Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dennis Muses on the loss of common sense

The Titleists
The Ego Trap | Alis Anagnostakis
You can't be a Church of God leader, at least among the more ego centric ones, without a title.  It has to be a grand title.  The New Testament is populated with Apostles and Evangelists but we generally have to guess at just who were those below the title of Apostle .  Some were made this and some were made that , but Apostle is the one you wanted .  The Apostle Paul wanted it so badly, he made himself one and aside from "Luke" calling him one twice, Paul calls himself an Apostle the other 22 times in the New Testament he is called on.  Since he "conferred with no man," about everything that's evidently the only way he was ever going to be called an Apostle.
But the Church of God Gurus take it all up a notch or two.  Mr. Joshua C. Pack started out, if my memory is not failing, as "The Watcher."  He quickly graduated to Apostle out of fear of what to do should an Evangelist come into his sliver and outrank him as a mere Pastor.  From there it all started to go south with "And yes brethren, I am Joshua the High Priest as spoken of by the Prophet Haggai."  Ridiculous stuff of course, but entertaining and will provide Mr Pack with years of crow to dine on no matter what he thinks is merely off in "the timing."
Gerald Flurry is not just a prophet, he is "that Prophet," which of course he isn't.  Ron Weinland and Laura are both of the Two Witnesses of Revelation.  I suppose we're still waiting on someone to announce, "And yes brethren, I am Christ," but we'll have to see.  Title taking is probably one of the more childish and ridiculous traits of these one man shows in religion for which Christianity is taking such a beating over.  In this area where I live, SC, it seems that the more ignorant one is as a preacher who preaches because "I stopped drankin" the greater the title.  Most stop at Evangelist and have yet to meet an Apostle here in Greenville.  I know they are out there.  Only in the Wildworld of God have I ever met prophets, priests, Joshuas, Watchers, Witnesses numbering two and Apostles.  In my Presbyterian background, "Mr." or "George" did just fine.
It's been a fascinating watching Dr. Bob Thiel come on the scene in his own mind.  He claims to be a prophet.  While I see him as struggling as a teacher, much less prophet, he is awesome in his own mind, even though he isn't. 
In an interview with my friend and editor of The Journal, Dixon Cartwright, the leadership of the Living Church of God, from which Bob bolted noted the following when Bob endeavored to explain some things to them on his authority.
"In his recent letter to Dr. Thiel, Dr. Meredith said he can't remember saying anything like that, and, besides, October 2008 was only a month after he, Dr. Meredith, had suffered a stroke.

"That you would take anything that I said in that time period and try to use it is not right," Dr. Meredith wrote. "I do not ever remember saying anything like that, and I can assure you that I have never thought you might be a prophet!"

Dr. Thiel said an E-mail he received from Dr. Winnail dated Jan. 7, 2013, prominently mentioned "prophet," as follows:

"When we made comments to you that 'you may be a prophet' (and that could include some point in the future) that was to be kind to you."

Dr. Thiel said the LCG leaders' denials of their speculation that he might be a prophet are inappropriate.

"Their improper denials should be shown to be that as opposed to giving the impression that I dreamed things up."
Aside from own view that Bob has dreamed and does dream things up, as do Flurry, Pack, Weinland and others, I fully understand Dr. Winnail's comment of "being kind"  to Dr. Thiel.  I have had to do that myself in the past when , as a pastor, I sat in the living room when others wanted to reveal "one more thing me" about them.  One fellow got up and went to the closet and brought out his hooded robe with references to Revelation sewed all over it.  He also was a prophet and wanted me to know it.  I was not comfortable of course with his attending services but was "kind" to him.  I guess I wasn't kind enough because as I tried to leave he blocked the door and raised his fists at me.  I guess he was not pleased even with my being kind.  He said,  "I know karate!"   Huh?  Fortunately I had just come before visiting him from my brown belt karate class and it might be nice if I could just pass and go down the stairs on my own power.  We just starred at each other for that long moment and he let me pass.  When I got to the bottom of the stairs, he went bonkers and I left the building.  It was the only chance in life I ever had to kick the ass of a Prophet.  Being "kind" to some members along the way was a skill with the only other choice being confrontation and division.  I was told we must stand when taking passover as the Israelites did.  I was told I must use the Spotlight (Illuminati) expose' stuff for sermons.  I was told lots of things I MUST teach the church in my tenure as pastor.  Trying to be kind, balanced and preserve the fake unity of the church was not easy. 

