Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dave Pack Skirts Scoffing With His Apologetic for the Obvious


"Do you realize you have to disagree with the Bible to follow the truth? Think on that one! If you agree with the apostles, you have to believe THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD CAME 2,000 YEARS AGO. You CANNOT GET AROUND THAT or you, literally, disagree with all the 12 apostles and with what they wrote in God’s Holy Word. Think on that one. 
“The end of all things is at hand!” No it wasn’t. He says it later in this book in another couple of chapters. Did he lie? How would you put it? He spoke falsely? Oooh…no! It’s the way God wanted the Bible written. It’s absolutely what God wanted the apostles to say. Mr. Armstrong understood this much for sure—and said it—it’s as though the Bible was written to the Philadelphian era of God’s Church, to the last generation. Almost, I’m tempted to say, little did he know…but he did know, so I don’t want to say that. But if he knew all that we know, he would know he was…Let’s put it this way…more right than he knew."
(No it isn't and no HWA wasn't)

Not even close...

All fundamentalist and literalist Christians, including WCG and off shoots,  have grown up with the following scriptures burned into our minds....
I Thessalonians 4:15-17 "...For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout...Then WE which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..."
I Corinthians 15:51,52 "...WE shall not all sleep, but WE shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump...and WE shall be changed."
Romans 13:11-12 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for NOW is OUR salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand..."
James 5:8 "Be YE also patient; establish YOUR hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
I John 2:18 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby WE know that it is the last time."
I Peter 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
Revelation 22:20 "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly..."
Millions in Fundamentalist and Evangelical Churches have grown up with the idea that the return of Jesus, a return which will fix everything that is wrong with everything and reward the true saints, is always imminent. We read the above scriptures as if they were written for us, as it is we who are finally the ones "upon whom the end of the age has come." Unlike everyone before us, we really really are the ones who will see it and be changed, avoiding the reality of physical death.
There never has been, is not now and never will be a shortage of preachers and pastors who just know we are living in the final, absolutely last days. The signs are everywhere and every world event is assigned Biblical import and meaning.
In Fundamentalist movements, the tradition goes on and becomes more pronounced as common earth events like , earthquakes, floods, fire, volcanoes and "unusual" events, or wars and rumors of wars, especially in the middle east rear their ugly heads. If someone blew up the Dome of the Rock, well... there... see, now tell us that Jesus is not a few minutes away from returning. 
 (I have read somewhere that when you see these things, "See that you be not troubled for the end is not yet" but I may be mistaken.  I realize the clincher is "and this Gospel of the Kingdom of God shall go to all the world as a witness and THEN shall the end come", or is it "then shall the income" but which Gospel?  
The fact that most wars are waged by either the Christians, Israelis or the Islamic nations, among and between themselves, which are the religions whose teachings are supposed to save us and make our lives better, doesn't seem to strike us as odd. In fact, at some deep level deeply religious fundamentalists, seem to believe that millions must die violently, so that "all these things can come to pass" and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit can be visited upon the Christian survivors... or Islamic or Israeli depending on who wins. Well of course, the Christians win. Each knows who that it will be themselves that overcomes the other. It's in the book, all of them.
The most popular New Testament "proof texts" for this thinking among Christian Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, comes from Mark 13 and the parallel passages found in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. These written in answer to the disciples question... "WHEN shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of your coming?"
It's all about WHEN. The "when" is unknowable even if one believes with all their heart it has to be soon. The faithful forget that speculation on the future is always just that. It is not fact. It is not how it will be and all speculation over the past 2000 years as to "when", to date has been 100% wrong.
Far too many Pastor types base their entire ministry on the imminent return of Jesus. One would be hard pressed to find the actual word "Jesus" in any other context in their sermons, articles and pronouncements.
It's all about the second coming and it's all about SOON for the most rabid and judgmental COG splinters. Those who question the wisdom of this mistaken approach to life become the scoffers who nip at the heels of the saints.
"...there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation,"
But running that risk, and with all due respect to the sincere seeker of Biblical truth, I predict that Jesus will not be returning any time soon.
Why not? Because in the very predictions of Jesus lie the fact that he was himself wrong about them. Jesus put a time limit in the context of his own predictions that has long since passed no matter how apologists endeavor to resurrect his prophecies for a yet future time.
"Verily I say unto you", This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34).
We simply have to admit, at face value, Jesus was wrong and not only DID that generation pass away, but so have countless others that followed. Jesus has not been misunderstood in this statement. He was wrong. Sincere not doubt and it simply will not go into the bible-reader mind that this might be the simple truth of the matter. There has to be another explanation that makes Jesus right in this perspective not 2000 years past.
And there is! We have read it wrong. Jesus did not mean what he said and we can relax. Jesus wasn't talking to those people at that juncture in history.
"This generation" was not the one Jesus was talking TO, but rather the generation that "these things" would begin to happen IN. Whew! It's in the far future and means a future society when all these signs accelerate and come to a crashing finale ending with the Second Coming.
We now have wiggle room to account for the fact that Jesus has not returned yet. Jesus wasn't mistaken about his own times, he was referring to another time.
Gleason Archer, who offers this solutions to the "Jesus didn't mean it would be in his time," notes accurately what we all know 2000 years later.
"Obviously these apocalyptic scenes and earth-shaking events did not take place within the generation of those who heard Christ's Olivet discourse. Therefore Jesus could not have been referring to his immediate audience when He made this prediction..." (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pg 338).
