C 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.

12/29/06 a.m. UCG Canada reported:

Internet and email subscription and literature requests continue to come in at record rates. From January 1 to December 21 we have received 7,331 such requests. Those requests make up 46.5% of the total mail received this year.

The Beyond Today television program and beyondtodaytv.ca website are also continuing to bring in results. Since the program began airing in May of this year, over 900 responses have been received.

So apparently 900 of the 5,000 responses that UCG received from its Beyond Today telecast were from Canada.

A reader sent me the following excerpts from PCG's Stephen Flurry about mainly RC Meredith (I did not include the portions related to Aaron Dean as those were discussed on update 24) and J. Tkach Sr:

Chapter Two...

Roderick Meredith, a professor at Ambassador College at the time, referred to Mr. Armstrong as a “second father” for many of the college students. According to Dr. Meredith, Mr. Armstrong “was a human dynamo, working, driving and building a dedicated organization through which Christ could work to impart His message to this generation. … As with any other truly great man, there will never be another like him.”                                                    http://www.raisingtheruins.com/index.php?page=excerpts&view=chapter2

Chapter Four...

In 1966, according to the Worldwide News, the wcg moved Mr. Tkach and his family to Pasadena so he could go to Ambassador College (ac). The article says “he attended for three years before being assigned to serve with [Roderick] Meredith in the Los Angeles, Calif., church.” Tkach Jr.’s book says his father and mother “took classes for three years, intending upon graduation that my dad be sent out to pastor a church. Instead, he remained in Pasadena and eventually pastored a church there.”

The way Tkach Jr.’s book is worded gives the impression that his father graduated from Ambassador, which he didn’t.

...To provide these men with some headquarters training, the superintendent of the U.S. ministry at the time, Roderick Meredith, established a one-year program for their benefit. Approved by Mr. Armstrong, the program called for a handful of local elders to come to headquarters for a year, where they could audit Ambassador College classes and receive on-the-job training in Meredith’s Los Angeles congregation, which had 1,100 members.

...Meredith says Tkach did sit in on some of the Bible classes, but not for credit. He can’t remember if he audited any classes after that initial year, but during his “three years” at Ambassador, according to his boss, he never attended full time, he didn’t take any classes for credit and “he definitely did not graduate.”

So the impression the Tkaches gave, that Sr. went to Ambassador College for three years before being assigned to pastor congregations, is not true. Tkach was assigned to Mr. Meredith in 1966 upon his arrival in Pasadena. And for the next several years, he worked with widows so as to not be a liability elsewhere.

...After becoming pastor general, Tkach’s own son even admitted that his “dad was not known as a theologian.” Tkach’s former boss, Roderick Meredith, evaluated Mr. Armstrong’s successor more bluntly, saying he “did not speak well, and I didn’t realize how little he understood the doctrines.”

...Rod Meredith remembers how awkward and embarrassing it was to see Tkach Sr. ramble on using someone else’s material: “In the sermons in Pasadena, when he got away from his manuscript—which was written at times by Larry Salyer, at times by Robin Webber, and most of the time later by Mike Feazell, who wrote virtually all of his articles—why then, he would start shouting and they would bawl him out backstage, ‘Dad, why did you get away from the script?’ And so it was kind of embarrassing.”                                                                       http://www.thetrumpet.com/index.php?page=article&id=2747

Chapter Thirteen...

During one particular phone conversation about Big Sandy, however, I was surprised to hear him encourage me to apply for the transfer. “Dr. Meredith is over Big Sandy,” he told me. “I think he’s more conservative than some of the ministers in Pasadena.” He was careful not to say much more than that.

...On Sunday night, October 1, I called my dad to chat about college and Church subjects. During our conversation, he told me that his assistant, John Amos, had heard that headquarters intended to remove Dr. Meredith from his position as head of the school in Big Sandy for being slow to accept the changes. My dad went on to say that he wondered if I should continue on at Ambassador College after my sophomore year. That comment shook me more than the Meredith rumor.

Four days later, Mr. Tkach, via telephone hook-up, announced that Dr. Meredith was being “transferred” to Pasadena to “write articles.” He was replaced by our dean of students, Dick Thompson. Gary Antion would move in from Pasadena to replace Mr. Thompson as dean.

...This was too good to be true! Sure, the overwhelming majority of students thought Dr. Meredith’s transfer was nothing more than “business as usual.” But for me to stumble upon two students who were upset by the news and felt that the Church was Laodicean seemed like a miracle from God.                                                          http://www.raisingtheruins.com/index.php?page=excerpts&view=chapter13

So, apparently PCG's Gerald Flurry thought that WCG's college would not be acceptable for his son Stephen if Dr. Meredith was no longer going to be around to run it.

I would like to add two important parts that were missing from PCG's book. The first is from Ron Laughlin:

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.

The late 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 and that Dr. Meredith refused to ordain J. Tkach prior to that as an evangelist.

Speaking of standing up to heretics, I would like to mention a little bit of what happened in the second century:

In the first and second centuries, a number of heretics who professed Christ went to, or were based in, Rome. Among these were followers of Simon Magus (who himself was condemned in the Book of Acts), Cerinthus (condemned by the Apostle John, though he may not have been in Rome), Marcion, Valentinus, and Montanus.

