Thursday, March 3, 2016

Herbert Armstrong's Stinging Rebuke of Rod Meredith: Says Meredith Is Unable to Take What He Dishes Out

In 1980 Herbert Armstrong sent a letter to Rod Meredith who had been "banished" to Hawaii for a year to examine his self-righteous, narcissistic, and abusive personality.  Months into that "banishment" Meredith relayed to HWA that he did not understand why he was being punished.  This is HWA's response to him.  To this very day Rod Meredith still posses the same rotten attitude and hash mentality that HWA pointed out to him.  HWA is right in pointing out to Meredith that he is unable to take the same kind of abuse he dishes out.

That is playing out to this very day with scores of members leaving the LCG.  It plays out in the broken marriages and the deaths that are a result of his sermons.  His bombastic messages drove one man mentally over the edge the point he murdered LCG members in a church service.

Now we see Meredith refusing to acknowledge how his harsh actions have resulted in a a lawsuit by the Scarboroughs.  To this very day he still does not get it!


HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG                                 Tucson, March 14, 1980
President and Pastor 

Dear Rod:

Your letters of February 1 and March 7 show, I am sorry to say, that either you still cannot understand WHY the living Head of God's Church, Jesus Christ, had you sent to Hawaii, or you are unwilling to see or admit — and I prefer to believe the former.

There is no point in telling you this letter is written in LOVE for YOU — for you ought to know that without my saying it. But out of love for you, and DESIRE to see you back as PART OF GOD'S TEAM, working in full co-operation and right attitude with the rest o[f] us; I shall take time and space to make it clear once for all this time.

I have tried to hold the mirror up for you to see yourself as others see you. But still you don't see in that mirror the same YOU that others see-or are unwilling — I hope not the latter. But now I must be SURE! I shall speak plainly, candidly. If this letter hurts, I quote from a letter the Apostle Paul sent to brethren at Corinth: "For though I made you angry with a letter, I do not repent... for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance, for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

"For godly sorry worketh repentance to salvation ... but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (II Cor. 7:8-10).

Now I'm going to come with plainness of speech as Paul said — in I Corinthians 2.

To overseas audiences, and to Kings, Emperors, Presidents and Prime Ministers, I simmer down the WAY OF GOD and the WAY OF THE WORLD in two very small words — "GET" and "GIVE." 
This world is geared to the way of "GET." That is the way of VANITY, SELF-centeredness, coveting, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, rebellion against authority, competition which leads to strife, violence and war. The way of "GIVE" is OUT-flowing LOVE, harmonious co-operation, serving, helping, sharing, giving.

In spiritual PRINCIPLE, the latter is the way of God's Law, the Ten Commandments-the former the way of Satan. I tell them that ALL the Unsolvable problems, troubles and evils in the world are caused by the fact the world lives by the "GET" principle.

Rod, WHY have so many who have worked [with you] said that you rub the fur the [w]rong way? You are DOCTRINALLY correct., But in II Corinthians Paul says we are not to live by the strict letter of the Law, but by the SPIRIT or obvious INTENT — the basic PRINCIPLE of it (II Cor. 3:6). You are a model of doctrinal correctness according to the LETTER — the strictness of the letter — but you do overlook the SPIRIT from the heart. You won the mile in a state high-school meet, You had know[n,] as Satan injects into us all from childhood, the spirit of competition. You b[e]came a COMPETITOR. In conversion you learned and accepted the strictness of the letter of God's Commandments. You wrote a good booklet on the Ten Commandments. But now I hold the mirror up for you to see in yourself what SO MANY who know you well see in you — the SPIRIT of COMPETITION is still there!

You are not going to like this, Rod. Members of your family will resent it. But I am the chosen apostle of Jesus Christ and in His name, I have to say these things to you, for I want to have you with us IN GOD'S KINGDOM — and there will be no contentions — no spirit of competition there! No one is going to be there who strives for himself to take over the CHIEF SEAT! 

Jesus Christ through me elevated you to the chief seat (which you had come to me suggestin[g] over the ministry of God's Church in what we then called CAD, you were a harsh task-master over the ministers. You, yourself, find it difficult and perhaps impossible to TAKE what you dished out. Dozens of ministers would testify to that. You rubbed the fur the wrong way! That has been your life-style!

In a sense, though I approved it at the time, you came to me [(]when Raymond Cole was trying to administer CAD from Eugene,[)] to jerk the rug out from under Raymond-and he feels that to this day. I knew, as did you, that CAD could not be handled from Eugene, and I approved your suggestion and put you in the driver's seat over the ministers of the Church when it was not yet so big.

When you were made second Vice President, it became a standing joke among leaders at Pasadena, the saying, "Well, after all, I am the second Vice President."

Jesus said, "And whosoever of you will be chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even th[e] Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister" (Mark 10:44-45). Jesus said further, "Beware of the scribes which wear long robes, ...and [love] the highest seats in the synagogue, and the chief rooms (offices-ranks-positions), at feasts" (Luke 20:46). Rod, am I qualified to call to your attention, these things? I came into the ministry more than fifty years ago, back in Oregon. I was never a member of the Church of God, Seventh Day, headquartered at Stanberry, Missouri. The church of Dugger and Dodd at Salem, W. Virginia, was an off-shoot, and, like Ted's present "church". Ray Cole's, and other's, NOT the true Church of God. However, I never became a member of the Salem offshoot. Half of the Oregon brethren (while all were in Stanberry) had incorporated as a separate church, "The Oregon Conference." I was ordained by them. Twice I was paid by them-about four months at $20 a week, and 15 mon[n]ths later, from February to July, 1933, at $3 per week.

But I did CO-OPERATE with the Stanberry people, from 1927 until ordained by the Oregon Conference, June, 1931-without salary, I co-operated with the Salem people after the start of the present Worldwide Church Of God (then called the Radio Church of God), and WITHOUT RECEIVING FROM THEM A PENNY OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT in any way, from 1934 (after both the World [T]omorrow radio program was going, and The PLAIN TRUTH was being published) until August, 1937. And after that, while building the present Church of God, Philadelphia era, I co-operated at my own expense with the Stanberry (Sardis era) people until October, 1945.

I DID NOT, as Ted claims (he was 5 years old when I ceased the co-operation with them because of the pressure of the Work in the present Church of God). I did not leave them to start something of my own. I continued working with them-GIVING, not getting-at my own exp[e]nse co-operating — GIVING — as long as my time allowed.

