The Journal: News of the Churches of God at

Letters to the Editor

I just read the article "Sabbath-Keepers Face Crisis in Tajikistan Civil War" [Nov. 18]. By the time I got to the part about the Russian colonel having his arms and ears cut off, my heart fell clear to my feet. I couldn't believe it. As soon as I finished the article, I gave it to my wife, and she read it.
There are several Sabbath-keeping churches, and I get most of their newsletters, and there was nothing in them about these people in Tajikistan.

Let all people pray for these Sabbath-keepers and all of God's people everywhere. This is one more example why In Transition should not stop. I urge you to reconsider and continue to produce the newsletter. United Church of God, Global Church of God and Church of God International need to take your example and truly be a church for all of God's people.

Virginia and Ron Cook
Portland, Ore.

Need objective information
I was very disappointed to read of your decision to terminate In Transition. The publication has been of great service to the spiritual Church of God. The people need a publication of this nature to act as a clearinghouse and disseminate objective information.

The recent headline report concerning the Sabbath-keepers of Tajikistan [Nov. 18] serves as a good example. How else would those who are not associated with a corporate church group have learned of the needs of these people? How could we have responded to the request for financial support without the address provided in In Transition?

I suspect that someone else will fill the void left by In Transition. But will they do the job as well as you have? Only time will tell.

I sincerely hope you will change your mind and continue with this excellent tabloid. However, if you do discontinue it, then please refund the remainder of our subscription. Thank you for the service you and your staff have provided to the Church through In Transition.

Al Murrey
Baker City, Ore.

Back to the drawing board
Thank you for the In Transition of Nov. 18. On your map (page 5) the modern state of Romania (bordering Moldova) is falsely named Turkey.

The Baltic States, bordering Belarus and Russia, are labeled "Balkans," which is not correct as well.

Albert Miller
Ravensburg, Germany

Moving brethren moves heart
Thanks to all of you for the service you have provided the Churches of God.
My husband and I are members of the Garden Grove, Calif., United Church of God. We have also been part of the Friends of the Sabbath since its inception in Orange County, Calif.

We have thoroughly enjoyed the newspaper. Thanks a million for the update on the Sabbath-keepers' move from Tajikistan to Ukraine. We have been following Mr. Kubik's column on the Web. It really moves our hearts to see the fine example of other Sabbath-keepers.

Mr. and Mrs. David Davis
Westminster, Calif.

Banner issue
Your Dec. 16 issue was a banner issue, especially the sermon reprint of Aaron Dean.
We have three issues to go and don't want to receive a subscription refund.

Thanks for all the hard work of providing this newspaper of the transition.

Harley and Myra Mills
Chattaroy, Wash.

Two of the best
The article "Have We Flunked the Test on the Church?" [Oct. 28] and the essay on the Trinity [Sept. 16, Oct. 28 and Nov. 18] were very good; in fact, two of the best you have printed.
Too bad you are not going to continue to publish In Transition anymore.

While I may not agree with what is printed, it makes me think. It also may give me scriptures to reinforce my beliefs. You know, "iron sharpens iron."

If you could continue publishing In Transition while focusing on the essays and articles in addition to news of the different churches, that would be good.

Melvin Chun
Honolulu, Hawaii

Seat of Moses
A lot of people have lost sight of what has taken place with the scattering of our brethren because of the apostate changes made by our former association and the significance of these events in our present Church history; i.e., a falling away from the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:3). God is not pleased with anyone who blatantly tries to change His words and teach false doctrine to others (Revelation 22:18, 19).

The article by Phillip Neal in the September issue stated that we are to honor those sitting in Moses' seat no matter how evil they are. With the establishment of the New Testament Church on Pentecost, Christ placed converted men in charge of the affairs of the church, not the Pharisees. Peter, in Acts 15, stood up and addressed the Jerusalem council, settling the conflict over circumcision.

Mr. Neal's argument that we have all failed the test of government for not staying in and following the administration of Worldwide Church of God is without scriptural grounds. We should instead follow the lead of the apostle John, who stated in 3 John 11: "Beloved, follow not which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God."
(1) Preach the gospel to the world as a witness; (2) feed the flock; (3) make disciples of all nations. Each one of us needs to ask the question: Where is my focus?

It would behoove all of us to heed the words of our Father spoken by the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good."

Willy Whiteaker
Coos Bay, Ore.

Church is a spiritual organism
Here is my full renewal in anticipation that you keep publishing. I believe In Transition has positive benefits. There is much to learn from people's comments even if there are negative ones sometimes. In Transition can help us to check our own attitudes and focus. In Transition can help brethren in outlying areas to stay in touch with what is happening in the Church of God "scattered."

To those that say they are in the only true Church of God "organization," remember Herbert W. Armstrong said that the Church of God is not a physical organization, but a spiritual organism.
To those that say we must stay loyal to the government God instilled in the Worldwide Church of God, look at the government God instilled with Lucifer. A third of the angels stayed loyal to that government.

Since the scattering, we find we are receiving our spiritual nourishment from the United Church of God along with the fellowship that is needed for continuous growth and stability. This was evident at the Feast of Tabernacles last year and this year at Whistler, B.C.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the UCG is where everyone should be. We must be openminded about this.

Merv Snyder
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Top-down article was tops
Fascinating article you wrote, "How WCG's Top-Down Rule Evolved" [Dec. 16]. Look forward to the next article.

You guys will be missed. Great publication. I always read it cover to cover.

Ron Masek
Cleveland, Ohio

Unnecessary digs at Mr. Armstrong
I felt the article "How WCG's top-down rule evolved" had some unnecessary "digs" at the WWC and in particular Mr. Herbert Armstrong. How many cups of coffee he drank at one meal as opposed to how many he said was "ideal"as the author of the article remembers forty-five years later.

You made the Church look suspicious and "secretive" when this was not intended at all. What about Christ speaking in parables? Was he making the Church secretive when he said "it is for YOU to understandbut not for THEM?

Although I had never heard of the armbands until Mr. Joe Tkach, Sr. took one of his many swats at the Church I don't doubt you are right. I started attending in 1964 and have never seen one that I remember. If I did see one I'm sure it made perfect sense that they would be used. At least it didn't stick in my mind as a negative thing.

I could go on and probably the second and last installment of the article will have more of the same. Some people look at a partially filled glass of water and see it half full, others see it half empty.
In closing, I guess it could be said that no matter what the author thought of or thinks of Mr. Armstrong or how the Church was structured and functioned through all he recalls, he must have thought it was still the best choice or he certainly would not have remained with such a strange organization with its flawed physical leader for over 40 years! I assume he feels he is with the best choice now.

The author also points out that Mr. Armstrong felt one way about church government in earlier years and something else developed later. Maybe one day it will be explained to our complete satisfaction, because it will come from the Creator Himself, that this was all part of God's plan to keep the Church intact until it was time for the big test that we have all gone through and which is still ongoing. Don't be too sure that what developed in the Church was wrong. Just make sure that what you might think is wrong does not become so big in your own mind that it destroys you.

Finally, good-bye In Transition! I have enjoyed this publication and feel it filled a need for some, but now it is obviously time for it to come to an end.

Richard Grass
Montpelier, Ind.

Need more formality
In Mr. Robinson's article "How WCG's Top-Down Rule Evolved" [Dec. 16], he mentions: "The 1950s-especially the first half-were a time of little formality in the local churches," with people calling each other by their first names.

It seems that in this upheaval we have lost too much of that formality. Are we falling into the snare of which 2 Peter 2:10 refers? "Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities." It doesn't seem to make much difference whether it is Worldwide Church of God, United Church of God, Global Church of God or Philadelphia Church of God.

What is important is "that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10). God is testing us if we are willing to obey Him and follow the Ministry He places over His church.

John Andreas
Beatrice, Neb.

1939 HWA article mentioned
Our subscription has run out with the December issue, but we would like to receive your last issue.

We are sorry you will not be publishing In Transition any longer, but certainly understand. We have seen the same things happening as you stated your concerns and reasons for ceasing publication.
John Robinson's article on government [Dec. 16] is very good and certainly his referring to the 1939 article.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lawrence
Beaverton, Ore.

Egg on the face
Thank you for your recent fax message regarding the article you're preparing on church government. I appreciate the opportunity to comment, since, you're even referring to me in the article.

You comment about Mr. Armstrong's 1939 article, "Did Christ Re-Organize the Church?". While your comments on this seem mainly fair, I personally feel that it is a crying shame that so many are now using that article-written very early in his full-time ministry-as though it reflected his full understanding and thinking.

Actually, as he has recounted to many of us, it was written somewhat in haste as a rebuttal against Andrew Dugger and others imposing their will on the Church in what he felt was an unfair manner.
As he brings out in his autobiography in Vol. 1, pages 557-558, "In those days, one biblical subject I was completely befogged on was this matter of Church organization and government." You can read the rest of his comments on this on page 558.