Archer has to say this as he cannot possibly entertain the idea that Jesus was himself wrong in his perceptions of the times in which he lived and his role in those times. Later in the Gospels, authors would lower the expectations of the early Church, who thought Jesus meant them by reminding them late in the game when it was obvious Jesus wasn't coming any time soon that "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. Sorry, we forgot to tell you that in the beginning." As long as one is incapable of thinking Jesus was himself wrong the Kingdom of God being just around the corner if he did his part, the doctrine of disappointments would have to be addressed as time went on.
And so we simply need to ask a very simple question. To whom was Jesus speaking? From the opening NT texts, it is obvious that the disciples, apostles and members of the church thought it meant THEM and did not get any hint of Jesus meaning anything other than THEM in THEIR time, which was short. The idea that Jesus would "build my Church" came decades after Jesus death when most were dead or dying of old age and yet the end did not come. Jesus never envisioned a Church that would follow decades and millennia after his death. Jesus life would always be lived and lost in the context of Judaism and the Synagogue.
But back to the original question. To whom was Jesus speaking when he said the words and to whom did he mean for it to apply? The answer is within the context, plain and simple.
"Take heed that no man deceive you." (Matt 24:4)
"...ye shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars..." (Matt 24:6)
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted..." (Matt 24:9)
"When ye therefore shall see the the abomination of desolation..." (Matt 24:15)
"But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter..." (Matt 24:20)
"Behold, I have told you before." (Matt 24:25)
The context in which Jesus spoke was his own. The "you" that he was addressing was the group he was addressing then and the group to which all these things would happen for, and soon. Jesus was telling those disciples that these things would happen in their time. Jesus made a mistake in his perceptions.
In our time, Christians read the same words and see the "ye" and "you" as "me" and "us" just as the original disciples would have. The only difference is that the disciples actually were disappointed and this generation has yet to realize their own disappointment to come.
The proof that Jesus himself meant the people he was talking to is found in the fact that the "this generation" comment is actually the tale end of a much larger, often overlooked quote taken in it's entirety.
"So likewise YE when YE shall SEE ALL these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto YOU, THIS generation shall not pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled." (Matt 24:33-24 emphasis mine)
There is no reason to twist the words of Jesus to mean more than they were ever intended to mean. A scripture can never mean what it never meant. The early disciples and infant Church, knew it meant them and we see the gradual deterioration of their personal confidence in the immediacy of the Second Coming promise throughout the NT.
I Thessalonians 4:15-17 "...For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout...Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..." Meaning...some would die, but not us who tell you this. Jesus still means us.
I Corinthians 15:51,52 "...We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump..." Meaning...you will die, but we won't but it all works out...Jesus still meant us.
Romans 13:11-12 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand..." Meaning...we had some doubts, but now we know it's almost here. Jesus still meant us.
James 5:8 "Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." Meaning...impatience was growing, hang in there. Jesus still meant us.
I John 2:18 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." Meaning...Jesus still meant us.
I Peter 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
Revelation 22:20 "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly...." Meaning...ok, it's been about 60 years, but Jesus still means us.
Obviously, everyone of these quoted hopes and statements were wrong. Jesus did not return for them and to date has not returned for anyone. Paul and the early church who wrote in his name was just as wrong as the many COG prophetic types are wrong in this time. And it is based on the fact that Jesus himself was wrong which I know most Christians can never come to admit. For Paul it becomes....
" I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Meaning...Ok, I give up, Jesus didn't mean us, or at least not me. I was wrong. 2 Timothy 4:8-9
...and at best, this will also become the reality for those alive today seeing the imminent return of Jesus in every newspaper and on every turn of the dial in this dangerous and contentious world of ours.
I'm not scoffing. Being accused of scoffing was a label for those in the early Church. The disciples expected Jesus return within days of his death and when they met him in Galilee, even doubted that. Its what you say to those that are becoming disillusioned but the others know that the return is still in their lifetime for sure. Scoffers were undermining the confidence of the early followers and disciples of Jesus. An observation is not scoffing. Observations are based on the passage of millennia. It's a 2000 year old observation. To motivate with fear, false prophetic fulfillment's of non- prophecies, and imagined prophetic accuracy on topics anyone could speculate somewhat accurately about, is simply foolishness and makes the Church, in any form look stupid and ignorant. Jesus said his generation would not pass until the Son of Man be come. He was wrong.
So bent on not allowing the member to even remotely entertain the idea that Jesus was wrong, Paul was wrong and the Church is wrong , it was prudent to shift the blame for doubt to the member and thinker and away from the clergy, and thus we have...
2 Peter 3:3 "Knowing this first, (meaning---we forgot to add this apologetic) that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of....."
Obviously, the Church took Jesus words literally for them and not for some future generation. But still Jesus doesn't return to them. This shifts the problem to the scoffers, doubters and those that misunderstood Jesus and not the Church who needs to keep the hope of imminent return going like a carrot before the horse. The Church never entertained until they had to, the idea that Jesus didn't mean what he said about soon. It also implies that this doubt is deliberate and calculated. It can never just be doubt based on evidence and time just going on without any evidence of Jesus return. Even with the temple gone and the Romans more in power than ever, He didn't return. It must have felt for them then as one might say today. "If Jesus didn't return for the Holocaust, what will it take."
The "scoffers will come" scripture was added when it was obvious to the Church that people could and were scoffing. And what some consider scoffing is merely noting that the thing spoken is not so. It's not evil, it's just stating the obvious and putting, in this case, the church on the spot to explain its continued use of imminent return going long. It also lends credibility to Jesus mournful cry at the end of his life..."my God, my God...why have you forsaken me." I expect Jesus really meant that. It was a real shock not to have had things work out as one had supposed. Jesus had done his part. He had pushed the Romans right up to the edge and himself, right up to execution...and still, God did not intervene, sweep the Romans from the earth and set up the Kingdom. Only after Jesus actually died did the followers of Jesus have to rethink it all.



