The words “moderate, enlightened and liberal” do not describe the Church of God International
Lonnie C. Hendrix
Among Armstrongites, the CGI has enjoyed a reputation for being more moderate and enlightened in its approach to many of the Worldwide Church of God teachings. I guess such a reputation would have some validity if we were comparing them to the groups led by Flurry, Pack, Thiel and Meredith. However, if we take a closer look at what they preach and publish, we can see that the initial impression gives way to more of the same old stuff.
For example, The International News has been running a series by Bill Watson entitled “Is a Caliphate in the Making.” In Part One, Mr. Watson writes that the United States and its allies: “refuse to call these Islamic radicals for what they are. Instead, they opt to “shade” it in gray, obfuscating the direct terminology for more politically correct terms that insinuate criminals, lone wolfs, illegal immigrants, gang members, etc.—actually preferring in some cases to categorize obvious terrorist attacks as crimes, or ‘work place violence.’ The result of this kind of abstruseness does nothing for properly characterizing the real dangers, risks, and potential chaos; the destruction, death, and jeopardy these Islamic radicals pose to the open and free lifestyles of Western Civilization—most throughout North America and Europe just DON’T GET IT!”
In other words, the deceived and ignorant folks who are running the Western Democracies simply refuse “to call a spade a spade.” Never mind that ISIS, al Qaeda and Boko Haram would like nothing better than to turn the war against terror into a fight between the West and Middle East – between Islam and Christianity. What Mr. Watson (and many others in the Armstrong Church of God culture) fails to understand is that language matters. If we concede to them the language and begin speaking in terms of a war against Islam or Muslims, we have handed them exactly what they wanted – they win. Fortunately, the leaders of the Western world understand that these terrorists must be marginalized and separated from the majority of the Muslim world. To win this war and defeat this evil, these folks must be recognized by everyone (including the vast majority of people in the Middle East) as aberrant abominations who don’t have any allies in the world at large.
In Part Two of the same series, Mr. Watson writes: “Many today don’t accept the biblical connection of the United States and the British Commonwealth nations being the result of migrations from the ancient cultures of the “Lost Ten Tribes” of Israel, and consequent recipients of God’s Abrahamic birthright blessings of physical wealth and affluence.” That sure sounds like British Israelism to me! This teaching many not appear in the CGI statement of their beliefs, but it sure looks like it appears here in one of their chief publications by one of their leading ministers.
Need more proof? Look at their series on “The Chronicles of the Early New Testament Church.” Although it is a slick production, it is basically a rehash of the same old dribble about the grand conspiracy to change the day of worship from the Sabbath to Sunday and introduce a surfeit of counterfeit holy days (for which there is not a shred of objective historical evidence). Consider these other recently featured discussions and articles on their web page: “Passover? Lord’s Supper? Seder? 14th or 15th?” “Exploring the Pagan Roots of Easter” “What Choice Do I Have?” (a negative message about homosexuality).
Same old stuff wrapped in a prettier package!