Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Reading Chapter 1 of PCG's Booklet, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Let us now read through Chapter 1 of Wayne Turgeon and Gerald Flurry's booklet, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It was first printed in 1995. It was later revised in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2013. Here I am reading through the 2005 version. Chapter 1 of the current 2013 version appears to be very similar to the 2005 version analyzed here. You can read the current version of this booklet on their website.

For this post I shall only go through Chapter 1, which was the only chapter written by Gerald Flurry. The rest were written by his son-in-law, Wayne Turgeon. I will not bother with those at present.

As is typical in Armstrongism Flurry teaches the first horseman refers to the rise of non-Sabbatarian "apostate" Christianity.
The first horseman is first because he causes the most suffering by far! He goes forth “conquering, and to conquer.” The word conquer means “to come off with the victory” (Thayer’s Lexicon). This conquering occurs in the time between Christ’s first coming and His Second Coming. ... But in truth, the first horseman causes most of the gruesome events of the other three! These catastrophes occur because men are deceived. The first and most deadly horseman is religious deception! And yet men are so casual and shallow in their religious interests that they fail to see this. ... Mankind has no idea how much suffering is caused by religious deception. (p. 3.)
A lot of those effected by PCG will find that last statement quite ironic.

Like many of his other writings Gerald Flurry insists the first horseman is all about the Tkach changes.
The word many should read the majority. The MAJORITY of God’s own people are letting their love wax cold in this end time! It’s the same Laodicean problem related in Revelation 3:14-20. There is no worse tragedy for God’s own people. Even they are struck by the arrows from the bow of the first horseman. (p. 4.)
Who among "God's people" (those who believe and follow most of the teachings of HWA) are deceived by the first horseman? Flurry says those who deny that HWA was the end time Elijah are Laodiceans doomed to be left behind in the Great Tribulation.
So what really ended? When the gospel was preached around the world as a witness, then that work ended. It was the end of the Philadelphia era and the beginning of the Laodicean era in God’s Church (Revelation 3:7-20). A man [Flurry means HWA.- Redfox712.] came and finished an end-time work (Zechariah 4:9). Then he was taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:7). ...

This man would restore all things. He would do the greatest work of any of God’s leaders in the end time. But God’s end-time Laodicean Church would be deceived about who this man was—just as they were in the first century about an Elijah who came then! ... Only the true disciples knew that John the Baptist filled the first-century role of Elijah. And only God’s true disciples today know that Herbert W. Armstrong was the END-TIME Elijah!

None of the Laodiceans today recognize Mr. Armstrong as this end-time Elijah. And it is to their own shame! (pp. 5-6.)
It is important to understand that Flurry teaches that all COG groups outside of PCG are Laodicean.  
The Laodiceans are comprised of the WCG and other groups that have left the WCG—except the PCG. (Gerald Flurry, Malachi's Message, 2008 version, p. 30.)
This booklet was first published in 1995 and then reissued in 2005. The highlighted statement is nothing but a most blatant lie.

In fact many COG groups outside of PCG do in fact recognize HWA as being the end time Elijah. How can Flurry say something so untrue? Why do PCG members read him lying to them and do nothing about it? If PCG members love truth so much why is Flurry writing such utterly untrue things?

Why does Flurry say untrue things?

After that utterly untrue statement Flurry then fear mongers that we are very close the start of the Great Tribulation as the COGs have been doing since the 1930s.
So when we saw the gospel being preached around the world, we should have known it was the end time. But when that work ceased, we were in the very end of the end time! 
When Mr. Armstrong died, it was a great turning point in this world and in God’s Church. The whole world must come to see that! Satan, no doubt, was then cast to this Earth (Revelation 12:9). Satan’s own wrath greatly intensified the world’s problems (verse 12). Then he persecuted the woman, or God’s Church. Only a remnant of God’s people were not deceived by Satan; it is these whom God will protect from Satan’s greatest wrath—the Great Tribulation (verse 14). But God’s Word prophesied that many in God’s Church would be deceived shortly before that and would have to go into the Tribulation (verse 17; Revelation 11:1-3).

