Letters from our readers
Mr. Armstrong was right except . . .
Jesus said, "I will build My church," not churches. In the April issue of The Journal, on pages 14-15, are listed 318 church organizations, and that is only a partial list. The true number is perhaps 400 or 500, mostly spin-off groups from the Worldwide Church of God.
Just how is anyone supposed to know which one, if any, is the right one? The WCG under Herbert Armstrong had hundreds of congregations, but it still was one church, all teaching the same thing.
It's true that HWA had some errors, but he had far more truth of God's Word than anyone else on the face of the earth.
Today, instead of everyone sticking together as one church and simply keeping the truth and getting rid of the errors, everyone wants to start a new church.
The truth is that most all of them are hanging onto what I believe was one of Mr. Armstrong's greatest errors, his teaching on tithing.
The only discussion you hear on tithing today is whether it is still in effect or not. You never hear a discussion of what the tithe was commanded to be paid on, yet the Bible is clear on that subject. Leviticus 27:30: "All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's."
Verse 32: And concerning the tithe of the herd or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord."
Nowhere in the Bible is anyone commanded to tithe on his cash income, only on farm produce. But today no one wants 10 percent of your carrots, peas, radishes, zucchini, etc. They all want 10 percent of everyone's paycheck.
There is nothing wrong with contributing 10 percent or more of your earnings as freewill offerings if you wish, but I believe that anyone demanding it is guilty of coveting.
Paul said: "I have coveted no man's silver or gold or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered unto my necessities and to them that were with me I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak [poor and needy] and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:33-35).
Jesus and His disciples never collected tithes, but they did accept donations or freewill offerings, from which they gave to the poor.
Basic truth from the PCG
May your publication be blessed of God to help all brethren worldwide become well educated in the things concerning the Kingdom of God, especially in regards to church unity and governance.
I struggled to make sense of the changes that came in the wake of the apostasy in the WCG in 1995. When people began to leave the church, I did not. Yet I read other groups' literature, such as booklets from the Church of God International, United Church of God and Philadelphia Church of God (PCG).
None of these really stabilized me until I read Gerald Flurry's many booklets. Especially helpful was his understanding of the law, God's government, faithfulness to Herbert W. Armstrong, etc.
These simple, basic truths helped me find great comfort and stability. I now feel committed to God's truths as founded under Mr. Armstrong, and the credit goes to Gerald Flurry of the PCG.
May all who read this letter take it upon themselves to study the booklets of Gerald Flurry and learn the importance of steadfastness.
Name and location withheld
Eternal life in jeopardy?
Write a letter or article mentioning the name of Herbert Armstrong in The Journal and expect a firestorm of criticism from some obviously bitter people.
Recently in a refutation of my article "Herbert Armstrong, Fallible or Infallible?" (printed in the Feb. 28 issue), one man was so incensed he could not bring himself to actually use Mr. Armstrong's name, referring to him as "a deceased man" or "this man" or "that man." His comments appeared in the April 30 edition of The Journal, page 3.
At the beginning of his commentary he asks, "Why do so many people in the Sabbatarian Church of God continue to perpetuate and idolize the memory and teachings, including many nonbiblical teachings, of a deceased man who died actually alienated from his family?"
What were the nonbiblical teachings he refers to? He doesn't say. Perhaps he will enlighten us at a later date.
If Mr. Armstrong died alienated from his family, that is not unusual for Christians.
This man talks about "the Sabbatarian Church of God." If it isn't Sabbatarian, it's not the Church of God.
Next he says Mr. Armstrong "was a person who, in fact, lived lavishly at the expense of many thousands of others who lived in poverty while thinking it was God's will for them to live as paupers."
To the contrary, Mr. Armstrong wrote The Seven Laws of Success to help people become successful financially and otherwise. He taught them what God said about tithing so they would not have to worry about monetary matters. In fact, it was Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong who lived in poverty for many years before he learned these lessons.
Whether this man believes it or not, Mr. Armstrong was God's representative to world leaders. God owns the universe, and He is a God of quality, something Mr. Armstrong understood but this man doesn't.
After this he castigates the church for the practice of the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which he says is "hierarchical church government." He gives no proof for this definition of Nicolaitanism.
