Saturday, December 8, 2018

Wiggle Room...

This is how one should feel after going to church.

Not beaten to death over one's heart being deceitful above all things and desperately wicked or full of envy, jealousy, lust and greed!
PS  Neither Moses nor our parents understood the Universe as we do today in our time with much more to come I am sure .

How Great Thou Art

Amazing Grace

The Lord's Prayer
 No matter what you have been through....

This is How Church Should Make You Feel
Best of the Holidays to You All

Just As I Am

submitted by SHT
Ambassador College Correspondance Course LSN 24 1961 
You Are Too Evil and Vile To Sit With Jesus As You Are.

Where would the Church of God be without everyone being told they were evil, vile and dirty?  There was always some qualification being placed upon people in the church who sought Jesus. The more zealous you were the better because that ensured Jesus Christ just might grant you salvation.  This concept sure gets the tassels on the legalistic knickers of the Malmites and Thielites all knotted up.

COG App for Android and IOS Needed

It is getting so confusing in the COGworld not knowing who is with which group or who is still keeping "kosher" that we become overly cautious so we don't get caught saying something we shouldn't.  We need someone to develop an app for us all to have on our phone so it can alert us.

Friday, December 7, 2018

LCG: Income Audit Says Income Is Down 7%

LCG released its latest audit. Income is down approximately 7%. The excuse provided is that in 2016 there was some extraordinary income not repeated in 2017.

The fact that the COG is rapidly aging received a rare public acknowledgement. 

"Demographics continued to play a significant role in the Church’s finances in 2017, with many of our older members moving into retirement." 

But don't worry there are "...a growing number of young families and new attendees... in the United States" according to the news release. As with most such statements no details are provided.

The reality is LCG increasingly resembles a Sardis type church as does the rest of the COG (Revelation 3:2) and is sadly about to implode.

submitted by Aristophanes

D. Jerry Ruddlesden and Dexter B. Wakefield 
The Living Church of God continues to carefully manage the financial resources that God provides through our members and coworkers. For the year 2017, regular income was flat, but total income declined from that of 2016 due to some extraordinary income items that occurred in 2016 but were not repeated in 2017. Expenses were adjusted accordingly, so that net income and expenses were approximately equal for the year.

Demographics continued to play a significant role in the Church’s finances in 2017, with many of our older members moving into retirement. However, we were very pleased to see a growing number of young families and new attendees adding to the attendance of our local churches in the United States. The international Work continues to grow, especially in Central and South America. 
The Church continues to evaluate and cut underperforming programs and media outlets in order to replace them with new opportunities to preach the Gospel. 
As in previous years, the Church allocates the bulk of its resources to preaching the Gospel (38 percent) and feeding the flock (55 percent). Administrative costs were kept at a very low seven percent of expenditures. 
The Church entered 2018 on a good financial footing and looks forward to a successful year for God’s Work. As in previous years, the Church was audited by the accounting firm, Cherry Bekaert, and the full 2017 audited statement (with notes) is available at To read it, click on About Us, then on Living Church of God: 2017 Consolidated Financial Statements.

I Wanted It All To Be True...

As a child, and I recall my childhood experiences with the Memorial Orthodox Presbyterian Church, I wanted it all to be true.  As one of the Three Wise Men in the Christmas Play, I so wanted this story to be true.  Choirs of singing Angels out and about praising God in the Highest to a few lone shepherds seemed pretty amazing.  I did wonder why they didn't perform for the whole town but was told not to ask questions like that again.  I couldn't figure out how a virgin could give  birth and stay a virgin or how God could be the father with out...well you know. But later on learned that Mary was really with child by the Holy Spirit, so that must be God's power that did it. Then someone said the Holy Spirt was the Third Person in the Trinity of the One True God but three.  Huh?  That sounded ever much more kinky I stopped asking questions.  But it was all a grand mystery and who cared. I wanted it all to be true.

I wanted it all to be true when I came into the WCG circle at age 14.  No one ever talked about prophecy and it was the crazy 60's so not only did I want it to be true, but it actually seemed true. No one talked about any Jesus coming again "soon" or that "time was short" and "behold I come quickly" in the Presbyterian Church.   I wanted that to be true for lots of reasons.  Remember, it was the 60's.  But that was not true either.  It's still not true and I suspect never will be. (I know John...Time will tell)

I would like to believe that I would see my parents again, or my sister recently killed in an auto accident or my boys mom when that time comes, but I have my doubts.  I would prefer not to have to share Heaven or the Kingdom with many of the ministers I worked hard to avoid in life.

God can heal you?  Now THAT's something I really wanted to be true for my brother who had spent my entire youth and his entire life up to that point  living in a New York State Hospital .  I had seen way too much as a kid going every Sunday after church, from age 5 to 18, to pick him up from the Hospital and take him out to the park for picnics or ice cream at Margos in Newark, NY.  I recall kids with handicaps of all descriptions trying to get me take them home with me or just give them a hug. Overload on a small kid but I think it programed me for saving the world when I had the first chance.

