Thursday, July 19, 2018

Dennis Leap On Proper Child Rearing

Dennis Leap, of all people, has an article up on the Philadelphia Church of God site about proper child training.  He claims that since PCG is God's only church, that proper child rearing teachings can only be found in PCG:
God’s Church’s teaching about child training is unique. Why? It has come by special revelation from God. How well do you understand what God has given His Church concerning child rearing? 
Go to any bookstore and you will find dozens of books about child rearing. Some are purely rationalistic—the product of man’s thoughts and reasoning. Others purport to speak from a biblical perspective. However, do you realize that even these books are written mainly from man’sinterpretation of Bible verses? That is not to say that there is not some good in certain books. But always there is truth mixed with error. This means that all books on child rearing must be read with extreme caution. 
Only God’s Church has knowledge about child rearing given directly by God. What God has revealed to the Church is the only reliable knowledge that gives the desired results. Herbert W. Armstrong was personally very excited about the new revelation given on child rearing. We should be too. But are we? If we are, then we will be putting what we’ve learned into practice.
Ah yes, God apparently channelled into Gerald Flurry's head that he should force parents to cut off all ties with their children if they are no longer part of the PCG.  God also apparently tells PCG ministers to take their disabled kids and dump them at the local mall so the government can take care of them. God also apparently tells PCG leaders to bombard the mids of members with so much depressing anti-biblical bullshit that people are driven to suicide.  Yep, that sure is "godly child rearing."

Gerald Flurry gets his child-rearing teachings from another man who was not qualified to be teaching members how to rear their children.  Herbert Armstrong was a failure as a father to his children.  He treated them at times with utter contempt, so much so that every single one of them left the church. And don't forget the incest!  Yes, he was the grand poohbah of proper child-rearing techniques, never forget that!
Mr. Armstrong wrote this to the Church in 1979: “The real truth about marriage and the family relationship has not been realized—even in God’s Church!” (“Your Children—Future Gods?” Good News, September 1979). Mr. Armstrong addresses two concerns with this one statement. First, he acknowledged that people outside of God’s Church are presently blinded to the whole truth about marriage and family, which includes child rearing. We know that it is not until Christ’s millennial rule that the entire Earth will come to understand God’s intended purpose for marriage and family (Isaiah 11:9). Second, he recognized that members of God’s Church were lagging behind in their understanding of these truths, even though the knowledge had been given. Those of us who were in God’s Church in the late 1970s and early ’80s know that Mr. Armstrong labored intensively to correct this wrong spiritual condition troubling the Church. The sad history is, that by 1985, he realized that God’s Church was still failing to get it! 
Today we must make sure that we do get the whole truth on marriage, family and child rearing. God is helping us do that in a remarkable way. How? The Philadelphia Church of God must fight to preserve God’s truth. God knows that humans treasure what they have to fight for. But we don’t fight for the truth just so we can put it on a shelf. We fight to apply it! Jesus Christ not only used Mr. Armstrong to reveal His truth, He used Mr. Armstrong to show us how to put it into action. The end-time type of Elijah knew that coming to a full understanding of God’s revealed truth takes much hard work, which includes study, constant and consistent review, strong teaching on the part of the ministry, and daily practice.
Never forget that Herbert Armstrong was also the epitome of what a true marriage should look like.  Let your first wife die because you were too big of an ass to take her to the hospital and have her colon blockage taken care of.  Yes, digging in ones heals and blaming church members for his wife's death instead of taking the blame himself is the epitome of a "true godly marriage."

And don't' forget his second "godly marriage" that even serial adulterer Garner Ted knew was doomed to failure!  So much for creating any future god's to be part of the grand plan!  Even his stepson deserted him.

