Letters from our readers: Readers discuss Gideon's 144,000 and 'Malachi's Message'


Just a correction to your article ["Representatives Tell Requirements for Congregation Membership in COGOM," June 27]: When you quoted me you said I used the name of Yahoya. In fact, I spell and pronounce the YHWH as Yahowah. You have the correct spelling for the name of the Messiah.

I wouldn't want people to think that we have some really far-out idea of how to spell and pronounce the YHWH, especially considering that there is, to my knowledge, no evidence or linguistic reason for the pronunciation of the YHWH as Yahoya. We have enough challenges getting people not to misconstrue what we stand for without adding to that confusion.

Your help would be appreciated.

Mark Rattee

Delta, B.C., Canada


Megadisappointment on our article on the Grand Junction picnic reported in The Journal July 31, page 14.

Unfortunately, one word was mistyped. It turns out it was the most important word. It was (more than) seventy who attended, not seven. Your readers might wonder why you ran this one if it involved only seven of us.

We're hoping to do this again with better preparation before the warm weather ends.

Richard Traver

Clifton, Colo.

Three essays, three comments

I would like to comment on two articles and a letter from the July 31 issue of The Journal:

  • Page 9, " 'How Did You Come Into the Church?' Question Seems Passe," by Bernie Monsalvo.

If I may be allowed to use some of the phraseology contained within his article, I would like to say that Bernie's article is right on! He's no wimp! Boy, he's strong! Boy, he is speaking out on something we never (I might say rarely) hear anything about!

I find his article to be a well-balanced perspective on what has happened, is happening and will continue to occur among the people of the various Churches of God. May we all think about what Bernie has written, seriously take to heart his rather humorous article, judge ourselves and, if necessary, rend our hearts before our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, so that we may become the "workmanship of Their hands" that God desires.

  • Page 18, "The View From Lonedell: How Can We Achieve Unity?," by Bill Stough.

I appreciated Bill's article as it helped me to think of unity as something that may be godly, based on scriptures contained within the Word of God, as opposed to another type of unity that is somehow forced upon people. God will not force unity on anybody, but His Spirit will lead us into a godly unity.

I found it interesting that this article makes mention of the Vine (true, unconcealed, revealed) of John 15. Although this part of the article stressed the importance of our direct connection to the True Vine, we should not overlook the Husbandman. The Husbandman, our Father, supported and still supports the True Vine.

The article helped me to reconsider God's people and their part as branches within that True Vine. If it weren't for the Husbandman, John 6:44, we would not have had the opportunity to be connected to the True Vine. These all work together in unity when the sap (God's Holy Spirit) is flowing!

  • Page 2: There's one letter in particular, titled "Letter From Mom," by Charlotte M. Stith, that, in my mind, is full of new truth that is not biblically based. I'll just comment on one aspect of the letter as food for thought:

"Satan is not a righteous ruler, either, but he still holds a 'head office' in the Kingdom of God."

But it can be easily biblically proven that the Kingdom of God, which will not be inherited by flesh and blood, has not been established upon earth yet. We continue to pray "Thy Kingdom come."

Additionally, those who will be a part of God's Kingdom must inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:29). Although it is true that Satan, who was "a murderer from the beginning . . . and a liar" (John 8:44), is a spirit being, he is not in the Kingdom of God now, nor will he ever be.

Why not? Because God's Word, 1 John 3:15 in particular, states that "no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."

My thanks and appreciation are extended to all three authors and to The Journal for such thought-provoking articles that can have a positive influence upon God's scattered people in these end times.

John Gordon

Nashua, N.H.

Checks and balances

We heard of a cash-flow problem at The Journal. We can and will offer support. Enclosed is a donation of $20, and we will pray to our heavenly Father to begin a matching-gift program. We cannot imagine life without you and all you provide.

Checks and balances are important at this time in all the Church of God, and you are a primary part of that process. Keep working, and let us know if more help is required.

Bonnie Seashore

Tucson, Ariz.

Thanks much for your kind letter and your help. The Journal could not survive without our readers' support. Another way for readers to help is simply to spread the word about this newspaper; we need to double or even triple our circulation. Also, in our opinion, The Journal makes a great gift for family and friends.

