Sunday, July 23, 2017

Richard Armstrong and the Church of God Tradition of Beating Children into Submission

"You may be very familiar with God's laws, but if you don't obey them, you will go into the lake of fire for the knowledge that you do have. You may agree on every doctrine that is preached in the Bible, but if you don' t live by them you will be burned as so 'much refuse in hell'. Many of you have felt that perhaps it would be better to leave your children at home, but the Bible COMMANDS you to bring them into the services and it commands them to BE QUIET!"  Good News, May 1981

There have been long running conversations on various Facebook closed groups about how people were beaten as kids in the church. Corporal punishment was the expected ideal for all church members to practice on their children.  Far too many in various COG groups today deny it ever happened that way.  One LCG member said,

"If this is the church I'm familiar with, I have never heard of this training before. My parents didn't do this and I never saw this. The church did a lot of things wrong that's for sure. Teaching God's way wasn't. I'm glad I wasn't raised in "your" church!"
The problem was, this IS the exact same church that LCG is part of.  Her recent leader Rod Meredith actively preached corporal punishment for children and even claimed he spanked his wife when she disobeyed him.

In Cincinnati when Carn Catherwood was the minister, he told the congregation that he wanted to hear 20 swats on the bare skin of the children when they were spanked.  He also wanted to hear them cry while he preached his sermon.  This led the Spokesmen Club to sell paddles as a fundraiser.  These paddles were two feet long, an inch thick and had holes drilled in them for wind resistance.

While certainly, not all parents listened to this bullshit, far too many did. The stories of physical abuse are appalling.

Here is what Richard Armstrong railed at his Fresno congregation in 1958

Richard Armstrong letter to Fresno COG congregation:

Herbert Armstrong writes:

Every member of God's Church around the world should read every word of this letter. 
   The following letter was written by my son, Richard D. Armstrong, four and a half months before he died from an automobile accident.  
   He was then pastor of the Fresno, Calif., Church of God. Destruction resulting from lack of training and supervision of children had occurred at the hall where the church met. One more infraction would have put the church out of the hall.  
   Such a thing as this could happen at any church. It was promptly corrected at Fresno, but it should sound a loud and emphatic WARNING to the members of all other churches that such an incident is never allowed to be repeated elsewhere.  
   As I reread this letter, the realization comes forcibly upon my mind that many of our brethren — especially those newer in God's Church — may not fully realize the SERIOUSNESS of strict training and vigilant enforcement of the behavior of children at Church services.  
   Brethren, we need to be REAWAKENED!  
   We need to realize the extreme seriousness of this matter. GOD IS HOLDING EVERY ONE OF YOU PARENTS RESPONSIBLE!  
   My son Dick, as we called him, loved the brethren at Fresno. Previously he had been pastor of three churches, at Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Tex.  
   He had told us with feeling how, although he was younger in physical years than many members, they seemed like his own spiritual children — and he loved them as a parent loves a child.  
   At Fresno it was the same. Possibly Richard D. Armstrong was the most loved minister in the Church of God — because he, himself, felt such deep love and concern for Christ's flock, over which he was a shepherd.  
   I do not think my son really wrote this letter, except as God's instrument. The living CHRIST, I feel, actually authored it.  
   But it contains a dynamic SERMON on the responsibility of parents for the training and the behavior of their children at Church services. 
   As the brethren at Fresno were his spiritual children, and God held him RESPONSIBLE for their behavior in controlling their children, this letter is also an example of how to deal with children. My son patiently made the truth PLAIN to them — explained thoroughly. But he also TOOK ACTION! He took such action as to prevent a recurrence of the mischief.  
   I want every minister of Christ, in all the churches, to take the same action, that parents may FEAR to neglect the. discipline of their children, lest they be publicly and severely rebuked and held to account before all.  
   I want every member to read every word. 


