Cartwright’s Journal out: 20 year ‘calendar’ anniversary, UCG’s ‘Binity’ and new COE member, 7000 year plan, and Elijah


The latest issue (says #196, print date June 30, 2017) of The Journal: News of the Churches of God was just posted online.

There was information regarding The Journal’s anniversary, UCG’s position on the Godhead, UCG’s COE, 7000 year plan, Elijah, and Feast of Tabernacles’ sites.

Here is some of what The Journal reported about its start and anniversary:

20 years since conference helped launch The Journal

BIG SANDY, Texas—It’s been 20 years.

Where has the time gone?

A trusty calendar can help you determine where time has gone and help you keep track of it.

Twenty years ago, in 1997, calendar concerns were in the air in the Churches of God. Two church members, Lawrence Maayeh and Michael Turner, who at the time lived in Plano, Texas, set out to settle the dust in the air about the calendar as part of their their Scattered Brethren ministry.

They presented their conference in a Dallas hotel Jan. 3-5, 1997.

It was their observation that the churches and other ministries wending their way out of the old Worldwide Church of God in the ’90s were sitting on the calendar story, perhaps because they had trouble explaining to the brethren why they should observe the nonbiblical invention of “postponements.”

Postponements are regulations built into the Jewish calendar that can delay for up to two days the beginning of the festival year.

Two comments: The Journal essentially was launched as a replacement of a publication called In Transition, which was discontinued shortly before The Journal began. In Transition, published by John Robinson, was the predecessor of The Journal. Dixon Cartwright did work on In Transition.

Calendar issues still arise these days. Information on the calendar and postpostments can be found in the following:

Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia? A sermonette in English covers: Colossians, Galatians, and the Feasts of God.
Calculated or observed calendar? Did Jesus use a calculated calendar? This article addresses this issue that many wonder about.
What are Postponements? This is by the late evangelist Raymond McNair and explains a lot about postponements and calculations.
Hebrew Calendar and “Postponements” This late evangelist John Ogywn writing explains why the most faithful in the Church of God use the calendar that we do and answers such questions as “Did Jesus Observe the Postponements?”

The United Church of God was the subject of two articles on the front page of The Journal. Here is one related to the Godhead:

UCG releases study, conclusions re nature of Jesus, rejects Trinity, Unity in favor of Binity

he United Church of God an International Association (UCG), based in Milford, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, released several documents in June 2017 that pertain to the church’s opinions and doctrines about the nature of Jesus.

In the documents, the UCG comes down solidly on the side of Binitarians when it comes to understanding what the church’s leaders believe the Bible says about whether God is one, two or three.

Most Churches of God derived from the old Worldwide Church of God founded by Herbert Armstrong think of God as in some sense two.

Mr. Armstrong would sometimes say God is one in that He is one family. But that one family, he went on to say, consists of two beings: the Father and Son. Trinitarians likewise, at least many of them, say God is one, but one God in three persons or hypostases. The Churches of God with origins in Mr. Armstrong reject God as three in that they do not think of the Holy Spirit as a separate person or entity. Rather, most of them say that the Holy Spirit is the power of God, not a separate consciousness.

Complicated matter

Complicating matters in the Church of God movement, Ken Westby and Anthony Buzzard, among others, argued since the 1980s that God is one: He is neither two nor three.

They do accept Jesus as the Son of God and Savior and Messiah, but to them Jesus is not God.

THE JOURNAL , over the years, has reported on what some people call the one-God controversy including Mr. Westby’s and Sir Anthony’s one-God conferences, which ran during Mr. Westby’s lifetime for 13 annual gatherings from 2002 through 2015.

It is not widely known that more than one UCG elder who was in agreement with Mr. Westby about the nature of Jesus lobbied leaders of the UCG to consider changing its doctrine about the nature of Jesus.

Several current and former UCG elders could be thought of as closet one-God believers. But the UCG never seems seriously to have considered the one-God view.

Some of the closet one-God people have since migrated to the Church of God a Worldwide Association, also known as the CGWA or Cogwa.

Still more complicatedly, some in the leadership of the UCG have hinted and in at least one case have explicitly stated the view that neither the Trinity nor Binity nor Unity accurately represents God, that rather there are simply two Gods: the Father and the Son. …

A special E-mailing that went out to elders and other members in June included the UCG’s booklet called Who Was Jesus? The booklet affirms the validity of the view held by Mr. Armstrong, that God is a family with two beings in it. It also affirms that, though “more than simply human,” Jesus was “human in the fullest sense.

One of my longstanding criticisms of The Journal has been its giving the unitarians as much press as it has. As far as UCG and unitarianism goes, UCG dealt with this years ago, but the subject came up again as I reported here a couple of weeks ago (see UCG apparently again dealing with unitarianism). I actually provided biblical anti-unitarian information to UCG’s one-time president Clyde Kilough (now in COGWA) when UCG faced this issue years ago. For those wanting more information on the Godhead, check out the following:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Why Does Jesus Have Two Different Genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 seemingly list two different genealogies for Jesus. Why?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A related sermon is available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, and SDA Ellen White did, but does the Bible allow for this?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.

