Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Glenn Frey Factor

There was a time that I was big into NASCAR, during the Winston Cup days.

I'm almost ashamed to admit it today but I was a big Jeff Gordon fan in the year he had 13 wins. (1998?) I'm almost ashamed to admit that I was a big Jeff Gordon fan ever.

And, I really didn't like Dale Earnhardt back in the day.

I was watching the Daytona 500, at a church-related 500 party, on the day "the old man" died.

Even though NASCAR fans are very serious about whom they like and dislike, I thought that it was a good thing, when Kevin Harvick got Earnhardt's ride, that he was not given the number 3, but was assigned the 29.

And, even though every Earnhardt fan I've ever talked to didn't care, I was against the number 3 being given to Austin Dillon.

Some years back, Evie enjoyed the TV show Trading Spaces and I was a much bigger fan of the original host, Alex McLeod, than I was of Paige Davis.

And, though it was my era to be into popular music, I really was rather lukewarm toward he group The Eagles until they rebanded in the 90s for their Hell Freezes Over tour. Since then, they've become my group.

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Glenn Frey in 2016 and, based on the Earnhardt and McLeod things, you can understand that I think that the band should just leave well enough alone and not try to go on.

I'm not happy that Frey's son, Deacon, has been brought in to do some of his dad's songs.

And, Vince Gill?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For me, the Eagles exist no more...despite the fact that these concerts are being very warmly received.

The Eagles are the Beatles to me...a thing of the past. Can you even try to imagine Paul and Ringo replacing John and George and calling that group The Beatles?

It's occurring to me that there's a distinct and consistent pattern in these things.

And, I'm trying to be honest with myself about it. But, I don't think I'm the sort of person to be resistant to change.


I usually think of myself as a radical and progressive in my denomination. Rumors persist that I've been defrocked by it...

...and, you don't normally think of the stodgy and traditional, people who love the old ways, being treated in the way I've been treated by the leaders of an institution.

No one screams more loudly in our group for change...NOW...than do I...

...but, the change I want to see, while it would be a radical move forward for our group, which is now deeply entrenched in recent traditions, is connected to the vision and passion of our group's early days.

So, I dunno. Am I turning Glenn Frey into John Winebrenner, or vice versa?

Take it easy, man, take it easy.


I'd dearly love feedback on this one from people who have even a passing personal knowledge of me.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thinking in Terms of Church, not Jesus

I say frequently that I see my job as a manager of the Front End of a grocery store as a way to get the owners of the store to finance my career as an ambassador of the Kingdom of God.

I make it a point to advance the mission of the store while I'm on the job...and, based on the number of promotions and raises I've received, I do that successfully.

But, my primary concern is to live out the, humanly speaking, counter-culture ways of the Kingdom of God in the world.

Two weeks ago, I blogged that Evie and I gave a rather substantial financial gift to a coworker whose husband is in poor health. They barely pay their bills when she's able to work her full, part-time, schedule and often has to take days off to accompany her husband to various appointments.  So, we explained that we gave the money to allow her to take days off without increasing their financial struggles.

She's grateful, as you can imagine.

Last week, I actually worked with her for a very brief moment while (call her Gail) was running a cash register when no customers were present.

And, in that very brief moment of privacy, she said, "So, bill, what church do you go to?"

My heart sank.

I explained that we are a part of a group that meets in our home and started to tell that story as concisely and understandably as possible when a customer appeared, and the moment was gone.

Fortunately, a day or so later, Evie and Gail saw each other while they were both shopping and Evie was able to articulate the Kingdom...the JESUS...motivation for our act.

But, gang!

Can't you see how your church focus and not-so-subtle ecclesiolatry hinders the work of the Kingdom? And, for that matter, the very place of Jesus in the world?!?!?!!!

When we perform acts of love and mercy such as this one, we explain it using the Steve Sjogen line, "We just want to show you God's love in a practical way." For me, that's not specific enough and I often make it more focused and say, "Christ's," not "God's."

Yet, as blatant as I am on the job about my connection to Jesus as my Lord, Gail didn't associate our act of mercy with Jesus.

For Gail, it was all about church. She was wondering what local church could be associated with our unusual act of mercy. She didn't understand our behavior as fruit of our love for Jesus.

Gail's not a disciple. What she knows is what she picks up from the believers she meets. And, her take on this sort of thing is that it's all about church.

Surely, for Gail, Jesus is wrapped up in there somewhere but just where isn't obvious.

Church people have made an absolute mess of the gospel.

Is it any wonder that the Kingdom's declining in the U.S. today.

We must repent.

Friday, March 16, 2018

It's not just that Jesus almost never used the word Church

I'm more convinced than ever that the Lord of all authority and power and grace and mercy and blessing will not bless the ERC's new New Strategic Plan...

...and the reason is simple.

The ERC's new New Strategic Plan is built on strengthening the health of three entities either rarely spoken of by or completely unknown to Jesus and the early spreaders of the gospel.

1. The church: The word appears 3 times in the Gospels and is absent in 3 of the 4 of them.

2. Pastors, and
3. Churchly hierarchical leadership, both of which Jesus never envisioned.

But, it's not only what the ERC mountaintoppers make up to follow their own traditions.