March 12, 1958

   I received some very sad news just as I was leaving church last week. Mr. Kelly, the janitor who sets up the chairs for our meetings and through whom we rent the hall, came to me visibly shaken and very nervous, but he had a very great problem he had to tell me about. Mr. Kelly has always been most courteous and friendly to all of us.  
   He said that he hated to tell me, but our children had torn apart one of the toilets on the third floor where we hold our meetings. They had torn the float clear out of the toilet, taken all of the paper from several of the toilets and poked it into one and tried to flush this toilet and flooded it all over the floor.  
   He said that they had left it in a complete, total, disgraceful mess and that furthermore, several of our children had gone down to the second floor and gone into a meeting. The lodge members who own the building were complaining and asking Mr. Kelly to make sure that it didn't happen again, or we will be thrown out. We shall not be allowed to meet here any longer IF THIS EVER HAPPENS AGAIN!  
   The Church of God Almighty, the very Body of Jesus Christ, must not suffer such a humiliating thing because we are not obedient to God's commandments. We shall not allow such a condition to continue. I hope you can imagine how I felt after the joy of having the chorale and such a wonderful meeting, and then to have a blow such as this.  
   I hate to have to give an answer for the church, and I feel that I should go to those who are responsible — you, the parents. We don't know which child was responsible. But we do know that this type of incident happens when we have children left unrestrained to play about on their own before, during and after church.  
   God says in Hebrews 13:17, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."  
   Brethren, I have to give an account to God when something like this happens and it is up to me to see to it that it doesn't happen again.  
   Go right on in your Bible and read through the first chapter of James. We are having our trials of faith that we should count all joy, because it works out patience and builds stronger character in us. We do have these problems. They must be solved, and they must be solved by the Scriptures — God's way.  
   In verse 13 of this first chapter of James, God says, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." We are tempted of our own lusts, and even so is a child, and if there is no parental control any child, and every child, does get into mischief.  
   I want to make this clear. There is no child who is specifically at fault, but all the children without exception have been too noisy, have been left to run free to themselves at services, and this must cease. God says in Hebrews 12:14-15: "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby MANY be defiled." It is up to us to settle this particular problem according to God's will and from the Scriptures, and not let any root of bitterness spring up in us.  
   Notice James 1:22: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." It is not taking you into the Kingdom of Heaven if you simply agree with everything that God's Church teaches concerning such doctrines as heaven and hell, the Holy Days, paying of tithes and training your children if you do not do these things. You have to live it.  
   You may be very familiar with God's laws, but if you don't obey them, you will go into the lake of fire for the knowledge that you do have. You may agree on every doctrine that is preached in the Bible, but if you don't live by them you will be burned as so 'much refuse in hell.  
   Many of you have felt that perhaps it would be better to leave your children at home, but the Bible COMMANDS you to bring them into the services and it commands them to BE QUIET! Let's read the Word of God.  
   In Exodus 20 are the Ten Commandments. Notice the commandment about the Sabbath. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it HOLY" (verse 8). God made it holy; we keep it that way. "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God" (verses 9-10). Now notice how you are to keep the Sabbath: "In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, NOR THY SON, NOR THY DAUGHTER, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates" (verse 10).  
   So as you are to keep the Sabbath holy and keep what God has made sacred time, so are your son and daughter, your children. The Sabbath is holy time, sacred to God, and as such our children should not be allowed to run loose like so many wild animals.  
   I think that most of you know, as I have said before, that at home I have a little dog. My brother gave him to me as a wedding present. I have to teach that dog. I have to teach him to sit still, and to stay still. I have to teach him there are certain pieces of furniture that he dare not touch or come near. I also have to teach him that though he smells food, every nerve in his body quivering, while my wife and I are eating at the table he cannot sit and beg, but must lie in the other room with the door open.  
   I don't have to pen him or cage him like a wild animal, because he is tame. He has been trained. If I can train my dog, you can train your children, and I mean this sincerely. Two hours a week is not too long for your children to sit STILL and listen to the services, and to stay still AFTER the services are over. It is the Sabbath day and it is holy, and your children are to keep it holy as well as you.  

The Ten Commandments include your children and the command to keep the seventh day holy. Your children must be IN CHURCH, and they must keep the Sabbath HOLY the same as you do. This is part of the Ten Commandments. 

children must be IN CHURCH, and they must keep the Sabbath HOLY the same as you do. This is a part of the Ten Commandments, and there is no use in kidding ourselves. You are just heading for the lake of fire if you don't obey this. Remember it is the parents who are held responsible.  
   Notice the next command: "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (verse 12). It is a dual command. It is not only to the child, it is certainly understood that the parent must teach the child obedience to that command.  
   These are the commandments of God. Have you ever wondered why in Exodus 21: 15 Jesus Christ, the Logos, the Spokesman, says, "He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death"? And in verse 17, "He that curseth [the word here means "reviles," not curses, or as it should be even more correctly rendered, "sasses" ] his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death"?  
   I think most of you remember the example in II Kings 2:24, when Elisha looked back and cursed these children who were sassing him and God caused two she bears to come out and tear 42 of them in pieces, but have you ever stopped to realize why?  
   Because God was so kind that He was not going to let them go on and live building the wrong kind of character that would lead them to the lake of fire. God had them destroyed before it was too late so they could be resurrected in a better world, where if their parents had not taught them any better God would use His force to keep them in line and keep them from living a long life of disobedience that would finally imbed so deeply the wrong kind of character that they would have to be destroyed in hell fire, and would be totally unable to ever live by every Word of God and build good and honest character into themselves.  
   Your children are living under a different dispensation. You know and understand the laws of God in a way that they couldn't then, and you are held responsible and so are your children. I want you to notice that the same Christ who gave these laws said later, "Suffer little children to come unto me" (Luke 18: 16).  
   You have to shape and mold and develop the character of your children so they will learn to love God and hate evil. Turn to Leviticus 19:32. Starting in verse 30, God says: "Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt RISE UP before the hoary head, and HONOUR the face of the old man, AND FEAR THY GOD: I am the Lord."  
   How many of our children are so quiet and obedient that when an elder comes into the room they will rise? How many of our children address their minister as "Mr." rather than by his first name? How many of them address you as "Father" and "Mother," and not just as "Pop" or "Mom," or by your first name? They should literally obey this command in Leviticus to rise before those who are elders and learn to show honor and respect them.  
   This is the Word of GOD! Are you willing to obey it? Are you LIVING by it?  
   Notice Deuteronomy 6:7. God gives us commandments and judgments, and one of them is that we teach DILIGENTLY all of these unto our children.  

You know... the laws of God... and you are held responsible and so are your children.... You have to shape... the character of your children so they will... love God and hate evil. 

