d 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).

* LCG News *  LCG 2006 Feast of Tabernacles' Information * Listing of Living Church of God Congregations *Sunset Times for the U.S. *  News of Those Once Affiliated with the Global COG * Prayer Requests

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.

10/30/06 a.m. In the lead article of the Nov/Dec edition of PCG's Trumpet, Gerald Flurry wrote the following:

Notice this prophecy in Daniel 11:40: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”

Iran leads this “king of the south”
(Flurry G. From the Editor: Why You Must Watch Europe. Philadelphia Trumpet. Nov-Dec 2006).

This inaccurate focus on Iran is one of the reasons why PCG does not understand end-time prophecy and will not be going to God's place of safety when it is time--this does not mean that I do not believe its members may not flee prematurely (see article Laodicean Warning for God's People), but that since PCG is wrong about the king of the South, that this will lead to other errors in prophetic interpretation of other news events.

An article of possible interest may be Is There a Future King of the South?

On other matters, I see many at the anti-COG sites suggesting that LCG and UCG intend to merge some day, in contradiction to what I posted here a couple of days ago. One went so far is to say that somehow I will change my mind and say that I always supported such a merger. All are in error on those points (though this does not mean individual members or locations may not change affiliations) as I have no intention of being part of UCG and do not believe any real merger between the two is possible. And yes, while I do know certain details of what they discussed, those discussions have nothing to do with any type of merger. And while I told our local congregation what the specifics were, I do not feel it is needful to post the details here, but will let UCG and/or LCG provide public statements if they wish. They have nothing to hide about the meeting and are not going to merge.

Regarding my position, as the link about Cogwriter states:

I believe that Philadelphians show brotherly love (which is what Philadelphia means) by supporting the major work of proclaiming the gospel (Matthew 24:14,28:19-20; Revelation 3:7).

Also, because I also believe Jesus when He said, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4), I believe that I personally must do that, which includes the following verse from Jude 3:

"contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints"

Which is the keynote verse, if you will, for the COGwriter website. And that is what it strives to do, in spite of my flaws and limitations.

I do not now, nor have I ever felt, that UCG represented part of the Philadelphia portion of the COG (though, as I told RCM again last week, I believe they probably still have a few, but only a few, Philadelphians in their midst, as I also believe there are a few Philadelphians who are independents or associated with some other COGs--but again I believe that there are very few outside of LCG--nor, as I told Aaron Dean last week do I believe that simply being LCG makes one a Philadelphian. Please see the article, which was originally published by LCG, What is a Philadelphian?).

The following is from the article on LCG/UCG Differences:

Fundamental Difference

Perhaps the fundamental difference between the groups is that United believes it is a continuation of the Church of God, while Living believes it represents the bulk of the remnant of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God. Nearly all the differences which this article documents stem from this fundamental difference.

United: "Jim Franks of Cypress, Texas, chairman of the UCG's advisory committee on doctrine...Mr. Franks believes...UCG is 'not a new church,' he said. 'We are a continuation' " (Warren, John. UCG tentatively sanctions old-WCG voting doctrine. The Journal. August 31, 2001).

Living: "The Living Church of God cannot claim that all its members are Philadelphian, but we do believe we are a uniquely Philadelphian remnant" (Thiel, R. What is a Philadelphian? Living Church News. Jul-Aug 2001; p.15). "...we are the 'remnant' of the Philadelphian Church living over into the Laodicean era" (Meredith, Roderick C. Wait on God. Living Church News. Jul-Aug 2003; p3).

More can be found in the article Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God. No merger is in the works.

10/29/06 p.m. The following was forwarded to me:

Over 25 years ago, Roderick Meredith was disfellowshipped by Herbert Armstrong for rebellion.  On various occasions, Meredith has claimed that HWA later was sorry he had done this.  This is a lie.  Aaron Dean, the closest aid to Mr. Armstrong in his last 10 years or so of life, has told Bob Thiel that HWA never recanted of disfellowshipping Meredith and sending him to Hawaii. 

The above is not accurate. What Aaron Dean told me was that he was unaware that HWA met with RC Meredith and recanted. After I told him this, he did not question, but he accepted, RC Meredith's account. However, it was not clear to him that HWA truly recanted on a permanent basis. Hopefully, this clarification helps--I probably should have made this clearer last week.

The truth of the matter, if people really want to know, is that Herbert Armstrong did banished Roderick Meredith to Hawaii and wrote some negative things about him.

