Saturday, May 5, 2018

Top 10 Church of God Deal Breakers

From an LCG source:

Top 10 COG Deal Breakers
If I see that a church has any of these characteristics, then it’s a deal breaker for my attending there. I’ve yet to find a COG that doesn’t have at least one of these characteristics.
1. Exaggeration of the authority of the ministry.
2. De-emphasis on the weightier matters of the law, exaggeration of the importance of ritual.
3. Callous view of the people in the world, minimization of human wellbeing.
4. Suppression of publicly preaching about the person of Jesus Christ and salvation.
5. Preferential treatment of certain members over others.
6. Demanding loyalty to the organization.
7. Exclusive club mentality.
8. Closed door policy.
9. Secrecy.
10. Tolerating abuse.

Here’s a recent example of #4, from this week’s LCG comments to the membership by Douglas Winnail. The below is illogical because what is supposed to be the action people are to take, other than accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior, if they do heed the warning? How is a mission of a warning message separate from a mission of telling the world about Jesus and being saved??

The Church as a WatchmanMany churches feel their mission is to tell the world that God loves everyone and Jesus came to save sinners. However, there is much more to the biblical Gospel message! Jesus told His disciples to be alert and watch for specific events that will mark the approaching end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ: widespread religious deception and persecution, ethnic violence, wars and rumors of wars and numerous natural catastrophes (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). Other end-time prophecies warn of a growing coarseness in society as people focus on selfish pursuits and pleasures (2 Timothy 3:1–5). On the world scene, trouble will erupt in the Middle East involving a European power backed by the Roman Church, Arab-Muslim nations and nations from the east and north (Daniel 2; 7; 11:40–44). This final conflagration will threaten the future of humanity—if Christ does not return (Matthew 24:21–22). Just as God raised up prophets to warn the ancient nations of Israel and Judah, the Church of God has a similar mission to function as a watchman to warn modern Israelite nations and the world of what lies ahead (Ezekiel 2; 3; 33; Isaiah 58:1). Delivering this powerful warning message must also accompany the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14). This is the mission we have been given to carry out as the end of the age approaches.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail


Anonymous said...

I've rearranged the order to reflect my positions and views on their importance, starting with the most important and working on down:

1. Tolerating abuse.

This should be the first and foremost concern of anyone ever claiming to be a Church of God. Abuse should never, ever be tolerated, and the well being of members and their safety should always, without exemption, be the most important duty of the leadership of the Church. Everything else does not matter if abuse is tolerated in the church, or if leadership fails to perform their roles as mandatory reporter when abuse situations come to light in the family or in the church.

2. Suppression of publicly preaching about the person of Jesus Christ and salvation.

Any COG church who has a problem with publicly preaching about the person of Jesus and salvation is not Christian. Period. Preaching a "message" without importance on the role of the "Messenger" is not a message at all. It's a different gospel completely.

3. De-emphasis on the weightier matters of the law, exaggeration of the importance of ritual.

If a COG removes emphasis on the weightier matters, then their entire construct falls apart. Once you focus on the weightier matters, you begin to see why Armstrongism is built on a house of sand, and it all starts to crumble into dust.

4. Callous view of the people in the world, minimization of human wellbeing.

Until they remove the false doctrine of BI, the notion that God is not trying to save this world, and the false belief that we're not to worry about people in the world now because they'll get their chance later - this one isn't subject to change any time soon.

5. Exaggeration of the authority of the ministry.

Don't expect this one to go away either. It's how they make sure they maintain a steady income. It is all about the money, anyway.

6. Preferential treatment of certain members over others.

Why is it that this happens? Because certain members give more money than others, or are more "macho" then others - it's a side effect of a caste system, a holdover from rank privilege.

7. Demanding loyalty to the organization.

There are so many COG's out there, that if they do not do this, everyone will be church-hopping.

8. Exclusive club mentality.

They ARE clubs. That's what they are. Can't get that attitude out of the way until they realize that.

9. Closed door policy.

10. Secrecy.

Nine and Ten have been hallmarks of the more conservative movements. Some have been better at this, others have not. But both are very serious warning signs of a cult, and even though I have them at the bottom, they're still extremely scary, and very, very large red-flags.

Connie Schmidt said...

May I add #11...

Church is not fun or joyous and lacks love and closeness.

Anonymous said...

"...wars and rumors of wars ..."

Which suggests we are not now in the end time, or else this prophecy is wrong. Worldwide, the amount of violence is actually decreasing. Primitive peoples have a very high death rate due to violence. Male death rates due to violence can approach 40% in primitive societies. I.e. 40% of men die of violence. (By the way, when these societies were conquered and even semi-modernized their death rates PLUMMETED.)