When I leaned about James 5:14 , a scripture which never came up as a Presbyterian (I think they learned the folly of it 1500 years earlier than I did), I knew my brother just had to wait until someone could anoint him and the prayer of faith would heal him.  I was ordained a Local Elder at age 23 and the first thing I did when I got home from the Feast was to anoint my brother so he could see, hear and speak again.  Alas...he gave me the "what the hell are you doing" look, I chuckled and he's still blind, deaf and unable to speak 45 years later. I had about the same results with life threatening diseases among members in my ministry. I wanted it to be true. I do say that those with colds and flu were healed after I anointed them.  Usually within seven to ten days.

I wanted everything WCG taught to be true. I wanted there to be a Kingdom and 3 resurrections so everyone had a fair chance.  The Second Resurrection was THE answer to the question I always asked in Catechism Class and for which the Westminster Confession of Faith, which I had to memorize, had no answer.  "What happens to those who never hear about Jesus."  The Presbyterian minister told me that they all go to heaven so not to worry of it.  Huh?  I asked then why bother trying to convert them?  Leave them alone and they make it anyway!  I was asked to leave the class on several occasions. Mom never knew because I dawdled on the way home so as not to get home early and be asked why did I get home early?  He couldn't tell me where dinosaurs fit in the scheme of things either.

I didn't want the requirement to tithe to be true but I wanted the "Prove me now hear with" and the "windows of heaven " thing to be true.  Buzzzzzz...thanks for playing.  Not true either. But I wanted it to be true.

I realized along the way that in order for everything to be true, I had to have a faith based view of things.  But I don't anymore.  I have an evidence based view of things and so all the many things I was taught, first as member, and then taught myself as minister, over time simply slipped into the not actually true category.  I have probably heard 15,000 sermons in my life and given 5000 or so myself.  I wanted it to be true in the hearing and the giving.

Once one learns the actual origins, authorship, politic and history of scripture, you really can't go back.

Wanting something to be true, for me, was more comforting even if I suspected it not to actually be true, or at best unprovable.  But that only lasted so long. Now, being evidence based and a lover of geology, cosmology, paleontology and human origins, I find it all wanting bigly. That's not a fault. I don't mind lacking faith because I can't go with faith being the substance of what we hope is true based on no actual evidence that it is true.  (Heb 11:1)

If you can't show it, you don't know it.  That just rings true.

The bottom line is that I wanted the Bible to be true from my youth until about my mid 40's. But careful study, asking good questions that had accumulated over the years of soaking in the Bible and theology and realizing that what I had hoped was true was not actually true  had demanded my attention. I remember when the switch finally flipped in my mind.

I did not take a genius to see that HWA and company viewed their opinions as truth. But they had tendencies to change their truths along the way and in some cases change back. What kind of truth is that?  Then along come the Tkaches who got all starry eyed over the very theology I had grown up with and found to be wanting by age 14.  I told Joe Jr that he was reinventing the wheel and when Ron Kelly tried to tell me that there was no retirement because they had no money due to the great miracle Christ had worked in the church (he may have said Jesus) , I figured that WCG and now this new Jesus  was a trickster and was finished with it all. At least the Jesus of my youth didn't trick us like that!  I figured if the Tkaches can flip the entire church on it's back and call it truth, then I can go seek out the answers to my own questions without anymore help from the "experts", which neither HWA nor the Tkaches were or are. There are real experts out there. They actually do the hard work of being experts. They don't sit in their easy chairs and think shit up like the WCG Split, Splinter and Sliver gurus do.  Dave Pack is the poster child for thinking up theological shit.  Flurry is very good at it too as is Thiel, Malm, Weinland and ALL the rest.

If it helps, I do get teary at a good Presbyterian Hymn or Christmas sentiment though I know no Jesus was actually born at Christmas and you all should know that too. I can't say I get teary over old WCG hymns. "Death shall them seize and to the tomb ALIVE they shall go down" just doesn't and never did do it for me. "Praise ye the Lordo" was ok but none of them stayed in my head emotionally. The old Presbyterian hymns are a different story.  "How Great Thou Art" comes to mind as does "The Holy City"  Go figure....

I wanted it all to be true...

