But, but BUT!!!!!

The support for keeping the Feast is weak in the New Testament: Herbert Armstrong lied -- the Sabbath does not stand or fall with the Feasts.

And having said that, they are a celebration of Old Testament Christians.

No wait!!!

There's no such thing as an Old Testament Christian.

So the Old Testament Christians of today insist that all the Feasts, which were given to Israel progressively and not all at once and were tied inextricably with animal sacrifices, insist that they must be kept today.


Let them gather 10% of their produce as a tithe to take to the Feast to learn to Fear God! Not to love God (perfect love casts out fear, I hear), but to Fear God. No wonder the cult of Herbert Armstrong is a fear religion. Let them build temporary booths from literal palm fronds (thanks, Carl O'Bern for your gratuitous heresy). Let them eat burnt offerings (like they used to do at Big Sandy).

Yes, they should do all that, because, darn it all, they'll be doing it in the millennium.

Or will they.

Better reread Zechariah 14 to see what it actually says (those who fought the Messiah at his return have to keep the Feast -- unconverted learning a thing or two until they can repent and be baptized). There will be animal sacrifices. They will learn to fear God. If they don't do it, they will starve because of famine (obviously there's going to be a problem with irrigation along the Nile).

And who knows? Maybe there will be plagues of flies and water turned to blood.

A great way to start out.

Some of what the Feasts happened to be believed to picture already has come to pass: Messiah as Passover, putting away of sin and Pentecost for the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

Well, that's just great!

So meanwhile, as the Festivals mostly inherited from the pagans proceed, the ACoGs pick up the rest of it, replete with gift giving at Xmas time.

You do know, don't you, that no one can trust one thing Herbert Armstrong said? You know that don't you? Read his coworker letter from 1941. You can look up his false prophecies -- lots of them. Then tell us just what Scripture shows that false prophets (like Roderick Meredith over the past 60 years) are called of God to teach the converted Children of God. You know what I find: The Death Penalty.

OK, then.

Everything in the CoHA is distorted perception fantasy of a deranged mind.

Just what credibility should any of them have?

The good news is that Ronald Weinland is going to prison January 2nd.

Thank heaven for small favors.

Douglas Becker said...

And anyway...

Professor Malm shouldn't worry, since as we all know, the world ends on Friday.

We know this because the Aztecs told us so.

They probably got this advanced knowledge from demons as they made a human sacrifice to Quezacotl.

Hey, their religion is just as valid as the Cult of Herbert Armstrong!

You know, with all this predicting the end of the world CoHA is doing, maybe they will end up like the Aztecs?

Head Usher said...

I really don't see what pseudo-Christmas has to do with not keeping UB "properly". They're two separate issues.

Frankly, as far as Malm is concerned, if you are given time off for xmas and new year's, you should probably treat it like the apocalypse, hunker down in your bomb shelter and use that as a solid week of fasting and wall-to-wall prayer and bible study. At the end, you'll emerge paler & weaker, but also so much closer to your favorite imaginary friends! Everyone else returns to the office looking healthy, happy and refreshed after a long holiday with the family, but I'm sure Malm emerged from his isolation tank looking run-down & bedraggled. That might work for Malm who has now taken an early retirement in order to fast, pray, study his bible, and criticize & condemn others full-time, but for those with jobs, wives, and children to support, this isn't going to work at all.

Same goes for the "forsaken" observance of UB. It was forsaken because it was unworkable. In a society whose economy is agricultural and whose primary currency is food, it makes sense to take a week off after the harvest. The harvest was an enormous amount of work, and when it was all done, it was time to celebrate & enjoy the fruit of all your labor. Taking time off at those times of year did not impact a family's bottom line. None of this is true for most people now.

A person's career is his breadbasket today. The average household has to have two year-round jobs, two cars, and a house. 3,500 years ago, housing was cheap. Today, these things take 30 years to pay for. By comparison, today food is cheap. Most people cannot now afford to take 15 days off, plus travel time, which is a minimum of 19 days, or nearly three weeks, during unusual times of the year while spending thousands of dollars to do so. Many people can't get that much time off. And let's face it, unleavened bread at tax time, and tabernacles at the beginning of the school year are terrible times to have to take a week to 10 days off. This is like asking someone 3,500 years ago to take a week off in the middle of harvest time, and leaving half his crop to spoil in the field!

