A sermon, “Exposing Satan,” was played to all members of Philadelphia Church of God. It was given by Gerald Flurry on December 3, 2005. At the beginning, Flurry explains PCG’s “no-contact” ruling, which shows “how we deal with Laodiceans.” The sermon incorporates fear of Satan, fear of “Laodiceans,” fear of leaving “God’s true church,” “lies” from PCG’s enemies (Worldwide Church of God after the changes), the “man of sin” (who resides in the Laodicean church), and basically twisting of Scripture to say what Flurry wants it to say.
The “no-contact ruling” is in the December 10, 2005 Pastor General’s Report.
Includes at end: A Letter to Flurry (from one impacted by the “no-contact ruling”)
Note: In Malachi’s Message, last revised 2008, Gerald Flurry said, “Those who are loyal to Christ and what He taught through Mr. Armstrong are called Philadelphians. Those who are not loyal to these teachings are called Laodiceans” and “The Laodiceans have to prove themselves by dying for God and then they are permanently sealed.”
Today in PCG “Laodiceans” also refers to those who are no longer members of PCG (especially those who have been disfellowshipped), or who were/are members of WCG/GCI, or any of the splinter groups. In other words, it applies to anyone who is no longer submissive to the “government” in PCG and doesn’t follow the “Philadelphia Standard.” (Read critique of sermonette: Should We Avoid Laodiceans?)
[Update: Read: New No-Contact Ruling From Gerald Flurry (involves children and spouses who have left PCG)]
“But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.” ~John 5:42
Following are clips from the sermon. Gerald Flurry’s words are indented. All bolding is ours. Caps designate when Flurry was talking very loud, which was more towards the end.
We have many relatives and ex-friends in most all cases that are Laodicean and we do have to be very careful how we deal with them because it can be quite dangerous in taking some of God’s people out of the church, or destroying their faith, or their love; their character.
(Following is GF reading from an article he wrote and which he says is going to be put in the PGR [Pastor General’s Report] and that “the ministers will have it to hold from if they want to.”)
I want to clarify the Philadelphia Church of God’s policy on contact with disfellowshipped family members. This issue has not been clear among all our ministers and members and we need to become unified on it. Around 1985, Joseph Tkach spoke of a couple in the church who had some family disfellowshipped. And he told them that they were to severe their relationship with those people and not to fellowship with them. He told Mr. Armstrong about this situation publicly, and Mr. Armstrong agreed with him publicly. Notice I Cor. 5: 9-11. [reads those verses]
GF says the word “fornicator” here can refer to “spiritual sins.” This passage of Scripture was written to the members in the Corinthian Church after they had permitted an immoral man to come into their fellowship. The city of Corinth was given over to immorality. Nothing is mentioned in these verses about this applying to “spiritual sins.” This is GF’s interpretation.
God says when [these kinds of people] have to be put out of the church, the rest of us should not keep company with them, or eat with them. We are not to fellowship or socialize with them, certainly there might be an emergency in the family where you might be needing to work out the details of a will, or something similar. It is all right to deal with them on that level, but we must keep in mind what God has said.
II Thes. 3:6 reads, ‘…withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly.’ Certainly all the Laodicean groups are walking disorderly. They’re not after the traditions given us by God’s government through Mr. Armstrong. We have to look upon people that are in the Laodicean churches as being disfellowshipped. Rev. 11:1-2 they will be cast out. They have been put out of the Church of God. We must not keep company or keep company with them by going to restaurants and things like that.
In the past some members have been told that these relationships are okay as long as religion is not discussed. That is not what God says. Scripture makes it clear that there should be a complete cut off. [II Thes. 3] Verses 14 and 15…
If there is to be a complete cut off, then why does verse 15 say to “admonish him as a brother”? Admonish means to “warn,” not “denounce” him.
I know it is painful to cut off contact with family, but we have to look at the positive side of this. God says that when we don’t fellowship with them, if Dad and Mom, or a close relative shuns them, that has a great sting. God wants to drive them back by making them realize they really are on the outside.
Is it really “God” who is saying these things, or Gerald Flurry? Does he want to drive these people back to PCG because they are on the outside of PCG?
