Letters from our readers
An old friend departs
Regarding the death of Buck Hammer [see article on page 1 of this issue]: He was an old and dear friend. When we saw him in Gilmer in August 2002, I would have liked to visit more, but we were in a hurry. Lots of people disappearing from the landscape in 2003.
It's sad to hear the news about the death of Buck Hammer [see page 1 of this issue]. I still have an old .22 rifle he traded to me for a TV I had. He always treated me decently, as did all of the Hammers.
It certainly seems that we have entered into the era of the dying off of a generation of leaders (and their families) who we all came to know if we were part of the WCG for very long.
There is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice. Psalms tells us that the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting.
All we can do
I find it is sad that Garner Ted passed away ["Garner Ted Armstrong's Passing Marks End of an Era for Many in the Churches of God," THE JOURNAL, Sept. 30]. I remember his radio program in the '70s.
Joseph Tkach Sr. [who died in 1995] was a great loss to the church. The changes he was making were ones Herbert Armstrong was going to make but didn't live long enough to put them into effect.
Had Mr. Armstrong lived and made the changes, perhaps there wouldn't have been the knee-jerk reaction to the changes. There would have been a smoother, gradual change instead of the quick-do-this-and-do-that approach.
Even in Jesus' day the disciples didn't want to hear that He would be killed on a cross. All we can do is accept things and move with the flow.
THE JOURNAL certainly is a unique paper. I especially enjoyed the eulogies of GTA. He was the one who brought me into the church (WCG) and encouraged us all to Bible-study. So some good came from the original church, certainly for me.
I am still with the WCG after first hearing HWA on Radio Luxembourg in 1961.
For me the Sabbath will always be Saturday. If the WCG moves to meeting on a Sunday, I will not be with them; I can always change to a mainstream church.
Recently I have visited many Sunday churches. The Salvation Army is the one doing God's practical work for our fellowman. I felt most at home with the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons: no graven images and high-quality palatial buildings and interiors, just like the WCG.
Till we meet again
On Sept. 15 at 1:20 p.m., 2003, Garner Ted Armstrong left this world to be with his Maker. I was absolutely stunned to hear of his death. I knew he had been sick, but I fully expected him to recover. After all, I and hundreds of others had been praying for him.
By all calculations Ted Armstrong should have lived to be at least 90 or 95, perhaps 100. He came from strong stock.
I had not talked to Ted for several years before his death. Time and events separated us, but I always kept up with him and always considered him my brother and friend.
I first met Garner Ted Armstrong in the 1950s when I tuned in to the World Tomorrow radio broadcast, sponsored by the Radio Church of God. He was substituting for his father, Herbert W. Armstrong. This was the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship. Ted had a profound effect on my life.
I sat at Ted's feet in Bible class at Ambassador College as he taught me the clear intent of the Scriptures. I listened to his inspiring lectures in Advanced Public Speaking class as he taught me to become a professional public speaker.
I sat in college assemblies astonished as I listened to his inspiring lectures on life and living.
I've heard hundreds of his radio and television broadcasts. I've been inspired, enlightened and encouraged by hundreds of sermons he gave in the AC gym and other places all over the country.
I attended his public appearances, observed his speeches and patterned my own after his. He was my mentor, leader, inspiration. My mind races back to the many hours I spent with him in the racquetball court and gymnasium showering, snacking and playing bridge.
I dwell on the time we went quail hunting in Potrero, Calif. I think of the times at AC when he played his guitar and led us in sing-alongs. I have fond memories of the time Merle Haggard, Ted and a small group played and sang so many wonderful country songs at the college.
Then there were the many times I had personal conversations with Ted. There was the time, for example, when I confronted Ted at the Feast of Tabernacles in Squaw Valley in 1968.
I especially remember the time I sat in his office and resigned from the ministry of the church over the church's strict teachings about divorce and remarriage and divine healing.
I remember Ted's kindness and concern. I was properly impressed with his generosity and humility at the time. But most of all I remember his love of God and man and the giant capacity he had to forgive those who did him harm.
I will never forget the plaintive pleas he made to be reconciled to his father, whom he loved despite all that had happened between them.
