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"For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (I Corinthians 11:19).

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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.

07/10/06 a.m. COGaic reported that it has a new video:

Mention John’s book of Revelation and the images that commonly come to mind are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Earth’s last great crisis, culminating in what is popularly thought of as the Battle of Armageddon.

But there are other often overlooked messages in John’s writings. What were the early followers of Jesus supposed to understand from the series of letters that open the book? Could they have any meaning for today?

Go on location to the picturesque Greek island of Patmos.

Although I did watch its online promo of the video this morning, it is unclear what COGaic teaches on the above (COGaic has always been guarded about what it teaches, please see the article Church of God, an International Community). UCG watered the concept of Church-eras down under D. Hulme's leadership, and has continued to do that to this day (this is clearly documented in the article on the Differences between UCG and LCG). And my article Church of God, an International Community contains quotes that suggest that COGaic's position is similar to UCG's position.

Those wishing to see "the picturesque Greek island of Patmos" may click on the link to Joyce's Photos of Patmos.

Those truly interested in the churches of Revelation 2 & 3 may wish to read the following articles:

The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present
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 1585 A.D.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1585 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

In their latest posts, xCG discussed liturgy in the church, while AW mentioned the old WCG hymnal. Two articles of possible interest may be:

What Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors? Were they primarily pastoral or sacramental?
Praises to Jesus Christ or Biblical Hymns: Which Should Christians Primarily Sing? This biblical article on music is in response to an advertisement critical of WCG's 1974 The Bible Hymnal. It also address early church practices here.

On other matters, I would like to comment that although the Protestants and the COGs use the same Bible, the COGs do not claim to be using the Protestant bible. The COGs trace their history through early leaders such as Polycarp and Melito. The COGs use the same books of the Bible that John had and that he would have taught Polycarp.

On the other hand, even the Eastern Orthodox, who use the same bible as the Roman Catholics, admit that the extra-books (those in addition to those in the COG and Protestant bibles) are not to the same level as the rest of the Bible.

These points are explained in the articles:

The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings (including Melito), that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon - From the Bible Itself This article, shows from the Bible, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.

07/09/06 a.m. LCG's Adrian Kaefer reports from Germany:

For the past six months, January 1 through June 30, 2006, the German web site had 20,851 identified visitors (+68.4% from last six months 2005), 4,970 booklet downloads (+77.6% from last six months 2005), 11,434 article downloads (+28.4% from last six months 2005), 2003 Bible Study Course downloads (lessons 1-21) (+73.7% from last six months 2005). Additionally, the following printed publications were sent out by mail: 116 booklets (-45.3% from last six months 2005), 119 articles (-25.2% from last six months 2005), 155 copies of the Bible Study Course lessons (+58.2% from last six months 2005). 

The results for the first six months of 2006 were exceptionally good. We were able to have Google ads throughout the time on a continual basis. As you can see, there is a drastic increase in Internet activities while fewer people are interested in giving away personal information by ordering printed publications and thus making more of a commitment. We now have had almost 100,000 visitors (99,273—not counting those who did not look at least at one page of the web site) and should be able to reach 1 million hits by the end of this year. 

I have been hopeful that LCG would make more inroads into Germany and was pleased to see the above yesterday.

LCG's latest update (see News of the Living Church of God page) mentioned that:

Men respond more frequently to programs about God, Jesus Christ, education, success and prophecy, while women respond more frequently to programs about stress, prayer and marriage, happiness and healing.  Doctrinal topics seem to attract about the same proportion of men and women.

This is the first time I recall hearing this type of gender response breakdown by any COG.

On historical matters, Roman Catholic writers documented that there were groups of Christians who kept the Sabbaths and Passover etc. that they did not care for.

For example, the Catholic Jerome had condemnation for certain Jews who converted to Christianity. Notice what he wrote to Augustine around 404 A.D.:

Again I say: Since you are a bishop, a teacher in the Churches of Christ, if you would prove what you assert, receive any Jew who, after having become a Christian, circumcises any son that may be born to him, observes the Jewish Sabbath, abstains from meats which God has created to be used with thanksgiving, and on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month slays a paschal lamb; and when you have done this, or rather, have refused to do it (for I know that you are a Christian, and will not be guilty of a profane action). (Jerome. Translated by J.G. Cunningham, M.A. From Jerome to Augustine (A.D. 404); LETTER 75 (AUGUSTINE) OR 112 (JEROME), Verse 15. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series One, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. American Edition, 1887. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice that those that Jerome really does not like are those Christians who keep the Sabbath, abstain from unclean meats, and observe the Passover on the 14th of Nisan (the first month). And note that there must of been those people or Jerome would not have written that. More of Jerome's writings on these people can be found in the article The Smyrna Church Era.

