Journal Out: Bible Canon, COGWA Office, No UCG Merger, …



The latest issue (print date January 31, 2012) of The Journal just arrived here electronically.

One of the lead articles was about the canon of the Bible.  Let me quote some of that:

“Yet where did our approved list of Bible books come from,” Mr. Cartwright asked, “and how do we know that God inspired and even breathed them as holy writ?”

The elephant in the room is “right there beside us and we don’t notice that the books we virtually venerate reside in our system of beliefs thanks to the imposed authority of a religious organization that Protestants and the Churches of God general reject.”

I absolutely reject the notion that we in the COGs got the Bible from the Church of Rome which is what he is implying.  Dixon Cartwright did also, however, include articles in the current Journal by Ian Willis and Ken Westby properly claiming that we did not get the canon from the Catholics.  For years I have studied into this subject extensively and strongly believe that the Bible and secular history support the view that the Catholics and the Protestants got their books of the Bible from the Church of God.  Specifically, for one example, when the Catholic saint Jerome was putting his Latin Vulgate version together, he went to Palestine/Judea and met with non-Catholics who seemed to be part of the COG to confirm what was valid.  And even though the Roman and Orthodox Catholics accept additional books in the Old Testament that we in the COGs reject (as do the Protestants) and that Jerome included in his Latin Vulgate Bible, even Jerome realized that the so-called deutero-canonical books were not inspired like the 66 books that we in the COGs accept.  For details about the canon, I urge those interested to read the articles The Old Testament Canon and The New Testament Canon – From the Bible Itself.

The front page also has an article about COGWA getting an office near Dallas.  This was also covered at COGwriter last week (see COGWA reports $1.3 million in cash and getting an office).

One of the front page articles was related to my being asked a question concerning a possible “merger” between the Living Church of God and the United Church of God.  Dixon Cartwright emailed me a couple of days ago and asked me:

“Bob, in view of the recent summit conference in Charlotte, do you think the LCG and UCG will merge in the foreseeable future?”

In The Journal he reported the following version of my response:

In short “The short answer to your question is no,” he said. “For many years some people have speculated that LCG and UCG might merge. “Yet those of us in LCG really can only imagine that the only way the groups would get together is if those in UCG would want to become part of LCG.”

Dr. Thiel said he and other LCG members have always been “open” to UCG members joining up with the LCG, but only if they’re “sincere about it.” He has discussed with “all the top leaders of LCG” on many occasions the concept of the improbable consolidation of the two groups, and “they tell me basically the same thing.”

Hard to believe

A big problem with a merger would be the official statement of beliefs, he said. “There are many differences in doctrine and priorities that we in LCG would not be willing to change for a merger with UCG— or Cogwa [the Church of God a Worldwide Association], for that matter—to take place . . . “Just because many of us in LCG sometimes speak with people in UCG, this does not mean that we are interested in a merger where we are expected to compromise what we believe are biblically appropriate positions that differ from several of the positions that UCG has.” Visit Dr. Thiel at

While I did not actually mention LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs in my response, it is true that I believe that fundamental differences in doctrinal matters, gospel proclamation priorities, and governmental issues would prevent mergers between LCG and either UCG or COGWA.  My article on Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God provides the references related to all of those, and my article Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association mainly focuses on gospel proclamation priorities as those in COGWA tend to have pretty much the same doctrinal and governance views of those in UCG (COGWA is a relatively recent split for UCG and is almost entirely composed of ministers and members who were once part of UCG).

The back page of The Journal has some information on CGI as well as a project by Craig White related to the late Dr. Hoeh.  Other matters are also covered in the current issue.

Regarding the rest of the current Journal issue, in addition to the content of many of the articles and letters to the editor, I remain distressed by many of the paid advertisements in The Journal and do not believe that many should be allowed in a purported Church of God publication.

While The Journal is available only by paid subscription (though some subscriptions are free to those who cannot afford it), you can view the PDF version of  The Journal for issue No. 147. online at:

Some articles of related interest may also include:

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.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association Known as COGWA, this seems to be 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.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from evangelists?
Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith 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?
Teachings of the Church of God, International This article focuses on where CGI differs from the old WCG.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the Living Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.

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