How Wearing Makeup Prevented Jesus From Returning

I grew up in Jasper, IN, as a member of the fundamentalist church the Worldwide Church of God, which was obsessed with the certainty that the world was ending and, as a result, so was I. It was up to the church members to pray enough, tithe enough, and be obedient enough to ensure that Jesus would return.
It was hard to imagine that if I didn't stop wearing Bonne Bell lip gloss, I would single-handedly prevent Jesus from returning and my family from being saved.
When I was 19 and a sophomore at Indiana University, I returned home one weekend and went to church with my parents to discover that the church's founder, Herbert Armstrong, decided that the reason Jesus hadn't returned was that women were wearing makeup. "Makeup is an abomination. Throw it out!" the minister screamed in a blistering sermon. "If you let makeup come between you and God," the minister continued, "then you will not make it into the kingdom! Women, it's because of you that Jesus cannot return."
His words were incomprehensible, despite being blunt and clear. It was hard to imagine that if I didn't stop wearing Bonne Bell lip gloss, I would single-handedly prevent Jesus from returning and my family from being saved.
In adolescence, I discovered the power of makeup to draw my fair features into definition. Mascara delineated my eyes. Eyebrow pencil and lipstick offered pops of color to my pale face. I'd been fed up with the church's attitude toward women and their subservient roles growing up, but when I argued against it, my father explained that God created a role for everything in the universe, including men and women.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

UPDATED Breaking News: Documentary In Works About Armstrongism

For quite some time now various people who have suffered abuse in the various Church of God's have wanted to find someone to share their story with.  That time has now come!

The producers of Sole Survivor have agreed to produce a documentary on Armstrongism, which includes stories of spiritual, mental and physical abuse.  Over the last several decades the COG has been rife with suicides, molestations and other abuses. The stories already shared are shocking and appalling and are just the tip of the iceberg.

There is a Facebook page set up to share stories with the producers.

This is a CLOSED group and you will be required to do the following:

Must Answer all 3 Questions asked when you join to be approved as a member. This page is for Armstrongism Documentary use only. For those who are not willing to share their experiences you may be more comfortable in our sister group: "Victims of HW Armstrong-Breaking the Silence" We understand that not everyone is comfortable speaking out about the abuse they suffered and that is completely understandable. This group was created to gather victims who are willing to come forward and speak on film about their time in the COGs. If you state that you are not willing to share your story please do not take offense if your request to be added does not get accepted. This goes for leaving the 3 questions you are prompted with at joining empty as well. We need to know that everyone who joins the group is ready to go to battle. Some are not ready and again that is ok. If you change your mind you are more than welcome to participate in this. Again this group was created for the Armstrong Documentary use only. THIS IS NOT A "TROLLING" GROUP. We are not here to make "fun" of Herbert W Armstrong or his current followers. The testimonies here are true heartfelt stories being told by ex-members. You'd be surprised what's been kept from you.

For those uncomfortable about sharing in a Facebook group 
you can contact the producers directly here:

Mercedes Kane

Mercedes Kane is the founder and president of Daisy May Films. She recently completed her third feature length documentary – the award-winning “Breakfast at Ina’s”, which premiered at the 2015 Chicago International Film Festival and is currently screening at film festivals and educational screenings nationwide. Her previous films include “Today We Saw the Face of God” (2012) and “Hearts of Hope” (2009). Mercedes was associate producer on the feature film “Chicago Heights”, named One of the Best Art Films of 2010 by Roger Ebert. She lives in Chicago with her husband Sanghoon and their two children where she works as a creative director, documentary filmmaker and freelance writer. In her free time, she juggles obsessive podcast listening with game nights, culinary adventures around Chicago and pajama dance parties in her 110-year old kitchen. Her current project is a docu-series based in Kentucky and co-directed with Ky Dickens.


Award winning filmmaker Ky Dickens is best known for her highly acclaimed documentary work and her endless lists of questions. Did the Archaeopteryx sound like a bird, a chicken or a crocodile?

Ky splashed into the film world with her breakout documentary Fish out of Water, winning four juror prizes and securing international distribution by Netflix and First Run Features. Her second feature film, Sole Survivor, was acquired by CNN Films for broadcast and theatrical release. It premiered on the network in January 2014 and became the second highest grossing CNN Film. Sole Survivor was named the "Best Feature Film" at the 2013 BMA Awards.

Ky received a Focus Award for “Achievement in Directing” from Women in Film. Ky has been a documentary juror and panelist for film festivals around the country. She is also member of the Gene Siskel Film Center Community Council.

Ky is currently in post-production on her much-anticipated film, Zero Weeks (2017), about America’s paid leave crisis. For two years, Ky has been documenting families and parents across the country as they juggle the work/life balance, often returning to work within days of having a baby, or tending to breast cancer on their lunch break. Ky premiered the Zero Weeks trailer at the White House Summit on the United State of Women, hosted by Oprah and Michelle Obama.

Ky’s other film in post production, The City That Sold America (2017), is about Chicago’s crucial, yet often-overlooked place in american consumer culture. The film is a sequel to Emmy-award winning Art & Copy.

Ky also directs commercials and web content for a long list of clients including: Tylenol, Sears, Huggies, Sargento, Kohler, Wrangler, Perkins, Long John Silvers and many others.

Ky graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Vanderbilt University. She lives in Chicago's North Park neighborhood with her spouse, daughter, two cats, dog and three chickens. She thinks everyone should know that the chicken is the closest living relative to the T-Rex and that Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" contains the meaning of life.

