C dCOG News: Emphasizing News of Interest to those Once in the Worldwide Church of God
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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.
11/23/06 a.m. The American holiday of Thanksgiving is today. It is normally a time for family reunions and a shared meal. But in the past year or so, a non-Philadelphian COG, which ironically (and improperly) calls itself, the Philadelphia Church of God, no longer allows its members to have any contact with relatives who are in any other COG. However, I have recently learned that PCG has made at least one exception to this. But, it is only a monetary one. Here is some of what I was told:
The PCG (Philadelphia) is tightening the screws on their membership now! .... came here the other week to inform her parents that she will no longer be able to see them, hear from them, write, or contact them in any way!! Flurry warns his membership that we are all the evil Laodiceans and any one who has left the PCG or the WCG must be avoided completely. With one exception, a member can go to the reading of a Will! Money grabbing paranoid!
PCG has many non-biblical teachings. Sadly, this is just one of them. An article of related interest may be Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God.
11/22/06 a.m. CGOM-UK reported the following:
MiniStudy When You Die
If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my warfare would I wait, Till my release should come. You would call, and I would answer you: You would have a desire to the work of your hands (Job 14:14-15)...
...Jesus sums it up like this: 'Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in the tombs will hear His voice. And they will come out, the ones having done good into a resurrection of life; and the ones having practiced evil into a resurrection of judgment' (John 5:28-29). Note: their chance will come - for Jew and Gentile, male and female, Hindu and Moslem and Christian (and atheist!) - following a resurrection, a rising from the dead
...when? John gives the detail: 'But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were ended' (Revelation 20:5). 'The thousand years': that is, the 'millennium', the coming 1000-year era of peace presided over by Jesus in person. They live again in the flesh, their genetic imprint preserved in Heaven: 'then the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it' (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
...in sum, there will be an orderly progression of resurrection. Jesus is the first followed at His return by those who in this life have God's Holy Spirit. They will, in spirit bodies, reign on Earth with Jesus during the Millennium. After the Millennium all others will be brought from the grave in a material body for a period of judgment and given opportunity to become members of the Family of God.
An article of possible interest may be What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?
After studying a variety of Protestant teachings about the trinity, I updated the following:
Was the trinity a central doctrine of the New Testament? Here is what one modern historian has written about it:
Like other doctrines that became central to the faith, however, belief in the Trinity was a historical development, not a "given" from the early years of the faith.
A. The basic notion of the Trinity is that there are three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are all equally God and of the same substance, but despite the fact there are three persons, together, they compromise only one God, indivisible in nature.
B. This doctrine does not appear to be a doctrine pronounced by the historical Jesus, Paul, or any other Christian writer during the first hundred years or so of Christianity.
C. It cannot be found explicitly stated in the earliest Christian writings. The only passage of the New Testament that declares the doctrine (1 John 5:7-8) was not originally part of the text but was added by doctrinally astute scribes at a later date (it is not found in any Greek manuscripts until the 11th century) (Ehrman B. From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity, Part 2. The Teaching Company, Chantilly (VA), 2004, p. 43).
The terms trinity, threeness, or trinitarian are not found in the Bible. But there are two main verses supposedly from the Bible that trinitarians point to.
The main one is I John 5:7-8, which was mentioned above. Although the NIV gets I John 5:7-8 right, in the KJV and NKJV I John 5:7-8 includes words not in the original text. On page 1918, The Ryrie Study Bible reminds everyone,
"Verse 7 should end with the word witness. The remainder of v. 7 and part of v. 8 are not in any ancient Greek manuscript...".
In other words the words "in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth" are not inspired and are not supposed to be in the Bible.
The second passage is often cited is Matthew 28:19. But it does not teach the trinity.
Perhaps it should be explained here that the reason that the Bible teaches, "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19) is that through being begotten by the Holy Spirit through baptism (Luke 3:16), we will ultimately be born in the family of God (this is discussed further below)--and that is part of the relationship between us, the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the Father (this is also consistent with what Theophilus, a second century leader, wrote).
