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).

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01/31/07 a.m. I went to ntevangelism's website and noticed that it had not been updated since last June. But it had a link to the current issue of Faith Networks—A Newsletter of Cooperation in the Churches of God. At that link it stated:

Current Issue:

February, 2006 Issue

Ntevangelism was put together by a split of two UCG ministers. Like most small groups that break off, they start off trying something, but normally end up doing relatively little. An article of possible interest may be: Independent Members of the COG: HWA Comments, Plus Questions and Answers

Next week's Newsweek had the following in an article:

Newsweek - Feb. 5, 2007 issue 

At first glance, the congregation gathered in a warehouse in Doral, Fla., seems like a typical Hispanic evangelical group. There's the 10-piece band, the singing and swaying, the whooping and hollering. But look a little more closely. There's not a cross in sight...

In the rapturous eyes of his flock, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is, in fact, the second coming of Christ. As the head of the Growing in Grace International Ministry, he presides over a sprawling organization that includes more than 300 congregations in two dozen countries, from Argentina to Australia.

He counts more than 100,000 followers and claims to reach millions more through a 24-hour TV channel, a radio show and several Web sites...

But as his following expanded, his claims did, too. In 1998, de Jesus avowed that he was the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul.

Two years ago at Growing in Grace's world convention in Venezuela, he declared himself Christ. And just last week, he called himself the Antichrist and revealed a "666" tattooed on his forearm. His explanation: that, as the second coming of Christ, he rejects the continued worship of Jesus of Nazareth.

While Jose Miranda is an antichrist, he is not the 666 one. His lack of a cross is one of the better things about him (please see the article What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?).

Two antichrist related articles of possible interest may be:

Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666
Some Doctrines of Antichrist

01/30/07 a.m. CGI has completely redone its home page. It has a better look.

I have not reported too much about CGI in the past year or so as they have not updated portions of their site, like its Pastors' Panel, for perhaps a year. And this morning, when I tried to download the latest International News, which was supposed to be at http://www.cgi.org/vol27no4/in_vol27_no4.pdf, the following message came up:

The page cannot be found

The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

However, I suspect that with its latest home page change, CGI will correct this and other matters.

In its latest Mini-Study, CGOM-uk reports:

'...all sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23) 

  'Sin' isn't a word much used in popular speech today. Mention it and eyebrows are raised. 'Are you living in the dark ages?' is a likely response. In the modern world our actions are 'relative'.

...When after mature reflection we fully commit ourselves to Jesus Christ, and are baptised, we receive God's Spirit. That is, the divine character is implanted in us. The Law of God is internalised and the process of transformation begins (some call it sanctification)

 ...Jesus shows the meaning of that transformation in the 'Sermon on the Mount' (Matthew 5-7). Not just murder, for example, but the anger, the hateful thoughts, that lead to it. Not just the act of adultery but the lustful thoughts that wreck a marriage and lead to infidelity.  Sin is not only in the act - but is of the heart. It is there in 'the hidden man of the heart' (I Peter 3:4), our innermost invisible thoughts, that sin dwells.  Said Jesus: 'For out of the heart come forth reasonings, evil things, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, blasphemies. These things are the things defiling the man' (Matthew 15:19-20). Paul amplifies the list: '... adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies,  envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)

Some articles of related interest may be:

Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai? Some have said not. This article provides biblical quotes to answer this important question.
Job and the Ten Commandments Was Job written prior to Mount Sinai? Did Job know about the ten commandments? This article provides biblical answers to those questions.
What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? This article quotes what Jesus actually said about them (His words are in red).
Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Some have said so. This article provides some biblical quotes to answer this important question.
What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments? Many say Paul taught against the ten commandments. Is this true? This article quotes Paul with his words in green.

Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common "traditions of men" regarding them as well.
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law? Many believe that, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?

The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John's writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings.

The following news item was of interest:

Mary to loom larger than Lady Liberty

UPI - Jan 29, 2007 

Last Sunday, Jan. 7, 2,000 people in Batangas City, Philippines, watched the ground-breaking for a statue of the Virgin Mary that will exceed the height of New York City's Statue of Liberty. 

