Friday, April 25, 2014

Does PCG's No Contact Policy Apply to Stephen Flurry?

Way back in 2009 I read Stephen Flurry's book, Raising the Ruins, and extensively documented what I read in that book.

While reading that book I noted that Stephen Flurry stated that he had a "telephone interview" with Aaron Dean as may be seen in this previous post
1986: HWA rejects Meredith and chooses Joseph W. Tkach as successor. 'Privately, [HWA] also told several leaders that Rod Meredith should never be in that position [leadership]. (Tkach. Jr., Tansformed by Truth, Chapter 6)'
This assertion is also supported by Aaron Dean (UCG), a close aid to HWA at the time, as recorded by Stephen Flurry (PCG). He states that HWA said to him that Meredith must never become leader of the church, and he also says this is why HWA appointed Tkach lest Meredith should take over (Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, Chapter 3). Some of my thoughts on that book may be seen elsewhere. (By the way, the book says that Dean was saying all this in a 'telephone interview', if I understand correctly. Was this before or after the No Contact rule?) Even if we assume that Tkach, Dean and Flurry are just trying to discredit him, it cannot be denied that HWA did not choose Meredith. AR42 September 1989 also discusses the succession but Mr. Trechak here seems unaware of HWA's fear of Meredith. AR52 June 1993 also states the following: 'In fact, before HWA had even died, Meredith privately made statements to the effect that he, and not Tkach, should be Armstrong's successor.'
In HWA's last days he was greatly helped by Aaron Dean who acted as his secretary. Famously HWA thanked Aaron Dean for assisting him in producing his (very badly mistaken) book, Mystery of the Ages. He is now a UCG minster.

Now it needs to be stated here that PCG members are forbidden to have contact "Laodiceans". PCG Information explains the situation. Because of the severity of the situation I shall quote at length. (Yellow highlighting is mine.)
During the time period from about 1990 through 1993 when the Philadelphia Church of God was growing, contact with Church members outside the PCG was encouraged. From about 1994 to 1997 little was said about contact with non-PCG Church members, but it gradually became generally discouraged. In 1998 Gerald Flurry stated, "You could legitimately say that over 95 percent of God's people today have been disfellowshipped!" (PN [Philadelphia News] May/June 1998 pg. 4 left col. p5)

And then in July of 2000 came a taped sermon, not by Gerald Flurry, but by another headquarters minister obviously at his direction [M. Nash, presumably Mark Nash], which explicitly defined a Laodicean as any current or former WCG member who was not a member of the Philadelphia Church of God. The sermon stated that all such individuals had "disfellowshipped themselves by their own actions," and were to be treated as such -- members who had been disfellowshipped and marked (since this was done publicly). ...
Gerald Flurry's mis-application of the disfellowshipping doctrine was printed in the July/Aug. 2004 Royal Vision, pg. 3, and made even more strict in the PGR 2005-12-10, pg. 1-2 (no doubt due to loss of members through contact with their families).
Gerald Flurry's mass disfellowshipping of the "Gerald-Flurry-defined Laodiceans" is biblically baseless. ...

While it is obvious that many in the WCG have turned away from the doctrines taught by HWA, they were by no means trying to cause division within the PCG.  They were not even in the PCG, and posed no threat whatsoever to PCG members who had already been exposed to, and rejected, their teachings.  

There were also many WCG members who still held to the doctrines taught by HWA, and were not trying to cause division within the PCG.  These certainly did not meet the criteria for being disfellowshipped / marked, as their only "crime" was not following Gerald Flurry—some because they didn't accept his claims, and others because they never heard of him or didn't read his literature.

And then there are the many groups that have left the WCG for the very reason of keeping the biblical doctrines taught by HWA.  How can Gerald Flurry say they are causing division contrary to the doctrines we have learned?  He says it is because they have rejected the government of God, but in fact what they have rejected is nothing more than Gerald Flurry's attempt to establish his own government.

There is clearly one reason and one reason only for Gerald Flurry's mass disfellowshipping he fears exposure, the very type of exposure you are reading now in this document.  Gerald Flurry wishes to keep his followers isolated and under his control (please read the section on Mind Control).
This astoundingly draconian policy has been enforced, tearing apart numerous families and friends from each other.

Here is one example of Gerald Flurry's no contact policy being enforced, as may be seen in this letter written to Gerald Flurry. This was written in 2006.
My mother [a member of PCG, aged 88] was recently informed that she is not to communicate with either my sister or myself, presumably on the grounds that we are now under the influence of Satan and she is in danger of being influenced to leave your "church" by our persuasion, born of the devil. ... 

Let me here then move on to inform, assure you, or perhaps to attempt to persuade you, that the main purpose of my letter here is to inform you of my love for my mother.

At age 88, in her twilight years, the only concern of her four children is that she lives happily, for whatever time is left for her. She has been so happy in your organization that she has even moved 200 kilometres to be able to attend services and even struggled to the Feast of Tabernacles this year.

