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.
You are invited to hear two Sabbath messages on Saturday May 18, 2002 at the Unity East Church, 23057 Nunneley, Clinton Township, MI 48036. Jeff and Sharon Ledy will speak on Conflict Resolution from 12 noon to 1:30 pm, followed by a potluck meal, then Love Languages from 3:00 to 4:30 pm. Take I-94 north out of Detroit; at exit 236 go west on Metro Parkway, cross Harper Ave then look for Unity East Church on the north side; pass it, turning right onto N. Nunneley.
The Ledys have presented these and other messages at Feasts and seminar weekends. The topics are from their marriage seminar, but are helpful to people of all ages, married or single. I think most brethren would find them very edifying. The Ledys and my family both attend the Church of God Fellowship in Haslett, Michigan. Contact Allen Turner at 586-463-3856 or Jeff Ledy at 517-625-6383.
I have found several good places for a Feast of Tabernacles 2002 site, and will be choosing one shortly. I am interested in sites similar to the Chadron State Park site we used last year (see Sept/Oct 2001 issue). It had a place with a central meeting/dining hall where we did our own cooking and a variety of accommodations, from motels to cabins to camping. I will provide information in the next issue
— Norman Edwards
If you have not already done so, please send information on other Feast of Tabernacles sites that welcome non-aligned believers. We are especially interested in sites held with calendars other than the Jewish Calendar. Many calendars are a whole month different than the Jewish Calendar this year and so it does not work to attend with another group that is only a day off. Even if just a few families gathering, please send Feast information: location, dates, contact information, and a few sentence description of what this site is like (traditional CoG sermonette and sermons, completely interactive, shared meals, use sacred names, planned activities, etc.). While we understand and appreciate long messages about the greatness of God’s Feasts and the beauty of various places He has created, we do not have room to include them all. Send detailed literature like this to those who contact you.
Think On These Things, a professionally produced CD and audio cassette with 16 inspirational songs by poet Barri Armitage, includes several songs which focus on the Spring Holy Days: Oh, Lord, You Have Searched Me, Healed By His Stripes, Bought With a Price, Song of Moses, and songs adapted from Psalms 113 and 116, traditional psalms for those days. Barri has poetically adapted scriptures and set them to folk melodies. Servants’ News provides free copies of Sheet Music to this album. To obtain the CD, send check or M.O. to: Barri Armitage, 13904 N. Gate Dr., Silver Spring, MD 20906. Prices (which include S&H): $16.00/CD; $12/cassette; $8.00/song sheet set; $10.00/CD or cassette with piano only. International orders, add $l.00. Maryland residents add sales tax of $0.68/CD, $0.50/cassette, $0.30/ song sheet set, and $0.40/ (piano only) CD or cassette. For shipping discounts on orders of 2 or more, or if someone cannot afford the full price, contact Barri at the address above or e-mail: email@example.com. Any profits will go toward producing her next CD, Comfort You My People. For details about the performers and to hear song samples, visit www.dovesongs.com.
Ray Wooten will be speaking at the Sabbath Campers Fellowship weekend, August 23-25. at Shady Green Pastures, near Charlotte, Michigan. A Bible study will be held Friday night. The Sabbath schedule is: 11:00 a.m. singing, noon services, and a 3:00 p.m. potluck meal. Saturday evening, there will be a concert by The Northmen,a Gospel quartet from Indiana, at 7:00 p.m. Recreational activities are planned for Sunday. More details will be provided in future issues. If you would like to help or need more information now, contact:
A new Church of God fellowship has been formed and is now meeting weekly on Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m. All in the greater Metro Detroit area are invited to attend. Please contact us at: Messianic Church of God, P.O. Box 214036, Auburn Hills, MI 48321. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Our website address is: mcog.israelite.info. Phone: 248-853-6675. We would greatly appreciate any service you can be to us by spreading the word. Thank you!
