Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Armstrong Churches of God: Built on a Weak and Unstable Foundation

The Armstrong Churches of God:  Built on a Weak and Unstable Foundation
Lonnie C. Hendrix/Miller Jones

My friends in the Church of God culture have asked, “How could you turn your back on God’s Church and TRUTH?” My answer:  I, along with many others, have not turned my back on God’s Church or TRUTH. I can make such a statement because NONE of the human organizations that descend from the Worldwide Church of God represent God or “His” TRUTH! The TRUTH is that the parent organization (WCOG) was founded on a weak and unstable foundation which has crumbled under the weight of experience and scrutiny. Likewise, the daughters (built on the ruins of the parent) have found it impossible to maintain/sustain themselves, let alone expand their reach and influence.

The entire edifice of Armstrongism was founded on the principle that the Bible never contradicts itself and always interprets itself. This gave rise to all manner of HUMAN reasoning about how to reconcile the apparent discrepancies and contradictions that existed among the various writings/teachings that constitute the canon.

It went something like this:

Jesus preached/taught the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. A message about a literal, world-ruling government of God on this earth. Most of Christianity was preaching a message about Christ – not the message that he preached. Hence, they must be wrong. The message isn’t about Christ, it’s about the Kingdom! There is, however, one big problem with this line of reasoning. Paul told the saints at Corinth:  “I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. FOR NO ONE CAN LAY ANY FOUNDATION OTHER THAN THE ONE WE ALREADY HAVE – JESUS CHRIST.” (I Corinthians 3:10-11)

Since God commanded the Israelites to observe the Sabbath and festivals (and Jesus and the early disciples continued to observe them), then everyone who professes to be a Christian is still obligated to observe them. Moreover, since most of Christianity is in the habit of observing Sunday as their day of worship, Satan must have initiated a grand conspiracy to deceive them. As a consequence, history and Scripture were twisted and perverted to support the notion that there had indeed been such a conspiracy, and the Roman emperor and his church were fingered as the human instruments of the Devil’s cunning plan. Of course, this also obviously meant that the majority of Christianity was deceived and were thus not a part of the “TRUE” Church of God. 

If God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants (and it’s impossible for God to lie or break “His” promises), then the English speaking peoples of the world must represent the fulfillment of those promises. Thus History and Scripture were twisted and perverted to conform to this notion. In more recent times, DNA evidence to the contrary has been dismissed or ignored to uphold what we now refer to as British Israelism. This, in turn, led to the conclusion that all of the prophecies related to Israel must ultimately apply to the English speaking peoples of the world. As a consequence of this notion, a whole host of unique interpretation of Old Testament prophecies surfaced (e.g. the identities of the beast power and the kings of the north and south and the precise timing of the events of the end time).

And, with all of these great TRUTHS in the possession of one organization, that organization had to be God’s one and only TRUE church. That being the case, it was a privilege and an honor to be on the inside and a horrible disadvantage and shame to be on the outside. Hence, anyone who refused to see these TRUTHS for what they were was obviously not a part of God’s church – they must not have God’s Holy Spirit. After all, if they had God’s Holy Spirit, they would see these truths! Never mind that this is circular reasoning at its finest. Don’t believe what your eyes and your ears are telling you – just believe THE TRUTH, and everything will be fine! You don’t want to end up in the Lake of Fire!

It is a TRUTH as old as The Bible:  When you build on a foundation of sand instead of rock, you should expect the edifice to crumble when the wind and rain beat against it. Although I haven’t fully attained it, I’m still in pursuit of God and Truth. What about you? Are you satisfied to stand fast in a house that is crumbling around you and will eventually collapse?


Ralph said...

Well, I believe the foundation was fine. However, the structure had so many weaknesses that eventually it had to fall, as it obviously did.
The foundation remains, in waiting.

Anonymous said...

“Moreover, since most of Christianity is in the habit of observing Sunday as their day of worship, Satan must have initiated a grand conspiracy to deceive them.”--Lonnie C. Hendrix/Miller Jones

As the Bible says in Revelation 20:1-3, Satan has DECEIVED THE NATIONS.

Actually, it is not just “most” but rather almost all of professing “Christianity” that is in the habit of thinking that Sunday (the first day of the week) is the day of worship. Virtually all of the churches of professing “Christianity” have enslaved their members in ignorance and SIN (that is, the transgression of God's laws as listed in the Bible). As Jesus explained in John 8:34, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Fortunately, John 8:32 says that the TRUTH can set you free. Approximately 2 billion professing “Christians” need to be set free from their slavery to ignorance and sin, rather than trying to convert others and enslaving even more people in ignorance and sin, and perhaps making them twice as much the children of hell as they are themselves.

Islam thinks that Friday (the sixth day of the week) is the day of assembly. The mosques of Islam have enslaved Muslims in ignorance and SIN (that is, the transgression of God's laws as listed in the Bible). Approximately 1 billion Muslims need to be set free from their slavery to ignorance and sin, rather than trying to convert others and enslaving even more people in ignorance and sin and hatred at the point of the sword of terror.

