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If I’m a spy within the CG7, what am I looking for?
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If I’m a spy within the CG7, what am I looking for?
By Alan Knight

The writer is a 62-year-old computer programmer and former newspaper reporter with a degree in anthropology and archaeology. He and his wife, Rosita, are members of the Church of God (Seventh Day).

ANTIOCH, Calif.—My news article in the Dec. 31, 2004, issue of The Journal about the Church of God (Seventh Day)'s endorsement of Christmas and Easter celebrations ("CG7 Moving Toward Christmas Observance") brought what to me is a surprising response from officials of the church.

Bill Hicks, CG7 director of foreign missions, in a letter that I think reasonably may be characterized as a temper tantrum, accuses me of spying on the church and spreading "malicious propaganda." (See Mr. Hicks' letter in the March 31 issue.)

It is impossible to be a spy, if that is what I am, without there being something hidden on which to spy.

Is it possible to spy on something in plain sight? What things does Brother Hicks want to keep hidden on which he thinks I am spying?

For those who may wonder why he is so angry, I will try to fill in some of the blanks. But first I would like to respond to the other letter, this one from Calvin Burrell, editor of the CG7's monthly magazine The Bible Advocate.

Brother Burrell's letter is an entirely different matter from the Hicks letter. Brother Burrell commands immense respect and love throughout the CG7, in which I fully concur. To me he is a wonderful Christian gentleman: honest, upright and, above all, loving and gentle.

Official doctrine

Brother Burrell points out that the official doctrine of the church towards Christmas and Easter is that these holidays are rooted in pagan festivals and have no scriptural support. As he explains, that official position has not changed.

He makes a valid point. The official position of the CG7 indeed has not changed.

Does that mean, however, that there has been no substantive change?

Significant shift

Unfortunately, I believe that is not the case. In the past that same official position was understood by the vast majority of the church as the reason it is wrong for Christians to observe those holidays. What have changed are two things, both informal, nonetheless significant.

  • First, the national leadership of the church now says that that same official doctrine does not explicitly forbid celebration of Christmas and Easter.

    As Brother Burrell says in the November 2004 issue of The Bible Advocate:

    "There are better times and methods to celebrate the greatest miracles of our faith . . . than the two common holy days [Christmas and Easter]."
  • Elsewhere, and here he may be referring more to other churches than our own, he says:

    "We also affirm those who, in the context of a dynamic and biblically oriented faith in Christ, find room for varying degrees, times, and manners of celebrating Christ's birth and resurrection."

    The end result is fairly apparent. Christmas and Easter are no longer considered to be "wrong" in the sense of forbidden. Celebrating the birth and resurrection is explicitly recommended, while avoiding the incorrect times and manner of Christmas and Easter celebration now is considered to be only a "better" alternative.

    I submit this is a very significant, if subtle, change.

Unfortunately, Brother Hicks views what was a news article about these changes in the CG7 as a statement of opinion by the writer.

But nowhere in the original news article do I see any opinion expressed as to the correctness of this change.

Perhaps, however, it would help if I did express my opinion in this article.

What is genuine Christianity?

Through the many contacts I have in the Sabbatarian community, and in my role as a book author, I still meet people who appear to think that genuine Christianity is based primarily on getting rid of pagan holidays.

That is truly sad. The heart of Christianity is the message of repentance and grace, of how grace has come to us through Jesus, and the power of the Spirit to become obedient to the expanded, spiritual standards of God's law.

I firmly believe that celebrating Christmas and Easter is a mistake. But the real issues of religious apostasy in mainstream Christianity are so much worse than pagan holidays.

That is where we come back to the letter from Brother Hicks and why he refers to me as a spy.

Brother Hicks and I have a history going back many years. To my knowledge, I was the first to expose a pamphlet he wrote in which he preached the classic Protestant doctrine of eternal security, commonly known as once saved always saved.

I also have quoted from articles written by CG7 president Whaid Rose and from books by other authors distributed by Brother Rose's Church Renewal Ministries organization that preach that the law has no role in Christian life and that in fact it is evil even to look to the law to understand God's will.

Public record

Now, these are all matters of public record and I have documented these in previous articles.

