This column includes information sent to us from a variety of groups. Servants’ News does not necessarily agree with the teachings or practices of these groups. Please
about them before attending their functions.
Clinton, NC Pentecost Weekend
The church here in Clinton, N.C. invites everyone to observe a special Pentecost Weekend, May 22-23, 1999. Tom and Thelma Justus, of Springdale, Arkansas, will be visiting and Tom will be speaking in services. Other speakers include William H. Hillebrenner and Ronald W. Mitchell, Sr. Services are 1:00 PM each day, with a potluck meal afterward on Pentecost (the 23rd).
The meeting location is American Legion Post #22, at the intersection of Pugh Road and Hwy 403 N. For more info contact: John C. Strouth, Sr.; 910-592-2009; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabbath Campers Fellowship
You are invited to the Sabbath Campers Fellowship at Gateway Park Campground in Hillsdale, Michigan, on June 18-20 and August 27-29. This is the same facility that has been used for the past two summers. It has a nice meeting hall, a swimming beach, playground and a swimming pool.
These weekends will feature lots of fellowship, group singing and a Sabbath interactive Bible study. The subjects for the June weekend will include "what has God done in your life?" and "joy and humor from the Bible". Your insights in these areas will be welcome. (Those who only want to come and listen are equally welcome!)
Camping prices per site for each night are: Full Hookup: $19. Primitive: $18. "Pull thru": $21. Cabins/trailers $40 & up, One-day visitor’s pass: $2.
You may make reservations for either campout at this time by contacting: Norm Wilcox, Gateway Park Campground manager, at 517-437-7005, 4111 W Hallet, Hillsdale, MI 49242. Be sure to mention you are with the Sabbath Campers Fellowship. If you prefer motel accommodations, there are several within a few minutes drive. For further information, contact Richard Fox 1-800-228-2473.
Charleston W.Va. Picnic
All brethren regardless of church affiliation are invited to a "family reunion" at Ernie Turley Lions Park on Coal River Road in Charleston, West Virginia. Bring musical instruments if you play. For more information, contact George Hampton; PO Box 4472; Charleston, W. Va. 25304; 888-293-2242; e-mail: email@example.com.
Singles 4th of July Weekend
Over the July Fourth weekend, the Detroit UCG church is planning to host a singles event that includes a concert and fireworks show in Greenfield Village, Dearborn on July 3rd (Saturday night), and a dinner and dance in Roseville on July 4th (Sunday). Singles of any age (18+) and any COG affiliation or non-affiliation are invited to come. On Saturday, there would be services at the Georgian Inn of Roseville from noon to 2 PM, followed by a picnic at Metro beach. (There’s a $3 charge per car to enter the park).
The concert is being performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Saturday night, 8:30 to 10 PM, followed by fireworks. There’s a $19.50 charge for this if the tickets are bought individually, but if 20 people send in their money to Gae D’Alessandro (check or money order, payable to her) she can get them for $14 each at a special group rate. To see if sufficient interest exists in this event overall, please send the $14 by May 24th to: Gae D’Alessandro, 25183 Mackinac, Roseville, MI 48066. The dinner and dance on Sunday will go 5 PM to 10 PM and cost $22, and will be held at the Georgian Inn of Roseville, where the Sabbath services would have been held. For those looking for a place to stay, at the Georgian Inn a block of rooms has been reserved at a 10% discount from the list price, but they’re only reserved for us until June 2 or the rooms can’t be guaranteed. If you want more details, please call Gae at 810-447-4826.
Rhodes& Lewis to Australia
Steven Collins cannot make it to Australia for medical reasons (See Dec 1999 Servants’ News). However, David Lewis, PhD, who has lectured for 30 years and deeply studied British Israelism, will be coming instead! Dr. Lewis is a member of UCG and an outstanding speaker. His degrees are in history. He will deliver lectures on four subjects: 1) the call, purpose and history of Israel up to the captivity; 2) the migrations of Israel from captivity to northwestern Europe; 3) the promises to the patriarchs and how they are the key to the rise and fall of the Arabs, Spain, France and, finally, the United States and British Commonwealth (this lecture identifies where the twelve tribes are); 4) "Jacob’s Trouble" will look at the past century and give particular attention to WWII as a partial fulfillment of Bible prophecy—also covers current affairs such as the division in the US.
