Saturday, November 2, 2019

Gerald Flurry: Is He the Path to Glory?

For people who think Armstrongism is some benign religion that is not harmful to people, then they need to check out Gerald Flurry.  He claims that he has "written" that "little book" mentioned in Revelation. Flurry calls that book, Malachi's Message. Thanks to lots of detective work by church members over the decades, it is well known that Flurry stole the entire book from Jules Deraves.  Dervaes compose a serious of letters that started in 1986 and continued onward till he had completed seven "scrolls" that were a witness to the church.  You can read Dervaes Letters to Laodicea here.

Flurry claims his book is essential to one's salvation and is the path to glory.
The “little book” mentioned in the book of Revelation introduces the lukewarm Laodicean era of God’s Church. While the world catapults into self-annihilation, the little book discusses a deadly spiritual falling away. God gave His people a message to deliver, but they quit prophesying. 
However, God won’t be stopped by a few rebels; He raised up the ruins through a loyal remnant. The little book explains this miracle in great detail. 
Once the little book is revealed, the Great Tribulation and the work of the two witnesses are imminent. Beyond that, the little book points to the soon-to-come return of Jesus Christ. Readers of the truth inside the little book will understand this powerful King will end mankind’s disastrous rule and set up a perfect eternal government.
“And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter” (Revelation 10:8-10). 
God wants us to eat up the little book! We must devour and digest this bittersweet message.
The stormy wind comes in the form of the little book of Rev. 10. THAT LITTLE BOOK IS MALACHI’S MESSAGE. That little book is the vanguard of the STORMY WIND. (Flurry, Gerald. The Little Book. Philadelphia Trumpet. Sept-Oct 1992). 
We also firmly believe that Malachi’s Message is the little book of Revelation 10. (Leap Dennis. As quoted in Philadelphia Official Responds. The Journal. June 30, 1998. p.8). 
The little book and our message is to measure the Church to prove that they are Laodiceans (Flurry, Gerald. Lamentations and the End-Time Laodiceans. Booklet. 1993. p.6.).  
Malachi’s Message was delivered to me and the PCG in 1989. A MIGHTY ANGEL DIRECTLY FROM GOD REVEALED IT! 
Why is it that so many of these men who self-appointed themselves as the saviors of the church are such incredible liars?  Are any of them capable of felling the truth?  Consider the fact that Flurry claims an angel revealed it to him, yet he has had to edit and correct that message at least seven times since he first plagiarized it.  

God no more sent an angel to Gerald Flurry than he doubly-blessed Bob Thiel to start a new splinter group or designated Ron and Laura Weinland to be the two witless witnesses.

Besides, if you are a Christian, the path to glory is found in only one person and that is Jesus.  It is not found in any Church of God or by any revelation from any of its leaders.

Fires, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Floods, and Hurricanes...Can it get any more exciting for COG prophets?

It is like clockwork that whenever any tragedy befalls Americans the self-appointed prophets of doom in the Church of God hyperventilate and scream God is punishing Manasseh!

With the rash of fires in California, whipped about by strong winds, which incidentally happen every single year at this same time, and the fact that we had huge amounts of rain last year that took us out of the drought and covered the hillsides with green grasses that dried out over the summer, this doesn't matter to the professional liars leading various COG splinter groups. They sit in their fancy leather chairs in the offices searching the Internet for the latest tragedy to "confirm" their preconceived ideas.

Thus it was like clockwork that our resident California self-appointed propeht started screeching his theories that his god is angry at California and is punishing people.  According to the self-appointed prophet of the improperly named "continuing" Church of God, CA is being punished because people refuse to repent.

