Famed Televangelist Dies at Age 73
5 S HCOG News: Emphasizing News of Interest to those Once in the Worldwide Church of God
* LCG News * LCG 2007 Feast of Tabernacles' Information * Listing of Living Church of God Congregations *Sunset Times for the U.S. * News of Those Once Affiliated with the Global COG * Prayer Requests
Click Here for the COGwriter Home Page which has articles on various sabbatarian Churches of God (COGs) and articles supporting beliefs of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God.
05/18/07 a.m. Notice the following news item:
Putin calls restoration of Russian Church unity a historic event
Interfax - May 17, 2007
Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin has described as a historic event the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), which took place at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow on Thursday.
"This is a truly national historic event of immense moral significance," Putin said speaking at the signing ceremony at the cathedral.
"The Church was divided as a result of a deep political split in Russian society itself and bitter confrontation primarily in society," Putin said.
"Now, after long decades of separation, it would be safe to say that nobody has benefited from this ecclesiastical and political conflict," he said.
This conflict has caused serious losses both to the church and the believers, "who had to live in the atmosphere of estrangement and mutual mistrust for a long time," Putin said.
"Today's revival of the Church unity is a crucial precondition for restoring the unity of the entire Russian world, which has always seen Orthodoxy as its spiritual foundation," Putin said..
In May 2004, Putin received Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan Laurus in the Kremlin and promised that the Russian government "will do all it can to help in the full revival of the Russian Orthodox Church and its reunification." http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=3059
Not only will the "Orthodox" end up with more unity, they (according to the Bible and Catholic prophecies) apparently will attain some type of unity with Rome (this is shown in the article Europa and the Beast of Revelation).
Les McCullough was UCG's second president (he succeeded COGaic's David Hulme, who left UCG shortly after he lost the presidency). Leon Walker handles UCG's Spanish-speaking areas and also used to have major doctrinal responsibilities at UCG--he often expressed frustration with UCG's doctrinal review process.
Recognition of Departing Council Members
Due to scheduling considerations, time was taken early in the day to recognize and thank departing Council members Les McCullough and Leon Walker.
Mr. Dick noted that Mr. McCullough, as a "senior statesman," has provided years of service to the Council and Church. He described Mr. McCullough as a "patriarch" among us, and thanked him for the wisdom and perspective he added to the Council.
Mr. Dick also described Leon Walker as a "senior statesman" of the Church. As a member, and in recent years chairman, of the Council's Doctrine Committee, Mr. Dick called Mr. Walker's efforts "invaluable," as he worked for over a decade in helping establish a firm doctrinal foundation for the Church.
Recognizing the service of their wives as well, Mr. Dick presented Mr. and Mrs. McCullough and Mr. and Mrs. Walker with gifts as a token of the Council's appreciation for their many years of service.
05/17/07 a.m. Melito of Sardis is considered to have been a saint by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. His writings suggest that the Holy Spirit was simply the power of God as he wrote:
The tongue of the Lord-His Holy Spirit. In the Psalm: "My tongue is a pen." (Melito. From the Oration on Our Lord's Passion, IX. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 7/26/06).
The finger of the Lord-the Holy Spirit, by whose operation the tables of the law in Exodus are said to have been written (Melito. From the Oration on Our Lord's Passion. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 7/26/06).
Did you know that throughout history, the true Church of God, and even those of the early Greco-Roman faiths, did not accept that the Holy Spirit was the third person of a trinity?
The Statement of Faith for the Church of God (Seventh Day) states:
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the promised divine helper who proceeds from the Father and Son. The Spirit is God’s presence and power in the world and indwells believers. By the Holy Spirit, God inspired and illuminates the Scriptures; convicts and regenerates sinners; sanctifies, teaches, comforts, guides, and preserves believers; and empowers them for service. Evidences of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life are faith in Christ, obedience to God, and the spiritual fruit of love.
LCG teaches from its Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs states:
THE HOLY SPIRIT
God is Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very essence, the mind, life and power of God. It is not a Being. The Spirit is inherent in the Father and the Son, and emanates from Them throughout the entire universe (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24). It was through the Spirit that God created all things (Genesis 1:1-2; Revelation 4:11). It is the power by which Christ maintains the universe (Hebrews 1:2-3). It is given to all who repent of their sins and are baptized (Acts 2:38-39) and is the power (Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:6-7) by which all believers may be "overcomers" (Romans 8:37, KJV; Revelation 2:26-27) and will be led to eternal life.
At least one Protestant trinitarian scholar has admitted:
The language of the New Testament permits the Holy Spirit to be understood as an impersonal force or influence more readily than it does the Son...The attempt to develop an understanding of the Holy Spirit consistent with the trinitarian passages...came to fruition at Constantinople in 381. There were a number of reasons why the personhood of the Holy Spirit took longer to acknowledge than the Son: (1) the term pneuma, breath, is neuter in general and impersonal in ordinary meaning; (2) the distinctive work of the Holy Spirit, influencing the believer, does not necessarily seem as personal as that of the Father...in addition, those who saw the Holy Spirit as a Person, were often heretical, for example, the Montanists; (3) many of the early theologians attributed to the Logos or Word, the revelatory activity later theologians saw as the special, personal work of the Holy Spirit (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 140).
Notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia states,
Semiarians and Semiarianism
A name frequently given to the conservative majority in the East in the fourth century...showing that the very name of father implies a son of like substance...rejected the Divinity of the Holy Ghost (Chapman J. Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter. Semiarians and Semiarianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).
Towards the middle of the fourth century, Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople, and, after him a number of Semi-Arians, while apparently admitting the Divinity of the Word, denied that of the Holy Ghost. They placed Him among the spirits, inferior ministers of God, but higher than the angels (Forget J. Transcribed by W.S. French, Jr. Holy Ghost. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).
Although later Roman Catholic writers have had many definitions of those that they called Pneumatomachi or "Semi-Arians" (most of which disagree with the Church of God position), one that somewhat defines the view held in the early church would possibly be this one written by Epiphanius in the mid-4th Century,
Semi-Arians...hold the truly orthodox view of the Son, that he was forever with the Father...but has been begotten without beginning and not in time...But all of these blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and do not count him in the Godhead with the Father and the Son (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verses 1,1 and 1,3. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp.471-472).
Another in the fourth century, the "Orthodox" Gregory of Nyssa, describes the beliefs of non-trinitarians as follows:
But they reveal more clearly the aim of their argument. As regards the Father, they admit the fact that He is God, and that the Son likewise is honoured with the attribute of Godhead; but the Spirit, Who is reckoned with the Father and the Son, they cannot include in their conception of Godhead, but hold that the power of the Godhead, issuing from the Father to the Son, and there halting, separates the nature of the Spirit from the Divine glory ( On the Holy Trinity. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 5. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1893. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).
Thus, the early Christians (and even later some who professed Christ) clearly did not believe that the Holy Spirit was a separate person in a trinity.
Several articles of related interest may include:
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah's Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.
On other matters, in the past two days I have received emails from two sources who continue to not use proper email addresses and whose emails AOL spam filters have still not been able to block. These are from people who actually claim to be in the COG. Anyway, once again I will state here that I do not read those emails, but immediately report them to AOL unopened. If you really want to email me, use your real email address and comply with the guidelines at the COGwriter home page.
05/16/07 a.m. The following news item was of interest:
EU to snub Jerusalem Day celebrations
EJP - May 13, 2007
JERUSALEM (EJP)---The European Union will not attend Israeli celebrations marking the 40-year anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, the Israeli media reported on Sunday.
The ambassadors from the EU member states will not participate in a special special of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, to mark next Wednesday what in Israel is known as "Jerusalem Day."
Israel has been informed by the German EU presidency in a diplomatic letter sent by the German embassy in Tel Aviv to the foreign ministry and the Israeli parliament.
Germany’s ambassador replied to the Israeli government’s invitation by saying all representatives of the European Union would boycott the festivities "due to the ongoing dispute between Israel and the Palestinians over control of eastern Jerusalem."
European countries do not recognize Jerusalem’s reunification. As far as they are concerned, east Jerusalem, which was occupied during the Six Day War, is an occupied territory. http://www.ejpress.org/article/16702
Of course, the fact that nearly all countries on the Earth today have the territory they have because of some past war or wars does not seem to apply to Israel. In spite of this obvious double-standard, the Bible indicates that the EU will ultimately make a deal with Israel regarding Jerusalem, that eventually will result in major EU influence in the Middle East. Various Catholic prophecies seem to confirm this, one of which is in the article Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation.
WCG announced two Festivals for 2007:
Late summer festival on Sardinia Island, Italy—Aug. 25–Sept. 1...
Fall festival on Majorca Island, Spain—Sept. 29–Oct. 7
Neither of the above festivals covers the dates of the biblical Feast of Tabernacles. The first is way to early (since the FOT is a Fall festival) and the second, while covering part of the FOT, is a bit late. It remains to be seen in WCG will have any Fall Feast on the biblical dates (you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days based upon the Bible). Of course, even if they do, they no longer preach the biblical messages--please see the articles Unity: Which COG for You?, The Thyatira Church Era, Comments on the Teachings of Ron Wallen, Philip Neal, Kenneth W., GRUMPS, Jesse Arellano, and others who Profess(ed) that WCG has God's Authority, and There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God?
On other matters, it has been about a year since I announced the History of Early Christianity page. It, along with the many historical articles on that page, explains what happened to the Christian Church. I have updated most of the articles on it since that page was first announced with additional research on the early Church. By better understanding our past, we will be in a better position to understand what will come to pass.
Would you like to learn more about the History of Early Christianity?
05/15/07 p.m. AOL News reported the following AP story:
Famed Televangelist Dies at Age 73
AP LYNCHBURG, Va. (May 15) - The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and built the religious right into a political force, died Tuesday shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said. He was 73...
Falwell credited his Moral Majority with getting millions of conservative voters registered, electing Ronald Reagan and giving Republicans Senate control in 1980.
"I shudder to think where the country would be right now if the religious right had not evolved," Falwell said when he stepped down as Moral Majority president in 1987.
J. Falwell held Protestant views on most subjects. Three articles that would highlight some of those differences from those held by the COGs would include:
Should a Christian Vote? This article gives some of the Biblical rationale on this subject.
Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants How the COGs differ from mainstream Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a COG background.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the COG is NOT Protestant.
