Friday, July 10, 2015

Reading PCG's Booklet, The Last Hour (Part 3)

Let us now read Gerald Flurry's booklet, The Last Hour. This booklet was first published in 2004. It was later revised in 2007. Here Flurry promotes HWA's anti-medicine superstition despite the terrible harm and even deaths this doctrine of death have inflicted upon those who follow HWA. He also boasts of starting up Imperial College and of acquiring new property to build PCG's headquarters. Flurry also claims his God is very merciful but only if one obeys "the law", meaning to obey what PCG's leaders say. You can read the current 2007 version of this booklet on their website.

This is a continuation from Part 1 and Part 2

Let us see what he has to say.

Chapter 5

Here Flurry points out that the word used in the original Greek for witness is the same word from which is derived the word martyr.
The word testimony is translated from the Greek marturia, which comes from martus, meaning martyr. Some times the Christian life really is about dying for a cause. It is always about giving your life—about being a living sacrifice—for this cause. But being martyred is merely the end of a physical life. What follows is eternal life. (p. 47.)
Flurry then uses this meaning to insist upon fervent loyalty towards his PCG.
In other words, martus means to bear witness of, or manifest, Christ— whether you’re living or dying! This word witness gives us a deep insight into what it means to love God. (p. 49.)
Where is he going with this? Here comes the nasty punch line.
If you are not growing in this love, you are dying!

Most of God’s people today are dying spiritually. You can’t smell the stench of people dying this way, but God can see it vividly! For a Father, watching His sons die because they don’t love Him is the most terrible thing He could possibly see. That’s the worst stench of all to our Father! (p. 49.)
The effect of these words is to make the reader fearful that he or she is somehow failing to live up to his or her responsibilities towards God (which in PCG dogma effectively means the leadership of PCG since they assert only PCG represents God today.) Such a reader will become fearful and troubled and determined to be even more determined to live up to the demands and dogmas of PCG.
We must be a doer of what we have learned—give proof and evidence to support what we say. Our deeds must match our words. When the burden is heavy, we continue to bear it. It is our duty to give a good, honorable witness of the light. (p. 50.)
In other words no matter what objections may be raised about anything PCG's leaders should happen to say must be ignored.
We are honorable witnesses when we love others as Christ loved us! God is love, and we must express God’s love as a way of life.Our witness of love—giving and sacrificing for God’s work—is how we come out of this world. This is a witness you see only in God’s very elect. (p. 51.)
"God's very elect" is a loaded term meaning PCG members.

This "witness" is being a member of PCG because of believing what PCG teaches, including its claim to be the one true church. That is why this witness is only seen among PCG members. Flurry has redefined being "a Christian" to be being "a PCG member". 

Flurry then boasts that PCG will get its message out to all the world.
We have been called to make God’s message known to mankind through our examples and God’s work—“that all men through him might believe.” God’s work could not be done without people who set such examples. The only way men can believe is through this message, and we teach most of all by our example. Ultimately, we shall reach all humanity. What a noble and monumental cause! (p. 51.)
Ten years later we are still waiting for this development.
Even in this world, you sometimes see a child dying of cancer or something similar, and a parent so full of love they would do anything to be able to die in place of that child.

That is merely phileo, or brotherly, love! Yet it is certainly in the direction of the kind of love God is talking about— where you love God so much YOU WOULD RATHER DIE THAN DISAPPOINT YOUR FATHER! This is my Father and my Husband, you might think. They’ve given their lives for me, and I want to be as they are! I want to act like I belong to their Family! And so, you are very willing to die. That is the love of God. We must love our majestic Father and Jesus Christ. (p. 51.)
In other words believing in and performing what is commanded by PCG's leaders is better and superior even than the love of a parent for his or her child. The reader is being trained to believe that doing PCG's will is even better and more noble than such natural affections and feelings.

Flurry is belittling family ties so that PCG's leadership can more effectively control PCG members. This is done to make it possible for PCG members to disregard their ties to their own family in favor of what PCG's leaders tell them to do.

The potential for abuse with this type of thinking is very real and all too many people have endured and been forced to struggle against the problems this sort of thinking causes.

Flurry then talks about how Christ was scourged and describes this as Christ witnessing for God the Father.
As 1 John 1:2 says, Christ’s eternal life was manifested as a human being. HE HUMBLED HIMSELF IN THAT WAY AND ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE BEATEN TO THE POINT THAT HE DIDN'T EVEN LOOK LIKE A MAN (Isaiah 52 and 53). That is how He witnessed for God! ... GOD WANTS US TO THINK AS HE THINKS! That is what conversion is all about. We need to understand the extent of that sacrifice by the Father and Son, and get our minds off ourselves. We are all far too steeped in selfishness. This is a SACRIFICING love.

Christ said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). This is not letter-of-the-law obedience. CAN YOU COMPREHEND THAT INCREDIBLE DEPTH—LOVING OTHERS AS CHRIST HAS LOVED YOU? And He wants us to love God the way HE loved God. He called this a “new commandment” because it is only possible to obey it with the Holy Spirit—it is taking the Holy Spirit into ourselves and then EXPRESSING THE VERY LOVE OF GOD! This is giving and sacrificing for God and for each other as Christ did. (pp. 52-53.)
So it would seem that Flurry wants his readers to be as devoted to PCG that they would be willing to die for it. It is talk like this that produces fanatics.

And how precisely do PCG members die to, supposedly, prove how devoted they are to (PCG's) God? There are no Roman Emperors seeking to suppress the Christians. Armstrongism has never had to endure martyrdom by some governmental authority. How do PCG members die? Flurry reveals how, namely faith healing.
This is REAL, ABUNDANT LIVINGEVEN IF WE ARE DYING PHYSICALLY! Over the years in my ministry, I have seen a few people physically rot right before my eyes and yet remain loyal to God every step of the way to the end! Though it must be one of the most grotesque sights to see, at the same time it is one of the MOST MAJESTICALLY NOBLE examples ever on Earth, from God’s point of view! If someone is being loyal in circumstances like that, he or she is BEARING WITNESS OF THE FATHER! What a precious, extraordinary beauty that is! I know I will see those people again, and they will live FOREVER AND EVER! When resurrected, they won’t remember that trial for very long. They will have ETERNAL LIFE!
Are you prepared to trust God to heal you, now or in the resurrection? Well done, good and faithful servant, He will say if we trust Him to the end. (p. 53.)
This refers to HWA's anti-medicine superstition which he plagiarized from the Jehovah's Witnesses. That organization condemned vaccines and going to doctors as sinful from around 1921 till 1952.

What horrors this is! To tell people not to see doctors or take medicines. And clearly Flurry knows this behavior causes people to die. But he seems to view these terrible deaths as a "MOST MAJESTICALLY NOBLE" example of being faithful to PCG's God. What an abomination this teaching is. Many people have died and more people will die because of this doctrine of death.

After that Flurry then accuses those WCG members who do did not join PCG of dishonoring their father (HWA) by not joining PCG.
There are many evil influences in this world that destroy our physical families. Satan knows he can destroy nations by destroying families.

The physical family is only a type of God’s Family of love. Satan knows he can destroy spiritual Israel (God’s Church) by destroying God’s Family vision!

Satan destroyed God’s work through the Laodiceans by getting them to dishonor their Father (Malachi 1:6). They no longer fellowship with the Father and Jesus Christ. (p. 54.)
This is just loaded language designed to convince WCG members and ex-WCG members who still believe many of HWA's teachings into thinking they must join PCG to receive God's favor.

After that Flurry asserts that out of all the religions of the world only his own PCG has any connection to God.
Most people crave sunshine and light. We must learn to crave spiritual light. With the light, we see how to solve all our problems. God’s light must change our evil human nature. With Christ in us, we are the light in this dark and evil world. Soon we will help Christ fill this world with light.
The Laodiceans are blind because they are not in God’s light. They receive no new revelation from God to give them direction. Their work is only a small human endeavor. (p. 57.)
One of Flurry's claims to legitimacy is to assert that he is able to receive and proclaim "new revelation". Usually these "new revelations" is simply an assertion that it has been revealed to him that another book of the Bible is actually a denunciation of the Tkach changes and predicts the rise of PCG in opposition to them.
Verse 5 tells us that we must declare this vision. This is the message of the Word, and it must be DECLARED so people can fellowship with the Father and His Son! Our greatest passion must be to declare this God Family message. Does this describe you and me? (p. 58.)
By insisting that declaring this God Family message is more important than anything else in the world Flurry is devaluing everything else in a person's life. This is one reason why so many stay in PCG despite all the problems in it. They think their standing within PCG and their help for PCG is more important than anything else in their lives, even their relations with their own family members.
Our Husband is the Word—the Spokesman. We are His bride and must help Him deliver His mind-boggling, awe-inspiring vision. This is the ONLY way Christ declares His message today—through His bride! We show love for our Husband when we declare His message. This is how Christ’s wife has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7). (pp. 58-59.)
Here "Christ's bride" is a loaded term referring to PCG members. It is taught that PCG members will be not just divine God beings as fully God as God is God but that they will be an elite that will forever outrank all God beings that should become into being after Christ's return. PCG members are taught that not only will they become God beings but shall be greater than most other God beings who are to be "born" after Christ's return.
Never again for all eternity will any saints have a greater opportunity for glory! Whatever God reveals, we either declare that revelation or become guilty of the world’s blood. Tragically, John was not getting nearly enough help from God’s people, as we are not today. But still the message is proclaimed. (p. 59.)
What extravagant rewards PCG members are told awaits them. The idea that church members will become not just God beings as fully God as God is God but even outrank all such persons that should come after Christ's return for all eternity. This pompous idea belittling all of humanity outside of the COG has been taught as early as the 1950s.

After this Flurry then nostalgically appeals to the memory of old WCG and boast of Franz Josef Strauss' praise for Ambassador College.
We must be qualified for this most exalted calling God will ever give anyone. We are God’s Family—destined to be universe builders! The German politician, Franz Joseph Strauss said of beautiful Ambassador College under Mr. Armstrong, “You see what you can do for the world when you see Ambassador College.” Today we have Imperial College, patterned after Ambassador College. When you have seen the beauty of both campuses, you see what we can do for the world and the universe! Mr. Strauss said of his full-day visit to Ambassador College, “It was the greatest spiritual lift I ever had.” Just a taste of God’s master plan lifts our spirits. Understanding God’s Family will always lift our spirits! We begin to see far—far—far into a future filled with incredible potential and full joy! We see this evil, hopeless world coming to an abrupt and catastrophic end very soon. (pp. 59-60.)
What is not mentioned here is how HWA's WCG often insinuated that Franz Josef Strauss would be the German strong man fated to conquer America.
A God from the northern heavens came to Earth and became flesh and blood, risking the loss of eternal life. Failure would have left the Father as the only remaining God forever. Spend more time and ponder what failure would have meant to our Father—the rest of eternity spent as the only God in the universe! Then you can better comprehend the kind of love He has for His creation. (p. 60.)
It has long been Armstrongite dogma that Heaven, the location of God's abode before Christ's return, is located somewhere to the north of Earth.
Fellowshiping with the Father and Son never leaves you discouraged or negative! Just the opposite. It brings you alive as never before. Is God discouraged? Joyless? Negative? Never! We must receive and develop the God Family Spirit ! This fellowship has worked for all eternity. So we know it will work now—or anytime. Having this vision is how we rejoice in fiery trials. We know that our resurrection to eternal glory is extremely close. It’s so real that we can rejoice in our worst trials. This is how we have full joy. (p. 61.) 
Ten years later we are still waiting for PCG's Christ to return.

Flurry then asserts that Tkach Sr. had told him that he had shifted focus from spread WCG's teachings to maintaining Ambassador College.
I visited with Joe Tkach Sr. in 1988. He told me then that the WCG had changed its focus to be on Ambassador College. He no longer desired to spread the message Mr. Armstrong taught to the world. The new Church leadership no longer focused on God’s commission and work. The college became an end rather than a means to an end. Now Ambassador College is dead. And the Worldwide Church of God no longer proclaims an important message to the world, as Mr. Armstrong did for over 30 years. By comparison, it virtually has no work at all! And even that is only a polluted residue of God’s work through Mr. Armstrong! (p. 62.)
It is true that WCG as an institution has renounced Armstrongism and for the most part teaches mainstream Christianity it should be mentioned that WCG still has far more members than PCG does.
When we were first called, most of us were so excited and joyful about God’s message that we talked about it to anyone who would listen. Soon we discovered that God was not calling those people yet. Sometimes we brought persecution on ourselves. (p. 62.)
It is taught within Armstrongism that when one begins to believe the teachings of Armstrongism it not because he is intrigued but rather (Armstrongism's) God is calling such a person to believe these things now. When such a person begins relating these things to others and such persons do not believe Armstrongism teaches that the only reason those people were not persuaded to believe in Armstrongism is because (Armstrongism's) God has not called them yet but will do so after Christ's return or during the Great White Throne Judgment after the Millennium. This teaching destroys the potential recruit's ability to note information contrary to what is taught by Armstrongism.

After this Flurry then denounces American society as vile and filthy. This is designed to make it seem necessary to join and stay in PCG despite the many problems within it by presenting the entire world outside of PCG as unutterably vile and foul.
Today, the media revolves around sports and entertainment—including vile music and pornography. It’s all about making money, regardless of any damage to our people. And it is inspired by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Humanity is receiving the wrong message today. The United States spreads its pornographic movies and obscene music around the Earth through the Internet. ... God will stop this global filth very soon. America and Britain have the best technology in the world. We are better equipped than any nation has ever been to deliver a message. But our message to the world is dominated by the worst pornographic filth humanity has ever seen! It is America’s number-one worldwide business! Depraved music is our number-two export! The world is full of violence and ready to explode into nuclear warfare. And America’s strongest messages to the world is the filthiest, Satan-inspired trash ever seen and heard! (pp. 63-64.)
Flurry this recites an anecdote about Japan to insinuate that American culture is more destructive than the Soviet Union's power. (Incidentally it should be noted that PCG has a long history of demonizing Japan. They do so to this day.)
Years ago, when the Soviet Union was strong, the Japanese were asked who they feared most. They answered that they feared Russia most militarily, but they feared America most culturally. (If only we could see ourselves as others see us.) And they had good cause for that fear. Today the Japanese are saturated with America’s vile culture. Our culture is destroying us and other nations morally and spiritually. We prate about how good we are and sing “ God Bless America” — but God is cursing America, Britain and the Jews in the Middle East. He will continue to do so until we see our black sins and repent. (pp. 64-65.)
Flurry then says that America's "sick culture" is what motivated Osama bin Laden and his cronies in Al Qaeda to launch 9/11.
One of the main motivations for terrorists attacking the U.S. on September 11 was the impact of our sick culture on the Arab world. (p. 65.)
Is Flurry blaming America for the mass murder of innocent people that the wicked Al Qaeda committed on 9/11? For more information on the disturbing tendency among PCG's leaders to agree with Osama bin Laden in saying America is sinful see PCG Says Osama bin Laden was Right to Condemn America's Sins.

Flurry boasts of purchasing the property for their current Headquarters.
The PCG has bought and paid for 170 acres and all of our buildings. What is it all for? We are getting ready to help Christ rule this world and the universe! God has blessed us mightily. Now He wants to fire our imaginations to see what a marvelous, mind-staggering future this world has. We have the greatest, most complete message God has ever given to declare! (p. 65.)

Chapter 6

Here Flurry says that (PCG's) Christ is our advocate to God the Father when we sin. How is this any different from what pretty much all of Christianity teaches?
Christ is our Advocate, NOT when we are righteous, but when we sin. If we sin, we have an Advocate, or one who pleads another’s case before a judge—God the Father, in this case. ... The fact that we have an Advocate shows God’s great love and passion for justice. What a wonderful Father we have, who will sit down and talk with our Husband about how to remove our sins. This gives us a deep insight into the character of the Father and the Son. They have gone to extreme lengths to see that we receive justice. (pp. 66-67.)
This is very similar to what practically all of Christianity teaches.
God is unlike anything we see on Earth, except in the very elect. And we are far from perfect. (p. 67.)
When Flurry talks of "the very elect" he means PCG members. It is taught by PCG that God can only be found within PCG.

