Friday, March 31, 2017

Ian Boyne: ARMSTRONGISM SUPERIOR TO ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY?



I previously offered the chance for Ian to present his reason why Armstrongism is still superior to other churches.  Let the conversation...or fireworks begin.



ARMSTRONGISM SUPERIOR TO ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY?
BY IAN BOYNE

Ian Boyne is a Church of God, International Pastor in Jamaica

As someone who has spent over four decades studying philosophy (particularly epistemology and philosophy of religion) theology and comparative religions, as well being as a specialist religion writer and broadcaster, I have long thought of  issuing  this challenge: That Armstrongism—minus its obscurantism and fanaticism—is actually far superior to all other brands  of  conservative Christianity, and that the most intellectually defensible alternative to  Reformed Armstrongism is agnosticism or theistic  existentialism.

As I have read the serious scholarly journals in theology and philosophy and kept up with the latest books in the fields, I have become more convinced that far more credit should be given to the high school dropout Herbert Armstrong than he actually gets.

Because there has been so much focus on the corruption, authoritarianism, abuse and exploitation in the movement—and that is both overwhelming and irrefutable---little time has been spent showing how much better a religious  system Armstrongism is—absent its errors—than its alternatives.

As someone who has experienced many “long, dark nights of the soul” and who has had to wrestle intellectually and emotionally with major philosophical and theological issues, I could never see myself rejecting certain cardinal tenets of Armstrongism and going on to embrace orthodox Christianity, either of the Protestant or Catholic version. (Though, ironically to some, I would find Catholicism more attractive than Evangelicalism.)  As I read certain ex-Armstrongites attacking the movement (and I have every book ever published on the movement  and  have read every Ambassador Report),  it  has struck me again that many persons who  are celebrating their release from “the bondage of Armstrongism” have really bought into inferior versions of revealed religion without  realizing it.

For example, I could never,  like some who  have gone back to orthodox Christianity,  go back to the barbaric and repulsive belief that a loving God would create a hell to burn people for all eternity—most of whom never even had an opportunity to learn about him. Notice how abominable this doctrine---strongly rejected by Armstrong—really is. The billions of persons in communist China, Hindu India  and those under  the former Iron Curtain  who, through no fault of their own were born in the “wrong country”, have to spend an eternity in hell for the Bible says “there is in other name under heaven whereby men must be saved except the name of Jesus”.

Yet this God is too impotent to get His Gospel across to people. Not to mention  the obnoxious Calvinist belief that God actually decreed, for His own  glory and in His sovereignty,  that some would be lost and burn forever in hell. The atheists have developed a brilliant Argument From Non-Belief to counter this horrendous “Christian” doctrine of people’s being lost through own ignorance and non-belief. (See especially Theodore Drange’s  brilliant book,  Non-Belief and Evil)

Some, struck with the incongruity of the loving God (as portrayed in the Bible) casting  ignorant people in Hell for all eternity come up with  the view that God will judge people by the sincerity of their hearts and their good works and let the good ones into the kingdom.

But wait: Isn’t  Sola Fide (faith alone) and Sola Gratia (grace alone) at the heart of the Protestant doctrine of  justification by faith? Then how can God look at how well the Buddhist, Hindu and Sufi lived and let them into Heaven based on their works when works are supposed to have nothing to do with right standing?

Evangelicalism, which  some ex-Armstrongites like Martha and the Bereans website  friends  have bought into, can’t match the philosophical and theological force of the Armstrongite teaching that a good, loving and just God will find a way for every single human being to come to a knowledge of the truth—including the mentally retarded, the mentally ill  as well the sincere atheists and agnostics who did not have enough evidence to believe.

Even the apostate WCG cannot let go of this refreshing teaching of Herbert Armstrong. Significantly, Armstrongism is the only movement which says it alone is right and yet which opens the  door for those who disagree to be saved eventually. This is a  most compassionate view which should promote tolerance. 
  
Herbert Armstrong, contrary to his Evangelical critics, actually did more to promote  the exclusivity of Christianity and Christ by stating that good Buddhists, good Muslims,  good Hindus, good Bahais etc. would not be saved in their ignorance  just because they were not wicked like Hitler; but would get their chance to learn the one truth and make a personal confession of Christ (See Romans 10). 

Evangelicals, Church of God 7th Day  and Seventh-Day Adventists have more than one way of salvation—one for those who heard and rejected Christ and another for the millions who died without hearing, leaving God  no option but to  find a way to get them to His Kingdom without their having personally accepted Christ.

So if he could do that for  so many “good heathens”, why allow so much evil in the world ostensibly to accommodate free will ,which  He then takes away by putting people in  Heaven who never really made that personal choice?  There  is not enough space  to point  out the serious moral and theological problems which orthodox Christianity poses. It is a pity that so many are so emotionally scarred and abused that they might not have the  intellectual energy—or interest—to look at the strengths in the theology of  Armstrongism.

I admit I am  deeply  embarrassed, even angered, as a thinking  Armstrongite (an oxymoron?) to read the nonsense taught by the lunatic fringe in the movement (In fact, they are so many they might even be the mainstream!)

I am happy for the CGI, to which I belong,  which retains the finest teachings of Herbert Armstrong without the dross and the excesses. I am NOT saying it is the only true church! For all GTA’s moral weaknesses and reprehensible personal behaviour, he reformed a system without throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  Ron Dart’s work in the CGI has also been invaluable in preserving an intellectually respectable brand of Armstrongism.


The atrocious doctrine of an ever-burning hell; the view that billions of sincere people will be lost simply because they never knew about Christ; the severing of Christianity from its Hebraic roots and the Hellenisation of  Christianity; the de-emphasis on the eschatological Kingdom  of God and the  profound truth of the eventual deification of humans are some of the major reasons I could not leave Armstrongism for orthodox Christianity. Agnosticism or theistic Existentialism is a far better option to me.  The God of Evangelicalism, Adventism and orthodox Christianity is not worthy to be worshipped. Herbert Armstrong had that right.


Mr. Ian Boyne, CD, was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) in 2010. His responsibilities include serving as Chief State Liaison to the Office of the Prime Minister, Office of the Governor-General and the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and giving oversight to the Research, Publications and Production (Editorial and Photo) Division.
Host of the Agency’s flagship interview programme, Issues and Answers, Mr. Boyne furthers the public education thrust of the JIS through his incisive range of questions which elucidate the Government’s response to the national issues of the day.
Mr. Boyne has had a long career with the JIS as he first joined the entity when it was known as the Agency for Public Information (API) in 1976 as feature writer and television broadcaster. In 1983 he became the Press Secretary/Speech Writer to the then Minister of Industry and Commerce, Douglas Vaz and from then to 2002 worked with every Minister of Industry under successive administrations as Speech Writer/Public Relations Consultant after which he rejoined the JIS in 2002.
In the media fraternity, he is regarded as a veteran journalist who entered the profession in 1975. Outside of the JIS, he is the host of the 26 year old TVJ programme Profile, the host of Religious Hardtalk and a columnist for the Sunday Gleaner.
In 2009, the Government of Jamaica recognized his contribution to journalism with the Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD).
Mr. Boyne is a Minister of Religion and the author of “Ideas Matter: Journey into the Mind of a Veteran Journalist.

47 comments:

Opinionated said...

Ian expresses that armstrongism is superior to mainstream Christianity.

