Saturday, November 10, 2018

Does receiving a "double portion" automatically make one a prophet?

There is a long-running blog (since 2008) that has been run by a COG member that has taken another hit against our resident self-appointed false prophet, Bob Thiel of the improperly named "continuing" Church of God.

Almost everyone in and out of the Church of God totally understands why Thiel's outlandish claims are without merit and ultimately a dangerous road for any Christian to follow.  Everyone that is except for the diploma-mill "dr." Thiel. Almost as soon as Rod Meredith kicked Theil to the curb because of his outlandish claims and outright lies, the self-appointed prophet began dreaming up claims that he tried to legitimize himself in the eyes of the leadership and members of LCG who have spent decades laughing at him behind his back.

That ultimate rejection by his spiritual daddy, Rod Meredith, was like a knife in his back.  He needed to come up with new ideas to prove himself worthy of being followed.  He immediately began blaming Meredith and LCG for being lax in their ways and teachings and soon resorted to "interpreting" his dreams in order to make himself look worthy to be followed.  Finally after too many bad meals that resulted in lots of restless dreams, Thiel miraculous became the ONLY true COG leader on earth today.

Anyway, back to the blog:
2 Kings 2:9-15 tells of the time when the prophet Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. At the same time, his office and responsibilities were transferred to Elisha who was to be prophet in his place (1 Kings 19:15-16).

Elisha asked Elijah for a "double portion of your spirit" (2 Kings 2:9). What did that refer to? Did it mean becoming a prophet? Was a prophetic office indicated by the term "double portion"?

No. That is impossible.

The Bible does not specify exactly what was meant by that term and everything it indicated. Perhaps it referred to the power to work signs and miracles. But it did not indicate the office of prophet.
I bring this up because some think that if a minister anoints someone and asks God to give that person a double portion of God's Spirit, that is the same thing as ordaining that person as a prophet. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In previous posts I have made the point that making the request for a double portion does not mean God grants the request. Even Elijah did not know if God would give Elisha what he asked. Even today, when a member is anointed for healing, which is promised, God does not always heal even in this lifetime, and a double portion of God's Spirit is not even promised.

But now I am showing that the "double portion" does not even refer to being a prophet.

It can't. Elijah knew Elisha would be prophet from what God had told him in 1 Kings 19:16. He would not have answered Elisha as he did if "double portion" meant the office of prophet. The matter of Elisha being a prophet was not a question at this point. It was already settled. Not so the "double portion". That was something else. Elijah did not know if God would grant that request.

So the "double portion" Elisha requested and the office of prophet were two different things.

How do we know if a man in the Church of God is a prophet? Only God can make someone a prophet. But how do we know if He has done so?
The next part is my favorite. I can feel the butthurt all the way from Arroyo Grande when the self-appointed one read this:

God gives criteria.
One is, he must be faithful, overall, to God's way of life. He must be faithful to strive to believe and live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4). That does not mean he is perfect. But overall, he must be faithful to teach the truth. In particular, he must not try to turn the people to false gods. "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'—which you have not known—'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).
This includes not pointing the people to demon-inspired messages about the future. "For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:14).
A man who quotes and publishes and spreads pagan and demon-inspired prophecies about the future, trying to learn and teach from demons details of the future that God does not choose to reveal, disqualifies himself from being a true prophet. 

The self-appointed prophet has yet to make any prophecy concerning the future or uttered anything over the last few years that came to pass.  The problem with the doubly-deceived prophet is that he cannot differentiate between his personal ideas,  hopes, and desires from letting his god speak to him.  Thiel's visions are nothing more than wishful thinking and are not a communication from God.  Everyone sees that except for him.
But also, a true prophet of God is given prophecy by God. God gives prophecy - sure prophetic messages by direct revelation from God - to His true prophets. And a sign of a prophet is accurate predictions in those messages of future events. When a prediction in a prophetic message comes true in a way that is unlikely by chance, that is a sign that the man is a true prophet.  

"And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?'—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

I find no example in the Bible of a prophet without prophecy. Any man who claims to be a prophet but who has never received a direct prophetic message from God is practicing wishful thinking.

Those are two qualifications for being a prophet - not turning the people to false gods, false doctrines, or messages from demons, and actually receiving prophetic messages from God - messages about the future that can be verified when the future event comes to pass.

Both are needed.
So what happens if,  by chance, the doubly blessed one actually does make some kind of prophecy that might come to pass?  More butthurt is to ensured:
What if someone who claims to be a prophet of God makes a prediction that comes to pass, but also turns people to demon-inspired pagan prophecies? Is that person a true prophet?


God may allow a false teacher to make a true prediction as a way of testing His people to know if they will believe His word, the Bible, or not. See Deuteronomy 13:1-3 which I quoted above.

So even if a man can make true predictions about the future, if he points people to pagan and demon-inspired messages, he cannot be a true prophet of God.

