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The Journal: Letters from our readers - Issue 87
Encouraging Communication among the Churches of God
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Letters from our Readers

Churches with similar names

Due to the confused inquiries we (Church of God Jackson) have been recently receiving, please make a correction or a clarification of the posting made in the "Notes and Quotes" section in the Feb. 29 issue of The Journal, which quoted Bill Shults as stating that "the Jackson Church of God was planning a Feast in Jackson for 2004."

We have been called the Church of God Jackson for over five years and are known as such especially in West Tennessee. Some folks are wrongly assuming it is our group.

We the Church of God Jackson as a group are not planning, sponsoring, promoting or in any way endorsing Bill Shults' and Hungry Hearts Ministries' local Feast in Jackson.

Also, please note we are in no way condemning Bill Shults for holding his own Feast.

Please be sure all understand we as a group (Church of God Jackson) are not conducting a Feast site in Jackson, Tenn., for 2004.

We do sponsor the Born to Win radio broadcast on 1390 AM, Jackson, on Sunday mornings at 9. We also are one of the sponsoring church groups promoting and do endorse the fifth-Sabbath get-togethers for all the Sabbath Churches of God in West Tennessee.

May everyone have a spiritually fulfilling Feast wherever they plan to go.

D. Jefferson, congregant
Jackson, Tenn.

Sit back and read

I look forward to The Journal, to sit back and read letters to the editor, Dave Havir and Brian Knowles--not in that order, but I read everything.

Dean Neal I never miss!

Keep up the good work. God bless you all.

Basil Hronchak
Sandy Hook, Ky.

Gypsies, tramps and bozos

In reply to Dean Neal's attack on "thieves, bozos and clowns" (issue No. 84, Jan. 31) who don't live up to his wonderful standards, I would like to quote from 1 Corinthians 9:14.

"Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel."

Paul did not make use of this God-given right, but God's Word is clearly there for all to see!

John Veal
Gloucester, England

Gone with the wind

One of the most immoral, and still popular, movies ever produced was Gone With the Wind. I say most immoral because my parents strictly forbade us to see a movie that had that much American history and culture demonstrated on film. My parents classified Rhett Butler's "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn" as porn. If only they could see commercials on TV today!

The message of my parents is the same one coming through from the self-described church leaders in their comments in The Journal of Feb. 29 concerning the movie The Passion of the Christ.

Warren Zehrung offers a life-saving warning not to see The Passion.

This strikes me as akin to the tactics of the old Worldwide: trying to tell folks what to see and hear. We still need someone to shelter our tender, receptive minds from anything that isn't deemed purified by their standards. We are not capable of making the decisions that those at the high spiritual levels make.

I'm so sorry that Mama and Daddy are not here to help me decide whether to see The Passion.

Lyle A. McDaniel
Pyatt, Ark.

Port Austin report

Thanks to the brethren for the prayers and encouragement to start a Sabbatarian school and retirement center. After much prayer, discussion and consideration, we signed a contract to purchase part of the former Air Force base at Port Austin, Mich., on April 28.

Our plans have gone further than just establishing a school and/or retirement center. We want to do those things in the context of a community that lives as much as possible by biblical laws and principles. For this reason we have decided to call it Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community, or PASCC.

The Sabbatarian Educational Environment (SEE) will be the name of the education part of PASCC. Sabbatarian Elder Adult Living (SEAL) still describes our program to help older and disadvantaged believers.

Working as a biblically based Sabbatarian community, raising some of our own food, tending to our own needs and coming together for daily praise and prayer do not mean we will live by ancient technology or drop out of society.

To the contrary, we hope to make great use of safe and effective technology, eventually supplying our own energy.

We are already getting to know our local neighbors and plan to be a light to them on a continuing basis.

We cannot describe everything, but to summarize:

We have about 20 acres and 12 major buildings: three ready-to-go dormitories, a motel-like building with a large living space, a dining hall, a gym-auditorium-classroom building, a four-bay garage, a two-lane bowling alley; another auditorium that needs some work; another dorm that needs some work; and two other empty-shell buildings that need some work.

