Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Should women preach sermons?

Saturday, July 21st, 2018


Artist’s interpretation of Mary Magdalene

COGwriter

Should women be able to preach sermons in church services?

A while back, the old The Journal: News of the Churches of God had the following as part of its paid advertising by Tina Engelbart:

Corinthians 14:34-35. Here are the two verses in the King James Version. “Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they are commanded to be under obedience [Gr. hupotasso], as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame [Gr. aischros] for women to speak in church” (Emphasis added).

First, some observations: The italicized phrase “they are commanded” was an addition by the translators; it is not in the original Greek. Further, hupotasso is more correctly translated “submission” rather than “obedience.” And the word translated as “shame” in verse 35 is the Greek word aischros— the same word translated as “ filthy” elsewhere, as in “ filthy lucre” (1 Timothy 3:8).

Most churches, and most Churches of God, and Mr. Mokarow say this means women must be silent in the church. UCG specifically said in their paper “The Biblical Role of Women”: “‘ Women should not speak,’ ” that is, preach or teach before the congregation” (emphasis added). It is interesting that women are allowed to sing before the congregation, which is not exactly being silent. …

There is only one law that specifically forbids women to speak in the assembly — and that is the Oral Law of the Jews, later written down and known as the Talmud.

What a shame that our churches, in imposing the silence injunction on our women, are actually following the dictates of the Talmud instead of the Apostle Paul!

Let me make a few points.

First, while Tina Engelbart is entitled to her opinion about what she thinks the Greek means, the reality is that there is no record of Christian women preaching in either the New Testament nor in early Christian writings. While it is possible that the apostate Simon Magus may have had a female preach, and maybe some of the other apostates did, people who understood koine Greek at the time apparently did not feel that the Apostle Paul was allowing women to preach.

Second, UCG is correct that women should not be preaching. This is confirmed by the following passage that is in the Bible (hence, even allowing for a different translation of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, this is not something only to be derived from the Talmud as Tina Engelbart indicates):

11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

It is also a historically accurate position as the early COG did not have women preaching in services.

Third, as far as the Talmud goes, Tina Engelbart needs to consider that the Jews DID allow women to sing and hence the prohibition they had related to women speaking before the assembly did not include singing. That is the same in the Christian church as well.

In the Continuing Church of God we do not believe that women are to preach. We also have the following sermon on women at our ContinuingCOG channel:

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1:15:27

New Testament Women

Fourth, I would add that instead of focusing on what women should not be doing, it is important to understand what they should be doing. For some details, here is a link to a written article titled: Women and the New Testament Church. Here is another link to the related sermon: New Testament Women.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Women and the New Testament Church What roles did women play in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles? Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul violate Jewish traditions regarding their dealings with women? Do women have any biblical limitations on their role in the Church? Were there female prophets? Do women have any special responsibilities in terms of how they dress? What does the New Testament really teach about women? Here is a related sermon titled: New Testament Women.
True Womanhood: A Lost Cause? Is there still a place for being feminine? Here is an article from Herbert Armstrong about his thoughts relating to women and womanhood.
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
Veils and Other Head Coverings Do women need to wear veils or similar coverings while praying or attending church services? What does the Bible teach about hair length? What about going around bald? Here are some scriptures on that subject.
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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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.

Sermon: Acts 6-9: Widows, Stephen, Saul, and Simon Magus

Saturday, July 21st, 2018


10th Century Representation of Gospel Writer Luke

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce its latest sermon which is at its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:16:00

Acts 6-9: Widows, Stephen, Saul, and Simon Magus

This is the third part of a multi-part sermon series intended to cover the entire Book of Acts. In this sermon supporting widows, deacons, the martyrdom of Stephen, persecutions, the conversion of Saul, miracles, the laying on of hands, and Simon Magus are discussed. Many may be surprised to hear the prophecy related to Simon Magus as well as what doctrines he was later condemned for promoting. Dr. Thiel reads each verse of chapters 6 through 9 of the Book of Acts and ties many verses in with other parts of the Bible. The role and need for a ministry is also discussed. Dr. Thiel also answers questions like, ‘Who was the first martyr after Jesus’ and ‘Who was the first Gentile who was baptized?’

Here is a link to the second part of this sermon series: Acts 6-9: Widows, Stephen, Saul, and Simon Magus.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

ACTS Here is an article: The Book of Acts. Here is a link to related sermons: Book of Acts 1-2: Jesus Left, New Testament Church Began, Acts 3-5: Miracles, Trials, Proclamation, and Persecution, and Acts 6-9: Widows, Stephen, Saul, and Simon Magus.
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.
MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, -14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter, Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness, Matthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?, Matthew 21-23: ‘Palm Sunday,’ Come as You Are?, and the Greatest Commandments, Matthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & Miracles, Mark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and Parables, Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration, Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes, Mark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and .
LUKE Here are links to eight sermons covering the entire ‘Gospel of Luke’: Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census, Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry, Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs, Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way, Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards, and Luke 21-22: Giving, Sorrows, Persecution, Tribulation, Fig Tree, and Violence. The last sermon also covers Jesus’ words in the Book of Acts.
JOHN Here are links to a seven-part sermon series covering the entire ‘Gospel of John’: John 1-3: Anti-unitarian, Wine, Being Born Again, & Heaven, John 4-6: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Miracles and the Bread of Life
, John 10-12: Sheep, Hirelings, Lazarus/Soul Sleep and ‘Palm Day’, John 13-15: Footwashing and the Words of Jesus, John 16-18: Truth, Trinity, and Pontius Pilate, and John 19-21: Do not only try, do what God wants.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
Simon Magus, What Did He Teach? Sometimes called “the father early heretics” or the “father of heresies”, do you know what early writers claimed that Simon Magus taught? Sadly, most who profess Christ still hold to versions of his teachings. Here is a link to a related sermon: Simon Magus and ‘Christianity’?
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? Two related sermons are available The Work per HWA and the Bible and Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Is God Calling You? This is a draft booklet discussing calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th 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. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there. 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 CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to a version of that first sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
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.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
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.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
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 sermonette videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
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.

‘Four Progressive Steps into Apostasy’

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

CHOG Book Cover 2015

COGwriter

In his latest newsletter, Mike Gendron has the following:

Four Progressive Steps into Apostasy

Throughout the 2000 year history of the Church, we have seen a continual departure of people and churches from the faith of the apostles. As incredibly tragic as this has been, it should not surprise us because Paul warned: “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons”     (1 Tim. 4:1). Shortly after our Lord began building His Church, the apostle John records one of the first occurrences of apostasy. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

Before going further, it should be noted that one of the first and most clearly documented changes from the practices of the Apostle John was changing the date of Passover to a Sunday.

Although I do not agree with all of his details, let’s look at Mike Gendron’s steps as he wrote:

First Step into Apostasy

God’s word is neglected as the supreme authority for faith and practice. Man’s words and wisdom become as important as God’s Word. Traditions and movements of men cause confusion and divided loyalties. People start following “Christian” personalities instead of the Word of God. Pastors discard the Lord’s blue print for building His church and create their own strategy. Pastors win the approval of men for the size of their church, rather than their faithfulness and fidelity to God’s Word. The power of the Gospel is weakened by compromise and made more inclusive to gain a larger following. Biblical evangelism is replaced by man’s methods of conversion. Churches give people what they want instead of what they need. The pursuit of sanctification is neglected. Biblical warnings to expose false teachers are ignored. A little leaven in the form of heresy is allowed to circulate. Contenders for the faith are labeled as divisive and intolerant. Women are allowed to teach men.