Don Frith and Jory Brooks
Dr. Ernest Martin, 69, died in his Portland, Oregon home, January 16, 2002. He is survived by his wife, Ramona, one son and two daughters. He suffered a heart attack while working at his computerhaving largely recovered from a heart attack on January 4th.
He graduated from Ambassador College in 1958, received an M.A. in 1962 and a Ph.D. in 1966. From 1960 to 1972, he was Senior Professor of History and Theology at the Brickett Wood campus. He also served as Dean of Faculty and secured an alliance with Hebrew University in Israel to bring students to help with archeological digs. Dr. Martin’s style did not fit in well with the growing centralized control in the WCG. His desire to study deeply and to write whatever conclusions were produced by his analysis of the facts caused him to split off from the WCG in 1974.
After leaving the WCG, he started the Foundation for Biblical Research and the the Associates for Scriptural Knowledge (A.S.K.) in 1985. During this time he authored 10 books, 200 booklets and 200 taped lectures. His ministry was different from the typical WCG splinter-group ministry in that it did not claim to be the one church and most of those served were not former members of the WCG. Furthermore, Dr. Martin interacted with mainstream Bible scholars and some actually respected his work. I have seen him interviewed on network TV for a couple of biblical documentaries. The premise of his book, The Star that Astonished the World, was accepted by numerous planetariums throughout the world and used as the explanation of the star seen by the Magi that came to the birth of Christ. (You can see an animated presentation of this at the A.S.K. website: www.askelm.com.)
Martin also did extensive research on the original location of the temples in Jerusalem. He was convinced that neither temple was located on the site of the Dome of the Rock mosque, but south of the so-called Temple Mount and Western Wall, in the city of David over the Gihon Springs. If his research is accepted by the rabbis currently hoping to build a temple, it may be possible to do what many have formerly considered impossible—build a Jewish Temple without destroying the Dome of the Rock.
Dr. Martin was also the fundamental inspiration for the Original Bible Project, in the process of completion by James Tabor.
I have only read part of Ernest Martin’s work, and have disagreed with some of his conclusions—he appeared to believe in universal salvation and did not observe the Sabbath and other laws the way that I do. But nor did he accept the false doctrines of mainstream Christianity. Nevertheless, I think he set a fine example in methodology. He gave reasons for his conclusions and was usually willing to discuss opposing points of view. He recognized and appreciated the work of many others, even though they disagreed with him. While being widely read and seeming to have an opinion on most Biblical subjects, he did not have to have “the limelight”. I remember he graciously accepted my talking through most of his time slot in a 3-man presentation on the Biblical calendar that I shared with him. I asked him if he wanted me to stop, but he said “keep going” and spoke for only a few minutes at the end. (He did agree with my conclusion and I think was rather amused by my rather youthful presentation at the time.)
The death of this diligent Bible student ought to give Church of God brethren a moment to think about the past and the future. Most of Dr. Martin’s books are still available at Amazon.com, though some are out of print—only used books for sale. There are no books written against him. Whereas, of 20 books listed under “Herbert W Armstrong”, only one actually written by him is still in print—a republication of his early writings edited by Richard Nickels. Used copies of eight of his out-of-print books are there. And then there are 11 books about him—eight of which are against him! As some of our older Sabbatarian leaders and teachers finish their time in this life, we must think about what we will leave behind and where our new leaders will come from. Remember, excellent works like Adam Clarkes commentary are still in use 175 years later.
I believe Dr. Martin was blessed by our Father in that he spent no great amount of time suffering, but spent all but a few days of his life studying and teaching—the things he liked to do best. May God bless us with more men with a similar desire to study and teach.
Previous issues of Servants News have indicated that the Original Bible Project was scheduled to be complete in the year 2000, but it has been delayed a couple of years in an effort to keep its accuracy and consistency at the highest possible level. The Original Bible Project is largely the work of James Tabor and is an effort to produce a translation with an accurate meaning within the known historical and linguistic context, avoiding traditional religious interpretations.
