Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ok, Who's Tellin' Fibs???



Ok, Who's Tellin' Fibs???
Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIn my last posting about why the very plain statements made in the Gospels about prayer fell short of their goal no one really bothered to address the plainly stated scriptures.   Instead of any sane discussion about why these rather plain and unambiguous statements about prayer don't seem to be how prayer really works, it was a food fight.  I was attacked for being stupid enough to ask the questions and others were attacked for having their own perspectives which others thought were stupid.  Obviously we are not dealing with a naturally theologically curious audience at times.  
So let's try again.  Who's tellin' fibs here?  Luke the author of the Acts of the Apostles and Paul's apologist or Paul himself?
Let us begin.
After his conversion, did Paul go directly to Jerusalem to meet with those who were Apostles before him and actually are said to have known Jesus personally and spent much time with him?  Paul was the persecutor of the Christians and the Church before becoming a follower of it.  Paul never met Jesus personally and in all his writings, never quotes Jesus, tells of his life, miracles, healings or teachings.  Paul fails dozens of times to quote Jesus when it would serve him well to do so.  The fact is that Paul never heard the Gospel accounts of Jesus physical life. For Paul, Jesus came to him in hallucinations and visions. Paul died before the Gospels were written. 
At some point in his life Paul evidently "saw the light."  No really, he saw the light and heard the voices in his head.  Depending on which account you read, others with him either did or didn't hear the voice or see the light or stay standing or fall down, but that is another story.
But what did Paul do after he was converted?  Paul says of his own conversion...

Galatians 1:15-20 

 

15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephasa] and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 


Here Paul says plainly that what he is saying is no lie.  I suspect some one must have been accusing him lying about this or he would not have been so vehement to say he wasn't.  


Paul plainly says that he did not see any of the Apostles for three years.  Paul plainly says he went directly to Arabia, but fails to tell us why.  All sorts of crazy ideas have been put forth as to his reason for this trip and stay, but he simply does not say why.  Then, after three years, he goes to Jerusalem,  see's Cephas and stays with him for 15 days but sees no others except James the Lord's brother.  


That's pretty simple.  Paul said he was called from his mother's womb (Like Jeremiah, Jesus and John--how humble of him).  There is no hint of the Damascus road story.
ON THE OTHER HAND....


Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, which tells a  really short story to get the Jerusalem Apostles off the stage while the real and much longer majority of the story is mostly about the Apostle Paul


According to Acts 9, IMMEDIATELY after Paul converted he spent some time in Damascus "with the disciples," and when he left Damascus he headed IMMEDIATELY to Jerusalem where he met the apostles of Jesus  (Acts 9:19-30).  On all counts and every w


Did Paul spend time with the Apostle immediately (Acts) or not (Paul in Galatians)?  Did he go straight to Jerusalem (Acts) or not (Paul in Galatians).  Did he meet with a group of Apostles (Acts) or  just with Peter and James  (Paul)?


In fact, Paul, who is not lying, appears to want it made clear that his Gospel did not come from any of Jesus Apostles. Paul wanted his Gospel to be clearly understood to have come through him.  Paul makes it clear that to disagree with him is to disagree with God. Paul calls Peter, James and John "reputed pillars."  Paul goes on in Galatians to say, "who they are makes no difference to me. I learned NOTHING from them."   


Clearly Paul thought he was Herbert Armstrong, Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack and Ron Weinland preincarnated.  


Luke, on the other hand, makes every effort to make what was not true, that Paul and the Jerusalem Church were on the same side, to seem true.  Luke does his best to show that Paul and the Jerusalem Church were team players, spoke the same thing and had the same Gospel message.  There could be nothing more far from the truth than this fairy tale Luke has made up in the Acts of the Apostles.


Both accounts of Paul's conversion cannot be true.  Either one is true and one is the lie (Paul said his version was not the lie), or both versions are false and the truth lies elsewhere unknown to us.  They can't BOTH be true.  They simply are two completely different accounts of how Paul is said to have come to be converted to the Jesus movement and what he did immediately after. 


So which is it?   


If I had to pick, I'd say Paul would know his own story best and since Paul actually did write Galatians, he would know. Someone was calling Paul a liar. (Not the only time by the way) and indeed, Paul did lie from time to time but we will save that for another time. 


Luke's version is the false version. There was no Damascus Road event according to Paul. If you look at Luke's accounts of that tale, you will see Luke could not get it straight with the telling. But that's another story.    
So who's fibbin' and why?


UCG Tonga Resignation

Friday, February 11, 2011

COGaWA (WCG2)Premiers It's Website

WCG2/Church of God a Worldwide Association has its new official web site up.  You can follow along as little Joel talks about his superfantastic trips around the world and Ralphie talks about single life.  Such fun!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Angry Reader Responds



From: juanwhoknows@_____.com
To: DenniscDiehl@aol.com
Sent: 2/10/2011 12:02:12 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: your hwa banned blog
I've been reading your 'anti-armstrong/no-god' blog for some weeks, following the UCG-COGaWa debacle, and since you're into highly original comments, here's one I bet you haven't heard (1000 times yet):

Psalms 14:1  ... The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

This pretty much sums up your blog....foolish, bitter, myopic, predictable, rambling, and often typographically-challenged (lots of misspellings)....

Even with all the mutual 'crap' you've compiled from myriad other myopic self-promoting vilifiers, your personal scope of the entire HWA-WCG experience can never be more than very minuscule, personal and hopelessly arbitrary.

Even if what little you say about HWA and the WCG and splinters is basically true, the remaining 99.999% of the unfathomable experience goes completely unconsidered....so much for minimal accuracy (less than 0.001%) and objectivity. You should reconsider such a colossal blunder of short-sightedness; its as if you are STILL operating like a WCG minister.

To live a life of no hope (atheism) is miserable compared to an active life of FAITH.  When a believer is in trouble he cries out "O 'God,' help me!"  And when he is eventually saved, he is thankful.  What do you cry out?  "Oh God" or "G. D. it," I'm sure....because you can't completely wipe out the pre-programmed knowledge of the Creator from your mental ROM, can you? Because HWA didn't put THAT there.

