Open Reply to 1st Apostle of WCG Alumni

Note: On my previous blogsite, I put another poster’s comments from WCG Alumni FYI Again as The Intelligent Quote of the Day. FYI Again was responding to 1st Apostle’s post about the eternal validity of The Ten Commandments. 1 st Apostle thought I was giving him the raw end of the stick  by not explaining his side and other “strong” statements. I wanted to make my open reply to WCG Alumni but as of recent times, I have had trouble getting in. I thought my own blog may do the trick. I apologize to all for the reply for being long but I felt this demanded an immediate reply and some “thorough” explanations.

Hello 1 st Apostle

It has been a long time that we talked. I hope I can clarify a few things about what goes on my blog.  Among first things to be clarified: I have a section called Intelligent Quote of the Day.   Whatever anyone says I think is worth of value, I put it down as a quote. That’s all. It is from anybody from any background—whether they are Sabbatarian, Calvinist, Arminian, Dispensationalist, atheist, agnostic, gay, straight or whatever.  The purpose of the blog is to get people thinking big ideas. They didn’t get that chance or opportunity in their years in Armstrongism.

You have some very strong passionate statements (and very SERIOUS charges). They need to be immediately answered. I want to respond to your statements said on your post at WCG Alumni,

 Giving slanted, biased, one-sided, or misrepresented versions of events is bearing false witness. As one who apparently feels a need to defend the validity of the Ten Commandments as an eternal law of God, you might want to pay as much lip service to #9 as you do to #4.

I have explained what “Intelligent Quote of the Day” is.

FYI Again had a very good statement and it was used as a quote. It is not a commentary of itself. Its purpose is not “equal time” to compare someone else’s opposing view. It is just a snapshot of what someone said. It rests on a person to draw any conclusion on that quote. Do I have time to look at everybody’s post at WCG Alumni, JLF, etc?  You know as I know that is impossible?  I can not accommodate everyone’s responses to posts.  I will admit that all blogsites have a bias and I don’t think that’s an evil thing. Gavin Rumney has a liberal theological bias and I think it’s great!!! You might not agree with every single thing Gavin may post or comment but I find it a treasure understanding his personal worldview. Stand Gardner of Ambassador Reports has a bias. It is slanted toward ALL churches to be accountable and to restore the public trust!  If you felt that something was out of context, you could have explained on the comments section —as long as one is cordial and respectful, freely and openly.

 To say that I have a need to defend the validity of the eternal ten is an assumption. My theology is not the theology that you knew me 7 years ago. For example, I do believe in the concept of the immortality of soul. I believe it is not necessarily pagan idea.  This is only the beginning but that’s another topic for another time. To be more on topic, you mentioned about the Ten Commandments. I do not feel a need to defend the Ten Commandments as an eternal law of God. I recognize it as a valid theory among many theories. May I add one caveat? I have no problem when people believe that the Ten Commandments are the moral law of God but I do have problem when people believe that keeping it is the root of one’s salvation, not the fruit. On this I cannot compromise and make a stand to the contrary.  Actually, I do not have a problem with the concept in your post that it’s not what I do have a problem is with anybody beating (metaphorically speaking of course) anybody else with scripture. The website The Painful Truth does not care for it, neither do I.  I do not care what topic it is. Did I feel that the statement was sort of “beating up” someone or something? Probably yes, but it was the delivery of that message—not the messenger (1st Apostle), I probably had the problem with.  This is not paying lip service to #4 while ignoring #9 as you asserted.