But the point I want to make is this: I SERVED — I HELPED — I co-operated. And I did not have or seek any high position. I always considered myself, just as the Sardis ministers did, that I was the LEAST of the ministers-the TAIL-ENDER!

When I conducted the campaign in the Firbute school house (36 seats) in 1933, I stopped receiving even the $3 per week salary from the Oregon Conference.

As the tail-end LEAST of the ministers, Christ started me in that little 36-seat school house, I constantly suffered persecution-first from Stanberry ministers, then again from Salem, W. Va.-ministers, then again from Stanberry. The 19 members we had from that Firbutte campaign was the START of the present Worldwide Church of God. The brethren at the start were my own converts-my own children in the Lord. NEVER in all my ministerial experience, I once sought a higher position.
Jesus Christ gave me the Pastor position at the start. The Church grew, as I held other campaigns in Eugen[e] and in Alvadore. Finally I appointed and ordained two other elders, one a preaching elder and one a local elder, at Eugene, beside two deacons. In those early years of this, our present Church, I served as pastor of a Stanberry church near Jefferson, Oregon. There I appoin[t]ed and ordained two elders, and two deacons — for THEIR church. All the time I "GAVE" — I did not "GET." Before that I had learned how Paul says, in II Corinthians 3:6, that we must obey the SPIRIT or obvious INTENT of the Law, not the letter. I had dedicated my life to "GIVE" and not to "GET." As the Work grew, Christ used me in founding Ambassador College. After their graduation I ordained m[y] son Dick, Raymond Cole, Herman Hoeh, Raymon[d] Mc Nair and his brother. From there you know the history, Your uncle and yourself came along about next, then others. I ne[v]er sought or moved up to a higher rank or office. Jesus Christ raised up the Church through me. I came to the position I hold as the simple result of what the living Head of this Church raised up through me.

But others have sought higher Position. There has been, it seems, NO END of worldly POLITICS at Pasadena Headquarters. As Christ blessed and prospered God's Church and Work, and we came to have better than $100,000,000 of net worth, and a near $80 million a year income, there devel[o]ped a mad scramble for ever higher and higher rank. Sure, I made some mistakes. I naively TRUSTED men like Al Portune, David Antion, my own son, Wayne Cole, many others no longer with us. But now, f[o]r the first time since about 1967, there is HARMONY and a spirit of Co-oper[a]tion at Pasadena. AND I AM DETERMINED TO KEEP IT THAT WAY!

Now back to you.

You have demonstrated, as seen clearly by many others, a spirit of rank-consciousness. In plain language that is coveting higher authority. I do not think you have coveted more money. I do not think more money is what Ted, Al Portune, Dave Antion, Ray Cole, Wayne or others really coveted. They coveted POWER — more authority — like a 15-year old boy coveting the POWER of a steering wheel and a throttle. We have gone through a House CLEANING. We now have PEACE and CO-OPERATION at Pasadena. And eight to ten others on the executive level there have voiced to me their fears and convictions that if you now come back to Pasadena, that PEACE, and HARMONY, and CO-OPERATION will be turned once again into constant contention, irritation, and HARM TO GOD'S WORK! I do not like to tell you this. I haven't mentioned this to all, but to those I mentioned your return, that is the unanimous feeling.

If I have you come back as Dean of the Faculty, several say you would delegate most or the real duties of the Dean, and devote yourself to trying to make yourself the LEADER and boss of the College, and even of the Chur[ch.] You have — and all are aware of it — been possessed with the idea that I will not live much longer, and that YOU are the "FIRST among equals" to take my place.
Rod, in frankest candor, JESUS CHRIST will NEVER put any one at the head of His Work on earth who is competitive, covetous of power and status, and [self-righteous]. In brutal frankness, you lack the charisma to lead God's work You do not attract-as I said before, you REP[EL-] people. You are a harsh taskmaster over those under you. THAT IS YOUR RECORD!

When I wr[o]te you [] that a change of ATTITUDE is needed, perhaps I have at last made myself clear.

You have said that you only said a few statements you probably should not have made, but you didn't think you had said enough to warrant this six months' leave of absence. Rod, I'm very well aware of the amount of words you said against Christ's chosen apostle. But Jesus said, "of the abundance of the heart (attitude) the mouth speaketh." What you did say, affirmed to me by two witnesses, was sufficient, coupled with many other things, to show me the [a]ttitude back of those words. You try to c[o]nvince me of how glowingly and how numerous were the times you have shown loyalty by the things you have said "hundreds" or "thousands of times". But in this regard your attitude reflected [] OMISSION rather than the sparse and sparing things you did say. Ted was leading a conspiracy to destroy my credibility before the ministers and the brethren by saying nothing about me — as if the human leader did not exist — and blowing himself up. Radio and TV programs went under his name-no longer The World [T}omorrow. He even started correspondence under HIS OWN [Letter head] NAME, rather than that of the Church or College. Now I do not want any of our ministers flattering me, or trying to see how often they can mention my name.

But neither do I want it deliberately AVOIDED in both speaking and writing, as if I did not exist. Jesus Christ — NOT MAN — has made me the human leader under Christ. A leader cannot be a leader if all under him IGNORE his very existence. I never did want anyone to go out of his way deliberately to mention me — as you profess to have done. That is not what I mean. But I do not want the other extreme, caused by a competitive feeling, and deliberate non-mention.

Now another thing you cover in your letters. You imply that in what few things you did say, you were FOLLOWING MY ORDERS. Rod, that is hypocrisy. It is not a matter that I CHANGED MY MIND. Let me tell you how it [ac]tually was. When I told you and Raymond, and perhaps another or two, that IF I were no longer among the living, I wanted you to be su[re] Ted did not slip in and take over. At that time, I had heard SO MUCH talk about my dying right away, perhaps started by Ted, that for a while I was overly conscious of it.

It is not that later I changed my mind. But as time went on I began to realize very deeply that God has not prepared ANYONE to take my place. You, Rod, could never take it. I know that is 100% contrary to your own estimate of yourse[l]f. You have a WILL to lead, but not the qualifications. I came to realize that God raise[d] me [from the dead-f]rom total heart failure-in August, 1977, FOR A PURPOSE.

