T 1 COG News: Emphasizing News of Interest to those Once in the Worldwide Church of God
"For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (I Corinthians 11:19).

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Click Here for the COGwriter Home Page which has articles on various sabbatarian Churches of God (COGs) and articles supporting beliefs of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God.

09/06/06 a.m. In the current edition of the Bible Advocate, CG7's president Whaid Rose writes:

The importance of work is underscored in the Bible. Man’s first assignment in the Garden of Eden was work-related: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15, NIV throughout). Hebrew culture, the setting of the Old Testament, was marked by a strong work ethic. The command to rest on the seventh day (Exodus 20:8) is linked to work on the previous six days. God’s low tolerance for laziness is underscored by numerous verses in the book of Proverbs. Also, we, the redeemed, will work with our hands in the earth made new (Isaiah 65:17-24).

In the New Testament, Paul uses strong language when addressing this important principle: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. . . . For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat’” (1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). These and other verses remind us that our work matters to God.

Two articles of related interest may be:

Church of God, Seventh Day Nearly all COG's I am aware of trace their history through this group. Do you know much about them?
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?
Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and HWA expect from evangelists?

PCG posted the following:

It appears the cloudy years of slow growth and high unemployment in Europe are finally starting to clear. Europe’s economy is looking bright. Many economists say this trend, if it continues, is coming at an opportune time for the world, since America seems to be slowing down.

3.6 percent economic growth that the 12-member eurozone economy enjoyed during the second quarter of this year (annualized rate) was its quickest in six years, according to recently released data. Growth in the United States, in contrast, fell to an annualized rate of 2.5 percent.

European employment is increasing too. Unemployment in the 12 nations that use the euro fell to 7.8 percent
in June, the lowest level since the European Union’s statistical agency started keeping records in 1998. According to Holger Schmieding, a European economist at Bank of America, “[t]he eurozone is now creating jobs at a faster rate than the U.S.”—approximately 200,000 jobs a month (EUobserver.com, August 23).

PCG is correct that the European Union is getting its economic house in order, though other bumps are expected. The Bible shows that a European Confederation is destined to play a major role in future events.

09/05/06 a.m. This morning. LCG announced its latest commentary, this one by Martin Fanin titled Who won in Lebanon – what lies ahead? In it, he stated:

Did Israel just lose their first battle? Some think they did! Why? Were they too cautious and indecisive?

In previous battles, Israel approached the challenge with focus and determination. Is that focus and determination disappearing? Was the leadership indecisive? Some say yes. Let’s consider possible reasons why.  

Loss of Will...

Media Bias...

Hesitancy and Uncertainty...

Ignoring the Lessons of History...

Rejecting the Word of God...

Hope for the Future

He discussed all the bolded headlines. Details and the complete commentary are available at http://www.lcg.org/cgi-bin/tw/commentary/tw-comm.cgi?category=Commentary1=item=1157439702.

Notice that even Roman Catholic scholars know that the early church was against idols and images and that the reason given to accept them appears to contradict the Bible (bolding mine):

"Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God," etc. It also explains the fact that in the first ages of Christianity, when converts from paganism were so numerous, and the impression of idol-worship was so fresh, the Church found it advisable not to permit the development of this cult of images; but later, when that danger had disappeared, when Christian traditions and Christian instinct had gained strength, the cult developed more freely (Cabrol F. Transcribed by Wm Stuart French, Jr. The True Cross. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, long after the apostles died, once non-biblical "Christianity" attained power, it allowed the veneration of images to develop. Shouldn't everyone associated with the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches understand that there veneration of images is NOT consistent with the Bible or the practices of the "faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)?

The above (and more) was just added to the article What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?

09/04/06 a.m. COGaic announced:


For more than a hundred years, the tiny strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River has been the subject of intense debate and bitter conflict, with one of the main focal points of the ongoing struggle being a single ancient city. Exploring the lives of 14 key Palestinian and Jewish leaders, this fascinating study examines the roles of identity and ideology in the search for a resolution to the final-status issue of Jerusalem. The book will prove an important resource for scholars and students interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict, peace studies, and political psychology.