I always chuckled within when the Church sang...'We are not divided. All on body we.  One in hope and doctrine. One in charity..."  Uh huh.   No church can sing that with a straight face.

At any rate, most of us are familiar with Bob becoming a Prophet in his own mind after being given "a double portion" of God's Spirit when asking for a mere anointing for a minor health issue in Charlotte.  Of course, when one is looking for proof of God's divine favor , it is always readily available.  I knew a massage therapist once who solved all of lives questions by saying, "If I see three yellow trucks on the way to work, I will know the universe is telling me that ____________ is what I should do, where I should go or what I should say or be."  Of course, there were always just 3 yellow trucks on the way to work .  Trucks 4-12 were filtered out of the equation.

Bob Thiel is no prophet and if he thinks he is one, no one will listen to anything he speculates on.  It is all speculation after all.  COG ministers are speculators and when you throw in a little Gospel, Revelation and Dr. Good, you can title yourself up and receive tithes evidently.
Bob Thiel is NO Prophet.  Let me illustrate.

Isaiah 1

New International Version (NIV)
The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Isaiah 6

New International Version (NIV)

Isaiah’s Commission

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Jeremiah 1

New International Version (NIV)
The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.

The Call of Jeremiah

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Ezekiel 1

New International Version (NIV)

Ezekiel’s Inaugural Vision

In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.

Micah 1

New International Version (NIV)
The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judahthe vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem

Nahum 1:1

New International Version (NIV)

A prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

Habakkuk 1:1

New International Version (NIV)

The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.
I believe we get the point.  On the other hand, Dr. Bob  gets info from the Internet like any of the rest of us can do.  He doesn't really hear the voice of God or would ever dare to say "God told me to tell you...."  He sees no visions and if he did he should know better than to tell everyone about them because what little credibility he has would go down the tubes.  Visions and voices are not well received in the 21st Century.  Not that Dr. Bob does not have dreams.  He does, and he does take them as God like in origin at times but only gets bits and pieces of truth.
"I did have one dream several years ago that seemed to be from God," he said, "and events subsequent to it have confirmed at least parts of its validity."
Bob Thiel to Dixon Cartwright
Dreams that "seem" to be from God are dangerous.  I'd prefer a God that woke me up and said, "Ok, look at me and go get ten witnesses from Channel 4 and a camcorder."  Bob is being silly which is not a good trait for a grown man who wants to be taken seriously. Bob said he "prayed about" getting a sign and he prayed about being a prophet.  Dave Pack was so impressed with how hard they all all prayed at HQ about last summer being The Great Unification on August 31st, it could not be wrong.  We know how that worked out for Dave. Image Library
Hey!  I can't find Pizza Hut...Call the Europeans"
When asked about specific prophecies he had made which may have come true, Bob notes...

"Two come to immediate mind that possibly push the envelope a little bit," he said. "One, I wrote in my 2012 book that it appeared that the United States was having problems with its GPS [Global Positioning System] system and that it was possible that it may decide it would need to rely at least partially on Europe's Galileo system."

When Dr. Thiel wrote that, the U.S. Air Force was denying it would ever rely on the European system, he said. Yet it was soon reported in the news media that America would make use of Galileo.

Sending in marines

"Another was when Julia Gillard was elected prime minister of Australia," Dr. Thiel continued.

"The day she was elected I posted at that I felt (I feel that's whimpy prophecy) that she may do something to cause China to take a closer look at Australia for the possibility at some point in time, perhaps taking it over militarily or somehow being part of the removal of the government in Australia.

"And then that happened when President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard made an agreement to put troops in Darwin, Australia. They put marines there."

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, thanks for playing.  In my world, that is Internet reading and speculation just as millions of other Internet readers can do.  No visions. No Oracles. No Word of the Lord.  Just Internet reading and speculation.  More silly stuff.  We all here on Banned predicted Dave Pack would not unify the Church last summer.  I guess we are prophets too.  We predicted Ron Weinland was not only not one of the Two Witnesses but would probably go to prison for a time.  We predicted Dave would never apologize to his church for speculating and putting them at great risk of ridicule.  It's all about the same.  I predict economic chaos in the first half of 2014.  I predict the dumping of the dollar by China and Europe.  I predict a cold winter in SC but then again so did the Farmer's Almanac.
Dr. Theil would never dare to say that what informs him is God himself through voices and revelations, oracles and visions.   That would be the end of his meager work right there.  Dave Pack on the other hand is anticipating the Voice of God speaking to him and his members directly in the near future.  Group schizophrenia is not a good thing and never ends well.  It's not "Good News."
Dixon went on to ask Dr. Bob...
The Journal wondered how Dr. Thiel receives his prophecies. Does he hear things? Do thoughts pop into his head? Does he have visions? Does he do automatic writing? What is his prediction-receiving system?

