Saturday, December 16, 2017

More Upheaval In the COG: Pastor Resigns Over Use of "Amen" at End of Prayers



It looks like another Church of God group is getting ready to split after it's pastor resigns over a controversy over the use of "amen" at the end of prayers.

Ron Harmon of The House of God located in Texas, is of the belief that using "amen" after a prayer is acknowledging the sun-god "Aman-Ra" from ancient Egypt.

If these men focused even half of their energy on Jesus instead of silliness like this then they might actually accomplish something.  But no, they cannot and will not.

July 16th 2017
Hello Mike:
Please take the following with brotherly intent.
In Reply to your letter on the term amen, I feel you have misunderstood my stance on this issue. 
I did one sermon on this and in that sermon, I told everyone it wasn't a doctrine or a edict of the church; they were free to use amen or any other phrase to end a pray, or none at all. I recommended folks doing their own study on the subject, just as I do most other things I speak about.
As far as Frank was concerned, he took it to a level where I would never have, but that was Frank.
IT"S NOT A DOCTRINE of this church. It's not written anywhere and it isn't even on the website because the old archives are listed as of now.
I agreed for your sake I wouldn't push this any further, but you seem to be insistent when there isn't any others bringing the subject up.
It leads me to ask, what do you want done?
If you want me to publicly proclaim I was wrong and Frank was wrong, that isn't going to happen, I will resign and leave the church before that happens.
As far as I'm concerned on a personal bases, I will never use the phrase amen and I will spell out to why.
It is a reaffirmation of a prayer or a sermon or statement. The ancient Egyptians used it in the exact same manner but to their sun god amen-ra, aman-ra or amun-ra, however you want to spell it, all are correct.
1. You keep referring to Revelation 3:14 as your sticking point on this.
There are at least three other bible translations that don't use the word amen.
TLB (Living Bible)
“Write this letter to the leader of the church in Laodicea: “This message is from the one who stands firm, the faithful and true Witness of all that is or was or evermore shall be,* the primeval source of God’s creation:
NLV (New Living Translation)
“Write this to the angel of the church in the city of Laodicea: ‘The One Who says, Let it be so, the One Who is faithful, the One Who tells what is true, the One Who made everything in God’s world, says this:
WE, (World English)
`Write this to the angel of the church people in Laodicea: Here are the words of the one whose name is Truth. What he says can be trusted. He is the one who began all that God made.
I don't believe for one second amen is one of Jesus names, nor is God or any other name we use and amen won't be used in His kingdom.
It is not credible that God would invoke the name of an Egyptian god when he regarded himself as the only true God and his own name as above all names. “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other...” (Isaiah 42:8).
Even the name Lord here is improper, should actually say Yahweh.
But I don't make folks adhere to the true translations either, I even try and not say the word lord, instead I use Eternal if I remember.
In John chapter one He is called the logo's (word) and that is a correct interpretation as well.
But scriptures have been manipulated in so many areas of the bible, its really a matter of where one draws the line.
The word wasn't used before Israel went into captivity, while in captivity there is no evidence they kept their complete language pure or unbroken, it wouldn't even be practical to believe so.
It also isn't practical to assume they worshiped only the God of Israel, they didn't.
It is the reason why the true God did what He did when He brought Israel out of Egypt.
I don't want to go word for word on this with you, all I need to know is what is your solution?
I'm fine with leaving the issue as it is and not bringing it up, but if you want it expunged from Austin's lexicon and Franks archives, you'll have to address the whole Austin congregation about it.
One last thing, I don't in any way consider it blasphemous to our true Father or Christ to limit ones words he uses, especially when affirming another's prayers or statements.
Mathew 5:33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Mike if you feel so strongly about my stance on this, then I gladly step down and you can chart the way of the church for the future. I'm not so wrapped up in this position it would bother me to step aside at this time.
Until then, I'm glad to let those that want to use amen use it, and those that don't, not do so.
This has been my stance on the use of sacred names, and any other thing someone wants to believe.
It's my desire we can get this issue behind us and we can stay friends and fellow workers for Christ but I won't be forced to do something I don't believe in, and I wouldn't expect you or any other person to do so either.
God Bless.


