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Covering developments and advocating accountability in the Worldwide Church of God and related groups
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Issue 40 - July 2003


31 July CHRISTIAN FREEDOM DEAD IN WINNIPEG.  Mail: Shred the program, hugely helpful

The official acceptance of orthodox Christian doctrine coupled with the WCG’s ministry’s affirmations of being Christ centered should have led to stabilization if not growth but it didn’t. Why?

Surely, a more gracious and Christ centered church should have generated results opposite to what we have been witnessing over these past 9 years.

Rather than leading people to Christ we see massive numbers of people turned off of God... They look at the unloving conduct of a ministry that inflicts actions that cause emotional abuse upon its long time members and wonder where is God in this?

Regardless of their intention they have allowed the central doctrine of Armstrongism’s absolute and unaccountable Pastor General as God’s voice on earth to stand. It’s corrupting influence is cancerous to them and the WCG. Armstrong’s doctrine must be destroyed.

How often did we listen to the WCG slander against those who saw Christ in Christmas? Will we now listen to slander against those who see Jesus in the festivals?

The church is the people. It is not just Pasadena. It is not just Dr. Tkach. It is not just Pastor Alan Redmond.

Winnipeg - a former minister comments: The following response to the Winnipeg situation comes from a former WCG minister, and was first posted on JLF. It has been edited for length.

The report from Winnipeg is tragic but not unexpected. I am an ex-lay pastor who was removed from the WCG ministry in my area because of my refusal to participate in this kind of process. I attend regularly (Sunday) at an evangelical mainstream church where I now serve in several leadership roles.

The totalitarian nature of the WCG indicates that Alan Redmond felt he had the support if not the encouragement from his superiors to force this change in Winnipeg, Canada. If the Canadian WCG administration really believes that congregations have the Christian freedom to choose their worship then Gary Moore the national director for Canada would reverse this decision and reprimand Alan Redmond for acting in such a manner.

Pastor Redmond’s action of phoning members instead of doing a congregational survey makes his decision especially suspect. It gives the appearance that he knew the congregation as a whole would reject a move to Sunday. He was aware that the previous year’s survey was overwhelmingly 87% in favor of Saturday. Therefore he did his own secret poll which he says showed that 71% supported his decision.

If his results are valid then there is nothing to fear from holding an open survey subject to public scrutiny. After all what does it matter if the Sunday move is delayed a few weeks in order for the congregation to discuss and decide in a manner similar to last year. Such a process would give confidence in the subsequent decision.

Surely his phone poll’s 71% in support of the move is an accurate reflection of the congregation’s will. If it isn’t accurate than surely a survey is even more necessary to avoid alienating 87% of the congregation assuming that last years results are still a valid representation.

In examining the WCG it can be difficult to focus on what has gone so drastically wrong after the “historic doctrinal changes”. The official acceptance of orthodox Christian doctrine coupled with the WCG’s ministry’s affirmations of being Christ centered should have led to stabilization if not growth but it didn’t. Why?

After all the WCG that attracted me in the early 70’s was a loving community in which I found people who really cared for each other. They loved God with all of their being so much so that they endured decades of abuse and doctrinal changes. Surely, a more gracious and Christ centered church should have generated results opposite to what we have been witnessing over these past 9 years.

Pastor General Tkach would like to blame the doctrinal changes and no doubt Alan Redmond will do the same as his church continues to accelerate its spiral downward. Personally I find that this excuse after 9 years is wearing quite thin especially since it was never true in the first place other than for the 30,000 lost to UCG, GCG and PCG.

In 1998, the Pastor General announced that 40,000 had left and gone no where. Given the continued exodus since that time that 40,000 is no doubt much, much higher perhaps as high as 60,000 by this time. The Pastor General told the EMNR Board in 1998, that these people refuse to attend any Christian church. So rather than leading people to Christ we see massive numbers of people turned off of God... They look at the unloving conduct of a ministry that inflicts actions that cause emotional abuse upon its long time members and wonder where is God in this?

Consider the children who broke into tears after witnessing their father or mother’s tears as reported from Winnipeg. How will these children remember their church experience? ...

I find two faults at work in the continued destruction of these little ones in Christ.

The first is that of the Pastor General and his administration for allowing personal baggage to drag them into this sin against the Lord. Regardless of their intention they have allowed the central doctrine of Armstrongism’s absolute and unaccountable Pastor General as God’s voice on earth to stand. It’s corrupting influence is cancerous to them and the WCG. Armstrong’s doctrine must be destroyed.

Second, I find fault with the people of every rank and especially the members of the WCG. How can people come before the Lord of love singing praise choruses and putting on dramas about God’s love & grace while Jesus is marked for elimination from their fellowship because He looks Jewish.

How often under Armstrong did we watch WCG ministers expel those who stood up for the truth? How often did we listen to the WCG slander against those who saw Christ in Christmas? Will we now listen to slander against those who see Jesus in the festivals?

You know that these people who are upset and crying in your fellowship have always believed that Jesus is the head of the church, they accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior at baptism. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit and they are crying in our fellowship and we do nothing but sing and even worse allow others to berate them.

The church is the people. It is not just Pasadena. It is not just Dr. Tkach. It is not just Pastor Alan Redmond.


Get with the program! I would like to comment about the posting about the change in the Winnipeg WCG congregation. I agree with the fact that the vote could have been done more "Above-Board", but the question still remains, "Why are you still in WCG?"... really guys, how many years does it take for us to get with the program? 

MD: Get with what program? Who wrote the program? Who voted for the program? If the program is Christian freedom, then Redmond is the one who seems to have lost the plot. Read today's item from a former lay minister. 

Here's how "get with the program" is interpreted in one WCG congregation which is also making the Sunday transition: "the leadership of this congregation (who are in agreement) who are aware they will lose some, but possibly gain others, think this move to Sunday will be a test to show who desires to live under grace, and who is just hung up on a day." (from a posting on JLF)

Arrogant, sickeningly judgmental, theologically naive, and worthy of the narrowest Pharisee. One legalism is replaced by another more insidious legalism, while the hired cheerleaders pretend that they're really advocating freedom, grace and homemade apple pie. Bizarre! "Get with the program"? Shred the program! 

The carrot juice didn't work: Just had a look at your website. It was hugely helpful to me. A little odd for me to leave it until 30 years of age to analyze the beliefs that I was brought up holding implicitly, but there you go! Reading your material has helped to make sense of a lot of the odd material that I was exposed to as a child. Also  the ferocious, callous attempts of church members to extract money from my father when he was dying of cancer (he, of course, refused conventional medical treatment, and sadly the carrot juice didn't work). Anyhow, thought you should know that you've helped one more person and it's appreciated. Best wishes.



Goose-stepping in Winnipeg? The railroaded changes in WCG come at personal cost and trauma to many people. This letter, currently appearing on some discussion boards, illustrates the level of betrayal many people feel. It has been slightly edited.

Alan Redmond

On Sabbath, July 12, 2003, it was announced that the Winnipeg congregation of the WCG would cease to meet on Saturday and would begin Sunday observance as of August 3, 2003.

There is no way that I could describe to you, either by letter or in person, what it was like to attend services that day.  However, with some of you having recently gone through this yourself, I'm sure you have some idea of what it was like.  When we arrived and I saw the title of the sermon, "On the Threshold of a New Beginning" I took my children aside and warned them that it would probably include an announcement about Sunday services.  Even so, when Mr. Redmond actually came out with it, it was as if we were totally unprepared.  It was shocking to hear it.  My children burst into tears, as did I. ... Some in the congregation burst into applause.

It was not only the fact of the announcement that was disturbing, but the way in which it was resented.  Taking his lead from Mr. Tkach, especially from the article of the July WN ("Peace at any Price?") Mr. Redmond went on to address those of us who did not agree with the change.  To categorize his attitude as disdainful would be mild!  As a concession to those of us not in agreement, he stated that he would temporarily continue with a Sabbath service until we could come to an understanding about the change and then rejoin the congregation on Sunday.  But he made it clear that this was temporary, and that he was not especially happy about it.

After services a meeting was held in which any questions about the whole issue could be asked of the pastor.  This was a very difficult meeting to be at, and just reviewing it in my mind brings tears once again.  From long-time members to some of our more youthful ones, one person after another spoke, many of them teary-eyed, their voices choked with emotion--some of them breaking down completely. You could not listen to these expressions of hurt and pain without being moved, except, it seems, our pastor, who was cool and emotionless and did not even address the distress that this decision was causing.

One of the more notable things about the meeting was the fact that many felt betrayed by their pastor.  Just the week before he had given a sermon on the article by Mr. Tkach, "Peace at any Price?" having copied and distributed it to the congregation.  He pointed out that  we, the Winnipeg WCG should be thinking about moving ahead in the direction that Mr. Tkach talked about and asked us to "think about" things in the week to come.

Then, after Mr. Redmond spent the week phoning the members and supposedly polling them on whether they would be ready to move to Sunday services, it was announced as a done deal!  He presented the fact" that 71% of the congregation supported the change.  This was in contrast to the vote taken by the congregation a year previous in which 87% supported continued Sabbath services.  At that time, the vote was done publicly, everyone signing their name (as to their preference) for all to see!  (No one told me that a tally was being taken as I spoke to the pastor the day he called me--I now realize that others were equally unaware.)

Sadly, one of the more disturbing aspects of the meeting was the attitude of some of those who wanted to go with the change. Hostility was expressed towards "you people" who wanted Sabbath services.  The reasons used by them, and the pastor, was that we had had 9 years to get with it, and it was time to move on.  The pastor did nothing to curb the these expressions.  I suppose this is an example of the "love not law" that now reigns in the new, improved WCG!

Previously, I have read about and heard first-hand descriptions of other WCG congregations moving to Sunday worship.  I would have to say, however, nothing hits you as hard as when this all hits home in YOUR OWN congregation...

With one of the largest, if not THE largest congregations in this country going to Sunday, the dominos are sure to fall.  Presently 25% of Canadian churches have Sunday services (45% in the US.)  It is a significant event in the history of the WCG Canada.

Ambassador College Down Under: The following item is adapted from a posting on JLF.

Well, you've probably all read about that new fangled 'degree certificate' thing "the new Ambassador College of Christian Ministry" put out in the last WN. They want the members to sign up for 12 times $150 for this 'degree'. Now before you all run out and sign up, a couple of things you should know.

The program comes from the Australian HQ. But, it has not taken off here. It has however, provided John McLean and his ex Bricket Wood mates a nice, cushy job whilst the Australian WCG slowly goes down 'the gurgler'. Also, it has been a wonderful excuse for jet-setting junkets around Australia and NZ to show the gullible members how "exciting" and "excellent" the course is. Trouble is, even thought the guilt trip is heavily applied to the members, not many have actually signed up for it. Bible colleges are a dime a dozen here, and there are many which provide much better quality and greater recognition. The 'teachers' are only regurgitating current WCG theology ... It'll make the old 'Ambassador College' degree look like a Harvard degree!

Sorry Scott, but "we told you so...": Scott Ashley and the lads at the GN were reluctant to believe otherwise, but, here's the latest on the "James Ossuary".

Jerusalem, July 22—(AP) Police have arrested an Israeli antiquities dealer suspected of creating two forgeries that shook the religious and archaeological world, including a burial box purported to be that of Jesus's brother James.

Odad Golan also is suspected in connection with a shoebox-sized tablet inscribed with forged instructions for caring for the Jewish Temple. Golan appeared in a Jerusalem court Tuesday, one day after police arrested him at his home in Tel Aviv on suspicion of forging and dealing in fake antiquities.

In court, police unveiled forgery equipment they said was found in Golan's home, including stencils, stones and partially completed forgeries. The dealer was being detained by police.

Golan last year told a French collector about the two disputed artifacts, which raised questions from the start. After exhaustive studies, the Israel Antiquities Authority declared that they were forgeries last month.

The burial box, or ossuary, bore the inscription, "James, the brother of Jesus," leading to speculation that it referred to the brother of Jesus of Nazareth. The inscription was deemed a fake, but the artifact had been valued at $1 million to $2 million based on the claimed link with Jesus. The "Joash inscription" tablet, because of its wording, was purported to offer rare physical evidence backing up the biblical narrative.

Uzi Dahari, a member of the committee that studied the "James ossuary," called the inscription "a contamination of the archaeological science. "It's breaking my heart to see such things," he said.

Despite the findings, Golan insisted that the artifacts were authentic. He was unavailable for comment Tuesday because he was in police custody.


MD Art History class: (1) On the NY Times bestseller list is a book titled The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown.  It’s an excellent whodunit, full of cops and robbers, monks and priests, code breakers and symbologists, and secret societies protecting ancient secrets.  Dennis Diehl’s assertion that Mary Magdalene is pictured in Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is right out of the book – a book that does a great job of combining fact and fiction...  


(2) Re Jared Olar's comment on the Leonardo "Last Supper" painting, I'm currently nearly at the end of Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code, which is bringing the idea of the Magdalene in this painting to a whole new audience. Anyone who has read any so-called "alternative history" books will recognize most of the novel's content from Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln's The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, and more recently from Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince's books. I know Lynn and Clive quite well, and they know that I'm very critical of their work, including Lynn's latest, Mary Magdalene -- and all the other alternative history speculations (Graham Hancock, Knight & Lomas, Andrews & Schellenberger, Laurence Gardner, etc etc) -- for their selective use of "facts" and their incredibly dodgy logic.

Having said that, I think that there might be more about the Mary Magdalene story than we've been led to believe in conventional Christianity. I also wouldn't dismiss out of hand the suggestion (by no means new) that Jesus might have been married -- it was expected of every adult Jewish man of the time, and especially rabbis. Although obviously you can't argue from absence of evidence, the alternative historians point out quite reasonably that if he wasn't married, that would have been worthy of comment and explanation in the Gospels.

Whatever, The Da Vinci Code is a rollicking good read as a thriller -- but don't rely on it for factual accuracy! I quickly gave up noting down all its historically incorrect statements about the Knights Templar, the Prieurie de Sion, the Inquisition, etc.

By the way, I should point out to Dennis Diehl that the oft-quoted figure, which he repeats, of  nine million executions of mostly female "witches" by the Inquisition, is another myth. Most recent historical studies put the total number at 40-50,000 -- and 20-25 per cent of these were men. See Robin Briggs' excellent Witches & Neighbors (HarperCollins 1996).

Incidentally, The New Jerusalem by Adrian Gilbert (another alternative historian, and a really nice guy despite his crazy ideas) is currently being promoted on various British-Israelite websites. Can't think why. It's speculative, it's full of historical errors, it has dozens of leaps of logic...


All that glitters... I was a student at A.C. in the late 70's and worked with Harold Remain on the landscaping crew. He had gone to A.C. in the 60's and was one of the few in his class that was not in the ministry (a fact that he pointed out many times). He inherited an apartment building in the Pasadena area, sold this building and bought gold options at  700.00 to 800.00 per ounce. He would give daily proclamations on the fact that gold was going to five to ten thousand dollars per ounce.  And that knowing prophecy gave him the edge in investing.

Well I guess we know why he is not a financial adviser! Lets see if he can do any better with world events.

Norman Z

28 July STEALING JOSEPH'S BIRTHRIGHT, ROD 'N RAY, PIKE COUNTY PETE, HERB LIT ON OFFER.  Mail: Rod's resurrection, money indicator, tithes, Reiman reactions, Saintly halos.

Herb's favorite book: There's no doubt that End Time Apostle Herb thought highly of J. H. Allen's Judah's Scepter and Joseph's Birthright. He loved it so much he copied large swathes of it under his own name! Douglas Becker has tracked down the mighty 1902 tome online. You'll find a link on the book page (scroll down to the bottom).

