Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stephen Flurry's Cult of Personality

Recently Banned by HWA has released a post noting how PCG members have trips to Robbers Cave State Park because Stephen Flurry first read Malachi's Message there on July 16, 1989 during a WCG camp outside for the youth.

Of course Stephen Flurry has great power within PCG being Gerald Flurry's son. Stephen Flurry wrote PCG's deeply flawed book Raising the Ruins. He seems the obvious successor in waiting to replace Gerald Flurry once he passes away.

What is not so obvious is that PCG fairly often claims events concerning Stephen Flurry have some sort of special significance. It is part of a cult of personality PCG has created around him. Banned by HWA has touch upon part of this, here are a few more details of what PCG's leaders say to their triple tithe paying followers.

Gerald Flurry once asserted that Stephen Flurry first read Malachi's Message three and a half years after HWA's death as quoted in a previous post.
Finally, MY SON READ THE ROUGH DRAFT OF MALACHI'S MASSAGE ON SUNDAY, JULY 16, 1989--EXACTLY 3½ YEARS AFTER MR. ARMSTRONG DIED! (January-February, 2006, Royal Vision, p. 38, PDF p. 40.)
Exactly how Stephen Flurry reading Malachi's Message after three and a half years after HWA's death relates to the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation is not clear. Also the Flurrys had yet to go through getting fired by the Tkach led WCG's leaders and establishing PCG. Those days would seem to be more turbulent then the time  Does this mean Stephen Flurry is a type of Christ returning?

Also it is asserted within PCG that after Stephen Flurry was baptized on January 16, 1990 this was some sort of cut off date in regards to church eras. (But they seem to make exceptions to this rule when convenience dictates however, as may be seen later on.)
The PCG began on December 7, 1989. My son was ready to be baptized soon after. He requested that his baptism take place on January 16, 1990, in order to coincide with the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong's death. That was a good choice! ... So, on January 16, Stephen became the first member baptized in the Philadelphia Church of God. ... But in general, ANY BAPTISM BEYOND THAT DATE - JANUARY 16, 1990 - IN THE LAODICEAN CHURCH IS NOT VALID.
(From Royal Vision, September-October, 2006, p. 41, as seen at PCG Information.)

However this seems to be not taken quite so literally in practice as the following words from Gerald Flurry seem to show.
My son, Stephen, was baptized in the Philadelphia Church of God on January 16, 1990. Prior to his baptism, he had studied Mr. Armstrong's writings and Malachi's Message. In my sermon at Edmond last week (November 5), I pointed to his baptismal date as a cut-off point, after which baptisms within the Laodiceans churches became invalid.

This, however, is not true in every case. I should have stated that Stephen's baptismal date should be used only as an overall guideline for our ministers to work with in their counseling with God's people and with prospective PCG members. In considering this subject further, I am convinced that many, if not most, people baptized outside the PCG after January 16, 1990, and who then came into the PCG in the early 1990's, were undoubtedly counseled and baptized properly.

Today, however, it would be safe to assume that anyone baptized by a Worldwide Church of God minister would be considered invalidly baptized. In 1990, the Laodicean era was in its beginning stages. Today, the Laodicean ministry has rejected all, or most, of God's revealed truth.
(Pastor General's Report, November 12, 2005, p. 3 as seen at Exit and Support Network.)

Why the baptism of one man should signal the start of a church era is not clear. I cannot recall HWA or his collaborators ever suggesting to look towards something like that as a sign of prophecy being fulfilled. Does Revelation 2 and 3 indicate that one man's baptism would signal the start of a church era? Did one man's baptism signal the transition of eras in any of the other church eras? Did "God's Church" before HWA's arrival ever think of this idea that a baptism could somehow start a church era?

Also the idea of church eras is complete nonsense and in fact was plagiarized by HWA from other sources as is revealed in Bruce Renehan's book, Daughter of Babylon.

So we can see that PCG's leaders have been developing a sort of cult of personality around Stephen Flurry in order to set him as Gerald Flurry's successor once his father dies.

Now they just need to hope that relations will not sour between father and son as it did with Herbert Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong.

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