Frankly, brethren, one of the major reasons that we are having these problems is the fact that you are not holding Bible studies in your own homes with your children. You are not fulfilling your responsibility, your duties toward them I to teach them to live by the Word of God. You should not try to wheedle and plead them into looking at it your way. You should COMMAND them. You are the AUTHORITY of God Almighty to your children. God has given you that authority. It is up to you to exercise it.  
   Notice Leviticus 20:9: "Everyone that curseth [the King James says curseth, but this should be rendered "sasses"] his father or his mother shall be surely put to death... his blood shall be upon him." Brethren, I have seen children stand and sass their parents right here in the hall where we meet. This should not be, but I can't correct it — only you can.  
   There is one thing that I can correct, and that is the situation of the children running loose and wild during church. Now I have asked one of the men of the Fresno church to get up and go out several times during the services and see if there are any children outside, and if they are running around playing on the stairs or in the toilets, he is going to bring them in and we will stop the services — interrupt them right there — and ask you, the parents, to give an account.  
   We are the Church of God. We bear the name of God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth. We cannot destroy property that does not belong to us, but that God blessed us with. Again, let me say that this shall not happen again. I have given this man instructions to grab any child he sees misbehaving during church by the nap of the neck and haul him right in to me and I am going to ask you, the PARENT, what is wrong. I am also requiring henceforth that EVERY CHILD STAY INSIDE THE ROOM WHERE WE MEET UNTIL YOU THE PARENTS ARE READY TO LEAVE the building.  
   Now, I wish you to understand that this is done in love, but I am trying to live by every Word of God. I am trying to fulfill what God has said in Hebrews 13:17, watching for your souls as one who must give account to God Almighty, and I do not intend to have the Church of God suffer the humiliation of being thrown out of the place that God has given us to meet because we cannot keep our children in check: So henceforth, your children will stay inside the meeting room and KEEP QUIET. They shall not play. It is the Sabbath, sacred, holy time to God, and your children are commanded to keep it. 
In the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ,  
Richard D. Armstrong,
Church of God,
Fresno, Calif.

How A Bitcoin Hacker Helped Catch Killer UCG Minister

An ethical hacker breached the database of a phony darknet website offering hitman services and leaked the data. The information from the data dump helped the FBI in their investigation of a man who murdered his wife.
In November 2016, Stephen Carl Allwine, 47, of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, killed his wife in “one of the most bizarre cases ever seen,” police officers reported. The husband tried to mask the murder as a suicide, including putting a 9 mm pistol next to Amy Allwine’s elbow. However, detectives arriving on the scene identified the case as murder and collected evidence — mostly electronic devices, such as computers — belonging to Mr. Allwine. Later on, in January, investigators arrested and charged Mr. Allwine with second-degree murder based on the forensic evaluation of the confiscated electronic equipment.
In May 2016, a hacker called “bRpsd” breached the database of a controversial hitman service offered on a darknet website. The service, “Besa Mafia,” offered a link between customers and hitmen, who could register on the site anonymously. The price for a murder ranged between $5,000 and $200,000, but clients seeking to avoid fatalities could also hire a contractor to beat up a victim for $500 or set somebody’s car on fire for $1,000.
The hacker uploaded the data dump to a public internet website. The leaked files contained user accounts, email addresses, personal messages between the Besa Mafia admin and its customers, “hit” orders and a folder named “victims,” providing additional information on the targets. 
Read the entire article here:

How a Bitcoin Whitehat Hacker Helped the FBI Catch a Murderer

Also, see:

ht: Connie

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Gerald Weston: God is NOT Mocked! The End Is Near!

Gerald Weston recently wrote another one of his heart warming co-worker letters.  It was filled with all kinds of loving, grace filled wonderful things about the creation around us and the beauty of human life.  NOT!

It was yet another fear laden blitzkrieg on how the United States economy is ready to collapse, and financial doom and gloom are ready to befall Americans.

Of course, Weston's Bible says this is so.  It has predicted it.  We have all seen how well Church of God leaders have used the Bible to make predictions and point to "fulfilled" prophecy, as they interpret it.  It is easy for prophecy addicts to sit in their basements pouring over countless tomes of prophecy and history as they make vainglorious attempts to pinpoint events in history to "prophecies" listed in the Bible.

Current events clearly demonstrate the accuracy of the Bible, but the complete fulfillment of this prophecy is yet in the future, and we simply do not know the exact time. What we do believe is that the time is near. A number of other prophecies must take place first, but we are rapidly getting there. Why will the world get into such desperate straits? 
The Bible stands out above humanly devised predictions and it tells us that unless our Western nations repent of gross immorality, disaster will follow. As it tells us in Leviticus 26:14–16, when we come to the place—and we are now there—that we despise God’s commandments, terror will be the result. The terrorism we see in living color on our television and computer screens was prophesied and is no accident! As in all of mankind’s ills, it is the direct result of rejecting our Creator! The handwriting is on the wall. 
If the bible stands out above all human predictions, then why do James Malm and Bob Thiel continue to spread their devious lies about prophecy?  Prediction addiction is the name of the game in the Church of God. Who can forget professional liar and prophecy addict, Gerald Waterhouse and his 3-4 hour sermons on prophecy?  For four hours this old windbag would spout incredibly absurd predictions and as of July 2017, not a single one of them has ever come to pass.
How much time remains for us to proclaim the true Gospel to this sick world and to warn the Israelite nations remains to be seen, but time appears to be short. For decades, we have warned of a rising Germany. Today, Germany stands out not only as the leader of Europe, but more and more as the most respected country in the world. And God tells us in His word that the modern-day Assyrians will be used to punish our rebellious peoples. Twice in the Twentieth Century we failed to learn our lesson. The next time it will be more painful. And lest anyone misunderstand, this is not “Germany bashing.” They will fulfill God’s will, for as it says in Isaiah 10:5–7, “Woe to Assyria [ancient Germany] the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, to seize the spoil, to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off not a few nations.” Oh yes, God will deal with Germany later, but first Germany must fulfill God’s will. 
Rod Meredith and Gerald Weston seem to be incapable of finding beauty in the world around them. Instead, the world is a big cesspool of filth which is kind of like LCG Charlotte HQ, I guess.  The big bogeyman Germany is set to arise and whip the United States into submission as it carts LCG members off to concentration camps.
Dear co-workers, we cannot know how long it will take for these events to completely materialize. What we know is that God is not mocked! We will reap what we sow! When the conditions are right, sudden calamity will descend upon the Israelite nations, for time and again God tells us through His prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah that it will happen suddenly. “Therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, a bulge in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant” (Isaiah 30:13). We see the bulge in the wall.
Persecution is ever at the door of the various Church of God's.  Where would the church be without a good scare factor story to scare members into giving more money?  After all, the entire purpose of the church is to raise money for that final push.  A final push that always seems to elude them.

