Letters from our readers
Memories of Dr. Hoeh
My reminiscences of Dr. Herman Hoeh: I first met him in 1954 when he came to our home on a baptizing tour. The baptizing team baptized my sister.
We relocated from Missouri to Pasadena in the late '60s. Dr. Hoeh and his family in their spirit of humility chose to attend the gym church, and he would sit among the people. He often sought out the poor and shared with them.
His old car was loaded down with newspapers and aluminum cans for recycling, and he would often ride a bus to work, choosing to stand if the bus was crowded.
My heart ponders how he lived. His was a mind of great intelligence and a heart of giving. We will miss him.
And God bless his sweet wife, Isabell, who shared his plain, simple way of life and whose light continues shining.
For more memories of Dr. Hoeh, who died Nov. 21, see "Herman Hoeh Was One of the WCG's Most Unforgettable," The Journal, Dec. 31, 2004. See also "Family and Friends Mourn Loss of Herman Hoeh, Pioneer at AC and Worldwide Church of God," The Journal, Nov. 30, 2004.
When I was a child in the 1930s, most all of my friends were Catholic. If I asked them something about the Bible, their response was: "Our church does not want us to read the Bible."
The WCG had a similar unwritten policy. Its leaders told the members that it would be best if they did not use the Living Bible, the Companion Bible, etc.
Both of these organizations gave us the reasons we should refrain from reading certain material as:
o You will get confused because you don't have the ability, maturity or intelligence to understand things on your own. We, your leaders, will tell you what you have to believe and what you have to do.
o If you do read restricted material (books, letters, newspapers, etc.), be aware that the people publishing such materials are probably trying to deceive you.
o If, in a bad attitude, you do either of the above, you understandably will forfeit your reward: heaven, the place of safety, the Kingdom.
Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Does it sound like godly freedom when you are told not to read certain material, or does it sound like restriction?
Are you still restricted?
Paul J. Herrmann
No ignoring the issue
What if there had been no Journal when Bill Jacobs and Guy Swenson were separated from United because they wanted to actively evangelize?
Because of The Journal that issue was not ignored. Bill and Guy began holding discussions around the country on local evangelism, starting with sermons at that next Feast.
Furthermore, many more men quickly gave sermons on evangelism, because of the discussion that was stirred up. I doubt there was hardly a Feast site that did not have a sermon on evangelism! Plus, many local groups have begun to be concerned about their local evangelistic efforts.
Even in United the subject could not be ignored. The UCG began to put out material talking about its version of local evangelism.
United did a survey sampling of its people and discovered they are mostly old, longtime members, which is exactly what Bill and Guy had already said, because few new people are being converted. Throughout all of United's congregations the people are thinking about local evangelism, and whether they are fer it or agin it.
What if there had been no Journal? Guy and Bill and the whole discussion would have been totally ignored, not noticed, covered up by a comfortable church organization.
Which is what church organizations want. Which is why they, from the large to the small, despise The Journal. Which is why the members of those congregations should support The Journal.
All church organizations seek to restrict the flow of information to their members. The Journal is basically the only publication that, without being antagonistic, does not seek to cover up problems in the Churches of God. It is the only one that is honest.
I remember years ago when I read in the paper that Herbert Armstrong had just divorced Ramona. No, it was not The Worldwide News, which was controlled by the church, where I read that. I had to read it in the local newspaper.
Most of the churches, big and small, would like to return to those days, with a comfortable, controlled flow of information. And, if The Journal dies, they will be able to.
The position of apostle
Much has been argued about an apostolic system. Humanity is used to hierarchical systems of government.
Mark 10:42: "You know that those who are considered rulers over the gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slaves of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
2 Corinthians 11:13: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ."
This does not mean some of the true apostles had turned false, but that there were those who claimed, falsely, that they were apostles in their own right.
Revelation 2:2 supports this by giving a serious warning to false claimants:
"And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them to be liars."
Certainly many so-called ministers, to the present day, have conned others into believing that the rank of apostle still exists.
They should beware of scriptural admonitions and avoid making false and dangerous claims.
The qualities of true apostles included the fact that they had seen and met the living Lord Jesus--and that they were able to work marvelous signs and wonders in His name.
From the evidence, it should be apparent that nobody alive today can lay claim to the position of apostle.
Basil A. Harris
Are you familiar with the story of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25?
The Kingdom of Heaven we should compare,
To the virgins ten, of beauty fair.
They took their lamps and gaily went
To meet the Bridegroom God had sent.
Five were foolish, five were wise;
The foolish took lamps, but no supplies.
The wise ones took both lamps and oil,
To be prepared--no extra toil.
While the Bridegroom tarried, all fell asleep.
At midnight, a shout, "Arise and meet,
Your Groom, who has arrived this night.
Come, trim your lamps, to give Him light!"
The foolish begged oil, for lamps now dim.
But the wise needed theirs, to go meet Him.
Saying, "Go to the dealers, from them buy."
While they were gone, there came a cry!
He has arrived, "Come! Meet your Groom!"
Then the door was shut to the inner room!
The foolish came and entrance sought!
The Groom cried out, "I knew you not!"
(How about you?)
Be on the alert, lest your light grow dim.
For the day and the hour, known just by Him.
Are you low on oil, lamps cast aside,
To keep you from being Christ's loving bride?
May you have eyes to see, ears to hear and oil in your lamps.
Trust God, not men
In the interest of accuracy regarding God's Word, I must take issue with the advertisement in the Sept. 30, 2004, edition of The Journal on page 13, headed "Final Prophecy."
The author states, "There is an end-time prophecy which was delivered by the Prophet Isaiah over 2,700 years ago, which will soon come to pass." He goes on: "It's revealed in Isaiah 3:6. This scripture spells out in great detail who will win the office of the United States Presidency for the term of 2005-2009."
The author uses Isaiah 3:6 to predict that not only will President George W. Bush be reelected, but in his last four years in office the United States will come to "utter ruin" and Mr. Bush will ask his brother Jeb, governor of Florida, to take responsibility for the devastated country. His brother will refuse!
He explains this part of the prophecy, using the "Revised King James Version," as follows: "... A man [43rd president George W. Bush] shall take hold of his brother [Gov. John 'Jeb' Bush of Florida] of the house of his father [41st former president George Herbert Walker Bush], saying, 'Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand.'"
The problem with the author's entire scenario is that Isaiah 3:6-7 is not directed toward the United States of America, modern Israel. Rather, it is directed at Judah and Jerusalem.
Please take note of verse 1 of chapter 3. "For, behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water."
Note also verse 8, which immediately follows the verses the author quoted. "For Jerusalem is ruined [overthrown], and Judah is fallen ..."
Finally, consider the major thrust of the book of Isaiah as stated in chapter 1, verse 1. "The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem ..."
Certainly Isaiah does reference prophecies regarding Israel in the end times, as well as Judah, but, clearly, Isaiah 3 is directed specifically to Judah and Jerusalem.
Now, please consider what the author says about himself in the advertisement: "Being a servant of God, I will relate to you what God has revealed to me concerning one of the many end-time prophecies."
Clearly, God did not reveal this information to the author. To do so, God would have had to dislocate His own Scriptures to satisfy the author, and God is not going to do that.
I understand that those who associate themselves with the author may consider him a true prophet of God who will lead them into God's Kingdom. If this is the case, they would do well to put their trust in God, not in a man, and to do as Mr. Armstrong often stated: Check it out in your Bible.
Robert J. Elliott
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God