Letter: August 6, 2001
Dear Servants’ News,
Hey, hope you and yours are okay. Thank you for your reply to my previous letter, and give my best to the scattered brethren in your area. Your writings are full of sincere concern for the brethren, especially, it seems, those who are not wanting to join up with the so-called “organized” churches. You certainly do study God’s word and provide a service to God’s people.
However, let me say right away that your calling the Church of God Evangelistic “a cult-like organization” shocked and disappointed me greatly. Worldwide started berating the brethren as being a cult for obeying God’s Seventh-day Sabbath, Holy Days, Ten Commandments, etc. Joe Tkach, Jr.’s new buddy, Hank (Bible Answer Man) Hanegraff calls all who obey these commands a cult.
The government agencies and politicians who were responsible for the murder of people and pets and the destruction of personal property at Ruby Ridge and Waco called these Christians “cults”. All the people who attended the Waco church, as well as the Weavers, kept God’s Seventh Day, the Holy Days, and Ten Commandments to the best of their abilities. Some of those who made it out alive were tried in a court of law and found “not guilty” of any crimes. A federal judge illegally overturned that verdict and sentenced them to 40 years in the pen. The Tribulation has started for these Christians in these United States, as it has started for Christians in the Sudan, China, and Rwanda, to name just a few places on planet earth. Language is being changed. “Home” becomes “compound”. “Church” becomes “cult”. Ten Tribes information becomes white separatist/supremacist.
Since Spring of 1997, I’ve listened to “News Watch” on Christian and secular radio, heard tapes, and attended Feasts of Tabernacles and heard messages given by the Church of God Evangelistic and I have yet to hear any dates being set by them. Those folks who moved to Texas and soon moved back should read the July/Aug 2000 Servants’ News article “Unless the Lord Shall Build a House…” Trying to merely save one’s hide is not what God is looking for in His people.
I read all of Acts 5 trying to understand Acts 5:36 in context. Please state plainly why you used Acts 5:36. Theudas is #2333 and Gamaliel is #1059 in Strong’s Concordance.
I never heard the Church of God Evangelistic say that they’re “the one group”. Mr. Smith very much has a gift in the direction of prophecy. “News Watch” is warning this country. You don’t know the heart of David J. or any of the brethren (like me) that benefit from “News Watch”. It’s not right to call our brethren a “cult”. We get enough of that from the world.
Mr. Edwards, I know you’re one of the good guys, but wrong is wrong. Thanks and God Bless.
— Patricia Brummett, Texas
Response: Thank you for the correction. I should have been more factual rather than just labeling David J. Smith’s group a “cult-like organization”. Please see the article and letter published on page 19 in this issue. Certainly Mr. Smith is claiming a bit much about himself. On the other hand, leaders of the WCG and other Church of God groups have made even more grandiose claims about themselves, and I have been more patient with them.
I appreciate Mr. Smith’s efforts to cover the news of Ruby Ridge, Waco and similar stories. It is very clear to me that the U.S. government and related agencies were the primary cause of trouble in these cases. They took situations where no lives were threatened and turned them into blood-baths. I have also read about large numbers of Christians being killed and persecuted in the nations you mention.
I have considered covering some of these items in my publications, but I simply have been unable to resolve much of the conflicting information from the government, the mainstream press and the “independent” news sources. Far too many of the “independent” sources also twist or rewrite the news to fit their own conspiracy or prophetic theories. In my view a “patriot” or “preacher” who invents stories to get people on his side or to sell his literature is no better than government or media people who lie. I do not have time to write Bible articles, help people find and start congregations, send out literature and sort out all of these things, too. Now, I do not know of any one alternate news source that I could recommend. I am not saying there is not one, but I have not found and thoroughly checked out one enough to recommend.
The reason I said I hoped Mr. Smith would not fulfill the roll of Theudas was because I hope he does not do what Theudas did. Theudas was a leader against the Roman government which, like ours, was corrupt. He gathered hundreds of people to himself, but it “came to nothing”. Mr. Smith gathered people to himself due to his prophetic understanding and dreams. I do not know the hearts of David J. Smith or Theudas, but it appears that their gathering of people to themselves was not from God.
By contrast, Simon (Luke 6:15) was a zealot—a member of an anti-Roman group. He left his group to become one of Jesus apostles. At that time, God was not helping Jews rebel against Rome (as he apparently did in the time of the Maccabees), but was training men to preach and write a message about Jesus Christ. That event would have the greatest impact on the world for the next 2,000 years. During those 2,000 years, many other leaders have sought to gather people to them for protection against, or even to defeat corrupt governments. Religious freedom came about that way and our own nation was born that way. It seems that God helped some of these “rebels”, but other’s quests ended with no results.
It is good to report news that is true, even though it is critical of powerful people and difficult for some to believe. It is a mistake to support causes that God does not. May He show each of us how we can best serve Him now!