Tuesday, October 13, 2009

True History of the True Church??


What I am about to show you are a few examples taken from my recently completed review of a booklet by Herman Hoeh titled “True History of the True Church” 1959 edition. (My deepest thanks to my friends who helped me edit this project.) Hoeh's booklet attempts to build a lineage back through time from Herbert Armstrong to the Apostles. It cites real history books and makes real falsifiable claims on history. This is not some debatable bit of doctrinal curiosity here. This is history – supposedly the “TRUE history.” We can look at this and see without a doubt if it is true or if it is not. If what Hoeh says is not true, then it cannot possible be the "true history." I think you will be shocked by what I have found.

I would like to share these few examples with you since my overall study is far too large to post here and let you see for yourself whether or not Hoeh was being truthful. These are some of the most blatant examples, but I assure you the rest was no different.

How this works is I am going to give you a "claim", which is a quote from Hoeh's book. Then we'll review the facts behind the claim. Then I'll summarize.

CLAIM:

“But how did Nimrod – ‘Peter’ – become associated with Rome? Because it was to Rome that Nimrod fled from his persecutors. The ancient name of Rome was ‘Saturnia,’ recorded by Pliny in his Natural History, bk. III.”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.15

FACTS:

In The Natural History of Pliny (the Elder), Volume I – which contains Book III – starting on p. 191, Pliny begins describing the regions of Italy. He mentions various areas and cities until, on page 202, Pliny begins describing the city of Rome. On page 203, he states that within the massive walls of Rome there were 14 districts. The metropolitan area grew, however, and eventually spilled over all bounds and engulfed several surrounding towns. On page 204, Pliny mentions that within the first district, within the bounds of the then current city of Rome, there was one town engulfed which was called Saturnia. Pliny also mentions Janiculum (formerly Antipolis) which also forms part of the then current city of Rome.

The translators write in the notations on page 204, about Antipolis:

“Said to have been so called from having been ‘opposite’ to the ancient city of Saturnia. The Janiculus or Januculum was a fortress on the opposite bank of the Tiber, and a suburb of Rome, connected with it by the Sublician bridge.”

CONCLUSION:

This claim is false. Hoeh distorts what Pliny said. Rome was not formerly known as Saturnia. Rather, Rome had grown to engulf Saturnia and many other small towns.

CLAIM:

“Anacletus, an elder or bishop in the apostate church at Rome, dedicated the ancient shrine of the pagan Peter (or Nimrod) to the apostle Peter around 80 A.D., according to a record in the Liber Pontificalis (I, p. 125).”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.15

FACTS:

Anacletus, aka Cletus, lived during the time of the Apostles. Some records say Anacletus was bishop of Rome in 77-88, others say 80-92. The records just aren’t entirely reliable. There are even some records that split Anacletus into two different people (Cletus and Anacletus). But we should ask ourselves, why were these records so spotty? Simple! The persecution of Christians that began with Nero was still going strong, and it was deadly to be a Christian out in the open.

I’ve searched the Liber Pontificalis for entries about Anacletus dedicating a shrine, and I have found nothing. Nothing in volume I page 125. Nothing in the entire thing. I did, however, find reference to Anacletus building a tomb in Volume I, p. 9:

“He built and adorned the sepulchral monument to Peter, forasmuch as he had been made priest by the blessed Peter, and other places of sepulcher for the burial of bishops. There he himself was likewise buried near the body of the blessed Peter…”

Vatican hill was an ancient cemetery used by both pagans and eventually Christians. It was also used as farmland. It also housed the Circus of Nero (an arena for races and gladiator fights). Given that, it is impossible that an ancient shrine could have survived from Nimrod’s day for Anacletus to rededicate.

CONCLUSION:

This claim is false. Hoeh, I suspect willfully, misquotes the Liber Pontificalis. This tomb was built by Anacletus; he did not dedicate an ancient shrine.