Nothing specific is said about Nicolaitans' form of government. The Roman Catholic Church, whose roots may have originated in Baalism and Nicolaitanism, does have a hierarchical governmental structure. Like God's, it is from the top down. The principal difference between that church and God's church is that it doesn't have the Holy Spirit.
He continues: "Jesus Christ . . . hates church hierarchies," but again he gives no proof. If Christ hates hierarchies, He must hate God's government and the one He Himself will establish at the beginning of the Millennium. He told His own disciples they would rule over the 12 tribes of Israel and advised Christians in Revelation 2:25-26 they would rule over the nations.
It seems this man does not understand that God works through men.
Remember what happened to Korah and his associates when they showed disrespect for God's servant Moses. When Aaron and Miriam conspired against Moses, God said, ". . . Wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" (Numbers 12:8).
Moses was a man. Yet this fellow states, "When will more brethren in the Church of God stop idolizing men, dead or alive, and start idolizing their very Savior, Jesus Christ, who has in His hands the power of life and death?"
He goes on to say, "Our salvation does not depend on whether we honor any man, dead or alive, or believe anything he said or wrote."
Is that so? In that case, it would not affect our salvation if we refused to believe or accept the writings of Moses or Paul or Peter or James or John or Jude.
I don't believe I need to go on any further because I've exposed the intellectual void in this man's argument.
Mr. Armstrong was a true servant of God, and he is honored by God. If you dishonor the man God gives honor to, is your opportunity for eternal life in jeopardy? What if his name were Moses instead of Herbert?
I hope you get the point. If you don't understand who Mr. Armstrong was and who selected him for his commission, you are heading straight into the tribulation.
Robert J. Elliott
Idolize no one but Christ
We read "Be Careful Who You Pick to Be Your Hero," by Rick Beltz, in the April 30 issue of The Journal. We say to Mr. Beltz and all those who continue to beat Mr. Armstrong up with your demeaning words and twisting of scriptures: Be careful what you say against one of God's true servants.
You say: "Many in the Sabbatarian Churches of God continue to perpetuate and idolize the memory and teaching of a deceased man."
We in the true Church of God are fed up with being accused of idolizing and perpetuating the memory of Mr. Armstrong just because we respected him as one of God's true servants.
We know the difference between respect and idolizing. Respect means admiration felt toward a person that has good qualities or achievements. Idolizing means to feel excessive admiration or devotion to a person.
We know we are not to idolize anyone but Christ.
We are members of the Living Church of God, and we believe Mr. [Roderick] Meredith and those at our headquarters and all of us working together in this church are continuing that same work.
My dear brethren, do not let anyone, or do not be one, who is deceived into believing you can make it on your own without the church and without Christ. Christ said a house divided cannot stand.
Satan wants to divide us so he can take away our chance at unity, peace and harmony and, most of all, stop God's work of truly preaching the gospel.
We are in our final exams. We are being tested. Will we pass the tests? Many will not. Many are called, but few are chosen.
Jerry and Janet Wright
Remnant Church of God
At the beginning of 1997 we had removed our spiritual sunglasses and discovered that the Worldwide Church of God had become extremely liberal. This situation had not occurred overnight but had begun in 1986 just after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong.
In Romans 11:1-5 we see Paul referring to a "remnant" according to God's grace. Webster's defines remnant as a small remaining part or a last remaining indication of what has been.
The legacy of the remnant: She keeps the commandments of God, won't bow the knee to Baal and has the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Many churches keep all Ten Commandments of God, and many won't allow pagan ideas to enter their doctrine, but few even know what the testimony of Jesus is, let alone embrace it.
By late 1997 a small Bible-study group of the WCG in Franklin, Pa., consisting of about 20 people could see where the headquarters in California was leading the church. I was a member of the church for almost 30 years and an elder for 12. I, too, could see the handwriting on the wall.
At an elders' meeting on Jan. 9, 1998, I was given an ultimatum by the church. I would no longer be permitted to preach about the seventh-day Sabbath or the holy days of God.
With much prayer, fasting and many tears, I left the WCG. The Remnant Church of God's first worship service was on Jan. 18, 1998.
