Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Journal: Issue 200 Is Online

The latest issue of The Journal is out.  The lead article is about Herbert Armstrong's perception of "godly hierarchy" in the church, with him the human leader, of course.  The article is based upon a letter that a church member wrote to HWA asking for him to answer some questions regarding new moons, church hierarchy and other topics.

The part that I found interesting is the last couple of paragraphs.  The church always told us that various men were always trying to get doctrines changed.  In this letter, he blames a lot of this on women!
I have taken considerable time on this, because we have a history over 45 years of individual women trying to upset the whole Church by wanting to change God’s Festival dates. Especially we MUST ALL SPEAK THE SAME THING, and what we speak is put into the Church by JESUS CHRIST, through His chosen apostle. 
You did right in bringing this directly to me, and I trust I have made clear what we are all to speak in regard to this. But you MUST NOT carry this as a personal hobby to others in the Church, lest you come under Romans 16:17. Christ is now setting His Church back on the track of UNITY, rooting out all division. Nevertheless, I’m sure your research on this has given you experience. 
The front page also includes a short article about the Texas community that as shattered by the church shooting in November that killed 26 people and injured 20 others.  COG members know some of these people. Another article is on page 3 about the shooting and the heroes and the people first on the scene.

The second page has a snarky comment from Fred Coulter, the COG phrenologist, happy to see that The Journal is shutting down.

Page 3 also includes a story on, "How do churches protect members?" also in response to the church shooting. It includes a list of 18 other church shootings over the last 11 years, including the Living Church of God shootings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Page 5 has more from Dixon Cartwright on why he is shutting down The Journal.  It includes the reasons he started it and why he published some of the things he has over the years.

We were different from In Transition in that John’s aim was to have two of his trusted friends check out articles before they were published in In Transition for correctness of doctrine. 
The friends were Ron Dart and Leon Walker. 
Doctrinal opinions welcomed       
I did not share the view with John that that was an appropriate consideration for my newspaper. Rather, from the beginning I welcomed creative essays, even those advocating unorthodox versions of doctrines, and did not feel the need to make sure they were correct or for me to agree with them As a result, we printed many such opinion pieces—editorials, letters, essays—with many of them disagreeing with each other, frequently in the same issue of THE JOURNAL. 
My main consideration was that writers deal politely with each other in their doctrinal and political discussions, especially since people with different interpretations of Scripture can all reasonably prove their varying doctrines from the Bible.
In the beginning I believed my publication, at least my reason for publishing, was almost a necessity: if not a necessity then something that I thought would be a worthy service to the brethren. 
I still think that it is a worthy service, but not a necessity. Thinking THE JOURNAL was almost a necessity was presumptuous and naive. I can further make this point by mentioning my opinion about salvation. 
Later he has this to say:
I do get some flak from some of the anti-Armstrongism bloggers for supposedly being an “enabler,” as one of my critics likes to say. (He also likes to say I’m insane.)
However, I’m not trying to enable anybody. I’m trying to provide a forum and an avenue for fellowship.
I’m not concerned about supporting or refuting, for example, Herbert Armstrong or other preachers.
If I enable people to communicate and fellowship and voice their opinions, then I guess by definition I am some kind of enabler. 
While I have questioned some of the crazy articles submitted by COG leaders, I have never called him an "enabler."

Page 5 has another story regarding the Texas church shootings.  Page 5 also includes a letter defending William Dankenbring. It includes a story on how a bunch of mean ministers ganged up on him in Australia which led Tkach to start a witch hunt spurred on by these mean ministers who intensely persecuted Dankenbring.

Reg Killingley has an article on the Protestant Reformation, which is far more informed than Rod Meredith take on it in LCG's latest magazine article.

Check out the full issue here: Issue 200

Friday, December 8, 2017

My first encounter with a Minister from WCG was with Fred Coulter. I was 14 years old and he was the Pastor in Boise, Idaho where I first visited WCG and got hooked.  I had taken the train from Rochester, NY all the way to Boise at 14 to visit my sister and brother in law, who at the time was a forest ranger but eventually ended up at Ambassador and into the ministry.

The fateful moment in my life was to ask if I could go to church with them. 

Fred always struck me as an austere and unreasonably opinionated  and incredibly intolerant of anything but himself and his views. He wasn't even satisfied with the scriptures as sold in stores so he made up his own edition to hawk.  

True to form, Fred's "me only" and "not you" attitude has shown up in the comments section of the latest Journal.