Even those now considered to be early supporters of the Roman Catholic Church condemned Simon Magus and his followers for doctrines such as statues, revering a woman, the doctrine of the immortal soul, incantations, mysteries, mystic priests, claiming divine titles for leaders, accepting money for religious favors, preferring allegory and tradition over many aspects of scripture, having a leader who wanted to be thought of as God/Christ on earth, and divorcing themselves from Christian biblical practices considered to be Jewish.

Every writer of the New Testament recorded warnings about false or heretical teachers. Some of the early heretics were later called Gnostics. 

In the late 2 nd Century, the Catholic historian Irenaeus recorded the following:

Cerdo was one who took his system from the followers of Simon, and came to live at Rome in the time of Hyginus, who held the ninth place in the episcopal succession from the apostles downwards. He taught that the God proclaimed by the law and the prophets was not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the former was known, but the latter unknown; while the one also was righteous, but the other benevolent. Marcion of Pontus succeeded him, and developed his doctrine...1

Hyginus has been claimed to have been a possible bishop of Rome from 136-140 A.D.

Irenaeus also noted that the various bishops of Rome had problems with certain heretics and that both John and Polycarp strongly renounced the Gnostic and similar heretics:

Valentinus came to Rome in the time of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus. Cerdon, too, Marcion's predecessor, himself arrived in the time of Hyginus, who was the ninth bishop.…Marcion, then, succeeding him, flourished under Anicetus... But the rest, who are called Gnostics, take rise from Menander, Simon's disciple…

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna…always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time -- a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles... John, the disciple of the Lord…exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Dost thou know me?" "I do know thee, the first-born of Satan".2

Valentinus, Cerinthus, and Marcion are considered by Catholics3 and others4 to have been Gnostic heretics, while Hyginus, Pius, and Anicetus were Roman leaders. Thus these quotes from Irenaeus show that the Roman bishops did not have a higher leadership role than Polycarp of Smyrna had, because it apparently took the stature of the visiting Polycarp to turn many Romans away from the Gnostic heretics.

Cerinthus may have been the associated with Christianity to observe Christmas, and allegedly on December 25 th (though the Roman Church did not accept this until the fourth century. An Armenian called Ananias of Shirak, circa 600 A.D., wrote:

The Festival of the holy Birth of Christ, on the 12th day before the feast of the Baptism, was not appointed by the holy apostles, nor by their successors either, as is clear from the canons of the holy apostles...which is 6th of January, according to the Romans.

But many years after their fixing the canons, this festival was invented, as some say, by the disciples of the heretic Cerinthus; and was accepted by the Greeks, because they were truly fond of festivals and most fervent in piety; and by them it was spread and diffused all over the world.

But in the days of the holy Constantine, in the holy Council of Nice, this festival was not received by the holy fathers.5

Twelve days before January 6th is December 25th (see also Conybeare F.C. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, pp. 185).

Marcion was probably the first Protestant heretic. Marcion was possibly the first organized heretic to attempt to do away with the Sabbath, most of the Old Testament, and the Book of Revelation.

Valentinus was a second century heretic who attempted to blend much pagan gnosticism with what he perceived to be the Christian faith. Valentinus and his followers clearly believed in merging Greek pagan philosophy with Christianity, taught about various Aeons, believed in the gnostic Ogdoad concepts, believed in tradition over the Bible, believed in having a higher knowledge, endorsed a non-immersion form of baptism, taught the world was created from pre-existent matter by the angels, taught that Jesus really was not made flesh, taught that Jesus was a defect, taught that man was not fashioned from the earth, and developed a triune version of the Godhead similar to what Plato had developed earlier (he actually came up with the idea of three hypostases in the “Christian” Godhead).

According to a 4th century Catholic bishop,

Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God...These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him 'On the Three Natures'.  For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato.6

Hence, it was Valentinus of Rome, who Polycarp renounced, who is believed to have been the first affiliated with Christianity to teach the Trinitarian concept of three hypostasis or make any clear statement of ‘equality’ regarding three alleged persons of God .

On the other hand, perhaps I should add here that Polycarp7 and the Apostle John (John 1:1-3), specifically referred to both the Father and the Son as God, but never referred to the Holy Sprit as God. Ignatius did the same in his letters to the Ephesians and the Smyrnaeans.8

Polycarp also correctly kept the Passover. Eusebius noted that in Polycarp’s region,

…the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour's Passover. 9

Irenaeus knew that Polycarp condemned heretics such as Marcion and Valentinus, but failed to mention that they were still allowed to be Roman Catholic until at two decades later. Irenaeus supported the Roman Church even though Irenaeus knew that its leadership tolerated heretics that had earlier been condemned by Polycarp (and eventually by Irenaeus himself).

Notice this is testified by Tertullian:

Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus then, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago,—in the reign of Antoninus for the most part,—and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled.10

Antoninus was also known as Titus Ælius Hadrianus Antoninus and reigned from 138-161, while Eleutherius was the Bishop of Rome from 175-189. Thus, even though Marcion and Valentinus were condemned by Polycarp as a heretic about two decades before Eleutherius became bishop, apparently they were not put out of the Roman Catholic Church then. (Marcion professed repentance and gave a large financial contribution that kept him in good graces for a while 11-though the Roman Church allegedly returned that contribution after some time.)

