Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Sermon: Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion

Saturday, February 13th, 2016


19th Century French Illustration

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:


1:13:29

Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion

What is pornography? Is pornography harmless fun? Or does it provide false comfort and distort one’s views on matters of sexuality? Does the Bible really prohibit it? If so, where? Can men and women be affected by it? Do you know how often people view pornography on the internet? What does pornography have in common with false religion? Does the emperor have no clothes? Are we seeing the pornification of our youth? What are ten steps to help break the addiction to pornography? How can you change?

Here is a link to the sermon: Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society? Here is a link to a sermon Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion.
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon lands. What are some of the consequences?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Pope Francis, Lent, Easter, and the original faith

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016


Orthodox Church in ‘Lenten Vestments,’ Czech Republic (Frettie)

COGwriter

Roman Catholics are now observing Lent.

Today, Pope Francis said:

February 10, 2016

I wish you a blessed Lent.

May Our Lady of Pompeii accompany you and, please, pray for me

[Original text: Italian] [Translation provided by Vatican Radio] https://zenit.org/articles/in-lenten-audio-message-pope-urges-young-people-to-remember-god-gives-joy-more-than-world-ever-can/

Here is something related to the ‘Lady of Pompeii’:

A young girl from Naples, Fortuna Agrelli, was suffering from a painful, incurable disease. She had been given up by the most celebrated physicians. On February 16, 1884, the afflicted girl and her relatives commenced a novena of Rosaries. The Queen of the Holy Rosary favoured her with an apparition on March 3rd. Mary, sitting upon a high throne, surrounded by luminous figures, held the Divine child on her lap, and in her hand a Rosary. The Virgin Mother and the holy Infant were clad in gold-embroidered garments. They were accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. Fortuna marveled at the beauty of Mary and asked her as “Queen of the Rosary,” for her cure. Mary replied that, since she had called her by a title that was so pleasing to her, she could not refuse her request; she then told her to make three novenas of the rosary to obtain all she asked for. The child was indeed cured, and soon after Mary appeared to her again saying: “Whosoever desires to obtain favors from me should make three novenas of the prayers of the Rosary in petition and three novenas in thanksgiving.” This is how the Rosary Novena devotion to Mary originated.

In 1883, a sanctuary was built for the image and consecrated in 1891. Many miracles are attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Pompeii. The image of Our Lady of Pompeii represents Our Lady of the Rosary as Queen of Heaven. http://www.marypages.com/OurLadyofPompeii.htm

So, idolatry and the ‘queen of heaven,’ two subjects the Bible teaches against are associated the the Lady of Pompeii (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions)yet Pope Francis endorses that and asks for protection from that ‘Lady’ for Lent.

Last year, Pope Francis taught the following about Lent:

February 22, 2015

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last Wednesday, Lent began with the Rite of Ashes, and today is the first Sunday of this liturgical time that makes reference to the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, after his baptism in the Jordan River. …

And in the end of the Lenten itinerary, in the Easter Vigil, we can renew with greater awareness the Baptismal covenant and the commitments that flow from it. May the Blessed Virgin, model of docility to the Spirit, help us to let ourselves be led by Him, who wishes to make each of us a “new creature.” http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/angelus-address-on-crossing-the-lenten-desert

To many Roman Catholics all of that probably seemed fine. Many probably considered it to the inspirational. But this is not inspired by God, nor was Pope Francis teaching the original faith.

Notice what Saint Jude wrote from a Catholic-approved translation of the Bible:

3 I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. (Jude 3, Douay-Rheims)

So let’s see if he was contending for the faith once delivered to the saints when he promoted Lent, Ash Wednesday, Easter, and the Blessed Virgin.

Notice that he mentioned Lent and tried to tie it in with Jesus spending 40 days in the desert. While it is true that Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert, scriptural indications are that this would have been in the Fall and not the Spring. How can that be determined?

Eusebius, the Greco-Roman “father of church history,” taught that Jesus’ ministry lasted 3 1/2 years. Since Jesus was killed in the Spring, going back 3 1/2 years puts the beginning in the Fall.

Notice also the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

The chronology of the public life offers a number of problems to the interpreter…

But a comparison of St. John’s Gospel with the Synoptic Evangelists seems to introduce another pasch, indicated in the Fourth Gospel, into Christ’s public life. John 4:45, relates the return of Jesus into Galilee after the first pasch of His public life in Jerusalem, and the same event is told by Mark 1:14, and Luke 4:14. Again the pasch mentioned in John 6:4 has its parallel in the “green grass” of Mark 6:39, and in the multiplication of loaves as told in Luke 9:12 sqq. But the plucking of ears mentioned in Mark 2:23, and Luke 6:1, implies another paschal season intervening between those expressly mentioned in John 2:13 and 6:4. This shows that the public life of Jesus must have extended over four paschs, so that it must have lasted three years and a few months. Though the Fourth Gospel does not indicate this fourth pasch as clearly as the other three, it is not wholly silent on the question. The “festival day of the Jews” mentioned in John 5:1, has been identified with the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Expiation, the Feast of the New Moon, the Feast of Purim, the Feast of Dedication, by various commentators; others openly confess that they cannot determine to which of the Jewish feasts this festival day refers. Nearly all difficulties will disappear if the festival day be regarded as the pasch, as both the text (heorte) and John 4:35 seem to demand (cf. Dublin Review, XXIII, 351 sqq.). (Maas, Anthony. “Chronology of the Life of Jesus Christ.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 22 Feb. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08377a.htm>)

So, between 3 years and a few months to less than four years, is consistent with the belief that Jesus ministry lasted about 3 1/2 years.
Presuming that Jesus began His ministry on the Feast of Trumpets, the beginning of the Jewish civil ‘new year,’ and ended on Passover, it would have lasted about 3 1/2 years.

Here is how The Catholic Encyclopedia defines Lent:

The Teutonic word Lent, which we employ to denote the forty days’ fast preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season (Thurston H. Transcribed by Anthony A. Killeen. A.M.D.G. Lent. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, Lent means the Spring season (it may be of interest to note that Easter is a Teutonic word as well).

But since Lent means Spring and Lent now begins and is primarily in the Winter, where did it really come from?

Certainly not from the Bible!