Second Step into Apostasy

Scripture is twisted and distorted for self-serving agendas. Truth becomes subjective and relative. Doctrinal error and sin are tolerated by pastors who neglect their responsibility to protect the sheep. Satan sows his tares with little resistance. Pastors become more determined to build their own church rather than the Lord’s church. The Gospel becomes more inclusive to attract more people. Expository preaching is replaced by topical messages. Biblical ignorance in the pew provides fertile ground for false teachers to prosper. Trials and persecution expose dead and spurious faith. The exhortation to contend earnestly for the faith is ignored. People honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. “Infallible” men claim to be successors of the apostles and are embraced as brothers-in-Christ. Ungodly men creep in and turn the grace of our God into licentiousness. Contenders for the faith are asked to leave.

Third Step into Apostasy

Entertainment, idolatry, liturgy and rituals have replaced the Lord Jesus from the central focus of worship. Pastors are more interested in entertaining the goats than feeding the sheep. Ear-tickling messages give people what they want instead of what they need. Sound doctrine and truth is suppressed for the sake of ecumenical unity. Hearts become hardened and love for God grows cold. Doctrinal error flourishes and is embraced with stubborn pride. There is no love for the truth and no discernment. People stand for nothing and fall for everything. A form of godliness exists, but it’s void of power. Idolatry is practiced and encouraged. Sin and immoral lifestyles are tolerated. Women are ordained as pastors.

Fourth Step into Apostasy

Teaching is heavily influenced by doctrines of demons. Jesus has been removed from the church. Deception is full-blown. Lying signs and wonders, including apparitions, are embraced as messages from God or Mary. Idolatry and prayers to the dead are encouraged.

Even in the Church of God, many want entertainment–despite warnings against that (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3).  Jesus warned that mainly of the faithful would be lukewarm in the end times and needed repentance (cf. Revelation 3:14-19; see also The Laodicean Church Era).

Anyway, while Mike Gendron is mainly pointing to compromise by the Church of Rome, Eastern Orthodox, and select Protestant groups, there has been more sliding into apostasy by people who claim to believe the Bible than his article points point.

Now, consider that last decade, Christianity Today was promoting an article that stated:

We are now in a period when it is not enough to know only about the Bible. The apologetics of the past is no longer adequate. Today’s questions involve not only how the Bible came to be, but even if there was originally such a thing as orthodoxy. It is a crucial question. Christians need to know a lot more about the second century. Roots matter, especially in the founding of a movement (Bock. D. Roots Matter: The Gnostic Hunger For Secret Knowledge. Christianity Today. Issue 96, Fall 2007, Vol. XXVII, No. 4, Page 42).

And while that is true, sadly Protestant scholars realize that the doctrines and practices of what now passes for mainstream “Christianity” simply have no historical evidence of existing in the second century.

Notice the following admissions from Protestant scholar HOJ Brown:

It is impossible to document what we now call orthodoxy in the first two centuries of Christianity (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 5).

Simply put, many of the doctrines that now are considered to be heresy were held by the early church and many doctrines now considered to be mainstream were condemned as heresy by those associated with the early church.

But the true Church was NOT supposed to change the faith, instead Christians were exhorted:

3 … to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.  (Jude 3)

Here is a listing of many such doctrines, that is also included in the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God:

Baptism of Christians was by immersion and did not include infants.

The complete Bible with the proper Old Testament and New Testament was relied on by the true Church in Asia Minor.

A Binitarian or Semi-Arian view, that acknowledged the Holy Spirit, was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.

Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.

Born-Again meant being born at the resurrection, not at the time of conversion, which is when a spiritual begettal occurs.

Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.

Church Governance was properly hierarchical.

Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings; December 25th did not come from the Bible.

Circumcision, though not required, was long practiced by original Nazarene Christians.

Confession of sins were not made to priests and did not require penance.

Deification of Christians (which begins after the first resurrection) was taught by the early leaders of the Church.

Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental–nor did they dress as many now do. Easterper se was not observed by the apostolic church.

The Fall (and Spring) Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.

The Father was considered to be God by all early professing Christians.

The True Gospel included the kingdom of God and obedience to the law of God and was so understood by the faithful.

Heaven was not taught to be the reward of Christians.

Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.

Hymns were mainly psalms, not praises to Christ.

Idols were taught against, including adoration of the cross.

Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught. Jesus was considered to be God by the true Christians.

The Kingdom of God was preached.

Leavened Bread was removed from the homes of early Christians when the Jews did the same.

Lent was not observed by the primitive church.

Limbo was not taught by the original church.

Mary was the mother of Jesus, was blessed (Luke 1:28) and called blessed (Luke 1:48), but was not prayed to, etc. by true early Christians.

Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians.

Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians.

Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.

Passover was kept annually on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second century Christians in Asia Minor.

Pentecost was kept on Sunday by certain Jews and was observed then by professing Christians.

Purgatory was not taught by the original apostolic church.

The Resurrection of the dead was taught by all early Christians

The Sabbath was observed on Saturday by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church.

Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that (or other doctrines) practiced “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). God’s

Six Thousand Year Plan for humankind to rule itself was believed by early professors of Christ.

Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and original post-apostolic Christians.

The Ten Commandments were observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians–and in the order that the Church of God claims they are in.

Tithes and Offerings were given to support the ministry, the churches, the needy, and evangelical travels and proclamation.

Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians, but was never supposed to supercede the Bible.

The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians, though a certain threeness was acknowledged.

Unclean Meats were eaten by the early allegorists, but not by true Christians.

The Virgin Birth was acknowledged by all true ante-Nicene Christians.

The early true Church simply had many doctrines and practices that do not resemble today’s “mainstream Christianity.” Instead, the faithful held to doctrines that we in the Continuing Church of God still hold to.

Despite claims and misinformation to the contrary, early Christians held to Church of God doctrines much more than they did to many doctrines now held by the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or the Protestants.

Those interested in more information should consider visiting the History of Early Christianity page. and/or reading the free online booklet: Continuing History of the Church of God.

Lest anyone feel that the Roman or Orthodox Catholics or others can tie their beliefs and continuity to the original church better than the we in the Continuing Church of God can, if they are truly interested in learning the truth, should study the following:

What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance? Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?
Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith.  Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like information on how to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses? A related sermon is also available: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?
Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The genuine Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies? Here is a version in the Spanish language: SDA/COG Diferencias: La bestia de dos cuernos de Apocalipsis y 666. Here is a sermon in the English language: CCOG and SDA differences and similarities.
Seventh-day Adventist President Ted Wilson’s Comments on the Remnant Church Ted N. C. Wilson spoke on the SDAs striving to be the “remnant church”, but what do the related scriptures actually teach?
Teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and the Continuing Church of God The genuine Church of God is not related to the Mormons and this article explains some differences and a couple of similarities. Also, might certain LDS prophecies apply to Mitt Romney? A sermon of related interest is available: Mormon vs. Church of God Teachings.
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. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
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? 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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Do Angels really exist?

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018


Artist’s portrayal of a Cherubim

COGwriter

Do angels really exist?

According to the Bible they do.

