Saturday, September 16, 2017

Church of God In Wales On The Importance Of Apostles

The Church of God in Wales holds staunchly to everything that Herbert Armstrong wrote and said. There is a reason for that. In their eyes, Herbert W Armstrong was an apostle through whom God communicated directly to with all of the spiritual knowledge that he dished forth. Because of that, no ordinary church member or minister could every receive spiritual knowledge that they could share with the rest of the brethren.

According to the COGinW, the disunity in the COG today is the result of busybodies pretending they are modern day conduits of knowledge from God. Thanks to the false prophets of Armstrongism, men like Almost-ordained Bob Thiel, Pharisee James Malm, Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry and many others have set themselves up as apostles and teachers of blasphemies, pretending to be conduits of God's word. These liars are the reason behind the great disunity in the church today. All of these petulant little men took it upon themselves to set themselves up as apostles and prophets.
Unity is a vital and eternal quality that God insists is present within each of His potential sons and daughters. Without it, there can be no True Church of God; God and Christ and those within the Family of God are all to be one (John 17:21). If unity is lacking between different organisations that all claim to be the True Church, it indicates a grave sickness. “The people judge or decide” – the very meaning of the word “Laodicea” – gives rise to such an antithesis of unity. It produces a myriad of different interpretations of the same scriptures. But scripture is not for private interpretation (II Pet 1:20). 

God has given His Church the means whereby the unity He insists upon can be achieved. To be in harmony under God, each of God’s people must have the humility to grow according to the grace given and not attempt to take something that is not theirs. The grace to lay foundations within the Church is specifically given to apostles – not the general ministry or membership. Only by aligning our teachings and beliefs with such foundations can the unity God wants be produced. Going in any other direction takes us away from God’s revelation and will produce chaos and confusion – the utter antithesis of what God insists must be found within His Family.

John Rittenbaugh on Prophets

Almost-ordained and almost-arrested Bob Thiel has an article up by John Ritenbaugh about prophets.  It is ironic that Ritenbaugh writes about prophets/false prophets in the church.  Ritenbaugh was the prophetic guru of many in the Glendale/Pasadena are for many years.  Everything the man talked about people salivated over, copied, taped and shipped all around the country.  Ritenbaugh has ended up like all of the other false prophets in the church, an epic failure!

All of us desire to know the future so we can be prepared for it. We want to be in control of our destinies and not at the mercy of events. However, some have this desire so strongly that they set themselves up as channels through which the future is revealed. 
Such people have misled many. Deuteronomy 18, along with chapter 13, warns against such people. Whether they are called diviners, charmers, spiritists, or channelers, using methods like reading tea leaves, casting lots, or conducting sĂ©ances, they are to be seriously and carefully avoided because there is no godly reality to their prognostications. Those seeking to know are being misguided, putting themselves at the mercy of lying demons, or at the very least, imaginative men and women. 
At other times, simply following a church tradition regarding a prophecy can also mislead a person. This occurs because someone in the past, sincerely believing he understood a particular prophecy, began preaching his belief, and many in his audience then believed without the resources to prove the interpretation wrong. Due to frequent repetition, it came to be accepted as truth. 
It is important for us to understand that prophets were not merely temporary and occasional expedients God would turn to. They played a vital and continuing role in Israel, especially in those times before the Word of God was widely distributed. This is why God makes provision for them within the law. He shows in many places that those He appoints to the prophetic office will always preach the keeping of the commandments of God as evidence of the Source of their inspiration. They will teach the conservation of past truths even as they break new doctrinal ground. 
They both forthtell – that is, proclaim a message truthfully, clearly, and authoritatively to those for whom it is intended – and they will on occasion, but not always, foretell – that is, predict events before they take place. 
It is misleading to believe these verses in Deuteronomy 18 apply only to Christ. His is undoubtedly their ultimate application, but the promise and description applies to all true, God-ordained prophets. Notice some of the identifiers in these verses:
1. God established the foundational pattern for the prophetic office in Moses (“like me”). 
2. God will raise a prophet up from among the Israelitish people. Later biblical sources show he might be drawn and appointed from any of the tribes and from any occupation. In other words, he did not have to be a Levite. 
3. He will perform the function of a mediator between God and men (verses 16-18). 
4. He will stand apart from the system already installed. He will not be antagonistic to the system, but he may be very antagonistic to the sins of those within the system, especially the leadership. 
5. God will directly appoint and separate him for his office. Thus, the thrust of his service as God’s representative is direct and authoritative. By contrast, the priest’s function flowed from man to God by means of sacrifice – far less direct and more appealing and pleading than demanding. The New Testament ministry combines elements of both, but parallels the prophet’s function more than the priest’s. 
Simply and broadly, a prophet is one who is given a message by another of greater authority and speaks for him to those for whom the message is intended. Thus, Moses was God’s prophet, but Aaron was Moses’ prophet. 
Without a doubt, when we hear the word “prophet,” we immediately think of the Old Testament. This is a natural reaction because that is where most of them appear in the Bible. Our memory instantaneously brings forth names like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and David – all great men. However, without a doubt, the two greatest prophets of all time appear in the New Testament: John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. John the Baptist is the last and greatest under the Old Covenant, and Jesus Christ is the first and greatest of the New.
John W. Ritenbaugh
(The Berean, September 18, 2016)