So just what is that previous knowledge that HWA and Flurry have to give to the world and the church? It is the belief that Satan enters the minds of babies almost a soon as they are born and it is a constant battle thereafter.
Here is the revealed knowledge necessary to deeply understand child rearing. Mr. Armstrong continued in the same article, “To understand, you need to know all about the spirit in man and how it operates. You need to know precisely what is human nature. You need to know how Satan operates—especially on children. You need to know in what manner God has set you—and your children—apart from this world. 
“You need to know at what age Satan gets into your child’s mind. You need to know whether your child has access to God ….” You will not find these truths explained in any book from a bookstore. These are the deep thoughts of God that have been graciously given to us to use (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). We must study, believe, think about and learn to apply each of these in our family life. 
Let’s look closely at the last part of this statement. Do our children have access to God?
The entire world is cut off from proper child rearing techniques because the world has refused to read the Mystery of the Ages.   All essential truth necessary for salvation is found in this book.  Anyone who reads it will immediately know how to raise their children to be just like the kids of Herbert Armstrong!   Woo Hoo!
The world as a whole is cut off from God. Mr. Armstrong stated in the “Author’s Statement” of Mystery of the Ages that he only came to understand this “mind-boggling” truth fully at the time of writing Mystery of the Ages. This idea was not Mr. Armstrong’s. Jesus Christ stated this same fact clearly: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him …” (John 6:44). This is the ninth of the 18 restored truths. No other Church on Earth knows this; if they do, they don’t believe it! God is only calling a very few now to support His Work and prepare for the coming Kingdom of God. So only those He calls are not cut off from God. This knowledge diametrically contradicts what the churches of this world teach. 
We need to take in the significance of what Christ has established through Mr. Armstrong. This truth holds incredible meaning for our children. Our children are not cut off from God. They have access to God. This means that our children are in a different category than all other children on the planet! Of course, God loves all the children in this world—John 3:16 tells us that—but God is only working closely with our children at this time.
All children outside the Philadelphia Church of God are cut off from God.  Seriously? Do these hypocritical jackasses actually believe this?  Oh wait, they do.  So please explain to me how the child of the parents who dumped it at the mall, is blessed because its parents are "converted?"
Mr. Armstrong wrote, “While other people—not members of the true body of Christ—and all other children are cut off from access to God, your children—if you are a truly converted member of God’s Churchcan believe in Christ—are not cut off from God—and much of God’s truth, even though as yet too young to be converted. But they are a special treasure to God!” (ibid). Do we get what Mr. Armstrong is teaching here? Children of members can have a relationship with Christ and come to understand God’s truth because of their parents’ calling. Mr. Armstrong adds that they are a special treasure to God. How inspiring, exciting and thrilling! Do we realize what a sacred treasure our children are?
Mr. Armstrong viewed this as “important new knowledge” that should be received “eagerly.” This was not just Mr. Armstrong’s, or any other man’s, view—it was new revelation given from the Bible by God, specifically for God’s Church. Mr. Armstrong did not understand this truth until the mid-1970s. Yet the Apostle Paul had explained about the special category of members’ children nearly 1,900 years earlier. The incredible truth, lost to the Church from the first century, had been restored!
Remember that it was the mid-70's when he destroyed the last contact he had with his children when he turned his back on  Garner Ted and his daughters and all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Nothing like "consecrating" his children to God by being a good father! Yes, he was a shining example!
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14). Paul was very clear here. Children of converted parents (or one parent) are holy! The Greek word for holy is hagios. Strong’s Concordance translates this word as sacred or consecrated. Something that is sacred or consecrated is set apart for holy use! God sees our children as sacred. Do we? All parents in God’s Church must ensure that our children remain sacred to God. God-inspired child rearing can ensure this. 
Dennis Leap claims that through presents teaching them about Jesus while in the PCG (COG) the child will be consecrated.  That is a stretch right there since the PCG and most of the Churches of God have totally ignored Jesus over emphasizing on the law.  Jesus is only trotted out once a year at Passover where he is beaten to a bloody pulp and left on the Masonic Lodge or Odd Fellow's floor until next year.
Imagine being a child in the PCG and being taught about a kingdom to come where Flurry, Leap and others will be in charge!  What a nightmare that would be!  Even Jesus weeps at that thought!
Mr. Armstrong stated, “Now see how that applies to the children of converted parents. It does not mean they may be converted while still too young. It does mean they are not, like children of unconverted parents, cut off from God. It means that they may be taught about God by the believing parent” (ibid). Teaching about God and His purpose for mankind is the most important aspect of child rearing. Let’s expend some effort to understand the magnitude of this statement. 
Here’s the point. Why should our young children be taught about God? Because God makes it possible for them to understand the truth! Do we get it? Our children can grasp the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Our children can know that God is a family into which they can be born. Our little toddlers can be taught to realize that God is offering them the opportunity to rule the universe. People in this world have such great difficulty accepting these wonderful truths of God because their minds are full of religious error. When parents faithfully do their part, a little child is able to grow up without being subjected to Satan’s religious deceit. Keeping our children’s minds free of error gives them an incredible edge in preparation for the Kingdom of God. 
Mr. Armstrong continued, “Your children are in a special (consecrated) category. You may teach them about Christ—about the things of the Bible. Their chances of being converted when sufficiently mature are multiplied!” (ibid). Are we giving our children the full advantage that God wants them to have? We must never leave this kind of teaching to chance, or expect that our children will somehow get it by themselves. It takes vision, preparation and effort. All parents must have an organized plan for instructing their children.
Leap likes to believe that is the parent's fault that so many children left the church in the 1980's.  Never place any blame on the asinine teachings of the ministry or rapidly apostatizing ministers who set out to start splinter personality cults.  Nope, they were never the problem.  It was the parent's fault.
In the early ’80s, many young people who were raised in the Church, did not grow up to become members of God’s Church. Mr. Armstrong was greatly disturbed by this trend. He placed the blame where it belonged—on the parents. He wrote, “Brethren, God’s Church is not showing even half the growth it should have from the oncoming generation of our members. This shows we have neglected the teaching of our children! When God has called you for special service in loyally backing the proclaiming of the gospel to the world by God’s Church, He intended that your childrenshould also be called and enter into the Work of God’s Church” (ibid). Besides teaching our children about God, we must also teach them about His Work and show them how to back and support the Work. If our hearts are truly in the Work, this will not be difficult to accomplish.
God was apparently too stupid to use any of Jesus teachings about children so there is the constant need in the Church of God to rely upon Moses and other "heroes" of the Old Covenant.  Jesus is still on the Masonic Lodge floor, so let's look to the law and Moses for guidance.
God established through the Prophet Moses that it is the responsibility of the older generation to properly instruct its youth. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). The success of ancient Israel was tied directly to the quality of the instruction given to succeeding generations. The quality of teaching depends upon the spiritual maturity of the adult generation. Because of the continuing degeneration of the adults, eventually the teaching broke down. Ancient Israel became a miserable failure. The lesson is there for any parents willing to look (1 Corinthians 10:11). 
The Church of God and this includes the PCG, RCG, UCG, LCG, COGWA, and most of the others have been an epic failure in how it has raised its children. If Leap really wants to be truthful, he should admit that PCG and the COG have been a "miserable failure."
Yet there is still marvelous hope. Mr. Armstrong wrote, “Although Satan is going to influence your children, almost from birth, toward his selfish and rebellious attitude, you may counteract this by teaching your children the truth about God! And when sufficiently adult they will be called. None of this is true of children outside truly converted parents!” (ibid). We should be as positive as Mr. Armstrong. Let’s never forget that we have the power of the Almighty God behind us and our children!
Mr. Flurry continues, “Children of converted members in God’s Church, even if not baptized when Jesus Christ returns, I believe will still be a part of that firstfruits group because they were sanctified before Christ’s return. Our children have such a wonderful future!” (ibid). Do we see the opportunity that Christ gives us to help Him prepare His own Bride? Do we really see what God has planned for our little children? Those who grow up to believe, repent and become converted in the Millennium will eventually receive the Bride-level reward promised only to the firstfruits. What a future! This is for us and for our children.
Let’s not fail to recognize that our children’s place in that future depends mostly on us. Surely we want to give our children the best future ever!
The best chance any child in the Philadelphia Church of God has, as do most of them from the other Churches of God, is that they LEAVE!  Their future depends upon it!

