Letters from our readers
I was recently given the most current edition of The Journal, Feb. 26, which contained an article on page 4 relative to a Christian Renewal Conference sponsored by CEM. Although I was a presenter at the conference (which was most rewarding) and am a board member of CEM, I was incorrectly listed as an independent Church of God minister in the Flemington, N.J., area.
Please note that, whereas I am a CEM board member, I am currently attending the United Church of God in Allentown, Pa., as a member and am an unabashed supporter of the UCG-AIA. I am not affiliated with an independent church.
Three comments in one
Issue No. 2 [March 26] is fabulous! There are three articles I particularly want to comment on.
UCG conference in Louisville: I really appreciate your thorough coverage of the entire conference. I think reading this article, more than anything else I've read or heard, has given me an excellent grasp of where UCG-AIA is and where it is likely to go.
I hope many UCG members read this article thoroughly so that they know what is happening in their organization.
Gary Fakhoury's article on the calendar: I think this is the best overview-of-the-calendar piece I've read. Gary makes the issue simple, like I think God's Word is meant to be. A point I had not considered was the concept of feast days not being holy time in the same way the weekly Sabbath is holy time. Understanding this point, I think, takes a lot of the tension off the entire issue because when to keep the feast days no longer seems like a point of salvation.
Guy Swenson's essay on who bears responsibility to see that the gospel is preached: While I feel this essay was a step in the right direction, I do not feel that Guy went far enough in saying that each member has a responsibility in preaching the gospel. Are we not to walk in Christ's footsteps? What did He spend His life doing? I don't think it was sending tithes to someone so he or she could preach the gospel.
Keep up the great work!
Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
Service sans sand
I think what you are doing is a much-needed service. Not being ostriches, we really don't have any business burying our heads in the sand. Nor does an ostrich, for that matter!
God told us to watch what was going on in the world, and I believe that includes news of the other Sabbatarian groups in the world.
My husband has been in the church for over 30 years, I just 14 years. My husband has always cared about his brothers and sisters since the church is my husband's life.
When the church started scattering, my husband and I always kept in touch with friends from all over. He was very concerned. What was alarming was the iniquity that had grown amongst some: a sort of we are right and you are wrong.
My husband, David, took ill in January. He was in hospital for 212 weeks, was sent home, now goes back to Western General Hospital.
Yes, sometimes one needs that extra portion of God's Spirit transmitted by other Christians. This is one time.
Sometimes I thought he was at death's door, then I would read out a card from our friends or from someone he had not seen or heard from for years. His eyes lit up, and he seemed to get that extra portion of strength.
Thank you, brothers and sisters in UCG, Global, PCG, also friends in the WCG whom we have not seen since we left. Also other people whom I am not quite sure which church they attend. All have our heartfelt thanks. It gave my husband the will to live, especially those who came to see him.
I ask all people of God: Think. Did the good Samaritan look to see where and what the man on the road was? It was with concern in his heart that he helped him. If God happens to call any Christian to help someone, the person should go forward with concern in his heart, letting the Spirit of God within us work. We are all going to need each other, so let us get prepared, everyone. Thank you all.
I appreciate very much prayers, phone calls, cards and visits. May God thank all where I cannot.
Mrs. Anne Young
191 Morningside Rd. (1st Floor)
Edinburgh, Scotland EH10 4QP
Word for word
Referring to articles about the Passover in your last issue [March 26]: Here's what I think is proof, not just an indication, that Israel did not leave Egypt the same night the Israelites ate the Passover lamb: Exodus 12:22 and the phrase "all night until morning" in Judges 19:25.
There is definitely a Hebrew word for each of the four words in that phrase, showing that all night does not include the morning, and so the Israelites did not leave Egypt all night in the night they ate of the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:22).
What, then, did they do all day of the 14th until the night of the 15th when they left Egypt? They plundered the Egyptians? Held a holy convocation because the 14th is the first day? (Exodus 12:16). Leviticus 23:6-7 in the Hebrew does not state the 15th is the first day. Is there anyone who believes the lambs were not sacrificed on the 14th, whether at the beginning or near the end of the day? I don't know of anyone. The lambs were sacrificed on the 14th and were to be sacrificed on the first day (Deuteronomy 16:4).
As to Luke 23:43: "The Greek could be translated 'this day' rather than 'today,' " maybe Jesus was referring to the calendar day.
A night to be observed
According to Vance A. Stinson in The Journal March 26, when he says Passover he is not speaking of the annual commemoration of Christ's death that we often call the Lord's Supper. Rather, he is speaking of the Night to Be Much Observed, which (according to him) was the night the Israelites ate the Passover lamb.