About 270 years earlier than Jerome, Justin, while in Ephesus, objected about Christians who kept the Sabbath and he did not wish to associate with them. In Ephesus, Justin Martyr wrote, in response to a Jew named Trypho,

...some of your race, who say they believe in this Christ, compel those Gentiles who believe in this Christ to live in all respects according to the law given by Moses, or choose not to associate so intimately with them, I in like manner do not approve of them (Justin. Dialogue with Trypho. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus, Justin admits that there were two groups in Ephesus, one that kept all the law and the other that did not. He also admits that he did not associate closely with those who kept the law. Nor did Justin do what Paul had earlier told those in Ephesus:

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk… (Ephesians 4:17). 

Justin Martyr records this accusation from Trypho,

But this is what we are most at a loss about: that you, professing to be pious, and supposing yourselves better than others, are not in any particular separated from them, and do not alter your mode of living from the nations, in that you observe no festivals or Sabbaths…you do not obey His commandments (Justin Martyr. Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 10. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.). 

While the Ephesians were told by Paul to live differently than the other Gentiles in whose nation they co-existed with, those with Justin Martyr could not be distinguished.

Thus there would have had to be two very different professing Christian groups in Ephesus. Justin Martyr specifically claimed his group did not observe the Sabbath, keep the Feasts, or eat unleavened bread (Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 18)—yet, according to the Catholic historian Eusebius, Polycrates later confirmed that Passover was continually kept on the 14th and unleavened bread was still eaten annually by the Christians who were the followers of Polycarp and John in Ephesus (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24).

What this means is that there is clear evidence that the form of Christianity that Justin espoused differed from that held by Polycarp. Yet, the Roman Church, the Orthodox Church, and many others consider Justin and Polycarp to have been saints. Both were not as they had different practices and teachings. Perhaps I should add here that Justin is THE earliest writer to say that weekly Sunday services were held by any who professed Christ--Justin's testimony is one the biggest post-biblical "proofs" that Sunday scholars use.

To help determine who was faithful and who clearly was not, please read the articles Polycarp of Smyrna and Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate?

07/08/06 a.m. On Thursday (which was posted late yesterday), UCG's Jim Franks reported:

As some may have already heard, I have asked Richard Thompson to replace Dennis Luker on the Ministerial Services Team. The current Ministerial Services Team along with our president, Clyde Kilough, reviewed a list of possible replacements before selecting Richard Thompson. For six out of the 11 years of United, Mr. Luker has served as both a regional pastor and a member of the Ministerial Services Team. Mr. Luker has done a remarkable job juggling both assignments (not to mention that he was also on the Council during some of these years). As of July 1, he stepped down from the team, but is continuing as the regional pastor for the Northwest. Mr. Thompson will continue to pastor Orlando, Ocala and Jacksonville, Florida, in addition to his duties in Ministerial Services. This will leave Mr. Luker with only two jobs—Church pastor and regional pastor! I sincerely want to thank Denny and LeeAnn Luker for their contribution to the Ministerial Services Team for the past several years. And I want to welcome Mr. Thompson back to our team. He served on the original team back in 1995. By adding him, our team now consists of David Register (Education Program director), Doug Horchak (overall coordinator for Festival planning) and Mr. Thompson.

Another change in job assignment will involve David Baker. On July 1, 2006, Mr. Baker officially took on the responsibility of senior pastor for Asia. This is an area that stretches from the Philippines through Shanghai and Hong Kong, China, on to Singapore, Malaysia, throughout the southeast Asian countries of Thailand and Myanmar and all the way around to Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. We haven't even completely defined the territory for his new assignment, but whenever you use the term Asia, you immediately know that it will include a large area. Previously, Mr. Baker has been pastoring our congregations in Buffalo and Elmira, New York. Scott Lord became the pastor of these two congregations effective July 1. He and his wife have been living in Upstate New York for several years, and Mr. Lord has been full time in the ministry for the past two years.