The book sells for $65.00 at Amazon.

While David Hulme claims to provide an important resource for scholars on the Arab-Israeli conflict, COGaic does not want the COGs to fully access its own information nor let its own membership know the doctrines of their own church. An article of related interest may be Church of God, an International Community.

Zenit.org, a Vatican-supporting news source, reported the following given by a Roman priest named Michael Hull:

"Democracy" is difficult to define, and its foundations are difficult to articulate, because the word is used in many and diverse ways, especially by special-interest groups including political parties, the media, and governments.

At its root, democracy means "rule by the people" (Greek: democratia)...

Without the recognition of the primacy of natural law, democracies are condemned to little more than tyranny of the majority, not to mention a plethora of social and moral evils.

The single, clearest example of such evil is found with respect to every human being's right to life. Recall for a moment those millions upon millions of babies legally murdered in their mothers' wombs in so-called democracies like the United States and most European countries...

But we know for sure that something better is coming along at the end of time: the reign of Christ the King (The Foundations of Democracy According to Theologian Father Michael Hull. Zenit.org September 1, 2006 Code: ZE06090135).

While we in the COGs would have used the term God's law instead of natural law, in general we agree that rule by the majority can lead to tyranny as well as to many social and moral evils. We also agree that Christ will reign, and that form of governance is much better than democracy. An article of possible interest may be Should a Christian Vote?.

09/03/06 a.m. UCG Canada's Edwin van Pelt reported:

We re averaging just over 25 responses per week from the Beyond Today television program and the beyondtodaytv.ca website. The program airs on Vision TV across Canada at 2:00 Monday morning EDT. The program also airs on the Christian Channel (available on digital cable and satellite in selected markets across Canada)...

LCG's Wayne Pyle reported:

We aired program #267, ‘Beware of the Antichrist,’ which offered the Antichrist booklet. From Thursday through Sunday, we received 2,426 phone calls in the United States and Canada. Based on this, it looks like the response for the whole week will exceed 3,000 replies. The first airing back in February generated 3,912 responses. Thus, the second airing looks like it will produce about 78 percent of the first response-figure, which is a typical summer-time percentage.

LCG's Bruce Tyler reported about responses in Australia and New Zealand:

This week, 216 responses (76 from new subscribers) were received from the Tomorrow’s World program “Beware of the Antichrist” presented by Mr. Roderick Meredith, offering the booklet Who or What Is the Antichrist?  In New Zealand there were 147 responses (75 from new subscribers), giving an Australia/New Zealand total of 363 responses.

Two articles of possible interest for those with a COG background might be Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? and Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God.

Is this Labor Day weekend (for those in the USA) going to be like all of your other ones?

Would you to like to learn many of the doctrines of the true early Christian church?

Although its actual subject had to do with Guatemala, Christianity Today had an article interestingly titled The Truth Is Somewhere. Those who are wondering where they may find the truth about early Christianity and what were the actual teachings of the true Church in the first few centuries of Christianity, should go to the Early Christianity page. There are many biblically and historically documented articles at that page to show what the truth is, where it was in those earlier times, as well as were it can be found now.

Would some of your time this Labor Day weekend be more memorable and significant if you read and study some of the articles at Early Christianity page?

09/02/06 a.m. In his latest newsletter, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

There are a lot of voices out there that are sounding a loud warning about the dangers we face if our nation fails to recognize and confront the murderous intentions of radical Islam.  And they’re right!  But they are looking at the situation strictly from the standpoint of political and military solutions, and bemoaning the fact that a great many just do not seem to grasp the kind of jeopardy we face.  But I haven’t heard any of them recommend that our nation turn over a new leaf, ask God’s forgiveness and begin to obey His laws!  That was the message of God’s prophets...

Speaking of one who is warning about radical Islam (but who also believes in much of God's law), in his latest newsletter, SDA S. Bacchiocchi reported:

Most people tend to think of Muslims as a Middle East problem, but Muslims are involved in practically all the trouble spots in the world today.  There are Muslims versus Jews in "Palestine," Muslims versus Hindus in Kshmir, Muslims versus Christians in Africa, Muslims versus Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims versus Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims versus Christians in France, Holland, and Great Britain.       

