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.

05/09/07 a.m. Zenit.org reported:

Muslim Nations' Diplomats Studying the Church

Vatican Secretary of State Launched Course at the Gregorian

ROME, MAY 8, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Diplomats of Muslim countries in the Mediterranean and the Middle East are taking a course on the Catholic Church and the Holy See's international politics.

The three-week course was inaugurated Monday at the Pontifical Gregorian University by Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone and Renato Martino -- Vatican secretary of state and president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, respectively.

The course, entitled "The Catholic Church and the International Politics of the Holy See," features morning lectures and afternoon visits to key Church offices.

The course will continue through May 20 in Rome and May 21-27 in Turin, Italy.

Participants will learn about "the organization and functioning of diverse organizations of the Holy See, the diplomatic activities of nunciatures and the humanitarian activities of the Church that promote peace," Cardinal Bertone told Vatican Radio.

There are various Catholic prophecies that suggest that Catholics will convert a significant amount of Moslems in the future. However, Daniel 11:40 suggests that a lot of the apparent "conversions" will not last.

The Journal reported a story discussed earlier at the COGwriter page:

The United Church of God an international Association (UCG), which has had its headquarters in the Cincinnati suburb of Milford, Ohio, since 1998, has begun a process to move its home-office facilities to the Dallas, Texas, area by 2010...

In his letter Mr. Kilough said the continuing discussions are designed to find the best way to fulfill the goals of the church, which include plans for an "infrastructure" that apparently could better be carried out in a different geographical area.

"We have held many hours of discussion between administration and the Council of Elders at the last two Council meetings regarding how to best develop an infrastructure," he wrote.

Also in his letter to the elders, Mr. Kilough explained that he had told the headquarters staff the news before telling the GCE because the proposal "directly affects the lives of all the staff at the Home Office."

But Mr. Kilough also mentioned that he knew the proposal would need approval by the GCE.

"You, as the decision-making body in this matter, are at the top of the list in importance, but second to hear the news," he wrote.

GCE responsibility

According to the bylaws of the UCG, the GCE must approve any changes in the location of the church's headquarters facilities.

Although the GCE was not involved with the establishment of the location of United's first home (in California), it was instrumental in the move of the home office to Ohio nine years ago...

Although the GCE chose the Cincinnati suburb of Milford over Dallas-Fort Worth in 1997, the elders will have the opportunity to reconsider that decision in 2007. Whether the proposal to relocate to Texas passes or fails, the atmosphere surrounding the proposed move should be far less unsettling than back in 1997.

As Mr. Kilough wrote recently to UCG elders: "This is obviously a big decision, and we respectfully ask that you prayerfully and seriously consider the explanation and rationale for such a move."

LCG moved its HQ from San Diego, CA to Charlotte, NC because of cost considerations. I presume that cost is a factor in UCG's decision to look into moving as well.

05/08/08 a.m. Legacy Institute reported that its Leon Sexton will be in Pennsylvania this week and will visit various "independent" congregations in the USA until Pentecost.

World News Daily reported:

President Bush signed an agreement creating a "permanent body" that commits the U.S. to "deeper transatlantic economic integration," without ratification by the Senate as a treaty or passage by Congress as a law. The "Transatlantic Economic Integration" between the U.S. and the European Union was signed April 30 at the White House by Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel – the current president of the European Council – and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

The document acknowledges "the transatlantic economy remains at the forefront of globalization," arguing that the U.S. and the European Union "seek to strengthen transatlantic economic integration."

One of the reasons I have long felt that the USA will not quite be ready for an invasion by the EU is that the USA will believe that the EU is still on its side even though there will be tension between the two powers prior to the destruction of the USA.

On a somewhat related note, UCG's May 2007 edition of World News & Prophecy has the following from Melvin Rhodes:

Germany's Rising Economic and Political Power

Germany, not the United States, is the world's biggest single exporting nation. The German-dominated European Union is the world's biggest single market. Additionally, the German-based euro is increasingly the international currency of choice. Few realize how significant these economic factors are...

