News from Local Congregations
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 ask about them before attending their functions.
Everyone is invited to the Sabbath Campers fellowship at Hickory Lake Campground, 11433 S Beardslee Rd in Perry, Michigan, August 18-20. The cost is $16 per night for a campsite with electricity and water (a dump-station is available for RVs). Day use of the camp is $2 per adult and $1 per child. Services will be at 11 a.m. on the Sabbath, followed by at potluck meal at 2:30 p.m. The topics of the message and discussion will be: Why Are Believers Scattered? and Finding Other Believers Near You, moderated by Norman Edwards. An evening sing-along is also planned.
The park has a playground, volleyball, basketball and a field for other sports. The lake accommodates swimmers and small boats. Fire pits and wood are available. Take exit 106 from the I-69 freeway, going south toward Perry on M-52. Turn right at the next stop-light onto Lansing Rd. Go 2˝ miles to Bath Rd. Turn right to go under the freeway; turn right on the next road (Beardslee Rd) and go less than half a mile and the campground will be on your right. You may contact the campground at 517-625-3113. or the hosts, Al and Jeanne Raines, at 810-724-6066.
A number of books and articles have been written about paraphysical experiences of hearing God’s voice in our times. Some describe the events in great detail—some are comparable to those recorded in the Scriptures. Yet, there are few writings anywhere that provide any insight for discerning what is of God.
The trend in churches is to go for two extremes. On one hand there are those who deny any paraphysical event of God in our times. On the other hand there are the Charismatics who accept anything paraphysical as being of God.
The humble attitude of one of Christ’s Apostles has always impressed me. After having had a personal and close relationship with Christ and seeing many miraculous paraphysical events, he still accepted corrections by the Apostle Paul. In our times it is hard to imagine a preacher, evangelist or minister accepting a public correction from another “lower ranking” servant. The Apostle Peter did.
The following are topics of discernment covered in our introductory literature: 1) The present practice of some Charismatics, 2) The learning process of hearing God, 3) How God communicates and the Temple, 4) Three basics of Christ’s teachings, 5) Community of the Heavenly Father and His Son, 6) The preacher and the pastor in God’s congregation, and 7) Why few Bible intellectuals hear God.
For free courses and literature, contact John Purvins: Christ’s Standards publications, PO Box 1, Little Chute, WI 54140; Tel: 920-733-5271; Fax 920-788-2939; e-mail: JPurvins@churchcounsel.com
All brethren are invited to fellowship with us at the Community Building at Walkerton, Indiana every other Sabbath at 11:30 (Indiana time). Recently, we have listened to Ron Dart tapes. Also, Vance Stinson. Of special interest are the videos on the Creation by Carl Baugh, Phd. We will show other videos on the Creation in the future. Come join us for some good hymn singing and some great food.
— Ronald E. Fry: 6899 E St Rd 16, Monticello, IN 47960; 219-278-7231 (after 6 P.M.); e-mail: email@example.com
I personally have known of many people who have used the Bible Sabbath Association’s Directory of Sabbath-observing Groups to find a place to fellowship and learn. Some found nothing worthwhile, but others believed that God used it to help them find a fellowship. The Bible Sabbath Association does not have a doctrinal agenda, other than the Sabbath, so all groups are treated on an equal basis.
You can find instructions and a fill-in the blanks form at the following web sites:
The easiest way for BSA is to use the Excel version of the form and send the file back to them. However, anyone without Internet access may request a form from: Rich & Shirley Nickels: Bible Sabbath Association, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718; Tel: 307-686-5191; Fax: 413-228-0483; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
— Norman Edwards
Have you written your own music/ songs and have professionally recorded them? (Or at least recorded in a good home studio?) Have you produced some good Christian music? Or recorded instrumental music? Let me know!
The Bible Study Web site is collecting music created by church of God people to put on the Internet. We currently have 4 songs and 3 instrumentals now on the site (all offered live on the Internet in stereo, or downloadable in CD-quality). Check it out at:
Of course, any music either must be created by you (referrals welcomed!) or be music you have permission to sell/distribute (we do not want to run into copyright problems). I am neither charging for this service nor paying anyone for their music. (If anyone wants to make some of their songs available on the internet for free and then include an order form for other songs, that is fine.) I look forward to your music and suggestions:
— Alan Ruth: Barnabas Ministries, PO Box 3393, Farmington Hills, MI 48333; e-mail: email@example.com; web site: www.biblestudy.org
The Church of God Restored is pleased to announce the launch of its web site: http://www.cogrestored.org
It is our desire, as always, to serve God’s children. To that end, your comments are invited. As with most new web sites there may be areas that are still under construction. There are other areas that are designed to be updated with timely information.
We believe we have some unique features you will find of value in your walk of faith. Rather than giving you material that you can find on other COG sites, we chose to give you features with refreshing insights. It is our privilege to provide you, God's precious jewels, with a web site you can add to your list of favorites and visit often. May you grow in grace, knowledge, and most importantly the love of Christ which surpasses all else.
In His Service,
— Mardy Cobb, Director of The Church of God, Restored
[Ten years ago, very few WCG members would have ever considered leaving the WCG to go to a small church organization with no “WCG-ordained” elders. Yet, the Church of God Restored is exactly that. From its activities and meetings it appears similar to other WCG splinter-groups. The idea that there is one true church organization that teaches the Sabbath, Holy Days and anti-trinitarianism is gone from most people’s minds. We can expect that groups will survive based on their ability to teach and care for their members as well as to serve others and to preach the Gospel in a way that is appropriate for their size. — NSE]
The Systematic Theology Project (STP) was begun in the 1970’s in the Worldwide Church of God to document, in one place, the Biblical basis for the church teaching on various issues. It was designed to go in a loose-leaf notebook so that changes could be made as new truth was discovered or when better explanations were written.
