Intelligent quote of the day

bikerman The Christianity of some is apparently very limited, and not flexible enough to accomodate the spiritual growth and leadership capabilities of minorities and women. This is not only sad, but does not reflect the realities of the Old Testament days or early Apostolic era.

All one must do is read the greetings in the epistles of Paul to realize that women were a very important part of the leadership structure of the early church. Armstrongism is not the only guilty party in this. Some teachers have done their best to efface the role of women in Christianity, resorting in some cases even to shamefully changing the names of such women as Junia. Although there was no such known name as Junius (fabricated masculine form of the name), some translators could not accept that a woman could be in a leadership role, so butchered her name to obscure her contributions.

I’ve long noted that people often seize on beliefs which are consistent with their own personalities. The topic of misogyny further illustrates the truth of this postulate. In many cases, religious predilections are harmless. In this particular case, we have an example of a toxic predilection, one that artificially imposes a glass ceiling upon a specific subset of humanity, a glass ceiling that is not in accordance with the Father’s will.

—Byker Bob on Gavin’s blog rightly condemning BOTH the misogynistic attitudes in Armstrongism AND mainstream Christianity and rightly asserting that it has absolutely NO place for “true” faith.

Wise words from Byker Bob: A responsible approach to Bible prophecy

bikermanBecause of the way the WCG and other cults “co-opt” the time of the end, and make it appear that they, as God’s special agents, are going to be virtually presiding over it, it’s something that most of us had decided that we would have liked not to happen. Because these ACOG cults make it appear that when Jesus Christ returns, He will institute government just as it is practiced in their little church groups, using their own teachers, most of us who have left Armstrongism have been all too willing to jetison the doctrine of “the end”.

I don’t know how much time we have left. It would be difficult to assign a timeline. You can look at the prophecies in the book of Revelation, and contemplate global warming. How long will it take for the sun to become so much hotter, soas to fulfill those prophecies? You can also read about the beheading of the saints by the beast power and the antichrist, and wonder how long it will take for the Islamification of Europe to take place, so that that becomes a probability.

We know that some of the prerequisites are already in place. For one thing, in order for end time prophecy to even seem like a remote possibility, there had to be an Israel. Since 1948, that condition has been met. We are also told that the gospel would have to go out to all corners of the earth. The USA, a Christian nation, has been the main bastion of this activity. The many evangelistic associations from coast to coast have, for the first time in history, been translating the gospel of Jesus Christ into all of the known languages, and are disseminating it via satellite all around the world. They frequently review the entire globe to monitor how efficiently this has been accomplished, and target any identifiable deficient areas. I was quite amazed to learn of some of this. Christian leaders are being trained in China, India, and many other parts of the world, so that they can go out and train others. Each individual in these little training cells has a personal assignment to find and train 1,000 others. It is highly organized, and the progress is carefully measured. Many of the citizens of Arabic nations have satellite TV, and the gospel is going out to them in their languages. And, in these Islamic nations, where religious law is the secular law, the penalty for belief in Jesus Christ is death. Cell phones, and other similar devices, have programs on them related to the gospel message, and contain the actual and full text of the Holy Bible, and are being distributed around the world. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in church, turning to the scriptures referenced by the pastor, and the guy next to me took his Blackberry out of his pocket, and began following those same scriptures on its screen! Blew me away!

It’s just huge, and the reason I’m describing it all here is that I think that most of the people who have come from the Armstrong movement are probably totally unaware of it all. Because of what we were taught, and the way in which we were taught it, I’ve found that even the non-believers would not be looking at this activity. They would be watching the splinters to reassure themselves that none of them were suddenly gaining a major voice in all of this. Believe me, on the non-believer forums, they take special interest every time a Ron Weinland gains attention and then ends up falling on his face. But that is simply a distraction, or sleight of hand, and they are missing the real thing happening right under their noses! The kinds of people who are involved in this gospel spreading are not doing it to create empires and wealth for themselves. Their message is for people to get right with God, get Him into your life, and follow Jesus Christ. Find a Bible based church, and become part of a Christian community. It’s not manipulative, in that it doesn’t attempt to back people into a specific group or into an eclectic set of doctrines. The only action that becomes important is the development of a personal relationship with God, and then help others to understand the importance of this, as well.