Church of God News had this:


House of God 
This is pastor Ron Harmon’s letter of resignation from the House of God in Texas: 
“To The Wonderful People of the House of God: 
Unknown to most of you there has been a spiritual struggle occurring within our congregations. It was a battle not of my choosing, but it caused much tension in our home. This last Sunday at our annual meeting of the consul and ministers of the House of God, it all came to a conclusion. 
This spiritual battle has been raging behind the scenes for many years bringing me to a final conclusion. I can’t work effectively when others I work with are so consumed by my different beliefs on ending prayers, not allowing camaraderie to exist. 
As of Sunday (12th December 2017), Virginia and I are no longer members of the House of God. I won’t get into the specifics for the sake of the church, only to say the following. I cannot go against my convictions and how I see the scriptures. There are some in the leadership of the church who seem to believe my salvation is lost because of what I believe on one issue. I can only say this, you might be careful how you judge others and their salvation. 
I will be continuing the work in the ways I can from my home. I’m not sure at this time how that will manifest itself, but the fact is, I can’t stop serving God. 
I wish everyone well and God’s blessings. I’ve always tried to help make everyone’s lives a little better at the House of God and we hope you remember us fondly. Virginia and I are deeply saddened by what has transpired over the last few months. We are saddened to not be a part of your lives any longer, but we no longer feel welcomed, and we don’t go where we’re not welcomed. 
God Bless you all: Ron Harmon.” 

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

From Old English, from Ecclesiastical Latin āmēn, from Ancient Greek ἀμήν (amḗn), from Biblical Hebrew אמן‏ (amén, “certainly, truly”) (cognate with Arabic آمِين‏ (ʾāmīn), Classical Syriac ܐܡܝܢ‏ ('āmēn)).

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/amen

If the Hebrew word "amen," meaning "certainly, truly," should not be used because it sounds like the name of an Egyptian deity, what about using the names of the weekdays?

Sunday -- Day of the Sun
Monday -- Day of the Moon
Tuesday -- Tīw's Day, for a Norse God
Wednesday -- Day of Germanic God Woden
Thursday -- "Thor's Day", for Norse God of Thunder
Friday -- "Day of Frige," for the Old English goddess Frigg
Saturday -- "Saturn's Day"

How can those still ensconced in Armstrongism sleep each night? All during the week, even on The Sabbath, they freely speak and use the names of various non-Scriptural deities?

Won't even go into the "moonths." That May be an August topic Marching now into December.

Where’s the purity?

Amen!

Anonymous said...

OMFG! I'm sick of these ACOG cults with the complete & total stupidity that spews from the sewer hole they call a mouth! I am done with it. I am going to stop attending church and go back into "the world" and live my life in peace!

Anonymous said...

I can't say "Amen" when I finish my yoga stretches? Jiminy Cricket!

Anonymous said...

Doesn't James Malm forbid people from saying "Amen" after a public prayer by someone else because doing so means you agree 100% with the contents of the prayer but the prayer may not adhere 100% to Malm's wacky doctrines?

Byker Bob said...

This is a fundamental flaw of Armstrongism. If they simply acknowledged that there are always going to be ideas and customs that are common to both Christianity and paganism, but that truth and goodness reside in the usage or application of these things, it would go a long way in eliminating cultishness and fanaticism.

Nobody has perfect doctrine or 100% truth. Yet the only time these fools admit that they have not been given perfect understanding is when their stupid prophecies fail yet again for the umpteenth time.

I hope this dude doesn't wear a ring to signify to others that he is married, because the pagans most certainly did that as well.

BB

Anonymous said...

The definition of words is determined by popular usage ie democratic vote. I believe God understands and respects this. God defines reality, so it's ultimately of His doing. Past meanings or associations is academic. It only results in these silly virtue signaling games.
People like these, typically ignore Christian fundamentals.

AK said...

Legalists deny Jesus Christ. If you do this you lose him in your life.
It is evident to anyone who leaves the morass of the ugly churches of god. Your mind begins to heal and you get closer to Christ and your thinking returns to normal.
These men are not normal in any way. Nor do they have any relation to Christ.

Anonymous said...

I just use amen to signal to God that I have finished my prayer. Like hanging up the phone. It's practical and good etiquette.


RSK said...

The supposed connection between "Amen" and "Amun" has been pointed out by many writers (outside the COGs). However, somewhat like the supposed correlation of "Easter" to "Astarte", the similarity of the two words occurs only in the English language.
(And I never saw an instance in Egyptian papyri where a prayer was closed with just "Amun" back in school, though I don't claim to have extensive knowledge of every written prayer from Egypt)

Anonymous said...

I guess impoverished AC students were honoring an Egyptian god when they ate all that ramen!

Steve D said...

I left the WCG in 74, a year after graduating from AC. I'm also retired from the Army. When I teach pastors in Tanzania I explain to them the army expression: "HUA", standing for "Heard, Understood, Acknowledged". It is the same as saying AMEN. This is so typical of the WCG mindset. What is the Chinese word for amen? How about French or German? Why should it matter what the sound is, it is what is in their hearts that matters. This preoccupation is a distraction from real religion as described in James 1:27. Use whatever term you want, but go help those in distress and live an ethical life.

