Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch

By COGwriter

If you are new to the true Church of God (COG), be prepared for criticism as well as negative reports about it.

There are numerous anti-COG individuals who put out all kinds of negative information.

Jesus taught:

18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  20 Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  21 But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.  22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  23 He who hates Me hates My Father also.  24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.  25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause." (John 15:18-25)

In my four-plus decades of involvement with the Church of God (COG), beginning with the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in the 1970s, I have read and heard many criticisms against the Church of God.

Someone in the 1970s lent me a book to try to show that WCG doctrines were in error. After reading that book, it was clear that the doctrines of the old WCG were more biblical than those of the Protestant author who opposed the Church of God.

In the 1970s, something arose called Ambassador Report which highlighted articles that were opposed to the old WCG (the old WCG had an institution called Ambassador College, which is where presumably Ambassador Report derived its name).

Once or twice, after attending WCG services, there was a copy of Ambassador Report on the windshield of my car put there by some anti-WCG person. It is not that none of the negative comments about mistakes people made that were reported was false--it is that various assertions and conclusions were false and this confused various ones.

Throughout the decade since, other anti-COG documents and websites have been produced (like the Painful Truth, a name derived from the old WCG magazine, the Plain Truth). Their tactics tend to be to combine truth with error, just as Satan did in the Garden of Eden (cf. Genesis 3:1-4)--Christians are NOT to be ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Corinthians 2:1).

For a while, Ambassador Watch, ran by Gavin Rumney in New Zealand was the most popular. He then shut it down for a couple years. For a time, Gavin Rumney and I had a working understanding--while we disagreed theologically, we did cooperate on several matters. But after he betrayed my trust by violating an agreement he had with me, he became less agreeable.

While Ambassador Watch, was on hiatus, Gary Leonard's Banned By HWA site became probably the most popular anti-COG website. Because of his vehemence against nearly all things COG, we never had a cooperative understanding.

Now, in 2016 Ambassador Watch stopped being on hiatus and is once again functional. Though Gavin Rumney now seems to treat me with more hostility than before, overall his website is less directly hostile to the COGs in general than Gary Leonard's, though it clearly is an anti-COG website and has printed inaccuracies about me and others. Gavin Rumney basically likes to report with insults, innuendoes, and sometimes lies.

Those who run the anti-COG operations are normally people who had some affiliation with the COG, but dropped out (Matthew 13:19-20) and turned against it (cf. 2 Peter 2:18-22). Those who run these operation not actually believe the Bible as we in the COGs do. Of yes, they sometimes mention the Bible and Jesus, but tend to not believe it is truly inspired and they truly do not believe it.

Remember that even Satan quoted scripture (Matthew 4:3,5) and the demons believe in Jesus (Matthew 8:28-29; cf. James 2:19-20), but they are promoters of lies (John 8:43-47) and not good works (cf. James 2:19-20).

Most of the rest of this article will just mention some of the inaccuracies that Gary Leonard, the webmaster at the Banned By HWA site has posted related to me in for the three weeks ending September 4, 2016, as well as a later post from Gavin Rumney.

Banned By HWA site

Gary Leonard seems to relish in posting false accusations and innuendoes against me and others.

Why do I think that?

Well, in my personal case, for some odd reason he likes to lump me in with others he apparently detests and then asserts that I have the same flaws he claims others have.  For example, here is something he posted 9/01/16:

The question that really needs to be asked is why do the leaders in various Churches of God keep silent as they watch Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack, Rod Meredith and others abuse their members.  Why do none of them speak out?

Flurry, Pack, Thiel, Malm, Meredith and many others are NOT their brothers.  These men are not brothers in the faith. They sit there and do nothing as one horrendous abuse after another is dished out upon COG people.   How many more need to die from suicide, die from lack of medical care, have their families ripped apart and marriages destroyed?

While I am not aware of all the details of the others listed above regarding all the alleged abuse, I would like to comment about myself (But as far as various positions and actions by the others listed above, readers can read the following articles Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God, Why Not the Restored Church of God?, Error-Ridden James Malm Not Doing an Elijah Work, Roderick C. Meredith's Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel, and What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God?)

