Friday, October 27, 2017

COGWA Upset Over New Years

The Church of God a Worldwide Association has an article up in their latest Discern (November/December 2017) magazine concerning New Years.  Like any good Church of God, they have to find everything they can wrong with it.  The problem is, some of the things they attribute to it are the exact same things they do at the Feast of Tabernacles.

New Years was always a college and church activity for those in the Pasadena area.  Hundreds of college and church members sold their souls to the devil New Year's Eve as they freely volunteered to sell programs, film, and food along the Rose Parade route.  In addition to that, they also ushered in almost all of the grandstands and served in the parking lots all along the route.  For many years the church had the exclusive rights to sell programs and film along the entire route.  Doing this brought hundreds of thousands of dollars into the college and church coffers which supposedly went into college and church activity funds for students and member activities.  Very few of those dollars ever trickled down to the members where the church paid for activities. Never once was a sermon preached on the evils of New Years.

Church members and college students/employees spent decades partying along with the public on New Year's Eve.  This includes many of the members in all of the splinter groups, including a lot of the ministry. But New Years still remains an evil Satanic activity and they find anything they can to malign it, even though their excuses sound silly and trite in 2017.

Mike Bennett writes:

In addition to its pagan roots, the fruits of this holiday are not good. For example, according to, “the holidays are the busiest time of year for the bail bond industry.” Why?
• Increased alcohol consumption. … Driving under the influence is the leading cause for New Year’s Eve arrests.
• Increased emotions. Some people are very unhappy during the holidays. Domestic violence often increases during the holiday season as well as self-inflicted wounds. Consumption of alcohol also increases violent acts.
This sounds just like a typical COGWA or any other COG Feast site.  Alcohol consumption goes through the roof during the Feast.  Liquor stores used to stock up when COG members came into town at some of the larger Feast sites.  Ministerial dining rooms are stacked to the brim with wine, beer and all kinds of spirits that the sheeple can only dream about.

Increased emotions at the Feast time also soar.  For some, it is the struggle they have to go through to attend Feast sites.  Even though they cant afford it, they show up with a smile on their faces pretending all is right, while inwardly they are struggling.  Others get caught up in the crowd emotions at Feast sites as certain "favorite" speakers show up in all their grandiose glory.  Tears stream down some of the faces of members when they see these men.  They did it for Herbert Armstrong, and they still do it today.

COGWA goes on to warn us about getting ensnared in "pagan" worldly celebrations, even though they celebrate harvest festivals and other days taken straight from pagan ways of those nations surrounding them during their evolution as a people.  The self-righteous leaders and members bitched and moaned when Tkach and others who claimed that God could take pagan days and make the Christian observances, like Christmas and Easter, yet they turn right around and do the exact same thing when they celebrate the Feast and other days.

As usual in the COG, they spend their energy majoring in minor subjects, which in the long run actually do not matter, while ignoring that inconvenient dude they claim to follow.

COGWA continues with this:
Playing with paganism isn’t cute—it is corrosive to our relationship with the true God. When God calls Himself a “jealous God,” it’s actually a sign of His love and desire for the best for us (Deuteronomy 6:14-15).
And consider the apostle Peter’s call to avoid sinful celebrations where there is “lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3). Peter acknowledged that our friends may think it strange we no longer party with them, but in the end we must answer to God.
For all these reasons, celebrating the pagan holiday of New Year’s Eve is not pleasing to God.
All of the things mentioned in the second paragraph above are the exact things that still go in in COGWA, UCG, LCG, PCG, RCG and other groups.  None of these groups are pillars of virtue when it comes to being standard bearers for Christian principles. Their divisive 20+ year track record has proven that


Anonymous said...

I remember being present on one December 31 when Rod Meredith and his kids had some friends over to his house for New Year's Eve. Apparently this was standard practice in the Meredith household. True to form, LCG reports on the pagan history of New Year's Eve without condemning it.

New Year's guilt

So, was it really HWA who taught against New Year's celebrations? Or was it other ministers who (as with Thanksgiving) felt the need to clamp down on other potential enjoyments available to church members? Since people don't spent that much money on New Year's Eve, I can't imagine HWA having that great of a problem with it.

Byker Bob said...

They don't understand the concept of existences which run parallel to one another, yet all end up being co-opted, or by-products of the human condition. This is why there is very little discernable difference amongst human rituals. It is not a ritual that will transform you, or cause transcendant behavior. That's what Paul was getting at!


Near_Earth_Object said...

There is a difference between getting drunk at the FOT and getting drunk at some pagan festival. In the first case, there is a good intention of obeying the Christian god, no matter how misguided, but the weakness of the flesh intrudes. In the second case there is no intent to worship the Christian god and the weakness of the flesh also intrudes. The object is different in the two cases.