In this chapter Flurry talks of God as being forgiving and merciful.
Because of His love for His wife, Christ intercedes between us and the Father. ... He died for us, but now He LIVES as our High Priest to intercede for us in any way possible. ... This is the opposite of how many people view God. To many He is a harsh taskmaster, ready to destroy us if we weaken. Actually, He is just the opposite. (p. 68.)
“We HAVE an advocate,” John wrote— not did HAVE . Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, is ALIVE and working as our Advocate—now! That one word is a vision of breath - taking splendor. We don’t understand what Christ is doing today if we fail to grasp this. He is always very active on our behalf—on your behalf. (p. 69.)
But the only way to get this forgiveness and mercy is to join PCG and obey the many rules and regulations PCG's leaders impose on their followers.
John was making the law real to a Church in grave danger. Like the Laodiceans and religious people today, they were spiritualizing away God’s Ten Commandments. This is why they were falling away from the truth. They were rejecting God’s leader at that time, the Apostle John. He alone taught God’s law. He was the physical head of God’s government at that time.

Today, 95 percent of God’s people reject the only physical leader who implements God’s law. This is a terrifying tragedy. That means they have rejected their Advocate, Christ, the Leader of God’s very elect. They have lost contact with their Father. They do not keep His Commandments. (p. 72.)
Flurry then says that because Tkach's WCG no longer believes the teachings of HWA they are fated to be cast into the Great Tribulation with half of them (and those in the other COG groups) fated to be cast into the Lake of Fire to be annihilated forever.
John first discusses our Advocate, then our propitiation, and then he hammers the law doctrine (which includes the government that proclaims that law). Why? Because this is how God’s people were falling away then, and how they are falling away now. If we don’t keep the law, our religion is vain. Today, all of God’s own Laodicean people will go into the great nuclear Tribulation, which will bring 50 percent of them back to God—the other 50 percent will lose their eternal salvation because of their unrepentant rebellion against God’s Ten Commandments. It’s all about rebelling against God’s law. (p. 73.)
Flurry then brings up Tkach Sr.
Joseph Tkach Sr., the former leader of the WCG, said, “The Ten Commandments do not require kindness, mercy, compassion ... or love.” That is a diabolical statement .... We have to tell such people that they don’t know God— if they say they do, they are liars! (p. 73.)
Flurry has often brought this point up. Flurry seems to have redefined "love" as obeying PCG's leaders. So even when PCG's leaders order their followers to have no contact with relatives and friends not in PCG this obedience to such oppressive dictates is redefined as "love" because it is in conformity with obeying PCG's leaders.   

Flurry insists that doing things contrary to PCG's dogmas is terrible and will cause no end of trouble. Such talk is designed to compel the reader to obey PCG's leadership and to do so with joy, thinking they are fulfilling their natural and religious duties to (PCG's) God and all humanity by obeying PCG's leaders.
Lawbreaking brings us to ruin! It will destroy an individual or a church. How confused God’s Church has become because of lawbreaking. When John saw people falling away, he didn’t try to gloss over the problem by talking about God’s Church having “different branches” or any such thing. He said, “You are liars!” They broke God’s law, and lying became their way of life. Could John get any stronger than that? (pp. 73-74.)
Flurry is taking John's words out of context. Rather Flurry is injecting his own meanings and interpretations into John's writings and using the prestige and respect Christians all over the world have for those writings to claim that authority for himself. He wants people to join his PCG so he denigrates every other church and religion in the world in an attempt to get more people to join his PCG. And once people join PCG they are taught to pay three tithes and extra offerings to PCG for the rest of their lives. This is how PCG got $19.5 million in 2012. No wonder Flurry wants more tithes payers funding his PCG.

And while Flurry denounces those who implemented the Tkach changes as liars and lawbreakers Flurry steals the Jews' cultural identity by teaching the false dogma of British Israelism. He incorrectly teaches that the British and Americans are descended from the Biblical Israelites. This is nonsense. has shown how British Israelism is built on a foundation of sand. In fact DNA evidence refutes British Israelism.

Also it is widely known that many of the ideas within his booklet Malachi's Message, which is so often cited by PCG to justify following Gerald Flurry instead of the many other COG splinter groups, 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. On September 26, 1990 Jules Dervaes even sent a letter to Gerald Flurry in which he denounces Malachi's Message as "a direct and clear plagiarism" of his work.  

To be continued...

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