In the Continuing Church of God I have repeatedly worked to NOT rip families apart, but to strive to keep them and marriages together. None have died from suicide, though that happens in and out of COGs.  And although I personally srtive to avoid mainstream 'medical care' for myself, I have never taught members to not seek it if they wish. And I do care for the brethren (and pray for them daily).

Yet, Gary Leonard is claiming otherwise.  And that is a flat out lie from him.  He needs to stop making false accusation up against me, as well as others.

Gary Leonard is an accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10), and often a bearer of false witness (Exodus 20:16).

Now, he and others might object to some of this and claim that I was silent when I was once part of the old Global Church of God, then Living Church of God (LCG).

But that too, would be inaccurate.  At least twice in the Global Church of God (GCG), I contacted members of its Council of Elders with objections related to its then leader, evangelist Roderick C. Meredith.  Once was in an email to Larry Salyer, and the other was during a telephone call to Dr. Jeff Fall.

So, why did I end up in the Living Church of God?

Well, in addition to doctrinal and gospel reasons and issues with positions taken by the new GCG board, Dr. Meredith changed his behavior related to the objection I made to Larry Salyer and Dr. Meredith also personally apologized to me for statements he had made to the brethren in the old Global Church of God that I brought up to Dr. Fall. Anyway, I accepted Dr. Meredith's repentance on those points (cf. Matthew 18:22) and still pray for his repentance on other matters to this day.

Furthermore, while a part of the Living Church of God I regularly contacted various ministers when I had specific complaints of 'abuse' that I understood, plus sent in numerous doctrinal papers, as well as urging its leadership to follow Matthew 18:15-17 related to the leadership and the brethren.  So, for Gary Leonard to indicate otherwise is wrong.

And even in the old WCG, I twice sent Joseph Tkach letters objecting to information that he was allowing to get published. I also remember writing about something that Herbert W. Armstrong, when HWA was alive, I did related to the brethren that was wrong.

Yes I will add, I was polite and factual and was never disfellowshiped or marked by any of those groups for anything, including steps I took to try to help them better help the brethren and/or improve doctrinal integrity.

What about addressing any of Gary Leonard's false assertions and innuendoes?

Consider that the Bible says:

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest you also be like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5)

1 To everything there is a season,A time for every purpose under heaven: ... 7 A time to tear,And a time to sew;A time to keep silence,And a time to speak; (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7)

Thus, while I normally do not bother deal with most of the innuendoes, lies, and false assertions at the Banned by HWA website,sometimes there is a time to do it (cf. also Ecclesiastes 3:16-17).

Self-Appointed, or God-Ordained, Prophet?

Notice something that Gary Leonard posted about me on 8/30/16:

Self-Appointed Prophet Claims That The Govenment (sic}Will Soon Be Attacking Them Because Of What They Preach

One thing the church has been really good at is creating a "persecution complex" in many of it's so-called leaders.  They self appointed themselves as leaders, started their own splinter personality cults, and claim to proclaim the gospel message with "authority." ...

None of these so-called leaders have been more paranoid than the Almost Arrested Prophet Elisha Elijah Amos Joshua Chief Overseer Bob Thiel.

Gary Leonard often uses the term 'self appointed.' Instead he should consider using 'God ordained.'

It was evangelist Dr. Meredith himself who telephoned 0n October 3, 2008, and said to me, “God may consider you to be a prophet.” 

Notice that this came from a long-time evangelist and did not first come out from me. It was Dr. Meredith who first brought up the topic about Bob Thiel being a prophet. In January 2009, Dr. Meredith further told me over the telephone that if he (Dr. Meredith) was raised to the office of apostle, he was considering ordaining me (Bob Thiel) as a prophet. And on February 4, 2009, Dr. Meredith told me over the telephone, “You have an in-depth understanding {of prophetic matters}—you could be a prophet.”

Although Dr. Meredith was not raised up to the office of apostle, and did not personally ordain me, God had His own plans. In November and December 2011, I counseled with my pastor Dr. Fall, as well as Gary Ehman, about various matters related to the prophet matter.  I told both of them that I thought that I needed to have hands laid upon me again in order to validate the view that I might be some type of a prophet.  They both told me that, in their view related to being a prophet, baptism was scripturally sufficient.

