Friday, September 18, 2015

Reading PCG's Booklet, A Warm Friend of Israel

Let us now read PCG's booklet, A Warm Friend of Israel. This booklet was first published in 2011. Here PCG boasts of Herbert W. Armstrong's links with Israeli officials and personalities. Then it boasts of similar links to Israeli society by Gerald Flurry and Stephen Flurry. This is done to insist that only PCG is the rightful successor to HWA's Worldwide Church of God. You can read this booklet on their website.

On the title page inside this booklet is called, A Warm Friend of Israel. Herbert W. Armstrong. The Ambassador Without Portfolio.

In all of this booklet Palestinians are never mentioned.

What a way to make peace this is. To talk about the dream of war turning into peace and yet never mention one of the major parties in the conflict regarding the State of Israel, namely the Palestinians.

They are sometimes vaguely alluded to as "Arabs" as though they are just any other kind of Arabs such as Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese or Egyptians. The Palestinians are not so. They are Palestinians. 
Officials drew comparisons between this indefatigable elderly man and another legendary world traveler with whom he shared the skies: Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. (p. 2.)
Is it really such a good thing to compare HWA with Secretary Kissinger? As Secretary of State he did many things that the PCG leadership tell their followers are immoral and sinful. Historically HWA ordered his followers not to participate in politics and yet Kissinger did many things that HWA banned his followers from doing.

And yet PCG, which refuses to let its followers serve in the armed forces, should adulate a man who did such things contrary to PCG dogma. This shows that the PCG 1% are mesmerized by power and yearn to have some of that power for themselves. 
He published the Plain Truth magazine, read by 1 out of every 583 people on Earth; broadcast the World Tomorrow program, seen on 382 television stations and 36 radio stations; and founded three campuses of the well-regarded Ambassador College. (p. 5.)
Ambassador College was unaccredited to the misfortune of many of its students.

One of those campuses was shut down in 1974 under HWA's watch. It is amazing how Armstrongites love to forget that detail so often.
Mr. Armstrong sometimes traveled 300 days out of the year. But his greatest passion was not for Jakarta, Pretoria, Manila, Cairo or even London or Washington. His greatest passion was for Jerusalem. (p. 5.)
At the time Indonesia was ruled by Suharto, a man who came to power in 1965 after orchestrating the violent suppression of the Indonesian Communist Party in a bloody purge that killed about 500,000 people. It was was one of the largest blood lettings of the twentieth century. That is how Suharto came to power. And when HWA met Suharto in the 1970s he was careful to sanitize this fact in his recruitment magazine.

At the time South Africa was an apartheid regime that forced the black majority into a subservient state ruled over by a white minority. It was impossible to persuade the majority of the population to be treated in such a way so this system was imposed with much violence. Thankfully this system of apartheid was finally abolished by 1994 after much struggle. But shamefully PCG has historically chosen to sympathize with the former apartheid regime.
Mr. Armstrong’s closest partnership was with Prof. Benjamin Mazar, the former president of Hebrew University and Israel’s preeminent archaeologist. Together, Hebrew University and Ambassador College excavated the southern wall of the Temple Mount, providing an invaluable contribution to the heritage and history of Jerusalem. The project lasted for more than a decade. (p. 7.)
The PCG leadership is eager to focus on this particular relationship considering what PCG has been doing in Jerusalem since 2006. This is a major reason why PCG aids the archaeological dig in Jerusalem, namely to portray themselves to those within PCG and the other COGs as the sole legitimate successor to HWA. 
By now, the leaders of the excavation and Ambassador had developed mutual trust. Though the archaeologists had turned down three other major American universities seeking involvement in their project, they now offered Ambassador College a 50/50 joint participation. (p. 8.)
In addition to sending over what were praised as the excavation’s most enthusiastic laborers, Ambassador College shouldered half of the cost of excavations alongside Hebrew University from 1968 until the conclusion of the dig in 1976. (p. 10-11.)
In addition to the three multi-season excavations in Jerusalem, Mr. Armstrong’s Ambassador International Cultural Foundation also supported an excavation at Tel Zeror in northern Israel. (p. 13.)
So that is where the money WCG lay members sent to Pasadena went? It deserves to be noted where this money came from.

Much of that money came from people who thought the world was soon coming to an end based on what HWA told them through his radio broadcasts and publications. Many of these people were told to send in three tithes to HWA's organization. HWA told them that tithing would make them financially prosperous so not only could they afford to send in three tithes, they could not afford not to do so. HWA told them their own money was cursed unless they sent the three tithes to his organization.

