Prayers Today for GCI

Many of our brothers and sisters in the Church will be praying for Grace Communion International (G.C.I.) today.

Go to this link: http://www.missionstclare.com/english/November/morning/23m.html

Then, scroll down the frame on the left side until you see the link labeled “Denominational Cycle of Prayer.” Click that link and be blessed!

8 comments so far

  1. Ayekumi David on

    May God bless the leadership of the church throughout the world, for the Good news you always feed us on specially me(David Ayekumi)through my leaders in Ghana. I always pray for you all.Stay bless.

  2. Pastor Jonathan on

    Thank you David!

  3. Psalms of Praise on

    Prayer isn’t going to hide the sins of the leadership, now is it, Jonathan?

  4. Pastor Jonathan on

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that in the late 1980s GCI/WCG stated that in the past we had discouraged people from seeking medical treatment and taught them to rely on prayer for healing. And if I understand you correctly you are saying that this was not true, that GCI/WCG always told people to seek medical treatment. And as proof you are citing the 1978 Systematic Theology Project (STP.)
    If this is what you are asserting then I suggest you research articles and statements made by the church prior to 1970. By 1978 the church realized the legal ramifications of telling people not to seek medical treatment and had begun to back off of that position in official statements. You may not have experienced a church culture where people pressured you to not seek medical treatment but many thousands of people did. I did. Our minister told my parents to not take my younger brother to the doctor. For a while they didn’t. Then his condition got so bad that they “quietly” took him to the doctor without telling anyone and, of course, he got better very quickly after getting the right medicine.
    When GCI/WCG talked in the late 1980s about past abuses regarding the healing doctrine they were referring to incidents like what happened to my family (in 1977, just prior to the statement you quote from) and thousands of other families in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
    It is not mere hearsay that the STP caused a flap and was pulled by Herbert Armstrong. That is what happened. And it wasn’t just Armstrong who rejected it and it wasn’t just because they wanted push his son out of the church (although I agree that was a factor.) Many thousands of members and ministers were also upset by the STP and were happy to see it rejected. They perceived it as a watering down of doctrine they had been taught when they first came into the church in the 1950s and 60s. The statement you quote about seeking medical attention is actually a prime example of why the average minister at the time didn’t like the document. For the previous two decades they had been trained to discourage people from going to doctors and to, instead, have faith that they would be healed through prayer and anointing. The statement you quote from the STP was new, it was a change from what the church had been teaching since the 1950s, and many people in the church, both ministers and members, didn’t like it. The result was that the STP was rejected and a dual system developed in the last years of Armstrong’s life. If a reporter or cult watcher asked about the doctrine then the church would claim that it did tell people to seek medical treatment but in congregations many ministers and members continued to think and act as they always had. They were free to do so because the changes suggested in the STP had been officially rejected and Armstrong was busy getting rid of “liberals” and putting the church “back on track.” It wasn’t until Tkach Sr. took decisive action in the late 1980s that anything began to really change. For example, he did away with the doctrine that said that Christ’s sacrifice was divided into his scourging for our physical diseases and his crucifixion for our spiritual sins. This division of Christ’s sacrifice had been a key theological underpinning to our teaching about healing and once it was gone it opened the way for ministers and members to think about the validity of medical treatment in a healthier way. Incidentally, it also sparked some of the first post-Armstrong defections as a handful of hardliners who wanted to preserve the church’s teaching on healing from the 1950s and 60s left the church.

  5. Psalms of Praise on

    “You may not have experienced a church culture where people pressured you to not seek medical treatment but many thousands of people did. I did.”

    Then those people, Jonathan, were acting against the very explicit doctrines of the Church, in the mid-1970s. Nowhere, ever, at any point, was I, or my family, nor any of my friends or their families, pressured

    “When GCI/WCG talked in the late 1980s about past abuses regarding the healing doctrine they were referring to incidents like what happened to my family (in 1977, just prior to the statement you quote from) and thousands of other families in the 1950s, 60s and 70s”

    That is not what they say, though; the soundbite statement is: “When Joseph Tkach Sr changed the healing doctrine; nowhere have I ever seen the qualifier you attach to that statement added, whenever it is trotted out as a canned statement of the Church. I also note that they also don’t say that the doctrine was changed after the 1970s, which is the time-period I grew up in the Church. (Mid-70s to 1990s.)

    But that doesn’t make for as good a soundbite as claiming “Joseph Tkach Sr changed the healing doctrine in 1988″, now does it?

    “The statement you quote from the STP was new, it was a change from what the church had been teaching since the 1950s”

    So you admit that the Church changed the doctrine, in 1978; regardless of whatever happened with the STP. (Most of the ministers who left or were disfellowshipped, continued to hold to the false “healing doctrine,” which just proves my point even more, it was not the Church that should shoulder the blame for the Christian-Science-like bad attitude that existed, amongst “ministers” I will note, whom are all largely now Unitarians. (Make of that what you will.)

