Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Reading PCG's Article, Elijah Has Come Already (1995)

Let us now read Stephen Flurry's article, Elijah Has Come Already: "And They Knew Him Not". This article first appeared in the July 1995 issue of PCG's recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet. Here he insists that PCG is the only true church among the many COG splinter groups by insisting that only PCG believes that HWA is the "end-time Elijah." It was later made available as a reprint article.

Let us see what Stephen Flurry has to say.
There is no prophecy more fundamental and yet more misunderstood than that of the end-time Elijah. Traditional Christianity virtually rejects this prophecy. What’s more, many of God’s own people have now lost sight of this vital knowledge. (p. 1.)
Actually HWA's WCG concocted this doctrine of saying HWA was the end time Elijah. "Traditional Christianity" barely knows of this outlandish claim.

Stephen Flurry then asserts that the members of PCG are the Temple of God today and are far more glorious than the First Temple.

Stephen Flurry compares HWA to Zerubbabel calling him an "end-time Zerubbabel". He cites various sermons by HWA in his latter years and Mystery of the Ages (which PCG has since changed) to argue that HWA proclaimed himself to be the end time Elijah.

The fact HWA made many predictions which simply did not happen thus proving himself to be a false prophet is never mentioned. Inconvenient facts such as the false prophecy of 1975 are simply shunted away to the memory hole.
For those who purport to be following in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps today while maintaining a collegial, collective or democratic type church government, doesn’t it seem strange to see how often Mr. Armstrong referred to the fact that God always works through one man at a time? (p. 4.)
PCG was and is in intense competition with the other COG groups. Why attend PCG when there are hundreds of other COG groups which also believe much of what HWA taught as well? Stephen Flurry condemns other COG groups by insisting that only PCG has retained the kind of "church government" practiced within HWA's WCG.

These words refer to the Global Church of God's promotion of collegial government and United Church of God's practice of collective government by letting the UCG ministers participate in various decisions collectively and even to vote on various issues. But these words ignore the fact that most COG groups in fact has one man rule like PCG, often because most COG groups are so small that such an arrangement is manageable.

Also ignored in Stephen Flurry's article is the fact that a major reason why the Tkach changes occurred is precisely because of HWA's one man rule over WCG. With Tkach having such power that HWA possessed there was nothing the rest of the ministry or the lay members within WCG could do to contradict the Tkach changes. GCG and UCG's changes to how they administered themselves were in part a pragmatic response to the fact that one man rule could allow the leader to change the religion so drastically.

After Stephen Flurry's article was written Meredith appears to have decided there was too much collegiality and in late 1998 he broke away from GCG and set up another splinter group, the Living Church of God, in order for him to have more power for himself and to possess more complete power.
It’s clear that Mr. Tkach, and every other leader in God’s Church for that matter, with the exception of the Philadelphia Church of God, does not believe Mr. Armstrong fulfilled the role of Elijah. But at one time, Mr. Tkach did believe it, as is evidenced by the above quotes. (p. 6.)
Stephen Flurry is trying to make his PCG more attractive than the other COG groups. Exploiting the fact that Roderick C. Meredith does not believe that HWA was the "end time Elijah" PCG then boasted this doctrine to insist that only PCG could be the true church. But in actual fact other COG groups also preach this doctrine.

Also considering that all the COG groups are heavily influenced by what HWA taught to varying degrees and interpretations what difference does it make to say whether HWA was the "end time Elijah" or not? Roderick C. Meredith calls HWA an Apostle thus equal to distinguished figures in the New Testament. What difference does it make whether HWA was the "end time Elijah" or not since both of them view him as an Apostle?

Rather this idea is used as a wedge by PCG's leaders to insist that only PCG is the true church in order to gain more converts.
The truth is that as early as 1979, church members began to hear on a regular basis that Mr. Armstrong was the one fulfilling these prophecies. (p. 6.)
There is the possibility this doctrine is even older. In a previous post it was mentioned that the idea was present within Armstrongism as early as 1966.

It should be noted that in 1979 there was severe turmoil within WCG. Just the year before HWA had expelled his own son. With so much uncertainty and turmoil in there it is little wonder that at that time HWA should promote such a doctrine as proclaiming himself to be the "end time Elijah" in order to prop up his authority in the face of widespread dissatisfaction within WCG at its authoritarianism and false teachings.  

This "prophecy" of an "end time Elijah" was concocted by HWA because he had the power to say whatever he wanted and any who would dare contradict him could be ever so easily expelled from WCG.
The word restitution means a time of restoring something that had been taken away. The Gesenius Lexicon defines it as a “restoration of true theocracy.” Restitution simply means restore! God’s theocratic form of government was once here on this earth until Lucifer took it away when he became Satan! God’s government will soon be restored to this earth. Jesus Christ will be the one who brings about that restoration at His Second Coming. (pp. 6-7.)
Stephen Flurry admits it: He and the PCG leadership are theocrats. (Is it like Iran?) And by claiming this theocratic authority for themselves the leaders of PCG are able to command obedience in so many ways from their followers such as paying three tithes or even forbidding them from meeting with close family members. Any deviation from such a theocratic leadership can be condemned as against (PCG's) God's will. The potential for abuse is astounding.
There had to be an end-time Elijah because God’s government had to be restored within the Church! The problems and evils of this world stem from the fact that nations simply do not want Christ to reign over them (Luke 19:14). God is soon going to send His Son back to establish His government. But that will not happen until other government positions are filled by those who have been thoroughly prepared for and taught under that government. (p. 7.)
PCG like the other COG groups, teaches that church members are destined to rule over the world as deified God beings as fully God as God is God during the Millennium.
For those who might still insist there is no possible way Mr. Armstrong could have fulfilled the prophesied role of Elijah, ask yourself: If he didn’t, who did? And if no one has yet fulfilled it, that means nothing has yet been restored! And that is exactly what Satan wants you to think! He wants you to deny that this prophecy has been fulfilled so he can lull you to sleep—thinking there must be many years, perhaps decades, before Christ could ever return. (p. 7.)
It is now twenty years since these words were written and still PCG members wait for Christ to return while PCG's leaders get the tithes and build an auditorium that cost more than PCG's yearly income. How many PCG members expected Christ to have returned by 2015 when this article was published in 1995?

Saying that not believing Stephen Flurry "is ... what Satan wants you to think" is crude fear mongering. He knows most of those who believe that God was with HWA nevertheless chooses not to join PCG. He is crudely trying to intimidate people into joining his group, namely PCG. Any view contrary to PCG's is demonized as of Satan.

There is this superstitious fear within Armstrongism that if one no longer believes what is taught by the COG group then he or she has been blinded by Satan and is under Satan's rule.
Why is it so many people today reject this fundamental teaching on the end-time Elijah? In the first century, John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah. Yet Christ plainly said, “they knew him not” .... And so it is today. (p. 7.)
HWA concocted this idea and foisted it upon WCG members in order to justify his power over his followers.

And so this polemic trying to exploit religious differences among the COGs to compel readers to join PCG comes to an end. And why does PCG want more members? To get more tithes money. That is the real point of making so much out of one particular idea.

1 comment:

  1. Just how many Elijahs have to come and go? There have been an awful lot if we believe the Armstrongists.

    Nevertheless, the only 700 false prophets I see are the Armstrongists.

    We're waiting to see them put to death.

    Oh that Elijah would return and finish the job.