Friday, July 2, 2021

Self-Appointed Crackpot Prophet Turns A Miracle Into A Focus Upon Himself And His Church


 
A former member of LCG and later a member of the improperly named "continuing" Church of God contacted me today about an article on Bwana Bob's blog.  The Great Bwana to Africa and 299 Caucasians has a story up about one of his members and presenters from Canada who was apparently cured of ALS, also known as Lou Gerhig's Disease. 

I am not here to denigrate Herb Haddon's apparent miracle and the complete disappearance of ALS from his body, rather it is the disgusting actions of Bwana Bob turning the focus away from the miracle in Haddon's life to putting the focus upon himself and his church. This is also what appalled this former CCOG member that contacted me.

Bwana Bob writes:

It should be noted that even though ALS is not supposed to go into remission, the medical doctors still believe that Herb has ALS.

While God has healed people in and out of the COG throughout the church age, this apparent healing may be a sign–particularly if other healings of this magnitude or even greater take place. A few years back, we had a deaf man experience a miracle in that he was able to hear after Pastor Evans Ochieng preached in Migawi, Malawi). 
 
God does heal! Healings can be a sign from God (Mark 16:18c). 
 
Herb Haddon, who was lame, now walks. The deaf man in Malawi was able to hear.

So far, not much wrong with this, but things quickly derail into the chief narcissist making this story about himself, his church, and the ungodly heathens in these supposed end times who will not acknowledge him as a prophet and a true church leader. The depth of his narcissistic depravity knows no boundaries.



Consider those in light of the following related to men John the Baptist sent to check up on Jesus:

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matthew 11:4-6) 
 
As far as the poor having the gospel preached to then, we have more than 5,000 congregants in poor regions of Africa who are with us and regularly hear the good news of the Kingdom of God. 
 
Yet, many Christian people in these times act like they are ‘above’ accepting that poor Africans are important, despite the prophesied need for the fulness of the Gentiles to come in per Romans 11:25. Most end time Christians feel that they are ‘above’ accepting that God could have a prophet at this time and that God is intervening with dreams in the CCOG and accepting other supernatural signs now, despite that being prophesied for the last days per Acts 2:17-18.

The apostles were confirmed by signs that followed them (Mark 16:20) and there have been signs that have confirmed the Continuing Church of God.
 
Laodiceans, sadly, seem to be offended by such things–or at least do not take them seriously enough to change. 
 
Perhaps because the bulk of end time Christians were prophesied to be Laodicean (cf. Revelation 3:14-18), Jesus said:

8 … when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8) 
 
Many in the CCOG had faith, and Herb Haddon’s medical team now says he does not have ALS. 
 
Real Philadelphian Christians have more faith than the bulk of the Laodiceans do.

The New Testament warns:

40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:
41 ‘Behold, you despisers,
Marvel and perish!
For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe,
Though one were to declare it to you.’ (Acts 13:40-41)

The Laodiceans were prophesied to have the wrong work and were condemned for it (Revelation 3:14-22)–while those of Sardis lost doctrines they should have held onto (Revelation 3:1-6). Those Christians are unwilling to accept the correct work in the end time, even when they are told. 
 
The New Testament further warns Christians:
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:12-19)

Sadly, most Christians are lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22) and have a heart of unbelief in the signs that God said He would use in these times.

Do you have faith to believe and understand that God has been dramatically intervening in the Continuing Church of God over the years? 
 
Can you accept that the types of signs that have been prophesied are really happening? 
 
If so, do not be lukewarm about it.

What a smarmy little weasel Bwana Bob is. No one in the other COG's is as good as he is and are also not experiencing any healings or miracles on the magnitude that his members are experiencing. 

The former CCOG member wrote to me:

As many of us dreaded, Bob Thiel uses the healing from ALS to focus on him and speak up against other church of God groups and lift up himself and his group, rather than just giving God the glory and turning people to God. God can and does heal, but nought but an insecure church politician will try to falsely profit (yes as in "false prophet") from it as though his church position had something to do with it.

This former member wrote much more that could easily identify him, which I will not post there, however, I will post this final comment from him that pretty much sums up the disgust people have for Bob: 

I did attend Bob Thiel's ccog for a while, more out of a desire to visit with some church buddies than out of anything for Bob Thiel. Well, it became too much after but a short time. and now this crass, cheap move Bob Thiel does as we dreaded. Disgusting. I would be the first to decry the evils done by these "churches", especially done by LCG, and now the narcissistic constancy from Bob Thiel and ccog. I've experienced the worst of them and their satanic ministers. However, I cannot deny what God has done in Herb Haddon's life. If one is an atheist, then at the very least there is an area of spontaneous healing that is as yet unexplained.

