Sunday, April 1, 2018

One Hell of a Way to Insure Compliance and Obedience? (Warning: Graphic Images)

Nigerian Christians Burn a Suspected Witch

Let's get this part over with.  "There is a way that SEEMS right to a man...Dennis, but the ways there of end in DEATH....yours".  "The wisdom of man is FOOLISHNESS with God...Dennis...and so are your observations."  "God laughs at the wise...Dennis, and is laughing at YOU."   There...


As a child growing up in a rather mainstream Christian Church, the topic of Hell Fire was disturbing to say the least.  I had burned myself several times so equated the concept of an ever burning hell for those, at the time whom I assumed did not profess the Westminster Confession of Faith, as something quite horrific. 

The experience of burns in real life magnified over the entire self and for all eternity ever burning but never able to die or burn up did accomplish the intended goal of watching out that I did not do bad things that were unforgivable or leave the church. How one never burned up, however, remained for me as scientific impossibility.

The old feeling of I might be going to the ever burning Presbyterian Hell returned when I got a letter from the Board after having gone to AC reminding me I had yet to confess my faith even though they knew I had been home visiting.  I was to contact them as soon as possible.  I didn't of course.  I had found new truth. I burned but  not forever so I would not be confessing that faith.

The Presbyterian Version rarely mentioned

In this hell  I think I imagined people bobbing or doing everything to keep themselves afloat in molten lava, as if it mattered .  When National Geographic allowed me to look into the spewing heart of a churning volcanic magma chamber I recall having to put out of my mind just how would feel to fall into such a lake of fire. Recently a young Oregonian accidently fell into a hot water cauldron in Yellowstone and all they ever found of him was his wallet. The rest had dissolved away in a day. I imagined what those last "Oh shit" moments must have felt like emotionally and physically for that young man. The best solution is just not to think about in too much detail and stay on the pathway.

The price humans exact on Unbelievers

Then came the teaching of "Is There a Real Hell Fire" from the Worldwide Church of God.  Now this was better I reasoned.  We don't burn forever.  That's a plus.  We burn up!  But still we burn and it takes time to burn up.  Even as a minister for the Burn Up Church of God, I wondered if God would not better exemplify "God is Love" if  He just stopped their hearts like we do in executions of hardened criminals today.  But then I was I was told that God is a just God and can do as he wishes.  It would be a quick lesson and realization by the wicked of just how wrong they were.  For what purpose I still cannot come up with. I guess that was supposed to comfort and distract me from wondering or doubting that this truly is an example of "God is love."  It's certainly not the I Cor. 13 kind of love.

Both growing up and as a minster, I wondered why an all powerful God could not simply show up and have a one on one chat with the doubting sinner.  I promise, if a real God sat me down and conversed with me as in "Come let us reason together,"  I'd listen well.  It's the middlemen that muck up the message and fuel the doubts and skepticism.  God needs to rethink that middlemen thing as it doesn't seem to convince the masses very well on something as important as not being burned alive for not confessing the truth of it all.

I have probably had a dozen people, from the Churches of God, warn me over the years here that "You'll think differently when you are facing the Lake of Fire"  This does not concern me as I have long since gotten over the idea that there is a Lake of Fire to be thrown into regretting I had eaten pork, tithed more faithfully, put the leaven out better and admitted that I was rejecting the one true Church, split, splinter and sliver along with competing Apostles and Prophets each cosigning the other to the Lake of Fire for watering down the teachings of Herbert W Armstrong who was only guessing at best.

And I simply don't know how to repent of good science done well that contradicts the Biblical explanations for all that is actually true.

The concept of Hell and The Lake of  Fire is a human construct. The concept evolves even in scripture and the bottom line is that it has been used for 2000 years to keep the faithful organized, faithful, supportive and gyrating in their seats. It is a FEAR based threat for consequences of non-church compliance. And while perfect love may cast out FEAR.  Evidently it does not cast out this one Fear put into the hearts of men by the clergy or the God they claim to speak for.   It is the reason the philosopher Denis Diderot said:

"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

So to avoid being told to get back to my On and On Anonymous meetings, let's let one picture be worth a thousand words and ask:

In what way is this the Love of God and the only way God , even the Church of God,  God, can deal with the skeptical and unbelieving?  My apologies for using such a horrific example in picture form to illustrate the obscene theological solution, portrayed to the faithful and unbelieving of that which I know the thinking Christian also wonders about but will not speak about in church of course.

