Sunday, May 11, 2014

Reading PCG's Colossians: First Century Parallels

Gerald Flurry's booklet, Colossians: First Century Parallels was one of first booklets released by PCG. It was first published in 1992. However it has since been revised four times in 1997, 2000, 2010 and 2013. The current version of this booklet at their website.

Let us see what Gerald Flurry has to say.

Chapter 1
Colossians is the only book in the New Testament to discuss the Laodiceans, except for the book of Revelation. Here are the only specific scriptures where you will find the name Laodicea or Laodicean: Colossians 2:1; 4:13, 15-16 and Revelation 1:11; 3:14-19. (p. 1.)
 So that's why Flurry wrote this booklet so early in his career as leader of PCG.

The Laodiceans were warned around A.D. 60 by Paul. The modern-day Laodiceans (including the Worldwide Church of God and its splinter groups) are being warned today by the Philadelphia Church of God. (p. 2.)
Here Flurry defines all potential rivals as Laodiceans who need to become Philadelphian.

Translation: join my PCG and pay me three tithes or else you will be left behind in the Great Tribulation.

“And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it” (verse 17). Most commentaries agree that the subject is still Laodicea. Now another prominent leader of Laodicea is discussed. It strongly indicates that Archippus was a leading Laodicean minister. He was well known by all the Laodiceans. He was given a public warning!

Archippus was warned so all of the members could prod him to remain loyal! But neither he nor his followers responded. (p. 3.)
Do most commentaries say Paul is talking about Laodicea? Flurry has not proved that assertion here.

Note how Flurry reads this statement, quite neutral in tone, and insists this is Paul sternly warning the Laodiceans to repent of the failings Flurry accuses them of. Flurry seems to be reading quite a lot into this statement.

This is a warning about losing “the hope of the gospel” in this end time. Paul admonishes us to remain “grounded and settled.” “Grounded” means to have a sure foundation. The word “settled” has the added meaning of persistently remaining on the foundation. That foundation is the one Mr. Armstrong laid for the end-time saints. The Laodiceans have not remained on that foundation! They have lost the hope of the gospel! (p. 5.)
If it is so important to remain grounded and settled in what HWA taught then why did PCG's leaders think it necessary to alter three of HWA's writings?

Also who has not "remained on that foundation"? The Laodiceans? It is true the Tkachite WCG has moved away from HWA's teachings. However many COG splinter groups are in fact very loyal and devoted to what HWA has written and taught. At least they do not alter HWA's writings and pass it off as though this was actually written by HWA as PCG does. Gerald Flurry has changed Mystery of the Ages, The Proof of the Bible and Who or What is the Prophetic Beast? There may very well be more.

Secular history tells us that the Colossians and the Laodiceans had a serious conflict over what the gospel was. But more importantly, Bible history in Colossians tells us the same story. Paul was talking to the Colossians and the Laodiceans about “If you continue” in the “hope of the gospel.” The Laodiceans did not continue in the true gospel! Paul warned them while he was in jail. But they still moved to another gospel. They didn’t follow their great leader, who suffered so much for them and for God’s Work. 
In the first century, they heard the true gospel from Paul. We heard it from Mr. Armstrong in the end time. (pp. 5-6.)
Flurry is simply regurgitating what HWA taught about church history. In actual fact it seems that Herbert W. Armstrong greatly distorted the facts regarding early church history.

Now the WCG and other Laodiceans teach not to think of the Kingdom only in terms of the future, but in the present as well. The Church is the Kingdom in embryo. But that is not the Kingdom, and the Kingdom is not here on this Earth now. It is yet to come in the future. (p. 6.)
I will say here that I encountered this idea from LCG. Meredith said something like this in a sermon a saw. However I only encountered this idea when Meredith was explaining away a scripture that appeared to state that the Kingdom of God existed presently in Paul's time. The scripture was Collossians 1:13, "[God] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son". That was the only time I encountered this idea.


