On Talebearing, Pettiness, Food Fights, and Passover

Please forgive me for the awkward title, but this will likely be a rambling post (coffee drinkers, you might need to caffeine up!) and it was hard to sum it up in something pithy, yet it is all interrelated in some way. It is also poorly edited and quickly written, so beware, lest a misspelling or typo poke you in the eye.

This post is a follow up to something I said yesterday in my post concerning Mr. Dennis Luker’s death.

At the time when I went to my blog yesterday, I was thinking of posting some comments about lies and the lying liars who tell them (and, yes, it feels icky to borrow from Al Franken, of all people), because some new ones had come my way. For instance, a weird comment one made about Mr. Meredith surrounding himself with “yes men” — a subject I have discussed before (for instance: here and here) and mentioned that my personal experience (repeated numerous times in multiple contexts) is exactly the opposite. I’ve seen Mr. Meredith seek out contrary opinion, even strong contrary opinion, and I’ve seen individuals provide him with such. In fact, I, personally, respectfully gave him a different opinion on the phone once, for which he… yelled at me? chastised me? No: For which he thanked me. No one is perfect, to be sure (well, except, perhaps, for my Beautiful Wife), but Mr. Meredith is, indeed, surrounded by individuals willing to disagree with him–individuals he, himself, put in place. (Public service announcement: Just because someone doesn’t accept your ideas, that doesn’t mean that person only surrounds himself with “yes men.” It may just mean that after thinking about them the person thinks your ideas aren’t as good as you think they are. Learn to live with that.)

Another bunch of false stuff was brought to my attention on the website of a particularly self-righteous fellow, claiming that one of the new self-appointed prophets to join the ranks of self-appointed prophetdom is somehow having a “big impact” on the Church. Really? Where? I mean, seriously: Where? None of the members in my area have asked about where a bunch of people supposedly went. It didn’t come up in our Council of Elders meeting this week (or in any meeting this year, or in any Executive Luncheon I’ve been able to sit in on) or when I was in Charlotte last month. No single minister in the entirety of the Church has mentioned that they are suddenly missing folks that I have heard. In fact, things have been the opposite–this particular self-appointed prophet hasn’t really made any impact at all, much like most previous self-appointed prophets in the Church’s history (if not less than those). Really. None. And that’s pleasantly stranger than it should be. When someone goes off and starts his own work, it can sometimes become a magnet for those who were already grumbling and distracted by their own personal confusions, and you sometimes see a handful follow (until they find something else, of course); yet in this case I don’t even know of much of that–actually none at all. Even in the 1½ states I pastor directly, most didn’t even seem to notice he’d gone off to begin his own work. Of those few who did mention to me that they had heard about it, the sentiment of several seemed to be that they had sadly thought for some time that he might do something like that and that they would plan to pray that God humbles him lovingly and gently so that he might repent and come back one day–the sort of sentiment one would expect when you see someone hurting themselves in some way, all the while knowing that they probably have to go through the experience to learn what they need to learn. (I should add that it wasn’t that those few hadn’t read his own account of things; it’s just that the unmentioned reality that was present between the lines of that account were so obvious to them.) But beyond such prayers for the individual’s mindset by the few who even mentioned that they noticed, it hasn’t even been much of a blip on the radar.

(To be fair, the “particularly self-righteous fellow” who made the bogus claim on his blog about a non-existent bunch of phantom “departing members” says such a mind-bogglingly vast number of things that are so ridiculously and hilariously false to the point of being delusional that one can only assume that he is on medication. So, perhaps it is the peyote that is talking.)

So, having the weird, false comments of rumormongers, talebearers, and self-promoting accusers brought to my attention, I thought I would write another post yesterday (having already written one: “Warning: The internet is full of ninnies”) talking about the mental vomit that is gossip, rumors, talebearing, and accusation-farming. (My apologies for the phrase “mental vomit”–I know it’s not pretty. At the same time, that’s part of what makes it accurately descriptive.) But two things hit me, one at the time, and one since then.

The “since then” one was expressed well in a comment by iammarchhare on yesterday’s post:

I think I know the rumors you’re speaking of, and what’s interesting to me isn’t that there are those who will spread them. The Church has always been scattered because of the enemy’s tactics to persecute in any way those who love God. No, what surprises me so much is that so many will listen in with eager ears (“itching ears”?) to unfounded slander and insinuation, make mountains out of molehills, and give credence to those whom the accuser will use.