Ritenbaughs comments above did not sit too well with Almost-ordained and almost-arrested  Bob Thiel. Ritenbaughs comments make Almost-ordained Thiel out to be a false prophet.  That irritated Almost-arrested Thiel so much that he made this comment, referring to himself, of course:

...the reality is that most real Christians will NOT accept biblical criteria for prophets in this age. 
Sadly, many people in the Church of God (COG) have trouble believing that God actually uses prophets or how He would use them today.
The Apostle Paul makes it clear that not all are prophets. Prophet is an office and prophets are to prophesy. Although the position of groups like LCG is that it has NO prophets (which is the case as I stopped attending late on 12/28/12), it should be noted that its then top leader had repeatedly taught in the past that God may consider Bob Thiel to be a prophet

Almost ordained Thiel still continues to lie that Rod Meredith called him a prophet.  Meredith may have had tons of faults, but Meredith was not that naive or stupid to call Almost-arrested Thiel a prophet.

Almost ordained Thiel is so sure that he is a prophet that he has to quote Jesus where he states that prophets will be reviled and persecuted. Almost-ordained Thiel likes to pretend he is being reviled and persecuted by those of us here and by those in other COG's who laugh and mock him.  Such a sad little man.

Jesus taught: 
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Contrary to scripture, most end time Christians do not heed the following from the Apostle Paul:
20 Despise not prophesyings. (1 Thessalonians 5:20, KJV)
20 Do not despise prophecies. (1 Thessalonians 5:20, NKJV
Why should a Church of God member ever trust any of the false prophets of Armstrongism?  Every one of them have proven to be liars, including Almost-ordained Thiel.

The Almost-ordained false prophet then precedes to make a list of 38 different items that he claims all of the other COG's are in error on.  See it here.

The lying false prophet is now dragging United Church of God into the mix.  Not only does he claim LCG claimed he was a prophet, but UCG did too!  He claims that LCG and UCG recognized that all 38 of his points were 100% accurate.

It should be noted that leaders in the Living Church of God and/or the United Church of God confirmed to me personally that I was biblically correct on essentially all the above points, despite the fact that their respective churches hold to several of the errors pointed out above. Those who rely too much on a compromised ministry (Ezekiel 34:7-10) to teach them prophecy that is not truly in accordance with scripture need to realize that according to Jesus’ words in Revelation 2 & 3 and Luke 21, only relatively few Christians will be protected from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world (Revelation 3:10;
The church has had false prophets in its midst from its very inception.  The Pasadena headquarters
was filled with them.  Hardly a week went by when a new prophet would appear at the Hall of Ad proclaiming some absurd prophecy. Hundreds, if not thousands made their way to Pasadena over the decades.  Every one of them is long gone and forgotten. Some had died, some still write silliness and publish it, and others finally hung up their prophetic glasses and got on with life, still as deluded as ever.  Others like Almost-ordained Thiel and the Church Pharisee James Malm set themselves up as godly men do a "work".  All they do now is toot their own horn and make idiotic predictions and then lie that they never did when confronted.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dave Pack: I am after as many eyeballs as possible on my products

Deluded Dave says:
Now, one other thing that obviously drives that and can speed it up is how much money we have to spend on media. And as I’ve been saying recently, two or three times, and it’s continuing to increase. The number of dollars that we can put into media appears to be as though it’s going to be significantly greater, earlier than I ever dreamed. So that’s going to drive it, because, as Mr. Armstrong understood and every marketer understands, it’s how many eyeballs can you get on whatever the product is you’re offering.
Dave has been off the air with his telecast for some time now.  Money was needed to fund his campus expansion. Apparently, buildings and grass lawns were more important than his "gospel" message.  His move back into television is now dependant once again upon the financial support of his members. You can see below that Dave guilts his members into giving more money.  The more they give the more people who respond, the less they give, the fewer people will watch and read Dave's stuff.  All belongs to God, therefore as God's most important man in human history, everything belongs to Dave. Send it in, dumb sheep.
So, if we’re on worldwide television again soon—and that’s now back in play in a serious way…Again, if people who have said they’re going to give certain amounts do, that’s in play, if just some of that arrives. A massive internet presence at the same time, with an ability every month to add more…And that will be driven by how much God’s people continue to give, you could call it generosity, you can call it obedience, because common belongs to God as much as tithes do…that will have an effect. So we can all pray about that. 

Dave Pack: Dale Schurter Is Back Doing My Bidding

When Dave Pack was able to poach Dale Schurter from United Church of God, Dave Pack was crowning like a rooster.  Never had a defection been more significant than Schurter's.  Dave immediately put Schurter in his re-education program to weed out the devil's influence from the aberrant doctrines of the United Church of God.  After many long weeks, Schurter emerged as a new man with all the vigor that Dave demands.

Weeks and months went by as Schurter dreamed up bean fields and agricultural programs that were going to set the Restored Church of God into the forefront of the news.  Those ensconced on the compound would learn how to grow things as it was grown in the Garden of Eden.