But the fearful, (Can God not ask what they are afraid of?) and unbelieving, (Can not God find out why they don't believe?) and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, (Can God not find out why they are this way?) and all liars, (Can not God ask why they fear to tell the truth?)shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Revelation 21:8

The reality is that human beings of all creeds and religions have only been around the last 38 seconds if you portray the last 570 million years in one hour, and our individual lifespan of 70 years is just 0.00035% of the human experience. 
Yet are punished  for billions and billions and zillions of quintillions of years into eternity for not getting it right. 

Think about that!

The Jewish Christian Churches of God might do better at least to adopt the Jewish view of the topic but that's another story...


nck said...


The burning of the Jordanian pilot is among my top 3 of worst things I ever saw. I've been close to 5 miles from where it happened and spoke to our air controllers in Kuwait to ensure that those responsible have been hard hit and paid in kind.

You would be really proud if you knew who executed those missions.

This friday the Vatican pr maxhine was having trouble after the pope declared that there is no hell.

Sometimes I wonder if they are test balloons to see how far the Vatican can go in their quest to move further to their church of god roots in judaism in order to maintain "catholic" moral authority over all their split offs over the past 2000 years. They made huge strides the past 10 years in reinterpretation and modernizing.


Anonymous said...

Dennis -

At first, when I scrolled down and saw those pictures, with not much warning - I thought "alright, now, you've crossed a line, the least you could have done is just linked it, no one needs to be forced to see these horrible pictures on the front page."

But then, I thought about the very disturbing imagery. I remembered how much HWA threatened people about that exact fate - times 100,000,000,000 - for things such as not supporting his new office, not giving enough, slacking, not dressing exactly, and the list goes on and on over and over and over again. All the bully tactics he would say and use to get his way threatening people into that awful, horrible lake of ever-burning fire. And then somehow making it better by saying, "Oh, you won't suffer there - you just won't exist anymore is all." And using that tactic, he got his way, his money, oh- and yes, his new office.

Using the tactic of an ever-burning lake of fire to condemn those whom did not go along with what he wanted was pure, absolute evil. No person has the right, nor the authority to judge another's spiritual fate - only God has the right and ability to do so.

And that brings into question the whole hellfire issue you've raised up. The only thing I can answer to this is scripture. I have to go along with what was written as words of encouragement: That neither height, nor depth, nor angels, nor demons, nor powers nor principalities can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ. I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers. And I know full well neither Armstrongism, nor Mainstream Christianity, nor Judaism, nor Hinduism or Buddhism nor any other religion has every answer pegged perfectly from every question. But what I do believe in is grace, and mercy - and a compassionate, feeling God - two things that the COG's - and some of mainstream Christianity - undoubtedly put little to no emphasis on when they should have.

DennisCDiehl said...

Thanks 10:37 I did have a "warning graphic content" in the original and then changed the title and left it out. I have reinserted it.

I took the threats of Hell and such, rather lightly wanting not to think about the reality of what is taught or how it happens. As a child I wondered if God gave parents special emotional immunity from the pain of seeing loved ones go to hell or burn in the Lake of Fire. I doubt we'd just say "oh well, they had their chance."

I had the same idea about stoning which is oft mentioned in the OT as a way to make a point to the living about compliance and obedience. Until I watched an actual stoning video on YouTube. No God would come up with that horrific idea. That's a man thing and hard to get out of the mind. On top of that, those who refuse to punish those so condemned are punished. Go figure. Punished for refusing to punish.

This idea of punishing those who refuse to punish is the basis of disfellowshipping, marking and the admonitions not to eat with them or associate with them. What happens if you do? You are punished for not punishing them as the church ordered. My parents so often disagreed with Dave Pack kicking people out of the church they'd have lunch with them to encourage them. Dave never punished my parents for that because he knew my Dad would blow him off and I was lurking out here to call him out on it.

Anyway.... caution added.

DennisCDiehl said...

"…26then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!" And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. 27He said to them, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.'" 28So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

Exodus 32:

One man orders the faithful to kill brothers, friends, neighbors who doubted that Moses, after 40 days, might have died and won't be back from the Mountain. They went back, so goes the tale and it is just a tale, to dealing with their fears now stuck in the waste howling wilderness facing sure death if they go back to Egypt, in the tale and it is just a tale, to the only religious practices they knew in Egypt. For this doubt Moses would ever come back after a month gone, he orders doubters slaughtered and nice folk too they were.

Imagine being having to slaughter your brothers, friends and neighbors after all they had done, in the story and it is just a story, to follow Moses, only for him to do this to them. Why could Moses, in the story................, not just say, "I understand your fears I'd not be back. I thought I was a goner myself up there, but I'm here now and let me continue where I left off before I got angry...." It's a stupid story designed by Priests, not God, to promote compliance and obedience by putting "the fear of the Priests" not the love of God in your hearts.

