Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The true church malarky?


A reader here posted the following recently...

One thing I keep telling the Ex-ACOG's is if you want to see what the early church was really like, read ancient Christian literature like the Ante-Nicene Fathers, instead of the junk put out by the SDA, the Churches of God 7th Day, and the ACOG's. It's in those books that you will find the true history of Christianity. You'll discover that the only modern churches that resembles the ancient churches are the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. And you'll find out that sabbatarian churches were small heretical groups that had no continuing history, and quickly faded out from history. Instead, the former ACOG's usually become unbelievers, join another ACOG or another cult, hook up to an evangelical church, and some have even become Jews. Sadly, it never occurs to most of us to research the actual history of the ancient church. I only did it because I stumbled across an article that mentioned a book about the ancient church. So, my fellow Ex-ACOG's, be pro-active. Make an effort to study ancient church history, so these cults will never fool you again with their 'true history of the true church' malarky.

The history of the church as portrayed in the Church of God is not to be trusted in its entirety. Herman Hoeh, who was a big proponent of it admitted later on in life that he and the church did not know the real history. 

Most COG members have never read about the history of the church other than in official church writings. Reading church history through the eyes of Dave Pack, Bob Thiel and Gerald FLurry is not an accurate history of the church or the story of Christianity. Anything these guys wrote about church history is only meant to bolster their claim as a prophet of god, nothing more.


Anonymous said...

Brief History of Religion

The God of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible created the weekly Sabbath and commanded its observance in one of His big Ten Commandments.

Jesus the Anointed One / Messiah / Christ / King in the New Testament of the Holy Bible observed the weekly Sabbath.

Nowadays, the Roman Catholic Church and its Protestant daughter churches hate and despise and trample on the weekly Sabbaths and observe Sunday instead.

Sane Con said...

Very good advice but those who still have their cognitive dissonance issues will have a very slower process in realizing their errors.

Miller Jones/Lonnie C Hendrix said...

Anonymous 7/6 @ 11 PM,

Your very "Brief History of Religion" is the ONLY way that Armstrongism's narrative about the history of Sabbath observance works. Your first statement about the God of the OT fails to mention that the ISRAELITES were commanded to observe the weekly Sabbath as part of God's covenant with them. Indeed, in addition to male circumcision, it was one of the signs that would identify them as being in a unique and special relationship with that God. In other words, the Sabbath was NOT given to humankind generally - it was clearly given to the children of Israel.

As for Jesus and his apostles, we must not forget that they were JEWISH! As people of the covenant, one would expect to find them living by the terms of that covenant - observing the weekly Sabbath as required by its terms! Indeed, as the one who would redeem his people from their sins, Jesus Christ HAD to observe ALL of the provisions of the Torah - perfectly. Moreover, as all of Christ's original disciples were JEWISH, one would expect them to continue in the observances which had been a feature of their entire lives - and that is exactly what they did!

Nevertheless, when Paul finally began carrying out the commission (to carry his message to the world) which Christ had previously given to his original apostles, GENTILE people streamed into the Church in ever greater numbers. Unlike their Jewish brethren, these GENTILE Christians had NO tradition of weekly Sabbath observance - they were NOT people of the covenant. Moreover, the Jerusalem Council made very clear that they would NOT be required to observe the tenets of God's covenant with Israel - that they would NOT have to become observant Jews! And, within a few years, Jewish Christians became a MINORITY within the Church. In other words, the number of Christians who continued to observe the Sabbath and festivals became a smaller and smaller part of the whole. Then, finally, with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple complex in 70 CE, Jewish Christians were scattered and persecuted, and the continued observance of traditional, temple-centered Judaism became impossible!

In other words, when the Church evolved and coalesced into the organizations which we now recognize as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian Churches (many CENTURIES later), they inherited a Christianity where Sunday observance was widespread and had been the practice of MOST Christians since the First Century! Later still, Protestant Christians inherited the same tradition. In other words, there wasn't any conscious decision by an Emperor, Pope, or Council to change Christian observance from Sabbath to Sunday! There was no decision to trample on the weekly Sabbath. Gentile Christians had simply NEVER observed the weekly Sabbath! Why Sunday? The majority of these folks gravitated to Sunday because that is the day on which the gospels record that Christ was resurrected! (And please don't bother with HWA's musings on that subject - after sundown on Saturday, in the Jewish reckoning of a day, Sunday has begun). This is the REAL history of this subject.

