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Letters from our readers - Issue 65
 
Encouraging Communication among the Churches of God
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Letters from our readers

Tribute to Marvin Davis

There was standing room only at the memorial service for Marv Davis on June 25. Brethren from many church groups or fellowships and friends from the past who no longer attend any church were there. Several hadn't seen one another for many years.

Dave Havir, pastor of the Church of God Big Sandy, conducted the service. Eight longtime friends gave their recollections of great times with Marv and Millie (his wife). The recurring theme seemed to be what a great friend Marv was to so many people. He sincerely loved God and his fellowman. He was above all a servant.

Marv hated the split-up of the Church of God . He was bothered by the scattering and tried through the Building Bridges meetings to provide an opportunity for brethren to occasionally get together for an inspiring message and fellowship. He felt it was such a shame that some can't (or won't) recognize the benefit of building and maintaining friendships across church lines. If we can't worship together, at least maintain the friendships.

Those attending truly seemed to enjoy being together.

Marv would have loved to be there.

Dennis Benson
Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Dan bears Arnold no ill will

I want to thank Arnold Denney for the tongue-in-cheek response ["When in Doubt, Start a New Church," May 31, page 2] to my interview ["Elder Protests United Church of God Move to Relieve Him of Duties"] that appeared in the April 15 edition of The Journal.

I have to conclude that it was written tongue in cheek because I'm sure no one would have reached the conclusion that I was interested in being president of the United Church of God an International Association from reading said interview.

Thanks also to Mr. Denney for insight into how things work in the corporations and organizations. I appreciate the suggestions and hope I can use some of them.

But I will respond here to some of them.

First, Arnold, you mentioned that Roger West never wavered from the Worldwide Church of God's teaching; he even accommodated the [doctrinal] changes.

That was indeed my impression from a reliable source who said that at the Feast in Chattanooga, Tenn. (I believe), in 1994 Roger encouraged the audience to follow Joseph Tkach Sr. as the Egyptians and the other brothers of Joseph were to follow Joseph, son of Jacob. He evidently spent much of his sermon making a connection between the two Josephs.

I especially appreciate your mention of Matthew 25:31-40 and James 1:26-27. Unless we practice pure religion, unless we have and express love (1 Corinthians 13), we can have practically everything else and still have nothing.

You mention that I would do well to imitate Joseph Tkach Sr. I appreciate that you and others have found his example in this area exemplary and were inspired by his deeds. We should rejoice in the cases where widows, orphans and the downtrodden were appropriately served.

We all have a perspective based on our actual experience. My experience with Joe Sr. was as follows:

In the spring of 1977 a lady friend of mine had fallen on hard times. She was depressed and needed encouragement. I made every effort to provide that comfort. She was penniless, and I loaned her some money. But I was not in a position to provide that need, so I encouraged her to contact the church (WCG) for assistance.

That night two men broke into her apartment, stole the money I had loaned her and raped her.
When I discovered what had happened, I again offered what comfort I could and again asked that she contact the ministry (I was not serving in the ministry at that time). This she did.
So I was surprised and quite shocked when Joe Sr. phoned me at work the next day and asked me, "Do you think she is worth helping?"

I raised my voice in my displeasure, informing him that I thought that someone who considers himself a minister of Jesus Christ has no right to ask if a converted, baptized individual who has fallen on hard times is worth helping.

Also, during the receivership of the WCG in 1979, a day came when the deputies were gathered at Brookside Park by the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., to decide how they might gain access to the church's administration building.

At that time Joe Sr. was coordinating sit-ins and services in the building.

When the deputies arrived at the doors of the Hall of Administration, and there was that possibility they would actually break the glass in the doors and walls to attain access, the order was given to put women and children next to the walls and doors so that if any glass were broken it would fall on the women and the children--the thought being that that would make a bigger news story than if glass had fallen on resisting men.

So, although I appreciate that Joe Sr. was an inspiration to many, I have no intention of following the aspects of his example that I know about.

Arnold, you next mentioned that, if I cannot bridle my tongue concerning the resurrection and calendar, I should start my own church. It seems you base your advice on the actions of WCG founder Herbert W. Armstrong when he did not bridle his tongue regarding God's festivals and other matters and started another church.

Thank you for your suggestion and interest. May I offer you association with and membership in my "new church"?

Let's see if I have this down pat as to how churches should operate. From my recent experience, I should notify you that you will be a member in good standing as long as you believe everything I believe.

I will not take responsibility for your believing these things on judgment day (Romans 14:10). At that time you will be on your own.

This principle was established when Jim Franks, Richard Pinelli, Roger West and Bob Hedge refused to sign the affidavits [mentioned in The Journal's interview with me in the April 15 issue].

Since your "membership" has not been lengthy enough for you to be considered for the ministry, I cannot threaten to suspend you from the ministry nor recommend that the council remove you from the general conference of elders and revoke your credentials.

But, if you do disagree with anything I believe, and you attempt to tell others by sending letters to The Journal, you will be disfellowshipped for doctrinal differences and for sowing discord.

Uh-oh, while I am yet writing this the thought police have confirmed that indeed you do not believe everything I believe, and it has been determined that you are actually considering writing another letter to The Journal. Therefore action must be taken immediately.

In accordance with biblical commands and the doctrine and long-standing practices of the church, it is with deep and sincere regret and my unpleasant duty to confirm your disfellowshipment from my "new church" for doctrinal differences and the sowing of discord among the membership. As a result of your disfellowshipment, you are not welcome to attend services or activities.

The church does not, nor do I, bear you any ill will, and we fervently pray that God will grant you repentance and ultimate reconciliation.

That is how it goes, isn't it?

Dan Cafourek
Colcord, Okla.

See a report on Mr. Cafourek's recent disfellowshipping beginning on page 1 of this issue.

The bride of Christ

I just finished reading the interview with Larry Greider ["Regional Pastor Denies Elder's Allegations," The Journal, April 15]. Larry said, "I do not recall ever saying that."