Believe it or Not! "There are no two ministers on the face of the earth closer than Dr. Meredith and myself!"  (Raymond McNair, 1994)

"Hello, my name is Richard - and I'd like to speak for you": Okay, so what comes in British, "Old Southern" and "cartoon Martian" varieties? Need another clue? Whose alter ego is "Pike County Pete"? Yes folks, it's occasional MD correspondent (see today's mailbag) and JLF regular Richard Burkard. We had no idea Richard was such a multi-talented fellow until hearing his audio sampler, which can be downloaded at Richard, a UCG member, is a media man with a rare sense of humor. In all those sonorous voice impressions however, we didn't notice an "evangelist" impersonation, but undoubtedly Richard has the full measure of that genre, and is just being modest. The real test, of course, is whether he can do a New Zealand accent! We might mention that MD poet-laureate Seamus has also been blessed with the "gift of tongues", and has an impressive catalog of convincing vocal characterizations - absolutely none of them politically correct. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) it seems unlikely we'll convince him to record them for Internet broadcast.

Richard has also recently completed a new article on his "wwwcg" site called The Faith Equation, and he'll be going into a recording studio this coming Friday to work on a CD of songs.

Don Tiger back online: Not a man to give up easily, Don Tiger's site is again back online. Don has fought a long campaign to make old-time WCG literature freely available. A note on the main page states:

This web site has been out of commission due to the actions of those who are opposed to the free distribution of the complete and unedited works of Herbert W. Armstrong.


McNair and Meredith: Amazing! "I pray that he and his wife will be guided by God overall, and I hope that they will learn whatever lesson God wants them to learn and that they can be in the first resurrection along with the rest of us. I think that is the way to pray--not to pray against them, but for them. I think God will work that out.'" (Meredith) Even though one might hold the same beliefs as Rod Meredith, simply leaving his organization puts one in danger of not making it in the First Resurrection! 

Paul Ray

Blessings for the tither? In his comments about Norm Edwards, Bob Thiel implies that those who tithe will not have financial difficulties. If that is true, then why did Herbert Armstrong have them? His financial difficulties were supposedly so severe that he sent out an endless stream of letters for over five decades desperately appealing for funds to bail him out. Was Herbert Armstrong being cursed for not tithing? Quotes about Herbert Armstrong and his money problems can be seen at

Karen Ray

Harold is Elijah III: (1) Wow!!  ...  I guess since he doesn't recognize the medical profession, he isn't taking anti-psychotic medication.

(2) Saturday Night Live was never better!


(3) Oh dear, where do we start with Harold Reiman? 

"The true church's first great sin was going to doctors instead of God. Doctors caused the church to fall away." I do hope this self-proclaimed prophet never quotes the gospel of the physician named Luke. 

"And all the sheep followed, even the scattered ones. I'm the only one who didn't. THE ONLY ONE!" Could he be the only one remaining because.... (pregnant pause for punchline) the rest are all DEAD?!? 

I don't want to get into a shouting match inside this "Reiman Auditorium" (a little Nashville humor there) -- but methinks this man needs help. From the God of LOVE. 

Richard Burkard

Effete Saint: I did want to thank Mr. Diehl for the big laugh I got from his claim that Da Vinci's famous fresco of the Last Supper has a woman in it. I strongly recommend he brush up on his art history (pardon the pun).  The actual title of the fresco is, if I recall correctly, "Lord, is it I?" -- in any event, the moment depicted is the disciples' reaction to Jesus' words, "One of you will betray Me." That feminine-looking character at Jesus' right is no woman at all -- it's St. John the Divine, the disciple whom Jesus loved, who reclined on His breast at the Last Supper.  The "feminine" features are actually an illusion -- it's actually nothing more that St. John being shown with long hair and youthful features (he was traditionally the youngest of the Twelve).  Notice that St. John is leaning over toward another disciple -- that's St. Peter, whispering in St. John's ear, asking him to ask Jesus which of them was the traitor.

Jared Olar

MD: Hmm...


Whither goest Raymond? From Bob Thiel's site: I received the following this morning, "Last Sabbath, before giving his sermon, Mr. Meredith made the following announcement: 'I am very sorry to announce that Mr. Raymond McNair, whom some of you know, just wrote us that he is leaving our fellowship and I think he is trying to go into some other organization or start something himself from what he indicated in his letter to me. You remember, he turned away from us in the split back in 1998. So, this is the second time around in that sense, and we are very sorry that he has chosen to do this. I pray for him--I sincerely do. I have already prayed for him several times. I pray that he and his wife will be guided by God overall, and I hope that they will learn whatever lesson God wants them to learn and that they can be in the first resurrection along with the rest of us. I think that is the way to pray--not to pray against them, but for them. I think God will work that out.'"

A most uncharacteristically gracious announcement. We await McNair's next move with interest.

Norman Edwards ponders his options: Try launching a free print publication, and then keep it going for 8 long years. Postage and printing costs alone can drain financial resources rapidly. Even John Trechak's Ambassador Report had a hard time staying afloat; a feat achieved, it seems, by sheer, dogged determination and personal sacrifice. 

Servants' News is an independent COG journal published by Norman Edwards. While it's doctrinally conservative, it has also carried some significant articles and provided a critical perspective on Herbert W. Armstrong and the hierarchical organizations that continue to dominate the COG scene. Now, it appears, Edwards is considering pulling the plug. The woes of SN make the lead article in the latest issue. Edwards appears over-committed to a variety of projects, and under-resourced. While there are some pro-COG periodicals that the world could probably do without, SN would certainly be missed.

New column: Dennis Diehl returns with commentary on the question of homosexuality and the Bible. Please note, this column is the last contribution on that subject we'll be publishing for the present.

Harold warns the world by Dateline Pasadena: We have another 'prophet' in the world!  Fast on the tails of Herb, Meredith, Flurry, et al., Harold Reiman, a fired ex-WCG employee is now the end time Elijah.  (This must be giving Neville Stevens - that 'other' prophet - a run for his money!)

Check out a few of his choice morsels of----dare I say 'wisdom'?

"While I wait for the prophet, I will write a best-giver. The truth. Free. On my page. You will get it as I write it."

"Elijah and John the Baptist (Elijah II) never wrote a book. But if any hearts are turned back to God by this book, then I will be Elijah III."

"Let's not beat around the bush. Whoever does God's will is my bother (Matt.12:50). Nobody on earth is doing God's will. Nobody is my brother. If you're not for me, you're against me. You are my enemy."

"So you will need to cover your ass. But you will need to do more than that. For those of you who see that the USA is going down, you should see that fighting for America is a lost cause. The only winning battle on earth today is your personal fight to save yourself. And there's only one page on the net that can help you until the Prophet, Elijah III, comes. Mine."

"The true church's first great sin was going to doctors instead of God. Doctors caused the church to fall away. And all the sheep followed, even the scattered ones. I'm the only one who didn't. THE ONLY ONE! And that's where your strength should lie"

(Imagine that!  Doctors destroyed the Churches of God!!!!!!!!!!  I guess it was not the corruption of Herb and the ministry.)

"Course you can neglect your calling and go through the Tribulation as a slave for 3 1/2 years if you aren't killed in the war or by famine and disease. The famine will be so bad that parents will eating their own children and children will be eating their parents." 

(Where are the meat hooks?)

"God will spank his children one more time."

(Could it be???????  It sounds like Harold and Meredith are spank buddies!)

"Everything is on the net. Mr. Armstrong's booklets, my correction of the healing doctrine and now this book. I'm here to answer any questions you may have, immediately." 

(Oh goodie!)

"There is no need for us to apologize to blacks. To continue to do so will only give those beggars more opportunity."

"You see abolition as the evil. Who told abolitionists that slavery was evil? Not God."

"Slavery was a blessing. Imperialism for England was a blessing. The President has it all wrong. But then, he's going down with the ship unless he joins us here on the plantation. "


"God created everything. He knows what's bad for you." 

(So God created 'bad' food?  A perfect, immutable God created something that was bad?)

"Silly vegetarians." 

(Well, that pretty much dumps Adam and Eve while in the garden eating vegetarian in the trash heap!)

"Watch out for chocolate, bread and many other foods.  The French and Chinese like to mix in a lot of unclean stuff with their dishes. Be careful in their restaurants. Look out for lard at Mexican restaurants" 

(All this talk about Chinese food, ham and Mexican food--damn! I think I will head out and get some Tangerine Shrimp, some carnita's and a Honey Baked ham sandwich! YUM YUM!) 


WCG spurns perpetual income: I noticed that Anne (JLF) picked up a little tidbit from the latest Worldwide News.  It seems that WCG has finally admitted that the church would only be making money off the sale of the land. This brings up something that was posted on MD over a year and half ago.

If WCG was TRULY being responsible and had the best interest out for the longevity of the church then they would be LEASING the land to the developers. By holding the lease rights to the property they would have a guaranteed income for future generations.

Instead, from the final sale monies they will pay out huge sums to the real-estate agents for their fees.

Another chunk will be paid out to all of Bernie's staff as LARGE bonuses for completing the deal (similar to what they paid out after the Big Sandy sale)

Another chunk will be consumed by 40-50% of it going into the retirement fund.

Another chunk will go to pay out the severance packages of over 40 employees that they intend to terminate.

Then another chunk will go into the leasing of a new  building.

Another chunk will be used to fly church leaders around the country to set up the new Church Model and to hold conferences to teach the members how blessed they will be by God for sticking it out.

Another chunk will be dumped into the sinking Plain Truth Ministries because members are NOT renewing the magazine in the quantity that they had hoped.

Another chunk will go out to those employees left when they will receive cost of living increases, bonuses and raises which have been sorely lacking for many years.

As you can see the funds will be eaten away piecemeal over several months/years.  Then as contributions drop as the church goes totally to Sunday, they will dig further into the reserves.

Imagine what the church could be doing if it held lease rights to the property.  Real Estate agents in Pasadena are still shocked that WCG is not leasing the land.  Every single building on Lake Street and most in Old Town are on leased land.  Perpetual income for the land owners.  One lady who owns several parcels of land on Lake Street and in Old Town said she and her descendants for SEVERAL generations will be set for life financially. Can WCG say the same?


Raymond McNair leaves LCG: Dateline Pasadena chalked up another "scoop" yesterday with his report of Raymond McNair's separation from the Living Church of God. Within hours of the story appearing on MD (see below), Bob Thiel's COGwriter site carried this item.

I have learned that Dr. Meredith announced that Raymond McNair has decided to leave our fellowship. Although this does not come as a shock, I was saddened and disappointed to learn this last night. The change in Raymond's decision must have came relatively recently as he stated in August that he would sell his house and move to Charlotte. He was the only LCG employee who planned on moving who was 'unable' to sell his San Diego area home--but as of a couple of months ago, it was my understanding that he still hoped to sell it and relocate to Charlotte.

DP offers this additional comment:

The area McNair lives in is one of the most desirable in Southern CA.  Homes sell quickly there... Life [for McNair in recent times] has been one long string of humiliations.  Especially when [he and his wife] had to go crawling on their knees in front of Meredith 'with trembling lips' confessing that they had sinned against Lord Rod.  Then once their sins had been forgiven by Meredith, he curtailed [McNair's] speaking schedule which never allowed him to gain the respect back that he once had.

Will McNair adopt a low post-LCG profile on the COG scene, attach himself to another splinter group, or attempt to launch a new niche-ministry?

Letter to Star Times: REALITIES FOR WCG

The Ambassador College Project is about money.

This urban village project continues because the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) wants money. The Pasadena City Council wants money and the new developer for WCG wants money.

The solution is straight forward. Give WCG money. The solution is not to build homes for rich people. One doesn't need an environmental impact statement to know what 1,400 dwellings will do to the Pasadena

WCG needs to understand that they will not see money for several years. WCG should really think about a fair market price today. If not, the project will turn into another South Pasadena versus Long Beach (710) Freeway stalemate*. WCG should also realize that folks are living longer these days, so the term "over my dead body" will last longer.

William Cleary

*The 710 freeway extension stops directly behind the Ambassador Property in Pasadena. South Pasadena has refused to allow the State of California to continue the freeway extension through their city. This fight has been going on for over 35 years. It is expected to go on for at least another 20 years. They agree that even if approval was to be given by the courts it would take 15-20 years to buy out all the home owners, condemn properties, tear them down and dig out the hundreds of millions of tons of dirt to place the freeway below ground level. Dateline Pasadena.


McNair rumored to have split from Spanky: The buzz doing the rounds in Pasadena, reports Dateline Pasadena, is that Raymond McNair has separated from the Living Church of God. McNair was formerly associated with Meredith's earlier schismatic group, the Global Church of God, till Spanky decided he wasn't getting enough respect from the church's board and took most of the tithe-payers with him into a new, more compliant sect, the LCG. McNair remained (briefly) with Global, but then "repented" and joined Living, leaving the Global church to disintegrate. The largest Global remnant later merged with UCG.

McNair, for all his many faults, is remembered by some New Zealand WCG members as the best Regional Director they ever had. Even his harshest critics, including the late David Robinson, found him a humane individual with a genuine interest in the welfare of others; a sharp contrast to the reputation earned by Meredith.  Are the rumors of McNair's departure from LCG true? We sincerely hope so. Bob Thiel presumably knows, but his website hasn't been updated since July 15. 

Dwight flight: Officially, the biggest headache the LCG is admitting to is... hymnals. Here's what Meredith wrote recently:

Messrs. Bryce, Ames and our entire Executive Team here at Headquarters—backed by the Council of Elders in our recent meetings—desire that all of us make a change in the Sabbath song services. From now on, in order to lessen confusion and to have complete unity in our approach to hymn singing, please instruct the song leaders and all the brethren on this upcoming Sabbath that we will be announcing page numbers only from the blue hymnals which we obtained from the Worldwide Church of God. Most of our churches are already using this hymnal exclusively, and we have certainly been patient and taken a lot of time to think it over and to be sure that everyone understands our motivation. Remember, the majority of the hymns included in this hymnal were personally approved by Herbert W. Armstrong. We have already designated some of the hymns as those "not to be sung" because of incorrect wording. But most are helpful and Christian. However, I would ask all of you to continue to be sure that Dwight Armstrong’s hymns are the majority of those hymns sung in most church services. And be sure that the song leaders review the list of 43 unacceptable hymns and never have the congregations sing these hymns. 

Ambassador campus picketed: Also from Dateline Pasadena:

Today, WCG was picketed by protesters claiming unfair business practices by Shea Properties.  Shea is the potential developer for the Ambassador site. They claim Shea has poor insurance and benefits for its employees and that it hires non union and sub-standard contractors to do it's jobs.  Many WCG employees feel that this is just the start of increasing negative publicity concerning the development of the Ambassador property.

Rhetorical Questions: An age old COG strategy pioneered by Herb himself is the use of a rhetorical question in titles of articles and booklets. The latest Good News follows the formula faithfully.

Article Title Intended Answer Actual Answer
Does Bible Prophecy Matter? Yes, meaning our version of course. No, meaning their version of course.
Can You Believe Bible Prophecy? Yes. Does the term "cry wolf" mean anything here?
America and Britain's Global Reach - Prophesied in the Bible? Yes. No.
Is France Dying? Maybe. Is the UCG dying?
Was Noah's Flood Universal? Yes. No. 
Noah's Ark: Was It Possible? Yes. No.
Was There Enough Water? Yes. No.
God Values Everyone - Do We? Probably not, but we should. Probably not, but we should.
Virginity: Is It Worth It? Yes, if you're an unmarried teen Viagra: Is It Worth It?
Want to Learn More? Yes. You call this learning?


