Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
"Wherever the Carcass Lies, There Will the Vultures Gather"
Spiritually, physically and morally the Worldwide Church of God appears to be imploding. It has been reported that Joseph Tkach Jr. wants to be observing Easter Sunrise services by Easter 1994! He has already been observed eating shrimp in a restaurant and justified it to a church member by saying, "I'm a Gentile!" As the woes of the Church increase, more and more members are leaving, falling prey to the siren song of various pied pipers. The vultures are gathering for a real feast!
Yeshua the Messiah uttered a strange prophecy in the Mount Olivet prophecy. He said, in describing the days before his second advent (Matt. 24:3), "Had not those days been cut short, not a soul would be saved alive; however, for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short." He went on:
"If anyone tells you at that time, 'Here is the Christ?' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it; for false Christs and false prophets will rise and bring forth great signs and wonders, so as to mislead the very elect, -- if that were possible. (I am telling you this beforehand.)
"If they tell you, 'Here he is, in the desert,' go not out; 'here he is, in the chamber,' do not believe it. For like the lightning that shoots from east to west, so will be the arrival of the Son of man" (Matt. 24:22-27, Moffatt).
Notice! Great deceptions, delusions, spiritual apostasy, was predicted by the Messiah in the days just before his second coming to planet Earth! But notice also -- he continued:
"Wherever the carcass is, there will the vultures gather" (v. 28).
In a similar prophecy in Luke 17, Yeshua declared:
"Where there is a dead body, the vultures will gather" (Luke 17:37).
What is a "vulture"? Vultures are unclean birds which feast on carrion -- the corpses of dead animals, including men and women. The original Hebrew and Greek words refers to a "bird of prey," rapid in flight, such as the black vulture, falcon, or kite. The birds hasten to the prey.
I find it singularly interesting that spiritual "vultures" appear to be circling over the remains of the Worldwide Church of God, today, picking off those who leave the drowning ship, feasting on them like birds of prey! Yeshua's very words are a choice description and prophecy of just this very kind of activity!
What more apt description could there be to picture the demise of Worldwide! According to the November 8, 1997 issue of Christianity Today magazine,
"Up to half of the 100,000 members of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) -- which has moved toward orthodoxy after 60 years of rejecting basic Christian beliefs -- may bolt following the latest round of doctrinal changes, observers and former members say.
"Two splinter groups, each claiming the mantle of WCG founder Herbert W. Armstrong, are poised to gain members and dollars in the wake of the anticipated exodus" (p. 59).
Actually, not two but three off-shoot churches are poised to gain members from the splitting up and rupture of Worldwide, spiritually. They are the Church of God, International (CGI), founded by Garner Ted Armstrong, son of Herbert W. Armstrong, who left Worldwide in a severe power-struggle in 1978; Gerald Flurry, minister in Oklahoma, who left in January, 1990 and formed his "Philadelphia Church of God" (PCG), which lionizes Herbert Armstrong, calls him the prophet "Elijah," and compels new members to acknowledge Herbert as their "spiritual father" before accepting them into fellowship; and lastly, Roderick C. Meredith, long-time Church evangelist ordained in the early '50s, who broke off in December 1992/January 1993 to form up his "Global Church of God" (GCG). The income of all three groups is in the millions of dollars, with memberships ranging from 1,500 to 4,000 or so.
Joseph Tkach now writes that the teaching of the Trinity is basic doctrine of the Church -- a concept repudiated violently by Herbert W. Armstrong, during his days as leader of the organization. According to Tkach, however, "The Bible teaching is that there is one God, who is the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit." He says that it is incorrect to refer to any of these as "Persons," or "Beings," or "Entities." To him, they all comprise "one God" -- one Being -- apparently a Three-headed God Being with Three Minds (the mind of the Father, the mind of the Messiah, and the mind of the holy spirit) -- sort of a schizoid god.
Not only has Tkach violently changed the church's perception of the Godhead, however, he insists, "It is not my idea, nor is it the idea of some fourth century theologians. It is the plain Bible teaching." (Even Catholic and Protestant theologians will admit there is nothing "plain" in the Scriptures about the concept of the Trinity! So Tkach even surpasses his mentors in this regard!)