For the record, I was present when he indeed did say: "I believe that the United Church of God is the bride of Jesus Christ. At best, the other religious groups are bridesmaids."

Robert O. Perkey
Jenks, Okla.

Disfellowship update

I was disfellowshipped in '99 from the United Church of God after false accusations had arisen against me of judgmentalism and dividing the church. I had sought to resolve these by Matthew 18:15-17, but the parties were not able to meet.

Finally Gary Antion, my pastor in United Church of God Toronto, had heard enough and decided to expel me. On that day he uttered this blasphemy: "If one does not work, he should not go to the Feast."
Three judiciary councils of the United Church of God (Canadian, the member-appeal committee and the U.S. council of elders) approved of this blasphemy and this illegal disfellowshipping. Instead of judging the facts in my case, they judged the tenor of my letter of appeal, taking offense at my words before proceeding to pervert justice.

In rare correspondence since then, the council has repeatedly asked for my self-examination, when godly justice is what is required.

Furthermore, I wrote to a potential witness to testify on my behalf, but he did not reply. According to the appeal policy, without additional evidence the council cannot reinstate a member. They have cut me off for 32 months.

Why does the council not fear Jesus Christ and obey the Word? "You shall not raise a false report" (Exodus 23:1); "put not your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness" (same verse); "you shall not wrest the judgment of your poor in his cause" (verse 6); "keep you far from a false matter" (verse 7); "slay not the innocent and righteous" (same verse).
Why do they sin by showing respect of persons in judgment? (James 2:9).

Ned Dancuo
Stoney Creek, Ont., Canada

Learn and practice

Like a moth drawn to a candle flame, I must subscribe for at least the next six months. Thank you for the sample, the April 15 issue. Please begin with it because I surely want to read Samuele Bacchiocchi's second part of his divorce-and-remarriage essay. Part 1 gave closure to a question I've wrestled with from time to time.

Several brethren were named in the issue, even some with photographs. The one fellow I know best, Dan Cafourek, was treated about as unjustly as any dear brother of mine. I've been too many years in the Churches of God, and I've known too many thousand of the brethren, not to be totally aggravated by what I read therein about Dan.

In my opinion the bottom line of Christianity is to learn and practice loving your neighbor as yourself. It is vividly apparent to me that many brethren, especially the rulers over us, pastors and ministers, still haven't gotten that message.

Don Barness
dbarness@cox-internet.com
Bella Vista, Ark.

No blacks in The Journal

We write to inform you that we are pleased with your work with The Journal. In reading, we get a sense of true journalism at work.

We have been asked by most members of our assembly why aren't there any blacks and/or other nationalities portrayed in The Journal, and we could not give an accurate answer. We said, however, that we were in The Journal in issue No. 54, July 2001, along with two other blacks who were Jamaicans, and that was one big article. We also said perhaps the other nationalities are not taking advantage of the opportunity to contact The Journal with their articles.

As an official affiliate of the CGI [the Church of God International], we would like to see you put something in your next issue inviting other nationalities to feel free to be subscribers and to send in their articles to The Journal to reflect a broader sense of participation and also to reflect an unbiased leadership. We will be sending you an article soon for one of your issues. If you wish, you may also publish this letter.

Please see renewal fee for one year. Keep up the good work!

Bishop Robert F. Woodland, D.D.
Pastor, Destiny of Hope Apostolic Ministries
An Associate of the Church of God International
Baltimore, Md.

Equipping the saints

I was interested to read that the United Church of God (United Church of God ) chose for its general conference of elders the theme "Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry" ["United Elders Meet for Eighth Time; Church Names New Chairman, Dedicates New Building," The Journal, May 31].

I appreciated Melvin Rhodes pointing out that the "ministry" discussed in Ephesians 4:12 concerns nonelder members of the church and that members are to minister to one another in edifying ways, such as helping to overcome sin ["Help the Brethren Help the Brethren," May 31].

However, the conference's keynote speaker, Gary Petty, concluded that it is the apostles, pastors, etc., of verse 11 who are said in verse 12 to edify (build up) the Body.

Agreeing with Mr. Petty, the United Church of God in its Bible-study course, Lesson 10, seems to ignore the edifying ministry of Ephesians 4:12, which all saints are to perform, and about verses 11-13 writes:

"These serving responsibilities were given for the benefit of the whole Church, to help equip, edify and unify the Body. A person ordained to such responsibilities is generally called a 'minister,' a word that means servant. In the Scriptures they are also referred to as elders."

The United Church of God 's United News summary of Mr. Rhodes' presentation also appears to avoid applying the term ministry to what all saints are called to do, saying, "This involves preparing them to help the ministry, and also to help others in the Church."

The expression "the work of the ministry" certainly does not mean "work done to help a group of people who call themselves 'the ministry.' "

So which is it? Is the edifying mentioned in Ephesians 4:12 to be done by the saints of verse 12, or is it limited to the "apostles, pastors," etc., of verse 11?

One key to the answer involves the verse's prepositions. They are pros before "the equipping" and eis before both "the work" and "the edifying."

The KJV disregards this change in preposition and wrongly translates them equally as "For . . ., for . . ., for . . .," giving the impression that apostles, prophets, etc., were given for three purposes: the equipping, the work and the edifying.

The brunt of scholarship recognizes the eis clauses as subordinate, successively looking to a result. Thus the first clause ("equipping of the saints") looks to the second ("equipped to be able to minister"), with the second looking to the third ("to minister so that the body is edified").

The sense is that Christ gave apostles, prophets, etc., for the equipping of the saints so that they are prepared to do works of ministry, which results in the edifying of the Body.
Some translations contain this thought:

• NIV: "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."

• NASB: "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ."

• TEV: "He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ."

• RSV: "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ."

• NET: "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ."

Each member has his or her gift(s) of ministry with which to upbuild the church. The purpose of the various ministries in verse 11 is to prepare or equip God's people so they practice their ministries unto the edification of the Body through their individual ("particular") spiritual gifts.

