Saturday, January 27, 2018

Point Taken...

Concerning Bible Criticism

 Anonymous said...

Articles like these are the kind that makes it easy for the abusive leaders to convince their members to avoid this site.
I thought the whole purpose of this blog was to expose Armstrongism and help members trapped and also provide potential members of COGs with information that would help them make an informed decision. Dennis I know you believe the Bible is not what Christians think it is, however if this site is interested in helping those you believe to be trapped in Cogs, articles like these could do the opposite giving the impression this blog is a cover for athiestic views. Imagine someone barely getting the courage to defy their leaders brainwashing, visit this site and this is the first article they see, it could play right into the hands of their leaders claims of this being an anti -God, satanic blog. This blog helped me to see some of the things that were wrong with the Cogs but remember members are cautioned against going on the Internet and how satan will use it to turn them away not just from the church but from God. I think there should be another blog for articles like this( just my opinion). What is the purpose of this site? Who is it suppose to help?? What is it suppose to expose? Now I am in no part bashing this site or anyone for their views I am just asking will things like this really help to open up the eyes of indoctrinated church members or will it reinforce their sometimes abusive leaders analysis of this site and others like it. Articles like the one challenging tithing, exposing the corruption(cough cough private jet),and various other doctrines of the church are the kind that can stimulate critical thinking in the minds of many honest cog followers like they did for me. I believed that was the original aim of this blog correct if I am mistaken. "

Me says:    Thank you and that was well put.  
My intentions were probably more personal and part of bringing myself some closure with the whole messy experience.  My thinking was simply to study and learn what it was that Embarrassing College, which when I signed up as a Presbyterian kid at 18 for, thought was a legit seminary like the one I turned down to attend in NY didn't teach me.  I also assumed that others mostly thought the same way about church, sermons and what it was that also could have been taught better and wasn't.  In this I am mistaken and it's ok. 
 I was an idealist when a kid for many reasons I have no doubt sprinkled throughout my writings over the years. I still am for better or worse.  The drama and trauma the Armstrongs and Tkaches inflicted upon me personally as I perceive it and their ultimate destruction of every last congregation I felt , at the time, I sincerely grew, as a pastor was hard on the boy. It's not easy to think what a waste of time that was.  In two years, the Tkach debacle took my last congregation from 450 to 16.  Every other one of the 13 previous, of course, are gone. 
From the moment I left college to go into the ministry (1972) as "for you Dennis, the sky is the limit" which seemed to me at the time even a very strange comment but was the results of leaked manpower comments which got back to me, it was one damn thing after the next. One damn scandal, move and angry congregants after the next.   I grew to hate my choices long before I began to doubt I had even the right view of scripture and the Bible itself.  I stayed to care for people I cared about with information and encouragement I thought was helpful.  I also, naively so, thought that I could be a part of the churches maturing but the bozos got to be in charge with their authoritarian dictates right to the end.  No Shepherds ever rose very high in "that church" to inspire what any one could see the NT spoke more about than the rituals and judgements of others people were taught to embrace.  Only dictators and ego infested wanna be's got those jobs.  
I always had a good laugh over the minor fact that I wanted a break from the ministry a few times and knew I could teach for a summer as other ministers did at SEP. I didn't realize I wasn't in the inner circle of those who got invited.   I wanted to teach swimming.  I taught swimming all my teenage years for the Red Cross.  I had all the high swimming teacher credentials. I was a water safety instructor by 18. I taught CPR , First Aid, Automatic External  Defib use,  and Water Safety for the Red Cross as a minister.  But I never could get to SEP to teach swimming.  Ministers who never taught it and probably could not swim taught it!  lol.  I gave up.  I was never in any loops that I perceived.  
Banned has not proven to be a place where I can pursue Biblical realities and so I will not continue to do that here.  To those who were more than mildly offended and defensive, I apologize.  Being perceived as one who is out to steal crowns or destroy faith was never the goal.  I had the inaccurate  idea that others thought like I did and would be fascinated with actual Bible origins and issues etc.  Just because we all had a similar WCG experience with prophecy, end time living and financial sacrifice does not mean we would all be drawn to the same conclusions and interests that remedy that for us individually.

I am not one to spin and spend my time bitching and moaning year after year about my WCG experience. I have my moments when certain topics come up and butttons can be punched of course, but it is not essentially who I am nor the kind of person I wish to be the rest of my life. It was an experience. I chose it, I participated in it and I learned from it though I wish I had gone another direction much earlier in life.  It cost me my marriage, for which I accept responsibility and my sanity at times.  You haven't lived until your boss shows up at a Charter Hospital where I was taking break in deep depression, (for me repressed anger I thought I had no right to express or that the price would be to high to do so) and trying to save my ministry at the same time, and announces he doesn't want to hear anymore about how my only brother, who is blind, deaf and can't speak affected me, and how I spent every Sunday afternoon as a child thru teen going to the State Hospital seeing and smelling the sights and sounds of it all  and how it molded the fixer, caretaker and rescuer in me. All I got was that "we were going to fire you and think you are just here hiding out."  He wasn't even on my list of people I had to approve to let in to see me.  Asshole.....  I had to address several issues of handling stress badly to get myself back to the real Dennis.  WCG could make a nutcase out of anyone that worked for the Armstrongs or Tkaches. is what it is. My view is what eats you...eats you, so getting past the drama and trauma of the church is more important to me for a better life now than constant reminders of who did what or how bad it all was. That is waste of good lifetime from my perspective.