The push by Germany for the full unification of Europe could be a stepping-stone to this union of nations. The European Union is based on democratic principles, although many of its citizens are dissatisfied with the power and the pettiness of its bureaucrats.

The Stratfor article concludes with the following two paragraphs. "There is a reason why Merkel's first summit in her current role as EU president focused on energy security. There is a reason why Germany is the only major eurozone economy that has not called for more political oversight of the European Central Bank (ECB). There is a reason why it was a German who negotiated and wrote the Maastricht Treaty on monetary union. There is a reason why ECB policymakers look first and foremost at German economic data. And there is a reason why the ECB is located in Frankfurt.

"So, when thinking of evolutions in the European Union, consider the implications of having the word "euro" replaced with "deutsche mark." For all practical purposes, that is what the euro is."

In other words, Germany is at the head of the European Union. Looking ahead, that means Germany will be in the leading role when the European nations achieve their full union and become the global superpower the Bible shows is on the way.

An article of related interest may include Europa and the Beast of Revelation.

05/07/07 a.m. This morning, Christianity Today reported:

Dr. Robert Webber said, "Evangelicals will do well to affirm a Christianity that has a deep kinship with the faith of the early church. … The challenge for us is to return to the Christian tradition." Last week this well-known theologian and early-church advocate died of pancreatic cancer at age 73...

"My argument has been that evangelicals will do well to affirm a Christianity that has a deep kinship with the faith of the early church. … For here is a faith that, like a tapestry, weaves everything in and out of the main thread—Christ. … Here, I believe, is a faith for our time, a faith that finds in the ancient Christian tradition a power to speak to the postmodern world."

While I feel that understanding the truth about early church history is quite important, if "evangelicals" actually would study and understand it, they would realize that they do not practice it.

Protestant sects have a major dilemma. They either have to admit that they are the daughters of Rome or they have to admit, that according to their theology, that God is only intending to save a very small minority of all humans that have ever lived.

Several articles of related interest may include:

History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years.

Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible?
Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants How the COGs differ from mainstream Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a COG background.
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, Martin Luther's writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the COG is NOT Protestant.

Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this?

Speaking of a small minority of people, the Feast of Pentecost (which is less than three weeks away) pictures that only a small minority of people are being called in this age. An articles of related interest may include:

Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? More Christians somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means?

05/06/07 a.m. In the May 2007 edition of its Now What? magazine, CG7 reports:

Immanuel: God With Us? 

The One who created you is closer than you think. by Tami Rudkin 

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel -- which means, "God with us" (Matthew 1:23, NIV).

Immanuel: God with us. Really . . . God with us? The prophet Isaiah, some 700 years before the birth of Christ, said Jesus would be born to a virgin, and He would be called Immanuel. Two thousand years ago an angel declared it to Joseph.

The scripture in Matthew 1:23 is one of many that unitarians misinterpret. Two articles of related interest may include:

Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah's Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?

LCG reported the following news items:

Confidence in the U.S. Continues to Erode.  In a recent 18-nation study conducted by the Council on Global Affairs in Chicago, the majority of respondents expressed doubt that the U.S. can be trusted to act responsibly in the world.  “There’s clearly a trend in terms of deepening negative attitudes to the U.S. in how it executes foreign policy,” said Christopher Whitney, executive director of the study.  Somewhat ironically though, most nations still felt that the U.S. should be involved in its “world policeman” role (AFP, April 17, 2007).  As time goes on, God’s prophecies are increasingly coming to pass.  The Bible foretold that the “pride of the power” of the Israelite-descended nations would be broken due to their lack of obedience to Him (Leviticus 26:19).  As we see increasing hatred for God and His way of life among world leaders and nations, we must expect the pride of our power to be broken further.