Fellow co-workers, time is short! How short we cannot say, but I hope all of you can see that the world is getting more and more unstable as our populations become more and more corrupt and deranged in their thinking. God instructs us and gives this warning: “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” (Proverbs 24:11–12). 
Our Western nations are stumbling toward the slaughter. For that matter, so is the entire world. Jesus predicted that it would get so bad that, unless He steps in at the end of the age, no man would survive (Matthew 24:21–22). Few will heed the warning, but if we see what is happening, God expects us to sound the warning trumpet (Ezekiel 33:2–9). That is what we are doing at Tomorrow’s World. I believe you see the handwriting on the wall and that is why you became a co-worker with us.
Weston ends with this:

Your prayers are needed and will be appreciated as we have a big job to do to reach this world with a warning and a message of hope. 
A message of hope?  Tales of financial disaster, Invading Germans, corrupt government, disease, famine, war...all good sounds bites useful to a COG leaders advantage/

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Only Real COG Prophet Claims The Only True End Time COG Is Rolling Forward, But Still Remains Bitter

"The final phase of the work is moving forward. 
More information is being put together, more people are being reached, 
and people are being reached in more languages."

God's only true end-time man is back tooting his blasphemous horn once again on how fabulous and earth shattering his "ministry" is.  No, I am not talking about superfantabulous Dave Pack.  The one I am talking about is the other self-appointed end time guru who claims the same thing.  This time, it is the other end time man, the one who is consistently bitter.  It is the one who has taken on the mantle of numerous Hebrew prophets, believes his nightmares are from his god and who while never ordained, claims he is doubly-blessed.
Will you support the final phase of the work? 
Satan and the Laodiceans simply do not wish to properly support God’s work. Of course, many Laodiceans do not know that they are in that condition, and for many reasons will not understand the final phase of the work or who is leading it.
We should all know by now that any time a COG leader feels he is being under-appreciated he blames everyone else, except himself.  Never will any of them accept the responsibility that their over inflated egos have defeated them.  It is not the members fault and never has been.

So what does one do when there are so many COG's out here that proclaim that they and they alone are the ones with the truth and doing an earth shattering work?  They just steam roll ahead and claim that they and they alone are the one true church, the usual round robin. The others are weak or have failed somehow in getting HWA's words out to the entire world.  All of them place more importance upon Internet count numbers instead of actual human lives that they have touched.  Having a person click on a web site or an article is irrelevant compared to the face to face interactions people are craving.
It is the highly dedicated in the real Church of God (COG) that will finish the human part of the final phase of the work before (Matthew 24:14-15) and during (Revelation 11:3-14) the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord. Presuming no significant organizational changes, for many reasons, the final phase of the work will be led by the Continuing Church of God...
So just what is this miraculous work doing that is so astounding that God through him?
This final phase of the work seemingly will consist of identifying what is happening in the world (specifically also in Europe, the Middle East, and the Anglo-descended nations), preaching what Jesus commissioned in Matthew 28:19-20 around the world, finishing the proclamation of Christ’s gospel of the kingdom as a witness along with persecution (Matthew 24:9-14), the rise and work of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:2-12; which will likely overlap a few days with Matthew 24:14), the likely assistance to the two witnesses by the scattered flock (Revelation 20:4; cf. Luke 9:2-6), the three angel’s messages (Revelation 14:8-11; plus other angelic interventions), and the witness of those persecuted and martyred for Jesus (cf. Revelation 17:6). And then Jesus will return and establish the Kingdom of God. 
So just who is Bob Thiel drawing into his church around the world?  Other than in Africa, very few.  Even those in Africa are either former COGers or have had a connection to some other Sabbatarian group.  He has not touched the lives of other Christians, Muslims, or non-Christians.  The impact has been minuscule.  And just why is that?  

It is the damn Catholics joining up with Protestants in an ecumenical movement that is deliberately forming to persecute Bob Theil and his church.  Just why would some beast power in Europe, the Catholic church, or some other group worry about isolated groups of Thielites in scattered regions of Africa?   Only in Thiel's mind do they do this.

Why is he claiming he is the only one to do this?  Because he claims to know all about Fatima and everything about the Catholic church that no one else on earth does.
It should be clear to those who truly understand the warnings in the Bible that the final phase of the work for God’s people will also specifically involve dealing with the ecumenical religion that will rise up (cf. Daniel 11:36-38; Revelation 13:4,8; 14:8-13; Matthew 24:14-15) with signs and lying wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) fulfilling Satan’s plan, while enduring the Beast power who will take steps to eliminate the faithful (Revelation 13:7,13-17; 14:12-13; Daniel 7:21,25).
Having looked over a variety of Roman and Byzantine Catholic private prophecies, I would suggest that Satan’s planning has not always been completely in secret and that such private prophecies will be cited as “justification” for some of the coming persecutions...
Because Thiel will be fighting the above groups and Satan, he is expecting to be killed.  Yes, that broken record still is turning. 
Being killed as the result of persecution is seemingly also part of the final phase of the work that some of God’s people will endure:
12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:12-13; cf. 6:11)
 Next, Thiel has to once again, complain how Rod Meredith devalued his opinion and refused to implement all suggestions he offered.

