Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Proclamations

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! From the members here at As Bereans Did.

Many of you know that in the United States, the last Thursday of the month of November is dedicated as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to God for His gracious and generous mercy towards saint and sinner alike. We would like to wish you a thanks-filled day with a little interesting American history.

Over the years, several days of thanksgiving to God were proclaimed by various Presidents of the United States. These were each unique events. It wasn't until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln set aside a recurring date of Thanksgiving. This article on Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations at Pilgrimhill.org has a lot of good information for you on this if you're interested.

I would like to republish two specific proclamations, one from George Washington, and one from Abraham Lincoln, because these two deal with thanksgiving proclamations on the last Thursday in November.

May God bless you and help you to find many reasons to be thankful. And remember, it's not about the turkey, it's about the One who invented the Turkey. All the best to you!

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington
[From the United States Library of Congress article on George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/GW/gw004.html]

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
[Taken from the National Park Service "ABRAHAM LINCOLN From His Own Words and Contemporary Accounts" article #27 "BLESSINGS OF FRUITFUL FIELDS" at http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/source/sb2/sb2w.htm]

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! From the members here at As Bereans Did.

Friday, November 19, 2010

PCG Parents Abandon Teen Daughter

You read that right. Philadelphia Church of God parents abandon minor-aged daughter.
I had to take a while to cool off before I wrote this post. I am just going to parrot Felix Taylor and spare you the angry rant that I would very much love to cut loose with right now.

I checked Felix's blog, Life After WCG And More Abundantly, and he linked to a letter on Exit and Support Network about a 17-year old girl who told her parents that she no longer wished to attend Gerald Flurry's Armstrongist splinter-church, the Philadelphia Church of God. Well, given the opportunity to follow Jesus' example and love her unconditionally with forgiveness and hope, her parents chose to abandon her to the streets.

Here is a link to the article so you can read for yourself.

(I TIM. 5: 8) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Likely this poor girls' life, if it ever recovers, will have little room for Jesus Christ, since the horrific version of Christ she was abused with should turn any sane being away in disgust. What have her parents done?
Gerald Flurry, you _______!
This is no joke. And people wonder why we do what we do in the ex-COG blogosphere.


(MAT. 23: 23-33) 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.
33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wade Cox Offers His Side

This is yet another follow-up post in a series about Wade Cox and his adventures on Facebook. You can find part 1 here, and part 2 here. I will continue under the assumption that you have read them.

As fortune would have it, Wade Cox has given his side of the story in a post on Facebook. In the interest of fairness (ABD is a polemics blog, but we try to remain fair) I will post it here, verbatim, unedited (except that names have been removed).
And then I will post the responses of each of the former Administrators of the group now occupied by Wade Cox, verbatim, unedited (except that names have been removed).

Did I say that I expected the last of it? Wow! Was I wrong! (See? I admit when I'm wrong.)

Former Worldwide Church of God and Other COG Groups
Topic: Administration
Thursday, November 18, 2010
As a result of the false information being put out regarding the circumstances of the administration of this site, I will post the true circumstances.

This site was commenced as a result of the abusive behaviour of the clique that was operating on another site. [**UPDATE: I have just learned that by "another site" Wade here refers to the WCG Survivors Facebook group, where he unsuccessfully tried the same hostile takeover trick one year ago.] Many of us were on that site and left in disgust at the abusive behaviour there. We were asked by an administrator of this site not to leave the other site but to keep posting. When we refused they asked us to come to this site. The creator of the site guaranteed us that the abuse of the other site would not be permitted. They also guaranteed us that these abusers would not be allowed on this site. The creator of the site also stated that it was her intention to ask one or two of us to become administrators of the site.

On those provisos we agreed to assist here. After a period of productive and civil exchanges it seems that a conspiracy appears to have been formed between at least three parties to conduct a campaign of malicious defamation on this site. This conspiracy was confirmed when one of the people on the other site, who had been seemingly asked to come on to this site, blatantly stated on this site that the campaign existed and that there were three people operating within it. One of those named was one of the administrators of this site.

The members of CCG and others who had been posting here decided that there had been a significant breach of trust. After consistent failure to have the defamation removed and the site restored to rational behaviour, we all requested that all posts of ours be removed and all defamatory posts also be removed forthwith. It is obvious that the effect on the site would be serious.

The administrators were informed of our views and their agreements. One was given an email letter regarding the declared conspiracy allegedly involving the one of them. [This email is posted in full below.] The administrator receiving the letter did not deny the matters. Neither of the administrators have ever been a member or in fellowship with the CCG in spite of what has been suggested.

At no time was it ever suggested by any one of the CCG members that they be given administration of the site. At no time did I ever suggest that the site be handed over to me. At no time did any member or officer of CCG ever suggest or ask that the site be handed over to any one of us.

On 15 November 2010 I Skype called Ms. Dana Hilburn to discuss a number of matters. She stated to me that she was on her cell phone speaking with Ms. [Admin #1] the administrator of this site. She said: “[Admin #1] has rung to ask me (Dana) to take over the administration of the site and she wants you to be an administrator as well” or words to that effect. I asked her a question about it. I said: “yes we could do it” or words to that effect. She relayed my comments to [Admin #1] via the cell phone. I could hear [Admin #1] speaking but could not make out the words clearly. Dana relayed her ([Admin #1]’s) comments to me via the Skype. She discussed how she would hand over the administration and I was told.

In the end [Admin #1] was told that we would accept the administration and clean up the site. We requested letters of appointment from her. She sent one to me naming us as administrators. She then reorganised the administration removing both the administrators and appointing the both of us. We then cleaned up the site removing the group of abusive trouble makers.

[Admin #1]’s comments regarding the cleanup and the posts on site were:
“Yes, Wade, you have presented some good stuff that has helped me to better understand who God is and who Jesus is and also about who the Elohim are. You have a lot of good historical material that you present too - just like with this particular question here.

And yes the site is in your good hands now. I'm sure that you will make it succeed in what you want it to be. I failed miserably at it, at the vision I had."

We all started work on this site with the same view, or so we thought. Perhaps it was too successful and that was why they began the campaign.

Shortly afterwards another site had been formed [Wade is referring to "Former WCG & COG Believers Now Embracing The Truth". A group started by the two now former Administrators of the group Wade took over.] and false and malicious statements began to appear there posted by the people allegedly in the group stated to be formed to attack the people on this site. Other false statements are being circulated on the anti-COG hate sites [We can only assume that Wade is referring to As Bereans Did, Exit and Support Network, and Living Armstrongism.] allegedly by these same people. They do not seem to understand the requirements of civil law.

Fortunately what goes on in the English speaking world generated from these US etc. hate groups has little influence outside of the gossips of the US and BC. The Antinomian hate groups work together promoting the same lies and we have closed a number of them down over time for malicious and criminal defamation. No doubt we will have to continue to do so.

Declared by me Wade Cox on 18 November 2010

As Bereans Dis is a grace-based polemics website dedicated to investigating Armstrongism. We stress the New Covenant which mainly consists of Faith, Hope, and Love. Wade calls that "lawless" and "hate," while he goes around saying that Hitler is a full blood Jew and that the Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and the Adventist groups will be made to bow before him and follow his version of religion or die. As Bereans Did prints our thoughts and opinions and invites anyone to comment who can manage a respectful sentence. We are good friends with Agnostics, Catholics, Protestants, and believe it or not even Armstrongists. We even give Wade Cox equal time to defend himself. Wade, on the other hand, shuts down chat groups and threatens to sue anyone who disagrees with him in order to silence his opposition - while he hypocritically makes the exact same sort of comments that he rails against and terms "defamation."
You decide which sounds like "hate." I leave that obvious decision in your capable hands, dear reader.

And now, in the interest of fairness, the rebuttals to the rebuttal.

Former WCG & COG Believers Now Embracing The Truth
Topic: I'm Sorry
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wade took my comments out of context from a post that I had previously posted a day or two before. Here is my post in its entirety:

Yes, Wade, you have presented some good stuff that has helped me to better understand who God is and who Jesus is and also about who the Elohim are. You have a lot of good historical material that you present too - just like with this particular question here.
And yes the site is in your good hands now. I'm sure that you will make it succeed in what you want it to be. I failed miserably at it, at the vision I had.
But worse of all, I betrayed [Admin #2]'s trust in me and I let her down. I should have talked to her first but I didn't know what else to do and neither she nor I needed the problems. I felt the only way to deal with the problem was to just hand over complete control to you and so that is what I did. And I felt it was in mine and [Admin #2]'s best interest and I think it is all for the best.
I thank you for taking the time to answer my question here that you posted.
As far as me posting here anymore, my heart is no longer in it. I came to the different COG and former WCG FB groups looking for answers. Some of the answers I have found have been hard, not what I was wanting to hear. But the evidence speaks for itself. Where the path will lead, I don't know. And maybe I will never have all of the answers that I seek in this life time.

The day I turned the group over to Wade, I had received several messages from both him and Dana. Wade was threatening legal action because he said we had committed criminal conspiracy. I was informed that we would be sued. So I gave Wade the group to put an end to it all.
Did I make a mistake giving the group to Wade? It depends on how you look at it. For myself, no, it was not a mistake. I thought Wade had the 'truth'. I was coming dangerously close to getting mixed up with Wade's group. But there have been things that I was seeing that I questioned. But I think it took all of what has happened to make me see what they are all about.
I have been told that CCG is not much of a church at all but just someone who writes a lot of technical papers. I can't confirm this. But what I will say, based on my experience and everything that has happened, Wade's group is not one that I would chose to get involved with.