Our Sacred Children: How well do you understand what God has given His Church
concerning child rearing?


Anonymous said...

Did I read that right?

That they believe God is only working with PCG children? Of their denomination? Only?

What would that be - like - 100? 200? Max? MAYBE up to 500?? I'll go with the lower numbers.

Seriously? Who in their right mind would ever believe this?

That's literally ONE small Elementary School.
That's literally as many people in one typical mid-size restaurant.
That's how many people are in a Walmart at any given time.
It's a typical audience at a movie theater.
It's ONE COLLEGE CLASS in a typical university.
It's how many are in a Boeing 737 aircraft from takeoff to landing.

And this is, they say, ALL that God is concerned about.

What is scary is that the PCG would buy this crap.

Their assertions about the love of God and the children of their cult are about as accurate that Herbert Armstrong EVER laid one elbow on that rock of theirs. It's just a bunch of propaganda.

And since since we've been talking about alcohol - they'd be GREAT for a drinking game. Every time one of their articles says "Mr. Armstrong said....", well, that would be a shot-glass of whatever. I wonder how many would have their head in the porcelain throne within 30 minutes.

DennisCDiehl said...

Dennis leaped to this conclusion: "God’s Church’s teaching about child training is unique. Why? It has come by special revelation from God"

Uh oh....I think we're off the track from the start. Of course, no such God did anything such thing but even God has no normal family either. He has a son through a young , underage girl, to whom He is not married so seems like a case of fornication that gets humans in trouble for even thinking about. Also, in the Bible, old barren women give birth to remarkable humans but young and sexy virgins give birth to gods. Seems unfair and typically male. lol

Anyway, no mom, no wife, not even a consort anymore. God has a typically dysfunctional family too! Maybe it's Two Men (God and the HS) and a Baby (Jesus)?

Gordon Feil said...