He’s right. The weird accusations of such folks will always be there. Satan is pretty consistent. The greater concern is whether or not we will actually spend time reading or listening to them — that is, to borrow iammarchhare’s words, whether or not we will give credence to those whom the Accuser is actively using. If we see the devil’s fingerprints on someone’s website, why continue to go there eagerly for “news” or to “get some dirt”? Don’t we dirty ourselves in that process? Isn’t it a bit like digging in the sewer for a bit of undigested food we might want? (Again, please forgive the yucky nature of that word picture, but, again, there is a reason it’s an appropriate one.) One person and I were joking about such a person’s website a couple of years ago (actually, it was the peyote user’s), and he said to me, “Yeah, I just hold my nose when I click there.” We laughed at the time — yet, if I am having to “hold my nose”, why am I there? And if so much of what is being said is rotten verbal refuse, is it worth digging into it to find something that may, in reality, be just as tainted as the rest? It’s like another minister in our own Church told me: “You know, all the things this fellow says about our own Church are so ridiculously wrong and full of fantasy, why in the world would I put any stock in what he says about other organizations?”

The Bible has so many warnings about talebearers, gossipers, rumormongers, those given to accusation, etc.–even in cases unlike these false ones I’ve highlighted, where what they say may actually be true–that it would be shameful to approve of what they do by participating. And if we think of every website we visit as sitting down for a “mental meal,” what sort of food am I eating while I am on their website? What is it turning me into while I’m there, chowing down? Aren’t the answers obvious? Talk about “unclean meat”… Can we really believe God is pleased if we scrupulously avoid a ham sandwich like it’s the plague, yet we dive in and digest “information” from places that He so soundly and passionately condemns? Really, can we?

While any time is a good time to examine oneself, the Passover season is a fantastic time. As we place in our mouths the bit of unleavened bread at Passover picturing Jesus Christ’s body broken for us, hopefully those who need to will have considered beforehand how much time they spend eating filth served by the Accuser — filth that same Jesus Christ hates very much.

And mentioning Passover brings me to the second thing that hit me. (Ha! You probably thought I forgot that I said “two things”! Well, frankly, I’m surprised I remembered also…) This one hit me the moment I heard the news of Mr. Luker’s death and stayed my hand on the post I was going to put up instead.

How petty is all of this stuff?

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times when the petty things need to be addressed, too, but we need a sense of perspective. It does bother me that people can be harmed by stupid rumors that they hear, not because they, themselves, go searching for the websites of various self-appointed-ones and peyote-users (in which case, any harm would be self-inflicted), but because some of those who foolishly do so then spread the false information to others. On one hand — especially one-on-one as a pastor, but sometimes through little not-widely-read blogs like this — it is good to address the “small things.”

But it doesn’t do any good to lose sight of the fact that they are small things. Again, the self-appointed prophet I referred to hasn’t even been a blip on the radar in terms of affecting the Church or the Work of God. The same with the apparently-medicated rumormonger I had in mind, too. As loudly as the latter likes to talk about his self-proclaimed deep faithfulness to God (it is always amusing when someone boasts about their humility; they need to read Ben Franklin) and how much “impact” he fantasizes he is having in his railings against the “corporate churches of God”, what has been the result? Again, not even a blip. Not even a micro-blip.

[Side note: Could any of these individuals (not just the two I referred to) have any significant impact the future? Of course they could. Those who are unwilling to heed God’s commands concerning talebearers could certainly whip things up into a fevered frenzy, even if it is much ado about (literally) nothing or less than nothing. That’s always possible. Liars, gossips, and accusers do find an audience at times, especially when the Accuser, himself, is helping out so generously. But for the moment, and, frankly, for the easily foreseeable future? Nope. No impact at all. The only impact they seem to possess apparently exists mostly in their minds.]

So, here I am, talking about things of, fairly literally, zero importance and of microscopic impact: Individuals who currently have about as much real influence on the Church I am blessed to serve as a light breeze has on the Empire State Building–noted by the few who happen to see a leaf blowing by, but then forgotten as a trivial observation.

And that makes all their doings, sayings, mutterings, etc. simply petty stuff.

Then, in stark contrast to the petty stuff, Mr. Dennis Luker died yesterday. Even though I did not know him personally, his death simply highlighted to me yesterday the pettiness of all the other stuff. I believe that is one of the reasons King Solomon suggested as he did in Ecclesiastes 7:

“Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (vv.2-4).

