Saturday, March 11, 2017

Oh, Mr. Pack...You are so modest!

Superfantabulous Dave, leader of the most incredible Church of God to ever exist in human history, the builder of the most beautiful college campus ever built and the brains behind the best internet site in the entire word, is also the world's most humble and modest man ever to exist.

HIs own words:

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you feed not the flock” (Eze. 34:1-3).
Now that’s a picture of the ministers of this world who live in kings’ palaces. One of the things that pleases me is that person after person who’s seen my house on campus…most never will, but those who’ve seen it say, “Oh, Mr. Pack, it’s modest.” Now, I think it’s a lovely house inside. But it’s one story, and it’s smaller than the one I had…and I’m mentioning something you’ll read this week…I’m paying more rent for a smaller house. I don’t want a big house. I’m not interested in a big house. I’m interested in something that is fitting, but I don’t want a big house. You look at what the ministers of this world live in, and then there’s how many houses do they have? It’s a disgrace. They eat the flock instead of feeding the flock.

Dave Pack: Nothing in the Old South will ever match the slavery in the First Dominion

One more blessing to be a part of the superfantabulous Restored Church of will be benevolent slave masters.

All right…Here’s another one…The Gentiles are going to serve Israel. It’s been reduced to a tiny remnant, remember? That just stops short of looking like Sodom and Gomorrah. And the Gentiles, billions of them, are going to come and serve a tiny fraction of the people that were already only about a twelfth as big as all the Gentiles of the world? That introduces slavery that dwarfsdwarfs—anything the world has ever seen…or servitude—nothing in the old south even begins to rival that in numbers of people who would work for one slave owner. Now, the Israelites are benevolent masters. We’re not getting into the nature of servitude, as the Old Testament teaches Gentiles will do it initially. So how does that work?

Why Do Church Members STILL Insist That Ministers Tell Them What To Do In 2017?

For decades the Worldwide Church of God controlled every aspect of our lives. Booklets, articles, and personal correspondence letters on hundreds of different topics spelled out what we should be doing and what we should not.  Church members were treated like ignorant little kids who were incapable of making decisions on their own.  Ministers told members what color of clothing and what style to wear, what color of cars to buy, what kind of jobs were permissible, what kind of foods to eat, the importance of carob and honey, when to make reservations for the Feast, what schools and colleges church youth could attend, and much much more.

I remember many times my mother would write countless questions for the minister to answer at Bible Study.  These ministers determined how we lived, what we ate and how we "worshipped."  While some of these men were telling us what to do they were wife swapping, committing adultery, stealing tithe money for their own use and more.

Here is a person in 2017 who is still expecting church ministers to tell him what to do.  This person is also upset that Herbert Armstrong did not articulate more on the subject of what was "approved" medicine.  Even if he had gone into great detail there were two standards for the use of medicine in the church.  Herbert Armstrong's use and what members were told to do.  Two opposite extremes.

Now then, there is one major area that I certainly WISH that Mr. Armstrong would have covered in some detail.  That is the role that health and this world's traditional Medical profession should play (if any) in the life of a truly converted Christian.  And it is not like this topic is of minor importance in our lives.  Virtually EVERYBODY will get sick or contract a major disease at some point in their lives. 
Frankly, that's what happened to me.  And since the time I came into the Church in 1969 at age 19, I never wanted anything to do Doctors, Hospitals, their procedures, or chemical medications.  I, like I believe we were encouraged to do, sincerely wanted GOD and JESUS CHRIST to be my doctors.  I wanted to always rely on GOD for healing - if by reason of ignorance, weakness, or even foolishness - I found myself in the situation of serious illness and in need of healing.  But I never remember Mr. Armstrong addressing various detailed topics of health and the medical profession and its procedures in any detailed way. 
What I mean by that is, for example:
    - How should we deal with high cholesterol issues?  Should we be tested for it?  Should we be taking prescribed medications to control it?
    - How should we deal with diabetes?  Should we be tested for it?  Should we be taking medications for it?
    - How should we deal with high blood pressure?  Should we be tested for it?  Should we take prescribed medications for it?
    - Should we screened for various cancers?  If something shows up, should we medically do anything about it?
    - and on and on.....