For the record, I still consider myself a Church Of God member and in the general lineage of the 7th day Sabbath teachings -- as in the body of Jesus -- albeit I speak loosely.  I was in WCG and then in LCG (Lucifer's Camp of Gehenna).  

LCG Members With Hardened Hearts Are Going To Suffer Serious Consequences!

 


It's time for the regular Friday Night Smackdown of LCG members who just can never seem to do anything right. Now it seems that some have hardened their hearts by not being teachable and as a result will be suffering serious consequences at some point in the future! What a comforting message to receive on the Sabbath, a supposed time of rest and time of communion with God. The chances of becoming a god when the rest of the loyal LCG members do are now slim to none.

Are You Teachable? The Scriptures reveal that one of the important qualities of character that God is looking for in Christians and in future leaders in the Kingdom of God is teachability—the desire and willingness to listen and learn and be molded by God. Abraham was teachable and responsive to God’s instructions (Genesis 12:1–4). Moses was a very capable leader, yet he was also humble and teachable (Numbers 12:3). David’s attitude comes through in Psalm 119:33, when he writes, “Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes.” Solomon recognized his own human inadequacies when he asked God for wisdom and an “understanding heart” so he could learn to rule God’s people wisely (1 Kings 3:9). When Jesus said the meek and the poor in spirit will be blessed, He was referring to their teachability and their willingness to learn and grow (Matthew 5:3, 5). However, the Bible also warns that if we harden our hearts to instruction and correction, we will reap serious consequences (Proverbs 8:32–36; 28:14). We’ve been called to reign with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God—and being teachable is one of the keys to attaining that reward.

Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail

Contrast the constant striving to do everything right with this:




Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Crackpot Self-Appointed Prophet And Lapsed Catholic Asks: "Could the U.S.A. be gone by 2028?"

 

The Great Bwana's god is angry!


Our favorite self-appointed prophet to the Church of God is now predicting that the United States will meet its end by 2028. Nothing excites COG self-appointed failed prophets more than seeing the destruction of the U.S. as they so desperately desire. It would be their wet dream come true. They need this to happen so that they can be proven to be telling the truth - for once in their lives.

Bwana Bob, the savior of Africa and 299 Caucasians asked this question today: "Could the U.S.A. be gone by 2028?"

His answer:

Is there any prophetic reason to believe that the destruction and end of the U.S.A. can come before the completion of the next two presidential terms? 
 
Could the end of the U.S.A. and its British-descended allies happen before 2028? 
 
Yes.

Given the long-standing track record of failed prophets in the COG, with every single one of them being liars, why should we believe Bwana Bob on this prediction?  He has failed in all of his other predictions.

He is basing some of this on his belief that humans have been on this earth for close to 6,000 years. something that geology and anthropology prove otherwise, but never let science get in the way of myths that certain COG leaders believe.

Bwana Bob also knows the approximate date that Adam and Ever were created. We must always remember Bwana Bob has the inside track on all knowledge and it is UNQUESTIONABLE! Sure, Bob. Sure.

Last Days Fit When 1,000 Year Days are Understood
Based upon certain calculations that I am currently aware of; it seems that Adam and Eve were created and/or apparently left the garden of Eden between roughly 3959-3972 B.C. It is most likely that the 6,000 years began once Adam sinned as Adam had not rebelled before then.
This would mean that when Jesus began to preach (roughly 27 A.D., about four thousand years later) He started preaching late in thousand-year day four and then into day five. Day four is the middle of seven prophetic thousand-year days, hence the fourth day is not one of the “last days.”

A little later he adds:

And presuming that the great tribulation begins (Matthew 24:21-22) 3 1⁄2 years before the end of the 6,000 years (the latest date which appears to be the Spring of 2031), then the 6,000 years would be up no later than late 2027.

And there is more: 

  1. Then adding 2,000 years to a period of time leads

    to the end of the 6,000 years no later than 2031

    (and it could be earlier than that).

  2. Since the Great Tribulation is expected to start 3

    1/2 years prior to that (cf. Revelation 12:14; 13:5) subtracting 3 1/2 years from the Spring of 2031 would be late in 2027.

  3. Understand that the U.S.A. is prophesied to be taken over near the rise of the Beast and start of the Great Tribulation (cf. Daniel 11:39; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:21-22).

  4. Therefore, since the end of two full U.S.A. presidential terms would end in January of 2029, these prophetic understandings point to the end of the U.S.A., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom prior to two full US presidential terms.

    10. This is also consistent with certain Roman Catholic prophetic writings as well. 


Get your bags packed boys and girls! Rocky times are ahead and you MUST be followers of the self-appointed lapsed Catholic or you will NOT know when the time comes to flee.