CLAIM:

“Anacletus claimed to be the sole successor to Peter. He insisted that Rome should be the new headquarters of all the churches.”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.15

FACTS:

History is so spotty that there are several versions of his placement in the Catholic list of Popes. Hoeh gives no source for this claim. I suspect there is no source. Hoeh only invents this claim to take down Anacletus, and that solely because of his involvement with Peter’s tomb.

CONCLUSION:

This claim is manufactured. There is absolutely no record of Anacletus making this claim. Later Popes (much later) made this claim, but that is no proof at all in regards to whether or not Anacletus made this claim. The notion that the Bishop of Rome would have made a claim like that in those days is laughable and betrays a complete lack of understanding of the order of things in the early church. In fact, at that time, it was the Greek east that was dominant – not the Latin west. And all Bishops were considered of equal rank.

I would remind you that the list of Popes is an attempt to link the Catholic Pontiff to the Apostles - and that is precisely what Hoeh is doing in this booklet. This claim is meant to discredit his competition.

CLAIM:

“This church [Smyrna] claims they are spiritually Jews.”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.17

FACTS:

Here is God’s word:

(REV. 2: 9) …I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

They do not at all claim to be “spiritually Jews.” The Bible neither says that, nor does it intend that as its meaning. None of the most respected Bible commentaries support Hoeh. This is a blatant rewriting of the Bible. Hoeh inserts the word “spiritual” so that in your mind you will equate this to the phrase “Spiritual Israel.”

CONCLUSION:

This claim is false. Hoeh has added to the words of the Bible in order to change “Jew” into “Gentile Christian.”

CLAIM:

[Hoeh quotes Eusebius:]

“But before this time another most virulent disorder had existed, and long afflicted the Church; I mean the difference respecting… Easter. For while one party asserted that the Jewish custom (as to time) should be adhered to, the other (did not).

Accordingly, the people being thus in every place divided in this respect… no one appeared who was capable of devising a remedy… BECAUSE THE CONTROVERSY CONTINUED EQUALLY DIVIDED BETWEEN BOTH PARTIES… Constantine appeared to be the only one on earth capable… He convoked a general council…”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.18

FACTS:

When I read this, I get the sense that Eusebius is an indifferent reporter of benign fact. I showed this quote to a neutral third party, without any commentary from me, and their conclusion was the same as mine.

Here are the actual words of Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, book III, Chapter V, in section “Of the Disagreement Respecting the Celebration of Easter”. I will underline the areas that Hoeh left out.

“But before this time another most virulent disorder had existed, and long afflicted the Church; I mean the difference respecting the salutary feast of Easter. For while one party asserted that the Jewish custom should be adhered to, the other affirmed that the exact recurrence of the period should be observed, without following the authority of those who were in error, and strangers to gospel grace [Jews].

Accordingly, the people being thus in every place divided in respect of this, and the sacred observances of religion confounded for a long period (insomuch that the diversity of judgment in regard to the time for celebrating one and the same feast caused the greatest disagreement between those who kept it, some afflicting themselves with fastings and austerities, while others devoted their time to festive relaxation), no one appeared who was capable of devising a remedy for the evil, because the controversy continued equally balanced between both parties. To God alone, the Almighty, was the healing of these differences an easy task; and Constantine appeared to be the only one on earth capable of being his minister for this good end. For as soon as he was made acquainted with the facts which I have described, and perceived that his letter to the Alexandrian Christians had failed to produce its due effect, he at once aroused the energies of his mind, and declared that he must prosecute to the utmost this war also against the secret adversary who was disturbing the peace of the Church.

Not only did Hoeh leave out all that I have here underlined, he added two sections in parentheses, and a third section at the end.

CONCLUSION:

What Hoeh does here is strategically rewrite Eusebius in order to cause it to say precisely the opposite of what it does say. Hoeh would leave us to understand that the static dating of Easter was disturbing the church. Hoeh removed or rewrote all of the references to how his own position is considered to be “evil” and “disturbing” in Eusebius’ sight.