I have felt like the Apostle Paul, when he said earlier in life it would be more profitable for him to depart this life — and in the next split-second of consciousness, be with Christ in the resurrection, but it was more needful that he stay.

I did not CHANGE my mind. I did come to realize, as God caused me to realize, that He had raised me up as His instrument to raise up His present Church and Work — and that Work is not finished. So after my heart had completely stopped, my breath — no pulse — no blood-pressure — by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation I was br[o]ught back. I have not said I now believe God will keep me alive until Christ comes. I have said and I say now again, I do believe He will keep me alive AS LONG AS HE NEEDS ME!

You have taken the attitude that "some one GOT [you]." No one did but your own self.

I have tried here to make clear what I mean by a CHANGE OF ATTITUDE. I sincerely hope you "get the message" this time. Self-pity is not your need. A change of ATTITUDE from "GET" to "GIVE" is! If this letter does not get through to you, I shall not try again. So far you have not admitted a wrong attitude. Your RIGHTEOUSNESS you have maintained! But it has been only so much "filthy rags" to GOD! God said-rather, Christ to His disciples, that he who would seek the top seat should be the SERVANT of all. We should be as a little child.

So far, four months or more of your leave of absence has profited you NOTHING! Rod, in a candor, HAVE YOU EVER REALY REPENTED? To repent means much more than being sorry, or remorseful. It means a CHANGE OF HEART — a CHANGE OF ATTITUDE — a CHANGE FROM "GET" TO "GIVE." From competition, vanity, coveting power and position, to harmonious co-operation. BELIEVE ME, there is PEACE, and HARMONY at Pasadena now. Our men there do not want it disturbed. I have held up the mirror with BRUTAL frankness-in LOVE not only for you but also for GOD'S WORK! The Work is getting along wonderfully well now-without you. It can go on growing and pleasing Jesus Chris[t] an[d] prospering under His blessing WITHOUT YOU. I have written you are not coming back until I am CONVINCED BY THE FRUITS of a real REPENTANCE, and CHANGE OF ATTITUDE. I hope at last I have MADE IT PLAIN.

In deep LOVE as a father to a son,

In Jesus' name.
HWA signature
Herbert W. Armstrong


Mickey said...

Another title could be, "When Narcissists Collide" ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Connie, instead of giving a penny (or an empty envelope), maybe folks should just tithe in Monopoly money since some COG's claim to have a monopoly on Christianity...


Mark said...

And if anyone would know about vanity and get it was Herbert W(Wombat) Armstrong.

Anonymous said...

Every time I read Pervie Herbie's words: “WHY have so many who have worked [with you] said that you rub the fur the wrong way?”
I conjure up images of HWA and RCM rubbing furry walls after passing around a huge Jeffery at the Man Power meetings.

They were just that twisted!

Anonymous said...

I commend you, Gary, for your enormous productivity over the last couple of weeks, with rapid-fire updates and breaking news items. And you do this without charging a fee(or collecting tithes of freewill offerings) This , of course, is not to endorse your mission of destabilizing the Armstrong movement, but is to acknowledge your sincerity in your mission and your selfless efforts to advance that cause. I think John Trechak of Ambassador Report fame would be very proud of you Ian Boyne

Connie Schmidt said...


Everything he wrote about ROD MEREDITH came true, 36 years later! HWA , a man before his time! ;-)

NO2HWA said...


I have absolutely no capability of destabilizing that which is of the Holy Spirit and that stands on the side of grace, mercy and justice. The issue here is that Rod Meredith, Dave Pack, Bob Thiel, James Malm, Gerald Flurry, Vic Kubik, and all of the rest of the self appointed false prophets of legalism are not ministers of God. That is quit obvious in their actions and their words. If any of these men were actually doing a world encompassing work that carried the gospel of Christ to the world then there would be no need for this little blog and the other websites and blogs critical of Armstrongism. So far all indications are that the entire movement is built upon sand as it is disintegrating before our very eyes.

Anonymous said...

Well said Gary! Our hats are off to you and all the others out there that keep the heat on.

My family was torn apart because of Rod Meredith. My parents wonderful marriage was ripped apart, our childhood was thrown in horrible turmoil. My father lost interest in God because of Meredith's unchristian actions and words, yet remained the most wonderful kind man imaginable.

It is sickening to see that Meredith is still ruining and smearing families to this day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making that point, Gary, abut your inability to destabilize what the Holy Spirit is truly doing ,for I was going to make that very point in my former post. I can in good conscience speak well of you for I accept your sincerity and know that God's will will be done. I think that if you help people to reject mind-control, authoritarianism and abuse, that is a good thing. However, I do not hold--and please don't hold my delusion against me-- that rejecting Armstrongism totally is the answer.
I would be grateful if you, Byker Bob, Steve D(if I remember correctly), Connie and others who are not just interested in venting to answer a few genuine questions of mine:
If we could fashion an Armstrongism which retains belief in Sabbath, feast days, millennium on the earth, God's reproducing Himself, non-Trinitarianism, salvation beyond the grave, rejection of Christmas and Easter, rejection of supersecessionism, rejection of rapture--what would be inherently abusive and unhealthy about it? What if we dropped BI and prophetic speculation which many on these blogs obsess about and also ditch mind-control techniques. Would Armstrongism as a theological system still be ah abhorrent? In terms of weighting, do you put the abuses and corruption of Armstrongism higher than its theological and philosophical errors? Which is worse? And why did a Good and loving God, who has foreknowledge and who hates evil, chose a murderer; a human rights violator who persecuted women and children, instead of many others whose hands were not defiled with blood? Is it remotely possible that a God who chose a murderer and a bigot in the New Testament to be his greatest Apostle and some of the most pitiable excuses for human beings in the OT as messengers, could choose someone who committed incest? Don't be repulsed by the very question. Forget emotions. Just answer me calmly and rationally. I always shake my head when I read the most searing --and justifiable-- criticisms of Armstrong's sins, saying to myself: "These guys don't have the courage to acknowledge that their bigger problem is with the Bible and not primarily Herbert Armstrong". The Bible is the problem, if you guys are to be consistent. That's why I find it far more rational to reject the Bible than to hold on to it while maintaining that God could not use a corrupt messenger like Armstrong. I suggest that those of you who still hold to an authoritative Bible have some knotty problems to sort though.But in the meantime do engage my questions Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

5.28 PM. Comparing Paul to Herbie is ridiculous. Paul was a murderer and human rights violator, but didn't believe his actions were immoral at the time. He believed they pleased God. He committed no such acts after his conversion. Herbie by contrast, committed incest after he was supposedly converted. He knew it was an abomination to God. He rejected trade and freedom, embracing socialism (remember the Mao suits in the 1960s) and tyranny in the church. His continuous lies of the end being a few years away, did enormous harm to many. A more biblical analogy is king Saul. Unlike most here, I believe God used Armstrong, but I do not believe he will be in the kingdom. He is, more accurately the New Testament version of Balaam. Both Armstrong and Balaam were correct regarding prophecy in their generation, with Herbie only being correct with the basics.