Since no one will know that there is "god," until he sees him in the flesh or dies (no I didn't just contradict myself), a wise man chooses to believe in the Creator rather than not.  He reasons that the positive benefits of a life of FAITH greatly outweigh the crushing loneliness, purposelessness and bitterness that always accompany ATHEISM.  And if there turns out to be no 'god' in the end, it was still a greatly improved life. If there is 'god,' then the 'unprofitable servant' goes into an unimaginable bonus round.

Yet, so what if there's no reward after this life? If you're doing it for the reward, is that agape love? or, like all the self-seeking folks you describe in your blog, just for personal gain?  FAITH in the Creator is a worthwhile mindset even without the resurrection, pal.

The bottom-line question for me: is the m.o.of your blog really any better than that of the people whose actions you consistently paint as diabolical, stupid, and clueless?  Are you not doing the same thing that you did when you were a WCG minister? Then what a waste of time if you believe what you blog....

Because, like Job (another guy who thought he had this 'god thing' figured out), you might actually be WRONG about all this 'religion is big business' and 'the opium of the people' stuff.

For me, if a life of great joy, accomplishment, and worthwhile experiences, plus agony, long sadness, hard times and tragedy (most of which was my own fault) has not dimmed my faith in the Creator, how could your little toxic blip of a blog possibly hope to make a dent in anyone else's? 

If there is "god," you're still serving his purpose in another way without knowing it. If there is no "god," then you're still blogging about NOTHING after all these years and that every single day.

Again, what a waste of life....why not tell us about your stamp collection or how you felt when you first became a father?  Contributing something positive to the aggregate....

"A-dios!" whoops, sorry, "A-nihilos, amigo!"




_________________________________________________________________________________
FYI Juan:


I don't expect you or anyone else to agree with what is posted on this blog. One of the main problems with Armstrongism is that people checked their brains when they were baptized or whenever they read the latest booklet put out by one of the various "One and ONLY True Ministers of God left on earth today." 


The Armstrongite thought process only involves the 'revealed word of HWA, Meredith, Flurry, or some other leader who has interpreted the Bible according to THEIR viewpoint.  The members of these churches are expected to follow THEIR rulings and doctrines.  Reading other literature, theology books or writings done by non-COG members is frowned upon and blatantly forbidden by some.  Questioning is NOT an option in Armstrongism.  It wasn't under HWA at any point in time.  It still is not under Meredith, Flurry, Hulme, Pack, Cox, etc.


Real spiritual seekers continually ask questions, and have no problem in wrestling with scripture and doctrine   If you truly believe the Bible stories you read you would quickly see that many of  those men and women wrestled with, argued with and bargained with their God. You would see that more than 5 different writers contributed to Genesis.  That there were several authors to Isaiah, that many of the days and traditions kept by the Israelites were patterned after neighboring 'pagan' peoples, that James and Paul argued over who knew Jesus the best and how to interpret his word.  You would know that much of the Bible is myth and allegory. And, if you knew the meaning of myth and not today's meaning you would find value in these stories even though they aren't literal.  You would also know that the Bible tells the story of messy people, living messy lives who never quit got it right. It is not a story about people living lives of perfection or constantly having to DO the right thing.


I spent over 45 years in Armstrongism.  I was two when my mother joined and we drove 150 each way to church.  Grew up in the church, came to its Pasadena campus, worked for the church and even work in HWA's home for close to 15 years.  I can tell you stories that make anything posted here look like nursery rhymes.


I am not angry with the church.  There were some good times to be had.  I would never have traveled around the world like I have if it wasn't for the church.  However, there is regret for the lost and wasted years, the lost opportunities and a screwed up faith that was damaged by the cultish irrelvent nonsense of Herbert Armstrong and his minions.  I learned a long time ago to laugh and and have fun with the crap we all put up with.  That is the only way you can retain your sanity. Those of us that have recovered  from the filth now don't want to see others hurt by it.  So we post the silly happenings, the arrogant words, and  the lies of the various splinter cults and their leaders so it is all in black and white for the world to see.


Yet through it all, I never lost that spark that keeps me coming back to God.  That's why I am a lay minister in a local church, serve in numerous ways in the church and in the community.  I would much rather surround myself with agnostics, atheists and those that question their beliefs than those who are so mind numbingly close minded they refuse to use their brains.


I may not agree with everything Dennis writes, but the majority I do.  Those things that I don't agree with I look at as a new way of looking at things I had never thought about before.  I may not agree, but I do allow it to cause me to think.


Dennis is more than welcome to post there.  When he can jar the minds of those entrenched in the ethically and morally bankrupt churches of Armstrongism then he is welcome to post any damn time he wants.


This includes the other people that send me information too!


Gary


UCG: Everything is all Daffodils and Cute Bunnies


Reading UCG Realtime you would think UCG has had only a minor little hiccup in their organizational structure and everything is phantasmagorically fabulous!  Pretty daffodils and bunnies playing in the fields of the Lord....

Here is their list of hiccups laid out:

For your information, in early 2010, there were 492 credentialed elders in the United Church of God, an International Association. Of that number, 323 (66%) are still with UCG. Of that total, we have retained 62 of 131 salaried field ministers (47%); 15 of 20 elders salaried by the home office (75%); 9 of 14 retired elders (64%); and 237 of 327 non-salaried elders (73%).
In the United States, we have retained 250 of 382 elders (65%). Of that total, we have retained 46 of 100 salaried field ministers and 180 of 248 non-salaried elders (73%).

Is It a Sin to Notice Prayer Doesn't Work as Advertised?



Is It a Sin to Notice Prayer Doesn't Work as Advertised?

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThis is a tough one.  The faithful will get defensive on the outside but know what I'm asking is true on the inside.  Apologetics will follow along "But God still knows what's best for us,"  "The wisdom of man is foolishness with God,"  "My ways are not your ways,"  "There is a way that SEEMS right unto a man, but...."  "The wisdom of man is foolishness with God," and so on.  God always wins.

