Archive for July, 2007

HWA Would Have Been 115 Today

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007


Herbert W. Armstrong would have been 115 today.  This morning, the anti-COG Ambassador Watchsite reminded everyone that Herbert Armstrong was born on July 31, 1892.  The webmaster (Gavin Rumney) then essentially satirically attacked his memory.

But more offensive were several comments made by his readers, many of whom apparently believe the misinformation and much of the false information about him and spread this misinformation as fact.

They repeat false and discredited sources to justify their disrespect of Herbert Armstrong.

Even though we in the COGs generally do not celebrate birthdays (see also the article Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?), I felt since HWA is once again being maligned, that it would again be a good time to remind people that although Herbert Armstrong was a fallible human being, that most of the accusations and charges that anti-COG types seem to like to relish about him are false. 

Those interested in the truth about the oft repeated accusations against HWA on the internet can read the article 15 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert Armstrong.

But I do not want to focus on that.

The truth is that God used Herbert Armstrong to restore much truth to the true Church of God.  Over the decades that I have been associated with the Church of God, I have repeatedly found both biblical as well as historical proof that the truths that were restored were in fact true.  And in fact, the early church did teach them. 

One day I may put together a single article showing that early professors of Christ did teach these truths.  For now, however, I would refer readers to the following two articles:

Did You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?Some have said healing, others other subjects, but probably the first change had to do with eliminating being part of the Philadelphia era. This article documents what those changes were and compares the Tkach list of restored truths to HWA’s list of restored truths. It contains many quotes from HWA.
History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?  This page has articles documenting many beliefs of the early Church–and all these are doctrines that HWA taught.

Furthermore, while Protestants like to point to leaders like Martin Luther and John Calvin, the truth is that unlike them, Herbert Armstrong was not involved in getting people killed.  The same is true about many Roman Catholic Popes who instituted persecutions in forms such as the Inquisition.  Some information on what those non-COG leaders have done to others throughout history may be found in the article Persecutions by Church and State.

Another difference between Martin Luther, John Calvin, Eastern Orthodox leaders, and Roman Catholic Popes vs. Herbert Armstrong is that HWA actually did teach sola Scriptura.  He clearly taught what the Bible taught, yet the other churches have all demonstrated their preference for tradition over what the Bible actually teaches.  Articles that document that would include:

Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the COG is NOT Protestant.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? This documented article answers those questions.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are? 

Furthermore, HWA did more to get the truth of God to the world as a witness than any did since biblical times.  Two articles of related interest may include:

Do You Believe God Used Herbert Armstrong to Raise Up the Philadelphia Era of the Church of God? Nearly everyone while in WCG used to believe this, most do not seem to anymore.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and HWA expect from evangelists?

Anyway, Herbert Armstrong always taught:

Don’t believe me BELIEVE YOUR BIBLE BELIEVE GOD! I always say…check up! Listen without prejudice, with open mind, then check up–go to your BIBLE, and BELIEVE what you read there. (Armstrong HW. Personal from the Editor. Plain Truth. September 1963.)

This is what I encourage readers of this website to do. 

COGaIC Wins Telly Award for Message to 7 Churches

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Modern Izmir (Anciently Smyrna of Revelation 2) 

The above is an old photo we took of modern Izmir during the Feast of Tabernacles in 1990.  Izmir was anciently called Smyrna, which is one of the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 (you can click here for more of Joyce’s Photos of Smyrna).  

Although I mentioned that COGaIC won the following award some time ago, the following is what their Edwin Stepp posted about it:

Message to the Seven Churches Wins Telly Award

Second Award for the most recent documentary from Vision Media Productions

Vision Media Productions has been awarded a Bronze Telly award for work on its latest production, Message to the Seven Churches.

The Telly Awards honor the very best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. Founded in 1978 by David E. Carter, a past Emmy and Clio winner, the Telly’s honor excellence in local, regional and cable TV commercials. Non-broadcast video and TV program categories are also judged in the awards. The Telly is one of the most sought-after awards by industry leaders, from large international firms to local production companies and ad agencies. Judges evaluate entries against a high standard of merit to recognize distinction in creative work. Entries are scored on a performance scale and can win either a Silver or Bronze award based on the combined scoring of the judges who evaluate each entry.

Message to the Seven Churches.examines one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible, Revelation, in a unique way. Mention the apostle John’s book of Revelation, and the images that commonly come to mind are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and Earth’s last great crisis, culminating in what is popularly thought of as the Battle of Armageddon. Vision Media Productions looks at another side of the book that is often overlooked—the letters written by John to the first century congregations of the Church of God in Asia Minor.

