Exposing the underbelly of Armstrongism in all of its wacky glory! Nothing you read here is made up. What you read here is the up to date face of Herbert W Armstrong's legacy. It's the gritty and dirty behind the scenes look at Armstrongism as you have never seen it before!
With all the new crazy self-appointed Chief Overseers, Apostles, Prophets, Pharisees, legalists, and outright liars leading various Churches of God today, it is important to hold these agents of deception accountable.
Herbert Armstrong's Tangled Web of Corrupt Leaders
So many of the Churches of God are all about control, but none so much as the Restored Church of God and the Philadelphia Church of God. They have to stick their sweaty fingers into every aspect of members' lives.
This time it is the Philadelphia Church of God cult, run by Gerald and Lil'Stevie Flurry. In yet another attempt to still stop members from finding about abuses and doctrinal changes in the cult, they have now banned smartphones. What is so bad about smartphones? They have access to the internet and allow students and members to double-check the lies that PCG puts forth.
PCG Ruling Says No Smartphones Allowed: November 19, 2020
Hi, I am a young person still currently in the PCG. Some time ago I stopped believing the teachings of this group. Since then I have opened my eyes to the fearmongering and manipulation. Anyway, around early this year, they made the ruling that no one should have smartphones. Instead, we should have alternatives like flip phones or gaff phones. The PCG no longer allows phones on campus from any students or anyone employed by the PCG. In sermons they actively shame parents who allow their kids to have phones. They tell the parents that they’re letting Satan get to their kids if they don’t take away their phones. It’s legitimately scary to see this happening as it’s just another way to control the members and gain more power over them. –[name withheld]
Here we go again. Week after week, one admonition after another about something that LCG members are doing wrong. Can they ever receive an uplifting message from church leadership that compliments them and says they are doing something right? Imagine words of grace for at least one week instead of constant condemnation.
As usual, the emphasis is on the law. apparently, members are "arguing with scriptures" to deliberately not do what God church leadership expects of them. It's always something they need to be doing. They are constantly being tested and examined by an angry god. Imagine just resting and truly having a Sabbath rest. Christ says that is what he brings to the table.
A Matter of Heart: The Bible states that God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and that David was chosen to be king because God saw that David was “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). But what exactly did God see in David’s heart? God saw that David was a person “who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). God saw that David was teachable and that he “loved” God’s law and meditated on it daily so he could learn God’s mind and gain God’s perspective (Psalm 119:97,105). David did not argue with the Scriptures or look for ways to get around instructions that God clearly revealed in His word (Psalm 119:16, 18, 27). David praised God with his whole heart (Psalm 119:1–2) and he repented wholeheartedly when he realized that he was wrong (Psalm 51). This is why David will reign as king over the children of Israel in the Kingdom of God (Ezekiel 34:23). We need to remember that God is examining and testing our hearts (Psalm 7:9). If our thoughts, words, and actions reflect what God is looking for, we will be given the opportunity to reign with Jesus Christ and with David in the coming Kingdom (Matthew 19:28–29; Revelation 5:10). The Bible reveals that our reward will be based on what is in our heart!
As mentioned by others, various aspects of this teaching (British Israelism) were not unique to J.H. Allen, or to HWA, but if you specifically compare Allen's book with HWA's you will find some undeniable similarities in specific phrases, etc. between the books. For example, HWA used the term "Race, not Grace" in chapter IV of his book, while Allen used a similar term to title chapter II of his book. HWA also used an analogy mentioning "Californians" in chapter VI of his book... "Jews are Israelites, just as Californians are Americans. But MOST Israelites are not Jews, just as most Americans are not Californians." Allen's book states..." But the great bulk of Israelites are not the Jews, just as the great bulk of Americans are not Californians, and yet all Californians are Americans;..." chapter V.
