Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Raising the Ruins' Last Chapter

When I read Raising the Ruins they had serialized all but the last few chapters. Now the serialization is finally complete.

The last Chapter, Chapter 25: Raising the Ruins, is an account of the establishment and growth of Herbert W. Armstrong College. Is there anything here that needs comment?

From Chapter 25, Part 2:
my father waited as long as possible before deciding on whether to start the college in the fall of 2001 or to wait until 2002. I wrote to my dad in January of 2001, “In reading from Mr. Armstrong’s experiences, you do immediately think about starting things smaller—the mustard seed beginning, just like the Trumpet and The Key of David started. Do you suppose starting the college this fall, with a smaller class and fewer courses offered, would be better than waiting until 2002? It seems like by fall of 2002 that the land would be much better developed, more buildings would be in place and we’d be able to accept more students—all of that would kind of go against the ‘mustard seed’ beginning.”

My father was leaning toward the smaller start in 2001. But even with a small beginning, it had to be done right. He wondered if our headquarters staff would have enough time to develop the highest-quality courses in theology and the liberal arts, and if the time commitment to do so could be justified for such a small freshman class.
Here they are trying to imitate HWA, who in his Autobiography kept saying that God always begins a Work in a small way like a mustard seed. Observe how the PCG leadership seek for every opportunity to imitate HWA to maintain their legitimacy.

However, as far as I know, HWA did not follow his own rule when he allowed Quest magazine to begin. "In the "rehearsal" issue, HUMAN POTENTIAL [later renamed Quest] announced itself as "The Most Important New Publication For The Last Quarter of The 20th Century"-quite a mouthful from a religious organization that had always prided itself in mustard seed beginnings. (AICF, AR2.)"

Also observe how HWA, Gerald Flurry and Stephen Flurry are all linked together here. They are all being linked together so that Gerald Flurry seems to his legitimacy from HWA and Stephen Flurry has legitimacy from Gerald Flurry.
Few people would have considered Imperial a legitimate college in 2001. [Then why--as of 2008 according to the Fox25 Report--does it still lack accreditation after seven years?] But it has since enjoyed abundant growth—and at a much faster rate than Ambassador experienced in its early years.
I find this comment somewhat curious. Are we supposed to view this college and work as being more prosperous, fruitful, and therefore more blessed by God, than even that of Mr. Armstrong's (unaccredited) College. Is this denigrating HWA? HWA often stated that when Jesus said "You shall know them by their fruits" He meant church membership growth. However what was actually being discussed was the spirituality of people's lives not membership growth.
As our chief financial officer, Andrew Locher, explained, “Part of each student’s education comes through the work-study program, which places them in responsible positions in nearly all departments of church operations. The church in turn benefits from quality labor at a very reasonable cost. Altogether, the students combine to equal 25 full-time employees—at a fraction of the cost! The students are rewarded by earning their way through college and graduating without financial obligation to the church. This is truly a win-win situation conceived by Mr. Armstrong for Ambassador College.” Yet another program we had raised from the ruins.
Andrew Locher delivered the infamous Facebook (so called) sermon which among other places was also discussed here and here in this blog. Is it really such a win-win for the students gaining a degree from an unaccredited college?
But by the end of 2005, after winning all that literature, [Emphasis added.]
Winning here is used as a euphemism for "buying", "purchasing" from the Man of Sin who is Joseph W. Tkach, Jr. (and not Joseph W. Tkach Sr. as That Prophet Gerald Flurry previously said before he passed away in 1995). That specific PCG belief is not stated in this book.
Perhaps the biggest step forward in 2005, as far as literature is concerned, came in January when we started updating and revising Mr. Armstrong’s Bible correspondence course.
However a lot of people are neglecting to finish that Correspondence Course. "So far, 2408 members have signed up for the course. Of those, 150 have completed it. On the other hand, nearly 800 have not yet completed the first test. Another 300 have not past the second test. That means about half of the members enrolled are at lesson 8 or less. While some no doubt signed up recently, some have signed up but failed to continue with the course." (Pastor General's Report, December 27, 2008, p. 4, as seen in May 7 letter.)