But is so bad to simply ask based on experience and observation, what do these promises mean if there is a God behind them with the power to do as stated?

"Dear God,  I need rent money.... "
"No"
"Dear God, bless our Church and help the work to grow."
"No"
Dear God,  please heal my cancer, my condition, my life, my heart, my soul, my illness."
"No"
"Dear God, Please let my child live..."
"No"


 
I think we get the point.

 Matthew 7: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
 
 Matthew 17:20  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
 
 Matthew 21:21  Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
 
 Mark 11:24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
 
 John 14:12-14  Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
 
, Matthew 18:19 Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  
 James 5:1-16  Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 
So here we go.  

"Dear Heavenly Father.  Thank you for my life and for calling me into the truth.  Please bless the work of God. Please watch over Mr. Armstrong and bless the college.  Thank you for your mercy and bringing me here to learn more about your word.  Help me to be a good student and to learn all that is taught to me of your truth. Please use me in you're work because that is why I have come these 3000 miles against my family's wishes for.  I promise to teach faithfully and with a humble spirit. . Thank you that you have allowed them not to question the wisdom of this choice.  Please use me someday in your work.  I came here to study your word and learn your ways. I do wish to help your people as a minister.

Please watch over all the children whose Angels do watch over them.  Protect them and love them so they can also come into your truth.  Bless Mr. Armstrong and all the ministry with wisdom and true love for the brethren.  Protect your work from those that would harm it.  Help me to inspire and teach your people correctly 
and to be patient with those who don't understand.  
Thank you so much that I have found the truth and a church that is united in hope and doctrine and one in charity and love. " 

I think we get the point here. Just make up your own or remember the ones you offered up.  We all know how well those requests all went.  The Church tanked, the truth changed, New errors were added to or replaced older ones. Mr. Armstrong was not a man to listen to advice and council.  The college tanked along with all congregations for the most part. Unity and Harmony was a joke.  Children whose Angels do watch over them were killed for inattention, mistakes in where they swam or how not to look at a gun.  Many died not seeing that car or forgetting to pay attention to driving when driving.  Oh yes, don't forget falling under a hedge hog mower or those crushed under the weight of farm machinery.  And when all else failed, remember those surviving parents who were not comforted by "You'll see them again in the kingdom,"  "At least you have other children,"  "God won't give you more than you can handle,"  or "God's ways are not YOUR ways."

Have you ever asked for something, even something that was good and right and would be of great encouragement and deeply appreciated, and gotten it?

Have you asked Go
Do you think it would be wise if whenever anyone asked for anything, they got it?  

Do you wonder why when it says you will, you never did or don't?

If the Bible is seriously true and tells the real truth about how life can work for those called according to his purpose, something is seriously wrong here.

Has your faith ever moved a mountain?  Does this mean that the best faith I ever had was not even as big as a mustard seed so it's all our fault anyhow?  If nothing is impossible for me, does the impossible ever really happen when I ask, seek and endeavor to find?  Of course not.  

I remember sitting in a feast audience as the minister of the day was raving about how God intervened and saved a congregant's child from a terrible auto wreck.  He went on and on quoting all the right scriptures and I cringed.  I had just buried the teen killed in a wreck of people sitting a few rows over from me.  I imagine in an audience of a few thousand, scores are sitting there feeling faithless and cursed because "in my house it was not so."   At the noon ministerial luncheon I talked to him about it.  While I understood what he meant, I asked him if he realized there are dozens of parents now unable to eat their lunch because God did nothing of what he promised to their children.  I asked him if he realized the pain he caused to many more than just the good spoken of for one.  I asked him to think about the wisdom of that and maybe he needed to be more careful in the future. He just looked at me like I was nuts. 

 It reminds me of David saying,  "I have been young and now I am old and I have NEVER seen a righteous man beg bread."  Really David?  Did you ever get out of the Palace much?  I've seen that a lot.

I have laid hands on hundreds and hundreds of very sick people.  Let's see.  How many were healed of death dealing illness such as cancer?  How many of the blind did I restore or deaf came to hear again?  In my youthful ministry and the week after I was ordained a local elder I had my first opportunity to anoint someone.  I have never told this story that I remember and know my family does not know this.  I anointed my own brother who is literally blind, deaf and cannot speak.  Birth defects and trauma.  We sat on the bed upstairs in the home of my youth. I layed hands on his head and he made his typical noises wondering what I was doing but took it all rather patiently.  I said something like....

Dear Heavenly Father,  I come to you for the first time in my life as a minister in your church.  I can now follow James 5:14-16 and anoint your people who you promised to hear if they called upon you. ( I know, my brother didn't ask me to do this, but he couldn't remember?! )  I ask you to restore my brother's sight. I know this sounds impossible but please restore his missing eye that he lost to glaucoma when he was 12.  Please restore his hearing and in your mercy, please restore his speech.  How impressed and grateful my parents would be!  We know your word and what you say about this. Please hear me and thank you for placing me in the ministry...In Jesus name....amen.

Well, I meant well.  Of course he is still blind and deaf and can't speak.  Actually he's on Social Security now, lives in a huge group home and has someone who advocates for him because he can't.  I have to say he has done better than I have to this point.  Maybe it's a joke on me.  Yeah that's it!  I would be better of in life after WCG promised for years "we will take care of you," (boy did they) by poking my eyes out, cutting out my vocal cords and pouring superglue in my ears.  The Kingdoms of this world at least would have helped me out a bit.  

"Ask anything," "I will do it,"  "Anyone,"  "Whatever you ask,"  "...will raise the sick,"   are very big promises.  They also are not true.  

Oh I know, "Dennis, you don't have any faith."But God still knows what's best for us,"  "The wisdom of man is foolishness with God,"  "My ways are not your ways,"  "There is a way that SEEMS right unto a man, but...."  "The wisdom of man is foolishness with God," and so on.  God always wins.  The requester is always wrong and has totally missed the true intent of what God meant.  "Let all men be found liars..." or something like that.

