Saturday, January 5, 2013

Don't Play with Fire

Bob Thiel in his COGwriter blog has announced the address of the website of the new Continuing Church of God (CCOG) he has started as

Here is a link to his announcement:

Last Friday I posted about why I thought Robert Thiel should not be considered a prophet at this time. To sum up, there are two reasons. I do not think there is sufficient evidence that Dr. Thiel has received any prophetic revelations from God. And I think, even if he did make unusually accurate predictions that turned out to be true, the fact that he includes non-biblical prophecies in his books and blog posts, which I believe is contrary to scripture, most likely disqualifies him.

"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'-which you have not known-'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). If Satan inspires pagan prophecies, he is doing it for a purpose, to deceive men and to do harm, and we should not listen to them or use Satanic or demon inspired prophetic revelations to know details of future events that God does not reveal to us in the Bible, nor should we use pagan prophecies to "back up" or "confirm" or "prove" that God's word is true. We should not open the door to Satan's deceptions.

Not only is it wrong for us to focus on the occult or on non-biblical prophecies, to do so publicly sets a wrong example for the very public we are trying to teach and warn.

Also, we reap what we sow. If we open the door to Satan's deceptive prophecies, if we introduce people to these things which they have not known, might not God allow Satan to directly inspire false visions, dreams, and messages in our minds? And could not God allow Satan to give Bob Thiel false dreams, false visions, false prophetic messages, even messages that are fulfilled, messages that seem to be "signs and wonders", because Dr. Thiel has put demon-inspired pagan prophecies in his books and blogs?

I think Bob Thiel is playing with fire. The only thing that protects him now from receiving false visions and dreams from Satan and his demons, even signs and wonders that come to pass, is God's restraint of Satan.

I am sure Satan would love to use Bob Thiel as a tool to deceive people in the Church of God. I am sure he would love to give him dreams, visions, and messages predicting things that Satan knows will happen, so that when Bob Thiel publishes these messages, and then they come to pass with an accuracy that cannot be explained except by supernatural influence, people will then think of Bob Thiel as a prophet, and he will be confirmed in his own mind and strengthened in his opinion that he is a prophet. Then, once Satan has set him up this way, he will be able to use Dr. Thiel to deceive those in the Church of God who regard him as a prophet, and he can use him to pull people out of any organization that is effectively preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning, which Satan hates.

What is to prevent that?

Do Satan and his demons have that power? Yes they do (1 Kings 22:19-28).

So what is to prevent that?

Only God.

The only defense between Dr. Thiel and Satan's deceptive influence is God.

Yet God lets us reap what we sow. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

God has warned us clearly not to pay attention to pagan prophecies, the occult, and the like. "For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:14). That sounds to me like a command from God, not a suggestion we can ignore.

Look at this verse again, closely. What is it that God has "not appointed" for us? LISTENING to soothsayers and diviners. This includes in principle the pagan, Satan-inspired prophecies that Bob Thiel likes to quote from. God warns us not to listen to the very things that Dr. Thiel publishes and spreads.

And in Deuteronomy 13:1-3, what does God say regarding those who teach we should go after other Gods, which clearly describes some of the pagan prophets Bob Thiel quotes? "You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams" (verse 3). We are not to listen to the words of pagan prophecies.

Now, God does sometimes test his people by allowing Satan and his demons to give signs and wonders and even predict the future to see if his people really love God - Deuteronomy 13:1-3 says so.

In fact, since the whole world is going to be deceived by a beast and false prophet who will work signs and wonders to deceive, isn't it possible that God might first test the Church of God to see if we will follow someone who makes predictions that come to pass, but does not teach according to the Bible? Isn't it possible that God will test the Church first, and then the world? For if we ourselves believe false prophets more than the Bible, what right do we have to be protected in a place of safety from a world deceived by false prophets?

Suppose God intends to use someone that way, to test the Church of God today. Suppose God intends to give Satan permission and power to deceive a well-known person in the Church of God to see who among the brethren pays attention. Who would God give over to Satan for that purpose?

God is merciful and fair, and I do not think he would turn over to Satan someone who is faithful and is obeying God. But if there is a person who is not obeying what the Bible says in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 and who refuses to repent, someone who justifies his disobedience rather than striving to overcome it, someone who already publishes and spreads Satanic-inspired prophecies, introducing people to the prophecies of pagans, which they have not known before they started reading his writings, then the scriptural principle may apply, "what you sow, you shall reap." In other words, if a man spreads what Satan has inspired, God may allow Satan to "inspire" that man!

How dangerous is that?

I think Bob Thiel should be afraid. He is on very dangerous ground here.

If you play with fire, you are likely to be burnt.

One of the controversies Bob Thiel has with the LCG ministry is the understanding of the "falling away" prophecy, does it apply to the Church only or the world too? How ironic if God allows Satan to deceive Bob Thiel with visions or dreams to be Satan's tool in fulfilling this prophecy, in part anyway, for the Church of God. How ironic if Bob Thiel proves that the falling away applies to the Church of God by helping to fulfill it.

Whatever spirit influences inspired the pagan prophecies Dr. Thiel quotes, those influences have a purpose in mind. Satan and his demons did not inspire these prophecies for their own entertainment and recreation. They want to hurt and destroy God's Church and God's work. They inspired those prophecies so those prophecies would be preserved and spread and eventually used for Satan's purposes. And Bob Thiel helps to spread them, especially in the Church of God.

Bob Thiel has been deleting statements in his websites that say that LCG is Philadelphia. He should be more diligent to delete posts that refer to pagan prophecies to make his points. He should pull any of his books which contain pagan prophecies from publication. Then he can write and publish books, if he wants, that teach prophecy from the Bible only.

And just to be clear, I am not criticizing the comparison of pagan prophecies with the Bible to show that those prophecies are wrong. I am not against showing that a certain pagan prophecy that other religions are deceived by must be a false prophecy because it contradicts the Bible. If that was the only way Bob Thiel used these prophecies, to prove them false, I would not have a problem with it. But I don't think that is the case.

In at least one post about Barack Obama for example, Dr. Thiel quotes a Kenyan prophet as saying that the destruction of the United States will come through one of Kenya's own sons (President Obama's father is Kenyan). Dr. Thiel did not quote this to show, from the Bible, that this non-biblical prophecy is wrong. So why did he quote and report it? What is the point? Most readers of Dr. Thiel's blog knew nothing about this. Why should we? Do we need to know this little tidbit of information about the future, which God does not reveal in the Bible, but Satan might have inspired? It is as if Satan says to us, "Come on, listen to me, I have some very juicy and interesting details about the future that I am sure you will love to know that God doesn't tell you in the Bible. Let me fill you in - you're going love this."

What this does is condition Church of God members to think it is all right to read non-biblical prophecies to get some details about future events that the Bible does not give. That is not right. If there is something God wants us to know about the future, He will tell us in the Bible, but we should not go to prophecies inspired by the spirit world, but not of God, to get more details than God gives us.

If this is a prophecy about Barack Obama, what spirit influence inspired it, and why?

I don't know of anyone, any leader or writer, in the whole Church of God who has so publicly and so blatantly exposed himself to the dangers of Satanic and demonic influence by ignoring God's warnings in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 to pay no attention to spirit influences that are not of God, the occult, pagan prophecies, and the like. This is what Dr. Thiel does in my opinion when he publishes pagan prophecies. This is a danger that should not be underestimated or discounted. God does not warn us about these things for nothing.

"God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).


MTCOGSM said...

Hello Author,
My comment is about this;
“I don't know of anyone, any leader or writer, in the whole Church of God who has so publicly and so blatantly exposed himself to the dangers of Satanic and demonic influence by ignoring God's warnings in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 to pay no attention to spirit influences that are not of God, the occult, pagan prophecies, and the like. This is what Dr. Thiel does in my opinion when he publishes pagan prophecies. This is a danger that should not be underestimated or discounted. God does not warn us about these things for nothing.”

HWA and many in the COG have written about the same things and even given quotes from others who practice or support these pagan doctrines. HWA read material of this kind when he was researching for many points of truth. I think you may have a case of “tunnel vision” –you get so wrapped up in your own views of things that you forget the history of many others who have gone before. Even Elijah seemed to have chided the prophets of baal about their belief in false Gods. He knew of those things. John the Baptist warned the people of his day---he obviously knew of their false beliefs and concepts and compared them to truth to expose their flaws. These were all people of another spirit, yet it did not “taint” Elijah, John the Baptist, nor even Jesus Christ because they had dealings with them.

Even false prophets sometimes say things that are right and use truth to deceive. We should be aware of these things without losing sight of the truth and Biblical Revelation

The editor said...

I have read Mr. Armstrong's writings for years and I have never seen anything like the volume of material and emphasis on pagan prophecies in his writing that I have seen in Bob Thiel's writings. As a matter of fact, I cannot remember even one case where Mr. Armstrong quoted a pagan, demon-inspired prophecy to support his points.

I have found no record in the Bible of Elijah, John the Baptist, or Jesus Christ quoting, spreading, or promoting demon-inspired prophecies from pagan or occult sources to make their points.

MTCOGSM said...

Well, I see that you have missed my point entirely, but then again maybe we are not looking at this from the same perspective.
when HWA wrote the plain truth about Christmas did he not delve into where some of those pagan practices came from and why they were believed by so many?
what about the plain truth about easter--don't you find the same thing there? The resurrection was not on sunday--do those not all debunk pagan practices and beliefs?
How did MR. A know about those if he had not looked into them thoroughly?
Editor said...

There is a big difference between what Bob Thiel has done and what Mr. Armstrong and other Church of God writers have done with pagan sources. When Mr. Armstrong wrote about Christmas or Easter being pagan in origin, of course he researched the origins of those days and found they came from pagan sources. He wrote about their pagan sources for the purpose of showing that these days are wrong, that we should not practice them because they come from pagan origins. In other words, he identified and exposed the pagan origins of things for the very purpose of avoiding them.

What Bob Thiel does seems to be the exact opposite. It seems to me he PROMOTES pagan prophecies. He doesn't quote them to show they are wrong and we should avoid them, nor does he quote some of these prophecies to show that practices or customs of this world come from paganism and are wrong so we should avoid them. As far as I can see, he quotes pagan prophecies to know the future. He quotes these prophecies with the apparent implication that they are right, that they correctly, or might correctly, predict the future, so we can know details that the Bible doesn't reveal, or so that these pagan prophecies can help support what we believe will happen in the future.

If that is not the case, why would he refer to non-biblical prophecies that say that the destruction of the United States would come through one of Kenya's own sons (Obama)? Does Bob Thiel believe that non-biblical prophecy or not? Does he expect his readers to believe it? If not, why quote it? What purpose does it serve?

Because of this prophecy, are we supposed to think that President Obama's policies are going to destroy the United States? If not, why quote it? Isn't the information God gives us about the future through the Bible sufficient for us?

Was the Kenyan prophet who made this prophecy inspired by a spirit source? If not, why quote it? But if so, then by whom? And if it is not inspired by God, then who inspired it?

Does Bob Thiel believe prophecies inspired by demons? Does he look to pagan and possibly demon-inspired sources for information about the future? Does he lead his readers to look to pagan prophecies for details about the future that God does not give us through the Bible? Does he teach his readers to listen to demons?

I thought I made the distinction clear in my post, but you may have missed it.

I said in my post, "And just to be clear, I am not criticizing the comparison of pagan prophecies with the Bible to show that those prophecies are wrong. I am not against showing that a certain pagan prophecy that other religions are deceived by must be a false prophecy because it contradicts the Bible. If that was the only way Bob Thiel used these prophecies, to prove them false, I would not have a problem with it. But I don't think that is the case."

So if that wasn't clear, I can add, I am not criticizing the researching of this world's customs to see which ones come from pagan sources so we can avoid them, as Mr. Armstrong has done. I am against promoting and spreading prophecies about the future that come from non-biblical sources, sources which might be demon or Satan inspired, in order to know details about the future from these prophecies, as Bob Thiel seems to be doing.

MTCOGSM said...

Paul said; 1Thes 5:6 “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” Christ said; Mark 13:37 "And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" See also Luke 21:36.
So what are we to be watching for? Would that not include ANY way that God may allow Biblical prophecy to be fulfilled, whether the demons know it are not, seems irrelevant.

So the way I am understanding your perspective is that we are to ignore anything that comes from the spirits of the world. (Rev.12:9) This would mean we cannot contemplate whether the prognosticators of this world may be right about how some things may play out—or even listen to the true servants of Christ when they bring out certain things that could happen, but is not really spelled out in the Bible.
Therefore with that approach, we would also ignore how Satan works in the minds of his agents.
No I do not think I “missed it”—but rather still believe you are missing the point of how alert we are to be in these times that are leading up to the final fulfillment of 2Thess.2! Did Paul NOT say there, that we SHOULD be mindful of what the spirits are saying, but not be taken in by them? Did the apostle John say that we are to test the Spirits; and how can you do that if you never recognize how God can sometimes even inspire unconverted people to say something that is true? Did Balaam, who was a false prophet, not give some true prophecy about Israel—and is that not an example in the Bible of this very thing we are discussing? Really now, what am I missing—or could it be that you may be missing something yourself? Do we not have to examine everything that could affect the outcome of prophetic events? (I do not particularly follow or agree with everything Bob Thiel does or says, but at the same time I am not going to condemn him either, as it seems that is what you are doing. You have spent considerable time trying to paint Bob with a very dark brush and perhaps you are missing something yourself. Maybe this can help you see a little clearer the perspective I have on this issue, and how equally dangerous it might be to take your approach.

Editor said...

It is not necessary to look to pagan prophecies and potentially demon or Satan inspired messages, in violation of scripture, in order to "watch" as Christ told us to watch. It is sufficient to keep up with the major news events, to study our Bibles, and to pray. As a matter of fact, even watching world events is not the primary meaning of "watch". Christ in the garden rebuked his disciples for not "watching" with Him one hour while he prayed, but he was not telling them they should watch TV or get the latest news. Watching means watching our spiritual condition and staying close to God and spiritually alert.

As far as human prognosticators are concerned, certainly it is permitted to consider what they say. That is not prohibited by Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 because these human prognosticators are not claiming any spiritual inspiration but merely voicing their opinions. But Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 directly prohibit going to spirit sources when we know those sources are not of God. Yes, we may test the spirits, but as soon as our "test" reveals they are not of God, we should avoid them. The sources Bob Thiel quotes are known to be sources outside of God's Church following wrong practices and beliefs and are not of God.

Though it may seem I am painting Bob Thiel with a "dark brush" and condemning him, I am not trying to hurt him personally, but I am warning about his actions. I for one think it is possible God MAY use him as a prophet in the future IF he repents of spreading pagan prophecies, which I hope he will do. But if he does not, then I think his publications of pagan prophecies would disqualify him from being a true prophet of God even if he does make some outstanding predictions that come true. I am not condemning him, but I think he is making serious mistakes that are very dangerous for him personally and have the potential to harm God's work and the Church if members are not alert to what Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14 say. And I do not think tithe money sent to Bob Thiel will be very effective in accomplishing the work of preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning as long as Dr. Thiel publishes pagan prophecies because I do not think God will bless the use of those tithes in that case. I think tithes and offerings will be more effective in accomplishing God's work when they are sent to LCG and I do not want to see Dr. Thiel pull tithes and offerings out of LCG.

No doubt Dr. Thiel will reach a few with the gospel message, but dollar for dollar of God's tithe money, I think LCG will be more effective in reaching people with the true gospel and the Ezekiel warning than Bob Thiel.

Editor, I know we have different perspectives on this, and to a degree I can see what you are saying. But I think we need to be selective about what we "watch". "Watching" is not license to knowingly read or listen to sources that claim spirit-inspiration when those sources show by their fruits that they are not submitted to God, that is, they do not believe the doctrines of the Bible and the Church of God.

For example, if a Buddhist or someone who practices witchcraft claims to have had a spirit-inspired dream or vision saying that the United States will be destroyed on such-and-such a date, I would be sinning if I indulged my curiousity by reading that garbage to learn details about the future because I would be violating the spirit of Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:14. But if a Russian politian says, based on his economic studies, that the United States will go bankrupt by such-and-such a date, it would not be wrong for me to read that because it is only his human opinion and he claims no spirit-inspired source for his prediction, and thus it does not violate Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and 18:14.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Thiel is a "prophet" anymore than Herbert Armstrong or Roderick Meredith were! If you delve into the early issues of "The Plain Truth" magazine, for instance, you'll see these self-appointed "prophets" claimed the end of the world would occur in 5, 10 or 15 years even though such was written in the 1950s! And they also claimed that the Great Tribulation would occur in 1972 and Christ would return in 1975! What else could you make of such men who would predict such other than FALSE prophets?! I'm not saying it's wrong to speculate about the future, but these men were dogmatic about their predictions and claimed that they were backed by the authority of God!--when in fact they weren't! Their "prophecies" never came to pass and when it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that they were divining lies in God's name they should've been spurned and avoided at all costs! If they'd been living in Israel during OC times they would've been executed! And that would've saved generations to come from being deceived by these peddlers of God's Word (2 Cor 2:17; 1 Tim 6:5; 2 Pet 2:3)! Even now those within Armstrong's splinters make excuses for his false prophecies saying that his "timing" was wrong that's all! Well I'm sorry, but there was a lot more wrong about him than his "timing"! As the author said, God will not be mocked! said...

If you know of any article written by Mr. Armstrong or Dr. Meredith, or any recorded sermon I can find on the Internet, in which either of these men say, God has appeared to me in a vision, or a dream, and has revealed to me by divine revelation that such-and-such will happen in the next ten years, let me know. If not, your accusation that they are false prophets is without foundation.

Many people are worried about this or that statement made by Mr. Armstrong that is inaccurate, but they should be more worried about their own statements that are inaccurate. People can be very sloppy and careless about the things they say, just as you have been in your comment, yet they demand 100% accuracy from God's leaders.

Mr. Armstong said, don't believe me, believe your Bible, and if you do not know this about him, you know very little. When he taught, he gave his reasons, mostly from the scriptures, and if he said something that he did not prove from the Bible, then it is understood that it was his opinion, which could be mistaken.

Mr. Armstrong never claimed to be a prophet. This fact you ignore when you call him a "self-appointed prophet".

Show me the scripture in the Old Testament that says that those who predict the future, if their prediction does not come to pass, are to be put to death. If you read carefully, you will see that the death penalty in Deuteronomy 13:1-18 only applies to those who try to turn the people to false gods. said...

Mr. Herbert Armstrong and Dr. Roderick Meredith have never been prophets.

But even a true prophet of God can make a mistake when he speaks from his own opinion, apart from a special message from God. David went to Nathan the prophet, one of God's true prophets, about his plan for a temple. Evidently David wanted Nathan's view or he wanted to know God's view that Nathan, as a prophet, would give him. Nathan said, sure, go ahead, build a temple. Not maybe, but definitely yes, do what is in your heart. That is pretty definite. Yet Nathan was wrong. It was not a message from God, but only Nathan's opinion. Evidently Nathan thought he knew God well enough to speak for him without a special message directly from God, but he was wrong, because that night God spoke DIRECTLY to Nathan and corrected him and gave him the message that David was NOT to build the temple (1 Chronicles 17:1-4, 2 Samuel 7:1-17).

When Mr. Armstrong speaks of his own opinion, even if he makes a dogmatic statement about doctrine or about future events, he is like Nathan telling David to go ahead and build the temple. But if Mr. Armstrong was a prophet, God would give him direct messages as he gave to Nathan when he told him that David was not to build the temple. Has God ever given Mr. Armstrong such a direct message about doctrine or prophetic events? No. Therefore Mr. Armstrong was never a prophet. Did Mr. Armstrong ever claim that he received a special message from God by a vision, a dream, a voice, or a face-to-face meeting with God? No. Therefore he never claimed to be a prophet.

What about Nathan? Did God reject him because he spoke incorrectly for God? No, because later God used him as a prophet to rebuke David concerning David's sin in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. And neither should we reject Mr. Armstrong or show disrespect to him or to the office he held because he made human mistakes. Your own comment is full of mistakes - do you want people to reject you because you make mistakes?

The key is to do what Mr. Armstrong said, don't believe him but believe the Bible, don't believe doctrine because he taught it, but check up in the Bible and believe what the Bible says. If he teaches from the Bible, look up every verse as well as other verses you can find, and if the verses support Mr. Armstrong's doctrine, then you know that doctrine is true, but if the Bible shows that Mr. Armstrong's doctrine, on any point, is wrong, then believe the Bible, not Herbert W. Armstrong. No one who follows that process can be deceived by Mr. Armstrong, or anyone else for that matter.

You are wrong to accuse Mr. Armstrong of being a peddler of God's word for financial gain because you cannot read his mind and know his motives. Only God can do that.

I have proven from the Bible that the major doctrines Mr. Armstrong taught are true, but you do wrong when you show needless disrespect any of God's servants.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry author, but I have to respectfully disagree. I do believe the Bible, but I no longer subscribe to Armstrong's theology or worldview. Granted there are some points I agree with, but there are a lot that I don't.

Concerning the prophetic credentials of HWA you stated that Deuteronomy 13:1-18 doesn't prescribe the death penalty for false prophets, but Deuteronomy 18:20-22 does! Basically the instruction is to tolerate a man who prophesies in the name of God--even if he threatens calamity or destruction to the state--until an unfulfilled prediction proves him to be a false prophet. As an example look at how the prophet Jeremiah was treated by the Judahites in relation to that Law (ch. 26). Having publicly foretold the destruction of Jerusalem he was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. His only defense was to tell them that God had indeed sent him to speak as he had and he was willing to die in attestation of the truth of what he affirmed. He warned them, however, that if they did execute him that they'd surely bring innocent blood upon themselves. He didn't do anything wrong according to the Law that merited the death penalty since he spoke in God's name (even though he prophesied calamity). For all they knew he might indeed be a false prophet--in which case he would be worthy of death!--but as yet there was no proof of it. Thus, they dismissed the case and set Jeremiah free.

In the case of Herbert Armstrong, I'm afraid even Bob Thiel noted that HWA taught in a sermon (January 1, 1979 "Proof of a True Prophet"): "...The test of whether a man is a true minister of Jesus Christ, especially if he ever uses prophecy, is this watch and see whether it comes to pass and if it comes to pass you shall can know that that man has been called..."

Well, you only need look at a site such as Did Herbert Armstrong Set Dates? listing a host of his failed prophecies to prove that he was a false prophet! Even his "1975 in Prophecy" was published under the false belief that the Great Tribulation would be triggered in 1972 in which members of WCG would escape to Petra and await the return of Christ in 1975. Of course, when the events outlined didn't start in 1972 as his followers were led to believe HWA was forced to admit: "...I have definitely NOT been called to be a PROPHET...Emphatically I am NOT a prophet, in the sense of one to whom God speaks specially and directly, revealing personally a future event to happen or new truth, or new and special instruction direct from God--separate from, and apart from what is contained in the Bible. And I never have claimed to be...We do not set dates!...Emphatically, if we...appear to set a date, I FEEL I DO NOT NEED TO APOLOGIZE!" (Tomorrow's World, "Personal," February 1972, pp 1, 30, 31). And what proved to many that he wasn't a "prophet"? The fact that his so-called "predictions" didn't come to pass.

Further, it was his wife, Loma, not HWA himself, who had that famous dream that was interpreted (or misinterpreted IMHO) to mean that he was being called into the ministry. If Christ was calling any man to be an apostle or prophet I'm sure He would speak directly to him like He did with Moses (Exodus 3:1-6), Paul (Galatians 1:12) and surely will yet do with His Two Witnesses (Revelation 11). I highly doubt that God would go through an intermediary like the man's wife! said...

You are right about the death penalty in Deuteronomy 18:20-22. I stand corrected. Thank you for that passage.

I started reading the Plain Truth magazine and the Church's booklets in 1968 and I began attending Worldwide Church of God and was baptized in 1982. So I was reading everything that Mr. Armstrong was publishing for the public since 1968 and everything he wrote for the Church from 1982 till his death, plus many sermons in the tape library he gave to the Church from around 1979 forward. Also, the literature offered in the late sixties included books, booklets, and articles with copyright dates from the fifties on.

Yes, I remember the booklet on 1975 in prophecy. I don't remember the details, but I am sure I read it. I might still have it in a box someplace. I remember the front pages of The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy saying something like, "events sure to happen in the next 10 to 15 years...", or something similar. I don't remember the exact number of years, but the copyright of the book was in the 1960s I think, or some date that made the statement turn out not to be true.

But there is a distinction between someone saying that God directly inspired him with a message and voicing an opinion no matter how sure the writer is about his opinion.

I certainly noticed that some of the dates the literature either stated or implied were wrong. But Mr. Armstrong never said that God gave him any message about dates. The literature proved the doctrines from the Bible. Anything not backed up by scriptures was understood to be opinion. That is the way I understood it. So when I saw the front of the the United States in prophecy book said these events were sure to happen in a certain number of years, all I had to do was read the book, look up all the scriptures, and remember that Mr. Armstrong said, don't believe me, believe the Bible. When I did that, I saw that no scripture set any such date, nor did Mr. Armstrong say in the booklet that any scripture set any date. From that, it was easy to see that the statement in the front of the book about x-number of years was just opinion.

I think what Deuteronomy 18:20-22 is talking about is a case where a man claims God appeared to him and/or spoke to him directly giving him a message, but the man is lying, God never gave him a message. That never happened with Mr. Armstrong. He never claimed to receive such a message from God setting dates. Otherwise, why would he say he is not a prophet if he thought or claimed that God was giving him messages? Why would he say, don't believe me, believe your Bible?

I had no trouble understanding from the literature I read what was doctrine from the Bible and what was human opinion. Mr. Armstrong was simply mistaken in his opinions about when things would happen, but he never claimed God gave him prophetic messages about when things would happen.

I suspect that many people who believed these dates and were later offended with Mr. Armstrong when things didn't happen by these dates, and then claimed to be deceived by him, were never checking their Bibles and believing their Bibles in the first place.

As Mr. Armstrong said in the quote you gave, he never claimed, even before 1972, to be a prophet in the sense of one to whom God speaks specially and directly, revealing personally a future event to happen or new truth, or new and special instruction direct from God--separate from, and apart from what is contained in the Bible. Anyone who thought that was jumping to conclusions.

Anonymous said...

author, when you mention, "I had no trouble understanding from the literature I read what was doctrine from the Bible and what was human opinion."

It must be a ymmv thing because I distinctly remember believing the book Mystery of Ages was almost like scripture, when it was released. That one day it might become scripture and I wasn't alone in sharing this line of thought at that time.

That does make me wonder if even the best intentioned pastors know how much influence they can have when some people start hearing the truth.

Looking back and the lesson I come up with is it takes time to grow in truth. Such a thing as learning how to learn doesn't come naturally/instantainously or at the same pace for everyone.

There's more to looking up the scriptures to see if it were so and don't believe me, believe God than first impressions with those ideas would lead someone to believe.

Thing is, playing the victim and blaming Herbert, or Bob for doctrinal woes found within the cogs, isn't going to do anyone good either. Such a thing has the ablity to lead to bitterness, which is somehing Herbert often and seriously advised people to avoid.