I was told by a minister who was in the medical profession and close to Mr. Armstrong, that he (Mr. Armstrong) DID go to doctors.  He had a doctor attending to him near the end of his life.  I asked the man, "Well what about Mrs. Loma Armstrong?.  I understand that she could have undergone a fairly simple procedure to clear her intestinal blockage, but it was refused.".  He responded to me that Mrs. Armstrong was not quite on the same page as her husband when it came to doctors, medications, and procedures.  She was more hard and fast against all that, whereas Mr. Armstrong was not.  It almost sounded like had it been up to Mr. Armstrong, he might have opted to have the doctors clear the blockage.
Well, I thought to myself, "Isn't that great!".  Here in a critical area of life where very serious consequences are at stake for our well-being, our futures, and our families, there is possibly major differences of opinion amongst our "first family", our ministry, and perhaps the entire membership!  So how is it?  This way or that?  Yea or nay?  Do we sometimes make use of them for more than just the proverbial "setting of broken bones" or what?!?  THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!
I mean, Mr. Armstrong spent hundreds and hundreds of sermons giving essentially the exact same message concerning the "Two Trees".  Not to say that that message was not very important.  I still listen to his many reiterations of that message to this day.  But wouldn't it have been nice to have had a little instruction on some of these other topics from time to time (say even once a year), and dealt with in such a way so that there would have been no mistaking his stand on the issues?
I loved Mr. Armstrong, and still do.  And I have the highest respect for him and his instruction and ministry.  That's why I wish there were some of these other areas he would have paid some attention to in terms of giving us desperately needed guidance.  I mean, he could have prepared us for the eventuality we find ourselves in right now in 2016-2017, where there are an abundance of false ministers and false prophets, each tugging away at us to put ourselves under them.  He could have foreseen what we might have had to go through in terms of being on our own, without brethren in a formal congregation and instructed us about it.  He could have explored the possibilities of what we might have to do if time went on after he died, even if time went on for more than 30 YEARS after he died.  There's just SO MUCH that could have been said in so many critically important areas, that might have significantly helped us to successfully navigate the rest of our lives.
Here is the main reason this person is asking these questions.  He bought into the idiotic teaching gotta church members were too stupid to make right decisions and to think on their own.  Thirty years after Herb's death and people are still brainwashed.
We brethren are all, to one degree or other, in one area of life or other, imperfect - that is lacking knowledge, being weak, or just plain being foolish.  It's not a matter of being "rebellious".  We should never be rebellious in any area.  But being ignorant, weak, or even foolish, is just being human.  Honestly, I don't want to be ANY of those things, not even human.  But alas we are human.  And as a result, it would have been nice to have been instructed in these, and perhaps many other CRITICALLY IMPORTANT areas of life so that we could have been more prepared for our futures in this life in 2016-2017, and ultimately in the Kingdom of God. 

Truly, can people be this immature and needy?  This is sick.  Totally sick!

The Bridge to Eden

There have been many authors over the years who have written books about their life in Armstrongism and what it has done to them spiritually.  Some have left their faith behind and others have went into new spiritual directions.

Now there is a new slant.

A COG member has written a book of fiction that incorporates the teachings of Armstrongism into the story line.

I can see this making the best seller list!  Feast present!!!!!!!

