Saturday, December 7, 2019

Why the Church? Gerald Weston Says It Is NOT For Your Personal Salvation

Why the Church?

In the latest Living Church News, Gerald Weston asks in his editorial, "Why the Church?" It is a good question and as anyone who has been in the COG's knows, answering "personal salvation" is a selfish, lazy and damnable answer.
"Despite this wonderful news about our future, many are surprised to learn that our personal salvation is not  [emphasis, Gerald's] the main reason why God is calling people in this present age."
"Isn't that [personal salvation] enough?" many will ask? The answer is an emphatic No!"
"Jesus gave His followers a great commission, articulated in Mark 16:15-16 and Matthew 28:18-20. As we have this divine commission as Christ's followers, is it okay to choose not  [again, emphasis, Gerald's]  to take an active part in fulfilling it? Paul tells us that Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Our Savior expects us to show outgoing concern for others. We must not sit back and wait for the Kingdom to come, as is the manner of some."
He goes on to equivocate the wise and faithful servant as being the one spreading the gospel of the good news AND  trumpeting the "Ezekiel Warning" to the filthy house of Anglo-American Israel that has never been so wicked in all it's history as it is right now! And, of course, since you know the Living Church of God is the only qualified organization on earth to fulfill this God-given role at this end-time, you would be remiss not to support such a Work and can count on untold suffering and death if you don't.
"Warn and walk away" is not what Jesus instructed...It should be evident that the Church is both to give the good news and to warn, with the hope that some will repent."
Because we all know when we do the work...and someone repents...this is called...personal salvation
"Some who consider themselves part of the Church of God have disputed this point-either actively by misinterpreting the words of Scripture and proclaiming that there is nothing for us to do, or passively through laziness and inaction. So, are we to 'wait it out' until Christ returns, or are we to do a work?" 
Gerald belittles those who may think Herb finished the work and we are simply to prepare the bride by saying these folks use "one-third of one verse" [Rev.19:7] as proof. Then he can't resist invoking the idol in closing:
"Mr. Herbert Armstrong died in January of 1986--about 34 years ago. Most people alive today know nothing of him. Two whole generations have grown up since his death. We are thankful for what he did, but we must follow his example and be found so doing."
COG ministers love to use the either/or fallacy. You either support my organization or you are lazy. You do the work as we define and direct you to support or you are an inactive Christian worthy of the flood Satan will be spewing from his mouth in 3 to 5 years. Seriously, who goes around saying Christians have nothing to do? The truth is you just don't like Christians who go around saying we don't have to do what "you" want us to do.

Herb claimed that he was commissioned by God to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and I find it interesting that Gerald stayed away from that verse and instead referenced Mark 16:15-16 and coupled it with the "Ezekiel Warning."  How do we follow in Herb's footsteps? Should we proclaim Matthew 24:14 which would be going on 100 years now?

You bragged about the churches prowess in prophecy in the "Behind the Work" video at the feast. Are you going to follow Herb's lead and make wild prophetic announcements that backfire in epic proportions? How about sending faithful tithe payers threatening letters to send in special offerings needed for a "final push"? Should you buy a jet and bribe Prince Andrew for a photo-op? We could probably use another Elijah about now to get things going.

What all COG's have always failed to realize is that the purpose of the church and the 'work' is [emphasis mine] personal salvation at its genesis and its core. To rejoice with the angels in Heaven when one sinner repents. Personal salvation is then supposed to inspire personal evangelism, utilizing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The goal (why the church?) is to fulfill Matthew 25:31-46. What the church should look like is a collection of spirit-filled individuals with out-flowing love and concern for humanity in their own spheres of influence. The church should be a  public pillar in every community instead of a religious roach hiding in rented basements.

If the work you do in "spreading the gospel" does not begin with personal salvation and end in  fruits produced by personal evangelism, then what kind of work is it? 

I believed in the work of the Living Church of God and supported it faithfully with tithes and offerings for over two decades. I believed Dr. Meredith when he said we were the "spear-point" of the work. Dr. Meredith was his own kind of buffoon but he at least put forth pretense to do a work.

In 2009, I bragged about the work LCG was doing compared to UCG. (Thanks for the numbers, Bawana Bob):

  • LCG:   Preaching the gospel:  45%     Feeding the flock:   47%
  • UCG:   Preaching the gospel   24%     Feeding the flock:   56%

I used this as evidence that all the COG's should be in LCG. A year later when UCG imploded, I screamed, SEE! Surely now, God will bless LCG and show the world who was going to do the 'work!'

