Letters from our Readers

Take a breath

We thoroughly enjoy The Journal. It is a breath of fresh air and reason, something that is sorely needed in the COGs.

Bob Etheridge
Victoria, B.C., Canada

Name your master

Commendations to Dixon Cartwright for your efforts in attending so many different Feast sites and bringing us excerpts from some of their sermons.

I especially appreciate the fair and unbiased reporting of the Congregation of YHWH [Sept. 30], including two of its sermons. I know there must be a temptation to editorialize when reporting on those with whom you may not agree on certain things.

Another article also caught my attention, the one on page 1 about Gerald Flurry criticizing The Journal for not using the name of Satan enough. That would have been laughable if it didn't have a more serious side.

In the last 12 (or more) issues of The Philadelphia Trumpet [published by the Philadelphia Church of God, founded by Mr. Flurry] that I have read, the name of Yahweh didn't appear even once. I must ask Brother Gerald: Why, if you are so concerned that the name of Satan gets publicity, do you never mention the name of Yahweh?

Chuck Baldwin
East Ridge, Tenn.

How to give thanks

Since Thanksgiving [Nov. 28 this year] is all about abundant blessings given by God, I thought I would go to the Scriptures to share something many may not have thought about.

I have the blessed opportunity to be involved in serving on Thanksgiving Day to our community anyone who would like a hot meal. I am involved all year long in doing other things too, but Thanksgiving is celebrated all over the United States. It is about being thankful for the blessings God has rained down from heaven.

I began thinking about the mind frame of Jesus, how He taught and lived an example of having compassion on all people, even those who couldn't care less. True love means you will serve even the ungrateful. Jesus died for billions of ungrateful people; He did it without grudging.

In the Scriptures we see some things to consider during the Thanksgiving season.

Many of us gathered with friends and family this year to celebrate the blessings of God, and there isn't anything wrong with that. But wouldn't it be even more blessed if we would serve others meals or invite the less fortunate to our homes to give them part of our blessings? Such is scriptural.

It is easy to feel comfortable in our safe environments at home, yet Jesus wants us to get a little uncomfortable to do the hard things, the things that take the focus off self and onto others. Serving those who cannot, or even will not, pay you back is a lesson in humility. Jesus made every opportunity to show this lesson many a time in His ministry.

Jesus sat and ate with sinners, which of course was ridiculed by the self-absorbed, self-righteous, so-called law-abiding Pharisees. They served only their own selfish needs and cared for no one but themselves.

Jesus even fed hundreds of people, having compassion on them because they hadn't eaten in several days while they were hearing the Word. He tells us to get out there and do His will, because when we do it unto the least we indeed do it unto Him.

On Thanksgiving consider inviting someone to your feast who is not able to pay you back, who is lonely, discouraged. Give him a portion of the blessings God has rained down to you from His abundant hand. Or go serve a meal or two at a community dinner or at a homeless shelter.

I have met and known some really great people who were homeless. You would be amazed at how many of them just need someone to listen to their hurts and give them something to be encouraged about.

Lee Ann Sanders
Via the Internet

Discussing and preaching

A discussion is an ongoing process, so I would like to make another comment on discussing vs. preaching.

Preaching carries the connotation of lecturing to intelligent people. Discussing carries the connotation of talking with people we are unwilling to offend.

The glaring difference I see between preaching and discussing is our level of mutual respect. A preacher or lecturer will be more respected than the one he or she lectures to. Once we grow to a level of equal, mutual respect, the dialogue will become a discussion instead of lecturing to each other.

I am hopeful that the idea of a dialogue based on equal, mutual respect will catch on. However, the idea of equal, mutual respect between the superior vessels and weaker vessels may find resistance and lack the glamour, excitement and careless irresponsibility that we all, because of human nature, are so fond of, period.

Phil Griffith
Delight, Ark.

Bound in heaven

Why are the so-called Churches of God divided, lukewarm and rebellious? Is it because we are unhappy about our former leaders' mistakes (the apostle Paul made mistakes too)? Are we upset like Jonah because things didn't happen the way they were predicted to happen?

God worked with Herbert Armstrong. If He didn't, then where was He working all those years? Do you know?

We look back and resent the money that was wasted, the separatism and the authority. The bottom line was and still is: You follow what is okay with God or get out. Christ was working there; He was teaching and in control of our leaders. They learned from their mistakes.

