Monday, August 21, 2017

Let's Not Take It Literally

Much of New Testament theology is based on ideas drawn from the literal creation and existence of Adam and Eve This common, seldom questioned, oft repeated, historical fallacy of a literal Adam and Eve in a literal garden, with a literal talking serpent antagonist, has been the foundational explanation of how mankind arrived on the scene and ultimately fell from grace. However, the story serves as more of a political statement of what Israelite culture was not to be. It is a clear placing of blame for sin, evil and disobedience clearly on women (matriarchy) and a societal shift to correct the damage (Patriarchy). In fact, we have no choice, as this one literal act was supposed to have condemned all future humanity to eternal death without recourse! But did it? If it never really happened in time and space, then perhaps we need another look.

To set the stage, anyone who is familiar with the elements of the higher criticism knows that there are two creation of man stories in Genesis. The first, or Priestly Account, was written in the fifth century B.C. and extends from the beginning of Genesis through verse 3 of chapter 2. The second, or Jehovistic Account, begins with verse 4 of chapter 2 and extends through the third chapter. This version of the story was written in the eighth century B.C. It is interesting to note that the second account is about 300 years older than the first. They are two different accounts and are not compatible with their "facts." Orthodox Christians insist that both stories must be true and compatible, even though they contradict each other on many points, as do the birth, death, and resurrection accounts in the New Testament. Admitting this, however, would hurt faith and faith always comes before facts to literalists. "Faith" sometimes, is what covers the facts so we are not uncomfortable. When all else fails, you will be lashed with "the wisdom of man is foolishness with God". That will pretty much end the discussion.

The simple fact is however, Adam/Eve and Original Sin never LITERALLY happened in space, time and history. The idea that man literally came in an instant just 6000 years ago in the form of an Adam and Eve is simply not based in FACT. It is mythology, and not an original one at that.
The hypothetical first man of the Bible was rightly named Adam, since the first Adam , which means "MAN" was made out of "adamah" which means "earth". Adam was not so much who he was, but what he was. The Romans called men "homo" since he was made out of "humus". And other mythologies have man made of clay and blood mixed and formed. It is a common origin story, not unique to Genesis. Taking a woman from male parts is also not unique to the Bible account.
Now all through the pages of the Bible, of course, it is considered a real event. That is the nature of the Bible. Or at least that is the nature of the Bible when read by literalists, who perhaps are unaware of any deeper, though not literally intended meaning.

A couple of years ago, while teaching an anatomy class for a massage class, I reminded them that they needed to know that humans had twelve pairs of ribs, ten fixed and two floating pairs. Several students brought up the with the Biblical story of human origins being literally true, informed me that "of course, men have one less rib than women " I said no, that women did not literally come from the rib of man , an expendable part, no matter how close to his heart the smooze might have you believe. The Genesis story was not explaining biology and human origins. One girl said she was telling her father and he'd be calling me. He never did... darn!

Paul clearly plays off his belief in the literal truth of Adam and Eve to make a very ignorant point of supposed truth to the early Church. This "truth" is designed just as much to keep women out of the male church as the OT law was designed to keep women out of the male system.

"Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. FOR (this is the reason why to Paul) Adam was formed first, THEN Eve. And Adam was NOT deceived, but the woman being deceived, FELL into transgression. Nevertheless (I, Paul, still have a role for her to fulfill), she will be saved in childbearing (though painfully which was part of the punishment in Genesis), IF they continue in faith, love, and holiness with self control. I Timothy 2:11-15

Do you honestly believe this is why women should not speak in a church, or if they have questions, go ask their husbands? So plainly Paul bases his teaching on a mythology that he believed to be literally true.

Perhaps you think I think they were all lying. I don't think they were lying for what they knew or believed, any more than I think Elijah or Jesus knew that remains of Neanderthals lay under their feet in Jerusalem or in Caves of Carmel. (They do). The answer is, of course Jesus believed it was literally true, or at least the writers who put their own reflections on Adam and Eve in Jesus mouth believed it. This was a COMMON practice in the writings of the time Western Christians are most unfamiliar with. "God said it, I believe it, that settles it for me" is the phrase that indicates a general ignorance as to how many conversations in the Bible are written. It is often written as fact, what the author imagines the character to have said in such an instance. Jesus' alone time in the Garden of comes to mind. Who wrote his prayer down? Did he tell the sleeping disciples what he said in his personal prayer minutes before his arrest. No .  An author made up what he imagined Jesus would say in such a predicament.

It might also help to point out that Paul also believed that marriage was to avoid fornication but the best choice was to remain single like him. Do you believe that is valid thinking? I don't. Ask a Catholic Priest! Paul says a true widow, who lives in pleasure, is dead while she lives. (I Tim. 5:6). Do you believe that is a balanced truth about widows? Paul says younger widows will weaken and grow wanton against Christ and cast off their faith and marry, the marriage being the proof of her wantonness. Do you believe this? I don't.

Paul says weak people marry and single people think only of Jesus, while married people think only of pleasing their mate. Do you believe this? I don't. I know lots of mates who don't. I don't remember a lot of wives telling me ask their husbands to stop paying so much attention to them.

I don't remember any singles so caught up with Jesus and the Church, I had to tell them stop it. Paul was naïve about relationships in the extreme. Perhaps because he seems not to have had any quality ones in his personal life given what we have about him. Paul said he had the power to lead around a wife. I doubt most women were interested in his power to lead them around.

In another place Paul says "for the man comes not from the woman, but the woman from the man" referring back to the Adam myth. Do you believe that biologically? I don't. No one does today, at least no one with an open, functioning mind not clouded by years of superstition, fear and compliance to the expectations of others.

One of the benefits of making mythology literally true is that one can formulate laws to prevent the literal problems from happening again. In the origins stories it is WOMEN who take the biggest hit. It is not possible to make laws against various things, or institute whole religious systems if the origin stories are perceived as mythical. They must to have literally happened to enforce literal laws and control people.

While not literally true, the story of the fall of woman and matriarchy, which it really is, has been used by the men of the Old Testament, predominately the controlling priesthood, to re-institute patriarchy and protect Israelite men from the dangers of surrounding Goddess worship.

Minoan Snake Goddess

It is no coincidence the great counselor to the female Goddesses (Astarte, Ishtar, Isis, and many more) of the nations around Israel, was the wise and benevolent Serpent. In a Goddess oriented society, birth and reproduction was the sole function of the female. This was real mystery to the male who could not connect the events of nine months previous to the birth. Women were mystical. They could produce humans. Remember, the male spermatozoa was not discovered until 1677 by Hamm and Leeuwenhoek and the female ovum by Baer until 1827! It is no coincidence that once the woman was again connected to the how of birth process after 1827, women began to demand equal rights again with men.

In a Goddess oriented society, women get a lot of respect as well. The Goddess could give her property to all her children. It did not matter who the fathers were. Specific paternity with multiple partners could not be proved. If they were hers, and she'd know, they were family! But this would not do in Israelite society. If Israelite men cohabited with "pagan women", property could go to these women when the man died and this was unacceptable. The nation was in danger. Matriarchy had to be prevented in Israel and Patriarchy installed to enforce paternity and the laws of inheritance.
The Goddess concept had to go. God now HAD to be male. And with a male God, only marriage could prove fatherhood and property rights of children. One woman to serve the one man. Any children would be his children and only his children would get the land. It would not be lost to a pagan wife or unmarried woman.

Remember too that women in the Patriarchal Israelite society were basically property. Much like we still see today in the Middle East. "You shall not covet your neighbors house (thing), your neighbors wife (thing), nor his male or female servants (things), or his ox , nor his donkey (things), nor any (thing) that is your neighbors" (Ex 20:17) .

In Genesis, Lot was able to barter his things, (daughters), to the town folk so that his guests would not be raped. (The rape of strangers was not sexual, it was to humiliate and warn them to not endanger the clan hometown). Lot was concerned about his image as being a safe and hospitable man to these men. When he fled Sodom he begged not to go Zoar, but rather the mountains, as he knew what his fate would be at the hands of some of the men of Zoar, symbolic humiliation.

In war, it was fine for Israelite soldiers to take the girls who could show signs of their virginity (don't even imagine it), and kill those who could not prove it. You can take your enemies' "things", just not your neighbors.

Most laws against sexuality were enforced, often fatally, to serve as warning to others and insure paternity. A woman was not stoned if raped in the country because she is assumed to have cried out for help and no one could hear. She was stoned for not crying out for help if raped in the city as this might indicate she was enjoying herself, and the paternity of the baby might not be known.

You might notice the pattern through history of first the Goddess alone, fertile and a mystery. Then as suspicion of a male role in birth arose, the Goddess takes a male consort, though always portrayed as smaller and less powerful than her. Then as connection between the male contribution to birth is more suspected, the consort becomes her equal and the shift that she becomes his equal occurs, as we see in Egyptian culture.

Egyptian Menkaura and Queen

Next, the male begins to feel that he alone is the cause of the mystery of birth and the female is a mere incubator. Now we have the death of Matriarchy and the Goddess and the birth of male dominated Old Testament Patriarchy. We now have a God that doesn't even have a consort, needs no company, knows no female and reproduces all by himself.

From this we have the story fall of the goddess in Genesis 2, and her evil (though never alluded to as Satan... that was added later) serpent counselor. The fall, caused by Eve (the goddess) is the reason for every evil thing to come and why humanity is the way it is. Therefore, she now only gets to have babies painfully and be subject to the one man. This is the meaning of Genesis 2 and 3.

Let me be perfectly clear. The story of the fall of man or woman or both never literally happened. It is a mythology written for the purpose of derailing and dethroning goddess worship in ancient Israel. It is to avoid the attendant risks of losing land to pagan wives and men finding more theological satisfaction in Goddess worship and fertility rights than in being controlled body, mind, spirit by a male Priesthood with all it's attendant obligations.

New Testament authors reach back to The Fall as literally true for the same reasons. Modern Christian do the same, some thinking it is literally true, and many other individual pastors KNOWING it is not, but hey, "I'd lose my job".

So why do I bother to write about the mythology of Adam/Eve and Original Sin, and invite the scorn of literalists? Well first of all, I used to believe and teach it faithfully myself as a literal fact. As a pastor, I did not have the guts to publicly question church teaching. And by church, I mean all denominations. I am past that stage now and am seeking the simple truth for me and my life, which I will never again give over to the group, the organization or "the church". Had the information available to me today been available when I was younger, I never would have gone into the ministry. All denominations only teach what supports the view of some founding individual.

I have learned that when science makes a mistake, they generally examine it, admit it, change it and appreciate the information that can still be used. When religions make a mistake, they simply kill the person who pointed it out, and perpetuate the Dark Ages. It is no coincidence they arose shortly after the establishment of literalist Christianity with its torture, forced conversions, state sanctioned edicts of truth and deeply troubled want to be's. I suggest a study on Martin Luther's attitude toward Jewish people to properly curl your toes and give you insight as to how the holocaust could have come about in Germany.

So back to the original premise. Adam and Eve did not literally exist in space and time. There was no Garden of Eden in the salt flats in southern Iraq. There was no talking serpent (a sure sign of a mythology). The events of the Fall have the deeply political and theological intent to dethrone goddess worship and thus all women from any special treatment or adoration save for having babies painfully and serving men. We, meaning every human to come along since, did not fall into sin because of Adam, from which we must be theologically extracted by bloodletting of any sort. If the events did not literally take place, the consequences did not either. Perhaps one can now feel they were born right the first time.

It's a long and painfully negative road to attempt to go from a being whose "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it" to the absolute requirement to become "perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect". No pressure to perform there!

I spent 26 years with these concepts. I met NO perfect people, "like your Father in heaven is perfect"--NONE. None were close. None were much on their way.(Nor were they "mature" as their father in heaven is "mature")

 I met a lot of wonderfully normal people, but also, a lot who never could feel quite good enough to be who they are, and a feeling somehow this is just not achievable.

Being told that it is God and the Holy Spirit that will now do this for us, or maybe to us (whether by unconditional love, which seemed to have lots of conditions, or by grace, which in practical fact had a lot of laws), never really helped. Even Paul, depending on the book he may or may not have literally authored, never quite seems sure where law and grace, faith and works converge, or if they do.

This is what literalist Christianity does to people. Literalist, Patriarchal Christianity thrives on division. If it has no enemy, it has no purpose or motivation. There can be no "we only" without a "not them". There can be no "chosen" without the "unchosen" . There can be no "converted" without "the unconverted". And certainly no "true church" without the "false church".

When it finally discovers (don't worry, it won't) that the inerrant and literally true Book is neither inerrant nor literally true, it will have to face the fact that literalist teachings, Christian or Fundamentalist Islam, have been responsible for more damnable repression and destruction of the body, mind and spirit than a literal Satan could ever dream of.

