Regarding Sam Licorish's position, I agree wholeheartedly and am impressed with his refutation showing how Old Testament (OT) law supports New Testament (NT) Christian values found in the teachings of Jesus and Paul.
An important key to any doctrinal analysis should include understanding the differences between the NT and OT. Surely no one questions that the NT holds up a higher standard of moral behavior.
Jesus, who regularly said, "You have heard of old ... but I say unto you ..." also said, "Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already, in his heart."
Jesus also responded to the Pharisees' question about divorce: "From the beginning it was not so" and "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
Jesus' statements should teach us a principle: to search for God's intent. What is God's intent for moral behavior in relationships and marriage?
It has been said that sin is missing the mark. If we want to avoid missing the mark, we should try to understand God's intent, or "the spirit of the law."
The NT puts the marriage relationship on a very high plane, likening it to the relationship between Christ and His church. This calls for a higher standard. Marriage partners become one flesh, and the sexual relationship can be likened to a blood covenant, which should not be taken lightly.
The church is to be a chaste virgin prepared for Christ. Should we not be also?
Informal Sabbath service
I have thought and thought about the last letter in the letters section of The Journal No. 142.
A person from Australia asks readers for comments about an elderly chap who joins in services via Skype wearing his pajamas.
It reminds me of the time at the Feast in Oregon when I was called in to "talk" with a young man (whom I transported daily to services) because he wore brand-new Levi's to services!
This was a young man who survived hand to mouth doing odd jobs, living where he could, and his one constant companion was his Bible.
His only possessions were his Bible, his works clothes, a Thermos for water and a fry pan that he carried in a backpack.
He saved up and purchased new Levi's and a shirt every year for the Feast and used the old ones for working. He was always clean and respectful, but the senior Mr. Tkach (who was the festival coordinator that year in southern Oregon) thought it wasn't proper for him to attend services dressed in Levi's and wanted me to tell him he couldn't come unless properly attired.
The young man did the best he could in his circumstances, and I wonder if Jesus would have told him he couldn't listen to the Sermon on the Mount because he wasn't dressed properly.
God looks on the heart, and of course we should be respectful in all ways, but sometimes we get too wrapped up in what we think others are doing wrong. Open mouth, insert foot!
I implore the Australian correspondent to either nicely speak to his friend about this if he is offending others, or stop being so nitpicky.
Via the Internet
On page 1 of issue No. 142 of The Journal appeared two letters that require correction and comment.
Richard A. Heath mistakenly claims that Elohim (Strong's H430) connotes a plural of three or more.
This is incorrect for two reasons. First, Hebrew masculine plurals ending in the suffix -im apply to plurals of two or more and are not limited to three or more. The only exception is for natural pairs, such as a pair of lips, eyes or hands, for which the Hebrew dual plural is used.
The suffix for masculine dual plurals is -aim (e.g., Ephraim). All other masculine plurals of two or more are marked by the suffix -im.
Second, throughout the OT when Elohim refers to the true God of Israel it always acts as a singular Hebrew noun governing only singular Hebrew verbs and pronouns.
Before Richard Heath invokes Genesis 1:26, I urge him to read my one-page study that happens to appear elsewhere [on page 14] of this issue of The Journal.
Melvin Hershberger wrote: "Henk Jens really missed the mark on Melchizedek and Abraham . . . One reason people draw the wrong conclusion on subjects is due to rejecting the meaning of clear scriptures."
It is unfortunate he failed to give an example of such clear scriptures. If he means scriptures like Deuteronomy 6:4 and Isaiah 45:5, which on a first reading do seem to support there being only one God, I explained in column four of the very article he criticized that they have an entirely different meaning.
Which English words of Hebrews 7:4 does Melvin find difficult? "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God abideth a priest continually"?
Since only a self-existing God who was made like the Son of God, but no man or created angel, fits those words, could it be that Melvin Hershberger missed the mark on Melchizedek?
In The Journal we often see articles or small snippets of helpful information that had been hidden from the membership.
There was a snippet in which one writer-minister informed us of how Mr. Armstrong had agreed with him that man was not created physical as part of a backup plan or some plan B, but that God does know all and therefore that certain info in Incredible Human Potential (IHP) was incorrect.
In his old age his memory would fail him at times (this happens to most of us, does it not?), so when Mystery of the Ages was printed that article was included after all, being lifted right out of IHP.
Would the writer of that snippet please inform me in which Journal I can find this?
I have read Brian Knowles' article on Isaiah 14, which I find very informative. Another minister writer wrote an article on Ezekiel 28 that I can't locate either. I wonder if someone can help me out with this. It was never published in The Journal.
firstname.lastname@example.org; Stow, Ohio
Who's not to love?
The following are a few of the reasons some professing Christians will not show love to certain people:
Certain people do not believe like they do.
Certain people have been excommunicated from their church.
Certain people have voluntarily left their church.
But Jesus said we are not to love only those who love us (Matthew 5:46) and that we must love those we consider to be enemies.
Paul and Micki Herrmann
Darlene's little articles
I just wanted to drop you a line to say how much I enjoy Darlene Warren's little articles in The Journal.
The other day some of us were talking about how far we had come: Now we can wear makeup and pantsuits to church, etc.
Someone commented about no women preachers in the church. I thought a minute and said, well, Darlene's little articles in the church paper are like capsule sermons. Sometimes I get more out of them than I get out of sermons by men preachers.
The Mount Carmel allegorical challenge
I think we can safely assume that Brother Bill Glover's Mount Carmel challenge as represented in his letter in issue No. 142 is meant to be allegorical. [See also the article about Mr. Glover's challenge in issue No. 141, dated Aug. 31, 2010.]
It would seem a bit naive of Bill if he thinks people would dance to the music he plays when they won't even dance to their own music.
His challenge seems to be directed at those who claim ordination, which most understand is obtained by three people incorporating and then ordaining themselves and others.
The words ministry and minister are used. Am I wrong? But I thought everyone who had the awl pierced through his ears had become a slave of Christ and is responsible to minister to his (or her) families, neighbors, friends and anyone.
Most if not all who claim ordination seem to believe our first responsibility is to support their ministry, even if we and our families must do without.
I can't help but believe that Mr. Glover understands that the only thing he can hope to accomplish on Mount Carmel with the servants of Jezebel is to make Jezebel mad, as was Elijah's experience.
The bottom line: The more we are involved with Torah, laws and doctrines, the less we are involved with faith and love.
How faultfinding are love and faith? Can the same be said for laws and doctrines?
As I see it, preaching had its place in the 1st century when people didn't know about Christ. Once a person has read the writings of John and Peter and the book of Romans, everything becomes a discussion. Most written today is to convince us that those people didn't know what they were talking about.
But what can we expect when the translators did the same thing? I hope people aren't writing to keep others from looking into their Bible for themselves. Sometimes I wonder.
Thank you, Reg
Considering the many critics, busybodies and faultfinding spectators who have been counseling the Chilean family and everybody else in the process, Reginald Killingley's commentary in the September-October 2010 Journal, "Chile Critics Should Chill Out--and Cheer," was a breath of fresh air and much appreciated.
God, who is the ultimate free-will Being, desires and requires us to become decision makers, without coercion and external influence.
To this end God raised up the church and the ministry to patiently teach us and encourage us, not to become judge and jury of every decision that someone makes.