So I will not continue to assume I could be a theologically stimulating break at times while Gary hunts up the information that does help those still stuck to move out and up of the COG trap. This group don't stimulate! lol. 
I have tried to back out in the past only to show back up again with Biblical topics outside the box.  For all our similarities and our differences, you are my last friends who halfway understand me and the experience.  That's hard to walk away from.  I will not, however, post any more topics outside those which address the purpose of exposing the ridiculous personalities and demands of the splits, splinters and slivers left of WCG.  I promise. 
My Favorite Dave Pack Quote: 

    "I want to make a statement, if I became deceived, I will never tell you what I'm going to tell you now...I am telling you if I go off into strange ideas, misconduct, rebellion, you name it, don't follow me. I want to tell you that now, because if I start doing that I'm gonna try to get you to follow me! I'm gonna come to you and tell you it doesn't apply, it doesn't mean me, no, no, no, no, no, no, it's OK to follow me because ABCD and XY and Z. Do you understand what I'm saying? Listen to me now, when I tell you don't follow me if I go off into weird ideas, or if I get off into other things that are total absolutely unscriptural conduct, because if I do I'm gonna paint it with a different face and try to get you to follow me. Do you understand what I'm saying brethren? Please remember that, because I promise you that if I become deceived, I'll forget it, and I'll want you to forget it...And I hope you'll remember it well enough to quote it right back to me...But I'll tell you what, I'm not going anywhere."
David C. Pack 

    "I want to make a statement, if I  ever go back to posting Biblical Criticism, , I will never tell you what I'm going to tell you now...I am telling you if I go off into strange ideas, misconduct, rebellion, you name it, don't follow me. I want to tell you that now, because if I start doing that I'm gonna try to get you to follow me! I'm gonna come to you and tell you it doesn't apply, it doesn't mean me, no, no, no, no, no, no, it's OK to follow me because ABCD and XY and Z. Do you understand what I'm saying? Listen to me now, when I tell you don't follow me if I go off into accepted theological understanding of the text, , or if I get off into other things that are total  and absolutely true historical realities, Biblical origins and  errancy issues and showing the political agendas of prophets, priests and Apostles in the text,  , because if I do I'm gonna paint it with a different face and try to get you to follow me. Do you understand what I'm saying brethren? Please remember that, because I promise you that if I become en-lightened, I'll remember it, and I'll want you to remember it...And I hope you'll remember it well enough to quote it right back to me...But I'll tell you what, I'm not going anywhere."
David C. Pack /Dennis C Diehl

Best wishes to all on our shared journey out of pious convictions backed by marginal information  :)
PS  I find it ironic I find myself walking, biking and driving the same streets, going to the same library, drive the same streets GTA was born on and having to pass the Church where HWA got his start in baptism here in Portland.  The Karma Fairy is messin' with me!  

Friday, January 26, 2018

UCG Goes Into Damage Control Over Elder Stephen Allwine Murder Case

Church of God News is reporting:

Public Statement re the Trial of Stephen Allwine a former lay minister of the United Church of God, an International Association

Posted on Jan 26, 2018 by Peter Eddington, Victor Kubik:

“The Church strongly follows the biblical command that murder—even the mere thought of murder—is condemned as sin and can never be justified.

In the coverage of the January 2018 trial of former lay minister Stephen Allwine, some media have included inaccurate comments about the United Church of God, an International Association. They attempt to link Church beliefs regarding divorce to a possible motive for the murder of Amy Allwine.
Here are the facts about the United Church of God and its beliefs: We highly value Scripture and regard the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. In respect to marriage, the Church positively teaches it involves a lifelong commitment of mutual love, respect and selfless service. Marriage is a Holy covenant that reflects our relationship with Jesus Christ. The Church also strongly follows the biblical command that murder—even the mere thought of murder—is condemned as sin and can never be justified (Matthew 5:21-32). Unlike what some may have insinuated, our ministers are called to be humble servants—as stated in the New Testament: “These pastors must be men of blameless lives because they are God’s ministers. They must not be proud or impatient; they must not be drunkards or fighters or greedy for money” (Titus 1:7, Living Bible).

The United Church of God is transparent and regards our mission, in part, to be a light to this world (Matthew 5:14). As humans, we are all subject to missing the mark and stand in need of a Savior. We have a glorious Redeemer—our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ—who died for all of us that our sins and shortcomings may be forgiven (Acts 4:12). That selfless act of Jesus results in marvelous reconciliation to God our Father and subsequently in “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). As the Bible authoritatively and positively declares, it is the fervent desire of God for “everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, New Living Translation).

The United Church of God is deeply saddened by this tragedy and urges all to pray for the families and those involved.”

