Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How Dare Potential LCG Members Worship God In Their Own Way!



An LCG member went this to me.  Apparently, an LCG minister was visiting a potential group who wanted to join the Living Church of God and was doing some things that LCG did not approve of.  How dare this man have a different way of worshipping God than the tired and worn out standard church service format that Herbert created in the 1940's.  After all, Jesus used the same format!

Another individual, an ex-preacher, had a strong feeling that the Holy Spirit was telling him to desire to preach again. He has a small following and is using our format, keeping Feast days, etc. His service is evangelical, incorporating his own ideas in what seems more like a simple prayer service with singing, praying and using our literature to teach from as it suits him. I explained that if he wants to work with us, he would have to follow our Church service format in a service that we organize. We’ll see if he will change his ways. I counselled him to channel his efforts in setting himself straight, submitting to God and finding stability in his family and professional life. If he does that, he’ll have focus and will be kept busy for quite some time.

One of the biggest mistakes Armstrongism made when it started growing overseas was to demand that church members there do things exactly like Pasadena did, even though their culture was entirely different. Sabbath dress had to be suits for men and fairly long dresses for women, even though it was hotter and more humid than Pasadena.  From the depths of Africa to the Philippines, people had to imitate Pasadena.

When all of the daughters of the mother church split off to do their own thing in the 1990's they had a golden opportunity to move into the 21st century as dynamic church organization instead of living in the 1940's.  Instead, it is more important to conform and be Stepford brethren than it is to be grace-filled agents of love and mercy.


28 comments:

Anonymous said...

The complete article containing this account is in the September Living Church News:

One Minister's Travelogue

Anonymous said...

Yeah, where does it say in the bible you need to wear a suit to services. And you even have to wear them to bible study. Duh. Too formal.

Connie Schmidt said...

This is the fundamental difference between a HQ centered church, vs. a congregationalist modeled one. It may be likened to the idea of a FRANCHISE system , vs. independently owned and operated. If you want McDonalds, you pretty much get the same thing all over the world. If you want to try "local fare" then you go to a mom and pop, or independent restaurant.

Anonymous said...

If you want McDonalds, you pretty much get the same thing all over the world. If you want to try "local fare" then you go to a mom and pop, or independent restaurant.

LCG is funny this way. If you want a McFlurry, PCG makes sure that it's the same all over the world. In LCG, if you listen closely to Rob Tyler, Mario Hernandez, Rees Ellis, John Meakin, Raul Colon and Lambert Greer, you might as well be listening to messages from six different ACOG groups.

Byker Bob said...

We've often likened "them" to "Judaizers" who insisted during the first century that to become Christian, you had to first become Jewish. They take that principle and apply it in their own ridiculous ways today. They've overwritten the entire first century of Christianity with Armstrongism, even Paul's gentile churches.

BB

Anonymous said...

After leaving WCG back in'94 I have been having sabbath service in my home my own way. I don't need a church denomination telling me how to worship!

Anonymous said...

And why do you have to call the minister "Mr."? Does the bible use terms like Mr. Paul, Mr. Peter, or even Mr. Jesus? Nooooooo. Didn't Jesus say "don't call me Rabbi" or "teacher"?

Anonymous said...

Even conquerors like the ancient Romans realised that their vanquished victims would begrudgingly a accept their rule provided they respected their religion and customs. Otherwise they would fight to the death. This policy enabled them to have a much larger empire. Respecting customs is also what gave historic Christianity much of it's appeal.

But noooo, not Herbs church. Men world wide had to dress like a 'Walt Disney executive' as one documentary on American fundamentalism put it. It might have looked acceptable in 1960s America, but to the rest of the world (especially 1970s- 1980s onwards) it looked embarrassing in public. One look, and people knew that you were oppressed by some strange group.

Christ by contrast dressed like every one else. Judas had to point him out with a kiss. Judas didn't say 'Christ is the dude that dresses like a Walt Disney. executive.'

Byker Bob said...

1) I'm not a patron of typical fast food burger joints, but I understand that at Burger King, you get to have it your way. If LCG is McDonalds, these prospective ministers and members need to switch to Burger King.

2) 6:22 is right! In the case of ACOG ministers it is more accurate and appropriate to use titles like "Shit for Brains" Pack, or "Adolf" Flurry. Why fake respect when addressing contemptuous individuals?

BB

Gordon Feil said...

Well 622, mister is from master. Does it make more sense now?

Gordon Feil said...

I didn't get the impression that this is about what to wear, but rather is about the order of service ----- liturgy. I get the impression that there is a fear that an interesting service would be an evangelical one, and that people might actually share the hope that is in them with other people. Or maybe it's a matter of keeping the milk homogenized so that the cream doesn't rise to the top?

nck said...

6:53

Thank you for pointing out some interesting facts.

I do recommend the book "Inside the Magic Kingdom" to support your line of thinking on a certain time frame in history.

nck

Anonymous said...

