Sunday, August 30, 2015

Philadelphian Era: Did it ever happen? Are any of the groups today Philadelphian?

For many decades we all heard the "Philadelphian" labeled attached to Herbert Armstrong's version of Christianity.  He claimed the doors were opened to the "Philadelphian" era to take the "gospel" to all the wold.  God was working specifically with the "Philadelphian" era. It was alive, vibrant. and powerful.  Prophetic messages abounded with abandon.

God loved the "Philadelphian" era so much that he was going to protect it in Petra for 3 1/2 years while the lukewarm "Laodiceans" languished during wars, famines and persecution.  It was to be their wake-up call to really choose the right path.  Though they were still loved by God they were having their lives strengthened by fire and tribulation.

Then, horror of horror's, Herbert Armstrong died.  The prophet and end time apostle that was going to usher in the Kingdom of God on earth died and left the church in the hands of others.  The church imploded swiftly with hundreds and hundreds of splinter groups breaking off to start their own versions of the "Philadelphian" era, or at least they thought they were.  Armstrong always said that the era to follow the "Philadelphian" era was the the "Laodicean" era.  None of these groups could ever accept the fact that they were/are lukewarm and "Laodicean."  Its always the OTHER group that is the "Laodicean," never ones own group.

Armstrong taught otherwise, even though Pack, Flurry, Meredith, Hulme and others all claim they are NOT the "Laodicean"era.

A reader here  sent the following to me. 

Christ warns that the Laodicean Era of Revelation 3:14 is asleep and about to be "spewed out" of His mouth.  Given that the present Laodicean Era followed the Philadelphian Era with copied doctrine and ministry, what's that tell you about the teaching of the present ministry?  What's that tell you about the ministry during Mr. Armstrongs time?

Not one of Mr. Armstrongs prophecy's ever came to pass and since he proclaimed them, he obviously considered himself to be a prophet (amongst every other conceivable title he could think of).
This applies also to those who profess to be prophets today.

Given the warnings by Christ regarding false prophets and teachers to come at this time (time of the end), apply this doctrine to the present day ministry/organizations: Revelation 19:10 .... for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. It follows that without the spirit of prophecy, which is blatantly obvious, they "DO NOT have the testimony of Jesus".

That should shock and rock their laity to the very core.  
Don't count on it. Everyone of these groups feel they do have the testimony of Jesus and are God's only mouthpiece.  All truth resides with in their isolated groups.  


Byker Bob said...

We here have all known this for years or decades, but the only "proof" that these churches in Revelation were actually eras was "Mr. Armstrong said....." Of course, others in the collective known as the Adventist movement assigned era status to these churches. William Miller himself stated that the Laodecean "era" started in the 1840s. Apparently he had felt that he had given the final warning, and of course the end did not materialize to his benefit, either.

HWA picked the best era for himself. During his lifetime, he made the Philadelphia brand credible through the growth and control mechanisms which he had learned through business and advertising. In order for his end-time message to have been effective and successful, the end would need to have occurred either before his death, or shortly thereafter. The problem is the splinters have not even done a credible job of preserving his memory or the message. And, in stating that, I'm side-stepping the whole issue as to whether the message ever was inspired by God or even true. You even have groups of people that are so worried about the Laodicean label, that they have become uber-Pharisees, even exceeding the legalism of the founder of their movement! And, they are no more visible or blessed than the somewhat relaxed groups who have made an effort to shed cultic thinking.

The fact is, it is not as HWA said it was. That was a fantasy based on a number of theories, bad timelines, heresies, and pronouncements that HWA cleaned up and repackaged, made fantastic amounts of money from, dying as a winner, albeit, a tainted, incestuous one! Jewish sources say that we've got over 200 years until the 6,000 year anniversay of Adam and Eve's "birth", and the Bible doesn't even state that man has 6,000 years in the first place. British Israelism may have appeared credible during the eras prior to civil rights, but history plainly shows that the Anglo-Saxon people, were too Samaritanized even in the 1100s to have been two "pure" tribes by the colonization of America. The majority of dna today amongst the general population of the US is German (HWA's "Assyrians"), and the British Royal Family is actually German.