By the time God had raised up the Remnant Church He had led me to the true definition of the testimony of Jesus. The testimony is what Jesus had to say, the red letters in your Bible.
In Revelation 12: 17 we read about a small remnant that would arrive on the scene just before Jesus' second coming and the war with Satan.
We believe we are a part of this remnant, a small voice crying in a spiritual wilderness with a God-appointed work to accomplish. The main thrust of our work will be to nourish the spiritually starved Body of Christ in her spiritual wilderness for three and a half years (Revelation 12:14).
It's no picnic contemplating being on the front line in a war with Satan, but, if that's where God wants us, so be it. The remnant will never grow to be a large church; if it did it would cease to be the remnant. If we take God's own numbers in Romans 11:4, the Remnant Church of God will number 7,000 members just before Christ returns.
If you would like to know more about the Remnant Church of God, you can request a free subscription to our magazine, The Remnant Speaks. You can also request the booklet The Testimony of Jesus, concerning the greatest doctrine of all time.
You can also contact us at www.theremnantchurch.org, call (888) 580-8858, or write P.O. Box 44, Jackson Center, Pa. 16133, U.S.A.
Pastor Rolland Wile
Jackson Center, Pa.
Went ahead and made my day
Back in the 1970s at Ambassador College (a.k.a. The Liberal Years), some of us on the Portfolio staff adopted an all-purpose descriptor for those who occasionally swam upstream, against the administrative tide: "Bitter Man," as in "He's just a bitter man!"
(It fit most people at one time or another. But I digress.)
Years later one of our group began an annual awards program to name the Bitter Man of the Year. It was a hoot, albeit a giveaway that we clearly had too much time on our hands. I think GTA won once.
At any rate, after reading Jim Casey's letter to the editor ["Many Biblical Titles," June 30, Page 4], I joyfully nominate--indeed, recommend naming by acclamation--Mr. Casey as 2001 Bitter Man of the Year for making the following statement:
"If Gerald Flurry is the kind of man God is using, then nobody will have to throw me in the lake of fire. I think I would jump in voluntarily."
We have a winner! And the last line is icing on the cake: "The man is deluded."
Made my day.
Name and location withheld
Other uses for The Journal
The letter in the June 30 issue of The Journal talking about Gerald Flurry ["Many Biblical Titles," by Jim Casey, page 4] brought up a question I had when in that church.
How can Mr. Flurry claim to be "that prophet" when it is so clear that that title belongs to Jesus Christ?
I was put out of the PCG because I didn't understand the subject of "that prophet."
The people in the PCG have been told that The Journal is "dissident literature" by their ministry. I once heard a PCG minister say that The Journal is good for only one thing: wrapping yesterday's garbage.
Letters in the May issue of The Journal talking about [PCG spokesman] Dennis Leap's remarks to The Journal show the crazy statements coming out of the PCG.
The Journal is not dissident literature. The people in that group should be reading it to see just exactly what is going on.
Via the Internet
Alan Ruth's example
Regarding "King of the Church of God Web Publishers Says COGs Accomplishing More Than Ever," The Journal, March 30, 2001:
Alan Ruth is an excellent example of Matthew 11:12: "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."
Instead of giving up, as many have done, Alan reaches out to encourage scattered Christians and the public through his missionary voyages and his Web site. His is a loving and powerful example of what Christ can do through us all if we would listen to His voice in our hearts and allow His Spirit of truth to work in us forcefully.
Thank you, Alan, for your example.
Richard F. Griffiths
What's the word?
Regarding "Zondervan Reworks Book Cover After Flap Over Flames," June 30: Mike Feazell is not the executive editor of The Plain Truth magazine [published by the Worldwide Church of God]. That job is Greg Albrecht's.
Mike edits the member magazine called The Worldwide News.
I talked to Ron Kelly [WCG treasurer] in Arkansas last year about your paper. I told him no one refuted the factualness of your paper. Don't let me down.
I think you are doing fine. We can overlook a few mistakes if you will overlook my spelling.
By the way, is factualness a good word?
Via the Internet
According to the mastheads of The Plain Truth and The Worldwide News, Mr. Feazell is indeed executive editor of The Plain Truth and is also executive editor of The Worldwide News.
