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Encouraging Communication among the Churches of God
 

Letters from
The Journal Readers

 

Love truth and survive

Thank you for publishing the excellent and comprehensive article on the "one God" issue by Brian Convery [in the Connections section of issue No. 145 of The Journal].

I believe that this is a must read for anyone serious about truth.

Most readers know that there are many false teachings out there in "Bible land" posing as truth, as there always have been, but thankfully God the Father and God the Lord Jesus Christ will by Their Holy Spirit lead the called-out ones into all truth.

We will be corrected by God if we heed and obey.

The letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are a historical record of correction and encouragement to Christians of all times. I believe that those who love truth will survive, while those who don't won't!

Chuck Biggs
Big Sandy, Texas

This is not difficult

The alert reader of Brian Convery's attempt to deconstruct the very straightforward biblical monotheism of Jesus and the Bible [in the Connections section of issue No. 145] should take fright at his various references to "more than one Elohim." This is merely a veiled polytheism inherited from Herbert Armstrong.

Singular personal pronouns, we all should know, designate a single person, and the Hebrew Bible labors to tell us, with thousands of singular personal pronouns for the one true God, that God is a single Person.

"Do we not all have one Father; has not one God created us?" Malachi 2:10 sums up the biblical position without further ado.

I'm not sure what Mr. Convery means by "one God Being." That is to mislabel the unitary-monotheistic position. We believe God to be a single divine Self, unaccompanied at creation. (Isaiah 44:24 has changed many minds.)

This one God of the Bible and of Jesus did not speak in a Son ("in one who has the qualities of son") in Old Testament times (Hebrews 1:2). Luke 1:35, then, very simply, gives us the explicit basis for Jesus being the Son of God.

It is a mistake to read John 1:1 as though it said "In the beginning was a second Person"; "word" (no capital) is the self-expression of the one God of Israel, and "it," not "he," was eventually manifested in the human being Jesus, supernaturally generated = brought into existence.

None of this is difficult if we stay with the creed of Jesus that "the Lord our God is one Lord" (the Greek of Mark 12:29).

The scribe agreed with Jesus that God was a single solo Divine Self.

For our two full books on this subject please go to restorationfellowship.org, available also at (800) 347-4261).

Anthony Buzzard
Fayetteville, Ga.

Historical heritage

A response to Brian Convery in regards to the article "The One-God-Being Doctrine" [full title "The One-God-Being Doctrine Is a Perverted and Different Gospel About Christ!" beginning on page 21 of the Connections section, issue No. 145 of The Journal, dated Sept. 17, 2011]:

In your previous article, "The Hireling and the Wolf" [in issue No. 144, beginning on page 23 of the Connections section], you denounced the bad shepherds. You seem to be hurt a lot from your departure and disfellowship from the WCG.

Unfortunately, in your recent article, I find a similar attitude. What you are condemning is just what you are doing. By wanting to be so righteous in preaching a gospel of fear (like the PCG and RCG), you are self-righteous.

Do you mean to say that it is "better to be at the right place" (as Dave Pack says), otherwise we are delusional? So, being delusional, is that the deal the Father and the Word made together when They were Elohim?

From your article, page 24: "We don't know exactly when the Elohim of Genesis, the Us of verse 26, decided to enter into this new relationship of Father and Son, but we do know when it was formalized ..."

Where did you read that? Certainly not from a special book of faith delivered once for all.

Sadly, here again we have a nice heritage from our history.

Michel Danis
Montreal, Que., Canada

Make your point

I have finished reading the nine-page ad by Mr. Convery. I know these nine pages are revenue for The Journal, but God is clear, concise and direct. If you cannot make your point in one page as Mr. Westby did in his advertisement in the same issue, then you are wasting my time.

John Stickel
Springfield, Va.

Tell us how you really feel, Brian

Thank you very much for publishing the Brian Convery article titled "The One God-Being Doctrine Is a Perverted and Different Gospel About Christ!"

