Friday, June 9, 2017

The Passivity of Church of God Members

Does this not sound like a typical Church of God member?  We all did this at one point in time.
The problem with many Christians in our day is their attitude toward the Bible.  They will read their Bible, not expecting to be taught of God from it, but will get their teaching from their pastors, preachers, and commentaries, and then go to the Bible only expecting to find proof for what they have already been taught!  (The sad part is that many of these religious cult leaders will actually put their stamp of approval on such passivity).  

The problem begins when one comes across a passage of scripture which would seem to contradict what they have been taught.  How many of us at times such as these reach for our commentaries or run back to our “pastors” or “elders” and ask them to explain the verse to us rather than calling out to God for help and wisdom.  What do you think your “pastor” will tell you?  

You already know what answer they will give.  That’s why you run to them! 

This is NOT how it should be.  Each Christian has a command from God to "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15. 

Every Christian needs to ask themselves if they know for sure why they believe what they profess to believe, and to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." 1 Peter 3:15

The fact that so many in our day accept a teaching or practice just because it comes from my church or “my pastor” is very troubling in light of the apostle Paul's words: 

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.  
Acts 20:29-31

The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. 1 timothy 4:1

The apostle Peter warns of the same: 

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." 2 Peter 2:1-2 

How many times has the Lord Himself warned over and again of false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

They all knew that apostasy would creep into the church very shortly after their departure.  Even a rudimentary study of church history will show that this is exactly what took place.  Christianity absorbed more and more from its surrounding cultures and religions until the pure stream of Truth was thoroughly polluted.  

What is most troubling about this is the average Christian’s reluctance and ambivalence in asking questions about the issues of some of their teachings and practices.  This satanic brainwashing and buffoonery has deceived, and IS deceiving millions of unknowing, often unthinking people into actually believing that:

Obeying your Pastor is the same as obeying God!

- That “going to Church” is the highest form of worship and is commanded by God!

- That all of your spiritual leaders are clothed with divine authority!

- And that when it comes to a marital issue, a wife is to listen to and follow her Pastor’s counsel, rather than her own husband!

Indeed, the wolves have been placed in charge of the hen house, and are doing their best to keep the hens ignorant of the slaughter of Truth that is going on.   

In the Church of God, it is cool to be passive.  Let Bob Thiel, James Malm, Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, Vic Kubik and Jim Franks think for you.  It is so much easier.  No decisions have to be made. No wallowing in the areas of doubt and questions.  No contemplating the gray areas of life.


Anonymous said...

There is more than a grain of truth in this. One example of this is Lev 23:9-14 concerning the Wave Sheaf offering from which we measure to Pentecost.
For years I have realised that this offering which scripture states is to be kept as a statute throughout your generations forever points to a Sunday Resurrection service.
Not a Holy day but a coming together and if you believe in the three days and three nights in the grave this can only have taken place on the first day of the week.
We should be observing it as indeed I do.
Its not the service itself I'm highlighting but the resistance to it I have found among the Churches of God members. Their view is as HWA never taught it they wont believe it and unless a recognised and trusted COG authority does teach it they are not interested. Its sad because there is very little independent thinking, no thinking outside of the box, no recognition that when life's experience teaches you a different story to what you have learnt that you need to perhaps readapt ones thinking.
Armstrongism isn't just about a set of beliefs but about a way of thinking. It is narrow, dogmatic, purile, arrogant, everything is seen in terms of black and white,never any areas of grey. The passivity you write about is indeed evident in the lack of independence of thinking,poor education and no willingness to investigate the facts.
The danger here is that you cannot put new wine into old wineskins otherwise the wineskins will burst. We desperately need to have supple wineskins to have the wisdom and maturity to recognise truth from error, right from wrong, holy from the profane and to embrace the positives otherwise we will be going nowhere as is indeed already evident in the COG groups.
Never mind the Ministry but we need to be guided by the promptings of the Spirit of God according to the Scriptures.

Anonymous said...

My comment is perhaps off-topic, but needs to be said. When I was 19 back in 1987 I began attending WCG and did so up until 1990. In that year I had asked for baptism and obviously by their rules I had to be counciled. The minister talked down to me and made me feel lower than a pile of dung. After he said he was not going to baptize me, I attempted suicide, I became an alcoholic and began sleeping around. Now, after all those years I am still an alcoholic and still sleep around and I still want to die but can't kill my self because I now have children & grandchildren. I stay so depressed that I have to take heavy-duty antidepressants. When I was in Worldwide I alienated nonbelievers that had been in my life. Sometimes I visit this site and rarely if ever comment. But sometimes I see comments on here in which the people seem so hateful and judgemental towards other people who put comments here.