Montanus was also, in the second century, one of the first associated with Christianity to promote a trinitarian view—he was eventually denounced by the Roman Catholics, but only after he was repeatedly denounced by leaders in Asia Minor associated with the Church of God (including Thraseas of Eumenia).

And why is all of this about Rome and heretics so important?

Because we in the COGs can clearly document that those that the Roman Church currently considers to have been heretics were in Rome, were tolerated by the Romans even after they were denounced as heretics, and that the Roman Catholic Church (and her daughters) continue to hold to practices that were introduced by these heretics. Furthermore, it shows that leaders associated with the COG in the first, second, and early third centuries repeatedly attempted to denounce these heretics, and refused to accept their teachings.

{It should also be noted here that while we in the COGs consider that Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian were also heretics, I have not been able to find their specific condemnations by any early leader associated with the COG. This is probably because Eusebius and others seemed to have intentionally overlooked or tampered with (destroyed) certain early records (it is also because I suspect that Justin mad himself scarce when Polycarp visited Rome). It does appear that Tertullian wrote against Melito (one we in the COG essentially claim as one of ours), but that document has not been found.}

It should also be noted that although the Roman Catholic Church likes to suggest that it was always trinitarian, one of its leading third century theologians was accused called a ditheist. A binitarian view was still held by Roman leaders in the third century, such Hippolytus. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia around 212 A.D.:

Hippolytus had combated the heresy of Theodotion and the Alogi; in like fashion he opposed the false doctrines of Noetus, of Epigonus, of Cleomenes, and of Sabellius, who emphasized the unity of God too one-sidedly (Monarchians) and saw in the concepts of the Father and the Son merely manifestations (modi) of the Divine Nature (Modalism, Sabellianism). Hippolytus, on the contrary, stood uncompromisingly for a real difference between the Son (Logos) and the Father, but so as to represent the Former as a Divine Person almost completely separate from God (Ditheism) and at the same time altogether subordinate to the Father (Subordinationism). Hippolytus had combated the heresy of Theodotion and the Alogi; in like fashion he opposed the false doctrines of Noetus, of Epigonus, of Cleomenes, and of Sabellius, who emphasized the unity of God too one-sidedly (Monarchians) and saw in the concepts of the Father and the Son merely manifestations (modi) of the Divine Nature (Modalism, Sabellianism). Hippolytus, on the contrary, stood uncompromisingly for a real difference between the Son (Logos) and the Father, but so as to represent the Former as a Divine Person almost completely separate from God (Ditheism) and at the same time altogether subordinate to the Father (Subordinationism). As the heresy in the doctrine of the Modalists was not at first clearly apparent, Pope Zephyrinus declined to give a decision. For this Hippolytus gravely censured him, representing him as an incompetent man, unworthy to rule the Church of Rome and as a tool in the hands of the ambitious and intriguing deacon Callistus, whose early life is maliciously depicted (Philosophumena, IX, xi-xii). Consequently when Callistus was elected pope (217-218) on the death of Zephyrinus, Hippolytus immediately left the communion of the Roman Church and had himself elected antipope by his small band of followers. These he calls the Catholic Church and himself successor to the Apostles, terming the great majority of Roman Christians the School of Callistus. He accuses Callistus of having fallen first into the heresy of Theodotus, then into that of Sabellius; also of having through avarice degraded ecclesiastical, and especially the penitential, discipline to a disgraceful laxity.12

Zephyrinus' lack of a decision demonstrates that the traditional trinitarian view had not been accepted by all of Roman Catholicism at this time. Notice that describing God as various modes (as the trinitarians normally now do) was one reason that led to a split. It should be noted that Hippolytus was a martyr and is still considered a saint by the Romans, yet was possibly some type of binitarian (though he made some comments about the Holy Spirit that make his binitarian status a question).

Furthermore, the Catholics have written this about him:

Hippolytus was the most important theologian and the most prolific religious writer of the Roman Church in the pre-Constantinian era.13

It may be of interest to note that Hippolytus was also the Bishop of Rome. The other bishop, Callistus, was corrupt, had more of a triune view of the Godhead, and apparently fled in exile. However, since the Roman Church decided later than it was trinitarian, it decided NOT to count Hippolytus as a successor to Peter in Rome, but instead as, as noted earlier, as the first “anti-pope”.

But part of the point is that trinitarianism was creeping into Rome more and more, but did not take over until sometime after Hippolytus came on the scene. And this is all easily provable.

But the real point is that many that the Roman Church later condemned as heretics taught doctrines that Rome (and its daughters) ultimately adopted. And it was mainly leaders from the true COG that tried to stop this from happening.

1 Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book 1, Chapter 27, Verses 1-2
2 Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4
3 Arendzen J.P. Transcribed by Christine J. Murray. Gnosticism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York
4 Knight A. Primitive Christianity in Crisis, 2nd edition. A.R.K. Research, Antioch (CA), 2003
5 Ananias of Shirak, On Christmas, The Expositor, 5th series vol. 4 (1896) Translation. pp.323-337, as reported by ccel
6 Logan A. Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), 'On the Holy Church': Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9.  Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p.95
7 Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians. Verse 12. In: Holmes, pp. 218-219
8 Ignatius. Letter to the Ephesians.,Verse 0 and Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Verses 0 & 1. In: Holmes, pp. 136-137; 184-185
9 Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 23
10 Tertullian. The Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 30. Translated by Peter Holmes. Electronic Version Copyright © 2006 by Kevin Knight
11 Tertullian. The Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 30. Translated by Peter Holmes. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight
12 Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Judy Levandoski. St. Hippolytus of Rome. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York
13 ibid

Two articles of related interest may be Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome and What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?

