5 S H COG News: Emphasizing News of Interest to those Once in the Worldwide Church of God
"For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (I Corinthians 11:19).

* 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.

04/20/07 a.m. The Catholic News Service reported:

Vatican commission: Limbo reflects 'restrictive view of salvation'

CNS - April 20, 2007

In a document published April 20, the commission said the traditional concept of limbo -- as a place where unbaptized infants spend eternity but without communion with God -- seemed to reflect an "unduly restrictive view of salvation."...

But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and "wants all human beings to be saved," it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ's special love for "the little ones," it said.

"Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered ... give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision," the document said.

"We emphasize that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge," it added.

The 41-page document, titled "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized," was published in Origins, the documentary service of Catholic News Service.  Pope Benedict XVI authorized its publication earlier this year...

"It must be clearly acknowledged that the church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants who die," it said.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was president of the commission and head of the doctrinal congregation when the commission began studying the question of limbo in a systematic way in 2004.

U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada now heads the commission and the doctrinal congregation. Cardinal Levada met with the pope to discuss the document Jan. 19 and, with the pope's approval, authorized its publication.

Of course, several years ago I wrote a paper whose main title is Hope of Salvation. While I disagree with various Catholic concepts of salvation such as heaven, I do agree that infants will have an opportunity for salvation. Unlike the Roman Catholics, we in the COGs believe that we do have sure knowledge about what will happen to infants as the COG position comes from the Bible. Notice:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy (2 Peter 1:19 KJV).

Two articles of related interest may include:

Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants
Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis

Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

I know you’re sickened, as is the entire nation, by the murderous rampage that took place on the Virginia Tech campus this week.  The news of this travesty has produced a range of emotion and anger that is helpless and frustrating. I can hardly stand to watch any more of the coverage, and barely trust myself to respond to much of what’s been broadcast, cumulatively, by the hundreds of hours over the course of this week.

Murder is always sad. And mass murder tends to be disheartening.

Some Amish oppose Wis. farm ID program that takes effect May 1

(Published Friday, April 20, 2007 10:16:17 AM CST)
Associated Press

CASHTON, Wis. - Amish dairy farmers who oppose a Wisconsin livestock identification system that takes full effect May 1 contend it's forcing them to make a choice between their livelihood and their religion.

The Amish, members of a Christian sect that favors plain living with little reliance on modern conveniences, cite Biblical passages as prohibiting them from buying and selling animals that are numbered, or have what they would consider the "mark of the beast."

While we in the COGs do not consider the marking of livestock the "mark of the beast" (and that the Beast will be from Europe- which differs from the SDA teachings), I personally feel that the Amish should not have to number their livestock if they have religious objections to doing so.

04/20/07 a.m. Yesterday, LCG reported:

China’s Exports Now Surpass United States. In the last half of 2006, China quietly slipped ahead of the U.S. to become the world’s second-largest exporter, just behind the Germans. At current growth rates, China will overtake Germany in 2008. China’s exports grew by 27 percent last year, outpacing all other major trading nations. Office equipment and communications gear, as well as clothing, iron and steel, account for the largest share of China’s export growth. Trading partners accuse China of keeping its currency undervalued, and of using illegal government subsidies, import barriers and piracy, to fuel its explosive economic growth. The Bush administration, under political pressure to deal with America’s trade deficit (estimated at $765.3 billion in 2006), recently filed complaints accusing China of violating U.S. copyrights and illegally restricting the sale of American products (AP, April 12, 2007). Germany lost a World War to the U.S., but is now winning the economic war—and China is poised to overtake both nations! God warned of consequences when His people disobey Him, “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:43-44). We are seeing this happen today.

Similarly, this morning, PCG reported the following:

The United States slipped from second to third on the world’s export leaderboard in 2006. In the second half of the year, American exporters found themselves not only behind Germany, but also behind a surging China.

The World Trade Organization reported that China’s exports grew by 27 percent last year. If this growth continues as projected, China will be the world’s second-biggest exporter for the whole of 2007 and will then surpass Germany in 2008 as the leading exporter in the world...