I have had him personally explain quite a number of times that he never fully grasped the issue of church government until the early-1950s. And that, of course, was exactly the time when Christ began to bless the Church with great growth.

In all fairness, I think it is important to point out that Mr. Armstrong-like anyone else-was supposed to GROW in grace and in knowledge. Among other things, he did grow in knowledge about church government. And to constantly refer to the 1939 article as though that were his basic understanding is both very unfair and very incorrect.

Finally, although I certainly agree that the issue of "setting dates" and church government were greatly over-emphasized during the late-50s and 60s, I feel that it is important for all of us to be careful of "putting down" the one most of us acknowledged that God used more than any man in modern history to restore truth to his church.

If we "attack" Mr. Armstrong's understanding of church government, and that understanding turns out to be basically correct and the very form which Christ uses in His coming millennial rule on earth-boy will we have egg on our face!

Roderick C. Meredith
San Diego, Calif.

Clarifying real problem in Spokane
I have really appreciated In Transition for the past several months. Thanks for a job well done. I especially appreciated the latest edition (Dec. 16). Your editorial was well put. I agree with your statement regarding where one should fellowship. I truly believe some who are in United Church of God, an International Association, should fellowship elsewhere, and let us get on with doing the work the way God inspired United to go in May 1995 (the Indy conference). Then maybe we would have peace within and can grow.

Also, thanks for clarifying the real problem in the Spokane UCG congregation. I have been on the board from the very beginning, and, as far as I am aware, there was never a "debate over whether to be entirely locally autonomous or part of a worldwide work" in UCG-Spokane as stated by David Treybig (In Transition, Dec. 16). The congregation and the board in Spokane have always wanted to be a part of the UCG-AIA. It is this attitude and insinuation that have caused a lot of the division in the Spokane congregation.

Thanks again for your paper. We will miss it.

Donna Kottke
Spokane, Wash.

Pastor, brethren deserve apology
I spoke on the phone with folks involved in the Miami (Fla.) brouhaha to verify the truth of the In Transition account. Both sides agree that Ron Smith was indeed (1) fired as pastor and (2) had his eldership revoked because of "job performance."

One thing that most of us (United, Independent and Global) have determined will never happen again since we have left the WCG and CGI is the abuse of power. Some believe in more government, some in less. But all of us recognize that the vilification and persecution of those who disagree must not reestablish itself.

We all recognize how easy it is for human nature to indulge in this temptation and how natural to justify. Why is it we can so easily recognize and condemn it in others but overlook it in the heat of the moment in ourselves?

It seems that the men who dealt with Ron Smith and the Miami members have lost sight of their commitment to never again tolerate the abuse of power. It is my wish that your article will wake them up to their mistake and encourage an apology to the Smiths and the South Florida members of United.

Thankfully, though I have disagreed on a number of issues with men over me, I have detected only understanding and tolerance from them. In the WCG, when I disagreed, I felt talked to! Now when I disagree I feel talked with. It makes it a joy to deal with the organization and removes so much of the stress.

Karl Beyersdorfer
Pastor, Global Church of God
Joplin, Mo.

Article wrong: Isn't the way it was
Being a member in the Fort Wayne, Ind., United Church of God, I must take exception to the article in the Dec. 16 issue under the title "UCG Grapples With Governance Woes." In the article they speak about Steve Sheppherd resigning from the ministry and how Victor Kubik, the regional pastor, came to let us express our thoughts about a new minister to replace him. Mr. Kubik did come, and we were able to express our thoughts to him.

In the article it was stated that, after "some weeks" while Mr. Kubik was out of town, a representative of the home office directly assigned a new pastor, with no attempt to inform or seek input from the members. This isn't the way it was. As I already stated, we had expressed our feelings to Mr. Kubik.

The minister who was sent to us as a temporary replacement had been our minister for several years when we were in WCG. Darris McNeely is a fine choice, and, as a matter of fact, before my wife and I left the WCG we had gone to Indianapolis to hear Mr. McNeely speak on the same Sabbath that Greg Albrecht was sent there to speak. We wanted to hear one of God's true ministers speak. As you can see, I don't agree with what Greg Albrecht teaches or the WCG.

I feel that we did have input as to a replacement minister we were given.

I also have had the opportunity to help with the mailing of In Transition. I am not in favor of In Transition's quitting publication. I will miss the opportunities to help in the mailing and the fellowship with these fine people whom I consider some of my best friends.

Lowell Elzey
Bluffton, Ind.

Home office not underhanded
In the Dec. 16 issue of In Transition, I believe there is an error that could cause undue suspicion toward the home office of the United Church of God. I am a member of the Fort Wayne UCG board and will verify that we did indeed have a very cordial meeting with Victor Kubik. During our discussion with Mr. Kubik, it was asked if there were any problem with Darris McNeely, and it was unanimously agreed there was none.

Mr. McNeely was the pastor of our Worldwide Church of God congregation several years ago, and almost everyone is familiar with him. He also was there for the beginning of the UCG as it first met in Bluffton, Ind., and then when it was finally located in Fort Wayne.

It is my understanding Mr. McNeely is our "interim" pastor and is a logical choice, since he pastors the UCG congregation in Indianapolis, which at one time was on a circuit with Fort Wayne. Almost everyone in our small (40-60) congregation knows what type of pastor Mr. McNeely is, since he has been in Indiana for many years and, as I said before, pastored the Fort Wayne WCG at one time. The home office would have no reason to believe there was a problem with the selection of Mr. McNeely and certainly did nothing underhanded.

Richard Grass
Montpelier, Ind.

The publishers of In Transition regret any discomfort caused by its reporting. In retrospect, we should have included a statement that the vast majority of the congregation was happy with the home office's choice of pastors. The point addressed in the article was not the selection of the pastor, rather the home office's role. We stated that the congregation gave its input to regional pastor Victor Kubik. We stand by our reporting and suggest that a core question is: Did the home office know what the congregation's input was?

Time to cease is overdue
After reading the article "UCG Grapples With Governance Woes," I am wondering if maybe your time to cease publication is overdue.

The above-mentioned article contains unsubstantiated assertions about the UCG congregations in the United States. If no statistical study of the UCG congregations has been done, how can the claims be stated or be accurate?

Your article mentions four specific congregations with what I perceive to be serious problems that certainly need to be resolved. I am not taking issue with the fact that these four congregations have problems, and serious ones at that. But there are 231 UCG congregations in the United States, pastored by 120 paid elders. I doubt that a truly statistical study has been done to make such assertions as 'many' members and a 'significant' number of elders. And talking to a few disgruntled members hardly qualifies as a study of a congregation.

I don't ascribe to the notion that we should ignore wrongdoing. On the other hand, I do see where your inflated assertions can incite, even create, anger and unhappiness. There was nothing wrong in reporting the problems of those four congregations. But to indicate that these problems are widespread in many congregations across the United States is poor journalism on your part.

In the past there were articles about problems in the CGI and GCG. At the times the articles were published, I had no reason to question the accuracy of the articles, because I don't attend either group and had no way of knowing the truth of the assertions. But now, having witnessed firsthand how your writers take a few problem congregations in the UCG and imply widespread problems in the UCG across the country, I am beginning to wonder about the accuracy of everything you print.

Helen Casey
Huntsville, Texas

A word of warning
My wife and I always look forward to reading In Transition, and we usually devour it in one or two days.

We are grateful for the service you have provided since Worldwide Church of God days: news of what is happening, leads to other publications, essays and especially letters that show what God's people are thinking. Thank you.

We have recently left the United Church of God as the true nature of the hierarchical government revealed itself in dealing with problems in our West Palm Beach congregation. In a totalitarian, control-oriented method-exceeding even the WCG's methods-our minister was fired. Why? Because many in our congregation (and Miami's) were beginning to think for ourselves about how things are going and began trying new formats and methods that didn't fit into "Arcadena's" mold.
False accusations were brought, no trial was held, and execution was carried out.

A word of warning to other United congregations. Open your eyes to what they are doing at the home office. They are regressing back to resurrect Worldwide in all its glory.

Robert M. Sipsky
Stuart, Fla.

Felt squelched for 40 years
We are disappointed to see In Transition die. It really doesn't seem fair.

We members finally had a public forum to express our views and feelings that had been squelched for about 40 years. Many ministers are glad to see you go because they've always been in power, and many lust to once again control God's people. Many simply lack imagination to really do things differently from the past and do things right for a change. There are extensive study papers that show the early church was not as rigidly controlled as we have been led to believe.

It is true that many ministers and members still believe that their organization is the one true church. But think of all the people who have come to see that isn't the case.

The people that don't want In Transition can always cancel their subscription.

Please reconsider the service you have provided and continue to do so. I hope that Servants' News will continue its service.