COG theology in general, and Malm's theology in particular, is burdensome today. It attacks one's prosperity at every level; it's totally out of sync with the modern economy and culture; it's unfriendly to those with families, and is anti-social in that it puts one at odds with his community. In short, 3,500 years ago things were different, but it's hostile to life in modern society. It's totally out of context today and removed from it's practical application. It's like using stone tablets to communicate instead of email because that's what Moses did. It's merely blind obedience to out-of-date customs. It's not virtuous, it's foolish.

It's possible to compartmentalize, and during tabernacles to think how great "living god's way is," and ignore how much worse off you are during the rest of the year. It's possible to quote scriptures (out of context) to support being out of sync, to support sacrificing everything, prosperity, careers, homes, families, friends, and happiness. It's possible to create virtues out of every self-imposed or church-imposed hardship. But first you have to ignore the big picture of how COG theology compromises and sabotages you at every turn.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, since I've never been to one of these weekends, but I was told by one twenty-something woman who used to go regularly that all the cool kids and preacher's kids would use it as a time to get together, do drugs of some type, mj, hookah, or what, I'm not sure, and hook up. She said on surface it gets billed as a "family" weekend, but if you have any street smarts you quickly realize that is not what's going on "behind the scenes."

Christmas parallels might be the least of these folk's worries when their daughter winds up "late" in February. Then it's time to make the "behind the scenes" appointment at Planned Parenthood for making little disasters quietly go away.

GrandPa Nimrod said...

So if I go to the nearby Portland event, will Dave accept me if I wear an authentic 1940's long skirt, while sporting my goatee and shoulder length long hair? After all, its what "they" wore in the days past!

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

LCG said, "Dress up in your favorite fashions of any decade in the 20th century. Remember, you don’t have to dress in “church clothes,” but the tasteful styles that might have been worn by Church brethren during a specific decade in the 1900s. ".

MY COMMENT - I can't stop laughing - typical WCG.

Say, if someone is one of those many unfortunite persons who were born into WCG, would coming in his/her birthday suit be appropriate? :)


Lurker said...

Malm's rantings remind me of the sticks-in-the-mud who got my childhood children's costume party cancelled. It was on December 25 - everyone was off work, forbidden from associating with their pagan families, and hey, the hall rental was cheap. But we were accused of combining Halloween and Christmas celebrations into one super-pagan celebration, and it had to be stopped. Forget that it was the only fun we had at church outside of the Feast. I mean, any discretionary time anyone has off is eaten up by the Holy Days. I guess we are supposed to spend any time we may have off work or school at the end of the year hidden in a closet, for fear any trip outside of the house might be construed as participation in pagan celebrations.

If you accept the premise that the DUB are to be celebrated as a 7-day gathering similar to the Feast of Tabernacles, I can see his complaint. Travel, accommodations, food and fees for the WFWs are not cheap, so if you can't afford it during the DUB, you can't afford it now (except for that pesky built-in time-off-work issue). And I haven't been to one in years, but I can easily see it becoming a mecca of immoral behavior. Maybe if they would just ask the venues to take down their mistletoe... since the decorations seem to tarnish the events. How well did it work out when a certain someone pitched a fit when a certain venue planned to display a cross during a certain performance? But I digress.

As a current, albeit disgruntled, ACOG member, I can understand the allergy to Christmas, although it has begun to annoy me lately. I wish they would take a page from Paul in Athens and commend the "pagans" for their enthusiasm and love for Jesus Christ, then explain to them that there is a better way to honor Him. Problem is, we in the ACOG don't really honor Him. At least not the way the Bible discusses. Which leads me to the questions I have for you all.