Why do people remain within PCG despite being forbidden to contact Laodiceans, paying three tithes and doing other strict requirements they are forced to bear? Partly it is because they are repeatedly told and they believe that great rewards awaits them if they stay within PCG. Some of this can be seen here when Flurry condemns Tkach's renunciation of the God Family doctrine.
Satan hates this doctrine more than any other because he can’t be a son in God’s Family. So Satan influenced the WCG leaders to remove this wonderful and inspiring “hope of the gospel.”

If we remain loyal, we will be God as God is God! That is the “hope of the gospel.” The Laodiceans are warned in the book of Colossians that they are losing that precious hope!
Don’t let Satan destroy your priceless hope. Mr. Armstrong taught that to us for so many years. Read and re-read the Incredible Human Potential and Mystery of the Ages. You are going to be God! (p. 7.)
Actually the idea of the God Family has no scriptural support whatsoever.
Isaiah 42:8: "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."

Isaiah 43:10: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."
Isaiah 44:6: "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God..."
Isaiah 44:8: "Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any." (From Mike of Mike's Enlightenment Page.)
Also it needs to stated that although the Tkachite WCG has renounced the God Family doctrine there are many other COG groups that continue to passionately teach this doctrine. I know this because I used to believe what one of these "Laodicean" COG groups told me about the God Family doctrine.

Chapter 2

While praising Mystery of the Ages he makes this statement.
In this evil world, God has given us the most illustrious revelation—the deepest revelation that man can comprehend. It didn’t come from Mr. Armstrong. It came from out in the cosmos—beyond the stars and galaxies. (p. 10.)
Mystery of the Ages will be "a major textbook in all educational institutions" during Christ's millennial reign, according to Flurry.
The feast of ingathering (or Tabernacles) is about getting this message to the world—to gather in as many as we can. And that will continue into the World Tomorrow, where a major textbook in all educational institutions will be Mystery of the Ages, by Herbert W. Armstrong. (p. 11.)
What do the Laodiceans know about Mystery of the Ages? How many of them would fight for it in court? Paul was in jail because he preached this message! He was in jail trying to inspire and encourage God’s people about the great mystery that man has not known for all ages!

Now the Philadelphia Church of God has it. The Laodiceans are so confused, so foolish, so rebellious; they’re letting Satan take it away from them. If only they would stand up and love that message, nobody would ever be able to take it from them. And as long as there’s a work to be done, we’ll have Mystery of the Ages. Nobody can stop that. (p. 11.)
I read Mystery of the Ages on a website run by one of these "confused," "foolish," "rebellious" Laodiceans.

"What do the Laodiceans know about Mystery of the Ages?" Flurry asks. Enough to know not to change Mystery of the Ages for Flurry's convenience.

Once again Flurry uses his control over the copyrights for some of HWA's writings to claim to be the only legitimate successor to HWA. Flurry was an unimportant minister within HWA's WCG until he found himself out in 1989. He does not want PCG members reflecting on that fact.


After that he spends quite awhile glorifying Mystery of the Ages, basically insisting that if one does not adore Mystery of the Ages that person is not a Christian.
If Christ lives in us, we will love and fight for Mystery of the Ages. (p. 12.)
This is part of Flurry indoctrinating PCG members into believing they are the only true Christians within the entire world.

We are building the Family of God in embryo. (p. 13.)
Funny that. I thought you just told me on page 6 that only "confused," "foolish," "rebellious" Laodiceans say that?

Flurry just loves to insist the words of the Bible actually describe the Tkach changes and the establishment of PCG in opposition to them. He does it again here.
Colossians 1:28 presents God’s Work as happening in a particular order. First, it says, “we preach,” which means to declare plainly and openly or aloud. Mr. Armstrong did that as a witness to the world. Then it says we “warn”; that’s what we’re doing in this “last end” of the Work—warning all the world. We are running out of time. Of course, these things will run concurrently as well. But we have them listed here in this order. (p. 13.)
Flurry is just seeing things.