All this to say that many of the "truths" attributed to HWA which the COGs claim were "restored" by him were actually taught previously by others, fifteen to fifty years or more before he ever came on the scene in any public way. Not all of these men were necessarily Sabbath keepers, but some were, and some had ties to the Millerite movement in the 1800s. Their books, articles, etc. were circulated and would have probably been available in libraries with religious sections. For example, Russell's books entitled Studies in the Scriptures printed around twenty million copies in various languages and were distributed all over the world, according to Wikipedia. You can still find them in print available on Amazon.
If we in the COGs claim to uphold "truth" then we also have to be willing to uphold "truth" even when we find it doesn't fit the narrative we have been told, and many among us still believe. I am not speaking here of the legitimacy or not of some of these specific doctrines, which people who come to this blog will hold different opinions on, and would involve a much longer conversation. But, we have been taught a certain narrative of our own church history and its founder that isn't completely accurate when one delves into the actual facts of the matter, and we become hypocrites if we continue to promote a false narrative to those who come after us, when the facts are there for anyone to see and research for themselves.
This is a review that popped up on the Living Church of God's Yelp page. Let's see how long it stays there still someone in Charlotte gets butthurt and demands it be taken down.
Why should an LCG have concern for another person outside the church? After all, they are deceived and will receive their reward later. Let Christ help them whenever he returns.
I spent many years in LCG, and it was a very negative experience. The two locations I was at was in was lower S.C. and East Texas. This curch mindset is all about power. They believe their leaders are right under God. You should accept the ministry's power over you, and if it's wrong, God corrects it in His time, and therefore you should not question or be concerned with the problem.
In S.C., where I spent most of my time, I found some disturbing information about the group. Their tithe system consists of three tithes, of which you give a third tithe every three years on a seven-year cycle. The first tithe goes straight to the church. The second tithe goes towards the Feasts (and they say a tenth of that if you can afford it goes to them for paying for the meeting halls at the FOT). The third tithe, which I was first told, went to the needed; but found in a sermon later that they use it for whatever they want. I was also told ministers did not have to give the third tithe because they consider themselves the continuation of the Levitical priesthood. After sending these concerns into their headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., they had the local minister talk to me about my concerns. The minister told me that 'if I had these questions before I was baptized, that probably my baptism wasn't valid.'
The experience in the Texas congregation was a sad one. On a cold winter day, I notice a lady sitting outside with sandals on sitting on the sidewalk near our church. I talked with the lady, and she wanted to talk with the minister. The minister said he could not help her that it was more of a psychological problem. The lady did not argue and even said that made sense. She began to walk away. I told the minister she has been drinking that I smelled the alcohol on her, and I was concern that she could have been driving. He said, 'I don't think so. We need to keep our fingerprints off this'. He told me more than once to come in because I hesitated, and unfortunately, I did go inside; but thankfully, I told my wife, and she told me that yes, I should have stayed outside and helped her. I then went to look for her, and if looks could kill, the minister was not happy about it. I found the lady in a parking lot in a cranked-up car (she did have alcohol in the car). I talked her out of the car with the help of a passer-by who ironically use to be part of LCG's mother church ( Worldwide Church of God). He told her, 'those people don't care about you; they just care about the Sabbath .' Thankfully we got her the help she needed.
My take away from this church is that they are all about the bottom line and whatever is best for them at that moment. It does not have an outgoing love or concern for others. This organization is more like a greedy corporation than a follower of Christ. I could tell more stories that are really negative about this group, but I think you get the point of this group. This can be a really toxic group, and it is not isolated to these two areas. There are some really good people in these groups, and I hope one day they will be free from this unloving church.
Dave has been demanding his followers hold bake sales, sell fruit, work sporting and social events, and come up with other creative fundraising tactics in order to send that money to the cult compound in Wadsworth, Ohio. His remaining followers have worked diligently to follow his demands and are close to his goal. However, they are still short of Dave's original yearly goal and members are now being asked to step up their efforts to make more money. How many of these followers who are sick of his demands will end up just sending in personal money so they don't have to do any more projects? This is just another one of Dave's guilt trips to con members into sending in their own money.