Fast forward 10 years to 2019. You have the nerve to publish an editorial shaming people into increasing support in "your" work because you claim it is the ultimate expression in love toward others. Then on p.13 in the very same issue, you produce a pie chart showing where tithe money went in 2018.

  • LCG:   Preaching the gospel:   34%     Feeding the flock:   58%

In the January, 1995 edition of our booklet, “When Should You Follow Church Government” RCM states that the church has over 7,000 people hearing sermons every Sabbath with over 60 ministers and elders around the world. He finishes with this on p.41, “We are growing every single month! This is God’s doing! He is blessing us because we are seeking to do His will in a genuine, heartfelt manner.”

25 years is a long time to grow every single month. How have we done? Current estimate is 10,000 in weekly attendance. 3,000 in 25 years. 42.9% increase overall. Factor in birth/death rate and take out those who are playing musical chairs between the COG's and are not "new" converts and you have a growth rate between 0.2-0.8% per annum. To put that into perspective, even the  Catholic church with a billion members, still grows at 1.5% per annum.

Back in 1995, Dr. Meredith said he had 60 ministers and not all of them were on the payroll. Today, we have over 200. That is a 233% increase overall. In 1995, there were 117 members to each minister. In 2019, there are 50 members to each minister.

We all know what "feeding the flock" means. Add in the 7% that goes to Administration and 2/3 of all tithes and offerings go to paying ministerial salaries, mortgages, fleet cars, food, clothing and the Ambassador College retirement fund.

Gerald writes:

"We may think of the Parable of the Minas in terms of developing ourselves personally rather than in terms of multiplying our minas outwardly. And what happens to the man who does nothing with his mina?"

The COG's take minas and consume them upon themselves. And then tell the providers of those minas to bury what they have from Christ because they are not qualified to use them.

"But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in." --Matthew 23:13

Your message is dead and year after year, you gather in your ministerial conferences, throw your arms in the air and make excuses like, "we can't figure out how to reach millenials" and "people are increasingly evil in this end time" and "we are not in the conversion business" and "real growth will be in the millenium."

You said, "We must not sit back and wait for the Kingdom to come, as is the manner of some." Does the evidence not show this is exactly what LCG is doing?

It is clear what the real work is in these dying COG organizations. I call on all brethren to stop paying unbiblical tithes and demand accountability from men who have proven over time to be unjust stewards. Declare, as the parable says, you can no longer be steward. In fact, any leader in the COG's today that was a minister in the 70's and was not fired for being a "liberal" at that time, should be retired immediately. These old men have proven to be the most unfit and unqualified men to lead according to biblical requirements. Send Ames, Weston and Winnail to Hawaii. A time-table should be established to remove the field ministry from the payroll and be required to seek employment like everyone else in the real world. Those who leave the ministry because it no longer comes with a paycheck will simply prove they were never shepherds. Dismantle the Roman Catholic governing structure and replace it with New Testament Congregationalism. Develop a Christ-centered message rooted in love that inspires growth in the body and inspires blessings to be poured out on all people
Good stewards produce a return on investment. In 25 years, you have no fruit to speak of and the organization is clearly trending away from that which you pay lip service to. The real church (Gerald) does not require that I or anyone else support your painfully out-dated 'gospel', your flat, dead presentations, your pompous telecasts, and your inability to communicate with today's humanity. The real church is following in the footsteps of Jesus, not Herb.

Why the Church? I guess it depends who you ask.

by Stoned Stephen Society 

Adult Sabbath School: Why Do They Stay?

