April 2, 2002
Mr. Gerald R. Flurry
1019 Waterwood Parkway
Edmond, Oklahoma 73034
Dear Mr. Flurry,
I have been a loyal and supportive member of the Philadelphia Church of God since coming out of the Worldwide Church of God in 1993. Shortly after the 2001 Feast of Tabernacles I accidentally discovered The Letter To Laodicea (www.viadelrey.com), written over about a one-year period from 1986-1987 by Jules Dervaes. This document, as I know you are (or should be) well aware, contains the essence of your book Malachiís Message. Widely distributed within the WCG ministry (including both you and Mr. John Amos) prior to the spring of 1988, it clearly identifies the Laodicean Era, Joseph W. Tkach, Sr. as the Joshua who follows Mr. Armstrong (Zerubbabel), and it clearly identifies the "man of sin" as someone sitting in Godís own Church. There are many other striking similarities as well. The Letter To Laodicea is not bits and pieces, but contains the heart and core of Malachiís Message. I do not see anything in Malachiís Message that cannot be easily derived from The Letter To Laodicea. As there are just too many parallels, it appears highly probable (in my opinion) that The Letter To Laodicea provided the material which you then expanded into Malachiís Message. But even if not, the fact that Jules Dervaes wrote and delivered The Letter To Laodicea to Joseph Tkach, Sr. in the 1986-1987 time period, would seem to invalidate your claim that Malachiís Message was a new, previously not understood, revelation direct from God to you.
You claim Malachiís Message to BE the little book of Revelation 10 which is deserving of "majesty." Regardless of your denial, I can see this as nothing less than an elevation of your book to the status of scripture Ė unwritten text of the book of Revelation. Herbert Armstrong stated that the Bible was complete for us today, and that only false prophets would be claiming to have new revelation to add to it Ė a quote with which you said you "agreed completely." Mr. Armstrong also said that the function of New Testament prophets was to communicate to the apostles. (Who Is That Prophet?, p. 20,21) Where is the apostle to whom you are communicating, Mr. Flurry?
If we let the Bible interpret the Bible, there is in fact no "little book" due to come on the scene just before Christ returns. Revelation 10 plainly shows it is John receiving the little book from the angel. The scripture does not say it is the angel over the Laodicean Church as you claim (The Little Book, p. 2). The correct Bible interpretation of the little book is found in Revelation 1:1, where it plainly states that Jesus Christ gave the book of Revelation to his angel to give to John! I am sorry, but I see absolutely no room for any other biblical interpretation.
Also, in reference to the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ said, "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book." (Rev. 22:18). I find it hard to believe that no one has ever brought this dire warning to your attention? What has been your explanation? How can you possibly get around the fact that you have "added unto these things?"
Following my discovery of The Letter To Laodicea I was forced also to reevaluate a number of your other teachings, and found that upon close examination, they are not valid. In the first two sections of "Who Is That Prophet?" (Royal Vision Jul/Aug 2000), you offer no scriptural proof whatsoever to support your thesis, yet you have stated that, "no scriptures were given" when criticizing Mr. Tkach for changes he was making (MM p. 14). Your "proof" consists solely of what several commentaries say the Jews believed, and what you think. You do not even accurately represent what the commentaries do say, and what the Church has always taught, which is that Jesus Christ was "that prophet." Yes, "that prophet" is distinct from "Christ" Ė "that prophet" refers to Jesus at his first coming (Jn. 6:14), and "Christ" refers to him at his second coming. You also seem deceptive in your handling of Deuteronomy 18:15,18. In your Royal Vision article, "Who Is That Prophet?," you ignore it altogether, and make no mention of other New Testament references to "that prophet." You do mention these in the later 2001 booklet, apparently though only after someone pointed out your omission, but again with no scriptural proof Ė only what you think makes sense. The rest of your book is a beautiful house of "private interpretations" built upon the sandy foundation of the first two sections. Mr. Flurry, this is not how Herbert Armstrong proved Bible truths. Mr. Armstrong said that if we found him being dishonest with the scriptures, we should reject him as Godís apostle (12/6/80 taped Bible study on II Cor. 2).