And don't forget boys and girls...those of you who are backsliders and still have not sent in your tithe of the tithe and excess second tithe must do so IMMEDIATELY! God forbid if you happened to have been sick and missed one of Dave's Feast services on a day offerings were taken up and you STILL have not sent it in, you MUST do so now!
The Church of God has been filled with many crackpot prophets down through its last 8 decades or so and each and every one of them has self-appointed themselves, without God's blessing or appointment, as the chosen messenger of God. The more deluded they are the more outlandish their predictions are.
Wade Cox has been on a downward spiral for several years now with multiple failed prophecies and because of his teachings on a pseudo-Muslim/Christian amalgamation, he calls the true church. He even claims he has half of the African continent as his members. Bobus Thiel will NOT be happy at that! Like other self-appointed false prophets in the Church of God, Cox knows when his pissed off god is to returning. Well, maybe. He is a great waffle maker like Bobus Thiel. He has already been wrong multiple times in the past.
In spite of all of his failures, this fraudulent church leader now has this to say:
The Treble Harvest must take place under God’s Law at Leviticus 25:21. That will take place in order for the Sabbath and Jubilee years to take effect in 2026 and 2027 under Messiah and the world briefed in order to keep the Laws of God (L1) correctly. No antinomian heretic, or pseudo Christian, not keeping the Laws of God will enter the millennial system. From 2025 on no nation will suffer hunger or famine except in punishment of the breach of God’s Laws and failure to keep the Temple Calendar, which is God’s Calendar (No. 156) (Isa. 66:23-24; Zech. 14:16-19). Anyone keeping the Jewish Hillel Calendar will have been put to death by 2025. That includes the offshoots of the Churches of God.
Given these finite time frames we expect the Messiah arriving at The Seventh Month Tishri 2025 at the latest with the Seventy Days of the Wars of Armageddon (30) and the Vials of the Wrath of God (40) taking place over Tishri and the Eighth Month and on up to the Full Moon of the Ninth Month ending the Reorganisation for the Treble harvest.
That means the Witnesses must arrive 1260 Days beforehand at Jerusalem. That would mean that they had to take place from the Passover of 2022. If the Witnesses were to come at Trumpets and not Passover then they would have to come by Trumpets 2021. That would mean that the War of the Sixth Trumpet would have to come before September 2021.
Christ said that we were to pray that, once the abomination that makes desolate is on the Temple Mount and the people flee Jerusalem, was not to be in the winter or on a Sabbath (Mat. 24:20). Given these parameters, the war would have to commence from December 2020 to February 2022. The War of the Fifth Trumpet was already released by the Chinese and the Globalists at end 2019 over 2020. That plague will simply escalate now into the War of the Sixth Trumpet (Wars of the End Part I: Wars of Amalek (No. 141C), Trumpets (No. 136) and The Seven Trumpets (No. 141)).
The other day we had a reader here make a comment that we "owe our lives" to Herbert Armstrong. I assume they believe that since he "restored all things" and that we are or were remember of his church that we were set apart for special salvation rewards, like being kings and priests ruling over nations and planets.
Another reader here, Concerned Sister responded with this:
10:39, HWA didn't "restore" anything. He lifted his teachings from various other men and other churchs' writings, didn't reveal or give credit to the earlier sources of his material and claimed these teachings as new revelations given to him by God. For proof of this compare his United States and Britain in Prophecy book with the earlier title Judah's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright by J.H. Allen. In doing this, he not only denied these other sources credit where credit was due, but he also deceived and misled others into believing he had some direct link or inside track to inspired revelation from God, which he didn't have. He also promoted his own ideas of a prophetic timeline with specific players and when those predictions didn't come true he simply kicked the can further down the road and continued to promote his own speculations of times and players, drawing from whatever happened to be going on in the news at the time, and weaving those events into his predictions and narrative, promoting those things as part of his "gospel" message. By Biblical standards this made him a false prophet, period.