As I mentioned, our family is increasingly unhappy with what we see in the ACOGs. Lack of any attention to Christ, the fruits of the spirit (or lack thereof, really), the social isolation... we grew up in the ACOGs and definitely feel something is wrong, but are struggling to come to any clarity because of the beliefs with which we've been programmed. Is it the doctrines or is it that people will always let you down? Is it simply a lack of any involvement with Jesus, or is the whole package flawed? Is there law? Any law? Which law? Where to begin?

Coming sincerely, from someone who is searching. From someone who didn't scold her child for coming back from daycare today with a colored picture of a reindeer (minus the red nose, the child has no clue about Rudolph) because, as the kid so eloquently stated, "God made reindeer and there's nothing wrong with them." As long as the reindeer doesn't dress up as a superhero next Tuesday, that is.

Hector said...

Dear Lurker-

I totally empathize with where you're coming from. Having reached a point of at least some clarity, IMHO it is the doctrines that are letting everyone down. When other people let you down, it is symptomatic of the doctrines. If the doctrines were transfomative, the people would be transformed, but they aren't, and the teachers of the doctrines are twice the sons of hell as their disciples (sorry, Jesus).

If you're going to be honest with yourself, it is absolutely necessary at some point in your life to ask the questions and address the issues you're bringing up. Other people can help you find some answers, but no one can just give you the answers. That is something any minister or priest ought to be able to tell you, but none of them do. Even if honesty were their strong suit, religion as it is taught and practiced prevents people from working out an honest foundation from which to live.

Something is definitely wrong. I think you'll find that some of the principles the prefab religious edifice that was handed to you was built from are right, but it's structure is not. In rebuilding, you'll need to reuse some of the pieces from the old, but you'll have to work out a new structure that makes practical sense. In my experience, religion as taught and practiced is very impractical.

I agree with your sentiments about Christmas too. If ACOG people were strong enough, they could come in contact with "pagan" people and Christmas without breaking out in hives. Acting as though the holidays were kryptonite is a demonstration of weakness. Personally, I think Christmas makes no sense, but I understand how people have warm, fuzzy family feelings about it. So if you start criticizing it, tearing it down, and shitting all over it, all they're going to hear is you defiling their family values. They're never going to want to talk to you again, and with good reason. If your life is built on an ACOG prefab foundation, you wind up pulling crap like this with your neighbors, co-workers, or children's friend's parents because you think you're "taking a stand for God," but you're just being an enormous douche, and you become "those people" on your block. I am pretty certain that being a douche for Jesus is not the original recipe for Christianity. This is just one example of ways in which wrong doctrines let well-meaning people down and lead them astray. An honest foundation doesn't trick you into being an asshole when you were trying to be a good person. An ACOG foundation does.

Douglas Becker said...

Lurker, you have to understand that nothing in the Cult of Herbert Armstrong makes sense and no one can trust anything he said: He was a kook and false prophet and if you go back and read his coworker letters and 1975 in Prophecy, it's totally embarrassing that any of us could believe any of that scrap.

Add to that the church history, not just proven to be a lie (reference Daughter of Babylon by Bruce Renehan at AmbassadorReports.com), but that the top ministers in the church all knew it was a lie.

Moreover, British Israelism -- decreed by Armstrong to be "The Key to Prophecy" was invented by a crazy mad man to promote the British Empire (he ended up in an insane asylum). It is the key to Herbert Armstrong being a false prophet.

So I challenge anyone: Is there a Scripture anywhere, I mean ANYWHERE, which promotes the idea that a baptized false prophet can be called of God to be an apostle to teach "God's people"? Well, so, we'd settle for a mere "minister".

Check back with us when you have chapter and verse.

In the meantime, admit to yourself that you are in a cult which cannot possibly lead you to salvation.

Oh, right.

Just like the PKG.

DennisCDiehl said...

while some of the ideas are smultsy, I say good for them to lighten up a bit and live the life they actually have NOW and not the ones they imagine to come.

It only took 90 years to achieve!

Lurker said...

Douglas, I'm partway there. Not all the way, yet, but partway. Give me some time, I'm new at this. I have no problem saying that WCG was a cult. The groups that came out of WCG are not as harsh and controlling. But a softer, squishy cult is still a cult, right? So, touche.

