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Church of God News

The Journal: News of the Churches of God
The latest issue of the Journal was published on-line on 10th September.

Living Church of God

“Shirley Young, a long-time faithful member of God’s Church in the United Kingdom and regular contributor to the “Woman to Woman” series in the Living Church News, died peacefully this morning, 11th September, after an 11-year battle with cancer. We are thankful for Mrs. Young’s life and contribution to God’s Work, and for the faith God instilled in her and His divine mercy in answering the many prayers that were offered on her behalf. She now awaits the resurrection and we look forward to seeing her at that momentous occasion.”—Jamie Meakin

Jim Meredith has announced that the annual “Winter Family Weekend” will again take place at the Renaissance Charlotte (NC) Suites Hotel, and will be “three days of spiritual rejuvenation and fellowship”, beginning with a full day of sports tournaments and games on Christmas Day, and finishing with a dinner dance on Saturday evening 27th.

United Church of God

On 10th September the UCG held the first of a planned nationwide series of seminars, entitled, ‘Why Were You Born?’, in its HQ city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

This was “a major undertaking for the Church” - publicized by very expensive general media advertising, plus cheap targeted advertising - 5,830 on the Good News mailing list, and 28,500 Cincinnati households who were sent e-mails about the event.
Hundreds registered for the seminar, but only 74 attended (including a few who hadn’t signed up in advance) - which the Church described as “particularly encouraging.”
Seminar surveys have now been e-mailed to these 74, plus those who registered but didn't attend, which will enable UCG to assess the effectiveness of the seminar presentation and the value for money of the various forms of advertising used to promote the event.

Persecution in East Africa

Report from Bob Thiel, 11th September: There are some in Uganda that have expressed interest in the Continuing Church of God, but are not yet actually part of us. Kenya-based Pastor Evans Ochieng was born in Uganda and was able to meet with a couple of them. Several hours ago, I received the following from him:
“I went to meet two brethren from Uganda, who met me at border yesterday till today early. There is a sad news from them that I would like the church to offer prayer to this our brethren.

They have a great war with some denominations that are surrounding them. These denominations are saying that they are devil worshipers, because they are preaching that people are not going in heaven. That Christ is coming to rule on earth. This is a big problem facing these our brethren. Some people have attacked them and are ready to accuse them because of what they preach. But it is good that, they insisted that they must preach the truth and they cannot change whatsoever. Even some of people who had joined went back to follow men instead of following God.

Now they told me that, even though the situation is tough, they are going to arrange how I am going to meet those people on the ground. They told me that I should wait first and give them time to see how they are going to solve that  problem. We took a lot of time when talking, answering questions, and talking about the kingdom of God. I urged them not to give up, because God has chosen them to reach in the kingdom of God. When I saw how they were brave and strong, I was very happy and pray for them. Please pray for the gospel in Uganda to stand.”

Report from Bill Goff of Kenya, Hands of Hope :
“As many of you know, our East African brethren are rich in faith, but reside among the poor of this world in terms of material wealth. 2014 has been another difficult year for our impoverished brethren, due to the adverse weather conditions, plus a disease that has devastated much of the maize crop (which has caused food prices to rise dramatically). Without our help, most will not be able to attend this year’s Festival of Tabernacles.
With well over 20 groups now in Kenya and Tanzania, it will not be possible to have one central location. We have arranged to have five feast sites this year to accommodate all the brethren. Transportation to each site will be the individual group’s responsibility (bar the assisting of widows and orphans). Three of the sites will meet at their regular Sabbath meeting hall, but two will meet under tents - that we are now in the process of purchasing.”

When Will Jesus Christ Return?
Roderick Meredith of the Living Church of God writes:
“Because I have been one of the pioneer students of Ambassador College and of the ministry of this Work under Herbert W. Armstrong, I have been able to know and converse for many hours with nearly all of the leading men who studied prophecy in detail in the early years. I have also read some articles and books on prophecy and biblical chronology by outsiders.
Every one of the leading men that I talked to in this Work—including Dr. Herman Hoeh, Dr. Ernest Martin, Dr. Charles Dorothy, Dr. Robert Kuhn and others—have acknowledged that they came to realize during their study of biblical chronology that we could ‘easily’ be 20 or 30 years off in either direction! Therefore, it should be easy to realize that Christ may not come until about 2030AD!
Meredith and the other pioneer students in the 1950s who became ministers preached, as Herbert Armstrong had been doing, the imminent return of Christ—in the next 5 to 10 years—and then specifically 1975. When this prophecy failed, they declared that Jesus Christ must return during the lifetime of Herbert Armstrong—who died in 1986—and then by 1996/7AD, this being the year 6000 from creation according to James Ussher’s chronology.
Roderick Meredith
’s conversations with these other leading men must have taken place over 40 years ago, as Ernest Martin resigned in January 1974 from the Worldwide Church of God.
The brethren should not however complain about this deception:
“We must never be involved in ‘murmuring’ and ‘disputing’ and complaining about the fact that Almighty God is giving human beings more time ...”