Melvin Hershberger
Kent, Ohio

Would Christ write about problems?
I've wanted to write and thank you for the work and service over the last number of months. I feel an important service has been rendered.

However, lately I've come not to feel so positively about the contents of the publication.
In the beginning, we had a common foe: the heresy of our former affiliation. Even though each of us has gone in a different direction, we had a commonality in standing up to heresy, exposing it and denouncing it.

However, that content has been replaced by "news" of the Churches: the good, the bad and the ugly!
I am in the United Church of God, and it hurts when you see negative material, even if some of it might be true, blazed abroad for all to see.

Now, I must admit that when I saw articles about the Global Church of God and Church of God International that reported negative news, it didn't really bother me too much! But it should have!
Yes, we all have the carnal tendency to want to hear "news" about others and pat ourselves on the back and say: "Hey! We're okay! We're pretty good. We don't have problems like that."

Well, that's our carnality at work, and I'm ashamed to say I felt that way!

Is it good for us to see or hear about our brothers' faults or woes and sit back and glee in it? Is it good for anyone to blaze abroad every problem and rumor? Would we want that done about us or our family?

Well, the UCG is my family, but I consider those in the GCG and CGI, etc., as brothers, too, and it should hurt to see or hear negative news about anyone.

In closing, I ask the question: Is this what Jesus Christ would personally do?

Barry Dubkowski
Nampa, Idaho

The publishers of In Transition also pose a question: Did Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Old Testament, inspire the less-than-flattering accounts of Noah, Lot, Eli, David and others? If the answer is yes, then to what end?

Camelgate, not Cookiegate
In your article "UCG Grapples With Governance Woes" (Dec. 16) under the subhead "Local Incorporation Discouraged," you begin: "The home office has openly tried to discourage the incorporation of local UCG congregations." You then appear to cite as a contributing factor an article in the June 3, 1996, New Beginnings by Steve Andrews.

Rather than discourage the local churches, this article attempts to educate those not readily familiar with federal IRS guidelines and regulations. Mr. Andrews expounds on the concepts of "private inurement" and "private benefit" as the government applies them to any and all groups wishing to organize for an exempt purpose. He advises readers to use wisdom with regard to how they write their charter and subsequently use their funds so as not to violate government guidelines.

Mr. Andrews explains the technical details of the law and gives practical advice on conduct at the local-church level so we don't commit the "sins" of "private inurement" and/or "private benefit." The result of such "sin" is the revocation of an organization's tax-exempt status.

He asks the question: "With respect to socials and other congregational activities, the question is, what may the church pay for and what should individuals pay on their own behalf?" He then elaborates, using examples such as the local congregation that sponsors a dinner and a dance, wants to send young people to summer camp, etc.

You state that in the judgment of many UCG elders and other brethren Mr. Andrews' presentation was so overstated that many elders privately began calling the incident "Cookiegate."
Characterizing any of Mr. Andrews' article as an example to "openly discourage the incorporation of local congregations" is a strain in my opinion and appears more of a case of Camelgate (Matthew 23:23-24) than Cookiegate.

David Helseth
Brandon, S.D.

Look for attack on church
I don't claim any "gift of prophecy," but I'm going to go out on a limb with this prediction for early 1997: Look for a government attack on one or more of the "Church of God" corporate organizations (perhaps akin to the the WCG's receivership situation in early 1979) that will force God's people everywhere to put aside their doctrinal and organizational quarreling and band together to fight against the common foe.

And look also for a situation that will force a greater degree of personal involvement in the gospel-proclaiming work by the organizations' individual members-such as a government-imposed shutdown of their broadscale media efforts (telecasts, radio broadcasts and publishing), thereby mandating more intense localized evangelistic efforts by congregations of God's people everywhere.
Just let the readers know that I work for the Internal Revenue Service at one of their facilities in Florence, Ky., and there were some people there who took quite an interest in the WCG's articles of incorporation that you published in In Transition's first issue (May 5, 1995), and especially the part where it read, "The corporation's books and records are deemed absolutely confidential and secret and no one may examine them without an Ecclesiastical Decision" renderable only by the organization's Pastor General." (What if the IRS decides they want to come in for an audit of the books-something I know they have done in the past?)

With that, my thanks for your efforts at In Transition. You had a quite informative publication while it lasted, even if I didn't agree with everything that was published in it during its lifespan. I'm only sorry that your noble efforts did not achieve the unity among God's people that you hoped it would, but you tried.

Michael E. Brandenburg
Dayton, Ky.

Unified by prophecy
Regarding the "New World Order" conspiracy studies, we need perspective and patience. We know that Germany (Assyria) will lead a 10-state resurrected Roman Empire to take the Anglo nations into captivity. How will American collaboration, U.N. troops and black helicopters be involved? We don't know.

Ezekiel 6:6 shows Israelite cities "laid waste." How will Germans at Holloman AFB be involved? We don't know. Can we know well in advance the date of these things? Absolutely not (Matthew 24:36).

To their critics: Don't be judgmental of the students. To follow news events is not wrong. Remember that some things are prophesied to happen. And don't automatically slam their facts. Something is true or false regardless of who says it.

The church should be unified by God's prophetic truth: what will befall Israel (physical and spiritual). Don't let detailed differences, misguided motivations and varying interest in this matter intensify the schisms. Let's benefit from and edify each other.

Lee T. Walker
Columbia, Mo.

Looking for a friend
I recently heard of your publication since I have been out of the WCG since 1979. Too bad you're ending.

Please help me with this request. In 1973 I found out about the WCG from a good friend from high school. She and her twin sister were baptized in 1973; I was baptized in 1974. We continued to be close friends. They married men from Canada and moved to Canada. I left the WCG in 1979. They, of course, would no longer speak to me.

I've since remarried and moved several times, and they've also moved. So I lost contact with both of them. Their mother (not a member) also moved. So I'm at a dead end. I recently contacted the WCG since their policies have changed. They told me they do not have current addresses on either the sisters or their husbands.

We were very close, and now that they are no longer members perhaps they will not fear speaking to me.

Please, before you end publication, print this letter to see if anyone knows them or how I could contact them. I would be so thankful. Perhaps they receive your publication.
Looking for information to locate Janis and Salvador Detrappini (nee Motta), Last known location: Montreal, Que., Canada. Peggi (Margret) and Steward Gilsippi (nee Motta). Last known location: Alberta, Canada. Send information or call (517) 543-9417.

Terri Pantagides Wells
7661 Oneida Rd.
Grand Lodge, Mich. 48837

Resolve divisive issues
For a period of about a year and a half, I have been able to view the turbulent life of the Church of God via this publication. I have watched with interest as many have put forth opinions, ideas and recommendations as to how to correct the serious problems that face the divided congregation.

There is a key to resolving the divisive issues of God's church, and it is named many times within the Scriptures. This key is the covenant between God and King David, one that the Lord says He will always honor.

This has been presented to all of the leaders of the major church groups who have come out of the Worldwide Church of God. Many have tried to ignore it by stating that this covenant refers only to physical Israel and not to the Church of God. This is serious error. It is documented that the apostle James, who led the church after the Lord's return to heaven, was a descendent of King David. Herbert W. Armstrong was also found to be a descendent of King David.

It is time that the leaders of God's church stop trying to do the work of the Lord their own way and look to Christ for the right leadership to wholeheartedly and properly do the work of God in might.

John W. Edmonds
Houston, Texas

This won't get past the editors
I want all of you to take note! This letter will never get past any editors who are opposed to top-down governments. If God gave me power to perform miracles, they would still ignore this and just about anything else written against their pet perverted forms of false organizations of men masquerading as governments of God. You are a witness.

You the editors of In Transition have tried to hurt me by selecting the worst of my letters to print. You distorted the second one by leaving out words to not set up the proper train of thought intended.
Time and time again, you only publish "paper tiger" letters denouncing the "democratic" UCG, your slant organization, while you seem to get the fuzzy-wuzzies when someone writes how great this anti-top-down superchurch is in their opinion.

There is not enough time now, but when we finally get this work back on track or the two witnesses finally stand up, I pray that God will deliver all of you phony editors into my hands!

I pray that God will avenge me as he did Gideon against the men of Succoth and Penuel.
Wake up, you slanted writers of your own affections! May God "tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." And may He "break down this tower," this united tower of Babel that mocks all Mr. Armstrong taught about God's government.

Donald Raymond Wheatley
Greenville, N.C.

Cat among the pigeons
Okay, I know my handwriting has deteriorated, but it's a pity my name was printed as Louise instead of Lorraine.

Thank you very much for printing my letter. Since most of your readers seem to have the opposite view, it was good to see that you have the courage to print. I hope my comments set the cat among the pigeons and inspire some people to open their eyes to WCG-HWA history.

