Thursday, March 23, 2017

Are the problems in the COG the result of bad leaders or its theology?

A reader here responded to an earlier post claiming that the theology of the church is sound, once you throw out the majority of the doctrines of the church, and get rid of all the bad leaders. Really?  Of course this might mean they have to acknowledge that inconvenient dude they clam to follow and stop worshipping the law.

Anonymous said...
To all you abused haters of COG churches, the problem is the human leadership, like Pack and Flurry, not the basic theology I learned in WGC. There's no question of the sick leaders that destroy the story of God's loving Plan. If you throw out the stupid rulings on makeup, birthdays, Petra and the early rulings on D&R, you are left with truth not taught in mainstream Christianity. They are as you know, correcting the non-biblical immortal soul, Heaven and Hell, Sunday - Christmas - Easter traditions. I was taught to "worship" Mary, light candles, go to Mass and pray the rosary. Over a billion people think those things are ok with Christ.

Our understanding of the second resurrection is one the most important teachings which sets COG's apart. That fact that there is still hope for the majority of mankind, despite the appearance that humans are so evil and deceived, that only a few are given eternal life. Most of mainstream Christianity believe that most humans are going to burn forever in Hell by a "Loving" God. 


The Painful Truth said...

If the theology is sound, why does God let low-lifers run his church? Maybe because God cannot be found in them. His name never was in armstrongism and the sooner you wake up to this fact the sooner you can get on with what's left of your life.

Anonymous said...

I'm the one who posted. Your response "once you throw out the majority of the doctrines of the church, and get rid of all the bad leaders. Really?" is a distortion of reality. Bad leaders, YES! But the fringe doctrines, except for D&R, that is birthdays, Petra and makeup do not realistically comprise majority of what COG's teach differently from the mainstream.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous has hit the nail on the head in sifting through both the corruption and obscurantist doctrines of Armstrongism and going to its theological core which distinguishes it from orthodox Christianity. This is what I would really like to see a substantial discussion on. I know that's not as "sexy" as the wild antics of Dave Pack which get excessive attention here or the corruption of the Armstrongs, the excesses and cruelty of the ministry, the failed prophecies,(BB can't get past 1975) and British-Israelism. That's easier to discuss. But I would like to see some really heavy lifting by looking at some key distinctive doctrines of Armstrongism vis-à-vis orthodox Christianity, which Anonymous has insightfully highlighted.
But perhaps we won't be taken up on this. Too much excitement going on with Pack, Flurry and other imbeciles and too many stories of abuse and corruption to recount and re-tell. But all that has been around since 1972 when "Time" magazine broke the story on GTA's "disappearance". And there's not much to add--except more recent iterations-- to what "Ambassador Report" so thoroughly started to expose in the 1970s. Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

To Anon March 23 at 10:30 AM
The basic theology learned in WGC by you and everyone else who was a member of WCG and any of it's splinter groups is THE PROBLEM! Bad doctrine/theology produces bad fruit behaviorally. The human leadership, like Pack, Flurry, Meredith, etc is the proof. Armstrong's "God Family" concept is a heretical idea that produces idolatry. Anglo-Israelism is a false doctrine that heeds fables and endless genealogies which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith(1 Timothy 1:3-4) and it alsos causes disobedience to God, racism and ethnocentricity. The Armstrong groups practice legalism in an effort to become God (ultimate salvation), which will never happen (Isaiah 43:10). The list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

In answer to Painful Truth's question, "If the theology is sound, why does God let low-lifers run his church?" I would simply retort: "Go read the Bible!" I agree with a number of atheists who say that reading the Bible is one of the best means of deconversion.
Most Christians have only read palatable sections. It amazes me that people who claim to read the Bible could be amazed that God today uses low-lifers when He has a history of doing exactly that--- if the Bible is to be believed. (And, no, this is not just "the David defense". That argument also betrays Biblical ignorance. It's not just David! Go read the Bible...) I have a greater intellectual solidarity with atheists, agnostics, deists or theistic existentialists who reject Biblical revelation than with my good friend BB and others here who refuse to give up on the Biblical God while ridiculing Armstrongite(even Reformed) theology . Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, I appreciate the work of Martha and the others at the "As Bereans Did"(while not discounting others) website for they are taking on Armstriongite theology frontally, and not just focusing on fringe doctrines and corruption. They are critiquing us on our core soteriological issues. very good. Ian Boyne

Black Ops Mikey said...

What is the problem? What's the problem? What could be the problem?

The leaders? Well, if leaders were the only problem, would anyone really stay with them? Wouldn't people just figure things out for themselves if they were rational and really studied and objectively looked into things for themselves?

If we resolve these two problems, then what about the belief system? If it were so good, why would there be any problems?

Maybe it's the social group dynamic. If it is, then the Dixon Cartwright resolution to keep the group together even though the doctrine is crap would be highly inappropriate.

If you boil it all down to one thing, you have people who come to a leader who they think can get them something for nothing (salvation as a free gift, among many, many other things) and the leader who actually is getting something for nothing -- their support and money -- what would be a mutually beneficial relationship if the people were actually getting what they were seeking and not paying for abuse instead.

The thing is, the whole thing is crap from the start and quite unworkable. It also violates what we know about STEM -- Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.

And for you people who believe in magic (75%+ of the adult population), magic simply cannot work here. For those of you who don't know how magic is supposed to work, it is a rigid framework of precision, as anyone who has submitted a magical fiction piece to an editor for publication (read the guidelines before writing anything, because if you don't, you will be wasting your time). The thing is, you can't just use any potion or magic spell. It must be THE potion or magic spell that is required for precise results. For example, if you are to use rose petals for a love potion, you just can't use chrysanthemums or the potion will fail (not that it won't anyway because magic simply doesn't work). It isn't arbitrary -- you can't just use bat wings one time and flying squirrels another. In this regard, sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science. It's a highly developed rigid framework which requires years of study, apprenticeship and practice by professionals and must be excluded from naïve amateurs.

This is the real problem. What you have in Armstrongism is wizards and warlocks practicing magic who are unqualified to do so. They seem to think that if they just apply the process first used by Herbert Armstrong (as if they could, as he said, "You don't get it -- you just don't get it!) and practice his witch doctor voodoo, they are going to get the right results (by 'right results' we mean make a profit like he did). Unfortunately the ingredients for the wards and spells have gone past their useable shelf life and the magic is depleted.

And the world has changed.

Magic doesn't work now (probably because it never did). It's just a magic show (better known as sermons). Anointing your follower with oil and pronouncing a magic spell isn't going to make them any better (unless the placebo effect does the job). Even the hypnosis, used by such practitioners of wizardry as Ronald Weinland wears off (although you could probably fall asleep during his sermons without much difficulty).

Don't be deceived. The evil that is done to the people is the result of tacit submission to heinous manipulation. The thing to remember at all costs is that if it doesn't work, it isn't true. That is a standard in which you can believe and the longer you wait it out to see if it finally works this time after years of failures and uncountable times of failure, the more you will lose.

Connie Schmidt said...

Law is good. But law without real love is dead.

Anonymous said...

Connie, I'm the one starting this conversation. What you say is another failing of the Armstrong era. The Bible says God is Love, that the easy summation of the commandments is Love God and Love your neighbor. Who's your neighbor, the people down the block with the cultish approach by HWA were to be avoided (wrong!). WWCG was for "manly men", rough and tough and "Love" was too weak and effeminate. Another big mistake by HWA. Oh, Love was mentioned, but was not the focus, because it sounded too Protestant. And the Protestants say the Law was done away. OK, but without Love and Grace, mankind has no future.

God's coming Kingdom of messed up humans will work when their stony hearts are replace by the "magical" power of God's Spirit. Just think if Hitler would have had a love for the Polish, Jewish and French people when was rebuilding German.
Love (God's Love) is and will be the most powerful force in the universe when Christ returns.

Anonymous said...