Prophesied Wheat Blight on the Way?  Ug99 is a black stem rust fungus that dates back to Roman times.  It last hit the U.S. in 1954, destroying 40 percent of America’s wheat crop. Genetically modified wheat has been immune to the infection since the 1960s.  The fungus surfaced again in Africa in 1999 and has been spreading, but with little publicity or public concern.  Scientists tracking the airborne blight expect it to “blow into Egypt, Turkey and the Middle East, and on to India, lands where a billion people depend on wheat.”  Although new genetic modifications are being researched, experts expect it to take five to eight years before enough seed wheat will be available for planting in these regions.  The U.S. government also recently looked at a worst-case scenario where Ug99 could be brought to the U.S. as a bioterrorism tool.  Stem rust spores have also been identified on international travel passenger clothes (New Scientist, April 3, 2007).  God prophesied that famines and pestilences would occur at the time of the end (Matthew 24:7).  He also specifically prophesied about the exorbitant cost of “wheat” just prior to Christ’s return—one quart of wheat for a day’s wages (Revelation 6:5-6). Could this wheat blight be one of the tools God will use to fulfill His prophecies?  Time will tell.

I have long felt that one or more genetically modified grain crops will one day be hit by a devastating pestilence that will contribute to the prophesied famines. Time will tell if that is part of how the famines will occur.


05/05/07 a.m. Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

We’ve suffered a tremendous loss this week with the death of Mr. Cecil Reece. Mr. Reece has been a faithful worker and member of God’s Church since 1952. Many who’ve called in response to the GTA television program know his voice and had interesting conversations with him when time permitted. He was here at services with us last Sabbath, and was in his usual good form during the fellowship of the potluck meal that followed. Would you believe, he worked on his last day. This past Sunday morning, he came in and helped answer the phones as responses came in from the telecast. He went home to rest, and died. He was eighty-four years old. He leaves behind his wife Opal, his daughter Cecilia (our receptionist and gal Friday), three living grandchildren (including a baby boy born this Monday), seven great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. His funeral was Wednesday afternoon, conducted by Mr. Stan Roberts

I am not sure if I ever knew the deceased--but his name seems familiar.

In the Connections' advertising section of The Journal, I noticed ads from two different people who claim to be in the COG, but also claim some form of unitarianism. The fact is that the true Church was never unitarian. This can be shown throughout the Bible as well as through history. However, since unitarians tend to twist the biblical passages, perhaps it may be simpler to show a few historical quotes from early leaders.

In what has been called "the oldest complete Christian sermon that has survived" (Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p. 102)--outside those in the Bible--sometimes erroneously referred to as Second Letter of Clement, it seems to support binitarianism. It was given perhaps with a year or so of John's death (though others have suggested that perhaps the Roman Bishop Soter wrote it c. 170, ibid, p103), begins with the following:

Brothers, we ought so to think of Jesus Christ, as of God, as "Judge of the living and the dead (An Ancient Christian Sermon (2 Clement), 1:1. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p. 107)

So then, brothers, if we do the will of God our Father...(An Ancient Christian Sermon (2 Clement), 14:1. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p.121).

Now the church, being spiritual was revealed in the flesh of Christ, thereby showing us that if any of us guard her in the flesh and do not corrupt her, he will receive her back again in the Holy Spirit. For this flesh is a copy of the Spirit. No one, therefore, who corrupts the copy, will share in the original. This, therefore, is what he means, brothers: guard the flesh, in order that you may receive of the Spirit. Now if we say that the flesh is the church and the Spirit is Christ, then the one who abuses the flesh hath abuses the church. Consequently such a person will not receive the Spirit, which is Christ. So great is the life and immortality which this flesh is able to receive, if the Holy Spirit is closely joined with it, that no one is able to proclaim or to tell "what things the Lord hath prepared" for his chosen ones (An Ancient Christian Sermon (2 Clement), 14:3-5. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p.121).

Thus, what may be the oldest preserved sermon says to think of Jesus as God and that the Father is God, but it never indicates that the Holy Spirit is God. This is consistent with the binitarian view.

