Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Is Salvation Only Accessible Through Your Particular COG and Its Appointed Leader?

Lenny Cacchio has an entry up on the 7th Day Sabbath Churches of God site. I usually don't agree with a lot of what he has to say, but I find his comments below to be spot on.

He asks why church members feel the need to have an organization or particularly a leader of a church as their mediator between then and Christ.  Far too many feel the need to allow men like Flurry, Pack, Weston, Cox and others be the conduit to salvation. Through them, church members seem to feel that they have access to Jesus because they are in a particular COG and therefore have access to God.

No Church of God leader, from Herbert Armstrong to Gerald Flurry, from James Malm to Bob Thiel or even Rod Meredith to Gerald Weston, has the authority or power to grant access to Christ or to separate anyone from Christ, even when they do in outlandish manners from time to time, with their vile disfellowshipment policies. These men all seem to think salvation is available through their organizations as they sit in judgment of their members.

Over the past 20 years or more, I have changed my mind about a few things Biblical. A big one is my understanding of I Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
This Scripture might seem clear enough, but I brought a lot of past baggage to my early theology. I believed from my earliest years that God really works through an organization, and more particularly through whatever man was leading that organization. I bought into the myth that the church is the Mother of us all. (The Scriptures never say this about the church. You can look it up).
Even when I reached adulthood and changed my religious affiliation, I ended up in an organization that claimed the very same things regarding church authority as I had been taught in my youth, accept more so. The only way I could reach the Father was through the Son, I was told, but reaching the Son could only be through a particular church organization headed by a particular man.
That dangerous theological view implies shifting responsibility for salvation to the organization and its leadership, giving them a dangerous degree of control over your life and thinking. This, in spite of Paul’s admonition to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”, in spite of Jesus’s teaching about the truth setting us free, and in spite of Peter’s statement that we, i.e., we Christians, are a royal priesthood and therefore by definition have a direct private line to God without the need of a physical priesthood over us.


Anonymous said...

Rod Meredith and Rod McNair each counseled me and said, "We are God's ministers, so even if we are wrong we are right, as God will bind our decision. You have to do what we say, and you have to believe that what we tell you is the truth."

I knew that Rod McNair was either telling or believing some lies, and I knew that Rod Meredith fully believed McNair. I told each of them, sometimes in tears, that I knew that some of their "facts" by which they were judging me were simply incorrect. I begged them to believe me and to investigate the matter further for themselves. They didn't.

I expect that the LCG troll who posts here will jump in and say, "You failed your test, as you were supposed to obey the ministry even when you knew they were wrong." Is it my fault that I could not bring myself to tell them the lies they wanted to hear? Let's look at how Rod Meredith handled a situation similar to mine. When the ministry of Global Church of God counseled Rod Meredith before his departure, he saw that they believed lies people were telling about him. Nevertheless, he didn't submit to GCG's binding judgment. Shouldn't he have given me the same privilege that he afforded to himself? I didn't (at that time) want to leave his church. I was pushed out, because I would not say that a lie was the truth.

Anonymous said...

All of these sick men believe that they and they alone hold the tickets to the Place of Safety. Without them and their mind-boggling knowledge, no one would be able to make it. James Malm believes this. Bob Thiel believes this. Gerald Weston believes this. Dave Pack believes this. Gerald Flurry believes this. Every single one of them believes that their group alone is the chosen COG and that God has revealed special knowledge to them. These unholy pigs are not able to grant access to salvation through them or their churches.

Byker Bob said...

These are fake churches, and the ministers are just playing mud pies. They’ll even sling their mud at you if it tickles their fancy. As someone wiser than I once opined, wouldn’t it have been nice if they had just lied to us about Santa Clause???


Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rod Meredith and Rod McNair each counseled me and said, "We are God's ministers, so even if we are wrong we are right, as God will bind our decision. You have to do what we say, and you have to believe that what we tell you is the truth."