05/15/07 a.m. Last night CGOM reported:
The Day of Pentecost (This year, 2007, Pentecost is May 27)
'And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place' (Acts 2:1)
Often seen as the 'birthday' of the Christian Church, Pentecost is celebrated worldwide by all denominations.
...The Day of Pentecost is one of the annual festivals which the LORD introduced to the Israelites to be observed when they entered the 'Promised Land' (Leviticus 23:10) following their miraculous deliverance from Egyptian slavery. It has, too, vital Christian significance ... It was a celebration of the end of the seven week wheat harvest (Exodus 34:22) and an annual holy convocation (Leviticus 23:21) also called the Day of the Firstfruits' (Number 28:26) and the Feast of Weeks (Deuteronomy 16:10). [See MiniStudy 45 for more background]
...The festival is related to the giving of the Law on Sinai. It was on that day the Israelites covenanted to serve the LORD faithfully: '...if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation' (Exodus 19:5-6). The divine Law outline the terms of the Covenant. They accepted the terms wholeheartedly (v.8)
...The Twelve apostles were taught by Jesus during the six weeks following His resurrection - the 'Pentecost harvest period'. Far from abandoning the Feast days they were, on His instructions (Acts 1:4) , assembled on the Day of Pentecost. They were, for the next ten days, to stay in Jerusalem to '...wait for the promise of the Father' when they would be '...clothed with power from on High' (Luke 24:49). That promise was the indwelling divine Spirit (John 7:39) who would empower them to carry on the mission of Jesus
The Feast of Pentecost in Acts 2 is considered to have been the beginning of the New Testament Church by most. For more on its significance for Christians, please see the article Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?
Legacy Institute's latest letter arrived last night. It stated:
One of the things I need to address...is the understanding that we are called NOW, in this life - not for our personal salvation only - but to be fully engaged in getting His Work done. Jesus started it - and WE are to finish it.
Although Legacy Institute does not fully understand the Work (please see the article Teachings and Practices of Legacy Institute), the points cited above are correct. Several articles of possibly related interest may include:
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and HWA expect from evangelists?
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church.
On other matters, while researching more on the History of Early Christianity, I noticed another area where the Eastern Orthodox Church has a position closer to the COGs than do the Roman Catholics or the Lutherans.
In the early third century, Clement of Alexandria listed most of the ten commandments (note, he left out two commandments-- 3. cursing and 9. false witness):
The first commandment of the Decalogue shows that there is one only Sovereign God...
The second word intimated that men ought not to take and confer the august power of God (which is the name, for this alone were many even yet capable of learning), and transfer His title to things created and vain, which human artificers have made...
And the fourth word is that which intimates that the world was created by God, and that He gave us the seventh day as a rest, on account of the trouble that there is in life. For God is incapable of weariness, and suffering, and want. But we who bear flesh need rest. The seventh day, therefore, is proclaimed a rest...
Now the fifth in order is the command on the honour of father and mother...
Then follows the command about murder...
This is followed by the command respecting adultery...
And after this is the command respecting theft...
And the tenth is the command respecting all lusts (Clement of Alexandria. Stromata, Book VI).
It should be noted that Clement did not mention coveting your neighbor's wife within the tenth or did he give any indication that that could be a separate commandment from other lusts. Hence Clement endorsed the same order of the ten commandments that the COG still endorses.
In the fourth century, Aphraates wrote:
Clearly the congregation of the house of Israel, to which the ten commandments were given. They lost the first commandment—that in which He warned them saying:—I am the Lord your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt. And when they had lost this first commandment, also the nine which are after it they could not keep, because on the first depend the nine (Aphrahat. Demonstration 1 (Of Faith), Numbere 11).
From The Catholic Encyclopedia:
Called also simply THE COMMANDMENTS, COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, or THE DECALOGUE (Gr. deka, ten, and logos, a word), the Ten Words of Sayings, the latter name generally applied by the Greek Fathers.
The Ten Commandments are precepts bearing on the fundamental obligations of religion and morality and embodying the revealed expression of the Creator's will in relation to man's whole duty to God and to his fellow-creatures. They are found twice recorded in the Pentateuch, in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5...
The Church, on the other hand, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord's Day. The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, can. xix) condemns those who deny that the Ten Commandments are binding on Christians...
The system of numeration found in Catholic Bibles, based on the Hebrew text, was made by St. Augustine (fifth century) in his book of "Questions of Exodus" ("Quæstionum in Heptateuchum libri VII", Bk. II, Question lxxi), and was adopted by the Council of Trent. It is followed also by the German Lutherans, except those of the school of Bucer...According to this manner of reckoning, the injunction forbidding the use of the Lord's Name in vain comes second in order; and the decimal number is safeguarded by making a division of the final precept on concupiscence--the Ninth pointing to sins of the flesh and the Tenth to desires for unlawful possession of goods.
Another division has been adopted by the English and Helvetian Protestant churches on the authority of Philo Judæus, Josephus, Origen, and others, whereby two Commandments are made to cover the matter of worship, and thus the numbering of the rest is advanced one higher; and the Tenth embraces both the Ninth and Tenth of the Catholic division. (Stapleton, J.H. Transcribed by Marcia L. Bellafiore. The Ten Commandments. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).