I believe that everything that HWA taught (after his heart attack) is bound in heaven by God (Matthew 18:18), and we are in rebellion.

The head of the church did not change after the death of HWA. We need to go back to our roots (Jude 8; Acts 2:44). We've rejected the truth. Somewhere Christ has transplanted a heart into the church, and we (the cells) are rejecting it. People being called by God need the church. If we don't repent and get united, what do you suppose God is going to let happen to us?

Gerty Hines
North Cambria, Pa.

Information request

I'm in need of some accurate information, if any can supply it. As a recovering former member of the WCG, I'm searching for names of those leaders who split off from the Seventh-day Adventist Church about 1865. Enough people rejected the prophetess status of Mrs. E.G. White to form the Church of God (Adventist). Most of the sources I have been able to uncover label this group as Church of God 7th Day. This seems to be rather accurate; however, not one of the sources lists leaders or location.

The majority of histories appear to be somewhat biased, so it is a difficult matter to sort and sift in the quest for historical accuracy. Any information would be welcomed and appreciated by me, for it is probably buried somewhere not readily accessible to the public. The schism that is of interest to me occurred about 1865.

Arnold Denney
P.O. Box 293
Bronston, Ky. 42518, U.S.A.

Requesting time off

Thank you for blessing me the past three years with your thought-provoking articles and at times very controversial articles.

I share them with three individuals who have come to this understanding in prison. I did not know if their belief would be shaken by some of the articles and the squabble over when to keep the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.

However, they have chosen through Abba's Holy Spirit to hold firm.

In prison we have to pretty much depend on the Hebrew calendar because to request time off from one's assignment can take three months, so we can't be caught up in postponements and whether the wild barley is ripe in the field. I believe in this special circumstance Abba will understand.

As it is, I am already faced with doing two additional weeks of my original term for absent days I received for refusing to work on the holy days and weekly Sabbath while I was appealing. Two others are also having similar problems.

Leslie Parker
Corcoran, Calif.

Mr. Armstrong in the Bible

More than 30 years ago I came into contact with the Worldwide Church of God and was called to the truths I began to see and understand. The doctrines that I began to see were in agreement with the Scriptures.

In plain view the Scriptures said, "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came down from heaven--the Son of Man" (John 3:13).

I had been taught as a young boy that I had an immortal soul, and if I were saved heaven would be my reward. Yet the Scriptures plainly say, "The soul who sins is the one who will die" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).

When the Almighty God began to call me and work with me with His truth, I felt that I was such a sinner that there would not be much salvable in me.

For seven years I studied, many times into the wee hours of the morning, the Word of God.

Finally I knew that I was required, by God, to keep His seventh day holy.

I had not had any contact with any people who believed as I believed, yet I wanted to have fellowship with people of like mind. With this thought I began a journey that ended up taking me across a bit of the world.

I began attending the Worldwide Church of God and was soon baptized. I was extremely zealous and never missed any gatherings or Sabbaths for the next seven years. I quickly became active as a leader and eventually was ordained as a deacon.

As opportunity arose, I began to travel to the [WCG-sponsored] projects in the country of Jordan and the Feast of Tabernacles in Amman.

A dear friend of mine was the personal aide to the [WCG] pastor general. I traveled with him to Egypt and Turkey (the seven churches of Asia) and traveled with police escorts across Jordan and to the palace and had personal meetings with Noor, then queen of Jordan.

I also traveled into the Beautiful Land, Israel, which was the experience of my life.

My purpose for going into some of these details is only to lay groundwork for what I want to say: The Almighty God is sovereign! His plan is right on schedule, and He does not change (Malachi 3:6).

Most who read this probably don't realize that Herbert W. Armstrong is profoundly identified in the Word of God. No one else could possibly fit the identification right down to his name.

In this identification, the Almighty God has not left any doubt as to where the Church of God was brought forth in these latter days.

Most in the Church of God never realized that Mr. Armstrong was blind in his right eye, but those who were close to him did.

Let's look at a prophecy that was written for our time in these latter days.

"Then the Lord said to me, 'Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hoofs.

"Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded!" (Zechariah 11:15-17).