The great Bwana Thiel says:

California Battles 10 Active Blazes, Still No Signs of Repentance

Thiel goes on to list a couple of news sources and then has this:

Notice something that California Governor Newsom said about the fire situation this week: 
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday declared a statewide emergency “due to the effects of unprecedented high-wind events which have resulted in fires and evacuations across the state.” … 
The National Weather Service recorded gusts of up to 93 mph near Healdsburg on Saturday night and said gusts throughout the county were clocked at 50 to 70 mph.
“It was the most fierce wind I have ever seen in the 30-plus years I’ve lived in our town,” Foppoli said. 10/27/19
Santa Ana winds are no shock to anyone who lives in California.  We get them every single year.

The great self-appointed prophet then goes on to PROVE to us all that he predicted this in 2014

Note Governor Newsom stated “unprecedented high-wind events.” 
The fact that factors related to fires in California are “unprecedented” is not a surprise, but consistent with something posted here over five years ago:
My prayers are with those affected by the fires. I also pray that those in California will repent as worse problems are ahead if it continues to go in a moral direction away from the Bible. (Thiel B. California fires devastating areas. COGwriter, May 16, 2014)
Let us kneel in amazement at the great prophet! Praise Bwana!
The Bible shows that God uses weather to get people’s attention. Sometimes to punish, sometimes to lead to repentance, and other times to consider that God, not humankind, is in control.
Fires have hit many places; Significant wildfires have hit California. Shortly after the start of the Thomas Fire, California Governor Jerry Brown warned that the US President did not have “the fear of the wrath of God.” Does God use fire to encourage people to change? What are some of the scriptures associated with fire in the Bible? What is sin? What are some of the scriptures associated with the wrath of God in the New Testament? Is Governor Brown being hypocritical here? What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? Is this relevant now? What did Jesus teach about the time of Sodom and the coming time of troubles? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more. 

Not to be left out is our other favorite Church of God prophet parked in his ivory tower in Edmond Oklahoma.  This second certified liar claims that the fires are the result of the 1978 receivership when the State of California swooped in with claims of financial mismanagement by Worldwide Church God officials.
For decades, one disaster after another has slammed the Golden State, establishing this “daunting” and heartrending “new normal.” And the Trumpet has been carefully monitoring the trend. In 1993, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote: “These deadly disasters are repeatedly labeled the ‘worst ever’! … With all the disasters that have struck California the past few years, it’s as if the state is under a curse.”
In Mr. Flurry’s 2007 article, he explained that the main reason California in particular is suffering these prophesied curses is not only because of the state’s culture of extreme and prideful lawlessness, but also because of California’s history with God and His Church. The Worldwide Church of God was headquartered in Pasadena since the mid-20th century; but in 1979, the state’s attorney general launched a massive and ill-founded lawsuit against it. Mr. Flurry wrote that this made California the only U.S. state that ever directly attacked the Church. He wrote: “Actually, it attacked a lot more than that. California really attacked the living God.”
California has an astounding history with God and His Church. It began as an extraordinary blessing and opportunity for the state, but ended with California openly rejecting God. Mr. Flurry explained that this is at the heart of why California is suffering ongoing wildfires and so many other catastrophes.
Given the fact that the Church was rife with corruption and despotic leaders it was disheartening to see how they get off scot-free and then continued on mismanaging money and abusing members.  But that is a moot point now, as the church itself imploded into hundreds and hundreds of little factions all claiming they are the greatest Church of God to ever exist and that they each exclusively carry the mantle of the faith once delivered.

I think a more important question needs to be asked.

Why is it that national weather issues are happening in states where the headquarters of various splinter churches are housed?  Is God punishing the various states for allowing these frauds to reign in our midst stealing tithe money and enslaving members with idiotic graceless doctrines?

Fires in California = Bob Thiel and the improperly named "continuing" Church of God
Flooding and tornadoes in Texas = COGWA
Earthquakes and tornadoes in Oklahoma = Gerald Flurry and Philadelphia Church of God
Hurricanes and tropical storms in the Carolina's = Gerald Weston and Living Church of God
Tornadoes and flooding in Ohio = Dave Pack and the Restored Church of God

I think the leaders of each of these splinter groups need to get on their knees and beg their god to forgive them for leading their followers astray and stealing their tithe money to fund the lavish lifestyles that they were accustomed to in the Worldwide Church of God.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Living Church of God: Why did over 200 people fail to show up in Pigeon Forge for the Feast?

