Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Part 3 of Reading PCG's Booklet, Ezra and Nehemiah

Let us now continue reading Gerald Flurry and Dennis Leap's booklet, Ezra and Nehemiah: Building God's Temple. This booklet was first published in 1997. It was later revised in 2005. You can read the current version of this booklet on their website. That is the same version I am reading for this post.

We now continue from Part 1 and Part 2.

Here we look at the last two chapters of this booklet which discuss the Book of Nehemiah.

Chapter 6

Starting in this chapter Flurry and Leap talk about Nehemiah. First they discuss how Nehemiah asked permission from the Persian Emperor to go to his homeland.

Flurry and Leap use this incident to tell PCG members they should pray before doing anything important.
Artaxerxes was an extremely powerful man and could have had him executed for even small mistakes. ... Before asking favor of the king, He prayed again—immediately—on the spot!
Nehemiah’s request to return to Jerusalem could have meant life or death for him. He instantly took the situation to God. This shows us the extreme importance of prayer. How often do we pray? How detailed are our prayers? Do we pray immediately when the need arises? When we face major trials and tests in our lives, do we take them to God before we act? Or do we act and then take the consequences to God? The Apostle Paul admonished the Romans to be “instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Instant, faithful prayers get immediate results! (pp. 53-54.)
Flurry and Leap then discuss how Nehemiah gained permission to go to Jerusalem. The authors use this to say that (PCG's) God will provide help to PCG from non-members.
God will always come to our aid—even through people outside of God’s Church. We see a lot of this kind of help today with regard to our television program. There are many talented people, not part of this Church, who are giving the PCG very loyal support. This is from the good hand of God! As we persist in looking to God, the miracles will continue to come for this little flock. (pp. 54-55.)
Very likely these people do not know about how PCG shuns members of rival COG groups, or about how many PCG members are indoctrinated to believe doctors and medicine is sinful and consequently neglect their medical health, sometimes leading to death. They probably do not know how PCG members are socially influenced by PCG's leaders to pay three tithes and extra offerings to PCG in a blatant process of financial exploitation. They probably do not know that PCG claims to be the only true church. Very likely PCG leaders have deceived them into thinking that PCG is something that it is not. Quite possibly their are just doing their work and getting paid for it.

After this Flurry and Leap again fear monger that PCG ministers must always be on the look out for "enemies".
In order to protect God’s work, we must always be on guard for enemies. Jesus Christ warned us, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Nehemiah was wise as a serpent. So must we be. God’s ministry must also be on guard for the sheep. We are in a serious spiritual war. We must work as men at war. (p. 55.)
With paranoid rhetoric like this it is no surprise that PCG's ministers have earned such a bad reputation. They have been indoctrinated to look for "enemies" and whenever something goes wrong among the membership they have a ready made pretext to label any such person as "enemies" and treat them as such. No wonder the PCG ministers can order PCG members to have no contact with members of rival COG groups. They have been indoctrinated to believe they are at war with the other COG groups, that such cruel actions are needed to guard PCG members from leaving PCG, and other such self serving nonsense.

After this Flurry and Leap talk of how Nehemiah encountered obstruction by various Gentile leaders. Flurry and Leap use this to mock anyone who speaks of PCG disparagingly.
People today have also despised the work of the PCG. Many top Laodicean leaders have laughed us to scorn. That has not affected or stopped this work! We know God’s hand is with us. And we say to those who despise us, “Laugh on!” Because God is behind us, we are going to accomplish God’s work—marvelously! (p. 56.)
Notice how Flurry and Leap pretend that PCG is merely mocked, scorned and despised. There is here no attempt to address the many problems that many, whether COG or otherwise, have noticed about PCG. Anyone speaking of PCG disparagingly is dismissed as evil.

PCG's yearly income in 2012 was $19.5 million, only one-eighth of what HWA's WCG at its height had. Actually that does not account for inflation so PCG's income is even smaller.

Also some of the criticism is affecting PCG, although the authors like to pretend otherwise. We will never know how many other WCG members chose not to go with PCG after seeing someone mention the problems regarding PCG in regard to their legitimacy, their doctrines and their authoritarian practices. Also it is known that many PCG members have left despite Flurry and Leap pretending all is well.