Then as Dave likes to say, "Bam!" Dave sent Schurter to the fringes of the group to purge the demons of UCG that still lingered in his soul.  Both he and his wife were ridiculed in the pulpit by Dave.  Never has a man descended in the ranks of the COG as fast as Schurter did.

After languishing for many months on the fringes, Schurter is now back in power and in the good graces of superfantabulous Dave.

Anyway, also, another piece of good news that could have been mentioned any number of weeks ago, that I don’t think was ever announced to the whole church—Mr. Schurter, Mr. Dale Schurter, is actively serving in the ministry again; doing much better and that’s wonderful—at the young age of 80, about two weeks ago today…So he’s serving as the Associate Pastor with Mr. McElroy in Dayton, Ohio, and I love to make those kinds of announcements.
An 80 year old man has no business pastoring a church congregation no matter how "good" they might be.  Besides, if RCG members truly believe what Dave teaches them, then how long will it be till Schurter goes off the deep end again and messes with Dave's teachings?

How can the people of Dayton be so stupid?


The Dale Schurter Propaganda/Resignation Letter

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Living Church of God: Our Faith Is Real, Everyone Elses Is Not

The new prophet and apostle of the Living Church of God has a new letter out to the faithful.  As usual, everyone else in the world has fake faith except for the chosen few of the LCG church.  The other manipulative tool that Weston uses, is the same one the Mormons use.  "Don't' believe us, but let your heart tell you what you read is true. " The problem with this is that many people will claim they believe just to fit in with all the other "believers" who let on like they have it all right.  It is ok for this to happen in LCG, but those in other churches or in mainstream Christianity are incapable of knowing what is right.  The world is incapable of discerning God in their lives, but LCG is not.  Well, we have all seen how well that has worked over the last 30 some years!

So that no one misunderstands, we should not have blind faith, as so many in the world have. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 admonishes us: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (KJV). Yes, we must prove all things, and that is why we routinely instruct individuals seeking baptism not to believe something because that is what they always believed (or assumed). They need to prove to themselves the existence of God, that the Bible is His instruction book to mankind, and that this is the true Church. These things are provable! It is not good enough to have “always believed in God” or that “I grew up in the Church and know it to be the true Church.” Many atheists sincerely believe there is no God, Muslims sincerely believe truth is found in the Koran, Protestants sincerely believe their form of Protestantism is the religion of the Bible, and Catholics sincerely believe they are the “true Church.” Believing something and proving something are two different concepts
Does "believing something and proving something" apply to LCG's reliance upon the myth of British Israelism as it pertains to new covenant Christians?  They believe it is true, but can't prove it, just like they accuse Christians in other churches.

Weston believes that he has it all worked out and it does not matter what anyone thinks, which is exactly what those in other churches feel about their understanding and belief.  The difference is, Weston is right and they are wrong. Ha! Ha!
Many times over the years, when events became difficult or confusing, I personally went back to review these three pillars of faith. I proved to myself then—and still can today—that God exists. I proved to myself, and still can, that the Bible is His word. And when it comes to the true Church, I know what the Bible says and cannot deny where God is working, based on what it says. It does not matter to me what others believe; I KNOW what I believe and why!
Weston is dwelling upon faith because he wants LCG members to be prepared for their upcoming persecution.

Faith is the kind of evidence that gives courage to go through the most excruciating trials without giving up. “Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented…” (Hebrews 11:36–37). Only faith gives us such assurance that we, too, will obey God in the face of adversity. 
The only persecution LCG has faced have all come from within and it is has failed miserably so far.  The persecution has come from on high to its members, not from some external source.

As usual with a COG, it is all about works and doing it all right.  As usual, the members of LCG are apparently too incompetent to get it right.  It has to be exhausting for LCG members to always be struggling to get it right and being told they are not.

Matthew 11:28-30The Message (MSG)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Dave Pack: Mega Millions Will Follow Us, But Few Will Join Or Support Us

Dave Pack seems to be making excuses as to why his group is not growing physically as a church.  Income still forces him to struggle, leading to his cancellation of his TV programs and the building of his mini-me auditorium and student center.  Now that he has had heart survey and is sidelined while recovering, his cabal of 16 are running things.  No matter how hard he boasts about the magnificence of his personality cult, it is struggling to survive. People are NOT flocking to him as he always lets on.

But we’ve reached a point where people can absolutely love the message, come in droves and still not act on it, and that’s a curious thing. So the number of people who are interested in us, following us, will rise into the many, many, many mega millions. It’s already in the millions, tens of millions, who know about us, but it’s going to explode eventually into hundreds of millions. I guess first scores and then hundreds, but it’s already scores of millions who know about us.
“…but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness” (vs. 31). There is just too much out there to buy and to do. And the cares of this life, and drunkenness and surfeiting, which can mean, not just a hangover, but debauchery, are what people are sucked into. They can read The Real Truth magazine…And this was decades ago, before Mr. Armstrong died…It was The Plain Truth back then.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dave Pack planning on building a "Drudge" style web site that will draw millions of readers

The most superfantabulous Church of God in human history is planning on expanding into an earth shattering global encompassing religious empire that will be the topic of conversation for the ENTIRE world, even though 99.99999999999999999% of humanity has never heard of the Restored Church of God.  Dave expects his "Drudge" style sight to draw in millions and millions of people around the world discussing his utterances.