My husband and I have had our best years since we left the WCG three to four years ago. We still see some members and former members, but only those we choose. It is a relief not to have to (pretend to) love all church members. It was either Dr. Ernest Martin or John Portune at the Bricket Wood campus who said that, naturally, one really likes 15 percent of people, one really dislikes 15 percent of people, and one can take or leave the remaining 70 percent.

Apparently, he was rapped over the knuckles for saying this because we were supposed to love everyone, but I have found his comments pretty accurate.

I am now reading about the Dead Sea Scrolls and why the RC Church has delayed publication. Some of the speculation about what secret the scrolls might contain and how these secrets might undermine RC beliefs is fascinating. HWA said we had had our minds opened. On the contrary, his dogmatism helped to close our eyes, and now we can learn to entertain new and revolutionary ideas.
In Transition was great while it lasted and fulfilled a real need. But that time has passed. Best wishes to you and all the staff. Thanks for your efforts.

Lorraine Stratford-Smith
Strathpine, Australia

The two witnesses
In response to Mr. Wheatley's letter in the Nov. 18 In Transition concerning the two witnesses, it seems that he may have an erring perception of their mission and ministry. These two are, first of all, prophets. They are called to admonish and encourage the human race in the development of a proper relationship with God and with their fellow human beings.

The fact that what seems like "mayhem" is to be attributed to them somehow is of secondary consequence, behind the primary purpose of their mission. This primary purpose, as clearly as I have been able to discern it from the Word, is to witness to whomever they come in any sort of contact with to the power and authority, sovereignty and absoluteness of the Eternal Almighty.

Gary DuBois
Charlotte, Mich.

The Sabbath is a window
We really did like Mr. Wooten's choice of words when he said, "The Sabbath is a window through which we see God" (In Transition, Dec. 16). Excellent! But so are the Holy Days! So are the new moons!

Not only is the new moon a window through which we can see God, it is a "shadow of things to come" (Colossians 2:16-17) like the Sabbath and Holy Days!
We learned from Mr. Armstrong years ago the Sabbath, new moons and set feasts all stand or fall together.

When will the Churches of God realize that it would be to their advantage to acknowledge the new moon? Perhaps it is the last thing to be restored so Jesus can return (Acts 3:21).
Try it. You'll like it, hopefully.

Dick and Dolores Witham
Mason, Ohio

6001: a calendar odyssey?
There's evidence that a calendar has been fixed 6,000 years. Calculations of that calendar and the Bible indicate Adam was created in the autumn of 4005 B.C. The earth is billions of years old, but Adam was created 6,000 years ago.

We're now in the 6,001st year of human history and numerically in a 70th jubilee year. The 70-weeks prophecy can end in 1997. "Great tribulation," which today is primarily religious deception, can end in 1997. All prophecies supposedly to occur before God comes to rule can be fulfilled by 1997.

A man, perceived as an apostle of Jesus Christ and the sole authority in his own church, like Christ is in His church (spiritually a temple), and declaring the Ten Commandments obsolete in 1995 appears to have manifested himself as the "man of lawlessness" and fulfilled in large part 2 Thessalonians 2, a prophecy that ends at Christ's return. At least one church historian has already declared this church's "move to orthodoxy" unprecedented.

David Rydholm
Olympia, Wash.

Church tenets available?
Is it possible to obtain a copy from each of the Churches of God of their tenets?

The WCG publishes pamphlets (a few today) that disclose what they stand for, and I would like to have the same from each of the churches so I can read for myself what each believes.
I want to judge for myself what they say and not what is thrown back and forth between the so-called "scholars" who point fingers and take words out of context.

I want what is printed as a matter of course that details their true beliefs.

Example: Some say the WCG embraces "the Trinity." That has been refuted and re-explained as not three people, but three facets of the same person, etc. I'm sure you know what I mean. Yet a pamphlet distributed some time ago by the WCG seems to imply that the WCG does embrace a belief in the Trinity.

Leo F. Campbell
American Falls, Idaho

Held family together
I pray that the people in charge will change their minds about the paper that has held this family together. It will be a sad day when you are no longer. Our prayers are with you all.

Anita Jere Cannon
Lakewood, Colo.

Don't need pastors general
As pastor of an independent Church of God and never having been in the WCG, I can see something we at Battle Creek, Mich., can't live with. Many of your writers are begging to have someone to "be over them."

We don't need presidents, pastors general, nor state-conference chairmen over us. Read 2 Samuel 8:5-11: "Behold, thou art old . . . Make us a king to judge over us like all the other nations [churches]."

Try to find a pastor general or president of the general conference in Scripture. Your own people, church board, pastor, elders, bishops are to guide your churches.

My great-great grandfather, Elder Gilbert Cranmer, started about every Church of God (Seventh Day) as we know them today. Three of his great-great-grandchildren are still active in the Church of God in Michigan, where it all started. Brother Armstrong came out of this church in 1930.

We have a fine publishing house at Meridian, Idaho. Their job is to help us. They issue Acts magazine ("Advocating Christ the Savior"). They do not run our churches, but help us organize and recognize others of a like faith.

Elder Roy W. Kent
Hickory Corners, Mich.

Disproving Trinity doctrine
The letter by David Reeve (Nov. 18) using Matthew 28:19 to disprove the Trinity doctrine must take into account what Bible commentaries say about this verse of Scripture:

A New Standard Bible Dictionary, page 94: "How far the Christians had their Master's explicit authority for this is doubtful; many hold the wording of Matthew 28:19 to be due to church usage passing into tradition. When exactly the Trinitarian form arose we do not know."

The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics: "The facts are, in summary, that Eusebius quotes Matthew 28:19 twenty-one times, either omitting everything between 'nations' and 'teaching,' or in the form 'make disciples of all nations in my name,' the latter being more frequent."
Black's Bible Dictionary: "The trinitarian formula was a late addition by some reverent Christian mind."

Outline of the Theology of the New Testament, p. 49: "The oldest baptismal formula has one member, i.e. Jesus."

Peake's Commentary on the Bible: "Most commentators doubt that the trinitarian formula was original at this point in Matthew's gospel, since the NT elsewhere does not know of such a formula and describes baptism as being performed in the name of the Lord (e.g., Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5)."

This shows Matthew 28:19 is more likely not the original text, but expresses the Trinitarian concept of God. Christians should be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ only, not baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3).

Robert Taylor
Abbeydale, England

Are elders committing tax fraud?
We recently received back issues of your paper. In one of the issues you ran an article on the salaries of the ministers. One of the statements you made in regards to the Social Security tax was not completely accurate.

I have worked for the Social Security Administration since 1967. The IRS has long considered ministers self-employed. When they were first eligible to pay Social Security tax, it was completely optional. Later amendments made payment of Social Security tax mandatory for ministers, with a single exception. You were correct in saying that there is a waiver that can be filed to obtain that exception. What you did not say, and perhaps did not know, is that it is a very specific and restrictive waiver.

The following is an exact quote from section RS 01802.064 of the Social Security Administration's operating manuals: "A minister is eligible to file an application for exemption (Form 4361) only if he is opposed for reasons of conscience or religious principles to the acceptance (with respect to his services in the exercise of the ministry) of any public insurance which makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement or makes payments towards the cost of, or provides services for, medical care (including the benefits of any insurance system established by the Social Security Act)."

I personally know of no minister who is opposed to Social Security benefits based on reasons of conscience or religious principles. Such opposition has never been a doctrine of the Worldwide Church of God. The opposition has always been to the paying of the taxes, not to the collection of benefits.

In effect, it is more likely that the ministers who filed the waiver in effect committed perjury and committed tax fraud.

Daryl W. Houck
Greenville, Texas

WCG-CG7 joint service
On Dec. 21, 1996, more than 500 people converged at the Huntsville Marriott for the Super Sabbath that was the combination of both the Church of God (Seventh Day) and the Worldwide Church of God. Many congregations of each group, and many different states, were represented.

The presidents of both organizations gave a split sermon. Both men spoke out of the teachings of John. Brother Calvin Burrell spoke first of a threefold test we can take so we can have assurance we have a place in God's plan. Brother Joe Tkach then spoke on what is God's plan (John 3:16) and how we need to be walking, talking advertisements for Christianity.

Following the service, Tammy Tkach addressed the ladies of both groups on women's ministry.
A concert followed at the chapel of the Salvation Army. Almost 80 people were blessed by the concert featuring Pat Carlin, the Nathan Wilds family and many other special talented members from Huntsville and Phil Campbell congregations.

To conclude the day, nearly 20 people attended a free ice-skating event, sponsored by the Huntsville Church of God (Seventh Day).

We sincerely pray the bridge that was built at this Super Sabbath will be a highway many can travel so both our groups can work hand in hand to advance the Kingdom. Amen! Let the healing begin.

Clyde Thompson
Huntsville, Ala.

Please send address
Please send me the address in El Salvador of the minister, Herbert Cisneros. We live here in Honduras in the town of Progreso, Dept. De Yoro Hondura. We were formerly from the CSI.

