Thursday, May 5, 2016

Living Church of God: Robber's of Joy





Here is a comment from a reader that explains exactly why Living Church of God and most other Churches of God are having issues right now.  Dave pack's cult is rupturing at the seams as numerous splinter groups have stolen members an resources, United has huge credibility issues, Gerald Flurry is losing members, David Hulme's group is almost nonexistent now, Living is on the verge of a huge rupture when Meredith dies...on and on the list can go.

From the posting about LCG complaining members are marking LCG emails as SPAM.
It IS spam. And some of us are tired of the pleas for money and money and then of course, money. We are sick of the "times are getting worse and worse"; and talk about the headlines and etc. We are sick of fear porn religion that fails to ever speak of the mighty things done by Christ and the glorious return. They focus on the tribulation and will you "Make it" into the kingdom, as if you can get there under your own steam. This is soul killer stuff. It robs you of any assurance and fills you with dread and self doubt because you can never measure up. Sermons are not about how to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ but about tragedy and doom and esoteric nonsense that does not lift up but drags down. Where are these men helpers of our joy? They are robbers of joy. Scriptures used are only those that bolster the party line and things that do not line up are scraped. We are sick of a self appointed royal priesthood ministry that has no connection to the levitical 

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post! When are these leaders ever "Helpers of our joy!"? We've always heard that we've been called to be teachers, but in reality, we're just called to save our own behinds! Because once you're in one of these groups that's all it's about! We only let our light shine at the Feast time so that we can get the same cheap rates at the same crappy hotel next year!
When is Wayne Turgeon going to leave the PCG and start his own death cult? He should know little Steve is going to get handed the baton when Daddy Flurry does.
All I've ever heard in my 20 years of being in the PCG is how HWA turned the hearts of the children to the Father...blah blah blah. If that's true, and he's on the PCG pedestal for doing do, then how does anyone justify Flurry having us all cut off family members and friends? Once again I smell a contradiction!
Glad they're losing members!

Connie Schmidt said...

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Anonymous said...

Everything degrades with time and so do organizations that have no viable means of perpetuating themselves. Herb held it together pretty well for a long time, but those conditions in society and the world no longer apply, and let's face it, there is no spellbinding personality that's going to turn it around for any of them. Herb had a gift for grabbing and holding people's attention. So did Ted None of these wannabees have it.

DennisCDiehl said...

Well..that about sums it up nicely...

James said...

The great awakening is taking place. Expect more of the same.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Great post - nail meet hammer. I left the Worldwide Church of God in 1976. I see nothing has changed after 40 years of absence.

Richard

Ralph said...

on May 5, 2016 at 12:03 PM
Connie Schmidt quoted:-

"Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

and I'm firmly convinced that such a way of life is found by adopting the ten commandments of scripture as a way of life.

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

(Excerpts from a letter written to a COG minister) Part 1

What many of you in such vaulted, authoritative positions never seem to understand, is that we’re not leaving the Body of Christ, but rather an imperfect, often misguided, confused or arrogant leader or organization, that have become more “hireling types” or now miss or abuse the point of their perceived calling on some or even many levels.

Quite simply, people are desperately looking for someone whose proper servant’s voice and life they recognize, who is a true, well rounded, serving shepherd, as designed and dedicated as Jesus Christ, revealed and showed through his own exemplary life and the subsequent apostle’s example.

What we’ve gotten instead, are many Korah, self-aggrandizing types, who’ve become almost papal like figures that one dares not question anything they say or do, as though God only fully answers their prayers and, anyone who follows them, must recognize they do so, in great trepidation, within God’s full authority.

I never thought I’d see in the aftermath of the demise of WCG such a menagerie of misguided and self-serving individuals, who seem to clamor for so much personal attention, as though they individually are the cream of the crop, and the absolute apple in God’s eyes.

Yet the focus is to continue to blame the members for their indiscretions and lack of faith, and not a self-serving ministry who treat the people like merchandise, usually for their own personal use or benefit.

In essence, we are seeing naked emperors, pseudo apostles, prophets, witnesses, trainer of witnesses or other “look at me” roles, which must have the fawning few who worship their every word or deed.

Select few seem to fulfill the complete “job descriptions” given in Titus and Timothy; instead they seem to see it as a buffet of sorts, picking and choosing what they best like to do, rather than honoring the “complete and God centered calling”, even going above and beyond it, like a profitable servant should.