Ted was a leader, an evangelist, a minister and a devoted servant of the living God. He once said to me: "Al, I am a no-good SOB and I need God's forgiveness. Put me in a jail cell, straddle me to a bed, but put a microphone in front of me because God has called me to preach the gospel and I cannot fail that calling."
Ted remained faithful to that calling. He was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the very end. He left behind a treasure trove of broadcasts, telecasts, books, booklets, articles, Bible studies, sermons, lectures and a whole lot of memories for thousands and thousands of people.
I was Ted's brother and friend. I loved him profoundly and lastingly.
I will miss you, Garner Ted. I can hardly wait till we see each other on the other side of eternity. God be with you till we meet again.
Blessings on Garner Ted's family
Off and on over the last number of years, I've heard news reportedly coming from a paper chronicling happenings from most, or maybe all, of the splinter groups that developed after HWA's death.
Recently a spiritual sister sent me a copy of the September number of THE JOURNAL, which announced and carried many touching stores about Garner Ted Armstrong's life while reviewing events of his last days.
For those who knew him well, reading this was a moving experience for which I'll always be grateful to those who made it possible for me to recall the highlights of our eight-year relationship, from 1971 to 1978.
Joining the TV-production-and-promotion department from seven years' experience in television-station management, I soon learned in the early '70s where the invisible political lines lay that were not to be crossed.
Fortunately, I had GTA's ear and, as such, his shield as well, even though the hatchet caught me before GTA's shield and Al Portune's defenses could be put in place.
Seeing so many familiar names and faces of people who were coworkers during that most memorable time of my career life will remain indelibly emblazoned on my soul, along with the warm, fond and loving memories of the most powerful and loving person I've had the honor and distinct blessing of knowing, Garner Ted Armstrong.
Praise God for him, and blessings on his family.
Tithing adds up
I would like to thank Dean Neal for his many ads on tithing. When you check out the word increase as in "all your increase," you find it does mean "produce." Also, everywhere I can find any command to tithe it is always on agriculture or livestock, just as Garry Pifer indicated in his Bible study several years ago. "Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gives the increase."
In other words, God commands 10 percent on what He gives, not on what wages we earn.
What has tithing all of our wages as a group got us all of these years?
o Dictators who use the funds for things other than what we were told they would be used for.
o Property sold off and the money used to support someone who doesn't believe in anything we as a group did or do.
When is the last time any of us got a rebate when church property was sold off? Why should people earn a full-time salary to express their opinions when many of them won't go out of their own state to visit congregations, visit the sick or preach the gospel to all nations, even when the funds are in the bank for them to do it?
Standing up for Titus 2
In response to the letter "Not Just Housewives" [THE JOURNAL, Sept. 30], thank you, Elizabeth Johnson, for speaking out and standing up for the truth in Titus 2:3-5. For too long our corporate ministry has refused to speak out on these verses, believing, I suppose, it is better to sacrifice our children and families on the altar of materialism.
Ernest R. Schreiber
Three days, three nights
Worldwiders and ex-Worldwiders have this right: Christ had to be in his tomb for a full 72 hours.
We got it from Matthew 12:40, where Jesus says, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
You can't get three whole days and nights between a Friday and a Sunday. Why do we choose to ignore Matthew 16:21; 17:23, 20:19; Mark 9:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; 13:32; 18:33; 24:7, 21; 24:46; Acts 10:40; and finally 1 Corinthians 15:4?
How could He stay in his grave three whole days and three whole nights yet come out of it on the third day? To my mind the third day was the last day He was to be entombed, according to Matthew 12:40, so He should have spent that whole day in His grave. How do you spend three whole days and three whole nights somewhere and yet be somewhere else on the third day?
Is Jacob in trouble?
A recent letter to the editor ["Jacob's Trouble," by Marius Hunter, THE JOURNAL, Oct. 31, page 4] commented on how "the affluent nations of the West will soon face complete and utter destruction."
Granted, the prophetic scriptures do indicate a coming time when the end-time seed of Jacob (greater Israel) will endure a brief period of extreme historical trial, but are we really on the verge of that fulfillment or is this a false premise taken out of prophetic context?
