Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Bad News Gospel

I've met Craig White.  Like Craig I share a background in a certain American-based fundamentalist sect.  We met for a coffee at the Chartwell foodcourt in Hamilton one afternoon a couple of years ago when he was visiting New Zealand.  The initiative was his and, truth to tell, I was initially a bit reluctant and not sure what to expect, having read some of his articles.

Craig was however a very personable guy, easy to talk with, and we found we actually agreed on at least a few matters.  It was hard to match up this thoroughly pleasant bloke with the image formed through his advocacy of that peculiar variety of apocalyptic British Israelism associated with the late Herbert W. Armstrong.

I mention this because Gary Leonard has some comments on Craig and some of the statements in his article "When the Bad News Finally Reaches YOU!"  Statements like this:
Yes, the Anglo-Saxon peoples will be destroyed and enslaved by her "lovers", principally a German-led Europe. Do we dare ignore this warning by God? Meanwhile in the Orient, Europe’s global allies will be given the nod to invade Australia and New Zealand.
The nations to Australia’s north will invade the continent and bring Australians to their knees. One third of White Australians will die from disease and famine; one third will die directly because of war; and the remaining one third will go into captivity: "and a third part ... shall scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them" (Ezek 5:2). Massacre and butchery unimaginable will be wreaked upon Australia.

Which are the gentile nations which will be involved with the coming terrible invasion of Australia (and probably New Zealand)? Prophecy indicates the strong probability that the various invading nations will partition the spoils of Israel among themselves. One in Joel 3:2b speaks of the scattering of Israel and the parting or dividing of Israel amongst her enemies (Amos 7:17b; Micah 2:4; Dan 11:39 seem to tell a similar tale). So every indication is that several nations will be involved in this bloody and bitter exercise.
Australia itself may be divided up by secret agreement between India, Japan, China and Indonesia. For instance, Japan may take the Eastern States; Indonesia and China the Northern Territory and South Australia; and India Western Australia.
Now, just in case you Americans are feeling a bit complacent:
You and your family in Australia are aware that America is in the process of being subsumed. Internally there is race war and massacres. One race of men is tearing around killing and raping. Others are claiming properties and forcing your peoples to work in the fields. Caribbeans are pouring into Florida by the boatload. Japan has taken over Hawaii and other outlying islands before China can get to them.

German-led European forces representing the new fascist National European Social Empire are invading via their ally, Quebec. The effects are devastating and final. Carnage, confusion and slaughter are everywhere! Nothing in world history has ever occurred like this before.
It's a bitter vision.  And here's the incredible thing; this "warning" is an essential component of the Armstrong 'gospel.'  Making proclamations like this are regarded as the "work of the watchman" (Ezekiel 33). 

This message, born out of long-debunked racist British Israel beliefs, leads to a contempt for ethnic diversity, and individuals are reduced to stereotypes.  Fueling this is raw race-based fear. 

Like Gary I react to this kind of ugly rhetoric with loathing.  It's an appropriation of the Bible, through the shuffling of proof texts, to some of the basest human instincts, comparable to some extent with the twisted theology of the "German Christians" in the Nazi era.  The difference (thank God!) is that such views, expressed in the twenty-first century, just seem bizarre.

Any church or ministry that is infected with British Israelism, and particularly the virulent Armstrong strain, should be confronted.  BI should have been relegated long ago to the dustbin of discredited fanaticisms.


  1. Adolf Hitler understood the value of garnering political support of proclaiming to his constituency that they were really superior Volk, God's chosen, and the world had simply victimized them. Hitler's goal was to captivate and motivate a human resource base to use in carrying out his nefarious plans rooted in egomania. Does this sound familiar?

    If you tell a certain segment of our population that they are the chosen but the world does not accord them due respect, they will go to the end of the world for you. But it is more important that they will pull out and open up their wallets. Hence, British-Israelism in religion.

    A secondary issue is the fact that it is scientifically baseless. But can we chide the advocates of BI when there is a large and successful denomination that asserts that Native Americans are Jewish sinners who were turned brown by God? (Be careful. If God does not like you, he will turn you brown.)

    The Jews, Brits and Native Americans are all the same people, in fact. We have haplogroups J, R and Q. These haplogroups all diverged eons ago but they emanated from the same human genetic stem. Visiting the curses of Deuteronomy on the British people without foundation is fear-mongering and intended to generate revenue for cultic ministries. In the last analysis, as with most things, it is about money.

    -- Neo

  2. The only thing that we in America know for sure, is that the USA is imploding! The mere possibility that Obama could be re-elected is proof of that. I don't believe he will be. But, any politician with his radical ideological beliefs would have been run out of town on a rail not that long ago.

    So, the USA is on a downward trajectory. I cannot say anything about Australia or New Zealand.

  3. Know for sure!!!??? Speak for yourself, Larry, "we in America" know no such things. Approximately 50% of "we in America" disagree with the political opinion you've expressed and will vote for Obama in the next election.
    I'm guessing you've either been reading too much Herbert W. Armstrong or watching too much Faux News! Or, more likely, both.

    Those of us who are not caught up in a "gloom-and-doom" mindset can see that the U.S. has weathered the Great Recession better than many countries worldwide. The economy is growing again and will continue to improve over the next four years - that's the natural way of things after a recession - regardless of which presidential candidate wins office.