We have one more new job assignment that I want to make you aware of as well. We currently have three senior pastors from the United States assigned to Africa—Fred Kellers is the senior pastor for Nigeria, Melvin Rhodes is the senior pastor for Ghana and John Elliott is the senior pastor for Kenya and East Africa. We have known for some time that these men can easily wear themselves out traveling to these distant areas four times a year. We have slowly been adding associate senior pastors to take some of the pressure off the need for them to travel so extensively. Two years ago we assigned Mark Mickelson as the associate to the senior pastor in Nigeria. Mr. Mickelson travels twice a year to Nigeria to assist Mr. Kellers with this area. I am happy to announce that we are now adding Tom Clark as the associate to Mr. Rhodes in Ghana. Mr. Clark just returned from his first trip to Ghana, and we are grateful that he enjoyed it and has accepted the new job responsibility, so effective July 1, Mr. Clark became the new associate senior pastor for Ghana. Now we need to work on finding help for Mr. Elliott in East Africa. We truly appreciate all of these men and their wives for the tireless example of dedication they are setting. It isn't easy making these trips multiple times per year and traveling into remote and desolate areas of the world to visit with the brethren. In addition they all continue to pastor congregations here in the United States.

Last night, ICG's Mark Armstong reported:

And then there is the situation in Israel.  After thirty years of diplomacy, the Palestinians have elected terrorists to lead them.  The territories Israel has vacated for the benefit of the “future Palestinian state” are being used as staging grounds for new and improved rockets.  Palestinian rockets have, over just the past few days, landed in the town square of Sderot, an Israeli community of some 20 thousand population.  Another struck a high school playground, according to DEBKAfile reports.  Israel has heavy military assets on the fringe of Gaza, but has not been able to retrieve the soldier kidnapped for ransom.  The two other Israeli kidnap victims were found dead, the seventeen year-old mutilated and burned.  Iran and Syria are reportedly urging the Palestinians to hold firm against Israel, and a near state of war already exists between the parties.  After 30 years of one negotiating ploy after another, radical Arab nations still can’t bring themselves to “recognize Israel’s right to exist”. (Who cares what they recognize?  The vibrant nation of Israel is an undeniable fact, having busted their chops in every previous conflict, and poised to do it again if necessary!)

We in the COGs believe that eventually the situation in the Middle East will lead to a treaty of some sort between a representative of the King of the North and Israel.

07/07/06 a.m. WCG Today announced:

The Bible doesn’t make any claims about health benefits in these chapters. Although we can see some health benefits to avoiding certain types of meat, these benefits appear to be incidental rather than the primary purpose of the list. If the problem was parasites, for example, the simple solution would have been to require thorough cooking. Moreover, clean animals can have parasites, just as unclean animals can. If God wanted to give us health laws, he would need to spend more time advocating exercise and sleep rather than forbidding seagulls and bats, which few people want to eat anyway. He would need to tell us about which mushrooms are dangerous, and which herbs increase our chances for cancer. The laws were given in terms of holiness, not health.

The truth is that unclean meats are more dangerous health-wise than clean meats (with shellfish and pork probably among the most dangerous), but this health issue is a "red herring". The Bible clearly prohibits the consumption of unclean meats, and this is supported by the New Testament as well. An article of possible interest may be The New Testament and Unclean Meats.

WCG also reported:

Michael Morrison received a Ph.D. in New Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary with a dissertation on the book of Hebrews.

Having listened to many hours of Fuller lectures, I will simply state that Fuller seems to have an ecumenical bent that allows it to overlook biblically condemned religious practices.

Zent reported:

MOSCOW, JULY 6, 2006 ( During the World Meeting of Religious Leaders, Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow expressed his gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for his attention to this meeting.

"We are very grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the high value he placed on the idea of holding an interreligious summit and, in addition, for wishing success to all participants in the works," said the Patriarch.

The Vatican delegation sent to the summit reflected the "positive development of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church," Alexy II said. 

The Roman Catholic ecumenical program involves getting the Orthodox back into its fold, and probably the European Protestants. Pope Benedict has suggested that the Orthodox are the main group he is interested in.  