Flower Pot Pentecostals: Just thought you might like to know about a couple of experiences I've had with CRI and charismatic church services.

We attended an Easter Sunrise Service on an aircraft carrier a few years ago not realizing how nutty it would be...  During one of the songs, the lead singer mentioned how she'd been praying that morning and the Lord had "shown her that she was a flower pot." What Scripture she could have been referring to is beyond me. The service was truly bizarre.

I had purchased some books from CRI and subscribed to their magazine just as I was leaving the WCG so I was on their donor list. A couple of years ago just before Christmas they called with an "important message from Hank" on tape. I was told to listen to it and then the telemarketer would be back on the line to get my pledge. It really irritated me and I hung up.

Eye Opener? For those who were aware of the changes as they took place in Worldwide... the big eye-opener was the "God is..." booklet concerning the nature of God.  UCG has recently announced an upcoming study paper on the nature of God.  Keep an eye out for it, it should be out before the end of the year.  The best advice for UCG members: Read these study papers as they are published and don't be afraid to ask questions!


22 July  AW'S IMITATORS, ANCHORS AWAY!  Mail: The Anchor "cure"

Shock, horror! ... the name Ambassador Watch has been ripped off.

Beware of Imitations! Shock, horror! They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so we're flattered to find the name Ambassador Watch has been ripped off. Ken Storey has launched a website called - wait for it -! ( Exactly what Ken is on about, we're not sure, but please be assured that it has nothing to do with MD. Ken claims "God is leading Harvest Rock Church [a charismatic Pasadena church that meets in a hired auditorium] to buy the campus". We'll believe that when we see it. Perhaps in the meantime we should return the compliment by registering Then again, maybe AW readers would appreciate a re-branded e-zine... something like Harvest Rock Messenger? Has a nice kind of ring, don't you think?

The British Ship-of-Fools website carries a "mystery worshipper" report from Harvest Rock Church. The impression gained? "Woodstock with a cross around its neck."



Anchor adrift? (Dateline Pasadena) A note regarding Anchor.  WCG Pasadena also included a link to this magazine in the Worldwide News...  Interestingly enough, a couple of [the individuals connected with it] have now distanced themselves from Anchor because they have come to the conclusion that gay people cannot be 'cured'.  They were once heavily involved with Rhodes and other more 'enlightened' COG ministers and held a couple of conferences several years ago concerning reparative therapies.  Through working with numerous gay 'recovery groups' such as Exodus, Desert Streams, Nicolosi and others they finally realized that none of the groups could substantiate their claims to have cured people of homosexuality. Not a single one of these groups will produce any verifiable information.  One individual has since become involved with the Church of England in the UK and totally rejected his former line of thought. The other is now a leader in Evangelicals Concerned, a gay Christian ministry:


Rusty anchor? In my opinion if there was a "cure" for homosexuality, preferably quick and cheap, but even if fairly lengthy and expensive, but certain, the American military would have found it by now. I was always suspicious of UCG getting into bed with Catholic/Freud philosophy inspired NARTH

For Melvin Rhodes' comments on the current developments visit For a debate on homosexuality in the Bible visit and

Edward Karas


Emperor Joey visits his colonies: Has anyone been counting the number of trans-Atlantic trips the Pastor General has been making lately? The jet-setting sect "president" is back in the British Isles again this month. He must really love those British board meetings!

Next Friday is the Annual General Meeting of the Board of Trustees.  This Meeting will take place in Edinburgh and will be chaired by Mr Tkach.  The AGM is a significant Meeting in as much as the Audited Accounts for 2002 will be presented for approval as well as the consideration of budget progress for 2003 and preliminary budgets for 2004.

But will the British church be making those audited accounts available to the membership? 

Don Hall dies: However Tkach may need to review his travel plans. This item from Dateline Pasadena.

Mr. Don Hall, father of Tammy Tkach, was rushed to the hospital this morning suffering from chest pains. He died shortly thereafter. Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming. Your prayers are requested for his wife May Hall and family.    

Mr. Hall was employed in the WCG Purchasing Department and then in the Festival Administration Department  in Pasadena from 1987 until his retirement in 1997.

The Lure of the Edge: Another book by an ex-WCG member to add to the list [see COG author list, July 2]. Brenda Denzler has recently had her volume on "ufology" called The Lure of the Edge: Scientific Passions, Religious Beliefs and the Pursuit of UFOs published in paperback by the University of California Press. The author contributed several items to John Trechak's Ambassador Report, and has a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University.

Anchor: A new quarterly publication has been launched by Melvin Rhodes of the UCG and Ken Hill entitled Anchor. Here's the description which appears in WCG (!) Canada's Northern Light

Anchor is a quarterly publication dedicated to filtering through various processes, books and psychotherapies about the homosexual struggle in order to present honest, clear guidance to members of churches once or currently affiliated with WCG who don't know where to turn for help, says Ken Hill, editor.

"We recognize that there are members who suffer from unwanted homosexual desires and do not know where to turn for help. That is why Anchor is here, to offer that guidance and compassion."

The assumption seems to be that homosexuality is some kind of "treatable disorder". The Anchor website can be found at Is this the first example of a "ministry" that crosses major inter-COG boundaries?

Real Stewardship: Stewardship implies that individuals take responsibility for how they their money is used. A donor should be confident that the money will be put to the uses intended (not, for example, flying the Pastor General to Europe every other month). Donors should expect to see full audited accounts from organizations they support. How much you set aside for Christian service, and how you use those funds is up to you. The worst possible use is simply sending off a tithe check and then imagining everything will be OK. 

Here's the Donor's Bill of Rights from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. How many criteria does WCG meet?

Make sure your charity’s standards and guidelines assure you of a “bill of rights” as a donor. You have the right to:
  • Know how the funds of an organization are being spent.
  • Know what the programs you support are accomplishing.
  • Know that the organization is in compliance with federal, state, and municipal laws.
  • Restrict or designate your gifts to a particular project.
  • A response to your inquiries about finances and programs.
  • Visit office and program sites of an organization to talk personally with the staff.
  • Give without being high-pressured by the organization.
  • Know that the organization is well managed.
  • Know that there is a responsible governing board and know who those board members are.
  • Know that all appeals for funds are truthful and accurate.
Before you give to any charity, ask these questions. Nonprofit organizations should be willing to supply the answers.
  • Does the organization have a clear and strong commitment to a certain project area?
  • Does an independent board accept responsibility for the activities of the organization and oversee its operations?
  • Are the financial records audited annually by certified public accountants?
  • Does the charity practice full disclosure?
  • Is a copy of the audited financial statements provided to anyone who makes a request?
  • Is information provided to donors about any program that the donors have supported?
  • How does the organization avoid conflicts of interest?
  • What are the guidelines and standards for fund-raising?
  • Is there a review procedure to assure compliance with fund-raising standards and guidelines?

And remember, these are just donor's rights, not members. This is the kind of accountability Plain Truth Ministries should offer. Member's rights, for organizations like the Worldwide Church of God, also need to include elected representation.


Joey re-launches AC: If you thought the only time Ambassador College would "rise again" would be the Third Resurrection - think again. Joe writes to the WCG ministry:

Great news! The next issue of the WN will announce the launch of Ambassador College of Christian Ministry, a new online educational program that will enable members to access a quality, well-structured Christian Ministry curriculum sponsored by the WCG. Please be sure to read the attached advance text of the article for details.

... I want to let you know that beginning next January, the pastoral training program will be integrated into ACCM so that all future coursework will be done online and credited toward a master's degree in pastoral studies... The new degree will not be accredited, which means that its units will not be transferable to other programs. However, it will continue to be a high quality in-service program that will be required for WCG pastors. Of course, approved coursework from other programs will continue to meet the requirements also, as in the past...

ACCM is an exciting new opportunity for the church to provide practical and foundational knowledge and skills to men and women preparing for or serving in local ministries around the world.

Well, we hope you can contain your excitement. A new unaccredited Ambassador College, a college that churns out a degree nobody outside the WCG will touch. Hey, whoever said Joey wasn't faithful to the HWA legacy? 

No need for buildings though - this time round it's an "online" institution. The new AC will be modeled on the Australian Pacific College. It appears Pacific College will be swallowed up in the new venture. However a quick check of the PC website indicates a stunningly understated caliber of academic prowess. This mighty Aussie educational institution has no professors or lecturers, just "trainers". Three of them. Even the director (John McLean) is part-time, also functioning as national director for the WCG. 

Pacific College offers a range of professional and personal development seminars designed to enable participants to increase their effectiveness through greater insight, understanding, and skills. Our particular focus is on “developing people” – identifying how individuals and teams can improve their performance and communication. Pacific’s trainers are all experienced and accredited trainers with post-graduate qualifications in business, human resources, and communication. Pacific College also provides accredited and experienced administration of highly respected and widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®).

Are you convinced? In a separate enclosure Thomas Hanson provides more details of the new, dumbed down AC. Excerpts:

... with Ambassador College and University as part of our denominational heritage, education has long been a focus for our fellowship. Now, an exciting new online educational opportunity will enable all members to access a quality, well-structured Christian Ministry curriculum through the new Ambassador College of Christian Ministry without having to leave home or undertake full-time study...

This new, denominationally sponsored educational program will be available for both credit and audit study. Students will be able to study from home and commence studies at any time, since the courses will be offered on-line. This also enables the cost of the program to be kept to a minimum. Students who successfully complete credit study will receive denominationally recognized certification...

Dr. Feazell and other church leaders met in March with John McLean, Australian national director, to discuss lay ministry educational opportunities now possible through resources developed by Pacific College of Training & Development.

Pacific College was established by the WCG in Australia in 2000 to deliver structured education in Christian ministry. Dr. Feazell said that the Christian ministry courses that Pacific College has developed provide a comprehensive and practical framework for the church to use as a denominational standard. The courses reflect the church’s theology and doctrine, and the content and format are easy to understand. Using the program and systems developed by Pacific College, the Australian Regional Office of the WCG will provide the infrastructure for the online courses offered through Ambassador College of Christian Ministry.

Online delivery includes:

Enrollment and payment of fees
Lesson materials
Assessment materials
Assessment feedback
On-line discussion groups (for credit students).

What recognition will the program offer? Those completing each level of study (four courses) will receive certification confirming the successful completion of their work. Those completing all three levels (12 courses) will receive an Associate Degree in Christian Ministry. ACCM degrees and certificates will be recognized by the Worldwide Church of God as certified preparation for lay ministry. While it is not an externally accredited program (and thus the units of study are not transferable to other programs), it is a quality program designed particularly to meet the needs of men and women serving in voluntary ministry within the church.

While completion of the program is not in any way a guarantee of appointment to a particular role of service, it is anticipated that people serving in positions of congregational responsibility will undertake at least selected courses of study.

What will it cost? Courses taken for credit will be $150 per three-unit course. Courses taken for audit will be $100 per three-unit course.

How difficult are the assignments? The assignments are designed to reinforce learning. In a number of courses you will be asked to write two or three short papers (1,000 to 2,000 words) about key issues raised in the course to demonstrate your understanding.

Two initial comments. First: who will be running these courses? We're assuming Joey will roll out some compliant denominational hacks to at least supplement the "trainers" at Pacific College, who are, to put it as nicely as possible, not exactly the brightest stars in the academic firmament. Will they have recognized qualifications in theology? None of the current threesome seem to.

Two: we couldn't help noticing the use of a particular term, first by Hanson, and later in a Tkach quote.

"As the church has matured in its understanding of the “ministry of all believers,” the need for ongoing education and development has emerged as a priority."

“The Worldwide Church of God has undergone dramatic change in the last 17 years, particularly the last eight,” Dr. Tkach said. “A significant aspect of this change has been the transition to ‘the ministry of all believers’..."

What's the difference between the "ministry of all believers" and the "priesthood of all believers"? The latter is a broader term that obviously sticks in the craw of cult leaders. It implies that all members are responsible for their own decisions. It sits uneasily with any hierarchical ("priestly") claims to unquestioned leadership. Joe and Co. have stripped it of this dimension and substituted a much more limited term that simply implies that lay members have a responsibility for evangelism. 


The cult of Hank: I was once a Christian Research Institute donor. CRI was founded by Walter Martin, a cult watcher and Christian apologist who was an early critic of Herbert W. Armstrong and his Worldwide Church of God. He was succeeded by Hank Hanegraaff, who was one of the first in the evangelical Christian world to pronounce the Worldwide Church of God a healthy Christian fellowship after the Tkaches and their henchmen jettisoned Armstrongism and embraced a more familiar form of protestant fundamentalism.

As a WCG member and enthusiastic supporter of the doctrinal changes, I was very happy when Hank Hanegraaff pronounced the WCG clean and was grateful for any support from respected organizations outside of the WCG. I started making donations to CRI and looked into their products. Later on, I was disappointed that Hank never wavered in his support of Joe Tkach, even though it became obvious to anybody who was not in denial that the WCG had not really changed. The hierarchy was still intact, the ministry was still firmly in control, and the ordinary member was closely controlled. For example, in my congregation we had a program where church members would distribute food to the homeless. We would collect food and clothing, and after services we would go to areas where the homeless were known to gather and give away what our church members generously supplied. Our pastor went to the man who started the program (this man started the program on his own and organized it himself; it was not a ministerial initiative) and asked him to provide monthly reports on the program's activities, even though no church funds were being used and all food and clothing was donated directly by the members. (Another interesting fact about our homeless program: the pastor did such a poor job teaching the so-called new covenant doctrines that during the Days of Unleavened Bread we had to suspend the program because nobody in the congregation would make sandwiches. This was two years (!) after Armstrongism was pronounced dead in the WCG.)

Why doesn't Hanegraaff see through the deceptions of Joe Tkach and Greg Albrecht? Quite frankly, I don't think he wants to. Tkach, Hanegraaff and Albrecht are good friends and golfing buddies, and they are business allies. Hanegraaff writes a column for the Plain Truth, the PT advertises and endorses Christian Research Institute products, Hanegraaff pronounces the Worldwide Church of God a healthy Christian fellowship and he advises listeners that if they are looking for a healthy, doctrinally sound congregation they need not fear attending the Worldwide Church of God.

There are other cult-watching groups that have not fallen for the "new and improved" Worldwide Church of God. The Watchman Fellowship ( and Personal Freedom Outreach ( have yet to give the WCG a clean bill of health. Unfortunately, neither organization has the high profile of the Christian Research Institute, or the public relations savvy of Hank Hanegraaff. Both organizations are more interested in providing information to the interested public than in building a personality cult around its leader.

Another interesting point is that the family of CRI founder Walter Martin has denounced Hanegraaff (, denying the close relationship Hanegraaff claims he had with Martin, and also denying that Hanegraaff was Martin's hand-picked successor. It seems that Hanegraaff's accession to the CRI throne had more to do internal politics than with Walter Martin's confidence in Hanegraaff's ability. This split between the Martin family and the Christian Research Institute has led to the establishment of a web site dedicated to the teachings of Walter Martin, to be found at Fans of the late Dr. Martin will find the site invaluable.


MD: The writer has contributed several guest columns for The Missing Dimension. 

Hank and The Face: In 1998 Hank Hanegraaff wrote an article debunking human evolution from the Creationist view and the Plain Truth carried glowing endorsements of the book The Face...  I wrote PTM and suggested they be very careful of Hank's credentials in writing a credible book about human evolution.  The book didn't disappoint.... he isn't.   I was told he was a good friend of PTM but I still mentioned that did not qualify him to mislead people with his lack of credentials to write such a book.  The book was shallow in comparison to the science available, and written only to an audience that already accepted the premise, just as we did back in the Whale of a Tale days.  Today we know that whales originated as land animals and the fossil record is fascinating on this one reality. 

