Gerald Flurry

Gerald Ray Flurry (born April 12, 1935) is the founder and Pastor General of the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG), a small church based in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is presenter of the television program The Key of David, is editor in chief of The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine, is founder and chancellor of Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond, Oklahoma, and is founder and chairman of the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation. It is taught within the church that he is That Prophet,[1] a divinely appointed successor to Herbert W. Armstrong, akin to Elisha after Elijah.[2] He is a supporter of teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong (founder of the Worldwide Church of God).

Contents


Worldwide Church of God

Gerald Flurry graduated from Ambassador College, Pasadena, California, in 1970[3][4] and became a minister with the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in 1973.[5] In 1975 he was transferred to Pasco, Washington.[6] Eventually he transferred to Oklahoma in 1985. During the three years after Herbert Armstrong's death in 1986, WCG made several doctrinal changes that Flurry objected to as doctrinally false. He began to make known his opposition to these changes and produced a manuscript that would become the book, Malachi's Message to God’s Church Today. These events led to his being summoned by WCG leaders to appear before them, where Flurry was fired from the WCG on December 7, 1989.[7] From 1992 onwards he has taught that this booklet is the 'little book' of Revelation 10.[8][9]

Philadelphia Church of God

A group of supporters began to form around Flurry at this point, including John Amos, Tim Thompson, Vyron Wilkins, Dennis Leap, Frank Garcia, Wilber Malone, Don Marshall,[10] Jim Mortensen, Don Roth and Winston Davis.[11] They disagreed with the doctrinal changes occurring in WCG. Together 12 people met for the Philadelphia Church of God’s first service on December 16, 1989. On December 20 the PCG became an incorporated entity.[12] With the founding of PCG one of its first actions was to publish Malachi's Message to God’s Church Today and distribute it to as many WCG members as possible.

Malachi's Message and Plagiarism Controversy

He teaches that Malachi's Message is the 'little book' of Revelation 10, a hidden part of Revelation hidden by God until 1989.[13]

Due to similarities with the Letter to Laodicea written by WCG member Jules Dervaes in 1987[14][15] it has been asserted that Malachi's Message was actually copied from the Letter to Laodicea.[16][17]

Expansion of PCG

Since the initial mailing, Flurry has done the following:

  • In 1990, he began publishing the “Philadelphia Trumpet” magazine, imitating Herbert W. Armstrong’s PLAIN TRUTH magazine.
  • In 1993, he began the weekly "Key of David" television program in the tradition of the WCG's WORLD TOMORROW program.
  • In 1992, he founded Philadelphia Youth Camp, pattered after the Summer Educational Program established by Armstrong.
  • In 1996, Gerald Flurry founded the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation, patterned after WCG's Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, establishing a concert series in Edmond.
  • In 2001, he founded Herbert W. Armstrong College, an unaccredited four-year liberal arts college in the tradition of Ambassador College.
  • In January 2008, Mr. Flurry broke ground on Armstrong Auditorium, an 800-seat, $18 million performing arts center located on the Armstrong College campus. The center, pattered after Mr. Armstrong’s famed Ambassador Auditorium, was originally scheduled to open in February 2010, but the auditorium web site later indicated a delay until 5 September 2010.
  • In August 2008, he founded Imperial Academy, a primary and secondary school pattered after the WCG's Imperial Schools.

Battle with the WCG over Armstrong’s writings

Despite the fact that the WCG owned the copyrights to Mystery of the Ages, written by Herbert W. Armstrong, Flurry decided in 1997 to print and distribute hard copies under the “fair use" clause of the copyright law.[18] This book summed up Armstrong's teachings. The book had been put out of print and copies destroyed by the WCG leadership within three years of Armstrong’s death. PCG published the book in order to distribute it.[19] The leadership of the Worldwide Church of God rejected that the PCG printing of this book was "fair use" of their copyright and thus began a six year court battle over fair use of the copyrights, with the WCG losing the initial round at the appellate level on February 18, 1997.[20][21] WCG then appealed and won a split decision with the Ninth Circuit Court on September 18, 2000.[22] After this PCG then petitioned the twenty-six judges of the Ninth Circuit Court; after they all rejected it the PCG appealed to the nine justices of the Supreme Court, but none would hear the case.[23] The WCG leadership offered Flurry and the PCG all of Armstrong’s works for three million dollars on the condition that internal WCG documents, memos, and emails obtained through discovery be handed back by the PCG. According to Stephen Flurry’s (Gerald Flurry's son) book Raising the Ruins, this condition was regarded as a deal breaker and the WCG was told to prepare to resume litigation. Within hours, the condition to the sale of the copyright was removed from the proposal and an agreement was reached. PCG agreed to pay WCG $3 million. In exchange, PCG would acquire the copyright to Mystery of the Ages and the other eighteen disputed works. In order to pay this amount PCG had to abandon coverage of 'The Key of David' program on all TV spots except on WGN.[24]

The Philadelphia Church of God now owns the copyrights to nineteen of Herbert W. Armstrong’s works, including all his full length books.

Disfellowshipment teaching

Flurry has been criticized by detractors for the church's teaching of disfellowshipment. The church, citing Romans 16:17, teaches PCG members to avoid associating with or fellowshipping with present and former baptized members of the Worldwide Church of God,[25] prohibiting "any kind of fellowship with former PCG members and all "Laodiceans," even if they are members of a church member's immediate family."[26] He has written, “We [PCG members] must not keep company or fellowship with them [‘Laodiceans’] by going to restaurants and things like that. In the past some members have been told that these relationships are okay so long as religion is not discussed…[but to the contrary] there should be a complete cut off.” [27]

Exceptions to the teaching are if an apostate or Laodicean spouse of a PCG member is "pleased to dwell." Scripture, Flurry said, dictates that "that relationship should be preserved as long as the [disfellowshipped or Laodicean] mate is pleased to dwell." He cited 1 Corinthians 7:10-14.[26] The other exception to the disfellowship rule is "unbaptized children" and other former PCG attendees who may have been baptized but were not "validly baptized."[26] The PCG disfellowshipment teaching does not apply to family members not formally associated with the Worldwide Church of God.