A couple of historical inaccuracies in this post. First, not all the Armstrong children went to church. Dick stayed in and died in the church. Ted left briefly and then returned after being in the Navy. Second,Loma didn't want to seek medical help.

Anonymous said...

This was on facebook tonight

"Is it just me...? Or...did anyone else...(who grew up in WWCG), during your teen years...Wonder why....none of Herberts kids were in the 'Church'...? I remember thinking that. Of course...I found out...through my Minister...he was the one driving the car that killed Herbies oldest. Dick. Fair enough...maybe he was a good guy. We will never know. Then there was was Garner Ted. Oh yes...the guy who was caught jerking off on candid camera to his massage therapist. Then the daughters. Where were they...? of them was molested by Daddy Herbie for she is given a be 'rebellious' from Herbies teachings. And the last daughter...just never really took to Herbies teachings. I am...a teen in the 80's...being told to respect a man...who could not keep his own the 'Church of God'. Ummmm...yeah. What a manipulator...Herbie convince our own parents...HE...was a good parent. Wow."

Byker Bob said...

Having been there and done that (was raised from age 9-18 in R/WCG under the childrearing booklet) I can only say that that was the worst garbage factor of the entire church package. We’ve already discussed this topic into the ground, and it’s perfectly obvious that these fiends had no special Godly or Christlike insights into marriage, family, or childrearing. A WCG childrearing in which parents closely followed the instructions of HWA was the strongest proof possible that people did not receive the Holy Spirit through Armstrongism. And, it’s double down when the abusive parents actually get ordained. These are spiritually clueless churches.

Armstrong church members devolve as parents, starting the day on which they are welcomed into the church. I’ve got a special word for that process. I call it devilution.


Anonymous said...

This is the common ploy used by many ministers, especially tele evangelists that God is constantly talking to them. Therefore their knowledge is far superior to members 'worldly' understanding, and should be ditched when it conflicts with the ministers.

Won't little toddlers be thrilled to learn that they have an opportunity to rule the universe.

Anonymous said...

Pharisaic ministers are vipers. According to the article on vipers "The viper is a master of disguise, and this snake can blend in with any of its surroundings, including: rocks, brush, ground cover."

Gordon Feil said...

Tyoo. meant to say that not all Armstrong children LEFT the church.

EX-PCG said...

I am a former member of PCG. One thing that I will give credit to Mr. & Mrs. Leap is how they raised their daughters. Religion aside. They were all respectable young girls, who grew up to be fine women. They have all stayed with PCG, married in PCG. They aren't perfect, but considering what I have witnessed in about 40 yrs. of the COG...this was a rare occasion where a family didn't have at least one child go crazy. Especially, the teenage girls!

I am not defending PCG and their cult mentality, but I truly believe that their was some wonderful child rearing here. It's an enigma!

Anonymous said...

Puts me in mind of the man I knew who told me about being a WCG youth volunteer.

Many -- MANY -- of the youth with which he had worked were quite open, quite forthcoming with what they would do when they finished high school and grew out of the age range for "church youth."

They were going to find a girlfriend or boyfriend, "find a steady relationship," and to hell with whether or not they were in "the" church, or any church.

The end of "youth" was the beginning of freedom. I'm embarrassed to realize that these young people were the most sensible ones around. I'm sure a very similar scenario happens to Flurryite young people . . . if they stop and think a moment and realize how wrong their upbringing has been.

Go ahead, Flurry youth! Break free! No, nothing bad will happen.

Connie Schmidt said...

Truth be told, the Bible is remarkably silent about child rearing , and in nearly every case, major Biblical characters have children with some major issues. Great marriage examples are rare in the Bible as well.

The HWA family was a zoo, and certainly not any sort of testimony or example on "how to do it right".

Connie Schmidt said...

Truth be told, the Bible is remarkably silent about child rearing , and in nearly every case, major Biblical characters have children with some major issues. Great marriage examples are rare in the Bible as well.

The HWA family was a zoo, and certainly not any sort of testimony or example on "how to do it right".

Anonymous said...

The experts on here raised a generation of players and sluts that no decent person would want. No wonder nobody wants to get married anymore.

Anonymous said...

Bride-level reward! If that is anything like PCG and general CofG brides get, run fast in the opposite direction!!

Near_Earth_Object said...

This whole discussion really centers on the condition of children held captive in a religious cult. We have seen this before with Warren Jeffs of the FLDS, Jim Jones and our Millerite brother David Koresh. Cult oppression falls heavily on children. Sometimes, like the Koresh and Jones children, they end up dead. In other cases, they may end up being physically alive but spiritually dead.