For years Herbert Armstrong promised church members they would go into protection during a great tribulation that would immediately follow his ministry, simultaneously claiming that he was preaching the very gospel predicted by the Messiah in Matthew 24:14.
Both Herbert and Garner Ted Armstrong are now dead and their flocks scattered. Moreover, no one has gone into protection, and the great tribulation has definitely not commenced. One would think these developments would have precipitated a widespread reexamination of the prophetic scriptures, but such has proven not to be the case.
Is this what the prophetic scriptures really tell us?
First, recognize the Messiah's Olivet prophecy actually paraphrases the same sequence of events outlined under Revelation's seven seals. In fact, He characterized events of the first four seals (i.e., the Four Horsemen) as "the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8).
The Messiah made no direct mention of the celestial signs accompanying events of the sixth seal in His Olivet discourse, but He did imply a direct divine intervention to transpire at that precise moment to bring a conclusion to the great persecution of the fifth seal.
The next event outlined in the Olivet prophecy is a worldwide preaching of the gospel, which must ultimately go forth from Jerusalem unto all the earth in every language and dialect. It is the seven-year international covenant foretold in Daniel 9:27 that will actually make that worldwide dispensation possible.
Moreover, this same multinational treaty is destined to be violated at midpoint, after 1,260 days (see Joel 3:1; Matthew 24:14; Revelation 11:3-7).
The upshot of all this is the exact opposite of what Mr. Armstrong taught. The end-time nations of Israel are about to come out of their long spiritual exile among the heathen nations and cultures of earth with their identities fully restored.
Of a truth, Jacob's seed will have to go through the coming great tribulation, but not before the end-time works of Zion have been initiated and the spiritual temple thereof completed (see Isaiah 52; Joel 2:31-32; Zechariah 2-3; Revelation 11).
For is it not written that Israel has been blinded in part until the fullness of the gentile kingdoms is come in? Even so, it is also written that all of Israel shall be saved at that precise time (Romans 11:25-26, Daniel 2:44).
Joseph L. Coman
Requests from all over
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all THE JOURNAL did in promoting my Creation Corner book [see "Notes and Quotes," THE JOURNAL, Sept. 30]. Surprising to me, but perhaps not to you, I received requests from not only the United States but Canada, Australia, England, Italy, Spain, India, Africa and the Philippines!
C. Frazier Spencer
I enjoy reading each issue of THE JOURNAL and am writing to tell you how much I enjoyed the Oct. 31 issue, especially the lengthy article by David Jon Hill. I am looking forward to the next issue for the continuation of his story. [See the article about Mr. Hill's death, on Nov. 23, on page 1 of this issue.]
My father, Arthur Hockwald (1924-1978), told me in the early '70s that there were only a few "original thinkers" (men who thought outside the box) in the ministry of the WCG at that time. David Jon Hill was one of the original thinkers he admired, along with Howard Clark, Dr. Charles Dorothy, Richard Plache and Arthur Mokarow, to name just a few.
I always looked forward to, and thoroughly enjoyed sermons by, these men. They always had something thought-provoking and interesting to say in person and from the pulpit. They were their own men in spite of the environment in which they worked--some would say in which they struggled.
It would be amazing if you could convince a few other original thinkers to write similar articles detailing their experiences in the early WCG. Regrettably, Howard Clark and Dr. Dorothy are no longer available. I am sure each of their stories would have been a fascinating read.
I will be renewing my subscription in the next few days and look forward to THE JOURNAL each and every issue. Thank you for your labor of love and for your efforts in keeping us all connected through this medium.
Get off my back
An individual has been on a name-smearing campaign against me for some time and I'm not sure why. She attacked me on a church forum a few years ago, loosely pasting random posts from various Internet pages together to construe me in a negative light. I found her latest attack last night at her Web page, and this time she has lumped me together with the occult and Sidney Davis.
I have tried to locate a contact address for this person, but to no avail. I have E-mailed her several times, but she has not E-mailed me directly.
The only affiliation I have with Mr. Davis is through the Bible Sabbath Association. I'm a dedicated Sabbath observer and keeper of Yahweh's law.
Here is the address of the Web pages that attack me:www.topical-bible-studies.org/beware/davis.htm.
