Friday, May 17, 2013

Dennis on Dave Pack's "Sleight of Hand and Smooth Sounding Analogies"

By Sleight of Hand and Smooth Sounding Analogies

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert Author"The Bible warns that “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (II Pet. 1:20). BUT God does work through His chosen servants. In fact, He never reveals His Plan through anyone else. Therefore, finding the one He leads becomes crucial."   David C Pack  Lesson 13 on Why I am spoken of in Haggai As Soon as I Get to That Part 

You gotta watch out for that "but."

Even as a pastor, I never really felt I understand what no scripture being of private interpretation really meant. I heard it quoted often when individuals were making individual and private or personal interpretations in the day of HWA.  I heard Gerald Waterhouse quote it and then proceed to give some of the wildest and most scatter brained private interpretations, all of which went south, in the history of religion.

 Again, at least realize that II Peter was written by those in the early church, not any Peter, but in his name, who were trying to put a lid on all the private prophetic nonsense of the day.  However, ALL interpretation of prophecy is private opinion. Just as all reasoning is human reasoning even if you are told that your ideas are "just human reasoning."  Just ask them what kind of reasoning they use and see how quiet it gets. 

 The Apostle Paul had lots of private interpretations of the times in which he thought he and the Church lived.  He fills his writings with them. He was proved wrong ultimately and died just like everyone before him. He was not alive and did not remain until the coming of Christ. He was not changed in any special way avoiding death.  He was simply wrong about his own times and his role in it.  Paul set many up for a fall and disappointment  and  Dave Pack is also if not careful.  I am not seeing any hint of  wise counsel being safer in Dave and don't expect to. I know what happens to those who beg to differ with him.

The leap from "since prophecy is not of private interpretation  to "But God does work through his chosen servants..." is mere apologetic.  What he means is "I, however, know the interpretation and it is not private.  It is from God."  It's going to be up to you to think this is so or not.  I think not but you knew that.  But now we got that point out of the way and quickly focused on "and guess who that leader is," so we can continue.

Dave continues..

We begin with basic instruction in Zechariah 8:9. God tells His people living at the end to “hear” the words of Haggai and Zechariah. Notice: “Thus says the lord of hosts; let your hands be strong, you that hear in these days [our time now] these words by the mouth of the prophets [Haggai and Zechariah], which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.”

Now right off the mark Dave gets this all twangled up.  The Lord who thus says is speaking plainly to the people right there back then in those days.  That's what it says. Dave is privately interpreting the "our time now," comment.  It was not spoke for our time now in this verse.   The speaking "Which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid," is not the work of the WCG under HWA. It was back then and the second phrase reinforces the time, back then, of the verse.  It was for the 500's BCE folk of Judah and Jerusalem.

So Dave is making stuff up to fit his idea of himself and has gotten the off to a bad start.

Next Dave says, 

 "They recorded PROPHECIES—not history—which had no application for the ancient Jews of their time. Haggai speaks of a “remnant” returning to work in a spiritual temple, with Zechariah adding key details. We will see Mr. Armstrong understood this, and that he laid the foundation to understand Haggai’s prophecy today."

No, they actually were recording the history of their day.  The remnant from the Babylonian Captivity had returned and it was time to rebuild.  Haggai does not speak of a spiritual temple.  He speaks of a literal temple now in ruins or gone and a new physical one needing to be rebuilt.  (Don't worry, I am not taking us through a study of Haggai and Zechariah.  You can do that.)  I simply wish to  show that once you take the first few leaps off in the wrong direction and make stuff up privately as if the Bible was actually speaking of YOU or Me or, in this case, Dave Pack, you can weave any tale you wish. Analogies are not realities.  

Launch a space probe to Mars off schedule or mess up the wiring  and while it might be just a little off here or there, you won't be landing on Mars.  You might not get off the ground.  Mr. Armstrong did not "understand" Haggai any better than Dave does.  Haggai meant the remnant of that day and not the leftovers from the WCG debacle.   Make all the analogies one wants but you can't make it mean this is talking about Dave Pack and the RCG.  Well you can I suppose, but it is a classic mistake of making a scripture mean what it NEVER meant or EVER will mean.

