Saturday, November 16, 2019

Dave Pack: Sell Your Land and Homes so I can Build My Bigger Barns..and Lands...and Homes!

RCG just released another amazing video about their 104-acre compound. 

How have they acquired so much land? How have they bought so many homes? How have they built so many brand new homes? Gardens? Barns? Horses? 

So many blessings from God. But how?

Easy, they have drummed into the RCG flock that they must "sell all" and all things must be "common." Spiritual coercion of the most disgusting sort has been going on for years. Funny how when all things were common in the first century (admittedly a totally different teaching), we never see any evidence of amassed wealth for the apostles.

But don't worry, just a year ago Dave said,"Release Your Assets to God! Sell all as you are waiting for the Lord. Even if the Work has no time to use it. Won't change my salary. Won't build any more buildings. But it'll help you! Probably won't help us. But it'll help you! God's looking at your heart."

He has named several dates over the last year (and several years) that his Jesus was about to return. He failed every time. But during his feverish-prophetic stirring of the people he always drops the strong suggestion to "sell all", often with implicit spiritual threats of one's future. 

Recall the long official article that summarizes this teaching. It all came from a sermon series from Dave many years ago.

When will this end? 

Below is official RCG doctrine and the exact reason why they have built what they have. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Headquarters has been asked by many individuals and couples for assistance in determining how to obey Christ’s command, based on their circumstances. No two situations are identical, but certain questions regularly arise.

Q: Is Common paid or given?

A: Mr. Pack answered this question in the more recent of the sermons mentioned above. He was speaking in the context of Christ’s instruction about profitable and unprofitable servants: “Is Common commanded? Is it paid or is it given? Is it an offering or like a tithe? The answer? It is both. You are commanded to give it and it is your duty. As a matter of fact, if you do give your “Common,” you could still be an unprofitable servant because everybody must do it. It is a baseline. So it will not automatically get you into the kingdom of God. However, I used both terms because everybody (much like a Holy Day offering or any other offering) must decide what they believe is the portion they keep back. Where do you set the limit? The person who gives more versus the one who gives less defines who is profitable to God and who is not.

“Somebody can give a huge amount and a great many poor of this world can hear the gospel, yet the person who gave may not even reach the kingdom. Have you thought of that? It was their ‘commanded duty.’ But they become profitable to God when they say, ‘You know what?…I have an awesome job, unlike anybody else. Look at my house. Look at my cars. Look at my clothes. Look at my steady income…I do not need this much and can give more than I think.’ Such people can go further than they often think. God does not define your portion, your part, your allotment. You do.”

Q: What are the typical pitfalls?

A: We have at times seen members fall into two opposite ditches:

(1) Giving so much that they bring themselves to the brink of financial insolvency. This happens less often, and is solved by looking at income, expenses and debt while deciding how much to give. Headquarters can provide counsel to help prevent this.

(2) Mistaking merely “a nice offering” for the “all” that Common requires. To illustrate, think of a member with $1 million in the bank. (This would be rare.) He has simplified his lifestyle to a reasonable level, and does not need more than his current income to cover his monthly expenses. He has determined that a prudent savings, based on various factors, is $15,000. He learns of the Common doctrine, evaluates his circumstances…and decides to give $300,000 to the Work. While this is a very large amount—far beyond the capability of most—it still leaves him with $685,000 of excess funds he does not need. He has given—and that helps the Work!—but he is not “all in.” He has not truly obeyed Christ’s command—or even come close. Consider the widow of Mark 12: “Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And He called unto Him His disciples, and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow has cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (vs. 41-44). Though the amount the widow gave was tiny, she had deeply sacrificed.

Q: Must I sell my house?

A: Other verses make clear we may have a home. Paul asked the rhetorical question, “Have you not houses to eat and to drink in?” (I Cor. 11:22). Also, Sabbath services were generally held in members’ homes in the first century (Rom. 16:5; I Cor. 16:19), still often the case today. In modern times, Common applies to second homes, vacation cottages, investment properties, land and other unnecessary assets.

Regarding primary residences, a distinction must be made between a home used as shelter and a place from which to extend hospitality, and one held as an asset—a “stockpile” of equity. Again, in this age, there are banking instruments that allow one to live in a house—and “own” very little of it—in the exact same way as if it was owned outright.

Q: What about my retirement account?

A: According to many plain scriptures, Christians do not retire. The Fourth Commandment alone makes this plain: “Six days shall you labor, and do all your work” (Ex. 20:9). Another crucial verse states, “Even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (II Thes. 3:10). (Of course, it is natural to slow down somewhat as we age.)

Mr. Pack said this in “How a Small Church Does Such Big Things (Part 2)”: “Retirement is unbiblical, period. That is why Mr. Armstrong said, ‘We will never retire’…Retirement is a sin if you are able-bodied…I have given a sermon on this, ‘The Work Ethic and The Work.’ Some may say, ‘Well, Mr. Pack, that is strong.’ Yes, it is strong, but God is strong! You cannot come into the Work and say, ‘I am retired because men told me I can.’ God does not say you can. Mr. Armstrong died at 93½ on the job; Moses, too, along with other servants of God. They retired into the grave. But a lot of people have amassed a lot of wealth, so they think they can retire because men told them they could. Retirement is another part of the culture out there that people marinate in…It is called the entitlement mindset.” (For more on this, listen to his full sermon series.)