Melvin Rhodes will give a prophecy lecture series: 1) Daniel 7—an Overview of World History; 2) The Multitude of Nations—The Free World’s First Line of Defense; 3) Decolonization and Its Consequences; 4) European Unity—Past and Present.
The Combined Schedule for the free lecture series is:
June 26 (Saturday) at 1:00 PM; Auditorium, Queensland Cultural Centre, Southbank, South Brisbane.
July 12th and 13th, (Monday and Tuesday) both at 7:30 PM; Springwood Community Centre, cnr Vanessa Blvd and Cinderella Drive, Springwood. For more info, telephone (07) 3807 6087.
July 3 (Saturday) at 2:00 PM, July 4 (Sunday) at 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM; Auditorium, Burwood RSL, Shaftesbury Road, Burwood. For more info, telephone (02) 9528 5049.
July 10 (Saturday) at 7:30 PM; Box Hill Community Arts Centre, Station & Combarton Streets, Box Hill
July 11 (Sunday) at 10:30 AM and 2:00 PM; Windsor Room, Elizabethan Lodge, 604 Middleborough Rd, North Blackburn. For more info, telephone (03) 9436 1359 or (03) 9808 8826.
Your continued prayers for the full recovery of Steven Collins will be appreciated and for the success of the lecture tour by Melvin Rhodes and Dr. Lewis.
The Netzarim ‘99 Conference
The Netzarim ‘99 Messianic conference will be held in Dallas/Ft. Worth Texas on June 4th-6th. James Trimm (of SANJ http://www.nazarene.net) and Yeshayahu (Steve) Heiliczer of ATOM (http://www.teshivah.com) will be among the nine speakers currently planned. Topics include: The Deity of Messiah, A Jewish Perspective; The Dead Sea Scrolls, What do They Mean to Messianic Judaism; The Pharisaic School of Hillel and Messianic Judaism; Addressing the Anti-Yeshua movement; Jewish Hermeneutics; Messianic Jewish Halachah; The Kosher Laws and Messianic Jews; The Semitic Origin of the New Testament; And more! For more information write: SANJ; PO Box 471; Hurst, TX 76053; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration fee of $60.00 ($100.00 for couples) due by March 15th. The Netzarim ‘99 conference is sponsored by SANJ (http://www.nazarene.net) and the International Nazarene Beit Din (http://www.nazarene.net/beitdin).
New Services in Canton, Ohio
We are pleased to announce a new group that meets for Sabbath and Holy Day Services in Canton, Ohio. The address is: The Canton Hilton; 320 Market Ave. South; Canton, Ohio 44702; Tel: 330-454-5000. Sabbath Services begin at 10:30 a.m. Holy Day Services begin at 2:00 p.m.
An optional Video Bible Study presentation from United Christian Ministries by founder, Ray Wooten follows shortly after services. For further information please contact by e-mail: Sunburst@neo.lrun.com or United Christian Ministries; PO Box 361725; Hoover, AL 35236-1725.
Free Northeastern Churches of God Newsletter
This newsletter is about 14 pages in length and comes out every two months. It focuses on events of the Northeast USA and personal growth articles. It is edited by Rick Beltz. Write to: Northeastern Churches of God Newsletter; PO Box 674; Middletown, CT 06457-0674. E-mail: email@example.com.
Free Texas Newsletter
Green Pastures Gazette is available to anyone near Texas. It is about 6 pages in length and comes out monthly. It covers many Sabbatarian fellowships and events in Texas. It also contains short articles. Write Green Pastures Gazette; PO Box 11243; Fort Worth, Texas 76110; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free E-mail Newsletters
Michael Turner produces two email newsletters which might interest some of our readers: the Weekly Old World Order Watch and Opinion (WOWOWO) and the Balkan Bungle Briefing. The first one covers news of Germany and the Catholic Church. The second covers the Balkan war. I believe Michael Turner relies too heavily on Herbert Armstrong’s prophetic interpretations, but the news aspect is very good, and his analysis seems better "thought out" than most. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Dial-In Sabbath Service Available
The Association for Christian Development (ACD) invites you to join a weekly telephone Sabbath Service at 11:00 am Pacific time (12:00 pm MT, 1:00 pm CT, 2:00 pm ET). All you need to do is pick up the phone and dial 918-222-7158 a few minutes before the start of the service. You will hear a brief welcome message, then be asked to enter a four digit code followed by the pound (#) key which will then bring you into our live Sabbath service. Enter: 0566#. This is not just listening in to a local church service, it is a "telephone connected congregation". You can actually talk as well as listen. Services will run approximately 60 minutes.
