Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Compassionate Philadelphia Church of God. Really?

Of all of the Churches of God out there in 2018 that lacks compassion, mercy and grace, it is the Philadelphia Church of God, led by Gerald Flurry and his band of Gestapo agents. From instructing parents to abandon their developmentally disadvantaged child at the mall so the state can take care of her in order for the parents have more money to send in, to its perverse no contact policy for members and exCOG members.  Countless articles here been posted here on Banned, on the Painful Truth and the Exit and Support site, about the vile practices of Gerald and Stephen Flurry and many of his Gestapo agent leaders.

David Vejil writes:
Are you a compassionate person? Compassion is a character trait we need to develop (1 Peter 3:8).
Our greatest example of compassion is Jesus Christ. Matthew describes Christ’s compassion in four separate accounts.
How, just how can PCG write such a thing when they blatantly ignore everything about Jesus. Their saviour has turned out to be Herbert Armstrong.  HWA gets more air time and print time that Jesus ever has in the last 20+ years of PCG's existence.  The qualities that Vejil writes below about Jesus is something that PCG has never accomplished and NEVER will!
In one of those accounts, Matthew records a time when Christ was followed by a large number of people into the desert. He “went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). He continued doing so into the night. When the disciples advised Him to send the multitude away, Christ didn’t. Instead, He fed 5,000 through a miracle. Only after they were fed did He leave (verses 15-21).
It is amazing that He could have compassion on all those sick people even though He never once was sick. For humans, it is hard to have compassion on people in situations we have not experienced. Yet Christ has perfect compassion on us, even in the troubles we cause ourselves due to our sins.
PCG compassion for the sick is to bar them from proper medical care and abandoning their disabled child at the mall. 
How can we have that same compassion in our lives and build it in our families? Remarkably, God actually designed us to be motivated to build compassion.
Vejil says that our hearts are wired for compassion.  If that is true, then how are the hearts of the leadership of the PCG wired?
A 2013 University of Wisconsin study demonstrated that our bodies actually reward us for having compassion and acting on it. When we see someone suffering, our brain stimulates hormone glands to release chemicals that slow down our heart rate. These hormones prepare our bodies not to fight or flee, but to approach and soothe. When we act on these chemical changes, the body releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that encourages bonding.
Of course, even though our brains are hardwired for compassion, that doesn’t mean it is always natural to act on it. We can ignore these signals, just as we can sear our conscience (1 Timothy 4:2). Like all aspects of character, compassion must be cultivated with God’s power, through experience and practice.
That last sentence, while typical of COG thought, is not true.  I know plenty of agnostic and atheist people who are the most compassionate people you will ever meet. They do more in one week helping others than most of PCG has ever done in its lifetime.

Vejil continues:
This shows that compassionate thoughts lead to compassionate action. “It’s kind of like weight training,” Weng says. “Using this systematic approach, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.”
God encourages His people to meditate (e.g. Psalm 1:2; 143:5; 1 Timothy 4:15). In the time you spend meditating, devote a portion to thinking about the suffering of others. This will make it easier to remember them in your intercessory prayers and to be more earnest and fervent in those prayers. Intercessory prayers are a powerful tool we can apply to using the compassion we have for others.
Above you see how PCG really shows compassion to others.  They just think about it and wish warm thoughts for others instead of doing anything.  Thinking those warm thoughts build their "compassion" muscles.