That bitterness is what Thiel uses to justify his start-up COG.

About a decade ago, the late evangelist R.C. Meredith and I were talking and he agreed with various points I was raising about the end time work. And back then, I was able to help lead him to essentially state that in the end it would not mainly be the message of the COG vs. the Protestants, but it would be the COG basically vs. the ecumenical religion that will rise up in the end that will likely (for a while) refer to itself as “Catholic.” In 2005, during the Feast of Tabernacles in Clearwater Beach, after a private lunch, we and our wives met at his hotel room and I also discussed various aspects of the final phase of the work with him–and I had other meetings, discussions, and emails related to that with the other Charlotte evangelists through December 14, 2012. Yet, even though he and others in his church agreed to take many steps related to the final phase of the work, few, if any, of the promised steps were taken by his group–this is a major part of why the Continuing Church of God needed to form. 
Interestingly, in December 2015, Dr. Meredith lamented the slow growth in his church. He said that 30% should be attained, but he hoped for at last 15% growth per year–something his church does not attain. Consider that the Continuing Church of God has been the fastest growing COG since its formation in late 2012. On a compounded basis, it has exceeded the 30% growth in both membership and income since it formed in late 2012. Even exceeding the percentage the late Herbert W. Armstrong often pointed to as a proof of a blessing from God. While our growth rate will fluctuate, the Continuing Church of God is the only one of the ten largest COGs whose leaders had origins in the old Worldwide Church of God to do so. Currently, we have around 2,800 people with us.

Thiel claims that he and he alone will have the only forceful voice in the world that will hold the world accountable for their sins.  No other Church of God does that because they are too scared, especially those in the Living Church of God.

During the final phase of the work, the faithful in God’s Church will take a stand against the views of those who will support the compromised persecuting religious power (cf. Revelation 17:1-6). And though aspects of this have occurred throughout history, in the end it will be a major testing of their patience (cf. Daniel 11:28-35; Revelation 14:8-12). 
A bolder, yet truthful, willingness to “name names” and call out what is happening will need to happen than the official COG groups formed between 1986 and 2011 have done–and this would seem to have to be led by the Continuing Church of God. (I have emails from one or more LCG evangelists where they objected to doing parts of this themselves, as well as notes from a meeting where they told me, and one was Dr. Meredith, that they were afraid that I could become too bold and that they did not want to take bold proclamation steps that could trigger the persecution that they teach is biblically prophesied.)

The more Thiel brags about these meetings the more suspicious people are that words like this were ever exchanged.  A growing number of LCG members claim Thiel is a liar and is very deceptive in what he is claiming actually happened.  Since everyone knows Gaylyn Bonjour and ZERO INTENTION of raising Thiel up to a splinter group leader, people also suspect that Thiel is spinning his own version of these events in ways that never happened. 

Thiel also thinks that his outstanding work is going to draw in tens of thousands of new members, which is ludicrous.  We have seen how that has been an epic failure for Dave Pack, who is far more dynamic than Thiel can ever hope to be.

The gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed more powerfully to the world as a witness and the end will come (Matthew 24:14). We in the CCOG are reaching people in over 220 countries and territories and expect to continue to lead the humanly-involved portion of that, and certain other aspects, of the final phase of the work. 
It is possible that this short work will temporarily swell the ranks of the Church of God (including some Philadelphians, but perhaps with many Laodiceans and many others not truly faithful—many may well fall away—though some of the first will be last and the last first, cf. Mark 10:31). Some will be faithful and bear fruit, while many others may leave (cf. Matthew 13:18 -23; 2 Thessalonians 2:3) once the persecuting tribulation that seems prophesied to occur prior to the Great Tribulation hits (cf. Matthew 24:9-10;21). Then the end will come.

Thiel believes that once he starts preaching a dynamic and forceful message he is going to enrage Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg so much so that he will employ the European Super Collider to attack Theil and the United States.  As if Guttenberg cares about an impotent little pissant located in the central California Coast. Also, why would Gutenberg care about 2,700 Africans scattered all over the continent and 100 or so gullible Americans who have decided to follow him?

Partially because the message of the COG, the people of the holy covenant will enrage the upcoming prince/king of the North (Daniel 11:28-30). One or more associated with the Continuing Church of Godwill
Media coverage would then be expected to cover more of the COG message and this may be associated with the “short work” of Romans 9:28. Since the true COG is so small, it is highly likely that it getting significant media coverage will help fulfill Matthew 24:14. Some of the Philadelphia remnant will be explaining that it is Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God and not the rise of a militaristic leader that the world needs. According to Daniel 11:32 it is “the people who know their God [that] shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” Hundreds of millions, if not billions, will receive at least a partial witness.
All of that will likely trigger the King of the North to take actions that lead to the end–this includes the persecutions, pre- (Daniel 7:25a, 11:29-36) and post-tribulation (Daniel 7:25b).

The Church of God has several dynamic church leaders here in the Untied States, however, all of them are crazier than hell. Their egos and narcissism have made them into buffoonish clowns of the church.  Bob Thiel has now added himself to this cartoonish list.  Because Thiel set himself up into his leadership roll, he is doomed to failure.  God certainly is NOT on his side, never has been and will never be.