"Just prayer and study," he said. "I do not claim that I've heard voices, if that's what you're asking."
"I would say that I pray daily, and one of the things I pray would be related to Proverbs 3 verses 5 and 6, to trust the Lord with all your heart and not lean on your own understanding and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

"So I pray about what I'm going to write about, and then I write."
I write without praying first.

Sincere prayer and study  does not qualify one as a prophet if there is such a thing in reality to begin with.  I prayed my heart out in times past to "be used in the Work,"  "be a good pastor to folk.  I prayed as a teen for God to please show me the true church and to please accept me to Ambassador College.  All those prayers were answered to my harm.  My experience is that one finds the answer on has preselected by hunting and pecking one's way through the Bible for assurance one is on the right track.  Wrong train.  The Old Testament prophets failed big time in their prophecies as did the Apostle Paul and others in the New Testament with their views of how short time was for them.  I'm sure they prayed about it and studied "the scriptures" for their views. Nothing new under the sun for the past 3000 years in prophetic meanderings.  It's what humans do to encourage themselves about what's going to happen in the unknowable future.  It also mucks up the present.
The Journal asked Dr. Thiel for any predictions he'd like to mention for 2013.

"Well," he said, "other than the Great Tribulation cannot happen [in 2013] and despite the fact that one Church of God-related blogger thinks it might, that would be one off the top of my head."

Bzzzzzzzzzz...thanks again but prophecy is not telling us what cannot happen.  You have to tell us what WILL happen.  That off the top of your head?  Can't you do any better than that?  "Off the top of my head, saith Isaiah,  Assyria is going to kick our ass if we don't repent."?
To conclude.  Bob Thiel is not really any kind of Biblical prophet.  Dave Pack is not really an Apostle nor for sure is he Joshua of Haggai.  Ron Weinland and Laura are not really the Two Witnesses nor is Gerald Flurry "that Prophet" of Malachi. 
Someone needs to take their Bibles away from them for one year and not pray about anything anymore so hard that they finally see what they want to see and get to be what they want to be.  It is good entertainment but it can prove devestating to the lives of sincere folk who get snookered by the God hauntedness of it all. 







Joe Moeller said...

You aint nobody either in the COG...

Unless you use a MIDDLE INITIAL!

Joe G. Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

I suppose that some people want so badly to be used by God in a grand way that they become delusional, thinking that they have a more special relationship with Him than most others.

The sad thing is, they can't be used at all because they won't listen. If God is going to use us, HE has to use us His way....we can't dictate it to Him.

Anonymous said...

HWA taught that the titles, Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets, Pastor, teacher" were ranks, as in the military with Apostle on top. I think that they are simply different functions, side by side, not one above the other. Eph 4:11. The apostle goes out first, scouts out the area, then is followed by the evangelist, and in time when there are enough people, a pastor/teacher. Eph 5:21 "submit to one another" Did HWA ever "submit" to anyone else's ideas? Everyone had to submit to him. I Peter 5:2, Be shepherds of God's flock, SERVING as overseers; not greedy for money . . not lording it over those entrusted to you." HWA and RCM must have overlooked this passage. See also Mark 10:42

Byker Bob said...

I can tell you what the next title will be. Years ago, I was invited to consult with a religious organization which, amongst other things, feeds hungry children. They needed their mailing lists cleaned up and organized, and one of the software products I sold and supported would do exactly that. This was probably before 1995 and all of the title taking, so the only frame of references I had for this kind of self-aggrandizement were the old woman who lived in a shoe, and Herbert W. Armstrong. Still, I definitely had an "Oh crappppppp!" moment, when the leader of that organization handed me his card, and it said "Apostle (the man's name)". The experience was further heightened when at the conclusion of our meeting, I returned to the parking lot to get into my car, and noticed that the space in which the nice Mercedes I had been admiring was parked was reserved for the "Apostle".