Vejil next says that learning compassion starts with training the children to understand it:
It is also important to teach compassion to our children when the opportunity arises. Children will often cause harm to others through misbehavior. As parents, we can use these occasions to build compassion in our children by getting them to understand not only that what they did was wrong, but to think about what they did from the viewpoint of the person they harmed. If you do this consistently when opportunities arise, it will develop your children’s sensitivity to the suffering of others and a desire to remedy that suffering.
Tell that to the child who's parents told by a PCG minister to abandon their child at the mall so they could stop spending so much money on her.  How can children in PCG learn compassion when they are not allowed to visit their grandparents or friends who are no longer PCG members. Tell that to children of families the church has split up. Some standard of compassion that is!
When we have trials, we can cultivate compassion by thinking about those we know who are suffering trials, and then using that to motivate us to encourage one another with cards or encouraging fellowship. This works even if the trials are not similar. Any serious trial will bring us to our knees to God and show how powerless we are. It is that heart-wrenching experience that many of us share. And while it is easy to think only about our own suffering, if we use God’s help to think about others, then we can use our trials to build and unify God’s Family.
These studies show what can be achieved on a human level, but with God’s Spirit, we can elevate our compassion to that of Jesus Christ!
So there you have it.  Think warm fuzzy thoughts of others and you will just be like Jesus.  Forget ever working in a homeless shelter or cleaning vomit and shit off of a drug addict.  Or sitting down to dinner with a prostitute or a person suffering from AIDS.  Nah, just think warm fuzzy thoughts.  Never worry about putting real faith into action and bring a foretaste of the Kingdom you claim to be preaching boldly.


Anonymous said...

PCG ministers and members are so drunk on CHURCH government, which they mistake for GOD's government, that they act like the ministers can overrule biblical commandments. They worship Flurry, not God. If you actually try to worship God you won't last in the PCG.

Byker Bob said...

I was going to comment on this, but suddenly had to vomit. Cognitive dissonance to the max.


Sane Con said...

Armstrongites are simply empathy deficient. So for any of them to talk about being compassionate,it is just a shallow understanding of what it is.

EX-PCG said...

The PCG is almost all about physical things. Their main work is anything that they do at their colleges. The leadership has created a false reality for the membership. Almost nobody outside of the PCG really cares about what they are doing. And visa versa.

They have little time for compassion and showing real love to others. They are all about themselves.

Anonymous said...

Why single out PCG? There are good ministers in PCG along with the bad ones, and there are some very bad ones in other groups.

I do not know of any PCG minister who has told a PCG member to stop working in a nursing home because the elderly residents may have demons. I do know of an LCG minister who made this demand of a member, who dutifully gave two weeks notice to her employer after receiving this minister's demand.

I do not know of any PCG minister who has so little experience with real-world employment that he does not understand the standard and considerate practice of giving an employer two weeks notice rather than quitting on the spot. Yet I do know of an LCG minister who accused the member of lying when she said that she had quit. In her mind, giving two weeks notice meant that she had quit, but the idiot LCG minister, who because of his father and uncles was never without a church job, disfellowshipped her for this "lie." Meanwhile, this LCG minister thinks he can use the "Rahab principle" to tell ministerial lies to anyone he wants, with God's blessing.

Please don't single out PCG. Barbara Flurry was known widely for her compassion and her willingness to go out of her way to help others. She did a lot to help keep her crazy husband stable. There are compassionate people in PCG, and there are evil people in other groups.

Anonymous said...

The PCG has so much compassion that Gerald Flurry requires all disabled and elderly to sit in the basement for services so that he’s not distracted by wheelchairs or walkers.
How long can such an evil and selfish group continue?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:16 --

Want to believe what you say, but the fact that you have to take time like you did, and make a special effort to tell us that there are SOME "good" people around these groups supports the point of this posting.

What can a single "good" person, or a handful of them, do in the midst of a MOSTLY selfish, insensitive, proud, vain, arrogant majority?

NO2HWA said...

Anon 4:16 “Why single out PCG?”

If you have paid any attention here you would see that we regularly post the abusive and non compassionate activities of LCG.

What you are doing is attempting to divert attention away from the appalling abuse the PCG dishes out on a daily basis.

Every COG out there has some compassionate people in it but the problem lies squarely on the top leadership who dream up vile polices like Flurry’s no contact policy. This kind of evil has no place in the church.

Bedsides, this is a direct quote from a PCG article, not LCG. Hold the PCG accountable for once for its very unChristian policies and abuses.

What About The Truth said...

