Wednesday, July 26, 2017

You are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other

A reader here sent this to me this morning.  It is a minister who realized that the church did not revolve around him, that members need not be giving him their money and more importantly, that they as members have all the gifts they need to truly be witnesses to the world.

One of the biggest sins of the Armstrongite Church of God movement is its continual demands for members to follow church government.  Members are too stupid to understand or the follow scripture without some one on high telling them what they should or should not be doing.

Government in the Church of God has always been used as a tool to keep the members in submission and in a place that was lower than the ministry and the top leaders.  Leadership from the top down meant that those at the bottom were always inferior to those at the top.  Those at the top always had some kind of a "god" speaking to them while those in the lower ranks were rarely ever visited by the "god's" of these men.

Government in the Church of God allowed abusers of all shapes and sizes to wield power over the people. Church leaders have been spiritually abusive and have literaly destoyed the spiritual lives of members.  Some church leaders have been sexually abusive as they molested, stalked,  and raped their members. Church leaders have demanded money from their members with unbiblical tithing demands, thus letting them build vast empires and corporate boondoggles that have left members in literal poverty,  while they as leaders live lives of excess.

If only the members truly understood that the power of the church truly resides in them and not in the leaders.  The power to love and care for neighbor rests solely in the hands of the members and not in the leaders.  The leaders truly do not care while the members however least many of them do.  

It is the members who are the face of what grace filled Christianity is all about.  The bombastic self-appointed liars filling the ranks of the Church of God today are wicked shepherds who are destroying the lives of the members as you read this.  No matter how many self-appoint themselves to leadership positions, give themselves all kinds of biblicly sounding titles and names or continue to vomit out how zealous or law abiding they are, they are all wicked liars that deserve no respect or members money.

If members truly desire the kingdom to come then they would be out hitting the streets sharing that joy and letting others have a foretaste of what that kingdom has in store. Which is more important, sitting in a church service listening to a mind and butt numbing 2-hour sermon or serving a hot meal to a homeless person or giving a ride to a homebound senior to the doctor? Is it more important to be screamed at about zealously keeping the law or stooping down to clean the dirty feet or vomit off a homeless person?  Is it more important to listen to a church leader preach doom and gloom in a sermon or work at a suicide prevention hotline and possibly prevent another Terry Ratzman?

It is time members step up to the plate and practice that "first century Christianity" that so many claim to believe and follow.  It cannot be found in the rantings of false COG leaders but in the hands and feet of the members who show the world what grace filled love is.  God doesn't need your money to buy jet planes, another auditorium or for yet another "final push."  That is the god that the self-appointed COG leaders follow; a weak and impotent god who is incapable of doing anything without their help.

John 13:35The Message 34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”


True Bread said...


Connie Schmidt said...

Great people teach others to TAKE THEIR PLACE , to surpass themselves, and to replace themselves as fast as possible.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I stopped sending money into the church years ago. Not a single one of them are truly doing a "work" and all I was doing was funding their lifestyles. I give money now to local charities that actually help people.

Anonymous said...

Even in churches where there isn't a top-down government many view their ministers as having a "higher calling". It is an inescapable dynamic of organized religion. A minister can preach until he is blue in his face that he has no higher spiritual authority in their lives yet many in the congregation will continue to rely on the ministry to help them make decisions that they should be making themselves. It is just the way that organized religion operates. Religions tend to also enslave their members in "group think". You may not be removed from the church if you voice your disagreement with doctrine but you will not be looked on as favorable as someone who is faithful to the stated doctrines of the church. This is the way of organized religion.

Anonymous said...

If you think you have the "truth" because you keep the Sabbath, Holy Days and don't eat pork, you now meet the criteria of the Pharisees. They lacked the love that Christ said was so important. The way the Kingdom of God will work is that everyone in it has a Christ-like attitude of service, forgiveness, humility, and love for all. Pretty simple, but almost impossible for humans to do in this life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. This has been on y mind a lot lately. Church government is all about control. Those that push the concept of proper government tend to be the most abusive churches out there. Ever since the church fractured into hundreds and hundreds of splinter groups, the church has been filled with delusional men who have self-appointed themselves as the only voice of God on earth today. So many of these men are bullies and abusers. I can not and will not any longer give money to support these men. I give money to help those in need in my community and to a couple of non-aligned ministries that do not preach abusive lies.

Byker Bob said...

People may enter an ACOG hoping for face to face interactions with people of like minds, and in some cases that is possible amongst lay members, or fellow brethren. Unfortunately, the supreme joys of such relationships are superceded by the required face to butt interaction one must abide with one's minister.


RSK said...

Thats what I say a lot at work when training a new broadcast director. They always look a bit bigeyed when I tell them that the ultimate goal is to make them better than Teacher is. :)

Anonymous said...

The ministers command and control church government means rejection of the concept of self responsibility. Self responsibility was inherent in the founding fathers relegating the governments role to one of "securing" citizens rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Self responsibility is inherent in "choose life."

This is another example of HWA choosing the commie model. I've seen old group photos of spokesman's club with everyone wearing their white shirts and dark blue suits. They looked so similar to the photos of the Chinese at that time with their Mao suits. HWA chose to follow Chairman Mao rather than Christ.

Anonymous said...

I always viewed "the church is God's government on earth" as idolatry...people start looking to the ministry for everything, instead of God. Then a minister makes an error, and before you know it, it's all over the Church. If people would study and learn, the minister could be corrected in his error before it poisoned the whole Church.