"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."  Really?  Where is this going on?  My experience is that where two or three are gathered together in your name, one declares themselves in charge, one gets to follow and one get's to clean up after the first two. I guess I missed something in my experience.
Remember, these are not just philosophers pontificating in their Ivory Towers.  This is what JESUS said.  Nothing could be more clear if it wasn't so iffy and untrue.  I expect if we gathered thousands of really true Christians and they all strictly went by these teachings of JESUS, and we all prayed for all war to stop, all disease to end, all hate to become love and for all God's children who are red and yellow, black and white and are precious in his sight to go to bed fed and loved from now on, we'd know how it would go.  

It's still going that way.

Don't tell me this will all be fixed in the Kingdom.  Don't tell me God just hasn't answered yet or that "sometimes the answer is no."  I can deal with sometimes, but not never since these are the clear teachings of Jesus and the really true Apostles. 

A word from the pagan, uncalled, uninspired, unfaithful, unchristian Epicurus, know for his epicurean paradox.

"Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?" — Epicurus, as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief
I could not have said it better myself.  Am I the only one who notices this or dares to speak it?  Did Jesus lie or not mean what we think he meant?  Does healing not mean healing or given not mean given?  Is the Bible speaking in some kind of code we can't figure out or just being plain wrong and lying about how it all is? 
"Grandfather...is this some kind of joke?"


Warm regards on these hot topics...
Dennis Diehl...formerly called "Mr."  :)

The Church of God: The Center of the Universe?

Armstrongism has always thought of it's self as the center of the universe, the holder of all things Godly and pure, and home of the righteous faithful remnant.  This should put it all into perspective considering that Armstrongism has now splintered into well over 700 different personality cults.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Truth Shall Make You Free: Chapter 9 Excerpts



Chapter 9   On The Track or Off The Track?

(pg 113) While Paula and I were going through these personal experiences in our church life, many other things had been happening.  Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely in spite of Herbert Armstrong’s forceful directive to Stanley Rader to sell or get rid of Quest, Rader was increasing his control over Quest with no apparent intent to sell it.

On July 12, Roger Lippross, Circulation and Publishing Director of The Plain Truth magazine, announced to employees in Pasadena that Stanley Rader had placed Quest under his personal control in the AICF.  At about the same time, Rader made swift moves to remove all Church employees from their positions at the Quest offices in New York.  In addition to Jack Martin, several other Church employees had earlier transferred to the Quest offices from California. The group included Gordon Muir, who was slated to take over as circulation manager.  The Church employees were now given less than a week to phase out and leave the offices.  The reason given by Rader was that it would be easier to sell Quest if it were a self-sustaining operation without Church employees on the staff.  The true reason behind Rader’s actions, however, seems to be somewhat different.  With no one from the Church on the scene, Rader could then mold Quest and the newly established Everest House publishing operations to his liking and use them to his purpose.

(pg 114) The importance of a secular publishing business owned by the Church could better be understood in light of a remark that Robert Kuhn, executive assistant to Garner Ted Armstrong and a Church vice-president, made at the 1978 ministerial conference. He said, “Quest was very important to the Church, as through the publishing contacts maintained by the Quest office, adverse publicity in the press could be controlled.”  One must wonder that even if it were possible to influence the press in such a way, why would a Church want to do so.  It would appear that the only influence a church would desire over the press would be one whereby its evangelistic message would be disseminated through the news media.

Perhaps the fall 1978 Everest House catalog with its list of twenty-two books would offer some insight to Rader’s true motives.  Quest and Everest House, while subsidized directly by money from the Church, which had been collected from tithe paying members for the preaching of the Gospel, was quit obviously engaged in promoting a very unchristian message.  Jack Martin and other Church employees were evidently placed in positions at Quest for a short period of time to appease those who objected the initial Quest issues.  Now, in all of the turmoil over Garner Ted’s ouster, it was very easy to remove these people from Quest and it wouldn’t even be noticed.  And to keep quiet they were kept on salary while they had no job to go to.

Looking through the Everest House catalog we find publications such as Dark Dimensions; A Celebration of the Occult. The description reads, “In this startling new exploration of the wonders of the occult world, the renowned author and one of the world’s greatest authorities on parapsychology, Colin Wilson brings together the extraordinary feats of nine masters of magic.”  The book contains accounts of homosexuality, mutilation, and sex perversion.  Another book entitles In Search of…glorifies the demonic talents of psychics such as Jeanne Dixon and explores the satanic practices of Kirlian photography. The LTR Money Book is not as sedate a financial advisory as the title would indicate.  It contains advice for gay couples and instructions for homosexuals who wish to get married or divorced.  And Zen Running is not a book on jogging, but rather a book that advises how one can let his mind go through the use of Zen.  Certainly a strange list of books to be published by an organization that claims to serve Jesus Christ under the leadership of a man who claims to be God’s apostle.

(pg 115) Perhaps the true spiritual leadership of the Church could be better understood when one considers Rader’s statement regarding his birth date. When asked his date of birth by a reporter, Rader stated, “August 14, 1930.  I’m a Leo”.  While many Christians may be aware of their so-called astrological birth sign as a result of having followed such practices before their conversion, it is something that a converted Christian would not longer retain in his mind. Rader’s interest in astrology seems to go far beyond his simple recitation of his birth sign. Could it be that some of the books offered by Everest House are the true handbooks of Rader’s spiritual life and in fact other aspects of his life also?  The answers to these questions were to become into more clear focus as time progressed.

When the prophet Isaiah told of the judgment to come upon Babylon for her evil ways and rejection of God, he said mockingly, “Let now the astrologers, the star gazers, the monthly prognosticators stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” (Isaiah 47:13)  Rader's preoccupation with the occult led him to state in a talk to Church employees, “If I were teaching course in metaphysics we could spend an whole semester talking about what reality is. “  Strangely enough no one picked it up.  From Rader’s comments and his further actions, it would become more and more apparent which God he really serves.

