Sunday, May 15, 2016

Reading Global Church News (1993)

In December 1992 Roderick C. Meredith left WCG and founded the Global Church of God. To communicate with members GCG's leaders published a magazine entitled Global Church News and Meredith wrote Open Letters. Some of the writings from this time were discussed here and here. They can be viewed in doc format here. The following post discusses the articles and open letters within the file named gcnmag93.

Let's take a look at what the leaders of Meredith's Global Church of God said to their followers and potential recruits in 1993.

Meredith's February 1993 Open Letter was discussed in a previous post.

February 1993

This issue appears to have been quite short.

Roderick C. Meredith has an article praising the establishment of this splinter group. This was discussed in a previous post.

John Daneri Schroeder has an article reciting Armstrongite dogmas regarding prophecies.

Ron Nelson had little articles. One article scare mongers about Muslims in the Middle East uniting as one political actor under a future "King of the South."

Ron Nelson also discusses the rise of right wing extremism within Germany which experienced a spurt of violent activities in Germany in the early 1990s. One informative book about this harrowing wave of extremist activity is The New Reich: Violent Extremism in Unified Germany and Beyond by Michael Schmidt (1993).

Contrary to Armstrongism's expectation it was not a sign that the United States would soon be conquered by Germany.

Another article discusses Phineas.

Open Letter (March 1993)

Here Meredith boasts how two more WCG ministers had joined his splinter group.
And relating to this subject, we have some more GOOD NEWS! Two more full-time ministers and their wives have just decided to come with us and serve in the ministry of the Global Church of God!
They are, respectively, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Knowlton and Mr. and Mrs. David Pack. Mr. Knowlton has been pastoring the Marrietta, Ohio, congregation of the WCG, and Mr. Pack the large Akron church. They have both been taking a stand for the Truth, and have tried to be loyal to Christ and to the doctrines they were taught. Mr. Pack will now pastor our congregation in Akron, and Mr. Knowlton will move to Cincinnati to pastor the Global Church congregation there. So please pray brethren, as these men and their families will be unmer­cifully persecuted and vilified, their actions and even their motives distorted, all in the name of "Christianity"!
Dave Pack already attracted negative publicity during his days within WCG. Meredith did not listen to such warnings. After the split of 1998 Pack eventually established his own COG splinter group, Restored Church of God.

Meredith also assured his readers that a booklet explaining why GCG celebrates the Holy Days when they do so will soon be released.
Please note that specific Passover information will be sent soon as a separate letter. Well before next year's Passover, we will publish a detailed article or booklet about the Passover. But be sure that no big changes are anticipated from what Mr. Armstrong taught us all. However, with new peo­ple coming into the Church, and with technical questions com­ing up, we do plan to put the complete Passover explanation in writing by next year.
HWA taught his followers to observe the festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23. But in all likelihood he was not aware that disagreements had occurred among Jews regarding when these festivals were to be observed. Naturally over time some of followers looked into the issue and found cause to suspect that the days were supposed to be observed at different dates. This strife and contention could easily have been avoided if HWA simply left these festivals alone and refrained from exploiting them for his own benefit.

March 1993

Meredith has a personal article complaining about persecution. He blithely ignores how HWA's organization often disfellowshipped and shunned members who dissented or were vilified by those in power.

John Daneri Schroeder has an article discussing the Armstrongite understanding of prophethood and praising GCG's observance of various rules and regulations from the Old Testament that they impose on their followers.

Ron Nelson scare mongers about the drought in California and wildfires in Washington State to insinuate that the end is near.

Bill Brazil tackles the problem of evil.

There is also an article discussing the "Night to be Much Observed."

Open Letter (April 1993)

Here Meredith assures his readers that he is highly motivated to get GCG going and insists that they will soon be able to warn America about the coming catastrophe he has been continuously preaching about since the 1950s.

April 1993

Meredith has an editorial article comparing GCG break away from WCG with persecution in ancient times.
As more and more professing Christian organi­zations "water down" Truth, or compromise with Truth in order to be "acceptable" to the world or to "mainstream Christianity", it is more important than ever that we in the Global Church of God make sure that we never do this! That is not easy. That path is not a popular one. That path led to many terrible beatings of the Apostle Paul, and even to the awful scourging and the agonizing death of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
John Daneri Schroeder again talks about various Armstrongite dogmas.

Ron Nelson talks of the rise of politicize religion all over the world, the rise of various cults and unorthodox religious movements and religiously motivated violence.

Michael R. Meredith had an article justifying the refusal to accept the Tkach changes and joining GCG.

Jess Reynolds had an article discussing the exodus.