While the word, church, appears only three times in the Gospels, I gave up counting the number of times the word KINGDOM appears in the Gospels at 120.

Jesus was absolutely consumed by His desire to teach and preach about the Kingdom. He came announcing the coming of the Kingdom and explaining how a person becomes a subject of it.

It's not only what the hierarchs invent to strengthen their own traditions and paradigm. It's also what they have the audacity to ignore in order to do what they want to do so that they don't have to be about their Lord's business.

And, why!?!?!???!!!!!

We must repent.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What do You Think the Lord would be Saying to the CGGC through Prophets Today?

One of the prophetic words I am receiving these days has to do with...

1. How the CGGC believers in APEST are practicing it, and
2. What it will mean for APEST to be implemented in the CGGC as time moves forward. 

The General Conference staffers have made it clear that they are going to emphasize APEST this year by featuring articles on it both in The CHURCH ADVOCATE and in the CGGC eNews. 

Their emphasis on APEST raises quite a number of questions. 

Because, as far as I know (and I willingly accept the fact that my knowledge may be limited), I'm the only person in the entire body claiming to have an APEST calling and to be living it...

And, while rumors persist that I've been defrocked and it's certain that Faith, the community of gatherings with which I've been attached in the ERC, has been expelled from the body,... one on any CGGC mountaintop has acknowledged that I'm a prophet or, if not, claim that I'm a false prophet.

I've had conversations as high up the CGGC mountain as Lance, though in the distant past, about my conviction that I'm a prophet and how I believe the Lord is speaking to me...

...and I know that some, at least, on the mountaintops monitor this blog.

Still, in a formal, official way, what I say and do as a prophet is being met, on CGGC mountaintops, with the same silence as a loud fart in polite company.

I know that the mountaintoppers don't like what I'm saying and wish I wasn't saying it.

So, I ask, really:

What do you think the Lord would be saying to the CGGC through a prophet today? Would it be different, in any way, from what I'm saying...or how I say it? 

Lance and ERC leaders are admitting that the body is declining and decaying. We all know that the Lord of all authority and power and grace and mercy and blessing is not blessing us.

I raise these questions because there are many times I attempt to judge whether or not what I say and how I say it is the sort of thing a prophet of the Lord would say.

Then, I think about what Paul wrote to the Corinthians in the early verses of 2 Corinthians 7, which leads to his observation that "godly sorrow produces a repentance that leads to salvation." And, I find affirmation for what I say and how I say it.

I read, in the New Testament, the accounts of ministry of John the Baptist and the letter of John in Revelation to the church in Laodicea. Ditto.

What do you think that the Lord thinks about what the CGGC has been saying and doing over the course of the last 80 years?

How do you think He feels about it?

What, based on what you read in the Word, do you think the Lord's prophet would be saying today?


As much as Lance and some others on the mountaintops and others scattered across the ERC pay lip service to APEST, the P part of it is serving to pose a serious challenge.

Until we practice serious repentance, I believe it always will.

We must repent. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The CGGC Middle School Clique Level of Immaturity

I got some thoughtful feedback on the George Jensen post.

The feedback included several theories to account for how George and the others participating in his Facebook thread could be so open to the inclusion of "originalist" Churches of God congregations in the ERC in the wake of the recent and unprecedented expulsion of Faith, a Church of God originalist church, which was so passionately loyal to the Belief, Mission and Vision Statements of the CGGC.

At the time, there was no reason given for the expulsion that suggested that the good and sincere people of Faith were not orthodox and faithful to the teachings and practices of the Conference or of the CGGC.

One theory suggests that Faith's problem for many was, simply, me, that is, that the hierarchs expelled Faith because they didn't like me...or that, at least, I wasn't one of them.

One comment went so far as to opine that Faith's connection to me was its biggest problem. I wonder what its other problems might have been.

Just to repeat, I love the ERC and the CGGC and I support and most certainly, in word and deed, even to this day, submit to all that the body says it believes and envisions and sets as its mission.


I completely agree that the problem between the ERC Commission on Church Renewal, for whom George acted as mouthpiece, and Faith centered on me personally...

...but, understand. The problem with me has nothing to do with ERC or CGGC belief or practice.

What was the problem then?


One of the dysfunctions of shepherd dominated religious institutions is their emphasis on bland and tolerant personal relationships in which it is considered to be a sin against the supposed unity of the body to hold tenaciously to principles of truth instead of living in drab and benign harmony.

I've been noting for years now that there are cliques in the CGGC. The existence of the cliques is a defining characteristic of our body: the hierarchs, the cynics, the skeptics...

The "love one another" commandment has no chance in the CGGC world as it has existed for generations.

Rather, the CGGC body functions with all the maturity of a student body in a Middle School.

We form our cliques as a matter of course. We are not driven by truth or principle. We are driven by relationship.

We drink spiritual milk rather than chew on meat.

We are babies. Immature.

We must grow up.

We must repent.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

George Jensen and the "Originalist" Church of God Question

I don't read Facebook often. I post on it and use it to update family and friends about our lives and to see what's going on among my cousins and aunts and uncles and distant friends. But, I rarely read it.