With all the drama and trauma leaders like Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack  and even minor Church of God one man shows bring to the table for their members, one has to ask "why do they stay?"
You'd think after Dave Pack's periodic yet consistent prophetic debacles, self absorbed sermons, crazy title taking and eating up "all things common" (Except for him I imagine) to build a Legoland Replica Headquarters, people would just wake up and move on.   
Gerald Flurry and PCG have seemingly inflicted about as much damage to families, relationships and more false prophecy about the unknowable future as one should normally be able to stand without simply concluding this place is toxic to myself and everyone else that touches it. 
Even in the more stable, and I use the word loosely, splinters like UCG and LCG (doomed to fizzle as they are) you'd think the average member would die of boredom and being subjected over and over to the same sermons with predictable and appropriate proof texting, which has not changed or learned anything new ever since HWA uttered the meaning of it all. 
You'd think one would tired of turning BACK into the Old Testament for inspiration and how to be rather than AHEAD into the NEW would grow old.  Making doctrinal mountains out of molehills and majoring in the minors might also wear thin by now.
I know the case can be made for no matter what, it is still the true church or the fact that the church from day one has had all the same types of problems with people and the politics of men.  For sins and crazy behaviors we can always appeal to King David and the no matter what of him being "a man after God's own heart." Makes you wonder what's in God's heart.  That one scripture alone kept men in high places telling everyone how it all was and will be going even as they lived out their actual lives, shortcomings, human tendencies no matter who you are and shenanigans. And it always will I imagine. 
"You don't want to end up in the Lake of Fire do you?" also seems to still work on the psyche of many who simply know of no place else to go or way to think about their own spiritual needs and beliefs.  How many of the COG members go along to get along?  How many stay because that's where all their friends are?  "What will my family think if I share my real thoughts on all this?" also is a powerful place holder, not to mention, "Where would I go?"
The average minister and member does not see and would not recognize the politics and competition between the divergent teachings of the Jerusalem Apostles and Paul. That would be a bridge too far. And so there will always be endless bickering and proof texting all over the New Testament to show they all spoke the same right thing and not to worry of it. 
But why do they stay in the face of years of abuse and failed ego centric and self absorbed leadership, especially when it comes to men like a Dave Pack, Gerald Flurry or Ron Weinland?  There certainly is no lack of information that could help someone struggling with the mistaken leadership and teachings of the splinter or sliver they attend to make a decision to move on. 
The answer is simple...Or complex depending...

"As my friend was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.
“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size of rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” My friend was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us? How many of us have avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief? Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else’s limiting beliefs?"
Evidently lots of people are held back by the beliefs of their ministers which override their own suspicions and unasked questions which often when asked are given very unsatisfactory answers in the face of available evidence to the contrary. 

"Pssst...I'm tellin' ya. I don't think we're tied up near as tight as we have been led to believe"

I asked myself , in hindsight, why did I stay so long?  It's complex. I thought no matter what that it was the true church with the true teachings. I was fearful of consequences both imaginary and very real. Contrary to opinion, I did not stay "for the paycheck".  It wasn't that great. I could have done much better when young on the roads not taken.  Part of me felt that HWA would die as all do no matter what Waterhouse said and the church would grow up and progress. I felt that I and my peers would be the next and more practical generation of ministry. The STP changes were right along that line in the 70's and it floored me HWA canned it. The 70's were simply chaotic in WCG as one might recall, but then so were the 80s and 90s.  I picked a lousy time to ever hear of the Wildworld Church of God and believe I was supposed to be in ministry.
So I get it that we can all come up for reasons to stay in a toxic setting whether it be a church or in a workplace.  I just quit a rather toxic workplace and am staring overt in a more peaceful one myself. It did not serve me and I learned my lesson in staying too long from my past experiences. 
I have learned that "if your head tells you one thing and your stomach tells you something else, your head is lying to you" is pretty darn accurate.  I imagine a lot of COG folk will know that feeling as they sit week after week hearing their leader muck up over an over and poison the well of genuine spirituality and joy in the only actual life one has. 

But when it's all said and done, the tie that binds is a weak one  indeed and can be broken should the need to escape come to mind...

Friday, December 6, 2019

Before there was Herbert W. Armstrong there was William Miller

I founded Something Or Other Publishing because I believe everyone has a story to tell. Mine includes Herbert W. Armstrong - a religious leader, of Quaker stock, who was ordained in the Church of God 7th Day before he launched a Christian movement of his own. At its peak the Church founded by HWA claimed over 100,000 members and a media and education empire that, at the time of his death, had global influence. The Church of God 7th day, and thus Armstrong's church, grew out of the so-called Great Disappointment of 1844, in parallel with the Adventism of Ellen G. White.

These three, and a number of other religious movements owe a debt of gratitude to the work of William Miller and his preaching and teaching about the interpretation of prophecies related to the return of Jesus to this earth. They were the inheritors of a religious fervor generated by the expectation that though Jesus said no man knew the day or the hour, He Himself, along with Daniel and other prophets, had left carefully coded math that could help "the wise" arrive at the exact year

That year was 1844 which came and went without the expectations of the faithful being fulfilled. Many believers concluded that something must have been wrong with the calculation.  They started a process of providing new interpretations. Some made calculations to push the date forward, while others determined that the date was related to activities in heaven, rather than to Christ returning to earth. But were there other possible explanation

Jay Tyson has written a book which looks to the example of the Wise Men of the East—those Zoroastrian magi from Persia who undertook a successful search for the promised One of their age—a search that took them far beyond the boundaries of their own country, religion, and culture.  As they searched for ‘the King of the Jews,’ they remained open to the unexpected ways in which God often fulfills His promises.