The Journal had the following related to a UCG leadership change:

UCG gets a new council-of-elders member

MILFORD, Ohio—The United Church of God an International Association (UCG) has a new council member. At the 2017 General Conference of Elders in nearby Cincinnati May 9-11, the assembled several hundred elders elected Dan Dowd, a fellow elder and pastor serving in Milwaukee, Wis., to sit on the council.

Mr. Dowd takes the place of Robin Webber of Bakersfield, Calif.

Those two changes bring the current 12-man-council lineup to the following:

Scott Ashley, Jorge de Campos, Aaron Dean, Dan Dowd, Robert Dick, John Elliott, Mark Mickelson Rainer Salomaa, Mario Seiglie, Rex Sexton, Don Ward (council chairman) and Anthony Wasilkoff.

Victor Kubik, as church president, is not a member of the council.

While I have had contact with several of those council members, I do not recall any with Dan Dowd. Long-time readers of this page realize that I have long had issues with the governance structure at UCG (and well before COGWA formed). Some items of related interest would be:

Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from two of the largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association Known as COGWA, this is the largest group that came out of the United Church of God.  Here is some history and concerns about it. UCG’s former president Clyde Kilough and UK CEO Peter Hawkins are part of it.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.

Kathleen McCann had the following in an article in The Journal:

MILTON KEYNES, England—Most people who anticipate the return of Jesus Christ expect Him to return after about 6,000 years of human history, at the start of the seventh millennium. …

However, on this basis did the ancient Israelites have any awareness of time concluding and an end to human history? Did they make any connection between the Feast of Tabernacles and the “latter” or “last” days? Is it only in recent years that we have made such a link? …

When we observe the Feast of Tabernacles today we observe a festival that takes place at a certain season, but the precise days move slightly backwards or forwards in chronological time.

We also believe that it heralds the seventh millennium in the plan of God for the salvation of mankind.

Did the Israelites before Jesus’ time anticipate a 7,000-year plan of God or that there would be an “end time” of human civilization or history as they knew it? …

While most Israelites in earlier days and Jews in later times would simply see the Feast of Tabernacles as a time of appointment with Jehovah so they could look back on the Exodus from Egypt, it was the later prophets who began to see a connection between the mo’adim of the annual holy days and the ultimate mo’ed or appointed time in the future with Jehovah (Daniel 11:35). Of course, most of the Jews in Jesus’ time would not make this connection, their minds being focused on the loss of kingdom and their longing to have it restored (Acts 1:6). …

Perceiving the future From this study I understand that initially the Israelites did not perceive an “end time,” a time that would bring a culmination to human history. Their reasons for observing the Feast of Tabernacles were to remember the Exodus from Egypt and rejoice before the Lord and with each other, enjoying the abundance that God had given them. However, a perception of the future is to be found in Job and Deuteronomy. It is not until the coming of the ma- jor prophets, after the exile of Northern Israel, that a clearer understanding is achieved, of both a utopian time for human history and a time before that, when world events would come to a climax.

While I am not convinced that MOST people who believe Jesus will return believe He will return at the end of 6,000 years, the 6000 year return is a valid biblical view. As far as WHEN many Jews first understood the 6000/7000 year plan, that can be debated but many did.

Here are specific traditions related to the 6000/7000 year plan from the Jewish Babylonian Talmud:

R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day {Isaiah 2:11}.

Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight {Hosea 6:2}.

It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,’ and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day {Psalm 92:1},  meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath — and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past {Psalm 90:4}.

The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation;  two thousand years the Torah flourished;  and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era (Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 97a).

And while there are some errors in the above, it appears that there is a six thousand year plan, that the current two thousand years essentially represents the Church/Messianic era, and that a one thousand year period remains. Note: I inserted the scriptures quoted or alluded to above within {} as they are in the footnotes associated with the above.

Christians understood this 6000/7000 year plan as well. Also, according to the Catholic saint Jerome, they felt that the Feast of Tabernacles pictured the 1000 year millennial reign. Here is some of the actual Latin from the Catholic saint and doctor Jerome, with a translation into English following it:

1529…Judæi et Christiani judaizantes… Judæi Christiani…1535-1536… Omnes, inquit, qui relicti fuerint de gentibus quae venerint contra Jerusalem, ascendent per singulos annos, ut adorent regem Dominum exercituum, et celebrent festivitatem Tabernaculorum. Hæc quoque Judei cassa spe in mille annorum regno futura promittunt, cujus solemnitatis istud exordium est: (Jerome, Commentariorum in Zachariam Lib. III.  Patrologia Latina 25, 1529; 1536).