Another detail. I don’t hear people setting dates. These spreaders of the gospel freely acknowledge that only the Father knows specifically when Jesus will return. But they also are saying that we can know the basic time of the season, and it’s going to be sooner than later.

Byker Bob’s “common sense revolution” for the UCG

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(Editor’s note: You may have looked at my reforms for the UCG but here’s Byker Bob’s ideas for reform excerpted from Gavin’s blog. Yes, I will admit  my ideas a lot more theoretical, whereas Byker Bob’s ideas are more on the side of  being the practical nitty-gritty. A lot of people can relate to that. Not to forget, his ideas for UCG reform are truly full of common sense. As I said on my previous post, times are a changing and at least there some in the UCG know that. We can only hope that can spread further)

 

 

Quit putting obstacles in front of people who want to attend. Advertise your address in the Yellow Pages with the other churches. When curious people show up, don’t have the gestapo give them the first degree starting in the parking lot, try instead to create an environment so that they feel welcome and actually want to come back, and maybe learn something more. Remember, Jesus and John the Baptist didn’t tell people who wanted to be baptized that they had to quit smoking, start tithing, split from second or third marriages, so in maybe six months they could qualify for baptism and the Holy Spirit. They baptized the people the same day so the the Holy Spirit could come into their lives and help them bear fruits.

Drop the dress code. Of course, the congregation should not take advantage of this, but what’s wrong with some dude showing up in Levis, a Harley shirt and Tevas? If his attitude is right, why focus on the physical (Editor’s note: Just like Bruxy Cavey’s The Meeting House. There, you MUST throw away your suit!) .

Dump the Purple Joykiller. Appoint a worship leader, and have him put together a band with contemporary instruments. Need a clue as to what constitutes inspiring praise music today? Listen to Christian radio, or tune in JCTV. There is some awesome and very inspiring music being produced these days, and the ACOGs are out of the loop on it.

Quit treating Herbert W. Armstrong as if he was equal to the priests, Kings, prophets, or apostles in the Bible. Question his models, his methods, and above all, some of the speculative and extra-Biblical doctrines that are antiquated and obviously not working. Remember, the church started by Jesus Christ is about Jesus and God, not about Herbert W. Armstrong. 

Get accountable! Have a third party evaluate your finances to ensure that everything is within typical accounting guidelines for a modern religious organization, so that you can make a case for broadcasting on TBN(Editor’s note, it is time for them to embrace trinitarian thinking for them to be palatable for TRINITY Broadcasting Network). That’s where the greatest harvest is happening today! With the Messianics and the Prophecy related teachers, believe me, your message might fit in better than you could possibly imagine.

Learn to preach in love, and not with an angry, growling tone. Your message gets across much better to a broader cross section of the general public when they know that you are preaching out of love, rather than from a position of Pharisaic condemnation. 

Learn how to deal with dificult personality types, and how to assist in their spiritual development without using the disfellowship tool. Reserve that tool only for sexual predators in the congregation, and other extreme cases.

Get involved with your community. Give back. Help in disaster relief, and do volunteer work. Contribute to charities. Interact, don’t cloister yourselves, that just hides your light! Armstrongism has a despicable history of being the most selfish and self-absorbed religious movement in the history of the USA (Editor’s note that is sooo true!!!).
Work hard to obliterate that perception.

Those would be my recommendations in a nutshell. I am sure others could add to the list. I must say, though, that I seriously doubt that any ACOG leader, or aspiring leader would be capable of acting in this fashion. You’d probably actually need God’s guidance to behave in such a converted and Christlike way.

Editor’s note: They make sense to me Byker Bob!

Intelligent quote of the day

bikermanThere is an old saying to the effect that if someone wants to get you, they can either get you the clean way, or the dirty way.
The thing about the clean way is that most logically thinking people will accept it, and it will probably stick. If done according to the rule of law, it is considered legitimate, and will have a better lasting effect.

Although the Flurry’s shamelessly used HWA’s old script with regard to the press, I do believe that the reporter in this case took shortcuts, and did a lazy job. So much more could have been done with this topic, such as finding the people whose health has been and is being negatively impacted by the medical doctrines. Of course the Flurry’s would respond to this situation in a similar fashion to the way in which they treated tithing, and state that compliance was totally voluntary. But, the public would see PCG as a dangerous and toxic cult if they knew that people were going blind because they were threatened with disfellowshipment if they used glaucoma drops, or were suffering advanced stages of cancer without so much as being able to take an asprin for their pain.