[The F in] FACE stood for Fossil Follies where Hank felt the fossil record was an embarrassment to evolution.  It is not.  I would counter [the claim] that the Bible is inerrant [by raising] the reality that the Apostle Paul never quotes Jesus, his life, his teachings, his miracles, his observations, his birth circumstances or those of his death are equally an embarrassment to real theologians.  If I had had access to the internet when a teen, I would never have gone on to endeavor to instruct others in the Bible's literal application or historicity. 

Secondly there was Ape-Men - Fiction, Fraud and Fantasy.  Hank showed how fake ape-men (an unscientific term for the real finds of science), have been foisted off on the public much to the embarrassment of science.  Whoa.... Like Christianity has never foisted off on the public some pretty embarrassing theology and personalities!  Check out the lives and words of the many  great "church fathers" and see what embarrassment might be in theology!  Eusebius, known mostly for his blatant lying and rewriting of history for his mentor Constantine's approval and control of the masses comes to mind.  Or the pitiful and frequent hatred Martin Luther expressed for the Jewish race, from which much of the fuel for the Holocaust came  in the German mind.  Luther used the Judas story to get millions murdered as have other comments of Paul quoted through the ages. (And you women haven't done much better  with them :) ) The fact is that when science makes a mistake or gets suckered by a very few of their own seeking notoriety, they are caught, discredited and whatever good they uncovered is added to the store of human knowledge.  Whenever powerful religious organizations are informed of theological error or historical and scientific impossibilities, they kill the one who brought this to their attention, and perpetuate the misinformation.  (Someone please motivate me to write the book Sermons Your Pastors Won't Give !)

Thirdly is Chance, which in no way supports the process of evolution.  This is a big subject, much too big for me to comment on or Hank to dismiss so quickly in his book.  But with new discoveries in Quantum Physics, the Holographic nature of the Universe, the human mind and brain, and a new spirituality based on the fact that All really is ONE, many scientists are seeing that there is room for much beyond chance in life. It does not have to be connected to the Bible or the history of a small, cultic people whose story is somewhat suspect historically and embellished for effect.  Perhaps everyone being a spirit having a human experience will prove to be an inspiration going beyond chance but not requiring mind control by ministers and priests whose narrow view obscures and whose literalist education in biblical studies becoming more embarrassing by the day.

Lastly there is Empirical Science.  To Hank, "the principles of science, undergird the creation model for origins and undermine the evolutionary model."  Well I guess it depends on whose principles of science you discuss. This is one of those glittering generalities that rounds out the word FACE, but does not convince. 

One of the critics of Hank's endeavor to clarify human evolution and the Bible in THE FACE  notes that "overall the book is written well... good ideas. He doesn't tell the whole truth about how to be saved  ( comment), but if you read the book for ideas on dealing with evolution, then it is worthwhile."   Uh... not really.  If the theologian can't get the topic of how to be saved correct, I'd not think he'd do so well with human evolution and the real research behind the hunt conducted by the men and women of real science done well.

Well, just a few thoughts.  Using Hank Hanegraaff's scientific expertise in the PTM of the New Millennium has not improved the quality of the truth much over the days of WCG using A Theory for the Birds or a Whale of a Tale (they were great titles) ...

Dennis C. Diehl

MD: Dennis is a former pastor in the WCG and has also written several guest columns for The Missing Dimension.

18 July  THE COMPANY JOE KEEPS.  Mail: GTA's scaled down FOT, Hanegraaff link, cult-crashing, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Plain Truth columnist features in critical Christianity Today article: An AW reader draws attention to the woes of Joe Tkach's good buddy Hank Hanegraaff. And would you credit it, it has to do with financial accountability!

An article appears in the latest Christianity Today that raises yet more disturbing questions about the Bible Answer Man's practices. Hanegraaff, chief honcho at the Christian Research Institute, also appears regularly as a Plain Truth columnist. Excerpts from the CT article:

... the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)... found CRI had "breached compliance" with key member standards. After further investigation and counsel, CRI employees agreed to pay back significant sums of misused ministry funds and create better accountability systems in the organization.

CRI hired Hubbard as a donor communications specialist in May 2002. She became alarmed when she saw ministry spending practices and heard employee concerns about the outlays. Meanwhile, she was sending monthly financial appeals to donors, urging them to give generously lest CRI suffer ministry cutbacks. The ministry generated more than $500,000 a month in donations in 2001.

"It's kind of hard to make those pleas when you see the extravagance from the inside," said Hubbard...

One item she was particularly concerned about was CRI's paying $66,000 in July 2002 for a blue Lexus sc, purchased for Hanegraaff's use. That same year former employees said a lull in giving resulted in layoffs at the $9.3 million ministry.

In March the ECFA announced it was conducting a "compliance review" and said CRI had "breached compliance" with three of the watchdog agency's seven standards of member conduct: board governance, financial controls and policies, and use of ministry resources. ECFA noted CRI did not have "adequate systems in place to ensure that expenditures are properly documented in a manner consistent with sound internal control or to substantiate the ministry purpose of disbursements made."

The ECFA further found that CRI had not addressed "potential conflicts of interest transactions involving related parties"...

... some of the problems:

Paul Young, CRI's executive vice president and a board member, declined to comment on the misuse of tax-exempt money.

Employees were also concerned about Hanegraaff's salary. According to publicly available financial disclosure forms, CRI paid Hank Hanegraaff $251,886 in 2001 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). This represents an increase of $52,886 (26.5%) over the previous year. Kathy Hanegraaff received a salary of $87,600 as CRI's director of planning.

Putting the best possible construction on the situation, ECFA calls the mess at CRI "naive bookkeeping". Anyone who has listened to Hank rant might find the word "naive" a little misplaced. 

New on the MD book page

ECFA is an important watchdog group, but membership and adherence to its codes is voluntary. An organization like Plain Truth Ministries doesn't have to belong. So does it? Of course not. And does the Tkach-run WCG? Don't be silly. Hanegraaff's organization did belong, which is the reason we know so much about the problems at CRI - and the courageous actions of Jen Hubbard. WCG and PTM are under no such constraints. If similar indiscretions occurred in WCG who could you report them to? Who would listen and take action?

Another reason for donors to think twice before writing a check to the Pasadena based sect.

In the latest Plain Truth Hanegraaff writes:

We can rest assured that in the sovereign plan of God even the flaming arrows of the evil one are being forged into instruments by which the fabric of our faith is woven into an exquisite tapestry.

Uh, excuse me Hank, but your exquisite tapestry seems to be on fire...


Tedernacles: The reason GTA is scaling back on his Feast appearances is due to the fact that for the past three years he has come down with an illness while traveling and speaking during the Feast. There was talk of him cutting down on appearances last year.

Paul Ray

Hankie panky? Here is a link to a report in Christianity Today detailing inappropriate expenditures at Christian Research Institute. No wonder Hank Hanegraaff connects so well with the leadership of the WCG.

Publicity for exclusivists: If invite-only groups (i.e. go away until the "Lord" calls you) use the gradual increase of information to control those coming to church, shouldn't the internet take that control away?  People who know individual church service locations could post this info on the internet.  A single website could be easily constructed if only readers of MD would contribute times and locations.  No more will potential converts have to languish over if there is a service in their area, while the pastor "works with them".  Better yet, imagine the sight of a handful of evangelicals trying to go to a service that they learned about on the web...

Lyle Lange 

Dee who? Why is it that ESN's Dee (the "big cheese" there) is never identified by a full name? We know Ed Mentell's full name at the [Painful Truth], we know Bob Thiel's full name over on "COGwriter", we know yours at Missing Dimension, we know Steve Dalton's (who used to write for Dee)... So who is Dee? Or is it a case of (with apologies to J. K. Rowling) "she who must not be named".

Ned Beckett

MD: Dee has approached MD on two occasions to have her full name removed from items on this site. We have agreed only with great reluctance as a "one-off" favor, as creating any website like ESN obviously requires taking responsibility for the material you publish. It's also a matter of credibility. MD has encouraged Dee on both occasions to do the ethical thing and "come clean".

We've also received several letters responding to Dee's comments re. Bernard Kelly, both for and against. Thanks to those who wrote. We won't be pursuing that discussion at this time. 


Is Ted slowing down? According to an item on Bob Thiel's site, Garner Ted Armstrong is planning to scale down his appearances at ICG Feast sites this year.

The Feast is a unique situation... Mr. Armstrong has traveled to all the Feast sites, often experiencing more than 20 takeoffs and landings, not to mention the time and cost involved. With live and tape delay broadcasting, Mr. Armstrong is precluded from having to do all this traveling. 

Bob suggests the reason behind the change might be financial. More likely perhaps that "America's Playboy Preacher" (to quote the cover of Ambassador Report back in 1977) is finally feeling his age. ICG will have 6 US sites this year, and one each in Canada, Britain and Australia. In contrast Ted's former affiliation, the Church of God, International, has 4 US Feast sites, 2 in Canada, and one each in Jamaica, the Philippines and Australia.

Spoilt for choice: The Journal has once again provided a comprehensive list of Feast sites sponsored by a wide variety of COGs including the Church of God an International Community (CGIC); Church of God International (CGI); Intercontinental Church of God (ICG); Living Church of God (LCG); Philadelphia Church of God (PCG); United Church of God an International Association (UCG) and a gaggle of independent sites (and several run by more obscure COG bodies). The list, including contact details, can be found at The Journal website.

Exclusive brethren: Keeping with the FOT theme, while most COG Feast sites welcome visitors (y'all come, and don't forget the holy day offerings!), The Journal notes that at least two operate closed door policies: the Flurry PCG and the Hulme CGIC. Special permission from "on high" is required to attend with these exclusivist groups. Imagine having to ask to sit through a Peter Nathan sermon!

14 July  GIVE TILL IT HURTS, OBSCURE COG BIBLE VERSIONS.  Mail: Stonefort COG, Bernard Kelly, does Judaism point to Christianity?

Flogging a dead horse: "Stewardship" is a big thrust in today's WCG. Tired after decades of sacrificial giving to feed Herbert Armstrong's ego, remaining members are understandably reluctant to empty out their pockets for the present non-participatory, non-accountable leadership. Worse, the "reformed" WCG seems to have little grasp of its own responsibilities as a steward. Try prizing a copy of the church's annual statement from the vice-like grip of Ron Kelly!

Members without rights are not members but clients in a market driven model. MD

What to do? I know, let's spend up some of that money we don't have to hire an expensive outside expert who can sweep in and inspire the plebs to cough up!

The following item from the July Australian WN.

Pastors from around Australia gathered at the church's national office Friday night, June 13 – Tuesday, June 17 for a national pastoral conference that featured a stewardship seminar presented by Mark Vincent from Design For Ministry. His presentation was sponsored by church headquarters in the USA. He has previously presented the seminar to regional and national conferences in the USA and UK.

And what gems of understanding did the foreign guru bring?

"Generous God, generous life," was his stewardship perspective for all Christians... The Christian response is a generous life – a life of firstfruits living. This involves offering the first and best of our life to God in worship and using all that he gives us in ways that honour him."

We agree with Mark about "a generous life". What we'd like to see is an example from the top. A generous spirit toward the members who have gone through so much, and yet are still excluded from meaningful participation and decision making. Members without rights are not members but clients in a market driven model. Meantime we suggest that WCG members demonstrate their generosity by supporting worthy organizations and ministries where such generosity is not only appreciated, but reciprocated.

COG Bible Versions: Looking for something fresh in Bible translations? Something a little different? Something that reflects a COG perspective? Mormons have, after all, an Inspired Version, a rewrite of the KJV by Joe Jr. (Smith, not Tkach), and those pesky door-knocking Jehovah's Witnesses have their New World Translation.  If they can, why not us? Fear not, there are several pretenders to that very throne. Fred Coulter, who apparently does know Greek, is about to release his own New Testament translation, Dr. James Tabor (a legitimate scholar) is presumably still slogging away on his Original Bible Project, Norman Edwards has promoted a translation by Rabon Vincent Jr. That one is even available on Amazon

[This] is the first new Bible version of the third millennium. Modern language without losing the poetry and power of the King James version. Understandable dialog, characters that appear more real due to the accurate rendering of the original languages into non-Elizabethan, modern English. The non-denominational approach ensures that sectarian bias has been virtually eliminated. Careful use of contextual concordance has helped to convey various aspects of humor, sadness, etc. to readers of all ages.

Sectarian bias has been virtually eliminated? Uh, okay. But we're not sure about the relevance of Rabon's credentials ("a Product Development Specialist for G.E. Silicones"). 

And then there's Dallas James' stunningly different Urim Thummin Version. Dallas is a former supporter of Ernie Martin, and his Bible version is online for all who are interested. Exactly what qualifications Mr. James has, or whether he is familiar with Hebrew or Greek we can't say. He's apparently chucked the KJV along with Young's Literal Translation into the blender and come up with... well, judge for yourself. Here's the UT translation of John 1: 1-12

1:1 Originally I was the Word, but the Word I was with Elohim, and Elohim I was the Word.1:2 The same was originally with Elohim.1:3 All things came into existence by Him; and apart from Him nothing came into existence that appeared in history.1:4 In Him was life; and the life was the light of human beings.1:5 And the light shines in darkness; but the darkness does not seize upon it.1:6 There was a man sent from Elohim, whose name was John.1:7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through Him might believe.1:8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.1:9 He was the true Light, that lights everyone that comes into the cosmos.1:10 He was in the cosmos, but the cosmos came into existence through Him, and the cosmos knew Him not.1:11 He came to his own, and his own received him not.1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of Elohim, to them that believe on His Name

How you end up with the Hebrew word Elohim in an English translation of a Greek text is a bit of a mystery, but we did say it was different! 


Stonefort: This church [Philadelphia Church - Stonefort] does have beginnings in the WCG. My ex has been writing literature for it.  He left WCG after the split and was for a time in UCG and GTA's group before formulating his own material.  ... he claims to be spreading the gospel to the churched only, not to unchurched people.  He feels that all of Christianity needs to come around to his way of thinking in order to be saved.  I am sure that he would not agree with my summation of his contentions and that it is much "deeper" than that, but I really do not want to read his rantings since I had to put up with them for 27 years already and enough is enough.  I enjoy reading [AW] and was very interested in David Covington's letter because I had been thinking all those things about the WCG for quite a while and it upsets me very much that there is so much secrecy in the administration.  It is still a cult and an abusive one at that.  I quit giving them money quite a while ago but have enjoyed the fellowship of many dear friends in my local congregation.  It makes me very sad because WCG could be thriving if they were open and honest with the people that are still involved in WCG and honest with God.  I pray that God's will be done with WCG.  

Susie D

Stonefort II: Looking closely at the Philadelphia Church-Stonefort web site, it seems to have some COG people in it.  Here's part of the page on "Planting a Church:"

The Philadelphia Church - Stonefort began in 2001 as a non-denominational fellowship that ate together often, but that did no evangelism because personal evangelism had not been the custom of the disciples who had previously attended Sabbath-observing Church of God fellowships. Therefore, members who had come from Pentecostal or Baptist backgrounds experienced considerable frustration, especially as new disciples were "killed" by the former Church of God members giving too much doctrine too soon, thereby choking these babes with the meat of theology.

The larger administrations of the Church of God handle the problem of choking babes by not inviting new disciples to services until these disciples become thoroughly familiar with the basic tenants of the administrations' beliefs. It is the position of The Philadelphia Church - Stonefort that this practice of restricting attendance cannot be well supported from Scripture, especially in light of the requirements for fellowship established by the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15).

Heavy on doctrine, reluctant to invite to Church -- that sure sounds like some Church of God groups I've known over the years.

