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Saturday, June 13, 2020
CGI on Racial Tensions
Always timely, the Church of God International has moved on from the Coronavirus to a discussion of racial tensions in the United States. This time the topic is handled via a “web chat” featuring pastors Bill Watson and Adrian Davis. Unfortunately, like the previous offerings on the pandemic, this one rapidly assumes the characteristics of an apologetic for right-wing conspiracy theories.
In fact, before the dialogue even started, I was struck by the absence of CGI’s most prominent African American minister, Bronson James. One has to wonder why a black Canadian pastor was chosen for this topic instead of the most prominent black voice within their U.S. churches. Could it have anything to do with the fact that Pastor Davis agrees with Pastor Watson’s conspiracy theories about a Marxist-Globalist agenda?
As the conversation proceeds, we see that this is exactly what is at work in this presentation. Pastor Davis begins by proclaiming that President Barack Obama was/is a neo-Marxist. Davis moves on to suggest that there is a dark conspiracy at work to bring down America. There is no recognition that anyone might be motivated by a desire to make America better – to extend the promise of America to all of her citizens. Pastor Davis insists that protesters are being played by powerful interests who do not really care about them or their demands for justice.
Pastor Watson quickly agrees and introduces his favorite whipping boy, George Soros, into the mix. He then proceeds to declare that these are facts, not conspiracy theories! He suggests that Soros is funding all of this unrest and implies that he is doing so to bring down America. Pastor Watson even implies that Soros is paying and training people to protest and sew discord.
The pastors then unite to tag-team the Black Lives Matter movement. Pastor Watson plays the good cop by lifting some noble quotations from their mission statement, but Pastor Davis immediately sets him straight. Davis informs us that it is a false narrative that blacks are being oppressed. He goes on to point out that the movement is queer affirming and opposed to heteronormative thinking. He tells us that no self-respecting Christian should even consider supporting such a movement.
Pastor Watson then inaugurates a brief discussion about the destruction of Confederate memorials. He suggests that folks are trying to rewrite history and undermine our forefathers. There is no acknowledgment that the objects of these memorials were traitors to the United States and were fighting (at least in part) to defend the institution of slavery. The pastors then conclude this segment with the suggestion that the ultimate objective of these iconoclasts is the subversion of the U.S. Constitution!
So, according to the Church of God International, there is no real problem here. This is just a bunch of neo-Marxists and homosexuals intent on the destruction of America. All of these racial tensions are indicative of “spiritual drunkenness” that people with nefarious motives are using for their own dark ends. The implication is that systemic racism and racial injustice are just illusions – a false narrative that has been promulgated to bring down America.
In providing a platform for this kind of discussion, it is clear to me that the Church of God International has decided that their best hope for appealing to a larger audience will be found among folks who support Donald Trump. They have clearly identified themselves with one side in the “Culture War.” In keeping with the times, they have staked out a clear political identity for themselves – one that eschews the center and the left. The obvious question that this brings to mind: Is that what a Christian Church should be doing?
LCG Roger Meyer: "Skeptics retort that wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes have taken place since long before the time of Christ..."
Roger Meyer, from Living Church of God, has a small entry on the Tomorrow's World site on the end times:
Jesus Christ gave a prophecy in answer to His disciples’ question about when the end of the age would arrive. He described various worldwide calamities, including wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. Revealing that “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:4–8), He went on to describe other events that will take place before the end of the age.
Skeptics retort that wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes have taken place since long before the time of Christ, and indeed, history shows that these things have occurred for millennia. One can go online and find lists of armed conflicts, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, and such catastrophes continue to plague us today.
What about famines? Currently, African nations such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are facing severe food shortages. These countries have declared national emergencies in response to huge swarms of locusts, which are devastating crops in the horn of Africa and threatening their food supply. Pakistan has also declared a national emergency due to the locust infestation. These nations know they are facing genuine “food insecurity,” a modern term equivalent to the general meaning of “famine.” But millions more around the world are already undernourished.
Pestilences? We’ve seen many pestilences besides the current COVID-19. Ongoing pestilences include various iterations of influenza, SARS, Zika, Ebola, and AIDS, along with older pestilences (many of which continue to infect people today) include cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue fever, Marburg virus, and the infamous Bubonic Plague.
Meanwhile, earthquakes happen daily. Most are very minor, but these have been interspersed with quakes of significant magnitude that cause immense destruction to property and end thousands of lives every year.
But none of this is in conflict with Jesus’ answer to His disciples’ question. Jesus described these disasters as taking place until the end of the age, which comes after an even more significant event: the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to all the world, as a witness to all the nations (Matthew 24:14).
