NOT building an organization
"I am not building an organization
which seeks to perpetuate itself at all costs or to be adversarial to those
in the churches who are striving to minister to others," he said. "This
effort is not so much an organization or group as it is an attitude of promoting
and encouraging love, fellowship and service in all the Churches of God.
Mr. Ruth has never been ordained a minister by
any group. He quips that "the only hands laid on me have been those
that tossed me out of the Worldwide Church of God."
He began attending the WCG in late 1985, and on Feb.
15, 1986, he was baptized by then-pastor of the Detroit East congregation
Shortly before the end of 1986 (Dec. 4th), Mr. Ruth was disfellowshipped
from the WCG by another minister. Earlier in the year several of his friends
were suspended, disfellowshipped or marked. He credits then-WCG pastor Ray
Wooten with a significant role in those events.
"I have followed the trials of Mr. Wooten
in the UCG and spoke to him at Thanksgiving time in Michigan and here at
the Holy Day conference," Mr. Ruth said. "I feel Ray has made
the major turn in understanding God's government, primarily because he has
experienced hierarchical church government like we brethren have. I look
forward to further cooperation with and advertisement of his efforts in
More than pay, pray, stay and obey
Mr. Ruth is adamant that being a Christian carries a heavy responsibility.
He said too many who have shared the WCG experience
believe they are simply "to pay, pray, stay [in a fellowship] and obey."
In his efforts to minister to and serve others,
he notes that "the two traits that have helped me the most have been
persistence and a generous sense of humor."
Mr. Ruth, who holds a bachelor's degree in computer
science from Wayne State University in Detroit, says he encourages brethren
to remain in the church or organization in which they are spiritually fed,
yet he encourages all to "visit other groups on occasion for Sabbath,
Holy Day services, meetings or Bible studies."
"When visiting other fellowships, we should
strive to encourage and strengthen our brethren who are fellow members of
the Body of Christ," Mr. Ruth said. "Our light of encouragement
can shine as an example to those we meet or have contact with."
Mr. Ruth said Barnabas Ministries is named after
the New Testament minister first mentioned in Acts 4:36.
"His real name was Joses, but the apostles
in Jerusalem called him Barnabas, which means son of consolation or encouragement,"
Mr. Ruth said. "He was a generous, loving man who served the Churches
of God by encouraging and building up his brethren wherever he went.
Began research in 1993
Mr. Ruth's research into WCG offshoots began in January 1993 (he turned 30 on Jan. 15th) when the Global
Church of God formed.
"When the GCG formed, I asked myself the simple
question: I wonder how many splits there are from Worldwide now.
"Soon after this I created a basic chart of
about 30 WCG split groups.
"A minister in the church encouraged me to
further research into the splits and gave me the opportunity to present
my findings at the Feast of Tabernacles in 1993."
After the Feast, he began to condense his many
notes into a research paper about the splits titled "The Worldwide Church of God Splits: Their Triumphs and Troubles."
Mr. Ruth's latest passion is researching how to
use the Internet to further his ministry.
Internet Web page
Started in late 1995, he operated a World Wide Web page on the Internet at http://www.gatecom.com/~barnabas.
However, he has requested a permanent address of http://www.biblestudy.org,
which he anticipates moving to before May 1.
"There's a lot of wonderful material available
from a wide variety of groups that could easily be made available to people
around the globe," he said. "One of my goals is to make available
some of the best biblical articles in the Church of God to others in the
church and in the world."
Mr. Ruth intends to report events and news with
an eye toward encouraging "communication, cooperation, caring and Christian
growth" in the Churches of God.
When Internet users sign on to Mr. Ruth's Web page,
they are welcomed and offered the following information:
- "The articles and information on these Web
pages are from many different groups, organizations and authors within
the spiritual organism known as the Church of God. This is not a site solely
promoting one church or group.
- "These pages will contain a significant
sample of articles and information from nonordained Christians. There is
a wealth of well written materials and God inspired activities created
by dedicated brethren (male and female) which will be offered and promoted
on this site.
- "Barnabas Ministries puts materials on the
Web to promote the building up of character, not of organizations. We are
a service organization which seeks to encourage you to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ, to gain a better understanding of the Bible
and to reach your highest potential of service and love as a Christian.
We are not here to build a mailing or contribution list.
- "We have no large tithe-paying base, nor
do we squeeze others for support. Rather, we communicate the needs of this
service to those that benefit from it and pray God moves some to help us
continue to serve through the Internet."