Sweetblood777 said...

People that depend on others to make their decisions, will never be useful to Yahweh in His Kingdom. How can one help others if their own lives are a mess and they themselves never make any decisions?

It is only by making decisions that one learns whether their decision produced good or made a situation worse. The members of these cogs just warm seats, smile, and then depart. They finance an elite group of people that make all their decisions for them.

If they have the Holy Spirit, then when do they exercise it? If the Spirit reveals some truth to them, it is because you are supposed to do something with it. If you are not allowed to discuss it with other members, for it has not been approved by the ministry, then what good is there for you to have the Spirit?

Following an elite that you have paid for, making them your masters, is NOT what Yahshua/Christ intended. In fact, it goes against the teachings of Christ that they are to follow. People in this situation, are doing the same thing that Catholics do. They place a man between them and the Most High. This is the definition of idolatry This is breaking the very first commandment.

DennisCDiehl said...

As noted:

"This is NOT how it should be. Each Christian has a command from God to "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15."

First of all this is not a "command from God." It is an admonition by the author of 2 Timothy (Not actually Paul but someone writing in his name much later). It was a time in church history when "study" did not mean "let's all turn in our Bibles to..." It still meant for the laity to come to the conclusions in the right way that the ministry, Apostles laid out for them. They were the ones giving out the word of truth.

Secondly, in I Cor 1. actually written by Paul, he says the cure for division is for everyone to agree with him for the most part (That's what Galatians 1 makes clear to the point of cursing those who don't agree with Paul)

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,a in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Comment: The reason for consensus on truth was to prevent division (That is not the way to get at reality but it was Paul's way and is to this day as no one goes to the "false church" in their mind nor do they believe false doctrines.) It is IMPOSSIBLE for any group of people to speak the same thing in unity. It also closes the door on better understanding and reality. They all believed "time was short" It cost them and Paul was wrong.

11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.

Comment: Tattlers! ..and nothing new here in groups :)

12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas ”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

Comment: And still to this day

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Comment: No we'd imagine and no

14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius,

15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name.

Comment: Who would think that and why?

16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.)

Comment: Rather he appeals to not having baptized but two or maybe others, he forgets. You'd also think he'd not forget if he baptized one or two others but maybe he had a bad memory.

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.".

Comment: Even though Jesus of the Gospels did send his 12 to baptize the world


Galatians 1:6-9 English Standard Version (ESV)

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—

7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Comment: Than my version

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel CONTRARY TO THE ONE WE PREACHED TO YOU, let him be ACCURSED.

9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be ACCURSED."

Comment: Did Paul really write I Cor 13?

All this to say, passivity in practice for the laity has always been preached by the ministry and division is prevented by all speaking the same thing they get from the leaders who have the inside line to Christ. That's what being "Organized" means and how it is maintained.

Anonymous said...

excellent post...this is something I've been saying for years.

there are far too many who simply take the minister's word for's as if it's not true unless a minister says it.

well, ministers aren't perfect, they make apparently some don't care, they simply preach the party line, no matter if it's true or not...they just want to have a paying gig.

an as for Dennis...I think he just wants to disagree with everything....except his own position....hmmm, the very thing he's accusing Paul of ;-)

Anonymous said...

The passivity of church members doesn't just exist in the church. It's part of todays secular culture, as this writer points out:

A Message to Graduating Students

"It is your capacity to reason that is your most sacred possession. It is reason that is your means of knowledge and your means of living a human–rather than an animal–form of existence. It is your reasoning mind that enables you to be objective and independent–to determine what is true and to repudiate any “social influences” you judge to be wrong. It is only your rational faculty that makes you an individual, and not a mindless, interchangeable member of the herd. To give up reason–for faith, or “instinct,” or emotionalism, or any form of mysticism–is to surrender your life to the beliefs, and the dictates, of others. It is to declare that you do not know how to live–and must be dependent, cognitively and practically, on those who claim they do."

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon: and as for Dennis...I think he just wants to disagree with everything....except his own position....hmmm, the very thing he's accusing Paul of ;-)

And you're a fool in your judgement.

Byker Bob said...

The passivity is learned through brainwashing, and enforced by the doctrine on church authority. There is no intellectual freedom in Armstrongism. Members buy into the package as a unit, without any right to line-item thought or veto. Otherwise, you don't remain a member for long.


