The Bill of Rights For The Average Member of the XCGs

With the neverending crises in the Church of God splinters groups that still subscribe to the major tenets of Armstrongism (this time is now the Living Church of God in the latest soap opera), this is can never be more so important to appeal to a people to stop letting others do their thinking for them and start thinking for themselves. Also, these are not the only rights XCG members have, they have a lot more than they realize or want to realize.

You have the unalienable right to read the Holy Bible without any man telling you how it should be read or understood. You have the right to read scriptures without any aid of any of the church literature. You also have the right to read study and examine scripture through any concordance, Bible helps, scholarly works, books by theologians and scholars far, far removed from XCG background. Yes, the late great  Samuele Bacchiocchi had some great Adventist works—but try something different—let say N.T. Wright if you dare!

You have the inalienable right to read ANY and EVERY book that has been critical of the Church of God movement. You have the right to know that these people had legitimate complaints. They were not under satanic control but had enough of the hypocrisy, deceit, the manipulation and other non-(and anti-)Christian behaviours that the XCG executives portrayed.

You have the inalienable right to read ANY and EVERY book (The Armstrong Empire and Kingdom of The Cults for starters) that has been critical of Church of God doctrines. You have the right to examine your Bible and to prove whether the doctrines do hold water or not hold water.

You have the inalienable right to disagree with doctrines that are NOT essentials to salvation. It does not matter who or what is the prophetic beast or what country is mentioned in Bible prophecy when it comes to the great plan salvation. What matters is that Jesus Christ exists as God in the flesh and is coming again and will be looking for his saints. That’s important.

You have the right to not attend every Sabbath service. You have the right to visit other family members whether members or non-members. You have a right to sleep in, for married couples to have a special time for lovemaking, to spend extra time with children, a weekend at the cottage or just taking the whole family out in the woods just to have a walk until sunset. Attending Sabbath services does not make any one a Christian just as one person who stands in a garage makes oneself a car.

All ethnic and racial groups who attend and are members, have every right to be respected in front of other members as they are in public and private. This means no calling African Americans (Canadians)and Carribeans and/or anyone who is from the continent of Africa themselves as “blackies”, no tasteless ethnic jokes on the Chinese languages, or even teasing Germans or people of German ancestry as cruel bloodthirsty Assyrian warriors.  The scripture of Colossians 3:5 is the Magna Charta for racial equality and should be treated as nothing less.

You have the inalienable right in a democratic country to vote for your government leaders. Of course, ministers do not like this because this erodes their power of the XCG masses. This is not rocket science. By the way, if you feel like voting a right of centre candidate, vote! Likewise anyone left of centre or radical middle: vote! It matters what you feel in your heart, not the typical propaganda of a minister who shouts, “Democrats in power—THE END TIME IS COMING!  Republicans in power—MORE TIME FOR GOD’S WORK!!!”

You are entitled to the concept of that every believer is part of a kingdom of priests, a concept that every man, woman and child if they want to have free open access to their Creator and to freely read scripture as they see it. This is a concept from The Reformation (Oh, by the way you might want to study about The Reformation and forget the ‘60’s articles on The Plain Truth About The Protestant Reformation) and the irony is that the ministers like the Catholic position sooo much because they ALONE believe that they have access to God. How selfish!

You have the right to use any and social media without the approval any minister telling which to participate or not participate. You have the inalienable right to tell a minister who wants to spy on your regular routines on the internet that it is none of his business and he should spend his time on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless and taking care of the poor. If he is doing absolutely none of these things, he is not a minister but a hireling.

You the unalienable to seek higher education. Get weary of one who speaks of “God’s college”.

You have the inalienable right to seek professional help dealing with issues of mental health.  An issue of mental health is not necessarily 100% demon possession. Frankly, it has more to do with chemical imbalance than with demon possession. Yep, science triumphs over superstition. Any minister who wants to argue otherwise and says that it can be cured by simple prayer and study or vitamins is simply giving “quack” advice.  Ignoring that kind of silly advice will not make you lose salvation one bit.

IN MEMORIAM

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JOHN A. HALFORD

1941-2014

A good man has passed away today. After a long battle with esophageal cancer this summer, Grace Communion International Pastor John Halford finally passed into the fullness of His Wonderful Kingdom. Those who were hoping that he would conquer this and even one individual very high up in GCI even suggested that there was a “Divine Appointment” a misdiagnosis of tumours but another pastor gave the grave news that it wasn’t so. During the ordeal, John Halford was handling this very well, even getting ready for certain divine appointment from Jesus: Today, you will be with me in Paradise. Nobody can ever have any greater  “divine appointment”  being with the Master in Paradise despite it is a sad thing for the rest of us because we will be missing him for a very long, long, long time.

