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Letters from our readers - Issue 103
Encouraging Communication among the Churches of God
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Letters from our readers

Choose you this day

The March letter from Rich Glasgow was right. Where was the church on the issue of Terri Schiavo? On the side of life or self-choosing? On the side of husband or parents? On the side of state law or God's law? On the side of caring for the poor or giving up on them?

Ned Dancuo
Stoney Creek, Ont., Canada

Waiting for a reason

In response to a letter ("In Defense of the UCG") written by Ellis W. Stewart in the May 31 printing of The Journal:

In my estimation, it's all about trust. I'd like someone from the UCG's council of elders to explain to me how one is to trust their "legal organization."

I heard a sermon given by a UCG minister earlier this summer about how the ministry is actually divided into two parts. In this sermon one part of the "ministry" was described as being comprised of "the church, the lay members," with the second part consisting of "the church, ordained ministry."

Back in the WCG a minister (today a member of the UCG's council of elders) unjustifiably threw me out of the WCG in a very unbiblical and unchristian manner. I can and have proven to others in some Churches of God (including some in the UCG) what I just stated.


From my past bad experience with this minister, I conclude he cannot be trusted. I cannot nor will I begin to tell you how much hurt this bad experience has caused for me and my life.

Today I have seen no change or repentance in this minister's attitude towards me and other people he has wronged. Therefore he continues to be untrustworthy.

Using the UCG's own definition of what the "ministry" is, I was effectively kicked out of "the ministry, the church." Since it can be proven that this minister's actions in the WCG were wrong, unjustifiable, unbiblical and unchristian, wouldn't it be only fair for the church to have this "ordained minister" kicked out of "the church, the ordained ministry" for disciplinary and/or fairness reasons, if for nothing else?

I think so. Until this is done by the UCG, I see no reason I should trust this "legal organization."

Craig Malwitz
Columbia Heights, Minn.

Don't change the subject

In your report on the Akron, Ohio, One God Seminars in the July 31 issue, you correctly identified me as a Trinitarian.

However, I think it should be mentioned that the subject of the seminar was Christology, not the question of the Trinity per se. In my presentation, for example, I focused on what the New Testament writers had to say about Jesus and made the case that they considered Him to be included in the "unique divine identity." I didn't address the nature of the Holy Spirit.

The reason that I bring this up is that, to many readers of The Journal, Trinitarian is a four-letter word, and I'm afraid that some readers might be dissuaded by the "T word" from looking any further into what I had to say at the seminar. I think, in fact, that many of your "binitarian" readers would probably agree with a number of the points I made in the paper I presented in Akron.

Incidentally, that paper is available online at

Doug Ward
Oxford, Ohio

Dumb--s businessmen

The bitter whining of Joy Chang (from Highton, Australia) in a letter to the editor on page 2 of The Journal (July 31) was pathetic, at best, in that she accused nearly everybody in the world who does not agree with her position (and that would be nearly everybody in the world!) as evidently part of some sort of silly anti-Semitic "dumb--s" camp.

She went out of her way to single out the people taking part in the One God Seminars as "dumb--s businessmen."

However, she admitted she was "bemused" (stupefied, confused [most likely], plunged into thought, preoccupied [unlikely]), so I should not come down too hard on this woman for rejecting the entire world and the New Testament to boot in its entirety, and primarily accepting only the Psalms as "all one needs."

Sorry, Joy. I am not a businessman and I was at the One-God Seminars.

Joy wrote: "How can a so-called human 'know God'?"

The Old Testament (in English) answers Joy's question: "And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:34).

It is done through the New Covenant" (verse 31).

F. Paul Haney
Christ Fellowship Ministries
Kensington, Conn.

Read the Torah, Joy and Brian

I feel compelled to respond to two items that appeared in the July 31 Journal that that I found upsetting. Their theme is related.

One was a letter to the editor from a Joy "Tita" Chang, and the other was the regular page-3 column by Brian Knowles. Both writers present deceptive arguments.

First I will deal with Joy. She calls the New Testament Scriptures "fantasy" and "silly and anti-Semitic." She states: "No two manuscripts agree with one another, so why use an anti-Jew book?"

The first mistake Joy is making is not reading the Scriptures carefully. For instance, she mentions about "doves descending," allegedly in reference to the baptism of Yeshua in Matthew 3, which is not what it says.

I suspect Joy's allegation of anti-Semitism comes from her observation of the attacks of Yeshua and Paul on the Pharisees for following the "traditions of men" rather than the Torah.