Your only costs will be your own call at whatever your long distance rates are. For most of you it will be 10 cents per minute or less. (Some carriers are offering 7.9 cents per minute and a few even offer free weekend calling. You should never pay more than 10 cents a minute—even AT&T offers that.) Your costs for an hour service would be about $4 to $6 dollars. There are, of course, additional costs to the ACD for the conferencing services and for having our own exclusive conference number.
A speaker telephone will let your hand and ear rest, allow you to take notes and allow everyone in a room to hear. A good quality unit can be purchased for about $30-40 dollars. Home churches may find this service a valuable addition to their regular program or as an occasional replacement. You can, of course, just listen alone with your hand set.
Our conference lines are fully interactive which means that should the speaker solicit comments or questions from the telephone congregation, anyone could participate and all would be able to hear the question and answer. One caution: For interactivity to be effective, listeners on speaker phones need to keep a quiet room. (The guy who likes to mumble along with the preacher will need to use the "mute" button on his phone so we all don’t have to hear his running commentary.)
I will be speaking sometimes, but also scheduling a number of outstanding speakers representing various biblical specialties. We will hear from prophecy specialists, NT scholars, OT scholars, Hebrew roots teachers, personal development leaders, and solid biblical expositors. Not all services will be in a preaching format, some will be discussion panels, some in seminar format.
I should state that this program is not intended to compete with the local church congregation. It is always preferable to attend face-to-face with local Christians of like mind when that opportunity is available.
I am now preparing a message for one of our early services on new evidence of post-flood humans. As you know from the biblical record, men and women continued to live a lot longer after the flood (Gen 11). People living 200 to 400 years were common (Abraham lived to 175 and Sarah was knockout beauty queen at 75!), but gradually the human life span shortened to the modern 70-80 range. Many of the bones and skulls of these early post-flood people have been unearthed and analyzed, however, evolutionary scientists have not dealt honestly with the evidence. Let’s just say the evidence didn’t fit their model. There has now been a major breakthrough that properly places "Neanderthal Man" where he belongs—proving that ancient, post-flood man was much less degenerate than we moderns. He matured more slowly, had a stronger immune system and was incredibly powerful. It has also been proven that evolutionists falsified evidence to hide the facts that didn’t fit their naturalistic worldview. It’s a bombshell! It makes the Bible come alive. Don’t miss this one.
Please note our new mailing address:
Association for Christian Development
PO Box 4748; Federal Way, WA 98063
Sabbath Observance on TV News
On Saturday, January 2nd, much of North America was being covered by a blizzard. A Lansing, Michigan, local TV news program was advising everyone to stay home as much as possible. The announcer said that many area churches had cancelled their Sunday services, but their pastors were advising people to observe the Sabbath at home—to spend time with their families—talking, listening and learning. While they obviously meant "Sunday" when they said "Sabbath", this is the first time that this writer has ever heard the term "observe the Sabbath" used in connection with mainstream, popular religion. "Go to church on Sunday" used to be the prevailing expression.
This incident shows that pastors and members alike must be reading their Bibles more. Those of us with years of Sabbatarian experience may find that there are many Bible students who would like to hear how we have observed the Sabbath. We need to search for ways to be together and talk about these things without condemning each other for what we believe.
Sabbatarian Produces Tape/CD
Robin Todd has written, sung, and produced two musical albums. One is a tape, Every Knee Shall Bow, and the other a CD, Our Everything. Five songs are common to the two, the rest are all different. All songs are based on Scriptures, covering themes common to "Church of God" groups, without mentioning any specific groups or leaders. Robin Todd is also available for special music for services and holy days. Contact Robin Todd; 6413 Stephan Ct SE; Lacey, WA 98503; e-mail: RobinSyngs@aol.com.