Yes, I did believe Wade had the 'truth'. I do believe he knows a lot and he knows a lot about historical information.
But because someone knows a lot and may have a lot of answers to questions, does not make a person right or make this person have the 'truth'.
I had to learn the hard way but I don't think Wade is God's one and only true church. And even though this was a hard, painful way to have to learn something, I'm glad that God got my attention.
I did say all of that. As I previously stated, I think Wade knows a lot. And he had answered some of my questions.
And when I told Wade the site was in good hands, I said it was in his good hands now. It was irony and at the same time I felt like I had failed. I did fail.
I made a mistake believing Wade had the 'truth'. I was wrong. I can't undo believing Wade and believing that God was using him. I can only go forward now.

Former WCG & COG Believers Now Embracing The Truth
Topic: I'm Sorry
Thursday, November 18, 2010
To all:

Since Wade is freely posting in public "his" version of what happened, I feel free to post his letter to us. Here is the truth. 
[The following is a letter sent from Wade Cox to Admin #2 Date Mon, 15 Nov 2010 11:13:59 +1100. I want to note that this more than corroborates what we quoted and commented upon in the previous post in this series. This is the letter we received anonymously; a word for word match.]
[Admin #2] and [Admin #1], 
This matter is very serious.
[Admin #2], what you and [Admin #1] have allowed to happen, and which you, [Admin #2], deliberately encouraged and participated in, was a breach of an agreement and understanding. That was that we would participate and assist you on this site provided these WCG Survivor people and the ringleaders of the scandalous behaviour there and specifically [Group Member #2], [Group Member #4], [Group Member #3] and these others you allowed on this site from the WCG Survivors site were not permitted access. As I understand it now, you [Admin #2] specifically went against our implicit understanding and actually invited them on and seemingly for the purpose of attacking CCG and me in particular.
The fact that [Admin #1] has handed the admin over to you does not negate her undertaking on the commencement of this site. Nor does it negate her legal position regarding the site.
What you have effectively done is to enter into a Conspiracy to commit Criminal Defamation against CCG and its people with at least two people namely [Group Member #1] and [Group Member #2] to defame and attack CCG as some sort of cult and to attack our people and me in particular. [Notice here that Wade makes a definite statement of fact not opinion, which is indeed false (the Group Members who read this letter have denied the accusation), the false statements of fact were about specific people (I have removed their names here, but they are named in the original), and this letter was sent to a third party - Admin #2 - and it appears fairly apparent that the statements were made with the intent of doing harm to these three people's reputations. This could very well qualify as genuine and actionable libel.] You have used the Former Worldwide Church of God and Other COG and Offshoots site (the site) to conduct the campaign, which is jointly run by [Admin #1] and yourself. The fact that [Admin #1] is now taking a lesser position does not negate the liability that you have placed her in. We of necessity are obliged to take action against you for what has been done there if it is not corrected immediately. What you have done to [Admin #1] is a very serious matter and she has a legal liability to join you should this matter proceed.
[Group Member #2] has publicly declared that you [Admin #2] and [Group Member #1] and He ([Group Member #2]) are acting in concert (against the CCG as a professed cult). [Cult - "a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader." (Definition #6 from dictionary.reference.com "cult".)] Indeed it appears to some that you may well have conspired to do this from the very beginning and if that is the case then the conspiracy is even more serious and extensive than it will be tried to be argued. Indeed when Ewart Cox wrote to [Admin #1] expressing dismay over [Group Member #1], she was making comments again on the site using his words to you within hours, indicating to him that you were encouraging them by simply passing on the correspondence, which you had no permission to do and which was a breach of the privacy legislation. [There is no reasonable expectation of privacy on Facebook.]
The simplest way to deal with the problem and get [Admin #1] free of the problem is to completely shut down the site forthwith and limit the damage. The very least we will accept is to remove all posts and threads by us completely; and any reference to us and any member or person in CCG or to CCG completely in any post or thread.
If you persists with the campaign we have no choice but to take action against the administrators of the site, both you and [Admin #1] and Face Book and [Group Member #1] and [Group Member #2]. Every additional defamation will simply add to the liability you face in running the site. Surely you can see what you have done in this regard. We understand [Admin #1] has been ill and we have prayed for her. However, that does not excuse you [Admin #2] and nor does it limit the liability of either of you. That you would be so foolish, after the treatment you received at the hands of these people, to engage in such a conspiracy with them against other people, who were helping you and lawfully registered and lawfully and responsibly operating within a number of nations under proper audit and government control, is inconceivable. You actually appear to have contacted these people to bring them on to the site for this very purpose.
That you both had made statements to me, and especially you [Admin #1] that you did not believe what these people were saying and then simply assisted them to conduct this campaign of what appears to be a Criminal Conspiracy is astounding. At the very least you took no responsible control of what was a public site operated by you. I can only conclude that you do not understand the implications of what has been done using you and the site as the vehicle and the very serious legal position you are both now in.
We are not prepared to simply sit there while these people conduct a campaign of public defamation and hate against us. Surely you can understand that simple fact.
Wade Cox
[End of letter from Wade to Admin #2. Continue with comments from Admin #2.] 
We all have a right to believe what we choose to without having a person or group constantly harrassing us, following us around the Internet making demands.
If this other group's motive is to "save" us, do they really think bullying us is the way?
If their motive is to gain control of yet "another" religious view site, then that is not going to happen.

There you have it. Verbatim. Unedited (except to remove names). Minimal editorial.
Now you have what you need to make up your mind. And that, dear reader, is going to have to suffice for being the end of the matter. We have reported enough for you to be informed about the goings on in the greater sphere of Armstrongism. We are dropping the subject. The rest is up to you.

On a side note, I understand through the uncorroborated grapevine that people around the globe are seeing Wade's attitude on Facebook and are opting to exit his church. ABD denies playing any part in that, but we welcome the news. In our honest opinion, if there is any (to put it in a phrase we think Wade Cox would use) "damage" to Wade's reputation or the reputation of the organization he represents, he has only himself to blame. The rumors state that people are leaving because of what they see from Wade Cox, not from what they see from others about Wade Cox.

Wade may desire to lash out at others, but that won't solve what clearly is a pattern of his own creating. We recommend Wade turn to God in humility and surrender, and pray for His undeserved grace and mercy, and that he step into the New Covenant in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. There he will find peace!

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wade Cox of the Christian Churches of God

This is a follow-up to our November 4th post, "Wade Cox In His Own Words".
Since that post, which chronicled several of Wade Cox's own verbatim comments in a discussion group on Facebook, we have witnessed a few interesting developments. As predicted in our post, Wade has acted to have any record of his comments removed completely. How he chose to go about this is the interesting part.

If you are a little behind on this topic, here's a little info to bring you up to speed:
Facebook is a social networking site where people join to discuss whatever they may want to discuss and to leave posts about whatever they were doing throughout the day. Facebook members can create discussion groups on whatever topics they wish and invite others from around the Internet to join in. It's a great way to meet new friends and have spirited conversation. There are several discussion groups orbiting around the various splinter groups of Armstrongism.

As it turns out, in 2009, two people decided to start a generic discussion group for all active members of any Armstrongist COG. This group is named "Former Worldwide Church of God and Other COG Groups".
The group fell into contact with Wade Cox and some of his close associates. The group quickly became what amounted to an echo chamber for Wade Cox. Apparently Wade Cox would dominate and police any conversation, and made a habit of repeatedly copying information from the CCG.org website and pasting it there (from what I can gather, it appears that Wade believes the studies on the CCG.org website are definitive on any subject, and that they are by inspiration of God, and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness). That was... until late this past October, when many of the people in that group came to grace and stepped into the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ.

I understand, from comments made by two separate members of that discussion group who left the law for the Gospel, that Wade's own personal conduct was what drove them to see the truth. They both remarked how they felt his conduct was the opposite of what they expected from a Christian. From the comments that I personally read, it appeared that this opinion was not limited to these two people.
In the opinion of these two, anyone who did not agree with Wade Cox was made the butt of threatening and terribly demeaning comments. Judging from Wade's own comments that we recorded here, which you can see for yourself in the link above, we would tend to agree. In our opinion, Wade Cox's comments definitely appear threatening and terribly demeaning. He mentions death several times. That alone is disturbing enough to sour us to any involvement with the man or his organization. We are forced to question what sort of organization would willingly "elect" a man who makes comments such as those.
However we hear uncorroborated information through the grapevine that Wade Cox has instilled only yes-man sycophants into leadership positions and that the "election" process is a total sham.

At any rate, it was the sheer ungodliness of the attitudes that led these two group members (and others) to reconsider their theology, and to choose grace. There is a silver lining after all. Praise the Lord!! What a God we serve, who turns evil on its head and when that is done, "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (COL 2: 15). Amen!
So, now you're up to speed.

After our last post, we predicted that Wade would try to remove his comments on Facebook. He has apparently done just that. Cowardly? Dishonorable? You decide.
At some point over the past weekend, likely Sunday, November 14th, 2010, the administration of the "Former Worldwide Church of God and Other COG Groups" Facebook group changed hands. Two of Wade Cox's trusted followers are now in control. Almost everyone who disagreed with Wade have been kicked out of the group. Most of the discussions were deleted. Several new "discussions" have appeared and guess what they contain. That's right! Copy/paste content from CCG.org. All of the old content appears to have been thoroughly reviewed, and anything that did not pass inspection was deleted. The effort appears to be a complete napalm; slash-n-burn.

