Friday, April 17, 2009

Cui Bono?

For some time, I have been under the impression that the issues with various churches and even cults in regards to doctrinal beliefs revolved around, for the most part, different interpretations of Scripture that results from pre-conceived beliefs. As one theologian put it, “Our beliefs tend to drive our interpretation and translation of the Scriptures.”

But another motive is what drives doctrine when it comes to cults and cult-meisters.

What is the motivation of a wolf in sheep’s clothing (read, wool suit)? To feed his own belly; to use religion as a means of personal gain. And the personality type who does this are those who are narcissistic megalomaniacs. It does not hurt their conscience to take advantage of, and destroy the lives of other people.

This is what drives their “interpretation” of Scripture; to achieve personal gain, and the only people who matter to him are those who can help him achieve this end. All others are expendable and not worthy of his (or her) attention.

We can give these people any number of labels; “Christian Guru” comes to mind, even though there is nothing Christian about them outside their own claims.

The old covenant makes for a convenient and ready-made system for accomplishing what these gurus want most; money and power over others. All one needs do is play to people’s egos, and play to one’s fears.

One’s ego is stroked by convincing them that God has taken a personal interest in them, opening up hence unknown “truths” to them that are not being revealed to mankind in general, while warning these same people of the dreadful consequences of rejecting that “truth” that they are privileged to be receiving should they reject it. It is a hard combination for many people to ignore.

From there, it is merely a matter of “modifying” their understanding of Scripture so that the guru; the cult-meister profits as a result. Tithing serves the guru’s purpose perfectly, and, with just a little modification of the interpretation of Scripture, the people are convinced they are to send him their monetary tithes.

But the gospel as found in Scripture does not serve the needs of the guru cult-meister. No problem though, the gospel can be altered by him also, so as to serve again his aims and end. Simply make tithing obligatory as a part of your gospel. Seeing though that it would be difficult to justify one modified point of old covenant law, other points of that law have to be accepted as being required for salvation also – as long as those points also somehow benefit the guru cult-meister.

The true irony in this whole process is that anyone from within the group that recovers from their involvement in the group and the control of the guru ends up being seen as, in some instances, attempting to undo the now accepted theology for their own benefit! I have been accused of doing what I do for the purpose of personal gain so many times I have long since lost count.

I show people tithing is not required in the new covenant. How on earth do I personally gain from pointing that out? I have never taken one dime from anyone for the work I put into teaching and counseling people out of the teachings of “Armstrongism.” I even turned down $15,000 from one individual who had been saving up his tithes, thinking he had to give it to a true representative who was doing God’s work. I told him it would be better for him to give it to the poor; the fatherless and widow.

Those unfortunate people who are in religious cults have everything backwards and upside down. They impoverish themselves giving their money to a cult-meister while accusing anyone who would dare point out they are wrong as those with personal motives of self-aggrandizement. The latest such accusation brought against myself was an Armstrongite claiming I was trying to make myself one of the two witnesses of Revelation! Believe you me, that is one position I have no desire to fulfill! It’s bad enough having Armstongites and Seventh Day Adventists breathing down your neck nearly everyday, but at least you are reasonably sure you are not going to be put to death tomorrow.

There is no personal gain in what I do, besides the occasional satisfaction of knowing that I have managed to help rescue a person from the grips of tyranny and freed their minds so that they can logically and rationally go about the rest of their lives. I’ve had people call me up in the middle of the night to thank me for helping them out of their involvement in a cult and from the brain-washed state they were in as a result.

On the flip side, hardly a day doesn’t go by I don’t get an email from someone, somewhere, telling me what an evil, rotten person I am.

Here’s a sampling from just today:

You are one-dimentional in your thinking.

You cannot reason beyond your own pride
and make-believe.

You have chosen a verse or two and twisted
their meaning to suit yourselves, rather than
looking into their true meaning as a whole.

You have lost your way. You witness lies.

You perhaps have even lost eternal life (?)

You therefore must assuredly be a law-breaker.
Break one law and you break them all.

This proves you liars, and self-serving old men.

What is wrong is that you commit the unforgiveable sin and turn God's Spirit of grace into a falsehood. You condemn the unchangeable law of God. You lead other foolish people astray with your lies.

That was from today. Care to see a sampling from yesterday?

Remember that when you blatantly attack the Holy Sabbath that you are not attacking Sabbath keeping Christians. God is the author my friend "LEST YOU FORGET". You might want to tone down your rhetoric. Christian Sabbath keepers are really trying to help and deliver you from the Mark of the Beast. Be thankful before you mount your next attack against the Holy Sabbath. Friend you know the truth. Stop kicking against the pricks.

The Old Covenant was a good Covenant but the people were sinful, faulty, messed up, rebellious, cantankerous and biligerent as you have demonstrated . . . toward the Sabbath truth.

Here’s from the day before yesterday, April 15th:

The Ten Commandments apply to all mankind. ... you are obligated to keep the Sabbath day holy. Stop kicking against the pricks. Get your theology together. You are so confused. You don't understand Old Covenant vs New Covenant theology. You are way off base. Take your time and do proper exegesis. Your isogesis has messed up your confused mind. Why are you so bitter? Who hurt your feelings? What happen in your former Church that caused such bitterness in your heart toward the Sabbath? Why are you attacking God's Holy Law? Are you aware that you are only hurting yourself and giving atheists fuel for their fire?

Your allegiance will be either to God or Man. You can't serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other. Your constant attacks on God's sacred Sabbath suggests that you have already made your choice quite clear. You will be judge for your blatant disobedience, disrespect and disregard of God's Holy Law and his Holy Sabbath day unless you repent(James 2:10-13). This is a nondebatable issue. . .