We are looking at triangulating, from three different perspectives, maybe very soon all three places in place. This is a different discussion for later with more detail, but three different ways the Work will go forward.
Number 1: Massive Internet presence. It appears that the funds to do that are going to be here—more than I ever dreamed.
But on top of that, it looks like we may be going back into television, which five years…I’m not certain. We’re really going to be sure, but it looks like the funds to do that, and I mean worldwide, are going to be in place as long as it’s the right thing to do, and it could work synergistically with this massive Internet presence instead of replacing it, as we did five years ago, and finding out it wasn’t effective in a big way, because it stood pretty much alone.
And we couldn’t afford to do both while we were biting off building this building…But it caused us to have to pull back over four years ago. Now we can do both.
But there’s something else we can do. The third thing we can do. We may start a third website, or it’d be another website…actually a fourth website, but it would be the third element, here, where on a daily basis or very close to daily, we would be posting something new. We want to get into the world conversation in a bigger way. The news cycle of this world is way beyond what it was under Mr. Armstrong when people got monthly magazines. Well, we’re bi-monthly. Semi-monthly wouldn’t even be fast enough, but we’re bi-monthly, and it takes 500 man hours to produce a single Real Truthmagazine. So I’m willing to do that, if that’s the right thing to do, but if it’s not, I’d abandon it in two seconds. It was never used by any servant of God prior to Mr. Armstrong.
I’m not saying we’re going to abandon it. We’re not planning to, but those hours…building a kind of a Drudge-like site where we’re posting things on a daily basis in this fast news cycle. News cycle—if you go longer than about two days, you get out of the cycle. People are reading stuff right out of the palm of their hand, and we’ve got to get into that conversation. And if that happens, with two other powerful entities triangulating our commission, we could get very big fast as long as there’s quality stuff—doesn’t have to be long, but quality stuff coming every day. Written material, linking to other things we have so people get something new all the time, and all three of those linking to one another.
When you consider we’re the world’s largest religious publishing operation…ever…standing behind all of that, then you can see how rapidly this could grow large. Now I’ll just say to all of God’s people, you know, don’t pull back now. We’re moving ahead based on some just fascinating things that we are hearing.

Dave Pack Not On Good Terms With Wadsworth Residents

All of these little things are adding to bigger problems for Dave Pack in Wadsworth.  Once he really pisses off the resident's, things will get worse for him. He will then start screaming "persecution" just like Thiel and others do.

What a beautiful day! One and three-quarter inches of rain last night. Wonderful! We needed it! And the campus looks green. I didn’t realize until last summer…I’d never heard this before, but we water the grass on a regular basis here…for years…with irrigation. The water comes from our wells and lakes and so forth, but when you…when you use…or I guess, even some city water, I’m not sure if we do that at all…somehow it’s not the same. It doesn’t leave the lawn looking as green as water sent from God from the north, straight up.
It’s a strange thing. We don’t get any more water from the sky than we put on it ourselves on a regular basis, but it will get huge brown stripes in areas when it’s water from the city or even from a well than it will…than what it gets if it’s natural rain water. It’s a strange thing. So we can keep it alive and somewhat green, but I am thrilled when I see the rain from the sky, from God. It’s just a funny thing.
As a matter of fact, when we use our irrigation and when there’s been droughts, it’s caused attitudes in the city, because people believe that the city is giving us our water, which would not only cost us money, but it would cause problems in the city…as it does. They think that, “Well, the city says, let them get water, but everything else gets brown,” and that’s not true. But the rumor is out there that the City has cut a special deal with us. That we are drought-free when other areas turn brown, and that’s not true.

PCG: What A Woman Wants

It is always interesting watching the wet behind the ears "men" in the various COG's determine what they think women need and feel.  Most of the men doing this already have problems in their own marriages and write these articles because they feel their spouses are not respecting them as they should.  This message started with Herbert Armstrong and Loma and is carried on to this day by weak impotent little men.

Philadelphia Church of God's Joel Hilliker writes:

The Basic Needs of a Man

1. He needs to be admired.
2. He needs honest feedback.
3. He needs to be respected for his role as the leader.
4. He needs to be bolstered and encouraged.
5. He needs recognition for his achievements and success.
6. He needs the loyalty and support of the opposite sex.
7. He needs a challenge, and to be understood for his masculine interests, drives and ambitions.
8. He needs a woman to be enthusiastic and responsive to his ideas, suggestions and requests.
9. He needs appreciation for the special things he does.
10.He needs a sense of self-worth.
Men—here is the list of a woman’s needs. Working to understand these and fill these needs will make you a more valuable companion and friend to the single women in the Church. Pray that God would give you the love, wisdom, kindness, tact, patience and tenderness to exhibit these qualities.