Every totalitarian organization attempts to perpetuate itself by imposing draconian discipline on its youth. For example, the Hitler Youth and the Soviet Young Pioneers. These organizations are not like the Boy Scouts.

When Armstrong saw his tithe base melting away as young people left in droves, he should have asked himself why. It might have led to a constructive reformation of the WCG. But, instead, he doubled down on legalism. And that did not succeed and we have the pitiable state that the Armstronigist offshoot churches are in today. If "God works in families" he is certainly not blessing these offshoots.

But, pragmatically, something good is happening here - young people are escaping cult Armstrongism. The Armstrgonist ministry is carrying out an effective program of self-desctruction - probably much more effectively than a host of deprogrammers could do - by just being themselves. What's not to like?

Anonymous said...

Child rearing as taught by the WWCG was nothing more than conditioning children to be abused in later life by the ministers. If parents can beat the crap out of their children for any infraction, well so can the ministers.
And the church fell apart on Herbs death because of big bad wolf Joe Tkach.
Yeah right.

Byker Bob said...

There is a pattern. Many times, a success story is used as apologetics to validate the brand. You can recognize this by the language used. One of the biggest “tells” in this case is that Dennis Leap insists that this sort of childrearing success is available exclusively at PCg, while totally ignoring the cases in which PCg members experienced either diminished results or abject failure.

Dennis Leap should also have included the special insights or little ingredients and modifiers he personally added to the process, because those are what made the difference in the lives of his daughters. Instead, he has given the PCg brand 100% credit for any and all goodness. He is creating unreasonable expectations amongst naive young parents that if they do as their church teaches, the results will be uniformly excellent, one size fits all style. The truth is that the way that children must be mentored to must be customized to fit each of their individual personalities. Some of these practices do cause permanent damage and lifelong personality disorders and PTSD for the majority of children.

Much more could be said. Here we have another example in which a toxic group with a “leave your unmanageable kids at the mall” mentality is professing to have all of the answers for successfully producing well balanced over-achievers, qualified for leadership roles in the Kingdom. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Anonymous said...

HWA's own success at rearing his children would disqualify him from being a minister. He could not rule over his own family properly. The PCG needs to follow the biblical command to put to death rebellious youth. Don't pick and choose what childrearing advice to follow from the Bible. Mr. Flurry, being a drunkard is also disqualified. The false prophecies from the ex-WCG prophets, apostles, the two witnessed x 100, would disqualify the rest.

Anonymous said...

It must be wonderful to be in a church where the ministers are experts in all areas: marriage, child rearing, health, theology, etc. Never before has there been such a storehouse of expertise in the world. Does the Nobel Committee know what the PCG is doing? There has to be a Nobel prize for something given to the PCG. And to think, it all came through the mind of a high school drop out with no formal training in any of the areas he claimed to be an expert in. Rather than God's apostle visiting dignitaries around the world, Putin, the Pope, Trump and others should be visiting Edmond, Oklahoma.

Near_Earth_Object said...

There is a fundamental theological issue here. Since we all know the background, I will be short about the history. HWA attempted to systematize religious belief. He naturally gravitated to legalism and the archive of legalism contained in the OT. He and Hoeh crafted a hybrid religion that intermixed the OT and the NT using unverifiable and unaccepted standards.

His systemization took the form of many little books explaining principle for living - such as The Seven Laws of Success. And GTA's book on child rearing. All of this emanated out of the black, Pelagian heart of Armstrongism. It was all about do-it-yourself - fix your kids, fix your wife, fix your job and fix you finances. This played neatly into the hands of the judges who want to blame you because something is not right in your life and it is your fault and you need to tithe more.

After being a Christian for many years, I have come to understand that if you have good children and a good marriage - this is a grace from god - not something that you have done by diligently applying all kinds of rules. Good behavior, yes. But a good life is a gift and not earned by someone's idea of performance.

But Armstrongists cannot recognize this because they have no doctrine of grace of any significance. So their only solution is to deny the Book of Galatians and double down on Pelagianism. So they, having never known the gospel once delivered, will work, work, work until they die.

Anonymous said...

You have all manner of gardening rules. You have to bury seeds at the right depth, the right soil, the right climate/microclimate, the right season, the right pruning etc. It's diligently applying all these rules that results in a good garden. It's not the love of Jesus in your heart or the grace from God that gives the desired results.

Anonymous said...

NEO wrote:

HWA attempted to systematize religious belief

Not at all. When WCG sought to compile a systematic presentation of its theology, HWA opposed it vigorously. HWA's religion came down to one point: obey the Apostle and his minions, whether they teach Monday Pentecost one year and Sunday Pentecost the next, whether or not they allow divorce, whether or not they allow women to wear makeup, etc.