The statue at the Shrine of Montemaria dedicated to "Mary Mother of the Poor" will be 102 meters high - higher than the Statue of Liberty (96 meters) and Rio de Janeiro's Statue of Jesus (100 meters). 
An article Sunday in the Bohol Chronical online in Tagbilaran City noted that the statue's rise may fulfill a prophecy from Our Lady of Medjugorge that said the Philippines would become a "global spiritual center." The Philippines, Asia's only Catholic nation, is especially devoted to the Virgin Mary, the article said, which was published Monday in SpiritDaily.com. 

Perhaps it should be pointed out that even The Catholic Encyclopedia recognizes that Mary devotion was not originally part of the Church:

Devotion to Our Blessed Lady in its ultimate analysis must be regarded as a practical application of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. Seeing that this doctrine is not contained, at least explicitly in the earlier forms of the Apostles' Creed, there is perhaps no ground for surprise if we do not meet with any clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin in the first Christian centuries. The earliest unmistakable examples of the "worship" -- we use the word of course in the relative sense -- of the saints is connected with the veneration paid to the martyrs who gave their lives for the Faith...though writers like Tertullian, Hevidius, and possibly Hegesippus disputed the perpetual virginity of Mary, their more orthodox contemporaries affirmed it. It was natural then that in this atmosphere we should find a continually developing veneration for the sanctity and exalted privileges of Mary...Further, it is quite likely that the mention of the Blessed Virgin in the intercessions of the diptychs of the liturgy goes back to the days before the Council of Nicaea, but we have no definite evidence upon the point, and the same must be said of any form of direct invocation, even for purposes of private devotion (Herbert Thurston. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

An article of related interest may be What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?

01/29/07 a.m. CG7 Denver announced:

Mark your calendars: July 2-7, 2007, for the General Conference Convention in Overland Park, KS.

CG7 has conferences, as opposed to the biblical Feast of Tabernacles.

Two news items about Germany were of interest:

Deutsche Welle - Nov 3, 2006

It is an alarming poll result and one which should prompt Germany's leaders to take a very close look at the country's political process: according to a new survey, the majority of Germans have lost faith in democracy...

Spiegel - Nov 8, 2006...

A study based on a survey of 5,000 people found that 9 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that a dictatorship can in certain circumstances be a preferable form of government, and 15.1 percent agreed with this: "We should have one leader to rule Germany with a strong hand for the good of everyone."

I believe that the percentage who support a dictatorship will increase.


Europe - the world's next superpower

New Zealand - June 7, 2006...

The EU already has a defence budget of C160 billion and 1.9 million soldiers at its disposal. There is also the Battlegroups Initiative, which provides for a 1500-strong ready-reaction force to be deployed.

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

The following quotes from Roman Catholic Cardinal Walter Kasper were of interest:

As I see the problem and its possible solution, it is not a question of apostolic succession in the sense of an historical chain of laying on of hands running back through the centuries to one of the apostles; this would be a very mechanical and individualistic vision, which by the way historically could hardly be proved and ascertained.

The Catholic view is different from such an individualistic and mechanical approach. Its starting point is the collegium of the apostles as a whole; together they received the promise that Jesus Christ will be with them till the end of the world (Matt 28, 20). So after the death of the historical apostles they had to co–opt others who took over some of their apostolic functions. In this sense the whole of the episcopate stands in succession to the whole of the collegium of the apostles.

To stand in the apostolic succession is not a matter of an individual historical chain but of collegial membership in a collegium, which as a whole goes back to the apostles by sharing the same apostolic faith and the same apostolic mission (
Keynote speech from the Conference of the Society for Ecumenical Studies, the St. Alban's Christian Study Centre and the Hertfordshire Newman Association at St. Alban's Abbey, Hertfordshire, England, on May 17, 2003).

Hence, it appears that Roman Catholic Cardinal Kasper admits that the Roman Catholics cannot prove Apostolic Succession through Peter, and that succession in some sense, happened through other apostles (like John). The more I have looked, the more I have found citations from Roman Catholic scholars that the essential premises on the History of Early Christianity page have support from them.