CLAIM:

“Not even the persecutions of pagan Rome matched the terrible slaughter of Constantine’s ‘Christian’ Rome. From the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) to about the death of Constantine, the persecution raged for 10 long years as prophesied (see Rev. 2: 10, where a prophetic ‘day’ represents a ‘year’ in fulfillment – Numbers 14: 34).”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.18

FACTS:

Once again we see Hoeh’s claims are factually erroneous. The Great Persecution under Diocletian was the worst Roman persecution by far – even worse than that of Nero. Galarius and Constantine ended that.

In 311 AD, Galerius issued an Edict of Toleration, ending the persecution of Christians. Constantine restored confiscated property to Christians in the Edict of Milan in 313 AD. There was now religious freedom in Rome. He outlawed crucifixion in favor of hanging, he restored property to Christians, he freed Christian slaves, he allowed the Christian bishops to decide their own policy (he then enforced their policy in an effort to maintain peace and unity), and many other such benevolent things.

CONCLUSION:

This claim is shockingly false. Hoeh would paint Constantine as a horrible butcher. And why? He does this for no other reason than to invent a history favorable to his flawed presuppositions.

CLAIM:

“The names given to these people of God by their enemies were ‘Athyngani’ – meaning ‘those who understood prophecy’ – and ‘Paulicians’ – the followers of the apostle Paul.”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p.20

FACTS:

"Athyngani" means “untouchable.” S├índor Avraham, in his online study titled Myths, Hypotheses and Facts Concerning the Origins of Peoples, under section heading The True Origin of Roma and Sinti, says this:

“The Athinganoi were given such name in connection with their ritual purity laws, that regarded impure any contact with other people...”

Vasile Burtea's "The Roma in the Synchrony and the Diachrony of the Contact Population" [say that 5 times fast], under section 1.2 "The Motives and Passages of Migration" claims the phrase "Athinganoi" comes from the Greek and means, roughly, "untouchable."

Johann Lorenz Mosheim agrees, in his book "Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Volume II" chapter V. This author and book are quoted by Hoeh in his booklet.

As for the Paulicians, they got their name from Paul of Samasota, Bishop of Smyrna (200-275 AD). Not the Apostle Paul.

CONCLUSION:

This claim is demonstrably false. After all of the reading Hoeh did - especially reading Mosheim - I find it impossible to believe that he didn't full well know this.

CLAIM:

“They [the Henricians] were charged by the Catholic Church with remaining faithful to the whole law of God and of observing the Sabbath (Ecclesiastical History, by Peter Allix, pp. 168-169).

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p. 22

FACTS:

Hoeh quotes the book “Ecclesiastical History” by Peter Allix. This turns out to be “Remarks Upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of the Albigenses”.

That’s Albigenses - not the Petrobrussians, Henricians, or Arnoldists.

The omission of the full title of this work seems utterly deceptive to me since Hoeh uses this quote in direct reference to Henry of Lausanne (founder of the Henricians) and Arnold of Brescia (founder of the Arnoldists) .. but the book is about the Albigenses. Peter de Bruys (founder of the Petrobrussians) and Henry of Lausanne (Henricians) are only mentioned in the book in regards to proving the Albigenses predated them.

To put it plainly, he is citing a book about one group and trying to apply it to other groups.

Hoeh only paraphrases, so there is no specific quote to confirm or deny. What I can do, however, is tell you that the word “sabbath” never appears in the work, and the “law of God” certainly does not refer to the laws of the Old Covenant (which is precisely what Hoeh understands this phrase to mean).

CONCLUSION:

I have found nothing in this book at all, or any other besides, to justify Hoeh’s paraphrase. All of these men were Catholic reformers, outraged by the excesses of the clergy. Peter de Bruys even sought the Pope's permission to preach.

