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(For the record, AW regards British Israelism in any form as irredeemably fallacious, totally discredited, and intellectually indefensible.)


by Douglas Becker

The Worldwide Church of God was established using analogies

Setting the Premise

Historians are destined to repeat history, as are people who do not learn the lesson of history.

Analogies compare one thing to another to create a picture--a 60,000 foot view, if you will--to clarify a situation with a familiar and "available" comparison which can be recognized immediately by most people; the simile becomes established almost instantly and is often quite persistent: Once the analogy is created in the mind of the reader / listener / viewer, it can be insidiously ensconced so it can never be dislodged.

The Bible is replete with analogies, such as followers as sheep, the Church as a Bride, God The Father, Christ as the Rock; often in the form of parables, such as "The Kingdom is as a mustard seed", the Sower and the seed, the Pearl of Great Price.

Analogy becomes the highest form of Reason and is often unassailable, such as the example of Jesus asked about the Roman Penny: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's".

Analogies often use history to make a situation clear--much more clear than, say, attempting to use Inductive or Deductive Reasoning or performing a statistical analysis replete with mean, mode, medium, Chi-Square and the Standard Deviation.

Analogies are not proof and never can be:  Just because one thing is similar to another does not mean that one thing is exactly the same as the other; and one must be cautious in utilizing unequal comparisons, for when an analogy is wrong, it can be clearly wrong; on the other hand, it can be subtly wrong or even grossly inappropriate, such as comparing Mother Teresa to Hitler: Clear, neat, logical and wrong! [Although some might be just fine with comparing Herbert Armstrong to Hitler--or Stalin, for that matter!]

One faulty premise and you could end up with a fish on a bicycle!

Analogies also assume that the comparisons made are based on that which is well known to the audience, for, analogies can be made until the cows come home but if they are only understood by dairy farmers, they should certainly be culled from the herd and put out to pasture... so to speak.

Analogies can invoke sights, sounds, smells, taste, feelings internally mentally with such rapidity that it can overwhelm reason--suspending it temporarily--in the equivalence of brainwashing: Five hour sermons spring to mind, and in the presence of such a deluge of stimulus, attempting to apply analytical logic during such onslaughts can be like trying to herd cats.

Christianity is based on analogies such as the New Covenant, bread and wine for body and blood, the Lamb of God, New Jerusalem and, for some, expanding to include the Sabbath as a type of the Millennium [although the word is not in Scripture per se] and the Holydays as the Plan of God.

These are all illustrative and not a comprehensive list: The reader is free to let his or her imagination soar like an eagle to come up with other examples.

Analogies, as used here--inappropriately enough--obviously include metaphors, homilies and similes.

The Worldwide Church of God has capitalized on analogies to preach their gospel with the heyday of Herbert Armstrong using all sorts of analogies to make his beliefs available to his audience, backed by such staunch supporters as Gerald Waterhouse who dubbed the cups, saucers and plates of the Millennium as Fine Israel instead of Fine China, and, who--in all opposition to Scripture which says we should honor our world leaders--made outrageous puns as part of his analogous mental picture production [note to self: Always avoid alliteration] in sermons which dubbed Ho Chi Min as Hokey Min and Mao Tse Tung as Mousey Dung.

The Worldwide Church of God was relentless in its use of analogies, including, but not limited to, [ugh!] The Two Trees.

The analogies, once introduced, are so insidious that it may take more than a lifetime to rid oneself of them, sort of like trying to get bamboo shoots out of your lawn [and give a dandelion an inch and it will take a yard!].

They explode in your head like photon torpedoes!

Some of the more obnoxious analogies included Herbert Armstrong as The Apostle, Moses, John the Baptist, one of the Two Witnesses, Malachi, Ezra, Elijah and, before his falling from grace--or rather running headlong from it--Garner Ted Armstrong as one of the Two Witnesses [or as in a sermon or two from Gerald Waterhouse, Joshua with his filthy garments... if only he could keep them on].

The Worldwide Church of God and the Soviet Union

One is tempted to use analogies of one's own to describe what the Worldwide Church of God was like, particularly while attempting to describe its more opprobrious aspects to the uninitiated; so let us be led to temptation and yield to temptation fully to devise the analogy of the Worldwide Church of God being like the Soviet Union.

And if you don't look to closely, there are any number of parallels one could draw which should start exploding in your head like a grenade, right about now.

For one thing, though the timing isn't quite right, one could compare William Miller as the foundation for what the WCG believed from the 1930s onward, just as Karl Marx kicked off the concepts of communism.

Of course, it wasn't until G.G. Rupert came along that most of the doctrines were in place, just as it took Lenin, Trotsky and the Bosheviks to lead the revolution to initiate Soviet Regime in 1917.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the undisputed Strong Arm leader of the USSR from 1929--right around the time that Herbert Armstrong got started--until his death from a brain hemorrhage on March 5, 1953 in Moscow [Moscow, Russia, not Moscow, Idaho] [Joseph Tkach suffered death from a brain hemorrhage caused by cancer September 23, 1995].

During its heyday until its demise in 1991, the USSR was known to its own people for the heavy handed oppressive government with few freedoms, represented by its own flagship publication "Pravda", which means something like "Truth" in Russian--always replete with propaganda, and for those paying attention, the analogies involving the USSR vs WCG are not lost in such details as heavy handed government with few freedoms and the flagship publication, "The Plain Truth".

Critics of both the USSR and the WCG were handled somewhat differently, with the USSR executing critics or putting them in insane asylums and gulags or expatriating them; the WCG either disfellowshipped their member and minister critics, or, as in the case of some ministers, sent them to the equivalent of Siberia; for example, we were shocked that Dennis Luker, a man of consummate talent and ability was slated to be the minister of Quincy, Washington with something like 16 members in the WCG, but, fortunately, he was replaced by Gerald Flurry and my wife was able to hear Gerald Flurry's by now infamous sermon about how "You have NO RIGHTS!"; one could never be certain who had pushed whose hot buttons under the arbitrary governance of either the USSR or the WCG.

None of us witnessing the event on television can forget Kruschev banging the table at the UN with his shoe ["we will bury you!"], and neither can we forget Herbert Armstrong yelling at us at the Feast of Tabernacles for being disloyal.

The USSR was known externally for its cultural contributions such as great musical performers and ballet while its own people lived in relative squalor and poverty; there is no need to go further for those familiar with the AICF.

Leaders in the USSR could claim that the state owned everything and they had nothing for themselves personally--that what they had and used was for the good of the Work, comrade--while they actually lived lives of much greater privilege than their compatriots and met with world leaders; need we say any more than "soup tureen, Steuben Crystal and Marcos"?

Eventually the USSR fell and was broken into smaller nations, and while the flavor is a bit different, the same thing seems to be happening to the WCG.

Yes, once started, an analogy is much like rolling a snowball down a hill and there's a snowball's chance in hell that you can ignore the analogy.

Finally, there are points at which analogies break down:  For example, in the analogy comparing the Soviet Union to the Worldwide Church of God, it would be silly to pursue the analogy that when the Soviet Union finally collapsed, it was taken over by the Russian Mafia.

Dos Vadanya

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Last Updated: Monday, January 17, 2005