Consider that man created god in his image therefor man is god. The created god gets angry, jealous, has physical attributes like man. What point of this is Ian missing? Is Ian saying armstrongism leads to god?

Those who follow armstrongism seem to ignore the big question, does god use men who practice pedophilia to do his bidding? Can anyone answer that?

If a founder of a moment has less moral fortitude than its membership, should they look up to him or discard him as the worthless trash he is?

DennisCDiehl said...

Granted, the ever burning hell is a repulsive and ridiculously intimidating view of "A loving God." Personally I don't see much difference in the eternal aspects of hell and the instant burn up Lake of Fire concept. "At least it is over quick" is not good enough. What kind of people would actually disbelieve a real God who actually showed up to have a chat? None I suspect. Who would try to fight a real God? No one. At least they would fake it to make it instead of getting burned up. The Lake of Fire, as is hell fire is a church construct through the ages for control and is kept in the minds eye with fear, guilt and shame issues that can be thrown at any human being .

As for "Armstrong" vs. Orthodox Christianity. What is really meant is Jewish Christianity versus Pauline Gentile Christianity. Both are represented in the NT. Both vie for preeminence and Paul wins. That doesn't make it the philosophy or teaching any Jesus of history, if there really was one, would support.

If I had to personally choose a belief based on the OT and NT use of the OT, or misuse as might also be shown, I'd choose Jewish Christianity as more "authentic". Paul was simply an interloper. He ordained himself an Apostle. Made claims about himself that can't possibly be true and was hardly a team player with Peter, James and John. YOU CAN"T HAVE BOTH PAUL AND JAMES as I will go to my grave pointing out.

I don't choose personally to pick either since I firmly believe and have well proven to myself that much of the Bible is simply not true to history or reality and has it's own agenda. It was not written by any god and facts trump faith every time. Faith is what you hold onto before the facts annihilate it. But that's all another story of course.

I know the apologetics well but if Ian believes Paul endorsed the Jewish Christian Church with it's restrictions in Acts 15 for gentiles, keeping of the Sabbath and Holydays and love of Jewish law, he is simply mistaken and weaving a tale by reading both Peter/James/John along with Paul's writings as if they were all best of friends and all spoke and taught the same things.

Paul wanted the Church to all speak the same thing to avoid division not to be correct. It also had to be Paul's same thing and not that of the Jerusalem "said to be Pillars, who they are makes no difference to me...I learned nothing from them." types.

DennisCDiehl said...

The "eventual deification of humans", while appealing, is simply not going to happen. Nothing implied or promised or even spoken in the scriptures can actually be proved. What all the Biblical characters, including God "said" is simply hearsay and story telling. Religion can't be proved with 7 or 12 or 40 points that don't have an equally better explanation than those "proofs" in other disciplines.

All religion is for the sole purpose of answering the questions of conscious human beings, who are more so than any other sentinent lifeform on the planet, "what's going to happen to me when I die?" Nothing else on the planet worries about that or even asks. It is because we know that we exist and can recall a past and imagine a future as no others can that these questions arise in the first place. The rise of human consciousness, knowing that we know, is when all religious systems came on the scene.

The 200,000 year history of modern humans shows this progression of thought to our present day experience. Even humans in the past were less conscious than we are today. You see that reflected in some of the Old Testament tales where people act like automotans, hearing the voices of the gods and simply obeying. They also do things we'd never dream to do or think and then we get stuck apologizing for them theologically seeing "types" of it all to explain it.

The world of the OT characters were is "schizophrenic" in this trait than are normal thinking humans today. If someone told you "God told me" in dreams or voices or in their imagination of seeing themselves spoken of in the scripture, you'd simply think they were nuts. Who on earth today would really think that way??? :)

In the OT we see the evolution of the gods to one god and then even that one disappears for the most part. The critical thinkers, such as Saul, who said true things, are the bad guys. The "God told me" types, Samuel who heard voices, are the good guys. From talking face to face with man in the OT to God's mind having to be divined thru special humans, shiny stones and even lots in the NT, it all evolves right on schedule. The gods retreat into an ever shrinking box as knowledge is increased, which is not a prophetically bad thing.

Black Ops Mikey said...

And... CGI -- "BIBLICAL ORIGINS OF THE UNITED STATES AND BRITISH COMMONWEALTH".

There you have it. Right on their website. You can't understand prophecy if you don't have the key... and that key is? British Israelism.

I am very certain that while Herbert Armstrong was in that Portland, Oregon central library that he came upon that book, which I have on my desk beside my keyboard right now, published around 1930, "The Delusion of British-Israelism: A Comprehensive Treatise" by Anton Darms. He had to have. Herbert Armstrong knew better. It's just that British Israelism fit into his narcissism to give him an excuse to split from the CoG7 and become the most important man in the world.

Now for all the rhetoric spouted by Ian Boyne and Wes White about the CGI being a kinder gentler Armstrongism or words to that effect, they still can't escape the absolute outright lies of Herbert Armstrong carried on by Garner Ted Armstrong, their founder (double entendre). The CGI nor any of the other sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia simply do not have truth. They have lies built on the advertising of a kook. Forget the issues of OT vs NT Christianity -- we have here, not Christianity but science fiction: British Israelism worst science fiction ever. They maintain a belief in fantasy nonsense alternative earth history which never happened and can never happen.

As I sat in the congregation of the New Life Church of God Seventh Day with a sermon given by Pastor Rich Odegard, he challenged the congregation by saying that he couldn't find "British Commonwealth" or "United States" anywhere in the Bible. Can you? The point is, that the CGI, along with all the other sects of the CoHAM is a cult, not much different in its basis than Scientology, which was also founded on bad science fiction. G. G. Rupert was a science fiction writer, declared so by Oxford University, as you all very well know.

Let's stop pretending that Armstrongism is a legitimate Christian Religion. It's not. It's no more a legitimate Christian Religion than Scientology.

To declare that it is, is both insulting and infuriating.

Slaves to a dead narcissist.

Still.

Stupid sales job.

Anonymous said...

So lets see, if I had to choose between two Christian denominations, which would I choose? If the first church built me up by treating me respectfully, encouraged me, was life affirming, taught and magnified the ten commands BUT had wrong beliefs such as 'this is the only day of salvation, or you go to heaven on death.

The second church had the right academic religious beliefs, such as 'this isn't the only day if salvation,' but, but, treated it's members like dirt, constantly beat them down, discouraged intellectual independence, robbed them of their rights etc. Which is the better church to be in?

Ian misses the mark with his 'so much focus on abuse,.. exploitation.' since it is the core of Armstrongism. He is being penny wish and pound foolish. He is lost in a sea of trivia. It sounds like he hasn't been on the receiving end of abuse, because if he had, he would comprehend that it is everything.
Putting it differently, concepts have a hierarchical structure, and Ian is ignoring the trunk and lower level fundamental concepts. The small branches and twigs are not the essence of Armstrongism as Ian would have us believe.

Ian and others are free to assimilate some of Herbs truth into a new denomination. Why not do this rather than associate with the Herb sub culture?

Anonymous said...

well, Ian is spot on.

my only complaint is his constant referral to "Armstrongism"

I belong to the Church of God, not the Church of Armstrong. HWA is not the first to teach those doctrines, he simply discovered them, and embraced them. The only way he could possibly have understood is that God opened his mind to the truth. It's the same with all of us in The Church.

and Ian sure has Dennis in a tizzy, huh?

hey Dennis, Paul did not teach contrary to James....you simply don't understand Paul (Peter warned us about folks like you)

Byker Bob said...