Yes, factualness, according to Merriam-Webster, is a perfectly good word.
In regard to the extremely distasteful and disrespectful cover of Mike Feazell's book [see "Book Cover Ignites Criticism," The Journal, May 31], I did contact Zondervan Publishing to lodge my complaint.
Just for the record, I made a formal complaint about this book cover to my local pastor. He said that, although he hadn't seen it, he was familiar with the brewing controversy and that the actual cover was designed by Zondervan itself and Mike Feazell rejected the cover.
May I suggest a change of the book's title to The Liberalization of the Worldwide Church of God: The Remarkable Story of a Church's Journey From the Religion of Jesus to a Religion About Jesus.
Alec Surratt, no less
I can't believe some of the names I've seen recently in the publication: Bill Dankenbring, Ken Ryland, Alec Surratt!--and a host of others. It's good to have a type of central clearinghouse for this type of information.
Quite a while ago you published a letter from a Mrs. Cooper, the mother of Duane Cooper, an AC grad of the early '60s or late '50s and a Spanish professor at AC Pasadena for probably 10 years.
While I was sad to hear of Duane's demise, it brought back many, many fond memories of him as one of my profs in the early '70s in Pasadena. Of all the teachers I had back then, and many were supposedly inspired, powerful and committed, Duane was a wonderful teacher who inspired so many of us during the brief window of time that AC had a major in Spanish.
He influenced many students to want to travel abroad to know other cultures and customs. What a great, underrated, underpaid and unrecognized dude he was. He made a lot of other situations more tolerable with his dedication, studiousness and chispa.
This is one of the reasons I am so grateful for the existence of The Journal. I just wish some of my pals from the old WCG Spanish department and certain European-stationed ministers would keep in touch once in a while. Como estais, chavos? Guten morgen.
Keith D. Speaks
I absolutely loved my first issue of The Journal. I particularly enjoyed the open-forum section you call Connections [consisting of paid advertisements].
I read with particular interest a couple of articles [advertisements] by a group called the Stedfast Church of God. The content was familiar (I've been in one of the COGs for ages), but what struck me was the spelling of Stedfast. Is that intentional? Is that organization aware that stedfast is supposed to be spelled steadfast?
As an old English major, I'll ask you to forgive me for bringing it up. I just thought if it weren't intended I would save someone the embarrassment of finding it out much later.
The Journal checked with elder Arlen Berkey of the Stedfast Church of God, McMinnville, Ore., about the church's name. Mr. Berkey replied that the spelling is intentional and follows the usage in the King James Version of the Bible.
Jesus' evolving divinity
I would like to add support to the down-to-earth letter written by Brian Knowles in his reply to Donald Ward's outburst against the Messianic Jewish Movement ["Elder Talks of 'Satan's Greatest Deception,'" April 30]. Just why Don should single out this particular group with such scathing remarks is beyond comprehension.
The past century saw many Christian scholars, ministers, authors and laymen--many of them within our own Churches of God--who have preached sermons, written books and pondered questions concerning the age-old mystery of who is Jesus.
Because I have learned a lot from these authors, many of them as contributors to The Journal, I do not always agree with Don Ward's answers to this most baffling question.
This being so, I could well turn those scurrilous remarks right back to the pen from which they came because they have done nothing more than cast a blanket of scorn against the very nation of people from whom we should be willing to at least listen and evaluate what they have to say.
After all, Jesus was a Jew, and He did say to the woman at the well that true worshipers "worship the Father [YHVH] . . . and salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:21-24).
If we read the prefaces in the NIV, RSV and NKJV, we see short paragraphs that explain that the word Lord (all caps) is the substitute title that has replaced the real name of YHVH (spelled yod, hey, vav, hey in Hebrew) and translated into English as "Jehovah."
The tetragrammaton (the English word derived from the Greek term for those four Hebrew letters) is the hallowed name that Jesus referred to in what has been dubbed the Lord's Prayer.
The KJV translates YHVH as "Jehovah" in four verses, but modern translations have seen fit to discard that name altogether, as their prefaces explain.
The fact remains that YHVH and Adonai are two different Hebrew words, and only one of these--YHVH--was declared by YHVH Himself as being His holy name (Exodus 3:15; 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 43:3; 45:17; and many more scriptures).