The ins and outs of context

In the years since I left the old WCG, I have become more deeply convicted than ever that one of the reasons doctrinal problems persist within the WCG universe is the continuing application of poor exegetical methodology. Take, for example, the issue of context.

It has often been said in scholarly circles that "text without context is pretext." So often verses are ripped out of their contextual settings and strung together with other verses as proof texts for a position already taken.

We could call this the string-of-pearls approach to doctrine. If this method were appropriate, all we would need would a topical Bible or a concordance to form doctrine.

One area in which this problem shows up most often is that of audience. Who is the audience for a given scriptural statement? To whom is the author addressing himself? It makes a difference.

If the writer of a text is addressing Jews-that is, those who practice the religion of Judaism-we can best understand the application of those words in that context. If, on the other hand, the writer is talking to non-Jews-goyim, or gentiles-we have an entirely different context.

The documents that comprise the New Testament do not all address identical audiences. Some are addressed to Jews, others to gentiles and some to mixed audiences.

The requirements and applications of Mosaic law-from the time of Moses onward-were never identical for Jews (or Israelites) and for non-Jews. Some Christians-all the original ones-were Jews. Others were gentiles. The Jewish apostles did not require that the non-Jewish believers become Jews and therefore "debtor[s] to do the whole law" (Galatians 5:3).

The book of Hebrews would have made little sense to non-Jewish believers who had no background in the Old Testament scriptures. It was addressed primarily to Jews. It must therefore be understood in that context. The discussion of the Sabbath in Hebrews 4 could readily be comprehended by Jewish believers.

In New Testament times there were Jewish Christians and non-Jewish Christians. The legal requirements for each were not identical. The Jewish believers were not required to give up their Judaism to become followers of Yeshua. The gentile believers were not required to become Jews to follow the Jewish Messiah. Yet, in Christ, the two groups came together as one (Galatians 3:28-29).

Initially the church was 100 percent Jewish. It continued that way for at least a decade. During that time it never occurred to any of the Jewish apostles or other believers to abandon their Judaism in favor of a new religion called Christianity. They simply added to their Judaic belief and practice the teachings of Jesus the Messiah.

When the goyim began to fellowship with them, they did so in their synagogues and home churches. That means the gentiles did essentially what the Jewish believers did, when they did it: on the Sabbath and holy days.

When the number of gentiles in the church grew substantial, the issue of what to require of them arose naturally. It is this type of situation that gave rise to the Jerusalem conference described in Acts 15. The decisions of that conference are recorded there and elsewhere in the New Testament. Letters were sent out to the predominantly gentile congregations (each of which was independent).

Acts 21:15-25 records a later discussion of what Paul taught the Jews in the congregations he raised up vs. what he taught the gentiles. Here we see that the Jerusalem apostles and Jewish believers were continuing in their Judaism, that Paul himself was, that he did not teach his Jewish followers to abandon their Judaism, but that the non-Jews were not required to be circumcised and become Jews in practice. The apostles referred to their earlier letter on this point.

In viewing the letters of Paul, we must first identify his audience and the context of what he is saying to it. Are they Jews or gentiles? Is it a mixed congregation as in Rome? At what points in the letters does he address Jews and at what points gentiles?

These are important exegetical distinctions. As G. Gordon Fee writes in his excellent "New Testament Exegesis": "The key to good exegesis is the ability to ask the right questions of the text in order to get at the author's intended meaning. Good exegetical questions fall into two basic categories: questions of content (what is said) and of context (why it is said)" (p. 31).

If you read a statement that starts out, "The Bible says . . .," be careful! The Bible's words must be seen in terms of content and context.

Another danger signal is the indiscriminate use of the term "God's law." The Torah (in this context, the first five books of Moses) contains 613 specific mitzva'ot, commandments. Of these, 365 are negatives (thou shalt nots), and 248 are positives (thou shalts). Not all of them apply to all people equally all of the time. The issue with biblical law is appropriate application.

In the Middle Ages the Jewish sage Moses Maimonides determined that of the 613 laws in Torah only 271 applied to "the present era."

In the Talmud the Jewish sages asked themselves which divine laws applied to the gentiles. They arrived at what they called the "Noachide" laws. In the Noachide system were six commandments. Later, scholars determined that these were actually law categories, containing 66 specific imperatives, all of which dovetailed with commandments found in Torah.