Mr. Stinson is entitled to his opinion, of course, but there are other people as well who have opinions that deserve to be heard.
Mr. Stinson referred to the "annual commemoration" as "the Lord's Supper," but Jesus called it the "Passover." Here's what Jesus said:
John N. "Jack" Churchill
I doubt if anyone will argue with the fact that all of the youth programs in the church such as summer camps and skiing all fill a need. However, I believe that a certain amount of discrimination is being fostered against the adults in the Church of God. Keep in mind that it is the adults who are the most obvious tithe-payers, and their tithes are often used to subsidize many youth programs.
Why has the church never considered establishing a summer rest-and-recreation program for adults only? I truly believe that some balance is called for in this matter, and I doubt if this is asking too much.
I realize the church has always felt it necessary to bring our young folks together to learn how to develop social and work skills, have an opportunity to make new friends, etc., but where does the adult go when he or she feels the need of fellowshipping with other brethren out and away from church surroundings? Where does the widow or widower or senior go to learn how to cope with his or her plights?
What about the average brother who is strong, healthy and active and would enjoy nothing more than to have an opportunity to enjoy 10 days or two weeks of R&R in some first-class surroundings in this Satan-infected world? Is there such a place?
Many readers will probably say that the Feast of Tabernacles is the answer. Not true! The Feast is a structured, controlled church function as well as a commanded assembly. It is not a setting for the adult-only relaxation, learning and entertainment that many of us yearn for.
It's true, of course, that many employed adults would be unable to take advantage of both the FOT and this adult program, which would no doubt be responded to mostly by retired folks or seniors. If that's the case, then let it be so, since the seniors have been held in place on the back burner all too long.
This program could well be subsidized at no additional cost to the brethren if only 10 percent of tithes that are now being spent on advertising were diverted toward this worthy and much-needed cause.
Chino Valley, Ariz.
In the March 26 issue of The Journal is a short article by Bernie Monsalvo reporting on a trip by Fred Coulter to Gladewater, Texas, in which he makes the following statement: "Mr. Coulter made use of two bells, the large one to be rung when he was expressing his opinion as opposed to what the Bible reveals."
I have listened to Fred Coulter's tapes over two years, have attended one of his Feast sites and have never heard him place his opinion above anything the Bible reveals. I have found it to be the exact opposite. He rings the bell to be sure the listener understands it is speculation where the Bible may not be clear. Never have I heard Mr. Coulter say or imply that his opinion was of higher authority than revealed understanding from the Bible.
I also have an informational question for The Journal. In this same issue seven articles that would be considered teaching rather than reporting news were printed. Five were by various United ministers, and two other articles were by the same CGI minister. Do other Churches of God not submit articles for publication?
Elders and other members of other Churches of God are encouraged to submit articles to The Journal.
Hi from the new home office
Hi, Dixon and all there. Keep up the good work with The Journal. I was given Vol. I, No. 1. Liked it very much. Please rush me issue No. 2 for my first of 12 issues. Enclosed is $18 for my subscription.
Say hi to Dave Havir, Ellis Stewart and Linda Smith and all down there from Ed Smith at the [UCG's] new home-office location-if they ever get here! I enjoyed In Transition and am glad you're following through with The Journal.
Hearing from the deaf
Congratulations on your new paper, The Journal.
I had hoped to read articles about the deaf and hard-of-hearing members in the various Churches of God in In Transition, but I didn't see any articles. The program for the deaf in the Worldwide Church of God ended a few years before we decided that we needed to move on.
We have been in contact with several of the other Churches of God, but it appears they have no programs or systems for helping their deaf and hard-of-hearing members.
I would be happy to hear from other deaf or hard-of-hearing brethren or from churches that offer services like computer-assisted real-time captioning (CART), open or closed-captioned sermon videotapes, note takers, cued speech transliteration, ASL interpreting, etc. I do not sign very well, as I grew up primarily oral.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing or have children who are deaf or hard of hearing, I'd love to hear from you.
6505 Wendell Dr.
Park City, Kan. 67219
We've not yet read the entire paper [Feb. 26 issue], but we wanted to comment on how excellent Dixon Cartwright's and Norm Edwards' articles were regarding calendar issues.
Marc and Kay Curd
Federal Way, Wash.
Here in the CGI
I left the WCG in early '94 and have been with the Church of God International since. I left some very good friends, and, although I miss them, I am thankful for the new ones I have found. I am so happy to be with a group that doesn't condemn others and who thinks there are true Christians in other Sabbatarian churches.
Cut that out
Suggestion: Put your subscription coupon on a page with the letters to the editor or some other article of less interest. Most of us like to save articles. Best wishes for success with The Journal.
Lonnie R. Johnson
St. Joseph, Mo.