The real and substantive issue is that it is impossible for people to keep the law of god. (This is where someone smarmy says "yes it is") The splinter groups do not keep the Sabbath as intended. They do not keep the holy days as intended. The splinters, first of all, do not live in a nation where these laws are observed, hence, their experience of these observances is not the same as was described in the OT. From that point we could go onward and point out the further discrepancies between modern splinter group practices and the Bible injunction.

Yet keeping the holy days strictly is a criterion in their Performance Christianity agenda for receiving salvation. We must then conclude that most splinter members will not receive salvation because they cannot meet this criterion. When I was in the WCG, I mentioned to a pastor that if strict observance of the law were a criterion for salvation, none of us would receive salvation. He stated that he understood the shortfall in the human attempt to keep the law but that god "winked" at our foibles. This the closest I ever heard a WCG pastor come to the concept of grace.

One would think that this impossible dilemma would lead the splinter people back to the book of Galatians to find faith and grace. But they kid themselves that they are keeping the law. They even get competitive about it in a geeky way. (I think maybe some believed that leaders in Pasadena could actually change the way the festivals were observed - motels instead of arbors - "if you can't keep the law, change it into something you can keep.")

BTW, a young man raised in the WCG told me that when he was a teenager he and other church teens looked forward with great excitement to the holy days because they would steal booze. They "made out like bandits." And the adults were so distracted that they never suspected. My guess is that a lot goes on that nobody ever suspected under the cloak of "Best Feast Ever".

-- Neo

Anonymous said...

COGWA Upset Over New Years

The biblical new year that God gave was in the spring on the luni-solar Hebrew calendar and was the first day of the lunar month called Abib or Aviv (which is Hebrew for “spring”). See Exodus 12:1-3 and 13:4.

So, instead, many Jews like to celebrate the first day of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar as their new year, in the fall. They call that day Rosh Hashanah (which is Hebrew for “Head of the Year”) rather than call it the Day of Trumpets like they ought to.

Most North Americans use the solar Gregorian calendar (which has months that ignore the moon) and celebrate its new year on the first day of the month called January, in the winter. They do not know much, if anything, about the Hebrew calendar--or the Bible.

Observing a January first new year on the Gregorian calendar is a departure from observing an Aviv first new year on the Hebrew calendar.

Hoss said...

Anon 637 - Consider Rosh Hashanah as the first day of Hebrew civil new year. The Holy Day is Yom T'ruah, The Day of Blowing, not The Day of Trumpets.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of COGWA. Are they new ?

Anonymous said...

Garner Ted used to allegedly celebrate new years in Vegas every year. Participating in New years has always been a mixed bag within COG groups. Cogwa should be thankful for what they have, their new building project and how they escaped UCG heresy and move forward with that.

R.L. said...

This is fascinating, since several top ministers in COGWA said "Happy New Year" in public and on the web before they left UCG at the end of 2010.

Clyde Kilough did as UCG President, and other ministers followed his lead. Ralph Levy said it in a UCG video commentary as well.

Maybe they've all repented of that. If so, I wonder what led to it.

Byker Bob said...

Collectively, we could refer to these splinters as the UCOGs (Upset Churches of God). Being upset and complaining seems to be the defining characteristic of the movement and the members' personalities.

One of the elements of PTSD is the perception of all or most other humans as being the enemy, even the benign ones. I've opined for years that Armstrongism causes PTSD in that it makes automatic enemies out of all people and ideas which do not come from the organization. They also set up the ministry in enmity with or as adversaries to the membership. This is acquired or learned paranoia. It is no mystery as to why former members exhibit symptoms of PTSD for years after attaining freedom from the group.


Anonymous said...

Ah, we humans can be experts at minutiae. Different societies set their new year at widely varying times. We had to do something like that as soon as we determined that there was a yearly period of time that repeated like clockwork. It's a lot like all the anniversaries we all recognise and celebrate. Our twenty-second wedding anniversary comes up on December 10. I just had my birth anniversary of October 10. I have no idea what dates on the Hebrew calendar correspond to those dates, and I frankly don't care. I no longer pay heed to a system the Hebrews largely borrowed from Babylon in which they commemorate holidays that clearly began with Canaanite festivals to their Pantheon of gods, YHVH being just one of that big fanciful god family. I'm looking forward to enjoying Thanksgiving. I might even have an egg nog with real rum in it. If I were of Mexican heritage, I'd whoop it up a bit for Cinco de Mayo, and If I have a chance to enjoy a solstice celebration somewhere, nobody, including that made up god, should give a damn.

Allen C. Dexter