Connie Schmidt said...

Ian and all:

You and I agree on many Biblical principles, as you stated-Sabbath, feast days, millennium on the earth, being God's children, non-Trinitarianism, salvation beyond the grave, rejection of Christmas and Easter, , rejection of rapture etc.

These doctrines all PRE DATE HWA and were practiced by many in the COG 7th Day for decades prior to HWA. HWA DID NOT INVENT THESE DOCTRINES!

Obviously then, I have no issue with you in terms of "THE BIBLE" , and I am a believer.

You must judge by the fruits. The fruits of hierarchal , centralized control, financial control, and unaccountable behavior is SELF EVIDENT. As Ron Dart often said, the WCG was the biggest failure EVER in the history of the Church of God.

HWA himself rejected "church government" as it was supposedly manifest in 1934 with the COG 7th Day. His 1939 Good News article railed against hierarchy and centralized church government. He then changed radically from his roots and became a controlling tyrant, unaccountable to anyone or anything. He indulged his every monetary imagination at the expense of the people who supposedly was suppose to serve. He solicited and demanded money using pressure and duress. The WCG operated in a very unhealthy cult like way, and Im sure you would agree Ian.

HWA was not fit to be a minister based on the qualifications found in the book of Titus. We are not talking about pre-conversion behavior as what happened with Paul. We are not talking about a mistake or slip. We are talking about pathological behavior by HWA within his own family, and even to the extended church family as well for many decades.

Some here will disagree with me that there can be an enlightened Sabbatarian church. The COG 7th Day has demonstrated for over 150 years that you can be a healthy organization without the cultic elements. There are some in the COG movement that have good reputations and fruit. Our friend Ron Dart, Dave Havir, some ministers in the UCG, Jim Obrien, and a few others. They certainly are not found in groups like Pack or Flurry, and frankly , they are more like the Armstrong WCG than not, we must confess.

Ian- I hear good things about you. However, do not get confused here. Hitler did some good things. He built highways, people got jobs etc etc. He also was one of the worst tyrants and cruel leaders ever, as were his henchmen. Were there good Germans? Were there good lower level German officers? Of course. However, as the Nuremeberg trials made clear, there is the necessity for justice. I am able to differentiate between the good people of the WCG, who have continued in faith with our unique doctrines (that again predated HWA by decades) and Herbert Armstrongs perversion and exploitation of the truth. I also understand the disillusionment of those who have been crushed by abusive leadership, and have become atheists and agnostic.

I have been able to "get over it" and carry on with my own unique relationship with God without having to have some human interloper be my agency. Others cannot. It would be like asking the Jews of Europe to have to forget their holocaust. Banned is a WCG and other cults "Holocaust Museum" .

Ian- may I ask why you left the WCG and followed GTA in the CGI and what were your issues with the WCG?. Please expound.

Anonymous said...


Armstrongism is abhorrent.

You cannot separate the abuses from the doctrines because the doctrines cause the abuses.

The Law cannot produce love.
The law cannot produce morality.
Look at the Israelites – and – the Armstrongites.

The doctrines of Armstrongism are devoid of New Covenant concepts.

Grace, Justification, Sanctification, Freedom in Christ, and Unity with Christ do produce love and morality.

It's good to compare Paul to the evil HWA. Paul said he (Paul) was the worst of the sinners.

However, grace was changing him – he was aware that at the same time he was an ugly sinner, he was also justified. Paul knew that as terrible as he was he was, he was righteous before God because of the righteousness of Jesus covering him. That is the reason Paul could cope with the terrible things he had done and could preach the message of grace so fervently.

Justification is one pivotal New Covenant term that Armstrongism glances over.

Armstrongites work themselves crazy to justify themselves – in the process, they destroy themselves and others around them. Their frenzied, toxic work obscures the work Jesus did to be the Savior who saves. The work of the Armstrongites cannot clean them up. However, justification from Jesus does make Christians righteous before God, even while we sin in our walk on Earth.

Perhaps you’d be interested in looking up the term: Simul Justus et Peccator – studying outside of Armstrongism affords numerous delights.

As sick as HWA was, perhaps he did not commit as many sins and as horrible sins as did Paul. However, As Herbie relied on, strived for, and publicly promoted his own righteousness he therefore did not accept the righteousness that comes from Jesus.

HWA was all, “seek ye first the Kingdom” and never understood the second part of that verse about seeking the righteousness of the King.

Armstrongism is so abhorrent because it doesn’t get Jesus.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand your reasoning, Anonymous . Because Paul did not believe his actions were wrong ,he was right? So ethics is purely subjective and in the eye of the beholder? What type of reasoning is that? Come on, Byker Bob, call out Anonymous on this! Re Paul's sinning after conversion, have you ever read Romans7? That's the post-converted Paul, say the majority of scholars. Did you catch that angst in Romans 7? What were those things which he did not want to do but which he found himself helpless to avoid? Could they include horrible sins? We had Ambassador Report, John Robinson's Tangled Wed book and now Banned by HWA, Painful Truth, Silenced and Ambassador Watch , among other whistle-blowers, to tell us exactly what HWA and GTA's sins were. Lucky Paul No printing press and no Internet. So he got to keep his sins hidden so Anonymous and others can keep their belie in the Bible in tact. Could Paul's sins not be as horrendous as HWA"s? Not even possible? On what grounds? Regarding abuse, couldn't Paul be accused of anti-Semitism? Have read some of his sharp rebuke to his members in various letters? You argue better in the last section of your post. I can live with that: Perhaps HWA did not qualify for the kingdom He could have been used but became a castaway, as Paul himself said was possible of himself . Hope others who respond to me do better than this. Ian Boyne

Connie Schmidt said...

