Another new splinter. Oh joy. NOT!

Tip to NO2HWA and his blog Banned from HWA. Out of the United Church of God is Church of God America formed by Leon Walker and Larry Salyer. How is the NEW splinter going to make a difference? Will it make new believers or new disciples? Will people have transformed Christ-centered lives?  Will it heal the sick, raise the dead, feed the hungry,clothe the naked, give shelter to homeless? Or will personalities as usual be the focus of this new organization? I think we all know that it will be the latter than the former and this is sad.  As I posted before on the blog that those caught up in Armstrongism seem to be akin to drug addicts. Strong language and I meant it. I will even go so far to say that they ALMOST make crack addicts look respectable. Like drug addicts, Armstrongites need their fix and yes, those members who are currently in the UCG, planning to join this Church of God America are looking for their latest stimulation—only to find a few years later that this new high will no longer satisfy.

On the other hand, there are some who are looking for a detox and healthier alternatives. Douglas Becker had some constructive comments on my old blog as we were giving advice to one UCG member about his membership:

United doesn’t just have some problems: Somewhere along the line, it fell into being weird and creepy, totally unhealthy. The Good News started out to be a beautiful encouraging magazine for about a year and then it descended into the same tacky British Israelism based death, devastation, destruction as the old Plain Truth. Someone somewhere made a decision to go flat out secular. Howard Davis told me, “The Good Newsis horrible! Just horrible”. And he is right. It is.

The UCG website is a mess, often with little podcasts about how you can overcome mental illness by being happy instead of getting real help from mental health professionals and taking your meds — and their teachings are based upon the preachments of a mentally ill minister [to whom I have spoken] who hasn’t figured out how to take care of his own mental illness — a real case of denial.

It should also be noted that alcoholism is also rife within the ranks, although it is somewhat better than the other xcgs amongst the ministers. That is why I talked with Dennis Luker at the end of December 2006 after services and promised to write an article he could use about Alcoholism. I hope he will take it forward and get the head of so many ministers in the xcgs out of the bottle. It is truly disturbing to be at dinner with an xcg pastor who tells you after the third glass of wine, “I am a wicked, wicked man: Help me”.

Something Draconian has happened to UCG and it cannot be fixed.

The suggestion Felix made concerning returning to the Church of God Seventh Day makes sense for you. They have a style of the Feast of Tabernacles back East, so you lose nothing there. They are warm friendly people without the rancor of Armstrongism. They actually treat Jesus with great reverence and respect just as if they expected to be his bride at his return — they already love honor respect and cherish him in a personal way. It is not a bad choice. Many in United have fled for the CG7 and are quite happy there — they have told us they will never return to United.

And there is something you should think about: Herbert Armstrong rebelled against the Church of God Seventh Day. He went ballistic when they didn’t adopt his views of British Israelism. It wasn’t about the holydays! It was about something which is not just false, but the fruit of it has been false prophecy, dissension, anger and even hatred — it has produced nearly every evil work, ending in divisions. Herbert Armstrong was a very evil man just for rebelling against the CG7 leadership because of his childishness. All of us have suffered because of his sin of rebellion. And United is keeping a portion of that evil alive.

Felix is right. Now is the time to hit the road — and not the road to Dallas, Texas. It is time to find a group of godly people who are loving and not divided by their common roots.

This was commented by Douglas in 2007 and it still relevant as we enter 2011 in less than a couple of weeks. The more things change, the more things stay the same. Stay tuned for a Bill of Rights for members of the UCG. They sure need one and need one NOW. As one who rightly pleaded on Worldwide Church of God Alumni message board: Please people look to God and Jesus Christ……….and quit looking to church organizations and ministers…….they will fail. Tragically some will ignore this advice to their own peril. What stupidity.

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Welcome Back Becker!

Douglas Becker that is! This former prominent member of the UCG had a website dealing with the ministers of Armstrongism and correlation with psychopathy. A modern day Paul in the sense like The 1st Century Apostle that some his writings were hard to understand but that in no way detracted from Douglas Becker’s writing to be very interesting and stimulating.  I owe him a debt of gratitude for commenting, encouraging and supporting my blog from the very beginning over 5 years ago (yes, how time flies)! He’s back on the internet as this month’s editor of The Painful Truth blog which is now on wordpress! Give him a read! Also, I put a clip of the theme song of ’70’s show “Welcome Back Kotter” below, to  celebrate my way of welcoming Douglas back. Feel free to sing along too! 🙂

One website no more and a new blogsite added

Douglas Becker meant serious business by closing his Church Corporate site later in the week. He had great articles discussing what is pyschopathy, sociopathy, narcissism and other mental disorders that already exist in organized religion not limited to the XCG splinters—but organized Christian churches apart fromt the splinters. I don`t know where such valuable information like that can ever be matched. If I was`nt so busy at the time, I would have easily asked Douglas for most of his articles transferred to my blog but I guess what is done is done and I, for one truly enjoyed his ride.  Douglas is free to comment here anytime he chooses. I sincerely wish him well in his new venture(s) whatever they may be.