Polycarp was known as the Bishop of Smyrna and probably the first physical head (under Jesus Christ) of the era when Smyrna dominated. He was neither trinitarian nor unitarian according to various historical documents. The following quote attributed to him shows that he (and thus by inference the rest of Smyrna) was not unitarian,

Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High-priest Himself, the [Son of] God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth, and in all gentleness and in all avoidance of wrath and in forbearance and long suffering and in patient endurance and in purity; and may He grant unto you a lot and portion among His saints, and to us with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall believe on our Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians in APOSTOLIC FATHERS (as translated by J.B. LIGHTFOOT) 12:6,7).

Near the end of the second century, Melito of Sardis (whom Catholics and others consider to be a saint) wrote

No eye can see Him, nor thought apprehend Him, nor language describe Him; and those who love Him speak of Him thus: `Father, and God of Truth" (Melito. A Discourse Which Was in the Presence of Antoninus Caesar).

Melito also wrote, "For the deeds done by Christ after His baptism, and especially His miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the Deity hidden in His flesh. For, being at once both God and perfect man likewise...He concealed the signs of His Deity, although He was the true God existing before all ages" (Melito. On the Nature of Christ. From Roberts and Donaldson).

This clearly shows that Melito considered Christ to be God, as well as the Father. There is no indication in any of the surviving writings of Melito that he considered that the Holy Spirit was also God, hence he seemed to hold a binitarian view.

Historically, the old CG7 and old WCG taught that Polycarp was a true Christian. Thus for the unitarians to make their claims, they also have to discount Polycarp as being in the true Church. Anyway, the quotes above are in the article Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.

Whereas in the past, trinitarians were almost the only issue, the unitarian trends in groups like Ronald Weinland's Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God (which did not have an ad in The Journal) and others (like ACD which did) is shaking the faith of some.

But of course, trinitarians are still a factor. Yesterday, WCG (which was originally binitarian, but is now trinitarian) added the following from J. Tkach to its website:

Christians believe: 

In one holy, loving, all-powerful, and gracious Creator God who exists in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Hence, apparently WCG's leader does not consider that those of us who hold to the biblical, binitarian view, of the Godhead are Christian.

Other articles of possibly related interest may include:

Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah's Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

05/04/07 a.m. CGOM-UK's latest newsletter states:

By the very nature and demands of Christ's message - the Gospel - relatively few commit fully to Him. As in the 'parable of the sower' (Matthew 13), there are many distractions to hinder a fruitful spiritual life. We should not be surprised, then, to find committed believers few on the ground. Opportunities are, however, available. But there are barriers.   

Not least is distance. Not everyone has the health or the means or the finances to travel to a distant service for fellowship. It isn't reasonable to spend several hours on a Sabbath or holy day in travel. Physical exhaustion undermines alertness. For many, attendance at the annual seven-day  Festival of Tabernacles every autumn is a life-line - fellowship, instruction, social interaction.  Some Christians, however, won't become part of an accessible local fellowship because of its teachings. Understandable - if it is heretical! But too often the differences are personal: a dislike of another member or of the pastor perhaps. Such must be resolved and not seen as a reason to depart. [Jesus provides the pattern for handling this (Matthew 18)] 

 More likely is a difference of opinion over an - often petty - point of doctrine. Unless the teaching undermines the fundamentals of the Christian faith it should be tolerated. With prayer and open discussion such differences can be resolved. Any sound fellowship should encourage these principles, and if not it's the wrong place! [Request the article: The Knowledge That Counts]

Two articles of related interest may include:

Attending the Church of Choice This article discusses whose choice is important to worship God; should you attend the church of your choice or the church of God's choice?
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it?

There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church.

PCG was in the news yesterday:

The Edmond Sun (Oklahoma) - May 3, 2007 

EDMOND Three Edmond theology students have placed their hands on the past while unearthing one of the most significant archeological digs of modern history. The sights and smells of history blend with their Christian faith.

