Out there in Edmond, OK, the Flurry fiefdom - a.k.a. the Philadelphia Church of God - has recently launched their very own low power FM radio station. The call letters? KPCG of course.
Just imagine being able to listen to Stephen Flurry on "Trumpet Daily" every day. And Joel Hilliker ("Trumpet Hour") twice a week.
But wait, there's more. The Key of David, for example, lots and lots of repeats of The Key of David; and PCG's answer to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Philadelphia Singers.
Other than that it's loads of classical music and an in-house variety of "Christian contemporary music". I was (un)fortunate enough to catch a example from Ryan Malone called "I am every man." It was pretty awful. I noticed that these recordings all seem to feature the sect's high status family names; Turgeons, Hillikers, Malones, not the common herd. Funny that.
Behold brethren, the programming schedule. I trust you're coming over all faint at the very thought of it.
You can't listen in on 101.3 FM unless you're really close to the carefully manicured Flurry compound that includes the Armstrong Auditorium and Herbert W. Armstrong College. It is, after all, only a low power station. And it doesn't seem to have been picked up yet by any streaming radio services like Tune In. But there is a live feed at kpcg.fm. Not a very reliable feed - an unacceptable number of skips and blips, and the stream can also be temperamental in loading - but it's enough to give you a taste.
If you have the stomach for it.
Picking up on a theme that runs through the last few posts, I believe that this all has to do with control, whether it is Germano, humorless ministers or PCG events. And I believe that it starts with HWA. HWA had a disdain for the average member of the WCG. This is not something that I am asserting as a matter of opinion. This can be established by going back and reviewing what he said and what he wrote. In fact, most lay members in the WCG heard this viewpoint repeatedly.ReplyDelete
1. HWA regarded lay members as just a resource for his use. They were called to help him "do the work" which involved large amounts of money and some questionable activities that to this day seemed to have produced nothing. Their salvation was of no importance. If lay members were not ready to impoverish themselves for the work, then God could raise up stones to do the job. (Nobody ever called him on this point.) He was not trying to make the point that the funding of lay members was not needed - he was making the point that they were essentially worthless in his sight and in God's sight. They could easily be replaced by stones. Explicit in this view is that God had no personal attachment to lay members or their salvation. (All this form the guy who touted the wonderful human potential as an advertising ploy.)
2. HWA in a tape played across the country, found the budget to be short and angrily blamed this on self-indulgent lay members. In this context, he stated that he did not expect lay members to receive salvation. He only expected the leaders and ministers of the WCG to receive salvation.
3. HWA repeatedly chided lay members by stating that they just wanted to "get" salvation. He converted what Christians would regard as the hope and glory of salvation, highly to be desired, evinced by God himself, into something shameful, evil and wicked all in the interests of squeezing more blood out of the turnip.
Oddly, lay members read and listened to this for years yet fanatically remained loyal to HWA and seemed to believe that he had their interests at heart when he proclaimed over and over again that he did not and was utterly hostile toward them for not coughing up enough money. You can't say the guy wasn't honest, at least about this. It was Joe Tkach, Sr. that actively elevated the salvation of the average lay member to something important. This particular change was revolutionary - a complete sea change in the WCG. This was an abandonment of HWA's view of derision and an alignment with Christianity. This new view was presented in an editorial in the Worldwide News written by TKach Sr. and people in the WCG were so brain-washed that nobody I know even noticed. I would bet that most even today do not know this happened.
Regarding Germano and Flurry - I believe they do us a service in keeping before us what Armstrongism is about. They are like a bookmark in history. We can read that page and be reminded. Like George Santayana said.ReplyDelete
As regards humorless ministers, that was a methodology to create a subservient state of mind in lay members. We were to understand that the ministry was lofty and we were persona non grata. They did not joke with the likes of us. This permitted ministers to oppress and control lay members who always stood in fear of their salvation. (This derives from the fact that the WCG was Jesus Plus Cult but that is another thread.) The principal goal of the ministry was to create an obedient, compliant lay membership that would immediately respond to Pasadena's requests for money. I once asked a pastor why HWA was always so angry. He stated that HWA feared for our salvation and wanted us to march into the Kingdom of God in good circumstances. Statements in my previous post and the conduct of behavior at AC indicate that this is not credible.