What About The Truth said...

In the later 1980's at the Mt. Pocono Feast a minister from England gave a sermon on Family Day with the subject being church children and their parents. This minister had visited the Amish community in Lancaster County Pennsylvania prior to the start of the Feast. One of the questions he asked an Amish leader was; "What percent of your children stay with the Amish community when reaching adulthood"? The answer 87%. The minster then called Pasadena to get the retention rate of the church's children. He was given the figure of 20% of church youth who stay with the church into adulthood.

Much could be said about the cause of such a poor response of the church youth to the message of the supposed one true church of God, but this minister's sermon most certainly put a dent into HWA's claim of turning the hearts of the children unto their fathers - the Elijah title he claimed. That by the way was the theme of the 1983 or 1984 The Behind The Work Film - turning the hearts of the children.

When Dave Pack claimed the title of Elijah in a sermon in the RCG, he claimed he was really going to make an extra effort on behalf of the youth to fulfill Malachi 4:5-6. After the sermon I was asked what I thought about Mr. Pack's claim. My answer to them all was, "If he thinks he is going to fulfill that verse by turning the hearts of the 200 church children of which half don't have fathers attending, then prophecy has gotten very small in a big way".

Small spiritual minded men will never affect change in children to rise above spiritual problems in a very carnal world. If only 20% of church youth stayed on at the height of the WCG, I wonder what that percentage is in this day and age?

Anonymous said...

I think the best teacher of your kids is you as a parent and the example you set. When my kids got a little older I told them, if you see me do it, then you can do it, you don't see me do it then you don't do it. Seemed to work ok for us.

Anonymous said...

" may counteract this by teaching your children the truth about God! And when sufficiently adult they will be called. None of this is true of children outside of truly converted parents!"

Is he saying that all those that were called as adults from other beliefs or non-belief, were never and could NEVER be truly converted?

Guess that explains why so many children walked away including HWA's. The adults were never truly converted. It's an unconverted church with an unconverted foundation.

They never knew the truth about God. aka LOVE (or grace or mercy...).

Law, on da udda han' dey dun knows dat real well.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that 12:41 uses a gardening example. Jesus himself also used the example of vegetation to address the issue.

He said "I am the vine".
He said "You are the branches".

Jesus, as the vine, was firmly planted in the "soil" - the Kingdom of His Father.

12:41 says " You have to bury seeds at the right depth, the right soil, the right climate/microclimate, the right season, the right pruning etc. "

Jesus says you are not the seeder. You are not the one who determines the depth or the soil. You are not the one who determines the right climate or microclimate, season, or pruning. He simply says "you are the branches".

All of your diligence in planting will yield nothing at all so long as you are not attaching yourself to the vine. This was one of - if not - the biggest mistake of Armstrongism and the doctrines of Herbert Armstrong. The expectation of HWA and company was to somehow follow the advice of 12:41 from the start. But this is not the example. You are not your own gardener. The only thing you can do is find The Vine, and attach yourself to Him. Only then will you be able to bear good fruit.

Here's the "rules" that Jesus taught. Attach yourself to the True Vine. then, grow fruit by that attachment to the Vine. Then, the vine will produce good fruit - gentleness, meekness, self control, kindness, mercy, goodness. But the fruits of those who "grow their own vine" will be wickedness and destruction, no matter how hard they attempt to "keep the rules" of gardening.

Herbert Armstrong planted his own garden. Herbert Armstrong adopted his own rules. he attempted to cultivate a religion, not based on attaching oneself to The True Vine, but attaching to his own version of the vine. A vine that used synthetics. A vine that grew and made fruit - but not the Real Fruit. A vine that was passed off as the real thing, but lacked the evidence of the Real Fruit. A vine where people attached themselves not to the True Vine, but to HWA and his ministers, who put themselves in the place of the True Vine, and provided no real sustenance.

Those who attached themselves to the fruit of HWA's labor reaped the fruit of their decisions. Those who attached themselves to the True Vine reaped the fruit of the Spirit. following all the gardening rules to the tee - no matter how hard you try - will mean absolutely nothing so long as you do not attach yourself to the True Vine. And thousands in WCG could not find the True Vine because HWA had them working so hard on his own fields to see or find that Vine.

Alllen Dexter said...

All but one of my four children got as far away from all religion as possible. One, the youngest, who is bi-polar and opted for the homeless lifestyle of aimlessness, stayed with it for a while. I don't know about the present as he maintains no family contact.

What we were taught to do as parents was horrible. Most families became oppressive mini-concentration camps where a child couldn't call his being his own. The control all religions seek went to horrible extremes and it's not surprising that the majority get as far away as they can as soon as they can. They'[re the "smart" ones.