    “For the previous two decades they had been trained to discourage people from going to doctors and to, instead, have faith that they would be healed through prayer and anointing.”

    At a time when medical “science” was anything but. The Church recognized this, in 1978, and sought to change with progressive revelation (as it changed on the Pentecost dating as well). This was a sign that it was the true Church. (And still is, despite the current leadership’s attempts to “orthodoxise” it.) So…where to lay the blame? At the feet of the ministers and members who could/would not accept God’s correction? Or do you instead lay the blame on God, for not correcting His Church earlier?

    “If a reporter or cult watcher asked about the doctrine then the church would claim that it did tell people to seek medical treatment but in congregations many ministers and members continued to think and act as they always had.”

    Never in my experience, Jonathan; all of us sought medical treatment / regularly went to general physicians, and children were hospitalized, when needed. You are making general statements that are not confirmed by my actual experience as a member of the Church; your anecdote about your brother also, I note, fails to elaborate whether or not it was a minister who told your parents not to take your brother to the hospital…the fact that they did so, “quietly” or otherwise, suggests that they, at least, were heeding God’s correction for the Church.

    “many people in the church, both ministers and members, didn’t like it. The result was that the STP was rejected and a dual system developed in the last years of Armstrong’s life”

    I lived in and with and as a member of the Church during those years, Jonathan; I saw no such “dual system” in place, in the congregations I attended/fellowshipped with; sure there were one or two troublemakers who tried to “follow the old ways” but they were few and far between, not in the Church hierarchy, and not well-liked (nor listened to).

    “It wasn’t until Tkach Sr. took decisive action in the late 1980s that anything began to really change.”

    What was this “decisive action,” pray tell? Because I remember the PGR trying to push trinitarianism on us, and I remember the changed “Nature of God….” booklet that tried to do the same…I never, ever, remember hearing, reading, or learning about, any kind of “decisive action” with regards to a “healing doctrine” that the Church did not practice.

    I showed you the documentation that proves my case, Jonathan; now it’s your turn to show yours. Wherefore, then, is the proof of this “decisive action?”

    “For example, he did away with the doctrine that said that Christ’s sacrifice was divided into his scourging for our physical diseases and his crucifixion for our spiritual sins.”

    Again, this is not true; as of the late 1970s, the Passover service was not focused on this part of the ceremony, it was focused on the redemption of one’s sins.

    “This division of Christ’s sacrifice had been a key theological underpinning to our teaching about healing…”

    Prior to the 1970s, yes it was. After the mid-1970s, it was not. It definitely was not taught in any congregation I attended, between 1976 and 1996; the pre-Passover sermons focused exclusively on how the Old Testament Passover pre-figured Christ’s sacrifice as our Passover; nowhere, at any point, do I ever remember hearing a sermon that taught this “division of the sacrifice,” the whole sacrifice was taught, as (eventual) universal redemption for all mankind.

    “…once it was gone it opened the way for ministers and members to think about the validity of medical treatment in a healthier way…”

    I can agree with that. But that doctrine was gone, long before I was born, as I spent the bulk of my early years in and out of hospital. Many, many years, before 1988.

    Unless you can produce documentation of exactly when, where, and how “Joseph Tkach Sr changed the healing doctrine in 1988,” then I’m sorry, Jonathan, I am going to have to rely on what my actual experiences, as a child, in the Church, were.

  6. Psalms of Praise on

    By the way, the doctrinal statements found in the STP, exactly reflect the Worldwide Church of God that I grew up in; and I attended two very different congregations, growing up; one large, culturally diverse, and somewhat “liberal,” the other small (well, small for WCG congregations at the time, around 350 people), ethnically homogeneous and viewed as somewhat “conservative….” and both followed the doctrines of the STP (without any of us ever having laid eyes on the document in question) in both the letter, and the spirit.

    Make of that what you will. But that was my experience, in the Worldwide Church of God.

  7. Pastor Jonathan on

    I’m not really interested in debating this issue. I think we should just acknowledge that we had different experiences and different perspectives about it and leave it at that.

  8. Psalms of Praise on

    “I’m not really interested in debating this issue.”

    Providing documented proof of Joseph Tkach Sr’s “decisive action” in 1988, to “change the healing doctrine” is not debate, Jonathan; it would be upholding the truth that you are claiming about the history of the Church.

    Whereas, I do have documented proof that this is not true, and that the leadership of Grace Communion International continues to promote this blatant untruth.

    So, no, you’re right, there is no debate on this issue whatsoever. Let he who reads, understand.


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