"Better late than never.
 Congratulations on shutting down THE JOURNAL. 
It should have been done years ago." 
Fred Coulter Pastor, Christian Biblical Church of God Hollister, Calif.

Small minded , intolerant and arrogant "theologians" have always gotten under my skin evidently and still do.  In his great mind, Fred evidently feels that others views and experiences with WCG aren't worth expressing or sharing with others. He must also feel that if you aren't following him, you aren't following "CH---RIST!"

(These guys aren't Fred. These guys are like many I have known)

Going off on the brethren...

Don't interrupt me

"Uh oh...I gotta go....."

Living University: Take Our Class On How to Be A Masculine Man

The soon to be defunct Living University is going full steam ahead with its spring semester and is offering this tantalizing class:
THL 345 – Christian Men. This course examines God’s expectations for true Christian men. It deals with Christian men as husbands, fathers and masculine leaders of the family and society. Topics include the purposes God made men for, being a loving leader and head of a family and key areas in which Christian men are challenged to mature and excel. This class is a must for any man wishing to develop his true God-given potential as a Christian man. It is also helpful for those married to and even raising Christian men (ladies).
Why is it that the Church of God has to teach its men how to be men?  I see plenty of masculine men in the neighborhoods around Pasadena, along with men who know they are men at church. yet the COG has a problem with this. Why?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Living Church of God: 19 Million Dollar Income - What Do They Have To Show For It?

Living Church of God released its financials this week.  They took in a total revenue of 19 million dollars.  That sounds like a lot for the church to take in considering tithing is not a new covenant command.  Since they still enforce tithing, what do they really have to show for it?  LCG is virtually unknown in the world.  They have no churches in communities that do good works or provide stability to neighborhoods.  Turn on a TV anymore and one will be hard-pressed to find their program.  Sure it may be on Roku and other streaming devices, but truly, who watches it?

Its track record of instilling fear in humanity no longer works like it did for Herbert Armstrong.  People are sick of fear mongering and endless articles and programs on war, famine disease, death, gloom and sex, and sex, and more sex. LCG obsesses over the dumbest things while ignoring the Jesus they claim to follow.

Never mind the message of grace and reconciliation though, it is more important that the money goes into the pockets of Meredith and McNair kin keeping them endlessly comfortable while the member struggle.

"You" meant them. Now what?

All fundamentalist and literalist Christians have grown up with the following scriptures burned into our minds....

I Thessalonians 4:15-17 "...For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout...Then WE which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..."

I Corinthians 15:51,52 "...WE shall not all sleep, but WE shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump...and WE shall be changed."

Romans 13:11-12 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for NOW is OUR salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand..."

James 5:8 "Be YE also patient; establish YOUR hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."

I John 2:18 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby WE know that it is the last time."

I Peter 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hanbe ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
Revelation 22:20 "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly..." 

Millions in Fundamentalist and Evangelical Churches have grown up with the idea that the return of Jesus, a return which will fix everything that is wrong with everything and reward the true saints, is always imminent. We read the above scriptures as if they were written for us, as it is we who are finally the ones "upon whom the end of the age has come." Unlike everyone before us, we really really are the ones who will see it and be changed, avoiding the reality of physical death.

There never has been, is not now and never will be a shortage of preachers and pastors who just know we are living in the final, absolutely last days. They make their living off it.

The signs are everywhere and every world event is assigned biblical import and meaning.  It's how you grow a church.  Not by teaching to enlighten the inner self, but live out a life of fear and "it won't be long now" and spread the fear to as many as possible, which is defined as "Doing the Work."

In Fundamentalist movements, the tradition goes on and becomes more pronounced as , earthquakes, floods, fire, volcanoes and "unusual" (they aren't)  events, or wars and rumors of wars, especially in the middle east rear their ugly heads. If someone blew up the Dome of the Rock, well... there... see, now tell us that Jesus is not a few minutes away from returning.

The fact that most wars are waged by either the Christians, Israelis or the Islamic nations, among and between themselves, which are the religions whose teachings are supposed to save us and make our lives better, doesn't seem to strike us as odd. In fact, at some deep level deeply religious fundamentalists, seem to believe that millions must die violently, so that "all these things can come to pass" and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit can be visited upon the Christian survivors... or Islamic or Israeli depending on who wins. Well of course, the Christians win.

Each knows who that it will be themselves that overcomes the other. It's in the book, all of them.
The most popular New Testament "proof texts" for this thinking among Christian Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, comes from Mark 13 and the parallel passages found in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. These written in answer to the disciples question... "WHEN shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of your coming?"