In his first speech on national security, British Home Secretary, Mr. Reid warned that "Muslim terrorists are the greatest threat to the civilized world since Adoph Hitler."  Addressing the think tank Demos, "Reid said that judges, British politicians and commentators had all failed to realize that liberties enshrined in the 20th century and bolstered after the Second World War, could not all remain intact if today's high-tech, global terrorists were not thwarted." (London Telegraph, August 10, 2006)...

Are Islam and the Papacy Two Manifestations of the Antichrist?
The preceding observations on the threat that Islam is posing, not only to the Middle East, but also to Europe, should cause Adventists to take a fresh look at a possible prophetic connection between Islam and the Papacy. About two years ago I attempted to explore this connection in a study that generated considerable controversy on the part of a few "ultra-conservative Adventists"...

As we witness today the expansion of Islam through warfare and demographic explosion, perhaps the time has come to reconsider the claim of two Great Reformers, Luther and Calvin, that the Papacy and Islam are the two legs or the two horns of the Antichrist. The interest of the Reformers for Islam and the Papacy stemmed from the fact that they lived at a time when Papacy had corrupted the Western Church, while Islam was swallowing up much of what was left of the Eastern Church. In many ways the Muslims threat was as real in Luther and Calvin's days, as the threat of Muslims expansion is today through terroristic acts and demographic explosion.
            In the light of the historic role Islam has played during the past fifteenth centuries in persecuting God's people and promoting false worship, should we as Adventists today include also Islam among the key players of the final showdown over worship?

The identity of the antichrist is one of the differences between the COGs and the SDAs. The COGs also tend to consider that those in the Middle East will become part of the King of the South, while the papacy will support the European king of the north.

It should be noted that Dr. B's comments about the two horns are different from the traditional SDA position (as well as the COG position). An article of related interest may also be SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.

In his latest newsletter, SDA S. Bacchiocchi also reported:

This preparatory review of existing powerpoint lectures, has convinced me that what is missing in the studies that I have seen, is an understanding of the REAL CONSPIRACY hidden in The Da Vinci Code. Most authors spend their time exposing the fallacies of the alledged Catholic conspiracy to conduct, through secret societies, a massive cover up to conceal from the public the truth that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had a daughter name Sarah, and his bloodline extends to this very day.  Such a conspiracy is laughable for its absurdity and hardly deserves a lengthy refutation. The same is true of the claim that Constantine arbitrarily chose the four Gospels, rejecting the 80 Gnostic gospels. Any one familiar with the history of the early church and of the formation of the NT canon, find such claims totally absurd.  

            In my mind what deserves serious consideration is the REAL CONSPIRACY hidden in the The Da Vinci Code.  This is not the CATHOLIC CONSPIRACY, which is totally devoid of historical support. Instead, it is DAN BROWN CONSPIRACY. In subtle, deceptive ways, Dan Brown conspires to destroy the credibility of Christianity, in order to promote his neo-pagan worship style with ritual sex.

I would like to add that I read a Catholic book against the Da Vinci Code last week. And while it was over 100 pages long and did address the sex and marriage issues, it did not properly address the canon nor did it once mention what the Da Vinci Code got right or wrong about the Sabbath, Christmas, and various other points. A relatively short article by me did address them and is titled The Da Vinci Code: Some Good and Lots Bad.

09/01/06 a.m. The following were the top ten read non-news pages of the COGwriter site for August 2006:

  1. Why Not the Restored Church of God? This group claims to be the most faithful. The information in this article suggests otherwise.
  2. Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself 'Philadelphia' does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9). This article provides quotes from this group which claims to be faithful.
  3. History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?
  4. Church of God, Seventh Day Nearly all COG's I am aware of trace their history through this group. Do you know much about them?
  5. Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation?
  6. Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
  7. Polycarp of Smyrna Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor.
  8. Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
  9. SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The COG is NOT part of the Seventh Day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, and differences in approaching doctrine.
  10. Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.