In his November 19, 1976 co-worker letter Mr. Armstrong said that he had been shown "direct from God" that he was fulfilling the Revelation 10 commission to "prophesy again", a fact that you were aware of, and with which you agreed as stated in both the 1990 (p.12) and 1991 (p.19) versions of Malachiís Message. In these you quoted the January 1984 Good News personal where Mr. Armstrong reiterated that it was he, Herbert W. Armstrong, who had fulfilled this "prophesy again" commission of Revelation 10. However, when you began to claim, starting around 1993 and subsequently, that God revealed to you that you were fulfilling this commission, you made no mention of Mr. Armstrongís 1976 letter or 1984 Good News personal, and the reference in Malachiís Message was removed in subsequent printings. I know you are aware of this 1976 letter as you have quoted from it several times in some of your other writings. Mr. Flurry, how can this be? Do you say that Mr. Armstrong was mistaken, or are you "prophesying again" Ė AGAIN?
I am also amazed at how your office and stature continue to grow. In Malachiís Message you emphasized that there was only "one man in the spotlight" just before Christ returns (MM 1999, p. 18). However, now you say that there are "two prophesied leaders in this end-time who do Godís work Ė ELIJAH AND THAT PROPHET." (Who Is That Prophet?, p. 7) At last count I number twenty six titles or types that you are applying to yourself, including several that actually belong to God (e.g. Father, King, Counselor, Lawgiver, and That Prophet). None of Godís servants ever magnified their offices as you are. John the Baptist did not (Jn. 1:19-28), and Jesus Christ did not (Heb. 5:5). What you are doing seems way out of line to me. Yes, Paul said "I magnify mine office", but that was in defense of an office Christ had already put him in, not magnification in order to establish the office.
As your stature grows I also notice a shift from being HWA and Bible oriented, to being "headquarters" oriented, just as happened in the WCG after Mr. Armstrong died, and which you said was wrong. In 2001 you emphasized HWA and Godís instructions (Who Is That Prophet?, pg. 64), but now in 2002 you are adding an emphasis on a "headquarters mentality" and "follow those men" (Ezekiel, The End-Time Prophet, pg. 116,118). No, I donít believe I have a government problem, I am just noticing the direction here.
And you not only elevate yourself to dizzying heights, but also Godís Philadelphian remnant to the point where the sin of self-righteousness should be a real concern. There is in fact no scriptural distinction between "elect" and "very elect," a phrase you use profusely. Herbert Armstrong used the phrase "the very elect who cannot be deceived" to describe those true people of God who die as martyrs in the tribulation! (The Mark Of The Beast, last paragraph of section "Two Martyrdoms")
And one last question. How do you conclude that the epistles of John are in any way prophetic? I donít see one word or phrase in any of them that has any end-time connotation at all. These books are epistles, which contain examples and principles that are valid through all ages, but they are not specific prophecies. That is what every commentary says and that is what the Church has always taught. You offer no proof or explanation, just, "I believe this is a prophecy." John did not say, "When you see many antichrists, then you will know it is the last hour," as you interpret it. John said it was "now", in his time then, "A" last hour (the Greek article is "a" not "the"). He said there were "now", in his time then, many antichrists. I do believe we are extremely close to the final end, but your May 5th Last Hour "revelation" does not appear to me to have any basis in scripture.
A few evenings ago I had a several hours-long counseling session with two of your ministers, Mr. Brian Davis and Mr. Jim Cocomise. We went over the above questions and other concerns in some detail, but they were unable to give me scriptural answers to anything. You tell us that we can only understand these things if we receive them as "babes", and that is all you say. The scripture also says, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." (I Cor. 14:20) And, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Mt. 10:16) You seem to be asking us to have faith that God is speaking through you, rather than faith in what God clearly says in the Bible.
Mr. Flurry, if you are truly Godís prophet, will you please answer my above concerns point by point. If you cannot answer or do not respond, I will conclude that I am correct in my evaluation. I really do desire to back you and the marvelous work the Philadelphia Church of God is doing, but I must KNOW that it is of God.
Robert S. Kuhne
P.O. Box 9066
Naperville, IL 60567
CC: Mr. Marvin Campbell
Mr. Jim Cocomise
Mr. Brian Davis
PS Ė I did not want to clutter this letter up with too many references, but I do have references for everything, and proof that I believe would hold up in a court of law for every statement I have made.
PPS Ė I just read your March 13, 2002 members and co-workers letter, where on page 4 you seem to contradict Jesus Christ with the statement, "WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT GODíS CHURCH CAN DIE!" Please read Matthew 16:18.
* As expected, I received no response, but the PCG membership got a heated response with Mr. Flurry comparing me to Yasser Arafat and saying I was not grounded in Mystery Of The Ages. This letter was written AFTER I was disfellowshipped and it was becomming obvious by how I was being dealt with, that I had indeed discovered the truth.