I decided to read the 1990 edition of Malachi's Message, thus seeing what was originally written by him.
It is well known that Gerald Flurry's ideas were taken from Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea, which were written before Malachi's Message.
But here I read through this book to see what would stand out and comment on it.
And so we begin:
"There is no greater honor than being in the ministry." p. 3.
This was the first statement I found odd. Now on the one hand he is trying to emphasize what a grave responsibility it is being in the ministry in order to condemn Tkach's reforms and demonstrate that he was failing in his responsibility by changing doctrines.
On the other hand this statement also reveals the severely authoritarian society created within HWA's WCG. Ministers were very powerful and had great power over lay members. Many stories have been written regarding how ministers had tremendous power within the group.
Flurry's not being idealistic, this is how HWA's WCG was.
"With a wrong attitude we are going to die for all eternity." p. 7.
This is spiritually abusive language made to make people panic that making the wrong decision will cause them to go to the lake of fire. Alas, this sort of language is fairly common within this book. Anyone who reads this will that sort of intimidating talk occurring often.
"Now if we deny that [HWA was the end time Elijah], we are calling Christ a liar!" p. 10.
One of the Armstrongites' favorite tricks is to present an opinion and invoke the name of God in order to silence any disagreement. It is used very often and has produced a horde of people with severe black and white views of the world. Flurry is once again indulging in this vicious trick in order to lure people into joining his little group.
One of the peculiar characteristics of PCG was its dogmatic insistence that HWA was the end time Elijah. At the time (early 1990) this was good advertising for PCG because there was no alternative COG that exalted HWA in this way. (Of course that is not true now. Today many COGs also make this dogmatic claim.)
Garner Ted Armstrong's Church of God, International was started before HWA died so it was impossible for them to advertise their devotion to HWA in this way. But PCG could do so and thus tapped into the disaffection of those devoted to HWA's ideas and lured them away from WCG. Meredith was, it would appear, biding his time for WCG to settle a libel suit that had been ongoing since 1979, and disaffection among the WCG ministers would not bloom into a mass departure until Tkach's Christmas Eve sermon in 1994 .
"Who else but God's church keeps His law today?" p. 10.
"God's Church...alone truly keeps God's law." p. 78.
What poppycock! The law cannot be kept. There is no separation between moral laws ("God's law") and ceremonial laws ("law of Moses"). HWA was completely wrong on this matter. The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70 made keeping the law utterly impossible. The law cannot be fulfilled. No one keeps it today. That is what Grace is, God's unmerited favor upon believers cancelling the penalty for failing to fulfill the law, partly to account for the fact that the law cannot be fulfilled.
The hubris of these Armstrongites, imagining they and they only keep the law. If we could keep the law, it would have been unnecessary for Jesus die for us.
"[HWA] instructed the ministers to insist that every baptismal candidate read Mystery of the Ages." p. 15.
I have no idea if this is true, but I have heard that prospective members are required to read Mystery of the Ages, Malachi's Message and That Prophet (which says Gerald Flurry is That Prophet) before they can be baptized.
After reading this book I see more clearly how idolatrous regard for Mystery of the Ages is build deep into the founding of PCG. So much so PCG would later wage a very expensive court case against WCG (which they lost) that lead to PCG getting the copyright from WCG for about three million dollars.
(Of course anyone could read Mystery of the Ages and many other of HWA's writings on other COG websites during this court case. But you will never see PCG acknowledge this fact.)
"The WCG may be growing in membership until Christ return, but does that always mean it is doing God's will?" p. 24.
One intriguing thing about this book is that Gerald Flurry seems to have thought that WCG would greatly expand in membership for embracing mainstream evangelical doctrines. How wrong he was.
It is amazing that one who dares to call himself "That Prophet" and claims to know the future course of events did not see WCG falling apart but instead thought that WCG could expand in membership.
Another false prophecy from he who calls himself 'That Prophet'.
"Matthew 25:1-10 indicates 50 percent." p. 25.