Celebrity Chef Tony Brown of Spokane Is Former COG Member

Inside Eyvind, the next project from Ruins' chef-owner Tony Brown 

A feel good story for the day!

"The idea of a celebrity chef, I think, is completely ridiculous," Brown says, laughing at the cheffy hashtag #truecooks and the associated (though totally impractical) line of apparel. "That stuff to me is just bullshit. ... Maybe I'm selling myself short, but my job is to cook for people, and they give me money."
His no-bullshit perspective has been shaped by an unusual journey to this point. Born in Eugene, Oregon, he was raised inside the conservative Worldwide Church of God, described by some as a "doomsday cult," and he left home at 15 (after his family had moved to Spokane). He dropped out of high school a year later, got his GED, started at Spokane Falls Community College and found himself working in kitchens. He later got married and moved to Chicago, where he continued cooking and studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. They had a daughter, moved back home to Spokane and promptly got divorced, Brown says.
It is always great to read these stories considering the church used to preach from the pulpit that anyone who left the church would never be successful in life.  God would remove his blessing from them and they would be forever punished for their bad decision.

Read the entire story here:  Inside Eyvind, the next project from Ruins' chef-owner Tony Brown

More can be found here:

Chef Tony Brown honors the magical realism of Disney illustrator Eyvind Earle with forthcoming restaurant

Fun Sabbath Facts : An Inconvenient Truth About "Prophesy Comes Alive!"

Prophecy is the life blood of many churches.  Without it and their explanation of how soon, shortly and how far the night  is spent edging us ever closer to the Second Coming etc, they would have little drawing power.  Fear and concern for "what's going to happen to me" is a great motivator towards finding a suitable religion that will cover all contingencies. 

Ever Christian has been told and shown that there are hundreds of prophesies in the Old Testament that point to the first and second coming of Jesus.  This is a core belief and all the proof needed to live lives in anticipation of not having to put up with real living very long.  It won't be long now has been going on a very long time however as we all know, over the past 2000 years.  

As we all know, the New Testament is the sequel to the Old.  But consider this.  How hard would it be to look BACK into the Old Testament, knowing it's "prophesies" on many topics unrelated to Jesus and write a rather mythical account of Jesus life which would match what the OT already said?  That, of course, would look very much like the OT predicted Jesus when in fact the story of Jesus was written by mining the OT for scriptures to write the story.  It would be very easy to do and actually was what was done.  

In Matthew's birth narratives of Jesus , Matthew writes A story of Jesus birth circumstances based solely on Old Testament Scriptures.  Matthew's version of Jesus birth in no way matches Luke's story. It is obvious neither read or heard of the other's story when they were inserted into the Gospel's to quell the problem of "We were not born of fornication" circulating about Jesus real birth circumstances.  Matthew made the OT mean what it never meant to write his story of Jesus. No one knew Jesus  real birth circumstances either in time or place, so he wrote one. In doing so it looks like the Old Testament prophesied everything about Jesus long ahead of time. 

None of the following have anything to do with Jesus nor are they future predictions beyond the lives of those living at the time.  Prophecy is for THEM, not us generally in their lifetime to address their own stresses and fears.  Many OT prophecies failed to come to pass for them as well.  

  1. 1:22-23            the birth of Emmanuel  (It means "God IS with us" 
  2. 2:5-6                the coming of a shepherd from Bethlehem
  3. 2:15                 God’s son being called up out of Egypt
  4. 2:17-18            Rachel’s lamentation for her children
  5. 2:23                 One who shall be called a Nazorean
For example, #1.    The passage in Isaiah is about a child being born THEN who would be called "God IS with us" meaning the not to worry about the Assyrians wiping them off the map.  Matthew tweeked it by making Emmanuel mean "God with us" which was not the intent of Isaiah's words. Matthew simply used the story to write his own and in doing so makes it look like Jesus was prophesied, and by a virgin at that, again tweeking the text for his own ends. 

Each one of these OT scriptures did not originally mean anything near what Matthew updated them to mean for his story of Jesus.  Originally the out of Egypt story was about Israel, not Jesus but Matthew had the family fleeing to and from Egypt to escape Herod's murderous rampage against the innocents because it made a great story but not necessarily history.  He needed a Herod story to go after Jesus just as Pharoah went after Moses as a baby.  Luke never heard of such a thing and his version of Jesus family has them going back to Nazareth peacefully after 40 days of ritual purification etc.   

Simply put, it is prophecy historized and NOT history prophecied.  Since the early Christians were a spin off of Judaism, what better way to win them over to Jesus than to show their very scriptures predicted him by using them to write the Jesus story.  This technique, not understood by Western Christians and probably disturbing to them if they did is how we get the idea that the Old Testament propehcied everything in Jesus birth and death , down to his final words (Psalm 22)  , earthquakes, darkness and resurrection.  

The fact is that no one knew either the actual birth circumstances of Jesus, not the date nor the place, nor the events surrounding it, nor those of his death.  Try harmonizing the two Gospel accounts of Jesus birth and four of Jesus death and see how far you get.   They are not eyewitness accounts. They are cobbled and woven form Old Testament scriptures that originally did not mean what New Testament authors made them mean.  It was a writing style of the times but not literally true.