I'll definitely have further comments on this this evening, but one huge red flag with Armstrongism is that members are expected to buy into it as a whole and complete package. Once we discover that certain aspects or information are totally inaccurate, it leaves us in a position where we cannot do that. This inevitably means lowering expectations and surreptitiously picking and choosing, hoping that the ministers don't notice. It can become a downright dishonest process, basically faking it. This doesn't fly in cases where you might encounter your Rod McNairs, Cal Culpeppers, or David Packs.

BB

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed Ian's comments before. I thought he was brave to write here as a believer (of some type) when almost everyone else is on the other side (or maybe not). I didn't know Ian was black, and that makes me admire him even more being as Armstrongism was a little behind in its relationships with black people and of course believed in British Israelitism. I can see he is sincere.

Not sure if he actually knew GTA, but all the things said about his sexual problems were true. He was a wolf and not even in sheeps clothes because he wasn't that nice either. He could be quite nasty in applying the church's rules even the ones he continually broke himself. Above all he was a hypocrite and even Dart left him in the end. To me the worst part of it is the hypocrisy, like if Clinton sentenced everyone to death who committed adultery.

In many ways GTA was the one who made me leave the church in 1973. I was in Pasadena when his sins were revealed and I had been wondering about the way he acted before then. I think this made the first crack in the armor of belief, and then I became open to some of the other allegations which before I had thought were just the gossip of bitter people. I started to be offended by the oppulence the top ministers lived in compared to the members, and then well I guess 'the truth left me' and I left the church. I didn't even get too much into all the doctrinal arguments, sure I'd rather burn in the lake of fire than go to hell, but really why even resurrect someone just to throw them in the lake of fire. It's all a fantasy.

Gerald Bronkar said...

Armstrongism or mainstream Christianity?? Are there any other choices?

If we insist on having something to worship, I would suggest the Sun. It is real, it sustains life, and will not leave us or forsake us. I realize it isn't an original idea, but those needing to worship a genuine and powerful force should give it some thought.

Good posts Dennis. Paul obviously started his own belief system...just like HWA.

Martha said...

Ian, I must admit, I am disappointed. Not because you don't agree with me - you are certainly free to believe whatever you wish! But because I was under the impression that this exercise was about evidence, not about your "feelings."

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that you have essentially given a short defense of why you "feel better" about HWA's teachings on hell than those in mainstream Christianity. I was under the impression that you were going to demonstrate - from The Source - why Armstrongism is superior to mainstream Christianity.

You and I are both journalists. I don't know about what is taught in Jamaican journalism schools. In American journalism schools, we are taught to go to the source and report first-hand information. In fact, the major criticism of the American media, the reason it is so distrusted, is that we have stopped reporting information and instead interject our own opinion.

One time, while I was away attending the Feast of Tabernacles, a crusty old ACLU leader noticed I had been absent from meetings I usually covered. She was curious, asked my boss, and was extremely dismayed to find out I was at a religious celebration. When I returned, she peppered me with questions about how I could possibly be morally conservative and report on issues like abortion and gay rights. "The same way that a morally liberal journalist should - by staying as objective as possible and going to the sources. If I am being a fair journalist, my personal feelings on these issues don't play a role.

If one takes Dennis' view - that the Bible is a man-made mishmash of opinion and propaganda, and needs to be taken with an entire mine of salt, that's fine. Dennis has a lot of life experience and wisdom and we can all learn a lot from him. And if you take his position about scripture, then your feelings on the Bible are relevant. But if one believes that the Bible is the inspired word of God, then our opinions of God's word are irrelevant. (Save for different systematic theological models - one can conscientiously believe that a church's teachings on a matter are wrong. I believe the church I attend is wrong on a number of doctrines, but I support my belief biblically and logically, not because I just don't like what the pastor says).

Martha said...

Am I settled entirely in what I believe? No. While I've found Armstrongism sets up many false straw men about evangelical Christianity, a number of their traditional criticisms are fair. Is eternal judgment of the wicked one of them where I'm settled? Nope. Would I prefer the Armstrongist explanation or the Universalist explanation be true? You better believe it. Am I convinced that the evangelical view is true? Not entirely. But if I place stock in Scripture, I have to accept some variation on the theme that Messiah came to save us from a negative consequence that's a possibility after this life, that it's something I want to avoid and, unfortunately, that there are people who will end up there. I don't like these, but if I believe in a Creator, I have to believe that as His creation, I have to go by what He says, not by my opinion about what He says.

Along that line of thought, I shared on another thread a couple days ago the conversation we had at my Wednesday night Bible class. The class is led by an older African-American woman with significant life experience, and, as a result, is attended by many from minority racial backgrounds as well plain old WASPS like me. We got into a conversation about how God obviously was a part of Abimelech's life. (Genesis 20). Abimelech was not of Abraham's family - he was Abraham's adversary in this case. But Abimelech knew he was hearing from God and knew God had moral expectations of him. In addition, when God promised Canaan to Abraham, he said that it was not time during Abraham's life because the Amorites' time wasn't up yet (Genesis 15). For Him to be able to place moral expectations and judgments on the Amorites, He must have been a part of their culture, too, somehow. We concluded that we can't know where and with whom God is working. Could he have been working with people all over the globe before Christ's birth, and extended salvation to them as well as people like Noah and Abraham - sons of pagans who turned to follow Him? I don't see why not. The evangelical view certainly puts God in a box, and that's a dangerous thing to do.

Incidentally, this is why I believe faith and not works truly is the standard for salvation. If salvation hinges on getting the Sabbath right, then people outside of Jerusalem are screwed. If correctly timing the Holy Days and new moon is part of salvation, then what if it's clear in Tarsus but cloudy in Des Moines? Of if waving the sheaf on the proper day... well, what if you're in the wrong hemisphere for fresh wheat at that time? Now what? The majority of folks throughout history were illiterate, so if getting the right interpretation of critical passages is a factor, well, they couldn't read, and even if they could, well, it wasn't in their language.

This is why I think that salvation by faith, through grace, is the only thing that makes sense.

Connie Schmidt said...

QUESTION FOR IAN-

Did Charlie Manson , or even the NAZIS ever believe , teach or do true and nice things for people? If that is correct, (which it almost certainly is), then should we look to Charlie or the NAZIS as a source of truth for all manner of things "minus the bad stuff"?

IS "Charlie Mansonism" or NAZISM stripped of all of its bad things, and its "obscurantism and fanaticism" worth embracing? Is it logical to even ponder such a question?

There are doctrines that are true. I believe in the Sabbath Day and many others. But one cannot put "new wine" into "old wine skins". True doctrines must be looked at independently of the Armstrong culture , opinion and its trappings. I think Ronald Dart , who never made any excuses for the two Armstrongs came as close as possible to doing this. His opinion of the WCG?... The biggest failure of a church since the first century.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Ian is dealing with the U.S. brand of Protestantism, which tends to be more self-centered and thoughtless, I think, than the European variety. U.S. Protestants have often detached themselves not only from worldwide Christianity, but from their history as part of it. The resulting thought vacuum makes them easy to caricature.

The Painful Truth said...

Ian put the crack pipe down and get some help for you addiction. You won't be happy until you lead a reformed armstrong church. That is a problem not only for you but the stupid fools who would follow you into such an endeavor. Just come out with it and say that you wish to replace old Herbie.

Anonymous said...