Jews and Christian judaizers…Christian Jews… All, he says, those who remain survivors of the nations that come against Jerusalem, shall go up every year, to worship the King the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. These also shall hope in, through the hollow devotion of Jews, a thousand years old promise of the future kingdom, whose festival this is the beginning of: (Thiel B. Translation of Jerome’s Commentariorum in Zachariam Lib. III.  Patrologia Latina 25, 1529; 1536)

Jerome himself said, “It is a common belief that the world will last 6,000 years.” Information about the 6000/7000 year plan and the Feast of Tabernacles can be found in the following:

Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? Two related sermons are available Millennial Utopia and The Millennium.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2026 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.

The Journal also had an advertisement from COG-ff’s Don Billingsley that stated the following:

God’s Chosen Instruments— God chose special men over time to fulfill His purpose, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, followed by His apostles. These were the Real Heroes used by God! Though these imperfect men sinned at one time or another (I John 1:8-10), they repented when they did (Revelation 12:10-11). And for that reason God continued to use them to fulfill His will and purpose with mankind This also includes God’s late apostle, and the Elijah to come, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. …

It should be realized by believers of the Holy Bible that some man had to come to fulfill the prophecies of the end- time Elijah (Malachi 4:4-6; Mat- thew 17:10-11)! If one did, what would he restore that Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong did not restore?

Let’s deal with two of the issues above.

First, according to Herbert W. Armstrong’s own writings, he could not have been the prophesied Elijah. Herbert Armstrong wrote this:

Those called into the Church were called not merely for salvation and eternal life, but to learn the way of God’s government and develop the divine character during this mortal life in the Church age…Also Malachi 4:5-6 pictures the Elijah to come at the very end of the Church age (Mystery of the Ages. 1985, pp. 201, 349).

When did he write that the Church age was over? Notice:

At the end of the Church age and 6,000 years from Adam, Christ would return to earth as King of kings and Lord of Lords, ruling all nations, with the saints, for one millennium. (Armstrong HW. What If Adam Had Taken of the Tree of Life? Plan Truth, March 1983)

The “very end” of the Church age was not over 30 years ago! The 6000 years has NOT yet been fulfilled (see also Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?). Since the “very end of the Church age” has not happened, and HWA died in January 16, 1986, his writings support that there must be another Elijah. And he was referring to an individual in the Mystery of the Ages.

As far as the second point, since Herbert W. Armstrong’s death, much has been restored concerning church history, prophecy, and the fulfillment of Matthew 28:19-20, etc. For information related to these matters, check out the following:

The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are  available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, -14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter, Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness, Matthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?, Matthew 21-23: ‘Palm Sunday,’ Come as You Are?, and the Greatest Commandments, Matthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

The Journal once again reported numerous Feast of Tabernacles’ sites. I previously submitted the following to The Journal related to the Continuing Church of God sites:

Dear Dixon:
Saw you would like a list of Feast of Tabernacles sites to be sent in.
So, here is our current expected list (and yes, Oscar’s email and last name are intentionally spelled differently) in no particular order:
San Diego, California, USA. Continuing Church of God, contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email
Wichita, Kansas, USA, Continuing Church of God, contact Richard Close email
Ontario or Quebec Canada. Continuing Church of God, contact Herb Haddon email
Uzice, Serbia. Continuing Church of God, contact Aleksandar Veljic, email
Rotorua, New Zealand. Continuing Church of God, contact John Hickey, email
Silay City, Philippines. Continuing Church of God, contact Oscar Mediavilla, email
Gambella, Ethiopia. Continuing Church of God, contact Koang Deng, email
Ashanti, Suame-Kumasi, Ghana contact Samuel Ofosu Gyeabour
Ndhiwa, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email
Bomet, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email
Kitui, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email
Mau, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Joseah Kipngetich, email
Nairobi, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email
Transmara, Kenya. Continuing Church of God, contact Evans Ochieng, email
Migawi, Malawi. Continuing Church of God contact Radson Mulozowa email
Mozambique, Continuing Church of God contact Radson Mulozowa email
Utegi, Tanzania. Continuing Church of God, contact Martin Wanga, email
Best regards,
Bob Thiel

Since the above letter, the CCOG site in Canada was finalized to be in Kingston, Ontario. More on sites can be found in the link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2017.

As far as The Journal goes, it also had the usual letters to the editor and other advertisements, various comments, and opinion articles. The advertisements mainly seem to be from possibly Laodicean groups and/or individuals (not all seem to be COG) who seem to think that the ads are somehow doing the work of God. More of the real work that the COGs should be doing are in the article The Final Phase of the Work.

The Journal itself is available by paid subscription (though Dixon Cartwright says some subscriptions are free to those who cannot afford it). It tends to have a non-Philadelphian approach to many, but not all, matters.

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