Occam's Razor

 "For each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there may be an extremely large, perhaps even incomprehensible, number of possible and more complex alternatives. Since one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified, simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are more testable."

In other words, the most simple explanation is usually the more correct one

I hope those who find reading longer explanations of interesting topics burdensome will find this to the point.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

COG White Bwana's Fighting For African Souls

It is always fun watching Church of Gods battle it out amongst themselves over how many souls they can add to their groups. Today in the Church of God we have two self-appointed leaders who think they are doing the best work that has ever been accomplished in Africa. The battle is going on between Almost-arrested, but not-arrested Bob Thiel and Dingy Wade Cox. Both have the same acronym, CCG.

Thiel claims he is drawing in thousands and thousands of members in Africa to his improperly named "continuing" Church of God, while Wade Cox says he is also bringing thousands in Africa into his improperly named "christian" Churches of God.
Wade CoxJanuary 13 at 6:32pmWell God has been dealing with the churches in Africa this week and we suspect there will be increases following now in Africa. We had church groups leaving the Armstrong offshoots and asking to be inducted to CCG in East Africa and in Benin in West Africa this last week. So also people in Brazil and elsewhere.
The fun thing about all of this is that these Africans they are both so desperate to convert are the same people who have jumped from one COG after another and from one Seventh Day Adventist Church after another. Whoever has the money gets the newest converts. Of course, both of the white Bwana's think they are the new saviours of Africa with their own version of the "truth."

Several years ago Dingy Cox claimed that he had converted 1/2 of the entire African continent into his group. He was widely mocked and proven to be a complete fool. That still has never stopped him as he tries to poach SDA's and other COG groups for followers.

It is also equally sad that there are probably sincere people who are desperately looking to follow Christ, but they will never find him in either of these two silly personality cults.

With any luck, these new converts will bankrupt both of these splinter cults. One can only dream.

I Have To Admit Self-Appointed COG Prophet Is Now A Legitimate Church Prophet

There is one true qualifier of a legitimate Church of God prophet and that it is breaking up families.   This has been especially true of all of the latest COG prophets/apostles/church leaders. All latter-day COG prophets have this one thing in common.

Almost-arrested, but not arrested, Elijah, Amos, Habbakuk Thiel is now in that same category.  He is breaking up families in Africa now.
With the 2 hours of our meeting in Mulozowa’s home, I touched Many subjects and true repentance. One of the attendees decided the next Day not to go for her baptism. Plus another girl was still young but she wanted to be baptized. I did counseling to  her and she noticed the real meaning of baptism and its importance. Since she was still school girl, she decided to wait and not to be baptized at this moment. This girl is a wonderful girl. Her parents did not want her to keep sabbath while the whole family are keeping Sunday. So they chased her out of their home if she has decided to join Continuing Church of God. But the girl accepted our teachings and moved out of their home simply because she wanted to follow the truth. So this girl is now in Mulozowa’s home. I am still thinking how we can assist this girl and if there is a way how we can assist her to continue with her school will be great.

Gerald Weston Prefers Talking About Way of Cain Instead Of Jesus

Once a Christian has stepped away from the church and its tiresome focus upon on the law, doom, destruction, and death and moved into understanding grace, justification, mercy and rest, it is startling at how depressing Armstrongism truly is.  The hope they claim to be looking to is a kingdom beyond their reach because no one is every capable of attaining the high standards they assume are expected of them.

Gerald Weston has written another missive to his followers about The Way of Cain.  One would think that this soon after the Feast of Tabernacles that he would be focusing on the millennial bliss they claim to aspire to be a part of. While it is a millennium of peace they see in front of them, they rarely see Jesus as part of the picture, except for him coming beforehand to kill and slaughter as many people as he can so that the streets of the world flow with blood of the unrighteous, and then he will usher in the kingdom and give all loyal Living Church of God members crowns and place them over cities and worlds to rule with rods of iron to enforce the law.  Jesus be damned, the law is still more important than grace mercy and justice.

Weston writes:

Observing one’s first Feast of Tabernacles is a memorable experience for those of us who did not grow up keeping it. I have more memories of my first Feast than I should take the space to relate in this Editorial, but I want to share one with you. It involves a sermon by a senior minister, an evangelist in the Church of God at that time. I do not remember whether he had a title for the sermon, and if he did, I cannot remember what it was, as that was more than half a century ago. But if I were to put a title on it, it would be, “The Way of Cain.”
There was quite a buzz among the members following that sermon, but I found it a bit intellectual and obscure, a little over my head. I had only attended one weekly Sabbath service and the Day of Atonement prior to leaving for the Feast. The truth is that I understand it better today from the strands I remember than the day I heard it. The primary verse he used relating to Cain was Jude 11: “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” So what is that “way of Cain” that he expounded upon?
Cain is best known as the first murderer, the one who killed his brother, but what else do people know about him? And what do they know about his “way”? Few, even in the Church, had ever thought about this, and that is why the sermon had such an impact. It gave new knowledge. It was a revelation to most everyone. 
How much Josephus can be relied upon regarding Cain, or any other subject, is certainly a question. The remainder of the Bible does not indicate any sin in ploughing the ground (1 Kings 19:19; Luke 9:62; 17:7). However, most agriculture today in the advanced nations involves “forcing the ground” through chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other means. It is difficult to know exactly how Cain was forcing the ground at that time, if indeed he was, and this was the part of the sermon that I found difficult to understand. Nevertheless, it is evident that Cain based his life on the get principle, and Josephus is no doubt correct when he says Cain “was wholly intent upon getting….” 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Church of God and the Waldenses

I was asked to repost this article from August 24, 2011 as various COG's, including Bob Thiel, are making claims that the Waldenses were Church of God stock.