From an LCG member:

"I was in Pigeon Forge for the feast in LCG. On opening night, they said over 800 brethren were registered to be there so it might get  crowded tomorrow. The next day, it didn't appear to be anymore crowded. In fact, there was ample seating with space every day. This was greatly appreciated because you know how they cram every seat together so you are sitting on each other's laps trying to read along or take notes. 
Anyway, in all my 20 plus feasts, attendance numbers have ALWAYS been announced throughout the feast. Toward the end, I realized they never did announce any numbers for Pigeon Forge. I asked an usher if they had and I missed it but he said, no. I asked him why they haven't announced any numbers and he said he didn't know. I asked him how many people he thought had been there. He said about 600. That is what I was thinking as well. 
So what happened? That is the first time the attendance was not announced at a site I was at. Could it be because they announced over 800 on opening night and if they announced only 600 showed up, people would wonder why? Would people ask why over 200 people simply did not show up? 
Is there a quiet exodus continuing out of LCG?"

Hateful Satanic Betrayers of the Brethren Unveiled at Last!

2 Peter 3:3
3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers (noticers) will come with their mocking, (noticing) following after their own lusts, (observations)  4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 
(Even though this is an accurate observation)

Prophet Bob Thiel notes: 

"Christians have been persecuted for holding doctrines that we in the Continuing Church of God hold and are clearly expected to be persecuted in the future for holding Continuing Church of God doctrines.
Sadly, in the 21st century, holding to many biblical positions is considered extremist and even dangerous by various government officials."

"Satan's plan includes persecution, as well as lies and innuedoes to discourage people from enduring. On that latter point, there are hateful people who write various things about the true Church of God (for some details check out Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch). People once considered to be brethren will betray people physically later (cf. Daniel 11:31-32 and Mark 13:12), and some are trying to do so spiriturally now (again, Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch)."

The Bible does show that the persecutors and their supporters will be punished in the end:...

...God and His people will win out in the end. Jesus taught that persecutions would come, but He also had it recorded that ultimately the persecutors will lose.

Or just maybe and on the other hand...

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Is Herbert Armstrong even relevant any more? For that matter, is Armstrongism's history and origins worth investigation at all anymore?

Is Herbert Armstrong even relevant any more? For that matter, is Armstrongism's history and origins worth investigation at all anymore? 

After all, it is 2019. It's 33 years after Herbert Armstrong died, three decades since Armstrongism flourished in it's glory years of growth and power. Armstrongism has now convoluted and contorted itself into morbid mutants of itself, all stringing along for whatever they can grab on to to reclaim or regain some semblance of meaning. Every sort of splinter group and leader has taken - either legitimately or illegitimately, through ordination or self-appointment, through circular logic or through outright delusion - a supposed mantle to proclaim whatever version of whatever message they have convinced themselves is correct. One is forced to wonder if - with a few notable exceptions of radical hardline Armstrongism - that the religion is anything like it was. Is it even worth examining the "way things were"? Is it even logical in this eve of the 2020s to continue to investigate, to bring out, to highlight, to reverse engineer the man, Herbert, and his doctrines - and his church? 

One could make many arguments in either direction. Those who are in the splinters today have argued that too much has changed - that it is nothing like it was. Yet groups still exist - some fairly good sized, yet - that are exactly the way it was, and are still out to convert - regardless of how much of their attractiveness is tangled in webs of lies and deceit. One could argue that there is too much variation now - that too many groups have gone off in far too many directions, and any correlation between the then and the now is irrelevant to the current State of Armstrongism. 