The Churches of God past and present with little variance hold the following mistaken assumption:

• That there are those to minister with spiritual gifts to the edification of the Body.

• That there are those not to minister with spiritual gifts to the edification of the Body.

The idea that there is a division of "the ministering" from "the nonministering," or that edifying gifts are concentrated only upon a few, is not biblical.

Biblically, every part of the spiritual Body is to minister toward the spiritual edification of the whole Body:

• "... The whole body ... grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (Ephesians 4:16).

• "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all" (1 Corinthians 12:7).

• Individually we are "members one of another, having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us . . ." (Romans 12:5-6).

• "As each one has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another" (1 Peter 4:10).

• "I wish you all ... prophesied ..., that the church may receive edification" (1 Corinthians 14:5).

• "Therefore let us pursue the things ... by which one may edify another" (Romans 14:19).

• "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another ..." (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

• "How is it then, brethren, when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation?" (1 Corinthians 14:26).

• Be "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together ... but exhorting one another" (Hebrews 10:25).

If we follow the teachings of the apostles, and if elders recognize their role, then the saints will be encouraged (by the gifts given to the apostles, pastors and others) to use their own individual "particular gift(s)" unto the mutual edifying of the Body of Christ unto the end that we all, as one body, are complete, even unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Name withheld

Europe
See also an essay on page 31 of this issue.

Back on track?

I think Melvin Rhodes ["Help the Brethren Help the Brethren," The Journal, May 31] forgot a couple of reasons for disfellowshipping in the traditional Worldwide Church of God of the past. Questioning the leadership doctrine and the failure to pay tithes or tuition on a timely basis were a couple of unforgettable ones, none of which was scriptural.

And is Mr. Rhodes telling us that the United Church of God will now train the leadership to get all of her disfellowshipped back on the true path ("track") of Armstrongism or that it will point them to the Scriptures and to following Christ in an individual relationship with Him?

Jacob Prince
Via the Internet

Should we worship the Bible?

Steve and Terry Durham, whom I consider longtime friends, introduced me to The Journal.

I was a Radio Church of God and Worldwide Church of God member during the '60s and have been outside the camp for several years. It has been my lot to grapple with some questions that should be answerable, I think.

I am impressed by the scholarship of your contributors. They seem to have a lot of answers. However, they do not seem to deal with the questions that have concerned me through the years.

I include a few of these questions here in the hope that latter-day scholars will comment on them (no disrespect intended). No church group, to my knowledge, had better scholars than the WCG, although I do not think they were used to their full potential. Questions:

• Is it possible to worship the Bible? People keep saying the Bible says such and such. Is there something wrong with my Bibles or me? My Bibles never say anything to me, but if they do start talking to me should I worship them? My Bibles just lie there on the floor where I throw them after telling our heavenly Father I do not understand this or that.

I might understand where writers are coming from if they said John, Peter or Luke said something rather than the "Bible said" something.

• Are some scriptural authors more important, doctrinally, than others? Luke, in his Gospel, claims his material is hearsay evidence (second-hand information). Such information would not be acceptable in any man's court of law. Should we give such evidence equal doctrinal consideration as the apparent firsthand, eyewitness information of John's and Mark's Gospels?

• Some scholars say Matthew and Luke were written after Mark and that Matthew and Luke used Mark's Gospel as part of their input for their Gospels. If Mark's Gospel is scripture, what are they doing adding to it? Is there something wrong with Mark's Gospel? Should we throw Mark's Gospel out of our Bibles? Is it possible that Matthew and Luke were writing historical commentaries not meant specifically for doctrinal purposes?

On the other hand, if Mark's Gospel were written after Luke's and Matthew's, maybe Mark was making a doctrinal statement by what he put in and left out. Is that possible?

I would appreciate input on these questions, public or private. I am interested in opening dialogues with persons who believe Jesus is the Messiah, the only begotten Son of our heavenly Father. I am not interested in dialogues based on assumptions, superstitions, traditions, customs, Bible trivia, sacraments and other nonspiritual diversionary issues or shibboleths.

You may consider me cynical and sarcastic. I hope you will pray that our heavenly Father will make all things to His glory, honor and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior forever. Amen.

Phil Griffith
1092 Highway 26 E.
Delight, Ark. 71940, U.S.A.

The need to embalm

It's ironic that you would use the word morgue to refer to your past issues of The Journal [].

Yes, I know that someone was just trying to be grammatically diverse, but a morgue is exactly how I see The Journal. You are displaying the body, not with embalming fluid but in its vilest, most depredated state.

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it, "write"?

Don't mind me, but you might want to check with God, who is keeping a journal as well. Show some honor and respect. Bury the body.

Gregory Yow
Seagrove, N.C.

For Mr. Yow's information, morgue is a time-honored term in the publishing business that refers to the collection of back issues, or archives, of a newspaper.

Cease and desist

Your use of the term morgue as a section on your Web site [www.thejournal.org] is encroaching on the intellectual property of the Graveyard Church of God (GCG).

While the church is currently in receivership under The Painful Truth's Web site, be assured that Mr. Armstrong is still in full control from his temporary crypt in Tucson. Remove the term immediately or face the wrath of God's apostle, who, given what has been going on in the Churches of God, has plenty to be mad about.

In our zeal to protect Mr. Armstrong's legacy, even we overlooked that this term and its misuse were duly noted in Dr. Hoeh's magnum opus, The Compendium, on the bottom of page 666. It shows that Satan caused the term to be used in the newspaper industry to cause a stumbling block to the work in the end times. This only confirms that The Journal is in fact a tool of Satan.

Stan is on the payroll until 2003, so I will have him look into litigating against the gates of hell.

P.S.: Mr. Armstrong fully endorses the plan to save Petra for the children but asserts that Darlene Warren ["Save Petra for Our Children," The Journal, April 15, page 11] plagiarized the concept from a Youth Opportunities Underground (YOU) handbook published by the GCG.