07/06/06 a.m. In his letter this month, Legacy Institute's Leon Sexton mentions that he and his wife were invited to attend the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol of Thailand's accession to the throne. He also mentioned that when King Bhumibol tried to eradicate opium production in the 70s, neither the US nor Thai government would help, but that:

1971 was the year that Herbert W. Armstrong began supporting the king and his fledgling projects!

Yes, Herbert W. Armstrong helped the king when he needed it most--to get a program started to reduce opium production. And that success was one factor that led to the king's success in doing many projects in Thailand. Many today have criticized HWA's efforts, while ignoring his many successes.

In his letter this month, WCG's J. Tkach wrote:

I’m also thrilled to report that we have begun initial taping of our new video programs, Speaking of Grace and Speaking of Life. You will soon be seeing these new programs on the WCG website, and they will be available to interested congregations for airing on local TV stations. Here is a photo of the set for Speaking of Grace, where viewers will listen "over the shoulders" of WCG scholars as they discuss current trends and issues in biblical studies, Christian living and church history.

This seems typical of WCG's plans: provide support materials, including videos, and let the local congregations use the material or distribute it.

On other matters, as mentioned yesterday, it was not just "Roman bishops" who were not supportive of Jews or practices they considered to be Jewish, as many Protestant leaders did as well. And this is one of the many Doctrinal dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong

Notice the following:

Martin Luther wrote, "My heart is fuller of these thoughts than my tongue can tell. I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God…And so I presume the men of Cologne cannot understand the Scripture, because it is necessary that such things take place to fulfill prophecy. If they are trying to stop the Jews blaspheming, they are working to prove the Bible and God liars" ("Martin Luther's to George Spalatin," from Luthers Correspondence and Other Contemporan, Letters, trans. by P. Smith (1913), Vol. 1, pp. 28-29).Furthermore he wrote, "I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them…They are so blind and stupid that they see neither the words found in Genesis 17 nor the whole of Scripture, which mightily and explicitly condemns this lie…They are real liars and bloodhounds who have not only continually perverted and falsified all of Scripture with their mendacious glosses from the beginning until the present day. Their heart's most ardent sighing and yearning and hoping is set on the day on which they can deal with us Gentiles as they did with the Gentiles in Persia at the time of Esther…The worse a Jew is, the more arrogant he is, solely because he is a Jew — that is, a person descended from Abraham's seed, circumcised, and under the law of Moses. David and other pious Jews were not as conceited as the present-day, incorrigible Jews...I wanted to present this to us Germans so that we might see what rascals the blind Jews are and how powerfully the truth of God in our midst stands with us and against them" (Medieval Sourcebook: Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543)Martin Luther 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).

On the other hand, Herbert Armstrong taught, "The fact that they are Jewish and we are not makes no difference {to how his party was treated}…In many ways I have had a deep personal interest in Jerusalem since December 1, 1968. On that date, in a formal ceremony at the palace of the late President Shazar, Ambassador College entered into this joint participation formally with Hebrew University and the Israel Archaeological Society. ‘Do you want a formal, legal contract?’ I was asked. ‘My word is good,’ I replied. ‘And I believe yours is, too, without any legal entanglements.’ That was good enough for them, and our friendship and mutual participation has grown ever since…Mayor Kollek had done a remarkable job of restoring this area. There were about four synagogues -- each in a different room in the same building -- now very modern, very bright and beautiful on the interiors. I was really impressed with all the plans Mayor Kollek told us he has in mind for renewing and re-beautifying the city of Jerusalem...On July 4 there will be a big ‘4th of July Celebration’ in Jerusalem, hosted jointly by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Teddy Kollek, and myself…We've been participating in this foundation for twelve years. A whole square in front of the main headquarters building in the newer area of Jerusalem is named ‘The Herbert W. Armstrong Square’ (Armstrong H. Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 2, 1986/1987).

These are some of doctrinal differences that are documented in the article The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong

In the twentieth century, the scholar HOJ Brown wrote:

The first great heretic broke drastically with the faith of the early church in abandoning the doctrine of the imminent, personal return of Christ...Marcion did not believe in a real incarnation, and consequently there was no logical place in his system for a real Second Coming...Marcion expected the majority of mankind to be lost...he denied the validity of the Old Testament and its Law...As the first great heretic, Marcion developed and perfected his heterodox system before orthodoxy had fully defined itself...Marcion represents a movement that so radically transformed the Christian doctrine of God and Christ that it can hardly be said to be Christian...Orthodox Lutheranism sometimes elevates the contrast between Law and Gospel to a degree reminiscent of Marcion (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 65,67, 455).