    HWA (and many others at the time) thought the Great Depression of the 1930's was the beginning of the tribulation. He was wrong. The gloom-and-doomers are wrong this time as well.

  4. Skeptic, you proved my point.

    1. Larry, if you think my post proved anything, you have a very strange definition of "proof"! Perhaps that explains why you reach such conclusions?

  5. Thanks for this post, it's great to see you exposing the cranky rants of others who just can't accept that the prophecies of old have really failed.

    I read a book recently, "The next 100 years" and it certainly painted a compelling picture that the best years are yet ahead for the U.S. of A. Granted, there are currently some challenges but these are cyclical and will pass.

    I saw a posting of a friend recently stating that the book "Harbinger" ties in with the old prophecies of hwa and the 10 nations combining in Europe. Sigh. It reminded me of the words to a popular song from a few years ago: "When will they ever learn...."

  6. Well, it's that political time of the year, isn't it? That time of the year that a lot of people forget that the trickle down effect of Reaganomics doesn't work, has never worked and will never work in the future. Rich folks don't trickle down their money to po' folks - not allowing their money to trickle down is why they're rich folks to start with. The entire wealth of the USA belongs to only 1% of its people - this is no accident and it has always been that way. The only way they share any of it is when they are forced to do it to protect their own interests - they don't, under any circumstances, share any of it because of giving a damn about the other 99% who make them rich by doing the actual work while all they do is count the money and figure out ways to do without some of those people who make them rich. They less people they have to pay wages to, the more money they make. But, look who bails them out when they over extend themselves in their quest for more riches - the 99%. But, trust me, it won't be their sons and daughters who go off to fight wars caused by their greed, it'll be yours.

  7. Fear rhetoric has unfortunately become a prominent mainstay of American partisan politics. Both parties use it.
    It was effective in bringing people into Herbert W. Armstrong's bogus church, and it does influence people's voting habits. Each party believes the world will just completely end if the other party wins the election. That's just plain reactionary.

    I recall (sadly) some exchanges about ten years ago on one of the Armstrongist websites. They were exchanging pictures of some of the FEMA/Haliburton camps and speculating about where one another would be cooling their heels during the trib. Nothing about the wonderful blessings in the current lifetime resulting from a Christian lifestyle, just the gloom and doom of a bunch of British Israelists waiting and anticipating what has dominated their entire lives.


  8. "Thanks for this post, it's great to see you exposing the cranky rants of others who just can't accept that the prophecies of old have really failed."

    This statement betrays an Armstrongite perspective, perhaps. If one accepts the old GTA bromide that "one FULL third of the Bible is prophecy and 90 percent of that is yet to be fulfilled", then it seems plausible that these propecies failed. These prophecies, however, simply had a past fulfillment. Because Germany has not risen to strike down the USA does not mean that Biblical prophecy has failed. It means that Armstrongite interpretation has failed. Assyria did strike down Israel back in the relevant timeframe.

    At the risk of sounding like a preterist, I believe most of the prophecies of the Bible had a past fulfillment. Already done.

    -- Neo

    1. I agree with Neo that almost all of the Bible's prophecies were focused on then-current events and were intended for short-term fulfillment, not long-term fulfillment.

      However, I disagree with his belief that they are "already done". Quite a large number just plain never happened and never will. They failed. One need only refer to Dennis McKinsey's work on biblical errancy to find dozens of easy-to-understand prophesies that turned out to fail. One that immediately comes to mind is that Tyre would never be rebuilt - sorry, Bible inerrantists, Tyre got rebuilt.

      Also important to note is the work of Bible scholars in determining when the books of the bible were written and subsequently amended. It turns out many of the so-called "prophecies" were written after-the-fact. It would be easy for me, writing today, to predict the bombing of the World Trade Center in 2001. If I date my prediction to, say, 1990, then have someone "discover" this past writing, voila', I have a "true" prophecy. These things were easier to pull of in an age when only a small percentage of the population could read, even fewer could read well, concepts like plagerism were unknown, and most of the people who could read and write were in cahoots together and had similar vested interests. Hence we get things like the Daniel writings, widely know to have been written circa 200 BC but claiming to have been written at the time of the Babylonian captivity. As might be expected, the oldest prophecies in the Daniel writings were quite vague, then became more and more detailed (and accurate) as they approached 200 BC, then became totally inaccurate after that date (when, of course, the writer really was trying to predict the future).

      To summarize: (1) there are lots of prophecies that turned out to be just plain wrong and (2) there are even more prophecies that turned out to be right, but only because they were written after the events had already taken place.

      And that's the Plain Truth.

  9. And yet, everyone has ignored the posting about Daniel 9, and only 3 comments for Daniel 8.

    Calendar did somewhat better with around 17 comments.

    Eras did much better with 21 comments -- practically a firestorm (how dare we suggest the New Testament was fabricated by the Roman Catholic Church in the Fourth Century?).

    And then there is Brilliant, more than suggesting that Armstrongists are sociopaths (based on the Dr. Paul Babiak and Dr. Robert Hare definitions). Some people are mighty displeased.

    I guess opinion trumps research and facts -- that's the way of the world these days... well, the way of Armstrongists, of course.

  10. You are truly raking through the ashes of Ambassador Watch, with same bunch of idiots making the same irrational comments.