Byker Bob said...

Yeah, 7:47, but it’s too bad that that doesn’t work on a church level within the authority structure. The latter day ACOg leaders imitate all of the bad and evil things done by HWA, and consider it license. Nobody ever seems to repent of the old man’s sins.


Byker Bob said...

Yes, 9:13, and yet, in their own internal jargon, somehow they call this “not following a man”.


Hoss said...

systematize religious belief

I remember when our minister announced STP - the Systematic Theology Program - which was touted as a way to organize Armstrongism. After GTA's removal, HWA denounced it as another Satanic liberal plot. I remember on the "must play" tape HWA said, "STP? Isn't that something you put in your car?" The conservative side joked that STP stood for Slowly Turning Protestant.
Although some form of STP may have helped organize the endless stream of booklets, articles, reprints, etc, we had to wait for MOA which HWA claimed was a summary of his work.
While the splinters may not have equivalents to the STP, some have "Statements of Belief" - presumably so you can check which Armstrongist doctrines they hold.

Near_Earth_Object said...

"You have all manner of gardening rules. You have to bury seeds at the right depth, the right soil, the right climate/microclimate, the right season, the right pruning etc. It's diligently applying all these rules that results in a good garden. It's not the love of Jesus in your heart or the grace from God that gives the desired results."

This is an error of oversimplification. I think that you can understand that there is a difference between a plant and a human being. Some guidelines may have value but overall the results yielded are unpredictable because humans a unpredictable.

"Not at all. When WCG sought to compile a systematic presentation of its theology, HWA opposed it vigorously. HWA's religion came down to one point: obey the Apostle and his minions, whether they teach Monday Pentecost one year and Sunday Pentecost the next, whether or not they allow divorce, whether or not they allow women to wear makeup, etc."

HWA attempted to systematize belief as he understood it. He leaned heavily on legalism to do this. This does not mean he was good at systematizing. And he opposed the STP not because of its systematic approach but because he was jealous of GTA who was then a rising star.

It is interesting that the WCG had a seminary called Ambassador College yet had no systematic theology. What did theology students study - little booklets and the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course? This is hardly a 4 year curriculum. The students received ad hoc instruction from various ministers. This was necessarily ad hoc because nothing was really documented well. There was a Talmud but no Torah. This means that students left AC with differing beliefs about what Armstrongism is.

Anonymous said...

"It is interesting that the WCG had a seminary called Ambassador College"

I have a hard time believing it ever was a "Seminary".

Seems more to me from all the accounts I have read it was some kind of drunken frat-house.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:20 PM. For Garner Ted, AC was an INseminary.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7.13 AM. The STP, mockingly called the 'slide towards Protestantism' by many Herb ministers, would be a defacto constitution that could limit minister power. That's not church culture. In the church, minister has all rights and are above the law. It's only the members who are required to obey and law and church rules.

Byker Bob said...

Actually, 5:20, your characterization of AC as having been a drunken frathouse would have been impossible back in the day, and demeans the vast majority of students who were the good little boys and girls. There were some pretty rigid standards, and students actually did rat on fellow students whom they thought had gone too far astray from the Ambassador ideal.

I was part and parcel of perhaps the wildest dorm, and some might say a ringleader, in the second semester of our sophomore year. Our dorm was nicknamed “80 South Crass”, and the notoriety was such that they were still telling tales about it ten and fifteen years later when my younger siblings attended. But, even in the wildest dorm, we abode in a state of firm rules and boundaries. The liquor did not flow freely. Alcohol was consumed, but I can’t recall a single instance of anyone being drunk in the dorm. There were some rock n rollers present who occasionally had the balls to ask hardball questions, and whose sense of humor wasn’t always up to Ambassador standards.

Also, whether at SEP, AC, or the feast, or anywhere else the typical Armstrongian diet was imposed, it always produced one particular problem for some, and unfortunately, a couple of the guys in the dorm had a never ending gas problem, which was vehemently complained about in all the dorm meetings, but somehow never resolved. Best stopgap measure in this stalemate was that if you were so afflicted, show some class by politely excusing yourself and please don’t make any vulgar remarks about it. In the hierarchy of offenses, the vulgar remarks were considered to be a worse offense than the hot, smelly gas itself. Apparently, nobody gave any credence to, or heeded, the concept of the test fart. They just let it all out indiscriminately. One of the “gas bullies”, an upper classman, flatly told us that he had stomach problems and that we were just going to have to deal with it.