12/28/06 a.m. For those who would like to know more, here is what David Hulme listed for the accomplishments of COGaic in 2006:

At this time of year on the Roman calendar, in many of the Church's offices we look back on 12 months of work and plan for next year. We have seen significant progress on a number of fronts, some of which was mentioned in detail in the Feast video.

As a reminder, we redesigned the Church of God News and added a daily Reuters news feed to the Vision Web site. We also engaged an Internet consultancy and public relations team to help bring more search engine visitors to the site. As a result we saw more traffic on the Web site and an increase in video and subscription requests.

Our writers are getting more experience in interviewing...

David Hulme also wrote:

Sometimes I am asked just how we are preaching the gospel. In response I cite the various series in Vision on the Gospels, the apostles, and false messiahs, as well as the three documentary-style videos. I mention the many articles that deal with aspects of God's law, ignored and applied. These are all means by which the public's attention is drawn to God's way and His ultimate rule on earth. The gospel cannot be limited to a narrowly defined "religious sounding" message. It is about all that concerns human life and its successful outcome under God's loving guidance. The kingdom of God will encompass all fields of endeavor, and that fact alone allows us to talk about many, many subjects in the pages of Vision and on the Web site.

COGaic acted like it intended to do more of a work than UCG, but so far it has not really done so.

12/27/06 a.m. While I have touched upon some of the biblical reasons that Pontiff Benedict XVI would have to try for some type of unity with the Eastern Orthodox as well as the EU, I thought readers might be interested in learning that the fulfillment of provate Catholic prophecies might be motivating him personally.

And while I do not believe that the Pontiff currently considers that he will be the ultimate fulfillment, he undoubtedly feels that he needs to be a part in making a prophecy, that was given no later than 1202 by Abbott Joachim come to pass:

A remarkable Pope will be seated on the pontifical throne, under special protection of the angels. Holy and full of gentleness, he shall undo all wrong, he shall recover the states of the Church, and reunite the exiled temporal powers. As the only Pastor, he shall reunite the Eastern to the Western Church...(Cited in Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, pp. 31-32).

Roman Catholic prophecies also teach that a remarkable Pope will work miracles and together with the "Great Monoarch" who will rule some type of European empire.

Although it indicated some Protestant tendencies, I verified this morning that CG7's leadership still officially teaches the following, which is consistent with COG teachings:

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the promised divine helper who proceeds from the Father and Son. The Spirit is God’s presence and power in the world and indwells believers. By the Holy Spirit, God inspired and illuminates the Scriptures; convicts and regenerates sinners; sanctifies, teaches, comforts, guides, and preserves believers; and empowers them for service. Evidences of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life are faith in Christ, obedience to God, and the spiritual fruit of love.

Articles of related interest may include Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings and Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?

12/26/06 p.m. PCG reported:

March 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, considered the birth of the European Union. To celebrate their Union’s birthday, European leaders plan to do what they love best: draft a statement and debate about how the text should read.

They should have plenty to debate. European bishops want the document to contain explicit references to God and Christianity. That proposal is likely to generate some argument, recalling the once-heated discussion about an even more significant document: the European Constitution, in which some tried and failed to include a reference to God.

The birthday document—called the Berlin Declaration—is to be signed during the six-month German presidency of the Union. This declaration,
according to the Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community, should reflect how the “Christian faith is the living source for [Europeans’] support of our common values and ambitions” and should be “inclusive enough not only to list the values and ambitions of the European Union but to reflect the religious and humanistic motivation of EU citizenship.”

The Catholic leaders correctly stated that “for many of [the EU’s] founders, the Christian imprint on the European project has been an indisputable fact.”

Europe will make a deal acceptable to the Catholics (see Europa and the Beast).

12/24/06 p.m. Yesterday, I noticed that the anti-COG AW site listed what it thought were the most important news items for the Roman calendar year 2006. That got me thinking that perhaps readers of this page would be interested in what a pro-COG site considered the more important developments.

So, by category, here they are (in no particular order):

Rise of the Pharisees

2006 saw RCG gain the highest Alexa-ranking of any COG-related website. RCG also declared that it misunderstood the true gospel, as did two former-LCG evangelists and at least three LCG-ministers, who left LCG (and some of which went to RCG). RCG, who originally claimed that it would follow HWA's teachings, instead contradicted HWA's teaching on the 144,000. This was added to the article, Why Not the Restored Church of God?--which ended up as the most popular COGwriter article for 2006.

2006 saw COG-relatives of PCG members shunned as they learned that PCG members really were prohibited from having any fellowship with any relatives who were in a COG, but not in PCG. This was another teaching unique to PCG.

Nothing of significance appeared to happen in other groups in this category such as SCG.

In response, I updated my articles on most of them and expanded my article on makeup--a key identifier for this category.

The Sadducees Were Mixed

CEM continued to be the choice for independents who wanted to have a radio presence, as CEM continued to have the greatest radio presence of any once associated with WCG. CEM's internet presence and Alexa ranking improved.