So at this exclusive con-fab where God laid out to Herb His demands for the One True sequence of worship services that He would find acceptable to Him, did the conversation go "And the LORD spake, saying, 'First shalt thou rise and take up thy purple hymnal, then shalt thou sing three hymns, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt sing, and the number of the singing shall be three. Four shalt thou not sing, neither sing thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out...'"

Byker Bob said...

Thou shalt only be accompanied by piano. Electric guitars, bass and drums may be more energizing and uplifting, but since HWA was from the era before Muddy Waters, they are not allowed.

(Too bad ol' Herb never got to see Robert Randolph and the family!)

BB

set the captives free said...

Their 'church service format' is enough to make someone, with any desire to serve God in spirit and in truth, run screaming out the front door. Canned spam. OR more to the point, salmon patties. Gyuuck!

It was JUST like the Methodist church and the 1st Church of God(not ACOG) I grew up in. The exact same format.

What I could never come to terms with was the "we have to sing these hymns quickly... WHY? No room for feeling or truly praising God, just a 'hurry up and get it done'. It's no wonder so many that go to Africa have a conniption fit when those congregations sing. They sing them with feeling and meaning! Maybe someday the ACOG congregation leaders will get the message. But then again probably not as they all seem to be in such a hurry to dash out the door.

I wonder what the apostles would think of that 'format'.

DennisCDiehl said...

Let’s not forget the poor kid in Acts 20:9 fell asleep and out the window and had to be resurrected due to long winded Paul. A bit of liturgical discipline would have been in order

set the captives free said...

Yes Dennis, the teaching would be better short, sweet and to the point without all the mindless drivel, hemming, hawing and repetitious indoctrinating phrases. If they remove all the blather and they might have 10 minutes worth of something to say. Maybe.

If they didn't get all up in their high place over the people (standing at a podium and often on a raised platform.) It would be a start.

If they turned a meeting into more of a classroom setting with questioning allowed and answers given. Even if the answer is, 'I don't know'. It would be better.

Sadly the ACOG's cannot allow questions during services because they can't give an 'I don't know' and they can't have a question that makes their pedestal start to wobble.

I wonder what would happen if someone raised their hand during a sermon.

Byker Bob said...

The questions at Bible Study were often subjected to some sort of screening. The sessions In Pasadena usually had two ministers. One would be researching and preparing the answer to one question, while the other was expounding on another question. Even newbies usually asked softball questions like, "Is it OK to listen to Country Music on the Sabbath?" We teenagers (at the time) made up fake questions as a joke that we never turned in, like, "Dear Mr. Armstrong, Is it alright to smoke on the Day of Atonement?"

BB

Anonymous said...

Paul preached that kid to death! What a killer!

DennisCDiehl said...

I used to have open questions sessions in Bible study etc....not that I’d give the same answers today...but I found that few if anyone knew what kinds of questions to ask. Same in Spokesman Club. Topics were always vanilla and answers predictable as per church mindset.

One major problem and impediment to questions and answers, for me, was that there was always at least one Deacon, Elder or true Armstrong only believer who ran to someone to tell on me. People also noticed I did not give sermons on some of their perceived favorite topics such as Place of Safety, BI and such rancourous topics as Divorce and Remarriage, Healing and Make up. None of which I cared about. I was lucky...EVERY couple that came into the church , amazingly, was not “Bound” to a previous mate and could stay married to each other. :)

In SC I had my belts in Karate and did Paramedic as a “hobby” . The previous pastor, now presiding evangelist of a leading splinter, forbid karate to the kids and when I mentioned it in my icebreakers that I could “Marry you, bury you, fix you and kick your butt” roared and I could see their heads turn to their parents with glee... lol.

Dave Albert always said he thought I wasn’t the ministerial type for some reason....now I realize what he meant though at the time I thought I was perfect for it and why I went to AC. Having never attended a local church or put up with a local minister in my youth, being Presbyterian , I did not know what he knew.

Anonymous said...

Why would Weston forbid karate? It's just a bunch of physical movements that you can perform with or without a philosophical background. Keep in mind that, when he was LCG Regional Director for Canada, Weston allowed Stuart Wachowicz to promote Confucianism, a Chinese philosophical system that rejects the idea that one human being can "atone" for another human being, thus rejecting the possibility of Christ's sacrifice. Confucianism also acknowledges a spirit Heaven, populated by immortal souls. Weston was OK with Wachowicz promoting Confucianism, so how on earth could he forbid karate?

RSK said...

Depends, is Americanized taekwondo acceptable? Or do they just not like anything that could divert contribution dollars regularly?

Byker Bob said...

I ran across something, sort of a quasi-doctrine thing, at headquarters in early 1970s. As a church or college employee, even if you did physical labor, like maintaining and operating equipment at AC Press, you were expected to maintain certain appearance or personal grooming standards. So, wanting to prank my parents at the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles, I thought it would be cool to grow a beard. I did the right thing. I went to my supervisor to ask permission.

