Saturday, September 8, 2018

Festival Jane Wonders About the Sabbath

"Festival Jane"*, a devout, dedicated, and extremely zealous 
new convert, had some questions about keeping the Sabbath properly. 
She turned to an article in the Good News for answers. 
This is "her" fictional, yet realistic diary entry concerning
William Dankenbring's reasoning
sent to the members of the Church.

Dear Diary,

I Guess I'm kind of new to keeping this Sabbath thing. But I'm a little confused!

I just got this Good News magazine, and the guy who wrote the article tried to tell me how it is that I should keep the Sabbath. I ended up more confused than ever!

I guess the good news is that I can sleep in a little – the services start at 10:30 in the morning. The article said I can have some personal prayer and study – that'll be nice to do, kind of relaxing after the hectic week I had. I can make a nice appetizing breakfast because I'm going to need the energy for church. My husband is the only one who can lead the Bible Study, I guess – and we're supposed to read The Bible Story – but to be honest, I'm just not into letting my kids see those awful, horrid pictures! But if I say anything about it to my minister, I think he'll tell me I have an attitude problem. I think we'll just talk together.

I was wondering what my children can and cannot do, and to be honest, I am more confused now than ever! They're allowed to read to keep busy – but only educational or profitable books. What's educational exactly? They aren't going to want to read their textbooks – they've been in school all week. And they say that encyclopedias are just boring! I really don't want them reading encyclopedias anyway. I know where they will be turning to, and they're too young for that. So what books are okay, and what books aren't?

The kids love to play games. But they are only allowed to play quiet games. What's a quiet game? When kids play games, they play games. Maybe tic tac toe? Are they not supposed to laugh? And another educational game? They've been in school all week! They just want to take a break and have a little time to unwind. But I don't want them to inadvertently break the Sabbath because I'm responsible if they do. So where do I draw the line? Where does okay and not okay meet? I'm trying to take this seriously, but it seems so vague!

We could just forget the games, and I could take the whole family on this amazing picnic. But even here, I could get this all wrong. We're not supposed to seek our own pleasures – or think our own thoughts. What am I expected to do at this picnic then? Just eat my food, listen to the birds – or music?

Oh yes, music. I could bring the radio with us to listen to music! But even here – it has to be the right music. Inspiring music. I guess country's out. Rock's always out anyway. Oh well, guess I'll pop in those Young Ambassadors singing zip-a-dee-doo-dah, because my kids just cannot stand classical operatic music, and they get enough choir at church. My, oh, my, what a wonderful day!

I could listen to the news, they said that's okay – but not too much news. If I have the news on constantly, that breaks the Sabbath. But how much news is too much news? Where's the line drawn? When have I offended God by breaking the Sabbath and when have I not? Are there any real answers here? Is this really just a guessing game of try your best and you're okay? After all, they said that how I keep the Sabbath could be vital to my salvation! So why is it that it seems so crazy relaxed, but with such serious consequences?

At least they told me I don't have to worry about using gas or electricity. That's the good news.

I can drive, too! Well, kind of. I asked them about that, about how the Jews could only drive less than a mile on the Sabbath, and they said that's true, but that was a Jewish custom, not from the Lord – so go ahead and drive to Church, you haven't broken the Sabbath.

I also thought I shouldn't buy anything on the Sabbath – but I guess I can. I can get gasoline, or I can pay to park my car – depending on the circumstances. How do I know what are the right circumstances? I really don't want to break the Sabbath, but do I really need to call my minister every time I have a doubt about it? Is it really all in my own judgement? They said if it's an emergency and I have to do it, it's alright. But I should have done it on Friday night before sunset. So I still feel guilty!
But they told me to come to church because it's more important to fellowship on the Sabbath than to stay home. But what if I did break the Sabbath – and they don't tell me I did, and I don't know I did? They said something about binding and loosing and the minister's authority and power – but it just does not sit right with me.

I wondered about the whole graduation thing down the road, and that got even more vague. It all depends on how long, how much work, being brief... I feel like I'm walking on pins and needles! The same with funerals, weddings.... as long as I don't miss church. If anything happens during church time, they say I have to go to church as the first priority. I can always go to church, but these things only happen once in a while. But if I don't go to church, they could kick me out and I could face the third resurrection. Again – why so vague? And if I DO get to go to a wedding or funeral, I'm not supposed to engage in worldly conversation or idle chatter. What am I supposed to do, sit in the corner and read a Bible while everyone else is enjoying the occasion?