The apostle Paul did not impose upon his gentile followers the entire Mosaic system as it applied to Jewish believers. Rather, he taught the gentiles halakically out of Moses. His focus here was mainly on moral law and laws pertaining to issues of idolatry. The laws that were viewed as boundary markers of Jewish identity were not applied to non-Jews.

Brian Knowles

Arcadia, Calif.

Tabernacles trilogy


The time has come, that autumn fest,

When the fruits of harvest, gathered and blessed,

Are joyfully stored to feed this clay pot

Which houses God's Treasure, while itself will rot

Into dust; yet in our Savior do we thrive,

While in this clay pot we struggle and strive.


We're restless pilgrims in this evil age,

Battling always our earthly desires;

We groan and sigh in this carnal cage,

But, filled with hope and Spirit inspired,

We press on till this clay pot cease,

And at last enter into true life and peace.


The cold winds blow, the frosts draw nigh;

The leaves are cloaked in colors of death.

We pass life's autumn and then we die,

To leave this clay pot for a life more blessed.

Nathan Hawke

Fayetteville, Ark.

Wants volume discount

I am going to lend my Bible Story books [books written and illustrated by Basil Wolverton that were once published by the Worldwide Church of God] to some brethren for their grandchildren. I have two Volume IIs and no Volume I. If someone has an extra Volume I he is willing to give away or sell to me, please send me a message at my E-mail address,

Barbara Turner

Via the Internet

Guess who?

I know an organization that has been around for many centuries, and its members talk about a man who lived about 2,000 years ago named Jesus.

They talk about His life and the many miracles He performed. They talk about being saved by believing in and accepting this man they call Jesus.

They claim that after this man died He was resurrected to eternal life and that He is leading their organization and inspiring the success of their mission to convert the world to become followers of this man they call Jesus.

Over the centuries this organization has slaughtered millions of people who did not want to accept the man this organization calls Jesus.

If you read Fox's Book of Martyrs you will find that this man they call Jesus is inspiring this organization to be intolerant toward those who will not accept him.

"The president of Turin, after giving a large sum for his life, was cruelly beaten with clubs, stripped of his clothes, and hung feet upwards, with his head and breast in the river: before he was dead . . .

"At Barre great cruelty was used, even to young children . . ." (Fox, "The Bartholomew Massacre at Paris, Etc.").

This man they call Jesus has inspired a lot of blood to be spilled through inquisitions down through the centuries.

And He has also put His blessings on both combatants in war. How many men have charged to the front lines of the battle to be slaughtered by other men who are also members of the same religious organization that follow this man they call Jesus?

Now, I hope you can see by now that this man they call Jesus is not the carpenter's son who lived on earth 2,000 years ago! This man they call Jesus is none other than Satan the devil masquerading as Jesus Christ, and the organization that he has used to slaughter millions of innocent people down through the centuries is patterned after pagan Rome, identified in the Bible as Mystery Babylon the Great!

The real Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God the Father, inspiring His small, persecuted flock to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the whole world. His gospel points to His imminent and powerful return to earth.

At that time He will utterly destroy the wicked military systems of this world that come out to fight Him. He will avenge the blood of all the innocent people on these evil worldly governments that have been inspired by Satan.

He will take this being the great false church calls Jesus and bind him for 1,000 years during the millennial rule of the real Jesus Christ on this earth and not up in heaven. He will take the physical leader of the great church, the false prophet and the leader of the coming beast power and have them cast into the lake of fire.

But before this all happens that church will try to force its false Jesus down the throats of millions of innocent people. Persecution and martyrdom will rear their ugly heads once again as the man they call Jesus goes on a rampage and tries to stamp out God's true saints in a fit of hellish rage before the return of the real Christ.

Wake up, modern Christianity! Come out of this Babylon of religious confusion and be not partaker of her plagues! Turn to the real Jesus Christ! He came to save the world, not to martyr God's true saints!

Donald Raymond Wheatley

Greenville, N.C.

We walk the line

I see The Journal as an independent contributor to help God's people. The paper is fiercely independent. The editors walk a fine line, choosing what is really news and useful information vs. private positions ranging from venting off to ravings and rantings. I, for one, enjoy the balance.

