(Philadelphia Church of God)
Below are copies of three documents sent out from Philadelphia Church of God headquarters to their ministers and which were read as announcements to all their congregations.
For more info on understanding how behavior is controlled in destructive groups, refer to Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Thought Reform.
Also read the book: The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing & Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church in order to determine whether this correspondence could be considered “spiritual abuse.”
Note:This correspondence was originally sent out with bolded text which we have removed.
[Document #1 – Regarding PCG Bible Studies]:
F A X C O R R E S P O N D E N C E
PLEASE HAVE THIS LETTER READ, AS AN ANNOUNCEMENT, IN ALL YOUR CONGREGATIONS OF THE SABBATH OF 8-27-05.
“MR. FLURRY HAS TWO BIBLE STUDIES PER MONTH BEING GIVEN AT HEADQUARTERS. THOSE ARE SENT TO THE FIELD, BUT IT ISN’T MANDATORY THAT BOTH BE PLAYED. HE HAS GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY TO REGIONAL DIRECTORS IN DECIDING IF BOTH ARE TO BE PLAYED.
I HAVE DECIDED TO HAVE ONLY ONE BIBLE STUDY EACH MONTH IN THE NORTH CENTRAL REGION. EACH CONGREGATION WILL HAVE A BIBLE STUDY OF THE FIRST SABBATH OF EACH MONTH. EFFECTIVE THE FIRST SABBATH IN NOVEMBER. NO BIBLE STUDY TAPES/CD’S ARE TO BE HELD OVER. AFTER PLAYING IT, DESTROY IT AND ANY OTHERS YOU STILL HAVE AT THAT TIME.
[Document #2 – Regarding PCG church picnics and socials]:
F A X C O R R E S P O N D E N C E
|TO: Associate Pastors, North Central Region||DATE: 8-24-05|
|FROM: Marvin Campbell||PAGES: 2|
Subject: Church Picnics and Socials
Dear Fellow Ministers: Please make the following announcement in your congregation(s) on the Sabbath of August 27:
(Start) A N N O U N C E M E N T
(For all group contact persons in the North Central Region.)
THIS ANNOUNCEMENTS PERTAINS TO CHURCH PICNICS AND SOCIALS. ALTHOUGH GOD PLACES A HIGH VALUE ON EVENTS THAT PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY FOR HOSPITALITY AND FELLOWSHIP, DOING SO WITHOUT MINISTERIAL APPROVAL AND COORDINATION NULLIFIES THAT VALUE.
YOU ARE REMINDED THAT IT IS OKAY TO PERSONALLY INVITE A FAMILY OR TWO TO YOUR HOME, OR TO GO OUT SOMEWHERE. THAT IS A GOOD WAY TO EXEMPLIFY GOD’S LOVING AND GIVING WAY OF LIFE.
PICNICS AND SOCIALS ARE WONDERFUL TOO, BUT ANY GET-TOGETHER INVOLVING MORE THAN A FAMILY OF TWO, AND ESPECIALLY THE ENTIRE CONGREGATION, AND/OR OTHER CONGREGATIONS, IS CONSIDERED A CHURCH FUNCTION AND HAS TO BE APPROVED AND COORDINATED WITH YOUR MINISTER. YOUR MINISTER DOES HAVE TO BE PRESENT AT CHURCH FUNCTIONS.
YOU ARE ALSO REMINDED THAT NO ANNOUNCEMENT CAN BE MADE WITHOUT DIRECT AND SPECIFIC APPROVAL FROM YOUR MINISTER, WHETHER IT BE FROM HEADQUARTERS OR A LOCAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR YOUR CONGREGATION. THANK YOU.
[Document #3 – PGR (Pastor General Report) – Regarding valid baptismal counseling]:
VALID BAPTISMAL COUNSELING
Mr. Flurry prepared this announcement and has asked that it be read in all congregations this Sabbath, November 12, PRIOR to playing the sermon from headquarters.
My son, Stephen, was baptized in the Philadelphia Church of God on January 16, 1990. Prior to his baptism, he had studied Mr. Armstrong’s writings and Malachi’s Message. In my sermon at Edmond last week (November 5), I pointed to his baptismal date as a cut-off point, after which baptisms within the Laodiceans churches became invalid.
This, however, is not true in every case. I should have stated that Stephen’s baptismal date should be used only as an overall guideline for our ministers to work with in their counseling with God’s people and with prospective PCG members. In considering this subject further, I am convinced that many, if not most, people baptized outside the PCG after January 16, 1990, and who then came into the PCG in the early 1990’s, were undoubtedly counseled and baptized properly.
Today, however, it would be safe to assume that anyone baptized by a Worldwide Church of God minister would be considered invalidly baptized. In 1990, the Laodicean era was in its beginning stages. Today, the Laodicean ministry has rejected all, or most, of God’s revealed truth.
The significance of my son’s baptism on January 16, 1990—the very first baptism within the fledgling Philadelphia Church of God—is that it gives our ministers an excellent mile marker to work with in evaluating and counseling prospective members. Anyone baptized after that date by a Laodicean minister should, at the very least, be questioned more extensively about their prior baptismal counseling. Who counseled them? What did they study? Have there been fruits of repentance? And so on.
I do believe that God used my son’s baptismal date to indicate the understanding and/or attitude needed to be validly baptized into God’s Church. My son received the “early and latter rain,” as James described it—revelation given to Mr. Armstrong and to me (Malachi’s Message was the first shower to occur during the later rain). And he was submissive to God’s Word.
So anyone baptized outside the PCG, and after January 16, 1990, must have had that same kind of understanding and/or attitude to have been validly baptized. That doesn’t necessarily mean they had to read Malachi’s Message to become converted. Many may not have known Malachi’s Message even existed. But did they deeply dig into the truth revealed during the early rain? If so, and their attitude was right, and assuming they were baptized according to the specific instructions set forth in Scripture, then they were probably baptized validly. On the other hand, if they were baptized in 1991, and they prepared for their baptismal covenant by studying the WCG’s new teachings, then their baptism is not valid.
Ultimately, each case must be examined individually by God’s ministry. If any of our members have a question regarding the validity of their baptism in a Laodicean church, they should contact their local minister.
I do believe that my son’s understanding and attitude was what God wanted the ministry to focus on in the PCG when baptizing new members—the early and latter rains. Prospective members must come to understand and submit to the revelation given to Mr. Armstrong and what is now being given to the PCG through me.
PGR . November 12, 2005 . Page 3
Marvin Campbell One of PCG’s Cruelest Enforcers of “Government” (3-22-04 email)
Marvin Campbell Knows Too Much (mentions his “apology” sermon given at the Feast) (10-31-08 email)
Update 9-2013: Marvin Campbell died 9-20-13.