Notice that The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that the claim by some that this was observed by the Apostles is unfounded:

Some of the Fathers as early as the fifth century supported the view that this forty days’ fast was of Apostolic institution…But the best modern scholars are almost unanimous in rejecting this view…Formerly some difference of opinion existed as to the proper reading, but modern criticism (e.g., in the edition of Schwartz commissioned by the Berlin Academy) pronounces strongly in favor of the text translated above. We may then fairly conclude that Irenaeus about the year 190 knew nothing of any Easter fast of forty days…And there is the same silence observable in all the pre-Nicene Fathers, though many had occasion to mention such an Apostolic institution if it had existed. We may note for example that there is no mention of Lent in St. Dionysius of Alexandria (ed. Feltoe, 94 sqq.) or in the “Didascalia”, which Funk attributes to about the year 250 (Lent. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

Notice what the Catholic Socrates Scholasticus admitted around the beginning of the fifth century:

The fasts before Easter will be found to be differently observed among different people. Those at Rome fast three successive weeks before Easter, excepting Saturdays and Sundays. Those in Illyrica and all over Greece and Alexandria observe a fast of six weeks, which they term ‘The forty days’ fast.’ Others commencing their fast from the seventh week before Easter, and fasting three five days only, and that at intervals, yet call that time ‘The forty days’ fast.’ It is indeed surprising to me that thus differing in the number of days, they should both give it one common appellation; but some assign one reason for it, and others another, according to their several fancies. One can see also a disagreement about the manner of abstinence from food, as well as about the number of days. Some wholly abstain from things that have life: others feed on fish only of all living creatures: many together with fish, eat fowl also, saying that according to Moses, Genesis 1:20 these were likewise made out of the waters. Some abstain from eggs, and all kinds of fruits: others partake of dry bread only; still others eat not even this: while others having fasted till the ninth hour, afterwards take any sort of food without distinction. And among various nations there are other usages, for which innumerable reasons are assigned. Since however no one can produce a written command as an authority, it is evident that the apostles left each one to his own free will in the matter, to the end that each might perform what is good not by constraint or necessity. Such is the difference in the churches on the subject of fasts (Socrates Scholasticus. Ecclesiastical History, Volume V, Chapter 22).

Since the Babylonians took over the Greeks and the Egyptians, that may have been when they started this practice.

Notice:

But the original length of the fast, traced back to Babylon was a “forty-days” fast in the spring of the year (Laynard’s Nineveh and Babylon, chapter 4, page 93). That is why it bore its name of “40 days”! (Hoeh, H. Did Jesus Observe Lent? Plain Truth. February 1982, p. 30).

It is likely that the idea of a forty-day fast came from Alexandria in Egypt or from Greece.

The historian Alexander Hislop apparently felt so as he wrote:

The forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, “in the spring of the year,” is still observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devil-worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians. Such a Lent of forty days was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans, for thus we read in Humboldt, where he gives account of Mexican observances: “Three days after the vernal equinox…began a solemn fast of forty days in honour of the sun.” Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt, as may be seen on consulting Wilkinson’s Egyptians. This Egyptian Lent of forty days, we are informed by Landseer, in his Sabean Researches, was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god. At the same time, the rape of Proserpine seems to have been commemorated, and in a similar manner; for Julius Firmicus informs us that, for “forty nights” the “wailing for Proserpine” continued; and from Arnobius we learn that the fast which the Pagans observed, called “Castus” or the “sacred” fast, was, by the Christians in his time, believed to have been primarily in imitation of the long fast of Ceres, when for many days she determinedly refused to eat on account of her “excess of sorrow,” that is, on account of the loss of her daughter Proserpine, when carried away by Pluto…

Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing, and which, in many countries, was considerably later than the Christian festival, being observed in Palestine and Assyria in June, therefore called the “month of Tammuz”; in Egypt, about the middle of May, and in Britain, some time in April. To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skilful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity–now far sunk in idolatry–in this as in so many other things, to shake hands…

Let any one only read the atrocities that were commemorated during the “sacred fast” or Pagan Lent, as described by Arnobius and Clemens Alexandrinus, and surely he must blush for the Christianity of those who, with the full knowledge of all these abominations, “went down to Egypt for help” to stir up the languid devotion of the degenerate Church, and who could find no more excellent way to “revive” it, than by borrowing from so polluted a source; the absurdities and abominations connected with which the early Christian writers had held up to scorn. That Christians should ever think of introducing the Pagan abstinence of Lent was a sign of evil; it showed how low they had sunk, and it was also a cause of evil; it inevitably led to deeper degradation. Originally, even in Rome, Lent, with the preceding revelries of the Carnival, was entirely unknown; and even when fasting before the Christian Pasch was held to be necessary, it was by slow steps that, in this respect, it came to conform with the ritual of Paganism. What may have been the period of fasting in the Roman Church before sitting of the Nicene Council does not very clearly appear, but for a considerable period after that Council, we have distinct evidence that it did not exceed three weeks (Hislop A. Two Babylons. pp. 104-106).

Hence we see that the so-called Christian observance of Lent is apparently a continuation of widespread ancient pagan practices that were subtly incorporated into mainstream Christianity over the centuries.

It should be noted that the Bible condemns practices associated with pagan worship, such as those that involved Tammuz:

And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.” So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:13-14).

Essentially, mourning for Tammuz could include fasting of some type for some time.

The Orthodox Catholic apologist Arnobius (died 330) warned against the type of fasts that pagans had and even seemed to warn about a Mardi Gras banquet followed by a fast:

What say you, O wise sons of Erectheus? what, you citizens of Minerva? The mind is eager to know with what words you will defend what it is so dangerous to maintain, or what arts you have by which to give safety to personages and causes wounded so mortally. This is no false mistrust, nor are you assailed with lying accusations: the infamy of your Eleusinia is declared both by their base beginnings and by the records of ancient literature, by the very signs, in fine, which you use when questioned in receiving the sacred things,—” I have fasted, and drunk the draught; I have taken out of the mystic cist, and put into the wicker-basket; I have received again, and transferred to the little chest” (Arnobius. Against the Heathen, Book V, Chapter 26).

The feast of Jupiter is tomorrow. Jupiter, I suppose, dines, and must be satiated with great banquets, and long filled with eager cravings for food by fasting, and hungry after the usual interval (Against the Heathen, Book VII, Chapter 32).

Hislop believed that Arnobius was teaching against what became known as Lent (Two Babylons, p. 106). Perhaps it should be noted that in the late 2nd century, Tertullian also warned against “Christians” participating in events that also honored Minerva (please see the article Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate?).

The Catholic Saint Abbot John Cassian (also known as Cassianus, monk of Marseilles) in the fifth century admitted:

Howbeit you should know that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist (Cassian John. Conference 21, THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEONAS. ON THE RELAXATION DURING THE FIFTY DAYS. Chapter 30).

Notice that he admits that “the primitive church” did not keep Lent!

What about Ash Wednesday?

It also is not from the Bible nor was it kept by the original Christians. The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

Ash Wednesday
The Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the first day of the Lenten fast.

The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead (Ash Wednesday. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia states:

Ash Wednesday, in the Western Church, the first day of Lent, being the seventh Wednesday before Easter. On this day ashes are placed on the foreheads of the faithful to remind them of death, of the sorrow they should feel for their sins, and of the necessity of changing their lives. The practice, which dates from the early Middle Ages, is common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Episcopalians, and many Lutherans; it was also adopted by some Methodists and Presbyterians in the 1990s (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press).