CLAIM:

“Their [the Waldenses] enemies admitted that these people proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom of God, that they baptized repentant believers and obeyed the whole law of God.”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p. 23

FACTS:

William Jones, in his book "History of the Christian Church", specifically says, on p. 80 of his book, that they did not tithe. In fact, Jones relates this to us on p. 82:

“An impartial review of the doctrinal sentiments maintained by the Waldenses; the discipline, order, and worship of their churches, as well as their general deportment and manner of life, not to mention their determined and uniform opposition to the church of Rome, affords abundant evidence of the similarity of their views and practices to those held by Luther, Calvin, and the other illustrious characters, whose labours, in the sixteenth century, contributed so eminently to effect the glorious Reformation.” [emphasis mine]

Note: This is a book Hoeh quotes often. Andrew Dugger and C. O. Dodd in their earlier work "A History of the True Religion Traced from 33 AD to Date" quote from it 33 times. They all refer to it as "Jones' Church History."

CONCLUSION:

Hoeh is obviously not impartial. His claims are false.

The Waldensian church still exists today. They are part of the Presbyterian church. Ask them what their history is.

CLAIM:

“Through the preaching of Lollard and other helpers, hundreds were repenting. Thousands were learning for the first time that baptism means immersion – that the world’s religious holidays came from paganism and that Sunday was not the Sabbath.”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, P. 23

FACTS:

Hoeh goes into some specific claims, but backs them up with nothing.

He mentions the Lollards. What do we know about them?

The Lollards were followers of John Wycliffe, another early Protestant. They rejected the excesses of the clergy. Once again we have a group who opposed tithing – they wanted the clergy to live off their own labor. Wycliffe only wanted to reform the Catholic Church.

CONCLUSION:

This claim is false. John Wycliffe was a Catholic reformer; certainly not an Armstrongist.

CLAIM:

“Several faithful congregations did not become members of the [Seventh-day Baptist] Conference because they would not submit to the new Protestant doctrines being introduced (see p. 246 of Belcher’s Religious Denominations).”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, pp. 23-24

FACTS:

The book Hoeh references is The Religious Denominations in the United States: Their History, Doctrine, Government and Statistics with a Preliminary Sketch of Judaism, Paganism, and Mohammedanism by Joseph Belcher. Upon turning to page 246, as referenced, I found that Mr. Belcher was not at all speaking of the Seventh Day Baptists. He was speaking about a subsection of Baptists that he calls “Six Principle Baptists.” Mr. Belcher even lists these 6 principles, and contrasts them with the Associated Baptists and the Freewill Baptists, so it is obvious that he is not speaking of the Seventh-day Baptist church.

CONCLUSION:

Hoeh infers Belcher was speaking about the Seventh-day Baptists; he was not saying that at all. Hoeh infers that Belcher was saying certain independent seventh day Sabbath observing groups were refusing to join the Seventh-day Baptist General Conference; he was not saying that at all. Hoeh infers that Belcher was saying the issue was over the introduction of pagan heresies (ie. Protestant doctrines); he was not saying that at all. Hoeh infers the refusal was more specifically over the Sabbath, or naming, or some such issue; it was not. Hoeh didn’t get a single detail correct except that there was one group who refused to join another.

I can see no possible way that this was done without complete foreknowledge and willful intent. For it to be anything besides would mean Herman Hoeh is either not the author, or he was suffering from some form of dementia.

CLAIM:

“The original Church of God brethren generally did not go along with the ‘inspired restimony’ of Ellen G. White. Finally, a meeting was held by some of the members in Battle Creek, Michigan, September 28 through October 1, 1860.”

-Herman Hoeh “True History of the True Church.” 1959, p. 24

FACTS:

Hoeh is referring to Gilbert Cranmer and his rejection of Ellen G. White. Hoeh is attempting to sever all ties with William Miller and the Seventh Day Adventists.

According to the Ellen G. White official estate website, in an article titled “Ellen G. White: A Brief Biography”, under section “Marriage of James White and Ellen Harmon”, John and Ellen White accepted the Saturday Sabbath in the latter half of 1846. According to the Seventh Day Adventist website, in an article on the history of the church, it states the name “Seventh-day Adventist” was chosen in 1860.