Connie, I believe, is a part of a Church of God 7th Day group which still holds on to Sabbath-keeping while rejecting the feast days--a major inconsistency, in my view. Armstrong was right: They stand or fall together. And COG 7th Day still teaches , like orthodox Christianity, that billions of sincere people who have never had an opportunity to come to Christianity won't get a chance to learn about Christ in the millennium or after. How could that reflect a good and just God? Armstrongism rejects that God. How could the alternative to that Armstrongite doctrine be objectively better?
There are many sincere atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus Muslims, Swedenborgians, Moonies, Hare Krishna followers etc. who rejected Christianity not because they are suppressing the truth or are are wicked but because they honestly have not seen the evidence. Would God damn them to an ever-burning hell because they have not been convicted? How could that teaching of most churches be superior to Armstrong's teaching that all will get their chance for salvation? don't believe it.
How could an orthodox theological system like Calvinism, for example, which teaches that God actually DECREED that some people would be lost--- how could that teaching be superior to what Armstrong taught about the love of God as shown in His holyday plan? Let us not make Armstrong's own moral failings --you can use stronger terms-- blind us to the beauty of some of the central doctrines which he taught in contradistinction to orthodox Christianity. Some of the central problems in the philosophy of religion--like The Problem of Disagreement or religious pluralism as well as The problem of Evil-- are covered are answered plausibly by Armstrong's teaching of two truths which outweigh his numerous theological errors: That this is not the only day of salvation and every single human will get a chance to know Christ, and that man's ultimate destiny is deification--which would make all our suffering and the evil in this world worth His creation.
I have been studying philosophy and theology for a number of years and I find Armstrongism the most attractive of all the Christian options on offer. Perhaps Armstrongism is false. I am quite open to that. As I am to the possibility that Christianity itself might be a delusion. But provisionally I accept Armstrongism as offering the best Christian option.
Perhaps BB now accepts what CS Lewis called "mere Christianity". In that case I would understand. But I would still say, why Christianity at all, except for cultural reasons? Why not just some form of belief-less religious orientation? I think after Armstrongism, my philosophical destination is likely to be agnosticism or some form of generic theistic existentialism. Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

I say to those critics of Armstrongism on this blog, listen to Anonymous very carefully. What if more of these open, non-cultic Armstrongites who are not diffident about acknowledging Armstrong's and Armstrongism"s excesses and weaknesses spring up? Wouldn't there be a future for Armstrongism? If people like me--a CGI Minister ,remember--- and Anonymous are not in denial about our history and, sadly, contemporary experience of abuse and absurdities; if we embrace love, tolerance and righteousness along with some central teachings of Armstrongism, what's the harm? Oh I hear BB,Blacks Opps Mikey and others: It's impossible: Once we get together the abuse , authoritarianism etc is INEVITABLE.It's in Armstromngism's DNA. Even nice guys like Boyne and Anonymous("who is still hiding his identity") must eventually shed their façade when observed up close. They can't help it. Like the snake story, it's in our nature. That's what we call in philosophy a priori reasoning. I guess we Armstrongites can never win against the wall of skepticism.
Ian Boyne

Gerald Bronkar said...

Ian, are you saying that you have read the Bible, and gone through a process of deconversion? And now, as a result are you at one with atheists and agnostics? If so, congratulations!!

Reading the Bible can surely do that to an open mind. So many horrible stories of vengeance, violence, prejudice and favoritism.

IMO, everyone, in reality, is an agnostic, most just don't know it yet. No one really knows, and when we are able to hold that realization personally, we recognize our agnosticism.

We can be certain that the Bible does not have answers for people living in the 21st Century, as it attributes the weather, earthquakes and misfortune to evil spirits or some angry god. Pathetic that so many still seek direction from its pages.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Gary should give some time for this discussion before racing with another inanity from Dave Pack.
Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, Gary, thanks so much for your decision to select Anonymous' post for a new thread of discussion. Excellent decision on an insightful post. Ian Boyne

NO2HWA said...

Ian wrote:

>>>Anonymous has hit the nail on the head in sifting through both the corruption and obscurantist doctrines of Armstrongism and going to its theological core which distinguishes it from orthodox Christianity. This is what I would really like to see a substantial discussion on.<<<

I have repeatedly posted here that I would take postings from readers to post. As long as they are not slobberfests of Herbert Armstrong, Meredith, Pack and others I am ok with the discussions.

Perhaps you, or some other reader can start the conversation on what the distinctionse are between the Church of God and Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Gary, I have every intention of doing so . It's just that my hectic journalistic, executive and pastoral responsibilities make it so difficult to find the time to do that piece making the comparison between Armstrongism and orthodox Christianity. But I do want to do it. Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

11.33 AM
The flaw in Herbies 'God family' are statements like 'we will be God as God is God.'
This the Herbs marketing training kicking in by exaggerating the product. God spent billions of years acquiring His knowledge and abilities, and is not going to hand these on a plate, free of charge, to others. That is not the way the world works. In the kingdom, we will have to work for what we want, including skill acquisitions. So we will not be able to create animals, plants, planets etc, as many have claimed.
It's summarized in the bibles 'BORN into Gods kingdom.' Babies do not have the knowledge and abilities of their parents. These abilities must be gained through hard work.
Salesman Herbie hid this from his entitled customers.

Not forgetting, the Mormons also teach that humans can become part of Gods family. It seems that Herbie might have plagiarized this teaching from them.

The Painful Truth said...

Ian writes :Most Christians have only read palatable sections. It amazes me that people who claim to read the Bible could be amazed that God today uses low-lifers when He has a history of doing exactly that--- if the Bible is to be believed.

Well it is not to be believed. Prove to me its the word of God and I will prove to you that that book is full of contradictions and half truths. The truth is Ian, you wish to reform armstrongism. Why don't you just be honest and admit its a hodge podge of stolen and made up shit by HWA? If there is a God, that God is so much bigger than that Catholic book known as the bible. Instead you embrace the biblical tyrant.

Byker Bob said...

Several years ago, I was listening to a discussion of communism on the Michael Medved radio program. Michael's contention was that communism as a system had been tried enough times, in enough diverse situations, and over a sufficiently long time span, that everyone should be able to plainly see that it is an ideology which uniformly produces soul-stifling living conditions, and horrible, cruel leadership. That is not even subject to question at this point in time.

My mind was drawn to an obvious parallel. The same observations can be made regarding Armstrongism. There is something odious present in Armstrongism that is totally absent from Judaism, and Messianic Judaism. Armstrongism is a veritable Rappacini's garden. We can't expect the people whose lives have been conditioned by it to recognize the toxicity. If Jesus is going to return to institute and enforce Armstrongism as God's government on earth for all eternity, then the only intelligent recourse humanity has is to opt out through the Lake of Fire. Now, Jesus is not going to do that. The reason why 1975 is of continuing importance is that it is a positive demonstration that Jesus does not do a Steppin' Fetchit routine at the behest of Herbert W. Armstrong! 1975 was Jesus deliberately failing to validate HWA! Hooray, and Hallelujah for that!


Anonymous said...

Herbert Armstrong had a hatred towards the Church of God (Seventh Day). His Hatred was toxic and he clearly had no Christian love in his heart.

Anonymous said...

"...The problem is the human leadership, like Pack and Flurry, not the basic theology I learned in WGC. There's no question of the sick leaders that destroy the story of God's loving Plan. If you throw out the stupid rulings on makeup, birthdays, Petra and the early rulings on D&R, you are left with truth not taught in mainstream Christianity."

Is this diagnosis correct? If the leaders are so bad, how did they end up with a monopoly on the doctrines that "are ok with Christ"?

How would anybody know, one way or another, whether the doctrines of WCG—even one of them—are the "truth" that is "ok with Christ"? Who would have informed anyone of this, a leader, or anybody else?

You might be thinking, "Well, because the bible!" But Herbie, just like Eusebius, Martin Luther, or David Koresh, they all had their own interpretation of the bible, and who is to say which one of those interpretations is the one that is closest to the one that is "ok with Christ"?

When did Christ come down from heaven above and point at Herbie, and let you, or me, or Herbie, or anyone else, know that Herbie's interpretation of the bible was the one he is ok with?

Just to be clear, that's never happened. No Jesus has ever vindicated any interpretation of the bible. There's just people who read it, and not unlike Harold Camping, convince themselves that they and they alone have finally deduced it's true meaning. And sometimes there can convince a lot of other people of this as well.

But just because there's another possible meaning, another possible interpretation, in no way makes it probable. It just makes it another choice.