Notice that Ash Wednesday was not an original observance of even the Church of Rome, it is another one of the many changes that the Church of Rome adopted that the true Church of God did not (for more details, please see Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

Now here is another Catholic-approved translation of that verse he asked about:

16 ‘When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. (Matthew 6:16, NJB)

Thus, Jesus seems to denounce practices that resemble Ash Wednesday.

What about Easter?

Easter itself is not a Christian term but comes from paganism:

The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity…Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron; Old High German, ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn; German, Ostern. April was called easter-monadh. (Holweck F. G. Transcribed by John Wagner and Michael T. Barrett. Easter. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York)

ISHTAR was one of the most prominent of the deities of the Accadian and Assyrian Pantheon. Se was the Assyrian goddess of Love. She was the…Ashtoreth of the Jews or Hebrews. She is the planetary Venus, and in general features corresponds with the classical goddess of Love. Her name Ishtar is that by which she was known in Assyria, and the same name prevailed, with slight modifications, among the Semite nations generally. In Babylonia the goddess was known as Nana…

She may be identified with Eostre of the Germans, or Easter. To this goddess our Saxon or German ancestors sacrificed in April, which was therefore by them styled…Eostur-monath, and from thence arose our word Easter, which the Saxons retained after their conversion to Christianity, so that our Easter-day is nothing more nor less than Ishtar’s day…The name became attached by association of ideas to the Christian festival of the Resurrection (of Christ), which happened at the time of the passover…The English name Easter, and the German Ostern, are derived from the name of the Teutonic goddess Ostera (Anglo-Saxon Eostre), whose festival was celebrated by the ancient Saxons with peculiar solemnities in the month of April; and for which, as in many other instances, the first Romish missionaries substituted the paschal feast.” The Council of Nice “ordained (A.D. 325) that it should be kept always on a Sunday.” Thus we find that it was originally the festival of Ishtar, and occurred on the Sabatu of Elul, or the festival Sabbath of the Assyrians, which occurred in August or harvest time; and that it afterwards became united with the passover or paschal feast of the Jews, and finally adopted by the Christian Church as the Easter Sabbath, changing the date to the spring or seed time, or in April from the harvest month or August. Among the Assyrians it was the feast day of Ishtar and Nergal…

The Phoenician name of Ishtar was Astarte, the later Mendaean form of which was Ashtar. She was called Jeremiah, “the queen of heaven,” Jer. vii, 18, and xliv. 17-25…she was sometimes called “the goddess of the chase,” corresponding to Diana as well as Venus, the goddess of love. Mr. George Rawlinson says: “The worship of Ishtar was widespread, and her shrines were numerous. She is often called the “queen of Babylon”…It may be suspected that her symbol was the naked female form…(Hamilton LLC note. Ishtar and Izdubar, the epic of Babylon; or, The Babylonian goddess of love and the hero and warrior king, restored in mod. verse by L.L.C. Hamilton. 1884 Original from Oxford University Digitized Jun 19, 2007, pp. 207-208)

Paganism…it was precisely in these cults that the worst perversions existed. Ishtar, Astarte, and Cybele had their male and female prostitutes, their Galli: Josiah had to cleanse the temple of Yahweh of their booths (cf. the Qedishim and Kelabim, Deuteronomy 23:17; 2 Samuel 23:7; cf. 1 Samuel 14:24; 15:12), and even in the Greek world, where prostitution was not else regarded as religious, Eryx and Corinth at least were contaminated by Semitic influence, which Greece could not correct. (Martindale, Cyril Charles. “Paganism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 17 Feb. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11388a.htm>)

Ishtar is pronounced about the same as the English term Easter.

Early Christians did NOT celebrate Easter. They observed Passover as a memorial of Jesus’ death.

Perhaps I should also mention that although the Eastern Orthodox Church shown above has ‘lenten vestments,’ these vestments do not come from the Bible, nor did early Christians use these type of vestments. They did not become in use until after the compromises with that famous follower of Mithras, Roman Emperor Constantine, in the fourth century.

What about appealing to the blessed Mary? Was that a practice of early Christians?

No.

The Catholic Encyclopedia that confirms that:

Devotion to Our Blessed Lady in its ultimate analysis must be regarded as a practical application of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. Seeing that this doctrine is not contained, at least explicitly in the earlier forms of the Apostles’ Creed, there is perhaps no ground for surprise if we do not meet with any clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin in the first Christian centuries. The earliest unmistakable examples of the “worship” — we use the word of course in the relative sense — of the saints is connected with the veneration paid to the martyrs who gave their lives for the Faith…Further, it is quite likely that the mention of the Blessed Virgin in the intercessions of the diptychs of the liturgy goes back to the days before the Council of Nicaea, but we have no definite evidence upon the point, and the same must be said of any form of direct invocation, even for purposes of private devotion (Herbert Thurston. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Should Christians appeal to Mary as a mediator?

No.

Notice what a Catholic-approved translation of the Bible teaches:

5 For there is one God, one also mediator of God and men, man Christ JESUS (1 Timothy 2:5, RNT).

Thus any others who claim there is another mediator clearly contradict the Bible and CANNOT BE SERVING THE CHRISTIAN GOD.

Those who truly wish to observe the practices of the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) will not observe Lent, celebrate Ash Wednesday, pray to Mary, nor observe Easter. They would keep the same days and practices of the original church.

Pope Francis, and those who believe certain portions of his message today, need to study the Bible and the lessons of history and change.

Some items of possible interest may include:

Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language by Dr. Hoeh: ¿Por Qué Se Observa la Cuaresma? Here is a link to a related sermon: Lent, Ash Wednesday, Carnaval, and Christianity?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Did Jesus celebrate Carnaval? Where did it come from? There is also a related YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
What Happened in the ‘Crucifixion Week’? How long are three days and three nights? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Murió Jesús un día miércoles o un viernes?)
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria? Where did the eucharistic host and IHS come from?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Concussion: American football injuries are like those that afflict boxers

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

COGwriter

The BBC reported the following:

February 6, 2016

There is a lot we don’t understand about the impact of head injuries in sport but a new Hollywood film called Concussion, starring Will Smith, aims to change that.

Over the last few years, American Football has had to face up to the fact that repeated head collisions, which are a major feature of the sport, can have serious long-term health consequences.

But for a long time, it wasn’t a popular message.

Concussion tells the story of how a young Nigerian forensic pathologist Dr Bennet Omalu discovered a progressive brain disease, which he called chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, in the brain of a former National Football League player.

It looked like Alzheimer’s disease, but it was present in the brain of 50-year-old Mike Webster, a professional sportsman who had died prematurely.

Obvious link

Fourteen years on and 150 cases of CTE have been identified, most of them in NFL players, who have experienced depression, memory loss, behavioural changes and sometimes dementia at an unusually early age.

Like retired boxers, who were once said to be “punch drunk”, the common factor was multiple concussions or blows to the head over many years.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Will Smith said he had learnt a huge amount from making the film, particularly as a parent of a son who played American football.