Right from this title I knew that Brian was going to explain how this doctrine would qualify as "another Gospel."

I was not disappointed. The article [in The Journal, issue No. 145] ran about 19,200 words, and I could follow the logic of the clearly and uncomplicatedly written article with no problems.

The writer emphasizes the attributes of Jesus Christ and His function as the Word, Creator and Savior. He draws support from the Old and New Testaments, especially from Paul.

I like the way Brian expresses himself in colorful phrases that leave no doubt as to where he is coming from. Here are a few:

"Terrible deception, a grotesque spiritual infection ... A false teaching of the angel of light ... causing confusion and damage ... The strong delusion of error ... The lie of another Jesus put to shame publicly by ... heretical teachings ... A sick supposition ... Would be incest if we carried it through ... This sick teaching is camouflaging: the Father and the Son having the same wife, the same woman! ... Right out of the filthy, demented mind of Satan ... A heretical tripping stone by the deluded teachers ... A filthy rag of unrighteousness ... [The teaching implies] that the Son commits abominable acts with the Father's wife by its tenets ... Doctrines such as this do not emanate from the Father but from the most self-centered and egotistical being which has ever been in existence."

Here is now Brian closes his article:

"We live in an age of abhorrent evil. The body of Christ is under continuous attack ... Unfortunately at this time much of it is coming from ravenous deluded brethren who once walked in the newness of the spirit and the truth once delivered."

Brian's advice: "Do not fear them, but at the same time have nothing to do with them after a first and possibly a second admonition . . . I hope I have given you reason to reject such a perverted doctrine as to the one-god being/a different gospel about Christ."

What is the church to do?

"The Bride of Christ must boldly expose the filth and fallacy of such teachings . . ."

I hope that in the future Brian Convery can follow up with a stronger and longer article to let us know how he feels. A good article overall to wake us up.

Bernie Monsalvo
Gladewater, Texas

A cosmic impossibility

I am compelled to answer the article by Brian Convery in The Journal [issue No. 145, dated Sept. 17, 2011] on "The One-God-Being doctrine."

He doesn't seem to understand the meaning of one who is infinite = boundless, depthless, measureless, heightless, incomprehensible.

Heaven of heavens cannot contain Him (Yahweh) (1 Kings 8:27).

So how can a second Elohim do the same? Impossible. 1 Kings 8:60: Elohim alone. 2 Kings 19:19: Thou art Elohim alone. Deuteronomy 4:39: He is Elohim alone, there is no other. Isaiah 37:16, 20: Thou alone art Elohim.

Read also Isaiah 40:18, 25; 41:4; 43:10; 44:26; 46:5-6, 14, 19; 45:22; 46:9; Jeremiah 10:6; 49:19; Hosea 13:4; Psalm 86:8; 89:6-8; 2 Chronicles 2:5; Nehemiah 9:6; Matthew 24:36; Luke 4:8; 18:19; Colossians 1:19; 1 Timothy 6:16; Hebrews 1:9; 9:14; John 20:17; and Revelation 3:2.

If you check these scriptures you will see it's impossible to have two or even three I Ams. The words God and Lord are not names but titles.

Somebody did a special test with very large computers sending out signals to outer space.

The computers worked out the distance the signal traveled and back again. They found it to be an amazing 15 billion light years away.

So how great is our Yahweh? Remember, heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. You cannot divide infinity. It's a contradiction of terms to even suggest dividing it up.

There can be only one infinite Yahweh. You can't have one extra person in the so-called Godhead or even three calling themselves the I Am.

You can be a partaker of Yahweh's Spirit, but you can't be equal to it. So the Messiah was and is the holy person whom Yahweh chose to dwell in fullness (John 14:10, 20).

John M. Hunter
Carsluith, Scotland

All this silliness

Please look at the letters (of the Hebrew alphabet) in Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 48 and John 1:1 and end the silliness of "What is the nature of God?"