According to reports, says Christianity Today magazine:
"Church observers also believe the group will drop a requirement that members adhere to Levitical dietary laws on 'clean' and 'unclean' foods" (ibid. ).
Supporting this conclusion is the report I heard recently that a church member of the Worldwide Church of God saw Joseph Tkach, Jr., in a restaurant eating shrimp -- which is forbidden church members to do. It is considered an abomination -- unclean filth! The shocked member confronted Tkach, Jr., and asked him what he was doing and why he was eating shrimp. Joe Junior's reply: "It's OK for me to eat; I'm a Gentile!" Thus we may expect Church members to be permitted to eat all the meats forbidden in Leviticus 11 -- pork, shellfish, lobsters, ham, pickled pig's feet, catfish, and all the unclean things which YEHOVAH God Almighty forbad to His people, to preserve their health and physical and spiritual well-being.
As these changes take effect, and are put in place, we may surely see more and more members, fed up with the disturbing changes, depart from the Church, seeking fellowship elsewhere. But where will they go? The predators are lined up in the aisles, waiting their chance at these newly disenfranchised "sheep," who are so used to group-think and the cult mentality -- who are looking for a "new leader" to replace the one whom they have lost! Rather than repent of their own sins and blindness, they are simply looking for another church "association" where they will feel the most "comfortable."
However, there is an old saying -- "Don't jump from the frying pan into the fire!" Three major off-shoots have sprung up from the remains of Worldwide -- CGI, PCG, and now GCG. What is the truth about these three outfits? Are they truly serving YEHOVAH God? Where do they fit in YEHOVAH's overall Plan?
Garner Ted Armstrong
What about the Church of God, International, under the leadership of Ted Armstrong, second son of Herbert and Loma D. Armstrong?
Writes Richard Nickels, long-time church member and commentator on the church scene:
"It was common knowledge among the ministry in the early 1970's as to the moral turpitude of Herbert's son Garner Ted. The fact that the father allowed this to go on in deference to his son appeared to be more than mere nepotism....
"The sordid episode of the 1977 'marriage' of HWA to Mrs. Martin, a divorcee many years his junior, made us wonder if he had conveniently changed the D & R [divorce and remarriage] doctrine to pave the way for doing what he had vehemently taught against for so many years. In 1973 and prior had a WWC minister or member done such a thing, they would have been put out of the church. Was it all right for him to do it just because he was 'God's apostle'? Then in 1984 he divorced Ramona Martin, following a bitter lawsuit over alimony....
"For a number of years, I, like so many in the church, was too blinded to seriously question the double dealing going on. Finally, in 1973, I cut my own throat by questioning GTA personally about his moral qualifications for the ministry. It cost me my job...What precipitated this was a church employee's meeting conducted by GTA. He was reacting strongly against the prevalent rumors of his immoral escapades. He denied them. Garner Ted commanded all of us present to come to him personally if we had any doubts. Young and naive as I was, I took him literally."
What happened, when young Richard Nickels took Garner Ted Armstrong at his word? Notice the consequences -- and decide for yourself whether Ted Armstrong has any business whatsoever being a "leader" over an end-time remnant of the true body of the Messiah, the Church of YEHOVAH God!
"...Taught to be obedient to church ministers, I realized that I did have doubts because I heard the 'rumors' directly from the lips of top church ministers. So I wrote a note to GTA, setting up a meeting to discuss the matter. GTA was out of town and designated his two top assistants to talk with me. I wanted to know if GTA had repeatedly engaged in adultery while a minister, as minister after minister had told me. If so, I stated, he could not continue to be a minister according to I Timothy 3. They did not give definite answers...
"When GTA returned to Pasadena, the report to him of what [I] was asking caused him to fly into a rage. GTA called me up on the phone. He shouted that he and his father were above the qualifications for the ministry as given in I Timothy 3, and that if I had any more questions about his conduct, I would have to present them before himself and his father personally. He said that anyone who would ask such questions was out of a job and out of the church! I have never shaken so much in fear. I went home and fasted and prayed for three days...
"I feel that Garner Ted Armstrong, as did his father Herbert W. Armstrong, actually believes he is above the laws of God in the Bible, and that because of his 'special' calling, he does not have to obey the same laws other 'laymen' or 'lower rank' ministers do. A wit once remarked that HWA was 'a legend in his own mind.' How could a humble minister make the statement, as HWA did, 'follow me into the Kingdom of God'? Or another remark, 'Where I am, there is the work of the church.'