Do you know about angelic beings? Here is an article titled ANGELS SERVANTS OF GOD by Hugh Mauck that was put out by the old WCG:

When I was a teenager back in the late thirties and early forties, I wondered what it would be like to be invisible. I remember so well the movie The Invisible Man starring Claude Raines. It was the story of a chemist who had discovered a formula that made him invisible.

Although invisible, he could still be felt and sometimes heard when he did not wish to be. His footprints could be seen; an opening door would betray him; or he would fall over an unseen object. Unable to discover the antidote that would make him visible again, he soon became very unhappy; the novelty of being invisible became a tragedy.

The Invisible World

Science fiction and Hollywood aside, there is a very real, but invisible world – another dimension, as some choose to call it – existing along with our own – but absolutely undiscernible to our five senses. It is the spirit world of God and angels.

God tells us that He is a spirit (John 4:24); that spirit is invisible (John 3:8, Col. 1:15); and that He is the Father of all spirit beings (Heb.12:9).

God speaks of His son Jesus Christ, saying: “Who is’ the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be [or have] thrones, or dominions, or [whether they be] principalities [holders of high offices in heaven or on earth], or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1: 15-17).

Angels are called God’s sons (Job 1:6; 38:7) because God created them. But they aren’t begotten sons as is Christ. They exist in a hierarchy below the God-plane level of God the Father and Christ (Heb. 1:5-14).

Paul speaks plainly of the angels of God in the first two chapters of Hebrews. He tells us that we are created a little lower than the angels; but we have the awesome potential of becoming far greater. We are called the sons of God – not sons by creation as they are, but begotten sons with a far greater future than they. We can be born into God’s very own family as fellow-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8: 17; Gal. 3:26-29).

God’s Angels Created Before Adam

God created angels and archangels before He created and placed Adam on this earth. They were here even before the foundation of the earth was laid. They shouted for joy when they first saw the earth in all its perfection (Job 38: 1-7).

That was prior to creation week, which took place sometime after the destruction on the earth caused by Lucifer’s rebellion (Isa. 14: 12-17). The earth was not created waste and in confusion, as we find it in Genesis I:2. God created the earth to be inhabited; He did not create it in the ruined state in which it later became (Isa. 45:18).

Angels are invisible, immortal spirit beings with superior power and knowledge (II Pet. 2: 11). They have seen all the activities of man on earth, and therefore know far more about the human mind, psychology, sociology, science and all the arts than any man living. And God has put them here with us as ministering spirits, to serve us! “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14).

They are put here to help us along the road to eternal life, to save us from premature death, accident, etc., and to help us fight our battles and protect us from the devil and his demons. No wonder Elisha had no fear of his physical enemies when He saw one of God’s spirit armies standing upon the mountain (II Kings 6: 15-17).

God has had angels specifically assigned to supervise and protect His Church throughout all of its history (Rev. 1:4, 16, 20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). He has angels who continually walk through the earth to observe and report back to Him the overall conditions on earth (Rev. 5:6; Zech. 4: 10; II Chron. 16:9).

And God has angels specifically assigned to look after His begotten human children (Acts 12:15; Matt. 18: 10). God promises: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Ps.91:11).

Twelve of God’s angels will be the gatekeepers in the new city of Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12), one for each tribe of Israel. These same twelve are probably assisting the Archangel Michael now.

Angels were messengers to the patriarchs of old. They appeared to Abraham, Lot, Hagar, Moses, Manoah, Gideon, Elijah and many of the prophets and apostles.

Angels do exist.

But we are not to be involved with angel worship:

18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (Colossians 2:18)

Angels are impressive to humans, but they do not wish to be worshiped:

8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:8-9)

Few humans come into direct voice contact with God’s angels.

Many are fascinated by angelic beings.

However some improperly pray and speak with “their angel.” In most cases where there is believed to be a response, if this is not from their imagination, they are actually connecting to the demonic world.

There are also various types of angels and spirit beings. The article partially posted above later includes information on Cherubim and Seraphim (see Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim This is information about various types of angelic beings.
Did Angels Marry Human Women? Many insist this is so and also that this mating caused giants to be born. Did this come from the ‘Book of Enoch’? What does Genesis 6:4 really mean? A related video is also available: Did Angels Marry Women and Produce Giants?
Did God Create a Devil? If not, what happened? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet.
Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, and SDA Ellen White did, but does the Bible allow for this?
Close Encounters of a ‘Spirit’ Kind discusses some experiences I believe were (demon) ‘spirit’ related. A video is also available titled: Poltergeists and Lying Wonders.
What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7? Are sorceries being restrained until the future? What is the mystery of lawlessness? Could the archangel Michael be the restrainer? Here is a related article in Spanish: ¿Qué es lo que se restringe y quién lo está restringiendo en 2 Tesalonicenses 2:7?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.

BibleNewsProphecy: Circumcision: Good or Bad?

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

COGwriter

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

9:26

Should infant boys be circumcised? Should this practice be prohibited as some advocate? Do major health organizations support or oppose male circumcision? Should parents make this decision? Is it better to be performed on infants or is it best to wait? Are there health and other benefits to circumcision? What does the science show? Could it be over 100 times better to be circumcised than uncircumcised? Where did male circumcision come from? Does male circumcision reduce the risk of cancers for the male as well as his wife? Is female circumcision acceptable? What does the Bible teach about circumcision? Did the Apostle Paul have Timothy circumcised? Must Christians be circumcised? Did early Christians circumcise their sons? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more.

Here is a link to our video: Circumcision: Good or Bad?

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Health Benefits of Circumcision Various studies show health benefits for male circumcision. Have Christians observed circumcision throughout history? Here is a link to a related video: Circumcision: Good or Bad?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经 Here is a link in the Spanish language: Lea la Biblia.
Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain? What about the Ten Commandments? What about the 613 regulations (called 613 Mitzvot) in the Old Testament? Which were ‘done away’? Here is a link to a sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
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 doctrines the early Christians actually had? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
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
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu 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?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
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.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
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.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos
. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
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. Here is a link to a short intro: ContinuingCOG Channel.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.

VOA: Nearly Quarter of Americans Carry Lucky Charms

Saturday, July 14th, 2018


Victorian silver mounted rabbit’s foot ‘lucky charm’ (Sobebunny)

COGwriter

Voice of America (VOA) reported the following:

Nearly Quarter of Americans Carry Lucky Charms

Nearly one in four Americans carries a good luck charm at least occasionally, according to a new survey.

According to a YouGov poll, seven percent of Americans carry a lucky charm every day, four percent said they carry one frequently, and 13 percent said they carry one occasionally.  Seventy percent said they don’t carry a charm.

A lucky charm could be a shirt, a pair of shoes, a coin, a bracelet or a piece of ribbon. In fact, at the World Cup, star Lionel Messi tied a ribbon given to him by a fan around his ankle.

According to Elle magazine, actress Cameron Diaz wears a lucky necklace, as does Lindsay Lohan. Actor Benicio Del Toro is reported to have a lucky ring.

Women are slightly more likely to carry a charm, with 26 percent saying they carry one at least occasionally, compared to 20 percent of men who say they do. 07/13/18 https://blogs.voanews.com/all-about-america/2018/07/13/nearly-quarter-of-americans-carry-lucky-charms/

So the above is talking about 80 million Americans.