Which choice is the right one? I know there are many who feel that they chose the right one, who feel that they chose the one that is "ok with Christ." But how do you know? Harold Camping felt just as sure that he had the right interpretation of "bible prophecy," but his feelings were not an accurate guide. Jesus didn't come down and point at Harold Camping, but that didn't stop him from feeling the same way as if that had happened, and nothing stopped him from being dead wrong about it either.

In just the same way, your feelings about Herbie's interpretations and Herbie's doctrines don't stop you from being dead wrong either. Don't forget that Herbie did exactly the same thing as Harold Camping, and in 1972 Herbie and his interpretation was proven just as wrong.

Think about that for a second. Herbie's interpretation of the bible doesn't have a better track record, where it can be tested, as Harold Campings interpretation. Some might argue it's a darn sight worse.

Is this diagnosis correct? Not by a longshot. The correct diagnosis is that the reason why the leaders are so bad is because there is no "holy spirit" guiding them, or anybody else in the COGs either for that matter. And whether Herbie's interpretation of the bible and doctrinal positions—even so much as one of them—are the "truth" that is "ok with Christ" is anybody's guess. Nobody knows. Mere feelings about this are not reliable.

DennisCDiehl said...

I'd say if one wanted to follow a Jewish Christian format, the WCG would have been most appealing. It included more of the Bible than my Dutch Reformed Calvinistic upbringing and waded into "prophecy" such as Revelation , where the DRC simply thought it to be irrelevant today, which it actually is and Revelation became moot after the fall of Jerusalem. It is a very failed prophecy of by gone days and not for today but I spare you.

On the other hand, if one does not prefer the Jewish Christian view, such as that of Peter, James and John, you can go with the Apostle Paul, who is the real founder of today's gentile version of Christianity. Jewish Christianity has basically been swept away. They are not the same teaching and Paul and James were not on the same page ever.

The problem is believing one can meld Paul with James or Pauline Views with the early Jewish Church. You can't. You have to pick one and the NT does not give that impression. Paul, at times, even seemed confused with his own views of law and grace . Was he for it or against it? Did you keep it or did you not? Depends on who you asked even in the NT.

The Book of James is a direct challenge to Paul's views in Romans. The Book of John is a direct warning not to follow Peter. The Book of Galatians plainly says Paul had no use for "those who seemed to be pillars" (i.e. Peter, James and John) and he got his Gospel hallucinating Jesus , from no man and learned nothing from the Jerusalem gang. (Galatians 1-2)

So as far as right doctrine (I don't think there is any really) it depends who you read.

WCG leadership was merely kiss up to the higher ups who had little or no real theological training and were mere Bible readers for the most part with no background on the who, what, where, when, why and how of Scripture. And so it is today.

DennisCDiehl said...

...the Book of Acts was written (It is mostly about Paul) to give the appearance that Paul and James were closer than reality dictated . It tells the story of cooperative Paul that Paul himself does not speak of in Galatians. The Paul of Galatians bragged, as did HWA , "I received the gospel from NO MAN!. But by revelation..." He cursed those who taught other than he did .

Paul's Christ was hallucinatory as he never met any Gospel Jesus, was not heard of by any Gospel authors even though he claimed to be a Jerusalem Pharisee of the Pharisees and "above his fellows". He was not among those that persecuted Jesus in the Gospels. Some think Paul exaggerated his credentials. He did not reason like a trained Pharisee.

Paul never quotes any Gospel Jesus. He was dead long before the Gospels were written and the Gospels, contrary to the views of the laity, are not eyewitness accounts.

So WCG and those endeavoring to restore, continue and unite do so under the banner of James the Jewish Christian leader. Those who scream grace and communion are followers of Pauline Christianity. But you can't do both.

ED said...

The bible is filled with contradictions. Are we saved by the law or by grace? The new testament preaches both. No wonder there was such a heated debate back in 1995 when the Tkatchs made their doctrinal changes. Maybe it is neither? Could it be that this is the only life we have and there is no salvation to be earned or gifted to anyone? This would make the debate about the law vs. grace a mute point.

Black Ops Mikey said...

It really is a no brainer to reject all of the 'doctrines' of a cult founded by a boozing alcoholic.

It becomes even more that the entire cult needs to be avoided when that boozing alcoholic happens to be an incestuous pedophile rapist.

There's no basis there for founding a 'Christian' religion.

Connie Schmidt said...


You are incorrect. There are many people in the COG 7th Day , (aka Sardis to HWA), who indeed do observe the annual Sabbaths as well.

Anonymous said...

I too think the conversation would be rewarding to read about the differences that people see between the COG and Christians that we have tended to denigrate for decades. However, I also feel it is important that Gary continue to highlight the whacky and disturbing things that various COG leaders are currently speaking. These men are there current face of the Church of God and need to be held accountable. The appalling things that Pack, Meredith, Flurry, Thiel, Kubik and others say needs to be posted to hold these con-artists accountable. The very lives of their members are certainly at stake.

Anonymous said...

Re coverage of groups and proportionality, Pack has far less impact than Flurry in terms of media outreach. Pack and Flurry are declining and apart from Africa, Thiel is not making any impact either. LCG, UCG and COGWA are the "big" fish in the COG pond. We hear very little here about what's happening in the UCG and almost nothing about COGWA which is reaching more people and has more members than Pack.
Unless we are conceding that these groups pose no "threat".
Focusing on Pack actually grossly exaggerates his importance and would, no doubt, boost his sense of self-importance. He must think by how much space he gets here that he is a very influential and impactful.
When he is really making no impact. (Yes, I know, Armstrongism itself has shrunk considerably) In Jamaica Pack has about six or so members as far as I can count. And they have been here for a number of years.
I had nearly 400 Jamaicans at the feast. An average attendance in my Kingston congregation is 215. That's not the high attendance. (CGI has five congregations here.) I just had a campaign showing why the Trinity is false and I had 65 visitors, including well-known Catholic, Adventists and Evangelical leaders.
I am baptizing people every Passover and every Feast of Tabernacles. Another baptism will be held on April 9. CGI is certainly growing in Jamaica and among educated, middle class professionals ,too. But I digressed.

The point is there are healthy segments of the Armstrongite movement and those segments should be covered, too. Or at least noted. Armstrongites are not all weirdos and abusers. Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

6.04 PM
Your 'nobody knows anything for sure' rant, ignores the scientific method. Look at the progress made in science, eg, smart phones. Using a combination of the five senses plus reason, people can discern the truth, if truth is what they are after. In religion and politics, it's not truth that people often want, so reason becomes the handmaid to a hidden agenda rather than reason ruling supreme. But this doesn't invalidate the scientific method or mean that reality is unknowable, as your rant implies.
The bible confirms the scientific method with its 'you shall know them by their fruits. The truth is knowable!

Anonymous said...

Shortly after the WCG under the Tkaches had totally and openly apostatized in January 1995, I talked with a former WCG guy who was already going to the Catholic church. When I asked him why he chose to go to the Catholic church, he told me that he thought that the Catholic church was the original true church. Frankly, I got the impression that the real reason why he chose to go to the Catholic church was because he was chasing after a divorced Catholic woman who went there.

I asked the guy if he believed the Catholic teachings about people burning forever and ever in hell fire without being burned up. He replied that there were some things that the Catholic church had not quite figured out yet.

Anonymous said...

One sexually immoral Catholic woman raised a mouthy and sexually immoral daughter who got pregnant at age 15 and had an abortion. The slut mother of the slut daughter explained that it was all okay. She said it was like saying, “Thanks for the child, God, but I'm not ready for it yet. Here, take it back.”

One day I mentioned an article in the news about some church that said that the traditional ideas about burning forever in hell fire were mistaken and that the wicked will simply cease to exist and there will just be nothingness. The Catholic slut mother was horrified. She thought that the wicked needed to burn forever in hell fire, or else there would be no incentive for people to repent.

I mentioned that nobody seems to go to hell anymore anyway. When people die, they all get preached into heaven nowadays. The Catholic slut mother then explained that hell was for “really bad people, like axe murderers.” Apparently, “good” doctors who tear fetuses limb from limb in the womb of their slut-mother-non-wannabes using sterilized surgical equipment are safe.