The Basic Needs of a Woman

1. She needs attention.
2. She needs appreciation, approval and sincere compliments.
3. She needs people and personal relationships.
4. She needs to be loved, respected and treated with tenderness.
5. She needs a shoulder to cry on without fear of rejection.
6. She needs to know that her opinions count.
7. She needs to know a man appreciates her differences & tries to understand her emotional makeup
8. She needs a man to tell her of his plans so she’ll know how to properly prepare for them.
9. She needs to be assured that he is mindful of her physical limitations.
10. She needs for a man to be sensitive, protective and caring of her total welfare.
This outline concluded these lists by saying that these needs and differences can be summed up in two broad principles. These are points we should remember in our dealings with the opposite sex. We should picture them as if stamped on their forehead or as a sign hung around the neck:
· For the man: needs a sense of self-worth—treat with respect.
· For the woman: fragile—handle with care.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Could It Be Mental Illness After All?

I remember going with a minister to a home in Idaho once where the woman heard the voice of God often in her head. She had a young baby so the minister asked me to tend to the baby while he talked to her about her visions and voices. The baby had not had a diaper change in a pretty long time, so I took care of that in the kitchen while the minister tried to help her. Seems she was killing chickens on the farm and trying to resurrect them…without much luck. We never made any connection to the danger and I doubt either of us understood the symptoms of schizophrenia, but I do now.

After that, I returned to Ambassador for my last year and was reading the LA Times in the lounge before breakfast. My eye fell on a small article about a woman in a small town in Idaho who was found sitting in her car on a mountain top waiting for Jesus to return. I knew the name. They found the baby dead in the backseat. Or should I say, still dead.

It was my first wake up call to the dangers of missing the symptoms of delusional thinking with religious content. There was nothing spiritually wrong with the woman. She was clearly mentally ill and no one was smart enough to spot it before it was too late.

Moving right along...

From the Bible we find a man once laid on his right side for 390 straight days and then flipped over for another 40 because the voice in his head told him to. He drew Jerusalem on clay and lay siege to it with an iron pot (Ez. 4). He even cooked his food with human waste or was told to but begged off that.  Some think he was to mix it with his food as human dung does not burn.  (Ez. 4:9) and dug a hole in his own home and squeezed himself through it with his possessions on his back (Ez. 12).

His name was Ezekiel. Maybe he was traumatized by the captivity or the destruction of the symbol of all that was holy and stable to him, the temple. He died forever ago and lots of the stuff he said was going to happen never really did far as we can tell. I hear a lot of minister types quoting him 2500 years later as if you can read the news and immediately see what Ezekiel was talking about.

 I know most will say that God told him to do these things….but think about what you are saying. Would you say that about Andrea Yates who God told to drown her kids , The Son of Sam or Mijailo Mijailovic who killed the Swedish Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, saying when asked who told him to do it, "I think it was Jesus. That he has chosen me”?

An Old Testament character, Moses, went up into the mountains a few times because the voice in his head that no one else could hear, called him up for a meeting. He said it was God, but when he came back down the mountain carrying , what he said were the rules from the voice in his head, he ordered the murder of 3000  men women and children for not patiently waiting for him. And these people had already had a pretty tough time getting out of Egypt doing what the voice in Moses's head told him to do. He had friends killing friends and families all because the voice in his head told him to.

It all started with Moses running across a burning bush through which he was quite sure he could hear the voice of God talking to him.

Yet again, an Old Testament figure called Abraham, hears a voice in his head telling him to kill his only son and decides to do as he was told. So he lures his son into the appropriate mountain and breaks the bad news to him as to just what the sacrifice is going to be.  The voice in his head intervenes in the Isaac of time and I imagine that was the end of any real and trusting relationship between Abraham and his son from then on.  Mrs. Abraham, like Mrs Lot, evidently didn't even seem to mind what hubby was up to and I can't imagine Isaac not telling her how the day had gone.  (It never happened but it's quite a story.)

There was a prophet (was he given a double portion of the spirit to fight a cold?) who married a prostitute because the voice told him to. We had to drop the standard laws of marriage for this one, but its ok if you are doing it for God. Man was his wife mad about that! The guy even began to think he was a reincarnated form of the guy before him who talked to the bush. Tons of people obeyed this guy for a time, but usually not for very long. Hosea I think.

The more I think about it, the more I have to admit that voices in the heads of people I never met, and no one at that time could hear themselves, have played a really big role in who gets the final say in religion. When you think of it, those of the Christian faith think nothing of believing whatever those thousands of years before are recorded to have heard broadcast inside their heads as being from God. How could one ever know what really happened or even if it did, but to question following what they are said to have seen or said or been told to do comes easily for most who never think about what they are actually believing and doing.

Paul in the New Testament, it is said,  fell off a donkey when he heard a voice in his head about giving Jesus a hard time in his old job. He even saw a flash of light in his head, brighter than the sun and it was already noon when this happened! That’s pretty darn bright! When people in the Bible light up, it’s ALWAYS brighter than the sun. You’d think more people would notice. The others either heard the voice but did not see the light, or saw the light but not the voice, stood up, or all fell down depending on the story your read in the Bible. The voice in Paul’s head told him it was time to change jobs and he’d get his vision back if he did what he was told. Today we might say he had all the symptoms of heat exhaustion or maybe even temporal lobe epilepsy where voices and flashes are pretty darn common along with an intense sense of morality that others must get in tune with. It's a medical problem in the brain.

