Saturday, November 21, 2015

When WCG Members Asked, "Who is Gerald Flurry?" (1991)

Back in November 1991, PCG's Wilbur Malone wrote an article chastising those WCG members who happened to say wonder if they should submit to Gerald Flurry's authority. It is entitled, "Who is Gerald Flurry?"
That question was asked recently by a person who wondered if God actually chose this man to head the last segment of the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG). Then there have been some who have read Malachi’s Message and have agreed with it totally, but hesitate to seek membership in the PCG. When asked why this hesitation, some respond, “I agree with Malachi’s Message, but who is this Gerald Flurry?” The meaning here is, “Why is he the leader?”, “Why is he the one in charge?”
What happened was that Gerald Flurry was kicked out of WCG so he started up his own group which acted in competition with WCG to gain more converts from WCG. At the time Tkach was implementing many changes to WCG's doctrines and teachings that would soon see WCG transform into (for the most part) an mainstream evangelical church.

Many WCG members disagreed with this transformation and yearned to continue believing and practicing what HWA taught as they interpreted his writings. This widespread discontent proved to a valuable opportunity for PCG to expand membership by taking advantage of widespread dissatisfaction with the Tkach changes.

However there was no way for PCG to overcome the hurdle that their leader, Gerald Flurry, was not particularly important among the WCG ministry. He was only ordained in 1973. And in the strictly hierarchical world of WCG ministers this meant he was not particularly important. The many ministers who were ordained before him would never join Flurry's following and would view submitting to a junior minister as beneath their dignity.

This fact would be revealed after Malone's article was published with the establishment of the Global Church of God under Roderick Meredith in 1992 and of the United Church of God in 1995. Both splinter groups were able to acquire more WCG members since those who led those groups had greater legitimacy and prestige among WCG members then a minister ordained in 1973 could ever hope to have.

After the rise of GCG Flurry wrote a booklet condemning Meredith's splinter group in a desperate and largely ineffective attempt to keep WCG members flowing into PCG instead of GCG. But that development had not yet occurred at the time of this article.

And how did Malone respond to this perfectly legitimate question?
Isn’t it amazing how some people come upon this marvelous truth and yet still manage to find fault, not with the message, but the messenger? Why is it that there are some who resent someone who has been placed in a position of authority? If a person is convinced that this is the Church God is working through, then why wouldn’t that person accept the one that God is using?
In actual fact many found fault with the message as it changed the understanding of the nature of Laodicean era. Under HWA it was never taught that the WCG leadership would radically change their teachings as did occur under Tkach. Flurry changed the doctrine of the Laodicean era by dogmatically asserting that it would take over WCG. One example of a denunciation of the message (not just the messenger) of Flurry's booklet may be seen in a 1991 article from WCG's Worldwide News. That article was written before Malone's article was published.

The fact that Tkach proceeded to make drastic changes to WCG's teachings had the effect of making Flurry's denunciations of the Tkach changes seem more potent than if Tkach had maintained the doctrines of Armstrongism as the teachings of WCG.

Also Malone denigrates those who should question why it was Gerald Flurry who was in charge as those who "resent" him. Instead of answering the question Malone tried to make those inquiring why he had this authority feel ashamed and foolish to distract readers from the fact that Gerald Flurry was not important among WCG ministers until he was kicked out and founded PCG in competition with WCG.

However at the time Malone's snide comments were buttressed by the fact that Flurry's PCG was then the most prominent offshoot from WCG to publicly oppose the Tkach changes. However this would change with the subsequent rise of GCG and UCG. But before then PCG succeeded in establishing its presence among disaffected WCG members as one of the most prominent offshoot groups.

Malone then proceeds to exploit various parts of the Bible to insist that God would not have chosen a prominent WCG minister to start a new splinter group. After that he then admits that they never anticipated anything like the Tkach changes to occur.
We are now very near the end of this age. We never suspected the split in the Church would occur as it has. We thought the Laodicean Church would come on the scene after God’s Church was taken to a place of safety. But you see, that would have been too easy. Not much faith would have been required. Holding fast would not have been required, etc.
In other words the Tkach changes was never anticipated beforehand by those who would become PCG's leaders. They thought the Laodicean era would only be manifest after the elite of WCG members had fled to the place of safety, widely thought to be Petra, Jordan. But now that an unexpected event had occurred (the rise of Tkach and the changes he began to implement) Flurry and Co. had changed the teaching on these matters to denounce the Tkach changes as the Laodiceans they had been waiting for. But they had never been waiting for WCG's leaders to renounce Armstrongism. PCG had changed the doctrine to fit the times.
Many of you reading this article never expected God to cause a separation that required stepping out of the Church we were called into in order to hold fast to God’s precious truth. I think it’s safe to say that most of us might have thought something was wrong in the Worldwide Church of God but never realized what God required until we read Malachi’s Message. Then it dawned on us. We had to leave the WCG in order to obey God.
In fact many others commented upon the Tkach changes. Many WCG members in time left WCG in order to continue adhering to HWA's teachings as they interpreted them. They did not need PCG to leave WCG.

