Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Are men and women different?

Friday, December 5th, 2014

COGwriter

Science is figuring out that men and women have differently wired brains:

It turns out that men’s brains may literally be wired differently than those of women. Researchers say the differences could explain why the sexes seem more suited to certain types of tasks than their counterparts. For example, women seem to be hardwired for multitasking.

Using imaging techniques, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found men tended to display neural activity in one hemisphere of the brain for certain activities, while in women the activity bounces across hemispheres.

“These maps show us a stark difference – and complementarity – in the architecture of the human brain that helps provide a potential neural basis as to why men excel at certain tasks, and women at others,” said Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The study shows that, on average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions, whereas women have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group.

Past studies have shown sex differences in the brain, but the neural wiring connecting regions across the whole brain that have been tied to such cognitive skills has never been fully shown in a large population, the researchers said.

The study imaged brain activity of 949 people, 521 females and 428 males, using DTI imaging. DTI is water-based imaging technique that can trace and highlight the fiber pathways connecting the different regions of the brain, laying the foundation for a structural connectome or network of the whole brain.

Researchers found that in the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, females displayed greater connectivity between the left and right hemispheres. Males, on the other hand, displayed greater connectivity within each hemisphere.

By contrast, the opposite prevailed in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that plays a major role in motor control, where males displayed greater inter-hemispheric connectivity and females displayed greater intra-hemispheric connectivity.

These connections likely give men an efficient system for coordinated action, where the cerebellum and cortex participate in bridging between perceptual experiences in the back of the brain, and action, in the front of the brain, according to the authors. The female connections likely facilitate integration of the analytic and sequential processing modes of the left hemisphere with the spatial, intuitive information processing modes of the right side.

The findings meshed with other University of Pennsylvania studies in which females outperformed males on attention, word and face memory, and social cognition tests. Males performed better on spatial processing and sensorimotor speed. Those differences were most pronounced in the 12 to 14 age range.

“It’s quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are,” said Dr. Ruben Gur. “Detailed connectome maps of the brain will not only help us better understand the differences between how men and women think, but it will also give us more insight into the roots of neuropsychiatric disorders, which are often sex related.” http://www.voanews.com/content/mens-and-womens-brains-are-wired-differently/1802730.html

While we in the COGs have long taught this type of thing, it is nice when scientists catch up more on this (though some scientists have reported this type of thing in the past, this study helped confirm that belief).

Of course, many ‘moderns’ want to act like there is no difference, but the Bible is clear that men and women are different.

Jesus taught:

4 “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

The Apostle Paul taught:

1 Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

3 Honor widows who are really widows. 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. 5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. 6 But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. 7 And these things command, that they may be blameless. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work.

11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.

17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. (1 Timothy 5:1-20)

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Differences in anatomy, including the brain, are part of why the Apostle Paul wrote what he did. Some, however, especially in modern society, seem confused about the differences or God’s intentions.

Some items of 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.
Husbands Love Your Wives An article written by the late Selmer Hegvold.
God Created Marriage Some falsely claim that God did not create marriage and that fornication is fine. What does the Bible really teach? Here is a version in Mandarin Chinese 神创造婚姻.
Here’s the Plain Truth About OLD TESTAMENT POLYGAMY by Herbert Armstrong. Here is a related article in the Spanish language: ¿Es la poligamia una senda de Dios?
Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
Five Rules for Effective Parenting Do you know that there are five simple rules that can make you a more effective parent? Here is a link to a version in Mandarin Chinese 五条简单有效的子女养育规则. There is also a 12 1/2 minute English language YouTube video on this, also titled Five Rules for Effective Parenting.
What Psychologists do not Know About Child Rearing This is an article by Herbert Armstrong that was used as the introduction to the pdf booklet The Plain Truth About Child Rearing.
The Plain Truth About Child Rearing This is a pdf booklet that the old WCG put out.
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There is also a YouTube video on this, titled Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.

CDC finally supports circumcision: Health Benefits of Circumcision

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014


Circumcision being performed

COGwriter

The US Center(s) for Disease Control has finally decided to endorse male circumcision:

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.  Finally, the CDC is catching up.

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 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), my own reading into early church history suggests that many Christians continued to circumcise their male babies after this declaration.

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.

According to the fourth century Catholic historian Eusebius, starting in the first century:

James, the first that had obtained the episcopal seat in Jerusalem after the ascension of our Saviour…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, 2005 Book III, Chapter V, Verses 2,3.& Book IV, Chapter 5, Verses 2-4 . Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert. Digireads.com Publishing, Stilwell (KS), pp. 45, 71)

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.

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Kirk Cameron’s Christmas movie flops

Monday, December 1st, 2014

COGwriter

Received the following in Mike Gendron’s newsletter today about Kirk Cameron’s film Saving Christmas:

Kirk Cameron was relying on a large turnout of Christians for the success of his new movie Saving Christmas; however its two week run ended with a thud. Sunny Shell, reporting for The Christian Post, said, “Thankfully, Christians are smarter than some think, and not even the glitter of a celebrity Christian can cause us to bow down to a golden calf wrapped in faux ‘holiday cheer.’” Cameron responded to the low ratings by blasting haters and atheists.

In an interview with The Christian News Network, Mike Gendron noted that Christmas in itself is a Roman Catholic holiday mixed with pagan traditions. He said, “The word Christmas means the mass of Christ when a wafer is said to become the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Mass becomes a ritualistic slaying of Jesus Christ on an altar for the purpose of appeasing the wrath of God. This is official Roman Catholic doctrine, and ‘Christmas’ is a word they invented for Christ’s mass. When people say, ‘Merry Christmas,’ they probably don’t know the meaning behind the greeting. They are mixing the holy name of Christ with a pagan holiday and a blasphemous representation of Christ on an altar.”

Christmas is a repackaged pagan holiday.  While Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and others observe it, it never was a Christian holy day. Mike Gendron is a former Roman Catholic who now espouses a Protestant faith.

We in the Continuing Church of God do not observe Christmas and teach why Christians would not wish to.  Instead, we keep the same days as holy as Jesus did.

Notice something else about the movie:

Was Santa Claus a Christian? A ‘defender of the faith’? Is this reason to sit on the lap of the bearded man at the mall who “knows if you’ve been naughty or nice”? That is what Kirk Cameron is claiming as proof why Christians should celebrate Christmas in a new documentary that opens this Friday in theaters across the country—an assertion that is raising concerns over Cameron’s confusion of Roman Catholicism with Christianity. …

After recently asserting that Christians should celebrate Halloween, in a video clip released … entitled “Do You Love Santa Claus,” Cameron stated that “maybe someone like Santa Claus is actually on our team.” He then released a second video providing the history of the figure of Santa Claus, who was actually the Roman Catholic Bishop Nicholas of Myra, Turkey under Pope Sylvester I.

“He was a devout Christian,” Cameron states, but not noting Nicholas’ Roman Catholic faith. “He was left with a large sum of money when his parents died, and be became famous for his kindness toward the poor and his generous giving of gifts to children.”

“He was there at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, one of the most important events in Church history,” he continues, referring to the first ecumenical conference under Constantine. …

According to the St. Nicholas Center, Roman Catholics believe that after Nicholas was put into prison for striking another man during the council, “Jesus with His mother Mary appeared to Nicholas: Jesus bringing the book of the Gospels, and Mary, the bishop’s stole which had been taken from him. In this way, Nicholas was reinstated.”   …

Actor Darren Doane, the director and co-writer of “Saving Christmas” and who also plays “Christian” in the film, referred to Catholics as his Christian brothers in a Tweet this past May, writing, “My Catholic brothers worshiping Mary is no more weird to me than my evangelical brothers worshiping atheistic Israel land borders.”

“[T]hey even ‘sainted’ him—that’s why we call him St. Nicholas,” he said. “He became legendary in his time and beyond his time. He became larger than life and reached mythic proportions.”

Cameron said that the use of Santa Claus, who had developed from the person of St. Nicholas, was therefore not so bad after all.

“So the guy that many of us think is distracting from the birth of the Christ child, is really the defender of the faith you and I want to be,” he asserted. “So now that you know who the real Santa Claus is, you want to take a picture with him at the mall this Christmas? I do.”

But some do not agree with Cameron’s assertions, and believe that Christians should stay away from joining with the Roman Catholic Church or honoring its icons.  http://christiannews.net/2014/11/12/kirk-cameron-raising-concerns-after-coming-out-in-support-of-santa-claus/

Nicholas was not a real saint nor man of the true Christian faith.  Notice also that at Nicea he actually punched someone he did not agree with (more details on him are in the post Catholic Saint Nicholas Day). Notice that Nicholas also claimed to see an apparition of Mary–and that certainly was not Jesus’ mother (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).  Christians are to worship God, not Mary.

The whole Christmas season began as a big party to honor the sun god (Do You Practice Mithraism?), not Jesus. So much so, that was the reason that December 25th was chosen.  December 25th was the date to honor the sun god Mithras (see Do You Practice Mithraism? and What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?).

Christmas IS NOT a biblical holy day, nor did early Christians observe it.

There are numerous pagan practices associated with Christmas, and Kirk Cameron has sadly wanted to push them as well as improper aspects of the ecumenical agenda that many Protestants seem to be falling for.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Hanukkah Originally a Jewish national holiday, has Hanukkah morphed into a Jewish Christmas?
Canadian & Philadelphian Mummers Parades: Another tie to Saturnalia In Canada there is a ’12 days of Christmas’ celebration involving Mummers. In Philadelphia, a parade is held on New Years. Does this come from the Bible or where?
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.
International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween? There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? This is a video.
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!
All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day When did “All Saints Day” and the “Day of the Dead” begin? “What about All Soul’s Day”?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
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?
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?
Continuing History of the Church of God This free pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Weight concerns? Minimizing ‘junk food’ can help.

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

COGwriter

Various studies have confirmed what most of all have long realized:

According…the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11.3 percent of daily calories consumed by adults in 2007 through 2010 came from fast food…

While the percentage of calories consumed through fast food dropped dramatically as people grew older, there was still a significant correlation between heavier weight and the amount of fast food being consumed. Obese people had the highest percentage of fast food making up their diet.

In the 20 to 39-year-old group — which had the highest percentages of fast food in terms of daily caloric consumption — obese individuals took in on average 18 percent of their daily calories from fast food. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57570549/cdc-11-percent-of-adults-calories-come-from-fast-food/

So the obese, on average, get nearly 60% (18/11.3) more of their calories from ‘fast food’ than the non-obese.

Fast food probably contains, on average, more chemical additives than non-fast food, and certainly more than organic non-processed foods. Chemical additives have been suspected to be a link to obesity as have fats and certain other items many Americans eat.

As far as chemicals, notice the following reports:

Deepening the mystery surrounding the health effects of bisphenol A, a large new study has linked high levels of childhood and adolescentexposure to the industrial chemical to higher rates of obesity— in white children only…Compared with children and teens with the lowest apparent exposure to the ubiquitous chemical, those with the highest exposure were roughly 2.5 times more likely to be obese.

But upon further analysis, the researchers found that for African Americans and Latinos, the link was so small it could have been a statistical fluke. And for young Caucasians, the association strengthened: Compared with white children with the least BPA in their urine, those with the most were six times more likely to be obese, the researchers found.

Bisphenol A is a chemical agent widely used to protect aluminum food cans from corrosion and to strengthen plastic bottles, toys and containers. In recent years, alarm has grown among consumer groups and public health officials amid mounting evidence that BPA readily accumulates in the body’s fat stores and can disrupt hormones that play crucial roles in sexual development, energy use and fat deposition. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-bpa-obesity-20120919,0,3018132.story

Are chemicals in food packaging making children fat? Experts warn they expand waistlines and increase the risk of diabetes

  • Urine levels of one type of chemical, used to soften plastic, were tied to a higher risk of insulin resistance among teenagers
  • Another study group linked bisphenol A, or BPA – used to line aluminum cans – to obesity and larger waists in young people
  • Researchers advise not washing plastic in a dishwasher and throwing it away once its old or etched

‘Clearly unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are the drivers of this epidemic … but increasingly environmental chemicals are being identified as possible contributors,’ Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a pediatrician from New York University, said.

He and his colleagues analysed data from a nationally-representative health and nutrition survey conducted in 2003 to 2008, which included urine and blood tests for 766 adolescents aged 12 to 19.

They found urinary levels of one particular type of phthalate, known as Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP), were closely tied to a teenager’s chance of having insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2397059/Are-chemicals-food-packaging-making-children-fat-Experts-warn-expand-waistlines-increase-risk-diabetes.html#ixzz2cQQ8e3kn

As the above report suggests, hormones do play a role in obesity, and chemicals in foods and/or food packaging may be a factor. It has long been known that low thyroid hormones and excessive estrogen can be factors in weight gain.

Some have speculated that processed foods, chlorinated water, and/or fluoridated water can contribute to low production of thyroid hormones.

As far as excessive estrogen goes, in the USA estrogen-like hormones have long been given to meat-animals in order to plump them up faster, and higher amounts of those type of hormones have been found in various meats (including poultry). Furthermore, it should be noted that animals that people eat are not 50:50 male to female animals. Almost all chickens are females (most males are killed shortly after birth as it takes more feed to add a pound to a male chicken than a female one). Additionally, with beef, people either eat the female cow or the castrated male (called a steer)–thus there is not the same natural hormonal balance in most meats that would tend to happen in nature, as opposed to modern farming techniques.

While many have felt that artificial sweetners were the answer to obesity, they are not. Actually, the problem of obesity has increased as artificial sweetners became more widely available. Furthermore, those sweetners have their own risks.

Another study suggested that the artificial sweetners that many people tend to rely on are dangerous:

Many people feel that using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar is the healthier choice. But, researchers are now saying the opposite may be true.

The American Heart Association suggests that people should avoid added sugars, which are sugars and syrups put in foods during preparation, processing or right before consumption. Sugar intake has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which includes risk factors for heat disease and stroke.

The AHA and American Diabetes Association said in July 2012 that artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners could be a good option to help people reduce calories and added sugars from their diets. In turn, you may even lose some pounds with these kinds of sweeteners — as long as you weren’t making up for it later in the day by eating more sweets, which some studies have showed.

However, an opinion article published on July 10 in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism reveals that artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin may not be as good for you as you might have thought.

“It is not uncommon for people to be given messages that artificially-sweetened products are healthy, will help them lose weight or will help prevent weight gain,” author Susan E. Swithers, a professor of behavioral neuroscience at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said in a press release. “The data to support those claims are not very strong, and although it seems like common sense that diet sodas would not be as problematic as regular sodas, common sense is not always right.”…

The study, which reviewed recent research papers, revealed that artificial sweeteners were linked to an increased risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Just drinking one diet a drink a day was enough to create a significantly heightened chance of developing one of these disorders, the researchers found.

Artificial sweeteners were also shown to activate different patterns in the brain’s pleasure centers that normally correspond to sweet tastes. This may mean that these products do not satisfy our sweet tooth as much as natural sugar. One study found non-caloric sweeteners made animals eat increased amounts of calorie-rich sweet tasting food. In the end, the animals exposed to artificial sweeteners gained more weight.

Other evidence showed that consuming artificial sweeteners often leads to weight gain. The authors believed the artificial products confused the body’s ability to regulate calories based on tasting something sweet.

Another study revealed a link between diet soda drinking and weight gain over time. For each diet drink the subjects consumed per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57593133/artificial-sweeteners-could-lead-to-obesity-diabetes/

Background information from the research shows that people who regularly consume artificial sweetners show abnormal activation patterns in the pleasure centers of the brain in response to sweet taste. This suggests that these products may not satisfy desires related to sweet cravings. Animal studies previously conducted also showed that mice and rats given non-caloric sweetners have dampened psyiological responses to sweet taste. This desensitization can cause rodents to overindulge in calorie-rich, sweet-tasting food and gain weight.

Recent findings even suggest that artificial sweetners increase the risk for health problems to an extent similar to sugar products and may exacerbate the negative effects of sugar.

“These studies suggest that telling people to drink diet sodas could backfire as a public health message,” said Swithers, according to the release. “So the current public health message to limit the intake of sugars needs to be expanded to limit intake of all sweeteners, not just sugars.” http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/8065/20130710/artificial-sweeteners-really-healthier-sugar.htm

It has been my experience that artificial sweeteners are not healthy. The more people eat of them, generally speaking, the less they tend to eat real foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Oddly, years ago, the USA banned cyclamates (a type of artificial sweetener) because it was considered carcinogenic (could cause cancer), but allowed saccharin (another artificial sweetener). About the same time, Canada banned saccharin as a carcinogen, but allowed cyclamates. Neither sweetner is natural and people should avoid both of them in my opinion.

Sweet snacks ‘link to bowel cancer’

Fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, crisps and desserts may increase the risk of bowel cancer, according to a new study.

Scientists looked at factors including diet, levels of physical activity and smoking in Scottish bowel cancer patients.

They reported links with some established risk factors of colorectal cancer – such as family history of cancer, physical activity and smoking.

They also identified new factors including high-energy snacks.

The study, which used data from the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Study, was said to be first of its kind to find a positive link between bowel cancer and a diet high in sugary and fatty foods…

The study, which was published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Chief Scientist Office and Cancer Research UK.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK after lung cancer. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-23308455

The Bible warns about obesity, getting fat, excessive eating, as well eating things that are not really food:

2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good (Isaiah 55:2).

As far as obesity goes, notice some of what Moses and Jeremiah wrote:

15 You grew fat, you grew thick,
You are obese!
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
16 They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger. (Deuteronomy 32:15-16)

11 “Because you were glad, because you rejoiced,
You destroyers of My heritage,
Because you have grown fat like a heifer threshing grain,
And you bellow like bulls,
12 Your mother shall be deeply ashamed;
She who bore you shall be ashamed.
Behold, the least of the nations shall be a wilderness,
A dry land and a desert. (Jeremiah 50:11-12)

Many people do not often eat what is good. Many eat too many chemically-laced highly processed foods. Many eat a lot of white bread, which is really not real bread as it has had the wheat germ and other natural components removed. This makes an inferior product which then is sprayed with synthetic B vitamins and other “nutrients” to “fortify” it. If you notice “B vitamins” added to “fortify” refined grain products or in so-called “natural” vitamin supplements (like thiamin mononitrate, thiamin HCL, folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin), realize that these are basically petroleum derivatives and are not the same form of vitamins that are actually found in real, natural, food.

But most in Westernized areas consume the synthetics, chemicals, and refined grains.

People should try to eat real, not artificial, foods. Soda consumption should be almost non-existent, essentially a very rare treat. People should not drink sodas every day.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Obesity, processed foods, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned?
Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy This is a video. Are there disadvantages to being overweight? Is junk food really bad for you? Does the Bible discuss overeating and/or obesity? Is overeating having an effect on the US military? What are the ramifications of personal and national health for overeating? What should you eat?
GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Does God Heal Today? What does the Bible teach? Herbert Armstrong tries to explain this.
UK Study Supports Daniel Diet Daniel and his companions looked better eating more vegetables and avoiding strange meats. Has modern science confirmed this?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.

CG7 addresses some “Truths and Myths” about Heaven

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

COGwriter

In the latest edition of its Bible Advocate, CG7′s former President Calvin Burrell had the following:

Truth or myth?

Statement 1: Heaven is the eternal home of the faithful, promised in Scripture.

Comment: Jesus and His apostles seldom speak or write about heaven as the destiny of God’s people. Neither is that sort of talk and teaching found in the Old Testament. The phrases go to heaven , going to heaven , or went to heaven may occur in a few paraphrases, but not in literal translations of Scripture. Instead, terms like kingdom of God , My Father’s house , a city whose builder and maker is God , Zion , a place , with Christ , where I Am , before the throne , in His temple, and glory describe our eternal home — but rarely heaven . Thus, statement 1 is mostly myth.

Statement 2: Heaven is the wispy, far-away dreamland of popular imagination.

Comment: The Bible’s gospel is not much about us going there, as three-year-old Colton Burpo claimed he did; it’s more about heaven’s Lord coming here. He came to earth once to live, die, and live again. And He’s coming again to resurrect the dead and restore all created things. When this millennial restitution is complete, the Holy City will come down from heaven to the new earth, where God him – self will live with His people for – ever. Statement 2 states a cultural truth, not scriptural fact.

Statement 3: Heaven is the intermediate state between death and resurrection.

Comment: The thought that people go to heaven or hell when they die weakens major Bible teachings about the future…

Statement 4: Heaven is our escape from great tribulation, via the rapture.

Comment: The hope of escape from a troubled earth to heaven can furnish many alibis for not doing all we should to improve earthly life here and now. Besides lacking firm Bible support, the pre-tribulation and mid-tribulation rapture theories exacerbate this no-fear blooper: The earth will soon burn, but we’ll be gone! Statement 4 too is more myth than truth.

Statements 1 (see Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven?), 3 (see What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections? and Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? ), and 4 (see Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?) are myths.

Regarding Calvin Burrell’s comments on statement 2, a film was released earlier this year titled Heaven is for Real and was based upon a story that was based on an incident involving Colton Burpo, hence the reference by Calvin Burrell (for information about that movie see Heaven is for real, but the movie’s premise is not).

Heaven is for real, it is the place where God’s throne now is (Matthew 5:34), but Colton Burpo did not go there.

Notice what Jesus taught:

12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. (John 3:12-13)

Notice what the Apostle Peter taught:

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” (Acts 2:29-35)

Humans do not go to heaven upon death. They await the resurrection.

Notice also what the Old Testament teaches:

5 For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing, (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

14 If a man dies, shall he live again?
All the days of my hard service I will wait,
Till my change comes. (Job 14:14)

While I do not doubt that Colton Burpo could not have an encounter with demonic sources that gave him information, he was not in heaven. God was not going to bring him there and send him back.

Early Christians absolutely did not believe that when they died they immediately went to heaven (see Did Early Christians Teach Going to Heaven?). Early Christians taught that they were in the grave awaiting the resurrection.

As far as ‘near death experiences’ go, they were covered in a sermon titled Questions and Continuing Church of God Answers that is available to watch online.

Some items of related interest may include:

Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven? What do the Bible and scholars teach? What about ‘near-death experiences’? Here is a link to a related sermon: Heaven and Christianity.
What Is the Place that Jesus Is Preparing? Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote this and answered whether the saints go to heaven upon death.
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
Church of God, (Seventh Day): History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace part of their history through some affiliation with this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
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?

Sermon: Proverbs: Wisdom, Knowledge, Righteousness, and Diligence

Saturday, November 29th, 2014


Scroll of the Book of Proverbs

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce a sermon posted at its ContinuingCOG channel:

Dr. Thiel covers the seventh through twelfth chapters of the Book of Proverbs. He expounds the meaning and sometimes ties other scriptures in to show what the Bible teaches. Proverbs encourage the attainment of wisdom and knowledge, while warning against foolishness and wickedness. Proverbs encourages work and diligence, while warning against laziness. Proverbs discusses wealth and the fate of the wise and the wicked.

Here is a link to the sermon: Proverbs: Wisdom, Knowledge, Righteousness, and Diligence.

Here is a link to a sermon covering Proverbs chapters one through seven: Proverbs: Practical advice for those who wish to follow God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
Christian Success Does the Bible teach that Christians are to be successful? Are there at least seven laws of success that Christians should follow? How does the Bible teach we are to become successfully spiritually? Does the Bible really teach that Christians should be successful physically? This video answers these questions and more from the Bible. An outline of some of the scriptures used is here: Christian Success Outline.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
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 is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? 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.
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.
Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos This is the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines.
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.

CG7 report on pornography problems

Friday, November 28th, 2014

COGwriter

An edition of CG7-Denver’s Bible Advocate had the following article:

Porn Problems . . .
• Spiritual problem: Porn is like a cancer to the soul.
• Marriage problem: Porn erodes true intimacy and threatens the marriage bond.
• Human problem: Porn debases people by viewing them as objects of self-gratification.
• Teenage problem: Porn entraps youth and young adults in moral bondage that’s very
difficult to break.
• Artistic problem: Porn turns natural beauty and wonder into ashes of lechery and cesspools of repugnance.
• Kid problem: Porn abuses children and adolescents, stealing their innocence and inflicting
irreversible damage.
• Social problem: Considered from any perspective — criminal, financial, or personal —porn costs the culture much.
Want to overcome obscenity?
If you can’t get free, get help.

Sadly, pornography is growing in acceptance in the Western world at least. What was considered immoral dress in the mid-20th century is now more modest dress than many young females wear.

Yet, the Bible teaches:

8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation…(1 Timothy 2:8-9)

The Western nations no longer seem to highly prize modesty in female apparel (though female politicians tend to remain modest in their dress). Immodesty in dress is now mainly considered to be acceptable or simply daring, as opposed to being immoral by many.

What is considered to be acceptable dress for public display (mainly for females) continues to the trend to show more skin, more cleavage (and more and more women have decided to have “breast enhancement” apparently for display), and more of their figures. This is not good.

For one example, America Online (AOL), on a more than weekly basis, seems to have a news item about some female celebrity who has made the news for how sexually-inappropriately she was dressed. AOL seems to feature this to get more page views so that it can generate more advertising revenues.

AOL, of course, is not the only organization to utilize what is probably now considered to be “soft pornography” (now considered nudity or near nudity, as opposed to “hard-core” which apparently has more to do with nudity combined with various sexual acts/positions) to get people’s attention–a highly popular “conservative” news program on Fox that I try to avoid uses sex and semi-pornography as well, as do other organizations. Although I do not personally watch it, television shows like Dancing with the Stars seem to promote a type of erotic soft pornography that “respectable people” in the past would have shunned.

From what I have been able to determine, because of the inappropriate actions, combined with media success of female singers such as “Lady Gaga,” Beyoncé, and Jennifer Lopez, many female celebrities seem to think that they need to resort to taking actions somewhat closer to their levels in order to get media coverage. Instead of this turning the media off, the media often publicizes and promotes such poor immoral behavior.

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

The end-time sorrows and troubles in Western society are still in the beginning stages (Matthew 24:5-8), and will get much worse according to the Bible (Matthew 24:21-22; 2 Timothy 3:1-7).

I believe that the growing acceptance of pornography (hard and soft) and other forms immorality help weaken the USA, Canada, and their other Anglo-nations (Romans 1:18-32) and likely will also be a factor in them being vulnerable to invasion by the final Beast power that the Bible warns about (Revelation 13; Daniel 11:39; Isaiah 10:5-11). And while the Bible shows that the Beast power will be punished later (cf. Daniel 11:44; Isaiah 10:12), this does not mean that the Anglo-nations should not discourage pornography now.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon lands. What are some of the consequences?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2014, 2015, or 2016? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2013 o 2014? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
Canada in Prophecy: What Does Bible Prophecy, Catholic Prophecy, and other Predictions Suggest About the Future of Canada? There are prophecies that suggest involvement with Canada. And many are not positive about its future.
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? If so, what does that really mean for the USA and its Anglo allies.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.
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?

The DaVince Code got it wrong about Jesus’ divinity

Friday, November 28th, 2014

COGwriter

Due to the huge success of Dan Brown’s best-selling book, The Da Vinci Code., some have seemed to be more willing to make theologically inaccurate statements about Jesus’ divinity.

The Da Vinci Code improperly suggested that the idea of Jesus being divine was essentially a new concept that was not determined until the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.). Notice several of those statements:

Constantine…held a famous ecumenical gathering known as the Council of Nicaea…

until that moment in history, Jesus as viewed by His followers was a mortal prophet . . . a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal…

Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea (Brown D. The Da Vinci Code. Doubleday, New York, 2003,page 233).

The above is not true and many scholars and theologians objected to what The Da Vinci Code purported about the divinity of Jesus.

Since the book is fiction, why raise any this fuss about it?

Mainly, because it was a wildly popular book and it did not come across as purely fiction.

On page one (the page before the novel portion begins), which is titled FACT, the author of The Da Vinci Code stated:

All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate (The Da Vinci Code, page 1).

So, because of that, some people latched onto to various statements in the book as historical fact as opposed to an embellished story. But enough complained about the Jesus divinity claims that this needed to be revisited.

Apparently because of complaints from critics, Christianity Today reported that the movie version changed this part of the story:

And the film’s version of Langdon explicitly says that Constantine did not invent the divinity of Jesus—which is almost the exact opposite of what the book’s version of Langdon says (The Da Vinci Code. Review by Peter T. Chattaway | posted 05/18/06) .

But what about the divinity of Jesus? Was it truly taught prior to the Council of Nicea?

While there are a variety of unitarian groups (with the Jehovah’s Witnesses being probably the largest) that deny the deity of Jesus, the plain truth is that Jesus’ divinity was taught from the beginning. It is both in the Bible and in early second century writings.

Here are three first century New Testament references on this subject:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23, NKJV throughout).

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:28-29).

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).

Here is a second century reference on the subject from Polycarp who was appointed by the apostles to lead the churches from Smyrna:

Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High-priest Himself, the [Son of] God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth, and in all gentleness and in all avoidance of wrath and in forbearance and long suffering and in patient endurance and in purity; and may He grant unto you a lot and portion among His saints, and to us with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall believe on our Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians in APOSTOLIC FATHERS (as translated by J.B. LIGHTFOOT) 12:6,7).

It probably should be noted that Dr. Lightfoot left out “Son of” in his translation, which is in the Latin. But either way, this passage does refer to Jesus as God.

Also, Ignatius, who was known by Polycarp (and praised in this same Polycarp epistle) wrote around 100-110 A.D.:

For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God’s plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit. He was born and baptized so that by His submission He might purify the water (Ignatius of Antioch, Letters to the Ephesians 18,2–note this is translated the same by at least three separate translations as done by Dr. Lightfoot, J.H. Srawley, and Roberts & Donaldson).

Thus, there are first and second century documents that clearly claim that Jesus was considered as God and not simply a mortal prophet.

Hence, both the Bible and early writings show that Jesus was considered to be divine well prior to the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.)

What may have been confusing to the author of The Da Vinci Code, as well as to others, is that there were questions raised by some concerning the nature of Jesus and His divinity which was discussed in Constantine’s Council of Nicea. But despite what else happened then, that Council agreed with the New Testament and other Christian writers that Jesus was divine (though it should be noted Jesus had emptied Himself of His divinity when He was born of the flesh per Philippians 2:7 and such divinity was not restored until His resurrection).

And although this divinity matter was not changed in the book The Da Vinci Code, I read that the later made movie did not perpetuate the myth that Jesus was not considered to be divine until the fourth century.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Da Vinci Code: Some Good, Most Bad Does The Da Vinci Code properly discuss Christianity? What does it have right and what does it have wrong about early Christianity and other gospel accounts?
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

True Prophet or Imposter: Which?

Thursday, November 27th, 2014


Elijah in the wilderness

COGwriter

For quite a few years, I have denounced a variety of false and self-appointed prophets at the www.cogwriter.com website and have long had an article titled Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? From time to time, I also get emails from people who believe that they are some type of prophet or one of the two witnesses or have some special prophetic message. Sadly, because of many false self-appointed prophets, many in the Church of God have dismissed that God actually could have someone in the office of prophet at this time.

In August 2012, after listening to an old radio broadcast from the late Herbert W. Armstrong, I also ran across an article written by L. Leroy Neff on how Christians can discern a true prophet. Partially because of that, I put together an article titled How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God.

While that article contains a lot of scriptures, for today’s post, I would mainly like to include the positions of the late Herbert W. Armstrong, as well as the late L. Leroy Neff and William Ellis, and include an ending statement from me.

In a radio broadcast, with a title listed as Proof of a True Prophet, the late Herbert W. Armstrong taught the following:

True prophet…Watch and see if it {what he says} comes to pass–and you can know that man has been called {by God to be a prophet. (Armstrong HW. Proof of a True Prophet. World Tomorrow Radio program. HA535B.MP3)

Events confirming what the prophet said by one called of God is part of the proof.

Back in 1986, then WCG evangelist Leroy Neff wrote an article on the subject titled Imposter–or–True Prophet — Which? Notice something from the article:

How can you tell the impostor from the true servant of God? The answer will probably be quite surprising to many people because they are using an unscriptural basis for evaluation (Neff LL. Imposter–or–True Prophet — Which? Good News, December 1986, p. 10).

Unfortunately, he was right about that. But what he may not have realized when he wrote that was that most who claim to be in the Church of God also tend to use an unscriptural basis for evaluating who is or could be a true prophet of God.

It also needs to be understood that prophets do not have to perform public miracles to be genuine. John the Baptist was a prophet according to Jesus (Matthew 11:7-10), but he is not recorded as performing any public miracles. Actually, the Bible records, “John did no miracle” (John 10:41, KJV). Jesus told the Pharisees that an adulterous generation sought signs, beyond prophetic accuracy (Matthew 12:38-40).

Christians are to walk by faith and not be sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), and SEEING miracles is not the final criteria that a Christian is supposed to have. Jesus’ clear requirements for determining a true vs. false prophet was the FRUITS not some sign or miracle (Matthew 7:15-20; 24:24).

Leroy Neff wrote a lot about how to identify a true prophet as well as what is not required:

What are the credentials?

Some people would look to a prophet’s or minister’s credentials. He would be accepted if he were educated at a recognized theological institution. Others would look for a minister’s popularity, his charisma, his personality or his speaking ability.

But the Scriptures show that God’s servants have sometimes not had these qualities or credentials. They were not graduates of the recognized theological institutions of their day. Moses had trouble speaking in public (Exodus 4: 10). Jeremiah was “too young” (Jeremiah 1 :6). Paul lacked certain speech abilities (I Corinthians 2: 1, II Corinthians 10:10). Even Jesus Himself had no outstanding personal characteristics that set Him apart from others, as the religious leaders had to pay Judas to point Him (Matthew 26:47-49).

Some would expect to find a true minister or prophet in a large and beautiful church building. Yet, during the history of the early Church, there is no mention of church buildings. Instead we read that the Church was not a building at all, but the people who were called out of this world to become the Church. The people (the Church) met in various buildings, sometimes in Church members’ homes (Romans 16:5, I Corinthians 16:19, Philemon 2). Paul preached for two years while under house arrest in rented facilities. He probably had both living quarters and a meeting hall of some kind (Acts 28:30-31).

Jesus said His followers would not be many in number, but would be comparatively few: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). (Neff LL. Imposter–or–True Prophet — Which? Good News, December 1986, pp. 10-11)

A true prophet would not need to be from a major theological institution, have the most magnanimous personality, be a great speaker, or have a large or impressive Church, but would be the type willing to meet in members’ homes. He also does not have to have had a ministerial background. God chooses who His prophets are. Notice something from the Old Testament:

14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: “I was no prophet, Nor was I a son of a prophet, But I was a sheepbreeder And a tender of sycamore fruit. 15 Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, And the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’ (Amos 7:14-15)

So, a prophet also does not need to come from a ministerial family, but instead can be called if he has a secular work background.

Leroy Neff wrote not to disqualify a prophet if some predictions take a long time to happen:

Then there is the prophet or minister who says something will come to pass and it apparently does not. Such a one would certainly be labeled false by most observers. This is one reason, but not the only reason, why almost all of God’s prophets throughout history have been labeled by many as false!

Consider such men as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. They sometimes prophesied for many years, and yet what they said would happen did not come to pass immediately. Why didn’t these prophecies come to pass?

The answer was that it was not yet God’s time for their predictions to come to pass. At the proper time, sometimes years or decades later, the prophecies were fulfilled. And in some cases, what they prophesied has not yet come to pass even in our day, but will be fulfilled in God’s time. There is a time, after ample warning, when God will finally say, “None of My words will be postponed any more” (Ezekiel 12:28).

There are other examples where God’s true servants expected certain events to occur in their lifetimes. During his earlier ministry, the apostle Paul apparently expected Christ to return during his life (I Thessalonians 4:17, I Corinthians 15:51). Later, he realized that it would not occur until later (II Timothy 4:6-8) . Paul was criticized and labeled “false” by accusers, but the members of God’s Church knew he was a true servant of God. (Ibid, p. 11)

It also should be noted that while the Apostle Paul considered himself to be a prophet, not all of his speculative predictions were accurate. He once claimed:

10 I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives (Acts 27:10).

And while his speculation was mostly accurate in that situation, it was not completely accurate, as there was no loss of lives. His position became completely accurate when he claimed to speak as God led him as opposed to his perceptions:

21 Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. (Acts 27:21-26)

So, delays and speculations do not make one a false prophet.

Getting back to Leroy Neff, he continued by asking and providing insight into an interesting question:

Would Christians reject Christ?

If Jesus Christ were to come again in our day, live the same way and teach the same message He did almost 2,000 years ago, many of His “followers” of today would reject Him as false.

Why? Because He would not live the same kind of life they live. He would not observe the same religious days they observe. He would · not eat many of the foods they eat. His teachings about and from the Old Testament would be considered Jewish and unchristian by some who reject that part of Holy Scripture. He would not fit the mold of what many consider to be a true Christian.

In short, they would reject Him as a heretic and the leader of a new sect, just as some labeled his servant Paul “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5) . Undoubtedly some would call His religion a cult, as some label His true religion today. (Ibid, pp. 11-12)

Truly, most people will not listen to a true prophet of God in this age. And, even when God grants power to His two witnesses, most in the world will not only not listen to them, they will be deceived enough to support an army that will fight against the returning Jesus Christ (Revelation 16:13-14; 19:11-19)!

How would one recognize a true prophet? Leroy Neff continued with:

So far we have mostly seen how not to recognize a true prophet. How, then, can you tell a true prophet from a false one? That is the important question we must now answer from the Scriptures, and not from human reason

Paul warned the Corinthians: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it” (II Corinthians 11:3-4).

The New International Version translates the last phrase, “You put up with it easily enough.”

We read elsewhere that. Jesus Christ is God. This passage should make it plain that a minister or prophet can preach Christ, but it can be a different Christ – a different God than the one of the Bible.

How can this be? If the message is different from that of the Jesus Christ of Scripture, and different from that of the original apostles, then the minister or prophet is preaching how to “go after other gods which you have not known.” It is therefore vitally necessary that we prove which ministers preach Christ’s same Gospel and which preach a different gospel and a different message.

Isaiah makes it clear

“To the law and to the testimony!” proclaims Isaiah 8:20. “If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

This expands on what we saw previously. If a prophet or minister does not speak according to God’s Word, according to His law and His testimony, there is no light in him, or, in other words, no truth in him. His message is false. Many claiming to represent God try to “do away” with God’s laws and commandments. They only accept a part of God’s Word and reject the rest…

A true prophet or servant of God will speak according to God’s law. He will speak according to God’s commandments. His way of life will be that of a commandment keeper, not a commandment breaker. He will not just be preaching a gospel about Christ, but he will be preaching the same Gospel that Christ and the original apostles preached – the good news of the coming Kingdom of God on earth.

That is the way to determine who are impostors and who are God’s true prophets, ministers and teachers. (Ibid, p. 12)

A true prophet is one called of God, teaches the same gospel that Jesus taught, has had hands laid upon him (cf. 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:2), keeps the commandments of God, AND has predictions that come to pass. Jesus (Mark 1:14) and Paul (Acts 28:30-31) taught the gospel of the kingdom of God (see also The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church and What is the Gospel?). Even if one appears to be “an angel from heaven,” unless the true gospel is being taught, Paul says such a one should be “accursed” (Galatians 1:9).

Notice one other trait of a true New Testament prophet from the 1965 Good News magazine:

Whenever a man is ordained to an office of greater service in God’s Work hands are laid on him. In the ordination ceremony God’s ministers lay their hands on those being ordained, and ask Almighty God-the Head of this Church-to continue to work in their lives…

The laying on of hands serves the purpose of setting apart anyone or anything in God’s sight, for a SPECIAL USE OR PURPOSE…

God gives special gifts-special powers of His Spirit-to those who are set apart by the laying on of hands. Remember that it was by the laying on of hands that Timothy received the added ability, called “prophecy” by the King James translators…

This proof-in-action of your willingness to submit to God’s human representative-God’s minister -for anointing and the laying on of hands is “acting out” your willingness to accept the spiritual Government of Almighty God Himself over your physical life (Ellis, William H. Why We Have the Laying on of Hands Ceremony. Good News. April-May 1965, pp. 11, 14,15)

A true prophet is under God’s authority. A true New Testament prophet has had hands laid upon him/her and/or received special anointing. You can not anoint yourself or come up with doctrine that contradicts the Bible (cf. Revelation 22:18-19) like at least three self-declared supposed COG “prophets” (Gerald Flurry, William Dankenbring, and Ronald Weinland) and false predictors (like Harold Camping and David Pack) have falsely done)–”Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Thus far, none who have ever contacted me and claimed to have been a prophet of some type have had hands laid upon them to give them the type of anointing that a true prophet of God would likely have had in this church age if God was selecting them. Hence, if the anointing from a true minister has not happened to you, understand that I do not now accept that you are a prophet or one of the two witnesses. Laying hands upon yourself is not enough.

In my case, in November/December 2011, I prayed that if I truly had a prophetic role from God that He would have something happen during a planned mid-December 2011 trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to confirm it or deny it if that were His will. As it turned out, on 12/15/2011 hands were laid upon me in Charlotte by ordained minister Gaylyn Bonjour. He prayed that I would be granted a “double-portion” of God’s Holy Spirit. He told me that he had not ever done this before but he felt that it was reminiscent of the time that the prophetic and ecclesiastical leadership mantle passed from the Prophet Elijah to Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-13). This minister had been unaware that I had prayed that God would have me anointed or somehow identified for a prophetic role on that mid-December 2011 trip if that were His plan for me and I had never discussed my possible prophetic role with him prior to this anointing. This 12/15/11 anointing appears to be the first biblically-appropriate prophetic anointing in the Church of God in many decades, if not many multiple centuries. And the legitimacy of this anointing has been proven by subsequent events–though many do not seem to understand how God works at times. And yes, I will add that I believe that I do have the appropriate prophetic fruits that Jesus discussed (Matthew 7:15-20) and that those truly interested in the truth can see this if they truly wish to prayfully look into this.

The article How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God provides additional information for those wanting to see more scriptures from the Bible about prophets in the New Testament. Sadly today, many seem to wish to believe more in unbiblical traditions and opinions of men than what the Bible actually teaches on the subject of New Testament prophets. What about you? Will you believe or will you somehow allow yourself or others to talk you out of it (cf. Matthew 13:22)?

Would you follow the lead of one that did meet all of the biblical prophetic requirements as he tried to follow Christ? If you heard about one, what would you really do? If you believe in biblical church governance.

ce and do not accept any self-appointed “apostles,” should you not consider the Continuing Church of God as its top human leader has meets the prophetic criteria?

