Saturday, February 23, 2019

Fake COG Prophet Gets His Homeopathic Knickers In A Knot Over Revised Common Lectionary

Where would we be without our resident know-it-all and self-appointed  Church of God prophet in Arryoe Grande, CA?  Never has the church had a man who knows so much and yet so little about every irrelevant topic imaginable!

The other day he got all hot and bothered by Grace Communion International putting emphasis on using the Revised Common Lectionary.  The horrors!

Prophet Bawana writes:

GCI (Grace Communion International, essentially the group that originally ran the new and changed Worldwide Church of God) posted the following today:
Dear GCI Family and friends,
Health is a relative term.  …
You are aware that I have been preaching and promoting healthy church, and we are just beginning to focus on what this means.  …
What is the diet of the church? Ultimately, we should be feeding on Jesus, the Bread of Life. This is why we have some of our best writers creating sermon outlines for the cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). …
Working toward better health,
Greg Williams 
The idea of a “Revised Common Lectionary” caught my attention for a couple of reasons. 
The first is that it reminds me of what Roman Catholics and many Protestants do, which is to essentially write and mandate what their clergies are to preach.
Many churches around the world today use the Revised Common Lectionary as a means of reading the entire Bible, publicly or in private worship at home, over a three year period.  These are daily readings of Old Testament scripture/s, Psalm/s, New Testament readings and finally a reading from the Gospels.

Basically, lectionaries are sermon/topic outlines. So, the pastor does not need to come up with ideas and will also speak on what someone wants him/her to speak about.
The Revised Common Lectionary is NOT a sermon topic outline predesigned to preach, you idiotic fool!  It is a list of appointed scripture readings for the calendar day. READINGS!

Some churches make up outlines using all of the various verses for the preacher to use as a template, which is something that Bawana Bob, of the improperly named "continuing" Church of God is seriously in need of!

Who in their right mind needs to preach a sermon with 30-40 DIFFERENT topics?

I will tell you who...a shallow preacher who has no ability to reach into the depth of his understanding to preach a 15 - 20 minute sermon of a couple verses selected for the day.  It is the same man who has to rely upon old articles of the Personal Correspondence Dept put out by the old Worldwide Church of God, which felt the need to tell members what they should be believing about EVERYTHING.

Personal intelligence and responsibility have never been a hallmark of the leadership of the COG.

PCG: If we don’t want children, then we are in the wrong spiritual family! And we won’t be the Bride of Christ.

Gerald Flurry has written a new book of child rearing.  These are quotes from the first few pages. God forbid if you are a person who does not want children!

God has flooded the pcg with incredible new revelation on many prophetic subjects and doctrines, including child rearing. He has also raised the ruins of Mr. Armstrong’s work with the establishment of Herbert W. Armstrong College, Imperial Academy, publication of The Bible Story, Youth Bible Lessons, True Education magazine, and summer camps around the world. This should impress upon us how important child rearing is to God.
Jesus Christ is our Husband, and He wants to be certain that we don’t look to any individual, any man, more than Him—that we will never exalt a man or 10 men above Jesus Christ. That is what created the Laodicean condition today! We are Christ’s helpmeet. We are to love God, our Husband, above the members in the Church.
Having physical children helps prepare the firstfruits to get ready to have billions of children in the World Tomorrow. Those converted in the Millennium are likened to children of the Husband (Christ) and His wife, the Church. Rearing physical children is a type of what we will be doing spiritually in the World Tomorrow! We are called to help Christ in this job—to be His helpmeet. God wants us to focus our minds on all the children to come on the scene in the future and to get ready to rear them and dedicate them all to the Father, the way Hannah did her son.
How much time do you spend thinking about all those wonderful children that you’re going to have with Jesus Christ, your Husband? How much do you yearn for sons and daughters in the Family of God? Do you desire with all your passions to have children in the Family of God? We must build that yearning for a spiritual family.
The Bride of Christ must build a natural yearning, a natural desire, to have spiritual children! 
The physical family is here only to help us get into the spiritual family.
Imagine what Christ would say if we married Him and then told Him that we didn’t really want children. Of course, this is hypothetical; we would not even be Christ’s wife if we thought that way. If we don’t want children, then we are in the wrong spiritual family! And we won’t be the Bride of Christ.
Christ is determining now if you want to have a lot of children; and by a lot, He means all of humanity. Multiple billions of people will be given the opportunity to be a part of the God Family before this is over.
God is teaching us that we must understand our purpose for being created, or our life is shamefully wasted. That is what this world is now learning by excruciating experience!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Satan Attacks the Philadelphia Church of God...Again