And when it comes to chores. They said I can wash the dishes, but it should be done the night before. If I do wash the dishes, only when I have to – like a cleanliness or bug issue. Same thing with making the bed. I shouldn't go all out in making the bed, but I can pull the covers up a bit and I should “be okay”.

I wondered about when my neighbors come over to borrow something. I can't lend them tools, because I'd be enabling them to work, but I can give them sugar or bread – even though they might be using that to cook with. Why does everything have to be so complicated?

I guess I'm left with more answers than I started with. They told me don't be on either extreme of these questions. I can always go to the minister to decide on these issues if I have doubts about it. Maybe that's what they want me to do. To always rely on them for the right answers and the proper judgment. I guess that's what I have to do. Because they want me to believe the Sabbath is a delight and a feast day. But all I end up doing is wondering if what I am doing is right, or wrong, and end up disciplining the children, or okaying something that's not okay, or not okaying something that is okay.

I think after reading this letter, that they aren't taking the Sabbath as seriously as I do, because I read in the Bible how serious it was in those days. Oh well, if they aren't too worried about it, maybe I shouldn't be. But I do need to make sure I never miss a church service, or send in a tithe, or disobey a minister. That seems to be what they always take seriously! Maybe I'm just not converted enough to understand this. Yeah, that's it. I'm definitely not ready for baptism.

Until next entry - Forward to the Kingdom.....

-Festival Jane

Author: William F. Dankenbring
Date: September 9, 1964
Publication: Good News Magazine

submitted by SHT

Friday, September 7, 2018

Church Ministry Makes Fun of Effeminate Men, but Also Says They Knew of Abuse : Sept 1967 GN

clipping submitted by SHT

The Worldwide Church of God was actually no better than the Catholic church when it came to abuse of the youth in the church. While the physical abuse was more physical with beating children than it was sexual abuse, the physical abuse from spanking has had a lasting effect on those who grew up in the church as small children.

We had a minister in Cincinnati as I was growing up, who said from the pulpit, that children should be paddled with 20 swats.  20 swats laid on so hard on the child's bottom that it could be heard as the preacher was preaching.  He actually said that he wanted to hear the swats and the child cry. One little boy was so traumatized from previous beatings that as his daddy was carrying him out to be spanked kept saying, "No Daddy!  No!"  Church members thought this was so cute and totally acceptable!

The local Spokesman Club used to sell paddles for church members that were 1 inch thick with holes drilled in them to cut down wind resistance.  Scriptures were also engraved on them just so that parents could not forget the Bible approved of what they were doing.

Who can forget the spanking tents at the Feast sites? The church knew of the abuse that went on inside them so much so that in the Pocono's they actually told members to not be so abusive in case the public saw and heard what was happening in them.

When it came to pedophiles, the church covered up for them just as the Catholics have. Many COG's even employed them at the direction of the presiding leader.

Is it no wonder why the vast majority of youth who grew up in the church are no longer members?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Australian Government Comes to Bat For GCI After Greens Party Falsely Accused It

It was reported a while back here and in various Australian news services that Grace Communion was actively promoting gay conversion therapy in its chaplaincy program.  Apparently a member of the Greens party in Australia did not get her facts straight and falsely accused the GCI.

This is sure to set off our delicate and very bitter persecuted prophet of Arroyo Grande.  This is a claim that Bob Thiel has been vomiting out for many years now that he will be persecuted for promoting anti-gay stances. This will be a bitter disappointment to delicate Bob.  It will add more fuel to his fire of hate filled grievances with GCI, LCG and other COG's.


Greens condemned on gay conversion claims
The Greens have been criticised for linking school chaplains with the widely condemned practice of gay conversion, after Victorian education officials dismissed suggestions that one of the state’s providers had been the subject of complaints.