We're not witnessing a Laodican era of a church here. And COG-7 was not Sardis. They are now bigger than WCG ever was. What we have witnessed is the fulfillment of another prophet's words: the "prophet" Gamaliel.


Anonymous said...

Church 'eras' are not biblical at all. Nothing in the bible about era of the church.

Anonymous said...

Philadelphia and Philadelphian were labels for our setting ourselves apart and feeling superior. Everyone knows, and knew, the "brotherly love" meaning. As attested to here at Banned, over and over, there was probably never a label that was more INappropriate for a group of people, and especially for the leaders.

One meaning of "label" is an epithet, a disparaging name a person would call some other group of people than theirs. Laodicean became this in the mouths of those proud to be Philadelphians so-called. I heard people use Laodicean the way some bigoted white people use a word beginning with N for those of African descent. Same emphasis, same fervor. (Some of these, no doubt, also used that N word and didn't feel bad about it.)

When I lived in northwest Ohio (where I fully surrendered to being an Armstrong slave, cursèd time), some congregation in the region had a pop-style singing group called The Philadelphians, who performed at functions where multiple local churches had gathered. We knew why the name had been chosen, but it still seemed odd. There were some genuinely musically-talented people there, one can believe, if they went to the trouble of seeking a minister's okay to form and give performances. (They couldn't have without that okay, as we know.) They were pleasant to listen to, a long way from the sickeningly squeaky-clean and unbearably syrupy sweet Young Ambassadors we were force-fed, in ensuing years.

The Philadelphians. I think of that now as a name symbolizing opportunity, symbolizing years and lives WASTED on supporting that man with the convincing message that turned out to be nothing but lies.

Connie Schmidt said...

If well known and infamous Christian quarterback Tim Tebow makes the Philadelphia Eagles this season, will that be a sign of the start of the "PHILADELPHIAN ERA"????

Anonymous said...

We all know for a fact that there is NO brotherly love in any of the various COG's. Look at the hell hole Flurry and Pack have created that have destroyed thousands of lives. Look at the complete mess that LCG is in because of Meredith. Look at the lies of UCG. They all great each other and other groups with utter disdain. They are all rotting at the core because of sick leaders and even sicker biblical interpretations.

Mickey said...

As anonymous above states, there is no such thing as church "eras". That was a deliberate insertion by hwa. So very ironic when there was such an emphasis on not adding to or taking away any words of the book of revelation.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Church 'eras' are not biblical at all. Nothing in the bible about era of the church.

"Church Eras" rank right up there with the concocted scriptural cut and past topics of "Fleeing to Petra", "Elijah to come", and all the assorted Zerubabels, "I am an Apostle" and "That's me and us being spoken of in the Scriptures" BS.

If the COG's ever understood the origins, intent and time frame of the Book of Revelation, the bottom would fall out of their framework.

DennisCDiehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Black Ops Mikey said...

You may be interested in the information in Eras.

Note what people say in the comments.

While we're at it, let's consider that the issue of eras has been highly polarizing and has caused a great deal of division. Hence, all Armstrongist churches teaching that the church has these 7 'eras' should be disfellowshipped, since they are causing division. Mark them. Mark them all.

Note that the Church of God Seventh Day does not teach the doctrine of eras, nor does it trace its history any further back that Gilbert Cramner, so if any church is 'Philadelphian' it would be the CoG7. And not to put too fine a point on it, the CoG7 is about 10 times larger than all the Armstrongist CoGs combined. Note this from the Bible Advocate September / October 2015:

"India. More than 75 CoG7 pastors and evangelists receive support through Cristo Viene. Orphans and Widows ministry is also active here. Pastor Jacob Rao, who serves as general secretary of India's 250 CoG7 congregations, recently met with 40 Punjab pastors to present the Church's district teachings. The Indian Church's influence also extends into Bangladesh."

So all you ACoGs arguing about who's Laodocean and who's Philadelphian are stone cold nuts!

What hubris the ACoGs have when they are nothing at all.4

Byker Bob said...