After that Flurry and Leap talk about how the Jews grew discouraged after some of the Gentile leaders mocked the Jews' attempt to rebuild the walls. But despite this the Jews resolved to continue. Flurry and Leap use this to again condemn those speaking disparagingly of PCG.
The lesson for the PCG is the same. We are getting the job done because it is God’s work. Jealous people are going to criticize us. They are going to say all kinds of horrible lies about the ministry. People are always going to slander our reputations. We must recognize that when members of the PCG or the ministry are mocked, it is actually God who is being mocked. Though we may be made a laughing stock, we should never stop working. (p. 57.)
Wow. Flurry and Leap really do not like to be criticized it seems.

Notice how Flurry and Leap pretend there is no legitimate reason to criticize PCG. Any who criticize PCG are dismissed as jealous people. Are they implying that those who criticize PCG are trying to get PCG money?  They are accused of spreading "horrible lies about the ministry." What lies would Flurry and Leap be talking about? Anyway PCG members are being told to ignore any form of criticism directed at PCG. Flurry and Leap assert such persons are actually mocking God. What do you call people like that? Enemies of God?

After that Flurry and Leap talk about how tensions increased and the Gentiles prepared to wage war on the Jews. Flurry and Leap use this to again fear monger about "adversaries" inspired by Satan.
There are always adversaries who want to destroy the work. Here it says they will sneak into the midst of us. It should not shock us that Satan would try to get to sneak inside this Church.

We don’t want to be foolish about this. Expect attacks. Expect me to be attacked in every way. Expect this Church to be attacked with all kinds of lies—mixed with truth—including slander and everything you can imagine. The accuser of the brethren is cast down, and he is going to accuse us as long and as vigorously as he can. (p. 58.)
This is brainwashing, plain and simple. To say that anyone who criticizes you is inspired by Satan is a way to make PCG members indoctrinate themselves into learning to ignore any critical information about PCG. This is known as "thought stopping". It is a common phenomenon often seen in destructive cults. These words are teaching people to stop thinking. If they hear any information critical of PCG they automatically think that the words are uttered by an enemy or adversary trying to sneak into PCG. Once an indoctrinated person hear things contrary to what PCG teaches they simply ignore it thinking it is just an elaborate lie. Mixed with truth perhaps but still a lie.

This is cult like behavior.

Flurry and leap continue teaching PCG members how to do thought stopping.
Some people do come among us with the sole purpose of destroying the brethren. These kinds of enemies are easy to detect. But other brethren may let down spiritually or become bitter. Bitter people often become one of Satan’s most effective weapons of destruction within the Church. As time draws closer to the end, we must understand that the full force of Satan’s wrath will come against us as a Church and as individuals. Satan wants to destroy you! We all must stay spiritually strong. We must fight off bitterness. ... Spiritual bitterness is like heroin. Once you get hooked, it is a hard habit to break. Satan will destroy individuals with bitterness. (p. 59.)
These words basically forbid PCG members from feeling "bitter". What a way to get automatic compliance from PCG members. What a way to persuade and frighten people into ignoring their own feelings. These words are designed to get people to unquestioningly fall into line with the collective and ignore their own feelings and think that it is the right thing to do.
The PCG is entering into fearful times. As we succeed in the work of God, our angry enemies from outside the Church are going to wage all-out war against us. Our adversaries will come after us from every direction. (pp. 59-60.)
It is now seventeen years since this booklet was first published. Did the PCG members of 1997 anticipate that the world would still be here as it was then?

After that Flurry and Leap again talk about Nehemiah and say that he was a man who worked very hard and his industriousness and faith in God led the Jews to establish their national community in the land of their ancestors.

Chapter 7

Here Flurry and Leap continue to fear monger that terrible things are about to come upon PCG to make PCG members fearful.
Throughout man’s dismal history, God’s work has always been violently attacked. This should not surprise us. Satan the devil has always wanted to destroy God’s people and the work. The daily reality that the PCG must live with is that we are in a war until Jesus Christ returns (2 Timothy 2:3). (p. 62.)
This is nonsense. Flurry and Leap are simply cynically trying to create a sense of crisis among PCG members in order to get them to rally around PCG's leadership. Outsiders are a threat, but staying in PCG will save you, rally around PCG's leaders, that is what Flurry and Leap are trying to do here.

After that Flurry and Leap talk about how Nehemiah tried to alleviate the plight of poorer Jews who were stuck in poverty and debt ridden to rich people. What do Flurry and Leap have to say about this?
How does this apply to the PCG today? Are we very careful not to abuse our own brethren? There are times that we are not as careful as we should be. We should always avoid taking advantage of each other financially. All of us should be cautious in loaning or borrowing money. The ministry must help protect the flock from these kinds of problems. (p. 64.)
It is very strange that Flurry and Leap dare to preach at people to say one should not financially exploit people when PCG members are required to pay three tithes to PCG. Flurry and Leap live off of the tithes and offerings PCG members give to them. How is that not taking advantage of PCG members? Clearly it is.

