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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 13th August.

United Church of God

The UCG is spending a great deal of time and money in promoting a public presentation in Cincinnati on 10th September. President Viktor Kubik writes:

“Shortly before the festival season begins, we plan to ‘turn things up’ a bit. As you may have already read or heard, plans are well underway to present one of our Beyond Today hosts, Gary Petty, in a public appearance presentation on Sept. 10. It will take place in eastern Cincinnati and will be focused on the biblical truth exemplified in the phrase ‘Why Were You Born?’
We are working to attract attention to this event through a series of prominent Interstate billboard messages, followed by more than 700 cable TV spots airing in eastern Cincinnati and supported by other outreach in mailings and online programming. We are certainly moving out of our comfort zone and taking a risk to invite people to hear an impactful biblical message about their destiny and role!
We spent months considering how to advance our gospel proclamation efforts. The Church’s local Kingdom of God seminars offered a great foundation to build on. We were able to negotiate good rates, and our media team at the home office has done an extraordinary job in putting together many spots and materials to support the event. We expect we will learn much in the process for possible future similar events in other areas.
This represents a major undertaking for the Church.”

Churches of God in East Africa

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.”

Living Church of God

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.

In Roderick Meredith's latest ministerial letter, dated 13th August, he comments on various internal issues, revealing that not everyone is acceding to his authority in church governance as he would wish.
You will soon be receiving a special Must Play sermon that should take priority over any other Must Play sermon. Please be sure to play and make a special issue of encouraging the brethren in your congregations to listen to the special sermon I gave on Church government entitled ‘Righteous Judgment’ (given August 2, 2014 in Charlotte, NC).

As you know, the issue of demonism has come up from time to time and seems to be increasing. I sincerely feel God has guided me in bringing up this matter in the recent co-worker letter.

“Recently we have had a number of people here at Headquarters and elsewhere bring up the issue of Black Israel, and the idea that Jesus was a black man. As you know, we in no way want to put down our black brethren – they are dear to us and we appreciate their service, and their unusual ability in many areas. On the other hand we do NOT want to condone ideas that misconstrue the Bible and deceive God's people into believing ideas that would bring us into reproach before the world, and most of all before God Himself.”
These conflicts are, he believes, attacks by Satan, who fears the impact that LCG is now having on the world.
“Satan does seem to be trying to attack us at this time as world events are speeding up and as it appears that we are on the verge of something really big in growth and the impact of God's Work. Satan knows this, he does not like it, and he will always come after us, and when he sees that we may be growing or having increased impact on the world, which is still HIS world, as he looks at it. So let us all pray for our brethren, pray for one another, and ask God to fight our battles, and help us do our part in dealing with this situation.”
“I will appreciate your personal prayers for me to be able to have the strength and the energy to face these problems and other issues I have to face in my older age and at this point.”

The Declaration of Arbroath

On 18th September Scottish voters will decide whether or not Scotland will remain within the United Kingdom. Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party, visited Arbroath Abbey on 17th August, announcing that he would make a new ‘Declaration of Arbroath’ - but it’s most unlikely that his declaration will have any Christian overtone.
The Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 was an appeal to the Pope to support the affirmation of Scottish sovereignty during the wars of independence.
The declaration recounts the history of the Scots:
“Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race however barbarous.

Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken by a single foreigner.

The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost part of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith. Nor would He have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles by calling though second or third in rank the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter’s brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron for ever.”

Philadelphia Church of God

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.
He also quoted Herbert W. Armstrong from Aug 28, 1963: “But let me repeat: The Work of God - proclaiming in mighty power worldwide the true, original gospel of Jesus Christ, administering to those precious children of God whom He gives us for our hire - cannot continue to grow and to continue the commission of Christ unless these colleges continue to grow. They train the dedicated and consecrated men and women who must carry on the active phases of this great Work. And the colleges cannot grow unless facilities expand!”
“Do his statements apply to us today?” Mr Flurry asked. “Yes. Ambassador College then, Herbert W. Armstrong College today, makes the Work possible.”
“I think God wants us to have a work in Britain that is considerably bigger than what we have now”.

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.
Zenit.org 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 rachel@congyah.co.uk 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.

Legacy Institute

Leon Sexton reports: Gloria and I recently returned from a trip to Myanmar (Burma) for Pentecost. It continues to amaze me just how much modern development is taking place in this backwater country. It is as if they have suddenly awakened from the Dark Ages. Of course, rapid development takes money—and money is pouring in. I commented to Gloria that when I heard former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was visiting Myanmar, I knew it was going to open up. Billions of dollars are being invested into Myanmar by China, Thailand, U.S.A., and Europe. Why? Why spend billions of dollars investing in this former pariah state? Because Myanmar is very, very rich in natural resources. It has a wealth of oil, natural gas, rare earth minerals, teak wood, and gems. If we add to the bounty of natural resources the fact that the central plains watered by the Irrawaddy River could make Myanmar one of the leading exporters of rice in the world, you have a proverbial gold mine. Everyone wants what Myanmar has.

The advantage to the Work of spreading the Gospel message is immeasurable. The roads built and patrolled by the Romans provided freedom of safe travel throughout the Empire. This allowed the apostles to freely preach the Kingdom of God all over the empire. New roads into the remote mountainous regions of Myanmar will help many more be reached.
Gloria and I observed the Festival of Pentecost with the Church of God brethren in a small mountain village directly east of the city of Taungoo in the Central Plains. The area is still a sensitive military controlled area. We were permitted to visit during the day, but could not stay overnight.
On the Sabbath and Pentecost, I gave sermons about the meaning of the High Holy Day. We had 26 adults and 17 children and were at capacity in the church building. The adults sat on plastic chairs and most of the children sat on mats on the floor in the front. Now we need to build onto and extend the church building. More and more people are beginning to attend. More and more are asking about Jesus and the Church of God, and several local Buddhists are starting to attend. The Church is growing and some are even returning that had stopped coming. It is amazing what takes place when the church gets cleaned up. Once the leavening is removed, the church begins to grow automatically.
We had two new teachers arrive last week. Julia Stewart is from Texas. I knew her when she was a little girl. She has wanted to come and serve at Legacy for the last three years. She even prepared herself by taking classes in how to teach English before she came. We also have Chris Collins here from Ohio. He comes from a family of COG Bible teachers and pastors. Also arriving just last night were three more volunteer teachers: Lacee Hilgen from California, Kathleen Kelly from Oregon, and Michael Slocum from Washington. We had an orientation meeting yesterday and all are eager to get started. All of our volunteer teachers come from COG families. Most are graduates of the United Church of God’s Ambassador Bible Course.
Several months ago we received a surprise donation of $10,000 from the Denny Luker Foundation through LifeNets to buy a tractor. We chose a small Kubota with several attachments to prepare soil for planting. A small tractor is more practical for working small paddy sections. Big tractors are too cumbersome and tear up the weirs that divide the paddy sections. We are already using the tractor we have decided to call the “Denny Tractor” in honor of Denny Luker. We have a grader blade in front and a PTO tiller in the back. We really appreciate the very thoughtful donation for something really needed to help grow our own food.

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).”