Thursday, December 28, 2017

Is it possible to have a true friendship with another in the Church of God?

Everyone longs for true friendship with another.  A close friend you can confide in with your deepest thoughts and concerns.  A friend who will stand by you and support you in the best of times and when struggling through the worst of times.

Those in the Church of God claim to have the truest friendships that the word can ever exemplify.  Friendships in the COG are deeply true because friends are united in a single core of belief.  The "truth" binds hearts to one another. But, does it really?

Friendships in the COG tend to be more "acquaintances" than ever being deep and loyal.  Acquaintances will slap you on the back and have a beer with you, but will in the next moment vilify you if you ever dare to question doctrine or the church.  Just look at what happened to the Scarborough family in Living Church of God.  They were publicly vilified, lied about and smeared with one accusation after another.  When church leadership lowers the boom, friends scatter like cockroaches when the kitchen light is turned on.

We have all heard the stories in various blogs, newsgroups, and websites on how when a person decides to leave the church because they have proven it wrong that their friends immediately turn their backs on them. They will see their friend at the store, or in the park, or walking down the sidewalk and the so-called friend will ignore them and look away.  Facebook is filled with numerous secret or hidden groups where hundreds, if not thousands of former church members share horror stories on how they were treated, with some of the vilest things coming from the ministry, who are supposed to know better.

Is it truly possible to have a Proverbs 17:17 friendship in the Church of God?

The Dynamics of Friendship:  
God has given us vital keys in the Bible to help us meet our most important needs as human beings—including how to cultivate friendships. The Scriptures reveal that if we want to have friends, we must learn how to be friendly and remember that true friends are supportive during difficult times (Proverbs 17:1718:24). A friend is someone we can confide in and share important thoughts and concerns with (John 15:15). Real friends may not always agree with us, and sometimes they will tell us things about ourselves and our plans and actions that we may need to hear, but might not want to hear (Proverbs 27:6, 17). The Bible also cautions that we should choose our friends carefully because we will be influenced by the company we keep (Proverbs 12:26). Abraham chose to be a friend of God by obeying His instructions to leave a former way of life (Genesis 12:1-4; James 2:23) instead of being a “friend” of this world and its ways (James 4:4). Jesus told His disciples, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). Let’s seek to be a “friend” of God by following His instructions, and a true friend to those who will not influence us in the wrong direction.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail


Anonymous said...

I developed more close friendships in one year after leaving LCG than I had developed in decades of WCG/LCG membership.

It makes me so sad to realize that the Rod McNairs and Scott Winnails of this world, who grew up in the church, have never experienced true friendship, yet have deceived themselves into believing that their idea of friendship is the truest idea of friendship.

Byker Bob said...

By traditional definition of friendship? No. For a church member, that would be subversive.

You have to remember that HWA redefined many words and concepts as he allegedly revealed "the truth" for his members, which is another reason why it is not even possible to carry on honest conversations with his followers. The fact is, it's not possible to have normal family relationships within Armstrongism, let alone friendships. You can have relationships with or amongst church members so long as those relationships are defined and governed by the church, with it superceding the friendship. They are "my way or the highway" relationships, not relationships based on unconditional love. Therefore, friendhips or other relationships, even your marriage, cannot and will not have the closeness element, or the loyalties normally associated with the word in normal or natural patterns innate to human behavior.
The church equates itself with God, so they call this having Godly friendships, or putting God first in your friendships. But, that is sleight of hand, which is another larger aspect of membership in Armstrongism. (Brainwashing, cultism, control)


Anonymous said...

Doug wrote: "... Abraham chose to be a friend of God by obeying His instructions to leave a former way of life (Genesis 12:1-4Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); James 2:23) instead of being a “friend” of this world and its ways (James 4:4Open in Logos Bible Software (if available))..."

Doug has spoken on this "friend" theme before. Doesn't anyone in the Living group pay any attention to Doug? Doug has to "beat" them again with the same old things/themes over and over again! Has Doug grown in any "new knowledge" since the day HWA died? If so, what?