ANON @ 7:20

Jews do not get Jesus.

You also stated that --"The Law cannot produce love.
The law cannot produce morality."

We thus, using your logic, would conclude that Jews have no love and do not have morality. This is not a well reasoned statement on your behalf.

Again, it is self evident that there are concepts of love and morality found throughout the OT. There are multitudes of Jews that have love and morality who also believe in the law.

I will agree with you though that Armstrongism suffered from Perfectionism, and an over emphasis on works and "that which was on the outside of the cup". Mercy, forgiveness, kindness, and loving forbearance were definitely taking a backseat in the program. Armstrongism was not the OT, nor was it NT. It really was a form of Phariseeism.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how Mr. Boyne can separate Armstrong's theological system from its results. I'm literally stunned with his "If we could fashion" pipe dream. It is simply not possible. "God's reproducing himself" is a good place to start.

The insane speculation aside about God using someone who committed incest -- what, that's somehow more believable than the idea that God would use someone reputable? -- there has perhaps been no greater insult ever penned on Banned than "These guys don't have the courage to acknowledge that their bigger problem is with the Bible and not primarily Herbert Armstrong."

Mr. Boyne, how dare you. You seem to enjoy presenting yourself as some idyllic representation of what Armstrongism might have been like had it not been for, you know, the Armstrongs. Nice try. Put all the lipstick you want on that pig, it's not going to work.

Consider your list enumerating the things Christians presumably would do, and the mental gymnastics people would engage in -- Sabbath and Holy Days first among them -- in order to achieve your allegedly utopian belief system. It's typical of the Armstrongist mindset that Christ alone is not sufficient, and that focusing on the redemptive work of Jesus is somehow lacking without an amending list of dos and don'ts.

From that, one could conclude that it is you, and not the readers here on Banned, who in fact has a problem with the Bible.

We're not idiots. We've heard it all before, and we're simply no longer interested in the snake oil you're peddling. It's fine to engage in constructive dialog, but opining that "their bigger problem is with the Bible" pretty much smashes that notion to smithereens.

Anonymous said...

7.33 PM What I'm saying is that Paul was a deceived Pharisee. He did not believe his persecution of the church immoral. Moral subjectivism and deception are not one and the same. Paul would have differed from Herbie by making a resolve to go down the narrow gate, not turning to the left or right. This would have most likely eliminated sins such as incest. Paul's weaknesses are well know. His choleric temperament is the same as Star Treks Captain Kirk. His weaknesses are: angry, cruel, sarcastic, domineering, compassionate less, crafty, unemotional, exploitative, users of people. Note that Paul magnified Gods law. All anyone got from Herbie was the commie give, give, give. Herbies teaching that Christ was going to return in 1974, was his attempt to bully and coerce God to return that year to cover over the failure of communism. Herbie tried to manipulate a Superbeing to wipe out billions of people in order to protect the false idol of communism. Tell me that doesn't qualify for monster status. Paul even with his weaknesses, would never do something like that. The body of evidence is that Paul valued people, whilst Herbie didn't. Two very different people.

Byker Bob said...


The short answer is that I believe that Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Covenant rituals. This doesn't mean that we still keep the physical aspects of them, and just modify them so that instead of listening to the priests read Torah, and prepare burnt offerings, we speak of Jesus and the Armstrong version of the Gospel and HWA's "work" on the sabbath and Holy Days. It means that those rituals were all shadows and school teachers which were incapable of producing righteousness. It also doesn't mean that we must endorse a man-made theory that there are 6,000 years for man and one thousand years for God, and modify the holy days in an attempt to make them fit that theory. Mixing elements of the Old Covenant which were physical and received at Sinai, with the New Covenant which is spiritual and delivered through Jesus' work at Calvary, is what has caused all of the bad fruits, corruption, and ultimate failure and collapse of Armstrongism. The teachers who obtained their training through Herbert W. Armstrong have been so poisoned that none of them can understand, let alone teach the spiritual meat of the New Covenant. If people still persist in believing that the old rituals are to be kept today, they would be much better off seeking their spiritual guidance from some of the loving Messianic Jewish groups who have a better history of compassion, ethics, and non-fear-based ministry.

Armstrongism has never produced the deep inner joy, faith, or love that are supposed to be the fruits and blessings of the Christian life. The false prophecies and constant state of worry over possibly losing salvation or not qualifying to escape the tribulation have begotten fruits of constant fear, angst, agitation, and self-loathing for the bad attitudes that the legalism has produced. The solution to the Armstrongism problem is the same one Jesus brought: a better covenant that is not like the earlier one. When one of the parties to the Old Covenant, God (Jesus), died, the Old Covenant ceased to be in force. The temple veil was rent from top (God's level) to bottom (man's level) meaning that man has direct access to God through personal relationship, because Jesus' sacrifice has forgiven all of the past, present, and future sins of all mankind that were the obstacle. Armstongism teaches that the only difference between the old and new is that you crash a Messiah and Savior into the old, and yet retain all of the original physical rituals which not only didn't transform people, but actually produced the Pharisee attitude then and now. It also creates an entire no longer necessary level of bureaucracy (Church as police, judge and jury) that has been transcended by the coming of, and interaction of God the Holy Spirit within the Christian heart. A church that doesn't understand this higher precept, is relegated to reverting to the authoritarianism of the Sinai Covenant. God governs, but His government does not include humans in the "from the top down" equation. Rather, it starts from the bottom up, one Christian heart at a time. He calls them, and He works with them directly through their psyche, not through an impersonal power, but through an interactive being that displays attributes of "personhood" called the Holy Spirit.

So, no. You cannot reform Armstrongism. Bad fibers that produce bad fruits have been so intertwined in the fabric that they are interdependent with whatever good fibers might be present. The bad and the good cancel one another out, rendering the fabric useless. You would need, to start from scratch with an entirely new garment. Cleaning up Armstrongism will never make the false prophecies become fulfilled, or bring the ethereal Christian's sabbath rest of inner peace and joy into members' lives. Diet Armstrongism may mean that there is less abuse of the sheep, but only understanding and embracing the New Covenant as taught by other, non-poisoned teachers, will eliminate it.


Byker Bob said...