The reporter should have investigated the way in which PCG destroys one of God’s sacred institutions, the family! People are disfellowshipped for associating with “Laodecean” relatives! Happy, loving, interracial couples are broken up because they are “unequally yoked”.

I believe that some undercover work might also have uncovered cases of child abuse, if this group still holds to Armstrong teachings. That’s one that should be screaming bloody murder!

Branch Davidians? That was definitely in the category of dirty pool. Yes we do fear what might happen to some members if ACOG extremists ever did set up their place of “safety”. But, HWA never taught his followers to assemble arsenals to be used for insurrection against the Federal Government. He taught them to be pacifists, and to endure persecution in such a manner as to deflect greater persecution from the church and ministry. Yes, his body guard was armed. Yes, he did authorize a hippie type passive sit-in demonstration at the Hall of Administration to thwart receivership. Flurry claims to follow HWA’s original teaching. It is ridiculous to compare PCG to the Branch Davidians. WCG always talked tough, but in the end, used passive methods for dealing with conflict with the police or government authority. There is no reason to suspect that Flurry would behave any differently.

When the Jim Jones Flavor Aid thing went down in Guyana, I saw Jones as being very much the Herbert W. Armstrong type person. I hoped that that episode would provide a huge lesson to the people still in WCG, and make them ask important questions. In WCG, I had known so many “follow God’s Apostle at all costs” type people. There were people who would gladly have died, had HWA commanded it. Whether the Jonestown mass suicide caused any reform within WCG, I don’t know. I was long gone by that time and not there to catch the buzz on this in any local congregations.

When the Waco massacre occurred, I was at the bottom of the atheist pit that I had created for myself, saw religion as being the enemy to societal evolution, and wanted to see it stamped out. I wanted a scientific “Star Trek” society. I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit this now, but part of me rejoiced that the Feds handled Waco as they did. But, I was terribly wrong in this. Can any of us imagine any of our former brethren having to die in such a horrible way because forceful or powerful people trumped up charges and escallated a situation that could have ended peacefully and without bloodshed or death? I cannot hate anyone so badly that I’d want to see them butchered! Yes, I’d like to see obvious charlatans jailed and tried for their scams. Yes, I would like to see PCG fall apart or disband. But, I don’t want to see innocent people mowed down and maimed and killed simply because they exercised their religious freedom in demented or deluded ways. There are truly better ways of dealing with such situations.

Let’s hope and pray that if anyone takes down any of these cults, they do it clean, based on solid and well established violations of human decency. Due process, trial by jury of peers, conviction and punishment of those judged guilty. That way, education will occur. Please, no lynch mobs!

—Byker Bob wants Gerald Flurry and other splinter leaders to be mowed down as they should but their downfall should be done in a legitimate, decent way, where the rule of law remains supreme in light of discussion of Flurry’s fit on how Fox News handled (or mishandled, take your pick) his story.

Intelligent quote of the day

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World conditions could have gone the other way. We might just as easily have killed one another off, long ago, without religious influence, and without belief in a higher power to help us restrain our worst urges.

I think it’s particularly myopic to look backwards in history and assume that best case scenario would have somehow taken over, had it not been for the “retarding” influences of religion.

If nothing else, you should recognize religion as a kind of a “fixed point” against which science and research have often played, leading to the advanced state in which we find ourselves today. You should also know that of all the religions extant throughout history, the Christian religion was by no means the worst.

Religion has had a role in advancing society, as well. I’m no fan of Islam, but it is an established historical fact that the Muslim religion, shortly after it was founded by Mohammed, was responsible for an incredibly advanced society in Persia, as compared to that of the rest of the world during that time period.

Stop seeing religion as some sort of boogeyman or enemy. Just because a messed up one deprived all of us of part of the pleasure of life does not mean that they all do that, or that they are or were all bad. These “imaginary” beings you so frequently complain about often give the terminally ill and bereaved incredible comfort once they are in a position where man can do no more for them.

It’s only when religion causes people to hate, look down on one another, ban research, persecute, wage war, etc. that it is bad. Do you feel that all religious people do these things? The vast majority of them really believe in live and let live. We only hear of the most extreme cases and examples.

—Byker Bob arguing the point on I Survived Armstrongism that religion and spirituality can do a lot of good and HAS in the past DONE a lot of good in society despite it’s worst excesses shown to mankind.