Scott Murphey
Via the Internet

If the millstone fits, wear it

I read with interest the article "Church of God Author Presents a New View of Prophecy" [The Journal, March 25].

My wife and I were born in the British Isles and lived there during the transition of British membership into the European Economic Community. A think tank was created when Margaret Thatcher was Britain's prime minister to discuss how to deal with Germany flexing its economic and political muscle.

It concluded simply, "Be nice to them." In other words, Germany was in control.

We have watched for 40 years as Germany has led the drive to unite Europe with the help of the Vatican. Germany has controlled the purse strings of the EEC [now the EC, or European Community] from the beginning, with an economy twice as large as any other EEC country. Germany's financial contribution determines whether any project is undertaken or rejected.

In the Middle East it was German corporations that built the plants and supplied materials for Libyan and Iraqi chemical- and germ-warfare experiments and possibly their nuclear-weapons developments. German scientists have no doubt benefited from these programs.

One year ago the European space commission announced its intention to put a man on the moon within five years. This will give Germany the right to develop additional long-range rockets on German soil, in addition to the Aryan rocket project.

In the near future it will be possible for Europe to have lasers and nuclear weapons in orbit a mere 200 miles above U.S. cities. The world does not agree with our bombing foreign countries back to the stone age, and one day soon Germany will respond with a bigger, smarter bomb.

A world colossus is being formed to come against us, led by Germany and with the Vatican wielding its influence over one billion of the earth's population to help make this happen. Assyria remains the rod of God's wrath, and those prophecies are dual.

Mr. Collins' reason for writing is to justify his own belief that "God will spare Britain and America." Sadly, this is not so. Mr. Collins is a self-appointed writer-researcher who predicts "prophesied end-time fulfillment will come as a surprise to the Church of God." He condemns Herbert W. Armstrong's end-time prophetic teaching as a lack of "firm biblical foundation," and he dismisses any idea that a German-European attack on the United States will come any time soon as "divorced from reality."

He believes that Mr. Armstrong's understanding of end-time prophecy has "blinded" people to "what is going on in the world" and that "the church's prophetic teachings" failed "over and over again."

Mr. Armstrong's prophetic understanding is being fulfilled. Even the apostles believed Christ would return in their lifetime. This is an assumption that Mr. Armstrong held dear, just as the apostles did. For Mr. Collins to make so many condemning and misleading statements against the truth is, to say the least, a dangerous mistake on his part. Jesus Christ's millstone criterion still applies.

Brian Harris
Oceanside, Calif.

Better get prophecy right

I read with interest the article by Bill Stough in the March 25 issue concerning Steven Collins' new models for end-time prophetic events ["Church of God Author Presents a New View of Prophecy"].

In particular, Mr. Collins' claim that an end-time conflict between a revitalized Germany and the United States "has no support in the Bible" especially provoked me. I flatly disagree with this statement, and I am concerned that brethren may be misled from some plain scriptures in the Bible that do demonstrate this final conflict.

Since 1963 I too have questioned the church's understanding of prophecy and offered suggestions, but never to the point of rejecting core information.

I was called when I was 10 years old. When I was 13 I excitedly told some schoolmates, "Germany is going to attack America."

One of them turned on me and said: "You're crazy. Germany doesn't have the bomb."
At that point I said to myself: You know what? He's right. They don't.

That experience taught me how myopic the church could be and set me on my own quest for consistency.

Much later, in 1982, I was able to be of use to Dr. Herman Hoeh and Herbert Armstrong in providing the final piece of information proving the end-time identity of Assyria and confirming the future invasion of the United States.

When Mr. Collins speaks against a European invasion, he cuts to the heart of something I know I proved 20 years ago to myself and to the highest officers of the church [the Worldwide Church of God].

Lest you think me irrational, let me quickly explain what I am referring to. It is a footnote to our common past.

Before 1982, when Mr. Armstrong talked or wrote about modern Germany being prophetic Assyria, he would from time to time refer to the book of Nahum, which is addressed to Nineveh, the ancient capital of Assyria. He would explain that prophecy was dual and that in the last days another capital of a modern Assyria would again strike modern-day Israel, the United States.

At the time he wrote, Eastern Europe was under Soviet control, Germany was divided, and so was Berlin, its former capital.

The assumption Mr. Armstrong made was that Nineveh would be the future capital of a united Germany, and the modern city was too obscure to identify. It could be Munich or Bonn or Berlin or perhaps some other city.

By God's grace I was able to demonstrate from history and Scripture that Nineveh was not really German in the modern sense; it was actually Vienna, Austria, the seat of the former Holy Roman Empire.

I wrote the paper in the spring of 1982. In the fall of that year Dr. Hoeh sent me a handwritten note, a copy of which I have included with this letter, thanking me and saying, "Most everything you say falls into place."

I showed Dr. Hoeh's reply to my then pastor, James Jenkins, and sometime after he made the comment to me, "Tony, if what you say is true, then Eastern Europe will have to fall from Russian control."

Mind you, this conclusion was made with a model of prophecy that Mr. Collins now rejects.
After I received the letter from Dr. Hoeh, the matter was presented to Mr. Armstrong. As I understand it, after Mr. Armstrong accepted my result he fired off the order: "Get me Otto von Habsburg."

As some of you may remember, Mr. von Habsburg visited Ambassador College in the early part of 1983, and he even published some of his thoughts on a united Europe in The Plain Truth in 1984. All of this was a direct result of my paper.

Mr. Collins says there is no biblical proof that Assyria will attack, overrun, spoil and take captive Manasseh-America in the last days. On the contrary, Isaiah 10:5-6 is plain:
"O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is my indignation. I will send him against a hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil and to take the prey and to tread them down like the mire of the streets." America has to be invaded for literal spoiling to occur. Soldiers have to be on American land for them to walk over the people like the mud of the streets. There is nothing vague in this at all, unless one simply claims that it is vague when it is not.

Isaiah 10:11-12 also shows that God is severely punishing His people through the actions of the Assyrians.