Thus the Roman Catholic Church admits that the current numbering was done in the fifth century, that it changed the day for the Sabbath commandment, and that the ten commandments are binding. It should be noted that the Lutherans also accept the Roman Catholic order.
Which should be bound, the original commandments or the changed ones?
Three articles of possibly related interest may include:
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the COG is NOT Protestant.
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What are they? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings.
05/14/07 a.m. This morning, PCG reported:
Europe’s answer to the United States’ Global Positioning System (gps), Galileo, is in serious trouble. The project has been plagued by underfunding and infighting among a syndicate of companies that can’t seem to agree on a company structure. In response, the European Union, at German prompting, now plans to bolster the project with more European tax dollars. The EU being willing to pay for Galileo’s high price tag shows how important Galileo is for Europe’s global ambitions.
Thanks to delays and cost overruns, to date Europe has only launched one of Galileo’s 30 satellites. Complicating matters is the fact that Galileo directly competes with free services America offers with its gps. Few are willing to pay for its services. Lacking a financially solvent business model, Galileo’s corporate partners are hestitating to fork over large amounts of money to move the project forward.
But Galileo has never been about building a financially solvent satellite company. No—it has been all about Europe’s ambitions to become a world superpower.
Relying on America’s gps puts Europe in a precarious position. America has the capability to, at any given moment, shut down its gps in any region of the world. Europe is all too aware of its commercial and military dependence. By jumping into the gap created by commercial cold feet, the EU will ensure Galileo is built, both to wean Europe off American technology dependence and deflect any threats to Europe’s superpower ambitions. If Europe can’t coordinate its own military without American satellite technology, it’s not much of a superpower—yet.
I agree with PCG that the EU will get some version of its Galileo GPS functional. Unless it can somehow end up controlling enough of GPS some other way, I do not believe that the EU will attack the USA until it has its own systems like this ). Anyway, I have been watching the Galileo project for some time and do suspect it is essential for the power of the Beast of Revelation.
In other news:
FRANKFURT, Germany (May 14) - DaimlerChrysler AG will sell 80.1 percent of its money-losing Chrysler Group to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP for $7.4 billion, the company announced Monday, undoing a 1998 merger aimed at creating a global auto giant.
The USA used to dominate auto making, but its influence has decreased much in the past 40 years, and especially the last ten.
05/13/07 a.m. UCG reported the following from its COE meeting:
Home Office Relocation
Since the relocation of the home office was approved during the General Conference of Elders meeting, Mr. Dick asked Mr. Kilough and Tom Kirkpatrick to update the Council on the steps that need to be taken at this time toward the purchase of property in Denton, Texas.
Mr. Kilough commented that the Council needs to travel down two distinct pathways. One pathway includes taking specific, concrete steps to fulfill the approved proposal. The second pathway is less concrete, involving dealing with the perceptions and feelings of members of the General Conference of Elders and identifying lessons learned during the process.
Mr. Kilough stated that since the move has been approved, the administration is ready to move forward to resolve issues related to the purchase of property.
The Council passed a resolution authorizing the administration to move forward with acquisition of the land once the following three items are accomplished:
- Zoning and traffic mobility factors required by the Church for the planned home office are secured.
- Detailed, professional engineering-based cost estimates of infrastructure developments are in line with original projections.
- Environmental assessment indicates that the proposed property is in compliance with appropriate environmental parameters.
Mr. Kilough noted that to this point, four Council members have seen the property under consideration. He said that he would like as soon as possible for the rest of the Council members to also visit the site to see it for themselves and get a "feel" for the location and surrounding area. Victor Kubik emphasized the importance of such a visit since only a handful of people have seen it. He feels that we should not rush the process for a decision of such magnitude that will impact the Church in so many ways.
Ten Council members voted in favor of the resolution. Aaron Dean abstained; Mr. Kubik voted against. Mr. Dean was not opposed to the resolution but felt there may be other issues besides those that were listed.
The Council then considered a resolution to establish a restricted fund to which members and other supporters of the work may make special donations, over and above regular tithes and offerings, for the purpose of helping to finance the relocation of the home office. The resolution passed by a unanimous vote.
And its Chairman, Bob Dick commented:
Monday Clyde Kilough, Tom Kirkpatrick and Jason Lovelady came to my room at the Holiday Inn to discuss, Where to from here? These things needed to be clarified before the beginning of Council business on Tuesday morning. We have a deposit on a property in Denton, Texas, and the owner knew the GCE vote was taking place Sunday. With the publishing of the ballot we obviously needed to contact the owner and make good our intent to move forward.
The original resolution contained vague language, and as we talked it became obvious that we needed to craft another resolution to spell out the intent of the earlier one. The original resolution contained this wording:
"It is further resolved, that, contingent upon the approval of a home office relocation by the General Conference of Elders and, upon satisfaction of the Council, approval will be granted by the Council of Elders to purchase…"
What do you mean, "upon the satisfaction of the Council"? These men asked that we clearly spell out what this phrase means in another resolution. If you will look at the first resolution passed on Tuesday you will see that it spells out the due diligence steps that must be taken before we purchase the land. Until the Council is "satisfied" with the results of these three steps, no purchase will take place. In fact, if any of these three do not meet Council satisfaction, there will be no purchase. On the other side of the coin, if these three are satisfied, the intent is to make the purchase.