And, yes, some of the freshman guys did little skits mocking Rod Meredith’s outrageous statements made in that day’s daily Bible Class. That was considered highly disrespectful, something that to my knowledge had never been openly done before. But, this became another thing that seemingly resisted any efforts to control, and might have been the proverbial camel’s nose under the flap of the freedom of speech tent.

If anyone during that era had visited our campus from USC, or UCLA, they would have seen all of us as being super straight, and even our beloved 80 South Crass would have been lame and tame as compared to the frat houses at secular colleges across the USA. Gas, rock n roll, and Rod Meredith skits wouldn’t have even registered with John Belushi, Otter, and the guys at Animal House. Unfortunately, all of our upper classmen were Neidermeyer types.


nck said...

It was explicitly not a seminary. This was never intended and this was published repetitively in all communications. Yes it produced people working for the operations of the church.


Byker Bob said...

Most of the larger Christian churches have a constitution, a real board of directors or elders, and a fairly explicit mission statement. Obviously, Moses and Jesus did not have this extra layer of accountability, though, as the Bible tells us that they had a direct connection with God. God had a fairly extensive systematized theology for both Moses and Jesus.

Here’s the problem. If God were speaking directly to an individual, hypothetically, a board of directors would be superfluous. Herbert Armstrong admitted many times that God did not speak directly to him in an audible voice. He claimed to be inspired by God, but on some occasions, new “truths” came to him at the library, by scriptures which suddenly stood out, or through the writings of his colleagues. These are the types of circumstances that require a learned board of wise men, to evaluate, to interpret, to guide, and to provide accountability. Herbert Armstrong wanted to be seen as only being accountable to God, without God actually speaking to him directly. If I understand correctly, that same issue was what caused Rod Meredith to withdraw from the Global Church of god. The especially strict ACOg groups all follow this mold, and treat their leaders as if they had that direct connection with God. It is sleight of hand, and the members are programmed to go along with it.

From Wes White’s recent expose of the Spanish Department break-in, we know that HWA actually invoked Annanias and Saphira to enhance or underscore his authority. HWA also used Korah for this same intimidating purpose, as we’ve all heard in his sermons.

Armstrongism was set up in the Moses or Jesus mold. The problem is that following the physical deaths of both these pivotal individuals, there were no singular successors. Interpretation was left to collectives, in much the same tradition as the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution. It was ridiculous for HWA and his church to equate him with Moses and Jesus when even James did not make unilateral decisions. And as it has filtered down innthe aftermath of WCG, it is beyond absurd for people like Ron Weinland, Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry, or some of the little guys like James Malm and Bob Thiel to act in the Moses or Jesus mold.


Anonymous said...

Most of the larger churches have a constitution?? Really? In that case, what are the stated rights of its members?

Since you missed it, God does speak directly to the individual. That's the significance of the veil in the holy of holies splitting in two on Christs death.

Glenn said...

While I was only a visitor to, and never a resident of, "80 South Crass", I can attest to the accuracy of Bob's description of that dorm and the gentlemen who lived there.

Byker Bob said...

Yes, Glenn. We always enjoyed your visits! Charlie Vinson was another frequent visitor. You guys were honorary members!


Byker Bob said...

To learn more, 6:25, Google “church constitution”. Pages and pages will come up.

Also, don’t confuse “constitution” with “bill of rights”.

Last paragraph: got it. You’re the one who keeps insisting that God has confirmed in your prayers that the US wlll be vanquished and enslaved. Time will tell.


Anonymous said...

The bill of rights was to created in order to emphasize and detail the constitution. Some of the founding fathers believed it unnecessary, but it seems history has proven otherwise. Kenneth Copeland guest speakers and Joyce Meyer have given TV sermons on God directly communicating and leading Christians (confirmed by the holy spirit to me as correct), but HWA ministers have not. Shame, shame, shame.
Yes, the US will be vanquished and survivors will be herded like cattle into slavery. That's what the holy spirit communicated to me. My heart goes out to the younger generation, the meat in the sandwich.

Byker Bob said...

No shit? You takin’ tithes yet?


Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5.15, did that spirit tell you when the vanquishing and herding will happen? Is it the same spirit that told Copeland to "bleed the people" for a private jet and lavish lifestyle yet the people struggle to pay their own used car notes?
Blood suckers like Copeland and Joyce Myers and Flurry are the ones who have vanquished their followers and herded them like cattle into mental, spiritual, social and financial slavery.

Anonymous said...

7.33 PM
I cannot prove my 5.14 AM assertion to you. Then again, you cannot prove many of your own expressed beliefs either.
No, I don't know the when part.
Copeland and Joyce Meyer lie about their conversations with God, since it's never a long patronizing back and forth conversation as they claim. I'm no fan of either, but it's still possible to learn from Pharisees.