I can relate to that experience. I got enrolled with LCG's so-called Bible Study Course. (Both this and PCG's Correspondence courses are actually self indoctrination materials.) They are arranged in series of four lessons each. At the last lesson of each of these four part sections of the course there would be a test of forty questions. The answers had to be filled into a tab. None of the later lessons would be delivered until the test answers was returned. And I must say it was very easy for me to neglect sending those cards in. It's easy to receive regular mail, but once one is required to send something in it is quite possible to simply forget about it and never do it. So I know with first hand experience how much of a problem it can be.

Trivia: The Correspondence Course was revised by Fred Dattolo who was formerly in GCG/LCG till 2001 and is now a minister of PCG.
In January 2006, exactly 20 years after Mr. Armstrong’s death, all that was left from the PCG operations at the old Waterwood complex moved into the new Hall of Administration.
Here's that January 16 superstition poking its ugly head again. But notice how he didn't actually use January 16 but nevertheless they are so desperate to make all look trim and proper he carelessly ignores this discrepancy. It must be emphasized that this concept has huge problems.
Commenting on the building’s breathtaking beauty, my father told members, “Shouldn’t the most wonderful message people could ever hear … come out of a building like that—something that is worthy of God?” As with every other structure on campus, the building itself is a message—a testament to our work of raising Mr. Armstrong’s ruins. God has raised the ruins so we might give a powerful warning to this dying world.
Again here is that disquieting materialism that PCG all too often focuses on acquires through the three tithes of their members.
As I look out my window across campus from my second-floor office in the Hall of Administration, I sit here in absolute awe of WHAT GOD HAS DONE. To think that all of this started 16 years ago with a Worldwide Church of God minister who was fired and excommunicated, offered no severance pay or pension and then laughed to scorn within the circle of Tkachism for simply believing and teaching what he had always been taught. That’s what God had to work with at the start of raising these ruins—that, AND FAITH.
Notice how there is no mention about the reason why they are able to fund such things: PCG members are required to pay three tithes. Those are never mentioned in this book.

In this chapter variations on the phrase Raising the Ruins are used numerous times.
Then God raised it right back up. He began with a small, faith-filled ministry intent on delivering the exact same message Mr. Armstrong did.
"the exact same message Mr. Armstrong" delivered? Would this include changing words in three of his books? Would this include changing HWA's belief that New Testament Prophets have no administrative or executive function to allow Gerald Flurry to proclaim himself to be That Prophet against HWA's teachings? Would this include declaring that Gerald Flurry is Elisha even though Elijah (HWA) specifically said that there would be no end time Elisha? Would this include identifying Iran as the King of the South when old WCG suggested it would be the primarily the Arabs as LCG apologist Bob Theil shows? What about the other additions, the "new revelations," that Gerald Flurry has added?
In many ways, to paraphrase the conclusion in Mystery of the Ages, it feels like the story is just beginning.
This is an imitation of the ending of Mystery of the Ages which ends with these words, "With God's great master plan of seven thousand years finally completed--the mystery of the ages finally revealed, and with the re-creating of the vast universe and eternity lying ahead, we come finally to THE BEGINNING." That book is excessively praised by PCG and even imitated as is done here. A large part of Chapter 16 is devoted to praising this book, which is actually highly misleading. All this praise of Mystery of the Ages is a part of PCG's identity and it also serves to gloss over the fact that PCG has changed Mystery of the Ages for its own benefit.

Alas PCG with this ending has promised to continue their false work of spreading false doctrines and false fear inducing prophecies in the name of the failed prophet of 1975. God is not with PCG. May the Lord free those caught in its grasp.

1 comment:

  1. I saw Raising the Ruins in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble this past weekend. I think it was $10. The lightheartedness my friend and I had at this discovery: priceless.