I have decided to put a new link to a blog called Messianic Jewish Musings by Derek Leman, a Messianic Jewish theologian, Congregational Leader of his Messianic Synagogue in Atlanta,Georgia and a man who defintaely knows how to follow God`s command of `Be fruitful and multiply.` 🙂 In other words, he has a big happy family. Some former WCGers and XCGers may hold strong objections to the blog link. Some aggressively suggest that Messianic Judaism and Armstrongism is the same. In return, I say emotive nonsense, it is no more than the perennial silly assertion that Barack Obama is a Muslim (while he specifically said he prays to His Savior Jesus Christ—but that`s another topic for another day). If some want to object, I have Doug Ward`s Grace and Knowledge ( a former WCGer himself), Robin Sampson`s Heart of Wisdom and John Garr`s Restoration Foundation websites which deal with the Hebraic roots of Christianity and Messianic Judaism. I am not removing those for anybody either. Yes, Armstrongism and Messianic Judaism does celebrate the Sabbath, the Holy Days, the dietary laws—but the similiarities end there and for one to conclude they are identcal based on these simple similiarities is making a rash and an emotively thoughtless mistake that nobody benefits in the long term. Messianic Judaism accepts the essentials of historic Christian faith like the triune nature of God and yes, they do believe that one is saved by faith through Yeshua`s (Jesus) grace—Armstrongism has stoutly denied these essentials time and time again. Oh yes for those who want to say Armstrongism and Messianic Judaism both believe in the law, again I assert absolutely no comparison.  Messianic Jews view the word law as Torah—which means teaching and instruction from a loving heavenly Father, not simply a rigid, cold legislative code to be enforced. Armstrongism believes that yes you got grace after you have been converted but after that, you obey their certain selections of the Law to carry you through the way. Yes, for one to get God`s grace through legalism—or to be justified by the law (instead of Christ) is Galatianism. I am not ignorant nor cavilier that there are some in Messianic Judaism that are Galatianists but it is irresponsible for me to assert that 90% are  that way, of course there are cultic elements in this group as they are many other groups. Read the late Jesse Ancona`s story toward the end the end of her e-book (I have the link here) with her dealings with a particular Messianic congregation in her area. Frankly when you deal with Messianic congregations that are charismatic in nature, I will just say two words, “Watch out!“

It is okay for one to not agree with Derek Leman on every single thing that he says , but on this blog I will not tolerate under any circumstances any personal vindictive attacks on this man.  You can disagree passionately but no name calling. Also I will say this now and make it loud, this blog is not a forum to bully and coerce people into agreeing with your disagreements. Attitudes like, “I am more spiritually advanced than you.“ simply just won`t do. Want to get James Pate fuming mad—just say those assertions but I know you`re much better than that. For those who want to test me, I will show you the door out and make sure that door doesn`t hit your backside on the way out!

Otherwise for everybody else, I hope many will benefit in every way of what Derek Leman has to say and teach. It will be something a little different and you will probably learn something new you haven`t known or thought about before.  I have this on my links section but I will give you the link here as well. Enjoy it!

Who are the Armstrongist Refuseniks???

Refusenik

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Refusenik originally referred to:

The term has since been expanded to cover other “refusals,” especially those related to human rights. This includes:

Etymologically, it is a portmanteau of the English language word “refuse” and the Russian suffix “-nik” (-ник) for a person’s activity.

 Actually, if I could add a fourth type of refusenik, it would be an “Armstrongist Refusenik” and it would be would be derivative of fellow Canadian Irshad Manji’s Muslim Refusenik. As Muslim Refuseniks described by Irshad as “independent-minded, liberal, anti-fundamentalist Muslims”,  the Armstrongist Refusenik is pro-intellectual, scholar-embracing, forward-thinking people who by in large reject the notion that Herbert W. Armstrong was God’s Apostle or least used by God in some way. To be blunt, they believe that God had NOTHING to do with him. They reject his other belief that church government is hierchial and that is the only way. Like the Muslim Refusenik, the Armstrongist Refusenik doesn’t care for the fundamentalism and fanaticism in the Church if God splinters. At the same time they view how the Worldwide Church of God’s approach to implementing  New Covenant Theology was just as authoritarian and cultic.  The late Dr. Charles V. Dorothy, a former WCG minister (and true scholar) seen no tension or dichotomy of believing in New Covenant Theology and celebrating the Biblical festivals of Leviticus 23, whereas Joe Jr. and Mike Feazell felt polar opposite.  The Armstrongist Refusenik is neither evangelical  and of course, definately not fundamentalist. They are not necessarily an organized unit or in other words they are not monolithic in their thinking. They are here to stay and are will continue to interpret how to worship God in their own way. I hope this blog site is somewhat a place of refuge for them. Here are few individuals (and one organization) whom I either know via the internet or in person who I believe fit the terminology “Armstrongist Refusenik.”