The Catholic slut mother once bragged about how she had bad-mouthed a nice, decent, young, Protestant girl at work to the boss so that the girl would never be able to work there again. Many other seriously bad things that she did to other good people could be mentioned. The Catholic slut mother was proud of her own children when they refused to accept bank cards that included the numbers 666 on them. She said that people were "basically good at heart."

And that, dear folks, is what people are really like. They think that they are good no matter how badly they behave, and that it is always someone else who is bad and needs to burn forever and ever in hell fire.

Anonymous said...

One girl in a typical Protestant church surprised me by saying that she believed that people will burn forever and ever in hell fire. If they do not join her church, it will be their own fault too, and she will not feel sorry for them at all, not one little bit.

The ham-eating, Sunday-keeping, Christmas-, Easter-, and Halloween-observing Trinitarians with their weird ideas about heaven and hell might one day by very happy to learn that they were just totally deluded in this age and that they will get their first real chance then. They might be very surprised and upset to learn that they themselves were the sinners who were on the road to hell. Even if they totally screw it up then too, like they are doing today, they will be very happy to learn that they will just get burned up quickly rather than slowly roasted forever and ever.

Michael said...

"That fact that there is still hope for the majority of mankind, despite the appearance that humans are so evil and deceived, that only a few are given eternal life. Most of mainstream Christianity believe that most humans are going to burn forever in Hell by a "Loving" God."

A major problem with even the COG interpretation of the salvation plan is that, in their scenario, the lives of the vast majority of humans who ever lived on this planet were completely pointless. It's a big glaring problem that is usually just glossed over by saying "they'll get their chance later".

To believe that the many millions of human beings who were born, lived, ate, loved, laughed, suffered and died on (just for example) the American continents, having absolutely no access to the Jews' god, much less any knowledge about Jesus, prior to 1492, were just biding time until they could die and appear for the Great White Throne judgment (or whatever variation thereof) where they would hear about God's salvation plan for the first time and make their decision, is a belief so ethnocentric as to be laughable.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:23 wrote:

"One sexually immoral Catholic woman raised a mouthy and sexually immoral daughter who got pregnant at age 15 and had an abortion. The slut mother of the slut daughter explained that it was all okay. She said it was like saying, “Thanks for the child, God, but I'm not ready for it yet. Here, take it back.”"

This sounds exactly like a slut COG mother and her mouthy sexually immoral daughter that was in my church area. Smearing Catholics because of one "slutty mother and her immoral daughter" no more defines Catholics that the "slut COG mother and her immoral daughter" defines Church of God members. What you did expose is you deep seated hatred for people just because they are Catholic. The Catholics I know are better Christians that many of the COG members I grew up with. They take care of the widow and fatherless. The feed the poor and care for creation. They love God with their being and it is exemplified in their spiritual works. Stop reading Bob Thiel's anti-Catholic books and grow up.

Anonymous said...

“Are the problems in the COG the result of bad leaders or its theology?”


The problem is bad leaders coming up with bad teachings. The false prophets (Flurry, Pack, Weinland, Thiel, etc.) are particularly bad, but many other self-appointed leaders are causing confusion and division too.

Anonymous said...

Holy poop! 33 comments already. Must have hit a nerve.

Anonymous said...

If CGI is doing so great we should be 'persecuting' them rather than Packer the spiritual slacker, Theiler the truth stealer, and gerry the fairy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous on March 23, 2017 at 9:53 PM said...

“What you did expose is you deep seated hatred for people just because they are Catholic. The Catholics I know are better Christians that many of the COG members I grew up with. They take care of the widow and fatherless. The feed the poor and care for creation. They love God with their being and it is exemplified in their spiritual works. Stop reading Bob Thiel's anti-Catholic books and grow up.”

I have known a lot of Catholics and how they actually behave in real life, and methinks you bullshit far too much about their supposedly great spirituality. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for telling such fibs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous on March 23, 2017 at 9:53 PM said...

“The Catholics I know are better Christians that many of the COG members I grew up with. They take care of the widow and fatherless. The feed the poor and care for creation. They love God with their being and it is exemplified in their spiritual works.”

This reminds me of something a fellow once told me. He simply mentioned that sometimes you meet someone and from the way the person always cusses and curses and blasphemes and takes the Lord's name in vain all the time you just naturally assume that they are godless and profane. But then you find out that, no they're not. They're just Catholic.

nck said...


"A major problem with even the COG interpretation of the salvation plan is that, in their scenario, the lives of the vast majority of humans who ever lived on this planet were completely pointless."

This is ridiculous Michael.

I believe COG ideology is the only "christian" ideology to have solved the puzzle about the "natives." In COG ideology they are part of "a plan" to have God multiply himself etc etc. Whereas in all other (christian) religions they are assigned to hell.

That is a major distinghuisher from mainstream christianity.

I was not going to comment. Because one could write a thousand years about this subject.
Even if Ian is going to come up with a set of lists that distinghuishes COG ideology I found out that on spiritual matters or family I did not distinghuish myself much from my catholic and protestant family. It was only a matter of emphasis.

But also in Armstrongism it was impossible to "work" yourself into the kingdom despite what dissenters say on these sites. It has always been a gift and depending on your denomination harder to attain and as Dennis said for some never to be attained because in Calvinism God seems to have decided that some would not make it in the afterlife whatever they accomplished.

So to circumvent a 2000 year academic discussion it brings me to the point how any religion would have evolved in complete isolation. They would all be terrible taken to the letter.

Like in a company it is the people who make it work.
I have made incredible spiritual Islamic friends but I would distinghuish myself as a "christian." When talking to christians I would rather identify myself as a protestant than a catholic. During my stint in wcg I would take the protestantism further as the 7th day adventist in my family would distinghuish from the wcg.

What I am saying is, it is not so clear for a Budhist what we are talking about. But on a deeper spiritual level there are a lot of similarities between Buddhist thought and armstrongism and that goes for all relgions depending on your own level of spirituality.
(Perhaps I am to Deepah Choprah now, but it is just my experience.)

In all faiths I have met the worst and best of people. Catholics, Protestants, Armstrongist, Lording over people majoring in the minors, uneducated abusers, but also those having deep spiritual insight, ploughing their way through life or landing on the beaches of Normandy all coming to personal conclusions due to circumstance, time, culture, and level of scientific discovery


Anonymous said...

9.45 PM
You are ignoring that the purpose of human history is to smash false gods. God is letting mankind learn through the school of hard knocks. Hence they will be receptive to the truth when it is finally given. The sad truth is that non of us would have the convictions that we have today, had we been born into a utopian society.

Miller Jones said...

Ian ignores the fact that the THEOLOGY of these groups has been addressed here and elsewhere on the anti-Armstrongite blogs over and over again. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the posts and comments which I've written on the subject of Armstrongism deal with the TEACHINGS/THEOLOGY, not personality flaws of individuals.
Ian also seems to be preoccupied with numbers when he bemoans the fact that folks like Pack and Flurry get so much attention (I seem to recall that HWA was constantly pointing to numbers). Is it reasonable to concentrate on the folks who are doing the MOST harm to the members they do have? Should we simply write off the pour souls trapped in those organizations? Wouldn't the existence of this blog be justified if ONE Meredith, Pack or Flurry follower were helped?
As for all of the commentary comparing Armstrongism with traditional Christianity, most of it amounts to straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel! The only theology that really matters is this: Jesus Christ came here to redeem humankind from sin and the death which it produces. He means reconciliation to God for those who were formerly alienated from God because of sin. And, for everyone who accepts and follows him, he means life. The rest of the stuff (rituals, Sabbaths, Trinity, pagan holidays, etc.) is superfluous.

Anonymous said...

I'm the instigator of this post. My point is simple. God uses flawed humans to work His purpose. Look at Paul. He hunted down Christians and had the killed.

If you focus on people, you always be disappointed over time. I make no excuses for HWA, GTA, Flurry, Pack etc. Yes this very poor and twisted leadership issue does bother me. But look at the "good" theology that I learned.

Not Heaven and Hell - It's God's Kingdom
No Trinity - It's God's Family which we can be apart
Not totally pagan Christmas and Easter - It's God's Holy Days.
The Law was not done away, the Law and Grace work together.

I could go on but I'm being called to a meeting.

Anonymous said...

Do you attend any CoG?

Byker Bob said...