"Former U.S. President Richard Nixon is reported to have said, 'When the President does it, that makes it legal.' He merely flaunted the laws of man. Those who are claiming to be above Bible law are on far more serious grounds" (Richard Nickels, Herbert W. Armstrong: 1892-1986, published paper, Giving and Sharing, 2014 NE 85th St., Vancouver WA 98665).
In the light of Mr. Nickel's personal experience at the hands of a volatile, enraged and out-of-control Garner Ted Armstrong, lacking in every one of the "fruits of the Spirit of God " -- "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control" (see Gal. 5:22-23) -- should any be so foolish as to follow such a man who claims to be the representative of YEHOVAH God and Yeshua the Messiah? YEHOVAH God forbid!
Al Carrozzo, former minister of the Worldwide Church of God, confirmed the adulterous liasons of Ted Armstrong -- who has never ever admitted them in public, to this very day! Carrozzo quoted Ted's own confession in a meeting between the two of them:
"'Al, let's get one thing straight! I'm a no good, fornicating, adulterating son of a...!' These highly emotional words initiated a private conversation between Garner Ted Armstrong and me at l0:05 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16, 1973, in the seclusion of his television studio office. This was not the first or the only time Ted ever admitted that he was an adulterer. In spite of repeated public denials, Ted has privately admitted that he has been guilty of flagrant, continuous adultery and fornication for almost a quarter of a century -- as a church member, an executive, and an evangelist!" (p. 44, "The Profligate Son," 1977 Ambassador Report, PO Box 60068, Pasadena CA 91116).
Seemingly, many people are truly "lemmings." They follow their leaders in a mass movement wherever they lead, even right over a cliff to spiritual suicide! Thousands still follow this self-styled "man of God" today. Truly, Yeshua the Messiah warns such hypocrites, who say one thing and do another, "Woe to you, you impious scribes and Pharisees! You shut the Realm of heaven in men's faces; you neither enter yourselves, nor will you let those enter who are on the point of entering. Woe to you, you impious scribes and Pharisees! you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when you succeed, you make him a son of Gehenna twice as bad as yourselves" (Matt. 23:13-15, Moffatt).
The Second Vulture -- Gerald Flurry
The next group to split off and form a sizable church group from the remnants of Worldwide was Gerald Flurry, in December 1989. He is said to have "written" a book, actually collected from notes he made, and put together by his staff, entitled Malachi's Message. Its very title, however, is a direct perversion of the truth and has no relation to the message of the REAL "prophet Malachi"!
Interestingly, The WATCHMAN EXPOSITOR contains an expose of Gerald Flurry's "Philadelphia Church of God," entitled, "Teachings of a False Prophet." Gerald Flurry, former minister of the Worldwide Church of God, left the Church in December of 1989 and formed up his own new "church," taking members from the rapidly apostasizing Worldwide. His book Malachi's Message seemed to document many of the changes in doctrine and the new direction Worldwide was headed -- but, alas, sometimes the "cure" is worse than the "disease." Flurry's new church became a despotic, corrupt, man-worshipping "cult" which disfellowshipped doubters or those with questions at the drop of a hat! Among the errors of Flurry's Church, Gerald Flurry --
1. Rejects YEHOVAH God's revealed truth about the correct day and manner to observe Passover. Insists the original date was beginning of Nisan 14, and that the lambs were slain between sunset and twilight following Nisan 13. Claims the Jews changed the date hundreds of years before the Messiah, due to Egyptian influence -- without any evidence for this "conclusion" whatsoever!
2. Rejects the true and provable date for Pentecost -- 50 days after the high holy day of Nisan 15 (which always falls on the weekly Sabbath). Although both the Messiah and Paul clearly acknowledged the authority of the Pharisees and scribes on this question (Matt. 23:2-3; Phil. 3:5-6), and Paul said he was taught "the exact manner of the law" as a Pharisee (Acts 22:3), and still claimed to be a Pharisee in 60 A.D., a quarter century after his conversion, and the Pharisees taught Pentecost (or Shavuot) should be observed fifty days after the first holy day of Passover (Nisan 15), Flurry, along with Worldwide, Global, and International Church of God, rejects this simple and easily proven truth!