However, it should be noted that Herbert Armstrong moved Dr. Meredith back to the mainland and back into a leadership position after this occurred and essentially apologized to him for sending him to Hawaii. Actually, HWA had a 2 1/4 private meeting with Dr. Meredith when he arrived back from Hawaii and spent most of that meeting explaining in an apologetic manner for sending him there. The fact that Aaron Dean told me that prior to our last conversation, he was unaware of that meeting simply confirms that no one, including Aaron Dean, knew everything that occurred in those days (and Aaron Dean has never claimed to know everything about what went on then).

On 1/04/99, Ron Laughlin sent out the following email on this subject,

In response to your questions about the letter from Mr. Armstrong to Dr. Meredith let me fill you in on what I know about the situation. It is a shame that the church of God has to have gossip, rumor and destruction of character as it's main method of dealing with each other. I have experienced over the years how people trying to get something use the destruction of anothers character to further their own ambitions. I was in Pasadena in 1979 when Dr. Meredith was director of the ministry. At that time Joe Tkach and Kevin Dean were attempting to become the power brokers for the church. GTA had been eliminated. Dr. Meredith was the next natural enemy that was in the way of them running the church under Mr. Armstrong. I was approached by Kevin Dean to start a campaign and write a letter against Dr. Meredith so that he would be removed and Mr. Tkach would be put in his place. That is the way the church operated at that time. Politics was the guide for the operation of the church of God. Mr. Armstongs letter was based on false information feed (sic) to him by these men. I feel that anything he wrote was what he thought was truth and therefore, as he always said, "if you start with a false premise you will not have the truth".

On 12/28/99 Carl McNair sent an email to someone on this matter, which he later sent to me:

Mr. Helge affirmed in a response to my question, "why was Rod Meredith sent to Hawaii" that "he was lied on". You have heard, I presume, Mr. Meredith's statement of his visit with Mr. Armstrong after his re-instatement. Since his apology was not in writing and his rebuke to Rod is left bare. And one can believe or dis-believe according to his personal animous. I believe it is evil to use what was written as an evaluation twenty years ago by a man who has been dead for twelve years and cannot respond. Those persons who went through Mr. Armstrong's personal files and culled out one negative letter and published it have somewhat to answer for. And those who allow themselves to make judgments based upon this letter will themselves be judged according to their judgment of Rod. I suggest you think carefully about that.

Now some further background information might be helpful. Richard Nickels (not an LCG member) wrote,

Tkach was elevated to an evangelist for his role during the receivership crisis in 1979, and headed the Ministerial Service's Department from the dismissal of Rod Meredith, who was exiled in Hawaii in 1979" (Nickels, Richard. Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1996. p.219)

Meredith's refusal to ordain Joseph Tkach and Stanley Radar as evangelists ultimately led to his departure in 1992" (p. 217).

It is interesting to notice that Dr. Meredith himself headed up Ministerial Services until J. Tkach somehow got that job, that Dr. Meredith refused to ordain J. Tkach prior to that as an evangelist, and that Dr. Meredith was 'lied on' (per Ralph Helge who is also not an LCG member) and sent to Hawaii. Of course recall that Herbert Armstrong had Dr. Meredith sent back to the mainland and placed him on the Council of Elders. HWA fully trusted Dr. Meredith's loyalty to him.

Those who believe they have insider information that Dr. Meredith was sent to Hawaii because to sent a letter to the ministry so that he would be placed in charge instead of Stanley Radar in the event of HWA's death are in error. That never happened and no letter was ever sent (nor any copy ever produced).

Dr. Meredith was sent to Hawaii mainly because people who did not stay faithful to COG teachings wanted to eliminate him--the fact that HWA had been misled by some of them is sad. It is also sad that HWA appointed J. Tkach (one who proved unfaithful) as Pastor General.

It is sadder that many do not realize that those who spoke against RC Meredith in those days (K. Dean and S. Radar) as well as those he also opposed (like J. Tkach), did not remain faithful to COG teachings--yet some wish to prefer to believe that since HWA was influenced by all of them, that RC Meredith (who has remained faithful) is the problem. How sad.

10/28/06 p.m. There were two items in LCG's latest update, that I wanted to mention here. The first is from Wayne Pyle:

This weekend we aired the first new program since our re-run season began back in July, and the response is tracking to be well over 3,000. We aired program #279, “Signs of the Second Coming,” which offered the booklet Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return! This booklet has been offered on the Tomorrow’s World television program more than any other—36 times over the past five years since the booklet was first printed. This weekend was the 37th time. From Thursday through Sunday, we received 2,601 phone calls, and we are expecting the final count for the week to go over 3,300. This will be only the third time to break the 3,000-mark for the Fourteen Signs booklet.  