As Tangina Barrons would say, "The house is clean." And just like in the movie Poltergeist, everything winds up completely destroyed and covered in filth.

Since around the time of our previous post, we had been lurking on the Facebook group and watching certain conversations with interest. There appeared to be a small group of people who were refuting Wade Cox and his legalist doctrines. This group of seven or eight people were standing up against Wade, offering no quarter to deceit and anti-Christ doctrine, giving no aid and comfort to the accuser of the brethren. So far as we can tell, there was a rather heated debate regarding the Trinity doctrine and how many Roman Emperors accepted the Trinity prior to 381 AD.
It appears to have started on Saturday, October 30, 2010, when an official of the CCG by the name of Russell Hilburn offered $500 to anyone who could "show that there was more than one Trinitarian or Binitarian Emperor of Rome before 381. They were Unitarian. .....put up or shut upl!!!!! [sic]", and certain people accepted the challenge. That debate went on for at least a week and a half. Among other questionable tactics, Wade Cox was apparently caught red-handed misquoting his source material (a time-honored tradition in Armstrongism, and a thing we have seen in more than just one of Wade Cox's articles on CCG.org). Wade, it appears, quoted Philip Schaff's "History of the Christian Church" as a source, but reworded the quote to entirely change its meaning. When he was called out on that, Wade responded that Philip Schaff was a Trinitarian [and therefore his history was faulty.] The conversation got a bit confusing, but it appears that the CCG team was defeated in the challenge, yet refused to admit this or to pay up. They welched on their own bet. They promised to return with a study proving their claims, but before they did the group was whitewashed and all evidence destroyed. (All evidence except what we recorded for posterity, of course.)

But how did Wade get control of the group to do all of this, you ask? As luck would have it, we were just contacted by an anonymous source who sent us an email from Wade Cox addressed to one of the former Administrators of the aforementioned Facebook group that explains the whole matter. In this letter, several of the people engaged in the conversation described above were mentioned by name, disparagingly of course. But that's not all the letter contained.

As we understand it, from the letter and conversations with witnesses, Wade Cox threatened to sue the two Administrators of the group if they didn't delete any negative comments, delete the entire group, or turn over control of the group. Not wanting the hassle, they now former Administrators opted to back down and turned over control.

Wade Cox has long been seen as litigious. He has reportedly threatened to sue several people and groups who were critical of him. It is reported that Wade once tried to have the Painful Truth website shut down. Wade Cox is aware of his reputation. He admits as much in a message which he wrote to the members of the CCG dated August 10, 2010, which is posted on CCG.org as of 11-15-2010, titled "New Moon".
Of course, in that same letter, Wade Cox claims he will soon control and reorganize the world and Islam, and govern it under the laws of the Old Covenant. Wade may be bluffing or he may believe what he's saying, but in our opinion this is not the kind of thing that we expect from a person who is in complete touch with reality. These appear to be more the ravings of a delusional mind suffering from a touch of megalomania or some such thing.
It is our opinion that Wade Cox uses this reputation to scare people off. ...In a godly manner, of course!

In my estimation from what I read in the letter to the two former Administrators of the Facebook group, it appears Mr. Cox is not a genuine lawyer.

Judging from the content of the letter that we received - and this letter gives us no reason to doubt its authenticity - Wade threatened to sue the now former Administrators of the Facebook group for, and we quote, "Criminal Conspiracy".
According to the definition of Criminal Conspiracy in the United States (the country of residence of the parties Wade Cox allegedly accused and therefore the location where the alleged offense occurred), in order to convict a person or persons of Criminal Conspiracy it must be proven that two or more people willingly and knowingly agreed to commit a crime. That crime must be a legitimate crime in the city/county/state/nation where the parties reside. Forethought and intent to knowingly commit a specific crime must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to a jury of their peers. Some half-baked accusation simply would not suffice.

Also in the letter we see an accusation of, and I quote, "Conspiracy to commit Criminal Defamation against CCG and its people". Now that's a hard one to prove.
Defamation by definition does not include truth. Truth is an absolute defense against accusations of Defamation. [Eg. To accuse someone of being an adulterer could be Defamation; to prove it out can never be Defamation.] There is sufficient case law to say that statements believed to be true at the time they were made are also most likely going to be protected speech. Opinion is also protected under free speech laws (An opinion cannot be defamatory according to the United States Supreme Court.  Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 1974). So Wade would have to prove to a court in the United States that the accused knowingly made false and damaging statements of fact [not opinion], that they knew to be false at the time, and that those statements were in fact not true. He would have to prove that the audience did not have reason to believe the statements were hyperbole. He would also have to prove actual damage occurred as a direct result of those statements. His likelihood of success? Almost zero. At the same time, he would have to defend against counter-suit, and the case against Wade Cox is more hefty, in my opinion, than his case against those he accuses.

From the wording in the letter, what Wade describes sounds a lot more like Breach of Contract. That would be next to impossible to prove. No court would entertain the notion. Here is the wording:
[What the accused] "deliberately encouraged and participated in, was a breach of an agreement and understanding. That was that we would participate and assist you on this site provided [certain names and parties mentioned] you allowed on this site ... were not permitted access. As I understand it now, you ... specifically went against our implicit understanding and actually invited them on and seemingly for the purpose of attacking CCG and me in particular."
Those are some big words there. Unfortunately they appear to be more for show and bluster than anything else. Was there ever any legally-binding contract or agreement? Was it finalized? Was it witnessed? Is there any proof? Is there any proof that certain people were invited in for the stated purpose of attacking CCG and/or Wade Cox? No? Well then all we have is a difference of opinion. Perhaps even a delusion. To accuse someone of a legitimate crime is a lot easier than to prove such a thing out. In fact, the parties involved may have a pretty good case against their accuser.
**Nothing on this As Bereans Did should be construed as legal advice. This is opinion only. For actual legal advice, please consult a licensed atourney.**

So, there you have it. We have given you the promised update to the last post. I expect this is going to be the last of it. Wade Cox has his little group now, and he's not going to share anymore or play nicely with others.
**UPDATE: See the comments for a couple humorous developments.

It gets tiresome to see this same fanatical and narcissistic pattern repeated over and over from the Armstrongist arena. So we say again, If you are someone who is attending the CCG or is thinking of attending the CCG, PLEASE consider carefully what you're doing. If you know someone who is attending, or is thinking of attending the CCG, PLEASE get them to this post. And please keep them in your prayers.

Now, just for fun, here are some activities that you can do with your children, courtesy of CCG.org:
Here is a "Bible study" cross-word puzzle.
Here is a coloring-book page.
Gee, don't those look like so much fun!? "Mommy, I colored Satan's Den! Can I color Cain murdering Abel next??"

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

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Handbook For The Recently Released

It has been a while since we at ABD were set free from the former organization. I wanted to share a few things that I've learned along the way. Think of this post as lessons learned and good advice to those who are leaving the Church of God for greener pastures. Take it or leave it. Your call. This post is about some things I've been asked by people who had recently left, or that I wished I could have asked someone else when I first left.

"I like the people in my COG congregation. Should I stay, even though I've come to grace?"
I wouldn't recommend that, no. It's up to you, of course. But you'll see that inevitably there are only so many roads you can go down. One is division. Do you want to cause division and perhaps resentment? Your beliefs will do that because you can't hide them or keep that light under a basket or ignore them or not talk about them. It will eventually come up more and more, and you will eventually either cause division or resentment. Another road is regression. You can quench the Holy Spirit by constantly subjecting yourself to the lies. Believe me, I know. You can quench the fire and go right back into the lie like you'd never left. Is that what you want? Is it worth the risk? Your choice. It is probably best for the long run that you find a group that more closely matches what you currently believe is true. Chances are good that you'll some day leave that group too, as you grow. When I left the Armstrongist group I was formerly associated with, I went to the Church of God (Seventh day). I highly recommend them as a sort of half-way house for recovering Armstrongists. But it wasn't long and I had grown to the point where I saw the need to find another group even more suited to what I had grown into. I am not saying that by leaving you have to sever all ties. I honestly tried to keep several ties when I left, only to learn that most people didn't want to keep ties with me. (Part of that was born from my own zeal to write this blog and disprove the old system.) But if you can keep a good relationship, by all means do so! Just consider how it might be both for your own good and theirs that you leave that church system. Keep your hopes up that some day they'll join you.

"My family is still in the system. How can I help them?"
Three words - patience, prayer, and love! The first and last lesson is build relationships, relationships, relationships. Patience is much needed. They haven't had the experiences you have. They may attack you. They may shun you. They may feel uncomfortable around you. They may not want to deal with the elephant in the room. Your challenge in this is to remain patient. Everyone is different and what opens the eyes is unique for each experience. You can't just repeat what worked for you. You can't beat it into them, either. This will take lots and lots of patience. So what can you do? Intercede for them before God. Now that you have been through it, you have a better idea on what to pray for. Get other people to pray for them, too. This is a Spiritual battle. What better way to fight it than in prayer? This could take some time. It could take years! Get that settled in your mind and know that you can't rush it. I want to warn you that you may never live to see the day when their eyes are opened. Know that God can overcome this, too. Don't think of them as lost. Think of them as delayed. Perhaps it's not the right time for them and God has a good reason for them to stay a while longer. Don't let that stop you from pressing forward in your own walk with Christ. Patience and prayer! Finally, love. Lots and lots of genuine love from a sincere heart. Discuss, don't argue. Win the heart not the argument. Don't press it. No tricks. Baby steps. It's not you that works, but God in you. Shine His light and let Him handle it in His good time. In the mean time - relationships!