It was at this conference in Battle Creek, Michigan that one of William Miller’s followers, Mr. Gilbert Cranmer (an elder in Ellen G. White’s Adventist church) publically aired disagreements with Ellen G. White and her visions. Afterwards, Gilbert Cranmer took a chunk of people in Michigan with him when he left, and he formed the group that eventually became known as the Church of God (Seventh Day).

CONCLUSION:

This statement is false. Generally speaking, for several years the majority did go along with Ellen G. White. If they hadn’t, there wouldn’t be any “Seventh Day” in “Church of God (Seventh Day)”. Only a handful eventually broke away, and that was due to her odd visions and prophecies. But Armstrongism is a branch of Adventism and a descendant of Ellen G. White’s church. (Technically they still go along with her to this day.) In trying to deny this link, Hoeh inadvertently admits it. That tie is impossible to sever.

In closing…

One person can show every last verse in the Bible on a given topic, and as sure as the sun rises in the east there will be someone bound and determined to argue against it. It is the nature of people to feel so highly of their own opinions that some will never be convinced otherwise by any evidence. Mankind would kill their Savior before they re-assess their opinions and beliefs.

But this information I have laid out here is not speculation. It is a matter of historical fact. In one place Hoeh quotes an author, and I have checked that quote, and in the vast majority of instances his quote was incorrect. Some were not just incorrect, but grossly so. In some cases he left whole swaths of information out. In some cases he claimed things were said that were not.

This is not a matter of opinion. Did Hoeh misquote or did he not? It is a fact that he did! Therefore it cannot be the "true history."

The works are there, I have provided links, check for yourself. I deeply suspect, given the rare and inaccessible nature of the source material, that Hoeh and Armstrong hoped no one ever could or would double check.

Dear reader, you will have to read the full version of my study to get the full effect of Hoeh’s errors (or do a study of your own.) Several times Hoeh misquotes his sources. Several times he invents history. Several times his information is blatantly taken straight from the grossly flawed and fully debunked works of Alexander Hyslop. Several times his inventions are obviously designed to justify Herbert Armstrong and the things he has said or did. Indeed, the whole booklet was written to this end.

Some of the examples are so blatant, so egregious, that there is no possible way they were not deliberate, premeditated, and done with intent to deceive.

Taking in to account my recent review of Herbert Armstrong’s “Who is the Beast?” –where I saw much the same thing as I found here - I have no choice but to look at every work from these two compatriots with the highest degree of skepticism.

Current members of a COG, deeply sought after by God, please take this information to heart and consider the methods of the men who gave you what you now believe. Was it honest what they did? How much of what you now believe is based on the booklets and articles written by these two men? Did you do as the Bereans did and verify the information for yourself? I did not – until recently. And I am ASTOUNDED by the mistruth I found. Is that Godly fruit you’re eating, or rotten?

May God lead you to His truth. And may God have mercy on these men who have foisted such terrible lies on so many tens of thousands of people.

15 comments:

PurpleHymnal said...

"I would like to share these few examples with you since my overall study is far too large to post here."

Post it in parts if you have to. Somebody needs to take ol' Herman down, ASAP. Some ex-members still defend "Doctor" Hoeh! Yeah yeah call me the b-word, tell me I'm flogging a dead horse (literally) but you know what? The Compendium of [Alternate] World History is still quoted by white supremacy groups, that have nothing to do with any of the CoGs. This book needs to be debunked in full, not just swept under the carpet, with excuses that "Herman was really an OK guy after all." (Which is BS.)

"FACTS: Here is God’s word: (REV. 2: 9) …I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."

What translation are you using? Both the NRSV and NKJV, courtesy Unbound Bible have the verse as follows:

English: New Revised Standard Version

Revelation 2:9. I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

English: King James Version

Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

So the verse isn't really about Jews specifically, it's a simile for someone who's physically rich, being emotionally (or spiritually if you like) poor.

It is a similar verse to Logion 3 of the Gospel of Thomas:

"[the teacher] said, If your leaders tell you, 'Look, the kingdom is in heaven,' then the birds of heaven will precede you. If they say to you, 'It's in the sea,[Greek Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 654 reads: "it is under the earth."]' then the fish will precede you. But the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty and you are poverty."

