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Letters from Journal Readers


Thanks for The Journal

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for all the work you do in producing The Journal. We need an independent voice in the various Churches of God. A lot of people appreciate what you are doing.

Brian Crook
Mortimer, England

Leap to the wrong conclusion?

Philosophical reasoning can bring you to the conclusion that Christ felt no pain. It is based on the false premise that "pain is sin." You conclude: "Therefore Christ felt no pain because He was sinless."

Using that false premise has caused several ministers to preach that Christ felt no pain during His life until the nails were driven into His hands.

Think about that premise in the light of cutting teeth, circumcision, suffering pain to self in an act of heroism, paddling the child for his own good, being hit by a hailstone, stubbing your toe, someone else hitting you, stepping on a sand spur and getting scratched by a thorn. It becomes clear that pain is not sin.

Pain is a God-given protective mechanism in the body. When it hurts or begins to hurt, you check to see what may harm you.

Will babes stumble from the erroneous preaching?

Gerald Flurry of the Philadelphia Church of God says he teaches what Mr. Armstrong taught.



However, because of his change from Mr. Armstrong's teachings, Mr. Flurry will have to edit the original correspondence course's lesson No. 38, which teaches about the Holy Spirit's latter rain during the Millennium.

Mr. Flurry is teaching that the former rain was during Mr. Armstrong's time and the latter rain is happening right now "in the Flurrys' time." He teaches that the latter rain is his teachings and his booklets.

I am a former PCG member.

Susan Salser
Lower Salem, Ohio

New kids in the bloc

The recent tempest in a teapot [about bloc voting] in the UCG [Feb. 29, 2008 issue] is yet one more reason the attendees (only the ministers are members) of this organization need to wake up and smell the coffee. Sorry about the mixed metaphors.

For a start, voting is deemed evil but balloting is okay. Does anyone stop to consider they are one and the same?

Then we have the sinful practice of conferring with each other before the vote. I guess the scriptural admonition about there being wisdom in a multitude of counselors doesn't count for much among the UCG council.

The real reason behind Chairman Bob Dick's objections to the above is historical in nature. The UCG was founded by people with a dream of a new kind of openness and transparency in all matters concerning the church.

Unfortunately, many of the people who held to that vision have been driven out of the church in the last several years. The old hierarchy, from the old WCG, reexerted an iron grip over every facet of church life.

The dissatisfaction of the council with the elders communicating with each other by E-mail is an example of this. It seems that communication is valid only if it comes from the top down.

But apparently not all of the elders remaining in the church are comfortable with the return to the old ways. Now that they have belatedly started to find some courage to make a change, those at the head office are beginning to worry about their future, hence the disapproval being expressed from the top of the mountain.

But this whole affair strikes me as being just a tad hypocritical. Didn't council members practice a form of bloc voting when they arranged, in secret, to move the UCG to Texas? Where was the openness and transparency in that transaction?

Even though the purchase of the first Texas property was thwarted, the council has managed to do an end run around the rest of the church and purchase a second property. All this has been accomplished without ever making a sound business case for the move.

As for those members of the council of elders who are asking for a definition of bloc voting and a reason it is wrong, these things have already been defined. Bloc voting is any voting that results in an outcome that has not been predetermined by the old boys' network that controls the UCG. It is wrong simply because they don't like it when they don't get their own way.

Bob Etheridge
Victoria, B.C., Canada

Mr. Westby's teaching

In the February 2008 Journal Ken Westby advertises his coming 2008 One God Seminars.

Whether "these seminars offer an objective inquiry into the nature of God and Jesus Christ," as he claims, is debatable. However, I do agree with his statement that it is "the most important of all biblical topics."

Why? Because it determines our understanding of God and whether we are in compliance with the First Commandment: not to have any other gods before the one true God of the Bible.

Who is this one true God of the Bible? Without going into details in this letter, let us just consider that in Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, "I will build My church," and, true to His prophecy, the New Testament church had its beginning on the Day of Pentecost, after His ascension.

What did Jesus name His church that He was going to build?

He named His church the Church of God. Notice He did not name the church Church of God because His Father was God! No, Jesus plainly said "I will build My Church" (not the Father's church), and He named His church the Church of God, after Himself, 12 times in the New Testament.

Jesus could not name the church that He built the Church of God if He would not be God! The teaching of Mr. Westby, and his One God Seminars, that Jesus is not God but only a glorified human being should be a red flag to any thinking Christian.

Robert Schmid
Westminster, Calif.

We're confused about leavened and unleavened

Two Greek words describe bread in the New Testament: Azumos (Strong's No. 106) means "unleavened." Artos (No. 740) means "bread (as raised)"; in other words, leavened.

We must not cowardly disregard the plain, simple and easy-to-understand verses in the Scriptures relative to the final Passover/Last Supper Jesus observed with His disciples.

"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread [artos, raised or leavened bread] and blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take, eat, this is My body'" (Matthew 26:26).

Jesus took leavened bread, prayed over it and asked God the Father to bless it. Does something sound different and wrong here?

