Monday, May 5, 2014

Reading Malachi's Message: Part 4

 Previously I have read a copy of an old 1990 edition of Gerald Flurry's booklet, Malachi's Message to God's Church Today, which was discussed here and here. We now continue from Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of Reading Malachi's Message


Chapter 8

In this chapter Gerald Flurry fear mongers that any WCG member who does not join PCG (and pay him three tithes and extra offerings) is in danger of being cast into the Great Tribulation and have a fifty percent chance of going to the lake of fire. 
Those who are turning away from the “Elijah” example and his instructions will pay a mind-splitting cost! God’s people possess dangerous knowledge—even more so if they are in the ministry (James 3:1). 
When God says “remember” in Malachi 4:4, it is a warning—a frightful warning! This is exactly what 2 Thessalonians 2:10 is about: some are being saved while others are LOSING THEIR ETERNAL LIVES!
Why is it that everything Gerald Flurry sees in the Bible has to be some sort of frightening warning? He seems to see that sort of thing quite a lot.

Only God’s people can understand the chilling terror of this ending! This is not a game. Our leader is Jesus Christ, and He still leads with great authority.
It is a game. That is I cannot help but think that for those who stand to benefit from the three tithes of PCG members it would be very desirable to persuade people to join PCG.

Mr. Tkach said in his Worldwide News “Personal” column, December 11, 1989, “Think about this: What would you do if there were another world war and Jesus still didn’t come? Would you give up the faith?” 
Think about that. Mr. Tkach says a world war (it would surely be a nuclear war) could come, and it still may not signal the end of this age. He could be in the Great Tribulation—which will be a nuclear holocaust—and presumably still not be certain that Christ was about to come! Those are not the words of God’s watchman who is supposed to warn the world! Any watchman with views like this is “blind”! (Ezekiel 33:6-7; Revelation 3:17). And brethren, if you follow him, nuclear holocaust awaits you! 
Here we see once again the crude intimidation Gerald Flurry employs to coerce people into joining PCG. It is perfectly understandable why people who wished to follow HWA would want to leave WCG but they seemed to be unaware that Gerald Flurry would lead them into the darkness of submission to despotism.

The WCG would like you to believe that 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 10 are about departing from the Church—instead of the faith, or the truth. This way they can keep those members who are spiritually asleep and continue to receive their tithes and offerings.
Of course Gerald Flurry thinks those tithes and offerings should go to him. In fact all of Malachi's Message is devoted to that very purpose.

It has abolished all of Mr. Armstrong’s major books—which is some of the strongest spiritual meat produced in 2,000 years! That includes many smaller booklets as well.
There's that odd expression of his again. How can you abolish a book? You can abolish a rule or a law, but not a book. You can look at a book, hold it, burn it, even read it. But I do not know how one can abolish a book. You can say the book was incorrect when you previously thought it was correct.

I believe we can begin to get a feel for why God spews the Laodiceans out of His mouth with extreme disgust! He has not one good thing to say about the Laodicean Church! And He says, “I know thy works?.…” The Laodiceans do have Church era works. The problem is, they are not good works.
As mentioned in Part 2 Gerald Flurry devoted a section of Malachi's Message to explaining away Revelation 3:21 and insisting that it does not apply to the Laodiceans. The highlighted statement is only true if we assume this is the case. Also Flurry's booklet only makes sense if there are seven church eras, but that is simply a fabrication.

The WCG has turned to a false gospel. Now only the PCG proclaims God’s true gospel—the same gospel taught by Mr. Armstrong.
Actually many COG groups continue to teach what HWA teach. How can Flurry say only PCG has the true gospel when many others teach the same things that HWA taught? Why is he saying something so untrue?

God will NOT take His people to a place of safety unless they support those who serve God! You must determine who they are and actively support them. You must come to see where God’s “open door” is now (Revelation 3:8). God is going to force you to choose (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). 
Here is Gerald Flurry again trying to intimidate people into joining PCG or else they will not go to the place of safety to escape from the Great Tribulation, he says.

There is one big difference between today and the 1970s: Mr. Armstrong was alive to get the Church “back on track.” 
Look at what Garner Ted Armstrong did after he was disfellowshipped and marked from WCG. Did he try to change every doctrine as Tkach later did? Instead he continued to teach most of the doctrines of Armstrongism till the day he died. What did these other "liberals" do after HWA purged them from WCG? Did they renounce all the doctrines HWA taught? In many cases, no. Al Carozzo, Ernest Martin and many other who were kicked out or left WCG continued to believe many of HWA's teachings the rest of their lives.

To me that suggests that had these liberals been allowed to stay in leadership positions within WCG they would not have led WCG into renouncing Armstrongism, unlike Tkach, Sr.


Chapter 9

In this chapter Gerald Flurry insists that the Laodiceans are under a curse and they must join PCG if they are to have any hope of escaping the Great Tribulation. 
Staying with the Laodicean Church will cause you to suffer their fate! Some people will think it’s disloyal to follow Christ out of the WCG. Mr. Armstrong was fired from the Sardis Church [Church of God (Seventh Day)] for following God and the truth He revealed.
So you say that HWA was fired from Church of God (Seventh Day). So are you admitting that HWA did work for the Church of God (Seventh Day) contrary to what HWA vehemently claimed repeatedly when he was getting WCG "back on the track"? Are you admitting that HWA repeatedly lied then?