Barnabas Ministries increased the number of visits to its website. Alan Ruth has the highest Alexa-ranked COG website by an individual (COGwriter is number 2 in that).

Giving & Sharing founder, Richard Nickels died. And with him, his Church of God News. Richard Nickels was a leader among independents, and produced a lot of information on COG history.

Norman Edwards re-emerged after a couple of years of legal battles, with hopes to re-launch his Servant's News.

GCW founder, Robert Elliot died. He emphasized not getting the gospel out.

CEG co-founder Edwin Pope died.

ICG continued to have the most effective television presence of the groups I have tended to classify in this category.

UCG got its telecast going:

"Beyond Today is currently airing on 190 cable-access TV stations and 18 radio stations accross the United States. More than 5,000 people have responded by telephone or online" (Treadway Janet. Beyond Today Grows Rapidly Over Its First Year. United News, November 2006).

Its effectiveness could be best described as not hot. In its 12/10/06 Council of Elders meeting, UCG actually stated that they need a more arresting message and that prospects are not as interested in the prophecic messages that GTA and HWA had as these messages are no longer new. I would state that ICG's and LCG's television responses put that theory to shame (LCG gets more responses in 2 weeks than UCG gets for a year; whereas ICG gets 4-5 times the response of UCG).

Shortly after I provided a report consisting mainly of quotes from COGaic web sources, COGaic removed public access from its church web page. Its other page (Vision) is not particularly popular on the internet.

CBCG continued to supply books and announced that it intends to have a complete translation of the Bible (it has had its own translation of the New Testament).

CG21's Raymond McNair was hospitalized on two or more occasions for cancer. He was recently released.

The Journal continued its trend of mainly having authors from groups and independents in this category (although it about 1/2 its ads seem to come from Pharisaical types).

The Church of God, International,Legacy Institute, Church of God, Southern California, Church of the Great God, and Church of God Outreach Ministries continued with nothing I recall of significant interest in 2006.

Unclassified Independents

Frank Olive turned his website of HWA materials over to CG-ff.

The Herbert W. Armstrong.org website added more materials and improved the quality of materials it did have.

Increase in Apostasy

After posturing that it was simply studying the role of women in the church, WCG declared that women can become ordained as elders and serve as pastors. As WCG leadership seems to be interested in being "politically-correct" as well as to be seen as far from actual COG teachings, this change is not a surprise. Prior to WCG's declaration, I produced an article titled Women and the New Testament Church.

On a more positive note here, after making some arrangements with the larger COGs, in June 2006, WCG declared the songs of Dwight Armstrong to be in the public domain, which was welcomed by all, especially the independents.

Former UCG minister (and now head of his own CGPFK) Ronald Weinland followed the trend of certain apostates and formally included statements in a book denying the diety of Christ. My articles on the Godhead were expanded (Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning,Jesus is God, But Was Made Man, Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?, Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?, and Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church?).

Unitarian, Protestant-tolerating, Brian Knowles stopped writing for The Journal.

Gavin Rumney, who took off his anti-COG website in late 2005, brought it back in 2006.

The movie The Da Vinci Code came out. It corrected some of the errors of the book, but still mainly advocated a historically inaccurate view of Christianity.

It Has a Name That it is Alive, But...

CG7 did little of significance in 2006, but it did agree to hold on to many of its COG-unique doctrines. However, it also publicly declared certain of its misunderstandings of prophecy.

Two articles of related interest may be The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1585 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. and Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG's I am aware of trace their history through this group. Do you know much about them?


None of the groups that claim that they are in or associated with WCG as a token of loyalty to HWA's teachings, had any significant impact on proclaiming the true gospel. Some few did leave and decide to support LCG.

Those interested in the identity of Thyatira may wish to read the article The Thyatira Church Era.

Prophecy Fulfillment

Pontiff Benedict worked hard for his goal of having some type of unification with the Eastern Orthodox. We in the COGs have long believed that the Orthodox represented the Eastern leg of the Roman Empire, and thus are part of the image of the Beast in Daniel 2. The Pontiff also made it clear that he intends the Europeans to be separated from the Moslems with his September speech in Germany which results in Moslem demonostrations, but no apology.

There were earthquakes in diverse places. And droughts in many parts of the world.

The United States got bogged down even further in Iraq, thus weakening its overall military ability to respond to a direct attack on it.

Gold went up greatly in value. The ultimate collapse of the US dollar will probably temporarily increase its value to absurd proportions (though the Bible shows that the value of gold will also ultimately collapse as it shows that people will throw it in the streets).

Much gold was found in Egypt, plus various military and other treaties were entered in by Arabic and other Moslems, hence showing support for the formation of a future king of the South.

In spite of losing in a couple of elections last year, the European Union is moving forward, and setting the stages for the future king of the North. Its currency, the Euro also increased its value against the US dollar.

Same-sex civil unions became adopted by some states in the USA. Abortions increased. Other negative aspects of immorality increased in the USA and throughout the world.

The USA continued to increase its debt and set itself up for a massive fall as per Habukkuk 2, as well as various prophecies in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

Early Christianity Page

Because of the inaccurate portrayals of early Christianity by popular writers such as Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), Bart Ehrman, and others, the COGwriter page added a brand new section on the truth about early true Christianity. The page has many documented articles which demonstrate why the COGs, and not the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or the Protestants can be the successors of the apostles.