Then abruptly Flurry and Leap talk about gossip.
Another sin that we need to be constantly on guard against is gossip. Because we are so scattered, people do spend a lot of time in fellowship on the telephone. If these conversations drift into a discussion of other people and their problems, we should learn to stop that immediately. What right do any of us have to discuss the problems of other people? ... This verse shows that reputation damaging gossip is as wicked as murder. ... In a similar vein, we must also be on guard against being condemning and critical of each other. Do we have the right to judge, criticize or put down another one of God’s people? Let’s all work hard to stop this abuse of the brethren. (pp. 64-65.)
Flurry and Leap are simply trying to control the flow of information to PCG members. One defining characteristic of destructive cults is that they try to control the information a cult member has access to or to persuade them to instinctively ignore any critical information that threaten the power of the cult leader. That is the real reason Flurry and Leap condemn gossip here

Also Flurry has been very "condemning and critical" of the other COG groups, even ordering PCG members to shun them and have no contact with them, even if they be close family members. Also in recent posts it has been shown that very often... 
  • Flurry condemns the "Laodiceans" when he is actually talking about Tkach's WCG thus falsely implying the other COG groups are responsible for the Tkach changes. 
  • Flurry condemns the other COG groups for changing "God's government" (which is actually a euphemism for "one-man rule") when in fact many such groups continue to practice one man rule just like HWA. 
  • Also Flurry condemns the other COG groups for not teaching that HWA was the end time Elijah when in fact many COG groups happen to believe this doctrine. 
So Flurry has been blatantly misleading PCG members on these matters. And a major reason why he can do this is precisely because some PCG members believe what Flurry and Leap say here about gossip and do not pass on information that may cause PCG members to start asking hard questions about the nature of PCG.

 After that Flurry and Leap again condemn listening to rumors.
How much time do we invest in listening to rumors? The Worldwide Church of God doctrinal disaster and corrupt leadership have fed upon the rumor mill. We all must be careful not to get caught up in the rumor information connection. If we do, we could waste a lot of time and money on telephone calls.
From time to time, rumors are even spread about our Philadelphia Church of God headquarters. Some enjoy spreading lies about imagined internal struggles or politics here in Edmond. Please remember that the headquarters staff functions as a team. Although we all are imperfect human beings, we do strive to work well together. All of us recognize that we are here to support God the Father and Jesus Christ in their work. Sometimes it is very funny to hear from the field about what is going on at headquarters! Don’t let rumors eat up your time and money.  (pp. 68-69.)
The reason Flurry and Leap bring up money here is because they want that money going to them. They likely know that many PCG members are not in a good financial situation and seem to hope that mentioning money will persuade them not to talk to people about information PCG's leaders do not want publicized.

However PCG members have long been indoctrinated to believe it is necessary to pay three tithes to PCG. So although Flurry and Leap encourage them to be picky about even phone calls PCG members are still told it is absolutely necessary to pay three tithes and extra offerings to PCG. A large share of which has been used to build and maintain an expensive auditorium that relatively few PCG members can benefit from. 

We now continue.

Then after that Flurry and Leap talk about some other incidents related in the Book of Nehemiah. That Nehemiah was again challenged by one of the rival Gentile rulers, then he had to return to the Persian king in Shushan.

Then Flurry and Leap talk about a gathering held on the Feast of Trumpets in which Ezra talked about the Law. Flurry and Leap use this incident to tell PCG members they should have great reverence for Malachi's Message and other writings PCG produces and to condemn all other COG groups as being somehow deficient in doctrine. Flurry and Leap try really hard to persuade readers that they have no choice and must stay with PCG.
Those of us who have come together as the PCG should also have a very deep respect and worship for God. We have been richly blessed with a deep understanding of His law. Being a Philadelphian means that we are always striving to keep God’s law more perfectly. No Laodicean group has a full understanding of God’s law anymore. And, as time passes, they are losing even more of the understanding they still have. Do we have a greater appreciation for God’s law? We all should be eager to have more understanding of God’s law!