Another possible interpretation of the verse could be that the blasphemy in question is on the part of those who judge others, and say for instance "They [meaning another group] are Jews, and they [meaning a second group] are not."

redfox712 said...

Very good blog, xHWA! You have truly outdone yourself.

Saturnia is just a town swallowed up by the expanding metropolis of Rome!? Wow! That's certainly not what he said.

Athyngani means untouchable!? I remember when I first read that booklet. My mind was all abuzz when I read those words. Now I know Hoeh was totally wrong with that statement.

Great work, xHWA!

xHWA said...

Hi PH!

I do most of my Bible quotes from the NKJV, unless otherwise stated.

You know that I personally feel that there are usually two ways to see just about every verse. So your interpretation, "So the verse isn't really about Jews specifically, it's a simile for someone who's physically rich, being emotionally (or spiritually if you like) poor," is pretty good! Thanks for adding that.

Even so, it doesn't contradict my point, but enhances it. What I mean to get across is that Hoeh tries to take the word "Ioudaios" [Jews] and twist it to mean Gentile by turning the phrase into "spiritual Israel." That is impossible. That is not the literal meaning or the simile. So, your simile is good IMHO, and it still disagrees with what Hoeh is trying to do.

If you want me to send you the full version, shoot me an email. I'll be glad to send it.

xHWA said...

I think I understand what you're really getting at, PH.

In the full review, I made it clear that God is in no way condemning all Jews. There were small portions that were persecuting the early Christians, like Saul did, and those Jews specifically seem to be referred to here.
The text goes out of its way to say that even though these people claim to be Jews, they are not. So God makes a distinction between these errant Judean zealots and genuine, faithful Jews.

It is my own opinion that this was only done to fulfill prophecy anyhow. Most Jews did not engage in that kind of persecution. So, even if Jews are mentioned, it is not a slight to God's original chosen people at all.

But just to add some weight to why I believe this is referring to literal Jews as well as the rich which you point out in simile ---

Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary says this:

“say they are Jews, and are not — Jews by national descent, but not spiritually of “the true circumcision.” The Jews blaspheme Christ as “the hanged one.” As elsewhere, so at Smyrna they bitterly opposed Christianity; and at Polycarp’s martyrdom they joined the heathens in clamoring for his being cast to the lions; and when there was an obstacle to this, for his being burnt alive; and with their own hands they carried logs for the pile.”

Vincent’s Word Studies says this:

“Jews
Literally. Not Christians, as in Phi_3:3; Rom_2:28, Rom_2:29. Actually Jews by birth, but not spiritually. The title is not given them by the Spirit, nor by the seer, but by themselves; and none would use that title except such as were Jews by birth and by religion.”

xHWA said...

Thanks, RF! I hope it is of great help and inspiration to you!

xHWA said...

Not only is Saturnia NOT Rome's original name, but there is an ancient town named Saturnia that still exists in Tuscany, about an hour and a half north of Rome. It's famous for its hot springs.

Which was the real home of Saturn?

I'll bet it would be great fun to scour the city for 4,000 year old altars to Nimrod.... errr, I mean "Peter."

PurpleHymnal said...

"You know that I personally feel that there are usually two ways to see just about every verse. So your interpretation, "So the verse isn't really about Jews specifically, it's a simile for someone who's physically rich, being emotionally (or spiritually if you like) poor," is pretty good! Thanks for adding that."

You're welcome, I'm glad it's welcome over here. I wasn't too sure whether or not I was "in good standing". :-)

"If you want me to send you the full version, shoot me an email. I'll be glad to send it."

Sure thing!

"I think I understand what you're really getting at, PH."

Eh, I wasn't really gunning for the anti-Semitism angle, but if you tilt your head and squint your eyes funny, maybe I was, and I didn't even realize it. ;-)

We shall have to agree to disagree on the literalism of the passage; as always, I read the text from the perspective of mythology and legend, which is where I suspect our paths will always diverge.