While that sounded logical, the statement from the Apostle Paul to Timothy about getting hands laid upon him (1 Timothy 4:14) gave me personal pause.  And that caution led to me pray more about it.  Thus, instead of concluding that I had sufficient anointing, especially considering the relative enormity of some of the ramifications of this as a conclusion, I searched the scriptures and concluded that, perhaps like Gideon (Judges 6:36-40), that I would seek further outside confirmation, and preferably God would provide that from Charlotte. And I prayed for an answer about this from God.

Then it happened. On the morning of December 15, 2011, upon arriving at the Charlotte HQ of LCG, I asked to meet with Gary Ehman as I wanted to get anointed for some non-debilitating matters as well as to ask him to pray that I be granted wisdom for my meetings with the Charlotte-based LCG evangelists. But Gary Ehman was not in.  So instead, I asked to meet with Gaylyn Bonjour (with whom I never had any discussions prior about me possibly being some type of prophet). I asked Gaylyn Bonjour if he would do the anointing and pray that God would grant me wisdom for the meetings. He agreed. But while laying hands upon me, Gaylyn Bonjour also happened (it was not planned nor did I say anything to encourage this) to ask God to grant me a “double-portion” of His Holy Spirit and anointed me with oil. I asked him if he had ever prayed for a a double-portion anointing before, he said he had not, and that the only 'double-portion' he knew of was when Elisha received the double-portion and the mantle in 2 Kings 2.

On March 23, 2012, Gaylyn Bonjour told me he felt that in the Bible the “double-portion of the Spirit” anointing was related to “the passing of the mantle” and that it mattered not what certain other leaders would say because it is God, and not an organization of men, that truly appoints prophets, etc.

On June 29, 2012, I conveyed to Gaylyn Bonjour, Dr. Winnail's written comment in a letter dated 6/28/12 suggestion that my conclusion as to what seemed to happen when I was anointed by Gaylyn Bonjour on 12/15/11 was “presumptuous.” Gaylyn Bonjour disagreed that Dr. Winnail should have indicated that I may have been presumptuous about this. Gaylyn Bonjour told me that he felt that I was exercising proper caution and that to ignore what happened would seem to be against the will, and possibly plan, of God.  Gaylyn Bonjour also stated that it is God, and not men, who “appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets” (1 Corinthians 12:28).

I believe that the facts support that God had me ordained, yet Gary Leonard and others seemingly do not believe that God does that, despite the Bible teaching that GOD ordains prophets. But yes, God also has men physically do anointing, and He led Gaylyn Bonjour to do so.

The Banned by HWA website also regularly calls me a 'false prophet.' Its webmaster has claimed that I have made false prophecies (which is not true) and that nothing I have said came to pass, which is also not true (for some details prayerfully study the article How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).

Almost Arrested Bob Thiel?

Now what about the "Almost Arrested" title Gary Leonard often puts in his description of me. This seems to be used to scare people away from me like I was some type of horrible criminal.

Well, it is true that I was almost arrested, but I do not believe that Gary Leonard has bothered to explain why.  This relates to something that happened 37 years ago.  The Day of Atonement for 1979 was to come up the next week.  I was in the military at the time, and the powers that be decided that I had to work on that day. Biblically, that was not an option for me:

27 Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls ... 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:27-28)

7 On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall afflict your souls; you shall not do any work (Numbers 29:7).

But the military disagreed.  My commander had me meet with my first sergeant on a Friday. He told me that the legal office and chaplain said I had no legal ground to stand on and that I would not be allowed to observe the Day of Atonement, which was the next Monday.  I wondered if I was about to be arrested right then. After the legal threat from the military, which would have been followed through by arrest and at least temporary time in jail no later than Monday, I quickly and silently prayed similar to what Nehemiah anciently did (Nehemiah 2:4).

Somewhat like what happened to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:5), God gave me an answer. And that is what Jesus taught would happen:

11 "Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say.  12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." (Luke 12:11-12)

Anyway, what I told the first sergeant stopped the threat of arrest and I did observe the Day of Atonement and was never arrested.

