Shunning or Disfellowshipping

Many false teachers are encouraging their “members” to shun or have nothing to do with their own family members. These “teachers” are twisting Scripture to justify their actions.  The following “sermon” is a perfect example of the damage that is done to families, marriages, and children themselves by following a false teacher or prophet.

If your group has encouraged you to separate from your spouse or children, you are being led astray by a false teacher.  You, your spouse, and your children are being spiritually abused by your leader.  Please recognize this falsehood for what it is and break free from the bind that Satan has on you.  Your eternal salvation is at stake.

It is very important for you to understand that the Philadelphia Church of God is a cult.  Although their members claim to be Christians, they are anything but.  There are many “professing Christians” in the world today that are following the same practices of shunning or disfellowshipping, and having nothing to do with their spouses or children because of it.  As this article will show, this practice is completely unbiblical and not from God.  It is a matter of twisted Scripture.

 

Gerald Flurry’s Sermon: Exposing Satan

A sermon, “Exposing Satan,” was played to all members of Philadelphia Church of God. It was given by Gerald Flurry on December 3, 2005. At the beginning, Flurry explains PCG’s “no contact” ruling, which shows “how we deal with Laodiceans.” The sermon incorporates fear of Satan, fear of Laodiceans, fear of leaving “God’s true church,” “lies” from PCG’s enemies (WCG), the “man of sin” (who resides in the Laodicean church), and basically twisting of Scripture to say what Flurry wants it to say.

Includes: A Letter to Flurry (from one impacted by the “no contact ruling”)

The “no contact ruling” is in the December 10, 2005 Pastor General Report.

Note: “Laodiceans” refers to those who are no longer members of PCG (especially those who have been disfellowshipped), or who were/are members of WCG, or any of the splinter groups. In other words, it applies to anyone who is no longer submissive to the “government” in PCG. In some congregations it even applies to the children who have left PCG.

 “But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.” ~ John 5:42

 Following are clips from the sermon. Gerald Flurry’s words are indented. All bolding is ours. Caps designate when Flurry was talking very loud, which was more towards the end.

We have many relatives and ex-friends in most all cases that are Laodocian and we do have to be very careful how we deal with them because it can be quite dangerous in taking some of God’s people out of the church, or destroying their faith, or their love; their character.

(Following is GF reading from an article he wrote and which he says is going to be put in the PGR [Pastor General Report] and that “the ministers will have it to hold from if they want to.”)

I want to clarify the Philadelphia Church of God’s policy on contact with disfellowshipped family members. This issue has not been clear among all our ministers and members and we need to become unified on it. Around 1985, Joseph Tkach spoke of a couple in the church who had some family disfellowshipped. And he told them that they were to severe their relationship with those people and not to fellowship with them. He told Mr. Armstrong about this situation publicly, and Mr. Armstrong agreed with him publicly. Notice I Cor. 5: 9-11. [reads those verses]

GF says the word “fornicator” here can refer to “spiritual sins.” This passage of Scripture was written to the members in the Corinthian Church after they had permitted an immoral man to come into their fellowship. The city of Corinth was given over to immorality. Nothing is mentioned in these verses about this applying to “spiritual sins.” This is GF’s interpretation.

God says when [these kinds of people] have to be put out of the church, the rest of us should not keep company with them, or eat with them. We are not to fellowship or socialize with them, certainly there might be an emergency in the family where you might be needing to work out the details of a will, or something similar. It is all right to deal with them on that level, but we must keep in mind what God has said.

II Thes. 3:6 reads, ‘…withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly.’ Certainly all the Laodicean groups are walking disorderly. They’re not after the traditions given us by God’s government through Mr. Armstrong. We have to look upon people that are in the Laodicean churches as being disfellowshipped. Rev. 11:1-2 they will be cast out. They have been put out of the Church of God. We must not keep company or keep company with them by going to restaurants and things like that.