   For starters   For I notice in the interchange between you and Douglas Becker under Comments that you stated: “Former WCGers and others who devote sooo [sic] much time attacking the seventh day Sabbath and people who wish to keep it, I find have jumped one ship of intolerance to another ship of intolerance.” This was not a statement directed to you personally. You were not even in mind. I want to directly apologize if I suggested that this was case. It simply wasn’t. At the same time, I have through personal experience certain individuals who fit have fit in the category. I can not deny that.  I find it incredibly interesting to notice. I have the right to dissent and give opinion to contrary.  If people can’t take that, sorry this is a free country! There have been both proponents of New Covennat Theology and Sabbatarians who will not and cannot find common ground to agree.  I apologize if I may be crass but I frankly attitudes where people refuse to find common ground and have this idea that things can be settled with a fight in the parking lot, make Christianity and faith a “sick joke” to say the least. They are not a worth of my damn time!  As one who is tolerant of the religious beliefs of others as long as they don’t infringe on my own rights, I find your comment misleading as it imputes motives and actions to me that were not evident in the exchanges with FYI Again. There is no misleading and there is no intention of implying motives.  I am wondering that the last comment I said to Douglas was more upsetting than anything else???   I also find why Christianity in general are so mellow towards Sunday Sabbatarians as opposed to seventh day ones is more likely a neurotic desire to be so separate in every way from Judaism. For to celebrate the seventh day Sabbath is just too close to the Jews for some. Christians must need to keep that hard firm line! I think it’s time to just live and let live but hey, this is religion. One party needs to control another. That’s how the game is played. Sigh. I am standing by that statement, I have a right to say what I said and I am going say again that statement has nothing to do with you in a personal way. 1st Apostle is strictly irrelevant to the last paragraph of my response to Douglas. You may wonder that this is merely a statement from the head of Felix Taylor, well my thoughts are supported by a book called “The Next Christendom” by Phillip Jenkins talking about the Ethiopian Church and churches in Africa more attached to things Hebraic, “As we will see, many modern-day African Christians likewise fell very comfortable with the word of the Old Testament, and try to revive ancient Hebrew customs—usually to the horror of European Christians.” Dr.John Garr’s book Restoring Our Lost Legacy, he states that mainline Christians are pro-Judaism but have problems recognizing the existence of Israel and evangelical Christians recognize Israel’s right to exist but inimical to Judaism I truly apologize if I did bore you of the details from these books but I think you know what I am attempting to do by constructing my case. I ask you to respect and understand it but there is no implication that one needs to submit to it. I know you may uncomfortable with it but I can be uncomfortable with stuff from my fellow ex-XCGers who are now Roman Catholics (Jared and Darren). I may not agree with what they may say all the time but I do respect it and learn from it. Why don’t you come down from your spiritual high horse long enough to check with FYI Again, 

Let me stop here and say that this is a statement I do not appreciate and I do not care for in the strongest terms. You accuse me of implying motives on you.  This is a serious accusation on me that I have a secret agenda. This is a two way street. There is no rationalizing about it!  I am a person who is far from perfect, who is continually searching and understanding spirituality as I see it.  I have no spiritual high horse to ride upon. Just like you, sir—I am going through the same journey on this earth as you are.

who is not presently keeping the seventh day Sabbath himself or aligned with any COG, to find out if I recently told him by email that if I were him I would attend a church that keeps the seventh day Sabbath overseen by his brother in law to find out if that religious system still has meaning for him – hardly the action of someone who is attacking those that observe the seventh day Sabbath.  

If FYI Again, approves and grants his permission (his privacy should be seriously considered) I would like to see it.  If not, you can summarize the exchange at the same time keeping what needs to be private and confidential—private and confidential.  Respecting FYI Again’s privacy is very paramount to me. I am sort of in FYI Again’s position. I still attend Good News Fellowship which meets on Saturdays —but I am not into the business of “Sabbath do’s and don’ts.” To quote that song from Fleetwood Mac, “Never going back there again!”  Hey, I have worked at my current job at Home Depot a few Saturdays, voted at an advance poll for a provincial election this past Saturday. Hey for goodness sakes, if my mom is alone and wants to shop on a Saturday—I go. I like FYI Again, I am not keeping the seventh day Sabbath in the religious sense  but I do respect those who do.  Though I have been somewhat a lot more agnostic on the issue, I have shifted somewhat into a pan-Sabbatarian view that everybody needs and deserves a day of rest and the day sometimes does not necessarily matter. There are those who do not have Armstrongist background who believe in the value of the seventh day Sabbath and I do not believe that these people should not belittled, condescended or excluded in anyway. One example comes to mind is a young woman by the name of Victoria Sheppard who frequented Mark Tabladillo’s Jesus Loves Fellowship who is a Seventh Day Baptist. I know in my heart, she is a genuine Christian. She believes in the validity of keeping the seventh day Sabbath. She has faced criticism for her doing and believing so. This is so wrong. I believe it is wrong and arrogant to label this woman a Galatianist, while this woman through many trials and suffering had Jesus Christ literally changing her life for the good and better. For me to say this woman is spiritually lacking is just as insulting as a charismatic or Pentecostal who asserts the non-charismatic or non-Pentecostal is lacking because they don’t have the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I will even dare say, if one dares to question Victoria’s salvation because she keeps the seventh day Sabbath (it is the fruit of her salvation not the root), after the amazing Christian witness of her life changing experience from God, is a modern-day blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.  I will defend any underdogs who are being misrepresented, pushed around or bullied. Believe it or not, there is a good-size portion of FDR classical Democrat in me (I know, I know—some would like to call me a Republican of the North) when it comes these things! LOL!!!