Luke 24 has the account of the two disciples going to Emmaus during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Verse 15: "Jesus Himself drew near and went with them."

As they drew near the village the disciples said, "Abide with us." So Jesus "went in to tarry with them" (verse 29).

Verse 30 says that, as He sat to eat with them, He took bread (artos, leavened) and blessed it. He prayed and asked God to bless the leavened bread, and this was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Then He broke it and gave it to them.

Is this what we have always taught and believed?

One final and shocking scripture is John 6:33, where Jesus said, "For the bread [artos, leavened bread] of God is He [Jesus] which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." This plainly says that Jesus was leavened.

Most will ignore the above. What about you?

Paul and Micki Herrmann
Metairie, La.

Our children worship computers

Is it just me, or is it everybody? Why is it that so many contributors to The Journal seem to hide behind a computer screen? Why?

Do you do so because you can quickly delete? Do you fear you might receive handwritten information you have no answers to? Are you worried you might receive buy-my-product advertisements? Are you so busy with your computer lives that you cannot respond to written-by-hand words?

Each person or organization has the right to decide for him- or itself the level it or he is willing to expose him- or itself to.

But, if you do not have time to address handwritten communications, perhaps your computer is becoming your new god. It certainly is becoming the god of our children.

Ray Daly
Lincoln, N.D.

Jan Aaron Young

I write in regards to Sherry L. Haney's letter [titled "Too Organized to Conspire"] in the June-July 2007 issue.

I will paraphrase a statement by past president F.D. Roosevelt: "In politics, nothing happens by accident."

Although I don't agree 100 percent with Jan Aaron Young's perceptions [in his articles in the Connections advertising section in each issue of The Journal], I will unequivocally agree with him about the stripping of America's inalienable rights, especially in the areas of money and personal liberty.

As a nation we have acquiesced to being robbed of the value of our currency. The proof of this is in the man-made concept of inflation.

As an example: Gasoline cost about a quarter a gallon before the silver was removed from our coins (in 1963-64). If you still have a 1963 (or earlier) quarter, simply exchange it for today's money. You'll be surprised to find that that quarter will still buy a gallon of gas!

So who's fooling who, Sister Haney? You see, the cost of silver and gold hasn't gone up. The value of our continually inflated Federal Reserve notes is steadily, inexorably decreasing.

Personal liberty is virtually nonexistent in our "land of liberty." Practically anything that one wishes to do must be licensed, for instance.

A dictionary will quickly identify what "license" actually is. It is governmental permission. Quite naturally, this permission must be paid for.

Why, one might ask, does one need government permission to hunt for food? To wed a sweetheart? To drive practically any motorized vehicle? You might better ponder: Why don't you need a license to drive a horse or mule?

I was completely in agreement with the letter by Brother Jeff Maehr [titled "Wake Up"], which followed shortly after Sister Haney's. As believers we need to realize that we already have the beast in our midst and controlling us. We've voted it into power or (sadly) neglected to vote it out.

Richard A. Heath
Roanoke, Va.

No one would walk away without good reason

I am commenting on the ill will that seems to have become somewhat rather general in the Big Sandy fellowship [two articles in the Feb. 29, 2008, issue of The Journal].

It seems to me that God doesn't care that much about who has the best idea. He seems to be more impressed by how many extra miles one will go to get along, within reason, of course. At some point one has to go.

Does anyone really believe that people would walk away from something they have put their hearts and/or money into for no good reason? Didn't we have good reason when we did it? We can't praise the mother and criticize the child.

Phil Griffith
Delight, Ark.

Don't knock opportunity

[Regarding "Events Leading to Expulsion Began Two Years Ago," The Journal, Feb. 29, 2008:]

There isn't anyone, in my opinion, who does not like John Warren. All involved--every individual--felt that they were doing what was right.

Because of opinions and emotions, mistakes were made left and right. Since no one could agree on anything including Matthew 18, the problem had to be dropped.

I was so pleased that John finally realized that the "horse" was not only dead but stank and needed to be buried.

John and a few other key individuals have a wonderful opportunity to bring peace. I personally do not see reconciliation in the future, but peace and forgiveness are a must.

I truly feel that John and the other key individuals are doing a good job now of bringing peace. Go for it, John. We are behind you no matter which church we go to.

Judith Biggs
Big Sandy, Texas

Sorry to hear

I was sorry to hear about John Warren in your last issue of The Journal. I hope it works out well for all concerned.

John Sash
Eldon, Mo.

Law and grace since 1994

I got my copy of The Journal today. It's really quite something.

Ron Weinland. The UCG trying to control the Internet. Dennis Diehl's The Secret article (though it could have been harder hitting).

I think the item [in "Notes and Quotes"] about DRG CEO J.R.'s BSU scholarship is good, including the acronyms.

I'm sure Art Mokarow's statements, beginning on page 1, will have people talking, though to be honest I haven't understood what anybody's said when they talk about law and grace since about 1994.

Trey Cartwright
Austin, Texas

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