If she won the lottery, she’d still want to be directing and editing. Storytelling, like clean water and Sriracha sauce are everyday necessities.

PCG Women: Submission is something to be enjoyed but a rebellious or resistant wife hinders God!

I guess we will never see any "brawling women" in the Philadelphia Church of God! Such a shame.

King James Bible
It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. Proverbs 21:9

Key 1: The wife should transfer to the husband the responsibility of final decisions. 
She has an obligation to provide him with the benefits of her perspective, yet always leaving the final decision to him. A wife should never nag at her husband. If she feels he is making a serious mistake, then she should take that to a higher office—God—or, when applicable, God’s ministry. 
When a woman gives her opinion, she should strive to ensure emotion is not leading her. Proverbs 31:26 shows that the law of kindness needs to be in her words. 
Key 2: The wife should give her husband due respect. 
Any of us can focus on faults—we all have them. From time to time, strive to pay compliments, thanking him for his efforts in providing for you and the family.
Hardly anything is too big for a husband to achieve if he has his wife’s support, admiration and respect, and her backing his role with her own. 
Key 3: The wife must use wisdom in handling family finances. 
Study Proverbs 31:11, 16, 24. When money is in short supply—as indeed it can be from time to time—a wife’s attitude toward the problem is very important. Here is when your supporting role is so necessary. Ensure you do not enter the credit card trap—spending tomorrow’s money today—to “solve” the problem. 
Key 4: The wife should ask herself, “Do I assume leadership that is not within my role?” 
This can be a trap due to not fully understanding each other’s responsibilities. Ensure you encourage your husband’s leadership. Let him know you enjoy his masterful handling of the family affairs with love. Always endeavor to make your compliments sincere and heartfelt. 
One of the most important ways to encourage your man to lead is to be a good follower. 
Key 5: Be determined to obey God in your role. 
Carefully study 1 Peter 3:1-6, 8. When you submit to your husband, you are in fact submitting to God! 
Consider the fact that God, in placing your husband in the leadership position, had your total interests as well as your husband’s in mind. 
A rebellious or resistant wife hinders God! 
God is in final control; He will not allow any harm to come to you as you submit.
Five Keys That Unlock a Woman’s Success in Marriage

Has Living Church of God finally admitted they are not God’s Church?

In a stunning announcement – see below insert from their weekly update – they admit God has given His Church a more sure word of prophecy. After 85 years of incorrect prophecies, they admit they cannot be God’s Church.
My congratulations to LCG for finally admitting the truth.

Pay Attention to Bible Prophecy: Jesus told His disciples to stay alert and watch for the fulfillment of specific prophecies that will mark the approaching end of this age. This admonition is repeated numerous times in the New Testament (Matthew 24:42–44; 25:13; Mark 13:33–35; Luke 21:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:6). Jesus also warned in the parable of the foolish virgins that many will be caught napping by the surge of events that will precede His return to this earth (Matthew 25:1–13). God has given His Church a “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV)so His Church can act as a watchman to warn about the prophetic significance of both current and impending world events (Ezekiel 3 and 33). Yet, over the years, misguided teachers and preachers have ridiculed the Church’s understanding of prophecy and accused anyone watching Bible prophecy of suffering from “prediction addiction.” However, as we see world events fitting into the end-time scenario that is outlined in Scripture, we need to make sure we are building a closer relationship with God and that we are learning to live by every word of God—as we continue to pay attention to Bible prophecy.

submitted by TLA

Honor to Whom Honor...

A Quiver Full of Munchkins

I just wanted, and perhaps needed to take advantage of my privilege here on Banned of writing when and what I wish and honor Karen Diehl at this difficult time for her.  Karen has been diagnosed with Fourth Stage Glioblastoma and is in hospice care at my son's home. Grateful that he works teaching Culinary School out of his home and that his wife is a nurse so Karen is well watched over and cared for. For their kindness and compassion for their mom, I thank both my boys and their beautiful families.

I honor her here because of her life associated with the Worldwide Church of God and ultimately the ministry back in our days together. She grew up in the Church from a child and her family was old stock WCG in Texas. 

She and I met, of course, at AC and gladly went with me into all the World as a "minister's wife."  I and the Church dragged her from Minneapolis to Chicago to Findlay and Mansfield Ohio to London, Somerset and Middlesboro, Kentucky to Binghamton and Corning, NY to Greenville, South Carolina where it all ended for both of us. It was a hell of  journey and she never complained.

Karen was the perfect host and could not do enough for those in need in the Church.  She was and is loved by many for her hospitality and loving support in whatever you needed.  I thank her and honor her for decades of living a "ministerial life" that so often was drama, trauma, scandal and upheaval compliments of the Armstrongs, Wacko Ministers in adjacent church areas and the Tkaches. Ok, and me. 

