Saturday, April 2, 2016

Why Are Church of God Members Treated Like Adolescents?

There was an interesting comment on a Facebook page the other day about Church of God members and how they are dull to be around and how sabbath keepers are the biggest bores.

In another discussion someone brought up the fact that most COG members have an adolescent theology.  They need to be told what to believe, how to act, and who they are to associate with.  Free thinking is NOT a hallmark of the Church of God.

Just look at the latest hysteria over Easter, April Fools Day, Halloween, Christmas, Purim and other days that send some COG leaders into fits of hysteria.  They trot out the same old silliness that Herbert Armstrong and others taught 60-70 years ago. Viewpoints dug up out of obscure books, poorly researched and never "fact checked" by church leaders.  Prank someone on April 1st and you are part of the synagogue of Satan.  Bob Amos Thiel can't stand April Fools Day, so he must really have been pushed over the edge to know that the younger staff at LCG HQ were pulling jokes on each other on April 1. How dare people have fun!

That aodlescent mentality carries over into the latest issue of Bob Amos Thiel's rag that claims to restore the "truth once delivered."  It the latest issue he has to tell his very few members how they are to dress.  These are adults, mostly in the 50-70 years of age range and mostly black African's.  All people who know how to dress, yet apparently too stupid to know how to in Amos's sight.

Amos Thiel writes:

As far as dress for church services goes, basically, the historical Philadelphia era view has been that since we are to be God’s ambassadors and a royal priesthood, that the way one would dress as such is appropriate. This has had side benefits as well. Historically, this helped the church to be able to rent places for meetings as well as for the Feast of Tabernacles as communities feel better about those who dress in a more professional-appearing manner. 

While the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) does not mandate suits and ties, that is the normal attire for those males who attend the Feast of Tabernacles or other services in Western societies. Women normally wear skirts or dresses, and of course should not be wearing ones that are excessively short, or otherwise be dressed immodestly (1 Timothy 2:9). Immodest clothing is clothing that tends to be sexually provocative (such as being too sheer, too tight, or not covering enough skin) or intended as an excessive display of wealth (like certain outrageously-priced custom-designer items or excessive jewellery). The Bible, in Deuteronomy 22:5, also forbids what is known as ‘cross- dressing.’ 

Again, we do not mandate a suit and tie for males in CCOG, but we do believe that such dress in certain Western cultures is consistent with the scriptures that I have quoted here.

Let it also be stated that some people WANT to look poor and unkempt. Notice also the following: 
18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Colossians 2:18-19)

While no one in the CCOG could be a true member if they worship angels/demons, people also need to guard against false humility.

As far as dress goes, basically we expect people wear clean clothes (not improperly sheer or tight) and dress nicely, though not more nicely than they can reasonably afford. If you are doing that, you meet what the Bible teaches (though I would add that most can afford to buy used ties, which is part of Western culture). 
Church of God members have never been given credit that they know how to think, act, and dress.  Some one mightier than they has always felt the need to tell them what to do and they do it, like adolesecents.

Even the basic theology of most church members extends no further than adolescent theology.  They rely solely upon booklets, articles and sermons to get their theology from.  If the booklet or correspondence course said it, it HAS to be true. The church leaders and ministry are inspired directly by God and it is the only "truth."  Just look at the hysteria that Rod Meredith and Richard Ames gets into when LCG Members what to have Bible studies in their homes with friends.

The problem is that almost all Church of God leaders have a theology that is adolescent in belief.  They got their theological base from someone one who had it passed down to them and which ultimately came from a guy who sat in a public library for six months while not supporting his family.  An entire belief system is built around books from a public library that was filled with tomes from the late 1880's.  It's a well establish fact now that Herbert Armstrong was theologically bankrupt in his understanding.  While many have been able to disprove his theology with a minimum of research, most COG members still do not do that.  Its not right to question the leader because in doing so you are questioning God. Just as an adolescent isn't supposed to question their parents, COG members are not to question their leaders.


DennisCDiehl said...

Bob Amos Thiel or "BAT"man for short notes: "The Bible, in Deuteronomy 22:5 also forbids what is known as ‘cross- dressing.’