One of the problems we've observed over the years is that while the theology has been discussed and debunked exhaustively, Armstrongites treat it as if nothing of substance has ever been said, as if their "truths" are beyond criticism or disproof, and most of them go on repeating the same theological mantras despite the ever rising quality and depths of the disproofs. They are in "damn the torpedoes" mode and simply believe what they want or are programmed to believe, ignoring all else.

The most noticeable areas of this are such subjects as British Israelism, and the allegedly "true history of the true church". There are also very strong, Bible-based supports for belief in the personhood, the interactive nature of the Holy Spirit, and therefore the trinity, rather than belief in an impersonal power. Support for soul sleep is somewhat contrived, and another example of filtering the New Covenant through the Old.

Evolution of doctrine is justified in Armstrongism through the keys or primacy of Peter, but is rejected as if applies to mainstream theologies with actual history. Strawman arguments are very prevalent in Armstrongism, and are based upon the worst case stereotypes of people of other faiths, of the quality of observance of mainstream holidays versus WCG "observance" of the Old Covenant holy days, and of the honesty or sincerity of people outside of the ACOG groups.

There is also an orchestrated attempt to diminish or forget a very important and pivotal event, 1975, in which God deliberately did not validate HWA, allowed him to appear as someone who did not speak for Him, therefore being a false prophet. And of course, the musings of Gamaliel perfectly describe the last few decades of the history of Armstrongism.

Herbert Armstrong corrupted the New Covenant with picked and chosen, often self-serving elements of the Old. He contaminated his theology with the embracement of extra-biblical theories. And his prophetic interpretations have failed miserably. His teachings on tithes and land sabbaths have failed to produce the results which he preached. And his child-rearing teachings mist certainly did not turn the hearts if sons toward their fathers. It is inaccurate to compare the hypothetical fruits of Armstrongism with manufactured worst case strawman stereotypes from other more established faiths, and to make any sort of accurate judgement or comparison. That is disingenuous and ludicrous.


Anonymous said...

To March 23 at 5:11 PM / March 24 6:27 AM ("the instigator of this post")
Mormons believe and teach that humans can become gods. The Armstrongite splinter groups that continue to adhere to Herbert W. Armstrong's theological beliefs (i.e. Armstrongism) teach that humans can actually become God just as God is God.It is impossible for human beings to become God. The Holy Bible clearly proves this and shows that God will grant everlasting life to those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. Nowhere does the Bible teach or even suggest that humans will "be born again into the God family" to become God. Mormons and Armstrongites do not understand the differences between the creature and the Creator and I would dare say they are deliberately perverting the truth of God.

Here is what God Himself says:
Isaiah 43:10 (NASB) - “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me."

Isaiah 44:6 (NKJV)- “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.

Anonymous said...

To March 23 at 5:11 PM / March 24 6:27 AM ("the instigator of this post")
Please show me any verse from the Holy Bible that says or even suggests, as you claim that "God spent billions of years acquiring His knowledge and abilities". Oh wait, you can't because there isn't one! God has been, is, and always will be God. He is the eternal infinite, uncreated, unique God. There is nothing lacking in His character and He needs nothing to exist. He is adequate in and by Himself. The God of the Bible is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent.

What is the meaning of Omniscience? Omni = all; science = knowledge. All knowledge. God knows everything. He’s the only Being that knows everything. Nothing hidden, overlooked, escapes His notice. God never needed to learn anything. He's never surprised. Everything we are now learning He has known from eternity.

What does the Bible say about God’s Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotency?
Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”

Psalm 139:1-6 “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”

1 John 3:18-20 “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”

Psalm 139:7-10: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.”

Jeremiah 23:24: “Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord.

1 Kings 8:27: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!”

Proverbs 15:3: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.”

Isaiah 40:28 - “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.”

As was the practice of Herbert W. Armstrong and is still the practice of his disciples in all of the WCG splinter groups today, it is apparent that you're reading things into the Holy Bible and twisting Scripture.

Anonymous said...

To March 23 at 5:11 PM / March 24 6:27 AM ("the instigator of this post")
As for the so-called "good" theology (Armstrongism) that you learned, well that theology is flawed too.
- Heaven is to be with God.
- Hell is to be seperated from God.
- The Kingdom of God is the rule of an eternal, sovereign God over all the universe and involves repentance and the new birth, as God rules in the hearts of His children in this world in preparation for the next.
- To be in "God's Family" does not mean that humans can and will become God at the resurrection. The Holy Bible teaches that Jesus Christ and the Father are One (John 1:1-4), and that He is also the only begotten Son of God (Hebrews 1:1-4). This familial term indicates God regards Jesus as a family member. Born-again believers are told that we, too, are members of this family (Romans 9:8; 1 John 3:1-2). How do we become a part of this family of God? When we hear the gospel, confess our sins, and place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are at that moment born into God’s kingdom as His children and become heirs with Him for eternity (Romans 8:14-17). While Jesus Christ is referred to as the only begotten Son of God, believers are referred to as children born into God’s family who need to grow and mature in our faith (Ephesians 4:11-16), and as sons and heirs adopted into His family (Galatians 4:4-7).
- True salvation is found in believing, trusting, and having faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross ALONE for salvation (this is the grace of God) and not through or from the Law (Galatians 2:14-21). This type of faith, true faith, will result in two things: eternal life and a desire to do good works.
- Lastly, the Trinity is Biblical Sound doctrine:
1) There is one and only one God, eternal, immutable, uncreated and unique.
2) There are three eternal Persons described in Scripture - the Father, the Son (Christ Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. These Persons are never identified with one another - that is, they are carefully differentiated as Persons.
3) The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are identified as being fully deity---that is, the Bible teaches the Deity of Christ Jesus and the Deity of the Holy Spirit.

Enjoy your meeting and have a nice day!

Byker Bob said...

By the way, eternal death is no punishment at all. It's what atheists believe will happen as a natural course. They live stable lives believing it. Eternal separation from God and all of His goodness would certainly be bigtime punishment. Some mainstream theologies add Dantean elements to the metaphors of the Bible. If Armstrongism can effectively dispel the eternal elements of constant fiery torment, then some level of diminishment in between is also possible. It doesn't have to be a choice between Dante's inferno and annihilation. Fire is often used as a symbol of purification in the Bible, and could easily be a metaphor for further correction or development of some of God's more resistant children. Unlike Armstrongism professes, humanity does not have all of the answers. There are great areas of mystery, great unknowns. Humans seem to be captives of a "need to know" state of being.


Michael said...

No offense, nck, and maybe it's just me, but I have a really hard time trying to follow or make any sense of what you wrote up there.

Michael said...

Anon wrote:
"You are ignoring that the purpose of human history is to smash false gods. God is letting mankind learn through the school of hard knocks. Hence they will be receptive to the truth when it is finally given. The sad truth is that non of us would have the convictions that we have today, had we been born into a utopian society."

You could stretch the imagination to have some sort of argument there, were it not for the belief (also from COG theology) about the millenium. There you presumably do have a utopian society for 1000 yrs, lion/lamb, Satan bound, etc. If people can achieve salvation in that way, then this 6000 yrs of mostly suffering, with Satan running the world and most people never having heard of much less understood COG theology, is just superfluous biding of time.

Anonymous said...

My friend Miller Jones (Lonnie) who is usually kind and congenial to me: How do you know that Jesus Christ came down to redeem mankind from sin and death and that this is the most fundamental stuff of Scripture? Are you aware that there are liberal theologians like John Shelby Spong and others who are outraged by the notion that a God would require the death of His Son through such a violent means as crucifixion? Why do you call penal substitution --that grotesque" doctrine-- fundamental???
John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg and others in the Jesus Seminar would show that many of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the New testament were not really made by him at all , and other scholars say we have no way of knowing pristine Christianity as a lot of what we now know as central Christian doctrines were made up by followers long after Jesus death?

Are you really certain about your fundamentals, Lonnie? Who knows whether your cherry-picked fundamentals are not in t= the same category as the Armstrongites cherished Sabbath, Feast Days and tithing? You might be on no firmer footing that us cultic Armstrongites. Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

March 24, 2017 at 7:15 AM

Yes. I attend UCG. I've been with COG for 45 years. I still have more questions than answers, but I believe it's man's fate until God's experiment is done.

nck said...