"The Wise Men of the West—A Search for the Promised One in the Latter Days" asks, “What if some wise men from the West had carried out a similar search in the 1840s?
What if they had followed Jesus' instruction to look to the east? What might they have found? And how might their discoveries, even today, enhance the legacy of William Miller?" Interestingly, his main protagonist is a Quaker like HWA's parents. "The Wise Men of the West" invites the reader to a voyage of discovery which may provide answers to those who were left hanging when HWA, like William Miller, died without the events he had spent his life teaching about coming to pass. At least not in the way he expected.

Wade Fransson
Founder of Something or Other Publishing

Buy the book on Amazon  

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Don Ward: Are UCG Members Called to Prophesy?

Don Ward is back with one of his year-end encyclicals to his faithful followers in the United Church of God.  It has been a rough year for many UCG members as they are constantly being berated for not doing enough. There is that "gospel" that UCG assumes they are getting out to the world, though you would be hard-pressed to find anyone on the street who has ever heard of them.
God has not called you to just sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by. He expects you to be in the arena fighting the good fight of faith with all your might.
I am curious to know exactly when UCG has fought the "good fight".  Its leadership has been on the dole since they apostatized from the Worldwide Church of God in a fit of rebellion as they went from one paycheck to another paycheck.

Ward continues on with this about the "calling" UCG members are the recipients of.  One of the things UCG members must do is be baptized in order to be received into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  He then lists 5 things that church members are called into. You can quickly so who gets the short end of the stick with last billing, as usual.
Perhaps our greatest spiritual blessing is our calling. In order to enter into the covenant of sacrifice with God and Christ we must hear the word and respond to it (Romans 10:10-17). That is, we must repent, exercise faith in the sacrifice of Christ, be baptized and receive the laying on of hands. Do we grasp, understand and appreciate the significance of our calling? We have been called to: (1) the great battle of the ages; (2) the hope of the ages; (3) the work of God; (4) the Church of God; and (5) the body of Christ, the family and Kingdom of God. Do we remotely grasp, understand and appreciate the significance and importance of our calling?
Ward seems to imply that baptism is a requirement for salvation.  It is actually quite simple,
there is no external act that anyone needs to do for salvation.  Faith is the only criteria needed.  Romans 4 and Acts 15.

Ward then goes on to talk about a battle that's been going on for some time now, apparently. What he fails to realize is that battle has already been fought and won, but since Jesus gets continually short shifted, the law is necessary to trump him.

How can UCG members be focused upon the "hope of the ages" when the stone commandments are constantly being used to beat down members.  How can they find that "hope" when "he" is hardly ever discussed?
God has called you to bear fruit. Every person has been given some gift. Never underestimate the gifts that God has given you—to do so would be to take your calling lightly. God has not called you to just sit on the sidelines and watch the world go by. He expects you to be in the arena fighting the good fight of faith with all your might.
That "good fight" translates into tithe money. He should just admit it.
Never discount just your presence at Sabbath services. Through fellowship we draw strength and encouragement from each other.
Getting UCG members interested in attending services regularly has been a task for UCG. Given that UCG services are filled with elderly men preaching the same sermons they have preached since they preached them in the Worldwide Church of God, keeping members interested has been a hard task. Even the blue sock puppet Jelly has not been successful.

UCG members should not wait for the ministry to do anything, it is up to them, particularly the ability to prophesy.
God gives talents to every person (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). God expects us to use our gifts and talents to bear fruit: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:6-10).
Seriously, can you imagine what would happen when some UCG members might stand up and say they had the sure word of prophecy? They would be drummed out of the church as fast as Rod Meredith kicked Bob Thiel out for making such a preposterous claim. How could some ignorant lay member have a word of prophecy when the top dogs can't get their act together and even pretend to make prophecies?

Better yet, when has Don Ward ever had the faith to prophesy?


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Peter M. Leschak: Getting back to fundamentalism

Peter Leschak is a graduate of Ambassador College Big Sandy is a long-time firefighter and respected author of numerous books on firefighting with many of them including snippets of his life in Armsgrongism.