One could go so far as to say that certain types of Christian attitudes or types of trials are enumerated and described in the "letter" to these churches, but certainly not every individual in a given city shared in the exact same frame of mind.

In most Christian churches today, you are going to find certain individuals who have tremendous brotherly love, others whose wealth and status have made them complacent, and some who are pretty much spiritually dead. I knew all three of those types of people in WCG. But, these attitudes all existed simultaneously, and in no way could one attitude have been said to be the zeitgeist of the era. That was purely imaginary, part of the HWAcaca.


Anonymous said...

The "era thingie" appeals to those who would like to see themselves as having "special understandings" that other people don't have.

Sort of like all those people who like to think they have the "Holy Spirit", yet in reality have none, since their "superpowers of discernment" lead them to think scumbags like Herbert Armstrong or Creflo Dollar are spine-tingling good.

Byker Bob said...

One more thing. HWA made these eras a function of himself. People who were enthusiastic about him and participated abundantly in his church were Philadelphian. People who were reserved and reluctant about believing 100% of what he taught were Sardis, or spiritually dead. And, those who came to church for the fellowship, but bought nice things for themselves, and didn't have a sense of urgency about "the work" were Laodicean. The labels were all about one's reaction to HWA.


Ed said...

It is very possible, maybe likely that Christianity is an invention of Rome. Some think that it is likely that the gospels where also written by the Romans about 70 AD-80 AD. Also that jesus was a deity manufactured by the Romans. So all this speculation about the eras of the churches very likely is an act of futility and is pointless.

Anonymous said...

if Jesus ever existed, he was just a human being like you and me - new Dead Scrolls reveal the divinity in the gospel writings are for the babes in Christ. So it seems the gospels have underlying coded messages for the people in the hierarchy within the top Roman/Jewish society.

Black Ops Mikey said...

The Armstrongist cults portray the ultimate lack of respect.

Homer said...

Ed said...
"It is very possible, maybe likely that Christianity is an invention of Rome."

Looks like Ed has been doing some extra-curricular study. Ed, have you also found that those outside the confines of Rome, i.e., "country folks" refused to change the name of Mithrasism to Christianity since the beliefs and practices were all the same anyway. Did you also find that the area they were in, the rural, lowly populated country was called in Latin, pagus and the folks were called paganus. Since I have moved to a rural area and I am at least an hour’s drive to any city of greater than a few thousand people, I guess that makes me a “pagan”. The following may be worth considering.

Also, heresy or being a heretic is not necessarily bad, since the words simply means "choice" which is not defined as being negative, except by "choice" which the vast majority of Christianity has decided to do.

Anonymous said...


After 52 years of Herbert W. Armstrong's teachings there ended up being about 150,000 men, women and children all attending the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall in the same Worldwide Church of God. All the teachings in the Worldwide Church of God had come through Herbert W. Armstrong.


By 9 years after Herbert W. Armstrong's death in January 1986, Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. (under the influence of his son Joseph Tkach, Jr. and the kid's buddies) had slowly changed the Worldwide Church of God's teachings. They suddenly published their complete apostasy openly in the church's Worldwide News newspaper around January 1995.

Now, about 29 years after Herbert W. Armstrong's death in 1986, there are numerous much smaller splinter groups, with the largest of them lucky to have even one-tenth as many people as the Worldwide Church of God had at its peak. The splinter groups all think that they are spiritually rich and increased with spiritual knowledge, even as they all continue to forget about and change what Herbert W. Armstrong had taught and continue to split and splinter and decline.

Anonymous said...

Black Ops Mikey said...

“And not to put too fine a point on it, the CoG7 is about 10 times larger than all the Armstrongist CoGs combined. Note this from the Bible Advocate September / October 2015: 'India...'”

If the COG7D claimed to have anything great going on in the USA, people might go looking for it, and wonder where it is, and why they cannot find it. Americans might begin to wonder why there are supposedly all sorts of COG7D people in foreign lands far, far away, but never at home in the USA. Having only about 5,000 people in a large country like the USA spreads the COG7D rather thin over here.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I prefer butter, but if I had to choose, I suppose the Philadelphia margarine sounds better than the Laodicean.