Yes, Herbert was a foolish and finally a worthless shepherd over the flock of God. As we all know, Herbert Armstrong went to sleep on Jan. 16, 1986, and the Worldwide Church of God began to scatter into many different groups.

I myself was thrown out of the Worldwide Church of God on Jan. 16, 1996, because of my rebellion against the antiscriptural doctrines that began to be introduced (Zechariah 13:7).

God's hand has been turned against the scattered ones. Most have turned away from the truths that were given them by the foolish and worthless shepherd. The prophecies that this shepherd made were all foolish and worthless because he didn't have the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).

The apostle Paul wrote about some of the Church of God who are reserved: a remnant!

"I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal" (Romans 11:4).

The journey of the past 30 years has provided many surprises and has brought new treasures out of the storeroom. A time of Jacob's trouble is at the door.

The Day of the Lord has come as a thief in the night, just as the apostle Paul wrote (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).

All hell is about to break out upon the house of Israel, and it will be called a time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).

Life changed forever for the United States of America on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Church of God must be willing to go forth as a lamb for slaughter (Romans 8:36). The lies of peace and safety just aren't so.

Those whom the Almighty has reserved must come to the "manifold wisdom of God."

Virgil Gray
Lake Alfred, Fla.

Because you're Mine

I appreciated Dave Havir's article in the Sept. 30 issue titled "Baptism Ceremony Rejects Exclusivism." He mentions a proper understanding of the matter: "Baptism is not to a physical church organization. Baptism is to a spiritual organism."

I appreciate the effect The Journal has had in bringing this to the attention of so many, and I hope and pray that more are accepting this proper understanding. I would like to think that is the case in this local area.

When one is called and chosen by God the Father and comes to the Son (John 6:44-45) in true repentance, there is joy in heaven. Such was the occasion Saturday evening, Nov. 2. Christy Cooksey, as a result of this repentance, was to be baptized, and there was need of water.

Dr. Corwin Petty and his wife, Rachel, from another fellowship, offered their home for the occasion and refreshments afterward.

Many were invited to share in this monumental occurrence in Christy's life and that of her husband, Seth. A number were willing to cross organizational lines, and all who attended did rejoice before God and with God and others in heavenly places.

A number who had been invited and indicated they would attend did not attend. I can only hope lack of attendance was not based on some imaginary fear of crossing organizational lines.

Dan Cafourek
Colcord, Okla.

Illogical following

In your October issue, a letter by Richard Davis of Texarkana, Texas, includes the following: "I have lived through the years of our system of bondage under the faith of one man. Don't get me wrong. I am not condemning that or what good it did in our lives."

A non sequitur if ever there was one.

Tom Delamater
Via the Internet

Building bridges

Independence, division, lack of unity: These are things that shouldn't be in God's church.

Ministers in every one of the corporate churches have at one time or another preached against these things. Yet they are practicing what they preach against.

Every time a corporation is formed, it becomes independent of other corporations that were in existence before it. It causes its membership to become divided and disunited from members of existing corporate churches. Each corporation expects its membership to be loyal to its headquarters. Its members are discouraged from fellowshipping with others in other corporations.

Sure, their doors may be open to visitors, but just let one of their own go out and visit another group. This is frowned upon by the corporation.

Isn't this exactly what Paul wrote against in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17?

Some say I'm of Paul, others say I'm of Peter, others of Apollos, others of Christ. Paul says, "Is Christ divided?"

"Oh," some will say, "I know there are other members of God's church out there, but I'm of CGI, I'm of UCG, I'm of LCG, I'm of PCG, I'm nonaligned."

Are we not doing the same thing as the Corinthians?

If I support a corporation like the CGI or UCG and I feel a sense of loyalty to it and I fellowship only with this one group while across town the LCG may hold services, am I not dividing myself from my brethren?

This also holds true for those who are nonaligned. If the nonaligned member fellowships only with his nonaligned group, yet down the road there is a corporate church, is he not also causing division in the church?

I realize that after leaving a corporate church some doors of fellowship are closed. But shouldn't we walk through the doors that are open to make the point that we don't believe in divisions in the church?

Just suppose that each town had one group over which no corporate banners flew, where those of us of similar beliefs could get together to worship God and fellowship, where each person individually could choose to financially support the CGI, UCG, LCG, etc., but the loyalty was to God and to the membership. Oh, if it were only this way.

