Tuesday, January 31, 2017

PCG on Trump's Executive Order on Immigration

While there have been large protests regarding the recent executive order regarding immigration from certain Muslim majority countries PCG's response has been to bewail complains about it as hysterical and inflamed by a supposedly left wing media. (Hysterical Reaction to Immigration Order Further Divides Two Americas, January 30, 2017.)
On Friday, United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily restricting the immigration of refugees coming from seven Muslim countries known for exporting jihadists: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. And over the weekend, the radical left collectively lost its mind.
One wonders how many people who are opposed to Al Qaeda like extremism or has even suffered from their violence have been caught up in this executive order.

This controversy is used to vilify liberals but noticeably the article later admits that there were problems with the implementation of this executive order.
The overblown, hysterical backlash, the complete distortion by the media and the grandstanding by politicians and celebrities alike expose the deep divisions within America’s society. No wonder so many are concerned about a “Muslim ban” if this is what they’re confronted with on their TV news.... 
As that speaker admitted—this is not a Muslim ban. But to her, all that matters is that people feel that this is a Muslim ban. Mr. Trump’s team has certainly been guilty of blurring the truth with “alternative facts.” But the left is at it too. That logic goes down a very slippery slope. Why do some feel like this is a Muslim ban? Because the media is telling them it is!
Blaming the media this denies the personal agency of those who chose to oppose this executive order. Instead of allowing that those oppose to it are motivated by sincere motives they are dismissed and ridiculed as tools of a supposedly liberal media.

Those who oppose the executive order are slurred as comparing Trump to Hitler. And since most in PCG happen to lean to the right this implies that the media and the left in general view them that way as well.
[Describing an alleged double standard regarding Obama and Trump's policies regarding asylum seekers.] President Trump, on the other hand, is Adolf Hitler—and temporarily restricting immigration flow until the screening process can be improved is worse than Nazism. ...
Here America’s national security is at risk in a clear and direct way. Yet too many are more desperate to attack a president they despise than they are to keep America safe. That’s not to say that this ban is the right thing for America to do. But you can disagree with it without thinking Donald Trump is Hitler. ... 
When one side wants to seize any excuse make out that the other is basically Hitler, those are some pretty concerning divisions. 
This division in America is a real danger. By making President Donald Trump out to be like Hitler, the media is stirring up a lot of strong emotion. This emotion and this division will cause very real damage to America.
However even this PCG writer states that the executive order was implemented wrongly.
With that said, President Trump and his team are not innocent here. A lot of the chaos and confusion comes from mistakes in the way the order was carried out. Mistakes in its application and legal errors in the document itself caused major problems because of “incompetence of the highest order,” as Ben Shapiro put it. French wrote that the application of the law to green-card holders “is madness.” ...  
Those defending Mr. Trump’s order have been almost universally critical of the way it was carried out. The U.S. Border and Customs services appear to have been caught by surprise and are confused by what the order meant. In this divided climate, the U.S. administration could have done much more to ensure this went into force more smoothly.
Then one wonders why this article complains so much about those who had chose to oppose it considering that such problems occurred? Shouldn't this topic be the main theme of the article? Instead for the most part it retreats into promoting a sense of resentment against those who disagree.

Six Murdered in Quebec City Mosque

The world has been shocked to hear that six innocent people were gunned by a murderer in a mosque in Quebec City.

Sad to say it has been all too fashionable in some circles to vilify Muslims in general or focus on painful news stories and fail to notice or talk about the ordinary people among ourselves.

We need to be careful about how we talk about our neighbors. We should not hold ordinary people among ourselves in contempt. We cannot stereotype people of a certain religion as being inclined to violence or deserving of being trodden upon. We must not exploit differences to make ourselves feel better than others.

Mark Armstrong condemning Mainstream Media and Scientists Warning of Climate Change

Intercontinental Church of God's leader, Mark Armstrong, has released another weekly update (January 27, 2016). It is filled with the usual invective against supposed liberal elites he so often gives in these weekly updates.

(This weekly update was released before President Trump's recent executive order on immigrants from certain countries.)

This time he complains about the mainstream media and scientists criticizing of President Trump. First he starts with discussion of President Trump's speech to the CIA.
With the new presidency, only a week old, the mainstream media is just beside itself with shock, anger and outrage.  First, President Trump desecrated "hallowed ground" at Langley headquarters of the CIA immediately by disputing the media's estimates of "crowd size" at the inauguration!  The nightly "semi-circle of doom" (coined by Laura Ingraham) says the president just couldn't resist his lying boast, even as he stood before the "Wall of Fallen Heroes" at the CIA.
Despite the vast majority of scientists saying the climate change caused by human activity is happening he insists it is all a big conspiracy by the US government, the UN, the vast majority of scientists to get money from Americans and create some sort of dictatorship. Emitting more greenhouse gases than has ever occurred within human history just somehow magically does nothing to the environment. Apparently he expects us to ignore the vast majority of scientists and listen to a church leader in Tyler, Texas.
Upon hearing that, the government sponsored, UN funded panic over global warming and climate change leaped to mind.  The East Anglia scandal was one example among others others, where "science" was fudged to rewrite historical temperature data and broadcast the "results" around the world to be reported as "news" and to "prove" that global warming is going to disrupt all life on earth unless vast sums of wealth are redistributed and government agencies take control of nearly every personal decision.  Neither the U. S. government nor the UN nor any western government for that matter has funded any study that disputed the dogma of "global warming" over a period of many years.  That never rose to the level of "big trouble" in the eyes of the media.  It was downplayed at best, and for the most part ignored.  Most people never heard of the East Anglia scandal, and still haven't.
Actually this incident was widely discussed at the time and prompted an increase in distrust of scientists warning about climate change.
The immediate impact on public opinion was dramatic. A poll by Yale and George Mason University (GMU) found that in November 2008, 71 percent of respondents agreed that the planet is warming (PDF). Five weeks after Climategate, only 57 percent believed it. The emails, said a Yale report (PDF), had "a significant effect on public beliefs in global warming and trust in scientists." (Mother Jones, April 21, 2011.)
So much for Mark Armstrong's claim that most people had never heard of this.

Furthermore the scientists involved were largely exonerated.
A six-month investigation into the leaked e-mails that formed the "climategate" scandal has largely exonerated key scientists, including Phil Jones, the former – and now reinstated – director of the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Climate Research Unit (CRU). The CRU's key findings have a major impact on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which in turn influences climate policy on a global scale, including pending cap-and-trade carbon offset legislation in the US. Critics charged that the "climategate" e-mails proved that researchers were gaming the science to win public support for the idea that countries need to act to correct global warming. 
In his report, British civil servant Sir Muir Russell found that the climategate e-mails don't undermine the basic science behind man-made global warming. Nevertheless, the impact of the leaked e-mails has been to push scientists toward the realization that talking about punching climate skeptics and being coy about releasing data hardly build public trust in their work. (Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 2010.)
And now back to Mark Armstrong.

He complains that Mexico should wish to not pay for a wall and about the sanctuary cities. He also absurdly compares arguments with a thrashing, falsely equating disagreement with physical violence.
The discussion of Mexico paying for a southern border wall has already created something of an international incident, with Mexico's president canceling his scheduled visit.  We're told that a trade war is in the offing, and that Americans will simply pay for any imposition tariffs applied to goods produced in Mexico.  But the policy of deporting illegal alien criminals?  That's where the long knives come out.  Mayors of sanctuary cities like New York, Chicago, Seattle and dozens if not hundreds of others are warning of protests and law suits the likes of which we've rarely seen if any attempt is made to deport.  We hear how law abiding immigrants will have their families ripped apart if Trump's policies should be enacted.  Neither the mayors, nor the Governor of California will stand by and let it happen.  No doubt there will be lawsuits that will be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court as the illegal immigrant battle takes shape.  Prepare to be thrashed with emotional arguments for the foreseeable future.
He bewails the Doomsday Clock for criticizing President Trump.
Every year a team of Nobel laureates resets the "Doomsday Clock."  You might guess, it has been advanced by thirty seconds, and we now stand just two and a half symbolic minutes to the end of the world.  And it's all the fault of one man.  Yes, Donald Trump's reckless rhetoric on the subjects of nuclear weapons and his troubling stance on climate change have pushed the world ever closer to impending doom.
The vast majority of scientists who tell us that climate change is happening are slurred as being bribed by the grand conspiracy of the federal government and the UN to get money from Americans and create a dictatorship.
Luckily, we don't have much regard for the bought and sold scientists who churn out studies to amaze and frighten we mere mortals.  Alas, the Himalayan glaciers should have melted long since.  New York and Los Angeles would be swimming with the fishes by now if they knew what they were stammering about. 
He ends the update expressing hope that Britain's withdrawal from the European Union will promt closer relations with Britain.
Thanks anyway, but we'll continue to watch the things the Bible tells us to watch for.  That is an economic and political alliance of ten nations we believe will emerge in Europe, and ally itself with a respected religious leader to wield economic power over the entire world.  Events now under way may lead in that direction, as the U. S. and UK look to forge a mutually beneficial relationship as Britain pulls out of the European Union.  During a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, President Trump invoked some words that mimicked one of God's promises to Abraham when he said, "A strong UK is a blessing to the entire world."  Imagine that.  Yes it has been, and hopefully will be. 
Big changes may be in the offing for Europe, and we'll be watching as important elections play out later this year.  In the meantime, the globalist climate change gurus can do whatever they see fit with their "Doomsday Clock."  Ours tells us, it's the Sabbath, the day God set apart and hallowed. 
Even though the presidency has changed his attitude has stayed exactly the same. That indicates that he will always be like this (unless he drastically changed his views).