I know... and expect it to be said, "you'll think differently when Jesus returns, or you find yourself in hell with lots of time to rethink your position." I speak in the hope that the average Christian church member won't be motivated and won't tolerate pastors who use the fear of living on this planet to promote their own misguided agendas and speculations. One does not have to see the world only through the eyes of those that speculate on how things are or will be because frankly they don't and can't know.



28 comments:

H.P said...

The evangelical churches like WWCG and Messianics, Charismatics believe that Christ and his apostles got the timing wrong.
It never occurs to them that it is them who are wrong! The arrogance is over whelming.
Preterism, even partial preterism teaches the truth: Christ meant it when he said all those things would occur before the death of the apostles and it all did.
An honest study of things proves it.

Byker Bob said...

A good dose of Spinoza would do wonders for Dave!

BB

Anonymous said...

Dave Pack just re-writes scripture when it doesn't suit him. Christ hasn't returned yet, because the first dominion must come first. We all missed that part in scripture! Or there's always, the brethren aren't ready yet... Or, Christ is giving us more time to do the work... Or, we need more buildings first, jet, houses on campus, trees, etc...

DennisCDiehl said...

Jesus hasn't returned yet for Flurry, Pack and many other self appointed Apostles and Prophets because they need the income and know well how to work the carrot and the stick.

DennisCDiehl said...