The Bridge to Eden: The Arduous Passage From This Age of Chaos to the Next Age of Perfection

Today's chaotic and uncertain world sends us a message of desperation as we see the basic institutions of society-the family, religion, education, government, and business-under attack from all sides. In the face of such cultural carnage, we need a message of hope to shine through these dark clouds surrounding our homes and loved ones, a message that annihilates the aura of confusion that the Adversary casts over the face of humanity. We need the Truth revealed in the Word of God concerning the wonderful world prophesied to come. That Truth sits patiently within God's Word for all who have eyes to see. The message revealed is as amazing as it is conflicting with the prophecies of modern science, technology, digital wizardry, and robotics. It is a message of how this world will be transformed from pain and desperation in the face of burgeoning population growth and food shortages, terrorism from religious fanatics, totalitarian governments, and fractured families to one of peace, love, order, and prosperity beyond our wildest dreams, where families thrive and find true joy in daily living...where people finally learn to live as the Creator intended without Satan around to tempt and deceive.The bridge to that new world is being built so you and I can cross over and enjoy it for a thousand years. It is designed by the Creator, and He wants you to walk across and enjoy it because He loves you, and wants the very best for you. It is a return to the Eden of Genesis. It is as sure to come as the sun rises each morning in the east. Let's read this book and discover the nature of that new world coming so we can wake up each morning to the incredible hope God has placed before us!" 

He is also the author of some more books:

"The Three Edens"
This is not a book for the fainthearted. It is a thrilling adventure story that carries the reader through the entire pageant of history, from the farthest reaches of antiquity to the utmost limits of prophecy, complemented by supporting secular knowledge, focusing on the awesome plan God has put into motion. Throughout this anthology, the chosen people of promise are brought into sharp relief against the unceasing tactics of Satan to derail the plan, and bring an end to history’s climax: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind, and the resurrection of the saints to bring new government – the renewed Eden on earth.
In the process of this thriller there are shown to be not one, not two, but three Edenic periods on earth! Follow the chapters of this book and its thorough documentation into an exciting and new experience that will tantalize and inspire you to the higher thoughts of the Almighty.
Paul W. Syltie was raised on a crop and dairy farm in western Minnesota, and attended universities in the Upper Midwest, obtaining a Ph.D. in Soil Fertility in 1980. He married his high school sweetheart Sandy, and they are the parents of six children and nine grandchildren. Dr. Syltie is a farmer, writer, and instructor in natural agricultural methods who travels worldwide to help farmers improve their health and productivity by returning the soil to its God-intended vitality. 

Pathways to Joy in Marriage:Live This Way and Happiness Will Pursue You!
"We live in an age of broken marriages, broken homes, and broken lives, brought on by an adversary whose wavelength permeates this society and teaches us that a person is free to do whatever he wishes. Do what feels good, and fear not the consequences! 
My wife and I have proven that a married couple and their children do not need to follow this course. In fact, it is much, much easier not to, because the fruits are infinitely better if you do not ... and we all like good fruit! God ordained it that way, because He invented marriage and family.  
For 45 years my wife and I have witnessed the fruits of striving after God's perfect plan for married couples as outlined in His word. True, Sandy and I were brought up as hard-working farm kids totally dedicate to each other — that helped to get a good start — but in today's world, as in any age, the pulls of the flesh and of this fallen age can easily derail a family if they take their eyes off the goal. That goal is to love God, and to love your neighbor as yourself ... starting within your own home! 
We have proven that in spite of society and families disintegrating all around us, you can have a wonderfully fulfilling marriage, and as a major part of that rear a loving and joyous family. Look through the pages of the photo albums especially, and see snatches of the good times we had — and still do have — while growing up together. (Parents grow up too, and their kids teach them a lot!) 
Do not follow the road most traveled. Read this book, live God's way, and be amazed that happiness will indeed pursue you!"

Israel Finkelstein told me: " We Exaggerate."


The Short answer is “no.” The whole subject of the Exodus is embarrassing to archaeologists. The Exodus is so fundamental to us and our Jewish sources that it is embarrassing that there is no evidence outside of the Bible to support it. So we prefer not to talk about it, and hate to be asked about it.

For the account in the Torah is the basis of our people’s creation, it is the basis of our existence and it is the basis of our important Passover festival and the whole Haggada that we recite on the first evening of this festival of freedom. So that makes archaeologists reluctant to have to tell our brethren and ourselves that there is nothing in Egyptian records to support it. Nothing on the slavery of the Israelites, nothing on the plagues that persuaded Pharaoh to let them go, nothing on the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, nothing.
Nothing at all. There are three Pharaohs who said they got rid of the hated foreigners, but nothing to say who the foreigners were, and no Pharaoh is named as having persecuted foreign slaves or suffered unspeakable plagues.