There are, however, a couple of exceptions to this principle. In the case of a mate in a Laodicean church, or one who has left the PCG, that relationship should be preserved as long as the mate is pleased to dwell. (I Cor. 7:10-14) But if that mate becomes hostile, or stirs up contention, it should be cut off. Wherever there is hostility you must cut off every tie. And sometimes, of course, that hostility can be very subtle, as we know.
There is also the case of unbaptized children, or those not validly baptized, who have left the church. Mr. Armstrong, for example, had a relationship with his daughter and he believed she never was converted. (And the fruits were there, I think, to prove that.)
What about Herbert Armstrong’s “fruits”? Or don’t they count?
As long as they were unconverted, we can have a relationship there, but we do have to be awfully careful. We may have to make a judgment about someone’s conversion in a few cases, but we don’t want to use that as a cop-out either. If your children have been baptized and left, that relationship should be severed. We must obey God’s command. [Reads Romans 16:17]
In an article entitled, ‘If One is Disfellowshipped, Which Family Comes First?’ Mr. Armstrong commented on this verse [Rom. 16:17]. [Quotes from HWA]: ‘It does not say all except members of your flesh and blood family. It speaks of any who has been a church member, and it says avoid them. It’s a command, and if we try to be more kind, more righteous than God and disobey that command, we convict ourselves of disobedience of God’s command.’ Good News, April 1980 by Mr. Armstrong. He concluded by discussing Matthew 10 which says we must love our father and mother less than God.
If one wishes to read this entire article by Herbert Armstrong, they may do so by going online to The Good News archives, which can be downloaded in PDF.
A similar article by HWA “Can We Fellowship With the Disfellowshipped?” is in the May 4, 1980 Worldwide News (also available online). Here is one quote from the article: “Are some of us trying to be more kind, merciful and considerate even than God? Are we actually disobeying God in our soft, fence-straddling approach toward certain others?”
Yet Christ tells Christians in Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
I don’t think there would be a difference between a marked person and one who is disfellowshipped. There may be instances where the church could get into legal trouble if parents are preventing children from seeing their Laodicean grandparents, or similar situations. There have been instances where grandparents were able to have a strong relationship with grandchildren without interference from Laodicean parents. There was no hostility there and minimal contact. In individual cases like this a judgment must be made by the ministry about the propriety of the situation.
In case of members who work for a Laodicean, we would counsel them to try to seek other employment. Though, to preserve their livelihood, they would not have to cut that off immediately.
The principle to remember is this: there should not be any contact with converted church members who have left–and that includes family members other than a mate.
Now when we deal with people like that I think we all understand–I hope we do–that we always should treat people outside the church, Laodiceans or anybody else that we have some contact with, with…be as inoffensive as we possibly can, as kind, and as loving, and as considerate, as we possibly can, regardless of what attitude even they may have, unless, of course, we…there might be an exception if they were sort of attacking us.
But, anyhow, also, I wrote an article: ‘God Commands That We Avoid Certain Ones in Love.’ That’s in the Philadelphia News, May/June 1998. [Tells how they can write and get a copy of that if they don’t have it.]
But Peter has been revealed to us recently, and Peter talked about in this end-time that we shouldn’t be hanging around people who speak evil of the truth. Peter made that very clear. Don’t be around people who do that. Don’t be around people who talk and say evil things about your Father, your Husband. And there is a great danger in this, brethren, because Satan is subtle and he knows how to use people like that to destroy you. He knows your weaknesses and he knows how to use those people. And we’ve had some people in the Church of God–the Philadelphia Church of God– that have been taken out, because they violated what God said.
Read about Milieu (environmental) Control and how it is used in totalistic groups.
Avoiding these people–Laodiceans that have left–just avoiding them, in a sense, also shows that we get a message across to them that they are influenced by the Devil and we don’t want to have anything to do with them.
He goes on to tell them that there are all kinds of “individual differences and problems,” and most of them will have to be dealt with by counseling with the regional director, and if he (the regional director) has problems, he will bring that to Flurry.
He first goes back to a sermon he gave at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2001 about II Thessalonians and talks about PCG’s court case victory regarding Mystery of the Ages (their “biggest church trial”) and the “amazing lies” he says that WCG told, and how Satan will be exposed by PCG.