The first horseman of the apocalypse has struck a powerful blow to God’s end-time Church! (p. 6.)
I find it curious that Flurry should say "we should have known it was the end time" as though many WCG members thought otherwise. In fact WCG members did believe that it was the end time in HWA's time. In fact HWA even taught that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972.

Also it is now twenty eight years since HWA's death. Nineteen years since this booklet was first published. Is it still the end of the end time? This seems like such a long time for the end time to end.

This passage also highlights one of PCG's peculiarities, namely Flurry's teaching that Satan was cast out of heaven upon HWA's death in 1986.

When Flurry says, "Only a remnant of God’s people were not deceived by Satan", he actually means PCG members. He is simply crudely intimidating readers into joining PCG.

It also needs to be stated that no one knew that WCG would change the way it did under Tkach before HWA's death. It was not taught or expected as something that was bound to happen as Flurry constantly implies. In fact many WCG members were indoctrinated by leaders like Gerald Waterhouse to believe that HWA would live to see the Great Tribulation and become one of the Two Witnesses.
If God’s people didn’t even recognize the mighty work of God’s end-time Elijah, how could they ever know when to flee? We recognize the end-time Elijah by faith and we flee by faith. Now is the time to build that strong faith. (p. 7.)
These words falsely imply that all non-PCG COG groups deny that HWA was the end time Elijah. That is not true at all. If Flurry cannot be trusted to be honest about that how can he be trusted on when to flee?
When the gospel stops going around the world, we can begin to watch for specific signs—like God’s Church being attacked by armies of demons, the rapid collapse of Israel, the rise of the abomination of desolation, nuclear power out of control and other serious signs we’ll mention later. (p. 7.)
Apparently COG splinter groups will be "attacked by armies of demons" somehow. What does that even mean?

It was my understanding that those left behind would be persecuted by the European Beast Power. But I never heard anything about armies of demons, spiritual or otherwise.
We are commanded to watch for a reason. We must warn the world—and even more importantly, God’s own Laodiceans! Again, their salvation is at stake! Examine our literature, and you’ll see that we warn as Christ commands. (p. 9.)
Here he hopes the reader will become fearful of being cast into the Great Tribulation unless he or she joins PCG. Flurry is once again crudely intimidating people into joining PCG.

Also part of "warning Laodiceans" is to shun them. Although Flurry does not mention that here, that has been the practice of PCG since 2000, five years before this booklet's version was printed. What is Flurry's response to those who justly condemn him for this?

Also it has been shown here on this blog that Flurry constantly makes inaccurate and misleading statements over and over again. PCG's liturature are in fact filled with untrue and misleading statements, such as all Laodiceans reject "God's government", or that all Laodiceans reject HWA as the end time Elijah.

Also it should be stated that it is widely known that many of the ideas within Gerald Flurry's booklet, Malachi's Message, were plagiarized from The Letter to Laodicea by Jules Dervaes, written December 1986-January 1988. It was sent to 237 WCG ministers including Gerald Flurry and John Amos. In fact on September 26, 1990 Jules Dervaes sent a letter to Gerald Flurry in which he denounces Malachi's Message as "a direct and clear plagiarism" of his work.
There is no point in watching if we don’t warn. The Laodiceans don’t see God’s most urgent warning message. Some people say we lack love and are attacking our brethren. We are not attacking, but we are watching and warning! God uses us to rebuke them in love (Revelation 3:19). That is because their own love is waxing cold. (p. 9.)
So shunning Laodiceans is excused away as simply warning the Laodiceans. In fact Flurry even accuses those who protest and oppose this shunning as losing the ability to truly love the Laodiceans.
The Philadelphia Church of God is the only Church of God today that continues to teach the same government God taught through Mr. Armstrong. The Laodiceans have rejected that government. That is the main reason God won’t use them to do His work. (p. 10.)
Nonsense. Many COG groups have one man rule just as PCG has. Is there anything Flurry won't do in his quest to get more tithes payers?
After the Laodiceans reject Mr. Armstrong as fulfilling the Elijah office, it’s easy for them to reject God’s government. If they accepted that government, they would NEVER have rejected Mr. Armstrong as the end-time Elijah. That is a colossal mistake! (p. 11.)
More nonsense. Many other COG groups have one man rule and also teach that HWA was the end time Elijah. Flurry is simply trying to drive a wedge between the reader and any other COG group in the hope that he or she will join PCG.
The Church that is ruled by God does God’s work. But what is that work? It is to “give them meat in due season”—which certainly includes watching and warning the Laodiceans and the whole world. Our primary job is not to preach the gospel around the world—though we do preach the gospel. The emphasis of our message is to watch and warn. It is a season to warn! And only a short span of time is left to do that job. (p. 11.)
Despite being ordered to shun Laodiceans so many PCG members accept such draconian rules. Why would they do this? It is partly because they listen to words like this and believe them.
God is going to make us rulers over the whole universe. The word ruler is the same word discussed earlier. Here is the most profound message ever delivered by God! We must be RULED by God’s government today or God could never allow us to RULE the vast universe! (Hebrews 2:7-8). We absolutely must see how towering this glory and responsibility is. It is urgently necessary that we learn to be ruled now. Only Mr. Armstrong taught us how to be ruled. It’s all for our own golden reward! We can’t be Laodicean sloppy in this area! (pp. 11-12.)
So Flurry will lead us to become rulers over the entire universe. What example does he set for us?
The fruits prove that Mr. Armstrong had God’s government. But every Laodicean rejects it. That is exactly why they are Laodicean! (p. 12.)
In the very next page Flurry makes this utterly inaccurate statement. In fact many COG groups practice exactly the same kind of government HWA taught and practiced, namely one man rule often labeled as "God's government."