I never found this to be a big problem at the Feast or at Church but times are a changing I guess. Maybe BATman just hates the word "cross" and dressing up like a cross annoys him???

The COG ministry are "mere Bible readers" which is a far cry from informed, educated and critical thinking theologians. However, I have to say that the more critical thinking one does on all things Bible, the more one will tend to see the chinks in its armor. Ultimately it would prove to be a Book, written by men and mostly not by the men whose names are affixed to the texts. The Gospels are far from eyewitness accounts and are further yet from harmonious accounts. Whoever inserted Matthew's birth story never read Luke's nor Luke his. The resurrection accounts are badly muddled. Its too bad the Gospel Jesus did not write his own accounts of his own life instead of leaving it up to others decades after the fact. Perhaps he couldn't read or write? Perhaps he never existed?

These realities and many others of theology thought through do not make for well received sermons or a long and prosperous life behind the pulpit.

The reasons Church of God members are treated like adolescents are because they think like them, receive information like them and do their homework at a level fit for a child in Middle School. So also their pastors for the most part and those that study outside the box, either don't say or don't get to stay.

Ed said...

If you can see that "all" religions where started by men you can see clearly why people become slaves to the dictates of religious leaders.

Anonymous said...

Instead of "Adolescence", I'm more inclined to think the COG church honchos prefer their minions in either the 'Infancy' or 'Toddler' stage.

Actually, those in the 'Toddler' stage are more threatening to them, since toddlers are by definition making major strides toward independence.

But they love the infants who have mental diapers full of poop that first spewed forth from the mouth of Herbert Armstrong.

To the COG leaders, having such stinky minions is the sweet smell of success!

Byker Bob said...

I guess the short answer is that it's because the members allow themselves to be treated as adolescents.


Black Ops Mikey said...

No, teens are generally seen as rebellious at a time in life where they are exploring the world and their place in it.

On the other hand, Armstrongist church of God members are more like boozy Alzheimer's patients with senile dementia... severely in decline, clueless to the world around them and their rapidly shrinking place in it, unable to discern reality from magical mythical fantasy -- and also unable to remember one day to the next, particularly what idiocy their leaders said the previous day.

Come to think of it, that's so much closer to the truth....

Connie Schmidt said...

I have heard that in the past, there were some ministers who were even legislating whether or not you could chew gum at church.

Anonymous said...

BB if the members refuse to "allow themselves to be treated as adolescents," the ministers murderous verbal claws come out. So it's easier said than done. Ministers bashing and tearing down church members to enforce conformity, is a standard operating procedure in these churches. Needless to say, this isn't sanctioned but rather condemned in the bible.

Monnie said...

To Connie's point: I well recall Radio Church of God (WCG before the late 1960s name change) deacons ordering gum chewers to remove their gum when inside the meeting hall. They also often inspected men's and boys' shoes for an acceptable gloss, that their ties were straight, and, of course, that female's dresses were neither too short nor too tight (and that little if any cleavage was visible).

Byker Bob said...

Exactly, 10:12! If one desires to once again operate on an adult level, and to feed on adult food, one must leave the ACOGs.

Truth is not something that should hold one in perpetual childhood or adolescence. That is not what spiritual enlightenment is all about.

In the early childhood stages, a parent makes all things non-negotiable. As the child matures, more exchanges become negotiable. One of the bases of adulthood is that just about everything in life becomes negotiable so that people are able to obtain what they and their families need to survive and prosper. Show me a person with zero negotiating skills, and I will show you a very powerless and impoverished individual. As adults, we are empowered in many ways that children and adolescents are not.

By and large, nothing the ACOG ministers tell you is negotiable. To develop the brain and skills God gave us, one cannot function in an environment such as that. They even consider attempts to negotiate as being rebellion.


Anonymous said...

Chewing gum is not allowed anywhere on PCG Headquarters or in any of the Field congregations. This was made LAW when the Auditorium was finished.
Butthead Turgeon used to walk up to PYC campers and hold out his hand for you to spit your gum in if you were chewing any, he was also proud of a few campers that swallowed their gum. He praised them in s sermon for having true obedience and submission.