In other words the above scholar believes that strict Lutherans hold a position very close to Marcion, a known early heretic.

Notice also the following:

Reinhold Seerig (1859-1935)...considered himself very much a Lutheran...Seerig makes Marcion his model:

Marcion consciously sought to reform...he is the first in the chain of Reformers, the last and greatest of which was Luther. His appearance attests to us...that legalistic Christianity had grown stronger in the church...

Seeberg believed in the eighty years between Paul and Marcion Christianity had so deteriorated into legalism that a radical dualistic, anti-Jewish heresy such as Marcion's represented a necessary reformation...Marcion sought to undo what he felt was a pernicious legalism by teaching a radical dichotomy of Law and Grace (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 65-66).

In other words, some Protestant scholars admit that those practicing "legalistic Christianity" in the second century were so substantial that a heretical reformer was needed! And that this reforming had anti-Jewish and anti-law sentiments. It is only because of heretics and heresies that mainstream Christianity holds many of the doctrines it now holds.

And the Protestant view on the law remains one of the Differences Between Protestants and the COGs today.

07/05/06 a.m. In an ad in the latest edition of The Journal The Great Lakes Church of God asks:

􀂙 Is there to be an end-time Elijah?
􀂙 How can he be identified?
􀂙 Was there a major restoration in our
􀂙 Why does Herbert W. Armstrong fit
the description of Elijah?

Most of these questions are addressed in the article The Elijah Heresies though I suspect my conclusions are different than GLCG.

In another ad in The Journal a group called IYC asked:

Why do you tithe on money?

and in a related-subject Art Mokarow's ad stated:

Hebrews 7, according to God’s Word, does not give Churches the authority to collect tithes to give to ANY MINISTRY. The usual man-made excuse for collecting tithes for the ministry is based upon human imagination.

I disagree with those opposed to tithing or not tithing on money, and so does the Bible. An article of related interest may be Tithing Questions and Some Answers.

In an ad with a photo of W. Dankenbring, TPM states:

Surely the “end of all things” is at hand. It seems as if the world crisis just keeps getting worse and worse! The threat of Iran, the conflict in the Middle East, the “bird flu,” horrendous hurricanes and earthquakes, terrorism, and America’s porous, open borders—all add up to the WORST and most threatening time in all human history! How much time do we have left? What can we do to prepare for “Armageddon” and the on-rushing “Day of the LORD”?

While we are near the end, TPM is no place to go to find out how close as it has probably made the most inaccurate date predictions of any who claimed to have been part of the old WCG. Of course, since it has made so many, eventually one will be pretty close (unless they stop that practice). Many predictions of TPM can be found in the article Teachings of Triumph Prophetic Ministries.

In another Journal ad, ACD's Ken Westby wrote:

Few folks are aware that, at the time of our nation’s founding, theologians and laity alike were engaged in robust discussions and debates about the nature of Christ and of God. The doctrine of the Trinity was under attack by some of the best and most prominent minds in Europe and America. Thomas Jefferson actively entered that debate.

Yes, but the fact is that the true Church was always binitarian. Hence, arguments by those not in the church (such as by T. Jefferson) have little relevance to this subject. Those interested in the nature of God may wish to read the article Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.

On other matters, I noticed that two-anti-COG sites have again attacked certain positions presented on the COGwriter page.

AW has taken exception to my comments about early COG leaders. As most readers of this page know, the Church of God traces its history from Pentecost 31 A.D. (the year Jesus was crucified) through the Apostles and through those leaders that were faithful to the faith that was once for all delivered for the saints (Jude 3) as well as the Churches of Revelation 2 & 3. The dates listed are when the listed leaders died, not the entire time they were leaders (thus, this list in many ways differs from the Roman list).