In addition, some trinitarians have decided that the "Holy, holy, holy" expression used twice in the Bible is proof of a trinitarian God. The first time is Isaiah 6:3, so let us notice what it actually states:
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!" (Isaiah 6:1-3).
The Bible, in the Book of Daniel, clearly shows the Ancient of Days on a throne with one like the Son of Man (Daniel 7:9-13)—thus the Bible is not teaching that one on a throne is actually three.
The expression is repeated in Revelation 4:8-9 and it also clearly shows that this is a discussion of one being, not three. Notice:
And they do not rest day or night, saying:
"Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!"
Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever...
Notice that the four living creatures are giving glory to the Him who sits on the throne. This does not seem to be a discussion of a plurality. If trinitarians are trying to convince non-trinitarians of their point they would be wise to be more careful about their supposed proofs.
Regarding the New Testament, even a trinitarian scholar has admitted that the Bible has a binitarian view, and does not teach what is now considered to be the trinity:
The binitarian formulas are found in Rom. 8:11, 2 Cor. 4:14, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:20, 1 Tim 1:2, 1 Pet. 1:21, and 2 John 1:13...No doctrine of the Trinity in the Nicene sense is present in the New Testament...There is no doctrine of the Trinity in the strict sense in the Apostolic Fathers...(Rusch W.G. The Trinitarian Controversy. Fortress Press, Phil., 1980, pp. 2-3).
The above is included in the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?
11/21/06 a.m. The Lutherans made the news yesterday. They apologize, sort of:
Ekklesia (UK) - Nov 20, 2006
The coordinating body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has publicly rejected past statements attributed to early Lutheran church reformers and expressed "its deep and abiding sorrow and regret for the persecution and suffering visited upon the Anabaptists during the religious disputes of the past."...
It rejected the arguments of Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, two 16th century church reformers, "in which they hold that governmental authorities should punish Anabaptists for their teaching," the action said.
The council's action repudiated similar statements in the Formula of Concord and declared that condemnations in the Augsburg Confession directed at the Anabaptists do not apply to today's Mennonite Church USA. The Formula of Concord and Augsburg Confession are among the Lutheran confessions written in Europe in the 16th century...
The condemnations that are contained in the Lutheran confessions may have been very important at that time, but have receded in their importance for this time and in the future."
Lee explained that the importance of the declaration now is that it will provide a foundation for international conversations between the Lutheran World Federation and the global Mennonite community...
During the Reformation Anabaptists, who dissented both from Catholicism and state Protestantism, were harassed, imprisoned and killed for their beliefs – including freedom of religious profession, believers’ baptism, holding goods in common and non-resistance.
The apology should not suggest that the Augsburg statements were ever appropriate. But sadly this is not a complete and proper apology. It basically says, because of desire for cooperation, a partial apology is needed.
It may be of interest to note that the Anabaptists were condemned by the Lutherans because they did not support infant baptism, taught one could reject salvation, taught that Christians should not be soldiers, taught that there would be an end to punishments, and that Jesus would rule with His people on the earth:
Article IX: Of Baptism. Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace. They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children...
Article XII:...They condemn the Anabaptists, who deny that those once justified can lose the Holy Ghost...
Article XVI: Of Civil Affairs. Of Civil Affairs they teach that lawful civil ordinances are good works of God, and that it is right for Christians to bear civil office, to sit as judges, to judge matters by the Imperial and other existing laws, to award just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers, to make legal contracts, to hold property, to make oath when required by the magistrates, to marry a wife, to be given in marriage. They condemn the Anabaptists who forbid these civil offices to Christians.
Article XVII: Of Christ's Return to Judgment. Also they teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment and will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end. They condemn the Anabaptists, who think that there will be an end to the punishments of condemned men and devils. They condemn also others who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed. (The Confession of Faith: Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V. At the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530. by Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau. Published in: Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, pp. 37-95.)