Brent Nagtegaal, Edwin Trebels and Jeremy Cocomise left the Herbert W. Armstrong College in October for Jerusalem to assist for five-months in an ongoing archeological dig of what is believed to be King David’s Palace. They will be among the six men and three women who will make the journey this summer for the third phase of the dig.

Locating King David’s Palace is significant because its history marks King David’s reign when he captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites as explained in 2 Samuel of the Bible, said Trebels, a native of the Netherlands...

Lisa Napierkowski and Adar Kielczewski, both of Michigan; and Sarah Patten of Washington state, are the three Edmond students preparing to leave for Jerusalem.

King David’s period of history is relevant because of the Middle East contention about Jewish rule in Israel, Kielczewski said. The finding helps prove that Israel belongs to the Jews, she said.

The old WCG used to send students to Israel for the same type of projects. PCG does a lot to have aspects of the outward appearance of the old WCG, but it is quite different in many of its teachings. An article of related interest may be Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God.

A United Church of God member was in the news:

In Stolley v. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., No. 06-11068, 2007 WL 1010418 (5th Cir. Mar. 28, 2007), the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment in favor of an employer who fired an employee for refusing to work on the Sabbath where accommodating the employee would have violated the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the employee's union and the employer.

In Stolley, Lockheed Martin hired Daniel Stolley as an aircraft assembler at its manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Soon after Stolley began work, he learned that he had been assigned to a shift that required him to work from 3:45 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. on Fridays. Stolley was a member of the United Church of God. Stolley informed Lockheed that he would not be able to work after sundown on Fridays because he observed the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, and his religious views prohibited him from working during that time.

Lockheed looked into reassigning Stolley to an earlier shift, but found that doing so would violate its CBA with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The CBA governed the terms of employment for people in Stolley's position, including a seniority system for shift swapping and shift transfers. Giving Stolley the change he requested would have given him a shift selection opportunity before others with more seniority. A Lockheed labor analyst asked the union if it would waive the CBA shift-transfer requirements for Stolley, but the union refused. As a result, less than a month after Stolley began work, Lockheed terminated him for leaving work before sunset each time he was scheduled to work on Friday.

In granting summary judgment to Lockheed, the district court held that Lockheed could not reasonably accommodate Stolley because it would violate the CBA. The 5th Circuit affirmed, because "Title VII does not require employers to make religious accommodations that infringe on the rights of fellow employees." Stolley, 2007 WL 1010418, at *3 (internal citation omitted). "[W]here seniority-bidding provisions in collective bargaining agreements conflict with the religious beliefs of an employee so that no accommodation is possible, an employer will not be liable for failure to accommodate." Id. http://www.law.com/jsp/llf/PubArticleLLF.jsp?id=1177405464010&pos=ataglance

It is sad that 1) A union can block someone's ability to keep a job as it can ignore religion and 2) The courts have determined that Collective Bargaining Agreements, as well as other types of things, reduce COG members from having the religious rights that the US implies it provides its citizens.

The Journal dated March-April 2007 is finally out. Its front page has articles on UCG Big Sandy, UCM's woman's conference, Oasis Ministries, CG7-Meredian's STP, and a couple of books. Regarding Big Sandy one article, by Bernie Monsalvo, states:

WCG in 1995. But in 1998 the UCGIA made the decision to leave the UCG Big Sandy. “In brief,” Mr. Dick stated in his letter to us almost nine years ago, “the local church is incorporated as a Texas corporation with its own governing board. The corporation and board consist of seven members with the pastor serving as the chairman. They view themselves as an independent church that has merely chosen to affiliate with the UCGIA.”

In the same letter, Mr. Dick mentioned that Big Sandy church members had left the WCG in 1995 “because of doctrine.”

“There is no question that the structure of the [WCG] organization facilitated the introduction of heresy, yet how we would be governed was not the primary issue which brought us together,” he wrote.