Phil Frankford is in the process of acquiring two other buildings for industrial use. We could accommodate about 80 students now and twice that many by finishing existing buildings and/or purchasing other currently unused buildings.

We are quite interested in staff, teachers and older adults who can volunteer to help. We could provide a place to stay and possibly meals, but you would need funds for other necessities. If anyone would like to live nearby, there are several inexpensive houses for sale within walking distance of the campus.

We will have the first school year starting in late August or September, with any number of students. We have about six students already interested and hope to acquire some more. The exact courses are not set yet. This year we need students who are dedicated to serving God, helping build the environment and working closely with experienced Christians.

The SEAL program will begin with Ruby Williams, Terry Williams' mother, and expand as funds allow and facilities are ready.

Who is doing the work for PASCC, and when will they be there?

Paul Drieman, facilities director, is living on campus. His wife and two college-age daughters will join him in a month or two.

I, as SEE and media director, will move after the Spring Vale Academy school year finishes and after my house is sold. I will continue the work of Servants' News and the Church Bible Teaching Ministry in Port Austin to the extent possible.

Terry Williams, the SEAL and farm director, will move on campus with his mother in about a month.

Phil Frankford, information-technology director, will move his family of eight when he can best satisfy his home and business obligations. He will bring the computer businesses he owns to the Port Austin area to supply work and resources for the community.

We want to thank God and all of those who have prayed for us and helped us in so many ways.

Norman Edwards, (517) 625-7480
P.O. Box 107
Perry, Mich. 48872, U.S.A.

I'm puzzled

I don't understand Luke Przeslawski's justification for being angered by the contents of my letter, or for concluding that I was disrespectful to Anthony Buzzard. [See Mr. Przeslawski's letter, "Let's Be Respectful," in The Journal, March 31.]

In my letter [in the Jan. 31 issue] I restated Mr. Buzzard's lament over the inadequate study tools that were available to him and the poor quality of the teaching he received while he was a student at Ambassador College.

I then contrasted the study tools that were available to Mr. Buzzard with the Holy Spirit that was and is available to God's elect, with the assured promise that "it will lead them into all truth."

As a consequence of the contrast, I was led to the inescapable conclusion that God's elect have a correct understanding of the nature and status of Christ, because they are led by the spirit of truth--unless, of course, someone is prepared to argue that the spirit of truth leads people into error.

On the other hand, those with inadequate study tools don't have the same understanding. It therefore puzzles me why this logical conclusion should be perceived as disrespectful.

In addition, Mr. Przeslawski appears to be of the misguided opinion that spiritual understanding and love are two different qualities. But, according to the spirit of truth, they are not--for, unless a Christian is "rooted and grounded in love" (Ephesians 3:17), there can be no true spiritual comprehension or understanding.

So may I respectfully suggest that instead of getting angry we get logical. Christians are supposed to be of sound minds.

Tom Mahon
West Bromwich, England

Wrongs and rights

I suppose there was a time when Kenneth Westby and David Antion, while under the tutelage of Herbert W. Armstrong, were on the same page in their understanding of the nature of God and of Christ. Today you will find them on opposite pages (see The Journal, March 4, pages 6-7) on the most fundamental question we are able to ask: Who is Jesus?

What separates them, and does it make a difference?

David Antion represents (please correct me if wrong) the teaching of HWA's WCG and most WCG offshoots, teaching that Jesus is God, teaching that, although "Jesus was not the Son of God and God was not His Father" at the time of John 1:1, "there did exist two Supreme Beings, immortal, who always had existed" (Mystery of the Ages, pp. 42-43).

In other words, Mr. Antion represents the position that there always existed two Gods, two supreme personages, one of Them becoming the Father, the other God becoming the Son, via an incarnation and birth through Mary 2,000 years ago. This teaching includes the possibility for human beings to become God beings.

