Church of God News Blog: 2018, 1 January –

A very warm welcome to all our brethren and guests.   For older COG news please see the COG News Blog category on the sidebar.

 

11 Feb:   LCG News- Gerald Weston writes-   Mr. Phil West will be transferred to Little Rock, Arkansas to pastor churches in that area, and Mr. Bob Rodzaj will go to Wisconsin to replace Mr. Phil West.

 

9 Feb:   UCG-  From Ministerial and Member Services…

Pastoral Transfers
Mr. Earl Roemer, pastor of the United Church of God congregations in Anchorage and Soldotna, Alaska, will retire this summer, after 52 years of ministerial employment. Mr. Roemer will continue to serve as International Senior Pastor for Hong Kong.
This summer, Mr. David Dobson, and his wife, Denise, will transfer from Huntsville, Alabama, to Alaska, where he will pastor the Anchorage and Soldotna congregations, as well as continuing to serve as International Senior Pastor for the Philippines.
After Mr. Dobson’s transfer, Mr. Gary Beam, and his wife, Rhonda, will pastor the congregation in Huntsville (Alabama), in addition to his current assignment of Birmingham (Alabama), and Tupelo (Mississippi).
This spring, Mr. Rick Beam and his wife, Angela, will transfer from Paducah, Kentucky, to Rome, Georgia. Mr. Beam will pastor the congregations in Rome (Georgia), Chattanooga (Tennessee), and Gadsden (Alabama).
Mr. Beam will replace Mr. Paul Burnes, who has been serving as the interim pastor for the Rome congregation, with his wife, Dana, for the past year.
After Rick Beam’s transfer, Mr. Doug Collison and his wife, Dianne, will pastor the congregations in Paducah (Kentucky), Cape Girardeau (Missouri), Henderson (Kentucky) and Poplar Bluff (Missouri). Mr. Collison has been serving as an assistant pastor for those congregations alongside Mr. Beam for the past year.

 

5 Feb;  LCG-  Gerald Weston asks “Is bigger always better?”  and goes on to trot the “Gideon 300”  to excuse the fall in attendance in LCG

2017 Feast of Tabernacles figures  are listed here.

The number of average attendees including children total approximately 6369 if I found them all. 

Two sites are listed by numbers registered and not by average attendance.  It can be safely assumed that the registered total figure of 1250 for these two sites was higher than the number of actual attendees.

6369 actual attendees plus an additional 1250 registered at two other sites totals  7619. There are also a very small number of sites with no figures announced, but the total LCG 2017 Feast attendance is well below the 10,400 claimed for 2016.

According to Living University’s 2017-8 catalog page 23, LCG had about 11,600 members at the end of 2016.   

“Living Church of God membership around the world was about 11,600 (approximately 6,300 in the USA and 5,300 internationally).”  However they admit that “Average weekly [end 2016] church service attendance is about 9,000.”  The terms “about” or “approximately” indicate that they are using the highest possible estimates.   

Note, that this catalog was published early in 2017, before many began to depart after the passing of Rod Meredith.  These attendance  figures are therefore probably much higher than the final 2017 yearly average.   

The LCG Festival attendance has dropped substantially from 2016 to 2017, and weekly Sabbath attendance is also dropping. 

 

 

3 Feb:   UCG-  Dan Hoosier tries to define God’s love in this new United News article, but falls short because he looks to the definitions of English and Greek instead of getting his definition from the Bible itself.  This is a classic distraction from letting the Bible explain itself.

See how easy it is to get sidetracked from the truth!

God defines godly love 

All of the commandments, ordinances, statutes, precepts and judgments of God are the true definition of godly love! 

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 

Every Word of God is love because God is love, therefore every Word of God is love.

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not [does not live by every ordinance and Word of God] knoweth not God; for God is love.

 

1 Feb:   UCG-   Victor Kubik writes:
“Last Wednesday evening, after deliberating a little more than six hours, the Minnesota jury involved in the Amy Allwine murder trial delivered a verdict, finding Stephen Allwine guilty of first degree murder.  After now being declared guilty, his formal sentencing is scheduled for Friday morning, February 2.  Minnesota law calls for an automatic appeal, so the process will actually continue in some form.” 

The full statement is here.

 

Update; For the record-  Over the space of more than three years Constance received about 3,000 dollars or about $20 per article, hardly a king’s ransom but all I could afford.  Those who think that this is a rich work paying tens of thousands yearly to various staff members like the major COG groups are quite mistaken.   Our entire annual income is less than the wages of an average COG elder.  That said God has blessed us greatly with a good understanding of the Word of God and thousands of visitors.

 

31 Jan:   It is my very sad duty to inform the brethren that my very dear friend Constance Lynn Belanger has been seduced and has left the faith.  At the beginning of 2017 Constance retired from writing for this site and during the course of that year departed from the faith under the influence of a certain person. 

Later in the year Constance wrote me with some links and asked me for my opinion on a flat earth.  I thought that this was an honest question and dutifully looked this up and then sent her my opinion.