Friday, January 27, 2017

PCG Minister Alleged to Have Kicked Out 16 Year Old Daughter from Home

Exit and Support Network has published a very disturbing letter that one PCG minister had kicked out his sixteen year old daughter out of the home for dating a non-PCG member. (See January 25 letter.) Banned by HWA has also mentioned this allegation. PCG is infamous for its no contact policy which discourages PCG members from associating with ex-members and the members of the other COG groups who are vilified as "Laodiceans." It is saddening to think that another innocent person has suffered because of this attitude.

This particular individual had written several articles for PCG's websites.

In March-April 2002 he wrote an article bemoaning the supposedly negative effects of watching too much television.

In May 2006 he wrote an article scare mongering about the supposed power supposedly due to be wielded by the future European beast power that Armstrongites have constantly been predicting will soon conquer the United States since the 1930s.

On December 31, 2010 he wrote an article bemoaning that so many families in Washington, D.C., did not match PCG's ideal of a two parent household.

On June 17, 2011 he wrote an article bemoaning the low standards of politicians.

On November 7, 2012 he posted an article discussing the severity of Hurricane Sandy. It was also printed as a commentary in the January 2013 issue of PCG's recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet.

On January 8, 2013 he posted an article discussing the Sandy Hook massacre. The Exit and Support Network letter alludes to this article.
Ironically, one of his current articles on there is about the Sandy Hook tragedy and how to protect your children.
On January 24, 2013 he posted an article bemoaning alleged "father-free zones" with the numerical rise of children being raised without a father in the household.

How chilling it is to imagine the man who writes these articles should have this cloud of suspicion over him. It is well known that PCG has unsavory authoritarian tendencies. It seems that this authoritarian attitude has once again caused misery for one unfortunate woman.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Critiquing John Chrysostom's Anti-Semitic Rant (Third Homily)

Continuing from Part 1 and Part 2 let us continue to analyse John Chrysostom's infamous series of homilies, Against the Jews, his denunciation of Jews and Judaizers. Here we shall look at the third homily.

Around AD 388 the Roman Empire remained as a most formidable and awe inspiring political entity. In Antioch it remained supreme. It was still centuries before most of the Middle East would be lost to it. The ancient Olympic Games were still held in Greece although they would soon be banned as part of the Christianization of the Empire proceeded apace.

At this time the bishop of Antioch, John Chrysostom (c. 349-407), made a series of homilies in which he denounced the Jews and Judaizing Christians who had adopted several Jewish practices for themselves contrary to what the church taught them. This writing it often viewed as an unfortunate landmark in the development of the infamous hatred of Jews that is anti-Semitism.

When John Chrysostom made the third homily it was almost time for the Pascha, what is now called Easter in the English speaking world. (Hereafter the word Pascha shall be used to describe that festival imitating the translation of the third homily.) In the days leading up to Pascha the bishop of Antioch, John Chrysostum decided it was time to tell his flock not to worship at the time of the Passover as was observed by the Jewish community. He also condemned Judaizers who observed Passover on the date it was celebrated by the Jewish community contrary to what was taught by the church.

Although this work is entitled Against the Jews some scholars have argued that it would be more accurate to call it Against the Judaizers. They argue that these John Chrysostom's homilies were mainly directed against Judaizers.

First John Chrysostom takes issue with the fact that the Judaizers practice contradicts the practice of the church and he objects to the contentiousness of contradicting the church.
Moreover, the first thing I have to say to the Judaizers is that nothing is worse than contentiousness and fighting, than tearing the Church asunder and rending into many parts the robe which the robbers did not dare to rip. Are not all the other heresies enough without our tearing each other apart? (I, 6.)
The Judaizers are ridiculed as being sick with an illness.
I would be glad to ask those of us who are sick with this illness: What is the Pasch; what is Lent? What belongs to the Jews: what belongs to us? Why does their Pasch come once each year; why do we celebrate ours each time we gather to celebrate the mysteries? What does the feast of unleavened bread mean? And I would like to ask them many more questions which contribute to understanding this subject. (II, 5.)
One objection John Chrysostom makes regarding the Judaizers is that they contradict the decisions of the Council of Nicaea of AD 325 which decided that Christians did not need to rely on Jewish calendar calculations in deciding when to observe Pascha.
But why do I speak on my own account? Three hundred Fathers or even more gathered together in the land of Bithynia and ordained this by law; yet you disdain their decrees. You must choose one of two courses: either you charge them with ignorance for their want of exact knowledge on this matter, or you charge them with cowardice because they were not ignorant, but played the hypocrite and betrayed the truth. When you do not abide by what they decreed, this is exactly the choice you must make. But all the events of the Council make it clear that they showed great wisdom and courage at that time. The article of faith they set forth at the Council show how wise they were, because they blocked up the mouths of heretics and, like an impregnable wall, they repelled the treachery of every hostile attack. They proved their courage during the war waged on the Churches and the persecution which had but lately come to an end. (III, 3,)
HWA and his imitators have also criticized the decisions of the Council of Nicaea. This decision is presented as the great false church of Revelation 17 suppressing the supposed "true church" in order to prop up HWA's teachings regarding the "true church."

John Chrysostom objects that these Judaizers should contradict the decisions of the Council of Nicaea of AD 325. He denounce their disagreement as "unjust and irrational".
Look what you do when you condemn Fathers so great, so courageous, so wise. If the Pharisee lost all the blessings he possessed because he condemned the publican, what excuse will you have, what defense will you make for rising up against these great teachers beloved of God, especially since your attack is so unjust and irrational? Did you not hear Christ himself say: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them? But if Christ is in their midst where two or three are gathered together, was not his presence all the more pervasive among the more than three hundred Fathers at Nicaea? Christ was present there, it was Christ who formulated and passed the laws. Yet you condemn not only the Council Fathers but the whole world which approved their judgment. (III, 5.)
HWA and his imitators have often insisted that since Jesus observed the Jewish festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23 then Christians (those in the COGs) are required to observe them as well. (But inconsistently not Purim or Hanukkah.) But traditionally the vast majority of Christians were not of this opinion at all. John Chrysostom is quite content to state such things but is clearly unimpressed at the implication that Christians should observe them.
Christ did keep the Pasch with them. Yet he did not do so with the idea that we should keep the Pasch with them. He did so that he might bring the reality to what foreshadowed the reality. He also submitted to circumcision, kept the Sabbath, observed the festival days, and ate the unleavened bread. But He did all these things in Jerusalem. However, we are subject to none of these things, and on this Paul spoke out loud and clear: "If you be circumcised, Christ shall be of no advantage to you." And again, speaking of the feast of unleavened bread, he said: "Therefore let us keep festival, not with the old leaven, not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." For our unleavened bread is not a mixed flour but an uncorrupted and virtuous way of life. (III, 9.)
Contrary to what HWA taught it is clear that as Christianity spread beyond the Jewish community it was decided very early on that Gentile converts did not need to become Jews to remain Christians. The council described in Acts 15 said nothing about observing the Jewish festivals. Paul wrote Galatians to assure the new converts in Galatia that they did not need to be circumcised to be a Christian. The issue of circumcision  It is clear that the early Gentile Christians did not observe these festivals.