One could also make the argument that the Glory Days Generation (1940s - 1980s) is quickly becoming obsolete and aging away, and those who lived in the Armstrong Era will, within the decade, be far less than even today, and it's worthless to continue on discussing the errors, flaws, failures, humanities, and problems with the teachings and doctrines of the old Worldwide Church of God. That such work simply does not relate to the way the Churches of God are today. That the new generation is acclimated and only knows life in the Splinters - much smaller, much leaner, puny by any comparison and vastly different in many areas. 

Do these arguments hold any water? Should we just completely ignore or close the chapter on the old Worldwide Church of God? On Herbert Armstrong? on the Old Ambassador College? Do the "Ambassador Reports" have enough information already? Should we just focus on the splinters from here on out and ignore what was? 

The danger to that approach is the rewriting of history that many splinter groups and even members have continually attempted - whether or not in extreme ignorance or just basing it on their own experience alone  - to alter to their own specifications. There are those who would wish to completely white out - wash away - or even normalize - much of the historic, factual, and correct realities of the way things were based on their own perceptions and not on the hard evidence of fact. Many, today, would willingly go on the record and say a lot of things that did happen simply did not happen. They would, in feverish zeal, proclaim a rewriting of history in nearly the same manner that some splinter leaders rewrite their own history when their own prophetic speculations spectacularly fizzle in clouds of lies, and then go on deleting sprees to pretend that such things were never predicted in the first place. There is a danger to a whitewashing of the facts to those who are apologetic to the doctrines and teachings of Armstrongism. It is a recurrent danger, and a danger that is not in any way, shape, or form, going away any time soon. 

We have a choice to either let untruths become the normalcy, or where one person's perception becomes the blanket truth for the entire movement. Many are uncomfortable with admitting the stark realities of the horror stories of hundreds and even thousands of people in the past. Truthfully, many are uncomfortable with admitting the stark reality of Armstrongism even as it is now. There must be a meter of balance. A meter that speaks out and says, "Yes, it WAS that bad. Maybe not for YOU, or maybe not in your recollection, but this is the way it was." There must be a level to the misinformation that attempts to whitewash Armstrongism from what it was - a cult - to something far less damaging. The truth must always stand against misinformation - every time, regardless on what end of the scale you, or I, were on. 

We also know that many of those who lead the splinter groups today were those who were trained by Herbert Armstrong himself. Even though Armstrong himself is long gone - the methods, practices, doctrines, abuses, and deceptions continue virtually unabated by many, regardless of how the system may have become "modernized". A model T and a Telsa are still cars, and both will still get one from point A to point B. They still carry on the same system - and sometimes, the same format right down to the arrangement of the service structure itself. There is no doubt that the legacy of Herbert Armstrong in many groups - including British Israelism - still trumpets itself as the be all and end all of all things. In that cloud of deception, there must be an awakening of sanity. 

Even though it's nearly 2020. Even though the Worldwide Church of God as it was is long gone. Even though Herbert Armstrong is dead and buried, as are many of his hirelings, we still have the Packs, the Flurrys, the Weinlands, and the Malms and Thiels out there. We still have mass deception. We still have those who would teach a false narrative above and beyond what really was and is the historical, factual reality. 

This is why Armstrongism, Herbert Armstrong, the old Worldwide Church of God, it's publishing, materials, and letters must continually be shown and informed to readers for research and for education. This is why it is still relevant. This is why the origins and the beginnings through the glory days cannot and should not be ignored - even now. Because facts, and truth still matter, and cannot and should not be silenced. In the accountability of Armstrongism, the entire movement is impartially important to be held to account - regardless of what has been, what is, and what is still to come. 

Submitted by SHT 

21 Years Ago...David C. Pack said:

 "I want to make a statement"

(One of many to come over the next 21 years)), if I became deceived, I will never tell you what I'm going to tell you now...

(Prophecy fulfilled)

"I am telling you, if I go off into strange ideas,  misconduct, rebellion, you name it, don't follow me."

