Letters from our readersCredit is due After reading the article about Hope Lindholm's miraculous healings in the January Journal, we noticed that Dona Fehr was not specifically thanked for her efforts. Dona was the one who on a daily and sometimes hourly basis gathered and then shared information with many praying brethren and churches around the country. I know our family and many other praying families appreciated the many updates and pictures sent by Dona. Thank you, Dona!
Luke and Julie Przeslawski
Eagan, Minn.Good news The latest Good News magazine is now online at http://www.ucg.org/gn/index.htm. It would be a great surprise if it were not banned over here again [see "Aussie Council Kills Last Good News Issue of 2002," The Journal, Dec. 31]. When they banned the November-December issue from being distributed to the public primarily over Melvin Rhodes' article on Islam (later changing their stance to say it was primarily over circumcision--yeah, yeah), saying it was going against Australian culture and would provoke repercussions, etc., an enormous outcry occurred. All sorts of excuses were given, changing all the time. If they are to be consistent, then this current issue should also be banned because it is a lot stronger than the November-December issue. Now, if it is not to be banned, will they release the November-December issue to be consistent or throw them out? Political correctness is bizarre and decisions made over here have been bizarre! Now, I wonder why?
Sydney, AustraliaHere comes the Bride I appreciate Horst Obermeit taking the time to report on his strange wedding encounter with a minister from the Philadelphia Church of God after church services in Wildwood, Fla., as reported in the Dec. 31 Journal ["Watch Those Close Encounters of the Church of God Kind"]. This was another horrible story of disgraceful behavior and poor judgment by a minister towards known fellow Church of God brethren while outsiders looked on. The question goes begging: Where is the love this church portends to have in its name? While Cal Culpepper's later apology is noble, it is evident to any reader of The Journal who follows the goings-on at the PCG that this type of incident is far from isolated. Instead of trying to find "Satan" in the pages of The Journal as reported last year ["PCG Booklet Writer Can't Find 'Satan' in The Journal," Sept. 30, 2002], Gerald Flurry, the PCG leader, will do well to take his spiritual microscope and try to find love inside his own church especially in the policies and behavior of his ministers and himself.
Napa, Calif.Drums of war It's well nigh impossible for you or me to make the fine judgments faced by governments when war looms. We simply don't have the facts or the military intelligence, nor do the antiwar marchers. Nowhere in the New Testament writings do we find exhortations--or examples--for Christians to march against "the powers that be." Rather, Paul tells his Christian readers: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority but from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. "Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment to themselves" (Romans 13:1-2). In his "burden against Babylon" God says: "The Lord has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes [today: Iran], for his plan is against Babylon to destroy it" (Jeremiah 51:11; Ezra 1:1). Has God stirred up President Bush and Prime Minister Blair? Who can know? The outcome, certainly, of major conflict is in His hands. He is Judge of all mankind. What about Christian nations? There's no such thing, of course. There may be on earth some two billion who loosely use the name. But just because 70 percent of Americans or Britons claim to be Christian does not make for a Christian nation. The aim of governments is to stay in power and scrape clean the national pork barrel. To achieve this they use any means they can get away with. In the West they may on occasion mouth Christian principles, but no nation is ruled as "one nation under God"! We don't trust Him. Real Christians are few and far between. They are gravel scattered in an ocean. Their role is to develop and reflect the life and character of Jesus in their personal life, small pebbles in a bowl, their individual sphere of influence. They are motivated by the Spirit of God and thus in their thoughts and actions strive to reflect the divine morality as revealed in the Scriptures. Christians pray that circumstances will be peaceable to enable us to "lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness." That may or may not mean our nation becomes embroiled in wars between nations--and we suffer together with non-Christians. The outcome of those wars is in the hand of Him who "removes kings and raises up kings" (Daniel 2:21).
Lincoln, EnglandConsequences of war While the leaders of the U.S.A. and U.K. whip up war fever, what do the people of England think? Amongst family, friends and work colleagues, I have yet to hear of anybody who is for war. Some have even taken to the streets in marches or collected signatures in the local city center. The situation of the U.K. can best be summed: The people are against war; the MPs are against war unless conditions are met; the cabinet ministers are worried about war; only Prime Minister Blair is for war. Our PM is behaving like a president, and Mr. Bush is seen as a dictator! It has always puzzled me how prophecy would come about that Europe would attack the U.S.A. and U.K. Now it is painfully clear while they are becoming the nations with the real weapons of mass destruction. The Europeans have been denigrated as Old Europe and has-beens. You cannot expect support by belittling the proud nations of Europe. Meanwhile the U.S.A. and U.K. advocate ignoring the United Nations, just like a certain dictator did with the League of Nations. For the church the paradox is that the "beast" power will actually be doing good in attacking the U.S.A. and U.K. (and could be fulfilling God's will to advance His plan). Our technology may be awesome, but modern society is vulnerable to technological attack. Warfare used to be a case of bigger, better weapons. Now all you need to do is to crack a computer code and you can control your enemy's power stations, communication satellites and battlefield communications. In my role as IT support for my employer, one "little" computer virus recently knocked out our network of 4,000 computers. The Europeans are sick of war, many tens of millions have died over the centuries, and they will not stand by while two rogue states destroy world peace with WMDs! I think that even now behind closed doors in Europe plans are being put in motion to destroy our nations, and they will be "right" to do so because we are degenerate and immoral in our lifestyles. The consequence of our treatment of our friends will lead to our own destruction.