It should be noted that Lutherans and other Protestants considered that those who relied on the Bible alone for doctrine promoted "ancient heresies". Look at this admission from the Protestant scholar and theologian H. Brown:
Although classical theology is certainly not without its problems, historically it is almost always the case that the appeal to the Bible alone...leads to the reemergence of ancient heresies...The Reformation began with the slogan "To the sources!" and sought to deal a fatal blow to the place of church tradition in shaping life and faith...Despite their efforts not to be influenced by the authority of tradition, each of the major Reformation churches found itself borrowing from the past and building up a traditionalism of its own...when the Anabaptists and other radicals discovered Scripture to be teaching things the Lutherans found detestable, Lutherans learned the usefulness of tradition...(Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 335,350-351).
Martin Luther also advised his followers:
...to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs" (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).
He also stated:
I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said that they should be slain; all their blood is upon my head. But I cast it on the Lord God, who commanded me to speak this way" (Werke, Erl. Edition, lix, p. 284 ‘Table Talk’ as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.96).
It is reported that 100,000 perished at that time.
Two articles of possible interest may be:
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong
The Sardis Church Era
11/20/06 a.m. In a delayed report, ICG's Mark Armstrong wrote:
This week, Ahmadinejad announced that they are nearing the “final step” in their enrichment processes, whatever that means. He also said that the disappearance and destruction of Israel is near. Israeli leaders are alarmed. Both Prime Minister Olmert and former PM Netanyahu have made urgent and dire statements hinting that Israel may unilaterally tackle the Iranian nuclear threat. This comes at a time analysts believe the U.S. is pulling back from its long-standing support of Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Given recent reports showing how thoroughly the Muslim world has been brainwashed in its hatred for Israel and the West, not to mention the more moderate regimes in the Arab world it will be interesting and probably painful as events continue to unfold.
You may also have noticed that concern over China’s intentions has intensified. China reportedly has some 900 missiles aimed at Taiwan, and the U.S. is pledged to prevent Taiwan from being overtaken.
Some articles on China may be of interest:
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God's Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 3: China in Prophecy What is Ahead for China? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese?
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformattedGood News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
After a reader of the COGwriter page asked more for more information about one of my references, I added more to the article about the work. Here is some of what that article now says:
Many once in WCG simply never understood what was taught about the open door:
Philadelphia has little strength to do this great work that God has given it to do. God has opened the door, and yet look how insignificant, how weak, how little strength we as a Church have to do that work...Revelation 3:7-13: "And to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia write these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that OPENETH, and no man SHUTTETH; and SHUTTETH and no man openeth." The great door that God has opened to this work is the facility to go into all the world and preach the gospel; the door of radio, the door of the printing press, plus many other such doors. God has set before us an open door and no MAN can shut it. God can shut it, and He will when the work is finished and the Philadelphia Church goes to a place of safety. ...The Laodicean Church is not going to he worthy to escape to a place of safety. When it is too late, they will find that the Church of Philadelphia has gone to safety (What Is the "LAODICEAN CHURCH"? Good News August 1959 Vol. VIII, Number 8).
Notice what Herbert Armstrong taught:
Our work in the hands of Christ is NOT YET FINISHED, and He will not allow the Work to stop until it is finished. And when will that be?
... since no one can know the day or the hour of His coming, we probably shall not be able to know the exact day that this 1335 days begins. But apparently that is the time when OUR WORK SHALL END. That will be a time when the UNITED EUROPE shall appear --the revival of the medieval "Holy Roman Empire." We shall then be warned, and readied to be taken to a place of refuge and safety from the Great Tribulation. Forty-five days later "the beast's" armies will surround Jerusalem. Thirty days later the Great Tribulation will probably start with a nuclear attack on London and Britain--and possibly the same day or immediately after, on United States and Canadian cities (Armstrong HW. The Time We Are In, Now. PASTOR GENERAL'S REPORT - VOL.1, NO.15 NOVEMBER 20, 1979).
Thus HWA's writings clearly teach that the Philadelphia work was to continue until it was time to go the place of safety. Those who teach otherwise simply do not know what HWA really taught.
Also, remember it was Jesus who also said,
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4).