In the past some members have been told that these relationships are okay as long as religion is not discussed. That is not what God says. Scripture makes it clear that there should be a complete cut off. [II Thes. 3] Verses 14 and 15…

If there is to be a complete cut off, then why does verse 15 say to “admonish him as a brother”? Admonish means to “warn,” not “denounce” him.

I know it is painful to cut off contact with family, but we have to look at the positive side of this. God says that when we don’t fellowship with them, if Dad and Mom, or a close relative shuns them, that has a great sting. God wants to drive them back by making them realize they really are on the outside.

Is it really “God” who is saying these things, or Gerald Flurry? Does he want to drive these people back to PCG because they are on the outside of PCG?

There are, however, a couple of exceptions to this principle. In the case of a mate in a Laodicean church, or one who has left the PCG, that relationship should be preserved as long as the mate is pleased to dwell. (I Cor. 7:10-14) But if that mate becomes hostile, or stirs up contention, it should be cut off. Wherever there is hostility you must cut off every tie. And sometimes, of course, that hostility can be very subtle, as we know.

There is also the case of unbaptized children, or those not validly baptized, who have left the church. Mr. Armstrong, for example, had a relationship with his daughter and he believed she never was converted. (And the fruits were there, I think, to prove that.)

What about Herbert Armstrong’s “fruits”? Or don’t they count?

As long as they were unconverted, we can have a relationship there, but we do have to be awfully careful. We may have to make a judgment about someone’s conversion in a few cases, but we don’t want to use that as a cop-out either. If your children have been baptized and left, that relationship should be severed. We must obey God’s command. [Reads Romans 16:17]

In an article titled, ‘If One is Disfellowshipped, Which Family Comes First?’ Mr. Armstrong commented on this verse [Rom. 16:17]. [Quotes from HWA]: ‘It does not say all except members of your flesh and blood family. It speaks of any who has been a church member, and it says avoid them. It’s a command, and if we try to be more kind, more righteous than God and disobey that command, we convict ourselves of disobedience of God’s command.’ Good News, April 1980 by Mr. Armstrong. He concluded by discussing Matthew 10 which says we must love our father and mother less than God.

If one wishes to read this entire article by Herbert Armstrong, they may do so by going online to The Good News archives, which can be downloaded in PDF. A similar article by HWA, “Can We Fellowship With the Disfellowshipped?” is in the May 4, 1980 Worldwide News.

I don’t think there would be a difference between a marked person and one who is disfellowshipped. There may be instances where the church could get into legal trouble if parents are preventing children from seeing their Laodicean grandparents, or similar situations. There have been instances where grandparents were able to have a strong relationship with grandchildren without interference from Laodicean parents. There was no hostility there and minimal contact. In individual cases like this a judgment must be made by the ministry about the propriety of the situation.

In case of members who work for a Laodicean, we would counsel them to try to seek other employment. Though, to preserve their livelihood, they would not have to cut that off immediately.

The principle to remember is this: there should not be any contact with converted church members who have left–and that includes family members other than a mate.

Now when we deal with people like that I think we all understand–I hope we do–that we always should treat people outside the church, Laodiceans or anybody else that we have some contact with, with…be as inoffensive as we possibly can, as kind, and as loving, and as considerate, as we possibly can, regardless of what attitude even they may have, unless, of course, we…there might be an exception if they were sort of attacking us.

But, anyhow, also, I wrote an article: ‘God Commands That We Avoid Certain Ones in Love.’ That’s in the Philadelphia News, May/June 1998. [Tells how they can write and get a copy of that if they don't have it.]

But Peter has been revealed to us recently, and Peter talked about in this end time that we shouldn’t be hanging around people who speak evil of the truth. Peter made that very clear. Don’t be around people who do that. Don’t be around people who talk and say evil things about your Father, your Husband. And there is a great danger in this, brethren, because Satan is subtle and he knows how to use people like that to destroy you. He knows your weaknesses and he knows how to use those people. And we’ve had some people in the Church of God–the Philadelphia Church of God– that have been taken out, because they violated what God said.