Increased Effectiveness of the Philadelphians

LCG made major strides in increasing its effectiveness with the true, and complete, gospel message in 2006.

On December 15, 2006 LCG's RC Meredith reported:

Here are some of the latest statistics supplied to me by our capable staff:

•    This has been our biggest year for television. In the past 12 months we added 34 new TV stations to our broadcasting log. This raised our reach to 141 million households in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, northern and southern Africa, the Caribbean Islands, Australasia and the Philippines. The telecast is now airing on more than 200 over-the-air TV stations, cable systems and satellite systems.

•    According to our latest Nielsen TV-market data, the Tomorrow’s World telecast has now been viewed at least one time in North America by 9.9 million households since January 1999, when the telecast began. Two million new households watched the telecast for the very first time this year.

•    Our annual worldwide TV response reached 200,000 this year—the highest ever, and up 27 percent over a year ago. Our response for the United States and Canada was up 31 percent over 2005. Fifteen TV programs this past year generated more than 4,000 responses for each airing.

•    Our Tomorrow’s World magazine circulation has now surpassed 300,000. Since 1999, more than 7.6 million magazine copies have been sent to readers in 171 countries and dependencies around the world.  According to the United Nations’ official list, the Tomorrow’s World magazine has now gone into 78 percent of the world’s countries.  (We only wish this was 78 percent of the world’s population!)

•    Our Bible Study Course was requested by a record 17,500 new students this year. Since we first offered it, more than 96,000 students have enrolled in the 24-lesson course.

•    This year we were able to send out more than two million items, including booklets, reprints, audio tapes and CDs, Bible Study Course lessons and magazine copies.  All of this totally free of charge, of course.

•    Even though we never ask the public for money, and never will, the number of supporters for this Work rose significantly this past year. Tomorrow’s World magazine subscribers and TV viewers, who chose totally on their own to become co-workers with us, rose 21 percent over a year ago, and one-time contributors increased by 53 percent over last year. Even though the total number of people and contributions may seem quite small for what is being done in this Work, the increases are very encouraging and much appreciated.  It allows us to do even more!

Well, that’s about it for this time, dear brethren and co-workers. In closing, let me just urge you to pray fervently for Christ’s return and His wonderful Kingdom to be set up. We truly “need” it.

In November 2006, LCG's Wayne Pyle reported:

The telecast has been averaging 3,800 responses each week since the beginning of the calendar year... We are also watching the spiritual seeds coming to fruition, with more than 800 baptisms in North America from the telecast alone since its launch in January 1999, of which 414 of these baptisms originated directly from the Tomorrow’s World telecast.  Our member files now show more than 1,800 baptisms from all sources in our U.S. and international Living Church of God congregations since 1999 (Pyle W. MEDIA. The World Ahead Weekly Update. November 30, 2006).  

LCG probably has the highest percentage of people baptized in the past 8 years of any COG. And the highest number of people baptized who did not have a prior COG background. On a per member basis, its television effectiveness is actually much higher than WCG's was when HWA was alive.

LCG also added Wally Smith as a telecast presenter.

Both the number of hits and unique visitors to the COGwriter website more than doubled in 2006 (both went up over 110%). This was probably due to the addition of the Early Church History Page, articles on China and Islands, and various news events.

The www.cogwriter.com site became the number 2 Alexa-ranked pro-Philadelphia era COG website in 2006 (second only to LCG's www.tomorrowsworld.org website.

12/23/06 a.m. In his latest newsletter, CBCG's Fred Coulter stated:

The Old Testament Project: We are making excellent progress with the Old Testament project. Michel Heiss—who knows Old Testament Hebrew—is thoroughly going over the final copy of major sections of the text to ensure that we are as accurate as possible. We also have many other brethren who are helping edit the complete text so that we can get it as perfect as possible before it goes to press. (It may be interesting to note that it took 11 editions before publishers were able to eliminate all the typos from the King James Version.)

In translating from Hebrew or Greek into English, it is vital to convey as accurately as possible the whole meaning of the original text. In many cases—particularly with Hebrew—it takes several words in English to convey what is meant by a single Hebrew word. This means there are add words in the English translation in order to fully bring out the inspired meaning. Please understand that this is not in any way “adding to” or “taking away from” the original text.

Fred Coutler put out his own translation of the New Testament about two years ago. And while I primarily cite from the Protestant NKJV or the Catholic Rheim's New Testament here, I do sometimes cite his translation.

While more attention is normally placed on the development of the King of the North at the COGwriter page, the following may two articles be showing part of the formation of the King of the South:  

Libya, Egypt in military co-operation pact

AngolaPress - Dec 19, 2006

Tripoli, Libya - Libya and Egypt, Sunday in Tripoli, signed a memorandum of understanding that would promote military co-operation between the two countries, according to official sources here.


Egypt and Libya Strengthen Defense Cooperation With Top Level VisitMathabaNet (UK) - Dec 17, 2006

Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the General Commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Minister of Defense and Military Production in the Arab Republic of Egypt and his accompanying delegation arrived Saturday in Libya on a state visit...