It is still 'day' (we are not fleeing), which means we are to do the work as long as we possibly can:
Just as the remnants of the Sardis era of the Church exist side by side with the Philadelphia era, SO WE WILL CONTINUE OUR WORK to the very "end time" when another group will appear -- a group not accounted worthy to escape the coming tribulation. Another separate work is yet to arise -- made up of begotten individuals who are spiritually lukewarm! WOE BE TO ANY OF US IF WE TAKE PART IN SUCH A WORK! Here is a work, yet to arise because of our preaching, which will say: "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." And Jesus will reply: "As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten: be ZEALOUS therefore, and repent." It is time to WAKE UP! If you become complacent, lacking in zeal, looking upon a local church as a social club, instead of having your heart in the gospel, you, too, may find yourself in the "Church of Laodicea" left to suffer the impending, horrifying tribulation (A TRUE HISTORY of the TRUE CHURCH , 1959).
As we have not yet gone to 'a place of safety', we still must be diligent to do the work to proclaim the Gospel. It is Christ, and NOT the death of any man (including HWA), that shuts the door.
At risk of repeating myself, this concept was confirmed by Mr. Armstrong in his third to last letter,
I thank God that he has organized this present work of his so thoroughly that regardless of the outcome of my present illness, the work will continue right on to the Second Coming of Christ (Letter dated 12/23/85).
Also, look at what Jesus said in Revelation 3:14-16,
"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.'"
It should be noted that Jesus condemns the Laodiceans for their work, which is obviously a different work than that of Philadelphians (as He praises the Philadelphians for their works, vss. 8-10, and tells them to 'hold fast', vs. 11). Look at what HWA and his WCG taught:
'And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness and then shall the end come' --the end of the age! (Matt. 24:14.). Then follows the new age when the reign of Christ shall replace Satan (Armstrong HW. PREDESTINATION: Does the Bible Teach It? Ambassador College, 1975).
This is further evidence that the groups that say there is no need to continue to preach the Gospel as a witness DO NOT follow what HWA taught. After the Gospel is done being proclaimed the 3 1/2 year end (not a pre-end lasting 20 or so years, prior to the 3 1/2 years, as certain groups suggest) comes and Christ's reign begins. In order to justify their existence (and, in my opinion, keep enough tithes to support THEMSELVES), they reason around the necessity of proclaiming the Gospel--as they all know well that they will not have the means to do it--and use the Laodicean logic on trying to focus on twigs, and not the "trunk of the tree" that HWA told us all that we should do.
The above and more is included in the article Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?
11/19/06 a.m. The following news item caught my eye:
Scientific American - Nov 12, 2006
Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks argues in Who Really Cares (Basic Books, 2006) that when it comes to charitable giving and volunteering, numerous quantitative measures debunk the myth of "bleeding heart liberals" and "heartless conservatives." Conservatives donate 30 percent more money than liberals (even when controlled for income), give more blood and log more volunteer hours. In general, religious people are more than three times more generous than secularists to all charities, 14 percent more munificent to nonreligious charities and 57 percent more likely than a secularist to help a homeless person. In terms of societal health, charitable givers are 43 percent more likely to say they are "very happy" than nongivers and 25 percent more likely than nongivers to say their health is excellent or very good. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=D27BB754-E7F2-99DF-3E2F8A28942743F5&colID=13
Years ago, I remember reading the following and wondering about some liberals:
The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful (Isaiah 32:5, KJV).
In the US at least, liberals tend to be more vile morally than conservatives on at least one point as they normally support murder of the unborn, AKA abortion (liberals, as a rule, also tend to be more secular). The report from Arthur C. Brooks shows that those called liberal truly do not seeem to be as liberal with their time or money as modern liberals like to suggest. FWIW, the NIV translates that second half of the verse to state "nor the scoundrel be highly respected".
Many who call themselves liberal stress that they have tolerance, but the following item from ACD's page suggests otherwise:
Elton John who a few days ago declared "I would ban religion completely."
BTW, by making these posts I am NOT attempting to justify American conservatives, just pointing out some of the hypocrisy of Western liberals. One of the reasons that Republicans lost control of the house and senate in the US is due to the their own hypocrisy and corruption. This is one of the many reasons why I (and most) in the COGs do not vote (please see the recently updated article Should a Christian Vote?).
