Saturday, August 2, 2014

Reading PCG's Booklet, Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman

Let us now read Gerald Flurry's booklet, Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman. This booklet was originally published in 1999. It a retelling of Winston Churchill's lonely years in which, from 1933 to 1939, he warned Britain of the menace from Nazi Germany but, alas, was largely ignored by those in power until Hitler forced Britain to declare war in 1939. Flurry's uses volume 5 of Martin Gilbert's biography, Winston S. Churchill: The Prophet of Truth, 1922-1939, and quotes it extensively throughout this booklet. The booklet was revised in 2002 and 2006. For this post I am going through the 2002 version. You can read the current version of this booklet at their website.

This booklet is based on a series of four articles Gerald Flurry wrote in The Philadelphia Trumpet in 1998-9.
  • Part 1 (September-October 1998). Chapter 1.
  • Part 2 (November 1998). Chapter 2.
  • Part 3 (January 1999). Chapters 3-4.
  • Part 4 (February 1999). Chapters 5-6.
Martin Gilbert's book, alas, does not appear to be widely available.

Because this booklet discusses historical events that are explained and recorded in other sources I shall largely skip Flurry's description of historical events and focus on how he interprets these historical events to say we are now in a situation similar to the 1930s.

Chapter 1
Winston Churchill was a voice crying in the wilderness. (p. 1.)
Among the COGs, including PCG, Herbert W. Armstrong is often hailed as a voice crying in the wilderness, not least because HWA taught this himself. Here Flurry presents Winston Churchill as a sort of parallel of HWA. Indeed throughout this booklet Churchill is portrayed as a flawless hero.
Martin Gilbert wrote the greatest biography ever of this great leader, Winston S. Churchill. In volume 5, The Prophet of Truth, he wrote... (p. 2.)
I have heard of Martin Gilbert before. He is a remarkably prolific historian who has written some truly amazing works. He happens to be of Jewish heritage. He would not be impressed that his work has been used by Gerald Flurry in this booklet to (as we shall see later) spread fear inducing false prophesies that World War III is just around the corner and to insinuate that he, Gerald Flurry, is just like Winston Churchill in the sense of warning that another World War is just about to occur.
Those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat its catastrophes! Today a nuclear first strike is apt to win the next major war. So our margin for error is much smaller. That means we must stop a Hitler-type movement before it gains power.

We can’t afford the pacifist attitude we had before World War-II [sic] and survive nationally. Yet our pacifist attitude today is far worse than it was then. (p. 2.)
These words were first written in the September-October 1998 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet. It is still there in the 2002 version and the current 2006 version. Even after the US and Britain intervened in Taliban ruled Afghanistan in 2002, even after the Iraq War was launched Flurry, in this booklet, still presents the US and Britain as having a "far worse" "pacifist attitude" then before World War II. The alleged pacifism of 1998 Flurry seems to despise was easily enough overruled. Clearly Flurry cannot see the future. Yet Flurry still uses this booklet to make people give up hope that things in America and Britain can get better. This booklet is still available from PCG and presented on their website.

On page 2 Flurry presents a quote from one of Churchill's columns of 1932 which alludes to German irredentist claims to colonies they lost during World War I.
They are looking for weapons, and, when they have the weapons, believe me they will then ask for the return of lost territories and lost colonies, (Quote from Churchill, p. 2.)
Actually when Hitler gained power he chose to ignore claims for the colonies Germany lost during World War I because he wanted to conquer territory in the east.
We have been proving and teaching for over 50 years that Israel is primarily America and Britain. Churchill was fighting against this condition that was prophesied. And it’s going to get even worse! So expect physical and spiritual Israel to clamor for “smooth things” as we head for destruction!

Do we believe God? Do we have the courage to face the truth? Can we rise above our own weakness, or must we drown in it? (p. 3.)
Actually British Israelism is not true. As recently showed British Israelism is built on a foundation of sand. In fact DNA evidence refutes British Israelism. Fifty years of preaching nonsense does not change this proven fact.
That same God prepared Winston Churchill to help save the nations of America and Britain in World War II (as well as other nations).