Even Prophets don't write thousands of years into the future. Who would care?  They write in the hope of what might happen in just a few years. I guarantee you all of Dave Pack's seeing of himself in the Bible and his small church spoken of will fit neatly into the span of his own life.  When Dave dies RCG dies because you see, like HWA, he can't imagine he will die before the grand analogy unfolds just as he sees it.  I remind you that when I plainly asked Gerald Waterhouse just what would he say then when HWA died, he told me he'd believe it after three days and three nights.  He said that to my face and could tell from mine I thought he was nuts.  That really sickened my stomach and I was right.  Waterhouse was wrong.  He may have been sincere,but he was wrong. Critical thinking and a genuine theological education beats analogies every time.

Dave continues...

"The reader will see that the events described in these books clearly take place at the end of the age. (For instance, Jesus Christ’s Return is plainly described in oft-quoted verses near the end of Zechariah.) "

Bzzzzzz...thanks for playing, it's not "Clearly"  and  the "Lord" spoken of is the Hebrew God and not any Jesus of the future.  There were some Messianic rumblings but the temple "the Lord" would come to would be God and in that day as Judah rebuilt and got itself back on the track to obedience to YHVH. 

These two books were heavily drawn on to write the story, using the style of Midrash of NT, of  Jesus, but never originally were about him. For example the 30 pieces of silver tale in Zechariah was drawn on to write the story of Judas.  But taken well out of context as was the NT way of doing.  It looks like "prophecy" fulfilled because the author in the NT used the OT story to frame his own.  It was not a story of betrayal but payment for services the prophet was given .  Zechariah speaks of  30 pieces silver and potters houses and the NT ends up speaking of Temple coins and potters fields.  The NT writers winged it and used the parts that told their story but were not the original story in context.  

You can bet Zechariah 11:8 where three shepherds die in one day is where Dave gets his idea that three COG leaders will die in one day. Great stuff and you don't have to make it up. You just have to twist and imagine the parallels to the WCG experience, wicked shepherds and one grand poopa who the most awesome and these yet again last days. 

Dave goes on his grand non prophetic analogy to say that HWA knew he was Zerubbabel in prophecy and would lay the foundation of the Church.  Great analogy but HWA was also not thought of by the OT Prophets. He may have known it but it was not true for him either.  Dave notes that HWA did not know who "Joshua" would be but that he would follow HWA.  It used to be GTA but that fell through. Ok, let's get this over with.  Dave Pack is the prophesied Joshua of Zechariah no doubt or I'm a monkey's uncle as they say. I doubt he'll change his name but I bet he wants to be a Priest.  Last title...going fast!

Once you get your terms right, anything is possible.  The temple become the church.  The Jewish concept of the Lord and Messianic Kingdom becomes Jesus in the yet to be written New Testament.  Zerubbabel is not really himself but Herbert Armstrong and Joshua the High Priest is not really the OT Joshua the High Priest but now Dave Pack who can take yet another title if he wants of Priest!  The promotions are endless when you see yourself in the scriptures. 

I think most critical thinkers, theologians and psychologists can see the danger in anyone seeing themselves spoken of in the pages of the Bible.  For some reason it is a really bad habit in the Churches of God.  Gerald Flurry liked Malachi's Message more than Haggai's evidently so he became "that prophet."  Of course he didn't and isn't but it felt good for a time until it doesn't. 

Ron Weinland saw he and his wife as the Two Witnesses spoken of in Revelation and we know how that is going.   I am sure hundreds of men over the past 2500 years have seen themselves spoken of in the scriptures.  It's really a bad idea as far as I can tell and pretty prone to making a fool out of one's self and adding themselves to a long list of sociopaths and men who make people scoff at religion. 

I can imagine Dave Pack saying or at least thinking Satan was using diabolical mimicry to throw God's people off with false ministers seeing themselves in scripture but it was all to distract from him as the true minister spoken of in the scriptures.  May be not.... 

You can make an analogy out of much in the Old Testament. Lots of ammo there.  Peter, James or John could have easily gone back into their Minor Prophet musings and seen themselves I suppose but wisely chose not to .  If they had they would have been just as deluded as some today.  They did not preach themselves as seems to be the bad habit of some today. Even Jesus resisted being Joshua and Jesus means Joshua!  

 Herbert Armstrong, who allowed the wild and un provable stories of Gerald Waterhouse about HWA's calling and such as spoken of in the Bible is to blame for getting the mission to Mars off course before it began.  HWA never addressed his own death which was a ridiculous mistake that lead to all the chaos that followed with the Tkaches because he was sold on the idea that  his hand would lay the foundation and his hands would finish it.  Big mistake.  His foundations got bulldozed and  hauled off this past year in rubble trucks.  The Tkaches took care of both the physical and spiritual foundations but good.