Legacy Institute

Leon Sexton writes: “Please remember our brethren in Burma. They cannot attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Thailand. We are again planning an FOT site in Burma near the central city of Taungoo. Please remember our brethren who will gather there. Legacy graduates and the COG deacon in Rangoon will be serving at the Burmese site. Most of our Burmese brethren are subsistence farmers or day laborers and earn very little money. We need to help out with food, some accommodations and transportation. We need to send them U.S. $2,000.00 to cover these festival expenses. If you wish to make a donation for the Feast of Tabernacles in Burma, please send to P.O. Box 575, Monrovia, California 91016, with a note ‘FOT Burma’.”

Philadelphia Church of God

Andrew Locher writes:
“In mid-July, we received approval to begin airing in Britain. The Key of David will debut on CBS Reality a few weeks before the Feast of Trumpets. This station is available for free over the air to more than 90% of the British population. It also broadcasts into other nations in the United Kingdom and Europe through cable and satellite. We have the 8 a.m. slot on Sunday mornings, a time that has proven to be our most effective. We anticipate that this will be the best station ever available to the PCG in Britain. Our first broadcast will be September 7.
With mounting tension in Britain and Europe, it looks like God’s timing is perfect for launching The Key of David to the general population. Pair with that the possibility of expanding Herbert W. Armstrong College into Britain, and we could muster a labor force ready to take calls, process requests and do other support work for the program.”
Although CBS Reality is available free to over 90% of the British population, BARB statistics show that this channel’s percentage of total weekly viewing is 0.5%, and its average weekly viewing per person is 8 minutes.

PCG’s pastor general and false prophet, Gerald Flurry, has admitted that “God is not opening a door to purchase the Bricket Wood campus near St. Albans, England.”
PCG had hoped to recreate Herbert Armstrong’s Ambassador College, however Hanstead House and a large area of adjacent land was bought by Saint Congar, a property development company, in April 2012, but its controversial housing scheme still awaits planning approval
, as it involves significant development in the Green Belt.

According to various reports, Flurry announced in July 2013 that the property was being purchased, one source quoting $6.8 million for the house and 7 acres of land.

However, a recent PCG publication states: ‘PCG officials have been looking for other estates in England that could suit the purpose of a college campus and office facility, and he (Flurry) indicated that they were pleasantly surprised to find a large number of beautiful estates available that are considerably less expensive than the Bricket Wood campus.

Biblical Calendar 2014

The Day of Trumpets in 2014 could stretch over five days:

Tuesday, 23rd Sept. (first day of the moon’s dark phase);

Wednesday, 24th Sept. (astronomical conjunction of the sun and moon);

Thursday, 25th Sept. (molad + 1 day postponement - CoG Hebrew calendar);

Friday, 26th Sept. (the new moon will be visible Thursday eve in some localities);

Sabbath, 27th Sept. (probable first sighting of moon from Jerusalem Friday eve - unlikely on Thursday eve).

For calendars [6] [7] [8], Crescent Moon Watch shows where and when the new moon will first be visible on the evenings of 24th, 25th & 26th September.
HMNAO's main website has more precise data - select Crescent Moon Visibility and Named Location, and type in Jerusalem or other major world city.

Losing the “God stuff”
Brian Orchard, writing in
The Father’s Call, recalled a church magazine article by Herbert Armstrong, warning of the danger of local congregations becoming little more than social clubs. He wrote from the perspective of traditional churches, where the ritual elements of music, singing, inspirational messages and fellowship could be more important than a personal relationship with God.

Brian Orchard says that, We have arrived at a point where the concept of church needs not have any bearing on the existence of God. A group by the name of Sunday Assembly is promoting atheistic churches, and the idea is catching on worldwide.

The Telegraph reported on 27th July that the Sunday Assembly offers a church experience, but without the God part and, according to its organizers, it's starting to catch on in America. Sanderson Jones, one of the London co-founders, says that almost 400 towns from Sao Paolo to Singapore are now expressing interest in setting up an Assembly, and more than 150 of these are in America. Adam Newton says, “The idea is, why not steal all the good bits about church - the music, the fellowship, the community work - and lose the God stuff.”

Brian Orchard comments: Members who understand what the church is will want to embrace the “God stuff”, because without it church is an empty, selfish pursuit – a social club fulfilling our emotional needs.

The Vatican and Christian Unity

Tony Palmer, an evangelical Anglican bishop and close friend of Pope Francis, who consecrated him to be a “bridge for the promotion of Christian unity,” died in hospital on 20th July, following a collision between his motor cycle and a car near his home in south-west England.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, sent a message of condolence to his widow, saying that Bishop Palmer’s meetings with Pope Francis over recent months had given "great impetus to ecumenical relations between the Catholic Church and Evangelical Christians.” His strong faith and his passion for unity, the Cardinal said, “reached a global audience of Christians with the message that there is no time to be wasted in division, the time for unity is now.”
Tony Palmer was due to be in Italy on 28th July for a meeting with the pope and Rev. Giovanni Traettino. reported on 28th July: ‘Pope Francis has met privately with Evangelical pastor and friend Rev. Giovanni Traettino in Caserta, southern Italy. After the private visit this morning with the friend he’s known since early ministry in Buenos Aires, the Pope surprisingly met with the Community of the Pentecostal Church of Reconciliation - which is under construction - and gave a speech. The Vatican has said the text of the talk is being transcribed and will be published soon.’