Getting back to fundamentalism

Peter Leschak   

“Twenty-nine years ago, as the Voyager 1 probe neared the edge of our solar system bound for interstellar space, NASA directed it to photograph the Earth from 4 billion miles away. The picture is known as “the pale blue dot.” Our planet was barely detectable, about a single pixel in an image that astronomer Carl Sagan described as “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

From the lush surface of our world, its vulnerability is not apparent. By outer space standards, even the South Pole is extravagantly hospitable, but the “pale blue dot” expressed how infinitesimal we are in the cosmos. That Voyager scarcely picked out the earth from relatively nearby offers insight into how toilsome it is to find planets orbiting other stars. Despite the technological advances of the 20th century, the first “exoplanet” was not discovered until 1992.

It was a significant scientific achievement, but no surprise. As an astronomy enthusiast in the 1960s, I gazed at the stars and assumed our galaxy must be teeming with planets. Our sun had nine, and surely it couldn’t be the only one among the staggering multibillions of stars. That wasn’t a scientific deduction, but also no great conceptual leap for a child of the Space Age who had proof that the stars were other suns.

How wildly different for Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) the Renaissance philosopher and monk, who without observational evidence deduced that the stars were suns and they must have planets. He also said they were inhabited. One of his books, “On the Infinite Universe and Worlds,” contained the sentence, “There is in the universe neither center nor circumference,” thus anticipating by over three centuries the work of luminaries such as Albert Einstein. For that and other heresies, he was burned at the stake by the Inquisition.

Is it more remarkable that Bruno conjured such keen insights or that he terrified the Inquisitors? “Remarkable” in the literal sense, “worthy of mention.” After all, Bruno was acutely religious, tending to mysticism; his pronouncement could’ve been magical thinking — a wild lucky guess — no more scientific than my childhood assumption of “it must be” or an imaginative plot device by a sci-fi novelist. Why should people feel threatened? They were, and that is remarkable.

In my adolescence I belonged to a fundamentalist Christian sect, subject to a strict code of behavior regulating every facet of life. Outsiders aware of our rules and doctrines considered them strange and oppressive. Why live under a totalitarian regime that dictated menus, hairstyles, sexual practices and reading lists, not to mention thoughts and ideas? For most insiders, however, including myself, the system was congenial. For a while.

I attended one of the sect’s colleges, a bucolic campus in the East Texas woods, an alternate reality fashioned to reflect what the entire world was supposed to be when our god’s plan waxed triumphant. Yes, we sometimes chafed under the strictures, but what kept us more or less happily in the fold (and happiness was mandatory) was a potent sense of belonging, a heady glow of earned righteousness, and a conviction of personal and collective exceptionalism. Everything was certain and we were the chosen. I had yet to discern, as Judge Learned Hand noted: “The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure it is right.”

Ironically, or perhaps inevitably, it was in that restricted, rigorously enforced dreamland where many members comprehended the power of ideas: They could indeed threaten. If you value seamless fraternity, undoubted rectitude and special consideration from the divine, then everyone must stay on the same page. Doubt is contagious and toxic, the “new” is shocking, dissenting opinions are destabilizing and it all sums up to heresy. Heresy is to an authoritarian community as a suicide bomber is to a crowded cafĂ©.

Being locked in the bosom of the sect was congenial because it was mentally safe and comfortable — so long as it remained isolated from change. But human society, the biosphere, and the universe itself do not long tolerate isolation and stability. Questions arise. Opinions develop. Attitudes evolve. Perspectives budge. Minds expand. Winds shift. Orbits stutter. Heresy happens, and the establishment implicitly understands that criticism must be expunged. But Bruno at the stake only expunged Bruno, not his ideas.

All attempts to preserve a closed society are eventually doomed. The universe will not abide it, no matter what society espouses. The Inquisition is gone and a bronze statue honoring Bruno stands in the Roman square where he was burned.

I once wrote a respectful but mildly dissenting letter to a member of the college faculty, a doctor of education. It was handwritten in black ink. His reply was in blue ink, and he wrote over my letter on the same page, thus literally blotting out my words with his own. Unfolding the sheet was chilling. The medium was certainly the message: your thoughts, it shouted, are not even worthy of a civil reply; they are contemptible. My letter was mutilated. Could my body be far behind? It’s not too far-fetched to imagine that only the consequences inherent in the secular legal system prevented it. In a small way, I had an inkling of Bruno’s plight.

The doctor’s reply was juvenile, and I was struck by a sentence in professor H.A. Overstreet’s book “The Mature Mind,” which was widely read at the time: “A person remains immature, whatever his age, as long as he thinks of himself as an exception to the human race.”