LCG's Wayne Pyle reported:
This week we aired program #282, “Principles for Effective Bible Study,” which offered the Bible Study Course to Tomorrow’s World TV viewers. So far, we have received 4,020 phone calls, and we are expecting the end-of-the-week total go over 4,100.
LCG's tv responses continue to improve. On a per member basis, LCG's responses are now much higher than those generally attained by the old WCG. The current Tomorrow's World magazine lists 198 tv stations and 18 radio stations, originating in 21 countries, broadcast LCG's Tomorrow's World program. Other than perhaps the one weekend immediately following HWA's death, never in the days of WCG under HWA did WCG get this high of a response on a per member basis.
An article of possible interest may be Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?
11/18/06 a.m. Legacy Institute's latest newsletter arrived last night. In it, Lexon Sexton wrote:
God gave us the Annual Festival Days to teach us His plan of salvation for all mankind. I have discovered that the Church of God congregations that do observe the Annual Holy Days grow in understanding of the step-by-step plan God has in place to save all mankind. Those who do not keep these Annual Holy Days do not have the same level of understanding.
The above is true.
Legacy has maintained certain ties to UCG for years as the following statement confirms:
Herbert Vierra, Secretary of Legacy Institute, and his wife Ann joined us for their 7th Feast in Thailand. Herb is an elder in the United Church of God congregation in Los Angeles. Legacy Institute is not a part of the UCG organization, nor ever has been. But the UCG Council of Elders approved Herb Vierra’s coming to Thailand over the past 7 years to help at the Feast.
Those in UCG may wish to read what Legacy teaches as while aspects of its mission are commendable, some of its doctrines are not. Please see the article on the Teachings and Practices of Legacy Institute.
Yesterday, the Catholic News Agency reported:
Vatican City - Speaking to the participants at the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pope Benedict recalled that the primary goal of ecumenical dialogue remains the same: to reach one, single, visible Church.
“We live in a period of great change in almost all areas of life," said the Holy Father, “and we must not be surprised if this also impinges upon the life of the Church and on relations between Christians."
Nonetheless, he added, "the aim of the ecumenical movement remains unchanged: the visible unity of the Church.”...
“Fortunately,” he added, "following a period of multiple difficulties, theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches has taken on fresh impetus," while "bilateral, open and friendly" dialogue is making progress with the ecclesial communities of the West. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=8081
The Vatican's goal is, and always has been, dominance (this is also consistent with prophecy--please see the article Europa and the Beast). Pontiff Benedict has also made previous statements that suggest he believes the Roman Catholics will be able to better persuade the Eastern Orthodox than the Protestants to accept more of the Roman view. Interestingly, there are some similarities between the COGs and the Orthodox. An article of possible interest may be Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God.
This morning I modified the following at the Early Christianity page:
According to the New Testament, true Christianity was practiced throughout many areas of Asia Minor in the first century. Most (between 15-17) of the 27 books of New Testament were written to or from church leaders in Asia Minor. What this clearly shows, is that although there were Christians in various areas, the focus for the New Testament writers were the churches in Asia Minor. And interestingly, the last book of the Bible is specifically addressed to the churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 1:4,11). The last of the original apostles to die (John), died in Asia Minor and his disciple Polycarp of Smyrna was a major leader there. According to Roman Catholic, Church of God, and other sources, apostolic Christianity was practiced in Asia Minor in the second century--and those there that were true Christians were sometimes referred to as Smyrnaeans. Asia Minor is north and north-west of Antioch and Jerusalem, and was in the country now called Turkey. There are at least two churches that claim descent from Asia Minor: The Orthodox Church of Constantinople (which does not consider itself to be Protestant, and it remains in Constantinople, now called Istanbul) and the Living Church of God (which also does not consider itself Protestant as it precedes the Protestant Reformation; it is now headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina). The Living Church of God consider Polycrates (the late 2nd century Christian who refused to accept the authority of Roman Bishops) as an important and faithful leader, but the Orthodox Church is more guarded about that. Also, although the Living Church of God teaches that Polycarp is a successor to the apostles that it traces its history through, the Orthodox Church of Constantinople does not include him in their successor list, nor do any of the "Orthodox" churches, though they acknowledge his prominence).