Our new TV station here in Charlotte, WAXN-TV, is doing great! It started broadcasting the Tomorrow’s World program on October 1. Since then, it has generated 163 phone calls at an overall cost per response under $11.00. Charlotte’s WAXN-TV is most certainly a keeper! Now, we have local coverage by the Inspiration Network (INSP), WHKY-TV and WAXN-TV; and all three TV stations are producing superb results in the Charlotte metropolitan area.  

The work of the Philadelphia portion of the COG continues to move forward.

This second item may raise some eyebrows, so I thought I would post it and comment on it. LCG's Dr. Winnail reported:

This week, Mr. Clyde Kilough, President of the United Church of God, and Mr. Jim Franks, Operations Manager for Ministerial Services of the United Church of God, paid an informal visit to our Headquarters here in Charlotte. They toured the office facility and met our Headquarters staff. It was a cordial visit and provided us with an opportunity to communicate about mutual concerns facing the Church of God.  

RC Meredith and I discussed this meeting a few hours after it occurred. He mentioned that he specifically stated at the beginning of the meeting that LCG has no interest in any type of merger with UCG. He stated UCG and LCG have different works, differing governments, and differing focuses. He told me that they concurred with all of those comments. And he told me I could post about it if I thought it would be helpful.

Essentially, the meeting was used to discuss certain areas of mutual interest and when better communications between the two groups may be appropriate. After the meeting, Dr. Winnail, RC Meredith, Dibar Apartian (and I believe Richard Ames) had lunch with the two UCG representatives.

There is no merger in the works. And nothing like that is planned or hoped for. What is hoped for (and I even told this to UCG's Aaron Dean when I spoke with him Monday evening) is that UCG members who wish to be faithful to the teachings of the old WCG will realize LCG is truly the remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the COG and come with us.

The differences between LCG and UCG will always prevent a merger such as the type that took place between the old CGCF and UCG (see the old article Beware, Doctrinal Compromise is in the Air!). While I believe that UCG has some members that are Philadelphian, I do not consider that UCG is carrying on the Philadelphia work as LCG does. I continue to pray that any Philadelphians who are scattered, will be gathered together with us before it is too late (please see the article There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).

An article of possible interest may be Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God.

10/28/06 a.m. Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

Did you hear of the “incident” involving an Israeli military jet and a German naval vessel off the coast of Lebanon this week?  Germany is leading a group of naval vessels that are patrolling the area, and this borderline hostile engagement illustrates the dangers inherent in having Europeans deployed militarily across Israel’s hostile borders.  I feel certain that this close call is a harbinger of things to come, and either Germany or one of the other European powers could easily become involved in an incident or even an accident that might create a whole new dynamic in this already volatile region.

The Garner Ted Armstrong telecast brought us 507 responses this week, with one hundred twenty nine first time callers.

There will undoubtedly be more "incidents" in the area of Israel involving Europeans.

Regarding television responses, ICG seems to be the COG with the 2nd or 3rd most effective television presence. LCG is clearly first, PCG might be 2nd or 3rd, and UCG is probably 4th.

On Thursday, in a lecture I listened to by a Protestant theologian, he correctly and specifically taught that Philippians 2:7 shows that Jesus emptied Himself. And while he did not quote it from the ASV, the ASV is one of the few common translations that has a correct rendering of that passage, which states (beginning with verse 5):

Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7, ASV).

Anyway, the following is the quote from the Protestant theologian:

Kenosis: Literally means to empty. 

This is correct, yet then he incorrectly asserted that Christ did not cease to be God, while correctly admitting that Jesus did not have all the divine privileges He had prior to the incarnation.  This admission that Jesus did not have all His divine privileges proves that Jesus was not “fully God” while on earth. 

And the Protestant contradictions continued. He contradicted himself by asserting that Jesus could not sin because God cannot sin—he referred to, but did not quote, James 1:13 as proof that Jesus was God. But let's look at that passage:

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone (James 1:13).