While there are many of us who make comments on this blog who still believe in keeping the Sabbath, etc., the idolozation of this man is one of the chief sins promoted and nurtured within many of the COG groups today. The idea that we somehow "owe" HWA our lives and need to dedicate ourselves to "his" teachings demonstrates this.We have replaced Jesus Christ with HWA. It is Jesus who saves, and Jesus who sacrificed Himself to pave a way for our redemption, and Jesus who is to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, not HWA, or anyone else for that matter. If we "owe" anything to anyone, it would be Him, and His teachings are what we need to be dedicating our lives to. The teachings of anyone else must be evaluated against those.
I believe her comments above are spot on. Some COG leaders and many members have placed Herbert Armstrong on a pedestal and worship everything about the man.
Most of the larger splinter group leaders of the church use Herbert Armstrong as a lure to draw people in. They claim to be holding fast to everything he taught, but the fact is, each and every one of them has changed what he taught and either deleted things they did not like or added to it with "new revelations." These "new revelations" that Dave Pack, Bob Thiel, Ron Weinland, and Gerald Flurry have are necessary to cover up the lies they teach in order to impress their followers that these are divine revelations and dreams from their god. If Herbert Armstrong were alive today and heard the crap these guys say and preach he would kick them out of the church so fast their heads would be spinning.
Each one of the above apostate COG leaders has their own unique spin of idolatry about either HWA's teachings or their own selves and their "new revelations". None of them has taken this to a level of such depravity as Gerald Flurry has in the Philadelphia Church of God. Not only has he placed Herbert Armstrong on a pedestal but he has placed himself as the promise Elijah and King as the possessor of the holy rock of Herbert Armstrong, which he has renamed the true coronation stone. This is the very rock that his creature called "christ" will supposedly return to.
This delusional thinking has also led him to declare himself and his followers as "Sons of Zadok". As Sons of Zadok, they are also blessed with church members who carry on the holy dance of God through Irish dancing. this was all prophesied in the Bible for the end times that the church would be using Irish dancing as a light to the world to spread the words of Elijah and Zadok as they prance around the holy rock of HWA enshrined in a new coronation chair.
According to Gerald Flurry this rock of Herbert Armstrong, now encased in a royal throne for PCG's Celtic Throne production. will be the very rock that his "christ" will return to and sit upon as King of Kings...all thanks to Gerald Flurry continuing true church government and for possessing the true rock of Herbert. His "christ" needs these two things in order to return to earth as King of Edmond Oklahoma Kings.
Gerald Flurry sinks even lower as he uses the term "Sons of Zadok" as a weapon to stop the murmuring of ministers and members against his silliness and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on these productions that are nothing more than a showcase of Jude Flurry and Flurry's other grandkids. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone into building dance studios, using the church jet to fly his grandkids across the world for Irish dance competitions, building elaborate staging and transporting it to Tennesee and South Dakota in order to witness to the world the true dance of God and help usher in the millennial reign of their "christ".
Gerald Flurry is so weary of long-time members ‘murmuring and rebelling’, that he is condemning to eternal death those who continue to do so, and turning instead to PCG’s youth.
His latest revelation is for the ‘Sons of Zadok’ and their Irish dancing.
“In Moses’s day, God warned that those who didn’t stop murmuring and rebelling would die (Numbers 17:10). That is what God says to us spiritually. At some point you must stop the murmuring and rebelling, or you’re going to die! That is the opposite of the total trust God is building in His people. This is about eternal life and eternal death.”
“Enemies … will probably say people who hear a voice belong in insane asylums, and it is crazy to follow someone to a place of safety who says he is a king. They will compare us to cults like Jim Jones, which committed mass suicide.”
“Enemies … will probably say people who hear a voice belong in insane asylums, and it is crazy to follow someone to a place of safety who says he is a king. They will compare us to cults like Jim Jones, which committed mass suicide.” (PCG’s Royal Vision magazine, July-August 2020)
In the September-October 2020 issue, he gives his new revelation:
“God has given me new understanding about Ezekiel 43. This chapter is about the sons of Zadok. It is important for all of us – especially the sons of Zadok today – to understand what is revealed in this chapter.
