Friday, August 8, 2014

Part 3 of Reading PCG's Booklet, Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible

Let us now read Gerald Flurry's booklet, Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible. This booklet was first published in 1999. It is one of his "warning the Laodiceans" booklets in which Flurry claims any one belonging to any of the other COGs are doomed to endure the Great Tribulation unless they join PCG (and pay PCG three tithes and extra offerings). This booklet was later revised in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2013. For this post I am reading through the 2002 version. You can read the 2013 version of this booklet on their website.

This is a continuation from Part 1 and Part 2.

Chapter 3
God is addressing two of His churches in the end time. One is backsliding and the other is led by God. At this very moment, God is turning some of His people away from a backsliding Church. He takes one from a city and two from a family—and brings them to righteous Zion! These verses apply to us this very moment! The PCG is receiving “one of a city, and two of a family” now to prepare for the rule of Christ. During the Tribulation, God’s Laodiceans must prove themselves by dying for God. So these verses could not apply to that time. (p. 33.)
As I have said before Flurry very often reinterprets the Bible to say it is all about the Tkach changes, the rise of PCG in opposition to them, PCG members go to the place of safety and all others are damned to endure the Great Tribulation. Here Flurry claims that a passage from Jeremiah is actually talking about a share of WCG members joining PCG in opposition to the Tkach changes. Of course the activities of many other self identified COG adherents are just casually ignored unless they join PCG and pay the tithes.
God uses “one of a city, and two of a family” to do His end-time Work. These saints can stand alone as they serve God. They are God’s most noble end-time warriors. This small remnant is God’s voice crying out in a wilderness of religious confusion. So we should not expect a large number of people doing God’s Work today. Most of the members in God’s own Church are too weak to serve Him.

This greatest of all tragedies reveals how difficult it is to do God’s Work. But never forget, the reward for doing so is glorious beyond words. God will use them as king-priests in His world headquarters! (Rev. 3:12; 5:10). (p. 33.)
Once again Flurry promotes an unrealistic sense of elitism among PCG members by claiming they are "God’s most noble end-time warriors." Flurry also assures PCG members that the award awaiting them is boundlessly magnificent. What is conveniently not dwelt on is that it is necessary to pay three tithes and extra offerings to Flurry's PCG to get this reward. It is also not stated that PCG's ministers have the power to take away such supposedly blessings by casting them out of PCG.
Here God warns Judah and other nations of Israel. (Jerusalem is a type of ALL Israel.) (p. 34.)
So Jerusalem is all Israel? That's about as clear as mud.
We must blow the trumpet because NUCLEAR WAR is coming on the nations of Israel unless they repent! ... If you want to escape the terrible trouble ahead, find the Zion, the Church that is led by God. Only then will you have a place of safety from the terrifying evil which is to come on Israel! This is not a message to be taken lightly. (p. 34.)
Most people take this message lightly because they know that Flurry and his predecessor HWA made numerous false prophecies. They constantly claimed that they knew what was soon going to happen and always it proved wrong. "God's Church" said that Christ would return in 1975, that Asia (India, Malaya, etc,) would be conquered by Communists, that Christ had to return in twenty years (by 2005) after the publication of Mystery of the Ages. (PCG has since deleted those words from their copies of Mystery of the Ages.) The facts show that one can take fear mongering messages from WCG and PCG very lightly indeed.
“My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the SOUND OF THE TRUMPET, THE ALARM OF WAR” (v. 19). Our monthly magazine is called the Trumpet—because we are commissioned by God to deliver Jeremiah’s warning message today! What is coming upon Israel was acutely painful to Jeremiah; and it’s even more painful for God’s true Church today, to think of their own people being enslaved and killed unless they wake up! (pp. 33-34.)
If PCG is really so concerned and worried about these things why did Flurry and his PCG squander the equivalent of PCG's annual income in building Armstrong Auditorium?

Flurry then fantasizes about the terrible fate that awaits anyone who dares to not pay him three tithes and extra offerings, especially those who used to be in HWA's WCG. Flurry also uses Jeremiah to discredit the main leaders of HWA's WCG, none of whom joined PCG because Flurry was too low on the ministerial pecking order for them to ever think of taking orders from him.
They have committed the greatest sin of all—rejecting God’s rule. God no longer leads them or works through them. The Anchor Bible explains their rebellion this way (emphasis mine): “The people are like oxen who have ESCAPED THEIR MASTER’S YOKE—AND HIS PROTECTION!”