Among Flurry's other errors:
3. Claims the 144,000 of Revelation (see Rev. 7) are the "Laodicean" members of the Worldwide Church of God and that they will all be martyred in the supposed future Great Tribulation. How strange -- when all the 144,000 are supposed to be DEAD according to Flurry, YEHOVAH God sends His angel with the "seal of the living God" to "seal" his servants, the 144,000, who are 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:1-8). Why "seal" them if they are already dead? This pictures them as still LIVING at the END of the supposed Great Tribulation, and being "sealed" with YEHOVAH's protection from the plagues of the Day of the Lord (see chapters 8-9, Rev. 16). Sealing, here, clearly refers to divine protection (see also Ezek. 9:1-11).
4. Claims his is the ONLY TRUE CHURCH -- all others are heretical sects! In other words, you must follow Flurry in order to be "saved"!
5. Claims Herbert W. Armstrong was the "Elijah" to come, turned the hearts of the fathers to the children, and vice versa, reconciling families -- despite the fact that Herbert Armstrong's divorce and remarriage doctrine from 1934 to 1974 wrecked thousands of marriages. He himself did not set a good role model for a parent, and was guilty of incest with his daughter Dorothy for a period of ten years during the 1930's and 40's. For documentation on these things see:
Ambassador Report, PO Box 60068, Pasadena CA 91116
Emissary Publications, 9205 S.E. Clackamas Rd., #1776, Clackamas OR 97015
Watchman Fellowship, Inc., PO Box 13251, Arlington TX 76094-0251
Giving and Sharing, 2014 NE 85th Street, Vancouver WA 98665
6. Claims Herbert Armstrong was a prophet "in the power and spirit of Elijah," despite the fact that between 1934 and 1986, he made over 200 false prophecies and predictions -- including the prediction that Rommel would reach Jerusalem during World War II, Mussolini was the "beast" of Revelation, the Messiah would return in the 1940's, later revised to 1975, that Hitler wasn't really killed in his Berlin bunker but still lived hiding out somewhere, probably Argentina, that man would never place a man on the moon or return him to earth safely, that the British would lose the war over the Falkland Islands, etc., etc., etc.! Quite a "record" for a modern-day "Elijah"!
7. Claims the "high priest Joshua" of Zechariah 3 is none other than Joseph Tkach himself -- despite the fact that he also says Joseph Tkach is the "son of perdition" of II Thessalonians 2. This is a strange mind-boggling conclusion since obviously II Thessalonians 2 refers to the "beast" of Revelation (and only to Joseph Tkach as a "type"!), but "Joshua" in Zechariah 3 is a forerunner and "type" of one of the TWO WITNESSES of Revelation! (Zech. 3:4-5, 8; 4:2-7, 11-14; Rev. 11:3-11; compare especially Zech. 4:11-14 and Rev. 11:4).
8. Flurry himself has been guilty of several false prophecies. In the March 1991 issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet, he implied the drought then ravaging California was due to the legal action the state of California took against the Worldwide Church of God in 1979; he said in sermon tapes this drought would continue till the state repented. The drought ended -- but the state never repented. In another false prophecy, Flurry declared the Los Angeles riots of 1992 were predicted in Ezekiel 5 -- even though the "city" referred to in Ezekiel 5 is "Jerusalem" (see Ezek. 5:5).
9. Perhaps the most bizarre statement made by Flurry was in the Sept-Oct. 1992 Trumpet where he claimed that his book Malachi's Message was "delivered to me...A MIGHTY ANGEL DIRECTLY FROM GOD REVEALED IT!" (his emphasis). Originally, however, Flurry said he came to understand the things in his book from many months of study. Flurry rebuked several members of his church who said they understood most of the message of the book even before Flurry wrote it, but Flurry in the same article declared, "THAT IS A HORRIBLE FALLACY!...There was no need for the mighty angel to come if a few already understood the message!" (his emphasis). At other times Flurry has said he has been falsely accused of saying a "mighty angel" revealed it to him by his detractors. As we see, his own words condemn him. He is a liar -- you cannot have it both ways (see John 8:44).