Consistency is not an easy task in Bible translation. When different members of a translation team work on different sections of the Bible, it is quite easy for some words to be translated differently by each team. Even the well-respected King James Version has this problem. For example, the Hebrew moed means appointed times and is most often used to refer to Gods appointed times, the Sabbath and Holy Days. Yet the KJV translates it as: congregation, feast, season, appointed, time, assembly, solemnity, solemn, days, sign, synagogues. When moed is translated congregation it is almost always in the phrase tabernacle of the congregation, which would be better translated tabernacle of meetings or tabernacle of appointed times or tabernacle of Feasts. The other greatly varying translations obscure the importance of Gods appointed times, making it very difficult for a person to study the Feasts in the Bible with only an English language concordance. This is just one of many difficult situations a translator faces.
Dr. Robert Haak of Augustana College has been hired to edit the entire Old Testament. Arrangements to find an editor for the New Testament are being made. Both Dr. Haak and Dr. Tabor have arranged for Sabbaticals from their universities for the fall of 2002, so the entire Old Testament should be available near the end of 2002.
I have sample pages of this Bible and I think most Bible students will find it very helpful. While I do not feel that this is a translation that will make all other translations obsolete, it is certainly one worth reading all the way through, and I am sure that I will frequently check it when studying Scripture. You can contact the Original Bible Project at 408 South Pasadena Ave Suite 1; Pasadena, California 91105; 626-799-2000; website: www.centuryone.org/obp.html.
I mentioned the Fellowship Forum (www.boards2go.com/boards/board.cgi?&user KevinWelch) in the July/Aug issue (p 5). It appears to have largely changed into a forum trying to figure out what, if any, of the New Testament is true. I do not recommend it at this time. I have posted a message on this forum explaining more about my reasons.
This Proclaiming the Sabbath More Fully conference will
be held Pentecost weekend, at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan,
V. E. Garber Auditorium in Chan Shun Hall, May 17-19, 2002 Presenters include:
Peter Sander, Schaumburg, IL Ha'dlakat Ha'nerot and Kidush (Friday-evening
candle lighting service), Havdalah and Nerot b'Shavuot (end of Sabbath service
when followed by a holy day); Samuele Bacchiocchi, Berrien Springs,
The Sabbath and the Savior; Richard Washington, Inkster, Michigan,
He Shall Think to Change; Michael Horton, Chicago, Illinois
(LETHOR510@aol.com) Christ as Liberator
in the Feasts: Worship Renewal; Sidney L. Davis, Jr., ND North
Chicago, Illinois (email@example.com),
The Law in Galatiansan examination of the 1888 message and its
impact on the SDA theology of the law; Tom Stapleton, B.C., Canada
(firstname.lastname@example.org), The Daily of Daniel 8, How the
daily and the prophetic time periods of Daniel relate to the festal
calendar; John Merritt, MD Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (YHN26@aol.com),
There is no such thing as The Old Covenant, or The New Covenant;
Merwin Abbott, Norman, Arkansas (email@example.com)
Appointed Time After the Nailing; David Schwingel, Chicago,
Illinois (Ulairiver@aol.com), Opening
the SealsA Day of Two Earthquakes.
M. Basner, 918-521-1414; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Registration Information: www.andrews.edu/services/sabbathconference/2002/registration.php3
Theses are highlights of the Edwards family 2-week winter trip:
Friday night, Dec 21 was spent at the home of Brian & Samantha Hoeck near Chicago. We attended the afternoon Sabbath service there which was held in a library conference room and included some out-of-town guests. We enjoyed the interactive study conducted by Don Reed. Then I spoke about starting a local congregation. Many said that it helped them understand how to better work together.
We then traveled to Colorado and spent a few days with Matt and Robin Laws and family, then Leo and Anna Bredehoft and family. Friday, the 28th, we rehearsed music for the Sabbath, and then spent the evening with Howard and Theresa Naasz in Littleton (a southern suburb of Denver). The newspaper announcement for the Starting a Local Congregation seminar was properly submitted, but was not printed by the Denver papers. I had prayed that non-CoG people would come only if it were God’s will for them to do so. While I believe that Church of God groups must learn to reach out to others, it is more difficult to structure a message to be helpful to both groups. As it was, over 50 former CoG people attended and we were able to cover a lot of ground in regard to starting a local congregation. Many helpful comments and questions were raised by the brethren in attendance. I learned a lot from this meeting and hope to write more about forming congregations in the future. Several people remarked that it gave them a better understanding of how brethren from diverse backgrounds can function together. Many of those attending went to a restaurant for dinner after the Sabbath.