Near_Earth_Object said...

All of this is about the competition to see who is the most "righteous". There will always be nonsensical points of paganism that can be used to draw a distinction between the truly "righteous" and everyone else.

Many Armstrongist leaders are consumed with competitiveness and ambition. They want to be the "top" man and this is one way to leverage oneself into that position. This has nothing to do with the principles that Christ brought to us and everything to do with the psychological games played inside non-Christian cults as the competitors seek to expand control.

And the attachment of so much meaning, albeit bogus, to such trivialities is the degenerative outcome of unbridled legalism.

Its Sunday morning. I am watching the news about The Donald and wishing that it were "fake news" but, alas, it is not. Then this "amen" comedy comes along (it rivals the 'sac's sons = Saxons comedy). My day will be marked by pathos.


Anonymous said...

well, as of now all languages are of pagan origin or contaminated with pagan influence... ...

maybe that's why we'll speak a pure language in the kingdom....

Byker Bob said...

It's amazing that Harmon didn't subscribe to the typical Armstrongite teaching that God taught all peoples truth in the beginning, so even the pagans who had corrupted or lost most of it had remnants of that in their customs. That was always a convenient explanation used to explain away such things as the Canaanite harvest festivals.

BB

Byker Bob said...

Seriously, did you ever stop to think of what we would even need language for in the Kingdom? To discuss concepts? With perfect knowledge that wouldn't be necessary. Language is a construct specifically for humans to accumulate and record knowledge, to negotiate, to organize and accomplish, and to teach. In the Armstrong version of a kingdom, beings being God as God is God, everyone would be all knowing, and everywhere simultaneously as God is. Can you imagine the sheer confusion of everyone being bombarded by everyone else's thoughts? So, no, there clearly would need to be restrictions or filters to avoid that.

Also, God is not bound by the time-space continuum. How could an eternal being be? He must be cognizant of the time-space continuum as it relates to Earth, or there could be no such things as sabbaths or holy days. Those relate only to a planet with Earth's specifications.

I also don't believe that perfect means what so many teach that it does. Taken literally, perfection implies a static state, with no opportunity or need to gain further knowledge or experience throughout the future. The ancient words which were translated into today's word perfect were from limited ancient languages, some of which are only now being understood. As we've seen in our own lifetime, words are being created to describe new inventions, discoveries, conditions, experiences, diseases, crimes, etc. The commandment "Become ye therefore perfect...." is an aspiration, a goal that it is impossible for humans to attain of and by themselves. At best, we can become functional in this lifetime in ways that put benefits back into the system. Transformation and knowledge that mankind does not have would be required to get beyond that. HWA faked having that knowledge. Had he not been a charlatan, we'd be in the Kingdom right now, having been transformed sometime back in 1975. Some of our posters were probably born years after that.

BB

Stephen Schley said...

Don't agree with the dude about amen. At least he had the guts to stick to his guns wether right or wrong tho. More than can be said for most

Anonymous said...


https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/amen

amen

1 Uttered at the end of a prayer or hymn, meaning ‘so be it’.
1.1 Used to express agreement or assent.

‘amen to that!’

noun

An utterance of ‘amen’.

Origin

Old English, from ecclesiastical Latin, from Greek amēn, from Hebrew 'āmēn ‘truth, certainty’, used adverbially as expression of agreement, and adopted in the Septuagint as a solemn expression of belief or affirmation.

Helen Wheels said...

Another casualty of extremist purity culture. The whole thing is a category error.

Purity is a concept that applies to things like elements (99.9% pure gold).

It is not a concept that makes any sense when one attempts to apply it to categories such as biological life forms, neural networks, languages, or religions. If it did make sense, you could measure the degree of purity of these things. You can't. Purity as a concept is undefined in categories like these.

It's insanity.

True Bread said...

BB said:

Also, God is not bound by the time-space continuum. How could an eternal being be? He must be cognizant of the time-space continuum as it relates to Earth, or there could be no such things as sabbaths or holy days. Those relate only to a planet with Earth's specifications.


Is it the payote, crack, or weed you like the best....???

Byker Bob said...

No problem, Buckwheat. I fully expected that to go way, way over some peoples' heads. Just didn't think you'd be one of them!

BB

Anonymous said...

"Seriously, did you ever stop to think of what we would even need language for in the Kingdom?"


ummm, to communicate with each other?

never said it would be spoken words ...but it will be a language, pure and incorruptible...no hidden meanings, no guessing what was meant, thoughts will be communicated perfectly to each other. (I suspect that some ministers would have quite a difficult time with that! LOL)

nck said...

