Mister and master are interchangeable. Notice this in The American College Dictionary under the entry for mister: No. 4 says "to address or speak of as 'Mister' or 'Mr.' (var. of master)."
When we look up the word master we find under No. 9 one word, Christ. No. 17 says "a title of respect for a man or a boy (now mister in ordinary speech)."
Hopefully, you never call any man your spiritual father. But the next time you call someone mister (spiritually) remember that Jesus said call no man mister (that is, master).
Maybe those who think they ought to be called mister should begin to tell everyone, "Don't call me mister."
Paul and Micki Hermann
1,317 to 1
To Robert Schmid, who chides Ken Westby's "never" ["Never Say Never," page 2, The Journal, September-December 2008], I would say this:
It is a matter of amazement to me that Mr. Schmid can venture a single verse, John 20:28, to ground a doctrine of more than one Person in the Godhead.
Have the thousands and thousands of singular personal pronouns describing God as a single Person fallen on deaf ears?
It is preposterous for the creedal statements like "to us there is one God, the Father" (1 Corinthians 8:4-6) and Jesus' startlingly clear affirmation of the unitary monotheism of the Jewish heritage "you [Father] are the only one who is truly God" (John 17:3) to be ditched in favor of a single verse in John 20:28, where Thomas finally realizes who Jesus is.
John immediately notes (verse 31) that all that he has written is geared to a single point to convince us that Jesus is "the Messiah, Son of God."
No intelligent Bible reader imagined that "Son of God" meant "God"! This would amount to two Gods. The facts of the New Testament are that the word God is applied to Jesus once for certain (Hebrews 1:8, quoting Psalm 45:6). Other references are all in doubt for syntactical reasons. The Father is called God 1,317 times.
Moses is called "God" also, and so are the judges (Psalm 82:6 cited by Jesus in John 10:34-36).
In the case of Thomas, his failure in John 14 was to recognize that in seeing Jesus one is seeing God. Finally he gets it right and acknowledges that Jesus is the reflection of God.
Thomas describes the Messiah as "my Lord" and, in addition, "my God." The two titles are distinguished by the repeated article, suggesting two subjects.
Thomas finally sees that in meeting Jesus one is meeting God.
It is unreasonable for the Bible, in a single verse, to turn the one God into two! That is a much later theological development under the influence of Greek ways of thinking.
Singular personal pronouns declare the one God to be a single Person repeatedly and consistently throughout the whole of Scripture.
With Ken Westby I say "never" to the idea of making God more than one Person, the Father of Jesus. I have Jesus' own guarantee for this truth: He quoted the unitary monotheistic creed of Israel (Mark 12:29) and never contradicted Himself. When will we "listen to the Son," as God commanded?
When to begin
After reading Robert Coulter's story in The Journal ["Former CG7 President Gives His Understanding of History of Church of God and Mr. Armstrong," The Journal, September-December 2008], I checked an old copy of HWA's Autobiography and found it puzzling to try to reconcile that HWA said on page 391 that he was not a member of the Stanberry church but then on page 393 said he "was the least of the ministers" of Stanberry.
Was he or wasn't he?
On page 399 he says he "was ordained by" the Oregon Conference, which he called the "Sardis" church, in June 1931.
He began broadcasting in 1933 and continued reporting to the CG7 until at least the late 1930s.
It appears some revisionism has given the false impression that a new era began in 1934, but in the Garner Ted Armstrong tapes "Body of Christ" (1978) and "The Word of God Is Going Out" (1979), available at www.icg.org.au, GTA says his father continued using CG7 credentials until he incorporated the RCG [Radio Church of God] in 1941, which he says was reincorporated in 1946.
It was later renamed the Worldwide Church of God in 1968 at GTA's suggestion.
North Sydney, Australia
God isn't bothered
I must disagree with Maxwell McFeat's letter to the editor (September-October 2008, page 6 [which was a reply to Reg Killingley's editorial in the Aug. 31, 2008, issue encouraging Christians to vote]).