She got all upset at my answer and wrote accusing me of treating her like a child and of attacking her.  It was obvious that she had swallowed this and had been trying to get me to accept it as well.  Then when I did not do so, she justified her refusing to look at the evidence and rejecting me, by accusing me of something that had never entered my mind. I had always considered her a beloved friend and I found this quite a shock.

This kind of cop out is so common in today’s COG’s: when people cannot refute something they do not want to accept; they just accuse the messenger of attacking them and tune out, cleaving to their error.

Constance had fully swallowed the Flat Earth error [hence my recent post on the subject].  She then chose to disassociate herself from me because I did not agree, taking the view that nothing I say can be believed because I do not accept the “truth” that the earth is flat.

Then she wrote insisting that I remove “her” articles.

I responded by reminding her that:

  • She had given me her very rough drafts and told me to do whatever I wanted with them and I had spent endless hours working on them to bring them up to a minimum level for use.  In fact the articles now bear very little resemblance to the first drafts she gave me,
  • Further I had actually paid her several thousand dollars for the articles

I am not about to trash several thousand dollars paid to her and several hundreds of hours of my own work on something that actually belongs to me,  just to satisfy her fit of pique.

Constance is now coming out against the “gap theory” of creation week and other issues. 

The understanding of a gap between the initial creation of the universe and the creation week on the earth did not originate with Herbert Armstrong and has been around for a very long time in the church of God and also in Protestantism.  

I had wanted to avoid making this public, but the need to inform the brethren of the facts has now become a priority.  Please be aware that Constance is no longer associated with me, that she is a flat earth believer and that she is now teaching contrary to sound doctrine.

 

28 Jan:   UCG-  Aaron Dean has now recovered from his pulmonary embolism and has returned home.

LCG Gerald Weston writes-   On Wednesday, we held an online Ministerial Conference for about 265 ministers and wives, with 240 tuning in on the Internet. Mr. Jonathan McNair gave a presentation during the conference, and also during an office meeting, explaining the new education program we are developing.”  

Gerald is also pushing brethren to read a Bible portion each day to read through the entire Bible in a year.  This is excellent advice, but just reading is not enough; many millions do just that!  Instead of simply reading the words one must thoughtfully consider what those words mean [meditate on them], carefully study the meaning of the words in the scriptures, and pray for understanding; finally living by them so as to learn more through the experience of living by every Word of God.    To sum up:  There is a big difference between merely reading over words, and a serious study into the meaning of those words.

At TheShiningLight School of Biblical Studies we are now in a study of Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus leading up to presentations on the Spring Festivals. 

There are studies available throughout the entire Bible along with additional doctrinal studies.  This is the only COG site which has commentary and studies through every word of the Holy Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, in daily portions of about two chapters. 

This is not a one year program of casual reading, it is an approximately three year thorough study through the entire Bible in short digestible portions.  

 

27 Jan:    UCG CoE Statement on Tattoos

UCG Ministerial updates-   

“On this past Feast of Trumpets, Sept. 21, 2017, three new elders were ordained into the ministry. Lomax Morris and his wife, Marcia Blair, serve in the New York City congregation. Tim Seelig and his wife, Terry, serve in the Austin, Texas, congregation. Rob Slocum and his wife, Tina, serve in the Portland, Oregon, congregation.

In September, Craig Scott was named pastor of the congregation in Jacksonville, North Carolina, which had been pastored by Tom Adams. Mr. Scott also pastors the Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina, congregations.

In October, Aaron Creech was named pastor of the congregations in Bethlehem, Lewistown, and York, Pennsylvania. Mr. Creech and his wife, Whitney, had moved to the area two years ago to be trained by pastor Lee Cole. Mr. Cole retired from employment at the end of December.

In October, Ben Light was named interim pastor of the congregations in Salem, Eugene, and Roseburg, Oregon, following the death of pastor John Cafourek. Mr. Light has served as an elder in the Salem congregation since April 2015, with his wife, Shannon.

In November, Ron Barker was named pastor of the congregation in Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Barker worked as an assistant pastor for the congregation with his wife, Janet, for the previous 12 months while assisting pastor Len Martin. Mr. Martin continues to serve as pastor for the congregations in Cambridge, Columbus, and Mansfield, Ohio.

In December, Stan Erickson was named pastor of the congregations in Coleman and Waco, Texas. Mr. Erickson and his wife, Judy, recently relocated to the Coleman congregation, which had been pastored by Clyde Hubbard. Mr. Erickson also pastors the Waco congregation, previously pastored by Rod Foster. Mr. Foster continues to pastor the Austin and San Antonio, Texas, congregations.

At the beginning of January, Paul Moody was named pastor of the congregations in Spokane, Kennewick, and Kettle Falls, Washington, and Lewiston, Idaho. Mr. Moody worked as an assistant pastor for the congregations with his wife, Darla, for the previous six years, assisting pastor Mark Mickelson. Mr. Mickelson retired from employment at the end of December.”

 

25 Jan:   UCG-  Aaron Dean was rushed to hospital on Wednesday suffering from a pulmonary embolism.  This is a blood clot in the lungs which usually travels from a deep vein somewhere in the legs.  If the clot is small it can be dissolved, if it is large the problem is life threatening.