Douglas mentioned the other day in one of his comments that Larry Grieder, a minister in the new splinter COG cult - Church of God, A Worldwide Association, has recently been promoting the lie that the Waldenses were Sabbath keepers..

Armstrongism, like Adventism look at one phrase associated with the Waldenses and promptly think it means they were Sabbatarians:  "insabbati"  One little word is what SDA's and Armstrongism base their bold claims upon.  The real definition is towards the end of this post below and it is NOT what you think.

This myth has been floating around the COG for decades.  The main culprit in promoting this lie was Dean Blackwell and Herman Hoeh.

Any quick check through the Internet can list a myriad of articles all stating that the Waldenses were NOT sabbatarians.  The Waldenses started as a reform movement in the Catholic Church and later got wrapped up in Calvinism.  There are Waldenses here in the United States who will also tell you that they are NOT sabbatarians.  The Waldenses here eventually joined up with the US Presbyterian Church.

Armstrongism bought into this myth because of our close ties to Adventism.  Elllen G White was the first to broach the Waldenses topic and their supposed sabbatarianism.    Because she was a "prophet," many took her rantings as "gospel truth" much like the people in Armstrongism did when HWA, Meredith or others proclaimed some new truth.
Ellen G. White, founder of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in the 19th century, in a more fanciful account, claims to have found early seventh-day "Sabbath keepers" in the Waldenses :
"In lands beyond the jurisdiction of Rome there existed for many centuries bodies of Christians who remained almost wholly free from papal corruption. They were surrounded by heathenism and in the lapse of ages were affected by its errors; but they continued to regard the Bible as the only rule of faith and adhered to many of its truths. These Christians believed in the perpetuity of the law of God and observed the sabbath of the fourth commandment....But of those who resisted the encroachments of the papal power, the Waldenses stood foremost....The faith which for centuries was held and taught by the Waldensian Christians was in marked contrast to the false doctrines put forth from Rome....Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath...Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith." (The Great Controversy, chapter on "The Waldenses", emphasis mine)
There is also a letter from the Waldenses Church in Italy who refute the claim by SDA's that they were sabbath keepers:
Therefore, the Waldensians did not keep the Sabbath (in the sense of Saturday instead of Sunday) and were not guardians of the "Sabbath Truth” as somebody calls it. The Waldensians never followed the Seventh-day Adventist’s Sabbath but they followed more Paul in Romans 14,5-8.
We can therefore say very clearly that the Waldensians were not Seventh-day Sabbath keepers and they were not persecuted for keeping Saturday as the Sabbath! Thy were persecuted, [from 1532 (when they joined the Reformation - Angrogna Synod) to 1848 (when they received religious freedom)], because of their Reformed-Calvinistic faith in Christ.
Even Samuel Bacchiocchi, the SDA "scholar" and Armstrongism's favorite "go to person" for Sabbatarian info, was not able to find anything.
Dr. Bacchiocchi has probably done more research on the Sabbath than any living human. Did he find evidence that some of the Waldenses observed the Sabbath?
"I spent several hours searching for an answer in the two scholarly volumes Storia dei Valdesi--(History of the Waldenses), authored by Amedeo Molnar and Augusto Hugon. These two books were published in 1974 by the Claudiana, which is the official Italian Waldensian publishing house. They are regarded as the most comprehensive history of the Waldenses. To my regret I found no allusion whatsoever to Sabbathkeeping among the Waldenses."
Dr. Bacchiocchi is not the first Adventist to search in vain for evidence of the Waldenses keeping the Sabbath. The only thing researchers have found thus far are some documents which refer to the Waldenses by their nickname, "insabbati." Unfortunately for Mrs. White, the term has nothing to do with the Sabbath. It refers to the sandals the Waldenses were known to wear. The Latin word for sandals is sabbatum. Thus, the Waldenses were insabbati--"sandal wearers."
Jared Oler (former COG member) writes this:
But the Seventh-Day Adventists were not alone in claiming the Waldenses as spiritual and historical antecedents. That same view of the Waldenses is widespread in the publications of the Sabbatarian movement. Here is the way the WCG characterised the Waldenses in their Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 51, published in 1968:
``The Waldenses recognized that they were the true successors of the apostolic church. They kept the Sabbath, also the yearly Passover. And each September or October (in God's seventh month-see Lev. 23), they held at the headquarters church a great `conference.' As many as 700 persons attended from afar. New students were chosen, ministerial assignments were made, and crowds gathered daily to listen to sermons. What could this gathering have been but the Feast of Tabernacles! . . . But in 1194, Alphonse, king of Aragon, Barcelona and Provence decreed these `Waldenses, Zapatati or Inzabbati [keepers of God's Sabbath] who otherwise are called the Poor Men of Lyons' worthy of any punishment short of death or mutilation.'' (ACBCC p.11)
In this account, the Waldenses were presented not only as Seventh-Day Sabbatarians, but as observers of the seven annual holy days of the Hebrew calendar-not coincidentally, just like the pre-1995 WCG. It is also probably not a coincidence that this account describes the life and activities of Peter Waldo, founder of the Waldenses, in terms remarkably similar to the way the WCG was formerly wont to describe itself and its founder, former businessman Herbert W. Armstrong:
``Then Christ acted. The man He chose to become His apostle was a wealthy merchant in Lyons, . . . Christ saw by his actions that Waldo was in earnest. His mind began to be opened to the truth that had formerly meant nothing to him . . . Waldo brought the same practical common sense that had made him successful as a businessman to the organization and Work of the Church. He had the education and experience which so few in God's Church had (I Cor. 1:26). Jesus Christ probably guided that experience, unknown to Waldo, long before his conversion. As he preached, others united themselves and their efforts to his. They became, as it is said, `as many co-workers for him.' They dedicated their lives and their property to the spread of Christ's gospel. This little group became known as the `Poor Men of Lyons.' But that was not the name of the Church. They called themselves the Church of God, or simply Christians.'' (ACBCC p.6)
Jared writes further on:
Furthermore, although the WCG once tried to identify the Waldenses as observers of the annual holy days of Leviticus 23, there is even less reason to link them to such customs than there is to link them to Seventh-Day Sabbatarianism. True to their Catholic origins, the Waldenses celebrated Easter or Pascha-``Passover''-but they were not in any way Quartodecimans. Their Paschal festival was not timed to start on the 14th day of the first month of the Hebrew sacred calendar, but instead simply followed the Catholic Church's calculation. As for the annual Waldensian conference in September and October, far from an attempt to celebrate the autumnal Feast of Tabernacles, its timing resulted from the fact that certain Catholic feasts and saints' days especially loved by the Waldenses happened to fall in the autumn.
Armstrongism, like the Adventist's use this claim to establish their legitimacy in their so-called "right of succession" for maintaining the "truth once delivered." Both are made illegitimate with their claims:
Apparently Mrs. White wanted to have a line of unbroken Sabbath-keeping, from the time of the Apostles, to the Waldenses in the mountains of Europe, all the way through to the time of the Seventh-day Adventists. Unfortunately, such a continuum does not exist. Sunday-keeping began much earlier than Mrs. White realized, and the Waldenses never kept the Sabbath at all.
Another inaccurate statement Mrs. White made about the Waldenses is:
"Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains . .. the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith." (pp. 65-66)
The Waldensian movement was established by Peter Valdes around 1176. The Waldenses were not excommunicated from the church until 1184. Therefore, the move to the mountains could not have taken place until after 1184, and the persecution of the Waldenses had subsided by the late 1600s. Therefore, it would be impossible for the Waldenses to have kept the light of truth burning for "a thousand years" during the Middle Ages. 500 years is a more likely number.

