"Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight" (Proverbs 18:17, NLT).
"He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears" (Proverbs 26:17, NKJV).
I pray that these quarreling ministries will somehow be able to solve their disputes in a Christian manner because, as it stands now, these continuing crises show the incapacity of the UCGIA Inc.'s ministry and its elected council to tend to their own affairs (1 Timothy 3:5) or instruct their brethren by their example in anything resembling either servant leadership (Mark 9:34-37) or reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
As far as The Journal knows, the publisher is not related to Ms. Cartwright. See her updated contact information on her blog at ucgcurrentcrisis.webs.com.
An old, old story
Again I want to thank you for reporting [in issue No. 139, dated June 17, 2010] the debate, which was more of an exchange than a debate, in Tyler with Art Mokarow.
It was a good experience for me and helped give me some closure on my experience as member/minister (in that order) of the WCG.
I pursued theology from a young age simply to know whatever the truth about life was. The journey has taken me in one side of the Bible and out the other. I had to be where I was, and being where I am was unavoidable.
Had I gone to the original Methodist seminary I was accepted to when I had to choose between Ambassador and the WCG, I would still have arrived at my present truth, with just a different story.
Spirituality is an inside job. Organized churches don't like spiritual people because they think for themselves and often outside the box. Churches want religious people.
Religion is where others tell you what is true and it is your job to adhere. Or, as I have said in the past, "Pray, obey, pay and stay" (POPS). The history of the WCG is pure POPS, and the ongoing drama in the splinters is pure POPS as well.
Life was meant to be lived. It is meant to be a search, and, when one finds, he should be suspicious that maybe he has not found nearly as much as he might think.
We are all one consciousness searching through 12 billion sets of eyes and six billion processors in our skulls. Of course, there is a purpose for our situation. We see darkly in all attempts at being religious or becoming spiritual.
The guru leadership of the Church of God splinters is probably the most delusional. Sincere? Mostly, I hope. Right? No. Worth the time and effort to be boxed in by them in a very small package and stop seeking? No.
We all have a story in life, but we are not our story. The story can change 10,000 ways, and does. We tend to wallow in it. We counsel and rehash it. We want others to understand it. We get lost in it, yet it is still just our story. It is not who we are in fact.
The last sermon I ever gave in the WCG was "Nothing Is for Nothing." All forms of negativity are some form of nonacceptance.
I choose to stop grasping at straws and thinking that just being attached to a group that spends more time infighting than encouraging is the final answer.
The answers come from inside. They come from being spiritual and not religious. Perhaps the WCG reckless-change splinter experience, which perhaps we all agreed to have in this life, will not have been in vain.
May our stories continue.
Thanks for your comments in column 4 of page 31 of issue No. 139 of The Journal [in the article about the debate] explaining President Washington's birth date changing from Julian Feb. 11, 1731, to Gregorian Feb. 22, 1732.
I found that almost all are surprised when I point out that months with numerical names (September, October, November and December) are no longer named correctly in the Gregorian calendar.
For example, September, which means "seven" (Latin septem), coincided at least in part with the seventh month of the Julian year but, with the change to the Gregorian calendar and the moving of New Year's Day from March 25 to Jan. 1, became the ninth month of the Gregorian year.
I guess historians should at least be grateful that September was not accordingly renamed November.
Missing the point
I just read The Journal [issue No. 139, dated June 17, 2010] cover to cover.
Art Mokarow and Dennis Diehl had an interesting debate. Can't say I agree with either side too much, although they both brought out some scholarly points I had never thought about or had any information on.
To me, if the scholars get too embroiled in taking apart the Bible and analyzing every minute detail of Scripture, they miss the point of living a Christian life, developing godly character and the ultimate goal of salvation. Without these, endless debates seem meaningless.
It was good to read the article by Walter Steensby [the angel story on page 1 of the same issue] since I know him personally.
An FYI regarding the article in issue No. 139 called "Two Former Worldwide Church of God Pastors Face Off in a Debate About the Nature of the Bible":
In a paragraph under the heading "Read Everything He Could," Art Mokarow states:
"About 12 years ago somebody found where I was, and they put me on the Internet, and on the Internet I started getting E-mails from around the world. They wanted to know what I believed after all those years."
Unfortunately, my friend Art's memory is not very good. Rather than rely on my own memory, I verified the information below based on E-mails and other correspondence kept from the period in question.
In short, I was the "somebody" who "found" Art, not 12 years ago but eight years ago (2002). The initial E-mails from around the world he got were forwarded to him from BibleStudy.org Q&A service. He started answering questions for the site in October 2002.
May 2002: I first contacted George Crow in Texas about getting some of Art's tapes. Art used to pastor the Detroit churches (I live in a suburb of Detroit), and I wanted to listen to some of his studies he had recently given to a small fellowship in Texas. Sometime thereafter I asked George how to contact Art.
September 2002: BibleStudy.org's Q&A service started.
October 2002: Art Mokarow was contacted regarding donating his time to answer questions for BibleStudy.org's "Personal Answers to Bible Questions" service. His first E-mailed answer to a question forwarded to him from BibleStudy.org was sent in October 2002. Art regularly answered questions for the site until around January 2006.
Farmington Hills, Mich.