While COGaIC has one an award for their production, the sad truth is that they do not officially seem to teach Church Eras and seemed to ignore teaching Church Eras in their “award-winning video”.

While David Hulme was president of UCG, UCG had began to distance itself from teaching the 7 churches of Revelation 2 & 3 as a major part of Church history like HWA’s WCG did.  And this continued under his COGaIC as well as currently in UCG.

Select positions of the Hulme presidency UCG, the post-Hulme UCG, and the current COGaIC on Church Eras are cited in the following articles:

In Their Own Words: Doctrinal Differences Between the old United Church of God and the old Global Church of God Older quotes from the leadership and some of the membership of these two organizations are included without added commentary (until the end and the 7/31/98 update) which highlighted some of the differences between them.
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
Church of God, an International Community (COG aic) This is the group led by David Hulme.

Those more interested in the biblical truth of the seven Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 may wish to read the following articles:

The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D.
7. The Laodicean Church Era was predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present

Mormons, Evangelicals, and “Traditional Christianity”

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Evangelical Theologian: Bottom Line is Mormons are not Christians

Christian Post – July 27, 2007

Mormons believe in a false gospel and are not Christians, concluded one of the nation’s preeminent evangelicals in what appeared to be the close of an online debate over Mormonism.

“Here is the bottom line. As an Evangelical Christian – a Christian who holds to the ‘traditional Christian orthodoxy’ of the Church – I do not believe that Mormonism leads to salvation,” wrote Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on Wednesday evening.

“To the contrary, I believe that it is a false gospel that, however sincere and kind its adherents may be, leads to eternal death rather than to eternal life,” he stated.

Mohler’s response is part of an ongoing “blog dialogue” sponsored by the Web site Since June 28, the evangelical scholar and prominent Mormon science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card have been debating whether Mormons can be considered Christians.

During the course of the debate, Card focused on whether Mormons are moral people, good citizens and why Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney should be supported by evangelicals. He emphasized that Mormons share many of the same values as evangelical Christians and believe Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation.

However, Mohler noted that whether a Mormon has similar moral values to evangelical Christians is beside the point because had asked whether Mormons can be considered Christians based on traditional Christian orthodoxy…

Mormon defender Card readily agrees with Mohler that Mormons do not fit into the Christian category as defined by traditional Christian orthodoxy. However, he argues that Mormons should be considered “nontraditional Christians.”

…He concluded: “Call us ‘nontraditional Christians’ and continue to encourage your communicants not to believe our doctrines. We’ll happily continue to call you ‘traditional Christians’ and teach people why they should believe our doctrines.”The Mormon defender ended by calling for unity in a world where Christians are persecuted and expressed appreciation that Dr. Mohler affirmed that Mormons should be equally considered for American public offices regardless of theological difference.

I feel that the bulk of American evangelicals would have a hard time voting for a Mormon for President (we in the Living Church of God do not vote in presidential elections), though Mormons of course would most likely prefer one of their own. 

However, like the Mormons, we in the COGs do not mind being called “non-traditional Christians”. 


Because we are convinced that those who claim to be “traditional Christians” are frequently following traditions of men more than the Bible.

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Five Dissimilarities Between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Church of God The COGs are not related to the Mormons and this article explains five differences.
Being Separate: What Did Herbert Armstrong and the Bible Teach About Where Not to Fellowship? Some believe that it is acceptable to attend groups called COG, but who are not actually. What did HWA and the Bible teach about this.
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority.

LCG: European Empire Forming

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

In its latest weekly update, LCG reported:

And now, “Europe Empire”: The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, recently made a profound and prophetic announcement: “We are not the United States of Europe—we are unique in the history of mankind!… Now what we have is the first non-imperial empire… I believe it is a great construction and we should be proud of it.”

The British Shadow Europe Minister said, “The British public will be surprised to hear that we are now part of an EU empire. For the President of the Commission to say this is quite startling and anyone who thinks we have been exaggerating in calling for a referendum… only has to look at what Mr. Barroso has said to realize the scale of what is now being contemplated.”

In an emotional reaction to Mr. Barroso’s comments, the UK Independence Party leader observed, “I would like Mr. Barroso to come to Britain and repeat those quotes and see what the reaction would be. Or maybe he would prefer to visit the Brussels colony of Britain?” (The Times, July 11, 2007). 

For decades, the Church of God, using the Bible as a guide (Daniel 2:41-45; Revelation 17:7-18), has been predicting the final revival of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. Recent rhetoric, along with actions in Brussels and across Europe, indicates that these ancient prophecies are coming to pass right before our eyes. 

