Saturday, 9 May 2015

Journal - 172nd issue

The latest Journal takes readers on a time trip back to 1995 when In Transition published a critique of the drive for doctrinal change in the then Worldwide Church of God. Twenty years later it has been updated slightly. For those of us who were out of the loop at that time it promises to throw additional light on the period of turmoil that saw the dissolution of one of the twentieth century's more fascinating sectarian movements.

Elsewhere Mac Overton reprises a 1979 episode of the TV series Lou Grant which featured a thinly disguised version of the WCG in its plot. Already faithful adherents of the various Churches of God are planning for the "Fall Festival" (actually a Spring festival here in the Southern Hemisphere) we know as the Feast of Tabernacles, and The Journal has begun listing the sites. It also reports that some enthusiastic souls want to introduce an expanded version of the Days of Unleavened Bread as a kind of FOT parallel.

Graeme Marshall, the original Regional Director for the WCG in New Zealand, is listed in the obituaries section. I remember Marshall for a visit to my parents' home in Hamilton when, as a teenager, I was just a "prospective member" considering baptism. Marshall was well regarded by many Kiwi brethren. He died April 26.

You can access a PDF of this issue online.


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  2. The interview with Mike Feazel was interesting and showed that he was ahead of his time:

    �� The Feast of Tabernacles does not picture part of the plan of God.
    �� The English-speaking countries and democracies of Western Europe are not descended from Israel.
    �� The WCG cannot trace its roots to the 1st century.
    �� The law of God is done away.
    �� The old-line ministers won’t teach the revised material.

  3. There may be some Armstrongites lurking about, so we should probably use language to diffuse the mockery which fills their hearts every time they hear the phrase "done away" (point #4). In mainstream theology, the applicable phrase is "was fulfilled by Jesus Christ." This leaves the law intact as a standard, or schoolteacher for the unrepentant, but relieves the Christian of exacting, Pharisaic, legalistic obligations required in the Old Covenant rituals. They still won't "get" it, but at least we will have tried to help them understand.


  4. I agree with Byker. The phrase "done away" with regard to the law is as misrepresentational as Sarah Palin's "death panels." Each of the ten commandments were validated in the NT intact except the 4th which was retained but transformed. Armstrongites like to tout themselves as "lovers" of the law - they even sing about it. But in fact they use the law in their equation for salvation in such a way that makes them a heretical, Jesus Plus Cult. Rather than being lovers of the law, they really fit the principle of "let their table be their snare."

    -- Neo

  5. I just read the article entitled "Did the WCG Leaders Have a Doctrine Agenda?" I feel that the pivotal statement in the article, albeit somewhat droll, is Mike Feazell's observation: "God doesn't have to have a thumb." The Armstrongites worshipped a different god than the one recognized by the historical Body of Christ. They worshipped a god who lived in spacetime, who had a body, who had to experiment to figure out how to create man (according to H. Hoeh), who did not know the future and who was racially Caucasian. Herein lies the great and most meaningful divide between Armstrongism and Christianity. It is about the nature and identity of God. (I recall some of the earliest disenchantment I heard in the WCG was in about 1992 and concerned the "God Is ..." booklet.) The rest of the article is just a bunch of detail concerning how Armstrongites reacted to the fact that the WCG was being shifted by its leaders from the Cult Model to the Protestant Model, with the loss of all the vested interests for the Armstrongite supporters and ranting about alleged machinations. I am left with the impression that Feazell was quite transparent about his views. It is not surprising that an observer would be able to read the sign of the times with this kind of outspokenness. The WCG had one of the most efficient gossip networks that I know of and I would imagine anything Feazell said was dispersed far and wide and quickly.

    Reading now the list of 18 points, I feel the great momentum of deception that drove Armstrongism. After not thinking about these issues in total for some time, as I read I had a sudden sad and astonished feeling. I especially find point 3 repugnant. This is rank and blatant blasphemy.

    -- Neotherm

    1. The Armstrongist leaders certainly seem to support point 3 rather enthusiastically, seeing as how many of them act as though they are already God.

  6. While I was an AC student, people overused the phrase "intellectual vanity." Usually what would earn that label for one was the possession of information which HWA did not have, or which disagreed with his official positions, and one's failure to back down when so prompted. For years, there were some fairly sharp young cookies either at AC or at Imperial Schools, and these kids knew where the cherry-picked proof-texts that Herman Hoeh furnished had originally come from, and actually read the entire work in its original context. There were others who had a flair for ancient languages, and obscure history. But, while HWA was alive, his temper alone was sufficient to suppress it all, meaning that the official doctrines which he had compiled and taught remained consistent and secure over decades. Once he was gone, the "new" research was finally given some attention, and some intellectually honest people began to make some changes. Unfortunately, the mindset of some prevented them from even examining the materials or work product. It didn't agree with the faith once delivered (by HWA). This is why obvious idiocy, such as British Israelism, has never been corrected amongst the "loyalists". They won't even look. In their minds, that would be tantamount to considering the possibility that the Deuterocanonicals were actually scripture.

    The "In Transition" article presented this case from the perspectives of the loyalists who were closed to even discussing or reopening the so called "18 restored truths". Those who embraced updated research were considered to be heretics, unworthy of anyone's ear time. It is not permitted to improve upon "God's Apostle".


  7. As much as the article "Did the WCG Leaders Have a Doctrine Agenda?" tries, it can not elucidate the dark period of early 90s:
    The [late] claim by Tkach that he had secretly held orthodox beliefs since way back cannot be true, otherwise he would have
    suppressed 'heretical' articles (on Sabbath and the like) in early 90s PTs, which he didn't!