I sat next to ministers/administrators at AC Big Sandy back in the Seventies as we ate lunch on campus. I was pointedly ignored. The atmosphere was icy. The friendly people were consistently faculty members who were not a part of the WCG. You were fortunate if you could get a seat next to them. It made for a much, much more pleasant lunch. WCG ministers and administrators were aloof and sometimes angry. I have no idea how they could connect this unfriendly attitude and demeanor with Christianity. No doubt a matter of training and indoctrination.
In the practical sense, Neo, HWA did not believe in the ability of the Holy Spirit to work with lay members, or the power of Jesus' work on the cross at Calvary to get them into the kingdom.ReplyDelete
Probably, if a minister asked an Armstrongite congregation how they would answer God if He were to ask them why they thought they deserved to be in the Kingdom, most would say something like, "Well, Sir, I kept the sabbath and holydays, abstained from unclean meats, and faithfully tithed and gave generous offerings to Your church. When Mr. So and So had to correct me and let me know that my hairstyle looked rebellious, I changed it immediately. I faithfully attended Spokesman's Club, taught my kids to say their Sirs and Maams, and spanked them when they needed it."
Of course the correct answer to the hypothetical question from God would be, "Sir, I don't deserve to be in the Kingdom! I am a sinner, and have fallen short. But, I trust Your Son, Jesus, and know that He paid for my sins, and that is the only possible way I could ever enter your Kingdom!"
There are so many New Testament passages about how Christians are supposed to respect one another, and treat one another, seeing one another as fellow children of God, esteeming one another as better than themselves. What never dawned on some of the members of the WCG ministry is that they are also governed by those passages, not just the lay members. A good shepherd doesn't just see dollar bills from the slaughter house or wool mill when he looks at the sheep! But, HWA placed himself far above any sort of accountability. I believe that to a certain point, he listened to Stan Rader, but others found that you just didn't disagree with the man and get to retain any of the perqs that he gave you. He backed his listeners into a corner, scaring them into entrapment in his church, and bribed his lackeys with wealth and opportunities that they could never have obtained using their own natural abilities and skill sets. What a piece of work!
I hate to 'pillory' his auditorium, but its pillars don't go all the way around. It's like something in a Hollywood studio backlot.ReplyDelete
Byker: I wholeheartedly agree with what you have stated. It is the case that a Jesus Plus Cult is a far better means of controlling people than Christianity that is based on grace. Using this Jesus Plus model, one can acknowledge the sacrifice of Christ and also lay heavy burdens on adherents. The equation for salvation then requires both belief in the salvific work of Christ and also the draconian requirement to perform. This has been recognized as a heresy since Martin Luther. Armstrongites will hasten to tell you that "love is the keeping of the commandments" but never ask themselves what commandments are being referenced. So they are caught up in a lot of superseded OT codes that are used conveniently by the their ministry to control and measure performance.ReplyDelete
I recall that after HWA died, a copy of one of John Wesley's works was found in his office desk. I wonder if he came to realize the error or his ways before he died. I do not think he would have ever changed anything. The Armstrongite "theology" was founded upon a successful funding model and who in Pasadena at that time would want to tamper with that.
"...but never ask themselves what commandments are being referenced."Delete
Depends what part of the NT you are reading; the NT is contradictory on this.
One of the methods that Bible critics frequently use is to consider Biblical issues, as an initial point of assumption, in isolation and out of context. The NT clearly states that the OT was abrogated. The slate is then clean for the Sermon on the Mount. There are scriptures that seem to be in tension with this. But an integrated view of the NT requires that these seeming outliers must be understood in the context of this principle. This is based on the understanding that the Bible is thematically consistent, though it may be ambiguous in some detail.Delete
If they had WOLFMAN JACK on the overnight, Id tune in!ReplyDelete