Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is PCG a High Demand Group?

Some have called Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God a high demand group that makes unreasonably severe demands upon members.

Is this true?

Let us observe what is written in Chapter 12, Part 2 of Raising the Ruins by Stephen Flurry, under the heading "For Many People". There he relates how Herbert W. Armstrong gave his inheritance to the church and not to any of his three surviving children. This is portrayed as an egalitarian act worthy of high praise, putting "God's Work" ahead of his own family.
Even on his deathbed, his final wish was for everything he owned to go toward the work so that “many people” might benefit. Mr. Armstrong put God’s Family and God’s work first. And as difficult as that might be to grasp, looking at it humanly, isn’t that what we should expect from a man of God?...PUTTING GOD AND HIS WORK FIRST IS THE BASIC THEME OF THE BIBLE. [How convenient for the organization.] Herbert W. Armstrong put this principle—this law—into action. He gave and gave and gave and gave.
And he took and took and took and took the members' three tithes and more.

HWA's decision to leave his children with nothing is explained away in the following manner:
In his will, he explained that he chose not to leave his descendants anything—not because of any ill will toward them—but because he believed they had “adequate means of their own” and because leaving what he had to the church would ensure that it “be put to more permanent and beneficial use for many people.”
This explanation completely glosses over the fact that HWA was estranged from all three of his surviving children.

1) HWA kicked Beverly Gott out of the church because she wore too much makeup (in his opinion) one day and because of that instituted the infamous makeup ban. This is how Garner Ted Armstrong describes it:
Back in 1956, my father had excommunicated my sister Beverly from the church for refusing to take off her makeup, a newly established taboo. From the early '30's until 1955 or 1956, there was no proscription against makeup. However, because most in the church tended to be hyper-conservative, only comparatively few women used it.
(On this same topic I personally heard Meredith say in a sermon that the makeup ban was introduced because HWA was enraged at how much makeup Beverly Gott wore one day.)

2) It is all too well known what HWA did to his other daughter, Dorothy.

3) HWA disfollowshipped Garner Ted because he felt threatened by him and because Garner Ted threatened to expose what HWA did to his daughter during an angry moment. Being disfellowshipped HWA was estranged from him and was not in any friendly communication with him.

All of this pertinent information is simply glossed over.

This story also serves to give PCG members an impossible ideal to follow.

HWA giving all his money to the organization is held up to be a noble ideal.

Naturally this will inspire imitators who are hoping God will give them a good reward for their sacrifice. Alas there have been imitators such as one George Meston who handed over his entire estate to PCG.

Another man in Canada also handed over practically all his assets to PCG which began a lawsuit which PCG lost.

Another example of a man who intends to follow this example and hand over his inheritance to PCG may be seen here.

PCG has even published a Royal Vision article written by Mark Nash, "Payable upon Death", in the January/February 2004 issue which gives instructions on how PCG members are able to imitate the high ideal set by HWA. And give the Organization even more money than the obligatory three tithes that they have to pay while alive.

Rather then encouraging members to look to their families, or letting them use some money after they die they are encouraged to give it all up to the Organization. This weakens family ties in favor of a demanding loyalty to the collective. This shows a terrible disregard to other family members.

PCG members are encouraged to hand over all their possessions as though the obligatory three tithes and other expected offerings and the Building Fund are somehow not enough for Flurry's PCG.

Such behavior clearly marks the Philadelphia Church of God as a high demand group. Such behavior is dysfunctional and most certainly unbecoming of an Organization that claims to represent God.

The Philadelphia Church of God is a high demand group.


  1. "The Philadelphia Church of God is a high demand group."

    Yes they are. Keep up the good work exposing these cults.

  2. Of course, the point you are overlooking is that true Biblical Christianity is a high demand religion.

    Truly, we have to lose our lives. We have to surrender to the death of the old man. We have to be willing to forsake all and everything for the privilege of knowing Jesus Christ.

    You might like to ask yourself, Redfox, (as I will ask of myself), "Is my every word, action, posting the result of Christ living His life in me?"

  3. Some of the high demands that are placed on members are Scripturally illegitimate. Any demands that are not in the Bible cannot be legitimately asked for by the church.

    Second Tithe and the Armstrongite manner of observing the Feast of Tabernacles are Scripturally illegitimate. There is no biblical support to assume that the Feast of Tabernacles should be observed in the way it is observed by the Armstrongites, and therefore the legitimacy of Second Tithe is severely undermined.

    Those teachings are simply human errors and show that God is not working through the Armstrongites.

    Is supporting "the Work" the most important activity on the earth today? What are we to make of the facts that have made many false prophecies. God cannot be working through them. Therefore their work is in vain.

    I ask is hiding the second and third tithes from "the world" an imitation of Christ? The Organizations mislead people and leave them unaware that such things are expected of them. Is such misleading tactics practiced by these Organizations an imitation of Christ?