Once upon a time, I asked Bob Thiel, the same question regarding Rod Meredith/Living group and Bob Thiel mentioned growth in only one thing and it had to do with the book of Galatians.

But, returning to Doug, where does it say Abraham chose to be a friend of God? Nowhere! Doug idolizes Abraham, as if Abraham could do such a thing. Doug does not realize that God has "veys to make one cooperate," but that would give God, and not Abraham, the credit, which Doug cannot do.

Now, somebody did say the following:

"Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?" 2 Chron 20:7

But that was NOT Abraham's choice.

Doug chose Gen 12:1-4 to prove Abraham's choosing to be God's friend, and those verses state nothing about any "friend:"

Gen 12:1 "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran."

Abraham hadn't done a single thing of note, yet God was going to do a whole bunch of things: shew, make, bless, make, bless, curse, etc. And yes, Abram finally did leave his country, but not until his Daddy died (see Acts).

To be continued


Anonymous said...


Doug also chose James 2:23 to prove Abraham's choosing to be God's friend, but this verse simply states Abraham was "called the Friend of God, which is explained by 2 Chron 20:7 above.

"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham BELIEVED God, and it was IMPUTED unto him for righteousness: and he was CALLED the Friend of God."

Now, why would Abraham believe God. God has His "veys to make one cooperate," and I believe God, not Abraham, made that happen by God using His power:

"And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who BELIEVE, according to the working of his mighty power," Eph 1:19

Zech 4:6 tells us that God accomplished things by His Spirit...hence, by the power of His Spirit.

Eventually God will fulfill the part saying: "...and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed..."

That is not for today. God will do it, but God gave Abraham the capacity to "believe," but how did Abram do what he did? All by God's Spirit, b/c God gave Abram "the will" and the "to do:"

"For it is God which WORKETH IN you both TO WILL and TO DO of his good pleasure." Phil 2:13

It wasn't Abram's will, choice, doing or his good pleasure. God just does it.

So, Doug, don't idolize Abram...or any human being:

"That no flesh should glory in his presence." I Cor 1:29

God already knows this; we're learning about it.

So, Doug, give God the credit for Abram accomplishing God's will in his life, and you might even some day consider thanking God for accomplishing the following in the lives of a whole bunch of human beings...including Abraham:

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them..." 2 Cor 5:19

Doug, eventually, we will all come to realize that we were all brothers and sisters, learning to hate evil while living under Satan's tribulation, and all destined to become friends of God......and friends to one another, but again, that's for later. Our wrestling seems to be with flesh and blood (Eph 6:12; I John 3:8; James 4:5), but there are other factors to consider! And we can still be friends.......

Time will tell...


Anonymous said...

The COG Advertisement: Meet true Christians with the Holy Spirit and make good friends for life.

The COG Reality: Meet some real demoniacs with evil spirits and be harassed and slandered by these perverts and self-appointed enemies for life.

Anonymous said...

John 13 v 34 A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

Luke 10 v 25 “Teacher,” he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Then the parable of the Good Samaritan defining who your neighbor (friend) is, all humans on Earth.

Diversity is a big issue with the Libs. But the history of diversity has only shown cruelty and wars. But our Creator is the author of diversity in all of His physical creation, including mankind.

We are told to walk the extra mile to get along with other humans, as much as possible. And yet in the COG community we show they are not His disciples by our fear and need of control of others. We are light years away from the message of love, forgiveness and compassion that Christ clearly left for us.

Connie Schmidt said...

The reality is , that in all social groups of any kind, you will be instantly HATED by 10% of the group, and possibly have someone interested in you by 10%, and basically be "neither here nor there" with about 80% of the group. This 80% can be classified as "just for now friends" or "acquaintances".

I have heard that the average COG has a congregational size of about 30. This means that as a married couple, you will likely to only find one other married couple that you will be able to be close friends with, and do activities with outside of the assigned church assembling.

I have seen the above averages apply to softball teams, civic organizations, and even work place environments.

Cyberman Dave said...