The whole of the OT is full of these declarations by this One Supreme Being (Him alone), whom Jesus worshiped and whom He called "His Father" and whom He taught us to worship and pray as in "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name . . ."
The philosophers of Greece, Rome, Egypt and Asia were destined to play counterfeit games with the Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, the author of the Ten Commandments. Subtly, they set up a pattern of a Trinitarian godhead that they knew so well by translating many texts of the NT to suit their own theology.
1 John 5:7-8 is one, and we can trace many others through the footnotes in the NKJV as it exposes the errors recorded in the KJV. The history of this process was first sealed at the Council of Nicea in 325 when the council declared that "Jesus was divine, He was Deity, He was God."
The Holy Spirit was added to the Godhead some 56 years later in 381 at the Council of Constantinople.
Jesus was declared both human and divine at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
All the answers to the Trinity mystery are drawn from the NT, thus abrogating the truth of the self-uttered word of YHVH, to which Jesus must have been obedient.
Stage 1 therefore created a twinity, and most of Christendom today acknowledges this subtle counterfeit of another divine being sitting at the right hand of the Father. What? Another Deity alongside YHVH, who said that He stood alone and whom Jesus instructed His followers to worship.
NT Christianity worships a God who in many churches has been elevated far above YHVH. NT Christianity never came completely out of Babylon at the Reformation, as most Sabbath-keepers readily acknowledge.
Yet they persist in vehemently defending Nicea with all the ammunition of NT script at their disposal. There is no NT text that says "Thus says YHVH," so we must take it for granted that texts such as 1 John, above, were not divinely inspired but added, along with many other contradictories of the Word of YHVH.
The catechisms of the church of Rome declare that the Trinity (which includes the twinity) is its foundation doctrine, around which all other doctrines emanate.
It can be easily seen why I join in refuting Donald Ward's outrage against the Messianic Jews. Most of them have been converted from worshiping YHVH alone to the Trinitarian God of gentile Christianity.
They are not all in the same basket.
They are just as confused within their sphere of understanding as Christianity is in its sphere, and this is no better exemplified than the confusion that presently rages within the Churches of God as they try to unravel a Trinity that the Catholic catechisms say cannot be understood.
But, until we dispense with the twinity doctrine, we will forever be asking: Who is Jesus?
Herbert Armstrong was a twinitarian, and the destiny of the WCG that succeeded him was doomed when it bounced back into accepting the Trinity under the spell of the Christian Research Institute.
All summed up, Jesus had no divine preexistence before His birth. That divinity was engineered at Nicea in 325 as the counterfeit Trinity doctrine started to grow from babyhood.
I do not seek to tongue-lash Donald Ward for his statements. For 50 years I often stood and recited the Apostle's Creed and blindly accepted the Trinity as a matter of course.
For a further 20 years I was drenched with it within the Sunday-school classes of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
I resigned from there in 1992, hopeful to learn more about the holy days with the local group of the WCG. I was one of the fortunate ones who did not migrate into skid row, and, with the help of In Transition and The Journal, I am still a Sabbath- and holy daykeeper, albeit on my own.
Anthony Buzzard's essay, contributed about four years ago on who is Jesus, was my first jump with a bump ["The One God of Israel and Deuteronomy 6:4 Is the God of the Bible," July 31, 1998, and "What Is the Nature of Preexistence in the New Testament?," Sept. 28, 1998], followed shortly after by another that came after I contacted the Assembly of Yahweh (7th Day) in Cisco, Texas.
I make no excuses for being just as forthright in declaring my stand as Don Ward was in his declaration. No doubt I have tugged a few heartstrings along the way, but let us remember that Jesus said, "I come not with peace, but with a sword."
Let us always be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures ardently with each other. The tongue can be either compassionate or as a raging fire, as many of us have experienced.
"Hear O Israel, YHVH our God, YHVH is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29).
This is the Shema, endeared by every devoted Hebrew, which must have been recited many a time by Jesus Himself. It has become my own substitute for the Apostle's Creed.
Invercargill, New Zealand
Will Rabbi Saal respond?