The Philadelphian group [PCG members] is persecuted before they go to a place of safety (verse 13) and they are separate from the Laodicean group [all other Armstrongites] (verse 17). Here, and in Malachi 3:16, it reveals that these two groups separate and can’t “walk together” some time before the Tribulation. Do the Laodiceans inflict part of the pre-Tribulation persecution on the Philadelphians? Malachi 2:10, 14-16 are about the Laodiceans being “treacherous” to the Philadelphians. That treachery comes just before and after the two groups split. 
Persecution of the Philadelphians by the Laodiceans is also discussed in 2 Thessalonians 2 and Zechariah 3 and 4—by strong implication. Some of this persecution comes in the form of casting people out of the Laodicean Church! ...
A big part of the work of the Philadelphians is helping God separate the Laodiceans from the Philadelphians (Malachi 3:17). This should not take very long—but it will be painful! Very painful! In some cases it will break up families. God knew it would happen (Luke 14:26-27). 
 Here Gerald Flurry is inciting hatred and fear of "Laodiceans" by accusing them of betraying PCG members.

I find it odd how he blames all Laodiceans for this. There is no differentiation between those in WCG who actually disfellowshipped those resisting the Tkach changes (WCG ministers and leaders) and those who are not to blame for this persecution of PCG members. It was the leaders of WCG who disfellowshipped those resisting the Tkach changes, not regular members. Why is he blaming the regular members as well?
Also is he blaming the other COG groups for the Tkach charges? One cannot blame the Tkach changes on these other COG groups. They, like Gerald Flurry, found it impossible to affect Tkach's changes and so did the only thing they could do to preserve their religion, leave WCG and join or establish a new COG group.

Why is Gerald Flurry blaming other COG groups for "betraying" and "persecuting" the "Philadelphian group" (PCG members)?

It is obvious why he does these things. He is preparing prospective PCG members to shun all WCG members or ex-WCG members who have not joined PCG, the so-called Laodiceans.

The curse (verse 6), which we have always thought applied to the world, actually applies to the Church! And that is a change you can prove from the Bible. All these subjects I have discussed with you can be proved or disproved from the Bible. 
So much for remembering what HWA taught. Already Gerald Flurry is changing traditional COG doctrines for his own purposes, in this instance in order to embolden WCG members to leave WCG for PCG and not join any other COG group. (This statement also assumes that there are church eras.)

Mr. Armstrong turned us to the Family of God. The Laodicean sin involves turning away from the Family of God and what God did through Mr. Armstrong. Malachi tells us how the Church moves from the Philadelphian era to the Laodicean era. The Laodiceans turn away from the Philadelphia standard. Common sense also tells us that is what happens. The Laodiceans would have been Philadelphians—if they hadn’t turned away. They established their own standard—not Christ’s! ...
They don’t just lack “drive and energy.” They are treacherous because they are part of a Judas-like betrayal!

All other COG groups except PCG are labeled Laodiceans by Gerald Flurry. How did the other COG groups turn "from the Family of God and what God did through Mr. Armstrong"? How are the other COG groups "part of a Judas-like betrayal"? This criticism makes sense when used against Tkach's WCG but to use these words against the other COG groups is just the most outrageous slur.

Malachi came originally to rekindle the fires of faith in many rebellious priests. We ministers must let Malachi move and stir us to a greater effort! God needs loyal ministers now as never before!

Faith is nothing more than acting on God’s Word!
Backing and supporting this message [paying tithes to PCG] is your ticket to a place of safety and a magnificent reward. This is how God makes up His jewels!
Reading this you can see this was originally written to be used on WCG ministers to get them to submit to Gerald Flurry's authority.

Here we also see the crude way Gerald Flurry intimidates readers into believing that unless they are in PCG's fold they will be cast into the Great Tribulation.

Are we in the Philadelphia Church rebelling against God’s government? No, we are not! We are backing God’s government by preaching what God has revealed. 
Here we see that the phrase "government of God" can be easily manipulated in order to support the authority of others. This thought terminating cliche was first devised to support HWA's authority as leader of WCG and WCG's authority over lay members. Now that Tkach chose to renounce much of what HWA taught Flurry exploits this dissension and confusion to use this thought terminating cliche to support his own authority and power.


In January 1997, we decided to reprint and distribute Mr. Armstrong’s final book, Mystery of the Ages. Weeks later, the WCG filed a lawsuit trying to stop us. We responded to their lawsuit by filing our own counterclaim—seeking to reprint and distribute 18 additional works of Mr. Armstrong that we consider central to our beliefs.

In March of 2003, we obtained the copyrights to Mystery of the Ages and the 18 other works of Mr. Armstrong we sought in our counterclaim.
Is Gerald Flurry here admitting the truth that PCG did not win the court case with WCG? In fact PCG lost the court case but the out of court negotiations went well for them and they bought the copyrights from WCG for $3 million.


And so this tour of Malachi's Message comes to an end.

We see that: 
  • It is largely plagiarized from Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea (1986-8). 
  • It assumes that there are seven church eras when in fact that teaching is untrue. 
  • It falsely reads the Tkach changes into the Bible when in fact no one in HWA's WCG anticipated that there would be such a mass renunciation of Armstrongism by the WCG leadership. 
  • It several times altered HWA's teachings for Gerald Flurry's benefit. (And elsewhere he contradicts himself when he says it is important to adhere to HWA's teachings.)
Having seen these things it can only be concluded that Malachi's Message is woefully in error.

I feel compelled to say that the fact this booklet could help launch one of the major COG splinter groups is a shameful indictment of how HWA and his WCG ministers kept WCG members woefully ignorant about the Bible and their own dogmas thus allowing Gerald Flurry to become one of the prime beneficiaries of the mass departure of members out of Tkach's WCG.


Postscript: Fred Dattolo (formerly of GCG/LCG) thought this was worth converting for? Well, they did make him a minister.

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