The Bible is inspired: all the letters, words, verses and chapters. Please print something on this.

Jeffrey Alan Telesca
Moon Township, Pa.

God, angels or what?

Over the last few years much has been discussed over "God": Is He one? Is He two? Is He more than two? Is Jesus God? Or is He just man? Or is He both? Etc.

We would do well to remember that it was an angel that stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, saying, "Now I know that you fear God, for you have not withheld your only son from me" (Genesis 22:11-18).

It was an angel with whom Jacob wrestled. "Jacob" means "one who prevails with God." Yet Jacob said, "I have seen God face to face and still live."

It was an angel who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. It was an angel who brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.

The laws of God (Torah) were given by the disposition of angels (Acts 7:53).

It was an angel in the pillar of fire and cloud that led the people for 40 years through the wilderness and brought them to the Promised Land (Exodus 23:20).

It was an angel who revealed the book of Revelation to John (Revelation 1, 22).

Was it God in the Garden of Eden, or was it an angel representing God? Was it God talking to Abraham on the plain before Sodom and Gomorrah, or was it an angel representing God?

The fact is, when God places His name on an angel, that angel can be called "God" or "Lord" and worshiped as God and can punish as God would (Exodus 23:21-23; 33:10).

The word God means ruler, magistrate, judge, deity. It can be talking about angels or even men (John 10:35; Psalm 82:1-6; Job 1:6; Judges 6:12-13). The word eloah means a singular God, ruler, etc. Elohiym implies "many."

The word archangel can mean chief angel or ruler angel, or someone who is the ruler or chief over the angels ("Lord of Hosts").

The Lord of Hosts doesn't have to be an angel himself.

There is only one archangel mentioned in Scripture, and that is Michael, meaning "who is like God." Gabriel and Satan are never referred to as archangels.

How could there be more than one Lord over all the angels?

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 says that God apportioned up the nations' inheritances but kept Israel for Himself, and Daniel 12:1 calls Michael "the prince of thy people" (Israel).

John 5:25-29 says the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and they shall live.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 says that "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel" (Lord of Hosts?).

It does not say descend from heaven with a shout and also with the voice of an archangel.

Will the dead hear two voices, or are the voices one and the same?

We may not know the answers to the many questions we ask, but they are food for thought.

Gary Servidio
Redding, Calif.

Judged by our teachings

In your letters section there have been several addressing the topic of "how many Gods." Most reference previously written articles. Something I feel has been lacking in the letters is the direct use of Scripture to discuss the topic.

There are three common Hebrew words in the OT that are translated "God." In Strong's they are No. 430, elohim; No. 433, eloah; and No. 410, el.

Note the following scriptures in which the three usages are found. In these verses we find what God Almighty has to say regarding this doctrinal teaching.

Micah 4:5: "For all people will walk every one in the name of his God [Elohim]. And we will walk in the name of the Lord our God [Elohim]."

Though both "Gods" are the same Hebrew word, the context seems to show a separation between them.

The conclusion: There will be many elohim (angels) ruling the nations of the earth. Or more than one God.

Let's see another example, but with other Hebrew numbers.

Daniel 11:35-39: "... The time of the end ... And the [gentile] king ... shall exalt himself ... above every God [el] ... And do marvelous thing against the God [el] of Gods [el] ... Neither shall he regard the God [elohim] of his fathers ... Nor regard any God [eloah]."

The word any shows there are others!

Books could be written, and hundreds of Scriptures used, saying basically the same as these references. There are plural elohim, plural usages of eloah and plural el.

As these words are written in the Almighty's words, so will our teachings be judged.

Ray Daly
Lincoln, N.D.

Shuddering demons

Numerous definitional statements on God as a single personage are disseminated throughout Scripture. Among the most salient of these are 1 Timothy 2:5 and James 2:19:

"And the truth is this: One is God and one is the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all. This truth was attested at the fitting time."