I may not agree, theologically, with every article, but I believe that exposing myself to fine writers such as Gary Fakhoury, Lee Lisman, Larry Walker, Molly Antion, Jim Franks, Mac Overton, Norm Edwards and Dixon Cartwright helps me develop new perspectives on topics that we may never see discussed in a local-church setting or in a group's bulletin or newsletter.

All of these writers have been published in The Journal, thus rendering a service to the people of God.

Bernie Monsalvo

Gladewater, Texas

Not a cheapskate

I am pleased to hear you ran that nice little piece Brian Knowles wrote about his relationship with ACD ["Why I Write for Associates for Christian Development," July 31]. It cost us a bundle to bribe him to do it!

Anyway, I've heard good things about your publication, The Journal, and would like to receive it. Sign me up for a year. My money goes in the mail to you today.

Keep up the good fight!

Kenneth Westby

Tukwila, Wash.

Mistaken identity

In the cover story of the July-August issue of the Global Church of God's magazine The World Ahead, written by Roderick C. Meredith, and in a recent booklet by Garner Ted Armstrong of the Church of God International an old church misunderstanding is perpetuated: the claim that the man of sin (or Antichrist) will be a leader of a great religion.

Since the man of sin "exalts himself above all that is called God" (2 Thessalonians 2:4), he certainly won't allow worship of anyone but himself. By contrast, the false prophet directs the entire world's worship toward the first beast (Revelation 13:12) and so will not believe he himself is God.

Therefore, the false prophet, who will be a miracle-working religious leader, cannot be the man of sin. That title belongs to the first beast, in whose presence he is empowered to perform miracles and who is clearly the false prophet's superior.

Christ himself implies the end-time desecration of the temple will be carried out by someone coming in the spirit of Antiochus Epiphanes, who, like his predecessors Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar (and later Hitler), will be a political-military dictator who also controls the religious leader of his day.

Believing the coming end-time leader of the beast power will be the great religious leader is a case of mistaken identity that seems to stem from Protestant thinking centuries ago.

Geoffrey R. Neilson

Olivedale, South Africa

Thin ice

I would like to be counted as a disciple of Herbert W. Armstrong along with Mrs. La Ravia. [See "Open Letter to The Associated Press," by Gwen La Ravia, June 27, page 2]. I did not know him personally, but I saw him on several occasions and heard him speak hundreds of times and read everything I could get my hands on that he wrote or was written about him.

In my opinion, Mr. Armstrong was one of the greatest leaders this world has ever known. Under different circumstances, he could have been a Winston Churchill or Franklin D. Roosevelt, but God chose to have him raise up a church instead.

As soon as he understood that God was calling him and what was required of him, he put everything he had into it with zeal and energy that was almost superhuman. His whole life was the work of God.

Mr. Armstrong was careful about proving all things and would teach nothing that was not backed up by God's true Word, and he was not afraid in the least to teach the truth when it was not popular. He knew that he had many enemies. He took the approach that, if they didn't like him because he taught the truth, then so be it. He taught the truth anyway.

To those of you who read this and don't like Mr. Armstrong, I would say be careful. In my opinion, you are messing with God's anointed and treading on thin ice.

Royal Quisenberry

Freeport, Mich.

King David's rating

After reading Dan White's article (June issue) about the materialism and worldliness of Herbert W. Armstrong et al., this backwoods Canadian of 35 years of tithing asks:

When Dan White left in 1985, did he ever find a church to meet his standards? My feeling is that David's deeds were far worse than Mr. Armstrong's, but look where King David rates today.

Bill Storey

Edmonton, Alta., Canada

1988 Olds

I found Dan White's article on materialism and the church [June 27] interesting, humorous and for the most part true. As a 1984 graduate of Ambassador, I found it hard not to agree with the majority of the article. As a current member of the Worldwide Church of God, I have my share of disagreements.

However, I found it troubling and puzzling that Dan White considers teaching against racism a negative, relegating it to nothing more than "warm and fuzzy phrases" that should be replaced with the question "Who is the beast?"

With an excellent point made against materialism in the first 80 percent of the article, Dan disappointingly demonstrated at the end that he is just another frustrated malcontent who seems happy to observe from a distance and tear down, rather than get in the game and do his part to promote the positive message of the gospel.