Jesus and the Apostle Paul were improperly arrested. And when Jesus' original apostles were arrested and brought before the authorities, they did not compromise either. Instead, they responded with:

29 We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

I, too, choose to obey God rather than men.  Yes, if I would have compromised I would not have been arrested, but instead I prayed and trusted God and was simply almost arrested.

Gary Leonard acts like being "almost arrested" for what happened to me is un-Christian. The apostles would have a different view. Here is what the Apostle Peter wrote:

20 But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

22 "Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; (1 Peter 2:20-22)

Jesus faced false accusations and people not believing Him, even though He told the truth. Those websites that are truly anti-COG are against God's work and the truth--they are NOT of God.

Notice something that Jesus stated:

43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.  44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.  45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.  46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?  47 He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God. (John 8:43-47)

It is not only disbelief, the Banned site inaccurately posts improper statements.

The Continuing Church of God Teaches About Jesus

Notice something Gary Leonard posted on 8/28/16:

I had a news alert today regarding Almost Arrested Elisha Elijah Joshua Amos Doubly-Blessed Chief Overseer Bob Thiel. It was about his latest online sermon. Poltergeists and Lying Wonders.

Thiel has also come up with a new gimmick in order to make him look like the biblical "authority" he foolishly believes he is.  Hold up your big thick bible and shake it at the camera and people will know you mean business!

The self appointed lying wonder Thiel is not alone in his fear based topics and embarrassment of Jesus.

Actually, the one of the things at Banned that got me to write this article was the implication that we in the CCOG do not teach about Jesus (which Gary Leonard has more blatantly falsely stated in the past).

Let's see three points related to what Gary Leonard asserted:

  1. The item Poltergeists and Lying Wonders was not a sermon. It was a sermonette that was posted about a week earlier. And the last sermonette I had done, which was posted on that same Sunday, did significantly discuss Jesus (watch Why does the Islamic State kill and terrorize?).
  2. Explaining, as I did in Poltergeists and Lying Wonders, that there is a spirit world is biblical as opposed to 'fear based.'
  3. The last SERMON I had posted (and this was done Saturday evening, prior to Gary Leonard's post) was titled Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness. In it, I went through all of Jesus words in the two chapters of Matthew mentioned in the title.

Furthermore, the last sermon was simply the eighth in a series covering EVERY WORD Jesus taught in the Book of Matthew. Additionally, the series on Matthew comes after similar series intended to cover EVERY WORD that the New Testament recorded that Jesus wrote--which Matthew 28:19-20 shows that true Christian leaders should do.

Notice also some of the past sermons related to fulfilling what Jesus commanded, related to teaching all things He taught, as part of what is commonly called the 'great commission' (Matthew 28:19-20):

MATTHEW Here are links to seven sermons covering the first 16 chapters of Matthew (sermons to cover the remaining chapters are in progress): Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, Matthew 13-14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, and Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter.
MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus' words in the 'Gospel of Mark': What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark?
LUKE Here are links to eight sermons covering the entire 'Gospel of Luke': Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census, Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry, Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs, Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way, Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards, and Luke 21-22: Giving, Sorrows, Persecution, Tribulation, Fig Tree, and Violence. The last sermon also covers Jesus' words in the Book of Acts.
JOHN Here are links to a seven-part sermon series covering the entire 'Gospel of John': John 1-3: Anti-unitarian, Wine, Being Born Again, & Heaven, John 4-6: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Miracles and the Bread of Life, John 10-12: Sheep, Hirelings, Lazarus/Soul Sleep and ‘Palm Day’, John 13-15: Footwashing and the Words of Jesus, John 16-18: Truth, Trinity, and Pontius Pilate, and John 19-21: Do not only try, do what God wants.

Sadly, because many involved with the Banned by HWA website do not have a real love of the truth, they do not seem to care about their false assertions and conclusions.

Parsonage Allowance?

Among other lies and accusations Gary Leonard made in posts about me at Banned By HWA, is that on 08/19/16, a couple of weeks ago he claimed that I take a parsonage allowance for the house I live in (I do not) and that I deduct electricity related to the parsonage (which I do not) and that I do not teach anything biblical.

Here is some of what he wrote:

The world's greatest double-blessed apostle, the world's foremost Mayan authority and modern day embodiment of Elisha, Elijah and Amos ...