But even more sad, is most members can’t for the life of them ever see any of you who are in these prominent authoritative roles who demand our total loyalty, compliance or acceptance of all things taught or believed by you, ever coming under someone else’s human control or influence again, in true humility, because each in your own way have become a pious authority unto your selves.

I guess what’s good for the goose (us) isn’t what’s good for the gander, figuratively or physically or especially spiritually speaking. What a mockery of the responsibility, actually required by God!!

We hear many excuses, threats and convoluted reasoning’s why the average Joe Christian should remain faithful to you or men or groups like yours (where you hasten to include or infer God’s presence or his authority given to such an esteemed group when threats of disloyalty are often felt by you).

But I guess a taste of ultimate power (as we are often accused of desiring) is such a strong aphrodisiac, that many excuse your own behavior with misguided, often self righteous objectives and viewpoints.

I have been told numerous times over my XX years in the church, that just being right on a given point MUST always be tempered or proven with an appropriate and right and humble attitude.

Most likely, this letter could very well be a waste of my time writing it, as I’m sure there’ll be a collective collaboration to pick apart my “misguided and misrepresented” points (shared by more people out here than you know) with your more “learned, converted, closely related group”, you rely on for approval.

Anonymous said...

(Excerpts from a letter written to a COG minister) Part 2

My question is, must we out here, be the only ones that must have the right attitude in receiving or accepting something from you or do you in your collective mindsets also share in that responsibility, to have the right attitude in giving it or even broaching such a subject, especially when it can cause confusion, doubt or even angst on people’s part?

When even, might something perceived or taught as new or non-salvational, become salvational for someone, becoming a stumbling block or a point of needless confusion and you are held accountable?

The ultimate question is; what do you and men like you really owe to the flock God has seen fit to give (and take) from you?

I’ve often said there are 3 things you hardly ever hear a minister affiliated with the church of God over the year’s state or admit, are “I’m sorry”, “I’m wrong” and “I don’t know”. That mold is certainly still intact.

I know as members we have been taught, almost ad nauseam, that we are the weak of this world and might barely make it to God’s Kingdom if we don’t fall in line behind the authority of God (via the ministry). But I’d have to say, the ministry as a whole, has certainly led the pack, backwards.

But I really do wonder how God perceives today’s “ministry”, who can’t seem to find any common spiritual ground with fellow, “well trained???”, extensively experienced men who should be able to rise above it all; especially with the double portion of help that everyone feels they have, directly given by God…..

Maybe the tares aren’t exactly who we have all thought they might be, but those who have done more of a disservice to God’s calling and accountability, because they merely have lost sight of the goal themselves or they have simply been ordained of men, but never of God.

I truly wonder if any of the various COG group’s leaders understand exactly what God does want and expects, not just from the lowly member, but doubly more from those who relish in authority and supreme governance, who have picked up the mantle of a minister or leader of one of these various, fractious groups, that now make up the church of God today?

And please spare me/us the dire warnings and the “minister is always right” proclamations that so many ministers over the years have used to neutralize the not so enlightened or rebellious member.

Maybe for a change, it’s time to look in the spiritual mirror your selves instead of always imputing motives toward everyone else.

I think I am really starting to understand, why God said in Matthew 24, that his love would wax cold.

Certainly it has to do with all of us disobeying his laws, but since Christ clarified it as the two great commandments (loving God and in essence, loving each other as we would God), we see the results we see today, when we lose that agape focus for all of God’s people.

Unfortunately, with the lack of real, true, humble Godly leadership all these years, with so many people following their leaders missteps or self-serving beliefs and actions, they will unfortunately start acting and reacting exactly as we see today.

Anonymous said...

There will be GREAT JOY if people adopt OT thingies, like pressuring or forcing women to marry their rapists.
It will also produce GREAT JOY when men are having a fight and you cut off a woman's hand if touches someone's genitals.
It also brings me GREAT JOY to consider stoning people for a wide variety of offenses.

I'm FIRMLY CONVINCED that it gives GREAT JOY when adopting these commandments of scripture as a way of life!

When I suspected one of my wives of having an affair but had no proof, I did what the Bible said to do: I took her to the priest. Following the Biblical Word of God, the priest swept dust off the floor, and mixed it with water, and made my wife drink it. When her belly swelled up with pain we KNEW she was guilty, and with GREAT JOY we stoned her to death!

L Jeffries said...