I agree that the crazy, out-there stuff like British Israelism and makeup, birthdays and natural healing drives me nuts, because I am annoyed that this is the crap many are still concerned with in 2012. But if I just get stalled on the nutjob stuff I will never get anywhere on figuring out what the Bible actually says about anything. I certainly don't believe HWA was God's end-time apostle. But a broken clock is right twice a day - and some of the words the ACOGs teach do come from the Bible. I'm just trying to figure out what of my current understanding of the Bible is true and what is false.

Lurker said...

Hector, thank you, that is exactly where I'm at. I am not asking questions here because I want you guys can solve my problems or to tell me what to do. I'm seeing where that whole thing about working out your own salvation with fear and trembling works in. But I am interested in hearing what you guys think because you seem to be much further down the road that I'm currently on, and perspective is always good. Almost everyone who's physically around us is from the ACOGs or evengelicals who know enough to criticize legalism but have no understanding of the ACOG background and perspective. That and you guys are funny and are giving me a good laugh at a place in life that is otherwise pretty frustrating.

My family and I are at the point where we see the doctrines must be the problem. Because, bluntly, people are not being transformed. Some are growing mellower with age, which is natural, although some just get older, more crochety and more harsh. But we are not seeing the kind of transformation the New Testament talks about, in any way, shape or form. I see where the road I am on leads, and I do not want that. Not for myself, and especially not for my children. But I can't talk to that about people in the ACOGs, because doing so is tantamount to saying, I see little fruit of the spirit in you. I certainly can't seek guidance from a minister, who is the one teaching them to be that way, and, as you said, are often twice the son of hell... And if they all came from the same faulty teaching institution and background, it would be fruitless anyway.

I grew up in the ACOGs, and aside from the nutjob stuff, there aren't any doctrines I am bristling to get away from. I think the concept of the Sabbath is great, and I enjoy it, although I certainly wish it wasn't being sucked of all its joy by meaningless messages that often include little about Jesus Christ, and the preparation it takes to go hear them with a family. No deep-seeded problems with the Holy Days, although they have seemed trite lately when I see the state of the "church." Tithing - who can't use more money - but there are certainly many who need it more than me. Although I wish my tithes went to actually help those people instead of reproducing duplicate, unread booklets in multiple organizations every time the ministry can't get along. I don't know if I would ever eat lobster, no matter where this journey ends, it just looks gross. And I don't feel like I'm missing out by not celebrating Christmas - as you said, it does seem silly to me. But the doctrines of the ACOGs do not transform people, do not cultivate a deep love for God, do not encourage us to help people. In short, I don't want less, I want more. More of the joy, peace and relationships I read about in the New Testament.

I do think the ACOGs have such a strong reaction to Christmas because it helps justify their practice of putting Jesus Christ on the shelf after Passover, taking Him back off at the Feast of Trumpets, and largely ignoring Him in-between. There are all sorts of problems with Christmas, but I am done judging and criticizing people for, if they do so sincerely, rejoicing that their Savior was born. The ACOGs could use a lot more job and a lot more honor for Jesus Christ. We are supposed to be going into the world preaching the gospel, not hiding in our houses because we might be tainted by the world. That is hiding the light (if there is any light to share, that is). That and, as you so succinctly stated, being a douche toward people, is not Christianity. Unless your goal is to primarily preach an "I told you so," warning message, which I am increasingly sick of hearing from the pulpit. Alienating and spitting on people and family traditions is not a gospel message. It is being a modern-day Jonah. And we all know what happened to him.

Anonymous said...