Open Letter (May 1993)

Here Meredith boasts of Raymond McNair joining GCG.
As I told you in the recent Co-Worker letter, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond McNair are now with us in the Global Church of God. He and his wife, Eve, now are here with us for preliminary meetings and preparation for his permanent move here from Florida. It is great to be able to work with him again--and we appreciate the faith and courage shown by him and his wife in standing up for the full Truth! Be sure to read his arti­cle in this newsletter. It is only the first of many, and I know all of you will appreciate hearing regularly from one of the very senior evangelists who helped build the Work of God in our day.
He also cites some of the persons who worked to establish GCG.

May 1993

Here Raymond McNair had an article justifying his decision to leave WCG and join GCG. He mentions the God Is... booklet and the destruction of copies of Mystery of the Ages. He compares their break with WCG with HWA's split from the Church of God (Seventh Day). He also stated that many of those in the other COG groups are also "true Christians" according to GCG's standard.

Sidney M. Hedgvold talked about falling away and warns his readers not to give up the doctrines taught by GCG in imitation of HWA.

Ron Nelson talked about the dire genocide being committed against Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian War of 1992-6. He scare mongers that the Bosnian War will finally make Europe unite and conquer the United States. He also mentions Holocaust commemorations.

An article talked about shifting the wheat from the chaff, meaning a call to stay loyal to GCG's dogmas.

Open Letter (June 1993)

Here Meredith announces John Ogwyn joining GCG.
And our recent BIG news is that Mr. John Ogwyn was fired the morning after Pentecost! He had been expecting this, of course, as he had been preaching the Truth very strongly for the past sever­al months. It was a pleasure to talk with him and to hear the details of the situation. He is now pastoring two Global Churches of God--one in Baton Rouge and the other in Lafayette, Louisiana.

I just spoke with John Ogwyn again and he was very pleased that 164 people came with us this past Sabbath from his churches in Louisiana--64 in Baton Rouge and 100 in Lafayette! We are very thankful that these people had the courage to obey the Truth--and for this additional growth in the Global Church of God.

Our congratulations go to Mr. and Mrs. John Ogwyn for tak­ing such a courageous stand for God's Truth! And, again, we appreciate the dedication and zeal of all of our fine minis­ters out there who have been doing such a fine job in helping God s people and encouraging many who have been divided and disillusioned by the increasing number of changes being made of recent date.
Meredith complains that people were spreading rumors about GCG.
For instance, some are spreading the rumor that the Global Church of God is going back to "Jewish legalism," whatever that means to them. They have said that our women are not allowed to wear slacks or shorts, and that a woman is not allowed to attend services with us if she is on her monthly period! This is quite amusing, in a way, but it is also sad that such ludicrous statements have been made.
With the many things that Armstrongism have done over the years it is no wonder that such rumors could be believable to a few people.

June 1993

Meredith has a personal article defining a Philadelphian as one zealous in doing what GCG's leaders teach him or her to do.

David C. Pack (he who would later establish and lead his own splinter group, Restored Church of God) had an article calling on GCG members to study the Bible the way GCG's 1% tells them to.

Ron Nelson scare mongers that multiculturalism will spell the end of white culture.
Multiculturalism is a broad term for a whole range of activities aimed at enforcing acceptance of ethnic, racial, political and sexual diversity. Although it sounds very democratic and American, it is actually advocating the end of mainstream American culture values....
It is absurdly insinuated that those who wish to be more accommodating to ethnic minorities actually hate white people. This is a wild, absurd and inflammatory accusation. It is wildly insisted that multiculturalism will tear the United States apart.
These days most immigrants are coming from Asia and the Americas, and less from European stock. Consequently, there is less identification with Western values and culture—now derisively referred to as "the works of the dead white males." This inevitable "clash of cultures" is spawning multiculturalism.

New York's Whitney Museum of American Art , in an especially glaring outburst of multiculturalism and its close relative, "political correctness," at its big biennial art show earlier this year, "caved in to pres­sure and staged PC [politically correct] exhibitions that feature occasional dollops of actual art and great help­ings of trendy propaganda about victimization, imperi­alism, patriarchy and the dreadful stigma of white skin."
Most GCG in the United States are white. These xenophobic messages are made for whites. GCG's leaders were exploiting xenophbic fears to keep GCG members distracted from the problems within GCG.

One article insists that GCG members are called first to become teachers to the rest of humanity who will become God Beings in HWA's heretical idea of the God Family.

HWA's 1985 Pentecost sermon is cited.
"Why are we the firstfruits?" "WHY?" Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong virtually shouted at the top of his lungs during his 1985 Pentecost sermon. He continued: "We're the firstfruits to become teachers to teach oth­ers.”
PCG's leader, Gerald Flurry, often cites that sermon to insinuate that HWA miraculously foresaw the Tkach changes. However this GCG article focuses on the point of that sermon.