It's all about WHEN. The "when" is unknowable even if one believes with all their heart it has to be soon. The faithful forget that speculation on the future is always just that. It is not fact. It is not how it will be and all speculation over the past 2000 years as to "when", to date has been 100% wrong.
Far too many Pastor types base their entire ministry on the imminent return of Jesus.

It's all about the second coming and it's all about SOON for the most rabid and judgmental COG splinters. Those who question the wisdom of this mistaken approach to life become the scoffers who nip at the heels of the saints.

"...there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation,"

But running that risk, and with all due respect to the sincere seeker of Biblical truth, I predict that Jesus will not be returning any time soon.

Why not? Because in the very predictions of Jesus lie the fact that he was himself wrong about them. Jesus put a time limit in the context of his own predictions that has long since passed no matter how apologists endeavor to resurrect his prophecies for a yet future time.

"Verily I say unto you", This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34).

We simply have to admit, at face value, Jesus was wrong and not only DID that generation pass away, but so have countless others that followed. Jesus has not been misunderstood in this statement. He was wrong. Sincere not doubt and it simply will not go into the bible-reader mind that this might be the simple truth of the matter. There has to be another explanation that makes Jesus right in this perspective not 2000 years past.

And there is! We have read it wrong. Jesus did not mean what he said and we can relax. Jesus wasn't talking to those people at that juncture in history.

"This generation" was not the one Jesus was talking TO, but rather the generation that "these things" would begin to happen IN. Whew! It's in the far future and means a future society when all these signs accelerate and come to a crashing finale ending with the Second Coming.

We now have wiggle room to account for the fact that Jesus has not returned yet. Jesus wasn't mistaken about his own times, he was referring to another time.

Gleason Archer, who offers this solutions to the "Jesus didn't mean it would be in his time," notes accurately what we all know 2000 years later.

"Obviously these apocalyptic scenes and earth-shaking events did not take place within the generation of those who heard Christ's Olivet discourse. Therefore Jesus could not have been referring to his immediate audience when He made this prediction..." (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pg 338).

Archer has to say this as he cannot possibly entertain the idea that Jesus was himself wrong in his perceptions of the times in which he lived and his role in those times. Later in the Gospels, authors would lower the expectations of the early Church, who thought Jesus meant them by reminding them late in the game when it was obvious Jesus wasn't coming any time soon that "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. Sorry, we forgot to tell you that in the beginning." As long as one is incapable of thinking Jesus was himself wrong the Kingdom of God being just around the corner if he did his part, the doctrine of disappointments would have to be addressed as time went on.

And so we simply need to ask a very simple question. To whom was Jesus speaking? From the opening NT texts, it is obvious that the disciples, apostles and members of the church thought it meant THEM and did not get any hint of Jesus meaning anything other than THEM in THEIR time, which was short. The idea that Jesus would "build my Church" came decades after Jesus death when most were dead or dying of old age and yet the end did not come. Jesus never envisioned a Church that would follow decades and millennia after his death. Jesus life would always be lived and lost in the context of Judaism and the Synagogue.

But back to the original question. To whom was Jesus speaking when he said the words and to whom did he mean for it to apply? The answer is within the context, plain and simple.
"Take heed that no man deceive you." (Matt 24:4)

" shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars..." (Matt 24:6)

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted..." (Matt 24:9)

"When ye therefore shall see the the abomination of desolation..." (Matt 24:15)

"But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter..." (Matt 24:20)

"Behold, I have told you before." (Matt 24:25)

The context in which Jesus spoke was his own. The "you" that he was addressing was the group he was addressing then and the group to which all these things would happen for, and soon. Jesus was telling those disciples that these things would happen in their time. Jesus made a mistake in his perceptions.

In our time, Christians read the same words and see the "ye" and "you" as "me" and "us" just as the original disciples would have. The only difference is that the disciples actually were disappointed and this generation has yet to realize their own disappointment to come.

The proof that Jesus himself meant the people he was talking to is found in the fact that the "this generation" comment is actually the tale end of a much larger, often overlooked quote taken in it's entirety.

"So likewise YE (THEM) when YE (THEM)  shall SEE ALL these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto YOU, (THEM) THIS (THAT) generation shall not pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled." (Matt 24:33-24 emphasis mine)

There is no reason to twist the words of Jesus to mean more than they were ever intended to mean. A scripture can never mean what it never meant. The early disciples and infant Church, knew it meant them and we see the gradual deterioration of their personal confidence in the immediacy of the Second Coming promise throughout the NT.

