Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Reading PCG's Booklet, The Last Hour (Part 1)

Let us now read Gerald Flurry's booklet, The Last Hour. This booklet was first published in 2004. It was later revised in 2007. In this booklet Flurry indulges in more scare mongering that catastrophe is just about to occur any moment now in order to get more tithe paying members into PCG. He exploits the court case with WCG (which PCG lost), the $3 million purchase of WCG's copyrights, a scary sermon on May 5, 2001 to insist catastrophe will soon occur even though he has been constantly scare mongering the wits out of his followers from the moment he started PCG in 1989. This is how PCG got $19.5 million in 2012. You can read the current 2007 version of this booklet on their website.

Let us see what Flurry has to say.

Chapter 1

On May 5, 2001, Gerald Flurry delivered a sermon in which he proclaimed that the world had entered its "last hour".
On May 5, 2001, God signaled the beginning of a new phase in this rapidly fading age of man. This new phase is described in vivid detail by the Apostle John in his epistles. You need to understand this deeply to know how imminent Christ’s return truly is! (p. 1.)
What Flurry means is that he made a sermon on May 5, 2001.
God began to reveal this truth about the last hour to the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) on May 5, 2001. Approximately four months later came the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. I believe God allowed us to receive this physical sign that we had entered the last hour. The worst terrorist attack ever on American soil powerfully reinforced our new revelation about the last hour. (p. 2.)
But how did 9/11 fit in with PCG's prophecies?

PCG said Iran would be the King of the South. 9/11 was perpetuated by Al Qaeda. (Although PCG likes to muddy that issue.) Al Qaeda's franchise in Iraq turned against Iran and fought against Iranian supported Shiite militia groups in Iraq and the Coalition forces. Al Qaeda hates Iran and the Shiites.

Later Al Qaeda central, led by the murderous Zawahiri, created Jabhat al Nusra (The Support Front) in Syria which Al Qaeda central created to expand their power by exploiting the armed struggle against the Iranian backed Assad regime. Al Qaeda hates Iran and the Shiites.

PCG says Iran will emerge dominant in the Middle East so how can PCG point to Al Qaeda's 9/11 as fulfillment of their prophecies? It is all nonsense. They did not predict 9/11. They did not predict that Al Qaeda would do their wicked deeds. While "watching" Iran PCG missed Osama bin Laden.

Before 9/11 PCG predicted that the US was becoming isolationist (as may be seen here, here and here). This is yet another false prophecy. The US went to war under President Bush after 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq. This actually caused PCG's false prophecy of an isolationist America to fail. But the unsuspecting reader will have no idea about any of this reading this booklet.

It is also worth remembering that Flurry has made similar dire statements over the years. Seven years after announcing the start of the last hour Flurry declared that the United States had reached "the point of no return" even though he has constantly taught that it is fated for America to be conquered.

The first few chapters are filled with huffing and puffing that the Great Tribulation and the German led conquest of America is about to occur any moment now. That there is, prophetically, just an "hour" left before PCG members flee to the place of safety.
We live in easy, prosperous times. We don’t receive much persecution from the world; the world simply isn’t concerned with God’s Church—yet. But look what has happened to God’s people. We are being attacked by self-righteous antichrists, spiritual barbarians, from among God’s own people! We may be witnessing the worst hour ever in God’s work.

These are unique times. The last hour isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. There is only one last hour—this little sliver of time Christ has given us to finish His warning to the world. What an honor to fight for Christ and to conquer the devil at this time! (p. 2.)
It is supposed to be "the worst hour ever" for PCG but fourteen years since the sermon of May 5, 2001, nothing has happened to PCG. America is not about to be conquered by Germans. And PCG still have not run away to Petra because they never will. PCG cannot see the future.
How do you manage your time? How urgent are you in organizing your time? We all need to get motivated to do more. We have less than an hour left! 

We now live in a dramatically new and far more dangerous time. It will be the worst hour ever in human history. (p. 3.)
And just seven years after delivering his "last hour" sermon on May 5, 2001 Gerald Flurry proclaimed America had passed the point of no return in 2008. What will he say now seven years after the point of no return was passed? Flurry cannot see the future or predict what will happen.
In God’s perspective, we are now less than one hour away from the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! (p. 4.)