 

22 Jan:   LCG- About 30 LCG members  of the LCG Phoenix congregation attended James Capo’s COGWA congregation last Sabbath.   The reason is not yet clear. 

The Flat Earth nonsense is beginning to become a problem in the Sacred Names Movement and at least one organization has posted a list of issues they are facing [see the bottom of this post].     See our article on the Flat Earth.  This issue may seem very foolishly childish but it is best to understand it and be prepared for it if it comes up.

 

18 Jan:   The new UCG witnessing program is now officially endorsed by UCG President Victor Kubik.  While Victor is speaking about the “witnessing” of individuals and he has some good points, he goes on to say that we do not need to preach against the evils in the world, revealing the business model outreach of UCG which does not preach against evil as God has commanded us to do (Isaiah 58).  See the 15 Jan news. 

Victor ignores the sermon mentioned earlier at this Blog and writes:  “Cleveland elder Andy Lee was the featured speaker at the WFW with his sermon:  In the World, But Not of the World: Living a Godly Life in the Modern World.” 

Don Ward has written a letter, coming out against the trinity and strongly implying that the trinity is a serious issue inside UCG. 

He writes:  

“Once again, we were created to go from the human kind to the God kind. Of all the understandings that Satan hates this is the one he would pervert. He knows he is shut out, so he will do and is doing everything he can to subvert this great truth. The Trinity heresy (please see my article on The Trinity in the current issue of Beyond Today magazine), which contradicts this great truth, was at the heart and core of the great heresy that split and shattered the Church into scores of splinters.

I suspect that the final battleground will be over this very truth. I hope and pray that you and I will never let these things slip and that we will be willing to give our lives for the trunk of the tree.”

 

15 Jan:   OPINION:  The sermon on witnessing linked to below teaches the evangelical kind of witnessing for Jesus while totally ignoring what we are really commanded to witness [teach] about; by focusing on the act of witnessing, and excluding an explanation of what we are commanded to witness about.  

We are not to go about speaking about the person of Christ to the exclusion of his message, or a false evangelical love love; we are commanded to teach people HOW to love, which is to live by every Word of God Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4.  

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you [Jesus commanded us to live by every Word of God, which is every commandment, law, statute, precept, instruction and judgment of God, Matthew 4:4]: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
This is a very slick evangelical diversion away from teaching all people to live by every Word, commandment, law, statute, precept and judgment of God; into the evangelical type of witnessing, about the person of a false Christ, who in the name of love overlooks sin and effectively does away with law; making the keeping of any law a matter of “whether we want to or not.” 
Satan is clearly providing the brethren with a false choice between the “bully boy” organizations and a “love love” type organization: While hiding the true way, which is to love like God loves through living by every Word of God like Christ lives.

1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments [Jesus commanded us top live by every Word of God, Mat 4:4, Luk 4:4]. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it

 

14 Jan:   LCG News-  Gerald Weston writes:   Mr. Jonathan McNair has been in town this week, meeting with various individuals regarding the new Living Education program (Living Ed for short). We should have more specifics shortly regarding the year-long program for young adults, with particulars on cost, classes offered and other details. Also, we are on target to begin the online learning program in August or September.

Whatever happened to Michael Germano?

Jonathon McNair writes:  The goal of our new “Living Education” team is to continue to assist our members and ministry by providing a roadmap of “focus points” over the course of the year. Our new format, however, will be designed to be available to all members. Stay tuned for more information about how to register and participate! 

Talk about money grubbing!  Apparently they are going to take members tithes and offerings, and then charge the brethren an additional amount for teaching them the official LCG line.   TheShiningLight School of Biblical Studies is free, and we teach the true Word of God not the false traditions of men! 

LCG Canada reports that 2017 attendance was up 5.6 percent over 2016. They now have 42 [mostly very small] congregations in nine of the ten provinces.  This increase seems to be mainly from people leaving UCG and please note that they are not giving out any attendance numbers.

 

9 Jan:   The UCG WWF sermon removed from the UCG site can still be found on Youtube.  Since it appears that leaving  the Youtube version posted may have been an oversight,  I have downloaded that sermon just in case it is also removed from Youtube.

The “Days of Zeal Gone By” article by Richard Nichols is back up here.

 

7 Jan:   LCG News-  Gerald Weston writes:  “Mr. Rand Millich mentioned that there were 472 at the Sabbath Service (including those connecting online) for the Kansas City Weekend.” 

He does not report on the Charlotte meeting.  He also writes:  

 “Following is a small sampling of some 2017 statistics. Information about our other efforts will come later.

We have a lot more work to do, but we are very thankful for the growth that we had in 2017.”

The giveandshare.org bible study site by the late Richard Nichols is now back on the internet.  This means that the articles on the Radio COG keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the full commanded seven days including “Days of Zeal Gone By” is available.    Our post on the subject may be found here.

 

4 Jan:   UCG News-  I see that UCG has removed their presentation after I posted a link on 2 Jan.  This is very strange since they claim to be preaching to the world.  I do not seek out such material but visited and posted the link after receiving the message below.   Why they removed the sermon is very hard to understand since hundreds of people heard it at the WFW. 