True Bread,

You are a pilot, not?

It is possible to fit a 24 yard plane into a 10 yard barn.

If the plane is flying with approx 160.000 miles per hour approximating the speed of light.
The doors could be closed for a billionth of a second.

Relative to the barn the plane gets smaller.
Relative to the pilot in the plane time gets longer (or shorter I forgot).


BB is just citing general relativity theory.

It works with normal flying too. But time and length change are close to nil because of the low speed of manmade planeds as compared to the speed of light.

It is easy to comprehend that for God a thousand years are like a day. Or the distances he is supposedly able to travel. I would refer you to the movie Interstellar or study black holes. (A trip that lasted a week close to the black hole lasted 40 years on earth.)

Thinking of it. Perhaps Jesus was a manifestation of God relative to the Earths specifications. Whereas the Father chose to reside in other dimensions AT THE SAME TIME. I might just have reinvented myself as the Einstein of religion and get meself a Nobel prize.

I hope Norwegian flags pop up in the flagcounter on this blog.

nck


Byker Bob said...

Exactly, nck. Relativity is part of it. However, in addition to relativity, the earth, due to its particular set of constants, has been described by (gasp!) scientists as being "order in a sea of entropy". Specific details such as the angle of tilt of the axis creates the seasons with which the annual festivals correlate. One moon, the shape of earth's orbit around the sun, proximity to the sun, the level of gravity, centrifugal and centripital force, and the magnetic poles are just some of the factors which are hospitable to existence as we know it. Even so, with Jerusalem-centric customs, the sabbath is an interesting concept for the North and South Poles, and the holy days are out of sync with the seasons on which they are based if one lives in the southern hemisphere.

Who even mentioned these things while teaching Armstrongism?

BB

nck said...

Oh man!

Are you shattering my dream to rule a planet with two suns and four moons, rising 3 times per (day?)?

Extending my rule over some extreme heavy object warping the time space continuum in my dominion.

You make me feel like an Australian in the outback sweating like an ox in midsummer while spraying decorative snow on a Christmas tree to bring light during the longest days of the year.

Btw We are working on revolutionary concepts to do away with those seasonal harvests. Farming on layers of greenhouses. Experimenting minimal water usage for crops or use deserted buildings in inner cities for "city farms." That should eredicate hunger and increase the tithe on increase for the interested.

Nck

True Bread said...

nck wrote:

True Bread,

You are a pilot, not?

It is possible to fit a 24 yard plane into a 10 yard barn.

If the plane is flying with approx 160.000 miles per hour approximating the speed of light.
The doors could be closed for a billionth of a second.

Relative to the barn the plane gets smaller.
Relative to the pilot in the plane time gets longer (or shorter I forgot).


BB is just citing general relativity theory.

It works with normal flying too. But time and length change are close to nil because of the low speed of manmade planeds as compared to the speed of light.

It is easy to comprehend that for God a thousand years are like a day. Or the distances he is supposedly able to travel. I would refer you to the movie Interstellar or study black holes. (A trip that lasted a week close to the black hole lasted 40 years on earth.)

Thinking of it. Perhaps Jesus was a manifestation of God relative to the Earths specifications. Whereas the Father chose to reside in other dimensions AT THE SAME TIME. I might just have reinvented myself as the Einstein of religion and get meself a Nobel prize.

I hope Norwegian flags pop up in the flagcounter on this blog.

nck


WOW...!!! initially I was rather concerned with BB's grasp of reality but man you have smashed that all to hell and back...reading your post reminds me of my college days and the times we experimented with certain peculiar fungi.

To clear the record....I believe that we are not from this "space-time continuum", but are from a different dimension, and will have the opportunity to "translate", "shape-shift" or "transform" into another type of being altogether, that can withstand the test of time and space, much UNLIKE our fellow human "astronauts", whom turn to jelly in space.

Once we die, we will then be given the opportunity to receive a NEW body, just like the Messiah's, and enter into immortality, and become the space explorers we were meant to be. It's all conveniently revealed in the Eighth Day and Rev 21/22 for those who are interested. I have multiple studies on the topic.

Mat god have mercy on your soul, or whatever or however else you self-identify as, nck....

PS: yes grasshopper, I am a professional pilot with 40 yrs experience and 11,000 hrs....

nck said...

Great that you were transported back to your college days.

I was citing a dr Physics directly about reality as we understand it today.

I have no problem when you share your belief. You do it in modesty and in style.

I hope it is like you say as I grasp onto our current understanding in science.
I am fully aware that you would not have come close to 11.000 hrs if it had not been for Icarus.

nck