I refuse to defend either side in the Judeo-Christian debate (nor do I any longer adhere to the half-and-half game we used to play as Armstrongists); IMO, Jews, Christians, and Muslims have persecuted each other to varying degrees for two thousand years, and continue to do so to this day. (Well, maybe not the Jews, at least not most of them.) Exhibit A: The Middle East.

So it's one thing to say the Pharisees (Or was that the Sadducees? So many Jewish sects during that period of history, it's hard to keep them all straight, LOL.) persecuted the Christians, but I remember this small-time little emperor, Constantine was his name? IIRC he did a considerable amount of persecution as well!

I will also remind the readers that Constantine's Christians actually persecuted their fellow Christians, during their days of shoehorning the belief system into an orthodox religion, shortly after the Nicene Council.

But as you point out, these are generalities, and not reflective of the individual believers caught up in these systems, either in the present, or in the ancient past. (Can we agree systems are bad, yes??) :-)

That my preferred interpretation of the passage in question eliminates any inherent anti-Semitism that it might be used for by less scrupulous Christians, is a wholly unintended benefit, IMO.

Given that we are debating an English translation of a text that has been through at least three different languages, and probably tens of thousands of copies (in an era devoid of an acceptable common linguistic baseline, never mind spell-check and grammatical consistency!), I fear that neither of our interpretations may be "correct" as to the original intent and scope of the text.

But I think that's where Bible scholars tend to get hung up; instead of appreciating the literature of the ancient world for what it is (a remarkable collection of philosophical writings that have survived a millennium or more), they go back and forth and back and forth, trying to make the ancient text "fit" what they already believe.

(I admit I am every bit as culpable of this in my comments above.)

I think I have reached enough of an equanimity with the texts, that I am not nearly as inclined as once I was, to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and discount the texts entirely as ancient desert tribe fairy tales.

I mean, they ARE ancient desert tribe fairy tales; but every aboriginal peoples' creation story and world-myth has something to teach those with the eyes to see and the ears to hear. IMO.

Thanks for letting me ramble, I know my perspective is about as far from "orthodox" as it's possible to get. :-)

xHWA said...

Yeah, I'd say so.

Byker Bob said...

Many of us disagree amongst ourselves on the best solution to the Armstrong problem, but certainly we can agree on the fact that the WCG and the splinters gave a lying testimony as an integral part of their proselytizing. I'd seen similar materials to what you just published back in the 1970's, some of which treated the huge gaping errors of Hoeh's Compendium. I sincerely hope that as many people as possible see your dissertation, and carefully and prayerfully consider it as they determine what to do with the balance of their lives.

Most of us realize that many of HWA's most blatant lies and false teaching were in the area of prophecy. Of course, he attempted to convince all who would listen that his inspiration came directly from God, but really, how could it have? As an example, he would not have been prophesying that Hitler and Mussolini were the beast during World War II, if he had stopped to consider the fact that in order for the prophesies in Revelation to be fulfilled, the nation of Israel was required to exist. Had God been working through him, He would have made this abundantly clear.

Further, he would have seen that prophesy and history continued to correlate accurately as the Roman Empire gradually became divided and disintegrated. This is why there are two legs on the prophetic beast! The Roman Empire first divided, with two centers of influence, or capitals, Rome, and Constantinople! Constantinople, of course, is in Turkey, and represents the Islamic leg. If one reads Revelation, one will find that the false religious system is beheading the saints. Catholics do not behead heretics, their history is that they burned them at stake. While is is highly unlikely that a Roman Catholic Christian pope would declare that he is God, one can easily visualize an Iman, the most holy figure of a man made religion, doing that very thing! His activities would be an abomination which makes desolate. Certainly it would behoove all of us to be watching Europe to see precisely how far Islamification goes.