The most simple and accurate understanding of "This generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled", and "Behold I come quickly" is that the authors meant what they said and were wrong. The idea that "this generation" means the generation that sees "all these things" is merely an apologetic for them being wrong like the many given through the ages such as "God is giving us more time", "God is being merciful for now" and now this more ridiculous approach to the problem of Gospel Jesus and the Apostles being wrong about just about everything is taking it to a new level.

But then Dave taking scripture to new levels of terribly mistaken is one of Dave's strengths.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Very well done, Dennis. Just to be helpful, here is Herbert Armstrong's Prophetic Record (and yes, we did move it to The Painful Truth). All the Armstrongist 1% should be duly embarrassed by Herbert Armstrong's efforts with prophecy which major failed and should keep their mouths SHUT and stop making ridiculous predictions based on this incompetent failure.

But to your point, the Old Testament seems to have failed in its predictions as well, as Orlin Grabbe pointed out in his letter to his mother, "The Proof of the Bible" was an embarrassing failure that they tried to put out of its misery but it just kept being mailed out.

Furthermore, what expectation could we put on a collection of writings (called 'the New Testament') which were forged, written by unknown authors decades removed from the events they tried to describe and are totally at odds with each other. Why should we believe that the 4 gospels should be believed above the 40 that were written? II Peter criticizes the scoffers but has no reality in itself because it was not written by Peter (if he existed) and was just made up? And why, do pray tell, was Revelation included in the canon? It was almost left out as it was and its provenance is more than dubious.

Perhaps the Bible is valuable for inspiration from guys who had good ideas about God, but as an absolute unshakeable fountain of established authoritarian proof of anything, it's a pretty poor source.

And Armstrongists are fools for depending upon it to give them some sort of entitlement for taking people's money and wallowing in narcissism at a time that sack cloth and ashes would be more appropriate accompanied by great silence.

If Jesus were ever to return, as false prophets, they would be the first ones that he'd kill off and there's no guarantee he wouldn't use cruel and unusual punishment with many stripes and endless months of torture before an excruciating fiery death in a lake of fire with 4th degree burns.

Go ahead, Armstrongists. Ignore us. Mock us.

Your day is coming.

Or worse, maybe it isn't.

DennisCDiehl said...

Let's stir up the pot here. I would encourage any young people who read this blog and this posting to not base your life on myths and the ideas of your church or minister that can never be proven to actually be true and go explore the world you actually live in. No Hebrew Lord, fully God and Fully man is going to return to make everything happy and explain everything you don't but might want to understand. Everyone reading this blog and everyone in every COG, including the leadership of course, will die a natural human death. No one knows what might come next but it could be, and probably is, absolutely nothing but your return to that which you came, star dust.

Young people determined to go into ministry, who attend credible theological seminary and are taught by credible and credentialed professors of theology, origins of scripture and actual Church history will quickly be faced with the vast difference between the Sabbath/Sunday School version and reality. It could be like learning there really is no Santa, Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny and you would do well to either be determined to teach the reality of religion and why people need it or go find your passion live your life immersed in it .

I have said it before and say it again. The demise of myths and fairy tales as once thought to be true can be very dis-illusioning. But one has to ask, "why would I want to base my life on illusions?", when finally growing up to face the facts as we understand them to be. To be dis or not full of illusions, like the Flurry's and Packs of religion is simply good mental health and realistic thinking and living.

All of the couples, young people, old people and all in between, who existed in the pages and times of the New Testament Church and were part of it in whatever of the many many choices there also were then of who to follow and who to avoid along with what to believe and do and what not to, believed their Apostles and ministers about the imminent return of Jesus. They sacrificed, gave up their loves and resources. They put off living in the present real life for the hope of what they were being told and sold. They died and it was all untrue for them as presented.

Don't let it happen to you because it will if you don't listen to your own doubts, heart and thoughts about why you allow others to control you, your mind and heart.

Connie Schmidt said...

Dennis-

Dennis, you are wrong, there is a Tooth Fairy! I got money under my pillow as a kid, and my kids all have gotten money under their pillows too!

The Tooth Fairy also is NOT PAGAN, and has no historical roots to Tammuz, Ishtar, Ra or Nimrod either! The idea of the Tooth Fairy became widespread due to a play-let written in 1927 by Esther Watkins Arnold called “The Tooth Fairy”. So the tooth fairy is only a modern phenomenon, and was promoted by dentists at the time too.

