Letters to The Journal
These the letters in the Feb. 26 issue of The Journal. This page includes a few letters that didn't make the final layout (because of space limitations).
Suggestions for The Journal
Just a quick note to express support and encouragement for your commitment to free and open dialogue in the Church of God. The recent announcement that you plan to continue the intrachurch newspaper was excellent news to all of us. It is much needed. In spite of a degree of concern on the part of a few, we do need a forum for dialogue that no official church publication can offer.
I am very much encouraged that the concept begun in In Transition will be continued. Had such a publication been in place a decade ago, I doubt we would have seen the degree of negative developments that occurred.
Please consider opening up the articles to a wider range of contributors. To reduce the number of lopsided ideas submitted, you might have a review panel that would pose questions back to the various writers before acceptance for publication. If they provide credible and substantial answers to the questions or challenges posed, then they would be published. The panel should be made up of people from a number of different affiliations.
Also, please incorporate a world-news section to include items that bear significance to the church and relevance to prophetic developments. I'm amazed how little was said anywhere about recent events such as the transfer of the coronation stone back to Scotland and to recent developments in Europe and the Vatican.
It is unfortunate that In Transition ceased publication, but I hope you will continue in the same vein and have the courage and thickness of skin to report the truth!
Andrew J. Jackson
In touch with the brethren
With the way we are all so scattered now, it is good to be in touch if only in a printed paper.
Eva M. Carroll
Void if prohibited
Please send me the first issue of The Journal and sign me up for a subscription. Thanks for helping to fill the information void in the Churches of God.
Time will tell
Please send me a copy of your first issue of The Journal: News of the Churches of God. Will subscribe later if satisfactory.
Mr. and Mrs. Albert R. Marshall
I am looking forward to getting The Journal to keep track of the family and happenings. Best wishes as you try to help God's flock.
Right phone number
Many thanks for your work of filling the need of the church to keep in touch with other members and organizations within the church and to share news, concepts and ideas.
Since many readers of The Journal were readers of In Transition, could I make a printing correction in The Journal of an error printed in In Transition? My name was listed on page 22 of the final issue [Jan. 31] under CEM's network of congregations. The wrong phone number was printed. It should have listed George and Donna McCammon's congregation in Walkerton, Ind., with the phone number (219) 762-1192.
Who's in charge here?
I would like to have the February issue of The Journal to see what it is like. I understand that this issue is free, and if I am happy with it I will subscribe to it. If not, I would not care to have any more issues.
Who is in charge of this publication? Is there one church or numerous churches that are behind all this? Will this be all one-sided? Anyway, I am sure the first issue will help to answer these and many more questions.
The Journal is not affiliated with a church or other organization. It is an independent publication with a goal of publishing news and perspectives from many sources in the Churches of God.
Where are they now?
Please send me issue No. 1. I would like to keep up with the other groups. May God help us all in this great time of trouble.
Mrs. Esther M. Lyon
Wait and see
Please send me your free issue of The Journal. If it is as interesting as In Transition, I will subscribe to it later.
La Crosse, Wis.
15 copies, please
I was so excited to receive my regular copy of Servants' News today and realise that you are continuing with providing news to those of us seeking to follow God and hear news of the Churches of God. How wonderful!
I am in contact with many people and would like to have 15 copies of the first free volume of your publication so that I can pass it on to potential subscribers.
What a difference it makes when the Churches of God have a free press serving them. Thought you might be interested in the classic little poem, to which I have written a second stanza:
George A. Young
I was very glad to read in both Servants' News and Ambassador Report that you are attempting to continue a newspaper for Church of God news. In Transition was a welcome change from the exclusivistic and name-calling rags of the various spin-offs of the WCG. I am still teaching at Kilgore College in the computer-science department, in my 18th year now. I have not attended any Church of God since about 1986, but still do those things I read in my Bible--pretty orthodox in the main. My dad, Charles, goes to church at CGI with GTA. Your newspaper will be recycled to him over in Tyler. I keep up with most of the groups and learn something from each of them.
There are about a half dozen Church of God students here at Kilgore College who come by my office every once in a while to share happenings and news, so I would appreciate a like number of issues of Vol. 1, No. 1, sent to me to give to them.
Michael C. Kusheba Sr.
I hope you realize that there is no way you can "unify" the Churches of God; even the Worldwide Church is divided. Christ said, "But [I have come] to send division."
John H. Berberich Jr.
Peoria Heights, Ill.
Fixing the calendar
The evidence that Jewish calendar (Romans 3:2) calculations apply back to Adam is as follows:
A comparison of Ezekiel 1:1-2; 3:15-16; 4:4-6; 8:1 indicates a 13th month was intercalated at that time.
There are 150 days from the 17th of the eighth month to the 17th of the 13th month (Genesis 7:11, 24; 8:3, 4) of the Jewish calendar in a year of 13 months and 385 days only. These months could be the second and seventh months of Noah's 600th year (Genesis 8:11).
The Hebrew word mowed, Strong's 4150, means set, or fixed, time(s) but is translated "seasons" in Genesis 1:14, both "seasons" and "feasts" in Leviticus 23:2-4 and "seasons" In Psalm 104:19. This meaning and these verses with translated phrase "fixed times" indicate that a calendar of God's festivals and Sabbaths has been fixed from creation.
The calendar, of course, was not always known as the Jewish calendar. It's the calculations that could apply back in time while the names of the calendar and months could, and no doubt did, change over time, including even pagan names like Tammuz.
No end in sight
You at The Journal will be filling a need that I'm afraid will be around for some time yet.
Church paper needed
You can't please everyone, though that would be nice. We need a good church paper, and I hope you get enough people who are interested in seeing a good church paper continue.