Interestingly, Europe gets its name from the story of Zeus and Europa.  Zeus, the leader of the Greek gods, is pictured as a beast in that story and persuades Europa (who he later compromises) to come with him.  Zeus was also called Jupiter and as such the leader of the Roman gods.

That story is even pictured on 2 Euro coins in Greece.  Here are two I got in Greece in June 2007:

Europa Woman Riding the Beast Coin

More on this European Empire is discussed in the article Europa, the Beast, and Revelation

PCG: What the Tkaches Originally Said

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

The following is in the July 2007 edition of the PCG’s Philadelphia Trumpet and is from another chapter in S. Flurry’s book:

On Dec. 17, 1994, Joseph Tkach Sr. delivered a landmark sermon, bringing out into the open several far-reaching doctrinal changes that centered around a “new” (actually mainstream) understanding of the Old and New Covenants. According to his son, “[I]t once and for all convinced the skeptics within our own church that the changes were for real and that they were permanent.” Later, he wrote, “[M]any of our members didn’t believe that the changes they were seeing in the church were real. Just as evangelicals have a hard time believing that the Worldwide Church of God has moved into orthodoxy, many of our members had a hard time believing their church was moving away from its peculiar doctrinal distinctives.”

Why would their own members have been skeptical about the changes being “for real”? Why would they find it difficult to believe the church was moving away from its past teachings?

It’s because after making the changes, the Tkaches then reassured the membership that nothing had really changed. And when rumors would circulate that more changes were coming, the Tkaches kept saying, “We will never change that”—right up to the point of actually making the change…

Mr. Tkach gave a sermon in Pasadena on April 30, 1994 (a tape of which was later played in all wcgcongregations), in which he denounced “rumormongers”: “They have no compunctions at all about exaggerating. Like I read from this list of rumors that are going around: We’re going to start keeping Christmas, and we’re changing the Passover, and we’re making changes to please the Protestants to get accreditation. … [W]e’re going to do away with the Sabbath, we’re going to do away with the holy days and we’re going to do away with the law.”

At the Ambassador College commencement exercises on May 20, 1994, Mr. Tkach quoted Ted Koppel, who said, “What Moses brought down from Mount Sinai were not the ten suggestions. They are commandments.” Mr. Tkach said, “Notice he used the word are and not were, because they are still in existence today, in spite of what others accuse us of saying—‘that we are doing away with the law and the commandments of God.’ Again I say, ‘garbage.’”

Later that year, on November 12, Mr. Tkach made several more strong statements in a Pasadena sermon: “Yes, we should keep the law”; “I’m not trying to minimize the importance of the law”; “I’m not trying to minimize the importance of the Sabbath.”

Three weeks later, speaking in Washington, d.c., Mr. Tkach asked, “Does this mean that we are no longer obligated to obey the law?” His answer: “God forbid!” He later said, “Christ is saying the New Testament gospel is not contrary or contradictory in any way, shape or form to the Old Testament law.”

Then, on December 17—just two weeks later,and after a string of denouncements against those spreading “lies” and “rumors”—Mr. Tkach did awaywith the church’s teachings on clean and unclean meats, tithing, the Sabbath, holy day observance and the law. This, according to Tkach Jr.’s book, is when skeptics in the church finally knew that the changes were for real…

In a letter to Dennis Leap on April 20, 1990, Joseph Tkach Jr. wrote that Mystery of the Ages “was discontinued because we have more economical ways of providing exactly the same message to subscribers and members. The doctrinal message of the book is not being changed or stopped.”

Would Jesus Christ say the “exact same message” of the book was being disseminated four months after firing two ministers and saying the book was “riddled with error”?

Tkach Jr. wrote, “[D]on’t pretend to others that you are continuing to follow Mr. Armstrong’s way. Please be honest about it.” How ironic that statement turned out to be. It is now clear that this accusation is precisely what Tkachismwas doing at the time Joe Jr. wrote his letter—dishonestly giving the impression they were continuing in Mr. Armstrong’s steps. Tkach Jr. wrote, “[N]one of the ‘seven mysteries’ explained in [Mystery of the Ages] has been changed or deleted.”

The Trinity Doctrine

On March 6, 1998, Pat Robertson interviewed Joseph Tkach Jr. and Greg Albrecht on his television program, The 700 Club. They talked about the wcg’s doctrinal transformation. In describing the changes that took place early on, Mr. Tkach Jr. said, “Starting in 1989, we realized that the trinity was correct and that it’s the only logical and historically [sic] way to explain that God is one in three.”