CGI Program Airs on Odyssey
Starting April 4, 1999, the Odyssey Network will be airing the Armor of God program each Sunday at 5:30 AM Eastern Time. They will run the program a second time for the Pacific time zone. (It will air at 5:30 AM Eastern and Pacific Time, 4:30 AM Central and 3:30 AM Mountain Time).
Odyssey is a nationwide system reaching 30 million homes via cable (check your local guide). In addition, Odyssey is available through the PrimeStar satellite service.
Odyssey is free and unscrambled for C-Band and home-owned satellite dishes. The coordinates are SatCom C3 Transponder 5.
While the time is quite early in the center of the nation, it’s the best slot we’ve ever had in the west. Perhaps we’ll get a better time slot later. The advantage of being able to show Armor of God nationwide in spite of the time slot is the overriding consideration.
Most everyone has a VCR and can record the program and view it later.
—Eric Morris, 903-825-2525
Church of God International
Groups Share UB Feast Services
On the Last Day of Unleavened Bread on April 7, 1999 four churches met together for a joyous celebration of the Last Day of Unleavend Bread in Danville, Illinois. The Churches were UCG Terre Haute, IN, Lafayette, IN Bloomington, IL, and the Biblical Church of God of Danville, Illinois. The attendance was 105 with about 24 from the Biblical Church of God. Offeratory message was given by Gary Pifer, sermons by Guy Swenson speaking about "What is a Christian" in the morning and Victor Kubik about the Kosovo crisis and its impact on Christians in the afternoon. Instead of an afternoon sermonette, four inspiring musical numbers were presented and participated in by all congregations. This was a most encouraging day to all of us!
—Vic Kubik’s web site: www.kubik.org
If church organizations treated others as equals on a regular basis, it would be possible for new people to perceive them all as Christian. New people, eager to learn, often want to listen to more than one group. They should not witness a war, but hear the Bible preached and love for each other. —NSE
UCG Allows Conference Reporters
The council of elders of the United Church of God, an International Association, met March 2 to consider The Journal’s request for publisher Dixon Cartwright to be allowed to attend this year’s general conference, which is scheduled for March 8-9.
Council members agreed to The Journal’s request and voted to invite publisher Cartwright to this year’s meetings and in fact are officially opening this and future conferences to all who are interested in attending, be they reporters, church members or the general public.
The vote of 11 council members who were on the line for the teleconference was unanimous (Jim Franks of Houston did not participate in the meeting). Council member Roy Holladay of Hawkins, Texas, noted during the meeting that The Journal would be present anyway, whether allowed in the actual meeting hall or not, therefore a policy should be implemented that would allow reporters to attend.
Council member and church president Les McCullough of Cincinnati agreed and noted that continuing to prohibit attendance by reporters could pose a problem if, for example, the local Cincinnati newspaper wanted to attend a meeting. "Are we prepared to say, ‘No, we don’t want you around’? What kind of potential problems would that generate? We ought to have one standard for everybody."
Other council members, including Chairman Bob Dick of Washington state and Joel Meeker of St. Louis, concurred. "It should be all or nothing: either open to everybody or closed to everybody," said Mr. Meeker. Mr. Cartwright commended council members for their decision and said he looks forward to covering this year’s get-together.
—The Journal web-site:
This is another bright spot among the Church organizations. If church leaders are using Biblical principles to make decisions that affect brethren all over the world, one would think that they would want others to see their decision-making process as a "light to the world". Unfortunately, stories like the one below still continue: —NSE
UCG Suspends Elder Over Study
In blatant violation of UCG Constitution section "4.5 Expulsion, termination or suspension of membership" UCG employees Larry Greider and Tom Damour "defrocked" a fellow UCG elder. The Council of Elders has sole authority to "expel, terminate, or suspend" membership [elders] in the General Conference (i.e. revocation of UCG ministerial credentials).