In response to Anonymous May 6, 2016 at 6:32 AM, I enjoyed reading your comments as they accurately mirror my thoughts and experiences in the COG since the collapse of Worldwide in the mid-nineties.

Looking back, although many contributing factors exist, I cannot help but think that one of the great causes of the dysfunctional leadership and “ministry” we see in so many of the COG groups today is largely a by-product of the Ambassador College system.

This institution took the best and brightest in the church at the most impressionable point in their personal lives and immersed them into to an elitist, hyper-competitive, hierarchical and profoundly dysfunctional culture. At the completion of this process they were educated to think of themselves as infallible, taught to look down on rank and file members as mere children, and yet at the same time had made themselves almost totally dependent on the church for their livelihoods having obtained little or no marketable skills. These are the men who lead and “serve” us today.

As a member of the PCG I can tell you that much of what Gerald Flurry has been doing for the last 25 years is basically competing with the other COG leaders, especially his arch-nemesis Rod Meredith.

To illustrate I’ll use the example of PCG’s Herbert W. Armstrong College. Both Gerald Flurry, and especially his son Stephen, are literally obsessed with this church-based college institution. When it comes to resources spent on the college it is literally a case of no expense spared, no matter how ridiculous. Currently PCG’s income is down a shocking 25%, yet they are prepared to spend over $1M on a new college facility to teach Irish dancing, and all this after just spending millions more in 2015 on another college campus in the UK. Interestingly both Gerald Flurry, his son Stephen and son-in-law Wayne Turgeon are all Ambassador College graduates.

What I have learned is when you cut through all the waffle and grandiose statements, what it boils down to in the PCG is this: I'm Gerald Flurry I am in charge. The church is my personal property, the income is mine to spend as I please on proving I'm the greatest and that God is with me. The members are mine and I am accountable to no one. If my children and grandchildren like Irish dancing I will spend millions to make them happy and indulge their pastimes no matter what effect such self-indulgent expenditure has on the morale of the rank and file membership. If anyone complains I will simply put them out of the church and I will continue in this process even to the extent where the PCG is no longer able to sustain itself financially. When the PCG reaches this point I will place more and more demands and financial burdens on the membership to give me what I want. As I am the greatest and most important of the COG leaders, I believe God will bail me out no matter what I do. I am the greatest, God is with me, it's all about me, I am infallible and I am accountable to no one.

Result: What was once an organization devoted to delivering a simple message is now an exclusive group of musical nutcases who are into Irish dancing and have a performing arts auditorium in the middle of a prairie hay field financed by an ageing membership that is rapidly losing interest.

In reading these posts I can’t help but think that in all this God has started to intervene and wake his people up.

Anonymous said...

"...an exclusive group of musical nutcases..."

Why it is so magnificent!

A lecture and analysis for teaching you how to enjoy music.
http://kpcg.fm/shows/music-for-life/episodes/64-pre-concert-talk-song-of-solomon

Anonymous said...

Ralph on May 5, 2016 at 12:03 PM said...

Connie Schmidt quoted Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

To which Ralph replied:

"and I'm firmly convinced that such a way of life is found by adopting the ten commandments of scripture as a way of life."


Connie cited something: spiritual fruits that God by the power of His Spirit produces within those who are the workmanship of His hands...and those fruits are given out by measure/proportion (Romans 12:3, 6) as God so wills. It's not our choice &/or free will. It really works no other way. The lives of ancient physical Israel, and many other Biblical examples, makes that point very clear. No Spirit...no good fruits! Good fruit comes only from a good tree...

However, you are convinced that "...such a way of life is found by adopting the ten commandments of scripture..."

How so? How does one "adopt" those ten commandments? Is it really that easy? I think it is impossible...again, witness the example left us of especially ancient physical Israel, who for the most part had no Holy Spirit working with them.

"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7

That shows us how impossible it is for one to "adopt" those ten commandments, and if that weren't enough, here's another verse:

Have you ever considered that, without God's Spirit working in one's life, those ten commandments, those laws are against us, contrary to us?

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" Colossians 2:14

They were against/contrary to ancient physical Israel; weren't they? Yes, but how do we know? They all died! The wages/penalty for transgressing those laws was paid by all ancient Israel. Without God's Spirit (e.g. for this world - John 14:17 "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive..."), one can't just adopt ten commandment, or even the fruits of God's Spirit for that matter, and live the way of life as you have suggested.

