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…
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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
- Visits to the Tomorrow’s World English-language website were up more than 11 percent for 2017 over 2016.
- New users (people who visited the website for the first time) were up more than 18 percent for 2017 over 2016.
- The top three most popular booklets for 2017 were Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return, Restoring Original Christianity and The Ten Commandments.
- Visits to the other-language Tomorrow’s World websites such as the Dutch, German, Spanish, Afrikaans, and Russian websites were also up “year over year,” with the French website showing a big increase of 42 percent more visits for 2017 than 2016!
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.
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.