Before I went to WCG I had a lot of pentecostal friends, all that was ruined by Worldwide and after 7 years I never made a single friend in the church of Armstrong!

Pillow Talk said...

I don't have any friends from any of the ACOG cults.

Anonymous said...

Doug in typical church fashion, doesn't warn of frienenemies or people who only come to services to exploit members. This was a large percentage in my experience, so Doug doesn't want to lose their attendance. This is in contrast to Christ's 'beware of the Pharisees.'

Anonymous said...

Good post Connie. But what does a average size of 30 for a COG congregation mean when there are hundreds of splinters? For instance, one congregation might have one hundred while another 5. Is it the bell curve center point?

True Bread said...

But what if I friend them on facebook...???

Anonymous said...

I belonged to one of these small WWCG splinter groups a number of years back. Their teaching on a true friend (as spelled out in sermons), could only be another within their 250 member little group. Why? Because of their brand of doctrine. They are taught that they can never be a true friend with one in the world, or even another member in another splinter group. The hard truth of it is, as many years as these "true friends" were in their organization together, most still had animosity or disdain for one another in some form. That was from my own observation. There ya go... So much for true friends.

Byker Bob said...

At Embarrassing College, it actually was possible to build some good strong friendships if a fellow student criticized the place or the administration, and expressed doubts about the prophecies or the doctrines. Because just about everyone else was tip-toeing on egg shells, you were able to see honesty and sincerity in the critical one, and you knew that that was one person you could be yourself around.


Anonymous said...

5.49 PM
That one should only have true friends in the one 'true' church is a calculated lie told by many Christian denominations. With members having friends only in the church, it gives the minister coercive power over the members.

It's so perverse, people give big money to a church organisation and in return are treated as rightless slaves. By contrast go to a good restaurant and you are treated like royalty.

Anonymous said...

Ok so I'm from a different generation than most on here. I was around 12 when we left wwcg, and then went to Global. I got to say the church is really messes up (I also went to United for a while but currently in lcg). Basically people at church are just acquaintances. People are really nice as long as you are in good standing, but there is some that are true friends. There is a small current in the COGs of people tired of opinions being preached as the gospel. I hope one day I can live to see a local church members in charged of their church and not a minister.

whatmeworry said...

I guess I am the exception. I was second generation and to this day have very close friends that were also in the WWCG. I think the difference is that I never talked church very much but other interests, hobbies, a life beyond the church. The church was part of my life, it didn't define me. The church had a place in my life, it didn't consume me. I was lucky to find similar people who felt the same way, so without that church commonality we still had that foundation of friendship.

Anonymous said...

As the Armstrong family was fatally flawed with serious problems amongst them so too are friendships within the COG landscape. I have said for years that the worst people I've ever had to deal with are the ones I see on the Sabbath at Church. Many of the ministry are flawed terribly and as for true friendship amongst the members you've got to be kidding. The jealousy, sexual perversions and snobbery... that cursed the Armstrong dynasty has dripped down throughout the various COG for decades.

Anonymous said...

5:24 AM, you say you are in LCG but hope to see local members in charge of their church, not a minister. So you don't really believe what LCG teaches. Is it that your close friends share your disbelief in LCG teaching, and have a common bond in hiding this from the LCG ministry? Or is it that you need to withhold from your close friends the fact that you don't believe what LCG teaches?

Byker Bob said...

Bottom line is that if you make friends under the "new rules" of the ACOG system, when you return to the normal or standard rules of prevailing civilization, don't expect to be able to carry your church friends forward with you. They'll stick with the rules of their system that their "apostle" originated, as they assume that those rules were revealed by God.


Anonymous said...

Anon 10:26 comments are clearly a prime example of why real friendships amongst members are a rarity.

Anonymous said...

I think in any group you can find friends. Often the older you get the fewer friends you have maybe because you belong to fewer groups - like educational settings, and when you leave work you miss those people too, even the ones you didn't like much. The problem with WCG friends, of which I had some good ones, if that most of them will ditch you in an instance if you leave or get thrown out, which does make you wonder.