First, note that these teachings by national leaders of the CG7 directly contradict the "official" doctrine of the CG7. The official CG7 position is that the Ten Commandments, first revealed in the Old Testament as part of the law, are still valid for Christians and that this includes the Fourth Commandment, to observe the seventh- day Sabbath.

Yet, among the "Protestant" faction that has assumed control of the CG7 national headquarters in Denver are many who do not embrace these offi- cial doctrines of the church. That is why appealing to our church's "official" doctrine can sometimes mislead and obscure what really is going on.

Is Jesus' example the reason?

In the same November 2004 issue of The Bible Advocate, Brother Burrell, in talking about the Sabbath, rejects the idea that we should observe the Sabbath because of commands found in the Old Testament.

Instead, he argues, for him our observance is based solely on the example of Jesus observing the Sabbath during His earthly ministry (see the first "editor's reply" on page 16 of the November Advocate).

I salute Brother Burrell's staunch support for the Sabbath. The problem, however, is that some of our national leaders reject even Jesus' earthly ministry as the basis on which to model our Christian practice.

One of the consistent themes of the administration of the church under Brother Rose is that the CG7 is an "evangelical" church.

"Evangelical Protestantism" is the term for a collection of conservative Protestant churches in America that worldwide counts somewhere more than 100 million followers.

'Eternal security'

Those churches teach many good things, but unfortunately they also teach many absolutely horrendous doctrines, including eternal security and total rejection of law.

Not widely known is that evangelicalism also teaches something called dispensationalism, by which evangelical churches argue that the church did not really begin until the Day of Pentecost, after Christ's death.

Therefore, evangelical theologians believe, many portions of Jesus' earthly ministry do not apply to the church, including His observance of the Sabbath.

In effect, they are saying that the gospel accounts of Jesus' earthly ministry are part of the Old Covenant. In the CG7 this usually is talked about in terms of the belief that the church did not begin until Pentecost.

Purely private revelation

Sadly, what we have in the CG7 is a national leadership with a chaotic doctrinal mix, some rejecting the Old Testament in favor of Christ's earthly ministry while others even reject that in favor of a purely private revelation from Jesus through the Holy Spirit after He returned to heaven.

When Brother Hicks accuses me of malicious propaganda" in his letter, what he is talking about is my writing about the evils contained in those teachings, those very teachings that contradict the official doctrines of our church.

He apparently sees nothing wrong with those teachings. Indeed, evangelical Protestantism insists these doctrines actually bring Christians to a superior spiritual relationship with Christ.

Takes it personally

I beg to differ, and Brother Hicks consistently interprets discussing the negative implications of those doctrines as a personal attack on himself and other church leaders.

In that regard, one of the most serious concerns about observing the birth and resurrection of Christ, and validating the practices of Protestant churches with traditional Christmas and Easter celebrations, is that they are being used to draw the CG7 into alliance with Protestant evangelicalism.

This is an extremely serious issue. Evangelicalism is spreading through all the old mainline Sabbatarian churches.

Evangelicalism, for example, was the primary tool used in the conversion of the Worldwide Church of God to mainstream Protestantism.

The subversion of evangelicalism

For anyone who wants to understand more about evangelicalism and its role in subverting traditional Sabbatarian belief, please write to request a free copy of our newly expanded report "Evangelical Protestantism and the Spirit of Antichrist in the End Time." It is absolutely free, and we would love to send it to you.

This has recently been improved and expanded, with an explanation of amazing prophecies by the apostle John, who foresaw in the first century exactly what we are experiencing. John actually predicted that the heresies of evangelical Protestantism would be present in Sabbatarian churches in our day. He prophesied as well that this is an important sign of the beginning of the final days of the end time.

Address your request to me at: 1917 Mt. Hamilton Dr., Antioch, Calif. 94531, U.S.A. For those who already have an earlier version of this report, which was only seven or eight pages long, please feel free to request a copy of the latest, expanded edition.

Whose support?

Finally, Brother Hicks, I want to say that your anger is misguided and unwarranted, and I urge you to reconsider.

You complain that the church's doctrines are clearly written and stand for all to read.

That indeed is the issue. I support those doctrines against the introduction and perverting influence of Protestant evangelical theology.

You ask: Who is this Alan Knight?

My response and challenge to you: Who really is supporting the traditional teachings of our faith?

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