Now, many might think that Christianity has already spent centuries preaching the Gospel to all nations. But if that were so, wouldn’t the end of the age have come—as Christ said it would? Since the end hasn’t come yet, might we conclude that the preaching of the Gospel to the whole world as a witness must not have yet been accomplished?
Consider that Christ’s first statement to His disciples was a warning to “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4). He further warned that those deceiving many would preach about Jesus Christ and claim to be Christians (v. 5). Perhaps the “Gospel” being preached by mainstream “Christianity” is not the true Gospel of the Kingdom—and if it isn’t, it does not fulfill Jesus’ statement.The so-called gospel of many of the present-day COG leaders is nothing more than self-aggrandizing drivel that is devoid of any New Covenant teaching and most certainly devoid of anything to do with what Jesus accomplished.
Considering that every single prophecy uttered by Herbert Armstrong and Rod Meredith has failed, should not LCG members and COG members realize they have been deceived? Scripture says they were and still are. They love to conveniently forget that scripture plainly states that if just ONE prophecy fails then the self-appointed prophet is a false prophet.
And if that is truly the case, then maybe the time has come to find out what does…Splinter self-appointed leaders have long proclaimed they and they alone have the "good news" and boldly preach it to the world. Yet, none of them do and all end up being abusive controlling failures who blame their followers for the failure of their end times to arrive in blood-shedding glory.
Friday, June 12, 2020
Various Churches of God are over-stimulated right now with all the different news stories going on in the United States and the world. From COVID-19, locusts, mayflies, riots, people on lockdown around the world, and many more events, COG leaders see world unraveling before their eyes. They see prophecy coming alive in their time, even though every single prediction they all made in the past as been 100% wrong. This time it will be different! They will be vindicated!
Gerald Weston, continues the Living Church of God tradition of dwelling on all the wrong going on the world as proof they are right. LCG has always loved giving encouraging messages to the faithful.
Apparently, Satan and God are both ticked off at the world.
Greetings from Charlotte,
How swiftly a nation can be brought down! The whole world is aware of what happened in Minneapolis a little over a week ago. We see a house divided and we know what Jesus said about that. We must remember that we in the Church are, above all else, followers of Christ and brothers and sisters begotten of the same Spirit. Rather than saying any more on this subject at this time, I have written a letter to all members addressing the bigger picture.
We are not even halfway through 2020 and the world is reeling from one blow after another. COVID-19 has killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed economies around the world. Riots are tearing apart city after city in the United States. Desert locusts continue to eat their way across East Africa, the Middle East, and into Pakistan and India, threatening apocalyptic starvation. Who knows what else “the prince of the power of the air” will throw at us.
Opening in-person services is going slowly, as many halls are not yet open for our use, and where they are open, there are restrictions limiting occupancy to 25 or 50 percent of capacity, and many halls are not large enough for social distancing at any percent. I encourage our ministry to think creatively, but prudently, not jeopardizing safety. And if members have ideas or suggestions, please work through your local minister.—Gerald Weston
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
James Malm, of the Shining Light blog, has died. His son David posted this:
Hello Dear readers with a very heavy heart, I tell you I found my father and best friend James Malm passed away this morning, James for those who don’t know had been struggling with diabetes, High blood pressure, And failing eyesight for years. He was trying very hard to get better eating less and trying to control his BP he wanted to see me happy one day in the refuge I just cannot believe this nightmare im in, he cared for me so much and tirelessly tried to warn the church of the state of pure idolatry that its in today. My father James had a vision once in a hotel room his troubles almost overwhelming and an angel said to him [ This is the time my son this is the time be strong and persevere ] Well this is still the time! his struggle may be over but he fought like a soldier for me and for all of you and I pray for him this beloved teacher and mentor my good friend and teacher in the faith who did persevere and was strong! The Shining Light
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Back in late 2017, Davie gave a follow-up sermon expounding on his "All Things Common" teaching which demands that Restored Church of God members are to sell all they have and give it to Dave.
Let’s review several verses, starting with two now very familiar Matthew 13 parables. The picture they paint is irrefutable.
First, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field” (vs. 44). And, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (vs. 45-46).
In both parables, the value of the Kingdom outweighed the value of everything else. Do we all see this alike?
But what did these parables mean—“sells/sold all that he has”—in actual practical fact? Surely Christ would never leave such a life-altering action subject to opinion.
The also very familiar Acts 2 description of the early Church pictures a time of extraordinary excitement, unity and growth, and serves as a template for us—the Church of the final generation. And it puts a face on Christ’s parables and on the additional verses that follow.