God is not sending a national savior like Churchill for the nations of Israel this time. God is only sending a warning from a tiny remnant of His Church, who don’t want “smooth things.” (p. 4.)
Here "a tiny remnant of His Church" is Flurry's loaded phrase to describe his PCG. Also Flurry asserts that no one like Winston Churchill is coming to make things better. This is just fear mongering designed to make the reader give up hope for the present society and throw in their lot (and three tithes) to PCG.
The human mind is deeply flawed and must be changed. Man’s only hope is to turn to God. That includes religion. And we have very little time to do so, if we are to save our physical lives. (p. 6.)
Here Flurry tries to make the reader disregard his or her normal skepticism at hearing astounding claims that World War III will soon come by claiming this normal skepticism is some evil nature that "must be changed", which in practice actually means submitting to the rule of PCG's ministers and paying three tithes.

This also alludes to Flurry's teaching that PCG members will be protected from the Great Tribulation by being sent to a place of safety, usually said to be Petra, Jordan.

Chapter 2
We didn’t denazify Germany after World War II, and they are back on the world scene. The ugly factions are about to get control again. Already they are throwing their weight around—after the world has seen their grisly past in living color! What gall! That should be enough to teach those who learn from history that we are going to have to deal with yet another militant Germany. (pp. 7-8.)
Flurry likes to claim Germany was not denazified. As has been seen in a previous post about Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, PCG's writers use various assertions by authors dissatisfied with how denazification occurred to insinuate that Germany is just a heartbeat away from turning Nazi in an instant, like a werewolf in a movie. What is not discussed is how Germany has not gone down the path of militarism. When the US and Britain decided to invade Iraq Germany decided not to participate and publicly opposed this decision. Is that how a nation on the verge of turning Nazi would behave?
It’s as if our press and politicians today have no memory. In 1979, they virtually forced an ally, the Shah of Iran, out of office. Then Iran became the number-one terrorist nation in the world. Our political elite forced a white government and strong ally from South Africa rule [sic] and helped usher in Nelson Mandela. South Africa is now a close friend of Iran and Syria, the greatest terrorist nations in the world. The same story is being played out in Israel. (p. 9.)
Is it not amazing how Flurry, in this section of writing, treats non-white people (Iranians and black South Africans) as though they did not exist? The overthrow of the Shah was caused by Americans, not Iranians, according to Flurry. The overthrow of the apartheid regime was caused by America's "political elite", not the majority of South Africans, according to Flurry. It is as though Flurry does not notice non-white people. It is bizarre and absurd to pretend the peoples of those nations did not play the instrumental role in those dramatic events, for good or ill.

As for democratic South Africa supposedly being "a close friend of Iran and Syria" this is just demagogic nonsense. If this is true then why did President Obama go to South Africa to speak at Mandela's funeral? More on this topic may be seen in a previous post concerning Ron Fraser's booklet about South Africa.
The people wouldn’t face Churchill’s warning until it was almost too late. He talked about the possible “end” of Britain’s glories. But the people did not want to think about the bloody dangers of a world explosion. They didn’t want to be disturbed from their comfortable routine and pleasures. So they voted for politicians who spoke to them about more pleasures and a prosperous world. (p. 11.)
Flurry, did you not notice that Baldwin and Churchill were both in the Conservative Party? So if you at that time voted for Churchill's party you would have been voting for Baldwin too. Also in Britain one only votes for the Member of Parliament (MP) of one's electorate, the equivalent of a Congressperson being elected by the voters of the Congressional District. It is the MPs within the ruling party that decides who runs the country. Here is an account of the electorates in which Churchill served. Only the people in Churchill's electorate could have voted for him. No one else could do so. Britain does not have a popularly elected Head of State like America's President.

Chapter 3
Isn’t the tone in Britain and America apologetic and “mealymouthed” today? Who is there that speaks out with a strong voice in foreign policy? (p. 16.)
This was written in 1999. This was just ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, events caused in no small part because America was able to produce such an advanced economy that grew so rich while the economy of the Soviet Union was simply unable to compete. And afterwards President Bush came along. How was he apologetic? Bush led America to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. How is it that he lacked "a strong voice in foreign policy"?
Churchill was accused of having a “strong anti-German obsession.” Sometimes we are so accused. But some of our own members are German. We believe in facing the truth. Those who fail to do so are going to learn by the sledge hammer of events! (p. 18.)
This is what's known as the "Some of my best friends" defense. Here is an intriguing article from The New Republic discussing how this defense has often been used by bigots for about a hundred years to hide their hatred from proper scrutiny by saying, Some of my best friends are African American, Some of my best friends are Jews, etc. Although at face value this assertion seems to be unanswerable this sort of answer has been used so often by bigots hiding their hatred it has become clichéd and most people do not take this answer seriously.

Also the article mentions how it has been scientifically shown that people can still harbor racist hatred and stereotyped thinking even if they have friends belonging to the group he or she despises.

In this case Flurry is saying, I don't hate Germans, some my followers are Germans, but we have to tell the truth. Well, of course he welcomes German members into PCG, they pay three tithes and extra offerings to PCG as well. But the idea that Germany will soon conquer America and Britain is untrue. It is just a false prophesy HWA has been throwing around to any who will listen since World War II.
He [Churchill] understood Germany’s history of surprise attacks! The Air Staff fully agreed with him. Germany had been fond of such attacks. And this is the method of warfare they followed throughout World War II! This happened repeatedly to Hitler’s enemy nations and even those who thought they were his friends! Daniel 8:23-25 states that deceit and surprise attacks by Germany will be even worse in World War III! History keeps repeating itself. (Germany has a powerful Air Force Unit stationed in New Mexico and other military facilities in the U.S. today.) (p. 20.)
Here Flurry is once more trying to induce phobia into PCG members and potential converts. HWA and Flurry have been saying this sort of fear mongering false prophesies since the 1930s. Do they really think they will be any better at this?
Yet I perceive that Churchill’s warning is being pushed aside more and more by some scholars today. It is to their shame and our terrifying danger that they do so. (p. 22.)
What is Flurry talking about?

Chapter 4
The Labor Party refused to even support rearmament in spite of Churchill’s warnings. (p. 22.)
The Labor Party at that time was the opposition. So what if they chose not to support this or that. It was what the governing Conservative Party decided that mattered. And it was some of the leaders of the Conservative Party that chose to follow a policy of appeasing Hitler.
But neutral is a heinous word under those conditions! Being neutral between Hitler’s Nazis and Britain was a shameful evil. And when would we have stopped being neutral if Japan hadn’t bombed us into the war at Pearl Harbor? (p. 26.)
Actually the US chose to support Britain a lot earlier then December 1941. As France fell under Nazi tyranny the US introduced lend lease to support the British. Gradually the US became increasingly involved in the war. Finally, just after the deadly raid on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces, Hitler decided to declare war on the United States. This proved a severe blunder on Hitler's part as any sense of reluctance from the US at being too involved in the war was suddenly removed by Hitler's declaration of war. How could America not go to war against one who declared war on America?

I learned that after reading Winston Churchill's six volume account of World War II entitled, The Second World War.
That is exactly what is happening today with the U.S. Though we have a greater military than any nation on Earth, we lack the will to use it. That is a major reason why other nations hate us and fail to support our policies. (p. 31.)
In 2003 President Bush had the will to use the US military on Iraq. Things did not go that well. Invading Iran would have been even worse because that is a larger country.

On pages 32-33 is an insert discussing the Yugoslav Wars.

Here Flurry accuses Germany of starting the Yugoslav Wars by recognizing Slovenia and Croatia as independent states in December 1991.
Germany recently began to show some of the same ugly aggression of the past. They recognized the breakaway states of Croatia (allied with the Nazis in World War II) and Slovenia (a Nazi puppet state in World War II) from Yugoslavia. Civil war immediately broke out, and there has been internal war ever since.

Almost all of Europe and the U.S. were against Germany recognizing these states as independent powers. But Germany’s view prevailed and the civil war began. (p. 32.)
This is nonsense. Slovenia had fought off the Belgrade government in June and July 1991 and the last federal troops left by October 1991. Also hostilities in Croatia broke out in May 1991. By November 1991 the Belgrade government seized control of Vukovar after a cataclysmic battle that killed about 3000 people. All that happened before December 1991. How can Germany's recognition of Slovenia and Croatia be blamed for that? The war in Croatia was already at its height when Germany recognized those governments.

Also Lithuania recognized Croatia in 1990. Using Flurry's logic we should say Lithuania started the war. What madness.

Also if Germany really is so powerful why did they fail to stop America and Britain from invading Iraq in 2003?

This recognition Flurry complains of occurred did not cause the Yugoslav Wars. One could argue this was a flawed move that should not have been done at that time, but it is madness to claim this act started the wars. PCG's writers including Gerald Flurry pretend as though the battle of Vukovar (which killed 3000 people before it ended in November 1991) simply did not happen. Events simply did not happen that way.
There has been an alarming increase in right-wing extremism in Germany. So it isn’t alarmist to discuss such issues. It seems unbelievable if we don’t! (p. 33.)
This trend Flurry talks about occurred in the early 1990s. And like many trends it simply dissipated. The vast majority of German people chose not to embrace such horrid extremism but Flurry still uses these twenty year old events to keep PCG members in fear of an imaginary German enemy. This was discussed in a previous post.

Chapter 5
Where are our strong leaders today? How long will it be before we are longing for powerful leaders? How long are we going to seek leaders who will tell us “smooth things”? How much must we suffer before we change our desires? When are we going to learn from history? (p. 36.)
Do not trust your feelings or your desires. Just listen to what God's man (Gerald Flurry) is telling you. Here Flurry is once again trying to get the reader to disregard his or her feelings and just listen and follow what Gerald Flurry is saying. Thinking contrary to Flurry is here defined as yearning to hear "smooth things" just like those who ignored Churchill's warnings.
Weak people try to force others to follow them. In this they are very strong! (p. 38.)
 Wait a minute! Weak people are strong? That is (not) enlightening.
Their reasons are very weak because they don’t have the truth. That leads them to demonize those who oppose them. They can’t accept the truthful message, so they attack the messenger. That condition is rampant in American and British politics today. (p. 38.)
Although Flurry is talking about those who underestimated the seriousness of the Nazi threat in the 1930s I cannot help but wonder, is Flurry describing himself?

"Their reasons are very weak because they don’t have the truth." I have found Flurry's reasons why one should follow his PCG, which he often discusses in his "warning the Laodiceans" booklets, to be very weak. Could it be because Flurry knows he does not have the truth? He sometimes mention how none of the main leaders of HWA's WCG joined under Flurry's banner and he then accuses anyone of pointing that out of looking up to men and not God.

"They can’t accept the truthful message, so they attack the messenger." Flurry cannot accept that there are other COG groups, some of which have a greater claim to legitimacy then he has. So Flurry demonizes them as forsaking God, not honoring their father, rejecting Elijah [HWA], heathen, apostates, accursed by God to suffer the Great Tribulation, half of them to die just to get into a lower rank of the God Family, the other half to be cast into the Lake of Fire. Flurry even orders PCG members to shun certain people, including the members of other COG groups. It is often called the 'no contact' rule. What a way to demonize people simply because they chose not to submit themselves to Flurry.
People talked of giving Chamberlain the Nobel Peace Prize. One newspaper even labeled him the Prince of Peace. (p. 38.)
Anyone can nominate anyone for a Nobel Prize. Flurry thinks this is remarkable, but it is not.
God prophesied that His very elect would proclaim to America, Britain and the world the meaning of Jeremiah’s book today. And so we are. (p. 41.)
So PCG is God's elect? Then why did Gerald Flurry plagiarized The Letter to Laodicea by Jules Dervaes (written December 1986-January 1988) to write Malachi's Message? Dervaes' writing 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. Plagiarism is an act of intellectual theft. Why would God work with a group that relied upon an act of intellectual theft?
How glorious is strength—even in defeat. (p. 41.)
Flurry is talking about Churchill here but I cannot help but wonder, is that what Flurry thinks deep in his heart? That strength is glorious? That would explain a lot.
When war came, as Churchill predicted, then the people finally knew he was right. And when all of the prophecies of Ezekiel and other prophets come to pass, the people will know God’s watchman warned them. But then it will be too late physically! (pp. 42-43.)
"God's watchman" here refers to Gerald Flurry. In the same way that HWA taught that God works in two stages (dualism), first in a physical sense, then in a superior spiritual sense. I cannot help but wonder if Flurry is claiming to the superior spiritual counterpart to Winston Churchill.
Repeatedly, Churchill mentioned Britain’s weakened or broken will. That process was well under way in World War II. It is far worse today. But our people refused to heed Herbert W. Armstrong’s message before, during and after the war. And they continue to reject God’s warning today. So God intensifies the punishment. (p. 43.)
Maybe they did not listen to HWA because he was wrong. All the time. First he said Christ would return in 1936. He said Mussolini would be the dictator who would conquer America and Britain. Then he changed this to Hitler.