There is something about that “end of all men” that gives us pause and makes us think–helps the living to take certain things to heart. And the thought I had after hearing the news was that the goofy delusions and misleading accusations of a few prima donnas on the Internet was, in the end, equivalent to little more than someone throwing broccoli in a school cafeteria hoping to start a food fight. And, in the spirit of another passage in Ecclesiastes, there actually may be a time to hurl a brussels sprout back. There is a time for snark and a time to talk about things that deserve snark–even quite snarkily snark. But yesterday I was reminded that those times are rarer than living on the Internet can make them seem because such things and such people are, in the end, petty.

Then there is Passover. Faced with the magnitude of what Jesus Christ did for me and the death of the Son of God, how can I justify in this season focusing inordinately on the pettiness and the pretensions of Internet prima donnas? Yes, I note the irony that in a post addressing how silly it would be to snarkily focus on pettiness I did, actually, spend some time snarkily focusing on pettiness. I should pay more attention when I start writing these sort of “stream of consciousness” posts, huh?

Still, the point and the feeling remains. Again, it isn’t, again, that there isn’t a time for spending effort on such things, perhaps. I’ve toyed for weeks now with the idea of beginning an informal series of tongue-in-cheek posts that will be, I think, of value given the times in which we live and given the fact that last couple of decades probably only represent the first few floats in a parade of self-appointed prophets God warned about a long time ago. But, in the big scheme of things, such efforts lack even a shadow’s depth compared to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and it is hard to get one’s neurons firing on such topics when the mind is brain with such an awesome and humbling thing as that. There just isn’t room.

I will try to stop my ramble here. The fact is that the Son of God died for me. He died for the rumormongers, too, and I can’t ignore that. More than that, He lives now. And, miracle of miracles, He does more than live but actually lives in us if we are willing to allow Him, helping us to dedicate ourselves more and more fully to the way of life He taught and to the commandments He loved. At this time of year, we are confronted with the fact that the Ever-living Creator actually died–a seemingly impossible and wondrous contradiction–so that His creation might have hope of truly living. The heart of One whose own life defined what life is stopped beating, so that the hearts of those He loved might one day truly begin to beat. That thought is so huge that I struggle to try to type it out, knowing that the best words are certainly escaping me and feeling frustrated at the poor job I am doing at conveying such a simultaneously heart-rending and hope-inspiring truth.

Faced with that reality, food fights can wait. I have to leave pettiness to the petty, and should, instead, simply pray that I do not accidentally fall into their number–or, if in stupidity I have already wandered into their crowd, pray that He will mercifully reach in and pull me out. And then, to go further, I have to ask Him to help me see them as He does–with righteous indignation at their actions, to be sure, but with a real love for them that, without God’s spirit, would be beyond us. Certainly beyond me.

Let the ever-present ungodly rumormongers, devilish accusers, and faux-enlighted self-appointed-ones preach their little fantasies to their little audiences. God is bigger than the world they seek to craft with their tales. This is the season of more important things. If any of us have unwittingly assisted Satan in his work by dining on their poisonous words in the hopes of finding a tasty morsel here or there, or, much worse, by spreading it to others, may God have mercy on us. This is a great season for repenting of that sort of sinful stupidity and removing some bookmarks from our web browsers if we need to. It’s a season for focusing on things of more depth. More significance. Eternal significance.

The accusers, talebearers, and reality-challenged ones will always be there, and when this set finally passes out of the world–should the world last that long–they will simply be replaced by “new blood” recruited by the devil for his work of attacking God’s people, His ministry, and His work.

For us to give them our attention: That’s the real shame, and a leaven that should be put out of our houses.

33 thoughts on “On Talebearing, Pettiness, Food Fights, and Passover

  1. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    For instance, a weird comment one made about Mr. Meredith surrounding himself with “yes men”…

    BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!! 😀

    Who needs to watch comedians on TV or YouTube with people like you around? 😉

    I don’t need to tell you how silly that is–you work with him–but let me pass on a small example of my own. The last time I visited Charlotte, they gave me an unoccupied room of my own to do my own work. While wandering the halls on other business, I happened to pass by a room where Mr. Meredith, Mr. Apartian, et al. and some of the media people were trying to choose which picture of the Vatican should go on the cover of the upcoming Tomorrow’s World. To my genuine amazement, when Mr. Meredith saw me he invited me in and asked my opinion directly. (I am infamously not anybody’s “yes man”, just for the record, and he knows it–even if my own little coterie of rumor-mongers doesn’t!) I preferred the more dramatic but less well-known view of the pair being offered as the top choices. Mr. Meredith made the call and we went with the more well-known view. I wouldn’t have made that decision, but you know how it is: once the quarterback calls the play, you run with it. But Mr. Bowmer (then present) did say a little later that the photo ought to be saved for future use, because of its inherent drama.