Generally the leaders were a group of interwoven and intermarried families who became more and more related through the generations. Their children went to school together and when they became adults they could get a job with the family firm and an assurance that they were special and powerful and could tell others what to do. Pretty hard to get this in the world at large if you are just an average person.

Anonymous said...

12:38 PM, please consider that there are already some ACOG groups where the local members are in charge. If that's what Anon 5:24 AM wants, why doesn't he/she get involved in such a church instead of staying in the screwed-up LCG? If he/she and his/her "true friends" explain their feelings to their LCG minister, they won't be in LCG for very long.

For many years I have heard LCG members say that they are "waiting" for their church to change. With Weston now in charge, that will be a long wait. If you want to be in a church that doesn't judge other churches, and that treats members as Spirit-filled mature Christians rather than HQ-dependent babies, you can go to such a church NOW. If everybody in LCG, PCG, UCG and COGWA who feels the way 5:24 AM feels would get up and leave, that action itself would go a long way toward healing the ekklesia, the greater (and actual) Church of God, at the expense of the parasitic man-led corporations.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Lol I really don't have close friends that r armstrongnites. I do know a few that have grown up in the church that r sick of the way things r and want a change.

EX-PCG said...

If you have 3-5 REAL friends throughout your entire life (COG or non-COG), that may be pushing it. You'll find out who your friends/brethren are if you leave their COG organization.

You will also find out if you have real (or just superficial friends), if you have problems (especially, if you get really sick). See how many friends you have if you get cancer? See who comes to you in the hospital, and if they show-up when you have hospice come to your home.

This is a BIG test for most people...including myself. I have not always been there for
"friends", but maybe they weren't really friends anyway, just good acquaintances. REAL friends will always be there for you and you are there for them.

Anonymous said...

Lol this is just too funny! Get up and leave and go to another church? You are obviously talking about going to a Sunday church. Most who ended with COG they r in now is because of its location, family, and they actually believe in the Sabbath and Holy days. We chose to stay low and pick our battles

Byker Bob said...

The truth, 4:15, is that we're all pretty much alone. Some walk with us for a while, or we cross paths with others, but we've all got to walk that lonesome valley by ourselves.


Anonymous said...

8:13 PM, if you are in a COG because you believe in the Sabbath and Holy Days, but you are sick of the COG nonsense and pick a congregation for location and family, I suggest you do a couple of quick studies.

1) Can you find a COG7 or SDA church that is in a better location? Most of those churches aren't filled with busybodies like in the COGs, so you can keep the Sabbath with friends and nobody will fuss at you over your personal choice to keep the Holy Days.

2) About the Holy Days. In a COG, you are keeping the HWA versions and interpretations of those days. I'm sure you know that HWA is responsible for the values and priorities that make the COGs such a screwed-up mess. Do a serious Bible study about tithing, and you'll see that HWA was dead wrong about his three-tithe system. So why would God let him be so wrong about tithing yet right about the Holy Days? Do a serious Bible study about the timing of the Passover and so-called Night to Be Observed and you'll see that the Jews got it right and HWA didn't. Same with Pentecost. Even HWA's idea of a seven-day Feast of Tabernacles picturing a thousand-year Millennium doesn't line up with Scripture, where a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. Also his idea that your "temporary booth" for those days should be a hotel that will stand for a hundred years or more... that was a control mechanism, not a Biblical injunction. Anon 8:13, if you do a serious study of these topics, you may still value Holy Day observance, but HWA's version of it was mostly nonsense.

Anonymous said...

4.24 AM
Yea sure, let everyone do a personal study and determination of the Holly day dates. And have thousands of different interpretations and thousands of people keeping these holy days on different days. How does one organise services and book venue's.
I believe this is the legitimate case of the application of the verses 'what is bound on earth is bound in heaven.' Let a church committee exercise a 'duty of care' and decide these dates. Everyone comply, with God holding the church committee responsible.
And ignore James Malms 'correct days.' So what if history proves him right. His 'solution' or rightness is impractical in the real world.

Anonymous said...