Then, in 1990, Philip Stevens wrote an article for the Good News titled “Who Was Jesus’ Father?” Somehow, this statement managed to sneak by wcg editors: “The concept of a trinity is nowhere found in the Bible. … The trinity hides from man God’s plan of salvation. The trinity doctrine maintains that the Godhead is a closed unit into which no one else can enter.”

Three months after that article appeared in the Good News, Michael Snyder wrote a letter to Watchman Fellowship, a cult-watching organization based in Arlington, Texas. Mr. Snyder said, “The question of God’s disclosure to humanity is still open and the church awaits further scholarly discussion in the field of dogmatics concerning this topic. The article ‘Who Was Jesus’ Father?’ from the November-December 1990 Good News has been declared officially null and void with respect to church doctrine.”

…Around the same time, in the spring of 1991, David Hulme and Michael Snyder, his assistant, took part in discussions with the faculty at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. During his presentation, Mr. Hulme said he had been invited to explain the church’s position on a “number of things” and to update them on the “changes” in the wcg. He said he wanted to take them through “some of the more important changes that have occurred in the last four to five years.” When he got to the subject of the trinity, Mr. Hulme said, “Even though the Worldwide Church of God considers some positions on the trinity to be heretical (for example, all forms of Arianism), it sees the Eastern, Western, Protestant, and Modernist views of the nature of God as genuine attempts to reach a deeper understanding of God’s nature.”

As you might imagine, with these types of comments being made to those outside the church, all sorts of “rumors” and “gossip” began swirling on the inside. Was the wcg about to accept the trinity?some wondered. Fortunately for members, Mr. Tkach Sr. stepped forward to set the record straight. Toward the end of the summer of 1991, he wrote an article in the church’s newspaper titled “How Do You React to Change?” The article reflected much of the wcg’s latest discussions with Truths That Transform, Watchman Fellowship and the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School…

At the end of his article, Mr. Tkach said, “We do not believe the doctrine of the trinity.” Never mind that in a personal letter to Watchman Fellowship, Michael Snyder declared a Good Newsarticle “null and void” because of its comments in opposition to the trinity doctrine. Nor that, according to Snyder, the subject of “God’s disclosure” was now an “open question” in the church. Neither did Mr. Tkach mention that the church now taught the “full divinity of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit—the biblical foundation for all trinitarian discussions”—as Dr. Stavrinides had explained to the ministry months earlier. Nor did he draw attention to the fact that David Hulme had been involved in several discussions with trinitarians at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

When you say, “We do not believe the doctrine of the trinity” without qualification, doesn’t that imply that the church rejects all forms and practices of the trinity? As far as unsuspecting members were concerned, putting Tkach’s “We do not believe the doctrine of the trinity” statement together with the November-December 1990 Good News article (declared “null and void” privately, but not in a church publication), the church was teaching the very same thing it had always taught about the nature of God…

Five months after he unequivocally said that the wcgdid not believe in the trinity, Mr. Tkach wrote, “The newly printed Statement of Beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God will be mailed to you soon. … Let me make a few comments about one portion of the Statement.In the statement about God, you will notice that the final sentence reads: ‘The church affirms the oneness of God and the full divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.’ Someone may ask, ‘Does this mean we now accept the doctrine of the trinity?’ No, it does not. The doctrine of the trinity in the Western Church attests the union of three Persons in one Godhead, so that the three are one God as to substance, but three Persons as to individualities. We do not accept that teaching; we believe that the word Person is inaccurate when referring to the Holy Spirit.”

In other words, we have accepted the trinity, but don’t misinterpret that to mean that we have accepted the trinity.

In its August 1992 booklet God Is …, the church stated, “God is one being, one entity”—“the Holy Spirit is also God”—and “the Bible does reveal three entities within the one Godhead.” When referring to the booklet in the Worldwide News,Mr. Tkach wrote, “The doctrine of the trinity did not originate in paganism, as we have traditionally thought.” But did all these statements mean the church had now accepted the trinity? Of course not, they continued to tell the membership.

The following year, in August 1993, Mr. Tkach wrote, “Simply put, the Bible proclaims plainly and clearly that there is one and only one God…When the Bible says that God is one, the word onedoes not refer to a ‘God Family,’ but to one God.” A little further in the article, Mr. Tkach wrote, “The Bible teaching is that there is one God who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

…Were it not for Tkach Jr.’s interview with Pat Robertson years later—where he admitted they realized the trinity was correct in 1989—it might still be safe to assume (within the church, of course) that the Worldwide Church of God in no way teaches the doctrine of the trinity.

Their Greatest Challenge

By now you can see how convoluted and contradictory Tkach Jr.’s positions are. How could the explanation of Mr. Armstrong’s teachings change so dramatically between 1992 and 1997 when Mr. Armstrong died in 1986? Mr. Armstrong left an incredibly thorough written account of what he believed and taught. But that has not stopped Joe Jr. from dramatically altering his explanation of those teachings—all depending on the time period and the audience he was addressing.