I read the dialogue [during the debate] on the Bible between the three gentlemen in the June 17, 2010, issue of The Journal and must say I'm shocked at the seeming willing avoidance of the real issues that were not even touched on. For example, if the Genesis days were not real days but were "periods of time," then we can toss out the Sabbath "day" as having any relevance.
Even though God stated He rested on that seventh "day," and blessed "it," and made "it" holy, we still can't believe God could create everything like that, can we?
The seven days establish when the day actually begins and ends, so we might as well accept midnight as the beginning of a new day like the rest of the world.
Another example: If Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Daniel didn't really exist, we make Christ out to be a liar because He spoke of Adam (so evolution is bunk), Abraham, Moses.
So, then, we need to eliminate as having any truth or relevance what Christ said about them, and we can't logically stop there and then must reject all Christ stated.
Then we can simply eliminate the entire Bible, because it can't be trusted once we begin dissecting it and choosing what we want to accept.
Then we are left to our own imaginations as to who or what God is or what He expects of us. Can we not believe God could write a book and make sure it survived as He wrote it? We're left with nothing to base our beliefs about God on except doing what is "right in our own eyes."
Why do we bother having such foolish discussions? Why do we have to believe we must be accepting of whatever the imagination comes up with regarding God, His Word and His plan?
Can all three of those men be right, be standing on the truth, be serving God and His Kingdom and furthering the gospel?
There must be biblical "answers" to the issues, the arguments, the objections, or we are stirring up a pot of confusion and eating away at people's faith and beliefs and casting doubt on God and Christ, and we are establishing and supporting false belief systems that do not serve God.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." So who decides what is really scripture if we take apart the Bible? What authority do we have?
God has left us to drift in a sea of confusion, but only when we toss out the Bible, toss out sections of the Bible or rewrite it to mean what we want it to mean.
Maybe I'm missing something significant here because this trend seems to be growing in the COG, but it counters all I read and understand about the Bible and God's plan and is in sync with Satan's agenda to undermine truth and establish fables.
Christ's warning about the very elect being deceived by the agenda being shaped today is right on the mark.
It will be so alluring, so awesome, so convincing and so desirable that most of mankind will embrace it and give its power to it, along with some of the elect, for a time--but only because God's Word is rejected and disbelieved and we don't understand His plan, and we turn aside to false teachings and beliefs that appeal to vanity and pride.
God help us to believe Him and His Son and Their ability to relate to mere flesh and blood. Such an impossible thing to believe could really occur. I believe God and Christ are far more powerful than these gentlemen give Them credit for.
Pagosa Springs, Colo.
In The Journal, June 17, 2010, I began reading the article "Debate About the Nature of the Bible" with great expectations. But soon the reading became expectations denied.
Each side was given 15 minutes to give its "view about the nature of the Bible."
Ron Moseley, followed by Art Mokarow, said nothing regarding this question. Dennis Diehl said something but indicated little belief in the accuracy and/or truth of the Bible. To quote Dennis:
"At Ambassador College you study the Bible ... [believing] the first 11 chapters of Genesis are literally true: that woman really did come from the rib of a man, that everything was created in seven days, that Noah really did have penguins and polar bears and such on the ark, wallabies and kangaroos made the trip from Australia.
"Nobody can explain that, nobody wants to bother with it."
Just prior, Dennis stated: "I've always studied human origins."
His studies appear limited. Creation Ministries International believes in a literal, seven-day, 24-hour day creation and believes the Bible Genesis creation account. This organization has two excellent magazines that "explain that."
As well, they refute evolution and document the fantastic design and beauty in nature, done by a great Creator God.
The magazines are Creation and Journal of Creation. I suggest Dennis (and Art) read these publications to broaden his perspective.
Trust no brain
The brain trust at the debate about the nature of the Bible didn't seem to settle much [June 17, 2010, issue].
Without asking us, here again people in the know are telling us what we want and need or should want and need. They even seemed to know what questions we want to ask.
It seems the brain trust was parroting what someone had told them without checking things that anyone could check.
"Paul wrote two thirds of the New Testament," which he didn't. Fourteen is not two thirds of 27, and 50,000 words are not two thirds of 180,000 words.
"The Bible is the Word of God?" Which one? The whole subject is irrelevant because salvation is based on the way we treat other people, whether we have the Bible or not.
The big problem seems to be people trying to follow supposed Bible examples and ignoring what it says. When we say we are going someplace to worship God, aren't we saying God is not in us or with us?
"All the law and prophets are summed up in one term, love your neighbor as yourself." That one gets lost to rituals, observances, initiations and ceremony.
I agree with Art that "the greatest mistake we make ... is not starting basic enough.." We need to get more basic than: Saturday or Sunday, which?
I once heard a preacher say, "We are not just playing church here." If we are not, we had better start doing something other than collecting money, snowing people with endless talk, singing songs and patting each other on the back.
I read the report with the hope of being able to help people who have spent the better part, if not all, of their lives in a delusion of self-importance. Apparently people still prefer the old wine to new. Knowing the truth is irrelevant if the truth doesn't know us.
The power of one
Ken Westby's article in the June 2010 Journal, "The Power of One," was one of The Journal's best ever, a great inspiration.
San Diego, Calif.
Mr. Armstrong's 119th year
July 31, 2010, starts the 119th year since Herbert W. Armstrong was born. Mr. Armstrong was born July 31, 1892.
Cape Town, South Africa