He was aggressive about noting Mr. Armstrong's Cadillac and Rolls-Royce, but noticeably silent about the 1988 Oldsmobile that Joseph Tkach Jr. drives.

Personally, I am happy to rejoice in the fact that my brothers and sisters in United, Global and other groups are doing some positive things to promote the gospel and that we have much in common. Why doesn't that seem to work in reverse?

Tony Campo

Draper, Utah

Gideon's 144,000

I would like to congratulate Dave Havir on his June 27 article, "Learn the Lessons of Gideon's Army." It's a good one. But I also feel the lesson of Gideon's army can teach another lesson, about what the Church of God went through two years ago.

In 1995 the WCG came out with many new teachings that challenged the church to prove the truth to itself. Those who knew the truth and proved it to themselves left the WCG because they could not support the WCG's new teaching, which was contradicting the Bible. The true followers of Jesus Christ follow Him and not a man or his organization (Revelation 14:4). This first phase you could call "God reducing the number from 32,000 to 10,000."

The second phase, from 10,000 to 300, is just around the corner when God tests His people through fire in the period of mass chaos, war and rebellion (Daniel 12:1): the period from the coming great stock-market crash until the beast comes into power. This will be the most critical phase of all to come. You could say that those whom God decides to leave alive-the 144,000 underneath His protection-are like Gideon's army of 300.

Robert Stos

Krapinske Toplice, Croatia

Calendar question

Would it be possible to publish a list of all the churches or groups to your knowledge that adhere to the keeping of the holy days by the astronomical calendar rather than the official Jewish calendar?

Sandra Pearson

Beckenham, England

Please see the listing of 108 Feast of Tabernacles sites on page 18 of the July 31 issue. You'll note that five calendar systems are used. Depending on the site, the first full day of the Feast falls on Sept. 16, Oct. 15, Oct. 16, Oct. 17 or Oct. 18. This year's traditional date, following the Jewish calendar, is Oct. 16. The other four dates represent sites that use some form of astronomical observation or calculation and reject all or part of the Jewish calendar or its postponements.

The power of prayer

One of the most powerful ways we can serve Christ and His church right now is to pray fervently for one another. Thousands of church members need our prayers now! Many members are wrestling with severe family, financial and health problems. Others (at least 30,000 to 40,000) are so disillusioned that they have stopped attending any church. These deeply wounded people need our support and prayers.

A prayer list with many specific requests for intervention is being distributed every week through E-mail by Rosemary Halley. Please subscribe to the list and submit your requests for those in need of God's help by E-mail Rosemary at

Thank you for your hard work. The Journal is awesome.

Richard Griffiths

Manhattan, Kan.

An article about Mrs. Halley's Prayer Lines E-mail forum begins on page 14 of this issue.

A fist in your phrase

In the July 31 issue I thoroughly enjoyed the letter from Bruce Porteous titled "The Churches of God Must Unite." I found the article by Rick Sherrod, "Are We Right Where We're Supposed to Be Today?," to provide hope and encouragement in this divided period that the Churches of God find themselves in.

I have prayed many times that a magic wand could be waved that would unite the various Churches of God. However, it is evident that, with the attitudes exhibited by some of the writers and contributors to The Journal, the unity that many of us desire so deeply will not be achieved in the near future. For example, consider these quotes from the issue:

From a letter by John Wheeler: "So many heresies, so little space . . . Melvin Rhodes' preaching of the doctrine of the Antichrist . . . Mr. Giles shows no conception of how Greek grammar and syntax work, nor of the Hebraic background of the Greek of John 1:1-2 . . . Mr. Giles knocks down a straw man of his own . . ."

From a letter by Jess Bowman: "The primary reason Mr. Fakhoury believes his essay is that he is an author, and excerpts sell books!"

From a letter by Peter Orr: "Perhaps Mr. Cox was blind when he tried to read my letter as I did not mention Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO) . . . Mr. Cox's 'Judaic fantasy' claim should be what's placed in the absurd basket! Has he anti-Judaic prejudice that he wishes to air? . . . I encourage Mr. Cox to request the free Pimpernel Project paper . . . and take the time to read and understand so he can see the error of his ways."

