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Church of God News

The Journal: News of the Churches of God

The latest issue of the Journal - March 31 is now available on-line.
The lead article is John Warren’s history of the Worldwide Church of God, focusing this month on the turmoil of 1994-95.

Also on the front page is an essay by the then 12 year old Robert Geiger, written two months after his cousin and best friend was shot dead while sitting next to him in a Living Church of God service. Another  member, Terry Ratzmann, had vented his anger of LCG’s leadership by shooting 12 people, 7 fatally, and then killing himself.
Dave Havir’s column this month (page 3) is on ‘servant leadership’. Being part of a ‘congregational’ church, his views conflict with Herbert Armstrong’s “coercive hierarchy”, which gradually developed after his wife’s death in 1967.

United Church of God

UCG has issued a short promotional video to provide a little more information about its new website, which will be launched in the next day or two.

Concerns have been expressed about moving the gospel-preaching content away from the homepage, in order to focus on “who we are as a Church.” Peter Eddington, Operation Manager, Media & Communications Services, responds: “A key change is a new Beyond Today media section that will highlight and facilitate a more aggressive preaching of the gospel of God’s Kingdom.”

Over 50% of UCG’s traffic is now from mobile phones and tablets, so there will be a more responsive design to make the site better for smaller screen sizes. Local congregations will be easier to find and the content of their websites easier to access.

A tour of Turkey (Asia Minor) is being planned, spanning the Festival of Tabernacles, 24th September-6th October, with the option of an excursion to Cappadocia 6th-8th October. Exploring the ancient capital of Constantinople (Istanbul) and the historically rich cities from Revelation.

The Italian congregation is offering a Tuscany 4 day pre-feast cultural tour in Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano to the brethren who can attend on Atonement Day at the Festival of Tabernacles site.

The bus will depart to Tuscany on the morning after Atonement, and the group will return in time for the Festival of Tabernacles.

(Detailed information will be e-mailed to applicants).

Herbert Armstrong Videos

Grace Communion International (formally the ‘Worldwide Church of God’) has filed several copyright notices with YouTube concerning the telecast section of Herbert W. Armstrong Library, resulting in the deactivation of the HWAL account with YouTube. HWAL spent years building the YouTube channel, uploading a total of 1,335 videos on to YouTube, where it says they were receiving 1.6 million hits per month.
GCI owns the copyright on all WCG materials, but HWAL believes the publication of the videos falls within the ‘fair use’ provision of the copyright regulations.

Living Church of God

Fitzroy Greeman, Area Pastor for Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana and Brazil, has died of kidney disease, aged 64. Douglas Winnail travelled from LCG’s HQ in Charlotte NC to attend his funeral on Tuesday, April 7, in northern Trinidad. Fitzroy Greeman was baptized in 1972 and ordained in 2000.

Peter Nathan, Stephen Elliott, Bob Rodzaj and Ted Budge were among the ministers who left David Hulme’s church to form The Father’s Call in January 2014. One month later all four left that new group - Nathan, Elliott and Rodzaj joining the Living Church of God, and Budge returning to the United Church of God. Ted Budge has had to wait a full year until his appointment as an elder, assisting Robin Webber in the Los Angeles congregation.

Many ministers were upset to learn that these three had been given immediate full-time employment, prompting Roderick Meredith to write an open letter in March 2014 to “ask all of you, in Jesus’ name not to be alarmed or worried about this!”
In March 2015, all three men were promoted:
“Mr. Stephen Elliott has been designated as the Area Pastor of congregations in Southern California and Nevada. Mr. Bob Rodzaj has been designated as the Area Pastor for congregations in New Mexico and West Texas. Mr. Peter Nathan will serve as the Assistant Regional Director for Africa in addition to his duties with Living University.”

The Temple Institute

Wednesday, 25th March was the 6th Annual Temple Mount Awareness Day, for which the Temple Institute produced and uploaded 10 videos, answering questions about the Temple Mount and the building and furnishing of the third Temple.

Biblical New Year

The biblical year for the larger churches began on Friday evening, 20th March. The March new moon diagrams show that the crescent new moon would easily be visible over most of the world on Saturday evening.

Members of various Jewish and Christian groups were in Israel on that evening looking for the new moon crescent, which was sighted in the north and the far south, but not at Jerusalem, as the sky was too cloudy.

For some people the new year begins when, as Herbert Armstrong put it in 1952, “the new moon is first visible to the naked eye at Jerusalem” - i.e. as it was in Jesus Christ’s time, when only new moon witnesses living in or close to Jerusalem could reach the Temple in time. The aids of modern communications and astronomy are not acceptable.
Brian Convery reports: “Many have inquired as to any sighting of the crescent after sunset Saturday in Jerusalem. Both Matthew and Pierre reported the entire region was enveloped in clouds and many locations having rain as well. Others report the same thing from Jerusalem and the surrounding area. With that said we will be moving everything forward for one day, which we have posted on the web site. These are our personal beliefs, which we hold dear to our worship of the Creator.”
If this is the reader’s personal belief, please note that wave sheaf offering Sunday will now be the 7th day of the festival instead of the 1st, so Pentecost will be a week later.
In the video Month of the Abib (starting 16 minutes in), Roy Hoffman of the Israeli New Moon Society explains  why Rabbinic Jews such as himself are now practising observation of the new moon, yet continue to keep the Jewish calendar.
(Nehemiah Gordon is on the left, and Brian Convery is on the right. The commentator is Michael Storey.)

