Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reading PCG's Booklet, Repentence Toward God

Let us now read Gerald Flurry's booklet, Repentance Toward God. This booklet was first published in 2001. It was later revised in 2005 and that is the version read here. After about eleven years in charge of his PCG Flurry finally decides he should try to sound like an actual minister instead of the doom and gloom soothsayer he is more inclined to do. You can read the current 2005 version on their website.

Since this booklet was first released in 2001 and there are no Philadelphia Trumpet articles like it I suspect that this booklet is based on a Royal Vision article.

This booklet is also available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Afrikaans, German, Finnish and Norwegian.

Joel Hilliker also helped to produce this booklet.

Editorial assistance for this booklet
was provided by Joel Hilliker. 

The booklet begins with this introduction.

Do you know the difference between godly
repentance and worldly sorrow? This booklet
could dramatically change your life!

Somehow I suspect the only real difference is that "godly repentance" is approved by PCG's leaders and conforms to PCG dogma but "worldly sorrow" is not approved by PCG's leaders and does not conform to PCG dogma. 

We now begin.

And Flurry begins with a long quote from HWA's Autobiography. Flurry does not even bother to say where these words came from. They are from Chapter 35.
Conversion is a lifelong process. To become converted is to have God’s thoughts—rather than carnal thoughts and emotions and desires. We must think like God! (p. 2.)
But Flurry is speaking of PCG's God. Flurry teaches that one can only get in touch with God by joining PCG. All other Christians are demonized as false Christians.
Here is how the Apostle Paul described it: “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). We know why we must have faith toward Jesus Christ: We must believe on and accept His sacrifice in order to be reconciled to God and to receive the Holy Spirit. But how deeply do we understand repentance toward God? (p. 2.)
So that is why this booklet is entitled Repentance Toward God.

Then Flurry talks about how David sinned over Bathsheba and caused her husband to be killed in order to cover up his adultery. But then this was exposed.

Then Flurry talks about how sin is actually committed against God, according to him that makes it even worse.
This sin tore Bathsheba’s life apart. Her family was destroyed, and even her baby, which David fathered, died. All Israel found out about it. Everyone had to know, because David didn’t deal with the problem when he should have.

While all this was happening, David’s son Absalom thought, Well, he’s not qualified to rule. God has shown that. I’ll take over. And he rose up and led the Israelites after David, and 23,000 of them ended up getting killed. All because of David’s sin. (p. 4.)
Now, notice David’s response. “I have sinned against the Lord” (verse 13). A very interesting response. He didn’t say he’d sinned against Uriah or Bathsheba or all Israel. After all the havoc he ended up causing in so many lives, his chief concern was what he had done to God. (p. 5.)
After that Flurry talks about Psalms 49, 50 and 51 to illustrate how PCG members are to repent of sin.

First is Psalm 49.
“Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world” (Psalms 49:1). He made a public proclamation to the whole world. David really revealed his heart in these psalms in a way few other people could. Consider it: We put these psalms to music and sing them today. (p. 5.)
Is this a call for PCG members to publicly confess their alleged sins?

Just being sad about sin is not enough.
When you sin, perhaps you see how your sin hurts other people. That’s what David was seeing here. But do you have repentance toward God? You must be careful you don’t just have human sorrow over your sin, because that isn’t going to cause you to overcome your problems. Our repentance must rise above the human level. Only godly sorrow—repentance toward God—will cause you to overcome. So at this point, David still had more to learn about repentance. (p. 6.)
So it would appear that Flurry commands the reader to not only feel bad about sins committed against other persons but the overriding concern is to be aware of and feel guilty that one's sin is against (PCG's) God.

Flurry then moves onto Psalm 50.