"People keep trying to drag me back in. What do I do?"
Learn everything you can here at As Bereans Did and elsewhere. Arm yourself with the armor of God, like Paul said. Their arguments, which may make you a bit dizzy right now, will seem tired and simplistic to you soon. They will be more annoying than anything else. Don't let it get to you. Don't argue with these people! Where they are you once were. Where you are they soon enough will be. Humility doesn't mean standing there and silently taking it. Give a defense for yourself! But do it in humble gentleness. Bless, and do not curse. Remember when you were the same as them, and answer them as if you were speaking to yourself. Morality is the ability to govern yourself. So govern yourself or you're no better than they. Do you want to be a grace-based Armstrongist? The same thing as you were before, only now you're arguing for the other side? No! Of course you don't. Keep your urge to "fix" them in check. Keep your urge to lash out at their false accusations in check. If you can't find a nice thing to say, simply quote a Bible verse. If you can't even do that nicely, then it's time to put it in God's hands and let your witness be sufficient. You cannot save anyone. You could not even save yourself. It was always up to God anyway. Just trust in Him, bite your lip, bless rather than curse, and leave them to whatever end they come to. Even the Apostles had to shake the dust off their feet from time to time. But don't say anything you might regret later. What if your negativity drives them from grace? What if they come to grace eventually, but feel that you were so offensive that they don't want anything to do with you. Well, now you've got more apologizing to do, don't you? What if someone else witnesses you arguing and they get sick of both sides? Patience, prayer, and love works on strangers, too.

"I am angry, and I want to bring the system down so it never does this to anyone ever again."
No, you cannot "bring the system down." It doesn't matter how hard you try or what information you disseminate or with whom you argue. The system is ancient and this is merely its current incarnation. It cannot be brought down. All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again. Let's assume you did bring the system down. All you've managed to do is remove a tiny bit of competition for the next incarnation. At any given time there are hundreds of tiny cults all around the globe. Which shall you bring down? The biggest? Then the next will step up. The second biggest? Then the largest will absorb the remains. The top five? That only makes the next five the top five. The system cannot be stopped by us. It will only be destroyed by Christ.
Is it hopeless and pointless to fight against it, then? No. To give an apology for the hope and faith of Jesus Christ is part of our Christian duty. If you can save even one person, then it was worth it. Eventually, Jesus wins. I'm not trying to dash anyone's hopes here, I'm just saying we've read the end of the book and it's not any of us who destroys the system. Keep at it, and keep your perspective. Believe me, after a couple of years at this I can tell you from experience that you can save yourself a lot of sorrow and wasted effort if you keep your perspective.

"I want to help bring the people out of that system. What do I do?"
Well, it's probably not the best idea to start a blog about it. There are a lot of them out there already. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Perhaps find one that speaks to you and offer to help them. If you find a niche that isn't being filled, then fill it. Put it in God's hands and let Him inspire you. One thing we would personally like to see you do is to learn what you can from this blog, and pay it forward. Just please do not go on some crusade to save everyone and start arguing with people. I've been down that road. It may seem nice for a little while, but it will drain you more than help them. Keep in mind that this is all about Jesus Christ, not us.

"I've heard horror stories about people who left receiving Satan's wrath. Is any of that true?"
No. Those are the lies of a fear-based system that must terrorize you into staying. If you're too afraid to venture out, then you'll bee a good little lemming and "pay, pray, stay." Once you do venture out, though, it will be tough for a while. Perhaps in your devotion to Armstrongism you've gotten yourself into certain situations at work or at home. It takes time to work out those kinks. God isn't going to wave a magic wand and heal everything in your life. This world isn't our home anyway, right? This life is still a journey of sanctification, and you still need much more growth. Challenges will still come. But take comfort in knowing that those challenges will be nothing more than are common to the rest of mankind. In time, you will see that you have been growing to meet those challenges. At any rate, all of those horror stories about Satan's full wrath and God removing His protection.... FALSE!

"All of these things I used to believe, they're all so silly to me now."
Yes. Take our experience for example. In two years, As Bereans Did has answered every challenge we've come up against. We stopped getting new and challenging questions months ago. We have come to the point where we just point to some part of the blog in response to just about every challenge that comes in. You will come to see that all of the things that convinced you before are so very explainable, circular, and predictable. Not to mention flat out wrong. It's all improper assumptions based on circular reasoning and logical fallacy, with a heaping pile of falsified history thrown in for good measure. Stop the proof-texting and you've stopped the cycle. The challenges you receive will be the same old handful of things over and over and over again. The same arguments over and over. The same claims over and over. The same things you've proven wrong repeated over and over and over again. The same old lines we were programmed to regurgitate will be aimed at you... over and over again. New day, new face, same old tired line. It will get repetitive. It will drain your Spiritual batteries. There is little use in answering them. People only come to the end of a discussion refusing to accept reality, only to go right back to the start again and repeat. They are ideologues who assume first and foremost that they are right and you are wrong. They aren't really interested in any meaningful discussion or reasons why they might be wrong. Why would they want that? You're the wrong one (to them.) They will resort to accusing and insulting you. They will call you a pagan Baal worshipper or an evil Trinitarian (it doesn't matter to them if you are or not). That's how they remove your humanity and raise themselves up in their minds. They try to remove your worth and value as a human being, and therefore your truth is easily dismissed. Just know that this is how the game works and wade through it. Respond kindly and put it in God's hands. You won't be able to do this perfectly all the time. You'll mess up more than you get it right. We all get angry and lose our patience. But work at it. That's what the process of salvation is about.

"Should I apologize for what I've done?"
That depends on what exactly it is that you think you've done. Yes, do apologize to the people you've hurt. Swallow that pride and humble yourself. Force yourself to come to grips with the fact that you were wrong. It's going to make you feel much better. Trust me! It takes a load of weight off the old shoulders. But no, don't apologize as if this was something you did on purpose to people. You were deceived. HWA was right about one thing - deceived people don't know they're deceived (he meant us, his followers). God overlooks the sins done in ignorance. Recognize that something was not right. There are two kinds of guilt: the helpful kind that leads to repentance, and the harmful kind that leads to beating yourself up. Let that guilt that you feel guide you to easing your pain and that of others. Take that as a comfort and a warning, but not as condemnation. Don't beat yourself up any more than you already have. It's not good. Remember that Jesus is love and perfect love casts out all fear.

"I feel awful for the wasted years!"
You cannot get the time back. If the time is gone, then it's gone. It may sound cold but the reality is that you'll simply have to deal with it and move forward. If there is any comfort to it, I know how you feel. I rebuffed family members who have since passed away and now I'd give about anything to have that time back with them. I'm going to have to put that off until later, though. There's nothing you can do about this now. Best to find the silver lining than to drown in self-pity over what you cannot control and in a manner that does no good at all for anyone. Rather than mourn over your past, take a lesson from it. Relish what you have now. Rejoice in this second chance. Stop being afraid and live! How much greater is your appreciation for the little things now than it otherwise would have been? When you have gone down this road a while longer, you'll look back and see what I mean.
But ignore my advice at your own peril. The negativity, if left unchecked, can and will eat you alive.

"How could I have ever fallen for this?"
It got the better of us, didn't it? Would it help if I said it doesn't matter if you're wealthy or poor, smart or stupid, well-educated or ignorant, old or young, foreign or domestic, religious or irreligious, modern or ancient, or any other thing? You're not by any means the only one. We were ALL taken for a ride by a system of deception that has been at work for thousands of years. It doesn't mean that you're defective! There are lots of things in this life that are cults when you see them for what they really are; not just religious cults, either. Cults can take many shapes and forms. Was what you went through preventable? Sadly, yes. Jesus warned us 2,000 years ago. If only we (or our parents who got many of us into this system) had listened. We/they weren't very wise. And it hurts. But don't let that haunt you. We all made a mistake - a mistake that the Holy Spirit in us is fixing. We're a lot more wise now than we were before, that's for sure. The important thing is that now you're waking up like from a deep sleep and a terrible dream. Become that new creature in the New Covenant in the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ and move past it all. ...Only, don't let it go to your head as if you are somehow superior or the cause for your own freedom (ROM. 3: 9). You were hopeless and helpless when you were undeservedly saved. Remember that!

"Did I ever have God's Spirit?"
Why not? Perhaps that Spirit wasn't what you were lead to believe. By that I mean, we were taught that the Spirit was something that gave us understanding that Herbert Armstrong and his sycophants' particular flavor of Adventism was the "one true church." Well, that was never the case. "Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not!" (ROM. 3: 3-4). Armstrong's ministers are deceived and they go around deceiving (II COR. 11: 13-15). There is a veil over their eyes, and that veil is lifted in Christ (II COR. 3: 15-16). Sometimes quickly; sometimes (like in my case) it takes years. No matter how you look at it, the veil was lifted, and that I credit to the work of the Spirit in us while we were yet in the system. God can and does still work in spite of the false ministers. The difference is that this Spirit did not come through those men, it came directly to you. You are a branch directly attached directly to the vine (JON. 15: 5). Their corruption is not a hindrance to God's Spirit.