  2. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    That thought is so huge that I struggle to try to type it out, knowing that the best words are certainly escaping me and feeling frustrated at the poor job I am doing at conveying such a simultaneously heart-rending and hope-inspiring truth.

    Huh? I think you’re doing just fine. 😀 Well, fine enough so that the Holy Spirit can convey what lies behind the words to those willing to listen. You see, that’s one of Satan’s many, many devices: use the pretext of the limits of human words to then use words to break the power of words (Zen Buddhism and much in many mystery religions is all about that). But God reveals Himself primarily through words for a reason. His representative to man is called the Word of God for a reason, and so is the Bible.

    I’ve learned never to underestimate the power of “how God (or one of His servants) says what he says” to bring understanding to people. And I know that when I’m not “getting it”, the problem’s on my end, not God’s.

  3. Thanks, Mr. Wheeler. My frustration was in knowing that there are likely some fantastic words or turns of phrase that would communicate what i was trying to say, no matter how big it was, but that the idea demanded the best, and I felt that what I was saying was inadequate to the task. Still, hopefully it came out alright, and I’m glad you got it. 🙂

  4. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Well, remember our different fantasy speeches about Mr. Obama’s second inauguration? Anybody who’d say either surpasses the other, in my opinion as an author, has rocks in his head. We just ramble in different ways. 😀 😉

  5. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    (I mean to say, you always inspire me in the same way I sometimes seem to inspire you, the above being one of the examples. Just let God use you despite yourself, as He always does with us all if we let Him, and you’ll be fine. Have a blessed Sabbath, you, your Beautiful Wife, and your Estimable Sons!)

  6. despinne

    Been “watching” RCM since the 60s. I’ve seen him start off very tense, very stringently righteous. Over time, I’ve seen him repent. I’ve seen him mellow. I think that’s called growing in wisdom & growing to be more like Christ. Sure, he’s made mistakes. Thankfully, he’s very human. To me it is clear why God still is using him to lead this work.

  7. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    That’s very true of us all. We start out with basic strengths and corresponding weaknesses. As we grow older, we either become more in balance or less so. (The former, if led by God’s Spirit, is called “overcoming”. 😀 ) Some issues of how “character is what we DO about our personality” we don’t address – in most cases, really CAN’T address well – until our old age. It’s just a good thing that God’s grace is there; we can stop pretending that “it all depends on us”, even as we strive to become more like Him.

  8. Thank you for the reminder Mr. Smith.

    Once you prove the truth, why search the Net to disprove it, or get someone else’s opinion/interpretation of said truth?

    Satan is very good at introducing distractions and confusion. Plant that seed of doubt and it grows from there.

    “If you know what the truth is, you will know where the truth is” – Gerald Weston.

    Dabbling in other’s Opinions, Interpretations, Talebearing, Pettiness and Food Fights is simply inviting that seed to be planted in your mind.

    I already have enough (good and bad) seeds in my mind. I don’t need to seek out more bad seed with abundant “fertilizer” (double entendre intended) found throughout the Internet.

  9. God at this time called Mr. Meredith to lead the Living church of God. There was no one else with his qualification and original ground level multi-cross training experience.. He along with his wife and other dedicated brethren and ministers started, prepared and sacrifice so that we may find a home where the truth can nurtured us to maturity. Headquarters today is full of superbly qualified leaders who are grateful for his leadership and humble humanity. Outside of headquarters there are leaders of churches who back him up and respectfully support his leadership. All of us who are zealous for God’s word recognize the one who started the church, the one who sacrifice for us…the one who provided a home for us with a ministry of peace. This is a place where we are all growing, overcoming, and maturing. Therefore,because we have matured under his leadership and God’s inspired guidance, we are no longer toss to and fro like the waves of the sea. Gone are those days in which we were easy prey- victims of victimize-rs. If anything, through God’s inspiration Mr. Meredith has taught us to stand our ground, to be true pillars, to see clearly the falsity of those who would try to abort us from our birth into the kingdom. Yes, we are now mature enough to know where the voice of the true shepherd is.

