Tribute to Mr. McNair
When I received the news of Mr. McNair's death [see "Longtime COG Elder Raymond McNair Dies," The Journal, July 31, 2008], I was rather distressed and felt an inner emptiness. Gradually pioneers of the church are passing away. These were stalwarts who were anchors for our faith in a sense, and many do not realize the jewels we no longer have among us.
I read their writings, had some contact with them and attentively listened to their sermons. In Mr. McNair's case I met him only ever once, and we exchanged letters some years ago. We also exchanged E-mails over the years. I certainly admired his staunch adherence to proclaiming the "lost tribes" truth regardless of political correctness.
The understanding of God's Word by the pioneers is unbeatable, and there are few around who can replace them. Few seem to have that depth or breadth of understanding anymore.
Over the period I received Mr. McNair's regular letters in the mail, always looking forward to them, I found them among the most uplifting and encouraging pieces of reading material that I received on a regular basis.
It was not a publication full of this and that social issue. Rather, the content--the message--was always so gripping, interesting and personally applicable. The Kingdom of God and our part in it were central to Mr. McNair, and he obviously yearned to see that day when the Kingdom is set up on the earth.
I got so much out of those letters and am eager to tell him so when I meet him in the resurrection. Most people "out there" want magazines and newsletters filled with information and interesting, dynamic articles--like those that Messrs. McNair, Hoeh, HWA, Meredith, etc., wrote.
His articles made you think. You wanted to do more reading on the subject. He caused you to want to look into the Bible. That is his legacy.
I recall vividly when I came into the Truth. I recall devouring the articles by Messrs. HWA, Hoeh, McNair, Meredith, Neff, GTA, Elliott, Herrmann, etc., in the then-current and old publications. I instantly recognized that these were men of understanding on the subject matters that they wrote on. Their articles led you on--sort of urged you--to want to undertake further studies. Few are like that nowadays.
Finally, I am very grateful to Mr. McNair for granting me the task to oversee the retyping of his very important thesis Key to Northwest European Origins, which is available (along with all his key works) at www.originofnations.org/key.htm.
The thesis was available only in hard copy, and it was essential to preserve it in soft copy for all to be able to download it and enjoy wherever they might reside around the world. Mr. McNair knew this and gave his nod to this important task as a result.
Whilst I did retype parts of it, the overwhelming majority of the text was retyped and checked by brethren in Australia and the United States. The entire task took more than two years to complete, and this precious knowledge is now preserved for all to enjoy.
Mr. McNair will always be remembered as a WCG pioneer and one of the great British-Israel teachers over the past few decades. He will be sorely missed (like all the pioneers) no doubt by his family but by all those of us who were touched by his service to the brethren and to the world.
I do look forward to meeting him and other Christians in the resurrection!
Fond memories of Mr. McNair
My deceased wife and I first became acquainted with Mr. McNair shortly before Pentecost in 1953. He and his brother (a fellow minister) came to our apartment to pray for my healing of what I believe was a very painful appendicitis attack. I was well the next day. This was the beginning of a friendship that lasted over the many years until his death.
I have always appreciated and respected him. Though he had his own corporate church, he was one that I felt free to call and seek his counsel on whatever the need was at the time. He always was gracious and kind to me when I did.
Aside from the articles written by Mr. Armstrong, his articles were the ones I usually read first. They were interesting and factual. He was outstanding in his research. I treasure his autographed book to me, Ascent to Greatness. It has been very helpful in my own research.
My wife, granddaughter and I visited the McNairs in their home a couple of years ago on the Sabbath. He asked me to speak that day to a small group assembled in their home. In private he said to me how nice it would be just to go to sleep.
And like Madeline, my beloved wife of 61 years, they both are now sleeping and will until Jesus Christ awakens them. I pray that day will soon come and all of us can be back together once again.
Works and work
Most professing Christians believe that salvation is by grace. They also believe we will be rewarded according to our works, which they say are attending church regularly, giving money, keeping the correct day of the week and observing days (Easter, Christmas, etc.) and certain Jewish observances.