The recipe for unlimited, unchecked, unwarranted and unabated power. Simply deceive someone into believing that by rebelling against them they rebel against God. Simply put, they were saying "It doesn't matter how what I say affects you, or your finances, or your marriage, or your job, or your kids, or anything about your life - just do it because I said so and God signed off on it."

It cannot be calculated how many lives, marriages, jobs, and bank accounts were devastated by the "even if i'm wrong, i'm right" doctrine. It cannot be calculated how these "even if i'm wrong, i'm right" decisions led to depression, anxiety, nervous and mental breakdowns, extreme stress, loss, and anger. It cannot be calculated how many people never saw real happiness because they traded that happiness in for a dream that always dangled in front of them but always beyond reach.

There will always be those who think that the militaristic way of life brought by HWA and company is somehow God's way and will gladly be bound to it. Regardless of what they think and claim, and no matter how fervently they do it, it doesn't change history, nor proof, nor accounts, nor the reality of what that kind of thinking is and does to people: It is destructive, it is invasive, it is absolutely sickening, and it is abuse. And those who are abused are victims. And in the COG, the sad thing is, many victims are comfortable with it. For some, it's all they've known, and have no clue how to function without the abuse of unqualified power hungry so-called "ministers" trying to control every single freaking aspect of their life.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
Rod Meredith and Rod McNair each counseled me and said, "We are God's ministers, so even if we are wrong we are right, as God will bind our decision. You have to do what we say, and you have to believe that what we tell you is the truth."

I have to say, in my own experience in ministry for WCG, I never once met or heard a minister utter these words to a member or imply such . I'm not saying it didn't happen with some types out of my field of view, but personally I simply knew no minister who would say this or believe this to be true of themselves versus a member.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, you should know from any number of sources that Rod Meredith would say "Liars won't be in the Kingdom" right before he would tell a "whopper" of a lie, and he would say "God would remove me if He didn't agree with what I was doing." However, the only minister from whom I personally heard it put as bluntly as "You have to do what I say; God will back me even if I'm wrong," was Bob League.

Anonymous said...

One also needs to remember that there are times it never was explicitly said in so many words. In many other instances it was a truly unwritten rule that was known without so much being said.

It was said by the top with the "Don't challenge Herbert Armstrong" dogma.

It was said whenever one did a trivial thing which resulted in one being put out of the church and subsequently marked.

It was said whenever one ignored the advice of a minister and was disciplined.

It was said whenever a member actually said anything contrary to the flow and then was marked for causing division.

Yes, some ministers said those words exactly. Others said them by action without being so blunt. Regardless of how it was said, the ministers were right, no matter what, and they would dare anyone to challenge them. Especially the man who sat behind the curtain, whose bell people dared to ring. Most ended up hightailing it out and down the hall and jumping out the balcony, tail tucked between the legs.

cue cowardly lion doing that awful dance and jump

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same type of talk that came out of Pack's mouth a few years ago. I believe this blog has it in earlier posts. He may have used different words but they meant the same thing. He does believe he has to power to loose and bind things in heaven and his henchman are quite willing to enforce that belief on members. I know, I've seen the words in print.

Byker Bob said...

The good things are always available at a variety of sources. Imagine being at a Heart concert in 1980, hearing a familiar opening drum riff and suddenly realizing that the Wilson sisters and band were doing a kick ass version of Zep’s “Rock n’ Roll” as their encore! Priceless! Why am I telling you all this? I found it on CD today at Zia Records and have been listening to it this evening as I drove through the rain. Those inclined can check it out on You Tube.


DennisCDiehl said...

I was commenting on the my not hearing the blatant or personally knowing those who would say to a congregation ""We are God's ministers, so even if we are wrong we are right, as God will bind our decision. You have to do what we say, and you have to believe that what we tell you is the truth." is all.

There were those who would behave as if this were their belief I am sure and those higher up who may have literally believed it and would foolishly express it. I can tell you if anyone had ever said that to me I would have laughed him off the front porch or had to contain an audible reaction during the sermon.

I did get kicked once under the table telling Gerald Waterhouse at dinner his visits caused more problems for me as local pastor than they solved and that I was tired of the blowback after his visits and just going to refer member fears and questions to him from now on. lol.