CD Policy

Since at least 2005 it has been PCG policy that all sermons sent out on CD are immediately destroyed after being heard in local areas.[28] No one is to listen to the message again and the CD is destroyed with a witness present. In spite of this air-tight ruling, several sermons are available on the internet.[29]

Personal life

Gerald Ray Flurry was born April 12, 1935 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to parents Clarence (deceased 1977) and Jicie (deceased 1997). He married Barbara Brewer, September 5, 1964 (deceased 2004)[30] . Flurry lives in Edmond, Oklahoma near his children, Laura and Stephen, and his six grandchildren.[31]

Writings

Literature written by Gerald Flurry:

  • Conspiracy Against Fatherhood.
  • Daniel—Unsealed at Last!.
  • Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.
  • From the Beginning.
  • Haggai: Proof of God’s Work Today.
  • Isaiah’s End-Time Vision.
  • Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible.
  • Jerusalem in Prophecy.
  • Jonah: A Strong Warning To God's Church.
  • Malachi's Message to God's Church Today.
  • Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy For Germany.
  • No Freedom Without Law.
  • Repentance Toward God.
  • The God Family Vision.
  • The Former Prophets—God’s Royal Family.
  • The Key of David.
  • The King of the South.
  • The Last Hour.
  • The Prophet Joel—Christ’s Bride and the Day of the Lord.
  • The Rising Beast—Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans.
  • Unveiled At Last: The Royal Book of Revelation.
  • We Have Had Our Last Chance.
  • Who is That Prophet?
  • Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman.
  • Worldwide Church of God Doctrinal Changes and the Tragic Results.
  • Zephaniah’s Day of the Lord—“It Hastens Greatly”.

Literature co-authored by Gerald Flurry:

  • Character in Crisis.(Co-authored with Stephen Flurry)
  • Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.(Co-authored with J. Tim Thompson and Stephen Flurry)
  • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.(Co-authored with Wayne Turgeon)

See also

Notes

  1. The Riddle of That Prophet Gerald Flurry's big mistake.
  2. PCG Information, 'That Prophet'.
  3. 1971 Envoy, p. 37, (PDF p.41).
  4. Dixon Cartwright, 'Philadelphia Church of God founder Gerald Flurry in Texas for campaign, talks about lawsuit (Part 1)', http://www.thejournal.org/articles/issue25/pcg.html, The Journal: News of the Churches of God, February 1999. '[Stephen Flurry] noted that his father [Gerald Flurry] had graduated from Ambassador College in 1970'.
  5. What is the Philadelphia Church of God?, Exit and Support Network.
  6. 'the Flurrys were transferred to Pasco, Wash., in 1975.' Sarah Leap, 'Worldwide Family Remembers Her Impact',Philadelphia News, November–December, 2004, p. 8, (PDF p. 15).
  7. "Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, page 109"
  8. Gerald Flurry, 'The Little Book', Philadelphia Trumpet, September-October, 1992, p. 8.
  9. Ibid. See p. 7 of download.
  10. Don Marshall soon renounced his association with PCG. A letter detailing his views on PCG may be read at Ambassador Report#54, February 1994,'Flurry's Philadelphians'.
  11. Letters from those Impacted by Philadelphia Church of God 2005, August 31, 2005, Exit and Support Network.
  12. "Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, page 203"[www.thetrumpet.com/index.php?q=4626.0.101.0]
  13. Gerald Flurry, 'The Little Book', 1995.
  14. Jules Dervaes, 'The Letter to Laodicea', December 1986-January 1988.
  15. PCG Information, siderbar section, 'The Letter to Laodicea'.
  16. Jules Dervaes, letter to Gerald Flurry, September 26, 1990.
  17. PCG Information, sidebar section, 'Letter to Laodicea v. Malachi's Message'.
  18. "Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, Our Big Day, Pages 223-224"
  19. Stephen Flurry, Raising the Ruins, page 220"
  20. L. A. Mystery of the Ages suit transcript in full, The Journal: News of the Churches of God, March 1997.
  21. Ambassador Report, May 1997, 'Flurry Wins Big in Court'. Retrieved 20-1-2009.
  22. Worldwide Church of God v. Philadelphia Church of God, Case number 99-55850, September 18, 2000, PCG Information.
  23. Ralph Helge, lawyer for WCG, quoted in PCG Information, heading 'Court Case Lost'.
  24. http://www.pcog.info/ptmmtp.htm#Forced%20Settlement PCG Information, 'Forced Settlement'.
  25. PCG Information, sidebar section ‘Disfellowshiping’
  26. a b c Dixon Cartwright, 'PCG Clarifies Disfollowship Policy, Gives Main Purpose of Church: The Need to Expose Satan', The Journal: News of the Churches of God, January 2006.
  27. Gerald Flurry, Pastor’s General Report, December 10, 2005, pp. 1-2, PCG Information.
  28. December 10, 2005 Pastor General's Report, pp. 3-5.
  29. http://www.pcog.info/Sermons.htm
  30. Sarah Leap, 'Worldwide Family Remembers Her Impact',Philadelphia News, November–December, 2004, p. 1.
  31. theTrumpet.com, "Gerald Flurry"