I also made a few additions to the Early Christianity page. I also added an article on the heretic Valentinus (he was denounced by Polycarp). Here is some of what that article contains:
The Valentinians also taught various things about the Godhead:
4. The Father afterwards produces, in his own image, by means of Monogenes, the above-mentioned Horos, without conjunction, masculo-feminine. For they maintain that sometimes the Father acts in conjunction with Sige, but that at other times he shows himself independent both of male and female...
5. After this substance had been placed outside of the Pleroma of the Aeons, and its mother restored to her proper conjunction, they tell us that Monogenes, acting in accordance with the prudent forethought of the Father, gave origin to another conjugal pair, namely Christ and the Holy Spirit (lest any of the Aeons should fall into a calamity similar to that of Sophia), for the purpose of fortifying and strengthening the Pleroma, and who at the same time completed the number of the Aeons. Christ then instructed them as to the nature of their conjunction, and taught them that those who possessed a comprehension of the Unbegotten were sufficient for themselves. He also announced among them what related to the knowledge of the Father -- namely, that he cannot be understood or comprehended, nor so much as seen or heard, except in so far as he is known by Monogenes only (Irenaeus. Adverus Heresies. Book 1, Chapter 2, Verses 4-5).
Some followers of Valentinus further came up with their own bizarre trinitarian views as well:
1. Others, again, portentously declare that there exists, in the power of Bythus, a certain primary light, blessed, incorruptible, and infinite: this is the Father of all, and is styled the first man. They also maintain that his Ennoea, going forth from him, produced a son, and that this is the son of man -- the second man. Below these, again, is the Holy Spirit, and under this superior spirit the elements were separated from each other, viz., water, darkness, the abyss, chaos, above which they declare the Spirit was borne, calling him the first woman. Afterwards, they maintain, the first man, with his son, delighting over the beauty of the Spirit -- that is, of the woman -- and shedding light upon her, begat by her an incorruptible light, the third male, whom they call Christ -- the son of the first and second man, and of the Holy Spirit, the first woman.
15. Such are the opinions which prevail among these persons, by whom, like the Lernaean hydra, a many-headed beast has been generated from the school of Valentinus (Book 1, Chapter 30, Verses 1,15).
Trinitarian support is also suggested in the following statements:
16...The Valentinians, again, maintain that the dispensational Jesus was the same who passed through Mary, upon whom that Saviour from the more exalted [region] descended, who was also termed Pan, because He possessed the names (vocabula) of all those who had produced Him; but that [this latter] shared with Him, the dispensational one, His power and His name; so that by His means death was abolished, but the Father was made known by that Saviour who had descended from above, whom they do also allege to be Himself the receptacle of Christ and of the entire Pleroma; confessing, indeed, in tongue one Christ Jesus, but being divided in [actual] opinion: for, as I have already observed, it is the practice of these men to say that there was one Christ, who was produced by Monogenes, for the confirmation of the Pleroma; but that another, the Saviour, was sent [forth] for the glorification of the Father; and yet another, the dispensational one, and whom they represent as having suffered, who also bore [in himself] Christ, that Saviour who returned into the Pleroma (Book III, Chapter 16, Verse 1).
Furthermore, notice what it is recorded that a one-time Catholic bishop named Marcellus of Ancyra wrote on the nature of God around the middle of the fourth century,
Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God...These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him 'On the Three Natures'. For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato (Source: Logan A. Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), 'On the Holy Church': Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9. Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p.95 ).
Valentinus may have wrote this trinitarian-type statement in the heretical 'Gospel of Truth',
The Father uncovers his bosom, which is the Holy Spirit, revealing his secret. His secret is his Son! (Valentinus? Gospel of Truth. Verse 17. English translation by Patterson Brown).
Hence the heretic Valentinus is the earliest known professing Christian writer to make clear trinitarian claims (though he, himself, did not come up with the term trinity--Tertullian is credited with coming up with that term several decades after Valentinus' death). An article of possible interest may be Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?).
