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« Afternoon Musings | Main | Ugh-ly »

March 13, 2005

Comments

Jason

I noticed the same thing when watching a bit of FOX News' coverage of this tonight. All they really said was that the group thought Christ's return would be soon, and then they started matter-of-factly calling them a cult. One of the problems with TV news and most newspaper articles: little to no context.

DLE

I haven't seen from this post anything to support the accusation of this church being a cult. You and I know that it probably is, but nothing has been set forth here to make that presumption. Are other readers just going to take your word for it without proof?

If they have a focus on the end-times, you can argue that thousands of orthodox Christian churches routinely talk about end-times matters fairly often.

They meet on Saturday. That doesn't make them a cult, either.

They don't allow divorce. Good for them.

They're a splinter from the Worldwide Church of God. Well, not all splinters may be cults. Armstrong's son has tried to take that church in a more orthodox direction, for instance. Don't know that they are entirely there, but this post doesn't make that clear, either.

They rent rather than own their building. Truthfully, that may actually be wise, but it doesn't make them a cult.

They support a renewed apostleship. Name a charismatic church that doesn't support a renewed apostleship. Are all charismatic churches cults?

They want to put out an end-times call to all Jews and their descendants. Isn't that the mission of Jews for Jesus, too? Are they a cult?

They support Anglo-Israelism. Yeah, that's weird and could put them in cult territory, but I know some orthodox churches that preach some wacky things, too.


The real question here is if they have a cultic Christology (which has not been mentioned), a perverted sense of the Trinity (no mention of that, either), or any of the standard measures for assessing a cult.

To accuse the MSM of being soft on this while this post itself provides little detail is disingenuous.

If you want to call the church a cult, then let us see exactly why it is such. I don't see that in your arguments.

(And no, I have no affiliation with any Armstrong-based church, so this isn't shilling.)

carolyn

The Living Church of God is indeed a cult and one of the more sinister and controlling ones out there. I should know, I was a graduate of their old Ambassador College - well instructed in their doctrines.

They believe they are the only true church.
They dismiss the Trinity as a pagan concept.
They lower Jesus Christ to less than his father and do not openly worship him. (No songs in their hymn books praise Jesus - their childrens lessons had no mention of Christ in them, etc.
They are extremely controlling and you are threatened with being cast into the lake of fire if you ever turn your back on the church.
If you opening disagree or question any doctrine y ou are labelled as rebellious.
The church is riddled with sexual stuff.
Just look anywhere on the web and you will see some easily backed up statements about Dr. R Meredith (his doctorate is bogus), and his mentor Herbert W. Armstrong.

Good luck. This church is not evangelical or born again. They openly snear at people who say they are born again so would not like that label at all.

DLE

Carolyn,

Well, there you go! Thanks for the info. I think this helps everyone.

Blessings!

kathleen schear

I agree entirely with Carolyn as a former member of the Worldwide Church of God (1974 to 1995) that the splinter offshoots of it are for the most part cults. To add to her facts of the church prior to its repentance, my husband was a Social Worker and subsequently a substance abuse counselor..this profession was viewed with high suspicion. Psychologists and counselors were viewed as competitors to the mind-control that went on in that church. Members were so subject to the authority within they would consult the ministry on every detail of their lives, from what type of car or washing machine to buy on up the ladder as to whom to marry, whether to move or take a different job.
Anyone outside the membership was considered lost and a pagan. We were to become as like God and rule with Christ during the Milennium (1000 year reign of Christ on earth). We were to become as priests.
We did not celebrate any of the mainstream holidays...they all had pagan roots.
It is absolutely a miracle that occurred within the Worldwide Church of God under Joseph Tkach Sr, and continuing with his son Joseph Tkach Jr. For the church to come to understand the New Covenant teachings of the New Testament. That with the coming of Jesus Christ that the laws of the Old Testament were done away with and a new law was written on our hearts.
These splinter groups are a result of not accepting these marvelous revelations...that indeed there are Christians in other churches, but the question remained are there Christians within the Worldwide Church of God. I hope my perspective can be of some help. I still struggle at times from former teachings of the Worldwide Church of God....beware of these splinter groups!

Ray King

The churches of God are accused across the board of being "cults". Is that supposed to be something for which we are to be ashamed ? Are we to slink away because you call us a name of which you are yourselves ignorant ? People, if you just go to the standard definition of "cult" shown in Websters, tabulate the attributes and start listing mainstream denominations, every religion in the world will qualify as a cult, even your mother's. Are the Catholics and the Pope a cult ? Absolutely- the largest. Is Islam a cult ? Absolutely. The Baptists ? Yes. Episcopalians ? Yes. Were the disciples of Jesus Christ a cult ? Of course. So is the church of God a cult. I should hope so.
The ad hominum attack is the first sign of a failed debate. The real issues are tossed aside in an attack on the person. Typical of gutter politics. OOps, there I go, doing it myself. So you may disagree with what we teach. Do you really know what we teach and why ? Is it biblically sound ? Do you really know what your own church teaches and why ? Is it biblically sound ? Those are the real issues upon which we will all stand of fall.