Rosilin McDonald
Progreso, Honduras

Returning to the old ways
It was a sad day when the vehicle so aptly named In Transition was forced to cease publication because of the reemergence of the "true church" syndrome, a serious malady associated with vanity, and the resulting political pressures to suppress information to subscribers. This very action proves that the church is still very much in transition, and one must wonder what will be done to once again undo such thinking. It is shameful and certainly borders, at least, on the edge of un-Christian behavior.

Israelites have a long history of returning to old ways, as example after example proves in the Old Testament. It has been truly said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. How soon we forget the words of 1 Corinthians 1:25-31, which describe what we are and why we were called.
Thinking Christians now realize that the Worldwide Church of God organization, through which many of us were called, was only the vehicle, not the source, of the calling or the Power that brought us to repentance.

Yet, in former days, we, as knowledge increased, allowed our vanity to keep pace, assisted, of course, by the organization and its leaders, to view the organization as the source of knowledge, thus allowing it and its leadership to stand between us and God, certainly a form of idolatry.
Many became independent, continuing their walk with God alone or in small groups, as the parent organization confused and betrayed them, causing an awareness of such behavior. These, with the hard evidence now being presented of a return to control, etc., will no doubt remain independent and may well withdraw any support now being given.

For myself and my house, we do not intend to allow a man to stand in the way of our walk with God. The lessons of the past are deeply embedded, and these recent events prove the words: Trust no man.

To those who are responsible for the death of In Transition, we will continue without because we must. We believe you are building a house of cards. We continue to wish you the best, for it is right and just to do so. Our God is the judge.

Sam Metz
Barton, Md.

Consider funds a donation
There has been a lot to learn from your paper, and I have enjoyed it very much. Always there are people to pick apart anything anyone else does, but rise above them and know you have done a good job.

I can fully understand your decision, and your reasons are just. If you had gone on publishing it, I would have continued, but now you are not, and I want you to use the paid subscription funds as a donation for whatever you want.

Thank you and best wishes for the future.

R. Gunderson
Salem, Ore.

Open editorial policy
It's sad to see churches calcify and divide.

I'm somewhat amused by those who write in and say you should do this or that. It's your paper. You can do with it whatever you want. I do appreciate your open editorial policy; I never thought my letter in the April 22, 1996, issue would get printed, because it's controversial and not commonly believed (Passover is the first day of Unleavened Bread).

Thank you for your efforts, and, no, I don't want any refund.

David Rydholm
Olympia, Wash.

Let's vote on IT's decision
The response to all the people who wrote you to continue the circulation of In Transition seems to be an overwhelming majority. Why, then, can't the people have their wish? You have not given a sincere reason to cease publication. It reminds me of the politicians in this country who ignore the people's wishes as they think they know what is best for them.

Are not some of your people elders in Churches of God? Was not Jesus commanded to feed His sheep? Then you have an obligation to fulfill the need; we truly need this paper to keep us informed of what is happening in the Churches of God. We are supposed to have His Spirit in us, so we should be able to discern truth from fable. We do hope you will change your minds about stopping In Transition. What you should do is send a pamphlet to subscription holders to vote yes or no for keeping the publication going.

Don Patterson
Veradale, Wash.

Openness bothers some
My wife and I have enjoyed reading the wide selection of news articles and personal opinions that we have read in In Transition from the first issue over a year and a half ago, so we will miss it when you cease publication.

We do want the last two issues so we are enclosing the money for them. Many people are obviously bothered that you provide such an open forum for such a wide range of personal views, but I think that is one of the main purposes of your newspaper, and I commend you for it. I think it has been a healthy exercise for the people of God simply because we can think for ourselves and separate the wheat from the chaff.

I know for a fact that In Transition has been a big help for many people, some of whom I know personally, in helping them to decide what they need to do in these troubling spiritual times. May God bless you.

Robert Grove
Carbondale, Ill.

Minister discourages subscribing
I just noticed that my subscription expired with the December issue. I understand you will be issuing only one or possibly two more issues before closing down. I am saddened that you are doing this. In Transition has been our link to the information of the "Sabbath" churches around the world.

I am enclosing $5 to cover the cost of the next two issues and would appreciate hearing from you if you change your mind about continuing.

Out of curiosity, was there a decrease in subscriptions that might have influenced your decision? Our United Church of God minister discourages any of the members from subscribing to it, yet he reads every one he can get. If that is being done around the world, it could make a difference, since most (at least in our area) still have a tendency not to think for themselves.

Thank you for such a fine newsletter. I have heard your praises sung over and over.

Mona Still
Mobile, Ala.

Wolves poised
I am sorry to see the publication come to an end. I've enjoyed reading all of it from the start, it having given me much food for thought. It's unfortunate that a publication like this was not available when the March, 1987 issue of The Worldwide News came out with the supposedly new understanding on the bread and wine just as Passover was upon us. What a confusing and unsettling effect that had on many of us even back then.

But we didn't think anything diabolical about it then because we were all moving along with the momentum and trusting outlook we had for Mr. Armstrong. Little did we realize that the wolves were already among us.

A publication like yours may have been invaluable at the time for many of us. However, it probably would not have been accepted at the time because no one was aware of the mind-set in control and the danger we were in. Had it been available, many of us would have thought of it as dissident literature, worthy of the bird cage. Hindsight brings its own share of aches and pains.

Be that as it may, I thank you for the many good things that we have benefited from in your paper and wish you all well in your Christian travels and hope and pray we'll all meet at the finish line.
I'll be looking forward to receiving Dixon Cartwright's new publication.

Rufino Aviles
Sayville, N.Y.

Mr. Tkach, Mr. Flurry in tribulation?
I do totally agree with your disgust with the church continuing civil war and in-fighting. The main cause of the problem is the Laodicean attitude as expressed in Revelation 3:16-17. It is important to understand that this attitude includes both the liberal and conservative extremes. The Worldwide Church of God takes the liberal extreme in that it has the "new understanding" in that it can decide how and when to worship God. The Philadelphia Church of God has the conservative extreme in that it would judge some to be in the lake of fire.

God doesn't and isn't going to tolerate either extreme attitude. It would be interesting if God would put Joseph Tkach and Gerald Flurry in the same foxhole during the tribulation. Joseph Tkach can write a book titled The New Covenant Reconsidered. Gerald Flurry can do a Bible study from the "little book" about Matthew 7:1-6. The time they will be together will be well spent. They will ask for forgiveness from each other and God in humble repentance. Then they will fully understand Matthew 6:22-24.

I attend both the United Church of God and Global Church of God, and I feel they are close to the right attitude. The GCG expresses the attitude of "servant leadership" and that "we want to be Philadelphians," but don't have the self-righteous attitude of saying "we are Philadelphians." The UCG expresses the attitude that being a part of the "godly community" takes humility, and we are to live by Ephesians 5:21, being an elder or not. I wish everyone in God's church would have this attitude.

Victor Hawkins
Pasadena, Calif.

Stick around
We have come to appreciate and recognize the importance of the openness in communication this has brought about. Where else but in an independent newspaper could there be an open forum permitting you to speak and to be heard without fear? This is definitely needed to allow our growth and maturity, and is essential to our well-being.

We want to continue to hear about how others feel, to read and study as many sermons and essays as possible from the ministers and elders. It's been like a continuous open Bible study. We couldn't possibly read and study this much material just from our local congregation.

It has been a tremendous help to all of us to know what is going on around us. As we look back, we see where suspicion, heresy and covetousness were allowed at the Worldwide Church of God without any checks and balances. The WCG has sidetracked itself and is taking members off course, and it doesn't even know it! No one man should have such absolute power as to take an entire church down the tubes with him
I am grateful to God that He has shown the United Church of God the type of structure that is necessary to help prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again.

There is no doubt that all of us need to concentrate on the work God has for us to do around the world. But we also see a need for your newspaper to allow us to speak up, to learn from one another and to help us to see in what areas we need to change in order to grow. Please don't close the door on that opportunity just yet. Won't you please stick around for a while longer?

Ray and Dolores Murdock
Atwater, Ohio

Waste of time to argue and fight
I greatly regret that you will soon stop producing In Transition. I hope it does not lead to the polarization of the groups that have formed from the Satan-inspired transformation of the Worldwide Church of God. Empathy and understanding between the groups must continue.

I don't feel that I am confined to any one group at all, nor confined to the literature of any one group. The church is a spiritual body and not a corporate or comfort organization. It is a waste of time to fight or argue over which group is best (outside of the WCG); each seems to me to have different strengths and weaknesses. It is far more important to live a righteous life; i.e., love our neighbor, than to understand doctrine or prophecy.

I am at peace with the different groups, no longer struggling with which is the right one or why they see this or that differently.

It may be more convenient to attend one group rather than another for many reasons. So my aim is to have a peaceful attitude to all the other brethren in the various groups while being full of zeal to study, grow and overcome.