So shut the heck up Dennis, you are such a bummer! Im sorry the tooth fairy passed up your house as a kid, but maybe, just maybe, as you age and lose some teeth, you might get a couple of pennies under your pillow, but only IF YOU REPENT of your lack of faith and disbelief! ;-)

Hoss said...

When I read in Dennis' post "fairy tales", I thought, the prophetic blunders excused by "need or given more time" could be called tarry fails.

Byker Bob said...

I left at age 27, and for many of the reasons Dennis cited, although the myths of which I was conscious at that time were the myths that were primarily native to Armstrongism. Never have I had any regrets about leaving.

There were some deep philosophical questions which Armstrongism was never capable of answering. Unfortunately, that's where they rolled in church authority, making persistent ones feel as if they were being rebellious for even wondering.

When I signed on to the internet, I encountered old friends with whom I hadn't had any contact for approximately 25 years. Some had remained in Armstrongism right up until the late '90s. Better late than never, but there was some pretty strong grief and regret over lost lifetimes, guilt over unnecessarily scaring their kids about a tribulation which never came, about lost careers, and all over nothing. I tried to encourage them over whatever good or desirable things had happened in their lives over those 25 years, and that helped, but clearly, they wished they could get those years back.

During the course of my tenure in the old WCG, at least they could point to growth, and the power and strength with which the message was going out. There was also the surety that the tribulation would come in 1972, and the end in '75, and then when it didn't, they lied about never having set dates, and backpedalled, elliminating the three math equations which had supposedly proved the 1972-75 dates. I don't know how members can continue plodding on as everything winds down and splinters, their church largely invisible. It reminds one of the gambler who has already lost thousands of dollars at the table, but believes that his luck will soon turn around. It never does, so he loses his savings, his house, his marriage, and all of the things which bring joy into his life. Gambling on the tribulation, and following bogus doctrines is just as foolhardy.

BB

Anonymous said...

"You'll think differently when Odin returns and you find yourself in Ragnarok with lots of time to rethink your position."

While it's not impossible, it is a calculated risk that I am more than willing to take.

"You'll think differently when Allah returns and you find yourself in Jahannam with lots of time to rethink your position."

Ditto.

"You'll think differently when Zeus returns and you find yourself in Hades with lots of time to rethink your position."

Ditto.


...

Black Ops Mikey said...

eliminating the three math equations which had supposedly proved the 1972-75 dates

Let me guess.

The math equations involved dividing by zero, didn't they???!!!

Anonymous said...

FYI - sources for early Church history.

http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/Halsall/sbook1b.asp

http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/Halsall/ancient/asbook11.asp

Anonymous said...

The problem with all this intellectualising is that God is a prayer answering God. He sometimes puts certain scriptures into peoples mind in response to a request. Sometimes a 'light shines' on certain verses in response to a prayer question.
Hence, the bible really is Gods inspired word. So Dennis can go eat cake.
Not forgetting, answered prayer confirms the coming tribulation, so Dennis and fellow travellers can go eat more cake.
This isn't to deny the abuse and loss cause by Herbies gangster ministry. God and man are very different.

Gerald Bronkar said...

Another excellent post Dennis! Any normal, logically thinking person should easily see from reading this post that Jesus was a false prophet, and the bible is full of holes. As you state, it isn't just Armstrongism and its splinters that create dissension and hatred, it is all three religions from Abraham that keep so many deluded. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have long outlived their usefulness.

All these crazy religious cults, large and small are a source of strife and ignorance, and provide no answers to building a peaceful world. Waiting for Jesus is a pathetic way to spend your time.

We are in the season of Lent, looking to the "Blood of Christ" to cover our sins. What kind of god would kill his son in order to forgive your sin? Does that make any sense at all? What kind of god would walk away and turn the world over to a snake, or Satan because Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree?? How does anyone honestly believe this could be reality? What kind of god would drown all of humanity, including babies and children, except for one family (who was far from sinless)? Do we still really believe these superstitious stories?

Possibly, at one time, long ago, these stories and this bloodthirsty god were necessary to help people deal with the unknown, but that necessity no longer exists. It is time for us to grow up, and put these invented stories to rest. They do not serve us, and we should stop serving them.

They are not "The Plain Tooth".