I understand that you believe and teach that my leaving the WCG is a result of me "waxing cold," becoming Laodicean, or "lukewarm" and that my actions are an influence of Satan the Devil. There is no doubt in my mind that any influence of Satan, is with this preposterous ruling you are enforcing, to force a very old and faithful lady into her remaining few years, with misery as her comfort instead of her church.

The idea that this may somehow have an influence on me to rejoin you instead of having your lack of Godliness confirm the reasons I left, only indicates your lack of wisdom and your inability to demonstrate discernment, by the Spirit of the Eternal and with the Mind of God.

I realise you believe your group to be the only true church and that you have all knowledge, all truth and know all things. Your big problem is, without the love of God you are a "tinkling cymbal" 1 Cor.13 (In case you've forgotten).

A fear that your members might be influenced by ex members, other churches or contrary writings, surely demonstrates a lack of confidence in the convictions of your members and the strength of your arguments. 

Why not let their belief be tested by fire, fiery debates and their faith--as my mother's has. Are your members so weak and easily influenced? Are your arguments so flawed? ...

Christ asked the disciple to take care of his mother as he was about to be sacrificed. I wonder what he will say to you, attempting to deny me of doing the same for my mother?
This attitude of hatred towards "Laodiceans" may also be seen in this letter to The Journal, written in 2001. 
[A writer in a previous issue] mentioned that the ministers of the PCG made no effort to offer condolences or even contact those in the family who weren't members of the church.

I know why they didn't. The ministers believe they are the only members in the inner court of God's spiritual temple. To them it is practically a sin to do something as simple as offer a condolence to a nonmember, especially if that person is a member of another Church of God. To them such people are nothing but nasty Laodiceans who are to be treated as though they have been marked.

I know this because an Edmond minister said this several years ago in a sermon. He said brethren in any of the other offshoot churches should be regarded as marked and disfellowshipped.

The longer I am out of the PCG, the more I see how hypocritical and arrogant it is, specifically the ministry, which rules by fear and intimidation. Yet most of the lay members are honest, decent and faithful. I hope they wake up in time to see how misled they are.
(This letter was also mentioned in the self ordained false prophet Bob Thiel's article regarding PCG.)

On December 3, 2005, Gerald Flurry made another sermon "clarifying" the no contact policy which was reported in The Journal.
Indeed, Mr. Flurry, along with several other modern-day Church of God leaders, seems to see Laodiceans as worse than abject heathens. PCG members are permitted to have friendly contact with supposed heathens--those who have never been Sabbath-keeping Christians, including members of Sunday-observant churches--but not with their fellow Church of God members whom the PCG judges to be Laodiceans.

"I want to clarify the Philadelphia Church of God's policy on contact with disfellowshipped family members," Mr. Flurry told the brethren in Edmond Dec. 3. "This issue has not been clear among all our ministers and members. We need to become more unified on it."...

"In the past," he [Gerald Flurry] said "some members" have operated under the mistaken notion that "relationships" with family members are permitted "as long as religion is not discussed." But "that is not what God says."

The Bible "makes it clear that there should be a complete cut-off" of contact with any family member, no matter how closely related, with only two exceptions. [Namely non-PCG spouse or unbaptized children. - Redfox.] ...

Although they may associate with their children as long as they were never converted, "if your children have been baptized and left [the PCG], that relationship should be severed. We must obey God's command." [These are Gerald Flurry's words.]
So we see this is a most serious matter.

Does this no contact rule apply to PCG's leaders?

Apparently not to Stephen Flurry.

I have just learned that PCG has released the notes for Stephen Flurry's book, Raising the Ruins, and it notes when Stephen Flurry interviewed Aaron Dean by telephone. Here is the relevant footnote.
Personal interview with Aaron Dean, November 22, 2005. (Footnotes, 5, 7, 14 and 28 for Chapter 3. Footnotes 1 and 23 for Chapter 4. Footnote 1 for Chapter 5.)
Clearly Stephen Flurry had contact with Aaron Dean after the PCG imposed its no contact policy.

This is five years after Nash's sermon declaring all WCG members or ex-WCG members not in PCG ("Laodiceans") are to be regarded as disfellowshipped and marked. PCG members are ordered to have no contact with these persons.

But Stephen Flurry is allowed to talk, presumably at length, with one of these "Laodiceans", Aaron Dean. He seems to have experienced no punishment at all for violating PCG's no contact policy. 

So it seems clear there are is a severe double standard here. PCG lay members are expected to shun family and friends, even their own children if necessary, in order to stay in good standing with PCG. But Stephen Flurry is allowed to have a long telephone interview with a "Laodicean" like Aaron Dean. 

It is clear that the only purpose of the no contact policy is to control PCG members so that they continue paying three tithes and extra offerings to the bank accounts of PCG minsters. The PCG ministers expect PCG lay members to sacrifice all these things but the PCG ministers indulge in contacting "Laodiceans" all they please.

The only purpose of the no contact policy is to control people. There is no good intention behind this on the part of PCG's leaders. The leaders of PCG are just trying to control people. That is the only conclusion I can reach after seeing this conduct from PCG's leaders.

1 comment:

  1. Rank has its privileges.

    Rank heresy, rank arrogance, rank hubris, rank hypocrisy.