We were also well aware that the second resolution we crafted on Tuesday could give a wrong impression. We both heard and understood the comment made at Sunday evening's Council Q&A that expressed the sensitivity to the appearance of applying pressure to members to contribute to a building fund for the relocation.
We do face a problem, however, in that there were already people asking if, when and how they could contribute. Without a restricted fund, however, there is no place to send it, and any contributions have to be returned. This resolution to establish a restricted fund was necessary for accounting purposes to give a place for people to send contributions. We are not currently planning any formal announcement to the membership until after the August COE meeting. The timetable for the steps in due diligence are scheduled to end about Sept. 1. Until all of these steps are satisfied, we are not ready to actually purchase the property.
So UCG apparently expects to move again.
UCG also reported:
Hymnal Project Update
Steve Myers, chairman of the task force that is working to prepare a new Church hymnal, gave the Council an update on the status of the project. Mr. Myers commented that the task force established criteria for evaluating the current hymnal and suggested additions. The review criteria include seeking God's inspiration in selecting hymns to praise Him and edify His people, text (including doctrinal accuracy), musical quality, musical accuracy and suitability. Mr. Myers commented that the task force had taken care to not include hymns that would be offensive to members, but pointed out that musical tastes and preferences are quite subjective, and members have had their own experiences with particular hymns.
Changes and corrections were made to a few hymns in the current hymnal to make them more acceptable. The task force has considered some 400 suggested additions to the hymnal and reviewed more than 200 original compositions from members.
The task force recommends publishing a 256-page hymnal that will include 194 hymns, 68 of which will be new. The proposed selection includes 20 additional hymns composed by Dwight Armstrong and 21 written by past or present Church members. Mr. Myers provided each Council member with a booklet that included a draft of all the suggested new hymns. He also demonstrated a number of the new hymns, assisted by pianist and task force member Janel Johnson, and then provided the Council with a number of samples for covers, colors and binding options.
The next major step in development of the hymnal is a doctrinal review, under the direction of Leon Walker, chairman of the Council's Doctrine Committee. The production and distribution schedule will be based on the completion of the review.
Although the article is not about UCG, an article of possibly related interest may be Praises to Jesus Christ or Biblical Hymns: Which Should Christians Primarily Sing?
LCG reported the following:
Between January 1 and April 1, 2007, we had 57 baptisms in the
USAand 14 in . In addition, we have been informed of 19 other baptisms in Canada Australia, Martinique, Mexico, the U.K., Tanzania, . Last year, during the same period, we had 39 baptisms in the Trinidad and Tobago USAand 4 in . We are grateful to God for this harvest and for adding more members to His Church. Canada
That is great to have 90 baptisms in a three month period. And it is great to hear that this is way up from 2006.
On unrelated matters, postage if the USA goes up tomorrow. A first-class letter rises from $0.39 to .$0.41, so you may want to remember that before you try to mail something :)
05/12/07 a.m. Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:
It’s hard not to feel good about the results of the election in France. News reports say that more than 90% of eligible voters turned out, resulting in the election of Nicolas Sarkozy. He has signaled a willingness to confront the domestic problem of vast ghetto’s of unassimilated foreigners who are prone to violence and determined to create their own society within the host nation. His Socialist opponent warned of an outbreak of violence if Sarkozy should win. Well, she (Ms. Royal) was right. Riots broke out, businesses were vandalized and cars burned. Presumably, Mr. Sarkozy will take steps to curtail these kinds of outbreaks that have become so commonplace there.
France is not the only place this problem has taken root. It is also a major point of concern within Germany, and England, and one that may well warrant attention here in the United States. On the surface, this change in leadership looks like good news. How it plays out in the context of the overall situation in Europe may not be that simple.
Mark Armstrong's politics aside, it is of interest to note that there are Catholic prophecies that state that there will be civil unrest in Europe and a military leader (who is French but somehow also German) will arise to deal with it. While Catholic prophecies consider this leader to be good, he appears to be the prophesied beast of Revelation. Apparently the situation in Europe is setting itself up for this fulfillment.
In other news, was the following:
Christian Post - May 11, 2007
NEW YORK - Believers around the United States have been voicing their concerns over a recent televised debate held between two Christian evangelists and two atheist activists.
Many have been questioning the judgment of the two Christian representatives, New Zealand evangelist Ray Comfort and 90s television star Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains), to debate over the existence of God on ABC this past Wednesday. And most have agreed that the two were not prepared well enough to be a part of the apologetics discussion...
Several people have critiqued Cameron’s performance at the debate as well. During the discussion, the former television star tried to prove the existence of God by disproving the theory of evolution. Christians have been split in their responses to this; some saying that refuting evolution in no way shows anything while others support his position.
On a positive note, most Christian responses to the debate applauded Comfort and Cameron’s positive demeanor at the debate while the atheists were argued to be “hecklers.”
“Stylistically, Mr. Cameron knocked the ball out of the park. He came across as likable, articulate, and sincere,” commented Michael Patrick Leahy, author of Letter to an Atheist. “The atheist opponents mumbled responses, filled with ‘ums’ and ‘you knows,’ and delivered their ‘zingers’ with such obvious looks of intellectual contempt for Cameron and Comfort it was cringe inducing.”
