Thursday, February 26, 2009

PCG Divorce and Remarriage Hypocrisy

From: "Former PCG Minister"
To: wturgeon

Subject: Thursday
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 09:02

Mr. Turgeon,

It has been a couple of months since the ‘marking’ of not just Nina and me, but all four of our children, I have to say, I’m still in disbelief.

In 43 years of attending the Church of God, I have never heard of children being marked. Marking is reserved for baptized ‘members’ of the Body of Christ. Children have never fallen into this category. How pathetic for such a basic scriptural concept to be twisted to hurt innocent children.

The Sabbath before the announcement, when you took our son to Mr. Flurry’s home for interrogation, there was no talk of suspension. Half an hour later, you counseled our underage daughter, alone in your vehicle, to leave our home before she is 18. As an intelligent adult, you should know this is a breach of law! We would have to report her as a runaway. We have reported this incident to Administrative and Governmental Offices for the State of Oklahoma. I know, for a fact, this is not the first time an underage child has been encouraged to leave the home of suspended parents.

That morning you assured both of our teens that they weren't suspended, that they just couldn't attend services until they left home. You encouraged them to get away from their parents, impugned the character and integrity of their parents, assured them you would be praying for them, then, just days later, you publicly marked them! They were totally blindsided and had done nothing to cause division and neither had their parents. I suspect that the marking was really to keep PCG members from asking Nina and I questions.

You also decreed that the other Church teens, who work with mine at Wal-Mart, had to quit their jobs. Only when I made it known to you that some of the Wal-Mart Management was upset with ‘PCG nonsense’ you changed your mind and they were allowed to keep their jobs. Interesting, how there was no need for ‘physical separation’ when the ‘world’ heard about your decision.

‘Marking’ is supposed to be reserved for the most ‘dangerous’ of offenders. I am not in that category. I have never sent out dissident literature, encouraged brethren to leave the PCG, or conspired with those outside of PCG. Even when you revealed your fears of me doing so, in Jan '08, I gave you no cause to worry about my church area. One year later, I have done nothing to cause division or trouble to the PCG. In spite of this, you have chosen to make a public example of Nina and me and have taken it further to include our children, including our 8 year old! Therefore, I feel compelled to respond to this breach of Ministerial Ethics.

Divorce & Remarriage (the reason for my suspension):

It has been brought to my attention that some at HQ in Edmond have been propagating the rumor that Mr. Robert Ardis is somehow behind my questions on Divorce & Remarriage.

If Mr. Flurry or others believe this, have discussed this with others, or are spreading this untruth: I’m stating, for the record, that this is a baseless lie, and Mr. Turgeon, you know it. I brought up my concerns on D&R to you within weeks of my ordination in the Spring of '03.

We both know that I was suspended because of my conclusion letter sent to you and Mr. Flurry in Sept ’08. This letter concerned the Divorce & Remarriage doctrinal issue that we’ve been discussing since my ordination in March 2003. My conclusion was that Mr. Flurry is going beyond the boundaries given in the scripture by encouraging separations when mates are pleased to dwell with their spouses. My closing comment was that Mr. Flurry would be bringing “The Curse” (a topic he preached about in Nov ’07 and May ’08) on the ministry by encouraging ministers to break up marriages. I wrote this to him, man to man - respectfully, but never preached this. This entire ordeal became publically known by your long, public announcements here in my local church area, after you removed me from my ministerial office.

What remains true, in scripture, is that baptized people, who marry and divorce inside the Church of God, are not permitted to remarry anyone else while the ex-mate is living. This is the simple, biblical understanding that I hoped would be heard and respectfully considered. No one in PCG leadership, would guide me scripturally on this subject. You would not open your bible once with me, to talk about this subject, over 6 long years of knowing about it. You did not step in and teach, in any of our conversations. You simply expressed your feelings and personal views. I still find it surprising that an Evangelist did not have biblical support.

Even though many mates are pleased to dwell with their PCG mates, currently, PCG ministers are encouraging, counseling and making D&R an option for members whose mates they consider ‘out of the Church’, ‘Outer Court’, ‘worthless’, ‘anti-Christ’, ‘tools of Satan’ or simply just not attending with the PCG – for any number of reasons.

What is not being addressed is:

- Do these non-attending mates still have the Holy Spirit? Are they still ‘begotten’? How does God the Father view them?

