4 Responses to “20 Years After Waco, Texas”

  1. Big Red Big Red says:

    Wow, interesting post. I could make a bunch of comments about this, but I’ll try to restrict myself.

    First, I have several cousins in SDA. I remember them being pretty upset during that period, because the media would constantly mention SDA while covering the story. They regarded David Koresh as a complete wacko, of course.

    Second, I had an uncle (now deceased) who was a Texas police officer. He lived in the area. He and the other local law enforcement were very critical of how the Federal authorities handled the situation. There had been several opportunities to arrest David Koresh on his trips into town, but the Feds wouldn’t let them.

    After the compound had been surrounded, the Texas cops wanted to diffuse the situation with a simple knock on the door. Again, the Feds wouldn’t let them. Things just went from bad to worse after that.

    Third – and this is probably not in line with your main subject – but I have a slightly unconventional view of COG history. I absolutely agree with your statement that the COG is not a splinter of SDA. I disagree, however, that both came out of the Millerite movement.

    The COG had a presence in colonial Rhode Island during the late 17th century. Few in number, they had joint Sabbath services with the 7th Day Baptists. The two would eventually develop ties that become a little confusing, historically, but they always considered themselves as different groups. Collectively, they were called “Sabbatarians.”

    It’s an interesting period. One COG church had a wall decoration of a seven stick candle, with the fourth candle lit. They apparently considered themselves a remnant of the Thyatiran era.

    When the Revolutionary War broke, a number of little COG groups moved to the “frontier” of western Pennsylvania (to avoid war). After a host of “blue laws” were established at a later period, these COG groups moved still again… down the Great Lakes and to frontier country along the Mississippi.

    Not all COG members did this, course. Many of them got caught up in the Millerite movement.

    It was a 7th Day Baptist who convinced the budding SDA movement to keep the Sabbath. (Her name was Rachel Preston, if memory serves). Of course, this attracted a lot of COG types who got caught up in Miller’s lunacy. That’s how the budding SDA eventually adopted such doctrines as unclean meats.

    I’m running on. Bottom line, there was a COG that existed before long SDA came along, and never got caught up in the Millerite movement. It’s no wonder that those COGers involved in (what became) SDA had a big fight over the church name. You can’t re-establish something that already exists.

    [BTW, those who walked out of SDA eventually bumped into those little COG groups that were never a part of the Millerite movement. But like Paul Harvey used to say... "the rest of the story].

    • John D says:

      @Big Red: Well, I cannot resist saying a couple of things. First of all, I want to make a couple of things clear, just in case you or anyone else misunderstands:

      1. I understand that David Koresh is to the SDAs pretty much like but worse than Ronald Weinland is to the COGs.

      2. History is always simplified based upon major patterns. Individuals and individual experiences will always deviate to some degree.

      3. More importantly, I’m talking about organizations that exist today, not small groups or individuals. COG7 definitely came out of the confusion following the Millerite movement.

      4. Just because they came out of the Millerite movement doesn’t mean they didn’t exist before or have another name before.

      5. As you rightly point out, 7th Day Baptists have existed at least since the 1700s, and probably before. It was those in of that affiliation that first formed the core Sabbatarian movement of the mid-1800s.

      6. I’m sure there were small groups and individuals who did not believe Christ would return in 1843 or 1844. I’m sure there were those who did not believe Christ would return in 1975 as well. Need I elaborate?

      7. The history of the COG organizations is pretty well established. Thanks to the legacy of HWA, those who were around at the time were interviewed and those who knew them were interviewed. I believe people like HWA are raised up in part so that some slice of church history can be preserved.

      8. It is my opinion, and not necessarily any of any COG organization, that the SDAs are represented as the Church at Thyatira in Rev 2. They were beguiled by a woman who called herself a prophetess, and who entices others to participate in spiritual adultery, eating things sacrificed to idols, such as approving of Christmas and Easter. However, there are some, and they are growing, who reject such pagan ideas. It is evident they will exist when Christ returns (“But that which ye have already hold fast till I come”).

      BTW – The Church at Ephesus was threatened with the removal of the candlestick, whereas the other churches were admonished in other ways. Indeed, that first generation of Christians was removed eventually, or rather replaced by a false church. My $0.02.

      9. And it bears repeating that nothing I’ve said should be taken to condone the irresponsible and negligent manner that federal officials conducted the entire operation. In fact, Janet Reno not only was a worse criminal than Koresh, but IMO she should have never been AG in the first place considering the witch hunt she put on while being Florida AG (Wikipedia article “Janet Reno”, section “Bobby Fijnje”) as well as other seriously troubling accusations.

  2. Big Red Big Red says:

    Well, looks like we have different views on a couple of points of church history, but it’s not a big deal. Nothing to get excited about.

    I intended to pass along some sources of information for your perusal. Problem is, they’re not available online. I do have a couple of things to offer, however. The “Good News” Dec ’81 article entitled “The Church They Couldn’t Destroy.” Also “A History of the True Church” by Andrew Dugger. Both of those are available online.

    At any rate, I want to take a side-step and pass along a story published in the old WWN, years ago. I’ve been digging through boxes and stacks of past issues, and getting frustrated, because I know it’s there, somewhere.

    This elderly lady from South Africa contacted the WCG. Her father had been a minister of the “Church of God” in England. The church fell apart somewhere around 1918, because “they literally threw rocks at us.” She eventually married, became very secular, and moved South Africa. One day, she received a package in the mail from her brother. It contained some WCG literature, and a note from him, saying, “the truth has returned.”

    The WCG had no knowledge of a COG group in England during that time period, so they did a little investigating. Turns out, this group had kept the Sabbath, Holy Days, taught unclean meats, and many other doctrines. They didn’t bother to baptize her when she joined the WCG.

    Yeah, I know. People can say things over the internet without any proof. But I’m not making this up. I can dig through those old WWN papers until I find it. The history of the church is incredibly fascinating to me, and I could talk about it all day long.

    • John D says:

      @Big Red: I don’t dispute the “elderly lady’s” account. There are many groups around the world, even in Communist China, who kept the Sabbath and holy days.

      There were a few things that HWA claimed towards the end of his life that bothered me. That’s why I don’t put much stock in men. He claimed over and over that WCG was “THE” Church, equating the organization with the spiritual body. Early in his ministry, though, he did not teach that. I believe this was one of those errors he fell into towards the end of his life.

      IOW, the Church history of CG7, RCG, WCG are very interesting, but we cannot make the mistake of believing they were the only ones out there. That simply is not true.