Qualifications

It would be interesting to have brain scans of Roderick Meredith (David Pack, Gerald Flurry, Ronald Weinland) to see what parts of his brain have been destroyed by his lying — studies show that deliberate lying destroys certain parts of the brain.

It would also be interesting to have him tested for the Anger / Warrior genes, though we can pretty much ascertain from his belligerent behavior what we would find from the blood test.

Although I do not believe him to be an alcoholic, it would be instructive to have him submit to a simple chemical test to determine that objectively, since it is an inherited function of liver dysfunction.

In fact, all Armstrongist minister, founders, leaders and administrators should be subjected to these genetic tests and a rigorous number of other tests to determine their qualifications for ministry, since Armstrongism is a religion of physical rituals. All the best need to be identified for possible inclusion into the hierarchy of the cult organizations and the rest of the blemished discarded. Of course, this might not leave very many left at all.

We need to subject them to other batteries of tests also, including IQ and personality tests. No IQ less than 150 should be considered. A full panel of psychologists and psychiatrists should use the DSM-5 to weed out those with severe mental dysfunctions, such as manic depressive disorder and schizophrenia. There needs to be an absolute prohibition of all narcissists.

There must be an in depth investigation of any criminal activities as well. There can be no pedophiles or those who commit incest. There can be no robberies and murders, nor will any white collar crime be tolerated within ministerial ranks. Any evidence of perjury would be grounds of disqualification.

We should (in the United States) engage the FBI to investigate whether the person in question ‘has a good report of those without’ and Interpol may be used to further advance the investigation. We will, of course, need fingerprinting and have the subject take a lie detector test.

We need to interview neighbors going back at least a decade to determine that he has never committed adultery and that his wife and children are happy and in subjection. Since he must be ‘apt to teach’, the appropriate training must have been completed. It would be helpful for him to have a current teaching certificate.

His record of a parent needs to be taken into consideration, since his wife and children need to be ‘in subjection’. A man with horrible juvenile delinquents just shouldn’t be allowed. Studies have shown that the most successful corporate executives are the ones who have children who have successfully navigated their teenage years without major maladjustment, likely because, in a corporate environment, dealing with junior executives is much like dealing with adolescents. While we’re on the topic, neither the minister nor his wife can be gossips. This is a horrible breach of trust. The Bible calls them ‘busybodies’ and they sure can dish the dirt. While gossips can be fascinating and even have the truth, it’s a slippery slope of character assassination that just doesn’t do the congregation any good at all. It often sets people against each other, and you know what the Scripture says about causing division.

Those who qualify thus far for the ministry need to be subjected to drug tests and have random drug tests during their ministry. Auditors need to be brought in to examine the finances of the minister so there won’t be any hanky-panky.

The Scripture is clear on the qualifications of a minister: He must be the husband of one wife. He cannot be divorced and remarried with his ex still living. This is standard and such ministers as Paul Woods of the Seventh Day Church of God insists upon it, as does the United Church of God an International Association. In fact, United goes one step further and precludes a man from being a minister if he has committed adultery since baptism. There is forgiveness of sins, but baptism is a demarcation point for some sects and certain offenses, such as committing adultery on your wife while she is dying of cancer will prevent a man from ever being a minister in certain sects. Although there are other sects which allow for complete repentance — because it is recognized that everyone sins and redemption is possible — the admonition for a good reputation with those without seems to kick in for many of the Christian groups.

Ministers need to be examined to see if they have the right personality for the job: They must have empathy and be compassionate and merciful with people, be apt in counseling, known for giving sound advice, particularly in ‘spiritual’ and matters relating to living. A minister must also be able to set boundaries and appropriately confront and correct those who would cause division in the sect.