10. Flurry also claims his Malachi's Message is the "little book" mentioned in Revelation 10 and is therefore "divinely inspired Scripture" and goes so far as to boast,"'MALACHI'S MESSAGE' IS AN UNWRITTEN PART OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION!" (again, his emphasis!). Has he never read the warning in Revelation 22:18 and the "curse" YEHOVAH God puts on anyone who would "add to" the things written in Revelation? "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, GOD SHALL ADD UNTO HIM THE PLAGUES that are written in the book" (Rev. 22:18!).
The truth is, Gerald Flurry is a false prophet. But, he does see the apostasy of the leadership of Worldwide, and that is why many people have been persuaded to join his church. Little do they know that they have leaped from the frying pan into the very flames of the fire!
A correspondent recently wrote me the following letter, showing his experience with Flurry's PCG:
"I recently read a little of your articles and found them to be quite interesting, regarding the 'false prophet' Gerald Flurry! I attended with his PCG for a short while after coming out of the WCG because of their major changes in doctrines. I am now a 'free' lance Christian! (No more middle men). I learned very quickly that Flurry was idolizing H.W.A., as well as making a bunch of false and questionable prophecies. The man (Flurry) is still trying to steal the disgruntled members of the other churches. Pray and pay is still their agenda. -- He is a little dictator, just like H.W.A. was!"
Another former member of Flurry's church wrote in December, 1991 the following words of warning:
"I became associated with Flurry and his M. M. [Malachi's Message] in January of 90. I was the 2nd person to leave the Dayton, Ohio congregation of the WWCG. I was extremely excited to belong to the remnant of what I thought was the Philadelphia era of God's Church since after reading MM I was convinced that the WCG was Laodicean. Mr. Flurry wrote on such in his MM. I later found out that this idea or truth was not original to Mr. Flurry but had been given to Mr. Dankenbring approximately two full years before MM and I feel Mr. Flurry was likely reading Mr. Dankenbring's Prophecy Flash."
The letter writer goes on to discuss great personal corruption and Nazi-like tactics among the leadership of the Philadelphia Church of God, and warns:
"In ending this letter I hope that anyone who should read it can get some idea of the type of reckless leadership that is prevalent in the PCG. Flurry was content to kick me out and aid in the reckless shepherding of John Amos and Dennis Leap. Once they got me out they could discredit me to the PCG membership and call me all the names they could. But there is a God in heaven who saw it all....So to all who take the time to read this, Beware of those wolves who come to you in sheep's clothing, who are inwardly wolves. I for one warn anyone who is the least bit interested in Gerald's PCG, TRUST NO MAN. THIS TYPE OF SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP WILL LEAD YOU TO A JIM JONES TYPE ENDING. Think what they would be like in rough times and under pressure as leaders if they act this way well fed and in prosperous times. I fear for all in the PCG and all who entertain MM. "
As the old addage goes, Caveat emptor -- "Let the buyer beware"! Flurry believes that the "government of God" is only in his "church" group today. He thunders at everybody else:
"When we reach 'the great and dreadful day of the Lord,' all rebellion from the Church against the Elijah Work [which he claims is his work] is removed. At that point, all Firstfruits support what Christ has restored through HWA or they are dead spiritually! Even though HWA died before 'the great and dreadful Day of the Lord,' there are many who still don't support what Christ restored though him. When that Day arrives, ALL CHURCH MEMBERS WHO STILL REBEL AGAINST GOD'S GOVERNMENT WILL BE CUT OFF FOREVER!" (MM, p. 29).
Flurry's "church government" is just another totalitarian, dictatorial, heavy-handed, tyrannical form of HUMAN government. Although professing to be YEHOVAH God's Church, and therefore claiming YEHOVAH is in charge of ONLY that Church, Flurry has proved by his errors and his attitude that YEHOVAH God is not in that Church! It is just another of Satan's End-time Deceptions!
Speaking about Church government in the TRUE Church, Yeshua the Messiah said very plainly:
"Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles EXERCISE DOMINION over them, and they that are great exercise AUTHORITY upon them. BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister [servant]; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be YOUR SERVANT: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:24-28).
Flurry threatens all who don't follow HIM and his group with DEATH in the supposed future Great Tribulation, unless they repent NOW. He claims their "sealing" means being MARTYRED during the Great Tribulation. Knowing that we serve a righteous and a just God, I suspect that YEHOVAH God will reserve for Gerald Flurry the very punishment with which he so quickly threatens so many others -- but it won't be in the "Great Tribulation", that occurred in 70 A.D!