Paul taught Mystery of the Ages by HWA in the first century, according to Flurry.

Teaching Mystery of the Ages got Paul thrown in jail and eventually beheaded! Can you imagine that? (p. 14.)
Funny that. I thought Mystery of the Ages was published in 1985 long after Paul's martyrdom.

We won our court battle over Mystery of the Ages. God says this Work must be done—this world must be warned. (p. 15.)
Why does Gerald Flurry say untrue things? PCG did not win the court case. PCG lost the court case, but luckily for them Tkach's WCG decided to cut their losses by selling the copyrights to PCG for $3 million. How is a purchase a victory?

The Laodiceans don’t honor their Father (Malachi 1:6). If only they delivered Mystery of the Ages with us, they’d be honoring their Father and their Husband—the whole Family of God. They would have all of these riches. They don’t know what true, spiritual wealth is anymore. That’s obscene! (p. 16.)
Actually several "Laodiceans" deliver Mystery of the Ages by having it available on the internet. I know this because I read it on one of these websites run by a Laodicean while I was an Armstrongite.

The only way the "Laodiceans" could deliver Mystery of the Ages with PCG would be to join it and agree with the various changes PCG have imposed upon HWA's writings. They honor HWA's teachings enough not to agree to follow a group that changes his words.

In fact Flurry is here once again insisting that one cannot be a Christian unless he or she is a member of PCG.


Chapter 3
The biggest turning point ever in the Worldwide Church of God was Mr. Armstrong’s death. That is when the Philadelphia era ended and the Laodicean era began. (p. 18.)
But many WCG members did not anticipate that he would die. Many WCG members were told by their leaders like Gerald Waterhouse that HWA would live to see the Great Tribulation himself. HWA's WCG did not anticipate that the Laodicean era would begin with HWA's death. Many thought it would only arise when the Great Tribulation started and after the "worthy" WCG members fled to the place of safety (Petra, Jordan.) Flurry himself admits many WCG members believed this within HWA's WCG in Malachi's Message as I noted in a previous post.
Do the Laodiceans have works as a Church era? If the Laodicean Church begins when the Tribulation begins, as the Church has believed in the past, the very elect couldn’t deliver this message to the people. Under the prevailing conditions, it would be impossible. The Laodicean Church must have era “works” before the Tribulation begins. [Gerald Flurry, Malachi's Message, Chapter 3.]
Here we see that already Gerald Flurry is changing what WCG taught under HWA.

It was indeed taught within HWA's WCG that the Laodicean church would begin with the Great Tribulation. I recall listening to a sermon by Gerald Waterhouse and he seemed to have that assumption, that Laodiceans would not be made manifest until the worthy WCG members had fled to Petra and it is only then that the Laodiceans would be clearly shown because they would be left behind. (It also should be stated that he taught that HWA would live until the Second Coming. Conveniently Gerald Flurry never mentions the widespread belief within HWA's WCG that HWA would live until the return of Christ.)
So we see that once again Gerald Flurry is altering church doctrines. How is that remaining faithful to what HWA taught?

The WCG discontinued The United States and Britain in Prophecy after debating whether that book was God-inspired truth or only speculation. Of course, you can prove it’s God’s truth. And it doesn’t need to be debated—just believed! That book is not flawed. Their faith is flawed!

As part of their deception, for a while WCG leaders acted like they might bring the book back into circulation. But prophecy in Revelation 3:7 discusses only the Philadelphians, not the Laodiceans, as having the “key of David,” which is the understanding of prophecy—especially about David’s throne and Israel. (p. 19.)
But many "Laodiceans" outside of WCG continue to believe in British Israelism and to teach that the throne of Britain is the continuation of the royal line of David. I know this because one of these "Laodicean" groups taught this dogma to me and I accepted it as true. Do these Laodiceans not bear the key of David?

Unfortunately for them British Israelism is untrue.


After this Gerald Flurry condemns Tkach's WCG for gaining accreditation for Ambassador College in a section that is also produced in Malachi's Message.