This new revelation came two days after our youth arrived for the Summer Educational Program and two days after the last performance of our recent Irish dance production, Celtic Throne. God timed this precisely to show how important our youth are to Him! Ezekiel 43:7
7 He said, "Son of man, this is the place for my throne, the place I'll plant my feet. This is the place where I'll live with the Israelites forever. Neither the people of Israel nor their kings will ever again drag my holy name through the mud with their whoring and the no-god idols their kings set up at all the wayside shrines.
We need to do like David did when he was bringing the ark back to Jerusalem: Dance with all our might, sing with all our might, get behind God’s work with all our might! It will change your life and change this Church!
You could see this in our Irish dance production of Celtic Throne
We had some of the sons of Zadok up on stage at God’s house dancing, singing and playing music with all their might, in the spirit of David! On the stage we had a throne with Herbert W. Armstrong’s prayer rock underneath it – the new stone of destiny, a symbol of Christ – there with the sons of Zadok! Everything revolved around that throne and stone. Celtic Throne was a production about God’s throne …
We are giving the world a picture of what it’s like when God has a Summer Educational Program for the youth, what it’s like when God has a college – what it’s like when God has a whole Church of the sons of Zadok! This world will ask us to show them what’s that like – and we will!”
Gerald Flurry issues a warning to the ‘murmuring’ elders in PCG:
“Notice what God records about the man who gave us the prayer rock:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.(Malachi 4:5-6).
This is the harshest warning in the Bible. God says about as strongly as He could, If these ministers don’t turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, they are going to lose their eternal lives!”
If these murmuring ministers had any testicular fortitude they would publicly denounce the evil teachings and tell the people the truth about the lies of King Flurry. Jesus does not give a rats ass about some dirty old rock now enshrined in a holy chair. He is no more returning to this chair in Edmond Oklahoma than he is to the sacred grounds of Dave's Wadsworth, Ohio cult compound. One thing for sure is that whenever Jesus does return there will be at least two COG leaders who will experience something they never imagined.
Notice how the second part of the verse that King Flurry used to prove his throne to the members is not elaborated upon.
7 He said, "Son of man, this is the place for my throne, the place I'll plant my feet. This is the place where I'll live with the Israelites forever. Neither the people of Israel nor their kings will ever again drag my holy name through the mud with their whoring and the no-god idols their kings set up at all the wayside shrines.
If you are a follower of Christ instead of the little men in charge of various Churches of God you will understand that men like Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack, Bob Thiel, and Ron Weinland will never again have an opportunity to "drag my holy name through the mud with their whoring and the no-god idols".
The sad thing is in today's Church of God movement is that we do not have any men with testicular fortitude that will stand up and denounce the liars in charge of their own church or other COG's. Far too many of them feel that though they may be separated by church divisional walls they are united in the truth and that they should not denounce the ministries of other COG's.
With over 400 some splinter groups and more splintering off every month, the truth of the matter is that the COG is sick and rotten to the core because of its leaders. There is no unified Christ-like message being brought to the world around them.
The world sees nothing attractive about the god that most of the COG's worship, even better is most COG members don't even see anything attractive about that "christ" anymore! That is why so many are leaving the church. Members are exhausted in trying to keep up with the demands and ludicrous teachings of self-appointed Elijah's, dreamers, prophets, and apostles now claiming leadership in the church.
When you look around the world and see the horrible persecution Christians deal with in so many Muslim nations with bombings of churches, beheadings, rapes of young women and mothers, and all the other horrible things they deal with and yet through it all they never waiver in their faith and find comfort in a Christ who says he says he carries their burdens.
28 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
This is not the "christ" of any of the Churches of God. So go ahead and murmur against the players leading the Churches of God. Expose them and call out their hypocrisy. Better yet, leave their groups and find true freedom! Hundreds of thousands have over the last 9 decades and more do so every day!