Furthermore HWA made numerous hysterical "co-worker letters" to his financial supporters claiming that his organization was on the verge of bankruptcy and that this necessitated special contributions above and beyond what was normally given.

How dare HWA should contaminate these archaeological excavations by using the money he got by manipulating peoples' emotions and spreading fear inducing false prophesies. There is nothing noble in what HWA did.

We now continue with this booklet.

On page 14 is a photo of HWA with some children, presumably in Jerusalem. It is quite likely that some of those children are Palestinians. PCG so often depict Palestinians in the most hostile manner. And yet they dare exploit one of them to portray HWA as someone great.

The booklet then goes on to say the following.
Needing more funding, Mr. Kol approached Mr. Armstrong in 1968. Mr. Armstrong obliged and supported the work of the ICCY [International Cultural Center for Youth in Jerusalem] and the dream of seeing children of all nations and ethnicities living and playing and growing together in the way of peace. (p. 15.)
So often HWA claimed that his meetings with world leaders was unforeseen and occurred almost inexplicably as though (HWA's) God had made it happen. So much for that explanation. HWA managed to get a meeting with the Israeli President because the President was looking for more money for this public project.
The Ambassador Foundation helped fund the construction of Liberty Bell Park, specifically the children’s playground at its northern entrance. (p. 15.)
So that is where the money went.
Mr. Armstrong (left) and Mayor Kollek (second from right), along with one of Mr. Armstrong’s assistants and his wife, inspect the site in Liberty Bell Park for a children’s playground, made possible by the Ambassador Foundation. (p. 16.)
The assistant in question who is contemptuously left unnamed is Stanley Rader. At the time Rader was a titan in the world of WCG. After the overthrow of Garner Ted Armstrong it was widely suspected that Rader was the second most powerful man within WCG. Somehow Rader himself was ousted in 1981.

Since Rader was never popular with the WCG ministers or the lay members and his power was mainly derived from his close association with HWA. Once Rader lost HWA's trust his power within WCG dissipated. He is now largely forgotten in the world of Armstrongism. Deliberately so.