Apparently, it was such an important matter that he had to go to his supervisor, etc. Permission was granted, but with the added stipulation that the beard be well maintained, and neatly trimmed, and I was to shave it off immediately following the feast. My supervisor explained to me the general principle for a number of seemingly inconsequential matters. You could do as your direct supervisor did. In other words, if your supervisor had a beard, so could you. You can see where this was going. They were basically saying that you could do as HWA did, since he was the final destination as you worked your way up the chain of authority. At that time, none of the department heads or ministers had facial hair, so the chances of anyone having and keeping beards as a normal grooming effect were pretty much nil.

In a lot of ways, during that era, with his TV appearances, GTA was fairly fashion conscious, and when new fashions such as dress shirts in colors other than white came into vogue, we'd wait until GTA got his, and then go shopping. In our class group picture my sophomore year, You can see three pastel blue shirts being worn by male students. GTA wore his in TV appearances allegedly because it minimized glare when picked up by the camera. Oddly, there was a district supervisor back East who required that any visiting minister who wanted to guest preach at "his" church must wear a proper white dress shirt.

As we worked towards 1975, people bent these standards, making their own fashion choices, and I'm told that this continued until HWA was supposedly raised from the dead to get the church "back on track". But, no. We weren't a cult!

BB

DennisCDiehl said...

914...that was the word I was given after I mentioned having my own belts in Karate in the sermon. I once had a frantic call from a member whose child was sent home from school for being in a religious cult which the school was concerned about. I told her I”d call the principle and see what’s up. I asked the principle what he was talking about and he said she was taking “Suzuki Lessons” by her own admission. Of course Suzuki lessons were violin lessons. I am not kidding. This was in Mansfield Ohio area

Byker Bob said...

That's also where redneck mobs come from sometimes. Ignorant people feel threatened by things they never heard of, and they react en masse before getting the facts. In the WCG they simply forbade anything which they did not understand.

At one time, I used to freely tell people that I was raised in a cult. It scared some, because the word cult evoked pictures of Charlie Manson at least in their minds. Now, if anyone asks, I tell them I was raised as a Messianic Jew, who fortunately realized that our church was bogus when Jesus didn't return in 1975 as they had taught us. Problem with that is that they then realize my approximate calendar age. Works better for me when they think my son is my younger brother.

BB

Cognac Willie said...

During my tenure of imprisonment and indoctrination as a student at AC from 73-76, I frequently had a beard and longer hair than accepted. My first year, as an 18-19 year old on the landscaping flower crew, I was often reprimanded for my hirsute appearance and told to get a haircut or lose my $2 per hour employment planting flowers. Shortly before the opening of the auditorium, Laravia confronted me and told me I had to shave or else, disregarding the fact that I had planned the design of all the flower beds around the edifice. Being the good church kid I was, I acquiesced and shaved so I could see Guilini and the Vienna Symphony all three nights.

By the 75-76 year, I had a large mass of wild curly hair and a long black beard, and even though I was told on two occasions by George Geis and Ron Dick (or was that Dick Ron?)I was the finest potential ministerial candidate in the class "if I'd only cut my hair and beard," the persecution took a different form with GTA berating me from the stage with snide comments. I was never asked to cut my hair again and several others followed my lead, (and I pioneered the wearing of jeans to class in '74), but it was obvious the wrath of those immoral hypocrites (i.e. adulterers) in the Hall of Ad were directed at me.

Appearance was so overly important to those cultmasters and their duped victims while the immorality of the administration was overlooked. So much for whited sepulchres!

Byker Bob said...

By '75, I was wearing mutton-chop sideburns, CW. Fortunately, the press was being sold, so that WCG no longer had control over our employment at that point. What is funny is that when I had become a student at Pasadena City College, in 1969, I had ear lobe length sideburns, and was regularly wearing a surplus Army jacket as I hitchhiked or rode my motorcycle around Pasadena. Some of my former AC classmates audibly conferred in my near presence at church as to whether I had become a hippie. It was so ridiculous, because except for the sideburns, I still had a regulation AC haircut. The real hippies probably laughed at me because I didn't smoke weed, and hoped we'd get around to kicking ass on the North Viet Namese. Not everyone at PCC was hippies, and the reality was I felt more accepted by the student body there than I ever had at AC. Dr. Sarafian, who was the president of PCC knew of my Embarrassing College background, had taken a special interest in me, and frequently called out to me and asked how I was doing whenever he saw me on campus. I was somewhat well known, because I wrote for the PCC Courier, the campus newspaper. AC had held me back, big time. But, it's all good. I made up for it.

BB

Retired Prof said...

BB, Ambassador College held me back too. However, since I was there only for the freshman year, the delay in my development was less severe than yours. My months at AC were not, on the whole, pleasant ones, but the net effect has been positive, if only to broaden my perspective.

The summer after coming home from Pasadena, I got together with some of my old friends from high school. We attended several movies. In the discussions afterward over pizza and soda pop, they totally overwhelmed me with their knowledge both of the history of dramatic conventions used in the movies we saw and of comparable themes and motifs in other contemporary films. They had learned how to talk like that in humanities classes in a state university. Like you, I caught up, largely by taking humanities courses at the other colleges I attended, and by doing a lot of independent reading while interrupting formal study to work and pay off loans.

(You can probably guess from these remarks that the job I retired from was teaching English.)