Kevin A. McMillen
Morgantown, W.Va.

Ephraim and Manasseh

We were staggered by Dixon Cartwright's article in the August Journal, page 8, "Trading Places: Could America Be Ephraim in Prophecy?" There were no letters of response in the September Journal. Do we understand correctly that the American brethren and many others around the world agree with Ken Westby, Gary Arvidson and Clyde Brown?

Who said America is "vastly greater" than Britain? Where was the United States of America between about A.D. 900 and 1900? How do we measure greatness? By gross national product or the size of the military arsenal?

Historically Britain's power was greater than America's has ever been. We have all heard the saying that "the sun never set on the British Empire." In 1900 Britain owned 20 percent of the land area of the earth, and 23 percent of the world's population was ruled by the British monarch. What land of any consequence has America ever ruled outside of North America?

Whichever country is Ephraim or Manasseh, they are brothers. Each has a different greatness, one with its wealth, the other with the commonwealth of nations. Christ said brothers were not to dominate each other (Matthew 20:25-27). Does it matter who is bigger or stronger?

Lewis and Kathleen McCann
Milton Keynes, England

Ephraim is England forever!

Concerning "Trading Places: Could America Be Ephraim in Prophecy?" [The Journal, Aug. 30]:

As a Benjaminite, I'd like to remind my brother Joseph's forgetful descendants Manasseh that their younger brother Ephraim was given the double-portion blessing of the firstborn by grandfather Jacob. No amount of snatching and waving Ephraim's flag can give America the birthright promise.

The U.S.A. is the greatest single nation in history as prophesied, "but truly his younger brother [Ephraim/England] shall be greater than he, and his seed [did] become a multitude of nations" (Genesis 48:19).

There never has been a multitude of American nations, just one nation with a multitude of ethnic communities, with some overseas properties.

Further, the royal throne of King David's lineage has remained in the British Isles ever since Jeremiah brought King Zedekiah's daughters to Ireland around 569 B.C.

Why has America never been the host country of the inheritor of the important scepter promise? Talking of King Zedekiah of Jerusalem (or Judah), God promised, ". . . I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar [the king], and will set [it]; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one [a daughter], and will plant [it] upon an high mountain and eminent: In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell" (Ezekiel 17:22-23).

Notice that the house of Judah--which held the scepter promise of the line of kings ending with the Messiah--was to be planted in the most eminent place of the house of Israel. Judah's royalty was to rule from the house of Israel, no longer to be situated in the house of Judah.

If America was the leading tribe of the house of Israel, then the royal line of Davidic kings would be in the U.S.A. Instead we find them in the territory ruled by England, further evidence that England is Ephraim.

God's promise to David was a perpetual line of descendants over the House of Israel, which will eventually reunite with the tribe of Judah again, but until then is planted in the height of Israel: the territory governed by the leading tribe, Ephraim.

Today Queen Elizabeth II sits on the lineal throne of King David! Her Majesty sure don't rule from the U.S.A., and Christ sure ain't coming back to Washington, D.C. Instead, He will return to Jerusalem, where the throne of David will again be located.

If America is the chief tribe of Israel and inheritor of the firstborn's blessing, why was she so obscure for so long? Where was Manasseh in 44 B.C. when Caesar came to Britain or when first-century disciples of Jesus came to Britain?

Where was Manasseh in 1066, when William the Conqueror started ruling in England? Where was Manasseh at the height of the British Empire, the greatest empire the world has ever seen, which took place between the golden jubilee (1887) and diamond jubilee (1897) of Queen Victoria?

"The British Empire: 500 Years That Shaped the World (1497-1997)," published by The Daily Telegraph, contains a short history of the following British imperial territories, consisting of 375 million people who came under the sway of British rule at a time when earth's population was considerably smaller than it is now:

Aden; Anguilla; Antigua; Ascension; Australia; Bahamas; Bahrain; Barbados; Basutoland; Bechuanaland; Bermuda; Bhutan; British Antarctic Territory; British Columbia; British Guiana; British Honduras; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Kaffraria; British New Guinea; British Somaliland; British Virgin Islands; Brunei; Burma; Canada; Canada East; Canada West; Cape Breton Island; Cape Colony (Cape Of Good Hope); Cayman Islands; Ceylon; Connecticut; Cook Islands; Cyprus; Delaware; Dependency of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Dominica; Egypt; Eire; Elise Islands; Falkland Islands; Fiji; Florida; Gambia; Georgia; Gibraltar; Gilbert Islands; Gold Coast; Grenada; Heligoland; Hong Kong; India; Ionian Islands; Iraq; Kuwait; Labuan; Malacca; Malaya; Maldive Islands; Malta; Maryland; Massachusetts; Mauritius; Minorca; Montserrat; Mosquito Coast; Natal Territory; Nepal; Nevis; New Brunswick; Newfoundland; New Hampshire; New Hebrides; New Jersey; New York; New South Wales; New Zealand; Nigeria; North Borneo Territory; North Carolina; Northern Rhodesia Territory; Nova Scotia; Nyasaland; Orange Free State; Palestine; Penang; Pennsylvania; Pitcairn Islands; Prince Edward Island; Qatar; Queensland; Rhode Island; Rhodesia; Rupert's Land and North West Territory; St. Christopher (St. Kitts); St. Helena; St. Lucia; St. Vincent; Sarawak; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Sikkim; Singapore; Solomon Islands; South Africa; South Australia; South Carolina; South West Africa; Straits Settlements; Sudan; Surinam; Swaziland; Tanganyika; Tasmania; Tobago; Tonga; Transjordan; Transvaal (South African Republic); Trinidad; Tristan da Cunha; Trucial States; Turks and Caicos Islands; Uganda; Virginia; Victoria; Weihaiwei; Western Australia; Zanzibar.

America has been the dominant power in the world starting only from the latter part of World War II, in the 1940s. The English are clearly Ephraim.

As usual, Herbert W. Armstrong makes more doctrinal sense than the revisionists in the church who claim superior insight.

Geoff Neilson
Fish Hoek, South Africa

Credit is due

I read with interest your article "Trading Places: Could America be Ephraim in Prophecy?" [The Journal, Aug. 30], based on new views entertained by Kenneth Westby, Gary Arvidson and Clyde Brown. I knew all these men when I was at Ambassador College.

Your article, however, failed to mention that this subject is not really new; I have been teaching and writing about this matter since 1992.

We ran another article on it in Prophecy Flash last year and again in the May-June 2002 issue of Prophecy Flash. To my mind, the real credit for bringing this truth to light originally belongs to Greg Doudna, a student at Ambassador College, Big Sandy.

The thought came to him, as I recall, as he was working the switchboard late at night, and he began to explore the subject in great detail and eventually wrote a fascinating paper on it--much to the chagrin of Ronald Dart and administrators at the college.

The Worldwide Church of God wanted nothing to do with anything that remotely contradicted the writings and teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, no matter how reasonable, well researched and scholarly in presentation. Their minds just were not open.

However, the evidence for the United States being modern Ephraim is formidable.

My original article gives much credit to Greg Doudna for beginning the research into this subject and his conclusions.

William Dankenbring
Pasadena, Calif.

Don't put Jesus on trial

Though not one of us would consider deliberately offending our God, is it not possible that one side or the other in the debate over who He is and the preexistence of Christ may well be doing so?

Is it not also possible that this ongoing wrangling actually constitutes placing both the Father and Son on trial, not unlike that of A.D. 31? Those of that time were convinced that a man was pretending to be God.

Of course, no one is screaming for the death penalty, but is not the same question on the table, the same question asked by the Pharisees when at dinner with the Christ, as recorded in Luke 7:49:

"And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves, who is this that forgives sins also"?

Or Mark 2:7: "Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only"?

There was no defense at that trial, for the prosecution held sway.

The present trial, then, does not change anything in the court of heaven, but it may affect some whose faith may already have been weakened by men and organizations.

With that in mind, let us all who write, who by our words try to affect the thinking of others, remember that judgment does begin at the house of God. Amen.

Sam Metz
Barton, Md.

Fair shake

My wife and I enjoy receiving The Journal and appreciate the hard work you put into it.

Church life has certainly changed since we were in AC, huh?

Since you definitely give all sides a fair shake in presenting their views, I am attaching my latest Bible-study writings for your consideration. They certainly don't espouse any of the church doctrines of the many offshoots of WCG, but, then, we are not affiliated with any of them, though we remain friends with many who are.

Mike Vinson
Via the Internet

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