I believe more time would need to elapse before any type of reformed Armstrongism could be viable. The old guard and the baby boomers have been conditioned to believe that any removal of some of the original elements would almost by definition constitute Laodiceanism. This is the first time that I've ever been aware of anyone even suggesting reforming it, although most of us here firmly believe that it badly needs either reformation, or total dismantling. Safely playing to the existing choir has generally involved false claims of preserving and restoring it.

Decades from now, when new people who never saw or heard HWA have spiritualized away the false prophecies and have claimed to eliminate the corruption, bad ethics, and and some of the more blatant cultic aspects, perhaps the remainder of the movement will resemble Seventh Day Adventism.


Anonymous said...

Some important points have been made.
BB addresses doctrinal issues in fine manner. 8:56 addresses It's fine to engage in constructive dialog, but opining that "their bigger problem is with the Bible" pretty much smashes that notion to smithereens” etc

My added value will not be a repetition of 2000 years of christian thought. I also acknowledge the limitations of “blogging’ so I will give you the benefit of the doubt on the “bigger problem” remark. And of course, in the greater context your question is adressed to just a very particular part of the greater quilt.

The Quilt
I have extensively travelled the remotest parts of this earth. Very often one of the first questions I’m asked by the local heathens is whether I am a believer. After all, what sane person would like to dwell with a “godless” person? I usually answer the obvious “Christian” since the question usually follows the question about my whereabouts. But also because to have no faith or belief would immediately brand me as untrustworthy or worse a communist.

Some people pride themselves in knowledge about our neck of the woods and ask the deeper question. Are you a Catholic or a Protestant then? To satisfy such probing I usually answer that I am more akin to the Protestant way of seeing things but out of respect for “Pauls” teaching I add that I do have Catholic relatives.

In all these distant lands I pride myself in the Green pastures that Christian’s have created in barren circumstances. And I identify with Christians in remote places.
In the Western desert of Egypt the Coptic monestaries are islands in a sea of other belief. Even there I found myself discussing with a distrusting monk what went wrong at the Council of Chalcedon some 1600 years ago.
On a brief visit to Malala Syria, not far from the “Road to Damascus” a Christian girl recited the “Our Fathers” prayer to me in original Aramaic. Very moving. However due to my upbringing I can never get myself to appreciate the artifacts being sold in remote churches. Today having witnessed the recent havoc that “godless” men have created in that christian comunity, I have no problem identifying with that girl, community, church even in the eye of destruction or perhaps because of it.

In other dark parts of the world, to my wife, I narrow my type of christian identification down to “Adventism” by pointing at the hospitals she should go if the need for any assistance would arise.
One time when I was with the Garifuna in Guatamala, my companion asked, why these people held services at a certain time. With some pride I gladly identified them as sda’s.
To narrow it down even further.

In the early 1990’s after talking to Ronald Dart about the creed of cgi I felt, at the time, that we (wcg) had entered the “Laodicean Era”. I later heard that Herman Hoeh thought so aswell. Laodicean to me did not indicate anything derogatory. To me it was a personal acknowledgement that the church had entered into a “new” phase that many would fall away but that amongst other groups many christians were to be found. For a short while I was strenghtened in that theory because wcg had entered talks with cog 7th day, kubik with scattered sabbatarians in the ukraine and many many more sabbatarian groups. At the time I thought that cog type of sabbatarians would be able to “unite” under an umbrella and improve on each others strenghts.

Anonymous said...

The obvious strenght of wcg at the time was its experience in media, sales, preaching, corporate culture of the “work”. Other groups had their strenghts in other topics. (brotherly love for example)

A combination or cooperation of sabattarians at that time would have created an amalgemate of about 600.000 dedicated people united on the points or questions that you describe. And moreover distinct in culture from sda’s, who are in the millions now with a distinctly different creed/culture from the cog.

Now from a professional standpoint I know that I can make girls believe that smoking dried plant entitles them to freedom and voting. I can make believe that adding 2 slice of lettuce or painting chairs green makes hamburgers healthy. That adding noise to silent electrical cars suddenly makes a man crave for that car.

So yes anything is possible as long as man has dreams or need for escape. (oops the agnostic cynic atheist speaking suddenly) Although I don’t see it coming for cog on a large scale soon.

One day I stayed on a fancy resort in Israel during Hannukah. Many (fanatic) settlers celebrated there with their large families. I enjoyed it quite a bit for obvious reasons. However my companion remarked that she didn’t enjoy the experience at all. That she felt like that day we visited my kin (whose FOT site was close by at the time). She felt rejected or at least “measured” by the religious folk, while I was perfectly ok with being “an outsider.”

What’s my point.
I’m perfectly ok with being an outsider, but on occasion I am the Greek to the Greek or the Jew unto the Jew I guess. Thank you Paul.


Anonymous said...

10.10 PM I agree with you that the holy spirit "works with them directly through their psyche." This holy spirit confirms prophesies of Herbert Armstrong, which are actually bible prophesies. This means a ten nation united Europe attacking the English speaking peoples. In your post, there is on mention of overcoming by growing as a person. Growing isn't 'legalism' as some here imply. It's the very purpose of human existence.

Mickey said...

I think I get what Ian is saying about a problem with the Bible. It strikes me as a rather plaintive cry for unity in belief. If that is what I am hearing, I feel that pain but have chosen to turn from it as an illusion. The way I see the Bible these days is very different than how I saw it as a member of wwcog. I now see Jesus heralding a kingdom where diverse people are brought into a relationship with God. People previously outside under the law are now brought inside under Grace. The fruits of the spirit are not better keeping of the Law but love, joy, peace.... Through relationship with God, not through observances. Those fruits are the constants. And diverse people can be in a relationship with God that produces them.

T. Theophilos said...

Jews are contrary to all mankind.
Watch this:

You (Jews) are of your father the devil and desire to do his will.
Your (Jewish) House is left to you desolate.
No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2
For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, 16hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

You cannot be moral without Jesus Christ. It is impossible and whilst you may 'look' moral or good, the inside is unclean and the motives are never right.
Without Christ it is impossible to be righteous.

Anonymous said...

A decent and interesting discussion for the most part my friends. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

A person commenting asks: "If we could fashion an Armstrongism which retains belief in Sabbath, feast days, millennium on the earth, God's reproducing Himself, non-Trinitarianism, salvation beyond the grave, rejection of Christmas and Easter, rejection of supersecessionism, rejection of rapture--what would be inherently abusive and unhealthy about it?"