From a letter by Wade Cox: "Richard shows an antischolar bias with the 'Frankly, Scarlet' comment. Fred Coulter's work is a farrago of faulty premises, all of which are examined in the appendix to our work on the Passover . . . The Passover argument is not correctly understood by any of these people. Sam Bacchiocchi is wrong . . . and Richard is wrong . . . The answer is that neither Sam nor Richard did adequate homework on this subject."

From "Wife Tells Gullys' Perspective," beginning on page 1: "And, of course, Jim has his own perspective on things . . . I did think the answer was very naive on Jim's part."

While I enjoy reading varied viewpoints on some topics (such as the calendar issue) [THE JOURNAL, Feb. 26 and March 26], I do not like an author to try to emphasize that his or her point is the only correct one by trashing other writers. I do not like to read phrases such as "other writers don't know what they are writing about" or "others use faulty premises" or "others are biased."

Please, writers, just tell us what you believe to be the truth, and use Scripture to prove your point!

Helen Casey

Huntsville, Texas

Daddy's little girl

I just finished reading Jamie Cartwright's article in The Journal ["At Pinecrest, Campers Learn All About Zone Defense," July 31]. It was totally enjoyable! She has a good command of everything: language, humor, "reporter's eye" and more. She sounds thoroughly delightful! I hope she gets to write many more articles from her teen viewpoint.

Sue Obermeit

Kenly, N.C.

Captive audience

I wanted to thank you for sending me The Journal the past six months. I still don't know who paid for my subscription. I won't be able to renew because the prison pay scale is not that great.

I hope you keep printing The Journal. To me it is like a Bible study. Even the letters let us know if God's people are thinking the way God thinks and if they, by their thoughts, are yielding to God's Word and His Spirit.

Letting your daughter write about going to camp [July 31, page 10]-God bless you. Jamie, you did a great job!

We need more young people to be involved. I was hoping United and Global would ask for and print such articles in their Good News and World Ahead magazines.

Cletus Pingle

Moberly, Mo.

Thanks to readers who have paid more than the price of their own subscriptions, we can provide a limited number of free subscriptions for readers who cannot afford them. We'll extend Mr. Pingle's subscription.

Friends from Imperial

Just got the latest Journal and think it's the best one yet. Great to get a report on the Church of God (Seventh Day) conference. Friends of ours attended, so it was good to get a report on it from you.

Appreciated the variety of articles in this issue. It was good to read about the Imperial School reunion because most of those kids came to AC in Pasadena when I was there.

Horst Obermeit

Kenly, N.C.

Where have all the fathers gone?

In his review of Dr. Sam Bacchiocchi's two volumes on the holy days (June 27 issue of The Journal), Richard Nickels states on page 21 that Part II: The Fall Festivals is a much better book than Part I: The Spring Festivals, because "gone are the constant references to Catholic fathers. Instead, he liberally quotes Jewish understanding of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles."

Back in 1981 I wrote to Dr. Sam requesting references to Christian observance of the fall festivals.

Dr. Sam replied: "I agree with your observation that the Christians abandoned very early the observance of some of the annual holy days. This is indeed the conclusion which I have drawn reading patristic literature of early Christianity. While we have frequent reference to Passover and Pentecost, we have no reference whatsoever to a Christian celebration, for example, of the Day of Atonement. It would seem to me that the Christians recognized very early that this [day] found fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ" (letter dated Dec. 15, 1981).

This would explain Richard Nickels' observation, "Gone are the constant references to Catholic fathers." The patristic literature contains hundreds of references to Christian observances of Passover and Pentecost, but few to Trumpets and Tabernacles and none regarding the Day of Atonement. I suspect that they were expecting Jesus to return during the spring festivals instead of the fall.

Even Elder John Kiesz [of the Church of God (Seventh Day)] did not observe the Day of Atonement, because he also felt that the day found fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. Leviticus 16:30 gives the reason for the day: to cleanse us of our sins, to make us clean before the Lord. Our High Priest did this once, and not every year, else He would have to suffer often (Hebrews 9:25-26). In sermons and by example, Elder Kiesz kept all the other holy days, but he kept Passover according to the Jewish calendar, on Sivan 6.