This is what I get when I let my subscription to The Journal expire. I read in the May issue a letter to the editor by Brian Knowles ["Do Messianics Believe Jesus is God?," page 4], in response to Don Ward's article ["Elder Talks of 'Satan's Greatest Deception,'" April 30, page 1]. Brian was trying to clarify what the Messianic Jewish movement teaches.
We were all together five years ago at that Friends of the Sabbath meeting in Connecticut [mentioned in the April 30 article]. Dr. Paul Saal admitted at the time that he was still formulating some of his theology, which, by the way, I found healthy.
He may have given what seemed to be an off-the-cuff answer to Dr. Ward. I'm sure he has some beliefs regarding the divinity of Christ (Jeshua).
My experience is that the Messianic Jews are a varied lot, but my particular experience with Paul Saal was that he was about 85 percent in agreement with Church of God theology.
There are some Messianics who I consider to be evangelicals in yarmulkes and are just a conduit to mainstream churches. But not all.
Anyway, I hope Paul responds. Since he edits a magazine himself, I'm sure he could give a thorough answer.
Mission in action
The Journal (June 30, 2001, page 5) ran a letter from Jeff Maehr titled "The Relative Unimportance of the Sudan." In it the writer justifies persecution of Christians living in the Sudan by blaming it on God!
In his letter, displaying an appalling level of arrogant exclusivism, Mr. Maehr somehow manages to momentarily lower himself from his throne to allow that there are "possibly" some "few" people in the Sudan who "may be" a product of God's calling, but "most," he says, "are not."
How generous of Mr. Maehr to give us the benefit of his enlightened revelation by having his oration published. How cold, callous and self-serving an attitude he demonstrates. But, I am reminded, this was the attitude of many in the old Worldwide Church of God toward others, especially toward those hated Protestants outside the WCG "true church" camp.
Mr. Maehr is merely spouting an aspect of the old company line, I am afraid. But where is the glory due to God in his letter? Alas, I searched for it in vain.
Remember Herod? He spouted foolishness and neglected to glorify God too (Acts 12:21-24).
Where is mercy, and where is the humble attitude in Mr. Maehr's letter? It was missing in action. But God requires believers to be merciful and humble, does He not?
Yes (Micah 6:8).
Exclusivism breeds contempt. In this case, the contempt displayed by Mr. Maehr in his letter appears to be not only for nearly all other professing Christians, but for the Eternal God. Is this how "representatives of God" are supposed to present themselves before the world?
I don't think so. Where is the love? Sadly, it was also missing in action. And, as to the Bible, we are required to teach what the Bible says is the truth, not what we think it ought to be.
F. Paul Haney
People who give a care
Before another Feast comes and goes, I want to make Journal readers aware of a two people who are truly examples of people who care.
In 1965 Kenneth Seals married Evelyn Johnson.
Shortly afterward Kenneth became a member of the Worldwide Church of God. Through the years Mr. Seals never missed a Feast, holy day, etc. Mrs. Seals, although not a member, served in the background, cooking, arranging halls for meetings or keeping the kids happy while Mr. Seals served in any capacity at regular services or feasts.
They continue to give. Mr. Seals is an elder in the Appalachian Church of God. For many years the Sealses have provided food and clothing to the needy of their area. Mrs. Seals was given a tiny building by a television show (America's Talking) that featured her work with the needy. She named the building Blessings House and operates from it a nonprofit charity to help the needy in the Middlesboro, Ky., area. She tells people, "I give whatever is given to me."
Mr. and Mrs. Seals are not sponsored by any organization. So far the Lexington, Ky., church has been the only church to help, and the Harrogate, Tenn., WCG has helped on Thanksgiving for many years.
Mrs. Seals has provided afghans to hundreds of sick and elderly through the years through the Warm Up America program, which provides bedding and blankets to the needy.
Public agencies and other private charities often refer people to her for blankets and bed coverings.
In 2000 Mrs. Seals became paralyzed from a back injury and was bedfast for eight months. The work went on for the needy. She told us from her bed what needed to be done.
The Sealses are thousands of dollars in debt, but Mrs. Seals walks again. She had no surgery, just God's help.