Anonymous said...

Read chapters 15 and 16 of Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." No less an historian like Gibbon says the early Church was populated by Christians who kept the Sabbath and holy days.

Anonymous said...

Not all the early church fathers were following Jesus. Clement is good. But Ignatius is a cult leader; he tries to subvert the loyalty of the people from Jesus to the presbyters. He also tries to control the information of the members by making them afraid of outsider opinions. He doesn't pass the BITE model.

Trypho said...

Anon 11:00

Totally agree. Not only was the Sabbath one of the "Ten Words" spoken by God, the Words were written by the Finger of God on stone, twice.

The Catholic Church admits and claims the Sabbath was abolished and Sunday observance establish by their own authority. Protestants scramble for half-baked claims that the Bible, through a few out of context verses, purports to show the Apostles "must have changed" the Sabbath.

Remember, as the small ACOGs point out to excuse their exiguous congregations, the "church" would be a "small flock".

Those ACOGs that cling to the "Church Eras" dogma try to make "church history" fit the "Churches of Revelation" mold, and attempt to show their group is "Philadelphia".

The Sundown Kid said...

Part of the reason the early christian churches all look catholic and orthodox is for 1000 years those two groups ran around burning everybody and anything that didnt agree with them. Of course the groups that didnt blend in with those groups were small and considered heretical. Im not sure thats proof of much honestly

BP8 said...

Why would anyone TRUST ancient Catholic church history any more than they would Armstrongism? All human history is suspect, being attempts to "bolster" claims of superiority and personal/national righteousness!

The responsibility falls on the individual (Matthew 24:3, 2Thes 2:3), and how much faith one wants to put in this fallen and evil world's rendition of anything. The best we can do is evaluate everything through the lens of Scripture, especially what it says regarding THIS "WORLD" specifically (John 7:7, 1John 2:16, Rev12:9)! Of course though there's a reason for not doing that (John 3:19)!

Anonymous said...

At AC, Rod Meredith and others were very dismissive of the Ante Nicene Fathers. They labeled them as "Catholic" and neatly placed them in a nice little box so that members would not even consider their writings as any sort of reliable resource. In the WCG, there was no recovery from a tar and feathering with the label Catholic because of the whole bogus Hislop and "Beast" things. Some of the first generation Ante Nicene fathers, hand chosen and trained by the Apostles, were actually mentioned by name in the New Testament. Irenaeus actually condemned Simon Magus extensively in his writings against heresies, and made an effort to destroy all of the Simon Magus writings that he could find. This is why so little has survived about Simon. Yet, Irenaeus would be branded "Catholic", and it is doubtful that anyone indoctrinated in Armstrongism would even be aware of him.

During the Great Recession, I had a lot of disposable time on my hands, and read many of the "controlled" but carefully excerpted and quoted resources that were pretty much forbidden to WCG members back in the day, including the Deuterocanonicals (or Apocrypha), the Nag Hamadi texts, as many of the works of the Ante Nicen fathers as I could find, and the complete works of Josephus. This was all very enlightening for me personally, but absolutely useless in discussions with people who still follow the teachings of HWA, who aren't interested in even reading anything which could counter the teachings of Armstrongism. Anyone who has read and been tempted to share the exhaustive materials disproving British Israelism is already familiar with this impenetrable wall which has been created in the minds of HWA's followers who fervently believe that they know "the truth" on this and other topics, and simply refuse to read or consider anything that counters what they've been taught.

Tonto said...

Although it is true that there have been "Sabbatarian" observers throughout history, (and yes, some of those had some other strange beliefs at times), there is absolutely NO evidence that there is an "unbroken" line of "laying on of hands ordination" giving some kind of provenance going back to Christ.

This has been a control mechanism in the COGS that somehow they have this unbroken line of ordination to Jesus, and thus the only holders of the rights to the ability to perform "sacraments" , such as marrying, burying, anointing, blessing, ordaining, baptizing etc. The unfortunate truth is that the "ordination" of individuals always goes back to someone who just simply appointed themselves, and there was no "magic" or "mantle" in any way.