I am (have been) in the process of exiting an ACOG. I grew up in WCG from age 8 (we were Methodist before that so I actually remember Xmas) … I am now 48. Did 4 years at AC. The whole enchilada. I remember one time in Dr. Ward’s class realizing that they (we) believed in the Bible as fundamentalists and never were permitted to challenge the provenance of scripture and certainly not the proof texting practice designed wholly as support for our interpretation … not for finding truth. When I questioned Ward on how a person actually gets to a point of belief in the Bible as authority, he ignored me. Flat ignored me. Now I have learned (finally) that the Bible is not the inerrant word of God, though I still value portions of it (esp. the NT) as having true and loving instructions for us. God is not contained. I was beginning to realize how suffocated I felt going to church and ultimately realized I couldn’t teach my kids these things as though they are truth. The difficult part is wanting to leave with grace and not to offend people I love, though it is inevitable with some. But if the ACOGs actually believed what they give lip service (God writes his law on our hearts) there would be real transformation and peace and unity. They have always given Jesus lip service but that is all. They actually worship the law. This is idolatry. I want to worship God. Now I need to learn who/what God really is cuz it ain’t what we were taught. Have courage. Perfect love does, indeed, cast out fear. I’m excited about a new journey of pursuing truth. And I am also a lurker … and a laugher … at this group of irreverent heretics.

Douglas Becker said...

Lurker, as one who has been through this, I know it isn't easy: It's confusing because there is such a mixture of things which seem to be true, intertwined with kook nutty stuff.

For example, it may be great to keep the Sabbath, but you go to services just to hear about the latest stuff going on in Europe as if it is an indication that Jesus is going to return Real Soon Now (like a week from next Tuesday, after 3.5 years of Tribulation and time in the Place of Safety).

You should remember that Herbert Armstrong came from the Church of God Seventh Day and hijacked their doctrines and some of their people and turned the religion on its side to preach hyperbole of a constantly encroaching end times. Eventually, he gained the ultimate in power and credibility as The End Time Apostle.

What people don't seem to recognize is that the fruit of all of his doing is chaos, resulting in division. That is the fruit. It is utter confusion, with people like us wondering what is true any more.

There is great value is asking questions. It's especially good if you can get answers.

For me, personally, it all began when I found the calendar in error, followed by discovering that British Israelism was just plain crazy.

To step back a minute, my brother got me involved when I was a teen in the early Sixties. He was looking for someone who could prove accepted authority as wrong. He was something of a paranoid conspiracy theorist who joined himself to some fringe religions. Then he happened on the radio "World Tomorrow" and it supported his prejudices and he was off and running. Unfortunately, the religion eventually killed him.

During those years, as part of the kooky and kinky fringe groups he dabbled with, there was his landlady who some how found this 40ish professor looking rotund guy with a beard who had a Sunday afternoon presentation in the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, which was on my way home to catch the bus later in the afternoon.

He stood there telling us the earth was hollow and people lived inside, coming out the North Pole in their flying saucers. He said he could prove the earth did not have a molten core, because he said, "If you light a fire and put a wooden box over it, what happens? It burns through! If the earth had a molten core, the lava would burn through the crust," he exclaimed.

I knew quite a lot about science back then and had a hobby in electronics -- also having read, "Earth, Wind and Fire" about the evolution of the earth. I knew he was wrong. My reaction about his analogy "proof" was that, well, that explains volcanoes didn't. I thought it, but knew better than say it.

I must have had "Sucker" or some such written in blazing letters or neon on me, because as the lecture ended and I was making a beeline to the door, he picked me out of the crowd and stood directly in my way. "What did you think?" he asked. "Interesting," I said -- and then exited as quickly as possible.

There are a lot of kooks out there. Herbert Armstrong was one of them.

Unfortunately, proving him wrong doesn't help, since people feel he was right and preached the truth.

He wasn't and he didn't, but these days, people's emotions are far more powerful than reason.

Besides, we're surrounded by those others who have taken this hook, line and sinker, to continue to seduce us back into the utter nonsense, as if a mob could make lies and deceptions anything but dysfunctional.

By their fruit, you shall know them.

The fruit of Herbert Armstrong is chaos and division.

Go with that.

Anonymous said...

