Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reading Mark Mendiola's Article, The Ten Commandments: A Sacred Law for All Nations

The sixth issue of LCG's recruitment magazine, Tomorrow's World (May-June 2000), featured an article by Mark Mendiola entitled "The Ten Commandments: A Sacred Law for All Nations." (pp. 14-18.) This was the sixth of several articles Mendiola would write for this recruitment magazine. Here he makes a political tract condemning the political left and lawyers for requiring publicly funded facilities to not post religious displays, namely the Ten Commandments. One reading this article by itself would have no idea that it is from an organization which teaches things that the vast majority of Christians do not teach.

Let's take a look.
Lawlessness and violence sweeping across the western world have brought the Ten Commandments to the front pages of today’s newspapers. Courts and legislatures contend over public displays of the commandments. Are the Ten Commandments sacred laws for all nations? The Bible’s answer may surprise you.
While the article's title may make the reader think that this is a devotional article it actually reads more as a tract defending attempts to display the Ten Commandments in publicly funded court houses. Instead of a song of praise to God the reader gets a political tract denouncing rulings by federal judges concerning the public display of the Ten Commandments on government property.

Mendiola shrilly claims that the Ten Commandments have been outlawed by federal judges.
Yet, today many want to completely remove the Ten Commandments from public view or consideration—in effect outlawing the greatest, most sacred Law ever given to mankind!
What nonsense. Anyone who wishes to observe the Ten Commandments in the United States is free to do so.
It is ironic and almost unthinkable, but in United States courtrooms American lawyers and judges are hotly debating the legality of displaying the Ten Commandments. This is the very law on which Judeo- Christian principles and civil laws have been based in the western world for hundreds of years. 
And so does this individual  who is not a lawyer or a judge presume to know better than them?

Mendiola proceeds to denounce a Supreme Court ruling in 1980.
... the Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that the Ten Commandments could not be posted in public schools or taught to the nation’s children in public classrooms. In that Stone vs. Graham ruling, the Supreme Court decided that posters of the Ten Commandments displayed in Kentucky schools promoted religion and could not be allowed.
In other words this ruling is the law of the land. We are under no obligation to like this ruling but it is there and has to be adhered to.
Justices on the highest U.S. court also shockingly concluded, "If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments." Apparently, the justices believed this was an undesirable outcome! 
It was about the separation of church and state. There is a debate about whether or not it is appropriate for religious displays to be present in publicly funded buildings considering that some tax payers funding such buildings happen to not share Mendiola's religion. This debate is reflected in the various legal cases concerning this issue and the judicial rulings on this topic. Regardless of how the Supreme Court may rule on this issue if one wishes to observe the Ten Commandments then such a person is free to do so.

Mendiola bewails the legal cases regarding the separation of church and state.
Many state officials also continue to challenge an aggressive attempt on the part of the American Civil Liberties Union and others to remove any display of the Ten Commandments in courthouses or on government property. 
There have been legal clashes in California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah where government officials have defended the right to display the Ten Commandments. In fact, Alabama’s governor in February 1997, threatened to call out state troopers and the National Guard to protect a carved rendition of the Ten Commandments in a judge’s courtroom! 
Mendiola insists that the Ten Commandments will lead to wonderful prosperity for the people of the United States even though he taught elsewhere that the United States is destined to be destroyed.
For the United States or any nation to draw near to the Living God and reap His blessings, the Bible is plain, we must carefully observe His law and commandments and teach them to successive generations. That is how we can obtain wisdom and understanding. 
Mendiola insists that not adhering to his religion is causing all kinds of problems for American society.
By rejecting or breaking God’s Ten Commandments, the United States and other nations are bringing curses on themselves. If the first four commandments that teach respect for God are not kept, the last six also are held in low esteem. The U.S. and other countries are witnessing an outbreak of social problems as a result of violating God’s commandments. It is not well with our nations!
And seventeen years later the United States is as powerful as ever. The possibility of America being conquered by Germans is as distantly remote now as it was back then.