It is very unfortunate that HWA and his imitators have exploited these Jewish festivals to make people feel guilty about belonging to a Christian church which does not observe these festivals in order to attract recruits. This is a terrible thing they have done to these Jewish festivals which so treasured by the Jewish community. Jews did not want these festivals to be exploited as a pretext of causing division among Christians as HWA and his imitators have done.

John Chrysostom states that there is no need to take the Eucharist at any specific time since there is no reckoning of time in Heaven.
But why speak of ourselves since we have been set free from all such necessity? We are citizens of a city above in heaven, where there are no months, no sun, no moon, no circle of seasons. (V, 5,)
John Chrysostom mentions another objection to celebrating Passover on the same day as the Jewish community, namely that at times Lent, observed for forty days before Pascha (IV, 5), carries on after the date celebrated by the Jewish community. To him it makes no sense to continue the fasting of Lent for a week after the Passover if Passover was to be observed by Christians as the Judaizers taught.

While discussing the differing dates John Chrysostom vilifies the Jewish community as "hard of heart..., senseless..., indifferent..., [and] despisers" simply for belonging to a different religion. Alas, such hostile attitudes against Jews were too become all too common in later years.
But why must I speak of the Jews? No matter how eagerly and earnestly we wish it, it is not altogether possible for us to observe that day on which He was crucified. This will make it clear. Let us suppose the Jews had not sinned, that they were not hard of heart, nor senseless, nor indifferent, nor despisers; suppose they had not fallen from their ancestral way of life but were still carefully observing it. Even if this was the case, we could not, by following in their footsteps, put our finger on the very day on which He was crucified and fulfilled the Pasch. Let me tell how this is the case. When He was crucified it was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread and the day of preparation. 
But it is not possible for both of these to fall always on the same day. This year the first day of the feast of unleavened bread falls on Sunday, and the fast must still last for a whole week; According to this, after Passiontide, after the cross and resurrection have come and gone, we are still fasting. And it has often happened that, after the cross and resurrection, our fast is still being observed because the week is not yet over. This is why no observance of the exact time is possible. (V, 7-8.)
John Chrysostom encourages his flock to tell the Judaizers to follow the church and renounce their Judaizing practices. He sought to mobilize his flock to persuade these Judaizers to give up their practices contrary to the church.
I say this not only to those who are sick but also to you who are in good health. When you who are well see how many are sick, you will show them great care and kindness, you will pick them out, gather them together, and bring them back to their Mother. Whatever they say against us, however they jump at us, no matter what else they do to us, we must not grow weary and stop until we win them back. For there is nothing comparable to peace and harmony. (VI, 4.)
John Chrysostom lambaste the Judaizers for choosing to follow Jewish teachings in contradiction of what is taught in the Catholic Church and the judgment of the Council of Nicaea of AD 325 regarding the celebration of Pascha.

Also John Chrysostom makes the dreadful accusation that Jews are collectively responsible for Jesus Christ's crucifixion even though that had occurred three and a half centuries ago, long before any human had been born at the time of these homilies. Alas, many Jews would suffer because of this canard for centuries afterwards.
Many are now tearing this peace asunder by destroying us and exalting the Jews. These men consider the Jews as more trustworthy teachers than their own Fathers; they believe the account of Christ's passion and death which is given by those who slew Him. What could be more unreasonable than this? (VI, 6,)
The presence of these Judaizers is venomously denounced as "the devil's doing." He also appeals to peer pressure to seek to get these Judaizers to conform with the teachings of the Church.
Note well that this is of the devil's doing and that it is not a single sin, nor two, nor three, but far more than three. It cuts you off from the flock, it makes you ready to hold so many Fathers in scorn, it hurls you into contentiousness, it thrusts you over to the Jews, and furthermore it makes you a scandal both to your own family and to strangers. How can we blame the Jews for waiting for you in their houses when it is you who go running to them? (VI, 10.)
And so it is seen that John Chrysostom made this homily to condemn Judaizers who followed Jewish dating calculations in deciding when to celebrate instead of observing Pascha as taught by the church and that while discussing that topic he also spoke harshly concerning the Jewish religion. We must give no place to hatred including anti-Semitism.

Trump Sworn In as President

Trump was sworn in as President as scheduled on January 20. Here is his inaugural speech.

President Donald Trump Inaugural Address FULL SPEECH (C-SPAN).

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mark Armstrong on Trump's Inauguration

Mark Armstrong, leader of the Intercontinental Church of God. has released a weekly update discussing President Trump's inauguration.

Most COGs tend to lean to the right in regards to politics and his reaction to Trump's inauguration is yet further evidence of that tendency. I do not criticize them for that but it is important to note that they are like that since it explains so many of the political stances they choose to make.
If only my dear sweet Mom, Mrs. Shirley Armstrong, could have lived to see this day!  Our office staff had gathered around the live feed of this morning's inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, cheered many of the accurate and touching sentiments expressed, particularly the ones acknowledging God's Hand in the affairs of America and all mankind.  We sipped a toast of Thanksgiving on this historic day, poured from a cold bottle of Champagne that my Mom had been saving for a special occasion. ... I know this is a day Mom prayed for fervently, for the sake of her children, grandchildren and the generation yet unborn.
He complains that some have criticized Trump.
It is obvious that there are legions of angry critics and naysayers, sure as they can be that President Trump will over-step the Constitutional bounds of executive authority and behave as a dictatorial authoritarian, devoid of mercy or humanity.  The hatred, festooned with angry epithets, clogs the comments responding to every report and article referencing the incoming administration and anyone who dares support it.  Foul intentions and intentional insults are charged to the new President, his staff and reporters around the clock on many, if not most of the networks and outlets that have come to be considered “mainstream.”  It is obvious that they'll not be moved by any amount of reason or evidence to the contrary.  “He made racist, misogynistic, xenophobic remarks.  He's insulted Muslims, Mexicans and women...”

No doubt, every human being has made remarks they'd like to have back (present company excluded, right?).
He labels Trump's political opponents as anarchists and bizarre accuse them of trying to dissolve any distinctive American identity. (What a ridiculous accusation.)
The anarchists, haters of our Founders and Constitution may be having something of a nervous breakdown over the failure of their “movement” to complete their “open borders” dissolution of what appeared to be the last vestiges of an American identity.
He fantasize about such persons leaving the United States and handing over their American passports.
Some of us, in fact more than we dared hope, love and revere a nation that God ordained, and want to see it survive intact so that our children and their children have the chance to grow up as we did, in an environment of peace, security, law and order.  If that's a hateful concept to the socialists, anarchists and the anti-American faculty lounge set, then so be it.  Wouldn't it be nice if they'd just go someplace where their philosophy is already in practice and turn in their passports?!  But that might prove a little uncomfortable, for obvious reasons.
He vilifies those who oppose Trump.
We'll try not to enjoy the anger and frustration of mainstream anchors and their chosen analysts too much.  That's a spiritual downfall to avoid.  The vitriol coursing through channels of social media is more vicious and hateful than ever.
Even though so many scientists are warning us that the excess emission of carbon dioxide is inducing climate change Mark Armstrong choose to mock people who are concerned about this matter.
If you think the socialists, who thought they'd already succeeded in redefining the history and character of the United States are angry now, just wait a week or two.  A great outrage has already been committed, and that was the deletion of U. S. “global warming” fears and policies on the official White House website.  It disappeared at noon today.  What a tragedy!  Global warming is no longer the biggest threat to our national security?  What will we do?
And even when he is quite obviously happy that his preferred candidate won the presidency that he has to remind his followers to have no hope that various international problems can be resolved before Christ's return.
Certainly the dangers remain.  North Korea is reported to have installed long-range missiles on launch pads today.  Iran is a vile and dangerous enemy of America and Israel.  Russia has seized territory without warning, and has a president who may want to reconstitute much of the territory lost in the collapse of the Soviet Union.  China has grown militarily aggressive, and is pushing the envelope by threatening Taiwan and dredging up islands in the South China Sea to act as military bases. 
He bizarrely states that Muslims in Europe are somehow holding the entire continent hostage. Even in the moment of triumph he tries to sow feels of fear and resentment towards Muslims.
Europe is now hostage to a hostile Muslim population that has no interest in assimilation, and leadership in Germany and the European Union tells its people they're just going to have to adapt to the new situation.  That fact alone may yet cause the undoing of the EU and the rise of the “Beast” power of Bible prophecy.  But that's a chapter that remains unfulfilled for now.
He also exploits the tense situation in the Holy Land to lambaste the United Nations and the Pope.
The UN and the pope of Rome have taken it upon themselves to “declare” or “recognize” a so-called Palestinian state that does not exist.  They've not only conferred “recognition,” but declared the border to include the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount.  Those of you who've had the privilege of visiting the area know that's a complete impossibility, and no peace can ever be achieved under such circumstances so long as Israel remains a nation.  Even Jared Kushner couldn't make it work. 
He fails to explain that the 161 nation states which recognize the State of Israel only recognize its right to rule its 1949-67 borders. All the territory acquired in the Six Day War of 1967 is legally viewed by those nation states as territory occupied by the State of Israel, ruled by it but not really belonging to it. This includes East Jerusalem even though the State of Israel chose to annex it, an act which is unrecognized by the international community. It is for this reason that the embassies of many nations are located in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.

