Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cocoons and Wombs

Cocoons and Wombs

by Miller Jones
Ed Suominen recently posted a piece on his blog entitled "Community." Of particular interest to me, he made reference to the fact that many Fundamentalist groups effectively encase themselves in a cocoon. They separate themselves from the outside world to reinforce the group's beliefs and protect those notions from being corrupted by the heathens without.

This phenomenon is not foreign to the Armstrong Church of God culture. Herbert Armstrong taught that the church (meaning the now defunct Worldwide Church of God) was the mother of the saints. The church served to protect the developing embryos (church members) until they could be born again into God's Kingdom. Moreover, this notion continues to be expressed by the numerous splinter groups which have succeeded that organization.

Bruce Ritter of the Restored Church of God underscored the continued importance of this analogy in his article "Is the Church Our Mother?" Speaking of the church, he stated "she carries her unborn child in her womb." According to Ritter, this is done to protect, feed and nurture the embryonic Christian.

However, as with many other features of Armstrongism, the analogy doesn't hold up under closer scrutiny. In short, we should be asking ourselves whether or not this is what God intended for "His" people. Did God design "His" Church to be a cocoon or womb to protect and nurture the saints from the evil influences of this world?

In attempting to answer that question, a few other questions come to mind:

  • Didn't Christ engage folks with religious views that differed from his own? (Pharisees, Sadducees and Samaritans)
  • Isn't he portrayed in all four of the gospel accounts as being in the habit of asking and/or answering questions?
  • Weren't many of his sermons delivered in response to questions/challenges from his disciples and opponents?
  • Did Jesus withdraw from sinners?
  • Did he instruct his followers to withdraw from this world or did he encourage them not to allow themselves to be polluted by it?
  • Didn't Christ ask God to protect his followers IN the world?
  • Was Jesus isolated or exposed?
  • Did Christ face and do battle with his adversary (Satan)?
  • Why did Paul instruct the Christians of his day to put on the armor of God?
  • Is armor necessary inside a womb/cocoon?
  • If the truth is the truth, why should we fear or avoid challenges?
  • Is the truth that fragile and delicate?

What do you think?


Connie Schmidt said...



Anonymous said...

Connie - Question of interest to someone living in New Hampshire....Bernie or Hillary or Trump?

Anonymous said...

If HWA preached the whole Gospel, not just the Kingdom of God, Christ examples(and Paul's)would have been a constant mirror for the leadership and members to measure their Christian growth. But then, without God's Spirit, the Apostles didn't get the program either after spending 3 1/2 years with Christ. Where does the Mind of Christ exist today on this Earth?

Anonymous said...

Yep, according to COGs, after Lucifer went bad, God sent him back to earth, so as to create an environment so hostile to humans that they would need to go "underground" just to survive. Which is why any "true" church must look like a cult, or, for that matter, Brigadoon. Anyone out on their own hasn't got a chance, right? Which is why COGs "disfellowship" people, so that the in-group will be "protected," while the rejected party will most likely be "damned."

I like how everything the COG leaderships say is meant to be taken within a cocoon of it's own. Thinking through the ramifications of what it would really mean if anything they said even bordered on reality always makes either them, or their deity just look like cruel tyrants.

Anonymous said...

John_17:15 Father, I don't ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one.

Treating people like 6 year olds is to be expected since only the big people AC graduates know anything and have all rights. Did I mention that trade means everyone making their best judgment (as adults) and acting on it. No wonder the ministers reject trade since they burn with insatiable lust, coveting mens souls.

Cheers TradingGuy

Connie Schmidt said...

In response to ANONYMOUS 2:00 above:

I wrote in PAT PAULSEN for President.

Here is his fascinating short campaign platform==

Anonymous said...

The life of Jesus was the opposite of isolationism. He came into a world that is completely saturated with sin but lived among us on the outside of his perfect sinless nature. He didn't regard us as trash that should be avoided but as valued human beings.

Anonymous said...

An example of Christ telling people to be "the opposite of isolationism" is the following verse. Launching 'into the deep' means going into the world. Staying in the shallows means holding hands with church members, and never venturing out. I recall that even in church, some people would always stay in the same spot, socializing with the same person/s. These were socially child like.

Luke_5:4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

Mickey said...

Good article. Interesting to see the the coglanders are still encouraging insecurity by describing Christians as embryos. Creating that metaphor was a stroke of manipulative genius.