(Which I have. Which I will soon be accused of doing and you'll have to decide who is right, which will be me.)

 "I want to tell you that now, because if I start doing that I'm gonna try to get you to follow me!"

(And fully intend to do, hoping you will,  and did)

" I'm gonna come to you and tell you it doesn't apply, it doesn't mean me, no, no, no, no, no, no, it's OK to follow me because ABCD and XY and Z"

(See...told ya)

." Do you understand what I'm saying?"

(Hope not and evidently didn't)

 "Listen to me now, when I tell you don't follow me if I go off into weird ideas, or if I get off into other things that are total absolutely unscriptural conduct, because if I do I'm gonna paint it with a different face and try to get you to follow me."

(See..told ya)

" Do you understand what I'm saying brethren?"

(Hope not and evidently didn't)

" Please remember that, because I promise you that if I become deceived, I'll forget it, and I'll want you to forget it..."

(See...told ya)

"And  I hope you'll remember it well enough to quote it right back to me..."

(Hope not and evidently didn't)

"But I'll tell you what, I'm not going anywhere."

(Well I am and obviously did, but it's OK to follow me because ABCD and XY and Z)

David C Pack
December 12, 1998

While I know I have posted this remarkable quote several times along the way, it has always stood out to me as the defining insight into Dave Pack's own recognition of his grandiose and self serving perspectives on who he thinks he is and what he thinks he knows.

Dave is not who he thinks he is and knows virtually nothing about the Book he claims to have studied more than any man, except that which he has concocted in his head.  It is the template for all that has followed and why, while even being so wrong so often, he still has followers. 

 In this one quote, Dave revealed his own understanding of how he does and would manipulate any congregation or work he found himself pastoring in or being over. Actually being over is the only way Dave knows how to be. He has never worked successfully for anyone.  It is the one prophecy that Dave has ever made that has come 100% to pass as we are now able to look back over his many mistaken notions about himself and "the things which must shortly come to pass" which didn't and won't. 

How wrong does a man have to be and how often before those who follow such foolishness wake up to what everyone but them seems to see? Why don't they see it? If they do see it, why do they stay?

 How long can you sit in a Restored Church of God congregation listening, month after month and year after year ever backing up to start yet again another cycle of "soon" and "this time for sure" and more self serving  that comes out of the mind of David C. Pack?  How many times does one have to be 100% wrong before one stops wasting their precious resources and life time on yet another foolish shephard? 

Why don't Restored Church of God members and ministry recognize yet another one man show going very  badly and leaving a trail of tears in its wake?

And what about you Restored Church of God Pastors, Elders and Deacons?  How much denial of reality can you convince yourselves of?  Do you think as I did for a time watching the antics of the Armstrongs and then the Tkaches that "things will get better" and "Everything will be OK.  This is God's Work"?  You are postponing your own day of having to face the reality of Dave's fantasies. 

I know what it feels like to watch your good intentions and hopeful ideals fall apart as time erodes credibility. I know that niggly feeling of perhaps having made a huge mistake in choosing a church or comfortable belief, which then overwhelms as foolishness unfolds. 
I know how it feels to wonder how do I get out of this intact, still married, loved by my children retaining all my friends and survive. The fact is , you won't and most don't. The go along to get along won't work forever.  I know you feel you  have come too far to turn back now. I know you  hope it will get somehow get better.

And it only gets worse.

In the above quote, now 21 years ago, Dave Pack has done EVERYTHING he said he would not do. He even outlined the formula for how he was going to do it. He did it because he feared (or knew)  at the time of saying this, that this is exactly what he would do when push came to shove and it did. Dave Pack might not know God or Jesus, but Dave Pack knows Dave Pack. 

 Men like Dave Pack work for no one. Others work for them.  They take no advice and see their views on everything as the correct ones.  When they want to appear brilliant, they tell you a lot about "I" and "Me".  When they fail, it's always going to be "We" and "You" and mostly you. 

