|Reply to NCCG|
Get your snakes out.
I recently (May 2008) discovered a reply to the articles on the NCCG, put out in November 2007, and you can tell that the cult is smarting from the critiques here:
It is ironic that a Protestant ministry we otherwise have great respect for, and evenrecommend on our website, should produce such a distorted caricature of the New Covenant Church of God (NCCG), and resort to sarcasm, cynicism and mockery to win its readership. When a Christian turns to such methods he has lost before he has even started. It was for this reason that we did not bother to make a response to Holding's two essays   and it is only because they are being used by many now as a standard critique of our beliefs that we felt it was time to put some things straight.
I see the NCCG is as good at the "waaah, you're mean to us" guilt trip as the atheists are, but let's face it folks - these are lunatics, they're deceiving people without remorse, and when you lose on the ground of facts, trying to shift it to a goofy claim that "sarcasm makes you a loser" just proves that you're a loser and trying to cover your posterior with a thimble. They'll even resort to outright falsehood, such as:
O RLY, as the owl might say. Then they might want to check this page on their own site:
Since it is clear that they use "creation" in the sense of absolute origin, and since they contrast the "uncreated" (and "always been God") Jesus with the Spirit as a "special creation," then it is abundantly clear that the Spirit is regarded as NOT uncreated, unlike Jesus. Caught you, guys. Better change that page soon, and the Wayback Machine copy if you can.
From here they whine for a while about how badly they're persecuted (not once touching our extended articles on the Trinity, of course), somehow getting the idea that they were being called "snakes" (no, dear people…you're being compared to nuts on this side of the pond who handle snakes, per the ending of Mark 16 in your KJV); they boast of how much they stick to Scripture (meaning, what they read out of it by decontextualization); there is much irrelevant whining about "closed canons" (which doesn't have anything to do with a word I said - had they bothered to check my article on the canon, as well as the OT canon, they would have seen that the process was much more complex than they realize, and that there was indeed a "methodology for canonization" already in place and so no need to lay one out in the Bible) and a claim that the comparison of NCCG to Montanists is a "red herring" because NCCG doesn't do all the things they do (though the point of comparison was clearly with respect to NCCG's belief in current revelation and not concerning anything else; thus the red herring charge is itself a red herring intended to encourage the NCCG flock into thinking of themselves as persecuted and mischaracterized, a common cult tactic). They could have wasted a lot less time whining about the comparison to Montanists had they read my article carefully.
An interesting comment is, "The thought of modern revelation terrifies the 'Bible-only' mindset of non-charismatics." No, it doesn't: Number one, we're not "Bible only" here - we respect the Bible's original context, and it is that which cults like NCCG fear most, save where they cherry-pick what they want to hear. As for modern revelation, I made it quite clear that if they have any, they need to subject it to the Deut. 18 test - we're still waiting for that. Do they have any?
What do you think? They say, "Holding is very anxious that all revelation conform to Deuteronomy 18's criteria and be tested." (I guess God was "anxious" of that too, since He put it there in the first place.) I am still waiting for something on the order of verification and will wait a while. The author compares himself to Paul -- whose experience WAS validated Deut. 18-style, by his doing of miracles and the fulfillment of the prophecy on his life to become the apostle to the Gentiles. So where's the NCCG author's validation? They claim: "If he had spent time studying our website, he'd have found plenty. They're being fulfilled all the time." Unfortunately not one is named, much less are we shown any that are meaningfully ascribable to divine intervention (e.g., "The sun will come up tomorrow!" won't work.) "Look over there" without specifics is yet another cult tactic meant to keep the followers happy.