Here he throws in this disgusting belief of his that the parable of the ten virgins means half of the Laodiceans will be cast in the lake of fire using that parable.
But it is useful for him in that this supposedly new 'revelation' supposedly reveals that God is revealing new truths to Flurry. This is the real reason why Flurry concocted this disgusting doctrine.
It's also useful in inciting fear among his followers of being a 'Laodicean'.
"God is knocking - to a great extent through Malachi's Message." p. 26.
Here Flurry uses the powerful and memorable image of Jesus knocking on the door of a believer's heart and twist it into Jesus hectoring Tkach and his followers to return to the heresies of HWA. How disgusting. The arrogance of this man, to assume this scripture, read by so many all over the world, is only talking about Gerald Flurry's condemnation of Tkach changing WCG doctrine.
Flurry says the 144,000 are the Laodiceans. Declares Laodiceans' spiritual fate to be decided by God after the Great Tribulation and before the Day of the Lord. Any Laodiceans still in rebellion then are to be cast to the lake of fire and eternally destroyed.
This adds another sick twist to Flurry's No Contact policy. According to Malachi's Message:
PCG members are shunning the 144,000.
My word! This cult is sick!
Levi (as mentioned in Malachi) is HWA, accoring to Flurry (p. 32.).
Also Flurry teaches that Zerubbabel is HWA, Joshua is Tkach. But this idea was most likely taken from Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea, fourth scroll (April 28, 1987), which also taught this before Malachi's Message was printed in late 1989.
"No more needs to be added to the house." p. 35. Flurry says this to say that HWA's church had no need for additions. Then why did it 'need' that That Prophet? Why did he have to add the doctrine that Tkach is the Man of Sin (p. 47)? HWA never taught that the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2 would be a man within the Church of God, but instead always said it would be the final Pope.
In page 44 Flurry refers to the Laodiceans as a "disease". Note the dehumanizing rhetoric against Laodiceans. This allows him to treat them badly. At first he seems to mean WCG members but eventually he extends the definition of Laodiceans to all who are in WCG and all Armstrongites who left WCG but are not in PCG.
Flurry condemns WCG considering giving aid to disaster victims. "Instead of spending money to warn the people why it's happening, we help them financially....Tithes and offerings are going to be spent in vain if they continue this approach." pp. 54-5.
Pp. 69-70 also condemns aid to disaster relief.
I find this quite grating. To me it serves as a very bad sign for where Gerald Flurry is going to lead his followers. In several places in Malachi's Message Gerald Flurry says one should be concerned about the direction in which WCG teachings appeared to be heading in. The early readers of Malachi's Message should have been concerned about the direction this teaching indicated within PCG.
To self-righteously ignore the plight of those afflicted by disasters seems like a very bad way to start up a new COG.
One time, infamously, HWA condemned sending money to aid the refugees in Nigeria during the Biafra War (1967-70) and called upon co-workers to instead send that money to him instead to preach.
Coworker letter 2/27/70
"THE APPEAL [to help refugees] WAS TO TREAT THE EFFECT, NOT THE CAUSE!… THIS WORK OF GOD is DOING SOMETHING BIG AND IMPORTANT TO STOP THE CAUSE—to PREVENT MORE BIAFRANS from starving… you are having A PART in spreading Christ’s Gospel… Right HERE is the MOST IMPORTANT WORK ON EARTH TODAY… GIVE generously as you are able.. The way to DO SOMETHING about the starving and dying in Biafra, India, Egypt, and other such areas suffering evils, is to DEAL WITH THE CAUSE, not the effect—to HELP IN THIS GREAT WORK OF THE LIVING CHRIST!" (From Pam Dewey's website.)
Alas, it would appear that Gerald Flurry took this advice to heart.
It's also sad to see that one of the reasons Flurry gives for opposing donating to charity is that soon there will be so many colossal disasters coming before Christ's return that giving to charity will be useless. It's been about 24 years since he wrote those words and nothing has changed.
There will be more in a future post.