The equivalent of more than a trillion U.S. dollars now sits in China’s foreign exchange reserve. The Washington Times wrote that a lot of this money “is saved and recycled back into the U.S. through purchases of U.S. Treasuries and other debt securities. That makes capital or cash China’s largest export to the U.S.” (April 13). Exporting money keeps the Chinese economy driving forward without the heavy baggage of inflation in its own currency, making Chinese economic growth far more sustainable.

The U.S. finds itself in a bind. If the Chinese quit investing in the U.S. economy, the dollar will sink. If China doesn’t stop investing in the dollar, it will soon overshadow other national economies.

With a massive domestic market powered by the world’s largest population, and exports soon to outstrip all comers, China’s powerful economy appears set to continue its startling growth. The colossal amount of resources needed to feed such an economy will require a reordering of the world’s economic structure. Competing with Germany and China, the U.S. has some difficult years ahead.

On the above, PCG has it correct. The USA is in a bind, it is not sustainable, and the U.S. will have difficult times in the future. In the 21st century, you cannot be the world's reserve currency for too long while other countries export more.

Earlier this week, UCG posted the following:

This Week: Good News Online Radio Program -- Are Christians Raptured Away?

Of course, the answer to the above is no. Two articles of possibly related interest may be There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra and Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?

Did you know the following about the history of the true Church?

There were binitarians (sometimes called Semi-Arians) Paulicians in Armenia who also kept the seventh-day Sabbath in the late fourth century and they were persecuted:

Eustathius was succeeded by Erius, a priest, and semi-Arian...Erius also condemned fasts, stated feasts, prayers for the dead, and the celebration of Easter; he urged a purer morality and a stricter observance of the Sabbath. He had many followers, whose numbers were augmented by one of Paul of Samosota, from whom they were called Paulicians. Notwithstanding the opposition of the prelates, who invoked the secular arm to prevent the defection of their spiritual subjects, the tenets of this sect struck deep root in Armenia and many of its eastern provinces, and finally the great body of Christians in the former country, withdrew from the Episcopal communion, and publicly espoused the sentiments of the Paulicians...The bishops of Syria, Pontus, and Cappadocia, complained of the defection of their spiritual flocks...induced the Grecian emperors to commence, and continue for nearly two centuries, the most terrible persecutions against the Paulicians (Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, pp. 20-23).

The above is in the article The Smyrna Church Era. Much more on the history of the true Church can be found at the History of Early Christianity page.

04/19/07 a.m. In his latest newsletter, CBCG's Fred Coulter writes:

Paul admonished the Philippians: "Now then, if there be any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any deep inner affections and compassions, fulfill my joy, that you be of the same mind, having the same love, being joined together in soul, minding the one thing. Let nothing be done through contention or vainglory, but in humility, each esteeming the others above himself. Let each one look not only after his own things, but let each one also consider the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:1-5). This is the ultimate purpose of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).

Though we live in this world, we are not of this society—because we have been called out of this present Satan-led world. This is why we must constantly strive to overcome sin and self, Satan and this society through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Furthermore, we are not to mix God’s way with the corrupt, pagan ways of this society, as many in worldly "Christianity"—and even in God’s churches—are doing today. After all, "a little leaven leavens the whole lump.

Indeed, being separate from the ways of this world is one of the major lessons we are to learn from the Feast of Unleavened Bread. "Do not be unequally [diversely] yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? And what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what union does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement is there between a temple of God and idols? For you are a temple of the living God, exactly as God said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from the midst of them and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you; and I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty. Now then, beloved, since we have these promises, we should purge ourselves from every defilement of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Cor. 6:14-18; 7:1).

This requires that we put out the evils of the carnal mind and shun the ways of this world—with the help of Jesus Christ.

Being separate is taught in the Book of Revelation and was one of the truths that God used HWA to restore to the COG--and it was one that the Tkach group left off of their listing. More on that can be found in the article Did You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made? as it contains HWA's and Tkach's list of 18 truths.