In order to complete the battery of tests, the ministerial prospect needs to be examined by The Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation to determine the combination of 19 inherited aptitudes the man has. A minister absolutely must have an objective personality so that he is not introverted and unable to relate to congregation members or deal with groups of people. He must have high inductive reasoning and strong analytical abilities. He should have musical talents because a minister who is tone deaf would be a terrible choice, particularly during praise worship. It may be helpful if he has number memory. He needs to have a strong vocabulary. He needs to have high graphoria. An ideal candidate will have high observation to take in the details to help others and have good personal presentation. It may be helpful if he has high structural visualization so he can understand those engineers, mechanics, technologists and others in his congregation and be able to relate to them at their level while recognizing the needs of the majority who lack the talent.

A minister needs to be able to delegate appropriately, not that he would be unwilling to do the ‘dirty jobs’ which need to get done. He needs to understand group dynamics and social interactions to be able to bring peace to the congregation.

The minister needs to be completely fit to administer and participate in programs involving athletics, after all, summer camp for the youth can be demanding. He will also need to be sacrificing and be able to promote those who have special needs. He needs to be strong, patient and kind. He needs to have feeling for the fatherless and widow and be able to work tirelessly as an advocate for them. He needs to be able to bring people together for common benefit. He also needs to be an excellent project manager with skills in achieving goals through effective project management. It isn’t enough to have high concept vision, it is necessary to have the skills to be diligent and innovative for the benefit of the many, the few and the one. He needs to be an encouragement to the poor and support those who need help during bereavement. His care extends to others in a community from the cradle to the grave. He should not only be someone who has dinner parties for others in his own home, but should be willing to be a guest in the homes of those with more modest means who want to share a part of their lives with him and his family.

The Scripture is also clear that a minister cannot be a novice. We’ve seen far too many ‘bright ascending stars’ made into leaders within congregations only to have them crash and burn spectacularly, as in the case of an ex Marine who became central to a church group, President of Spokesman Club, only to be exposed as an alcoholic abuser who eventually not only left religion entirely, but left his wife and family to fend for themselves. Those who seem to have unlimited potential in the ministry as a perfect fit need to be given time to see if they are just a ‘flash in the pan’.

Liars. If liars will not be in the Kingdom of God, don’t you think they should not be allowed in the ministry, for consistency’s sake?

Most of all, he needs to set a sterling example.

This is not trivial: It takes a special person with stellar qualification to be the kind of leader that will benefit those over whom he watches.

No one is perfect, of course, and a minister must also have the integrity and humility to admit error and make appropriate amends.

This, of course, is not the whole list. He needs to be able to stand as an ambassador to represent Jesus to lead people to redemption.

And no one should ever have to settle for anything less.

12 Replies to “Qualifications”

  1. ‘We need to subject them to other batteries of tests also, including IQ and personality tests. No IQ less than 150 should be considered. A full panel of psychologists and psychiatrists should use the DSM-5 to weed out those with severe mental dysfunctions, such as manic depressive disorder and schizophrenia. There needs to be an absolute prohibition of all narcissists.

    There must be an in depth investigation of any criminal activities as well. There can be no pedophiles or those who commit incest. There can be no robberies and murders, nor will any white collar crime be tolerated within ministerial ranks. Any evidence of perjury would be grounds of disqualification.’
    ______________________________________________

    What are you trying to do? Put them out of business?

    For the armstrongist to regulate themselves is laughable. Let the circus go on. In the end no one needs to expose them. They will destroy themselves. Their good at that. Unfortunately lives will be destroyed, or should I say, finished off.

  2. What are you trying to do? Put them out of business?

    Actually no (although that would be the inevitable result).

    The goal here is that if these folks insist that they are going to have this sort of group, they need to establish standards with which they can live. Giving themselves over to oppressors has been tried and obviously doesn’t work.