Q: Does Proverbs 13:22 require Christians today to provide an inheritance to grandchildren?

A: This verse states, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” While this had direct application in ancient Israel during and beyond when it was written, the urgency of our time presents a very different scenario. We are living in the final age of the Church, with the signs of the end-time blaring at us minute-to-minute from the headlines! Our children would hardly have opportunity to spend an inheritance, never mind our grandchildrenWe are the generation who, at the 1,335 days, will have to leave behind everything but the clothing we are wearing. Just weeks later, our material goods will be plundered as the Great Tribulation arrives—there will be no neat distribution to inheritors.

Again quoting Mr. Pack: “I’m never going to leave my children anything. The same with all my grandchildren. Why? Because there is no possible way they would ever get it. Consider for a minute. At the resurrection of the dead, not one person will own land or a house. Not one living Christian in God’s Church will still have either. In fact, we will have decided three years and eight-and-a-half months earlier to leave our houses and lands. You will have left your dwelling…so the question becomes, will you give some of it now?

“The chances are, if you won’t give it now—and I’m not saying leave it—there are banking instruments in place where you do not need to leave your house. It’s different from the first century. You can pull money from your house and live in it as though you owned it outright. Of course no bank will let you be upside down in your house.

“Now consider. If you won’t give up your houses and lands now, you probably really won’t have to worry about giving them up at the time of “taken.” You’ll get to keep them for a little while longer, while all those who did give up houses, who did give up lands, and received them back again because God provides for them—with persecution—will again be willing to do it at the 1,335 days before Christ’s Return.

“We have two categories of people, as it were: Those who gave up houses twice, and those who won’t give them up at all. Take a look at what you have—gold, silver, 401Ks, stocks, coins, stamps, paintings, antiques, equity. What do you have that you don’t need? You can continue your lifestyle if you’re not acting in an affluent way (that’s not the calling of Christians). Don’t leave yourself with no clothes, standing out in an intersection without food in your stomach, or a house. You may need counsel, but there are a lot of things you can get rid of. Great numbers have already learned this.”

Q: To keep the Fifth Commandment, are we required to financially take care of parents?

A: We can and should do what we can to make sure our parents are in a safe environment and not lacking basic necessities. But Christians are not obligated to subsidize an upscale setting, even if they were once accustomed to it. Consider: When their minds are opened to the truth at the Second Resurrection, they will have an entirely different view in hindsight of converted children’s decisions. Will our parents look back and think, “Now I understand their actions—they did the right thing”—or will they say, “What were they thinking?!? They could have done so much more to help finish the Work!”

Q: My family/spouse/friends are opposed to me sending Common. How should I respond?

A: First, never tell family outside the Church about a command they have no chance to understand! (You would certainly never tell them even the size of a Holy Day offering.) Since we established that giving all is not possible without God, you should not expect those outside God’s Church to believe it is possible, or even a good idea. (This would also apply to a financial advisor, who would view any notion of “treasure in heaven” or being “rich toward God” as foolishness.) Remember: Family and friends cannot give eternal life. They cannot place a crown on your head or put you on a throne ruling cities beside Christ. Do not permit their opposition to jeopardize your eternal life and reward!

Recall Jesus’ instruction to one who wanted to delay following Him on account of family: “He [Jesus] said unto another, Follow Me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go you and preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:59-60).

Get counsel on this matter if you are unsure.

Q: My home/land/property is on the market but is not selling. What should I do?

A: Over time, while assisting many members liquidating real estate to benefit the Work, the Headquarters ministry has seen a pattern repeat itself many times: The seller must aggressively drop the price, often more than once in a short time, to find the market “sweet spot” that brings a serious buyer to the table. Almost always, the selling price is considerably below what the member had expected. The desire to give more to God’s Work through a higher price is wonderful, but generally speaking it is better to relatively quickly drop the price to one that will rapidly sell.

This evokes Christ’s parable of the unjust steward: “There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of you? Give an account of your stewardship; for you may be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? For my lord takes away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

“I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owe you unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take your bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owe you? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take your bill, and write fourscore.

“And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:1-12).

Here is a quote from one of Mr. Pack’s sermons on Common regarding this parable: “Brethren, be like the unjust steward with your possessions. Maybe (proverbially) write 80 as he did, or write 50, so to speak. Again, get what you can for what you have. Holding out for the bigger price usually yields nothing, rather than more. We’d all like to think it will (rarely it can), but it may yield nothing. Be willing to scramble…That’s what the unjust steward did. He scrambled. We might say God’s Work is in a big hurry. We could move more quickly with our plans if God’s people moved quickly.

“Because of the compacting of the age and the ‘short Work’ (remember God picked a word in Romans 9:28 that means compact), we must act quickly. We have to be jet-propelled. So we here must move at the speed you move. Go to God for that extra help. Those are some things worth considering in regard to the unjust steward.”

