During my life in the OWCG (original Worldwide Church of God) everything was filtered through the preconception of the USA as being the descendants of the Israelite tribe of Manasseh. All the punishments from God, which the bible directed toward Israel of old, were expounded upon as applying to us. The anger and coming wrath of God, for violating a covenant that could only apply if British Israelism is true, was claimed to be our destiny. I presume members in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa etc. were also exposed to the disdainful words and attitudes that extinguished national pride and a sense of the common bonds of a family grown large.
The nations of Europe that also got included as tribes of Israel, in the Armstrong fantasy, no doubt had their OWCG congregations being fed all the rhetoric that would feed negative attitudes, fear and even self loathing. This is, in any case, my experience. Each nation has good and evil in its history. Unfortunately, no nation has anything that it did not take from some one else; this is the bitter reality of a world that inherited a state of having rejected God; if we focus on this alone, we become weak and indecisive, stymied by a cloud of shame. We are neutralized as workmen who stand up for the values we learn from the word of God, of morality and good stewardship; of caring for our families, a responsibility given by God as a service to him.
What a wonderful God who teaches us that to serve him, we should serve others rather than build him monuments, and impoverish ourselves to support some grand production of religious ritual. To love God, we must love our children.
In OWCG, we the children, suffered economically and the tirades of deprecation, mocking and sarcasm directed at our nations only fed cynicism and paranoia. Speaking of my own nation; people running the US, corporations, and institutes of education may often be corrupt, but the basic principles of the founding fathers of the US are excellent. The ministers of OWCG would only refer to the US system as “demon-ocracy;” and little, if any thanks, were given to those who fought and died, throughout the formative years of these basic principles in England, through the revolution, until the present, to provide a life free of domination by self serving tyrants. Can thanklessness be pleasing to God?
The sacrifice of others has allowed people from all over the world to come and live their lives as they see fit. Some have lived their lives in disregard of God. Some used their freedom to seek God. Those who sought God were held in greater contempt than those who did not by the OWCG; as if they were black hearted Baal worshippers offering their children, live, in the fires of pagan altars. I’m sure this same attitude was extent in what ever country OWCG had congregations.
Personally, I was not taught a proper respect for people who live honorable lives. I learned a passive acceptance that evil reigned, everything sucks, and “it’s only going to get worse.” We criticized and scoffed, and pointed the finger of accusation. We never added our voices to the call for common decency because we weren’t to participate in the “worlds” affairs; and besides, we didn’t believe in common decency. Our perspective was: “the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”. There was no belief that God had created good within any heart. When I was finally free of the shroud of the Old Covenant, and the black shroud around my heart, somehow everyone else was different *a bit of sarcasm*. I could see that (at least a few percentage points over a majority) people are generally decent.
I believe that good people have made a difference. Untold numbers of people have been served by the willingness of good people to make their will a force for good. And how, I wonder, has the Kingdom Of God benefitted by creating a safe haven for the followers of Jesus? I’d say that God has ripe wheat in many fields upon the earth, and those who tended the fields have served God.
In OWCG we were resigned to the ‘futility’ of striving against evil. Should we not also tend his fields? I’m sure we would have sat passively by and let the sacrifices of those who had died, to secure freedom, be wasted. Jesus called his followers the ‘salt of the earth’. Salt influences the dish that it is sprinkled upon. Salt with no influence is worthless. To be the salt of the earth, people of good conscience, with a heart for God should let their presence be known. Again I’ll repeat: to serve God you must love your children. Piling up an unbelievable mountain of debt doesn’t sound like love for those God gives us the responsibility for. Now, more than ever, people of God…… do not be silent.