Anonymous said...

The apostles didn't write everything the Gentiles should do that turned to God because the apostles already knew the Gentiles would learn much more every sabbath - Acts 15:21, in the synagogue.

DW said...

The Didache is the best historical record of just what the 1st and 2nd century church practices were. It is a contemporaneous account of the standard of practices in Christianity. It very clearly explains precisely why Christianity NEVER kept the Sabbath, the law of Moses, etc.

It is also lethal to the legalistic cults. You will read and study your way right out of Armstrongism, SDAs, et al. Just like the book of Galatians. It is kryptonite to Acogs.

Anonymous said...

well now I see where you come from had many suspicions before, I guess this article nails you
not to a cross but to 2000 years of catholic blasphemy. Whether or not you agree with something does not make you the final authority. There are some short comings in some of cogs literature which should be challenged. but to state the garbage that flows out of the catholic church is reliable history, shows just how biased you really are.

Mark Wolfe said...

I have heard from many christians that the Jerusalem Conference is a good biblical example of the law being done away or not applying to the Gentile converts, therefore not binding on Christians. And the law was only for the Jews.

But in Exodus 20 and Deut 5:14 it clearly states that the stranger sojourning with the Jews were required to keep the law.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary writes, “A ‘stranger,’ in the technical sense of the term, may be defined to be a person of foreign, that is, non-Israelitish, extraction" These “strangers” are converted gentiles who accepted the covenant with God.

As far as circumcision, this was a sacrifice, a shedding of blood to seal the covenant between God and his people.

Since Christ fulfilled the law, the victim of the blood sacrifices has been upgraded to a much better sacrifice.

Matthew 5:17-19 clearly explains this:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Furthermore the law was in force prior to Moses. Why would the Pharoah and King Abimelech know adultry is a sin with Abraham's wife if it were not in force to Gentiles?

So any christian history that purports to abolish Ten Commandment Law I would consider it to be a history of heresy.

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Anonymous 7:08 wrote, "No less an historian like Gibbon says the early Church was populated by Christians who kept the Sabbath and holy days."

I believe that Gibbon was right. Christianity is a form of Late Second Temple Judaism. Jews and Christians used to sit elbow to elbow and worship. I would expect that Jewish Christians in the Jerusalem Church kept the Sabbath and the Holdays. There is nothing wrong with that.

Where Armstrongism went off the rails was by making the Law of Moses to be God's inviolable eternal, spiritual law. And making the Sabbath a requirement for salvation. You can keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days all you want as cultural artifacts. As the First Century Jewish Christians did. You just cannot make them a requirement for salvation. Jesus is the only means of salvation. And the Law of Moses is no longer anything but an antique foreshadow of Christ.

But, before you go postal for no reason, the Ten Commandments are still in force. The Fourth has simply been transformed in Jesus.

If, as an Armstrongist, you believe that the Law of Moses is still in force and actually made more stringent in the NT, then if you suspect that you wife committed adultery, you should make a special concoction for her to drink that will cause her to be poisoned if she is guilty. Have you ever heard that done in any Armstrongist congregation? If it is not being practiced then the Law of Moses is not being kept. This law concerning adultery is not a part of the ceremonial law nor is it a part of the ministration of death. It is still in force. Ask you minister why your church has been remiss.

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Anonymous said...

Miller Jones/Lonnie C Hendrix at 5:57 AM said...“Why Sunday? The majority of these folks gravitated to Sunday because that is the day on which the gospels record that Christ was resurrected! (And please don't bother with HWA's musings on that subject - after sundown on Saturday, in the Jewish reckoning of a day, Sunday has begun).”

Herbert W. Armstrong's teaching was that the resurrection occurred on the weekly Sabbath, near the end of the weekly Sabbath, shortly before sunset, NOT after sundown, which would be the start of the first day of the week.

Anonymous said...

Brief FUTURE of Religion

For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

(Isaiah 66:22-24, KJV)

Miller Jones/Lonnie C Hendrix said...

Ah, the bliss of everything being so simple - so black and white! As usual, Armstrongists reject or ignore anything which contradicts their narrative!