It is this very concept of Church Government which is so dangerous about Flurry's group, which is picking up many members from the disintegrating Worldwide Church of God. The poor members/sheep are being led to the slaughter, and don't even realize it. Like the innocents who were victims of suicide/murder at Jonestown, Guyana, several years ago, who followed a man thinking he was YEHOVAH's servant, without checking up and PROVING the truth, those who follow Gerald Flurry and his strange prophetic blend of errant egomania, are headed for their own doom.
And Now -- Roderick Meredith
The third group to spring out of the demise and remains of the Worldwide Church of God, and bringing many former members into their flock and church organzation, is the Global Church of God, set up by Roderick C. Meredith. Meredith, who suffered an excruciating eclipse during the past fifteen years, suddenly finds himself leading another "branch" of the End-time Church of YEHOVAH God. Is his church better than the other two mentioned in this article? Meredith, despite the brief promises that he would preach the "full gospel, "and the "whole law" of YEHOVAH God, and His commandments, has already reneged on his promise. In fact, several whom he accuses of "Judaizing" have been forced to resign or were kicked out unceremoniously from his "Global Church of God."
Interestingly, Joseph Tkach, Sr., of the Worldwide Church of God, claims that Herbert Armstrong warned him to watch out for Roderick Meredith -- that he was an "ambitious" man. Meredith has always reminded me of "yon Cassius," in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. "Yon Cassius hath a lean and hungry look -- such men are dangerous!" Caesar was told. Cassius told Brutus, "It is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings. " Meredith's lean frame, and hatchet-faced intensity, gave new meaning to the term spiritual "Nazi." Like one of Hitler's own storm-troopers, Meredith was famous in his Worldwide days for the quickness of his disfellowshipping "errant ministers," on the spot, and cutting people down to "size" with his "authority."
Tkach says Herbert Armstrong told him Meredith could not be trusted:
"In late 1985 Mr. Armstrong told me that Dr. Meredith deeply desired to be pastor general, and warned me that just as Dr. Meredith had been a continuous thorn in Mr. Armstrong's side, so he would be a continual problem to me. Mr. Armstrong had himself suspended Dr. Meredith from attending services for about eight months in 1979-80" (The Worldwide News, January 26, 1993).
Meredith has since been joined by Raymond McNair, also former evangelist of the Worldwide Church of God, and his brother-in-law (Meredith's first wife was Raymond's sister).
In June of 1975, Raymond McNair filed for divorce against his wife of twenty years, something no Worldwide Church of God evangelist had ever done. He had the backing of the two Armstrongs, because in their eyes his wife Leona had departed from the Church and was attending lectures of Ernest Martin, a minister who had left the Church to form his own group in Pasadena, the Foundation for Biblical Research. The divorce became final in 1976, and not long thereafter Raymond married a new wife. Whether or not this "new marriage" was really an adulterous relationship in YEHOVAH's sight, didn't seem to matter to those responsible for the action. Yet Yeshua the Messiah said plainly in the Scriptures:
"But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication [Greek porneia meaning "adultery, sexual immorality, harlotry, incest" --- see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, #4202, and Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon ], causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery" (Matt. 5:32).
Mrs. Leona McNair had never been accused of adultery, or incest, or harlotry, or any of the sins which would fall into the category of porneia. Nor had she departed from her husband, or left him, or refused to be a wife to him. They undoubtedly had their problems, like all married couples do, but their marriage had produced several fine children and had endured 20 years. Why the sudden rush to judgment and divorce? The real cause appears to have been solely religious motives -- Leona despised the corruption she saw within the Worldwide Church of God, and Raymond tolerated it and remained steadfastly loyal to Herbert Armstrong, despite the evidence of intrigue, politics, sexual sins, authoritarianism, egotism, tyranny, and the like.