However, if you include religious icons like crosses, the amount of Americans who carry ‘good luck charms’ is much higher. Plus, various tattoos are considered to be ‘good luck.’

Back in 1971, the old Worldwide Church of God published the following about the occult, superstitions, and good luck charms:

Traditional Christianity is being abandoned for other forms of “worship.” Oriental religions, witchcraft, the occult, so-called Christian “sects,” and outright paganism have drawn thousands from the mainstream churches. WHY are people turning to the mystical in an age priding itself on scientific and material knowledge? …

Witchcraft is only one of many new forms of “worship” attracting thousands of new converts each year. Astrology, spiritism, occultism, Ouija boards (they have outsold Monopoly sets), Tarot cards, and other associated items are big business. …

There are approximately 2,000 active secret sects in France, which include the “onionists” (God is shaped like an onion), the navel worshippers, and the Druids (Druids are also in England and have an annual festival at Stonehenge). One report estimates the French spend about 1,000 million francs ($200 million) a year in consulting 60,000 sorcerers.

Germany is the traditional land of witches, spells and hexes. According to the German Medical Information Service, 10,000 people are engaged in witchcraft there. Charges of witchcraft often come up in court.
In the United States there are those who actually claim to be practicing “Satanists.” …

It is estimated that at least 5 million Americans plan their lives by the stars. This naturally does not include the additional millions who consult their daily horoscope out of curiosity or buy zodiac-decorated items ranging from drinking glasses to silk pajamas. There is enough business to keep 10,000 full-time and 175,000 part-time astrologers on the go.

More than two thirds of the daily newspapers in the United States carry astrology columns. …

For the millions who would not associate themselves with any of the aforementioned “cults,” there is still widespread superstition, often just an offshoot of astrology, witchcraft, or the occult.

According to one estimate, there are 20 million people in the United States alone who actually carry with them a rabbit’s foot or other good-luck charms. This does not include millions more who cross their fingers, knock on wood, cower before black cats, throw salt on their shoulder, or experience triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13). …

People are dissatisfied with our materialistic society. They are equally disenchanted with the standard-brand churches which seem to give no alternative to the secular world. In their frustration to find a power beyond themselves, they seem to feel the only other path open is mysticism and the psychic.

One of the major causes for the collapse of Rome was the decay of religion from the status of moral judge and champion to a hollow shell of ritual and liturgy. In desperation, people turned to astrology, sorcery, and divination, the natural refuge in a time of confusion and collapse. (Grabbe LL. The New Fad: MYSTICISM and the OCCULT. Plain Truth, November 1971)

The amount of superstitious Americans has seemingly increased over the decades.

Good luck charms are a form of idolatry.

They bring to mind something that the prophet Jeremiah wrote:

5 Like scarecrows in a cucumber patch, their idols cannot speak. They must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them for they can do no harm–and they cannot do any good. (Jeremiah 10:5, CSB)

Good luck charms do not physically harm one, but they are spiritually bad.

Consider also some of what the Apostle John wrote:

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols (I John 5:21).

8 But …idolaters…shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).

Many think there is nothing wrong with carrying a good luck charm.

But notice also the following:

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Reve3lation 22:14-15)

Idolatry is a lie.

Good luck charms are a form of idolatry and idolaters are not among those who will inherit the Kingdom of God, unless they repent–which they can (see Christian Repentance and Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis).

Those interested in early Christianity may wish to study the following documented items and presentations to learn more:

What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did the early Church use icons? What was the position of Christians about such things? A related sermon is available: The Second Commandment, Idols, and Icons.
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? Two related YouTube videos would be Beware of the ‘Ecumenical Cross’ and Origin of the Cross.
The Occult Explosion – What Does It Mean? A booklet by Herbert W. Armstrong which also includes a challenge.
The Bible and Astrology Should Christians avoid participating in astrology or did God inspire it? Does the Bible encourage astrology? What does the Bible actually teach? What is astrology? How does astrology differ from astronomy? Should Christians Be Involved In Astrology?
OMENS? DIVINATION? HOROSCOPES? THE ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY
Where did astrology come from? Should you read your horoscope?
Does Astrology Work? Many believe and follow astrology–but does it work? Here is a link to the article in Mandarin Chinese: S`fg/QÆxnTÿ .
Tattoos: History and Biblical Teachings Would you like to know more about the history of tattoos, social concerns about tattoos, health risks of tattoos, and what the Bible teaches about them? Here is a related video titled Should Christians Get a Tattoo?
Clear Proof that the Shroud of Turin is Fake: Debunking the ‘reasons’ that the Shroud of Turin is real There is NO proof that the Shroud of Turin has Jesus’ image and those who are willing to believe the Bible can prove it is fake. Here is a link to a related video: Could the Shroud of Turin Be Real? 12 Reasons to Consider.
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. It also goes over many original Christian doctrines that many later tried to change. 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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love  and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
Is God Calling You? This is a booklet discussing calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.

Sermon: Acts 3-5: Miracles, Trials, Proclamation, and Persecution

Saturday, July 14th, 2018


10th Century Representation of Gospel Writer Luke

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce its latest sermon which is at its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:09:49

This is the second part of a multi-part sermon series intended to cover the entire Book of Acts. In this sermon miracles of healing and death are discussed. Questions are asked and answered such as: Should you obey God rather than men? Were any early professing Christians punished for covetousness and bearing false witness? Were Christians required to sell all for the common good? How did the apostles deal with threats, imprisonment, and beatings? Were Hebrew prophecies referred to in efforts to reach the Jews? Was Gamaliel a Christian? What work were the apostles doing? Dr. Thiel reads each verse of chapters 3 through 5 of the Book of Acts and answers these questions and more.

Here is a link to the second part of this sermon series: Acts 3-5: Miracles, Trials, Proclamation, and Persecution.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

ACTS Here is an article: The Book of Acts. Here is a link to a sermon: Book of Acts 1-2: Jesus Left, New Testament Church Began and Acts 3-5: Miracles, Trials, Proclamation, and Persecution.
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.
MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, -14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter, Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness, Matthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?, Matthew 21-23: ‘Palm Sunday,’ Come as You Are?, and the Greatest Commandments, Matthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & Miracles, Mark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and Parables, Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration, Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes, Mark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and .
LUKE Here are links to eight sermons covering the entire ‘Gospel of Luke’: Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census, Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry, Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs, Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way, Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards, and Luke 21-22: Giving, Sorrows, Persecution, Tribulation, Fig Tree, and Violence. The last sermon also covers Jesus’ words in the Book of Acts.
JOHN Here are links to a seven-part sermon series covering the entire ‘Gospel of John’: John 1-3: Anti-unitarian, Wine, Being Born Again, & Heaven, John 4-6: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Miracles and the Bread of Life
, John 10-12: Sheep, Hirelings, Lazarus/Soul Sleep and ‘Palm Day’, John 13-15: Footwashing and the Words of Jesus, John 16-18: Truth, Trinity, and Pontius Pilate, and John 19-21: Do not only try, do what God wants.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? Two related sermons are available The Work per HWA and the Bible and Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Is God Calling You? This is a draft booklet discussing calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th 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. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there. 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 CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to a version of that first sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
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.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
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.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
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 sermonette videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
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.