For more information:

 Who Were the Waldenses? Early Evangelicals?

Letter From Waldenses Church stating that they are NOT Sabbath Keepers

Great Controversy Errors Exposed

The Early Waldenses

Adventist Media Response and Conversation: Waldenses and the Seventh day Sabbath and Adventists

Delicate Self-Appointed Prophet Claims We Are "Crowdsourcing" Him With Lies

When you read in the Old Testament about prophets and all of their utterances and activities, never once do you find any of these men and women to be thin-skinned or constantly being butthurt at peoples reactions to them.  They believed in what they prophesied and did not care what people thought.

Not so in the 21st century.  Dave Pack has to constantly circle the wagons and reinterprets his prophecies because they are consistently wrong.  Gerald Flurry does the same at times but seems to stand by his utterances more than Dave does.  And then there is Not-arrested, but almost-arrested Elisha, Elijah, Amos, Habbakuk, Johsua, Butthurt Bob Thiel, the Chief Overseer of the improperly named "continuing" Church of God, based not in Jerusalem but in the middle of California in a little itty-bitty storefront.

The Great Butthurt One is incensed about "crowdsourcing" as a sure sign that it is putting Satan to work in the world in order to persecute the one true church, which just happens to exclusively be Butthurt Bob's.

Thiel has written an article about crowdsourcing and about how crowd's of people are dumbed down when they gather together, kind of like a Church of God, but Thiel never admits that.