While the Allies were engaged in a struggle to overthrow Hitler's regime, many sacrificing even their lives, HWA was at home telling anyone who listened that America was doomed to lose. Flurry never dwells on that fact in this booklet.

And as if these failed prophecies were not enough HWA then claimed that Hitler was alive, then he said Europe would arise and launch the Great Tribulation in 1972 leading to Christ's return in 1975. It just never stops.
It took courage and bloodshed to establish our freedom, and it will take courage and bloodshed to sustain that freedom. But even more, we must repent of our sins. (p. 44.)
 Is Flurry advocating war here?
One strong, tyrant nation, if unchecked, destroys freedom. This has happened in many Arab countries of the Middle East. That is because America has allowed Iran, radical Islam and terrorists to strike fear in other nations. Now these same nations are moving away from the U.S. and becoming allies with Iran. This is causing massive shifts in world power. Dictators must be controlled, or this is the tragic result. (p. 47.)
Nonsense. This was first written in the February 1999 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet. In fact many Arab countries back then were very suspicious of Iran. Later when the US invaded Iraq many Arab states gave post-Baathist Iraq the cold shoulder largely due to suspicion and fear that Iraq was too close to Iran. When mass demonstrations erupted in Bahrain as part of the Arab Spring they were falsely demonized by the authorities as puppets of Iran in order to justify a bloody crackdown on the opposition. Most Arab states are not "becoming allies with Iran" as Flurry claims in these words written in 1999, fifteen years ago.
But Churchill’s example then was also intended to be a warning for us today! What value is a watchman if we forget his message? God will not send another Churchill—but He is sending a spiritual watchman to help us remember. (p. 48.)
The "spiritual watchman" here is the author, Gerald Flurry, himself. If "spiritual Israel" (the church) is better then "physical Israel" (Old Testament Israel) then it would seem Flurry is claiming to be the far superior spiritual counterpart of Winston Churchill.
Joseph Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador (father of John and Robert Kennedy), graduated from Harvard. He was not a good representative of that institution. But then almost all of the college institutions were against Churchill! And those liberal beliefs are even more rampant in education today. That means our educational institutions, who are to set the example in learning truth, learned very little if anything from Churchill’s experience before and during World War II. (pp. 48-49.)
Flurry uses Churchill's unpopularity in the 1930s as a chance to demonize mainstream education as the fruits of a degraded and decaying society. This is to cause PCG members and potential converts to isolate themselves from the surrounding society by assuming there is no hope except to join PCG (and pay them three tithes).

Chapter 6

Flurry ends this booklet with these words.
We can heed this warning and avoid the worst suffering ever on planet Earth. Each one of us must choose. The consequences of that choice are truly monumental! (p. 54.)
This refers to Flurry's teaching that PCG members will be protected by being sent to a place of safety, widely thought to be Petra, Jordan.

I find it intriguing how Flurry ends this booklet with the start of World War II. By not talking about what happened during the war Flurry avoids mentioning the great difficulty and hardship of conducting such a war. It also neatly avoids the contradiction of glorifying a war leader while ordering PCG members to be pacifists and not serve in the armed forces. 


So we see that Flurry retells Winston Churchill's career as an MP desperately trying to warn Britain of the menace from a re-militarized Germany, particularly in 1932-9. The war years are not discussed in detail. 

Flurry presents himself as being a spiritual counterpart to Winston Churchill, the spiritual Churchill essentially.

Poor Churchill, being used as a prop by Flurry to continue spreading false prophesies in order to financially exploit PCG members. He deserves better.

Poor Gilbert, having his hard work being exploited by a man in Oklahoma to spread fear inducing false prophesies designed to make people send in three tithes and extra offerings so that this man and his collaborators can live off of these peoples' fear.

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