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05/12/06 a.m. The following is from UCG's latest COE meeting:
The United Church of God in Australia also serves the country of Papua New Guinea, where the median age is only 21.2 years, there are many ethnic groups and only 1 to 2 percent have English as their first language. So there are many challenges in spreading the gospel there.
The ministry in Australia is spread thin, covering many congregations each. Attendance at the Feast was 621; 544 is the average weekly attendance. There were 19 baptisms last year and the Good News circulation is 20,800, of which 18,550 are subscribers. World News and Prophecy circulation is 1,998, which has a major impact on the mailing budget since it comes out every month. There are also about 800 Bible Study Course graduates in Australia...
Bill Jahns, who pastors the congregations in Malawi and in Johannesburg, South Africa, presented the report on Southern Africa this year.
In South Africa, there are four churches with 204 in attendance. In Zambia there are two churches, and attendance is 160. In Malawi, there are two churches with 95 in attendance. In Zimbabwe, attendance is about 20.
Leon Walker gave an overview of the Spanish-speaking areas, which includes 43 congregations, plus 23 audio or video groups (including one in United States). The Spanish region includes 16 countries and is served by 20 ministers, 12 of whom are employed by the Church. Many of the congregations are large ones, including Santiago, Chile, which has 314 in attendance. There are now 1,169 members in the Spanish region, with an attendance of 2,393—more than a 35 percent increase since 1996...
Tom Kirkpatrick was happy to report that we are nearing the end of another year of God's blessing, where the income appears it will be above the $20.3 million budgeted amount...
Although the GN print runs have been level, there has been a 4 percent increase in U.S. subscribers...
In his latest newsletter, SDA scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi wrote:
The doctrine of the Trinity has been under the crossfire of controversy during much of Christian history. Our Adventist Church has not been exempted from the controversy. In the newly released book The Trinity: Its Implications for Life and Thought (Review and Herald, 2002), Prof. Jerry Moon, one of the three authors, offers a most informative historical survey of the gradual evolution of Adventist pioneers from anti-Trinitarian to Trinitarian beliefs...
It is unfortunate that those apologetic endeavors often resulted in heretical anti-trinitarian teachings that have plagued Christianity until our time. In fact, most of today's anti-trinitarian heresies found in such religious movements as the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Unitarians, and liberal theologians, trace their roots to the early church (Bacchiocchi S. The Importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity. ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER NO. 147. 5/11/06).
The above is a poor use of the term "liberal theologians"--the normal definition (as Dr. B. must know) is that liberal theologians are those that discount original teachings--that is what the SDAs themselves have sadly done. The truth is that the SDAs were once anti-Trinitarian. This is a significant difference between the COGs and the SDAs as the COG has always been anti-Trinitarian (please see the article Binitarian View).
On other matters, a New Mexico archeologist told an audience at First Baptist Church on Sunday night that he believes he has found the biblical city of Sodom. According to the Book of Genesis in the Bible, God destroyed the city with fire and brimstone because of the inhabitants' evil behavior. Additional info, plus photos, at http://www.trinitysouthwest.com/ .
05/11/06 a.m. Last night in its May-June 2006 newsletter, CGOM-uk reported:
First There Was Nothing...
"The world began without any beginning". So say some evolutionists. How come? First there was absolutely nothing - not even God. No life, no Earth, no planets, no stars, no dark matter. Nothing. Total emptiness. Then out of this black nothingness magically appeared those physical laws which would be essential for future development. Next, another miracle, there emerged inorganic matter - water, rocks, soil etc. From these inert materials miraculously sprang the most primitive form of biological life. Over more billions of years life became more complex, culminating in the incredible complexity that is modern man.
Observing from the commanding heights of gross ignorance, pundits claim that life - having evolved gradually from nothing - has existed on our planet for millions of years...
We could ask how an eyeless amoeba could gradually evolve an eye - even over millions, billions, of years. The eye is functional only if its 'evolution' were complete in one giant step, and until that moment is useless. The process of natural selection can do nothing about that. Vision requires a complete eye linked to and interacting with a prepared and fully-functioning brain. This applies, too, to other body systems - to hearing, to respiration, to the nervous system etc. All require incredibly complex chemical and neurological processes. In fact, the human body can function only as an integrated unit - complete in one. It is designed and created by an unimaginably superior intelligence.The only reason to reject a divine Creator is to kid ourselves that He must not be obeyed!
