In 2000 I saw LCG's telecast, Tomorrow's World, and began to believe in the many doctrines of Armstrongism as taught by Roderick C. Meredith's Living Church of God.
While I progressively fell into believing Armstrongism's dogmas courtesy of Roderick C. Meredith's Living Church of God I was particularly taken aback with Roderick C. Meredith's article, "Who is the Harlot of Revelation 17?" in the January-February 2001 issue of their magazine, Tomorrow's World.
I was stunned to be told that the Roman Catholic Church was this mysterious figure mentioned in Revelation 17. It was a thought I had never encountered before. I found it quite exciting to be let in to this secret about them. By this time I had months earlier gotten into the habit of just trusting whatever LCG's writers told me so I accepted this dogma as well.
It was in this article that I first heard about Dave Hunt. While demonizing the Roman Catholic Church in order to make his claim that it is the harlot of Revelation 17 Meredith cited a book by one Dave Hunt.
In his well-documented book, A Woman Rides the Beast (pp. 243-244), author Dave Hunt describes what the "woman" did for hundreds of years during the Middle Ages:
Thus Roman Catholicism became "the most persecuting faith the world has ever seen… [commanding] the throne to impose the Christian [Catholic] religion on all its subjects. Innocent III murdered far more Christians in one afternoon… than any Roman emperor did in his entire reign." Will Durant writes candidly: "Compared with the persecution of heresy in Europe from 1227 to 1492, the persecution of Christians by Romans in the first three centuries after Christ was a mild and humane procedure.
Making every allowance required by an historian and permitted to a Christian, we must rank the Inquisition, along with the wars and persecutions of our time, as among the darkest blots on the record of mankind, revealing a ferocity unknown in any beast. (Meredith, Who is the Harlot of Revelation 17?, Tomorrow's World, January-February 2001, p. 5.)(The last paragraph in the quote above is mistakenly presented in the 2001 article as though they were Meredith's words. In actual fact they are a continuation of the quote from Will Durant as is plainly seen when looking on page 244 of Hunt's book. This error is corrected when these words are used again in Meredith's booklet, Who or What is the Antichrist?)
The footnotes for the quotes above are "Ibid. [Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy (Crown Publishers, 1988)], p. 35, and jacket." He is referring to the sacking of Béziers in 1209 during the infamous Albigensian Crusade. The second footnote is "Will Durant, The Story of Civilization (Simon and Schuster, 1950), vol. IV, p. 784."
Such strong words seemed astonishing. Meredith mentioned Hunt again in the article.
Dave Hunt describes the blasphemous pretentions of the papacy:(The footnote for the quote above from page 558 of Hunt's book (Chapter 11, number 5). Strangely enough the footnote in Hunt's book appears to be in error. Here is the footnote with corrected page numbers. "Cormenin, History of the Popes, p. 243 [p. 248], as cited in R.W Thompson, The Papacy and the Civil Power (New York, 1876), p. 248 [p. 368]." The quote is attributed to one Gratian.)
The total submission that Rome requires has been expressed by many popes, but none said it more clearly than Nicholas I (858-67):
It is evident that the popes can neither be bound nor unbound by any earthly power, nor even by that of the apostle [Peter], if he should return upon the earth; since Constantine the Great has recognized that the pontiffs held the place of God upon earth, the divinity not being able to be judged by any living man. We are, then, infallible, and whatever may be our acts, we are not accountable for them but to ourselves. (A Woman Rides the Beast, pp. 153-154). (Meredith, Who is the Harlot of Revelation 17?, Tomorrow's World, January-February 2001, p. 6-7.)
What powerful words. How stirring they seemed to me at the time.
I had never heard of this idea that the Roman Catholic Church was mentioned in Revelation 17. I had never heard of this Dave Hunt before so I got it and read Dave Hunt's book. This book, A Woman Rides the Beast, was first published in 1994.
Later I listened to some of LCG's sermons. In one of them Meredith quoted the opening chapter of that book. It is entitled "Overturning the Reformation" and it is a condemnation of a 1994 document Hunt regarded as giving too much legitimacy to the Roman Catholic Church. Meredith quoted this to accuses these Protestants of renouncing the Reformation by making peace with the Roman Catholic Church.
I did not understand this at the time but Armstrongism has a long history of fear mongering any ecumenical development between Christian churches because they teach that in the future the Roman Catholic Church will somehow seize control of the Protestant churches. Thus any sign of friendship between the Protestant and Catholic churches is hysterically condemned by the COGs as a sign that the Roman Catholic Church will soon seize control of the Protestant churches.
It is astounding what one's mind can do once one accepts something as true. Meredith cited Dave Hunt even though Hunt taught many things contrary to what LCG taught. How I read shows just how indoctrinated into Armstrongism I was at the time.
Whenever Hunt said something that was in accord with what LCG taught I believed and accepted Hunt's words.
Whenever Hunt said something contrary to what LCG taught I reminded myself that Hunt was wrong and ignored the contrary information.
Om page 32 Hunt states that Jesus Christ went into Jerusalem on April 6, AD 32. But Meredith told me in one of his booklets that Jesus had actually been crucified in AD 31 in order to justify his claim that Jesus was resurrected on Saturday and not on Sunday. So I disregarded what Hunt said in favor of Meredith.
Meredith and LCG's writers taught me that there would be two sinister personages who would arise in Europe to launch the Great Tribulation, a European dictator who would command the soon coming European Beast Power and the final Pope, sometimes referred to as the false prophet, who would be able to miraculously make fire fall from heaven and would tell people to follow the European dictator. Meredith and Co. said this false prophet is the Antichrist.
On the other hand Hunt taught that the European dictator is the Antichrist. Not the last Pope. I just told myself that Meredith was right and Hunt was right on this matter.
In chapter 11 Hunt makes the following statement while condemning Papal infallibility.
In the next chapter Peter errs seriously again, with another heretical pronouncement. He puts Christ on the same level with Moses and Elias: "Let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias" (Matthew 17:4). This time it is God Himself from heaven who rebukes the "new pope": "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him" (verse 5). (Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast, 1994, p. 154.)How different these words are compared to HWA's God Family heresy which asserts that one becomes as fully God as God is God after being resurrected, though of a lower rank.
Hunt talked about the Tower of Babel and on page 64 mentions how it was used in posters promoting the European Union.
Hunt talked about the various scandals that have involved past Popes, some of which are quite ghastly.
While reading Hunt I first learned of the Decretals. I had heard of the Donation of Constantine before but not of these Decretals.
One thing that is praiseworthy of this book is that Hunt discussed the rampant sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests and how they were covered up by those higher up within the hierarchy. Hunt condemned this in 1994 before knowledge of those terrible things reached mainstream discussion. (Chapter 12, pp. 170-6.)
Chapters 18-21 (pp. 265-326) are largely concerned with the rise of Nazism and the Papacy's relations with the Nazi regime. Chapter 20 discusses the infamous genocide by the Ustaše in Croatia against ethnic Serbs during World War II. Chapter 21 discusses the ratlines in which various Nazis were able to clandestinely flee to Latin America with help from sympathizers. (PCG would like those last two chapters.)
Chapter 22-24 are focused on the theological differences between Catholicism and Protestantism.
This leads to Chapter 25 which argues that maintaining positive relations with the Roman Catholic Church is a betrayal of those Protestants who died due to Catholic persecution.
Chapter 26 then condemns ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholic Church as apostasy and forbidden for Christians.
Chapter 27 talks about various visions of Mary among Catholics. I had heard about some of these visions of Mary before but I had never read someone condemning them until I read this book.
Chapter 28 then warns that the visions of Mary might be used as part of the rise of some kind of sinister one world religion to arise just before Christ's return.
There are appendixes. The last three appendixes were added into the book in 2000.
Appendix F contains these words concerning Catholicism's views on abortion.
From the fifth century onward, Aristotle's view that the embryo goes through stages from vegetable to animal to spiritual was accepted. Only in the final stages was it human. Thus Gregory VI (1045-6) said, "He is not a murderer who brings about abortion before the soul is in the body." Gregory XIII (1572-85) said it was not homicide to kill an embryo of less than 40 days since it wasn't yet human. His successor, Sixtus V, who rewrote the Bible, disagreed. His Bull of 1588 made all abortions for any reason homicide and cause for excommunication. His successor, Gregory XIV, reversed that decree. In 1621 the Vatican issued another pastoral directive permitting abortion up to 40 days. As late as the eighteenth century the Church's greatest moral theologian, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, still denied that the soul was infused at conception and allowed for flexibility, especially when the mother's life was in danger. Finally, in 1869, Pius IX declared that any destruction of any embryo was an abortion and merited excommunication--a view that remains to this day. (Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast, pp. 519-520.)Appendix H concerns Pope John Paul II's visit to the Holy Land in 2000. In that appendix Hunt makes the following bizarre and dreadfully inaccurate statement.
The Pope repeatedly referred to Jerusalem as holy to Muslims in spite of the fact that it is not mentioned even once in the Koran and never was considered a holy site to Muslims until very recently as a ploy to expel the Jews. (p. 531.)That statement is wrong. The site of the Temple Mount has been sacred to Muslims for over 1300 years. That is long before the Holy Land saw the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hunt is grievously wrong on this matter. Those who read this book are ill served with these words.
And so this reminiscence of Dave Hunt's book comes to an end.
How strange it is that Meredith, so often condemning all Christians outside of Armstrongism as false, would then use a book by one of these "false Christians," to "prove" his doctrine that the Roman Catholic Church will be part of the future European Empire that Armstrongites have been constantly insisting will soon conquer the United States since the 1930s. And yet Dave Hunt would be most vehemently opposed to Armstrongism.