Speaking of the 18 truths, one that the old WCG was criticized for was becoming God. As I have reported here before, the Eastern Orthodox, similar to the COGs teach that man will become God (please see the article Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God). Also, the Roman Catholics teach something similar as well. Notice the following quote from the current pope, when he was a cardinal:

Man can become God, not by making himself God, but by allowing himself to be made 'Son'.

Actually, that is consistent with what we in the COGs teach as we believe that is why Jesus was "the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). That is part of the message of the Feast of Pentecost (a related article would be Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?).

04/18/07 a.m. Ray Wooten's United Christian Ministries moved from Alabama to Indiana. Its website reports:


U.C.M. - P.O. Box 608

Roanoke, In. 46783

Ray Wooten was part of UCG when it originally came together in Indiana--he advocated essentially a confederation of local churches--but UCG did not end up organized as he apparently hoped for--thus he left. It is of curious interest to note that he has recently moved up north to Indiana while UCG is now considering moving south to Texas.

WCG reported:

India: The church in India has approximately 100 members scattered over a wide geographic area. The Secunderabad congregation pastored by Danny Zachariah supports a community counseling center in its small meeting hall and utilizes the professional skills of members and their connections. Joe D’Costa, pastor of the Bangalore congregation, produces a nationally-circulated magazine of Christian education for local distribution called Living Light.

I am surprised that WCG has so few in India. I do not recall LCG's numbers there, but I believe that they may be higher then WCG's. Since India is filled with English-speaking people and many are gaining internet access, I suspect that LCG will end up with many more people there. I hope to put together an article about India in the Bible later.

04/17/07 a.m. This morning, LCG announced the following commentary by Richard Ames:

Monday’s shooting at Virginia Tech -- the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history -- brings tragic violence closer to home for many of us. When we hear about violence in Sudan and Iraq, it often seems remote from our lives, but a school shooting — in a peaceful community where people once felt safe — shakes us in a special way. We grieve for the Virginia Tech victims and their families, but even as we grieve we are reminded that thousands more around the world are wounded and killed every day in ongoing violent conflicts. From Columbine to Kosovo, and from Blacksburg to Baghdad, our world is mired in violence, pain and suffering. Have you ever asked yourself, “Is There Any Hope?” God’s word gives the answer! Click here to read more.

On other matters, CGG's (John Ritenbaugh) history page states:

Church of the Great God emphasizes "feeding the flock," though the ministry recognizes the responsibility of the church to preach the gospel to the world too. There are several reasons for choosing this course.

  1. Those coming out of the WCG, including the ministry, have been badly damaged spiritually. Why would God want to bring people into yet another church that was also lacking His Spirit and love? Therefore, to restore people's relationship with God, feeding the flock became the top priority of the church.
  2. The ministry sought to avoid being presumptuous by appointing themselves to do the preaching of the gospel to the world, suggesting that they are Herbert Armstrong's successors (Jeremiah 23:21-22). God is fully capable of letting His true ministers know when He wants them to do something in this area.

I would state that it is NOT presumptuous for evangelists like Richard Ames and Dibar Apartian would continue to publicly proclaim the gospel the same way Herbert Armstrong had them do. Sadly, CGG, and many other groups simply wish to reason around the truth here.

Two articles of related 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?
The Church of the Great God

04/16/07 a.m. The latest issue of COGaic's Vision Magazine, has the following in a lead article:

Social scientists have studied negative emotions—anger, depression, low self-esteem, suicidal tendencies and their ilk—for years. By contrast, happiness is a fairly new area of research, as a recent wave of books shows...

Richard Schoch’s The Secrets of Happiness is a good place to start. A professor of history and culture at the University of London, he examines the pursuit of happiness during the past three millennia, particularly in philosophy and religion, and asks what lessons can be learned for today.

Happiness is difficult to define, and Schoch asks some hard questions. Circumstances often conspire to make life difficult, even miserable: whence happiness in such cases?

Warning that there is no one secret of happiness, only secrets of happiness that vary with each individual, he writes that “the statement ‘I am happy’ (or ‘I am unhappy’) carries no objective meaning—that is, independent of the person, the subject, making the statement—because it acquires meaning only in a context” (original emphasis throughout)...

