December 7, 2006

Greetings from Charlotte, 

On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor.  Although the USA and its allies emerged victorious from WWII and America went on to become the most powerful nation on earth, the USA is now losing prestige, and its power and influence are being challenged all around the globe.  We are seeing major prophecies about our national decline (Leviticus 26:19) being fulfilled almost daily.  As members of the Church of God, we all need to remember that we are involved in a “spiritual war” not with “flesh and blood,” but with an evil and deceptive enemy (Ephesians 6:11-12) whose goal is not only to destroy the Church, but to deceive and devour each of us (I Peter 5:8).  We need to be alert to the fact that Satan operates by devious methods (II Corinthians 2:11) and that we are all vulnerable to his attacks.  For this reason, we must do our part to stay close to God through regular prayer and study (I Thessalonians 5:17) to nourish God’s Spirit so that we have the necessary spiritual discernment to perceive when Satan is working on us (II Timothy 1:6-7).  We also need to stay focused on the big picture of why we are called and what our God-given mission is (Mark 16:15). 

As many of you are already aware, Mr. Charles Bryce informed us last week that he has serious doctrinal differences with the Living Church of God (on wearing makeup, the explanation of Church eras, the definition of the gospel and Church mission, appropriate meeting halls, etc).  He informed Mr. Meredith and me several times during phone conversations that it would be a waste of time to come to Charlotte to discuss the matter and that he would have to resign.  Due to the adamant position that he has taken and his subsequent release of his list of issues to the entire ministry, we have had to terminate Mr. Bryce from being a minister with the Living Church of God.  This was not a decision that we wanted to make, yet it was necessary for the protection of the Church and brethren.  It is certainly our hope that Mr. Bryce will reconsider his actions.  Up until last week, Mr. Bryce gave us no indication that he had serious concerns about any of these issues.  He did not mention these issues during the years he served on the Council of Elders (he chose to resign from the Council a year ago when he moved to Texas).  While he was Director of CAD he also had the opportunity to suggest changes in these areas, but nothing was said.  

Brethren, we need to remember a number of important principles when it comes to drawing conclusions about doctrine.  We are told that there is safety in a multitude of counsel (Proverbs 11:14) and that we should be extremely careful about drawing conclusions that seem right to us as individuals (Proverbs 14:12).  The Scriptures inform us that the Church is given the charge to determine doctrine, not individuals (I Timothy 3:15), and we see how this operated at the council meeting in Acts 15.  It is regrettable that Mr. Bryce did not follow these principles in this most recent situation.  From calls that we have made around the country, it appears that very few ministers or members are sympathetic with the ideas in Mr. Bryce’s letter.  Mr. Meredith is writing a letter to the membership to put this most recent situation into a bigger perspective.—Douglas S. Winnail 


Update from the Midwest USA 

Mr. Wallace Smith reports: After talking with Mr. Millich, I realized that many in the Church might like to know how we Central/East Missourians fared in the recent winter storm. The majority of our brethren in Columbia and Rolla, Missouri, were completely snowed in and unable to leave their homes, so we cancelled services last Sabbath for those congregations.  As for our St. Louis brethren, a fair number lost electricity but with healthy doses of patience and creativity (and, in some cases, a power generator) we have “weathered the weather” in fine fashion.  If God surprises us and Petra ends up north of the Arctic Circle, we’ll feel a little more prepared! While I had been having a hard time reaching a couple of members to ensure that their power is back on, when I saw them this past Sabbath all was well.   

Philippines Update 

Mr. Dayrell Tanner reported that none of our members reside in the area of the volcano in the Bicol province, where there were mudslides and flooding caused by Typhoon Durian. However, there are some subscribers who live there. Furthermore, Mr. Basilio Osillos, Philippines Office Manager, reported that our office in the Philippines was not affected by this typhoon, the 21st of the season.  

New Zealand Update 

Mr. Kinnear Penman reports: The responses to the Tomorrow’s World program are continuing at very good levels.  Many people who make contact comment that we are the only Church they know of that is teaching and warning about what is happening in world events.  An increasing number of viewers acknowledge that the world is indeed “close to the end”. On Sunday, November 11, we held a working-bee and prepared 3,377 semi-annual letters for mailing. Responses already exceed 600 and have come in quicker that on previous occasions. A greater number of response cards are returned with donations included. This month we added ten new co-workers to the list. A total of 4,107 items of mail were posted during the month and the total for the year-to-date is 23,648. This is lower than for 2005 but we are no longer mailing out Tomorrow’s World magazines locally, and that reduces the total mail markedly. More than 120 new students were enrolled in the Bible Study Course thanks to the Tomorrow’s World program offering it. A total of 174 batches of lessons were mailed. 

