Cheap, Prostitute Salesmen For The Cult
John O.. Ex-Worldwide Church of God Pastor
Just recently, as I passed by a newspaper stand, I was reminded what the "ministering" business was all about. It paralleled the world system so much that it was nauseous.
The headlines on our paper said that Congress had now, finally appropriated the countless hundreds of millions of dollars to continue the new aircraft fighter project, the new F-22, Raptor. Just six months ago, Congress bombed the idea because of lack of Congressional support. Enter the lobbyist. And now, suddenly and miraculously, Congress has enough votes to ensure the passage of the money to continue manufacture of this machine whose sole intent is to destroy human life.
It suddenly became clear that those Congress persons who were originally against the project and voted against it at the time, were simply holding out for a bigger bribe. They obviously got their money, and so, the project is now alive again.
Is this any different from churches, and especially cults? Who are the "Congress People" of these organizations and do they really care for the flock . . . or its fleecing?
Just after we moved to Hawaii, we received a Worldwide Church of God print out of the area's income. It was NOT for individuals, but sub-totals from Kauai, Honolulu, Maui, Kalawao, and Hawaii counties. The grand total for all islands was only $1500 per month for the income in those days. We were a part of the International Division then, and not a part of Church Administration, or later PAD. I understand this caused some problem between the local and international groups, as (technically) only the international group was eligible to junket to the areas under their domain. That meant that the specially favored of the mainland group of "ministers" could not strictly go to Hawaii to "exhort the brethren," on church expenses, as it wasn't their turf. Later, because of Pasadena politics, Hawaii was garnered under the auspices of the mainland group, and then, the many more previously "deprived" of favored national ministerial staff were now permitted to junket there.
In the last few months of our Worldwide Church of God tenure, I was again sent a Worldwide Church of God readout of the money now garnered from the islands. This time it was well over $6000. With the original $1500 figure (and taking into account, the required, bloated Pasadena overhead), the islands were dipping into the red. And I was getting only $150 a month. But, with $6000 a month, we were well into the black with money to spare. Pasadena was delighted. The ministry, according to them, was now successful.
"I'm enclosing this readout," said the accounting letter to me in those final days of our Worldwide Church of God experience, "to show how successful your ministry has been in Hawaii."
Were they kidding? Success? Money? What about the traditional approach . . . souls saved, baptisms, new ordinations, congregations growing, and lives changed? There was not a word about that. What about the brethren? Wasn' t Pasadena's concern supposedly for the people themselves? The point is . . . they didn't give a damn. It was the money that made for the success or failure of the ministry - or any ministry - and not the actual ministering to help people.
So, what was the point of any Worldwide Church of God ministry? We were all, in fact, non ministers, because we were not sent anywhere to honestly minister to anyone. That was the bottom line. We were nothing more than cheap, prostitute salesmen for the cult to promote the insatiable organization's financial appetite, and to uphold allegiance to its leadership.
Later on - and it was my wife that reminded me - I was told that there is NO WAY anyone can be a minister in a cult. Just because some dummy laid hands on me, doesn't mean I'm "anointed" of God. I'm just a human, same as anyone else, but now I had a job to do - a secular job. Keep the brethren happy and get more "converts" for the cult.
If folks want to stick to the technical definition of an actual line of "anointed" ones, then please consider this. HWA was a member of the Seventh Day Church of God, now headquartered in Denver, Colorado. He lied about this association (among zillions of other things), and said he was never a member, even though he correctly claims they ordained him. One member of the Hawaiian congregation wrote to the Denver conference of 7th Day while we were in Hawaii about HWA's membership. It was Elder Ray Straub who replied from the Denver office.
"Most certainly," Ray said in his letter, "Herbert Armstrong was indeed a member of the Church of God, Seventh Day. He had to be, as we don't make it a habit of ordaining men to the ministry who claim to be non-members."