The coupon on page 24 contains subscription information and a coupon, but use of the coupon is optional. When ordering, please feel free to copy subscription information onto a plain sheet of paper or card.
People are only human
Your publication for the Churches of God can certainly prove to be one of the best things that ever has happened to God's people for anyone who is truly wanting to know truths.
We all have much to learn, and we can learn from one another! Sabbath-keeping people should be some of the best-informed people in the world with the great libraries we have and information available on the Internet. We should prove to ourselves all things and hold fast that which is good.
Over the 60-plus years since I was baptized, I have seen too much thinking that our ministers know it all and we should just follow along. Please do not take me wrong and think I am running down the ministry. We need them, but at times they can be wrong too, the same as each of us.
Enough said for now. May God bless you in your publication.
Charles F. Duncan Sr.
Move this summer?
Recently one of the corporate churches wrote a letter to its membership from which I have taken these excerpts to comment upon. These comments are made in the spirit of encouraging proactive individual responsibility of the brethren and without any vindictiveness or malice towards bureaucratic organizational mentality:
"The actual move will be possible only when adequate funding is available. We were able to allocate only $50,000 for the move in the 1997-98 budget. We know, however, that there are many members who are enthusiastic about the new location, who see the need to get settled and established, and who would be happy to give offerings above and beyond their tithes and regular offerings in order to finance this move. We do not want to divert moneys from support of congregations or the preaching of the gospel."
The financial figures I have read don't show much being spent on either support for local congregations or preaching the gospel. Almost all the money is spent on salaries and benefits. From a business perspective, the obvious way to carry out the wishes of the shareholders (tithe-paying brethren) would be to cut the home-office staff significantly, which would reduce moving costs and free up the necessary funds to move those essential personnel who remain.
Then they could move this summer easily; just call a Realtor to sell their personal property and rent a moving van. (I might add that the central office of the Church of God [Seventh Day] employs only five and one-half people with a central budget of only $350,000 a year, and they have a much larger membership than any other Church of God.)
Next, cut much more overall payroll and utilize the local talents of the mature brethren for free, allowing them the opportunity to develop their talents as well.
Then spend the money saved from the payroll to empower local outreach and brethren-support facilities, as well as a greater collective gospel-proclaiming work.
Why should any Church of God be a welfare program for displaced ministers who are able-bodied? Most are quite capable of supporting themselves (at least part time) in the private sector (although maybe not at the standard they have come to expect).
Read 1 Corinthians 9:18, then ask yourself if Paul would teach them to break God's law. Since the answer is no, then one must conclude that no man or organization can demand your support, but one freely chooses how to allocate personal resources to support the work of God.
Is it any wonder that so many of us just can't stomach financing a lethargic corporate bureaucracy? For an example of what can be done even with a family and while working a full-time job:
Just one guy's tithes are currently financing and locally sponsoring a quality half-hour TV program on three regional stations and now a half-hour local radio program to boot (not to mention interactively participating in home fellowship and supporting several ministries and outreach programs). There are others who do much more than that.
Brethren, each of us could do so much more if we were encouraged to do so. Instead, are you spectators rather than empowered participants in our calling to make disciples of all peoples and share the common hope that lies within us? Just think how much more of the "great commission" would be accomplished if everybody participated, not just a few.
My dear friends in the corporate churches, many of you voted with your feet and pocketbooks a couple of years ago. Wake up and do it again. This doesn't mean necessarily leaving your local fellowship, but it does mean realizing you have a personal choice and an individual responsibility for which you will be accountable. You can do so much more without solely relying upon the corporations. Really!
It is good to be organized and have a broad community of believers with common convictions, but taking this to the organizational extreme that we have experienced is stifling. Step out and personally serve too!
You don't have to blindly submit to escalating requests for money (see below) from any headquarters without having had any part in the decision-making process. You do have a choice, and you will be accountable for what you personally choose. Back to the letter:
"Your contribution to this fund, which should not come from regular tithes and offerings, would expedite our ability to move the home office to its new home. We hope that sufficient funds will allow a move by the summer of 1998. Once all expenses are paid out of this fund for the home-office move to the Cincinnati area, any amount left over will be reallocated for the preaching of the gospel."
Pray that all brethren would be encouraged to act on their calling.
Thanks for the free copy of The Journal. It is nice to see an organization such as yourself showing that the Churches of God can work together. I am familiar with United, Global, CEM, CGI and WCG but have not heard much about the others. I was wondering if you could provide information about the United Christian Ministry in Birmingham, Ala., the Church of God in Truth and the organization by Norman Edwards.