“We watch it, we see the hits, you see players go down… and then you applaud when they come back on again five minutes later. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-35504086

So, the fruits of American football are about the same as boxing.  They are not good.

Here is some information about the Concussion movie from the official Sony site:

Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world.

Over the years, I have seemingly stood alone among Church of God leaders in the 21st century warning against American tackle football.  I first spoke against it at the old Spokesman’s Club in the Worldwide Church of God decades ago.  And, when I brought the subject up in the Living Church of God, it made many uncomfortable enough to take steps leading to my departure from that group. So, also for me, speaking up (and in my case, very politely) about the harm of encouraging American tackle football put me at odds with some of the most powerful people in LCG.  People once part of the old Worldwide Church of God.

Apparently many once part of the old Worldwide Church of God did not agree with what the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about American tackle football:

To harm the other fellow and to gain by doing so for self is a kind of competition that is wrong. Hostility toward the other is sin…

At golf the one who wins is not the one gets the most by taking it away from the other…So golf is not a wrong competition–nor is any race at a distance, or hurdle race, or long jump, high jump, pole vault or other field competition in a track and field meet…

Boxing at Ambassador College is definitely banned. God did not create the human brain and head to be pummeled and knocked senseless by an antagonist.

Wherever a game in sports involves antagonists–in hostile attitude to harm the other and/or to “get” from the other–to get the best of the other then a harmful, satanic and evil attitude enters in, and the sport is evil, not good…

Football (American football) is a violent body-contact sport. It is often played with an attitude of hostility and is dangerous and is fraught with with physical injury. Therefore it is not played, but we do play American flag football, at Ambassador College. (Armstrong HW. An Overview from Higher Up. Plain Truth, July-August 1984, pp. 3-4)

Truly , COMPETITION, not cooperation is the attitude Satan innoculates into human minds…To HARM the other fellow, and to gain by so doing for SELF, is a kind of competition that is wrong. Hostility toward the other is sin…

Behind my back when I was away from Pasadena all but about 60 days in a year , others without my knowledge or consent got Ambassador into intercollegiate competition. THE RESULTS WERE BAD! That is OFFICIALLY
BANNED from now on…

Boxing is definitely BANNED. God did not design and create the human brain and head to be pummeled and knocked senseless by an antagonist.

Wherever a game in sports involves ANTAGONISTS–in HOSTILE ATTITUDE to harm the other and/or to “GET” from the other–to get the best of the other–then a harmful, Satanic and evil attitude enters in , and the sport is EVIL, not good…

football , (American football)…because football is such a violent body contact sport , it TOO OFTEN is played in an ATTITUDE OF HOSTILITY, and is too DANGEROUS and fraught with PHYSICAL INJURY . Therefore it must be BANNED so far as participation by God’s Church or people is concerned…This is sufficient to illustrate the application of the PRINCIPLE of God’s Law to sports. That participated in with an attitude of HOSTILITY toward the opponent is evil. That which HARMS mentally or physically an opponent is evil.

Satan is the author of COMPETITION based on hostility, harm to the opponent, GETTING by taking FROM an opponent–to his harm or loss. God’s way is LOVE TOWARD neighbor equal to love of self. (Armstrong HW. Not all sports are banned. Pastor General’s Report, Volume 2, Issue 36, September 5, 1980)

Many do not wish to seriously consider that American football is truly harmful, despite the facts, and would prefer that I not post about it.

The Bible suggests otherwise:

1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

The reality is that American tackle football is dangerous–the players get harmed. This really is not debatable as it is an established fact. There is no doubt that American tackle football is dangerous to health. While some in the world consider watching it to be an ‘ethical uncertainty,’ true Philadelphia Christians (as well many who are not) realize that something about this sport is physically harmful and should not be encouraged.

Those who claim that encouraging American tackle football is fine are NOT Philadelphian Christians. American tackle football causes real damage. Damage that should not be encouraged.

From the violence on the field, to the under-clothed cheerleaders, to some of the half-time antics, there is a lot wrong with American football.  Yet, millions and millions of professing Christians are pleased that this weekend is Super Bowl Sunday and they can watch more of it.

I just found out yesterday that the North Carolina Panthers are playing in it, so this will likely please the Philadelphian Christians in Charlotte if the Panthers win, by trouncing their opponents, the Denver Broncos.

Players on both teams are likely to sustain brain and other injuries.

Many forget that Jesus taught not to intentionally hurt others, as He taught:

39… ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39, NKJV)

The Apostle Paul also wrote:

29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it (Ephesians 5:29, NKJV)

Also, notice what John the Baptist taught soldiers:

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Luke 3:14, KJV)

I could not reconcile loving my neighbor as myself and cherishing my flesh and not doing violence to any man by watching others do it in a football game. Nor the following:

9…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:9-10)

Jesus also said:

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. (John 3:20-21, NKJV).

Is watching American football a deed that would be pleasing to God?

The Apostle Paul wrote:

12… they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.(2 Thessalonians 2:12)

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32, NKJV)

Is not football violent and often unmerciful?

So, if playing football is evil, should Christians approve of it?

Additionally, twice the New Testament refers to the good news message as “the gospel of peace”:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:14-15)

Is not taking a stand against encouraging sports violence consistent with the gospel of peace and love? Or should ministers tell people that violent sports like American tackle football are not “inherently evil” as at least one minister has done?

Traditionally, early Christians (as well as some apostates who professed Christ) were opposed to watching violent sports.

While “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:9), what do sports like American football and boxing do? Should Bible believers encourage this?

Unlike stories of violence in books or movies, American football involves actual violence and often physical injury–including brain damaging ones that are often not obvious for years.

The Bible forbids harming others or encouraging sin. Early professors of Christ would not watch violent games as they felt that watching was encouraging and participating in sin. For example, here is something from Theophilus of Antioch(who probably was part of the Church of God) perhaps written about 180 A.D.:

Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murders. But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition)

So, true Christians did not believe that they were to watch the violent sports so popular in the second century. And he was not alone (for more details, check out the article Is American Football Evil?).

You may be telling yourself, well since your church (presuming you do not support a group like the Continuing Church of God which does) does not condemn American tackle football (and/or possibly encourages it) the Bible really does not apply here. If so, be careful about accepting that that type of tradition.

Jesus Himself taught:

7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:7-9)

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19)

I do not watch American football. I consider that it is evil (also, no Christian can really defend how professional football cheerleading females are often publicly dressed and displayed). Others want to falsely act like there is nothing wrong with watching it.

Some may not wish to hear about any of the evils of violent sports, and instead prefer smooth things, but hopefully I have tried to follow the Apostle Paul who declared:

26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:26-27)

The bodies and blood of those who engage in violent sports is important. It does not show Philadelphia love.

Regarding American football, do you really believe that Jesus or the Apostle Paul would endorse it? This is something that Christians, and those that claim to be, should think and pray about.

Those Laodicean Christians who are fans of American tackle football are NOT Philadelphians and will be subject to violence themselves as they will have to go through the Great Tribulation if they do not repent (Revelation 3:14-22).