Ideas, of course, are intangible, but the fear they engender is rooted in the potential for action. If people act in response to an idea, conditions change. Witness the recent tipping point regarding same-sex marriage in the United States. We are resistant to change because during humanity’s tenure on this planet, change has often been deadly: volcanic eruptions, drought, plague, etc., could and did wipe out entire communities. The invention and propitiation of deities was one defense, but if the existence or efficacy of a deity (also intangible) was called into question, the anxiety of ideological conflict ensued. One more damn thing. Who needed it?

I despise the Inquisition, but can understand it was easier to honor Bruno with a statue in 1889 than it was to openly discuss his ideas in 1600. As a society we are now more tolerant, perhaps because we feel more secure. But is that sense of security slipping? If so, will that breed a resurgence of intolerance? Has it done so already?

Four centuries after Bruno’s execution, the roles of science and religion have reversed, at least in the West. The insights of science have steadily undermined religious faith, affording ever fewer knowledge “gaps” in which to fit the supernatural. No one has “all the answers,” but a literal interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible now demands an almost herculean capacity for denial. Millions of Americans manage to do it.

One of the forces that ushered President Donald Trump into power was the “evangelical vote.” The slogan “make America great again” is vague enough to encompass anything, but it seems that to many voters it means re-imposing the primacy of religion over science — breaching the wall of separation between church and state. Recall, the framers of the U.S. Constitution were no friends of theocracy; many were not even professing Christians. “If there were no priests,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, “there would be no infidels.”

Contemporary evangelical fundamentalists view separation as an obstacle to their political aims, the bedrock of which is a theocracy, either de facto or de jure. The theocratic movement encourages the denigration of science — for example, the denial of climate disruption as a hoax, the demonization of the principles of evolution. For those who are puzzled by the devotion of Trump’s base, know that many of them believe he is a chosen instrument of God. Evangelical leader Mike Evans is typical when he compares Trump to the “Biblical Cyrus,” a heathen “used as an instrument of God for deliverance … using him in an incredible, amazing way to fulfill his plans and purposes.”

Theocrats regard science as a modern religion, opposed to more traditional faiths and therefore on equal footing before the law. Not so. Scientific claims are falsifiable — can be rigorously tested — doctrinal claims are not. In any free society, the secular and the religious must be legally distinct. If not, brace for the Inquisition. That is a lesson of history the Framers understood. All are free to express their religious ideals, but no one is free to impose them on others via government.

There is a giant instrument being designed — the High Definition Space Telescope — that could very well detect evidence of life on exoplanets. If so, Bruno wouldn’t be surprised to hear it, nor would he likely be shocked to know that religious fundamentalists are still at war with science.”


Books by Peter M. Leschak

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Blurred Lines of Vic Kubik/LifeNets and His Office As President of United Church of God Are Causing Issues With People Today Due To His Fundraising Activities On Facebook

November 1999 we begin our 21st year as a charity.
LifeNets last annual report is posted on line at SOON we will be finishing year 2019 and with that we are entering our 21st year as a charity. Our mission is to help those in need with college scholarships, fresh water, cattle and many other projects. Our mission is to promote self-sufficiency. Please help us celebrate and take advantage of this opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR DONATION at the same time.
Please donate $10, $20 or MORE for TWENTY years as a charity. Help us celebrate our goal of helping others. Beginning 8 AM Eastern standard time and 5 AM Pacific time, WHATEVER you donate on that day, December 3rd will be matched by FACEBOOK.  
The matching funds from Facebook only apply to donations given on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 after 8 am Eastern Standard Time. .Please donate early as the match will close when Facebook has reached its $7-million-dollar mark.
Thank you for making LifeNets your charity of choice.
Beverly Kubik
President LifeNets

The convoluted messy boundaries of the leader of the United Church of God and his personal charity, LifeNets, are causing a lot of questions on Facebook and elsewhere.

In July of 2016 we had an article about this blurring of the lines between UCG and Kubik's charity, especially when he is the president fo the organization.