In early December, Mr. Bruce Tyler visited us for a few days en route to the Council of Elders meeting. We were able to hold the required Board Meetings while he was here. I made one extensive trip away from Auckland and visited the lower part of the North Island. Mrs. Penman and I also briefly visited the Bay of Islands as a possible Feast of Tabernacles locality. During the month I visited two “new” people and made follow-up visits to another two. Most of these people I will revisit in December and I am hopeful that some of them will be invited to attend. I also visited nine members or PMs in their homes and conducted two baptismal counseling sessions. Members looked forward to commencing the Living Leadership Course and nearly all have “signed-up” for it.  

Charlotte Family Buffet Dinner-Dance 

Ministers are requested to obtain a hand count of those in their congregations who are planning to attend the dinner-dance in Charlotte on December 23 and planning to purchase the buffet dinner (cost is $14 for adults and $9 for children). Please send the numbers to Mr. Rod McNair via e-mail ( or phone (704-844-1960, ext. 212) as soon as possible.  

Living 4 Tomorrow—Charlotte, December 2006 (repeat announcement) 

Living Church of God young adults are invited to attend Living 4 Tomorrow—A Time 4 Young Singles. Classes and evening activities will be conducted at our Headquarters facilities in Charlotte, NC. The L4T program is open to all singles between the ages of 18 and 30.  The program will be from December 20-22 leading into the family dance and other activities planned at Headquarters on December 23 and 24.   The deadline to mail your application is December 10.  

Applications and detailed information are available for L4T on the website (not an official Church website) and on the LCG Singles website   If you don’t have web access, applications and additional information may be requested by calling Lambert Greer at 502-228-5917 

Singles Seminar—Charlotte, December 2006 (repeat announcement) 

A one day Singles Seminar is planned for singles of all ages on Friday, December 22, 2006.  The seminar will be conducted at our Headquarters facilities in Charlotte, NC. Registration is required for planning the meals during the activity. Registration for the Singles Seminar and detailed information is posted on the website (not an official Church website) and on the LCG Singles website  If you don’t have web access, a registration form and additional information may be requested by calling Lambert Greer at 502-228-5917.  The deadline to mail your registration form is December 12.  

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail 

NEWS AND PROPHECY—December 7, 2006

European Court Rules on Parental Rights. In a landmark case, Konrad vs. Germany, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the German government had the right to ban home schooling. The court ruled in favor of Germany, saying every child has a right to a “pluralistic” education (an education that teaches all children to live together with mutual respect for races, religions and views—as defined by the state). This hallmark case sets an important precedent for other nations that adopt international law as their own (CourtReport, November-December 2006). Is it interesting or “telling” that Germany would be the first nation in Europe to pursue a ruling that gives it the right to mandate a pluralistic education for all children—giving it once again the ability to “indoctrinate” its young citizens with the pluralistic education the state (the Fatherland) deems appropriate? The numerous recent political, military, and judicial actions taken by Germany bear continued watching, given their prophesied potential to lead the coming Beast power (Isaiah 11:11; Zechariah 10:10-11, Revelation 17:12-13). 

The British Are Going! The British Are Going! More than a million Britons have emigrated from their homeland since 2000. More and more people are fleeing Britain to take up residence in the United States, Australia and Western Europe. At the same time, a growing influx of foreigners is flooding the British Isles in unprecedented numbers, transforming the nation’s traditional way of life. Britain’s Office for National Statistics reports that of the 565,000 people who entered the U.K. last year, 474,000 were foreign nationals planning to stay in the country. Robert Whelan, an analyst at the Civitas think tank, says of the Britons who are leaving: “People are emigrating because of a sense of hopelessness about the problems here… nothing is ever done about the big problems like education, health care, crime. There is a growing sense that politicians will never deal with the problems… then people pay more tax and get less back for it. So they think about taking the drastic step of emigration.” These migrations have destabilized communities, and incoming cheap labor has driven down wages, making it harder for British citizens to find work at a decent wage (This Is London, November 2, 2006). Notice the end-time prophecy about the British, “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it” (Hosea 7:8-9). 

No Honey Bees, No Crops! Few city dwellers think of bees as more than a nuisance, though backyard gardeners appreciate their help in growing flowers. Farmers, however, understand how crops cannot be pollinated without bees—and that, in the absence of these essential insects, there will be very few crops to harvest! In North Carolina alone, the commercial bee population has declined by 44 percent since the mid-1980s, and all but 5 percent of the state’s wild bees have been wiped out by deadly parasitic mite infestations that are spreading across the globe. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that U.S. beekeepers produce approximately $200 million worth of honey each year, but bees’ value as pollinators is far greater—estimated at more than $34 billion annually! Beekeeper John Roberts, president of Nature Technics Corporation, contends that a 32 percent reduction in U.S. honey bee colonies over the past 16 years is a “potentially disastrous situation” that will lead to even greater need to import not only honey, but also much of our food (Southeast Farm Press, November 27, 2006). God gave Israel lands flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:17). However, our national sins are causing the bees that produce our honey to be taken away, thus ensuring a shortage of the foodstuffs that feed our populations (Ezekiel 14:13). – Don Davis, Scott Winnail

COGwriter 2006

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