Through the rest of the year Herbert Armstrong, through a massive propaganda effort, continued to strengthen his position as God’s apostle.  At the same time Stanley Rader was about to liquidate Church properties in order to provide the money needed to keep the organization afloat.  From year to year the Church operated at a deficit and the financial crisis was virtual way of life in the Church.  Of course, all of the Church’s problems had been blamed on Garner Ted and his so-called attempts to secularize the Church.  Now that he was out, the Church’s problems could no longer be blamed on him.  Now that the cause of the problems was no longer in the Church, Armstrong must therefore come through and eliminate all problems.  To cover himself, through sermons and Church publications, the members were constantly reminded that they were in a lax spiritual condition and were not behind him, the apostle.  If they were not behind the apostle, Armstrong said, then God would remove his blessing from the Church.  The members were under constant pressure to dig deeper into their pickets as a show of support or suffer the terrible guilt feelings of being (pg 116) unfaithful to God or, even worse, they were in a constant fear of perishing in the lake of fire for failure to support God’s Church and his apostle.  A despotic leader always has the tools of intimidation and fear at his command, tools which enable him to maintain control under virtually any circumstance.  No matter what may go wrong, he can blame the problem on someone else, further reinforcing his own position as great leader and the only one who can solve the latest crisis.  It almost seems that a despotic leader can only maintain his control in a time of trouble and crisis; his follower’s reason, “If things are this bad with our great leader in control and being constantly attacked, what will happen if we lose him?”

A key point to Armstrong reinforcing his position as apostle depended upon the establishment of an authority for that claim.  In the past he had always criticized the claim of the Pope to be a spiritual descendant of Peter, the first Pope.  Of course, there is no historical proof whatsoever that Peter was the first Pope, and in fact it cannot be proven that he was ever in Rome.  It is more likely that Peter was never in Rome, as Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and there is considerable record of Paul having been spent much time in Rome. 

Now Armstrong, in a July 10, 1978 “Pastor’s Report,” was to put himself in a position of going against his own previous teaching and against scripture as well when he claimed that Peter had been the head apostle and that in this age he, Armstrong was not only the head apostle but the only apostle.  Armstrong says, referring to the power to impose decisions upon the Church, or as it is called, “bind and loose,” “To WHOM did Christ give power to bind and loose?  NOT THE CHURCH AS A COLLECTIVE VOTING BODY.  God’s government is from the TOP DOWN –NOT Democracy!”  Yet the scriptural example is quit different.  In Acts 15 is the account of the apostles gathering in Jerusalem to discuss the matter of whether or not Gentile converts to Christianity must be circumcised.  This was a major issue, as the accounts said (117) that there had been much disputing.  But the “plain truth” of the Bible is not the Plain Truth for Herbert Armstrong.  For he concluded his article in the “Pastor’s Report,” “God speaks with a decisive and certain voice through the one HE has chosen, and used these many years as HIS instrument.

“I do not ask your permission – I TELL YOU as Christ leads me.”

And then the announcements started coming regarding another about face at Ambassador College.  It was not again to be a full four-year college.  The July 17th issue of the Good News revealed that Armstrong was now purging out the deadly leaven of higher education. Of course this deadly leaven of higher education, as he called it, was all a result of his son Garner Ted having led the Church into secularism and into the world’s ways.  In all modesty and humility as befits a true minister of Jesus Christ, Armstrong reveals in this article how he originally established Ambassador College as what he calls God’s college.  He said, “I recognized clearly that I myself as the ONLY available faculty member possessing SPIRITUAL knowledge must DOMINATE the teaching staff and inculcate the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD into the students.”  After two pages of rambling on about his own greatness and character attacks against his son, whom he accused of removing all of Herbert Armstrong-trained instructors from important positions, he said, “The ‘coup’ had become complete.”  Armstrong then continued in explaining why he had removed his son from the church, “And (pg 118) THAT, brethren, is why God has roused me to TAKE OVER – why the living CHRIST has stepped in to HEAD GOD’S CHURCH and to SET BOTH CHURCH AND COLLEGE BACK ON GOD’S TRACK.  Truly Satan had all but WRECKED the Church, the college and the WORK of the living God – it HAD JUMPED THE TRACK WHERE GOD THROUGH ME HAD SET IT!

“That is WHY I had been led by CHRIST to move swiftly to resume human LEADERSHIP! – TO PUT THE CHURCH AND IT’S WORK BACK ON GOD’S TRACK!”

The man who accused his son of secularism is, incredibly enough, the very same man who only a few months earlier had stated that he was embarrassed to represent himself as a minister of a Church world leaders. HE is the same man who goes to these world leaders and tells them that the whole cause of the world’s problems is the fact that the world follows the way of get and God’s way is a way of give. That is the beginning, the end, and sum total of his so-called message of Jesus Christ.  The name Jesus Christ is not mentioned at all. Yet the Church members’ minds are so conditioned to believe everything this man tells them that they blindly follow. Whomever he accuses of wrong leadership, disobedience, or disloyalty is automatically guilty in the minds of the members.  Now Herbert Armstrong must fight vigorously to solidify his position as the apostle, as he fears his son.  He had hoped his son would take the bait of the $50,000 annual payoff, and it didn’t work.

Herbert Armstrong went on to state in the July 31st edition of the Good News with blaring headlines: “THE GREAT MAJESTIC GOD BEING ENTHRONED IN EYES OF CHURCH ONCE AGAIN BY JESUS CHRIST.”  Again the constant repetition of the same theme, week after week, month after month: “Yes, more than generally realized, Satan was manipulating things to make God’s Church and his Work more and more secular – more like any other purely worldly and human activity!”  His statement, of course, was true. The Church was becoming more and more secular.  However, his son was not the cause of it – he was.

Herbert Armstrong would play the game by different rules in different circumstances and. Buy constant distortion and manipulation and by using fear, maintain his base of support. It seems that egomania and extreme paranoia go hand in hand.  While Armstrong envisions himself as God’s apostle, he also feels threatened.

(pg 119)  While he feels threatened by his son and the Church of God International, he also feels threatened by Stanley Rader. He knows that he is secure only as long as Rader can use him.  For, in fact, Rader controls the Church.