But these works are done by human willpower and determination and are not the works for which we will be rewarded.
The work that we will be rewarded for is that which God does to us and through us (without our help) and is the works of the Spirit (the fruits: love, joy, peace, etc.) that manifest in our living and transform us from human flesh to divine spirit.
When Jesus returns He is going to reward us according to our work (Revelation 22:12).
Paul and Micki Herrmann
The Jewish church
While reading my favorite section of The Journal, the letters-to-the-editor section, I was reading Dennis Diehl's comments on the "apostle Paul" (July 2008) and was reminded of studying a subject and wondering if Paul's writings really were Scripture.
The subject was the bread-and-wine (or juice) ritual that is almost universally practiced in Christianity.
It seems obvious from reading the other New Testament accounts that the Jewish church makes no claim to such a ritual.
In fact, body and blood of Christ we understood early on to be allegories of believing in Christ and coming to Christ: "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (John 6:35), etc. Or "Wherefore putting on meekness, renew yourself in faith, that is the flesh of the Lord; and in charity, that is the blood of Jesus Christ" (epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians 2:7).
So we have the supposed "one witness" of Paul and his "press secretary" to support this supposed universally required ritual. This seems weak to some. I see most people pointing to other people's symbols and calling them something else.
Peter calls Paul's writings Scripture, so I guess I will have to grin and bear it and realize that our faith, whatever it is, is more about knowing in part than having all the answers.
The Bible is a book of books by different authors, which seems to make it a library. It also contains endless allegories, and often allegories are fictional stories.
All great libraries have a fiction section, and isn't the Bible a great library?
If the Bible didn't have any fiction, the editors, translators and interpreters turned, or will surely try to turn, it into fiction. I believe we can still get what we need for salvation if we don't waste time fussing about what the Bible is or isn't, or what it says or doesn't say.
Paul may not have claimed to know as much as some think he did.
Arguing arm in arm
If anyone would like a thorough history of the Greek text and information that is well researched and supports David Roe's position against Geoffrey Neilson's position [see the letter headed "Madame Blavatsky and King James" on page 4 of The Journal dated June 30, 2008], then I suggest the following books:
The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration by Bruce M. Metzger and The Text of the New Testament by Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland.
These books will help you understand the difference between the "received text" of the King James Bible and modern translations. The debate between the texts is examined more fully than space will allow in a letter by Mr. Neilson or Mr. Roe.
The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture by Bart D. Ehrman is easier to read and covers a slightly different area of problems.
If you are reading the New American Standard Bible or similar modern Bible with your King James, ask questions, discuss and walk away arm in arm to argue, in love, another day.
Remember that seminaries are not cemeteries. Take Greek. Take Hebrew. They want your money; they don't want to cram doctrine down your throat. Audit the classes for half price, but study as though you were paying thousands of dollars for each unit.
Go ahead. Make me laugh
I really enjoyed your sense of humor in The Journal re "plot unfolding in the United Church of God." [See the letter headed "Whited Socks" on page 2 of the July 11, 2008, issue.]
I also love Earl Cayton's cartoons in every issue.
No doubt God has a great sense of humor. I think He has the humor of a clown at times. We all need to lighten up. Thanks!
Big Sandy, Texas
It occurs to me that, when one begins to adopt rigid beliefs such as church doctrines, there inevitably will come a strong tendency to protect and preserve such things.
So what happens if we suddenly decide we no longer accept a particular doctrine and choose to change it? Could it be there are reasons that we cannot seem to shrug off a doctrine we formerly accepted as true?
The church enjoys spiritual blessings rather than physical for obedience. Could this be why we cannot imagine ourselves prospering in the physical things of this life? Are we still controlled by an old, unconscious belief?
The WCG's 75th
Oct. 21, 2008, was the 75th anniversary of the Worldwide Church of God. On Oct. 21, 1933, Herbert W. Armstrong incorporated the Radio Church of God, later renamed Worldwide Church of God.
Cape Town, South Africa