Notice what Mr. Tkach Jr. says in his book about the difficulty they ran into when trying to explain the many changes: “Some cult watchers, ministries, churches, and pastors can be more of a hindrance when it comes to helping individuals or aberrant groups break away from their cultic theology and practice. One of our greatest challenges has been trying to explain these doctrinal reforms to outsiders while maintaining our credibility internally, and some groups have greatly hindered our efforts by their reporting.”

The reason he blames outside groups for hindering their efforts to make doctrinal changes within the church is that they reported what was actually happening! This became problematic for Tkachism because they were telling these outside groups about all the changes—even telling them that more were coming—while at the same time telling their own members that nothing was changing! They are the ones who hurt their own credibility—by lying.

In his book, Tkach Jr. explains how their church leaders, in the early 1990s, kept contacting evangelical groups in order to keep them apprised of the changes in the wcg…

It was certainly a confusing time.  Around then, I remember J. Tkach Sr. stating/indicating that RC Meredith was falsely teaching that WCG was doing away with the ten commandments (PCG left that out of their article).

While I was questioning what the Tkaches were doing (especially in regards to the Gospel and the nature of God), in addition to J. Sr.’s statements confirming that WCG would not do away with the ten commandments at that time I had another reason at that time to believe J. Sr. when he said the teaching on the ten commandments, etc. were not going to be changed by WCG.

As it turned out, I happened to have accepted the assignment to teach the local WCG congregation’s children the two songs that they were to sing at the Feast of Tabernacles in 1994.  This is a bit odd for me as music is not a strength nor area of much interest.  Anyway, the two songs I was teaching the children were named something to the effect of “There are Ten Commandments” and “Do You Know God’s Feasts in the Spring and in the Fall”.

The first song listed the ten commandments and explained that they should be kept, while the second song listed the Holy Days and briefly explained God’s plan of salvation through the Holy Days.

Hence, I found it hard to believe the rumors that WCG was teaching against the ten commandments and Holy Days as I was teaching them each week to the children of the local WCG congregation.

However, when it was clear that WCG really did change them, I remembered the WCG comments against RC Meredith, realized that Dr. Meredith obviously had been right, and then after attending a GCG congregation when travelling, decided that it was the proper remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the COG at that time.

Speaking of WCG and the Holy Days, I did (after leaving–additionally, while still in WCG I did write J. Sr. twice concerning certain changes) write an article regarding something that J. Tkach Jr. wrote about them.  It is still available and is called Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible?

Another article of possibly related interest may be Did You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made? Some have said healing, others other subjects, but probably the first change had to do with eliminating being part of the Philadelphia era. This article documents what those changes were and compares the Tkach list of restored truths to HWA’s list of restored truths. It contains many quotes from HWA.

CG7 Admires the Prophets, But…

Friday, July 27th, 2007

The July-August 2007 edition of CG7-Denver’s Bible Advocate Online has an article by its Calvin Burrell that states:

Moral Courage and Hope

We need them today. Meet sixteen men who preached both…Now we move on to the land of the Prophets. Are you ready for some tougher terrain?

The writing prophets of Scripture spoke for God to the Hebrew people during the times of Israel’s kings. Mostly males (there were also prophetesses in Israel), these divine speakers stood in the secret counsel of God before declaring His Word. They completed the national triumvirate of prophets, priests, and kings that composed the backbone of ancient Israel’s theocracy.

Though they appear at the end of the our Old Testament, the men who wrote the books from Isaiah through Malachi lived midway from Moses to Christ. They wrote several hundred years after the Red Sea parted, the old covenant was given at Mt. Sinai, and Canaan was conquered under Joshua. Still, these prophets are several hundred years before the new covenant was written in Jesus’ blood on Calvary’s cross. Men of the times between, we may call them.

Remarkably, the Hebrew prophets bridged that 1,500-year time from Moses to Jesus in a way that honored both ends of the bridge. Loyal to the old covenant, they also rebuked the tendency of that era to rely on ritual, and they anticipated a better covenant to come through the Messiah. They knew the value of the law but easily expressed confidence in God’s grace…

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Jonah are others whose books will hold more interest as we come to know who they were and how they served the Lord through His people Israel. Seeing and “hearing” them as thinking, feeling persons who faced real crises of public life, we may even develop the sense of companionship with them. As we walk our way through their writings, we will not walk alone. 