Immediate big growth followed Peter’s first sermon: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added…about three thousand souls” (vs. 41). It was a time of great unity: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (vs. 42). Miracles regularly occurred: “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (vs. 43).
Tied to this, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people” (vs. 44-47). From Pentecost forward (the day Christ built His Church), the Common doctrine was in place. God was pleased: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (vs. 47).
Chapter 4 adds emphasis: “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors [not everyone] of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (vs. 32-35).Here is where Davie deviates from the path. Once people give him the money it is his and his alone. Since everything belongs to God and Davie is God's superfantabulous leader today, then naturally, everything belongs to Davie. the difference here is that Davie does NOT share the money he has with members who may be suffering. Davie never distributes anything to anyone in need.
Most commands related to Common come directly from Christ Himself. His instruction alongside the New Testament pattern is unmistakable—material possessions (excluding of course what would be necessary to comfortably/modestly live) were sold. The increase went to needs in the Church. The chapter closes picturing a man who did his part—in contrast to the sad story of Ananias and Sapphira’s deceit right after in chapter 5. It is no wonder Jesus warned of the “deceitfulness of riches” in the parable of the sower and the seed. Christ had much to say regarding Common. From where else would the apostles have derived their authority? Here’s more.
In Matthew 19:16, Jesus answered what is the very greatest question in the Bible: “One came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have ETERNAL LIFE?” Nothing is more important for a follower of Christ. What goal could be greater than receiving eternal life?! Christ’s answer began, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments,” and ended with “If you will be perfect [the pursuit of every Christian—recall Matt. 5:48], go and sell that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me” (19:17, 21).Now notice how Davie twists this to his own advantage and says the money is for his use and does not need to be distributed to the poor or those in need. Who cares if they are homeless or suffering, Hearing Davie's messages is far more important than any physical needs, like feeding ones belly or finding shelter.
Jesus was not telling the man to give his money directly to the poor—but rather to fund the great commission at hand. God’s Work alone brings to the poor what Christ said they should hear—the true gospel (read Luke 7:22 and Matt. 11:5). The Restored Church of God is the only organization that does this today.
Jesus went on to acknowledge that parting with riches was very difficult, so much so that “a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven” (vs. 23), but the reward is incomparable. The “exceedingly amazed” disciples, who held the rich in high regard, asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus explained that even the rich could do this: “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (vs. 25-26). Continuing, the apostles themselves were no exception to the Common command—and this proves they obeyed it from a point years before the Church was even built. Grasp this!: “Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed You” (vs. 27). The verses that follow reveal their reward.
In Luke 14, Jesus spoke of a coming “great supper.” But the guests who were invited made “excuse.” One was focused on property—a “piece of ground.” Another on “oxen.” A third put a wife first. The angry host (God) had to find other guests, with none who were originally invited permitted to “taste of my supper.” Jesus immediately addressed three elements of His Zechariah 11 “price” for discipleship. Each of the three was attached to whether one could even be Christ’s disciple.The rebellious vermin in the church that do not agree with Davie's "All Things Common" teaching cannot ever be a disciple of his "christ." As usual, church members re never good enough for the creature "christ" that church leaders have created.
First was the need to put love of Christ ahead of family (vs. 26). Second was a follower’s requirement to “bear his cross” and “count the cost” (vs. 27-32). Christianity is a life of endurance, something every disciple must understand. The third element relates directly to Common—a literal “price” in the monetary sense: “whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has [there it is again], he cannot be My disciple” (vs. 33). Of course a tiny few have left us, not willing to meet Christ’s price. They dismiss the plainness of Common teaching, but it seems invariably we learn they were also disobeying God in other ways.The more you give to Davie the better your reward is going to be in his man-made kingdom.
Earlier in Luke 6, Jesus had taught that willingness to give what God instructs correlates directly to reward: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again!” (vs. 38).
This is a promise—and an EQUATION!Davie claims that the amazing superfantabulous work that he is doing is all a result of members heeding the "common" call.
Perhaps many do not realize how God has used a small flock to achieve so much. The answer is simple. Beyond outright miracles, the way we have advanced—in fact leaped ahead—has been through Common checks that came from people who believed God. They read the verses you just saw, and others, and then in faith BELIEVED GOD! Their reaction was very different from the rich young ruler of Matthew 19.Notice what he says next: if you do not give ALL to him, then you are NOT obeying his "christ."