Garry D. Pifer, a "UCG-IA elder" received a call from Tom Damour informing him that Larry Greider and Tom Damour had "decided to revoke Garry’s ministerial credentials because he was causing disruption in the church". When confronted with the illegality (and unethical nature) of their actions as spelled out by the UCG constitution, immediate backpedalling was the result. Tom Damour called Garry, saying, "I may have said revoked, but I meant suspended." Unfortunately, he and Larry Greider seem to be unclear on what their own constitution delineates (suspension of membership is the jurisdiction of the UCG Council).
On January 9, 1999, Garry presented a study on the subject of tithing. He clearly specified that it was a presentation of what he’s found upon studying the scriptures and that it is everyone’s responsibility to prove for themselves, not to take his word or anyone else’s. Tapes of this presentation have circulated widely, but very few people have contacted Garry with comments, and only one person has approached Garry with his disagreements about parts of his presentation.
Without discussing any concerns with Garry, Tom Damour and Larry Greider judged the matter, obviously protecting the "interests" of the corporation, not answering the questions regarding what the scriptures stated. Garry’s CCMail account was immediately suspended and his suspension was announced to the congregation. The UCG-IA reason given for this suspension was "blatant heresy" on the part of Garry Pifer. However, the UCG-IA constitution gives the General Conference of Elders the right to vote to approve doctrine, and the only tithing-related doctrine that they have ever voted on was article 2.1.18 in their fundamentals of belief statement:
We believe in tithing as a way of honoring God with our substance and as a means of serving Him in the preaching of the gospel, the care of the Church, attending the festivals and helping the needy.
Gary’s study was not opposed to the above statement as it says tithing is a way to accomplish certain things—it does not say it is "the biblically required way."
Nevertheless, months had elapsed between Pifer’s study and the suspension. There was plenty of time, yet neither the UCG-IA Council of Elders nor the ministry came to talk to Garry.This does not make a promising track record for UCG-IA’s commitment. The sad fact is that too many people are willing to simply give their loyalty to the perceived "best interests" of this organization.
The Restored Church of God
David Pack, former Minister in the Global Church of God, has formed a new church organization, The Restored Church of God (not to be confused with the Restoration Church of God, founded by John Allen). He claims about 1000 members. Dave Pack left citing many problems with the Global Church of God and lack of belief in very specific doctrines. Rex Sexton, a GCG minister, wrote a letter explaining the situation. Here is a part:
Many of the charges Dave makes against others do not hold water when examined. In my experience with Dave I have seen that he has a long history of hearing bits and pieces of things, then making them into grand accusations. In front of the council last week he loudly accused me of not believing that HWA was in the role of Elijah. I told him that was poppycock since I had given a sermon that he was just three weeks ago. When asked where he came up with such nonsense, he said he had heard one statement I made in a sermon on the two witnesses that one of them would have a similar role as Elijah since he would call down fire and announce a 3 1/2 year drought. So Dave heard one small sentence and it grew in his mind into a great accusation against a fellow minister. When I have checked out Dave’s accusations against Bill Swanson and other ministers they have all fallen into the same category.
We have no reason for doubting Mr. Sexton’s statements about Mr. Pack. During the four years of Servants’ News ministry, we have heard far more ministerial abuse complaints about Dave Pack than any other former-WCG minister. Only a few weeks ago, someone brought this statement to our attention from the June 1985 Ambassador Report: "For a number of years now, no WCG minister’s name has appeared more often in letters written to the Report complaining of ministerial abuse."
Notice that Mr. Sexton’s letters said that Dave Pack has a "long history" of making distorted accusations against people. In other words, the GCG knew about his problems for a long time. While this writer worked for the GCG, several complaints against Dave Pack were received—but the GCG kept Mr. Pack as a minister because he was so loyal and so diligent about bringing in new members and money. Is it not amazing to see how an organization will publicly detail the problems of a minister when he does something against the organization, but will rarely ever publicly correct a minister for acts against the brethren (see 1Tim 5:19-20). If church organizations regard themselves as shepherds, it seems that they are much more interested in protecting their fellow shepherds than they are protecting the sheep.