The Victorian Department of Education has confirmed that it has received no complaints about Christian ministry Grace Communion International, which is a National School Chaplaincy Program provider, since the scheme began in 2015. 
In its response to questions from Greens education spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young during a Senate estimates hearing in May, the department stressed there were stringent guidelines governing chaplains in Victorian schools, including adherence with anti-discrimination and human rights legislation. 
Senator Hanson-Young had singled out Grace Communion during the hearing, saying it was an “organisation that believes in gay conversion therapy”. “I’m quite concerned that some of the organisations providing these chaplain services are a dangerous risk to our kids,” she said. 
Ms Hanson-Young later issued a press release saying “questionable religious organisations using their fringe ideals to … push gay conversion therapy methods are being invited into schools under the government’s $247 million school chaplaincy program”. 
Federal Education Minster Dan Tehan, whose government recently extended the program to include an anti-bullying focus, said the senator “should get her facts right before she makes unsubstantiated allegations”. 
Grace Communion national co-ordinator John McLean said he was relieved he record had been set straight. 
“The reality is that we have one chaplain operating in Australia, in Victoria, and that actually grew organically out of an existing relationship between that individual’s congregation and the local school,” he said. 
“Certainly no one in our Australian organisation supports any attempts to convert LGBTI people. 
“And nothing like that has ever come up in our chaplaincy.”

See story here.

Herbal Detoxification – A Parable

Herbal Detoxification – A Metaphorical Story
guest writer: SHT

Eleven herbs and spices, so goes the popular catch-phrase for one of the most well-known Chicken-Centric eateries in the United States.

Those with a passion for poultry gobble down boxes and buckets of assortments of legs, thighs, and breasts of these herb-coated Great-American staples of Kentucky fame. What gives the distinctive, finger-licking, can't get enough taste to these unfortunate victims of the food chain is, of course, the special combination of the herbs and spices. In this instance, Herbs have added something to a dish that, so far as I know, no one has been completely successful at replicating. This is an example of a benefit of herbs (and spices).

And then there are those who really don't know how to use herbs and spices. If you are a novice at creating, shall we say, a casserole, or a stew – and you decide to flavor up your creation – but you really don't have any idea as to what herbs and spices to use, and simply grab some herbs here, and a few spices there – what you'll come up with will probably be not the greatest example of a Gordon Ramsey-worthy creation. I would probably dare you to show him what you would come up with. I'd challenge you to stay to hear his critique. More than likely, your novice dish would be a disaster – unless you got really lucky!

When it came to the recipe that Herbert Armstrong used in creating his theology, it can sometimes be just as challenging to attempt to reverse-engineer it as it is to figure out the Colonel's award-winning recipe for chicken. The urge to do so is just as challenging, for two very polarizing reasons. One of them just gave you good chicken. The other one just makes you want to hurl!

When the Colonel developed his Chicken, he knew exactly what to do. He knew how to USE herbs and spices, because he understood that when it comes to food, you just can't go “here a little, there a little”, and “cherry-pick” your way to success. You had to know what each herb and what spice does. You have to understand the right measurements and proportions. You need to know the temperature needed to thoroughly cook the chicken, to make sure there's nothing raw in there, or overcooked as well. You have to make sure it has just the right crunch – and just the right proportions of salt. In short, you have to understand everything about the herbs, the spices, and the chicken to really make a product that the public understands is nothing short of amazing.

In our analogy, Herbert decided that he was going to make a much better chicken product. His wife told him that the recipe was all wrong. He had to prove it wasn't correct. So Herbert decided to run down to the local library, and learn everything he could about creating the perfect chicken restaurant in six months. After reading a dozen or so books, Herbert became convinced that he, and he alone, made the perfect, most amazing, most delicate chicken he could ever create. The knowledge was a gift – given to him from the Chicken Masters Themselves!

Herbert then ripped pages out of these books. One from this recipe book, one from another recipe book. He ripped out a few pages on herbs, on spices, on the use of flour, and a few things about temperature and what have you. Then, using the time-practiced methods of others – he discovered he, and he alone was given the talent and ability to make – wouldn't you know it – the PERFECT chicken!

But THIS Chicken is special! You see, THIS chicken – this Chicken of Herbert – was the only TRUE Chicken you could ever eat. Every other chicken restaurant is not only horrible, it's rotten. It's putrid. It's tasteless. It's overcooked. Or it's raw. This chicken is absolutely the worst chicken you could ever look at! Why? Because you're the only one that has the knowledge of how chicken is done properly (I really had to work to avoid slogan infringement there!), and every other chicken restaurant out there is completely counterfeit.