We know the last hour is here when we see “many antichrists.” Most of God’s own people, at least in spirit, are fighting against Christ. Don’t overlook this extremely critical point. (p. 4.)
PCG members are still waiting for the Great Tribulation to occur fourteen years after the sermon on May 5, 2001.

In this part Flurry accuses Tkach's WCG of being "many antichrists". He also seeks to discredit the other COG groups by accusing them of being neutral during the court case against Tkach's WCG. Some in other COG groups tend to talk of PCG as though they are follow brothers and sisters within the wider COG movement. This charitable attitude is not at all shared by PCG's 1%.
God will take His very elect to a place of safety and leave the rest of His people behind to face the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22, 41).
There are two categories of those who enter the Tribulation. Matthew continues Christ’s prophecy: “[T]hey all slumbered and slept” (Matthew 25:1-5). Still, five of these 10 virgins were wise. The other five were foolish. That means that 50 percent of God’s people will repent in the Tribulation and 50 percent will lose their eternal lives (verses 6-12).
The Apostle John shows us why the 50 percent lose their salvation in this end time: they became antichrists. There is “that antichrist” and there are “antichrists” who follow this evil man (see also 2 Thessalonians 2). ...
The WCG fought in court to destroy Mr. Armstrong’s books and booklets—revelation from God! Its leaders wanted to totally blot out God’s truth so nobody could read and study it. They became vile antichrists by actively supporting Satan the devil—the ultimate sin!
None of those Laodicean members who left the WCG rallied to our support in that court case. Generally, in their actions, they remained neutral.
We had already entered the last hour when we received the victory in our legal battle to print Mr. Armstrong’s writings. This was a watershed event.
I believe God used the copyright victory to show clearly who the very elect are and who the many antichrists are. That victory also manifested who were the Laodiceans—those members of God’s Church who didn’t come to help us in our court battle. The Laodiceans aren’t antichrist, but they are not fighting for Christ. They didn’t even want the revelation God gave to Mr. Armstrong. “They went out from us”—the court case revealed that tragic result as no other event ever has! 
God is judging His people now (1 Peter 4:17). Christ used the court battle to judge all His people. No single event in this Laodicean era has been so revealing! God manifested who were the very elect and who were the antichrists and Laodiceans—in the last hour! (pp. 5-6.)
Flurry says these words in order to get the reader "on a spiritual high".

Flurry exploits the horrors of what happened on 9/11 to say "the collapse of America" will soon occur.
I believe the 9/11 terrorist attack dramatically signalled the collapse of America, Britain and the Middle East Jews — as we began the LAST HOUR.

I also believe our copyright victory was a sign of God’s work rising fast on the world scene — in the LAST HOUR. (pp. 6-7)
Because Al Qaeda did its atrocity when it did Flurry has constantly cited 9/11 to "prove" that his dire announcement of May 5, 2001 was right. So it is easy to not note that PCG was propagating this fearful false prophecy of "the last hour" even before 9/11. Here is Ron Fraser spreading PCG's false prophecy that planet Earth had entered "the last hour" on May 5, 2001. the post-Cold-War period of the past decade passed and the world swung on this watershed into more dangerous times, with its global policeman, the U.S., increasingly abrogating its former self-assumed role—our editor in chief made a profound announcement to the dedicated supporters of the global warning effort which is manifest in this magazine. He [Gerald Flurry] declared that this world has entered its “last hour.” ...

There is a final solution to this world’s ills. Yet, it is not quite within this world’s grasp at this moment. This dangerous time we entered just months ago, the post-post-Cold-War era—this last hour—is but a small breath of time away from the event which will usher in that solution. (Ron Fraser, Is America Becoming Isolationist?, Philadelphia Trumpet, September-October 2001.) 
Fourteen years later are still stuck in that "small breath of time away from" Christ's return. This is yet another false fear inducing prophecy PCG has made. It has failed miserably like so many other false prophecies of theirs. 