But Rader was still able to enjoy a retirement pension from WCG even after the Tkach changes. He died in 2003.
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin would later tell Mr. Armstrong emphatically that President Sadat was ready to talk to Israel long before the much-publicized intervention and shuttle diplomacy of the U.S. In fact, Rabin said that Begin and Sadat’s peace accord would have come much sooner had it been left up to only the two leaders. It was true: Sadat had confided to Mr. Armstrong early on that he was a man of peace and indicated readiness for a direct meeting. (pp. 21-22.)
Other accounts support this assertion.
Although the Six Day War completely changed the situation, Mr. Armstrong continued to support Jordanian cultural activities, mostly through the university. (p. 24.)
What university? It was called Ambassador College. It was only called Ambassador University briefly after HWA's death when it was under the control of Tkach (1994-6). Why call it a university?
King Hussein warmly accorded Mr. Armstrong the honors of a visiting dignitary, arranging meetings with the crown prince, prince, princess, prime minister, minister of information and president of the university. A reception and a large banquet were held in his honor, with television and radio news journalists reporting the events. (p. 24.)
How entranced with power and worldly greatness this booklet is.
On another visit to Amman in March 1982, the two men planned to meet again. However, the king had to rush to the airport in the middle of the night to fly to Iraq where his army was on a major offensive against Iran. (p. 24.)
Jordan sent soldiers to support Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War. That most bitter war raged between Iran and Iraq from 1980 till 1988.
Mr. Armstrong returned in July, yet he still had to wait five days, as the king was yet in the midst of the turmoil. When the king finally cleared time to see his American friend, he had to keep the chief adviser to President Mubarak, who had flown to Jordan with a special confidential message from the president, waiting in another room. (pp. 24-25.)
Assuming this anecdote is true what does it prove? That HWA was on good terms with King Hussein? That HWA was more important than Jordan's relations with the Egyptian government? Then why is it that only the COGs bother to remember these meetings and appointments of HWA's?
In December 1978, Mr. Navon hosted a special tribute dinner for Mr. Armstrong at his presidential palace to celebrate Mr. Armstrong’s 10 years of partnership with Israel. During this trip to honor his involvement, Mr. Armstrong met with President Navon, Prime Minister Begin, Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, Labor Party Chairman Shimon Peres and Knesset Speaker Yitzhak Shamir—in one day. (p. 27.)
It is ironic that the PCG leadership should boast of HWA meeting with Shimon Peres because the PCG leadership has constantly vilified and demonized Shimon Peres, calling him a "foxy old socialist" and insinuating that he would make some kind of self defeating agreement with the Palestinians that would lead to the State of Israel being conquered and enslaved by the future European Empire.
Mr. Armstrong presents a personal protocol gift of Steuben crystal to Israeli President Yitzhak Navon. (p. 27.)
During this time many WCG members were disgusted at this extravagance by HWA while so many WCG members went without and became poor while trying to fulfill HWA's demand that they pay three tithes to HWA's organization. Claiming that the Steuben crystal is demanded by protocol is a way this PCG booklet defend HWA's use of tithe money in this way.
This was highlighted in a conversation over lunch in Jerusalem in 1983. Since it was election day, Mr. Armstrong led a toast for the reelection of Mayor Kollek. The mayor responded from his chair, “Jerusalem at this time does not have a prophet—you [Mr. Armstrong] will have to be our prophet.” Mr. Armstrong responded saying he planned to spend the next thousand years in Jerusalem, to which Mr. Kollek quipped, “And I’ll be happy to be mayor!” (p. 31.)
And to think so often those who believe HWA was right insist HWA was not a prophet. And here is PCG presenting HWA as being hailed as a prophet by the Mayor of Jerusalem.
However, those who Mr. Armstrong entrusted with the Ambassador Foundation, Ambassador College, the Plain Truth and the Worldwide Church of God ultimately rejected his legacy. The college was closed and the campuses sold. All the humanitarian and cultural activities of the Ambassador Foundation ceased. (p. 32.)
The Bricket Wood campus was shut down in 1974 under HWA's watch. COG accounts of WCG's history so often pass over that fact.
Dr. Mazar still remembered the close relationship between her grandfather and Mr. Armstrong. “Without the support of Mr. Armstrong and the Ambassadors, the Temple Mount Excavations would have never become, as it did, the most important and largest excavations in Israel at that time,” she said. Dr. Mazar easily recognized the Armstrong Foundation’s roots, and was thrilled to continue the tradition, remarking that she was “excited to have the Ambassadors back with us.” (p. 36.)
In actual fact there are hundreds of offshoot groups originating from HWA's followers. PCG yearns to convince people that PCG alone is the sole legitimate continuation of HWA's organization.

PCG is not even the largest offshoot of WCG. United Church of God, founded in 1995 as the Tkach changes reached its conclusion, is the largest offshoot group derived from WCG.

Living Church of God, founded in 1999, and led by Roderick C. Meredith, is also larger than PCG.

Church of God, an International Association, founded in 2010 as the result of a schism within UCG, is also widely thought to be as large, if not larger, than PCG.

Also only two WCG ministers joined PCG, namely Gerald Flurry and John Amos. No other WCG minister joined PCG. Those closely associated with HWA and who were prominent leaders of WCG did not go to PCG. PCG completely failed to gain an following among those who powerful within HWA's WCG.

Gerald Flurry was only ordained in 1973. The prominent leaders of WCG would have viewed it as beneath their dignity to submit themselves to a minister who was only ordained in 1973. So of course PCG failed to attract any other WCG minister aside from Gerald Flurry and John Amos.
Foundation president Gerald Flurry and staff regularly travel to Jerusalem to personally investigate progress on the foundation’s activities in the eternal city. Foundation representatives have attended the World Jewish Congress, the Herzliya Conference and the Jerusalem Conference. (p. 36.)
Do PCG's members even know what these events are?
In addition, the foundation will host an archaeological exhibit at its headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 2011 which will feature artifacts from 10th-century Jerusalem. (p. 36.)
Later on in 2014-5 PCG would repeat this arrangement holding a similar exhibit.

The PCG leadership end their booklet with the following words.
From performing arts to true education to youth camps to publishing to broadcasting, to participation in projects in the Holy Land, the Armstrong Foundation and the Philadelphia Church of God continue to raise up the legacy of a remarkable man—an unofficial ambassador for world peace, a great educator, a close acquaintance of world leaders, and a warm friend to Israel. (p. 39.)
What does PCG mean when they talk of "true education"? This is a loaded term referring to education approved by PCG and denouncing any knowledge contrary to PCG's dogmas as false and untrue.