There is much more to the latest Thiel spiel located here:  The final phase of the work continues to move ahead

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I Pray That those Who Have Left The Church Will Repent And Come Back To The Truth

A comment was made on another COG related group about COG members who have left the fold.  The naivety of this person is as shallow as the statement.  Did you know that if it were not for Herbert Armstrong, none of you nor the entire world would EVER know the truth or have been exposed to it? Even worse, you would have never been part of the church!  A church that is the most unified and glorious church ever in human history.  God apparently was incapable of keeping his church alive for 1,900 years till Herbert Armstrong arrived on the scene.  Anyone with half a wit knows that is utter nonsense.  Herbert Armstrong's legacy has not continued on with Dave pack, Gerald Weston, Gerald Flurry, Ron Weinland, Vic Kubik and most assuredly not by Bob Thiel and James Malm.

It is had to believe that in 2017 that some people still believe that salvation comes from knowing Herbert Armstrong and his words.

"I tell them, without God working through Mr. Armstrong, they would not even know the Truth or have been given an opportunity to be a part of the Church of God at this time. I pray they can see through the deception and come back to the foundation. May we all hold fast to these precious truths we have been given!"

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bob Thiel Takes His Greatest Risk Ever! SHOCKING!!!

Check out this little ditty from God's most important end-time man who just stepped out and made a major change that was so earthshaking he had to write about it. And to think that his members in Africa read this as some kind of a miracle is appalling.  Seriously what COG leader would ever write such drivel as this?

Greetings again from Grover Beach, California.
We tried something different for the sermonette.
Normally, more theological sermonettes are uploaded to the Continuing COG YouTube channel.
This time, I decided to do the longest sermonette I have ever given (essentially this could be consider part of what has been called a “split-sermon–meaning two sermon topics} and upload it to the Bible News Prophecy channel.
Anyway, I believe I am taking an audience risk with this. The topic has to do with false conversion and it is my hope and prayer that some who are not part of us will take the scriptures to heart and repent and be converted–but some may take offense. We will see.
Because the sermonette is the longest I have given, I also decided that the sermon should be about the shortest one I have ever given (though it is not much shorter than usual).

Saturday, July 15, 2017

CEM: The Vultures Are Circling

From an East Texas source regarding the current turmoil swirling around Church of God Big Sandy and Christian Educational Ministries/Born to Win.

Please note: Any information James Malm posts about this is from spurious sources.

The Vultures Are Circling
A recent comment to Banned By HWA expressed concern about the possible merge of Christian Educational Ministries (CEM) with Church of God Big Sandy (COGBS).  The fate of CEM should indeed be of concern to CEM supporters at this time.  Ronald Dart passed away over a year ago.  Allie Dart has long been the number one, bulwark defender of Ron’s image and Ron’s works since his illness and death.  But she is not in good health at this time.

For this reason, it is important to keep an eye on organizations and individuals that could potentially be key players in this rapidly-evolving situation.

Let’s be blunt.  CEM is a cash cow.  Granted, CEM’s social media presence is quite deficient – especially when compared to some of the other ACOGs.  In spite of this, CEM has a healthy income through contributions and from sales.  All of this is done mostly thru radio and snail mail.  CEM has little overhead when it comes to paid employees.  And, contrary to popular opinion, only 6% of CEM’s inventory requires a purchase.  CEM gives away 94% of its products. 

CEM’s biggest strength is the inventory of preaching and teaching created by Ron Dart.  His DVD’s, CDs, booklets, books, and articles are considered by many to be the best messages in the ACOG movement.  So it would be quite the coup for any ACOG that ends up merging with or partnering with CEM. 

And let’s not play word games.  There is no such thing as a merge or a partnership.  Whether discussing business, education, politics, or religion, there is no such thing as a merge or a partnership.  There can be claims that two organizations are merging or partnering.  But a merge or a partnership always ends up being an acquisition where one dominates the other.

So no one should be fooled into believing that CEM will merge or partner with another group.  Any such group will, in reality, be acquiring the works of Ron Dart. 

Here are some of the possible corporate candidates for the acquisition of CEM.

Church of God Big Sandy.  When David III was first hired by CEM, it was hard to imagine that his dad wasn’t salivating at the prospects of some kind of alliance that would keep both father and son on the ecclesiastical teat for many years.  After all, COGBS is experiencing severe financial difficulties due to the recent loss of its major donor who had been financing the group since its inception.   And COGBS’s membership is now only a fraction of what it was when they separated from United Church of God. 

That was then.  This is now.  The possibility of a CEM/COGBS marriage probably died with the firing of David Havir III by CEM.  COGBS pastor Dave Havir is notorious for being highly protective of his cubs.  Anyone who dares criticize either of his adult boys has committed the unpardonable sin and can never be forgiven. 

For years, a local business in Big Sandy had an arrangement where it would occasionally rent the COGBS building during the week for things like employee meetings and Thanksgiving dinners.  After several years of this arrangement, David III was hired by that company.  Things didn’t work out.  He left the company.  Soon after, Pastor Dave then kicked that company out of his building.  They have not been allowed to rent it since.   

You can be assured that Pastor Dave (who is known for his many, many sermons about how he is so “besmirched” with his “good name being trampled thru the mud”) is now enraged by the “unfair treatment” his son has received at the hands of CEM.  So you probably won’t see any more cooperative efforts between CEM and COGBS.

Still, it can’t be completely ruled out as a possibility.  After all these years, both United and Worldwide are still trying to figure out how Havir beat them so badly in the battle for members and money when he broke with each of them long ago.   So maybe Papa Doc still has his mojo. 

United Church of God.  This is an interesting possibility.  And the only reason it should be considered as a possibility within ACOG circles is because UCG elder John Garnant is on the CEM board.  When John accepted a position on the CEM board, some were startled -- considering UCG does not allow its ministers to get involved with other church groups. 

An example of this would be when Aaron Dean was disciplined for preaching at a non-UCG feast site.  His punishment was that he was removed from the UCG speaking schedule for six months.  