How much less a man who claims to be a prophet, points people to pagan prophecies, and cannot even make his own prophetic predictions.

Check out Preaching the Gospel here.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Disaster in California and the COG Reaction

Disaster in California: This is Not the time to Judge. This is the Time to Help.

In Southern California, especially in Butte County, as well as in the suburban areas of Los Angeles, a storm of hellish proportions is engulfing properties and threatening lives clear down to Malibu. Many celebrities - such as Alyssa Milano, Caitlyn Jenner, and Kim Kardashian have been affected.

I can just see the scowl on the faces of fundamentalist Church of God members to the news. I can just read their thoughts. I can almost predict the posts that are due to come out, if they have not come out already. The hatred, the judgements, the "warnings" - they come out like roaring lions every time a disaster hits. They always roar out with snarls and hisses about what they believe the reason for the fire really was, and what they believe caused it. They do not hesitate to call it a judgement of God against those who blaspheme against His ways and His will. They show no empathy, no care, no concern, no heart, and most of all, no love toward anybody who thinks or acts differently than they do. To them, they've brought it all on themselves because of their rebellion and obstinate behavior towards God's Law. "Burn, Burn, you haters of God and his ways", they'll say, nearly drooling over the prospect of the wicked being subject to punishment - wishing for fire and brimstone, like with Sodom and Gomorrah. You can almost hear them say "Get 'em" to the fire. "That'll teach 'em", you can nearly see them say as they hunch forward in glee, as in watching their favorite runner with the football heading towards the End Zone. (Well, most of them. We know one who doesn't meet that comparison!)

What is wrong with this picture?

Everything is wrong with this picture.

First of all, and importantly - EVERYONE - you, me, your neighbor, your son, your daughter, your parents - have issues. EVERYONE deals with their own personal situations. EVERYONE goes through their own struggles and their own pain. It is not our place to judge someone else's pain and suffering when we all have our own issues to deal with. Speck vs. Beam!!

Church of God Members are vicious and quick to cast judgement on what they see as immorality and perversion among "the world" and are quick to condemn and cast judgement, using events as wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural events as proof of the judgement of God. Yet they refuse to see the blatant idolatry, the immorality within their own ranks, the hypocrisy, the abuse, the oppression, the extortion, and the financial theft happening within their own ranks. Who are them to cast judgement when they don't look in the mirror? The hypocrisy is beyond wretched and reason.

Who are they to sit there and cast judgement on those who are not meeting their standards when they are blind to their own nest of sin and evil - as they define it? Who made them holier than thou? Who gave them the gift of spiritual discernment when their own nest has been scorched by the fires of wickedness? Who are they to laugh and scorn at the loss and pain of others, when they oppress the poor, abuse the weak, and take gain for themselves for their own comfort and security? What gave them the right to be such arrogant and hurtful pricks? They cast judgement in the name of God while their own hair burns and they don't even know it.

Just as bad, they feel they don't have to do a thing to help them, or to "show them Jesus", to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Which COG Leader do you know of who will drop everything to go to California to help them? Anyone?

Which COG Leader will invite Caitlyn Jenner into their home? Which COG Leader will invite Allysa Milano into their home - or ANY person of different opinion into their property? Anyone? Hello!

Will a COG Leader open his property to the victims of the wildfires? Will he allow them to sleep on his rug in his palace? Will he allow them to worship God with un-laced shoes? Or non-white shirts? Will he bring in the unwashed into his closed gates? Will he permit the smell of scorched and burned clothes into his palaces? Will he comfort the hurting? Would he? Could he?

Will a COG Leader open up his headquarters to the wounded? Or would he make the excuse it's too far? Would he pay airfare for the displaced in California who lost everything, who aren't financially fortunate? Or would he only care about his own members - who were somehow supernaturally protected - or give those who were hurt "thoughts and prayers"?

Will local ministers in California do anything?

Will our self-appointed non-ordained minister open up his house or his vitamin house for any of the wounded or displaced? Will he use any of his money or proceeds to feed the firefighters of the police who are working day and night to protect and to serve? Will our crooked bookcase man give a sermon of hope and peace in Jesus to the victims - or will he do another horrible message on 50 topics while ignoring the state burning all around him? Or will he do a web post on how everything happening is God's punishment on a world that won't keep the Sabbath at Bob's butt-numbing church services - or go to his Feast of Tabernacles?

What COG minister will be moved to be there in this disaster? Anyone? What COG minister will tell people to keep their hands off of this tragedy because you can't interfere with God's judgement? Shall we name names?

What if we reversed the thinking?

What if this wasn't a judgement on the world - but a test of action of faith to people who profess Jesus?

What if these things were a test of love? Of how much those who profess Jesus would take action? Would help and serve? Who take in and show the love of God to those who think differently? Who act differently? Did not Jesus say to feed the sick? Or the homeless? Or the jailed? Or the widowed? Did he not say to do these things? Of course, the COG will just say "Well, that didn't mean THEM. He was talking about the Church."