Ron Weinland pulled the same stunt during his own spectacularly foolish predictions a decade ago and blamed the people for not understanding that it was all "spiritual".  Actually it was all Bullshit as is just about everything that comes out of Dave Pack's mouth with regard to all things theological.  

He's also a lousy teacher on Creationism...

I simply recall Dave's quote with the hope that those who may not have ever heard it then can see it now and  how it has played out over the past 21 years since Dave said...

"...But I'll tell you what. I'm not going anywhere." as he left Global to create his own house of theological cards.  

That's pretty telling for a guy who claims to see himself spoken of in the scriptures and The Elijah to come.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Self-Appointed So-Called COG Leader/Prophet Disturbed That People Do Not Believe That Armstrognism Practices "1st Century Christianity"

Our favorite self-appointed prophet of the improperly named "continuing" Church of "god" is NOT happy that a web site took a swipe at "Armstrongism." Bwana Bob Thiel believes that the COG does teach 1st century Christianity and that he is now the sole agent of God actively practicing it in the 21st century.

The physical head of the old Radio/Worldwide Church of God was the late Herbert W. Armstrong. What he taught has been derided as “Armstrongism.” What were some of those teachings? Was the old Worldwide Church of God some type of weird cult or did it strive to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints? Is “Armstrongism” improperly maligned and falsely described at Are concepts such as the tribes of Israel, ‘soul sleep,’ and three resurrections unique to Herbert W. Armstrong or were they long part of original Nazarene Christianity? What about various holidays and Christianity? In this video, Dr. Thiel goes over his early experiences with “Armstrongism” as well as gives scriptures about persecutions that would affect Christians.

Here is what Got Questions (see below) said about Armstrongism that sent our glorious dear prophet over the edge, so much so, that he had to do a video about it. For some reason though he failed to mention the abject corruption that has plagued the church for the last 80 some years, the hundreds of splintered factions, the sexual assaults by church leaders, the theft of tithe money by top leaders for their own use, the rapes, the pedophilia, the stalkings and other perversions committed by leaders, the preaching of false doctrines that have enslaved members, and the current batch of perverted COG leaders leading splinter cults. He also fails to mention that his self-appointment is 100% against 1st century beliefs and practices of the church. 

Any sane person knows that Bob Thiel and the COG as a whole do NOT practice 1st-century Christianity. The church has always been one that was growing and evolving as it grew.  Besides, how can it practice 1st-century Christianity when most of the COG's today brag that they practice pre-1986 Armstrongism?
Armstrongism, Worldwide Church of GodaudioQuestion: "What is Armstrongism? Is the Worldwide Church of God a cult?"

Armstongism refers to the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, which became the teaching of the Worldwide Church of God. These teachings were often at odds with traditional Christian beliefs and at times were explicitly in contradiction to the Bible. The most well-known of Armstrong’s teachings is that of Anglo-Israelism. This is the belief that modern-day Jews are not the true physical descendants of Israel. Armstrong believed the lost tribes of Israel had migrated to Western Europe and that the present-day British and Americans were actually the heirs to God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Armstrong believed that this knowledge was the key factor in understanding the prophetic passages of Scripture and that it was his mission to proclaim this message in preparation for the end times.

These beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God were not new and were rooted in an anti-Semitic misinterpretation of Scripture. The Bible is clear that God has not replaced Israel with any other nation and that His plans for Israel are right on schedule and will come to pass after “the fullness of the Gentiles” have come into the Kingdom (Romans 11:25). We can be sure that all God has said is true and will take place, because of His character and consistency (Romans 3:3–4). To attempt to revise God’s plans for both Israel and the Church is to call into question His nature, His sovereignty, His omniscience, and His faithfulness.

