Friday, November 6, 2009

A New Questionnaire for Armstrongites

I am in the process of rewriting a questionnaire I developed a few years back that I have used when counseling people out of the teachings of “Armstrongism.”

I thought I would share the starting questions, which I have decided to pattern after the old Bible Correspondence Course many went through in their indoctrination into Armstrongism, as I felt it would be a great venue for deprograming some with a similarly structured question and answer format that sucked them in to Armstrongism to begin with. It only seems apropos to do so. If you have any questions of an embarrassing nature to Armstrongism that you would like to submit for possible inclusion into the final product, please let me know through the comments section.

1. Does any one person or church have the right to alter scripture and its application in any way?

If yes, then please explain how this is possible given the following scriptures:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deuteronomy 4:2

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Deuteronomy 12:32

2. Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Given the above passage of scripture, would teaching people to keep the commandments in a manner not consistent with scripture be a case of teaching and following the commandments of men?

3. According to scripture, what was the tithe the Israelites had, and who was to be in receipt of the tithe?

4. Were the Israelites required to tithe on their monetary wages?

5. Seeing as scripture never required or commanded anyone to tithe of their wages, is teaching people to tithe on their wages then a commandment of men?

6. If the scriptures were not to be diminished or added to, then is requiring people to tithe of their wages adding to the commandments of God?

7. What did Jesus warn his followers of in regards to false ministers? (Hint: appear as angels of light; be wolves in sheep’s clothing, appearing to be shepherds).

8. What does a wolf do to a flock? (Hint: devours and fills his own belly at their expense).

9. Do your ministers live well and feed themselves from the tithes they demand of you?

10. Did the apostle Paul, when making his case that ministers of the gospel were entitled to support as a result of preaching the gospel, use tithing as a means to justify their support?

11. If tithing is required of Christians, why did Paul not use tithing as an example of how the ministry was to be supported, and how could he refuse tithes from various churches?

12. If false ministers were prophesied to come who would take advantage of flocks to their own benefit, what method would they employ and demand in order to accomplish this?


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.

Acts 17:11



Phrontistes said...

Hi Bill,
You could add a couple more question on this theme:

Did Paul ever say he never took anything from his brethren, but rather supplied not only his own needs but also for others? Acts 20

Did Paul ever say he would rather die than take from his fellow brethren?

Bill said...

Will do. I rely heavily on Paul when it comes to refuting the theology of Armstrongism.

In regards to your first question though, Paul did take support from some churches.

Prontistes said...

Bill said:
"In regards to your first question though, Paul did take support from some churches."

Are you thinking about the time he said he took wages from the Thessolonians?

If so, check the Greek carefully, because it doesn't really say that at all.

Bill said...

2 Corinthians 11:6  But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
7  Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
8  I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
9  And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

I don't have all my resources here at work, but when I get home I'll check the Greek text and key words and see what develops.

Paul indeed worked, yet there is an example where he was freed up to preach just about every day when others showed up to help him in his ministry. I'll look that up also.

Bill said...

Okay, one can make a very strong case here that what Paul was preaching to the church at Corinth is that:

a. He and others who preached the gospel had a right to expect support from the churches, and that:

b. He refused to avail himself of that right, and even boasted in his choice to not require them to support him.

c. The context appears to imply that the false preachers would waste no time insisting they be paid, and that Paul "raised the bar" so as to say, "let them work/preach without pay also."

His comment about robbing other churches, taking wages of them, was in the context of, so he could serve the Corinthian church. Even so, he felt like he was robbing them still, even though it was not truly for his personal benefit.

For the sake of the questionnaire, the point needs to be made that Paul would rather have died than have someone take away his boast regarding preaching to people the gospel at no charge, as it were, even though there was a "command" from Christ otherwise. This in itself is an interesting concept, which you would think would drive a legalist nuts, that Paul saw this not so much as a commandment as much as a statement as to what they were entitled to, regardless.

Byker Bob said...

If Old Testament tithing had been in effect, as we once understood it from WCG, would Paul have even had the right to waive, nullify, or countermand the law of God?

This entire episode must be very confusing for the legalists who don't realize that Christian New Covenant giving was intended to be totally voluntary and from the heart. Many Christians do use the 10% figure as a general guideline today of what God might expect, but it is still basically a voluntary seed-sowing activity.


Phrontistes said...

Hi Bill,
Your point a: Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by "support". I believe that support was only in the form of provisions which would have sustained Paul on his journey from the north down to Corinth.

Your point b: I don't think there was any right on the part of those preaching the gospel to expect to be paid for their services. That would make the one receiving a payment a hireling, and Christ made it very clear what He thought of hirelings. And then there is Paul's own reminder in Acts 20 that he never took a payment, and he tells the elders that they should follow his example.

Your point c: Agreed, with the exception that it wasn't Paul who raised the bar, but Christ, when He said, "...freely you have been given, freely give."

A really good explanation of this passage in 2 Corinthians 11 can be found here:

It delves a litter deeper into the Greek and lays out the possible ways it can be taken.