The Liberation of the Worldwide Church of God – an awesome book   Leave a comment

This is an amazing story written by Michael Faezell. The story of the Harold W Armstrong Worldwide Church of God’s journey to Christian orthodoxy, and away from cultish legalism occasionally calls to mind “Crisis of Conscience” by Raymond Franz. Faezell is an excellent writer, and his book is not only factual, but inspirational and insightful. I just chose  some random quotes to post here, that particularly stood out to me.

On legalism:  “That is what legalism does to people. It can create the illusion of something wonderful. But something that can never become what itw as meant to be is not, in the end, wonderful. Maybe it is better than nothing, but it is still at best only a hollow shell. And until the liberator roar of Aslan shatters it into the worthless dust it is, legalism, ironically, imprisons its victims in a confounding dungeon of smug anxiety and self-satisfied frustration… Human beings, to be the true persons God made them to be, need at their center the heart of God expressing itself through love. Following the rules does not produce a relationship of love. Condemning others who do not keep the rules the way you think they ought to be kept does not produce a relationship of love. A relationship of love is based on knowing and loving a person, not on knowing and loving a set of rules.”  

Soon after Armstrong, the church’s apostle for the end times and unquestioned authority, died, the first “crack in the dam” occurred. The new leadership, with the help of a Hebrew professor at the denomination’s college, corrected something Armstrong had taught, a minor point concerning the Exodus. Although it would be considered minor by most, Armstrong had taught it very dogmatically.  “Now Tkach (his successor) holding the office of ‘God’s apostle,’ the only person on earth through whom God brings doctrine into his church, had neatly thrown out a dogmatic Armstrong teaching. How can one ‘God’s only true apostle’ change the teaching of the other ‘God’s only true apostle’? Small or ‘merely historical’ as this particular point may have been, later changes would raise the larger question: How can Tkach have the authority to change Armstrong’s teaching? And then the conundrum: If Armstrong was wrong about that, then could he have been wrong about appointing Tkach? And worse, but still unthinkable at this early stage: If Armstrong really WAS wrong about something he felt God had revealed to him, how could he have called himself ‘God’s only true apostle’? “

Armstrong believed that the WHOLE WORLD except for him, had been deceived:  Here’s a quote from his writings: “WHY cannot people understand? It’s hard to believe, but YOUR BIBLE says that this whole world is DECEIVED! Incredible thought it seems, that is true! Yes, even the clergy!”     Feazell comments:  “All the clergy except Armstrong, that is. This is what happens when a person, in his or her own mind, becomes ‘God’s special representative.’ I have to warn any CHristian – if the leader of your church or group begins to make noise about being God’s special mouthpiece or the ‘only one’ preaching some particular message or some particular way, then my advice to you is to move on down the road.”

Thinking every thought through the lens of Herbert W Armstrong:  “Another panel member seemed  only to be able to think in terms of what Herbert Armstrong had written or said. He began nearly every coment with, ‘ Mr. Herbert W Armstrong said…’ or ‘I have here Mr Herbert W Armstrong’s article…’ or ‘On page such and such of Mystery of the Ages, Mr Herbert W Armstrong wrote…’ To him and to thousands like him in the Worldwide Church of God, Armstrong was God’s man, and God had revealed through Armstrong everything the church needed to know. To call Armstrong’s revelatinos into question was tantamount to the spirit of antichrist.”

 

 

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Posted November 18, 2013 by FiveSolas in Uncategorized

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