Mr. McFeat's premise is just too defeatist and isolationist. I wish to present another point of view.
Look again at ancient Israel: "... Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare" (Jeremiah 29:4-7, NRSV).
If the Israelites did as God asked, they would prosper, enjoy their own gardens and, by implication, food supply, and increase in numbers.
Some captivity! How often do we regard ourselves as in captivity to modern Babylon, a captivity from which Christ did not seek our removal?
Like it or not, our welfare as Christians is bound up in the welfare of our nations and this world. If these are run well, we live well. For a case study look no further than the wretched example of Zimbabwe.
It's a given that we should pray for our rulers, but seeking the welfare of our cities goes far beyond merely that.
What about Daniel, who was taken as a captive to Babylon and rose to prominence in that administration?
What about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who seem to have been loyal and important civil servants in the Babylonian government?
What about Joseph, sold into slavery to Egypt, who rose to become second in the land?
And what about Joseph's marriage to the daughter of the priest at On?
Talk about entanglement in an apostate system! God seems not to have been bothered by this, and evidently they all served the system well.
What about me? I have held a number of government jobs in my life, interspersed with private-sector and self-employment.
I have been a member of a union and have voted against management plans, which some might class as rebellion. Now I vote for secular governments. God has not told me to stop any of this.
Some may argue that the governments of this world are fast approaching their most bestial and wicked. I agree, but at the moment things are not all that bad.
No, really. While there have always been thoroughly nasty regimes on this earth--most recently Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mugabe and the anarchic mess of Somalia--much of the world lives in comparatively benign conditions. Comparatively.
Sadly, there's definitely worse to come--worse is coming right now with conditions spiraling rapidly out of control into another depression--and God does tell us to "come out of her, my people," but the when and the how of coming out remain to be seen.
God is permitting all of this. He has not plucked us up out of it. John 17:15 tells us quite the opposite.
I suggest that it's futile and counterproductive to turn our backs on how our countries are run.
If anything, we as Christians should shine like Joseph and Daniel, even and especially those in government employment.
Shedding some light
I would like to respond to the letter in The Journal (September-December 2008) from John Veal, Innsworth, England. You titled it "A Hellish Contradiction."
He asked the question: Is there anyone out there who can shed some light on the parable-metaphor-allegory of Lazarus and the rich man?
May I suggest a booklet, Lazarus and the Rich Man, that can be obtained from America's Promise Ministries, P.O. Box 157, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864, U.S.A.?
It's worth the reading and very interesting. Remember, it's not only the Churches of God that have truth. Other groups have truth too.
Red Springs, Texas
The spirits of man
Regarding the letter titled "A Hellish Contradiction?" by John Veal, Innsworth, England: The Bible does not contradict itself. Church leaders do that.
In the grave you know nothing about what is happening here on earth.
The parable of Lazarus and the rich man refers to the spirit of man.
The Book of Enoch 22:1-14 deals with this issue. It says there are three classes of spirit: (1) the righteous, who are in peace; (2) sinners; (3) the unrighteous, who will never leave "that place." The angel Raphael is in charge of the spirits of man.
The spirit of man is alive. It can neither move nor speak, unless allowed to speak by God.
The rich man's thirst is caused by knowing his future: that he will never leave where he is: in torment within himself. If you do not show mercy and help your fellowman, no mercy will be shown to you.
The books of Enoch, Jubilees and Jasher are inspired books and were used by the early church. They were done away with by the Catholic Church.
These books should be studied along with the Bible because they get into details where the Bible does not.
Warning: When studying these books and the Bible, we must allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truths (1 John 2:25-27).
P.S.: The books of Jubilees and Enoch are printed by Artisan Sales, P.O. Box 1529, Muskogee, Okla. 74402, U.S.A.
Churchill's biographer called the Balfour Declaration a major turning point in Jewish history. The next possible 1,335-day countdown to a Feast of Trumpets--2011--is exactly 70 x 70 weeks later--which may be significant.
Geoffrey R. Neilson
Cape Town, South Africa