However, HWA was not always in the "ordained" mode after that time, and thus "lost" his anointing. When the Seventh Day group found out about his monetary and sexual improprieties (he was found taking broadcast money from 7th Day, only to pocket the donation money for himself), they then revoked his credentials because of : " . . . conduct unbecoming a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." So, Herbert was (technically) no longer a minister when he started ordaining his own group of lethal lieutenants. Legally, he was a secular man running a secular business that had NOTHING to do with God, Church, or anything spiritual - despite its label. So, if any Worldwide Church of Goder thinks that ministerial ordinations were carried on in a direct line from the early apostles, then I would suggest they think again. A major fragmentation happened in that direct, anointed line with Herbert's undoing. And so, all the Worldwide Church of God lieutenants and the total line of Worldwide Church of God "ministers" are therefore strictly . . . non ministers.
If some wish to take another approach and say: "But it was God who anointed HWA and that makes all the difference." Does it? With HWA's fruits? Since HWA's fruits were strictly from the source of diabolical madness, selfishness, greed and power, then if God really "anointed" HWA with all these traits, then God made a lousy selection.
The logical answer is simple. HWA left Oregon under a prophetic cloud, as everything he ever prophesized had bombed, and he moved to California. In California, anyone can set up a church, and for the paying of the non-profit fee, anyone can set up a non profit corporation. The California state government doesn't care who you are, as long as you pay the yearly taxes. And ANYONE who's a part of such a corporation in California can legally call himself a minister, and perform marriages, funerals, baptisms, etc.
In those days, getting a tax exempt status for your church was simple too. You just had to apply. If you were a non-profit corporation then you got the exemption. With his non-profit (HAAAA!!!) corporation calling itself a "Church," having a tax exempt status, and now calling himself a minister, Herbert was in business. The "Work of God" had started.
But, please notice. HWA was NOT a minister, he carried NO credentials, and the only claim of "holiness" to his apostolic despotism was the fact that he set up a church corporation, which any crook can do and which many crooks have done since. It was simply a secular and business operation. And like all businesses (as Loma later confirmed), it was done to MAKE MONEY.
Now, this revelation must come as a humungous blow to the egos of all ministers and ex-ministers of the COG cult conclave. NONE OF US WERE EVER MINISTERS. This means we were nothing more than secular employees of a demonic organization and we were never anointed or chosen by God for any reason at all. We were hand picked by businessmen who felt we were good salesmen to keep the brethren happy and keep the money rolling into HQ.
But, take heart. The best is yet to come.
Since there's no "anointed" ministers out there in the COG cults (and you can never be a minister in a cult), then there is no one, obviously, to do the work of the ministry. This means that no one is baptized since it takes a minister to do that. If there's no baptism, then there's no Holy Spirit, because the laying on of hands means nothing. If there's no Holy Spirit then there's no "God's Church." If there's no church, then no one can ever be marked or disfellowshipped from something that never existed.
If there's a large group of ex-ministers (that term is only used for clarity) out there, then please, let's be honest with ourselves and the brethren that we once pastored. We were never ministers. Those are the provable facts. We were only secular employees of a diabolical corporation dedicated to the accumulation of money and power for its leader and his minions, and all at the expense of innocent, trusting people coupled with the depletion of their money, security, self respect, and mental stability. Isn't it time for an apology?
Then, who are the real ministers? That's a good question that everyone will have to decide by observation for themselves. No one can do your thinking for you. Please think, look around you and observe. Who are those who really serve? Who actually help the people in this world? Please, let me throw in a couple of prime examples.
Jesus of Nazareth is one excellent example. He was a simple, gentle and kind man, a carpenter, and a friend to all. Anyone could approach Him and talk to Him. No one needed an appointment, no one needed to be a "member" of anything to share His ideas, and no one needed to be "righteous" in order to be His friend. He accepted everyone - even those who made themselves His enemies. He didn't travel around in a coach. He walked everywhere. He didn't speak in the sanctity of the temples, but talked openly in the fields, the inns, and by the wayside. He taught freedom and encouraged everyone to think for themselves. He was a positive man, but He condemned arrogance. He showed empathy for any who suffered and always healed those who would allow it. He gave hope to a nation and verbally obsoleted their archaic Mosaic philosophy of legalistic oppression. He freed man from his mental shackles, but He never intimidated anyone. Instead of fear, He preached love. Instead of bondage, He preached freedom. He allowed everyone to make up their own minds in matters of how they would live their own lives. He encouraged new ideas and made people think about life. He didn't live in a big house, but lived modestly and enjoyed the exhilaration of nature's outdoors. He saw the hypocrisy of organized religion and openly condemned it. He came to minister freedom to a nation and He was killed for it. His legacy remains forever. He was a true minister.