Douglas Becker , I owe this guy big time! When there people who didn’t want to comment or afraid to comment on my blog, he stepped up to the plate and gave the blog some attention! An encourager, uplifter, supporter and a person who has stuck his neck to believe in me and my blog.  A man of extraordinary intelligence and extremely sophisticated in the words he writes (and probably even speaks) that deserves immediate respect.  A former dedicated United Church of God member who discovered that his association was not the “liberal” or “moderate” xcg that was made out to be and left. Has an affinity with WCG’s parent church, the Church of God (Seventh Day). Believes that the WCG and its splinters could learn some valuable lessons from the parent church. I do applaud his efforts for people disillusioned with Armstrongism but are not totally comfortable with evangelical Christianity to try the CG7. It’s Conference President Whaid Rose whom I met over 7 years ago is a Christ-centered and Christ-loving man deserves all the support he can get. I have called Brother Whaid “the anti-Armstrong” and pray that him and Douglas have a partnership for a looong time!

Richard Burkard,  writer and voice broadcaster I have described this man many times  as a cross between Rush Limbaugh and my former WCG pastor Neil Earle. I had the pleasure of meeting him right here in Toronto in 1998 when we were both in the Worldwide Church of God when one of the last Feast of Tabernacles was sponsored. He’s quite a character and we clicked quite nicely. We both didn’t care for Joe Jr.’s anti-feast stance, it was one of the contributing factors of him leaving the WCG and eventually joining the United Church of God. Now he’s seeing the narrow-mindedness in United and is contemplating a second look. After the end of the feast of tabernacles next week, we will see whether he holds his nose and extends his stay in the United Church of God OR he will make a clean break. I am definately hoping and praying for the latter instead of the former. At last count Richard said on Mark Tabladillo’s JLF message board, “My search for a new place of worship already is a bit complicated.  The messianic congregation in my city seems to have folded.  So we’ll see what happens post-Feast….”  I say to that Messianic Jewish congregation (provided it is NOT hyper-charismatic), “Can you guys UNfold? There is a guy that needs to be spiritually nourished and have some sanity and stability which his current association is deliberately denying him the opportunity!”

Pam Dewey, a favourite of Gavin Rumney. Here is what he had to say about her in his blog, “[T]he best woman minister the COGs never had, Pam Dewey. Pam is a popular speaker, loyal COG member, website creator and published author. More than that, despite never being ordained as an elder (husband George has that distinction) Pam is a fine role model for confident women’s ministry, a truly remarkable person and, in the best British sense of the word, COGdom’s leading Dame.” I have seen a portion of the video in which she describes the movie, “The Matrix”. A very intelligent woman and is very cordial in her e-mails. A former member of the Church of God International and has her own independent ministry. Check out her website called, “Field Guide to the Wild World Religion” and The Nitpicker’s Guide to The Galaxy  .

Jesse Ancona (circa 1957-2003). I cannot believe that it is over  4 1/2 years that she has been with the Lord. Cancer finally destroyed her body in March of 2003. A woman who spent 6 years in the Worldwide Church of God from 1978 to 1984 and seen a dramatic difference between two decades. The WCG in the 1970’s was becoming more open minded and forward thinking at the time and when HWA claimed to “get the church back on track” in the 1980’s, the WCG re-emerged as the stern, severe, bizzare, narrow-minded sect as Time magazine described in the early 70’s. Jesse Ancona was the Buddha of her time—in the sense that Buddha found that Hinduism was being corrupted as a religion and needed reform. Eventually Buddhism emerged and became a religion to itself. It would have been nice to see Jesse live a lot longer on this earth and have “Anconaism” vigourously competing and eventually eclipsing the “corrupted” religion of Armstrongism in the coming decades of the 21st century. I am sure something like it will give Armstrongism a run for its money. I still have the website linked here on my new blog and I will give it again here.  Make sure to read her splendidly written e-book. Thank God Almighty her writings will live on.

FYI Again,  In a half-joking way, I thought this man was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Both are slick (in a positive way), they are very careful in the way they choose their words, and at the same time very convicted, principle fervent in what they believe without the dogmatism.  I was eventually told (by FYI Again) who he really was and he is NOT Governor Huckabee! A former dedicated member of both Rod Meredith’s Global and Living Church of God who was ruthless with dissenters of Merdith type Armstrongism.  I felt some of the brunt of that (as a member on the opposition side of the bench).  Around 2002, FYI Again began to realize that the Living Church of God was not all that.  Though he could see some positive aspects of Rod Meredith, he really never cared for, loved nor admired Herbert Armstrong. If FYI Again could personally dedicate a song to HWA, it would be Carley Simon’s “You’re So Vain”.  Since the early 2000’s being still a theist, FYI Again has been on a journey to re-examine his belief system on how to express that faith. As one knows too well, it is not always easy to determine what it should be. It is an adventure but it is worth it. I can only pray that FYI Again will see at least “some” dividends to know that the “guy upstairs” really loves him.

 The Original Refuseniks: The Associated Churches of God which was started in 1974 which became the Association for Christian Development. Headed by Ken Westby with fellows Ken Ryland and Brian Knowles.  The late Dr. Charles V. Dorothy was involved with them until his death from cancer in 1996. Grace and Knowledge’s Doug Ward occasionally contributes to their site .