God have mercy on those who spew such bull and vomit on the grace of Jesus Christ. God have mercy on them. Because these are the ones that Jesus would have ran to to help and to serve. Because God's love and God's grace and mercy know no boundaries. God's sacrifice knows no bounds. God is a God who is looking for those who give of themselves for the sake of others - ALL others - regardless of race, religion, disability, or mindset. God is a God of love. And his expectation is that his people put their faith into action, show Jesus, and love others. ALL others. Without prejudice, and with great compassion and healing hands.

California is burning tonight. But so are the hearts and compassionate care of hundreds of thousands who do not cast self-righteous judgement and Pharisaical condemnation against those who are not as righteous as their holier than thou saintly vessels of perfection and righteousness - whitewashed with soap and gleaming with sparkles in their oh, so magnificent splendor - are. There are thousands who are going without sleep, without eating, driving thousands of miles, taking care of displaced people, pets, horses, who have lost everything - to do the work of the Lord Jesus to all peoples - regardless of what they believe or who they are. These are the people who are showing the love of God. These are the angels showing mercy and love and compassion.

As far as the COG leaders - whoever may do what I'm describing here - you know,  the ones who sit on their asses in their white shirts and pressed pants mocking those who have lost everything? Who sit there in self-righteous sneers as to how great they are and how wicked the world is? Who relish at the thought of the embers of fire and whipping destruction against those who despise and mock God's Law with drooling fervor, wishing the fire on - or worse, turning a blind eye?

Don't look at the specks in their eyes when a beam shoots out of yours. You make a mockery of Jesus, and spit, stomp, and reduce to ashes the word of God and the ministry of Jesus Christ. May God have as much mercy on YOU, as he shows on the world through the sacrifice and love of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ - so that you, too, may see how great and how deep and how wide is the love of God, who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for everyone. And once you open your eyes to THAT. May God's spirit convict you and WAKE YOU UP to the pathetic attitudes that have come from the false Gospel you've embraced through the false apostle Herbert Armstrong.

But God is not going to force you to change your stubborn and hard headed minds. That's going to be up to you.

Gerald Flurry Creates A New Standard On Forgiveness

Unless of course,
you are in the
Philadelphia Church of God 

Gerald Flurry has never been known for showing mercy and forgiveness to his members and to those who help run his empire. Those who assist him in his devious work of blasphemy are as equally abusive as he is.  Just look at the past reports about Wayne Turgeon and the things he as done to Philadelphia Church of God members.  Forgiveness and mercy as concepts unknown to the PCG.

Now, Gerald Flurry trots out Jesus so he can justify telling PCG members to cut off all ties to former members and family members who have left the PCG. Flurry now tells his members that church members, like Jesus, do not need to forgive anyone in the church who has wronged them or have been kicked out, until they repent and return to the fold.

Do you understand the subject of forgiveness? Do you view it as God does? The world is very confused on the subject, and there has been misunderstanding even in the Church of God. 
In the March-April Royal Vision, we printed an article titled “Forgiving Others.” The article contained errors that caused confusion. This is a foundational subject, so we need to make sure we have a proper understanding of it. 
The article started by saying, “We are all sinners. We all need forgiveness. … That forgiveness is contingent on two things: 1) We must repent—meaning a change in our thoughts, actions and desires; and 2) we must forgive others. Jesus Christ made this abundantly clear throughout His ministry.” 
Did you catch the grievous error made above?  Flurry goes on to reveal what his god has told him:

The second point was the premise of the whole article. But it is incorrect. And if the premise is wrong, then the entire article will be wrong. 
How do we receive forgiveness ourselves? “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). These are the biblical conditions to forgiveness: repent and believe. 
Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “If we repent and believe, then by divine miracle God’s Holy Spirit removes the death penalty from us. Our sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ, and we are saved from the second death!” (Plain Truth, June-July 1982). The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course reinforced this by saying, “Not until we repent of sin, believe and begin to obey God can we be forgiven (Lesson 25).” Repentance and belief are the conditions the Bible describes for us to receive forgiveness ourselves—not repentance and forgiving others. 
It is true that Jesus Christ said: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). However, this has been broadly misunderstood and misapplied, as it was in that Royal Vision article. I want to show you what Christ meant and what He did not mean. 
Notice that Flurry has decided what Jesus did not mean, and he lets PCG members know that everytime they sin they are recrucifying Jesus Christ.  Even worse, he claims that PCG members must not forgive others because they do not know if their god has forgiven them or not.
Here is a good summation of the incorrect view of Christ’s statement, as it appeared in our March-April issue: “This applies if we have committed a sin that has (in addition to costing the life of Christ) caused damage to someone else. But what do we do when we are the one wronged? We must forgive, irrespective of how much or how little the other party has ‘done right’ by us to fix whatever they’ve caused. Again, none of us can forgive as God does—and we must forgive, even without knowing whether or not God has truly forgiven them.” 
That is simply not true, and it is a serious mistake. We do not forgive “irrespective of how much or how little the other party has done right by us to fix whatever they’ve caused.” We don’t forgive “without knowing.” 
We must see this as God does.
Flurry goe son to say that the words that Jesus said on the cross to the two thieves was only valid for them because they were "unconverted."
The article pointed to the fact that Jesus Christ and Stephen asked for God to forgive their persecutors. When Christ was being crucified, He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Stephen demonstrated the same attitude toward those ready to stone him when he said, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60).
“We might justify our lack of forgiveness saying that the other party needs to show ‘fruits meet for repentance,’” the article continued. “That is not what Jesus Christ or Stephen were looking for when they made those statements of forgiveness.” But let’s examine the context of those examples.
When Christ and Stephen made those statements, they were talking about unconverted people who, as Christ said, “know not what they do.” We must understand the distinction in how God is working with those in the Church, who know the truth of God, and those in the world, who do not. There are two different approaches.
Those in the world don’t know; they are ignorant of what God teaches. Even when they persecute us, they don’t know what they are doing. When they killed Christ, they didn’t truly know what they were doing. Christ held no bitterness toward those people; He understood they were ignorant of what they were doing. 
His interpretation only gets worse:
Jesus Christ gave His life a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:6). He gave His life in advance of our repentance. When Christ said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” He was showing His attitude, His state of mind, His willingness to forgive. He died to make forgiveness possible for those “who know not what they do.” Christ died for all of us before we did any repenting or believing
This is an attitude we all need
Now, here is an important point to note: When Christ asked God to forgive those crucifying Him, did God forgive them at that point?No, He didn’t. Did Christ forgive those people of their sins at that time? No, He didn’t, but He was willing to forgive them. And He showed by example that we need to be willing to forgive. 
Have those killers been forgiven? No! But they will be forgiven once they repent! God does not actually forgive until there is evidence of repentance. Christ was simply illustrating the willingness to forgive. Those people didn’t know God!
It is a different circumstance, however, with people who know God. This is an important distinction we need to understand.

Is it any wonder that PCG members commit suicide?  What hope do they ever have?  How can they ever have faith in the creature they call "christ" who only has a "willingness" to forgive?  Flurry is like the rest of the Church of God leadership who have no idea who Jesus is or what he came to do and what he accomplished.  They don't know because they were taught by a man who did not know either. That is the sick legacy of Herber Armstrong.

The sickness gets even worse:
God’s law can be summarized in two great commands: Love God with all your heart, soul and might; and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). 
If you serve someone in the world, that falls under the category of loving your neighbor. However, Jesus Christ said that if you serve someone in the Family of God, then you are showing that same love toward God (e.g. Matthew 25:34-40). When God says that we are His Family, He means that we are His Family! The world is not our family yet—though they will soon have that opportunity. 
Your neighbor in the world has not even been called yet (Genesis 3:24). He is not in danger of eternal death as those of us in God’s Church are. At the fulfillment of the Last Great Day, God will call the people of the world—our neighbors. They will be resurrected and have their day of salvation (Ezekiel 37; John 7:37). 
By contrast, anybody called during this age will either be in God’s Family or become ashes under the saints’ feet! (Malachi 4:3). Our salvation is at stake! 
Because of this distinction, there is a big difference in how we are to administer the Spirit of forgiveness within the Family of God and how we are to administer it to the world, our neighbors. 
Christ and Stephen demonstrated the attitude we must have as we take God’s warning message to the largest audience possible—the world, our neighbor, those cut off from access to God—against fierce opposition. As the pressure from those in the world builds against us, our attitude must be, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Those of the world, our neighbors, do nothave a relationship with God; they do not know Him. They are not being judged now. 
But those in God’s Church do know God. We are His spiritual children; we are being judged now (1 Peter 4:17). 
As His spiritual children, God holds us accountable for our words and actions in our relationship with Him and in our relationships with each other. Where we sin against God or grieve a spiritual brother, God requires reconciliation in both relationships through repentance.
And on the craziness goes:
When we are dealing with Church members who have sinned, there are times we must mark people and put them out of the Church. When we do so, God says to avoid them (Romans 16:17). We must avoid them—not forgive them—until they show “fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8). We don’t forgive them,and we don’t allow them back to services, until they have repented. That is the whole objective when people are put out of the Church: It’s about repentance. It’s about waiting until they have repented and believed—but especially repented. (A big part of their problem may just be a lack of faith and they have to build that more and more, but we do accept repentance.) 
The congregation in Corinth had the wrong perspective on forgiveness. They had made a horrible mistake by keeping this man in. As Paul wrote, “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6). If you leave sin in the Church and just forgive without dealing with it, then you will destroy the whole Church! 
That hasn’t been happening in God’s Church today, but there is still some misunderstanding of this subject that makes us vulnerable. This is a fundamental lesson we must learn, and we have to make sure something like this is corrected. If we do not differentiate between how we administer the Spirit of forgiveness to our neighbor and our brother, it could endanger our spiritual lives!
Even ministers need to remember this. Hebrews 5:1-2 give us an important perspective: “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrificeshe himself also is compassed with infirmity.”
We ministers are just as human as the people we serve. But we do have an office, and we do have the authority to help keep the Church on track.
God says here that if somebody is ignorant or out of the way, a minster must go and correct that person—but he had better realize that he himself is encompassed with infirmities. He has problems, too, and shouldn’t correct God’s people like they are the only ones who have problems. If we are not careful when we do correct, we can begin to get into more than criticism, to where it is almost like condemning somebody.
I am encompassed with infirmities just like you are. And I hope and pray I always have judgment, mercy and faith, and that I love you the way God does. I will do that, although I certainly won’t do it perfectly.
This is God’s Church, and Jesus Christ is the Head of it. We really need to be a loving family, concerned about every individual in this Church. We must make sure if we have to say anything corrective that we know how to do it. Let’s not make it hard to get along and to be family. Let’s make it clear to each other that we really do love each other. If you are correcting somebody, make sure he really knows you love him—and you’re not just hammering him because he’s wrong. There is a big difference.
After all the evil the man has done in the PCG and lives he and his henchmen have destroyed, he dares to say this:
It’s not easy to accept correction, and if you come at somebody like a truck, then it will make it awfully hard to take. When you correct, you had better try hard to be merciful, or it is going to come back on you.
If we are God’s people, we are people with mercy. If we don’t have mercy on each other, our own Family, then we are not getting it.
Government is a great gift of God—we can do so much with it if we use it God’s way. I know a lot of people who came out of the Worldwide Church of God and who were really good at detecting evil within that church, but they still turned away from the truth and are not here today. They saw the evil within that church, but they didn’t see the evil within themselves. We all need to be looking at ourselves first! (1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
We all make mistakes, and I think the Family of God understands that. We are not perfect, but we certainly want to be as perfect as we possibly can (Matthew 5:48). We must get this right in order to truly serve God as we should. 
You can read the entire article here:  How to Administer the Spirit of Forgiveness 