Although we in the Churches of God do not view the following list the same way that those in the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches view theirs (we believe that we are the spiritual descendants of the apostles and this is not dependent upon a bishop to bishop transfer, but a true holding of teachings in a little flock--Luke 12:32--that never completely died out), the following list (which mainly has dates based upon Roman Catholic accepted sources) gives a listing of apparently faithful leaders of the church from the first through third centuries:

Peter/Paul/James through death circa 64-68 (mainly oversaw churches from Asia Minor and Jerusalem)
John through death circa 95-100 (oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor)
Papias through death circa 135-145 (oversaw churches from Hierapolis, Polycarp was also in Smyrna about the same time)
Polycarp through death circa 155-156 (oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor)
Thraseas through death circa 160 (oversaw the churches from Eumenia, but died in Smyrna)
Sagaris through death circa 166-167 (died in Laodicea of Asia Minor)
Papirius through death circa 170 (oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor THIS DATE IS APPROXIMATE AND BASED ON THE LOGIC THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA USED FOR THRASEAS)
Melito through death circa 177-180 (oversaw churches from Sardis of Asia Minor)
Possibly Polycrates ancestors through circa 185(oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor)
Polycrates through death circa 200 (oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor)
*Apollonius of Ephesus through death circa 210 (oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor).
*Camerius of Smyrna through death circa 220 (possibly oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor).

* Note: Some/much of the time when Polycrates was bishop of Ephesus, Victor was bishop of Rome, thus his date is likely. However, history concerning Apollonius is not totally clear, but indications are that he was most likely in the true church (the 210 date came from The Catholic Encyclopedia). There is basically no information about Camerius of Smyrna, other than he is listed as bishop of Smyrna prior to the third century in sources like The Life of Polycarp (a questionable book) . After Polycrates and Apollonius, the official history (with Eusebius the main writer) says almost nothing about the true church in Ephesus, though a compromised church from there develops importance in the fourth century.

It is my belief that this lack of coverage by Eusebius is intentional (The Catholic Encyclopedia indirectly confirms this when it stated, "We have no information concerning the further course of the matter under Victor I so far as it regards the bishops of Asia. All that is known is that in the course of the third century the Roman practice in the observance of Easter became gradually universal" and in another place "Of the lost works of Tertullian the most important was the defence of the Montanist manner of prophesying, "De ecstasi", in six books, with a seventh book against Apollonius"). I suspect that full coverage would have disclosed significant doctrinal differences from Rome that his emperor (Constantine), who liked Sunday, would not have found as legitimate.

None of the above leaders would accept traditions of men (such as Roman bishops) over the teachings of the Bible.

Some of the dates for the above list of leaders in Asia Minor come from the following chronology in The Catholic Encyclopedia (while others essentially can be found in other parts of The Catholic Encyclopedia):

...the martyr Thraseas, mentioned chronologically between Polycarp (155) and Sagaris (under Sergius Paulus, 166-7) in the letter of Polycrates to Pope Victor; the date of Thraseas is therefore about 160 (Chapman J. Montanists. Transcribed by Robert B. Olson. 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).

Furthermore, the above list (without Ignatius) is essentially later confirmed by the Catholic historian Eusebius, who quoted a letter from Polycrates--which made it clear that at that time, the church leaders of Asia Minor looked to Polycrates (and not Rome) to take the leadership. It is of interest to note that except for Polycrates, it appears that all the others listed above are also considered to have been both Quartodecimans and saints by the Roman Church even today (and through Melito, all, but possibly John, were considered to be martyrs).

There were also other Quartodeciman leaders in Asia Minor, that were not in Polycrates' list, such as Apollinaris and Papias, who were probably not considered as the overall leading church leader when they were alive. Leaders of various sorts are shown on the Timelines of Early Church History page.

xCG took exception to my post mentioning the COG position that a German (referred to as Assyria in Isaiah 10) led Europe will attack the US and British peoples. While we in LCG realize that Europe is not ready yet, we are confident that Bible prophecy, the record of history, and current events (moral decline, skyrocketing US debt, etc.) are consistent with the COG position. Only the Roman-led church with its history of "Holy Roman Empires" logically can fulfill the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. And yes, probably next decade.

Some information on this can be found in the article Europa, the Beast, and Revelation.

xCG also jokingly called me some type of pope--but I do not have the type of problems that certain pope's have had. Interestingly, Jared O. of xCG actually does believe in the Roman Catholic pope stuff.

Perhaps he missed the article that was in the LA Times this morning:

Pope Pius XII.

In that papal role, depending on which historians and religious figures are talking, he either deserves sainthood for taking steps to save Jews from extermination or should be censured for cowardice, at the very least, for refusing at almost every turn to help the Jews in word or action. There's evidence for both.