Good points. Those interested in this subject may wish to read the article Is Evolution Probable or Impossible?
What is Ministries Training System (MTS)?
We are an educational service, begun in 2002, that teaches, trains, motivates, and mentors those beyond high school for service in the cause of Christ. A ministry of the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day), we follow the work of Midwest Bible College (1951-76) and Summit School of Theology (1976-2001).
Summer Session 2006
Summer Session will take place June 12-22 in Denver, CO!
Online application form available through May 15!!!
This is an area where CG7 differs from most of the other COGs. CG7 allows individuals to determine if they wish to be in the ministry, while most COGs believe that their leadership (or congregation) should determine who is in the ministry.
05/10/06 a.m. Two days ago, COGaic reported:
The situation in Darfur continues to worsen even as world leaders turn more attention to the humanitarian crisis.
The U.N.'s top aid worker there had to flee the region when violence broke out at a police station and one interpreter was killed during an angry protest. Jan Egeland said that access to help the refugees was the worst it has been in two years.
Today U.S. president George Bush announced that U.S. ships would be delivering emergency food to the region and urged Congress to approve $225 million in emergency aid according to the BBC.
This tragedy has been plaguing western Sudan for over three years and estimates on the number of people affected by it range from 3 million to as high as 6 million. The death toll has now risen above 200,000 people.
The killing and abuse in western Sudan has been appalling.
On other matters, notice this from a secular newsletter I received last night titled In a Post-Dollar World in The Daily Reckoning:
"More Americans join pool of 'near poor'," runs a headline in today's International Herald Tribune
Over the weekend, Warren Buffet provided the evidence. He said that when he looked through the financial statements of lending companies he noticed that the entry for "interest accrued but not paid" was rising. What this means, he explained, was that people were having a hard time servicing their debt. And worse yet, the real estate casino on which they were depending, is cooling off. Toll Bros., one of the nation's largest
homebuilders, says new orders fell 33% so far in the second quarter.
And so, we return to a familiar theme, but one not quite exhausted: savings are available to serve you; debt is always your master.
"The debtor is slave to the lender," says the Bible.
Dear readers may wonder whom we are arguing with...or what question we are answering. It is an obvious one; you may want to neither borrower nor lender be, but if you have to make a choice, it is better to be owed than to owe.
That is the big difference between a trade deficit and a trade surplus. In the former, you gradually become a slave to your trading partners. The
larger the deficits, the more you tend to owe them. In the latter, they gradually become slaves to you. That is what is happening with the Chinese
and Japanese. They have now become our creditors; they can enjoy income from their U.S. paper while we struggle to keep up with the debt.
But who will turn out to be the greater fool, the one who buys what he can't afford, or the one who lends what won't be repaid?
Americans, consciously or unconsciously, are betting on inflation. They are hoping their favorite swindlers at the central bank will continue to
engineer a gradual devaluation of the dollar so as to ruin their creditors rather than themselves. The dollar lost half its value during the
Greenspan years alone. And now, the Bush administration is adding more debt than all the other administrations in U.S. history combined.
Inflation looks like a sure bet...a "done deal"...
But we doubt the lenders are quite as dumb as the borrowers believe. In fact, there could come a time - any minute, in fact - when the
lenders wise up. The dollar could end its gentle decline...and drop like a stone. Then, the lending would cease, too. The U.S. economy would come to a halt, and all those people who are finding it difficult to keep up with their interest payments would suddenly find it impossible. The defaults
and bankruptcies would multiply. American debt may be wiped out by inflation, but Americans will probably be wiped out first.
Although the above source mentioned the Bible, it did not mention that the Bible prophesies curses on those descendants of Israel who disobey and that one of those curses is in Deuteronomy:
But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you...
He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail (Deuteronomy 28:15,44).
This prophecy is beginning to be fulfilled today.
05/09/06 a.m. CGOM-UK sent the following out yesterday:
What Is the ‘Millennium’?