One of ESN’s contacts told us the following: “The words ‘exposing Satan’ is code for the new book [Raising the Ruins] that Stephen Flurry is writing, which is intended to expose the WCG, and mainly the Tkaches, for their collusion and trickery. Flurry claims they are possessed by demons and that he (Flurry) is actually revealing Satan by revealing their lies. According to GF, the documents of WCG from PCG’s court case over MOA are full of information that they (PCG) will use to expose them.” (Note: For more on what was going on at the time of this court case, go to: Grace Communion International History and read the parts under “Allowing Herbert Armstrong’s Literature to Be Republished” and “Sold Copyrights to Philadelphia Church of God.”)
Letter Insert: (update)
NOTE: The following is a 2007 letter to ESN from an Attorney at Law:
PCG Did NOT Win a Victory in the WCG vs. PCG Court Case:
February 23, 2007
According to the court documents, Worldwide Church of God first sued PCG in 1997 to get a temporary restraining order on PCG distributing HWA’s works while WCG owned the copyright. WCG dismissed the suit without prejudice (meaning they could file again) shortly thereafter. Then, WCG filed again later in 1997. (That is the case that lasted until 2003, including WCG losing, appealing to the Ninth circuit and winning there, and the case going back to district court for determination of damages.)
The reason the WCG sued was to stop PCG from distributing HWA works in violation of WCG’s copyright. In 1998, both PCG and WCG won the right to designate documents as “confidential” and there was an order clarifying that (which both WCG and PCG agreed to).
In 1999, the district court granted summary judgment to PCG and charged WCG almost $300,000 in attorney’s fees and costs, but stayed WCG having to pay until after the appeal to the next higher court–the Ninth Circuit. In Sept. 2000, the Ninth said the district court was wrong and told the district court to reverse itself, enter a preliminary injunction in favor of WCG, stopping PCG from distributing HWA’s works and said PCG had to pay WCG’s costs (about $2,000-$3,000). The Ninth also directed the district court to hold a hearing to determine how much money the PCG would have to pay the WCG for damages. Then the case got transferred to a new district judge, and in March 2001 she granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting PCG from distributing HWA’s works.
From March 2001 on, the WCG stopped PCG from distributing HWA’s works and now the issue was how much money in damages the PCG would have to pay WCG for violating its copyright. The case kept getting set and reset for a damages hearing and there was a lot of wrangling back and forth as to who could testify and what evidence will be admitted. The case got taken off the docket a few times because both parties asked that it be because they were in settlement talks. Those talks broke down in Dec. 2002, and the case went back on the document for a damages hearing.
Then, in April 2003, it all went away because WCG and PCG reached an agreement in which PCG bought the copyrights to HWA’s works from WCG.
So the facts are, Worldwide Church of God sued Philadelphia Church of God and lost at the district court level, then won on appeal, then was awaiting an amount from the court as to how much PCG would have to pay WCG and instead took money from PCG to dismiss the case and let PCG restart publishing of HWA’s works and for damages that the court would have ordered PCG to pay.
PCG didn’t win, it lost in court and was going to be ordered to pay WCG damages, but WCG and PCG agreed on an amount, so the judge never decided the damages issue. There is no way that can honestly be characterized as a victory for the PCG. –Helen Liggett, Attorney at Law
Comment: For more on what was going on at this time, go to: Grace Communion International History and read the parts under INDEX.
For the final part of this sermon we will quote some dogmatic and/or incredible statements made by Gerald Flurry. (bolding ours)
Quotes by Gerald Flurry:
“We are here to expose the Devil. …That’s just our calling; what we’re here to do.”
“Nobody does it [expose Satan]. The Laodiceans don’t even know the Devil today. And only we do it and we’ve been doing it for sixteen years.”
“Where is that man that would DARE defy God? And LIE every time he opens his mouth, practically. … A man possessed by the Devil.”
“God knows what love is and we don’t–too much of the time.” (talking about how members shouldn’t think they should show love to these Laodiceans)
“I’ve never heard so many lies and read so many lies. I’m telling you, brethren, they lie all the time. They just LIE and LIE and LIE, and every time you pick up a document on that court case, they are LYING.”