So, what is needed? It is as simple as believing, but one doesn't just "believe."

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power," Ephesians 1:19

God has to be in the picture and He uses His mighty power.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

Again, how important is that Spirit and not just some desire to adopt something?

"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 4:6

It's all by God's Spirit...

John

Anonymous said...

P.S.

The comments I just made ought to be considered/"reconsidered" by people like the Living groups leaders Rod Meredith and Doug Winnail, who so frequently hammer their people and beat them with their stress that all they need to is keep God's Ten Commandments and love, respectively............

People who have God's Spirit dwelling within don't need someone hammering and beating them by telling them to do those things. It is God's Spirit that produces those fruits in one's lives. We, of and by ourselves, have NEVER don't it and NEVER will do it.

To which I conclude with saying........Duh!

Oh, and give God the credit, honor and glory for doing those things. Taking to SELF does not work. No flesh will glory in God's presence. Rod and Doug are impressing God. It is ridiculous to think we could ever do such a thing. Why not just go back and study the Old Testament where it says:

To Rod, Doug and all of the other xcog leaders: you strive with God when you think you can just stress that people can simply do the things you tell them, when you aren't even perfectly doing them yourselves:

"Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?" Isaiah 45:9

You all, in reality, deny God the Father and His Son by striving to get people to think they can do the impossible things you tell them. You do it first and be perfectly successful at it and then tell us how you did it!


"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." Isaiah 64:8

Give the Potter the credit for a change, because you ain't doing it!

Have you even seen clay move on its own?

Do you understand why God didn't give the clay hands? It's because if He did, and the clay could ever doing something on its own, it would form it's own mouth and begin flapping that mouth. God does not want to hear it; neither do we!!!!

When will you guys start speaking like you believe what's in the Bible, in lieu of hammering us about God's law like you do?

Here is one more thing for your consideration....from supposedly your "Boss," who you think you are yielded to:

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

You xcog leaders, if that is true, then please explain how you are doing more and how we can do more, because you aren't doing it.

Did Jesus lie to us?

How do you think God receives God's Spirit? Dig it out of the ground? Pick if from a tree? Stop hammering us with your thoughts, and begin giving us God's thoughts, which are high above yours...

Make it a delightful day!

John

Anonymous said...

Hello

I would welcome some thoughts from a truly "thinking" group that been there done that in either sinking or surviving the COGpit.

I was baptized 10 years ago and have gone through the split "things" and fortunate I think to be in a COG that seem to truly care. My true sympathy for those out there treated so poorly and its impact. However, I did indirectly get a Herbie wedgie from a parent and due to that lost oh...maybe..20 years of actually living life. And, I hold myself accountable for that trick too. Was very creative type and shoveled dirt over what was actually given to me by God..my bad indeed.

BUT...my question..After looking back I wonder if I decided to be baptized out of fear..instead of follow?? You know..Lake of Fire...Place of Protection..tribulation. Anyone else out there done the same?? Granted, it IS good to change for the better indeed...still trying. No argument there but it was the REASON that bothers me.

I welcome your responses..

The Wanderer

p.s. When the last splinter fiesta happened I had absolutely no idea it was happening and thought about just wandering away from COGdom. But...now..I watch.

Byker Bob said...

Wanderer, there was a participant on one of the older forums several years ago, who clarified this issue for us. She pointed out that the WCG minister who baptized her went out of his way to stress that baptism is into Jesus Christ, not into the WCG.

N.T. Wright is a theologian highly regarded in many circles, although I don't agree with everything the man has written. But, at one time, I was pondering because I had only been baptized by Armstrongite ministers, whether I should be rebaptized. N.T. Wright had written that once is sufficient, because even if you fell into disbelief for a while, there is no such thing as being unbaptized.

I also believe that allowance is made for change or growth in understanding. The full impact in understanding very rarely dawns on us at the time of key events in our lives. We turn such things over and over and over again in our minds, and new knowledge and experience change our perceptions as we live life. We evolve spiritually, as we do in every other way.

I do not believe that anyone could have been baptized by representatives of the Armstrong system without the tribulation and the end being at least part of the general background. However, they also stressed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sin, and repentence and a changed life. This was back in the day, but I would imagine that it is much the same today. There are disturbing stories about the Flurry group asking whether candidates believe that HWA was the end times Elijah, but there is room for growth and change in the face of new information even from that point of view.

BB

Anonymous said...

