The Philadelphia Church of God recently ran the following article on its web site as if it was something of importance: Thankful Its a story by Joel Hilliker on how much he appreciates his two decades of privileged lifestyle in the Philadelphia Church of God.
He starts of with a rather odd comment on how God pays close attention to anniversaries, memorials and reminders...though birthdays are not part of that scenario. Joel apparently does not see the hypocrisy in his comment. God loves anniversaries but hates birthdays. That's why Joel's god apparently is well pleased that Joel joined Gerald Flurry's cult in 1994 though.
He then goes on about all of HIS accomplishments:God pays close attention to many anniversaries, memorials and annual reminders. The Sabbath after Thanksgiving is one date I remember each year. It was on this day in 1994 that my family attended services with the Philadelphia Church of God for the first time.
There's one common thread in all Armstrongite splinter cults. Its always about THEM instead of Jesus. They never can seem to mention the guy.I can survey more than 19 years of being baptized—possessing and growing in the Holy Spirit, the source of spiritual understanding, power, love. Over 17 years of working at headquarters in Edmond, directly contributing to God’s Work. Nearly 16 years of marriage, building memories and absorbing all the lessons it offers. Over 14 years in God’s ministry, and 14 years teaching at God’s college, helping others’ spiritual growth. Over 13 years as a father, and seven as a father of three, working in partnership with God and my wife at shaping future God beings.
Then Joel writes:
Joel has apparently been elevated above the lowly church members who have never experienced generosity or received numerous opportunities to learn and grow at church expenses. While they suffer and are forced to kick their children to the curb and are forced to send in more and more money, Joel lives a life of privileged luxury with all of the ministerial perks that go with his job. Free travel to Feast sites, free lodging, free (or highly discounted) schooling for his children, meals payed for, many personal expenses paid for, a fancy home, corporate cars, access to the upper leadership of the cult and much much more.What a marvelous education. When God begets someone with His Spirit and brings him into His Family, He is so generous with opportunities to learn and grow.
He then writes this:
Developing a relationship with Him through daily prayer, continually striving to make it more Spirit-minded, godlier, more vigorous and robust. Learning the skills, the workmanship, of productive Bible study; coming to accept the piercing of God’s spiritual sword into the joints and marrow; learning to convert words, stories, abstractions, into redirected thoughts, words and deeds; seeking biblical guidance to answer life’s questions, to speak to one’s own needs and the needs of the family. Building relationships within the body of Christ, being sharpened by the iron of Christian fellowship, learning to serve and sacrifice and love. Developing a relationship with Christ’s ministry, recognizing direction, seeking counsel, accepting correction. These are the courses of a character-building curriculum. These are true blessings.
Armstrongism thrives on the warrior god that is constantly battling the world around them. They cannot focus up on the grace filled message of Jesus, but sure do love the swords and mayhem of their Old Testament god they follow.
All credit to the Husbandman. He truly is relentless in His effort to produce fruit within His children. Within the heart of every last begotten son who will yield to Him, He never ceases to work away—pressing, prodding, softening, molding, toiling, hammering, healing. And because of His pity, persistence, perseverance and unending patience, over time—over decades—His efforts repay. He keeps incrementally gaining ground in His supreme feat of creative accomplishment.
If they actually knew the Jesus they claim to follow then they would not feel the need to be ceaselessly prodded, constantly being remolded, toiling away, being hammered at, or following a god that is only incrementally is able to gain ground in its creatures. Jesus says his yoke is Easy, His burden is light.
For my yoke is pleasant and my burden is light.