We in Big Sandy agree with Mr. Dick’s assessment: that the primary reason for Big Sandy’s original split from the WCG was doctrine, not
governance. As of this writing in early 2007, the only organization most of us have ever left was the WCG. Most of us in the Church of God Big
Sandy are in the same congregation that we formed in 1995, a few weeks before the UCGIA formed in Indianapolis, Ind.

UCM has a similar story. Several leaders in Indianapolis felt that UCG was going to be a loose confederation, not a HQ-dominated church. And when the latter became more apparent, many who wanted the former left.

On the CG7 Meridian report, The Journal states:

Idaho—The General Council of the Church of God 7th Day, based in Meridian, Idaho, has decided to develop a “systematic-theology project” to help with training of its ministry and “local eldership,” said Tom Roberts, seminary professor at the CG7’s Maranatha College and coordinator of the church’s ministry.

Dr. Roberts directs the project. The goal of the undertaking is to help the Church of God “better understand where its teachings fall within the larger context of theological history,” Dr. Roberts said. The project will involve scholars from “all corners of our Sabbatarian persuasion and to emphasize our common biblical heritage.” The scheduled date of publication is July 2008.

The Idaho-based church is not to be confused with the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day), based in Denver, Colo.

Dr. Roberts invited me to participate in the project several months ago.

The Journal's back page had this announcement:

ALPHARETTA, Ga.—Mary Elizabeth Hegvold, 80, head of the home-economics department at Ambassador College, Big Sandy, from 1964 to 1973, died Dec. 17, 2006, at the home of her daughter in Alpharetta. Mrs. Hegvold had also served as head of the home-economics department at the Ambassador College campus in Bricket Wood, England, in 1973-74, and for the Ambassador campus in Pasadena, Calif., from 1979 to 1989. Mrs. Hegvold is survived by a daughter, Theresa Fenton of Alpharetta; a son, Stephen Morris Hegvold of Texas; a granddaughter, Aislinn Gwen Elizabeth Fenton; and a grandson, Connor Sidney Kildare Fenton of Alpharetta; and brothers James D. Stephens and Mark L. Stephens of Pikeville, Ga.

Davy Crockett of Charlotte, N.C., an elder in the Living Church of God, conducted graveside services for Mrs. Hegvold.

The front and back page of The Journal is available at http://www.thejournal.org/issues/issue118/jf033107.pdf

05/03/07 a.m. I was having some problems being able to reindex the COGwriter website the past few weeks, but was able to do so yesterday. Thus, at least through yesterday, everything should be searchable again. Below is a search box:

WCG's Hector Barrero reported:

In Latin America, we have about 30 congregations and small groups, with an average total attendance of almost 700. There are four congregations in Mexico, one in Puerto Rico, four in Central America, three in Columbia, and three in Argentina. There are also small groups in Brazil and Peru.

The following news item was of interest:

The Sanhedrin’s peace initiative Jewish group devoted to rebuilding Temple in Jerusalem to send letters to all world leaders, including Arab ones, inviting them to take part in project, attend conference on Temple Mount in Israel   

Ynet News - May 1, 2007

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been gearing up for an Israeli offensive in recent months, is bound to be surprised by the peace feelers he is set to receive from Jerusalem soon...from The Supreme Judicial Court of the Jewish People, better known as the Sanhedrin.

In recent days, the group members have drafted a letter that will be translated into 70 languages and sent to all government institutions in the world, including “the sons of Esau and Ishmael” who do not hold diplomatic ties with Israel.

Jews responsible for world peace  

In the letter, the rabbis of the self-proclaimed Sanhedrin warn that the world is nearing a catastrophe, and write that the only way to bring peace among nations, states, and religions is by building a house for God, where Jews will worship, pray and offer up sacrifice, according to the vision of the prophets. The rabbis also call on the non-Jews to help the people of Israel fulfill their destiny and build the Temple, in order to prevent bloodshed across the globe.