I Thessalonians 4:15-17 "...For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout...Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..." Meaning...some would die, but not us who tell you this. Jesus still means us.

I Corinthians 15:51,52 "...We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump..."  Meaning...some but not all of us would die, but it still means us (THEM)

Romans 13:11-12 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand..." Meaning...we had some doubts, but now we know it's almost here. Jesus still meant us.

James 5:8 "Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." Meaning...impatience was growing, hang in there. Jesus still meant us.

I John 2:18 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." Meaning...Jesus still meant us.

I Peter 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
Revelation 22:20 "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly...." Meaning...ok, it's been about 60 years, but Jesus still means us.

Obviously, everyone of these quoted hopes and statements were wrong. Jesus did not return for them and to date has not returned for anyone. Paul and the early church who wrote in his name was just as wrong as the many COG prophetic types are wrong in this time. And it is based on the fact that Jesus himself was wrong which I know most Christians can never come to admit.

For Paul it becomes....
" I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Meaning...Ok, I give up, Jesus didn't mean us, or at least not me. I was wrong. 2 Timothy 4:8-9

...and at best, this will also become the reality for those alive today seeing the imminent return of Jesus in every newspaper and on every turn of the dial in this dangerous and contentious world of ours.

I'm not scoffing. Being accused of scoffing was a label for those in the early Church. The disciples expected Jesus return within days of his death and when they met him in Galilee, even doubted that. Its what you say to those that are becoming disillusioned but the others know that the return is still in their lifetime for sure. Scoffers were undermining the confidence of the early followers and disciples of Jesus. An observation is not scoffing. Observations are based on the passage of millennia. It's a 2000 year old observation. To motivate with fear, false prophetic fulfillment's of non- prophecies, and imagined prophetic accuracy on topics anyone could speculate somewhat accurately about, is simply foolishness and makes the Church, in any form look stupid and ignorant. Jesus said his generation would not pass until the Son of Man be come. He was mistaken.

So bent on not allowing the member to even remotely entertain the idea that Jesus was wrong, Paul was wrong and the Church is wrong , it was prudent to shift the blame for doubt to the member and thinker and away from the clergy, and thus we have...

2 Peter 3:3 "Knowing this first, (meaning---we forgot to add this apologetic) that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of....."

Obviously, the Church took Jesus words literally for them and not for some future generation. But still Jesus doesn't return to them. This shifts the problem to the scoffers, doubters and those that misunderstood Jesus and not the Church who needs to keep the hope of imminent return going like a carrot before the horse. The Church never entertained until they had to, the idea that Jesus didn't mean what he said about soon. It also implies that this doubt is deliberate and calculated. It can never just be doubt based on evidence and time just going on without any evidence of Jesus return.

Even with the temple gone and the Romans more in power than ever, He didn't return. It must have felt for them then as one might say today. "If Jesus didn't return for the Holocaust, what will it take."
The "scoffers will come" scripture was added when it was obvious to the Church that people could and were scoffing. And what some consider scoffing is merely noting that the thing spoken is not so. It's not evil, it's just stating the obvious and putting, in this case, the church on the spot to explain its continued use of imminent return going long.

It also lends credibility to Jesus mournful cry at the end of his life..."my God, my God...why have you forsaken me." I expect Jesus really meant that. It was a real shock not to have had things work out as one had supposed. Jesus had done his part. He had pushed the Romans right up to the edge and himself, right up to execution...and still, God did not intervene, sweep the Romans from the earth and set up the Kingdom. Only after Jesus actually died did the followers of Jesus have to rethink it all.

I know... and expect it to be said, "you'll think differently when Jesus returns, or you find yourself in hell with lots of time to rethink your position." I speak in the hope that the average Christian church member won't be motivated and won't tolerate pastors who use the fear of living their real lives, planning for futures and loving in the present to promote their own misguided agendas and speculations. One does not have to see the world only through the eyes of those that speculate on how things are or will be because frankly they don't and can't know. They have never gotten it right yet.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Latest Update on Ian Boyne

The latest update on Ian:

"Hello Everyone, 
"This is just an update on Ian Boyne’s current health condition. I received a call from Chris H a deacon in the Kingston Jamaica church, informing me that yesterday Ian left services early and admitted himself into the hospital. He claimed he was feeling some heart burn only to be diagnosed as having a heart attack. since then over the last 12-15 hours he has had 3 additional heart attacks––a total of 4. He presently is in ICU in very serious condition. the family has been called to the hospital this morning––12-3-17.."Please keep Ian and the family in your prayers and pass the word so we can get him on our prayer list. As we gain more information we will pass it on."Thanks… Bill W."
ht: Dennis
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Ian Boyne is now out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the University Hospital of the West Indies and is recuperating well in the Tony Thwaites Wing. He was rushed to the hospital on Saturday, December 2, after falling ill. 
“I am deeply touched by the outpouring of love from all sectors of the society,” Boyne said, as he was updated on the concern expressed by many Jamaicans at home and abroad on social media and through calls to the JIS and radio stations. He was told that churches everywhere were in prayer for his recovery.“I am grateful to God. I am a miracle,” he added as he reflected on the frightening experience. He stated that he has been seeing his doctors regularly and paying attention to his diet and exercise routine, and encourages everyone to do the same. 
“And I am deeply moved to know that I am loved and appreciated by my colleagues, especially at JIS and in the media. Tell them I shall be back and doing more programmes and writing more articles in the near future with God's help,” the veteran journalist said. 
“God was remarkably good to me on Saturday. I want to thank the team of exceptional doctors and nurses who have worked with me in intensive care,” the deputy CEO said 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Stephen Flurry Preaches Against Idolatry

Given the track record of Gerald Flurry and his blatant idolatry of everything related to Herbert Armstrong, it is pretty weird to see Lil'Stevie preaching against idolatry.  He is either talking a subtle jab at his dad, or he is totally oblivious to what he has surrounded himself with.
In fact, idolatry is just as common today as it was in the Stone Age. Of course, the materials, technologies, trends and fashions are much different than they were then. But human nature remains the same. 
In the pivotal Old Testament prophecy of Leviticus 26, God reaffirmed the birthright promises He had made to Abraham. He told the Israelites of Moses’s day that they would receive the birthright blessings then, if they faithfully obeyed God’s laws. In outlining these conditions to Israel, God placed special emphasis on two of the Ten Commandments. 
Notice: “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 26:1-2). 
Keep my sabbaths, God said, and don’t bow down to idols. These were the two great test commandments for the people of Israel. Now why would God emphasize these two? Because these two, more than the others, were designed to keep man in the closest, most intimate contact with his Maker!
Now notice how the Second Commandment flows right out of the great command to put God above all else. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God …” (verses 4-5).
This commandment obviously forbids the use of any physical substitutes or aids man sets up in order to “worship” God. But what about the spiritual idols we set up in our hearts, as it says in Ezekiel 14:3? We may not bow down to physical idols made of stone, wood or precious metals, but our modern world is filled with idolatry just the same! 
Lil'Stevie even talks about idolizing "things." I guess building an entire college to mimic Herbert's Ambassador College, including an auditorium stocked with Herbert's memento's, to prayer rocks and a jet.
Perhaps it’s physical wealth and materialism that prevents us from putting God first, like the young man who told Jesus he had obeyed all of God’s commandments since his youth. When Jesus told him to give up his earthly possessions, he went away sorrowful because his heart was so attached to material things.
There is one glaring reason why Lil'Stevie is against idolatry. If PCG members place their focus on physical things then they will have less money to send in in tithes and offerings.  I guess this does not count for the Flurry clan though as they drop tens of thousands of dollars on Irish dance lessons, travel and competitions.
Pleasure-seeking also separates a lot of people from God—things like entertainment and sports or excessive television viewing. God’s way of life, after all, is demanding. Among other things, God expects us to observe His weekly and annual sabbaths, to tithe on all of our income and to seek Him daily through effectual fervent prayers and diligent Bible study. If we spend most of our leisure time pursuing things other than God, this might be an idol.
Still others insist on putting friends or family members ahead of God. They would rather give God second or third place in their lives than face alienation from loved ones over their obedience to God’s laws.
The Flurry's cannot handle the fact that PCG members have contact with family and friends whoa re no longer part of the PCG or the COG.  They consider members who do this to be placing family before the church and God.

