Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Key of David's Tale

When Gerald Flurry began the Philadelphia Church of God he crafted a narrative that was used to explain the bewildering events of WCG's transformation and tell dissatisfied WCG members what action they should take to satisfy God and to give them a renewed sense of purpose under these new circumstances. This tale is a fundamental part of PCG's identity. Anyone coming to understand PCG needs to understand this tale. If this tale should turn out to be false then PCG will be proven false. The tale essentially goes like this, in my own paraphrase:
Herbert W. Armstrong was the prophesied Elijah used by God to restore all things to God's Church which had forgotten many truths over the centuries. Satan tried to attack the work but as long as people listened to HWA all was well.

Then one day he died. It was around that time, as prophesied by Mr. Armstrong, Satan attacked God once again and this time he was cast down onto the earth. In his great wrath he took possession of the Son of Perdition, Joseph W. Tkach, Jr. and inspired him to attack God's work from within unleashing the Great Falling Away. Ninety five percent of God's people then forsook the truth because of the lie of the Son of Perdition and they became the Laodiceans. Half of them will die in the Great Tribulation.

Only one man, Gerald Flurry, arose to challenge this apostasy. God revealed the Little Book to him, Malachi's Message, which was delivered to him by an Angel. He was called to "Prophesy Again." Only the Philadelphians discerned where God was truly working. They banded together under Gerald Flurry in an effort to warn the Laodiceans before the Great Tribulation comes upon them and continue the work by preaching HWA's 18 truths.

Only the Philadelphias will be able to escape by fleeing to Petra during the Great Tribulation. Half of the Laodiceans will die forever but then, finally, they will repent and know that God spoke to them through That Prophet Gerald Flurry and half of the Laodiceans will be saved.

After that we shall all be reunited from our present separation as divine members of the God Family, ruling the world as part of God's Government centered in Jerusalem. And we shall be happy forever and ever.
PCG was able to produce a moving narrative that not only explained what was happening during the transformation but also gave a sense of purpose. The PCG member also was able to become a part of a redemptive mission to restore the truth among the Laodiceans in response to the Changes.

We will see just how realistic this tale is later on. But let us further analyze the allure such a tale would hold for a WCG member cast adrift in the confusion of the Changes.

This tale has all the elements of a great movie: an original serene condition (WCG under the prophesied Elijah--HWA), a villain comes to ruin everything (Satan is banished to earth and leads the Tkaches and the transformation), spiritual darkness and oppression (the confusion during the changes), evil villains (the Laodiceans who forsake the truth), a hero emerges to show the righteous the way (Gerald Flurry receives the Little Book from an Angel to reveal that all this, the apostasy and even his appearing, was prophesied in the Bible), the call for action ("Prophecy Again," warning Laodicea, raising the ruins by republishing the writings of HWA, restoring the college, the auditorium, etc. and funding that by paying the three tithes), present day vindication (despite how Satan tried to stop us we go on, gaining the copyrights to HWA's works, building up a great work), and later future vindication (fleeing to the Place of Safety at Petra while the Laodiceans are corrected in the Great Tribulation, half of whom will die forever while the other half will see that Gerald Flurry was sent by God and will repent and submit to God's Government), and the happy ending (all of God's Church resurrected, half of Laodicea returns and are reunited because they finally came to their senses and see that Gerald Flurry is God's Man, and all together lead the world into the World Tomorrow).

Touching, is it not?

This narrative found a receptive audience among WCG members struggling to understand what was happening. Many were confused and bitterly disappointed that the leadership which Elijah had appointed had chosen to renounce the truth. They wondered where was God working now? How can the Work continue? They needed someone to explain what was happening. This narrative was Gerald Flurry's explanation to them, and it clearly had a powerful impact among the confused WCG membership.

It is so moving some may very well have forgotten to ask themselves: can this tale be trusted? We will deal with that later.

Imagine the impact this tale had upon WCG members desperately trying to understand what was happening during the Changes. One day you look in the mail and some material containing a book called Malachi's Message or maybe a few copies of their magazine The Philadelphia Trumpet are included. (In the early years of PCG it was their practice to gather up WCG mail lists and send Malachi's Message and other materials to them unsolicited. One example of this may be seen here.) What is the WCG member's reaction to such materials?:

"Satan's now here on earth? Oh my! What can I do? WCG is no longer the Work but have now become Laodiceans and half of them will die forever in the Great Tribulation? Oh! what I am going to do? Ninety five percent of God's people have forsaken the truth? Am I one of the ninety five percent? How am I ever going to get into the Place of Safety at Petra against such odds? What can I do about this? How can I be one of the five percent?"