I actually had a minister some years back that said something to the effect of "I don't need to study the bible because I have an Apostle to go to when I don't understand something"...referring to HWA. For the most part, he was a good teacher, but he did hold on to some errors, which I simply ignored. Most of the people at the time understood that he (and HWA) was just a man, subject to errors. Some, however, took everything he said as infallible, equal to scripture.

T.B.B. said...

My experience with the ACOG ministry is one of pure hell on earth. I will NOT go through that shit ever again.

Anonymous said...

This was very well written and so very accurate!

Only I would add that the ACOG's chief objectives are to spread the knowledge of legalism as a way to make it to the kingdom whilst completely over looking grace and the fruits of the Spirit.

I was in LCG for almost 15 years and I used to always say, "what is the point of eating the right food and keeping the right Sabbath if you don't keep the weightier points of the law and exemplify God's love and grace in your life?". I was always balked at.

They cringe at words like grace and love. Probably because, as a collective, they have so little of them.

ACOG's believe you are saved by works (aka law keeping).

Just think of how easy it would be if that were true. Loving others as yourself, being full of forgiveness and grace... WAY more difficult.

Anonymous said...

11.13 PM
Some members also took what their ministers said as superior to the scriptures. I recall members parroting ministers twisted interpretations of the bible, that were partial to church crazies. These members correctly interpreted this as permission to maintain their abuse of other members.

Ministers lording it over members means usurping the role of Christ and God the Father. The ultimate purpose of worshipping God is to make pro life choices. By robbing members of these choices, worshipping God is made null and void. Like Satan, the ministers have exalted themselves above God. They (mis) label this blasphemy 'administering Gods government.'

It's hardly surprising that these churches plead that members give them their 'excess' wealth since God is certainly not blessing them.

anonymous63 said...

"The head is sick, the whole body is sick."

There is only one perfect "Head of the body" and it isn't any human being.

Anonymous said...

Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love" is one I wish I could give to everyone still stuck in a COG.

I never became a COG drone when I was with CGI and its offshoots, but I still remember the huge sense of freedom and relief I felt when I finally walked away and could read, watch, and study whatever I wanted without fear of someone at church finding out.

Anonymous said...

I never worry about someone in the Church finding out what I do, because I'm not doing anything that needs to be hidden....if they're offended, I'll gladly explain to them why I feel free to do it, or not do it, whichever the case may be. In the end, they've learned something.

Byker Bob said...

Back in the day, 7:50, that wasn't a very good game plan. Some of the members were a bad combination: Small-minded people, who were also know-it-alls. Worse yet, some of those were the ministers' "pets", and great credibility was assigned to their accusations. No due process, no right to appeal. If you countered the testimony of the "pet", you were accused of lying.


Anonymous said...

7.50 AM
Are we talking about the same church? Try taking up a hobby that doesn't directly benefit the church and see what happens. The body of evidence in the churches is that if members read the 'wrong' books (ideally books should be burnt) or watch the 'wrong' movies, or question a sermon, ministers will verbally bash that person. I know a member who was hounded out of the church by a minister who demanded he tithe on property that sky rocketed in value. Even the tax code demands that profits be taxed only on the sale of a property or investment, but nooo, this greedy minister demanded payment on its yearly increase. You are a idiot if you do not exercise your right to privacy in these churches. The ministers exercise this right plus hide their true criminal attitudes, their lack of training and lack of wisdom. They lie, pretending to be like Dr Phil.

Anonymous said...

7.50 AM You left out that you are a minister ass kisser.

Anonymous said...

yeah BB, I've had some well meaning folks inform on me to the minister, and when the minister discussed it with me he had no choice but to agree that it wasn't really an issue.

I've also been held up as a negative example in a sermon, not by name, but everyone knew.

Well, they're all gone, and I'm still here, and get along quite well with the current ministry.

If you don't worship the man, the man has no real power over you.


Byker Bob said...

Sounds as if you believe that with superior skills you can actually "manage" them (including the ministry). And, you may be right in that. Or you might just be in a milder ACOG. Would your technique work with Dave Pack, Rod McNair, or Gerald Flurry? It might if your tithes were way above average.

I never did allow people to get to know me, and flew beneath the radar. The doctrines, and the place of safety for my wife and kids were what was important to me, not the social aspects of church, and most certainly not climbing the power structure. Fortunately, Armstrong child rearing had already killed the normal concepts of family for me, so when I left, I felt absolutely zero pressure from parents, siblings, etc.

Deeper study, getting to the real bottom of things has made life much easier. There are people in Armstrongism who are now in their 80s and 90s. I can't even imagine the magnitude of such a sentence. 20 years (half as a child) were bad enough. Everyone gets punished by it, just not everyone in the same way.


Anonymous said...

That was the best post I've seen on this blog. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

" Would your technique work with Dave Pack, Rod McNair, or Gerald Flurry? It might if your tithes were way above average. "

I doubt it, but if I was rich and my tithes were substantial they might tolerate me to a degree, since they seem to worship the dollar.

I tend to fly below the radar too, but beliefs do come out over time since they are reflected in lifestyle.

I guess the biggest thing I have going for me is my belief that salvation is not tied to membership in any particular corporate entity. If the ministry gets too crazy I can simply walk away. I've only had to do that once though. The group I landed in, while not perfect (none of us are), is sincere and truly tries to teach and do right. Love and concern for each other is impossible to miss. Can't ask for more than that.