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Well said Byker Bob!

Byker Bob said, "During the course of my tenure in the old WCG, at least they could point to growth, and the power and strength with which the message was going out. There was also the surety that the tribulation would come in 1972, and the end in '75, and then when it didn't, they lied about never having set dates, and backpedalled, elliminating the three math equations which had supposedly proved the 1972-75 dates".

MY COMMENT - The public face of Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God - the silver tongued charismatic televangelist with streaks of maturing gray, Garner Ted Armstrong, obtained celebrity status by the late 1960s/early 1970s. The Church became a father/son personality cult. The broadcast could be heard and seen in every major market in the United States. We had the truth, or so we thought. We were a young Church with Colleges and summer camps for our youth. The Armstrong movement did grow into a worldwide work in those years leading up to 1972.

When the first week of January, 1972 came and went (end of the second 19 year time cycle) and no Germans had attacked the United States, the silence in Church was almost deafening for about 2 months after. In late February, 1972, Herbert Armstrong announced that the true significance of the 19 year time cycle in January, 1972 was (drum roll please).... ADVERTISING IN READERS DIGEST.

It was all down hill after 1972 until HWA took back the reins of the Church near the end of the decade.

Following the 1972 disappointment, we learned that Ted was in the "bonds of Satan" otherwise known as Gail Weber the Church jet stewardess. The Washington Post headline read, "Father Ousts Son in Clash of Personalities" when Garner Ted was exiled the first time for "emotional" reasons. Herbert had a major scandal on his hands with Son Ted and the public face of the WCG leaving his wife Shirley for a young Gail Weber was too much for him and his Church considering all the families the WCG had broken up over the divorce/re-marriage doctrine.

Ken Westby lead the first effort to reform the Church including divorce & re-marriage doctrine. HWA had a major revolt on his hands in 1974. It was actually a revolt over GTA. Westby and others formed the first major splinter church, Associated Churches of God, taking 35 ministers and 3,000 members.

I left the Church in 1976. Garner Ted was ousted a second and final time about 1977 time frame. HWA had his heart attack about 1977. The Receivership occurred in 1978 taking control of the Church over allegations of financial impropriety. 60 Minutes did a story interviewing Stanley Rader on CBS, a national TV network. Herbert Armstrong challenged the Receivership in The Wall Street Journal with major advertisements confronting the Receiver over separation of Church and State.

Continued in next comment

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Herbert Armstrong was successful and regained control of the Church. He spent his final years purging the Church of liberals and putting the Church "back on track". At age 93 and to the astonishment of many, Herbert W. Armstrong - the man who once pioneered radio evangelism 50 years earlier - could be seen in every major TV market in the United States, and again was the face of the Worldwide Church of God. For the first half of the 1980s, the Church prospered and grew again as a new generation without any knowledge of the prior disappointment of 1972 was introduced to the Church lead by the grandfatherly patriarch. After all, this was before Al Gore invented the internet. Although I had left the Church in 1976, I would still occasionally watch HWA's telecasts in the 1980s. In one of his 1980s telecasts, I remember him stating, "If you don't see these things happening in the next 15 years, you will know I had a false message and the truth was not with me".
It's been downhill for Armstrong adherents ever since with 700+ Splinter Churches following Armstrong's death in 1986. There has been no growth, no power, no strength and no charismatic public face in the Armstrong movement ever since. Ever trying to be relevant, but each with their own low wattage works as the Armstrong movement light gets weaker and dimmer.

Richard
Lake of Fire Church of God

Byker Bob said...

All true, Richard! I never watched the broadcasts featuring HWA in the '80s, but from what you say, he apparently branded himself as a false messenger, and time-bombed all of the wannabe successors as preaching a false message! Those 15 years expired right about the turn of the millennium. That, along with the mapping of the human genome, should have dried up all of the Armstrong franchises right then and there, but did anyone seriously think the brainwashed would stop trying to find an excuse for their continued existence? Like a bad drug, Armstrongism is a powerful modifier of brains!