Before Grace Communion International, there was the Worldwide Church of God—-a cult labelled by many evangelicals which eventually steered to orthodoxy in the early 1990s. John Halford was a long time minister in the historic Worldwide Church of God and yes, there are some who hold that against him. Some will say he was just a hireling with a superior sense of humour.  He might have been a product of the environment and yes there was a toxic environment which I am acutely aware  but I cannot deny that there individuals who were different, dared to be different  and some even payed the price for being different (John was never raised to evangelist rank in the historic WCG) and I still can only conclude that he was truly a “voice of reason” through it all.  Can anybody attribute that to then top evangelists like Gerald Waterhouse, Rod Meredith, Raymond McNair—-or even the founder Herbert W. Armstrong who could make Alice in Wonderland’s The Queen of Hearts seem rational and reasonable? I think not! These so-called top men who had nothing better to do to make stuff up (most of the time it made no sense) can never hold a candle to a man who always thought outside the box much to the chagrin of many—and did so until his dying day.

I remember his visits to Toronto in the early ’90s. His sense of humour could not be ignored. His cheekiness was somewhat to be admired where there was a multiple number of those who were “holier-than-thou” and literally believed that lightening up was a sin. I read his articles in The Plain Truth magazine back in the mid-90s and other church literature he written. A cut above the rest. The mid 1990s came and the historic Worldwide Church of God faced it’s massive doctrinal upheaval (New Covenant theology was “introduced”) in it’s then 60 year or so history. It made the 1973-74 debacle (Divorce and Remarriage policy and the so-called proper day of Pentecost) look like a Muppet movie. John Halford had a wonderful taped message called a “New Frontier of Faith”. It was positive, upbeat and futuristic oriented (John was a futurist like me while others were just simply joyless, dull fatalists) . I also appreciated his jab at what I would call “grace Nazis” in what he said, “Hey I live and believe the New Covenant but I eat like if I’m under the Old.” Some wanted to show ( I say bully) their righteousness by “eating pork” over the ones who are “weak in the faith”—which in my opinion is stupid and shallow to say the least and a poor measuring stick but that’s simply neither here nor there. In the late ’90s, John Halford had a video called Creation or Evolution. Some thought he offered no firm conclusions and that was a bad thing. I thought the opposite. It was refreshing to see somebody who seen no tension between science and faith or even believing in God and evolution simultaneously. It was time for people in the Worldwide Church of God TO ASK QUESTIONS about science!  At the same time he was Regional Director of WCG in the United Kingdom and published their own version of The Plain Truth which was reported to be the number one Christian magazine in the U.K.  I, for a while subscribed to it and even helped contribute to their magazine by converting what money I made into British pounds. I would do it over again, if I could and had a better job (so I would have given more)!  It was that good that NT Wright could probably read an issue or two. I still believe that the UK Plain Truth back in the 90s should have been the standard one over the American evangelical Plain Truth hands down. Sorry, I take the Neo-Anglicanism of John Halford and his sidekick Jim Hurst—over the clap happy American evangelicalism any day. I will even dare to suggest that probably the Neo-Anglican route was probably the best, non-confrontational way for the then WCG to steer towards orthodoxy than the hot mess that the leadership imposed in ’95. If only…

Whether you agreed with his decision or not, John Halford decided to stay and lead the WCG into becoming Grace Communion International.  He was sincere in his decision. I thought he should have started his own ministry back in the late 90s but he kept writing articles for Grace Communion International and advising congregants ministers and members alike right until the end. I thought this video would be an appropriate one of what he was all about during his later years. Rest in paradise,Mr. John Halford until we meet again! 

Also, his nephew Ben Beath wrote a superb pre-obituary article here.

Church-sanctioned sexual repression in Mormonism

The last post I dealt with had something to do with human sexuality and how religion represses that desire to control the masses, I have discovered to keep a good thing going. I have meant to post the following videos below for the longest time and now  this is best time to post it. This Ex-Mormon couple who bravely and boldly discuss their experiences about their sex lives in the Mormon cult and the psychological damage and burdens it caused for the couple. What gets me mad is that Mormon clergy can sleep at night. Shame on them!