A VERY Intelligent quote of the day from Byker Bob

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This is a question guaranteed to boggle the minds of anyone with Armstrongist pinnings.
First of all, imagine all of the farcical occurrences in the WCG, totally avoidable if the leaders had really been tuned into Jesus when He plainly stated that nobody, including Himself, knew when the end was coming.  Had they listened, you would not see all of the people with messiah complexes running around, proclaiming themselves to be end time Apostles, one of the two witnesses, Elijah or Elisha, etc. ad nauseum!  “The End” would not have been used to instill fear into people as a motivational tactic to make them single source their beliefs to a man, or organization of men.  There would have been no gunlaps, no cries for more money to finance the gasping out of that final message to warn the world.

Had this been the case, the church would have been able to preach the real gospel.  The one concerning Jesus Christ having died for our sins, the one in which Jesus Christ comes into our lives and lives His life through us, bringing many spiritual and physical blessings into our lives right now!

If we think this through, we begin to realize that if “the end” were simply a matter of making mathematical calculations, certainly Jesus would have known precisely when He was going to return to earth, split the Mount of Olives, and allow the living waters to burst forth, healing the world, and ushering in the new age, God’s Kingdom.   For centuries now, people such as William Miller, Herbert W. Armstrong, and HWA’s pupils, have been busy with their calculators, attempting to do something that Jesus Christ said could not be done!  They start with the premise that 6,000 years are allotted to mankind.  They then use the geneologies of the Old Testament to mathmatically calculate when Adam was created,  and add the time elapsed since Christ was born.  Or, they take clues from prophecies in the Book of Daniel, and assign arbitrary values to such things as the “time of the Gentiles”.  They add to this prophetic house of cards, by speculating that the letters to the churches contained in the Book of Revelation actually refer to church eras, being careful to pick the “best” era for themselves.  They factor in more extrabiblical information, like 19 year time cycles.  And, then, they preach their calculations as “revealed” or “inspired” truth to the stalwart followers, and get frustrated, because, guess what!  The end does not come.  So they recalculate or make excuses for their error, even blaming the members for not being ready.

If God had a timeline for the end, which could be mathematically calculated, not only would Jesus, the most intelligent man ever to walk the face of the earth, know how to do the math, all the angels, Satan, the demons, and any preacher with an eighth grade education would know how to calculate it!

The reason nobody CAN know it is that it’s not a matter of math!  I believe that God is going to make a judgement call, based on the condition of the planet He lovingly created for us, and the behavior of the majority of the people populating the earth.  It’s the only thing that makes sense, and the only reason why nobody else could know when the event will take place.  The examples in the Bible show that God interacts with mankind, based on man’s behavior, not on math!    When He senses that 1) the planet is about to be destroyed by man’s activities, or 2) mankind has become so depraved that it is no longer safe for the “good”  people, isnt’ that when He would logically pull the plug?

—Byker Bob making excellent points on J’s Shadows of WCG message board that dates DO NOT matter but how God relates to people MATTER when it comes to the second coming of Jesus Christ! Bravo BB, if only some in the splinters put aside their binary thinking and begin to grasp that concept!

Intelligent quote of the day

I don’t respect the mental stability of any of our contemporaries who find himself or herself specifically mentioned in the pages of the Bible. Since the Bible contains anecdotes and lessons regarding general behavioral patterns, I think that common experience alone makes us see ourselves in that general sense, but not specifically.

It should set off red flags when anyone tells us that Biblical prophecies refer specifically to themselves. In the first place, it would be self-obvious, and inescapable, if God were working through such a person. That individual wouldn’t need to reveal this “fact” for all of our benefits, and they certainly would not begin referring to themselves as a prophet or apostle. That’s self-aggrandizement, and God has demonstrated that a human needs to back self away totally for Him to do a job through that person. It becomes straight channeling of God, and ego and self-will can have no part in the process. Moses certainly learned this!

The person whom God does mighty work through must be an exceptional person. Most of us would let it go to our heads! Even someone who appears self-effacing must be careful, as one must be careful about one’s deferring. The person through whom God is working will defer to God or Jesus, and will be glorifying them. Not Herbert W. Armstrong to the exclusion of God and Jesus.

Byker Bob discussing on Gavin’s Ambassador Watch blog about those who like to mark their own names in The Bible should be thoroughly avoided