BB with his so called "straw man" arguments again could better spend some words on explaining what the christians actually believe about the fate of native americans from 1500 bc according to the bible. Nck

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I am also celebrating-- using my words advisedly-- my 45th year in Armstrongism. My best decision. Ian Boyne

nck said...

Michael. You cannot understand COG theology if you do not understand the late 19th century debate about the people taking power from the elites or a revolutionary advance guard paving the way to utopian society where everybody would receive according to needs. HWA clearly chose the advance guard path in this ideology toward utopia on earth. Nck

nck said...

The big mistake is to assess armstrongism as a religion. In reality it was a social movement and in many ways a social movement experiment. It never intended to establish local churches since it was a radio movement. There was a clear tradition in not even buying buildings. Local churches only came into perspective through the call of the people and as has been clearly recorded propelled through specific tax laws. As everyone knows it was all about The Work and had Co workers since its inception. The entire worldwide work was done under the auspices of "a college". And BB and others just keep holding the movement against the standards of a church. That is like watching the Dancing Derwishes and pretending you understand Islam. Nck

Anonymous said...

8.30 PM
You should do some heavy lifting rather than only copying and pasting scriptures.
Evidence that God spent billions of years developing Himself? Well, Christ died for our sins, which proves that the law of equilibrium is metaphorically more powerful than God. So Milton Friedmans famous 'there aint no free lunch' applies to God as well. What do you think God spent billions of years doing. He is a hard worker, He didn't spend His time playing video games. Scientists think that 100 million years elapsed between the dinosaur era and our present world. Don't you think God spent that time working hard, designing all these new creatures and vegetation?
You earlier quoted Isaiah 43.10 which states 'before me no God FORMED' which implies that God Himself developed.

Retired Prof said...

March 23, 2017 at 7:45 PM maintains we can "discern the truth, if truth is what [we] are after" by using "the five senses plus reason" His clincher is, "The bible confirms the scientific method with its 'you shall know them by their fruits.' The truth is knowable!"

I agree, with the proviso that we probably can't fully know the truth itself through the scientific method, but only make closer and closer approximations of it.

However, the single sentence "You shall know them by their fruits" is not enough to establish that the Bible advocates the scientific method. That notion runs counter to all the other passages where we are expected to take things on faith. Notice how unscientific faith is, according to Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

This passage uses "substance" to refer to something that does not exist yet (and may never exist) instead of something available to the senses, and "evidence" for something nobody can verify instead of a result that can be replicated. This rhetorical trick, called "oxymoron," is artfully and cleverly done here, and would be amusing if it were not being used to persuade us to accept religious authority without question. Oxymorons are a favorite trick of flim-flam artists.

The inconsistency between these two verses shows just one example of why during my freshman year at Ambassador I replaced "The Bible interprets itself" with "The Bible refutes itself."

Black Ops Mikey said...

Utter nonsense.

Armstrongism has been a tool devised by Herbert Armstrong to validate and promote his ego.

Everything progressed from there into a cult of sociopaths as a progression of his utterly selfish drunken stupor stupidity.

Hoss said...

Mikey wrote: Armstrongism has been a tool devised by Herbert Armstrong to validate and promote his ego

If their paths had gone differently, HWA would have plagiarized L. Ron Hubbard and founded Scientology, and this argument may have been about COGs under Hubbardism.

Black Ops Mikey said...

And Hoss, it wouldn't have taken much.

Armstrongism just isn't that far from Scientology.

Anonymous said...

Miller Jones
I just read in Matthew where Christ said that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom. So your 'Christ will redeem us from our sins' by itself, can be misleading.

Miller Jones said...

Ian, Disagreeing with you isn't the equivalent of being unkind. Two people can remain congenial and respectfully disagree with each other. I love and respect my father, but I strongly disagree with some of his theology. I respect your thoughtfulness, wide-ranging reading, earnestness and your ability to articulate your beliefs (that has not changed). I do, however, strongly disagree with your assertion that Armstrongism is the most reasonable expression of Christian theology.
You asked: "How do you know that Jesus Christ came down to redeem mankind from sin and death and that this is the most fundamental stuff of Scripture?" Let us lay aside the obvious scriptural references and look at the Bible as a whole. Do you agree that the God of the Bible was very concerned with defining sin and explaining its consequences to "His" people? Do you agree that the sacrificial system (involving the spilling of blood) was considered essential to forgiveness and reconciliation in the Hebrew Scriptures? Does the Day of Atonement picture the removal of the peoples sins and their reconciliation to God? Do you believe that all of that points to the person and work of Jesus Christ? Why did Jesus Christ live a sinless life and perfectly fulfill all of the requirements of the Mosaic Law? Why was his blood spilled? Why did he die on the cross? The answers to these questions points to something systemic - something bigger than a few proof-texts (which we could both supply).
If we leave Scripture out of the picture, we can ask some very fundamental philosophical questions: Do the concepts of good and evil have any validity? Is evil sin? Does God exist? If so, is God the source of good and evil, or at least the one who gets to define them? If there is such a thing as evil/bad/sinful behavior, does it have any discernible consequences for those who engage in it? Are there means/methods available to those of us who might engage in such behavior that could ameliorate/change the consequences/outcomes of such behavior?
Are questions about whether or not it is appropriate to celebrate holidays which may have pagan historical origins, and whether or not there are one, two or three individuals within the Godhead in the same league with the questions I just asked? And, how can we know that this kind of stuff wasn't central to early Christianity? If we could resurrect the Apostle Paul and ask him about the trinity, we'd have to explain the concept to him before he could give us an intelligent answer!
Finally, this argument is for believers. Do you think that the conversation which we're engaging in is going to be very meaningful to an atheist, Buddhist or Muslim? And I'm interested in what YOU believe - I know what Spong believes.

Byker Bob said...

But nck, it was presented to us as being "God's True Church". The total and perfect solution to the pain, sufferings, and possibly even death which everyone else was scheduled to suffer in the end times.

Do you honestly believe that renaming it a "movement" (actually I often did think of it as a movement, but believe me, you don't want to know what kind!) resolves anything?

The hippies were a movement. Womens' liberation was a movement. Civil Rights was a movement. But, no matter how you examine or define it, the R/WCG was a church. It demands to be dissected and evaluated as a church. Churchly standards apply.


Byker Bob said...

No. He didn't. He derived some of his perspectives from examples of social justice in the Bible, but made himself in the image of the powerful elite. Anyone whoever challenged him found themselves compared to Korah, who rebelled against the elite.


Byker Bob said...

Actually, I spent part of my morning with some Native American friends.

Just as no US citizen living today has ever owned African slaves, Christianity today does not present a 1500s attitude towards Native Americans. And, nck, there you go with your strawman once again! Christians are a very diverse group. Those who lived in the 1500s were not monolithic. They did not have a singular unified attitude towards the Indians. Why try to make them into a strawman? That's like saying all Southerners are racists!


Anonymous said...

Only one percent of American alive today are descended from former slave owners, yet the blacks want 100% of whites to pay reparations, and to pay to blacks who were never slaves or descended from slaves. So if you are white you are evil and if you are black you are a victim. And the blacks in africa who sold out the other black don't have to pay because they are blacks. That makes them part of the victim class.

Sounds like racism to me.

Nothing is about justice any more, it's all about making up excuses to extract money out of the people who do the heavy lifting.

Black Ops Mikey said...

It's all about bringing out facts to counter opinions, and if you do, by bringing facts, truth and data, you've ruined everything and you are committing a hate crime.

So if you think the Constitution of the United States gives you some sort of entitlement to free speech, you will find yourself sorely in error and be branded a criminal guilty of hate crimes.

And this is certainly true of the Armstrongist 1%ers who claim they are right and anyone who opposes them will be thrown into the Lake of Fire!

They aren't conservatives at all -- they are liberals who don't want anyone anywhere to have any rights or freedoms, but rather to be subject to the Draconian dysfunctional oppression of the Armstrongist leadership in power to suck money from those who can earn it to give to those who sit around and don't do much of anything, except, of course, to generate quite a lot of hot air.