This confirms what I suspected. Gerald Flurry really is just saying the same thing over and over again. This legend he has produced that God has divided "God's Church" (the Armstrongites) into two groups, PCG and the rest, and (he insists) this was foretold in the Bible.

Christ built a strong work through Mr. Armstrong that spanned the globe. Mr. Armstrong was used to establish three dynamic colleges for God that produced abundant fruits over several decades. (p. 22.)
One of those colleges were shut down under HWA's watch. Also many graduates who did not become WCG ministers (unlike Gerald Flurry) learned their degrees were worthless because Ambassador College did not have accreditation.

Those top Laodicean leaders have intruded into and changed many of God’s truths which they professed to believe when Mr. Armstrong was alive. Anybody should be able to see their blatant hypocrisy! They were in God’s holy of holies, as it were, when Mr. Armstrong was living. (p. 22.)
How is this not idolatry?

Those who come out of the Laodicean Church into the Philadelphia Church of God hear God’s voice. (p. 24.)
Translation: If you promise to pay us in the PCG leadership three tithes and extra offerings for the rest of your life I will flatter you and say you heard God's voice. I will make you feel as though you have had an extremely sacred and blessed moment with God because you joined us. In exchange we get your three tithes for the rest of your life.

Here Gerald Flurry is boasting at how much growth PCG has had since its founding in 1989. Notably he seems to reveal the annual income for PCG as of 2012.
Early on in PCG history, some Laodiceans said they wanted to see more fruits in the PCG before committing to it. God’s true Church will always bear good fruits. However, fruits are related to time. It takes time to produce fruits. When the PCG started with 12 members on Dec. 16, 1989, there were very few fruits.
Today, the PCG has a television program with weekly access to more than a half-billion people worldwide. We publish a 40-page, full-color, monthly magazine, the Philadelphia Trumpet and a bi-monthly Christian-living magazine, Royal Vision. The Church has also produced over 70 books and booklets and hosts several websites, including and Additionally, the Church has a college, a K-12 school and a performing arts center. All of this is due to the fact that the income has gone from virtually nothing in 1989 to around $19.5 million annually as of 2012. God has truly blessed this “little flock.” The fruits are there for all to see. (pp. 24-5.)
None of this changes the fact that UCG and LCG are larger COG groups than PCG and that they have greater claims to legitimacy then PCG has.


I wonder what Gerald Flurry has to say about the numerous people within Armstrongism who died because they believed using doctors and medicine are idolatrous and will send you to the lake of fire? (It's a doctrine Herbert W. Armstrong plagiarized from the Jehovah's Witnesses of the 1920s and 1930s.)
As they [Tkachite WCG's leaders] grew in their scholarly pursuits, they made major changes in doctrines. They changed healing into a doctrine which requires virtually no faith in God! They spurned preaching about prophecy because that requires faith. ... True doctrines on healing and prophecy help us to grow in faith and become more like God. The Laodiceans reject doctrines like those because they lack faith. (p. 26.)
Well, I guess we now know his (public) stand on that most tragic and painful issue.

Flurry seems to be denying that any Laodicean, which he had earlier defined as any Armstrongite not in PCG, continue to cling to HWA's medicine ban. I would like to mention that persons among the non-WCG Laodiceans do continue to believe in HWA's medicine ban and continue to die because of HWA's induced phobia of doctors and medicine. Those "Laodiceans" did not reject that doctrine, alas.

Again it must be asked: why does Gerald Flurry say untrue things?

Just discontinuing The United States and Britain in Prophecy destroyed two of the 18 truths Mr. Armstrong restored. The Laodiceans are destroyers!

The Philadelphians condemn the destruction of God’s truth—a heinous sin. If we won’t condemn that act and fight against it, then we are Laodicean! (pp. 26-7.)

Is Flurry taking a jab at Meredith here, boasting that he got out of WCG earlier than him?