But Herbert ran into a little problem with his new Chicken Empire. He was short of money. But he HAD to show the world just how great HIS Chicken was! So, he developed a way to fund his chicken empire. It was really simple. Herbert would form a club, let's call it “The Worldwide Clucking Chickens of Gobble”, claiming that his chickens had a special mix of herbs and spices that no one else had that had healing abilities. If you ate this chicken, you would feel better, be healed of all of your illnesses, be favored by the Worldwide Clucking Chickens of Gobble, spread the word of the Cluckers, and grow in the knowledge of the Power of Clucking Chickens. But there was, of course, a catch.

In order to grow his Clucking Chickens Club, he had to make sure he had the loyalty of his Chicken Cluckers. First, each member would need to pay their dues. It wouldn't be that much – just a small stipend of the salary they make – say, maybe ten percent of their earnings. Next, they would have to be told to never, ever go to another Chicken Restaurant, because their ingredients were toxic. That'll do it, because they would be scared if they ate their competitor's chickens, they'd suffer from horrible indigestion, worms, maggots, burns, and a horrible awful taste. Worse than this, it would be the most unloyal thing they'd ever do to forsake the Clucking Chickens Club to try something that was told to be so bad for them. They wouldn't even try it, because they believed Herbert simply understood Chickens better than the rest of them.

So those who believed Herbert knew best hung on to his every word.

Herbert developed countless articles on why HIS Chickens were SO great, and everyone else's Chickens were so horrible. Herbert looked at every possible thing that favored his methods, and promoted them to the ends of the earth. But if Herbert saw anything at all that disagreed with his techniques, they were putrid, rotten, and disgusting. They just didn't get it. They were the “Evil, Rotten Anti-Chickens, Clucking Their Way to Destruction”.

And Herbert's Group of Cluckers believed him. They became afraid. They looked at the other Chicken restaurants, scared to go in there for fear they'd get sick. They treated them as inferiors, because they really believed they had the better chicken. They marched into their restaurants, smug as could be, ordered their chickens, and praised Herbert to no end for being the recipient of the Chicken Once Delivered. Surely, within just three to five years, they'd see the healing power of the Chickens in their lives! They'd see that their way works. And all would understand this, once Herbert took over all the other Chicken Restaurants with his techniques, to rule the Empire of Chickendom forever.

Of course, the other Chicken restaurants around thrived. They knew that Herbert's Chicken restaurant was a little strange, and off the wall – but they simply went on with their lives. Of course, there really was nothing wrong with their chicken. They knew Herbert only knew “what he was doing” based on the techniques and principles of others he copied and learned from. In short, Herbert's Chicken Clucking Empire was a complete fraud. His empire grew on deceiving those whom he brought into his Chicken Club into believing he had the Only Real Chickens, and every other chicken restaurant would cause them great harm.

And so, for several years, his chicken empire grew. But in time, Herbert would pass on to the great land of Chicken Entrepreneurs. And those who ran the Chicken Cluckers decided that the best way to see if their chicken was really the best chicken – and if the others really were as bad as they were taught, was to take a taste test of the other Chicken Restaurants.

So they went over to their competitors, and were shocked at what they found out.

The other Chickens were different, yes, but tastier. They were seasoned differently, but tasty! Some were barbecue. Some were honey-roasted. Who would have thought of these variants? Some of them were nuggets. Others were fingers. Still, others were broasted. Variety! Herbert never taught variety with HIS Chicken! They'd been eating the same chicken for decades! Could it possibly be that there's more than one way to eat a chicken? Could it possibly be that they were not just wrong, but incredibly short-sighted and trapped in the box?

So the executives that took over the Chicken Cluckers realized their mistake. They then told the Chicken Cluckers that the other chicken places never actually harmed anyone. They didn't cause food poisoning, they didn't cause indigestion – none of these things were true. But if the Cluckers knew that, Herbert would lose their business, at his empire's financial expense.

As the Cluckers were angry at the deception, the empire fell, and separated into several different chains. Many were amazed at the variety of chickens out there. Others were scared, and stayed with Herbert's Cluckers. No one could understand the deception. But in spite of all the evidence, there was still a small core group that believed all the other chicken restaurants were death traps, full of evil and toxicity. And no one could convince them otherwise.

The world is full of entrepreneurs and business types who do anything to get a niche in their market. The moral of the story?