One other quote from Mr. Sexton’s letter which seems very relevant:
Now as a note of personal observation only: This point is my opinion, not fact: I noticed a change in Dave beginning two years ago after he inherited over a million dollars, two health-food stores, and became a "corporation president." His sermons since then that I have heard are laced with self-complimentary observations and references to all of the great accomplishments of his family and ancestors. In conversations he refers often to his "running a corporation" status. Every converted Christian knows that God only can use a man who is "small in his own eyes.."
Did not Herbert Armstrong continually talk about the size of his work and how it grew 30% a year for 30 years? Didn’t he talk about being the one through whom Christ restored truth for the last 1800 years? Didn’t he talk about being chancellor of this, being founder of that? Is the problem with Dave Pack that he is imitating Herbert Armstrong too well?
Mr. Sexton’s letter also stated that Dave Pack had a $200,000 per year budget for salaries and that he was attempting to hire ministers. (This is opposite from most start-up churches who hope to find ministers with enough congregation to support both the minister and part of the headquarters.) Probably some ministers in need of a job will accept Mr. Pack’s offer.
This writer hopes that everyone realizes that Dave Pack’s separation is probably in the best interests of everyone. No church organization has effectively disciplined him in the past. His work will now have to stand on its own merit—he will be seen for what he is. If he treats a member unfairly, he will not be able to pretend to do it "at the request of headquarters"—it will clearly be his responsibility. His past strengths have been commanding and coercing church members. Will he be able to feed his flock? Will he be able to "preach the Gospel"? Will he be able to do this well enough to convince his members that his tiny group is the work of God?
May the Eternal help everyone to be closer to Him, and to see organizations for what they are! —NSE
Sabbatarian Group Plans to Flee
Tom Asperen, a Sabbatarian Bible teacher plans to flee with as many as 100 people to the country of Belize in Central America. From there, he believes he will eventually flee to Egypt and then the Middle East. Some of the people involved are former Worldwide Church of God members. You can read the entire story by subscribing to The Journal, News of the Churches of God, $12 for six monthly issues or $22 for a full year. Ask to start with the April 30, 1999 issue. See the article, below, for why it is important for all Sabbatarians to be concerned about these happenings.
Philadelphia Church of God?
The Philadelphia Church of God, founded in 1988, has long considered itself the true heir to Herbert Armstrong’s work. Internal workings of this organization are kept secret from outsiders as much as possible. The organization regularly suspends or disfellowships members who question its leadership or who are disloyal in some way. One of the main methods used to encourage members to stay faithful is the promise of a "place of safety" in Petra before the tribulation.
Herbert Armstrong taught this doctrine, but it nearly always remained something that God would have to miraculously perform. A very few times Mr. Armstrong mentioned that he might talk to King Hussein of Jordan about the Church staying there, but no plans of any kind were ever made. The WCG never set aside any money to flee.
Former members of the PCG tell us that the PCG has far more advanced plans. They have determined the costs of transportation and lodging for their membership to go to Jordan. Apparently, they have been accumulating a separate fund of several millions to pay for it—but that money has now somehow disappeared and nobody seems to know where. Because of this, several major PCG donors have stopped contributing. We have been unable to confirm this story, but the PCG has dropped many of its TV stations and its normally-punctual Philadelphia Trumpet magazine is now weeks late.
If you know what is happening in the PCG, please share it with us. We need to do all we can to protect people in these cult-like groups, and to prevent a bad name from coming upon Sabbatarian religion. One of the best ways to do this is to publicize this among Sabbatarians so that people who know those in the affected groups can talk to them and hopefully help them to see whether they are following the Eternal or a mixed-up human leader. Also, it is easy for the leaders of such groups to think they are doing the work of God when they announce their plans to their applauding, cheering congregations, but they may reconsider when they see their plans logically examined and exposed in a Sabbatarian publication that they know some of their members read.