The book’s most valuable message is that we can steer our inborn drives and feelings in an ordered way; we can use the mind as a powerful tool for our own good if we know how to do it and have the will. Knowing ourselves and understanding what really gives us happiness will increase our likelihood of success.

Klein’s book is well researched and organized: we can learn much from it.

I would suggest that people realize what the Bible itself teaches:

Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! (Psalm 144:15)

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever (Psalm 146:5-6).

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her (Proverbs 3:13-18).

But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he (Proverbs 14:21).

He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he (Proverbs 16:20).

Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity (Proverbs 28:14).

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law (Proverbs 29:18).

None of the above were in the COGaic article (it cited no scriptures).

An article of related interest may be What is the Meaning of Life?

04/15/07 a.m. UCG has the following article by Melvin Rhodes in the Mar-Apr 2007 edition of its Good News magazine:

What Will It Mean for the West if Radical Islam Triumphs?...

Defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq may not worry the average person in the United States or Western Europe, but could defeat there also mean defeat at home? Could the seemingly inexorable advance of radical Islam in the Middle East be replicated in the United States, Australia, Canada or Britain?

History shows Islam to be an expansionist religion...

The threat is very real.

The solution is quite simple: national repentance, a turning back to the true God of the Bible...

Just a few years ago there was great national pride in America's military power, a feeling that the country was invincible, that any nation that dared to defy the United States could be soundly beaten, thoroughly and rapidly.

Yet now the country faces international humiliation, with the possibility of defeat at the hands of militant Islamists, religious fanatics who seem determined to take the world back to the Dark Ages...

In Revelation 6, Jesus Christ warned of the impact false religion would have on the world in end-time events. This chapter describes the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

The prophecy shows that false religion will bring a sword on the world like nothing before. It will go out "conquering and to conquer" (verse 2). This will be rapidly followed by war (verses 3-4), which, in turn, is followed by famine (verses 5-6) and disease and death (verses 7-8), the inevitable result of war and famine.

Only national repentance, a turning back to God, can now save our nations from the cataclysmic events prophesied to befall them. The modern descendants of ancient Israel—primarily the peoples of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—have increasingly rejected God and His commands. God warns us of the dire consequences.

While the above suggests that UCG believes that Islam is the major threat to the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, UCG still does teach that the Europeans will be the ones who takeover the world, as the following quote in another article on page 13 of the same issue confirms:

An alliance of a great religious power and a secular power will emerge in Europe and dominate the world.

While it is true that an Islamic alliance will cause the US and its English-speaking allies difficult problems, part of the problem will be that they (the US and its English-speaking allies) will focus a bit too much on Islamic factions as the enemy and will tend to overlook the power developing in Europe.

Obviously UCG still does teach that the Europeans will be the ones who takeover the world--but it MAY be allowing that it could be an Islamic, not a Catholic, Europe (this is discussed in more detail in the article Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God). However, I do not think many in UCG believe it that way, as most probably still believe that the Beast power will be supported by Catholics.

04/14/07 a.m. CGG had a link to an article published in a Jamaican newspaper:

Passover vs Easter
April 8, 2007

Ian Boyne, Contributor

Today, millions of Christians around the world celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ during this season of Easter. But perhaps most don't realise that it was not until the fourth century that Easter was uniformly observed by Christians.

What the earliest Christians observed in memorial of Christ was the Passover, which occurs at this time of the year on Nisan 14 on the Jewish calendar. The Palestinian historian Epiphanius (AD 315-403) said that the 15 Jewish Christian bishops who administered the Jerusalem Church until AD 135 observed the Lord's death on Nisan 14. In the Apostolic Constitutions, an early Christian document, the following rule is laid out: "You shall not change the calculation of the time, but you shall celebrate it with the same time as your brethren who came out of the circumcision (the Jews). With them observe the Passover."