Karen is unable to talk much now and her reading skills are gone. She can't think of the right words and when I was with her a few weeks back we had a good laugh when I asked her if she wanted lunch and she said, "Yes, a nice salad maybe with kitchen cabinets" She looked at me and said, "That wasn't right was it?"  and we laughed.  I sent her flowers last week and my son said she was puzzled because it was not the Night to Be Much Remembered.  Since last week she has is fast losing her mobility.  I sense that it won't be long before she does not recognize us.

In our time together sitting alone and talking in  her backyard, she told me she was sorry that my original reason for coming to Portland didn't work out.  I didn't know she knew that. She said that she hoped I would find someone in life again. I just looked at her with tears in my eyes wondering just how difficult that was for her to say that and just how much water had gone under our shared  bridge.  It's just how she is. Of late she speaks to me as if we are still married and she uses the same terms of endearment with me that she always did. 

All this to say thank you to a fine woman who put up with so much, not only in the ministry of the Wildworld Church of God but in her youth growing up in it. I suppose I should honor her as well for putting up with me and how I handled my own disillusionment with not only the WCG and the Ministry but also with all of religion and my own personal issues that come up in life. She maintains a deep faith still and yet I know she is scared and anxious about all of this as anyone would be, faith not withstanding.

And I wish to honor and thank my two sons for also moving on in their lives successfully, after so pretty scary times,  with beautiful families and their ongoing love and support of mom as this illness moves on to it's conclusion. 

So thank you Karen for who you are and for all we put you through as "minister's wife." I honor you for all you are and ever have been. You made my life better while the church went out of its way to make our life worse.  You are loved by many for the love you showed through the years.   The good thing is that had we not been sent last to South Carolina, not one of those beautiful kids would exist to carry on …

Thanks Gary for letting me participate in Banned to where I can write freely about that which actually reflects my experiences , observations and outcomes of my own journey in the Worldwide Church of God as student, member and pastor .

Life is short
Thanks for listening  

Living Church of God: Jim Meredith gets his wings clipped

From an LCG source:

The headquarters gravy train is over for Lil'Jimmy Meredith.  He is being put out to pasture in a field church.  Rod McNair finally got his competition out of the way. Imagine now living life as a nobody instead of the favored child of the dear leader.

November 29, 2018
By Rod McNair
Dear Brethren,
Below-freezing temperatures have come to the Carolinas over the last few days—a refreshing change after a long, hot summer! Mr. Gerald Weston is still travelling, and will be conducting a Regional Conference in Joplin, Missouri this weekend. As December begins, here in the office it’s budgeting time as the Accounting Department works with the different departments to map out the budgets for 2019. Parents, please note that we are posting new Children’s Bible Lessons each week on the website, for three different age levels. Mr. and Mrs. Jim Meredith are moving to Knoxville, Tennessee next week to take up their new responsibilities there—we wish them well on their new assignment. Please continue praying for Mr. Martin Fannin, and note the encouraging update about Mrs. Connie Breaux below! And I look forward to seeing all you brethren in Helena and Great Falls, Montana for a church visit and TWPs this weekend.—Rod McNair

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

My Church Is Bigger Than Yours! Lets Whip It Out Boys And Let Us Compare!

Why is it that a church that says it is God's most highly favored and one that is carrying on in a direct lineage from the original apostolic church, has to CONSTANTLY compare itself with other splinter groups?

Even before the Church of God imploded, at every Feast site it was one big one-upmanship as to who had the most people and the biggest offerings. Today that pissing contest still goes on with the various Churches of God, but never more so than with Tinfoil Bob Thiel's improperly named "continuing" Church of God.

Yesterday I posted some comments by James Tabor and items from the Church of God News site about the dwindling Church of God membership numbers.  Leave it up to thin-skinned and eternally butt-hurt Tinfoil Bob to take exception to the comments.
While size is not an indicator of truth, the truth is that the CCOG has been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century. The three groups with more congregants than CCOG (UCG, COGWA, LCG) have essentially been slow growing and the other two shown on the post (PCG and RCG) have had substantial losses of congregants in the past 6 or so years.

Unlike UCG, COGWA, and LCG who got the bulk of their members because of a split from another organization (as PCG also somewhat also did–but not as quickly directly as the others did), CCOG did not do that.

Currently, about 3,800 are considered and/or wish to be considered congregants with the CCOG.

Now, I noticed that the anti-COG Banned by HWA site made negative comments about CCOG and Africans today.

But scripture points to a much more positive view.

Jesus taught that fruits will identify the true from the false:
15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)
So, fruits are the criteria Matthew recorded that Jesus set to know true from false prophets.
It is obvious to tens of thousands of Church of God members and even more ex-members that Bob Thiel IS a false prophet, who comes as a ravenous wolf seeking to devour sincere seeking Africans in order to add to his "astounding" membership rolls.  Never has the church seen a more puffed up and vainglorious self-appointed COG leader that it has in Bob Thiel. Even Dave Pack, the narcissist he is, is not as important as Thiel who has declared himself the one and only true end time prophet. No COG has ever grown as fast as he has nor made available booklets in so many languages as he has, at least in his eyes.

