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Dangerous Holy Men

 

            There seems to be no shortage of “prophets” getting divine insider information from on high.  And, there is apparently an appreciative audience for these types of claims.  Remember how Oral Roberts claimed a supernatural visit, warning him that he’d be taken home (meaning deprived of his human life and taken to heaven, I think) if he didn’t raise a specific (and rather large) sum of money within a brief period of time.  Seems he was commanded to raise eight million bucks or he’d have to come home.  Now if he had the opportunity to come home, meaning heaven, wouldn’t you think that’s not such a bad thing.  But, apparently his followers believed the story and coughed up not eight, but nine million dollars.  Whew!  That was close.

 

            Just last week, another high profile religious leader got, if not a visit, at least something akin to a phone call.  I’m not sure just how it happened, but a conversation... well, it might be a blasphemy to even repeat it, so I’m hoping you saw the news report. So too this “prophet” pronounced there will be a terrorist attack resulting in a mass killing here in the United States sometime over the next nine months.  He said it wouldn’t necessarily be nuclear, but he thinks something along those lines.  Well, he might be right about a terrorist attack. One needs not a visit from on high to see the logic in that. Still if there be something along the nuclear lines, Iran’s president is threatening the future of not only Israel, but the United States as well, about twice a week.  Just this week he was quoted throughout the media as saying Iran was preparing to “push the button” on their nuclear program.  Some of this is no doubt false bravado, but the nuclear program is real as is Iran’s hatred and determination to destroy “the great Satan” as they call us.

 

            In Iran, on the authority of the Ayatollah, they’re operating a humanly devised theocracy and systematically brainwashing the very young and impressionable little children to believe that Jews are “apes and pigs” and devils in human form that must be killed for the glory of “Allah.”  Parents are being instructed by their Islamic preachers to repeat, and have their children repeat after them, that there is no greater calling than to die as “martyrs” in the process of killing infidels.  This is creating a worldwide problem that will plague the western Democracies and Christian world for decades to come, assuming our societies as we know them are to survive for decades to come.

 

            False prophets and dangerous “holy men” are emerging in greater frequency these days. And now as bad as it hurts to recognize it, for the deception falls closer to home, there are several church leaders who parade the likeness, or their purported previous connection to my Grandfather, Herbert W. Armstrong as justification to administer yet another type of theocracy and systematic brainwashing over their followers.  Some have even claimed divine authority and taken divine titles upon themselves to demand absolute, unquestioning loyalty and obedience from their followers.  This is, I believe, a very frightening and dangerous development.  My Grandfather would never have approved of many of the things that have been said and done in his name.

 

            It reminds me of the Jim Jones tragedy. Jones, who claimed direct communication with God, forced about one thousand followers to drink poisoned Cool Aid. It was a hideous disaster that should forever serve as a stark lesson.

 

You’ll also remember the terrible outcome of the David Koresh movement.

 

  The prospect that my Grandfather’s legacy might be used to foster a cult of “man worship” is contrary to everything he stood for. It is contrary to everything we stand for, and contrary to what my Dad, Garner Ted Armstrong, taught.  “Never check your brains at the door,” my Dad said many times.  We are free moral agents with God’s Word as our guide. Any time someone begins to exalt himself above the Word of God, or twist scripture to elevate himself to the level of divine authority, you had better think twice.  No, you’d better run!

 

            If you look down through history, or look at the incredible corruption, treachery and bloodshed that has been perpetrated under the supposedly “divine authority” of those who claimed the “primacy,” it should be a chilling and lasting reminder.

 

            As my Grandfather and my Dad faithfully taught the acknowledgement and honor only to Jesus Christ, so we still do the same today. My Dad’s book The Real Jesus has had a profound effect on most who have read it.  That’s because it showed, from the Bible, that Jesus was a man’s man, contrary to the effeminate and strange way he has been portrayed by the mainstream “Christian” organizations.  The truth, thankfully, is pretty plain and straightforward.  The laws of God stand regardless of man’s attempts to change them, and regardless of any man’s, or organization’s attempt to enforce them.  It is not up to man to make God’s judgments.  It is not any man’s place to inflict punishments on anyone who fails to live up to God’s standards or some man’s interpretations of those standards, for that matter. 

 

            This organization, the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, will never engage in “authoritarian” pronouncements or make demands upon anyone.  When I see the Armstrong name being used for such purposes it makes me sick.  And I fear for people who had such great admiration for my Granddad, that they would give their minds over to someone who claims to speak for him.

 

            The actual apostles, who were taught by Jesus Christ Himself, warned against men who would claim divine authority and said, as did the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:24, that even the apostles themselves did not have “dominion” over the people’s faith, but were to be helpers of their joy.  Look it up and read it yourself.  It’s hard to find either much joy or any truth in the whacked-out pronouncements of today’s weird “holy men.”

 

Mark Armstrong

Breaking News Stories

Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news story added 6 June 2007

Sound Bite from Garner Ted Armstrong  Click Here

Sermon: 'Beware Of Cults'
 

Further reading:
Paper: Elements of a Cult
Wikipedia: David Koresh
Wikipedia: Marshall Applewhite
Wikipedia:  Jim Jones
Wikipedia:  Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda 

Audio:

How to Avoid Deception, Here's How Play Download MP3
Willingly Ignorant  Play Download MP3


Video:

Why Must God Be a Mystery? Play Download
Willingly Ignorant Play Download


Photos:

Left:  David Koresh - Branch Davidians
2nd:  Marshall Applewhite - Heaven's Gate
3rd: Jim Jones - People's Temple
Right: Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda - Growing in Grace International Ministry
 

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