It was anti-Semitism - racism against the Jews, which was responsible for the Christian church's adoption of Easter over the Passover which has Old Testament (Jewish) roots. A brutal and vicious persecution against the Jews had started from early under Emperor Hadrian who outlawed Jewish practices and customs. Jews and Jewish Christians were expelled from Jerusalem after Hadrian had crushed The Barkokeba revolt of the Jews (AD 132-135). With that eviction of the Jews and Jewish Christians came the increasing non-Jewish influence on Christianity, and a rabid anti-Semitism whose relic is still with the Church today. The rejection of the Passover and the substitution of Easter is a manifestation of this malice against the Jews as well as poor hermeneutics of Scripture.

An early Christian controversy was the Quortodeciman Controversy between Christians of the East and the West. The Eastern Christians insisted that Jesus should be memorialised by the observance of the Passover on Nisan 14, while those in the West felt that an independent festival not connected with the Jews should be adopted to celebrate His death and resurrection. http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20070408/focus/focus1.html

The above is correct. The author, Ian Boyne, is part of CGI. Although "Easter" is past, those interested in the truth on this may wish to read the following articles:

Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach?
Melito's Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? This article supplies some biblical answers.

What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on "Good Friday"? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?

WCG announced that the April-May 2007 edition of its Christian Odyssey magazine is now out. The following is one of the featured articles:

"Father" of the Western Church

Augustine (354-430) has been called the most significant Christian theologian "since New Testament times"...The teenage Augustine took a young woman as a concubine, whom he kept for 15 years. She bore a son...

Augustine was virtually drafted into the priesthood by bishop and laity and ordained in 391.

As the above article admits, Augustine was actually the father of an illegitimate child, not a true leader. And when he ran into the woman he had used for sex for so long, he intentionally ignored her and would have nothing to do with her (the article from WCG left that out).

Augustine ignored the direct teachings in the Bible on this:

So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant (Malachi 2:13-14).

The fact that he had a marriage-like relationship, had a child with her, and used the woman for fifteen years, clearly shows that he had some type of covenant with her during his youth. Yet he clearly "dealt treacherously" with her. And yet, people in groups like WCG think he should be admired. Have they not read Paul's writings?

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).

According to the Apostle Paul, Augustine acted worse than an unbeliever. He was not ever a true leader of the true church. He was not true to the Bible.

Now notice some of what The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches about Augustine:

St. Augustine was for a time, as he himself testifies (De Civitate Dei, XX, 7), a pronounced champion of millenarianism; but he places the millennium after the universal resurrection and regards it in a more spiritual light (Sermo, CCLIX). When, however, he accepted the doctrine of only one universal resurrection and a final judgment immediately following, he could no longer cling to the principal tenet of early chiliasm. St. Augustine finally held to the conviction that there will be no millennium...The struggle between Christ and His saints on the one hand and the wicked world and Satan on the other, is waged in the Church on earth; so the great Doctor describes it in his work De Civitate Dei. In the same book he gives us an allegorical explanation of Chapter 20 of the Apocalypse...at all events, the kingdom of Christ, of which the Apocalypse speaks, can only be applied to the Church (De Civitate Dei, XX 5-7). This explanation of the illustrious Doctor was adopted by succeeding Western theologians, and millenarianism in its earlier shape no longer received support (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Millennium and Millenarianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, he allegorized scripture (which is something he actually taught against before, please see the article What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? ) and did away with what the Bible actually says on subjects such as Millenarianism.

Does it would make sense that WCG should so highly honor a writer who decided to ignore much of what the Bible really said? Well, by doing so, WCG is demonstrating that it now does the same to a major degree.

More information on where teachings should come from can be found in the article Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings.

The following disturbing item was in the news:

Two arrested in brawl at convent

UPI - April 13, 2007  

Two people were injured and another two were arrested Thursday night after a bloody brawl broke out between rival factions of nuns in an Old Calendarist convent in Avdellero, Cyprus. The Cyprus Mail reported that the church was spattered with blood as nuns and priests attacked each other with sharp objects...

Sevastianos and his group say a will made by the deceased Old Calendarist Bishop of Kiti, Epiphanios, who died nearly two years ago, cedes management of the convent's finances to them. The resident nuns, led by Mother Superior Markella, refuse to give up their financial rights. 
Sevastianos was placed temporarily in charge until the Synod in Greece elects a new bishop. Meanwhile former Attorney-general Alecos Markides, who represents the resident nuns, said in December that he would seek a restraining order to force Sevastianos' faction off the premises, Cyprus Mail reported.