To read more of the lunacy of Gerald Flurry and the "Sons of Zadok" teaching, in his own words, check these out:
Living Church of God's recent debacle with Sheldon Monson has created quite a few job openings in Charlotte. Of course, Gerald Weston is claiming this is because of a dramatic rise in new people interested in joining the church thanks to a new way of doing things with prospective members. For decades the Church of God has made it almost impossible for new people to check out the church and attend services. If you made it past the Gestapo agents of the church then you had to deal with overzealous deacons and deaconesses making the life of new members horrendously awkward.
Now Gerald Weston wants to put on a new face for the public and stop grilling interested people. Too little too late, buckwheat!
Gerald Weston reports a big increase in the number of people wanting to attend services, as a result of a change of approach, no longer vetting new people so much.
“In the last quarter, July-September, we had more people request to come to Sabbath services than any quarter since the Living Church of God began – that exceeded our 2015 record by 36%. Now there’s a reason for that. It isn’t just the normal situation. We have changed the way, what we require of people when they ask about Sabbath services. For example, when they go online, we used to ask a lot of questions that were unnecessary. And so we’ve cut it down to the bare minimum … We want to screen them a little bit. We don’t want some nut out here coming to services, someone who’s going to be causing a disruption, but we want to be a little bit more friendly and, for those people who are more shy about giving out information … We don’t want to scare them off before we have a chance to engage them. We do ask them about why they came to the decision to attend services, but that’s optional, and that comes after we already have some other essential information.”
Later on the COGNews site, it had this little bit which I saw in LCG's announcements last week, and we had fun with it here. Weston also wants us to believe that there is such a huge influx of new members that they need to hire new employees. However, the real cause may be that Charlotte has lost employees and ministers to the Church of God Assembly. If so, it is freakin hilarious!
Gerald Weston writes: “We have significant personnel needs and are working to fill some of those positions in the field ministry and in understaffed departments here in Charlotte.
Beginning in 2021, the Tomorrow’s World English-language magazine will increase from six issues (one every other month) to ten issues per year. This is a major step forward! This will give subscribers more regular contact with the Church. We will drop four pages, from 36 down to 32, and make some other alterations, but overall there will be more content each year.”
Why has such a large proportion of ministers and HQ staff left (for Church of God Assembly?) that LCG now has significant personnel needs? Disquiet among employees is not recent but goes back to the time of Roderick Meredith, who employed members of his family in positions which appeared not to be merited. He also showed partiality toward people he knew and liked, such as the three who joined from David Hulme’s church, and were immediately employed as full time ministers – and exactly one year later all three were promoted, much to the dismay of long-time ministers.
The leadership in many of the Armstrong Churches of God frequently claim that they are being persecuted because of the message they preach. They are in good company among U.S. Evangelicals in this regard. In short, they don't like the fact that some folks have characterized their messages as racist, homophobic or contrary to the spirit of Christ; and they call this persecution. In other words, any effort to denigrate or limit the appeal of their message is regarded by them as persecution. But is it really fair to characterize that as persecution?
Jesus Christ is reported to have said: "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." - Matthew 5:10-12, NIV Notice that Christ differentiated between those who were to be persecuted "for righteousness' sake" and suffer as a consequence of false accusations, and those who would suffer for the sake of genuine wrongdoing. Moreover, this differentiation is reaffirmed in the First Epistle of Peter where the apostle is discussing the treatment of slaves. We read there: "For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God." - I Peter 2:19-20, NIV
Now my ACOG and Evangelical friends would say that they are standing up for righteousness when they advocate for the harsh treatment, imprisonment or death of homosexuals, abortionists and protestors; and they claim God's sanction for their persecution of these people. And, they have the audacity to claim persecution when someone dares to criticize them for doing it!
From a scriptural perspective, the kind of persecution that Christ and his followers experienced is not even comparable to what these ACOG and Evangelical leaders are claiming. Jesus wasn't simply criticized and insulted because of his message - HE WAS BEATEN AND PUT TO DEATH! Stephen was stoned to death! Paul was imprisoned for years and eventually executed! Indeed, when past persecutions of God's saints were discussed by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, we read: "Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground." - Hebrews 11:36-38 How many of these ACOG and Evangelical leaders have experienced these things?