7:01 AM? An Armstrongist coming out in favor of the (just behind us) Holly day? Now I've seen everything!

Anonymous said...

7:01AM, by your argument the Church had the right to transfer the Sabbath to Sunday. FAIL

Byker Bob said...

Speaking of changing days, Herbert Armstrong changed the day for Pentecost. Either Monday was wrong, or Sunday was wrong. But, whichever is the case, here's the rub. If the early Christians had gotten the day wrong following the Ressurrection, they would have missed out on receiving the Holy Spirit. So, Herby goofing on the day probably had some pretty significant influences on his entire church movement. No wonder he taught that the HS was an impersonal force like electricity. How could he have possibly known the difference? It's why they still have such harsh, intrusive authority in the ACOGs of today. He had to substitute and fill the vacuum that he left by an attempt to legislate and enforce character.


Anonymous said...

I often visited Dibar Apartian in the final weeks of his life. Here was a man who had dedicated his ENTIRE life to Armstrongism; a man who was ordained an evangelist by HWA himself; a man who towed the party line as much as anyone could. But in the end he would look at me and ask, "Where is everybody?". He would tell me how no one came to visit and sadly say, "I thought they were my friends".

Because Armstrongism is a loveless religion of fear with an emphasis on backbiting and having the biggest piece of the pie, the men at LCG headquarters were too busy dividing up Dibar's responsibilities and titles to visit him in his final hours.

It was sad to see an old man realize how little he meant to the people he dedicated just about every waking hour of his life to.

Anonymous said...

I was in LCG for years and had so many friends. I threw baby showers, bridal showers, cocktail parties, bbq's and endless dinner parties for my "friends". We traveled the world together, shared condos for the Feast of Tabernacles, went through pregnancies/births together and spent all of our social lives with one another (it is frowned upon in LCG to have friends that aren't in the church).

For me, it was all gone in a spit second. These people, who I thought genuinely loved and cared about me, turned their backs on me as soon as I was no longer in LCG. I was de-friended by people with reckless abandon (it sounds trite but it was hurtful). I would reach out to people and they would refuse to reply to my messages. I was shunned repeatedly when I'd run into long-time LCG friends in public. Suddenly, all these supposed "Christians" who were my "brothers and sisters" regarded me with more disgust than their superior asses view the "people in the world".

To this day, I can not conceive of how they twist things in their infantile minds to think that what they did to me was in any way "Christ-like". I mean seriously, can you imagine our Savior advocating such disgusting behavior? No way!

If you are reading this and you are in LCG you are no exception. If you leave you will lose all of your friends. You see, the relationships are CONDITIONAL. People in these churches appear to be incapable of grasping the concept of unconditional love (let alone mercy or forgiveness). If you are telling yourself, "nah, that would never happen to ME" you are so deceived. It would happen to you as it happened to me and many, many others.

My favorites were the "friends" that replied, "I want to be a pillar in the Kingdom so I love you, but..." or "you will always be my brother and I love you, but..."

Guess what LCGers, love is a VERB. It requires action not just words.

I have never met a more fake, self-righteous group of idiots in my life. I am desperately ashamed that I wasted over ten years of my life with those people.

I fear for them because they will reap what they have sown and more importantly because they do not know the love of Christ.

LCG is the antithesis of the COG.

True Bread said...

Anon 1:11 said

"For me, it was all gone in a spit second. These people, who I thought genuinely loved and cared about me, turned their backs on me as soon as I was no longer in LCG."

Been there done that...I should have the T-shirt...

Starting in 1968 with the WCG at the age of 6, through AC in 1988, then onto the GCG, GTA, and finally Dankenbring, I've had way too many people come and go as "friends" in these groups. Sadly, I still have family stuck in the LCG in Charlotte that I carry tremendous guilt over, as I started the local GCG group here in VA in 1993. We can't even be in the same room together.

So, if you wanna say hi or drop by for a bible study, just let me know....
804 677-6576

keep the faith,


Anonymous said...

Anon 1:11 PM, please reconsider your feelings about your LCG "friends."