PCG in response said, in my own words: Just join us. We will warn the Laodiceans for you. You will get to the Place of Safety if you are here. Any troubles and sacrifices experienced in the present life will seem as nothing compared to the great glory awaiting you as divine members of the God Family ruling over the World Tomorrow, reunited with the now separated brethren who will repent during the fires of the Great Tribulation. This future could be yours and all you have to do is join us in the work of warning physical and spiritual Israel.

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? What a beautiful vision PCG gave to those WCG members struggling to understand what was going on during the Changes.

PCG members are absolutely dazzled by the vision of ruling as God Beings as part of God's Government, reunited with their reconciled Laodicean brethren. It is this dream that allows them to excuse themselves for shunning anyone who dares to leave or get expelled from PCG, to view any outside influences as transient and ultimately of little value, to submit themselves to whatever the PCG ministry requires even to the point of abstaining from life saving medicines, paying three tithes, attending the annual Feast of Tabernacles at great expense, banning themselves from Facebook, etc.

This narrative had a powerful impact upon many WCG members struggling to understand the Changes. It served to validate those who wished to remain adhering to the teachings of HWA, gave them an explanation to understand these bewildering events, emboldened them with a goal to warn Laodicea thus showing love to them, gave them a new leader similar to HWA, reassured them that they would get to the Place of Safety at Petra.

However all these conditions would only be fulfilled if one was fully submitted to the Government of God (their rule). If for whatever reason one should leave or get expelled from PCG then all such benefits are revoked: He (or she) is forbidden to associate with any PCG member, even close family members. He discover himself to be just another "spiritually dying Laodicean." Any elitist sense of being one of the faithful five percent is now rudely taken away. The explanation is that it is his own fault even though he cannot see why. He cannot warn Laodicea because now he is one of them. He will not get to the Place of Safety, thus he will be caught up in nuclear World War III, and there is a fifty-fifty chance he will die forever. It is these fears that force the PCG member to stay inside and passively accept the many problems that occur with PCG rather than leave.

To further entrench this tale into the minds of the PCG believers most of the books of the Bible are now reinterpreted. Much of PCG's writings are devoted to interpret the various books of the Bible in order to make them conform with this narrative.

Are they any problems with this tale?
  • Malachi's Message sounds suspiciously similar to Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea which was written before Malachi's Message. It is simply a plagiarism. You can read Letter to Laodicea here.
  • In one place Gerald Flurry said he got it from a mighty angel, but in other places he makes no mention of angels but simply states that he simply typed up the manuscript over a few months, as portrayed in Raising the Ruins. No Angel required. (Raising the Ruins make no mention of PCG's belief that Malachi's Message is the Little Book.)
  • Gerald Flurry originally identified Tkach Sr, as the Son of Perdition. "At the time of HWA's death Satan was cast down to earth. Joseph W. Tkach became the prophesied "son of perdition" who has polluted most of God's "Philadelphians" into becoming "the Laodiceans.""(Ambassador Report 54, Flurry's Philadelphians, February 1994.) "Who was revealed as the "man of sin" this time? Previously, GF declared that Joseph Tkach Sr. was the man of sin, but he is dead now. So how many are there? Two? Three?" (Gerald Flurry's Sermon: Revealing Satan.) Now that he is dead Gerald Flurry has changed it to Tkach Jr. This is a failed prophecy.
  • Flurry has changed the meaning of Laodiceans. Under HWA the Laodiceans were viewed as simply "lukewarm" but they not viewed as agents of Satan, as people actively trying to destroy God's Work. This redefinition is forgotten in the PCG's tale.
  • HWA applied "Prophesy Again" to himself visiting world leaders after 1972 in a desperate attempt to recycle his failed 1972 prophecy of the beginning of the Great Tribulation. HWA did this is his November 19, 1976 co-worker letter. This fact is conveniently ignored. Also it appears that "Prophesy Again" actually applied to John writing the rest of Revelation.
  • Gerald Flurry has blasphemously labeled himself as That Prophet. A doctrine he instituted in PCG around 1999.
  • Most importantly of all, it can be conclusively proven that HWA was a false prophet as he made many false prophecies. Most notably he predicted that Jesus Christ would return in 1975, and then by 2005, but these predictions have hopelessly failed proving that HWA is not revealing messages from God. PCG are attempting to raise the ruins of a false prophet. Such efforts are vain.
It is for this tale that PCG members have chosen to place their relationships with God in the hands of a man who actively seeks to follow a false prophet. PCG members are allured by the promise of being part of an epic redemptive narrative, saving the Laodiceans and the world.