(The mediator between God and man cannot himself be God.)

"Do you believe that God is one? You are quite right. The demons believe that, and they shudder."

And, shuddering, they deceive others (like Brian Convery) into supposing otherwise.

Antimonotheism reactionaries like Mr. Convery are effectively beating a dead horse in attempting to establish credibility in a plural Godhead. Unitary monotheism is provable biblical fact.

Don Sena
Phoenix, Ariz.

Irregular plurals

Brian Convery insists on the plural "Gods" [in his article in the Connections section of issue No. 145 of The Journal]. To be consistent should he not cite the following?

  • "Have ye not read that They which made them at the beginning made them male and female?" (Matthew 19:4).
  • "Lords, you art Gods, which have made heaven and earth" (Acts 4:24).
  • "Have not Our hands made all these things?" (Acts 7:50).
  • "For the invisible things of Them from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even Their eternal power and Godhead ... [but] they glorified Them not as Gods" (Romans 1:20-21).
  • Some "worshiped and served the creature more than the Creators, who are blessed forever" (verse 25).
  • "But They that built all things are Gods" (Hebrews 3:4).
  • "And Gods did rest the seventh day from all Their works" (Hebrews 4:4).
  • "And swear by Them that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are therein are" (Revelation 10:6).
  • "You Two are the Lords; You Two have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host" (Nehemiah 9:6).
  • "Fear Gods, and give glory to Them, for the hour of Their judgment is come: and worship Them that made heaven and earth" (Revelation 14:7).
  • "Them only shall ye serve" (Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8).

Even the Trinitarians attempt to preserve the singularity of God.

Kim Murphy
Canada

The heart of a matter

Hi, Dixon. We hope you are feeling much better and stronger now. We read your article in the latest Journal ["Heart Appreciation: The Beat Goes On," issue No. 145, dated Sept. 17, 2011] and agree with your observations on COGs.

We believe that all Christians limit God in some ways, and God is working greatly in people around the world in their thoughts and hearts.

It's not that anyone intentionally limits God, but that we are humans and have difficulty seeing as God sees. This is especially true of the COGs, where many (if not most) seem to think all other Christians are counterfeit, not converted Christians. Many years ago we also believed this was true.

Now we believe the truth is we don't know who God is working with in a conversion process because God looks at the heart of a person, not knowledge and doctrinal understanding. It is not our business or concern to judge others (Matthew 7:1-5).

As individual believers, we need to be concerned with out own personal relationship and standing with God and Jesus, and not that of other people, but to pray and offer help to those who have difficulties and trials.

Al and Debra Murrey,
Payette, Idaho

Discourse will end

I find The Journal a continual stimulus to discussion on different opinions. I am sure this is a principle that God laid down in Isaiah 1:18 when He said: "Come now, and let us reason together."

Job and his companions were certainly engaged in this process, with God having the final word, which we hope is the way that all these discourses will end: finding out what God thinks.

R.W. Lyons
Gulliver, Qld., Australia

The Bible says ignorance is no excuse

Regarding the article by John Robinson ["The Church From the '50s to '90s: In Transition Publisher Writes of His RCG/WCG Recollections," The Journal, issue No. 145, dated Sept. 17, 2011]:

As John says in his article, HWA taught that God would justify or cover his unscriptural errors and honor them because, as HWA once stated in regards to D&R [divorce and remarriage], "God has finally revealed the truth about this."

HWA reasoned that, since God had not yet revealed the truth, the ministry would not be held accountable for teaching error.

But Leviticus 5:17 clearly says that "if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord; though he wist it not, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity."

I don't know how the ministry missed this. Also, God informed Aaron in Numbers 18 that he and his sons would "bear the iniquity of your priesthood." I would think that would apply to the WCG ministry also.

Myra McQueen
Sulphur Springs, Texas

Glad to be okay

We read the current issue of The Journal [issue No. 145, dated Sept. 17, 2011]. The article by John Robinson was super. I had open heart surgery about 20 years ago. I am okay. Amen.