You can always tell false teachers or prophets because they are prone to anger, manipulation, and ends justifying means policies. Jesus Christ did not manipulate anyone, and taught us to be honest and non-manipulative in all of our dealings with our fellow human beings. Had the Armstrongs been honest, they would have acknowledged that no nations similar to the U.S. seem to be central to the end time prophecies. We are not mentioned at all, unless we are presumed to be amongst the hordes of armies fighting Jesus Christ at the very end.

Thanks, again for presenting honest facts. My opinion is that once one discovers that a person or corporate entity has lied to them, anything that that entity has espoused should be rejected or subjected to rigorous tests.

BB

xHWA said...

Hi Bob!

You wouldn't happen to know where I could find one of those debunkings of Hoeh's Compendium, would you? I'm certain they're very rare. But I would love to get a hold of one.

You're very welcome for the honest facts. It's my pleasure.

"Had the Armstrongs been honest"
Oh.. if only!

Byker Bob said...

I wish I did have some of those materials from back in the day, xHWA! Unfortunately, it became my policy, some months after I left WCG, not to associate with members or former members, and I did not deviate from that policy until becoming active on the internet right about Y2K. Two of my friends who had taken the time to make an honest attempt to access the primary sources often butchered and misquoted by Dr. Hoeh and HWA's other lackeys are now deceased.

If it is any consolation, I believe that those who have become disenchanted with the Armstrong movement have the best possible resources available right now in real time, today. There is a plethora of solid research available on the internet, and there seem to be increasingly available deconstructs of all the doctrines and deceptions as we progress. We may already be at the point where anyone who is ignorant of these could rightly be called "willfully" ignorant. Usually, some events or experiences must happen in such peoples' minds to make them want to rethink their positions, or even to indulge in more research. That is why our prayers are so important, in addition to the time devoted to writing and reading fine articles such as yours.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

BB

Byker Bob said...

xHWA,

I was doing more thinking on this and decided perhaps some additional information might be helpful.

One of my deceased friends who treated the bogus research of the Armstrong movement was John Trechak. I worked with John every working day for some months, our friendship continued for years thereafter, and he ended up sharing many of the research materials which people submitted to him in the early days of what was then called the "Ambassador Review". Much of this material is archived at the Painful Truth website. One very interesting fact about John is that all throughout the time I knew him, he continued identifying himself as a Christian, despite having been disfellowshipped from WCG. He always went out of his way to apply Christian ethics to all of his work with Ambassador Reports.

Another friend, Scott, whom I've learned died tragically and prematurely in a hiking accident, graduated from AC, and then metriculated to UC Berkeley where he pursued his interests in antiquities. To my knowledge, he was one of the first to actually know where to look for the original quotes which Hoeh had cherrypicked, truncated, and pulled out of context to support WCG teachings.

More recently, Jared Olar took on Dr. Bob Thiel at the old xCG website maintained by Gary Scott. There was a series which I believe was called "All around the mulberry bush", and Jared made mincemeat of the so-called "true history of the true church". This may have been archived by Gary, or perhaps it is available through the Way Back site.

Also of interest is this. Many of HWA's positions regarding the Roman Catholic Church Church derived from Hislop's "The Two Babylons", now largely debunked and discredited by valid historians. Ralph Woodrow had originally written a book similar to Hislops, which had also often been quoted. However, Woodrow had the integrity to write another book refuting his own earlier work, because additional research had proven to him that his and Hislop's original positions were totally inaccurate.

I'm sure that you probably know much of what I've just outlined, but we do need to also consider the greater audience of readers, some of whom may be in the process of making some important decisions in their lives.

Best 2 U,
BB

xHWA said...

That's awesome stuff, Bob. MUCH appreciated.

May God be glorified by this information we have gathered here.

xHWA said...

For those interested in the discussion between Jared Olar and Bob Thiel that Byker Bob referenced, here it is:

http://xcg.kingary.net/?q=mulberry+bush

xHWA said...

Here is a link to the full text of the study from which this post was derived:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8632770/True%20History%20of%20the%20True%20Church%20-%20reviewed%20-%20RC3.pdf