“Do you want to be friends with the Laodiceans? If you do, how well do we know the Devil?”
“Where did they [WCG] get the truth that they didn’t love? Well, they had to get it from the end-time Elijah who restored all things [i.e., HWA] through all of these books and booklets that he wrote.”
“God says, ‘I’m gonna make all of my people–every one of them–I’m gonna make them PROVE that they love me and that they LOVE the TRUTH. I’m gonna put them through this court case.’ ”
“We’re gonna expose Satan the best we can, because it is a SIGN to God’s church that it’s almost over and Christ is almost here.”
“I was kind amazed at how much they really believed the Devil. … They had faith in the Devil. They believed him; they lied like he did. Just like sons of the Devil. But, of course, that’s what they are.”
“In their twisted minds they have actually MADE SATAN GOD! In their twisted, EVIL MINDS. That’s what we were up against.”
“Satan has deceived all the Laodiceans and they don’t have a clue, it seems, what he has done. I mean this is THE LIE and THE LIAR! This is the DEVIL INCARNATE!! And all of the Laodiceans believe him, I think. Certainly almost all of them. They believe him, and it’s Satan right before them.”
“Do you think if somebody out there…you have a Laodicean relative, God would not send the DEVIL to see if you’re going to obey? He’s DONE IT ALREADY! We’re the Church! He sent the Devil TO US!! Would he do it to you? OF COURSE, HE WILL! If He has doubts about what kind of son you are, of course He will. He’ll send delusions. Do you want to play games with that?” [Note from ESN: As this point in the sermon, Flurry starts shouting even more.]
Changing the name of the college:
“We are going to have to change the college name. I think some of you might have heard this, and this does tie in, I think, with what I’m talking about. The Imperial College of London has the rights to that name and they will no longer let us use it. It looked like in the beginning that we could use it, and they decided that we can’t have that name. So we have to come up with a new name for the college, and one of the top choices when we were choosing was Herbert W. Armstrong College. Most of the time it will be shortened to Armstrong College, which would also have the abbreviation of AC, which sort of makes it easy, I guess. And maybe at the entrance [into the college and the grounds] out there we will put Herbert W. in smaller type.”
“One student told me that this second semester actually starts on January 16. [date on which Herbert Armstrong died in 1986] … I don’t know if that’s ever happened before. But this is the first year we’ll have four-year graduates and they’re going to graduate from Armstrong College. I do think that’s inspired. … There surely is not a man on this earth, or who has ever lived, I believe, who has taught more about true education than Herbert W. Armstrong–to more people.”
NOTE: It was Ellen G. White (co-founder of 7th-day Adventism that HWA copied from) who spoke much about “true education” in her book Education. She even had a “True Education Series.”
[Talks about sending people to “Armstrong College” in the World Tomorrow and how others will use HWA’s booklets at that time.]
“We’re going to have to educate this world. I wonder how deeply our young people realize–our young people that are going to college here–realize it’s the only place ON THIS EARTH that they can ever get true education. You won’t find it any place else, and it all started with a man [HWA] who had NO FORMAL EDUCATION. That’s gonna to be a strong message for the world in the World Tomorrow, I think.”
“It’s all tied to Mr. Armstrong; it’s all tied to exposing the Devil, and exposing false religion.”
Finishes the sermon by saying he has received “new revelation”:
“We’re going to expose the…the Laodiceans and, of course, Satan the Devil is behind them.”
[Referring to James 5:7]: “It talks about the early and latter rain. Listen, brethren, here’s what you need to understand. If there is rain, that’s where God is. If there’s drought, that’s where Satan is. If there’s no rain, there’s no God. If there’s drought, there’s always the Devil. (Spiritually speaking, of course.) Do you realize, brethren of God, for ELEVEN YEARS–eleven years–every year at the Feast of Tabernacles God has given me new revelation? ELEVEN YEARS–EVERY YEAR! Plus several conferences and at other times during the year. It’s just raining and raining and raining! … All that rain. And that shows and reveals so much. Boy, has it ever been raining in this little church. Does it rain in any of the Laodicean churches? No. Not one. Not one of them. It doesn’t rain in one of them. Not even one.”
