Sunday, March 20, 2022

Reading Mark Mendiola's Article, The Bible: A Book for All Time (2001)

The fourteenth issue of LCG's recruitment magazine, Tomorrow's World (September-October 2001), featured an article by Mark Mendiola of Pocatello, Idaho entitled "The Bible: A Book for All Time." (pp. 16-19.) This was the twelfth of several articles Mendiola would write for this recruitment magazine. Here Mendiola praises the Holy Bible and cites Christians who disagreed with many of Armstrongism's dogmas to praise the Bible but then he says the Bible cannot be understood until one chooses to obey (LCG's interpretation of) God.

Mendiola quotes Queen Victoria, William Gladstone, George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Sir William Herschel and Sir Isaac Newton as persons who revered the Bible. However all of those persons believed things very different from what is taught in the Armstrongite organizations. They all belonged to churches that worshipped on Sunday, a practice Herbert Armstrong and his imitators insist is the mark of the beast of Revelation 13. Newton was alleged to have held dissident religious views. George Washington at times refused to take communion in his Episcopal church. Abraham Lincoln was alleged to believe in universal salvation. The British monarch leads the Church of England. William Gladstone was a member of the Church of England. Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the Reformed Church in America. Since they do not share the views of LCG why did Mendiola cite them in this article? How is this not a lie? Mendiola cites these famous persons to say the Bible is revered and true in a publication designed to get recruits for LCG, an organization that teaches things contrary to what those famous persons actually believed.

He extols the Old Testament and the New Testament and then he quotes a Jewish archaeologist even though Judaism does not view the New Testament as canon.
Dr. Nelson Glueck, a renowned Jewish archaeologist, observed: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to discoveries” (Rivers in the Desert, Glueck, p. 31).
Dr. Glueck was also a rabbi of Reform Judaism. It is reasonable to assume that in the passage above Dr. Glueck was referring to the Hebrew Bible, namely the Old Testament. This is misleading to the readers. Mendiola glides over this flaw in his article and refuses this address the problem of quoting a Jewish rabbi while promoting the New Testament. Was he hoping that his readers would not notice this flaw? The fact that Mendiola did this indicates that this article was directed at people who only have a very superficial knowledge of Judaism.

Mendiola also cites some other persons like Jeffery Sheler and Grant Jeffrey but, again, they belonged to Christian churches which worship on Sunday thus, according to Herbert Armstrong and his imitators, they bear the mark of the beast. Why does Mendiola cite people who worship on Sunday when he belonged to an organization that teaches that worshipping on Sunday is a terrible thing?

He also cites Charles Sellier and Brian Russell but those men did not appear to have been affiliated with any Armstrongite organization. Mendiola cites all these people to praise the Bible but he does so selectively. He chooses to cite certain words of theirs to say the Bible is of religious importance and reliable but, at the time this article was written, he disregarded anything they say contrary to Armstrongism by choosing to be a follower of LCG.

Then after praising the Christian Bible he insists that the Bible cannot be understood unless one chooses to obey (LCG's interpretation of) God.
Amazingly, the Bible even predicts many would not understand it and would consider it cryptic. Most people in the world are drunken with false doctrine and ideas that blur the precious truths contained within its pages. Many consider it sealed. Others think they are not educated enough or must be fluent in Hebrew or Greek to understand it. Even ministers are confused about its teachings....

Jesus Christ said that His disciples would be given the spiritual discernment to understand the hidden truths of the Bible. He told His disciples that He spoke in parables so only they would understand the mysteries of God, and the world at large would not ....

The Living God who inspired the Bible must open our minds to understand it as we show Him a willingness and humility to obey His instructions. ... Obedience to God is the key that will unlock for you the truths of the Bible: a book for all time!
Among the Armstrongite organizations it is taught that one cannot join unless (Armstrongism's interpretation of) God open that person's perception to begin to believe Armstrongism. This explanation is quite useful in explaining away why most people do not convert to Armstrongism after learning about it.

This article seems to be merely a paean to the Holy Bible but it is actually deceptive in citing persons who revered the Bible while being used in a magazine designed to attract recruits into an Armstrongite organization. The people Mendiola cited did not adhere or believe in what was taught by Armstrongites including LCG. It is deceptive to cite these persons and then insist that they are wrong in every stance contrary to Armstrongism.

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. He was credited as helping to produce COG-FF's magazine, The Philadelphia Remnant, as late as 2012.

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