Submitted by Anonymous

Friday, November 15, 2019

Whoring For Money (Response to "Personal" written by Gerald Weston in the Nov.-Dec. 2019 Tomorrow's World magazine.)

Whoring For Money

Below is the "Personal" written by Gerald Weston in the Nov.-Dec. 2019 Tomorrow's World magazine. I reproduced it in its entirety so as not to be accused of cherry-picking to twist comments out of context. I did highlight a few items so as to address them after.


There are two of our resources that you have not likely come across. Frankly, I do not think we have advertised them to the public or mentioned them in our magazine in years. Do you know what they are?
This column is titled “Personal” for a reason. As Editor in Chief, it gives me an opportunity to communicate with you about those things that are on my mind, and in this issue, I want to answer three questions that are asked of us: “Who is behind Tomorrow’s World?,” “Is it really free?,” and “How can you pay for so much television and give away all of your materials without asking for money?” 
Let me answer the second question first. Yes, everything we advertise really is free of charge—no strings attached, and no emotional appeals.We do not sell magazines, booklets, DVDs, or CDs—and we never will. Our 24-lesson Bible Study Course is sent free of charge. We do not hawk shirts, mugs, prayer cloths, or any other such items as you have likely seen peddled [interesting word choice] by other ministries. 
The answer to the first question, “Who is behind Tomorrow’s World?,” explains the answer to the third. The Tomorrow’s World magazine and telecast are sponsored by the Living Church of God, which is made up of dedicated members who seek to practice “the whole counsel of God,” as the Apostle Paul referred to it in Acts 20:27That counsel includes the biblical law of tithing (or “tenth-ing”). Most of our members faithfully and voluntarily send in their tithes and offerings throughout the year. We don’t even take up offerings during our weekly Sabbath services!
Jesus gave us our mission in Matthew 28:19–20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” In Mark 16:15, He plainly commands, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Furthermore, He said that we will succeed in accomplishing this mission before His return: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
As you well know, we never request donations on the Tomorrow’s World telecast, in our magazine, or in any of our literature. Coworkers and members of the Living Church of God take seriously Jesus’ admonition, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Or as Proverbs 23 tells us, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it” (v. 23).
Of the more than 290,000 current subscribers to Tomorrow’s World, only about 15 out of 100 ever contribute to this Work. Many of these do so only one or two times over a period of several years. We are grateful to all who contribute, no matter how often and no matter how much or how little. We also appreciate our subscribers who, for whatever reason, never contribute. We advertise that our literature is free, and truly it is. And this may surprise you: We are so serious about our literature being sent free of charge that we return money when the giver explicitly says he or she is sending it as “payment” for our materials.This is true for all our offices around the world. I can personally confirm this, as I was the Director of the Living Church of God and Tomorrow’s World in Canada for more than 13 years, and in the United Kingdom for a couple of years, before being transferred to our world headquarters here in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Each month, one of us—usually me—writes a letter to all our members and coworkers to express our appreciation for their support and update them on biblical prophecies and trends taking place in this world. We also give “behind the scenes” information on new developments in this Work to which they contribute.
The Living Church of God has more than 390 congregations scattered across North, Central, and South America, Australasia, the U.K. and Europe, and Africa. We, along with coworkers who have voluntarily chosen to be part of this Work, are a small but dedicated group who are willing to go against the course of this world (Ephesians 2:1–2), following the way of Jesus Christ and first-century Christianity. Our members reject pagan and heathen traditions that have infiltrated modern Christianity. We observe the days God instructs us to observe, and we follow the true doctrines found in the Bible.
At the beginning of this Personal, I referred to the two least-advertised and least-requested pieces of literature we provide. Do you know what they are? The first one is our booklet God’s People Tithe! We do not promote it frequently because we don’t want anyone thinking there is “a catch to all this free stuff.” Receiving any of our resources is not dependent in any way on donating to this Work. While this booklet is listed among our resources on the Internet and in Lesson 16 of our Bible Study Course, it is the second-least-advertised and requested booklet that we have. As I write this, very few of our subscribers even know of it. As far as I can recall, it has never been mentioned on our Tomorrow’s World telecast.  [And there is a very very good reason why which will be explained below.]
And speaking of the Internet, we do have a link on our website for anyone who wants to donate. This is only because some people want to do so and want to know how. We do not “promote” it or position it prominently, as so many websites do with theirs. It is there strictly as a service for those who want to donate of their own free will, and there is no emotional appeal made for them to do so.
So, what resource could be advertised less than our tithing booklet? The one that almost none of our subscribers (and probably not all of our members) know of is our “Planned Giving” brochure. Some of our members, coworkers, and subscribers desire to include us in their wills or make other types of planned gifts. We make this resource on estate planning available upon request to help those who want to do so.
Now, I understand that I’ve taken a risk here of bringing out the cynical nature in some. They no doubt will think this is an appeal for money—and if they do, I understand. However, we have nothing to hide, and we receive these three questions on a regular basis. I believe it is best to be open with people and simply “tell it as it is.” Tomorrow’s World is backed by the Living Church of God and others who want to contribute to this Work—and yes, all of our materials really and truly are free.
And more importantly, all our resources will continue to be sent free of charge. No one will call to ask you to send money or buy something. You should never feel pressured to give to this Work. We are grateful to those who do, but that is a decision between you and your Creator. We will do as we have always done—trust God to provide. For us, faith that God will provide is real. He has taken care of us, and each issue you receive of Tomorrow’s World is tangible proof.
Occasionally, we ask our subscribers to renew their free subscription—not to get them to contribute money, but to let us know that they are truly interested in receiving further issues of Tomorrow’s World. We believe this is a way to be good stewards—by not sending magazines to individuals who may no longer want them.