Speaking of Roman Catholics and Peter, the Liber Pontificalis shows that the claim that Peter was buried at the site of the Vatican in the first century is clearly false. Notice:

XXII Cornelius (Pope 251-253)...He during his pontificate at the request of a certain matron Lucina, took up the bodies of the apostles, blessed Peter and Paul up out of the catacombs by night; first the body of blessed Paul was received by the blessed Lucina] and laid in her own garden on the Via Ostiensis, near the place where he was beheaded; the body of the blessed Peter was received by the blessed Cornelius, the bishop, and laid near to the place where he was crucified, among the bodies of the holy bishops, in the shrine of Apollo, on the Mons Aureus, in the Batican, by the palace of Nero, on June 29. (Translated by Louise Ropes Loomis. The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis. Originally published by Columbia University Press, NY 1916. 2006 edition by Evolution Publishing, Merchantville (NJ), pp. 25-26).

An article of possible interest may be What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?

01/28/07 a.m. The following was in the news yesterday:

Germany, Spain May Push Ahead on EU Constitution Without France

Bloomberg - Jan 26, 2007

A group of European Union governments led by Germany and Spain may press ahead with the deeper political integration set out in the bloc's constitution without France or the U.K., said Spanish EU Affairs Minister Alberto Navarro.

``We can't all advance at the pace of the slowest,'' Navarro told journalists in Madrid today after a meeting of 20 EU governments that support the constitution. ``To progress in Europe, we often have to do it with a group of countries that are prepared to move forward. We have the example of the euro. We must be prepared to take that step.'' http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=aOAWxG7R2KOA&refer=germany

France will join--I have no doubt. Interestingly, an old prophecy on a tombstone in England teaches:

In Germany begins a dance,

Which passes through Italy, Spain, and France...(Dupont Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p.22).

Roman Catholic Cardinal Kasper has been criticized for telling the truth about Apostolic Succession in the past. Here is something from a review on his book titled, Leadership in the Church: How Traditional Roles Can Help Serve the Christian Community Today:

The claim is made that the ancient formulation of apostolic succession—wherein Christ ordained his immediate successors who in turn ordained their successors with a laying-on of hands from one bishop to a new priest—no longer holds. Kasper is clear: That understanding "has been thoroughly shattered by modern exegesis, but no new historical reconstruction has found universal agreement among scholars." Evidence of this late-in-history realization is a new perspective on the ministry of Paul, whose authority was not horizontal but came from "above." Thus apostolic ministry cannot be seen as a "mere institutional matter"; rather, it is better grasped as a "following of the apostles teaching and life." (Anderson, Mary Jo. Review: A Reformed Protestant Model of Leadership. http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0407revw.asp 01/27/07).

Cardinal Kasper was appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome by Pope John-Paul II. As president of the council, Kasper is also the president for the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.

On other matters, this weekend ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

We’ve had a productive week here at the offices in Tyler.  The new issue of 21st Century WATCH is complete and off to be printed.  The next monthly letter is being mailed.  And the Garner Ted Armstrong program drew 815 requests, with four hundred thirty contacting us for the very first time...

Yet, the January 2007 edition of UCG's United News has an article that states:

UCGIA President Clyde Kilough then led the Council into a consideration of larger and long-term issues...

• Richard Thompson: When United first formed, it faced survival on two levels: maintaining the truth and continuing to do a work that God can use. Now United faces a growth issue. We have an educated ministry and converted, mature members—and we need both. One reason Herbert Armstrong was so successful was that his message was unique. We need to be distinct and unique in preaching the gospel.

• Les McCullough: In the 1950s Herbert Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong were unique. But now many have picked up on what they taught, so people aren't generally surprised at our teachings about prophecy. People in general aren't as worried about world conditions as they were in the past. Somehow we have to reestablish the uniqueness of our message.

Summary of Strategic Issues...

How to increase the percentage of income allocated to media?...

How do we distinguish ourselves in a world full of gospel messengers?...

How do we present an arresting message?

(Henson D. United News. Council Discusses Strategic Issues. January 2007, p. 5).

I am glad that UCG understands that their message is not perceived as hot, nor is it really cold.