Here are excerpts from an E-mail I wrote to her:
"You don't know me. I understand your need to warn the brethren about people you feel are wolves in sheep's clothing, but when you attack me you are attacking your sister in the Messiah.
"Just because I may differ from you in the fact I am a little different in my perception of women and what we can do to serve God and live active lives, I don't feel you have a biblical right to attack me by loosely stringing together a series of random comments and quotes I have said over the years, some taken from articles I wrote, others from outdated Web-site material involving my former very busy natural-healing and herbal-consulting business, and others from Web pages up to seven years old that involve personal information, especially concerning some of my personal hobbies that include doll collecting and animation (a form of sophisticated action cartoons).
"I ask that you remove the offensive material from your site that talks about me.
"Some of your information is very wrong, especially what you have listed about my search for a dance partner. That information is very old and outdated, and, the way you construe it, your intent is obvious.
"I am a woman of character and dedication to the truth of God. I have a lot of faults, all of which I repent of on a daily basis. Who are you to attack me and continually look for information in your attempt to discredit me?
"I support the traditional Church of God teachings except I believe in the priesthood of believers and the responsibility of each individual to witness the truth of God and teach and proclaim the coming Kingdom.
"In regard to your apparent link between myself and Sidney Davis, the only thing we share is involvement in the Bible Sabbath Association. I do not share any of his Seventh-day Adventist beliefs or in his personal work involving black Jews, although I welcome him to continue his research and personal ministry.
"I do believe in using foods and herbs for natural healing because this is what I believe God put them on earth for. But that is not part of my religion; that is part of my daily health practice, as it is for hundreds if not thousands of God's people.
"If you want to attack me, call me directly and I'll arrange a time we can meet in person or talk on the phone. [I included my phone number here.] If I have done something wrong in the eyes of Yahshua, I would like to know this so I can fully repent of it."
E. June Narber
Jumping page views
Thank you for the article on www.womeninchrist.org by Bill Stough, especially for the front-page coverage ["In Their Spare Time, Two COG Ladies Produce Internet-Based Magazine for Christian Women," THE JOURNAL, Aug. 31].
Our site has been growing at an average of about 300 page views per month. For September and October the page views jumped to 2,000 each month.
Your coverage gave the site a boost in a couple of ways. Subscribers came to the site after reading the article, and it inspired Alan Ruth to post a link to our site from the front page of www.biblestudy.org for a month.
The article also helped our search-engine ratings. The more a Web site has had visitors in the past, the more it will move up on the listing of a search.
Our site, along with a seminar I gave, has already inspired at least one other person to put up a Web site.
Now it is our job to keep everyone coming back.
Larry Graff, in a shameful letter to the editor (page 2, Oct. 31), calls "religious Jews" and "monotheists" liars simply because they disagree with his adopted polytheistic or multi-God point of view. He then employs one of the apparently favorite binitarian tactics, characterizing as Antichrist people who do not accept Christ as God.
Mr. Graff, who calls other people liars, goes on to state in no uncertain terms: "The Scripture says they are Antichrists."
Does the Scripture state that people are "Antichrists" who believe that Jesus was in the flesh but not God? No, it does not say that at all. But, to be fair, perhaps Mr. Graff can cite the exact passage he has in mind. Maybe it was one of these:
o "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22).
I, along with other biblical monotheists I know, readily testify that Jesus is and was the Messiah--the Christ--as well as the Son of God.
o "By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God" (1 John 4:2-3).
o "For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2 John 7).
F. Paul Haney
Christ Fellowship Ministries
My dad, Kenneth Herrmann, had a heart attack a few weeks ago. Apparently only the back part of his heart was damaged--good news. It could have been worse because one artery was completely stopped and the other 95 percent. My brother was with him when it happened and got emergency help right away.
Dad is very weak and not able to get around by himself much. He is in a nursing home with medical care in the Dallas area.
He is asking for letters from old-timers, those who remember him from the early days of the college. He would appreciate cards from anyone, actually. The address to send them to is 700 Custer Rd., No. 195, Richardson, Texas 75080, U.S.A.