Sunday morning, December 30, we went south from Denver and saw the Royal Gorge. It is a canyon that is over 1,000 feet deep but only a few hundred feet wide at the top. It is an excellent demonstration of the erroneous evolutionary thinking for most modern geologists. The website says (at www.royalgorgebridge.com/history.htm):
It is estimated that the Royal Gorge was three million years in the making. The Arkansas River (at 1,400 miles, one of the longest rivers in America) has cut its channel more than a thousand feet deep through the granite at the estimated average of one foot every 2,500 years.
What is wrong with that? It was evident to me that there has been wind and rain erosion of the sides of the canyon at a rate much faster than one foot every 2,500 years. It seems that over a foot of rock and dirt had eroded away from some of the man-made structures that are less than 100 years old. One could see places in the bottom of the gorge where piles of rubble sat that had fallen from the sides. Obviously, I could not take accurate measurements in one visit, nor could I find any data on the Internet, but if the sides are eroding at an average of one foot every hundred years (or even one foot every thousand years), and the bottom at only one foot every 2,500 years, then the canyon would be wider than it is deep. But it is not! The 1,000-foot depth and only few-hundred-foot width clearly show that at some time in the past this canyon must have been cut very quickly! Water receding from a great flood would do just such a thing.
We went to Dallas/Fort Worth on Monday the 31st. We met with my cousin who explained about a non-denominational service organization in which he was involved. I may write more about it in the future. We also visited my wife’s family. We went to the Fayetteville Arkansas area where I visited my parents and also spent an hour with Tom and Thelma Justus. He now serves an independent congregation, which merged with a Church of God Seventh Day group several years back. While the Church of God Seventh Day does not usually observe the annual Holy Days, they asked to hear the Feast of Trumpets message when it fell on a Sabbath. I had never thought of congregational mergers as a way to teach Holy Days, but that is what has happened.
On January 3rd, we stopped at Eldon, Missouri, the home of John and Debbie Sash. We discussed many things, including some of the difficulty in learning and teaching the truth about history. Debbie has been continuing her college to obtain a master’s degree in history. Some interesting information about the civil war: In school, we heard about Abraham Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation that set the slaves free. But how many of us ever read the proclamation? It is only about 700 words; it nicely fits on one page. It is actually a restatement and clarification of an earlier proclamation. But both proclamations freed the slaves only in the souththe states in rebellion against the union: all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free. The proclamation goes into great detail as to exactly which states and parts of states were under southern controland shows that slaves were only freed there. A popular history book I have on the civil war leaves out most of this detail from the proclamation, making it difficult to determine that Lincoln only freed the slaves in the South. It was several years before the Northern slaves were freed. If the civil war were about slavery, why didnt Lincoln free the slaves in the North first? Should not one clean up ones own house first?
The Civil War was about states rights versus a strong central government
and (like most wars) it was about money. As it was, General Lee and other
Southern leaders did not own slaves because they felt it was morally wrong.
Mr. Lincoln and Northern General Grant kept their slaves throughout the entire
war. There were many other abuses during the Civil War. The entire state of
Missouri was placed under martial law and people were forcibly removed from
several counties. Unarmed citizens were executed by the military without trials
and without even being charged with crimes. We should want to know how that
happened, rather than say, it cannot happen today.
We visited my wifes sister in Indiana and returned home to a fax, 17 phone messages, about 100 letters and about 250 e-mails. About half were duplicates, junk mail, etc. But the others still represent a lot of work. It was a very beneficial trip for many of us.
Norman & Marleen Edwards
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