In Isaiah 10:5 God shows that Assyria is His instrument of punishment. In verse 12 He shows that when He has fully finished with decimating His people, and only when He is finished, He will turn to punish the Germans. There is no answering of prayer here to deliver Israel until the job has been completed. This tells me that Mr. Collins' use of Joel 2 is misapplied to a wrong moment in time.

Careful comparison of similar phrases in the book of Nahum and Isaiah 10 will exhaustively prove identities and end-time roles.

These things are basic. Whatever new insights one may have about prophecy, it is a mistake, in my opinion, to reject these clear scriptures.

If God's people lose sight of foundational truths, they will be in danger of not being ready when Christ returns. I would not want to be accused of God for causing that to happen to my brothers and sisters.

Mr. Collins says Germany is a truly democratic nation with no reason to attack America. I beg to differ. If the 20th century was known as the American century, it was also the century America jerked Germany around.

How free of American influence has Germany really been in the last 80 years, and, if not, why would that not be remembered? In my opinion NATO was designed to muzzle Germany as much as it was intended to protect it.

So the iron and clay Mr. Collins refers to is real, but it has a dog's leash running through the middle of it that is not liked.

Mr. Collins' historical assumptions are not well proven, and his use of Scripture needs greater depth. I applaud many of his intentions, but I strongly disagree with what he has produced from them.

The basic foundation of prophecy set by Mr. Armstrong is from Christ. If various details do need refinement, it is because Mr. Armstrong consciously chose not to pursue certain areas that would have clarified issues. At one point he told us, "All the foundational knowledge has been revealed." In one sense that is true; in another sense that is not true. Everything depends on the context in which we view his words.

I look forward to Mr. Collins' future work, but I am concerned we use care and caution in this most difficult business of rightly dividing Christ's word of prophecy. Prophecy is not just the world's future; it is also ours. We'd better get it right.

Anthony Alfieri
Piscataway, N.J.

Will fetuses arise?

Regarding the discussion on whether unborn fetuses will be resurrected prompted by the article quoting Garner Ted Armstrong ["GTA Comments on 'Breath of Life,' Abortions," The Journal, Nov. 30, 2001]:

Will God resurrect the unborn? Adam and Eve, yes. But what if the unborn is merely a zygote (union of sperm and egg)? It might begin to grow in a wrong location and not develop.

About half of fertilized eggs naturally abort or miscarry. Sonograms may show two in the womb, but only one is born later. The other might naturally decompose. It would be difficult to have a funeral in that case.

It is claimed that all who lived both small and great will come up, but Revelation 20:12-13 does not say "all."

Here are reasons God might limit the resurrected to those who are born or live a few days after birth:

• A child is named as a boy at circumcision on the eighth day (Luke 1:59-63; 2:21).

• We and the Bible consider a person as such after birth since his age is counted after birth, not conception.

• A person is deemed to come into the world at birth (John 16:21).

• The burial ceremony is not performed for a zygote, embryo or fetus that dies. The dead parts must be expelled by the uterus naturally or be removed otherwise to avoid infection. There is no casket for a few cells, an embryonic body or undeveloped one.

• All will be resurrected having done good or evil (John 5:28-29; 2 Corinthians 5:10), but a fetus cannot do good or evil. The unborn are not capable of knowing or doing good or evil (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:16). The wicked go astray after birth (Psalm 58:3).

• Righteous Job wrote about an "untimely birth," referring to one born too soon to live outside the womb as if he never existed (Job 3:16; 10:18-19).

• Matthew 1:20-21 is used to emphasize Christ was human and named before birth, but it states Mary will bring forth a son and call Him Jesus. This occurred after birth (as Luke 1:31). It is obvious that the leaping for joy by the fetus of John the Baptizer while in the womb was motivated by the Holy Spirit.

• God seems to indicate for the resurrection that infants will be taken from those who have survived at least a few days from birth (Isaiah 65:20).

• There is not enough room on the planet during the second resurrection if all the unborn are included (made adults as Adam).

• Many women have multiple miscarriages. Where is the cry of indignation that these did not have proper burial?

Most everyone treats untimely births as nonhumans. Babies are considered human if they can survive outside the womb. What child considers a zygote that died in his mother as a brother or sister?

It is likely that the spirit in man is received at conception. This does not mean God is obligated to resurrect. As the Master Potter, He can start a life as clay, but He does not have to finish it.

I am not advocating abortions or the Greco-Roman equivalent of infanticide by exposure (discarding the baby at birth as was God's figurative wife; Ezekiel 16:4-6).
Is abortion murder? Not necessarily. There is no indication of this in the Bible. This does not mean abortion is all right.

Jan Aaron Young
Yuma, Ariz.

Grist for women's lib

Concerning the Atlanta women's conference, reported in the June 30, 2001, issue of The Journal, Dean Neal writes in The Journal of July 31, 2001 ["Junia's Name," page 5]: "Why do you find mostly men as creators of manufactured things, buildings, roads, bridges, vehicles? Go to any project of consequence and see just who--pardon the expression--mans the job."

Could it be that man mans the job because Yahve (God) gave man the precious gift of imagination, and, since imagination is the very core of human development and existence, it was absolutely essential that this gift be given to man since he would not be impeded by child bearing or child rearing?

Yahve also gave the most precious gift of intuition to women. Intuition comes from the heart. Since all newborn (helpless) children require the unstinting devotion and affection of a loving mother, Yahve provided those mothers with intuition and a high degree of loyalty that only a woman is capable of providing.

Mr. Neal's one-sided comments extolling man's achievements give the women's-liberation movement the reason for its existence. When writing about man's achievements, Mr. Neal would be well advised to remember two quotations: "Behind every successful man there is a woman" and "It's the hand that rocks the cradle that rules the world."