“James: You were right. Here is absolute proof the UCG is going mainstream evangelical in order to attract new members. Bible Study given at their Winter Family Weekend.  https://www.ucg.org/sermons/the-fields-are-white-for-harvest “
Victor Kubik writes:  Our student from India, Ezekiel Polinati, was baptized here at the home office.  We have enjoyed Ezekiel as a student; however, he will be returning to India shortly.

John Hull died at 93 on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, due to complications from Alzheimer’s, at approximately 9:45 p.m. John was a long-time member and elder of the Church and led a full and active life.  A funeral service will be held on Jan. 5 at 1:00 p.m. at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, Nevada.

UCG seeks to build up its income:  We are currently working on our Strategic Plan with the administration and the Council of Elders. As we do so, I am adding a strategy to the plan that will bring together a team of knowledgeable and qualified people to further develop the Church’s revenue stream. The team would include people with experience in financial planning, planned giving and legal. So, to that end, if there is anyone in the Church who has experience in the not-for-profit field as a development director or fundraiser, I would appreciate hearing from you with your suggestions.

 

2 Jan:  UCG key address from their Winter Weekend non-Christmas, which festivities give the clear impression [witness] to all who see them that UCG [including LCG and COGWA etc] do observe Christmas. 

 

1 Jan:   Articles by Constance Belanger

From early 2014 to late 2016 Constance submitted rough drafts of articles to me and  I edited and revised those articles to be sent out for our Newsletter.  Constance retired from contributing to TheShiningLight in late 2016.

After Passover 2017 I began to take select articles from the now defunct Newsletter and again extensively rewrite them, incorporating the growth in knowledge and understanding since 2014.  

While Constance gave me the initial rough drafts before she retired, these articles have been extensively revised for posting at the sites today.   

11 Comments

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  1. UCG also removed the Gary Petty, Beyond Today video where he stated and wrote, “sin is anything against God’s goodness”, after someone here brought attention to it. They must monitor this site. You would think they’d be glad to spread their message.

  2. RE: 1 Jan: Articles by Constance Belanger

    James it was interesting to ‘learn’ the reason for some of the posted articles giving both you and Constance credit for what was being submitted!

    Constance, your {recent ?} very well researched, and surely quite time-consuming … posting about WINE and the possible hidden UNCLEAN things added in its final production, to me, was a real *eye-opener*; thanks for sharing it here ! I hope that at the very least you will continue to give your wise input / comments to future postings placed here on God’s Shinning Light web site. We’ve never had the pleasure of getting to know one another as ‘bond-servants’ with / IN Christ Jesus — which nevertheless I can “see” that we are !

    READERS, in Light of what I just said regarding Constance, may I now give the actual definition of a Saint IN Christ?! I’ve learned it from studying the writings of one of my special Spiritual Mentors, the late Andrew J. JUKES:

    [QUOTE] “UNION with Christ is that which essentially constitutes a {true} Christian.” And he cements it with, “Nor is this Union something changeful {Yes! Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow} or visionary: it is a REALITY wrought by Holy Spirit.” [END QUOTE]

    In conclusion, James, would you kindly allow me to list my ‘commenting name’ as being simply JPT ? I make this request upon recently noting that there already is a poster / member who goes by the singular name “Dennis” — I too am a Dennis, but we are not the same ‘poster’!

    We become united with Christ through living by every Word of God just as Christ did (Mat 4:4). Constance retired from writing about a year ago but she may still comment from time to time. James

  3. James,

    Are you aware whether the “UCG key address” video/audio is available by any other means?

    Shame on United’s part is assumed when they “reveal” information, and then hide or shelve it.

    Thanks in advance!

    I was very busy with other things and did not have the presence of mind to download it. If anyone has a download they can forward it to me at jddm3@hotmail.com and I will post it. James

  4. Here is a cleaned up version of the unleavened bread article (minus all the special markers, diamond with question mark)