Joy says: "All we need are the Hebrew scriptures." Then she proceeds to narrow her viewpoint and states: "The Psalms are really all one needs."

I would like to ask Joy who gave her permission to cherry-pick the Scriptures and decide on her own personal canon. Perhaps Dean Wheelock, whom Joy seems to admire, can help guide her to a better understanding of the unity of the Scriptures.

YHVH is not into wasting pen and ink and scrolls. All 66 canonized books fit together like a glove and in awesome fashion reveal the mind and hand of YHVH.

Joy claims that there are 100,000 different ways to interpret the NT. That is absurd. The key to a good and consistent understanding of the NT is a good understanding of the Torah. Torah is the anchor. The reason mainstream "Christianity" is off the rails and a Babylon of confusion is that it has rejected Moses and Torah.

The second lesson Joy needs to learn is that YHVH has not delegated to humanity the prerogative of choosing which books of the sacred Scriptures to accept and obey.

Switching to the Brian Knowles' column, I find myself offering him the same solution to his dilemma.

First let me state that I find that a few of Brian's columns are gems, and many are just so-so, but this one was a waste of my reading time.

Brian rants and raves about the decrepit state of mainstream "Christianity" and its lack of a biblical worldview.

Wake up, Brian! It is a big bitter pill to swallow, but the truth is all the groups who compose mainstream "Christianity" are practicing a counterfeit religion pawned off on them by the great counterfeiter and liar, Satan.

How do we know who follows "truth"? It is those who study and obey Torah and accept the grace of Christ when they come up short.

The Prophets and Writings magnified Torah. The NT magnified Torah even more. This is where Brian is lost barking up the wrong tree and trying to find the answers to the spiritual issues of life among the theologians of this world.

A humble mind (Micah 6:8) and a willingness to obey the simple, clear instructions of YHVH expressed in Torah are all that is needed.

It seems most carnal human beings want to come up with every excuse in the book not to do it! The Fourth Commandment seems to be a particular stumbling block for many, including Brian Knowles.

It bothers me greatly that a man who postures himself as a Church of God-tradition columnist could write the following drivel in his July Journal column:

"We don't know whether we can trust the Bible or not. We look for guidance from church leaders and scholars only to hear a discordant cacophony of uncertain sounds. In the end we are thrown on our own devices. We must resolve what a myriad of scholars in centuries of have not been able to resolve. It's simply not doable."

I disagree. We can indeed trust the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 8:3; Luke 4:4). Yeshua put it beautifully in John 17:17: "Sanctify them in the truth; thy word [Torah] is truth."

Brian is looking for answers in all the wrong places! We are certainly not "thrown on our own devices." In John 3:13 Yeshua promised that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth.

So set aside your theology books, Brian. Simply start reading and obeying the simple commands found in Torah and you will start to find the "simplicity that is in Christ." Humility and obedience are what YHVH is primarily looking for.

At the end of his diatribe Brian inserts a zinger: "Have faith in God, not in men, not in the Bible, not in science, not in society--but in God."

Awful stuff! This is from a guy who spent many years writing for the old WCG. Brian should know better.

I believe we need to speak out when people who walk among us or write in our church newspaper, The Journal, take pot shots at the integrity and veracity of the Word. If Brian Knowles continues to write columns attacking the Word of God, I for one am calling for his dismissal as a Journal writer.

John Walsh
Napa, Calif.

For the record, The Journal did not understand from Mr. Knowles' column that he was attacking the Bible. Rather, it seems to The Journal, he was ironically bemoaning that theologians do not take Scripture seriously. For another comment on the same column, continue reading.

Brian understands

In his column in the July issue of The Journal [titled "State of the Faith Inspires a Rambling Moan"], Brian Knowles tells us that "nobody gives a toot" about what he thinks. I think Brian makes an accurate assessment of the situation.

When I look at myself, it is disconcerting how little I care about other people, and I question the cause.

When someone is honest enough to admit he doesn't have all the answers, it helps. The purpose of doctrine seems to be to limit the number of people we feel any obligation to have affection for. If people don't agree with our doctrine, we prophesy their doom and point at God and say, "I prayed for them."

I appreciate Brian's article. He's on the same page as I am--as close as anybody, anyway.

Phil Griffith
Delight, Ark.

Cheerful service

Jim Owens writes about his concern of having the Ken Westby Seminars [letter to the editor, June 30 issue, page 4]. He feels they are a disservice to the Church of God.