CCOG and Church of Rome teachings on confession and repentance

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

COGwriter

The Bible does say to confess sins, but has the Church of Rome taken this beyond the practices recorded in the Bible or any found in early Christian documents?

What do the Bible and the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) teach?

Let’s start by reading a passage from the Douay-Rheims Bible (a Catholic version, abbreviated herein as DRB):

16 Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much. (James 5:16, DRB)

Notice that this was not a command to confess sins to the clergy.

For those who prefer a more modern version, the following is the same verse from the New Jerusalem Bible (another Catholic version, abbreviated herein as NJB):

16 So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another to be cured; the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully. (James 5:16, NJB)

Both versions teach confession of sins to lay members of the church as opposed to auricular (essentially audible) confession to a priest.

Here is the other time the Bible specifically talks about confessing sins:

7 But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:7-10, DRB)

The above says that Christians are to confess sins, and Jesus will forgive them. There is no discussion of penance here or in James 5:16.

According to other scriptures, God/Jesus again is the one we are to confess to:

11 For it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 Therefore every one of us shall render account to God for himself. (Romans 14:11-12, DRB)

1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly vocation, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus (Hebrews 3:1, DRB)

14 Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. 16 Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. (Hebrews 4:14-16, DRB)

Notice also the following:

18 And many of them that believed, came confessing and declaring their deeds. 19 And many of them who had followed curious arts, brought together their books, and burnt them before all; and counting the price of them, they found the money to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. (Acts 19:18-19, DRB)

The above people apparently repented of their sins and destroyed certain wicked books, but this was not penance in the sense that the Church of Rome now advocates.

Since the Bible has a different view, than Rome now has, has the Roman Catholic Church changed its position? Well, yes it has, even though it has suggested otherwise in the past.

The Council of Trent in the 16th century made a variety of statements about auricular confession. Perhaps the first one to deal with is the following:

CANON VI.–If any one denieth, either that sacramental confession was instituted, or is necessary to salvation, of divine right; or saith, that the manner of confessing secretly to a priest alone, which the Church hath ever observed from the beginning, and doth observe, is alien from the institution and command of Christ, and is a human invention; let him be anathema. (The Council of Trent The Fourteenth Session The canons and decrees of the sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent, Ed. and trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 92-121. Hanover Historical Texts Project Scanned by Hanover College students in 1995. http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct14.html 05/19/12)

Of course, the above is wrong as this most certainly was not the practice of the early Christians nor the Church of Rome from the beginning. And lest someone claim that I am “anathema” for teaching this, the reality is that even the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the “sacrament of forgiveness” was changed:

1447 Over the centuries the concrete form in which the Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably. During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism (for example, idolatry, murder, or adultery) was tied to a very rigorous discipline, according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins, often for years, before receiving reconciliation. To this “order of penitents” (which concerned only certain grave sins), one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime. During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the “private” practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church. From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest. This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament. It allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration. In its main lines this is the form of penance that the Church has practiced down to our day. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1447. Imprimi Potest + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Image Books by Doubleday, NY 2003)

So, it took until the 7th century for the modern practice to develop widely, but it seems to have been related to Callistus’ actions combined with a syncretic adaptation of scripture and non-biblical practices that took time to develop (along with the general acceptance of the Greco-Romans to be willing to utilize practices of non-Christian religions with theirs). But the fact is that the Council of Trent was wrong–and this Council put forth many dogmas, all of which had papal approval–thus the Council of Trent disproves the idea of papal infallibility. Catholics really need to realize that.

So, it took until the 7th century for the modern practice to develop widely.

Of course, repentance was taught for becoming a Christian, and acknowledging our sins to God is taught for remaining one:

8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us; 9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil. (1 John 1:9, NJB)

And while the Bible advocates repentance, penance is from outside of sacred scripture as well as the earliest traditions of the true Church of God.

While some Catholics believe that sins cannot be forgiven without the “sacrament of confession,” this is not the case. And, as the Catechism admits (#1447) the current “sacrament of confession” was not an original apostolic practice.

Penance vs. Repentance

The true Church of God which existed since the beginning (see, for example, the page The History of Early Christianity) is not Protestant (see, for example, the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants). It bases its beliefs primarily upon the Bible, which teaches:

38 ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered, ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, NJB)

Repentance was taught for becoming a Christian, and acknowledging our sins to God is taught for remaining one:

8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us; 9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil. (1 John 1:9, NJB)

Christians are not to inflict punishment on ourselves, thinking that this will force God to hear our prayers (Isaiah 58:2-7). God is not interested in penance, but repentance and change. We should not be like certain Muslims and whip our backs, while effectively saying, “Look at our suffering, God, so hear us.”

And while the Bible advocates repentance, penance is from outside of sacred scripture as well as the earliest traditions of the true Church of God. While the Church of Rome tends to claim that its beliefs come from sacred scripture or the traditions of the original apostles, the idea of auricular confession and penance did not come from either source–they are late heresies, essentially adopted from non-Christian sources.

The Bible teaches against a worldly repentance:

10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Here is something that the late Herbert Armstrong wrote related to that:

Admit Your Sins

Prayer and fasting aren’t the only requirements in seeking God. If you will read back over the examples of Daniel and Nehemiah as well as any of the other prophets of God, you will notice that in every case they FREELY ACKNOWLEDGED their own sins and shortcomings. It takes a deeply sincere man to say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

If we are earnestly seeking God and His way, this is the attitude we will be reflecting. We will freely admit our own sins and shortcomings and be earnestly importuning God to show us the right way. Jeremiah said, “O Lord, I know that THE WAY OF MAN IS NOT IN HIMSELF: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing” (Jer. 10: 23-24).

We as individuals do not know how to live. Once we begin to learn that lesson, and look to God to show us how to live and how to change our lives, we are on our way to real repentance.

The steps are simple. Yet it is not easy to completely give of yourself, to admit your own faults and sincerely ask for God’s forgiveness.

Turn From Own Ways

The people of this world outwardly follow many of these steps and yet fall short in the final, most important of all the steps — TURNING FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS. That is why it is so hard to distinguish between the believer and the non-believer. That is why the “distance between our professed faith and our daily performance is astronomical.” So many people of this day and age profess to be repentant — profess Christianity and yet still live in all the wretchedness of their sinful ways. So, finally, one of the most important of all the steps in coming to true repentance is to STOP SINNING! Millions CLAIM membership in a church. They loudly proclaim their belief in Jesus Christ. They testify for Christ, BUT THE FRUIT IS NOT THERE.

All too often our repentance is the worldly repentance spoken of in II Corinthians 7:10. What we really need to come to see and understand is the kind of repentance God speaks of. “Therefore also now, saith the Eternal, Turn ye even to me WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and REND YOUR HEART, and not your garments, and turn to the Eternal your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil”. (Joel 2:12-13).

No, God doesn’t want the worldly kind of repentance which is manifested by a trip down the sawdust trail. No, He doesn’t just want your name on the membership rolls of some church. What God wants and what you should come to deeply desire is to SINCERELY acknowledge your sins and ask forgiveness. God wants you to say, “I’M SORRY” — and mean it! He wants you to repent of breaking and to begin obeying His LAW. (Armstrong HW. Just What Do You Mean — Repentance?)

Notice, he taught that sins are to be acknowledged and behavior changed. More on this subject is also covered in the article When You Sin: Do You Really Repent?