While I mentioned the above UCG piece when it was reported in other sources, I thought that the contrast again needed to be made. The plain truth is that ICG and LCG (LCG receives more responses to its telecast in a week or so than UCG receives in a year) do have messages that people still respond to, and both include some version of the prophetic message that HWA and GTA used to state (and in the case of ICG, this is most literally true with GTA as they use much footage from him in their telecast).

Since receiving the United News Friday night, I keep thinking about the following title of an article, also by Don Henson, that extends from end to end on its fifth page:

Council Sees Stable, Calm and Growing Church

While the UCG Council members were mainly discussing 2006, the article essentially is stating that UCG's view of the future is that it will be stable, calm, and slowly growing. An article on that same page also suggests that it expects to get closer to other COGs as it states that one "need" is to, "Establish better relationships among different groups that came from the same mother Church (i.e., other Church of God organizations)." 

For LCG, I personally have a different view of the future. I currently believe we will continue to put our top priority on proclaiming the Gospel to the world as a witness, have turbulent times, have some ups, have some downs, and that this will be followed by a short period of explosive growth. And this growth will most likely be followed by intense persecution (though there will other persecutions as well prior to this). Intense persecution will most likely further separate the COGs. And then we will flee. Those who do not flee with us will then face unparalleled tribulation and persecution.

There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra

01/27/07 a.m. The January 2007 edition of UCG's United News arrived last night. Its front page reported:

In 2006, at least 335 new members were baptized around the world. This compares to 316 reported in the January issue last year.

UCG also reported that it now produces a total of 441,024 copies of its Good News magazine, of which, 412,791 are in English.

UCG also had an article on Valentine's Day by Gary Petty that stated:

Every year in mid-February millions of people express romantic desire for each other by exchanging heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, flowers and "valentines." Children express hidden infatuations by sending cards as "secret admirers." Retailers stock shelves with merchandise covered in stylized hearts and cupids preparing for the popular observance of St. Valentine's Day, Feb. 14...

The origins of Valentine's Day predate Christianity. "The most plausible theory for St. Valentine's Day traces its customs back to the Roman Lupercalia, a feast celebrated in February in honor of the pastoral god Lupercus, a Roman version of the Greek god Pan. The festival was an important one for the Romans, occurring when it did, [and] naturally had some aspects of a rebirth rite to it" (Myers, pages 50-51).

The original festival, celebrated on Feb. 15, was founded in the ancient legend of the infants Romulus and Remus. The two brothers were said to have been abandoned but discovered and nursed by a wolf, or lupus in Latin. The two boys are credited as the founders of Rome...

Pope Gelasius is said to have eradicated Lupercalia from Christian observance in the last decade of the fifth century. But, in reality, the mingling of paganism and Christianity had become inseparable in much of the Western world. Saturnalia and Mithraism were incorporated into the church through claiming a December birth date for Jesus Christ. Various spring fertility rites merged to form the basis of Easter celebrations. Lupercalia evolved into the observance of St. Valentine's Day...

The Danger in a "Harmless" Holiday

What harm can there be in the celebration of lovers in the name of St. Valentine? Besides, what does it matter that some of the day's customs hark back to pagan rites?

For one thing, nowhere does the Bible approve of praying to dead (or living) saints. In fact, Jesus declared that no one except Himself has ascended into heaven (John 3:13). The saints wait in their graves for the resurrection to occur at Jesus' return. Venerating dead saints propagates an ancient heathen custom that has no basis in reality...

Jesus said His followers would "worship the Father in spirit and truth" (John 4:23). Observance of this holiday is just one of many traditions that must be questioned if Christianity is to return to its foundation laid by Jesus Christ.

The following related news item was interest:

National Geographic News - Jan 26, 2007

Archaeologists say they have unearthed Lupercale-the sacred cave where, according to legend, a she-wolf nursed the twin founders of Rome and where the city itself was born.

The long-lost underground chamber was found beneath the remains of Emperor Augustus' palace on the Palatine, a 230-foot-tall (70-meter-tall) hill in the center of the city...

According to myth, Lupercale is where a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the war god Mars and mortal priestess Rhea Silvia, who had been abandoned in a cradle on the bank of the Tiber River...

Every year on February 15 ancient priests killed a dog and two goats and smeared the foreheads of two boys from noble families with the sacrificial blood as part of the Lupercalia celebration. 

