Religiosity & Churchianity
By John O.. Ex Worldwide Church of God pastor.
When Jesus said: "I will build my church . . . " He obviously had no concept of the far reaching (and even psychotic) implications those words would have in the future world of business, corruption, greed, and domination of human lives. His was a simple ministry. Nothing complex. The word "church" (ekklesia in Greek) only referred to his disciples, or those He called out to service. No one listening at the time could even imagine the corporate and business behemoths that His saying eventually spawned. He did, however, give enough warnings to the people of His day to prepare them that the "tares" would invade their lives . . . all in the name of GOD.
Jesus didn't like Moses too much. In fact, He was always knocking the God of the Old Testament. "Moses says . . . (such and such)," Jesus would say, in essence, "but I'm telling you something different." Whatever Moses said, Jesus argued with, and this got the Pharisees as mad as hell. He was tromping all over their "sacred cows" and spiritual toenails. He was upsetting their "religiosity." While the mythical God of the Old Testament (conceived in man's image) taught anger, hatred and destruction, Jesus taught peace, love and restitution to all mankind. He never referred to the Law of the day as "God's Law," but always as "The Law of Moses," because that's ALL it was . . . Moses' Law . . . and it had NOTHING to do with God. It was a civil law fictionally concocted by primitive, ignorant, hate filled, discriminatory, racist men and a law that Jesus hated, and He openly spoke against it.
This was not to make Jesus a rabble rouser, as He said he didn't come to change anyone's laws. To do that, he would have to overthrow the Temple rulership. That wasn't His mission. He simply taught the people a better way of life. He would not, as He said, change anything. In fact, He'd fulfill the law to the fullest extent Himself. It was NOT his job to actually change the rules. The people themselves would have to do that. This would be much the same as any of us going to China, for example. We would not go there to change any of their laws. We would fulfill them while we were there. But, we could teach them the way of democracy that was superior to their world of Mao's arrogant madness and China's controlled workforce of slave labor.
But, there is a price to pay for freedom, and an even greater price paid by those who bring the message. Jesus paid that price. Gandhi paid that price. Millions of good men and women have paid the price over the millennia, and many will in future.
Where men seek freedom, the tares in their conceit and arrogance always seek to dominate, and will consistently take revenge against all teachers of that freedom. Freedom from the authority and control of those harsh taskmasters will always be the cry of the human soul. And simply because some jackal and tare wishes to plaster the name of "God" on his new corporation, doesn't make this business godly or holy, and it doesn't excuse oppression of any member's fundamental rights or permit the enforcement of obscene burdens that are implemented by these corporate criminals.
In this world, even a fool can handle money, but, if you really want to test a man's character . . . give him some POWER.
For thousands of years, church and/or religion has used the same routine of adopting the name of God into their particular organization in order to gain credible acceptance that they have the almighty "power" of God behind them. Then they wield this power like a baseball bat to bludgeon everybody into submission. Since the initiate believes that somehow God is behind the organization, they will usually obey out of fear. And, all sorts of propaganda lies are then disseminated to support this thinking.
"God spoke to me . . . " and "The Lord and I spoke today . . . " and "The Lord told me to tell you . . . " all form a part of the MOSES SYNDROME, where God supposedly talked directly to Moses. "God revealed to me . . . " forms a part of the HWA SYNDROME, where God supposedly revealed "truth" to Herbert. Both concepts tell us of a (supposed) spiritual power delegating to one particular, earthly spokesman, a high degree of authority and credibility because of that personal contact, but both concepts are totally fiction, equally as ridiculous, and utterly insidious.
God speaks to the brilliant rocket scientist or mathematician at the hi-level, developmental, Lockheed Skunk Works in California. God also speaks equally to the most ignorant savage in darkest Africa or New Guinea. There is no difference in God's revelation, only in the ability to accept and understand that revelation. But when "Church" gets into the act, then according to their propaganda God is working only with them and gives POWER only to that group. When ignorant, but well meaning people, believe these lies, then these folks give over their own power to that organization and thus become a slave to the corporation's dictates.
For thousands of years, corrupt and evil men better known as tares have duped people into believing their particular brand of religion is better than all others. The Catholic Church was a master of this ruse. But the common folks of the times gave their belief to that system out of fear, and thus gave the violent Catholic conglomerate all power over them. Naturally, any such evil system will abuse power. That's their brutish nature. Wars, inquisitions, lies, falsehoods, wrecked lives, debauchery galore, and people domination carved out the bloody Catholic history that resulted in the long lines of millions of corpses that were ruthlessly slaughtered by Papal arrogance and the lust for power and money. And today, that spirit still lives in most modern day "Christianity," Televangelism, and all the cults that seek to dominate human souls.
None of these organizations have anything to do with God. "By their fruits," Jesus warned us to judge, and with this guideline, we can evaluate any organization. If the fruits were always abominable, then the organization was rotten in its conception and growth. Please note . . . this is NOT a case of some organization simply "going wrong." Some people I've talked to, still actually believe this fable. And this is a very important factor to please understand. Nothing as corrupt (for example) as the COG cults have ever been of God. They didn't simply "fall off the track" somewhere. They were never on any moral or ethical track at all, as the intent was always that of the tare, and consequently, it was evil in its primary objective. It was always business, and nothing more.
An organization doesn't just "go bad" somewhere along the way if the original intent of its incorporation was always for the purposes of evil, gaining money, and the domination of people. It was ALWAYS WRONG, and never had anything to do with God at any time. The concept of God or decency was never involved. The presence of God was only introduced as bait in the sales pitch to draw in the sincere and well intentioned folks. That's all. The corporation was always secular, a scam, a phony, a hoax, and it was always a diabolical charade.
