Speaking of the canon: Have faith
If we can have faith that God created the entire universe, smote the Egyptians with 10 plagues and parted the Red Sea for the Israelites, then caused the virgin birth and the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, why is it so hard to believe that He gave us the Bible He wants us to have however He chose to do it?
[See many articles in The Journal beginning in 2011 including "Dixon's and Alex's 2011 Canon Articles Were Shocking" by Jeff Maehr and "There's No Good Reason to Blindly Accept the Canon," by Gun Lap, both in issue No. 152, dated March 13, 2013.]
To question the authority of the canon is to start down the rocky road taken by the infamous Jesus Seminar. This august body took the censor's scissors to the Gospels in an effort to determine the real, authentic words and deeds of the "historical" Jesus.
By the time they were done, they had pretty much removed all verses pertaining to the miraculous and the supernatural.
Belief that the Bible is the accurate and authoritative Word of God is one of the few remaining common beliefs and touchstones in the splintered Churches of God.
It is one of the foundations of our faith. Now must we take an ax to the root of that tree as well?
Must we do the work of the atheists and biblical minimalists for them and make shipwreck of the faith of still more of the brethren in the Church of God?
Lack of faith
I believe the letter from Polycarp is proof enough that the Bible is valid. I really don't need it, though, because my faith is sufficient.
I do believe you [Dixon Cartwright] should not have started the articles [on the Bible canon beginning with issue No. 146, dated Dec. 20, 2011].
Your articles show a lack of faith on your part.
Gerda Bludau: one awesome lady
It was neat to see the picture of 96-year-old Gerda Bludau at the Feast site in Thailand. [See the Feast reports in issue No. 152, dated March 13, 2013, beginning on page 8.]
When my wife Helen's mom died in Wisconsin when Helen was 5 or so, her dad, Loren Edelbach, had four kids to take care of: three girls (one was only a month old) and a son 6 or 7.
The call went out in the church seeking for someone to come and help with the kids while Mr. E. worked.
Gerda's mom suggested that she respond, and she did. Having never met the Edelbachs, she showed up on the train in Chicago, I believe.
She lovingly cared for the Edelbach children for three or four years. They have remained in loving contact with her ever since.
Gerda lived by herself in Pasadena, Calif., for the longest time until the last few years.
Eventually, a year or so ago, Leon Sexton's wife, another niece of Gerda's, took her to Thailand to live. Amazing. She is one fine, awesome lady, and I am so thankful for her part in my wife's life, and therefore in mine.
Big Sandy, Texas
[Regarding "Austin Makes 11 Years for One God Series," issue No. 151, dated September-October 2012:] In my presentation in Austin I mentioned that I was studying the side of Jesus' nonpreexistence. But I have not said that I have come to believe it. Actually, so far I'm staying with my position that Jesus preexisted before his incarnation. He was the first of God's creation.
Please, if you could make the correction in The Journal it would be appreciated.
Blainville, Que., Canada
Barrett book unbiased
David Barrett sent me his book, just as he said he would, for the contribution of my photos.
[See "New Book From Oxford University Press Analyzes Fragmentation of the Worldwide Church of God," issue No. 152 of The Journal, dated March 13, 2013.]
Although I have barely started reading it, I am pleased with his excellent compilation of a whole lot of facts and data. I could not have put it together. He does not judge anything or anyone.
Thank you [The Journal] for your contribution to the book.
I am taking this opportunity to thank you for publishing my article "The Master Key: Will God Reveal His True Chronology Before the End?" in The Journal, issue No. 152.
I like what you did with the essay. For the first time I understand the role of the editor, and I can see it is an important one.
Montreal, Que., Canada
Thanks for The Journal
I just checked The Journal's Web pages and I noticed there is a new issue in print. I think it is important that The Journal continues to be published.
I'm glad it continues to report on major developments in the Churches of God, and it appears it is beginning to lead the way in providing a better understanding of the "historical Jesus," explaining who Jesus really was and what He did.
