Over the years people have emailed the Painful Truth believing that we don’t understand their particular group. They quote the bible to no end thinking that we are ignorant in our understanding of Armstrongism and/or the bible. We are not.
It seems that the idea of a church raising funds (for the benefit of the elite leadership) under the guise of religion never occurred to them. They should have asked a fundamental question, “Who benefits?”
July 1998 (AR69)
It’s All About Money!
Along with cosmetic adjustments such as changing the church’s official seal from a lion-and-lamb design to a cross over globe-like frame, changing the title of the Pastor General’s Report to Crossroad, downsizing the Worldwide News, and eliminating the ministerial ranking system, there have also been new battles over more substantive matters. For example, the ongoing propaganda campaign to transform the sabbatarian denomination into a Sunday-keeping one continues. In the July Worldwide News (WN) there was an article titled, “Should we meet on Sundays?” While the article restated the now-established WCG position that a local church can have weekly meetings on any day of the week, it also showed that the number of WCG believers in Sunday-keeping is growing:
If a congregation wants to move its worship service to Sunday, that is fine. We have quite a few Sunday congregations, and many more considering the switch.
But the article then went on to suggest open congregation discussions about what day to keep and the taking of surveys about when to meet:
If only a few feel they must either stay with Saturday or move to Sunday, perhaps a house church or other worship opportunity could be provided for the minority.
If the congregation has two roughly equal portions desiring different days, several approaches can be taken: 1) create two congregations (some have done this, but hall rental and other expenses must be taken into account), or 2) give it more time, more discussion and, later, another survey to see if desires have shifted one way or the other.
So a local WCG congregation can now be a Saturday-keeping church, or a Sunday-keeping church, or it can be a Saturday-and-Sunday-keeping church. For that matter, it could also be a Wednesday-keeping church, or it could be a Wednesday-and-Saturday-keeping church or a Wednesday-and-Sunday-keeping church or even a Wednesday-and-Saturday-and-Sunday-keeping church. You see, it all depends on the results of the latest survey.
Now, as you can imagine, the local WCG ministers who used to have just one Sabbath day to worry about, now may have to give sermons on both Saturday and Sunday, and maybe on some other days, as well. Plus they are being kept pretty busy just taking surveys. That means less time for the golf course or for moonlighting at another job. Not surprisingly, such ministers have gotten upset with the new heavy workload. So at a late June ministerial conference in Pasadena, many voiced their dislike of the new system of choosing worship days. Church treasurer Bernie Schnippert, however, told them why the new system was necessary. According to a report from one of activist Bill Ferguson’s insiders:
The U.S. and international Regional Pastors were meeting in Pasadena this week. Bernie Schnippert spoke to them…. He went on to stir up a stink with several of the ministers. Bernie said he wanted to make clear that he did not believe in the Sabbath or the Holy Days. However, he told the ministers that IF they wanted to make sure that they received retirement, then they MUST continue to meet on the Sabbath and continue to meet on all Holy Days.
He said the name of the game is MONEY! That is his only priority at the moment. The Holy Days are the money-making days for the church. If any of the ministers had any plans of doing away with meeting on these days, he would MAKE SURE that they did not receive retirement and would be terminated.
The ministers were also warned that they were not to do away with meeting on Saturdays, even if they started meeting on Sundays. There are too many in the church still holding on to the Old Covenant, and if they were not able to meet on Saturday then they would go to some other church and the money would go with them.
Schnippert then went on to say that it would be them losing their retirement and not him, as he WILL receive his retirement no matter what actions they decided to take.
The thing that precipitated this state of affairs is quite simple. Once the Tkach team convinced a large percentage of their followers that it was not only permissible, but also better, to keep Sunday, most of those members left to join churches which they now perceive as spiritually superior for having kept Sunday all along. That left the Sunday-believing WCG ministry with the choice of accommodating the Saturday crowd or not having any church left to command. So with money as the main goal, the official WCG policy on Sabbath-keeping is now: Take surveys and do whatever the parishioners want.