It looks like from certain Jewish, biblical, Christian, and Roman Catholic perspectives (and yes others associated with those faiths have other opinions), that the end of the U.S.A. may well happen before 2028.

Jesus said to look for various signs (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). Until we see certain of those signs, we will not know when the end of this age will be.

But if we see certain signs in the next couple of years (e.g., Daniel 9:27), that would be consistent with the view the end of the 6,000 years could be no later than the Spring of 2031 and that the Great Tribulation would start no later than the Fall of 2027.

Perhaps it should be mentioned that since traditionally, the old Worldwide Church of God taught that the Great Tribulation would probably start in the Spring time (similar to the time of the Exodus) a Spring of 2027 or earlier could mark the beginning of the end of the U.S.A. and its British-descended allies.

What will Bwana Bob's god do when 2027, 2031 arrive and nothing has happened?  We will hear the same tired mantra that false prophets of the church has used for close to 80 some years. "God has delayed the end times so that the church can prepare its self and preach a final end-time witness."





Tuesday, June 29, 2021

That Other Saviour Of Africa, Dingbat Wade Cox Admits He Has Been Conned By Some Of His African Members

 


This is too funny! This is the exact same thing that we have been saying about Bob Thiel's followers. Like Wade Cox's African members, Bob's are in it for the money, and when they find the next pocket of money they are off and running. COG leaders are so gullible, and in this case, stupid!..

CCG is going through a serious time, over COVID in Uganda. We have lost no one anywhere in the world to date. Praise God for his mercy but some have contracted the disease. The DCG and I have noted a few breaks or minor fractures and that has never happened throughout the history of CCG and God is telling us that we have to clean our house out and prepare for the coming war and tribulation. None have been serious fortunately but God protects us and he is drawing attention to our problems. We need to pray earnestly for our own salvation. One of the problems was two corrupted ministers in Burundi were attempting to obtain funds from the True Jesus Church and I was shocked to see photos of them performing infant baptism. They are truly falling from any understanding they once may have had.


Gerald Flurry: God Pauses End Time Events So That My Prophecy Will Happen


 

Gerald Flurry has been ranting in his church rags and in the video productions his so-called work pumps out about how Donald Trump will regain power, probably this fall, and thus help usher in the end times.

After suffering a humiliating embarrassment after claiming Trump was going to be re-elected and that Biden would not and then when that prophecy failed claimed that Trump would be back in power by the end of 2020. That did not happen either, though this has not caused Flurry to silence his mouth and stop saying silly things.

Now, like all good Church of God failed prophets (looking at you Bob Thiel) Flurry says that God has delayed Trump from coming back into power and also thus delaying the end times. One of the consequences of Trump regaining office is that he is supposed to deport all Philadelphia Church of God members to Jordan, where we are led to believe Jordan will be waiting with open arms for a few thousand cult members from America arriving so they can settle into Petra or Pella and make the desert bloom like a rose.  I guess the PCG now has a reprieve for a few more months and now will have more time for telling church members to send in more money for a final push and also send Flurry's grandkids off to some more Irish Dance competions.

My July 2021 article was titled “What Will Happen After Trump Regains Power” (theTrumpet.com/23957). Many people are acting like President Trump is history. But as that article says, prophecy not only shows he will return to office, it provides astonishing detail about what will occur once he does! 
 
God has a powerful message to proclaim to America in general and its 45th president in particular. It is up to His end-time Work to make God’s message as clear as possible.

Flurry claims that Donald Trump is King Jeroboam from scripture and his reign is now on pause until it is time for him to FIGHT to be brought back in power:

A key passage illuminating these events is 2 Kings 14:26-27—history that is also prophecy. This passage is about Israel, and in Bible prophecy, the nations of Israel are mainly the United States, Britain and the Jewish state of Israel (request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof). These nations are now in advanced stages of decline and are at imminent risk of being blotted out! But God said He would not allow the name of Israel to be blotted out and that He would save them “by the hand of Jeroboam.” He did this in the eighth century b.c. through King Jeroboam ii, and He has done it in our day through Donald Trump. 
 
Verse 28 indicates a pause in President Trump’s hold on power. “How he warred and recovered Damascus and Hamath” refers to him fighting in some way to reclaim his stolen election—and not by being voted back in at a future election.

Flurry continues:

The book of Kings is one of the former prophets. It is primarily prophecy for this end time. 
 
The other key passage regarding Jeroboam is Amos 7:8-9: “And the Lordsaid unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.” 
 
This passage, I believe, includes another indication of this pause in President Trump’s power that I did not see before.

Why are COG self-appointed prophets so dumb at times that they do not see things? Bob Thiel and Dave Pack say this exact same thing. When their dumb prophecies fail they immediately claim that it was because of something they did not see before. Then their members sit there like bind dumb sheep and believe them when scripture tells us that even if ONE of their prophecies fail then they are false prophets. The Church of God has never had a real prophet tell the truth in its 80 some years of existence, including our current crop.