Let’s not overlook that Jeremiah’s message is directed to “THE GREAT MEN”—God’s leading ministers! They “have known the way of the Lord” even better than the lay members. And God will hold them even more accountable!

These ministers have rejected God’s government taught by Herbert W. Armstrong. Now they are leading most of God’s people away from God’s rule.

Repeatedly, God condemns them most of all for their government problem! Why? Because this is the worst spiritual sin there is—it’s their biggest problem! It breaks the first and most important of God’s Ten Commandments. God corrects more severely for this sin. (p. 34.)
Clearly Flurry hates the fact that the main leaders of HWA's WCG refused to join him. When Roderick C. Meredith started up the Global Church of God it bothered Gerald Flurry so much that he wrote a booklet in order to condemn Meredith for daring to start up a COG splinter group and not submitting to his (Flurry's) authority. Flurry is venting his frustration about that here.

Is there anything Flurry won't say to get people to pay tithes to him and his PCG?
What is it like to be “TORN IN PIECES” by fierce lions, wolves and leopards? This is only symbolic of how God will chasten the Laodicean Christians physically and spiritually! God’s Laodicean Church is as helpless before Satan as a small deer before a hungry, roaring lion! (pp. 36-37.) 
Pay money to me and my organization or you will be torn limb from limb! This is the real message Flurry is saying here.
Even now, spiritually, God’s Church is being “torn in pieces” by Satan and his demons. And if Church members don’t heed our message, they also will be “torn in pieces” physically! (p. 37.)
But does this not contradict HWA's teaching of dualism, that first there is the physical type to be followed by the spiritual anti-type?
Spiritually, they have left the loving God and have gone to “harlots’ houses.” What an indescribable, shameful disgrace! THEY HAVE LOST THE GOD-FAMILY VISION. They don’t honor their Father (Mal. 1:6). Christ’s own wife turns to Satan rather than submitting to God’s government! This can only have a dreadful outcome. (p. 37.)
What on Earth is Flurry talking about when he condemns the other COG groups for losing the God Family vision? Tkach's WCG has renounced the God Family doctrine but the other COG splinter groups continue to passionately teach this doctrine. It is just misleading rhetoric to accuse the other COG splinter groups of losing the God-Family vision since they continue to teach that church members will be resurrected as immortal God beings. Why does Flurry say untrue things?
We speak words of fire to them! Their false doctrines wither before God’s truth, like dry wood in a raging fire. Our words burn them until they repent. If they do not repent, they burn in a lake of fire. Words of fire, indeed. (p. 38.)
This is only somewhat true within the small milieu of PCG members. Most people on Earth do not even know PCG exist. Also it is well known that much of what Flurry teaches is highly misleading or inaccurate. For instance Flurry loves condemning the other COG groups for not teaching that HWA is the end time Elijah but in fact many of these group do so. Flurry also condemns the other COG groups for abandoning God's government, implying they had changed the governmental structure within their groups. But in fact many COG groups continue to practice the one man rule that HWA's WCG practiced.
Pentecost pictures the firstfruits’ marriage to Christ. Who really understands this, except God’s spirit-begotten Church members? (p. 38.)
How useful it is to isolate followers from society by devising a supposedly unique idea and then saying that, since no one else have it, then they must be cut off from God and are far away from God while we are near him and hear God's voice. Devising supposedly unique doctrines and even supposedly unique phrases to describe this doctrines are often used to keep members isolated from the surrounding society.

Flurry continues to rant over the fact that none of the main leaders of HWA's WCG chose to join him and submit to his rule.
The prophets, or leading Laodicean ministers, prophesy and teach falsely. The lowerranking ministers follow along. ... they establish their own government, not God’s rule. ... First, the leading ministers rebel. The lower-ranking ministers should stop it, but fail to do so. The only people left to stop it are the lay members. But they also love to rebel against God’s government. So heart-stopping disaster awaits them all! (p. 39.)
 Flurry really wants the reader to give PCG the three tithes.

This chapter has ended but there is still more to get through in Flurry's booklet. More will be discussed in a future post.

To be continued...

[Update: August 22, 2014: This reading is continued in Part 4 and Part 5.]

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