Notice that verse says that God cannot be tempted.  However, the Greek word for tempted (peirazo) is the same as the one used in Hebrews:

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Thus, there is a contradiction in the Protestant theologian's logic here. By comparing James 1:13 to Hebrews 4:15 it is clear that since the Bible shows Jesus was tempted on earth (and this is repeated in many places in the New Testament) and that God cannot be tempted, that while on earth, Jesus was not fully God (though God in the flesh). Jesus was not God with all the godly attributes - but God in the flesh. God in the flesh is limited to the flesh. God in the flesh is subject to temptation to sin. The Word, prior to emptying Himself, was God UNlimited. While on earth He was limited, yet still God - but God in the flesh.. The main difference between He and us is that He had the Holy Spirit without measure, from birth

Furthermore, since we humans can sin, either Jesus was capable of sinning (which He was) or He was not tempted as we are.  This also demonstrates that while on earth, Jesus was not fully God. However, as scripture shows, Jesus now is God--and was prior to His incarnation. It is a clear biblical truth that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity to become a man prior to the resurrection.

More information is available at the COGwriter website:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
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.
Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants How the COGs differ from mainstream Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a COG background.

10/27/06 a.m. The following news item was of interest:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Thursday both private investors and central bank were shifting away from the U.S. dollar and toward the euro.

"We're beginning to see some move from the dollar to the euro, both from the private sector ... but also from monetary authorities and central banks," Greenspan told a conference sponsored by the Commercial Finance Association.


Yesterday, LCG reported, in a distantly related story:

European Liberals fight for Power. Liberal Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are creating a new political party that will strengthen their voting power. Their platform will include “the recognition of traditional values; based on the Judeo-Christian heritage of Europe” and the “conservation of our identity.” This is yet one more reference to efforts within Europe to return to its religious roots. They also plan to focus on Europe’s cultural diversity as a factor of its richness and also unify to resist the entrance of predominantly Muslim Turkey into the EU. Upon reviewing the agenda of this group, a conservative MEP accused the group of “standing for Europe’s bloody past” (EU Observer, October 23, 2006). The Bible warns of a Beast in Europe at the end time that will be supported by and give support to a great mother church (Revelation 17:1-5). This power will consist of an unstable mixture of nations (Daniel 2:33, Revelation 17:12-13). Creation of this “liberal” party within the EU parliament would serve to further support Bible prophecy.

An article of related interest may be Europa and the Beast.

When reading CBCG's translation of the New Testament yesterday, I noticed that Fred Coutler brought up a couple of points in a footnote, that some may find of interest. Since some readers of this page are Roman Catholic, the Rheims translation of the following passages are being used to demonstrate that even Roman Catholic scholars must understand that certain understandings they hold about Peter are in error.

Even though many Romans act like Jesus made Peter the headstone in Matthew, notice that Peter himself stated after the resurrection that it was Jesus who was the head stone, the only name wherein one can be saved by (Acts 4): 

8. Then Peter replenished with the holy Ghost, said to them, Ye princes of the people and
9. If we this day be examined for a good deed upon an impotent man, in what he hath been
made whole,
10. Be it known to you and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of JESUS CHRIST of
Nazareth, whom you did crucify, whom God hath raised from the dead, in this same this man
standeth before you whole.
11. This is the stone that was rejected of you the builders: which is made into the head of
the corner.
12. And there is not salvation in any other. For neither is there any other name under heaven
given to men, wherein we must be saved. 

This means that it is not true that salvation only comes through the Roman Catholic Church and that Peter understood that he was a much less significant stone than Christ. 

Also notice who Paul wrote was the head of the church:

(Ephesians 1:22). And he hath subdued all things under his feet: and hath made him head over all the CHURCH 

(Colossians 1:18). And he is the head of the body, the CHURCH, who is the beginning, first born of the dead: that he may be in all things holding the primacy: 

(I Corinthians 11). For other foundation no man can lay, beside that which is laid: which is Christ JESUS. 

This means that claims that salvation only comes through the Roman Catholic Church because it has Apostolic Succession from Peter is faulty as salvation only comes through Jesus. Perhaps it should be understood that we in LCG acknowledge that Peter had a type of primacy while alive, but that his death location (even if it was Rome) would not necessarily confer a succession from that city (actually Jesus makes it clear that the same city for leadership throughout history would not be possible for the true church).

Two articles of related interest may be Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom? and What Does Rome Actually Teach About Early Church History?

Others may be interested in reading Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome.

10/26/06 a.m. Zenit reported:

ROME, OCT. 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's forthcoming trip to Turkey will be a moment to engage in dialogue, especially with Muslims and Orthodox Christians, says the apostolic vicar of Anatolia.

"The Pope is not coming to missionize, as the Turkish press claims, but to speak with Muslims, the Turkish government, and obviously with Catholics, but especially with Orthodox Christians," Bishop Luigi Padovese said at a press conference in Berlin, organized by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Benedict has stated that the Roman Catholics have more in common with the Eastern Orthodox than the Protestants. Two articles of possible interest may be Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God and Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants.