This statement has some merit “An honest foundation doesn't trick you being a######## when you were trying to be a good person. An ACOG foundation does.” Getting an honest foundation is not as easy as it sounds, but it can be done.
I speak from personal experience in giving a few pointers to those who have lost confidence in the church organization they assemble with and consider withdrawing their membership.
• Continue the personal religious devotions (prayer, meditation, study, etc.) you believe in.
• Stop supporting the organization financially.
• Cease attendance at least sporadically.
• Maintain as much social contact as possible.
• Don’t attach to another religious organization.
• Don’t get involved in discussing doctrinal issues with other members of the group until you have a clear understanding of your personal beliefs.
• Don’t get offended at what ministers and/or members who are vocal in their objections.
• Remember you are responsible to what God expects and not their opinion of what God expects.
• There is nothing wrong with checking the doctrines of other denominations, but you will find the bible is the best source for determining your personal beliefs even if you find them changing.
As I stated I speak from experience, but these points need to be tailored to each person’s individual situation.

James said...

"Anonymous wrote...

This statement has some merit “An honest foundation doesn't trick you being a######## "

Is that you Malm???

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! Isn't James Malm the reigning king of douchebags for Jesus, sorry, I meant Christ? Plus he's a shining example of the "I told you so," warning message.

If you ask Malm what the strongest nation on earth is, he'd probably say condemnation.

Retired Prof said...

If you have enough doubt to burden you with guilt, but you still accept scripture as a source of truth, then keep in mind Ephesians 2:8: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. . . ."

I am now totally at peace with my unbelief, but back when I was deciding to leave Ambassador, this verse offered some consolation for the anxiety I felt then. Many translators clarify it by emphasizing that it is grace--unearned salvation--that is the gift of god, but because of the ambiguous pronoun reference I read it to mean that the gift was faith.

So I thought, "Well, if there really is a creator, he created my rational mind. Therefore in his wisdom he must have denied me the gift of faith and bestowed doubt on me instead." Seeing it my duty not to hide my talent under a bushel, I explored my doubt thoroughly. Eventually doubt led me to abandon the supernatural creation idea entirely.

I'm not saying this loss of faith will happen to you, or that it should. You may well make your way to a place where you find strengthened faith and a comforting relationship with your own personal god. However, no one can tell you how to get there; you will need to wander till you discover the landmarks that will allow you to get your bearings and make your own way through the unknown country. This work in itself is interesting, even if you never reach the place you expected to find. In fact, some sages counsel that in a quest such as this the destination is only a pretext; the important thing is the journey.

Anonymous said...

Hello Lurker,

I too have been down this path. I asked lots of the same questions you (and the others on this forum) have asked, and got no answers....until I started looking for myself.

The one big question -- and I mean the BIG fundamental question that underpins all denominations of Christianity, including the COG -- was "how do I know the Bible is the inerrant, divine, inspired Word of God?" This question has to be answered before ever debating doctrine. The COG never once could produce a solid argument in favor of inerrancy by using critical thinking skills...all of their reasoning relied on circular logic, which isn't logic at all.

I suggest reading Gavin Rumney's excellent paper "Questions about the Biblical Cannon". It can be found on his blog at this address: http://otagosh.blogspot.com/2012/02/canon-article-updated.html

And while you are reading that paper, I also recommend a wonderful book titled "Influence" by Robert Cialdini.

Gavin's paper proved to me the Bible could not be trusted as the divine word of God. Robert Cialdini's book explained why and how the leadership in every organized religion resorts to corruption.

Either the entire Bible is true, or it is not. If there is so much as one error in the whole book, then the notion of the divine integrity of every book falls and nothing, especially no ritual, can be trusted. It is a house of cards that has been used for centuries to manipulate people into acting against their own self-interests for the benefit of a few. That's not to say there isn't wisdom in the Bible -- there most certainly is. But only on a conceptual level.

Occam's razor: the simplest solution is usually the most correct.

Anonymous said...

Some things to think about regarding our human experience

The fact that we exist is cause for our search for a beginning. I doubt that anyone imagines something starting from nothing, so we must believe there was something that eternally exists that started the universe and life as we know it. Whether it is a multitude of invisible “things” that were acting on eternal truths or laws in the development of the original source of matter or an eternal spiritual being with intelligence and power to create really isn’t important if we have no desire to develop the relationships that improve human life.