  I want to apologize for a very long response but I think a long response was the best way I can explain myself on the issues you raised.  Yes, I was longwinded but I hope there was at least “some” substance to my clarifications. I hope I am somewhat out of the “dog house” and in your good graces. I hope my apologies for any misunderstandings that I have created whether real or imagined will be accepted.  I do remember clashing over a similar issue before and I believe we will clash some more (chin up and be brave, it is a good thing!). I hope we can understand each other in somewhat greater detail at the same time we are complex (and maybe sometimes perplexing and paradoxical). Take care and blessings to you!

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5 thoughts on “Open Reply to 1st Apostle of WCG Alumni

  1. Felix, I get this all the time. Sometimes it has nothing to do with religion. Sometimes it’s about people’s passions about Information Technology Servers at work. While I understand it is upsetting, you just have to get used to people operating in a fact free environment, as if their stupid and nutty ideas should be given one bit of credence.

    The world is filled with nutty people. This is particularly true of the world of Armstrongism, and often the world of the former Armstrongist. It tended to attract nutty extreme people in the first place, those who adopted it became less than sane even if they started out with all their marbles and drove the families of the people involved with it to distraction.

    The tempest in a teapot began long ago in my opinion. Sabbatarians of the last few centuries in the Western World have a rather suspect background to say the least. Those wanting to pin their hopes on making John Traske some sort of Sabbatarian hero are seriously flawed. Dude, this man didn’t even stick with keeping the Sabbath. He gave up when the going got tough. It is also the case that if you read the account of him in the Religious Encyclopedia, he had something of a stentorian voice but a weak mind. Some young man appeared on the scene showed him a couple Scriptures in the Old Testament and disappeared, never to be seen from again. It wasn’t just the Sabbath, but it was clean and unclean meats as well. It is pretty clear that he didn’t even understand the proposition well.

    Then there was William Miller. He was a false prophet. He went up into the hills assured that his prediction of when Christ would occur was sound. It is called “The Great Disappointment” in some circles.

    There is little need to mention any more about Ellen G. White than her name.

    But the centuries pass and the nut cases and false prophets are legitimatized over time to be heroes for the idolaters needing such things. Then they become the establishment. One person comes, looks, rebels and then starts his own flavor of religion having its own appeal to a very very narrowly defined audience. For those interested, Robert Dick gave a fairly good picture of the problems of keeping up to date and appealing to the current generations in his sermon “Basic Principles for Spiritual Leaders” at:

    http://www.ucg.org/sermons/

    It should be noted that his aphorism of trying to build a 1960s one story rambler and sell it in this day and age is futile. His point is that the times change, people change and opportunities to make Hoeh while the sun shines is limited if you keep the mindset of putting new wine in old wine skins: Don’t expect to put the modern generation of Boomers into the old Armstrongism based on loyalty and commitment. It won’t work. While the agenda and purpose doesn’t change, the society, needs and tastes certainly do. The preachments of the Sixties and Seventies will not attract current elements of society. It will, however, attract weirdos and nut cases still addicted to the idea that Jesus will return to clean up the mess created by the Germans and the Roman Catholic Church. The idea is moldy and so are the people it attracts. By the way, the video doesn’t really outline any method to keep current with the times: It merely states the problem, which means that the UCG isn’t well positioned for growth no matter how modern and spiffy their website is. This generation still finds little relevance to the material there and will go on to Dr. Phil’s website for some real solutions to their problems.