In addition, Armstrong taught that at death one is in a sleep-like state until Jesus returns to earth. There would then be three resurrections. The first would be of the faithful Christians. Second would be the bulk of the population who would have a second chance to accept the gospel and be saved, despite the clear teaching of Scripture that there is no “second chance” for salvation after death (Hebrews 9:27). Third would be those that had acted in such a way as to be ineligible for the second chance. They, along with the group from the second resurrection that rejected the gospel, would then be punished. The Worldwide Church of God did not believe in eternal punishment in hell, but rather a complete destruction through fire, i.e., annihilationism. The Bible, however, is clear that there are two resurrections, one to eternal life in heaven for believers and one to eternal damnation for unbelievers (Revelation 20:4–14). Here again, the theories of Armstrongism and the Worldwide Church of God directly contradicted the Word of God.

Armstrong also taught that followers of Christ should remain true to all of the teachings in the Old Testament. Thus, he held the Sabbath to be holy, and in Jewish tradition the Sabbath was observed from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. He further believed that the Old Testament festivals such as Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles must be celebrated. The Worldwide Church of God taught that modern Christians should follow the dietary laws and tithe (up to 30 percent). Armstrongism was only one of many salvation-by-works philosophies that look to the keeping of the Old Testament laws as a means of salvation. But the Bible is clear that the opposite is true. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, because the Law saves no one. “A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16). Clearly, the philosophies of Armstrongism and the Worldwide Church of God were just that—worldly philosophies that seek to deny the only means of salvation, the exchange at the cross of our sin for the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and replace it with the Old Testament Law, which Jesus came to fulfill because we could not.
After the death of Hebert W. Armstrong, the Worldwide Church of God began to embrace a more orthodox understanding of the Christian faith. Armstrong’s successors, Joseph Tkach, Sr., and Joseph Tkach, Jr., have led the Worldwide Church of God in a more orthodox direction, rejecting British Israelism, accepting the Trinity, etc. The organization/denomination now refers to itself as Grace Communion International. A brief history of the transition from Armstrongism to Grace Communion can be found at Although Grace Communion has come a long way toward biblical doctrine, there are still some serious errors in their theology, such as the teaching that everyone has been reconciled to God and forgiven of sin; that everyone, prior to repentance, possesses the Holy Spirit and is a child of God. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

On Being First

On Being First

My thanks to Gary Leonard over at Banned by HWA! for publishing my last post (That Great Day of the Feast). I am always surprised and grateful when he thinks that one of my pieces is worthy of sharing with his readers. For many years now, Gary has sought to challenge the followers of Herbert Armstrong's theology to reexamine their belief system and reclaim their ability to think for themselves.

Nevertheless, A few of the commentators on my post took exception to my remarks about their pride in being first - that my argument wasn't really with them but with God! One person even suggested that my own future in that regard may be uncertain because of those remarks.

This is a classic example of the kind of circular reasoning and mental straitjacket that has kept people in the clutches of Armstrong's theology for the last seventy years. They believe that God has revealed "His" TRUTH to them, and that if you don't see what they see you're WRONG. Worse yet, in their estimation, is anyone who has formerly accepted their position and now rejects it - that person is clearly not going to be first!

Nevertheless, in attacking me, these commentators failed to address the point that I was making in that post and my responses to them. Frankly, it DOESN'T matter what you or I think about what is going to happen to us when we die! It is what actually happens to us that matters. Likewise, our belief about the ordering of when we receive our invitation to accept Jesus Christ's sacrifice for our sins is a small matter when we compare it to the issue of whether or not we accept that invitation. The question is: Do we rejoice in the fact that ALL will/or have receive/d that invitation, or that we are the first to receive it?

Jesus Christ warned his disciples that "many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." (Matthew 19:30) He went on to say: "For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen." (Matthew 20:1-16)

I am thankful to have received an invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb, and I hope and pray that I will be ready when the door to that celebration is opened! The order in which I received my invitation does not (and should not) matter to me. And, as long as I am there, I don't care if I'm the last person through that door! Does that make sense?

Lonnie Hendrix