Even so, I want truth, something I could lay down my life for, as I expect I may have to do.

Roj Beaumont
West Sussex, England

Change your editorial policy
My wife and I urge you not to cease publication of the newspaper. It is the only source available where we can get information about what is going on in the other churches and often, sad to say, some of the things going on in the Worldwide Church of God, which we still attend as well.
We have only been aware of your newspaper for less than a month. If other members of the WCG are aware of it, they certainly are not passing along the information. And we definitely didn't hear about it through the ministry.

The reasons you gave seem like good reasons to change the editorial policy of the paper and be more restrictive in what you publish, but not quite good enough to cease publication. Most of us have friends in a number of churches and would like to know what is going on in a positive way.

We have come to realize that not everybody is able to grow spiritually in the WCG. The same is true of all the other churches and will continue to be so as long as acceptance is based on doctrinal beliefs and not on Christian actions. It is not our place to judge anybody based on the fellowship they choose to be a part of, and it is not their place to judge us.

We urge you to keep your newspaper open as a source of news and tasteful input from the various churches.

Daryl and Emma Lou Houck
Greenville, Texas

Prefer IT over house organ
Words fail me as I struggle to express the loss I feel with your announcement to cease publication. Your coverage of the various churches and issues has been a treasured light for those of us struggling to find our way through the darkness of confusion and conflict.

Your provide insight and perspectives not available through individual church newsletters and yet vital if one is to make informed decisions. I no longer bother to read the newsletter issued by my church affiliation, but I devour In Transition from cover to cover.

In Transition has prodded me to ask questions and, at the same time, guided me to sources that provided answers to those questions. In Transition has been more than a source of information; it is a guiding hand for those seeking truth. You've made a difference in my life, and I'm grateful for the loving service you've provided. The loss of In Transition will be deeply felt.

Lana Boone
Medical Lake, Wash.

Are you under pressure?
It upsets me to think that you are quitting. Are you under pressure to do so? Mr. Armstrong said to prove all things. Your lame excuse to quit seems odd. I have been in God's church for 29 years, and when I first came to the truth I proved it for myself. I read other religious tracts and booklets and proved for myself the truth of which I still hold fast.

I don't agree with a few things that you print. But reading these ideas and articles brings me to an awareness of them, and I can study my Bible to prove or disprove them.

It seems that God's scattered church and the basic trunk-of-the-tree doctrines are under severe attack. Many strange ideas and false doctrines are being thrown at us, and we need to be able to prove or disprove them. We need to know that we know the truth because we study and pray to see if these things are so. We alone have to stand for our actions. God doesn't want, nor did He create, a bunch of clones. Each and every one of us is unique and individual.

Your reasons for discontinuing publication indicate that one or more organizations wants you to cease publication so that we again can sweep undesirable issues under the doormat and avoid addressing them head on. In Transition, we need you. You cannot abandon us now.

Please reconsider. We have many irons in the fire that need to be dealt with. Just to read your letters to the editor shows how scattered God's people really are. You are a powerful tool to help keep the flock somewhat together. Again, please reconsider.

Gerald Fields
Moccasin, Calif.

Fair and unprejudiced
I've received and read my December issue of In Transition. I was a new subscriber, and, like the rest, I'm sorry you're coming to an end.

You were definitely fair and unprejudiced to any of the Churches of God. I am a former member of Worldwide Church of God too. I couldn't throw out all the truth of God that the Tkaches were throwing away.

I hope I'm on the list to receive the January issue and that you keep my name and address just in case you print any other material. You people are great. Thanks.

Patsy Swanson
Lake Katrine, N.Y.

Shocked to hear decision to cease
I was absolutely shocked to hear of the decision to end In Transition. I have certainly enjoyed and been informed and educated by reading your publication, and I feel that it is of immense importance.
I do realize that perhaps things have settled down a little since the massive departure from the Worldwide Church of God over a year ago, especially with regard to the United Church of God. However, I still feel that your publication has great merit.

I would imagine that pressure has been brought to bear by people who want only to hear about their church, which they believe to be the "only truly Church of God." However, for those of us who believe that the only church is the spiritual Body of Christ and therefore not limited to a physical corporation, the cessation of In Transition will be a huge loss.

I urge you to consider publishing In Transition independently and still forward it to those of us who wish to receive and pay for it. Perhaps this will cost a little extra, but I feel that a lot of people would still be happy to pay for it.

I can see how distributing the paper through the UCG offices could be a problem, and people could see it as being a UCG publication sanctioning information about other groups. This could cease and we could receive the publication independently, as we do other publications. I do not believe that receiving information about other groups will cause people to leave the UCG and/or any other group that they are fellowshipping with if they are happy with that particular group.

In the Oct. 28 article by Mac Overton, "Members Leave Global, Criticize SDA Scholar," a 90-page letter written by Gail and Karen Ray is mentioned. I wonder if it is possible to contact these people and receive a copy of this letter. As a former member of the Global Church of God, I would be most interested in the contents of this letter.

Karen Allen
Blacktown, Australia

Not telling it all
I was not pleased with your announcement of ending publishing In Transition. It will be like going back to the dark ages. To keep my letter short, I will just say that I put my pen mark behind all comments made over your quitting printing In Transition.

I also think you are not telling every reason you are not continuing. I can see the polarizing that it is causing, but at the same time these people show themselves for what they really are and their lack of understanding what godly charisma stands for.

I thank you very much for all that you have offered through your printed pages; it has helped a lot to bring me to an understanding that brings peace of mind.

Gaston Hamoline
Domvemy, Sask., Canada

Only the eye of the storm
You've done an outstanding job and have been a tremendous help. I do think you are shutting down prematurely. Just because the big blow has passed doesn't mean it's over. We are just in the eye of the storm.

Please inform me of how to contact Mr. Cartwright. I have a check ready for a subscription to his new effort. A start-up can always use a little up front.

Phil Keener
Fort Worth, Texas

Fear of reading literature of others
Thanks again for your unswerving dedication and faithfulness to your readers.

I understand your reasons for discontinuing In Transition. I also notice the fear people seem to have about reading material apart from their own branch from the Worldwide Church of God.
Since the believers are scattered now how could any of us be so certain God is only with our group. That seems totally unreasonable.

You've certainly served us well and we thank God for that and know you shall have your just rewards.

Jean Terry
Irving, Texas

Don't want "business as usual"
Thanks for being there at a time of need. There are four break-offs of Worldwide Church of God in this area all teaching doctrinally the same. We try and keep in touch with them all which is confusing to them because they want us to choose. They (I think) resent our independence, but we like it. Don't want to go back to "business as usual." We like the freedom of obedience to God only.

S.C. Wingert
Blackfoot, Idaho

Gave me courage to write for the first time
I was sad to learn you would no longer by publishing In Transition. It gave me the courage to write a letter and express my views for the first time after being in the Church over 22 years. I never thought they would allow such a paper to continue.

Phyllis Dockery
Dallas, Ga.

Correct about pass-along readership
Thank you very much for your efforts in trying to inform (educate) the people. This is an area in which there is always plenty of work to do.

You are correct in thinking that more people read In Transition than subscribe. Initially a copy was passed to me, and I pass copies along.

I have read and enjoyed your paper from its inception, and feel In Transition has served a good purpose having, in an unbiased way, been helpful and beneficial to many.

As a member of the Christian Church of God, I pray for the best for all people whose goal is to serve God. I hope that each individual will find a suitable church home, whether large or small, where he/she can grow in grace, knowledge (the truth of God's Word), love, compassion-and all the fruits of God's Spirit. Where he/she will feel free to study God's Word, ask questions, fulfill his/her responsibility in searching for the truth, and not feel intimidated by organizational power.
To have a God-focused group, one of unity, the leaders need to be (must be) totally dedicated as servants, considering themselves as the least among the brethren-not seeking power, position, or dominion over others.

We as brethren need to realize and accept that we are all at different levels of growth, and we need to help one another, whether servant or served; then with God's help, we will succeed. I suggest In Transition has helped toward that goal.

Do encourage Mr. Cartwright to publish; and to continue with, what appears to me to be, unbiased reporting.

N.C. Gilbert
Lantana, Fla.

Creating a vacuum
I've delayed writing this letter until today, hoping you would change your mind about ceasing publication. But it's clear to me now that you are going to do this. As you've said in your article, it's "your decision." I hope you realize that in so doing you are creating a vacuum which could be filled by unscrupulous people who could engage in scandal-mongering, rumor, or other practices that could prove really divisive to God's Churches. Let us hope and pray this doesn't happen, and that whoever fills this need will be responsible as you have been.

As far as my unfilled subscription, please retain for yourselves whatever amount needed to keep my name on your mailing list for anything you may do in the future. Then, please give my name and address and any remaining amount to Mr. Cartwright for his new publication. Finally, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your publication and for the many personal sacrifices all of you made to make In transition possible. You did God's work.