This is the second month in a row that the RCG article topped the list. I substantially revised and added to the top two articles this month, so if you have not read them recently, you may find the additional information of value.

In his latest letter, CBCG's Fred Coulter correctly reported:

America and Britain have been trying to be as vigilant as possible in detecting and intercepting terrorist attacks before they happen. They have been highly successful on many occasions. However, in the final analysis, they will not be able to stop all terrorist attacks. Also, waging war against terrorists—seeking to kill and destroy them wherever they are in the world—will not end the problem nor change the fanatical resolve of the enemy. The reason is that the core problem is not the terrorists per se. The intense hatred of terrorists for western civilization—and the US in particular—continues to fuel the worldwide war on terror. But their hatred is not the real problem. Rather, God reveals that these problems are caused by the sins of the people—the modern descendants of the ten tribes of Israel—the United States and Britain, as well as the Jews.

Why Terrorist Attacks? Almost no one understands the true cause of terrorism. Most politicians believe that if we can destroy terrorists or make peace with them, then all our problems would be solved. Doing so, however, would be fighting only against the effects, rather than eliminating the cause. In His Word, God reveals the cause—the reason terrorism is a problem: It is because of the great national sins of the modern children of Israel and the Jews. When we sin, God raises up enemies to come against us in order to correct us and bring us to repentance.

Sadly, it will get much, much worse before we see much in the way of real repentance.

On other matters, who was the most dangerous of the early heretics?

Is the most dangerous heretic the one who directly denies Jesus and makes himself God, like Simon Magus did? Is the most dangerous heretic the one who first did away with the Old Testament and the Sabbath, like Marcion did? Is most dangerous heretic the first one who taught the Trinity like Montanus or Valentinus did? Is the most dangerous heretic one who wrote clearly inaccurate and false statements, like Justin Martyr?

Or is the most dangerous heretic, the one while writing against heretics, was a more subtle heretic himself?

The Bible clearly shows that the Apostle Peter condemned Simon Magus. And while some consider that Simon Magus was "the father of all heresies" and in that sense highly dangerous, the fact is that all should know that the Bible condemned Simon Magus. Thus any interested in the following the Bible should be careful about following in some of Simon's practices (though a very large church seems too).

Furthermore, since even Catholic preserved history shows that Polycarp of Smyrna, the disciple of the Apostle John, condemned Marcion as the "son of Satan" and turned people away from the heretics Marcion and Valentinus, it should be clear to any who consider that Polycarp was a true Christian, that Marcion and Valentinus were heretics.

Catholic preserved history also shows that Serapion of Antioch, Apollonius of Ephesus, Apollinaris of Hierapolis, and Thraseas of Eumenia opposed the Montantist heresies (though the early bishops of Rome, did not).

Pretty much all who study early Christianity realize that Simon Magus, Marcion, Montanus, and Valentinus were all condemned as apostate heretics.

Thus, all who have looked into early Christianity should realize that they should not follow the practices of those heretics (though to some degree, depending upon the heretical teaching, all the "mainstream" churches do).

So who was perhaps the most dangerous heretic?

A brand new article attempts to addresses the issue: Irenaeus: The Most Dangerous Heretic? Perhaps I should add here that in many ways, the second most dangerous of the heretics was probably Justin--many of his heresies are discussed in the article Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate?

08/31/06 a.m. The lead article in CG7's September 2006 edition of the Bible Advocate, by Richard A. Wiedenheft, states:

The Ten Commandments are widely acclaimed and celebrated among many Christians, yet the vast majority don’t even make a pretense of observing the fourth, which prescribes a day of rest — a Sabbath. It seems that this commandment, more so than all the others, is just too hard to keep.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the Sabbath involves our time and that we just don’t want to give up being in charge of it. Most of us would sooner fork over our money (tithe) than give up our time, especially when we’re supposed to dedicate it to something as “unproductive” as ceasing. We don’t want to stop pursuing our own agenda, setting our own priorities, seeking the pleasures we think we need. Or perhaps we don’t want to face some of the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of our lives that surface when our minds are not preoccupied with endless activities...