So, while other televangelists sell their wares with sentimental music, pictures of orphans, and teary-eyed appeals for money, we will never do that. Truly, this magazine and all our resources are free for the asking."

HOW and WHEN, my Friend

It is true that everything is free. LCG does not "peddle" materials produced to the masses. It is also true that there are never any emotional appeals. Frankly, I don't think they are capable of that. BUT all this is true as long as you never fall for the hook.

Tithing is a doctrine wholly dependent upon HOW it is framed and more importantly, WHEN it is introduced. When I first came across the teachings of HWA, one of the first things you are told is that everything the church offers is absolutely free. “Freely you have received, freely give” was Christ’s admonition to the 12 before He sent them out to preach the gospel. Most people would spend months, even years, consuming the free literature. 

But all good ad men have a hook and call to action. You can’t just sit around studying our free literature the rest of your life. No, you have to call in to HQ and get a minister to come visit your house so he can invite you into the “body of Jesus Christ.” HWA perverted the ”freely you have received, freely give” principle by using a basic marketing tool where you offer someone something for free, knowing they will feel obligated to give you something in return. It was by offering free literature, he would then guilt and scare people into sending in offerings and eventually requiring 3 tithes on top of offerings as a “member in good standing.” It has been documented that as much as 25% of the annual income came from co-worker letters guilting and scaring non-members into paying up.

HWA created a cult of “Truth” that only he had. Even though he spent 11 years in the Church of God (Seventh Day) from 1927 to 1938 and learned 16 of the 18 truths he claimed to restore to the church after 1900 years. To keep you off the trail of competition, he labeled COG7D as “Sardis” from Revelation 3:1-6. COG7D was the “dead church” so you certainly don’t want to go snooping around there. No, truth exists only in “God’s Church” and God’s Church is the Worldwide Church of God, the one and only true church organized on the planet in existence that is Philadelphian (Revelation 3:7-13) and commissioned to finish the “Work!”

The purpose of the WCG was to proclaim the gospel to the world so that the end would come (Matthew 24:14) and Jesus would return to establish His kingdom on earth. WCG was the continuation of the apostolic church of 31 A.D. and was in the final end run as Jesus was going to return in 1975. If you are not in the WCG, you will not be counted worthy to escape all of the horrors promised to come upon a wicked world. If you want to save your own skin, you better start by joining the WCG who freely gave you all this knowledge of the Bible. Fear was the dominating factor that turned co-workers into members. 

By the time you are ready to commit to attending the one true church on earth, it is because you have already studied and accepted many doctrines of the church. You have come to believe that you proved WCG is the only church and now as you start attending, there is a sense of exuberance and purpose and security and trust in the "true church." 

Once inside is where the bait and switch occurred. Once inside, you were brought under the subjection of an authoritarian cult where elitist ministers controlled everything and what was once free, now came with a price tag of 20% of your income and in certain years, 30%. On top of this was the expected offerings to pour into HQ. Now, at this time, you obviously didn’t see that you were being locked into an authoritarian cult designed to milk you of your livelihood all for the grandeur of Herb. 

It was only then, that you were introduced to the argument made by the church that tithing is a carry-over from the Old Covenant that still exists in the New Covenant by way of employing an ordained ministry and fulfilling Mathew 24:14 so we can hide safely for 3.5 years and take office in the Millenium. Tithing introduced to you at this point, in this way, after you have committed much of your time studying and being convinced you have found "the one and only true" church, made perfect sense. Any cognitive dissonance that arises in your mind at this point would be silenced by the time and effort already painstakingly invested.

Once you have gone this far down the rabbit-hole, cognitive dissonance kicks into over-drive. The term, “cognitive dissonance” is “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.”

Put another way, “Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.” This was coined by Leon Festinger, a social psychologist, after studying a UFO religious cult. He predicted that after the leader of the cult prophesied a date that the people would be taken from earth and that date came and went, the people would not abandon the cult in droves. Instead, they would self-justify a way to stay and, in fact, double down their support. His claims are questionable but this is what he says happened: The leader proclaimed the world was spared by the E.T.’s because of their devotion and the response was one of doubling down their efforts to support the leader. The people did not leave because cognitive dissonance keeps us from owning up to mistakes and admitting when we are wrong or have been fooled. No one wants to believe they are stupid or foolish so we instead, double down on our foolishness. Our pride locks us in even more and explains why people will sometimes believe crazier and crazier things over time (Enter the likes of Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry and Bob Theil).
"For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God..." -II Corinthians 2:17
The Greek for “peddling” is KAPELEUO and  Paul’s use of  it can be most rightly translated to mean, “whoring for money.”