They are so caught up in this tale they cannot see that Gerald Flurry was clearly influenced by Jules Dervaes' works, that they are seeking to revive the works of a false prophet and that they are caught up in error.

They do not see how fear is constantly used to keep them in when love is supposed to cast out fear.

They do not see that PCG's No Contact with Laodiceans rule is a most cruel, immoral and evil rule which PCG has no right to enforce and which will not help PCG members' standing with God in the least.

They do not see how PCG can never take them to a Place of Safety because they rely on a false prophet therefore their hope to get there through PCG is useless. Rather they should put their trust in Jesus who does not communicate through Gerald Flurry.

They do not see that the Tkach Changes were not a unique event and therefore do not prove that Satan hates this religion more than any other.

PCG and HWA do not possess the truth.

God is not a family of beings into which we can be born into. This is just an alluring tale which HWA stole from the Mormons. There is no truth in it. HWA and PCG cannot gave such things to their followers.

"Isaiah 43:10: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." " (Source.)

They do not know that HWA was just a liar as that scripture above proves.

May the Lord free them from these monstrous errors and from this deceptive tale.


  1. "May the Lord free them from these monstrous errors and from this deceptive tale."

    It's all like a wonderfully well written story ... from the Twilight Zone. But it's real!

    It never ceases to amaze me that I was caught up in it. But Amen to your prayer for freedom! I was set free, and it is impossible to describe how good it is to be free. Praise God!

    And just so you know, I am always thankful to our Savior that you were set free! And I'm thankful for this sacrifice of your time and energy that you perform here in service of this hope from God that those captives who remain will be set free with us. It is much needed. Thank you.

  2. Your bullet points in particular, as well as the rest of your entry, clarify many important points that need to be stated succinctly about how Flurry began his Philadelphia cult.

    Many of Flurry's harebrained beliefs are well hidden behind the College, his son's Raising The Ruins or other slick publications.

    Bringing PCG's hidden belief systems, such as the ones you outline, out into the open in a coherent manner for uninformed outsiders to understand, is a very difficult task.

    He has even ordered tapes of his own SERMONS delivered to PCG congregations destroyed!

  3. Thank you xHWA and Stan Gardner for posting your thoughts.

    I agree Mr. Gardner. This (false) story that PCG preach needs to be told plainly. This tall tale is very important to PCG.

    By the way I've added some two references to Prophecy Again slogan in each of the synopses. I had somehow overlooked that slogan before.

  4. I've added another bullet point:

    HWA applied "Prophesy Again" to himself visiting world leaders after 1972 in a desperate attempt to recycle his failed 1972 prophecy of the beginning of the Great Tribulation. HWA did this is his November 19, 1976 co-worker letter. This fact is conveniently ignored. Also it appears that "Prophesy Again" actually applied to John writing the rest of Revelation.

  5. You're so detailed here that it's hard to add anything to it. But the PCG narrative may be changing.

    Did you see "Key of David" a couple of weekends ago? At HWAC commencement in May, Mr. Flurry declared he believes God inspired PCG to begin at about the same time as the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope -- to give a God-perspective NASA would not.

  6. Thank you for the compliment. It is much appreciated.

    I did not see that. I suppose I'll have to see that for myself.

    That reminds of the time the Watchtower Society contemplated resetting the beginning of "the time of the end" from 1914 (as they now teach) to 1957 because that was when Sputnik, the first artificial satellite was launched. (See Prophecy & Inspiration: 1980 on this page.)

    Originally WTS said "the time of the end" began in 1799 and Armageddon would occur in 1914. But after 1914 they turned that date into the beginning of "the time of the end."