Near_Earth_Object said...

I am in the Eastern Orthodox/Patristic camp when it comes to the topic of Hell. Luther and Calvin I think are simply wrong. I also follow David Bentley Hart, Rob Bell and C.S. Lewis on this topic.

Hart summed it up nicely when he wrote, "Calvin, in telling us that hell is copiously populated with infants not a cubit long, merely reminds us that, within a certain traditional understanding of grace and predestination, the choice to worship God rather than the devil is at most a matter of prudence."

One thing that appealed to me about Armstrongism was its nearly Universalistic beliefs. The 100 Year Period took care of most everybody. Many evangelicals, on the other hand, seem to cherish the idea of Hell as long as it applies to people that don't look and behave like themselves and fondly hope that as many people as possible are consigned to Hell so as to make their own saved status more glorious. I think these people are in for a shock.

The amoral use of Hell found broadly in the Armstrongists churches is the idea that ministers may disfellowship lay members (essentially consigning them to Hell) based on their flawed human capabilities to judge. And to make this worse, some ministers, maybe all, maintain that God backs up their decisions, right or wrong. My guess is that someone will pay a dear price for this self-serving autocracy one day.

Anonymous said...

Ready for another Dave Pack Prophesy here it is please get the message out.
Thank you

Byker Bob said...

We were only exposed to the literalist traditions of these concepts of hell. Modern theologians often refer to “hell” as eternal separation from God and all that is good. In other words, God simply saying “Have it your way!” There are ancient traditions referring to fire as a symbol of purification, indicating a term or process from which one could eventually emerge.

In spite of several somewhat conflicting passages, scripture does seem to indicate retribution or recompense for the general thrust of our physical lives and the good and bad choices we make. Some call it karma, and most folks tip the scale one way or the other. Some are completely different from the rest of us in that they are pure evil, and probably beyond redemption.

I believe there is some intentional mystery to what will ultimately become reality. Gatekeeper types, such as the Armstrongs and their lackies, made our fates be all about whether we followed their program. Character encompasses much more than that. It’s how you embody the Two Great Commandments of the Lord (TGCOL) when there is no coercion, and nobody watching.


Anonymous said...

Many Muslims believe that Christians go to hell for considering a man (Jesus) to be God.

Most Christians believe that Muslims go to hell for considering Jesus only a man.

The problem with threatening people with eternal hell is that eventually someone else adopts your tactic, and makes you look like a monster or a fool for using it yourself.

A God who would send ANYBODY to hell because of the social-cultural-religious world in which they grew up, or a God who would send ANYBODY to hell for using the conscience and the brain God gave them, is a god who is not worthy of worship. Or, he's John Calvin's god and we're pretty much all screwed.

During my years in Armstrongism, I saw so many people ignore their conscience because of the fear imparted by the ACOG ministry. Since then, I have come to appreciate that it is not always easy to follow one's conscience, yet this is the FIRST requirement of true spiritual growth. There are ordained men RIGHT NOW in the ACOGs who don't believe everything they teach, yet they suppress their consciences to keep an easy paycheck. There are members RIGHT NOW in the ACOGs who don't believe what their churches teach, yet they suppress their consciences to have a comfortable social life. Surely God is more upset with these conscience-deniers than He is with the people who leave PCG to protect their families from Cal Culpepper, or the people who leave LCG to protect their families from Rod McNair.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that was the wrong link. Here is Dave Pack saying Christ will come to wadsworth campus
"suggests" this spring. Please get the word out. Thanks

nck said...


I was there several decades and remember.

No hell.
Gehenna destruction 1 millionth of a second
100 percent of humanity would get a fair chance

Members leaving, probably never converted.. God would decide on their chances

Hell is seperation from god. Heaven eternal closeness to god

What are these guys liars or did I attend a strange unknown off shoot with different literature?


Byker Bob said...

I’m thinking we should ordain nck as an honorary evangelist? Seems like he left without actually leaving.


Anonymous said...

The images make my depression worse.

Anonymous said...

yep, blame the evil deeds of men on God....God doesn't stop it on your timetable, therefore God is not worthy of worship.

Ed said...

A merciful god wouldn't even allow a place like hell to exist. The concept of the lake of fire is more humane, but I don't even believe that will exist. I don't believe in eternal punishment of any kind. Why would a god who created us imperfect condemn us for being imperfect? It doesn't make any sense!

nck said...