    Days of Zeal Gone By Study No. 216
    The May, 1962, issue of The Good News magazine reported on God’s Passover Observed World-wide. This article was written by Evangelist Roderick C. Meredith. Over 10,000 brethren of the Radio Church of God in seven major Festival locations in America, plus others in England, Australia, and around the world, observed a glorious Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.
    Unlike the common practice today of having Passover and Night to Be Remembered locally in homes, and perhaps Holy Day services on the first and last days of unleavened bread, the practice then was to observe an eight-day festival with the whole church in central places, with multiple sermons and Bible Studies every day, just like the Feast of Tabernacles.
    On March 13, 1961, Herbert W. Arm strong wrote in a member letter, Full eight day services will be held in more places than ever before this year. Since Passover that year fell on a Friday, the last Holy Day of the Feast also fell on Friday, followed by a weekly Sabbath. Armstrong noted, This means we will actually have nine days of services.
    As reported in the May, 1962, Good News, some 2000 brethren gathered in Gladewater, Texas, at the Church s Tabernacle Grounds. Garner Ted Armstrong, Les McCullough (who had been recently ordained as a Preaching Elder), and other ministers preached each day during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Meredith reported, The theme of overcoming and putting out sin dominated throughout the preaching and Bible studies during this Festival as it did everywhere this Festival was observed by God s Church.
    Another 2000 brethren met in Pasadena, California, with daily services given by Rod Meredith, Norman Smith, Ron Dart, and others. Albert J. Portune and Carlton Smith conducted the Passover services and an entire eight-day Festival in New York City. Over 500 people were in attendance on the night of the Feast and there were several hundred in attendance each day throughout the entire Festival. In Chicago, 614 took the Passover, and around 1000 were in attendance for the Feast, where many came in from several surrounding Midwest states. Meredith reports, The spirit of dedication and service in the Chicago area is very pronounced and reflects the character and personality of the pastor in that area, Mr. Dean Blackwell.
    Full eight-day Festivals were held also in Portland, Oregon, and Denver, Colorado. In Portland, Plain Truth managing editor Herman Hoeh led Festival services, assisted by Dale Hampton, Jimmy Friddle, Richard Plache, and Carl O Beirn. There were 470 for Passover, 800 for the Sabbath, and several hundred each day for the entire eight-day Festival. Hampton reported, there was great joy and rejoicing throughout the entire Festival. In Denver, Leroy Neff, Burk McNair, and Frank McCrady conducted services: 272 for Passover, 500 at the Holy Day, with a few hundred in attendance each day more coming, of course, for the evening services. Thus, there were two or more services each day.
    Raymond Cole, pastor over the churches in the Pacific Northwest, traveled to Opp, Alabama, to lead the seventh USA spring festival site, joined by Gerald Waterhouse and Carn Catherwood, at the National Guard Armory. Some 143 kept the Passover, and over 200 attended throughout most of the eight-day Feast. Cole reported that there were a number of outstanding HEALINGS, which God granted throughout the Festival, many were healed by God through the prayers of His servants in an unusual way.
    In other local areas, hundreds of brethren not able to travel to the seven Festival locations, kept the Passover and perhaps the first and last Holy Days of Unleavened Bread in Ohio, Texas, Missouri, California, Pitts burgh, Seattle, Oklahoma, and Indiana, where many brethren also journeyed to Chicago for the all-day meetings during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
    In Bricket Wood, England, Herbert W. Armstrong led the spring Festival, with 166 for Passover, and 210 for the Festival, with local services in Birmingham, Manchester, and Belfast. Wayne Cole, pastor in charge in Australia, led the festival in Sydney, with 89 for Passover, and average attendance during the entire Festival of 140. Services were also held in Melbourne. Finally, nightly meetings were held in St. Lucia, West Indies.
    In summary, Roderick C. Meredith noted that the 1962 Passover and Feast of Un leavened Bread Festival demonstrated the unusual dedication and LOVE among God s people, the deep understanding and POWER of God s ministers, and the tremendous world-wide work being carried on by a comparatively few people. Perhaps because of this emphasis on CHRIST S great sacrifice and love, each year the Passover season seems to point up the deep warmth, love and DEDICATION of God s people. In other words, the way the 1962 Passover Feast was observed showed the zeal of God s people to do His Work!
    Forty years later, quite a different Feast of Unleavened Bread was observed by Rod Meredith and others in the Church of God, as he reported in the July-August 2002 issue of Living Church News. On March 20, Meredith traveled to New Zealand to visit Living Church of God offices there, and then he went to Brisbane, Australia, to visit the LCG leader of Australia, Bruce Tyler. Meredith conducted Passover services Tuesday night, March 26, in Brisbane. On Wednesday morning, Passover day, Meredith toured Brisbane. Then he preached on Thursday, the first Day of Unleavened Bread to 58 brethren, followed by a covered dish meal and long fellowship. Then, the same day, Meredith flew the 2200-mile journey to Perth in Western Australia, arriving late and going to bed.
    On Friday morning, he and the local elder toured Perth s Kings Park and dined at a fish restaurant in Fremantle. On Sabbath, he preached to 49 brethren in Perth, followed by a patio dinner at a member s home. On Sunday, he flew back to Sydney, did not have a service because there are so very few Church people there, but instead toured the city and took a boat trip on Monday. On Tuesday, still during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Meredith flew to Melbourne, touring interesting areas, including a war museum, met with Church elders, and on Wednesday, the last Day of Unleavened Bread, he preached to about 55 people in Melbourne. On Thursday, he toured Melbourne more thoroughly.
    Notice the contrast between 1962 and 2002. In 1962, the Church observed a Feast, the whole eight-day festival together, marked by twice-daily services during the entire time. The Church of 1962 was dedicated, inspired to identify sin, to overcome sin, and to put out sin, through the power of the Spirit of God made possible by the sacrifice of the Messiah. The focus was Christ s sacrifice and love. God s people demonstrated love, dedication, and zeal. There were outstanding, unusual, miracles of healing.