Wars are deadlier with modern weapons, but fewer people, as a percentage of those living, are actually dying.

Yes, nuclear weapons could do us all in. But are we not now in the age of increasing warfare.

Anonymous said...

The claim that natural disasters are getting worse is not true. There were some huge disasters in the past that people have forgotten about.

And no Mr. Gore, San Francisco is not under water.

Anonymous said...

It’s the poverty, not the primitiveness. Crime and violence abound where there is poverty, lack of opportunity, and hopelessness. As Ice-T once quipped, “I’ve got mine now, so there’s no need for me to be robbin’ your ass.”

Anonymous said...

Look at this. Then use history and use your head.

Be truthful, and measure statements by COG leaders with actually what is going on.

Anonymous said...

ALL religions and churches have some, most or all of these issues. COGs are not unique. People who believe this have lived a religiously sheltered life. Try joining your local Lutheran church and see how they stack up to this list.

The only group I found that has none of these is the group of people we meet with personally in homes. No "minister" so no leadership based problems. But its not perfect either.

So guess what, if you are looking for perfect you are a hypocrite. If you are perfect start your own church and see it stands up to scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to attending a local church to worship God, a supreme and kind God. All the crap that goes on is nothing to do with worshipping God. it's so pathetic what goes on these days.
Abuse and pathetic jealous are rampant in the church because men and women are put into positions of power because of cronyism and not because of character. A great lack of Faith, perhaps a curse from God, is raging amongst many in the church ministry.
Perilous times are upon the church, more their own doing than not. Perilous and weakening.

Hoss said...

So again with the priorities and LCG "uniqueness" - the BI-laden "warning" overriding the Great Commission.

Anonymous said...

I'm developing carpel-tunnel-syndrome clicking on Tomorrow's World pop-up Ads

!The more I click, the more that come my way!

The Meredith-Doomsday-Cult thinks it is reaching me with 'Rod-of-My-Correction' Meredith's
"gospel" of Racist-Anglo-Israelism mixed with Law+Grace Legalism

Byker Bob said...

The deal broke for me a long while ago, and with the flaky reputation and history of Armstrongism, coupled with the ways in which members are exploited and mistreated, it’s difficult for me to understand how or why anyone could remain with these groups.

Honestly, if by some perverse miracle these people ended up being who and what they claim to be, and if your church experience today in any way foreshadows what you will experience for all eternity, the few moments of pain in the Lake of Fire would be preferable to the pain of any miserable eternity for which Armstrongism is gatekeeper or presides over.

It’s like the pain and suffering of decades of membership vs the hypothetical pain the Germans would allegedly cause in 3-1/2 years. Which is the bigger patch of your life, and how much worse could the Germans actually be? Armstrongism has absolutely nothing to offer. It’s just a cruel form of slavery.


Carrie Oakey said...

This isn't just an example of #4...

"How is a mission of a warning message separate from a mission of telling the world about Jesus and being saved??"

I'll tell you.

He starts out with:

"Many churches feel their mission is to tell the world that God loves everyone and Jesus came to save sinners."

And it isn't hard to understand from this that, as we all know, Armstrongist churches believe that god DOESN'T love everyone, and Jesus might be coming, but it certainly isn't to save sinners, but the righteous. Any guesses as to who the righteous are? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

That's right. Because:

7. Exclusive club mentality.

The church is an exclusive club. WE are SPECIAL, and THEY are "the world." We are the exclusive club that gets saved, and everyone else is SOL.

2. De-emphasis on the weightier matters of the law, exaggeration of the importance of ritual.

What makes you a bona fide member of the exclusive club? 1) sabbath 2) holy days. Ritual observance. How does he close? "Have a profitable sabbath."

3. Callous view of the people in the world, minimization of human wellbeing.

The Armstrongist "warning message" has always been a Jonahist message. "Sure, I'll warn 'em, but I'll be pissed as hell if I don't get to warm my hands by the glowing embers of their corpses." It's always been a message about damnation, not salvation.

11. Emphasis on prophetic scaremongering.

Go back and read HWA's classic coworker letters starting back in the 1930's. Read the classic Radio Church of God literature. Scaremongering is what has always paid the bills.

Armstrongism doesn't tell "the world" about Jesus or about being saved because "it's not their time now" and they're not supposed to be saved anyway. They're supposed to be punished and killed by divine wrath. The Armstrongist "warning message" is a self-congratulatory message about how we're saved and "the world" isn't. Yes, they tell them, sort of, but the last thing they want is for "the world" to hear it anyway. It wouldn't be an exclusive club anymore!

Feastgoer said...

UCG may have failed #9 today. Not a single tweet to be found about the General Conference of Elders meeting. And as usual, it wasn't live-streamed for members to watch as the Sabbath service was.