Lewis D. McCann
Milton Keynes, EnglandMarch to Baghdad From A World Transformed, a 1998 book by the first President Bush: "We should not march into Baghdad . . . To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us, and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero . . ., assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability."
Big Sandy, TexasAntihierachy isn't antigovernment In her essay "The Church Oughtn't to Be Democratic: A Defense of Hierarchy" on page 9 of the Dec. 31, 2002, issue of The Journal, Sandra-Mae Robinson makes the good point that, no matter what system of government we have in the church, it will always be human nature that is the real problem we have to deal with. It is hard to understand, therefore, why we keep advocating one definitive form of government; i.e., hierarchical. As Miss Robinson admits, a hierarchical system seems to predispose rulers to corruption (column 5, after the subhead "What About Corruption?"). Why would it then be the best form of government? Without first addressing people's concerns, we are not in any position to even begin to describe an ideal form of government. For example, it would be useful to explore whether God would wish men to rule over us or rather to lead and teach us. Governments rule over people and punish them when they disobey, while a shepherd leads and guides. Although it is refreshing to know that Miss Robinson's church has a benevolent shepherd, what will people do when the hierarchy transfers him elsewhere and appoints a new one over them? What will the congregation do if he starts behaving like a ruler and punishing the members for not obeying his rules or starts to preach false doctrine? At what point will individuals transfer their loyalty from the hierarchy to God Himself? This is what believers have wrestled with for hundreds of years. Another problem that exists is the lack of trust because people have been treated badly or the ministers governing the churches have betrayed people's understanding of doctrine. The expression "antichurch-government supporters," which Miss Robinson uses frequently, appears to assume that people who are antihierarchy will be antigovernment of any sort. These issues do need to be clarified and addressed before we can describe an ideal form of government.
Milton Keynes, EnglandA child's thirst Regarding the anonymous teenage girl ["Be at Peace With Your Differences and Kids," The Journal, Nov. 30, 2002]: Praise the great and mighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that there are young folks who see beyond the limits of Church of God people to know that God is more than the law, the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath day, the holidays, the plan of God, the prophecies and the Kingdom. Too bad this child's thirst and hunger have not infected more of those who believe that they are something special, "called by God," given a special exclusive message that they must preach and hit everyone over the head with. It is too bad that so many "Christians," including Church of God people, try to limit God to just one leader, pastor general, HWA, pastor, prophet, etc., of just one organization, UCG or otherwise, with just one set of "truths," messages or commission. My great God answers my prayers through whomever and by whatever means He chooses. If I want to know how great He is and His wonderful works, I must have the eyes to see, ears to hear and mind to remember. This child has acquired one of the eight great gifts (Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-26). I hope she continues to learn. May God bless her with the other gifts, especially the ability to go beyond the endurance of abuse, put-downs, criticisms, persecutions, harsh words and accusations. She is well on the way to fulfilling the Fifth Commandment more so than any of those special "called-out ones" have ever done. All Christians, including those of the Church of God, will eventually learn that if you want to be in the Kingdom of God, living beside Jesus, working with Him and the Father, you will be required to deal with adversity and chaos, not only enduring it but overcoming it. The testimony of Jesus is clear in that you must first be a lowly servant and overcomer of trials to live with Jesus forever. Praise the great God who gives His little ones the Spirit to go beyond the blind and crippled prophets of this age and their lame, deaf, blind followers who seek first to blame, accuse and find fault.
Cochranton, Pa.Whose side are you on? A member of COG A goes out for a walk. He comes to a river and sees a member of COG B on the opposite bank. "Hey," he shouts, "how can I get to the other side?" The member of COG B looks up the river, then down the river, then shouts back, "You are on the other side."
Houston, TexasThe James ossuary In a recent article in a Jewish magazine called Maoz Israel, an article appeared about a box of bones found in the Holy Land. On the box was the name "James." Some believe it's the bones of James the brother of Jesus. My friend Fred Coulter wrote that it is doubtful but it is possible. Does anyone have more information on this?
Howard F. Bruce
Glendale, Ariz.The Journal recently reported the news of the James ossuary, or bone box. See "Tomb-Project Members Visit SBL, Meet in Toronto," Nov. 30, 2002, issue. Blessings on you Love is manifest when we share with somebody. It is important that we swap ideas and information. Thanks to The Journal, we can do this. Keep up the good work. God bless The Journal and all its readers.
Paul J. Herrmann
Metairie, La.What the brethren believe Our thanks to all who write for The Journal. We don't agree with a lot of it but still find it interesting to see what other Church of God brethren believe. Thanks again for all your work. Please renew our subscription for two years.
Harold and Gisela Hansen
Cherhill, Alta., Canada
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