    On the other hand, in 2002, there was no mention of a Festival, the Feast of Unleavened Bread; instead, Meredith referred to the First Day of Unleavened Bread and the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. There were no daily inspiring sermons during the Festival, no miraculous healings. Instead, there were meals, site-seeing tours, and fellowship, mainly minister to minister, instead of the whole Church together for the entire eight days of scintillating spiritual feasting. The intervening days between the first and last holy days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were filled with business, meals and entertainment, touring, and traveling. Or, as they say in Australia, holiday. Instead of a Festival, a holy convocation, the 2002 Feast of Unleavened Bread was a holiday for Rod Meredith. Most of God s people continued their daily routine, pausing only briefly for the first and last Holy Day services.
    If you had to judge the character of the Church of God in 1962 versus 2002, which one would you say was zealous? Which one would you say was lukewarm, watered down?
    Sometime during the mid to late 1960s, the Church of God ceased the practice of observing an entire eight-day Spring Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread. There after, the usual annual 30% growth in new members, ceased to a trickle. Healing miracles became rare, as scarce as hen s teeth. Some sermons became boring. Doctrines were changed, watered down, and in some cases, were altered to become politically correct.
    No external Satanic foe was responsible for this debacle. We have met the enemy and it is us! It gets worse.
    In 2002, the Living Church of God added to its Fundamental Beliefs a provision, We believe that the Philadelphia era [of God s Church] began in the 1930s and that we are a continuation of that Philadelphia era.
    Of course, one cannot prove Church eras from the Bible. Church eras is not a Bible term, but a man-made phrase. And historic ally, one cannot prove when one supposed era began, and another era diminished. The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 existed at the time the Apostle John wrote the Apocalypse. These seven churches may well represent seven different characteristic attitudes of God s Church through the ages, and during a particular period, one of those church s characteristics may be the dominant attitude. There is somewhat a chronological progression of the seven churches, in the same way that these cities were successive towns on a first century mail route. The seventh church, Laodicea, must therefore represent the dominant characteristic of the True Church in the very end times.
    Remember, each Church message ends with the same admonition, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches [plural], 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 22, 3:6, 13, 22. This means that at every period of its history, the Church is to heed the warnings given to all seven of these churches, because all seven messages apply. Thus, spiritual Philadelphians need to heed the message to Sardis, to strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God, 3:2, as well as be zealous therefore, and repent, the message to Laodicea, as well as all the other messages to the seven churches.
    Pride is bad. God says He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, James 4:6, Proverbs 3:34, I Peter 5:5. Notice the context of James 4. It is talking of wars and fightings among you, the Church. Lustful Church leaders war and squabble in order to obtain more power and control over the brethren. Instead of being servant leaders, they lord it over the flocks, and proudly lift themselves above others, whom they put down. One of the biggest put downs is the claim, We are Philadelphian, and you are Laodicean. Even though the facts speak otherwise, the proud claim to be a Philadelphian continues to be made. Comparing the Feast of Unleavened Bread of 1962 with 2002 makes 99% of today s Church of God Laodicean. Another Church group took the name, Philadelphia Church of God, yet it too, in doctrine, in practice, in zeal for God, continues to act Laodicean. If you are lacking in zeal, then you are in the Laodicean condition.
    The Church at Laodicea said that it was rich and increased with goods, in other words, spiritually superior to others. Those groups who proudly claim to be Philadelphian, when they are not, are actually demonstrating that they are Laodicean.
    Zeal for God
    What is Biblical zeal for God? In the Old Testament, zeal is translated from the Hebrew word quinah, or qana, Strong s #7068 and #7065. Sometimes these words are translated zealous, or jealous. One of the great characteristics of the Eternal is that He is zealous. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall do this, II Kings 19:31. In describing the characteristics of the Messiah and His coming kingdom, the Bible says, The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this, Isaiah 9:6-7. The coming great Second Exodus likewise will be performed with zeal by the Lord of hosts, Isaiah 37:31-32, after He has chastised His people, Ezekiel 5:12-13. Jehu zealously slew wicked Ahab s descendants, II Kings 10:16-17.
    How about us? Does the zeal of the house of God (doing God s Work) eat us up, consume our time and efforts? See Psalm 69:9, 119:139; John 2:17.
    Although the scattered Church is trodden down, doubtless He is our Father, and His zeal and strength is just waiting to be manifested on behalf of His people, Isaiah 63:15-19.
    Zeal is a prominent characteristic of the New Testament Church of God, II Corinthians 7:11. Titus 2:14 says we are to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Jewish believers in Christ were zealous of the law, Acts 21:20. We are to be zealous of spiritual gifts, I Corinthians 14:12. The zeal of the Corinthians provoked many, II Corinthians 9:2. Epaphras had a great zeal toward the Church in Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, Colossians 4:13. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, Galatians 4:18.
    Paul said that Israel who rejected Christ have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge, Romans 10:2. They were ignorant of God s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God, verse 3. Before his calling, Paul zealously persecuted the Church, Philippians 3:6. He was always a zealot, Acts 22:3; Galatians 1:14.
    Besides the zeal of Christ in cleansing the Temple of merchandisers, the primary Bible example of Godly zeal is Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, grandson of Aaron.
    During their journey to the Promised Land, Israel began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, joining with them in idolatrous worship of Baal-peor. God told Moses to slay everyone who was joined to Baal-peor. Most of the Israelites, however, were squeamish in fulfilling God s command. An Israelite boldly flaunted God and Moses, when he brought a Midianitish woman in open sight of Moses and Israel, and went into his tent with her.
    Phinehas took a javelin in his hand, and thrust them both through, thus staying the plague of the wrath of God, after 24,000 were slain in the plague. The Eternal told Moses that Phinehas had turned away His wrath. As a result, Behold, I give unto him [Phinehas] my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. He had God s zeal in him, and his actions proved it. See Numbers 25.
    It is high time for a modern day Phinehas to show himself in the Church of God. In their laxity in observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and many other things, these times are the days of zeal gone by.
    The Almighty s loving message to this Laodicean group is, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent, Revelation 3:19.
    by Richard C. Nickels