If you can help, please do. This writer knows of family breakups, divorces, and even death-threats that have been linked to this organization’s possible plans to flee. —NSE
GCG: A Very Expensive Work
A recent tape from the Global Church of God (GCG) gave some interesting facts, from which we can draw some interesting conclusions. Please realize that the the GCG split at the end of 1998, with most of its members going into Rod Meredith’s Living Church of God (LCG)—these facts currently apply more to that organization’s operations, as the GCG cannot afford any evangelistic programs right now. Before the split, the GCG yearly income was about 8 million dollars per year. It had poured over one million each year into mass evangelism. Since its beginning in 1993, about 605 people had been baptized, 560 of which were either relatives or friends of members. Only 45 people have truly been "new" converts. This amounts to an evangelism cost of over $100,000 per "new baptism". Yes, GCG evangelism probably accomplished other good beside the 45 baptisms. Some members were fed by it, and it may also have led to baptisms not in the GCG. (This writer knows of individuals who were attracted to GCG evangelism, but after briefly attending GCG services switched to independent congregations where their questions were better answered and where they were eventually baptized.)
Nevertheless, the best measure of effectiveness of corporate evangelism is the number of new members baptized. Many corporations stake their reason for existence on doing a "big work" and "reaching the world". Nevertheless, the 560 baptisms of relatives and friends show that the GCG was more effective in its "local works" (congregations) than it is in its "big work". Home fellowships often tend to be even more effective in keeping children and attracting friends. The average corporate member probably does not contribute $100,000 in their lifetime—they will not give enough to cause one new member to be baptized. Whereas I know several people who have personally taught five or ten others about the Bible and helped bring them to the point where they personally decided to be baptized.
Some people might say, "these figures make it obvious that we should abandon GCG/LCG-style evangelism and concentrate on local and personal evangelism." That is true, if you really do it. But this writer has seen many individuals leave big groups, stop contributing, talk about the great freedom they have, and not try to accomplish anything. They are not fooling the Eternal. They would have been better off spending their life tithing to an organization to reach and teach "half a new convert", than they would sitting back and accomplishing nothing. Christ teaches his people that they are called now to accomplish his purpose, and he promises to give the spiritual gifts to do that. But are those brethren who know to do this actually doing it?
Rare Sabbath History Books
Over the past two years I have been busy scanning some out-of-print books and making them available on the Internet. This has been a labor of love. As one who has benefited greatly from the freely distributed literature of the Churches of God here is my chance to share, with gratitude, a little in return.
They are all full versions with graphics (except Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America Vol 1. which is only its first 140 pages or so.) and range from books of 100 to 400 pages. (They will be only about half that many pages on modern paper).The web-site is:
The following are online:
Abram Herbert Lewis: A Critical History of the Sabbath and the Sunday in the Christian Church (Parts 1 & 2), Paganism Surviving in Christianity and Spiritual Sabbathism.
Ahva John Clarence Bond: Sabbath History.
Unknown author: Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America Vol 1.
Missing Plain Truth Lost/Found
For many years, there were no commonly known surviving copies of these issues of The Plain Truth: March 1934, April 1934, January 1938, June 1939, May 1940, and December 1944. Also, only partial editions survived of these issues: May 1934, August 1934, and March 1940. Recently, some of the missing pages were found: August 1934, pages 1 & 2; January 1938, page 1; and March 1940, pages 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, & 9. If you have any of the missing issues, or are are interested in obtaining copies of the missing pages, contact Don Tiger, 1163 E Ogden No 705-261, Naperville Illinois, 60563. Web-site:
Harold Wells Dies at 79
Harold Wells passed away March 10th at his home in Pasadena, California due to cancer. He had been a Pasadena church member since the 1950’s. Harold was well known in the Church. He was a hard-working man all his life and wrote the book You Can Survive, a guide to outdoor survival. While not as well organized as some books, it contains many points not found in most other survival books. I personally spent quite a bit of time talking with Harold Wells when I was in my 20’s and consider him a valuable positive influence in my life!
Harold Wells is survived by his wife Doris (115 Hurlbut Apt 22; Pasadena, California 91105), son, Collyer (132 W. Strassburg Rd.; Front Royal, VA 22630), and at least two grandsons.
Last November, the WCG conducted a survey and received a response from 15,440 adult members. It covered many questions about the day of worship and holy day observance. The majority still favored Sabbath and Holy Day observance, yet 59% "desired to have a service during the Christmas season". Only 37% were interested in a large summer worship conference. (Could this replace the Feast of Tabernacles some day?)