Anonymous said...

I was in a "counseling" session with Bob League and Rod McNair a few years ago because I was fed up and thinking of leaving LCG. Bob League turned to me and said "why would you ever purposely decide to give up your crown?". I replied that leaving LCG didn't mean I was "giving up my crown". He sat back in his chair with that proud, smug look that was so full cockiness and told me that I couldn't get to the kingdom of God without them. My head was spinning! I sat their in awe as I considered what he was implying. Such arrogance! Such ignorance!

Can you imagine what God's kingdom would be like if Bob League and Rod McNair were its gate keepers??? I don't even think I'd want to be in a place like that.

Those two were so awful. I will carry their scars with me for the rest of my life but I am soooooooo glad that I ultimately left that vile church and their over-reaching arrogant ministry.

My life has improved by leaps and bounds.

Anonymous said...

One of the most common forms of deception in Herbs church was/is implying a lie (hence escaping legal/moral liability) then using repetition to brainwash members into accepting the teaching. Many times I heard the expression 'God backs up his ministers' from the pulpit.' Everyone knew from their dealings with ministers that this meant blind obedient to the ministry.

Not mentioned so far it that the veil in the holy of holies splitting in two on Christs death meant that people now have direct access to God the Father. No middlemen as in the OT is required.

James Malm is a blog, not a church as some here claim. He has no services or feast of Tabernacles site.

Anonymous said...

I was told that one of the reasons it was important to always obey your LCG minister was because of the place of safety.

They explained to me, "what if we told you to do something, that made no sense to you, and you failed to obey only to discover that what we asked was fundamental to getting you to a safe place so we could flee?".

I remember thinking, If God wants me in the place of safety He is more than capable of using super natural powers to inform me/ get me there!

Near_Earth_Object said...

Cacchio has revisited, or maybe visited for the first time, the "priesthood of all believers" that came out of the Reformation. It may sound new and exciting to ex-Armstrongists but it has been around for centuries. The idea is that church government does not stand between the believer and God.

Think how radical this concept was in view of the strong ecclesiastical government within the Roman Catholic Church at that time.

Like the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages, Armstrongism operates with a church government that is an unassailable fortress which has been created principally to defend against the Armstrongist lay members. Its purpose is to promote onerous discipline and ensure the steady flow of tithe money to whatever waiting pockets.

Whether it was Rod calling lay members "the cream of the crud" or Herbert asserting in a sermon that lay members would not receive salvation (only the ministry would be worthy), it has always been clear that lay membership was low caste, The Great Unwashed. To be exploited and left wounded beside the road. (Never once did I hear anyone in the ministry say that the rigorous government and discipline within the WCG was to ensure that lay members would receive salvation. This idea apparently was never in the strategy.)

David Koresh, of the Waco Church, did not care if he got his Millerite, Sabbatarian, prophecy-believing, Holy Day observing, pork avoiding followers killed. They were fodder for his ambitions.

Utter disdain for the lay membership is a consistent characteristic of the autocratic branches of the Millerite movement. (Herbert, good advertising manipulator that he was, tried to hide his disdain from the general public behind the "Human Potential" concept. But the lesson of disdain was not lost on his ministry.)

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the purpose of minister tyranny is discipline and tithe money.
Venezuelans with a similar failed culture, are eating dogs in desperation. Yet they refugee to change.

I believe what drives such a culture is a murderous Cain versus Abel attitude. In both Herb culture and Venezuela, people are robbed by the government of the talents described in the parable of the talents. Exercising these talents is life itself (rather than just being physically alive) and the means of building character.

People are willing to even eat dogs, if it will stifle peoples ability to enter the kingdom.

Gordon Feil said...

Dennis, I was told by my pastor early in my wcg daze that he was comforted by knowing that even if he gave bad advice, God would make things work out for the person that obeyed it. He was a gentle and humble guy, but frankly, I have met some who believed the same thing about themselves and who needed a good slap.