As an ex CGI member who loved CGI before GTA sins ruined and split it. I find Ian Boynes writing and openness of going on this website fascinating. I appreciate the honesty of his looking back on how GTA reformed it but didn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
I liked the way he mentions Ron Dart. For to CgI members who were around then GTA was the suarve president styleleader of CGI but Ron Dart was very much loved and respected by the brethren, he was the heart of the organisation.
I disagree with the word Armstrongisim, this was never mentioned in CGI. I wonder if Ian BOyne is aware of Ron Dart saying in sermons in his latter years how we must leave armstrongisim behind but bring God's beliefs. Not Changing our beliefs merely leaving Armstrongisim to an bygone past and moving forward, for we were born to win.

Steve D said...

He said that he couldn't believe in a God who send people to an ever burning hell simply because they never heard the Gospel. This is not what many orthodox Christians believe. We are saved by grace through faith. Those who act in faith on the light that they have (didn't Paul say that everyone knows right from wrong, the law is written in their hearts?) will be saved. The only ones who are lost, as I understand it, are those who willingly and knowingly reject the light they have been given. Children, the aborted, mentally ill, mentally disabled are all saved. As for the "burning in hell" idea, I understand that there are degrees of reward and degrees of punishment. The idea that all who never heard the Gospel are doomed to hell fire forever is not Scriptural. This is my understanding.

Martha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Why is no one interacting with the main point of the post? Bringing up stuff about British Israelism, or asserting that the bible is fiction, or trying to make Paul an opponent of Peter, are all irrelevant!

For those who think this issue is a twig issue, clearly you do not see the implications of the doctrine. Without this teaching, the opponents of the bible would have a real case.

Anonymous said...

Ian, I'm the original "instigator", a UCG member. Your point was blown off by Dennis. But we must deal with the fact that Dennis and many of whom visit this site are very wounded, angry and to a point, hateful humans, who are now "non-believers". Dennis makes no logical sense when he says he doesn't see much difference between burning in a great, painful agony for eternity as apposed to God quickly ending the "life" of a being who has set their mind against the Creator's Plan.

The truth in the Bible, not something HWA created, is that there is more that one resurrection. Now if you haven't proved the is a Creator and you also don't think the Bible is the word of God, the 2nd resurrection, which is clearly spelt out in scripture, this truth is of little consequence.

The main focus of those that have been abused by the leadership, is that "truth" can not come from such defective leaders. Your point and mind is that this Truth of a Loving God, despite the flawed leaders and the horrible history of mankind's suffering, is from the Bible. You don't need a HWA, GTA or any other human to create it or find this in scripture. It's been there all this time, but hidden by the Evil one who has deceived all humans on this planet.

Do I believe that God used HWA to reveal this truth? Yes. And yes, it's hard to understand how HWA, GTA and their offspring mostly ignored the simple and plain teachings to follow Christ's example of a loving servant. With all the sermons given and the Bible studies, what great deception there was, when the scriptures are quite plain as how a minster is to behave and treat "his" flock.

I don't trust humans and tell people at work not to trust me, because I still make mistakes. They think I'm making a joke and tell them I'm dead serious.

God's greatest miracle will be using His special power to transform a disgusting, flawed clay model into a "God Like" being.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:28, thank you for your reasonable comments. They are appreciated - and spot on.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon 1:28 noted: "Dennis and many of whom visit this site are very wounded, angry and to a point, hateful humans, who are now "non-believers". Dennis makes no logical sense...."

Don't kid yourself into thinking my motivation for theological study and searching out Biblical origins, errancy issues and the politics of the early church is motivated by woundedness, anger and being hate filled. That is both rude and ignorant. One can use an experience as a spring board to searching out a matter more completely, which I have done to my own current satisfaction after more than a decade of consideration.

The no difference I see between ever burning hell and a lake of fire is in the weakness of a god to convince, not in the duration or lack there of. It is the same kind of reasoning that always had me asking why the sacrifice of Jesus was not merely a weekend inconvenience rather than a great sacrifice. If a historical Jesus knew he was coming back better than ever as did his Father in a mere three days, where is the sacrifice in that?

In the OT, every "type" of Jesus sacrifice stayed dead. However, I do realize that without a resurrection story, then what would be so special in that. One could not prove it to be of any more value than any other death. Thus the added drama of resurrection, confirmation of such and ascension, just like every god man before him. Even as a child I wondered by atonement by execution rather than "I forgive you." I guess I just thought as a child.

Lots of humans have died deaths far far more gruesome and drawn out than any Jesus a mere few hours on a cross when even in those days, it was a days long process whose end was to be eaten by dogs. But again, we could not have that could we and thus special pleading for a body to buried with honors. Something Romans simply would not allow for a King of the Jews who threatened Rome. But I spare you.

DennisCDiehl said...

My point in bringing up the Jewish Christian/Gentile Christian, Jameson/Pauline realities is to point out there are far more issues with the NT than just sifting for good WCG and Armstrong views, "minus the bad stuff."

WCG was a Jewish Christian Church as are all the splinters, including CGI. Tkaches leap to the Gentile version is of Paul and any credible Christian Theologian and church historian will tell you so.

DennisCDiehl said...

Have a go with Dr. James Tabor, former AC student, now Chair of Theological studies a University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqAiDOFQSJc&t=262s

Black Ops Mikey said...

Herbert Armstrong was obsessed with prophecy. That is the problem. His articles in the 1930s Bible Advocate made it clear that he was manic on the topic.

And prediction addiction is the result.

No, you can't have a discussion about Armstrongism being authentically Christian without bringing up British Israelism, which Herbert Armstrong used to become a false prophet.

What does the Bible say about false prophets?

In the New Testament, Jesus said avoid false prophets. They are wolves in sheep's clothing. Herbert Armstrong was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Instead of embracing him and his silly ideas he plagiarized from others without understanding much of anything about morals and ethics, let alone Christianity, we were supposed to be wary of him. We weren't supposed to engage with him.

The doctrines from him are so twisted and warped that there is no way to straighten them out and make them benign. They were all a product of a narcissistic selfish mind dedicated to gaining attention to self with the attendant self-aggrandizement.

It's so convenient to just tell us that things like British Israelism are side issues. They aren't. They are fundamental to Herbert Armstrong's prophecies. The prophecies fail. Herbert Armstrong was a false prophet.

Jesus would NOT want us to get his doctrine from a man like Herbert Armstrong, if what the Bible says is true. The example and the works are wrong. It's borne bad fruit.

Now people who make their living on promoting Herbert Armstrong's stuff are trying to take a garbage dump, dress it up, make it appealing and sell it.

It's nonsense.

And if people had the COURAGE, INTEGRITY and HONESTY they would admit it is false doctrine by any Scriptural measure.

The thing is, when people stop looking at for the truth and refuse to admit they are wrong, they will usually end up in a cult, just like the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia.

There's no real excuse for that: It's dishonest and delusional.

Anonymous said...

1.28 PM
It's you as well as Dennis that have blown off course. It's true that abusive ministers can teach truth, but the problem is that in Herbies church, such behaviour was institutionalized. It is inherent in Herbs 'government is everything' and de facto Roman Catholic form of church government, with Herb being the pope. Of what value is truth, if you are robbed of your rights and adulthood by the ministers. You, like many posters here, regard minister abuse as a abstract concept, denying it real world consequences.

Black Ops Mikey said...

Trying to 'spiff up' Armstrongism to make it into Christianity is like putting lipstick on a pig.