"They shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years Revelation 20:5" Since man first set foot on Earth his life has been marked by conflict. Having rejected divine authority uncontrolled human nature paved the way to the present world turmoil, with leaders unable to devise permanent peace—despite the universal human desire to live peaceably. God, however, has a plan to ensure enduring world peace. We recently entered and celebrated worldwide a ‘new millennium’ of history. But the old challenges remain: wars, poverty, hunger, premature death, disease, crime, massacres. The term ‘millennium’, of course, just means ‘a thousand years’. In religious terms, in Christianity, it has a more specific meaning:
...the Millennium is the coming time of the direct 1000-year rule of planet Earth by Jesus Christ, the Messiah
...His return to reign is one of His many specific promises during His earthly ministry
...it was, too, widely prophesied in the writings of the Old Testament
The millennium was a clear teaching of the early church, yet the Vatican now denies its reality (essentially based upon the writings of Origen).
Speaking of the Vatican, it is sending out anti- Da Vinci Code reports as the following item shows:
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - In the latest Vatican broadside against "The Da Vinci Code", a leading cardinal says Christians should respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend Christ and the Church he founded.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a candidate for pope last year, made his strong comments in a documentary called "The Da Vinci Code-A Masterful Deception."
Arinze's appeal came some 10 days after another Vatican cardinal called for a boycott of the film. Both cardinals asserted that other religions would never stand for offences against their beliefs and that Christians should get tough.
"Christians must not just sit back and say it is enough for us to forgive and to forget," Arinze said in the documentary made by Rome film maker Mario Biasetti for Rome Reports, a Catholic film agency specializing in religious affairs. http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=entertainmentNews&storyid=2006-05-07T141257Z_01_L07736154_RTRUKOC_0_US-VATICAN-DAVINCI.xml&src=rss&rpc=22
I finally decided to read the Da Vinci Code (I had only read excerpts prior). And while the Vatican would have reasons to dislike it, the Vatican has a lot more to apologize for than Dan Brown (the book's author) does (he is mainly telling a conspiracy story, much of which is absurd--like the Vatican focusing on suppressing goddess worship, which is untrue as it embraces a version through Easter, Mary, etc.). The Vatican should acknowledge its roles in actually getting true Christians killed throughout history (something not really in the book, though alluded to) and take steps to insure this will not happen in the future (though sadly it will once again be involved in killing our people).
Some of that is discussed in the articles The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 and Europa, the Beast, and Revelation.
05/08/06 a.m. A regular contributor to this page sent in the following:
You mentioned that many Chinese hit your web site...which surprised me. You might want to occasionally insert notes such as those below...Since you don't include photos, I inserted links to photos.Revelation 9:13-19...the 200 million man Army that crosses the Euphrates River from the EAST and kills 1/3 of mankind.As of 2003 it was estimated that Chinese males fit for military service (ages 15-49) was 206,000,000.The color insignia of that military force per Revelation 9:17 is..."fiery RED, hyacinth BLUE, and sulfur YELLOW". Unrealized by most is that these colors match theChinese Air Force. The air force is the branch of the services that is usually at the spearheadof any major offensive.PHOTO LINKS:Bright blue Airmen parade July, 2000 http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jul2000/20007122d_hr.jpgNew Air Force uniforms http://english.people.com.cn/200511/11/eng20051111_220623.html
Of course, it is not likely that the entire 200,000,000 man Army will be Chinese, but it is certainly likely that many will be from China.
LCG's latest co-worker letter contains this report from Wayne Pyle:
TV responses in North America are up 23 percent over last year (and last year was 54 percent over the previous year!), New Zealand is reporting an 11 percent increase, and Australia is reporting a 64 percent increase in its TV response. Our telecast in the United Kingdom is set to reach a new milestone next week when it passes the 6,000-mark--completing our first year ever for the Tomorrow's World telecast over the British Isles and Ireland...
We are most encouraged to see our TV base growing. In the United States and Canada, ratings and response figures show that 300,000 to 500,000 people are watching the Tomorrow's World telecast every week. We are constantly pushing as much as God opens the doors and provides the financial wherewithal, to expand our reach to TV viewers as far and wide as possible.