The Sabbath has been called the great equalizer because it provides a time of ceasing for all human beings: rich and poor, master and servant, native-born and foreigner — even animals. Throughout the week, some of us give orders, others receive them. Some bring home big paychecks, some small. Some buy clothes in fancy department stores, others wear cast-offs. But on the Sabbath, every one of us enters a day of rest before God on an equal basis. In receiving this gift, we are all the same: human beings made in the image of God, recipients of this divine gift of leisure time...

Unlike paid vacation time you earn by laboring for so many months, the Sabbath is not something you earn. It is available freely to everyone who is willing to cease from work and rest. Similarly, salvation is not something we earn by laboring. It is a gift from God we can receive by ceasing from the works of the flesh and resting in Jesus Christ. And just as our physical life does not consist of the things we do and acquire, so our salvation is not about what we do for God. It’s about resting — trusting in Christ and in what He has done for us.

The Sabbath is one of the doctrines that CG7 teaches in a similar manner to the other COGs. Here is an article on the teachings of the Church of God, Seventh Day.

CGOM's newsletter arrived this morning. It had an article that stated:

The prophecies tell us, however, that when the Jews return to their inheritance in Palestine they will 'dwell safely'. (See Ezekiel 38:11) That certainly is not the case now. They will return accompanied by 'the House of Israel' - the so-called 'lost tribes'. (See Ezekiel 37:19-22) That has not happened. They will return with the LORD JHVH at their head. (See Jeremiah 23:6-8). Certainly not now. They will return, a mere remnant of both Houses, freed from a time of enslavement - largely from throughout the Islamic world and from 'the north' It will surpass the darkest days of twentieth century Europe - a time called 'Jacob's trouble'. (See Isaiah 11:11-12, Matthew 24:21). That is yet future. ['Eurabia': Islam has 120 million adherents in Europe - including Turkey] They will return 'broken-hearted' - sorrowing for their sin. Not so now." (McBride J. Road Map To Israel. OUTREACH Newsletter: September/October 2006).

The above contains a mix of truth and change. It is true that there is another time in the future when all the house of Israel will return and dwell safely. However this will be well AFTER the time of "Jacob's trouble". If CGOM is teaching that the European superpower will be highly Arabic or Moslem, this is an inaccurate change. Those who rely on changes in prophetic understanding by CGOM may do so to their own peril (the GTA related splits have done away with teachings such as Church Eras and a Place of Safety). An article of related interest may be Teachings and Practices of the Church of God Outreach Ministries.

LCG's Sept-October 2006 edition of Tomorrow's World arrived last night. It now lists that LCG is on 195 television and 18 radio stations originating in 21 countries. LCG has recently increased its literature in Spanish and the same edition is available in Spanish at http://www.mundomanana.org/paginas/revistas.htm

08/30/06 a.m. In his September 2006 letter, WCG's J. Tkach wrote:

Part of the reason I write to you every month is to thank you for writing out a check to support your church headquarters. But every time you thank someone for anything at all, every time you hug someone you love, every time you refrain from complaining about how long a line is, you are manifesting in the world the joyful life of God, the life he has chosen in his boundless love to share with humanity...

And, oh yes, thank you very much for your generous heart in supporting the work God is doing though church headquarters. Your donations make possible everything the church does, from Christian Odyssey and Together magazines, to our new Speaking of Grace and Speaking of Life video programs, which you will be seeing very soon, to training, certifying and supervising all our pastors and elders, to organizing our annual conferences, to youth programs, to international support, to maintaining doctrinal and administrative integrity, to providing accounting and legal support to our congregations and much more.

Of course, I do not send WCG any money and have not done so for over a decade, but at least J. Tkach is being truthful about why he writes his monthly letter.

On other matters, notice some of what the Eastern Orthodox teach about being "born-again":

Frank Schaeffer...calls the standard evangelical doctrine a "false bill of goods." "The simplistic 'born-again' formula for instant painless 'salvation' is not only a misunderstanding, I believe it is a heresy. It contradicts the teaching of Christ in regard to the narrow, hard, ascetic, difficult way of salvation."" (Clendenin D.B. ed. Eastern Orthodox Theology, 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2003, p. 268).

The Orthodox, like the COGs, do not accept the common evangelical position about being born again. American evangelicals may wish to look into Early Christianity to realize that the COG view has a greater historical, as well as biblical, basis. Two articles of related interest may be Born Again: A Question of Semantics? and Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God.

Speaking of the Orthodox, even though they are trinitarian, their scholars, like certain Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars, understand that the idea of the Holy Spirit as the third member of a trinity really is cannot be proven from the Bible. Look at the following admission:

Roman Catholic and Orthodox theologians agree in recognizing a certain anonymity characterizes the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. While the names Father and Son denote very clear personal distinctions, are in no sense interchangeable, and cannot in any case refer to the common nature of the two hypostases, the name Holy Spirit does not have that advantage. Indeed, we say that God is Spirit, meaning by that the common nature as much as any one of the persons. We say that he is holy...Taken in itself, the term Holy Spirit thus might be applied, not to a personal distinction...In that sense, Thomas Aquinas was right in saying that...the name Holy Spirit has been given to him...we find an image of the economy of the Third Person rather than an image of his hypostatic character: we find the procession of a divine force or spirit which accomplishes sanctification. We reach a paradoxical conclusions: all that we know about the Holy Spirit refers to his economy; all that we do not know makes us venerate him as a person (Clendenin D.B. ed. Eastern Orthodox Theology, 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2003, pp. 165-166).

Articles of related interest may include:

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 is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
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.

The Orthodox Church claims Polycarp as a faithful saint and the successor to the Apostles,

As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Polycarp...This apostolic and prophetic man, and model of faith and truth, was a disciple of John the Evangelist (Polycarp the Holy Martyr & Bishop of Smyrna. Greek Archdiocese of America. http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=439 8/27/05).

Its position on Polycarp causes the Orthodox Church a major problem.


Because like the COGs, Polycarp kept the Passover on the 14th of Nisan and refused to accept the position of the then Bishop of Rome to change it to a Sunday to honor the resurrection. Yet, the Orthodox Church endorses Easter Sunday--a position that the early church in Asia refused to accept (as Polycrates recorded testimony shows). Now the other amazing thing is that even though the Orthodox still refer to Easter as Pascha, which is the Greek form of the Hebrew word for Passover, they do not observe Pascha as the memorial of Christ's crucifixion, but instead as to His resurrection.

More information on Polycarp can be found in the articles Polycarp of Smyrna and Apostolic Succession.

08/29/06 a.m. The old German Empire was in the news:

Deutsche Welle - August 28, 2006   http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2147078,00.html

The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation fell apart 200 years ago. While German museums mark the occasion, an Austrian expert says that Europeans would do well to look back and learn for the future.

When Francis II abdicated the throne of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in August 1806, the longest-lasting political system in the German-speaking world ceased to exist. Founded by Otto I almost a millennium earlier, the empire had consisted of hundreds of estates, or state-like entities...

DW-WORLD.DE: Why should people still care about the Holy Roman Empire today? 

Brigitte Mazohl-Wallnig: The Holy Roman Empire is the foundation of our common European history.

More on the common European history (and its future) can be found in the article Europa, the Beast, and Revelation.

The current issue of UCG's WN&P has the following news item:

...the Rocky Mountain News published an article by Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times that reported about spiritual hunger in China:

"Christianity is booming as never before in China, and some giddy followers say China could eventually have hundreds of millions of Christians—perhaps more than any other country in the world...

"This boom in religion, particularly Christianity but also including the Bahai faith and various cults like Falun Gong, reflects a spiritual yearning among many Chinese. While China has official Catholic and Protestant churches, the fastest-growing churches are the underground ones—usually evangelical without any specific denomination—that are independent of the government. The total number of Chinese Christians today probably exceeds 40 million, and some estimates go far higher."

While it is good to hear that those in China are interested in learning about God, sadly there are few, if any, true Christians in the PRC now. However, as history has shown, even when cut off from Westerners, some in China have apparently practiced true Christianity. Three articles of related interest may be:

The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformattedGood News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God's Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?

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Volume 10, issue 19 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2006