Many have obeyed the above verses. But of course we never “police” it (how could we if we even wanted to!). Some may still be wrestling over these passages, stuck in the middle. They have not decided to disobey God, but have not yet brought themselves to where they can obey Him. I hope this article will help turn the corner for some. More powerful verses are ahead.Davie reinforces AGAIN that RCG members are NOT to leave money to their children or anyone else. That "anyone else" has ended up being non-member spouses. RCG members are taking money from their spouses and giving it to Davie.
Before continuing, know that the Work has advanced as it has because many people sent small, medium and large“common” sums. They understood that the shortness of time precludes leaving funds to children or bequeathing them anywhere else. They know they cannot possibly spend it! Most importantly they know they must believe and heed the plain words of God!Davie now wants all of his followers to know that he is giving his money to the church and also justifies why he needs to live in a custom-built home on this sueprfantabulous campus.
Mr. Armstrong sometimes shared his personal financial sacrifices so others would feel connected to him, and know that he lived what he taught. My wife and I moved onto the Campus last week into a smaller home with a much bigger payment (set by IRS rules). But it is better for the Work if I (and a few others) live behind a gate. We all understand the world we live in. It is important that you know I have always sought to practice what I preach—to set the example. My wife and I just gave perhaps our last Common check from equity on our previous home. We are thrilled. Also, just over two years ago, my wife’s 97-year-old grandmother died. They were very close. My wife unexpectedly received a small inheritance, and immediately on her own gave most of it to the Work. It was entirely her call. From a family that never had much money, she still didn’t hesitate.
We have done our part. As Mr. Armstrong occasionally reported, you should know this of your leader.Aren't you impressed! Davie has done his part, now you must do your part and continue and continue and continue to do your part!
The more you give the more "sons of God" will be reached and join the RCG. The only problem for Davie and his crew in Wadsworth is that for each person who may be joining up with him (almost always a person from another COG) there are multiple people who leave his group. Davie is not growing his church.
Rather than many tens or even hundreds of thousands of people giving moderately, as Co-Workers did in the Worldwide Church of God, it now takes Common checks from faithful brethren for the Work to be able to freely give what all of us once freely received—to carry out the Great Commission of teaching all nations all things whatsoever Christ commanded (Matt. 28:19-20). Besides regular tithes and offerings, it is Common that is yielding many more sons of God. Many reading this article are part of that “crop.” But ultimately the generosity of others facilitated the calling of all of us! YOU may actually be here because someone else obeyed verses you just read. Could your actions produce the next crop who would be eternally thankful for what you did without ever having known your name?The more you give to Davie, the better your reward will be in the Kingdom of God! Heck, you may even get your own planet to rule over! Wowsers!
If you have been blessed with extra substance and are able to help, think of your ability in terms of making an investment. Most investments carry risk. Those of lowest risk offer guaranteed rates of return—almost always small. God’sinvestment plan is different. If you fulfill (all elements of) your end of the deal, He guarantees the very greatest return—a role in the KINGDOM OF GOD where we can directly affect millions!Davie ends his message with this:
The “nuts and bolts” of Common have been covered elsewhere. What you read here is not meant to—and cannot—replace the other material. The original article has a thorough section answering questions. But certain practicalities should be reasserted.
First, you cannot give what you do not have. Don’t try! God does not want you destitute. Though you may want to give more, if you have honestly assessed your situation and cannot, seek to serve more in other ways (prayer, sending cards, transporting others, congregational duties, visiting the sick and widows, hosting meals, local fundraising, etc.).
If you encounter opposition from family (most likely a mate), recognize that he or she cannot give you salvation. And also recognize that if God is not calling or working with your mate, He is not holding them accountable for resisting you. He is not seeking their agreement. The matter is between you and God.You know exactly where this goes when he says this. RCG members cut off their unconverted spouses financially and many times with divorces.
Finally, if it takes time to sort out how much Common you can send, send part as soon as possible! Those funds can be put to use now. Maybe the fifth law of success—resourcefulness!—has a place here.Davie claims that giving does not give eternal life but then says that not giving "precludes it."
Its never about following Jesus, but always about doing something to impress the dude so that he might pass out some salvation tokens, here and there.
Two starkly different choices present themselves to those in a position to give. Cling to riches now and lose everything later—or—give so that others may have what you have been given, and in so doing help secure your place in the Family of God for eternity. While giving Common does not ensure entrance, or “buy a ticket” to eternal life, withholding precludes it. Incredibly, standing face to face with Him, the rich young ruler was not even willing to obey the very Jesus Christ who was the One who could give him eternal life.
Sunday, June 7, 2020
I reluctantly managed to slog through Part 3 of Dave Pack's long ago sermon on "The Truth
About the Races" Only during Pandemic unemployment would one do that.
