L. Martin and the ASK Community
are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall
be filled" Matt. 5:6
January 16, 2012 marks the tenth year anniversary of Dr. Martin’s passing. Mr. David Sielaff, mentions the anniversary in his January, 2012,
Some of you, like myself, had the privilege to meet, converse, correspond, attend pot-luck socials, listen to lectures and talked by phone with Dr. Martin over the years. We, along with his most lovely and supporting wife, Ramona, were all deeply saddened by his passing.
I will never forget the first time I met “Doc”, as we used to call him. I had been in the
Worldwide Church of God (WCG) for almost ten years, the latter half somewhat disillusioned. And, during that disillusioned half, I was actively reading Ernest’s
Foundation for Biblical Research (FBR) material. I was totally impressed with his writings, as they were straightforward, honest and most importantly, 100% biblically based. I had heard of Doc while in the WCG, but had never actually seen or met him in all of my years in the Pasadena headquarter area
churches. Ernest had left the WCG years earlier than I. Intellectually, I knew from his writings that he was right ― and that I needed to part ways with the WCG. But like so many others, I still had an emotional attachment to the WCG. I was still very much involved in WCG headquarters activities and had friends and family in the WCG. I had ironically become good friends with Local Elder Joseph Tkach, who would later go on to become head of the church on
Herbert W. Armstrong's passing (and long after my departure from the WCG.)
Finally, the day of reckoning arrived. I had had enough of the WCG. I wrote Joe Tkach my letter of resignation.
And then, I went to see Ernest. At the time, he was conducting a Saturday morning FBR (Foundation for Biblical Knowledge) lecture series at the Pasadena Hilton. While there were only a dozen or so in attendance, I knew after listening to him that
I had arrived. This is where I belonged. Ernest came up to me after the lecture and introduced himself. Our friendship would blossom over the years and endure until his death.
Attending every function he ever held in the Pasadena area, I soon began to sense that not everyone in the FBR community was as enthralled with
Doc as I was. And, I wasn’t seeing any fruits of the spirit, or any kind of “growing in grace and knowledge”, from the FBR supporters. In fact, I was seeing just the opposite, including disparaging remarks about Ernest. I finally mentioned this to him. I’ll never forget his reply, “Ken, people will be people.” Much to my disappointment, history has proven him right. And with the subsequent formation of
Associates for Scriptural Knowledge (ASK), not much has
As Mr. Sielaff pointed out in an ASK publication published shortly after Doc’s passing, what Dr. Martin gave to us (and to the world) was a foundation of biblical knowledge on which to
build. Had Dr. Martin continued on through the present time, I feel certain (knowing his mindset and more importantly, his
attitude) that he would have progressed into many new areas of truth. He would have continued in his “growing in grace and knowledge”, so clearly encouraged in the Bible and which so clearly defined his life’s work.
Apparently God saw fit to allow his passing at a relatively early
age (there is a lesson for us all to learn there, but that is a subject
for another time). And with his passing began the daunting task of editing and maintaining his lifetime of works to share with the world. While ASK has done a splendid job in that regard, it is has become apparent to me that “growing in grace and knowledge” has, as before in the FBR, taken a back seat. The amount of “new” or “expanded” knowledge that has come forth over the last ten years from the ASK community is exceedingly small.
Disappointingly, the amount of personal growth is even harder to document or
Credit should be given to David Sielaff, who has done an excellent job in taking over for Dr. Martin. His
most significant work is the David’s Tomb Project, which he and a few
others initiated, but which apparently he alone, through ASK, continues to promote. This information, of course, goes hand in hand with Dr. Martin’s greatest discovery of the correct location of the Temple Mount. Mr. Sielaff continues, in ways that he is not always at liberty to discuss, to promote these discoveries to the world. Whether God will allow any verification and excavation of the site to occur in our lifetime is anyone’s guess. Both of these discoveries dovetail into end-time prophecy ― and we clearly are not in the end-times yet.
Aside from Mr.
Sielaff's above mentioned activities and many other fine articles on various subjects that he has produced
over the years, there has been a very noticeable lack of “growing in grace and knowledge” observed online within the ASK community as a whole. Living in the “Information Age” that we do and utilizing our instant communications at little or no cost, it is indeed amazing that we as a community (or ekklesia) have progressed so little. Taking on a “Laodicean” attitude, it would appear that many still have not even mastered Dr. Martin’s many fine research papers. Few have produced anything themselves that is truly new or edifying, though a few have been promoted on the
Worse, there is no evidence of people actually making significant changes in their lives. Where are the fruits of the
How can I be bold enough to make such a judgment call on our community? How do I know the mindset of the ASK community?
First, I occasionally drop in on
Julien’s Forum to see what is going on there. Though I haven’t made any posts on that forum in the last ten years, I was quite active on it at its inception, as were many other people. It has been very interesting to observe how many dozens of (alleged) ASK supporters there were initially, only to see that number diminish into a small handful of people today who seem hard pressed to come up with anything meaningful or relevant to discuss. Most topics discussed range from today’s weather to
pseudo intellectual discussions on obscure verses and concepts in the
Bible (again, never acknowledging the Biblical
Research page provided for their edification). Rarely is there any discussion of the latest ASK articles. Only once was there ever a discussion on
25 (that I initiated, on what we as Christians should be doing to
others). That discussion turned out to be a total embarrassment, as it became
painfully obvious that no one in the ekklesia was or is doing anything (in
complete defiance of Jesus' instruction).
