Friday, January 23, 2009

A Skeleton in the Closet: Physical Sin

This article deals with failed healing. This will be a very sensitive topic to some readers. Discretion is advised.

In 2001 I read this article, Are You Walking in the Footsteps of Christ?'. Here Douglas Winnail encourages one to engage in physical exercise, holding Jesus up as the perfect example of physical health. This was my first introduction to the Armstrongite doctrine of 'physical sin', although he never used that particular phrase. Now when I first heard of this concept it sounded very benign. A religious motivation to live an physically active life. Sounds great! What could possibly be wrong with this?

Little did I realize at the time that this doctrine of 'physical sin', as understood by Herbert W. Armstrong, was one of the very worst of his doctrines. Under HWA the main effect of this doctrine was not to encourage one to an active life but to forbid one to go to doctors or to take medicine, since HWA asserted that only God may heal sickness, and to go to a doctor to heal such a sickness is idolatry. HWA hung the specter of eternal damnation upon any who dared to disagree with this most wicked doctrine of his. It is a doctrine of death. Only the Lord above know how many precious souls have been robbed by us, such as this modern example.

Because HWA was a false prophet, (which is proof that God never worked with him) often this advice led to death. When his son, Richard David Armstrong, was injured in a car crash he died. When his wife of nearly fifty years was sick she died. When Roderick Meredith's wife got sick she died. So we see that such requests for divine healing are not always fulfilled in the manner that HWA supposed. HWA was aware of this since at least 1933, that was when his father got sick and died. HWA knew that all this time divine healing was not absolutely guaranteed as early as 1933, and yet he, stubborn ox that he was, continued to teach this most hateful doctrine till the day he died, even when he himself visited doctors and used their expertise for himself while denying them to loyal and ever sacrificing members.

Thankfully LCG no longer teaches this doctrine of death. RCM and Co. now allow their members to go to doctors and use whatever medical aid they need to use. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that RCM, contrary to his church's teachings, went to a doctor and had a retina correction in 1970. However Meredith continues to claim that his church is capable of divine healing, in this article he cites several incidents where (supposedly) divine healing has occurred thanks to him, deceitfully hiding all the many examples when such appeals hopelessly failed. What a horrific skeleton in the closet hiding within Winnail's seemingly benign article encouraging physical health!
Alas! The madness still continue unabated in Gerald Flurry's so-called Philadelphia Church of God. Here one woman tells of her the tragic experiences this doctrine has caused, and she says that they know it is a lie. They certainly do know how to be discreet with this damaging superstition. One of the works of HWA they bought for $3 million from WCG was a booklet that taught this savage superstition. Curiously all the other of HWA's works are smugly displayed in their catalog except that one, although it is discreetly displayed in some pictures, where it could be easily missed by those unaware of it. They must be painfully aware of how much damage this doctrine cause, and yet they still teach it.

May the Lord above open their eyes one day.


  1. Roderick Meredith allows doctors now because he knows that there could very well be another Terry Ratzmann in the group. One could be quite sane when joining a cultist apocalyptic group and quite the opposite just a few years later. That is what these types of cults do to the mind. They destroy your sanity.

  2. Truthfully, by the late '70s and early '80s, parents were never explicitly banned from taking their children to hospital for life-threatening emergencies; there were often calls for prayer from the pulpit for such cases.

    For those children with chronic ailments, who had to spend a great deal of time in doctors' offices and under the knife, it was widely considered that they (and the parents) were "unconverted" or "weak of faith". These families were almost always treated as pariahs, in much the same way interracial families/people were. Even though it was no longer preached from the pulpit, to do so.

  3. One other note, WRT the doctrine on medicine and doctors: Thanks to the church still providing religious refusal letters for vaccinations into the 1980s, as a child, I had German measles, chickenpox, and whooping cough. All which would have been prevented, if I had been properly vaccinated. Not to mention the fact that I came down with every cold, flu, or stomach bug that was on the go. I spent the bulk of my childhood sick, and in bed. And I still remember the smell of burning anointed cloths! :-P