Friday, February 9, 2018

The Book of Acts. Are COG Members To Complete It?

One of the great myths of the Worldwide Church of God was that the Book of Acts is the only book in the Bible without an ending.  There was a reason for that, or maybe a couple of reasons, that the church ministry put forth.  I heard this in Pasadena in class and preached from the pulpit.
Reason 1 (This one I had never heard before, but it does not surprise me)
I also remember hearing from the pulpit at AC BS that the Book of Acts was not complete and that the co-worker letters authored by HWA would be used to complete the book. Can you imagine the grotesque presumption that would lead someone to think that those blatant appeals for money would come up to the standard of the Book of Acts?  (ht: NEO)
Reason 2 
The Book of Acts has no ending because the lives of COG members would be recorded for holding fast to the faith once delivered.  The inspiring stories of church members would be recorded for future generations. 
Can you imagine future generations reading about the corruption and abuse that COG ministers and leaders have dished out on people?  Imagine reading the Acts of Dave Pack, or the Acts of Rod Meredith, or the Actis of Rod McNair, or the Acts of Bob Thiel.  I can just picture people now saying, "I should have chosen the lake of fire over this malarkey!"

Acts only deals with Peter and Paul.  It does not include any other apostles. There is nothing about Bartholomew or of Thomas and his supposed journey to what is now India.  One would think that the stories of the two James who were the first two of the apostles to be martyred would be there.  Nope, not a thing, but yet Herbert Armstrong and Dave Pack's writings will be included.

Imagine reading the Acts of Gerald Waterhouse or Acts of Vic Kubik.  It makes me want to get a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers and settle in for a good read.   NOT!



nck said...

No 2 was indeed a quite common assumption and people theorized about it. In a way many people describe their lives as "chapter", or "pages turned" etc.

No1 is a highly speculative personal opinion. I never heard that the co worker letters would be cannonized. NEVER. Co worker letters were an extremely modern way of keeping contact with the customer base, source of information and transparency as to the cash flow.
They were probably one of the most succesful tools in fundraising for the 20th century.

Perhaps I heard "the acts" if the apostle and us would be cannonized, but the co worker letters? No, a highly personal speculation.


Byker Bob said...

You pour the wine, and I’ll cut the cheese!


Near_Earth_Object said...

This idea stems from the belief that Herbert was fully an Apostle. And the book is called "Acts of the Apostles." With this belief, nothing could be more appropriate than to have Herbert's writings complete the book after 18 and a half centuries.

And if that is not alarming enough, a student at BS who had been in Pasadena told me that in one of his classes, Herbert stated that he disagreed with Paul on a topic related to marriage. The student said Herbert had every write to do this because Herbert was an Apostle just like Paul.

Herbert's pamphlets are considered inspired by the Holy Spirit and, as such, are companion pieces to the Bible by true believers.

This is why Armstrongism is so entrenched. When one challenges Armstrongists, for instance, with genetic research that disproves British Israelism, it does no good.
This is because they believe that Herbert was inspired by God in his understanding so he can't possibly be wrong no matter what science might reveal.

This has the features of a Personality Cult like what Millerite David Koresh was running in Waco.

But David Koresh out ranked Herbert. Herbert was only an Apostle and Vernon fashioned himself as a Messiah of some sort. Doesn't Messiah outrank Apostle?

Percy K. Euttodd said...

Hmm. The "Acts" of the Apostles? Doesn't limit it as to what kind. Maybe the Flog Log will be canonized? Herb's abuse of Dorothy? Maybe GTA and his coed concubines will make the cut?

Gordon Feil said...

If the history of the church for 2000 years was to be recorded with the detail of that first 20 or 30 years as reported in Acts, the resulting book would be longer than the rest of the Bible books combined.

Anonymous said...

But HWA's co-worker letters *have* been canonized. In the last edition of his autobiography. Here is how I remember it, although some details might be wrong.

He wrote a chapter of his autobiography for each issue of the PT, starting in the early or mid 1950s. When Loma died in 1967, he lost the desire to continue writing. But Volume One was published as a book, covering the beginning to 1934 when the radio broadcast and PT began.

In 1972 Volume One was reprinted, with some unpublicized changes to make it more politically correct. Also published was Volume Two, which covered 1934 to the early 1960s, where he was when he stopped writing.

And there it sat until his death in 1986. As I recall, JWT assigned Herman Hoeh to finish it. The last volume consisted of co-worker letters describing his trips to see world leaders (several of which were overthrown soon after). I don't remember if the appeals for more donations were kept in or were edited out.

Can anybody add to this?

Hoss said...

One of the WCG speculations I remember is that any NT book that didn't end with Amen wasn't completed. Though I never heard it mentioned, there is the case of the "lost" chapter of Acts. Even though GTA didn't accept Church Eras, he did remark that Acts could turn out to be a huge book, as it would eventually contain nearly 2000 years of "Church History".

Anon 600 - The PT was still carrying installments of HWA's autobiography when I started receiving it in 1967. The first bound edition was a collection of installments up to about 1934. Years later I came across the "volume 2" online, consisting largely of co-worker letters, with at least some of the remaining PT installments. Sometime later, I picked up a re-edited edition in the free (unsellable) books box at a second-hand store. This edition included all the (revised) PT installments, but not the co-worker letters.

Byker Bob said...

The original Book of Acts was written by Luke, explaining the segue from the original apostles and the Jerusalem Jewish Christians to St. Paul, and his Gentile churches. It was a narrative expanding Christianity into something which would be relevant not only in a Jewish cultural setting, but in all cultural settings around the world. It was a celebration of the fact that Christianity was opened up to all of humanity.

HWA didn’t even understand this, let alone qualify to be included in some new version of Acts.


Anonymous said...

"...the Book of Acts was not complete and that the co-worker letters authored by HWA would be used to complete the book. "

bolsters my belief that the ACOGs are by and large idolatrous organizations, with members of The Church sprinkled amongst them (not necessarily all of them, some organizations are so far out there I can't imagine any member of The Church associating with them).

Anonymous said...

"Herbert's pamphlets are considered inspired by the Holy Spirit and, as such, are companion pieces to the Bible by true believers."

reminds me of the minister that said from the pulpit that he didn't really need a bible because he had HWA's writings to fall back on...