Willie R. Kinninmonth
Dumfries, Scotland

Women are distractions

Regarding women, at least one lonely rabbi, Pinchas Stolper, Lakewood, N.J., agrees with me (as quoted in The Jerusalem Report of July 1):

"In the synagogue, the dignity of the community is measured by one word: tzni'ut (modesty); i.e., limiting to the most reasonable extent the magnetic attractiveness of women, which is the one factor (aside from talking during prayer) which has the ability to distract and to defeat the majesty of divinity.

"Father or mother do not kiss their son or daughter while in the synagogue. Why? Because all attention, emotion and sentiment is directed to God alone. The one powerful force which has the ability to undercut our ability to direct our full attention to God is the attractiveness and sexual magnetism of women.

"Since women are highly visible and distracting, while God is invisible, women are careful when attending the synagogue to be modestly dressed and to be seated in the women's section where their attractiveness does not draw male attention from the sanctity of the Divine Presence.

"This in brief is why women are not called to the Torah. The issue is not female equality, but the universal weakness of men in the presence of femininity."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Dean Neal
Carson City, Nev.

Apricots against cancer

Did you know that there is a book called World Without Cancer? If I were you, I would order the book real fast, before it is too late and you cannot get the book anymore. The book is the story of vitamin B17.

Frans had cancer and had his bladder removed. He also had pancreatic cancer, which the doctors dared not operate on.

Frans had lost 18 pounds, even though he was eating extremely large amounts. He had his blood checked once a month.

On my advice he started eating apricot kernels. After two weeks of eating the kernels, he had his blood checked. Then the doctors exclaimed: Your blood is exceptionally good!

From that time on, he has been growing and is back to his original weight. This was more than three years ago.

Now the doctor says: "You know what you are? You are a miracle."

The doctor knows Frans should have died.

Then there is Keith, with one kidney removed and a big part of his stomach removed. Keith's doctor sent him home to die because he could do nothing.

Keith started eating apricot kernels, rich in vitamin B17. Now he is healed.

I have no connection with the publisher of this book, but please order it for $17.50 plus $5.85 for shipping (to U.S. addresses) for one copy from American Media, P.O. Box 4646, Westlake Village, Calif. 91359. Or phone (800) 593-6596. Or order it online at www.realityzone.com.

T. Van Halteren
Emmen, Netherlands

Bleat enough and you'll hemorrhage

I just read the latest Journal [March 25]. I would like to thank you for your fair and positive report on our conference in March ["CGOM Discusses Change in Donations Policy," March 25 issue]. Appreciated! You have insights that I missed!

On another subject:

So, more calendar theories! I now have quite a collection, all differing: Different theories as to when to begin to calculate. Different theories of what is a new moon. Different theories on what astronomical data to use. Etc.

The result, of course, is a variety of festival dates varying by--this year--from one day to more than a month and even two months.

But one thing that isn't different: All proposed solutions to the supposed calendar conundrum are divinely inspired. To me that is a bit confusing. Many views, too, are somewhat aggressive, even arrogant. Believe or die.

I wonder what the cumulative spent time has been on all this research effort.
In response to the various proposals, and at the request of the CGOM conference, I researched the issue last year. Time consuming. The findings are presented in the paper "The Origins of the Calendar."

Our conclusion wasn't the standard Worldwide explanation but didn't change that practice. What the explanation does is undercut the various arguments. It's simple, too, and it can be summed up in a few words. (The article is available from CGOM in Tulsa, P.O. Box 564621, Tulsa, Okla. 74155, U.S.A., or from me, P.O. Box 2525, Lincoln LN5 7PF, England.)

God gave us--mankind--the festivals for several reasons. One core reason is to bring God's people together unitedly in His presence for worship and for fellowship and for mutual instruction--and at the same time. (Think of Jeroboam.)

Let's put a stop, brethren, to the bickering and conflict over the calendar. Let's stop the endless bleating and time-wasting. There's a work to be done, and it needs the undivided attention of all.

James McBride
Churches of God UK
Lincoln, England

Just my imagination

Though Pam Dewey might not think so, some of what she said could, and I believe will, cause some to not want to keep the holy days with her, even though she and they both claim to use the rabbinical calculated calendar [see "Why I Use the Standard Calendar to Determine Yearly Feast Days," March 25].

Is it my imagination or not: Do I recognize a theme that the WCG now uses to support the idea that a day could be a Sabbath as long as we are together? Most Protestants use the same reasoning. I predict more fracturing of the Church of God s.

D. Henderson
Edmonds, Wash.

PC Christians and homosexuality

In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 God says it is an "abomination" for a man to have sex with another man. Not only does God call homosexuality an abomination to Him, but He told the children of Israel to kill all those who engaged in it.

Almighty God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for being cities of homosexuals and will do the same to America if we continue to allow this abominable lifestyle to flourish in this country.

The New Testament condemns homosexuality as well. 2 Peter 2:6 says God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, making them an "example" unto those who choose to live ungodly lives.

In Romans 1 Paul explains how the homosexual lifestyle comes upon a nation and its people. Verse 26 talks about lesbians, and verse 27 talks about male homosexuality as being "vile affections." Verse 32 says those who commit such things "are worthy of death."

If a so-called minister of God does not tell his followers the above scriptures (for fear of the politically correct crowd) and refuses to condemn the act of homosexuality from his pulpit, then that so-called minister is nothing more than a fake and a fraud and should be avoided.

Some PC Christians even go so far as to ordain perverts into the priesthoods of their churches.

How about you? Will you speak out for the Gods of heaven, or will you join sides with the PC fake Christians who want to put everyone in jail for violating America's new hate-crime laws?

The new hate-crime laws of America would even have the Gods of heaven put in jail as well, would they not?

Glen Myers
Clearwater, Fla.

Homosexuality's causes and cures

At a recent Sabbath service with the United Church of God in Orlando, I had the privilege to watch a video presentation on homosexuality, its causes and cures, conducted by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi.

Seeing the 13 church elders in attendance there was impressive.

God has commanded us always to grow in His grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), a principle that was diligently upheld by the late Herbert W. Armstrong.

