What's in issue No. 23, Dec. 31, 1998?

Two elders (Raymond Cole and Bryce Clark) talk about the split in the Church of God the Eternal. Alan Ruth interviews both men for The Journal. Differences include whether certain holidays (for example, Mother's Day and Thanksgiving) are pagan and who is more faithfully following the faith once delivered through WCG founder Herbert W. Armstrong. Another bone of contention involves specific unclean meats.

Journal writer Mac Overton interviews Larry Salyer, the new president of the Global Church of God, and quotes Global elder Raymond McNair on plans after the November breakup of the church. Mr. Overton asked Mr. Salyer whether he sees God's hands in the church's division into two camps. Is it a loyalty test to separate the wheat from the chaff?

Mr. Overton also interviews John Ogwyn, an elder in the new Living Church of God, founded in November by Roderick Meredith (who founded Global in 1993). In the split, most Global members, including most elders, have moved to the LCG. Mr. Ogwyn told The Journal that LCG income is "running at 75 percent of the [Global] presplit level."

The Journal's Bill Stough checks to see how the Global split is playing in Peoria. Well, maybe not actually Peoria, but other towns in Illinois and Missouri.

Thing are looking up for a Church of God member accused of a 1974 murder of a policeman. The Tyler, Texas, police would rather release the church member than show prosecutors their evidence. Also, police have learned that guns seized during the arrest of the member and his brother do not match any of those stolen at the time of the murder.

A Church of God member who found himself selling silk plants on street corners to make a living has helped organize the Building Bridges Sabbath Gathering in Arizona. Wayne Speed says Building Bridges is a way for Church of God brethren to keep in contact with each other now that they are divided into many groups. Building Bridges meets one Sabbath a month at 10:30 a.m., when no regularly scheduled congregations' meetings are scheduled in the area. Readers may remember Mr. Speed's article in the January-February 1997 issue of The Good News (published by the United Church of God, an International Association) about his turnaround from poverty and eking out a living selling silk plants on street corners. In the Good News article he described getting back on his financial feet and starting up a truck-driving school.

Letters to the editor contain corrections about the number of elders in the Christian Biblical Church of God (pastored by Fred Coulter) and the proper name of the church founded by David Hulme and friends; an apology for a practical joke that backfired involving Global and Living founder Roderick Meredith; passionate letters from Global and Living supporters; and an epistle from J. Kelley in answer to the November letter from IRS employee and Church of God member Dean Hardester about Y2K.

On The Journal's "Columns and Commentary" page, Drury Sylvester expresses his frustration with the Y2K debate (people describe the problem but offer few constructive and realistic recommendations, he complains); Jeff Patton, former Global Church of God managing editor of publications, is following the Global-Living split; Garry Pifer, a UCG elder, expounds on the "elders who rule well" (he says "rule" is mistranslated in the KJV); Abigail Syltie reports on her stay last summer with an Amish family in northern Missouri (the family helpfully arranged for her and her sister to meet with other Sabbatarians on the Sabbath during the visit); Dave Havir compliments you if you're not an exclusivist but wonders if you could be an elitist; and Melvin Rhodes says The Journal makes "democracy intolerable" (but don't quote him out of context).

In the next-to-last installment in The Journal's series on the nature of Jesus Christ, Ian Boyne takes on Gary Fakhoury. Mr. Fakhoury has brought up several salient points that binitarians must deal with, writes Mr. Boyne, who defends the Churches of God's traditional beliefs on the nature of God and Christ. But, says Mr. Boyne, Mr. Fakhoury's points are answerable. (Scheduled for the January issue is the last in the series, written from a unitarian point of view by a Church of God elder and former church pastor.)

A Cincinnati congregation of the United Church of God, an International Association, invites Christian Educational Ministries' Ron Dart to speak at its December "family tournament" and get-together. Read the print version to see what happened when certain United elders got wind of the invitation. The Journal interviews Mr. Dart, Jim O'Brien (the Cincinnati pastor) and Roy Holladay (a United council member).

The Christian Leadership Academy changes the focus for its Russellville, Ark., campaign and attracts a varied crowd. CLA founder Alfred Harrell says honing in on the Sabbath instead of trying to include many Church of God teachings contributed to a good turnout. Next stop for the CLA: West Memphis, Ark., Jan. 23.

The antimorality campaign to legitimize sexual deviancy and other manifestations of immoral behavior is the " scam of the century," says Brian Knowles, who reviews a new book by Gordon Muir. "Dr. Muir writes with the indignation of a prophet," reports Mr. Knowles. "If you are a parent or a minister, you need this book."

In the midst of the Church of God wars, Journal writer Bill Stough thought it would be a good idea to report on dramatic answers to prayers. So he interviewed several people with fascinating stories to tell. They run the gamut from a healed hamster to a possible resurrection to freeway traffic freezing in time.

The independent United Church of God Big Sandy sponsored its "Building Bridges Celebration Weekend" Dec. 25-27. Jill Hughes, visiting from Coopersburg, Pa., writes of a successful get-together attended by people from all over the country, including several singers from Southern California.

The Association for Christian Development moves into new offices in Washington state.

Two members of the council of elders of the UCG-AIA hear the appeal of a church family that was suspended from attending Sabbath services a year and a half ago. Gary Antion and Roy Holladay listened to the statements of Tim and Hope Lindholm of the Minneapolis, Minn., area.

The UCG-AIA plans its fifth general conference, which this time will be in Cincinnati March 6-8.

The Church of God International releases its 1999 schedule of events, which includes a Bible Study Weekend near Tyler, Texas, in April.

The Canadian Church of God is organizing a midwinter " spiritually refreshing weekend" for Jan. 23-24 in Ontario.

" Notes and Quotes" includes the Worldwide Church of God moving its Sabbath services off the former campus of Ambassador University and Servants' News' examination of the role of Herbert Armstrong in the Church of God.

This issue also includes a front-page picture of the "Karen brethren" in Thailand. Letters to the editor also include an informative note from one of the Karens, Thaw Thi Ko. The Karen brethren have been written up several times recently in The Journal.

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