Sometimes God will go to extreme measures to stir up His people, because they are His Family. They are the very elite of this Earth. Most of God’s Family has forgotten that! (p. 27.)
Sometimes people wonder why PCG members put up with all the rules and requirements PCG ministers impose on them. It is partly because their leaders, like Gerald Flurry, tell PCG members they are "the very elite of this Earth" and that they can only remain so by remaining in PCG.


Flurry brings this booklet to an end with these flattering words.
We can’t get bogged down in this present world. We must cling to the vision of God’s future world! ... God wants us to set our affection on those things that are above—not on the things of this world. God wants us to be passionately into the Work of His PCG. God wants your mind—you individually—to make His Work your greatest delight. Then your future will be magnificent!

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).
This is the reward that we never, ever want to forget!
So, PCG members, don't "get bogged down in this present world." Do not worry that your tithes and offerings are placing terrible financial burdens on you and you never have enough money because of these tithes and offerings. Your money would be better spent given to PCG. Besides, PCG is "your greatest delight" anyway. Why worry about worldly things like your family, your livelihood or your non-PCG friends. Work for PCG.

The potential for abusively exploiting PCG members who believe these words of Gerald Flurry's is enormous.


So we see that Gerald Flurry used to booklet to restate some of the things he said in Malachi's Message, that the Tkach changes and the establishment of PCG in response were prophesied long ago in the Bible.

Of course this all assumes that church eras are true when, in fact, that dogma is nonsense as mentioned in a previous post">a previous post regarding Bruce Renehan's book, Daughter of Babylon.
  • Claim that Waldensians are of great antiquity has practically no evidence.
  • Waldensians themselves say that they merely date from Peter Waldo. 
  •  Waldensians and English Lollards denounced tithing and observed Sunday.
  • Catholics often called their church the Church of God.
  • Armstrongism has no historical link with the Seventh Day Baptists. (That really shocked me.)
  • Seventh Day Baptists only used Church of God as a generic name and more often used other names.
  • The Church of God (Seventh Day) really started as a group of ex-Seventh Day Adventists who would not accept Ellen White as a prophetess, founded by one Gilbert Cranmer.
  • Church of God (Seventh Day) did not use the "government of God" (one man rule) but decided matters democratically in a conference.
  • It was first called the Church of Christ. It was renamed Church of God in 1884 after a vote in a conference, contrary to the "government of God."
  • HWA got a lot of his doctrines from G. G. Rupert, who taught that the holydays were to be observed, and a form of the seven church eras doctrine.
  • HWA was influenced by the Jehovah's Witnesses via C. O. Dodd, a Church of God (Seventh Day) minister who was quite influenced by their teachings.
  • HWA acquired the seven church era doctrine from G. G. Rupert
  • HWA and Hoeh imitated their "history" of a Sabbatarian, non-Catholic group of believers dating from Apostolic times from Andrew Dugger and C. O. Dodd's 1936 book, A History of the True Church. (It also fabricated their false historical link with the Seventh Day Baptists.)
  • C. O. Dodd admitted much of what he and Dugger wrote were simply not true.
  • Presents evidence that by the 1990s WCG leaders knew this "history" was largely fake. (Chapter 10.) Did John Ogwyn feel the same way?
So now we see what this booklet really is: an attempt to persuade people to join and give three tithes and extra offerings to a highly controlling, authoritarian group that uses a form of Armstrongism to exploit people.

1 comment:

  1. To the idolaters of the PCG: Behold, Jesus returns slowly, but when he finally arrives you won't be around any more.

    Therefore, I counsel thee to repent, or else thou shalt burn in the Lake of Fire as liars and false prophets along with Satan and gays.

    Thou think that thou are wealthy and increased with goods, like the Ambassador Auditorium, but behold, thou art in debt and pay too much for stuff.

    Thou shalt be held in contempt and be mocked, for thou art like a silly wolverine, sociopathic and full of itself, snarling full of pride, but you shall die, surrounded by six packs of empty beer bottles.