Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pack's Proofs on Peter's Pontificate

Today, I want to talk about Dave Pack's "Ten Proofs Peter Was Not the 'Pope' at Rome".

After completing my review of Herman Hoeh's "True History of the True Church", and finding it remarkably flawed, I wanted to see if the Church of God groups had progressed since 1959. Finding that the COGWA had made several false claims about their roots did not fill me with optimism.
Completely at random, I chose a more recent attempt at documenting the history of Armstrongism. I chose "Where Is The True Church? And Its Incredible History!" (2009 version) by Mr. David Pack, which is currently downloadable in PDF format from the Restored Church of God website.
I wanted to see how the claims had changed over the years, and whether or not the scholarship had improved.

After reading a few pages and checking sources, I can tell you that my pessimism is justified. I am not impressed. Not only had Mr. Pack not improved upon Mr. Hoeh's earlier work, in my opinion things had gotten worse.
Today's post is not going to go over the entire book. I'm still working on that. The booklet is 223 pages! I almost expect it to come in hard-cover form. Rather, today I am just going to sample one small area which is easy to bite off and chew, and which is representative of the rest of the work.

On pages 90-91, Mr. Pack sets out a list of 10 reasons why Peter was not the Pope at Rome. Some of these points try to demonstrate that Peter was never in Rome, and some of them try to demonstrate that even if he was in Rome he still wasn't the first Pope. I want to go over just that section in today's post. Unless otherwise stated, all of my quotes are from those two pages.

What I'm going to do is quote the ten points straight from the booklet, one at a time. Then I'm going to give my summary of what that quote means, just to make it easier to understand. Then I'm going to give my response.

You might say that you don't believe Peter was in Rome, and you certainly don't believe Peter was the first Pope, so what's the problem? I don't necessarily agree with the Catholic Church's claims in this arena either. But that's entirely beside the point.
Whether one agrees with a claim is secondary to whether or not the claim is intellectually honest and well formed. This is fundamental to the pursuit of truth. I can agree that George Washington, the United States' first president, was an important historical figure. But if I believe that because I rely on silly evidences such as "he chopped down a cherry tree and admitted it to his father", an event that never actually happened, then really I'm just a chattering mouth making noises devoid of substance. He is a great historical figure; but not because of silly folk tales. Or, I can disagree that Peter was the first Pope. But if I do that because I rely on empty conspiracy theories and fiction authored by pseudo-scholars, then I'm really just a misinformed gossip and a tale-bearer.
Mr. Pack spends a good deal of time talking about truth in his book. Well, do we really value truth, or are we tickling in the ears - only interested in what upholds our preconceptions?

Let's get started, shall we?

Point #1
"(1) Rome is in Italy. This means that Gentile Italians live there. The apostle Paul was ordained to be the apostle to the Gentiles, not Peter. Paul wrote this to the Gentile Romans: “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable…” (15:16). He also described himself to the Galatians as having the gospel of the “uncircumcision”— the Gentiles—committed to him (2:7)."

My summary: Peter did not reside in Rome because Rome is Gentile and Paul was sent to the Gentiles.

This is simply not feasible even by Mr. Pack's own standards.
Peter wasn't forbidden to go to the Gentiles. Who was the first Apostle to go to the first Gentile convert? Peter. He was sent to Cornelius.
In many places throughout the book, Mr. Pack makes definite claims that Peter was sent to Israelites and Paul was sent to Gentiles. That is the root claim that point #1 relies upon. However, in many places throughout the book, Mr. Pack tells us where Peter supposedly went during his life. Britain, Babylon, Galatia, Antioch, the regions around the Black Sea, and every other area outside of Palestine that Peter supposedly went to, were also Gentile. Whether or not we believe Peter went to all of those areas (which I do not), that those areas are Gentile is beyond doubt.
In order for Mr. Pack to get Peter out of Rome and in to Britain and other areas, he had to fall back on British-Israelism which claims Israelites were there somewhere. (We are supposedly forbidden from knowing exactly where they were.) We won't get into it here, but British-Israelism (aka. Anglo-Israelism) is a blatant lie, whose origin is known, and has been entirely disproven by many things not the least of which is DNA evidence. Truth? No. If Peter and Paul both supposedly went to Britain, then why can't both go to Rome? Well, Jews are Israelites after all. We know from the Bible as well as from history that a large population of Jews and Jewish converts to Christianity were in Rome. Aquila and Priscila were Jews in Rome. Even British-Israelism claims Israelites ended up in Italy.
Therefore, point #1 is simply not feasible.

Ask yourself, if Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles only, and Peter the Apostle to the Israelites only, then why was Peter in Babylon and Paul in the synagogue?

Point #2
"(2) The Emperor Claudius had banished all Jews from Rome in AD 50. Acts 8:1 describes the “great persecution against the Church” and that “they were all scattered abroad” as a result."

My summary: Emperor Claudius banished all Jews from Rome, so there were no Jews for Peter to go to.

Mr. Pack is anticipating the obvious response to point #1. Here is his reason for why Peter could not go to Jews in Rome.
This expulsion most likely happened in 49 AD. This is long before Peter's death. St. Peter supposedly died in 67 AD. Jews were not permanently expelled. This wasn't the first time they were expelled, either; the most recent was under Emperor Tiberius. They always came back. This time there were so many Jews that Claudius was worried of rioting.
Claudius died in 54 AD. The ban could not have lasted beyond then. We know from history that it didn't even last until that point. Either way, the expulsion could not have lasted 5 years.
Rome made no distinction between Christians and Jews until later in the first century. The Christians and Jews knew the difference, but Rome didn't, and that's what counts in 49 AD. If the Jews were expelled, the Christians were also. Hence, why Priscilla and Aquilla - being Jews by heritage but Christian by religion - had left Italy. If any Christians went back to Rome, and we know they did or there would be no epistle to the Romans in 57 AD, then the Jews were also allowed back in.
Therefore, what Mr. Pack is trying to establish - that there were no Jews in Rome for Peter to go to - is simply not tenable.

Ask yourself, does having no Jews in Rome between for the 5 years between 49 and 54 AD mean Peter could not possibly have gone to Rome during the 13 years between 54 and 67 AD?

Point #3
"(3) Peter wrote his first general epistle from the city of “Babylon” (5:13). Many have assumed that this is Rome, when it is actually the Babylon of Mesopotamia. It is interesting to note that historians generally confuse—switch—scriptural references to Babylon by applying those that do apply to Rome as though they apply to Babylon, and vice-versa—in other words, those that do not apply to Rome are assigned Roman designation."

My summary: Peter wrote from literal Babylon, not the figurative Babylon of Rome.

This point is neither here nor there. Peter wrote an epistle from Babylon. So what?
If the claim is "Peter wrote from Babylon, therefore he couldn't be in Rome" then he also wrote from Babylon therefore he couldn't be in Britain or any of the other areas Mr. Pack said he went to either.
If the claim is that "Peter wrote from Babylon, not Rome, because Babylon isn't Rome" then this contradicts far too many of his other doctrines. The entire claim that the Catholic Church is Babylon the Great rests on the assertion that Babylon absolutely is Rome. You can't have it both ways. You can't both insist Babylon is always Rome in Revelation, and insist Babylon never Rome at all so we know it isn't Rome in Peter's epistle.
The only other option is that Mr. Pack means to say that, taken on a case-by-case basis, this one instance Babylon is not symbolic and does not symbolize Rome. OK. Now, where's the proof for that? Mr. Pack gives us nothing but his good word. Well, we know Rome was called "Babylon" in the middle and late first century. So it could have been Rome. But no matter what interpretation you side with, the claim is weak.
Either way, that is really neither here nor there. All this talk about "Peter didn't mean Rome" is nothing but a distraction. Symbolically Rome or literally Babylon, either way the claim is weak. Mr. Pack is trying to demolish the weakest possible evidence and then claim absolute victory. What he cannot do is demolish the strong evidence we have from historians who prove Rome was called Babylon, or the witness of names like Irenaeus, Clement, Tertullian, Ignatius, and etc who say Peter was in Rome. I would have you know, Mr. Pack cites some of the names I just mentioned as reliable source material in other areas of his book. So, are they reliable or aren't they? In one place he says they are reliable. What other conclusion can we reach other than he is saying in this place they are completely unreliable? If he doesn't believe his own sources, then all he ever does is quote mine them; taking what he wants and disregarding the rest. Then what's the value of any of it?
Therefore, this claim is beyond weak and contradicts his own evidence in other areas of the book.

Ask yourself, is it good to quote sources as reliable for one thing, then ignore those same sources in other things?

Point #4
"(4) Paul told the Romans, “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation” (15:20). Paul’s assertion would make no sense had Peter been resident at Rome, having established this congregation."

My summary: Paul only preached where no one else had.

This point is demonstrably false.
Paul strove to preach in areas where Christ was unknown; this much is clear. However, this doesn't by any means indicate that he always preached where Christ was unknown and never preached where Christ was known.
On pages 60-64, Mr. Pack claims Paul preached in Britain, along with Peter, James, Simon the Zealot, Joseph of Arimathea, and Aristobulus. Now, he uses some pretty shaky sources to make this claim. I'm not concerned about the accuracy of the claim at this point, only that he made the claim. The question is, how can Mr. Pack both claim that all of these people were in Britain, and claim that Paul never preached where others preached first? At some point he's going to have to become consistent.
What's more, it is undeniable that Paul did preach in Rome. It is clear that Priscilla and Aquilla were Christians before they met Paul, and they had only met Paul because they were expelled from Rome for being of Jewish descent. Someone had preached Christ in Rome long before Paul got there. Paul did not plant the first congregation at Rome, even though all the oldest records include him as one of the founders. The reason he mentioned he didn't like building on another man's foundation was because he felt guilty he was about to visit and do exactly that! He also built on someone else's foundation in Damascus after he was first converted (ACT. 9: 19-22), and then in Jerusalem (ACT. 9: 28-29), and again in Antioch (ACT. 11: 19-26). Acts 11: 19 tells us Christians were scattered to Phoenicia and Cyprus where they preached; Paul went to both of these places to preach (ACT. 13: 4-5; 15: 3).
Therefore, this claim is demonstrably false as well as inconsistent.

Ask yourself, is it just to use something as evidence if that thing is shown to be false?

Point #5
"(5) Then, in light of the previous point, why would Paul offer the following salutation to the Roman congregation, also if Peter had been there for years?: “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end that you may be established” (1:11). Think how insulting this expression would have been to “Pope Peter,” had he been in Rome."

My summary: Paul wanted to impart a spiritual gift to the Romans to establish them, so that means Peter did not impart a spiritual gift.

Note that point #5 relies on point #4. Point #4 is false. Therefore point #5 builds on a false premise. As Herbert W Armstrong was fond of saying, if the starting point is false then the conclusions will be false.
Can one person impart a spiritual gift after someone else already has? Think about this a moment. Mr. Pack's book is meant to impart a spiritual gift to establish you. Therefore, by his own reasoning, this book is an insult to all of the others in his church and everyone who came before him. So we should learn the lesson -- don't impart any spiritual gifts.
I jest, because the claim is ridiculous on its face.
Paul was writing to whom? No one? No. He was writing to a congregation. Was this a non-congregation, un-established and void? No. Let's ask Romans 1: 8 if they were un-established: "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world". The what? The un-established church, where no one had yet preached, was so faithful they were spoken of throughout the world. It's a miracle!!
This claim depends on there being no one in Rome, but if there was no one in Rome then there could be no epistle to the church in Rome. Luckily, there were many Jews in Rome (in Acts 28, Paul preaches to them) and Christians of both Jewish and Gentile background (in Romans, Paul writes to both). I was certain point #1 said that never happened.
Therefore, this point, as with the previous point upon which it relies, is demonstrably false.

Point #6
"(6) Paul concludes the Roman letter in chapter 16 with separate greetings to 30 different people in Rome—Mary, Andronicus, Junia—(these last two were probably apostles; Rom. 16:7)—Amplias, Urbane, Stachys, Apelles and 23 others— with no reference to the one who was supposedly the Pope, guiding the congregation and the entire New Testament Church from that city. No reasonable person could believe that Paul would so insult his own spiritual superior!"

My summary: Paul never mentions a leader, so there must not have been one.

I thought there was no one in Rome? How do we have no less than 30 Christians if Paul was the first to preach there?
Now, because a thing wasn't mentioned is not proof that it didn't exist. This is basic logic. He's arguing from silence. By this same reasoning, neither the book of Esther nor Song of Songs ever mention God; therefore He must not have been anywhere in the Middle East!
Anyone who reads the New Testament will know that one of the primary concerns of the Apostles was establishing Elders. But Mr. Pack's claim is that Paul established the church in Rome. This only makes things worse for his claim as Paul would never establish a church without appointing an Elder (ACT. 14: 3; TIT. 1: 5). How could there be a world-renowned group, thirty of whom Paul greets by name, but there is no church and no Elder? It's a nonsensical claim to make.
Therefore this claim is not tenable.

Ask yourself, if something is not mentioned does that prove it is not there?

Point #7
"(7) Galatians 1:18-19 and 2:7 demonstrate that Peter was based at Jerusalem, from where he periodically traveled to places like Bithynia, Northern Galatia and Babylon, and other places where Israelites (also see #9) had migrated, from AD 38 to AD 49—the dates of these events described in Galatians."

My summary: Galatians 1: 18-19 and 2: 7 demonstrates that Peter was based in Jerusalem from 38-49 AD, so he couldn't have been based in Rome.

First off, Galatians 1: 18-19 are the the only verses mentioned here that show Peter was based in Jerusalem. Galatians 2: 7 does absolutely nothing for his point.
Second, the Epistle to the Galatians was written around 49 AD, but the timing of Galatians 1: 18-19 is not 38-49 AD at all. The timing of verses 18-19 was more like 35-36 AD.
Those verses are very early on in Paul's ministry, immediately after he became a Christian, before the word was preached to the Gentiles at all, and before Acts 15. Of course Peter was going to be in Jerusalem at that time. Citing these verses does absolutely nothing for his point.
That means nothing he cited does anything for his point.
Mr. Pack, in many places in his booklet, relies on Peter being away from Jerusalem. Remember when Pack insisted Peter was in Babylon? In fact, in Galatians 2: 11-12 Peter is in Antioch, acting like a Gentile, with the Gentiles (I thought point #1 said that never happened). So, Mr. Pack has to contradict himself in order to make this point.
Therefore this point is anachronistic at best, and contradicts his own evidence in other areas of the book.

Ask yourself, if Peter was in one place at the start of his ministry, does that prove he stayed there for the rest of his life?

Point #8
"(8) Luke 22:24 states, “And there was a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” Here is why this passage is important. This debate took place after Christ, in Matthew 16:17-19, had supposedly designated Peter as the one who would become the first Pope. While not directly involving Rome, this provides its own proof that Christ never conferred, at least from the other apostles’ perspective, the office of “Pope” to Peter."

My summary: The striving over who would be the greatest in Luke 22: 24 happened after Christ designated Peter as the rock in Matthew 16: 17-19. Therefore Peter could not be the Pope.

It's a good point to bring up, except for two incredibly important things:
1) Several times in his book Mr. Pack admits that Peter was the lead Apostle, thus negating this point entirely, and 2) this does absolutely nothing to prove Peter wasn't in Rome.
You might think it odd that Mr. Pack would affirm the Primacy of Peter doctrine. Well, let's review a few quotes:
"As coordinator, Peter traveled to many more areas where the Israelites were located than did any of the other apostles." p.63
"John Replaces Peter. After Peter’s death, John was eventually directed to return to the eastern Mediterranean area to oversee the Church." p.72
"Simon Peter (chief apostle under Christ)" p.74
Just look at those quotes! What you, the reader, should immediately take away from this is that Mr. Pack claims Peter was the Coordinator and Chief Apostle. In other words, Mr. Pack admits the Primacy of Peter doctrine! So, if you, esteemed and astute reader, wanted to hang me for defending the Primacy of Peter doctrine, please hold! I'm not the one defending it. I neither defend it nor deny it; I only write this post to point out Mr. Pack's inconsistencies and the unreliable nature of his claims. He is the one who defends the Primacy of Peter!
Most Armstrongists would find this to be scandalous, but it isn't so odd; Herbert Armstrong did the same. Pack is just copying Armstrong.
This is terribly close to trying to have your cake and eat it too. In one place, his claims rely on the Primacy of Peter, so they negate this point. However, here where it's convenient, his point relies on there being no Primacy of Peter, thus negating his earlier claims.
Therefore, this point is exceedingly weak and contradicts his own evidence in other areas of the book.

Ask yourself, can Peter both be the "chief apostle under Christ" -and- not be the "chief apostle under Christ" at the same time?

Point #9
"(9) This point proves the other side of point 1. Already referenced, notice how Paul, who first describes himself, concludes his statement in Galatians 2:7, with this about Peter: 'But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision [Gentiles] was committed unto me [Paul], as the gospel of the circumcision [Jews and the other tribes of Israel, referenced in #7] was unto Peter…'"

My summary: The Apostles squabbling and Paul being sent to the Gentiles proves that Peter was not over the whole work.

Just like point #5 relied on #4, and both were false, point #9 relies on #8 and both are false.
Were there Jews in Rome? Yes. That is undeniable! Could Peter have gone to convert them? Yes. Pack admits there were, even though he said they had left - which we demonstrated wasn't permanent. Were some converted? Yes. Aquila and Priscilla for two. So, if there were Jews in Rome, then why does Peter being the Apostle to the Jews prevent him from going to the Jews in Rome? Peter wasn't the Apostle to Judea
Now, Pack's insistence is going to work against him. If Peter has to go only to Jews (which we know wasn't the case) and if Paul had to only go to Gentiles (which we know wasn't the case) then who converted those Jews in Rome to Christianity?
Therefore, this claim is useless and contradicts his own evidence in other areas of the book.

Point #10
"(10) In II Timothy 4:11, Paul, commonly understood to be writing this epistle from Rome, states, “Only Luke is with me.” Further, in verse 10, he describes how one named Demas had “forsaken” him and gone back to the “world,” with Crescens and Titus having also transferred to other places of duty. None of this makes sense if the “Pope”—Peter—had been present."

My summary: In II Timothy 4: 11 Paul tells Timothy that only Luke was with him. This doesn't make sense if Peter was there.

By that same reasoning, it doesn't make sense if any Christian was in Rome. Either this applies to all, or it only applies to the people Paul specifically mentioned; it cannot be narrowed to just Peter.
If Mr. Pack is correct, and Paul means to say out of all Christians on earth only Luke was with him, then there were no other Christians in Rome. The fatal flaw is, this cannot only refer to Peter. Mr. Pack's "proof" tries to prove too much. Rome wasn't empty, and that's a fact.
Earlier he tries to show that there was no church in Rome, when we can demonstrate there certainly was. Now again he accidentally shows that there was no church in Rome, when we can demonstrate there certainly was.
Obviously, that there were no Christians in Rome was never Paul's point. II Timothy 4: 9-16 are very sad verses. I don't want to distract from the abandonment Paul certainly felt. But that all Christians in Rome had utterly abandoned him and only Luke remained was not his point. He was really only referring to his formerly trusted travelling companions, most of whom he mentioned by name. In one sense, perhaps none of the Christians in Rome stood with Paul either. But even in that sense, it does exceedingly little as evidence for his claim that Peter was not there.

Of all the points, this one is the only one that bears any load at all for his claim. Yet, it bears so little. I would generously call this point "evidence". I would not agree that it is "proof". Given the rest of the points, and the rest of his book, I find this "evidence" unconvincing.


Some of his "proofs" are fallacious; some are moot; most are contradictory; some are demonstrably false. These are supposed to be the pinnacle! The apex! The zenith! These are his ten very best "proofs"! But they are empty.
There is no hope that this list of 10 "Proofs" in any way prove that Peter was not in Rome. They are good to prove ideological bias, shoddy scholarship, Biblical ignorance, and intellectual dishonesty! They have convinced me that he didn't think through what he was saying. But they are not good to prove Peter wasn't in Rome.

As I said at the start, this list is representative of the entire booklet.

Please don't think I write this article to prove Peter was the Pope at Rome. I mean neither to prove nor disprove that. I am merely reviewing Pack here. However, if you want to demonstrate that Peter was not the first Pope, or if you want to demonstrate that he was the first Pope, take my advice and do not rely on "Pack's proofs".

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


Byker Bob said...

Excellent article, excellent realism!

It probably would not do any good, other than providing brief pause for thought, and then massive self-justification, but I wonder if it might be worthwhile to have a jeweler create a gold medallion with the words of Deut. 18:22 engraved on it to mail to some of the proven false prophets from the Armstrong movement.


Ken said...