The McNair divorce might have been forgotten and swept under the rug, except that Roderick C. Meredith subsequently spent five minutes lambasting Mrs. McNair in front of one thousand Worldwide ministers in an early 1979 ministerial meeting in Tucson, Arizona. He said that Leona McNair had cursed her husband, and deserted him. Then, in the June 1979 Pastor's Report Meredith went even further, describing her as a horrible example of a wife. He wrote:
"A classic example of this [marital desertion] would be Mr. Raymond McNair's situation. His wife refused to be a wife to him for over two years -- to sleep with him, cook for him, or even civilly communicate with him in a decent manner. Rather, she had left God's Church and was even FIGHTING God's Church and Mr. McNair, turning his children against him and literally cursing him to his face. Finally, upon advice of Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Ted Armstrong, he was forced to make legal the already existing FACT that she had deserted him and was no longer his wife in any way whatsoever " (italics and emphasis his).
When Mrs. Leona McNair heard of this, she filed a libel and slander lawsuit against the Worldwide Church of God and Roderick Meredith in 1979. She said that contrary to these allegations, Raymond had cut off her financial support, himself moved into separate sleeping quarters, and on a number of occasions took her to the door and yelled at her to get out of the house. Leona's daughter corroborated this information in court. In 1984 a jury unanimously awarded Leona McNair $1.26 million in compensative and punitive damages. The presiding judge told the jury that their verdict renewed his faith in the jury system.
Says Richard Nickels of this case:
"The jury had decided that Meredith's statements (which obviously were based on what Raymond McNair told him) were lies, and that his conduct was extreme, outrageous and intentional, causing Leona McNair severe emotional distress. The jury found out that Leona McNair had not deserted her husband, it was the other way around, she had been forced out. Meredith and the Worldwide Church of God were convicted of libel and slander" (Giving & Sharing Newsletter, August 1993, no. 23, page 3).
Money talks in the legal system, and the Church appealed the decision. The verdict was overturned on technical grounds, and a new trial was ultimately approved. The Church, perhaps seeing a repetition of fate, and even a greater cost, decided this time to settle out of court, and in December of 1992 the Church settled for $750,000. Meredith, at this point, no longer needed the legal umbrella of the Worldwide Church of God to fight this case. Is this one major reason why he waited until December 1992 to leave Worldwide and to begin his own "Global Church of God"?
I, like Richard Nickels, would find it very difficult to trust a minister or ministers who have been convicted and found guilty of lies, distortion, libel, slander, and causing immense emotional grief and stress to another human being. One wonders if such a man himself is any longer truly "human" or some sort of Nazi monster.
Of such men, who have wielded power and authority over others, and who abused and tyrannized those under their care and tutelage, the famed Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevky (1821-1881) wrote:
"Whoever has experienced the power, the unrestrained ability to humiliate another human being automatically loses power over his own sensation. Tyranny is a habit -- it has its own organic life -- it develops finally into a disease -- a habit that can kill or coarsen the very best man to the level of a beast. Blood and power intoxicate -- the man and the citizen die with the tyrant forever. Return to human dignity through repentance and regeneration becomes almost impossible."
Roderick C. Meredith and his "Global Church of God," which some refer to as the "Global Church of Rod, " has also rejected the truth abut Passover being on Nisan 15, as the Jews have faithfully observed it for the past 3,500 years, or ever since the time of Moses. He also rejects the truth about Pentecost with the discredited argument, "If it were on a fixed date, then why count? " Although this question has been answered repeatedly, and even CGI admits it is a bogus question, Meredith remains stultified in his ignorance. It appears that his real motive in starting up "Global Church of God" is simply to "compete" with his old nemesis, Ted Armstrong, and the "new boy on the block," Gerald Flurry, to carve out for himself a "market share" of the erstwhile Worldwide Church of God followers.
Although Meredith claims to teach the "FULL gospel," it is obvious that this is just a ploy -- a sham. In his writings he seems to stress the "Ten Commandments," and says people should obey "even the least" of them -- yet were not the "Ten" all written by the finger of YEHOVAH God? How could any of them be looked upon as "the least"? Meredith, in repeatedly saying society needs to repent and get back to observing the Ten Commandments, ignores completely all the other laws, judgments, and statutes of YEHOVAH God! Scholars have elucidated and found 613 commandments in the Word of YEHOVAH God, the "Old Testament"! Meredith ignores blithely 603 of them. How is that for getting "back to the faith"?