He uses ... his house that he deducts as his parsonage, his utilities that he deducts from his parsonage expense.  ... All of his videos are personal opinion.  There is nothihng biblical that he preaches.

I do not take a 'parsonage allowance' at all (see also Lies at ‘Banned by HWA’ and some of why the Continuing Church of God is not registered as a 501(c)(3)), and my relgious videos, like my articles, normally contain many scriptures. In many of his posts, Gary Leonard makes a variety of statement that he seems to assert are facts, but which he does not know about.

I would also take the time to remind everyone that I still do not take a salary from the Continuing Church of God, nor do I take a parsonage or similar allowance.

Despite the fact that this has been known to the anti-COG sites for years, they still want to suggest that I do what I do for money. Notice, for example, a 9/07/16 post from Gavin Rumney:

I apologize. AW has been woefully neglectful of the CCG and its wondrously gifted prophet Bob Thiel. ... His tiny Continuing Church of God is a vanity project that has a future only as long as Bob's personal longevity, and nobody lives forever. I guess it generates a nice little income in the meantime.

You will notice the insults and lies. Gavin Rumney is suggesting that the Continuing Church of God is providing me with an income. That is a lie. And as far as effectiveness. the Continuing Church of God has been more effective, in several measures, of reaching people than other groups, plus we will reach more in the future (see Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word and Final Phase of the Work). But Gavin Rumney apparently cannot appreciate that, so he tries to belittle.

As far as income goes, the reality instead is that nearly all of the funds received by the Continuing Church of God that are not used to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14), the short work (Romans 9:28; see also Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word) and prepare for the final phase of the work, go to support the poor in Africa (and also parts of Asia). Notice what James and Jesus taught:

15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:15-18).

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

Yet, Gary Leonard says there is no concern for the brethren. He might also wish to consider something else that Jesus said:

35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:35-37)

Gary Leonard Claims to Not Be an Accuser of the Brethren in a Post He Made More False Accusations

The Bible teaches:

16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Gary Leonard, the webmaster at the Banned By HWA site (an anti-Church of God website), made a partial response to my post ‘Banned by HWA’ continues to make false assertions–Matthew 13:19-21? on September 3, 2016. Apparently he does not take Proverbs 6:16-19 seriously.

Astute readers might find his responses show his true colors.

In my post ‘Banned by HWA’ continues to make false assertions–Matthew 13:19-21?, I charged Gary Leonard with making several false assertions such as:

  1. Claiming I was ripping up families.
  2. Claiming I was breaking up marriages.
  3. Claiming I do not care for the brethren.
  4. Claiming I was silent if I saw actual abuse of COG members.
  5. Claiming I am self-appointed.
  6. Claiming I receive and deduct a parsonage allowance.
  7. Claiming my most recent sermon was not about Jesus.

I also provided various proofs behind my statements, yet Gary Leonard did not for his claims.

Perhaps it should be mentioned that my wife was quite repulsed when I told her that Gary Leonard said I broke up families and marriage. She found it incredulous that Gary Leonard would make such a things up on the above list, but he did.

Gary Leonard had a chance to come clean, confess his errors, and move forward.

But instead, in his response dated September 3, 2016, Gary Leonard posted:

Today started of with one of the most hilarious posts that Bob Thiel has posted in a long time.  The Almost Arrested Elisha Elijah Joshua Bob had an epic millennial melt down this morning. …

So Thiel claims he has makes an effort to never break families apart.  Well good for him. …

God no more appointed Bob Thiel as an end-time prophet/church leader, through the blessing of Gaylyn Bonjour during a simple prayer, than Dave Pack was personally educated at the feet of Herbert Armstrong.   Just because Thiel and a disturbed woman in the Southern Hemisphere had some nightmares, which they assume came from their god, it no more makes Thiel a prophet than the dream of my cat being made Supreme Leader of the Planet Argon I might have had several months ago. …

Am I an accuser of the brethren? No!