Robert J. Romagnoli

Reseda, Calif.

Pleasantly persistent

I have just read in one of the Church of God periodicals that apparently the latest mission of members of the WCG is to "help bring their Sabbath-keeping offshoots back to mainstream Christianity." The quote goes on to say "this has been informally announced in various WCG congregations."

They apparently plan to visit various Churches of God with the purpose of rekindling former friendships and relationships and extending invitations to get together.

I spoke to my local pastor today concerning this, and he verified that talk of such activity has in fact been heard. I had a personal conversation with a person in our congregation who told me of a phone call received last week from a WCG member and long-time friend. This person told me that the WCG member and old friend was pleasant albeit persistent in encouraging my friend to reconsider a doctrine that we hold as truth.

I bring this up because I feel that God's people need to remember that our adversary will never stop trying. It may be tempting to renew an old relationship we had to sacrifice to flee the apostasy of recent times.

Although I'm not by any means suggesting that God's people should treat anyone with deliberate hostility or turn away anyone who sincerely reaches out, I strongly encourage us to know and keep in mind such scriptural warnings such as 2 John 10-11 and Jude 22-23.

I also strongly encourage all teachers in the Church of God, whether pastors, elders, sermonette speakers or the like, to teach and reteach the basic truths of God. Some of us can remember when virtually everyone in God's church could explain from a colorfully marked Bible any of the basic doctrines of the church, whether they were actually up-front teachers or not. I encourage us to return to such a status.

One minister I know of uses the motto "Teach others to teach others." I think such an approach would not only have merit in the current atmosphere, but would serve to reinforce the gospel armor in these ever-challenging times.

Peter Kamen

Milford, Conn.

Contented reader

Thanks for the replacement copies of The Journal for May and June. I am a happy reader of this newspaper with a two-year subscription.

Please extend my thanks to everyone responsible for putting together this Church of God newspaper.

Robert Rush

Holyoke, Mass.

Lest we forget

I have been wondering for some time about a way of preserving our wonderful and rich heritage of taped material of the WCG during its golden years, especially videos and audios of Herbert W. Armstrong and other senior men, The World Tomorrow and Young Ambassadors and Feast films.

Perhaps ministers in each region could announce a coordinated church audit of Mr. Armstrong's tapes and material. Local committees could then appoint someone to undertake research and an audit of what is available in their churches. National coordinators could then collect the lists from the local churches and create a database of what is needed.

Gradually we could have the tapes copied and stored in central locations by the various WCG offshoots. I think it is important that we preserve Mr. Armstrong on both videotape and audiotape. It never ceases to amaze me that we have forgotten him so quickly.

Why should we be the only church in world history that has not kept a history of itself and memoirs of our deceased leader?

The sooner we start on this project coordinated by each national office, the better.

Craig White

Sydney, Australia

Have the right reasons

Regarding "Is Observance of the Sabbath Required for Salvation?" (June 27): Sabbath-keeping to get salvation is an exercise in futility; nor does Sabbath-keeping with that motive follow the edict: "Do all to the glory of God."

Beth Linehan

Hudson, Wis.

Two little books

I wish to give my opinion about the little book Malachi's Message, by Gerald Flurry, pastor general of the Philadelphia Church of God, in which he states that every holy man and woman will admit that this is the book.

Mr. Flurry believes that Herbert W. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah and restored everything. According to Mr. Armstrong, the Bible is complete and there are no prophets for this end time, except the two witnesses.

In Revelation 10 this book is discussed, and verses 3, 4 and 7 speak about seven thunders, of which humanity is in ignorance, but they are declared to his servants.

Seven is God's number. Could the seven mysteries that Mr. Armstrong wrote in his book Mystery of the Ages be these seven thunders? Could Mystery of the Ages be the little book that Mr. Flurry so desperately wants to set free in his court struggle with the Worldwide Church of God?

I'm sure that Mr. Armstrong's book could be the little book of Revelation, and shouldn't you give it a thought, Mr. Flurry? I admit I could be wrong, but I can't believe Malachi's Message is something that should be thought of as holy.

If the little book has been written, the honor should go to Mr. Armstrong, the end-time Elijah, who restored all things (Matthew 17:11).

Name withheld

Pretoria, South Africa

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