Then Flurry stirs up anger and resentment among PCG members to rally then under PCG's rule and portray Laodiceans as utterly depraved and oppressive.
After being disappointed, these people of God got drunk spiritually. Remember, God talks to us on different levels. But He talks to His own Church spiritually. “And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken” (Matthew 24:49). Which Church of God today is smiting their fellow servants? Only the Worldwide Church of God really has that power. They laid the doctrinal foundation established by Herbert Armstrong to waste—wrecking God’s true Church. Those who fought these false changes were cast out of the Church by their own “brethren” and “fellow servants”—their own Family (Isaiah 66:5).

Many Philadelphia Church of God members said this was the most traumatic experience of their lives. After all, we are discussing people’s eternal lives. A fierce battle raged and still rages between God’s very elect and the first horseman. These verses are discussing a devastating Church split. These Laodiceans wanted to “drink with the drunken.” They wanted the Babylonian doctrines of this world. (pp. 12-13.)
But who did this? Was it not WCG ministers? Why then does Flurry constantly seek to write of all non-PCG followers of HWA as Laodiceans?

It must be stated that many WCG members who joined PCG must have found the Tkach changes a painful and distressing experience. However it needs to be said that many other WCG members who joined other groups also went through exactly the same painful experience. Why does Flurry wish to have these people shunned by PCG members?

After that Flurry then fear mongers that unless one joins PCG and pay three tithes to him the reader might be cast into the lake of fire. He ends this chapter with these words.
The first horseman of the apocalypse has deceived this world. But the far greater tragedy is what this deceptive monster has done, and is doing, to God’s own people. This horse is galloping over God’s own saints—deceiving and destroying probably more saints than at anytime in the history of God’s Church! May God help us to recognize him—and to heed the thunderous warning message coming out of God’s true remnant Church today! (p. 13.)
And so this chapter ends. At present I will not bother reading Wayne Turgeon's writings that comprise the rest of this booklet.

In the current 2013 version this chapter appears to be very similar to the 2005 version that has just been analyzed.

So we see that Gerald Flurry has once again used a part of the Bible, in this instance Revelation 6, to claim it is all about the Tkach changes, the rise of PCG, that PCG members will go to the place of safety and all other are doomed to endure the Great Tribulation.

He also inaccurately teaches that all other COG groups do not practice the type of government taught and practiced by HWA, namely one man rule. In fact many COG groups have one man rule.

He also inaccurately claims all other COG groups reject HWA as the end time Elijah. In fact many COG groups teach HWA to be the end time Elijah.

And apparently Tkach's WCG is due to be attacked by armies of demons somehow.

So the message here, as in many other PCG booklets, is pay PCG money or pay with your lives.

[Update June 13, 2014: The rest of this booklet is covered in Part 2.]

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