The ceremony survived until A.D. 494, when Pope Gelasius put an end to the tradition. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070126-rome-palatine.html

Well, Pope Gelasius did not really end the tradition, it was renamed and changed by one day. Of course, the story of Romulus and Remus is really the fable about the beginning of the Roman Empire--now that Europe is once again trying to revive this empire, I am sure that its leaders are pleased to have located "the sacred cave".

An article of possibe interest related to Valentine's Day may be Valentine's Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine's Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true?

A news story sent to me this morning by a CGG member stated:

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Moves are under way to impose Europe-wide rules that could mean the sharing of personal information such as DNA, national police operating across borders and even air marshals boarding foreign planes.

The initial push for stronger security legislation, aimed at tracking down serious crime suspects and terror groups, comes from Germany, currently presiding over the 27-nation block.

In just over two weeks (15-16 February) Berlin is set to table a formal proposal to transpose the so-called Prüm Treaty into EU law-books, a move that would allow EU states to give one another automatic access to genetic records, fingerprints and traffic offences.

The Prüm Treaty – signed in 2005 - is currently a seven-nation pact between Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Spain, with four other member states (Finland, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia) eager to jump in. (http://euobserver.com/9/23351).

In my opinion, These Europeans are following the bad example of the USA as they must intend to be able to eliminate privacy rights under the guise of fighting terrorism. FWIW, I found it interesting that the above meeting begins on Lupercalia--a day for the Empire to begin.

01/26/07 a.m. Two unrelated readers of this page sent the following article:

JERUSALEM - A member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party yesterday proposed transferring control of the West Bank to a European task force until the establishment of a Palestinian state, at which time the strategic territory would be handed to security forces associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53938

We in the COGs have long taught that the Europeans would have a military presence in the Middle East.

The following story has been out for a few days, and while the media mentioned it, I thought that they would be more critical than they have been:

Cruise 'is Christ' of Scientology           The Sun - Jan 23, 2007 

TOM Cruise is the new “Christ” of Scientology, according to leaders of the cult-like religion.

The Mission: Impossible star has been told he has been “chosen” to spread the word of his faith throughout the world.And leader David Miscavige believes that in future, Cruise, 44, will be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise awareness of the religion.A source close to the actor, who has risen to one of the church’s top levels, said: “Tom has been told he is Scientology’s Christ-like figure.“Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But future generations will realise he was right.”Cruise joined the Church of Scientology in the ’80s. Leader L Ron Hubbard claimed humans bear traces of an ancient alien civilisation. http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,4-2007030603,00.html

The Bible refers to various false Christs. And in this media driven age, it should be no surprise that an actor be one (of course, the governor of California is also an actor--and this is the second time that has happened).

01/25/07 p.m.The November 30, 2006 edition of The Journal is finally out. It mentions Triumph, UCM, an El Salvador split, prophetic speculations, FOT reports, and various other news items. The following is a link to its first and last pages:


It has one article about Triumph's Bill Dankenbring:

An example of how Mr. Dankenbring, who nowadays lives in Omak, Wash., is not afraid to reexamine cherished beliefs is the lead article in the September-October issue of TPM’s flagship publication, Prophecy Flash!

Jesus was an angel

The article is “Who Is the Archangel Michael?,” in which Mr. Dankenbring presents what he sees as scriptural evidence that Michael is Jesus.

“I show the amazing relationships and statements in the Old and New Testaments that, first of all, Christ, or the Logos, was a created being who was always under the authority of the Father, as He Himself said, ‘The Father is greater than I,’ ” Mr. Dankenbring told THE JOURNAL in an interview conducted by E-mail. When the end comes, Jesus- Michael “will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father and Himself be subject to or under the authority of the Father”...

Mr. Dankenbring said he also noticed that Michael is a “prince” of God, citing Daniel 10:21, and “Michael is the one who stands watch over the sons of your people, Israel.” “More and more,” he continued, “it sounded like another of the many names of Christ Himself...

(Overton, Mac. Triumph founder speaks his mind on churches’ doctrines. The Journal: News of the Churches of God. November 30, 2006, p.1).