Furthermore the State of Palestine has gained diplomatic recognition from 136 nation states since the PLO's declaration of independence on November 15, 1988. According to those 136 nation states the State of Palestine exists and has even been given diplomatic recognition.

Armstrongism teaches that the world is doomed and that there is no hope that things will improve until Christ's return.
If the Bible is to be regarded, declaring “Peace and Safety” in the hate-fraught Middle East could well be the worst thing in the world, regardless of best intentions. 
He ends his weekly update with the following paragraph in which he describes a cataclysmic nuclear war that would destroy all human life without divine intervention is called "a wild ride" as though he were describing a ride in an amusement park.
There's no doubt, the whole world is in for a wild ride, ourselves included.  As for us, we will pray for the safety and success of the new president and his family, and for all those who love God and country.  Have a great and a joyous Sabbath.
And so Mark Armstrong has written up yet another weekly update filled with his usual ruminations and vitriol about people he does not seem to like very much.

UCG Minister Charged with Murdering His Wife

Silenced and Banned by HWA broke the awful news that one Stephen Allwine, a man who had been employed as a minister of UCG, has been arrested and charged with murdering his wife, Amy Allwine last November. How terrible it is that innocent people's lives have been shattered in this dreadful and sickening situation.

Here are the posts of Banned by HWA discussing this awful situation.
As Bereans Did also have a post discussing the situation.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Overview of the February 2017 Issue of PCG's Philadelphia Trumpet

PCG's leaders have released a new issue of their recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet, to try and attract more members to join their organization and pay the three tithes this organization teach to their followers. Back in 2012 one of PCG's booklets boasted that PCG had an income of about $19.5 million.

Let's take a look.

The editors are Gerald Flurry, Stephen Flurry, Joel Hilliker, Brad MacDonald, Richard Palmer, Robert Morley, Jeremiah Jacques, Dennis Leap and Phillip Nice.

This issue has a circulation of 273,591. January's circulation was 267,992. November-December was 277,131. October was 280,116. September was 282,121. August was 278,357. July was 281,190.

Gerald Flurry has a personal article scare mongering that God has cursed America citing the recent presidential election. He cites a column by Peggy Noonan to make this superstitious claim. Noonan happens to be Catholic and so it is likely she believes many things that PCG's leaders would strongly object to.

Brad MacDonald has an article which cites the terrorist attack in Berlin in which twelve innocent people were murdered to scare monger that Germany will soon arise with the rest of Europe to conquer the United States.

Richard Palmer has an article scare mongering that democracy is dying citing the rise of populist political movements in the Western world. Considering that PCG prides itself on having "one-man rule" which is supposedly (PCG's) God's way of governing it seems a bit odd for them to produce an article defending democracy.

Abraham Blondeau has a little article bemoaning the supposed suppression of true history by educational institutions. The article indulges in some red baiting.
The students who rioted on university campuses against the Vietnam War or protested over civil rights are now the instructors. Individuals with radical political views, especially those who espouse communism, have become powerful voices in the American educational system. Many view communism as an alternative to the U.S. Constitution. Barack Obama is a product of such radical instructors. (Request a free copy of [a 2013 booklet by Gerald Flurry which calls President Obama "another Antiochus" comparing him to Antiochus Epiphanes and Tkach] for more background on Mr. Obama’s education.) (p. 9.)
Jeremiah Jacques has an article discussing the widespread concern about fake news to lambaste mainstream media as favoring the left.
While actual fake news truly is destructive, the sudden hysteria surrounding it is partly an attempt by mainstream media to deflect blame for their own transgressions and to disparage their competition. It is not difficult to see how the drive to kill fake news could be expanded to include legitimate nonmainstream sources. It isn’t difficult to see how such a crusade could be used to silence dissent and unpopular opinions—even when that dissent and those opinions are truthful. (p. 14.)
PCG teaches that they can foresee the future and, among other things, say that the Untied States will soon be conquered by a European entity led by Germany which will arise as a military superpower which will crush the United States in the near future. Do they think someone might label that as fake news?

Jacques also lambaste "social justice warriors." The use of this derogatory phrase insinuates that social justice is somehow undesirable.
Before the vote, Matthews and hundreds of thousands of others had existed inside a certain version of America. In that America, several things were clear: Mr. Trump was a racist, sexist individual who was equal parts monster and clown; he had no real chance of victory; and the political right was comprised mainly of white supremacists destined to be beaten into guilty submission by the unstoppable force of social justice warriors and other progressives. (p. 12.)
And what will (PCG's) Christ deliver to the world after the second coming? Is social justice to be neglected at that time? Why do PCG members even yearn for the Millennium if social justice is not desired?

An anonymous little article boasts about PCG translating their writings into other languages.
The Church, which publishes the Trumpet and theTrumpet.com, includes a translations department staffed almost entirely by Church member volunteers. Working remotely from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, Suriname and the United Kingdom, about 50 volunteers, dozens of whom have been serving for years, have produced about 30 videos, more than 250 combined pieces of literature and more than 60 lessons of the [unaccreditedHerbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course for the four websites. (p. 15.)
Robert Morley, a man who taught himself about economics, has an article scare mongering that the federal debt will somehow cause the United States to collapse even though the United States was actually more in debt per capita back in the 1940s because of World War II. The federal debt is at present not that much of a problem because it is a public debt denominated in the currency produced by the US government thus it is not possible for anyone to force the US government to default on its debt.

The Infographic is this bizarre demonology of various intellectuals that PCG's leaders seem to view negatively.

Andrew Müller has an article scare mongering that Pope Francis will somehow oppose Trump once he takes office due to his stance on immigration.

Brent Nagtegaal has an article condemning Dr. Israel Finkelstein for identifying a certain layer of strata as being after the time of David and Solomon. It is insisted that the layer must be dated to the time of David and Solomon.

Joel Hilliker has a little article calling upon his readers to focus on what is important in life.

Kieran Underwood has an article which responds to those who wanted Britain to withdraw from the European Union by saying that human nature is fated to doom any such political endeavor to failure. PCG teaches that the world will be brought to the brink of the annihilation of all humanity before Christ's return.

Worldwatch discusses the following topics: scare mongering about moves to create a European Union army; Chancellor Merkel's condemnation of the burqa; scare mongering that Algeria may fall apart if President Abdulaziz Bouteflika may die; scare mongering about Egypt becoming more friendly with Iran; scare mongering that Iran's allies won the election in Lebanon; scare mongering about Japan authorizing its military to use force while serving in a peacekeeping mission in civil war ravaged South Sudan; bewailing the supposed obsolescence of the British navy; and mention of China's condemnation of Trump's conversation with the prime minister of Taiwan.

SocietyWatch discusses Black Lives Matter activists posting a eulogy to Fidel Castro upon his death in order to condemn both of them and the increased rate of depression among American teenagers.