But Wilbur Malone, being a paid employee of PCG, needed these disaffected WCG members to join his PCG so that the tithes money would go to his paycheck. So he wrote this article to insist to WCG members that they needed to join PCG.
If anyone of you can read Malachi’s Message and truthfully believe that it is merely the work of Gerald Flurry, then I would have to say you should not follow him, for then you would be following a man. God began to reveal these things to Mr. Flurry and he began to jot down notes and research what God was revealing to him. Other men have read this book. Many high-ranking men have read this book. The reason most of them reject it is because it condemns the ministry. God is correcting the ministry. Those of higher rank than Mr. Flurry refuse to see this correction coming from God and attribute it to just a man who wants a following for himself.
But if those WCG ministers are wrong to say Flurry just wants a following for himself then why is it when so many other WCG members later got out of WCG and established other splinter groups that PCG virulently condemned them and later ordered PCG members to shun the members of the other splinter groups?

Malone then insists the hand of God is with Malachi's Message. The following year Flurry would dogmatically proclaim Malachi's Message to be the little book of Revelation 10. That had not yet occurred when this article was written so there is no reference to Malachi's Message as the little book. But the attitude of excessive reverence towards that booklet is clearly expressed by Malone.
Can we read Malachi’s Message and not see God’s hand in it? Can we read Malachi’s Message and not see that it has been inspired by God? Can we totally reject the human instrument that was used in writing this book? Would God have inspired this book to be written by Gerald Flurry and then decide that someone else should be the leader? Who else would God use to lead this last segment of His Work? Why, the one who gave up his livelihood, his job, his pension, and his position in the WCG! He was willing to put it all on the line because God revealed to him what must be done. And Mr. Flurry answered the challenge, regardless of the circumstances.
Actually it is widely known that many of the ideas within Malachi's Message were plagiarized from The Letter to Laodicea by Jules Dervaes, written December 1986-January 1988. It was sent to 237 WCG ministers including Gerald Flurry and John Amos. In fact on September 26, 1990 Jules Dervaes sent a letter to Gerald Flurry in which he denounces Malachi's Message as "a direct and clear plagiarism" of his work. There was no hand of God behind Malachi's Message. It was the hand of Jules Dervaes.
Who is Gerald Flurry? He also is just a man. But he is a man that God, for some reason, decided to reveal certain things to. Mr. Flurry could have turned his back on these things and continued on the easy way, the easy path, the path that leads to destruction. But Mr. Flurry did not. He chose to yield to God and as he has told me in the past, if everyone left and he was there alone, he would still continue to do exactly what he is doing today.
What Malone really means is that Gerald Flurry is his boss and paymaster so he will say what Flurry wants.

Malone ends the article with these words.
No, we probably would not have chosen Mr. Flurry if we had our choice. We probably would have chosen a minister with impressive credentials (Ph.D., Dr., etc.); one gifted in the art of speaking. Also on the other hand we probably wouldn’t have chosen Moses, or David, or Paul. But just as God did choose Moses, David, Paul and many others, this same God has chosen Mr. Flurry to lead the PCG. ... I pray that none of us reject the man God has chosen to lead this end-time Work.
In other words, obey Flurry. Stay in PCG. Keep that tithe money flowing in for Flurry and Malone.

Alas, PCG has since gained a bad reputation for authoritarianism, even restricting members from having contact with members of the other COG groups and ex-members.


  1. Who is Gerald Flurry?

    Gerald Flurry is the drunk who was caught by the Oklahoma Police in a DUI (and resisting arrest) on the Sabbath of September 18, 1993), suggesting that he is an alcoholic (we'd have to have some blood work done to determine if he has inherited the genetics in his DNA). If he'd be willing to refute the allegation, he could just take a simple test and we're sure he could clear that all up.

    Anyway, based on the Scriptural requirement that a minister 'have a good report of those who are without' -- non church members -- Gerald Flurry flunks the sniff test and stinks at being a prophet.

    He has disqualified himself forever for being any sort of minister, although, in the unlikely event he were to repent, he could certainly be baptized and become a Christian.

    As it is, he's just another fraud.