However, there is another way of looking at it, another way of seeking support for this fundamental experience of our peoplehood.

We do not look for evidence from the biblical text, but we can look to it for the general context of a sojourn in, and an exodus from, Egypt, and there are three major elements.

The first is that the Israelites were slave workers in mudbrick. They had to manufacture the material and they were semi-skilled workers in laying the bricks. As there were thousands of Israelites, what projects were they working on? The pyramids and the temples were in stone, the mudbrick houses of the peasants were built by themselves, so what project needed hundreds of workers in mudbrick? Secondly, when the Israelites escaped, it was during a period of turmoil brought on by the magical plagues, a period when the Egyptians were off their guard and keen to see the slaves go as they wished into the desert.

When could that have been? And thirdly, the Israelites escaped into the desert and there built a most luxurious portable shrine to their God, to accompany them through their long desert trek and to house the Deity that would lead them and protect them on the way. It was to be made of fabulous materials, in hardwood and colored cloth with gold and copper trimmings, as described in detail in 16 chapters of the Torah.

How could all that have been manufactured and assembled in the arid Sinai wilderness? We should then ask, is there any period in Egyptian history when the conditions for these three elements could have come together and thus formed a basis for the context and account of the Exodus? And the answer here is “yes” – there was one such period.

It was around the death of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten, the one who decreed that all worship should be directed to the single god Aten, the disc of the sun, and all other gods should be downgraded to secondary rank. To impose his new religious order, Akhenaten closed the old cultic centers of Saqqara and Luxor, closed the temples there, disowned their priests and founded a new city, Akhetaten, called the Horizon of the Aten, on a prime site well away from the old centers.

TO IMPOSE the new rule, the city had to be built quickly, and it went up in the incredibly short time of two years, being built throughout in mudbrick, except for the temple and palace, which were in traditional stone.

How could it have been built so quickly? It was said to have employed thousands of slaves working under military taskmasters. It was the largest mudbrick project in Egyptian history and it required thousands of bricklayers and millions of bricks. It employed the army to supervise the slave workers and force them to work as fast as the Pharaoh demanded.

The new city was at El Amarna, on the east bank of the Nile, where there was plenty of soft mud for the bricks but little straw.

Thanks to slave labor, Akhenaten’s model city was built in record time, but it did not last long. After only 16 years, Akhenaten died, his reforms had been deeply unpopular and when he died, his new religion was abandoned, and so was his city. Akhenaten and his beautiful wife Nefertiti had had no son, only six daughters, and so it was one of the sons-inlaw who succeeded him: Tutankhamun, the famous boy king Tut.

He had the onerous task of restoring the old order, the old religion, the old gods and their priests, and he was under threat if he did not do so. The restitution stele says that the old gods would punish him if they were not given back their old rights and positions.

Hapi, the androgynous god of the Nile, would make its waters undrinkable; Kermit, the goddess of fertility, would release her frogspawn to swarm over the land; Osiris, the god of corn, would not prevent the locusts from consuming his cereals, and Ra, the sun god, would refuse to shine. Sound familiar? The laws of succession had already been altered, there was no firstborn son to succeed Akhenaten, only a daughter and son-in-law.

As the new city was abandoned, there was breakdown in law and order and the Israelite slaves saw their chance to escape. Like the other departing inhabitants they took with them any treasure they could lay their hands on. They “despoiled the Egyptians” (Exodus 12:36) and marched off with precious materials and above all the battle shrine of Tutankhamun.

Every Pharaoh had a portable battle shrine, to go with him into war, so he could consult the deity and look to it for guidance on the field. Tutankhamun did not go to war, as far as we know, but he had to be ready and he had a war chariot, as one was figured on his furniture, so he would have had a battle shrine as well, but none was found among the luxurious treasures of his tomb when it was uncovered by Howard Carter in 1922.