There's always more to the story than an ad-man will tell you to sell his product. Coke may say things about Pepsi. Pepsi may say things about Coke. But in the end? They're both tasty, carbonated beverages. No matter what one might say about the other. And if you're really, really thirsty – you'll take either one, and recognize the truth within the story.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Church 1955 - Pray and Pay. That is your Duty

graphic courtesy of SHT

So there you have it. This is your duty as a Church of God member.

You are expected to answer questions from others, but you were never allowed to ask the really hard questions. The "answers" you were expected to give were already thought out and told to you in sermons and booklets.  God forbid if you ever had an original thought of your own. that money!  As a member, you were expected to pay your tithes and offerings while those above you in the ministry did not have to pay tithes since they were "spiritual Levites." And don't forget that Herbert Armstrong set the standard for you and tithed on his "income."  However, his income was 10 times what yours was, had a home mortgage free that was fully furnished with the finest art, gold and silver imaginable. While you struggled to feed your family and cloth your children, HWA had the church pay for and maintain the homes for himself of his daughters for many years, with no money out of his pocket.

Monday, September 3, 2018

GTA's Prophecy About Bob Thiel

God's Word is literally filled with fearsome WARNINGS to any and all who would presumptuously SET THEMSELVES UP as "teachers" of the people, when God has not specifically PLACED them in that office! 


Some, however, who are always looking for ways to GET AROUND the set and established ways of their Creator and RULER, want to "have their own way," and so try to achieve their wrong goals by wrong means! 
   Frequently, some will get a certain "feeling" they are being called to the ministry! Setting their heart on the ministry, they DECIDE God has called them to be His stewards — and try to maneuver THEMSELVES IN!

Notice, they have NOT been trained — have NOT fulfilled the divinely imposed Scriptural qualifications, have NOT been observed, tested and proved by God's true ministers — they merely "make up their minds" and then VOLUNTEER!

Others have a "dream" and then come to the ministers, telling them God is calling them to the ministry! But WHO HAD THE DREAMS IN THE BIBLE? The one being called? Or the human instrument used in the actual calling? 

God's true servants are not called by weird dreams and visions which God keeps HIDDEN from His already — called and ordained officers of the church. 

A lay member will not be called to the ministry without the MINISTERS being the FIRST ONES TO RECOGNIZE IT — BEFORE THE LAY MEMBER EVER DOES! 

But — as is nearly ALWAYS the case when a presumptuous person tries to USURP authority, he repudiates the office of the one in the already — established position, aid accuses that person of having arrogated the office to himself! 

Satan "volunteered" to take over the office of God! All the FALSE prophets set themselves up, claiming to be the true Prophets of God! 

Any person who tries to arrogate to himself an office of the ministry joins ranks with Korah, with Adonijah and all the false prophets, with Simon Magus and with Satan the devil himself!

-Garner Ted Armstrong
-Good News
-December 1964


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Judging and Discipline According to Armstrongism

"Christ will certainly guide His ministers in judging His people today. He intends to present the church holy and blameless before God. The Bible form of church discipline is one of the means Christ is using to keep His church free from corruption. All such judgments by God's servants will be bound in heaven. Christ directs His ministers in governing His church. Then He bucks them up with His divine authority and power. "

-Roderick C. Meredith, Judging and Discipline in God's Church, Good News, 1966

One of the largest points of contention within the Worldwide Church of God and it's Daughter Splinters is the extremely controversial issue regarding "Judging and Discipline". No other topic can create such an array of reaction. All one has to do is say the name "Scarborough", and nearly any person within the LCG Splinter group knows exactly what you're talking about. No other doctrine has promoted such an abuse of power among the  "ministers...governing His church". 

Of course, Meredith himself was the leader of the Living Church of God when he was alive - and also, as you may note above, the author of this article. As a senior evangelist in the Worldwide Church under Herbert Armstrong, and the leader of Global and then Living Church of God, Rod himself has had a lot to do with the administration and legislature of church discipline practices and standards. Looking into what was taught and what was done is one of the best ways to do an autopsy on the spiritual health of the churches.

 "If a person gets in a wrong spirit and refuses to heed the instructions of God's called servants, Paul showed that they are to be disfellowshipped that they may be ashamed.

   Learning to obey the government of God is the very basis of true Christianity. People must be taught to respect and fear the authority God wields through His ministers. If a person refuses to obey God's government now, how can he be expected to obey it in the kingdom?" 