Encouraging violence in sports does not show brotherly/philadelphian love.

For more scriptures, as well as the position of early Christians and others, please see the following:

Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-lands. What are some of the consequences?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.

Do you recognize the top six scams in the USA?

Thursday, February 4th, 2016


The Ten Commandments

COGwriter

CBS put out a report a while back about what one author believes are the top six scams that affect people in the USA:

Overall, the nation’s most prevalent scam remains a fake check con, which involves “overpaying” for a product or service and asking the recipient to refund the difference. By the time the victim realizes that the check used for payment was bogus, the con artist has walked away with the consumer’s money…

The top six scams in order:

1. Fake checks
2. Bad Internet sales – products never delivered or misrepresented
3. Sweepstakes/prize/free gift cons that request payment to get your winnings.
4. Advance fee cons that promise a loan or line of credit, if you pay them first.
5. Phishing scams that attempt to get personal information to get access to your accounts, your tax refund or to open credit cards in your name.
6. Recovery/refund cons that promise past victims a recovery of swindled funds in exchange for a fee. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/top-6-us-scams/

Of course, there are also other scams.

As far as these six go, a while back someone tried the fake check scam for a business I own. I did not fall for it. The only one in the list that someone has not directly tried to involve me in is number 4 (although I may not have read every loan offer enough to see if that was the case). Otherwise, numbers 3, 5, and 6 are very commonly pushed to me. But other than number 2 (I have made some purchases over the internet that were misrepresented, so took action), I have not fallen for any of the scams.

Sadly, many people are greedy and do not care how they harm others. Scams are based upon lies, theft, and deception. Scammers are, according to what Jesus said, a type of destroyer and murderer:

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10)

The Bible teaches “love truth” (Zechariah 8:19) and that those who do not have the “love of the truth” will perish (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

Lying is prohibited by the Ten Commandments:

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

20 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5:20)

Notice what Jesus taught:

33 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all (Mathew 5:33-34).

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts…false witness…20 These are the things which defile a man (Matthew 15:19-20).

18 You shall not bear false witness (Matthew 19:18).

19 Do not bear false witness (Mark 10:19).

20 You know the commandments:…Do not bear false witness (Luke 18:20).

2 And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars (Revelation 2:2).

Notice what Paul taught:

9 You shall not bear false witness (Romans 13:9).

19 I do not lie (Galatians 1:19).

25 Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor’ (Ephesians 4:25).

9 Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9).

9…the lawless and insubordinate…10 liars…perjurers (1 Timothy 1:9,10).

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be…3 slanderers (2 Timothy 3:1,3).

2 God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

18…it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).

Those who scam defile themselves and others.

Those of us who believe the Bible, have read the Bible, and believe in keeping the Ten Commandments have long realized that telling the truth contributes to happiness. Notice the following:

18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18)

14 Happy is the man who is always reverent (Proverbs 28:14).

And since lying is a violation of the law, logic dictates that those who lie are less happy than those who do not.

The real biggest scam in the USA is how its theologians and political leaders do not truly understand and teach the Bible. If they did, we would see a massive increase in wealth and a decrease of scams here. But this is not expected to occur until after the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His millennial kingdom.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Lies Where did they originate? What was really the first lie? What happens for lies?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Valentine’s Day ‘love’

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

COGwriter

Valentine’s Day is observed by many in February. Currently we are starting to see store displays and tv & print ads for it.

In the past, the improperly named Christianity Today (CT) has sometimes seemed to try to justify its position on the holiday by talking about love.  For example, its Valentine’s page has begun as follows:

February 14

1 John 4:7
Let us love one another, for love comes from God. (NIV)

The implication of the above was that the Apostle John somehow supports Valentine’s Day. The misuse of this scripture here is appalling.

But what is the love of God?

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. (1 John 5:2-4)

Valentine’s Day has more to do with lust than love–Valentine’s Day is not from the Father but from the world. Notice what the Apostle John wrote in a couple of chapters earlier in the same book:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NKJV)

Valentine’s Day is a worldly holiday, essentially built upon lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It will pass away, it is not a true Christian holiday.

An article on Valentine’s Day from CT stated:

So why do people send “valentines” or “love-tokens” to one another on that day? The origin of that tradition is not thought to have any connection with the saint’s day. Rather it comes from an early European belief that the second week of February was when birds began to mate. The idea suggests that lovers should probably exchange notes and gifts on February 14 in conjunction with what nature practiced. It then concludes with “Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is observed as a special day for love and romance. This topic is one of the oldest, and probably most-discussed, issues in history! As Christians, we know that love originates from God and that God is love (1 John 4:16).

Love comes from God, but paganism is a lie, and lies originated from the devil (cf. John 8:44). Compromise with pagan traditions for membership and/or economic factors is essentially one of the major areas that separates those truly in Christ’s Church from those who think that they are part of it. Furthermore, those in Christ’s Church try to live their lives in accordance with the law of God as Jesus and the original apostles did. Days that were compromises with paganism were not endorsed by Jesus or His early followers.

The same Apostle John who wrote that Christians were not supposed to be worldly but were to keep God’s commandment was not at the same time telling them to ignore the Bible and adopt pagan-compromised practices. But CT seems to want people to think otherwise.

And just because people use the name of Christ and call themselves Christian does not mean that they are faithful.

Notice what Jesus taught:

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

John did not observe Valentine’s Day or anything close to it.

Valentine’s Day is not a biblical holiday.

The modern practice of giving cards to ask/tell someone to “be my Valentine” seems to be a holdover from the ancient sexual lottery.

Christians who may be tempted to compromise need to ask themselves if the origins of Valentine’s Day are biblical or pagan.

None who profess Christ should observe this February “holiday”–it simply is not a Christian holiday. It began as a sexual lottery and still has sexual ramifications, even in the 21st century. That is not what love really is all about.

For more information, please consider studying the following items:

Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true? There is also a YouTube titled Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day? A more detailed sermon is available and titled Valentine’s Day, Christianity, and Islam.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well. Here is a version in the Spanish language:.¿Están vigentes todavía los diez mandamientos?
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Should Christians watch the Super Bowl?

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

COGwriter

This coming Sunday is known as “Super Bowl Sunday” in the USA. Most years, the American football (which is not the same as the sport called soccer in the USA) contest known as the Superbowl is the most watched television program in the USA. Between 100,000,000-150,000,000 are expected to intentionally (as opposed to perhaps seeing a news item about it) watch at least some of it this year according to various reports.

Should Christians watch the Super Bowl?

Should Christians encourage people causing themselves great bodily harm?

January 29, 2016

The NFL says reported concussions rose 58 percent in regular-season games to the highest number in any of the past four years. …

According to the NFL, there were 182 reported concussions from 2015 regular-season games, reversing a recent downward trend. There were 115 in 2014, 148 in 2013, and 173 in 2012.

A year ago, the league touted those decreases as a reflection of players changing the way they play.