Continuing Church of God

Received the following report from relatively new CCOG supporter in Kenya:
On the Sabbath of 14th March 2015 we held a successful meeting in Dikirr Transmara where Pastor Ochieng and I had an opportunity to meet each other. This was the second meeting in the Rift Valley after holding another one in Bomet last month. The meeting was attended by many brethren from the area including those who were converted as early as 1970s. The main problem which those early Christians had experience is bad leadership, which resulted to numerous divisions among the brethren.
We are now re-uniting these groups together to be one. We also held a leaders’ meeting in Dikirr Transmara together with Pastor Ochieng and we agreed to have three venues for the Passover feast i.e. Bomet, Transmara and Mau in the Rift Valley region.
Also the brethren of Transmara have found a big hall whereby it can accommodate the brethren for the Feast of Tabernacles. Transmara Dikirr is center place from the three regions of Bomet, Kilgoris and Mau - there are many Christians in this region of Dikirr Transmara including old people who believe in Christianity. We shall not forget to extend our sincere thanks to Pastor Ochieng for his small assistance he offered to the widows in the area by providing them with the food.
The pastors are also happy because they were promised English, Kiswahili and their native language Bibles. There are also many brethren in three churches who don’t have Bibles in their native language. The members also requested Pastor Ochieng to provide them with the Kalenjin bibles because the majority of the Rift Valley region understand Kalenjin.
May the lord bless you Amen.
Yours, Joseah Kipngetich Tiongik.

Legacy Institute

Update from Leon Sexton:
“I am at home and resting after a day in the hospital. The surgeon performed an angiogram and took pictures of my arteries and heart. The only problem he found was called ‘Trivial Coronary Arterial Disease’, with no intraluminal narrowing, which means there was very minimal plaque buildup in two areas, and no need to continue with an angioplasty.
He also found that the arteries of my arms were very small in diameter, therefore they had to stop the angiogram by going through my right arm, and immediately proceeded to go through the groin.
He recommended I take blood thinning and plaque medicine since there is an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and diabetes. He wants me to lose weight, eat better to bring down the LDL cholesterol, exercise more, and try to avoid stress.
What I need is help from God to do all these things. I need to keep up my health to accomplish the work God has for Gloria and me in this part of the world.
We are planning a trip to Burma for the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread and my health has to be optimal.”

Restored Church of God

RCG now has only 1000 members worldwide, according to one ex-minister.

Robert Thiel has posted (5th March) some quotes from the 2008 edition of a booklet by David Pack, I Will Send Elijah To Restore All Things (March 5th posting), sent to him by a former RCG supporter:
p.95 “A future ‘Elijah counterfeit’ will almost certainly soon deceive many unsuspecting brethren.”
The warnings that David Pack gives in this booklet are an amazingly accurate prophecy against himself.

David Pack gave a general prophetic warning about himself in December 1998:

“I want to make a statement about me now. If I became deceived, I will never tell you what I’m going to tell you now. I am telling you, if I go off into strange ideas, misconduct, rebellion, you name it, don’t follow me. I want to tell you that now, because if I start doing that, I’m gonna try to get you to follow me! I’m gonna come to you and tell you it doesn’t apply, it doesn’t mean me. No, no, no, no, no, no, it’s ok to follow me, because ABCD and XY and Z. Do you understand what I’m saying? Listen to me now, when I tell you, don’t follow me if I go off into weird ideas, or if I get off into other things that are total absolutely unscriptural conduct, because if I do, I’m gonna paint it with a different face and try to get you to follow me. Do you understand what I’m saying, brethren? Please remember that, because I promise you that, if I become deceived, I’ll forget it, and I’ll want you to forget it. And I hope you’ll remember it well enough to quote it right back to me.”

He declares that Herbert Armstrong was Moses and that he, David Pack, is the ‘Elijah to come’ (Malachi 4:4-6).

The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 will arise from within the RCG, and will be trained by David Pack, long before their commission begins in Jerusalem .

He also confirmed a previous declaration that he is the ‘Joshua to come’.
Ex-minister Adrian Gray left RCG in 2013, because: “Mr Pack’s focus on members is to get as much cash from them as possible. He uses not going to the place of safety and hellfire for those who do not give all, and laying up your reward in heaven for those who do give all.”
Pack says that the phrase ‘all things in common’ (Acts 2:44 & 4:32) means: sell everything you have and send the money to him.
“It’s absolutely biblical that what we have, we sell, whatsoever we have, we give it to God’s work. That’s why we were called. You’re not allowed to hold on to your own income.”
“You are not allowed to hold on to your own assets. You have an income, you live a wonderful life, life goes on normally. But if you were called by God and you are to participate in His work and walk in His ways, you have to turn over your assets to God’s church. That’s the pattern.”
“It won’t leave you a pauper, it won’t break your life.”