  10. Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies. (Psalm 141:3-4).

    Don’t need to say much more on this subject. This sums it up quite nicely – God’s Word always does.

  11. Zono Riggs

    A study years ago of I Cor. 13, the love charpter, left me with a very worthy conclusion.
    God sees us as we could be. Think about that. Really think about it. When you are ready to beat up on yourself or someone else, try to see the potential that God sees. Then try to imagine the disappointment He feels when you, I or anyone false short of that potential. As a parent, you want all your children included in the kingdom. You know the disappointments but it is the potential you see in each of them that keeps you looking to the future.
    The Holy Spirit whispers to us if we are quiet enough to listen. Keep listening.

  12. D

    If you know where the truth is, then I agree you should not look around the internet for other people’s opinions. But what if you can see that something is wrong with the group you attend? By “wrong” I mean not fully holding to the truth. Would it be considered unwise to search for another place where more truth is being taught? Ultimately, a Christian’s life is the pursuit of truth and we should follow that path no matter where it takes us and no matter what other people say. After all, God’s leadership resides where the full truth is taught. Thank you for your post!

  13. Howdy, D, and there is potentially a lot to unpack in your comment. (Essentially “texting” back and forth is a horrible means of trying to talk about such questions as there is so much lost in communication and often so many important things that are unsaid.) However, I think I can give a couple of fundamental principles that can be of help. First, talk to your pastor. I wouldn’t conclude too quickly that your impression is correct, and counsel is always a wise course (actually, the biblical course), and nothing beats actually sitting down, face to face, in person with your minister. Some will isolate themselves from counsel and sit at their computer searching website after website after website, not realizing they are fulfilling the picture of Proverbs 18:1 and making a huge mistake.

    Secondly, I had written a long additional comment but I just deleted it because I think I can shorten it greatly. You seem to be suggesting that “look[ing] around the internet for other people’s opinions” might be, in some instances, a good idea in the search for truth, and I couldn’t disagree more, though perhaps that’s just because of how it is stated. Using the internet as a tool to access some organization’s statement of beliefs to compare them to Scripture? Sure. But collecting “opinions” from various websites like the garbage dumps I alluded to in this post? No way. You want facts and not opinions, let alone fantasies induced by bitterness and selfish ambitions. The “path” you refer to does not lead there.

    But done well and in a truly godly manner (and it is admittedly hard to know if we are doing so given the fact that Jeremiah 17:9 affects us all, as does Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 21:2, etc., etc.), searching for the truth is always commendable! Frankly, that’s one of the three reasons I am where I am: I want to be in a Church that (1) Preaches the Truth, (2) Does the Work, and (3) Practices Biblical Government. While I’m not here to debate those things right now (and it is far beyond the purpose of this post!), it is what brought me to where I am, and it continues to be what keeps me here where I believe with my whole heart that Jesus Christ is working.

    I don’t intend this website to become a place for me to dispense advice (and in such a horrible format for it, at that!) that rightly should be discussed with one’s own pastor, so I’ll leave things here. But if you ever move to Ohio, let me know! 🙂

  14. Lynn

    (To be fair, the “particularly self-righteous fellow” who made the bogus claim on his blog about a non-existent bunch of phantom “departing members” says such a mind-bogglingly vast number of things that are so ridiculously and hilariously false to the point of being delusional that one can only assume that he is on medication. So, perhaps it is the peyote that is talking.)

    To be fair??? I am very disappointed in this blog…maybe you should practice what you are preaching about Mr. Smith. Your writing here is a very good example of tailbearing!!

  15. Well, thanks, Lynn! I’m very proud. 🙂

    More seriously, if I’ve actually done any “tailbearing,” as you say, I might be in more trouble than if I had actually been talebearing!

    OK, that really wasn’t “more seriously.” Here’s a real “more seriously”…

    If pointing out that this fellow, while trying to not say his name or indicate his actual identity, is speaking ridiculous falsehoods and outright fabrications in the manner I have used is, actually, talebearing, I would need to apologize, and I really will think about that. The scriptures I read about talebearing don’t seem to fit, but I can be just as wrong as the next guy (sometimes, I feel the probability is higher) and I will think about it. Thanks for pointing the possibility out to me — whether snarkily or snarklessly — and I really will think about it. It’s the season for self-examination, after all, and I’d be fool to do otherwise. So, thanks.