Despite his denial, Gary Leonard is an accuser of the brethren. Currently, it seems to be part of his nature. And no, I did not have a “meltdown,” only decided that it was appropriate to put forth truth to expose darkness to show those with 'eyes to see' (Proverbs 20:12, NLT) that Gary Leonard was a false accuser of the brethren. Jesus said:

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:20-21)

An astute person whom I do not know, posted a comment about this at the Banned By HWA site after Gary Leonard made his aforementioned post:

Charlie Speck said…

This blog is getting to be more pathetic as time goes. Little children name calling instead of simply using a persons real name when referring to them, and then we watch the other children play monkey see monkey do as they repeat the same childish names. Bob Thiel has it right this time but obviously the blog owner can’t handle the truth and had to make another rant against Bob Thiel. Then we have our usual Dennis the Athiest posts with his not very convincing arguments at hat go on and on and on, actually it seems this blog is becoming a place for Athiests to come where they can spew their Christian hate. Anyway, that’s it for me, I’m out of here, far to negative and full of hate.

September 4, 2016 at 2:42 AM

Charlie Speck is correct that many at the Banned By HWA site are improperly negative and full of hate. It is good that some who go to that website are able to see through various of the lies and innuendoes that are posted there.

In his post, Gary Leonard never apologized for falsely claiming anything on my list of seven, though he at least seemed to acknowledge I claim to make an effort not to break up families.

Those who think he, without proof, despite me having proof of the falseness of several of his assertions, could be right may wish to consider the following proverb:

16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can answer sensibly. (Proverbs 26:16)

Consider that furthermore more in his September 3, 2016 rant against me, Gary Leonard falsely asserted that I and a woman from New Zealand (who I did not know) had nightmares. No, we had dreams.

Apparently Gary Leonard does not believe that God uses dreams, even though the Bible says God does (Genesis 20:3-7, 28:10-17, 31:10-13, 31:24, 37:5-10, 40:5-18, 41:1-32; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13-15; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; Acts 16:9; see also Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

Notice also that Gary Leonard called the Church of God member who had a dream while she attended the Living Church of God, a “disturbed woman.” Neither she nor I described out dreams as “nightmares,” so this is yet another false accusation from Gary Leonard.

Gary Leonard presumably has not met the woman, Fesilafai Fiso Leaana, yet has accused her of being disturbed. Again, this shows that he, like Satan, truly is an accuser of the brethren.

Furthermore, he continues to refer to refer to me with statements like “Almost Arrested” to imply I am some type of criminal, without bothering to explain that I was almost arrested because I told government authorities that I would observe the biblical Day of Atonement (details of this are in my post, ‘Banned by HWA’ continues to make false assertions–Matthew 13:19-21?, that Gary Leonard responded to, though he did not bother to mention the truth about this).

The webmaster and several others at the Banned By HWA site remain in my prayers.

Anti-COG Sites Improperly Accuse

In the days of the old Soviet Union it was said that propoganda needed to be about 90% true or people would not be as susceptible to believing it.

The anti-COG sites often do have some items that are true.

But they often come to conclusions or make accusatory statements that are false.

Notice what the Apostle Paul said when he was falsely accused:

13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. (Acts 24:13-16)

Paul was falsely accused of accusations that could not be proven and said he worshiped God, "believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets." So, do I.  Though unlike the Apostle Paul who was arrested, I was only almost arrested.

We in the CCOG will continue to be falsely accused.

If someday, someone make some actual improper accusation against me, and it is repeated, unless he repents, Gary Leonard is likely to report it. He and others may wish to consider the following:

20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out;
And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.
21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body.

23 Fervent lips with a wicked heart
Are like earthenware covered with silver dross.

24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips,
And lays up deceit within himself;
25 When he speaks kindly, do not believe him,
For there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. (Proverbs 26:20-26)

I do not hate Gary Leonard and the others--I regularly pray for them

It is the anti-COG writers like Gary Leonard who often hate. Although he tries to disguise it, much of his hate is without cause. He hates those who pretend to be in the COG as well as those that truly are in the Church of God. Jesus taught: It remains my hope he and the other anti-COG writers will repent of their hypocrisy.

If I actually did anything improper that offended Gary Leonard, I do not know what it was. And if he let's me know, I would be happy to apologize. But his regularly making false statements is not good for him spiritually and hopefully he will consider that.

He and those at his site should cease and desist from such things, believe the Bible, and prayerfully study the article How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God.