Can there be any creature more demonized in Armstrongism than Satan? That bad boy is constantly being blamed for all kinds of tricky little things meant to stop all the amazing "works" going on in various COG's today.  Despite the fact that none of them are amazing or doing anything worthwhile, they still feel the need to let their followers know that Satan is constantly on the warpath against them.

A few days ago, on Twitter, those eternally persecuted folk at PCG posted this:

Like every other conspiracy-laden COG out there, the kids at PCG determined that the power outage and the network hardware issue was a direct attack by Satan because King Gerald Flurry was heading to Jerusalem.  After all, this is the most important event in human history taking place (after Bawana Bobs self-ordination and Dave Pack's Elijahhood, of course.)

As if...!

Adult Sabbath School: Meaning Without Literalism

Doubting the Story of Exodus

Many scholars have quietly concluded that the epic of Moses never happened, and even Jewish clerics are raising questions. Others think it combines myth, cultural memories and kernels of truth.


"It's one of the greatest stories ever told:
A baby is found in a basket adrift in the Egyptian Nile and is adopted into the pharaoh's household. He grows up as Moses, rediscovers his roots and leads his enslaved Israelite brethren to freedom after God sends down 10 plagues against Egypt and parts the Red Sea to allow them to escape. They wander for 40 years in the wilderness and, under the leadership of Joshua, conquer the land of Canaan to enter their promised land.
For centuries, the biblical account of the Exodus has been revered as the founding story of the Jewish people, sacred scripture for three world religions and a universal symbol of freedom that has inspired liberation movements around the globe.
But did the Exodus ever actually occur?
On Passover last Sunday, Rabbi David Wolpe raised that provocative question before 2,200 faithful at Sinai Temple in Westwood. He minced no words.
"The truth is that virtually every modern archeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all," Wolpe told his congregants.
Wolpe's startling sermon may have seemed blasphemy to some. In fact, however, the rabbi was merely telling his flock what scholars have known for more than a decade. Slowly and often outside wide public purview, archeologists are radically reshaping modern understanding of the Bible. It was time for his people to know about it, Wolpe decided.
After a century of excavations trying to prove the ancient accounts true, archeologists say there is no conclusive evidence that the Israelites were ever in Egypt, were ever enslaved, ever wandered in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years or ever conquered the land of Canaan under Joshua's leadership. To the contrary, the prevailing view is that most of Joshua's fabled military campaigns never occurred--archeologists have uncovered ash layers and other signs of destruction at the relevant time at only one of the many battlegrounds mentioned in the Bible.

Today, the prevailing theory is that Israel probably emerged peacefully out of Canaan--modern-day Lebanon, southern Syria, Jordan and the West Bank of Israel--whose people are portrayed in the Bible as wicked idolators. Under this theory, the Canaanites who took on a new identity as Israelites were perhaps joined or led by a small group of Semites from Egypt--explaining a possible source of the Exodus story, scholars say. As they expanded their settlement, they may have begun to clash with neighbors, perhaps providing the historical nuggets for the conflicts recorded in Joshua and Judges.
"Scholars have known these things for a long time, but we've broken the news very gently," said William Dever, a professor of Near Eastern archeology and anthropology at the University of Arizona and one of America's preeminent archeologists.
Dever's view is emblematic of a fundamental shift in archeology. Three decades ago as a Christian seminary student, he wrote a paper defending the Exodus and got an A, but "no one would do that today," he says. The old emphasis on trying to prove the Bible--often in excavations by amateur archeologists funded by religious groups--has given way to more objective professionals aiming to piece together the reality of ancient lifestyles.