And this booklet all about HWA's meetings and activities in the Middle East comes to an end without once mentioning the Palestinians. This is a silent witness of the severe hostility that PCG's leaders bear toward the Palestinian people. In other writings PCG has shown an unceasing hostility towards Palestinians and have constantly portrayed them in the worst possible light. 

And another thing worth mentioning is that there are many people in the United States who support the State of Israel. When it comes to supporting the State of Israel Gerald Flurry's PCG is small fry.

Among evangelical Christians in the United States the main pro-Israel organization is Christians United For Israel founded by John Hagee. Every year CUFI holds a summit in Washington, DC. This year's summit was held July 12-14, 2015. Those who attended it saw many prominent persons speaking at this summit. Among those who spoke were Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, Elie Wiesel, Senator Cotton, Senator Cruz, Senator Graham, Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum.

Also John Hagee has been very active in supporting the State of Israel for decades, particularly after the Osirak raid of 1981. In 2007 John Hagee wrote In Defense of Israel partly to promote his organization, Christians United For Israel. In that book there are photos of Hagee with Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin, Benjamin Netanyahu and Daniel Ayalon. Frankly HWA was far from alone in trying to cultivate relations with prominent Israeli officials to bolster his position among his followers. And he was far from the most successful in such things.

And Gerald Flurry is unable to even get as much attention from Israeli officials as HWA, much less John Hagee.

It is quite arbitrary for PCG to proclaim themselves as the sole legitimate successor to HWA. But the PCG leadership desperately yearns to convince people of that. Hence this booklet. It was made to make the reader not notice or see that God was not with HWA.

This booklet is part PCG's competition to gain members who just might decide to join another COG group and thus not send any tithe money to PCG. In 2012 PCG had an annual income of about $19.5 million. PCG does not want that income going down.


  1. This is all rather curious because there are those who claim that the Jews hate Christianity and their Talmud is quite pointed about it:

    According to the Talmud (some portions of which were expunged in the 13th Century), Jesus was born of a whore whose father was a Roman soldier, Panthera, who seduced Mary; Jesus had 5 disciples; Jesus was hanged; practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry.

    Though in this day and age there may be seem to be a new ecumenicalism forging bonds between Christians and Jews, the truth be told, there should be a great deal of suspicion in the Christian camp that the Jews aren't really all that supportive.

    In the First Century, the Jews actively tried to execute Christians (and in the Middle Ages up to Hitler, some 'Christians' seemed to reciprocate). Martin Luther wanted the Jew excised.

    Are we to believe that Flurry and the PCG want to be associated with Judahism, practices of which are condemned not just by Jesus but by the Apostle Paul?

    No one thinks about these sorts of things, but isn't it the case that by aligning themselves with the Jews, the PCG is actually shooting itself in the foot? Or maybe both feet. Or perhaps two feet north.

  2. I will state that I am very happy that there is in general such positive relations between Christians and Jews. May such a positive state of affairs long continue. (Now if only similar positive relations could be created with Muslims as well as now exist between Christians and Jews.)

    Why would PCG want to associate themselves with the State of Israel in this way? Well in one way they are imitating what many evangelicals such as John Hagee have done. And they are imitating HWA as well.

    Another reason why PCG would support the State of Israel like this is that, at present, the State of Israel is ruled by a right wing government. PCG is right wing as well so this alone would make PCG well disposed towards the current Likud led government.

    However the vast majority of American Jews happen to be left wing, support the Democratic Party (about 80% of them) and hold political opinions contrary to the right wing leaning PCG.

    By supporting Israel PCG can present themselves as friendly towards Jews even though they constantly vilify the left, which happens to include the vast majority of American Jews.

    Although PCG don't tend to single out American Jews in condemning leftists it must be stated that condemning the left necessarily means condemning the vast majority of American Jews who happen to be left wing as well.

    PCG's support for Israel has the effect of masking this political contradiction.

    Gerald Flurry even condemned President Obama as "another Antiochus," an Antichrist like figure of Flurry's own devising. Such an opinion is extremist. (Not to mention wrong.)

    But if President Obama is "another Antiochus" what about those who voted for him? The majority of American Jews voted for Obama. Will they and others who voted for President Obama be demonized and dehumanized in that way as well?

    The mind of an extremist is quite a scary place.