Continuing with Flurry's booklet he then demonizes Tkach Jr. as an Antichrist.
That is exactly the way Satan thinks: He wants Christ’s book destroyed forever! That is the ANTIchrist message! We must clearly see this war raging between those fighting for Christ and those fighting against Him. (p. 7.)
But if Tkach Jr. is an antichrist then will Flurry say there is a polar opposite to this alleged antichrist?
If there is an antichrist, someone must be fighting for Christ and doing His work. So this war clearly shows that there is a “very elect” fighting for Christ and His revealed truth. The enemy is antichrist because it consists of men who fight against the very elect, in whom Christ lives. (p. 10.)
Flurry is talking about himself. Flurry portrays Tkach Jr. as being his polar opposite to himself. By portraying Tkach Jr. in the worst way possible he makes himself look good. Flurry vilifies Tkach's WCG in order to make his own PCG look great and beautiful.

Tkach Jr. is demonized as an antichrist but Gerald Flurry glorifies himself as That Prophet.

Chapter 2

In this chapter once again Flurry asserts that until 1989 only HWA's WCG was the one true church and all other churches are false. Flurry quotes some words of Tkach Sr. denying that WCG was the one true church in order to condemn Tkach Sr. as false and unworthy of being followed. Today Flurry claims his own PCG is now the one true church.

Flurry also tries to preemptively discredit anyone who leaves PCG so that those who pay tithes to his group will not listen or take to heart anything that is said by those who have left (or been kicked out) of PCG 
What do those people usually do when they leave God’s Church? They often come after you, if you obey God. I believe that is an indication that this is God’s true Church and that they represent the devil. False prophets don’t just leave. They come back and attack. That makes it critical that we test the spirits. (p. 14.)
This is thought stopping. Flurry is merely trying to control his followers to make sure they will not listen to any information that might threaten his authority among PCG members. Conveniently any PCG member who trusts these words will continue paying the three tithes to PCG.

When Gerald Flurry and John Amos started up PCG they were the only two WCG ministers to enter PCG. No other WCG minister chose to join PCG. Gerald Flurry was only ordained a WCG minister in 1973. He was not particularly important within the hierarchy of WCG's ministers. The world of WCG's minsters is severely hierarchical. Most ministers would have viewed it as beneath their dignity to follow a man who was only ordained in 1973. So of course no other WCG minister joined PCG.

While insisting that one must believe that PCG is the one true church Flurry takes the time to try to discredit Roderick C. Meredith. Flurry must have been sorely disappointed to see him create an even larger following then himself when he left WCG in late 1992. Flurry even wrote a booklet condemning him. So any differences are emphasized in order to discredit him in the hope of gaining more former WCG members to join his PCG and not any other COG group.

One difference is that Flurry teaches that HWA was the end time Elijah but Meredith does not teach this doctrine. Even though Meredith teaches that HWA was an Apostle that is not enough for Flurry.
The test of the spirit is the ultimate test. No false leader comes right out and says Christ is not coming in his or her flesh. We must look at the person’s deeds. For example, there are leaders who served under Mr. Armstrong for years in high offices now saying they don’t believe he was the end-time Elijah... (p. 14.)
The real reason for his grudge against Meredith is that Flurry wants the tithe money Meredith gets for himself.
But with God’s Spirit you can absolutely know that Mr. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah! (p. 14.) 
Flurry is loading the term here. "Having God's Spirit" is redefined to mean "believing that HWA was the end time Elijah". But that idea is complete nonsense.

Flurry also obliquely tries to discredit UCG. UCG's ministers, seeing how one man rule allowed Tkach to change WCG's doctrines, decided to rule collectively so that nothing like the Tkach changes could ever occur again. Because this is different from what HWA did Flurry condemns UCG in order to convince potential recruits that they must join PCG and pay them the three tithes.
Other Laodicean leaders have candidly admitted to experimenting with a form of government different from the one Mr. Armstrong established in the Church. That too is saying that Christ is not coming in the flesh. Did Christ not live in Mr. Armstrong while he established and taught the government of God? (p. 17.)
UCG was able to gather for themselves a far larger following than Flurry was able to do. Flurry desperately wants ex-WCG members to choose his PCG instead of UCG.
Did Christ not restore all things— 18 major truths—through Mr. Armstrong—number one on the list being God’s government? (We will send you a list of these 18 truths upon request.) (pp. 17-18.)
So it would appear that PCG propagates that list which was authored by Tkach Sr.