According to Flurry, Trump is being brought back for one sole purpose:

A Pause in Amos 7
These verses in Amos 7 describe the Prophet Amos’s message from God to King Jeroboam. They also describe God’s message today, which we will soon send to the modern Jeroboam! 
 
President Trump was in the White House for four years, and things went relatively well during that period. God’s Work supported Mr. Trump as God used him during his four-year presidential term to save Israel temporarily, to keep the name of Israel from being blotted out. 
 
But verse 9 speaks of a time of desolation, wasting and the sword. God says that He Himself “will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.” That is a very different picture than you get in verse 8! 
 
I believe there is a pause in the events between verses 8 and 9 of Amos 7, and that we are in this prophesied pause now. God is showing us this to prepare us for what is coming. 
 
President Trump is being brought back for one reason—to keep Satan and his political Antiochus from blotting out the very name of Israel! (Learn what I mean by “political Antiochus” in my free booklet America Under Attack.)

A little later he has this:

God is going to bring Jeroboam back. At that time we will proclaim God’s specific warning message in Amos 7:9 to the modern Jeroboam and his followers, and to those three dying nations of Israel: America, Britain and the Jewish state. 
 
What do you suppose will happen as God’s Work proclaims this message in our magazines and literature,and on television, radio and the Internet? As national calamity intensifies, so too will this message. And it will rapidly reach a crisis point where people will want to silence it! You can see it building and getting far worse already.

Then according to Flurry, when Trump is back in as President the PCG will then proclaim the "gospel" message with power.

This is what verse 10 describes: “Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.” 
 
God’s Work is right in the midst of these cataclysmic events! And we are telling the nation and its leader God’s words. It is a dire warning, and they cannot bear it! 
 
God’s Work has a short final job that we must fulfill! There is going to be a big change in our message. It is a strong message, and we must deliver it.

How can Flurry have a storage message when Bob Thiel claims he has that strong message? How can Flurry and Bob have that strong message when Living Chruch of God and Restored Church of God claim they have it? Liars all.

The Americans, British, Jews and other descendants of ancient Israel have been sinning, and God is rising against them! Here at the very end, we must give the leader—who will definitely be Mr. Trump—and his followers a fiery warning. 
 
These prophecies seem to omit Barack Obama, the political Antiochus, who has been responsible for so much destruction through his two presidential terms and through Joe Biden. The way these prophecies read seems to indicate that he will be off the scene and that God will have turned events to ensure that His warning message can be delivered. 
 
And the name of Israel will not be blotted out. That blotting out would include spiritual Israel, or God’s true Church. That is the name of Israel that Satan wants so fiercely to blot out!

I will give you one guess as to who is coming to blot out the United States and England.......Germany, who else. Get ready for concentration camps, meathooks, and fiery ovens to kill Americans in while their children are shipped off to Europe to be slaves to the Europeans. This is the orgasmic wet-dream of COG failed prophets for decades. The jackbooted Germans and Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (the very same man who is Bob Thiel's bromance). Guttenberg has been the wet dream of so many COG false prophets over the years, though I doubt the bouncing and flouncing by Bob Thiel would appeal to Guttenberg.

This message is a stern warning that something even worse than internal war is coming: war from outside. “For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land” (Amos 7:11). This refers to an attack by foreign nations! Prophecy tells us that the modern Assyrians—Germany leading a European empire—are the ones to watch. 
 
Germany has an election in September. Watch that closely. After 15 long years in office, Chancellor Angela Merkel is retiring. Meanwhile, her political party is losing favorability with the people while its sister party, the Christian Social Union, is surging. This could lead to a more assertive German government and the rise of a prophesied destructive dictator we have been watching for. Watch these elections, and watch the maneuvers of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (my free booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent explains why). 
 
God’s Work has been proclaiming this warning about the sins of modern Israel and the coming attack by the modern Assyrians for more than 75 years. 
 
Amos 7:11 shows that the ultimate result is that the sword of America’s enemies will prevail, and the modern Israelites will be “led away captive out of their own land.” That is part of this powerful message that we must proclaim.

PCG members need to gird their loins, as do all other COG members, because when the PCG starts really preaching its warning to the United States and England there are going to be a lot of unhappy people. People will be so angry that they round up the Flurryites and ship them out of the country.

When God’s Work publicizes the truth with amplified power in the midst of escalating national crises, the land simply won’t be able to bear it. That is when these national powers will expel God’s people! 
 
Then God will take His very elect to a place of safety. 
 
This will happen! God’s people must have faith to deliver that message and to trust God when the nation and the government turn against us. We must have faith in God the Father and His Son to strengthen us to do His will.