- Who is making this God-level judgment concerning someone’s conversion status once they are thrown out or choose to stop attending PCG corporate?

Sadly, the remaining PCG member is allowed to remarry – sometimes more than once - if their living mate no longer attends the corporation: ‘Philadelphia’ Church of God. Recently, a HQ person was allowed to annul their marriage with another baptized member at HQ, after years of marriage. Mr. Armstrong would not have done that.

I wrote personally to Mr. Flurry that the Church judgment – allowing remarriage, while a baptized ex-mate is alive and in the Temple of God - is tantamount to ‘Church sanctioned adultery’ by any reading of scripture. I was concerned about this and came to you privately, as a brother. Subsequently, you sat silent in Mr. Flurry’s home on Dec 8th, 2007 while Mr. Gerald Flurry raged at me for being “self-righteous”, “unconverted”, “a poor minister”, “a poor family leader”, and “possibly in need of re-baptism”; after which he put me out of the ministry. Probably the only reason I wasn't suspended that morning was because I remained calm and respectful during the tirade.

To be clear, my suspension from PCG, before Trumpets ’08, was the result of Mr. Flurry’s upset over my position paper on D&R and my comment about “The Curse” over the ministry. (You incorrectly announced here in NW Arkansas that I told him there was a curse on “the Church”.)

I mentioned this concern. I do not want “The Curse” upon me, nor do I want it you, on the ministry or members! The ministry's continued counseling of members to break up their families suggests that they don't believe Mr. Flurry’s own words from Nov. '07.

For The Record:

1. My D&R questions were never preached, shared or sent out to the membership. They were sent in confidence to your attention first, then to Mr. Flurry when you proved unable or unwilling to discuss them scripturally. I was not at liberty to seek other counsel.

2. Mr. Flurry put me out of the PCG ministry because I would not, in good conscience, give counsel to and remarry a person with a living mate within the Temple of God.

3. You personally told my former congregation ALL the details of my suspension, sparing nothing – to what end, I can only imagine. This was another breach of the Ministerial Code of Ethics and was a great disservice to the congregation who, until then, were unaware of the reasons for my demotion. After your detailed announcement about my demotion, I made efforts to comfort them. Because you chose to “tell all”, I am compelled to set the record straight.

4. Mr. Flurry said in his Nov ’07 Sermon that, “Malachi 4v6 is about God's own Church turning away from the Elijah Family message. They are in danger of the greatest curse there is. This is the core value of the church or the world. It's both. The core institution.

This is sobering to the PCG ministry as well as all of us, myself certainly included in that. ...a serious responsibility. First of all to the ministers and to the people who follow those ministers whether they be Laodiceans or Philadelphians.... the whole book is addressed specifically to the ministers and of course it will apply for the most part to those who follow those ministers.

5. I was suspended from the PCG, just before the Feast, because Mr. Flurry personally asked me to resubmit my concern about D&R to him with more length. Because Mr. Flurry did not like this information and felt my tone was wrong, he told me to not come back to services. No scriptural refuting. Nothing. It seems it is easier to just put ‘that person’ out. In this light I am including, at the end of this email, the information I sent to Mr. Flurry so that others can review it. If I am in scriptural error, I would still like to know; other than being told I was in error for simply disagreeing with Mr. Flurry.

My hope for you is that you will see the error of D&R and your hand in it within the Church of God. Mr. Flurry claims that he follows Mr. Armstrong's example in every way. He does not. Especially in the area of divorce and remarriage. Mr. Armstrong never insisted that people should leave a mate who was please to dwell to with them. Mr. Flurry does, thus is disrupting a God plane institution. I was in Pasadena the last six years, and know that Mr. Armstrong expected people to make the most of their marriages and especially not make trouble in them. He told members to make their marriages work and set good examples. Reread the segment of his Autobiography which the PCG published in the Nov/Dec '08 Royal Vision about how to dwell with an unconverted mate.

"Former PCG Minister"

D&R Letter to Mr. Flurry. I would appreciate any understanding on this important subject and thank you. Some information has been deleted to protect innocent parties.


Mr. Flurry,

My thoughts, on this matter, have not changed. Mr. Turgeon mentioned your 'disappointment' in the one page letter I sent to you before the Feast. His impression, to me, was that you found it not scholarly enough - short as it was. I worked for many days to make it brief and to the point.

The one question I have had and addressed to Mr. Turgeon is:

The congregation was told I must repent before I would be allowed back into the PCG. Again, I'm asking: “What am I to repent of?”