When I read CG7-Denver’s teachings on prophecy, I always notice that they teach little about future prophetic events.  While the above article has some lessons from the prophets, it (like nearly all other CG7-Denver teachings on prophecy) simply does not explain the relevance of the unfilled portions of those prophetic messages.

I would encourage those in CG7 to have the moral courage to speak the warning messages AND the messages of hope that are in the whole Bible, including the writings of the prophets.

The article Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings provides some quotes from others in CG7-Denver that demonstrate CG7’s limited approach to the messages of the prophets.  The prophets prophetic messages should not be de-emphasized.  I believe that de-emphasizing prophecy is part of why Jesus warned Sardis, “you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3) (note Herbert Armstrong and those faithful to his biblical teachings consider that CG7 is part of the Sardis Church Era).

Speaking of moral courage, another doctrinal area that CG7 seems to de-emphasize is its history prior to the mid-19th century.  Two articles that discuss that would include The Sardis Church Era and The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3

COG and Jehovah’s Witnesses Doctrinal Similarities

Thursday, July 26th, 2007



Although the COGs rarely own church buildings and the Jehovah’s Witnesses normally do, there are many amazing doctrinal similarities between the two groups.

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the COG believe that there was an apostasy in the early church. Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the COG believe that what now passes for mainstream Christianity is not truly Christian, but a combination of various non-biblical religions that attempt to appear to be Christian.

Here are several beliefs that are similar to how the COGs would teach (though the two groups do not explain some of the details the same):

…Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the earth will remain forever and that all people, living and dead, who will fit in with Jehovah’s purpose for a beautified, inhabited earth may live on it forever… The Bible tells us: “The wages sin pays is death.” “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” (Romans 6:23; Ecclesiastes 9:5; Ezekiel 18:4, 20) Then how can they live again to share in the earthly blessings? Only through the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus, for he said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.” “All those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”—John 5:28, 29; 11:25; Matthew 20:28. How will this come about? It is explained in “the good news of the kingdom,” which Jesus started to proclaim while on earth. (Matthew 4:17-23) (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe? Published in 2000. Copyright © 2006 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site 07/09/07)

The following official beliefs of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are essentially the same as COG teachings, although they do not understand all of the statements below the same (note: articles on those same subjects that I have written on are shown parenthetically after the JW belief):

Beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Bible is God’s Word and is truth… (The Bible: Fact or Fiction?)
Bible is more reliable than tradition… (Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings)
Christ is God’s Son and is inferior to Him… (Jesus…)
Christ died on a stake, not a cross… (What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?)
Christ’s one sacrifice was sufficient… (Which Laws Are Done Away? Which Remain?)
We are now in the ‘time of the end’ … (Did The Early Church Millenarianism?)
Kingdom under Christ will rule earth in righteousness and peace… (Did The Early Church Millenarianism?)
Kingdom will bring ideal living conditions to earth… (The Gospel of the Kingdom of God)
Wicked will be eternally destroyed… (Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis)
People God approves will receive everlasting life…(Universal Salvation?)
Hope for dead is resurrection… (What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?)
New covenant is made with spiritual Israel … (Which Laws Are Done Away? Which Remain?)
Christ’s congregation is built upon himself… (Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom?)
Images should not be used in worship … (What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?)
Spiritism must be shunned … (Close Encounters of a ‘Spirit’ Kind)
Satan is invisible ruler of world… (Europa, the Beast, and Revelation)
Obey human laws that do not conflict with God’s laws … (Military Service: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?)
Bible’s laws on morals must be obeyed… (Which Laws Are Done Away? Which Remain?)
Man did not evolve but was created … (Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical?)
Christ set example that must be followed in serving God … (What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments?)

(JW Source: Jehovah’s Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe? Published in 2000. Copyright © 2006 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site 07/09/07)

There were other beliefs above, such as baptism by immersion that the COGs agree with, that were omitted because the way they were worded at the official JW website was not how the COG would word them.

Regarding crosses, perhaps it should be mentioned that while we in the COGs generally understand that the word translated as “cross” normally means tree or stake, that it is possible that a cross was used for Jesus’ crucifixion. However we, like the JWs, are opposed to in any way revering crosses and we in the COG have been so opposed throughout history (please see the article (The Pergamos Church Era).

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the COG believe that the true church would be a “little flock”. Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the COG believe that the true church would suffer persecutions throughout its history.

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and COG claim to get their doctrines from the Bible. Both are opposed the Christian observance of non-Christian, repackaged pagan holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. Both groups believe that Passover is to be observed once per year (though they observe it one day apart from each other).

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and COG reject the pagan concept of the immortality of the soul.