The number one problem infecting the greater COG's with regard to lack of compassion is they only obey one commandment. That would be the one commandment where for a few hours they can put on show to make the member think they are before very righteous men. The other commandments which are not as visible are compromised continually. When these leaders put the importance of money (God of mammon) and put themselves before/above God and take (Steal) titles or continually covet what is not theirs and as a whole bare a false witness via false interpretations of scriptures and the preaching of a false gospel, there is no love displayed. No where in the COG landscape is a leader of a organization known as one who loves the Lord thy God with all their heart soul and mind and loves their neighbor as they love themselves. When a man lacks the character to exhibit the fruits of the two greatest commandments they have no chance to do a work of compassion - for those that need compassion require time, work and money and that type of person is not a cost asset for most leaders and organizations. These churches might as well hang a sign at their entrance which reads; poor and needy - DO NOT APPLY.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Didn't Byker Bob recently eat a huge burrito and drink a giant beer? Maybe that is somehow related to his recent upchuck.

I have always felt that root cause analysis is beneficial in understanding the behavior of some of the more flagrant Armstrongist behaviors. I think the root is two-fold: money and control. These are the drivers behind modern Armstrongism to the point that a study of one of the fragment churches is study in economics and governance rather than theology. The theology is drearily the same among all the fragments. The real action within these fragments is taking place in novel methods of control and controlling governance that are being introduced.

Pursuit of money and control, however, eventually reaches into the domain of theology. It is easier for Armstrongist leaders to extract money from congregants and control their lives predicated on legalism than on grace and love.

A simple and obvious case: HWA invoked the tithing law as a part of the New Covenant and made it a requirement for salvation. In this way, he was both able to raise money and project control over the lay membership. It was one of the all time great smooth moves.

But the byproduct of emphasized legalism is harsh judgmentalism, including a lack of compassion, that passes for righteousness. But in the main, legalism works very well for the leadership of the fragment churches so they are not going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The ancient errant Israelites worshipped the Golden Calf and he modern Armstrongists worship the Golden Goose of Legalism. Men who understand vested interests and underhanded dealing recognize the efficacy of legalism.

Connie Schmidt said...

Unaccountable, unelected, unreplaceable, in power for life with no possibility of replacement or being fired will ALWAYS result in abuses of power. PERIOD!

Anonymous said...

10.08 PM
It was also like that in the WWCG when I attended in the 1970s and 1980s. Church government trumped biblical teachings. I recall one minister from the pulpit quoting a scripture with his tone of voice implying the exact opposite of the scriptures intent. Members accepted this 'interpretation' since they afterwards quoted it back to me.

A good minister was a trap in the church. Members would open up to this minister, only to have that confided information passed on to the following 'bad' ministers. This confided information was used as a club.
A good minister often blinded members to the underlying toxic church culture.

Byker Bob said...

The vomiting was figurative.

You pretty much have to consume a burrito and beer that big in two sittings, and I have leftovers for today. Yesterday’s portion digested just fine.


Anonymous said...

Our Lord and Savior spoke this in Math 25:36

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Whatever ANY church leader says, remember the words of Christ over all

Math 25 should be required reading for us all....

Anonymous said...

@ NO2HWA, you wrote:

Every COG out there has some compassionate people in it but the problem lies squarely on the top leadership who dream up vile polices like Flurry’s no contact policy.

LCG's no-contact policy may be more vile than PCG's. Weston isn't (yet) forbidding contact with people in other church groups, but he makes it very clear that only the important people are allowed this privilege without repercussions. Rod McNair is allowed to visit his Uncle Dave Pack, but if an ordinary Charlotte member visited an RCG congregation and then went out to dinner with RCG members, they would be removed any meaningful service within the Charlotte congregation.

Weston's idea seems to be, "Don't associate with other groups, because LCG is the best group." At least Flurry frames his policy as if it were for the good of the shunned (however insincere he may be). Weston makes no such pretense, he just wants to keep his people under control. People who came and went from LCG 15 years ago may find it hard to believe just how cultish LCG has become.

Anonymous said...

10.33 AM
There's also the spiritual application of Math 25.
People are spiritually naked by being ignorant about God and His ways, are morally sick, and were imprisoned by many evil habits us recreational drugs, illicit sex and alcohol etc. And not forgetting, mentally imprisoned in Dave Packman type abusive cults.