To Dave's credit, the sermon was not overtly racist and please know I am neither an expert on racism, the origins of races or the genetics that got us there. What I do know is that it is not what Dave thinks and teaches nor the Bible the source of truth on this matter.
His point, at least at the end of Part 3 was that racism in RCG is wrong but so is interracial marriage and RCG will not condone it. I believe he encouraged that to be defined only as whites don't marry blacks or yellows. Yellows don't marry whites or blacks and Blacks don't marry whites or yellows. All shades in between are up for grabs and RCG doesn't have the time nor does Dave to "rule" on each and every case. I think it's just the kind of thing you know when you see it. Perhaps if you don't know it when you see it Dave or one of his ministers will bring it to your attention because they do.
Also, this is just an overview and impression as if I was sitting in the audience and not a scientific rebuttal though it is scientifically rebuttable for sure. I'm just not the one to do it. But I think we all know the basic drill and this has been Dave's truth for 50 years which he gets from the tale of Adam and Eve, Shem, Ham and Japheth and the myth of Noah as presented in the OT.
Dave also believes that language came from the Tower of Babel incident but this is plainly not the real explanation of what I am also not an expert in and that being the origin over 200,000 years of language development in the human adventure.
The Nutshell story from Dave
By now you should know that personally I don't find the stories of Adam and Eve, talking serpents, the fall, the flood and Babel to be literally true and nothing but myth with meaning I suppose. These events did not literally take place in time and space as presented. They are neither the way humans showed up on the planet, who begat who to bring us to day or the origin of the races. For me, Dave's sermon is moot before it begins but now moving on....
Dave spends some time on who "The sons of God " were who "looked on the daughters of men that they were fair" he notes that "fair" means "white". It doesn't really. It means "beautiful" or "real hotties" so he messes up there right from the beginning but he needs it to mean "white" evidently. This is not a sermon about human hotties that the gods just couldn't resist.
Basically Adam and Eve had three kids, Cain, Abel and Seth. Seth went bad too so God had to destroy humankind. (Evidently God is incapable of reasoned counseling and communicating with his perfect creations that was all "very good" just a couple of chapters earlier).
This lead to the need for a cleansing and a worldwide flood would do it. Noah was found "perfect in his generations" Dave notes this means that Noah was "perfect in his engenderments" or basically he had racially pure kids and offspring. Evidently in the whole world, where Dave says before the flood there were probably "Billions" of humans already, Noah won the lottery in his perfect and pure genes. This is a man God can save along with his perfect family.
So off they go, build an Ark, Noah and wife, Shem, Ham , Japheth and their wives then saving their asses while others drown like rats clawing at the Ark as it drifted away. The other billions evidently had no clue what was happening or why. Of course the fact that other civilizations were up an running all around the world at the time of the "Flood" and suffered no glitches in continuity is a problem but not one to address here.
This is the part I like and was new truth to me. WCG taught that Shem was "white", Ham was "black" and Japheth was "yellow". How that could be with Noah, the dad, being perfect in his engenderments is not explained. Soooooo.....new idea. Shem, Ham and Japheth were all very white reflecting their dad's perfection in his children. I take it Noah was white or he'd have to be either black or yellow and that ain't gonna fly.
Shem really took a white woman in marriage. Ham really took a black woman and Japheth got stuck having to take a yellow woman in marriage I suppose. Where these three white, black and yellow women came from is not explained. If they were sisters, they would have been all lily white as was perfect Noah their perfect in his engenderments dad and brothers. So I got nothing on this one.
Graaaaaadually over time, the races formed and separated after the flood, God confused their languages and they all headed off in all directions to find their places in the sun because there was no sense being around those who you could not understand. Evidently white folk got a common white language, black a common black language and yellow got theirs.
All of this is nonsense of course but I assume it left the audience gyrating in their seats or at least it better have.
No, no, no!
Uh uh uh....
For some reason, Dave felt the need to remind the brethren that he had baptized lots of white , black, yellow, red and all shades in between people in his ministry. I'm sure in his mind, "more than anyone else in the entire history of the church", but that's just something I suspect he might think.
Dave, as I said, does end with a nice talk on how RCG is not racist and they all need to be careful not to be. BUT! Interracial Marriage will not be tolerated or allowed in the Restored Church of God and Dave hopes they got the point. A point which could have been made, oh...about an hour and twenty minutes ago in a this hour and twenty four minute fantasy about the origin of the races. We probably should use the term "Biracial" rather than Interracial these days.
Here is why humans have different skin colors.
(Culture and practices are a whole other topic)