This is a very interesting comment by Meredith. He teaches that "Learning to obey the government of God is the very basis of true Christianity". That's an interesting spin on a concept that was amazingly well-versed by Jesus himself. Jesus said that pure and undefiled religion is to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained. In short, to love God and love each other. 

Meredith's version of Christianity seems more like the system of the military then a spirit of love in Christ. Especially with the comment that "people must be taught to respect and fear the authority God wields through His ministers."

What these statements show is the over-whelming power that the ministry convinced the members of the church to believe that they had. It seems the most important thing of all things on the minds of the ministry of the Church was obedience. Obedience to the ministry is important now - and apparently, according to Rod, for all of eternity forever and ever and ever. What an absolutely incredible, astounding , scintillating fate we should all be shivering in our boots for - in the deepest and fullest possible fear of their ever omni-present God Powers!! Be still our beating hearts. 

Now, we get to the big iron anvil of disfellowshipment. After explaining why an "obstinate sinner" is put out of the church - meaning the Worldwide Church of God at the time - they're thrown to the lion's den as freshly killed meat. Sin and rebellion against the "Government of God" can only lead you to the horror house of Satan, and demons, and a horrible, unworthy life where everything goes wrong, so it was taught by the church. This mind-conditioning to cause fear in disobeying a minister or in leaving the physical church - sadly - worked for thousands of people creating a condition of bondage, shackled to every rule and command of "God's Government". 

"once an obstinate sinner is put out of the church, God will permit Satan to afflict him until he repents — if he will repent. How fearful is the judgment of God on those who know the truth and then let themselves be led into sin and rebellion against God's government!"

Why do this? Rod makes his position: To prevent God's children from becoming careless and lukewarm about sin. Apparently, when caught in a sin in "God's Hospital", you pull out the IV's, pull out the medicines, open the windows, take the patient from the stretcher, and throw the patient out the window to crash-land on the pavement below, with the hope that the patient will understand the consequences of his action, because this is apparently "God's Way".

Or, to protect the church from "becoming infiltrated with sinners" or "false teachers" who will lead others into sin.

The problem is with this philosophy is that many power-hungry ministers - who had NO BUSINESS being ministers in any way, shape, or form - were so busy throwing their phasers on "kill" setting and striking everyone who does wrong, or pulling out their light-sabers and tasers to zap the offenders, didn't see the horrible over-abundance of sin that had infected "God's Ministry" to the point of near uncontrollable growth (GTA's words paraphrased here, not mine). How could "God's Ministry", already infected with sin from the top down, possibly be capable of eliminating sin on the ground floor? You can't put fire out with lava! This is nothing but blatant hypocrisy, designed - intentionally or not - from the beginning to force submission in a regime of sin bound with chains and shackles to every word of an already sin-infested ministry.  

"The purpose of this form of church discipline is to prevent God's children from becoming careless and lukewarm about SIN — which God hates — and to protect God's church from becoming infiltrated with sinners or false teachers who will lead others into sin."
The ministers - "God's Government" - are the only authority that matters when it comes to discipline and judgment, Rod taught. This "bring it to the minister" for every dispute was taught and enabled directly by Rod Meredith himself - which many of the members took to mean every little thing, and many of whom took it to unrealistic extremes. Using the word "commanded" just made it more binding, and it wasn't long before people were going to the ministry for things they should have been more than capable of handling themselves. The ministry reduced them to first-grade teacher-student settlements. "He stole my pencil". "It was mine!". "Go to the minister." "Mr. Law-Dude!!!!!" 

"It is the wise men, then, the ministers and elders in the church, to whom these problems should be brought. Instead of going before worldly courts, Christians should want to have their disputes settled God's way, according to the principles of God's righteous laws. They are commanded to bring all such disputes before the church for judgment."