In January 2013, I gave a sermon titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God and it is available at the ContinuingCOG YouTube channel. Some may also find it of interest.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets, yet many overlook what the Bible teaches about how to recognize a true one. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? This article contains a scripture-based checklist to assist with this determination.
How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God This is a sermon on YouTube addressing a subject that most in the Church of God do not seem to have looked into very much. It discusses scriptures and dispels some improper assertions that some associated with the COG have made about prophets in this time.
Elijah: Past and Prophesied Information about the original Elijah and some information about the Elijah-related prophecies.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here?
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.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios This is the Spanish site for the Continuing Church of God. URL is http://www.cdlidd.es
Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos This is the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines.
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, with some in items in other Asian languages in progress that are intended to be added. 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。
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.

All should give thanks to God, but not for American football

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

COGwriter

Today is national holiday in the USA called Thanksgiving. And despite certain claims, its specific origins are not pagan. But, of course, no Christian needs to celebrate national holidays like it.  And the Bible does condemn gluttony.

Yet, whether on this day or others, the Bible teaches that people should give thanks:

4 Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name (Psalm 30:4).

The Bible is full of admonitions to give thanks to God. In the NKJV the term “give thanks” is used 40 times and the term “giving thanks” is used 5 times–and nearly all of these verses are discussing giving thanks to God.

One thing that I have noticed on the day called Thanksgiving by those in the USA, is when I have been at many places than the home I lived in, American football has been playing on television.

For many, other than food and family, football is a major focus of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Notice the following:

Nov 22, 2012

For the fourth straight year, the Thanksgiving resolution from President Barack Obama fails to actually thank God — which is the fundamental reason why Thanksgiving is observed…

But, to President Obama, Thanksgiving is about food and football, according to his official remarks as distributed by the White House.

“For us, like so many of you, this is a day full of family and friends; food and football. It’s a day to fight the overwhelming urge to take a nap – at least until after dinner,” Obama said. http://www.lifenews.com/2012/11/22/4th-straight-year-obama-thanksgiving-resolution-doesnt-thank-god/

Whether or not the US president will publicly and officially thank God later today remains an open question. But the fact that Barack Obama did not do that in many past thanksgiving addresses, but instead advocates football is disturbing. Now the fact is that I have never considered that Barack Obama was a real Christian, but what about real Christians today?

Should Christians support violent sports like American football?

A 1969 article by Eugene M. Walker had the following:

To many Americans Thanksgiving Day means sumptuous turkey dinners, family reunions and football games…There is nothing necessarily wrong with good food, family reunions and football games on Thanksgiving Day. But all too many use these activities wrongly and forget the purpose for the holiday. Many glut themselves with far more food than they ought to eat; few, however, stop to give God thanks for this food – even on Thanksgiving Day. Family reunions all too often turn out to be family brawls…Millions of others push and shove one another in large crowds at football games and parades, and kill one another on the highway as they madly strive to make sure they get their fair quota of pleasure. (Walker EM. Plain Truth, Thanksgiving Day: What does it mean to you? November 1969, pp. 39-41).

Notice he wrote that certain activities were not necessarily wrong. Of course, a friendly game of flag football and a family dinner should be fine. But what about violent professional or intercollegiate American football?

Over a decade later, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

Hostility toward the other is sin…

Football (American football) is a violent body-contact sport. It is often played with an attitude of hostility and is dangerous and is fraught with physical injury. (Plain Truth, July-August 1984)

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

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

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

While I have even heard some people thank God for football, it is not a sport that I believe that the God of love would condone.

The person that Jesus stated was greater than all others born of women (Matthew 11:11), John the Baptist taught:

14 Do violence to no man (Luke 3:14, KJV)

The Apostle Paul taught:

Love does no harm to a neighbor (Romans 13:9).

What do sports like American football and boxing do? Even if played according to all of its rules, American tackle football is evil because it actually physically harms many its participants:

The most popular sport in America causes irreparable harm to many of its participants, some of whom will stammer through sentences after they retire, lose their memories and have their dinners served to them through intravenous needles…If they’re modern-day gladiators, we’re little more than howling, new-millennium Romans — with better-stitched togas and viewing angles. Now armed with more information than ever about football and brain injuries, we think long and hard whether our kids should strap on a helmet and pads. (Wise M. Super Bowl: NFL confronts the highest stakes. Washington Post, January 28, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/super-bowl-nfl-confronts-the-highest-stakes/2013/01/28/b92e1fd8-69a0-11e2-95b3-272d604a10a3_story.html)

The NFL doesn’t have a PR problem. It has a reality problem. And it may be a grave one. Every month — and it seems every few days — the NFL is inundated by new, barely suspected revelations. What has the NFL become? Or is this what it has been for some time? Is the truth coming out of the shadows? The list is stunning. Its cumulative effect, not any one particular item, is the true confidence-shaking shock. The NFL is now the league of murder charges against Aaron Hernandez — gang execution style. The NFL is the league of murder, then suicide, with Jovan Belcher killing his girlfriend and then shooting himself in the head in a parking lot by his stadium as his coach and general manager watched. The NFL is the league of concussions, cover-ups for decades and in-house pseudo-science to discredit critical research. That is, until dementia, insanity and a $765 million settlement with its players hits the headlines. The NFL is a “League of Denial.” (November 6, 2013)

It would be wonderful if we could make the game safer, but there is far too much satisfaction as a player, owner, coach and consumer to quit. And there is no substitute “patch” for American football.

We are all too selfish to stop.

We now know, or highly suspect, that former players such as Dave Duerson and Junior Seau killed themselves due somewhat to the problems related to the brain trauma suffered in their long careers. We care, but not enough to stop…

You can disagree on the origins or the severity, but what is indisputable is that there is a far greater risk in playing football than we have ever been previously aware…The concussion issue in football is not only genuine, but it is never going away. Studies, and prevailing common sense, say that if you run into something continually at a high speed, eventually your body, and brain, will suffer as a result. http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/08/26/5110575/football-is-dangerous-but-we-cant.html#storylink=cpy

This is something that Christians, and others, who think that they should watch American football should think about.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Thanksgiving: A Time To Give Thanks and Praise the LORD Is this American holiday appropriate? Why or why not?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Binge Alcohol Drinking and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach?
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.