Vic Kubik's LifeNets Church of God 
Many in UCG have always felt large discomfort with the blurring of the lines of UCG with LifeNets, the pet "ministry" of Vic Kubik.  Many question the man running two organizations that are suppose to be separate, but are they really?  LifeNets presents itself as a "humanitarian organization" to woo in the public while failing to disclose it is a Church of God related tool to encourage people to come over to the dark side.  Is Kubik and UCG too embarrassed to to say UCG is behind it and that it is a recruitment tool for  its "god", much like HWA started Ambassador Foundation because he was too embarrassed to say he represented the Worldwide Church of God?  While it has undeniably done some good, its motives are questionable.  
The article contained this: 
Those in Australia need to know (as do those in South Africa and most international locations) that their ‘church’ is not really an extension of the UCG in the USA — instead they are what Cincinnati calls the “LifeNets” churches –they are not funded by UCG any longer, have to be self-sufficient, and Kubik travels to them on LifeNets funds, not UCG money. This is why the moment the “airy” sermon is over, Kubik launches into a 45-minute LifeNets presentation to the congregation. Legally he has to do this because he is on LifeNets money which is being audited. The members are not in a Church, they are just laborers in a commercial LifeNets exercise, even thought they don’t know it. Council members who did not want Kubik as president (took the most re-balloting ever ) finally acquiesced over the information that it would save UCG money since Kubik was the only only one who could travel internationally on another budget (namely his private Corporation Sole LifeNets, which has made him the wealthiest Council member, and which he built in competition with the Good Works program, since that one wasn’t going to earn him anything personally).  
And yes, we are all supposed to give up our various ‘cultural backgrounds’ to put on the culture of Christ, but this man Kubik still can’t disconnect himself from a Ukrainian village he has never really lived in, now bending the truth to accommodate a small Pentecostal and trinitarian group there that clearly for over 20 years has shown no interest in joining with UCG. But,like the populism of Brexit and Trump, it’s beginning to all blow up: we have what we call the “parking lot church” in our congregation — it’s about what is said when everyone goes to their cars so the minister can’t hear them, and it’s about 50% of the congregation now that meets this way — outside. The moment someone stands up with some integrity and calls UCG out on all of this, the following is in place and ready to move.

Independent COG Members: Are You Willing To Place Your Salvation In The Hands Of This Man?

One group of people in the Church of God that has endlessly frustrated various self-appointed modern-day splinter group leaders are those people who declare their selves as "independent" COG members.  They hold fast to what they have learned over the years as the truth they have come to believe and this frustrates the various upstarts to no end.  

These people have not joined any of the top splinter groups and choose to instead stay at home, meet in small groups in various places, listen to tapes, or visit various COG's any time they want to do it.  Sadly, it is a vast group of people that all of these splinter leaders see as potential money streams, and nothing more.  

That brings us today to our favorite buddy of this blog, who is none too happy that these independent thinkers have not joined up with his a little group.  They deliberately stay away from him and this concerns him.  Because they refuse to join him they will not know when to flee to Petra!  Only by joining up with him will they be told the correct time to flee.  By joining up with him they will then become the TRUE Philaldphian church and will no longer be independent Laodiceans.
Do not allow yourself to accept the deception that you should be an independent Christian or one not truly truly part of the Philadelphian remnant.
Only by joining up with the Great Bwana will you become a Philadelphia Christian! Utter tripe! 

The Great self-appointed Bwana writes:
Who does God want to gather together? 
As stated before, the end of the age Christians. Notice what Jesus stated and something the Apostle Peter wrote:
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19, NKJV)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10, KJV) 
This is a peculiar people. These are people who the world does not desire. These are Philadelphian Christians. 
How do we know that Zephaniah 2:1-3 is related to Christians? Because the decree is for the end time and because of what else God inspired Zephaniah to write:
3 Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. (Zephaniah 2:3a) 
The above is a reference to Christians as they are to be the “meek of the earth” (Matthew 5:5) and to Philadelphians who “have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility.” These are Philadelphian Christians who understand that church leaders need to have integrity and be willing to be humble enough to accept the authority of a church led by a low-level prophet in the absence of a clear apostle (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-15). They are humble enough to not think that they should remain ‘independent,’ as many who once were part of the old Worldwide Church of God, during this Laodicean time, have done.
Excuse me while I clean up the coffee I just spit out..........

Humble Church of God leaders???????  Where??????  Who???????  Well, hold on to your Mystery of the Ages folks, it is none other than our self-appointed prophet of Arroyo Grande,  Great Bwana to Africa, Bob Thiel!  Woo Hoo! He is the most humble self-appointed church leader the church has ever seen!  How can he not be humble when he is doubly blessed?  How can he not be humble when people dream dreams about his greatness?

Independent COG members and Laodicean church members should be able to look at this humble man and see God at work in him.  People should be so amazed that they immediately join up and send in their checks.