Lil'Stevie ends with this:
“Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry,” Paul wrote to the brethren at Corinth, well over a thousand years after Israel had come out of Egyptian captivity. He knew well that the idolatry command was not meant for some bygone age. It was written for us. Like the rest of the Ten Commandments, it applies to our time today
And it remains, even to this day, as one of two critically important test commands. If faithfully obeyed, it automatically draws us closer to our Maker! 
Keep yourselves from idols, as John wrote to conclude his first epistle. Give God first place in your life. Make your relationship with Him more important than anyone or anything else. Nothing in this material life is as important as that.
Tell that to your Dad!

It Is Now OK To Swim In The Italian Gardens Pool!

Condo/Apartment complex sitting on site of the former library building.

Construction on the former Ambassador College Campus has been going full steam ahead for a couple of years now.  Those who have been students, workers, or visiting church members would not recognize a lot of the property now.  However, there are still standouts from the past that are integrated into the new design plans.  One is the Italian Gardens, the formal sunken gardens that were part of the Academic Center, that are now central to the new multi-million dollar condo complex built around it.

New swimming pool in Italian Gardens. 
Elephant Ears fountain is still at the end of the pool.

Ambassador Gardens is a 70-unit luxury condominium project built amid historic mansions and gardens in four increments on the grounds of the former Ambassador College Estate on Orange Grove Ave, once known as Millionaire’s Row.  The City specifically recognized the rehabilitation of the Italian Gardens, originally built with the Merritt Mansion in 1908 and renovated by famed landscape architect Garrett Eckbo in the early 1960s.  During the design of the new development, the Italian Garden was transformed into the central community recreation center.  The shallow reflecting pool was reconstructed utilizing the historic tiles and transformed into a swimming pool, while otherwise retaining the historic features.  New pool toilets, pool equipment, and disabled access facilities were carefully inserted so as not to detract from the historic fabric and other features of the gardens which were restored to their former glory.  After more than a decade of abandonment, this beautiful asset has come back to life as the centerpiece of the estate.  The landscape was designed by C2 Collaborative and was completed by Peter Duarte of Studio PAD. 
Ambassador Gardens Recognized by the City of Pasadena

Monday, December 4, 2017

Rebellious Philadelphia Church of God Members Disobey HQ

It looks like Gerry Flurry does not have complete control over his members as he assumes he does.

It seems that quite a few PCG members did NOT follow directions and stay in PCG negotiated and approved hotels for the Feast this year.  The church has had a long reputation of frowning upon members who decided to stay where they pleased instead of kowtowing to the orders of higher-ups.

PCG ended up having to foot the bill for some unused rooms this year and the Flurry clan is none too happy.

Plus, quite a few members checks bounced that were put in the basket for offerings/tithes.

On the other hand, PCG is delighted PCG members are giving lots of money to pay off the personal jet purchased for the exclusive use of the Flurry family.  PCG members have paid off 30% of the initial cost of the plane that was purchased so Gerald did not have to sit next to dirty and unclean heathens on commercial flights, for Lil'Stevie's use in international travel, and for the transporting of grandkids to Irish dance competitions.  PCG has had to give up using the jet for transporting the Stone of Scone to Jordan so they can let Jesus sit on it.
November 30, 2017 
PCG had increased costs at a North American feast site because some members did not stay at the designated hotels that the PCG reserved for them and so the PCG had to pay for the unused rooms leaving the PCG to pay for these on top of other costs. Andrew Locher told members to counsel with their ministers if they are planning to not stay in the rooms the PCG reserved. 
Fifty or so checks bounced so he chastised members to always make sure they have the funds in their bank accounts for the amounts they are tithing as it ends up costing the PCG more money in labor to sort this out and sometimes the PCG is charged fees from the banks for the bounced checks.  
Locher was also very pleased that the members gave greatly to the airplane fund [Flurry's jet plane] and they will have 30% of it paid by end of the year. --Anonymous Exit and Support

Ian Boyne In Medically Induced Coma After Heart Attack

I just received the following concerning Ian Boyne.  I have appreciated Ian's willingness to talk across the divide that seems to separate those in Armstrongism.  We have had several good private conversations.

Prayers for a speedy recovery!