Researchers have been studying an Alzheimer’s-like disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, that appears to be linked to repeated head injuries and concussions. In September, doctors said they found evidence of CTE in 87 out of 91 former NFL players who had donated their brains to science after they died.

The degenerative disease is largely believed to stem from repeated head trauma. It can lead to memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression and, eventually, progressive dementia.

Additionally, they found that CTE has been identified in the brain tissue of a total of 131 out of 165 individuals who played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school before their deaths. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nfl-says-concussions-were-way-up-in-2015/

There is NO DOUBT among those interested in the truth that American tackle football is violent and causes harm to the players–much of which is permanent.

Consider also something about Joe Namath:

One of the most legendary figures in NFL history will deliver a sobering message to football fans on the morning of Super Bowl XLVIII. Former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who famously guaranteed a win for his underdog squad in Super Bowl III, revealed the toll that football has taken on him in an interview with CBS scheduled to air on Sunday.

“I’ve been through some things medically. I’ve seen some things on my brain,” Namath told Rita Braver of CBS Sunday Morning in a brief preview of the interview released in advance. “But I’ve had treatment, and I’ve improved. None of the body was designed to play football. Excuse me, you know, football, we’re just not designed for it.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/01/joe-namath-brain-damage-nfl_n_4709018.html

Football causes great harm. No one has excuses anymore to pretend otherwise.

Since most people in the USA have, at one time or another, made some hint of professing following Jesus, a relevant question may be:

Would Jesus want you to watch the Super Bowl?

Jesus, of course, taught “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), while the Apostle Paul wrote “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:29).

The Bible teaches:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

How many who are in the COGs love the worldly sport of American tackle football and really do not care that it causes irreparable harm to its participants? Is not another reason that some watch it because of their lust for violence and/or for social acceptance? This is not of God.

Most violent sports advocates do not seem to realize that they are being influenced by the devil who is the prince of the power of the air:

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

Why would anyone feel that God Himself would condone encouraging violent sports as the type of ‘good works’ Christians should be involved in?

After seeing the injuries that some of my high school football-playing colleagues suffered, I could not reconcile the scriptures with American football. There are better ways for Christians to learn principles like teamwork from other sports or activities than watching actual violence such as occurs in American tackle football.

Also, notice what John the Baptist taught soldiers:

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Luke 3:14, KJV)

I could not reconcile loving my neighbor as myself and cherishing my flesh and not doing violence to any man by watching others do it in a football game. Nor could I reconcile it with the following:

9…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:9-10, NKJV)

The Super Bowl will do harm to participants in it.

The New Testament also warns Christians against being violent or approving of those that are (Romans 1:28-32), while history records that early Christians would not watch violent sports. Notice one such report from Theophilus of Antioch perhaps written about 180 A.D.:

Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murders. But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition)

So, Christians did not believe that they were to watch the violent sports so popular in the second century.

In the 20th century, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

Competition and not cooperation, is the attitude which Satan inculcates human minds. But that does not mean that all sports are wrong or to be banned. The law of God is based on the way of righteousness…The basic law is love, out flowing toward God above all else, and secondarily, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

To harm the other fellow and to gain by doing so for self is a kind of competition that is wrong. Hostility toward the other is sin…

Wherever a game in sports involves antagonists–in hostile attitude to harm the other and/or to “get” from the other–to get the best of the other then a harmful, satanic and evil attitude enters in, and the sport is evil, not good…

Football (American football) is a violent body-contact sport. It is often played with an attitude of hostility and is dangerous and is fraught with physical injury…Soccer does not embody the same evils. (Plain Truth, July-August 1984)

CNN (01/29/2012) had a report that the average American high school football player received 650 sub-concussion hits per season which increased risk for brain damage of various types.

Since I do not actually watch American football, I do not know how many violent acts are likely at today’s Super Bowl, but the number is likely to be very high, and maybe even a lot more if thoughts of violence are included (cf. Matthew 5:21-22).

In my view, the tackle version of the sport of American football is evil (touch football I would not consider to be inherently evil–though attitude is still a possible factor there). Also, no Christian can really defend how professional football cheerleading females are publicly dressed and displayed–and presumably some of how they will be displayed at today’s Super Bowl game.

As far as violence goes, the Bible shows that God is against violence:

23 ‘Make a chain,
For the land is filled with crimes of blood,
And the city is full of violence.
24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles,
And they will possess their houses;
I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease,
And their holy places shall be defiled. (Ezekiel 7:23-24)

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality…30…violent, proud, boasters,…31…unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)

Do you approve those who practice violence?

Since American football games, like the Super Bowl, intentionally inflict various hurts, the following scripture supports the idea that American football will not be allowed in the Millennium:

9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9, NKJV)

While “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:9), what do sports like American football do?

Last year, the night before the Super Bowl, I saw portions of TBN’s Christian World News. Towards the end, they interviewed players on the teams in today’s scheduled Super Bowl game who professed Christ. The players, individually, basically stated that their faith was more important than winning the Super Bowl. But none said that they would renounce violence, not harm others, or not participate in the game because of its negative fruits.

Additionally, of the multitude of groups that profess Christ, it appears that only an actual or relative handful or so will tell their members that they should not be fans of American tackle football. Sometimes they will not denounce it because their leaders are fans, sometimes because they are afraid that they might lose members and/or money, and sometimes because of all of those reasons.

Would Jesus want you to watch the Super Bowl? What about the Apostle Paul who warned against approving violence? The same Apostle Paul who said to imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Would Jesus or the Apostle Paul watch the Superbowl as football fans rooting for one team to crush the other team?

Perhaps, some might say. And some may ridicule and/or dismiss what I have written.

If Jesus Himself did watch the Super Bowl, would He watch it and hope that one team would tackle and crash into members of the other team? Or might He watch it, if He did, so He could make social commentary against the violence and/or distorted priorities of the land?

Would Jesus take pleasure in humans damaging other humans for entertainment?

This is something that Christians, and others, should think about.

For more scriptures, as well as the position of early Christians and others on watching violent sports or participating in other violent pursuits, please see the following:

Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?

BibleNewsProphecy: Three trinitarian scriptures?

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:


19:28

Three trinitarian scriptures?

Most who profess Christianity accept the trinitarian explanation of the Godhead. We in the Continuing Church of God believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Are the three passages of scripture that trinitarians point to proof of the trinity? Was something added to the Latin Bible of Jerome and the Greek texts that was not part of the original inspired writings of the Bible? What does the Bible actually teach? What should you believe? If the trinity is a ‘central doctrine’ of ‘Christianity,’ why was it not accepted by most until the late fourth century? What should you believe about the Godhead?

A written article of related interest is titled: Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?

Here is a link to our video: Three trinitarian scriptures?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Why Does Jesus Have Two Different Genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 seemingly list two different genealogies for Jesus. Why?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, but does the Bible allow for this?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. It also lists 18 Laodicean errors in prophetic teachings. A sermon related to the booklet is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and other British-descended dominated lands.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God and has articles in español/castellano.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.