- I have not espoused my understanding of D&R (or the lack of it) - nor have I preached it as a minister. Therefore, that isn't what needs to be repented of. Mr. Turgeon though, under your direction, shared ALL the details of my suspension – including erroneous ‘facts’ - with the local congregation. To what end, I do not know.

- Since it is logical and balanced to expect members, including me, to have varying levels of understanding, on the many judgments/truths/understandings coming from the PCG, then that isn't what needs to be repented of.

- If my suspension is based upon upsetting you, by saying the ministry is under 'The Curse', as you defined it in detail in Nov '07, then that must be the offense you want me to repented of. The 'Curse', as you describe it, is biblically based and applies to all men and women in or out of the Church. Anytime anyone breaks covenant or causes others to break a covenant with God, then the Curse applies. I cannot repent of this truth.

If I upset you by stating this, I will point out it's not a good idea to suspend, disfellowship or mark people because you are personally upset. I do not know of any scripture that supports this. In the book of Acts, there were many ‘upsets’ between minister/members. I don’t read of suspension or the accusation of anyone being ‘anti-government’ for asking a question and seeking resolution.

The facts of my case.

1) I am surprised to have been so harshly accused and judged by you concerning my belief on Divorce & Remarriage (D&R). Your assertion that my belief contradicts Mr. Armstrong is not correct. What I do believe is solidly based upon the teachings of Mr. Armstrong and the biblical texts that support it.

2) This doctrine has been clearly outlined many times, over the years, both in older PGRs and during the 1979 Ministerial Conference which you no doubt attended. Although, I have not always had a clear understanding of all the relevancies on this subject, I have tried to keep an open mind - letting the bible interpret itself, as we were taught, and to come to understand God’s Apostle’s mind on this important subject.

3) Mr. Armstrong applied a two-pronged approach in regard to the allowance of D&R. The two prongs are satisfied by one being a) an ‘unbeliever’ and one not b) ‘being pleased to dwell’ with their mate.

First, some background on whom the Church would judge an ‘unbeliever’, when Mr. Armstrong was alive. An ‘unbeliever’ was defined as one who was no longer a part of the Church of God. The Worldwide Church of God was the lamp of Philadelphia and what we all believed to be the Philadelphia Era of God’s Church. A person leaving this group was considered an unbeliever.

Secondly, one who was ‘not pleased to dwell’ had to satisfy this by action. It required one to depart. The mate who remained in the Body had a mate who left them, abandoned them and physically removed him or herself from the home and ultimately their life. This was a firm cutting off. It was willful.

4) The PCG no longer uses Mr. Armstrong’s approach in determining these situations. The current PCG judgment includes encouraging and counseling members to leave mates when the PCG determines a ‘mate’ is unfit. Being unfit can be decided by where the former PCG member begins to attend if they leave or are put out of the PCG. If a former member is vocal against the Church, the teachings or the ministry, this is also seen as grounds for the dissolution of a marriage covenant.

Therefore, being Laodecian, alone, can now be grounds for divorce and subsequent remarriage. A Laodecian can now fulfill both prongs of the two-part test Mr. Armstrong applied to divorce and remarriage. The Laodecian is an ‘unbeliever’ and then judged by the PCG as ‘not pleased to dwell’ simply by ceasing membership by choice or being ‘put out’ of the PCG. This flies in the face of the D&R teaching under the leadership of Mr. Armstrong.

5) This is not the Philadelphian standard. The PCG judgment listed above begins to look like 1970s liberalism. Mr. Leap in his D&R article soundly condemned the D&R practices of the liberal era of God’ Church. To throw out God’s Apostle’s criteria for D&R and substitute it with a new condition (being Laodecian) is bold, careless and dangerous.

Our goal should be to uphold marriages and work to keep them alive. Not use the term Laodecian as a reason for taking marriages apart.

6) Therefore this PCG judgment on D&R stands in violation of Mr. Armstrong’s test: ‘unbeliever’ and ‘not pleased to dwell’.

Consider again the ‘unbeliever’. Today, there are now Philadelphians and Laodecians co-existing together in this end-time era. This is now a firm part of Church teaching in the PCG. Two groups, one Body. This is not in dispute. The assumption that someone who is a Laodecian is then in the category of ‘unbeliever’, does not agree with PCG teaching. Disfellowshipped/marked persons can be and many are part of the Church of God – converted – sons – members of the Body. 50% of the Laodecians we understand will succeed in repenting fully and are currently ‘sons of God’ - whether in or out of the PCG group. This includes the mates of many, current PCG members.