Richard Burkard

Counterblast: I saw the short e-mail from Dee in yesterdays AW concerning Bernard Kelly... I called Bernard last night and got his side of the story... Bernie emphatically stated that he never got a visit or a phone call from a policeman about unwanted mail. Needless to say, there was never "an ugly reply" to Dee's request to be taken off the mailing list. Bernard told me he forgot to take her name off the list before he e-mailed and snail-mailed that issue of the BE. Whether Dee talked to a police official... I haven't the foggiest. What I do know is that Bernard never heard from such a person...

Irregardless of what people may think about what Bernard teaches or believes, he's a man concerned about what he believes to be the truth. He doesn't believe in acting in an underhanded way. He doesn't believe in repaying evil with evil...

Steve Dalton

MD: Ambassador Watch has no desire to get caught in the crossfire between warring camps. We appreciate the work that ESN does, and the contribution Steve has made as a researcher. However, having personally been on the receiving end of some of Kelly's intemperate emails (and I could probably still dig them up), I can certainly identify with Dee's concerns. 

Arrow sign: There should be no reason to dislike Jews.  Their faith is a giant arrow sign to Christ.  But once the traveler has reached their destination (Christ), the sign is merely a wonderful memory.  But no one pilgrimages to a sign.

Lyle Lange

MD: Hmm. If it's a giant arrow sign, it seems to be not very effective, or Jewish people would presumably be lining up to convert. I assume most Jewish believers would say their faith pointed to God, not another religion. 

Correspondence on this subject is now closed. 

12 July  WCG AND THE DANGER OF ANTI-SEMITISM, THE BILIOUS SCHISM, THE SPANKY FAST.  Mail: AW not AR, copycat cultism. the prophetic insignificance of July 9


For the record, the Jews do not worship Moses and neither do the WCG traditionalists. its efforts to stigmatize the festivals the booklet even misrepresents the Jewish views which see the festivals as revealing the past, present and future aspects of God‘s love for the world

It is one thing for Christians and Jews to enter into debate/discussion about their faith differences. It is quite another when the WCG administration uses the term “Jewish” in a pejorative sense in order to accuse its own members of hindering the gospel and by easy extension as being opponents of the gospel.

It should be obvious that WCG traditions are no more “Jewish” because of their origins than Christmas is “pagan” because of its origins. WCG traditions and Christmas are Christian because of their Christian meaning in the WCG culture

When will worship cease to be an issue? When the remaining members make the “right choice” of choosing what the Pastor General has already determined.

Disquieting undertones: One of the most insightful correspondents to the JLF board identifies herself as Anne. In this posting Anne raises issues arising from the article by Joseph Tkach in the July Worldwide News. MD has always believed there should be open, honest debate in the WCG about theological issues. The church's policies actively prevent this. On July 7 we republished "A House Divided" which presents a different position to the church's officials. Today we continue with Anne's comments, and we ask when will the church itself provide a non-threatening forum for members to speak out openly, and why is the WN unable to fulfill this role rather than just comply with the administration's PR policies?

I found Dr. Tkach’s July 2003 Personal very disturbing on many levels but one in particular deals with what I experienced and saw when I was still in WCG. I feel this article may be taking the church further down a very dangerous road, that of Christian anti-Semitism.

Discrimination is a recognized evil... Dr. Tkach encouraged/funded the creation of the Office of Reconciliation Ministries... The existence of ORM actually underscores the cognitive dissonance of the WCG when it comes to this matter.

Discrimination/prejudice can take many forms in which those who have power engage in negative behaviors against those who are powerless and different. These negative actions can include perpetuating false stereotypes, demeaning others, creating a hostile environment, and denial of justice/equality...

Anti-Semitism is prejudice based on both Jewish origin and culture. Christian anti-Semitism adds the misuse of the New Testament to justify demeaning the Jewish people in order to exalt Christian beliefs. It includes slandering Jewish spirituality, practices, and beliefs as being anti-God. As an example, Jewish people have often been pictured as opponents of the gospel in terms of blindness, infidelity, and legalism. This view of the Jewish people justified almost 2,000 years of violence and prejudice at the hands of Christians. It has led to a saying among the Jewish people:

How odd of God
To choose the Jews,
But not so odd
As those who choose
The Jewish God
And hate the Jew.

WCG is going out of its way to stigmatize members who prefer their WCG traditions by saying they are acting like Jews as if appearing Jewish is a sin. It is not a great leap to imply that if appearing Jewish is a sin then wouldn’t it follow that being Jewish is a greater sin...?

It is common knowledge that Dr. Tkach is in a war against his own members because they are resisting his efforts to make them adopt his worship preferences. He has the power to abolish the days by executive order but he doesn’t dare. So rather than using the power of executive order he uses the powers of ownership and of employer-employee authority to instruct his employees to make the congregations choose to change their days as quickly as possible. Specifically, the Pastors must superficially give congregations a choice. If the congregation chooses “wrong” then they must be “educated” to make the “right choice” next time, and so on and so on… When will worship cease to be an issue? When the remaining members make the “right choice” of choosing what the Pastor General has already determined.

Hence we have a situation similar to that from the mini-series Roots where as Pastor Ron Stoddart pointed out on his Pastor’s Desk earlier this year:

In the television series Roots there is a scene in which the slave traders are trying to break the spirit of the young black man named Kunta Kinte, whom they have captured and brought to America from his African homeland. They have tied him to a tree, and with whips they are attempting to beat into him a new and submissive identity, "Your name is Toby," they say. The young man resists, and the whips fall. "Your name is Toby." More resistance, and the whips fall again and again. Finally the punishment is too severe, and the young man hangs his head in defeat and speaks his slave name, "Toby."…

Pastor Stoddart fails to see the obvious comparison this example creates as he goes on:

This emphasis will mean we won't revolve around the Exodus events. It means we will base our calendars on the Jesus events... I have never been emotionally moved by the crossing of the Red sea even when I saw Charlton Heston in the movie. But I can't think of any Christian who is unmoved at the thought of crossing from death to life because Jesus died and rose again. Jesus is Lord. When we are moved by His story, how can we not bow down in worship.

Here again we see appearances of Christian anti-Semitism used for the express purpose of associating WCG traditionalists as being only Exodus focused as if they were looking to Moses (Charlton Heston) instead of “bowing down” to Jesus. Worse there is a strong implication that if the traditionalists/Jews are not bowing down to Jesus then they must be “bowing down” to Moses.

For the record, the Jews do not worship Moses and neither do the WCG traditionalists. True, the Jews do not acknowledge Jesus as God, but remember that the WCG traditionalists have always acknowledged (bowed down to) Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Therefore, Pastor Ron does a disservice to both the Jewish people and the WCG traditionalists with prejudicial stereotypes. Why does Pastor Ron exhibit such behavior? Simple. He along with the rest of the WCG ministry has been taught/told to do this since at least as far back as 1998.

The booklet “Finding Peace in Christ” is saturated with a tone of Christians worshipping in faith while others (the WCG traditionalist/the Jewish people) are pictured as being locked in a rigid system that concentrates on form and times instead of content and meaning:

"Christian worship is focused primarily on content and meaning rather than primarily on form or time." (Finding Peace in Christ, Pg. 60)

Even the chart at the back of the booklet completely ignores the WCG traditional meaning of the festivals. Worse, in its efforts to stigmatize the festivals the booklet even misrepresents the Jewish views which see the festivals as revealing the past, present and future aspects of God‘s love for the world.

It is one thing for Christians and Jews to enter into debate/discussion about their faith differences. It is quite another when the WCG administration uses the term “Jewish” in a pejorative sense in order to accuse its own members of hindering the gospel and by easy extension as being opponents of the gospel. This brings us again to the Pastor General’s latest contribution in all of this:

In light of Paul’s instruction, would Jesus have us distract people from the gospel with customs that mislead them about what it really means to follow Christ?…

Do we want the message of grace to be confused with laws that the gospel specifically sets aside as not for Christians? Do we want our customs to give the wrong impression about the gospel, rather than to commend Christ? …

We need to set aside the Jewish customs (unless you are in a Jewish culture)! …

But when we want to make the gospel attractive to a Gentile society, we need to eliminate customs that confuse the gospel with the old covenant law. That’s something worth thinking about." (Worldwide News, July Personal, “Something Worth Thinking About”)

Is what the Pastor General says true? I don‘t think so:

1. It should be obvious that WCG traditions are no more “Jewish” because of their origins than Christmas is “pagan” because of its origins. WCG traditions and Christmas are Christian because of their Christian meaning in the WCG culture;

2. Paul’s situation in the pagan Greco-Roman world is distinctly different than ours in a pluralistic 24/7 society that values variety;

3. WCG traditions must be somewhat attractive to “Gentiles” because for 7 years the majority of WCG “Gentiles” have known they don’t have to keep them but in the face of inordinate and unwarranted opposition they still continue to express their desire to keep them.

The organization Jews for Jesus (who are members of the World Evangelical Alliance) often put on a presentation entitled Christ in the Passover. Part of that presentation rehearses how the unleavened bread (matzo) represents Jesus in much the same way that the WCG did for decades. When I witnessed this presentation with a group of Evangelicals I was surprised at all of the “amen’s” and “hallelujahs” from the audience. Such a positive response would seem to indicate that WCG traditions may have some surprising advantages if given the chance...

I have to worry about the future of the WCG, particularly when the Pastor General has gone from seeing Jesus in the symbolism of the matzo… to calling that symbol of Christ a Jewish custom that must be set aside.

Just something else worth thinking about...

Due to space limitations we've edited Anne's comments. To read them in full click here.

The Big Cheese in a very small sandwich: Over at the Painful Truth forum they've been discussing Don Billingsley's ad in The Journal. Those unfamiliar with his track record may find these excerpts from that board enlightening:

[Billingsley] stated that the healing laws have never been changed by HWA. Billingsley's wife has some medical problem that requires her to get blood transfusions almost every month. Why is she going to the hospital? Shouldn't she wait for "God" to heal her?


We had a woman in Fresno who died of cancer about 1980 or 81. When she first discovered she had it, the docs said it was enclosed in a sort of membrane, like a cocoon, and could be removed easily and without danger. Billingsley convinced her to wait on healing, so she did. And she lingered, and she suffered, and she died. Took months, maybe a year or more.

Then, along around 1987 or so, we were at the FOT in Tucson. Mrs. B suddenly had to be hospitalized... Mrs. B got all the medical help she needed. They said she was about to die, and I'm sure she was anointed by everyone in sight... but she still remained in hospital for a couple of weeks after the feast was over. She survived, and to my astonishment, is still alive today.

But Mrs. Moran is dead.


Who's Billingsley with now? Billingsley is with himself. He's the big cheese (in a very small sandwich).


The group took two good years away from me so I'm glad to hear when things are going down hill for them.

We suspect this isn't the kind of exposure Don hoped to get by buying a page in The Journal.

A tale of two funny men: Just in case any of you backsliding brethren forgot, God's servant Roderick C. Meredith has unilaterally declared today (Saturday) a church-wide fast for members of his Living Church of God. The fortunate flock are ostensibly fasting for the sake of those poor, confused ex-WCG members who Satan has blinded to the rays of light streaming from Spanky's evangelistic orifice, er, office. Here at MD we'd love to lend moral support, but we're busy celebrating Bill Cosby's birthday. Yes, the great comedian was born July 12, 1937. We invite readers to join us, wherever they are in the world, in toasting Bill with beer and peanuts. Regrettably this means we'll have to skip the urgent exhortations of that other great comedian, Rod Meredith. Oh dear, how sad, never mind...


AR Successor? To whom it may concern: Are you the successor to the Ambassador Report that first appeared in the 1960's or 1970's? I have seen some rumors on the Internet that Joseph Tkach Sr was in some way involved in the death of Herbert W. Armstrong. Have you ever published anything in this regard?  Do you think there is any basis for this rumor.

Robert Coffin

MD: Ambassador Report, published by John Trechak for many years, was a completely separate publication. It ceased to be produced following John's untimely death. John Trechak was a true pioneer who sacrificed a great deal, both personal and financial, to provide information on the WCG that hadn't been censored and massaged by the church's PR machine. The Ambassador Report archives are available online courtesy of Ed Mentell's Painful Truth site.

Lots of rumors seem to have circulated about your other succession question: Tkach Senior's elevation to the office of Pastor General. While there was undoubtedly a lot of jockeying for position as the mantle fell, I've never heard any credible suggestion that Tkach was "involved in" HWA's death.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum? After what may have been several coincidences of UCG publishing articles or study papers on the same subjects following LCG publications, it continues to appear that UCG is doing its best to keep up.  The latest home office update celebrates the publishing of a new booklet, "The Middle East In Bible Prophecy."  It was just this past December that Living had published a new booklet titled "The Middle East In Prophecy."  If they are so against Dr. Meredith and his group that they formed their own church instead of joining him, why do they continue to follow his lead?  Keep your eyes on UCG, they bear watching.  


MD: It's a sad thought that UCG could be cuing off Meredith. So many better options available! For the record, the church which Spanky established pre-UCG - the Global Church of God - no longer exists: battered to death by its paddle-wielding founder.

Prophecy? Just 666 days after 9/11....(July 9)

The highest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. was 134 degrees in Death Valley, CA.; The Vatican posted a $15 million deficit for 2002; A Sudanese airliner plunged into a hillside killing 116 people; Volkswagen Rolls Out 'Final' Bug; Bus Plunges Off Hong Kong Bridge killing 21 people; And, just 666 days after 9/11, on July 9th, my wife became 66 years old!

Mr. Neilson also stated, "Mr Armstrong prophesied that unless there was a massive national repentance toward God and the forsaking of their numerous idols and covetousness, the USA and UK would be defeated by a resurrected, united, European unholy Roman Empire".

A society obsessed with infantile diversions will never know what hit it until far too late. 

There was nothing significant about the date 9/11. The timing of the attacks was operational. Once the plotters were ready, they picked a Tuesday in September.... End of story. 


MD: Oh ye of little faith  ;-)

Very scary discovery: I was trolling the internet and found this website.

A few things popped out at me on this one.  First was the  striking resemblance to PCG's name.  Second that
the church keeps both weekly Sabbaths and annual Sabbaths.  Third that they feel (not surprisingly) that the Old Testament Law is still binding.  I did some checking and as odd as it may seem they don't appear to be an Armstrong spawn.  They appear to be from the SDA crowd only more 'enthusiastic'.  Has anyone else seen this before?

Lyle Lange

11 July  REINVENTING HERB, SOME BEASTLY OUTCOME.  Mail: photo request, "Christian zeal"

Remembering a sincere and kindly old man? The following dispatch from Dateline Pasadena

Sources report that Neil Earle, pastor of the WCG Glendora congregation, is in the process of writing a book about HWA's life and the positive influence he has had in peoples lives. When will WCG finally face the fact that HWA was a false teacher and publicly say so?

Should be a very short book.

Neilson's numerology: Geoffrey Neilson of Cape Town is one of HWA's most faithful followers, even writing and self-publishing a hagiography of his idol. This posting appeared on one of the news-boards on July 9.

666 DAYS AFTER 9/11...

President George Bush's trip to Africa (starting July 8, 2003) is 666 days, inclusive, after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. His visit with South Africa's leader Thabo Mbeki on July 9, is 666 days following 9/11. The perfect symbolism for some beastly outcome.

The 9/11 disaster took place 13x(6+6+6) days after President Bush took office (January 20, 2001). His inauguration was exactly 6x6x6 weeks after the Stone of Scone--or Stone of Destiny of the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic peoples--was removed from the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, England (on 30 November 1996), symbolizing the loss of the divine right of any future monarch coronated there.

9 July 2003 is also the 70th Anniversary of the start of the worldwide proclamation by the late Herbert W Armstrong--editor of The PLAIN TRUTH magazine, and voice of "The World Tomorrow" globally broadcast radio and TV broadcasts, that the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic peoples of the world are the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel, of which Britain and America are the head. And, that Queen Elizabeth sits on the Throne which God promised King David of Israel and his descendants.

Mr Armstrong prophesied that unless there was a massive national repentance toward God and the forsaking of their numerous idols and covetousness, the USA and UK would be defeated by a resurrected, united, European unholy Roman Empire. Instead, the rampant sodomy amongst the clergy in the Church of England and the Catholic Church (America's largest congregation claiming to be Christian), is indicative of the moral decline of both nations.

If God is consistent, he has to chastise Britain and America. 9 July 2003 may prove to be an historic day in this regard.

Geoffrey R. Neilson

Thanks for sharing those thoughts Geoff. Here at MD we're delighted to pass on your profound prophetic insight. I think we'll all agree that you won't find penetrating analysis like that just anywhere these days... now, let's see, anyone got a copy of Wednesday's newspaper?   


Apostolic portrait needed: Always enjoy visiting AW's website to keep up the latest developments in WCG and the splinters. I have finished the first draft of a book, a kind of spiritual autobiography, something along the lines of Patty Laessig's On Angels Wings. I was never a minister in WCG (thank God), but I did spend (waste?) almost 30 of my prime adult years (1971-2000) in that organization. Where would I go to get a good, relatively cheap, photo of HWA & AC to put in the book? I tried contacting Pasadena Star-News, but they told me they usually donate all their older photos to the Pasadena Historical Society, and to call them. Problem is, their operating hours are limited to a couple of days a week, and I suspect some other person or organization out there can fill my request a lot quicker. I don't mind paying a little, so if there's a fee, no problem. I suppose I could contact WCG headquarters, but I'd rather put somebody else's name in the acknowledgements page. If you know of a source (or sources) that might help, please share that info. Thanks.

Dennis Embo

MD: If any readers can help, we'll pass along any offers of photographs to Dennis.

Unwanted "literature": It appears that Bernard Kelly (former WCG member) has been mailing his bizarre and cultic literature to exiters who have not requested it. Finally, my husband and I decided to write him and tell him firmly that he cease and to remove our names from his mailing list. The response? He promptly mailed us the latest issue of his pulp magazine again, this time in a plain envelope (no name or address showing), and included was an ugly reply, accusing us of a hostile state of mind (which he has done in the past through email). I assume Bernard wanted to get in the last word since he says "no more will be sent." ... Needless to say, since my husband and I felt we were being harassed, we contacted the police department and a detective did make a phone call to his home. There have been others who have been the recipients of Bernard's so-called "Christian zeal," so I would encourage any exiters that feel they are being harassed by him to take some action. His email address can also be blocked if anyone is receiving annoying emails from him. As the detective told me, "It seems that some of these Christian people can be the worst of all to deal with."

Dee, Exit & Support Network

MD: Perceptive police officer!

09 July  LATEST JOURNAL PUBLISHED, MODESTO FAITHFUL.  Mail: Wolvertoons hit brick wall, Armstrongism abideth

Plain Truth meets Discworld: Best-selling author Terry Pratchett has a reputation for his unerringly wacky novels which, while being an acquired taste, have managed to achieve a kind of cult status. But who suspected that Prachett was taking a swipe at The Plain Truth when he wrote his 1996 novel Feet of Clay? Nobody it seems, until Journal webmaster Trey Cartwright began wondering about a reference in the book to a magazine called Unadorned Facts. A fan site confirms that Pratchett had the PT firmly in his sights when he wrote the book.

"Feet of Clay" is a biblical reference. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had a dream in which he saw a statue whose head was made of gold, but lower down the statue the materials got progressively more base, until the feet were "part of iron, part of clay"; the statue was shattered and destroyed by being struck on the feet, its weakest point. Hence, colloquially, the expression "feet of clay" has come to mean that someone regarded as an idol has a hidden weakness.

Unadorned Facts and Battle Call [p.91] are plays on The Plain Truth, published by the Worldwide Church of God, and War Cry, published by the Salvation Army. 

Which is just the cue to announce that the June 30 edition of The Journal has just been released. Also mentioned in the Journal article is an obscure reference to the WCG in one of Ian Fleming's books. Fleming was, of course, creator of the imperturbable James Bond, "007". Is anyone able to identify which of Fleming's books is being referred to?

The Journal website can be found at 

Billingsley goes fishin': The faithful flock are few indeed, so Don Billingsley has decided to rustle up some further prospects with a full page ad in the latest Journal. Don neglects to mention his former adventures in the Church of God - Established in Modesto which he split from not so long ago, but he cautions: "Please be advised that this invitation is only for those who want to accept fully all of those same teachings that God's apostle taught up to the time of his death."

Somehow we don't think he's referring to Paul...

The downsized Billingsley group calls itself Church of God - Faithful Flock. How many faithful tithe payers, if any, Don can lasso with his pulp epistle remains to be seen.


Move over Basil: If you find Basil Wolverton's Bible Story books that were published by WCG years ago now boring, check out a new and better format!  :-)

Dateline Pasadena

Division and subtraction: I read your link on PCG with interest and want to comment that it amazes me how much the churches (all of the differing religious groups that refer to themselves as 'Christian') like to hide their heads in the proverbial 'sand' when it comes to acknowledging the reality of the continuing influence of 'Armstrongism' in the WCG, the break-off groups and other organizations. The writer states close to the end of his message that he feels that the WCG has effectively condemned Armstrong's religion. If he is up on his facts he must have noticed how the elder Tkach claimed that he obtained bedside repentance from HWA, and Tkach Jr has claimed during more than one sermon that HWA was now in heaven applauding the church's reform efforts. Then [Tkach] completes the hypocrisy by selling the corrupt religious materials of this religious despot to the highest HWA worshipper he could possibly find, and whom Tkach undoubtedly knows will use these materials in order to browbeat followers into his personal version of Armstrong's religion. Where has this guy been? I suspect that like all the rest of the shackled minds of the exiters of Armstrong's religion he is in denial of the reality of the present WCG mindset (similar to break-offs that claim 'freedom' on the condition that one keep the traditions of the past without having to be intimidated into doing so). I believe in the world of math we call this continuing evolution of the WCG and her 'daughters' -division and subtraction. 

Jim Wylie

08 July  ANOTHER EVANGELIST PASSES, FLURRY INFO, BRITISH WCG POLISHES BEGGING BOWL.  Mail: Spiritual Abuse book, UCG clips, more on 18 truths, Hasidic Sabbaths

Richard Rice dies: Former Armstrong Evangelist Richard Rice died unexpectedly Saturday morning following a heart attack. His funeral will be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Wednesday with Carn Catherwood officiating.

Flurry of facts: Want objective information on Gerry Flurry's PCG? You could do worse than this link at, provided by MD's most tireless researcher, Dateline Pasadena.

For charity's sake!  The British Plain Truth, published by the local WCG franchise, has become a registered charity. The following item appears on the British WCG website.

Plain Truth gets Recognition

The Plain Truth has received confirmation that its application to become an independent charity has been approved by the Charity Commission.

"We are extremely excited about gaining charitable status,” said Peter Sheppard, Chairman of The Plain Truth.  He continued “This encouraging news will enable our fundraising efforts to widen as we will now be able to approach grant-making trusts as well as other charitable organisations for financial support.”

News of the successful application was received on the 26th June, just a few months after the initial application was made to the Charity Commission.  On hearing of the good news, Pastor-General Joseph Tkach responded from his office in Pasadena with a resounding “GREAT!”

Yup, the PT can now go cap in hand to various bodies in the UK and rattle its tin can. It will, of course, be competing with legitimate charities that desperately need support. How very proud Joey must be.


Book recommendation: I check out your site several times a week and am delighted to see your addition of The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.  I bought the book about a week ago and finished it in two days--a definite must read.  I would recommend this book to anyone who has left or is contemplating leaving WCG or any of its splinter "churches."  My sisters, parents and I made the choice to leave one of those "churches" this spring and the book really confirms the why behind that choice.  My parents joined WCG in the late 60's, left in 1980 and continued their robotic, abusive journey with a local splinter group. I have shared excerpts with my mom and I'm hoping she will read the book, as I think it paints a very clear picture that any organization that allows someone to remain in power with no accountability, vulnerable followers and twisted scriptures (and an AC-trained attitude of superiority)  is a breading ground for abuse!  Thanks again for your endorsement of this book and here's hoping lots of folks will read it!


UCG Innovation: From those who produce the Tomorrow TV for the UCG comes news of more innovation over at for those with Cable Access Television: Soon there will be a new five minute "inspirational" each day by a minister giving a message in front of his PC Web Camera. The viewers will be referred from the web site. The messages will cover a broad range of Biblical Topics and will be "uplifting". No mention on whether there would be a new clip each Sabbath Day.

Douglas Becker

Leopards and spots: [Bob] Thiel leads us to believe that money is not on the minds of head "evangelist" Spanky and his cronies. Did I miss something? Did the leopard's spots change? ... Betchya they can't get through the "fast" without mentioning money! ... Did Herbert actually "RESTORE" each of the "18 truths", or were any of them taught by others? Let's take a brief  look at a few of them.

The government of God: The Bible teaches a governmental system where GOD places people with spiritual gifts into his church. The congregations in the early church had the opportunity to choose their leaders at times by a "raising of the hands", or voting. Herbert Armstrong used the same system of hierarchical control and human ordinations that is used by, and originated in, the Catholic Church. Herbert's teaching that "God would correct the man at the top" proved utterly false!

The Millennium: The Church of God (Seventh Day) understood the concept of the millennium and the time duration long before Herbert "introduced" it.  They, as well as other groups, believed that it will be a time when the earth will be ruled in righteousness, and when salvation will be open to all.

The Identity of Modern Israel: It is a proven fact that Herbert used J. H. Allen's book to write his own book on this subject. Numerous groups have taught this concept in the past, and many are still teaching it today.

The Authority of the Sacred Calendar: Herbert did not explain that the Jewish calendar has clearly been modified by the Jews, and is NOT a "sacred calendar" that has been unaltered and preserved for thousands of years. Herbert never taught the errors, nor the arbitrary decisions that were humanly made. Herbert brought nothing new to the study of the Jewish calendar.

Second and Third Tithe: The concepts of "second tithe" and "third tithe" are not Biblical! Those terms do not exist in the scriptures. Even Herbert commanding people to give him a FIRST tithe, was a gross "error" on his part!
Most of Herbert's "18 restored truths" were either "borrowed", in error, or difficult to prove from the scriptures.


MD: Correspondence on the "18 Truths" has now finished

Herbie lovers: Since all these Herbie lovers are not Jewish (save a minority), they are keeping days that God never gave to them.  We have a freedom in Christ to worship God as we please.  All the same, when we try to keep a day that was never given to us, and keep it as if we are following the bible, we make a mockery of what God is trying to do. 

We all can now admit that no Herbie lover ever kept any Sabbath according to the way the bible actually says to.  Ever see a Hasidic Jew keep the Sabbath?  It is quite different than any Herbie lover would.  Why? Because the Hasidic Jews are keeping the Sabbath according to what the bible instructs.

Lyle Lange 

07 July  WORSHIP WARS, THE APOSTLE WHO WOULD BE PRESIDENT.  Mail: Hoover damned, COGwriter comments, Gerry's legacy

A House Divided: The following letter was posted on JLF. MD believes that the views expressed deserve to be heard. Unfortunately the hierarchy of the WCG will not permit this in any official forum.


The truth is that far from being a peace maker Tkach is actually the source of conflict in the WCG

... a significant worship survey in November 1998 that showed that of 15,440 members some 86% wanted to keep the festivals while only 14% wanted them gone and only 22% were against adding a Christmas/birth of Christ celebration

the Pastor General misled the members and ministers

The ministers knew since at least July 1998 that their Pastor General wanted the traditional worship customs of the WCG eliminated as quickly as possible... So at the same time that the Pastor General was telling the congregations that they could choose their worship, he was telling the ministers to make the congregations change

the cultic dynamic of absolute power has affected the current Pastor General just as it did Armstrong

I refer to that practice of using the totalitarian system to prejudice the choice by any means possible such as exclusion of contrary evidence, proof-texting, misleading propaganda, bribery/threat of key influencers, denigration of and expulsion of opponents. All of which I have witnessed personally...

Under Dr. Tkach’s leadership the members of the WCG have been “discouraged” to the point that there are at least 40,000 and perhaps many more by this date, who no longer attend any church. His administration has effectively turned them off of organized Christianity

Dr. Tkach would rather ignore valid concerns and evidence from his critics. He has denied them a voice let alone a place in repairing the WCG. He has offered no worthy apology, or validation of those who have been harmed and marginalized in their church home for which they sacrificed so much. Instead he continues to seek to “eliminate” their customs which as he must know means “eliminating” them

I would like to comment on Dr. Tkach’s July Personal entitled “Something Worth Thinking About…” As a former lay minister of the WCG I am not surprised that Dr. Tkach has come to a point where he at last openly advocates:

“But when we want to make the gospel attractive to a Gentile society, we need to eliminate customs that confuse the gospel with the old covenant law.”

The premise of the article is its subtitle “Peace At Any Price?” which tries to present Tkach as having done all he can do to make a reasonable peace with his opponents within the WCG. Is this premise true? In actuality it is patently false. The truth is that far from being a peace maker Tkach is actually the source of conflict in the WCG.

As an example the pastor of my old congregation has already started to push again for the elimination of the days much to the consternation of the members not to mention himself. He is afraid that this latest push that he feels he now has to make, will destabilize the finances in his local area.

The tragedy is that after 5 years of worship wars this congregation had reached a peace when after multiple surveys the pastor said he would abide by the last survey. Unfortunately from his perspective the congregation once again chose to keep Saturday, the festivals and Christmas.

If Tkach had wanted peace then he would have followed what he himself called a Spirit-led decision when in July 1998 he said that congregations could choose their customs of worship. There was even a significant worship survey in November 1998 that showed that of 15,440 members some 86% wanted to keep the festivals while only 14% wanted them gone and only 22% were against adding a Christmas/birth of Christ celebration. This survey gives a strong indication that the WCG membership of 1998 was relatively content and accepting of worship diversity.

Consider that in a totalitarian cult such as the WCG it was unheard of for the Pastor General to so graciously let the membership choose when and how they wished to worship. Indeed the very idea that a democratic/congregationalist approach would be allowed in this matter spoke well to the future of the WCG.

Why didn’t the Pastor General just legislate an elimination of the days since he had the power to enforce his personal preferences? Dr. Tkach had a very good reason for saying that the congregations should choose their worship which he re-stated in 1999:

“What would happen if we abolished all Saturday services and the annual festivals? We would be compromising the very principles of the gospel, of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, upon which we stand.” WN, March 1999, Personal (Straddling Days)

The reason for the choice was that if Tkach denied them their right to choose then he would be denying all that Christ represents. What is even more interesting about the 1999 Personal is its tone, that the WCG was now embroiled in worship wars. What happened from July 1998 to March 1999 that undermined worship tolerance?

What happened was that the Pastor General misled the members and ministers. He was personally opposed to the WCG traditional worship customs. Yet at the same time he realized that to openly legislate a change would deny as he said the “very principles of the gospel”.

The ministers knew since at least July 1998 that their Pastor General wanted the traditional worship customs of the WCG eliminated as quickly as possible (re: Regional Pastor Alan Barr sermon on July 11, 1998 in Kennesaw, GA in which he shared a detailed summary of the ministerial conference). So at the same time that the Pastor General was telling the congregations that they could choose their worship, he was telling the ministers to make the congregations change.