Indeed, the way that the Greek word translated into English as "persecuted" is used in the writings known to us as the New Testament suggests people pursuing someone to the death! In other words, real persecution is indicative of an existential threat to the one being persecuted. And, as far as I can tell, none of these ACOG or Evangelical leaders have been imprisoned or put to death yet (at least, not for the sake of the messages they are preaching). On the other hand, the Yazidi people or Chinese Christians would certainly be justified in claiming persecution. However, a little criticism for what many folks would consider the persecution of others, does not even approach the level of real persecution. Even if we consider the targets of these folks to be "evil," we are hard-pressed to find any scriptural justification for persecuting them. In fact, isn't the proper role of a minister of Jesus Christ to seek that which was lost and to bind up the brokenhearted?
Hence, as long as these folks continue to peddle their hate-filled messages about "sinners", they should expect to be challenged by others. My advice to them: Stop whining about persecution and put on your big boy pants and get ready for some tough talk!
With the ongoing epic failure of Dave Pack's prophecies failing to happen and the failure of his creature he calls "christ" to show up on The Last Great Day, Restored Church of God members must be on guard to not get into "delay syndrome".
Of course, this is not unique just to Restored Church of God but every single splinter group out there that has to deal with the lies and false prophecies of their leaders. From Ron Weinland to Bob Thiel, Dave Pack, and Gerald Flurry, these ministers of vainglorious pig slop have tainted the minds of members for decades with one lie after another. Is it any wonder why church members are wary of the next buffoon that pops up with a prophecy?
In the RCG and the rest of the COG's, it is all about control.
Samuel Baxter and Larry McElroy have this to say:
One of the most sobering passages in the Bible can be found in Matthew 24: “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delays His coming…[God] shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vs. 48-51).
No Christian wants to fall into this condition!
Over the years, some have wondered if they have individually done what is stated here, that they may be worthy of being cut asunder.
Yet notice that the evil servant here is far down a terrible trail. In verse 49 it states that this person “shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken.” Then verse 50 states that he is no longer watching for Christ’s Return.
Understand. Anyone worried about falling into this condition and receiving the horrible punishment detailed here has not fully committed to “my Lord delays His coming” thinking. In fact, most are far from it.
Despite this, Jesus Christ’s warning stands. We are to diligently guard ourselves from this mindset, which can seem incredibly difficult at first.
Why is this? Because this phrase is not something people say out loud. No one comes to Sabbath services and bellows out, “My Lord delays His coming!” Rather, this sentiment is said in one’s heart (vs. 48). It is not immediately visible from the outside.
While this Delay Syndrome, as it could be called, is an internal, spiritual condition, it does have outward symptoms. There are early warning signs we can each look out for to ensure we stay right with God.
To “eat and drink with the drunken” means to have jumped headlong back into the world. The apostle John warned against this attitude: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15).
Take this verse at face value. If we love the world, God’s love is not in us. We must avoid worldliness at all costs!
John continued: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever” (vs. 16-17).
Worldliness is this: “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”
Thayer’s defines lust as “craving,” “longing” and “desire for what is forbidden.”
This passage mirrors perfectly what Eve did in the Garden of Eden millennia ago. She desired the forbidden fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Gen. 3:6).
While Eve made her own decision, Satan’s tactics to get her to eat is the same then as it is now. She was told: “You shall not surely die…” (vs. 4).
Those alive today can feel the same. If they allow a little worldliness to creep in, the consequences are usually not immediate. Then, they let more and more in.
King Solomon wrote about this tragic tendency: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecc. 8:11).
Realize how human nature works! When people do what is wrong—seemingly without consequence—they will keep doing it until it “is fully set in them to do evil.”
Christians are not immune to this process.
