Should a Christian worry about Y2K?

The writer is a Church of God member, certified public accountant, enrolled agent and writer on financial matters. For other views on the 2000 computer glitch, see "Letters," beginning on page 2.

By Drury Sylvester

PRESCOTT, Ariz.--I read Gary North's initial article about the Year 2000 computer glitch in November of 1996. It changed my perception of Y2K for good. (An updated version of Dr. North's article appeared Aug. 31 in The Journal: "Y2K Scenario: Blind Man's Bluff, Anyone?")

With a new awareness, I began to notice Y2K articles start to show up here and there. My file began to grow.

Then I logged onto Dr. North's Web site. It had only a few hundred links at that time (now thousands).

Then Newsweek magazine came out with its June 2, 1997, issue with the Y2K cover story. This was big news! What did the Church of God "watchmen" have to say? All I heard was silence.

On Aug. 21, 1997, I made up a packet on Y2K for distribution to Church of God leaders. It consisted of Dr. North's article (similar to what was printed in The Journal), the Newsweek article, an article from Merrill Lynch, and various other smaller articles I had copied and saved over the last six months.

Each member of the council of elders of the UCG-AIA was hand-delivered a personalized packet during the council's meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., over the Aug. 23 weekend. This was done by a Camp Verde UCG-AIA local elder. At the same time I gave a duplicate packet to our then Camp Verde UCG-AIA pastor, Roger Foster.

On Sept. 15, 1997, I sent-certified, return receipt requested-this same packet, with a personalized letter, to Dr. Rod Meredith of the Global Church of God, Gerald Flurry of the Philadelphia Church of God and at the request of our local elder, Dixon Cartwright at The Journal.

I received little response, except for Dixon asking me to write an article about it, which I did, printed in the January 1998 Journal. At that time a really great article came out in Servant's News on Y2K written by Norm Edwards.

Then I received a nice E-mail from Shane Granger at the PCG, and later he sent me a copy of the PCG's July 1997 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet. The "World News Watch" section gave six half columns under the heading "Millennium Bug Bomb to Explode!"

Since then, however, in The Trumpet, Y2K has been conspicuously absent, except for a rather strange (to my mind) commentary in the August 1998 issue (page 28) by Stephen Flurry titled "Hooray for the 2000 Bug."

"With technology as it is, a massive shutdown might be just the thing," he wrote.

He ends his article with: "In short, life would be simpler, and in many ways, better. Some say the 2000 bug will be only a minor glitch. Others predict something far more 'catastrophic.' I'm beginning to think the latter might not be so bad."

I can in no way see anything but bad, physically at least, coming from this problem.

The first mention of Y2K that I have seen from Global was Dr. Meredith's article in the July-August World Ahead titled "Facing the Year 2000." The "Y2K Problem" is described in the beginning four-plus columns ending with:

"The Y2K problem reaches further than the private sector and civil authorities. There are frightening military and national security implications as well. And almost everyone in the know agrees that the entire problem cannot be fixed in time! So when I say on our World Ahead television programs, 'Everything around you is going to change within the next several years,' I truly mean exactly that!"

The article then goes on with headings such as "The Euro vs. the Dollar," "A European Empire," "Troubled Youth," "A New Pope," "War in the Middle East" and "Terrorism on the Rise" and ends with "So let us prepare! Let us truly overcome!"

There is nothing here about preparing physically. I got the impression that the Y2K section was added at the last minute. The book by Ed and Jennifer Yourdon Time Bomb 2000 is quoted. (By the way, I recommend you read this book as soon as you can get your hands on a copy.) But the rest of the article reads as if Y2K didn't exist.

Besides a few "don't worry about it" comments from our pastor in the Camp Verde UCG-AIA, I have seen nothing about Y2K from United.

In a recent letter I received from Fred Coulter (Christian Biblical Church of God), he mentioned in passing that he was going to write something on Y2K in the future. Nothing as yet, however.

My point is: We are on our own on this one! As Bill Cosby said in his famous "Noah" routine: "Just you and me, Lord!" The organized Churches of God do not seem well prepared to help anyone with physical preparedness. We need to prepare to help ourselves, our loved ones and our brethren.

You need to take responsibility for you and yours. Please carefully and prayerfully read Dr. North's article. Take some time to review the more than 2,000 articles on his Web site (

As he says, he knows that he cannot convince anyone himself, but the weight of the evidence can-only if one is willing to examine it.

For those theologically minded, Dr. North is a postmillennialist. That is, he believes that Christ will not come until man has created a 1,000-year rule of peace and prosperity. The Churches of God traditionally have been premillennialists, believing that Christ will come, and indeed must come, to create this 1,000-year rule of peace and prosperity.

Dr. North looks forward to the "remnant" surviving the Y2K catastrophe and creating a "new world" after the collapse of our government, welfare state, bureaucracy, the IRS (do I hear cheers?)-all the evils of society swept away, making the earth ready for a new start.

I, for one, wonder if these problems might not be the catalyst for the world events preceding Christ's return, which would mean even more government controls and other unpleasant things to come after the Y2K catastrophe.

These are two opposing views, to be sure. But they begin at the same place: The Y2K problem will change our lives forever!

Are we brethren? Are we family? Can we talk? (as Joan Rivers used tosay).

After my article on Y2K in The Journal, in January I received just four responses. I saw no talk in the letters to the editor in The Journal-nothing. I really feel that we need to talk. What do you think? What are you doing? What are you feeling?

I have had some E-mails forwarded to me from the Likeminds Internet group. Some are discussing it there. We all need to prepare physically and, of course, spiritually for what is to come.

Besides God, our next greatest strength is each other. Jesus said that we are to be servants, to love one another, to help one another. A time when our lives may depends on each other is soon coming.

I'm sure The Journal is happy to facilitate a forum for this in its pages and on its Web site.

Time is shorter than you think. The time to act is now.

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