HWA was a business failure who turned his marketing skills on earning a living as a religious gnostic. He was an “information marketer” with a peculiar set of knowledge (gnosis) that, he claims, was kept hidden from humanity for 1900 years. The market on the “simplicity of Christ” was already saturated. HWA saw no niche in going up against the Billy Graham types. Instead, he developed a syncretistic core of teachings largely learned in the Church of God (Seventh Day) and to a lesser degree, other religious thinkers that fall out from mainstream Christianity. He used classic psychological tactics described today as the tools of a “cult guru” to control people with guilt and fear.

Gerald Weston is no HWA. In fact, all of these men who have come after are just managers of a dying cult. They are blinded and deceived by their own cognitive dissonance and continue to peddle the model of an unbiblical church structure. Facing their own cognitive dissonance would not only demand they recognize a lifetime wasted supporting and participating in an abusive cult but would require that they end their employ immediately and seek the forgiveness of thousands who they harmed as well as the one they thought they were serving all along, Jesus Christ.

They may not admit or even see how they are indeed, peddling, or whoring for money but the tactics they learned under HWA are not lost. All of the magnanimous talk up front of giving freely, refusing to take payment and never using emotional tactics is just setting the trap. But once the bait is taken, the fear and guilt trip begins. Demands on your family's livelihood are made in the name of God and if you refuse to comply (now that you are in-the-know) there will be dire consequences leading to physical suffering in this life culminating in the tribulation and ultimate spiritual, eternal destruction.

At the risk of this post being too long, I think it is worth the time to just see what the tithing booklet actually says. I recommend everyone who is in, but definitely people who are not in but considering joining LCG, to read the booklet. I am somewhat surprised that they would want the booklet on tithing on the radar of prospective members. It is counter-intuitive in how HWA used the process, not introducing the tithing doctrines until they are locked in as visiting members on a weekly basis. I think this will back-fire and I hope this post will help that to happen.

God's People Tithe!

Anyone familiar with WCG will know that many booklet titles were usually worded as a question. Even LCG has continued in that tradition since almost half the booklets are still titled with a question. So it really struck me that the booklet on tithing was the only one ever titled not only without a question mark but with an emphatic “!”

Now, that may seem like a minor and petty point to make. Perhaps, but actually makes sense from a cult’s perspective on protecting its livelihood and existence. It takes money to exist and stay relevant. A system that demands a steady income that the organization can budget from is also greatly helpful to the organization. I don’t think it is a coincidence that tithing is the only doctrine introduced to the people in a way that precludes even questioning it by its very title.

The booklet has a total of 28 pages so you would expect a lot of Scriptures to back up the church teaching that tithing is a New Testament Law. Oddly enough, there are only 4 places in Scripture to supposedly prove this “law” and they are all introduced in the first 7 pages. The booklet itself, could easily be parsed down to a 1 or 2 page article. [Disclaimer for my tithe troll: This is not a comprehensive post about tithing]

Twenty-one pages are filler used to shame, guilt and fear you into tithing. At the risk of being accused of cherry-picking and twisting quotes out of context, here are some of the quotes to prove it. I do recommend everyone read the booklet in it's entirety.
“How plain! If we are looking for an argument [against tithing] we will always find one. But if we are willing to “hunger and thirst” for righteousness…” -p.7
This implies that if you find arguments against tithing, it is because you do not hunger and thirst for righteousness. If you look for an argument against tithing, you will find one but only because your motives are wrong.
“Pay the Creator of heaven and earth the “tithes” you owe Him--plus generous offerings--and see Him become more “real” in your life as you truly serve and obey Him.” -p.17
This implies God is not real in your life and you are not truly serving and obeying Him if you don’t tithe.
“Others who may know that you are a tithe-payer can see you learning to love, fear, obey and serve your Creator.” -p.19
This implies you cannot learn to love, fear, obey and serve God if you do not pay tithes. And others won’t even be able to recognize you as a real Christian if you don’t tithe. This is one of the most absurd of the comments in the booklet.  