Think Red Ink Ministries

Think Red Ministries has been removed from our Live Broadcasts web page, as “TRI TV streaming is in the process of becoming strictly ‘On Demand’.
Through the years TRI has made many productions available via the various websites. You have always been able to access and download, audios, videos, books, Red Letter Academy classes, and more! Perhaps this is part of the reason why the statistics do not show a lot of activity from live stream viewers. Due to the extreme expense of streaming live TV and to stay true to our financial convictions, it became necessary to trade this system for an ‘On Demand’ system. We think you’re going to enjoy watching whatever you choose -- whenever you want it! That’s right! You will soon be able to go to the website whenever you have the time and inclination and pick what you want to view!
Every time you watched a Red Letter Edition for an hour or an hour and a half, it represented as many as 3-4 days to produce EACH SHOW! ThINK of the hours of production spared that can be now utilized for other things! Like...
The Think Red Ink book is finally ready and will soon be in distribution! Using some of the time formerly spent with daily radio and TV production, Don has completed the audio book version as well. (Just wait till you see the photos throughout the book and hear the dramatization of Traveler's adventures as he ‘meets’ Paul in prison, etc.)
As you listen to these shows or find something of particular interest on our websites, send us a note  and tell us what you would like to have available ON DEMAND! (If you feel inspired...send along a proposed title for these programs, as well!)” Don & Pam Harris.

The Father's Call

Brian Orchard writes, in the January 31 update: “You will notice that we have included the church name – Church of God – on the front page so there is no misunderstanding of who we are. The Father’s Call is the website name, not the name of the church ... The Church of God, through this website, seeks to support those the Father calls to come into a restored relationship with Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
The Sabbath Broadcasts listing includes ‘The Church of God’ for the ministries of Jamie McNab in the UK and Don Roth in the USA – who are associates – but they are not connected with The Father’s Call. In order to avoid confusion, the title of The Father’s Call will be retained.

Live bible studies will now be every two weeks instead of every Friday evening.

Philadelphia Church of God

On 23rd January Stephen Flurry made the first broadcast from the new UK studio at Edstone. He quotes from Herbert Armstrong’s autobiography: “It was the development of the college in Pasadena that made possible the growth of the whole gospel work,” and he again intimates that the UK college at Edstone will have the same effect.
Rapid church membership growth in the UK in the 1960s was achieved, not by the establishment of Bricket Wood College in 1960 (which Herbert Armstrong closed in 1974), but by daily broadcasts by Garner Ted Armstrong on off-shore pop music radio stations - at a time when only the BBC was allowed to have a mainland radio network - which did not then include a pop music radio channel.
PCG does not have a broadcaster anywhere close to his quality, and there are now numerous commercial TV and radio channels in the UK - although very few accept religious programs.
‘The Key of David’ was due to start on CBS Reality UK in September, but CBS cancelled it a couple of days before the first broadcast. CBS has however been persuaded to restore it in the early Sunday morning listings, and the program now follows ‘Tomorrow’s World’ from the Living Church of God.

Church of God, a Worldwide Association

The January 2015 issue of One Accord, which is now available online, includes a report of the annual meeting of the Ministerial Board of Directors in December 2014. The Doctrine Committee chairman, Don Henson, “reminded the board that the committee reviews various (official) documents and publications” and “also reviews a small number of study papers submitted by members to propose alternate positions to the Church’s longstanding doctrines or understandings. Mr. Henson explained that, while such writers are asked to submit their papers to their pastors first, they generally want the papers to be reviewed by the committee and then usually try to rebut the explanation if it differs from their own. This is is very time-consuming, but such submissions are treated seriously and with respect.”
On 22 December 2014 it was announced that Andrew and Sarah Henderson had been officially suspended and prohibited indefinitely from attending all COGWA services and activities, because “they no longer speak the same thing as the Church.”
The Hendersons had questioned their local minster, Lyle Welty, about the COG Hebrew calendar, which he failed to answer satisfactorily. At his request, they submitted to him a study paper, A Case for the Biblical Calendar, to be forwarded to the Doctrine Committee. On receipt of the study paper, Lyle Welty suspended the couple from attending services, but he eventually agreed to submit it to the Doctrine Committee, which resulted in their total and indefinite exclusion.
It is not then the Doctrine Committee’s role to treat members’ study papers seriously and with respect, and to consider their alternative positions to the Church’s longstanding doctrines or understandings. Rather it is to explain to the members that they are wrong, and that they must comply with the Church’s teachings.

Larry Salyer stated, “All seem to agree that the camaraderie among the MBOD is the best we have had in years. While it is easy to find agreement, I also feel I can disagree and be frank on any issue I want to—even with the administration.”
It’s a pity that this freedom to disagree and be frank on any issue does not extend to those people who pay the salaries of the Ministerial Board of Directors.