I was surprised, a few mornings ago, to haul myself out of bed to find Evie, my living and breathing example of grace, humility and compassion, looking agitated. She skipped wishing me a good morning to blurt, "On Facebook, George Jensen visited (as Evie described it) 'a house church not meeting in a house' and he's all excited."

So, I looked it up and found George's, well, nearly orgasmic, description of a Reformed Presbyterian gathering he attended the night before.

And, I could see why Evie was perturbed.


Many of the things about the Presbyterian gathering that amazed and pleased George took place during every typical Faith gathering during our days in the ERC.

A few days later, George entered a Facebook post, inspired by his experience in the Reformed Presbyterian gathering, asking if the planting of a Churches of God, as George termed it, "originalist," congregation could be successful.

George's description of what an originalist Churches of God congregation would do is, to me, a bit peculiar but here's the thing:

At Faith, we were openly, blatantly, intentionally and proudly a Church of God "originalist" congregation...



One reason that I am convinced that I am an APEST prophet is that, like the prophets of the Old and New Testaments, I am pathetically idealistic and naive about, and unconcerned with, I hate to use this term, politics, among the people of the church.

It's from that idealism and naivete, I say that I don't understand.

But, I have a thought.

The word these days coming from the Conference is that it welcomes, and even encourages, a diversity of types of ministries functioning under its umbrella.

Here at Faith we screamed, repeatedly, at the top of our collective lung, that we were doing what we did submitting to the CGGC Statements of Faith and Mission and Vision...all of which are originalist in focus, even employing our founders' "New Testament plan" language.

And, by the way, no one disputed that we were pursuing our body's beliefs or mission or vision.


And George, and his gang, did an far as I know...unprecedented act, as far as I know, never even contemplated in the CGGC before...a revolutionary act:

In the case of Faith, they expelled, from the ministry of the Conference, a congregation fiercely loyal to the teachings and espoused practices of the Conference and denomination, and which was, incidentally, fiercely originalist and devoted to the vision and first ways of the founders of our movement.


As I say, I don't claim to understand but my thought is that... the people who participated in George's Facebook thread indicated...

...the leaders of the Conference would happily welcome an originalist Churches of God church.

But, it seems to me, that such a church would have, first of all, to have been cowed...domesticated.

It would have to kowtow to the authority of the Conference hierarchy BEFORE and BEYOND the authority of the Bible as its only rule of faith and practice.

It would have to be subservient to the rule of the ERC institutional hierarchy.

It could never operate in the Conference community prophetically.


The Conference hierarchy is fiercely loyal to its paradigm. It fights, to the ecclesiological death, any who challenge its church, pastor, hierarch-focused paradigm...

...a paradigm that has failed and is failing.

And, any church, of any type that blends in with that paradigm will always be welcome in the ERC.

Everyone and every church that has a prophetic way of functioning in the body be damned.


So, yeah, George, an originalist congregation might be successful. But, from our experience here, if its loyal to the radical, original Church of God vision, it will never be welcomed.

We must repent.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Achilles Heel In Dave Williams' Definition of a Life-Giving Church

I've now seen Dave's diagram (in the form of a building...a BUILDING) to describe what a life-giving church is.

Of course, there is no place in the New Testament that says to a church, "Be life-giving" or "Be a healthy, life-giving church."

To Dave's credit, he doesn't ignore the Word, as many on the various CGGC mountaintops have done in recent decades.

The question I was asking myself, even beforehand, has been if Dave will merely foist his own ideas, and the ideas of the Shepherd Mafia, on Scripture.

Obviously, we can disagree about interpretation but I will offer this fact regarding Dave's definition of a life-giving church which is a fact which cannot be disputed.

Dave's definition of a life-giving church has four "rooms" in the building plus a foundation. Each of these Dave supports with a verse or a passage of Scripture. In all, Dave cites 21 verses of Scripture.

The word "church" is absent in all 21 verses. The word church doesn't appear even one time in the verses Dave uses to define a life-giving church. 

I have some big-picture thoughts about the significance of Dave's whole scheme and I'll probably say more later but, for now, briefly:

1. It's like an old fashioned topical sermon: Five Characteristics of a Life-Giving Church.
First point--"It says that Jesus is lord." Second point, etc.... Of course, the preacher picks the points in a topical sermon, jumping hither and yon around the Bible so that the whole thing may be from the Bible but the truth in it is the preacher's truth.

2. Clearly, even worse, it's eisegetical, or, it starts with Dave's opinion and imposes that opinion on Scripture. It does not draw truth from Scripture. The passages Dave uses don't mention church. In context, they are not about the church. Dave makes them about church and goes further and makes them about a life-giving church.

3. Disastrously for our future, this is the sort of thing, coming down from CGGC mountaintoppers for decades, that has added fuel to the incredible cynicism that abounds across the body. People know that this is Dave's opinion. Generally, I think most of us like Dave. But, are we going to go bonkers and alter our ministries around what's obvious is only his opinion?

Same old, same old.

We need to change. We must repent.