The letter will initially be translated into English, Spanish, Arabic, French and Farsi, and later also into Russian, Chinese and Japanese, and will include an invitation to world leaders to attend a conference dedicated to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem five months from now, during Succot. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3394231,00.html

Succot is the biblical Feast of Tabernacles. And while I doubt that world leaders will tell Israel to build a temple, this unsual approach may get some thinking and may ultimately lead to a compromise that allows sacrifices, but perhaps without a temple.

Religion is in the news as the UN is deciding that religion can be helpful to it:

UN discovering role of religion

UPI - May 1, 2007 

The United Nations (UN) is waking up to the role religion can play in improving our world. "It's intriguing that the UN has finally discovered religion," said Jonathan Gallagher, UN representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. "In recent meetings, particularly one on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace, speakers have recognized the role faith organizations can play in improving our world." 
"There is no better time than now for inter-religious dialogue and peace," said the Ambassador of the Philippines, Hilario G. Davide, speaking at the Report on Interreligious Dialogue held at the UN on April 18, Adventist News Network reported Tuesday. 
The meeting, organized by the Committee of Religious Non-governmental Organizations at the UN, will not be the last. Davide highlighted upcoming high-level dialogues on religion to be held at the UN in May. 
"Only five years ago this would have been unheard of," observed Azza Karam, Culture Advisor for the UN Population Fund, "but now inter-faith dialogue is mushrooming. Many UN agencies are waking up to working with faith-based organizations." 
Emmanuel Kattan of the Alliance of Civilizations said, "Religious communities are sustaining concrete roles in education, with youth, and in the media. The contribution of religious non-government organizations has to be realized and built on."  http://www.religionandspirituality.com/currentEvents/view.php?StoryID=20070501-091355-6148r

In order for the world to accept the type of "Christianity" the beast will recommend, the stage has to be set for religion to become more accepted by the elite. The above story, combined with earlier news items suggesting that "intelligent design", helps allow that.

It is interesting to note that the SDA's are involved in the with their own representative (no COG has any representative to the UN to the best of my knowledge, though the UN did credential me as a journalist once).

Three articles of distantly related interest may be:

SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The COG is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, and differences in approaching doctrine.
Is God's Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God's Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what 'pseudo-scientists' refuse to acknowledge.

05/02/07 a.m. COGaic's David Hulme reported the following, including the winning of an award:

We have received a number of interesting comments this week, including the following from a Vision interviewee about the magazine:

"Not conservative, not liberal, not stupid. You just look for the truth." ...

Thank you for the great magazine! It's really amazing to read such objective and competent materials. (Ukraine)

I think the magazine will help me to increase my range of knowledge and social responsibility. (Bangladesh)...

I have appreciated receiving your beautiful, thought-provoking magazine Vision. Thank you also for these two videos (I already have the first one). (Encinitas, California) ...

This week we heard that the Seven Churches video has won an Award of Excellence in the 2007 Videographer Awards. Chosen from over 2000 entries from the US and international areas, it won in the religious/documentary category. About 14% of the entries won this award in their various categories.

Not that David Hulme is necessarily interested in my opinion, but I was quite disappointed with his Seven Churches video. From what I recall, it simply does not teach Church eras! This is similar to what happened under David Hulme's leadership when he was president of UCG.

Those interested in "smooth things" may find his video pleasing, those interested in being the faithful remnant of the Philadelphia era living into the time of Laodicea will be disappointed. Several articles of possible interest may include:

Church of God, an International Community (COG aic) This is the group led by David Hulme.
In Their Own Words: Doctrinal Differences Between the old United Church of God and the old Global Church of God Older quotes from the leadership and some of the membership of these two organizations are included--this was UCG when David Hulme was its president.
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D.
7. The Laodicean Church Era was predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present

Christianity Today apparently considers that the new movie (to be released in a couple of days), Spider-Man 3 (and its predecessor), is a Christian depiction:

Spidey Gets Spiritual...