DW makes an excellent point about consulting The Didache. I endorse his recommendation.

It is amazing how Armstrongists will accept the Roman Catholic Church's claims about changing the Sabbath and appropriating to itself three hundred years of Church history that does not belong to them, but they are so quick to dismiss the Ante-Nicene Fathers as Catholic hacks! Go figure!

Mark Wolfe,

Sorry, Jesus Christ didn't do away with the Law - he FULFILLED it! By the way, God has offered the entire world a NEW Covenant through Jesus Christ - one with better terms and promises than that which was offered to Israel. Christ distilled the Law into two great principles (Love for God and neighbor) - and Christians are expected to observe this Law of Love (which, incidentally, underscores and fulfills the entire Torah).

Anonymous 7/7 @ 10:29,

Yes, HWA taught many things that were NOT consistent with Scripture or history. If you're interested, a more coherent Armstrongist account of the timeline of Christ's resurrection can be found in Ronald Dart's "The Thread."

Brief FUTURE of Religion,
We also read in the fourteenth chapter of Zechariah: "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles." Someday, apparently, everyone will once again be required to keep the FOT at Jerusalem - something that the overwhelming majority of Jews and Christians have NOT been able to do for over almost two thousand years!

Mark Wolfe said...

I would agree that the Old Covenant people were looking forward to fulfillment which is what Christ did inaugurating the New Covenant. Looks like that is where we are in disagreement. What is exactly the New Covenant? My understanding, which is not an Armstrongist narrative, but a Christian narrative is:

1. The laws (10 Commandments) will be written in the hearts of men and women through the Holy Spirit. So if they are written in our hearts we will be seen doing them.
2. Every individual will know God personally. In order to know God we can't be commandment breakers. (IJohn2:3-5)
3. It will be an everlasting covenant which will not be broken.
4. There will be individual responsibility and suffering for sins.
5. God will forgive sins and remember them no more (if confess and repent from).

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (IJn 5:2-3).

C.K. Barrett said, "John never allowed love to devolve into a sentiment or emotion. Its expression is always moral and is revealed in obedience.”

RSK said...

The best suggestion I can make is that if you haven't read them, read them. Then you're better equipped to advocate or argue instead of flinging trigger words about.

Simon said...

Tonto said: there is absolutely NO evidence that there is an "unbroken" line of "laying on of hands ordination" giving some kind of provenance going back to Christ.

And I might add even if there were HWA was never baptized with the “laying on of hands” ritual that he demanded of his own followers! So according to his own teaching and practice if his ritual was commanded by God to receive the Holy Spirit (which it isn’t!) he never would have received the Holy Spirit either like all the “traditional Christians” he condemned as false Christians because they didn’t have the LOOH done to them!

Anonymous said...

We know for an historical fact that there is an endless human chain of Christians in Catholicism (and Eastern Orthodox Church) extending from the present all the way to Jesus Christ. This is traceable through the Ante Nicene Fathers and the churches which they served, back through the so-called lost centuries. We also know that there was no third century advertising executive who cobbled together the Catholic Church after having been baptized by a Zoroastrian priest. HWA is a ridiculous and pathetic figure in the field of Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Choose wisely. Whose authority do you choose and want to follow.

Anonymous said...

“Sunday IS OUR MARK OF AUTHORITY…THE CHURCH IS ABOVE THE BIBLE, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.” — Catholic Record of London, Ontario, September 1, 1923.

Phinnpoy said...

NO2HWA, anything said by an ACOG leader about the history of the Christian Church should never be trusted, period! These shysters have to sell a unique product to lure people away from more conventional beliefs. So, they deliberately take real history out of context, lie about what the real historical Christians believed, and also lie about what the various sects they claim as sabbatarian COG's were actually like.

Interestingly enough, a group of Baptists, called Landmarkers, also try to claim an ancient lineage for the Baptists. These folks use the same group of heretical sects the ACOG's claim as their spiritual ancestors! If you want to read a good refutation of both Baptist and ACOG history distortions, I highly recommend Baptist Successionism by James McGoldrick. He thoroughly demolishes the erroneous claims of the Landmark Baptists, and of course, the ACOG's, who also buy into this nonsense.