Those that have viewed the program also have criticized the moderator of the program, Martin Bashir, as being biased towards the atheist side.
While many have disagreed with Comfort and Cameron’s appearance on the debate, they have mostly supported the two’s courage in taking on the atheists and trying to expose God to a wider population. They just wish that the two had used better judgment.
“If followers of Christ are going to be able to give an answer concerning the hope that lies within us, then we should recognize that witnessing to someone on Muscle Beach or a busy New York street might require only the use of our personal story of salvation,” concluded Duren, “but for those in the ‘professional doubter’ category, it will require more of us than a scant knowledge of the Enemy’s play book. I truly hope that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron learn that sooner rather than later, especially if they intend to do more of this.”
I did not see the debate, but will comment that dealing with evolution correctly does effectively prove God's existence. Several articles of related interest may include:
Is God's Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God's Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what 'pseudo-scientists' refuse to acknowledge.
Speaking of television, I received the following email this morning:
Our local PBS station showed the first 2 instalments this week. Root Out Heretics - about the Cathars, evidently the later ones God's people were not part of, or if they were, they were compromising. The second one - Tears of Spain, was about the Spanish Inquisition against Jews who had only pretended to convert, and later the expulsion of all Jews from Spain.
The next instalment will be about the Counter-Reformation.
Since it starts in the 1300s, the Crusades against the Waldenses aren't included.
The description of the Cathars is of a gnostic sect.
Here is a copy of my response:
I saw one part and was disappointed with it. For example, it mentioned the inquisitor Bernard Gui, but did not report much about what he stated this about those who he investigated. Here are some of the beliefs he found that those he persecuted held:
Much of the above is in the article The Thyatira Church Era.
Here are some of the beliefs he found that those he persecuted held:
Nevertheless, attention should be called to the fact that among the Beguins are found some who know, accept and believe many or all of the errors listed below. These are more steeped and hardened in them. Others can say less about these errors yet are sometimes found to be worse in holding and believing them than are others. Still others have heard or remember less and yield to valid reason and saner counsel. Others obstinately persist and refuse to recant, choosing to die rather than abjure their errors, saying that in this matter they defend the gospel truth, the life of Christ, and evangelical and apostolic poverty...
Again, they say that the prelates and inquisitors who judged and condemned them as heretics - and indeed all those who consented or now consent knowingly to their condemnations - have by this action become heretics (if they persevere in it), and by this action have lost the ecclesiastical power to bind, loose and administer the ecclesiastical sacraments...
Again, they say that prelates and members of religious orders whose clothing is too abundant or too costly violate gospel perfection and Christ's precept, according instead with the precept of Antichrist. Such clerics who go around in pompous fashion are of the family of Antichrist...
Again, they say they are not required to take oaths, nor should they be made to reveal under oath the names of their fellow believers, accomplices and associates, because, as they say, this would violate the command to love one's neighbor and would on the contrary injure one's neighbor...
they say the carnal church (by which they mean the Roman church as it exists, not only in the city of Rome, but throughout the whole area under Roman jurisdiction) is Babylon, the great whore of whom John spoke in the Apocalypse. Thus they apply these passages to the Roman Church and attribute to the church all the evil things written there, such as that it is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus Christ...
Again, they distinguish between two churches, the carnal church which they say is the Roman church which contains the multitude of rebrobate, and the spiritual church which contains those people they describe as spiritual and evangelical, who emulate the life of Christ and the apostles. They say the latter is their church...
Again, some of them claim that on those elect spiritual and evangelical individuals through whom a spiritual and benign church will be founded in the seventh and last period, the Holy Spirit will be poured out in greater or at least in equal abundance as on the apostles, the disciples of Jesus Christ, on the day of Pentecost during the time of the primitive church. And they say the Holy Spirit will descend on them like a fiery flame in a furnace, and they take this to mean that, not only will their souls be filled with the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit will live in their bodies as well.
Again, they claim that there is a double Antichrist, one spiritual or mystical and the other the real, greater Antichrist...
Again, they say that both in the time of persecution by Antichrist and in that of the aforesaid war carnal Christians will be so afflicted that, despairing, they will say, "If Christ were God, he would not permit Christians to suffer so much and such intense evil." Thus despairing, they will apostacize from the faith and die. But God will hide the elect spiritual individuals so that they cannot be found by Antichrist and his ministers. Then the church will be reduced to the same size as the primitive church when it was first founded...
Again, they say that after Antichrist's death these spiritual individuals will convert the entire world to the faith of Christ; and the whole world will be so good and benign that there will be no malice or sin in people of that period, except perhaps for venial sins in a few of them; and all things will be common as far as use is concerned; and there will be no one who offends anyone else or encourages another to sin. For there will be the greatest love among them, and there will be one flock and one pastor. According to some of them this period and condition will last for one hundred years. Then, as love fails, malice will creep back in and slowly increase until Christ is, as it were, compelled to come in universal judgment because of it.