I would more call it "naive", although the history of movements and churches who teach this odd blend of doctrines tells us that "abusive and unhealthy" is a rampant descriptor of those teaching this unusual group of beliefs.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Armstrongism is a poisoned well which cannot be anything but toxic, no matter what kind of bottle you put it in.

And Meredith is just one of so many that continue to prove it.

Anyone who wants to take a cult and try to refashion it into a viable social framework is a fool: It's crash and burn to rid the world of the toxins -- and any attempt to use major parts of it brings all the toxic poisons back.

T. Theophilos said...

Byker Bob is 100 % correct.

Mark 2::
"And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins."

... said...

Byker Bob,
From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your explanation of Christianity and why Armstrongism is wrong.
I have been struggling with what I have seen for many years in the C of G and the awful fruits it has produced. I have worried myself sick over salvation and "making it' into the kingdom.
I have been praying earnestly for God to help me grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and I have been seeing more things that show me what the bible really says about Christ and what he taught.
Now, today, reading your letter pushed it over the top and for the first time I see it clearly.
I am in tears writing this as I wsa almost ready to give up over it all. What I see in the church is not what the apostles described.
I was worn out from the empty promises of the church, the heavy handed lovelessness, the self righteousness and the eternal insecurity it produced.
Thank you and there is so much heart behind those two words.
Mostly sincerely,
Elijah Forum Member

Anonymous said...

In all these years Rod Meredith has never changed. Everything HWA said about him all those years ago still applies today.

Byker Bob said...

Elijah Forum Member: I'm a bit overwhelmed by your thanks and kind words, but am glad that I was able to in some small way be encouraging to you.

God is the good shepherd, unwilling to lose any of His children, even when we suffer through confusing times in our lives. It is important for all of us to study, and restudy, seeking the types of solutions which bear those fruits which are undeniably good. Life for all of us is an odyssey, a journey with many twists and turns. God be with you on your journey!


Byker Bob said...

4:41: If Father God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit had been on board with the prophecies of Herbert W. Armstrong, then Jesus would have returned in 1975. There just cannot be any back-pedaling from that. If God is working through a human to get some sort of message out, then it is only logical that He would fulfill what He told that person to say. God would not allow any messengers of His to be so wrong on something so very important. You can take that to the bank.

And, of course personal growth is vital to all of us throughout our lives, (parable of the talents) in fact it is largely the purpose of life. But this growth is not something that we can do by our own bootstraps, will power or behavior. Kingdom fruits flow automatically into the lives of Christians, produced by the Holy Spirit. Legalism and love are very often two conflicting opposites. It is possible to be very legalistic, and yet totally lacking in love. It is also very easy to hurt or be condescending towards others through our legalistic behavior.


TruthSeeker said...

I remember distinctly when Rod Meredith came to our local WWCG church in the early 1980s. He was not like the other evangelists who'd come - they were easy to approach after services, Gerald Waterhouse, Harold ??? (can't remember the black guy's name).

But 'Mr. Meredith' just seemed to talk with the local pastor about what was next and stayed by himself near the stage, only talking with others when forced to, with those who couldn't see that he was uncomfortable and didn't want to be bothered.

Retired Prof said...

Anti-Semite T. Theophilos says, "You cannot be moral without Jesus Christ. It is impossible and whilst you may 'look' moral or good, the inside is unclean and the motives are never right."

You use the word "moral," then immediately define it to refer to an internal state instead of how everyone else understands it: referring to the way a person treats others. You have moved the goalposts. You can't win the game everyone else is playing that way, only the one you are playing in your own mind.

People who understand morality in the conventional way don't care what god you worship as long as you treat them the way you would like to be treated. I don't know many Jews, but the ones I know are on average just as moral as the atheists and the Buddhists and the Muslims and the Christians I have known. Certainly a few members of all those groups are far worse than Rod Meredith, but most of them are better. At least a little.

A suggestion: Get out more. Make the acquaintance of people of various faiths and no faith at all. See how they treat others. Judge them by that standard. Don't worry about how unclean they are inside. Let them tidy up their own internal messes, perhaps with the help of religious leaders of their own choosing. Or non-religious counselors. Or nobody at all. In any case it's no concern of yours. How they act is.

By the way, you say the motives of non-Christians "are never right." Most of us non-Christians think your motivation as a Christian is what's not right. You do the right thing only to escape punishment and/or reap a reward, not because you consider other people intrinsically as worthy of good treatment as you are.

Anonymous said...

8.45AM. 1975 is not in the bible, but a Herbie construct. You assume like many, that God is a puppet master, hence God 'would not allow any messenger of his to be so wrong.' This not true. God does not make choices for people. Moses was 'so wrong' that God refused him entry into the promised land.
You interpretation of the parable of the talents is the Protestant
and Herbie line. It intellectualises it away with some mumbo jumbo about not using the parables given in the parable, but throwing them back to the holy spirit, and having it do the overcoming. Please questions quote the verse where it says to hand back these talents. And if we do use the talents given, this is 'pulling yourself up by your own boot straps.' This is a blatant lie. It's like saying don't use the muscles God has given us. Rather, we do our own overcoming, using what God has given us. Which is why the different results in the parable of the talents, including failure, and eternal death. People will lose their eternal lives if they follow your unbiblical advice, and I'd hate to be in your shoes come judgment day.

ANON @ 7:20 – addressing Connie Schmidt said...

Oh Connie, you’ve really disillusioned and confused me!

The law really does not produce morality or love!

First, here’s where we agree; you stated: I will agree with you though that Armstrongism suffered from Perfectionism, and an over emphasis on works and "that which was on the outside of the cup". Mercy, forgiveness, kindness, and loving forbearance were definitely taking a backseat in the program. Armstrongism was not the OT, nor was it NT. It really was a form of Phariseeism.

That was brilliant!

My disillusionment is in your recent posts about the laws you like. You have me wondering if you may have at least one lovely little foot still abiding in the barren, Jesus-forsaking, wasteland of COGdom. A tell-tale sign of someone who has not shaken off the toxic dust of Armstrongism is an over-emphasis on law and very little interest in Jesus and the New Covenant concepts.

You stated: “We thus, using your logic, would conclude that Jews have no love and do not have morality. This is not a well reasoned statement on your behalf.”