Dennis Sydow
Rockford, Ill.

Can't believe publication ceasing
I just can't believe publication will totally cease. The need for this kind of information you produce is too great. However, I do understand the extreme sacrifice required of many to put this material into our hands. Our problems as members of God's church are far from being solved. We have had many problems for many years. So what is the difference today? We know we have them! What a great leap forward. You have helped tremendously.

Thank you for sending my missed issues and what may be the final one.

Jeri Holcomb
Hawkins, Texas

There when I needed you
Thanks, In Transition, for being there when I needed you! When I left Church of God International a little over a year ago, I thought I might be almost alone in the world. I know now that even if at times I feel as small as a hair on the wart on a frog on a knot on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea, in truth I know I'm a small member of a large, important body called Christ, the son of God.

Sue Cutchall
Texarkana, Ark.

Is IT "abandoning the farm"?
Why, Mr. [John] Robinson [publisher], would you and your staff set your hands to the plow, and then abandon the farm because your crop includes some tares and the weather got bad? Didn't you expect a virtually uncensored letters section would attract foolish as well as wise opinions alike, some venting frustrations, aspirations or speculations that they were unable to express prior to the appearance of IT?

Didn't you expect that your fellow UCG brethren, so excited about finding "a home" in United, would be less than enthusiastic about an interchurch publication that reported on all of God's churches as fairly as possible?

Did your fellow Ambassador alumni pressure you to cease publication by invoking terms like "a forum for minister bashing," or "rebellion," or "a cause for division"? By covering division and polarization, you are not its cause. It's these same Ambassador College-trained ministers and their idolators who are the true source of division. With IT you shined a light on their shameful acts.

If you remain adamant about ceasing publication, I call upon someone to produce another publication in the tradition of IT. But I wish you, Mr. Robinson, would reconsider. We need an interchurch publication like IT. But why get another when we have one already?

Cedric Ary
Houston, Texas

Special IT issues: Count me in
Sorry to read that you are ceasing publication, but understand and agree with your reasons. Thank you for keeping us informed during the upheaval within God's Church. Imagine that it has not been pleasant for you and that you are looking forward to more spiritual pursuits. If special issues are produced in 1997, please count me in; you will have my check by return mail.

The article by Phillip Neal in the Oct. 28 issue was deeply disturbing. I have relatives and friends who have stayed in WCG and know their attitude is the same as Mr. Neal's, but have never heard it expressed so clearly. I can only pray that they will come to realize that the government of God's church was put in the care of Jesus Christ and not in any man or organization. David's subjection to Saul was in civil matters. I encourage Mr. Neal to read John's tiny second epistle with special attention to verses 8 through 11.

Eileen Giffin
Urbana, Mo.

Religious conceit and intolerance
I'm sorry to see that In Transition will publish its last number as of January 1997. Let me say thanks for a job well done. In Transition has been fair and therefore professional in its reporting of news regarding the Churches of God.

Religious conceit and intolerance may be growing among groups that have arisen from the ruins of the old WCG, and ossification may be setting in within those groups, but, in spite of what may be happening in the Church of God groups, there is a major transition taking place in the Churches of God. There is a turning away from the type of church government and the type of "ministry" once found in the WCG: a turning away from elitism and hierarchy and the concept that God's church is universal or a worldwide earthly institution.

And there is a move towards the formation of autonomous, nonsectarian, nonhierarchical local assemblies that have real community spirit at the local level.

These new autonomous groups, unlike the old WCG, are willing to work with other groups but are not willing to come under the authority of some false prophet or self-appointed apostle or de-facto college of cardinals or would-be pope.

The need for strong, autonomous, local communities of faith is now great because of the evil social and political conditions that exist today. Giant institutionalized "churches" can domineer and demand money from people and do what they call "God's work" by the power of man, but it is the local community of friends, who are only a phone call or short distance away, who will give help in times of need and comfort in times of mourning.

William Amal
Cleveland, Ohio

Members in many places
Thank you for having determination and faith to produce In Transition for the past year. You made it possible for us to come to an understanding that there are members of Christ's Body in many places.

Perhaps in our learning this we will more readily recognize Christ when He returns.

I pray God will direct you in a way possible for the paper, whether called In Transition or another name, to be continued. We need it.

Marcia Chambers
Dallas, Texas

God's people care
There are some of us among your readers who truly appreciate your efforts of recent months. Acknowledgment by your entire staff that God's people do have the means to discern truth from error via the working of the Holy Spirit within them has emboldened the receptive among us to throw off the shackles of thought control and delve fearlessly into formerly forbidden territory.

We now enthusiastically study to show ourselves approved and to rightly divide the word of truth. Since we look to God for correct doctrine, He is obligated to teach us. Those who look to other men for "truth" are denying the Holy Spirit within them and thus block the line of communication from God to them.

Christine Yoos
Thomaston, Conn.

Good-bye from all of us
Why can't we all be united? Here's why. We assumed we all thought alike when we opposed the apostasy in the WCG. We wanted that to be so, but wanting it to be so doesn't make it so. Some of us feel that if the rest of you will just set aside your petty differences and join with us we can be united and get the "work" done.

We in the PCG feel the rest of you are Laodicean and need to back God's end-time messenger. We in Global feel the rest of you are Laodicean and need to join in preaching all the gospel.
We in United feel it's obvious the main contingent of God's people and ministers is in United, and therefore all of you splinter groups are just causing further and further division. We in United Birmingham feel United Arcadia has betrayed Indianapolis.

We who are still in the WCG believe the rest of you are wrong in rejecting God's true church and that God will take care of any problems all in due time.

And we in our group feel all of you staying at home are totally derelict because you are forsaking the assembling of yourselves together in our group and are not supporting the spreading of the gospel.
But we stay-at-homes are more than a little suspect of what really motivates some of the leaders of your group and ask: Are you really spreading the gospel or just building your group?

In the last 18 months, we have progressively calcified in our various groups. The initial purpose of In Transition was to help make us aware of what was out there and to aid us in that transition from where we were. In this respect, the purpose for In Transition has been accomplished. What's the point in continuing when we've all pretty much made up our minds?

It is sad, but probably proper, for it to end. We have chosen our courses. Let's get on with it. May God lead and guide us.

From all of us to all of us, good-bye.

John Sash
Eldon, Mo.

Preaching the full gospel
There was a letter to the editor Nov. 18 under the heading "Unmarked Bibles." The writer attempted to justify the idea that a Christian has no need to be part of an organized group and that "just two or three" meeting together on the Sabbath is fully sufficient.

Although some good points were made, the author actually expresses a self-centered perspective. Christians are not to be self-centered. Rather, we must earnestly desire to serve all the individuals we can and especially our fellow brethren (Galatians 6:10). Christ wants us to "bear one another's burdens." And we'll have much greater opportunity to do so if we are fellowshipping each Sabbath with more than just one or two brethren.

Another, perhaps greater, way to practice unselfish Christianity is to devote oneself to zealously backing up the preaching of the gospel unto the world. This Christian duty was not mentioned in the letter to the editor. Yet it is one of the main reasons God called us during these first 6,000 years! Sadly, some who aren't a part of an organized group are being negligent in this most important Christian duty.

We should want our tithes and offerings going not just to an organization that is helping us personally or to an organization where our friends are. Rather, we should seek out and support that organization that is best accomplishing the commission of spreading the true and full gospel unto the world.

Finally, in the world ahead we'll be part of a loving hierarchical government. Being part of such a church government today helps us prepare for our future roles as kings.

Michael McDaniel
Colonial Heights, Va.

Hard-nosed business decision?
Thank you for In Transition. The articles, commentaries, sermon summaries and letters to the editor have given us, the readers, a fascinating insight into the contemporary events in the Church of God.
The name In Transition implies a temporary existence. Perhaps the Church of God has passed through a transition, and each branch is now ready to do a separate work each according to its own vision, goals and understanding.

As the branches of the Church of God take separate paths, In Transition would become less and less relevant. I was surprised to learn that the top subscription for In Transition was only 7,500. I thought subscriptions would have easily topped 10,000 or even 20,000. The decision to discontinue seems to be, therefore, a logical, hard-nosed business decision that had to be made.

Kemmer Pfund
Big Sandy, Texas

Thank you for your dedication
It saddens me that you are discontinuing publication of In Transition. Thank you for your dedicated service. We will miss it!