Paul went on to write most of the New Testament and continue to tell people nothing about any real Jesus he had ever met. No stories, no miracles, no teachings, nothing about the 12 men Jesus had to follow him, and I would expect to have passed the teachings on to others. Maybe even write something about Jesus, after all there were 12 of them! But alas, they didn’t much and we have no clue what happened to them save made up "traditions".  It’s all hearsay. Some say that they were merely a symbol of the twelve signs of the zodiac surrounding the central sun/son, and not real people, but let’s not go there.

Paul spoke volumes about the one who spoke to him in his head and he saw often in visions. When he gave the instructions for eating the body and blood of Jesus, he said very plainly Jesus himself told him about the details of that. "That which I have received from the Lord, give I unto you.."  Paul never met the real Jesus so I’m pretty sure he meant in vision. When he said, “have I not seen the Lord?” he didn’t mean in person. He meant in his visions. It can also mean "have I not experienced the Lord," which is not the same as knowing any earthly Jesus.   Paul even took a trip to the third heaven, but said the stuff he saw was too much to share at this time.  Typical of a man who wanted to be thought of as special but could not be pressed for details he could not come up with.

We read in  the book of Mark that Jesus mom and brothers came down to Jerusalem to get him because THEY thought he was “mad.” I don’t think they thought he was angry, but rather insane.
Jesus kind of blew them off in a way that would have got me slapped by my dad for being so rude to mom. It was like he didn’t know them. Mary had evidently completely forgotten about his wonderful birth story and all those great things she kept and pondered in her heart. Besides he had to do what the voice in his head said.

Later, other writers who wrote about Jesus dropped this hot little tale and told a really cute story about how Jesus came to be. God himself had visited her, well no, I guess the Holy Spirit did. You know the third thing in the Trinity and she was pregnant by no less than the Deity. She burst into song about this in Luke and seemed to know that Jesus was literally “fully God and fully man”, whatever that means. I can understand one thing being fully something, but not two things being fully the same thing but different and coequal but not. Church talk. I guess it’s one of those mysteries we hear about when one story leads to the next and we tie ourselves in a knot, wrapped in a enigma and all that.

Matthew tells a great story of Jesus birth, different from Luke’s, but at least they cleaned up that embarrassing tale about Jesus being hauled away by his family for being insane. Mark must have been mistaken according to Matthew and Luke, but Mark was the embarrassing story and came before the cute story, I suspect it had a ring of truth to it, at least as local rumor had it.

Sometimes I wonder if Jesus was so anxiety ridden not to know who his real father was ("we were not born of fornication") that he took mom literal when she got tired of him asking and said “God is your father. Now wash up for dinner” Who knows?

Some say his cursing trees for having no fruit at a time of year when there is not supposed to be fruit, or attacking the legitimate money changers in the temple who really were simply changing pagan money into temple scrip for the purchase of sacrifices, were not good signs of quality mental health. That last act probably got Jesus killed by the Romans, though somehow it ended up being the Jews fault. I guess it was easier and a bit wiser to blame the Jews who could not hurt you, rather than the Romans who could kill you. We give these stories a pass too easily.

As long as we are on the topic... I always found it interesting that the poor seizing child in the New Testament who threw himself in both the fire and water often, or maybe just fell in them when this hit him, cried out, foamed at the mouth and then recovered pretty quickly when the demon was put out, had all the symptoms of infantile epilepsy. Every one!

 No one knew what that was back then anymore than any other mental illness or even the concept of mental illness. Up through the Middle Ages beyond, the Church labeled everything either of God or of the Devil.  You could lose your head or go up in flames over having the wrong answer.  I wonder how people back then would treat a kid with epilepsy! It runs its course in about 30 minutes so it would sure appear that the old demon was banished but I bet it returned and could easily be prevented with one taking their Dilantin.  It has also been found that Canabis Oil can drive out a seizing demon.

Jesus had a hard time doing this stuff in his hometown because a prophet has no honor in his own town or with his own family.  They know you pretty darn well and got so concerned they came down to retrieve you for your own good, if you believe Mark. Of course he blamed the weak faith of the group, but maybe that’s because they all know you so well and aren’t easily convinced. I mean, if Jesus was God, really, really, really GOD, would the force be thwarted just because the neighbors who knew you as a kid had a hard time accepting that? I think not! Since when does being God in the flesh depend on the acceptance of the people who know you best?

Jesus also got rid of a whole legion of demons in a man that lived in a cemetery, naked breaking out of the chains used to bind him.  Chains were the medication of that time.  Anyway, aside from this man having every symptom of schizophrenia, or at best, severe mental illness, all the demons in him  were cast into a herd of pigs and they ran down into the sea from a town no where near the sea and drown. Kind of a marathon run and by the time they got there, they’d be skinny and pooped out pigs. Bible geography gone bad.

Some historians say the story of the swine was really the true story of Titus driving the Jews in to the Sea of Galilee in a campaign against them and sending his men into the water to spear them, thus becoming  "fishers of men."  I don't know...