It was this deliberate duplicity that put the ministers on a collision course with the members. This would lead to the on-going cycle of worship wars, new legalism, loss of peace and the resultant division as well as consequent loss of membership not to mention continued financial instability.

What is also interesting is how the cultic dynamic of absolute power has affected the current Pastor General just as it did Armstrong. Armstrong was able to rationalize his actions even though it created cognitive dissonance because there was no one to hold him accountable.

As we have seen Dr. Tkach recognizes that openly legislating a change of custom in order to force the membership to change strikes at the very heart of the gospel. Yet, Dr. Tkach has rationalized that using the ministers to force the congregations to change is somehow acceptable. What is worse, openly denying the very principles of the gospel or accepting them but doing all one can to subvert them?

By subversion I refer to that practice of using the totalitarian system to prejudice the choice by any means possible such as exclusion of contrary evidence, proof-texting, misleading propaganda, bribery/threat of key influencers, denigration of and expulsion of opponents. All of which I have witnessed personally which is why I now attend a mainstream evangelical denomination.

A few examples that have been made public are Ron Stoddart’s confession of being paid to discourage WCG traditions and WCG administrative policy of only “loyal” ministers being assured of having a pension. The festivals are repeatedly positioned as being unsuitable because of their Jewishness instead of appreciating how Christ is represented in them. Even the use of “Jewish” by Tkach’s administration to stigmatize WCG traditions has an appearance of the evil of Christian anti-Semitism.

I believe that Dr. Tkach’s approach endangers the future of the WCG, as well as the members’ spiritual and emotional well being. Under Dr. Tkach’s leadership the members of the WCG have been “discouraged” to the point that there are at least 40,000 and perhaps many more by this date, who no longer attend any church. His administration has effectively turned them off of organized Christianity. His policies have as in this Personal sown a legalism that demands adherence to his personal worship preferences in order to show that a member is a good Christian promoting the gospel.

My heart breaks for the members and the ministers of the WCG including Dr. Tkach. They had and perhaps still have such potential to be a valuable part of the body of Christ.

The WCG would be well advised to take an approach similar to how the new Archbishop of Boston is approaching the crises of spiritual and sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic churches of Boston. Archbishop O’Malley has publicly confessed the sins of his church in that matter. He has acknowledged as well as validated the church’s critics. He seeks to make restitution even though he realizes that no restitution can undo the harm done, and he has enlisted all levels of the church in an effort to repair the church that the church’s leadership has harmed. The Archbishop is on record as saying that the church will step up to do the moral thing and not just the legal thing. O’Malley is intent on repairing his church.

In contrast Dr. Tkach would rather ignore valid concerns and evidence from his critics. He has denied them a voice let alone a place in repairing the WCG. He has offered no worthy apology, or validation of those who have been harmed and marginalized in their church home for which they sacrificed so much. Instead he continues to seek to “eliminate” their customs which as he must know means “eliminating” them. Tkach is not repairing his church but inflicting more needless conflict.

What did the members do to deserve this treatment? They extended tolerance if not out right welcome to adding Christmas and Easter to their traditional liturgy. They believed Tkach when he said they could choose. Lastly, they rejoice before God because of how they see Christ in all of their traditions.

Dr. Tkach implies that he is following the example of Paul by rebuking and eliminating those he accuses of refusing to accept freedom in Christ. In this the Pastor General is once more misrepresenting the evidence, the situation, the scriptures as well as the apostle Paul. Paul was a builder and repairer of churches. His pastoral policy is repeatedly mentioned in Romans 14, 15, as well as I Corinthians such as in 9:13 where Paul would rather not eat meat ever again should it cause his brother to fall. Paul stands in stark opposition to Pastor General Dr. Joseph Tkach where it comes to pastoral policy.

Dr. Tkach’s Personal is setting the WCG against the very principles of the gospel.

Something worth thinking about…

Yet another apostle: A reader sent in yet another link to someone who claims to be a COG apostle, this time from Kingston, NY:  A quick web search indicates that Mr. Catton (the aforementioned Apostle) was a "write in" candidate for President of the United States last election, scoring not a single vote. Why did he stand? This information from the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution:

Take, for example, Clifford Catton -- a perennial candidate from Kingston, N.Y., who is in the race because "postal employees have been stealing my mail since 1981." 

The following information comes from the Times Herald Record:

Voters missed their chance to back someone really different Tuesday. They missed out on Kingston's Clifford Catton...

Catton takes his politics as seriously as his religion. In fact, unofficially, he runs under the banner of the Church of God Party, of which he is the pastor and, as far as he knows, its only parishioner. He is mostly unemployed and lives in a small apartment on Clinton Street. He is poor and eats out of cans for the most part, he said.

Catton wrote scores of fund-raising letters to political groups, politicians and businesses over the past year. He got seven responses, and no money. As for the issues, he thinks the military created the AIDS virus. He advocates an 8 percent tax on income, wants to build 160 agricultural cities, and hire 3 million people for a federal work assistance program.

Will Catton, 51, run for president again? "I am not sure," he said. "I could continue the party, but it is a burden to me. It is detracting from my ministry. I have to do everything myself."


David Hoover: David Ben Ariel's real name is David Hoover. He had his name changed legally, likely to give it a Jewish twist and to sound more important and  prophetic. The name David Ben Ariel would be roughly translated "Beloved of God, Son of the Lion". My recommendation for his  name would be David "Bent Aerial"!

Apparently he was deported from Israel because of poor behavior in his loud mouth proselytizing there. He has been banned by many online forums because of his obnoxious attempts to dominate them and to repeatedly post and attack others on these forums. This has occurred in both Jewish & Christian online forums alike.

I am amazed though on how much this guy gets letters to the editor published and receives online attention. Goes to show you that there a lot fewer writers of things than there are readers!

Bill Lussenheide

MD: Russell, in yesterday's AW mailbag, also identified Ben-Ariel as David Hoover, but that section was deleted from the published version as he wasn't able to be 100% certain.

18 Truths: There are two misleading items in the July 6th mailbag I would like to comment on. The first was from 'Steve' who suggests that the LCG 7/12/03 fast is because, "Tithes and offerings must be down". This is inaccurate as LCG's income is up 8 percent this year.

The second was from some unidentified person who makes some inaccurate comments about me and what he/she alleges I told him,/her. While it is true that I am currently working on many articles, including the 18 truths, it is not true that I do not answer emails because of it. I do answer emails. What is true, however, is that I attempt to prioritize my time, and some writers of emails believe I should devote time to research some private doctrinal concern/complaint that they have. And unless I share that concern, I normally do not do that. Finally, I should add, that I have addressed the concept that HWA did not claim that the 18 truths were original from him, only that he felt that God used him to restore them to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God. There are several articles that address that at

Robert Thiel

MD: Well Bob, you're doing better than me, having long ago given up trying to respond to every single email personally. I wish I could, but there are only so many hours in a day.

Sarcastic scuttlebutt: There is no need for Flurry to purchase the campus.  Since we all know that Mr. Armstrong really intended for his "true followers" to carry on the "Work," all Flurry has to do is forge a Warrant Deed showing that HWA transferred the entire campus to him--HWA's true successor.  The Warranty Deed will also have to be forged to look like it was recorded in the County Clerk's Office.  It would be helpful [if Flurry] could also come up with a series of letters between the "Apostle" and "that [false] Prophet" showing HWA really intended Flurry to own the campus.  

Now Flurry can file suit in U.S. District Court to evict the WCG.  In his suit, he can also ask for  17 years of back rent.  

If you think I am being sarcastic (I am), just remember what Flurry did to Mystery of the Ages.  He simply removed the copyright notice [that read] WCG and inserted "Copyright Herbert W. Armstrong" - then claimed he had the right to print and distribute the book under the doctrine of fair use.  Why not just change title to the campus as he did to the book?

The United States is a common law country.  Court decisions--especially decisions from the Court of Appeals and the U. S. Supreme Court--become law.  This is why lawyers must do so much research.  Now every time a lawyer, paralegal, judge, or law student researches "fair use" or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, they will see Flurry [appears as] nothing but a common thief.  That will be his real legacy.


06 July  INTERNATIONAL NEWS, HEAR HERB PRAISE RACIAL SEGREGATION, MOVE OVER TEDDY - HERE COMES GWYNETH.  Mail: Stay away from DBA, fasting for funds, 18 plagiarized truths

New on the MD book page

CGI paper online: Gone are the days when the Church of God, International, led by Garner Ted Armstrong, was able to produce a flagship magazine (Twentieth Century Watch) and a regular church newspaper (The International News). Ted himself is now gone too - to head up a more compliant (and forgiving) splinter ministry. However it's interesting to note that CGI has produced a 2003 issue of the International News which runs to 16 pages. It is available as a PDF document on the group's website.

Was Herb a racist bigot? Was HWA a racist, or just terribly misunderstood and much maligned? Some time ago we made available scans of Armstrong's mind-numbingly vile 1963 "Race Issue" articles for The Plain Truth. At some future point we hope to make that material available again. Meantime, in case anyone has doubts on the matter, here's a link to an hour long Real Audio file of Herb lambasting the brethren on the subject of interracial marriage. Naturally, MD does not endorse the remarks made by the late "Apostle". In fact, for the record, our view is that this "sermon" is an embarrassment: a laughable and ludicrous attempt to justify complete nonsense.

A brief selection of notes from that sermon (circa 1980) is available at Frankly, we think the original note-taker missed some of the choicest quotes, including threats of the Lake of Fire.

Gwyneth Paltrow and The World (of) Tomorrow: Holy Herboids, The World of Tomorrow is about to hit the big screen! No, not Garner Ted whining about how the world is a sick, sick place full of tattooed homosexuals, liberal politicians and demon possessed kids reading Harry Potter. We're talking about The World of Tomorrow, a movie due for release next year. "This adventure film, set before World War II, finds Angelina Jolie playing a skilled pilot paired with an investigative journalist (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a risk-taking colleague (Jude Law).

"The exact details of this movie aren't yet known, except that it's a 1930s-set action adventure with a pulp fiction feel similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark, except it's influenced by science fiction in ways that film wasn't." (Yahoo! Movies)

Great title, don't you think? So where d'ya think they got it?

One of the places where that phrase, "The World of Tomorrow", was used in the 1930s (when this movie is set) was at the 1939 World Fair in New York City (the one they built that big golfball-looking geodesic sphere for), which used that phrase as its motto.

Could it possibly, conceivably be that Herb Armstrong, the 1930s radio preacher with a reputation for intellectual rip-offs, got the inspiration for his revamped radio show title (originally called Radio Church of God) from that same source? Indubitably!

All of which would mean that the name The World Tomorrow owes more to Popular Mechanics than the Bible.

Check out this CBC anniversary page on the '39 World Fair


David Ben-Ariel: I believe I know this guy.  I can't be one hundred percent sure but it's a very close match... He was a "friend of the family" in the Toledo, Ohio congregation, as a young guy.  He started to slip further and further into this stuff, writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper, etc.  I am a little taken aback to see his name appear in MD, but upon further reflection, not surprised.

My advice is:  STAY AWAY FROM THIS GUY.  Take it from someone who has met him in person (albeit as a young child).


Concise comment on Spanky's fast: Tithes and offerings must be down. 


Intelligent theology: Just out of curiosity I wonder if all of the LCG ministry fast when they give out the decree? ... Dr. Thiel who appears to be better at fence straddling than truly intelligent theology as he informed me that he has little time for emails as he is dedicating himself to researching the 18 'truths' credited to HWA. Wonder how far these gurus will go before they figure out that most of his 18 'truths' were also plagiarized? 

05 July  O JOY - A NEW PROPHET, PSN LETTER, SPANKY COMMANDS FAST.  Mail: Lost century, succession, bitter scuttlebutt, meat-hooks, money concerns, a sign

David presses Fast Forward: MD readers will be delighted to learn that God has inspired a new prophet for these troublous times. He's a former Flurry fancier who the Lord has inspired to write a book of significance equal to Gerry's Malachi's Message. The Lord's newest little helper calls himself David Ben-Ariel, and his yet unpublished magnum opus is titled Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. David has written to Gerry:

As God is my witness, despite being unjustly exiled from the PCG by Herr Leap for believing God has inspired Beyond Babylon as the bittersweet book of warning for the world, I have continued to direct Jews, Israelis, professing Christians and others to the work and literature of the PCG, as David offered his spoils to the elders of Judah while on the run from Saul. I honestly believe the burden of Beyond Babylon belongs to God's Church - that it is your responsibility to publish it... What other Church member has been raised up since baptism with a God-given attachment to the Jews and Israel? Or who has lived throughout the Holy Land, including during Operation Desert Storm and written innumerable letters and articles read by Jews and Israelis concerning the GERMAN THREAT TO WORLD PEACE? Who else is known and warmly received by influential Israeli friends? I've met Rabin and Sharon and Teddy Kollek, among others. Whose unjust imprisonment and deportation has served as a God-given podium to share God's truth with Judah, British-Israel and the world? ... You are the pastor general of the PCG as God would have you to be. I've been busy with the State Department as God leads and opens doors and I walk through them! I know I will soon return to Zion, because he whom God sends man cannot return! In God's Mind I have never left and will continue the Work He began through me, laying the foundation, and then pressing PAUSE - just like those Jews - Zerubbabel - laying the foundation of the Temple and stopping for 15 years and then starting up again by God's encouragement and FINISHING THE WORK GOD HAD GIVEN THEM TO DO! Pause is almost history. FAST FORWARD is about to begin.

Imprisonment and deportation? Uh, okay...

I'm not aware of any other book that can compare to Beyond Babylon. It is unique in its own God-given right for its own unique task to accomplish a short work (3 and one half years) just BEFORE the Great Tribulation strikes, getting God's Word out in print - and then it will be published in person in Jerusalem for the final 3 and one half years leading up to Christ's glorious return...

Woo-hoo! Needless to say there's a website

Terrible marketing job: The Pasadena Star News has published the following letter.

It appears as though the Worldwide Church of God has done a terrible job of marketing its beautiful Ambassador campus to outside organizations.  They looked in the yellow pages under "developers" and
thought they had found the golden egg.

I would like to know if they put together a professional package and presented it to any of the many Eastern colleges and universities, with multimillion-dollar shrinking-on-the-stock-market endowments, who
would rather out their funds into a gorgeous turnkey Western campus in one of the most highly rated, cultured and world renowned communities in the area.

While the Star News keeps printing passionate letters about saving that old wreck the Raymond Theater, no one raises a whisper about the pending demolition of one of America's finest middle-sized auditoriums, the Ambassador, just 30 years old.

In 1974 it became a world-class venue for symphony concerts and recitals under the inspired and effective leadership of the late Wayne Shilkret.  Practically every major artist appeared there, with modest patron ticket prices.

I remember just one year's recital series that featured Vladimir Horowitz, Nathan Milstein, Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price, Kiri te Kanawa, and guitarist John Williams.  World class orchestras and
conductors made regular appearances.

Glendale, with larger population, but less stature, has found considerable success in its reclamation of the Alex Theater.  The cities of Cerritos, Thousand Oaks and Escondido have new auditoriums, presenting fine, all-around programming.  Other comparable thriving civic programs are currently carried on in La Mirada, Oxnard, Azusa, El Cajon and Whittier, plus university campuses at Cal States Long Beach and Los Angeles, as well as UC Irvine and UCLA.

If Ambassador Auditorium goes, the people who label themselves the so called culturally "elite" of Pasadena and its surrounding upscale territories should hang their heads in shame.