Again, these insane heretics seriously and ignominiously rail against the Lord Pope, the vicar of Jesus Christ, calling him the mystical Antichrist, precursor of the greater Antichrist, preparing the way for his life (Bernard Gui: Inquisitor's Manual, Chapter 5. Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. http://phi.kenyon.edu/Projects/Margin/inquisit.htm 04/09/07).
It should be noted that Albigneses and Waldenses were sometimes arrested with the Beguins. Now while most that were killed in the Inquisition were not in the Church of God, nor were the Franciscan Beguins, it is obvious that Church of God doctrines such as that ministers should not dress like the Roman clerics, Christians are not to swear oaths, and that God will offer salvation to all, were clearly condemned by the Roman Catholics during the time of Thyatira.
One thing that all in the COGs need to understand is that only a few called Cathars or Waldenses, etc. were actually in the COG.
For example, Catholics consider us to be Protestant at this time (and have since the 17th century). Hence if there was a series about Protestants in the future, it would seem like we were not part of them. And although we are NOT Protestant, we would trace our ancestory through some that the Catholics referred to as Protestant. But although the bulk of Prostestants keep Sunday, similar inquisitor reports (if they were to exist) would state that some "Protestants" kept Saturday, were against idols/crosses, etc.
05/11/07 a.m. COGaic's Gina Stepp wrote the following interesting item:
America’s holiday for mothers began as a formal acknowledgement of the fact that so many women were unselfishly dedicated to helping those in the community less fortunate than themselves. The work clubs pioneered by Ann Reeves Jarvis serve as a prime example of this kind of aspiration. (See "Mother’s Day or Mothers’ Day” by Vision’s Larry Green.)
Somewhere along the line, however, the focus of Mother’s Day moved closer to the center of a mother’s sphere of influence, toward what she does within her household for her own family. While these contributions are considerable and indispensable, in some ways perhaps such an inward focus narrows our sphere and encourages us to contemplate what is “owed” us than rather than the more optimistic understanding of how much we have gained, and how much more these gains enable us, in turn, to give. Thankfully, however, neuroscientists may have uncovered just the research to distract us from obsessing about our own sacrifices long enough to consider some of the things families actually do for mothers: to be more specific, what children do for mothers.In this vein Katherine Ellison, author of The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter (2005), brought welcome news to mothers everywhere.
It’s true, she acknowledges: we mothers have long perpetuated the notion that having babies zaps our brain cells. This notion finally became so entrenched, she informed Vision recently, that dozens of scientists set out to discover whether it is actually true. And the truth is? It is not.In fact, she found, study after study shows that having babies contributes to increased brain cells and along with these little darlings (the new brain cells as well as the babies) come increased skills of all kinds...Ellison’s thoughtful collection of research certainly dispatches the sometimes popular notion that raising a child is “less worthy” work for thinking, intelligent people. In fact, it’s beginning to look like one of the best avenues for becoming a thinking, intelligent human being.
Perhaps motherhood, after all, is its own reward.
Perhaps, an article of related interest may be Women and the New Testament Church.
05/10/07 a.m. I have sometimes been asked about CBCG's "Sea of Glass" doctrine. Although I had some comments on it before, more are now available as CBCG just put out another book which discusses it. Here is some of what others, the Bible, and CBCG's God's Plan for Mankind Revealed by His Sabbath and Holy Days book mention about it:
'Sea of Glass' Doctrine
I was with Fred for 2 or 3 yrs. I am also disturbed by his Sea of Glass Doctrine. Isnt it just another form of Secret Rapture? I suppose he still teaches that they are going to the throne at the last trump on Pentecost, 3½ years into the Tribulation to marry Christ, to be taught for rest of the Tribulation and return with Christ at the seventh trump. First of all, it has to be an extra resurrectionone cant look at or marry Christ if human. Gods people have always suffered through tribulations but He didnt take them to heaven! They are supposed to have extensive training there. I maintain that we are in graduate college now and if we dont get it in this world, we may not get a chance to get it in the next (Name withheld, Florida. Coulters Sea of Glass Doctrine. Servants' News. May/June 2002).
Some church groups unashamedly teach that only members of their organization will be protected. Others teach a doctrine that is so specific that no other group teaches it (the sea of glass doctrine might be such a thing), and so their members logically conclude that they will probably be the only ones protected because only their group has the true understanding of how God will protect His people. I find it very difficult to accept such specific prophetic interpretations from anyone unless they have a clear track record of direct inspiration from God. If there was a Bible teacher who had shown me a prophetic interpretation of the Scriptures many months ago explaining why I should avoid Manhattan Island and air flights in September of 2001, I would be very interested in listening to some of their other prophetic interpretations. Most of the prophets of the Bible demonstrated miraculous signs in the present, as well as showing things to come. I have a hard time accepting someones extremely specific prophetic interpretation when they have either no claim or no proof that God has specifically shown it to them. I cannot prove that Mr. Coulters prophetic understanding is untrue. If Christ wants to take a certain group to heaven to marry and train them, He may. I would like to go. But just thinking it or getting a million people to believe it does not make it true. If nearly everyone in the Christian Biblical Church of God accepts this Sea of Glass teaching without question, I think they are following a man. I know that God loves everyone and works in the best way for each one. I do not wish trouble on anyone and I am not prophesying. But if present trends continue, I think it is likely that Fred Coulter may die before Christ returns, and those in his group will divide up along various doctrinal lines, one might be the Sea of Glass doctrine (Edwards, Norman. Coulters Sea of Glass Doctrine. Servants' News. May/June 2002).