"Will I ever trust again?"
If I had to choose one single "number one" problem experienced by people leaving a group like you are doing, that problem would be shattered trust. When I left, I trusted no one. I wondered if I would ever trust again. The answer is, yes, this too shall pass. Give it time. You've been hurt pretty bad. You've come through some serious stuff. A healthy dose of skepticism is a natural result. Understand it. Try to keep it at reasonable levels. In time you will come to understand that since your life is guaranteed in Christ, there is no reason to fear anymore. Trust in Him, and you will learn to trust in others again, too. I promise. Just be careful!! Not everyone is there to help you. "By their fruits you will know them" (MAT. 7: 20).

"Am I done? Is this it?"
No! There is much more to come. Accepting grace is just the start. There are joys and there are tears. There are many, many answers and there are even more questions. (Some days it seems like every answer brings two questions with it.) There are things to learn and a great deal of things to unlearn. There are new friends to meet to replace the old ones that will have less and less in common with you. Know this: everyone is at their own place in their own walk, and none of them have to be where you are. Settle it in your heart to ignore the "doubtful things" and not to dispute about them. Remember Romans 14. Try to see the beauty in the things that you may disagree with. It is more important to make peace. There are realizations coming that will excite and amaze you. You are nowhere near the end. This is only the beginning. Enjoy the journey!

"I'm so confused! What do I do now?"
Here's the pitfall in grace - options. Options, options everywhere, and no definitive road map to which path is the right path. You've just made the decision to come out of an environment where everything is governed by strict rules and regulations. Every aspect of your life was in one way or the other governed by a hard-and-fast rule or peer pressure. Now, the prison door is thrown off its hinges and you're free to go. Go where? Aha! That's the difficulty with grace. It involves trusting Christ to lead you by faith! I'll tell you this one key: never stop praying!! Do not let down in your prayer life! Do not allow the freedom to draw you away from Christ. Insist upon Christ. Demand Him in your life. The freedom will make laziness and inactivity so much easier. You'll be tempted to be the proverbial kid in the candy store. There is a cheapness in modern "American" Christianity. Christ is our "buddy". Yes, Jesus is the best friend you'll ever have, but He's also the King of Kings. Balance those two things and you will be well on your way. With no one to force you to take the harder road, you have to be responsible for yourself! Just like a child entering adulthood, no? Yes! You're free now. But what is freedom? It's the liberty to do what is right, not the liberty to do whatever comes to mind. You must be moral and govern yourself now, with mercy towards others. (Again I remind you to remember Romans 14.) Freedom without self-governance is the recipe for disaster. Grace demands spiritual maturity. You must choose every day, moment to moment, to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. Stand up, "gird your loins", wait and hope and look for God - He had not left you to this point and He will not leave you. Don't leave Him!
Perhaps that is all fine and well, but not very practical. In addition, I'll give you a bit of solid advice that helped me. Try a few visits to the Church of God - Seventh Day. I know, I know. Why on earth would you do that when you're trying to get out of the system? Because - and I'm being completely honest with you - it is a fine transition, a half-way house if you will, between the prison of Armstrongism and the freedom of grace. When I left Armstrongism I went straight to the COG7 and stayed for six of the most restorative and medicinal months of my life. The two groups may be historically linked, but they are not the same quality and strand of group by any measure. The COG7 is the finest Sabbath-keeping church I am aware of. After a little while you'll feel ready to move on.

"But aren't the mainstream Christians deceived?"
Aren't we all deceived in one way or the other? Surely you don't think that just because we are saved that we now know and do all things perfectly, do you? Even the Apostle Paul said, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known" (I COR. 13: 12). You really have to put away all judgment and condemnation. Seriously. Do you want a group that thinks exactly like you do? Where's the challenge or growth in that?? No church has everything right. (Again and again... remember Romans 14.) Do what you believe is right according to your faith in God, but tolerate the disputable things. You don't know where you are in your walk with Christ. Even things that you think are correct now could change one day. Give to others the room for error that you need for yourself. If I may again use myself as an example - I have come to see that even though I am not a Catholic because I disagree with some things, I love the Catholics and their beautiful traditions. They are a wonderful people in whom is much faith and Spirit. I hope they can see the same in me. I don't need to condemn them to be a better Christian. In fact, the opposite is true.

"I can't bring myself to go to an organized religion. Will God reject me if I don't go to any church right now?"
No. God will not reject you if you don't go to any church right now. The faith in Christ brings you into His body. That is the Church. Not any organization or denomination besides. You have come out of a serious experience and you have serious things that need to be worked out. Give it time to heal. We are all damaged goods, but we don't stay this way forever. But I will respectfully offer you this - the fruits of the Spirit are not given to you for your benefit. No tree eats its own fruit. Those fruits are for others. If you are isolating yourself, then you are not sharing that fruit. Perhaps you feel like you don't need others right now, but perhaps you don't know who needs you. The Holy Spirit inspired the author of Hebrews to write "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (HEB. 10: 24-25). How does one do this in isolation? None other than Jesus Christ said, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (MAT. 18: 20). Don't think that can be brushed off. Paul described Bishops and Deacons and congregations and churches for a reason. God is gathering. What does "gathering" mean if not to gather together. Has that been abused by men in the past? Yes! But that doesn't mean the system that God implemented needs to be scrapped. The chaff is spread out to the wind (PSA. 1: 4), not the wheat. The wheat is gathered into barns (MAT. 3: 12). The lone animal is easy prey for the roaring lion who searches for whom he can devour (I PET. 5: 8). "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (PRO. 11: 14). The body is a family. Would you distance yourself from your family in a similar manner? I am not saying, "Run right out, find an organized religion and join it." You don't have to be part of a system to be a Christian. I am simply giving you reasons why isolating yourself is probably not the best long-term plan. Plus there is scientific evidence that congregating is beneficial to your health. There are ways to congregate that do not involve organized religion. Think about that, OK? It's your decision. In time, you may feel ready to test the waters. Try several churches. Try formal ones, informal ones, traditional ones, contemporary ones, Internet ones, irregular ones. No one said you have to take up stuffy traditions and airs of piety to be a Christian. No one said you have to attend only one, either. Go to several in rotation. Or start your own small group. Allow God to lead you. The world is your oyster! The options can be a bit overwhelming, I admit. Just love and build relationships. That's key! You will know when you find a place where you are welcomed and well fed. Think about it while you heal, OK? :-)

"I'm not comfortable with Christmas and Easter."
That's perfectly normal. So long as you keep in mind that most of what we were told regarding Christmas and Easter were completely fabricated lies, or faulty histories based more on incorrect assumptions than anything else. The people who have a Christmas tree do not worship that tree as an idol any more than they do the potted plant on the other side of the room. If the eggs bother you, leave them out of it. But don't let those old lies prevent you from taking extreme joy in the two greatest events in human history. The birth and death or Jesus are events to be cherished and relished. The tree and the bunnies are just wall decorations. If they disturb you, leave them out of it. Just please don't continue falsely accusing others and condemning them for what their faith in Christ allows. (Remember the disputable matters.)

"Do you have any parting advice for me?"

(That was a little joke right there. You're supposed to laugh.)
My parting advice is stop being afraid. So many things are open to you when you aren't afraid anymore. 

Grow in grace and go in peace, our friends, to love and serve the Lord.

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

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wade Cox In His Own Words

Have you ever heard of Wade Cox and the Christian Churches of God (CCG)? Well, I think it's about time you did!

RedFox, of Living Armstrongism, wrote a post called "Letters To ESN on Wade Cox' Armstrongite Group, Christian Churches of God". In this post, he mentions a letter submitted to ESN, that was written by a lady who had recently left the CCG.
If you go to ESN and read this letter, dated September 29, 2010, titled "Abused and Slandered by Christian Churches of God", you will get an eyeball full. Here is a quote:
"I have written proof of these abuses and revealing mindset at work from the General Coordinator and founder of the church [Wade Cox] and his inner circle. ... If there was anything on the Internet that could show the true character of this group and its officials, it may be helpful in informing people of their actions before they are immersed in this cult."
[**ABD does not claim to know if these allegations are true; neither supporting or denying their veracity - God knows. We just report what we have seen on other sites for your consideration.]

To the abused and slandered author of that letter, you did the right thing in contacting ESN! We support you!

But this isn't all that we've seen from Wade Cox.
For the two years ABD has been around, we've pretty much ignored Wade Cox, dismissing his group because in our opinion they appeared to be yet another splinter aberration with yet another cult-leader in the tiresome line of cult-leaders who thinks he's more powerful and grand than all the other cult-leaders (while they are all thinking the same about themselves). We've known some of the unusual things that the CCG teaches, and we've said a word or two about it, but we haven't had the time nor inclination to follow up. We've been busy enough with the likes of the real master of the Armstrong universe - Ron Weinland.
I forget now precisely what we've written. Well, no matter. Things have recently come up that have caught our attention.

We've recently received an anonymous tip. This anonymous tipster told us to go and look on Facebook and we'll see all the Wade Cox we can stomach. They told us where to look, and even gave us some quotes from Wade. The hook was bated, and we bit.
Here's what we've found.