The last thing that the Church wanted was the Law involved in the lives of their members. Who knows what would come out about the Church under interrogation under oath that could negatively impact the Church or it's teachings!!!
"In material disputes, you are to go directly to God's ministers instead of a worldly court. If you love God, this will always be to your best interests in the end. This is God's way — God's command."
So the ministers were to decide every detail of the life of a member - right down to "material disputes". It's pretty easy to see how a minister may have used this for their own financial benefit. If the courts could be avoided, and "God's Ministers" used their "divine authority" to "cast judgment" - you can best believe it would always be for the Church's best interests in the end each and every time. 
   "In all cases, remember that the final responsibility for all decisions rests with God's ministers whom He has called. Christ has promised to "be with" and guide them in every judgment. The judgment is of God. It will be "bound" in heaven."
In other words: Whatever the minister says, goes. If the minister says it,the minister takes the responsibility. God backs it and the judgement is of God. It is bound in heaven. So it is written, so it shall be done. No argument. This is why so much harm to members was allowed to fall at the hand of power-hungry ministers who yielded nearly unlimited power (so far as the laws of the REAL governments would allow) on their members.
   "You may be tempted to criticize or disagree with some decision that God's ministers will bind. Be very careful lest. you let this turn you against God. You may not understand all the facts. But God's called ministers probably do and they are responsible to Him — not some human — for their actions in directing His church."
You don't know anything. The ministers bind it. It could "turn you against God", even if you "don't understand" but the ministers probably do and you, of course do not. They're responsible to God - not some human - for their actions. Perhaps this is why Herbert Armstrong never took action on ministers who wreaked havoc on so many congregations. Perhaps Herbert believed that God would supernaturally take care of the problem. So, just shuffle them from church to church spreading trouble like a malignant cancer from congregation to congregation.
   "It is human nature to disagree with God. When the children of Israel rejected Samuel as their judge and leader (I Sam. 8:1-9), God told Samuel, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected ME, that I should not reign over them." Be fearful lest you reject God by rebelling against His called servants."

If you rebel against the ministers, then you rebel against God. How could you possibly then, in your mind, once believing this clap-trap, possibly say "no" to orders which were unethical, immoral, over-reaching, out-of-bounds, or even illegal? You would be rebelling against God himself, you were told! So you ended up as a meek, spineless, submissive child to the hands of your new father, who controls your every issue in life. And if you do that, now God does not "reign over you" any more. Oh yeah, and you might get (likely, will get) disfellowshiped and thrown to Satan to be ashamed of your rebellion against God's Government! You are a child all over again.

This is why the ministerial edicts against medicine, on dating, on marriage, on jobs, on money, on Sabbath observance, on church attendance, on travel, on child-rearing and many other life points were revered and followed as much as they were. These ministers, on the basis of Government, threw themselves between you and God as an intermediary. Now, you had to go through them to get to God, and God through them to get to you. Why even bother praying. Just call Mr. Law-Dude and ask him.

"God holds His ministers responsible for teaching you His word, and for directing His church and carrying out church discipline. By following God's way of church discipline and judgment, the church of God may go forward in peace and love — and will be purged of all sin to be presented "holy and without blemish" to Christ at His coming."

Fear religion in Armstrongism is this: To reject the biblical teaching that Christ came to break through the chains of bondage that false ministers and teachers use to enslave their members, thus throwing their lives at the mercy of rebellious and carnal posers of righteousness, and world-oriented men intent to build an empire of wickedness at the full and total expense of the care and compassion - and well-being of their sheep. 

submitted by SHT

Why Is My Tithing Not Working?

ht: SHT

Desperate COG Prophet Still Seeking To Legitimize Himself

Of the many aspects, you read about prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, no a single one of them spent half of his waking hours each day tryi9ng to prove to others that he was legitimate. Deep down they knew they had a calling and went forth to the world, no holds barred.  Their God spoke directly through them.  Not so much today in 2018 though.

Today the Church of God is filled with a myriad of mentally disturbed men who think they are conduits of God's word.  They have no qualms about lying to church members with one absurd false prophecy after another.  Many of these believe they are God's prophet and don't have a second thought about it. Well, that is except for one.

That leads us to our favorite eternally-bitter, self-appointed prophet, Almost-arrested but not-arrested Bawana Bob Thiel.  Bawana Bob is once again dragging Norm Edwards into this legitimization process.

The Great Bawana to Africa writes:

Norman Edwards, a former board member of the old Global Church of God, wrote an article Need Prophets More than Prophecy. Norman Edwards granted me permission to post the article in its entirety (because of potential copyright issues, I rarely post articles in their entirety unless permission has been given/suggested). The following is from a file Norman Edwards emailed me:

Need Prophets more than Prophecy

by Norman Scott Edwards, Shepherd’s Voice Magazine
This writer can still remember the excitement he felt when he first heard a preacher explain that the Bible was a prophetic book, and we could understand the events of our time in advance by reading it. The preacher explained that the prophecies of the Bible were complicated and often symbolic. He also said a firm grasp of world history was necessary to properly distinguish the fulfilled prophecies from the ones in the future. This task obviously exceeded the capability of fledgling Christians, so I needed to get his booklet on the subject. And so many others have had a similar experience, and were excited to take in the book, video or seminar where the future events of prophecy were all explained for them.
The article is quite long after this.