They knew that if they remained in touch with you they would lose all their other friends, thanks to the dictatorial LCG ministry. They loved you, but they were afraid to lose everybody else they loved. They aren't "idiots." They are frightened people who have been brainwashed into believing that however miserable they are in LCG, they would be even more miserable outside of LCG.

Be honest with yourself for a moment. Even while you were in LCG, you knew that your friendships were superficial. You knew that there were things you were thinking, or observations you were making, that you could not possibly share with your LCG "friends." That should have been a tip-off, right there, that these LCG "friends" were merely conditional acquaintances.

Pity these people. Don't hate them. The evil ones are the ministers who put fear in the members even while conducting their own lives that do not live up to the standards they demand of members.

Anonymous said...

False Bread on January 2, 2018 at 5:39 PM said...

“Starting in 1968 with the WCG at the age of 6, through AC in 1988, then onto the GCG, GTA, and finally Dankenbring, I've had way too many people come and go as 'friends' in these groups. Sadly, I still have family stuck in the LCG in Charlotte that I carry tremendous guilt over, as I started the local GCG group here in VA in 1993. We can't even be in the same room together.”

“keep the faith,”

Which faith?

Why did you go with GTA?

Why did you go with WFD?

Why are you now saying that President DJT is the antichrist? If you keep this up, you risk becoming demon-possessed, like GRF with all his “new revelation” that he is actually so much more than just a drunken runt, or like DCP with his 80+ sermons about the “First Dominion” that mangled all prophetic understanding beyond repair.

Why should anyone waste their time listening to your prophetic guesses? Why do you complain about people in the LCG not following you when you try to lead them astray with your very different theories about such things as prophecy and understanding the calendar?

It really sucks to go to the so-called COG splinter groups and run into all the weirdos in them who are using these places to spout off all their own crazy pet theories.

Anonymous said...

That's sad about Mr. Apartian :(

nck said...


Re: Apartian

The story reads somewhat as the old politician or entertainer spending a lifetime in the limelight then reaching the end of their lives. (Are you actually aware that people like the much loved Doris Day are still alive and kicking, (until they finally kick the bucket and you read it in the newspaper)

I believe that people like Mr Apartian were regarded according to peoples experiences with them. In my opinion your experience (with lcg) is not the final way in which he is remembered as I read many a favorable commentary on his behalf after his demise.

I don't have many personal experiences with Mr Apartian and I realize that you are actually using your experience to illustrate a point. Just recently on this blog I wrote some favorable comments on Mr A's early years when he travelled from Armenia to Marseille and end up working for the US embassy in Switzerland during WWII. (I wished I could have asked him the line of duties he was involved in. I would not be disappointed if (as a foreign born man he was responsible for coffee and scrambled eggs, translation services, administrative duties on refugees. But I would have enjoyed it if he had some stories on Allen Dulles, Mary Bancroft or central intelligence in WWII.) But hey, lets stick to the facts. And you added to them.

As long as people speak about you favorably, one is kinda immortal(lized).


Anonymous said...


I agree with your last comment. But I'd like to mention that a LARGE part of why LCG bolsters his reputation is because they use it like a feather in their hat. Men like Mr. Apatian and John Ogwyn are USED to give LCG credence. It's actually pretty disgusting.

Not to negate the fact that they were both of excellent character and very respectable men. They were. I just hate it when some LCG minister uses the character of these dead men to try to exalt themselves. I SERIOUSLY doubt John Ogwyn would have gone for/ agreed to preach their "upgrades".

They were trying to push Mr. Apartian out of the office long before his health declined because the power-hungry vultures wanted his piece of the pie. They kept urging him to stay home and write his memoirs. Men like him live to work. It was his purpose and basically his entire life. When they took that from him, he had no reason to live... and so he died. It was sad that he had to die with a broken heart because of the wickedness at LCG HQs.

nck said...


My point was that the fate of good teachers is that their pupils continue their legacy or at least remember them fondly.

As you started with. Over his lifespan Mr Apartian had many more pupils and millions of listeners more than the sole LCG experience.