What I'm about to post are direct quotes copied word for word earlier this morning - November 4th, 2010 - from a public discussion board on Facebook where all content is public. (You do not need to join the group to see the content; you only need join to engage in the discussion.)
I am not going to edit any more than it takes to remove a few unimportant sentences here and there. These are direct quotes from Wade Cox. So, as far as we know at the time of this writing, all of these things are true. [Red highlighting mine throughout. Words in blue are my own editorial.]

Group: Former Worldwide Church of God and Other COG Groups

Discussion: Antinomian Apostates
Date: Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wade Cox
"I see that the intellectual vacuums have come across to this site to reduce the levels of discussion to the same abysmal level that they enjoy on the WCG Survivors site."

Date: Monday, November 1, 2010

Wade Cox
"You will learn when Messiah returns.
If you believe as you say you now do you have an obligation to return to the Catholic faith and apologise to them.
You and all these Antomiansn who believe as you do or worse will find themselvwes in the Second Resurrection and if you do not keep the law of God you will die the Secodn death.
If you are alive at the Coming of ther Messiah you will keep the laws of God or you will die"
Discussion: Third Resurrection
Date: Monday, November 1, 2010
[**Note: the following comment was made to a person who recently decided to part company with the CCG and its teachings, preferring to step into the New Covenant.**]

Wade Cox
"If you cannot understand the basis of what is being posted and how it demonstrates that these people you now have allowed to ruin this site are operating through false claims and downright lies and false accusation then I am afraid there is no help for you or this site. You seem to have no committment to any intellectual integrity."
Discussion: Synagogue of Satan
Date: early September, 2010

Wade Cox
"Our worst persecution was within the WCG from among our own so-called brethren.
They will be made to bow down and worship us. They left the faith for Trinitarianism and Binitarian/Ditheism and they will be punished. They keep the wrong Calendar as do the Jews of modern Judaism and they will be brought to account before us soon."

Wade Cox
"The churches of God have those people who also fall into that category simply because, as you have said, they do not keep the correct calendar and their Holy Days are off due to their calendar and the postponements. They do not keep all the Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days on the correct days and they hold to the traditions of men. They says they are Jews but lie."

Wade Cox
"The Babylonian system has penetrated everything from Judaism and the Trinitarian system to the WCG and the Offshoots and the COG (SD) Denver and the sDAs and SDBs in the US and whatever. They all keep the Babylonian Calendar with its system of intercalations as set in the Hillel Calendar which many of the white churches of god keep. There is no excuse for it.
How can one keep a calendar which uses the Babylonian intercalations and the Babylonian date system with this year as 5711 and keep Atonement on Saturday a day late this year and the Holy Days a day late also and not be part of the synagogue of Satan.
The Sardis and Laodicean systems are part of the synagogue of Satan and they will bow down and worship the Phildelphian era but so will the others including rabbinical Judaism no matter what their lineage."

[Name Witheld #1]
1Ti 1:3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 1Ti 1:4 nor to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies which promote speculations rather than the divine training that is in faith; 1Ti 1:5 whereas the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith. 1Ti 1:6 Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered away into vain discussion, 1Ti 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions. 1Ti 1:8 Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, 1Ti 1:9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 1Ti 1:10 immoral persons, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 1Ti 1:11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

[**Note-- Ms "Name Witheld #1" ONLY quoted scripture. Here comes Wade's response.**]

Wade Cox
Ms [Name Witheld #1]
You know nothing and I have no desire to comunicate with you.

[Name Witheld #2]
"You know nothing and I have no desire to comunicate with you." - IF she knows nothing Wade isn't she the one you should be trying to reach the most?

Wade Cox
I have no desire to discuss this matter [Name Witheld #2].

[Name Witheld #2]
Why not?

Wade Cox
it a legal matter.

[**Note: A "legal matter"?????? You can't preach to the needy because of a "legal matter"??? That's his take on Christ???**]
Discussion: Attacks On the Law of God
Date: Late October, 2010

Wade Cox
Antinomianism has been infliltrating the Churches of God for millennia.
You have a very short time to go. You views and corrupt beliefs will die very soon along with the people who believe it.
Every person on this planet by the Millennium under Christ will keep the Sabbaths and New Moons or they will die (Isa 66:23). They will also keep the Feasts and send their representatives to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles or they will die of starvation and thirst or the Plagues of Egypt (Zech. 14:16-19).
There is no negotiation and you will do as you are told or you will die."

Wade Cox
"This cry of: 'Oh God will guide me is bunk.'"

Wade Cox
"I will explain the 613 Mitzvot again as Wikipedia is written in these texts by Jews who don't understand what is meant by it all."

Wade Cox
"The Sunday worshipping Trinitarians assert this nonsese so as to eliminate the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts which they cannot do. As stated previously those who do not keep the Sabbaths and New Moons will die and those who do not keep the feasts and send their representatives to Jerusalem will also die"
Discussion: Agenda of the Idol Shepherds
Date: Late October, 2010

Wade Cox
"CCG is not an offshoot of WCG. It is far greater than WCG and the vast majority of its members have never seen the inside of WCG."
Discussion: New Moons
Date: Early September, 2010

Wade Cox
"The determination of the month has nothing to do with a clown standing in Jerusalem and an entire nation of people suspending judgment when they could and did calculate it precisely from before the flood.
These Karaites try to make God's calendar appear dependent upon a group of idiots grubbbing around the field of Jerusalem when God has devised the greatest time machine which is the universe itself.
Spare us this insanity."
Discussion: Hitler Was A Jew
Date: early Saptember, 2010

Wade Cox
"We have now the full facts that Hitler was a full blooded jew."
Discussion: Elijah and the boot lickers of the WCG system.
Date: early September, 2010

Wade Cox
"Many of the people of the WCG system are brainwashed and some are brain dead.
There are forums that believe and proclaim that Herbert Armstrong was Elijah and they kick you off their forum if you ask for a demonstration as to what he did that was required to be done by Elijah.
What did he do that Elijah was supposed to do. What prophecy did he ever get right. No one has ever successfully claimed our reward for a correct prophecy yet.
What justifies this brain dead behaviour on the part of the US people?"

Wade Cox
"When we say US people we mean mean those people in the WCG and offshoot system that are totally incapable of independent thought and of not following a man in the insane cult of the personality that permeates the US religious and political system."
"Let us hold these bootlickers up to the examination and criticism they all so richly deserve."

Wade Cox
"The Modrn Jewish Calendar was not in existence at the time of Christ.
The Calendar that the WCG and the offshoots keep did not come into existence until 358 CE and is based on the postpionementes."
"Show me one Holy Day other than Pentecost that the offshoots keep that is different to the Holy Days the Jews keep. I say and the facts are that they cannot do so because it is the same calendar and anyone who says it is not is a liar."

Wade Cox
"If you do not keep the Day of Atonement on the corrrect day your punishment is to be cut off from God's people."
[**Note: this "cut off" includes the Jews. He is saying the Jews are not God's people.**

Wade Cox
"I will repeat again that any person who claims that the calendar kept by the WCG offshoots is the calendar kept by Christ is an unmitigated liar and unfit to be a minister of God."

Wade Cox
"The rabbis themselves admit it did not come into use until 358 CE and that it is hoplessly inaccurate. They state they will have to wait for Messiah to come to fix it.
Messiah has already come and he did not keep this abomination. The church has never kept it until Armstrong. How can you postpone the Passover for heavens sake how can you postpone the Day of Atonement. You cannot do so. These people have no fear of God."
Discussion: Fear
Date: early September, 2010

Wade Cox
"When Messiah returns to take over the world, as we are told he will, the elect of the First Resurrection will take over from the demons in assisting Christ to rule the world."
Discussion: Why was WCG destroyed.
Date: August, 2010

Wade Cox
"The WCG had no chance of survival from the beginningn because thery did not understand the history of the churches of God and nor did they understand how the Second century churches were undermined. That was even though they were told what was to happen and what the doctrine of Antichrist was."
[**Note: this came right after telling someone that wanting to learn the Biblical truth was "not enough". So, Biblical truth plus second century history is key. Gotcha.**]
Discussion: Satan's Powers
Date: August, 2010

Wade Cox
"The elohim [**Note: by this Wade means angels, not God**] had the power of creation after the God created the world (Job. 38:4-7).
(Let us make man in our image etc)
God placed Satan in command of the world as the elohim or theos of this world (Isa. 14; Ezekiel 28; 2 Cor. 4:5)."
Date: August, 2010

Wade Cox
"It is Armstrongite heresy to suggest that Christ was the God of the OT. What you are saying on this forum Ms. Petty is a lie.
The OT is abolutely clear that God the Father or Eloah was the singular one true God of the OT."

Wade Cox
"This is the One True God of the Bible. The name admits of NO plurality whatsoever and is used only of the One True God the Father of the entire Creation including Christ. Christ is the subordinate elohim of Israel whose father is Eloah, The Elyon or the Most High."
[**Note: Wade teaches Christ is a created being; an angel for all practical purposes.**]

We posted these quotes so that you could be more informed on what's going on in the greater sphere of Armstrongism and hopefully form your own opinion on this. But if you want our opinion.....