Mr. Westby represents (please correct me if wrong) the teaching that there always was, there presently is and there always will be one God, period. This teaching denies that Jesus is God and precludes the possibility for human beings to become God beings.

Obviously, I cannot answer for God, and neither can I answer for you. However, I will answer for myself.

My answer is: Yes, it makes all the difference in the world because where and how we begin determines where we go and where and how we end up.

Is one of these two positions right and the other wrong so that all we have to do is pick the right one? Not at all, for it is my belief that both positions are half right and half wrong, which, of course, makes them both wrong.

The dividing line is the Old Testament (B.C.) from the New Testament (A.D.).

Mr. Antion's OT position is wrong in that there was only one God.

Mr. Antion's NT position is right in that there are now two God beings, Father and Son.

Mr. Westby's OT position is right in that there was only one God.

Mr. Westby's NT position is wrong in that there are now two God beings, Father and Son.

What is the biblical record?

In the beginning (B.C.) was the one God. Then, in the fullness of time (A.D.), were God and His firstborn Son, Jesus, who is also God.

My prayer is that Mr. Antion and Mr. Westby will see that there are two wrongs, but two wrongs can become one right.

(For additional explanations, refer to my articles in the ad section of the October, November and December 2003 and January, February and March 2004 issues of The Journal.)

Robert Schmid
Westminster, Calif.

The WCG and Armstrongism

Concerning "The WCG Still Practices Armstrongism," The Journal, March 31: I agree with John Gideon's assessment of the WCG. I am pleased that a minister with the WCG is willing to speak up about it. His using a pen name is likely to be to avoid problems in the fellowship he pastors and to avoid the WCG from coming down on him about it.

I attend a WCG fellowship. John is correct in that the WCG's church government is basically like it was before. WCG headquarters said it would change the churches by law so that the HQ council of elders could remove the pastor general and replace him, but so far they have not done it. That was about six years ago. In the WCG the pastor general's word is still law.

When any in the WCG fellowship mention anything about the problems of the WCG, their words fall on deaf ears. The WCG said that the local fellowship is the lay members' fellowship. In practice, the power in the local fellowship is in the hands of a few: the local church's advisory council.

The WCG has an appeals process for church discipline matters. The elders have more appeal rights than the lay members.

Lay members can appeal only as far as the local district pastor. The elders can appeal all the way to the U.S. administration pastor. Having one appeals process for lay members and another for elders is unscriptural.

In the WCG, elders are licensed, but only for the specific fellowship they attend and the specific ministry they are in. If they change ministries or their local WCG fellowship, they have to be relicensed.

In any case they have to be relicensed every few months. This is not scriptural. This is an impediment to ministry for the elders and local churches. The WCG keeps its local ministers on a leash as much as it can without causing a backlash.

The WCG said that the local fellowships come first. The truth is that WCG headquarters comes first. The new funding plan gradually being put in place insures the HQ gets fully funded first, then the local fellowships.

The WCG's church-administration manual is online at Search the site for the administration manual. I am currently reading it.

The people in the WCG's fellowship are good people. They sincerely love and follow Christ. But too many seem to have an attitude of indifference. They say they are rich but don't see their poverty.

Paul Shaw
Tyler, Texas

One central prophecy

About the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Church of God: Some of the writings are very good, and some of them are partly biblical and partly fiction. But none of the writings has provision for salvation, eternal life. See Revelation 12:10-11.

In all, the writings are deceiving.

I will say it again: Unless the prophecy of Revelation 12:10-11 is fulfilled, there would be no provision for salvation, eternal life, for anybody in the past, the present or the future. There is no other way. The total Word of Almighty God is based on this one prophecy, Revelation 12:10-11.

John E. Vrieling
Orillia, Ont., Canada

Maybe he is

You Christians have to remember that the prophets were killed by people thinking they were doing God's will. Gerald Flurry saw an angel. Just maybe he is a prophet.

You've got to remember that prophets are not believed. And Gerald Flurry did write Malachi's Message. Thank you.

Elijah Rock
Lyons, N.Y.

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