We need to have a stand-up attitude when it comes to Malachi’s Message, the Philadelphia Trumpet magazine and the many booklets published by the PCG. We have been given exalted revelation. All of us should be lifting up our hands, bowing our heads and saying, “Amen, Amen.” (p. 72.)
PCG members have long been indoctrinated into believing that Malachi's Message is extremely special. Just how special is only partially revealed in this booklet. In 1992 Flurry proclaimed it to be the Little Book of Revelation 10. In 1993 Flurry wrote that if one believes Malachi's Message he or she will be saved from the Great Tribulation. No wonder so many PCG members believe Flurry's assertion that Malachi's Message is special.

All this hides the fact that previously HWA taught that the Little Book referred to his numerous visits to world leaders. Later Flurry had taught that the Little Book was the Bible. Then it appears someone thought it was Mystery of the Ages. Then in 1992 he proclaimed his own booklet, Malachi's Message, to be the Little Book, and he has done so ever since.

However, it needs to be stated that many of the ideas within 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.

Considering that PCG started with Malachi's Message it is no wonder that those who live off of the tithes of PCG members should revere it so much. It gave them a continuous source of income and people indoctrinated to believe they must pay three tithes to them.

After that Flurry and leap bring up the matter of interracial marriage again.
Remember that Ezra had corrected the people for interracial marriage (Ezra 10). It appears that not everyone immediately complied. Nehemiah 9 includes the account of others who later also repented of this national sin. This chapter records the very moving, repentant prayer of the people. The people did deeply repent of some serious sins. If only our people could learn from their own history! The nations of Israel could be saved from a disastrous end if they repented of their sins like these people did anciently. (p. 73.)
British Israelism is untrue.

Again these Jews viewed the law as applying to Jews. The law did not apply to non-Jews because the covenant was with Israel, no one else. They would have viewed it as utterly absurd that a bunch of non-Jews were using their acts to justify banning interracial marriage.

It is extremely racist to forbid interracial marriage.

After this Flurry and Leap talk about another challenge Nehemiah endured. Flurry and Leap use this incident to claim that PCG is the sole legitimate continuation of HWA's WCG.
Isn’t this exactly what God has done with the PCG? When Mr. Armstrong died, the temple, or Church, began to be abused by some unfaithful men. But God has now restored the temple responsibilities to some faithful men. The ministry serving the Philadelphia Church of God is made up of men that are faithful to God’s doctrines. (p. 74.)  
Flurry and Leap then end the booklet with these words.
At the end of this book, Nehemiah prayed to God, “Remember me, O my God, for good” (verses 31). If you read and study this entire booklet, there should be no doubt in your mind that both Ezra and Nehemiah accomplished much good for God. Do we realize that the good they established did not die with them? If we do our part to use the lessons from these books, their good will live on in us. If we remain truly Philadelphian, when our work is finished, we can also honestly pray, “Remember us, oh our God, for good”! (p. 74.)
And so the booklet comes to its end.


So after reading this booklet let us now see what we have learned about PCG's leaders from this booklet.

Flurry and Leap falsely claim all the other COG groups do not believe HWA to be the end time Elijah (p. 17.).

Flurry and Leap try hard to get PCG members to disregard information that is threatening to the power PCG's leaders, even telling PCG members not to spend so much time talking on the phone about such things in order to save money.

Flurry and Leap claim "enemies" (their word) will sneak into PCG and they must be cast out to protect PCG members from deciding to leave (and stop paying the three tithes).

Flurry and Leap cite the advertisement promoting a Catholic polemic exposing the heresies of the Jehovah's Witnesses to claim people are out to get PCG. (pp. 26-27.)

Flurry and Leap condemn getting "involved in fruitless strife and debate". (p. 40.)

Flurry and Leap teach that interracial marriage is forbidden by God. This is extremely racist.

So we see that instead of talking about Ezra and Nehemiah Flurry and Leap use this booklet to further indoctrinate PCG members into remaining loyal to PCG by ignoring any information Flurry and Leap do not like, stoking paranoid fears that the world is out to get PCG and even banning interracial marriage for PCG members, which is extremely racist.

What madness Flurry and Leap offer to PCG members in this booklet. No wonder so many terrible reports should come from PCG when their leaders say things like this.

1 comment:

  1. Is Dennis Leap the minister who advised a member with a disabled child to dump the child off in a shopping mall because "someone will take care of it"? It was one of the ministers of the PCG. It's a wonder they aren't persecuted for breaking the law -- you know, the law of the land that the Apostle Paul said to keep, the one they'd like to break with impunity.

    Maybe the PCG should check out nomore.org to see what sort of programs are being taken up to oppose the likes of cults like PCG.

    It appears that the PCG will continue to persecute Jesus until he returns.

    Wonder what will happen then?