These quotes are, in our opinion, a shocking string of arrogant, heartless, demeaning, deceptive, and ungodly-vile filth. And, for a man who appears to want everyone to believe he's so very intelligent, he sure has some terrible spelling and grammar.
Wade appears to believe that HWA was an Apostle, but at the same time a false-prophet and a deceived liar (on the last two points, we are happy to agree with Wade). How can you mix Apostle and deceived false-prophet, though? He seems to say that the nature of God is wrong, the nature of Christ is wrong, the nature of Satan and the angels is wrong, the calendar is wrong, the holy days are kept wrong, the resurrections are wrong, the law is wrong, history is wrong, the Jews are wrong, and just about everything else under the sun is wrong ... EXCEPT (conveniently enough) what he believes on all of these matters. He appears to believe that is correct. What proof does he offer of all these things? We saw very, very little if any. [We'll come back to that.]
What we have witnessed appeared to us to be anti-Christ. What we witnessed appeared to us to be outright condemnation of Armstrongism. It appeared to us to be outright condemnation of the Jews. It appeared to us to be outright condemnation of all Catholics and all Protestants. Who is left? I don't know what you think "There is no negotiation and you will do as you are told or you will die" means, or what you think "You have a very short time to go. You [sic] views and corrupt beliefs will die very soon along with the people who believe it" means, but to us it means pretty much what it looks like it means - death!

I think you can see for yourself what kind of man this is and what quality this CCG must be to "elect" a leader who speaks like this. Unfortunately, the people we found in this discussion group who appeared to be members of the CCG were, in our opinion from what we read, almost as dismissive and cruel as Wade Cox.
They appeared, in our opinion from what we read, to be brainwashed - as there are manifold examples of long screeds, line after line of quotations from Wade Cox's writings, as if Wade Cox is the only source necessary to answer any matter under the sun. The people on this forum seemed to have several discussions back and forth over how Wade Cox even quotes himself as his reference material, so the group is obviously aware of it.
I took the initiative to check a few of Mr. Cox' links to his material for myself, and - whadda ya know - what I found contained even more links to his own material, but few if any references to what the world at large might call credible source material; just assertion after definitive assertion - all apparently based on his own writings.

One of the people on the forum asked if this abuse is what people are looking for in a church. Indeed!
Is this the kind of church you are looking for?? We sure aren't!! Caveat emptor!

Dear reader, we've heard many other additional allegations that we didn't post here. These other as of yet unconfirmed allegations are just as bad as the ones we did post, or worse! We have heard of alleged "stalking" of people who submit info and letters that are critical of Wade Cox to websites such ESN (like the letter we quoted above). [UPDATE: We have had some documents come in that appear to suggest that there is some stalking going on. No proof, though! Just some suspicious activity that might be harmless but could be confirmation. We'll keep you updated.] We have heard that Wade Cox once tried to sue the Painful Truth website to have it shut down after they posted information critical of Wade Cox. IF these allegations are true, they would be pretty damning, but without concrete evidence to prove those things we think what we have posted is going to have to be good enough for us to write about.
Perhaps if someone out there has some credible info, they could send it to us or put it in the comments.

If you are someone who is attending the CCG or is thinking of attending the CCG, PLEASE consider carefully what you're doing. If you know someone who is attending, or is thinking of attending the CCG, PLEASE get them to this post and have them read these quotes. And please keep them in your prayers.

RedFox, are you going to investigate and write more about this group? We sure hope so!

**UPDATE: We have done a follow-up post. You can read it here.**

We are thankful to see some have left the grip of Wade Cox, so they are living proof that it can be done! It seems that they face abuse and isolation, like we at ABD did when we left Armstrongism. It seems like they found it all worth it. Perhaps that will leave you, after such a disturbing post as this, with some encouragement and hope.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Law of God - Law of Moses

This is the second part of the series on the Law of Moses. You can find part one here.

In the first post we saw that the Law of God includes all that was written in the Book of the Law of Moses; that is the Torah. All of the Old Covenant law was given by God through Moses - so the law is called the "Law of God" in once place and the law is called the "Law of Moses" in another place. They are the same thing. The Bible agrees with this. The dictionary agrees with this. 3,400 years of Jewish tradition agrees with this.

When Deuteronomy 4: 44 introduces a review of the Law of Moses, what are the very first laws they review? The Ten Commandments (DEU. 5: 1-22)! It is inescapable that the Law of Moses includes the Ten Commandments.

The review ends in Deuteronomy 31. Everything in between is without question included in the Law of Moses (and that most certainly includes Deuteronomy 14). In Joshua 8: 31, Joshua quotes from Deuteronomy and calls it the Book of the Law of Moses. It's not just Deuteronomy that comprises the Law of Moses, but the entire Torah!

Even so, I know from experience what little evidence it takes to convince someone who wants to believe a thing, and what overwhelming proof and time it takes to convince someone that what they hold dear is false. So, let us consider even more evidence.


If you look over the list of verses that I provided in the first post in this series, do you see anything odd about the places where the phrase "Law of Moses" and "Law of God" appear? The one place where they both appear together is in Nehemiah 8.
You will find the phrase "the Law" there as well (which is significant when you study Paul's writings). I think we'll find something interesting in this chapter for sure.

(NEH. 8: 1) Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law [torah] of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel.

On the Feast of Trumpets (first day of the seventh month), the entire Book of the Law of Moses (the Torah) - which was commanded to Israel (not the Gentiles) by God through Moses - was read by Ezra. Here we have all the elements in one sentence: "Law of Moses", "Lord commanded", "Israel". From what Herbert Armstrong taught, you would think that this can never occur, because we are supposedly talking about separate things. Not so! They are all the same.

So Ezra read from the Law of Moses, and in verse 8 we see that he had many helpers who taught the people what it all meant. Let's take a peek at that:

(NEH. 8: 8) So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law [torah] of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

What's this? In verse 1, it was "Law [Torah] of Moses". In verse 8 - the same book - it is "Law [Torah] of God". One book, one set of laws, two ways to describe it. The Law of Moses is the Law of God.
Herbert Armstrong and those like him were simply not telling us the whole truth. The question is, are you willing to accept it?

What did these people find in the Law of Moses? You might want to brace yourself for this...

(NEH. 8: 9) And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law [torah].

They read the Law of Moses and found the Feast of Trumpets. Yes, dear reader, the Holy Days are in the Law of Moses, too! No, dear reader, it's not just the Feast of Trumpets...

(NEH. 8: 14) And they found written in the Law [torah], which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month.

First we had the Feast of Trumpets in verses 1, 9 and 11. Now we have the Feast of Booths mentioned in verse 14; otherwise known as the Feast of Tabernacles. So it's not just a fluke where one Holy Day is mentioned.

Armstrongism teaches that the Holy Days were not part of the Law of Moses, contrary to what you can plainly read right there in your own Bible, and they use this claim to support their doctrine that the Holy Days are still binding today.
But, as we can plainly read in our own Bibles, Trumpets and Tabernacles are in the law of Moses. And if these two Holy Days are, so are the rest. Yes, even Passover!

(II CHR. 35: 6) So slaughter the Passover offerings, consecrate yourselves, and prepare them for your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

And, just to be painfully circumspect, even the weekly Sabbath as well.

(NEH. 9: 14) You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses Your servant.

Observance of the Old Covenant Holy Days is a major difference between Armstrongism and other Adventist groups. In fact, demanding the Holy Days be kept is one of the main reasons why Herbert Armstrong was fired from the ministry of the COG7. The ministers in the COG7 told him everything that I tell you now, but he refused to listen. He shut his ears and barreled ahead regardless of any evidence contrary to what he wanted to believe. He knew! He knew every bit of this decades ago... and he didn't care.
Only... Armstrongism doesn't teach the building of booths during the Feast of Booths. Nor does it teach the blowing up trumpets on the Feast of Trumpets. Why demand something be required, then refuse to do all that you've bound yourself to? Oh, the law! The law! Just not THAT law.
It would appear Herbert Armstrong was wrong about this on many levels, and modern patsies like Richard Rives now follow in tow. The question is, do you follow a man?


I have read a few arguments in favor of Herbert Armstrong's position. I would like to address a few of the trickier ones. These may not be the arguments you'll hear most often, but I found them worth responding to because I want to address the sheer desperation of the attempt to twist and distort and make the Bible say what it does not say.

A Distinction
In trying to demonstrate that there is a logical distinction between the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses, some point to II Kings 21: 8:

(II KIN. 21: 8) and I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers—only if they are careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law [torah] that My servant Moses commanded them.

See those two underlined areas in that verse above? The first argument is that God makes a clear logical distinction from what set of laws He commanded Israel to do (the Ten Commandments) and what different set of laws Moses commanded Israel to do (the Law of Moses).
Does that stand up? No.
Why not? Primarily because it's "Torah of God" in one place and "Torah of Moses" in another. Same Torah! No distinction.

Are we to believe that Moses made up the ceremonial law on his own? That's ridiculous! We know it came from God.
Jesus gives one and only one example of Moses going it alone and allowing divorce (MAT. 19: 7-8). Then how can anyone claim that God commands the Ten Commandments (and a handful of other things) and Moses commands all the rest? Yet that is precisely what this argument is saying.

Everything we've done to this point, in the previous post and this, has demonstrated that what God commands and what Moses commands are not separate things; they are the same things. We cannot just sweep that evidence all under the proverbial rug and hope it goes away.