"I’m thinking we should ordain nck as an honorary evangelist?"

I'd like that.

The evangelist to those who left and want nothing to do with distortions of truth anymore.


DennisCDiehl said...

No one is blaming the evil deeds of men on God. "God doesn't stop it on your timetable" is the standard apologetic like given for no Second Coming in the first century as advertised. "Don't you know one day with God is as a thousand years". Rather than have the Apostles of the first century admit to being mistaken, they and we tend to come up with redefining what "soon" means. It doesn't really mean soon. It means soonish kinda we'll see, stay tuned. We might be in this for the long haul soon.

That God does not stop or work on our timetable is the same way of admitting , though respectfully, that we seem to be on our own when it comes to staying out of harms way and being the victim of psychopaths.

Anonymous said...

"That God does not stop or work on our timetable is the same way of admitting , though respectfully, that we seem to be on our own when it comes to staying out of harms way and being the victim of psychopaths."

if this life is all that there is, you might have a point....but it's not, and you'll understand it one day.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Hell was described in this thread is a Western European notion. It stems from
Augustine but was transmitted by Calvin and other Reformers. Eastern Orthodoxy often has a restorative view of the effect of Hell.

The cruel, compassionless Hell that circulates in the various Protestant zones of North America is more of a comment on Western Europeans and their culture than it is a comment on God and the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Actually, extended time till the second coming is a good thing for Christians. It's the equivalent of students getting more time to prepare for a exam.
People should rejoice rather than complain about Christs 'delay.'

Wow, if Dennis would funnel the same time and effort that he puts into these crown stealing articles into Christian growth, he would qualify for the kingdom.

nck said...

Neo 9:39

That is interesting in light of the Vaticans communication problem last friday. I mentioned in my first post.

The popes' slip of the tongue, on hell non existant, might than be a step toward unification with the orthodox church.

Interesting in light of the vaticans stance on the orthodox destruction by isil, putins power in the middle east and americans waning moral power in the world.

Then again, the pope may have been misquoted as the pr machine quickly responded.


DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said: "Wow, if Dennis would funnel the same time and effort that he puts into these crown stealing articles into Christian growth, he would qualify for the kingdom.

You're crown is safe unless you are insecure in your faith when disturbing facts knock on your door.

Also, I'm thinking you have more extra time than you can possibly imagine to prepare for your finals.

Anonymous said...

He who thinks they can qualify for the Kingdom does not understand the King.

He who does not understand the King cannot understand the Kingdom.

Only one has qualified and been made worthy - and that one is Jesus Christ. It was through Jesus Christ that we are given the gift of salvation. You can't qualify for it, and you can't earn it, and you'll never be worthy of it, EVER. All the work in the word anyone does doesn't amount to a hill of beans if they think that it's going to qualify them to set foot in Jesus' Kingdom. The whole Armstrong "qualifying" business is the biggest load of horse crap to hit the Gospel. To teach someone can qualify of their own works for salvation is an ignorant perversion of the Gospel of Grace.

The split second someone approaches Jesus Christ with their "qualifications", it will take but a millionth of a second more to realize how worthless they are.

Anonymous said...

Christianity is a marathon rather than a sprint. Many people got baptized believing that they could become the Bride of Christ with a easy sprint effort. So when Christ didn't return in 1975, they fell away. BB is a good example of this.
Herb encouraged this belief with his incessant 'in the name of the living God, I tell you that the end is in 3-5 short years.' He did this to boost church numbers.
That he was playing games with peoples eternal lives meant nothing to him.

In fact, Herb repeated the same lie that Satan told Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Instead of working long and hard to build the mind of God, all one has to do is eat a apple, or in Herbs case, attend church services for 3 to 5 years.

Herb screwed many people out of their eternal lives with this lie.

nck said...


Interesting observation, that armstrongists and especially quick defectors disgruntled with prophecy, are actually the lazy bum, whiny type of christians.


Byker Bob said...

You don’t “fall away” from something bogus in which you were lied to. The reality is that you wise up and make a correction when the truth becomes painfully obvious. Departing from a scam is a positive, not a negative. I also proved that the so-called doctrines were wrong.

Maybe you guys who have been steadfast with the scam will get to have your David Koresh moment. If so, there will be no gloating on my part.


RSK said...

I wondered when CROWN STEALING would resurface, ha.

Byker Bob said...

Also, Deut 18:22 is such a gas! Now who is out of the loop?


True Bread said...

This was a very brutal thing to read and see...