    The possibility of talebearing aside, I see no need to apologize for my snark, on the other hand. Some ideas were born to be mocked, and since Elijah, at least, snark has found an appropriate place here and there in God’s service. (Whether I used it appropriately, is certainly another issue.)

    Finally, whether or not “talebearing” is an appropriate label (and again, I’ll think about it), “petty” certainly applied to that section, but (without rereading it), I think I granted that in the post itself.

    Again, I don’t think the verses about talebearing really apply and I do think God allows us to respond to false accusations, yet at the same time I don’t want to dismiss your criticism in the event you hit the mark and I will think about it. Thanks for bringing it up!

  16. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    You know, there is a certain connotation in the Hebrew idea of “talebearing” – it goes back to “bearing false witness against your neighbor”. If you’re telling the truth about a real danger – something Jesus and Paul, for example, did very pointedly (no more and no less than needful, but sometimes quite a lot was needed), then there must be a time and a place for pointing read dangers out in like manner. And from all evidence you did so.

    Talebearing seeks to destroy the target, not to protect others from the target. Talebearing bears false witness; truthtelling does not (if someone is doing evil, then truthtelling says he’s doing evil). You’re not so responsible for other people’s thoughts and actions (or peyote – good ol’ magic mushrooms 😉 ) that you can afford to let your natural “child’s heart”, which naturally believes that “Blessed are the peacemakers”, not call a spade a spade.

    Now I come from a mental perspective which (only because my way of deciding has specific parallels with Mr. Herbert Armstrong’s, no more, no less) is more than ready to “read the Riot Act” like a critical parent at those who sow discord among brethren, just as Mr. Armstrong often found he had to do. He as our Pastor General didn’t like it, I as a member don’t like it and for a somewhat different but just as good a reason, you as a pastor don’t like it either. But sometimes, It. Must. Be. DONE.

    Have a blessed Passover/DUB season! 😀

  17. Lynn

    Thank you Mr. Smith,
    Talebearing might not be the correct discription of this blog.I do believe it is not conversation worthy of a christian. Responding to false accusations is one thing, but to stoop to their level is another.I will be giving your words some thought as well. Have a profitable Passover and ULB, Lynn

  18. Lynn: Thanks, again. First, by “blog” I assume you mean just this post, since most of the blog doesn’t discuss such things. As for stooping to the level of others, I don’t see where I have spread lies, falsehoods, or heresies, nor do I see anywhere where I have appointed myself to an office God did not give me (Prophet, Apostle, and what have you).

    Now, are the tongue-in-cheek comments about “medication issues” unworthy of a Christian? That’s definitely worth considering. In one sense, given the truly satanic nature of the spirit present in that individual’s postings, saying something tongue-in-cheek about medication issues instead of directly and repeatedly calling the writer a “demon-inspired servant of the devil” seemed, to me, a kindness. If it would have been more worthy of a Christian to have been more direct in that way, I will have to consider. But someone who will so readily, repeatedly, and vomitously attack God’s Church with lies has earned whatever scorn he has placed upon him, and if comments were too harsh instead of too gentle, I will have to consider that. (Though I will also say that if I, myself, should ever treat the Church of God so contemptuously thinking that my lies serve God in any way, I would hope that those who hear me assume my medication is out of whack, as well. It would be the kindest thing they could assume.)

    However, I do note biblical examples, such as (1) Elijah mocking the Israelites who worshipped Baal; (2) Paul expressing his frustated desire that certain ones harassing the Church would go ahead and castrate themselves and his calling them “dogs”; (3) Paul’s sarcasm with the Corinthians; (4) Christ’s calling some “vipers”; (5) the Eternal comparing Israel to a wild donkey in heat.

    And as for “conversation worthy of a Christian”, I can’t help but take note that the Apostle Paul, when faced with a very similar situation with “idle talkers and deceivers”, said, “For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:10-13). Of course, God approved those condemnations and they are recorded for us, today. So, since I am addressing “idle talkers and deceivers”, would it be “conversation worthy of a Christian” to, instead, refer to such individuals as liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons — or, as Paul adds in vv.15-16: defiled in mind and conscience, unbelieving, abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work? I can’t see how such words, when deserved, would not be “conversation worthy of a Christian” given that they represent the biblical description. Again, I think my tongue-in-cheek suggestion of medication issues is kinder than the biblical descriptions.

