Saturday, March 14, 2015

Church History and the Churches of God


There is an interesting letter on Exit and Support from a woman who finally had the courage to leave the Philadelphia Church of God.  Her route out was exacerbated by Gerald Flurry's obscene "no contact" rule that has ripped families apart.  Because her parents were always good to her and because she loved them she refused to separate herself from her them.  This eventually led her away from the PCG cult.

One thing she eventually did was start reading about Christian history WITHOUT a little COG penned book by her side.

She writes:

The healing finally started--after what felt like eternity--when I at last found the courage to start asking hard questions, questions I would never have dared to ask while within the organization. They were questions that would sometimes come up in the past but were always brushed aside. Questions like: How can they demand I go against my conscience or be put out of the "church"? Isn't my first loyalty supposed to be towards God? And eventually I dared to ask, by what authority do those men really have the right to stand up and teach me God's truth? Who appointed them? And actually, who appointed Herbert Armstrong? Lots of religious leaders believe that they alone speak for God. Why did I really believe he was the only one used by God? Is it just because that is what we were told, or is there a better reason? Because I thought it all "made sense"?

For the first time in my life I timidly began to study church history--objectively study it--not with the "assistance" of a tiny WCG-printed booklet that would gloss over centuries in a few paragraphs. Coming to Herbert Armstrong's place in it, I had to honestly admit that his claims were largely unfounded. How could we dare dismiss the thousands who throughout history have shed their blood for their (Christian) faith as being "deceived," thinking ourselves to be so much more faithful and understanding? And how could we really accept that when Christ so clearly commanded His disciples to "go into all the world" 2000 years ago, that that command wasn't fulfilled, and the church just basically fell off a cliff, only to unexpectedly resurface in the 1900s after endless disputes between men who thought they were called by God?

One of the first things I did exiting Armstrongism  was take a four year course on the study of Hebrew, Christian scriptures, church history and Christian thought.  It was a mind shattering experience that easily debunked everything about Armstrong, long held beliefs of what scripture was supposed to mean and  opened the door to church history unlike ANYTHING I  ever read in Armstrongism.

The writer above is correct to question above the long held belief that Herbert Armstrong restored church history and doctrine that God had somehow let get lost for 1,900 years.  Seriously, what kind of an impotent god would allow such a thing to happen?  Armstrong's god, apparently.

Is church history filled with corruption, greed, averse and destruction?  Absolutely, just like Armstrongism is filled with it to this day.  However, through it all there were faithful men and women who struggled with the Word they claimed to follow, struggled with doubt, struggled with failure and yet went to the four corners of the earth sharing a story they had that brought meaning to their lives.  They lived and died, many times murdered for their beliefs, yet the Church of God writes these people off as "deceived."  Or, as false prophet Bob Theil calls then, "so-called Christians."  These "deceived" and "so-called" Christans make the works of Theil, Flurry, Pack and Meredith look like baby pablum instead of the truth they claim it to be.

If you need some interesting reading for the summer then consider these books:

A New History of Early Christianity by Charles Freeman
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch
The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez
A History of Christian Thought by Justo Gonzalez
Documents of the Christian Church  edited by Henry Betttenson and Chris Maunder
The Early Christan Fathers  edited by Cyril Richardson

Reading just one of these books quickly points out that Armstrongism is nothing more than an insignificant blip on the timeline.

Friday, March 13, 2015

10th Anniversary of the Living Church of God Killings and LCG Leaders Remain Silent

It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since Terry Ratzmann went on a shooting spree in the Milwaukee Living Church of God.  Ratzmann shot the church pastor, the pastor's son and five other church members killing them all.  He wounded four others.

Numerous news reports. in print and in video form, say that Ratzmann was disturbed by a sermon that Rod Meredith had given a couple weeks earlier that was sent out to all the LCG churches with the requirement that it be played.  Meredith and crew quickly scrubbed the sermon from its web site.

The local Christian community was shocked by the killings and put up small crosses in the snow in support of those murdered.  This however send Bob Theil into a snarling fit of anger complaining that these poor misguided cretins used a pagan symbol that the TRUE Church of God looked down upon.

The Living Church of God, as well as most of Armstrongism, has a long track record of preaching doom, destruction and death that is soon to be unleashed upon the United States, Canada, England and Australia.  At times they seem almost giddy with delight in the prospect of it happening. 

Many in the Living Church of God, particularly in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin, are shocked that Rod Meredith and other leaders in the Living Church of God are completely ignoring what happened ten years ago.

One reader here wrote:
So, did a Meredith (Rod or Little Jimmy) say even ONE little thing to console LCG members upon the tenth anniversary of the deaths of their friends and loved ones? NO! All he did to mark the occasion was to cancel a previously scheduled Wisconsin feast site. Do you really think the timing of this disrespect to Wisconsin LCG members was a coincidence?
A book was even published on the shootings, written though by a Living Church of God member, Thomas Geiger.  Martyrdom in Milwaukee

This book, while filled with the tragic stories of what happened to the people that day, is a white wash supporting the Living Church of God in every aspect imaginable.