Yes, it was wise to invite someone (Dr. Nicolosi) who has no affiliation with the church but has the knowledge and capacity to instruct thoroughly on the topic at hand. This is a remarkable step by the church to deal with those entangled in the sin of homosexuality.

Stan Braumuller
Orlando, Fla.

Belly up to the beer

Last February one of the Churches of God sponsored a young adults' activity; it was open to all Churches of God. I attended this event and just wanted to share some disturbing things that happened.

The seminars the church sponsored were very good and educational. On a Saturday evening all of us went to an apartment-complex clubhouse for dinner and socializing that evening. It was really crowded, so crowded that one could hardly walk around. It literally gave me a headache.

While there I observed that the church had supplied beer for those who wanted it. Now, there's really nothing wrong in doing that, I guess, but I do believe it encourages an atmosphere that is conducive to other things.

All around me young people held a can of beer in their hands, and I'd bet some did that just to fit in with the cliques that seemed to be in evidence. Members of one large group raised their beers in a toast and shouted, "To the Kingdom!"

I had to question whether God really appreciated being toasted with beer.

Another disturbing thing was how the girls were dressed. Almost all were dressed in the Britney Spears fashion: skintight jeans and tops. The tops had some plunging necklines and were designed to come up in the middle so the navel and waistline would clearly show. One girl actually had to pull up her neckline so her cleavage wouldn't fall out.

After the activity that evening, some young adults went out to bars, some not returning until 4 a.m. One minister's daughter invited others out to a bar.

Are bars really a place for Christian young adults to go, not to mention the safety factor?

I also found some of the young people to be just crude; one man mentioned that a certain girl had "a good-lookin' butt."

The next day's (Sunday's) activities were held at a ranch and went much better. I also observed that no beer was offered that day, and people seemed to have just as much fun (or more) without the beer present.

So, if this is a positive factor, why can't we do without the beer all the time? I personally think there is a better way to spend a church's funds than purchasing beer for young adults' activities. In my opinion, if they want beer, let them go buy it for themselves individually.

These occurrences really upset me, and I came home overall feeling disgusted and discouraged. I didn't come away feeling uplifted or anything.

Please publish this letter so the general public can read it and think about these things. Too often only the positive "Christian" image is presented by a church and its activities. It's high time the other side of the coin was seen.

Name withheld
Lansing, Mich.

Preexistent Jesus cannot be a son

I thought you did an excellent job of reporting what was said at the "One-God conference" in Seattle in April ["One-God Seminars Near Seattle Promote Strict Monotheism," The Journal, May 31].

But I fear that I must not have made my presentation perfectly clear. You quoted me as saying that, if Jesus had preexisted Mary's womb, then He would have been a "son" in the way Adam was.

Actually, Jesus would not have been God's son in any real way, because He would have already had His own identity. To be someone's son you must have originated from them in some way. Adam came from the earth, but God breathed the breath of life into him, so his life came from his Creator. If Jesus preexisted, then He is not the son of anyone.

Also, Isaiah refers to the Messiah becoming an everlasting Father. Jesus will marry His bride and become a father, and He will last forever. He has not existed as an individual in the eternal past, like the Eternal Father (YHWH) has.

When you quoted my reply to friends who feel "all things are possible," you thought I meant that "we must believe what the Bible says, even if we don't understand it."

What I meant (and maybe I didn't make it clear) was that "they said we must believe what the Bible says, even when we don't understand."

I want people to realize that our Bibles are filled with wrong translations. We have to really dig in to uncover the great conspiracy of Satan the deceiver. We do not have to accept what we do not understand.

Usually the reason for wrong understanding is what men have done to our Bibles. To put it in modern terms, a virus has infected the words of our Bibles, and it is rooted so deep that it is possible to deceive even the very elect, unless God intervenes.

I applaud you and The Journal for a job well done. The subject of the conference was so deep and so filled with information that I urge the readers to send for the tapes. These are sincere speakers with a heart full of empathy for all the Churches of God who only want to share what their loving Father and His very own Son have opened their minds to understand.

If anyone would like to discuss this further with me, then E-mail me at dgiles@goquest.com with brief questions or comments.

Also, I would like to know of anyone who plans a Feast gathering (no matter how small) in the Corpus Christi area.

Duane Giles
Palestine, Texas

The Unitarian Eight

We should be able to answer for ourselves some basic questions regarding the nature of Jesus Christ in the light of the Old and New Testaments, but let us address them to our friends who presented their unitarian beliefs in the May 31 issue of The Journal.

Top of the list must be a simple question: Did Jesus Christ die for you individually? Is He your individual Savior among the billions of people who have ever lived or will ever yet have life?

If you believe so, then by what means does His life as an individual pay for the lives of all mankind?

Paralleling that question, and considering views expressed by the Unitarian Eight (if we may use that appellation): Do the Unitarian Eight understand that Jesus lived and died in Old Testament times?

Further, is it as clear to them as it was to the apostles John (Revelation 13:8), Peter (1 Peter 1:19-20) and Paul (2 Timothy 1:9) that the Lamb of God was slain before the foundation of the world?

A third question: How do members of the Unitarian Eight understand that Jesus is the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:12, 45-50), and how do they think this relates to Isaiah's assertion that He shall be called "the Everlasting Father" in that famous phrase repeated so often in Handel's Messiah (Isaiah 9:6)?

Surely this must be related to the question of the groom, the one who has the bride according to John the Baptist (John 3:29). If John was the greatest born of women (Matthew 11:11), then we must pay close attention to what he said. How will the marriage of the Lamb occur; what will be the result; how is it explained in unitarian terms?

Paul, picking up on that quintessential part of God's plan, described it in Ephesians 5 as a "great mystery." We've all heard men of wonderful learning and linguistic ability stumble over that, haven't we? One hopes that our friends (and erstwhile teachers) have not lost that vision, yet it does not seem to me to fit in with the narrowly contrived view presented in the One-God Seminars.

How do members of the Unitarian Eight understand Hebrews?