Byker Bob said...

The ACOG culture, to varying degrees, causes detachment disorder. There is an excellent Wikipedia article on emotional detachment. You really don’t need to stress your imagination in visualizing the many causes of this in Armstrongism, starting with the vaunted “blanket training” for infants, the acquired ability to endure the pain of severe spankings throughout youth, enforced shunning of beloved relatives, calloused and cavalier attitudes towards outsiders, and the defensive posturing one needs to assume towards the church “rat” patrol (tattletales).

In an Armstrongite environment, emotional detachment quickly becomes second nature, until one’s comfort level only allows superficial relationships. The person with classic detachment disorder is the one who “never lets anyone in”.

That is the involuntary damage that the ACOG policies mentioned above will eventually produce. Detachment disorder, while not listed as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, is most definitely one of the fruits of Armstrongism.


Anonymous said...

It is not always clear to me what kind of legalism people are condemning. The ten commandments? Can we let people kill like crazy and be okay with it? Or is it the Sabbath we don't like? Or tithing? Or the rule on adultery? Or the unbiblical no-contact policy? Or non-bible policies like wearing a suit on the sabbath? Or "minor" bible policies like hair length? Makes a big difference.

Anonymous said...

@10:05 PM,

I do not know of any major ACOG that enforces the Bible policy about hair length. In fact, most of the ACOGs strongly prefer that men make themselves more effeminate by shaving off the facial hair God gave them.

Whenever I watch a feminized clean-shaven minister blast women for keeping their hair too short, I don't know whether to pity the man's stupidity or to rail against his hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

10.05 PM
I'm reading a book called 'Spiritual abuse' by June Hunt. The author does give a definition of legalism, but to me it's a confusing and contradictory package deal. It includes rejecting old testament rituals and Pharisaic behavior, but writes that Christians should obey church authority and consider 'how we will present ourselves to others.' Then on page 17 rejects 'looking to our own efforts to gain the acceptance of the lord.'

It comes across as come to church, don't steal or commit adultery etc, but forget the parable of the talents. Confusing indeed.

PS to fair to the author I quote P17: "At the core of legalism is a works mentality - looking to your own efforts to gain the acceptance of the lord."

Anonymous said...

To save yourself and escape from the PCG, simply do things like the following:

Honor your father and your mother like God commanded in one of his Ten Commandments, rather than cut off all contact with them like That False Prophet Gerald Flurry commanded, and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Do not associate with sexually immoral people in the church like the apostle Paul commanded, rather than let the local PCG goons match you up with sexually immoral old predators in the PCG, and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Listen to what God said in the biblical book of Malachi (not in the plagiarized and revised Malachi's Mess. by Gerald Flurry) about sending someone in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, rather than to the anti-Elijah Gerald Flurry who came to do the opposite, and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Listen to what God said in the biblical book of Malachi (not in Malachi's Mess.) about hating divorce, rather than let That False Prophet Gerald Flurry break up your marriage, and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Take care of your own relatives, and especially those of your immediate family, like the apostle Paul said so as not to deny the faith and be even worse than unbelievers, rather than cut off all contact with them like That False Prophet Gerald Flurry commanded, and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Listen to everything that Jesus said (the prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18:18-19), rather than to That False Prophet Gerald Flurry (mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:20) and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Beware of false prophets like Jesus warned, rather than read That False Prophet Gerald Flurry's silly prophetic junk booklets, and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Believe in the great commission that Jesus gave to his chosen apostles (not prophets) to preach the gospel (meaning “good news”) of the kingdom of God to the whole world for a witness, rather than That False Prophet Gerald Flurry's “new commission” to “warn the Laodiceans” by totally cutting off all communication with them, and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Read and believe HWA's original writings, rather than That False Prophet Gerald Flurry's edited and changed versions of them, and ye shall be kicked out of the PCG.

Anonymous said...

“The Compassionate Philadelphia Church of God. Really?”

Yeah, “loving” people to death.