Herbert Armstrong eventually ended the project, saying that it was contrary to his teaching. From what I read, it largely supported and documented his teaching. The difficulty it produced for Mr. Armstrong however, is that it documented the problems with his teaching. When a booklet or an article was produced on a subject, its main purpose was to teach the subject in an easy-to-understand manner, not to be an exhaustive dissertation. If the booklet left questions in the reader’s mind, a WCG representative could always say, “those will probably be answered in a future article or booklet”. But the STP could not do that. If it did not have the answer, then that probably meant that nobody in the organization had the answer.
For example, it quickly became clear that there were no scriptures mentioning a “third resurrection”, merely an assumption that Revelation 20 is two separate resurrections.
Another example is the tithing doctrine. Almost no WCG tithing articles or booklets attempted to give a biblical or historical explanation of where believers tithed for the 40 years that the Temple still stood. Did they tithe to the Levites or “the Church”? If one says that believers immediately began tithing to the Church, then one has to wonder why the Jews did not simply charge Paul as a Benjamite unlawfully taking tithes, rather than having to make up charges against him. Furthermore, one most wonder why there are so many mentions of offerings given to the Church and no references to tithing.
The STP took the approach that tithing continued to the Levites until the destruction of the temple—and that the Gentiles probably did not tithe anywhere because the Jews of the day did not want tithes from Gentiles outside of Israel. This conclusion is probably right. But then the STP had to go on to justify tithing by saying the church had authority to change tithes to the Church—even though there is no New Testament command or precedent for it. From that point, all that is needed is for someone to ask the question: “When did ‘the Church’ start collecting tithes?” In which case the answer is available in the history of the “Church Fathers”: the Roman church began collecting tithes in the 300s to 400s A.D.
The Systematic Theology Project has been modified to some degree for The Church
of God, Intercontinental, which is the host of its web site. They did not clearly
mark what they changed, but most of it seems to be intact. It should serve as
a good research tool for anyone trying to teach truth or refute error from the
past. It is obviously much more useful than a doctrinal statement because it
explains “why” not just “what”. It can be found at http://www.coginterlink.org/Directory/
For those who do not have home internet access, you can simply take the above URL to a friend’s house with internet access or to a public library and they should be able to help you start looking at it right away.
— Norman Edwards
The United Church of God, an International Association and the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship have agreed to send delegates to a joint meeting. (The CGCF consists largely the ministry and membership of the Global Church of God, after the corporation was dissolved.) The purpose of the meeting is not to merge the organizations, but simply to explore how they can cooperate and where they have common ground. The first meeting date is set for August 14-15.
Both of these groups have already acknowledged the other as brethren. I hope that they will discuss how they explain the existence of each other to new believers in Biblical terms. In Christ’s day, there were religious parties, such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, etc. Jesus did not join any of them. Paul was raised as a Pharisee, but did not teach others to become so. In fact, Paul told believers not to align themselves with certain teachers (1Cor 1:11-17; 3:1-8). Will these men continue the “church organization” or “religious party” system?
— Norman Edwards
I recently read your recent article on the events of the Global Church of God, Living Church of God, Restored, etc. [Servants’ News, Jan/Feb 2000, p 18] Since any accurate article should be correct in its statement of facts I found three statements that need correcting.
1) You incorrectly stated that the GCG kept TV and accounting employees so they would not go work for the LCG. There were 4 accounting employees and 6 total finance employees. All except the accounts payable clerk and J Edwin Pope supported Dr Meredith from the beginning and all are with him at LCG. In fact, due to the complexity of payroll reporting with ministers in several different states, GCG had to contract out some accounting work to keep the functions going. Also, Mr Pope had major heart surgery and was not able to work and the AP clerk did not have the budgeting and accounting background to oversee the finance area. They had to hire an accounting employee to see them through.
There were four radio and TV employees before the split. Two of them went with LCG and two stayed with GCG. They did attempt to produce a TV show but did not have the resources to keep it on the air.
The GCG mistake was not taking advice they were given by the LCG: in order to survive financially, they had to immediately lay off most of their HQ staff and even a couple of ministers.
It is interesting that the GCG board did not see this problem because one of their main complaints against Rod Meredith before the split was that he was running the organization into debt. The "board" did not want to believe the budget could be balanced including debt payments with no reduction in preaching the gospel. The GCG was making great strides in repaying all the debt incurred under the prudent and skillful financial management of Fred Dattolo, now current CFO of LCG.
2) You stated that LCG and GCG were virtually the same doctrinally. There is a big difference in their position on government.
[The GCG board certainly believed in government by a board, rather than one-man rule. But I do not think there was much difference at the local level. The local minister was still required to do whatever headquarters asked. A local GCG congregation was not free to select its own elders or to implement questions and answers in their services. — NSE.]
3) Dave Pack was not removed by Rod Meredith from being a director or a paid minister. He was removed from being a regional pastor and from the ministerial advisory council, but was never removed from the paid ministry.
[The writer of the above is personally known to me, but requested anonymity. I have received another letter with corrections to the same article which I may print later pending the writer’s approval. Getting facts in these situations is difficult as most leaders of organizations do not reply to the letters I send to them. —NSE]
Send Us Your News!
or not, publication editors are not people who automatically know
whats going on. The only way we know about significant events
is by somebody telling us, by reading a publication or by asking various
groups what they are planning. We simply do not have time to contact numerous
groups before each issue to get their current news. We receive a lot of
publications, but cannot read all of them. Many groups do not have a publication.