The video Does the Pope’s Message Fulfill Prophecy is an analysis by Doug Batchelor of Tony Palmer's presentation and the Pope's message in Palmer's video The Miracle of Unity Has Begun.

International Congregation of Yahweh

ICY is sponsoring an International Festival of Tabernacles in 2015, to be held at Elementaita Country Lodge (about 85 miles north of Nairobi Airport.)

“It’s been almost 15 years since we began to hold international gatherings every 3-5 years at Tabernacles time. In that time believers from all over the globe have met together and celebrated Tabernacles, this incredibly joyful feast, in the UK (2000 & 2010), the USA (2003), and in Jamaica (2006). These international gatherings have been rich in fellowship, worship and the ministry of the Word. There is a thriving and developing national congregation in Kenya and the people are keenly excited about hosting this event.”

There is an option of a variety of safaris following the festival.

Bookings need to be made by mid-October.

Please email for any further information you require, and contact details of the festival organizer in your part of the world.

Church of God 7th Day

The Journal’s lead article in the July 2014 issue concerns Bill Hicks, pastor of The Rest of God Ministries, and International Ministerial Congress Executive Director, who resigned from the General Conference of the (Denver based) Church of God Seventh Day in June.
The Ministerial License and Credentials Committee alleged that he had posted “inflammatory and defamatory e-mails” concerning leaders of the church.
Bill Hicks published an online newsletter, dated 19 May 2014, titled ‘Wanted: Church Organizations That Care More About Your Soul Than Your Assets!’ alleging that the church’s national board of directors had spent more than $80,000 for legal advice on how to adopt a new constitution to enable it to exercise control over local church assets.
“Now that the CoG7 General Conference has formed a ‘committee’ which is preparing to reveal their recommendations on a completely new constitution in advance of their general conference next year, it is high time all local churches wake up and see what is going on. The sales pitch is always something like this: ‘If you give us (the denomination) full control over all power and assets of the local church, we can do a better job of preaching the gospel’.”

Whaid Rose, CoG7 President and Chairman of the Conference, declined to comment on the allegations and resignation.

Christian Biblical Church of God

On the front page of the 31st May 2014 issue of The Journal is a report of a sermon given on 3rd May by the church's founder, Fred Coulter, entitled Guard the Doctrine of God, in which he criticized the Journal for publishing “heresies to deceive those who are trying to be faithful” - particularly articles on the Passover and the Biblical Calendar.
He also criticized the leadership of the United Church of God for changes in doctrine that they are supposedly preparing. After 11 minutes he says, “In one of the Churches of God today there is a man [he means Viktor Kubik] who was also in charge of the big church that we left years ago [he was in charge of Ministerial Services - Joseph Tkach was in overall charge of the Worldwide Church of God], who was the leading one in bringing the false doctrines within that church. [Tkach and others brought in the new doctrines - Kubik's responsibility was to ensure that all the ministers taught them.] And guess what they’re doing in that church [United Church of God], they are investigating 26 doctrines.
[None of which are fundamental doctrines.] ... Currently one of the ministers is giving a series of six sermons on the Passover, entitled ‘Changes in the Passover’. [The correct title of the series is 'Six Steps to Passover']
After 22 minutes Fred Coulter discusses the Hebrew Calculated Calendar, admitting that “there are some things you have to take on faith.” He asserts that God gave this calendar to the priests and the Levites at Mount Sinai [thus by-passing Moses, who wrote all the words of the Lord - Exodus 24:4 - and delivered the law to the priests and the Levites - Deut.31:9].

He warns that, if you do not believe this and you observe another calendar, “in your own self righteousness, God’s judgement will be upon you!”

Continuing Church of God
For over 5 years Robert Thiel has considered himself to be a prophet, and now he is preparing the ground for the possibility of his also being the Elijah to come.
“As far as ‘Elijah’, the position of the Church of God since the beginning is that there would be three biblical ‘Elijahs’. The original Elijah (e.g. 1 Kings 17:1), John the Baptist (Matthew 7:12-13), and an Elijah to come at the very end of the church age (Malachi 4:4-6) to restore all things (Matthew 17:11).”
“Although I have not
restored all things, nor am I insisting that I personally must be the prophesied Elijah, the reality is that I and CCOG have restored what Dr. Meredith repeatedly wrote needed to be.”

[Meredith is the leader of the Living Church of God, which Thiel left at the end of 2012 to form CCOG.]

“...while Herbert Armstrong seemed to feel he was an Elijah, I have yet to see any published statement from him where he directly stated that he was the only possible Elijah, that he restored ALL things, and that there could be no Elijah figure after his death ...”

“Since HWA taught that the one of the two witnesses come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and he was not one of the final two witnesses, he clearly allowed for another ‘Elijah’.”

“... the old WCG taught what I believe that the Bible teaches on them (on the one or two that it did not, one is consistent with a November 1979 HWA  writing, and on the other an advisor to HWA told me that HWA would have agreed with me on that as well).”