Flurry says you are personally responsible for Christ's death.
When you sin, you ram a spear into Christ’s side. That’s the reason He died—because you and I sin. If nobody else ever were to enter the Kingdom of God but you, Christ still would have subjected Himself to that gruesome execution. There is a terrible penalty for sin, and someone has to pay it. That’s the way it must be, according to the law of God. (p. 6.)
One peculiarity of Armstrongism is that HWA taught that Jesus Christ was thrust through with a spear while still living. HWA also incorrectly taught that Jesus Christ died on a stake in order to isolate his followers from other Christians. Like many things HWA pinched this idea from the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Flurry also says David committed all kinds of terrible things.
Read verses 18-20. God gets specific about the guilt that was on David’s head. He had gotten into thievery, adultery, murder, deceit, slander—a host of horrible sins. “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes” (verse 21). God had let nine months go by before doing anything about David’s sin. Why? Because He was giving David a chance to repent. But David never did. He began to think, God thinks just like I do—I’m right on target. But God doesn’t think like us! We must put our thinking in line with His. He will often wait on us to repent, just as He did with David. We want to make sure that we never make Him wait too long. (p. 7.)
Flurry says David was subject to the law as anyone else is.

(On pages 8-9 is an excerpt from a personal article by HWA in the June-July 1983 issue of Good News about how to prevent sin. Here is a html version of that article, courtesy of Pabco's Home Page, which dates the article to the January 1968 Plain Truth. Essentially do not think about any such thing, HWA says. For some reason PCG likes to date HWA's articles as late as possible.)

Flurry then talks about how magnificently good (PCG's) God is.
In other words, He was telling Abraham, I’m going to give my life for you, or I’m going to die trying. Because you’ve done this deed, my death will pay for your sins and I’m going to bring you into my Family. I swear this by my own life.

Yes, when Christ came to this Earth, His life was at stake. He could, indeed, sin. Christ’s life was the greatest risk in the history of man. But He took it because He wanted people like Abraham in His Family...

If Christ had failed, God the Father would have been sitting in solitary confinement for the rest of eternity! That’s the kind of sacrifice these Gods made for us. We can forget that in our callous, carnal thinking. But God the Father and Christ did it—and they did it for you. (p. 10.)
Wouldn't you do anything for someone like this? Alas, that is what PCG's leaders anticipate how people will react. Flurry teaches elsewhere that only members of his PCG will be saved in the present time before the Great Tribulation. Readers are made to feel indebted to PCG's God and consequently PCG's leaders persuade them that PCG should be paid three tithes and extra offerings.

After this Flurry discusses Psalm 22.
Do you think like God? God desires truth in the inward parts—just as He Himself has. He wants us to think like He does. It’s not enough to pretend we’re thinking in the right way. It must be who we are, to our core. This is the lesson God was teaching David. Compare yourself to others and you may think, Hey, I’m not doing so bad. But compare yourself with God, and you’ll truly know repentance. The goodness of God leads us to repentance. (p. 13.)
So once again the reader is told to compare him or herself to God, a standard he or she can never approach, and only in this way can repentance (as defined by PCG) be achieved.

One is told to keep a childlike attitude in learning what Flurry's PCG teaches. Flurry says one should be extreme in maintaining that attitude.
If you have a problem you can’t get a grip on, an area where you’re not becoming childlike, Christ says, do whatever you must to overcome it! Become like a child and go to great extremes to make sure you stay that way. You can’t say, “Look, I don’t want anyone telling me what to do.” Christ is demanding that we keep a strict law! (p. 14.)
After that Flurry moves to Psalm 51. Flurry says that David nearly "lost God's spirit". In PCG (and the other COGs in general) it is taught that once one is baptized into the COGs God gives the new member a portion of God's spirit and only this allows the new member to actually be connected with God and grow godly character to become increasingly like God. It is taught that it is possible to lose God's spirit.

Flurry says the experience of repentance must be focused upon the member's relationship with God and knowing that whatever sin was committed was against God. Every sin should be viewed as being as terrible as killing Christ.
We must strive for this kind of repentance today. We are all Christ killers! We have killed the firstborn Son of our beloved Father! And if we’re thinking the way God does, we will experience the same intensity of emotion over what we’ve done as we would over losing a firstborn son! (p. 16.)
Then Flurry says there is a difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow.
This is getting at the heart of the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). The reason godly sorrow is “not to be repented of” is because it causes you to overcome your sin! Someone with worldly sorrow may feel bad for a while, but he will never overcome his problems. With godly sorrow, it may not be immediate, but you are not content until you overcome that problem. You get into contact with God and take the problem to Him, and you strive with all your being to become like God in that area. That’s when you begin to make real progress. (p. 16.)
I know I came upon similar words from LCG while I was an Armstrongite so this idea seems to be widely taught within the COGs and is probably inherited from HWA's WCG.

Then Flurry says that there is government within PCG in order help people repent and become more like God. Sometimes you may have to accept "correction" from a PCG minister.
One final point. God establishes His government in the Church to help us in this process. The ministry is there for a reason. ... Sometimes repentance toward God is a matter of accepting correction from the ministry. God’s ministers are watching for your souls. (pp. 16-17.)
Unless the reader is familiar with Armstrongism he or she will have no idea that "correction" means being told by a minister what he or she must do. All too often such power is used in a way unhelpful to the lay members. Even when Flurry is talking about repentance he has to blow his trumpet and tell readers they must submit to his "government".

What if things go wrong between you and the PCG minister? What happens then?
God wants you to have a good working relationship with them—a joyful relationship, not grievous. That doesn’t mean the minister will always do everything correctly. But God must have government in His Church to be able to get through to us sometimes. Repent toward God, and don’t forget that He has representatives in the flesh. (p. 17.)
Flurry assures the reader he has been corrected so do not worry if relations go wrong with the PCG minister. 
I’ve been corrected many times in my life, and it wasn’t always done exactly right, but I always tried very hard to accept the truth—and sometimes had to pray very hard to do so! (p. 17.)
Flurry pretending to be just another man obscures the fact that he has absolute power within PCG. The reader is not told this in this booklet. Flurry may well have been corrected during his years as a lay member and as a minister in WCG. But now that he is in control of PCG no one within PCG has the power to correct him or force him to do anything. He has complete power within PCG.

He often preach of "one-man rule" within PCG and he is the one man who gets to call the shots within PCG. This may be seen in Isaiah's End Time Vision and From the Beginning. Flurry often denounces people who speak of the evils of one man rule and say they are deceived and in the bonds of Satan.

Gerald Flurry is not just another man within PCG, he is the absolute leader.

Flurry ends this booklet with these words.
It is not a human effort. We may not actually want to overcome a problem. But God says that He’ll give us that desire. We must go to God for the desire to overcome. If we do, He promises He’ll give us that desire. Our repentance will be toward God, and then we’ll be able to overcome any obstacle! (p. 17.)
So Flurry ends his booklet about repentance. Even here Flurry feels compelled to talk about government within PCG. And Flurry seems to think that if one focus on thinking that the sin was committed against God and not focus so much on the wrong done to other human beings then he or she will be able to build godly character.

Actually maybe Flurry should repent. Maybe he should apologize to Jules Dervaes for plagiarizing his writings in order to make Malachi's Message. It is widely known 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.

Plagiarism is theft. So I suppose this means Flurry should think long and hard about how his act of plagiarism has greatly hurt and offended (PCG's) God and he should say to (PCG's) God against you, you only, have I sinned by plagiarizing The Letter to Laodicea.

He has not done so, so I can only think he has not repented of this sin against (PCG's) God.

Also maybe he should repent of spreading the nonsense that Americans and British people are descended from Israelites when they are not. As recently showed this idea is built on a foundation of sand. In fact DNA evidence refutes British Israelism. He should say to (PCG's) God, against you, you only, have I sinned by telling people they are descended from the Israelites when they are not.

He has not done so, so I can only think he has not repented of this sin against (PCG's) God.


  1. There was a time in the Radio Church of God we were to repent of what we were. I'm not certain that's possible. The Apostle Paul speaks of repenting from dead works. People can read through his epistles and gather that part of the dead works he was talking about were the dead works of the Old Covenant. The works of the Old Covenant were the Feasts -- purely physical for a nation which did not have the Holy Spirit, engaged in physical rituals which, though possibly rich in spiritual meaning, whatever spiritual meaning they had was lost to the practitioners. They had no faith, without which Hebrews 11 says it is impossible to please God. The Apostle Paul spoke of freedom -- freedom from the Law -- the Law of the Old Covenant, in which there was no redemption.

    Of course, in contrast, it appears that the Apostle Paul attended some Feasts. It isn't clear he kept them all or at all -- he would have used the occasion to preach Jesus and him crucified in any event.

    What Gerald Flurry wants is to make captive slaves of people by chaining them to Feasts, particularly the Feast of Tabernacles, where there is an awful lot of boozing going on. There's quite a lot of gossip as well in the PCG, the antithesis of what the Apostle Paul recommended as he told the congregations not to be busybodies. Certainly, the PCG is enmeshed in the dead works of the Law as Olde Testament Christian Pharisees exhibiting the works of the flesh in spades.

    I said that it was impossible to repent of what you are. I said that because it would not be possible to repent of what you are without the Holy Spirit to give a realization of what the old man really was. Apparently (in light of his DUI), Gerald Flurry is incapable of realizing just what kind of man of the works of the flesh he is. He exhibits none of the fruit of the Spirit, but rather he exhibits all the characteristics of the Pharisees. Fortunately, he is unlikely incapable of stoning me to death for saying so.

    Indeed, you are correct that Flurry (and the PCG) has not repented of sins. He has never brought forth the fruit of repentance, let alone the fruit of the Spirit.

    How ironic that he thinks he is at all qualified to be a competent guide on the subject, since he exhibits all the characteristics of a narcissist, sociopath and psychopath, which is not only not converted, but is a trainload of nasty Mental Disorders.

  2. A fine guilt trip. God is so good + We are so bad = We can never measure up, so let's just feel terrible about ourselves. It's an effective way to control people by keeping them constantly psychologically and spirituality off-balance.

  3. Black Ops Mikey,

    That was a beautiful comment. It is such a shame that so many COG members have yet to arrive at such simple truths and have yet to discover these things for themselves.


    Thank you for your comment. I suspected that this booklet might have been used in this way. Thank you for helping me to see that. Thank you for sharing your thought. It is appreciated.

  4. There are two peculiarities which are highlighted in this article. The first concerns Christianity in general, and that is the need for a blood sacrifice resulting in death in order for sins to be forgiven. The traditional teaching is that a perfectly just God sets the rules, and God requires death for sin, and therefore something or someone had to die in order to do penance for sin, and that, while under the Old Covenant various animals provided the penance, under the New Covenant it was the death of God himself in the form of Jesus Christ who provided the penance, because God's life is worth more than all human life since he created all human life. But of course he didn't stay dead. He rose, and the fact that God the Father was supernaturally able to raise God the Son from the dead provides conquest over sin. But why was all the bloodletting required in the first place? The answer would be because sin is heinous and God said so, which is not an entirely satisfying answer, although I guess it will have to do. But if death is required for the forgiveness of sin, then why didn't Jesus stay dead? The answer would be, as HWA might have expressed it, "We are saved by His LIFE!!!" But it still seems contradictory, doesn't it? Death was required for initial forgiveness, but since Jesus didn't stay dead life is required for ongoing forgiveness. Of course, such questions are heresy, but someone's got to ask them. The second peculiarity concerns Flurry's take on repentance. We must have Godly repentance, he says, and not just human repentance. This ignores the fact that repentance is repentance, regardless of motivation. Repentance means to stop doing what you were doing and turn around and go the other way and do something else. If you do that you have repented. If you find you have gone the wrong way on the highway and you turn around and go the correct way to reach your destination then you have repented of going the wrong way. But if, in going the correct way, you are constantly second-guessing yourself ("Why did I turn around? Did I do it for the right reason?") then you are psychologically in for a difficult ride, and you may be a nervous wreck by the time you reach your destination. Constantly striving for "Godly repentance" means constantly never measuring up, which means constant reliance on Gerald Flurry and the Philadelphia Church of God, which means that man and that institution constantly control your life.