BB

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
The problem with all this intellectualising is that God is a prayer answering God. He sometimes puts certain scriptures into peoples mind in response to a request. Sometimes a 'light shines' on certain verses in response to a prayer question.
Hence, the bible really is Gods inspired word. So Dennis can go eat cake. "

Then I expect you believe you are non-intellectualizing with which I would agree. You are not a critical thinker. "God" is not, in my experience with thousands of church folk, some who lost their jobs, some their resources, some their children and some their lives to disease at a young age as yet church people who pray and beg God still do, a prayer answering god. You might divine an answer with finger pointing as you flip through the pages of the Bible, but that's no different than casting bones or lots. Perhaps reading sheep guts would give us all the answers we need.

The Bible is hardly clearly anything if you know anything of the background and origins of it , which I assume you don't as a mere Bible reader and probably proof texter jumping around "here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept." Have a slice of cake yourself

Anonymous said...

yep, he's cracked.

Byker Bob said...

Yep. If you pray for something tangible for others or yourself, and that thing is received, a good case for answered prayer might be made. I know I give great credit to God for such blessings.

Praying for confirmation to an idea, on the other hand, is open to error from several sources, not the least of which are wishful thinking in our own minds, confirmation bias, and the strongly held opinions of one's minister or church. We know that the Armstrong churches bypassed any possibility of critical thinking by usage of their carefully guided conclusions with regard to Bible Study, and we know that their research was pretty much patterned after Alexander Hislop's farcical leaps and conclusions. Hislop loomed large in terms of authenticating many of the Armstrong assertions. They used him for proof-texting, bigtime.

Sometime in 2007-2008 when the recession was beginning, some fool on another forum where there were a group of pro-armstrong AC grads, was constantly stating that within the next year, your typical American was going to be fortunate to be able to afford to get around on a moped or motorscooter. Personally, although he may have been sincere, I felt that he was just trying to rattle the chains of the posters who had left Armstrongism. Really, nobody paid much attention to his raving. Things were tough for a while, but his worst case fantasies never kicked in. That forum dried up and went away shortly thereafter.

Belief can add to quality of life, but often people go way overboard and delve into the imaginary and superstitious. Right now, that seems to be the major trend within the ACOG splinters.

BB

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
The problem with all this intellectualising is that God is a prayer answering God.

Some claim answered prayer for God finding them a parking space or the right clothes to wear that they like. Some thank God for their new car or getting over the flu for which they were anointed. Some see the answer to prayer in a sermon they "needed" or they found their wallet in the hamper after invoking God to please help them find it. Some fools even see themselves doubly blessed during anointing and accidentally end up false prophets with an ego problem.

Let's play Book of Job here.

Where was God or the Angels "who do watch over them" when :

A fine 14 year old gets pinned under a tractor and drowns in the creek?

A beautiful twin gets hit crossing the highway and dies on the way to work at Burger King

A young pre-teen falls into the half filled family pool alone and drowns, his calls unheard and his muddy hand prints all along the pool side as he tried to get out.

A depressed church member puts a gun in his mouth

A depressed church member puts a hose from the exhaust into the car window

A fine church member has a tumor the size of a melon on his face for years as it kills him slowly with daily prayer and multiple anointings so "the sick will be made well."

A great young man of great and faithful church members dies in a car wreck

Multiple church members too numerous to recall die of cancer and not old age after thousands of prayers offered up for their healing so kids would not lose mom or dad

Church Dad tries to pull a fallen tree stuck in another tree free and dies instantly under the tractor as it snaps backwards and crushes him

Church teen asks to ride on dads tractor, falls off under a bushhog and the last thing he tells his dad under the mover, before he dies is "it's ok dad, it was not your fault. I love you."

These were my experiences in ministry and prayer for the sick, injured and disturbed, mostly by personal failings and not being able to measure up to church or God's requirements as layed out every week in church.

I buried most of these folk and their children and learned, when walking through the door when first called, to hold up my hands ready to grab mom's wrists when she started hitting me and screaming "why, why why???!!! We go to church, we pay our tithes. I know we don't study as much as we should but why this!" etc, and dad just sat in the corner starring. You see, I was the very symbol of how these things are supposed to be avoided by prayer and miraculous interventions and now we have dead sons and daughters, husbands and wives ,

You see my friend, answered prayer is in the eye of the beholder and subject to interpretation depending. Angels don't really intervene. New arms and legs don't grow back and with the bone crunching flu you can get anointed and it will go away in a week. Without...seven days.