    Whole Wheat Unleavened Bread Recipe
    Ingredients: 4 C whole wheat pastry flour, 2 egg yolks, 1-1/2 t salt, 2 T vegetable oil, 3 T butter, 7/8 C milk or water.
    Sift flour then add salt, cut the butter into flour mixture, like making pastry. In another bowl, beat egg yolks, adding oil slowly. Pour this mixture into flour and stir with spoon or fork until it forms a ball of dough that comes away from the side of the bowl. Knead lightly on a floured board for about a minute to shape dough into a soft ball.
    Lightly flour the board again, pinch off about one-third cupful of dough and with the hands pat it as thin as can easily be done, then roll it thinner with rolling pin. Keep working the dough and rolling it until dough is so thin, it just holds together without breaking when handled. Place rolled dough on ungreased baking sheet and mark into squares of any desired size with a knife. If it is to be used for Passover service, make only one cut across the middle to make pieces only small enough that they may be conveniently carried.
    Bake in preheated oven 390-400 for 8-12 minutes until very lightly browned.
    If this bread is to be used for Passover service, use water instead of milk, and leave out the egg yolks. Increase water to one cup, mix with oil and add to butter-flour mixture. (This recipe is sufficient for about 500 people in the Passover Service.)

    Thank you so much for all this work! NOTE: This was written many years ago; for an updated Passover ULB recipe fulfilling all of the symbolism of the sacraments see http://82.221.105.8/~theshini/107-passover-details-sacraments-and-bread-recipe/

    I have also posted this Nichols article here http://82.221.105.8/~theshini/105-the-intermediate-days-of-the-two-seven-day-feasts/ James

  5. Rom 10:1-3 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
    For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
    For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

    The Bible passage above is a perfect description of the [departure from] “zeal of days gone by” in the HWA led Radio Church of God Inc. and those organizations started by HWA trained disciples. As a result, besides [abandoning] holding meetings on all 7 days of Unleavened Bread, that assembly of believers also:

    Proclaimed inter-racial marriage “ungodly” (See Numbers 12 for God’s perspective on such judgemental evaluation of interracial marriage)

    I suggest that while not forbidden in scripture interracial marriage often brings many problems especially in the US of A with its racial history. Because something is lawful does not necessarily mean it is always appropriate or will not have a high cost attached. James

    Allowed for cooking and patronizing restaurants on the weekly Sabbath. (See Ex. 16:23-26, Neh. 13:15-22, Ex. 20:8-11, and Deut. 5:12-15 for God’s perspective on such conduct)

    Honored a leader who made false predictions on the timing and nature of future events. (See Deut 18:22 for God’s perspective on such presumptuous conduct).

    Such spiritual disease is odorless, colorless, and tasteless to its victims, but gradually, over time, and without repentance, it will spiritually kill those whom it infects. This process explains both the division among and the attrition within such groups. (See Ezekiel 18:20-24 and Haggai 2:11-14 for God’s perspective on such conduct).

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

  6. James observes re Interracial marriage:

    “I suggest that while not forbidden in scripture interracial marriage often brings many problems especially in the US of A with its racial history. Because something is lawful does not necessarily mean it is always appropriate or will not have a high cost attached. James”

    Would you include polygamy in that category?

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

    Jesus made it clear that divorce is against the intent of God and was only allowed because in the Mosaic Covenant most people were not spiritually converted and the vast majority did not have God’s Spirit. Divorce was allowed as a means to leave relationships with abusive and therefore unconverted persons. If it is wrong to divorce and remarry in the faith, polygamy is also wrong see http://82.221.105.8/~theshini/divorce-remarriage-and-polygamy/

    Polygamy like divorce was not God’s intention, but God permitted it for a short time. Marriage to one wife is to teach us loyalty and commitment and to teach us about the relationship God wants with his bride. Since it is obvious that one man cannot spend the same amount of time with each of ten women that he would have with only one lady, polygamy denies people the depth of personal relationship with one spouse that God intends for us. James

  7. At the very core of the problem with UCG is a failure to recognize that it is God that does the calling. John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is a doctrine that they consistently ignore.