Anyway….What about the author of Revelation? . Whoa…those were some good drugs! Whoever wrote that was one angry human being and hated both the Apostle Paul (the false Apostle the Ephesians called out) and the gentiles.   Death, destruction, fire, plagues, trombones, vials and all sorts of stuff pour out on everyone! This Jesus is not such a nice guy.  The one in the Gospels can’t possibly be the same one as in Revelation, but that’s what they say. The one in Revelation seems like an end stage psychopath gone amuck. I’m not sure I could be comfy in heaven or the kingdom with one who could be so freaking mean to everyone except those special ones. I always felt a few seminars or maybe a refresher type program would send a kinder gentler message, instead of all the butt kicking, death and destruction. Maybe a nice lunch between encouraging sessions and a Luau in the evening where we could all marvel at actually meeting the real God and Jesus. And hey…if the presenter is really God or Jesus come down…I mean really really…I’d listen and be good. But alas, this Jesus in Revelation is a case…maybe literally. It’s just one big vision in someone’s head hearing voices again that others can’t hear and seeing things others don’t see. Yet, good folk eat it up and read as if they also hear the same voice in their head.

Someone once asked what’s the difference between a Bible Prophet or Christian fundamentalist and a paranoid schizophrenic? Well, one hears voices in their head, has a heightened moral code, is judgmental yet can be very deceptive and manipulative, has delusions of being on a mission from God, sees things that no one else present sees, hears things that one else hears, sees lights in his head, is the center of the universe and has special knowledge that must be kept secret until the right time an then can only be understood as explained by the one. The other, of course, is a paranoid schizophrenic.

I had a close friend in high school who in college came down with the classic symptoms of schizophrenia. Very intelligent but all of a sudden was overcome with the chemistry of schizophrenia that comes mostly between 18 and 35. He simply could not function in this world. His perceptions and his reality were far different than even he could understand. He died in his chair, alone in a dingy apartment.  I wish I had gone to see him. I suspect he took his life but no one will talk about it.  His sister took her life a few years later. She was living unknown to me in SC and I wish I had been able to go see her.  Something ran in the family.

What if those strange but dedicated characters spoken of in scripture , or alive today seeing themselves as the reincarnation of these prophets and kings are simply mentally ill?  When these modern day prophets and dreamers tell us what their God tells them or shows them, how can anyone trust that?  Why would you?  How could you?

We know more now than we did 3000 years ago. And yet when it comes to the Bible and those who declare themselves the special men of God, we go as blind as Paul claimed to go on the road to Damascus. (Even though Paul himself never says this was the mechanism of his conversion. Perhaps even worse, like Jeremiah and Jesus, he was called before birth in the womb as he notes in Galatians.) Pretty darn special! And yet we can allow that kind of perspective to be religious when today, we would get very uncomfortable with a real person saying that about themselves.

What seems ok as long as it is in the distant past becomes freaky if in the present. Many who turned away from Paul or an Ezekiel may have had that gut level discomfort. I doubt anyone today would feel a religious zealot who cooked dinner with or in his own dung would be anything but twelve short of a dozen.

Why is this an issue? Because a minister, maybe sincere, and maybe simply mentally unstable or delusional can hide in the ministry much better than he can hide at IBM. A minister that is prolific, charismatic while also dictatorial and delusional looks spiritual and obedient. The quirkiness is mistaken for spirituality and obedience to God.

They have the ability to be deceivingly compassionate one minute and intensely angry at anything and everyone the next. They don’t like to be contradicted, corrected nor have their mental processes questioned. They NEVER take personality tests! How is it that normal human beings, who have accurate perceptions about the mental instability of some at work, then lose that instinct at church? The quirkiness at work becomes the spiritually desirable trait in church! Go figure!

When Alexander Haig declared himself in charge of the government after the Reagan shooting, he was torn to shreds for his misstep and is still trying to explain it. But when a pastor type declares himself a “Watcher” or an “Apostle” or a Prophet or incredibly more special than the average human, it gets swallowed hook, line and sinker?

What if the behaviors recorded thousands of years ago that has been the basis for so much religious zealotry is simply better understood in the context of mental illness? We always say if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and swims like a duck, there is a good chance we may be dealing with a duck. When it comes to religion however we change our perceptions. If it walks like a narcissist, if it talks l schizophrenic and if it has all the symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy, it must be a man of God!

We need to be both compassionate towards the mentally ill and vigilant in spotting it in the delusional type leaders that have arisen from the implosion of the Worldwide Church of God.  Mental illness in religion can take you far.

Demons are calling Dave Pack and setting fires around the world

Dave Pack says:

“So and so called and said he left a message a couple of days ago wanting to speak with a minister, has not heard anything yet. [Well, here’s why.] He thinks he is the Antichrist and it is urgent he speaks with someone.”
Now…to get help so he can shift the job to someone else? Or to send us a message? He did note in the 15 minutes that he had schizophrenia in the past; so that’s a tell-tale sign. But the person that was listening, politely interrupted him, said it sounded as if he needed to speak to a minister, and…we’ll have to talk to that woman, one of the ladies who answer the phone. I feel bad for the minister that took that call, but anyway, he said that he would speak to any minister.
So I mention that because one of the things you are seeing in the world…We’re going to come back to this in a different way in just a very few minutes…One of the things that you’re seeing in the world is more demon activity. You should get out of your head the idea that a significant increase, or an increase or even a significant increase of demon activity and the power of the devil will only come when he descends into Jerusalem. It’s been my experience and I knew this would happen and said so a number of months ago, before the devil shows ALL power and signs and lying wonders, you’re going to see him evident across the world.
After all, he is the spirit that works in the children of disobedience and he’s going to begin to do more and more before the big day in his mind, if you will. So we’re going to see more and more of those kinds of things. It’s no doubt why there is more wars, rumors of wars and commotions; why this terrible shooting that occurred in Washington on Wednesday that will change nothing. It didn’t even change the tone for the whole day; never mind that all of the tone of unity and, you know, kumbaya, that everybody was claiming to pursue, was gone by the next day entirely. You see?
So, the prince of the power of the air works on certain people and not just that guy. And when you see terrible fires…where they now estimate over 100 are going to die, when the first reports were only two, in that 27-story Grenfell Tower in London…and so many, many other things, you’re seeing the devil sort of flex his muscles.
Well, one of the ways he would do it with us is emails or phone calls like that one……
So periodically, these moments are helpful, kind of teaching moments I can talk to you about the kinds of things we are dealing with. Here’s kind of an inspiring one though, from a member who wrote something that may benefit all of us, kind of an uplifting, interesting view.
“While listening to your sermon last Sabbath, June 10th, Part 78, you’re comments on fire provoked thought. I live in southern Arizona. [So I guess the brethren out there will know who I’m talking about.]
“Typically when people think of Arizona, they think desert, but not the area south of Tucson—[I know because my brother-in-law pastored it for two years.]—grasslands, cattle ranches, rocky terrain. We’ve had very little rain this year. It’s been very, very dry. We’ve had a VERY [all caps] high number of grassland fires. More than I can remember in any previous year. Some were (unintentionally) [It says in parentheses.] manmade, and some were the result of lightning.
“Many thousands of acres have been burned. Grazing for cattle, homes, barns [you know] destroyed. I don’t believe any lives have been lost. [That’s good.] As I drive past the recently blackened and ashy fields, I’m reminded how hot, intense and utterly destructive carbon combustion can be, and then just a few miles further down the road where there was a fire a few weeks ago, the grasses are pushing green shoots up through the scorched earth. Life is returning, and when we do get life-giving rain, the hills here will be as green here as they are in Ohio. Well, maybe not quite THAT green [All caps.] Fire purges the dead and the dross, life returns, water encourages growth. I so much more now appreciate biblical fire.”

Sunday, September 10, 2017

LCG: Your Leaders Know What Is Best For You

The Church of God has always held a firm reign on members and what they should believe. Members were taught never to question, have doubt and express that doubt publicly, and to NEVER question the words of a minister or church leader.  To do so was tantamount to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Ordinary lay members were too uneducated in the Bible, church history, eschatology, hermeneutics, and other areas theological studies.  Only men trained at the feet of Herbert Armstrong were capable of passing on "truths" ministers under them. Ministers were never encouraged to attend real theological institutions and learn proper techniques.  The result of this is over 80 decades of men who have had the exact same information passed on to them as holy writ from the mouth or pen of Herbert Armstrong.  This kind of thinking has breed men like Rod McNair, Almost ordained Bob Thiel, James Malm, and others who have set themselves up as the end all in spiritual wisdom.  To doubt any of them is borderline blasphemy.

Thus, church members should always look upwards with reverence at the leadership of the church for spiritual truths.  At no point in time should ANY member EVER take it upon themselves to "correct" or "save" the church!  According to LCG, that is supposed to be Christ's job.  He does the correcting, through the leaders.

The question should be asked, What IF the leadership is so corrupt and graceless that Christ just might need to use a lay member to wake up the lazy, bloated, and self-important ministry? What happens then?  We all know that answer.  You will be kicked out and publicly humiliated from the pulpit, by the very same graceless, bloated, self-important ministers that need the correction.

Just the title alone of the Weekly Update is meant to instill fear into the LCG membership.  If you dare to question, you are misguided and the church does not like that. Questions and criticism are "misguided" even though Christ might be waking you up.

Beware of Misguided Ideas

The Apostle Paul warned, “in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1-4) and that many will not listen to sound doctrine but will prefer to follow their own ideas (2 Timothy 3:1-6; 4:1-4). Paul also warned that critics from within and from outside the Church will try to divide congregations to gain a following (Acts 20:29-31). He pointed out that Satan will try various ways to mislead well-meaning people (2 Corinthians 2:11) who latch onto and begin to spread an idea—that has already been examined and rejected by the Church—in an attempt to influence others (2 Corinthians 11:4-15). While numerous ideas created problems among brethren in the early Church, Paul’s advice was to “Guard what was committed to your trust” (1 Timothy 6:20), “hold fast” to what you have been “taught” (Titus 1:9-11) and “avoid foolish disputes” (Titus 3:9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5). When questions arise over doctrine, the biblical example is to take the issue to the leaders of the Church for a decision (Acts 15:1-31). Nowhere do the Scriptures encourage individuals to take it on themselves to correct or “save” the Church. That is something that Jesus Christ will take care of in His time as He “builds” His Church (Matthew 16:18).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail