Exit and Support Network

Are You Questioning Whether To Stay in Philadelphia Church of God?

Have you ever experienced disillusionment concerning what Gerald Flurry has done or taught? Have you and your family really been happy, successful and free from fear, doubt, guilt and shame?

Or do you feel weighed down, overwhelmed with burdens, feeling you can never measure up to what "God's government" demands, and even angry at times?

Do you have assurance of your salvation? If you died, are you certain that you would be in the first resurrection? Or do you worry that God's Holy Spirit might be taken if you refrained from doing certain works (i. e., being obedient enough), left the PCG, or were disfellowshipped?

Have you ever questioned why God would say things like, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3), then take away His Spirit from you so quickly and without any hope, especially if you were ever "marked"?

Do you question why Gerald Flurry (if he is truly "that prophet") is demanding more and more money from you, yet spending it for seemingly extravagant items and lavish buildings?

Have you questioning his harsh "no-contact" ruling which has caused you to break off all relationships with your loved ones outside, labeling them "Laodiceans"? Have you questioned if it is Christ-like to be told you must cut off from unbaptized children and spouses?

Have you sensed or experienced an glaring lack of genuine love shown in PCG?

If you have ever had these nagging questions and doubts in your mind, it doesn't mean you have harbored a "bad attitude," are "rebellious," or are "letting Satan get to you." You are simply using your own God-given critical thinking skills to question certain things that don't seem right to you.

Ask yourself what Gerald Flurry has to gain if he is able to exert total control over your life and emotions?

Is his motivation to really help you to escape the Great Tribulation and to be in God's Kingdom? Do you think that is the main reason why he admonishes you to stay in PCG? Haven't you ever questioned why he (and his ministers) would seemingly act so ruthless as they toss people out of this "one true church"?

Is that the way Jesus behaved towards sinners that He came to die for? The Scriptures show that while Jesus used strong language to denounce the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, He was always merciful and compassionate with the common people. Isn't this what the gospels teach when you read them straight through?

Why would Gerald Flurry picture God as authoritarian and quick to wrath towards His own children? Is this the picture Jesus revealed to us of the Father?

Why are PCG and Gerald Flurry equated somehow with God? In other words, "Leave PCG and you leave God."

There are thousands of other totalitarian religious groups in society who claim that they alone are the "one true Church of God." They all claim to have the answers to the questions about life, and they all say God is working (and revealing His revelation) only through them. Did you know they teach some of the same doctrines and use some of the same fear methods that Gerald Flurry does? They believe they are the elect who are the only ones proclaiming the true gospel and the end time warning message to the world. They talk about the Kingdom of God which will be set and how they will rule with Christ. Their members are required to tithe. But the reoccurring theme in all of them is fear and intimidation. Members fear to disobey or to leave the organization (i. e., "God's one true church"). They fear something bad (a "curse") will happen to them if they don't obey the "Government," the "authority," the "minister." They fear to stop sending money, to not attend all their holy day convocations; they fear to question the leader (who "stands in God's place").

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." ~II Timothy 1:7

High demand groups (ones where you are kept constantly busy; your activities revolving around the group and what you can do for the group) have many things in common with each other. Take a look at Identifying Marks of an Exploitive, Abusive Group and honestly ask yourself if you have ever had any of those techniques used on you? Another one you might want to exam is Leaders of Totalistic Groups Have These Traits in Common. Does anything in there sound familiar?

Could it be possible that Gerald Flurry wants to do your thinking for you? If not, why do you fear to go to him with questions and doubts that you may have? And if you do go to him, why does he refuse to answer you, or end up suspending you? If he believes he "speaks for God," that would explain why he would not want anyone to challenge his authority or teachings.

Was anyone in the New Testament ever put out of the church for asking questions? Did Jesus throw Peter off because he denied Him in a moment of temptation? Christ showed Himself to Peter after His resurrection (I Corinthians 15:5), and before He ascended to Heaven, but instead of harshly rebuking him and casting him off, He asked him if he loved Him. (John 21:15-17). Peter had failed the Lord, but the Lord still loved him, because He died for him. There is no greater love than that. (John 15:13)

"...having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." ~John 13:1

Do you remember when you were free at one time to research on your own, to think for yourself, and to make your own decisions? How did that freedom come to be hampered by fear? How have you come to the place where you no longer trust your own mind? You were admonished to "Believe the Bible, not me!" But why is it when one becomes a member, they must then believe (and obey) whatever Gerald Flurry says, or face the consequences, mainly being thrown out?

Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Is it loving to use fear and intimidation in order to compel people to obey God? Is it loving to only accept others if they perform in certain ways and shun them, or cast them off, if they don't? Is it loving to turn a deaf ear to members' sufferings simply because you've been made to believe they "deserve it"? Is it true love to turn your back on your own family outside of PCG and to tear apart close relationships, causing untold agony?

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." ~I John 4:7-8

Do the Scriptures say that we must "obey God's government" in order to have God love us? What is "God's government" anyway?1 Is it possible it is only Headquarters' rules and demands?

Be honest with yourself. Wasn't it a man who first got us interested in searching for mysteries, truths and new revelations? He posed questions such as: "What is truth?" "What is our destiny?" "Where are we going?" "Who was Jesus Christ?" "Why all the suffering on this earth?" And we were furnished black and white answers.

Do we really need to have all our questions answered if we have Christ Jesus caring for us, guiding us, teaching us, and ministering to our every need through His Holy Spirit which He freely gives?

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" ~Philippians 4:19

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." ~I Peter 5:7

The real truth is that we are never going to have all the answers to life. But God has made a way for us to know Him in a close, personal way. Were the Israelites under the old covenants ever promised such? To the contrary, they were promised only material blessings. But the blessings under the New Covenant are far greater. Not only can we personally know God in this lifetime, but we can abide with Him forever. He loved us that much. Shouldn't that be the most important thing?

It is not the Philadelphia Church of God, or any other offshoot, that we should seek or strive to be a member of. When we understand the motive behind these controlling groups, we can come to understand that our focus should be on the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has already done for us, not on our failings. He wants us to respond to Him out of love, not fear. He died for us and rose again in order that we might receive eternal life by doing no more and no less than believing on Him.

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:" ~John 1:12

The Word of God shows that it is Christ we are to be identified with. We are called to Him, not to any specific group or denomination.

He beckons us to come to Him freely.

"...And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." ~Revelation 22:27

We must not become swayed from the simple truth that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary. We are told in the Scriptures in a very clear and simple way that we are justified (made right before God) by faith and not by works.2 Let's not let some man deceive us in regard to these things.

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified". ~Galatians 2:16

To believe that we need to add anything to our faith in Jesus Christ destroys the Gospel. And keep in mind that the true gospel is a gospel about Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. It is referred to in the Scriptures after Christ's resurrection as: "the gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16; 15:19); "the gospel of peace" (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15); "the gospel of His Son" (Romans 1:9); "the glorious gospel of Christ" (I Corinthians 9:18; II Corinthians 4:4); "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24); "the gospel of Jesus Christ" (Mark 1:1); "the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1), the "gospel of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:13) and "the glorious gospel of God" (I Timothy 1:11).

Every religious "cult" and false religion instructs people to do something for God in order to win His favor and avoid His punishment. But faith is an accomplished act. We can't put the new into the old. We can't put the old covenant into the grace of the New Testament and Covenant. We have everything we need in Christ Jesus, and that includes having the righteousness of God that enables us to stand before a holy God. (See: My Position in Christ)

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." ~II Corinthians 5:21

"But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested...even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference" ~Romans 3:21-22

We can have confidence that we have complete forgiveness for all our sins (Hebrews 10:12; I John 2:2), as a result of what Christ has already done for us on Calvary. It is finished!

"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ... For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."~Hebrews 10:10, 14

Don't be afraid to question any of the things PCG is teaching, or to read your Bible without the literature or sermons from PCG (or another similar offshoot). If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and believe in what He did for you on Calvary, you can be assured that He has given you His Holy Spirit and you are His child forever. The Lord Jesus has promised that He will not cast out any who come to Him, and that eternal life is found in Him. It is not contingent upon being in a certain organization or church. Who are you going to believe?

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." ~I John 5:11

You can ask God to make the words of the Bible real to you and He will open your understanding. This is not the "understanding" that PCG has offered you. In fact, sit down with your Bible, and sincerely ask Him to show you where something is not right with what Flurry is teaching and to lead you away from error. Believe that He will show you.

By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™

NOTE: If you have already exited PCG, see our sections: Healing From Emotional and Spiritual Abuse and Understanding Mind Control & Exploitive Groups.

NOTE: If you were raised in PCG, see our section for Child Survivors.

Related Articles:

Where is the True Church?

Getting the Group Out of Us

An End to Guilt (Excellent message that focuses on the unconditional love of God and gives a clear understanding of grace)

Because God Loves Me

The Law of Moses and the Grace of God

Footnotes:

1 When high demand, authoritarian groups refer to obeying "God's government," "the government of God," etc., it is always intended to mean their group's headquarters. However, "government of God" is not mentioned in Scripture. While false teachers will use 2 Peter 2:10: "...despise government..." to try to correlate this somehow with "God's government" (which the member is to always obey), the verse preceding 2 Peter 2:10 shows that Peter is talking about "the unjust." Those who are in Christ Jesus (who have trusted in and placed their faith in Him) are not in the category of being "unjust." This word really means "dominion" and occurs few times in the Bible.

2 Works of faith are different than striving to keep the Mosaic Law in order to "qualify" for salvation. Read: Are We Still Under the Law in Spite of Grace?


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