One thing COG leaders never learned

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The ENTIRE ACOG movement can fit in the Tuscon Feast site today.

courtesy fo SHT

While HWA Was Globetrotting, and was receiving 1, 2, 3T, offerings, and about to open the Auditorium.

Worldwide News 5/28/73
submitted by SHT

I remember in the 1970's collecting newspapers, selling orange and cashing in soda pop bottles in order to send money in to build Herbert's monument.  Even worse was selling those hideous 10 Commandments wall plaques! 

Through all of this Herbert was globetrotting talking about a "strong hand from someplace" while we all struggled to live normal lives after sending in so much of our money.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

UPDATED: New Book: A River Could Be A Tree: A Memoir by Angela Himsel

From Indiana To The Upper West Side, A Pilgrim’s Progress
Angela Himsel’s long and winding spiritual road to Judaism.

On the Saturdays of her childhood, Angela Himsel and her 10 siblings, along with their parents, piled into an old Cadillac and would drive an hour and a half across Indiana to a rented hall in an old gray building. As faithful members of the Worldwide Church of God, they’d listen to preachers shout about the End of Days.
Yes, Saturdays. Following church doctrine, they celebrated Jewish holidays, eschewed medicine and doctors, didn’t eat pork or shellfish, tithed much of their minimal income to the church and believed that the world was about to end. And then, Jesus would arrive, and they — if they hadn’t sinned — had been chosen to witness that.
Himsel’s memoir, “A River Could Be a Tree” (Fig Tree Books), tells of her odyssey from rural Indiana to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where she now lives; from a life bound by the tenets of the Worldwide Church to her conversion and embrace of Judaism. She’s a brave guide, full of humanity, honesty, Midwestern humility and humor. As she explains in an interview, she first fictionalized her story into a novel, and then spent a decade creating the non-fiction narrative, doing interviews and research to assure accuracy.
Read the entire article here: From Indiana To The Upper West Side, A Pilgrim’s Progress