The term 'sea of glass' is used in a two places in the Bible in the Book of Revelation,
Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back (4:6)
And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God" (15:2).
Apparently it was a subject of a two-part sermon by Fred Coulter in 1999, and then later ones. A book, by him released in 2007, has transcripts of those sermons. Here is some of what he is teaching (the first sermon barely mentions it and ends with the first statement below):
There's too many important things that I need to cover about the sea of glass (Coulter F. Pentecost and the Sea of Glass--Sermon I, April 17, 1999. Transcript in God's Plan for Mankind Revealed by His Sabbath and Holy Days. York Publishing, Hollister (CA), 2007, p. 386).
"...the colour was terrible crystal..." (Ezek. 1:21-22). So notice we're going to see that the sea of glass, and around God's throne, crystal is referred to as crystal...
When the 144,000 and the innumerable multitude are resurrected they come before the throne of God. What is underlying the throne of God? The sea of glass...
Now then, let me tell you why that Pentecost pictures the first resurrection and not Trumpets:...
5) 144,000 and great innumerable multitude equal the 50th day of the harvest of God.
6) We are raised at the seventh trumpet, the last trump. The trump, not trumpets.
7) We have the meeting with Christ in the air.
8) We are on the sea of glass. (Coulter F. Pentecost and the Sea of Glass--Sermon II, Mayl 1, 1999. Transcript in God's Plan for Mankind Revealed by His Sabbath and Holy Days. York Publishing, Hollister (CA), 2007, pp. 389, 394,397).
Now let's look at some other things...which take place after Pentecost...
Now so far, who have we identified on the sea of glass: God, the Father, Jesus Christ, twenty-four elders, and the four living creatures. That's it. When John saw this, no one was resurrected...
So the only thing we can conclude is that the throne of God and the sea of glass are probably closer to the earth than we have imagined. and if it's out there a little further at the present time; it's going to come closer. We'll see that next time, and maybe we can answer the question of the mystery of the sea of glass (Coulter F. Events after Pentecost --Sermon I, June 21, 2003. Transcript in God's Plan for Mankind Revealed by His Sabbath and Holy Days. York Publishing, Hollister (CA), 2007, pp. 437,449).
So, let's see what's going to take place on the Sea of Glass...The first thing that's going to happen when we're resurrected and see the angels and they take us up to meet Christ on the Sea of Glass...That's one of the first things that are going to take place. We are going to see Christ!...Christ proclaims us to the Father. Number Two: We sing the victory song...Number Three: We are going to receive a new name...Number Four: We will receive our reward...Number Five: There is going to be a new covenant...Number Six: will be the pouring out of the seven last plagues (Coulter F. Events after Pentecost --Sermon II, July 5, 2003. Transcript in God's Plan for Mankind Revealed by His Sabbath and Holy Days. York Publishing, Hollister (CA), 2007, pp. 450,453,455,457,459,460).
CBCG essentially teaches that Christ will return on the Day of Pentecost, Christians will be raised from the dead and will be initially on "the sea of glass", however, it does not teach that only those in CBCG experience this. Irrespective of other teachings CBCG has about the "sea of glass", the numbered events will occur (though not necessarily as CBCG suggests). An article of related interest may be The Christian Biblical Church of God and its Teachings.
A new set of telecasts on persecutions is now out:
For heretics' sake
Jerusalem Post - May 9, 2007
For more information, or to order a DVD of the film, visit www.inquisitionproductions.com.
Some 700 years after the Inquisition was established by the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II decreed in 1998 that its massive secret archives be opened for scholarly research.
The announcement piqued the immediate interest of independent, Seattle-based filmmaker David Rabinovitch, and he started the long, tortuous road of recreating the history of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, from its beginning in the early 13th century to its final gasps in the late 19th century.
The result is the four-hour miniseries Secret Files of the Inquisition, which has been acquired in Israel, will air for the first time today in the US on PBS from 9 to 11 p.m.
Filmed mainly at the medieval castles, cathedrals and villages of Spain. Secrets presents a broad panorama - both visually and historically - of its subject.
One of the first calls Rabinovitch made after conceiving the idea of the docu-drama was to an old friend and high Catholic dignitary in San Francisco...
It is commonly assumed that Jews were the chief target of the Church's single-minded quest for theological uniformity and purity, but that was generally not the case.
The first victims were Catholic dissidents, such as the Cathars of southern France, whose fate is chronicled in the first of the film's four chapters, titled "Root Out Heretics."
The itinerant preachers of Catharism, known as "The Good Men," believed that man had a direct relationship to God and did not need the intercession of priests and popes to achieve salvation.
Dominican friars, charged by Pope Gregory IX with rooting out this heresy, did their job well, including the imprisonment of the entire population of Montaillou, the last stronghold of the Cathars.http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1178431605521&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Some of the Cathars were in the Church of God. Some articles of related interest may include:
The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D.
The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur.
Although two news articles I have seen state that the series began yesterday, in our area (via satellite) the series begins tonight.
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Volume 11, issue 7 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007