The complete article is titled Valentinus: The Trinitarian Heretic.
11/17/06 a.m. In an ad in The Journal, Ministry Publications declares:
The Beast! The feared, Fourth and final Beast Empire. People want to know what will be the Beast? From where will it come? Who will be the Beast? People worry about getting marked by the Beast.Why? Simple. To avoid it. To know when to run and hide.
Three articles of related interest may be There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra, Europa, the Beast, and Revelation, and SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.
An ad from the Church of God, Cincinnati, and Church of God, Lexington in The Journal states:
Make plans now to be in Lexington, Kentucky, for the Winter Family Tournament beginning Friday, December 22, at 7:30 p.m. Sit in on your choice of a dozen exciting seminars given by thought-provoking speakers. Meet new friends from a variety of fellowships. You’ll be surprised at the large community of believers who share your faith...
It all begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 22, with a seminar by Ron Dart. That will be the first of several seminars by a variety of speakers on Friday evening and Sabbath morning. Split sermons will be given at church services by Dave Havir and Bill Jacobs. Come hear Stacey Seelig talk about her first year ministering to Hindu and Buddhist students in Thailand with Legacy Institute...
For more information, write or phone Jim O’Brien
Sponsored by Church of God, Cincinnati, and Church of God, Lexington
The sponsors of the above were once in UCG, but were partially put out for insisting on holding this event years ago. UCG, after putting Jim O’Brien out (or after he left), also put on a competing Winter event--and UCG has done it at about the same time and in a geographically similar place as Jim O’Brien does every year since.
There were also at least two anti-tithing ads in the latest Journal.
Two articles of possible interest may be Tithing Questions and Some Answers and Is Third Tithe Still Valid Today? Perhaps I should mention that I am not on LCG's payroll, hence my supporting of tithing is not at all based on my source of income.
11/16/06 a.m. The latest edition (September 30, 2006) of The Journal is now out. The lead article states:
A writer for The Evening Bulletin, a five-day-a-week newspaper in Philadelphia, Pa., devoted an article Sept. 27 to criticism of The New York Times and suggestions that readers would be better off reading articles by Melvin Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes, an elder in the United Church of God who lives in East Lansing, Mich., and a former columnist for THE JOURNAL, writes about current events and history, among other subjects, in the UCG’s flagship publication, The Good News.
The back page had the following two small articles:
LCG and UCG visit
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Leaders of the Living Church of God, based in Charlotte, and the United Church of God, based in Milford, Ohio, met with each other here recently. UCG president Clyde Kilough and Jim Franks of the UCG’s ministerial-services department, visited the LCG’s headquarters. According to a statement by the LCG’s director of church administration, Doug Winnail: “They toured the office facility and met our headquarters staff. It was a cordial visit and provided us with an opportunity to communicate about mutual concerns facing the Church of God.” A statement from the UCG described the event as a followup to a longstanding LCG invitation to visit and talk with church leaders: “They had a tour of the offices and met the staff. They then sat with Dr. [Roderick] Meredith, Dr. Winnail, Mr. [Richard] Ames and Mr. [Dibar] Apartian for ‘an open discussion on a variety of issues facing the Church of God.’ ” Mr. Kilough has issued a similar invitation to LCG leaders to visit the UCG’s Ohio offices.
No merger in sight
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif.— Some Church of God observers are speculating about a possible merger of the UCG and LCG in view of news reports about the recent meeting between leaders of the two ministries. (See the news item immediately preceding this one.) However, Robert Thiel, an LCG member who operates a popular Church of God Web site (cogwriter.org), reports that Roderick Meredith, the Living Church of God’s presiding evangelist, stated to him that the LCG is not interested in any kind of merger with the UCG. “He stated UCG and LCG have different works, differing governments, and differing focuses,” Dr. Thiel reported.
There will be no merger--there are too many differences (please see the article Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God). And as RC Meredith reported, the two groups have different works.
Here is a link to the first and last pages of that issue: www.thejournal.org/issues/issue114/jf103006.pdf
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Volume 10, issue 27 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2006