Journalist’s memoir traces jump from doomsday church to NY Orthodox Jewish mom

Did you have no inkling that the leaders were using money tithed by members to support their own lavish lifestyles, or that the leaders themselves were not adhering to church teachings?
I think my [Catholic and Lutheran] grandparents told my parents that it was just a cult that wanted their money. It’s an amazing thing that we have this ability to ignore what everyone around us is saying and just assume that they don’t know the mind of God, that they aren’t chosen, that they don’t understand. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
What is your view of the Worldwide Church of God now?
I find them despicable. They were responsible for so much suffering. Not just mental and spiritual suffering, but physical, as well. Because they insisted that you would be healed by faith, there were a lot of people who died as a result. That’s murder. I know that these people had free will, but their kids did not. The kids were at the mercy of their parents’ choices and decisions, and that still goes on today in various churches and religions. Any church that would deny children access to healthcare is not exactly Godly, let’s just say that.
Angela Himsel’s sister Abby, who died at age 13. (Courtesy)
Your own sister Abby died at 13 after suffering from an apparent heart ailment for several years. Your parents relied only on faith healing, yet you do not express any anger or resentment toward them.
I think that they did take her to the doctor after she got sick. And I also think that the doctors in Jasper were not great. My opinion is that she was never [properly] diagnosed . I don’t recollect them taking her to Indianapolis to see specialists. I think my parents did try to get medical care at the beginning, but they did not pursue it any further. They just let it go on for years.
I don’t blame my parents because they actually believed that God would heal Abby. From their perspective, they were getting the same thing as surgery. They really did. They believed it. It is heartbreaking.

Amazon review:
How does a woman who grew up in rural Indiana as a fundamentalist Christian end up a practicing Jew in New York?  
Angela Himsel was raised in a German-American family, one of eleven children who shared a single bathroom in their rented ramshackle farmhouse in Indiana. The Himsels followed an evangelical branch of Christianity—the Worldwide Church of God—which espoused a doomsday philosophy. Only faith in Jesus, the Bible, significant tithing, and the church's leader could save them from the evils of American culture—divorce, television, makeup, and even medicine. 
From the time she was a young girl, Himsel believed that the Bible was the guidebook to being saved, and only strict adherence to the church's tenets could allow her to escape a certain, gruesome death, receive the Holy Spirit, and live forever in the Kingdom of God. With self-preservation in mind, she decided, at nineteen, to study at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. But instead of strengthening her faith, Himsel was introduced to a whole new world—one with different people and perspectives. Her eyes were slowly opened to the church's shortcomings, even dangers, and fueled her natural tendency to question everything she had been taught, including the guiding principles of the church and the words of the Bible itself. 
Ultimately, the connection to God she so relentlessly pursued was found in the most unexpected place: a mikvah on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This devout Christian Midwesterner found her own form of salvation—as a practicing Jewish woman.
Himsel's seemingly impossible road from childhood cult to a committed Jewish life is traced in and around the major events of the 1970s and 80s with warmth, humor, and a multitude of religious and philosophical insights. A River Could Be a Tree: A Memoir is a fascinating story of struggle, doubt, and finally, personal fulfillment.

HWA: Words from my mouth are directly from God! Do you tremble before them?

PGR   6/26/78

And to think we swallowed this crap, hook line and sinker!

graphic clipping by SHT

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Living Church of God Scores A Major Coup In Getting Gospel Out To The World!

The Living Church of God, like most of the other splinter groups, have always claimed that they are boldly going forth into the world with the Gospel. They are meeting with world leaders and boldly proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  Getting their message on Roku seems to be the biggest thing they've accomplished...until now!

The Living Church of God has scored the biggest coup ever imaginable, so much so that Dave Pack and Bob Thiel are pitching fits in their bedrooms in frustration.

Are you ready for the big news??????????

November 01, 2018
Greetings from Charlotte,
We signed a contract with the Cowboy channel this past week. This satellite network will begin airing our program in the next few weeks to more than 30 million North American households. We have also been reviewing Festival Surveys and looking at Feast plans for coming years. The Council of Elders will meet for three days beginning Monday. Your prayers for the safety of all who are traveling, and for God’s guidance of the meetings, are appreciated. Dr. Meredith’s book on the Protestant Reformation is in the final stages of editing and layout before going to the printer. It was first published serially in the Tomorrow’s World magazine, and a certain amount of repetition was necessary to remind readers what was covered two months earlier. Repetition was also important to bring new subscribers up to date. Some of that repetition has been removed as unnecessary and distracting in the book format. I hope all of you will read it again, as I found it most interesting and was amazed how much I missed the first time around. Please check out the exciting news about the new Children’s Bible Lessons, below.—Gerald Weston  

The Cowboy Channel!   Woo Hoo!  

LCG is just as devious as Bob Thiel when they claim that millions of people will be watching their programs just because a cable network claims to have a certain amount of viewers.  The actual viewership of LCG's program will be minuscule compared to the total viewership of the Cowboy Channel. It is a FACT that 30 million North Americans will NOT be watching their program!

The Tithing Rabbit Hole

graphic clipping by SHT

GTA in 1973.  Even he knew the constant money grabbing by the church was damaging families, yet he continued to demand it be raked.

Just how many more non-biblical ways could they come up with to rake in money from members?