Death of leaders truly affects smaller organizations. And many seem to have major difficulty moving forward after this. For example, while Robert Elliot of GCW died several months ago, this morning GCW's website still states:

Mr. Elliott continues to hold fast the truths taught by Herbert W. Armstrong during the Philadelphia Era.

While Giving and Sharing's website does ackowledge that Richard Nickels died on June 3, 2006, its home page still states:

Richard C. Nickels is the founder and President of Giving & Sharing

Both groups do still seem to exist, but G&S stopped is Church of God News and other functions.

10/24/06 a.m. Last night Aaron Dean and I discussed his thoughts on my post of 10/21/06. His relevant comments are as follows:

Yes, I am in UCG, but I do not keep people away from any corporation, including LCG. No group or leader is perfect.

While I do not disagree that Mr. Meredith said that HWA somewhat recanted for sending him to Hawaii or that Ralph Helge told Carl McNair that RCM has sent there because he was lied about, I do not believe that HWA recanted of sending him.

I pray that we are both spared from the tribulation and ushered into the KOG.  I am not against any who are unselfishly leading people to truth. HWA wanted personal loyalty to God, not to him, something many others have not as yet figured out as shown by their words, actions and demands.  

Hopefully this clarifies Aaron Dean's position on these matters. We agree on the last paragraph, but have a different opinion regarding the second paragraph. I wish to thank Aaron Dean for his comments. I have edited a portion of my 10/21/06 post to clarify some of the points raised above.

The following news item was of interest:

The Chinese debt

International Herald Tribune - Oct 24, 2006

The Chinese sell a lot of merchandise in the United States and, in the process, accumulate a lot of dollars. They then loan many of those dollars back to the United States in exchange for all manner of American i.o.u.'s, including Treasury bonds, federal agency bonds, and private-sector debt.

America's indebtedness to China, as a result, is staggeringly high, although the Bush administration - which needs foreign loans to help finance the budget deficit - seems unfazed. But there is reason for pause. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that China's holdings of foreign currency and securities would soon top $1 trillion, a fivefold increase since 2000. Roughly 70 percent of that is believed to be in dollars or
dollar-based assets.

Of course, $1 trillion does not confer significantly more clout than, say, $990 billion. But the size and growth of China's holdings mean
increasing vulnerability for the United States.

For several years, China's loans have helped to keep prices and interest rates low in the United States, and to finance big tax cuts. If the lending began to dry up - because Chinese officials decided to diversify into other currencies or to spend more at home - prices, interest rates and taxes in the United States would very likely rise.

If the loans dried up quickly - a worst-case scenario - the result could be a sharp financial crisis. A gradual shift could mean a long downward trend in American living standards as a higher cost of living took its toll.

I would suggest that there will be both a downward relative trend in American living standards combined with a sharper financial crisis than the above suggests (see Hab 2).

10/23/06 a.m. The Day of the Dead is becoming more popular in the US:

"Mexico's Day of the Dead extended holiday is a unique celebration of life that unites the country on Oct. 31 (Young Souls Day), Nov. 1 (All Saints Day) and Nov. 2 (All Souls Day)".    

"The Day of the Dead observances were born in prehispanic Mexico, and stemmed from the indigenous beliefs shared by the Aztecs, Mayans, Purepecha, Nahua, Totonac and Otomi that the souls of the deceased return annually to visit living relatives and eat and drink with them...celebrations continue the festive tradition and are alive with activity because in Mexico, loved ones don't ever truly die".                                         - Mexico Tourism Board, Oct. 3, 2006

Cleveland Plain Dealer - Oct 21, 2006

The Aztec Earth goddess of life and death will reign over skulls and skeletons next Saturday during Cleveland's second annual Day of the Dead celebration.  Day of the Dead, or El Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, is celebrated each fall in Mexico and other Latin American countries to remember dead loved ones.  But the holiday is becoming increasingly popular in U.S. cities, including Cleveland, where an ethnically diverse group of more than 1,000 people turned out for last year's celebration at Convivium 33 Gallery at Josaphat Arts Hall.  

The Day of the Dead celebration, which was born in Mexico during pre-Colombian times, is celebrated today with meals, cleaning headstones and graveyards and decorating altars with candles and photos of dead loved ones.

Salvador Gonzalez, a local artist and native of Mexico who spearheads the event, anticipates an even bigger turnout for this year's event, which features exhibitions, refreshments, entertainment, face-painting and the Parade of Skulls and Skeletons.