In 2006 I wrote on Gavin Rumney's blog, Ambassador Watch, about this book:

Geiger's account of his son witnessing the shootings and his son also almost getting killed is definitely moving. I also found the entire situation a tragic experience for all those involved.

The sad part of the book is that it is mostly a defense of Meredithism/Armstrongism.

According to Geiger, the entire congregation knew Ratzman had mental problems yet not one of them ever told him to get professional counseling. Of course, Meredithism like Armstrongism looks down on psychologists/psychiatrists. Geiger talks about how Ratzman would do weird things around all the members and they would laugh it off.

I found his following excuse of Meredithism relationship to the murders to be one sad comment:

"If it truly is your position that the Living Church of God is to blame for what happened, then by that same thought process you would be forced to blame Christ's disciples for his crucifixion."

The main difference with Meredithism/Armstrongism and the disciples is that the latter group was actually following Jesus, while the former group does not. I mean, how can they? They can't even talk about him without mocking him. At least Geiger did not seem to have a problem with the crosses displayed at all the memorial services. Which stands in sharp contrast with Meredithism cult apologist Theil and his silly embarrassing tirade.

Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel took issue with Geigers book.  The Painful Truth has the article up from which the following quote is from:

Geiger, who was friends with Ratzmann for many years through the church, devotes the first chapter of his book to episodes in which he believes Ratzmann behaved as a "genius," a "hero" and a "caring and sensitive man who could harm no one when in his natural state."

In an interview, Geiger said he was not trying to absolve Ratzmann of responsibility for the shootings, which left four other church members with non-lethal injuries.

"I don't want to whitewash the man," Geiger said. "He does bear a measure of guilt."

But considering that Ratzmann was known as a friendly man with no history of significant violence, Geiger said, "I find it difficult to ascribe all of that to him humanly."

As the congregation gathered March 12, 2005, for its regular Saturday service, Ratzmann fired 22 shots from the back of the hotel meeting room with a 9mm handgun, stopping once to reload.

In "Martyrdom in Milwaukee," Geiger dedicates the 178-page work to Ratzmann's victims and writes extensively about them, especially about the youngest victim, Bart Oliver, Geiger's nephew.

Bart's mother, Loni Oliver, who is Geiger's sister, said some parishioners are unhappy about the book, partly because they suspect Geiger is trying to profit from the tragedy. The paperback sells for $14 to $17.

The book is not widely discussed among Living Church of God members, who continue meeting every Saturday at a new location in Waukesha.

"There are people who do have a problem with it," Oliver said, "so you just don't talk about it."

It is surprising, given the number of crazy Church of God leaders that we now have running various splinter personalty cults, that another killing spree has not happened again. With Gerald Flurry's cult breaking up families and destroying marriages to Dave Pack's mindless blabberings that are also ripping families apart financially and physically, it is only a matter of time till someone snaps.

When that happens these cult leaders will not take responsibility and many members will still not hold their leaders accountable.  It will be Satan who is out to destroy the true church.  The troops will rally and the leaders will recover.  Doom, death and damnation will continue on and the money will roll in.


Church, Police Probe 7 Murders
Open Letter to Ron Dart: We Are Not Cowards
Relatives Struggle For Answers After Shooting
New York Times: Gunman Kills 7 In Wisconsin Church Group
What Motivated Terry Ratzmann’s Shooting Spree in the Living Church of God?
The Painful Truth: Terry Ratzmann (has links to sermon)
Eight Dead in Living Church of God Shooting Spree!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jim Meredith: Off to Hawaii AGAIN Because He Is Entitled To The Best Of Everything

Lil'Jimmy's Humble Shack
Dave Pack must be humiliated right now. Lil'Jimmy's home is bigger than Dave's!
How can that be??????

From a reader:

Narcissist NCIS Jimmy Jr
Jim Meredith has graciously and selflessly "assigned" himself to be the coordinator of the Hawaiian LCG Feast site once again this year. Ministers in the Living Church of God grumble behind his back over how unfair it is that he always takes the creme de la crème of available Feast sites for himself.

Other ministers would love an opportunity to serve at the best Feast sites but narcissist Jim feels he is entitled to the best of everything as the prince and heir to the Meredith throne. After all it's his family's money and he can spend it however he sees fit.

Other ministers would love to have all expense paid trips to Hawaii and Israel; including multiple trips before the Feast to set things up and, of course, there's the post-Feast extension (because he works so hard during that he needs a vacation from his vacation, all at the tithe payers expense).

Prince Jim can't stay in affordable housing like the rest of the church brethren. The crowned prince stays at the luxurious Marriott Kauai for the low, low price of $329 per night. But hey, they have great views and $30 breakfasts and NCIS Jim deserves nothing less.

Jim Meredith is a true example of a COG "servant leader". Such a giver.

After bankrupting his California company and having Daddy Dictator save his ass by giving him a big corner office and a coveted title at LCG headquarters he continues to whine about how much he has sacrifice to move to Charlotte. All of this while living in a 4100 square foot McMansion (see attached) and traveling the world in search of where "God has placed His name" for each year's Feast sites. Just like Jesus