Christians have been among those embracing the protagonist, in part because Raimi has been unafraid to clearly include biblical themes and spiritual imagery in the films.

Spidey 2 (2004) might well have been subtitled The Passion of Peter Parker, as the hero wrestled with whether or not he wanted to be a "savior" of sorts. And when he saves the runaway train near the movie's end—in a crucifixion pose, with a wound in his side and holes in his wrists, no less—and then goes through a symbolic death, burial and resurrection … well, let's just say it's quite a spiritual moment.

Raimi doesn't hold back from the spiritual imagery in Spider-Man 3, either, as the main character wrestles with a dark side he never knew he had. The movie's tagline is "The Battle Within," and the story is reminiscent of Paul's struggle with his sinful nature in Romans 7: "I do not understand what I do," the apostle writes. "For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do."

Biblical themes galore
The film is rife with themes of love, friendship, pride, vengeance, confession, repentance, forgiveness and redemption. No kidding—it's all there … not to mention a critical scene in a church that I won't say much about here.

In the studio's official press kit, Raimi sounds like a Sunday school teacher when he says that in this story, "Peter has to put aside his prideful self. He must put aside his desire for vengeance. He has to learn that we are all sinners. He has to learn forgiveness."


That's the lesson Peter must learn: That there's "no bad guys"—that we all, as Raimi noted, have sin within ourselves. That, in part, is where the church comes into one of the scenes.

Raimi said that scene was "true to the comic book; it's very similar to how it was depicted with those classic Marvel comic books of the '80s. There are a lot of literary and spiritual concepts in the comic books, and they reverberate and work for me and for the writers."

Maguire, meanwhile, didn't want to read too much into it.

I saw the second installment of this movie and did not see Spider-Man as a embodiment of Christianity. Three articles of possible interest may include:

Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common "traditions of men" regarding them as well.
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?

05/01/07 a.m. April was a decent month for the COGwriter website (up 100% over April 2006), though not quite as strong a March was. The top viewed articles for April 2007 were:

  1. Concerns About Ronald Weinland's Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God Ronald Weinland claims to be one of the two witnesses. He has at least one other view that suggests that he is not part of the COG.
  2. LCG 2007 Feast of Tabernacles' Information These are the publicly announced sites thus far. LCG normally has over 40 FOT sites each year and I presume that will be the case in 2007.
  3. Why Not the Restored Church of God? This group, led by David Pack, claims to be the most faithful. The information in this article suggests otherwise.
  4. History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?
  5. Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG's I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is its president. Do you know much about them?
  6. Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
  7. Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
  8. Polycarp of Smyrna Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught?
  9. Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation discusses the largest church since the second/third century, which in a real sense is the eighth church mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
  10. The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years.
  11. Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself 'Philadelphia' does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself "that prophet" make it so. This article provides quotes from this group which claims to be faithful.
  12. Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach?

I have not mentioned Ron Weinland or his church much in the past month, but apparently many who have heard his message want to know more about him. Most of the articles listed above where added to during April, so if you have not read them in a while, you might like to re-read them to see the additional information in them.

On the other hand, the article first announced in April 2007, Persecutions by Church and State, was probably the least read of any recent new article. This is unfortunate because persecutions will come and those in the COGs need to be prepared for this.

Click here for previous COG news. Includes news on a CGG ministerial illness, Christians: Persecutors or persecuted?, Noah's Ark replica, Mormon massacre, Catholics encouraged to understand the Old Testament, Latin mass again, German baptismal acceptances, Voting and the US presidential election, UCG Canada, EU, Pope Benedict, Origen's Inaccurate form of biblical interpretation, death of a CG7/former WCG minister, SCG being faithful to the Tkach list of truths , crosses, demise of some small COG websites, Al-Qaeda, salvation, eighth day (Sunday), German imperial palaces, etc.

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Volume 11, issue 6 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007