Mrs. Seals has also written three books: Mist of Memories; Of Appalachia: Its Heart and Soul; and Shadows of Forever.
I thought readers of The Journal would like to know them.
In the June 30 letters, on page 2, was one titled "Study the Scriptures," which ended with "Give us your inspired comments; Name and location withheld." Assuming that Name is the husband and Location is the wife, if Mr. and Mrs. Withheld would contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, (423) 629-5711 or P.O. Box 9023, East Ridge, Tenn. 37412, U.S.A., or publish their E-mail address in a future issue of The Journal, I would love to give them my comments, inspired or not.
East Ridge, Tenn.
Especially for you
This is a bald-faced attempt to influence where you might want to go for the Feast this year. We are pleased to announce a price rollback for those who would like to attend the Feast with us in the great outdoors at beautiful Mendocino Woodlands State Park, among the breathtaking beauty of Mendocino County, Calif.
If you or someone you know would like to enjoy the Feast in a gorgeous park setting, check out the details on our Web site, http://LivingTheWay.org.
Unfortunately, the price rollback is only temporary. Those who register for the Feast after Aug. 31 will be asked to contribute the higher amount. So there is a little time factor to give everyone a bit of a nudge.
But we'll feed you, and kids are still free. Besides, we're a swell bunch of people to hang out and praise God with! Please help us spread the word.
Jack M. Lane
Sabbath Bible Fellowship
See also the advertisement for the Mendocino Feast site on page 25 of Connections, the advertising section of The Journal.
Regarding "Atlanta Women's Conference Promotes 'Explosive New Revelation,'" June 30 issue: Greek Christians know full well that Iounias (Junia), mentioned in Romans 16:7, was a man. Why are women so desperate to rid the man of His God-given position as the head of the wife, even as Christ is head of His ekklesia?
Why didn't Christ call even just one woman to be one of His 12 disciples?
Why, once Judas killed himself, didn't the 11 apostles recommend any woman to replace him?
Why aren't there any women priests--past, present or future?
Women who accept their God-created role as wives, mothers and keepers of the home seriously and with holy fear will, upon their resurrection, become priests and kings: sons (not daughters) of God.
So why are you so presumptuous in trying to be equal or even above the man's God-given authority? Women's liberation is a doctrine of demons; all Scripture proves so.
Why do genealogies almost always use the man's name? Why do a woman and her children take on the husband's and father's name, and why do you find mostly men as creators of manufactured things, buildings, roads, bridges, vehicles? Go to any project of consequence and see just who--pardon the expression--mans the job.
Carson City, Nev.
I have just read [the first of two parts of] Dan White's essay on marriage that was published in the June 30 issue of The Journal ["We Have Lost Sight of Christ's Higher Standard for Marriage"].
I agree with him that the doctrinal change regarding divorce and remarriage that was made by the Worldwide Church of God in 1974 has caused many problems and much confusion for everyone. But I disagree with his basic logic. As he presents it, there are only two options: Either the doctrine taught before 1974 or the doctrine taught after 1974 can be correct, with no other possibilities.
He presents the argument that, since the post-1974 teaching has shown by its fruits to be flawed, then that means the pre-1974 teaching has to be correct because it is the only other option allowed into the argument.
But, if we allow ourselves to think outside of the box, a third option is that both teachings are flawed and caused much pain and confusion for many people.
I began attending services with the WCG in September 1963 at the age of 16. Over the years I saw the pain in many members' lives as they tried to live up to the church's old teachings. I also saw and shared the confusion that resulted after 1974 as many members and ministers played musical marriages. It did not make sense to me that with either the old or new teaching it was necessary to go to the ministry to obtain a ruling as to whether someone was to be considered to be married or free to marry. Shouldn't I be able to know all by myself if I am married or not?
In 1974 I married my wife, a divorced Catholic. Before our marriage and afterward, both of us have seriously considered this subject. Both of us considered the spiritual consequences if we were wrong in our decision to marry each other.
When we agreed to marry, we married each other for life. That was our approach then, and it is the same today, 27 years later.
That same year Ted Armstrong, of the WCG, gave a sermon that was played in all of the churches to introduce the new teaching of the WCG. The way that I remember it, there was one standard that God applied to church members, and all of the billions of other people were none of His concern. They were free to make their own rules and standards regarding marriage because He was concerned only about church members.