Unless or until the CGI takes down all the false prophecies from Herbert Armstrong passed through Garner Ted Armstrong, replete with British Israelism, Ian Boyne can have absolutely no credibility as a CGI minister.

Get rid of the junk and maybe there would be something viable to show.

But if you get rid of all the junk, it's going to look awfully barren.

You might as well order that lipstick now....

Anonymous said...

1.28 PM. Viewing humans as 'disgusting, flawed clay model,' is how bullies regard other people. It's the 'I'm OK, you're not OK' life quadrant. Why don't you go tell your work boss and the people at work, that they are all disgusting? And in the sense that people in your workplace are using the word trust, yes they should trust you. Ministers teaching members to reject earned self trust, is another example of these churches tearing members down for the sake of increasing minister power. Minister power lust is insatiable.

NO2HWA said...

Part 1

Here is some background information that may, or may not, be relevant to Ian Boyne’s recent post:

This is from “Wrong HWA Theology” of which there were 16 points (I don’t know why I stopped at 16).

Regards from Yes and No to HWA


1 Peter 4:17 is God’s chastisement of the Church
Against:

"And the apostle Peter mentioned (1 Pet. 4:17) that the JUDGEMENT had begun with the Church. Those God has called to come to him through Jesus Christ during this Church age have been here and now judged, during this life. But judgment has not yet come to the world... "Following the millennial reign of Christ and the Church on earth, however, shall come the time of God’s JUDGMENT on this world..." (Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, pp.351-52).

For:

1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

"7 Talking about the final judgment and their vindication at it is far from wishful thinking for Peter, for "the end of all things is near." The phrase itself is unique, but its sense is clear. Jesus in the Gospels says that "the one enduring to the end will be saved" (Matt. 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13) and that before this end certain events must happen (Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9). Similar terminology for the close of the age is echoed by Paul (1 Cor. 10:11; 15:24) and John (Rev. 2:26). The phrase used here points to this linear concept of history in the NT and therefore the end of this historical age with all that is associated with it (therefore, "the end of all things"). This end is "near," that is, about to happen (cf. Matt. 26:45-46; Mark 14:42, where the term is used for an event that happened within a few minutes or hours). This sense of the impending eschaton (with all the suffering and deliverance associated with it) is well known in the NT..." (Peter H. Davids, the First Epistle of Peter, NICNT, pp.155-156).

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

"4:12 / Dear friends signals the beginning of a new section, as Peter returns to the subject of suffering... That a painful trial [NIV] should come to those who have committed their lives to God’s safe keeping should not cause surprise...

"The painful trial is less dramatic rendering than the Greek warrants, for the expression suggests an ordeal by fire - a purifying in a furnace (a "fiery trial," KJV). Evidently Peter had heard of some experience of suffering his readers were facing beyond what might be expected in the course of their everyday life among unsympathetic pagans, who naturally disliked people who were different. It could possibly indicate some form of more or less official persecution" (Norman Hillyer, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude, NIBC, p.130).

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

"4:17 / Peter returns to the them of divine judgment (4:5-6). That judgment is imminent. The last times are here. Furthermore, and this may have come as a surprise to Peter’s readers in view of all they were already going through, the judgment will begin with the family of God. Christians are not exempt. But what is the purpose behind the judgment of believers? Peter has touched on this at the beginning of his letter: it is to refine faith, for faith in God’s sight is infinitely precious. On the human level, even gold has to go through the crucible (1:7)...

Anonymous said...

Part 2

"The judgment that begins at the house of God will mean a refining of God’s people (Mal. 3:3). No purifying process can be painless, but believers can take heart from the knowledge that all that they suffer has an end, a goal: it is for their ultimate good in the purposes of God (Rom 8:18)..." (Norman Hillyer, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude, NIBC, p.133).

"17. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God puts verses 12 to 16 in a broader theological context. ‘What is going on in the world?’ the readers might wonder. ‘Why are God’s people suffering and evildoers going unpunished?’ Peter explains that the ‘fiery ordeal’, or ‘refining fire’, of verse 12 is really a fire of God’s judgment. Yet this word for judgment (krima) does not necessarily mean ‘condemnation’ (which would be katakrima) but is a broader term which can refer to a judgment which results in good and bad evaluations, a judgment which may issue in approval or discipline as wall as condemnation. The picture is that God has begun judging within the church, and will later move outward to judge those outside the church. The refining fire of judgment is leaving no one untouched, but Christians are being purified and strengthened by it - sins are being eliminated and trust in God and holiness of life are growing.

"The translation household of God emphasizes the family-like nature of the church. But this translation seems hardly justifiable in terms of the Greek phrase oikos tou theou (‘house of God’). Dennis Johnson [‘Fire in God’s House: Imagery from Malachi 3 in Peter’s Theology of Suffering (1 Peter 4:12-19)’ JETS 29:3 (Sept, 1986), pp.291-292. O Michel says, ‘oikos theou is a fixed term for the sanctuary in the LXX; (TDNT 5, p.120)] has argued persuasively that this phrase in the LXX never refers to the ‘household’ of God’s people, but always to the Temple, the ‘house of God’ in terms of the building in which God dwells. Thus, it is likely that it should be translated ‘house of God’ here as well.

"This argument gains support when we recall Peter’s only other use of the word oikos, ‘house’, in 2:5: ‘Coming to him, you are being built into a spiritual house’... Moreover, the text literally reads not with but ‘from’ (apo): ‘The time has come for judgment to begin from the house of God.’

Eze 9:1 He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.

Eze 9:4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

Eze 9:5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:

Eze 9:6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

Eze 9:7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

Eze 9:8 And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?

Eze 9:9 Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.

Eze 9:10 And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.

Anonymous said...

Part 3

Eze 9:6 So they began from [archomai apo] the men the elders [presbyteroi] who were within in the house [oikos] (LXX).

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin from [archomai apo] at the house [oikos] of God:

1Pe 5:1 The elders [presbyteroi] which are among you I exhort...

"Such a translation allows Johnson correctly to see this verse in light of two other Old Testament passages, Ezekiel 9 and Malachi 3. Ezekiel 9 pictures the Lord calling to ‘the executioners’ of judgment to ‘draw near’ (9:1) to bring judgment on Jerusalem for its horrible sins. One messenger of God puts a mark on the forehead of all those who were found to ‘sigh and groan’ over the ‘abominations’ committed in Jerusalem (9:4-5). Then the executioners’ of judgment are told to kill all who do not have the mark on their foreheads (9:5-6). Significantly, God tells the executioners, ‘Begin from [I have given my own translation of the LXX here, to bring out the verbal parallels with 1 Peter 4:17] my sanctuary,’ and Ezekiel adds, ‘So they began from the elders who were inside the house’ (9:6). The words ‘begin from’, used twice here, are the same words Peter uses to say that it is time for judgment to ‘begin from (archomai apo) the house of God. ‘House’ (oikos) is also the same word in both places. Both 1 Peter 4:17 and Ezekiel 9:6 have mention of God’s glory before and after them (1 Peter 4:14 and 5:1; Ezk. 9:3 and 10:4). Finally, whereas Ezekiel’s judgment begins with ‘the elders’ who are in God’s house, Peter begins his next section of admonition, ‘Therefore, I exhort the elders among you ...’ (5:1; the word for ‘elders’ is presbyteroi in both cases. It seems very likely that the judgment scene of Ezekiel 9 is in Peter’s mind when he writes, indicating that God’s judgment will begin with God’s house (now the church;... and then spread outward to destroy unbelievers.

Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Mal 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:

Mal 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

"But the mention of the ‘fiery ordeal’ or ‘refining fire’ (v. 12) which does not destroy but purifies God’s people calls to mind a second Old Testament passage, whose vivid imagery may have been joined with that of Ezekiel 9 as Peter wrote. Malachi 3 predicts that the Lord himself ‘will suddenly come to his temple’ as ‘the messenger of the covenant’ who is like a refiner’s fire’ (3:1-2; ‘fire’ is pur in the LXX, not the same word but a related word to pyrosis, ‘refining fire’, in Peter 4:12). Malachi adds, ‘he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD’ (Mal. 3:3); ‘Then I will draw near to you for judgment ...’ (on unbelievers: Mal. 3:5).

Anonymous said...

Part 4

"Johnson rightly points out that though Peter’s language may have been more influenced by Ezekiel 9, the concepts in 1 Peter 4:12-19 are closer to the picture of Malachi 3: the Lord himself is acting as a refining fire, purifying the priests (‘the sons of Levi’; cf: 1 Pet. 2:5, 9), so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the Lord (cf. 1 Pet. 2:5). Then the judgment which began at God’s house (the temple, Mal. 3:1) will move from there to unbelievers, no longer as a purifying fire but as a judgment of condemnation - which brings us back to 1 Peter 4:17: ‘For the time has come for judgment to begin with the house of God; and if it begins with (Greek ‘from’, apo) us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?’ ‘The thought is simply: "If the purifying fire of God’s eschatological visitation ... entails, for those united to Christ, such anguish as Peter’s readers are undergoing, what shall the consummation of that purifying divine presence mean for those who have rejected God’s good news - if not a conflagration of utter destruction?"’ [Johnson, art. Cit., p.292].

"The application of this passage to Peter’s readers should be clear: if the Lord is already in the midst of his new temple (i.e. his people), they should ‘not be surprised at the refining fire which comes among you (Greek en humin, ‘in the midst of you’) to prove you ... the Spirit of glory and of God is resting upon you’ (vv. 12, 14). He is the ‘messenger of the covenant in whom you delight’ (Mal. 3:1), so that they can ‘rejoice’ (v.13) in his presence. But with him also comes a refining fire, and they must purify themselves of all iniquities in order to avoid the pain of his disciplining judgment, even while they continue trusting him who alone can enable them to stand before himself (v.19).

"[Readers of less literal modern translations, in particular the NIV and TEV, have no chance of discovering these OT parallels which make the passage understandable, for the two key terms have lost in translation which only contain generally related ideas: ‘purifying fire’ has become ‘painful trial’ in the NIV in v.12, with the ideas of ‘fire’ totally lost; and ‘house of God’ has become ‘family of God’ in v.17...]

1Pe 4:17a and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

"18. This verse has the same theme, but expressed this time in words taken directly from Proverbs 11:31 (LXX): ‘If the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the impious and sinner appear?’ The fire of God’s holiness is so intense that even the righteous feel pain in its discipline. The impious (a godless person, a person without true reverence for God) and sinner will, by implication, find it to be a fire of eternal destruction" (Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, TNTC, pp.181-84).

Anonymous said...

Part 5

Last Great Day does not picture the White Throne Judgment

Mt 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Mt 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

2Pe 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

Against:

"Did you notice that the Feast of Tabernacles is only the sixth festival? There is another - the seventh!...

"What does this final day represent?...

"This is the judgment day mentioned in Matthew 10:15. It is the time when the Gentiles who died in ignorance will be given an opportunity to receive salvation... Even those in Israel who died in their sins will be given their first opportunity to understand the truth of God and His way (Ezek. 37)..." (Herbert W. Armstrong, Pagan Holiday - or God’s Holy Days - Which? p.55).

For:

"The two Sabbaths may picture the Millennium and the Eternal Rest" (William Macdonald, Believer's Bible Commentary).

[The above sentence should read "the two holy days may..." - holy days are not Sabbaths; or better, “the two Shabbatons may picture...”]

Rev 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

It is suggested that the Last Great Day pictures the goal/realization of God’s plan.

Jn 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst [dipsao], let him come unto me, and drink.

Jn 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living [zao] water.

Rev 7:17 For the Lamb ... and shall lead them unto living fountains [pege] of waters...

Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst [dipsao] of the fountain [pege] of the water of life [zoe] freely.

Rev 22:17b Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Anonymous said...

Part 6

"The "I" of v6c makes it clear that God is the one who makes living water freely available to the thirsty, whereas in Rev 7:17 it is the Lamb who leads people to the fountains of living water. The same combinations of motif (the invitation to the thirsty to come and drink [freely]; the well of living water) also occurs in Rev 22:17, John 7:37-38, and Odes Sol. 30:1-2...

"The combination of the invitation to drink (without cost) and the mention of living waters links these four passages and suggests a traditional formulation in three versions: (1) Rev 21:6 and 22:17 are similar versions of the same tradition and are relatively close to Isa 55:1. (2) Ode Sol. 30:1-2 omits the "without cost, freely motif and reverse the two motives found in Rev 21:6 and 22:17. (3) John 7:37-38, which also omits the "without cost, freely" motif, contains the two motives found in Rev 21:6 and 22:17 in the proper order..." (David E. Aune, Revelation 17-22, WBC, pp.1127-28).

(What also makes this interesting is that is the same writer of both books).

Mk 14:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover ["when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb" (NIV)], his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?

"14:12 the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Ordinarily this would mean the 15th of Nisan, the day after Passover (see note on v. 1). However, the added phrase, "when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb," makes it clear that the 14th of Nisan is meant because Passover lambs were killed on that day (Ex 12:6). The entire eight-day celebration was sometimes referred to as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and there is evidence that the 14th of Nisan may have been loosely referred to as the "first day of Unleavened Bread" " (The NIV Study Bible).

Lev 23:39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath [shabbaton], and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath [shabbaton].

Jn 7:37a In the last day, that great day of the feast...

"When one has finished his last meal [on the seventh day of the Festival] he may not take apart his sukkah. However, he may remove his [beautiful] utensils [from the sukkah into his house] from the afternoon onwards in honor of [Shemini Atzeret,] the last day of the Festival" (emishnah.com/moed2/Sukkah/4.pdf).

"... as also that when we should arrive at our own country, and come to that city which should have them for our metropolis, because of the temple therein to be built, and keep a festival for eight days..." (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3.245.

It is suggested that as the day that preceded the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread had by custom came to be called the "first day of unleavened bread," the day that succeeded the seven day Feast of Tabernacles had by custom to be referred to as the ‘last day ... of the feast of Tabernacles’.

Anonymous said...

Part 7

Jn 7:37a the last day, the great [megas] of the feast...

Jn 19:31 for great [megas] was the day of that Sabbath.

When looking at the literal Greek there is some similarities in the above phrases.

In John 19 the Sabbath was also an annual holy day - the Sabbath was ‘great’ in that the first holy day of Unleavened Bread fell on the Sabbath in the year Christ died.

The similarities may imply that the "last day" of John 7 was also ‘great’ because it was a holy day - the last holy day of the sacred year.

Rev 21:3a And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,

This suggestion may be bolstered when complemented with the ‘great’ day - when there is no more night (22:5) - when God’s plan has come to fruition:

Rev 21:3b and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Hence the symbolism of not tabernacling in temporary dwellings on the eighth day. (Temporary dwellings for God: (Eden/Garden of Eden), Mosaic Tabernacle; Solomonic Temple and Ezekielian Temple; (Church as Temple).