Even though Christianity is the predominant religion of the United States Mendiola bewails that the Ten Commandments are held in contempt.
Yes, God wants our children instructed in His Ten Commandments. Yet, how many young people, let alone adults, can actually recite them at a time when they are held in such contempt?
Mendiola cites various politicians past and present to say that Christian morality is essential to how American society operates. Then he talks about how (LCG's) God expects the Ten Commandments to be taught to children which is freely permitted since the legal argument over publicly displaying the Ten Commandments in court houses is about the separation of church and state. That argument has nothing to do with restricting anyone from observing the Ten Commandments should he or she choose to do so.

One distinguishing feature of LCG and the other Armstrongite organizations is the insistence that the Old Testament laws are to be followed by Christians today.
Ministers who claim Christ did away with the law and that the Ten Commandments are no longer in effect are hard-pressed, however, to explain the Apostle Paul’s plain statements in his epistle to the Romans praising the commandments and God’s law. 
Paul was raised a Jew. Christianity was first taught and adhered to among Jews. Among those early Christians it is reasonable to believe that they continued to adhere to Jewish rituals and practices as part of their culture. But when Christianity began to find an audience outside of the Jewish community the question arose, Must one be a Jew to become a Christian? The church concluded and then taught that it was not necessary to for non-Jews who had converted to become a Jew. Paul strongly taught against this idea as may be seen in Galatians and Acts 15 when they talked about circumcision to become a Jew. Later Jewish religious authorities proclaimed that Christians were not Jews. There is no need for a Christian to keep the Jewish law to be a Christian. HWA was wrong to teach otherwise. Unfortunately Mendiola continued to promote that misunderstanding with this article.

Mendiola cites various figures from the New Testament to praise the Ten Commandments. While mentioning the Apostle John he mentions a fear inducing prophecy of LCG's to insist that terrible times await for his readers.
John describes Satan the devil launching an all-out attack on God’s Church and true saints at this end time.
Armstrongites have continuously insisted since the 1930s that terrible catastrophes will soon occur. And yet the doomsayers of Armstrongism have always been completely wrong. The evidence is clear. The Armstrongite doomsayers are but false prophets. We do not need to fear them.

Mendiola insists that since American society will not adhere to his understanding of the Ten Commandments all sorts of frightful things are happening in the United States.
It is no coincidence that as God’s commandments and law of love are rejected in society, criminal acts of indescribable hatred and violence are breaking out throughout the land.
Mendiola then insists that a new world will soon be established in which the Ten Commandments will be obeyed by everyone and world peace will finally be a reality.
Oh, that there were a heart in all of us that we would read, meditate upon, venerate, obey and keep all of God’s Ten Commandments, that it might be well with us, our children and grandchildren forever! Think of how much different our nations would be if no one broke the commandments against killing, stealing, cursing, lying, coveting or dishonoring our parents or our God. Society would be radically transformed almost beyond comprehension. Then, lawyers, judges and legislators would not need to debate whether the Ten Commandments could be posted in public places or taught to our children.  
Such a wonderful utopia is coming and will be established on earth when Jesus Christ returns as the Great Lawgiver and King of kings in Tomorrow’s World.
HWA and his imitators have always insisted that they had advance knowledge of what will happen to the world. But since the 1930s HWA and his imitators have made so many predictions that simply have not occurred. They clearly cannot see the future. These words cannot be trusted.

And so this political tract comes to an end. Mendiola kept complaining about the Ten Commandments not being allowed to be displayed in publicly funded government buildings such as courthouses following a decision by the Supreme Court in 1980. But regardless of whether the Ten Commandments can be displayed in courthouses or not there is freedom of religion in the United States so Mendiola is free to teach his religion to anyone who is interested. And yet in this article he seems to not notice how much leeway the federal government gives to all religions including his own.

In September 2006 Mendiola left LCG and joined Dave Pack's Restored Church of God. Around 2008 he left RCG and joined Don Billingsley's Church of God-Faithful Flock.

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