Sermon: Proverbs: Accepting God’s Instructions

Saturday, January 30th, 2016


Scroll of the Book of Proverbs

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:


1:13:45

Do you really believe God? Will you accept His instructions? Dr. Thiel goes over some introductory verses in the first chapter of the Book of Proverbs and then goes through each of the verses in its 16th and 17th chapters. Are you willing to fully listen or only partially heed God’s instructions? What should Laodiceans do? What should you do? This is the fourth part of a multi-part series on the Book of Proverbs.

Here is a link to the sermon: Proverbs: Following God’s Advice.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

PROVERBS Here are links to sermon covering the words in Proverbs: Proverbs 1-7: Practical advice for those who wish to follow God and Proverbs 7-12: Wisdom, Knowledge, Righteousness, and Diligence and Proverbs 13-15: Following God’s Advice.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
Christian Success Does the Bible teach that Christians are to be successful? Are there at least seven laws of success that Christians should follow? How does the Bible teach we are to become successfully spiritually? Does the Bible really teach that Christians should be successful physically? This video answers these questions and more from the Bible. An outline of some of the scriptures used is here: Christian Success Outline.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Do Christians Sin? This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

‘Pornification’ affecting society

Friday, January 29th, 2016

COGwriter

The Barna Group just released a study confirming that pornography is becoming a major issue:

January 29, 2016

The “pornification” of popular culture means younger generations are coming of age in a hypersexualized cultural ecosystem, a news survey carried out by the Barna Group for the Josh McDowell Ministry has found.

It notes, smartphones, tablets and laptops have revolutionized the way Americans encounter images.

“Pictures and videos are easily accessible with one swipe or click; it takes very little effort to encounter sexually explicit content on apps like Snapchat and Instagram.

“Even mainstream media is infused with sexualized images and ideas—one needs only to see an Axe commercial, a primetime Miley Cyrus performance or a ‘reality’ show like The Bachelor for confirmation.”

“They, in turn, tend to be more open to sexual experimentation and self-expression—leading to further social acceptance of sexually explicit content. One cannot help but wonder where this self-perpetuating feedback loop will end.”

Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group and one of the lead designers and analysts on the study says new realities are fueling “more cavalier attitudes and high rates of porn usage among the younger generations.”

CONCERN AT TREND

This is a concern, says Stone because studies have shown that seeing a vast amount of pornography long before becoming sexually active can have damaging effects due to the amount of sexual conditioning that occurs in adolescence.

“Ill-timed exposure to explicit material could cause lifelong problems with relationships and personal sexual health, and create unrealistic beliefs about sex and sexuality,” she says.  …

WHAT THE RESEARCH MEANS

“There appears to be a momentous generational shift underway in how pornography is perceived, morally speaking, within our culture,” says Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group and one of the lead designers and analysts on the study.

“This shift is particularly notable when it comes to personal choice regarding pornography use. But these attitudes and preferences toward porn among the younger generations need to take into account the broader social and cultural context that American young people inhabit.

“For one, they are coming of age in a culture that has given preference to personal experience and personal morality,” notes Stone. …

“We’ve seen cultural icons such as Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus generously rewarded for their public displays of private moments. And now, with broadcast tools at their fingertips, young people have the ability to produce their own personal pornography – via Instagram, Snapchat or just plain ‘sexting.’

“Such personal, interactive porn is something we are calling ‘Porn 2.0′ and we will be releasing more of our research on that in the coming months.” http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/study-finds-adult-concern-at-us-teens-and-young-adults-use-of-porn-barna-finds/37867.htm

Some of what is called ‘family entertainment,’ would have been illegal even in the old burlesque houses a century or so ago.

Notice also the following:

How is Pornography Harmful?

Frank York, former editor in Public Policy for Focus on the Family (a pro-family political and educational organization) as well as writer and researcher on pornography, and Jan LaRue, Chief Counsel, Concerned Women for America, assert, “The most common damage, the one that affects everyone who views porn, is that it warps the person’s perception of people, relationships, and sex” (2002, p. 14). Pornography teaches unrealistic and inappropriate sexual expectations, decreases satisfaction with monogamy and lowers family loyalties, objectifies and degrades women, links sex with violence and children, encourages promiscuity, and increases susceptibility to sexually acting out in ways harmful to others (Cline, 2002).

Gary R. Brooks (1995), psychologist and assistant chief of the psychology service at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Temple, Texas, calls the affect of pornography on people’s perceptions “The Centerfold Syndrome.” In his book, The Centerfold Syndrome, Dr. Brooks (1995) explains that pornography alters people’s perceptions in the following ways:

  • Voyeurism. Pornography teaches its users to focus on looking at people instead of forming real relationships.
  • Objectification. Men, women, and children are portrayed as sexual objects, whose worth lies in the size and shape of their body parts.
  • Validation. After repeatedly seeing people in an idealized form, pornography users begin to judge people’s worth by their physical attractiveness. They feel masculine or feminine only when they are with beautiful people, and are less likely to be committed when their partner goes through life-changes (age, childbearing, etc.) that decrease their youthfulness or good looks.
  • Trophyism. Romantic partners are trophies to be displayed and owned, not to be treated as real people.
  • Fear of true intimacy. Because people portrayed in pornographic pictures have no demands or expectations beyond sexual-arousal and pleasure, pornography users do not learn how to form real relationships with others. They do not learn how to be selfless, sacrificing, and committed; thus, they come to fear true intimacy that requires them to relate emotionally and spiritually.

The sexual promiscuity encouraged by pornography also increases out-of wedlock pregnancies and the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Teens are particularly vulnerable to this. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Public Education (2001): “Adolescents have the highest STD rates. Approximately one fourth of sexually active adolescents become infected with an STD each year, accounting for 3 million cases, and people under the age of 25 account for two thirds of all STDs in the United States” (¶ 2). (Use and Harms of Pornography. http://foreverfamilies.byu.edu/Article.aspx?a=140 viewed 08/25/13)

In pornography, those shown in it, often are falsely implying that they will provide sexual love to those who they do not care for at all. Generally speaking (for those not forced into it), they just are in it for the money. They generally have no intention to provide what they pretend.

Singers like Lady Gaga, Mliey Cyrus, Beyoncé, and Jennifer Lopez, intentionally wear sexually provocative outfits and often promote an anti-biblical morality message (Matthew 5:27-28). And Lady Gaga and others like her should not do that (cf. Luke 17:1-2).

Speaking of Beyoncé, in 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama made what I considered to be a startling and terrible statement:

20 September 2012

Barack Obama has revealed the extent to which he is a fan of Beyoncé, claiming she is the perfect “role model” for his daughters…

“To J and B, thank you so much for your friendship. Beyoncé could not be a better role model for my girls,” he said, according to US Weekly.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/sep/20/barack-obama-beyonce-role-model?newsfeed=true

Beyoncé is a female American singer.