One possible explanation of John’s ability to be involved with CEM is that that the bosses in Cincinnati haven’t picked up on his wayward activities yet.  Or it could be that UCG (considering CEM’s healthy cash position) is interested in maintaining any longshot chance they might have.  CEM’s good income and low overhead make it mighty attractive to any group that has trouble making ends meet.  UCG is just such an organization.

Church of God International.  This might be the most viable and realistic possibility.  After all, Ron left CGI to create CEM during the late Garner Ted’s scandal regarding the masseuse.  CGI and CEM currently co-sponsor a Feast site in Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky, where 325 people attended in 2016.  However, there are some corporate culture issues that would have to be dealt with for these two groups to join forces.

When Ron Dart first set up CEM, he made it very clear that his new ministry was not to be a church.  And he made it clear that he wanted CEM’s corporate culture to be different than those of the ACOGs.

Dart knew that there was contention over the very term “Armstrongism” within the church of God movement where some think highly of Herbert Armstrong’s ministry while others are totally antagonistic toward it.  Dart wanted to find a middle ground.  And, in his attempts to create a balanced approach, he pointed out there were certain aspects of Herbert Armstrong’s (HWA) ministry that he wanted to avoid in the newly-created CEM.  Here is what Dart was quoted as saying in the January 31, 2003 issue of “The Journal.”  The title of the article was “Beware the Demons of Differentiation.”

I don’t know how much of a role old habits played in HWA’s evangelistic efforts, but I do know he looked for differentiation, and he did so adversarially, as an ad man naturally would.  What he wanted were wedge issues: issues that could be used to drive a wedge between a person and his old church so the person could be attracted to the WCG.  And he wanted exclusive use of the product.  He didn’t want you coming to church with him this week and going somewhere else next week.  The wedge issues are familiar: born again, heaven... Sabbath and Sunday, pagan holidays, immortal soul, etc.  But, in typical ad man style, Mr. Armstrong advanced these with hyperbole and often took them too far in the attempt to differentiate.  Other products (read denominations or churches) were demonized to complete the sale.  The long and the short of the by-products of this approach was a church that was long on hostility and short on tolerance.”

Dart went on to say:

“Change is coming slowly, but it is sharply hindered by the need for organizational identity.  One wonders how this dynamic played into the Tkach revolution in the WCG.  Like the old ad man, Joseph Tkach and associates couldn’t see any middle ground.  It was either Armstrongism or mainstreamism.  They knew the former was wrong, so the other must be right.”  

Dart also said:

“It is the tolerance we at Christian Educational Ministries have learned over many years…that makes the CEM Feast of Tabernacles and its Internet forum possible.  It doesn’t require any compromise with right and wrong, merely a humility that comes from being wrong too many times and a willingness to grant others the right to make their own mistakes and learn their own lessons.”

So here we have Dart making it crystal clear that Armstrongism was definitely not going to a part of his new ministry.  Yet, in CGI there are a number of ministers in that organization who are vehemently opposed to criticisms of Herbert Armstrong.  This is not just characteristic of some CGI ministers in the US, but also characteristic of some in Canada and Jamaica.  Instead of rejecting Armstrongism as Dart does, they embrace what some of them call “reformed Armstrongism.”  So we have two different aspects of two different cultures that could prove to be irreconcilable.

Another problem is in the area of church government.  When the idea of a joint CGI/CEM feast site was first floated, some CEM supporters were upset at the very thought.  One CEM supporter produced an email where he pointed out that most churches which support CEM are congregational where the brethren select their own elders and deacons.  CGI’s churches have pastors who appointed by and answer to the corporate office -- not to the local brethren.  As far as the writer of the email was concerned, “This church governance issue is a deal-breaker because CGI is in no way democratic.  And I am not alone on this.”

We also have a major difference that revolves around how the opening night services are conducted at CGI feast sites vs. what has traditionally been done at the CEM feast sites when Dart was still alive.

Over the years, CEM’s opening night church service would include a message about the birth of Christ.  This goes back to the old teaching in the Worldwide Church of God that Jesus was probably born in the Autumn – perhaps even on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.   In CEM’s opening night services, there would be songs such as Handel’s “Joy to the World the Lord Has Come” which some in CGI label “a Christmas carol.”

During the planning stages for the 2016 Land Between the Lakes feast site, the CEM supporters wanted the opening night services to include these birth of Christ messages and songs that CEM had been doing for years.  In the end, this had to be rejected because there was no doubt that most CGI members would be offended. 

Further, there is the problem of competing definitions regarding the question, “Who is and who is not a Christian?”  For years, CEM has stated that many Sunday-keepers could very well be Christians who will be in the First Resurrection.  This goes against what many CGI ministers believe.  For example, a recent CGI “Armor of God” program hosted by Bill Watson and Wayne Hendrix entitled “Can a Christian Be Unconverted?” stated (at the 5:18 mark), “There’s what?  One and a half to two billion Christians on planet Earth.  Most of them – the overwhelming majority of that number – are nominal…Christians.”

Ron Dart would adamantly oppose that statement Accepting the possibility of the conversion of non-ACOG Christians was fundamental to Dart.   Conversely, denying the possibility of the conversion of non-AOG Christians seems to be fundamental to CGI’s Armor of God presenters.

Finally, we come to perhaps the most important reason why there should be no merger between CGI and CEM:  This idea goes against the wishes of CEM’s founders, Ron and Allie Dart.   From the beginning, they have always wanted CEM to be a stand-alone ministry that will not be in any way absorbed or led by another organization.   Allie is still adamant about it.