Things important to human life are purpose, actions, and results. One thing that cannot be created is morality. By morality I mean things like being just, kind, honest, loving, and righteous opposed to being hateful, cruel, deceitful, and overbearing. No human is perfect, but those with the purpose of being just, kind, honest, loving, and righteous will continually seek ways to improve. The Bible declares the nature of God is perfect in being just, kind, honest, loving, and righteous. If we cannot see this as the biblical purpose we are missing an opportunity to experience a better life. It is hard to believe there isn’t a perfect example revealing what we would like be and see our children to be.

Anonymous said...

"The fact that we exist is cause for our search for a beginning...One thing that cannot be created is morality."

Ho hum.

People will never grow tired of posting and reposting Herbert's musings here, will they.

Douglas Becker said...

Ah, guys, guys!

Haven't we proved that God exists and proved the Bible as His True Word?

Send for our free booklet....

And while you're at it, send for the booklet, "British Israelism: Key to Prophecy".


Anonymous said...

Anon said: “People will never grow tired of posting and reposting Herbert's musings here, will they.”

What surprises me is that some commenting here do not recognize Christian Apologetics. Herbert did not invent Christianity he distorted it. If a person does not believe that a human being has a moral obligation to be just, kind, honest, loving, and righteous I can see why we have the dramas that TV reveals daily.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed how some in churches "major in the minors"? They seem to focus to much on very small issues, like the Christmas dance, or "What day is Pentecost?" What you can and cannot do on a Sabbath day, etc. These are small minded people who are distracted by these miniscule issues that are of little or no importance while the big issues of the world, hunger, war, diseases, etc. are ignored. Much like our politicians ho argue over minor budget cuts and tax law changes to avoid the bigger issues of dealing with Social Security, Medicare, etc.

Anonymous said...

Is that your final answer?

Nice straw man. Nobody said anything against being "just, kind, honest, loving, and righteous," although "righteous" is not a word I would tend to use these days. By the way, just as Herbert did not invent justice, kindness, honesty, and love, christianity does not have a monopoly on those concepts either.

The way you blend Herbert's talking points and what you refer to as "christian apologetics" would almost make me think it's you that can't tell them apart, except that when I specifically cite Herbert, you dishonestly and disingenuously pull a switcheroo and try to suggest I'm speaking out against justice, kindness, honesty, and love.

Did you know that "apologetics" means to defend? Do you usually defend your "christian" faith by making a public show of violating it's fundamental principles? Great job, retard. Scumbag pseudo-christian hypocrite. Is this how you usually pursue that "better life" you were talking about?

You're not the reason why I'm not christian anymore, but it's people like you making a mockery out of the bits of it which do make sense that are the reason why life is better outside of organized religion.

Anonymous said...

A Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day!




Anonymous said...

Remember the WCG days when if someone wished you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, you had to be careful not to say "the same to you". You would say "Enjoy the holiday break" or something similar so as not to endorse Christmas in any way.

It was however okay to say, "A Merry Semiramis and a Happy Nimrod to you".

Anonymous said...

Anon if you believe are justice, kindness, honesty, and love are human characteristics that all human beings are capable of applying in their relationships is this an obligation or a personal choice?

Anonymous said...

That's the wrong question. What you didn't intend to tell me just now is that you believe "obligation" and "choice" are the only alternatives available, but that isn't the case.

What does it matter whether we view these things as an "obligation," or a "choice,"? Does that improve a person's ability to either live up to an "obligation" or make better "choices"? Only if you believe that your willpower is an omnipotent eternal force that is inexhaustible and not subject to ego depletion (Hint: it isn't).

One of my problems with "christianity" is the underlying premise that justice, kindness, honesty, and love results from using your willpower to stop yourself from doing all the bad things that deep down you know you still want to do. Coincidentally, this is equivalent to the Freudian approach - mental health through bottling up your baser urges - wrong! This isn't a recipe for love (or mental health), it's a recipe for hypocrisy. But most religious folks never realize that being fundamentally dishonest with yourself, who you are, and what you want, is a terrible foundation for living a life of honesty.