Having seen Beyoncé a few times (and only a very few times, I try to avoid seeing her and others like her at all) dressed inappropriately, I find this outrageous.

If I had any daughters (we have three sons), I would teach them not to dress nor act like Beyoncé.  I once mentioned that female singers such as “Lady Gaga,” Beyoncé, and Jennifer Lopez are promoting what I have called “soft pornography”  (now considered nudity or near nudity, as opposed to “hard-core” which apparently has more to do with nudity combined with various sexual acts/positions).

The moral decline of the United States, the UK, and their Anglo-Saxon descended allies will lead to their destruction–and other nations will be affected as well.  Here are a few scriptures to consider (and which are quoted in my book Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States):

43 The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower (Deuteronomy 28:43).

12…O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths (Isaiah 3:12).

16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed (Isaiah 9:16).

Encouraging under-clothed females (Matthew 5:28; cf. 1 Timothy 2:8-9), homosexual marriage (cf. Romans 1:18-32), and abortions (Proverbs 6:16-19; cf. Jeremiah 1:4-5) is not what God would want any “Christian” leader to do.

The LGBT movement is also a big pusher of pornography.

Furthermore, society is pushing gender confusion.  Notice the following:

January 28, 2016

Children ages 13-18 were asked by a school in Brighton, England, to choose their gender from among two dozen options, including “non-binary,” “bi-gender,” “demi-girl,” “tri-gender” and “not sure.”

That was before reporters started raising questions and the survey abruptly was withdrawn.

Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, said the concept that there are dozens of genders, instead of just boys and girls, should not be forced on children.

Giving children so many options will lead to answers “across the spectrum – not least from kids who want to make fun of the whole thing,” he said.

“But for some children it will be profoundly confusing to find out that there are adults who don’t seem to know that boys are boys and girls are girls,” he continued in a report on his group’s website. http://www.wnd.com/2016/01/kids-13-18-told-to-pick-gender-from-2-dozen-options/#11pxBllMBSbvcmDt.99

There are not a dozen genders.  But the pushing of pornography and the LGBT agenda is harming society.  It causes confusion and results in sins and damaged lives.

Sexual immorality is bad for society and ends in death (cf. Romans 1:18-32).

Notice what God had Amos record:

3 Woe to you who put far off the day of doom …
6 Who drink wine from bowls,
And anoint yourselves with the best ointments,
But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
7 Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives,
And those who recline at banquets shall be removed. (Amos 6:3, 6-7)

Prophecy is important. Notice that those who DO NOT seem to care about what is going on in the lands of Joseph’s descendants Manasseh and Ephraim (the USA and its British-descended allies) will be taken into captivity  (see also Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves?).

Pornography needs to be condemned and called out for the destruction it is contributing to.  The Bible says:

1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Pornography contributes to the sins of the house of Jacob (see also Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel).

It should not be considered acceptable.

Some items of related interest may include:

Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
Why Prophecy? Why is so much of the Bible devoted to prophecy? Some question or downplay the role of prophecy. This article gives some of the biblical reasons what it is important and explains why the world cannot end (the Great Tribulation will not start) until after biblically-required events occur.
Can those in the USA/UK see the Handwriting on the Wall? Is everything fine in the USA/UK or is it like the days of Noah? Can we learn from the handwriting that appeared on a wall thousands of years ago? Here is a link to a related YouTube video Can you see the ‘Handwriting on the Wall’?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information on the ‘ten lost tribes’ is also in the YouTube sermon titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There are also two YouTube videos related to this, titled Transgender ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ and Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.
The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives. A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?

Islamic warnings about Valentine’s Day

Thursday, January 28th, 2016


Valentine Card, 1909, Shows Pagan Ties

COGwriter

Many in the Islamic world have concerns about Valentine’s Day. This year, additional condemnation is expected. Notice also the following:

ISTANBUL

The Mufti’s Office in the Black Sea province of Rize has sent mosques in the city a text condemning Valentine’s Day, which will be read by imams during their Friday sermon.

The special day falls on Friday this year, the Muslim holy day and the day on which imams give weekly sermons to the community. The text sent by the Mufti’s Office explains that there is no Valentine’s Day in Islam.

“In our religious ideology, there is no Valentine’s Day, because you cannot assign a day for love. The love for which a day is assigned is a lost treasure. The best gift to our dear spouses is our heart, full of love and loyalty. The most beautiful bouquet is a warm heart and a smiling face,” the sermon stated.

“In a world where betrayal and violence have been rising, how much is the fictional Valentine’s Day worth?” it added. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/rize-muftis-office-to-condemn-valentines-day-in-friday-speech-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=61771&NewsCatID=393

In the past, I have also reported about concerns from other Islam-dominated lands such as Malaysia and Pakistan. But, some still observe it in the Islamic-dominated lands–which is why some have taken steps to reduce the influence of this essentially pagan holiday.

Although Valentine’s Day is not an actual Christian holiday (even the Church of Rome no longer officially honors it, see Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins), many in Islam consider it to be so. And its observance concerns them.

Here is a Muslim report about it:

Celebrating the Valentine Day is not permissible because: Firstly, it is an innovated holiday that has no basis in the Sharee`ah…Christians were aware of the Pagan roots of Valentine’s Day. The way the Christians adopted St. Valentine’s Day should be a lesson for Muslims. In fact, the failure to fully separate Valentine’s Day from its pagan roots explains why Islamic scholars and a number of Muslims avoid adopting traditions of non-Muslims, even though they could possibly be Islamicized…

We should avoid anything associated with pagan immoral practices -…- Islam does not encourage flirting or suggestions of romantic relationships before marriage – Love between families, friends and married people does not need to be celebrated on a day with such un-Islamic origins (Ruling on Celebrating Valentine’s Day. http://www.contactpakistan.com/news/news144.htm, January 31, 2004).

Notice that the Muslims associate Valentine’s Day with Christianity (obviously the false compromising kind; to learn about the true kind, check out Where is the True Christian Church Today?), paganism, and sin.

In other words, Valentine’s Day causes the name of Christ (through the term ‘Christianity’) to be blasphemed among the Gentiles (Romans 2:24; Isaiah 52:5)!

None who profess Christ should observe this February 14th “holiday”–it simply is not a Christian holiday. Its observance has caused the way of truth to be blasphemed.

For more information, please consider studying the following:

Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true?
Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day? This is a YouTube video about the origins of Valentine’s Day and why real Christians should not observe it.
Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
What Should You Know About Turkey in Prophecy Do you know the Turkish people descended from? Did the Ottoman Empire possibly fulfill a promise in Genesis? Will Turkey support the European King of the North or Arabic King of the South? Will it betray one of them? Will Turkey be involved in the encouraging the destruction of Israel? Is Turkey going to become Catholic? Is Turkey mentioned in Psalm 83, Daniel 11, and elsewhere in the Bible? This video provides answers.
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well.
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?