I can honestly say that not one of the terminally ill in the faith I ever anointed were healed to tell the tale. They all died in faith I suppose. Some doing all they could medically. Some refusing to because God will do it alone just fine thank you.

I do not begrudge yours or anyone else's faith in such matters, but my experiences seven days a week for decades do not and have not convinced me God answers important needs apart from them working out anyhow as they will.

I prayed for years that God "would give HWA the wisdom he needed" or GTA or RCM or the Tkaches etc. I prayed in my youth to be used in "the work" and to be where I needed to be. LOL on those answers . Or not LOL.

Chuckles said...

DENNIS....Your blindness has got you rejecting truth and believing nonsense, and to justify your false beliefs you always have to try and push it onto others, of course showing your ignorance and blindness of the truth each time you try to push it. Showing where Dave Pack and others are wrong is one thing, but trying to throw in that God is a myth along with it is another, if people are happy believing in God and living the way of life he called them to live, then good for them leave them alone. If you want to reject God and think he's a myth that's up to you, but unless you have absolute proof with no doubt whatsoever then like Connie says, please shut up. Those who do believe and accept God have all the proof they need, they really don't need you trying to tell them they are wrong, when all along it's you that are wrong. See, we can all play that game.

DennisCDiehl said...

PS Personally I probably would have been better served if I had prayed so much about so many things and just kept my Magic Eight Ball" I whimsically consulted as a kid right on through the administration of the Armstrong and Tkaches and during personal times of need. :) Loved my Magic Eight Ball! But not when it said, "Cannot see the answer right now..."

The Magic Eight Ball should also be used instead of prayer when agonizing over which split, splinter or sliver is the absolute true one without which one will never see God. Or if you have questions about accepting or rejecting teaching and expected beliefs thrown out there every week for your consideration and perhaps even if you should gyrate in your seats over it.

Anonymous said...

Which sliver is the absolute true church? The true church is, and always has been those that follow Christ. Or as Christ expressed it, 'my mother, father, sisters, brethren are those that obey God.' As a matter of observation, God is letting people choose which physical church they wish to attend. Every splinter leader vehemently denies this, but they are hardly impartial. It's whatever church benefits one the most. Good old competition. The Herbie monopoly is a thing of the past. The sliver leaders are weeping and gnashing their teeth.

Byker Bob said...

I never really felt that my prayers made it through the ceiling when I was part of Armstrongism. In the past ten or so years, I've wondered if that was because they contaminated the New Covenant with picked and chosen elements from the Old, or only partially understood 2/3 of God.

One of the things I wondered about towards the end of my tenure in WCG was why the big, major illnesses were not healed, while colds were universally healed. Most of us survived, but the overall quality of abundant life was not there. Mostly, we led a life of suffering, or I should say we were led into and through a life of suffering. It never seemed quite right. Fear and paranoia were induced through articles and sermons. The ones who got out early through accidents and deaths seemed like the fortunate ones, and we often described those people as being blessed because they would not have to suffer through the tribulation.

The thing is, our situation was an artificial construct, an existence which was contrived by Herbert W. Armstrong. He had the "dumb sheep" right where he wanted us. So much for freedom in Jesus Christ, or victorious living. It was always just a pretend church, a defective product which never worked when used as intended. How could anyone not be disillusioned by their WCG experience?

BB

Anonymous said...

Dennis
Non of your your 2.02 AM many points is relevant to the fact that Christians worldwide do on occasion have prayers answered. Evil exists, bad things happen to good people, but God is still on His throne listening, and on occasion says yes to a request.

Terrible things happen, therefore God cannot exist, is a unconvincing argument. My answered prayers (body of evidence) is.

Retired Prof said...

"Christians worldwide do on occasion have prayers answered."

As you say, he "on occasion says yes to a request." The occasional nature shows that the deity goes to great lengths to camouflage his miracles by making their distribution indistinguishable statistically from the law of averages.


"Terrible things happen, therefore God cannot exist, is a unconvincing argument."

Correct. That is why so many fundamentalist preachers proclaim that their god is filled with indignant rage. Their argument is, "Terrible things happen, therefore God must exist."


"My answered prayers (body of evidence) is."

Okay then. Since the body of evidence is inside your head, it is available only to you, and you are the only one it can ever convince. But hot damn. Go for it, man. I am so skeptical that I cannot always be sure my own opinions are correct.