Over the years, my atheist friends seemed to find comfort in their minds that they could embrace a system of existence that did not require a Creator, and if no Creator, no judgement ie no burning in hell forever. They push back on the fact that every single one of us is being vetted and judged every second of our lives. I actually think that atheists become that way to psychologically escape that concept of vetting.

Jerry Falwell said here years ago, when asked about hell, did he think little babies that died soon after birth were burning in hell, of which of course he had to say yes due to his belief system. Utter nonsense.

There will be a conclusion to the entire matter sooner or later...and part of that conclusion is either become a team player and accept salvation, or become as you had never even existed to begin with....which is not acceptable. However as I have said for years, I am convinced that there will be those who hate the Creator so much that they will willingly go hopping, skipping and jumping into the Lake of Fire, to be instantly consumed and erased permanently. Sadly. Here at True Bread I say "Failure is NOT an option", nor should be, but sadly will not be the case. Some just will not make it, or want to make it, into immortality.

Don't take the chance to pretend in your mind that there in no Creator, therefor no judgement...

I say choose life...

Here's a song for you, of my favorites:


True Bread said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, if Dennis would funnel the same time and effort that he puts into these crown stealing articles into Christian growth, he would qualify for the kingdom.

April 2, 2018 at 12:24 PM

The sanctimony is strong in this one...

Spoken like a zombie ACOG clinger sad, especially at the Passover season. Must be in either the RCG or LCG.

Please keep us posted about how your "qualifying" is coming along...


nck said...

One of the corrections that should have been obvious is that you should not prophecy unless you have clear signs.

Anyone news on the stacking of weapons in a cog compound? Please post a 1000 times. Otherwise stop disvalueing otherwise interesting news by falling into the trap of what you profess to abhor. i.e. false prophecy or self fulfilling prophecy.

Its a bit like the fire brigade coming every ten minutes. When a real fire occurs, no one bothered to exit the building.

Still its good to have a fire brigade I am not complaining.


Byker Bob said...

Don’t feed the Nazi-boy troll, nck. If he’s the same guy I think he is, he’s no doubt still smarting from the way I got him several years back on another blog. That “Nazi” had apparently been molested by rabbis as a young boy. His persistent racism eventually got him kicked off that blog. He may or may not have known it was me, but he repeatedly called me the “N” word, and it was just too much for the community on that blog. Maybe he’ll suffer the same fate here. We can only hope!


nck said...

BB 11:17

I'll happily delete (numbers) postings that might enhance his acting (still hoping it is posturing/acting and not his real worldview). If he mends his ways and returns to the table of civilized men I might even consider an emotional hug on the Auditorium stage, of the type bad boy GTA received in 1974.

I'm sorry for those molested either emotionally or physical.
As one desperate to make a case he should consider that a case can never be convincing if the plea annoys the jury/listeners or is filled with apparent errors. Something in your posting prompted me to look up how Sidney Poitier was faring. I learned that he had been ambassador to Japan and Unesco ambassador. So even discussion of apparant evil triggered me to find some good.

I have hope.



Anonymous said...

True Bread and BB

Shoot and smear the messenger. Some comeback.

Anonymous said...

6:39 PM wrote:

Instead of working long and hard to build the mind of God, all one has to do is eat a apple, or in Herbs case, attend church services for 3 to 5 years.

Apparently, this poster's Christianity does not include the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. In that parable, the workers who worked "long and hard" complain about the worker who comes in at the end of the project and earns the same wage.

The fact is, one does not "build" the mind of God. One yields to Jesus Christ and uses the Holy Spirit. Depending on the individual Christian, that process can take a split second, or it can take a lifetime. The more time one spends in Armstrongism, it seems, the longer it takes, as the ACOGs foster an unhealthy pridefulness in one's "working long and hard" in complete contradiction to the parable.

Byker Bob said...

“That” messenger has turned to hatred, 1:17. How would you suggest that we deal with someone who wants us to “understand” that the Nazis were simply promoting a final solution to Jewish dominance, and were largely misunderstood. Only a deeply warping experience could produce that line of thought. It is important that people know that.


Byker Bob said...

Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that you just don’t arrive at and embrace something so toxic and lethal as Naziism as a result of superior intellect and logic. There is always a story behind the story.


Anonymous said...

3.21 AM
The bible says to live by EVERY word of God rather than cherry pick some verses.
The 'same wages' in the parable of the workers in the vineyard is eternal life. The parable of the talents spells out that Christians are also given different rewards in keeping with their achievements. Gods system is a meritocracy.

Why do you think that Christians are required to carry a cross, if not to build character? Or do you think that God is a killjoy or a sadist?