Where then was his battle shrine ? It had been taken away by the Israelites.

And what was its form? We can assume that it was similar to that of Ramesses the Great, whose battle shrine is depicted on the walls of his temple at Abu Simbel. It was a two-chamber movable building set in a large courtyard; the inner chamber was square and contained the ark of a deity protected by two winged birds, and the outer room was twice as large, for the worshipping priests.

That of Tutankhamun was taken by the fleeing Israelites and converted by artisans Bezalel and Oholiab, as instructed by Moses, to become the portable Mishkan or Tabernacle, that accompanied them through the wilderness and landed up at Shiloh, in Canaan. Thus it was made of the finest material, as was everything else that Tutankhamun left behind, including furniture with carrying poles and a golden chest surrounded by cherubim. Sound familiar? THUS, AT the death of Akhenaten we have a situation in Egypt where the three major conditions of the Israelite account of the Exodus came together; the building of a vast mudbrick project; a period of unrest and turmoil when slaves could escape; and the foundation of the Mishkan in the shape of a luxury battle shrine. The date of the death of Akhenaten is placed at about 1330 BCE, and Tutankhamun came to the throne the same year. Was that then the date of the Exodus? Dating is a tricky subject and it is difficult to see how the Hebrew Bible can give us exact dates, for how were they counted in antiquity? But the Bible gives us two hard dates. One is that the Children of Israel were in Egypt for exactly 430 years, from entry to Exodus (Exodus 12:40). If the Exodus was 1330 BCE, the entry would have been in 1760 CE. That of course is too early for Jacob and his 12 sons, and the rabbis themselves have rejected that period of 430 years and reduced it to 210 years in the Passover Haggada, to relate it more logically to the four generations from Jacob to Levi, to Kehot, to Amram, to Moses. But it works with the idea that the Israelites came to Egypt with the semitic Hyksos, as proposed by Josephus Flavius, the early Jewish historian, and that event is placed by scholars at around 1750 BCE.

The other “fixed” biblical date is that the Solomonic Temple was built 480 years after the Exodus (I Kings 6:1). That is a nominal date as the author will have counted 12 generations and multiplied them by the biblical reckoning of 40 years per generation. But that figure is too high, as a generation, for even in biblical times it was more like 30 years. If we then say 12 generations make up 360 years, then 360 years after 1330 is 970 BCE. The Temple is dated by most scholars to around 950 BCE, so 970 BCE is not a bad fit.

Evidence or not for the Exodus? Evidence there is none, but we can see that there was one period in Egyptian history when such an event could have taken place, one period when the three major conditions suggested by the biblical account came together and could have given it plausibility. And that would make Akhenaten the Pharaoh of the Oppression and young Tutankhamun the Pharaoh of the Exodus. And the date? That would be around 1330 BCE.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Living Church of God: Forgiveness vs Bitterness It's YOUR problem, not their's

Doug Winnail's "sabbath" message this week is about forgiveness.  The person who sent this to me said this was a way of silencing members into never critiquing the LCG leadership and the church.  If you dare critique or question the leaders or the church then you have a bad attitude because you have never forgiven them for any wrongs they have committed.  You are filled with bitterness which means you have allowed Satan to have control of you.  When you have negative emotions and memories they are directly tied into "personal pride."  Remember, REAL Christians forgive (them) though they rarely ever forgive you.  You, on the other hand, are disfellowshipped and marked.