Meredith's true distaste for the things of YEHOVAH God, and His Law, is revealed in the fact that on the Day of Atonement he blasted the Jews, and shouted that anyone who goes to a Jewish synagogue is committing idolatry just as bad as attending a Catholic Church! Furthermore, his elders have let it be known that the words "Torah," "Mishnah," and "Talmud," and similar words, are not to be used around the Global Church of God -- as "some members are offended." Rather than rebuke those who use these words, shouldn't the elders rather rebuke those who take offence?
It clearly appears that Rod Meredith is NOT interested in getting back to the "faith once delivered to the saints" of the first century (Jude 3-4). Rather, he is only interested in getting back to the teachings of Herbert Armstrong, right or wrong, as they were circa 1950-60! Unless he repents, "Hot Rod" Meredith will soon be remembered as "Shot Rod" Meredith!
Be Careful Whom You Follow
Some people think I speak out too harshly and strongly in denunciation and condemnation of the errors of others -- whether they be Joseph Tkach, Gerald Flurry, Garner Ted Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, or anyone else. However, I do not believe that to be the truth. Those same people who condemn me would probably condemn John the Baptist who spoke out against King Herod for marrying his brother's wife, and for his vehement remarks made in public against the religious leaders of the Church of YEHOVAH God of his day -- the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the leaders of the "Church of God" of that day and era. John said to them in scalding terms and wrathful anger --
"O generation of VIPERS, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore FRUITS MEET FOR REPENTANCE" (Matt. 3:7-8).
There are sincere and well-meaning people don't think I should speak out so negatively, but just concentrate on "preaching the gospel." I suppose they would also, therefore, condemn the Messiah himself, who said of false ministers and apostates of his time --
"WOE unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!...Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:27, 33).
I urge YEHOVAH's people, everywhere, to beware of those who would lead you into another religious "cult." Beware of those who would become your "new" dictators, and rule over you, claiming the "authority of Yeshua the Messiah." Beware of those who would DEMAND that you submit to them and their "church government," who claim they are "God's ONLY true Church," and claim your tithes and offerings must go to THEM as YEHOVAH's "chosen representatives."
BEWARE of those who seeks to maintain MIND CONTROL over the flock of YEHOVAH God. Beware of those who teach a FEAR RELIGION, who terrorize you with threats of hell fire and damnation, if you "question" their authority or presumed "power" over you.
Beware of "spiritual policemen" who may talk a good fight, and speak lovingly of compassion and mercy, but who conduct a totalitarian regime based on power and fear, and who do not follow the example of the Messiah, our loving Shepherd, or the apostles, who refused to be "lords over God's heritage" (I Pet. 5:1-3).
Beware of spiritual NAZIS who thrust you out of the Church for merely bringing up questions -- sincere questions -- about Passover, Pentecost, and the correct times and dates that these holy days should be observed!
BEWARE of all those who claim the MANTLE of "Herbert W. Armstrong," as if they are his spiritual "heirs," and true successors. Beware of those who worship him and who call him "Elijah" when there is no basis at all for doing so!
Beware of those who "manipulate" the flock, who secretly disfellowship people and who don't tell the congregation the TRUTH -- who HIDE their evil deeds under a cloak of self-righteousness and self-serving "authority" -- those who refuse to answer for their decisions, and sins, and make public apology and confession.
Beware of spiritual rascals, wily religious coyotes, devious snakes in the grass, fraudulent scoundrels and deceiving scalawags -- spiritual skunks, scumbags, and other screwed up ungodly monsters!
BEWARE! When I see such wolves in sheep's clothing, such ravening beasts of the field, such spiritual VULTURES circling in the skies, hovering over the remains and dying bodies of the members of the Worldwide Church of God, seeking to devour, and to feast on the flesh of YEHOVAH's people, I cannot remain silent. I cannot keep these things to myself. I cannot be still!
It is not right to cover up evil, or to ignore doctrinal error. It is SIN to do so! YEHOVAH God's Word thunders, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise REBUKE THY NEIGHBOUR, and not suffer SIN upon him" (Leviticus 19:17). The apostle Paul put it plainly: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but RATHER REPROVE [EXPOSE] THEM....But all things that are REPROVED [DISCOVERED, EXPOSED] are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is LIGHT" (Ephesians 5:11-13).
Will you come to the light?
-- Edited By John D. Keyser.
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Taking the Lead in the Search for Truth!
Hope of Israel Ministries
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