According to Tinfoil Bob, those that dare to question him and his vision are just like the Jews that got all ticked off when gentiles entered the church and did not have to worry about pork and being burdened by the letter of the law.
Good trees produce a lot of fruit. 
Deuteronomy 7:13 refers to people as the fruit of the womb. 
If fruits can be defined as people in the Church of God, then CCOG has those.
Since CCOG formed, it has produced the most fruit that way. 
Thus, the only group of the six listed that claims to have a prophet that has the fruits of a prophet Jesus referred to is the CCOG. 
Laodiceans, and others, however, refuse to accept that standard that Jesus set.
They decide (they reason around this). 
Jesus never, I repeat NEVER set up Bob Thiel as a prophet or the one foretold in dreams, as he claims.
Various ones say, well anyone can get Africans to come with them, and since CCOG has mainly Africans, this does not count. 
Well, that was basically the same attitude that the Jews had in New Testament times concerning the calling of Gentiles. They did not think that the Gentiles counted.
That is a load of Armstrongite self-serving bullshit.  Those who see through the lies of the self-appointed false prophet are concerned about sincere searching people in Africa who probably truly want to follow Jesus but have been caught up in another white man's cult imported from America that is trying to save the unconverted heathen blacks of Africa.  It is time these people stepped out in faith and rebuked the white Bawana's coming to give them their version of the truth. It is time they stop prostituting themselves to the American purveyors of legalism and learned to embrace grace and freedom that the Jesus the seek to follow came to give to them, freely and without and works of their own.
The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about this portion of scripture:
Now study carefully beginning verse 25: “Blindness in part is happened to Israel [HOW LONG? Forever? No — note it], UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” — the end of this age during which God is calling a people from among the gentiles to bear His name (Acts 15:14). And so, says Romans 11:26, “all Israel SHALL BE SAVED [how?]: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” The Deliverer, Jesus Christ, is coming again! 
When He comes, the gentile times will be over — the BLINDNESS will be removed from the Israelites — and their opportunity — their FIRST chance — of salvation will then come to those whom God had blinded! This is at the time when He comes to REIGN on HIS THRONE — the throne of David, with the saints made immortal reigning and ruling with Him — and the time is DURING THE THOUSAND YEARS! 
Notice verse 31. These blinded Israelites have not now, in this age, received mercy, that through the mercy of the gentiles saved in this age, they MAY, THEN, obtain mercy and salvation. How? Because these saved gentiles will then be kings and priests, assisting in this wonderful Work! (Armstrong HW. Where Will The MILLENNIUM Be Spent? Tomorrow’s Word magazine, September 1971)
Clearly, we are now (47 years later) much closer to the time when all the Gentiles are to come in to later be kings and priests!
It is a sad day when any COG leader claims salvation cannot be found outside their own respective church. Truth only resides with them and therefore those who reject them and their church are unable to understand any truth of God or what they have to offer.
If you are not with CCOG does your church teach or understand this?

Will you believe the Bible or reason around it?

More of the Gentiles had to be called–and that is happening–and now mainly in CCOG.

The end does NOT come until the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ reaches enough nations and the ‘full number’ (as the NIV, NLT, BSB, CEV, GNT, HCSV, ISV, and NET Bible, put Romans 11:25) of Gentiles God wants in this age come in.

If you really are praying for the kingdom to come as Jesus taught in Matthew 6:10, then you should support CCOG.
Don’t use prejudices and other factors stop you from acting on the truth and using the criteria that Jesus and the Apostle Paul laid out.

The truth is that CCOG has been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century.
Anyone who yearns for the kingdom to come will NOT under any circumstance EVER support the improperly named "continuing" Church of God.  Trusting in the One who is greater than any COG leader will ever talk about is far better than ever desiring to be in a kingdom run by a COG leader or their group, particularly one envisioned by the improperly named "continuing" Church of God.

3,600 Africans have been duped by the lies and false teachings of Bob Thiel and shame on the 200 Americans who turned their backs on the giver of grace to follow this bastardizer of the law.

The Ever Shrinking Churches of God

James Tabor posted the following on the Message Forum for the Ambassador College Pasadena Reunion site on November 26.

