Thursday, 16 July 2015

This is Good News?

Apocalyptic fundamentalists just love being relentlessly negative. It all goes back - at least in the Church of God DNA - to our Adventist roots. No need to work to build a better world for the next generation or reform unjust, oppressive structures in society. It's all useless. The only hope is to give up, dive beneath the covers of the Bible, and pretend Jesus is coming again in three to five years or so.

Trouble is, it was three to five years away back in the 1950s too, then the sixties, then... well, you get the idea.

And between the "ain't it awful" now and the magic make-believe millennium then lies the Great Tribulation. War, the Four Horsemen of Revelation. You have been warned!

Which explains why outsiders reading The Good News, flagship publication of the United Church of God, have often been puzzled by its title. Here's an article featured in the latest issue. Good news? Not likely.

Yes, dear old Tom Robinson is beating the drum again. How does he know this stuff? In a word, prophecy. The same mistaken approach to prophecy that fed all those incredibly wrong expectations in the 1970s when the Worldwide Church of God assured everyone it was all going to happen "in your lifetime." 19-year time cycles, gun laps, 1972, Petra, 1975.


The track record - along a well worn rut that Tom and the GN crew still jog zombie-like each month - obviously isn't good. The loudest of the prophecy buffoons of a half-century past have gone to their graves, along with their predecessors in the Millerite movement (1844 anyone?) We're now just waiting for Rod to succumb to the way of all flesh. That could be in three to five years, but possibly earlier!

Whatever else the prophetic parts of the Bible are, they're not predictive. Have any of these clowns actually bothered to do some serious reading on the nature of ancient apocalyptic literature?

Apparently not.


  1. Gavin, I agree - this message doesn't sound like good news to me either. Likewise, looking back, The World Tomorrow always seemed to be preoccupied with the world today (or then). Herbert Armstrong set the standard that everything should be understood literally, which is clearly ridiculous for books like Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel and Revelation that are filled with symbolism. For instance, if one actually takes the time to compare references in Revelation with other scriptures in the Old Testament and the writings of the Apocrypha and history, one could easily come to the conclusion that the Great Whore represents Jerusalem and the false religious system that has emanated from there - not Rome or the Roman Catholic Church!
    Frankly, folks are susceptible to this kind of article because of widespread ignorance of history. We appear to be on the edge of the abyss because folks aren't aware that their forefathers endured most of the very same things which they are experiencing. Wars, crime, perversion, premarital sex, earthquakes, hurricanes etc. are not new features and the frequency of these phenomenon have not increased or intensified in recent years. In fact, in many instances, things were much worse in times past. The good old days are most often an illusion. We should all take a deep breath, try to enjoy the life which God has given us and look forward to an even better time ahead!

  2. In another sense, the track record is excellent. This approach relies upon fear and exclusivism - the things that people have a weakness about. It keeps the Armstrongite exchequer healthy. It is grist for the Armstrongite publishing mill. What would Armstrongism be if it didn't have this lurid and hucksterish approach? Maybe a real church?

    But I must admit, I have never been able to figure out if these writers do this for cynical purposes or if they actuallly believe what they write. I think of Patt McCarty's statement in the recent issue of Cartwirght's The Journal. He mentioned the effect of self-brainwashing.

    Personally, my view is preterist. I think the tribulation happened in 70 A.D. This is not confined to Armstrongism, however. Many evangelical churches have walked down this path recently.

    -- Neotherm

  3. For anyone who is enjoying the present life, safe, sound, secure, and financially well off, no, this is anything but good news. That includes many of the people in the civilized world.

    The people who would find this inspiring and encouraging are those who are oppressed, and living in disease and poverty, and who see no possibility of relief short of God pressing the reset button.

    This sort of magazine article would tend to scare the types of people who would take it seriously, actually supposing that the writer knew what he was talking about. But, then again, if those people look for second opinions, they're going to discover our contributions. Hopefully, that's what is happening most of the time.


  4. let's see....1972, 1991, 2010, 2029......