There are letters. Here is one letter accusing those who accuse others of being racist as "the true racists". Could he be talking about African Americans?
Certainly, you raised some praiseworthy points.... Choosing the worst or best of two rotten choices is difficult at best. As for racism, it seems to me that the true racists are now the very ones spewing the accusations!
Here is one letter from a person denouncing welfare, liberals and teachers' unions by citing an anecdote concerning one woman and her children that occurred decades ago.
You are so correct. Talk about a hypocritical nation. I’m thinking that the system that the liberals created to help certain groups actually does exactly what they define as racist. Decades ago, when I had a business, I asked an employee, “Are you babysitting your brother and sister today?” She said, “No, they are my children.” I said, “You look so young.” And she said, “I am not going to make the same mistake my mom made. I am going to have all my children before I am 25 so that I can enjoy the money.” I really wanted to cry. How sad that the welfare system puts these young women and children at such a disadvantage. Each one of these new standards and expectations in the list could be expanded to show that the liberals, unions and the Democratic Party have set up systems that leave one or more groups of people behind. Look at what the teachers’ union and liberals have done to the education system—particularly in the inner cities. The hypocrisy is so sad. Save the whales, but it is OK to kill babies.
Here is one letter from New South Wales, Australia from a person who is regularly published in the letters section of this publication. Very likely this person is a PCG member. The letter mocks university students who were disappointed at Trump's victory.
I don’t believe that the university students who are being given coloring books, playdoh, therapy dogs and safe spaces are really suffering any trauma from Mr. Trump’s election. Their behavior is a manipulative lie to silence those who are of a different political opinion. They claim it’s about tolerance, inclusiveness and diversity, but it’s the very opposite. It is about control and getting their own way. It is most definitely not love!
And so we see that PCG has produced yet another issue of their recruitment magazine to try and persuade more people to join them and start paying them three tithes.

Israeli Anti-Trump Rally in Tel Aviv

This will annoy many within the COGs. An anti-Trump rally is to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel. Here is its description.
Now is a time for action, and to make your voices heard! 
Saturday, January 21st at 8pm there will be a rally in Tel Aviv to correspond with the March on Washington. Pantsuit Nation-Israel invites anyone, regardless of faith, nationality, race, ethnicity, and religion to stand with us in advocating for justice, freedom, and tolerance, and to stand against the misogyny, anti-Semitism, racism, and corruption of Trump and his administration. 
We invite individuals and groups from across the political spectrum to be part of the organizing for this event. Pantsuit Nation-Israel is part of a coalition planning the post-inauguration rally that includes All That’s Left and If Not Now. Cooperation with other groups does not mean that Pantsuit Nation endorses their politics or ideology. Now is a time for us to come together and work to resist Trump and his ideology. There is a lot of work to be done, and we are Stronger Together.

PCG: Millennium to Arrive "Sooner Than You Think"

Robert Morley recently hosted an episode of The Trumpet Daily (January 12, 2017). He talked about topics discussed in Trump's recent press conference including the proposed wall at the border with Mexico and possible protectionist policies.

Near the end Morley insists that the only real solution is for the entire world to be united in a government of (PCG's) God after Christ's return. All attempts to manage such problems before then are doomed to failure due to the "tough times" of the Great Tribulation and America being conquered by Europeans. PCG and the other COG groups have constantly insisted that this catastrophe will soon occur.
The solution is a totally, complete, different, opposite of the spectrum thing from walls and barriers. Believe it or not, and you don't hear this too much on the Trumpet, but the solution is one world government. Now we're not talking about the one world government that most people think is coming, you know, with the Bilderbergers or some conspiracy theory. But the government of [PCG's] God. Ultimately that is what is going to take to solve these things. A government of [PCG's] God. A government working for all people on this earth and this government is coming sooner than you think. And that really is a good thing. And that really is something that all peoples of the world can look forward to. That's coming sooner than most of us can think. And you, we can all be very, very thankful for that. But first some tough times before we get there. (49 minutes.)
PCG has made many outlandish predictions over the years. Many of these predictions have miserably failed. There is no need to fear their dire proclamations of a future catastrophe. There is no reason to think that they know the future. They do not.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mark Armstrong on Negligent Authorities and Abortion

Mark Armstrong, leader of the Intercontinental Church of God, has another weekly update (January 13, 2017). First he discusses the tragic massacre at Fort Lauderdale then he denounces the authorities for not stopping him and other violent individuals. He makes the sensationalist implication that the fear of being labelled racist or bigoted prevented persons from being stopped before committing acts of mass violence.
So, let's see.  The brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon had come to the attention of authorities, having raised a number of red flags, and were deemed to not pose a threat.  The “couple” who shot up the office party in San Bernardino were deemed not to pose a threat, even though they were known to have traveled to and from terrorist havens.  The Orlando nightclub shooter had been under investigation, even interviewed by authorities before they determined that he posed no threat.  Anyone suggesting that any of these murdering half-wits presented a danger to society before they killed people would have been branded a racist and a bigot.
He then condemns certain religious leaders for participating in dedicating a Planned Parenthood facility that had recently opened in Washington, D.C. He uses this information to recite his opposition to abortion. This position is widespread in the COGs and elsewhere so this viewpoint does not provide any reason for a person to join the Intercontinental Church of God since many others also believe the same view.
As shocking as it seems to our sensibilities, a group of “religious leaders” gathered in the nation's Capitol this week to hold a ceremony “blessing” the new $20 million, 27,000 square foot Planned Parenthood abortion facility.  The “clerics” donned religious garb and posed for a group photo at the event where the facility was repeatedly praised as doing “sacred work.”  It was organized by a ridiculous outfit that claims to bring “the moral force of religion to protect and advance reproductive health, choice, rights and justice through education, prophetic witness, pastoral presence and advocacy.” To apply that kind of language, appearing to grant divine sanction to the “service” this facility provides reeks of evil.

But there they are, so called “Christian leaders,” a Rabbi and a couple of Hindu priests, proud as can be.  They even prayed (not sure to whom) for “blessings” on the abortion facility. You'd have thought we would have grown accustomed by now to evil being presented as some lofty moral ideal.  But this one takes the cake, with queer matrimony getting runner up.
He then complains that "the American heartland" and president elect Trump are labelled as racist and bigoted. Reading these words it sounds as though he is complaining about how he thinks he himself and his organization are viewed by others. These words seem designed to stir up resentment among his followers at leftists.
The howls of racism and bigotry aimed at the American heartland and the incoming president are heard in our mainstream media and in the foreign media as well.  They are applied to the abortion argument, as if difficulty in arranging an abortion is tantamount to slavery.  And we've all heard, or been subjected to the almost universally accepted notion that to oppose “gay” anything and everything makes you bigoted.
He expresses hope that the Trump Administration will make society more aligned with his views. Most COGs tend to lean to the right in regards to political matters. I do not condemn them for this but it is important to note this fact since it explains so many of their political stances which may be found in their writings.
Truth is fallen in the streets as never before in the United States.  Evil is paraded as “good,” even as having a “spiritual” and religious component.  We can hope, with a turnaround in governance and hopefully on the panel of the Supreme Court, that we'll see some semblance of sanity going forward.  But it won't be quick and it might well get ugly. 
He then links his topic of condemning abortion with vilifying the acceptance of refugees by the US government. It seems a bit odd linking those two topics together.
Last week's Update showed that there had been about 25 terrorist attacks in the first week of 2017.  The poor, frightened and displaced refugees have been financed, welcomed and given every benefit of the doubt all over Europe, and to a lesser degree the United States.  We've been told time and time again, that it was done out of an obligation to the “poor.”  That's as big a lie as calling what they do at the abortion clinic “sacred work.”  The lies have been so bold, and repeated in the mainstream press so often that they may never be fully exposed, at least not in the present age.
He then mentions at the end of the main narrative his belief that Christ will soon return and make the world right.
Some of us are aware of a time in the future when God will set everything right on this earth, and you can guarantee no one will characterize any heinous sin as “sacred.”
Imagine living in a world in which a man like the author of this weekly update gets to be in charge forever. What a thought.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

PCG's Brad MacDonald Moans About Minorities and Protesters

In a previous post it was mentioned that Brad MacDonald made a remarkably bitter broadcast on PCG's Trumpet Daily radio broadcast (January 3, 2016). Let's take a closer look.

He mentions that there have been a problem in some places of teenage mobs getting out of hand in some shopping malls. He complains about this and then choose to focus his ire on teenagers, particularly those who happen to be minorities and/or African Americans.
But these warring or these unstable teenagers are just another outward sign of America's lawless, abusive, out of control young people. We've seen this evident in the rise of the flash mobs a year or two ago. We've seen this evident in the gangs of teenagers roaming some of America's streets just randomly beating people in the streets. 
Now it's a fact that most of these teenagers are minorities. It's a fact that a huge number of America's out of control teenagers, out of control youth are inner-city blacks. (11-12 minutes.)
He then cites a newspaper article to blame the Obama Administration for exacerbating this problem.
[The reporter] makes the point that America's out of control youth, especially America's out of control minority youths, really are a function of the White House over the past eight years. (12 minutes.)
He then complains about the Obama Administration, the Justice Department and the Education Department have tried to reduce the disproportionate rate of disciplining African Americans in schools.
President Obama's policies have dramatically increased youth rebellion. They've dramatically increased teenage lawlessness. His policies have fundamentally transformed teenage culture, especially, especially in the minority communities. (20 minutes.)
How pathetic it is that he should use his position to slur minorities and African Americans in such a way. What effect will statements like this have among PCG members who are predominantly white? Also there are African Americans who are members of PCG. What must go through their minds hearing their young people being singled out in such a way?