All Sins that Are Properly Repented of Will Be Forgiven

While some Catholics believe that sins cannot be forgiven without the “sacrament of confession,” this is not the case. And, as the Catechism admits (#1447) the current “sacrament of confession” was not an original apostolic practice.

While some people erroneously believe that God could not forgive them and that they have possibly committed the “unpardonable sin,” those who feel that way pretty much can be assured that they have not committed it–recall that scripture teaches:

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. (1 John 1:9, DRB)

For more details about the “unpardonable sin,” please see the article What is the Unpardonable Sin?

The Bible, like the Continuing Church of God, says to confess sins to one another but mainly to Jesus Christ. Scripture does not say to do so to a priest, nor does the Bible ever authorize penance for sin. For more details, check out the new article History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’ Did early Christians confess their sins to priests? A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son. Here is a link to a shorter video The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ and ‘Climate Change’?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters? Some religions suggest this, but what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the early church?
Did the Early Christian Church Practice Monasticism? Does God expect or endorse living in a monastery or nunnery?
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
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?
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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Cardinal says priests should pray to the East, but what about Christians?

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

PRAYER Book Cover - Front Final

COGwriter

Sometime back, the Catholic Herald reported the following:

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, has asked priests to begin celebrating Mass ad orientem, that is, facing east rather than towards the congregation.

The proposed reform is arguably the biggest liturgical announcement since Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum gave greater freedom for priests to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.

Speaking at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London on Tuesday, the Guinean cardinal, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, addressed priests who were present, saying: “It is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes”.

The cardinal continued: “I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible.”

He said that “prudence” and catechesis would be necessary, but told pastors to have “confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people”.

“Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend ‘the Lord who will come’ and ‘who will not delay’.”

These words were met with prolonged applause in the conference hall.

Cardinal Sarah had spoken on previous occasions about the merits of ad orientem worship, saying that from the Offertory onwards it was “essential that the priest and faithful look together towards the east”. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/07/05/cardinal-sarah-asks-priests-to-start-celebrating-mass-facing-east-this-advent/

So, the Vatican’s ‘liturgy chief’ says it is good for its priests to pray to the east.

Perhaps he and others may wish to read the Bible, as it objects to this. Here are quotes from the New Jerusalem Bible, which is a Roman Catholic translation of the scriptures into the English language:

15 He said, ‘Son of man, do you see that? You will see even more loathsome things than that.’

16 He then led me to the inner court of the Temple of Yahweh. And there, at the entrance to Yahweh’s sanctuary, between the portico and the altar, there were about twenty-five men, with their backs to Yahweh’s sanctuary and their faces turned towards the east, before the rising sun. (Ezekiel 8:15-16)

So, although the Bible warns against worship towards the east and associates with sun-god worship, the Church of Rome is encouraging this.

Why might the Church of Rome be encouraging something in conflict with the Bible here?

Well, sadly, many practices associated with sun-god worship, specifically Mithraism were adopted by the Church of Rome. Mithraism had priests pray towards the sun, which in the morning meant towards the east. Notice the following report from the Catholic scholar F. Cumont (bolding mine):

The priest was the intermediary between God and man. His functions evidently included the administration of the sacraments and the celebration of the services. The inscriptions tell us that in addition he presided at the formal dedications, or at least represented the faithful one on such an occasion along with the Fathers; but this was the least portion only of the duties he had to perform; the religious service which fell to his lot appears to have been very exacting. He doubtless was compelled to see that a perpetual fire burned upon the altars. Three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, he addressed a prayer to the Sun, turning in the morning toward the East, at noon toward the South, at evening toward the West. The daily liturgy frequently embraced special sacrifices.

the orthodox and heretical liturgies of Christianity, which gradually sprang up during the first centuries of our era, could find abundant inspiration in the Mithraic Mysteries… it appears certain that the commemoration of the Nativity was set for the 25th of December, because it was at the winter solstice that the rebirth of the invincible god,* the Natalis invicti, was celebrated. In adopting this date, which was universally distinguished by sacred festivities, the ecclesiastical authority purified in some measure the profane usages which it could not suppress. The only domain in which we can ascertain in detail the extent to which Christianity imitated Mithraism is that of art. The Mithraic sculpture, which had been first developed, furnished the ancient Christian marble-cutters with a large number of models, which they adopted or adapted…(Cumont, pp. 166, 193,196-197).

Many of the doctrines and practices mentioned above were NOT held by the original Christians. For articles related to them, please see Do You Practice Mithraism?, Sunday and Christianity, What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?, Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?, and What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?

Even Wikipedia realizes that worship towards the east does not come from Christianity:

The practice of praying towards the East is older than Christianity (East. Wikipedia, accessed 07/06/16)

Eastern worship is condemned in the Continuing Church of God booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?:

Notice what Jesus Himself taught:

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

Many think that it does not matter what or how they worship, only that they make some attempt. That is not what Jesus said that the Father wants.

Jesus also taught:

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 15:8-9)

People may pray out loud or silently, but notice that they can be worshiping God in vain if they are following the imaginations of their own mind or ‘traditions’ of human beings which are contrary to God’s ways. Intentionally praying to the east (Ezekiel 8:16) and certain holidays that many who claim Christianity observe, do not come from the Bible, but from compromises with pagan “traditions of men” (see also our booklet Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?). …

While some have said that having icons around reminds them to pray, the Apostle John wrote:

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5:21).

He did not say that idols/icons should be around to encourage prayer. The pagans did that. And the Bible teaches that the true God does not want to be worshiped as other gods have been (Leviticus 18:24-30; Deuteronomy 12:29-31).

The Bible points to God’s throne being in the far north (Psalm 48:1,2; Job 37:22; Isaiah 14:13; Ezekiel 1:4) and when I pray, I tend to look towards the heavens to the north, presuming God’s throne is above that (cf. Isaiah 40:22). This helps remind me that God rules the expanses of the universe (Thiel B. Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? Nazarene Books, 2015).

To learn more about what the Bible teach about prayer, check out our free online booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?

To learn more about early Christian liturgical practices, check out the free article: What was the Liturgy of the Early Church?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related sermon is available and titled: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer?
What Should I Pray About? An old article by Lynn Torrance on prayer. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 我应该祷告什么?
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
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?

Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido.Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was their Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th 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.
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.
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.

‘Love ALL of him’: Billboard asks parents to rethink circumcision

Saturday, July 7th, 2018


Circumcision being performed

COGwriter

An anti-circumcision group made the news today:

‘Love ALL of him’: Billboard asks parents to rethink circumcision

July 7, 2018

Opposed to any baby boy being circumcised, a Texas-based nonprofit called Your Whole Baby has paid for a billboard on the Boulevard of the Allies near Ward Street in Oakland. Expected to be up for a month, it has an image of a man holding a baby, with the message, “Love ALL of him. Circumcision harms.”

Greg Hartley, state director for Your Whole Baby PA, said the neighborhood was chosen because it’s near UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, where UPMC says about 11,000 babies are born each year.

“The billboard is to make people think about something they often take for granted,” Mr. Hartley said. “Taking off healthy tissue from their children, it’s unethical, plain and simple — regardless of the culture, regardless of the parents’ religion.”