Because they don't have an answer to it, their reply ignores the point that all of the "feminine gender" passages they take as references to the Spirit were used to refer to the male Jesus as incarnate Wisdom. Instead, attention is diverted by a claim that I supposedly mistook a quote of James Trimm for a quote of their own writer (I didn't), and then a wide diversion is taken into some discussion of how "an inbuilt fear of sexuality" has caused the defeminization of the Spirit, and a claim that "New Covenant Christians, too, are mostly interested in offices, functions and spiritual positioning," whatever that is supposed to mean. The only point in my article that is actually addressed is here:
Sorry, no. Aside from the fact that they left out the example of "spirit of meekness" (which debunks the irrelevant distraction to "negative terms"), the personhood of the Holy Spirit is found from verbs of action associated with it (too bad they didn't check the rest of my site), which are never associated with the "seven spirits" of Revelation, which was the actual subject of my point, not the Holy Spirit. Presumably NCCG hopes no one will read the original and find out that they're not paying attention.
Next up, the NCCG turns up the persecution complex a few more notches: "We saw how Holding was willing to label us as Montanist but he is even more willing to imply we are anti-semite too." Unfortunately they are not able to find the words "anti-Semite" in either article. I did allude to the practices of the Ku Klux Klan, but the reference was not to anti-Semitism per se, but to the cracked conspiracy theories the KKK and like organizations have with reference to such things as calling the two World Wars "Israelite Civil Wars" - an absurdity in historical context. It is also falsely claimed that I "lump [them] in with British Israelites" - not at all. I consider the teaching of NCCG on this account MORE absurd than British Israelism.
Yet another diversion is inserted, on the subject of politics, enough at least to keep the bedazzled NCCG flock too busy to notice that nothing of what I said is being addressed. Then it is said, "For some reason Holding is upset that I don't give Jewish claims carte blanche so he is more than prepared to associate us with white supremacist racists who hate Jews. Well we aren't white supremacists and we don't hate Jews." Maybe not; but the NCCG does make up goofy stories about Jews, as well as about everyone else; and they certainly have no actual defense of their absurd proposition that there are genetic links between Israel and every other nation on earth. I did not say the NCCG were racists….I would prefer to say, on this account, that they are just plain idiots. Not surprisingly, though they claim the point by my reader re colonized African countries is false, no actual contrary data is presented; instead, some conspiracy is suggested that there was more in the "missing words" in the quote, "To say that Ethiopia was the 'only African nation never to be colonised by ... Britain'" which would have changed the picture. They obviously don't recognize a quote from their own site here; the only word left out is "Ephraimitish" which the reader disagrees with, and which makes no difference in context. (The author claims to be the author also of a book titled, "An Historical Atlas of Modern Europe and Africa: 1871-1978," but no such title appears in OCLC, or on Amazon Books, or on any website aside from the NCCG one.)
On the matter of the NT being written first in Hebrew, it is claimed that I am not "abreast of modern scholarship, or if he is, dismisses it because of either the 'majority' or 'time' factors (they just haven't been around long enough)." I am referred to the views of James Trimm; not one argument is actually presented, much less one that rebuts my own article, which was linked to. A link is offered to a PDF document, which comes up with an error message. Maybe someday an actual argument with be presented.
Finally, re pre-existence, Jeremiah 1:5 is hoisted aloft, but as I noted, this claim was one I took apart in my book on Mormonism, and far be it for NCCG to get a copy. They obviously do not have any understanding of the distinction between actual and ideal pre-existence; and their one argument for "actual" pre-existence is, "you can't have a relationship with your own thought." How they derive a "relationship" from Jer. 1:5 is not explained. A "relationship" is not required for God to have foreknowledge, or to ordain or set apart (sanctify) someone. It is also anachronistic; "relationships" were not experienced by ancient peoples in the modern sense.
Finally, on sanctification, we are presented with a wayward speech that does not at all address the issue of Semitic Totality and how that reveals the connection between faith and works. Their own view is not defended in any way; it is merely explained again, and vague appeal is made to "many theologies of sanctification in the Protestant churches" as if diversity of views (even if it did exist) actually proved anything.
In conlusion: NCCG has done little to show us that the jello has been replaced by cement. Their response includes claims that they believe what their site clearly says they do not; it contains almost no actual arguments, and no response to the detailed material linked to on this site. Finally, it contains all the usual diversions of the cornered cult leader. Maybe one of these days we'll see an actual answer emerge from this crowd, but I wouldn't hold my breath.