After this he complains about an "entitlement culture" which he accuse the Obama Administration of promoting.
But there's no doubt that millions are taking advantage of the benefit system. There's no doubt that America could save a lot of money by addressing some of the exploitation taking place. (29 minutes.)
He also scare mongers about the federal debt.
Consider the national debt as well. This is another massive problem that Donald Trump will inherit. And that doesn't have an easy solution. [He complains that the federal debt was $10.6 trillion in January 2009 and is now $19.7 trillion.] ... President Obama has added nine trillion, nine trillion to America's debt. By far more than any other president, (30-31 minutes.) 
This claim is quite misleading because it fails to account for inflation and economic growth. Once one compares the federal debt with GDP growth it will be seen that in fact the United States was more indebted per capita back in the 1940s because of World War II.

Furthermore about half of the federal debt is owed to Americans. Also the US debt is a sovereign debt that no one can force the United States government to default. The debt is denominated in US dollars and the US government is the source of the currency. So no one can force the US government to default on the federal.

The federal debt is simply not as much of a problem as MacDonald implies.

He then scare mongers about homosexuals, a community often viewed as an easy target within the COGs.
Consider the empowerment that has occurred over the past eight years of special interest groups. The LGBT community. President Obama has invited these groups into the White House. He's created all sorts of councils and working groups to improve conditions. He's created all sorts of laws and policies and regulations defending these groups. He's created an expectancy. Many of these groups. All of these groups. They expect to be protected and defended. And these are powerful groups. And they won't react positively to being cut back. To being confronted. (32-33 minutes.)
He then scare mongers about Black Lives Matter protesters and makes the inflammatory accusation that these protesters want "to create violence". Instead of talking about the problem of police brutality he makes his followers fearful and afraid of politically active African Americans.
Think about the Black Lives Matter movement. Barack Obama has empowered this movement. This is a dangerous movement. This is a movement that wants to create violence in America. This is a movement that wants to undermine America's government, undermine America's systems. (33-34 minutes.)
This inflammatory accusation refuses to deal with the problem of police brutality and racial discrimination which have caused many African Americans to try and resolve these pressing issues through protests and political activism.

He scare mongers that Trump's attempts to change things will lead to more trouble in the short term future.
There's a culture of grievance compensation that has been cultivated over these past eight years. People who feel victimized expect, they demand, compensation. For eight years they've been told that this is what they deserve. Can that be taken away without making some of these people very, very upset? (35-36 minutes.) 
He then accuse President Obama of promoting a culture of lawlessness.
Consider the culture of lawlessness that we've seen develop over the past eight years. Again Mr. Obama is not the source of lawlessness. He's not the originator of lawlessness. He's not the first person to show, you know, a lesser regard for the rule of law. 
But he has been America's president for eight years and in that capacity he has made lawlessness mainstream. Mr. Obama has undermined and destroyed the respect for the rule of law. He's flouted America's Constitution repeatedly. He's made it OK to not uphold laws or to circumvent the laws. Eight years on it is today more culturally accepted to reject a law, to reject a policy if you don't agree with it. Culturally there is a lot less respect today for the law and for the rule of law. People are just less concerned, they are less concerned today about lawlessness. (36-37 minutes.)
He criticizes the hope that many right wing Americans have for the upcoming Trump Administration. PCG teaches that the United States is fated to be conquered by a German led European superpower. This message is taught regardless of whether the president is Democratic or Republican.

PCG's audience tends to lean to the right so most of PCG's audience would be inclined to view Trump's victory positively. Perhaps some of them might think that there will be no catastrophe with a new Republican president. MacDonald seems to want to get rid of this glimmer of hope from his audience by insisting that this catastrophe is still fated to occur.
As I said at the beginning there are so many people, so many people, so many Americans, especially conservatives who are just charged up and amped for Mr. Trump to become president. They really believe that he's going to turn things around for the United States. But in fact the solutions to America's problems are bigger than one man. The solutions to America's problems are much, much bigger than that. (46 minutes.)
He then insists that Gerald Flurry's 2013 booklet, America Under Attack, which ridiculously labelled President Obama as "another Antiochus," is still not redundant even though President Obama will soon be leaving office to be replaced by Trump.
If you havn't requested and studied our book, America Under Attack, now is the time to do it. Now is the time to do it. That book is not redundant now that Mr. Obama is leaving the White House. It's not redundant. In fact it will probably become more important with time and it will certainly be vindicated more and more as time goes on and proved true. (52-53 minutes.)
In other words even though a Republican will soon be placed in the presidency MacDonald still wants his followers to be fearful and afraid of leftists and to still view Gerald Flurry's 2013 booklet as fully relevant despite a Republican president taking office.

This diatribe against the hope of many right wing Americans that things will improve under Trump shows the unhelpfully negative attitude towards attempts to manage society within PCG's 1%. So many people are trying to make America more in line with their ideals and PCG's 1% chooses to insist that such efforts cannot solve America's pressing problems. PCG offers no hope for a better future until after a cataclysmic World War III when we need solutions today, not in the future.

Some wonder why do PCG's members continue to stay in PCG despite the many problems within it. Part of the reason for this is because PCG's followers are taught to be afraid and fearful of so many that they have a harder time noticing the problems among themselves. Why be fearful of sending in three tithes to PCG when they are taught to be afraid of so many other people who are supposedly out to "get them" somehow?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Eleven Palestinian Homes Demolished in Kalansua, Israel

Recently eleven buildings belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel were demolished heightening tensions. Haaretz published the following scathing editorial criticizing this act for inflaming tensions.
Although there was no urgent need to tear down the structures, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wishes to aggressively advance “enforcing building laws in the Arab communities.” He and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan know perfectly well that such acts won’t solve the problem, but only exacerbate it. There are more than 50,000 houses that were built without a permit in Arab and Druze communities in Israel. Applying the law “blindly” means erasing entire neighborhoods and leaving half a million people without a roof over their heads. 
Netanyahu knows that every demolition increases the rising tension among the state’s Arab citizens and contributes to their loss of confidence in the state, and that this tension could spill over to violence and unnecessary clashes. He could also have anticipated that the massive demolitions in Kalansua would be seen as indeed they were seen: as an act intended to inflame emotions, sow frustration in the Arab population and curry favor with the rightist voters, who are still angry about the anticipated evacuation of the Amona settlement outpost. (Brutality in Kalansua, Haaretz, January 13, 2017.)

Defense Secretary Nominee Wishes to Maintain Current Policy Concerning Jerusalem

While some call for the US government to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the embassy to Jerusalem President-elect Trump's nominee for Defense Secretary, James Mattis, has stated that he wishes the current policy was maintained.
Retired Marine General James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for the post of Defense Secretary, said Thursday that the capital of Israel was Tel Aviv. 
"Right now, I'd stick with the U.S. policy," the retired Marine general told Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is vetting his nomination. "The capital of Israel that I go to is Tel Aviv." 
Mattis made the statement in response to a question posed to him by Sen. Lindsey Graham. Official U.S. policy doesn't recognize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, which Israel claims as its capital. The U.S. embassy is in Tel Aviv, however U.S. policy doesn't explicitly state that Tel Aviv is Israel's capital. 
Mattis also explained that "that's where all the government people are." While Israel's Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are both located in Jerusalem, the Israeli Defense Ministry and the IDF headquarters - two places that Mattis has visited many times when he served in the U.S. military - are in fact located in Tel Aviv. (Capital of Israel Is Tel Aviv, Says Trump's Pentagon Pick Mattis, Haaretz, January 12, 2017.)

Netanyahu Scandal in Israel

Are the COGs watching this to see if it is a sign of Christ's return? Currently there is much concern in Israel about evidence of collusion between Prime Minister Netanyahu and the owner of popular Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth to rein in the freely given newspaper Israel Hayom (which is sponsored by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson) and use Yedioth Ahronoth to keep Netanyahu in power.