Re: Membership numbers for major WCG remnant groups...
Thanks to quite a few of you who messaged me privately with some responses to my questions about membership of current WCG remnant/splinter one seemed to be sure, though one person put Thiel's Continuing Church of God around 3800.
In the meantime I checked with Dixon Cartwright, thinking he might have the best finger on the are his guesses--and he emphasizes these are just estimates: 
United Church of God An International Association (12K)
The Church of God a Worldwide Association (9K)
The Living Church of God (3K)
The Philadelphia Church of God (2K)
The Restored Church of God (2K)
My query was not a theological one (as if "larger" means better)  but more a kind of curiosity question, or even along the lines of the sociology of religion--what happens when an "high demand imminent apocalypse group" falls apart...The WCG is one of the dominant examples in American religions, wheras JWs, SDAs, and LDS, despite breakaways and fragments, managed to maintain their core group--which I think the WCG/Grace Communion would have done had they not abandoned and even opposed ALL the major teachings of Mr. Armstrong. If the mother group had continued to strongly teach and advocate the core teachings of "Mystery of the Ages" my guess is they would have adjusted to failed prophecy but continued to grow strongly with a sharp and unique message. 
I think this is a kind of new phenomenon in the history of most American apocalyptic movements. They shift and change but usually maintain the core or essence of their founders (Charles Taze Russell, Ellen G. White, Joseph Smith)...
Note: Tabor's numbers for LCG are wrong above.

Later COGNews had this:
United Church of God: 12,360 according to Peter Eddington on 26th February 2018. 
Church of God a Worldwide Associationapprox.11,000 (5,500 in the USA), according to Jim Franks on 29th November 2018.
Continuing Church of God: 3,800 according to Robert Thiel. (Over 3600 are in Africa.) 
(It should also be noted that Tinfoil Bob's improperly named "continuing" Church of God is the only COG that actually pays most of its members to be part of their group.   If we can trust Bawana's church count of 3,800, it means that he is funding 3,600 members in Africa who do not have the funds to send money to his awesome HQ's in Arroyo Grande, CA. From computers to seeds to financial funds, the Great Bawana keeps his church-hopping African members happy, even as they keep demanding more resources from him.)

The LCG, PCG and RCG do not give out numbers, but attendances for all three have been declining significantly. 
Living Church of God: 6,000? 9,000 was presumably the attendance when Robert Thiel left LCG to form his own church, and it surely hasn’t sunk to 3,000 today. The only membership loss announced publicly was the transfer of the Geneva, Switzerland, congregation to COGWA.
Philadelphia Church of God: 3,500? Stephen Flurry commented a couple of years ago that PCG had levelled out at around 5,000. In 2017 The Philadelphian magazine listed 143 congregations, indicating that 2,000 must be on the low side. 
Restored Church of God: 1,000? If it isn’t down to this figure (or lower) now, it surely will be soon – David Pack is continually losing members and ministers – even his second-in-command left recently.  

COGWA has benefited greatly from the losses of LCG, PCG and RCG, because it decided to be more welcoming towards newcomers. Prospective members are no longer vetted before being allowed to attend. Instead COGWA has copied the United Church of God in introducing a standardized website for each congregation, stating location and times of services, and welcoming people to visit. Whereas the Festival of Tabernacles in LCG, PCG and RCG is restricted to members and their families, COGWA has an open attendance policy.COGNews

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hier kommen die Deutschen! Nochmal!

Oh, Noes!!!!!! Here come the Germans!  Again!

Where oh where would the Church of God be without its favorite bogeyman, the Germans? From jackbooted soldiers marching through the streets of America to the German military brass setting up its American HQ on the Pasadena campus of the Worldwide Church of God, the church has had a perverse fascination with Germans.

After Herbert Armstrong declared that Hitler was alive in South America, Rod Meredith soon went into almost orgasmic ecstasy as he described how Americans would be thrown into concentration camps and burned in ovens.  Others would be hung on meat hooks as they died a slow agonizing death.  Parents would be forced to watch German soldiers bash their children's skulls in with rifle butts.  Young teenage girls and boys would be shipped off to Europe to be slaves to the Germans and other Europeans who would be taking such delight in seeing American destroyed. Pregnant women would have their stomachs slit open and their babies pulled out and killed.

This is the world that Church of God ministers loved to preach about and still do to this day.

Tinfoil Bawana Almost-arrested Bob Thiel is back once again beating his German drums.

Monday, December 3, 2018

COG Pharisees, Judgement, and Christ who Calls us Friend

I was involved in the Church of God (Armstrongism) movement for over 20 years. In fact, I was born and raised into it. From my immediate family to all those that I have been affiliated within the movement, to all the sermons, booklets, and articles that I had ingested throughout my time in that tenure, there is one aspect that was nearly completely never talked about - the relationship that a Believer has with Jesus Christ. More specifically, the fact that Jesus Christ is our friend!

The only aspect of Jesus Christ that was continually blasted from the pulpit, over and over again - was Jesus as King and Ruler - which He duly is. He was the One who would return to this Earth with fire in His eyes. He was the One with a double-edged sword - one you feared and trembled to cross wrongly. He was known to us nearly always only as "Christ". The one thing you did not want to do - and feared doing, was blaspheming his name by accident - saying, doing, thinking the wrong thing, with a paranoid and wretched fear of punishment for doing the wrong thing. To say we were out of balance is the understatement of the century! 