    I do thank you for your opinion. When it comes to calling evil out for what it is, I don’t see your concern reflected in the Scriptures. However, just because something can be said doesn’t mean that it always should be said, that’s true. I know of a self-appointed one, in particular, to whom Mr. Meredith, Mr. Ames, and Dr. Winnail and others in the Church’s leadership have shown nothing but kindness and, in return now, he continues to take occasional “pot shots” at them — all while they continue to show him a kindness he does not earn nor respond to. Perhaps that is what I should have done here and said nothing. Focusing on the liars was certainly not my intent, which is clear when the whole post is read. But there are times when such things must be said, for they are true. Those practicing such things, such as the one referred to in the comment you found objectionable, are serving the Father of Lies, Himself, Satan the Devil. It cannot be outside the bounds of “conversation worthy of a Christian” to highlight that fact. If the Christians don’t, who will?

    That I have been kinder to such ones than the inspired words of the Apostle Paul is obvious. That it was my place to say anything at all, or wise to do so, is not so obvious. And I will think about that.

    Thanks, again, for giving your opinion, and I pray that you, too, have a profitable and meaningful Passover tonight and Days of Unleavened Bread. May it be so for God’s people everywhere. He knows we need it.

    Mr. Wheeler: Thanks for your comment and your defense. It is appreciated. At the same time, I note that it is my understanding that “talebearing” does not always mean “false witness” and that I even said so (in a different context than this post) yesterday in a sermon. For instance, I see nothing in Proverbs 11:3 to suggest that the “secrets” are false. To the contrary, the force of the second half of the verse is enhanced by the sense that the “secrets” are true. The difference may come from the fact that different words are translated as “talebearer.” But as I researched it recently, I didn’t see a necessary connection to false witnessing.

    And you have a meaningful and profitable Passover this evening, as well!

  19. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Just briefly, Mr. Smith: the use of different words is not something I’d studied through before I made that comment. I’ll try to get back to you on that. 😀 As I once quipped to Mr. Carl McNair, I don’t mind correction because in the end it only makes me more dangerous. We both laughed (he appreciated my particular brand of humor and said so). 😀

  20. Hi Mr. Wallace Smith. I am an LCG member in the Philippines and I really admire your sermons and writings. Thank you for being a great example to us youth and singles. God bless you and your family! 🙂

  21. Thank you for your very kind words, and it is wonderful to meet you! I would love to visit the Philippines one day. I pray that your Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread are safe and meaningful!

  22. warningtoamerica

    For those of us who have to defend Mr. Armstrong, all these conflicts that I see among the splinter groups seem petty in comparison. I wish that some of those who knew Mr. Armstrong the best would take the time to write down all the good things that Mr. Armstrong did and other positive words about his character while they have a chance (especially Mr. Aaron Dean) because if the return of Christ does not happen before these men die out, it is going to be much harder to defend Mr. Armstrong against all the accusations his enemies will surely come up with thinking that there is no longer anyone left that can dispute their lies.

  23. Howdy, again, Mr. Wheatley. Actually, someone has already written something up as a personal work concerning common accusations against Mr. Armstrong and did so talking to various ones who knew him, such as Mr. Meredith, Mr. Apartian, Mr. Dean, etc. I don’t want to give his private work any publicity so I won’t post it here, but I could you a link privately if you are interested. And Mr. Meredith frequently speaks of him very openly and with the authority that comes from someone who was there as the Work was being built.

    At the same time, I think to overly focus on such an effort would be misplaced effort. For one thing, Mr. Armstrong’s accusers are numerous and already speak in the manner you describe, and I really don’t see the matter getting worse. Secondly, the truth isn’t about a person. It’s about what the person taught and said. We don’t preach what the Bible says by pointing people to the personality or personal drive of Peter or John or Luke or Paul. We point to the truth they taught, which is grounded in God’s Word not in their personal histories. The best thing that those, like Mr. Meredith and Mr. Ames, who have been appointed by Mr. Armstrong to continue to the Work can do is just that: continue the Work.

  24. warningtoamerica

    >I don’t want to give his private work any publicity so I won’t post it here, but I could you a link privately if you are interested.

    Yes, Mr. Smith, I would appreciate the link.

    From the experiences I have had in defending Mr. Armstrong I am not dealing with humans at all. These people are spiritually “wired” so to speak and they spew out hate and vomit up all kinds of bitter ungodly accusations with a super passion. The hate they have displayed for Mr. Armstrong is probably ten times more than that expressed against Dr. Meredith, [Edit: Others listed, as well. WGS] all combined. In fact the only negative things these people usually say about any of Mr. Armstrong’s associates is that they were once part of his organization.