Justice, kindness, honesty, and love will yield the same benefits/consequences regardless of how I approach them. A better question is, where do I stand now, who do I want to be in the future, and what do I have to do to get there? To me, these things are neither "obligations" nor "choices," but worthy destinations.

Christians talk about change and transformation all the time, but what they believe locks them into a cycle in which change and transformation are impossible. Looking forward it "obligates" you to be perfect already right now today. Yes, you look back in the past and see you weren't perfect, but that only makes you vow to redouble your willpower in the future (as though that were an option). The problem wasn't your effort, it's your approach. The stress of continual judgment prevents you from taking time to notice that your imperfections are not one-off errors, but systematic patterns of error from a flawed approach, so you never work on your approach, your performance never improves, and the stress never goes away and the cycle repeats. You never get anywhere and your baser urges never lessen. Growth does not happen instantaneously, it's a process, and processes take time.

But none of this matters, right? You're already one of god's chosen elect, and he'll have to let you into heaven just because you tried real hard, even though you know full well you failed to change at all. You gave it your best effort. What more could god possibly ask of you? (I don't know, maybe a bit of thought perhaps? Maybe trying something different when what you started out with wasn't working?)

Because your "christian faith" has misframed the issue into one of "obligation" vs. "choice," your "obligation" has bolted your feet to the floor, preventing movement toward any destination at all. The result? No transformation, no change, but lots of self-deception and hypocrisy. Change and transformation means undertaking a journey. Journeys takes time and give us necessary experience, but those are all luxuries that the "obligations" of your "faith" don't permit.

"Christians" aren't really allowed to be honest about where they're really at, which is why you wound up trying to defend your "christian faith" by using dishonesty. You didn't even notice because you're out of practice. Having been on a journey for a while and seeing how often when I was a "christian" I used to have to lie to myself about my own dishonesty in order to pretend that I was honest, well, it just boggles my mind that I used to live that way. There are some things that you can "fake it till you make it", but honesty isn't one of them.

Assistant Deacon said...

You folks may mean well, but your tendency to hijack these posts with long-winded arguments about what constitutes a Christian almost makes me want to watch a Gerald Flurry telecast for some relief.


Lighten up, will ya?

Anonymous said...

Anon in your lengthy dissertation you have exposed the primary problem that threatens the human race. I could rip the whole picture that you have of me as a person to shreds, but that would not product a better relationship. What you said is not reality it was your perception of my life by looking at it through the lenses of the life you have lived. To me life is made up of a series of choices. It is the choices we make and the resulting factors of those choices that will determine our view of the quality of the things we have experienced. My defense of the Christian faith is due to the recognition of the many misconceptions people have of the influence it is designed to contribute to a world that is wracked with the woes of human degradation.
As far as the question of obligation or choice the question was not related to religion it is a matter of determining whether a human being has an obligation of treating all other human beings with respect or making a personal choice as to whom they feel is worthy of their respect. It has nothing to do with the character or purpose of the person making the choice.
I respect your right to your opinion, but I hope everyone here doesn’t share your opinion.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Assistant Deacon. (except for the watching Gerald Flurry part) ... ;-)

Anonymous said...

"But a broken clock is right twice a day - and some of the words the ACOGs teach do come from the Bible."

Ho, hum.

Many of the words Jim Jones taught also came from the Bible.

Douglas Becker said...

Hey, wait a minute!

They can't have their celebration weekends!

They can't afford it!

Debs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I would say to learn your facts. We do not celebrate christmas in any way, shape or form. You will find that is a time where children and adults have usual holiday time from school and work. This is a time to get away together and to get away from the 'holiday' trappings. It's also summer camp time in the warmer climates. So don't ridicule people for using normal holiday time off work and school to get together.
I really pray for all the people here who hold onto anger and bitterness. Simply if a faith is not for you then it's not for you but it's not your place to bad mouth them.

annreh 131