Both groups avoid worldly politics. The Jehovah’s Witnesses prefer neutrality to worldly matters. Those in COGs, such as LCG, do not serve on juries or nor vote in governmental elections (please see the article Should a Christian Vote?).

Like the early church (please see the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?) both groups are non-trinitarian. Here are some valid comments from the Jehovah’s Witnesses against the trinity:

The Father’s superiority over the Son, as well as the fact that the Father is a separate person, is highlighted also in the prayers of Jesus, such as the one before his execution: “Father, if you wish, remove this cup [that is, an ignominious death] from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours take place.” (Luke 22:42) If God and Jesus are “one in essence,” as the Trinity doctrine says, how could Jesus’ will, or wish, seem different from that of his Father?—Hebrews 5:7, 8; 9:24. (WHO IS “the Only True God”? Awake! April 22, 2005).

Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Our heavenly Father, whose name is Jehovah, is described in the Bible as being superior to his Son. For example, Jehovah is “from everlasting to everlasting.” But the Bible says that Jesus is “the firstborn of every creature.” That Jehovah is greater than Jesus, Jesus himself taught when he said: “My Father is greater than I.” (Matthew 6:9; Psalm 90:1, 2; Colossians 1:15; John 14:28, King James Version) Yet, the Trinity doctrine holds that the Father and the Son are “equally God.” The Father’s superiority over the Son, as well as the fact that the Father is a separate person, is highlighted also in the prayers of Jesus…

The Trinity is not a teaching of Jesus or of the early Christians. (Is Jesus Christ God? 070707).

But although the above is true, it only proves that the Son is under the authority of the Father–which is also the binitarian COG position, it does not prove unitarianism (which is the position of the Jehovah’s Witnesses).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teachings on the Holy Spirit are similar to those of the COG:

  1. The Holy Spirit is a force, Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, pp. 406-407. (Cited at
  2.   The Holy Spirit is God’s impersonal active force, The Watchtower, June 1, 1952, p. 24. (Cited at

Notice, for comparison, the Living Church of God teaches:

THE HOLY SPIRIT God is Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very essence, the mind, life and power of God. It is not a Being. The Spirit is inherent in the Father and the Son, and emanates from Them throughout the entire universe (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24)” (Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. LCG, 2004).

Most in mainstream churches have never studied what the early Christian church taught about the Holy Spirit and do not realize that the current trinity doctrine was not accepted by their predecessors until 381 A.D. Documentation is included in the articles Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? and Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?

Although both groups believe that God created everything, both groups believe that the universe is billions of years old (Your will Be Done on Earth, p. 43. Cited at The COG teaches that there was a major amount of time, perhaps billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages. pp. 74-75).

Partially because of their teachings against the pagan concept of the trinity, both groups tend to be classified as “cults” by those who accept mainstream Christianity. Members of both groups are used to be mistreated in many ways by those of mainstream Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.

Both groups realize that the name of God in the Old Testament is not “LORD” as nearly all Protestant translators have rendered it. However, instead of “LORD” Jehovah’s Witnesses prefer to use the term Jehovah (which is a remotely possible, but not likely pronunciation of the Hebrew– Yawveh is probably closer to the original), while those in the COGs tend to translate the Hebrew word into its original meaning, like Eternal or Self-Existing.

Both groups believe that this current world is essentially Satan’s world, that the Bible teaches about the resurrection, and that there will be a “Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ” (Pay Attention. p. 290).

Both groups oppose military participation. Notice what the Watch Tower website correctly states:

Early Christians understood their obligation to be “no part of this world.” Hence, whenever civil uprisings or military conflicts occurred, Christians remained neutral. They pursued peace with everyone.—John 14:26; 18:36; Matthew 6:9, 10; Acts 2:1-4; Romans 12:17-21 (United by LOVE OF GOD. Official Website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. 07/08/07).

More details, including the position of those who professed Christ in early centuries, is included in the article Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?

Both the Jehovah’s Witnesses and COGs have church services that last approximately two hours (though the Jehovah’s Witnesses do it on Sunday, while the COGs does it on Saturday–both groups have other meetings/services as well).

Both groups believe that God is only calling a relatively few now, but that ultimately, all will be called and most will be saved. Even though this is a biblical concept (for documentation, please see Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis), it has been condemned by Protestant leaders (please also see Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants).

Of course, there are many doctrinal  (e.g. the Jehovah’s Witnesses are unitarian, the COGs binitarian), historical (the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not teach much about history between the 2nd and 18th centuries, while the COGs do) and prophetic differences (e.g. the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the USA and Britain are the “King of the South” while the COGs teach that they are the descendants of Joseph, son of Israel–this was also discussed in an earlier post, Britain & USA: King of the South?).