We look forward to reading about what is happening around us and how we are progressing (or regressing) toward God's work and our goal to be in God's Kingdom. May God bless your efforts.
Raymond and Dolores Murdock
Sign me up
Hey, great! Put me down for 12 monthly issues at $18. If you're anything as good as IT was, it'll be well worth the bucks.
Joseph R. Chiappone
Craig's guide to income taxes
We look forward, old friend, to your first issue. We may wait for our tax return before subscribing, but we'll stay in touch.
Craig and Karen Forsythe
Looking for other old-timers
I am a really "old-time" Church of God member, having been baptized in Lake Big Sandy in 1954, and I am hoping that I may be able to contact other "old-timers" through your publication.
Mrs. Neva M. Squires
2503 E. Villa Maria, No 314
Bryan, Texas 77802
Please keep us posted, Mrs. Squires. Let us know if you hear from any old friends.
Divided we fall
To say that the government structure of the United Church of God is its problem is simply untrue. Democracy doesn't work, and if one thinks it will then he needs to look at history. No form of government devised by man and/or run by man has ever really worked or will work.
The UCG was not formed on the basis of democracy. At most it could be called a republic. Not all members voted. Members sent ministers, as representatives, to the conference at Indianapolis. They voted on the issues. We, as members, trusted them by knowing who they were and how they led their lives and hoped that with God's help they could make the right decisions.
And I think they have.
If we do not work together, and we work apart, we are more easily attacked, isolated and picked off.
If there are some in United who don't like what is being done, then they can politely ask for change. But, if somebody won't do it their way, then maybe they will have to leave and start their own church like everybody else seems to be doing these days.
Robert David Teitgen
In search of common ground
I depended on In Transition for news more and more as the UCG decreased the information flow to the brethren. For example, the UCG never told us anything about Dr. [Don] Ward after he was added to the board. Even our pastor had to find out from In Transition.
One suggestion: Please concentrate on the news and nothing but the news. The Church of God s are becoming hardened along doctrinal and governmental lines. Let's cut out all the arguing about who is right. No more dissertations about doctrinal points of view or letters of opinion regarding such.
Instead, do let us know the doctrinal shifts that take place, publications of all groups as they occur. In addition, keep us informed of who is doing what, local evangelism over the Web or by radio, transfers, new responsibilities, etc. Search for common ground where it exists.
Richard A. Kisel
Pursuing what is important
I greatly hope that you will be entirely independent in pursuing what is important for the sake of God's people and the truth of God. I am not big on unilateral human conspiracies within or without the Church of God. But I have some healthy suspicions based on very solid personal knowledge of certain events and personalities.
El Cerrito, Calif.
Dreams from the outside
Having grown up in the Worldwide Church of God, I have observed the radical changes and fragmentation of the WCG with mixed emotions. I was forced to withdraw from Ambassador Big Sandy in March of 1983 for "undermining the faith of the student body."
I've rarely been so flattered, but mostly what I did was ask the same kinds of questions that any student educated in secular schools would. A part of me thinks: They got what they were asking for, given the church's authoritarian and sectarian history.
Another part of me hurts to see an organization that shaped much of my life struggle for survival and split apart.
I am now a United Methodist minister after a long and winding route through the moderate branch of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I have had to make some tough decisions about the importance of doctrine and practice. I have gained much from all four traditions I have been a part of, yet have never felt and probably never will feel completely at home in any tradition.
For example, it's hard to communicate the importance of the seventh-day Sabbath to my United Methodist friends, but they seem a lot more willing than either of my former Sabbatarian traditions were to be fully respectful towards loyal dissenters, something I believe is vital if the church is to be reformed completely.
I look at what has happened within the Worldwide Church of God and see a lot of real progress. The same can be said of the United Church of God, its most successful spin-off. However, neither organization has fully embraced a democratic polity, and thus both remain in some measure authoritarian traditions.
Some if not many within these groups would reply that democracy is not a biblical idea. True enough, though I would argue that the Sabbath is probably the oldest proto-democratic institution in human history (not the only theological irony I've discovered as I have studied the doctrines and practices I grew up with more thoroughly).
Reinhold Niebuhr wrote that "because man is good democracy is possible; because man is evil, democracy is necessary." I daresay that, had Herbert Armstrong heeded the wisdom of Pastor Niebuhr, the WCG would not have disintegrated as it has, and I and many of my contemporaries who left WCG would never have done so.
I wonder now if the leaders of the various Churches of God will ever heed Niebuhr's prophetic words. I'd like to dream they could, for the sake of friends and families hurting from the various divisions that have occurred. Maybe the leaders of these organizations could bring the laity fully into the polity and theological searching that is hopefully still in progress.
Perhaps there can be official dialogues between theologians of the various Churches of God. Perhaps there could be joint festival sites. I think with a little diligent theological creativity, a viable medium could be found that incorporates the positive radicalism of Armstrong with a commitment to orthodoxy, ecumenism and democratic polity. Perhaps there could, with prayerful effort, finally be reconciliation and reunion.
Does anybody out there see this as a realistic possibility, or am I just undermining your faith with fantasy? Many commentators have called the changes that have occurred "unprecedented." Maybe, just maybe, they haven't seen the last surprise.
Cornelius "Neal" F. Brantley Jr.
Where we stand
We don't have independent groups to worship with here in our area, so we are visiting and worshiping with the United Church of God, an International Association. They are very open and striving to spread God's love. The freedom we feel with them is really helping us, and vice versa. They know where we stand, and we really are fellowshipping wonderfully together. That "independent attitude" will always be there within us because of our background. We don't fear going out on our own because our "walk with God" is very personal.
Well, go with God, and we wish you real success in your endeavor. We will be praying for you.
Flora E. Warnock-Horton
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God