Bawana Bob, Prophet to Africa then continues:
Norman Edwards runs the Church Bible Teaching Ministry and has been the editor for Shepherd’s Voice magazine. He is not part of the Continuing Church of God, where, I function as its human leader (and am an ordained prophet; the only known such prophet in any legitimate Church of God group).
Seriously?  Yes, you did just read that unadulterated nonsense!

While Norman Edwards and I have long disagreed about aspects of church governance and various matters of doctrine (and I would have suggested a different title, etc. for his article), we both agree that many who are in or claim to be in the Church of God (COG) wrongly do not accept that God has any prophets today. We also agree that most have severe difficulty to identify one who really is a prophet because of various unscriptural biases and improper criteria that they have. 
Because of false prophets in a couple of COG-related groups and a disbelief in prophets by most of the COG groups, the non-Philadelphian COGs have a lot of severe prophetic misunderstandings.
As if Norm Edwards seriously believes that Bawana Bob is a real prophet.  I am certain though that Norm does believe there are false prophets presently leading several COG's.  That is an easy deduction for about 80% of the people in the COG today.

As the people of old ignored John the Baptist, the Church of God today ignores Bawana Bob.
As Norman Edward’s article points out, it is scriptural to now have prophets according to the New Testament. But many who truly believe that they live by the word of God have discounted or overlooked what the Bible actually teaches and/or have been influenced by others who have done the same or worse. The COG has at least one demonstrably true prophet today, yet most in the greater COG world seem to be able to ignore the truth about that, like most ignored John the Baptist and others in their day.
The Church of God today ignores Bawana Bob because everyone knows he is a liar.  When he made such big deal about a false double blessing to legitimize his apostacy from the Living Church of God, the red flags went up for most church members.  Bawana Bob knew he needed to make the first step before Rod Meredith kicked him out. Gaylyn Bonjour's innocent prayer has turned into a doctrine for the 2,900 members he has in Africa.

Has there ever been a prophet in the church that spent 99% of his time talking about himself? Other than Dave Pack, is there any other COG leader who is so self-absorbed?

Discerning false prophets 

We should learn from this and ensure that the prophets among us are authentic. The Bible teaches that we will know the true from the false by their fruit (Matthew 7:15). We are able to test through the discerning of spirits (one of the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12) and through perceiving their inner motives. We need to be able to recognise those who are false by discerning that they “inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Let me explain. 
If we look carefully, we will say that their gift is being used to serve their own hunger or need (“ravenous wolves”). Their own need for recognition, honour and praise will be their motivation. They will not come primarily to freely serve, but will want seats of honour and power. They will lord it over people and love the fame that their gift gives, rather than being willing to serve without praise or recognition. They may, like the woman in Acts 16:15, prophecy for money. Instead of prophesying to serve the church freely (as Christ gave freely), they will demand a charge and so ‘serve’ for financial gain. Whether the church decides to bless them financially or not will make no difference to the authentic prophet. It will be their absolute joy to freely serve God’s people with their gift.
Another giveaway that we learn was that this woman was continually “shouting” (Acts 16:16-17 NIV). Shouting itself was not the problem; it was rather the continual drawing attention to herself. False prophets have a root of flesh in which Satan uses for his own purposes to keep the focus on man. When we become solely aware of the person and their gift, then we are watching a prophet drawing attention to themselves rather than pointing in awe and wonder to the Lord. Of course, true prophets can also have areas of immaturity and insecurity, but they will always point people to Christ.
Jesus!  Who the hell is he?  Bawana Bob certainly has no idea because, like false prophet James Malm, prostitutes himself to the law, Catholicism, Mayans, and hundreds and hundreds of irrelevant topics, instead of ever focusing upon what Jesus did and accomplished.

Bob Thiel is not a prophet. Norm Edwards has not certified him as a prophet, and even if he did, Edwards theories on prophets are of little importance to Christians today.