The above would suggest that if magazine readership is also included, that LCG is probably reaching at least 700,000 on a regular basis. That is about a hundred people being reached each month for each person that attends LCG. Interestingly Jesus taught:
But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred (Mark 4:20).
05/07/06 a.m. Believe it or not:
May 7, 2006, has been designated as worldwide Internet Evangelism Day this year, according to a news release from the Internet Evangelism Coalition. A group of ministries, churches and individuals believe Internet Evangelism Day will highlight the potential of using the Internet to share the gospel and create awareness of what is already happening online evangelistically. http://www.churchcentral.com/nw/s/template/Article.html/id/24273;jsessionid=ED7F28C98D0E90BE4B0D360EAFEA4A31
I know that the internet can be an effective tool. I noticed yesterday, that so far in the month of May, the fourth highest number of visitors to the COGwriter site come from China. As LCG, for example, has no members in China proper, the internet does provide a way to get our message to those that would not be able to receive it any other way.
In his latest newsletter, Legacy Institute's Leon Sexton reported:
Before going to India, I visited Burma (Myanmar) and met with Evangelist Lazum Brang, Pastor David Yegyan and Deacon U Myu Zaw. I also had a chance to meet with Seng Htun, a Legacy Institute graduate who helps pastor David in Yangon. They are all doing well and the Church in Burma is growing in grace and knowledge.
While I do admire Leon Sexton's dedication, some of his teachings are of concern. An article of related interest may be Teachings and Practices of Legacy Institute.
According to the latest report from LCG's Bruce Tyler, it must really be rough in Myanmar, as many our members from there seem to prefer the following terrible treatment in Thailand:
Update—reported by Mr. Thailand Bruce Tyler
You may remember hearing about the Sabbath difficulties some of our brethren were having. Their situation was resolved and our members ended up keeping their jobs. However, their plight still is not an easy one. Being from
Myanmarand working in , they are taken advantage of by the factory owners. They are required to work a 12 hour day, six days a week (8-12; 1-5; 6-10) for a total of 80 baht per day. That’s exactly US$2.00 per day for six days or US$12.00 per week. (Remember, the others have to work 7 days a week). As a fine or penalty for not working on Friday evenings and Saturdays, they are docked one day’s wage each week. In other words, what they actually receive is US$1.66/day for 12 hours work, or US$10.00 per week. Then on top of all that, each worker is charged almost another US$2.00 per week by the Thai government as an immigrant employment tax. I believe this is supposed to be paid by the employer but they in turn charge it back to their employees. Thailand
So, by the time the week’s rent and food (mostly rice) bills have been paid, there’s not much left over for the widescreen plasma TV—let alone buying fuel for their nonexistent family vehicle at US$2.50/gallon approximately. Nevertheless, this apparently is preferable to conditions in
Myanmar( ). So next time you’re in the store purchasing that new article of clothing, reflect on where it was possibly made and by whom. Burma
Over 20 years ago, back in the WCG days, my wife and I attended the FOT in Sri Lanka. Even back then I concluded that most of the poor in the USA (all but the homeless and the addicts), were much wealthier than all but the smallest percentage of the population there. And Sri Lanka was significantly wealthier than Burma/Myanmar.
On other matters, after commenting on the Left Behind series of speculative "rapture" books, xCG's Gary Scott concluded with:
If the sea suddenly does turn to blood, and millions of Christians do suddenly disappear, and troops from all nations do begin massing in the Middle East, the Western world is not going to stand around scratching its collective head. I for one would think, “Wow — they were right!” and get myself to a church, and fast.
I'd like to make three comments:
1) I am glad that at least one at xCG is willing to state that if certain events occur, he would take action.
2) However, the Bible says to gather together (Zephaniah 2) before the decree is issued, thus those who feel that they can wait and come into the true church for protection are most likely to find that they have waited too long.
3) One of the reasons that the evangelical Protestants will NOT understand about the Antichrist until it is too late is precisely because they WILL NOT have been raptured away. There is a place of protection in the Bible, but it is not the Protestant rapture.
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Volume 10, issue 6 COGwriter B. Thiel (c) 2006