Lev 23:42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

Rev 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

Anonymous said...

Part 8

Hysteron proteron

Rev 6:4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

"The hysteron proteron ... is a rhetorical device. It occurs when the first key word of the idea refers to something that happens temporally later than the second key word. The goal is to call attention to the more important idea by placing it first.

"The standard example comes from the Aeneid of Virgil: "Moriamur, et in media arma ruamus" ("Let us die, and charge into the thick of the fight"; ii. 353). An example of hysteron proteron encountered in everyday life is the common reference to putting on one's "shoes and socks", rather than "socks and shoes"."

"There is a good example from the Quran that demonstrates hysteron proteron, Aya number 89-90 from Sura Number 21 from the Quran says that God granted Zechariah’s prayer for a son, even though Zechariah was very old and his wife was sterile:

"We granted his prayer and gave him John, and we made his wife fertile for him." Quran(89-90, 21)

"The sequence, one feels, should have been: We granted his prayer; we made his wife fertile for him; and [having done so] we gave him John. The reversal of the expected sequence (hysteron proteron) in the verse suggests immediacy: Zechariah’s prayer was granted without any delay at all, so much so that the detail itself, "We made his wife fertile for him," was not allowed to intervene between the prayer and its acceptance" (Wikipedia).

Rev 20:12a And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God

Rev 20:13a And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them

"The modern reader will ... wonder how it is possible to narrate the final judgment of the dead v 12 though their "resurrection" is not mentioned until v 13... it is ... possible that this is another instance of his use of hysteron-proteron, i,e., the arrangement of events in the reverse of their logical order..." (David E, Aune, Revelation 17-22, WBC, p.1102).

A possible modern "logical order" of events:

Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Rev 20:13a And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:

Rev 20:12a And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life:

Rev 20:12b and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

(Rev 20:13b and they were judged every man according to their works.)

Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

With John B. Taylor’s observation in mind:

"The overthrow of Gog and his forces is here retold in different language and in fuller detail. This is typical of Hebrew poetical writing which is used in these oracles. It is fond of repetition and delights to revert to previous statements and enlarge on them, even though the result is to destroy all sense of consecutive arrangement" (Ezekiel, TOTC, p.247).

Anonymous said...

This is all I have to say to Ian:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153170629449110&set=a.10150421357009110.376445.809964109&type=3&theater

Allen C. Dexteer

Byker Bob said...

Ian has cited the mercifulness of the spiritual eternal penalty taught by Armstrongism as being the primary reason for Armstrongism's superiority as a theology.

Simply stated, this difference is based on belief as to the temporary or eternal nature of the soul.

If Armstrongism is the correct system, and if eternal Armstrongism is a Christian's reward, then I am grateful that there is an opportunity to opt out via the lake of fire. Eternal death is no punishment at all.

Fortunately, having read the Bible objectively, and in context, I believe there is something much better to which to look forward. When something has true value, the stakes are generally higher.

BB

Byker Bob said...

There is a reason why theologically sound churches are very cautious about deriving doctrine from prophecy. All prophecy comes with the proviso that if the subjects repent, or partially repent, the prophecy either will not come to pass, or might become modified or muted. This is also why dates can't be assigned. Inherent in prophecy is the principle that a credible warning must go out, that is both heard and understood. Otherwise, the subjects do not have the opportunity to change, and to avoid the very serious penalties.

Unlike most Christian churches of the latter half of the twentieth century, Armstrongism was largely based on prophecy. Obviously, it was pretentious in the understanding it provided of those prophecies, and has never quite figured out what went wrong, or what has prevented its understanding of those prophecies to actually take place.

The churches that have concentrated on teaching Christian living principles, promoting and preserving goodness, have actually done more to prevent the prophecies from kicking in. All that Armstrongism ever did was to gloat in its eliteness and to say "Ha ha ha! This is what is going to happen to you, and here is God's date for that!"

BB

Anonymous said...

I read about 3 paragraphs and just had to stop.

First of all, how anybody can study epistemology for 40 years and remain religious is beyond me. In order to be religious, your epistemology has to be shit. How can anybody study epistemology for 40 years and still not know the first thing about it?

Oh, and sure, minus its obscurantism and fanaticism, absent its errors, corruption, authoritarianism, abuse and exploitation, sure, sure, after he's stripped all THAT out, THEN maybe it could be superior to mainstream christianity. Certainly not before, however.

But after having stipulated so many provisos, that's not Armstrongism anymore. He's just propped up a straw man of Armstrongism, a purely theoretical construct, with which he can then knock down the rest of christendom so that so that a institutional atrocity is the last man standing, and in relative sort of way, transforms something objectively toxic into something that sounds sort of good?

Sure, minus the ricin, castor beans could be superior to all other beans. Regardless of what argument I make for them, eat a dozen or two and you'll still be dead.

See folks, this is the kind of bait-and-switch Armstrongist apologists have to engage in to defend the indefensible. What a waste of cyberspace.

Byker Bob said...

One thing is certain. Unless one has the IQ of a soil sample, the more you learn or "know", the more questions and possibilities are raised. It is a never ending process that makes it impossible to lock into the binary thinking involved in one reading or interpretation of a philosophy. Yet this is the very lock which Armstrongism attempts to impose. And, it is amazing the level to which they are successful in imposing that limitation on some folks.

BB

Anonymous said...

10.42 AM
The Christian bible has the correct epistemology with its 'you shall know them by their fruits.' However tradition Christianity which Herbie heavily plagiarized, does not. It believes in existence without consciousness, hence is anti mind and anti thinking. So Herbie members were expected to blindly believe Herbie and his ministers, with bible quoting reduced to nothing more than window dressing. Expecting blind unquestioning obedience is a psychopathic trait, as is much of Herbie church culture.

Arno said...

I read Ian's post, as well as all the comments so far, with great interest, and marvelled at the example/s used, i.e. Hell/Lake of Fire doctrine as an example of HWA's "progressive" theolocal/philosophical thinking...

Ian made another rather interesting statement:

"... I could never, like some who have gone back to orthodox Christianity, go back to the barbaric and repulsive belief that a loving God would create a hell to burn people for all eternity—most of whom never even had an opportunity to learn about him. Notice how abominable this doctrine---strongly rejected by Armstrong—really is ..."

As I read I was surprised that no one touched on the backwards, primitive and pagan idea of atonement / substitution, of some godman dying on behalf of humanity so that they could somehow be in good standing with the Creator, except for Dennis. I mean, IMO the two doctrines go hand in hand when one is to assess the character and morals of the biblical god, instead of singling out the hell-fire mythos. I consider the bible god also beyond cruel and morally corrupt as to his imagined intentions with a lake of fire cum hell, even more so when considering the fable of a substitute sacrifice of one absolutely moral and blameless man on our behalf so that we may be in good standing with said god!

[continued in next post]

Arno said...

The God of the Universe (not the biblical charicature) had nothing to do with instigating the barbarous behavior of those supposedly civilized humans who so brutally tortured Jesus of Nazareth and so horribly heaped succesive indignities upon his nonresisting person.

It was man and not God who planned and executed the death of Jesus on the cross/stake/tree/whatever.