Jim, I understand your concern. I happen to be your virtual neighbor who invited and organized the seminar in Streetsboro, Ohio.

Most Christians do not reevaluate their beliefs. When I was forced to look at this again some 12 or 13 years ago, I did allow that Mr. Armstrong could have been wrong on the subject.

I discovered that the Bible is replete with scriptures that claim God is only one Lord--not two Lords, the way I was taught. I discovered that Abraham's God was the Father, not the Son (Acts 3:13)

I passionately feel the need to help teach others about this. Could you supply a scripture that teaches one's salvation is at stake for believing that Jesus is our Savior, the only begotten Son of God, and that only the Father is God?

Mr. Armstrong taught that "Mary conceived a preexisting being" and that therefore Jesus was not begotten from the Father's Being and therefore could not have been His Son.

I know people think John 1 teaches this (which it doesn't), even though thousands of other scriptures teach otherwise. I wish you had attended and looked at the evidence. Surely we are not afraid to change.

Wishing you all the best.

Mel Hershberger
Stow, Ohio

Wrong-way baby

Regarding the UCG personnel changes [see "UCG Announces Several Employee Transfers," The Journal, July 31], have you noticed how the UCG keeps hiring more and more people to work at HQ?

The WCG did this too. When Scarlett and I left Pasadena in 1973, approximately 300 people worked there. Ten to 15 years later 1,000 to 2,000 were working there doing essentially the same job and with the WCG membership basically the same.

This is the way with bureaucracies. They all become top-heavy and wasteful. Power becomes more and more concentrated at the top, and those wielding it just find themselves doing it without really wondering if what they are doing is the route they should be going. The UCG originally had the vision of no HQ and only a small "home office." Look at it now!

There was a Virginia Slims cigarette commercial aimed at women that said, "You've come a long way, baby." I would modify it for the UCG to "You've come the wrong way, baby."

UCG leaders ought to think about what they are doing, but I suppose none of what I am saying will make any sense until five or 10 years from now.

Bill Stough
Lonedell, Mo.

Nice subheads

Thank you for publishing the article "Why No Pastors?" [which ran June 30 as "Can We Find a Better Church System Than Pastor-Congregation?"]. The layout was nice, and I thought the subheads were a real improvement over what I had come up with.

I don't go to services as often as I would like. Life is just too busy, and news on the Churches of God seems harder to come by. So I continue to anxiously look forward to The Journal. You do a fine job of reporting the news while working to remain impartial. We as a community need that.

Toli Bohonik
Seattle, Wash.

Miracle trip from California

Thank you for the article in The Journal [July 31 issue] covering my son Victor Hawkins' miracle trip from California.

The article was so extensive and well written; I appreciate your willingness to cover this so well.

I pray that your publication can continue and grow. It informs so many of us Church of God brethren.

Thank you again. And thank you to the writer, Mr. [Ellis] Stewart, for all the work he did for the article.

Mrs. Cora Jane McConnell
Plano, Texas

Story of two women

Here's an interesting tidbit I noticed today while reading in Judges. The 12 judges are prophetic of Christ. Notice the story of Deborah. She is a prophetess and judge of Israel who told Barak to march on the enemy.

Sisera was the commander of the enemy army. There is another woman in the story, Jael, wife of Heber.

Heber was of the sons of Hobab, who was the father-in-law of Moses. Note the connection with the wife of Moses. Moses was a prominent type of Christ.

We have two women, one an Israelite and the other a gentile. Jael drives the tent peg through the head of Sisera, killing him.

Where else do we see this? David, another prominent type of Christ, drives a stone through the head of Goliath, a type of Satan.

Christ is called the Stone, but in Isaiah 22:23, 25, and in Zechariah 10:4, He is also named as the Tent Peg, the same Hebrew word for the tent peg Jael drives through Sisera's head.

We also see in Genesis the prophecy that the offspring of Eve will smite the serpent's head.

So who are the two women? Could they represent the church, or community, as I like to call it? The community is composed of two groups, Israelites and gentiles.

The community is always referred to in the feminine as the Bride of Christ. It is only through Christ, the Tent Peg, that we triumph over Satan.

Also note in the story that Jael was "most blessed of women." This brings to mind the blessings on Rebekah, Rachel and Ruth. They too are symbolic of the church.

The battle in the story takes place near the "Waters of Megiddo," which is Armageddon. In Revelation this is where Christ and the saints triumph over Satan and his armies.

John Sash
Eldon, Mo.

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