It is interesting that if we apply Mr. Armstrong's teaching to me, my wife and I are not really married because my wife and I are not both members of the Church of God.
On the other hand, based on Mr. White's article, my wife and I have been committing adultery for more than 27 years.
This is an important subject that needs to be discussed openly without preconceived conclusions. It would be good to go back to the basics and ask ourselves:
Mr. White's article was effective if his objective is to cry aloud and spare not. But, if his objective is to save a brother or sister by encouraging us to come and reason together, he has actually pushed us away and caused more division.
Via the Internet
I received the latest issue of The Journal today and scanned Dan White's essay concerning D&R ["We Have Lost Sight of Christ's Higher Standard for Marriage," June 30]. From what I gleaned I agree with Dan wholeheartedly. Far more important, the Scriptures teach what Dan states.
I was baptized Dec. 19, 1968, so I remember the events concerning the change in the D&R [divorce and remarriage] doctrine. At the time I went along with it because who was I to question God's servant.
It was a colossal error to change the original teaching on D&R. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote an extensive booklet on the subject in 1973, supported by many scriptures. I have a copy of the original text, as I am sure Mr. White does also.
But more essential is that the Word of God teaches that all marriages are bound by God, and no man can null-and-void any marriage.
John the Baptist lost his head because he told an unconverted man that it was not lawful for him to have his current "wife." Adam and Eve were not converted, so, according to the liberals' logic, they were not married.
Christ told an unconverted woman that she had five husbands, and the one she was with was indeed not her husband.
Paul said a woman was bound to her husband as long as he lives.
I am following a man who left the WCG in 1974 because of D&R and other changes. I believe in following a minister as he follows Christ.
It turns out that most ministers were and are hirelings as Christ described in John 10. They saw and heard the wolves approaching, but they put their collective tails between their legs.
Thanks to Dan White for having the courage to write that article about D&R. Most people will refuse to believe the Scriptures in this matter, but perhaps some will return to the truth.
I just wanted Dan White to know that he is not alone in his understanding. It is good to have company.
The definition of marriage
I believe that every one of you believes that marriage should consist of one man and one woman wedded in the sight of the Eternal God. It is with this in mind that I ask you to look at a Web site, www.texasdoma.org. I also ask that you sign the petition to the governor of Texas. It is important for people to stand up for the principles we find in the Bible. I pray you will look into this issue and follow the leading of the Spirit in this matter. For evil to win requires only that God's people do nothing.
Congratulations on a great job of covering the United conference [May 31 issue]. Very interesting and very revealing. I read the earlier piece in United's official newspaper and it said almost nothing of interest, just the usual PR pabulum. If we didn't have The Journal we'd never learn much of anything about the Churches of God.
Based on an announcement in the April 7, 2001, church bulletin from the New York City congregation of the United Church of God, pastored by Kevin Epps, it is necessary for the United Church of God to answer two questions:
Here is a paragraph from the front page of the bulletin:
"When is it appropriate to invite someone to church or a Bible study? When someone has expressed a sincere desire to visit us (without any urging from us). However, one should not attempt to create an interest by inviting others to Bible studies and Sabbath services. These activities are beyond the scope of basic socializing. This is inappropriate, as it is a form of recruitment or proselytizing. Likewise, it's inappropriate for someone to invite United Church of God members to Bible studies or church services that are not approved by UCG. These type[s] of invitations are divisive and lead to confusion."
If people in United in New York City need to be told from the pulpit who they should socialize with, then obviously they can't think for themselves, and it is questionable if they are using God's Spirit to think and act.
It is sad, after all we have been through, that there are still dumb sheep who will always need to be told what to do by dumber sheep.
Name and location withheld
We would like to give a gift subscription to The Journal to a good friend, a sister in Christ who can't afford it at the present time.
When one member hurts, the whole body hurts. We need to help our brothers and sisters in the small things. If we aren't doing that we are in big trouble.
We are making this an early Feast gift. We will do it again when the time comes. I urge others to do the same for someone who can't afford it. The small things will lead to bigger things in the long run.
Dennis and Rebecca Whited
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