The Great One says:
God inspired the Prophet Zephaniah to write the following:
1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, (Zephaniah 2:1) 
Do you understand what is being taught? 
This is a command for end of the age Christians!
Although it has certain misunderstandings, the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary realized that the gathering together was intended for a religious group or assembly:
Zephaniah 2:1
Gather yourselves together – to a religious assembly, to avert the judgment by prayers, (Joel 2:16, “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders,” etc.) (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
When are they to gather together?
2 Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! (Zephaniah 2:2) 

Nothing excites the Church of God self-appointed false prophets than dire warnings of the end times. Their one hope and desire is to see humanity blotted off the face of the earth in order for them to be proven "right." Who can ever forget Rod Meredith getting all red-faced with veins throbbing as he pounded the podium with dire warnings about Germans coming to hang us all on meat hooks in concentration camps, that our youth would be shipped to Europe to be slaves to the Europeans, and that parents would be eating their children due to starvation from famine. He would be so excited he would be panting. These fake self-appointed false prophets demand that their god do this for them. 

However, there was an escape route and that route was only available to a highly select few that would heed the admonishments of the self-appointed false prophets.  They would be that small remnant, the Philadelphian church.
As stated before, the end of the age Christians. Notice what Jesus stated and something the Apostle Peter wrote:
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19, NKJV) 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10, KJV)
This is a peculiar people. These are people who the world does not desire. These are Philadelphian Christians.
In 2019, just who are those Phialdlephian Christians?  Dave Pack says his small group of followers are. Gerald Flurry says his group is.  Ron Weinland says he, his dingy wife Laura, and his minuscule band of followers are. COGWA believes they are.  LCG believes they are the one true remnant. And there is our very own self-appointed and doubly anointed prophet, Bob Thiel.  Woo Hoo!

Bwana Bob he not happy that independent COG members have refused to sign up with his little band of chosen ones.  To the great Bwana, they are sitting on the sidelines and will be ill-informed as to when it will be time to flee to Petra or maybe Pella where he will turn over the reigns of his church, in great humility, to that other true end-time self-appointed prophet, James Malm.

Independent COG members and members in various splinter groups need to be reminded that their salvation is at stake because they will not join up with Bwana Bob.

Do not allow yourself to accept the deception that you should be an independent Christian or one not truly truly part of the Philadelphian remnant.
Why have I written that Zephaniah 2:1-3 has to do with Philadelphian Christians?
Because they are the only ones who will actually ‘gather together’ as they should.
Because it is they who will lead the final phase of the work and it is only to the Philadelphians that Jesus promises to protect from the coming hour of trial, also referred to as the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord...
The decree to ‘gather together’ will be repeated in the area of Judah just before the time of great destruction.
Why a decree?
Apparently, to make it easier for people who read what Jesus said to better be able to understand that Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 and Daniel 9:27b and Daniel 11:31 had been fulfilled.
By whom will the decree be made?
The Bible says:
7 Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
8 A lion has roared!
Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken!
Who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:7-8)
The prophet may make the decree personally and/or pass it on to another authority in the church to make.
Which is the only Church of God in the 21st century to teach all of this?
The Continuing Church of God.
If you are not with the group that is leading the final phase of the work will you really be able to flee if you wait until the last moment? While that may be remotely possible for some, remember that God inspired Zephaniah to admonish God’s people to ‘gather together…before the decree is issued.’
Most will discount this and many will scoff. Most COGs do not have any they consider to be a prophet, and those other than the CCOG who claim to, have prophets that have been proven to be false (e.g. PCG, CGPFKG, TPM). 
The Continuing Church of God has the same mission and the same commitment to fulfilling Matthew 24:14 that Herbert Armstrong advocated. Matthew 24:14 is a PROPHETIC MESSAGE and it does tie in with world news and the condition of the world.
NO, IT DOESN"T!  Herbert Armstrong would have bitch-slapped Bwama Bob out of the church so fast he wouldn't know what hit him. No self-appointed vainglorious upstart ever pulled one over on HWA.  They all got spit out incredibly fast.  So for Bwana Bob to claim he is continuing HWA's teachings is a lie.

The ever so humble self-appointed Bwana Bob continues with this:
Since no later than 2007 I have written that Zephaniah had to do with Philadelphians being ‘gathered together’ so that they would be protected from the coming trial that will hit the earth.
We in the Continuing Church of God “have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV).”
The improperly named "continuing" Church of "god" does NOT have a more sure word of prophecy.  Maybe a certified liar, but not a prophet, and certainly NOT a "sure word." 
 We in the Continuing Church of God boldly teach the need for Philadelphians to be ‘gathering together’ today. Will you heed God’s instructions as the Prophet Zephaniah was inspired to write? Would you possibly like to be protected? If so, will you ‘gather together’?
So, would you place your salvation in the hands of this self-appointed upstart?  

Let the self-appointed prophet know why.