But the modern archeological consensus over the Exodus is just beginning to reach the public. In 1999, an Israeli archeologist, Ze'ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University, set off a furor in Israel by writing in a popular magazine that stories of the patriarchs were myths and that neither the Exodus nor Joshua's conquests ever occurred. In the hottest controversy today, Herzog also argued that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, described as grand and glorious in the Bible, was at best a small tribal kingdom....
...At Sinai Temple, Sunday's sermon--and a follow-up discussion at Monday's service--provoked tremendous, and varied, response. Many praised Wolpe for his courage and vision. "It was the best sermon possible, because it is preparing the young generation to understand all the truth about religion," said Eddia Mirharooni, a Beverly Hills fashion designer.
A few said they were hurt--"I didn't want to hear this," one woman said--or even a bit angry. Others said the sermon did nothing to shake their faith that the Exodus story is true.
Added Aman Massi, a 60-year-old Los Angeles businessman: "For sure it was true, 100%. If it were not true, how could we follow it for 3,300 years?"
But most congregants, along with secular Jews and several rabbis interviewed, said that whether the Exodus is historically true or not is almost beside the point. The power of the sweeping epic lies in its profound and timeless message about freedom, they say.
The story of liberation from bondage into a promised land has inspired the haunting spirituals of African American slaves, the emancipation and civil rights movements, Latin America's liberation theology, peasant revolts in Germany, nationalist struggles in South Africa, the American Revolution, even Leninist politics, according to Michael Walzer in the book "Exodus and Revolution."
Many of Wolpe's congregants said the story of the Exodus has been personally true for them even if the details are not factual: when they fled the Nazis during World War II, for instance, or, more recently, the Islamic revolution in Iran. Daniel Navid Rastein, an Encino medical professional, said he has always regarded the story as a metaphor for a greater truth: "We all have our own Egypts--we are prisoners of something, either alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, overeating. We have to use [the story] as a way to free ourselves from difficulty and make ourselves a better person."
Wolpe, Sinai Temple's senior rabbi, said he decided to deliver the sermon to lead his congregation into a deeper understanding of their faith. On Sunday, he told his flock that questioning the Jewish people's founding story could be justified for one reason alone: to honor the ancient rabbinical declaration that "You do not serve God if you do not seek truth."
"I think faith ought not rest on splitting seas," Wolpe said in an interview. "For a Jew, it should rest on the wonder of God's world, the marvel of the human soul and the miracle of this small people's survival through the millennia."
Next year, the rabbi plans to teach a course on the Bible that he says will "pull no punches" in presenting the latest scholarship questioning the text's historical basis.
But he and others say that Judaism has also traditionally been more open to nonliteral interpretations of the text than, say, some conservative Christian traditions.
"Among Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Jews, there is a much greater willingness to see the Torah as an extended metaphor in which truth comes through story and law," said Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles.,,,

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Shameful Practice of "Disfellowshipment" in the Churches of God

One of the more appalling "traditions" in Armstrongism has been the practice of shunning, or in Armstrongite speak - disfellowshipment.

Families have turned their backs on other family members.  Long held friendships evaporated over night.  People would meet each other in stores and turn their backs and walk away.  Others would cross the street if they saw former friends walking down the street towards them.

I saw this over and over in the Dayton, Ohio church and especially in Pasadena where disfellowshipments were a weekly occurrence, as people were deliberately shamed from the pulpit by vengeful ministers. Even more revolting is when these jerks stood up there and said this was being done out of "love" and it was to be a time for the person to reflect upon whatever they had done wrong. Never had a disfellowhipment in the Church of God ever been done out of love.  Its main purpose was to instill fear into the wayward member that their eternal salvation was now at risk.  They had lost their chance to go to Petra and eventually into the Kingdom of God.

This is not something unique to us, but is also a tool of oppression in other Millerite cults.

Checkout this article from a Jehovahs Witness on the vile tradition in their own group which is exactly like I have seen COG members do to their own family members.