He underlined that Egypt shares with Libya association with Africa that requires intensifying the future cooperation in considering that Africa witnesses speedy development process in many fields. Marshal Hussein Tantawi further stressed the importance to promote and develop cooperation between Libya, Egypt and Sudan, noting that their joint borders affects directly each one of them...

"At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him...and the land of Egypt shall not escape...also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels" Daniel 11:40-43. Perhaps it should be mentioned here that the Hebrew term translated as "Ethiopia" here basically refers to the Cushite peoples found in Egypt and Sudan. This is discussed more in the article Is there a future king of the South?

Speaking of Arabic military ambitions, last night ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

President Assad of Syria was in Moscow to negotiate the purchase of more armaments this week, reportedly with $500 million of Iranian supplied money to spend.  It is another example of Russia, under Putin, engaging in business that promotes Israel’s enemies in their preparations for war.  An article published by DEBKAfile this week states, “Before the Lebanon war, only one company in every Syrian brigade was equipped with anti-tank rockets and anti-air shoulder-borne missiles.  Since then, thousands of these missiles are being distributed to every Syrian unit.”

Yesterday, I added a little bit more to the History of Early Christianity page:

Beliefs: How Was Early Christianity Practiced?

While scholars have a variety of opinions, this page itself will simply mention the following beliefs held by true Christians in the second century, with links to highly documented articles on each subject (which are primarily based on the Bible and early historical writings).

Notice what one Roman Catholic writer has written:

Protestants of many traditions are now espousing recent Protestant traditions and modern schisms; yet they all claim the early Church as their own--asserting that they are the rightful heirs to the teachings of our Lord, the apostles, and the Fathers of the apostolic Church. Are they? Do they have a legitimate claim to the theology of the early Church? Was the "early Church essentially Protestant" in her theology and polity, or was she Catholic? Ray, Stephen K. Upon This Rock. St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1999, p. 15).

Well, what if the early Church was the Church of God, which is neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic?

Notice the following teachings of early Christianity--all of which are accepted by the true Church of God and only a relatively few of which are practiced/taught by Roman Catholics or Protestants:

The complete Bible with the proper Old Testament and New Testament was relied on by the true Church in Asia Minor.
A Binitarian view was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.
Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.
Born-Again meant being born at the resurrection, not at the time of conversion.
Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.
Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings.
Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental.
Easter was not observed by the apostolic church.
The Fall Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.
The Father was considered to be God by all early professing Christians.
Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.
Hymns were mainly psalms, not praises to Christ.
Idols were taught against, including the use of the cross.
Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught.
Jesus was considered to be God by the true Christians.
The Kingdom of God was preached.
Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians.
Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians.
Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.
Passover was kept on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second century Christians in Asia Minor.
Pentecost was kept on the same day that the Jews observed it by all professing Christians.
The Resurrection of the dead was taught by all early Christians
The Sabbath was observed on Saturday by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church.
Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that (or other doctrines) practiced "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians.
The Ten Commandments were observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians.
Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians, but was never supposed to supercede the Bible.
The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians.
The Virgin Birth was acknowledged by all true ante-Nicene Christians.

Mainly I added the quote from the Roman Catholic writer to help demonstrate that the COG position, that only the church that held to the original teachings could be the correct and true church. The Church of God is also the only group with clear ties to Apostolic Christianity, and the group that clearly can be traced through the original Apostolic Succession.

12/22/06 a.m. LCG reported the following news item:

Israeli-Vatican Negotiations Resume. Israeli President Olmert has restarted negotiations with the Vatican that were suspended when he came to power in early 2006.  Israeli-Vatican talks are aimed at allowing the Catholic Church to maintain control of its churches in the Holy Land and ensure tax exempt status of the church (Catholic News, November 29, 2006).  From a prophetic perspective, it will be interesting to watch where this “open dialogue” with the Vatican will lead. Bible prophecy reveals that Gentiles will dominate Jerusalem just before the return of Christ during the “times of the gentiles” (Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2).  Daniel appears to speak of a 7-year treaty that will be made between the Beast Power and the Jews—which could lead to the commencement of sacrifices on the Temple Mount (Daniel 9:27).  The signing of this treaty and its abrogation after three and one half years will indicate the imminent return of Jesus Christ.  Will the current dialogue between Israel and the Vatican lead to a treaty brokered by the Catholic Church?  We need to watch!

Prophetic events are moving forward and lining up.

This morning, WCG announced:

Friday, December 22, we will add the following video message from Joseph Tkach:

"Simplicity of the Stable"...Have a blessed Christmas.

It is so sad that WCG wishes to merge a biblical story with a pagan celebration, while urging the pagan celebration.

While most people are aware that many pre-Christian (pagan) symbols and practices are associated with Christmas, many do not realize that the early Christians did not celebrate it.

Here is some historical information about it:

The early Catholic Church did not celebrate Christmas. Furthermore, Tertullian (one of its leading 2nd/3rd century writers) warned that to participate in the winter celebrations made one beholding to pagan gods.