The final question asked members if they were satisfied with the Worldwide Church of God as a denomination: 69% said "yes", 9% said "no", and 22% had mixed feelings. WCG members were more in agreement on this final question than they were on any of the previous questions. Apparently, the main characteristic of a current WCG members is that he or she wants to continue be a WCG member. For some, it may be an unwillingness to admit that the church organization they have supported is wrong. Others may simply not want to leave family and long-time friends. We must remember that Christ said:
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life (Matt19:29).
Recently, the WCG administration seems to be helping those who are having trouble making up their mind. Even though the WCG official policy is still to support any worship day, we have continually receive reports of congregations that are discontinuing their Sabbath services. Some WCG ministers have given entire sermons explaining why Sunday is the best worship day—even using the Sunday resurrection argument.
While some WCG congregations have voted for a Sunday service, others have simply been told that is what they will have—those who disagreed were asked to see the pastor one at a time and not to cause division by discussing it among the brethren. (That way, only the pastor knows who and how many still want to worship on the Sabbath.) In one case, a majority who still wanted to meet on the Sabbath were asked to leave.
We would encourage believers everywhere to welcome those who may be leaving the Worldwide Church of God to meet elsewhere on the Sabbath. All of us have had to face the questions: Should I wait for the Eternal to intervene? Should I stay where I can help my friends? Should I follow my understanding of the Bible no matter what? How much is too much? Because someone else has not answered these questions in the same way or time as we have does not mean that one is more righteous than the other. —NSE
Lawsuit Over SDA Name
The Eternal Gospel Church of Seventh-day Adventist is being sued by the General Conference Seventh-day Adventist. This ministry along with pastor Perez is committed to the practice and the proclamation of the third Angel’s message. Because of this, Pastor Perez, speaker of this ministry, must appear in a Court of Law to answer whatever charges leveled against the ministry [using the name "Seventh-day Adventist"].
Church members from all over the world (South America, North America, Europe, and the Caribbean) have [been] demonstrating full support by praying and fasting unceasingly for divine intervention, words of encouragement, and financial contributions to a "defense funds". Knowing then, that each self-supporting ministry understands the gospel commission of Isaiah 58:1 and the cause we are called on to defend, and that all of us will meet our test at some time or another. We appeal to each ministry to be beside Pastor Perez shoulder to shoulder forming one front with full physical and personal representation, even with your attorneys, making this single case a class action suit. Thus, send a message once and for all to the [SDA] General Conference that unity in Christ can exist. Let’s stand by Pastor Perez, so the apostle Paul’s trying experience in 2 Tim. 4:16 might not be his. Let’s publicize the matter and let everyone know that we need a lot of prayers and financial support:
Eternal Gospel Church of Seventh-day Adventist Defense Funds; PO Box 15138; West Palm Beach, Fl. 33416
—Pastor Chick McGill
There are some important lessons for "Church of God" members in this news item. The Eternal Gospel Church of Seventh-day Adventist is one of the many off-shoots of the main body of Seventh-day Adventists (around 20 million members). They are fighting for the right to use the "Seventh-day Adventist" name, and even more generally, fighting for freedom from any interference from the "big denomination". A "Church of God" approach to this might be "So what, who needs the ‘Adventist’ name?" But what would the many groups you know do if they were sued to stop using any form of the name "Church of God"?
The many SDA-offshoot groups today see themselves as diligently carrying on the spiritual truth that has been taught for 150 years of history using that name. They are the main group that preached both the "advent" (second coming of Christ) and the "Sabbath". To many of them, that is proof that they are the main group God is using. Similarly, many Church of God members have their set of doctrines which they believe make them the main group that God is using.
At the beginning of the article, the ministry said it proclaimed "the third Angel’s message." What is that about? Doesn’t the third angel proclaim "the third angel’s message"? (Rev 14:9.) But we might ask church of God groups: "Didn’t Ezekiel proclaim ‘the Ezekiel warning’?" Now CoG groups have long explanations why Ezekiel could not preach his warning and why it must be done today. Similarly, the SDAs have long explanations why they have to preach "the third angel’s message".
Without discussing whether or not God has given these messages to these groups to preach, it is important to realize how we look to other Bible students when we base the validity of our group on a long explanation of a few verses. —NSE &