An article highlighting more on the two groups would be Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Churches of God.

COGwriter: News Updated Every 10 Minutes

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007


Although the focus of this Church of God News page is of course, news of interest to those who have interest in the various COGs (Churches of God), world news is also of importance to many who visit this page.

And although I sometimes post world news items, they are mostly only posted if they are somehow related to prophecy, doctrine, or other biblical matters.

Since there is a lot going on in world news, and it is not possible for me to update this page manually every time an item of significance is reported, there now is a new world news feature at this Church of God News page.

On the right side of this page, below the links, is a heading for World News.  Below this heading should be five world news items.  This section has been programmed to update every ten minutes.  So, world news should be automatically updated on this Church of God News page every ten minutes. (Note: If there are no new stories of popular interest after ten minutes, the initial stories remain until later.)

Some news items will parallel or add more information related to news items I post here.  Others will be other items that you may find of interest.  And of course, many will not be necessarily relevant (this website does not have any type of filter to prevent various fluff or odd news items from appearing).

My son Michael (who came up with it) and I hope you find this new feature of use.

You can also go to his World News page, which has even more world news and is at the following link

LCG’s Audited Financial Statements Out

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007


The latest edition of LCG’s Living Church News arrived last night.  It contained a copy of LCG’s audited financial statements for the year ending 12/31/06.

For its fiscal year ending 12/31/06 LCG grossed  $11,122,232(compared to 10,352,593 for the year ending 12/31/05) and spent on public proclamation 4,827,192 (prior year was 4,429,377) , 819,674  on HQ administration, 5,401,131 to ‘feed the flock’ and increased reserves by 74,235.

UCG’s financial statements for its year ending 06/30/07 are not out yet (normally they come out a month after the Feast of Tabernacles).

So the following is the latest spending analysis publicly available.

If you gave $100.00 to the United Church of God or the Living Church of God, here is where your money went:

                           United Church of God     Living Church of God
1st Commission to Proclaim the Gospel to the World                          $19.78                                     $43.40
2nd Commission to Feed the Flock (and Field Ministry)    
                                           $57.09                                     $48.56
Headquarters/Home Office  
                                          $18.24                                       $6.88
Change in Reserves           $4.89                                       $ 0.01
Total                               $100.00                                    $100.00

I went with LCG because of Gospel and governance. It is interesting that UCG spent nearly 3 times as high a percentage on governance than LCG does (and almost 5 times as much in actual cash, UCG spent $3,994,978 vs. LCG’s 819,674).  And that LCG actually spent more cash on public proclamation (UCG reported spending 4,334,081 in it last statement).

Now, I need to add that, UCG, after 11+ years of existence does intend to finally get around to placing a higher priority on proclaiming the Gospel.

Which form of governance is more cost-effective? Which form places the higher priority on proclaiming the Gospel? With about half the income, LCG spends more in actual cash as UCG to proclaim the Gospel. LCG also produces nearly twice the number of magazines (Tomorrow’s World vs. Good News) on a per member basis than UCG does.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

The previous comparison is available in the article Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God.

I have never seen an audited financial statement for PCG (though I thought I had part of one from one of its Pastor General’s Reports).  The only part I currently can locate shows that a chart of how 2005 income was spent by PCG was in the PCG Pastor General’s Report dated April 8, 2006. The chart shows, “Assistance $ 79,502.11″  (around 2/3 of 1 %).  LCG’s latest financial statement shows $869.051 for “Assistance to the needy” (7.8%). 

Two articles of possibly-related  interest may be:

Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God 
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God?

RCG’s Shirley Pack Died

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

RCG made the following announcement:

We regret to inform you that after a long battle with cancer Mrs. Pack died peacefully in her sleep at her home in the early hours of Sunday morning. Her physical condition began to deteriorate rapidly on Tuesday and this continued through the end of the week.

In the weeks leading up to her death, Mrs. Pack was in the Headquarters office on a daily basis. Although she was unable to actively participate, it was of the utmost importance to her personally to support and be close to God’s Work. Struggling through intense discomfort and physical weakness, she kept the Sabbath on July 14 at Headquarters with God’s people and visiting RCG leaders from around the world. She was also present for the majority of the lectures at the Ministerial & Leadership Conference earlier this week…

The details of the funeral will be forthcoming as soon as possible, but the tentative date will be next Sunday, July 29, in Wadsworth.

Mr. Pack and his family thank all of you in advance for the prayers and support that has steadfastly continued throughout this trial. Mrs. Pack also drew continual comfort from the near endless stream of cards and letters that never stopped.

Shirley Pack was David Pack’s wife.  She had been seriously ill for quite some time.