Top 10 List of Outrageous Stupidity Dave Hopes Armstrongites Are Dumb Enough to Believe
We all know that Dave hails from the ranks of the most boastful, pompous, and self-absorbed people, not just in Armstrongism, but in the world. Dictators of small countries, while they might be more blindly ambitious, ruthless, and brutal, have nothing on Dave when it comes to other negative personal attributes.
And yet, at his latest set of claims I stand incredulous, as a man beside himself. The 2015 fundraising campaign of Dave's is already the single most ludicrous, preposterous, absurd, irrational, unreasonable, nonsensical, outlandish, unbelievable, delusional, narcissistic, arrogant, greedy, usurping, egomaniacal, and just plain insane tirade in all of COG history. Aaaaaand HOW many reasons are there why we should accept this insanity as dogmatically true? 130? Is he sure that's enough? (Isn't that just helping to prove my point?)
Without further adieu, here's the current Top 10 List of utterly stupid things that Dave wants everyone to believe about either his corporation or himself personally:
1) "[RCG] is the only place Christ's government can be found." (The Government of God, 2006.)
2) Dave is the only man on earth preaching the "real" gospel.
"But a deceived mankind does not realize that the only true hope for its future is divine intervention. This marvelous hope is going out undiluted from only one place—The Restored Church of God." (2015 Annual "Fruits" Letter.)
3) The bible says everything you have belongs to Dave. You don't own anything.
"It’s absolutely biblical that what we have, we sell, whatsoever we have, we give it to God’s work. That’s why we were called. You’re not allowed to hold on to your own income. It’s all through the gospels, all through the book of Acts, and frankly all through the bible that God’s people have things "in common"....You are not allowed to hold on to your own assets. You have an income, you live a wonderful life, life goes on normally. But if you were called by God and you are to participate in His work and walk in His ways, you have to turn over your assets to God’s church. That’s the pattern." ("First a MOSES, Now ELIJAH—130 Proofs!," January 2015.)
4) "Undeniable" miracles are happening to RCG members left and right, including phantom or accident-proof cars, bouncing bullets, miraculous protection or healing, and multiplying steaks. (Apparently, Dave and I have different definitions of "undeniable.")
"Here is but a small sampling (twenty-one!) of recent powerful healings and stories of protection and deliverance...Take time to read EVERY ONE of these undeniable accounts!" (Annual Open "Fruits" letter, January 2015)
5) Dave is a (the one and only, actually) living apostle of Jesus Christ.
"While I have apostolic authority...Yes brethren I hold that office. I do...If the highest office in Restored Church of God is not an apostle, then I was not sent by Christ." ("21st Century Apostle," February 26, 2005.)
6) Jesus must choose the two witnesses from the ranks of RCG. Dave will personally train them and be their direct superior (emphasis on the "superior").
"I state without apology and with God's authority that both of the Two Witnesses will be members of The Restored Church of God. Of this there is no doubt!" (The Government of God, 2006.) "Some day Christ will pick two prophets from this church. It will be obvious who they are. They have to be trained here...The two prophets—all prophets—so said Mr. Armstrong in multiple places—have to report to a living apostle." ("21st Century Apostle," February 26, 2005.)
7) Dave himself was prophesied to arise during the end-times in the Old Testament books of Haggai and Zechariah and is personally spoken of in cryptic language as "Joshua."
"Accept the facts from God’s Word! The honest reader will at least admit that someone fulfills the role of Joshua today. Someone, somewhere—one man—must do this. And realize that this man would (so obviously) be the first to know who he was. Imagine Joshua not knowing he was Joshua. I learned my identity almost four years ago. Haggai’s prophecy means you must learn it now." ("Special Announcement #20," 2013.)
8) Dave holds the title of a symbolic "high priest" (whatever that means.)
"Some will claim I am being self-righteous. I am certainly not claiming to be sin-free. High priests were never perfect. In Leviticus 16, when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, he had to first offer a bullock for himself. Only then could he offer a sacrifice on behalf of the people. And remember, the modern Joshua is only a symbolic high priest. In the New Testament, only Christ is a literal High Priest." ("Special Announcement #20," 2013.)
9) Dave himself was also prophesied to arise in yet another end-time role by the Old Testament prophet, Malachi! Dave has been cast (obviously by Jesus) in the starring role in one of "the most important prophecies in Scripture," without whose amazingness Jesus "would have to 'smite the earth with utter destruction.'" Cloaked in power, majesty and glory, please welcome to the world stage, ELIJAH DAVE! Yaaaaay!
"Among the most important prophecies in Scripture, Malachi 4:5-6 states that without the end-time Elijah’s arrival, God would 'smite the earth with utter destruction!'" ("Benchmark Sermons," February 2, 2015.) "Without [me] God said he would strike the earth with utter destruction...Now I understand more than ever that God had to look after me in a unique way. I guess he'd have to do that if I were just an apostle..." ("First a MOSES, Now ELIJAH—130 Proofs!," 2015.)
10) Dave is not "Elijah" merely in a figurative or symbolic sense, but he is LITERALLY no longer himself: he is now literally channeling the long-dead Old Testament prophet, Elijah! Everything that happened to that Elijah will happen to Dave. He has only stopped short of saying he's a prophet too.
"Elijah was a prophet. So let's ask, and this should be obvious, I'm not bragging...Who has learned and taught more about all of prophecy than any man ever?...In so many ways I have Elijah's own personality...I believe I will receive extraordinary power brethren, I'll just say that now...and in many ways I already have...How did Elijah escape? He was taken up by angels in fiery chariots including fiery horses...we're in a position to see the parallel: So will I be...Elijah went on to live years in secret in an undisclosed location. So will I." ("First a MOSES, Now ELIJAH—130 Proofs!," 2015.)
Aside from the unbelievable fairy-tale nature of his hyperbolic propaganda which stands so starkly at odds with his utter insignificance, the other problem Dave is facing is the unsustainability of it all. Dave's ego is blowing up like Violet Beauregarde turning into a blueberry. His currency is experiencing runaway inflation. By embarking on this path of continually increasing self-aggrandizement, he's made everything dependent upon momentum. At what point does he lose enough momentum that his bubble bursts, and the whole charade comes crashing down? He's already in danger, having lost momentum last year due to his twice-failed prophetic utterances backed up with dozens of meaningless reasons which proved to count for *nothing*.
So my question is, what's the next step for Dave in order to try to keep up his momentum? What's left? How will he manage to outdo himself in his next fundraising campaign? Next year will he declare himself to be both the one and only apostle AND a prophet, or perhaps one of the two witnesses, like Ron Weinland? Or will his next move be another false step, costing him members, revenue, and momentum? Along with Dave and his ego, RCG is becoming increasingly eccentric and fragile. How long will he be able to keep it together?