    The current situation with the Scarborough family being disfellowshipped in the LCG is a point in case: First, only the congregation, not the cult leader has the ability to make the call; secondly, the congregation must have a Scriptural basis for marking and disfellowshipping any members; thirdly, the group is for the congregation and not the leadership, so the ministers and ‘leaders’ need to be subject to the congregation and not the other way around — that is the Biblical model; fourth, the congregation actually needs a facility that is the center of their local activities and services as establishing not just a presence in the community, but assuring the continuing integration of the group itself; past experience has proven that the incorporation needs to be a ‘corporate sole’ where no one man can make off with the goodies; fifth, any family that is unilaterally disfellowshipped with no rationale should return to the congregation for the very next services and make it clear that they are going to stay until the entire congregation has a say and not some arbitrary decision by some eccentric cult leader. This all assumes that the person or family really wants to continue with the group with which they have become familiar. It would not be my first choice, but people do have social needs.

    The Church of God Seventh Day has this sort of model and so do any number of more benign religions. It would seem that the Church of God Big Sandy follows this style of model, but it may not be well tested as of yet.

    Of course, the best of all worlds would be for people to do the research to see how the New Testament was put together, be rational and split permanently from the cult environment, never to return to the extremes of Armstrongism yet again. People heavily invested, particularly those with family ties are going to be uncomfortable with this proposition, so this is a compromise situation that at least is somewhat livable.

    Again, the ideal is to go cold turkey and let the chips fall where they may.

    As for the sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia going out of business, they have shown themselves to be uncommonly resilient, even in the face of extreme entropy. One would have thought that 1975 would have been the end of it, and it would have if people held the feet of Herbert Armstrong to the fire. When Tkach obliterated Armstrongism in the major reversal of doctrines to become the Grace Communion International, that should have been the absolute end of any Armstrongism, but it wasn’t. Sects split off to retain the absolute insanity of G. G. Rupert because they were thoroughly brain washed. They had gotten used to the anger, abuse, neglect and yelling of the cult leaders and needed to get their addict fix.

    The other factor to this entry is that people who may be interested in joining up with this insanity may look at the situation and decide that they don’t want to lose control of their lives and stay away to be the masters of their own destiny.

    This business of having haphazard administration for your group is for the birds and those who want to engage a cult for the sake of social interaction at least need to have stringent standards for those they select to inspire and preach to them. The cult doctrines might not make one whit of rational sense, but as Dixon Cartwright pointed out, it doesn’t matter because people don’t care about that — they care about the socialization to enhance their lives. If you’re going to do it, at least give yourself a process to make the best selections in a less than desirable venue.

    1. ‘The cult doctrines might not make one whit of rational sense, but as Dixon Cartwright pointed out, it doesn’t matter because people don’t care about that — they care about the socialization to enhance their lives. If you’re going to do it, at least give yourself a process to make the best selections in a less than desirable venue.’

      I agree. It is the socialization that matters. The church always was about socialization. It was the first thing I noticed about the WCG when I came into the lie of armstrongism.

  3. I think the ACOGs should devise a scientific test to objectively detect the presence of indwelling holy spirit. I would think that alone would disqualify everyone in the world from being a minister, if used properly.

  4. Someone commented that Dave Pack wanted his administration to be “squeaky clean”. At least he managed to get it squeaky.

  5. There’s a program called Intervention, the story about addicts.

    These Armstrongist ministers totally need an Intervention for their addiction.

    They are sick and they affect their congregations in the same way addicts on Intervention affect their families through their manipulation.

    Many addicts die from their addiction. Unfortunately, ministers subjected to Intervention will probably respond like some of the addicts offered treatment: “Hell no!”

  6. Imagine, for whatever reasons, going to Ambassador College, and finding yourself steamrolled into the ministry! You may find yourself being required to teach, defend, and enforce something that nobody really likes or enjoys, but something into which everyone feels entrapped, by virtue of some impossible theories combined by the belief that these are the end times!

    I don’t know how it all played out later, after it became apparent that 1975 was not quite the scenario. But, I do know that in the ’60s and early ’70s, it appeared that people were pressed into service pretty much with a sense of urgency that things could not last much longer, and training was abbreviated to the point that the newly ordained, freshly married beneficiaries of middle class homes and lease cars didn’t even have basic training in the art of counselling. I know of one gentleman who secretly went to classes on family counselling, paying for it from his own pocket. Most of the others imitated Ol’ Hog Jowls’ mercurial temper, also learning along the way to say “hogwash” and “balderdash” convincingly and with just the right timing. Also, in the early to mid ’70s, a huge number of members and ministers left the church. This is the environment that caused a Dave Pack to be sent into the field prior to even completing his senior year.