It is one thing to have theological differences, but quite another to ignore the truth and spread falsehoods.

Will he and others repent?

Perhaps. Perhaps in this age. Saul who made threats against true Christians, who became Paul, did repent (Acts 9). If Gary Leonard and his cohorts do not, hopefully one or more will be able to in the "age to come" (cf. Matthew 12:31-32; see also Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants and Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis).

Satan's Plan

False accusers of the brethren fit in with Satan's Plan.

Satan tried to make fun of Jesus' claim to be the Son of God (Matthew 4:3,5). Many have persecuted and/or made fun of the true Church of God throughout history. Those that do are part of Satan's plan. But Jesus knew this would happen:

11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Notice that the Bible teaches:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20)

The anti-COG sites often do this--and can cause harm to some who are called.

After all of this, some of you may think you should have nothing to do with the Continuing Church of God as various ones improperly speak against it. But, biblically, that is NOT the right attitude to have.

Notice what some said in the Book of Acts to the Apostle Paul:

21 Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.”  (Acts 28:21-22)

So, despite true Christianity being spoken against, some were interested in hearing. Here are the verses that followed in the Book of Acts:

23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. 25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 saying,

Go to this people and say:
‘Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”‘ (Acts 28:23-27)

Being spoken against did not stop the Apostle Paul from teaching the truths of God. Nor is it stopping me or the  Continuing Church of God. Nor should it stop those who are really believers in the truth.

Notice something Jesus explained:

18 "Therefore hear the parable of the sower:  19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. (Matthew 13:18-21)

14 "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14)

Sadly, I have seen some who read the type of lies that the Banned By HWA site asserts as facts fall by the wayside.

The anti-COG writers bring to mind something that the Apostle Peter was inspired to write:

18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:18-22)

The anti-COG sites make bold improper words. Notice more of what Jesus said:

11 ... Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (Revelation 3:11)

12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Mark 13:12-13)

Sadly, various ones have let the anti-COG people "take their crown"--did not "endure to the end" as they should have. They allowed people once considered to be brothers to betray them spiritually--and yes it will also happen physically (see Persecutions by Church and State).

Notice something that Jesus wrote about people which reminds me of many of those who post at the anti-COG sites as many intentionally cause offense:

6 Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! (Matthew 18:6-7)

The webmaster and several others at the Banned By HWA, as well as Gavin Rumney and others remain in my prayers. Consider also the following:

21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. (Psalms 34:21-22)

You should pray for those who have made themselves enemies of true Christianity as well, since Jesus said:

27 But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. (Luke 6:27-28)

We are to pray and not give up because of criticisms. Jesus said of some of His critics:

25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.' (John 15:25)

Of course, the critics claim to have a cause, but do not realize that it is Satan's cause they are promoting. Satan does not want people to be in the Kingdom of God nor does he want the Gospel of the Kingdom of God preached to the world as a witness as that will lead to the end (cf. Matthew 24:14).

Some do not seem to understand that Jesus and the apostles faced intense criticism and false assertions--and that those who really want to follow Him will be subject to it as well (John 15:18-25).

Satan is the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). The anti-COG promoters have been influenced. Yet, according to Jesus, their tactics will not prevail:

18 I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18).

Satan's power, and those on his side (Hades' side), will not stop the Continuing Church of God. Nor can they stop prayer (cf. Luke 6:27-28; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

The Banned site continues to post lies. Here is a link to my response on November 30, 2019: Let’s Deal with Some Lies from ‘Banned by HWA’

It also reposted some nonsense from the AW site on December 1, 2019. Here is a link to my response: Banned, Ambassador Watch, Living University, and my Ph.D. and Th.D.  

To learn more about criticisms of Christians since the New Testament began, check out the article Is the Genuine Church of God a Cult?

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Thiel B. Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch. COGwriter 2016 (c) 2016 2019 1201

Some items of perhaps related interest include:

Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders--here is some of why you should be concerned about them. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
The Philadelphia Remnant: It's All About Love This is what CCOG teaches. It is important to remember.
What is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
Is the Genuine Church of God a Cult? There are misleading statements on the internet that this article tries to address.
Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word What is the 'short work' of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come " will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.