By detailing many of Pacelli's inner thoughts on the subject, the Vatican files are expected to clarify the debate, which has raged since Pope John Paul II publicly apologized for Catholics' indifference to the Jews' suffering during the Holocaust but stopped short of implicating the Roman Catholic Church itself. Should the files reveal a man with no interest in helping the Jews or curbing anti-Semitism, that would almost certainly put the brakes on the Pius XII sainthood movement.

This Vatican openness, though late, is praiseworthy — but likewise limited. The issue that the church remains unwilling to tackle is the possible fallibility of an individual pope and, through him, the papacy itself. By releasing only the papers from before Pius XII's papacy, not during his tenure, the church avoids providing information that might point to a deeply flawed pope.

Benedict XVI is clearly willing to extend the olive branch toward Jews and historical truth that was first offered by his predecessor. The question is, how far?,1,2312549.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

Some of my articles on early Christianity suggest that some of the early Roman leaders were either cowards or anti-Jewish (so were certain Protestants, some of whom I intend to mention tomorrow). This theme by "Roman bishops" has shown itself throughout history. One such article at the COGwriter site would be Telesphorus of Rome (125-136).

07/04/06 a.m. The April 30th edition of The Journal is finally out. The front page had this item from CGI's Ian Boyne:

KINGSTON, Jamaica—The day was special for the Church of God International Jamaica. Sunday, April 9, made history—as well as a few waves—when on that day we baptized 28 people, the highest number ever baptized in Jamaica since the Radio/Worldwide Church of God was introduced here in the 1960s. Some 24 of the newly immersed came from one church group that last year had come into the truth about God’s holy days and begun practicing them...

Some Church of God critics say it is in decline, but it is certainly not declining in Jamaica!

I believe the number of members that LCG has in Jamaica has about doubled since our family went there a few years ago. I believe CGI has more who attend in Jamaica than any country other than probably the USA.

The Journal's front page also had this item:

Okla.—A former elder of the United Church of God has formally requested an apology from that church for its disfellowshipping of him in 2002. Dan Cafourek of Colcord, who is now the 59-year-old pastor of the independent Arkansas Church of God Fellowship, based in Fayetteville, Ark., wrote an open letter in December 2005 to the UCG’s council of elders, outlining why he believes the church unjustly “branded” him and “disfellowshipped” him.

The Journal devoted a lot of space to the above story as it had other related articles. Essentially, Dan Cafourek had a calendar disagreement, but he claims that is not really why UCG disfellowshipped him. As Dan Cafourek writes that he does not wish to be part of UCG, the whole issue seems overblown to me.

The Journal's front page also had this item:

The Church of God Cincinnati is scheduled to send three people to serve as volunteers at Legacy Institute in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in June.

CGC was formed after a split from UCG regarding a winter activity. Although I do not have precise statistics, it appears that most of the Americans (other than the Sextons) who have been volunteering to work in Thailand with Legacy Institute were at one time affiliated with UCG (including those who were/are UCG members).

In the first of a two-part series of articles on his farwell from The Journal, Brian Knowles wrote:

My voice has just been one more in the cacophony of confusion. There’s no reason for anyone to pay any more attention to my words than anyone else’s.

His words.

Also in The Journal, former UCG member, and now apparently an independent writer and speculator, Steve Collins wrote the following:

Some Christian denominations still expect that a “beast” power is likely to emerge in Europe. But many secular observers have noted the dramatic weakening of Europe on the world stage. Europe has largely disarmed and is under dire demographic threat from the millions of radicalized Muslims living in its midst. Indeed, the term “Eurabia” has been coined to describe the ongoing invasion of Europe by Muslim immigrants. Europe is a target ripe for attack, not a candidate to carry captive any other nations. Will any captivity occur in the latter days ahead of us just before Christ’s return? Given the grim warnings of many prophecies about severe times before the end of this age, such a possibility must be considered.

He, like William Dankenbring's' TPM (see Teachings of Triumph Prophetic Ministries), are teaching against the COG position that a German-led Europe will attack the US. Steven Collins has also taught that Christians can participate in military service in contrast to our historical positions on this subject (please see article Military Service and the COGs).

Those who teach against the COG position that a German-led Europe will attack the US will most likely be killed by this occurrence.

An article of possible interest may be Europa and the Beast of Revelation.

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Volume 10, issue 13 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2006