Have they not read that Christians are not to acvt that way? An article of possible interest may be Military Service and the Churches of God.

04/13/07 a.m. Last week, I reported the news item that the Russian Orthodox Church is trying to reunify with some of its scattered flocks. On perhaps a related note, the following story was in the Russian news:

Russian Orthodox Church, Vatican set to mend relations RIA Novosti (Russia) - April 10, 2007

RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Romanov.

MOSCOW - Predictably, recent media reports that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican were going to sit down at the negotiating table to resolve their long-standing differences were greeted by the public with a yawn.

Although most people decided that the talks had little chance of success and so forgot the news as soon as they had heard it, this attempt at reconciliation should be taken seriously...

The Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church are teaming up in order to deal with these challenges. The threat they pose is a clear indication that Christianity should not prolong the existing schism. Nevertheless, removing the obstacles to reconciliation mentioned by Monsignor Kondrusiewicz is no easy task.

He mentioned the many theological differences between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Holy See. These include the Pope's position of supremacy over both the Latin and Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, as well as the so-called filioque controversy. This divisive difference between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions is most often referred to as simply "filioque" or "the filioque," a disputed part of the Nicean Creed. In the Orthodox tradition, the line in question reads "We believe in the Holy Spirit ... who proceeds from the Father", while in the Catholic tradition it reads "We believe in the Holy Spirit ... who proceeds from the Father and the Son." Monsignor Kondrusiewicz also mentioned the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic dogma asserting that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was preserved by God from the stain of "original sin" at the time of her own conception.

It is fairly obvious that none of these contradictions can be overcome unless Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have the courage to move away from their traditional religious canons in search of a compromise. It may seem like a paradox, but the conservatism of Pope Benedict XVI, who succeeded the late John Paul II in 2005, makes success more likely because the more conservative the Vatican's position, the closer it matches that of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The fact that the two sides are sitting down to talk is encouraging, even if the chances of success are slim. God works in mysterious ways; his present intentions may be clarified at the first round of talks in Italy this fall. http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20070410/63407601.html

Catholic prophecies suggest some type of reconcillation between the Roman and Orthodox Catholics. One prophecy, that was given no later than 1202, by Abbott Joachim states:

A remarkable Pope will be seated on the pontifical throne, under special protection of the angels. Holy and full of gentleness, he shall undo all wrong, he shall recover the states of the Church, and reunite the exiled temporal powers. As the only Pastor, he shall reunite the Eastern to the Western Church...This holy Pope shall be both pastor and reformer. Through him the East and West shall be in ever lasting concord. The city of Babylon shall then be the head and guide of the world. Rome, weakened in temporal power, shall forever preserve her spiritual dominion, and shall enjoy great peace...At the beginning, in order to bring these happy results, having need of a powerful assistance, this holy Pontiff will ask the cooperation of the generous monarch of France (Great Monarch). (Cited in Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, pp. 31-32).

The above suggests that the Roman Catholics believe that they have to reunite with the Eastern Orthodox as well as support the reuniting of the Europeans (the "temporal powers" is a term used by Catholics to mean the political leaders in the world) and that Babylon will then be the head of the world! That prophecy and more is in the article Europa and the Beast.

On other matters, LCG's Dibar Apartian announced:

This year, the Second Passover should be taken shortly after sunset on Tuesday, May 1. This Passover is for those baptized members who were unable to take the first Passover due to unforeseen circumstances. The biblical instructions guiding this ceremony are found in Numbers 9:1-14.

Click here for previous COG news (includes news on COGaic & Kenya, Second Passover, CG& and Passover, Persecution, PCG & "Pope TV", Russian Orthodox reunification, the wave-sheaf offering, Pentecost, Passover, the truth about Easter, Pasadena's plans for Ambassador, why "Good Friday", Tom Hansen leaving WCG, calendar issues, etc.

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Volume 11, issue 4 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007