Thursday, 25 June 2015

Is the Flurry Sect 'Non-denominational'?

I thought I knew what "non-denominational" meant, but then I read:
The Philadelphia Church of God is non-denominational... (source)

The PCG is one of the most rigorous Christian sects around. Shattered families, control-freak ministers. It's not in vogue to call groups like these "cults" any more, but that's pretty much what they are.

The Oxford dictionary defines non-denominational as "open or acceptable to people of any Christian denomination..." PCG hardly fits the bill. They openly reject all other denominations and exalt exclusivity.

Perhaps they just can't help indulging in double-speak. Perhaps they don't know what the word means. Perhaps they're just flat out misrepresenting themselves. Regardless, this claim is a sick joke.


  1. Some churches pride themselves in being non-denominational. What this means is that they hold themselves above the denominational fray. They are after all the true church so how could they be a denomination. The Church of Christ, for example, claims to be non-denominational but one of their ministers told me that he saw no difference between the Church of Christ and other admitted denominations in that regard. I think one of the outcomes of this view is the way that theological issues are handled. The Church of Christ, when confronted with a theological issue, collects the elders in the congregation together and they make a decision. They read the Bible and decide. They do not contact a denominational headquarters to ask church administration what the policy is. I have always wondered to what degree these various congregations of the Church of Christ have diverged over the years from one another. I know there are two congregations in this area that maintain cordial relations but differ markedly over the role of women in the congregation. One group split from the other over this.

    I am sure Flurry just means non-denomnational in the sense that the one and only true church is not a denomination. As in many matters, Armstrongism is about denial.

    -- Neo

  2. Many of us who contribute to this blog read the official published materials coming out of the Armstrongite organizations at a different, deeper level. When G. Flurry says he is non-denominational, we immediately hear the sound of a wooden nickel. The casual reader would not read at this level. The casual reader would probably not even be interested and wouldn't care. Oddly, it is Armstrongites who also do not seem to read the subtext. The people who should be profoundly aware of the subtext are not. Some germane observations follow.

    In a recent issue of Cartwright's Journal, I read a list of men who are on the Council of Elders of the UCG. I identified, on the Council, one quite notable leader among the Armstrongites who has definite Anti-Semitic leanings. In a sense this "elder" has inherited the mantle of Herman Hoeh. He is the new champion of the "Israelitish" race. And concomitantly, the enemy of people who are not of British origin. In many ways his views are much more bizarre than Hoeh's. I don't think Hoeh believed that the Ashkenazi were Gentiles. Hoeh's views were fueled by pseudoscience. This elder's view seem to be fueled only by personal viewpoint and the idiosyncractic writing of Arthur Koestler. Yet apparently he commands great respect in the UCG community.

    Another "elder" listed is someone I knew when he was a student at Big Sandy. He was a champion jerk. He had an uncanny sense of just what he could say that would really wound you. His arrogance was unbounded. (Excellent credentials for an Armstrongite minister, now that I think about it.) I was working for Buildings and Grounds in the Seventies at AC and had to ask him and a couple of other students to leave a classroom becaue of a curfew. This was at the direction of Buck Hammer via a recently issued policy. This student was immediately in my face and refused to leave. He then launched into a disgusting rant that was intended to belittle me. Thereafter, he always referred to me by a special, highly derogatory name he made up. Now he is one of the beloved UCG Elders. I hear the dull thud of the wooden nickel.

    Then I recently read an article by a writer named Warren in Cartwright's newspaper. It dealt with the turmoil in Big Sandy back in 1995. It came off as a highly slanted piece of journalism. The orcs from Pasadena came out to the peaceful Shire in Big Sandy to create havoc among the gentle hobbits (who happened to be heretics in a state or rebellion). The idea then current among the Armstrongite leaders in Big sandy that Pasadena was preaching an antinomian doctrine staggers the imagination and had to be nothing more than a concocted pretext for rebellion. They were not fighting to preserve spirituality they were fighting to preserve a culture.

    So there is reading and then there is reading. Our history with the WCG has given many of us exiters access to a different level of understanding when we read the official declarations of Armstrongism. The puzzling issue is that Armstrongites themselves, ever hungry for information, do not seem to recognize this subtext. The "grapevine" I am sure still flourishes. And I am sure that many Armstrongites read this blog and generally surf for "news". Cartwright's paper is only a small fraction of their total consumption. Why would they read such Armstrongite pronouncements without critical evaluation?

    -- Neo