A prayerful watch
Massive correction has come upon the Israelitish nations. Devastation will soon occur. The Chaldeans (Italians) are riding hard. Habakkuk 1:6: "For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans . . ."
Mr. Armstrong was correct in saying most of you don't get it. Government is the very key. Christ did not leave this earth without administering a one-man rule beginning with Peter (Matthew 16).
Do you understand how Jesus administered a one-man government through Peter, knowing of His soon-coming absence physically here on earth?
Down through the ages it has been the very same style of one-man government. We must prayerfully search for the fruits set forth from a one-man-ruled church. Do you see?
Correction is coming upon the nations of Israelites. As we have read in Isaiah, "so will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate."
Do you want to be a pillar in the Kingdom? Can you say, "Yes, sir," to a one-man rule?
Brethren, take heed lest you find yourselves counted unworthy to escape these things which will come upon the earth. The beast power is on the scene!
The Key of David television program with Gerald Flurry will air again starting in December. Please prayerfully watch and ask that the will of our Almighty Father in heaven be done in your life. I do.
Grace Aga Bales
Big Sandy, Texas
What would Jesus keep?
Herbert W. Armstrong always said, "Don't believe me--what I say--but believe what you read in your Bible." Do we still base our religious beliefs on the principle of believing what the Bible says? If so, then please consider the following.
Christ did keep the Feast of Tabernacles (He was a Jew and was required to keep it).
But, after He started His New Testament Christian Church of God, none of His followers kept the Feast of Tabernacles. The apostles didn't keep it; the deacons didn't keep it; the elders didn't keep it; the members didn't keep it.
That's a biblical fact, an undeniable fact.
How would Mr. Armstrong want us to respond to this?
Paul and Micki Herrmann
Don't think on those other things
When Christians get saved, get baptized, get repentance, get born again, get the truth or whatever else they call it, they know they are not supposed to do evil. Why is it that when Christians "stop sinning" they become obsessed with everyone else's sins?
Surely if we put sin out of our lives we need to get our minds off sin. Paul in Philippians 4:8 says, "Think on these things."
Christian fellowship should not be based on sin-oriented dialogues, whether written or spoken. The secret to be righteous is not to be an expert on sin. Christ, "who knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21), is the secret to righteousness.
At times Jesus commented on sin when asked, but the dialogue He constantly chose was righteousness.
Is it any wonder--when people's dialogue is basically doom, tragedy, the past, the future, the things we do not agree on, how important we are, how much more informed and righteous we are then others, a pity party and other non-Christ-based dialogues--that we have discord and strife?
What happened to peace, joy, love, hope, faith, trust, respect and all the other wonderful things Christ is, was and will be forever? Amen.
Regarding the article in the Aug. 31 issue about my Southern-gospel tape ministry ["COG Member Sings the Praises of God and Southern Gospel"], I've heard from people from all over, including Kentucky and California and even a response from Bangui, Central African Republic.
I send each person a listing of the tapes available. However, as much as I would love to send the tapes out to all who are interested in them, I cannot send them out free because of the cost of blank tapes, boxes, labels, insert cards, shipping bags and tape duplication. One of the biggest costs is shipping and handling. My income is very limited.
I'm heavy at heart to have to say I must have help with this ministry. I cannot bear the cost of making the tapes and paying the shipping and handling on them. Just to make and ship one tape, you're looking at no less than $4. Around $1.50 of that is for the shipping bag and postage.
I never started this ministry to make money from it. That's why I've never asked for anything but donations. I've just wanted to get God's Word in song out there to people who may not be able to hear it any other way.
If there is anyone out there who feels this same burden and can help keep this ministry going, please get in touch with me. If I don't get any help, then I'll have to quit the tape ministry.
I will not put a set price on these tapes. If God doesn't provide, then this ministry will end.
Michael E. Mayfield
Phone (812) 665-2827
326 Williams St.
Jasonville, Ind. 47438, U.S.A.
For people who wish to consider ordering his tapes, Mr. Mayfield has available a list of them. Since he has limited funds, THE JOURNAL suggests sending a self-addressed envelope to the above address and further suggests that each U.S. requester affix a 37-cent stamp to the envelope.
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