People of the Evilutionary religion think you don't need a regular day of rest. Their schools of immorality have kept their students in ignorance and SIN (that is, the transgression of God's laws as listed in the Bible). Evilutionists need to be set free from their slavery to ignorance and sin, rather than always trying to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and spreading sexually transmitted diseases with their enforced ignorance.

As the apostle Paul explained in Romans 8:7-8, the sinful mind is hostile to God, does not and cannot submit to God's law, and cannot please God. Of course, the natural, carnal, sinful mind does not seem to mind submitting to, and being enslaved by, all sorts of unbiblical, man-made, demon-inspired beliefs, customs, and traditions.

Anonymous said...

When I was raised in WCG, I recall hearing numerous times that "the bible interprets itself" (1 Peter 1:20) and "precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little," (Isaiah 28:10). However, when this principles leads them to an unacceptable conclusion, they won't hesitate to violate it!

Take, for example, Mark 13, which for space considerations I'll quote only verse 30:

"Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done."

I cite Mark because it's the earliest, but Luke 21 and Matthew 24 copy the entire passage from Mark. Luke's account grows, and Matthew's account grows even more.

The passage is admittedly ambiguous about "this generation." Which generation is he talking about? His own first century generation, or the generation that's around when "all these things" start to happen? If one assumes that Jesus means his own generation, then Jesus is a false prophet, and that's unacceptable, so obviously, he must mean some distant future generation thousands of years later. Right? Obviously.

So now let's look at another passage that occurs only in Matthew which is related, but gives an entirely different phrasing, and appears in the midst of a passage that seems to be partially derived from the same material in Mark 13:

Matthew 10:23 "But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."

I've never heard an apologetic advanced for this. Israel is simply not that big. How long would it take a dozen men to canvas it? JF&B talk in academic circles around the issue, but ultimately only conclude it's intended in the same sense as in Mark 13:30 without going so far as to reach any conclusion as to Jesus' status as a failed prophet for not returning when he said he would.

It's clear that, if one were to view the bible as an inspired document, and allowed the bible to interpret itself, that this would end any speculation about which generation to whom Jesus was referring in Mark 13/Luke 21/Matthew 24, but since it resolves the ambiguity in an unfavorable direction, it's best to simply deep-six Matthew 10:23 as a "mystery" and instead only ever refer to the other passage from Mark 13, and place upon that passage an interpretation that is less troubling than if one were to be honest about what the whole bible really has to say for itself "here a little, there a little."

I've never heard anyone quote Matthew 10:23 at least not with the timing of Jesus' return in mind, nor have I ever heard anyone quote both passages together, à la 1 Peter 1:20 and Isaiah 28:10, like a responsible, moral person interested in arriving at the truth, instead of rationalizing, should do. Never. Not once.

Retired Prof said...

Oh my, Anonymous 12:22. You sound like one awesomely fun-loving dude. What a privilege it would be to share a beer and some friendly banter with you sometime.

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof said...

“Oh my, Anonymous 12:22. You sound like one awesomely fun-loving dude.”


Yes I am.

But beware of those stuffy old Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Evilutionists who would try to enslave you in ignorance and sin.

Anonymous said...

12:22, do you keep the lunar sabbath? Remember, the rabbis spotted the new moon just like they do for holy days, and counted off from the first sighting. That changed when fixed calendars came into play, in an attempt to correlate the lunar calendar with the solar, and to keep seasonal events consistent. Fact is, if you use the fixed calendar and keep the sabbath each Saturday, you are probably keeping the wrong sabbath most of the time yourself. Bet you didn't know that you, too, are one of the slaves!

Even Jewish scholars agree that sometime in history, the assignment of Saturday as the sabbath was a totally arbitrary assignment. Do your homework for yourself, and don't be limited by the "research" from HWA's Portland Library Project!

Anonymous said...

Retired Prof said...

“What a privilege it would be to share a beer and some friendly banter with you sometime.”

I don't need a beer, because my drink is to write these comments. It can be intoxicating, which is why I try to do it in moderation.”

Anonymous said...

“12:22, do you keep the lunar sabbath?”

No, of course not. That “lunar Sabbath” lunacy is just the latest manifestation of calendar confusion to afflict the rebellious minds of the sinful for their disbelief in the Bible and their disobedience to whatever God says in it. The world has always been full of ignorant and sinful people trampling all over God's weekly Sabbath and trying to come up with innovations like five day weeks, ten day weeks, Sunday-keeping, Friday-assembling, and now these “lunar Sabbath” lunatics hoping to confuse and discourage people.

I remember and observe the biblical, weekly, seventh-day Sabbath that was made by God as recorded in Genesis 2:2-3, commanded by God in Exodus 20:8-11 in the fourth of the Ten Commandments, and observed regularly by Jesus as mentioned in Luke 4:16.

Notice that the Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 clearly mentioned the cycle of working six days and then resting on the seventh day, and that it referred back to the history of the seventh day being made holy in Genesis 1:1-2:3 when God rested on the seventh day after working for six days.

Notice also the story in Exodus 16:1-36 of the Israelites eating manna for 40 years. They gathered it for six days, and on the sixth day they gathered twice as much as usual, because on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there was none. It could not be kept overnight or it would be full of maggots and smell, except when it was kept overnight into the Sabbath and was okay.

Anonymous said...

my heart is sad for Lonnie.