Then, bizarrely, Flurry denies that HWA is the end time Elijah but says that Christ is the end time Elijah.
In actual fact, Jesus Christ was the end-time Elijah, through Mr. Armstrong! (p. 18.)
In this booklet Flurry finally discusses the actual theme of HWA's 1985 Pentecost sermon. Flurry quite often alludes to that sermon and insinuates that it was a premonition that the Tkach changes would soon occur. Flurry often presents that sermon as a sign that HWA was supernaturally close to God and able to foresee that the Tkach changes would occur. This is largely nonsense of course.

It is not what Flurry insinuates it is. HWA's 1985 Pentecost sermon was about saying that it was necessary for God to create some God beings to help him teach the vast majority of humanity into becoming God beings after Christ's return. It was not a premonition foretelling of the Tkach changes.

Here we see Flurry for once talking about the rest of what HWA said in that sermon.
Mr. Armstrong was excited that we could send volunteers to Jordan to help handicapped children. He thought it was wonderful to teach them and to contribute money so they could be taught. He became so excited that he offered one of the administrators additional money to add more facilities. She responded, “No, Mr. Armstrong. We couldn’t do that because we don’t have enough teachers.”

If we are to teach the world, we must have enough teachers ! There must be a lot of us who can teach people to know God. All other knowledge is worthless if we don’t learn that. We are about to confront a multitude of people who will have open minds but who will not know God. If we are not there to teach them, we won’t be able to expand God’s education to the whole world. They will all need personal attention, just as you do at this time. (p. 21.)
Flurry very often cites this sermon to portray HWA as supernaturally foretelling the Tkach changes before his death. Here Flurry does this yet again.
Mr. Armstrong was discouraged when he gave his last Pentecost message, six months before he died. He said to the Church, “Most of you don’t get it. We are here to train as teachers—get ready to teach or we have no future. I could stay until 1 a.m. and I think most of you would not get it!”

Reading between the lines, you could certainly believe that he thought the Church was Laodicean. He came about as close to saying so as a person could. What Mr. Armstrong said was a prophetic thunderbolt! A few years later, 95 percent of God’s people had rejected this Pentecost vision. (pp. 21-22.)
Flurry then cites several persons to insinuate that HWA believed that WCG had entered the Laodicean era.
Did Mr. Armstrong make even more revealing statements to some of the ministers in private? ...

According to this lady [who had since joined PCG], her WCG minister told her that Mr. Armstrong revealed a secret to him before he died. He said the secret was “that the Church was Laodicean.”...

In 1988, about two years after Mr. Armstrong died, there was a ministerial regional directors meeting. Herman Hoeh, one of the top evangelists, gave a lecture and said that the WCG had entered into the Laodicean era. ...

Perhaps Mr. Armstrong told Joseph Tkach Sr. to work at correcting a Church that had become Laodicean. And since Mr. Armstrong was dying, revealing too much to the Church could make a new leader’s job extremely difficult. (p. 22.)
Actually there was widespread confusion within HWA's WCG about this doctrine. In 1978-80 some of the major leaders of WCG speculated that Garner Ted Armstrong's group was the Laodicean era.

Also Flurry conspicuously forgets to mention Jules Dervaes. 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. 
At the 1987 Feast of Tabernacles, there was a Behind the Work film. It portrayed a scene with two runners. One runner was passing a baton to the other. This indicated that the Church was passing from one era to another. That could only be from the Philadelphia era to the Laodicean (or lukewarm) era. (p. 23.)
Or perhaps it simply signified that another man was now in charge of WCG after HWA's death.

Flurry then plays the persecution card and claims that PCG is being viciously persecuted by Tkach's WCG and the other COG groups. He then says that mainstream society outside of the COGs will soon persecute PCG.
At this point, it seems that most of the persecution was coming from within—just as it is today! That is exactly what we are experiencing today: The severe persecution is coming from God’s own people who do not hear the Spirit. However, we do expect to receive even worse persecution from the world just before the Great Tribulation. (p. 25.)
Fourteen years after Flurry's last hour sermon we are still waiting for such things to occur.

To be continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment