By David Ben-Ariel
Many Sabbath-keeping Church of God members (various groups and organizations associated to one degree or another with Herbert W. Armstrong) are sincerely opposed to offering any Church of God literature or religious material for sale, since Herbert Armstrong taught us to "buy the truth and sell it not." However, such Church of God members should remember that Mr. Armstrong later permitted his books to be made available for sale in bookstores, informing the brethren and co-workers in a letter dated September 12, 1985:
"There is a very large audience which would never request this book [Mystery of the Ages] if offered free - who would never send their name and address to us - but would gladly buy a copy in the bookstore. By putting it in the bookstores we will reach a very great audience that we can reach in no other way. We will not sell the book ourselves, but it cannot be made available to this large audience of book buyers unless the bookstores do put a price on it." (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 2, page 638).
Some have been upset that Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall is sold. I remind them of Herbert Armstrong's words above and Paul's rhetorical response to some in his day over this principle that we're commanded to not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain and that a worker is worthy of his hire. Besides, Beyond Babylon is available to for FREE or read online for FREE. God knows I am certainly not in this for the money, but gladly share the plain truth of the Bible and history as I am able, knowing it is truly priceless information.
I am also an individual, not a Church organization receiving regular tithes and offerings who therefore have no need to sell anything, as they're equipped to offer it all, ideally, for free. I don't believe any Church of God organization should sell Church of God literature. However, those out in the field, not part of the administration or headquarters, have a God-given right to do as necessary. Yeshua didn't condemn selling sacrificial animals but was righteously indignant that such commercial activities were taking place in the Temple courtyards and at exorbitant prices. Many were making a killing rather than offering a service.
A member of the Philadelphia Church of God recently corresponded with me on this and other Church of God issues.
Didn't you try and impose your book on God's ministers and church?
Not at all. Gerald Flurry refused to go forward with Beyond Babylon and fell backwards, treading old ground and is now going in circles, business as usual, as Europe rises and Judah and Israel have yet to be warned.
Maybe you should have waited until the time came.
Don't you believe God goes first to His Church and then His Nation? It was time to bring Beyond Babylon before Flurry, whom I consider to be the leader of this Laodicean era of God's Church.
Do you think you are one of the 2 witnesses?
God knows, but what I do know is that we ought to at least prepare the way for them with Judah and NONE of the Church of God groups reach the cities of Judah.
That would be a honor to be one. I've often prayed about them and in my silliness wished I could be one of them.
It would be an honor and a grave responsibility and the most hated job in the world since rejection would be by many in the Church, initially, and nearly all in the world, with a bloody ending until the resurrection to physical life just before the return of the King, Yeshua the Messiah. No nice dinners or fancy invitations for the Two Witnesses but plenty of murderous misunderstanding and hateful grief.
But I'm just a lay member.....
No such thing as "just" a lay member. Everybody has their God-given place in the Church of God and are equally important for whatever God has called them to do.
Seems to me you focus too much on the physical Jews.
Not at all. Herbert Armstrong always told us to "WATCH JERUSALEM!" Who's in Jerusalem? JEWS! The gospel began and will return there. God's true church is not there now although "Elijah" went there. This must change.
Mr. Armstrong, near the time of his death, said on one of his sermons or Bible studies that they are not so important as he once thought since they don't even believe in Jesus Christ.
I don't believe that at all and don't believe he ever said it. I quote what we know for sure Herbert Armstrong said about the importance of reaching the cities of Judah. It's documented. Shamefully, it's something that hasn't been done yet but the foundation has been laid, even though the Work in Israel is temporarily suspended by government decree as it was in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Mr. Flurry never read your book right?
I don't know. Wayne Turgeon [Gerald Flurry's son-in-law] handed him a print out of it years ago and he returned it to him saying, "He's always sending us stuff." Mr. Flurry even responded to me several times on various issues including his confusion of Mount Carmel with Mount Hermon which I brought to his attention (having been blessed to live next to both of them), and my disagreement with him when he said the pope was the only religious leader to sit on a throne and I mentioned the Queen of England is also head of the Anglican Church (although agreeing with the point he was making against the Roman Catholic Cult).