Open Letter (July 1993)

Here Meredith boasts of Raymond McNair's upcoming booklet promoting British Israelism.
Mr. McNair is busily writing the booklet on America and Britain in prophecy--though we have not given it an "official" name yet. Because it is such a big project, we have decided to run the booklet serially in The World Ahead magazine. So you will get the booklet in installments before it actually appears in booklet form.

Of course, Mr. McNair, our executive editor, will be helping me direct all of our editorial work. He will also serve as vice-chairman and coordinator of our doctrinal team and will be driving or flying out to preach in some of our field churches from time to time as well. So he will certainly have plenty to do. It is a distinct honor to have him on our headquarters team!
And despite being close allies since 1945 Meredith scare mongers against Japan.
Brethren, is history destined to be repeated in the Pacific? Japan and the United States are on another collision course, reminiscent of the 1930s. This culminated in the surprise attack on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor by Japanese air and naval forces. On both sides of the Pacific, in spite of some attempted damage control by government lead­ers, emotions are beginning to run high in the media of each country. ...

Yes, with complicated trade disputes and anti-Asian attitudes growing in the U.S., a wedge is being driven between the two great Pacific rim powers. As the balance of trade continues to lopsidedly favor the Japanese, how much longer will the Congress of the United States be willing to foot the bill for the island nation's defense? Japan's reliance on American power to protect it is a major reason for that island nation's prosperity. Without a costly defense establishment to support, Japan has been able to plow hundreds of billions of yen into the nation's infrastructure.

Will the U.S. remove the "nuclear umbrella" as a cost-cutting measure? If so, what will Japan do in the face of a North Korea, who by all estimates, will soon possess nuclear weapons? The answer is obvious. As the U.S. disarms, a militaristic and increasingly anti-American attitude will again rise over the energetic and economically powerful Empire of the Rising Sun.
Armstrongism has a long history of demonizing Japan inherited from HWA's WCG.

July 1993

Here Meredith has an editorial saying it takes courage to leave WCG and join GCG.
It took a fair amount of courage for many of us to leave our former church association. In many cases, we gave up some friends, some family, and a lot of activi­ties and relationships that we enjoyed. These social networks gave us a sense of stability and security.

Many of the friends and loved ones we left behind are beginning to realize that it just isn't going to get cleaned up from the inside. In their hearts, they know that most of the doctrinal changes are just plain wrong. They see that the continuing drift toward mainstream Protestantism. Nobody is stopping it. And there is no turning back:

But few have the courage to do anything about it. Oh, they make a lot of noises. They say they're not yet being "made" to teach or believe false doctrines. However, their very presence clearly implies they agree. Their continued presence and support indicates to God and fellow man that they also support these false teachings. Otherwise, why are they there?

Many are still sitting around waiting for "someone else" to make the first move. It takes courage to step out alone.
Jeff Patton had an article about GCG's first ministerial conference.
Mr. Meredith said, "In 1961 to 1972, when I was superintendent of ministers I didn't then understand management. Now I've learned we must have the right approach in servant leadership."
Raymond McNair had an article introducing a series of articles promoting British Israelism.
There are also other organizations who believe in and publish books, booklets and articles on the general subject of Anglo-Israelism. But, unfortunate­ly, numerous of those organizations often include in their writings certain beliefs which are unscriptural. Some of them even promote racist teachings under the banner of Anglo-Israelism. So let the reader beware!
The last reference seems to allude to so-called "Christian Identity," a virulently anti-Semitic movement that among other things insists that Jews are the bodily descendants of Satan. More information about this extremist movement may be seen in the book Racism and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement by Michael Barkun (1996).

Don Davis had an article insisting that those who believe in what HWA taught have a duty to leave Tkach's WCG.
Today, thousands of converted, well-meaning Christians are sitting on a spiritual fence. They realize their church leadership has gone into error, having departed from the truth of God. However, not wanting to be found on the wrong side of the fence, they just sit, waiting for some kind of "sign" to show them what to do.

One side of the fence, which they reject, represents surrender to a watered-down religion of man's devis­ing. The other side, which they fear, is the difficult road of personal responsibility to God's word, total commitment and sacrifice which must be traveled by brethren who have decided to stay with the Truth once and for all delivered to the saints.

But the fence-sitters, indoctrinated in "never leav­ing the Church," cannot see their church has left them! Some of the fence-sitters, like those turkeys, perch in silence until their leadership gives them biblical "GOBBLE-DY-GOOK." Then they repeat "GOB­BLE-DY GOOK" back, without checking this teaching first in their Bibles.
Ron Nelson scare mongered about events in Europe.

Art Braidic asserts that GCG members are destined to be "pillars" after Christ's return.

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