My response: Why would you conclude something as silly as that?

Morality and love exist outside of the law.

Certainly, we are all aware Atheists, Satanists, Armstronites, and even the vile RCM possess some morality and are capable of feeling, expressing, and being moved by love.

The “do more, try harder” gospel of law does not engender morality or love – it makes people feel miserable, rebel in frustration, and give up – because we can never be good enough.

That is a bitter lesson learned from the experiences of both the Israelites and the survivors of Armstrongism.

Not being able to keep the law makes people dive off the sin binging cliff into an abyss deficient in love and morality - just look at any of the COGs for an example.

The Gospel says because God loves us, He gave us a Savior who is our righteousness. If the law was working out for any of the parties bound by the Old Covenant, there’d be no need for a New Covenant.

The law never worked out well for Armstrongites – all their weird attempts to interpret the select laws they feel like remembering and then the awkward dance of ignoring the laws they’re not interested in – it’s a very messy theology. I can’t imagine that the law is working out too well for you either but, I’m guessing your allegiance to it would have you exclaiming how you love the law and the wonders it does for you.

If the law could produce the morality and love God wants, there’d be no need for a Savior.

Sin is substituting yourself for God. Salvation is Jesus substituting Himself for us. The focus on being your own savior, as in the way Armstrongism misconstrues the meaning of the statement “work out your own salvation” won’t produce any gains in morality or love.

Embrace Jesus and watch the love and morality grow.

Anonymous said...

"And, of course personal growth is vital to all of us throughout our lives, (parable of the talents) in fact it is largely the purpose of life. But this growth is not something that we can do by our own bootstraps, will power or behavior. Kingdom fruits flow automatically into the lives of Christians, produced by the Holy Spirit. Legalism and love are very often two conflicting opposites."

Yes! And since "personal growth" often gets morphed into an overblown sense of self-importance (and what people have to say based on their overblown sense of supernatural understandings and beliefs that their conclusions are God-given), I've taken a road that's less "hokey Jesus steroid" inspired, yet more realistic.

Byker Bob said...

11:57, first of all, I have difficulty tracking what you are directing towards me when you use a posting time, as we do to all of the anonymous posters. BB is three less keystrokes than using a posting time, and I use that handle to make communication easier. Do you think that that is pagan or something?

Secondly, you are inappropriately reading all of the ACOG stereotypes into my statements. I stated that the Holy Spirit causes good fruits to flow in the Christian's life. He does. Do I make that an excuse to ignore developing my talents, or character? To do nothing? Of course not. Christians are guided by the Holy Spirit, and must learn how to properly use what He brings into us. This is an interaction which augments our natural strengths and informs our behavior, and I've never said otherwise. When God asks you on Judgment Day why you feel you deserve to enter the kingdom, what are you going to tell Him? That you kept the sabbath and holy days, avoided unclean meats, and paid your tithes? aannnnnt! Wrong answer. Correct answer is "I don't deserve to enter. But, Your Son paid for my sins, and I have faith that His payment is sufficient."

I also do not assume that God is a puppet master. He chooses to work through people whom He knows that He can trust to get the job done. Moses made some mistakes along the way, but they were not catastrophic to the job. He did not, as an example, attempt to serve a personal agenda by giving Israelites false dates for when they would enter the promised land. That would have been presumptuous.
Have you ever looked at his work this way? Moses represented the Old Covenant, and it was symbolic that he didn't get to enter the promised land because keeping the Old Covenant cannot get you into the Kingdom. Jesus represented the New Covenant, and He did enter the Kingdom of Heaven. During the transfiguration vision, Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah, one representing the Old Covenant, and one representing the Prophets. God said of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son...........Listen to HIM! This was the passing of the spiritual torch into a totally new era. Ever wonder why when Jesus was listing the commandments, He left out the physical sabbath from them?

My advice is not unbiblical. It is unArmstrongite. There is a profound difference between the two. I am also not worried in the least about judgment day. That's one of the things that the WCG instilled into people, constantly making them wonder if they "qualified" for something that humans cannot qualify. Still, if anyone out there's conscience tells them to do differently from what I've brought into the discussion, don't sear your conscience! Ask God to guide you, and study your Bible with an open mind.

I don't know how much more I am going to contribute to this particular topic. Discussions such as this are the primary reason why I avoid the people in my family who are still involved with Armstrongism. They believe I'm deceived, and I believe they are victims of a toxic religious scam. That makes it uncomfortable for all.


Anonymous said...

BB as requested, you initially stated "

"But this growth is not something that we can do by our own bootstraps, will power or behavior." You appeared to change your mind in the second post. We build the mind of God using the talents given us in the parable of the talents. God will not allow another Satan into the kingdom, hence we need to acquire a degree of maturity before given the gift of eternal life. Therefore, there should be no doubts, no muddying of the water, or no direct attack caste on the parable of the talents. It does mean using our "own bootstaps," it does mean using our "will power and behavior." Which is why I go to the gym, which is why I meditate on Gods laws to reprogram my mind and build good habits. Which is why I continue to educate myself, and develop new skills. On a daily practical level, the talents parable is everything.

Byker Bob said...

No. I didn't change my mind or switch gears. I've been involved in quite a number of discussions on blogs and forums over the years in which people mostly from the Armstrong movement seemed to interpret "grace" as antinomianism, and it sounded as if that was where you were coming from. Pehaps, in fact, we agree that there is a big difference between a Christian refocussing and developing in a new Spirit-led manner, or in him or her attempting to keep all of the pharisaical legalism of the Old Covenant imagining that that will earn salvation or qualify him or her for the kingdom. Reading the epistles to the Romans and to the Galatians with an open mind, and not filtered through the Old Covenant or modified by Armstrongism, was one of the experiences that gave me a deeper understanding of what the New Covenant is all about.

Even so, whatever any of us have developed by the ends of our lives, if we were frozen in that mode at the time of our death, it can't possibly come up to God's standards of perfection. We've all got things in our minds that we seemingly cannot get rid of, based on life experiences, based on some things that seem to be innate from birth, and based on some residual wrong thinking patterns. God's final transformation of our minds and thought patterns is the only factor that can rid us of these things and prevent us from becoming another Satan sometime in eternity. Any way we try to understand it, only Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit can accomplish the most critical work in the process.