Some years later when I called upon that organization again, the title had been changed to "Chief Apostle". It made me long for my unpretentious friends at another religious organization years previously who were simply known as Brother Joe, and Sister Lois, doing their work from an old storefront, two of the most humble people I've ever known in my life.


Glenn said...


I was thinking a few minutes ago that "Chief Apostle" would be next. However, it would work better as "THE Chief Apostle" so that another could not claim that he was "A Chief Apostle" also.

Maybe "The Chief and Only True Apostle and Highest Priest."

Glenn Parker

Anonymous said...

If you are very dedicated and sincere and strive to do right, and you think you are in the right place and you find out the people over you and many of the members are corrupt ... then you come to the shocking realization that there just ain't nobody you know of more righteous than you. You see it by the fruits. You know your own heart. Therefore it is quite logical (though erroneous) to conclude you are one really one hell of an awesome dude in the eyes of God.

I blame Meredith and the other screwballs in the LCG.

I think they wanted Bob out and tricked him. He was too popular. He was a threat at some level.

Bob is deluded but he is not a deaf idiot.

I think the LCG leaders are lying through their teeth. I wouldn't believe a single word they say.

Head Usher said...

The way I see it is 2/3 of the families in the USA are "dysfunctional," and the other 1/3 have personality disorders. I assume the rest of the world looks vaguely simlar. We're all "broken" in one way or another. People are not mass-produced to spec, pass QC, and then get wrapped in plastic to let you know they've yet to be broken. We start out that way. Most people try to hide their brokenness. But not all.

The narcissists are driven to broadcast their personality disorder. They feel their purpose in life is to stand out like sore thumbs, and they're competitive about exactly who is the sorest of all the thumbs. Once you know what you're looking at it can be downright painful to watch. It may not be a substance, but their manic clamoring for adulation is an addiction nonetheless.

From an evolutionary perspective, if everyone was like Napoleon, Stalin, or HWA, we probably would not have survived as a species. Baboons engage in more cooperation than these guys could ever be capable of. What's normal and civilizing is the self-sufficiency to be happy in "obscurity" while raising a family. You might think that having a hareem and fathering a hundred children would be a better strategy for the survival of your genes, but history shows that's not the case. The volatility of fortunes means that royalty often needs offspring numbering in that order of magnitude in the hopes that one will slip through the cracks and escape the purge brought on by competing narcissists. The segment of the population most apt to survive is not the one with an all-consuming need to make targets of themselves.

We're so successful as a species because the vast bulk of us are run-of-the-mill people who can work together as equals. The narcissists may look down on the rest of us as "mediocre," but that's not a particularly valid or informed perspective. We shouldn't expect one's own opinion of himself to correlate with any specific competency. Maybe excessive narcissism was the downfall of all our hominid cousins and we alone have survived this long specifically because so many of us are so "mediocre”?

Certainly within the COG sphere, the narcissists are busy demonstrating their unfitness and negative value. Aside from the fact the entire thing was started by a narcissist and a liar, all the rest of the also-ran narcissists of Armstrongism have done nothing but "sow (additional) discord," lie, cheat, steal, and generally cause (additional) problems for everyone else. Sure they WANT to be "great" "leaders" but all they've done is demonstrate what mediocre leadership skills they actually possess. And, no, getting people to follow you by crook and by hook does not constitute leadership, nor does it demonstrate any wisdom or competency.

Not to say that mankind doesn't need leadership. We do. But it is better to be led by men who feel leadership to be a heavy responsibility, a sacred duty, and a yoke not to be coveted, rather than by those who are simply addicted to the "power." Narcissists have no particular incentive to be GOOD leaders, just "in charge." The difference is, narcissists are not looking out for you, they don't care about you, they're not serving you. They're only serving themselves. If they happen to serve your interests in the process, well, that was just a happy accident.

All these men who award themselves titles are not serving anyone but themselves. They're not serving a non-existent god and they're not serving you. They're incompetent leaders, and they do little besides create division, make waves, cause problems, and fabricate ruses to confiscate other people's money.

Anonymous said...

"There is no honor among thieves"

Anonymous said...

Our success as a species might be short-lived unless we find a way to eliminate the sociopaths from the gene pool. These are the kind of people who end up in government and some of them have their fingers on the nuclear trigger. They will either destroy us in a big fireball or gradually turn life into a living hell as we become more and more poor, spied on, and controlled.