How can we have any man leading a COG today deliver a powerful message? Most of them are so emasculated that no one will do anything but laugh at them, as they do now. 

We have a trumpet-warning message to deliver. It is a prophecy of the destruction of the modern nations of Israel: the United States, Britain, the Jewish state and other related nations. Prophecy tells us that they will reject that message. But it also tells us that when all these events actually happen and people are suffering terribly, many who have heard God’s message will repent. A great multitude of people will repent after the sword begins to lay waste to our nations. Many who have heard the message and who have been part of God’s one true Church doing His great Work but then rebelled, will also repent—giving their lives for God and His message. 
 
Whether you have been part of God’s Church or whether you have been reading our message for a long time or whether you are new to it, now is the time to put your heart into supporting this trumpet-warning message and shining the one and only light of hope on Earth.

Send in your money brethren! You won't be needing it at that time. Pack your bags and be ready to walk into Petra where Guttenberg Thiel will be waiting to preach to you for 3 1/2 years. Oh, happy days!

You can read Flurry's diatribe here: A Prophesied Gap in Trump’s Presidency


 

Monday, June 28, 2021

The True Philadelphian Prophet So Ignored That Only 0.75% Of COG Members Care About Him


 

Imagine being a prophet to the Church of God and only having less than 0.75%* of Church of God members even interested in your message! Gerald Flurry and Dave Pack garner a higher percentage of COG member's interest than the self-appointed prophet of Grover City, CA receives. Never has a self-appointed prophet to the church had such a dismal respectability rating than the self-appointed prophet, the modern-day Elijah to the Church of God, and Great Bwana to Africa, Bob Thiel.

The Grover City peddler of homeopathic remedies and other quackeries had another major meltdown today over the fact that I do not, and 99.94% of COG members do not recognize him as a true prophet or a legitimate leader of a Church of God.

In another mind-numbingly long screed justifying his self-appointment and his usual myths about LCG leaders telling him that he was a prophet, Bwana Bob delivered another cut and paste justification for his existence.

Hoss, a reader here on Banned summed up Bwana Bob's typical response techniques to criticism:

Bob's links to links to links and eventually back to links you already linked to... it reminds me of old R/WCG literature - when you get a book/booklet/article/reprint, there will be at least one reference to another book/booklet/...

But, yes, you find why Bob left, because he thought LCG "lost it" - no longer "has the mantle" and isn't "Philadelphian", an he thinks he was given the mantle, is the remnant Philadelphian short end-time work, etc.

In Ralph Orr's classic article on HWA and CG7/BI, he made a statement about HWA that seems applicable to Bob: HWA set criteria on which to determine the "true church" and "true doctrine" - but, he asked, was HWA actually qualified to set the criteria and make a legitimate assessment?

All of Bob's responses are endless cut and paste jobs from previous postings and articles as if this was legitimate proof of himself. He does this on his blog and as a result, makes for some of the longest and weirdest postings ever. No one cares to read 500 links to other articles as proof of anything. His African followers sure do not read any of that crap!

Nothing infuriates the Great Bwana more than having people critique him. He thinks so highly of himself that he expects readers to roll over and lap up his writings as 100% truth and direct revelation from his god, whatever that creature is in his mind. He expects us to believe that Gaylyn Bonjour was supposedly inspired by Bwana Bob's god to doubly bless him in order to cement his prophethood stance in the Living Church of God. He also expects us to believe that the entire ministry of the LCG looked at him as a living prophet in their midst, which most did not. He also expects us to believe that Jim Meredith is a legitimate source for validation. Jim Meredith was one of the most discredited men the church ever had to lead a department at LCG headquarters.

The Great Bwana is infuriated that we keep saying he was kicked out of LCG. I remember the day that an LCG member sent me the sermon where Rod said Bob was kicked out of the church. Gavin Rumney and I posted the story and it was news to Bwana Bob, as he had not yet heard about his banishment and pitched a fit because he had to read about it first on dissident blogs. What a great day that was in Banned land! LCG members flocked to read about Bob's meltdown and public humiliation by Rod Meredith.

His own propaganda department that permanently dwells in his head immediately kicked into action and said it was HE who was kicking Living Church of God out and not the other way around. He says he kicked them out of his life because they would not heed his words.

I chose to leave LCG because of its integrity problems and its intentional failure to fix doctrinal and prophetic errors it promised to fix.

Imagine a man with no integrity telling another church that has integrity problems that they have no integrity! This is like a spoiled brat screaming at his parents that he hates them because they don't give him what he wants so he is leaving. What a hoot! Herbert Armstrong could never have imagined his legacy would be so tarnished by our current crop of petulant man/boys pitching hissy fits over who has the best Church of God or is the official legitimate prophet.  What a disgusting quagmire of stupidity! 