Howard Bruce
Glendale, Ariz.

Like Carnal Sanders?

During the early period of the Christian church the Jews were "subverting souls" of the brethren (Acts 15:24), so much so that the New Testament Church of God held a meeting in Jerusalem. It's probable that many thousands attended.

The disputation, caused by the Jews, was that they (the Jews) wanted everybody to be circumcised and obey all of the laws that pertain to Judaism.

Here is the conclusion of that meeting and what God told His people they must do--four things--in Acts 15:20:

"Abstain from pollutions of idols and from fornications, and from things strangled and from blood." Only four things.

The Jews wanted the Christians to be commanded to "keep the law of Moses" (Acts 15:5) and to be "circumcised and keep the law: to whom we [Christians] gave no such commandment" (verse 24).

The carnal mind will follow the ideas of men. Those who are led by God's Spirit will obey God and do the four things that God commands.

Are you carnal?

Paul and Micki Herrmann
Metairie, La.

Traditions have staying power

To my knowledge none of the hundreds of Churches of God takes any notice of what Herbert Armstrong and Garner Ted constantly said: "Don't believe me. Believe the Bible."

But, then, as Herbert Armstrong also said, "once a tradition is established in any church it is almost impossible to change it, even if it is proven to be biblically incorrect."

Kevin Sasse
Goulburn, N.S.W., Australia

No wonder

May my frank letter be published?

Update on my status as a suspended member of the UCG: Nothing's changed.

My record: Suspended and kept out for 12 years. Failed attempt at reconciliation four years ago during which I requested forgiveness.

First charge: guilty of causing division over a marriage doctrine.

Second charge: guilty of self-righteousness.

Last contact: refusal to negotiate without completion of a questionnaire and another ad-nauseam request to show fruits of repentance even after 12 years of repeated attempts to open dialogue. Is that not a sign?

Since when does the Bible allow an elder to disfellowship someone for self-righteousness?

No wonder Satan took one third of UCG elders last winter.

Ned Dancuo
Stoney Creek, Ont., Canada

Three vs. seven

A comment on Exodus 23:14-16 vs. Leviticus 23:

The three named feasts (Hebrew chag) of Exodus 23:14-16:

  • Seven days of unleavened bread, Tishri 14-20.
  • Pentecost/Weeks.
  • Feast of Tabernacles/Ingathering.

The seven fixed times (Hebrew moed) of Leviticus 23:

  • Weekly Sabbath.
  • Days of Unleavened Bread
  • Pentecost, fixed as the seventh Sunday from the Days of Unleavened Bread.
  • Sabbath of memorable acclamation, not a feast.
  • Day of Atonement, a sabbath, not a feast.
  • Feast of Tabernacles.
  • Eighth day, a sabbath, not a feast and not the last great day of John 7:37.

David Rydholm
Via the Internet

Sex of one, leaven of the other

I am amazed when I read replies to articles such as the one in the July 31, 2010, issue of The Journal (No. 140) on sex and singles by John Sash.

I'm amazed at the scripturally unsupported opposition (for example, in the letters section of the subsequent issue, No. 141) to what is obviously supported through the absence of Scripture's condemnation of John's article's thesis.

John's article had lain down as scripturally clear as possible what he had thoroughly sought out and proved to the utmost, with unbiased scriptural validity and integrity, concerning what most had presumed for a lifetime to be the opposite approach as a truth of God.

This has not been the first occurrence of such phenomena. This also rang true of many other Journal essays, including my calendar essay of September-December 2008, and has as well been the fate of the recently published leavened-bread essays. [See "We've Been Partaking of the Wrong Kind of Bread at Passover" and "Would You Believe the Bible Teaches We Should Have a Leavened Days of Unleavened Bread?" by Mr. Neely in issue No. 143, dated January 2011.]