1st tithe
2nd tithe
3rd tithe every 3rd year into a fund to help remodel evangelists homes (Meredith)
Bail money fund to gain the release of arrested church leaders
Offerings at Holydays
tithe of the tithe
building fund
Member letters
"love" offerings
It is your fault my wife is dying offering
Steuben crystal fund
the most beautiful college campus in the U.S. fund
The Envoy fund
The New World Singers fund
The Young Philadelphians fund
The Young Ambassadors fund
The SEP fund
The Lake Tahoe House fund

I am sure I am missing more:



Your Duty Today

Monday, November 5, 2018

Herbert Armstrong Is Not The Savior Of The Church He Made Himself Out to Be

In the late Spring/Early Summer of 1978, Herbert Armstrong delivered a fiery sermon to get the Church "back on track" and "wake them up" out of the "laodicean condition" that the Church had "slumbered into". Garner Ted had full control of the church for many years. Spending was out of control. Attitudes were beyond carnal in every area, it seemed. This sermon was an effort for Herbert to set everything back to what it once was and save the Church from itself. 

Herbert railed on the conditions of the ministry - where every man near the top "tried to do his own thing". Well, doesn't that just sound familiar! What comes to mind when I read this? Malm? Thiel? Pack? Weinland? UCG? LCG? COGWA? PCG? Should I go on? 

Here's the first clip that explains a bit of what was going on. 

Then, he shakes his jowels and pounds his desk about doing away with tithing, the holy days, the festivals, the truth - but of course, what is it he pounds the table and yells at brain-splattering volume about? Tithing - of course. 

The next clipping we see here is another classic example of Armstrong double-speak. First, he says "Satan is winning" that battle. Then, in the next breath, "Christ is on the Fathers throne" and - important this next sentence - "If we are willing" (translation: If you keep donating, tithing, and supporting Armstrong) he will restore everything. He then says "Jesus Christ has awakened me." 

Then there's this bombshell statement - or shall I say, the understatement of the entire Armstrong movement by Armstrong himself. He says: 

"Now maybe I was slumbering a little bit." 

Can you believe this. What he did was the most incompetent thing any Chief Executive Officer could EVER do, and would have been FIRED for immediately, on the spot, for the blatant ignorance of how he ran his organization while he was supposedly on world trips out "preaching the Gospel". What Herbert was doing was having the time of his LIFE, on our dime, quarter, and dollar, stoking up his ego and vanity talking to heads of state about education and world conditions and the way to peace - and throwing in " a strong hand from someplace", a "great teacher once said", and other religious connotations to justify the expense as "religious". While this was going on, he seemed to know NOTHING about what was going on. 

Let me state for the record I don't believe this for a second, that he wasn't aware of what was happening or that he was fully ignorant of what was going on while he was away. Garner Ted always kept his father in the loop - this is evident by what he would say in the PGR's and the Bulletins. Yet, nothing was done. But when Garner Ted Armstrong was fired when the defecation hit the rotary oscillator - Herbert saw the opportunity to throw all the blame on GTA for what was happening. 

This next clipping showed just how great Herbert Armstrong EXALTED the devil, and made Jesus Christ seem like a weak manager just standing around looking at the Worldwide Church of God and keeping his hands off the Church. Herbert seems to be describing "the World" he so often condemned. 

And here, in the next and final clip, Herbert describes what is going on in the Churches of God today to a tee. Everyone is "doing their own thing". There were power struggles then, there are power struggles now. EVERYONE wants to be the head. Malm wants to be the head. Thiel wants to be the head. Pack wants to be the head. Weinland tried to be the head. The other splinters are desperately trying to be the head. 

Some are of one leader, some of another - and - in the Churches of God - everyone wants to be in charge. And the Church has gone it's own way in a million splintered, fragmented, shredded fragments of a shadow of its former self. 

I have news for Herb. 

The SPIRIT of Competition got in because that was the spirit that was in Herbert from the very beginning. 

WHO had the spirit of vanity? Herbert did. (and conceit. And yes, Herbert admitted to this countless times.) 

WHO had the spirit of self-exultation? Herbert did. (He would stride around the campus with executive big-wigs bragging about HIS accomplishments. He would go to world leaders bragging about HIS accomplishments, just to point out briefly a couple simple proofs.) 

WHO had the spirit of lust and greed? Herbert did. (Shall I get out the co-worker letters to prove this? I'll be glad to, if I have to.) 

WHO had the spirit of envy and jealousy? Herbert did. (Don't think for a minute he wasn't jealous of the other televangelists and preachers and constantly compared himself to them.) 