Notice what Tertullian wrote about winter celebrations, such as Saturnalia (from a pagan diety whose name meant plentiful):

The Minervalia are as much Minerva's, as the Saturnalia Saturn's; Saturn's, which must necessarily be celebrated even by little slaves at the time of the Saturnalia. New-year's gifts likewise must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamens' wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honoured on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idol's birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it be he who shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master? (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter X. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But, however, the majority (of Christians) have by this time induced the belief in their mind that it is pardonable if at any time they do what the heathen do, for fear "the Name be blasphemed"...To live with heathens is lawful, to die with them is not. Let us live with all; let us be glad with them, out of community of nature, not of superstition. We are peers in soul, not in discipline; fellow-possessors of the world, not of error. But if we have no right of communion in matters of this kind with strangers, how far more wicked to celebrate them among brethren! Who can maintain or defend this?...By us,...the Saturnalia and New-year's and Midwinter's festivals and Matronalia are frequented--presents come and go--New-year's gifts--games join their noise--banquets join their din! Oh better fidelity of the nations to their own sect, which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself!...Not the Lord's day, not Pentecost, even it they had known them, would they have shared with us; for they would fear lest they should seem to be Christians. We are not apprehensive lest we seem to be heathens! (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter XIV. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But "let your works shine," saith He; but now all our shops and gates shine! You will now-a-days find more doors of heathens without lamps and laurel-wreaths than of Christians. What does the case seem to be with regard to that species (of ceremony) also? If it is an idol's honour, without doubt an idol's honour is idolatry. If it is for a man's sake, let us again consider that all idolatry is for man's sake; let us again consider that all idolatry is a worship done to men, since it is generally agreed even among their worshippers that aforetime the gods themselves of the nations were men; and so it makes no difference whether that superstitious homage be rendered to men of a former age or of this. Idolatry is condemned, not on account of the persons which are set up for worship, but on account of those its observances, which pertain to demons (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter XV. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

What Tertullian seems to be saying is that observing mid-winter celebrations make Christians appear to be followers of pagan gods, and since the pagans would not intentionally celebrate days considered by many to be Christian, Christians should not celebrate days that are honored by the heathen. Specifically, he felt that those who profess Christ should not celebrate Saturnalia, New Year's, or other pagan days, as even the observance is a form of idolatry (click here for an article titled Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate?).

Since the modern Christmas celebration is at the same time as the old Gentile Saturnalia holiday (and with many of the same elements, like wreaths and gift-giving), it is clear that Tertullian is condemning these practices by stating that those that keep it are of the pagan god Saturn. He also wrote against winter giving:

...gifts like those you have in the Saturnalia! (Tertullian. De Fuga in Persecutione, Chapter 13. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 4. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Catholic Teachings About Christmas

The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that:

Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church (Martindale C. Transcribed by Susanti A. Suastika. Christmas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

An Armenian called Ananias of Shirak, circa 600 A.D., wrote:

The Festival of the holy Birth of Christ, on the 12th day before the feast of the Baptism, was not appointed by the holy apostles, nor by their successors either, as is clear from the canons of the holy apostles...which is 6th of January, according to the Romans.

But many years after their fixing the canons, this festival was invented, as some say, by the disciples of the heretic Cerinthus; and was accepted by the Greeks, because they were truly fond of festivals and most fervent in piety; and by them it was spread and diffused all over the world.

But in the days of the holy Constantine, in the holy Council of Nice, this festival was not received by the holy fathers (Ananias of Shirak, On Christmas, The Expositor, 5th series vol. 4 (1896) Translation. pp.323-337, as reported by ccel).

Twelve days before January 6th is December 25th (see also Conybeare F.C. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, pp. 185). Hence, the above report suggests that December 25th was originally developed by the heretic Cerinthus.

Why would Cerinthus pick December 25th?

Probably because that was the day of celebration of the rebirth of the sun-god Mithra. December 25th also took place during the Saturnalia, hence it was acceptable to at least two groups of pagans. Followers of Mithra represented an influential group in the Roman Empire. Other practices associated with Mithraism have become part of the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches (such as their communion services).

Cerinthus was a heretic who the Apostle John publicly denounced towards the end of the first century. Notice that Irenaeus wrote that John detested Cerinthus so much that he would not even take a bath in the same building as him:

There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4).

Why would anyone want to observe a holiday started by an "enemy of truth" that was denounced so strongly by the Apostle John?

Well, at least until the Council of Nicea, the December 25th Christmas holiday was not even accepted by the Roman Catholics.

The Roman Catholics have also condemned Cerinthus as a heretic:

Cerinthus A Gnostic-Ebionite heretic, contemporary with St. John...Cerinthus was an Egyptian, and if not by race a Jew...Cerinthus's doctrines were a strange mixture of Gnosticism, Judaism, Chiliasm, and Ebionitism (Arendzen J.P. Transcribed by William D. Neville. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Yet, the Church in Rome did endorse Christmas, however, no later than by the latter half of the fourth century. Astoundingly the Roman Catholics adopted it when it essentially absorbed the followers of Mithraism.

Notice the following:

Mithraism A pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander's conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth century...Helios Mithras is one god...Sunday was kept holy in honour of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as mediator. The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season (Arendzen. J.P. Transcribed by John Looby. Mithraism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

This and more is in the article What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

Click here for previous COG news (includes infomation on the 144,000, WCG's new female ordination policy, the latest Journal, holes in Orthodox apostolic succession, etc.)

Click here to go back to the COGwriter home page

Click here for the Early Christianity page

Volume 10, issue 31 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2006