A new book that I’m eagerly (and I mean very eagerly waiting) for!

bsy-roy-blizzardbsy-the-bible-sex-and-youThere is a song that was released back in the 1990’s called What’s Up (I believe the song was released in the wrong decade. It should have been released back in the 1960’s but that’s neither here nor there) . In the lyrics, the singer says she prays ” for a revolution” . I will say that I also pray for a revolution for many things wrongheaded in the world.  I hope this upcoming book from Dr. Roy Blizzard called the Bible, Sex and You will cause a revolution in thinking regards to human sexuality in the Christian Church.   Christianity (Western Christianity which is more specifically Catholic and Protestant) has taken it’s marching orders   from St.Augustine for so too long(not only about sex but other important theological issues that affects us today as well). Also if those in the XCGs who have indoctrinated over the Missing Dimension In Sex booklet for all these years, probably this new booklet from Dr. Blizzard will give you something new, refreshing and liberating! Brian Knowles from the Association for Christian Development organization  (an Armstrongist Refusnik group—which is a very good thing) had this to say in reviewing the book:

 One of the reasons for this sorry state of affairs is that the Church generally has lost the connection with its Hebrew roots. This is as true for its teachings on sex as for any other theological topic. Dr. Roy Blizzard asserts, “Unfortunately, I am sorry to say, almost everything taught in Christianity regarding sex, human sexuality, until this very day, has been wrong and has led to sexual frustration and bondage,” (The Bible Sex and You, p. 25).

            Blizzard further asserts, “It is through the Christian theology of the first 1400-1500 years of Christianity and from books written by pseudo-scientists that people not only had some of the distorted and dangerous views about sex that they did but, as a result, continue to remain in ignorance and bondage until this very day,” ibid, p. 29.

            These are working premises of the new book by Dr. Blizzard. It’s an easy read – only 94 pages including End Notes, Bibliography and Glossary. Despite its brevity, it covers the whole span of human sexuality from an Hebraic perspective.

            He addresses marriage, orgasm, Judaic thought on human sexuality, contraception and birth control, abortion, marriage laws and customs, homosexuality, transsexualism, masturbation and pre-marital sex. Dr. Blizzard discusses ancient Greek and Roman attitudes to sexuality and how they affected Christian thinking following the disappearance of the original Jewish apostles. “…many of the practices of Cynicism and Stoicism – and especially that of asceticism and later on celibacy – were adopted by the early Christians. As a result, asceticism and self-denial, seclusion and austerity, celibacy and monasticism are characteristic of Catholicism to this very day,” (ibid. p. 16).

Mr.Knowles continues:

Dr. Blizzard discusses the origins and falsity of the doctrine of original sin. He also takes to task standard Christian understandings of “lust,” the idea that there is something tainted about sex in marriage, the normalcy of sexual fantasies, lesbianism, and reasons for divorce.

            The book will probably prove somewhat offensive to some highly conservative, deeply conditioned, Christians, and not liberal enough to some on the other side of the theological fence. The book is worth a read, if for no other reason that it lays aside many of the common sexual myths believed by Christians. For the more open-minded, it can have a freeing effect from the bondages of traditional Catholic and Evangelical beliefs about how Christians may express their sexuality.

It’s about time! For those interested, you can see Dr. Blizzard’s website right here.

Intelligent Quote of The Day

Today, we are reminded once more that there are hundreds and thousands of twisted individuals living on our planet.

Regardless of your opinions, keep your gun control comments to yourself. Keep your “judgment of God” comments to yourself. Keep your “we need the Ten Commandments back in our schools” comments to yourself.

Instead, pray, speak life, and mourn with those who mourn. Tragic moments ought not to be used as a pulpit for attempting to prove your point. This is a moment to somehow, someway, show the love of God to a brokenhearted world around us. Love on your families, and love on those who have none. Don’t be an opportunistic Christian, seeking to capitalize on another’s pain.

Be Jesus.Today, we are reminded once more that there are hundreds and thousands of twisted individuals living on our planet.

Regardless of your opinions, keep your gun control comments to yourself. Keep your “judgment of God” comments to yourself. Keep your “we need the Ten Commandments back in our schools” comments to yourself.

Instead, pray, speak life, and mourn with those who mourn. Tragic moments ought not to be used as a pulpit for attempting to prove your point. This is a moment to somehow, someway, show the love of God to a brokenhearted world around us. Love on your families, and love on those who have none. Don’t be an opportunistic Christian, seeking to capitalize on another’s pain.

Be Jesus.

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Jeff Turner, Pastor of teaching ministries Sound of Awakening, giving all believers some excellent precious advice on dealing with yesterdays school-shooting tragedy in Connecticut.