He quotes an article from the BBC:

BBC had a headline that got my attention:

Why people get more stupid in a crowd

The “wisdom of crowds” doesn’t always apply – sometimes group-think nudges people to make wrong-headed decisions. 
The downstairs room of a central London pub is not where most psychologists would choose to stage an experiment in decision-making, but for Daniel Richardson it is ideal. A researcher at University College London, he is interested in how people’s thinking is influenced by those around them … 
The decisions people make as a group tend to be more prejudiced and less intelligent than the ones they make individually. “When people interact, they end up agreeing, and they make worse decisions,” he says. “They don’t share information, they share biases. We’re trying to figure out why that is, and how we can make collective decisions better.” … 
Group conformity stands in marked contrast to the “wisdom of crowds” effect, whereby aggregating the opinions of large numbers of people gives answers or predictions more accurate than those of any individual. This happens only when members of a crowd make their judgements independently of each other, and it is most effective when a crowd is diverse.
God's greatest Prophet then for some reason, claims the crowds talked about above are the same as "crowdsourcing" groups.
One of the reasons I decided to post about this was that the journal Science ran an article a while back touting “crowdsourcing” as the way to solve “wicked problems’ facing humanity. So, I made a short video about that which you can watch: Crowdsourcing and Artificial Intelligence to solve “wicked problems”? 
People, sadly, normally have the wrong foundation, hence can be swayed.
A definition of crowdsourcing is:
Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The word is a combination of the words 'crowd' and 'outsourcing'. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a crowd of workers.
Famous Example: Wikipedia. Instead of Wikipedia creating an encyclopedia on their own, hiring writers and editors, they gave a crowd the ability to create the information on their own. The result? The most comprehensive encyclopedia this world has ever seen.
Crowdsourcing & Quality: The principle of crowdsourcing is that more heads are better than one. By canvassing a large crowd of people for ideas, skills, or participation, the quality of content and idea generation will be superior.
As you can see from the two examples above, groupthink and crowdsourcing are two different things. Groupthink is what happens in the Church of God while crowdsourcing puts creative minds to work, usually for the betterment of a product that is useful to society. Groupthink in the COG is not for the betterment of society, no matter how much he desires to think it is.

Elijah Bob sees either group of people mentioned above as becoming under the influence of Satan when they gather together as a "crowd."  After all, the favorite COG bogey-man story is that "prince of the power of the air" dude who sends out bad vibes to crowds all the time! In the Church of God, Satan clearly has more power than God could ever imagine.  When a COG minister ever talks about Satan, he is always far more powerful than Jesus, who is far less discussed.

The Bible calls Satan “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and his ‘broadcasts’ have impacted the world to walk the wrong way (Ephesians 2:1-3). Satan’s influence in the Garden of Eden affected Eve, who then in turn affected Adam to make the wrong choice (Genesis 3). 
While the Bible teaches “in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14), it also teaches “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil” (Exodus 23:2). 
Throughout history, people have followed the crowd to do evil.
Two guesses as to WHO is doing evil against Butthurt Bob?  __________ & ____________.

But what about now? 
Certain anti-COG blogs are filled with people who accept and promote false statements.
Would all of you big bad meanies PLEASE stop picking on God's greatest and most accurate prophet the Church of God has ever seen since Jesus walked the shores of Galilee!  STOP crowdsourcing your persecution of the True One!

PLEASE stop pointing out the lies and foibles of the Great Doubly Blessed One!  PLEASE LEAVE BOB ALONE!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

As Opening Arguments Begin In UCG Minister Stephen Allwine's Trial As Some UCG Members Are Claiming This Is Another Attack By Satan

Cottage Grove man indicted in murder for hire case

Opening arguments have begun in the trial of Stephen Allwine, the United Church of God minister accused of poisoning and then shooting his wife.

The River Falls Journal reports:

Washington County Attorney Jamie Krueser described Amy Allwine as a loving mother, dog lover, business owner and a woman of faith — not the type of person who would die by suicide.
"Who would want to do this?" Kreuser said of the woman's alleged murder. "Someone who didn't want to be married to her anymore."
Stephen Allwine wrote sermons and counseled married couples at a Newport Church where he served as a deacon and later a church elder.
Through those capacities, Krueser said, Stephen learned about Ashley Madison, a dating website catering to married people seeking affairs.
Investigators, according to the criminal complaint, identified at least two women Stephen Allwine met through the website.
Devore acknowledged Stephen Allwine's relationships with other women, but said having affairs doesn't mean he killed his wife "or even didn't love his wife."
Krueser said Stephen Allwine's role as an elder and longtime congregant at the church could have kept him from divorcing his wife, despite wishes to end the marriage. Trial begins for Cottage Grove man accused of murdering his wife

The Star Tribune is reporting that the prosecution has started off with this:
Bilked by would-be assassins he tried to hire on the dark web, Stephen Carl Allwine shot and killed his wife in their Cottage Grove house and disguised her murder as a suicide, jurors were told Tuesday as his trial began in Stillwater.
Amy Allwine died in November 2016 because her husband was having extramarital affairs and didn’t want to stay married, Washington County prosecutor Jamie Kreuser said in her opening statement.
“He was seeing other women but he didn’t want to divorce her because of his position in the church,” said Kreuser, referring to the defendant’s role as an elder in the United Church of God.   Cottage Grove man killed wife after failing to hire assassin, prosecutor says
On other Facebook pages, some United Church of God members are claiming this is just an attack from Satan mean to demean the United Church of God and its mission.  As shocking as this may seem to some, this is not a unique belief in the Church of God.  Any time a minister has ever been accused or something, some members start spreading the rumor that it is an attack from Satan.  