    I could post some of their comments but I would not want to display such wicked things here.

  25. Sorry, Mr. Wheatley, but you don’t seem to be “well read” enough. (I’m not recommending that you search for more, but I think you get my drift.) The haters out there, in my experience, are equal opportunity haters, and I have seen just as many vile things said about others as about him. I will send you that link, as you request.

  26. Tim Kitchen

    I Agree with Mr. Wheatley. As i stated to you several times Mr. Smith, why doesn’t the LCG teach everything Mr. Armstrong taught, since the Full True Gospel was Taught and Preached by him? (Mr. Armstrong)

  27. Greetings, Messrs. Kitchen. We do teach the same gospel he taught. I’ve pointed that out over and over again. See, for instance, the post “Herbert W. Armstrong and the ‘Whole, Pure Gospel'” which makes that pretty plain (and which I know you have seen before).

    Beyond that, you and your family are not welcome on this site. You have said false things about me and about others, you dishonor Mr. Armstrong by perverting what he stood for and treating his teachings in a way he would never approve of (which I’ve covered thoroughly in the comments to that post in a manner you have never responded to), you ignore several things Mr. Armstrong said that do not suit your purposes, you will not accept even documented evidence–signed by Mr. Armstrong’s own hand–that you are bound up in false beliefs, and you have hidden your identity to comment here in a lying fashion and have not apologized for doing so nor, even, admitted it.

    I refuse to dishonor Mr. Armstrong by giving you a forum to repeat your accusations. Those interested in your approach are free to read the post “Recreating Herbert W Armstrong in their own image” which covers (at least one of) your error(s) rather well.

    So, though any additional comments you make here will likely not be published until you fulfill the conditions I sent you some time ago (easy to summarize: “be honest and behave like a Christian”), I do thank you for the chance you’ve given me to mention those things again and to add those links to my posts about Mr. Armstrong! Hopefully they will help anyone who has fallen into your particular flavor of confusion.

    [P.S. In response to your unpublished follow up, Samuel, I’m sorry, but my attempts to answer your family’s supposedly “sincere, honest” questions have only been met with accusation, backstabbing, and dishonesty. You have given me no evidence that this time is any different, and until you do, I see no reason to dishonor Mr. Armstrong and what he stood for, nor to ignore the advice of Scripture, by giving you a forum and by wasting time giving you answers your family didn’t listen to the first time and won’t respond to. Until you begin acting in an honest fashion and do the things I sent your family sometime ago, the course for me concerning you and your family is clear. It is one thing to claim “sincere and honest” questions; it is another to actually be sincere and honest, which your family has not been with me, even after the many hours I spent trying to help. Christ wants more than words, Mr. Kitchen. Let me know when you learn that and when your family is ready to repent of their past actions and maliciousness; it wouldn’t undo the discredit you bring to Mr. Armstrong’s name, but it would be a start. Your family has my e-mail address. Until then, pose as innocent “question askers” all you like, but 2 Cor. 11:14-15 is still in the Bible. Your questions have been answered multiple times, including in this very comment. It takes ears to hear, Samuel. Ears to hear…]

    [P.P.S. Whatever, Tim. You are correct, I will not take your bait and post your reply: You refuse to do the honorable things I’ve discussed with members of your family before, so the terms are the same until you repent of at least those things and come clean. That ball’s in your court, not mine. You’ve been answered, and publicly at that. Please re-read those answers and respond to them instead of ignoring them. If you would honestly reply to what I’ve already said, maybe you guys could post here again. But you haven’t and you don’t. In fact, I even directly answered the question you both asked in these new comments. Just because you don’t like the answers or the evidence doesn’t mean you have not been answered. …No, not “clever”, Tim, just “right.” …Yes, thankfully, God’s Truth will prevail–about that, we can both be grateful. …No, I am not a “Government agent,” though it is no shock to me that you bring that up again, beholden as you are with conspiracy theories. If you really aren’t familiar with what the Bible and the facts say about the particular conspiracy theories you have given yourselves over to, at least be familiar with Mr. Armstrong’s own actions and choices. If your family needs yet another copy of Mr. Armstrong’s personally signed public documents that refute your conspiracy theories and demonstrate just one of the many ways you have re-crafted him in your own image, just let me know. Again, you’ve got my e-mail address. …And as for your shaking the dust from your sandals concerning me: That would be fantastic–can I get that in writing?]

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