Hebrews gives us an understanding of atonement that is pretty well all embracing. How can our unitarian friends equate their truncated Christ with the Son of God presented here?
He is the heir of all things, through whom the world was created, bearing the impressed image of His Father, upholding the universe by His word of power (and this is logos in the fullness of its meaning; though understood to some degree by both Jew and Greek, they lost that understanding). We ought to pay closer attention to this, lest we drift away from it (Hebrews 2:1).

Put your unitarian beliefs up against this incredible book, gentlemen, especially as you trace the connections backward and forward through the Bible, and I believe you will see how severely your exercises in semantics have restricted your view of the living Christ. It was He who told Moses and the Israel of old, "I am"! He is no less today.

Let us at once agree that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that in all things He has subjected Himself to His Father's wishes and that there is therefore but one almighty and supreme God, the Father.

But let us also understand the simple principle "like Father, like Son." They are the same kind, y'see, but there is more than one, as is clear from Genesis 1:26 (the premise from which all else follows in the Bible), and there will be more yet.

It seems to me that our old friends who are venturing into unitarianism cannot help but cut themselves off from the awesome truth of His Kingdom, and I fervently hope they will not do that.

This was scribbled some 30,000 feet above eastern Canada as I flew home, having read the May 31 Journal article the previous day. Terra firma was somewhere down there beneath the thick cloud, and I couldn't help but reflect that we sometimes get lost in the clouds and need to get our feet planted firmly on the Rock.

George Carter
Kitchener, Ont., Canada.

Fitting the pieces

I read with great interest The Journal's summary of Ken Westby's One-God Seminars [May 31 issue].

Unitarians believe there can be only one God being who is eternal and uncreated.

Binitarians believe God is one in nature and purpose, that Jesus prayed we would be one with God as He (Jesus) was one with God, that we cannot walk together unless we are agreed.

Trinitarians believe in three representations (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) of God, which are also one entity. This is viewed as a mystery difficult for the human mind to comprehend.

As a binitarian, I think the biblical verses seem to say Abraham was happy to see Jesus' day; Jesus was the I Am at the burning bush; Jesus was the Rock that went with Israel; Jesus was David's lord.

It seems Jesus was with God in the beginning, that Jesus created everything.

Yet at the same time I know I can't fit all the pieces of the Old Testament together.

I am curious as to what the unitarians make of Genesis 1:26 ("Let Us make man in Our image") and Jude 5 (Jesus "destroyed those [in Egypt] who did not believe").

I do agree that it is fine to look at and study the nature of God. I need to myself.

I believe everything from the Word (Jesus) is a parable (including the Old Testament). The Bible is not meant to be a clear-cut, obvious dissertation. Many of the lawless stumble over its words.

Fortunately in this country we have religious freedom. We all need to study the Scriptures diligently to see if these things are so.

Greg A. Jandrt
Schofield, Wis.

How God can die

I just read The Journal's story on the One-God Seminars [May 31 issue] and have a few questions.

• How was Jesus Christ the "only" begotten Son of God? If Christ were simply created from conception, and then failed in His role as Messiah, all God needed to do was simply create another messiah and try again and again and again.

The concept of "only begotten son" seems a bit lame if the Son were only a created human being that God could do over and over again. Nothing "only" about that, is there?

The concept seems to cheapen the idea of grace and the real price paid for sin and redemption.

• Why would God have set Adam and Eve up to fail in the Garden of Eden if He could have done with them what He did with Christ?

We are told in God's Word that Christ had free will, could have sinned, had human nature, etc., exactly as we are, right? Why then didn't God just do the same thing He did with Christ to help Him succeed with Adam and Eve (and any other human who has ever lived or will live) so they wouldn't have sinned?

Why put mankind through all the world of pain if He could have done it another way, like He did with the supposedly created human being, Jesus Christ?

There's something empty and shallow about the plan of God with a belief that a mere created human could do what was done. If Christ succeeded with God's help, why not all of us?

Can God die? A God "being" can't die, but a being who was God in the flesh--as flesh, with just the mind and character of God in a changed form, without God's nature--can die.

The God "family," in toto, couldn't cease to exist because existence can't become nonexistence.

If two beings existed, in nature, as God "kind," who is to say that one of Them couldn't do what Christ did when the other one could restore to Him what He voluntarily surrendered to the Father: His nature as a God being?

Believing anything less, to my mind, is to minimize God's handiwork and His depth of existence.

Jeff Maehr
Pagosa Springs, Colo.

Incomprehensible doctrine

I knew that the one-God theme would be controversial ["One-God Seminars Near Seattle Promote Strict Monotheism," May 31], but I'm glad you aired it. It shows the enormous difficulty of doing post–New Testament theology.

The Trinity has always been an incomprehensible doctrine, yet it is asserted with so much dogmatism by the likes of Hank Hanegraaff and others. It's the big litmus test of orthodoxy for most denominations, just as is Sabbath-keeping for the Pod.

Keep cranking out those Journals. You're both making and recording history.

Brian Knowles
Monrovia, Calif.

D&R in the Bible

I have enjoyed the recent series of articles in The Journal on the subject of divorce and remarriage. Can I recommend a recent Eerdmans title that may interest you? It is "D&R in the Bible" by David Instone-Brewer, a Baptist minister and research fellow at Tyndale House, Cambridge, England.

If you do not wish to purchase the book, its contents can be read at www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Brewer/PPages/DRB/contents.htm.

Also, thanks for your extensive coverage of the One-God Seminars in Issue 64.

Alan Corrie
Carlisle, England

Thanks for the calls and books

I would love to thank the people who called while I was in the veterans' hospital in October two times with heart problems. Garner Ted Armstrong called three times. Lois Chapman and my pastor, Phill Dunagan called. Others called. It's a great feeling to know you have friends.
Many thanks to Fred Coulter for sending his books The Harmony of the Gospels and The Christian Passover, a book we should all read.

The Journal is the only way to keep in touch with the whole Church of God.

Howard Bruce
Glendale, Ariz.



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