I noticed the following post at the Protestant christiananswers.net website:

The October 31st holiday that we today know as Halloween has strong roots in paganism and is closely connected with worship of the Enemy of this world, Satan. It is a holiday that generally glorifies the dark things of this world, rather than the light of Jesus Christ, The Truth.

Have you noticed how costumes and masks are getting generally more bloody, gory, and depraved each year?...

Instead of celebrating, what's a Christian to do on Satan's feast day? PRAY!

Two articles of related interest may be Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? and What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

PCG posted the following interesting news item:

Marrying a career woman increases the risk of unhappy marriages and divorce, wrote Michael Noer, executive news editor for Forbes.com. The bold claim backed by recent studies unleashed a furor of criticism. Noer wrote,

[R]ecent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat and less likely to have children. And, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. [W]omen—even those with a “feminist” outlook—are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

Noer isn’t saying that there are no happily married career women, just that women who work outside the home for 35 hours a week or more are less likely to be happy than those who work in the home.

He goes on to reference several studies to prove his claim:

If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these [career] women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Social Forces, 2006). You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001). You will be more likely to fall ill (American Journal of Sociology). Even your house will be dirtier (Institute for Social Research).

Noer then goes on to offer an explanation:

Why? … In classic economics, a marriage is, at least in part, an exercise in labor specialization. Traditionally, men have tended to do “market” or paid work outside the home, and women have tended to do “nonmarket” or household work, including raising children. All of the work must get done by somebody, and this pairing, regardless of who is in the home and who is outside the home, accomplishes that goal. Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker argued that when the labor specialization in a marriage decreases—if, for example, both spouses have careers—the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely. And, indeed, empirical studies have concluded just that.

It should be no surprise that these studies fall right in line with a foundational biblical principle: that men and women are happiest when fulfilling their God-ordained roles. Although society buries this truth by calling the Bible archaic and outdated, it is harder to ignore the science that once again demonstrates the timeliness of the Bible.

Marriage is a God-ordained relationship. Our Creator left the Bible as an instruction manual to show us how to live happy, peaceful and productive lives, and in it God clearly outlines the roles He intends men and women to fulfill. What Noer calls labor specialization is exactly how God intended families to work. This arrangement makes men and women most likely to be happy...

But this DOES NOT mean God intended women to have some type of inferior role. Note what Jesus and Paul taught:

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven (Matthew 22:30).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:28-29).

Some theological roles of women are discussed in the article Women and the New Testament Church.

10/22/06 a.m. The August 31, 2006 edition of The Journal came out during the FOT. Those interested in reading its first and last pages may access them from www.thejournal.org/issues/issue113/ja083106.pdf

The last page has an article about Raymond McNair's apparently improving health as well as one about LCG and baptisms. (NOTE: For some reason, I had to load the above twice for it to appear, so if it does not work the first time, try it again.)

In an ad in the latest The Journal, ACD's Anthony Buzzard correctly suggests that God is not a trinity, but incorrectly suggests that binitarianism is in error. In an ad by a Ray Daly, he makes the following statements which he intends as anti-binitarian:

For the two-God believers teach that a “spiritual God” came to the earth and “emptied” himself into the womb of Mary, and thus ceased to exist. Hogwash!...

Heb. 10:5...John 2:19, 21...

NOWHERE in the above TWO “witnesses” of God’s Truth can you find even ONE reference to a spiritual Son becoming a physical son. It’s not there! You cannot find it!

What Ray Daly left out was the following, which, in my opinion, adequately refutes his position:

...though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).

Nor did he fully understand Philippians 2:7 which teaches :

...Christ Jesus, who subsisting in (the) form of God thought (it) not robbery to be equal to God, but emptied Himself, taking (the) form of a slave, becoming in (the) likeness of men (Literal translation. Green J.P. ed. Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, 3rd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 1996, p. 607).

Note that "emptied Himself" is the literal translation in the Greek. Thus Jesus was not fully God (though God in the flesh) when He became a human. Binitarians essentially believe that Jesus emptied Himself of His Divinity while in the flesh, prior to the resurrection.

Articles of possible 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.

10/21/06 a.m. Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

             North Korea has just boasted of an undefined “merciless blow” that would come in response to any sanctions that might be levied by the UN.  And North Korea is not the only radical, isolated regime threatening to upend world stability, such as it is.