While Israel may return to YHVH in one day, the splinters and slivers of the WCG are not going to return to Dave Pack and the Restored Church of God in one day. Judging by the pole taken here, they won't be returning at all. He will promote that idea but it's just more Weinlandology with a twist.   And like Herbert Armstrong, who spoke out of two sides of his mouth stressing the "soon" of Jesus coming and yet spending millions on the physical plant, so Dave Pack does the same thing. Dave prophetically believes his work will end probably sooner than you can imagine but yet build on dude...  A contradiction if ever there was one. One that has already cost members millions in real resources or pledges and left some destitute as one former RCG minister told me just this past week.  Fortunately we have the "blessed is he who is found so doing when He comes," to fall back on but I am sure that scripture has nothing to do with buildings, statues , physical plant and sending in any and all resources you can scrape up including your retirements, lands, homes and small children which can be sold if need be for the work.  It's an excuse to cover your bases of keeping on physically while pretending you aren't.

No one is going to want the physical plant Dave builds in his 65th year after he is gone. No one is going to want to pay for it and keep it up.  No one will inherit it and only a fool would want it.  Look at all the falsely prophetic print that will be available to quote and maybe weave into yet another tale and mistakes made by those who think they see themselves spoken of in the scriptures. 

Medication perhaps would be better at times than congregations.  I don't know...

Addendum:  Why do I write about Dave Pack?

Because good folk are going to get hurt big time and we are seeing the reinvention of a very old wheel.   I know some for whom it is too late. They will drain their physical resources for an analogy that will not actually come to pass or is literally true. Families will be broken and people deeply hurt yet again by religion gone nuts.  Because these men are not trained well in how to read the Bible, what it means, where it really came from and to whom and why was it written, this foolish end time ballet from hell continues unchanged and unchallenged.  Perhaps all my own ridiculous experience with WCG and with those who thought they saw themselves in the Bible will not be in vain if people can wake up and stand up to theology falsely so called...

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Douglas Becker said...

And men devote themselves to such psychopaths, leaving their own families high and dry to try to pick up the pieces for their hero worship of their non hero lying scoundrel.

David Pack is also guilty of wrecking the next generation of those growing up in his cult.

Corky said...

People see themselves in scripture all the time...not personally but as one of the individuals living "in these last days" when "the end of all things is at hand". Never seeing that the prophecy was for then and for the people living 2,000 years ago, not today. The prophecy always, then and now.

Secular-Humanist-Buddhist- Unitarian-Methodist said...

"Mein Kampf" was not a scientific document. Sigmund Freud's writings were not scientific. The Talmud is not scientific. The Koran is not scientific. The Christian bible is not scientific. That's not to say there may possibly be some kernals of truth in some of them but you cannot PROVE anything by using those documents as evidence. Therefore bible prophesy is just a bunch of old men blowing smoke. Please, FORGET IT! it's a waste of your precious time. Study evolution or chemistry or history, something that may have a bit of evidence behind it.

Michael said...

Dennis, well written critique of Pack's stupid missive.
Some of us can read that crap and just laugh, but you're right, some people will actually be sending money, and who knows what else, to his dreams of grandeur and chosenness. Sad.

DennisCDiehl said...

I find myself not actually writing for the very few of us who actually comment and discuss things. With 3000 downloads a day here which have to be the quiet but curious folk in all these various groups and in this case Dave's , my wish is for them to find some affirmation of their own fears or concerns .

People stuck in the boundries of the COG mind set probably think they are the only one having "bad thoughts" or doubts about what the lone leader declares. They find here that they are not the only ones and perhaps it will give them the courage they need to protect themselves from bad ideas and very bad theology.

Anonymous said...

Yes, none of those books can wholly be reconciled with reality.

Sadly, some people consider some of them to be the "Word of God", rather than works of literature from which we can find wisdom - if we understand the who why where when and what of it all.

Joe Moeller said...

Moeller is in the Books of the Bible!

M- Malachi
O- Obadiah
E- Esther
L- Lamentions
L- Leviticus
E- Ezra
R- Revelation

Send your double tithes, special offerings, and first born to :

PO BOX 111
Cody, WY

Joe Moeller

DennisCDiehl said...