We can give you their addresses: United Christian Ministries, P.O. Box 361725, Hoover, Ala. 35236 (firstname.lastname@example.org); Church of God in Truth, P.O. Box 2109, Corona, Calif. 91718 (email@example.com); Servants' News, P.O. Box 220, Charlotte, Mich. 48813 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, articles by Mr. Edwards of Servants' News and James Russell of the Church of God in Truth appeared in the Feb. 26 issue. An article interviewing Ray Wooten about UCM's plans for the Feast of Tabernacles appeared in the same issue.
No. 1 was great. If I missed No. 2, please send it as a back issue and bill me.
We're not set up to send out invoices, but we're happy to start new subscriptions to The Journal with issue No. 1, 2 or 3.
Bravo! Thank you for taking on the job of reporting the important news concerning all the Churches of God. We hope you will occasionally include information from Messianic Jews.
David and Beverly Hebert
Stanbridge East, Que., Canada
Back to the Bible
I enjoyed your first issue. It was good to read others' views on doctrines that many have just taken for granted too long.
Another viewpoint is good if it sends us back to our Bibles to see if they could be right or even to just strengthen our own belief.
Keep up the good work, and may God be with you in this endeavor.
Eva M. Carroll
Herbert W. Armstrong Foundation
You ought to be ashamed of yourselves! Going to court over whether Mr. Armstrong's works should be distributed [Feb. 26 and March 26] is not supported in the Scriptures! All the money wasted for legal expenses by the Philadelphia and Worldwide Churches of God could be totally avoided.
Since 1993 I have written letters to the WCG practically begging them to set up an independent entity known as the Herbert W. Armstrong Foundation. It would be funded by all the groups through offerings. It would preserve and distribute all the works written by Mr. Armstrong.
Some pessimists get all upset about which editions of his works should be preserved. Simple! As requests and money dictate, publish as many different editions of his works as possible and freely distribute as long as funds last.
Donald Raymond Wheatley
Congratulations on the first edition of The Journal. The Churches of God have long needed an independent voice reporting the news of the churches without the typical organizational slants of their own publications. We need no longer be kept in the dark. The free press lives in the Church of God.
Open letter to critics
I would just like to say how much I appreciate The Journal. It is informative and unbiased. Thank you for such an excellent publication. It is worth every penny of my $18!
I want to address all the critics of the United Church of God, an International Association. Throughout the time since United has started, and at the present time, people have tried to tear us down, discredit us, break us apart and pull members out of our church. They have criticized our government, our people, our actions, etc. And after all of this criticism we have excelled past everyone's expectations!
They say the best revenge is to live well! And this is exactly what we are doing in the United Church of God AIA. So to all those critics out there spreading rumors and tearing us down, "Karma kills those who can't kill themselves."
More about WCG
If United continues to have all the space, we'll cancel. Publish the great things from the Worldwide Church of God. They're great.
Mrs. Vivian R. Milks
Just found out
I was just talking to a friend on the phone and she told me about receiving your new paper. That's the first I knew you had it ready to mail. Enclosed you'll find a check for $18 for a subscription of 12 copies to The Journal.
Also, I'd appreciate a copy of the first issue, if possible. I'll really be glad to get The Journal. I've missed In Transition.
Congratulations on your new venture! The first issue is impressive, though I haven't read all the articles yet. (I haven't gotten into all the postponement articles.)
The essay written by Barbara Fenney [Feb. 26] was one of the best I have read on Easter.
Thank you for sending the first issue, the February issue, of The Journal free. Please start my six-month subscription with No. 2.
The tie that binds
I wonder if I can get a copy of Vol. I, No. 1 [Feb. 26]. I saw the old tabernacle building on the sample first page of your publication. It put a lump in my throat because my mother and I attended the Feast of Tabernacles there I believe in 1957. It sure brings back memories. Of course, she is deceased now. I suppose I'd not know any of you, but we have a bond through the church.
Fountain Valley, Calif.
We appreciated your work on In Transition, and we're glad that there is another newspaper to carry on. It was obvious that you learned much in dealing with everyone, for which we were grateful.
We learned a lot about the problems ahead of us. Letters to the editor were revealing.
There have been many of us who broke away from Worldwide or who were "put out" some years back, and we have had the time to grow and be tempered by our experience.
Things that were traumatic then have since been put in their proper place.
There are many of us who have learned much about putting our faith where it properly belongs, and it is a wonderful thing to see, because you can see our Father's plans in action, being put in place, piece by piece, in spite of us.
I've learned to place myself in our Father's hands and ask Him to teach me what He wants me to learn. I've often caught myself saying, "So that's what You meant!" when He's taught me a lesson about something I had a question bout.
With His knowledge comes freedom from so many things that plague humans in general. It's wonderful! It's exhilarating!
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