             Israel is “a counterfeit regime and cannot survive” is only one of several ominous statements to come from Iran’s president this week.  His boss, Ayatollah Khamenei appeared at Tehran University recently, AK 47 in hand, to declare, “the war isn’t finished.”  And sure enough it’s not!  Israel claims to have evidence that Iran is rapidly rearming Hezbollah in Lebanon, and that the Palestinians in Gaza continue to receive armaments from radical elements in Egypt.

             We know that several battle groups are already arrayed in the Mediterranean, including some representing Europe, and that the situation is extremely tense.  Couple that with the wretched, apparently unstoppable mayhem in Iraq, and it’s clear that peace is not about to break out and sweep the Middle East! 

            It’s not easy to come home from the wonderful environment we enjoyed during this year’s Feast of Tabernacles and begin to concentrate on these important developments and where they’re leading.  But that is precisely what we must do.

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures tomorrow's world with the millennial reign of Christ on the Earth, a time without wars or even threats of wars. In the world today, however, this is clearly not the case.

PCG is apparently concerned enough about LCG that it is releasing a book written by Stephen Flurry (Gerald's son) that takes swipes against RC Meredith, based upon statements reported by Aaron Dean. It also attacks GTA and J Tkach Sr. Here is part of an excerpt that is apparently in the Nov/Dec issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet in an article titled The Self-Appointed Apostle:

Garner Ted Armstrong was the man many believed would succeed his father as pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God. A gifted speaker, he was the church’s presenter on the World Tomorrow program for many years. So when Herbert W. Armstrong, in 1978, had the gut-wrenching duty of disfellowshipping him for abusing authority and conspiring to water down doctrine and take over the church, he did so with a heavy heart...

So in 1981, with the aid of his legal advisers, Mr. Armstrong drew up provisions in the church’s bylaws that would prevent an imposter (like his son) from gaining control of the church. In the event of his death, the church’s Advisory Council of Elders—at that time, a board of nine senior ministers, all personally selected by Mr. Armstrong—would be vested with absolute and total authority to designate a successor. Should Mr. Armstrong die, no one could claim to be his rightful successor without the Advisory Council’s backing...

According to Helge, Mr. Armstrong decided toward the end of 1985 to select the successor himself rather than leave the task in the hands of the Council. Why the change? Helge said it was for the church’s protection—to prevent anyone from casting doubt on the validity of the Council’s choice. Apparently, Mr. Armstrong wanted to remove all doubt as to who his successor would be. Indeed, in those final resolutions, he expressed concern about those on the outside—specifically his disfellowshiped son, Garner Ted Armstrong—attempting to create confusion and cast doubt upon the successor’s credentials.

Mr. Dean, however, believes Mr. Armstrong had serious concerns about some on the inside as well—particularly Roderick Meredith. “He just might succeed in getting control,” Mr. Armstrong told him, “and he should never, ever be over the church.” Dean’s recollection mirrors closely with what Mr. Armstrong privately wrote to Meredith in 1980, after sending him to Hawaii on a mandatory, six-month sabbatical. “In brutal frankness,” Mr. Armstrong wrote to Mr. Meredith, “you lack the charisma to lead God’s work. You do not attract—as I said before, you repel people. You are a harsh taskmaster over those under you. That is your record!” Later, he wrote, “You have a will to lead, but not the qualifications.”

By the time Mr. Armstrong was about to die in 1986, Rod Meredith had returned to the Council of Elders. And with Council members like Raymond McNair and Dibar Apartian firmly in Mr. Meredith’s camp, Mr. Armstrong had reason to worry. “That’s why he decided to name someone,” Dean said in a telephone interview, “because he didn’t want Rod taking over, or someone else.”

But as it turns out, naming someone himself didn’t exactly remove all cause for concern either. Ralph Helge said Mr. Armstrong got feedback from several members of the Council regarding who should succeed. Dean said he “changed his mind several times about who would be in charge.”

Passing the Baton

According to Aaron Dean, when Mr. Armstrong decided upon Joseph Tkach as his successor, it came with certain strings attached.

Yet, ironically, in the very documents Mr. Armstrong approved for the sake of establishing Tkach’s godly authority, what stands out most is the one office he did not transfer to his successor. Tkach would assume all the titles and offices Mr. Armstrong held except the spiritual rank of apostle. So Mr. Armstrong never laid hands on him. He never ordained him as an apostle. What he did that January 7 was appoint Joseph Tkach to succeed him as pastor general. That’s it...

The Rank of Apostle

Mr. Armstrong may not have ordained Tkach as an apostle, but that didn’t stop the successor from taking matters into his own hands...