I found my name contains all the names of the 12 tribes. And yes brethren, I am Jacob of the Latter Rain.




Thanks Joe! I have to realize I know a little bit too much ahead of what Dave's great proclamations will be and it has to be killing the fun and run up to yet more greatness for him.

DennisCDiehl said...

On a more irritating note,

I know you must read this Blog Dave. After all, you are marking publically, in the NT sense, this weekend someone who mentioned to a RCG member they had been talking with me. Or so I have been told. We'll see I guess.I'd think long and hard about that if so and just let it go.

Herbert Armstrong got too much and too long of a pass on his completely irresponsible theology of seeing himself in scripture. You are not getting that free pass from me ever...

Byker Bob said...

Armstrongist theology is always going to go off kilter, and into weird directions if for no other reason than the fact that they don't recognize dispensationalism.

God is perfect, and therefore doesn't change. It's His nature, and His children depend on that. Having acknowledged that, it doesn't mean that He can't modify His approach as a species He designed to accumulate knowledge does exactly that. Forbidding Him that would be a misapplication of "I the Eternal change not", or "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever".

Basically, Armstrongism placed itself in the same category as the Jewish Pharisees of Jesus' time in terms of understanding. They froze themselves into one dispensation, and just added an almost "protest" dash of Jesus to the mix.

Secondly, because they totally limit the Holy Spirit, believing "it" to be an impersonal force rather than a sentient, interactive being who comes to live in us and through us, they must always go back to compensating for the theological lacks they create by setting up oppressive, intrusive, police state style governance into members' lives, probably at least partially throttling the Holy Spirit in the process!

It is very difficult to understand why anyone wouldn't automatically recognize Armstrongism as being really inferior theology.


Joe Moeller said...

Dear Dave Pack:

Will you please DISFELLOWSHIP and MARK ME this weekend as well?

I under NO CIRCUMSTANCES want to be in fellowship or close proximity with either YOU or any of your followers.

Thank You!

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Allen C. Dexter said...

I'd want to be disfellowshipped as well, if I had ever been fellowshipped anywhere near him. As an aside, I never was formally disfellowshipped from WCG. I was listed as an "inactive member" for several years.

Anonymous said...

You would have been better off having the Curley version of Mussolini as it would be more apt to the packatola. The first five paragraphs that are spoken words by Pack make absolutely no sense at all. It is just meandering, how can anyone sit for hours listening to this charlatan?

Anonymous said...


Are you saying that Dave is going to reveal soon that he is even more extra special than he already thinks he is? How disappointing. I keep hoping that at some point he is going to say, "...and yes brethren, I am a horse's ass."

My opinion is that he will get worse and worse as he ages, grows more mentally ill and further out of touch with reality. There is no one to serve as a balancing force on him, no one to say "No, Dave. That's stupid and we are not going to do it." I hope it doesn't all end in suicide, murder and destruction for his followers.

Glenn Parker

Anonymous said...

I disagreed with, and still disagree with, the doctrinal changes that the Tkaches made in the WCG in January 1995. Nevertheless, it would be interesting if Joseph Tkach, Jr. turned out to be right when he told David Pack to remember to be a shepherd and not a sheriff.

Byker Bob said...

Speaking of shepherds, where were all those guys in WCG? Even the nice guys who racked up enough brownie points to be sent into the field while I was at AC ended up going through total personality changes, and into full sheriff mode. You could understand when the guys who had always been pricks and assholes ended up continuing to follow their basic dna when they got into the field, but there were some really nice people who ended up getting totally corrupted.

Christianity is known for its wise and mature spiritual guides, and occasional accountability partners, but this was something (with a few anomalous exceptions) pretty much unexplored in Armstrongism.


Ekklesia said...

Not sure if anyone pays attention to older posts and comments thereon, but II Peter 1:20-21 is only confusing because you were first told what it means rather than reading it fresh. The "private interpretation" is referring to the prophets that wrote the prophesies rather than those reading scripture.
God with His Holy Spirit inspired the prophets to write the prophesy, it was not the private interpretation of the prophet that wrote it. It is so clear when not first told what it means.

Verse 21 shows it is referring to past interpretation as the past tense shows: "for prophecy never CAME by the will of man, but holy men of God SPOKE as they were MOVED by the Holy Spirit."

Other translations make this even more clear. NIV and ESV translations also. Just thought I would mention this.