I would love to find those letters, however during my many moves overseas to Israel I thought I kept them stored at my sister's home but she can't find them. Such letters also include correspondence from Dr. Herman Hoeh years ago about the Jews and their variations in color and why. I met Dr. Hoeh at the Toronto Singles' Weekend (Church of God singles from all over were in attendance) where he spoke and invited us to write him, which of course I did.
Later I sent an autographed copy of a self-published BB (Beyond Babylon) to Flurry's home for him and his wife who said to me (during the Feast of Tabernacles in Louisville) about my name, "What a strong Judah name!"
Dennis Leap said he read parts of it and that it wasn't necessary for him or Flurry to read it, unlike Mr. Armstrong wanting Sardis (Church of God, Seventh Day) to read his manuscript - The United States and Britain in Prophecy - which they DID.
Well, I hear you loud and clear. I do not agree with some of headquarter's decisions but they are just as human as we are and liable to make mistakes, including Mr. Flurry. Sometimes we just have to suffer the wrong and go on.
I readily accept and acknowledge that fact, but if it's a mistake or a sin we learn from it, acknowledge it and go forward all the wiser. Flurry has done none of those humble things. Regardless, I go on without him as he goes backwards trying to play HWA and God in the Temple, grieved to say.
David, I hope and pray for your return to PCG... Mr. Flurry has engaged in personal appearance campaigns and he plans to go to Joseph and Judah this coming year I think. The Key of David will no longer air on TV and we are now focusing on personal warnings.
Remember we are baptized into the Body of Jesus Christ - not into any sect or denomination of men. I remain a member of the spiritual Church of God that isn't bound by membership lists at the mercy of men. Remember Diotrephes? (3 John vs. 9-11).
What do you mean they've scrapped the TV programs (even though I always constructively criticized them -through Wayne Turgeon who used to write me very frequently - that nobody but a very limited religious audience would watch the programs at the hours they were shown). As Turgeon can testify, I also said they needed a toll free number (which years later they obtained); I said they needed a website with Church literature (which years later they have); they need to publish Beyond Babylon freely (which they still don't) and to take out major newspaper ads like HWA to reach EVERYBODY and get EVERYBODY talking about our God-given controversial message.
We do really need better advertisement.
Yes, because I've conducted my own tests and surveys on many internet forums to see that the general public doesn't have a clue who Flurry is, never heard of the PCG and doesn't know the warning message at all. All that money for what? A private club?
Too bad you only see what you think is bad but God has to get his family ready first to marry his Son before He can deal properly with the world.
And how does God do that? Have us stare at our Church navel - Church headquarters as the center of our attention? - or by the way of give, outflowing concern for the good and welfare of OTHERS - like the cities of Judah. Otherwise folks will never feel ready to reach out and will have proven themselves deceived by Satan who doesn't want the Work to GO FORWARD. As we reach out, so help us God, He will work in and through and for us at the same time.
I know everything that is good about the PCG and continue to direct folks to its literature and The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine despite their refusal to send it to me. They even know I've given them contacts in the Middle East, in Jerusalem, Jewish leaders, and that it was me whom God used to contact the mayor of Jerusalem to get the HWA monument repaired (in the Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem), and then I forwarded the information to Flurry (who didn't even say thank you and wasn't even aware of its woeful neglect that I knew about from being over there so many times). I'll bet you didn't know that, did you?
I had written an open letter to the mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, that was published in The Jerusalem Post. His office contacted me to inquire about what groups or organizations I was referring to that would be interested in undertaking the financial responsibility for the monument's restoration and the rest is history.
David Ben-Ariel is a Christian-Zionist writer and author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall. With a focus on the Middle East and Jerusalem, his analytical articles help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out the Beyond Babylon blog.