Jennifer

I just returned from four years of living in France. Did you realize that in France, all Protestant religions are considered cults (Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, etc.) Didn't we fight the Revolutionary War so that we could have the freedom to worship as we please? I know several members of the Living Church of God and have been very impressed with their giving, compassionate attitudes. Their families value education. My friends have college degrees as do their children. They are involved in their communities and schools. They are very patriotic people despite the fact that they are conscientious objectors. I did not recognize the description of the members of the Living Church of God in your postings by former Worldwide Church of God members. Do they have a chip on their shoulders? I thought Christians were to be forgiving and love one another -- especially in the wake of this shooting tragedy. This Terry Ratzman sounded like a sick man...you are blaming a church that tries to help those seeking God for his individual action?

listentonoman

I was raised as a child in the Worldwide Church of God. So you dont want to call it a cult? Then call it a harmful, destructive organization run by con men for their own personal self satisfaction and gain. I would never subject my children to what I had to do and listen to as a child in that organization. You can pick out all the goodies you think you can find to make them sound like a normal group and I can tell you about the years I endured as a child believing I had no future and the people I loved would most likely be tortured as non-believers.

Beowulf

Well, we knew the LCG apologists would make themselves heard eventually, didn't we? Yes, we fought a war for religious freedom, that is the freedom from Government interference, not freedom from criticism by other citizens.

I too am a former member of the WCG, but I have to admit, I never saw half of the "mind control" stuff that other members talk about. I attended in large cities in Texas and, for the most part, the ministry seemed to be genuinely concerned and caring individuals. Of course there were some ridiculous rules, but so are there in the Catholic or Baptist churches. This is NOT to say I DON'T believe that the WCG Splinter groups (or the former WCG itself) are cults, in fact they probably meet that definition.

What I find most interesting is that very few ex-WCG'ers have taken the path that my wife and I have, which is to leave religion, Christianity, and Deism behind. I can thank the WCG for helping me to understand that neither Heaven nor Hell await us in the "afterlife". How easy it was to make the next logical step that there is no God or Devil either!

So I thank the WCG for putting me (and others, I'm sure) on the true path of enlightenment where one is responsible for one's own actions and accepts the results. Where one is not "tested", or "punished" or "rewarded" by some capricious etherial being but can see, through Critical Thinking, a clear cause and effect in their lives.

John

I was a member or the worldwide church of God.
The URL is a website that I found about one mans experience with the worldwide church of God. I agree 100% with the information. I was born into the church and stop going at age 20.

http://www.herbertwarmstrong.com/gycg/tomorrow_never_came.htm

Paul

I am not a member, but I have attended the Living Church of God. I think none of you, especially ex-Worldwide members, are in a position to judge the group or its members. They read the Bible and give it the credit it is due... unlike many groups that now seek to pervert and undermine God's word at every possible chance. Yes, they may have things wrong. Yes, they may be extreme about some things. But this does not warrant the kind of accusations leveled at them because, unfortunately, they were victims of a tragedy. Shall we subject methodists to the same scrutiny because churchgoers were attacked by a man with a samurai sword?

Goddyss

Here's my opinion.

My parents are in LCG. It is, indeed a cult, and much like the WCG of old that I was raised in (69-95). From my own experience, child abuse was sanctioned (and encouraged); women were subjugated; people were isolated and told not to associate with others in "the world" - even their own families; people were discouraged from getting needed medical attention; people were discouraged from getting any kind of psychological attention (to instead, bring it to the ministers, who were completely unqualified to provide this kind of care). I know of a woman who was beaten by her husband, and when she told the ministry about it, they told her to be more submissive!

This cult is mind controlling, oppressive, abusive, and destructive. My entire family has imploded because of this cult. It's sick.

Meredith in particular, who I met years ago, is a creepy, creepy guy. Disgusting. While he lives well, my family lives below the poverty level (ironically, they don't want to call me, but they'll let me buy them groceries). And my family tithes to his cult, so that he can continue in the life to which he has become accustomed. There is so much that people don't know. I hope that Paul (above) can get out before their mind control fully takes hold.

Cult? Indeed. Do I judge the members? No. Did this shooting surprise me? No.

The cult and its offshoots are a breeding grounds for depression and violence. If you're in the cult, get out now, and get some help to deal with the isolation.

And if they ever stake out your house, the way they staked out mine on at least one occasion, do yourself a favor. Call the cops.

Stentor

Re: statement above about Living COG: "preached that Anglo-Americans were Jews, descendants of the lost 'ten tribes of Israel.'"

FYI: a very common mistake. The Northern Ten Tribes of the House of Israel split from the Southern tribes of the House of Judah. The Jews are descended from Judah, who was one of twelve sons of Israel. A couple others of the tribes joined with the tribe of Judah when the tribes split up just after the death of King Solomon.

This is all in the Bible and is clear if one reads it. You have assumed your statement was worded correct. Trust me: I was with these people, the group that preceeded Living Church of God, for 30 years. We NEVER referred to the English or Americans as Jews; nor did we ever refer to the Northern ten tribes as Jews. The descendants of the non-Jewish tribes are Israelites, but not Jews.

Think of it this way: all citizens of Pennsylvania are Americans, but most Americans are not Pennsylvanians. All Jews are Israelites (descendants of the Patriarch Israel) but not all Israelites are Jews -- they descended from others of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Hope that helps.

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