Veteran journalist and deputy chief executive officer of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Ian Boyne was yesterday rushed to hospital following a heart attack and is in a medically induced coma, a member of his family has confirmed. 
A source close to the Jamaica Observer reported that Boyne, in his 60s, suffered a cardiac event last year. 
“The family appreciates the concern of the public and asks for your continued prayers,” a brief release from JIS said yesterday. 
The highly respected and internationally acclaimed journalist whose career in all facets of media spans 30 years, is most known for his personality television series Profile — the longest running seasonal show on local television. It features successful and remarkable personalities, many of whom overcame significant hardships. 
Profile celebrated 30 years this March, earning Boyne many accolades, including congratulations from Prime Minister Andrew Holness who said it was admirable that the programme, which represents “the power of good journalism”, was still on air when internationally, successful programmes rarely surpass 25 years. 
Boyne, arguably a self-made success, published a book on the series in 2013 titled Profile of Excellence: Strategies for Extraordinary Achievement from 25  Years of interviewing Remarkable People', co-written with author and motivational speaker Glenford Smith. At the time it was published, Boyne had already done 1,300 interviews on Profile. 
The launch ceremony at King's House on April 10, 2013 was peppered with high profile Jamaicans including then Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, and former prime ministers Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding. 
Boyne is also popularly known for a weekly unorthodox television show ReligiousHardtalk, newspaper columns, and other writings. He has also published IdeasMatter, a compilation of some of his print media work. 
 Jamaica Observer

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Which Present Day Church of God Is Being Led By The Modern Day Zephaniah?

Zeph the prophet

There is not a day that goes by that some crackpot in the Church of God assumes the name of some old covenant prophet.  None of them gives a damn about the New Testament characters or men of the early church but get overly orgasmic at the thought of being compared to some Old Testament prophet.

Various present church leaders have taken on the assumed personalities of many of these men and make all kinds of preposterous and outrageous claims. However, there is only one man who has taken on numerous personality claims over the last several years.  All of these claims are trotted out in order to make his self-appointment look legitimate in the eyes of his followers. By now you will have accurately guessed that it is our own Almost-arrested, almost-ordained, Joshua, Amos, Elisha, Elijah Bob Thiel.

Now, Almost-arrested Thiel claims he is the modern-day version of Zephaniah.  He makes this claim now to state that he leads the ONLY Church of God doing the correct "work" today BECAUSE his group is comprised of the peculiar people mentioned in I Peter 2:9-10.

Zephaniah 2:1
Gather yourselves together – to a religious assembly, to avert the judgment by prayers, (Joel 2:16, “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders,” etc.) (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
When are they to gather together?
2 Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! (Zephaniah 2:2)
The gathering is to take place well before the day of the Lord (which happens about 2 1/2 years after the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24:21 begins) and before some type of decree is issued.
Who does God want to gather together?
The end time Christians. Notice what Jesus stated and something the Apostle Peter wrote:
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19, NKJV)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10, KJV)
This is a peculiar people. These are people who the world does not desire. These are Philadelphian Christians.
Of course, it is a well know fact that Philadelphia Christians can only be Church of God, but even that number of people is narrowed to down to include only followers of the self-appointed leader, regardless of who they are.

That special group always has biblical references to be found in the Bible and ALWAYS ends up describing a specific COG group that includes ALL the other groups.

How do we know that Zephaniah 2:1-3 is related to Christians? Because the decree is for the end time and because of what else God inspired Zephaniah to write:
3 Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. (Zephaniah 2:3a)
The above is a reference to Christians as they are to be the “meek of the earth” (Matthew 5:5) and to Philadelphians who “have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility.” These are Philadelphian Christians who understand that church leaders need to have integrity and are willing to be humble enough to accept the authority of a church led by a low-level prophet in the absence of a clear apostle (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-15). They are humble enough to not think that they should remain ‘independent,’ as many who once were part of the old Worldwide Church of God, during this Laodicean time, have done.
Did you catch the comment above?  Almost-arrested Thiel says his followers must have the humility to accept the authority of church lead by a low-level PROPHET.  These overly humble people also know that they MUST remain "independent" as a church.  And we all know who is the ONLY independent Church of God out there, don't we!

Because Bitter Bob is the modern day reincarnation of Zephaniah, he wants to make it clear that his group is the ONLY group that is doing a final phase work.

Why does God tell them they may wish to be gathered together? So:
3…It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3b)
Interestingly, the Hebrew words translated as Zephaniah means “Yahweh Hides” or “Yahweh Has Hidden” (Holy Bible: Vine’s Expository Reference Edition, p. 826).
Why have I written that Zephaniah 2:1-3 has to do with Philadelphian Christians?
For they are the only ones who will actually ‘gather together’ as they should.
Because it is they who will lead the final phase of the work and it is only to the Philadelphians that Jesus promises to protect from the coming hour of trial, also referred to as the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord:
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘ (Revelation 3:7-13)
Notice that the Philadelphians are doing the work of God, have kept God’s word, have not denied Christ’s name/authority, and are persevering in the truth. 
Because his group is the only group preserving the truth, they will be preserved and safely hidden away in Petra.