We're all here to learn. I don't ask you to see the world of religion and theology through my eyes, nor would most. I got here with my own experiences, curiosity and need to know. However, I do encourage you to see it through your own eyes, and not as interpreted for you by Apostles, Ayatollah's, Prophet's, Priests and King's , AKA Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack or Robert Thiel, James Malm and the entire  host of theological midgets and  misfits.

Do Dreamers In Africa Validate Apostate U.S. COG Splinter Group Leader?

In his never ending quest to make himself look legitimate in the eyes of his African followers and a hundred or so U.S members, Almost-arrested and jailed Bob Thiel is trotting out another man in Africa who claims to have dreamed about him as PROOF he is a legitimate prophet of God.  If he really was a true minister of God, a prophet, an apostle, and any of the other names he has taken for himself, he would NOT need some disturbed individuals dreaming dreams about him.  His words would be the lightening rod that stirs people up. People would either be enthralled at his works or be raging against him. But for some reason, all we hear is a little escaping toot from the guy who seems to be attempting to hold his gas in.  No one in the world takes his message seriously.  No prophetic warning has brought people to repentance.  No government is persecuting him.

Amos Thiel knows that people realize he lied about his dreams and that Gaylyn Bonjour had no intention of doubly blessing him as an "ordination" in order to set up a splinter group.  He had to realize things were bad when even Gaylyn Bonjour denied his interpretation of events.  Ever since Rod Meredith crushed Elisha Thiel's dream of being a recognized prophet of the church, Thiel has been scrambling ever since to make a name for himself.

His fellow "brethren" from LCG look at him as a laughing stock and a certified liar.  They know what he was like while part of the church.  Word quickly spread about him through the COG when he apostatized from LCG.   Since 99.99% of the COG turned their backs on him he has had to resort to other tactics in order to gather a following.

Never fear, Africa comes to the rescue.  Never one to let an American church ministry go to waste, the Africans jumped at the chance to join with Thiel, hoping for money, seeds, computers, and more.

Habakkuk Thiel then ordains some of his followers in order to have them ordain him as a prophet of some thing/creature he calls god.

Still being ridiculed, he has to resort to conning his members to dream about him.  After all, dreams are a sign from his god and his idols Herbert and Loma Armstrong had dreams.  What more could a prophet want?

Dream Report
Many of you are aware that a two-part dream preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God and some dreams preceded the start of the Continuing Church of God (details are in the article Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).
A while back, when I was last in Kenya, I was told that Frederick Ochieng had a dream related to the Continuing Church of God. He sent me an email on it that somehow never made to me, so he again sent information about it yesterday:
Dear pastor
Greetings pastor.  I believe you are doing good though you are having great thrust of fulfilling Matthew 28:19 of which we must do before the return of Christ. …
I had two dreams
1. Before our family joined CCOG my father was then working with voice in the Wilderness Church of God. When I was sleeping I had a dream and in my dream I saw a light and the light was not normal, the one who was standing by the was You pastor Bob according to my dream. Then I had voice shouting, “Arise you who are sleeping, for the Lord is near.” I again I heard another voice shouting, “Come up Evans and let us do the work we are called to do.” I then saw a man dressed in white clothes join hands with my father walking together towards a very big lake then I woke up.
2: In my second dream some weeks after my first dream and in my second dream I saw almost the same dream and now this was in New Zealand. I did not know about the CCOG group in New Zealand before I had the dream.
Related to the first part of the dream, his father, Evans Ochieng came with the Continuing Church of God in March of 2014–with him, etc. we had about 260 people in Africa. His father told me in 2017 that Frederick also said his dream showed that we would have much growth in Africa. As of late 2017, we have around 3000 in Africa. So, that part of the dream was confirmed.
As far as New Zealand goes, the first congregation that came with the CCOG was the group in New Zealand. When I asked Frederick Ochieng about New Zealand he said knew nothing about New Zealand and any connection with the CCOG prior to his dream. While we have not have much membership growth in New Zealand itself, those in New Zealand have been heavily involved in doing the work to reach people around the world. They have been the primary editors of our church publications, have developed a website, put up and managed our Bible News Prophecy Flipboard page, and have produced our Bible News Prophecy online radio. His dream may have been telling him that I (Bob Thiel) was working with those in New Zealand to help fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20 to reach the world.
While few dreams are from God (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:7; Zechariah 10:2), the Bible shows that God has often used dreams (Genesis 20:3-7, 28:10-17, 31:10-13, 31:24, 37:5-10, 40:5-18, 41:1-32; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13-15; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; Acts 16:9).

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Do The Various COG's Actually Love Those In Other Groups?

A reader here asked the following question on a previous post.  It is not the first time this question has ever been asked, nor will it be the last.

Hi all. This may be an odd question but do splinters like cogwa, ucg, pcg, lcg, do re me, consider themselves "sister" churches or something like that?? When something happens at a splinter...oh..sorry..sister church, it is refereed to as such. I don't get it. All seem to hold same beliefs(?) as far as Holy Days and even same publication style. I don't get it..I just don't get it. 

Oh..and thank any readers who can shed some know...the one we are not suppose to hide under a bushel like talents that never got developed because what's the use everything is ending..thing. What's the benefit in that folks?
The Wanderer 
Most of the COG's are hypocrites when they say they love their fellow brethren in other splinter groups.  The only time you ever see them shaking hands, hugging, or smiling at each other is at a funeral.  Then everyone sits there saying, "he/she died in the faith" while privately thinking, "his/her salvation may be at stake because they were not members of the true end time work."

Each and every group out there seems to think they and they alone are the rightful heirs to the "truth."  Many of them claim to be practicing "first century Christianity" yet turn their backs on former brethren.

Far too many look back at the glory days of the Worldwide Church of God in the 50's and 60's where "love and community" supposedly reigned supreme.  Never was a word mention in any magazine article, member letter or booklet that things were not the "Ozzie and Harriet" world as it has always been portrayed.  Families were being broken up at that time, marriages ruined and lives lost.

The glaring problems of the church came to the forefront after Armstrong died and the splintering started.  Some of the most vile and hate-filled things were said about church members that never went along with certain groups.  The leaders and fellow ordained men were the instigators of that.  It is the leadership of the hundreds and hundreds of COG's that have separated the brethren.

Just look at UCG and COGWA.  One week they were all slapping each other on the back and the next week thousands left along with 3/4 of the ministry, with each side thinking they and they alone were right in yet another split.

Look at Gerald Flurry and his vile policy requiring PCG members to turned their backs on spouses, siblings, children, and friends who have left the church or had no desire to join up with Flurry and remained in a splinter group.

Dave Pack thinks he is going to unify the church with tens of thousands jumping ship to join his most superfantabulous work ever.

Many of them actually think the Church will soon be unified when everyone flees to Petra.  Can you imagine the hell on earth Petra will be when all of the self-appointed splinter group leaders arrive and start fighting over who is in charge!  If these members who do show up there do the right thing, they would throw every single splinter group leader out of the place!

Since all of these men claim to be Christian, then why do they act so spiteful with each other?

All of them short-shift Jesus to the back burner and place the emphasis on the law and preaching about "God's kingdom" whatever that is since it has hundreds of different meanings according to each of them.  Love, grace, mercy, and justification are not found in the law.  The law leads to death and offers no salvation:

Romans 4:15-16New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us,
Or, another take in the vernacular:
Romans 4:15-16The Message (MSG)
13-15 That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.
16 This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions andthose who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.
Until the hundreds and hundreds of Churches of God start practicing grace, mercy, and justice, the Church of God will NEVER be unified. It is an impossibility.

Philadelphia Church of God Ministerial Conference Topics: 34 Hours Of Legalistic Hell

Anon 2 3:45 wrote:
"18 Lectures over 34 hours in 5 days of BS is still....well you know."

Can you imagine sitting there for 34 hours listening to these morons speak on the following topics? Never once was Jesus mentioned, the New Covenant, grace, mercy, justice were never part of the conference.  What was promoted were ways for the ministers to keep the members under control and every thing possible directing PCG ministers to the old covenant.

Prophet/Apostle Gerald Flurry...“Micah and the throne of David,” around the scripture that specifically discusses a king inside God’s Church:...Mr. Flurry’s next two messages centered on “Ezra and the  throne of David.” The ruin-raising book of Ezra-Nehemiah is for the pcg today, yet it is missing David’s throne. We are bringing the throne into that picture. He talked about how Ezra established the law and administered God’s government. He also shared new revelation God gave about Jeremiah’s commission, showing how it provides further scriptural proof that a change in the throne was necessary.  The first two of these messages were played in all congregations in late July and early August. 
In his fourth message, Mr. Flurry encouraged the ministers to fall in love with the Bible. He used examples from Ezra, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Armstrong, and even Dr. Eilat Mazar—both in terms of her using the Bible as a guidebook for her archeology and the need to dig into Bible study. He also gave the ministers practical instruction on pastoral matters such as inviting people to services and helping single Church members.
Evangelist Stephen Flurry...showed video footage of Queen Elizabeth ii’s coronation in 1953, revealing how steeped in the Bible it was. He then detailed the problems plaguing the current royal family, particularly since the throne moved this past January. He then gave seven characteristics we need to develop as God’s king-priests.
Stephen Flurry amplified that theme in his second lecture, “Step Forward and Lead,” giving practical instruction from Paul’s pastoral epistles on how ministers can implement God’s government in our homes and congregations, and help the Church’s families to do the same. He also gave the sermon on the Sabbath on the subject of “ The New Royal Family,” showing how God’s people today have replaced the British royal family and must act accordingly.
Pastor Andrew Locher...compared the current state of the pcg with that of the wcg in 1981 in terms of spiritual organization, corporate structure,  finances, members, ministers, congregations—and showed how God really has raised the ruins of Mr. Armstrong’s work “As in the Days of Old.”
Yeah right.  WCG had 150,000 members, Flurry is lucky to have 3,000-4,000 these days.
Evangelist Wayne Turgeon...built his first lecture around the motto of Ambassador College “Recapture God’s True Values,” detailing several of these values including love, temperance, humility, dependability, initiative, enthusiasm, and repentance.
Wayne Turgeon preaching on love, humility, and repentance is hilarious.  We have all read here over the years how he exemplifies NONE of these characteristics.  He was a pompous jerk when he was here in Pasadena and that has not changed.
Pastor Brian Davis...“Make Full Proof of Your Ministry,” instructing on how to strengthen Church members and help their joy, protect the flock, anticipate problems, develop our minds, and improve our education.
Preaching Elder Brad Macdonald...advocated “Using Bible Prophecy in Our Daily Ministry,”
Elder Ryan Malone...shared practical help on “ the Importance of Using Analogies, Metaphors and Comparisons in Teaching and Speaking” in helping people grasp abstract spiritual truths.  
These are perfect topics for a guy still in the closet.
Another recurring theme was the ministers’ need, both personally and in counseling people, to overcome human nature and purge human reasoning, and to rely on God and His government.
When has any COG minister EVER purged human reasoning?  It is impossible!  Particularly for cult ministers set in their ways and seeking to control members. They certainly are not thinking godly.
Evangelist Alex Harrison’s first lecture, “I Can of Myself Do Nothing,” was built on a 2004 article by Gerald Flurry to the ministry about submitting to God in every detail and allowing Him to supply the wisdom needed to serve God’s people.
Pastor Wik Heerma spoke on how important it is for ministers and members to “Overcome the Works of the Flesh” and walk in the Spirit. 
Pastor Fred Dattolo contrasted “God’s Law vs. Satan’s Law,” exposing ways we can unwittingly obey Satan’s law of vanity, or self-love; then describing how to obey the spirit of each of the Ten Commandments.  
Pastor Joel Hilliker showed how we must live “ the Way of the Servant,” which primarily means listening to and carrying out our Master’s (and our physical boss’s) instructions precisely and cheerfully. 
In other words, being autotrons slobbering at the feet of the Dear Leader and clinging to every word he says as if God himself was speaking it.
Mr. Harrison’s second lecture drew on Mr. Armstrong’s example to prove that “God Doesn’t Play Second Fiddle” and that our hearts must be fully in His Work.
Hearts must be fully engaged in promoting and paying for Gerald's imaginary work, while telling Jesus to screw off.
Pastor Cal Culpepper spoke on the need to “Strengthen the Family of God,” specifically by instructing men to lead their lives and their families with robust male Christian leadership. 
What a hypocritical prick Culpepper is to be preaching about this topic!  He has ripped families apart. Separated children from parents.  He has ordered family members to abandon a child at the mall so the state could take care of it; so the parents could give more money to the church.  The list of abominable atrocities he has committed is long and have been documented here and on other blogs and web sites.
Mr. Turgeon finished the conference with a lecture on how to build “God’s Uncommon Sense,” growing in wisdom and judgment through understanding God’s law and principles of cause and effect.
The law trumps everything.