    Even if "true Biblical Christianity is a high demand religion" this does not excuse in the least the deceptive recruitment tactics used by the various Organizations or their various practices which are totally unscriptural.

  4. Redfox, I possess a public document of LCG which mentions the three tithes. So they at least are not hiding them from the public.

    But since you raise the "imitation of Christ" in regard to hiding things from the public I invite you to actually study your Bible. What instances do you know of where Christ hid information from the public? Do you know of any?

  5. Paris,

    I am sorry if what follows seem to be harsh, but I must tell the truth as best as I can.

    I must admit your first comment was quite clever but you have to first prove that HWA's teachings actually are "true Biblical Christianity". I am afraid, with all due respect, that I cannot believe his doctrines were so. This includes the Armstrongite observance of the Feast of Tabernacles and Second and Third Tithes.

    Now I would appreciate knowing what the this public document is.

    It can't be their Statements of Beliefs, which mentions tithing but does not mention second or third tithe.

    It can't be this 2001 TW article, which also does not mention Second or Third Tithe.

    It can't be this 2006 TW article, which also does not mention Second or Third Tithe.

    It can't be Meredith's booklet God's People Tithe!, which also does not mention Second or Third Tithe.

    You say LCG is not hiding these things from the public. Seeing how this very important matter is completely avoided in these sources I find that extremely difficult to believe, I am sorry to say. To not mention a matter of such importance to me seems highly deceptive.

    Such studied avoidance of these issues is evidence to me that nothing they say can be trusted if they will be so sneaky on such an important issue.

    Also in regards to Jesus hiding things from the public in his parables it must be remembered that he told his disciples that what He told in secret is to be told in public after his Resurrection. So since He is resurrected LCG has no excuse to hide these divine truths from us on the outside.

    Why can't they let this light shine within the pages of TW or in Meredith's tithing booklet (Matthew 6: 14-16)? Did not Jesus say let your light shine, not be covered up in a basket? Yet that is precisely what LCG has done with these supposed Biblical truths.

    LCG has no scriptural right to hide these things from potential converts in the manner that they do.

  6. Redfox,
    My comment about true Biblical Christianity being a high demand religion was not clever. Nor was it designed to be. It was simply the truth.

    Have you made your whole life a living sacrifice to Christ? Have you "lost" your life for Christ as he gave His for you? Have you surrendered your will to His? Have you put the old man to death? Please ponder these things.

    I have written things in the past I am ashamed of and have needed to repent of the attitude behind past words. I will strive to follow the Bible and let all my words be for edification.

    I know you will portray my declining to present a documentary record (re: tithing) as evidence that the document does not exist. You would be wrong. Keep looking, please.

    BTW it was not only in His parables that Christ hid information from the public. And, of course, even today none can know Christ unless His Father draws that person and opens his/her mind. I am sure you realize that although the Bible as a physical book is freely available its spiritual truths are still hidden.

  7. First off, "22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children..." (PRO. 13: 22)
    Sure, HWA was benevolent and noble, unless you count the actual words of the Bible as opposed to Steven Flurry's highly abridged summation.

    Second, I read "Even on his deathbed, his final wish was..." and I think "now wait just a second." I recall reading somewhere that HWA was found dead in his bedroom in his easy chair. Correct me if I'm wrong. That means he had no "deathbed" surrounded by mourning comrades straining to hear his empassioned "final wish" for the good of humankind - or anything of the sort. But the image of "on his deathbed" and "final wish" leads me to picture that actually occurring.
    HWA planned not to give the money to his estranged children. It was prepared in advance, not on his deathbed, and certainly not as any "final wish". At BEST Steven Flurry is only speaking metaphorically here, at a grossly inappropriate time for artistic license. At worst, he made that up!

    All this does is reinforce the notion that it was always ever about the money.

  8. RedFox,
    I imagine your search for said document goes something like this:

    "But Mr. RedFox, the document has been available for the last nine months."
    "Oh yes, well, as soon as I heard I went straight round to see it, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to it, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."
    "But the document was on display..."
    "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find it."
    "That's the display department."
    "With a flashlight."
    "Ah, well, the lights had probably gone."
    "So had the stairs."
    "But look, you found the document, didn't you?"
    "Yes, yes I did. It was on display on the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.'"

  9. Also, I would feel remiss in not pointing out that you actually mentioned three things to Paris: 1) Tabernacles, 2) failed prophecies, and 3) the tithe document. Of which she only addressed the third, and with claims of a document that many have searched for and which she is thus far unable to produce.
    Now, I am not inferring that she is being deceptive. My point is ONLY that she is being highly selective here.

    About the Tabernacles keeping, not only are you correct in saying "There is no biblical support to assume that the Feast of Tabernacles should be observed in the way it is observed by the Armstrongites," but we in fact have strong Biblical support to the contrary of how it is being kept.

    About the false prophecies, they are clearly dealt with in scripture (as everyone already well knows), not the least of which being Deuteronomy 18: 20-22, which says:

    "20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."