"How does one "adopt" those ten commandments?"

Maybe we should try them out first to see if they work before we fight about who is right. Nobody can leave the Universe out of any picture.

"Have you even seen clay move on its own?"

Our hands shape the clay. That is why we are here. To do something with it.

DBP

Anonymous said...

John, a just God would not have repeatedly punished ancient Israel, if they were incapable of obeying Gods law. Your position amounts to burying ones talents in the ground, retiring from life, with the excuse that God will live your life for you.
What you describe has a name, it's called passive suicide.

Ralph said...

on May 7, 2016 at 12:38 PM
DBP wrote:-

""How does one "adopt" those ten commandments?"

I would suggest by beginning to practice them and take them into one's life.

also:
"Maybe we should try them out first to see if they work before we fight about who is right."

What a great idea!

cheers
ralph.f

Ralph said...

on May 7, 2016 at 4:26 AM
John wrote:-

"However, you are convinced that "...such a way of life is found by adopting the ten commandments of scripture..."

Perhaps I should have said "is eventually found"...

then
"How so? How does one "adopt" those ten commandments? Is it really that easy? I think it is impossible."

One 'adopts' those ten commandments by beginning to practice them. I don't think anyone said "it is really that easy". It does take some determination on one's own part. I'm persuaded that the Almighty wants to know if you are serious or not in wanting to follow Him.
Another aspect of the whole deal is repentance and I am reminded of: "Mat 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:" I am also persuaded that endeavoring to "keep the commandments" is evidence of such 'fruit'.

also:
".again, witness the example left us of especially ancient physical Israel, who for the most part had no Holy Spirit working with them."

Quite so. However, read again this scripture:- "Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT."

also:
""Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7"

Yes. What one needs to do is to change one's mind and, let's admit it, we do that all the time. Set your mind on a spiritual level, for want of a better expression.

also:
"Have you ever considered that, without God's Spirit working in one's life, those ten commandments, those laws are against us, contrary to us?"

Yes, in a sense. But what spirit working in us, especially in the US, compels us to drive on the right hand side of the road. (Don't try that in my country.LOL) Disobey and you will find the law against you. However, paying the penalty does not absolve one from recommitting the crime.

also:
""Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" Colossians 2:14"

I submit that it wasn't the law that was 'nailed to the cross' but the penalty of death that was against us. That's what was 'nailed to the cross. Accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us all and find the opportunity for eternal life, where it is always 'NOW'.

cheers
ralph.f
at Skype ralph.ford35

Retired Prof said...

How in the world could an organization headed by Rod Meredith rob people of joy? He's an earnest, dedicated advocate for joy. I remember once in a sermon he glared at the congregation and thundered, "You should be filled with JOY!" Then he surveyed the room sternly to determine who was showing sufficient joy and who was not.

It was like the sarcastic poster someone put up on a bulletin board in my old workplace: "The beatings will continue until morale improves." Except Rod missed the irony. He was completely earnest.

Anonymous said...

Ralph said..."I would suggest by beginning..."

beginning?... but I'm already going!
And I'm also still doing research myself.

DBP

Anonymous said...

Ralph said..."I'm persuaded that the Almighty wants to know if you are serious or not in wanting to follow Him."

I'll add that I think that the Universe is impartial until we start to get things right. What do we do with all this clay?

The fruit IS the success of a good obedient tree.
A tree "trying" to grow fruit implies failure.

Nice metaphor. My obedience to the US law would be breaking the law in your land, and vice versa. But we neither can break the law of gravity, even if you are in the land down under.
Does your country have round-abouts?

DBP

Ralph said...

on May 8, 2016 at 12:26 PM
DBP wrote:-

"beginning?... but I'm already going!"

Well, at least you've made a start.

cheers
ralph.f

Ralph said...

on May 8, 2016 at 12:46 PM
DBP also wrote:-

"Does your country have round-abouts?"

Yes. We seem to copy most of what the US initiates.

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

LCG has about as much joy as an internment camp. I have never know a more joyless group of people in my life. I wasted over 10 years of my life in LCG. It almost sucked the life out of me. Everyone is so busy "acting" like they are the perfect Christian to remember they are supposed to be happy. It's like an army of mind-controlled zombies. I have little hope that any of them will be the pillars in the kingdom of God that they think they will be. Leaders think for themselves and know how to treat others. This group of people only knows how to blindly submit to arrogant, loveless, joyless, often evil men.