Topper Smith

Another Spanky Fast: The Living Church of God positively enjoys tossing in church-wide fasts for its lucky members. The latest is coming up July 12. The sect supremo, Roderick C. Meredith, speaking "in Jesus' name", wrote to members June 17:

After praying and meditating about all of this--and after conferring with several members of the Council of Elders--I want to announce a Church-wide fast for the Sabbath of July 12, 2003. The purpose of this fast is to humble ourselves before God, to seek His forgiveness for our weaknesses and our lethargy, and to beseech Him to help us, to use us, to guide us and to empower us to be able to reach out to our peoples and especially to our former brethren much more effectively! In Jesus' name, I ask that all ministers, churches and video groups announce this fast and support it in every way. 

We wish all LCG readers an enjoyable time. We wonder if Rod will be following in Herb's footsteps and drinking coffee (and popping aspirin) on the day, as the late apostle was known to do on the Day of Atonement? ("Fellows, I've always said there's absolutely no nutritional value in a cup of coffee."


Lost and found century: I noticed that Craig White's list included S. Gusten Olsen's books about the purported Israelite ancestry of the Scandinavians and the apostasy in the early Church.  However... it's not "The Apostasy of the First Century," but "The Apostasy of the Lost Century." I picked up copies of his books in the late 1980s or so during the Feast of Tabernacles in the Wisconsin Dells.  Olsen is Swedish, but lives (or lived) in Britain -- at one of those Feasts I met him at the Dells and talked to him about "Nordic Origins," back when I believed in such things.

A year or two later is when "Apostasy" came out.  That book was Olsen's attempt to put flesh on the bones of the "lost century" skeleton, the groundless and utterly laughable belief that in there was a clean break between the Christianity of the Apostles and the Christianity of the early Church Fathers.  If you assume that there was a "lost century", and if you assume that Christians are supposed to observe the Sabbath and Holy Days, etc., then you might come up with a retelling of early Church history such as Olsen came up with.  But only if you first make those assumptions. However, if you approach those early historical sources without such presuppositions, you'd (naturally enough) probably reach conclusions more in line with mainstream historical scholarship.

Anyway, that "lost century" (which for convenience we'll say was from about 50 A.D. to 150 A.D.) was definitely a busy time for the Church -- it's when most of the New Testament was written... There are definitely lacunae in our knowledge of Christianity in that earliest era, but it's a grave distortion of the facts to assert there ever was a "lost century."  It's not that we don't have primary sources on what Christianity was like back then -- rather, it's that some folks today don't like what those sources tell us...  If you don't like wild and unfalsifiable conspiracy theories, then you'll have to give up the idea that the early Church fell away from the truth of Armstrongism, and instead conclude that the early Church was never Armstrongite.

Jared Olar

Line of succession: When it comes to the "line of succession" in WCG, it seems to have passed historically through the Church Administration office. Joseph Tkach Sr. and Jr. both directed it, before becoming Pastors-General.  Dan Rogers had that title, before so many of the titles in Pasadena were changed.

Richard Burkard



MD: Oh a hoot indeed. On that day pigs will fly in formation over the auditorium, Joe will convert to Zen Buddhism and Greg Albrecht will write a memorable Plain Truth Commentary. 

That old heretic: Hard as it is to fathom given all the failed prophecies of that old heretic, HWA, my brother-in-law lives in fear of Germany's invasion of the US.  Somehow, he's gotten the idea that when they arrive, they will hang us all on meat hooks.  My sister is tormented almost daily for not acknowledging that old goat as the greatest person whose lived since Jesus.  I suppose they are on Tribulation Watch, and with this article, things will only be more stressful as he peeks out the window watching for the goose-stepping paratroopers with their hooks.

Where is the money going? Hello, I've been a member of WCG for almost 23 yrs, & could never be happier since the changes have occurred.  To be totally free from legalism, & embrace the totality of God's Grace, has given me a freedom in Jesus- a relationship w/Him, that fills me w/joy & gratitude!  I've learned so much & been edified by many other denominations & attend a few other churches on Sundays etc, & many of my friends are from other denominations.  The point I'm making is I know God's rescued us from the Armstrong "web" of error & our local church has such zeal to reach out to others w/the message of relationship & grace in Jesus. 

We're hoping to change to Sunday asap, & want to change our name, as soon as we find our own building to meet in. But if membership gets smaller, I may be looking for another church to attend. Recently, I've been looking into factual information about the current leadership & want to know if I send in offerings, where is the money going?  I don't want it to be supporting old lawsuit settlements & Stanley Rader's surviving relatives. I know the sale of the Pasadena campus will help ministers who gave so much of their lives as pastors, (even though they taught flawed doctrine), have no pension or retirement.  I believe the current administration is sincere from the heart & honestly pursuing Christ w/ no hidden agenda.

So, if you have any factual info on the current leadership & financial condition of WCG, could you let me know?

MD: Interesting question, but an answer isn't easy due to the total lack of transparency in the church's dealings. You could ask Ron Kelly to send you the audited statement for the last financial year, though we've yet to hear of anyone being successful in getting a copy. If WCG is such a sincere, honest and agenda-free Christian body, how come you need to ask us these questions? Bottom line, why would anyone want to support a church which is an institutionalized denial of the priesthood of all believers? Our advice? Give your financial support, time and energy to a church that freely and gladly demonstrates Christian accountability.

Please send a sign! Thought your readers might appreciate this shocking example of answered prayer.

Glenn Parker  (Ex WCG, 1963-1980)
Austin, Texas

02 July  PCG ON GERMANY, A LIST OF DUBIOUS BOOKS.  Mail: Questions, pastoral dwellings, tithing

Lone voice of geopolitical confusion: A glance at the June issue of Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Trumpet reveals that the PCG is pushing its anti-German barrow uphill again. Ron Fraser finds sinister motives in the building of a new deep-water container shipping port at Wilhelmshaven and characterizes Germany as the "Gatekeeper of Europe", retooling for war (against America and Britain). Says Ronnie:

How short is our memory! How naive are our present-day leaders!

We agree, if Ron is referring to the PCG bosses and their diseased racist reinvention of history to fit Herbert Armstrong's queer views on prophecy. But of course Ron isn't. Gareth Fraser discerns sinister events afoot as the Vatican and Germany forge ties with South American nations. 

We live in tumultuous times—times of great geopolitical earthquakes as old alliances between world powers collapse and new ones form. The Trumpet, in the tradition of Herbert Armstrong, continues to report these events as they happen. The whole world needs to know what is happening between Europe and Latin America! With Herbert W. Armstrong gone, only the Trumpet can tell you.

Britain and America have failed to heed the warning of the lone voice crying out in a wilderness of geopolitical confusion. They have continued in national disobedience to the supreme laws of God. As a result of their failure, their birthright promises are being stripped away; the Eurocombine, supported by a great false church, is prophesied to soon stride atop the world and enslave the English-speaking nations (Rev. 17).

Codswallop. If Ron and Gareth want to find some really disturbing Nazi tendencies, they needn't look much further than Edmond, Oklahoma.

COG author list: Aussie COGophile Craig White (History Research Projects, GPO Box 864, Sydney, Australia 2001) has produced a list of books by WCG-related authors (he excludes "anti-COG" writers like David Robinson and John Tuit.) Not exactly an illustrious collection, most are third rate apologetics written by amateurs and enthusiasts... though there are honorable exceptions like Charles Dorothy's dissertation on Esther. A slightly edited version of Craig's list follows (the original also refers to an unidentified book on Leviticus, possibly by Lester Grabbe.) Many of these titles are no longer in print, and there are also bound to be some omissions... Douglas Becker's Assertive Incompetence for example, Buzzard & Hunting's Doctrine of the Trinity, Lester Grabbe's commentary on Ezra- Nehemiah (along with the volume he edited on the invasion of Sennacherib in 701 BCE, another entitled Judaism from Cyrus to Hadrian: The Roman Period and other respected academic works), and of course Garner Ted Armstrong's The Real Jesus (perhaps the silliest "biography" of Jesus ever written). Any further recommendations?









Arvidson, G


In Search of King David's Lost Tomb & Treasure


Arvidson, G

Due out 2003?

The Sign of Joseph


Boston , SW


The Essential Teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong


Bowers, GM


Faith and Doctrines of the Early Church


Collins, S


The Lost Tribes of Israel – Found!

CPA Books

Collins, S


Israel ’s Lost Empires

Bible Blessings

Collins, S


The Origins and Empire of Ancient Israel

Bible Blessings

Collins, S

Due out 2003

Israel ’s Lost Tribes Today


Collins, S

Due out 2003

Parthia : The Forgotten Ancient Superpower


Coulter, R


The Christian Passover

York Publishing

Coulter, R


The Seven General Epistles

York Publishing

Coulter, R


Harmony of the Gospels

York Publishing

Dankenbring, WF


The Keys to Radiant Health


Dankenbring, WF


The Last Days


Dankenbring, WF


Beyond Star Wars.


Dankenbring, WF


First Genesis


Dankenbring, WF


Last Days of Planet Earth


Dankenbring, WF


Overcoming Satan.


Dorothy, CV


The Books of Esther: Structure, Genre, and Textual Integrity

Sheffield Academic Press

Ford, LE


And God Remembered Babylon

Vantage Press

Hoeh, HL


Compendium of World History

Ambassador College



In Search of … the Origin of Nations

1stBooks Library

Joseph, M


Middle East :  Blueprint for the Final Solution (subtitled: The Coming Fall and Rise of Western Democracy)

1stBooks Library

Kime, MG, Ph.D.


Due out 2003

The Lost 13th Tribe: America In Prophecy.  Volume: 1 The Trail of the Serpent


Knight, A


Primitive Christianity in Crisis


Knight, A

Due out 2003/04

Primitive Christianity in Crisis (revised) (vol 1)


Knight, A

Due out 2003/04

Primitive Christianity in Crisis (revised) (vol 2)


Knight, A

Due out 2003/04

Primitive Christianity in Crisis (revised) (vol 3)


Knight, A

Due out 2003/04

Primitive Christianity in Crisis (revised) (vol 4)


Lewis, D &

Moore, K


Birth of the Multinational - 2000 Years of Ancient Business History – From Ashur to Augustus

Copenhagen Business School Press

Lewis, D &

Moore, K


Foundations of Corporate Empire

FT Prentice Hall

Martin, E


The People that History Forgot


Martin, E


Restoring the Original Bible.


Martin, E


Secrets of Golgotha .


Martin, E


The Star that astonished the World.


Martin, E


The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot


McNair, R


Ascent to Greatness.


Nickels, RC


History of the Church of God Seventh Day (vol 1)


Olson, SG


Apostasy of the First Century


Olson, SG


Incredible Nordic Origins


Snow, E


A Zeal for God not according to Knowledge: A refutation of Judaism’s Arguments against Christianity


Syltie, PW


Millennial Agriculture: The New Eden : A Key to Understanding the Kingdom of God


Waitz, JP


God's End-Time Man: The Stunning Significance of Herbert W. Armstrong

1stBooks Library

Wlodyga, RR


Health Secrets from the Bible



Questions questions: I graduated from AC in 1973.  Around that time many of the administrators and faculty members left the WCG.  Albert J. Portune, John Portune, to name just a few.  Does anyone know what become of these and other former leaders of WCG?  It is my hope that those who left were able to pursue pleasant and productive lives.

One of the weaknesses of some ministries is their dependency on a single personality and lack of a succession plan.  Does anyone have any idea what will become of GTA's church once he passes from the scene?  The WCG should have had a more open succession. Oral Roberts has groomed his son, Richard. Robert Schuller has done the same.  I heard a few years ago that Dr. D. James Kennedy did not have have plan.  I also recall that GTA's sons have a hearing disability. Might one reason for his continued ministry be to provide for his son's future if their disability would prevent them from making a living?  How has his wife handled the downsizing and scandals of the past thirty years?

A reversal of sorts: Having seen the area in which GTA resides, one has to admit that he has chosen an area consistent with his hobbies and interests, a safe haven where there is a modicum of security, to say nothing of neighbors with incredible class.

But, I guess the question nagging most of your readers is, where would the hypothetical Dr. and Mrs. Jesus Christ live while fulfilling their mission in today's world?  One thing is certain, and that is you can rule out homelessness.  Who, but a therapist or other homeless person even listens to a homeless individual, let alone taking such a person's message seriously?  At the other end of the spectrum would be the "high roller", or ostentatiously rich messenger.  That type of lifestyle invites the criticism that money, rather than message, is the primary motivating factor for being in the ministry.

Actually, the Bible is even conflicted on the subject.  Christians are promised an abundant life, with blessings beyond their capacity to receive them.  Yet, Jesus also taught that it is easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And then, we have the example of Jesus really enjoying a foot massage with some incredibly expensive ointments, expertly administered by Mary Magdalene.  So, apparently there might be some occasional perks for the messenger!

The COG's have promulgated a reversal of sorts.  In the major Christian religions, permanent churches are built, but the pastor has a temporary dwelling at his church, or in the parsonage, during his tenure at that particular congregation.  In the COG's, rarely is a permanent church built, yet the ministers purchase a somewhat permanent home (often titled in the name of the church, providing tax benefits!) usually in affluent areas of the communities which they serve.  The rationalizations for this involve the minister needing to be taken seriously, foreshadowing conditions which will exist in the millennium, demonstrating God's blessings, etc.  However, these things would also be true of the parsonage scenario, a time-honored tradition.  The church congregation itself controls the living standards of the parsonage, and ensures balance according to community standards.   Under such an arrangement, the minister is given great credibility and respect by all, because it is understood that he is sacrificing what he might enjoy in the secular world, because he has chosen a position of service.  Unfortunately, service is the missing concept in a church based on authoritarian dictatorship with one man making up all the rules as he goes along.  Zero integrity is the unfortunate consequence, and breeds the abysmal lack of respect most of us feel towards certain of the COG ministry past and present.

Bob Evans

Tithing queries: If 10% of your money is "tithe", why does God say that a man can redeem his tithe with money? Lev. 27:31. Didn't God use this law to prevent greedy Levites and priests from replacing the agricultural tithing system with a tithing system based upon money?

Is there a single Old Testament scripture even hinting that money should be used as tithe?

Doesn't "tithing on your INCREASE" really mean "tithing on your PRODUCE" (Heb. "tebuwah"), which actually means the same thing as the "produce" section in your grocery store? Isn't this word used 38 times in the Bible which refers to fruit, grain, or vegetables?

Didn't Peter speak against those who would be making a profit off of God's people? Didn't he use the Greek term for "conducting BUSINESS for the purpose of making a profit"? II Pet. 2:1-3. Could it be that Peter was talking about false teachers who accomplish their peddling of God's word by convincing their followers to "obey the law of tithes and offerings"?

Doesn't Micah 3:10-11 speak of those who collect money for teaching what they claim is God's truth? ... Isn't it interesting that Peter called those who would collect money from God's people, "merchandisers"?

How many tithe-preaching "ministers" will give honest answers to these few simple questions?


Letter policy: When MD was launched more than two years ago, there were only a few correspondents willing to put their names to published emails. As the site has become established, a greater openness has developed, and named letters are becoming much more common. However we still understand that some people may not be comfortable with their names appearing. A problem arises when it isn't clear whether a writer wishes to remain anonymous or not.

If an email is received which is signed at the bottom it will, if published, usually appear under that name unless there is a note attached which asks for anonymity. When signing a letter, writers have a variety of options from full name to initials, and everything in between (e.g. Bart Simpson, B. Simpson, Bart S., BS ...) If the email is unsigned at the bottom it will, if published, usually appear anonymously, unless the writer has already expressed their willingness to have their name attached. Letters are published at the the webmaster's discretion and may be edited for clarity and content.

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