Allowing marriages for persons, in what the PCG terms the ‘Inner Court’ (when a former mate resides in the ‘Outer Court’) is allowing a marriage within the Body of Christ that is adultery.

The Church, remember, is not an organization. It is not a corporation. It is Spiritual, as taught to us by Mr. Armstrong.

During the Worldwide Church of God era, Mr. Armstrong did judge that a person disfellowshipped was considered an ‘unbeliever’, because there was no other ‘part of the Body’ for such persons to belong, at that time. We did not talk in terms of ‘Inner’ and ‘Outer Court’. They were seen as much an unbeliever as a Baptist or Buddhist. There was no distinction between these. There was no harsher judgment on this former member over another in the world as being an ‘unbeliever’. Mates disfellowshipped but pleased to dwell remained with their church-going mates. I witnessed this as a teen in the Church of God.

7) There are cases where the mate, put out, did not want to leave their PCG-attending mate and vise versa. The PCG, regardless, stepped in to separate these parties. This is in violation of the directive of God’s Apostle. Any resulting marriage is adulterous - the breaking of the 7th commandment.

Years ago, when I was a student at Pasadena. There were members with mates who were, at times, hostile to the personality of Mr. Armstrong and the Church. This was not grounds for divorce. As long as the mates were 'pleased to dwell', the marriage was left untouched by the Church. This is scriptural.

In the case I was involved in, (Redacted for privacy). The assertion, by my Pastor that, “God does not expect someone to remain alone” is simplistic in light of the seriousness of the marriage covenant.

I am sure the (Redacted for privacy) case is not the only case where brethren have been counseled and encouraged to separate from their mates, who have either left the PCG or have been put out. This invariably leads to divorce and when remarried, adultery.

Such actions place the ministry in the position of covenant breakers, along with the member, and that leads to being Cursed. Both member and minister will then fall under the Curse, as defined by you, Mr. Flurry, in your November 2007 sermon. I do not apologize for this stand and find you correct in this assertion.

Yes, there are reasons to separate from difficult mates. Sometimes divorce is necessary for other issues, but just having different beliefs is no grounds for separation or divorce. Once a married couple is sanctified in the Church, IF a mate has to separate or end a marriage because of difficult situations, remarriage is NOT an option while there is breath. They remain a eunuch for the kingdom's sake (Matt 19). That is what I believe and what you wrote below in the PN article, as quoted.

8) The Church’s own statements below weigh in on the current D&R judgment:

The PCG website is clear:

Church Doctrines: Each doctrine maintained by the Church is provable from the Holy Bible.

Statement of Beliefs: The Church teaches its members that the integrity of the family is critical to the health of the nation.

> The recent PN had this to say about marriage:

Phil.News Oct ’08, p.5:

"'The parents’ responsibility FIRST: Parents are to instruct and to train their children in the way of God. To insure education in the home, God made the marriage contract UNBREAKABLE except by death. That is an extremely important point. Look at all the divorce in our world today! That is devastating for our children. God made marriage unbreakable to help us recognize and fulfill our responsibility to our children!" (And, I might add, to reflect the seriousness of the baptism covenant).


Mr. Flurry, you wrote that marriage is UNBREAKABLE except by death. (Redacted for privacy).

I have brought my concern to YOU, not the membership. I have not caused division or trouble. This has been an ongoing situation since my surprise ordination and I have been open with this and have not hidden anything.

Your assertion that my conversion is suspect because I hold onto the marriage covenant per Jesus Christ’s example and God’s Apostle’s doctrinal judgment, is baseless and offensive.

I've just made you uncomfortable because of it. You've put me out of the church for that?

Please provide me a scriptural basis for what is happening.

"Former PCG Minister"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard of another case where the parents who did not attend pcg did not want their child to go to the Armstrong college. So the child was "counseled" to BLACKMAIL them, by telling them that, "IF THEY REFUSED TO ALLOW THE CHILD TO ATTEND THE PCG COLLEGE THEN, THEY, THE PARENTS, WOULD "NEVER" SEE THE CHILD AGAIN. NOW THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN REPORTED TO THE AUTHORITIES ALSO.