(This post supercedes the March 1st,2008 post that I have written about which now deleted. Quango.net no longer has the link to the site but the Painful Truth website as of May 2011 does)
Yes–that STP (Systematic Theology Project) which was nicknamed disparagingly for Slowly Turning Protestant by the ultra conservative wing in the historic WCG back in the 1970′s when the accusation was made that the Worldwide Church of God was becoming “too liberal”. HWA didn’t care for it either claiming to have read only the first few pages of it. He told fellow ministers at that time who had copies of the document to simply disregard it. This is a over a 400 page document and from just glancing it seems like a reiteration of the beliefs of the historic WCG at that time back in 1978. I think HWA didn’t care for it because it seemed he didn’t want his members to be a step above the game, meaning that to have all church doctrines codified in a document was not in his favour, it could point out contradictions and errors if necessary. In his perverse way, he wanted them confused and disoriented because this empowered him to make up the rules as he went along which ever the wind blew for him. Think of Janet Jackson’s 1986 tune “Control”. So to spite and frustrate the efforts of those who put together the STP, he made darn sure to put an end to it so he can confuse ministers and members for at least a few more years (thankfully not too many years).
My good old friend Mr.Douglas Becker had some stuff to say (as he always does) after his look at the 400 page long document:
“After scanning it, I found nothing which would set off any alarms of any of the true believers of the 1970s within the Worldwide Church of God — everything was entirely in line with every word out of the mouth of Herbert Armstrong.
It isn’t clear to any of us why Herbert Armstrong was so adamant against it: It was called liberal and heretical. None of that is at all true.
Control seems to be the best assessment.
Herbert Armstrong’s ultimate lifetime achievement goal was to be royalty. This is clearly seen in his later years where he managed to run through as much as $4 billion to get his fix to be with royalty, from the King of Norway to despots like Ferdinand Marcos. He spent enormous amounts of money to be seen with royals and to be perceived as an equal. He apparently had the seeds of this back in the 1920s when he wanted $10 white shirts as a status symbol amongst the then captains of corporate industry.
The idea that Herbert Armstrong wanted to be royalty certainly is one of the simplest explanations of what we have seen in the church corporate of the WCG. He had an aversion to manual labor as he mentioned in his autobiography because he was ashamed to be seen stacking firewood: It was so beneath him. And later, when he had access, the rest of us were beneath him as commoners. As has been observed elsewhere, he never lingered with the hoi polloi but surrounded himself with people of status and high falootin’ titles. He also had, as an act of faith no doubt, surrounded himself with bodyguards with real guns as he swept into the auditorium in his limo to be given a standing ovation by “the brethren”, his spiritually orphaned children.
I suppose the STP would have mitigated much of that: Instead of being spoon fed, people could get the whole picture of the belief system, check it out against Scripture and go out on their own without needing a cult leader who never got much beyond two trees and never had the courage to declare Jesus Christ and the word of repentance to those of royalty with whom he wanted to be considered equal.”
As usual, well said Douglas. You can now download the STP document on The Painful Truth here. It may take a minute to download, so you might want to be patient in the process.