  8. James observes above:

    “The sermon on witnessing linked to below teaches the evangelical kind of witnessing for Jesus”

    I made it half way through before becoming so frustrated with the speaker (who in spite of having a very runny nose carried on quite well) that I had to switch it off.

    The first warning sign came when he read John 4:35 about the fields being ready to harvest and then confessed that he didn’t think he had done a very good job of witnessing in the week just past. How would he he have known this?

    I once worked in an office for 16 years. Like most offices, at xmas, everybody would decorate their office or cubicle and there would be an annual xmas party and a “surprise Santa” drawing where everybody’s name was put in a drawing and everyone was supposed to get some small gift for whichever name they drew. Of course I abstained from such practice and if asked would explain that I didn’t think that Christmas was Christian.

    Then, years after I no longer worked there, I was shocked to see a former coworker show up in Sabbath services. She came over and said to me, “I used to think you were weird for not doing xmas, but now I agree with you”. This is an important lesson of harvesting and witnessing that is taught by the various feasts when they are kept.

    There are some folks, no matter what, who will have to go through the tribulation before they repent. Others will have to await their resurrection back to physical life before they repent. Only God knows whose mind will have that switch flipped and when that “visitation” will occur.

    In the meanwhile, it is the job of all of God’s elect to strive to be the best example they can and to continue to seek Godly repentance so that their example will improve. Every human that has ever or will ever live or is alive right now will be called to become a son or daughter of God. Our example can either help or hinder that calling.

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

  9. James wrote: “…The sermon on witnessing linked to below teaches the evangelical kind of witnessing for Jesus…”

    Aside from the speaker witnessing his runny nose, he mentioned the Book of Acts Chapter 1 and took verses way out of context.

    The 11 Apostles, amongst others present with them, were told: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

    Then they all returned to Jerusalem and did what? They needed another witness: someone to replace Judas.

    Acts 1:21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

    :22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a WITNESSS WITH us OF HIS RESURRECTION.

    Matthias was numbered with the 11 Apostles, but a witness of what? The resurrection of Jesus Christ (verse 22)!

    Then, on Pentecost, Peter, one of those 12 witnesses emphasized the following:

    “This Jesus hath God RAISED UP, whereof we all are WITNESSES.” Acts 2:32

    Again, it appears the speaker was taking information in Acts 1 out of context to build some theory about something other than what God intended.

    Also, John 6:44 says: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…”

    Now, for all we know, God the Father may very well have drawn that woman of Samaria to the well in order to preserve that conversation of the woman with Jesus for all of us to benefit from, but it was not the example of how Christians should witness to complete strangers. Most of us know that that does not work, unless God the Father, by His Spirit (Zech 4:6), first initiates something and we may be confident of that:

    “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath BEGUN a good WORK IN you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Phil 1:6

    God works out things by His Spirit (Zech 4:6). The speaker would have been better off considering the Acts 8 example of Philip witnessing to an Ethiopian eunuch, who was a stranger to Philip, but was not a stranger to God, who draws (John 6:44)! Why not? After all, Philip later became an evangelist (Acts 21:8).

    John

  10. >> Gerald is also pushing brethren to read a Bible portion each day to read through the entire Bible in a year. <<

    This reminds me that this week marked 16 years since UCG began its "Bible Reading Program." It promised to take members through the entire Bible in about three years.

    Yet 16 years later, it's still one book shy of finishing the Old Testament. Nothing yet from the New Testament. A lot of UCG leaders have talked about restarting it, but it hasn't happened.

    So much for “Preparing a people.” I do think that the LCG one year is just too fast [especially for working people] for any degree of real comprehension and retention. Its just too much material too quickly even if they do not offer explanations. James

  11. Why does UCG always say when they report on ministerial transfers that “so-and-so AND HIS WIFE” will be pastoring here and “so-and-so AND HIS WIFE” will be pastoring there? What? A minister’s wife gets 50% of the power and authority of the pastorship? Are their wives now ruling over men in the congregation? Maybe that’s why we’ve heard stories of very dictatorial wives of pastors in the past? (And maybe that’s why some pastors are desperate to remarry illegally after they’ve divorced their wives illegally?)

    There is nothing sinister in this. In life all wives are to be helpers of their husbands and to work together with them for the benefit of the family.

    Converted wives are helpers of their husbands and in the ministry wives can be a great help to their husbands. That does not mean that the wife is in authority over her husband, it simply means that they work together as a team under his leadership, hopefully for the good of the brethren. Here is an article on The Role of Women in the Ekklesia http://82.221.105.8/~theshini/first-corinthians-14-the-role-of-women-in-the-ekklesia/

    Any good leader will listen to and accept advice from his wife. A classic example of a man not listening to his wife when he should have is Nabal and Abigail. A wife helping her husband does not diminish his position [as long as she does not usurp and take over]; rather the opposite is true, it enhances his leadership and sets an excellent example of what a proper marriage should be for the brethren.

    I ask, does Jesus Christ allow his bride to assist HIM? Of course, as long as we are faithful to follow His lead! That is the example we are to follow in our own marriages.

    Yes, there have been some elders who have been ruled by their wives, but that does not mean that we men should go to the opposite extreme. James

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