Herbert was NOT the savior of the Church. Herbert was responsible for what the church became, and Herbert was responsible for allowing it to get off the track. For him to take the credit of getting back in there and "putting it back on track" after he allowed it to "go south" as steadily as it did while he was having the time of his life on our dime going around the world talking with leaders about the strong hand from someplace and how he built this and that and how he had the most beautiful campus in the world - was at the very LEAST, gross incompetence. Of course, he waltzed in there blaming GTA, blaming the ministers, blaming the members, blaming everyone for what happened but himself. The gall of him to get in there and take the credit for saving the church from itself - and then simply saying maybe he "slumbered" a "little bit". If he were still alive I'd tell him to stop being so full of himself and take responsibility for once in your conceited, arrogant, greedy, vain, narcissistic, rage-filled sorry excuse for a minister. Am I being disrespectful? You bet I am. Respect is earned. He did not earn a bit of respect in my eyes. If he went to Africa, to the starving, and the dying, and the sick, held their hand, shared Jesus' love to them, talked with them, fed them, and cared for them, THEN I would fully respect him for that action. Did he do anything like that? No. They were beneath his highness.

And I'd tell him that right to his face. Because no one stood up to him to tell him that, that I know of, but should have. Why? Because of the money and the control over people's lives he had using money and perks. Forbid they'd have to do *gasp* manual labor. 

What do we have now? The result of what we would have had then had not Herbert moved in with his perfect opportunity to save the church from the very attitudes he constantly exhibited. Just look around at the state of the church today. It's an ugly, splintered, divided, confused, weak, powerless, lethargic mess headed up by everyone who has "gone on to do their own thing". 

No, Herbert was not the saviour of his own church. He jumped in when his son became the competition, and threatened the lifeblood of the organization. He wasn't about to let anyone jump in and destroy the church from the inside out. 

That is, until he appointed Joseph Tkach, Sr. As Pastor General.

submitted by SHT

Which Self-Appointed COG Prophet Is The Least Respected?

Poor Bob Thiel!  The Bible waving little guy just CANNOT get COG members to like him, follow him, or send him their hard earned money.  It is pretty pathetic when Thiel outranks the three biggest certified liars in the Church of God today.

Playing Church: The Namby-Pamby Ineffectiveness of Today's COG Pastors. What happened?

There are not many articles in the PGR that I have nodded in agreement with. But while researching through the Pastor General Report of November 22, 1978, I find myself in complete agreement with C. Wayne Cole on an issue that was a horrible stain and stench in the Church - the Drill Sergeant approach of the pastors of the Church. 

C. Wayne Cole asked a very important question that I often wondered myself. He asked,in the context of one being a strong leader:

"Is it really necessary to be militant, abrupt, aloof, autocratic, authoritative or opinionated?" 

"Is it always necessary to convey by words or actions very clearly 'Who's in Charge'?" 

"Is it necessary to look on the negative side, search first for all the trouble, the problems because it is certain, in the person's mind, that they are indeed there. Why should anyone feel that such behavior is STRENGTH?"

I can remember as a young person in the Church of God hearing the driving power and authority of Herbert Armstrong during live satellite transmissions, in taped recordings, and even in person, that Herbert Armstrong scared the living crap out of children because of his intensity. What these pastors were doing was emulating the attitude, and the demeanor, and the delivery style of Herbert Armstrong. Many of them DID want to be "In charge" as a driving motivator of their pastorate - either then, or in 'the World Tomorrow'. Their efforts caused them to be viewed and seen as a drill sergeant to the adults - and as a VERY mean monster to the children - someone to be feared - the very embodiment of a child's nightmare in living color. 

This was bad enough, as noted in the first clip - that an Ambassador College Student literally had the piss scared right out of him in the middle of a student lecture. This was never unacceptable for that student - and the embarrassment caused - or for the thousands of children that had to be changed in services because of the exact same thing. 

C. Wayne Cole said:

"If I felt I had to rely on authority - "do you know whose in charge around here" inferences, firm, incisive, and rigid control - to be a manager than I would be an abject failure in my Biblical and Christian responsibility as given by Jesus Christ." 

This observation was spot-on. Unfortunately, such practices never took hold within the Church. In a few months, C. Wayne Cole would be disfellowshipped from the Church from the pulpit on direct order of Herbert Armstrong by Rod Meredith during the Receivership crisis. Such a direction would fall on deaf ears, as the dictatorial, oppressive, rageful way of actions and thought of Herbert Armstrong was strictly and strongly reinforced during the "Back on Track" period of intense correction and house-cleaning during the late 1970s and early 1980s of the Church, just prior to the death of HWA. 

How does this have to do with the way the Churches of God are today? I believe everything. If you reverse-engineer the way things are to the driving forces of how things got to be the way they are. And this drives a burning question:

When you look at the Churches of God - what do you see? Do you see "lords"? "Drivers"? "Taskmasters"? Do you see dictators and tyrants - who revel in their positions of "authority and power"? Even worse - do you see people who are trying to be such, but fail miserably at it to the point of abject and utter failure and abject embarrassment? I think we all do. But what is it now that is different? Why, for all of their displays of tyranny, dictatorship, tantrums, and authority - are their efforts so powerless? What has changed between 1978 and 2018? Why are all of these little mewing kitty-cats who are declawed and seem neutered so absolutely ineffective trying to be a roaring, testosterone-filled lion?

submitted by SHT