It also saddens me to see unrest in God's church. I hope you can print this letter, because what follows had a tremendous impact on me, and I'd like to share it with others:

The "Peter Jennings Reporting: 'Jerusalem Stories' " video, airing Dec. 19, made evident that Jerusalem's strife is growing. At the end of the documentary, Peter Jennings and camera crew were in the empty streets of Jerusalem before dawn (not a soul in sight) when suddenly a man they didn't know, whose religion they didn't know, opened a door and, as if inspired, preached a spine-chilling (my words) sermon:

"Prepare yourself to meet your Lord. What are you going to tell your God? All your gold, all your building, all your materials-nothing will help you on judgment day. Why are you killing each other just because one is called Jew, another Muslim, another Christian? All of you have one God, and you should be God-fearers. All of us will die, and we have to face God. What are we going to tell God when we face Him?" (Then came a shrieking, tumultuous, agonizing cry.)

Strong's says "midnight" (Matthew 25:6) isn't necessarily exactly midnight. It can be near (possibly within the third watch, as Jews of Christ's day kept time, between midnight and 3 a.m.) midnight. A "cry," says Strong's, can be an outcry (in notification, tumult or grief, scream or shriek).
Could this incident in Jerusalem be the cry at midnight of Matthew 25:6? If so, what better place to send it out from than Jerusalem, the focus of the world, for all to see and hear-the city where our Lord will return? If not, it could still be a warning for us.

Matt. 25:7: ". . . They trimmed [prepared, put in order] their lamps [vessels]."
Should we in God's church not be preparing to meet our Bridegroom-our God-instead of bickering among ourselves? What will we tell God when we face Him?!

Mary Green
Spanaway, Wash.

Lack of common sense
I was sad to hear you are going to cease publication. It will be sad because now the Sabbatarian community will no longer be able to know what is happening in the other churches and what their leaders are doing.

The tendency for leaders to hide or push things under the rug is great. Then we are cut off by having no one who will print the facts, things like pay scale, the big spending that goes on for meetings, the cost to move home offices and the people who work there.

It's like Harry Curley said in the Oct. 28 In Transition: "They, the leaders, and some ministers have the Washington spirit. They are out of touch with those who live outside California."
I say they no longer use common sense. They are having many studies made on the [UCG's anticipated] home-office move. I say let God's ministers and God's people make the studies, because it would be done in prayer with God's Spirit guiding His people and with faith that can move mountains.

Maybe you think I'm complaining. But I worry for God's church; while it will never die, it can be hindered because of the way the leaders think. Yes, I'll bring up lifestyle again. They think they can't live on less but think we can. God didn't give us the tithing system so some can live like kings. But God called us to live a humble, peaceful life, to always put others first. Right now I see lifestyles first, then the work.

So, with the last issue of In Transition, I'm no longer going to be a part of any organization or take their booklets and send money. However, I hope to save the money and take some of the courses offered by the IBLC.

Cletus Pingel
Moberly, Mo.

No desire to calcify
We thank you for your excellent service and your high-quality publication of In Transition. It is the best and most complete, unbiased publication of the Churches of God of which we are aware.

We are saddened to hear of your decision to discontinue In Transition. One factor you listed as affecting this decision was "a growing tendency for ministers and other members to view their groups as the only true church or, at least, to view themselves or their group as spiritually superior to others within the Body of Christ."

We agree with your observation, and we are dismayed. It seems that some of the leadership among the Church of God organizations, including the United Church of God, believe that their group is the only group and that those Christians fellowshipping with them should support them and only them.
We disagree with this approach. The Bible plainly states that the Church of God is the Body of Christ, not a physical organization. We as individuals have chosen to fellowship with the United Church of God because that is where many of the Body of Christ in our area, whom we know of, fellowship. We need somewhere to fellowship, somewhere to gather on the Sabbath, and this is the physical organization in which we have found brethren with whom to fellowship and to sharpen our swords.

We, however, have no desire to calcify. We want to be in contact with as many of God's people as possible. We want to know who is doing what and where concerning the work of God, and we want to know how to contact our brothers and sisters in other physical organizations.
The second reason you gave for discontinuing In Transition was that "the publication has, especially in the letters section [due to In Transition's open editorial policy], attracted an increasing variety of commentary and opinions.

Many develop a particular passion about doctrinal or administrative fine points that serves more to polarize than to unify the different fellowships of the Worldwide Church of God offshoots and the greater Sabbatarian community."

Our goal should not be to polarize but to unify, as you stated. Paul's writings to the early church show the same types of divisions, minor and insignificant compared to what we are instructed to do in the Word of God.

The discontinuation of In Transition will greatly hinder our effort to be in contact with as many of God's people as possible. We are afraid this will lead to further calcification. It will certainly make it more difficult for us to stay abreast of what is happening in the Body.

If you follow through with your plan to discontinue In Transition's regular publication, you will take from the people of God a valuable medium of communication. Please reconsider your decision. May God continue to bless you and your work.

Brethren in the Church of God
St. Paul, Minn.

Job done; no need to go on
Please accept this as my request for a refund of the unused portion of my subscription to In Transition.

I must extend my personal congratulations to you on the successful promotion of the United Church of God, the IBLC and CEM. You have accomplished your mission. Job well done! No need to go on!

Bob Swimm
Southgate, Ky.

Looking for Feast sites in Hawaii
I very much enjoy your newspaper and was hoping you'd be able to help me out. My family and I would like to make plans to go to the Feast of Tabernacles in Hawaii this year. I was hoping you could send me a list of all of the churches that you know of that held their Feast in Hawaii this past year and should do so this year.

Rebekah Osborne
Brandon, Miss.

Editorial balance
I just want to thank you very much for the work you have done in producing In Transition.
I am disappointed that you are planning to wind it up, although I understand that some would-be contributors are critical and negative about other groups.

Would it not be possible to continue the paper as a source of educational material and news of other Sabbath-keeping groups? I have found your editorial policy mainly very balanced and thankfully not predisposed to bashing any other groups, even the Worldwide Church of God.

It is my hope that most of us can fellowship again with each other at some time, and perhaps In Transition might be instrumental in achieving that.

I certainly am grateful for the issues I receive-some even free at first-during the events of the last two years and hope that perhaps there is a place for In Transition for some time to come.

Ian Straub
Glasgow, Scotland

Putting God first
I consider the current [December 1996] issue the best ever and note with interest that you had between 6,000 and 7,500 paid subscribers, which rather reminds me of the scripture where Elijah was so discouraged and God told him there were 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal! I echo the sentiments of many readers' letters you have published, maybe you shouldn't give up either as your readership probably reflects the more dedicated seekers of truth among those who have come out of the Armstrong Empires cult-like clutches.

I also note that the number attending the open or "unaligned" Feast sites numbered as many as attend Global and while there may be some "calcification" as you put it, that is only because most have not yet learned the lesson God is trying to teach us.

Until God knows that we put him first before any man or organization, the trials will continue and unity will escape us because partisan political motives prevent any honest reappraisal of doctrinal issues that still divide Sabbatarians.

All of us need to learn to stand on our own two feet spiritually because the time is coming when we will not have a "minister" or organization to stand behind us and tell us what we should or must believe, we will have deep convictions based on our personal knowledge gained from studying God's Word.

Myron Martin
Patriots of the Kingdom
Concord Ont.

If you got enough encouragement
It is with a goodly degree of sadness that I write this letter knowing you have decided to stop publishing In Transition.

I have found it informational and a help during this time of transition. My one thought was that you might reconsider if you got enough encouragement. I am for you if you do. However, should you not change your mind, I would like to have you refund the unused portion of my subscription.
May you enjoy whatever you decide to do after this is closed.

Mrs. Margaret Hess
Boise, Idaho

Appreciated by peacemakers
Please reconsider your decision to stop publication of In Transition. I know there are problems in the Sabbath community with bigotry, ignorance and bearing of false witness. However, the unbiased work you are doing is much appreciated by many who are dedicated to being peacemakers.

Jack Morgan
Seventh Day Baptist Church of God
San Mateo, Fla.

Where's the beef?
I think you are correct in discontinuing In Transition. I have enjoyed it very much, but more and more it was becoming a popular "beef sheet" for all kinds of disgruntled people which I resented. The paper had so much good in it! I shall miss it. I am half way through my 80s.
God bless all you people who have been involved in this good work.

Mildred Burr
Spokane, Wash.

Stick to trunk of tree
Like many other brethren, I too am very disappointed that the newspaper has to cease publication.
The reasons given are disturbing because of what they reveal about us. The calcification within the fellowships sounds very much like the prophesied condition in Matt. 24:12. The small groups and fringe issues reminds me not to forget what Mr. Armstrong told us many times, stick to the trunk of the tree.

For many of us, the newspaper was lifeline we could obtain nowhere else. The articles on Dr. Bacchiocchi's research into the Sabbath and Holy Days were always read with great interest. The Essays made me think and study, even if I didn't agree with the author. I rejoiced over articles showing God's Work on preaching the gospel moving ahead: United's Reader's Digest ads, Global's new TV station, and IBLC's founding and course offerings to name just a few. You did a balanced job of presenting "sensitive issues" in some of your articles.

William A. Conway
Weed, Calif.

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