At the 2016 Land Between the Lakes feast site, it was mentioned to the congregation that, a few years prior, Ron had been approached about a the possibility of a joint CGI/CEM feast.  The speaker recounted that Ron replied, “It’s time.”   This story is no doubt accurate.  But Dart’s statement (“It’s time.”) should only be applied in the context of feast cooperation.  It should not be extended to include any sort of merger or combining or affiliation or unification or alliance or whatever spin/label is put on such possible future action. 

When Dart set up CEM, he clearly articulated that he wanted CEM and its culture to be distinct from the ACOGs.  He knew it was vital to CEM’s survival that it be kept corporately separate from the other ACOGs. 

Now we get into the question, “Can CEM continue as an independent, stand-alone ministry without being taken over by another ACOG?  The chances of this approach succeeding will probably depend on which individual ends up at the helm of CEM.  In the past, there have been numerous candidates who were considered to take the reins of CEM.  Dave III was not the first attempt.  In fact, he was selected only after discussions and interviews had failed with several other men.  Here are a few:

Richard Crow.  Richard would probably not be a good fit because he currently works as a high-priced lawyer.  CEM could never match his current pay.  Taking over CEM would require him to abandon his lifestyle back at his nice subdivision in Houston.  It would not be pleasant for his family to relocate to rural East Texas which is not known as an urbane social mecca for the arts.  Further, Richard is not considered to be one of the better speakers in the ACOG movement.  And perhaps most importantly, Richard’s father, George, is on the board of directors of CGI.  This might be viewed as a conflict of interest by those who wish to keep CEM truly independent.

Mardy Cobb.  On one hand, part of the CEM office staff has been actively promoting Mardy to the CEM board because he is a good speaker and writer.  On the other hand, Allie does not want him in that position because she isn’t convinced that Mardy would be enthusiastic about promoting Ron’s works.  She is fearful that any new head of CEM might make modifications (even minor ones) to Ron’s teachings similar to (but not as far-reaching as) what was done by Joe Tkach when he ascended to the leadership of WCG.   Also, Mardy has his own ministry which he would be loath to abandon.

Wesley White.  Wesley and Allie have had lengthy discussions on at least three occasions about his coming on board CEM, but each time one of them had a change of heart and pulled back.  One of the sticking points is Wesley’s being non-political while Allie has stated that, since Ron was a Republican, she wants this new person to be a Republican also.  Wesley and Allie still maintain a personal friendship, but he refuses to get involved in CEM at this time.  He has refused recent requests to preach at their Sabbath services.  Wesley publicly wears his independence from all church organizations to the point where it sounds to some like a badge of vanity.  And like Mardy, Wesley has his own ministry, Dynamic Christian Ministries, which features a weekly internet Facebook/Youtube show.  He shows no eagerness to give it up in order to take on what he calls “the drama of CEM.

Brent Kern.  Brent has a long history with CEM.  He was one of the few featured speakers at the mega CEM feast sites of years past.  During those glory years, CEM’s feast preaching was usually limited to Ron, Larry Watkins, John Reedy, and Brent.  Brent is considered to be a dynamic speaker and is a good vocalist who enjoys entertaining the congregation.  But he seems to have moved too far into Methodism to be an acceptable candidate.  His wife is of the Methodist faith and, over the past several years, Brent has spent more time worshipping in Methodist churches than he has with any of the ACOGs.  It would be an understatement to say he is not known as a doctrinal purist when it comes to traditional ACOG beliefs.

Larry Watkins.  Larry is considered to have a pretty good chance to take over CEM after Allie is out of the picture.  After all, Larry was with Ron since CEM’s inception and departed only after Ron found out that, during the early days of Ron’s incapacitation when it was thought Ron only had days to live, Larry had been negotiating to “cooperate with” other ACOGs.  Larry was then terminated from CEM, so there is some bad blood in this relationship.  Larry is not considered a good speaker, but he has the support of some CEM board members.  Allie recently asked the CEM board to promise in writing that they would not bring Larry on board after she is gone.  The board adamantly refused to put this pledge in writing although Allie was given somewhat of a verbal commitment.  Needless to say, Allie has no faith in any verbal promise from a board she has long ago lost confidence in.   The bottom line is that, if you are a gambler, put your money on Larry if the hiring for this position can be put off until Allie is gone.

Unless…  Yes, there is an “unless.”  Larry is getting up there in years and friends notice he is getting feebler these days.  In that case, in it conceivable that CEM could be headed up by Larry’s close friend, John Reedy.  John is a successful Tyler businessman who, like Larry, was heavily involved in CEM from the beginning.  It is rumored that John is considering retirement from that business.  So we may see John take over CEM using Larry part time.   John’s assuming the helm of CEM would create a closer relationship between CEM and CGI because of the fact that John is on the board of directors of CGI.  If CEM were managed by  Watkins and/or Reedy, it would indeed be a defacto acquisition of CEM by CGI because Watkins and Reedy would both take their direction from CGI.  There is no way that either of these men would operate independently of CGI.

Finally, it is good to be reminded that, just because an idea may look good on paper, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a truly viable plan.  The ACOG groups, while doctrinally similar, have evolved into some very different corporate cultures.  CEM’s leadership and any potential partner’s leadership would be wise to fully examine and comprehend these differences so they don’t make a serious mistake in this matter.

It is unfortunate that issues like this are decided behind closed doors by our “betters” who feel no need to consult with the lay people.  It is sad because we are the ones who tithe and pay the bills for these organizations.  We pay the salaries of these leaders.

Too many times, the brethren are told of these decisions only after it is fate accompli.  At that point, the only decision we have is whether to stay or go.  In other words, voting with our feet.   And this is why their numbers continue to dwindle.

All of this bears watching.  It will not be dull.