Mr. Hartley said health organizations around the world do not support circumcision, maintaining that the foreskin, the fold of skin at the end of the penis, has purpose and should remain intact. http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2018/07/07/Billboard-asks-parents-to-rethink-circumcision-parents-infant-male/stories/201807060178

Notice that the group is opposed to freedom of religion.

But what about the claim that health organizations around the world do not support male circumcision (MC)?

That is basically nonsense. The World Health Organization, US Center(s) for Disease Control, and the American Academy of Pediatricians to cite just three, endorse male circumcision.

The Bible warns:

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)

Those opposed to male circumcision are deceived and are making deceptive statements.

Here are two items from the CDC:

A risk-benefit analysis cited by the CDC2 found that benefits of infant MC exceed risks by over 100:1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478224/

December 2, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials on Tuesday released a draft of long-awaited federal guidelines on circumcision, saying medical evidence supports having the procedure done and health insurers should pay for it.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines stop short of telling parent to get their newborn sons circumcised. That is a personal decision that may involve religious or cultural preferences, said the CDC’s Dr. Jonathan Mermin.

But “the scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks,” added Mermin, who oversees the agency’s programs on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

These are the first federal guidelines on circumcision, a brief medical procedure that involves cutting away the foreskin around the tip of the penis. Germs can grow underneath the foreskin, and CDC officials say the procedure can lower a male’s risk of sexually-transmitted diseases, penile cancer and even urinary tract infections.

The CDC started working on the guidelines about seven years ago, when a cluster of influential studies in Africa indicated circumcision might help stop spread of the AIDS virus.

“The benefits of male circumcision have become more and more clear over the last 10 years,” said Dr. Aaron Tobian, a Johns Hopkins University researcher involved in one of the African studies. …

In the new guidelines, the CDC says there is now strong evidence that male circumcision can:

-Cut a man’s risk of getting HIV from an infected female partner by 50 to 60 percent.

-Reduce their risk of genital herpes and certain strains of human papillomavirus by 30 percent or more.

-Lower the odds of urinary tract infections during infancy, and cancer of the penis in adulthood.

Studies have not shown that circumcision will reduce an HIV-infected man’s chances of spreading the AIDS virus to women. And research has not found circumcision to be a help in stopping spread of HIV during gay sex.

The guidelines say circumcision is safer for newborns and infants than for older males, noting the complication rate rises from 0.5 percent in newborns to 9 percent in children ages 1 to 9, according to the CDC. Minor bleeding and pain are the most common problems, experts say. http://www.aol.com/article/2014/12/02/cdc-says-circumcision-benefits-outweigh-the-risks/21001823/?icid=maing-grid7%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl2%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D574260

The Bible has advocated male circumcision for thousands of years, and it suggests it specifically for newborn infants.

There have been numerous studies that support male circumcision. Notice the following:

Clinical trials

The protective effect of circumcision was confirmed through clinical trials about 10 years ago, prompting the World Health Organization and local governments to launch massive circumcision programs in 14 priority countries in Africa, which represent 50 percent of all AIDS cases.

After counseling at the clinic, men are offered an HIV test because UNAIDS estimates more than half the people living with HIV are not aware of their status.

The next step is the surgery, which lasts 5 to 7 minutes and is pain free, said general practitioner Dumisani Mhlambi.

“All they are scared of, all they are thinking of, is pain: Is there gonna be pain inflicted more than anything else,” Mhlambi said, adding that most surgeries are pain free.

The Bophelo Pele clinic in Orange Farm was the first circumcision center to open in South Africa in 2007.

Awareness campaigns seem to be working in this neighborhood, where more than 80 percent of men are circumcised, compared with less than 20 percent seven years ago. Dozens of other centers have since opened across the country.

Male nurse Mandisi Mfazwe said social norms have shifted over the years.

“It has now become a norm in Orange Farm. Now if you’re not circumcised, some guys will laugh at you. So people come also because of peer pressure. Not only because of the HIV/AIDS reason, but it is beneficial for them at the end of the day,” Mfazwe said.

Impact of circumcisions studied

CHAPS, the Center for HIV and AIDS Prevention Studies, which manages the clinics, continues to study the impact of circumcisions.

CEO Dirk Taljaard said new data suggests circumcision benefits women, too.

“We saw a protective effect for women. If you had women in the community that have only had circumcised partners, the risk was reduced already by 20 percent for 15- to 25-years-old women,” Taljaard said.

Some studies estimate that, in South Africa, for every four circumcisions, one HIV infection is avoided. Since 2007, more than 1.5 million circumcisions have been performed in the country, suggesting close to 400,000 new infections may have been avoided. http://www.voanews.com/content/south-africa-sees-male-circumcision-as-way-to-reduce-hiv-infections/2538279.html

A few years back, in the local newspaper, I read an article by San Luis Obispo medical doctor Steven Sainsbury who also advocated various benefits for males being circumcised (Debunking Circumcision Myths The Tribune, July 21, 2011, page B5). Some of the facts he presented were:

  1. Male circumcision lowers human papilloma virus (HPV) in female partners.
  2. Male circumcision confers an element of protection from HIV (and he cited a USA study)
  3. Uncircumcised males can get their foreskins swollen, sometimes in a dangerous fashion called paraphimosis.
  4. Uncircumcised males are more likely to get a urinary obstruction called phimosis.
  5. Uncircumcised males are more likely to have hygiene problems.

He also mentioned that the procedure for infants has little, if any pain, especially since a local anesthesia is now being used.

Notice the following from the CDC:

Medical Conditions That Male Circumcision Protects Against Over the Lifetime

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Penile inflammation, for example, balanitis, balanoposthitis, lichen sclerosus
  • Candidiasis
  • Phimosis and paraphimosis
  • Inferior hygiene
  • Sexually transmitted infections including high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), genital herpes simplex virus (HSV), trichomoniasis, mycoplasma, syphilis, chancroid, and HIV
  • Physical injuries to the foreskin, including coital injuries
  • Cancers of the penis, prostate, and cervix

Sources: CDC technical review and draft policy recommendations, AAP review and infant MC policy statement, risk-benefit analyses by Morris et al.

It is not love to your baby boy to not circumcise him.

Should you not let the boy decide later?

No, it is not in his best interest. Parents often must make decisions for their children.

Consider the following:

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

God taught circumcision. Parents should as well.

Here is a reason not to wait, from a Table in a 2017 paper titled CDC’s Male Circumcision Recommendations Represent a Key Public Health Measure:

TABLE.

Why Infant Male Circumcision Is Preferable to Male Circumcision at a Later Age

Infant Male Circumcision Male Circumcision of Older Boys and Men
Simple More complex
Quick (a few minutes) Takes half an hour or more
Low cost Expensive (often unaffordable)
Low risk (adverse events 0.4%) Moderate risk (adverse events 4%–8%)
Bleeding is minimal Bleeding more common, requiring cautery or other interventions
No need for sutures Sutures or tissue glue needed
Convenient (baby mostly sleeps) Inconvenient (time off school or work required)
Local anesthesia for those <2 months of age General anesthesia for those >2 months to 9 years of age; local anesthesia for men, although general anesthesia sometimes preferred by surgeon
Healing is fast (2 weeks) Healing takes 6 weeks or more
Cosmetic outcome usually good Stitch marks may be seen
No long-term memory of procedure Fear of undergoing an operation
Abstinence from sexual intercourse for the 6-week healing period

Notice another benefit from male circumcision:

Circumcision lowers prostate cancer risk

Times of India – ‎12 March 2012

Circumcision before a male’s first sexual intercourse may help protect against prostate cancer, a new study has found. The study, conducted by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, suggests that circumcision can hinder infection and suggests that circumcision can hinder infection and inflammation that may lead to this malignancy.