All this argument can hope to do is show that a distinction exists. I contend that it has failed to do this.
But if a distinction does indeed exist, where is that distinction clearly defined? Where does God tell us what is in His law and what is in Moses' law? Nowhere. Not in this verse, that's for sure! And this verse is held up as the premier example. Over and over again God lets us know no distinction exists because they are one and the same. So the legalists need to find something - anything - that appears to answer this.

And that leads us to the next argument.

But What Distinction?
The next argument is to claim there is a physical distinction between the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses. The hope in this argument is to show that God made a physical distinction between what is His law and what is Moses' law.
To demonstrate this, we turn to DEU. 31: 24-26:

(DEU. 31: 24-26) 24 So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, 25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying: 26 “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you..."

See how the book that Moses wrote was placed beside the Ark that contained the Ten Commandments of the Covenant, and not inside it? "It was kept separate," they claim, "so therefore they can't be the same thing."
Does that stand up? No.
Why not? Because the Ten Commandments are in both places.

So, the Ten Commandments "of God" written and engraved in stone were in the Ark, but the Book of the Law "of Moses" was not in the Ark. Do you realize by making this claim that they have proven my point in Nehemiah 8?
Think about it. If only the Decalogue is distinct, then what of tithes, meats, and Holy Days? None of them are the Ten Commandments. None of them were in the Ark of the Covenant where only the "Law of God" supposedly was. To prove one thing, they've completely undone another.

But they've proven nothing. Let's weigh the evidence.

In verse 24 we read that Moses wrote the words of the law in a book. In verse 26 we see the phrase "Book of the Law." Do you know what the Hebrew word is that has been translated as "law" in both of those verses? (By now you should.) It's "torah"! Strong's H8451: torah: From H3384; a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch: - law.
Moses wrote the Torah - the first five books of the Bible - in a single collected volume called "The Book of the Law". Are the Ten Commandments separate from the Torah? Have you read Exodus 20: 1-18 lately? Well, what about Deuteronomy 5: 1-22, then? The Torah is the first 5 books of the Bible - the Pentateuch - but note carefully that the word "torah" especially refers to the Decalogue - the Ten Commandments.

So, the Ten Commandments were on tablets inside the Ark, and in a book beside the Ark. At the same time! Problem is, people are so eager to make any distinction they can that they don't think through what they're saying.

Let's look at another interesting verse:

(JOS. 24: 26a) Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law [torah] of God.

Again, "law" is from the Hebrew word "Torah." In some places it's "Book of the Torah of Moses" and some places it's "Book of the Torah of God." In some places it's "Torah of Moses" and some places it's "Torah of God." One Torah; more than one way to describe it. No distinction.
Yet we are told that this distinction in terms is precisely how we can know there are two sets of laws.

Are we to believe there were two books as well? No. But we see Book of Moses and Book of God. Why aren't there two books?
So this reasoning supposedly works in one place (law) but not in the other (books)?
What I mean by that is, when we see "Law of Moses" and "Law of God" we are told those are two separate things, but when we see "Book of the Law of Moses" and "Book of the Law of God" those are undeniably one and the same.
The reasoning falls down completely.

Hopefully now you can see that it doesn't work that way. Hopefully you can see this is the exact same thing that we demonstrated earlier when we reviewed Nehemiah 8... two ways to describe the exact same thing.

This argument is undone.


Even when they say the Ten Commandments are separate, that's not what they really mean. This claim just gets the foot in the door. It's not just the Ten Commandments after all, but a cherry-picked list of other laws whatsoever Herbert Armstrong (or Ellen White or whomever else) determines by their own authority. Want proof?

(JER. 31: 33) But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law [torah] in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

See there? God will write His torah on the very hearts of the house of Israel. "AHA!" the legalists exclaim, "In the New Covenant, God will write His law on our hearts! The law is still in effect!" But, oh ye of little faith, WHICH law?

It says that He will write His torah on the hearts of Israel. Are we Israel? Some people will say yes, we are Spiritual Israel. OK. Then the torah should be written on your heart.
We've seen what torah means in the Old Covenant: the first five books of the Bible and everything therein. Every jot and tittle! Ceremonial as well as moral.

Faced with this, the legalist must backtrack. We can't be sacrificing animals at the temple, or building booths from trees, or travelling to Jerusalem three times every year. Are we, then, to believe that "torah" means only the Ten Commandments? Doubtful. I have never heard of a system, apart from the Church of God (Seventh Day), who only believe the Ten Commandments are brought forward. The list of legalistic requirements always grows and grows. Even the COG7 dips its toe into other areas of law.
So, back to the whole law, then? Not by any means! The goal is to have some law but to wiggle out from under most of the law. They accomplish this by artificially dividing it into Law of God and Law of Moses, then dump 98% of it. So, what then? Neither the Ten nor every jot and tittle. What is it?
It is none other than what I told you... a cherry-picked list of laws whatsoever Herbert Armstrong (or Ellen White or whomever else) determines by their own authority.

The argument is completely circular.
The Ten are separate, they claim. But not just the Ten - it never stops there - there's also meats laws, tithes, holy days, and etc. But none of those additional items are in the Ten. So now it's the whole Torah and every jot. But then that binds too much. So it's not every jot after all, it's just the Ten because those are separate. Oh! Plus a few.
...And round and round we go.

Contrary to their hopes, God never once defines "Law of God" as something separate from "Law of Moses." In one place it's "commandments and statutes and laws", so it is in another place.
The legalists, undeterred, have to step in and they decide which. They compile the lists, not God - and few of them seem to agree. If it were just about the Ten, then why not just go to the Seventh Day Baptist church? Well, we need something to make us distinct, of course, and to give a reason why our coffers should be filled with your money, and not theirs.

Legalists make their claims, reciting verses that they think work in their favor, but they only pretend to know the law (I TIM. 3: 7). Do you want to know what law was written on our hearts? Read this: If You Love Me Keep My Commandments.

Do you think these people who invent these "distinctions" have read that received that conclusion from the Bible, or did they come to their conclusions then try to insert that into the Bible?
In your heart of hearts you know as well as I do, they forced the words to mean what they wanted them to mean. They are forcing a conclusion into the Bible rather than letting the Bible determine their conclusions.
That isn't letting the Bible interpret the Bible. In fact, it's in direct violation of the Bible!

(DEU. 4: 2) You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

They have added to and taken away by creating artificial distinctions within the law. They add a division called "Law of God" and those are the things they feel like keeping (partially). Everything else - the things they find too bothersome to trouble themselves with while they condemn the world for not keeping the law - is whisked away by another division... and they blame it on Moses!
They add to so that they can take away. By whose authority do they do this?? Their own. And this is supposed to please God?


I understand that some people get confused by these things.
When you think in terms of requirements, it is hard to understand how righteousness is not from the law in the New Covenant, so some try to find some way, any way, to continue in the law.

For three decades I listened to people make these kinds of claims and I said, "Yes! That sounds good! Yes, yes!" And I would spend my time in little else than reading the publications of advocates of the way I wanted to follow. I was deceived (II TIM. 3: 13)! I didn't understand God's righteousness comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by faith in Christ alone. I was blind (II COR. 3: 14)! But not because I wanted to be. My heart wanted to please God. I simply thought God wanted me to change myself into a good person, rather than letting God Himself be the goodness within me.
It was simple mistakes that took me far from the mark.

You cannot squeeze righteousness from the law any more than you can squeeze blood from a turnip. We have all sinned already. Once the law shows us that sin, that is the place where the law can do no more.
The law cannot make a person righteous, nor can a person make themselves righteous through the law. (The presence of Christ makes holy!) The law doesn't bring righteousness; it brings the knowledge of our ugliness and sin. (Christ washes clean!) The law cannot forgive, it only condemns. (Christ forgives to the uttermost!) The law can only show us our failures and our need for a Savior. (We don't need a Savior anymore - we have a Savior!)

What need have we of the shadow any longer??

Friends, go to God on your knees and deeply desire Him to explain it if it doesn't make sense you. But to assert that the Ten Commandments are not in the Law of Moses, or to assert that the Law of Moses and the Law of God are not one and the same thing, is simply not being truthful. The question is, do you love the truth?


What I fail to understand is how anyone can be so bold in claiming that the Law of Moses and the Law of God are two distinct and separate things, when even the most simple Bible study in the world will disprove the claim.
Dear and valued reader, I didn't do anything fancy here. I didn't do anything you can't verify for yourself. I didn't play games with words to conjure up something that isn't there. I didn't wrangle. I revealed the wrangling! In hopes that you will love the truth and reject the wrangling for what it is - a lie.

Please do yourself a huge favor and do not confuse the English translation of a word for the original meaning. What I mean is, every time you see the word "commandment," don't jump to the conclusion that it can only mean the Ten Commandments. When you see "works" don't jump to the conclusion that it means "law". The false ministers with their false gospels will trip you up when you least expect it; exploiting you with deceptive words (II PET. 2: 3). They will use the very law of God to separate you from God. Many things would have prevented the confusion from ever springing up in the first place, and this one mistake is at the top of the list.

I know how hard it is to let go of a thing you've held so dear for so long. I know how hard it is to admit you were fooled. It seems like an affront to your whole faith. It takes great faith to step out into the unknown. I promise you, the truth is never an affront to faith. God's word is truth. Insisting upon keeping an idea that is not true is entirely an affront. If the teaching about the Law of Moses is not true, then it can't be of God. The question is, of whom is it, then?

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