Wednesday, February 5, 2014

HWA and the Ancient Didache on Prophets and the Poor

Recently I read the Didache, a very old Christian text. Quite possibly one of the oldest pieces of Christian writings outside the New Testament. I wanted to see what it had to say about Christianity and how it compared to what HWA and his various imitators taught.

One fascinating detail about the Didache is how it discusses Prophets. It was HWA's teaching that outside the New Testament there were no Prophets because we now have the Bible. New Testament Prophets had no administrative power. Their purpose was to directly reveal the will of God to believers.This was necessary because there was no New Testament at the time. This was discussed in a previous post (Bolding mine.).
This teaching which That Prophet Gerald Flurry has sought to suppress was the teaching of the alleged end time Apostle and end time Elijah HWA from at least the August 1953, Good News, as may be seen in Herman Hoeh's article 'Government in our Church', pp. 3-4, 7-8.
Even though evangelists were next in authority under the apostles, next in spiritual order and above the evangelists are listed the prophets (I Cor. 12:28). Often in the Bible, prophet means preacher or poet. But in the New Testament history there are several instances mentioned in which prophets-both men and women-were used to foretell by special and personal revelation from God (Acts 11: 27-30; 21: 9-10). They spoke and exhorted the brethren and, if men, sometimes preached, although not usually evangelistic for the purpose of raising up churches.

Those who evangelized had authority over local churches, whereas the prophets had no government office or authority. Even in the Old Testament, where both men and women were used as prophets, none of the prophets had government authority unless they were also judges. In the New Testament, the only prophets with government authority were also apostles, evangelists, or elders (Acts 15:32; I Tim. 4:14).' (p.4).
Also in Mystery of the Ages, Chapter 6, HWA further confirmed this teaching.
No prophets are mentioned as having either administrative, executive or preaching functions in the New Testament Church.
(This statement has since been removed from the book by the present copyright holder, PCG, because it contradicts their dogma that their leader, Gerald Flurry, is "That Prophet" allegedly prophesied in Scripture)

So how does the Didache discuss New Testament Prophets? (Chapters 11 and 13.)
But concerning the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the Gospel, thus do. Let every apostle that comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet that speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one that speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he hold the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit eats not from it, except indeed he be a false prophet; and every prophet who teaches the truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him; but if he says to you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him. ...

But every true prophet that wills to abide among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have not a prophet, give it to the poor. If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the prophets; and of money (silver) and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.
The Didache taught that Prophets were to be housed by Christians but they were to only remain no more than three days. Christians were taught not to listen to any Prophet who "says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him". How very different from HWA these New Testament Prophets were.

Christians were taught to support Prophets with the first fruits "of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep," but if there are no Prophets around they are to be given to the poor. Notice the Didache does not talk about giving money to Prophets.

Already the Didache has shown more concern for the poor than HWA did, who told WCG members not to give to charities supporting refugees in the Biafran War of 1967-70 in Nigeria but instead to send that money to WCG. HWA had indoctrinated many WCG members to believe the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972.
Coworker letter  2/27/70
"THE APPEAL [to help refugees] WAS TO TREAT THE EFFECT, NOT THE CAUSE!… THIS WORK OF GOD is DOING SOMETHING BIG AND IMPORTANT TO STOP THE CAUSE—to PREVENT MORE BIAFRANS from starving… you are having A PART  in spreading Christ’s Gospel… Right HERE is the MOST IMPORTANT WORK ON EARTH TODAY… GIVE generously as you are able.. The way to DO SOMETHING about the starving and dying in Biafra, India, Egypt, and other such areas suffering evils, is to DEAL WITH THE CAUSE, not the effect—to HELP IN THIS GREAT WORK OF THE LIVING CHRIST!" (From Pam Dewey's website.)
There was also the time HWA criticized an ad appealing for donations to feed the hungry in poor third world countries as "an emotional appeal for money" as he did in his December 16, 1984 co-worker letter
It is Sunday morning. I was especially impressed by two TV programs this morning. One showed a television evangelist in a camp of emaciated, starving and dying children and adults in Ethiopia. The evangelist and a doctor were working over dying people. Victims were dying almost by the minute. Many were without any clothing. The doctor was telling of the need for blankets to spread over the starving people. It was a sickening, revolting scene, almost turning the viewers' stomachs inside out. The purpose was an emotional appeal for donations. ...

The program first mentioned above sought to deal with the effect. Just physically feeding the illiterate, poor and hungry does not eliminate the wretched condition, but rather perpetuates it. As Jesus said, the poor you always have with you. And always will if we do not correct the CAUSE of the evil.
So we can see that even though the Didache has only a little to say it still leaves a better example to follow than HWA.

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