Saturday, April 16, 2016

Reading PCG's Passover Controversy Article (1992)

In early 1992 Gerald Flurry and Stephen Flurry made an article telling PCG members that HWA was right to observe the Passover when he did. ("The Passover Controversy: 14th or 15th?," March 1992.) Increasingly many doctrines were being changed by WCG's leaders. Consequently those who continued believing what HWA taught had to explain to themselves again why they believed what they believed. Saying "HWA said it" was not quite enough for once. The Flurries wrote this article in response to articles by Joseph Tkach, Sr., Joseph Tkach, Jr., and Dr. Stavrinides which asserted that various dogmas that HWA taught concerning the Passover was wrong.
As the Passover approaches, let’s hold fast to the precious truth God revealed through Mr. Armstrong.
This is loaded jargon that really means to continue observing what HWA taught about this topic. God never sent HWA. HWA's many false prophecies prove that God was never with him.

Considering that Tkach Jr., was present at the meeting in which Gerald Flurry and John Amos were fired out of WCG in December 1989 it was fairly natural that the Flurries would quote him to try and discredit the Tkaches to get more recruits for PCG. 
Recently, however, the WCG has finally written something on this subject of spoiling the Egyptians. It is in a letter from Mr. Tkach Jr. to one of the members in the Philadelphia Church of God, dated Nov. 12, 1991: “When did the Israelites ‘spoil’ the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35-36)? This occurred in the days before the Passover. God told Moses prior to sending him to Egypt that this was to occur (Exodus 3:21-22). Moses mentioned it at his last meeting with Pharaoh (Exodus 11:2-3).”
Yes, that’s true. God did tell Moses that this will occur. And after that occurs, the Israelites will go. That’s the whole point, because it hadn’t happened yet.
The Flurries quote two articles by Ernest Martin (April 1963 [pp. 11-12, 14] and September 1965 [pp. 15-18, 24]) to insist that HWA's understanding of Passover was correct and that the Jews are wrong to observe the Passover on the 15th day of Nisan. He is never credited in the Flurries' article. Martin left WCG during the mass defection of 1974. For the rest of life he continued to believe and promote many of the doctrines taught by HWA which indicates that his belief in these things was quite sincere.

The April 1963 article also contains a diagram which is reproduced in the Flurries' article.

In the article it is insisted that the Jews observe the Passover on the wrong day. The fact that HWA and Co. chose to alter this festival based on their self taught understanding of the Bible shows that their religion is syncretic.

But in fact it was historically decided quite early on among the Christians that it was not necessary to observe the Jewish festivals to be a Christian. This includes Passover.

When non-Jews began to accept Christianity this naturally led to the question of whether they needed to become Jewish as part of being a Christian as well. That is why they were talking about circumcision in the New Testament. It was not just about circumcision. It was about whether one needed to become a Jew and observe the various traditions and rituals accompanying such a conversion.

It was decided that it was not necessary. So the Gentile Christians of the Apostolic era did not observe the Jewish festivals. This includes Passover. But HWA did not understand these things and has indoctrinated his followers into believing these things are necessary contrary to the established historical practice of the mainstream Christian churches.

HWA also exploited these festivals using them as a tool to insist to his followers that every church which does not observe these festivals are false. Jews did not ask for their religious festivals to be exploited in such a way. This was a terrible thing HWA did to these Jewish festivals.

Furthermore by not observing the Jewish festivals Christians leave themselves out of arguing with Jews about their religious celebrations. We should just leave their religion alone.

Because HWA had his own ideas and refused to listen to others he came to insist that Passover had to observed at a time different from when Jews observe Passover. HWA insisted the Jews were wrong about their own religion. We should just leave their Passover alone. It is more respectful to Jews and their religion to simply acknowledge that we are not Jews and just leave them and religious festivals alone.

The Flurries ended their article telling their readers to continue observing the Passover as HWA taught.
As the Passover approaches, let’s hold fast to the precious truth God revealed through Mr. Armstrong.
The Philadelphia Church of God is continuing to proclaim that same truth.
This is loaded jargon actually telling people to observe HWA's teaching. He failed to understand that it is not necessary for Christians to observe these Jewish festivals. He misinformed many people on this topic causing much confusion and discord. He exploited these festivals to convince people that only a church that observed these festivals is a "true Christian." PCG continues dogmatically teaching HWA's ill informed ideas to this day.

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