On the subject of his proper handling of his duties, Armstrong says, “And if he doesn’t? If he needs correction or removal?  If so that is CHRIST’S responsibility – and HE WILL SEE TO IT.  It is not the responsibility of those UNDER the apostle to correct him.

“But maybe Christ is NOT LOOKING or maybe Christ neglects to correct him?  Should not the people under him then take it into their hands?  To do so would DEFY CHRIST –TRY TO TAKE CHRIST’S JOB AWAY FROM HIM!”

Logic clearly says that if Christ is going to correct Herbert Armstrong, He will do it either by removing him through death or illness or through the use of other people who may take certain actions.  Yet Armstrong is telling the people that no matter what they may see wrong, they are to sit idly by and do nothing. Is this any different than the rational that Hitler used on his subjects to convince them that they should say nothing while millions of Jews were being burned in the ovens?  For many Germans believed as Hitler claimed – that he was a special leader of the German people ordained by God to fulfill a purpose.
Going ahead to the November 8th issue of “The Pastor’s Report,” Armstrong in an article entitled, “HOW CHRIST GIVES THE CHURCH ITS DOCTRINES,” he fully establishes his Peter Primacy Theory.  In it he states, “Peter did have many primacy as chief apostle.”  By this time Armstrong had put into the Worldwide Church of God the Catholic Doctrine of Peter Primacy, and he, Armstrong, was the modern-day fulfillment of Peter’s office. Now Herbert Armstrong had fully established the office of Church leader in a direct parallel to that of the Pope in Rome.  This in spite of the fact that in earlier years Armstrong had criticized the Papacy as being pagan in origin, having its roots in the Babylonian mystery religions.

To make sure Armstrong had no opposition, he redeveloped his program to squelch all opposition, and reconstructed the college in a way that he could produce automatons as graduates, who would faithfully serve him.  Even at his age, he is not one to think in a shirt term, as he expects to be around a long time. He fully expects to be alive when Christ returns.

(pg 120) To further mold minds into the state necessary for blind obedience, it is necessary that the desire to excel be totally destroyed. In academic subjects, of course, one must excel to pass the course.  However, Armstrong was to have no spirit of competition where one would seek to excel in any way over another.

In purging out this “evil” concept, this leavening of higher education that had crept into God’s college, Armstrong stated, “We don’t have physical education this year. We want to have it again, but competition is one of those things Satan introduced, so we are not going to have intercollegiate completion.  I never was for that in the first place, and until my son was taking over and he wanted it, we didn’t have it.  That’s out and it’s going to stay out.”

And then of course, the use of fear.  To be obedient, people must be fearful, Armstrong told the students, “Ambassador College will never go Satan’s way again, I promise you that.  And if I find it tending to, I will close it down.”

And through all of this Garner Ted was not getting off lightly either.  His father continued to attack him.  Again Armstrong constantly hammered away at the fact that his son was out to displace him as God’s apostle he said in the September 21st “Pastor’s Report,”  “I began to sense an undercover conspiracy for my son to take over – as two of King David’s sons Adonijah and Absalom tried by deceptive means to conspire to take over David’s throne.”  From this type of propaganda the Church members were beginning to get the picture that Garner Ted, who had introduced evil competitive sports was laying the ground work for training people to be of an evil conspiratorial mind, as his father claimed him to be.

Herbert Armstrong continued:  “Ted always wanted a more liberal way of life than I had learned from GOD’S WORD.”  What Herbert Armstrong does not discuss here is whether he himself has wanted a more liberal way of life than he had learned from God’s word.  Whatever liberal conduct Garner Ted had engaged in was (pg 121) not without precedent in the Armstrong family, as we were to learn later.

Continuing to lash out against his very own son, Herbert Armstrong actually makes what would be more fitting as a statement of self-indictment.  He said, “My son is out to GET not GIVE.  While he writes and by his clever words and ‘fear speeches’ he deceives some sincere brethren to thinking he is ‘proclaiming the gospel of the world,’ YOU KNOW that is a LIE!”

Having several homes to live in, several chauffer-driven limousines, including a Roils Royce at his beck and call, a lifestyle befitting that of a king. Armstrong could have written that very statement about himself from his desk in his Gulfstream II Jet.  But it was becoming increasingly obvious that Herbert Armstrong was feeling threatened by his son having started a church.  He fought and fought hard.  For a man who hates competition he himself could handle it quit well.

In the December 4th issue of Good News, Armstrong wrote an article entitles “IS CHRIST STARTING A SECOND CHURCH?”  He goes on at great length to claim that there is only one true church, the Worldwide Church of God headed by God’s apostle, himself.  He claims that the acts of his son are quit different from his own acts in the 1930’s when he broke away from the Oregon Conference of the Church of God.  Through convoluted reasoning, Armstrong claims that he was never a member of that Church, therefore he did not break away to start a new Church.  He claims that he was uniquely called by God to raise up the end-time Church, the Worldwide Church of God, which he calls “the Philadelphian era of the Church.”

He goes on, in the December 18th issue, with two more articles claiming that God’s Church is not composed of many separate groups and that Christ is the living head of only one Church not two.  Armstrong goes on and on, making the point that there cannot even be other organizations believing the truth of God, for it there were, they would be part of t the Worldwide Church of God. Insisting that God’s true Church is the Worldwide Church of God, he accuses his son of incorporating the Church of God International with a name very close to the Worldwide Church of God as a means of deceiving and, misleading brethren into thinking it’s the same Church.

Yet Armstrong felt no guilt about operating for years as the (pg 122) Radio Church of God prior to the Worldwide Church of God, after he himself withdrew from the Oregon Conference of the Church of God.  While he continues to deny having been part of the Church of God Seventh Day at Salem, West Virginia, the Church has in its file the following document containing Herbert Armstrong’s signature: “I am anxious to begin  on the ministry which has fallen to me by lot, in the one body, and am determined by the help of the Lord to live and teach the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ as found in Holy Scriptures, and as outlined in the Constitution of the Church of God, with world headquarters at Jerusalem, Palestine. Will you please record this my acceptance, and have credentials issued to me, according to my ministry in the body.”

It is interesting note that not only did Herbert Armstrong receive his credentials as a minster of that organization, but he acknowledged that organization as being “the Body,” meaning the Body of Christ or the true Church.  How, then, could he later form another organization and claim it was the true Church?  Does that mean that other predecessor organizations ceased to be so, even though they remain in existence?  As God’s apostle, does he have the authority over these other organizations?  One could run in circles trying to figure out the logic of Herbert Armstrong.  But in his own mind the while matter is clear, for he states, “God does not have two churches – only ONE Church that Jesus Christ founded in A.D. 31 and raised up to carry on in OUR time though His own chosen apostle.”  If that statement is true, then Herbert Armstrong must have been ordained into the ministry of a false church, in which case his ordination is fraudulent and not only is he not an apostle, but he is not even a minister in the Church of God.

The most incredible aspect of all of this, however, was that Herbert Armstrong’s propaganda was very effective.  The Church members, for the most part, believed even more fervently that the Worldwide Church of God was the only true Church, that Herbert Armstrong was God’s Apostle, and that to go against the Church or Herbert Armstrong was to go against God Himself.

Among the ministry, even though for the most part there was a belief in Armstrong’s apostleship, many of them harbored sever doubts about the character and motives of Stanley Rader.  Although they supported Rader’s position before their congregations, he became a subject of increasing concern within their own (pg 123) ranks. Many were concerned about what they viewed to be Rader’s heavy influence over Herbert Armstrong.  In dealing with this matter, Herbert Armstrong, in an August 21st “Pastor’s Report” characterized such concern as character assassination, evil speaking, and destructive gossip, al of which had to be stamped out of God’s Church.  He said that he agreed with Rader’s position that an attack against Rader was an attack against him.  An attack against Armstrong was also, according to him, an attack against God.  He was now putting forth a doctrine whereby this continuous chain an attack against Rader would be in effect an attack against God.  Armstrong said, “But you who have accepted these defaming innuendos against the character of Stan Rader, ANSWER ME THIS: What PROOF – NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER!” He then went on to brag about the qualities of Rader and his exceptional talents and abilities, keen and brilliant mind and his wealth of experience.  Armstrong said that Rader had been of inestimable value to God’s Work. He said, “He has been of VALUE to me in my personal activities in the Work beyond description.”

Armstrong continued: “I have known for years the GREAT VALUE of Mr. Stanley Rader’s services. The character assassination spread among some of the ministry against him was, in reality, intended to harm the personal representative and apostle of Jesus Christ – whom HE chose, and for fifty years had USED, in building this entire great Worldwide WORK!  One must wonder why Herbert Armstrong would fight so hard to defend Stanley Rader.  After all, if a top executive of an organization, no matter how qualified for his position, acts in such a way as to create great dissension among subordinates, then there is a problem which must be dealt with.  It just would not make sense to allow an organization to tear itself apart at the seams because of such a problem.

What is interesting in this situation is the fact that while virtually none of the ministry had gone over to the Church of God International and Garner Ted Armstrong, there was still a great concern about Stanley Rader.  Armstrong, aware that the ministers would not submit to political suicide by directly confronting him with accusations against Rader said, “If any of you have EVIDENCE or PROOF, of anything, more than hearsay, against Mr. Rader, come (pg 124) forth with it, and I will deal with it.  If not, and you still want to go along condemning him, I will be happy to accept your resignation.”

The Rader matter kept seething and building however, and in the December 4th Good News Armstrong dealt with the matter further, in an article entitle, “Answering Smear Stories,” Armstrong reported that Rader said that his health was not up to par and that all the stress and strain was wearing on him and that he felt that he should probably resign.  This was a standard tactic of Rader’s to reaffirm his position. Whenever Rader felt that his position was being threatened he would then inform Armstrong that maybe it would be better if he resigned. Of course, each time Armstrong would convince him to stay.  The reason according to Armstrong in this article was, “If his health permits I shall plead with him to stay with me, for I NEED HIM AS MY ASSISTANT.  He is of inestimable values to the Work.  His fruits have been good – actually superb.”

While it would appear that Rader’s periodic requests for permission to resign was for legitimate health reasons, what few realized at the time was it was in effect a veiled threat to Herbert Armstrong. What no one knew at the time that this article appeared was the fact, contrary to his public statements; Herbert Armstrong was finally, this time after months of wrestling with the problem, appearing to remove Rader from his official position in the Church.  This, in spite of the fact that only two months earlier in October the Associate Press sent a wire story to the papers throughout the country which called Rader the new crown prince of the Armstrong Empire.  According to that article, there could be no doubt that Garner Ted had been a loser in a power struggle and that Rader was firmly entrenched.  The article stated, “Four months after the ouster of TV evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong, the troubled Worldwide Church of God has a new crown prince, a formally Jewish lawyer-accountant who could inherit the rich religious empire of Armstrong’s father.”  Rader was quoted as saying, “Mr. Armstrong has said publicly very often that I am a son in whom he is well pleased.”  This man, the very man who some  in the ministry are concerned about, the man who Armstrong is publicly exalting while privately planning to remove, has so displaced Herbert Armstrong’s real son that he now apparently fills that position.

The question of whether or not Rader will succeed Herbert Armstrong (pg 125) is really at the root of the concern among the ministry. Had it not been for Garner Ted’s violent objection, Armstrong would have ordained Rader as a minister on the day that he baptized him. Had that happened, Rader would have been seen at this point as the obvious successor of Armstrong.  Now it could be a matter of speculation.  But if Armstrong had intended at one time to ordain Rader, might he still do so in spite of his secret desire to remove him?  These were problems that Herbert Armstrong would have to deal with and in fact would find that he had little to say about.

On the matter of succession, Rader said, “I don’t feel that it is my calling. I don’t want to be a minister.  Of course, several letters have come in recently telling me that Christ was not a minister. He was a carpenter.”  A statement such as that on the part of Stanley Rader requires little speculation as to his true motives.

While the Church was being barraged with the Armstrong-Rader propaganda, the program of asset liquidation was well under way.  The inoperative Ambassador College campus at Bricket Wood, England was finally sold on September 1978.  The property, containing nearly two hundred acres with several buildings, swimming pool, track and other athletic facilities, was sold for approximately $4 million to the General Electricity Generating Board.  The London Daily Mail, in reporting the sale of the property, described its history: “Ambassador College, as it now is, started life early this century as the country residence of East Indian Merchant Sir David Huel, a former director of the Midland Bank.  In the sixties it was sold to an obscure religious sect.”  “Obscure religious sect” –an interesting way for the Church to be described by a British newspaper after millions had been spent on Herbert Armstrong’s world travels so that the Church and its message would be known around the world.  Ina nation where Armstrong claimed to be co-hosting a movie premier with the Queen, the Church is reported as being an “obscure religious sect.”  One must wonder what Herbert Armstrong did in Britain during his lengthy visits other than ride around in his chauffer-driven Rolls Royce and spend tens of thousands of dollars at Harrods’s

Perhaps Britain was important to Armstrong and Rader as an operating base for which they could conduct activities in other countries.  The former wife of a leading church official recalls that in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Herbert Armstrong would boastfully state to her that Rader was taking another trip to France (pg 126) to meet the Princess.  Rader was to go to Paris to accompany a princess on shopping trips and then return her in the Church-owned jet to her own country.  Sine this activity was not publicized to the Church members, it is hard to conceive how expenditure for such travel can be justified.  While Herbert Armstrong was not stingy with the Church’s money when it came to running a taxi service for royalty, his attitude toward average Church members was quit different.

Again, the same woman recalls that while she lived in England with her former husband, while he was a college official, there was an occasion when Church members from the States were visiting Ambassador College in Bricket Wood.  These people were planning to return home when Herbert Armstrong coincidently planned to return to the States with the Church jet. On that particular trip, there were few if any others travelling with him, leaving excess available space on board.  It was suggested to him that perhaps he could bring these visitors back to the State, since he had extra room.  Armstrong’s comment was, “Who are they anyway? They are just Church members.  I don’t have time for nobody’s.”  While he enjoyed the ego satisfaction of associating with royalty and leading political figures around the world, he had little time for the people who were paying the freight.  He was certainly correct when he would say God’s way was the way of outgoing love and concern for others whereas the world’s way was the way of get.  However, the example that he set was quite contrary to the message he preached.  All this is not new, of course, as it has often been said that ministers don’t practice what they preach. It’s such an old, worn-out clichΓ©, yet it appears that few have carried it to the extreme Herbert Armstrong has.

Along with the sale of the Bricket Wood campus, similar plans were made for the Big Sandy, Texas campus of Ambassador College.  On October 31st, Rader announced that the Big Sandy campus would be sold to F. William Menge of Lynchburg, Virginian, and that the property would be used by the James Robinson Evangelistic Association.  The entire sixteen-hundred –acre parcel, which included full college facilities, several lavish homes, an operating farm and an airfield capable of handling small jet aircraft, was sold for $10.6 million dollars.  There were many who considered this price to be far below its true value and, to top it off, this property for which Herbert Armstrong many (pg 127) years ago asked the people of the Church to sacrifice financially, as he said that God had placed His name there.  Such words coming from the apostle would virtually make the Big Sandy campus hallowed ground.  Yet it was now being sold at a bargain price to one of the “world’s churches,” that Armstrong often characterized as “Satan’s churches.”

During this same period of time the Church announces plans to dispose of at least two convention properties used for the annual Feast of Tabernacles.  This constant process of asset liquidation to cover operating deficits would never be tolerated in a business enterprise, and it certainly would never be tolerated in a church.  Here was an organization with tens of millions of dollars in assets and since it was a charitable, non-profit organization, the officers were actually trustees of these properties.  They, according to the law, administered the assets, as a trust and had a fiduciary responsibility.  Yet Armstrong and Rader would capriciously do as they wished with the asset, as though it was all their own personal property.

Truly the title bestowed upon Rader by the news media, “crown prince of the Armstrong empire,” was fitting, as the entire operation was and still is no more than a personal kingdom with the tithe-paying members of the Church being no more than mere serfs.  And as loyal serfs, most of them had so long ago stopped thinking, that they were happy to continue being defrauded.

As one who was by this time a former member planning a lawsuit against the Church leaders, one could say it was no longer any concern of mine if the members didn’t care, but they were not the only ones supporting the activities of t the organization.  Over 24 percent of the income to the Church in 1977 was received from non-member contributors.  These are people who for one reason or another, having heard the broadcasts or received The Plain Truth or other Church literature, decided to contribute.  These contributors consist of occasional contributors known as “donors” and “co-workers” which was a classification given to those contributors who contributed at least twice in a twelve month period.  Once one had fallen into the category of “co-worker” he was then on the mailing list for the “co-worker” letters, the propaganda sheets sent out by Armstrong boasting of  his fulfilling of the great commission, and soliciting additional financial support.  These non-member contributors certainly were not of the same (pg 128) commitment to the organizations were the Church members.  In most cases, they merely thought, from the superficial view that they had of the organization, that they were supporting an evangelistic work that was bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, while in many cases not even being in agreement with all the Church’s doctrines.

One fact remains, however. Non-member contributions, as do members, have a right to expect their contributions to be used for the purpose for which they are given.  While a rationalization could be made that the members could handle any dispute internally by discussing questions with their ministers, that option is not open to non-members.  Therefore, there was no doubt in my mind that even though I had withdrawn from the Church, I still had a duty to pursue this matter.  The Worldwide Church of God was a tax-exempt organization receiving certain benefits from the State and Federal Government, including reduced postage rate and the ability to purchase broadcast time on federally licensed broadcast stations.  As such, the general public has a right to be protected from misrepresentation.

If an organization wishes to misrepresent itself to members and defraud them, it may be considered an internal matter.  Once the general public becomes involved, it is quite another situation.