To combat this, we must keep the right perspective: “Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before Him: but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he fears not before God (vs. 12-13).
We must see beyond the here and now to all that God has promised for us: eternal life as a member of the God Family.
The early warning signs for Delay Syndrome are those places where worldliness has begun to creep in. It always starts small.
Ask yourself: “Have I begun to crave what is forbidden by God’s Law? Is there anywhere in my life that I have believed Satan’s lie of ‘you shall not surely die’? Am I starting to do such things?”
If we find the world creeping into our lives, we must root it out immediately!
Carnal versus Spiritual
Paul puts worldliness another way. He labels it as following after “the flesh” and being “carnally minded.” In modern language, this is being overly focused on what is physical rather than spiritual.
Romans 8 states: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (vs. 5).
The end result for those who “mind the things of the flesh”? “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (vs. 6).
Paul continues to drive the point home: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God”—physical minds are the enemy of God!—“for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (vs. 7-8).
Thankfully, God has pulled us out of this world. His Spirit dwells in us. This means that we can please Him—if we keep ourselves focused on spiritual over physical matters.
Keep reading: “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His…For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (vs. 9, 13-14).
Again, if we find the world starting to creep in, we must root it out. Paul says to mortify—to kill—anything that is pulling our focus away from spiritual things.
Another early warning sign for Delay Syndrome involves our relationships with brethren. Recall that the evil servant began “to smite his fellowservants.”
Remember, this is more of the end result of this condition. It describes someone who harbors bitterness to the point of exhibiting extreme hatred and spite toward those with the Holy Spirit.
How does someone get to this horrible point?
One of the first signs is pulling back from fellowship with brethren. Spending time with fellow Christians is a crucial way to exercise and build God’s Spirit. Arriving just before Sabbath services and leaving just after, skipping socials, and closing oneself off emotionally to others are all early symptoms of “my Lord delays” thinking.
We all will have low points in our conversion. There will be times where we fall into wrong attitudes. The Bible has many examples of God’s servants being depressed, frustrated or angry without cause. Yet these same men and women will receive eternal life.
One of the biggest tactics of cults is to keep its followers busy. Show up early for church, stay late afterward. Set up, clean up. Go to endless activities whether they be sporting events, dances, socials, singles events, Bible Studies, bake sales, garage sales, mail packing work parties, volunteering to clean ministers homes and yards, maintaining the Dear Leader's home and property, spending your free time cleaning surrounding woodlands, come in early to work and stay after hours, don't take vacations but send that money in, volunteer planting trees and flowers, selling fruit, and much more.
If we have begun to drift away from our brethren, we must recognize it and make a change. Double down on godly fellowship. Make sure conversations on the Sabbath focus more on spiritual things rather than physical. During the week, reach out to like-minded brethren to help combat being surrounded by unconverted family members or co-workers.
For those of us who are more emotionally closed off, ask God to help you open up. Develop deep relationships with others. Share your triumphs and struggles. Counsel with your minister when needed. These will all steer you clear of Delay Syndrome.
Let’s take a closer look at the phrase “my Lord delays His coming.” Delay implies more time—a lack of urgency.
Instead of working on himself, such a person lets down his guard.
This often presents itself in an “I’m fine the way I am” attitude. Instead of overcoming sin and striving to be perfect like the Father, such a person rests on his laurels. He relaxes.
Think of Christianity as swimming upstream. You have to keep moving in order to make progress. If you stop, you will flow down river with everyone else. Those who stop growing will fall into habitual sins, which is a dangerous place to be.
This is a load of bullshit. Christianity is not about swimming upstream and endlessly struggling to please that eternally pissed off God of Armstrongism. It can never be pleased, it's bloodlust can never be satiated.
There is a reason Jesus said what he did in Matthew 11:28-30:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
King David prayed: “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression” (Psa. 19:13).
We should ask God to show us the places we need to change. All of us must root out and avoid any deliberate sins that have become part of our lives. If we do this, we can be found “innocent from the great transgression”—we will receive salvation!