I'm not saying one should not have a healthy, reverent, and awestruck respect of Jesus Christ. In fact, I believe that wholeheartedly! What I am saying is that we did not - in any way or form or shape - acknowledge Him as not only King, Ruler, and God, but also, and just as importantly- as Friend, Brother, and Advocate. We treated Him as our Superior, but not as One who we love, and as one who loves us back. We were taught to love and honor God as our spiritual Superior - but not in a relationship of deep, abiding, and joyous freedom of love as our closest Brother and most trusted Friend. 

Let me give an example here of what I am talking about. Recently an article was posted here from the Ambassador College Ambassador Correspondence Course, which really was not an article at all - but a snippet. In the snippet, it was pointed out the entirely physical and ridiculous statements by Herbert Armstrong and hirelings about Jesus Christ zipping around the world like lightning , and going to "the Fathers throne", "millions" of miles away (Herb had NO clue what he was talking about here, as usual), and back, all in one day. Noting exactly what Herb was talking about, the superpower speed and lightning fast physical attributes of Jesus - I had no problem comparing Jesus with "The Flash". - because that was exactly what Herbert was saying. That Jesus was more like "Superman", or some super-powerful Mortal Being, entirely bounded by the rules and laws of our mortal Universe. This - predictably - struck up the ire and fire of the Armstrongites - who quickly - at the speed of the Pharisees' rage and temper (and fear) - condemned the entire post as BLASPHEMY. Another took offense at an image that was added to the post after I sent it in - calling that image as "crossing a line that should not be crossed." 

Really? No, I mean... REALLY? 

I offer absolutely no apologies for my reference! I offer no apologies to my post! Why? Am I being an unrepentant blasphemer? Am I being a disrespectful, rebellious, shameful apostate who has lost all respect and love for my Savior? Am I just a lost soul wallowing around in muck after the WCG experience? No, no, and NO. Let me tell you first and foremost I have the deepest love for Jesus - and He has the deepest love for ME. No, I'm not being pretentious. I'm not being arrogant. Because Jesus also has the deepest love for YOU, too - whether or not you return the favor to Him or not, or acknowledge Him, or not, or are so buried in this physical realm that all other realms seem nonexistent and purely fiction. There is a relationship between us and with Jesus - a friendship, a bond, a security - a trust and a loyalty that is bound by the grace and love of Jesus through the power and binding of the Holy Spirit - who is IN US - Christ IN us. This is relationship. 

On the other side, we have the Armstrong Pharisees - who, like the Pharisees of two thousand years ago, hear one reference, one comparison, and one analogy about Jesus Christ that offends them and what do they yell? Blasphemer! Apostate! Sick! Disgusting! - ready to "throw us bloggers in the mud" and stone us with their words and keyboards for what they think is so offensive. 

I am absolutely certain God - and Jesus - were not offended. Why? Because they understand the heart and the intent of my words because He and I are friends

Let's say you are FRIENDS - close friends - with a Royal King. You KNOW this King personally - why? Because you are related to that King. You live in the same palace. You understand that King inside and out. You know Him. You trust Him. You are there with him all the time because you're the King's Brother. Unless that king is a real prick - which our Lord is NOT - you would NOT be afraid of him - because he KNOWS you. I mean - KNOWS you. Friends are like that! You can love them, respect them, and honor them! But you also know that he knows what you say in your heart is honest and truthful - and you don't have to fear that person because of the relationship you have with that person. That's relationship. That's real. That's what The Father has done for us because we acknowledge what Jesus did for you and me.  

Jesus - the King - God, Immortal, Invincible, and only Wise - calls us friend. We - saved by His blood, and his Grace, and mercy - call Him friend. We need not fear making Him angry, ready to strike us with a bolt of lightning at every single thing that offends humans. Jesus didn't offend the Father when all the Pharisees were ready to kill him for the things He was saying about God and Himself. We, as Christians, know God and He knows us. It is that very friendship - that intimate relationship between God and Man - He and I - YOU and HIM - that provides the peace and love that transcends all understanding. A God who knows our hearts and our words, and a God who loves us. It is that relationship that I pray all who call themselves Christians will receive, will savor, and will enjoy, as they walk in His footsteps as His Hands and Feet. It's time to not only acknowledge and respect Jesus as King and Ruler - but as Friend and Brother - without fear, knowing He alone knows our heart and He alone is our Judge. Pharisees in Armstrongism should lay down their gabbles and step off the bench of their self-appointed judgemental attitudes - because they have no power over those they complain about. My security and my judgement is in Christ alone - my brother, and my Friend. And so is yours. Think about that one word - relationship - and think on it deeply. You might just see that word in a whole new light where our Lord is concerned. I hope it does.

submitted by SHT