Media Mogul Told Netanyahu: We'll Make Sure You Remain Prime Minister.

Netanyahu Promised to Media Mogul to Stifle Adelson's Daily: 'We Can Legislate It, We'll Set Up a Committee'.

Friday, January 13, 2017

How Events in the Holy Land Can Affect America

While the COGs carefully watch the Holy Land to see a sign that Christ will soon return it turns out there are other reasons it is worth paying attention to events over there. 
The most widely-anticipated policy change is moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (which in the short-term would require just switching the signs in front of U.S. diplomatic facilities). Another possibility is kicking the official representatives of the Palestinians out of Washington. A third is ending aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). 
Why focus on these three? Among other reasons, because all are already required by law: a 1995 law requires the transfer of the embassy; a 1988 law bars the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the recognized representative of the Palestinians, from operating in the U.S.; and Congress has for nearly two decades passed legislation every year barring funding to the PA. However, Congress also gives presidents the authority to waive implementation of each of these laws, in an arrangement that lets legislators score political points with pro-Israel hardliners, while leaving space for presidents to preserve responsible policies. 
Until now, presidents from both parties have consistently exercised these waivers; by merely ceasing to do so, Trump could change any or all of these policies, immediately and on his own. (Lara Friedman, Think Trump’s Policies On Israel-Palestine Have Nothing To Do With You? Think Again, Huffington Post, January 6, 2017.)
 Furthermore it turns out there is a law which requires the United States to withdraw and defund any United Nations organization which admits the Palestinians as a member. That is one reason why UNESCO passed their recent resolution about Jerusalem. America was not a member and paid nothing to them and so had no say because of this law.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Critiquing John Chrysostom's Anti-Semitic Rant (Second Homily)

Continuing from Part 1 let us continue to look at John Chrysostom's infamous anti-Semitic polemic, Against the Jews.

In AD 387 John Chrysostom, bishop of Antioch, gave a series of homilies to his flock denouncing Judaizers and Jews in the days leading up to the Day of Atonement. Today this series of homilies is viewed as yet another shameful moment in the development of the infamous hatred that is known as anti-Semitism.

Five days before the Day of Atonement he delivered his second homily. At some point a large part of this homily was lost. Since it was noticeably shorter than the other homilies scholars speculated that part of it was lost. It was not until the 1990s that the rest of the second homily was recovered from a Greek manuscript.

Let's take a look.
Against those who fast the fast of the Jews and against the Jews themselves. Delivered after the other homily has been given and five days before the Jewish fast.
HWA and his various imitators tended to insist that it was Sabbath keeping that was a defining sign of the "true church" during the time of Catholicism's ascendancy. But by 387 when John Chrysotum made his vicious denunciation of Judaizing Christians he chose to focus on their observance of the fast on the Day of Atonement. Although he does mention Sabbath keeping in the first homily (VIII, 1) nevertheless Sabbath keeping seemed to be of little concern to him. He seems much more concerned with their observance of the fast on the Day of Atonement and listening to the ram's horn on Rosh Hashanah.

At the end of the first homily John Chrysostom called upon the congregation to seek these Judaizing Christians and get them to stop observing Judaistic practices. In the second homily he encourages these efforts.
I hoped that with the span of many days you might be able to track down with all fearlessness those who are suffering from this disease and restore them to health. ... I have gotten a head start in talking to you, the fishermen, that you may sweep up your weaker brothers in your nets and bring them to hear what I have to say. ... Those of you who did fish and have your catch securely in your nets, remain steadfast and bind them tight with your words of exhortation. Those of you who have not yet taken this goodly catch have time enough in these five days to trap and overcome your prey. So let us spread out the nets of instruction; like a pack of hunting dogs let us circle about and surround our quarry; let us drive them together from every side and bring them into subjection to the laws of the Church. (I, 2-4.)
He then derogatorily compares the Jewish community with a man who refuses a freely given pardon from the Emperor for not converting to Christianity. The Jews described in the Old Testament as observing various Jewish practices are excused but the Jewish community of his time are condemned.

He then complains that the husbands do not control their wives as effectively as he wishes. He viciously insists that those who attend a synagogue while participating in the Feast of Trumpets are possessed by demons.
Yet when the hour set for the services summons you to the church, you fail to rouse your wife from their sluggish indifference. But now that the devil summons your wives to the feast of the Trumpets and they turn a ready ear to this call, you do not restrain them. You let them entangle themselves in accusations of ungodliness, you let them be dragged off into licentious ways. For, as a rule, it is the harlots, the effeminates, and the whole chorus from the theater who rush to that festival. 
And why do I speak of the immorality that goes on there? Are you not afraid that your wife may not come back from there after a demon has possessed her soul? Did you not hear in my previous discourse the argument which clearly proved to us that demons dwell in the very souls of the Jews and in places in which they gather? Tell me, then. How do you Judaizers have the boldness, after dancing with demons, to come back to the assembly of the apostles? After you have gone off and shared with those who shed the blood of Christ, how is it that you do not shudder to come back and share in his sacred banquet, to partake of his precious blood? Do you not shiver, are you not afraid when you commit such outrages? Have you so little respect for that very banquet? (III, 4-5.)
So it would seem these Judaizing Christians of 387 had a practice of attending Jewish synagogues. How very different this is from how Armstrongite authors have described the supposed "true church" in the late Roman Empire.

Even though the crucifixion occurred three and a half centuries beforehand John Chrysostum viciously describes Jews of his time as being guilty of the crucifixion blaming Jews collectively for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This vicious accusation would be used to inflict so much pain and suffering to Jews throughout the centuries.
What greater evidence could there be that a man does not love our Lord than when he participates in the festival with those who slew Christ? (III, 8.)
At this point we go into the rediscovered portion of this homily.