Mr. Tkach announced his new spiritual rank at a regional directors conference in Pasadena, on November 21, 1986, only 10 months after he had been in office...

What he failed to mention is that within those same legal documents, Mr. Armstrong specifically mentioned that Mr. Tkach would succeed him in every office except apostle...

Mr. Tkach didn’t care so much about fruits. He just wanted the office. Like Simon Magus, who lusted for the power and authority of the first-century apostles, Mr. Tkach had a burning desire to be one too—even before Mr. Armstrong died. “He asked for it and Mr. Armstrong refused,” Dean says. “In fact, he asked several times.” Mr. Armstrong then took the extraordinary step of clearly stating in the final resolutions and directives he left the church that Joseph W. Tkach would succeed him in all his offices and titles, except the spiritual rank of apostle.

As it happens, that’s the one title Mr. Tkach wanted most. So right after Mr. Armstrong died, he made himself an apostle.

It is sad that Aaron Dean, a UCG Council of Elders member, who KNOWS many of the doctrinal and administrative errors of UCG (and most likely also PCG) is not in LCG. The biblical truth is that just because someone is appointed by God, this does NOT mean that they have proper insight in naming leaders (the Bible proves this, see I Samuel 16:6-7).

The plain truth is that RC Meredith leads the ONLY COG that meets the two criteria that HWA set for the Philadelphia portion of the COG (which are consistent with the two that Jesus set in Revelation 3).

Since all who are truly in the COG realize that HWA did not select a faithful leader to take over the old WCG (J Tkach Sr. began to renounce unique COG teachings within a year of stating that the church would be nothing without them) they should not be swayed by Aaron Dean's recollections of what HWA actually thought about who his successor should or should not be. The plain truth is that HWA did place RC Meredith on the Council of Elders after somewhat recanting on sending him to Hawaii. Even Ralph Helge stated that RC Meredith was sent to Hawaii because of lies.

And again, according to Jesus, the criteria was fruits. Notice what Jesus stated:

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them (Matthew 7:16-20 NKJV).

In September 2006, LCG's Wayne Pyle reported:

Television has brought in more than 400 in the United States and Canada, whose first contact was the Tomorrow’s World telecast and then they were subsequently baptized over the past seven years. In addition, another 400 individuals, who were previously baptized, came with Living as a result of the telecast. At present, approximately one out of every 600 TV viewers added to our mailing list are coming to baptism; and for TV viewers on our subscription list for seven years, we are seeing an average of one out of 200 being baptized. Back in Mr. Armstrong’s time, only one out of each thousand TV viewers on the mailing list were baptized.

Since January 1999, a total of 1,550 individuals have been baptized in the Living Church of God, from all sources. 

LCG probably has the highest percentage of people baptized in the past 7 years of any COG. And the highest number of people baptized who did not have a prior COG background. Three articles of related interest may be:

There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is a short, but very helpful article, for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members.
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.
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.

LCG's Tomorrow's World is on approximately 195 television stations and 18 radio stations, plus has churches and small groups in over 40 countries. LCG has the largest television presence of any COG. It is precisely because of the effectiveness of LCG's media efforts that many complaints against LCG are based on personal attacks (or in the case of RCG, distortions of teachings) as opposed to looking at the facts.

The fact is that LCG remains the only COG that meets the two criteria that HWA understood that Jesus established for the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God. Those interested may wish to read the articles:

Do You Believe God Used Herbert Armstrong to Raise Up the Philadelphia Era of the Church of God? Nearly everyone while in WCG used to believe this, most do not seem to anymore.
What is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical 'place of safety' and includes quotes from the Bible and HWA on this subject.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. Do you know much about it?

I noticed yesterday that many people have been looking at the article Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? Here is one of the interesting quote it includes:

The Druids, and order of priests in ancient Gaul and Britain, believed that on Halloween, ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches, and elves came out to harm people. They thought the cat was sacred and believed that cats had once been human beings but were changed for punishment for their evil deeds. From these Druid beliefs come the present-day use of witches, ghosts, and cats in Halloween festivities...The custom of using leaves, pumpkins, and corn stalks as Halloween decorations comes from the Druids. The early peoples of Europe also had a festival similar to the Druid holiday...In the 700s, the Roman Catholic Church named November 1 as All Saints' Day. The old pagan customs and the Christian feast day were combined into the Halloween festival [Halloween. World Book, vol 9. Chicago, 1965: 25-26].

Click here for previous COG news

Click here to go back to the COGwriter home page

Click here for the Early Christianity page

Volume 10, issue 24 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2006