Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Was WCG Before 1970 Like?

One famous writer, Ernst Renan, said that a nation in order to maintain its identity as such, requires it to remember things about their past and also to forget unhelpful things about their past. This idea also applies to the COGs.

COG followers, when presenting WCG history, often say that before the 1970s all was well within the Radio/Worldwide Church of God.

John Ogwyn in his 'church history' booklet presents RCG/WCG as having everything working out well for them. The pre-1970s in the RCG/WCG is portrayed as a dynamic period where the truth was exploding into its full brilliance and of dramatic expansion, when the church bore much fruit.

According to this version of history it was only in the 1970s that things began to go wrong in WCG. "The 1970s saw in the Church, as in America as a whole, the emergence of an increasingly liberal, permissive spirit", Ogwyn writes.

That is the nostalgic, romantic view of RCG/WCG before 1970 which is very common among COG followers.

Many things are often left out from this narrative.

HWA made many false prophecies. HWA taught that the Great Tribulation would occur in 1972 and that Jesus Christ would return in 1975. During this time most members lived in fear that their time was up and that they could never lead a normal life because of this false prophecy. Indeed the failure of this prophecy was one of the contributing factors for the turmoil of the 1970s.

But that's not all.

During all of this 'wonderful' time before 1970 RCG/WCG engaged in what can only be described as an unspeakably awful and shameful policy towards Divorce and Remarriage. HWA required potential members who had been divorced and remarried or who were in such a marriage to divorce before they could even enter the church. It was only in 1974 that this insane policy came to an end within WCG.

During all of this 'wonderful' time HWA taught an anti-medicine superstition that viewed using medicines as idolatry that must be shunned by church members. HWA claimed that this was from the Bible, but he had actually plagiarized this superstition from Rutherford era Jehovah's Witnesses. HWA did not follow his own teaching but freely used drugs whenever he pleased, but he refused to relax this restriction. This superstition has caused unthinkable damage and heartache among many who were associated with WCG or its offshoots and some COG sects still adhere to this murderous doctrine.

Also RCG/WCG was observing the wrong Pentecost. Until 1974 Pentecost was observed on a Monday. Some people in RCG became convinced that Pentecost was on Sunday. Around 1948-9 a controversy erupted in RCG. It has been described as traumatic. Anyone who disagreed with HWA's Monday Pentecost was cast out of the church, only to learn 25 years later that they were right.

This does not sound like a happy place. This does not sound like an idyllic place where the truth of God was proclaimed. This does not sound like a place where God's righteousness and goodness is made manifest to be admired by the people.

This sounds like an insane cult. This sounds like a group enslaved by heartless legalism. This sounds like a group deceived by a false prophet who had no shame in spreading fear inducing prophecies no matter how many times they failed. This sounds like a group that regards the words of their cult leader as more important than the well being of its members and their loved ones. This sounds like a group enslaved by false fear of false prophecies.

1 comment:

  1. Having been there at that time, it was something I decided I wanted no part of. And when I came of age, I stopped going.