He proceeds to denounce Jews as "abominable and lawless and murderous and enemies of God" for not agreeing with his religion. It is noticeable once again how he focuses on the fast on the Day of Atonement rather than describing them as Sabbath keepers as HWA and Co. would have us expect.
Now then, let me strip down for the fight against the Jews themselves, so that the victory may be more glorious—so that you will learn that they are abominable and lawless and murderous and enemies of God.  For there is no evidence of wickedness I can proclaim that is equal to this.  But, in order to amass forensic-style speeches against them, I shall first demonstrate that even if they had not been deprived of their ancestral way of life, even so their fast would be polluted and impure.... I shall demonstrate that not only the fast, but also all the other practices which they observe—sacrifices and purifications and festivals—are all abominable. (p. 32.)
He then insists that the law was only given because Jews were sinful. Instead of being viewed as a chosen people he twisted their chosenness as something shameful.
When a well-born and free man has a female slave who is licentious and pulls in all the passers-by for immoral relations with her, he does not allow her to go out into the neighborhood, to show herself in the alley-way, to rush into the marketplace; instead, he confines her upstairs in the house, shackles her with iron, and orders her to remain indoors at all times, so that both the spatial restrictions of the place and the compulsion of the chains will be her starting-point for chastity. God acted in the very same way:  the Synagogue being his licentious slave-woman, gaping after every demon and every idol, and rushing to make sacrifices to the idols in every spot and in every place, he confined it in Jerusalem and the temple, as though in the master's house, and ordered it to sacrifice and celebrate festivals at appointed times there only, so that both the spatial restrictions of the place and the observance of the times would keep it, even unwillingly, in the law of piety.  Sit there and be modest, he says; let the place train you, since your character did not. (pp. 36, 38.)
He then hysterically insists that slaughtering the Passover lamb anywhere outside of Jerusalem is like murder.
Therefore, whenever they sacrifice the Passover [lamb] either here or elsewhere, they are manifestly murderers.  For if, when someone does not bring his sacrifice to the doors of the Tent of Witness, the sacrifice is reckoned as blood and murder, and if these people make their sacrifices not only outside the temple, but even outside the city, indeed everywhere on earth, then it is quite obvious that they are enmeshed in the pollution [of murder] to an enormous degree. (p. 40.)
He ridicules their religion and insist that it is not possible for them to observe their religion unless they controlled Jerusalem, a possibility he dismisses not having any hope. He states that Jerusalem is closed off to Jews. Unlike some today he seems to have had no expectation of Jews moving to the holy land as a sign of Christ's return.
And that is why I called their fast impure right from the beginning:  because it is carried out unlawfully.  Indeed, their Passover and Feast of Tabernacles, and whatever else they do, are profane and abominable; what they carry out is not worship, but lawlessness and transgression and outrage committed on God.  You see, if they did not dare to do any of these things during their sojourning in a foreign land (as my discourse has proved), when they expected to recover their ancestral city and return to the temple, then they are obligated much more now to stay idle, to refrain from action, and not to carry out any of these things—now that there is no longer any hope that they will recover Jerusalem.  For that city shall not rise up again in the future, nor will they return to their prior form of worship.  It was to make this clear to them that God opened up the whole world to them, and made that spot alone inaccessible, and thus there are imperial laws keeping them away and not allowing them to set foot in the doorway of the city—that city is and will remain off-limits for them at all times. (p. 42.)
John Chrysostum states that Jerusalem was inaccessible to Jews in his day. He insists that Jews being forbidden to enter Jerusalem and the end of sacrifices at the Temple was a thing caused by God to get them to give up their religion in order to join his religion.
But on the very day of their fast, I will demonstrate that it [i.e., Jerusalem] will not rise again—if you are present again with the same enthusiasm and I see this hall made just as magnificent as it is now with the multitude of the listeners. Today, on the other hand, it is necessary to tell you why God opened the entire world to them, but made that city alone inaccessible to them.  Why, then, did he do this?  He knew their obstinacy and shamelessness, their willfulness and disobedience; he knew that they would not easily choose to give up their former way of life, conducted with sacrifices and burnt offerings, and go toward the higher, more spiritual life of the Gospels.  What, then, did he do?  After tying their worship of him to the necessity of sacrifices, he furthermore confined the sacrifices themselves to the temple, and after doing this, he made the place off-limits for them, so that, from the fact that they were not allowed to set foot in Jerusalem, they would become aware that it was now not permissible for them to sacrifice—and from the absence of sacrifice they would be taught not to cling to the rest of their forms of worship any longer, and would be able to see that it was no longer the proper time for that way of life, that instead, God was calling them to a different and greater philosophy. (p. 42.)
John Chrysostum states it was God's will to visit calamity upon the Jewish community to let the forces of the Roman Empire to sack the Temple in Jerusalem.
In the very same way, God, wanting to lead them to more solid nourishment, but then seeing them constantly running back to Jerusalem and its way of life, walled off the city like a mother's nipple with bile and the bitterest juice—the fear of the Romans—and by means of imperial decrees he made it become off-limits for them.  His intention was that because of the desolation and the soldiers' weapons, they would stand aloof from that homeland and little by little become accustomed to rejecting their desire for milk and slipping into a love and craving for solid nourishment.  For even though emperors caused the desolation, they were moved by God to do so, and this is clear from [a comparison with] the previous periods, when not even the ruler of the whole [world] was strong enough to take the city, since God was favorable to them. (p. 44.)
Curiously John Chrysostom then complains that most of the Judaisers he condemns were women. This raises intriguing possibilities. It is not possible today to verify his claim that most of these Judaizers were women. This raises an intriguing possibility: that his hostility towards Jews and Judaizers was partly motivated by sexism. Could be possible that a misogynistic attitude motivated his production of this infamous attack on Jews?
But not only to men do I address these comments, but also to the women, through their husbands.  For indeed, I know that most of the crowd that is drawn to go there is composed of women.  Now then, the blessed Paul says, "Husbands, love your wives"; and again, "The wife should fear her husband." But I am seeing neither wives' fear nor husbands' love.  For if the wife feared her husband, she would not have dared to go.  If the husband loved his wife, he would never have allowed and tolerated her going.  For what is worse than this outrage, I ask you?  A free and believing woman goes out of the house and goes off to a synagogue?  Does she know any other place at all, apart from the church and the time spent there?  But if she were going off to a lover, would you not have stood up?  Would you not have been inflamed?  Would you not have posted guards on all sides?  But as it is, you do not see her going off to commit adultery with a man, but going off to [be with] demons—and you allow this impiety?   If she commits a transgression against you, you punish her; but if she commits outrage against her Lord, you overlook it?  If she wantonly abuses your marriage, you are a harsh and inexorable judge; but if she tramples on the covenants with God, you are careless and slack?  How can these [offenses] be worthy of forgiveness?   And yet, God does not act that way, but rather in the opposite way:  When he himself is outraged, he overlooks it; when you are treated that way, he punishes.  Do you wish to learn that he honors your affairs more than his own? (p. 45-6.)
And John Chrysostum's second homily came to an end but he still was not finished. He still had more to say to demonize Jews and discourage Judaizers.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Listening to PCG's Radio (January 7, 2017)

PCG continues to produce radio shows to promote their doctrines and teachings in the hope of acquiring more tithes paying members.


Brent Nagtegaal hosted two radio broadcasts denouncing the Obama administration abstaining from voting on a United Nations Security Council resolution concerning the State of Israel. (Trumpet Daily (December 27, 2016) and Watch Jerusalem (January 1, 2017).)

He emotively intones that East Jerusalem is on the chopping black and that this is a call for the State of Israel to "surrender" East Jerusalem even though the 161 nation states that recognize the State of Israel have never recognized it as having any right to rule the land acquired as a result of the 1967 Six Day War. This is why the United States, Britain, Australia and many other countries located their embassies in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem. Since 1967 those nation states never viewed East Jerusalem as legally belonging to the State of Israel. This includes the United States, Britain and Australia.

He also used to portray President Obama as being terribly hostile to the State of Israel. That the vote occurred just before Hanukkah is emphasized even though PCG does not observe that festival.

At one point he condemns the resolution as paving the way to boycotts of the State of Israel. He states that international law requires that economic activities in the State of Israel internationally recognized territory (its 1949-67 borders) and outside of it need to be distinguished. He then complains that no companies in Israel makes this distinction and so, he concludes, that calls to boycott the settlements are ineffective and may lead to boycotts of the State of Israel as a whole.

The Watch Jerusalem broadcast ends with Nagtegaal insisting that it is important to watch events in the Holy Land once East Jerusalem gets taken away from the State of Israel it will be a sign that Christ will soon return. In other words the deaths, pain and suffering that has been endured by so many Israelis and Palestinians over the years are used as a prop to make predictions about when Christ is to return.


Trumpet Daily (January 3, 2016) features Brad MacDonald making a rather astonishingly bitter and negative broadcast scare mongering against supposedly out of control teenagers and saying it is party Obama's fault. He moans that Obama has fundamentally transformed America and that Trump will not be able to reverse what Obama has done.

He insists that welfare reform is necessary but those he receive such things will be reluctant to give it up. He does this even though PCG is gets entitlements to its income that is not taxed because it is recognized as a religion. That income which does not get taxed is an entitlement. One also wonders why he does not talk about tax havens. He excoriates President Obama for encouraging Black Lives Matter protesters.

He scare mongers that Obama will not go away after he leaves office but will still be working. He refuses to give his listeners even the pleasure of knowing that Obama will be out of power soon. He cites Melanie Phillips, a right wing British columnist who is very often cited by PCG's writers.

Near the end he notes that many Republicans are hopeful about Trump but, he grouses, that they are wrong to be optimistic and Gerald Flurry's 2013 booklet, America Under Attack, is in full effect even though Trump will soon be president.

If one wants to capture that miserable worldview that PCG's leaders so often promotes it may be well glimpsed in this broadcast.


Trumpet Hour (January 4, 2017) has a preview for 2017.

Sam Livingston discussed Trump and possible effects his presidency will bring. He mentioned The Art of the Deal even though that book's actual author publicly disavowed Trump. He also speculates that Trump and his cabinet could make America prosper temporarily before their prophetic scenario which calls for America to soon fall comes into effect.

They speculate that Europe will lurch from crisis to crisis and, it is speculated, that this will make Europeans yearn for an authoritarian strongman. Since 2009 PCG has often scare mongers that Karl Theodor zu Guttenburg may be the European dictator fated to conquer the United States.

Brent Nagtegaal speculated that there could be an armed uprising in East Jerusalem to take advantage of the recent resolution. The State of Israel has a very well equipped army which has a qualitative military edge compared with its neighbors. Their army can easily access East Jerusalem. So this seems to be quite an absurd suggestion. About 25% of its defense expenditure is supplied as foreign aid by the United States. Furthermore one wonders why he stays there if something like that is about to occur.

And so it may be seen that PCG continues to promote themselves through their radio station. However they are but false prophets. Their dire words will fail.