The late Albert Schweitzer had four doctorate degrees, and all from fully accredited universities. He had doctorates in theology, music, philosophy, and medicine. With all those degrees, he could have chosen to live like an intellectual guru in some ivory tower in some famous academy of learning. He could have chosen a cushy lifestyle and surrounded himself with luxury. He was a brilliant man. He could have chosen a lifetime of intellect and comfort. Yet, Dr. Schweitzer chose to live in a small village in Africa and serve his fellow man. He chose to help - for NOTHING - those sick folks who couldn't help themselves. He chose to teach the ignorant of a power Higher than ourselves, and he healed the wounds of the physically afflicted. He died in this profession, and was much loved by all. He was a true minister.
Mohandas K. Gandhi was shot in 1948 by a Hindu nutcase, but he left a nation behind that was free from the arrogance of British rule. Like Jesus, he served his people at the cost of his own life. Although many of the Indian people were not intellectually ready for independence, Gandhi did show them the path to be both free and think for themselves. The path was truly rough, but it all started with India's freedom. He accomplished it all without any violence on India's part or retaliation whatsoever against the British. He knew of a Higher Power that guides us all and he followed no religion. Once, he was asked as to what religion he followed. He gave the now, classic answer. "I am a Hindu," he said, "and I am a Moslem, and I am a Christian, and I am a Jew. And so are ALL of you." Gandhi served and loved his people as a gentle man of the people and not as a ruler governing from the lofty, white towers of the Taj Mahal. Gandhi was a true minister.
We could go on with case after case, and we've recently seen the death of Mother Teresa who was similarly disposed in her life of charity and service. She lived modestly and died, still serving people who needed it. She ran no organization, was never chauffeured in a limo, and never (like her Earthly boss) had a jet at her disposal. She had a divine Spirit and sent it forth to all those she served. She went way beyond Catholicism. She too, was a dedicated minister.
Not all of us are given to help in these ways. But we're all given to MINISTER in some way. In our lives everyday, there are chances for us to minister to others, and we don't need some minister to lay hands on us, and we don't need to be from some "anointed" line. All who serve selflessly are ministers indeed.
Do you really want to know where the true ministers are? Then look in a mirror. There's your minister . . . if you accept the job. If you agree to work at this calling, then it's yours for the asking. Each day we can honestly ask: "What good thing can I do for another person today?" Don't worry about the answer. It will find you.
If any instead want to be served as higher ranking individuals, then the COG cults await you. No minister serves anyone in those cults, because there are NO ministers there. The concept of "rank" is man made, as the offices in I Cor 12, are a time order of calling only.
"By their fruits," Jesus said, and He always castigated the smug, arrogance of the Pharisees who lusted to be served and wanted the accolades of men. True servants - on the other hand - usually hide their works, then they do their best to help mankind with no fanfare, and then hide again.
That's the big difference between the Holy and the unholy Spirit.
In the meantime, we can all take solace in the fact that we've never been in any church called "God's Church," nor have we ever been baptized, or disfellowshipped. And the only rulership that any person ever had over us, was carnal and not of any divine origin, and the whole plan was ordained by secular, money hungry, and diabolical controlaholics. We all served a corporation. That's all.
It's not for any of us to judge other church groups fairly or make accurate judgment calls, unless of course, we're very familiar with them. And we probably can't judge any other "ministers" in other churches, unless their antics of darkness are obvious - as some are. There are undoubtedly many genuine servants in the world, but these folks are certainly NOT getting rich. Many of them may be helping people, and here's hoping that they are. We can only evaluate the "ministerial" situation as it has applied to all of us.
No one rules over any of us, except for the Christ spirit of our Higher Selves, and no one can separate us from our concept and love of God. That's our own special contact. No minister can ever threaten our salvation, either by bullying, coercion, intimidation or fear. Please be informed, and as always, "Try the spirits."
No minister can ever rule our hearts or souls or our bodies . . . and especially NON ministers.
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