    Keeping the Sabbath as a delight never does grow old however. No one has answered the articles in “The Bible Advocate” concerning the Sabbath from a couple of years back at this season. It is probably because the Church of God Seventh Day does not concentrate on the legalism of Armstrongism. Their appeal is more up to date with the timelessness of the principles involved. It has appeal. It is difficult to gainsay.

    Today, the current generation has a lot of cynicism. They are skeptical. And why not? The traditionalist ultra conservative does not work. The days of the ministerial Republican Dog Owner is probably pretty much relegated to buggy whips and high buttoned shoes. They may come back in style briefly from time to time, but they don’t have much staying power. Neither does the flaming swinging liberal. People are too connected by technology to buy into that any more.

    All I can say is that those who have been so comfortable settling down into their comfortable niche need to get up and keep up if they do not want to be left behind. If they don’t, all they can do is rave in their nutty lunacy.

    But that’s the point isn’t it? People want to continuing living in a past that doesn’t exist any longer and for some of us sufficiently suspicious, that past may never have existed.

  2. One other thought: I don’t know what all the fuss is about. No really.

    While the big xCGs may talk about the Sabbath and have the official position that they keep the Fourth Commandment, they lie. They don’t really keep it. It is part of their official dogma that a person is perfectly free to eat out in restaurants on the Sabbath and, in fact, promote it. Ezra and Nehemiah obviously had other ideas, no matter how much rationalization is given to the topic. They haven’t read Scripture sufficiently to actually see what it says. Maybe they think merely remembering it is sufficient, even if it differs from their practice.

    If you want to keep the Sabbath, then keep it.

    There is little difference between going shopping or doing work from time to time from eating out on the Sabbath, making your manservant and maidservant work for you in their indentured slavery to provide personal services to you for pay, but UCG, LCG, PCG, RCG love to pretend, don’t they?

    Talk about hypocrisy.

    There is no consistency at all.

    That’s just plain nuts.

  3. I do know 1st Apostle for a few years now. I haven ‘t contacted him in a long time. He has gone through a lot of personal hardship. I am hoping that he has read what I had to say here and what I had to say on WCG Alumni (finally my posts are coming through there for a change!). I even gave him my e-mail address (as I have said, I want this resolved as soon as possible but I still need to talk to him). As FYI Again stated to me personally that hopefully this can be interpreted as a simple misunderstanding and I meant no harm nor malice. It was a simple quote from FYI Again that I liked, that I thought was one of the brightest things I have heard. My statement to you was simple dissent over people who are New Covenant Theologians that I have come across who beat people over the head with scripture. One is going to have be reasonable and accept these conclusions as simply that.

    I understand that one cannot defend himself all the time (I was President for one year of the Etobicoke North Provincial Progressive Conservative Association—and that was good training for the world of politics) but when my crediblity is called into question and when other people are beginning to believe what they are told, naturally one gets defensive but in this circumstance, I believe I had no choice but to respond. The people who have read 1st Apostle’s serious charges on me need to hear my explanation and it is my hope they did.

    Case closed.

  4. Not so much credibility as integrity.

    Just remember my #1 rule: Never knowingly argue with a crazy person.

    The most aggravating thing is to make a sincere effort to build bridges only to be completely ignored as irrelevant.

    People don’t listen so very well any more.

  5. Your readers might enjoy Googling
    Pretrib Rapture Diehards.” And if they want something in-depth, they should read “The Rapture Plot” (Armageddon Books) – the 300-page, bestselling book that has tons of newly found data discovered in British libraries that can finally bury pretrib rapture dispensationalism. Jon

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