"The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'"  --Luke 18:11-12
“Another vitally important lesson tithing teaches is true humility and heartfelt obedience to our Creator.” -p.19
This implies you cannot learn true humility and heartfelt obedience if you do not tithe. I guess the Pharisee in Luke 18 was a godly example of humility after all.
“And by faithfully tithing, we learn another important lesson—faith.” -p.19
This implies you cannot learn faith if you do not tithe. Relying on God, does indeed build faith. Unfortunately, faith can be built by doing something in ignorance and not required. 
“Tithing done in a good attitude will positively affect your life now in so many ways, but all the more powerfully for all eternity in tomorrow’s world!” -p.21
This implies a good life now and eternal life is only given to those who tithe.
“And most important for you personally, find that Work which shows how you can escape being destroyed during those same prophesied events.” -p.23
This is important for LCG to emphasize because of the competition that exists today. There are basically only 3 main groups but they are all roughly the same in membership and work size which is sad in both accounts. I would argue in the first 10 years, the GCG-LCG camp was doing more of a work than any others. But since then, it has reached a lifeless homeostasis with the rest of COGland. But it is important to point out once again, the use of fear, but not only in not tithing but to fatally tithe to the wrong ministerial retirement fund.
“We are not preaching a gospel of “prosperity and wealth”…Nevertheless, God does materially bless and prosper those who properly follow His laws of financial success. If we faithfully tithe and do our part, the great God whom we serve will never let us down!” -p.25
Wait. Maybe this is the most absurd. This implies we do teach a prosperity gospel and if you don’t tithe, God will let you down. Implies? No, this just says straight up that while we would never admit to teaching the health and wealth snake oil doctrine used so effectively today by Olsteen, Jakes and others who learned from their pioneer, Herb, we do in fact teach it and should actually be credited for it being used so effectively.
“’In the mind of any honest student of the Bible, there should be no question but that tithing to God and to His work is certainly “pleasing” in God’s sight!” p.27
This implies you cannot be an honest student of the Bible if you do not tithe. Nay, even to question it using logic, reason and research in the Scriptures makes you a liar to be heavily frowned upon by God.
“Those who try to get around tithing and who ignore this very plain warning are going to be shaken in the day of God’s wrath!” p.27
Using fear, you can expect pain, suffering and death if you even think of trying to get around tithing or ignoring it for being a doctrine of men.
“…it is very doubtful if He has much interest in the trick arguments of carnal men trying to get around His instruction to tithe.” -p.28
The implication is that if you can argue against tithing from the Bible, it is only because you are unconverted and carnal, using trick arguments. There is no way you can even begin an honest inquiry into questioning tithing without proving to be a carnal trickster.

It seems to me the only carnal trick arguments being used are spread throughout the last 21 pages of this booklet using fear-based and emotional mind control tactics to convince you to tithe without any Biblical proof other than that which was presented in the first 7 pages.

After 21 pages of brow-beating and fear-mongering, it is likely the 4 places in Scripture introduced at the beginning of the booklet are now made convincing enough to you (even when they are not) because this topic has not been introduced to you as a teaching of the church until you are already attending services and the cognitive dissonance is taking hold of your soul.

All churches of God collecting tithes as a N. T. law are whoring for money. The "work" these churches are producing all ad up to nothing in not only conversion but sheer lack of reach. They are all on pace to never fulfill Matthew 24:14, In fact, all Matthew 24:14 was ever expected to do was enable Herb to die a wealthy respected businessman among his peers. If left to the churches of God to fulfill Matthew 24:14, Christ will never return. The only "work" tithing is successfully accomplishing is funding the Ambassador College alumni retirement plan.

My recommendation to my brethren is to forget Matthew 24:14 because it is something a small select few of individuals actually called and used by God will accomplish someday without your income. It will be accomplished by individuals who will be able to say things like Paul did here:
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.”                            --I Corinthians 4:9-13
Show me one minister in any church of God that lives on tithes that would not be laughed to scorn if they said something like this. 

What we are all required to do if you want to be right with God is make the Sermon on the Mount the centerpiece of your Christianity and strive to be the sheep Jesus describes in Matthew 25:31-46. Be courageous and really examine yourself. Face your cognitive dissonance head-on and be prepared for a world of hurt. Then let the anger and sadness give way to reason and prepare yourself to be there for those still waiting to be set free.

by Stoned Stephen Society

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Were we "that grain of mustard seed" that restored original Christianity and Government of God to the whole world ?

Armstrongism had the chance to be taken seriously. For multiple tens of thousands over a period of seventy years and more, it was. Many well-intentioned, God-fearing individuals took the words of Herbert Armstrong as Gospel, equating him as a 20th century Apostle who had been granted divine revelation to restore what seemed to be lacking within the religious confusion of the protestant world scene. Many abandoned everything they had believed - and embraced the new beliefs - with full trust in the words and visions of Herbert Armstrong and the general ministry of the Worldwide Church of God. 

The restoration of what was perceived to be original Christianity was completely dependent on the claim that God was speaking through Herbert Armstrong. Of course, for God to actually have been speaking through Herbert Armstrong, there would have had to have been validation. Yet the Church convinced the same tens of thousands of God-fearing people that they indeed did have validation. Validation through physical works orchestrated through a physical organization. 

What had to be accomplished to prove and to validate Herbert Armstrong's ideas was very simple: That the period of time of the growth and rise of the Worldwide Church of God was the same period of time as prophesied about in Matthew 24. That the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached unto the whole world, and then the end should come. What Herbert saw happening around him - to him - was the validation of what, and who, Herbert thought he was. Things were changing, developing, advancing, and modernizing at a breathtaking rate. From Herbert's birth was the horse and buggy, at mid-life was nuclear and atomic power, and late in life was the moon landing and the Space Shuttle and the beginnings of the information age. It certainly appeared at that time - for anyone living in 1986 - that things could have reached a pinnacle that could not be topped without some sort of divine intervention - that we had sealed our doom for certain. And it was this fear that sealed the belief - the wholehearted belief - that Herbert somehow got it right. 