Such organizations, no matter who they are, are in business for the bottom line . . . the money. Business exists for only ONE reason, and that is to always make money at the expense of the consumer. While this is not bad in many secular cases, in the world of organized religion, it usually serves a much darker purpose. Religion may paint its tent with any color they like and people may be gullible enough to believe that color. But it's what's inside that counts. If the fruits are obvious, then the corporation was always a secular one designed to make money at any cost, even to the sacrificing of its followers' mental and spiritual stability, peoples' security and even the lives of millions of trusting souls. It doesn't matter what "spiritual" banner the tares may fly. That's simply part of their salesmanship and brainwashing to promote their own particular religious product. And they'll use whatever label that will bring in the customers . . . even the label of "God."
Many years ago, a young Southern Baptist preacher held a series of tent meetings in the South East of the country. His name was Billy Graham. According to all reports, including his own accounts, Billy felt that he was anointed by God to "preach Christ." To any spiritually perceptive person, that premise alone would have been reason to wave a BIG RED FLAG. When someone feels that God has specifically anointed him/her to do His/Her/Its work, then watch out for the humungous ego to follow.
Astute businessmen, who may be tares as well, can see this inflated ego with all its accompanying enthusiasm, and they know how to use it.
One night, after the regular tent meeting, another meeting took place in the motel where Graham was staying. In the course of this and other meetings, agreements were reached. A group of investors (some with absolutely NO religious persuasion) agreed to financially back this young preacher, who could draw in a trusting crowd of people with his own brand of "people pleasing" and homespun theology. From these people would (predictably) come money and donations, and this would lead to the rise of a very profitable business corporation. The concept of God, never entered the picture or even the corporation's name. And thus, the "Billy Graham Crusade" was born.
The origin of Herbert W. Armstrong's cult of Worldwide Church of God follows a similar pattern. However, there is one big, primary exception. Herbert W. Armstrong did not use investors that would have a piece of his action. He used investors (the brethren) who did NOT have any part of Herbert's action. He did this with the con of tithing and the Law of Moses, both of which existed only in the minds of primitive greedy men, and have continued to perpetuate in cults and self serving, malicious organizations.
Over the years, the young Billy Graham taught his diluted pabulum, version of Christianity and people loved it. Over the years, this young preacher taught a hypothetical brand of theology that had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. Over the years, this young preacher taught a pleasing doctrine to all who came to his meetings and crusades, making them all "feel good." Over the years the Billy Graham Crusade reached the status of a multi-billion dollar industry with its tax free dollar revenue. And over the years, the young Billy Graham became very, very rich.
The perverted Graham doctrines of "Giving you heart to Jesus," and "Born again," and "Confessing to Jesus," and "He died for us," etc., have permeated into the minds and the sub-consciousness of countless millions. His phony, altar calls have been accepted as the perfect way of "being saved," and his false gospel message is all about the person of Jesus. His ignorant, theological drivel, delivered constantly over the years, is now accepted as normal Christian truth. And none of it is true.
While Graham continued to preach a comfortable (albeit false) doctrine, his wealth and fame spread. With that, came the accompanying adoration of a well known movie star. Billboards showed his photo, and TV spots heralded his coming. People were then swept up in the rush to see the celebrity personage of Billy Graham himself, who would oblige by telling the eager crowd something that they all wanted to hear, and then they would all come away feeling good after contributing a sizeable donation. With all that stage-performance activity, there came the multiple millions of pure profit, and eventually billions into the crusade, and the original group of investors went away again and again, adding wealth to more extreme wealth.
Graham and Herbert W. Armstrong were very similar in some aspects. Both had huge egos, both claimed they were anointed by God, and both sought the adoration of men. "Everyone spoke well of me," Herbert once said. Graham approves of the fact that he is often mentioned as "America's most beloved evangelist," and recently an authorized book was written about him called: "A Prophet With Honor," by William Martin.
And Jesus said: "Woe be to you when all men speak well of you, for so did they to their fathers the false prophets."
Unfortunately, the truth and exposure of phonies always brings trouble, hatred, and retaliation. No one likes to hear their spiritual heroes have worse than clay feet. And organized Christianity, which is primarily big business, does not like to have their businesses threatened.
Was it any wonder then, that Worldwide Church of God reached out its tentacles, in years past, to destroy the reputations of any who would challenge its leadership, doctrines, and consequently its income? The stability of their business was at stake. Could it therefore be surprising when the offspring cults (who were always secular businesses and NOTHING more) will retaliate to quiet the voices of truth that may inspire many people to look into the true facts, to check and prove, and decide for themselves in all matters of theology and spirituality? Ignorance and fear are their best weapons. Please be informed, and above all . . . THINK FOR YOURSELVES.
Business like to keep the customers dependant on its products. In this way, it can be assured of repeat business. Organized religion has the same identical thinking. While regular business uses upbeat sales promos to sell its products, the religious business subtly uses ignorance, fear and guilt to garner its trusting but profitable flock.
Please remember, the religious business cannot do without your money. Their MO. is spend, spend, and spend for mainly themselves. If that income is ever stopped, or even given elsewhere, their charade of diabolical hypocrisy will be immediately exposed. Cut off that money flow and watch the flack splatter everywhere. They'll go ballistic. I promise you that you will see an insidious side of "RELIGIOSITY AND CHURCHIANITY" that you never thought existed. It will be truly frightening, truly sobering, and will accurately expose the evil of what they really are. The malevolence of the tares will then be fully manifest. And, the lack of money will expose them. It will be ugly to watch and even worse to actually experience it, but . . . "the truth shall set you free." Like Jesus said: "Father . . . deliver us from evil . . . "
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