Who are the Armstrongist Refuseniks???


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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 .