As with his case for HWA's "Elijah" fulfillment, Pack relies on the inability (or unwillingness) of his audience to critically assess his arguments. Shortly after the publication of his book “I will send Elijah to Restore All Things,” I forced myself to sit down and read through it objectively (I was an RCG member and employee at the time), in order to “prove that I had proved it,” rather than simply accepting it on the merit of a “belief that I already believed.” What I found was that Pack’s opening statement, “If you look for loose bricks, you will find them,” was a gross understatement and merely a way of indicting his readers for his own bad scholarship and flawed logic. Starting from page one, I found that my red-letter analysis was becoming its own booklet.
His main argument for the “timing” of the prophecy’s “fulfillment” is basically irrelevant and is itself enough to demolish the entire house of cards. He claims that Armstrong was “taken from the evil to come [the WCG apostasy, rise of the Laodicean era, etc.], while also claiming that Armstrong “had to die” in order for all of those events to transpire. There are multiple flaws in his argument:
(1) Armstrong lived to age 93, well beyond his God-given “three score and ten.” He wasn’t “taken from” anything. He simply lived to a ripe old age and died.
(2) Over 27 years have passed since Armstrong’s death, and still no “Great Tribulation,” etc. Had Armstrong died in his 50’s perhaps, and if the “GT” had followed shortly thereafter, it could perhaps be appropriately argued that he was “taken from” it.
(3) It can’t be logically argued that someone’s death “spared” them from experiencing an event (or chain of events) that “couldn’t have happened” had they remained alive. To say that he was spared from it implies that it would have happened anyway, whether he was dead or alive.
The flaws in this argument are actually secondary to the fact that the argument itself (even if it were sound) does absolutely nothing to validate Armstrong’s “Elijahship.” Billions of people have lived out their lives and could be said to have been “taken from the evil to come.” Does that qualify them as candidates for “Elijah”? But, as pointed out in your critique of Pack’s non-Peter Pope Credentials, Pack is highly proficient at the art of fallacy. Whether he does this inadvertently or simply blatantly relies on mere acceptance by his readers/members, it still contradicts the mandate “Prove all things!” which he loves to thunder from his position of ill-gotten power and zero-accountability.

xHWA said...

Thanks Bob!
I like the medallion idea. Kinda like "here's your sign". LOL

xHWA said...


Thanks for commenting. And what a great comment it is!
My apologies for not publishing your comment earlier. I saw you tried to comment more than once. I took the weekend off (just too much going on in my life to begin to relate here) so I didn't even so much as review my email.

Your reasoning is totally sound. Do you mind if I ask whether or not you have your review of Pack in written form? I would love to read it!

Ken said...

Unfortunately, I no longer have my full critique of Pack's HWA-Elijah book. I marked it up as I was reading through it ten years ago, then disposed of the book itself after a rather traumatic event -- an event that compelled me to critically analyze various other church doctrines as well.

xHWA said...


Well, thanks for letting us know about that anyways. Good to know we're not the only ones noticing these things.

Jonathan said...

BB said: " might be worthwhile to have a jeweler create a gold medallion with the words of Deut. 18:22 engraved on it to mail to some of the proven false prophets from the Armstrong movement."

Umm I like that idea too! :-)
Probably include the 2 verses before it as well thus Dt. 18:20-22. I'm sure that should hit home to some of them how foolish they are to play such games! Not to mention you could probably include the first part to Dt 4:26 i.e. "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day..." (which is a verse I've always remembered ever since I saw it used in the Harrison Ford movie "The Mosquito Coast" LOL!)

And to Ken re Hwa being "Elijah" what shook me out of my blind faith about this popular and yet so utterly and totally false Armstrongist doctrine was Dankenbring's eye-opening article, Was Herbert Armstrong really the Elijah to come? Like one UCG fellow admitted to me (prior to my leaving) re tithing and other unsound doctrines, "They sure had us believing a lot of stupid things back then!"

Ken said...

Yeah, Jonathan, they truly did have us believing a lot of stupid things back then. Your comment reminded me of my first Passover, back in 1994. While I was standing in line with my footwashing gear, another member commented, "What a strange ritual, huh?" I don't really recall my reaction. I was 24 at the time and, although I had been in the church my entire life, I hadn't really questioned much. But somehow that has always stuck with me. Maybe the wheels were trying to turn back then, I don't know. It took me another ten years to truly see the light. If Pack hadn't put the Elijah doctrine in writing, it might have taken longer. There were plenty of other issues, but that was the big one that really floored me, once I took the time to actually think it through.

Dillon said...

I would say that Herbert Armstrong is the pontiff of WCG/UCG sects. Any authoritative change to the law is a result of his private interpretation of Scripture.

Penny said...

A well explained deconstruction of Armstrogist "logic". I hope that thoese with eyes to see, and ears to hear, may be blessed by reading this. How well I remember the trigger reaction to any and all criticisms or rational analysis of the literature. That trigger was called "persecution of the truth" rather than what it really was - breaking away from thought reform. Great article, thank you.

xHWA said...

I assure you the truth wasn't persecuted by my article. It was plenty mishandled by Pack before I got there.

If some want to call this article "persecution of the truth", if that makes them more comfortable, then I suppose they have that right. I wish people would first give me - no, give the truth - a fair shake before judging. The truth is the truth, and it can handle itself. If in the end what I said is true after all, then what does that say when people call it a lie?