Infections are known to cause cancer, and research suggests that sexually transmitted infections may contribute to the development of prostate cancer.

Additionally, certain sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by circumcision.

Thousands of years ago, God told Abraham to implement circumcision:

9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” (Genesis 17:9-14)

Later, the Old Testament also provided instruction to the children of Israel to circumcise their male babies:

1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. 3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. (Leviticus 12:1-3)

(Note: Male circumcision is nothing like so-called female circumcision, which is NOT enjoined in the Bible and should not be done.)

Jesus once stated:

22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. (John 7:22)

Now, although the New Testament teaches that Gentile adult males do not have to be circumcised in order to be Christians (Acts 15:24-29), the Apostle Paul had Timothy circumcised anyway (Acts 16:3).

Even though the apostles ruled that adult Gentiles did not have to be circumcised in Acts 15 (as well as Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:18), early church history shows that many Christians continued to circumcise their male babies after this declaration.

According to the 4th century Catholic historian Eusebius of Caesaria, starting in the 1st century:

James, the first that had obtained the episcopal seat in Jerusalem after the ascension of our Saviour…But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella… until the siege of the Jews, which took place under Adrian, there were fifteen bishops in succession there, all of whom are said to have been of Hebrew descent, and to have received the knowledge of Christ in purity, so that they were approved by those who were able to judge of such matters, and were deemed worthy of the episcopate. For their whole church consisted then of believing Hebrews who continued from the days of the apostles until the siege which took place at this time; in which siege the Jews, having again rebelled against the Romans, were conquered after severe battles. But since the bishops of the circumcision ceased at this time, it is proper to give here a list of their names from the beginning. The first, then, was James, the so-called brother of the Lord; the second, Symeon; the third, Justus; the fourth, Zacchæus; the fifth, Tobias; the sixth, Benjamin; the seventh, John; the eighth, Matthias; the ninth, Philip; the tenth, Seneca; the eleventh, Justus; the twelfth, Levi; the thirteenth, Ephres; the fourteenth, Joseph; and finally, the fifteenth, Judas. These are the bishops of Jerusalem that lived between the age of the apostles and the time referred to, all of them belonging to the circumcision. (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter V, Verses 2,3.& Book IV, Chapter 5, Verses 2-4,  pp. 45, 71)

So the 1st and early 2nd century Christian leaders in Jerusalem were all circumcized Jews. Since these early bishops “received the knowledge of Christ in purity,” they should be examples.

The early 20th century theologian J.J.L. Ratton reported:

The early Church at Jerusalem, retained most of the distinctive customs of the Jews, such as circumcision, kosher meats, the Jewish Sabbath, the Jewish rites, and worship of the Temple. Our Lord, Himself, lived the exterior life of a Jew, even so far as the observance of Jewish religious customs was concerned. The early Church of Jerusalem followed His example. The Jews looked upon the Hebrew Christians in Jerusalem simply as a Jewish sect, which they called the sect of the Nazarenes. (Ratton JJL The Apocalypse of St. John: a commentary on the Greek text, 2nd edition. R. & T. Washbourne, ltd., 1915. Original fromt he University of Michigan. Digitized Jun 12, 2007, p. 4)

The historian E. Gibbon wrote:

The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregation over which they presided united the law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ. (Gibbon, Edward ; Eckler, Peter. History of Christianity: Comprising All that Relates to the Progress of the Christian Religion in “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” and A Vindication of Some Passages in the 15th and 16th Chapters. Published by P. Eckler, 1916. Original from the New York Public Library. Digitized Jun 19, 2006, p. 117)

Now, it should be mentioned that in the second century, non-Nazarene professors of Christ, like the heretic Justin, did not practice circumcision.

But circumcision was not just the practice with the first and second century bishops of Jerusalem. Epiphanius wrote of this group from the time of 69/70 A.D. until his day, that he called the Nazarenes:

All Christians were called Nazarenes once…They were so-called followers of the apostles…they dedicate themselves to the law…However, everyone called the Christians Nazarenes as I said before. This appears from the accusation against Paul…[Acts 24:5]…For they use not only the New Testament but also the Old…For they also accept the resurrection of the dead and that everything has origin in God…Only in this respect they differ from the Jews and Christians: with the Jews they do not agree because of their belief in Christ, with the Christians because they are trained in the Law, in circumcision, the Sabbath and the other things…(Epiphanius. Panarion 29 as cited in Pritz R. Nazarene Jewish Christianity. Magnas, Jerusalem, 1988, pp. 30-34)

Notice the following, by the scholar B. Pixner:

…after Jerusalem was rebuilt as a Roman city named Aelia Capitolina — to obliterate any associations with the Jews — and Hadrian was succeeded by a much milder emperor named Antoninus Pius (138-161 A.D.), the Judeo-Christians drifted back to Mt. Zion. (Pixner B. Church of the Apostles Found on Mt. Zion. Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1990)

Their adherence to Jewish customs, especially circumcision and observance of Jewish holy days, naturally alienated the “Nazarene” Christians from the church that distanced itself away from many practices it considered to be Jewish.

Here is some of what the Catholic scholar Bagatti wrote about some of the gentile Nazarenes in the fourth and probably fifth centuries, that were sometimes derisively referred to as Minim by some Jews:

In fact some Minim of gentile stock, following St. Paul, taught that the Law had been abolished with the exception of the Decalogue…Some Jews…intensified the observance of the Law…especially regarding circumcision and the Sabbath. The Judaeo-Christians in this were in accord with the Jews…(Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi, 13 Maii 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 14 Junii 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 108)

While it was not a required practice, throughout history, many “Nazarene” Christians have practiced circumcision, not as a commandment, but as a biblically-based concept, knowing that God’s statutes were good (cf. Nehemiah 9:13).

One of the inquisitors in the Middle Ages found that a certain type of “heretic” (in his mind) uniformly observed the Sabbath and sometimes (though apparently not always) observed circumcision (Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 88).

Thus, it seems that circumcision was (and still is) often practiced by many trying to be faithful Christians. And because of “Judeo-Christian influence” (like from the Bible), this may be why there have always been a relatively high proportion of circumcised males in the USA (though this may be changing).

While the Bible does not list health benefits that come from circumcision, it would make sense that the Creator of the universe would only recommend physical practices that were beneficial for His human creation. And this practice seems to have many health benefits.

We in the Continuing Church of God, recommend, but do not require, that male infants be circumcised when they are eight days old (Leviticus 12:3). The Church of Rome has tended to be more negative towards male circumcision. Science supports the CCOG view.

UPDATE 07/09/18: Here is a link to a new related video: Circumcision: Good or Bad?

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

Health Benefits of Circumcision Various studies show health benefits for male circumcision. Have Christians observed circumcision throughout history?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经 Here is a link in the Spanish language: Lea la Biblia.
Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain? What about the Ten Commandments? What about the 613 regulations (called 613 Mitzvot) in the Old Testament? Which were ‘done away’? Here is a link to a sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
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 doctrines the early Christians actually had? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
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
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
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 and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.