Anonymous said...

This site is hateful and judgemental, it will not help you,these people are not our friends, they are only waiting to see the downfall of the Church of God which will not happen, God has a little flock and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it!! Pray, fast, open your bible and seek God..God loves you....that's what I'm doing and I will pray for you. I'm never coming back here.No good will ever come from this

Anonymous said...

according to 1 Peter 3:4 a meek and quiet spirit is precious to God; and if you notice something that is a constant in the bible: God the Father rarely speaks...

i suspect He is the strong silent type; but yet still He rules over all, including Christ, who btw is known as the thinks that is a way of telling us that He is quite gabby, the opposite of the Father...

Anonymous said...

Timothy says 'study to show yourself approved unto God.' Dennis disagrees. No matter that Acts 17.11 tells us that the Berean Jews checked what was said with the scriptures. Dennis also defends the xCOG line that independent study results in division, when its only sincere bible study that gives unity in the truth.
As I've said before, Dennis is a apostate crown stealer.

Retired Prof said...

Anonymous June 10 at 8:11 says, " Dennis also defends the xCOG line that independent study results in division, when its only sincere bible study that gives unity in the truth."

Evidence points to the conclusion that independent "sincere Bible study" does NOT result in "unity in truth." Ever since the printing press made the Bible widely available and the Protestant Reformation encouraged believers to read it independently, Christianity has been multiplying by division. The splintering of Armstrongism is a microcosm of the larger process. We notice it particularly because we were emotionally invested in it, and because the divisions are occurring in such quick succession.

I find it strange that most believers agree that actions speak louder than words, and yet they set far greater store by what their creator is rumored to have said than what he hypothetically did. Couldn't they expect to learn more by trying to figure out the secrets of the universe than by studying a collection of documents, which are hearsay evidence at best? Actual clues to what must have happened are distributed across the universe. Maybe it's actually the scientists studying those clues who will show themselves "approved unto God."

Retired Prof said...

Another thought on whether it makes more sense to believe the text of the Bible or the structure of what we observe around us:

It is a lot easier to forge a document than a universe.

Byker Bob said...

As a Christian, I've found that some of the most difficult people with whom to have amicable discussions are other Christians. Sincerity doesn't have anything to do with it, either, because Christians are mostly trying to do whatever they believe is necessary to please God.

But, there is branding amongst the Christian Churches. Some base themselves on Father God (Old Covenant types), some on Jesus Christ (grace-based), and others on the Holy Spirit (gifts, ie Pentecostals). Some believe in living by example, others in evangelizing everybody and their mother and their dog. Some follow supposedly great teachers, some emphasize Paul and some Jesus. Then there is Jesus the Jew, Jesus the reformer of Judaism, and Jesus whose life and death ushered in a completely different covenant and system.

The problem enters when one individual or group (and most of them do) insist on "one size fits all, rather than the custom-tailored approach specific to the needs and makeup of each individual.

And, we haven't even begun to address the many issues which occur as a result of people basing their evangelism upon prophecy!

All of this "stuff" appears to need to be designed for each individual, his or her level of intelligence, talents, proclivities, psychological makeup, etc., and to actually work in a wide variety of permutations. If, by unity, we mean reducing the scope to one enforceable size fits all, we lose the beauty and detail, the individual insights, and the process of life and experience ordained by God when He made all of us distinct (not generic) individuals, all with specific talents and purposes.

So often, we humans (Christians are not the only ones who do this!) lose the beauty of life by attempting to systematize it into uniform boxes which suit our own needs to understand or our convenience! The universe itself should teach us that God is the author of incredible diversity!


Anonymous said...

Retired prof and BB
I said sincere bible study gives unity in the TRUTH. It is so true that people interpret the bible to conform to their needs. They twist, misinterpret and evade passages in order to create a alternate reality that makes them feel comfortable.
This does not change the fact that it's possible to be a sincere truth seeker. Just as there are scientists who desire and seek the truth about the physical universe, there are those who seek the truth regarding Gods way. In my opinion such people are in the minority but they do exist.
Retired profs comment hints at the inquisition. Everyone blindly believing or pretending to believe what some church leader says, as in the dark ages, is not unity in its truest sense. It's only skin deep. It's fruits differ from authentic unity based on personal truth seeking study.

This is a application of the parable of the talents. The amount of truth one acquires (one talent to ten talent) varies from person to person. Some reject truth (bury their talent in the ground) while others acquire the ten talents, upstanding Gods way to a high degree.