“Imagine what it would be like, brethren, if we didn’t have those 19 works [of HWA’s] and all that revelation.”
Info compiled and transcribed by D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
February 16, 2006
Updated January 2, 2013, August 10, 2016
I first attended the Worldwide Church of God in 1969 with my mother and sister when I was 13 years old. I left the WCG in 1995 when it fragmented and have never returned.
My mother was recently informed that she is not to communicate with either my sister or myself, presumably on the grounds that we are now under the influence of Satan and she is in danger of being influenced to leave your “church” by our persuasion, born of the devil. …
I understand that your group, as with its affiliation in the past, teaches and believes that its leader has the authority and power over its congregation to decide policies and protocols which may sometimes be based on scripture, but also maybe based on an interpretation of scripture which can be only described as “loose.”
Your group is by no means unique in its quest to emphasise, or over emphasise, any scriptures it chooses and to gloss over others which don’t support (or may even contradict) a doctrine, teaching or policy agenda. Your group, called by yourselves as “the” church, joins the throng of other denominations, in its manipulation of scripture to your own ends, while accusing all other churches of exactly that, as though you are in some way immune to such practices. …
Let me here then move on to inform, assure you, or perhaps to attempt to persuade you, that the main purpose of my letter here is to inform you of my love for my mother.
At age 88, in her twilight years, the only concern of her four children is that she lives happily, for whatever time is left for her. She has been so happy in your organization that she has even moved 200 kilometres to be able to attend services and even struggled to the Feast of Tabernacles this year.
I understand that you believe and teach that my leaving the WCG is a result of me “waxing cold,” becoming Laodicean, or “lukewarm” and that my actions are an influence of Satan the Devil. There is no doubt in my mind that any influence of Satan, is with this preposterous ruling you are enforcing, to force a very old and faithful lady into her remaining few years, with misery as her comfort instead of her church.
The idea that this may somehow have an influence on me to rejoin you instead of having your lack of Godliness confirm the reasons I left, only indicates your lack of wisdom and your inability to demonstrate discernment, by the Spirit of the Eternal and with the Mind of God.
I realise you believe your group to be the only true church and that you have all knowledge, all truth and know all things. Your big problem is, without the love of God you are a “tinkling cymbal” 1 Cor.13 (In case you’ve forgotten).
A fear that your members might be influenced by ex members, other churches or contrary writings, surely demonstrates a lack of confidence in the convictions of your members and the strength of your arguments. Why not let their belief be tested by fire, fiery debates and their faith–as my mother’s has. Are your members so weak and easily influenced? Are your arguments so flawed?
There is no way you would ever convince a true Christian that your policy carries the mind and Spirit of Christ. In your arrogance to be exclusive and “have the truth,” you have moved into a world of worshipping a false god of conceit and power of control.
Your god is in no way the God of the Scriptures, and as you no doubt believe, I will be called on to repent. I have little doubt that the repenting will be on your part for rejecting an old lady the love of our Lord Jesus Christ in her life.
Christ asked the disciple to take care of his mother as he was about to be sacrificed. I wonder what he will say to you, attempting to deny me of doing the same for my mother?
By former WCG member/impacted by loved one in PCG)
Copy of letter sent to ESN December 18, 2006
“He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” ~3 John: 11b
Related Testimonies / Letters:
Our Family’s Devastation Due to Gerald Flurry’s No-Contact Policy (by Dan De Gennaro regarding the suicide of his daughter Janet, as a result of the no-contact policy)
Another Suicide Caused By The No-Contact Policy May 31, 2018 letter to ESN)
“Stephen Flurry Was Arrogant and Unfeeling The Time I Told Him Off.” (about the no contact ruling) (April 12, 2020 letter)
I Could Not Obey the No-Contact Ruling (testimony)
New No-Contact Ruling From Gerald Flurry (involves children and spouses who have left PCG)
Profile of a Sociopath (A number of abusive, religious leaders may exhibit many of these behavioral characteristics.)
Confession and Freedom From Specific Cult/Occult Strongholds (includes WCG, PCG & all offshoots)