For non-biblical discussions, most participants still seem sold on the fantasy versions of history and world events provided by our controlled news sources and educational institutions. Hundreds of educational websites of enlightenment are available on the Internet, and many are
on the ASSOCIATES ONLINE
(actually, over 10,000). Obviously, judging by the comments made on the forum, few have ever visited them.
Worse, many posts on the forum indicate that many
are suffering from serious health issues. Some have even died as a consequence. Few,
if any, are drug free and in good health. The concept of you are what you
eat seems to have gone right over the top of everyone's paradigm. Any
suggestions of good
health are met with complete skepticism (even by the de facto leaders of
The irony is that the ASSOCIATES ONLINE website,
by Dr. Martin (and originally designed solely for ASK supporters), provides all of the biblically based information one needs to live a
healthy and productive life. Strangely, forum participants seem to avoid this site like the plague. Several people have mentioned the ASSOCIATES ONLINE site on the forum over the years ― and their posts have been met with abject silence by the forum’s participants. It is apparent that “growing in grace and knowledge”, even if it means needlessly suffering from easily preventable and curable health problems,
is still taking a back seat.
The second way to gauge the mindset of the community is from the correspondence I
receive (or, more accurately, the correspondence I don't receive.) Over the last ten years, I could count on one hand the number of people who have written to me, expressing their gratitude for my website. While the site continues to attract at least one person every hour, 24 hours a day,
few have said that they are spending any regular amount of time on the site. Maybe they are too busy studying the ASK material
on the ASK site? Or maybe they are just studying the Bible? Somehow, I
just don’t think so.
with the attitude that I have seen displayed by the online ASK community, I
have to say that I feel totally embarrassed to be associated with
most ASK people and to have shared the same lineage of Dr. Martin's teachings
with them. I've seen more Christianity displayed by those who have none
of the knowledge that we have. As the wise saying goes, "Actions
speak louder than words."
Why is it, then, that so few have an interest in “growing in grace and knowledge”? The answer is quite simple. It is an
problem”. An attitude towards God. And an attitude towards God’s
Word, as revealed in the Bible. It is not unique to our ASK community. It is not even unique to Christians in general. In fact, all of mankind has an “attitude problem”. Hence the state of world affairs today ― and why God allows evil (Satan and his minions) to rule over us.
Why would we, who have been graced with some precious biblical understandings on which to build, have such an attitude problem? Are we still burned out from our previous
Worldwide Church of God experience? Is our, “No man is going to tell me what
self-righteous attitude, a result of our feelings towards the late Herbert W. Armstrong and his erroneous teachings? Therefore, we immediately reject all new information ever presented to us (no matter who it is from) ― without testing it to see if it is true. Or, are we just too complacent? Or, too lazy?
Is our collective attitude the real reason why we fail to attract any significant following of new people ― or of a younger generation to continue this work long after we are
gone? Where are our goals and long term planning clearly defined online? We seem
to be a rudderless ship adrift in a sea of confusion.
God has chosen to ultimately deal with mankind’s “attitude problem” by providing
two resurrection periods:
One for those with a
good attitude (the first resurrection and the Kingdom of God).
those who still need an attitude adjustment (the second resurrection).
Ironically, it appears that most in the ASK community
think they will be in the first resurrection, sitting right next to
King David and the twelve Apostles in the Kingdom of God. They feel that whether by lottery or by the fact that they haven’t committed any of the grievous sins listed in the Bible (and also listed in Dr. Martin’s two fine articles that I quote in my
of God article), they are automatically assured acceptance into the KOG.
In my understanding of the Bible, nothing could be further from the truth. Acceptance into the Kingdom of God is actually
a “reward”. A reward for having the
right attitude ― and becoming teachable in this lifetime. While my above mentioned
article is certainly not the final word on the
subject of the Kingdom of God (much more research certainly needs to be done), a study of the scriptures reveals what type of individual will be accepted into the Kingdom of God. Based on
who the Bible says will be awarded a place in the Kingdom of God
(like King David and the twelve Apostles) ― and on
what the mission of the Kingdom of God will be
(to teach and to rule) ― it is apparent that they are all leaders (in their own way)…with a
good (teachable) attitude.
Now, in this lifetime, is when we have the opportunity to qualify for the Kingdom of God.
Not after the resurrection.
Will you be accepted? Is your present attitude one of “growing in grace and knowledge”? Are you a leader? Are you teachable? If not, there is still time for you to change. The choice is yours. It is not predestined. It is not a lottery.
It is a choice.
Of course, your salvation is assured either way.
Let us honor, obey and glorify God by
putting into practice what He has given us through the Bible and the wonderful teachings delivered by Dr. Martin…and
make that attitude adjustment today!
You Be In the Kingdom of God?
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