While Gary Leonard tries to lump me in with people like CGPKG’s Ron Weinland, PCG’s Gerald Flurry, and until his death, James Malm. All of whom were self-appointed in the prophetic realm and all of whom clearly made false prophecies. The reality is that I am not self-appointed, nor a certified liar, plus predictions I have had have certainly come to pass. I have not been false–this fact (plus the fact I do not take a salary from CCOG) goes against the paradigms that people like Gary Leonard have. And in his case, result in him repeatedly posting falsehoods that the uninformed (as well as those who prefer to believe a lie) accept.

Bro! Chill out! You ARE self-appointed. God had nothing to do with it. Gaylyn Bonjour had nothing to do with it. Your nightmares after eating some bad Chinese food have nothing to do with it. Your entire persona is a creation of your own mental maneuverings. You and you alone set yourself up as a supposed prophet to the church and the leader of a supposed "Philadelphian" church. Add to that your round-robin "ordination" to further legitimize yourself in the eyes of your African followers and here we are today, witnesses to yet another crazy splinter group of Armstrongism.

When you read his screed, if you dare, you will find almost every single paragraph mentioning himself. There is NOTHING about Jesus leading him or his capability as a prophet in leading people to Jesus. Nothing! Nada! He cannot and never will.

You can read his long-winded, backslapping, narcissistic screed of self-idolatry here: False accusers, LCG, and a true prophet. Have a strong alcoholic drink nearby as you will need it.

Behold! I am the one true prophet to the Philadelphian Church of God. 

Stand in amazement and awe of me as I talk about myself, yet again!


Note: This could be a deep fake picture created by Satan's Assistants 
and not the real Bwana Bob, savior of Africa and 299 Caucasians.

* The 0.75% is a generous amount of members who have expressed interest in Bob's message and also assuming that there are around 40,000 COG members in the various splinter groups and non-affiliated groups. Taking his 300 some caucasian members who believe him and subtracting that from the 40,000 leaves an appalling lack of interest across the board from COG members. Never has the COG seen such a pathetic excuse for a splinter group.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Irreconcilable Breach Between Sabbatarian Christians and Sunday Christians


 

Sabbatarian Christians vs Sunday Christians


In my last post, we established that there were two varieties of Christianity extant in the First Century - one which adhered to Jewish laws, rituals, and traditions and another which did not. We observed how Christ's original apostles and his brother James came to lead and represent the Jewish branch of the faith, and how Paul came to represent and lead the Gentile branch of the faith. We also looked at a great deal of evidence which suggested the presence of tensions (and even open hostility) between the two branches at various times. Nevertheless, although the question of whether an irreconcilable breach developed between the two camps was discussed in some of the commentary which followed that post's publishing on Banned by HWA, I felt that it would be instructive for many of the former and current Armstrongites who make up my audience to directly address that topic in another post.


For, while it may be clear that the arguments between Torah Christians and Sunday Christians began in the First Century, it may not be as clear to us exactly when the two perspectives diverged enough that they began to regard each other as not representing a legitimate variety of their shared faith in Christ. Today, of course, we take it for granted that Sunday Christians regard Sabbatarian Christians as heretical and vice versa; but our examination of the evidence in the previous post implies that that was not always the case. Moreover, tracing the historical origins of this breach has a much more practical application than merely satisfying our intellectual curiosity about it, we intuitively comprehend that a better understanding of those events will help us to clarify our own thinking on the subject and make us more tolerant of each other going forward.

For starters, it is critical that we understand that these two branches of the Christian faith arose as a natural consequence of its expansion - NOT as some grand Satanic conspiracy of the Roman emperor and church! It is indisputable that Christ, his apostles (including Paul) and the earliest Christians were Jewish (encompassing all that that designation suggests like circumcision, Sabbath and Holy Day observances, the Temple at Jerusalem, synagogues, clean and unclean meats, etc.). After the previous post in this series, it should also be apparent that Gentile Christians did not have this background, and that the overwhelming majority of them NEVER adopted those Jewish laws, rituals and traditions.

 

However, just as the accounts which we have in the Christian canon demonstrate the genesis of the two branches of the Christian faith and give us a window into some of the tensions and hostilities which developed between the two camps, they also demonstrate that most of these early Christians tried very hard to tolerate and accommodate each other. Hence, the question arises: When did the breach between these two branches of the Christian faith become irreconcilable?


In attempting to answer that question, most biblical scholars and students try very hard not to project our own experiences, views, and prejudices onto the people and events of the past. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we are often not successful in this regard.

At the end of my last post, I referenced a number of biblical scholars whom I believe have made significant contributions to our understanding of First Century Christianity. One of those scholars, a professor by the name of James Tabor (who was formerly associated with Armstrong's Ambassador College), was particularly helpful in summarizing many of the findings which some of our finest modern scholars have contributed to our understanding of this period of Christian history. Even so, in reviewing the same evidence, I also find myself in disagreement with some of Professor Tabor's answers to our question about the timing of the irreconcilable breach.


In his book Paul and Jesus, Tabor contended that the irreconcilable breach happened in the lifetime of the apostles (Paul, Peter, James and John). Tabor sets up his final chapter (The "Battle of the Apostles") with some remarks about Paul's views of the Torah. He concluded that "it should not surprise us that Paul ended up in a bitter struggle with Peter, James, and the original apostles, who claimed to faithfully carry on the message of Jesus." Tabor continued: "We have only Paul's side of that conflict, and his decisive break with Jerusalem is glossed over in Acts, but there is enough evidence still to piece together the story."


Is that true? Did Peter, James, and Paul end their lives as "bitter rivals" - as suggested by Tabor?

While my previous post suggests my broad agreement with the scholarly narrative about the differences which existed between the Jewish and Gentile varieties of early Christianity (and the eventual triumph of the Pauline Gentile variety), I do NOT believe that the evidence points to an irreconcilable break in the time of the apostles. Once again, both accounts of the Jerusalem Council (Acts and Galatians) reflect the fact that some kind of accommodation was reached between the two branches of the faith. Moreover, I don't buy Tabor's contention that Paul's theology was so radically different (in conjunction with the evidence provided by Paul's second epistle to the saints of Corinth and James more general epistle) that it eventually proved to be the death knell for that "understanding" reached at Jerusalem. In other words, while I believe that the evidence demonstrates tensions (which on occasion bubbled to the surface as open hostility) existed between Paul and the original apostles, I don't believe the evidence supports the proposition that those differences ever provoked a clean break between the apostles.

 

In terms of Tabor's assertions about just how radically different Paul's theology was from the Jerusalem apostles, an example will demonstrate my departure from Tabor's narrative. Tabor asserted that Paul's understanding of the Eucharist was very different from that of the Jewish apostles. According to him, the three earliest gospels (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) derived their accounts of the Last Supper from Paul. He reasoned that, because Paul's account of the Last Supper in his first epistle to the saints at Corinth (see I Corinthians 10:16-21 and 11:23-20) predated the finished gospel accounts by ten to twenty years. it is clear that they derived their narratives from him.


For the sake of argument, we will set aside the fact that Tabor himself admits that those three gospel accounts were derived in part from earlier sources and focus instead on his "evidence" for an alternative narrative regarding the Last Supper. He pointed out that John's gospel didn't mention the bread and the wine in its narrative about that event, and that The Didache seems to present a different understanding of the symbolism surrounding those elements. Hence, in fairness to Tabor and the integrity of our search for the truth, we must examine both of these documents to ascertain whether or not they support his narrative about Paul's Last Supper.


First, while it is true that the gospel attributed to John does not include the elements of the bread and the wine in its account of the Last Supper (see John 13), we must not forget that "Paul's elements" are an integral part of this gospel's narrative. In fact, as part of the account of Christ's message to his disciples that evening, Jesus is said to have referred to himself as "the true grapevine" (see John 15:1-8, NLT). According to this account, he went on to tell them that "apart from me you can do nothing" (the clear implication being that Christ is the vine that makes their salvation possible). Moreover, we should also remember that using grapevines and their fruit in such a symbolic manner was not foreign to either Jews or Jewish Christians as Tabor seems to imply (see Genesis 49:11 and Revelation 14). But what about the bread?

Earlier in that same Gospel, we read that Christ declared: "I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:48-51, KJV) And, lest there be any doubt that John's gospel is placing the exact same language which Paul and the other gospels employed in Christ's mouth, the account continues: "The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." (John 6:52-58, KJV)

 

What about The Didache? In the section of that document dealing with the Eucharist, we read: "Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup: We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. And concerning the broken bread: We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever..But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs." So, we clearly have the elements of the bread and wine included in this early "Jewish Christian" account of the teachings of the apostles.

 

Moreover, lest there be any doubt about the symbolism being tied to Jesus Christ, these instructions were followed by a Eucharist prayer to be used in Christian worship services. We read: "But after you are filled, give thanks this way: We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You modest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake; You gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant. Before all things we thank Thee that You are mighty; to Thee be the glory for ever. Remember, Lord, Thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Thy love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Thy kingdom which Thou have prepared for it; for Thine is the power and the glory for ever. Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God (Son) of David! If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not so, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen." Hence, we can see that both John's gospel and The Didache employed the same kind of language and symbolism with regard to the Eucharist/Last Supper which Paul and the other gospels used in their accounts of those events.