This is a picture of my dad eating. He had just made lunch for me, but he couldn’t eat it with me. I had to eat it at another table with my four-year-old son while he sat there away from me.
Why? Because that’s what the Watch Tower Society tells him to do.
I posted this picture on a Facebook forum October 26, 2013. The first response I received was, “Don’t know what to say. This boggles the mind; mind-control religion at its very worst!”
Minutes later a flood of comments and “Likes” followed, reminding me that a good picture can easily replace a thousand words.
For those of you who are curious, I must explain that my extended family began shunning me a year ago after I questioned the authority of the Watchtower’s Governing Body. My family’s unanimous well-meaning response to my doubts was by expressing their opinion that I “must be an apostate” and “severe shunning would surely bring me to my senses.”
After my mother died eight months ago, my dad, being all alone, went to the elders in the congregation he attended to see if he’d be allowed to visit with me. They said that since I was his son, he could visit with me at his house. But he could not discuss religion – nor could he share a meal with me at the same table.
Two weeks ago, I called my dad and asked if his grandson and I could visit him. He said “yes” and even offered to make lunch. But shortly before serving the meal, he said that he wasn’t going to sit at the same table with us. When I asked why, his reply was, “The organization says so.”
That confession allowed me to vent my feelings for maybe thirty minutes, describing to him about the harm caused by shunning and other Watchtower policies. He listened politely. But I could see that he was not in a “cognitive dissonance mode” – so nothing I said registered with him.
After I spoke my piece, he served a nice meal to me and my son. Then he chose to sit alone in a small area of the kitchen with his back turned to us while eating his lunch. I sat there speechless, trying to figure out what was going on in his mind.  Shameful Shunning in a Thousand Word
You can read here how the JW's justify why they do it, and it is just as sick as the COG excuses.
Why Disfellowshipping Is a Loving Provision
Living Church of God even feels they can "mark" you even if you are not a member of their group.

Here is what Dexter Wakefield has to say on it:
Can a person who is not a member of the Living Church of God be disfellowshipped? No. Can a person who is not a member of the Living Church of God be “marked?” Yes. So there is a difference in the two. Can you explain what it is?  Disfellowhipping and Marking

21st Century Foot-washing Ceremony For COG Leaders

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

"BUT, he was the one God had chosen, and he had to accept that, and submit to God’s will. "

This post ties in with the previous post on the Branch Davidians.  This is a quote by Neil Godfrey of the Vridar blog. Neil is a former Worldwide Church of God member who runs an excellent blog on "Musings on biblical studies, politics, religion, ethics, human nature, tidbits from science."

It’s a story of dashed idealism, sordid and cruel moments, the power of belief, and too much that I can personally relate to. I watched the TV mini-series on the Waco story late last year and, as I expected, found myself too easily able to identify with some of the followers. My experience was with the Worldwide Church of God. Not that that was my only experience with religion, but it was the one that echoed aspects of the Branch Davidians history. 
One moment in the movie that left me shaking my head in all too believable “disbelief” was when one of the most loyal followers of Dave Koresh was challenged by an outsider pointing to some of Koresh’s blatant moral failings. With unshakable faith the loyal follower replied that he wished with all his being that God had chosen anyone else except Vernon Howell (who took the name Dave Koresh) to be his prophet because he could scarcely imagine a less likeable person, . . .  BUT, he was the one God had chosen, and he had to accept that, and submit to God’s will. 
How often did the ministry in the Worldwide Church of God, especially the upper leadership, find opportunities to preach the message of King David, a “man after God’s own heart”, chosen by God, and David’s moral failings, his adultery, his murders, made no difference. Those who rebelled against this David when he was getting older and losing his grip on the kingdom were the ones led by Satan against “God’s anointed”.
The hypocrisy, the self-serving message, it’s all sickening in hindsight. But that’s how many of us were. If it hadn’t been the Armstrongs I suppose in another time and place it could have been Vernon Howell and it could have been me there. The one “saving grace” for the Worldwide Church of God was that it’s top leader was old and had no desire to give up his comforts or put himself in any serious physical risks. Those things come so much more easily to one in his early 30s. (For a number of years we were seriously expecting our leader to be given a vision or sign that would be the signal for us to “flee” to a “place in the wilderness”.)  Waco (the background story)