CG7-D wants all to wear masks; Banned wants COG services cancelled; COGwriter says the Bible disagrees



A local part of CG7-D put out the following:

Dear Pastors and Leaders

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus.

I pray that you, your family and your church are well and staying safe during this difficult time. I am writing to you to encourage you as a leader in your church to do all you can, in a responsible and thoughtful way, to keep your members safe.

Not all leaders are doing that.  Some are ignoring suggested guidelines, for what- ever reasons, and by doing so, put their families and members in jeopardy. Just this week, in a Superintendent “ZOOM” call with Loren Stacy and Jody McCoy, we learned that one of our churches in the Southeast District, where the pandemic is now increasing rapidly, “refused” to follow any guidelines like masking and social distancing – with this result.  Every member in attendance at their services now have the virus and are under a strict individual 14-day quarantine. The authorities came in and shut them down until further notice. Several churches in the S.E. District and the S.W. District are being mandated to shut down, again.

In both the Southeast District and Southwest District, the number of members of the church with COVID 19 are increasing rapidly. We have had several of our leaders and pastors who have had and some who now have the coronavirus.  In two entire churches, almost all members have the virus. …

I encourage you to make it mandatory that every attendee in your services WEAR A MASK!  No exceptions.

Sincerely in Christ

Superintendent – Ken Lawson

The anti-COG site, Banned by HWA, who posted the above, also posted something today seemingly thinking COG services should be cancelled:

Thiel lets his own ministers make the decision whether they want to follow the rules instead of being a real manly leader and tell them to stay home. No COG service is that important and certainly, no sermon is that important to miss.

The Continuing Church of God told its leaders to hold April Passover services, even in individual houses if need be. We also said that regular services should be conducted, while being mindful of local laws, ordinances, etc.

That is consistent with what the Bible teaches as the Book of Hebrews:

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Banned by HWA also called upon me to cancel church services worldwide last March. Essentially calling for services to be closed for several months. The Bible does not teach to cancel church services for months or that sermons are unimportant.

I (Bob Thiel) did not cancel services like Banned wanted then. Instead I wrote about COVID and ‘fear in CCOG’s Letter to the Brethren: March 19, 2020:

Because of fear of spreading COVID-19, the Five Cities school district cancelled all classes effective this past Monday. There are school closures throughout the USA, Africa (including Kenya), and Europe (including Serbia). Many countries have also declared a ‘state of emergency.’

Yesterday, officials declared a shelter-in-place requirement for San Luis Obispo County (where I am writing this from) and stated that ‘non-essential’ businesses are to be shut down today. This was also done in many other counties in California a few days ago. …

Several counties in California have essentially put people on quarantine, and now everyone in France is supposed to do some type of filled out form in order to travel outside of their homes (see AP: Government issues historic restrictions amid virus outbreak; Form now needed to leave your house in France).

The restrictions on movement and the discouragement of physical cash because of COVID-19 are paving the way for the acceptance of the 666 Beast and total government financial control. Now, however, as Jesus said, “do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet” (Mark 13:7). Jesus also said:

33 … In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b)

32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

While you should take reasonable precautions, you do not need to fear. …

With all the reality and hype about COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) going around, the following came to mind:

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)

Brethren, trust God, for we are destined to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

At risk of repeat, remember that Jesus said “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Perhaps it should be pointed out that of the thousands of CCOG members, to the best of our knowledge, only one has had a confirmed case of COVID-19. He did not get it from CCOG services nor did he pass it on to anyone in CCOG. And he recovered.

So, no, we see no reason for a blanket closing of Sabbath services. We intend to continue to let individual leaders make decisions based upon local conditions, but under the advisement to follow scriptures to not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some.” Truly we are getting nearer to the time of Jesus’ return and all need to grow in grace and in knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).

Attending Sabbath services (in person or online) helps us to do so.

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