There have been even more colorful emails in the past. Here’s one of my recent favorites:

You Bear the mark of the beast.

This was all done in large, red letters. My reply was thus:

May God forgive you for being so quick to judge and condemn.

Followed with a response:

“Say this to me at judgement day Satan.”

Also done in large, red letters.

Those who would deceive; those who are not interested in truth, are motivated by greed and the self.

Those who seek to help others are not out to deceive, and are not motivated by greed and the self. Their motivations are selfless in nature, and they are in receipt of persecution from the very ones they are trying to help.

And yet, there are those who read these blogs who have brought accusations against me, accusing me of being self-motivated after all. I guess now those of you who have done this will have to change your accusations to accusing me of wanting and desiring persecution and that I must enjoy being reviled.

You know... it would be so much easier to just quit doing what I do, and let those comparatively few I am able to help suffer through their fate for the rest of their lives, and maybe into the next one.

Cui bono. What do I have to personally gain? Neither wealth nor control or power over others. I gain a “thank you” from those people and a feeling of satisfaction knowing they have now been exposed to the true gospel as found in Scripture.

I’m such a terrible person...

Bill Hohmann


It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.



Seeker Of Truth said...

It's a difficult one Bill.
How does one reveal truth? Can one reveal truth?
Are their eyes veiled and their ears stopped lest they turn and are saved? The Father is the only One who can call them.

Perhaps this is a matter of attitude or mind-set: Does one desire truth, or is he desiring what he currently believes to be true? How does he know the difference? He can't be in denial about it.

Perhaps this is the only way eyes and ears can be unveiled and unstopped... to truly seek truth.
How many people have set out to prove something wrong just to find out it was true. That requires one to be honest with their self.

Where does ones truth come from? Do they turn to the Bible for answers or to the literature of their revered leader?

As I've said before, Sabbath is more revered than Christ.
It's not the Gospel of Jesus... it's the Gospel of the Sabbath.

There are scriptures that speak so clearly... but they simply cannot be heard.

Seeker Of Truth said...

These are questions I currently don't have the answers to:

What unstops ears and unveils eyes?

What happens to people who keep the old covenant?
If it's just a matter of standing before Christ and saying "Oooohhh! I see!" Then what was Paul so concerned about? Why did he call them foolish? Why was he so concerned for them?

If it's a matter of receiving eternal life but not as part of the Bride... what does that mean? And, again, why was Paul so concerned?

...and there are scriptures that talk about being least or greatest in the Kingdom.
Galatians 4:21-31 says that the OC keepers don't inherit with the NC keepers.

I'd love to have the answers.

Bill said...

It really is pretty much futile to argue with those who contact me who write like the examples I gave. They read the articles I have up on places like truthorfables, which are there should someone read them who needs the information. But you can't make stuff available to those who need it without making it available to the hard core cultists who feel they have a God-given duty to rip on people like me.

Ah, fun...

Bill said...

"What unstops ears and unveils eyes?"

Ultimately, God. But there seems to be a need on the part of the one who has the veil over their eyes to start looking for truth when the cognitive dissonance and other issues that arise to shake that perfect little world we found ourselves in.

Bill said...

The other questions you raise pretty much have one answer.

There is no salvation in a false gospel.


Byker Bob said...

I discovered years ago that the ACOG diaspora is highly polarized. Like the lyrics to the old Bob Dylan song, "everybody must get stoned!" I guess I first discovered this phenomena when I was still agnostic and writing articles for the Painful Truth website. Ed Mentell encouraged us to maintain our anonymity because of what he called "Christian death threats"

I also discovered that there is a set of sometimes well intentioned non-believers who resent the fact that anyone can articulately present a God oriented or Scripture based solution to the Armstrong problem. Some of these folks simply do not want any "religious" solutions, whether those who impliment them derive healing from them, or not.

Whatever camp we happen to fall in with, our comments end up providing testimony here and other places as to the effectiveness of our particular solution in providing healing to us, and a better life. If a person keeps carefully reading, and watching what happens in some of the writers' lives, he will eventually be able to see what really works, and what doesn't. That's part of the reason why I am no longer agnostic.

I now enjoy reading widely the many diverse materials on Christian matters. I'd be the first to admit that the sheer diversity can be pretty confusing sometimes. But, the bottom line is, if we approach God, sincerely and fervently asking Him to guide us, and then follow the path that He places us upon, rather than allowing another human to co-opt God and do our thinking for us, that places all of the responsibility for the results on God's shoulders where it actually belongs. It's that direct relationship and the trust involved that makes the journey so exciting and fulfilling.

Because of the horrible, bad, unChristian fruits which the Armstrong doctrines produced, and the botched (authoritarian) ways in which they were presented to us, I still have some very strong prejudices against many of them. But, I am very careful, letting God know that my mind has been messed up by these people, and asking His help in guiding me to what He would have me do, just in case some of the "garbage" ends up being truth. Still, there are many things for which there is no definite yea or nay. In fact, some of the exigetics on either side of these issues are equally strong, and it ends up where you might as well just flip a coin. It is very difficult being in limbo, but I'm confident that God will get us through these issues if we are just sincere with Him.

The mockery, accusations and persecution are never fun, because someone had to be hurting quite a bit themselves to dish that out. But, in the long term scheme of things, such negativity is just part of the journey.


xHWA said...

"The mockery, accusations and persecution are never fun, because someone had to be hurting quite a bit themselves to dish that out."

Well spoken, BB.
I think people forget that. I do, anyhow. It's much easier to think of how we are hurt than to think of how other people are hurt.