And if you don't hew to the line, you will be silenced by being disfellowshipped, until, perhaps, they have more power and can put you to death.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the bible, and why is it unscientific? One of the clinchers for me was the scripture that says its a sin to doubt. "Whatever is not of faith is sin" But anyone with an open mind HAS to ask questions and HAS to have doubts. You can only get rid of doubts by thought stopping. In science you have to doubt accepted ideas or you can't make fundamental progress (the uninformed big bang lovers should learn something from that). This history of science is that of accepted dogmas being overthrown by the doubters on the despised fringe.

nck said...


Movement vs Church: I need to examine that more. Your argument is fair enough. I think that if the STP had succeeded to be implemented I would succumb immediately. But it never did. And so the movement remained a hodgepodge of debatable "personal interpretations" and biblical extracts. The diverse set of people all shared the 20th century history of destruction of empire, revolution, the rise of something aknew and global encompassing "peace".

I don't think it was sold to you as a church. The first pitches on radio and tv were always "from the beautiful campus in Pasadens etc etc". Then you received "the Course". But I agree, baptism and rituals probably defined it as a church EVEN if that was denied in the strongest terms since "church" of course just meant "assembly of persons" according to "the movement" propelling "the Work." The STP would have finalized as a church, but it never was.

Advance guard
Probably most people think that the Communist party just started existing with a set of dogma's. In fact it took over 60 years to develop toward the early 19t century and define themselves and the road to utopia. Especially the road to Utopia EXACTLY mirrors the Armstrong template or rather vice versa.

Just one example finally resulting in Stalinism.
"While traditional Communist thought holds that the state will gradually "wither away" as the implementation of socialism reduces class distinction, Stalin argued that the state must become stronger before it can wither away."

Native Americans and Christians.
I was not talking about behavior or treatment by christians. Rather than accusing you of a straw man I will restate my question. I was asking a theological question on what, according to christian theology, happens to people 1500 BC in the America's or the Himalayas who never heard of any Christian or Jewish theology. What would be their fate within Christian doctrine?


Anonymous said...

9.54 PM
Please supply the scripture (chapter and verse) that labels doubt as sin.
If you apply Gods laws over and over, the results gives confidence that Gods laws work. When people rarely apply Gods laws, they are riddled with doubts about its efficacy. I believe that its this 'doubt' that the bible condemns. The solution? Consistently obey Gods laws. You see this with the ministers. They believe Gods laws impractical, so revert to verbally bashing members, lying to them, slandering them, lording it over them, murderously twisting their minds, intimidating members etc etc. While at the same time, giving nice sounding sermons.

Byker Bob said...

What kinds of Christians are you referring to, nck? Baptists? Episcopalians? Mormons?


Hoss said...

In the back of my mind I've imagined Armstrongism doctrinally as occupying central intersection in a Venn diagram. The intersecting sets are the doctrines that should be kept and are; should be and aren't; shouldn't be and are; shouldn't be and aren't. But I don't think a Venn diagram would be the right analysis tool here. And somehow the ministry may be seen as an example of the Peter Principle, but that really depends on what one defines as competence in such a group.

While tithing would be one of the most universal, triple tithing would likely be unique to Armstrongism. And tithing should actually be in the set of doctrine that shouldn't be kept, while freewill offerings would be in the should be kept set.

Near_Earth_Object said...

I am a member of a Native American tribe. I was surprised to see a reference to NAs in this thread. I am getting in on this late so I may not understand the background well.

What happens to people - whether Native Americans or whomever - who lived before Christ? I believe this question is on the table.

North American Evangelical Christianity holds solidly that nobody receives salvation outside hearing the name of Christ and all people who died before Christ arrived and became known in the context of salvation are condemned to Hell.

Missionaries working among various unevangelized tribes of people around the world faced this dilemma. The newly converted wanted to know the status of their ancestors. This was considered by Andover Theological Seminary and the conclusion was that there would be Future Probation which is very similar to the Armstrongite idea of the 100 Year Period. This idea has been for the most part resisted by the evangelical Christian movement.

It is worthwhile to make a cultural observation. Evangelicals tend to be conservative, poorly educated, self-centered and vote Republican. They cherish the idea that many are going to Hell but they themselves are not. Secretly, I think they cherish the idea that Hell will be populated mostly by people of color. Rob Bell's expression of hope that nobody would really go to Hell based on scriptures with a universalist flavor was met with broad and heated evangelical outrage.

But about half the mainstream Christians in the US believe in Inclusivism. I won't try to describe it but it means that the unevangelized will be accommodated under certain conditions. Clark Pinnock, now deceased, advocated a form of Inclusivism in his book A Wider Mercy.

Personally, I believe there will be an accommodation of the unevangelized, including Clovis Man, and have an opinion about what that will be. To believe otherwise is to believe that Christ is an incompetent savior. Instead of revealing himself at the beginning of human history, he revealed himself much later on thereby excluding many from salvation by inept timing. This is what the North American Evanglical Movement is really saying about Christ.

nck said...

I don't know how a baptist views a 1500 BC native American.

I do know the Mormon view I think. That is natives are Israel or something. Are the Mormons accepted Christians nowadays? As in adhering to the World Council of Churches creed. Nck

nck said...

Now there's an answer. Thank you NEO.
I won't ask wether Kennewick man was white, out of respect to the ancestors and my "Sioux" cousins.

Now that we have at least one possible solution the question open to debate is about which one is preferred. The "accomodation" or the "armstrongite.

But I m sure there is even more to discuss the next 1000 years.

Anonymous said...

To March 24 at 2:26pm - the "the instigator of this post"

As I mentioned in my earlier post - As was the practice of Herbert W. Armstrong and is still the practice of his disciples in all of the WCG splinter groups today, it is apparent that you're reading things into the Holy Bible and twisting Scripture. Here is the proof. You wrote, "You earlier quoted Isaiah 43.10 which states 'before me no God FORMED' which implies that God Himself developed."

The word "FORMED" does not imply that God Himself developed. Within the context of Isaiah 43:10 and the Biblical interpretation, the word "FORMED" means to fashion, frame and to create. Look at Genesis 2:7 where it says that the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and look at Genesis 1:27 where the Bible says that God created man. Also look at Isaiah 42:1 where the LORD says that He created Jacob and formed [created] Israel.

God is not in the category of things that are created or caused. God is uncaused and uncreated— He simply exists. God is the uncaused Being that caused everything else to come into existence. God is the uncreated Creator who created the universe and everything in it. There is no one else like Him nor will there ever be. That is the context of Isaiah 43:10.

Also because God is Omnipotent, which means all-powerful, this means God can do what he wants without needing billions of years of "working hard" to do it. Being Omnipotent means God is not subject to physical limitations like man is. As I said before, nowhere does the Bible teach or even suggest that humans will "be born again into the God family" to become God. Armstrongites do not understand the differences between the creature and the Creator and I would dare say you all are deliberately perverting the truth of God.

Also when you say that,"Christ died for our sins, which proves that the law of equilibrium is metaphorically more powerful than God." This is a completely asinine comment that just proves that your theology (Armstrongism) is the problem, because it is full of doctrines of demons. Hope that was enough heavy lifting for you. Now go do some heavy lifting of your own by repenting of your sins and doing some real Bible study.

Martha said...

Ian Boyne, I wanted to get in touch with you here since I don't know how else to contact you. I feel your pain on time for theological projects. At different stages in life I have been a journalist, a caretaker, an educator, a parent, a spouse... theological stuff takes time. I am not as active on ABD anymore as I would like to be, for the same reasons. Anyway, perhaps this can give you a jumping off point or some food for thought, whenever you get the time. I apologize in advance for the length.

I firmly believe that it is bad theology that promotes the dysfunction in Armstrongism. And not just on the fringe issues. However, I would say that misunderstandings of these issues cause problems not just in Armstrongism, but in any cultic or fundamentalist religious system in which they are manifest.

xHWA - the other main writer at ABD - and I have talked a lot about what causes this dysfunction. Now, xHWA and I are not from the same denomination, or, technically, have even landed on the same side post-Reformation. He and I do not agree with some of the doctrines of one another's churches, or even our own churches. Yet I think we both define Christianity rather inclusively. So we clearly don't believe that 100 percent doctrinal correctness, were that even possible, is what defines Christians. So what are the issues? I think we've narrowed it down to two basic topics.

