Regarding the Lonnie Hendrix, Bernie Monsalvo, Phil Griffith, David Froloff and Reginald Killingley comments and some letters in issue No. 156, two points:
• Sodom was likely much as many people view San Francisco today: a haven for homosexuality, though the majority of its citizens are heterosexual, with the latter turning their backs and not standing up for the law but allowing nonlaw to reign over them.
• Homosexuality, according to the law, is not acceptable. Thus if a people allows homosexuality to be accepted in its midst, then that people itself is breaking the law.
Where in the law does it say homosexuality is acceptable? Where does it say those who have such proclivities are to be accepted to be righteous, according to the dictates of the law?
For that matter, where in the law does it tell us it is okay for men to have permission to modify the law to suit their own weird desires? Where does it say it is okay for homosexuals to add their law to the law?
The law, and Scriptures related to the law, tells us about those who were homosexuals in Old Testament times. Lest anyone say "Yes, but the New Testament says . . .," I will use a scripture from the New Testament, Matthew 19:12:
"... And some have made themselves eunuchs [or no longer having sexual desires] for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake"! This means both men and women!
Ray E. Daly
Regarding the letter from Ray Daly in issue No. 156 (Nov. 30, 2012) [titled "Review of Journal No. 155"]:
I agree that Mr. Daly may be right about there being no women in the Old Testament priesthood of Aaron, but the judges like Deborah "sat in Moses' Seat" (Matthew 23:2), and Moses was over the priesthood, right?
And there were women prophets (e.g., Miriam, Exodus 15:20; Hulda, 2 Chronicles 34:22; to whom Josiah sent the priesthood to find out the word of God, etc.).
In the New Testament, and you may not want to print this for those males with superiority complexes, according to 1 Peter 2:9 the entire church is "the Royal Priesthood" of God.
Via the Internet
At home studying
Thanks for your hard work on The Journal! When we are keeping the Sabbath at home studying, I love to read The Journal. I feel like I am talking to brethren.
Restaurants as prophets? You decide
During the ’80s a well-known evangelist in the Worldwide Church of God toured congregations around the world, giving long talks with color-slide presentations.
For several years he spoke of a certain restaurant in Pasadena, Calif. It was railroad-themed and near the Ambassador College campus.
The dining areas of the restaurant were in railroad cars on a section of railroad track. The cars included a caboose and several boxcars. It was named The Loose Caboose.
Starting in 1972 a committee of theologians started compiling a series of papers on new understandings of theological issues, placing them into a loose-leaf binder and supplying each minister with a copy.
The endeavor produced the Systematic Theology Project (STP).
Some of the old-timer ministers believed this project "watered down the truth" and in 1974 the pastor general disbanded it and had the books destroyed.
About the same time, The Loose Caboose was having financial problems and went under new management, changing its name to The Right Track.
The above-mentioned evangelist took the name change as prophetically significant in regard to the WCG. He believed the STP had been a step in the wrong direction and stated that the WCG had been like a "loose caboose, running around willy-nilly, often leaving the track," but, having changed direction, was again "on the right track."
The restaurant continued as The Right Track for a year or so but was still unprofitable. So it closed, the railroad cars were removed, the track was torn out, and the building was taken down and its foundation removed.
From then on we heard no more from that evangelist about "the prophecy according to restaurants."
We all know about the changes in the WCG after that. All three of the AC campuses were closed and sold. A WCG under different management persisted for a few years, and then that name was changed, at least in the U.S.A. and most countries.
Now we have the news that parts of the Pasadena campus have been demolished, the foundations torn out, and demolition of other parts of the campus planned. [See a related news item and photograph in "Notes and Quotes," on page 40 of this issue of The Journal.]
Even the first college building, the library, has been demolished.
Could it be there was any validity to the concept of "prophecies according to restaurants"?
In my opinion, no way! The notion was silly from the beginning! But you decide.
Democracies as we know them
In your last issue (No. 156) Ray Daly disagreed with what I wrote that there were no democracies as we know them in the Bible. He cited the time of the judges as an example.
Judges 2:16 states that God raised up judges. God Himself was Israel's ultimate Judge and Deliverer (Judges 11:27; and see 8:23, where Gideon, a judge, insists the Lord was Israel's ruler at the time).
The people did not vote like modern democracies. Therefore, in my opinion this was not a true democracy as we know it. God guided the Israelite people. Too bad they were bullheaded and didn't listen.
In my opinion, that was a perfect form of government. Too bad the United States doesn't have the form of government that existed in the time of the judges. If it had, our country wouldn't be in its present mess.
Speaking of voting, let me open another can of worms. Many COGs don't allow their members to vote in public elections.
Their reasoning seems valid until we investigate and find they are quoting passages out of context and opinions of religious pundits.
It is a real stretch to state that the Bible prohibits public voting. Herbert Armstrong recommended not voting for COG members. Mr. Armstrong may have been a great man, but he changed his mind very often.
San Francisco, Calif.
Who are we to condemn?
Notice that Jesus said Judas was appointed to do what he did "from the beginning." In John 6:64 in God's divinely inspired, holy Scripture, it says that "Jesus knew from the beginning . . . who should [would] betray him."
God's purpose and plan were laid out in "Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Timothy 1:9).
Think about it. If God in His plan of salvation preappointed Judas to do what he did, who are we to condemn Judas to burn in hellfire?
It is God's decision that counts, and God is merciful. His mercy endures forever (Psalm 106:1; 107:1).
"And Jesus said of them which Thou [God the Father] gavest Me have I lost none" (John 18:9).
Paul and Micki Herrmann
Eating your cake
Paul and Micki Herrmann asked in a letter a while back, "What do you think God wants us to do?"
I think their question has a simple answer, and it is not so much about obedience. Rather, we need to get our priorities right.
Christianity has spent 2,000 years making trivialities into priorities and priorities into trivialities. May I suggest an example?
In Matthew 26:41, Mark 13:33, Luke 21:36, Colossians 4:2, Revelation 3:3 and other places the scriptural writers say, "Watch world news."
Or do they?
After reading such biblical comments, I wonder how anyone could get the idea that watching world news is a Christian priority.
The way some preach, we might wonder how Abraham was a friend of God without TV, newspapers and Time magazine.
We might do well to concentrate on things with better promises and rewards.
It is not appropriate for such a letter as this to give endless examples of how the Bible's heroes were not all that obedient all the time. But let us consider one.
1 Corinthians 1:17: "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."
If Paul wasn't sent to baptize, then why was he doing it early on? Was it only because he saw someone else doing it?
In the Gospel of John it seems that John isn't teaching baptism. Remember, Jesus said they would be led:
"When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth.
"He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears and will tell you of things to come" (John 16:3, GNB).
This sound as though some could have been setting some poor examples early on. Some seem to believe we had all truth from the Garden of Eden or Moses.
The COGs are like the rest of the world, and their religion revolves around seasonal observances and rituals while they fight over who gets to control the social amenities and enjoy the most benefits.
Is that what true religion is all about?
It may well be that we can't have two priorities and that is why there is so much love lost among the COGs. We can't have your cake and eat it too.
New world order
Please renew my subscription to The Journal for another year.
I really like the variety of subjects and articles you present, especially the "Now and New World Order" by Jan Young in each issue. He gives a world of information for thought and real eye-opening subjects regarding the world today.