    Many of the so-called leaders of the ACOGs were pressed into service from this environment. There was no profiling, no screening, and though they were fully indoctrinated into the shallow doctrines of Armstrongism, basically everything else resulted from on the job training as they went along. In retrospect, I would question the basic sanity of people who would even accept the responsibilities which were handed to them, but the heady concept of some sort of “calling” can be a powerful modifier in ones’ life. If you were to compare all of this to the ways in which many non-apocalyptic, non-seventh day sabbatarians actually make it into the ministry, there is quite a noticeable dichotomy. The ingredients and practices that are brought to the party by a Fuller Theological Seminary, Lliberty University, or Manhattan (Kansas) Bible College are the very things which were missing from an Ambassador College-based ministerial career.

    BB

    1. ‘Many of the so-called leaders of the ACOGs were pressed into service from this environment. There was no profiling, no screening, and though they were fully indoctrinated into the shallow doctrines of Armstrongism, basically everything else resulted from on the job training as they went along.’

      Sounds like how they hire cops now days. Instead of the cream of the crop, they hire the punks off the streets. For this very reason America is seeing a spike in police crimes and murders in the United States.

  7. I know that most of your post is a tongue-in-cheek swipe at the ministurds of armstrongism, but I just wanted to share some of my thoughts about the sheep and their quest for the perfect sheperd.

    Douglas Becker said :”The goal here is that if these folks insist that they are going to have this sort of group, they need to establish standards with which they can live. Giving themselves over to oppressors has been tried and obviously doesn’t work.”

    Why do the ‘sheep’ need to depend on a minister to show them the way?
    Why do they need to wait until they find the ‘proper’ minister who demonstrates these positive attributes?Why would the minister need to be in authority? The positive attributes you stated are worthy for all of us to practice and develop. Why wait?
    For those that choose to go first may haphazardly take steps in the right direction, the ones that managed to develop the most competence in these positive traits will have less of a need for a minister. In fact, the most skilled and competent will be searched out by those less competent. The ones that can successfully train and teach others would make good ministers for ‘the path’. Especially if the minister does it to spread the love and not for a paycheck. Despite my agnosticism, I would consider joining a church like that. Even if only to learn to be a better human being. Wow, just imagine a church concerned only with results and not authority.
    Amen.

    the drive-by philosopher

  8. Philosopher, caught me!

    Actually though, pretty much everything in Qualifications does come from Scripture with some “embellishments”.

    Most of the “embellishments” are patterned on a real life minister (from a non Armstrongist Sabbath Keeping church who also keeps the Feast). He was a jail chaplain for 16 years and he started his adult life as a construction worker — which is useful, since he uses his structural visualization for church building projects like putting in sidewalks around the church 2 years ago: He set the forms and poured the cement himself. Beyond that, he worked a day job for a large and well-known charitable organization that cares for, houses and feeds the hungry and homeless and which has now built a shelter for abused women.

    He has long experience with dealing with criminals and some of them have come to Jesus through his efforts. He knows quite a lot more than the Armstrongists and people like Meredith, Pack and Flurry look quite pathetic in comparison.

    There are quite a number of competent qualified people out there. I would hazard that there are actually atheists who could do a great job with the qualifications outlined in the article and they would be much more knowledgeable than any of the Armstrongist ministers as well as much more moral and ethical.

    Let’s just say that concerning the qualifications of Armstrongist ministers, we should all be less than impressed.

  9. We should be less than impressed even without a holy list of qualifications passed down from the abode of the gods. Just our own innate sense of “humanity” and ethics which most people possess (though not all, and ministurds appear to be drawn from among the exceptions) should be all the average person needs to disqualify them.

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