Somehow, everything in Revelation that was prophesied - the bowls, the seals, the thunders. The beasts with the horns and crowns. The two witnesses. All of it - according to Herbert, and believed by us - had to do with the period of time from 1930 to 1986. The expectation among the believers was sure. That was absolutely believed to be the final generation of mankind as we know it today. It was unmistakable. Yes, the Worldwide Church of God was that grain of mustard seed that restored original Christianity and restore the Kingdom and Government of God to the whole world right then. Not in ten years, not in twenty years. Then. In three to five years, tops, the Baptized Members would be transformed and changed into spirit beings. The ministry would be transformed and changed into top-level leaders. The children would remain on Earth, guided by their spirit-parents. World war III would break out, in an all out nuclear catastrophe. In just a few years, just before we wiped ourselves to oblivion, Jesus would return on a white horse with His army of angels, the Worldwide Church of God and all original Christianity would be resurrected and meet him somewhere in the middle of our atmosphere, descend and make war with the resistance, set up the Millennium, and restore the Government of God in a very physical way for 1,000 years under God, Christ, and Herbert Armstrong. Lions and wild animals would be tamed, swords would be turned to plowshares, the Sabbath and the Holy Days would be kept by everyone, especially the Feast of Tabernacles, and everything would gradually turn into a magnificent agricultural fountain-filled utopia until the devil would be released one more time for a short period. This was our expectation. This was what was expected in 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1986. This would have been the validation that Herbert was right. This is what was consistently, adamantly, and without wavering preached as the Word of God that all of us believed fully, waiting for the validation to commence. Just wait - it's going to happen, we'd say. Just a few more years. 

The problem is the truth became something totally different. A truth that thousands refuse to look at in the face and see. Here's the truth that many refuse to wake up to. The truth is that the Worldwide Church of God was going to collapse in 1995. The Ambassador College would be shut down. The Ambassador Auditorium would be sold to Pentecostal Charismatics. The Student Center and many Ambassador facilities would go to a mainstream Christian high school. The Church would shrink to a fraction of what it was. There would be no physical world-shattering return of Jesus Christ in 1986, 1990, 2000, 2010, or 2015, no matter how many Armstrong ministers claimed that that would happen. Those who preached prophecies in the name of Armstrongism would be, every time, proven completely false and absolutely wrong. Many would try and some would succeed to raise their own mini-empires, causing Armstrongism to become the very name of confusion that for so many years they harpooned others with. If anyone would have told anyone this truth in the glory days of Armstrongism, they would have been accused of being demon possessed, liars, and evil - and thrown out of the Church and marked. Yet that would not have made any of this any less truth. This is the truth, this is what was destined to happen. This is what the eyes of you and of me see as reality today. 

The reason why so many to this day continue to flock to Armstrong Churches in whatever denomination they feel comfortable with (And so many is a relative term - a fraction of what it was, honestly) is because of either two things. One, they hold out hope that they could be right, and that everything was just a little delayed. Or two, they refuse to admit that they were wrong. Either way denies the truth. The truth that history shows as evidence to reality. Yet, neither of these reasons are what holds them to stick with Armstrongism. The only thing that truly binds them to the core falsehoods that Armstrongism propagates is one thing, and one thing only: Fear. 

They are afraid. They are afraid of Satan. They are afraid of demons. They are afraid to anger God - and oh, there are so many ways to anger God if you believe in Armstrongism. Eat the wrong food. Drink the wrong drink. Do the wrong thing on the wrong day. Say the wrong thing. Dress the wrong way. Work at the wrong job. Associate with the wrong people. Don't give an offering. Don't pay your tithe. Don't go to church. Disobey a minister. Disobey a deacon. Be weak in faith. Go to church on Sunday not Saturday. And the list goes long and on and on. It is this fear that keeps them rigidly subscribing to a weak, pathetic version of the Law without form and without substance, bound and loosed by ministers who have never truly kept the Law even themselves - breaking it with hypocrisy, pride, arrogance, conceit, lust, love of power, and the love of money. There is no freedom of Christ in this. There never has been. Just pure, unadulterated fear that blinds them of the truth - the very Truth that has every bit of power to set them free from the tired, worn, drug out, repetitious, constant drone of falsehoods that calls itself Armstrongism - held together only be a loose-knit group of social clubs financially supporting proven liars and charlatans feeding like leeches off of the members in a supreme example of stone-cold wickedness, who throw darts and daggers of fear to "keep the money coming" so their false gospel - invalidated for decades - can be preached. Again. There's no freedom here. Never has been. There never will be. 

Wake up! Quit being afraid and living in paralyzing fear! Enough! 