Some UCG members are extremely excited to hear Allwine's attorney say the following as validation of their beliefs:

But defense attorney Kevin DeVore refuted those allegations, telling the jury that the case was full of “red herrings and distractions” and the prosecution had no evidence that Stephen Allwine committed a crime.
“Just because he had an affair doesn’t mean he killed his wife,” DeVore said, countering that the death scene was “contaminated” because police officers removed a 9-millimeter handgun to unload it before photographs were taken.
“It sounds like an amazing story, but it’s not a TV show or a movie,” he said.
These same people cheered on Allwine's parents when they bailed him out of jail the first time. 

The Church of God mantra is that one must never forget that we are in the end times Satan is ANGRY at United Church of God for preaching such a forceful message! Satan knows his time is short and will do all he can to discredit the church.  

Yes, brethren, that record is still skipping in the same spot for decades.  The end is nigh and Satan is pissed. Sigh...


Man charged with slaying wife, pretending she killed self

Stephen Allwine cheating husband charged with wife’s murder after staging it as suicide


Monday, January 22, 2018

COGWA Italian Feast Site Controversy


Feast meeting location

COGWA is the latest Church of God in the pre-Feast news.  This time it concerns their Feast site in Cortona, Italy.

COGWA members who were interested in attending the Tuscany site quickly found out that when they went to register that registration was already closed before it even "officially" opened.  European COGWA members were told to attend elsewhere.

Then to add insult to injury, they were told that if they showed up at the Feast site they would be barred from entering and would be turned away at the door!  Yes, you heard that right!  COGWA is putting the love of Jesus into action...a sure sign of the millennium!

The disgust level rose rather rapidly at these unfortunate turn of events and COGWA was forced to lighten its stance somewhat.

Another issue with the site is that nothing about the town or the meeting facility is wheelchair accessible or appropriate for those with walking issues.  Feast attendees must park outside the city walls and walk to their hotels or accommodations. Once again we see millennial concepts put into action!   Perhaps they are preparing for when people show up in Petra and COGWA can deny handicapped people admittance or deny those who did not pre-register in advance, entrance through the narrow gate.
A word of caution: Cortona is a “hill town” in its truest sense. Other than the main flat road that runs through the city, all the streets and alleys are steep ramps or staircases. The roads are pedestrian-only, so you won’t be able to drop anyone off at the theater where services are held. If you would like to attend, please be sure that you are comfortable walking on steep cobblestone streets and stairs.
The source that sent me this information has this to say, and I think it is spot on:
So what it amounts to is the creation of a luxury vacation feast spot for rich and healthy (and well connected) American members."
International Feast sites have always been set up by Americans to cater to American dollars.  Very few have been set up to cater to the needs of lower income members in certain European areas or in South America.

Just take a notice of the side trips they have planned during the Feast:
In addition, we are planning two excursions outside of Cortona. One will be to Florence—a city with wonderful architecture, gardens, museums and artwork. The other will be to Montalcino—a beautiful hill town set in the Orcia Valley, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made famous by its beauty and its Brunello wine.
Cortona attracts many English-speaking tourists, and many of the merchants speak some English.
Feast site expectations:

  • Cortona is built on the side of a large hill, and almost all of its roads and walkways are steep. Please be sure that you are comfortable walking on steep cobblestone streets and stairs. Those needing wheelchairs or those who have severe walking disabilities should be aware of the mobility difficulties they will encounter at this site.
  • Cortona is a pedestrian town, so you will not be able to drive a car inside the walls or drop off passengers where services are being held. Free parking is available outside the city walls, approximately a quarter of a mile from services.
  • Round-trip tickets to Rome for travel dates around the Feast are currently between $600 and $1,000.
  • We have room blocks reserved at several hotels within walking distance of services. Prices range from €80 to €179 per night (around US$97-217 per night) based on double occupancy (breakfast included). In addition, there are many bed-and-breakfasts and affordable apartments and villas available for rent. Attendees are encouraged to choose accommodations within walking distance of the hall.
  • At this time, the exchange rate is US$1.21 to €1.
  • Please wait until you receive your site acceptance before reserving housing. When you receive your acceptance and housing brochure, we encourage you to reserve housing as soon as possible, as some of the room blocks are only available through the end of February.
  • If you are not accepted at first, you will be placed on a waiting list until you are accepted or until the Italy site is officially closed. You will be taken off of the waiting list if you choose to register for another site.
COGWA has always been looked upon by many in the broader church as a group of elitist members who threw a fit when things did not go their way.  COGWA is white and financially well off and they brag about it constantly to justify their break from the heretics at United.

The source that sent me this info ended with this:
This kind of thing is of course not unique to cogwa, but I'm not sure when people will wake up and realize that the cogs just amount to a Ponzi scheme for the benefit of the top of the pyramid. a side note:

Cortona is known for its Jesuit institutions and churches and for its quantity of "porte del morto's" (the doors of death) that are found next to the entrances of its medieval palaces.