Read about Milieu (environmental) Control and how it is used in the Armstrong groups.

Avoiding these people–Laodiceans that have left–just avoiding them, in a sense, also shows that we get a message across to them that they are influenced by the Devil and we don’t want to have anything to do with them.

He goes on to tell them that there are all kinds of “individual differences and problems,” and most of them will have to be dealt with by counseling with the regional director, and if he (the regional director) has problems, he will bring that to Flurry.


“…true religion does not break in sunder the bonds of family relationship.  …it does not separate men from their families, and make them aliens to their flesh and blood.”  
~Excerpted from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, December 21, 1856


For the final part of this sermon we will quote some dogmatic and/or incredible statements made by Gerald Flurry. (bolding ours)

He first goes back to a sermon he gave at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2001 about II Thessalonians and talks about PCG’s court case victory regarding Mystery of the Ages (their “biggest church trial”) and the “amazing lies” he says that WCG told, and how Satan will be exposed by PCG.

One of ESN’s contacts told us the following: “The words ‘exposing Satan’ is code for the new book [Raising the Ruins]] that Stephen Flurry is writing, which is intended to expose the WCG, and mainly the Tkaches, for their collusion and trickery. Flurry claims they are possessed by demons and that he (Flurry) is actually revealing Satan by revealing their lies. According to GF, the documents of WCG from PCG’s court case over MOA are full of information that they (PCG) will use to expose them.”

Update: Read: PCG Did NOT Win a Victory in the WCG vs. PCG Court Case (2-23-07 letter to ESN by Attorney at Law) and Selling the “Truth” (Stephen Flurry’s book, Raising the Ruins) by Jim Kazimir, former PCG member/deacon.

Quotes by Gerald Flurry from rest of sermon
(includes how PCG had to “change the name of the college”)

“We are here to expose the Devil. …That’s just our calling; what we’re here to do.”

“Nobody does it [expose Satan]. The Laodiceans don’t even know the Devil today. And only we do it and we’ve been doing it for sixteen years.”

“Where is that man that would DARE defy God? And LIE every time he opens his mouth, practically. … A man possessed by the Devil.”

“God knows what love is and we don’t–too much of the time.” (talking about how members shouldn’t think they should show love to these Laodiceans)

“I’ve never heard so many lies and read so many lies. I’m telling you, brethren, they lie all the time. They just LIE and LIE and LIE, and every time you pick up a document on that court case, they are LYING.”

“Do you want to be friends with the Laodiceans? If you do, how well do we know the Devil?”

“Where did they [WCG] get the truth that they didn’t love? Well, they had to get it from the end-time Elijah who restored all things [i.e., HWA] through all of these books and booklets that he wrote.”

“God says, ‘I’m gonna make all of my people–every one of them–I’m gonna make them PROVE that they love me and that they LOVE the TRUTH. I’m gonna put them through this court case.’ “

“We’re gonna expose Satan the best we can, because it is a SIGN to God’s church that it’s almost over and Christ is almost here.”

“I was kind amazed at how much they really believed the Devil. … They had faith in the Devil. They believed him; they lied like he did. Just like sons of the Devil. But, of course, that’s what they are.”

“In their twisted minds they have actually MADE SATAN GOD! In their twisted, EVIL MINDS. That’s what we were up against.”

“Satan has deceived all the Laodiceans and they don’t have a clue, it seems, what he has done. I mean this is THE LIE and THE LIAR! This is the DEVIL INCARNATE!! And all of the Laodiceans believe him, I think. Certainly almost all of them. They believe him, and it’s Satan right before them.”

“Do you think if somebody out there…you have a Laodicean relative, God would not send the DEVIL to see if you’re going to obey? He’s DONE IT ALREADY! We’re the Church! He sent the Devil TO US!! Would he do it to you? OF COURSE, HE WILL! If He has doubts about what kind of son you are, of course He will. He’ll send delusions. Do you want to play games with that?” [Note from ESN: As this point in the sermon, Flurry starts shouting even more.]

 

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