Virtually not a word was heard, pro or con, on the above-mentioned essays, and probably not because everyone concurred but because they were not willing to go down those roads one more time.

Has the time come when the church has reached the point where we are satisfied with where we stand in what we believe or won't believe (Proverbs 2:1-5)?

Yes, blind and naked to new truth. We all need to decide this question for ourselves. We can't judge others.

Going back to John Sash's essay, there seems to be some confusion on when God defines a married state and when this world defines it.

Oddly enough, there is some agreement there, but not generally recognized. When the minister comes to the place where he pronounces the couple husband and wife--whether in the church or in the world--are they then married? No, not according to the Scriptures or the state.

The state does not legally recognize the "marriage" until it is consummated in the sexual act. So also say the Scriptures (Genesis 16:2-3; 29:21; 30:4; 38:8).

What legitimacy, in God's eyes, does the state marriage certificate bring to the marriage? None.

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7:25-28, tells us he has no commandment of the Lord concerning virgins and that it is not sin should they marry.

Consider: What if what John Sash's article portends is correct and true to every test? What has changed?

Sex before marriage is an oxymoron. Marriage, according to Scripture's examples of marriage, is the act of two committed unmarried opposite genders uniting by sexual intercourse in a (committed) relationship.

This is not about singles' sex or God's correct calendar or even God's Leavened Spring Holy Days--although they should be looked into seriously. It is about taking the time to examine and listen to the Spirit within us, to discern the truth of Scripture from error in the spiritual issues that separate us.

Does it matter any more to us what Scripture says or doesn't say? Are we any longer, in this last era of God's church, committed to proving all things as commanded?

When we decide to ignore Scripture and keep on treading along, have we just eaten of the wrong tree? Have we just possibly despised God's truth and become the deciders of truth (Deuteronomy 12:8)?

These are questions for all of us to answer--now.

Bill Neely
Pottstown, Pa.

Leavened foods

I submit that Keith Slough got a bit carried away in his "Handy List of Leavened Items" [see letters, Sept. 17, 2011, issue of The Journal].

We are speaking of the Days of Unleavened Bread. Bacon, taco meat and so on can contain yeast, but they cannot be leavened! They are not bread!

For us to avoid ingesting yeast, we'd have to stop breathing, since it's floating in the air. Thus the bread was leavened when the dough was allowed to sit and collect the yeast.

Today we add yeast to the dough, ensuring a quality bread. If something contains bread crumbs--like meat loaf--you should reject it. But you cannot leaven meat itself.

Joan H. Griffith
Annapolis Md.

Shared experience

I was saddened to hear of your [Dixon Cartwright's] heart attack and certainly wish you the best possible recovery. I am glad you shared your experience in The Journal [on page 3 of issue No. 145, dated Sept. 17, 2011]. It made me sit up and take notice.

I am living with my wife in Uruguay and just got back from Southern California, where I kept the FOT with an independent group. I was fortunate to get the last issue of The Journal, where I saw you had your health problem. Please do take care.

Dale Stogner

Via the Internet

Herr Strauss died

In your No. 142 issue [dated September-October 2010] Alan Knight writes "Who Is the Beast?"

In the 1980s I proclaimed Franz Josef Strauss as the Beast, but he died. The WCG and her daughters refused [to name Mr. Strauss], fearing error.

Karl Hapsburg is now the only choice I find, with Max or Georg as a new pope. Please put this in your next paper as a prophecy.

Clifford Catton
Via the Internet

Official incorporation

The Radio Church of God, later renamed Worldwide Church of God, pastored by Herbert W. Armstrong, was officially incorporated on Oct. 21, 1933.

Also, could you please inform your readers that my new article, "How the Bible Reveals the Modern Identity of The Endtime Elijah" is at www.freewebs.com/usa-in-prophecy/possibleidof2witnesses.htm.

Geoff Neilson
Cape Town, South Africa

 
 
 
  
 
 

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