God has never given anyone a spirit of fear. God only gives a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. The truth is? It's Armstrongism that gives a spirit of fear. It has from the beginning. It still does to this day. Armstrongism IS a spirit of fear. And the sooner that people wake up to that fact, face it, and admit it, the closer they become to truly being free. As scripture says, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 

You'll never find true freedom in Armstrongism. You never have, you never will. Freedom is only found by Christ in you, the true mystery of the ages.  

Submitted by SHT

God's Only True Prophet Claims LCG's Shortening Of Sermons Will Cause LCG Members To Not Know When To Flee

God's ONLY true prophet and channeler of all things godly is still harping on the Living Church of God claiming that they are too Laodicean to know when the time will come to flee.  LCG is too stupid to not understand that God will personally tell Bob Thiel when it is time to take his flock to Petra where he will be met by Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry and other COG leaders who will put him in his place.

Living Church of God has apparently told its ministers to stop their long-winded sermons and shorten their delivery time.  After scores of LCG members complaining here about boring sermons and ungodly sermon lengths, LCG has acted.  A truly effective speaker can get his message across in 20 - 30 minutes and not bore people out of their skulls with 60-80 minute sermons.  Just because a minister quotes hundreds of bible verses does NOT make him a scholar or an authority on the topic he is speaking about.  Just look at Bob Thiel!

Laodicean Move?While listening to a live LCG sermon today, the preacher said that they (the preachers) had been directed to keep their sermons under an hour.   I have also noticed that their sermons have gotten shorter (under an hour when they have typically been 60-80 minutes).  This can be verified by looking up some recent sermons on their website (note that it can take 4 months or more for them to post sermons so some "recent" ones may actually be from before the change - great timing for when they would be expected to tell the brethren to flee, right?).  I think this limits their teaching and weakens their edification of the body of Christ.  Just in case any of the preachers have been trying to keep a Philadelphian work, this makes it a bit more difficult to feed the flock.  
I had been told of this change in LCG before. As far as LCG knowing when to flee, unless it changes some of its prophetic positions (which they admitted to me were wrong and promised to change by February of 2012), they obviously will not possibly know when to flee. Shortening or lengthening their sermons will not affect that.

The sheer lunacy of Armstrongism continues on unabated.

We'll Return to Our Sponsor in a Minute

Just wanted to share my own pictures of Meteor Crater in Arizona to conclude the last two posts challenging Dr. Bob to wake up the scientist in him and put the Prophet to bed.

The impact was about 50,000 years ago and could not have hit in a more desolate place than near Flagstaff.  I had looked down on it flying to ministerial conferences and "Refresher Programs" that were exhausting.  To sit there and consider the moment of impact and all that really is was simply amazing to me.  I have a piece of vaporized "Meteoric Iron" which is meteorite impacted with earth rock mixed.

Go if you ever get the opportunity. For big projects it beats a shovel!  :)

The 6 mile approach to the Meteor Crater wall

A bit closer

Looking over the rim
(I could not get the entire view in one pic)

Rocky upturned debris on the rim above impact point

Looking down the pulverized rim into impact point

Up ended house size strata on the rim

Turned up strata along the crater walls

Taking home a piece of real Earth  history

And now we return to our regularly scheduled postings...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Dr Bob Insists...

"Does the amount of water on and in the Earth support the view of the Genesis flood of Noah’s time?


Bob goes on...

"What does science say?
It’s left with two options for what accounts for all of the Earth’s water:
  • It came from extraterrestrial sources – namely comets and asteroids;
  • The Earth itself is actually manufacturing water
The latest studies pointing to vast reserves of fresh water – or “primary water” – are being used to lend credence to the second option. Why? Because the previous theory could not begin to explain how water equivalent to or exceeding the water in all of the Earth’s oceans could have found itself deep beneath the planet’s mantle.
So maybe there is another explanation – God made the water."

Probably not Bob

(Nor is the Grand Canyon a Genesis Flood feature)

At a minimum, the first 11 chapters of Genesis are tale weaving and story telling in an age where "that's the best we can do",  to explain things in ways we should know better than today.  Many don't of course because "It's in the Bible".

A personal collection of Carbonaceous Chondrites containing water. These are pieces and left over debris, 4.5 billion years old, of the formation of our  solar system and spent the vast amount of their time between Mars and Jupiter before ending up on my desk.

The origin of Earth's oceans has been a topic of much scientific debate. But with a genuine understanding of Deep Time for our origins and the nature of the chemistry of  not only our Solar System but of the Universe itself, water would come naturally to a planet just as did Gold, Silver and platinum and iron from the cores of exploding Super Nova.  These rare elements are formed in the last seconds before a star explodes and spews them into clouds that later coalesce into new stars with new and planets with these elements within them now. 
Long wonderful story brought to us by science, not religion.

As a counter point to Dr Bob's simplistic and faith restricted nonsense...
If the topic actually interests anyone and Answers in Genesis is not found to be all that satisfying, there are many well done lectures on the topic and what is known and suspected to date as to the origins of water on earth. None of them will reference Noah or the Genesis Flood. 

Did Asteroids bring water to Earth?