I felt that few if any of my specific observations about everything from the real meaning of the Genesis mythologies to the suspicions about the apostle Paul's role in founding Christianity were left unaddressed.
Kicking into preaching mode in answer to specific observations about the errancy of the Bible does not address the question. My keeper statement came from Dr. Moseley when he said that the fossil record "shows no evidence of evolution."
I could hardly agree less because the fossil record shows nothing but evidence for evolution, including human. I would suggest a good read of Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It's Important by Donald Prothero to put that topic to rest.
I was also a bit taken aback by Mr. Mokarow's statement to the audience when he said: "I want you to listen to Dennis. Everything he is telling you is true."
I understand that "As I am so was Mr. Mokarow, and as he is so shall I become" was the point he was making. However, we are not on the same page, and the statement seemed to derail specific discussion about specific examples I brought up either about creationism or Paul's role in the New Testament church as one most hated by the other apostles.
Discussion of the book of Revelation as a failed 1st-century prophecy prior to the fall of Jerusalem with Paul being the "apostle found wanting" by the Jerusalem church seemed to get little response as well.
With whole COGs depending on the futureness of the book of Revelation, I felt it an important topic to address.
Overall I really enjoyed the experience and used it to bring a bit more closure to my own experience with the misguided literalism so many get caught up in. Truly pious conviction mixed with marginal information has always been a hallmark definition of many of the COGs and really all fundamentalist Christians.
Is God one or none?
In the Feb. 28, 2010, issue of The Journal, the ad by Wade Cox claims his doctrine of just one God is right because so many people embrace it now.
But the merits of a doctrine do not depend on whether it is popular or not. Even he claims this was not the case a while ago. So was the doctrine wrong when few believed it?
Pagan doctrines are quite popular with the masses. Yet the Bible's true doctrines are not accepted by the vast majority of mankind. So are they wrong? This popularity reason (half his ad) is used to bolster his status and a bad doctrine.
He claims many in the COGs have accepted the false god Attis. Satan has many counterfeits as many false saviors mimicking Christ (perhaps 12 of them). Just because there are many false ones does not mean the true one is false.
The various COGs do have many Protestant doctrinal errors, as Wade Cox claims, which lead to division among us. But the doctrine of two Gods now is not wrong.
From the article "Ditheism" by him and others:
"Binitarianism is not a Christian doctrine. It is a pagan heresy that has no place in the Church of God and those that espouse it should be removed as idolaters."
Harsh words. These verses disagree:
Hebrews 1:6: "And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."
Philippians 2:10: "... At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth."
See my article "God Is None: Is God 3, 2, 1 or None?" at 23jan.spaces.live.com.
Just how universal is salvation?
In the Feb. 28, 2010, issue of The Journal Paul and Micki Herrmann wrote a letter titled "Universal Question." Their letter, after citing John 6:37 ("All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out"), asked:
"Isn't this the answer to the question about universal salvation?"
There is no doubt that Gehenna fire will have been created and prepared for a purpose, and God already knows who has reservations for it. This is one reason salvation is not as universal as one may think.
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).
Then, what about the salvation of human beings? The following scripture easily answers that question:
". . . God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19).
God does that reconciling for the world, and not just for those few (John 6:44; 17:12; 6:37) drawn, or dragged, by the Father. And, if God does not do that, then who will do it?
How important is Christ, our Passover? Many of us observed this year's Passover on the evening of March 28, 2010, and we know our Passover "is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).
That propitiation is not for Satan and his devils. Whenever God begins something, we may be confident that He is sure to complete it.
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
Always on a Monday
Old-timers who were members of the Worldwide Church back in the 1950s and '60s will remember that every year in late spring everyone said to each other: Pentecost is always on a Monday.
So how did it get changed to a Sunday?
The answer may surprise you. In fact, we think you may even be shocked.
Most faithful and sincere members will probably think the head and leader of Worldwide, or his board of directors, must have done an in-depth study of the subject and come to the conclusion that Pentecost should be changed from a Monday to always on a Sunday.
Wrong! That's not the way it happened.
So here is the skinny. This is how it went down. Herbert W. Armstrong decided to consult the chief Jewish rabbi for all of the United States of America. The rabbi said Pentecost should always be observed on a Sunday.
The followers of HWA still keep Pentecost on a Sunday. Ironically and incredibly, the Jews don't always keep this holy day on a Sunday.
So what do you think? Or do you?
Paul and Micki Herrmann
Thank you, Darlene
We are down under and so only recently received the February 2010 edition. The article by Darlene Warren titled "What Does It Mean to Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death?" was most inspiring for me.
My father was diagnosed last year (around August) with lung cancer. He had chemo, but then the cancer spread to his brain. This affected him in that he knew what he wanted to say but his mouth wouldn't get the words out.
So the doctors gave him radiation, and this helped shrink the tumor and he was able to speak clearly again.
Then he had a fall at home and knocked his head and so was taken to hospital. He really started to deteriorate and died in his sleep on the 6th of April.
Anyway, near the end Dad did start to sleep a lot and didn't want to watch TV or even read (one of his great pleasures in life). So this article really helped put things in perspective. Thank you!
Via the Internet
Sighting the new moon
The article "Superstition" (The Journal, Feb. 28 2010, page 17) shows that for the years 1996-2006 the Day of Trumpets on the Hebrew calendar rarely coincides with either the astronomical new moon (once in 11 years) or first sighting of the new moon (four out of 11, or 4/11).
Thus "nothing we can observe in the heavens coordinates with the calendar you are probably using." (The writer overlooks that the first sighting of the new moon is just after sunset--i.e., on the next day--so it's actually 1/11. And, adding 2007-2010, it's 1/15.)
Mr. Armstrong always taught that a month begins at the sighting of the new moon in Jerusalem, not somewhere between the astronomical and sighted new moon.
The doctrine was set out clearly in The Good News of October 1957.
Mr. Armstrong possessed only astronomical new-moon data, from which he concluded, quite reasonably, that the Hebrew calendar must calculate the times of the sighted new moon.
We now know that it rarely does this. Even so, ministers remaining faithful to Mr. Armstrong's doctrines continue to teach that it does.
The question then arises: Should we keep Trumpets on Sept. 9, 2010 (Hebrew calendar)--before it's possible to see the new moon--or should we heed "God's instructions"?
Piece of cake
I recently came across a better understanding of a scripture that had puzzled me many times. Numbers 14:9 in the NKJV: "Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread."
After checking several other translations, it still was not clear until I read the Lamsa version from the Aramaic:
"Only do not rebel against the Lord, neither be afraid of the people of the land; for their conquest will be as easy as eating bread."
A footnote on this verse from the Lamsa version: "In Aramaic when a task is simple or easy, it is said it is like eating bread."
What modern country has the common colloquialism "It's a piece of cake" or "It's as easy as pie"?
Numbers 13:8 clearly states Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim. This clearer understanding will possibly add weight to the argument that the U.S.A. is truly predominantly the tribe of Ephraim.
Ernest R. Schreiber