It behooves us to stand still and consider carefully, come to realise once and for all, that God's character is righteous in all his ways. The justice of the Universal Father cannot be influenced by the acts and performances of his creatures, for there is no iniquity with the Lord God, no respect of persons, no taking of gifts.

When once we grasp the idea of God as a true and loving Father, the only concept which Jesus ever taught, we must forthwith, in all consistency, utterly abandon all those primitive notions of God as an offended monarch, a stern and all-powerful ruler whose chief delight is to detect his subjects in wrongdoing and to see that they are adequately punished, unless some being almost equal to himself should volunteer to suffer for them, to die as a substitute and in their stead. The whole idea of ransom and atonement and eternal torture in hell or cremation in some firy lake, is incompatible with the concept of God as it was taught and exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth. The infinte love of God is not secondary to anything in his divine nature.

All this concept of atonement and sacrificial salvation is rooted and grounded in selfishness. Jesus taught that SERVICE to ones fellows is the highest concept of the brotherhood of spirit believers. Salvation should be taken for granted by those who believe in the fatherhood of God. The believers chief concern should not be the selfish desire for personal salvation but rather the unselfish urge to love and, therefore, serve ones fellows even as Jesus loved and served mortal men.

Neither do genuine believers trouble themselves so much about the future punishment of sin. The real believer is only concerned about present separation from God. True, wise parents may discipline their children, but they do all this in love and for corrective purposes. They do not punish in anger, neither do they discipline in retribution.

Even if God were the stern and legal monarch of a universe in which justice ruled supreme, he certainly would not be satisfied with the childish scheme of substituting an innocent sufferer for a guilty offender or annihilation in a firy pond. I' totally in agreement with Dennis, that a heartfelt, "I'm SO sorry, please excuse/forgive me" should be more than enough for any allwise and understanding, compassionate Deity. I mean, I'm but a human being and such an approach is good enough for me :)

[continued...]

Arno said...

The sense of guilt (not the consciousness of sin) comes either from interrupted spiritual communion or from the lowering of ones moral ideals. Deliverance from such a predicament can only come through the realization that ones highest moral ideals are not necessarily synonymous with the will of God. Man cannot hope to live up to his highest ideals, but he can be true to his purpose of finding God and becoming more and more like him.

Jesus swept away all of the ceremonials of sacrifice and atonement. He destroyed the basis of all this fictitious guilt and sense of isolation in the universe by declaring that man is a child of God; the creature-Creator relationship was placed on a child-parent basis. God becomes a loving Father to his mortal sons and daughters. All ceremonials not a legitimate part of such an intimate family relationship are forever abrogated.

God the Father deals with man, his child, on the basis, not of actual virtue or worthiness, but in recognition of the childs motivation the creature purpose and intent. The relationship is one of parent-child association and is actuated by divine love.

It just don't make any sense to think that God had to be coaxed into loving his children because of some personal human sacrifice Jesus had to endure! What then to make of thoughts such as that God would "have all men be saved by coming into the knowledge of the truth (HIS truth and not Armstrong's, if you please.)

What a travesty upon the infinite character of God, when we cling to these childish, pagan doctrines of sacrificial atonement and eternal punishment in some pagan hell or biblical firy lake; this teaching that his fatherly heart in all its austere coldness and hardness was so untouched by the misfortunes and sorrows of his creatures that his tender mercies was not forthcoming UNTIL he saw his blameless Son bleeding and dying on the cross of the Place of the Skull!

God is inherently kind, naturally compassionate, and everlastingly merciful. And never is it necessary that any influence be brought to beat upon the Father to call forth his loving- kindness. The creature's need is wholly sufficient to ensure the full flow of the Father's tender mercies and his saving grace. Since God knows all about his children, it is oh so easy for him to forgive. The better we understand our neighbours, the easier it will be to forgive them, even to love them.

No need for the gracious Father to be persuaded to love his lowly creatures and to show mercy to the wrongdoers of time. How wrong to envisage the Eternal Son as appealing to the Universal Father to show mercy to his lowly creatures on the material worlds of space! Such concepts of God are crude and grotesque. Rather should we realize that all the merciful ministrations of our Sovereign Lord, are a direct revelation of the Father's heart of universal love and infinite compassion.

Righteousness implies that God is the source of the moral law of the universe. Truth exhibits God as a revealer, as a teacher. But love gives and craves affection, seeks understanding fellowship such as exists between parent and child. Righteousness may be the divine thought, but love is a fathers attitude. The erroneous supposition that the righteousness of God was irreconcilable with the selfless love of the heavenly Father, presupposed absence of unity in the nature of Deity and led directly to the elaboration of the atonement doctrine, which is a philosophic assault upon both the unity and the free-willness of God.



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Arno said...

The affectionate heavenly Father, whose spirit indwells his children on earth, is not a divided personality one of justice and one of mercy neither does it require a mediator to secure the Fathers favor or forgiveness. Divine righteousness is not dominated by strict retributive justice; God as a father transcends God as a judge.

Jesus lived a life which is a revelation of man submitted to the Father’s will, not an example for any man literally to attempt to follow. This life in the flesh, together with his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, presently became a new gospel, of Paul, of the ransom which had thus been paid in order to purchase man back from the clutch of the evil one—from the condemnation of an offended God.
And then, in closing, for those fundamentalist biblicists, the following to chew over:

"The adherents of this cult [Mithraism] worshiped in caves and other secret places, chanting hymns, mumbling magic, eating the flesh of the sacrificial animals, and drinking the blood. Three times a day they worshiped, with special weekly ceremonials on the day of the sun-god and with the most elaborate observance of all on the annual festival of Mithras, December twenty-fifth. It was believed that the partaking of the sacrament ensured eternal life, the immediate passing, after death, to the bosom of Mithras, there to tarry in bliss until the judgment day. On the judgment day the Mithraickeys of heaven would unlock the gates of Paradise for the reception of the faithful; where￾upon all the unbaptized of the living and the dead would be annihilated upon the return of Mithras to earth. It was taught that, when a man died, he went before Mithras for judgment, and that at the end of the world Mithras would summon all the dead from their graves to face the last judgment. The wicked would be destroyed by fire, and the righteous would reign with Mithras forever." -- The Cult of Mithras

We will be so much better off, so much wiser, if only we will dare to THINK and REASON for OURSELVES instead of slavishly following the reasonings of deluded, megalomaniac men who want to enslave you, take your hard earned money, and lord it over you until that kingdom that just NEVER makes an appearance...

NO2HWA said...

Arno wrote

>>>We will be so much better off, so much wiser, if only we will dare to THINK and REASON for OURSELVES instead of slavishly following the reasonings of deluded, megalomaniac men who want to enslave you, take your hard earned money, and lord it over you until that kingdom that just NEVER makes an appearance.<<<

This is exactly why we do what we do here. The Church of God is sinking further and further into madness as more crazy men come forth proclaiming they are God's mouthpiece. Not a single one of them has been. Liars all of them.

Anonymous said...

"...because they were not wicked like Hitler"

For all the talk on this site about thinking for ourselves it continues to amaze me how many people simply ASSUME that all the war rhetoric about Hitler was actually true. Not a shred of evidence has been found to prove any of the media anti-Putin election hijacking rhetoric, and we are not even at war with Russia. Don't people think our system wasn't 100 times as biased when covering Hitler? There was a war that killed 80 million people and no way were we going to take a single shred of blame. It all went on Hitler.

It is also very unchristian Ian to spread false allegations based on kangeroo-court testimony extracted under torture.