Friday, May 23, 2014

Reading PCG's Booklet, Haggai: Proof of God's Work Today

Now let us take a look at Gerald Flurry's booklet, Haggai: Proof of God's Work Today, the 2004 version. This booklet was originally published in 1995. It was later revised in 2004, 2009 and 2011. It's name was even changed. The 2004 edition is named Haggai: Proof of God's Work Today. The current 2011 version is entitled Haggai: God has Begun to Shake the Nations.You can read the current 2011 version here, but it seems to be quite different from what I read here. For instance the 2004 version contains four chapters, while the current version contains only two chapters and seems to have a greater focus upon the supposed future Great Tribulation then previous versions.

Recently I cannot help but see that Gerald Flurry's writings have a constant theme: Gerald Flurry claims to have "new revelation" which inevitably turns out to be his announcement that (insert name of Biblical book here) is (1) all about the Tkach changes, (2) the rise of PCG in opposition to them and (3) only PCG members will be taken to a place of safety while (4) all others will be damned by enduring the Great Tribulation. I wonder if Flurry will start talking about something else?
Obviously, it’s for this end time. This book discusses what happens in the temple—or God’s Church today (see 1 Corinthians 3:17). (p. 1.)
 Clearly not. Let us continue.
These verses mean that if a minister has a problem with God’s law—His government—then “that which they offer … is unclean.” Every work of their hands is polluted! The ministers who are contaminated poison all of those who follow them. They are all breaking the first and most important commandment of God. They are putting themselves ahead of the one true God. ...

The spiritual food they feed the members is defiled—infected—corrupt! The spiritual lesson in these verses is that we are not to even touch this spiritually poisoned food—much less eat it! And the people who eat it are going to get sick spiritually. Many of them are going to die forever! We must see how terribly serious this is. Eternal life and eternal death are at stake! No wonder God says not to even TOUCH such an offering! (pp. 3-4.)
With heated rhetoric like this is it any wonder why so many PCG members can imagine, despite great reluctance, that shunning the Laodiceans make sense to them? It is because PCG's leaders constantly indoctrinate them that Laodiceans are accused, that a PCG member could lose his or her eternal salvation be somehow getting too close to a Laodicean.
God used Mr. Armstrong to restore ALL things (Matthew 17:10-11). God’s government was the most important doctrine he restored. The Worldwide Church of God and all the groups that left that Church—except the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg)—have rejected the government God established through Mr. Armstrong! And that is the precise reason why God will not do His work through them. What they offer to God is unclean—even those groups that still keep many of the doctrines Mr. Armstrong taught. (p. 4.)
Once again Flurry claims that all COG groups aside from PCG deviate from HWA's doctrine of "God's government" which is actually one-man rule.
All of the Laodicean groups reject Mr. Armstrong as the end-time Zerubbabel or Elijah because they first rejected God’s government! And since God’s government is based on His law, they have caused the members to stumble at God’s law! (p. 7.)
Actually many Laodiceans hail HWA as the end time Elijah. Why does Flurry say untrue things?
Mr. Tkach recognized Mr. Armstrong as the end-time Elijah before and shortly after Mr. Armstrong died. But when he began to reject God’s government, he stopped believing this pivotal truth. And so it is with all of the Laodiceans. (Request your free copy of God’s Family Government for more information.)

No doctrine of God comes close to the importance of God’s government. This is the only way God can rule us. God does it through one man at a time—not a collective sort of leadership. If He cannot rule us, He cannot do His work through us. How plain and simple that should be to understand. (p. 8.)
Actually many ex-WCG members to this day, whether Armstrongite, Christian, Atheist or whatever, criticize Tkach for not ending one man rule, but rather using the one man rule he inherited from HWA to change WCG. Tkach did not abolish one man rule, as is inaccurately implied here, he simply used it to change WCG.

In chapter 1 Flurry simply uses the issue of HWA as the end time Elijah and the supposed rejection of "God's government" by the Laodiceans to discredit all other COG groups except his own PCG.

Chapter 2

Flurry appeals to the memory of HWA and recalls the glory of Ambassador Auditorium. He also implies that it may be demolished in the future as a sign of divine disapproval of the Tkach changes. He made the same insinuation in his booklet, The Lion Has Roared (p. 9.).

Flurry quotes at length HWA's co-worker letter of January 20, 1964 announcing the construction of Ambassador Auditorium and claiming it to be done in response to a command from God in the Book of Haggai (pp. 9-12.).

After that Flurry announces some "new revelation" he says he received from God regarding Haggai 2:9 was in fact a prediction of the rise of HWA and the construction of Ambassador Auditorium by HWA in fulfillment of his role as the end time Zerubbabel.
Now, let me give you some exciting new revelation from God! ... This verse is also a prophecy that God would build a physical house of God through an end-time Zerubbabel! Mr. Armstrong filled that role in these latter days. Mr. Armstrong did indeed receive a command from God to build the house of God in Pasadena, California. Haggai tells us so! But until now we have believed his statement by our faith. Now we understand a verse that clearly proves that God did inspire and even prophesy about His house in Pasadena, California! This prophecy was revealed to the Laodicean era, when God’s peace was being destroyed in His house. That is the emphasis of Haggai 2.
Look at the “peace”—the spiritual gifts—that flowed so abundantly from that house! Think of all the glorious books and booklets God inspired through Mr. Armstrong. That is what the prophecy in Haggai 2:9 is all about. (pp. 13-4.)
Flurry is talking about this Ambassador Auditorium?
The Ambassador Auditorium is a beautiful building, and some of the performances that take place there are undoubtedly of the finest quality. But sometimes even music critics wonder at some of the goings on there. For instance here is an excerpt from a Los Angeles Times (Oct. 19, 1980) review of a Martha Graham Dancers performance at Ambassador Auditorium (otherwise known as the "House for God"):

"The novelty of the evening took the quasi-deja-vu form of 'Judith,' a recent reworking of a solo first devised by Graham in 1950 (to music of William Schuman) and revised in 1962 (score then by Mordecai Seter). The current incarnation, much expanded, utilizes the familiar erotic-symbolic-primal sculptures of Isamu Noguchi, the gently otherworldly music of Edgar Varese ('Integrales,' 'Offrandes,' 'Octandre') and some dazzling cloaks and body drapes by the ubiquitous Halston.

"It also employs Peggy Lyman in a torturous, often successful Graham imitation as the biblical heroine who first seduces, then destroys the Assyrian warrior Holofernes. There is much artful crouching and contorting and jumping here, most of it symmetrical and meticulously ordered and theatrically mechancial. Lyman broods and stalks imposingly. Wingerd provides a nice naked (well, nearly naked) heroic foil. Judith Garay is raped picturesquely by the intruding warriors. (All this in the cultural home of the Worldwide Church of God!) [The preceding sentence with exclamation point is the reviewer's, not ours.]

"Still, one watches the elaborate play and interplay, the cerebral-sexual competition, the angular athletics, and one thinks ...." (Ambassador Report 14, Decmeber 1, 1980.)
Also it should be pointed out that Flurry studiously ignores the great betrayal many ex-WCG members feel regarding spending so much money building and maintaining Ambassador Auditorium, the fact that dissatisfaction over Ambassador Auditorium's extravagant cost was a major reason for the various mass defections out of WCG in the 1970s. He also ignores the distress some WCG members felt over it when they concluded that it actually contained Masonic symbolism. (I cannot personally say if they are right, but I wish to acknowledge that some WCG members were worried about that.)

I shall continue with chapters 3 and 4 in a future post.

To be continued...

(Update: May 27, 2014: I have added an image of the booklet's cover as it was printed in an earlier edition.)

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