The Power of Forgiveness

One important key for working together in harmony with others is the willingness and the ability to forgive someone for real or perceived words or actions that hurt us—and that is exactly what Christians must learn to do. The Scriptures tell us that we have all sinned, but that we can be forgiven because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who died for our sins (Romans 3:23-26; John 3:16). However, Jesus also taught that we must be ready and willing to forgive others who offend us—or God will not forgive us(Matthew 6:12-15). Forgiving others involves: not holding grudges or harboring bitterness against others, not seeking to get even, and not gossiping or saying negative or derogatory things about others who have made mistakes or hurt us in some way. This is not always easy, especially when memories, emotions and personal pride are involved, but that is what we are admonished to do if we want to be real Christians—because real Christians have learned to forgive. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that makes working together in harmony with others possible, productive and enjoyable!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail

Dr. Germano: Living University is now a recognized University...but STILL unaccredited

From Dr. Germano

To: Living University Students and Friends 
Greetings everyone, 
Late yesterday afternoon, we were informed that on March 3, 2017, the University Of North Carolina Board of Governors authorized Living University to offer an online associate of arts degree (A.A.) and baccalaureate degree minors in business and communications. We plan to implement these programs this fall semester. These programs are in addition to the University’s authorization as a religious-exempt institution to offer Associate of Theology and Bachelor of Theology degree programs.
This is indeed very good news. In regard to our application, the UNCA staff report to the Board of Governors concludes: “Upon review of the Team of Examiners’ report, and Living University’s response to the recommendations and suggestions of that report, the UNC General Administration staff finds that recommendations have been satisfactorily addressed, and recommends that Living University be licensed to offer the degree programs requested. An appropriate review will be performed within two calendar years of the initiation of the licensed degree programs, by UNC GA, to ascertain the institution’s compliance with the Rules and Standards, including the recommendations contained in the report.”
Living University is now a recognized University. The examiners and the UNCA staff placed a lot of confidence in us and we intend to continue to function with integrity and in good faith and fair dealing with you and everyone whom we serve.
Thank you for your continued support and all you do to help our collective pursuit of achieving excellence in godly education in service to God and His people. Your continued prayers bring about more than we can even fathom.
Warm regards,
Living University

The Dilemma of God as Healer

From The Progressive Redneck Preacher blog.   The author is a former WCG minister.

As I reflect on the Psalmist’s words, fleshing out who this “Great I AM” is revealed to Moses in Exodus 3-4, I find myself stumbling a bit over this description of Yahweh, whose name is usually translated “The LORD”, but which I render “the Living One” here as an allusion to God’s explanation that Yahweh is the I Am in opposition to gods that are not.  This Living One or One Who is “heals all our diseases”.

I remember as a young boy in the Church of God movement in which I was blessed as a baby and raised, hearing a lot about healing.  Though this particular Church of God movement was not the Pentecostal movement called Church of God, but instead a Church of God group that was a spin-off of the Seventh Day Adventists, boy did they believe in healing.   I was told coming up how daddy and momma tried real hard to become parents to no avail.  And how they went finally, in an act of desperation and faith, came to the preacher at the Church of God and he (yes, these churches only had preachers who were “he’s”: no women preachers since Jesus wasn’t a woman, after all) took healing oil, anointed momma like it says to be anointed in the book of James, and “bam!” next thing we knew my big brother was on the way.   And then, one after another, each of the rest of us four children came into the world.  Growing up with that story of anointing and healing inspired me, especially with a name liked “Micah” taken from the story of the Bible prophet, to see my life as having begun with great purpose.  To see myself, like the Psalmist in Psalm 139, as knit together even in my mother’s womb with potential to be one who, together with God, helped the world become more beautiful and whole. 

Yet I also remember growing up hearing a counter-story.   Each of us, when we got sick, in turn, had the preachers of the church come, take that book of James healing oil and smear it on our foreheads, praying for God’s healing presence to be known.   So many stories were told of how it brought healing and comfort to us.  Daddy told us too, though, how one of us had oil placed on their head, when dealing with meningitis.   Like a snap of the fingers, that meningitis went away.  Yet, years later, this dear little one developed childhood diabetes.  And all the anointing and praying in the world wouldn’t take it away.  Daddy agonized over that.  How could God be healer, if God touched us in so many healing ways through their faith and the preacher’s hands, yet also didn’t heal something as serious as diabetes?

Later, other conditions of all types struck our family and each of us in turn struggled over how to understand God as the Living One “who heals our diseases”.

Read the entire story here:

The Dilemma of God as Healer in a World of Illness, Pain, and Disability