It is sad that some groups of people once affiliated with WCG have lost their knowledge that the Word always existed and is God. Michael is NOT Jesus.

In another story, The Journal reported:

United Christian Ministries, founded by Ray and Peggy Wooten in Birmingham, Ala., in 1996, is on its way to Roanoke, a suburb of Fort Wayne.

Ray Wooten was a founding member of UCG who left it because he felt that the governance it ended up with differed greatly from the one discussed at its formation.

In another story, The Journal reported:

Events leading to the church split included Mr. Cisneros’ wife, Conchita, contacting Mr. Walker with concerns about a possible inappropriate relationship between her husband and a woman in another UCG congregation. According to THE JOURNAL’s sources, Mr. Walker had looked into the rumors and found no substantiation for them. In the meantime, however, the rumors had spread, and some members had decided to stop attending church because of them. Mr. Cisneros denounced these actions in statements to the congregation. Mr. Walker was reportedly unhappy that the pastor had referred to some of the rumormongers by name and had accused them of involvement in his alleged defamation. As a result, Mr. Walker is said to have insisted that Mr. Cisneros apologize to the congregation. Mr. Cisneros’ apology during a church service did not satisfy Mr. Walker, who insisted that it did not go far enough, and directed him to apologize further the next week. The revised apology still did not satisfy the regional director, who then directed that a statement he had written highlighting Mr. Cisneros’ inadequate apologies be read.
In response, 69 members of the congregation signed a letter of support for Mr. Cisneros and of protest to Mr. Walker....

...A month after Mr. Cisneros’ firing, the former UCG pastor reported that an average of 70-75 people were meeting with him in San Salvador for services every week. “We have about 86 people, but not everyone is able to attend regularly,” Mr. Cisneros said. Before the split, the UCG had about 165 regular attendees, most of whom met in the capital city. “Now,” Mr. Cisneros said, “United has about 70 people, and there are three families who are staying home for now until things settle down.” Mr. Cisneros said his congregation plans to stay independent and that “we hope and trust that God will take care of us and protect us and provide for our needs.”

So now, another "independent" group.

01/25/07 a.m. COGaic announced:

Latest News from Vision


Causes of Conflict:
Thoughts on Religion, Identity and the Middle East

Middle East scholar David Hulme covers how identity, ideology and other moral issues in society fuel the Middle East conflict.  

The "blog" is essentially news articles on Middle East matters by COGaic's David Hulme.

While I rarely put specific prayer requests on this page, please consider the following news item as a prayer request:

Burma 'orders Christians to be wiped out'  Telegraph - Jan 21, 2007

The military regime in Burma is intent on wiping out Christianity in the country, according to claims in a secret document believed to have been leaked from a government ministry. Entitled "Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma", the incendiary memo contains point by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state.

The text, which opens with the line "There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised", calls for anyone caught evangelising to be imprisoned. It advises: "The Christian religion is very gentle – identify and utilise its weakness."

In the past year, an estimated 27,000 members of the predominantly Christian Karen tribe were driven from their homes in eastern Burma.

LCG, Legacy, CG7, and others have church members who are of the Karen tribe. And while the COGs are only a very small part of those who profess Christ in Myanmar (Burma), they too are at risk. And while I do not have specific information that they are currently being afflicted by this persecution, I believe that prayer for their protection is appropriate.

China was in the news:

The Guardian - Jan 25, 2007

China could overtake the US as the country with the most internet users within two years, according to its government, which released figures showing that the nation's online population had increased to 137 million people in the last 12 months.

Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Centre show that more than a 10th of the country's 1.3 billion people now use the internet, with the figure increasing by 23.4% last year. "We believe it will take two years at most for China to overtake the United States," the official China Daily newspaper quoted a centre official, Wang Enhai, as saying.

The above is further proof that the internet may be an effective tool to reach the Chinese. Four articles of possible interest may be:

China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God's Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 3: China in Prophecy What is Ahead for China? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese?

The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.

Click here for previous COG news (includes comments on the Tkach takeover, CG7 Jerusalem, prophecy, the truth about early Christianity, SDAs and the Trinity, infant baptism, global warming, etc.)

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Volume 10, issue 35 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007