 

Well, maybe they weren't as far apart in their theology as Tabor suggested, but what about the evidence he cited from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians and James' general epistle? Let's begin our evaluation of Professor Tabor's evidence by addressing Paul's second epistle to the saints of Corinth.

 

However, before we address the actual language of this second epistle to the Corinthians, I would like to remind my readers that Paul was not bashful about naming names in either his first epistle to the Corinthians (see I Corinthians 1:11-12) or his letter to the saints of Galatia. In fact, while expressing his anger over a similar situation (Jewish Christians trying to require his converts to observe the tenets of the Torah) at Galatia, Paul says that he had to confront Peter over his behavior. (see Galatians 2:11-14)Hence, as almost all biblical scholars acknowledge this second epistle to the saints of Corinth as one of the undisputed writings of the apostle, it seems odd that Paul never mentioned Peter, James and John in connection with his angry rant about "false" and "super" apostles. (see II Corinthians 11 and 12) Thus, while it is clear that the false apostles which he was referring to in this passage were Jewish Christians (see II Corinthians 11:22), it is also clear that Paul was employing hyperbolic language to defend his own apostolic office and authority. In other words, he was only interested in their claims in so far as they related to his own claims vis-à-vis the Corinthians. And, finally, if this is the evidence of a final split between the leading figures of the two branches of the Christian Church, we must insist that some explanation be forthcoming in relation to the fact that Paul was soliciting an offering on behalf of those Jewish Christians in the passages immediately preceding these. (see II Corinthians 9, NLT)

 

Now, we come at last to the epistle of James. First, it should be noted that most biblical scholars either attribute this writing to the brother of Jesus by that name, or some anonymous person writing in his name (and I concur with this conclusion). Hence, I would not dispute Tabor's assertion that this letter is connected to that leader of the Jewish Christians mentioned in the account of the Jerusalem Council recorded in the book of Acts. However, when the professor goes on to imply that the epistle's references to faith without works and controlling one's tongue was really directed at the apostle Paul, we are forced to ask where's the evidence for supposing this? After all, the author of the epistle states that he is addressing "the twelve tribes - Jewish believers scattered abroad." (see James 1:1, NLT)


In fact, it is here that Tabor's narrative about the breach demands the greatest leap of faith. He implies that James and Paul are being very careful to cover up their breach, and that other writers of the period have conspired to conceal the breach. I will simply state what others before me have observed: The claim of such an extraordinary conspiracy requires extraordinary proof! Following this line of reasoning, we are led to believe that the statement in the second epistle attributed to Peter was written to further this conspiracy. (see II Peter 3:15-16)

Finally, although the New Testament is devoid of any mention of the fate of these men, tradition informs us that Peter, James and Paul all suffered martyrdom as a consequence of their faith in Jesus Christ. Hence, while I accept much of Tabor's narrative about the differences between Paul's brand of Christianity and the one practiced by Peter and James, I simply do not believe that the evidence supports an irreconcilable breach between the men. While I see ample evidence of the tensions (and sometimes open hostility) between these men, I do not see the proof that they died enemies.


On the contrary, both from the perspective of the New Testament and the writings of the generations which followed them, it appears that the irreconcilable breach between the two branches of Christianity happened sometime after the deaths of these men. And, while I am confident that the Roman suppressions of the Jewish rebellions and subsequent persecution of them exacerbated the tensions and animosities which were already apparent between the two groups, it is clear to me that the thing most responsible for that final breach was a hardening of attitudes within the groups themselves. Over time, many of the folks within both camps simply decided that the folks in the other camp had strayed too far from the principles of their faith to continue to be regarded as brothers in Christ!

 

In this respect, Herbert Armstrong and his followers have been very much like the Jewish Christians still extant at the close of the First Century and the beginning of the Second Century. They have decided that they are keeping the flame of the "original" Christian Church alive, and that Protestants and Catholics are all apostates - not really Christians at all! Likewise, many Catholic and Protestant Christians see their Sabbatarian brethren in exactly the same light - heretics that cannot really be considered Christians!

However, after a careful examination of the evidence available to us, I am hopeful that modern Christians will take a page out of the playbook of those First Century Christians. I'm hopeful that the Christians of our day will remember a time when Jewish and Gentile Christians not only tolerated each other, but also sought to accommodate each other's practice of their shared faith in Jesus Christ. What do you think?


***I know that this is a long treatise, but James Tabor did write an entire book on the subject! Moreover, I don't think that anyone who is truly interested in the subject will mind the longer post (and I am willing to discuss the thesis presented here in even more detail for those who may be interested in doing so). Thank you for your time and attention!***  

By Lonnie Hendrix