I think The Journal can help folks understand who Jesus really was and the role of the Sabbath and holy days in His life and ministry.
Your recent examination of the Christian canon was well done. [See articles by Dixon Cartwright and several other writers in issues of The Journal beginning with No. 146, dated Dec. 20, 2011.]
The hierarchical branches of the Churches of God will not do this. Thank you for your continued efforts, I know at times it is not easy, nor is it always appreciated.
When Jesus died, who died?
This is just a quick response to Mark Bosserman's article in The Journal ["Jesus Was Just a Man for 300 Years; How Did He Become God?" beginning on page 32 of issue No. 153, dated March 13, 2013].
Mark ends his article with: "If Jesus is God, and since God, being eternal, cannot die, when Jesus died who died?"
That is a great question!
Yahshua is currently God, and He was God/YHWH before His birth. But He emptied Himself completely (100 percent) and became a human being (100 percent man, zero percent God) just like you and I.
So when Yahshua died it was the fully human being Yahshua who died. After His resurrection He was born again and was restored to His former glory/divinity.
But people ask: "But how can or did God empty Himself and quit existing?"
We are not told the quantum mechanics of how it happened, just like we aren't told how we will be changed from mortal to immortal.
However that happens, it is the opposite when YHWH emptied Himself--and trusted His future existence to Abba Elohim.
John warned us in 1 John and 2 John about the spirit of Antichrist/Messiah: the pagan (not gnostic) idea that Yahshua was a god-man ("fully God and fully man," to quote The Whore).
And guess what! All the COGs, except the Church of the Eternal God (http://www.eternalgod.org/booklet/641), (1) teach that Yahshua was a god-man ("God in the flesh") or (2) totally reject His preexistence as YHWH ("coming in the flesh").
Dr. Maehr and Mr. Snow
I just received issue No. 151 and saw a parallel between two separate articles (one by Dr. Jeff Maehr and the other by Eric Snow).
That parallel is the erroneous idea that the modern versions of the Bible comprise all of YHWH's breathed instructions and that everything contained in said tomes is "inspired."
First, Dixon Cartwright indicates in his interview with Dr. Maehr that the church seemingly considers all of Paul's recorded words as Scripture. [See "Final Appeal: Supreme Court Dockets Church Member's Challenge of the IRS and Income Tax."]
However it's obvious that 1 Thessalonians 4:17 was only Paul's speculation inasmuch as he is dead and gone and we're still awaiting our Master Yahshua's return.
Second, Brother Snow's own definition of "inspired" writing [in "God Used the Uncalled to Preserve the Bible] includes miraculously surviving intact over the centuries as well as inclusion in the earliest lists by the "authorities" of that day.
The Book of Enoch satisfies both of these criteria, yet is no longer considered Scripture by the powers that be.
My suggestion to all is to read for themselves the writings of any religious flavor with eyes of discernment, for nobody has yet been provably stationed as the editor of what is (and what isn't) YHWH's instruction to His children, least of all WCG "authorities" or disciples.
Thank you for reprinting the article about the Bathsheba syndrome! [issue No. 152, dated March 13, 2013]. Someone has a deep insight into the vagaries of human nature.
The Bible is filled with examples. Modern history is no different. Oh, what we can learn from observation of these examples.
Big Sandy, Texas
Love thy God as thyself
Trying to learn about loving God and loving others as though they were two different languages is what has caused most if not all of the deception in Christianity.
Most of us have neglected loving ourselves to the point it is difficult for us to show much love for anyone else.
We eat too much protein and poor-quality foods, drink liquids that do more harm than good, don't exercise enough, fuss and argue to mess up our minds, fill our minds with negative stuff from the media--and the list goes on and on.
How can we think God will function well in a temple where things don't, won't or can't move properly?
If we can't outgrow an obsession with laws and doctrines, we will never comprehend the proper love of a parent for a child. Love doesn't isolate a subject for consideration as laws and doctrines often tend to do.
If the editor thinks these blunt remarks are aimed at him, the intent was to leave nobody out, including myself.
Phillip L. Griffith