The first is confusion over the Covenantal responsibilities. We believe the COGs try to put old wine into new wineskins when they carry forward things like the Sabbath, Holy Days and clean and unclean meats into the New Covenant. Despite what WCG taught us, there is not much evidence placing things like these in eternally-existent categories separate from the covenants. It would seem that they were specifically part of the Sinai Covenant and ended with the death of the Testator (Hebrews 9:16).
AS BEREANS DID: Confusing the Covenants
Why covenants? Because I think you will find that the topic of covenants is absolutely key to any discussion that starts with the phrase “God tells us to…

Is it possible to be a Christian and continue in these practices? It may be, since we see that individuals like Peter and Paul may have. This is not surprising, because they were ethnic Jews. The whole debate in Acts 15 and throughout much of the New Testament was whether Gentiles must adopt these practices. Now, it stands to reason that if there is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ and all are saved the same way, and if Gentiles aren't required to engage in these, then neither are Jews. And this should go doubly if you throw out British Israelism, which I believe you espouse, because then none of us even have Israelite heritage, we're all Gentiles! But I certainly wouldn't say that Peter didn't inherit salvation because he continued to abstain from meats deemed unclean under the Sinai Covenant. That would be crazy.

Martha said...

But I think that Jesus warned us not to mix wineskins for a reason, and that reason is evident in Armstrongism today. The fruit of focusing on works of law - which the COGs, even the mainstream ones you mention - leads to judgmentalism, self-righteousness and superiority, which are antithetical to what the New Testament tells us Christians should be. It was evident in the Judaizers of the New Testament, and it is evident in the Judaizers of today. It leads us to focus on the images that foreshadowed the Messiah rather than the Messiah Himself.

A key example of this is the Days of Unleavened Bread. I kept the DUB faithfully, unresentfully for decades. We had family traditions. It was a positive thing. I now find it totally offensive, not because of spite or bitterness, but because I think it so aptly illustrates the problem with Armstrongism. Here we are, combing every corner of our lives, hoping we can just maybe do "good enough," focusing on us, our works, what we have or haven't achieved, totally ignoring the fact that the Savior rose victorious and our victory comes through Him alone. We are dwelling in the shadows, trying to scrub out our own sin while the Christian world is celebrating a risen Savior - the proof that He was who He said He was, which gave credibility to His promise of forgiveness of sin. As many hangups as I had about Christmas, I loved Easter from the second I understood it because the difference between the two observances was just so stark to me. Paul's words from Philippians 3 struck my heart - everything I once held meaningful now seemed like rubbish.

So I believe that confusing our covenantal responsibilities compromises the theology of Armstrongism. At best, it is a distraction. At worst, it sets its leaders and membership up for the type of judgmental, self-righteous, destructive attitudes and actions we see in the splinters of today and the Judaizers of the epistles. And it also sets Armstrongists for a misunderstanding of the second problem that xHWA and I have discussed, a misunderstanding of grace, works and salvation.

Martha said...

The second issue is Armstrongism's take on how salvation is secured. Most of Christianity teaches that salvation comes by grace through faith, and that good works are the evidence of salvation and the fruit of the Spirit living inside an individual. Different denominations have different takes on once-saved-always-saved vs. losing salvation. Though I generally believe in once-saved-always-saved, although not in the "cheap grace" way the COGs typically mock, there are a few scriptures that throw theological monkey wrenches into it, so I acknowledge there is room for debate.

But this is not the debate Armstrongism makes. Armstrongism teaches, in some groups stronger than others, that salvation is something we must maintain through our good works and acts of obedience. They hint that there is some ambiguous sin-to-righteousness ratio we must achieve in order to qualify for the Kingdom. If we don't hit this tipping point by the end of our lives, we won't "make it." Philadelphia and Dave Pack may be the ones really trying to scare their members, but this is a basic Armstrongist doctrine. UCG, COGWA, all the groups you would categorize as mild, stable, unsensational, whatever. I do know of a couple COG ministers who teach that keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days, meats, etc. are essentially a fruit of the spirit - that someone who has been converted will naturally want to do these things - not that they secure our salvation. I think they're wrong, but I can respect it. But these teachings come from individuals and and certainly aren't in anyone's statements of beliefs.

So, in a nutshell, Christianity teaches that we are justified once and for all, and then sanctified throughout the rest of our natural lives. Armstrongism teaches that we are initially justified, but must be re-justified every time we sin, and that our degree of sanctification determines whether we achieve salvation.

Martha said...

Even if you get rid of all the crazy doctrines, I think these theological misunderstandings doom Armstrongism to dysfunction. They focus you on the wrong things and promote a sense of self-righteousness because they have this special "gnosis" that the rest of the "deceived" Christian world misses. On the flip side, the teaching that we must maintain our salvation through our track record of obedience promotes despair, depression and a sequela of resulting problems.

If that weren't enough, it encourages confrontation among brethren because you can't just sit idly by and watch someone commit the sin that disqualifies them from the Kingdom. There is a difference between what the New Testament instructs on this issue and how it is applied in Armstrongism. It is seen as your duty to tell our brother about every possible misstep he makes, even if he disagrees (for example restaurants on Sabbath, or really any point of Sabbath observance upon which we disagree). If salvation is dependent upon us, then everything we do "counts." I believe this is a major reason we have so much splintering and strife.

I realize there are other issues between the two systems, but these are the big ones, as I see it, that cause the majority of the dysfunction. I hope you understand this in the spirit it was intended - not as critical and finger pointing, but from someone who cares deeply about these issues and the many family members and friends she still has mired in this broken system.

Martha said...

NEO, that's an interesting explanation. I'd like to read more about that, because the issue bothers me.

I have heard many at my evangelical church say that no one can be saved without hearing the name of Christ, or couldn't be saved before His sacrifice. They even put "Old Testament" saints in a different category, or in some kind of spiritual "holding tank" until Christ's sacrifice. That's crazy.

Hebrews 11 lists people who were saved by their faith before Christ's death. Revelation says He was slain from the foundation of the world. And that sacrifice was good enough for God to extend salvation to Abraham in Genesis 15:6. Can't get much further back than that, biblically speaking. Did Abraham literally "hear the name of Christ" or did he place his faith outside of himself and onto the Almighty, with whom he had a relationship. And does that have other implications for Native American tribes, and all of pre-Christ humanity? I sometimes wonder whether this standard of faith applies more broadly than evangelicals care to define it.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Kennewick man had a morphology that seemed to some anthropologists as European. This created a storm of theories about how Europeans were the First Americans. A popular idea is that these early European settlers originated in the Solutrean Culture. This was a rush for many White Supremacists who were eager to establish the primacy of White Europeans in the Americas (they would have liked Herman Hoeh)and the relegation of Native Americans to the role of interlopers.

But, alas, Kennewick Man's genetic material was extracted and analyzed in a Danish laboratory and the finding was that Kennewick was a typical Native American, haplogroup Q, I believe.

Anonymous said...

Martha ,you and I need to talk theology and have a fuller discussion than this forum could accommodate. I could even arrange for a live session with my Armstrongite Bible study group which meets every Monday night .We regularly invite Evangelical and other speakers for dialogue and formal debates in theology. I have told my Monday night group about this blog and my interactions with my friend BB and some have been urging me to have a live facebook hookup with Gary and other former Armstrongites. I am sure Black Ops Mikey wouldn't participate but you contact me at and we will arrange to talk personally .Ian Boyne

Martha said...

I know this thread is old, but I wanted to mention something discussed tonight that relates to the Native American question.

I attend an evangelical church that would probably teach, from the pulpit, basically what NCK and Near Earth Object proposed about Native Americans and other "unreached" people. The class I go to on Wednesday night, however, is taught by an older African American woman and, as a result, is attended by several individuals from minority racial groups, as opposed to more WASPY classes.

Tonight we got to talking about Abimelech, who was warned in a dream that Abraham was lying about Sarah being his wife. Abimelech must have "talked" enough with God to recognize his voice and held to some code of obedience and morality.

Earlier on, in Genesis 15, when God promises Abraham the land of Canaan, He mentions that it's not time yet because the Amorites' time isn't complete yet. For this to be the case, it stands to reason that He was communicating with them and expected something of them.

We concluded that it's reasonably biblical to assume God may have worked with individuals and people groups all over the globe, even before Christ's sacrifice. Just don't tell my pastor...