Yet, other churches around at the end, such as the remnants of Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) and Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) are not promised that protection. Nor are the many Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-22)–even if they are somehow gathered together–as they have gathered together in places that Jesus did not wish them to.
Are not all real Christians going to be protected?
No. The Book of Revelation is clear that after the Philadelphians are persecuted (cf. Daniel 7:25a; 11:29-36), that group will flee to a place of protection, while the rest of the true Christians will not flee and then be subject to severe persecution 
As we are always made aware by the self-appoint guru's of the various COG's, only the select members of the chosen group will be in the place of safety.  Since all other COG's are Laodicean, it means that  Almost-arrested Thiel's group is the ONLY true remnant church and will be the ONLY COG group there.

Who is the only Church of God in the 21st century to teach all of this?
The Continuing Church of God.
If you are not with the group that is leading the final phase of the work will you not be able to flee if you wait until the last moment? While that may be remotely possible for some, remember that God inspired Zephaniah to admonish God’s people to ‘gather together…before the decree is issued.’
Most will discount this and many will scoff. Most COGs do not have any they consider to be a prophet, and those other than the CCOG who claim to, have prophets that have been proven to be false (e.g. PCG, CGPFKG, TPM).
You bet we will mock and scoff at Almost-arrested Thiel's prophetic nonsense.  He is a liar and was never set apart by God to lead any "end time work."  That is a fact that he cannot refute.  No
 COG member, let alone any Christian would EVER be part of such an organization.

Thiel ends with this:
The old WCG taught that Zephaniah had to do with being protected, yet few teach that today.
Since no later that 2007 I have written that Zephaniah had to do with Philadelphians being ‘gathered together’ so that they would be protected from the coming trial that will hit the earth.
We in the Continuing Church of God “have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV).”
Should we not be “exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25)?
We in the Continuing Church of God boldly teach the need for Philadelphians to be ‘gathering together’ today. Will you heed God’s instructions as the Prophet Zephaniah was inspired to write? Would you possibly like to be protected? If so, will you ‘gather together’?
No Bitter Bob, we do not want to gather with you.  You are no prophet.  You are not the prophet standing in the shoes of Zephaniah. You have no instructions that Christian needs to be heeding and most certainly will NOT have any say so in "protection" from God at this point in time or at any point in the future! 

God Unable to Keep Another of His Universities Open

God seems to be having a tough time maintaining the integrity of his universities" that he supposedly established to train the true world leaders to come.

First, he had to shut down his world class campus in England where he was going to have a ringside seat when the beast power rose up in Europe.  Then he was unable to keep Big Sandy open so he inspired COG leaders to move the student to Pasadena.  Then God had problems in Pasadena and was forced to shut down Pasadena, which led him to inspire leaders to send the students back to Big Sandy.  Then after inspiring church leaders to dump millions of dollars into his university, he failed once again to keep it running and was forced to close it down.

With three universities closed down, God needed a new school for the training of his true ministers.  After putting a bug in Rod Meredith's ear to start his own true church, God whispered to the powers to be that they needed a university too.   God said to even bring in Michael Germano to once again start the university.  As one LCG member said on Facebook the other day, Germano has had his fingers in the middle to three campus closings! Rod Meredith should have known better...or maybe God should have known better.

What LCG members and other COG members should realize by now is that God was not a part of the inspiration to start these world-class universities.  It was just a bunch of narcissistic men seated around a large conference table who thought they knew what the church needed.  God was never part of the design and certainly never inspired any of them to start a college or university.

Living University was no more relevant than Gerald Flurry's Herbert W Armstrong College, United's Ambassador Bible Center, or Dave Pack's failed "university."

As usual for any of the churches behind the closing of their universities, it was NOT their fault.  Living U is blaming their closing on censorship in the world around them.
The Spring 2018 semester at Living University will be the last for its curricular programs. As we push further into the 21st century and the laws of the land become more restrictive, it is becoming more difficult for LU to function, especially in the United States. Twenty states currently prohibit us from educating their citizens and we anticipate that number will grow in the future. In this light, we have been directed to begin to wind down the efforts of Living University with the goal of concluding formal operations by the end of the Spring 2018 semester (May 2018). 
The god of the Churches of God seems to be one weak creature.  He can't keep his colleges open any more than he has kept his churches joined in unity and one in truth.